Friday, April 27, 2012

Gardening

I find gardening so relaxing. Well, if I can keep the puppy out of the way, I find it so relaxing. I was finally able to do some planting yesterday, but she had to temporarily be removed from the premises while I was working.

My sister and her husband introduced us to wheat straw bale gardening last year. They did it, and my dad tried it also, and they had an abundance! So, I'm giving it a try this year. I'm doing a slightly different organic version, so mine is definitely an experiment. I planted cucumbers, cantaloupes, zucchini, and tomatoes in my bales that I had been growing in containers on the deck for a few weeks. Then in some random pots throughout the yard, I planted cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and banana peppers.

Now, if I can keep Annabelle under control, I'm looking forward to seeing what the season brings forth. As soon as I let her out yesterday, she found some leftover seedlings and I guess assumed they were toys? Good thing I wasn't planning on using those.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cari Turned 13!

Cari enjoyed a long birthday weekend with her friends and family. On Friday evening, some of her friends came over after school, and they played the Wii, took silly pictures, ate pizza and birthday cake, watched Cari open her gifts, did manicures, etc. Most of the girls had to leave that night because of softball games, track meet, and a parade taking place early the next day, but we were able to get a few of the girls back on Saturday for a birthday tea party given by my sister and taking place at my mom and dad's home. It was a lot of fun, and the girls really seemed to enjoy it. The celebration continued throughout the day on Saturday, and everyone went home later Saturday evening. Becoming a teenager is a special birthday to have, and I think this one will be a memorable one for her!

Matthew, Amelia, and I went to the grocery store on Friday morning to get the birthday supplies, and those two little ones did a great job of picking everything out. I was going to get a birthday balloon, but Amelia saw the Auburn balloon and said Cari would rather have that one. She was correct! Then they saw the cute little plates and napkins and the Happy Birthday candles nearby on the same aisle, and we decided they would be cute together. I have two great helpers!

I made the birthday cake, and not to brag or anything (LOL!), but I have to say, it was pretty good! It had no choice but to be with all the sugar that was in it. I'm still trying to stick with my resolution and have cut back on my sugar intake, but I guess when I do have it, I do it big! Cari loved it and one of her friends asked me to make them the same cake for their birthday, so it was definitely a win, and hopefully we'll not have any long-term health deficits from it. ;)


Cari and her friends


This is one of Cari's best friends, and interestingly enough, her mom and I used to be best friends when we were in school. As time went on, there were years that we never saw each other. In fact, when Cari started school, she had never met this little girl before, but they found each other and have hit it off pretty well.


Silly girls...it takes more than pizza to hide from my camera!



The beautiful birthday girl at her "Birthday Tea."


Amelia was a big help to my sister in getting the tea party ready. Here she is working away.


My mom has lots of formal dresses that she has picked up at thrift stores over the years, and the girls had a good time dressing up in these for the party. (They later went outside and road the golf cart around the yard - still wearing the dresses.)

May you have many, many more happy birthdays!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Worry and Stress

I mentioned to a friend of mine last week that I was looking for some good books to read, and since that time, it has been as if the books have come looking for me. LOL I noticed on the Money Saving Mom web site last week that Amazon had three free downloads by Francis Chan for the Kindle, so I took advantage of that. I'm currently reading Crazy Love, and it could not have happened at a better time.

It seems as though in the past few months that I've been worrying more than usual. Maybe it has something to do with having two teenager daughters (actually, as of next week there will be two teenagers in the house) along with some other things that seem out of my control.

Well, here's some encouragement and hard reminders I received about my condition. (These are all from the Crazy Love book.)

"Rejoice in the Lord always." Phil. 4:4 It's a command for all of us, and it follows with the charge, "Do not be anxious about anything." (v. 6)

"When I am consumed by my problems - stressed out about my life, my family, and my job - I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the multitude of my responsibilities.

WORRY implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.

Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance......

They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed.......Life is all about God and not about me at all."


Sometimes, I feel like if I don't worry about it then maybe God won't notice how important it is to me. How foolish is that! It's almost like I have this guilt if I'm not worrying. Sometimes if it's something that I have no control over whatsoever, then I think "well, I can at least worry. That's something I can do...."

And then I saw this on the Deep Questions blog this morning...

"Perhaps I don’t open my mouth as big and wide to show my faults. But anytime I let the worries of this life or the pursuit of health & wealth take precedence, I’ve stepped into the role of chief hypocrite. I’ve said my hope is in Christ, but instead gone about my daily business as if it were my own and depended on me."

At this point, my best bet, my only bet, is to leave all of this in God's hands, pray for wisdom, and just let God show me what and if there is something that I can do or need to do as part of His big plan. Even as I type this, I find myself thinking, "but what if things don't turn out like I want them to." Sighhhhh. And I have to remind myself to trust God to know what He is doing.....trust the God of the Universe to know what He is doing. What a silly statement. Almost sounds like I'm taking a chance or something. No, I believe God is sovereign over everything, and even when I don't understand or even like what's going on, I believe it is ALL part of His plan, and His ways are best. No doubt.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

Easter Sunday was absolutely beautiful. We enjoyed worshiping our risen Savior on Sunday morning and then came home to a meal with the family. My mom, dad, and aunt came over, and then the little ones wanted to hide their eggs again that they had brought home from the church egg hunt the day before.

Our Easter meal consisted of chicken cordon bleu (I used organic turkey bacon instead of ham, which I think tastes a lot like ham anyway, and it worked out pretty good), seven-layer salad, green beans, macaroni and cheese (I found an organic version of a Velveeta-type shells and cheese macaroni, and it tasted just like the Velveeta version), sweet potato casserole, and apple cobbler for dessert.

Here are some pictures from our day ~~~



















Here is a picture from the day before of Brad and I as we were leaving to go celebrate our 20th Anniversary at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was so much fun to be treated like royalty for an hour and a half. ;) We didn't have to ask for anything ~ the service and food were amazing. We had mushrooms stuffed with seafood/crab meat as an appetizer, and I could have made a meal off of those. I then had the lobster bisque (can't even say that without thinking of the Soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld), which was different. That was my first taste of that kind of soup, and I can't say it was the best soup I've ever had, but it was good. I then had the petite steak, which I could practically cut with my fork, and some delicious mashed potatoes. My meal came with a dessert, and I kept wondering why the waiter was not asking what kind of dessert I wanted. Then after the meal, he brought out this huge slice of chocolate mousse cheesecake ~ complimentary since it was our anniversary. This definitely was not on the small list I was given for my dessert choices, so this was a nice, thoughtful surprise. Brad had a 22 oz. cowboy ribeye along with sweet potato casserole. We were able to bring home a few leftovers, but we had ordered pizza for the kids and told them to pick up some ice cream while they were out, so they weren't too hungry when we got back home. This was a fun day, and I'm thankful that the Lord has blessed me with this man for 20+ years, and I'm looking forward to many more!

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