Sunday, April 24, 2011

In Christ Alone

Happy Easter!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I am having trouble even writing this blog post, and I'm not really sure why. I think it's because once my decision is out there in cyberland I will have other people to hold me accountable.

I have made the decision to turn off the television.

Okay so I turned it off already when we leave the house or are going to bed, but what I really mean is I am turning off the television.

I am a single mother to two small children. I also work full-time outside of the home. So the few hours we are home together (and not sleeping) we usually find ourselves in front of the television.

I am embarassed but willing to admit that sometimes I have let my 5-year-old watch shows with me that she probably shouldn't be watching.

But when this single mom is dog tired and trying to cook dinner, I can turn on the TV and viola!; instant babysitter!

If I had to guess, I would probably say that Gracie and I watch television about 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day. Which means the only time we aren't watching TV is when I am cooking dinner or getting it ready.

I have been really good in the last year or so about eating dinner at the table, but there are also times that we eat in the livingroom. And since I have done such a good job with limiting time on the computer when the kids are here I am hopeful that cutting back TV time will work just as well. Thank goodness for auto-blogging!

So I toyed with this idea for a little while and then finally made a decision - I am going to start April 22nd (Good Friday!) since it was such a good day for me last year. On Good Friday 2010, I received an epidural shot in my back to relieve pain due to a herniated disc that was pushing on a nerve. I have since then been majorly pain free and have stopped taking all anti-inflammatories and pain medication.

So why not start a new venture on Good Friday 2011?

With the summer months just around the corner I am finding more reasons now to turn it off and find some other way to occupy my time. I want to involve the kids in painting and other crafts. I want to spend more time outside being active. I want to get down on their level and play Barbies and build forts out of blankets and chairs and pillows. I have a whole book of "rainy day" activities so we can do lots of fun experiments and things like that.

I don't plan to quit cold turkey. There is no way that is going to happen. But my goal is to get to two hours a week, with one special movie thrown in here and there (actual trips to a movie theater not included.)

And I put so much pressure on myself to actually put this down in words that I feel like I just announced that I was giving up smoking or something like that...

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Disney on Ice (videos)

Okay so I am totally in love with the Little Mermaid. Particularly the two songs featured in these videos, but mostly the first one!

"Part of Your World"

"Under the Sea"

The bubbles in the second video were a HUGE hit with the children (you could hear giggling, shrieking, oohs and aahs all over the place) but I will tell you that as a grown up...I was just as impressed.

The costumes on the "fish" in this part of the show were absolutely beautiful. The colors were really bright and they had ALL different kinds of fish! So not only was my 5 year old impressed but let's just say that her mother was too!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

The kids attended an Easter Egg hunt this past Saturday at a local church, and boy did they make out like bandits! What Gracie couldn't fit in her own basket she managed to load into her brother's! Gracie with her basket already full, coming to drop some more eggs in James' basket! Close-up of Pork Chop. He was anxious to find more know, when Mommy pointed right at them! Gracie posing with the Easter Bunny. James hesitated when I asked him to get in the pitcher. Instead he gave the bunny a pat on the arm and went to hunt for more eggs. See how full his basket is? Thanks to his big sister!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Disney on Ice: Princess Wishes

So this past Friday night, Gracie and I went to see Disney on Ice: Princess Wishes. It was a total girl's night just the two of us! We don't have alot of things like this in the local area so I didn't mind paying $30 apiece for VIP tickets. And for the seats we had it was well worth $30! I have never been to a Disney on Ice performance so this was a first for both of us!

Mickey and Minnie opened the show and (with the help of "Special Guest" Tinkerbell) sort of led the way through all the Disney Princess stories.

There was Aladdin, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and (of course) Cinderella.

I have to confess that I have never seen Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, or Snow White in their entirety. But I can tell you without a doubt that two of my absolute favorite Disney movies are Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.

And Disney On Ice did not disappoint in capturing some of my favorite moments from those movies!

Some of the photos I took had too much of the theatrical smoke in them. Also because the characters were on ice skates it was very hard to snap a photo. So these are just a handful of the ones that turned out okay!

A special appearance made by the 7 Dwarfs during Snow White's story!

Belle & Lumière (Beauty & the Beast)

Ariel & Prince Eric (Little Mermaid)

Cinderella & Prince Charming

Tinkerbell (in Cinderella's carriage) for the finale. The carriage was raised into the air and Tinkerbell set off fireworks with her magic wand!

I also have two videos (of two of my favorite songs!) so be on the look out for those later this week!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gracie's K4 Program

Last Tuesday night, Gracie's school had her K4 program. The program itself only lasted about 15 minutes, but here are some videos from that night:

"He is Able"

Bunny Poem

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mawmaw's Visit

Although it might appear that James did not have a good time while Mawmaw was here, we all did!

James got to play with cousin Jacob's pacifier(s), pretend he was a baby while climbing in and out of Jacob's bouncer and bouncy seat, oh - and did I mention - Mawmaw fed him baby food?

Nothing like encouraging a "big boy" by letting him eat baby food! Thanks, Mom!

Sadly, Mawmaw caught a flight home to Oman late Wednesday evening and we have been partying ever since! (Just kidding. We love you!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Consider the Source (Lysa TerKeurst)

This just spoke to me, so I had to share it. To give proper credit, you can check out Lysa's blog!

Precious sister, do you want to make Jesus smile today? I do.

I want to untangle the thoughts of me and mine and what I have going on and think of another. A sister. A neighbor. A woman at work. A stranger.

I want to give her a gift of my words. Words formed because I thought of her. And those thoughts exploded into a compelling reason to love her.

But, I’m not talking about someone who is easy to love.

I’m saying give this gift to someone who has hurt me, misunderstood me, judged me, wronged me, or flat out offended me.

Yes, that’s the one to whom the gift should go.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse,” (Romans 12:14).

Do you care to join me?

To do this, we must dare to pray.

Pray for an authentic heart while doing it. Not that we welcome that person into our inner circle and start doing daily life with them. But, offering love when most would scorn or ignore is beautiful and rare.

Dare to pray for an overwhelming sense of love. Not love for the ugliness that has come from this person but love for the soul God created within them. She is His. He loves her. He treasures her even when He doesn’t approve of her actions.

He treasures us even when He doesn’t approve of our actions.

And I wonder in the midst of giving what we might perceive as an undeserved gift of love to them, if our eyes might be opened to a different perspective. If we might see something we desperately need to see. About her. About ourselves. About our Jesus.

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44).

I’ve often been reminded when someone says something ugly about me to consider the source.

Great advice.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if a person receiving an undeserved gift of love from me, considered the source. And saw not me. But the Jesus that reigns inside of me.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were ordinary, unschooled men, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus,” (Acts 4:13).

Oh, let it be so noted with my life… my words… my love for those that love me… and even more my love for those who don’t. That yes, I have been with Jesus.



Monday, April 11, 2011

Cry Out to Jesus

I had this whole mess of stuff on my mind today.
Stuff that I wanted to blog openly and honestly about.

And then I found out that someone that I knew had been killed in a car accident on Saturday.
Accidents happen all the time. I have been in a few, my sisters have also been in some. And I just realized today that in my 34 years of life, this is only the third person I know of who was killed by a car accident.

Jamie Duncan was 28 years old when she passed away on Saturday. We worked together when I worked at Winn-Dixie in Montgomery. We haven't seen each other since she quit working there, but we were good friends while we worked together.

Jamie got an autograph from Ludacris for me when he came into the store to send two Western Unions. I had absolutely no idea who he was then, but I am willing to bet that the photo of him with Jamie, and the autograph she got me, are tucked into the back of one of my photo albums.

Jamie left behind a son who was sent to Birmingham and on a breathing machine. I heard that they took him off the breathing machine and he seems to be doing better.

So while my mind was full of a million things I wanted to tell you about, it can wait. Please pray for Jamie's family during this difficult time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

God made dirt, and dirt don't hurt!

See the adorable (almost) 20 month old and his innocent expression? You would never know that he has a dirty little secret. Well? Have you figured it out yet? Oh and while I am letting James eat dirt (and reading about how other people say eating dirt isn't always a bad thing) I should probably confess that a few weekends ago Gracie attended a birthday party and then spent time at a friends house where she was allowed to (gasp) eat hail leftover from the storm! I am done being that mom who overcleans and hovers and beats my kids for eating things like dirt. Or dog food. Which James happily swallowed two pieces of not too long ago to Gracie's total disgust! The point is I really don't think that a little bit of dirt - or dog food - is going to harm him. And it's not like he's eating spoonfuls of it! He normally tries to pick it up, and ends up smearing it all over his face and hands. Dirty little secret or not, he's still the cutest Pork Chop ever!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Zoo Weekend 2011

So with Mawmaw in town for about two weeks, what better way to kick off the weekend than spending it at the zoo on Saturday? Gracie was sitting in front of us on the train ride, so Jessica called her name and snapped this cute picture when she turned around! Me & Pork Chop on the train ride. The kids (some of our cousins, friend, and Gracie) were playing games and somebody won this bandana that James became fascinated with! Jess & Jacob near one of the animal exhibits. She wanted a picture with the animal in it, and I almost cut them out of the picture because the animal kept moving! The nerve! Gracie has never had any interest in any sort of activity like this, but when she jumped at the chance to do it I jumped at the chance to snap a picture! Jess & James on the bouncy slide. The only problem? Going down it wasn't as easy as climbing up. Even the kids said they were "sticking" to the slide. We thought James was going to have whiplash, he was bouncing back and forth so much!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I don't get to see him as much as my own children, so I took some special time out to devote a picture post to baby Jacob! This is Jacob. Jacob just turned five months old! He is full of smiles and is at that stage now where he is squealing/screeching and also cooing and gurgling to his favorite toy: his blue elephant.
Oh. Did I forget to mention Jacob is my favorite nephew ever? It really doesn't matter that he's my only nephew. This is Jacob's mommy. She thinks she loves him more than I do. We won't tell her she's wrong!
Those chunky legs remind me of how someone else earned the nickname "Pork Chop". Did I tell you that Jess called Jacob "Ham" so much that we decided Jacob would be "Ham Bone" since James was already "Pork Chop" ? Cute, right?