Posts Tagged ‘NaBloPoMo-2010’

NaBloPoMo and end of November thoughts…

Well, this is my last post for NaBloPoMo. I am impressed that I made it every day (even if yesterday just ended up being 1/2 of what I wanted it to be!). I am glad I participated if only because I met some interesting bloggers along the way. I am going to have to go back and hunt for some more when I am not so focused on figuring out what to blog about every day!

I’ve also liked being able to focus on thankfulness.  There have been several days when I have not felt very thankful… and probably even a few when thankfulness didn’t make it into my blog post for the day… but focusing on thankfulness this month has helped me find the little things to be thankful for in the midst of tough days or challenging situations.  I am glad that I am going to be able to continue that focus through linking up with The Gratitude Community on Mondays (even though I ran out of time and never finished my post for yesterday… I’ll just have an extra long one next week!).   I’ve (re)learned that although it is not always easy to be thankful in all circumstances, there is almost always something to be thankful for, even in tough circumstances.

I’ve started thinking a little more about why I am blogging.  Blogging was originally a way for me to get out updates about family… or just try to make some sense of a rapidly changing life.  It is faster than handwritten journaling… but more public as well… and I struggle with the same issues that I suppose any writer does.  Am I writing to get recognition (in the form of comments if nothing more)?  Am I writing to feel like I am part of a community?  Is my blog truly showing who I am… and would I write it even if no one was reading?  I keep thinking of a book I read in college on writing and some of the dilemmas inherent in writing about life.  I probably should re-read that book.  I’ve also skimmed and been thinking on a post I read about blogging as a Christian.  Hmm… lots to think of.  I’m sure some will make it on here.

Looking forward to December as a time for family… a time to share some of my family’s traditions with you readers and make some new traditions as well.  I am glad I will not be blogging every day… but I am grateful for the pattern I have found in blogging several days a week and hope to continue that.  Thanks to all of you who have gone on this journey with me, whether you commented or not.

Here are a few blogs I’ve added to my Google Reader over the last month. Not all are NaBloPoMo participants but all are wonderful bloggers!  I am thankful for all of them, and hoping to be able to read and respond more in depth after taking some time off during the last week or so of holiday craziness.

Filed under Soul Care in my Google Reader if that tells you anything…

Food & Weight Loss (hey, for me they are somewhat related… though they are categorized separately in Google Reader)

Random thoughts from the long weekend…

  • I’ve decided the joy of a home cooked Thanksgiving meal is all about the multi-generational cooking (even if I am apparently the only one who *likes* to cook) and not necessarily the menu. My mom and I spent some time cooking on Saturday (though not a Thanksgiving menu) and that redeemed the Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant slightly.
  • Why do people keep insisting that boys can’t play with dolls? My 4 year old has a little boy baby doll who he has had for a few years and *loves*. He calls him his little brother. He packed play food for him to have Thanksgiving dinner. And yet he got told (by a cousin, I have no doubt) that only girls play with dolls. This on top of me being told by other family members that he has odd taste in toys because he doesn’t mindlessly play with trucks and guns and superhero toys  (okay, to be fair, they didn’t specify what toys they thought he should be playing with) so he is “hard to buy for” = one irked mama.  (Seriously?  What 4 year old is hard to buy for?)
  • Employees who work Black Friday and shut down their checkout line and walk off without calling a manager when I am the next person in line (and have been standing in that line for hours)… and, worse yet, don’t care = Black Friday FAIL. (Managers who step in to check out those of us trapped in line = good management, so it did end well). Yes, Wal-mart, I’m looking at you. Hire employees who do their jobs, please.  And hire enough employees to work the busiest season of the year.
  • Employees who tell me at 4 am that they were supposed to leave work 5 hours ago… and yet are still pleasant, not complaining, and serve me good food = Black Friday WIN.  Here’s hoping that he got double time and a half for working PLUS great tips.  Ditto for stores who calmly adjust prices when the register doesn’t ring up the correct price stated in the sale ad. (Thanks, Macy’s!)
  • Online Black Friday shopping to finish up my shopping — yay!  No sales tax + free shipping = even better!
  • Santas who tell kids that if they are really good they will get presents (even if said children asked for expensive gaming systems their parent can’t afford) = Santa FAIL (fortunately this didn’t happen to me, I just witnessed it!)
  • Santas who tell indecisive kids to talk to mom and send a list before Christmas = Santa WIN (and, that was again at Wal-mart… I’m not all against them!)
  • Having 99.9% of my Christmas shopping done = awesome.  Just some stocking stuffers to go, I think.  And most of the wrapping to go too!
  • Getting a decent family picture for my Christmas cards = even more awesome (and incredibly funny too)
  • Coming home to a (mostly) clean house and prepping to do Christmas decorating = even better.

I really needed a weekend away (even if parts of it were stressful and I am really glad to be home!)  I’m looking forward to being able to celebrate the fun parts of Christmas with a bit less of the stressful side of it too!  Thankful for the weekend away… even the stressful parts.

Hope Now

Have you ever been driving down the road listening to the radio… when a song comes on that reaches in and grabs you and leaves you scrambling for paper and a pen to jot down the lyrics so you can find it again? (Surely it isn’t just me that this happens to all of the time)

That was my Wednesday. The first few days of the week had left me spent and needing some hope. By Wednesday… life was looking better… and into the drive towards the second, holiday-filled half of my week came this song. I scrambled for a bit of paper to jot down the lyrics… and suddenly realized that I had done that before. Several years ago. The first time I heard this song.

I can’t even explain what it is about the song that speaks to me. Maybe it is just that trying to keep faith and searching for hope and realizing over and over again how quickly I can forget Who I am living to please has been the focus of much of the last few years of life.

Enough of me. Listen to the song. It is “Hope Now” by Addison Road.

If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I’m Yours

I’m not my own
I’ve been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I’ll be ok and
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm

And everything rides on hope now
And everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

I’m not my own
I’ve been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
So when the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

And everything rides on hope now
And everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

You’ve become my hearts desire
I will sing Your praises higher
Cause Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free

Linking up with Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders today for her Then Sings My Soul Saturday. Feel free to join in!  Today… I am thankful for this song… and thankful to K-Love for the uncountable times the right song has been on the radio at the right time.

It’s that time of year again…

time to start thinking about holiday cards! I was ecstatic to find my Christmas card list from last year (maybe I *am* getting a tiny bit more organized…), so now I just have the difficult decision of which card to send.

Fortunately, I already know the best place to get the cards. We have loved using Shutterfly for cards and invitations in the past, and had every plan to use them again this year. Then I discovered that they offer 50 free cards to bloggers. You can’t beat getting something you were already going to buy for free!

I have spent the last few days looking through the 2093 pictures I have taken this year and realizing just how few family pictures I have. Resolution for 2011: take more family pictures.  My goal for this Thanksgiving weekend is to get a great family picture, and then to get cards ordered soon.

One thing I love about Shutterfly’s card selection is that they have such a large variety of cards, and they are sortable by so many options. I can easily narrow down my card options according to how many pictures I want to use, or what colors are in my pictures.  Shutterfly also has several options for what sort of card to send — including 4×8 photo, 5×7 photo, or folded 5×7 cards.

I love brown…

Most Wonderful Story 5×7

And the two photogenic guys in my life love red…

 Keep Believing Christmas Card

Love the simplicity of this one…

Modern Joy holiday card

And the message of this one:

  Celebrate Family Christmas

I also love that Shutterfly offers cards whose purchase benefits nonprofits such as the American Lung Association.
Tree of Hope 5×7 folded card

Whichever card you end up choosing (and there are SO many more options on the Shutterfly site), you will end up with a promptly delivered and high-quality card.  I can’t wait to see which card we end up choosing, and I’d love to know your favorites too!  Browse around at their site — I hope you have as much fun as I have!  Hurry — their Cyber Week sale ends December 1st!

Disclosure:  I have recieved reimbursement for this blog post in the form of 50 free cards from Shutterfly.  All opinions in this post are mine only.  Are you interested in blogging and receiving some free holiday cards?  Sign up here!

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was hosted at our house.  We had the traditional Thanksgiving foods — turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, some sort of sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, pumpkin pie.  We added in a Jello salad, skillet chocolate pie, and fruit tea.  And deviled eggs — which I always seem to forget to list.  Maybe because it was typical for about half of them to not make it to the table.

Over the past few years, each Thanksgiving has been different for my family.  We’ve spent it with my husband’s family, hosted at our house with a few out-of-town relatives, spent it at my sisters’ home with our family and her in-laws.  This year we are spending it with my family… and at a restaurant.  Not at all my first choice.  I’d rather cook for everyone (and, to be fair, I’m sure we’ll be doing some of that over the rest of the weekend).  It isn’t the same… but I suppose what is the same is that we are with family.  We are still thankful for making it through another year.

So, this Thanksgiving, I’ll be missing my mom’s cornbread dressing.  But I’ll be grateful for what is the same about the day — being able to be surrounded by family, watching the Macy’s parade, perusing the sale ads.  And definitely the chocolate pie.  I’ll be grateful for making it through another year… for the people in my life who continue to show me how to be more grateful… for the friends far and near who help me make it through the days… and for the little blessings that are so easy to overlook.

What are you thankful for today?

He will quiet you with his love and rejoice over you with singing…

I came across this verse on another blog this week… on a day I was feeling very much in turmoil and needed the reminder and impression of peace and comfort this verse gives.

Today I read it in the context of Zephaniah 3.  I really don’t know much about the minor prophets… or the book of Zephaniah.  But basically I get the impression of a people who did not trust God… who wanted things their own way (how often do I do the same?).  And yet… when even a few trusted… God relented.  He did not punish.  He did not give the consequences they deserved.  (If you have read the Bible, this should be sounding really familiar… God has done this over and over again).

The impression I get is of a parent dealing with a child who is upset, overwrought, in a tantrum.  Who won’t listen to what their parent has to say… even if that is what is best.  And yet, God swoops down… accepts the anger without condoning it… and offers comfort, a refuge, a lullaby… a reminder that child is loved.

That’s all.  I could muse a bit on how I am that child at times.  Or on how I am not that kind of parent as often as I should be.  Maybe another time.  This week, I just needed the reminder that I can be irrational, unreasonable, overwhelmed… and still be loved.  And I’m offering what has blessed me in hopes it will do the same for you.

WFW is not about books, authors, artists.. it’s about God and HIS WORD ONLY. WFW is about celebrating the gift of creativity through God’s Word.

Join myself and others as we share at Word Filled Wednesday:

Also, visit Mom’s Mustard Seeds to connect with more women learning and living in the Word

Black Friday

I LOVE Black Friday. My husband and I have a tradition of shopping together on Black Friday and then eating breakfast afterwards.  It does vary a bit depending on where we are for Thanksgiving that year, or what gifts we are looking for. There have been years we’ve planned a strategy for where to go and what to buy in advance… and years we have just gotten what looked fun at the moment. We loved it because we could get better presents for others for less money (and not because we are stingy… because we are usually shopping on a budget!) This year, with much of our shopping done, we are looking more at items to get for ourselves for Christmas, stocking stuffers, and a few random gifts.

I have found that shopping on Black Friday is not the chaos that many imagine it to be (note: that is only if you avoid Best Buy and have a plan for Walmart). Yes, the lines are long… but it is amazing how much people will help each other out.  A kind of camaraderie is formed with others who are queued up in the pre-dawn, trying to stay warm and swapping sales ads.  Despite the media’s portrayal of the negative aspects, I have found there is more good than bad.

Here are a few lessons we’ve learned over the years:

  • Wal-mart matches competitor’s ads (which is great when you don’t want to drive to the toy store that is 30 minutes away).They also open first (that may depend on where you live)… and have really long lines… and are definitely the craziest place to be.  Please don’t base your opinion of how nice people are on Black Friday on solely a Wal-mart experience.
  • K-mart is open on Thanksgiving Day.  So is Walgreens.  And they have great specials on that day.  Walgreens is the place to go for cheap ribbons, bows and paper!
  • Forget about shopping carts… they just slow down the process.  Unless you are looking for electronics, of course.
  • Best Buy or any parking lot near a Best Buy is insane.  You can go there… but don’t expect to go anywhere else.
  • Old Navy has great sales (though we were quite disappointed in their selection of boys clothing last year)… and they make waiting in line a lot of fun!

What are your thoughts on Black Friday? I know some people who love shopping for bargains… some who hate the crowds and chaos (not to mention lack of sleep)… and some of see it all as too much commercialism or even greediness on the part of retailers and consumers. Do you shop the sales? Do you sleep in? Do you watch the kids so their parents can shop? What’s on your wish list this year?  Do you have any tips or traditions you would like to share?

(Whatever you do… just don’t let this happen):

(Oh, and I am thankful for having most of my shopping done and having a husband who likes to shop with me!)

Multitude Monday: One Thousands Gifts 21-35

Continuing the list of things I am grateful for this week… with Ann and the gratitude community…

21) Veggie Tales

22) Starbuck’s Peppermint Mochas

23)  Libraries

24)  Sleeping cats

25) Silence

26) This quote:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have made their way out of the depths…Beautiful people do not just happen.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

27) Rescue inhalers (tons of cleaning + dust allergies = not fun!)

28) Homemade garlic rolls

29) And the therapy of baking them by hand
30) And the fact they came out really well even though I put in a few wrong ingredients (oops)

31) Friends who listen and help me feel a little less alone

32)  A.A. Milne’s The Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh
33) And the experience of reading it to my little boy (which was the highlight of the day for both of us)

34)  Friends who connect their friends who can help each other out

35)  Not having to act like everything is okay… at least to God (who knows that anyway)

Bob & Larry Sing the 80’s (Review)

My family has loved Veggie Tales for years now… since long before the littlest one joined our family. The DVDs (and CDs) excel at entertaining kids and their parents too. This Bob & Larry Sing the 80’s CD is no exception. As a child of the 80’s, I have had this CD on my mental wish list for a while, so I was excited to win a copy from My Memphis Mommy earlier this week. Familiar, child-entertaining characters + great eighties music = a total win! I had heard and loved the preview snippets from songs, but was even more impressed when I finally was able to hear the entire CD this week. The veggies offer amusing dialogue and commentary on songs, and insert their own brand of veggie humor as well. Some songs have been “veggiefied” by some lyrics adaptations, which only adds to the entertainment value for us. I am excited to have the chance to listen to the songs I grew up with (especially since many “80’s” music stations tend to stop in the early 80’s) and have the chance to introduce my little boy to some great tunes at the same time. Whether or not you choose to introduce the original versions of songs (we will), this CD is bound to keep your entire family entertained. Hop over to Big Idea to purchase the CD, and prepare to be entertained!

Our Saturday in Pictures

(Thanks, Lowe’s)



Wish we’d gotten the bathroom painted but we didn’t get that far! Maybe by Christmas… (thanks again to Lowe’s — $5 for at least 2 bathrooms painted is amazing!)

Starting to wrap Christmas presents… with help

Christmas tree lighting!

Thankful for a fun (and productive) day with family!