"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

it's not the end yet. 2010

i'm not going to totally recap twenty-ten for you all, but i'm going to write an end of the year synopsis.  the year two thousand ten for the most part sucked, but christmas day and the christmas season wrapped up the year in a big, (gigantic) red, fancy, fluffy, perfect bow. 

i am a person of simpifity.  a person that easily simplifies.  a person that really dispises materialism and commercialism.  a person that loves logical happenings.  a person that likes happy surprises, but can be horribly disappointed with unhappy surprises.  a person that can shake things off quite easily.  a person that can go with the flow just as easily and happily as going against the current.  a person that deals with life with a smile and a big stick.  ...you get the point?

anyway, we have dealt with a lot of different trials this year.  as christmas was approaching, we were also facing a huge life-changing deal.  it wasn't for sure... so up until dec. 2, we just didn't really know where i life was going to go.  it could be this... or a complete opposite that... that made it hard to plan for christmas at all, until AFTER dec. 2. 
that made a short christmas season for me. 
also, we have the tightest budget that i think we've ever had this year. 
anyway.  enough detail. 

my sister and brother-in-law, we'll call them "auntelcia and uncle jon" came up (from twin falls -south central idaho) to spend some time with our family.  they came up on the 23rd and stayed until the 26th.  i LOVED it! 

i joined a new "fourth day" group that meets on thursday mornings and have made some new friends and been able to get out, starting the second week of dec.  it has been a god-send.  such a blessing.
one of my new friends from fourth day gave us a slew of new-to-us toys and clothes.  i haven't gotten close enough to this group to share any of my burdens with and none of them really know me or my circumstances yet.  there's no way (beside's god's awesomeness) that she could've known that every single one of the gifts she gave us were absolutely in every way perfect for the child intended!  even starboys!!!!

our landlord and lady always bless us with gifts at christmas.  they didn't fail this year.  they were absolutely flawless as well!  it was awesome.
if that wasn't enough.  as we got home from our church's christmas eve service, we found a big black garbage bag full of gifts addressed to each one of us personally, from "a friend".  i don't know who this "friend" was... but the gifts were all so ideal.  each gift for each person was exactly who that person was and it was amazing and beautiful and almost made me cry. 
on top of that all, my mother-in-law and parents definately did their share of giving and surely blessed the socks off of all of us. 

i don't think that gifts can make or break the holiday.  usually i would argue with this next statement that i'm going to be making, but all of those blessings we were surprised with made not just my day, but my whole year!!!  God is so good and his Love endures forever.  His awesomeness never ceases to amaze me!

i hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. 

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Sunday, December 26, 2010


i had a fun christmas weekend.  my sister "auntelcia" came up with her husband and stayed a few nights (and days) with us.  we had such a good time.  a little sugar/caffeine overload on saturday along with little real food created a few grumps along the road, but overall it was smooth sailing. 
this morning (maybe noonish) my sister gave me a pedicure.  it was so fun.  i have french tipped toenails!!! 
*insert picture here*
she gave the older girls nail-jobs for christmas and we'd been talking about it for months --really, since she moved back to idaho in JUNE!  so i was glad i wasn't left out.  :)  the girls loved theirs!

anyway... what i decided to blog about were the "rainbows" or "moons" that folks have at the base of their nails.  go ahead, take a look at yours... ... ... yep, those things.  supposedly everyone has 'em.  except for me.  i have a teeny tiny one on my right thumbnail base, but not even a sliver of one on any of my other nails!!! 
so, what's that mean?  what're they for?  why does everyone have them but me? 
---that's what blogs are for, right?  so, trusted readers, give me some answers! 
*and i DON'T want to hear "google it"!!!!!!*
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

another menu

i didn't make a very good menu this week and i have no ideas what we're doing (for food) over the holiday weekend.  i'm going to try and make sume yummy vegan dishes.
anyway, i just went grocery shopping, so now i kinda have a meal plan for the weekish. 
crock pot apricot chicken
chicken yum yum
that tortillia soup from last menu
something with egg noodles...
yeah, not a very good menu, but it'll do pig.  it'll do.
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Friday, December 17, 2010

a post of several titles

title 1.  J O Y
title 2.  the reason for the season
title 3.  character building for winter break

simply put, we'll be working on focusing on JOY this winter break.  what a perfect time to do it, seeming that it's our saviour's birth-season.  a time of joy.  and... the kids are all home for two full weeks! 
joy =
i've always reitterated, "others first, self last".  maybe this joy lesson will sink in better.
merry christmas season and i hope you fill your life with JOY!

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

being real

i was talking to a new friend today.  we were discussing some things but we kept kinda meandering back to the "being real" topic.  i'm going to let you in on a little of our convo.  ---because i'm a real kind of person.

you might have already read a post or two on my thoughts on shaving legs.  i haven't posted on plucking or piercings or make-up or clothes or lots of other physical aspects of being real, so you don't know the depth of my convictions but this post will be about being real from the INSIDE (because, if you haven't been taught this yet, "IT'S WHAT'S ON THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS!").  being real from the inside... that is, letting people see and know who you REALLY are.  not who you WANT to be or who you HOPE you are... but WHO YOU ARE.
i think i might make it a two part series.  i will start with this above mentioned conversation about being real.  my new friend, i'll call her lynette (for the sake of the reader) was talking with her husband about the BSU football coach's advice to his players.  coach pete has an approach with his football team regarding publicity.  he wants the media to make it look like the team plays for the sake of playing --for fun, if you will. 

he tells his players that no matter what you're feeling or thinking, you make it LOOK like you're having a good time, or playing one day to the next, or something along those lines.  (i wasn't in this conversation with "lynette" and her husband.  she was just telling me about it.)

"lynette" was struggling with that advice and asking what i thought about it in real life (not as football team advice). 
i thought. 
believe it or not, my initial response was... kinda.  and this is why i thought that.  as a christian, i have a responsibility to show others the love and joy i have in my heart.  when i'm around non-believers, the only way that they can know that i'm a christian is by my love and my "fruits"... they should show... i SHOULD have "fruits" emitting...  but i also should have a safe haven, a church, where i can go and expose my hardships, ask for prayer, seek assistance, etc.  a place to be myself. 
and that got me to thinking some more. 
you know, it's kinda how people live.  they only let others in when they're ready.  they live in depression, or anger, or chaos, or mood swings, or whatever... but when others are around, they put those emotions aside and be whoever they're around THINKS they are. 
i thought some more.
i can see the desire for that... because who wants to know what emotional basket cases we all are?  right?!  who wants to hear EVERYONE ELSE'S PROBLEMS... ALL THE TIME?  right?!  who wants to be friends with someone that ISN'T NORMAL?  right?! 
so then my thoughts turned around.
exactly.  who isn't normal?  or... who IS normal?!

i think that people should feel free to be them.  who else is going to be them if they aren't?  and don't you think there is a reason why you're you?  don't you have people that love you because you're you?  (the answer here is yes, even if you don't feel like it is.) 
so, think about these things for a bit.  and next time when someone asks, "how's it going?"  answer them.  look the in the eye.  maybe you'll find that they really don't care and they were asking because it's what people ask.  but maybe you'll find someone that cares about who you really are and how you're doing.  maybe people are better than you think.  maybe people DO realize that there is no "NORMAL" and that everyone goes through ups and downs.  maybe people CARE and would like to HELP others through their downs.  i know i do...

...just bein' real...
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

this week's menu

i made this up on monday, but better late than never.  i did start budgeting out these and i'm saving millions i'm sure.  each menu lasts us about 1.5-2wks.  it seems that each menu (as well as any other grocery items for the week -breakfast and lunch stuff) totals out to about $150-200.  that puts us out for grocery money around $500 tops... which isn't bad for a family of 7!  this month it'll be more because of the holidays extra-eating habits. 
so, here's my ideas:
spaghetti with meatballs.  i make my own sauce and it's nothing like you'll have anywhere else or buy at the store!  i can recipe it up, but i'm not sure on the interest level so i'm thinking of other ideas to journal about instead... 
hamburgers.  these are simple structures.  it's ground beef patties sandwhiched between seasame seed (or seedless) buns.  we'll serve this ingenius entree with baked beans and corn.
turkey noodle soup (because we had a late thanksgiving with a HUGE turkey)... -we actually had this yesternight.  it was fine.  my noodles got a bit soggy.
steak and twice baked potatoes.  we'll grill the steaks and i'll do my famous twice baked potatoes.  i always plan for these and end up making mashed potatoes even though EVERYONE LOVES these so much more...
patti's chicken picata.  found this recipe on "robin's menu ideas, planning what's for dinner" site.  it looks easy and yummy.
spinach fettucine with feta cheese (without spinach fettucine because i couldn't locate it at the stores).  this was also found at that same website... it's a good place to look for menu ideas no doubt!
chicken cacciatore.  from the food network.  when i was prego with starboy i made a mouthwatering chicken cacciatore freezer meal... it smelled SO DARN DELISH while i was prepping it for the freezer.  i actually debated eating it ahead of time.  it WAS good too!  i hope this one will be as good. 
aaron and lindsey's chicken tortilla soup extravaganza.  from the blog "this week for dinner".  nice pictures and everything...  ;)
beef stew.  maybe in the crockpot.  probably, it doesn't seem like any of the others were...
eat well... we will!
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

security in... t h i n g s

this time of year i always get discouraged with people and their love for things. 

as hard as i try, i'm convicted of it too... so it's not like i feel like i'm all better than ya'll... americans especially just have this freedom.  it's not freedom of religion, press, and expression.  i'm not talking about our rights... to bear arms, or the right to a speedy trial, or confrontation of witnesses.  i'm talking about this unspoken freedom that we all feel that we have the right to own a lot, and want a lot more. 

i was pointed in the direction of this blog by a wise mentor of mine (the mentor's blog isn't really anything i'd suggest reading... it could be, but she emails out her wisdom personally and leaves the blogging for extra stuff that isn't that great).  i didn't go to her suggested blog right away.  she, my mentor, is often long-winded and although she is FULL of WONDERFUL advice and words... it takes a while to get them all out of her.  i assumed this reading would take a while... 

today i finally read it and i'm just blown away at such a simple perspective.  i want you to go and read it and tell me what you think about it.  please.  (yes, i did give you three different links to choose from.  all of them lead to the same place!)
what do you think about the materialism of christmas?
what are some of your favorite traditions? 
do gifts really mean THAT MUCH to you, personally?!  be honest.  i know i'm not like most people...  i just want to know what you think...

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Friday, December 3, 2010

how to overcome the evil aimed at you

it is so hard to face trials and hardships... hense the word: hardships!  but, maybe because of our pride, maybe because i think at our core, we're peace-driven, it is so much harder to face evil that seems to be aimed at you!  sometimes it seems that there are people out there that are just AGAINST us no matter what we do or say.  do you agree?  and i suppose maybe they are... maybe they are satan's workers.  but what about when those "workers" are christian?!  is that possible?!  my answer, no.  i don't think so.  i don't think satan is using God's people...
i think that we go through trials and hardships to build character.  i think that character is one of the most important qualities that people can have!  it is painful to build character sometimes, but it's necessary.  it is important for evils to be aimed at us sometimes... to build character and to teach us how to forgive.  forgiveness is one of the hardest things to learn, but once you learn it and reap the rewards of forgiveness... it's such a great tool! 
anyway, in my awesome bible study i completed a few months ago, we focused for one week on this topic (the title).  i'm going to briefly (hopefully) go through what we went through.
"Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth: and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.  But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away."  ~Matthew 13:5-6
"Yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while.  For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles."  ~Matthew 13:21
in our life we will have "rocks" or "stony places" that represent past offenses, circustances, or persecution for doing what is right. 
when we face these rocks, usually we react many different ways, but usually it will all boil down to us focusing on "why me?"  <PRIDE>
these rocks prevent us from growing because they develop unresolved conflict.  and when conflict is not dealt with, it leads to UNFORGIVENESS and BITTERNESS.
"Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another.  Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.  Do not be wise in your own opinion."  ~Romans 12:14-16
bless means to wish someone well, to desire God's favor on their lives.  curse means to pray against, to call down God's judgment on their lives.  ...when someone "persecutes" you (or does you evil.  makes you mad.  etc.) you need to pray for them.  pray for blessings to be poured over them.  ask God to favor their life and earnestly focus on THEM being HAPPY!
bless those that are PERSECUTING you... identify with the pain and suffering of others.  set proper boundaries for your physical, emotional, spiritual safety.  (GUARD YOUR HEART)
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neibor and hate your enemy.'  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.  That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." ~Matthew 5:43-45
sometimes we confuse the feeling of forgiving with the action of forgiving.
there are three stages of forgiving:  to forgive, forgiving, and forgiven.
  1. "to forgive" is a choice, an act of the will.  --there's things in life that we have to do (ALL THE TIME) that we don't want to do, or that we don't feel like doing...
  2. "forgiving" is a process where your decision to forgive begins to align your emotions.
  3. "forgiven" is when the Holy Spirit helps you experience joy when blessings occur to the other person.  (see Romans 12:14-21)
"Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.  Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  Romans 12:17-21
when we take retaliation into our own hands, we're taking God's place.  personal retaliation is an ineffective way to accomplish peace.  i will reiterate:  "DO NOT BE OVERCOME BY EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD." 

that's all for tonight.  tomorrow i will throw some questions at you and give you some study material and a memory verse... ;)

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

inspiration for NEW TrAdItIoNs

we had a "fun" advent calendar when i was growing up.  i put fun in quotes, because really i think anything is fun when you're a kid as long as it involves some sort of action.  the action in our calendar was simply taking the velcro ornament off of the number (of days left to christmas) and placing it on the felt tree above.  we would sometimes put off decorating until the week of christmas, so i remember literal fights breaking out over who got to pull off what number and place it on the tree!!! 
the last few years i've tried different ideas of that same idea: 
the kids and i made a calendar with old egg cartons numbered 1-25 on them.  we cut out different colored circles and numbered them and then as the days would pass we would tape the circles on the egg carton bumps.  *yeah, that was kinda a lame idea, but the kids still LOVED to take their turns putting the numbers up!*
last year we just made a colorful paper chain and hung it high.  each link was numbered and each day one of the kids would get to rip it off.  it was fun to see that chain shorten...
this year i've been inspired by some fun and crafty friends.  first, i had a friend blog about her CUTE "advent calendar" that was made by her mother-in-law who's into those stamping things.  the m-i-l made these cute little baskets to fill each year with candy.  my healthy friend liked the idea, but didn't like the sugar over-load part.  so, she asked for more ideas here (where you can go and see pictures and everything!).  then, i had a facebook friend hook me up with this website for a totally easy and much more fun idea...
this year, i'm doing THE CHRISTMAS JAR!  today was our first activity (it being dec. 1) and that was: making the christmas jar!!!  then, i put 24 more activities on slips of papers and each night we'll draw the activity for tomorrow.  we'll do it the day prior so that i can make sure i have all the materials needed...  i'm so excited and i think it'll be hard to wait each day on the activities!!!  today, just as i was writing them down i wanted to do them.
in case you're interested in doing this, i'll include my 24 ideas (most of which i borrowed from the "this website" link above):
make hand/feet reindeer (which i spelled wrong, but oh well) and some reindeer food for them! (i might do this recipe though.)
sing christmas carols (which i also spelled wrong) at the piano, or GO caroling.
visit a nursing home.
drive around to see the christmas lights.
make paper snowflakes.
bake cookies to take to the fire station.
make some christmas cards.
make snow globes.
watch a christmas movie together, as a family.
act out the christmas story, or the nativity scene.
make jesus a birthday cake.
shop for stocking stuffers for each sibling.
make a snowman (either real -outside- or with art supplies).
make a christmas tree.
bake and decorate christmas cookies.
blare the christmas music LOUD.
make jello jigglers.
gather old toys and clothes to GIVE to those in need.
write a note/draw a picture for each family member.  put it in their stocking.
drink hot cocoa by the fire.
read the TRUE Story of Christmas (i hope we leave this one for last!)
go to the library and pick out some christmas books and movies.
make some ornaments.
make red and green popcorn balls.

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."