Thursday, January 31, 2008

She did it!

She's been talking about cutting her hair for some time now & yesterday she did it! The stylist cut off over 10 inches to donate to locks of love and left her with this super fun sassy bob!! Way to go Madison--we love it!! a few more pics from our snow days last week ( give or take a lollipop or two!)

I love this last picture of Emi--she usually doesn't prefer me to take many pictures of her. I love it that i captured her anyway
with her sweet little smile & hair all fallin' down....precious girl of mine!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

as promised...

a light hearted post today--
i wanted to share one of my oil paintings. i am in my second year of class & i love it. sometimes on a rainy cold morning i want to just stay home in my jammies ( being the homebody that i am) but i do love it once i get there. i love to feel the brush against the canvas.
i love to smell the oil paints and especially the cleaner (no surprise there!)
& enjoy the classical music playing in the background.
this snap shot was taken a couple of summers ago in a wonderful sunflower field with sweet Caroline as my little model. below is the painting. most of the paintings i've done are just propped up in my closet....but this one i do enjoy & it makes me smile so it actually made it to the wall!
okay, so i fell way behind in the scrapbook kits once the holidays rolled around. decided i needed to cancel my beloved Jenni Bowlin monthly kit & just get caught up with some of the many projects & papers i already have. i find that when i feel rushed i just throw a layout together just to "get it done" & of course that's not what i want to do. i still prefer my simple one photo 12x12 pages but hopefully without the pressure of 'keeping up' i will be able to just enjoy the process. below are some from the November kit. the first is an all out scraplift from Jenni--just a bold faced 'almost' copy!

thank you precious friends for all your warm comments on the last post. i treasure each one.
may you have a blessed day
i promised a light hearted post, unfortunately i can't do it completely. -- a precious friend of mine buried her 13 year old baby girl saturday after a 3 month battle with cancer. this precious mother is truly remarkable....her gracious spirit, her kind gentle voice, her strong faith. she is choosing to praise the lord in this storm. she entered in her post last night that she & her husband are in a new ministry--one they would not have chosen, but one they were placed in none the less....that of coming along side other parents who have lost a child.
she stated so eloquently---"The ministry I envisioned was that Ashley would be completely healed on this side of heaven and I was going to take her on tour to visit the youth groups who had been praying for her so that the kids could see a walking miracle of God. Instead, He chose to completely heal her on the other side and allow her life to impact the world. It is up to John and I to continue to walk closely w/God and to do the work He has called us to do...even with huge broken hearts! "--amazing grace, that's what that is my friends, amazing grace. Gods grace is present tense. He gives us the grace we need at the exact moment we need it. Reading what this precious mother wrote, you might wonder where that peace comes from. The scriptures tell us that He gives us peace that passes all of our understanding. I don't understand how she feels nor will i try to pretend that i do. I realize that nothing i say could bring her any comfort but I do realize the our Heavenly father can & will take care of her & the rest of her family. I realize that one day she will see that precious child again--free from her cancer & free from her pain. until then~please remember them in your prayers~

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

a love language & a long post

Recent treasures from those i love~~~
-my sweet hubby came home with a box of yummy paula deen goodies--several seasonings & biscuit mix from her restaurant
Lady & Sons in Savannah.
dearest life long friend, while at the Atlanta market visited with Victoria Mackenzie-Childs-they shared precious stories just about life really, loss, moving on etc. She knows I love that line & shared with me some special stories from VMC. She then ran into Wendy Addison-knowing I've been a fan of hers & all her glittery wonder, she brought me a signed glittery keychain ornament.
That day , both of those thoughtful gestures from 2 people I love dearly, albeit small in nature spoke largely to my heart.
The next day I was able to exchange overdue Christmas with another precious friend. We are both huge
anthro fans--she handed me a huge box from there filled with this wonderful bowl, little silver tree & funky kitchen towel. The girls have collected ornaments from coton colors and she gave me the adorable friendship one. too fun.

They say everyone has a love language---a form that when expressed has a way of making you genuinely feel loved, accepted, & appreciated. They include physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, & gifts. When I look back on moments or special times with loved ones I remember the card sent, the way a gift was wrapped in the special way, a box of cookies when i was in labor, an amy grant cd that had been dropped off while i was at school, from the simple to the extravagant those special gifts fill the space in my heart.
They also say its easiest for us to love others by using our own gift but in actuality the most effective way is to discover what makes the object of your affection tick?
Does that little girl feel most special when you carve out time in your day to spend with just her? Does he feel loved & respected most in those moments when you verbally affirm him? Does that precious friend feel loved when you cook her dinner or clean her home while she's at the hospital with a sick relative?
While all forms of love are wonderful, it seems to connect on a deeper level when we discover what love language speaks loudest to those we cherish.

The last time it snowed in Atlanta was 5 years ago.
While we weren't completely blanketed in fluffy white loveliness, we enjoyed our "snow day" none the less!

One of my girlfriends asked me the other day why I blog? Initially I began as a way to journal the simple thoughts & events in my family. A fun place to keep photos & memories together. Somedays I may have just a silly photo , while other days my heart is heavy. But one aspect which I never planned was the connection with other women. Many of whom I love to be inspired by spiritually and those who creatively inspire me.
In the last week however many sweet precious tender things have also occured that I treasure deeply.
I have connected with a young mommy, widowed 2 weeks ago. Having been there myself I hope to come along side & encourage her. Sometimes there are no words, but just knowing someone's 'out there' who understands brings comfort. I see many of you doing that for others all the time.
I have prayed for a new blog friend via private emails shared about a difficult time in her life right now. I think sometimes its just easy to share with someone that's not in your daily life--a fresh 'someone' with an objective perspective.
I have been honored to pray for a young mommy whose baby girl is currently in the hospital awaiting results of some tests.
I was humbled to receive a couple of comments from women who had questions or doubts about their walk with the Lord & felt inspired by something I said. While I take no glory for that one, I am fully aware and am amazed that the Lord can use a medium such as typepad or blogger. And to reap the benefits of joining others whether in a laugh, a shared hobby, or even in prayer I consider that a blessing .

I treasure each of you that I've had the priveledge of connecting with this last year as i began blogging.
May you have a wonderful day
(especially because you made it through my lengthiest post ever-ha!)
Next post promises to steer clear of heavy thoughts!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New mercies

Lamentations 3:22-23
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

I love this scripture.
I love the idea that the Lord gives me a clean slate every day. That no matter what I did wrong or how I blew it , or what I failed to accomplish I get a fresh start.
Sort of like a heavenly chalkboard.
He washes my sins as far as the east is from the west- & most days I need to be reminded of that promise.
I feel like the older my girls get, the more days I need a clean slate. I wish as far as raising a teenage daughter there was such thing as a pre-test.....a little refresher course before the real time comes along. There are those days where I wish I could just get a "do-over"....some days it may be as little as "oh i wish i had baked brownies for the carpool kids" all the way to " i can't believe i just said a cuss word in front of my 11 year old " .
gasp....yes I did.
I visualize how I wish to parent, the type mom I'd love to be yet when I look back I realize how often I fall short of that image. No its not even a perfect image for I know that's impossible. Never the less, that 'mother' is often out of my grasp.

For several years the girls attended a private christian school. We have also been attending an absolutely fabulous church with an amazing childrens up through high school ministry. Bible based grace filled teaching at its best. During the christian school days, I knew my girls were memorizing scriptures weekly , often times large passages at a time. Unfortunately , since moving to a public school I have failed to continue encouraging them to memorize bible verses. I would love for them to have God's word hidden in their hearts.
When Caroline was about 3 or 4 years old I began quoting scriptures to her before bedtime. We started with the Lord's Prayer. She would repeat the lines after me...she called these "copy prayers". As I would say Our Father who art in Heaven hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come thy will be done......she would repeat each line but instead of 'thy' she would say 'my'. so funny. so it would go.......hallowed by my name, my kingdom come, my will be done....cracked me up. & how poignant as we often do believe its our will & our kingdom--could easily be called the all -about -me -prayer instead!
The other night she said mommy can we do our copy prayer. She obviously now, as an almost 7 year old says "thy" correctly. But that little copy prayer was a reminder to me that while I may have failed or dropped the ball here & there, His mercies are indeed new every morning. and yes tomorrow is a great day to start over.....

ps- these are oldie pictures from almost 5 years ago but went well with my thoughts today.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Poor guy...

So I take Brinkley in to the vet to be groomed & weighed only to discover that he has a yucky ear infection.
Sadly I must instill these drops & cleanser into his big floppy ( what I thought were rather clean) ears twice a day. Now my once "follows me everywhere--velcro doggy" refuses to hang with me. If I'm up stairs, he's downstairs & visa versa. If he sees me coming towards him he sort of ducks in case I have the medicine. So I've been trying to follow him around & give extra tummy rubs.....our relationship may never be same.

On a good note, he is up to his desired weight. He needed to gain about 15 pounds from when we adopted him. The vet encouraged me to go easy on the treats & feed him raw broccoli, carrots & canned green beans---who knew?
For Christmas, the big guy got a Vera doggy collar ( yes its blue ) & these spiffy albeit pink tennis balls. Surely after all this medicine is over he'll remember who loves him, right?
I hope to get he & I ready to volunteer with Happy Tails. Happy Tails is a group here in Atlanta that these awesome dogs volunteer to visit children's hospitals and others that could use a slobbery sweet doggy hug.
See, even Brinkley has new years resolutions!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A fresh start

I love January, I really do.
After all the excitement, business, "must-do's", decorations, baking, parties, sending Christmas cards, & etc of December I welcome the serenity of January.
As much as I love to decorate & enjoy all the Christmas lovelies, I equally love to pack them up & declutter. I won't confess when I took my tree down-maybe more than you can bear-wink.
January brings the license to snuggle in & feather my nest~~ get things in order, read great books, enjoy new recipes.
Over the last several years I have made a marked decision to declutter my home. As a former packrat that saved everything & bought even more , this transition has changed my life, changed my thinking, & freed me up for sure. In the past if I saw something I liked my philosophy was " I'll find a place for it"...ugh....after years of that my home looked over cluttered without a focus & quite frankly, all that stuff made me nervous . So.....after many & I mean many trips to good will, a couple of garage sales, loads to a consignment shop things look much better and I feel a sense of peace.
Where I once used a variety of colors, now each room flows into the other. I no longer feel the need to have all my treasures out on display at all times. Now when I shop I really try to think if the item is something I really want-do I have a place for it or will it just be future clutter.
Ok, now if I could be this disciplined with my workouts & weight loss!

A couple of things I would love to do this year~~
I plan to read through the Bible in chronological order. I found a great plan on line. My desire is to understand the context in which many of the great stories & psalms occurred. I'm really excited about this!
I would love to read the Chronicles of Narnia ( the 2nd movie comes out in may) & finally begin the Harry Potter series (my older two are fanatics & doubt I'll accomplish that one).
Drink more H20!
Eat smaller portions.
Get to my gym twice a week & walk Brinkley daily.
Minor on the minors and major on the major issues with my girls.
Keep short accounts of the "wrongs" & encourage their strengths.
Forgive more.
Try to love my hubby as well as he loves me.
Wishing each of you a Happy New Year!
If you have a moment I'd love to be inspired by some of your new years desires.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope & confidence.
Helen Keller