Sunday, January 31, 2010

My 200th Post!! And a GIVEAWAY!!!

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!
(If the looks of this blog post title is any indication, I've apparently challenged myself to attempt to use 200 exclamation points within the context of a single post!

I haven't. Because that would be annoying. But this is a Very! Exciting! Time! for me! Thus, the overuse of the dramatic punctuation.)

Back at Christmastime, Jason, his siblings, and his cousins all received a very special gift. Months before, while cleaning out the attic of Jason's grandparents' old house, his mom and aunt discovered hundreds- HUNDREDS- of letters written back when J's grandparents first became pen pals, fell in love, got engaged, and planned their wedding. The written correspondence turned into FOUR BOUND VOLUMES of letters that chronicle a precious piece of their family history. It's a beautiful thing to imagine the sheer joy of going to the mailbox daily and finding love letter upon love letter upon love letter.

Unfortunately, no one writes real pen-to-the-paper letters anymore and usually the best piece of mail I get is a glossy magazine Today, we email and text.


While I don't anticipate my blog turning into any sort of bound volume set, I do have something that will have one lucky person running to their mailbox in the very near future!

The best part of my 200th post, the thing that makes it SUPER exciting and all exclamation point-worthy, is that I have a fun giveaway courtesy of CSN stores! When I was first contacted by CSN about hosting a giveaway, I didn't realize that CSN is an entire FAMILY of stores. If you can't find it at CSN, it probably doesn't exist.

Because there are over 200 CSN stores (just like I have 200 posts!), I dedicated my own blood, sweat and tears by browsing around their virtual storefronts, narrowing the wares down to a handful of my favorites. It was a tough job, but I took one for the team. And ONE of the items below can be yours!!

Here are a few things that I absolutely LOVED (the pics are a little small, so I included links to the items as well so you can see them a bit easier):

When this wall hook set and I met across the crowded virtual store, it was love at first sight. I love everything about it- the colors, the distressed look, the function. We're meant to be together forever. I just know it.

I need this red lantern. NEED. That is all.

How adorable are these butterfly bottles?! Their little butterfly wings have a little bit of sparkly bling for a feminine touch.

(After I typed that, I realized it sounds kind of like I think butterflies aren't feminine enough on their own. Because what man wouldn't LOVE an office/study decorated with a yellow/black monarch butterfly theme?)

These concrete doves would add the perfect touch of interest to my home decor. If they were mine, I'd use them on my mantel or antique sideboard.

I love these retro-looking set of soap dishes. They would look so fab on the wall in my kitchen.

If you're interested in entering my giveaway and having one of the above pretties (your choice of one item listed in this post) delivered directly to your door, you will have a few opportunities.

(Sidenote: I had a huge debate with myself over whether or not to REQUIRE readers to follow me in order to enter this giveaway. I even posted about my dilemma on Twitter. Some said it was acceptable, others said it was annoying. I've seen it done before and since I find it a teensy weensy bit off-putting, I'm just leaving it as an option for extra entries. I would love love LOVE to have more followers. But I also want them to be readers who really enjoy hanging out here, not those forced to follow for the giveaway alone. Now that I've devoted WAY to much effort to overthinking that, which of the world's ills should I solve next?)

To Enter:

1) Leave me a comment telling me which of the above items you'd absolutely love to have: 1 entry.

2) Tweet about the giveaway including a link back to this blog. Please leave separate comment including the link to your tweet: 2 entries.

3) Blog about the giveaway including a link back to this blog. Please leave a separate comment including the link to your post: 3 entries.

4) Become a follower of my blog. Please leave a separate comment letting me know that you are following (subscribing in a reader is acceptable): 4 entries.

The Logistics:

*No duplicate comments, please
*I will select a winner at random and notify the winner by email.
*If you win, please get back to me regarding your prize within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

World Wide Webday 01.28.10

Name change alert! The "internationally" acclaimed bloggy feature here on SIG, World Wide Web Wednesday, is officially changing to World Wide Webday.

The name might be so cheesy that you can actually feel your arteries clogging, but committing to only posting links on Wednesday was too restrictive for me. I want to be able to post links I love whenever I good and well feel like it, dadgummit, regardless what day of the week it is.

My original intent was that WWWW might become a wildly popular weekly blog carnival, but neither one of my readers was interested in participating.

With the blog carnival idea in the crapper, and with other bloggers already using blog titles like "Linky Love," "Links I Love," etc. I obsessed for 45 whole seconds over something original and came up with "Webday."

It may be proof that I don't perform well under self-imposed, arbitrary pressure.

Moving on...

With so much current emphasis on helping the people of Haiti, I think it's timely to bring into focus some other really cool ways people can get involved in helping people in poverty all over the world.

(To clarify, I'm not trying to take the focus off Haiti or diminish their need in any way at all. Please, continue to give and support the efforts there! The after-effects of that devastation will be felt for years. Let's not get complacent and near-sighted simply because the need is no longer right in front of our noses.)

(Several of these links are courtesy of my friend Lee Ann, who I wish would start her blog up again. Hint, hint, Lee Ann. I am not directly affiliated with any of these organizations, nor am I getting any sort of compensation or incentive for posting. Seriously, I have a handful of readers. These people do not know I exist.)

Tiny Rockstar has the CUTEST line of baby and kid tees/onesies. Their mission? Buy a shirt, feed an orphan for a month. I recently placed an order for 2 shirts for the boys, but I haven't received them yet. The online designs, though, are awesome! You have to buy clothes for your children anyway... Why not shop through Tiny Rockstar?

147 Million Orphans is doing amazing things to help orphans worldwide. They've also created a line of gear to raise funds for orphans in Haiti. Please check them out and BUY SOMETHING!

You might be thinking that some of these items are more expensive than what you would normally pay for a similar item. Maybe that your money would go "farther" somewhere else where you can buy a $6 t-shirt or a $10 necklace. However, I think if we all changed our mindsets from quanitiy to quality and agreed to buy less stuff (really, who can't get by with less?) our money would go actually go farther by furthering His kingdom!

Finally, if you do not have any desire whatsoever to be moved into action to help orphans and those in extreme poverty, if you are perfectly content in your own life and have no propensity to change, DO NOT click the link to Katie's blog!

Consider yourself warned. It WILL change your life.

I found Katie's blog from We Are THAT Family a few weeks ago. Then I spent the better part of my work day several hours poring over her blog, soaking up her story, moved to tears and desiring to DO something that will make a difference. I don't know what that is yet, but I bet you will feel the same after reading.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27


This is post #199! In celebration of 200 posts, the big giveaway will be MONDAY!! It will be super fun, so stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday 01.27.10

I hesitate to participate in "Works for Me Wednesday" because none of what "works for me" is particularly domestic, ingenious, or original in nature.

What works for me? "Cooking" a frozen pizza after a long day at work because Jason won't be home to whip up a healthy hearty meal.

What works for me? Piling all our clean laundry on our old recliner in the den, digging through it when I need something, and waiting patiently for it all to fold itself.

What works for me? Making about 95% of my children's lunches from prepackaged foods so that all I have to do during the morning madness is throw it into a lunch box, zip it up, and go.

What works for me? Turning up the radio in the minivan to deafening volume when the boys start arguing with one another in the backseat.

What works for me? Neglecting to wash off my make-up each night before I fall into a coma because every sleeping second counts.

(OK, that one actually doesn't work for me, as evidenced by my adult acne. But Proactiv works! Any Proactiv reps out there who want to send me a free skin care set in exchange for a glowing (no pun intended) review, I'm your woman! I know you have Jessica Simpson and all, but who pays attention to infomercials? Blogging is where it's at. Try me.)

Attempting to be a good wife, mommy, professional, friend, blogger, hostess, and housekeeper means that I spend a lot of time juggling, multi-tasking, scheduling, anticipating, and generally feeling like a grand failure at all of it.

So what else works for me? Giving myself permission to say "no" without guilt when I already feel overcommitted just by my daily life's demands.

What works for me? Giving myself permission to let some things go and relax, even when the dishes aren't clean, the floors aren't swept, the bathrooms aren't spotless, and the sheets need laundering.

What works for me? Trusting in Matthew 11:28 that says, "Come to me all who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

What works for me? Believing in II Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

I desperately need the Lord's grace and rest. It really does work for me.

For more WFMW tips and posts, head over to We are THAT Family and see what others are saying works for them!

(I'm hitting the publish button on this a tad early according to Central Standard Time, but it's Wednesday somewhere, right? )


This is post #198! Only 1 more post, then a PAR-TAY! In celebration of 200 posts, I have a giveaway planned! It will be super fun, so stay tuned. I'm a terribly sporadic poster, so I can't promise an exact DATE, so just keep checking back. But I promise not to keep you waiting long.

Monday, January 25, 2010

X-Games, here we come!

Since our family increased the children's attendance in our new congregation by 150%, I feel blessed that we had the foresight to get the boys involved in the Awana program at another local church.

(Sidenote: Is it ever appropriate to refer to it as Awanas? As in, "The boys have Awanas tonight?" Or is "Awanas" the Christian equivalent of "Wal Marts"? Does the term refer only to the club in general or to the clubbers also, so then the plural would be correct? Like, "All the Awanas meet in this room." Things that keep me awake at night...)

If you aren't familiar with Awana (Awanas?), the focus is on scripture memory, and the clubbers get points for learning their material each week. In addition, they get points for good habits like wearing their uniform, checking in punctually each week at club, and participating in various theme nights throughout the club season. At the end of each semester, the clubbers get to cash in all their accrued points for Awana bucks to spend in the Awana "store."

With this being our first Awana experience, I had no idea what type of items the boys might potentially have the opportunity to "buy," but in my mind I pictured endless tables stocked with a variety of plastic-y trinkets, not unlike the Cheap Crap Bar at Chuck E. Cheese.

So it's understandable why I LAUGHED OUT LOUD when I picked up Micah from his classroom and saw that he was the proud owner of one of these:

(It's a skateboard. Tragically, Micah's doesn't say "Holy" on it, although I totally wish it did, because as much as the idea of my least coordinated child on a skateboard makes me chuckle, THIS board flat out CRACKS ME UP! It certainly gives new meaning to the phrase "Holy Roller.")

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Anyway, Micah tucked his new treasure under his arm and confidently headed to the car as cool as if he was the next Tony Hawk headed out to the X Games.

I bet Tony bought his first skateboard with Awana bucks, too.

The next day after school, he begged me to allow him to try out his new set of wheels. But first! He had to get dressed like a skater.

Apparently, these days skaters are into white tees and sunglasses ala The Fonz, layered with clearance Gymboree fleece.

And before you go reporting me to Child Protective Services for allowing my child on the Wheels of Death without proper equipment, rest assured that this picture fully captures the speed at which he was rolling along. Which means slightly faster than a dead snail.

He wanted to stay on the driveway, mainly because it's gently sloped downward, so he had to put very little effort into maintaining forward motion.

His best trick was facing his body one direction and turning his head the other direction to look at the camera. Without losing his balance while at a complete standstill. So I'm pretty sure he'll be landing the 900 any day now.

(Yes, I'll admit I had to google "skateboard tricks" to get that one.)

If this new skateboarding ambition goes anywhere, I just hope Micah gets his name on a boys' clothing line at Kohl's.


If my Blogger dashboard is not leading me astray, this will be my 197th post! Which means post Numero 200 is 3 mediocre posts away (I kill at math AND Spanish). In celebration of 200 posts, I have a giveaway planned! It will be super fun, so stay tuned. I'm a terribly sporadic poster, so I can't promise an exact DATE, so just keep checking back. But I promise not to keep you waiting long.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Egg-Free baking, I will beat you yet!

Missy had an appointment with a new allergist a few weeks ago. It wasn't a new allergist because we were disappointed with her original one. In fact, I thought he was quite fabulous. I'm just not a fan of driving from Central TX to North Dallas for appointments because we moved.

It's, how do you say.... inconvenient.

So boring story short, the new doctor told us Missy's still allergic to eggs. Blah.

Now it's been two years and innumerable disastrous recipes since we found out about her allergy, and I'm finally honing my (limited) skills in the kitchen with regards to egg-free baking.

(By the way, there is a huge market for a GOOD egg-free baking cookbook. Emphasis on GOOD.)

My best egg-substitute tip? Mixing 1 tbsp. cornstarch and 1 tbsp. water = 1 egg

None of the other funky concoctions which require odd measurements of water, oil, and something-else-I-can't-remember have worked. And since unflavored gelatin is not one of my pantry staples, I've spent countless minutes google-ing the mess out of "egg substitutions in baking." The cornstarch trick was the one that finally stuck (lame pun fully intended. Sadly.).

I hope someone benefits from my very scientific research.

The most challenging meal for avoiding eggs is breakfast. And dinner if you count the number of days in a month when I decide breakfast-for-dinner is the easiest option. Pancakes, waffles, french toast, quiche,'s all out the window. Thankfully, one of my cursory google searches took me directly to a FABULOUS egg-free pancake recipe!

Egg-Free Pancakes

1 cup Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 cup milk
1.5 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Sift flour and baking soda/powder and salt.

Add sugar and whisk together

Add Vanilla and Oil and half the milk. Whisk together.

Gradually add the rest of the milk until thick pouring consistency.

Heat griddle/skillet - needs to be reasonably hot. Use oil/cooking spray before each pancake - they do stick otherwise. Pour about 1/4 c. of the mixture onto the griddle (the pancakes work best if they are on the small side).

Credit for the recipe goes to Must Follow Recipes. I can SO relate.

This recipe could also be tweaked to make it dairy-free by substituting the milk for soy milk or whatever type of non-dairy milk you prefer (that's how the author of the blog where I found the recipe does it. But no dairy allergies here, so we make sure we drink up our daily recommended allowance of hormones! And sometimes we even add artificial chemicals chocolate syrup to it.)

It's also helpful if you really know your pan and how it heats. And at what temperature you should cook your pancakes. Otherwise they might end up blackened. Which doesn't really equate to authentic cajun breakfast cooking. It just means burnt.

But that isn't the recipe's fault- it's more about operator error, about which I have myriad knowledge.

Just ask my kids.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Prayer of St. Francis

As I continue to think about and pray for Haiti, I can't imagine NOT being moved to action. These are REAL individuals with REAL lives and souls. Please do not be complacent in your thinking and in your heart as if "they" are some nebulous abstract concept.

INDIVIDUALS are injured.

INDIVIDUALS are broken.

INDIVIDUALS are hungry and exposed.

It could be you. It could be your child. Or your mother. Or your friend.

Please, just do something.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

World Wide Web Wednesday 01.13.10: Help Haiti

The devastation in Haiti right now is unfathomable. I don't have any words to express how profoundly grieved I am regarding this tragedy, mostly because my mind cannot comprehend the level of poverty in that country, then to have it ravaged by the a natural disaster... simply unimaginable.

However, while it seems that we are powerless in our warm homes with our full bellies, I think there are plenty of opportunities to offer aid to Haiti. And many of them are simple and take only a few seconds.

Thanks to technology, you can text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross or you can text "disaster" to 90999 to donate $10 to Compassion's disaster relief program. You can also donate to Compassion's Disaster Relief Fund by clicking the link.

You can also buy a cool Help Haiti T-Shirt and 100% of the profits go directly towards Haiti relief.

The Pioneer Woman is hosting a mixer giveaway and for every comment received on this post, she is donating $0.10 to Haiti recovery efforts. YOU get the chance to win a sweet mixer, and SHE donates to Haiti. How can you NOT comment?


Check out Living with Lindsay's blog to find out how to purchase a beautiful necklace from The Rusted Chain and a portion of the proceeds will go to Compassion.

The Pioneer Woman is doing another giveaway- $500 to the charity of your choice (as long as it is geared towards the Haiti efforts) plus $0.10 for every comment on this post.

Hope for Haiti is a website where each dollar you donate enters you into a raffle for some great prizes! Money collected will be donated to Red Cross or Compassion (This site is sponsored by several legitimate well-established businesses, including The SITS girls, so rest assured it isn't a scam.)

DesignHer Momma is donating $1 to Compassion for every comment left on this post.

KellysKorner is asking people who have ALREADY donated to comment on her blog and she is donating $1 for each comment (up to $1000) to Compassion.

Savory Sweet Life is donation $1 (up to $1000) for every comment left on this post.

Finally, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. This disaster did not take God by surprise. He is still on his throne and he listens to the pleas of his people.

*This list is a work in progress and I'll update as I come across other opportunities. If you know of any other ways to support the relief efforts, please let me know and I'll add a link!

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year, New Church

A friend of mine called me on Saturday and asked me how J and I spent our New Year's Eve. My initial thought was, "Why is she asking me about something that happened ages ago?" until my brain kicked into gear, joined me in the present time and I realized that it had actually only been about a week since the beginning of 2010!

It makes me feel really cliched about time flying and everything.

Our year has truly gotten off to a great start. As a matter of fact, the biggest news I've overlooked sharing on the ole blawg is that J started pastoring a small church in the area.

The church is not quite as, as we have imagined his first pastorate might be, considering that our young family of five lowers the average age of the attending members to approximately 75, but we are falling in love with the people there.

The interview process for J was quite rigorous and consisted of the church's "assistant director" asking J if he'd like to come preach on a permanent basis on Sunday mornings, and if he would, then did he think he could also throw in Wednesday nights as well?

You betcha! And so it was.

January 11 was our second official Sunday to be Pastor and Wife (Or third if you count the first real Sunday, but I don't because services were cancelled due to the church's heater running out of butane. In winter. In record-setting cold temps. It was much too brutal for the elderly.).

But this past Sunday will forever go down in the books as the day Jason made his Rookie Pastor Mistake #1.

(Hey, I'm only trying to edify the body here and help anyone from making a similar mistake in the future.)

(And I love you, Jason! Even though I'm blogging about you! I blog because I love! I think you're doing a fabulous job at this pastor thing!)

So keep this in mind:

If you're new to leading a congregation and someone tells you that one of your shut-in/homebound members is turning 90 that week, BEFORE you encourage your people to send cards and notes of encouragement to said member, you might want to check to make sure that member is not comatose.

Bless J's heart. He meant well. J just wanted this sheep in his flock to feel loved on a monumental day. It just never crossed his radar to think to ask if the guy was conscious and responsive.

They informed him after the service (Once again, information that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY! (name that movie)). After J had made a huge deal out of sending the guy notes, including that J HIMSELF was going to go straight home and pen a few uplifting words.

Turns out, that's not going to be necessary.

I'm sure we'll make a million more faux--... (I don't know the plural of faux pas- faux pass?) Whatever. Mistakes. WE'LL MAKE THEM.

It's going to be a hilarious year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What I won't say

What I'd really like to complain about is how this morning completely fell apart. I was rocking along until about 7:15 and then everything went downhill. FAST.

Much like Chevy Chase around the 2:00 mark:

I'd like to complain that I poured the last cup of liquid energy (AKA coffee) into my cup and ruined it with Splenda-sweetened creamer. I drank it anyway, nasty aftertaste and all, because I don't know how to use Jason's newfangled coffee-/espresso-/cappuccino-making Machine of the Future.

I'd like to complain that when it was time to get Missy dressed this morning, I could find ZERO shoes for her. ZERO. Not even a mismatched pair. Because Missy plays with them and rarely puts them back in her shoe basket. So I sent her to the sitter's house in slippers.

I'd really like to complain that Micah's school snack bucket was broken and on his way to our van today, the entire bucket fell apart and a dozen apples went rolling down our driveway. It took all 4 of us to round them up while Micah fretted about bruised and dirty fruit.

And finally, I'd like to complain that one of my tires was low and when I went to air it up, Jason had left the hose and the filler-upper attachment unattached. Since I couldn't figure out how to get it back together myself, I had to call him at work and then freeze my tail off while airing up my tire.

But I won't complain about any of that because complaining is generally fruitless. Complaining isn't going to change the events of my morning even a smidgen.

What I would NOT like to tell you is how I handled minor adversities, slight hiccups in an otherwise normal morning routine. But it was like a child who throws tantrums, that's how. I got angry. I lashed out. It was ugly.

When I had the chance to cool down, I felt guilty and ashamed.

So instead of complaining, I'll tell you that it's days like these that I'm thankful.

Thankful that my children forgive, quickly and unconditonally.

Thankful that the Lord's mercies aren't just new every morning. They are new every hour, every minute, every second.

Thankful for another heartbeat, another breath, another passing moment of life that affords me the opportunity to change, by His grace alone.

Thankful, without complaint.



Don't forget to check out my other blog how my reading is coming along. If you haven't heard, I'm reading through the ENTIRE Bible in 90 Days! It's like running a marathon but without the feeling of dying. And I don't have to go outside. Or move my legs. Anyway, stop by here and leave me some encouragement. Be sure to subscribe if you want to follow along with my progress and read some of my unscholarly opinions about the daily readings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This is a test this is only a test.

My technological capabilities are really being put to the test this

I started another blog in Wordpress (which I LOVE, but it's taking
some time to get used to), I participated in a "tweet-up" last night
(for which I downloaded and decipher TweetDeck), and now I'm blogging
from my iPhone (thanks to Connie (I'll add hyperlink later- still
navigating uncharted techy territory)).

Not too shabby for a girl who didn't get her first email address until
she went to college mumblemumble years ago!

And the interwebs hasn't even imploded yet!

I don't want to get a big head or anything, but I'm pretty sure I'll
be working for Steve Jobs developing the next state of the art
technological advancements before too long.

Once I figure out that email post/hyperlink thing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Big Announcement!

Nope, I'm not pregnant. At least, not by the gracious graciousness of God's grace I'm not pregnant.

Instead, I'm taking up a challenge to read the Bible in 90 days! By March, I'll have a deeper understanding and appreciation for God's word, rather than 20 extra pounds, mad heartburn, swollen ankles, and an aching back.

Although I could totally have those, too. But not because I'm growing a fourth person inside of me.

Let's be clear: There will be NO fourth person.

I'd like to have a place to journal some thoughts I just might have about my reading experience, so rather than use this space, I'm also learning about Wordpress through the new blog I've created over there. Because I can never give myself too many random things to do.

If I stopped imposing haphazard ambitions upon myself, I might actually have to clean house. Or cook. And we all know you do NOT want me cooking.

It's haphazard ambitions for the win!

So while I definitely have plans to continue this blog documenting the fascinating comings and goings of a working mom, a pastoring/student husband and 3 precious little darlings, I'm also going to be over here pretty frequently as I read. And read. And read.

Come join me!