Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our new normal...

Well we just returned home from dropping Cody off at college and Zach is starting his junior year of high school today.  It's been a crazy busy summer for sure, but life is settling down now as we get back into our "new normal" routine.  I say that because we now only have 3 of us living in our home.  With Cody 15 hours away at college, we are trying to settle in and it is definitely different.  

To be honest, I did much better than I thought I would dropping Cody off at SNU.  I did have my moments of tears, but I really left him feeling confident that he's in the right place and will be well taken care of.  Of course, it does help that my family lives there and can look after him:)  I have to say that with only making one lunch this morning and sending only one child off to school, reality is setting in to our "new normal"...and it's somewhat hard for me.  

I've thought a lot lately about the past almost 19 years of being a mom.  I've invested almost half my life in raising our kids and so letting go is hard.  Scott and I have often talked about how we wanted to raise our boys to be independent and go out into the world and make a difference.  We taught them early on the basics....such as how to do their own laundry, clean their rooms, mow the grass, cook (a little:)....and that work/job=money:)  Perhaps the most important thing we've tried to do though is instill values in our boys....honesty, integrity, forgiveness, etc.  I know that we've not done everything right as parents, but I hope and pray that, in spite of our imperfections, they will take what we've taught them and use them to be all that God wants them to be.  Now, with Cody out of our home and in college, we get to watch, support and give advice, but have to allow him to choose what direction he will take.  Of course, we've reminded him that it's not totally hands off considering we're still paying insurance, school, etc:).

Some of my many prayers for Cody as he starts this new journey in life....that he loves God and puts Him first in his life always....that he love others with the love of Christ....that he forgives freely....that he is respectful and kind....that he finds friends that bring out only the best in him....that he invests his time in helping others....that he is a strong leader, yet knows how to follow the right people....that he gets involved in a church....that he only dates girls that he would be proud to bring home to meet his family (and if they like to shop, that would be a bonus:)....that he makes wise decisions....that he eats, somewhat, healthy....that he gets rest and exercise.....that he does well in his classes....and that he has the time of his life in the coming years!!!  I want him to always know that, no matter what, his mom and dad love him unconditionally and are here to give advice and support whenever he needs it. 

Well I guess I'll go wash Cody's sheets now and get his bed ready for when he comes for a visit in a few months:)  Until then, I'm thankful for cell phones and facetime!!!  Have a great week!!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's been a while...

Well here it is almost August and I have not blogged since May!!  The only real excuse I have is that my computer broke and I've just been using my Ipad for the last several months.  I've found it harder to blog from it so I just haven't done it.  I actually started to, but couldn't get pictures downloaded so I quit trying.  I can honestly say that I have missed it though and decided to get with it again.

Life the last several months has been crazy to say the least!!  With my oldest son graduating high school, my youngest turning 16 and me turning 40, all the anticipation of those milestones is now over...and it's kind of a relief:)  I have to say that turning 40 wasn't bad at fact, it was much easier than turning 30 if you ask me.  Now we're preparing to take Cody to Southern Nazarene University in a few weeks, which begins a whole new phase in our lives.  I've got real mixed emotions about him going to college and, depending on the day you ask, I am either excited for him or crying.

So I guess you could say that the countdown to 40 is officially over for me, but I only made it to 26 of the 40 things I was working toward or learning from.  I just spent some time looking over them and have to say that I've grown so much over the last year of focusing on making some changes in my life.  Oh, I'm far from being where I'd like to be, but am so much farther ahead of where I was this time last year.  For that I am so thankful!  I am going to continue blogging about this journey I'm on and hope that you will join me once again.  I loved all the emails and messages I received of encouragement and how my journey has helped others in their journey.  I didn't expect that when I started this last year, but you have been such a blessing to me and I'm so grateful!!   Thank you!!

Till next time....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Learning to be content...

My view from our enclosed patio room

My view from our enclosed patio room

I've lived in Mount Vernon, OH now for 4 years.  It's really hard to believe it's been that long already!!  It's by far the smallest town I've ever lived in so it's been a different experience for our family for sure.  When we moved here I had this romantic view of living in a small town, but the first time I wanted to run to the mall or Target and couldn't because they're 45 minutes away, I  realized that small town living may not be for me:).  I do miss the big city and all the activity and people and restaurants...and, of course, the malls:).   But as I sit on my patio on this beautiful Spring day to do some work, I have to say that there is a lot to love about living in a small country town that I don't always take the time to appreciate.  It's so peaceful and calm.  I love to open the patio doors and listen to the birds, see the squirrels and chipmunks chasing each other, and hear and see the woodpeckers in the trees.  The other morning I even saw a red fox run through my yard and we see deer in our yard almost every single day.  A few months back, we saw a huge red tailed hawk swoop down and get a squirrel and then fly off.  These are things that I've never had the opportunity to witness in my own yard living in the city, but I have the opportunity everyday to see it from my own patio living here!

I really have to work on being content with where I'm at and not focusing all my time looking ahead to the day when we can live back in a big city.  I do love my house and I even love living on three wooded's beautiful!  We've made some wonderful friends that I know will be life long.   I know that someday we will move again...but until then, life is good and I do feel blessed with all I have.  When I look back on all the places we've lived, I can find the pros and cons with each one....I know that no place is perfect.  The neat thing is that I have always been able to see God's hand in the midst of each move we've made.  

Big changes are in store for our family in the near future....the University where Scott is chaplain will be looking for a new president, as our current president will be taking a new presidency at a University in Seattle.  Not only is this a huge change for the University, but we will miss our dear friends terribly as they leave to take this new position.  I'm so sad to say goodbye to one of my best friends, my shopping buddy and my running pal.  As well, Cody will leave for college in the fall which, as I've said before, is going to change our family as we know it now.  Zach will turn 16 and be driving soon and and before we blink, he'll be graduating too.   Life is constantly changing and whether or not I'm going to be content and happy with where I'm at is my choice.  I am constantly reminded of the verse in Philippians 4:11,  "not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in".  I don't want to strive for comfort or what I want...I want to strive for contentment, no matter the situation, where I'm living or what I may think I need.  Life is good!  


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Airport people...what's their story?

As I'm sitting in the Denver airport on a 3 hour layover, I'm enjoying watching people as they rush to their next flight. Honestly, I don't like layovers or waiting at all. I'd prefer to just catch a one way flight to my final destination or if I can't do that, then I at least want a short less than an hour! So since I couldn't do that this time, I've got plenty of time to sit and watch everyone and everything around me...and it's very interesting! As I'm watching people, I wonder what their story is. Some will look at me and smile as they walk by and some will just rush past me in their own little world. Some look happy and some seem not so happy. Some look businesslike and, obviously, travel all the time (I could never pack light enough to do that I don't think). Some are families with small children that may be heading to visit grandparents, go on vacation, or some other adventure. I have to say, watching parents chase after kiddos reminds me of how nice it is to be past that stage:). Most people are either talking on cell phones, on their computers or IPads (like me:). I've seen people of all sizes and shapes, different ethnicities, clothing and hairstyles. As someone who who spends most of my time rushing from one thing to the next, oblivious to whats going on around me, I'm very intrigued with sitting back and taking it all in. I see the single dad with his little boy...Whats his story? I see the little old lady being pushed in the wheelchair...what's her story? I see the couple walking holding hands...what's their story? I see the stewardess heading to her next flight... What's her story? I order lunch from a grouchy lady behind the counter... What's her story? I see the businessman furiously working away on his laptop... What's his story? It goes on and on and on...person after person after person. I'm realizing as I'm sitting here how little time I actually take in my day to day life to just take in the world around me. I get so wrapped up in my own world many times that I don't take the time I should to invest in those I come in contact with on a daily basis. I'm not talking about just sitting down and having coffee with a friend, but offering a kind word or smile to those whom I may never see again. Everyone has a story... Some are stories of hope, but many are not. I know there's a lot of hurt and anxiety in this world and I don't know anyone who couldn't benefit from coming in contact with someone who's just nice and uplifting and willing to take the time to look them in the eyes and show them human kindness...I'm going to work on that in mynown life. I'm thankful for this time I've had to sit and take it all in...and to share a smile with some people with whom I'll never know their story...Layovers may not so bad after all:)

Friday, April 20, 2012

From doctor's pastor's wife: Let the party preparations begin...change is in st...

From doctor's pastor's wife: Let the party preparations begin...change is in st...: Cody's cap and gown Graduation announcements Well we're just 6 weeks away from Cody's graduation and reality is setting in like i...

Let the party preparations begin...change is in store!

Cody's cap and gown

Graduation announcements

Well we're just 6 weeks away from Cody's graduation and reality is setting in like it or not.  Cap and gown is in...we ordered and received the announcements in the mail...hotel arrangements have been made for family coming to town...and I'm now starting to plan his party.  Let me just say, I love to plan parties, but this one is different.  I have not been ready for this day to come so I've not been as anxious to plan it.   It is a huge milestone in Cody's life and I know he's ready and excited to graduate and go to college, but for me I see it also as the end of a season in our life....and that's hard for me.  I don't like letting go and that's what I'm having to do in a way.   I will plan a great party though and it will be a fun weekend of celebration...afterall, it's about Cody and not me right??:)

So in preparation for the big weekend, we are busy getting the house ready for our friends and family...  touch up painting will be done...carpets will be getting will be purchased and planted around the house...all for this once in a lifetime event for our son.  I mean he only graduates from high school once!!  It's crazy what we do to get ready for these big events!!  I'm excited that my house will be, after four years of living in it, almost just as I would want it:)  Of course, I'd like to get some new furniture too, but Scott is making me draw the line somewhere...he's no fun:)

As we prepare for this exciting time, I can't help but think about the next several years and what they hold.  We will be going through a lot of change and, although I'm sad in many ways, I'm anticipating God to do great things.  Zach will graduate from high school in 2014 and as well, around that same time, Scott will be finishing up his doctorate.  As much as I'm ready for Scott to be finished, I'm not ready for Zach to graduate and to be an empty I really don't want to wish the years away.

In my life, there has always been change...and with each change, I've been able to look back and see God's hand at work.  I lived in one town practically my whole growing up years.  Since marrying Scott almost 21 years ago,  we've moved 6 times all over the US!!   I've had to learn to adjust to each change and I know with this next chapter in our lives, I'll adjust as well.  I know that eventually we'll move again (I'm hoping to the place we'll retire:), and when we do I'll be ready for the next big adventure???  As unnerving as it can be at times, I know that once again, it'll all be ok.

Obviously, moving isn't as overwhelming as the thought of Cody going away to college, but change is change and I know from experience that it's hard.   Although it can be difficult, it can also be a really great thing!  I'm excited to see the direction that Cody decides he wants to take in his life and how God is going to use him in amazing ways.  He's a great kid (ummmm...young man:) and I am so proud of him!!  Instead of focusing on how sad I'm going to be when he heads off to college (as well as not embarrassing him or myself by being a blubbering mess:), I want to focus on the good things that are in store with yet another significant change in our lives.  I want to enjoy life today and anticipate, not dread, what the next few years hold...I know it'll be so much more enjoyable that way.  These ARE exciting let the party preparations begin!!

.I have a hard time remembering this sometimes...


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stepping out of my comfort zone...

life begins at the end of your comfort zone
So very true!!
Do you ever feel like you want to do more, but don't know what to do or where to even start?  That's where I feel like I've been living in the last year or so.  I am very blessed to have all that I have and am passionate about what I do!  I love having my own business that allows me time freedom and flexibility while helping and educating others about skin care and nutrition.  It's a blast and so rewarding!!  So, for me,  it wasn't about wanting to change what I already was more about expanding my plate and finding more ways to help as many people as I could.  I just didn't know what that meant for me and I was really struggling with it.  I know a lot of what drives me is in my personality...I'm a free spirit and can get antsy at times, always looking for something new and exciting!  There is good and bad in that I guess...and one thing is that my mind always seems to be on overload of crazy ideas (no comments please:).
love this quote
Yep...this is me:)

It was actually my husband who, a couple months ago while discussing this with me, brought up the idea about me using my Exercise Science background to help others since I love fitness and working out...brilliant!  He's so smart...that's why I married him...:-)  So we began to brainstorm and I got excited about the possibilities!!  I was so grateful when I met with the pastor of my church to talk about what I wanted to do and he was on board too!  The reality is that many people will not go to a gym, either because of intimidation or not wanting to pay a monthly fee, so by offering a program where people can pay just for the classes they want to attend at a greatly discounted cost, we can help people reach some of their physical fitness needs.  I love that!

So, as I posted previously, I got my Zumba certification last month and began preparations to start a fitness program at my church.  The week after I got my certification, I told my husband that I wasn't sure I could teach Zumba and that maybe I had made a mistake in thinking that I could.   I realized how out of my comfort zone it was and I kind of freaked out!!  I don't like to be up in front of people at all....EVER!!!  And dancing??  What was I thinking??  But then I went back to why I wanted to do it in the first help others get off the couch and get moving...and have fun doing it.  When I went back to thinking of it that way, I began to enjoy coming up with a playlist and learning the moves...even if I didn't move as smooth as the people on the videos:)  Last week was the first week of classes and they went very well!!  It was so much fun watching everyone, of all ages and fitness levels,  laugh and smile as they tried to learn and follow all of the moves.  I'm excited to begin a boot camp sometime soon as well and am finding other people who are interested in teaching other classes as well!

I'm glad I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do something I didn't think I could.  I don't want to look back 10 years from now and wish I would have done more to impact the world around me or do something I was too scared to try.  I've realized that nothing in life is going to just come to me while I sit back and dream about it...I have to get out in this big, scary world and do something...even if it pushes me beyond myself.  I've learned that I can't be all that God intended for me to be if I stay inside of my comfortable little box (or circle:).  I believe that God wants all of us to try and make a difference in the world around matter how insignificant or small we feel we are.

Step out of your comfort zone and see what happens:)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sitting in the back seat....

My youngest son, Zach, has his drivers permit.  I can't believe the baby in our family is now driving!!  He will be 16 in June and I can't believe it!!  Once again, I'm reminded that I'm getting old:)  It's different this time around because he hardly ever rides with Scott or I....he's always with Cody.  At this rate, it's going to be really hard to get the needed hours of driving he needs with one of us before he can get his license.  I think he's only driven a couple hours total since he got his permit back in January.  When Cody got his permit, he always wanted to drive everywhere!  On the other hand,  Zach could care less about driving...he's just like his dad!!  I have to make Zach drive...he'd just as soon be a passenger.  It's really funny how completely different my boys are...but I love that about them!  

A few weeks back on Scott's birthday, we went into Columbus to celebrate and decided to have Zach drive us.  It's a 45 minute drive so we figured it's a good way for him to get some of his hours in.  I wanted Scott to ride up front because, to be honest, I was a nervous wreck!!  After the first 10 minutes of the 3 of us telling Zach what to do, Scott finally said, "Would you two in the back seat be quiet and let me work with him please?"  Can I just tell you how hard it was to sit back there and not say anything???  I had to bite my tongue trying to stay quiet!!  I know those of you who know me would agree that being quiet is not my thing:)  We did make it to town safely though....and, overall, Zach did ok.  We've decided that having all of us in the car was probably not the best way to work with him.  I think we made him more nervous....we're going with the one on one training from now on:)

That car ride reminded me so much of how I live my life though.  I told Scott I wanted him to ride up front and tell Zach what to do and where to go, but I just couldn't stand not being or feeling in control.  I know that, often times, I really struggle with wanting to be in control of things in my life, but the reality is that I can only control so much.  I can control my attitude and actions, but I can't always control tragedy or heartbreak.  Scott could tell Zach where to go and what to do, but ultimately Zach was the one behind the wheel and in control of the car...he just had to listen to Scott and follow his directions.  I believed for many years, through the tragedy and heartbreak in my own life, that God was to blame and I really struggled with trusting and "letting go and letting God," as the saying goes.  I can often worry about the things that I can't do anything about...the todays and the tomorrows of life, but I've since come to believe that no matter what happens in my life, God is with me in every moment and every circumstance.         

I realize that I need to continue to focus on riding more in the back seat.  I don't want to live in fear of what could happen today or tomorrow.  I can't control matter how much I'd like to.  I want to rest in the peace and assurance that God is with me and knows my every concern and fear.  

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.” 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bathing suit ready?? Not me!!

My Zumba certification group:)

I spent all day last Saturday in downtown Columbus getting my Zumba certification.  I'm really excited about it and, at the same time, a little nervous.  In the next several weeks I will start teaching group classes at the church I attend and am looking forward to it, but am really stepping out of my comfort zone to do so.  I have never been a dancer...I was a gymnast and cheerleader, which means stiff moves and 8 counts:) The thing I love about Zumba though is that anyone can do's not just for dancers like I had assumed:)  The reality is I'm never going to have Latin hips, but that's's still a lot of fun and a great workout!!

I decided to start a program based on the huge need for health and wellness.  With my degree in Sport/Exercise Science and Health Education, I have a huge passion for it and I love helping other people reach goals.  What I've learned is that most people want to be healthier, they just don't know how to do it.  There are so many different ideas about what the best way to lose weight or get in shape is,  that it can be very overwhelming to say the least.  My goal for the Zumba class is that everyone has so much fun that they don't realize they're burning calories doing it:)  I'm planning on starting a boot camp class as well, which will be great fun too!!  If you live in Mount Vernon, get in contact with me and I'll get you some info about the fitness classes that will be at the First Naz gym:)  

Of course, along with working out, our diet is extremely important as well.  This is where we miss it often times.  People think that if they're working out then they can eat whatever they want and be ok.  The reality is that if you really want to change your body, it's going to be more about your diet plan than your workout plan.  Fatigue, anxiety, absent mindedness and depression are just a few of the many problems that can be attributed to our diets.  I offer classes to educate people more on this as well and love it!!  I'm thankful that I get to do what I love while helping others!!  

I'm getting so close to forty and I can honestly say that I've never felt better.  Yes, my body cracks and aches a little more than it used too, but that's ok....40 is the new 30 right? :-)  I'm going to continue to work on myself from the inside out and outside in, as well as help others do the same.  I'm not going to let getting older keep me from setting goals and staying fit.  I hope you'll join with me!!  Feel free to email me at or visit if you'd like more info about setting up a plan to get bathing suit ready for the summer or if you just want to feel better!!  You won't regret making the decision to get healthy...I promise!!    


Friday, February 24, 2012

Thrifty is nifty!!

I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be thrifty...I'm sure that most of the people who know me would agree with that:)  Believe it or not, it's happening though!!  I don't know what's gotten in to me, but I have to say that it's kinda fun.  It started with the whole couponing thing and has now spilled over into other areas of my life.  About 6 months ago I made my own liquid laundry soap (see recipe posted below).  I just thought I'd try it and see how it works.  I found everything I needed at Kroger and it only took about 30 minutes to make it...very easy!!  It can be used in HE washing machines and works as well as anything else I've ever used...and the best part, it cost less than $10 to make 10 gallons!!!  I'm guessing, with what I still have left, that it will last me another four or five months!  I can honestly say that I will never go back to buying detergent at the store...I'd rather save the money for some really cute shoes anyway:)  I also purchased some lavender essential oil at The Vitamin Shoppe in Columbus for scent (, but you don't have to do that.

The great thing is that I still have plenty of Borax, washing soda and lavender to make at least a couple more 10 gallon batches.  The only thing I'll have to buy before making some more is a Fels Naptha bar, which is only $1.39.  So if you math people run the numbers, it's really costing even less that what I said.  Also, I went to Lowe's and bought a 5 gallon bucket to store it in and held onto a few of my old laundry detergent containers to refill (half water and half homemade detergent).  Some people have asked where I store the 5 gallon bucket...I just keep it on the counter covered with a towel next to my washer in my laundry room.  Someone told me that I could get a lid in the paint department for the bucket so I'm going to do that!!  That's really about all there is to it...seriously, it's great!!

So in my continual countdown to 40, I'm working on being more thrifty...not only for the savings financially, but also to focus on using more natural ingredients and staying away from the harsh chemicals used in so many products.  My next project is homemade fabric softener and dish soap...before you know it, I'll be making my own clothes...OK, probably not:)  Happy laundry soap making!!  

The Duggar Family - Duggar Recipes :: Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day...the gift of love and life

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted:

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up:

A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing:

A time to get, and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 

A time to rend, and a time to sew; and a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Eccl. 3:1-8
The front of the program at my mom's funeral...Eccl. 3:1-8

My mom and dad on the night they got engaged

My mom and dad right after my older brother David was born
Too funny!!  Oh my Word!!

I got my love of talking on the phone from her for sure:)

My beautiful mom....the last picture I have of her before she died

Most people associate Valentine's Day with romance, love, flowers, chocolate, gifts, etc.  In 1985, on February 14, Valentine's Day took on a whole new meaning of 'love' for me.  That's the day I lost my mom...although she was not officially pronounced deceased until Feb. 18,  the reality is that she never woke up from the accident which happened on Valentine's Day.  I remember those few days 27 years ago like they were yesterday....from the the first night when we spent all night at the hospital unsure of what had really happened or how serious it my dad sitting my brothers and I down in the living room of our house on Briarcliff street in Bethany, OK to tell us that it didn't look like my mom was going to make sitting around the conference table at the hospital with the pastor to find out she was no longer with us.  It was like a really bad dream that I never would wake up from.  As a twelve year old girl,  I lost the woman in my life who had cared for and nurtured me from the day I was born.  My life on that day was forever altered.  Although many years have passed, when I think back on that day, I can still feel an ache so deep it hurts.  It's the type of pain I would never wish on anyone.

The years following my mom's death are a blur and sometimes still hard to remember.  I know that when something tragic happens, especially at such a formidable age,  that can often be the case.  As a teenage girl, I needed my mom more than anything.  I think to most people looking in from the outside, I probably seemed like I was doing just fine.  I laughed and smiled a lot, kept busy, and did my fair share of rebelling too:)  My dad remarried almost a year to the day of my moms death and again, from the outside, all seemed well...the Rothwells were moving on.  The truth is that on the inside, things were not fine....I was dying to have my mom back and to have a "normal" family.

I got married and moved away at a young age, maybe unconsciously hoping I could escape the pain of my junior high and high school years.  I remember going to visit my grandparents in Tyler, TX that first year of marriage and my grandmother giving me a memory album she had put together of some of my mother's pictures, letters, etc.  It is a prized possession that I am so thankful to have.  In the album is a letter that my mother wrote to her parents just a week or so before she died.  I have read it many times and laugh and cry each time I do.  It is long, but I want to share a little piece of it and my mom with you...

Dear Dad and Mom,
Hope this letter finds you both doing well.  All is well up here in snow country.  I think that I shall never want to see another oz. of snow as long as I live.  It has really been something.  The streets will get slushy during the day and then freeze at night making taking the children to school and going to work a true experience.
The kids are all doing very well.  They received their report cards last week and all have 3.5 grade averages and all three are in honors courses.  I guess the thing that amazes me the most is that Katie is in Honors Math.  She does exceptionally well.  You would not believe their questions.  Even Paul gets stumped on some of them.  It is really the strangest thing-the only course that they ask my help in is spelling-imagine that.   I am constantly going to the bottom of the stairs and yelling "either turn down the stereo or else"-Paul and I know when to do this as the drapes in the den are standing straight out from the wall.  I can look in the boys room and Timmy is sitting at his desk writing away and his head is just a bobbing up and down like a yo-yo.  He'll go on like this for a few seconds then he'll have a 'spas' attack and start drumming his finger and pencils on the desk.  The he'll calm down and go back to bobbing his head up and down.  Now note this is all done to extremely loud music.  Yet I can go over and tap him on the shoulder and he'll bounce off the ceiling 6 times.  Can you figure it?  Now David sits at the kitchen table-he is up and down out of his chair watching whatever we're watching on the t.v.-yet he maintains an A average.  Katie, on the other hand, lays on the bed and somehow pulls out a 3.5 average while talking on the phone for 2 hours at a time.  Now tell me what possibly can be talked about for 2 hrs?  Void that question.  However two weeks ago she got herself grounded for 2 weeks because she and a bunch of girls and boys went over to this boys house to listen to records till after dark then shows up at the gym at 7:00 for David's basketball game.  I was near frantic and Paul was ready to call the police.  She say's "I forgot to call-y'all said I could stay at school till David's game and watch the first 2 girls games."  We said "yes we did, but you weren't to leave they grounds."  So this was why she got herself grounded.  Katie is a precious gal, but I don't know about the coming years.  She is a very well liked girl in her school and although this is good, it still worries us.  All we can do is to try to stay on top of the situation.  Paul and I count ourselves as being two of the luckiest parents alive.  We so love our 3 children!

She goes on to talk about a few other things and ends with telling my grandparents how much she loves and appreciates them and how special they are to her.  Wow!  I love having memories of her to hold onto...and BTW, I think that was probably the first of many groundings for me:)

It was a year after receiving the memory album from my grandparents that I held my firstborn son in my arms and I, for the first time, understood the love of a mother.  There's nothing like it!   At every milestone in my life, I've yearned for my mom to be there. I know she would have loved being a grandma.  I have often longed for a mother to call and talk to about my life like others do with theirs.  With Cody's graduation coming up, I so wish she could be here.  I have had women over the years that have stepped in and been mother figures in my life and for that I am so thankful and blessed....but no one could ever replace the love that I know my mom had for me...because I know how deeply I love my own children.  I'm sure I would have disappointed her at times over the years if she were still here, but I would hope she would be proud of who I am today.

Valentine's Day is a day set apart to show our love to the special "one" in our life, but for me it's so much more.  Valentine's Day to me is a reminder that life itself is a gift... and the fact that I have the privilege to love and be loved makes it worth it.  On this Valentine's Day I want to invest more in the people I love because time is more precious than anything else I can give them.  It's not about getting gifts and candy, but about giving all of myself to the ones I love...on Valentine's Day...and every day.  I'm thankful for the 12 years that I did have with my mom and will continue to cherish the memories.  Have a great Valentine's Day!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Cleaning out the closet!!

Before....yep, it was bad!

Organized scarves
Clean closet....still have more I'm working on, but it's much better:)  And yes, that's a shoe bench that my boys recycled and gave to me for Mother's Day:)

My closet has been a ridiculous mess and it's been driving me crazy!!  Every time I go in there to look for something I'm tripping over things and digging in piles to find what I'm looking for.  I've been slowly, but surely, working on organizing it (like I always am), but it's kind of an overwhelming task to me.  I've been trying to get rid of things I never wear and find better ways to keep everything organized.  I am still working on weeding through my closet and finding more to get rid of because I KNOW there is so much I never ever wear!!  My problem is that, as I get rid of stuff,  I accumulate more!!!  Yes, I know how that's a problem:)  The good news is that I've put myself on a shopping budget (see my budget post) so I am not spending like I used too, which has been great for me.  I know that I don't NEED any more stuff...I just love shoes and clothes!!  The crazy thing is that I hold onto things that I think I need, when reality is, I'll probably never wear them again and I definitely don't need them!  

Why is it so hard for me to let go of things that I don't even wear or need anymore?    As I was in my closet cleaning, I started thinking about how I do the same thing in my life that I do with my clothes/shoes.   Whether it be relationships, hurts, anger or just stuff, letting go really stinks sometimes.  It's just not easy to let go of things, even if we know deep down it's the best thing to do.  I've been thinking about this a lot because it seems that lately I've talked to a lot of people who are struggling with this issue of letting go.  I know, for me, that this has been a huge struggle in my own life.  The reality is that, whether or not I need these things in my life or not, I may not really want to let them go.  Does that make sense??   I hold onto things that if I would just let go, it seems my life would be so much easier, but it's so hard to do sometimes.

The memory is a great thing in many ways and a curse in others.  I have so many wonderful memories that I look fondly back on, but I also have a lot of bad memories that I would just as soon I'm sure most of us do.  Wouldn't it be so nice to be able to hold on to the great memories and erase the not so great??   I would love to say that I have a great amount of peace all the time and only look back at the bad memories as a learning experience, but if I'm honest with myself (and y'all) that's not always true. I sometimes really struggle letting go of the junk!!  I've been hurt, either by people or circumstances in my life...some because of my own bad choices and some things beyond my control...and I've learned that I have to remind myself on days that I'm really struggling with these things, that who I am is not based solely on where I've come may be a part of me, but it doesn't have to define me.  I can learn from the past....and trust me, I have....but sometimes the pain and hurt linger.

The good news is that I've learned and am continuing to learn that as I let go of the things in my life that can keep me from moving forward, it is freeing.  There's a saying that I love and may have quoted before....Leave the broken, irreversible past in God's hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.- Oswald Chambers   I know that God has been faithful in helping me with this area of my life and I'm so thankful!  Cleaning out the closet of my life is something I will have to always work on I know, much like my closet in my house that I'm constantly having to clean out. There are times when I'll put something in the Goodwill bag, only to get it back out because I think there's a slight chance I might wear it again....only months later to realize I haven't even thought about wearing it, and I put it back in the Goodwill bag.  It's such a good feeling to finally take the bags of clothes from my house to Goodwill and get rid of them. In much the same way, there are things in the closet of my life that I will put away, only to pull it out again and hold onto it for awhile until I realize it's not doing me any good to hold onto it anymore and I have to consciously put it away again.  I know that real peace only comes when I finally let go and take the stuff in my life to the throne of my Father and lay them at His feet.  I'm so thankful that I can rest in the assurance that in letting go, I can have a peace that life will go on and greater things are in front of me. 

I love that I can walk in my closet now without tripping over the's a great feeling!!  Cleaning out the closets in my life and letting go of the junk in it is a great feeling too!!  So in my countdown to 40, the ninth thing that I've learned is that holding onto things in my 'life's closet' can hold me back from finding true peace....and it's not only needed, but freeing!!   I'm going to focus more on doing just that!   

Monday, January 23, 2012

Write it down and get busy!! it really almost February??    I don't know about you, but I have always struggled with January.  In one sense, it's an exciting time thinking about all that the new year holds, but it can also be a downer month after all the festivities of the months prior.  I absolutely love the holidays and all the hustle and bustle so when life slows down, I really don't like it.  The fact that I live in Ohio, which can be very dreary and cold in Jan, Feb, Mar, and even April can make it that much harder for me.  I learned a long time ago that I need sunshine...and lots of it!!  The good news is that it's actually been a very mild winter here so far, which has been great!!  The sun has come out quite a bit and it's not been unbearably cold....although things have changed in the last week to snow and cold....I guess I knew it would happen eventually:)

I'm not really one who sets New Years resolutions.  I do spend time reflecting on the past year and thinking of things I can improve on in the coming in a sense, maybe that's making resolutions, but I guess I just don't call it that.  I do know that the gym I go to is always more crowded from the first of January till mid February so a lot of people do make resolutions to get in shape....seems like that's always the BIG resolution for people and that's great, but why don't people stick with it then?  I know some do, but it seems the vast majority don't.  Maybe it's because people don't see results as fast as they want to and it's hard so they give up.  Isn't anything in life that's worth achieving going to take time and be hard though??  I have to remind myself of that when I set goals and don't feel like I'm achieving them as fast as I'd like to.  There are times that I want to give up on my goals....I get frustrated and tired....I struggle with belief in myself that I can do it....I feel inadequate or undeserving....BUT then I look back at last year and see how far I've come and know that I want to do even better this year!!  Just like when I exercise, I know that it's a daily process.  I don't get in shape and stay in shape by going to the gym every once in a while or just when I feel like it,  and I definitely don't get in shape by just thinking and dreaming about it...I do it by going to the gym several times a week and being consistent.  It's hard...I have weeks that I don't do as well as I'd like to....and I'm not always in the shape I want to be in, but I know that it pays off to stick with it...and I have for many years now.  

I know that having goals is a good thing...I'm always thinking about my goals and talking about them, but it's been said that when you put your goals in writing and make them realistic and attainable, they're more likely to happen and to be honest, I'm not always good at doing that.  When I've trained for half marathons (and it's been a while since I have...dumb injuries:), I've printed out a training schedule and put it on my fridge so I knew what to do every day for the 12 weeks leading up to the race.  I knew that if I followed the schedule that when it came time for the actual race I'd be prepared,  finish and hopefully even beat my personal record.  It takes time and hard work to get to the race...but it's so worth it to cross the finish line!!  I want to make this more of a focus in other areas of my life as I continue my countdown to 40....writing out a plan and working on it daily.  There's a saying I've heard that is so true... "the reason people quit something is because they look at how far they have to go instead of looking at how far they've come" breaking down my goals and writing out a plan, it makes it seem more attainable and not so overwhelming.  I've come a long way and 2012 holds a lot of exciting possibilities!!   I better get busy!! :-)    

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012...a new chapter in our lives

& Happy New Year!!

I can't believe it's January 2012!!  We had a great Christmas traveling to spend time with family and friends!  I honestly can't believe it's January already!!  

We had the opportunity to be a part of a really fun Christmas surprise this year for my 13 year old niece.  My twin brother called about a month before Christmas and told us he'd found a breeder of Shorkie (Shitzu & Yorkie) puppies in Mount Vernon and that Morgan (my niece) wanted one.  We went and looked at the puppies and helped pick one out.  As well, we agreed (well really offered:) to bring the puppy to Oklahoma City on our way to Dallas for Christmas with Scott's family.  About a week before we were heading out of town, we decided to go pick her up so we could enjoy some time with her before leaving town.  We absolutely fell in love with Maggie!!  She was the most adorable little thing and we did not want to say goodbye to her.  I didn't realize it would be so hard!!  I took videos and pictures of her like I would one of my was crazy!! 

Isn't she cute???

Sleeping on Scott's arm while he was driving:)

The whole time we had her I had to keep telling myself, "she's not mine, she's not mine, she's not mine!"  I would have kept her if I could have, and so would've the rest of my family!!  I honestly think if it weren't for the fact that our dog, Max, really wasn't fond of having another dog around, we'd have been tempted to go get her sister:)  Of course, I do know puppies are a lot of work though.  It was definitely like having a baby around...I had to watch her all the time.  I had to take her outside constantly to try and get her to go potty...and she'd still potty in the house now and again.  If I wasn't careful, I'd step on her because she followed me everywhere and she was so tiny.  And she'd cry every time I put her in her kennel, which killed me!!  I really didn't mind taking care of her though, and as we drove away without her, as excited as we were for my brother and their family, we were really sad to not have her with us anymore.  I mean, we knew she wasn't ours to begin with, but we loved her!!

As I think about 2012 and what we have going on in the next year, at the front of my mind is Cody graduating and us having to drop him off at college next fall.  Honestly, I get teary eyed just thinking about it....I'm so not ready!!  I love having him in our home and being his mom...I'm so proud of the young man he's becoming!  I know that next year there will be a void in our family and it makes me so sad.  I hate to compare the thought of leaving my son, who we've raised since birth, at leaving a puppy, that we had for less than a week.  It's obviously not the same thing, but bear with me for a minute:)  In much the same way that I had to keep telling myself that the puppy wasn't mine, I got to thinking that Cody, although my son, is really not mine either.  God gave him to us to raise him and help prepare him to go out into the world and make a difference.  When he was just a newborn baby, we stood before the church and dedicated him to the Lord.   He's a child of God, who's been entrusted to us for a short time.  I love my boys more than life itself and would do anything for them, but I know the time is coming (much sooner and faster than I'd like) that I'll need to release them and pray that they make wise decisions about their future as they venture out on their (almost:) own.  

So, although I'm sad to think that 2012 is the year that our family dynamics will change with Cody going away to college, I'm happy for him and know he's going to do great things with his life!!  I know God will use him to bless others as he has, and continues to, bless our family.  So, through spending a week with a cute little puppy, I have been reminded that all will be ok in the coming year...I just need to keep telling myself in the times when I struggle with letting him go, "he's not mine, he's not mine, he's not mine."   Happy New Year!!