Friday, June 25, 2010

Prayers from a Child

All this week, my kids have been involved in a Vacation Bible School at our previous church. During that time, they have learned more about God, His love, His faithfulness, and LOTS more! It has been the busiest of weeks, but WELL worth it! During this time, my sweet honey has been out of town on business. So yesterday, when he got home, we were THRILLED! He didn't get home until late last night, but, hey, he made it! Since we had to leave early this morning to head to our final day of VBS, we didn't even get to see him this morning. Soooo...

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I called Brient to see where he was and see if he'd like to meet us at our local mall for lunch. Within a few minutes, we were all enjoying some very delicious Chick-fil-A together. It was a very nice time with our daddy person!

Afterward, to my complete surprise and amazement, my Little Man asked if we could go do some looking around. Britches and I both looked at him and said, "You mean SHOPPING!? You want to go SHOPPING!?" My Little Man NEVER wants to go shopping - EVER. Well, I finally got it out of him that he wanted to go to GameStop to look at some video games. Brient said he was up for taking him, so I figured, while they were looking in the "boy" store, we girls would head across the aisle to Bath and Body Works to smell some yummy things there!

While we were in Bath and Body Works, I noticed the sign for 75% off of everything on this particular table. When I looked, it was several different scents of hand soap. If you have ever shopped at this store, you probably know that their hand soap is CRAZY OUTRAGEOUS! It's $4.50 for a bottle. I can buy a HUGE bottle of hand soap at the grocery store for that price. But when I calculated 75% off of that price, it came to $1.12!! Oh my gosh! I love their scents, and that was a GREAT price for it, so I bought 6 bottles. Britches was really excited.

After we left that store, we headed down to Sears to look at their clearance treadmills. Yep, I found a new one on clearance!! It's a HUGE upgrade from what I already had! As Brient was paying, I took the kids to look around, mainly to get them out of the way and occupy them for awhile. They sat on all the different patio furniture and looked in all the small storage units. They looked through all the toys, too. Pretty soon, Brient walked up and told us we could head home, because, since he was in his own truck, he was about to go let them load up the new treadmill, and then he'd meet us at home. YEAH!! We headed out. But we did go the long way to get back to the vehicle, and when we got there, I saw that Brient's truck was already gone. He had left before we ever made it outside.

About half way home, too far to turn around and go back, it occurred to me that I didn't remember putting my bag of soaps in the van when we loaded up to come home. Ugh! I thought back, and I realized that I had left the bag in one of the patio furniture chairs that we had been looking at in Sears. I was quite irritated, to say the least! Britches kept asking me questions about it, like how we were going to get it back and wouldn't someone call us. I finally told her to just stop talking about it, because I was just going to get aggravated thinking about it. It was gone, I left it, somebody probably already picked it up, so DROP IT! So she sat there quiet for a long time.

When we were nearly home, I asked her, "Are you OK?" She said she was. She was just "thinking". "About what?" I asked her. "You told me not to talk about it." I knew she was still worrying over $7 worth of soap, so I promised her that, when we got home, I'd call the store and see if anyone had turned it in. That was all we could do, and it probably wouldn't be there, but I would call.

I was on the last road before our house when Brient called me. I knew he left before us, so I figured he was home wondering how much longer until I got there to help him with that new treadmill. After I told him I was almost home, he said, "It's fine. I'm still at the mall. They forgot to give me something, and I had to go back in and talk to them and wait for them to get it. So I'm just now leaving." "STOP! Go back in!! Go get my bag of soap!!" I told him what happened, and, all the while, Britches was sitting in her seat all but jumping up and down with excitement. It was soap, for cryin' out loud. Why was she so excited? Brient went back in, and, would you believe, my bag was still there! No one had taken it. It was right where I left it! He got it, and started for home.

After I hung up with him, I told her what had happened, and about what caused him to still be at the mall. She said, "Mama, I PRAYED that God would help us get it back! I PRAYED that daddy would forget something and have to go back, so he could get our bag! Mama, God answered my prayer!! And QUICKLY!" WOW!

It is always amazing to me when I can actually SEE God work. But for Him to SHOW Himself to my Britches like that was more amazing that I could have imagined. After this long week of learning about how God takes care of us and how we can ask Him to help us, she was able to SEE Him do something that she asked of Him. Totally COOL!!

Thank you, God, for the mighty ways, and the small ways, that you show Yourself to us!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tomato and Avocado Sandwich

Produce is coming in everywhere right now in my neck of the woods. All kinds of fantastic veggies and fruits to enjoy fresh out of the garden. My mother-in-law was gracious enough to share LOTS of tomatoes with me, and they are delicious! So I was trying to think of a good way to use them. In the summer, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a good tomato sandwich! Just put some mayo on bread and load it up with fresh tomatoes! But I wanted to find a different way to make my sandwich, because I wanted it healthier and a different taste. This is what I came up with!

I started with a ripe avocado that I bought at the grocery store.

I peeled it and took out the pit. Then I mashed it up really well with a fork.

Next, I took a couple of those yummy tomatoes that were fresh from my mother-in-laws garden. They looked GREAT!

I sliced them in thick slices. When I make a tomato sandwich, I like to be able to get a nice, thick bite, so I can taste it really well!

Then, I spread half of the avocado on each side of my whole wheat bread. 

I loaded the tomatoes onto the avocado.

Then, I put it all together to make a fantastic tasting summer sandwich! 

This sandwich was so absolutely delicious! And it was a great was to use some of that fresh-from-the-garden produce! But it wasn't only tasty. It was a very healthy meal.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Things

This is my year for change - for doing things I've never done before or even cared to do. I have a running list going, because, at the end of this year, I want to look back and see all the things I have accomplished. I want to be able to SEE that I haven't wasted a moment of time. I have become very tired of monotony. I want EXCITEMENT! I want to be out making memories and living life!

So far, this is what I have on my list. At the first of the year, I bought a treadmill and started walking and running several days a week, because I wanted to get my heart in shape and build up my stamina for all the exciting things I had in my mind to do. A few months ago, I was on the news talking about how the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be affecting vacation plans for people locally. Brient and I made the decision to join in our homeschool co-op this fall for the school year, and I even signed up to teach 3 classes. While on vacation last month, I faced LOTS of my fears head on. We went spelunking (caving), and I had to face my fear of heights as well as claustrophobia. That cave was DEEP and narrow and dark and - well, you get the idea. A few weeks ago, our church had its annual Singspiration, and I played my mandolin and sang. It was the first time in YEARS that I have played and sung in front of anyone! And about 2 weeks ago, I took a chance and sent in an article to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for consideration, and they immediately wrote back and said they loved my article and wanted to publish it. WOW! And we're only about half way into the year!

Last week, I decided to add something else to my list. There was a 5K run scheduled for Saturday in town, and it was to benefit the Shelby's Wish foundation. This group provides funds to local hospitals to make improvements to the pediatric floors by way of adding a play room for hospitalized children, and it also provides a stuffed bear for each child that is admitted to the hospital. It was founded in memory of a little girl, Shelby, who died at the age of 8. It is a great organization. So, I decided to enter the race. This would be my first 5K, and I was super excited! But I didn't want to do it alone, so I asked my mom to join me. The race was so much fun! It was in the evening, and after the sun went behind the trees, the breeze began to blow and the night was just beautiful. I will admit, I didn't even come close to running the whole thing! I am lucky if I can run an entire mile without stopping, let alone 5K. But we finished, and we had a great time!

After all the fun of that evening, I just couldn't stop thinking about it and wishing I could get out there and run again! And then, a very sweet friend told me about another run this weekend. YAY! I was so excited about getting out there again, I could hardly wait.

So this morning, bright and early, I was up in town getting ready to run my second 5K. Let me just say, I was very misled to think that, by running at 8:00 in the morning, it wouldn't be too hot. In the Deep South, it's hot even at that time!! This race was to benefit the Jake Owen Raborn foundation. It was started in memory of a boy who died of a rare childhood cancer, and the money that this group raises goes to give financial and emotional support to families dealing with pediatric cancer. (I have to tell you, I have watched the physical, mental, emotional, and financial effects of adult cancer, and it's not fun! No child or their family should ever have to deal with that!) And so, when the race started at 8:00, I was ready to go! It was for a good cause, and I was ready for more fun!

This race was much harder than the first one I did last week. The sun was pounding down, and there was only a little shade. However, even in the heat, I managed to shave 5 whole minutes off of my average time. Usually, on my treadmill, it takes me about 45 minutes to walk and run 3 miles. And today, it only took me 40 minutes!! (Now, for those of you who can do it in a lot less time, just don't tell me!) By the time the race was over, I was drenched and I felt like I was about to pass out! But I went into Smoothie King, and picked up my free small smoothie that they were giving away to all race contestants. They gave out strawberry banana, and it was fantastic!! That really helped perk me back up and get me going. After the prizes were handed out, none of which went to me, I headed for home. It was a great race.

Just to give you a little background history here, I have never EVER liked to run! EVER! And I really HATE to sweat! Those 2 things are what caused me to get into the poor shape I was in. Now for those of you who know me personally, you would probably say something like, "You're not overweight." But being overweight and being out of shape are 2 totally different things. I have always eaten pretty healthy, and so I have never been very big. But by living a sedentary lifestyle in the air conditioning, I had allowed my heart and lungs to get so weak that I could barely go shopping without having to take several breaks. I would just get so tired, I would need to go home and take a nap. I had no stamina at all! And that was frustrating to me, because there were things I wanted to do, but I knew I couldn't because it would make me too tired. I'd like to take my kids to Disney World one day, but I always knew it would be a waste of money. I'd spend most of the time in the hotel napping, because I would be too worn out to do any more. And I was completely tired of living like that. Which is why I bought my treadmill in January. And for the first few weeks of walking and running on it, I was completely worn out! But after I kept up with it for awhile, I could feel myself getting stronger. I could tell my heart and lungs were getting in shape. And when we went on vacation last month, I was able to out walk Brient and the kids!!! YAY! And much to my surprise, I actually enjoy walking and running and getting sweaty and stinky! It feels yuck at the time, but I know I'm going to be able to clean up right after I'm done. So I have come to a point now where I love to run! I look forward to it, and I'm disappointed if I don't have time to get in a run. Crazy!

So all in all, this year has been pretty great. I have done LOTS of things that I have never done before, and even some things that I didn't really think I liked. But turns out, I tried it, and I really DO like running! So come September, I'll be running in The Race for the Cure 5K! And I can't wait!! (No, there is no way I'm running any more races before September. Summers in the Deep South are BRUTAL! I'm waiting on cooler weather!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is Something Missing

If you follow my blog, you may be thinking, "Something's missing here." About a week ago, I wrote a post called "Someone to Lean On," but if you search my blog, it is nowhere to be found. Hmmmmm.....

Three days ago, I had another one of my "brilliant" ideas. I decided to send in that blog post to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for them to consider including in an upcoming issue. I sent it in yesterday, and within just a few hours, one of the ladies involved with the magazine e-mailed me with some questions. She asked had the article ever been published before - like in a magazine, on a blog, or in a newsletter. WOW! I couldn't believe, first of all, that I had received an e-mail from them. But more than that, I couldn't believe she actually wanted to know if it had ever been PUBLISHED! To think someone actually had to wonder that about something that I wrote! WOW! I sent her a reply to let her know that it had only appeared on my blog, and was posted about a week ago.

To my amazement, she sent me an e-mail this morning letting me know they want to PUBLISH MY ARTICLE!!! YAY!!!! She said they would like to include it in the Winter addition of their quarterly magazine. However, she did say they would like to have the rights to the story, and asked if I would be willing to take it off my blog. YES!!!!! Like I even had to think about that!

So here we are. My blog is "missing something." And if you didn't get a chance to read the original post, I guess you're just going to have to wait until the Winter edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is on shelves and go pick up a copy for yourself! It is the BEST homeschooling magazine published with loads of great information and resources for both parents and kids alike. They are a Christian magazine with a theme for each magazine that portrays that fact. My sweet mom got me a subscription this past Christmas, and I LOVE it!! So this Winter, go pick up your copy of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and see my article PUBLISHED!!!

But don't wait until winter to check out this magazine. Go visit their website, The Old Schoolhouse, and see all the amazing things they have to offer. And then consider purchasing your own subscription. It is WELL worth it. (And I'm not just saying that because they're printing my article!)

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess