Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Family Pictures

Some Christmas Day pictures of the family. This Christmas turned out to be a celebration of togetherness and I loved every minute of it!

The oldest

The Boys

Oldest and Youngest

All 4 of my children....all grown up!!

All 4 of my children with their proud (and thinner) parents!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Where Does The Time Go?

This was Thanksgiving, 1999 or 2000. It seems just like yesterday! My household is so different these days and I think more than any other year I am really missing having little kids around for the holidays.

Putting up our Christmas tree used to be a rather chaotic process but a good kind of chaos. This year I decorated pretty much alone. The kids each put on their ornaments but it was here and there when they were home...and Amy now has her own tree out in her new room.

It seemed that every time I had a baby, an older, wiser woman would tell me to savor and enjoy the days while my children were young. I believed them to a degree but when you're a sleep-deprived young mother, it sometimes seems that just that day will never end. Those women were right, however, and now I'm one of those older, hopefully wiser women who passes on the same advice!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

We are progressing well on our new room for Amy. The sheet rock is going up today. I have been to Home Depot more in the last 2 weeks than I have been in the last 2 years!! We are beginning to see the finish line!!

The weather is absolutely beautiful! I love this time of year...late fall. Takes me back to when I was a kid.

I have discovered though, that when you lose a large amount of weight, you also lose a large amount of insulation. I'm experiencing a problem I've never really had before. I'm chilly....alot. Its funny now because I have added several sweaters to my wardrobe!!

I posted to the other blog today too.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Happenings

  • First of all, I have to apologize for all the spelling errors in my previous post. It seems I have been in some denial about aging and because of denial and fear, I chose not to get bifocals at my last Eye appointment. So, I can see distances great with my new glasses but in order to read, I have to take them see things at a distance of 1-2 feet, I have to wear my old glasses. The last post I was at the library and had forgotten my old glasses....the computer monitor was too far to see without my glasses and too close to see with them....hence the errors!
Cliff & I have been busy cleaning out our attic, garage, and gardening shed. He has been working overtime re-building our little gardening shed that was once a chicken coop. The walls had seen better days. He's replaced one side and put on a new roof.
We are also in the process of a project that we have talked about for years. We have split our garage in half and are making one half a room for Amy. Everything is framed and rewired and ready for insulation and sheetrock. It's turning out so nice! We could never have even got the job started without a good friend from church who is teaching Cliff how to do all these home-improvement jobs. We are hoping to have Amy all move in by Thanksgiving.

I'm still on my weight loss. Hit the 55 pound mark this week. I decided to start a new blog dedicated to my weight loss journey. I'm not sure how long I'll keep it going but for now I have all these thoughts and just wanted and outlet for them. You can find it here

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Rest of the Story

I have waited until now the post anything further about my weight-loss journey because I had to give a speech about it last weekend at our Women's retreat and I didn't want to give all the info our beforehand.

I have come to realize that the weight battle is 90% mental and 10% at the scale. Meaning, I have fought so much of it in my mind. Its totally the reason I have been overeating my entire adult life...and its a viscous cycle. You feel bad about yourself or your situations and to deal with it, you eat some fatty or sugary something to numb the pain and then you feel bad you ate it and back and forth and back and forth it goes. To go into specifics would be far too lengthy and complicated for any one blog post but lets just say that lies have been fed into my head by the author of lies and I have believed them...and society, friends and even well-meaning family members continually confirmed the lies. So much of it has been my perception because when you buy into lies, you view the world through the filter of lies so that it all looks like truth.

For me, the answer to exposing the dealing with the lies has come through God's Word, His healing grace and several books that have dealt with spiritual, emotional, and physical issues. I also found inspiration in a Television show called, Ruby, who once weighed over 700 pounds and has lost almost 400. I figured if she could do it without surgery or weird diets, I could do. I also connected with the struggles that she faces within her weight loss journey. I also have another friend who lost some weight and looked 10 years younger and I wanted to look younger too....and I wanted my life back!!!!!

I knew a diet was an important part. Once again, I had given up on all diets. I know myself and I know that I need an organized approach to eating...a good, healthy plan with some fairly quick results...I mean let's face it, at some point, you do need to see results on the scale.

While browsing through the "new book" section at the library, a title jumped out at me...."The 17 Day Diet." I wasn't looking for a diet book but the 17 day thing intrigued me. Once I read it, it made so much sense and I knew this was exactly what I was looking for. I felt it was something I could follow long-term because lets be honest here....once a dieter, always a dieter....I will ALWAYS have to pay attention to the food I am putting in my mouth. I decided the only way to know if this eating plan really worked the way it said it would was to follow it to the letter. I did and I'm thrilled to say it has worked out better than I could have imagined. I'm exercising (walking) almost every day and my life has gone from sedentary to active.

To date, I have lost 51 pounds and 22 inches without much of a struggle....and I have my life back and I feel better about myself than I have in years. I have received inspiration from people like Ruby and my friend, Robin and in turn I hope and think I'm inspiring others. At least 5 of my friends have started the 17-Day Diet and I wish them nothing but success!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Recovering Couch Potato

Yep, that's me, a recovering Couch Potato....making a lifestyle switch from sedentary to healthy....from eating a diet rich in fat & sugar to a diet rich in lean proteins & vegetables.
It's been a long road to this point. Without knowing what I was doing, I took a road that led to what author Bob Greene calls a Holistic Approach to weight loss. An approach that doesn't just focus on diet and exercise but healing within the emotional, psychological, and spiritual.

Is it working? YES!! To date, I've lost 37 pounds. (a weight I haven't seen since 1999) Its work there's no other way to put it. I walk 5-6 days per week and do a core workout 2 days per week. BUT, I feel better than I have in YEARS both physically and mentally. No more back or knee pain. I feel as though I've turned back the hands of time a bit.

I've got a long way to go but I think I'm off to an incredible start.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Almost Back

We are heading to Newton/Wichita this weekend for a much needed break. I can hardly wait!! We've never been able to spend time there with Josh when he hasn't been on some sort of a tight schedule.

I'll be back regularly posting after that. I've got lots to say (as usual). And also as usual, there are lots of ideas swirling around in my head.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer 2011 and Stuff.....

It's been a hot, quiet summer around here. Not too much going on other than trying to stay cool!! Just a quick update on everyone:

* Cliff is doing GREAT since his epidural injections....little to no back pain. He will have 1 more injection in 2 weeks and that should last him the better part of a year. He's been back to work since the beginning of May with no problems!
*Josh has made a life for himself in Newton. He's found a good job that will allow him the opportunity to travel for up-coming grad school auditions. He's got 5-6 schools lined up. It's going to take him a while to prepare for these auditions as he's going after a fellowship....which will basically cover the cost of all his schooling expenses. They are tough and competition is stiff. His auditions need to be flawless.
*Amy has registered at the local community college to continue her education. She will be taking classes in their culinary institute for baking & pastry.
*Jacob will also be attending the local community college. He's taking almost a full course load with a major in music. He's been working out all summer in the hopes of making the track team for shot put.
*Emily spent the bulk of this summer with her two cousins from GA and had a great time with them. She has been focusing on math homework that has to be completed before school so she can enter the honors math class.
*Me...well, I'm finding my way through my ever-changing household again....adjusting to kids leaving and growing. It's hard but good for everyone. This past weekend, Cliff & I had the opportunity to just get away for the night and meet up with some of our dearest friends. It was so good!!

I've been away from my blog for a while because, frankly, I have felt like I haven't had much to say. To be honest, I don't want my blog to be a daily "Christmas letter." So I'm going to step away for a few more weeks.....probably until after labor day. I have a few ideas but I'm not concrete on anything yet. Plus, we have alot going in the next few weeks. Getting ready for school and a Labor Day trip to spend some time with Josh.

So, thank you so much for your interest. I'll be back in a few weeks.
Have a Great finish to the summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Show & Tell Friday - Revisited

**I thought I would re-post some favorite "Show & Tell" Friday posts for a while. They were lots of fun and its something I'm thinking about picking up again in the future. In the meantime, I'm enjoying these memories.

One of the things I always loved and admired at my grandparent's house was this shelf of my grandmother's that housed her teacup collection. There was just something about it that captured my attention and I just loved to stand there and look at it. One of the last times I was at their home, I went around and took pictures of some things that said "this is my grandparent's house" to me. Things that had been there for years. Things that I kind of always counted on seeing when I was there or things that evoked some very wonderful memories of my childhood times there. Of course, I took some pictures of this shelf.

About 1 1/2 years ago, I was browsing through Goodwill with my mom and guess what I found? A shelf just like my grandmother's. I snatched it up, not even caring about the price. That shelf was coming home with me. (I think it ended up being 4 or 5 dollars!) I hung it in my dining room on a large blank wall. It now houses two of my collections. One is a collection of little houses that Cliff collected for me one Christmas about 15 years ago. (has was so proud of himself!!) And a little collection of 1940-1950 looking children. On top, I have two "Gone With the Wind" figurines my mom gave me. Why? Because my grandmother had these same figurines on the top of hers. Yesterday while I was dusting it, I thought of my grandmother. These are the kinds of things I love having in my home. Things that evoke pleasant memories. Things that make us think those we love.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sweet Little Faces

Finally got to see my youngest neice, Emma who is a year old today! I love my neices and nephews and they all live so far away. This is my youngest nephew, Ben and his little sister, Emma. Priceless!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Red Spot

There is an episode of "Seinfeld" where George buys a beautiful cashmere sweater as a gift for Elaine. The reason why George buys Elaine such an extravagant gift is because near the hem of the sweater there is a miniscule red dot. What makes this episode so funny is that everyone who sees the sweater can only see that teeny red dot.

I'm currently reading a book that deals with dealing with the current economic fallout. It doesn't matter who you are or what walk of life you are from, the economic news hits us all. And lets face it, the news in the headlines and on the nightly news is hardly ever good.

One of the exercises she suggests is to make a list of 5 things that helps you through the day. I've discovered that things that I find "good" or that bring me joy are things as simple as the cherry scented hand soap on my bathroom sink, the purchase of a new hairbrush, or getting into a freshly made bed made up with clean line-dried sheets.

There is a campaign currently running on a TV station I frequently watch. Its called, "See the Good in the World." They challenge people to photograph the things that are good in their worlds.

It's human nature to focus in the "red dot" (or the black dot on a white piece of paper). It's my human nature to zero in on the red dot and feel that there's just no good news....and that's a lie because there is so much GOOD. Its my perspective that has to be tweaked. And this simple little daily exercise helps....alot. And sometimes is the smallest things that make the biggest differences in our lives.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Kid's Dad

My husband, Cliff. He's been a great, fun father to our kids. I couldn't ask for more! He's been encouraging and these days he's every bit as proud as I am!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Me & My Dad

I have a pair of these pictures. I showed the one of my mom on my mother's day post. I think they are so cute. One held the baby and the other took the pictures. I'm currently working on a scrapbook page of them. This one of me and my dad is so special because I don't have many of just he and I.


I'm so thankful for you and love you so much!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Found these pictures of my Great-Grandfather. He was a farmer in South Dakota and also a preacher. I love these pictures because they capture his life on the farm but also that of a country preacher.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coming Changes

It occurred to me the other day that I am in the beginning stages of a new season of life. Actually, its been coming for a while but suddenly I find myself at the doorway of watching my "nest" empty out as each of my "fledglings" are spreading their wings and taking flight. I'm not quite at the empty nest stage yet. Emily has 3 years of high school left but its not alot of time and 3 years will go by before I know it.

Last week, I found myself alone more often than not and I'm finding myself wanding around my house not quite sure what to do. Don't get me wrong, there is always some sort of cleaning that needs to be done but who wants to spend all their free time mopping floors and scrubbing bathtubs?

I was married when I was 19 and became a mother at 20. For the past 25 1/2 years, my number one job has been my kids and I have loved almost every minute of it. However, they don't need me like they once did. Two are on their own, another one is on his way and Emily isn't far behind. I have encouraged my kids (and even my husband) to discover their interests and passions and pursue them and now I think its time to do that for myself. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I'm excited about learning new things and I'm thinking perhaps the best "me" is the one that has yet to be discovered. My kids aren't the only ones with new wings!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Meet & Greet

A really good friend of mine entered a drawing at out local Walmart store for a $25 gift card & a meet & greet with NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon. He is not a NASCAR fan but entered primarily for the gift card. He won and called me right away, knowing I'm a Jeff Gordon fan to tell me he won. A few days later when I saw him at church, he told me he was giving me his passes to meet Jeff Gordon. I was excited and nervous all week! Cliff & I were each able to bring one item to have signed. I brought a car for a friend and a book that we own.

He came over to where we were all waiting and it was like I was watching something on TV. Cliff & I went over to him when it was our turn and suddenly I became star-struck!! I told him we were big fans....and just so he knew we weren't just part-time....I said, "We're big, big fans!" It was all Cliff could do not to get hysterical. They had a photographer on-site who took these pictures. This was probably one of the coolest things I've ever done!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Joshua's Graduation

Joshua's graduation began on Sunday morning with a Baccalaurate in the campus church. It was a beautiful, moving service full of worship and encouragement for the graduates. As I suspected, Joshua sang. He chose to sing, "You Raise Me Up" which he also sang at his high school graduation. It was amazing to hear the refinement in his vocal ability over the past 5 years of training.

Graduation took place Sunday afternoon in the football stadium. As the bells began to toll, the graduates began to make their way to the stadium, taking one last walk around the campus as students. Once inside the stadium, the faculty formed two rows and the graduates formed a line in-between them and thats when "Pomp and Circumstance" began.

Receiving his Bachelor Degrees in both Music and Communication Arts from the Dean.

Congratulations from the President.

I take one of these pictures every time they are together.

My two Graduates. I am one proud mom!!!

My Parents.

My Grown-Up Family. It happened way too fast!!

Cliff's Mom.

Looking Forward........He will spend the next year preparing for Graduate School. He hopes to get a "Teacher's Apprentice" position. To do that, however, his audition has to be virtually flawless. He felt he needed this year to prepare.


When Josh presented his Senior Seminar a few months ago, all the musicians had headshots taken. I finally saw them this week and I AM IN LOVE with these pictures of my son!! He almost looks too professional to be my child.....almost!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jacob's Graduation

Graduation started in a way on the Sunday evening prior with the Baccalaurate Service. It was beautiful, full of Scripture, inspirational readings, a wonderful charge given by one of the faculty and a Senior Choir. Graduation was held on Thursday in the fully packed gym. Below is just a small sampling of graduation and family pictures.

Moving the tassel, signifying he is now an alumni!!

Cliff's mom came from Georgia!

Best friend & partner in crime, his cousin, Zack.

Our family, minus Josh.


My Parents.

Looking forward............

Jacob's Week of Finals

One last High School choir concert. He sang his solo that he took to State Competition and recieved a "1" rating which is the best score he could get! He sang his heart out at this concert.

This is a glimpse of why I love living in our small town. Our Baseball, Softball, and Track teams all qualified for State-Level competition this year. The morning the teams left, these signs were all along the main road to wish them luck and support. Each team, coach, and athlete had a sign.

These three young men were the back-bone of the throwers. Jacob and the guy in front to his left placed in the top three in shot-put in every even this year. Usually one or the other of them would win. Jacob, however was the only one who qualified for state with a throw of 50 ft. 3/4 inches....his personal best.

Jacob did great at State. He beat his personal best with a throw of 54 inches! He ended up placing 5th!!

More than anything else this year, I am most proud of Jacob because at the beginning of the year he set some large goals for himself. He aspired to qualify for the State level in everything he competed in....and He did it! He went to state for Power-Lifting, Solos, Forensics, and Track. He worked so hard and finished well!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Me & My Mom

Since Christmas, I have been going through my mom's pictures. I've been scanning and attempting to digitally preserve these precious memories.

I have been thrilled to come across a couple pictures of myself, newly born with my young, beautiful mother. I cannot express how much I cherish these pictures.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I am thankful for you every day!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's Been A Long Time

I'm sitting here at the VA medical center for what should be Cliff's last doctor's appointment. This whole roller-coaster ride began almost 2 months ago, right down the hall when we came to the emergency room for the shooting pain down his leg.

The MRI showed he had not one but THREE bulging discs. He could potentially have had them for years and didn't know it until the one hit the nerve endings. He recieved the lumbar epidural on Tuesday and today he's back to his old self....probably a bit better than his old self because he has no back pain. His visit to the dr. today will hopefully clear him to go back to work on Monday.

It's been 2 months full of up and down emotions. Obviously without him working the past two months, our income has definately been affected and to be honest, that has been the most discouraging part of this whole thing. God has brought us through to this point. We still have a couple weeks to get through and I'd been lying if I said I wasn't concerned. But we'll make it. We always do.

I am struck with the realization, however, that for many people, especially those battling chronic or terminal illnesses, this is a way of life. I have had the luxury of knowing that this is only temporary. That alone brings peace of mind. I have such a respect for those people and the people who care for them. I have some dear friends who are battling cancer. For them its not been a matter of a couple months but a couple of YEARS. They have no guarantees and no end in sight. Just when they think things are turning around, they seem to develop another set-back. My heart and my prayers go out to them. And I realize, in spite of my problems, just how very, very blessed I am.