Monday, April 30, 2012

More Thankful

It's been a quiet, though slightly unsettling week at our house. We've been adjusting to our new bird, Loki, and he's been adjusting to (aka: biting!) us...And he's got quite a stronger beak than the keets or Squiggy, so even I'm feeling a little leary of the new guy--but we're working on it. I've found some training techniques online to try to help us both overcome our fears and trust each other, and yesterday was a much, much better day all around!

We've also switched realtors, hoping to breathe some life back into our listing. Our new agent comes highly recommended and I have a good feeling about it, though I felt bad taking the listing from Bill's friend, but four months in with nothing to show for it...It was high time to do something different, and we did. So, please keep the prayers coming that we'll find our buyer soon and get ourselves up to New England where we belong!

Then, after having the latest rain storm come leaking down our bathroom wall from the skylight, we got a hold of a roofer to come take a look and fix them all before it becomes an issue during a sale inspection--and it turned out to be a whole lot less expensive than we thought it would be! Such a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that's finally taken care of! Whew!!

Spent some time tangling with Michael on Saturday, which was really cool. We're counting down the days (25 1/2!!) left of school, and looking forward to some adventures out at Camp Lutherlyn starting this weekend's Camp Blast, a horseback riding lesson next month, and Bug's first week away from home (my heart's already frantically missing him!!) for the whole sleepover camp experience with his buddy, Bryce--they're gonna have so much fun! I'm trying really hard not to gush over how much I'm gonna miss him...I don't want him to think about me, I just want him to have a great time at camp that week. Me? I'll have to drown myself in lattes....sigh...

So, here we go, continuing counting our way to 1000 gifts:

#324. Roofer finally coming to look at the skylights (my biggest dread of selling the house, leaking skylights--just had to bite the bullet on this one...ugh!!)
#325. Knowing my hubby really loves me
#326. Coffeez with Missyz (doing that again today! Yay!)
#327. Squiggy whispering "I love you" to Skye (don't worry, Skye's not cheating on Blinkie...they're all boys anyway...hahaha)
#328. Loki just chillin' with the rest of the gang
#329. New realtor listing the house--change is good!
#330. Dogwoods blooming pink and white
#331. No charge at the dentist (wish I could say the same for cavities and a crown to be done...)
#332. Lotso tangle strings to play with--so addicted!
#333. Fat brown toadie in the yard, a little startled from the lawn mower--poor guy! Tucked him in the ivy bed to recover
#334. Free latte!!
#335. Answered prayers
#336. New hope and possibilities...
#337. Doing tangles with Bug-his first:
#338. Skylights fixed!! Gianormous sigh of relief!!
#339. Finished Earth tangle...even though I didn't make the deadline for the challenge website (gotta watch that fine print--but I'll be ready for next week's!)

Always thankful...

Just a heads up to some of my mom friends out there with little boys running wild...there is a 21 day prayer challenge just for moms like us! You can join up at the MOB Society (Moms Of Boys) and download the e-book to begin praying for your little men starting tomorrow! Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Stealing: A Semi-Charmed Life, Part Two, and a Thought for the Day

A continuation of last Sunday's meme...

Sunday Stealing: The Semi Charmed Meme, Part Two

21. A better name for me would be: Hungry, since I always am...

22. I have a hard time understanding: why people get pets only to neglect/abuse them, chain them to a tree for the entirety of their life, stop feeding them---why? Why get an animal if you're not going to absolutely love it and spoil it rotten? They deserve nothing less...
23. If I ever go back to school, I’d: take writing courses since publishers won't even look at your work if you don't have any credentials. They probably still won't look at it, but at least you might /maybe/briefly get considered...
24. You know I like you if: I cook or paint something for you =0)
25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: my hubby who always encourages me and believes in me
26. If I could bring back a TV show for a reunion it would be: Fame--I so miss Fame

27. Take my advice, never: never move Memorial Day weekend...I just offered that advice to a friend the other day. It's a nightmare. You're lucky to get a truck and luckier if it's not rented to someone else even after you reserved it. And never, never reserve your truck with U-Haul--bad, bad evil company!! 
28. My ideal breakfast is: Multi-grain Cheerios with a banana and a hot cup of coffee--mmmm. Yeah, I'm pretty simple ( it!!)
29. A song I love, but do not own is: Five for Fighting's Superman--LOVE that song!

30. If you visit my hometown, I'd suggest: Della Salla's Pizza--best pizza going and about the only thing going in Verona! LOL

31. If I could meet a couple of my blog buddies, I'd include: is that blogs I follow or buddies that follow me? If it's blogs I follow, I'd wanna meet Ann Voskamp, Amy Dane, and Micha Boyett. Wow!
32. Why won’t people: stop whining about the weather? Really...nothing you can do about it, folks...

33. If you spend the night at my house: be prepared to be covered in dogs....and dog hair...and Ruby will probably be sleeping around the potty so go before you go to bed 'cuz you won't be able to get to it in the middle of the night 'cuz she won't budge...

34. I’d stop everything for: time with my hubby...really, really, really miss him...

35. The world could do without: shows like The Client List--really? Glorifying prostitution now??

36. The last time I got drunk I: stuck heart shaped rainbow bandaids on my friend's husband's nipples--over his shirt!! Because he always liked to flash his nipples and thought he was just the hottest thing going and he so so wasn't...Okay, you really had to know Roy to appreciate this story...

37. My favorite blonde is: my sister-in-law, Cindy, who's graciously letting Bill stay with her until we can sell the house and get moved (and I'll be so glad when this topic is no longer a part of my blogs...!!)

38. Paper clips are more useful than: scotch tape?? Or tearing that little fold thing into the corners?

39. If I do anything well, it’s: cooking and painting

40. And by the way: thank you for stopping by...enjoy the rest of your weekend!

As I prayed this morning, "Jesus, You are the Word..." (John 1:1-14) it occurred to me that as we memorize Scripture, make it part of our heart and soul, we memorize Jesus and He becomes our heart and soul...As we stay in the Word, Jesus stays in us, and who doesn't need that these days? We're working our way through memorizing the Fighter Verses....

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Nine Time

Thankful for an easy meme this morning. I've got a horrible sinus headache and can't think to save my life. So here's this week's Saturday 9:

1. The Beach Boys are back together (everyone alive, Dennis and Carl have passed, including Brian) for the first time in 25 years. It's their 50th Anniversary tour. Their new single is called, “That's Why God made the Radio”. Did radio play a huge part of your growing up years? Who doesn’t listen to the radio growing up? Music is such a significant part of defining a generation, of course it’s a huge part of growing up! Shutting yourself in your room, blasting the volume as loud as it could go—nothing else irritates the parents as well as really loud, obnoxious music they know nothing about…Yeah, the good ole days…

2. What is something that you are disappointed about right now? That we’re still waiting for this house to sell!

3. What are you really anticipating right now? Getting moved so we can have our family back together!

4. When was the last time you watched your favorite movie? What is it? I’m completely addicted to all the Harry Potter movies and always have one of them playing while I’m running or working out every morning. If I had to pick one to be my favorite, it’s probably a tie between the Half-Blood Prince and the first Deathly Hallows.

5. If you could bring one person back from the dead, who would it be? My dad—I miss him so much!!!

6. Who was the last person you hung up on? A telemarketer. I normally don’t answer calls I don’t recognize but Bug’ll pick one up every now and again and gives me the phone. Click.

7. Does it bother you when meme makers separate questions that could've been combined? No. Not really.

8. What is the first animal you would run to see if you went to the zoo? Baby monkeys—there really isn’t anything cuter than baby monkeys.

9. What is the food you always buy at the grocery store that you can't live without? Quaker Peanut Butter Chewy Dip granola bars. They’re my salvation during this diet—just a little bit of peanut butter wrapped in a little bit of chocolate with a little bit of crunchiness to make my life just a little bit better. And salad stuff, I love a good salad. Really, my life is so boring…

Friday, April 27, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Community

I was thinking yesterday about how wonderfully God's hand has worked in my life yet again. And, as always, it brought me to tears. Divine appointments still manage to stop me in my tracks and send me to my knees in gratitude.

We moved home to PA not quite two years ago, wanting to be closer to my mom to help her out since my dad had passed away a year prior to that and I worried about her being alone. Still, we live a good hour away from her, and we've not had as much time with her as I thought we would. She doesn't like to drive all the way from Pittsburgh to Butler, and the times I've offered to come down her way, she's turned me down for one reason or another. She also spends half the year in Florida, so it's turned out that we see very little of my mom-almost the same as when we lived in Tennessee and Ohio.

But the handiwork of God wasn't in bringing us 'almost home' for my mom. Rather, He placed me here for my own care. And, once again, He planted me exactly where I needed to be, knowing well ahead of time what was coming, and who I'd need in my life.

Before all else came settling Michael into the youth bowling league, where we met our first friends in the area, JJ and Shane, and their mom, Jenn. Saturday mornings quickly became our favorite day of the week as Bug got to bowl with his buddies, and I had someone to gab and laugh with for a couple hours outside of my usual four walls of home.

That first February found me in the emergency room waiting for an MRI as I had trouble with walking, lost motor skills, and a strange numbness in my brain. Not knowing where else we could send him, Jenn graciously kept Michael overnight for us as we waited for answers that never came that weekend.

Then, after visiting a handful of churches in the area, Bill and I decided to settle into Trinity Lutheran as our home church. We really liked Pastor Tom, even though he was determined to retire, and the church's Aaron's minister, Diane, has become a dear friend as well. Trinity is very involved with the local Christian camp here, Lutherlyn, and I was very excited to send Michael off to a week of daycamp there last summer. The last night of camp, the parents are invited to come for dinner and a show put on by the campers and counselors. We sat at a table with a couple boys Michael had become friends with: Bryce and Matthew, and their mom, Missy, and found out they lived only a short way from where we lived! So we planned playdates through the summer and more friendships were forged.

Diane hosts a Bible study in her house every other week or so, and Missy and Jenn have come with me. Missy's wonderful husband, John, keeps Michael now that Bill's been gone, so I can still have that time out with my friends, enjoying adult conversation and God's Word. And these three women have come to mean so much more than just friends, they've become my family this year and I'd be utterly lost without them.

When I had my seizure--at Trinity--that night in January, Diane came to the emergency room and prayed over me. Missy drove me to countless appointments and tests, sat with me through tears when I learned I had to have spinal surgery, picked Michael up from the bus stop when I was in the hospital, they all visited and prayed, and held me in their hearts. Jenn chauffered us to bowling on the weekends when I wasn't allowed to drive. Diane brought flowers and hugs to brighten my struggling spirit. I could never have made it through this year without these women in my life.

And it gets better! Missy works at a physical therapy clinic where I went after my surgery to continue my recuperation, and there I met Katie, who is a marathon runner. The one thing I missed most was losing the ability to run before I found out I needed surgery--the spinal compression was causing my weakness and fatigue that stopped me from running. Katie encourages and inspires me now that I'm able to run again, to push further and harder every run, and I'm planning on running my first half marathon next year--after we get through this move...and I can't wait!

I'm so thankful God's got me in His hands and that He's provided me with the most incredible friends I could ever hope for. we go again...moving away and I have to say good-bye--but I trust I will see them all again and I will always have them close in my heart, these beautiful sisters God has blessed me with.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Check In Time

It's that time again and I was a little concerned this week. Not out of guilt for not eating right or missing a workout. I've been super stellar spot on all week, staying within my calorie range, running a little longer and trying to push my pace a little faster, strength training every other day--all good, good, good. But, it's 'that time of the month' and, well, I worried about water retention making me possibly gain (so much so that I didn't use a grain of salt on anything all week long!) and dragging me down after otherwise doing so well all week. It really doesn't take much to get discouraged when you're fighting the weight loss battle and food is so easy to turn to for comfort because it's right there, in the cupboard, the fridge, on the dinner table...

But, I got up on that scale anyway, tentative, determined not to let a negative number set me back. And-hooray! I did manage to lose half a pound. I was hoping for the full pound to get my first five pound loss reward, wasn't a gain or even a stand still, so I need to be happy for that. Gotta take what progress we can make and keep plodding on forward, right? Next week I'll hit that five...
Must Love God

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More for the Birds

I have nothing very exciting going on this week. Dentist appointment this morning, just a cleaning. Oil change tomorrow (I think...they still haven't called to confirm the time I scheduled online this weekend...) Roofer guy coming tomorrow evening to look at the skylights. Hoping to get a hold of another realtor and maybe get this house SOLD...There's a concept, huh?

But the birdies were being awfully cute yesterday and I took a few photos to share:

Skye, Blinkie, and Squiggy having a little futon soire

Birds on a Wire

Loki takin' it to the gym...though this is Blinkie and Skye's gym that they never play on anymore. I should get one that's more size appropriate for Loki...He seemed to like it, though!

Tomorrow is weigh in day--will I make it to my first five pound loss reward?? Exciting!! And this is a running morning, that always starts my day happy. The nights I go to bed thinking, 'I get to run tomorrow!' are the best--that feels so good again!

And tangling and reading (The Help--which I hate to put down, it's so good!!) The grass needs cut, but I'm thinking Friday's probably the day for that...maybe. Today's gonna be warmer--I just don't wanna...being a brat. We'll see...

Anyways, Happy Hump Day! I hope we can manage to get something accomplished along the way!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another Artful Tuesday

I know I said I wanted to play more with my watercolor pencils this week, but I think I must've psyched myself out a bit and was a little too intimidated yet to try the barn portrait...I was disappointed with how the last painting turned out and didn't want to further discourage myself. But, it's still sitting next to me in my pile of play stuff: watercolor tablets, sketchpads, pens, pencils, markers, and generally misplaced mess...If ever I had a Fly Lady hot spot going on, it's my little corner of the kitchen nook...but if I put it all away then I wouldn't be as inclined to play and create. You know, out of sight out of mind? Other things would grab my attention-the dishes in the sink, dog toys scattered here, there, and everywhere, dust bunnies skittering down the hall...So, everything stays right where it is 'cuz I'd much rather scribble than clean any day of the week!!

My main attention went to Zentangles all week long...Everywhere I looked, I could picture design inspiration, strings floated through my mind and I'd jot them down on little scraps of paper (also now accumulating in my nook mess...), and I zipped through tons of tangle patterns online, trying to picture them in different combinations...What a dreamy week it's been! I tried my hand at two designs I found online, pictured below:

Then did one of my own from scratch, string and think it needs more dark...

This is a string, by the way...a guideline to start your tangle...and strings can go anywhere in any direction, style, or shape:
The Diva's Weekly Challenge this week is to be inspired by the earth, honoring Earth Day this past Sunday, and this was her earth inspired Zendala:
Gorgeous!! Who wouldn't be inspired to try their hand at Zentangles looking at this??

So, I'll definitely be trying more tangling this week as strings and patterns flit wildly through my head. And...hopefully, I'll pull out that barn portrait and give it a go...Also hoping the weather will get a little warmer and the back yard will dry up so the dogs can stay outside and play more so Mr. Loki can hang out in the kitchen with me while I doodle...Fun, yeah? Enjoy your week!

Loki's new swing



Monday, April 23, 2012

Drizzly Monday

I ran out of time this morning to get a post up...Before I knew it, it was seven and that's time to run. So I ran. Had a good run, too. Just over three miles, shaving a little time off my speed, felt really good. What felt even better was the 'Calories Burned' indicator reading a little over 500...Now that's how you start a Monday!

And what a Monday, right? We're supposed to get six plus inches of snow and I'm in a minor panic because they're calling for this heavy wet snow that'll take down power lines and leave everyone without any electricity...I'm doing a mental inventory of food and blankets in the house, actually hoping for a snow day with Bug since we haven't had a single one all year. But, alas, it was all a big farce. Not so much as a flake had fallen. Reminded me of life in Tennessee--big snow panic, mad rush to the stores for toilet paper and milk, and....nothing. One could always hope, right? Eh...There's always next winter, and we'll be farther north. The big bonus, we didn't lose power. And I still have plenty of TP.

So yesterday found us high-tailing our way south of Pittsburgh to North Huntingdon for the bird fair. You know I have to really like birds to brave the turnpike and drive over an hour away--that's so beyond my usual realm! I have a fifteen to twenty mile radius that I'm quite content to stay well within and to go so far outside that radius without someone else driving, there has to be a really, really good reason. And birds, for me, yeah, that's a really good reason!

The show was a bit of a let down from last year. There weren't even a third of the amount birds available this year, and much fewer vendors...It took us less than an hour to make it through the whole thing. However, we did find a sweet new baby to bring home--a five month old green cheek conure that I instantly fell in love with, all cuddly and cute. Ran out to the car to get our carrier, paid for our baby and visited a few other of the vendors to buy some food, toys, and treats to share with our other birdies at home. Scooped up all our purchases and made our way back north to Butler, Loki tucked in the back seat with Michael, both fell fast asleep...

Arriving at home, we set up Loki's cage and Squiggy got moved into his parents' bigger cage--more room for more toys! He likes his new digs! Everyone settled in quite well, dogs all inspecting this new noise maker coming from the bird room, Loki checking out the furry eyeballs looking curiously up at him...Time for dinner and nervous checking of the Weather Bug all evening long, watching for signs of this imminent storm threatening, though nothing at all on the radar...snow, my foot...

Waking up this morning to a wet, drizzly Monday, I have to say I was actually thankful for no snow for once. Yeah, that's right, I said it--I was thankful for no snow! Though there went my extra day at home with Bug to play with Loki...still, we can play tonight when he gets home. A few pensive flakes floated amid the rain drops, you could hardly call them flurries...rather pitiful, to say the least. Shooed Bug off to school, made my way through Walmart, and home to do chores and play with babies...Life is good...

Continuing to count to 1000 Gifts:
#307. Lunch out on the back porch, enjoying sunshine and breezes
#308. Kid on a bike in front of me with a Ninja Turtle t-shirt, just made me smile
#309. Nachos!
#310. Tucker kisses
#311. The Blind Side--what a beautiful story!!
#312. Glorious, jucious, rubious (Hagrid) grapefruit--mmm!
#313. On goal with my weight loss--four pounds down in two weeks! Yeah!
#314. Having a home gym
#315. Blue bird perched in pink blossoms
#316. 1946 edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales found forgotten in a toy box--treasure!
#317. Bible study with the girlz!
#318. Lunch with Diane on the deck at the Log Cabin--gorgeous day!
#319. Cute Bugalicious let me cut his hair--no more cowlick...for now...
#320. Obsessing over Tangles!
#321. Loki!! Love...

#322. No snow--never thought I'd actually say that...first time for everything, eh?
#323. 500 calories burned in one run--yeah!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Stealing-A Semi-Charmed Life

Sunday Stealing: The Semi Charmed Meme, Part One

1. My uncle once: ?? I don't know my uncles very well, birth or adoptive...

2. Never in my life: would I intentionally eat a bug...ewww!!! Like those goobers on Fear Factor? Seriously, what people do for money...

3. When I was five: I had ridiculous buck teeth and the frizziest curly hair...I was hideous.

4. High School was: boorrrrrinnnnngggg.....ugh!

5. I will never forget: the first time I saw Michael's sweet yawning face in my sonogram. We had to lie to get the insurance to allow us to have one done, told them I'd fallen, otherwise they wouldn't pay for it, and his sweet little face popped up on the screen as he yawned so wide and I fell head over heels in love....

6. I once met: Mike Glabicki, the lead singer of Rusted Root and kissed him on the cheek!! Still makes my heart race!

7. There’s this girl I know who: is a supremely talented artist who continually inspires me to keep creating and reaching for the stars...

8. Once, at a bar: oh my...I met my husband for the first time and knew as soon as he walked through the door that he was the one!

9. By noon, I’m usually: well fed, mostly done with the day's cleaning, and looking forward to a little art time!

10. Last night: we sadly said good-bye to our pair of parrotlets, Crash & Burn.

11. If only I had: my husband here to deal with some of these house issues--grrr!!!

12. Next time I go to church: later this morning...I'll have to skip staying for the spaghetti dinner fundraiser so we can make it to the bird fair in time.

13. Jonathan Frid: is a weird name...?? Oh, he was a vampire who just died...RIP Mr. Frid, sorry I dissed your name....

14. What worries me most: getting this house sold so we can move!!

15. When I turn my head left, I see: my big dry erase white board for keeping track of all the important things going on.

16. When I turn my head right, I see: out into our backyard and the back of the mansion that's behind us, the sun just starting to brighten the morning sky...

17. You know I’m lying when: I tell you all the chocolate is gone.

18. What I miss most about the 80s: the music, being skinny, and no wrinkles or grey hair!!

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: Juliet, so dramatic...okay, don't really know many other characters...

20. By this time next year: this whole moving nightmare will be an almost forgotten memory...

A Little Emptier Nest...

Two more of our babies left home last night. I had become concerned for Squiggy's mom and dad, Crash and Burn (aka Angel and Storm, their original names, which sound so much sweeter. I still don't know why we thought we should change them...) I knew they were wanting to have more babies but I also knew I wasn't up to hand-rearing another clutch or the thought of keeping more birds...I'm simply unable to part with the babies. Plus, all the more little lovies we'd have to move at some point down the road, whenever we finally manage to get this house sold...

So, I contacted our friend, Jenny, Angel and Storm's first mom, to see if she knew anyone who would be interested in taking them, and...turns out...she was! She'd wanted a pair of parrotlets to breed, these little two wanted more than anything to breed, and so we had our answer. And Ms. Jenny came to reclaim her sweet babies last night. As much as I know it's the best thing for them, I'm still a little sad that they're gone, and the house seems infinitely quieter with three less birds in barely a month's time...

But, we are off to an Exotic Bird Fair Expo this afternoon, down on the other side of Pittsburgh and, who knows? Maybe we'll find a new baby there...In the very least, I know I'll find some great new toys and treats for Squiggy, Blinkie and Skye while we're there, and get to play with some very sweet baby birds which is always a joy--sweet birdie kisses and cuddles!

So, I wish a fond farewell to these two precious little loves and know they're off to new adventures in avian parenting in a very loving, happy home. Thanks so much for the gift of Squiggy, and you two will always have a piece of my heart as well...Thank you also, Jenny!!

Cutest pair of parrotlets ever!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This Saturday's Six

From Patrick's Place, this week's Saturday Six questions, which are really appropriate for where I'm at lately diet-wise...The threat of summer and swim suit season is upon us apparently! Haha--here goes:

1. When you were a young child, were you generally too skinny, too heavy or just right? I was a stick, just like Michael. My mom made a lot of my clothes because I was so skinny and tall it was hard to find clothes that actually fit me.

2. What’s the most weight you’ve lost during any one diet? (Or have you never had to be on one?) Last go around was forty pounds...this time I only need to drop a good twenty.

3. Of your favorite foods, which do you think is the healthiest? I LOVE avocados! But I also love a lot of the 'super' foods-black beans, brown rice, blueberries, almonds, spinach, asparagus....mmmm!

4. Of your favorite foods, which do you think is the least healthiest? My beloved lattes....sugary syrup and whipped cream piled high...aaahhh!!

5. When did you last have some of each of those two foods? It's been a few weeks since I had an avocado, and had a latte yesterday (oops--but I counted it in my daily calories!!)

6. You go to a coffee shop to meet a friend for conversation. How likely are you to buy a pastry or some kind of snack to go along with that coffee? Not very's tempting but I'm not a big sugary pastry kind of person, especially considering there's usually a good deal of butter/saturated fat that comes along with those sweet treats as well...not good!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Feel My Friday...

It's been a morning...Tucker woke us up about 2:30, dreaming, woofing in his sleep. Bug muttered, "Mom?" from the other room. I ordered him back to sleep. He dragged me out of bed yesterday morning, not even at four yet and I had to listen to "I'm Sexy and I Know It" playing on his PSP while I tried to wake up...Not how anyone would want to start their day. I made him put his earbuds in so I could have my morning peace. Now here we go least he's sleeping, and, oh yeah, the dogs are all back to sleep after an early morning potty break...Me? Wide awake....

After a nice long run, I fill bird seed dishes and change tray liner paper. Ruby wanders into the kitchen looking for her breakfast. Tuck already ate about a half hour ago. Pea's outside investigating the perimeter for signs of squirrels or chipmunks, too early in the season for toads, I think. But she's checkin'. Michael's managed to get himself ready without my prompting or nagging-funny what guilt will do in a ten year old's mind. He's in trouble for lying, again, and tormenting Sweet Pea, so I've taken his Legos, his PSP,his boombox, and his Easter candy, hidden the TV remote and the computer mouse so he can't play. Grounded. Sigh...the boy wears me out.

We head to the bus after a little talk. Can't hug it out much because I'm so sweaty from running, but I kiss his scruffy head, cowlick standing tall at attention in spite of his efforts to chop it off in the tub last night without my knowledge or permission...He slips, falls, going up the bus steps, doesn't wave as the bus pulls away and my heart aches for him--surely he's given the other kids a good laugh at his expense over his stumble. Oh baby, I pray, I hope your day gets better. Blow a few lost kisses his way then turn the car around and head back home. Weeding awaits.

Finally finding my way back upstairs, Pea has apparently secured the back yard and is ready for her breakfast. My phone's alarm is ringing, morning prayers. I set Pea's bowl on the floor, tell her to eat as she looks up unbelieving at me, no pumpkin? should've shown up when it was time to eat, not an hour later...maybe pumpkin for dinner...I kneel beside the bed, Tuck pouncing up next to me, pawing my shoulder, barking begging for my attention. Rolls over sideways, head buried under my pillows, growling, gurgling, butt stump up high in the air, silly. I love this dog. He finally settles, paw on my shoulder, we pray.

I hear commotion from the kitchen, like Pea's dumped her bowl of food, mad she didn't get her pumpkin. I sigh and scritch Tuck's cheek, head in her direction to see how much of a mess there is to clean up. But I find her instead in the livingroom, with her bowl, eating under the coffee table? I have no idea how she managed it without a single piece of kibble spilled--but she somehow navigated three bends a good twenty-five feet away from where she first started by the pantry door...Not a normal undertaking for a typically lazy Bassett...Who am I kidding--what in my life is normal?? At least she's eating, even without the pumpkin and she didn't leave me a mess to clean up.

Tuck wants back out and I need to get in the shower...before I find myself back in bed, taking a nap and trying to restart this day...woof!! Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Life on the Spark Side

I'm so excited to be making positive progress this week!! It makes such a difference in doing what you know is right when you finally see the hoped for results when you step up on that scale. It's a whole lot easier to talk yourself out of sneaking an unnecessary snack and down into that workout room every day when you're finally receiving the longed for pay off. I knew I would be able to do it on Spark People again. Their program has always worked for me in the past--it's just a matter of truly committing and being honest with myself about what exactly I'm putting in my mouth. No more fudging, no more justifying. Hardcore honesty in tracking calories and seriously pushing those workouts every day.

Thank goodness I found Spark People! I never would've gotten into running, ever, if I hadn't been on Spark. My first Spark Buddy, Nicole, who teamed up with me when I first joined almost four years ago-we were both newbies back then, had begun training for a 5K, and as I watched her posting her progress every week, it slowly dawned on me, why couldn't I try that? I Googled Couch to 5K plans, printed out the training program on Cool Running and simply fell in love. I hope to always be running, well into my golden years-I'm hooked!

And then there's the food! Spark People creates a personalized menu plan for you: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, all within your calorie range. You can choose further options to not include beef or pork or tofu (blech!) There are vegetarian, low sodium, and low cholesterol options as well. They'll completely work with whatever needs you have. Every day they give you meal suggestions, which you can easily swap out either an entire meal or individual ingredients according to what you'd rather have, or maybe what you have on hand at home. There's entire lists of substitution suggestions readily available, making menu planning quick and easy. And they're even set for a week in advance to help you plan your grocery list as well--love it!! Something you want or have eaten not on the menu plan? Do a simple search on their database and insert--viola! Figures your calories, carbs, fat, and protein with one quick click! Brilliant! And I have mentioned before this is all FREE!

This morning, breakfast is a hot bowl of oatmeal. Lunch--nachos! Yes! Nachos!! Afternoon snack, carrots with hummus--love! And dinner-I'm trying a new recipe, a Spark recipe so you know it's healthy--Spinach Alfredo...I can't wait! I just discovered the wonderful convenience of frozen cut leaf spinach yesterday...Last night's dinner was spinach with chick peas, sauteed with garlic and topped with feta cheese. Ordinarily I'd buy one of those big bags of fresh spinach and then watch half of it rot in my veggie drawer in the fridge...Their recipe called for frozen spinach and I was going to buy one of the old 'blocks' of spinach, you know what I'm talking about? Yeah, not all that appetizing....But having my menus written out for the week, I knew I'd need more than one serving, still I wasn't sure I wouldn't end up throwing away half a bag of uneaten freshly rotten spinach so, committed to doing this 100%, I decided to buck up and go for the great green ice block...Mmph. But!! They now have BAGS of frozen cut leaf spinach--it's loose and no longer pulverized to a pretty much pre-chewed state--it's incredible! I bought two bags--they're frozen...not gonna go bad, even if spinach doesn't come back up on the menu for another couple weeks. And it was divine with the chickpeas, garlic, and feta--divine! Loving what I'm still learning on Spark four years in!

The running is going great, building up slowly to give my knees a chance to keep up. I'm on Week Eight of the Couch to 5K, can't believe how fast it's gone. Feeling stronger every day, and what does the scale say?...Down 2.5lbs this week! Oh yeah--that feels great!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Walk With Him Wednesday

I'm becoming a blog addict. I never thought it would happen. If I have time to read, I want to read a book. I gave up magazines years ago. If I can commit part of my day to reading, I want to be completely engaged, entertained with what I'm reading. Magazines seem like so much fluff, same old articles repeated over and over, read and forgotten, not to mention they tend to pile up, collect dust, and then you toss them. Not very environmentally friendly if you think about it.

But lately I find myself spending more and more time reading blogs. I fell in love with Ann Voskamp's Holy Experience--you hear me talking about it all the time (you really should read yesterday's post if you have a minute-it's beautiful!) and I try to link up on her Multitudes on Monday's and Walk with Him Wednesday's when I have a related post. That led to clicking on other link up posts and falling in love with new blogs...Its like potato chips, you can't eat just one--fortunately blog reading is calorie-free! Then I downloaded the GoogleReader app on my tablet with which I can subscribe to all my favorite blogs and every day it lists any new posts, all in one simple, convenient spot...I love it! Who knew this could be so addicting?

Ann's Walk With Him Wednesdays are focused on spiritual practices: love, forgiveness, peace, grace...and she'll run a few weeks focusing on one practice. Following Easter, she's doing a couple weeks on "Living the Resurrection." I had to Google to find out what that meant exactly and I found this quote: "Every time we tell God, 'Take it from me,' we are living the resurrection, because we are remembering God's promise that He will provide for us, that He didn't leave His Son hanging, and that, despite what our inner skeptics might claim, He is truly trustworthy." (Read more:

Truly, as Christians, isn't that exactly what we're supposed to do? Live completely in God's trust and promise? Isn't that the very basis of our faith? I know we struggle with that, though, giving up our worries to God. How can He show us His goodness, His promise, if we won't let Him? Why would He when we're ultimately saying we don't trust Him to provide? Really? He provided His Son to die for us so that we wouldn't have to pay the cost of our sins, because we can't pay the cost of our sin--it's too much. He gave His Son--for us! And we can't trust Him with our itty bitty stupid little problems? What a slap in the face that is.

This past week, I've chosen to trust with this move. Really, I can't do anything else, can I? But I can not let it drag me down, which it was. It was wearing on me. I miss my husband--immensely. But I know God's got this. I breathe. I pray. I have to trust. And it's completely lifted the weight from my shoulders. Yeah, the Enemy tries to pile it back on, nudges me now and again, "Don't you wish you were there? Don't you wish this was all done? Aren't you angry, even a little?" Sure, but if I was meant to be there right now, God would have me there. What else can I do but do what needs done here and enjoy the gifts of right now? So, I'm trusting in the resurrection, in God's promises, knowing He will always provide.

Then my friend, Diane, recommended I read the Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (download from Amazon for FREE here-you know I love free!) so I started the other night...oh, download it! Read it! I've only just begun but I'm captivated and can totally relate...and I am sure you will, too! And if you've read this far, I thank you for listening to my ramblings...Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Artful Tuesday

Well, I gave up on the Zen samplers this week because they're just not...pretty enough. Sure, they're great practice, I suppose, so maybe I should continue in that regard..Something to think about--but I'd rather be making something PRETTY!! So...I did an actual Zentangle--copied from a design I found online--that's the kind of practice I'd rather be doing. Still learning technique, just in a much prettier, more aesthetically pleasing way...So here is that pic--and I have a couple more I want to try my hand at--maybe this week...maybe later...

Because I am adventuring more with watercolor pencils. I believe you can learn to do just about anything by watching tutorial videos on YouTube! And then get caught up in completely unrelated video content, wasting endless amounts of time...Have you ever watched speed painting? It's amazing!! But, anyway, below are a couple demo samples I tried from YouTube...simple!

Then I got so excited about the possibilities of what could be done with watercolor pencils, I thought I'd try my hand at recreating a painting I love by one of my favorite local artists, Marcia Furman, just to play around...Of course, hers was done in oils, which is completely on the other end of the media spectrum and being such a beginner as it is, I guess I expected more of myself...Below is my shot at Marcia's Defiant Beauty...a sad representation of the actual work you can see by clicking here. Still, it was totally fun to try and a good learning experience. I want to try doing a house portrait this week, well, a barn portrait actually from our friend's farm...I used to do tons of house portraits-in we'll see how I do with the pencils...

Defiant Beauty

Monday, April 16, 2012

Saying Yes When You'd Rather Say No

I wasn't gonna go to church yesterday. It's hard facing these people and having to answer, "Yes, we're still here...We'll go when the house finally sells..." And they offer advice, opinions of the housing market. They mean well. I just didn't want to face those faces...

But then I realized that's exactly what the Enemy would have me do. Stay home, suffer alone, in silence. Not seek the company of other believers who might offer encouragement. Not to lift my heart to God and worship the One who provides everything I need exactly as I need it. And if I would allow that separation, what else might he try to separate me from--friends, family...I wasn't going to give him that foothold-not a chance.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another-
-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
~Hebrews 10:25

So, I got myself ready, and Bug didn't even offer up his usual argument or whining that he didn't want to go. He ate his breakfast and got dressed without one ounce of resistance--surely the Spirit came to my aid as I intended to get the two of us to Sunday school, not only on time but even a little early!

And it was so good to see friendly faces and their warm, welcoming smiles. We laughed and teased through our Sunday school class, which is what we mostly do-our teachers truly have their jobs cut out for them! And I love hearing Bug singing his heart out in the service, truly makes a Mama smile. A simple victory, a gift of friends, and honoring God...I'm so glad we went!

Continuing counting to 1000 Gifts:

#283. Talking things out with Bill
#284. Not turning to food or pills to medicate a heartache
#285. Bowling with Bug
#286. Free Pepsi, Jolly Ranchers, and donuts--gotta love Sheetz!
#287. New letter and drawing from Kiran, my little heart in India

#288. War Horse finally in Red Box and sobbing through the entire thing
#289. Showing...and snowing
#290. Running Inspiration-love from my friend Katie
#291. Coolest ever Wild Notes journal by Crayola--you gotta get you one!

#292. Key Lime Oikos--so good!!

#293. Dancing with my Bug
#294. Lost 1.5 lbs--it's a start in the right direction!
#295. Bubblebath and a chocolate mud mask to celebrate #294
#296. New watercolor pencils and journal and the best hubby ever!
#297. Time to paint
#298. Silly parrot at the pet store
#299. Beautiful sunny day
#300. Pretty pink Redbud blossoms across the street
#301. Nine blissful hours of uninterrupted sleep
#302. Friends who encourage and lift up at church
#303. Resisting sweet treats at Sunday school
#304. Windows wide open and furnace off again! Now if we can just keep it off....
#305. Having the whole week's menus planned out on Spark People-yum!
#306. Lost two more pounds! WooHoo!!

Always thankful....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Stealing-TV Shows

Okay, this morning's meme was to choose five TV shows you really like and then answer the following questions...soooo:

Five Shows I Really Like:
1. Game of Thrones
2. Greys Anatomy
3. Dance Moms
4. Project Runway
5. Big Bang Theory

1. Who is your favorite character in 2? Meredith, of course

2. Who is your least favorite character in 1? Cersei--grrr...

3. What’s your favorite episode of 4? The finale of All Stars when Mondo won--yay!! So love Mondo!

4. What is your favorite season of 5? Ooo, they're all really good but the current season is pretty hilarious

5. What’s your favorite relationship in 3? Abby and the girls, like when they go and do something fun and un-dance related together--it gives a whole new side to Abby that's actually sweet, fun, and caring.

6. Who is your anti-relationship in 2? Seriously, Christina and Owen--I so hope they're finally over!!!

7. How long have you watched 1? Just since I bought the DVD set of season one last month--but totally hooked on the books and completely hooked on the show now, too!

8. How did you become interested in 3? It's a dance studio from the town I grew up in--love to watch these moms represent =0)

9. Who is your favorite actor in 4? Tim...or maybe Swatch--I love Swatch!! Didn't get to see him on All Stars (Tim, either--boooo!)

10. Which show do you prefer 1, 2, or 5? Game of Thrones by far!

11. Which show have you seen more episodes of 1 or 3? One, I've watched the DVD's four times already =0)

12. If you could be anyone from 4, who would you be? Heidi--definitely Heidi, though I couldn't be married to Seal--sorry

13. How would you kill off any character in 5? Howard contracts a venereal disease after Bernadette comes to her senses and breaks his bizarre perverted heart...

14. Would a 3/4 crossover work? Yes! They could design dance costumes for the girls, and an evening gown for Abby! Maybe a 'real woman' challenge to dress the moms!

15. Pair two characters in 1 that would make an unlikely, but strangely okay couple. Varys and, kidding--eww! Hmm...Hodor and Osha--yeah.

16. Overall, which show has the better cast, 3 or 5? FIVE!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I've been a member on Spark People for almost four years now. Been doing the Yo-Yo thing: gain weight, lose weight, gain it back, lose it again. It's rough being a woman...Hormones, stress, chocolate sometimes seems to conspire against us in the battle to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. But--I've done it before and I know I can do it again.

What I love about Spark People is that it's FREE! You know I love free! And I know some people swear by Weight Watchers--but why would you pay for something you can easily do on your own--for free? It creates menu plans and workout routines, there's thousands of different community groups and challenges to join, endless recipes to try, even a mobile app to help you keep track on the Now that's a beautiful thing.

Another thing I love about Spark is that it helps you set goals for yourself, encourages you to reach those marks with daily emails and articles that keep you focused and determined to stay on track, and also recommends rewarding yourself as you realize your accomplishments. I love rewards! My main goal is to lose twenty pounds, so I set rewards for myself for each five pounds lost...then I added a few more in between each of those just to keep me motivated and moving-heh heh heh...

My rewards:
  • 5lbs-a new book (always a treat!)
  • 7lbs-new unders (nothing makes you feel secretly pretty like new undies!) (Okay--blushing...)
  • 10lbs-sandals for my dinner cruise dress--yeah, maybe that $40 pair at Penneys that I love, this is my halfway mark after all...
  • 12lbs-art supplies--fun, fun, fun!
  • 15lbs-new capris and/or shorts--summer fast approacheth
  • 17lbs-a Spark People T-shirt
  • 20lbs and GOAL!-new running shoes, girl's training for a half marathon, people!!
So, I'm on my way...slow and steady. Sticking to my menu plans, maintaining my calorie limits, and getting things moving. If you're looking for a great way to get healthy, join me here-it's lots of fun, it's really a lot easier than you think, and as always--it's FREE!! Get a 100% FREE Online Diet
Please pray for Slovenia today.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Here we are again at Count Me Accountable Thursday and I have good news at last! I've been anxiously awaiting Weigh-in Day this week...nervous, but excited--I've been so diligent, tracking every calorie. Yes, I did give in and had a couple lattes last week, but I included them in my calorie count and made sure I stayed well within my limit every day. Even with a basket full of Easter candy here all week and a huge case of the Oh Woe Is Me's Sunday and Monday--I did not give in to filling that ache with food (or pain pills left over from surgery...another weakness I probably need to confess...) That was huge for me. I am a Stuffer-Away-of-Pain. It used to be smoking--stressed, anxious, worried--I simply shoved it all away with a cigarette. Then when I quit smoking seven years ago, it became food that I turned to, burying my hurt with chips or chocolate or peanut butter. So, to not give in this weekend, especially with so much temptation within a close, easy reach, that was quite a milestone for me!

I'm sure a lot of the credit for that has to go to being able to run again. Running is total therapy for me and burns off so much of my stress and anxiety. It relaxes both body and mind so I can cope a thousand times better with whatever the day might throw at me. I love not only the immediate high of endorphins that follow right after a run, but also the positive feeling of accomplishment that carries through the rest of the day and week--knowing I did it, I ran, and it felt so good. I run a little further, a little longer each week now, getting closer and closer to where I used to be. And I'm confident now, since my surgery, that I can easily bypass those old limits and reach new goals--I can't wait!

On this morning's post of Count Me Accountable, they asked two questions:
  • In what ways, what areas, are you needing to be held accountable?

  • What is your motivation behind those goals?

  • I know I really need to stay accountable with honestly tracking my food. I can easily waver over into justifications like, "I ran this morning so I can afford to have another snack." or "There's not that many calories in won't matter." Managing portions is another area I struggle with...I do love food. But, I really love being healthy and feeling good--physically as well as mentally and emotionally.

    My motivation: to take the very best care of myself so that I can be my very best self for the ones I love. If I'm not happy with myself, then I'm not going to be very happy towards anyone else. And being the sole one in charge of my little Bug for the duration of this move, when he's needing more security than ever while Daddy's not here, I need to be happy, positive, encouraging, and more to make him feel that we'll make it through this okay--we can do this.

    And as I pulled that scale out from the back of the bathroom closet--it got really dusty somehow over the past week--blew off that layer of dust bunnies, took a deep breath and reassured myself that I did everything right this week. No matter what numbers that scale reflected back at me, I did do everything right. I drew myself up in courage and stepped up to the plate. 173.5--I lost a pound and a half! Yeah...I wanted to lose two pounds (pray for my husband because nothing ever really makes me happy!! Haha!) But, I'll take it! We're finally moving in the right direction. Hallelujah!

    Must Love God
    Tuck sez Michael no go school todayz

    Pillow Pals

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012


    We had a new showing last night. It's been over three weeks since our last showing. It's hard to hold on to hope when you're more than three months in to selling your house and suddenly showings cease. I had begun to worry and I was feeling frustrated that we might be stuck here without Bill even longer than our last move. We had a buyer by this time for our last house sale. Anxiety creeps in, sinking cold claws deep into your gut. I tried to reassure myself it was the holidays, families have kids on spring break, school's end is fast approaching-things will begin to pick up soon, when people are getting ready to move. Still, comforting words fall on deaf ears when you're hard in the grip of fear.

    I've been trying to memorize Scripture this year with Michael, working on a new verse every week. Sometimes he's compliant, other times he's complaining, but we keep at it. My hope is that the more I am able to get in his head now while he's young, the better grip he might have on faith and a strong relationship with God by the time he's struggling through teenage years and peer pressure...My hope, anyway. But our verse this week is Colossians 3:1-3 "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."

    Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things...Spoke straight to my worried-sick heart. I know we're not supposed to worry and give our cares to God, but I've let myself get so wrapped up in wanting this house to sell so we can move, I've shoved every thought of how God cares for us right out of my head. And I stopped. Took a deep breath. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things...

    God's never let us down in the past. His hand has led us through the past eleven years of our marriage, right to the perfect spot we've needed to be, in the midst of friends who've blessed our lives, our hearts, and always, always at just the right time. And I know He'll do the same this time if I'll just let Him.

    So, I am letting go of this worry. I am setting my mind on His Kingdom, what He would have me do while I am still here, and letting Him take care of everything else...

    Instead, be concerned about His Kingdom,
    and these things will be provided for you as well.
    ~Luke 12:31

    Please watch this beautiful video and pray for Rwanda today:

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    It's Artful Tuesday!

    First of all, let me immediately lower your expectations of today's presentation...I know I've been building this all up for the past week, and I did get to scribble some here and there-which is a miracle with Michael home on Easter break. He usually drains my attention and intentions so that everything is completely focused on him. He must be getting older...he seems much more content to entertain himself for longer periods of time, leaving me more time to get up to my own shenanigans! Thank goodness for small favors, eh?

    My main objective of the week was to get a postcard done for Easter, which I did manage to complete and mail...picture below. I really need to keep working with the watercolor pencils and learn what all can be done with them...they're fun!

    Then...I've been eyeballing these doodles called Zentangles for the longest time...I'm not ordinarily a doodler. I like realistic art and drawing or painting with a specific (realistic) purpose in mind. But these Zentangles are so beautiful and they're like doodling with intention...I was immediately intrigued! There are a bunch of Zentangle websites, with tutorials and patterns. I had found one that offered a weekly challenge but realized that was from well over a year ago (I'm always so behind the times...) But, a great website I discovered is TanglePatterns that lists literally hundreds of different tangle patterm designs and links to other tangle blogs and websites--it's glorious!! The first three pics are not my doing--they're examples of Zentangles--what they should look like...then below those are two beginning samplers that I did from video tutorials...*key word: beginning!

    Tangle0005 SM
    Aren't they cool???
    And mine...hmmm....

    My first sampler

    Second sampler--I got really fed up with all the little fuzzy tedious and....aggravating!!

    So, there you have it--what I managed to accomplish this week. I want to keep going with the Zentangles but I'm already so over doing the samplers. I hope to try my hand at some like the previous ones above. And hopefully play with the watercolor pencils some more...Bug goes back to school tomorrow and peace shall again reign in our house.'s a nice thought anyway, right? Haha! Tucker will still be here....Happy last day of Spring Break!!