Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You Can't Live With 'em; You Can't Live Without 'em

MEN! Well, one in particular. I have been at odds with my husband over the past week. He finally came to realize that he was wrongly taking it out on the rest of the family. We got everything straightened out Christmas night. He has been great ever since. He admitted that he was having a hard time spending his first Christmas without his mom. We were able to get out of town for a while and reconnect. He went back to work today, and I missed him so much! How can you be so apart one minute, and then right back into love the next? Love works in mysterious ways.
I was listening to the radio today and I heard the perfect song that describes our relationship to a "t". It is Alicia Keys, "Fallin". Do you have a song that describes your relationship with your man? Please share...



Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thank God for Random Road Trips


So I got out of bed Friday morning after Christmas and starting thinking about what I was gonna get accomplished for the day. Hubby had been on edge lately but was beginning to lighten up, finally. I was feeling pretty good about the day when hubby got up and said that he wanted to take me shopping at a huge mall in Chattanooga. Well, I though that was a GREAT idea, especially since I had to buy my own Christmas present just so I would have something to unwrap on Christmas morning! Besides, what girl DOESN'T love to go shopping?! So we set out for Chattanooga. We stopped in Trenton, GA for a meal at Randy's, home of the 48 ounce burger.

I only had a 5 ounce one, but it was delicious. Then we headed on to Chattanooga. We almost had a wreck on the interstate when some vehicles up ahead of us started putting on their brakes. I thought that there must be a wreck up ahead of us that we couldn't see yet. But it turned out that there was no wreck...just stupid people who couldn't drive. We recovered from that little incident and made it to the Hamilton Mall in Chattanooga. It was pretty packed since it was the day after Christmas. We found refuge from the crowds in Barnes and Noble. Oh! How I love bookstores! We made our way to Starbucks inside the bookstore. I had a toasted marshmallow mocha latte. We perused the bookstore while sipping our lattes. I could have spent all day in there! I ended up buying a book on organizing since that is what I am going to be working on in the upcoming week. We walked around the mall some more and then decided it was time to be moving on. It was beginning to get dark, and I dreaded the long ride back home. I mentioned that it would be nice to just find a place to stay the night and then head back home in the morning. After wandering around for a few minutes, we decided to head on to Gatlinburg. Talk about a long ride!! But, I knew it would be nice. We arrived in Pigeon Forge first. They are in the midst of Winterfest, and the Christmas lights were beautiful! We drove through Pigeon Forge. It is more of the entertainment/amusement rides of the two cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We wanted to find a hotel in downtown Gatliburg so that we could just get up and walk down the street in the morning. We had no such luck. We opted for a stay at the Sydney James on Airport road. We got a room with a fireplace (that we could never get to work) and a jacuzzi. Also, it had a balcony on the back and a creek running right below. It was a nice room. The next morning we got up and went into Gatlinburg. We had instructions from our oldest son to go to the Mountain Mall and purchase some good pipe tobacco. So, that became our mission. We had to wait a while until they actually opened, but we made our purchase and decided to go back to Pigeon Forge for brunch. We went to the Golden Corral and ate. Then we started home. Hubby had seen a Bass Pro Shop on the way in, so we stopped by there. We had never been to one, so it was a welcomed delight. It was huge, 2 stories. There were live, enormous fish in a large aquarium, a shooting range, and anything you would ever need for your outdoor adventures. Hubby Kevin bought a Bass Pro t-shirt before leaving. We then made our way back home. Although it is always nice to be back home from a trip, there is also a type of depressed feeling that comes with it. I don't know exactly why. I guess it's just the fact that you can get away from it all for a time, but eventually, you have to come back to reality and the stuff of life. But I certainly did enjoy my unexpected random road trip.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Mourning

My mother-in-law died, unexpectedly, last May. So, this is our first Christmas without her. It has been hard, especially for my husband. He was the baby of the family. It doesn't help that mental illness, such as depression, runs in his family. He has been on medication for it for several years. I have come to realize that he doesn't process things like I think he should, and it is hard for me to remember that, at times. But, he has been on edge lately. Sometimes it is hard on our family. He seems bitter, and we have to walk on egg shells around him for fear that we will get the brunt of his negativity lashed out at us. It's only words, but sometimes they hurt just as bad as physical abuse would. I try to explain it to my teenage sons. "This is dad's first Christmas without his mom. This is the way he is dealing with it." They hear me, but I don't think they realize the toll that mental illness takes on someone who suffers from it. They don't understand that people with mental illness think and act differently than we do. "Why can't he just think about good things?," they ask. It doesn't work that way. Believe me, I sure wish they did! But no, he will have to work through this his his own way, in his own time. And, we need to be here to support him every step of the way. Things will get better. Time heals all wounds. In the meantime, we feel the loss, too. I lost a great mother-in-law. My kids lost a wonderful grandmother. Her loss has changed the dynamics of our extended family. My father-in-law has learned how to wash his own clothes!! He has become remarkably independent since living for so long with a loving wife who waited on him hand and foot. My sister-in-law, being the only daughter, has also cried many tears since that fateful day when she learned that her mother had suffered a heart attack at the wheel. The two other sons have been dealing with it in their own way, as well, although I don't know how, personally. I'm sure their wives could write a lot of what I have written about my husband.

I just thought it appropriate to ask you all to remember those of us who are suffering the loss of a loved one this Christmas season. We will go on with our celebrations, but it will never be the same...

I'm Spending Christmas With Jesus Christ This Year

I see the countless Christmas trees,
Around the world below.
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars,
Reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away that tear.
For I'm spending Christmas,
With Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs,
That people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare,
With the Christmas choir up here.
For I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description,
To hear the angels sing.
I can't tell you of the splendor,
Or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas,
With our Savior, face to face?
I'll ask Him to light your spirit,
As I tell Him of your love.
So then pray one for another,
As I lift you eyes above.
Please let your hearts be joyful,
And let your spirit sing.
For I'm Spending Christmas in Heaven,
And I'm walking with the King
.
~© Wanda Bencke ~

~In loving memory of Patricia Eason Rowell, 1940-2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Pleasant Surprise

I got a little carried away yesterday with my frustration, I'll admit. I just needed to blow off some steam, so I resorted to doing it via blog. I hope you all will understand. I have an update. I came home from work today to find my home all neat and orderly! 2 of my boys decided to clean up. They didn't have to go to school all day, so they used the time to help out mom by straightening, washing dishes, washing clothes, vacuuming, etc.! It felt so good coming home to that! I told them to please help me to keep it this way. That in itself is hard work. But at least it is all done in the beginning. Maintaining it should be easier. I'm certainly going to try. I told my boys that this is the best Christmas present they could ever give me. This will give me a chance to start decluttering so that there will be less stuff to get the house all messy again. So, thank you, boys. You mom loves you very much! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N

Do you ever get frustrated that your family is not on the same page as you? That's where I am at right now. I try to get things looking neat around my home, but they won't even try to keep them that way! It's a constant battle, and today I am just frustrated. Frustrated that no one else seems to appreciate the effort I put forth. So goes the frustrations of living in a house full of males! Do they not see the dirty dishes that they have left strewn throughout the house. I do! Do they not see the full trash can that needs to be emptied? I do! Do they not see the dirty laundry that is strewn throughout the house and needs to, at least, be put in the laundry room? I do! Do you get the point? Sometimes I wonder why I even try. Would it ever get so bad that they would finally do something about it? Who knows? It's more than one person can handle. Why do I even try?!! I guess I just need to take a chill pill and fah-get about it...but it just stares me in the face saying, "Clean me! Sort me! Put me away!" Okay, I realize it sounds like I'm going crazy. In fact, I think I am...at least for today. Oh well, tomorrow is another day...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

God Is Aways There

He's always there. We may not always feel His presence, but He is there. Through our darkest days, he's always there.

Isaiah 41:10 (New International Version)
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.



Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Verdict is In on the Tree

The dilemma has been solved. Tonight we put up our artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree. I was hoping to get it all decorated, but I waited a little late to start on it. So, all I can say at this point is that it is up, and it is lit. I have shaped it so that the bare spots are covered. It could use a little more shaping, but it looks pretty good. It has multi-colored lights on it. I miss the lights that we used to have. They had several functions that would do various patterns. These just stay solid. Tomorrow we will drag out the Christmas decorations and make it all festive. I look forward to pulling them out and remembering when/how each one was acquired. I know I have a lot that the kids made in school. They are very special to me. Sure, I love the beautifully decorated trees like you see in the stores, but I'll take mine over theirs any day. My tree will represent scenes from my family's life throughout the years, from the reindeer made out of Popsicle sticks with the stick on eyes that each of my children made to some ceramic ornaments that I painted when I was a little girl. Tomorrow I'll get them out, and I'll get my boys to help me to decorate it. I'll post a picture for you along with pictures of some of the ornaments and the story behind them! Check back Sunday night. Maybe we can share some stories about our ornaments.

Finding Quiet Time


It's 5:41 on Saturday morning. What am I doing up?! There's a perfectly good explanation. You see, I live outnumbered in my home. Out of 3 sons, my husband, and 2 dogs, I am the only female in my home! And we all know that us girls gotta have our quiet time, which ever way we have to get it; whether it's locking ourselves away in the bathroom for a nice long bath or getting up at the break of dawn while everyone else is asleep! Rarely, am I home alone, so I have to find times like these where I can relax and reflect. I do love my family, but it gets loud around my house at times. There are those times where the video game is blaring, the radio is on, and someone is playing music in another room. I just want to scream, "Calgon! Take me away!" So here I sit with my trusty laptop early Saturday morning. All is quiet except for the humming of the central unit bringing welcomed heat into my home on a cold Winter morning. The coffee is brewing, and I have a whole uncharted day ahead of me. I tell myself that I'll take a nap later on in the day, but I rarely do. When I was younger I could sleep until noon, but as I have gotten older, I find myself waking earlier to the prospect of what a new day provides. It's a chance to slow down and think about the day ahead and all that I hope to accomplish. Who knows how long this quiet time will last. I try my best not to make much noise as to wake my husband. The kids would sleep until the afternoon if I would let them...and sometimes I do. It's just another way that I get to be alone in a house full of people. So, now I'm going to pour a cup of hot coffee, sit in my recliner and just enjoy the calm, quiet morning. How do you get your quiet time?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just As I Am: What's It Saying?

Hymns. We sing them Sunday after Sunday. Sometimes they become mere repetitions. We sing the words, but do we actually HEAR what we are singing? What was the writer conveying when he/she wrote the song? I thought of this song this morning. It is often used as an altar call. A song to beckon an unbeliever to come to Christ. I have broken it down into what I think it says. To me, it's pretty straightforward, but you might have a different take on it. So, read through it and think about what it says. If you have anything you would like to add, please put it in the comments. I may go back and use some of your comments and add them to the post.

JUST AS I AM: written by Charlotte Elliot in 1835

Just as I am! : No bells or whistles. Just me. Right here. Right now.
without one plea,
but that Thy blood was shed for me,
and that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee : I don't ask for anything but I realize that you shed your blood for ME, and You are calling for ME to come you.
Oh Lamb of God! I come! I come!

Just as I am! : Just me again. Just the way I am. I don't have to change anything to come to You.
and waiting not,
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot: I don't have to wait. Your blood can cover ALL my sins right here, right now if I just ask.
Oh Lamb of God! I come! I come!

Just as I am! : Just me again. Right here. Right now. The way I am.
Thou wilt receive, : You will not turn me away.
Wilt welcome, : You WANT me to come...You've been waiting.
pardon, : You will forgive me of all my sins.
cleanse, : Your blood will wipe away my sins
relieve, : Ah! The best part! Relief, at last! To know I am YOUR child, and I don't have to worry about all the sins of my past, for they are cast away. You've got my back!

Because Thy promise I believe: God, you gave Your only begotten son, Jesus, that WHOsoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). I believe in Jesus and I believe Your promise.

Oh Lamb of God! I come! I come!

If you have never accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and you feel led to do so, please click here. You don't have to be in a church. You can do it in the presence of your own home. It is a simple act of faith that will change your life for the better. May God bless you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dilemma: Real Tree or Artificial Tree?



It's time to put up the Christmas tree. But, I have a problem. About 2 years ago we bought a pre-lit artificial tree. It is really pretty and quite easy to put up. However, my 3 sons want a real tree. You know the kind. The kind that dries out before Christmas gets here, and pine needles fall everywhere when you barely touch it. If I give in and get a real tree, I will have to go buy more lights, as the half of old ones are burned out. I have always loved a real tree. It's just the hassle of it that bothers me. First of all, we have to go try to find the "perfect" tree. Then, we have to haul it home. Then, we have to get it in the stand straight, all the while getting stuck and poked by the needles, not to mention the sap! Then, we have to let it "fall out" before decorating it. Is it worth it? I don't know. I guess that's the real question. Of course, I could put up a real tree AND the artificial tree. But my house is not very big. We have to make room to put up ONE tree. I also thought about going down into the woods close to my parents' home and seeing if we could find a tree. It wouldn't be one of the nice sturdy trees like the kind you buy, just one of those regular cedar trees. But, we could make some memories by doing this. I think it would be fun. We could get one small enough to go in one of the corners of our house and then put of the artificial tree, as well.

So, I need your input. Do I just put up the pre-lit artificial tree that I already have? Do I honor my sons' wishes and get a real tree? After all, they are getting older and won't be living at home forever. Or, do I try to reach a compromise and do both? If I do this, that just means more work for me. The artificial tree will be there ready and waiting WHENEVER I decide to use it. What are your thoughts? What do you do at your home? Leave me your comments and suggestions. I'll post again and let you know what I decided to do.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Light-Hearted Thanksgiving Poem




I found this very amusing. I hope you all enjoy it...


Twas the Night of Thanksgiving
With apologies to Clement C. Moore, author of 'A Visit From St. Nicholas'

'Twas the night of Thanksgiving, But I just couldn't sleep.
I tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep
The leftovers beckoned --- The dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation with all of my might.

Tossing and turning with anticipation
The thought of a snack became infatuation.
So I raced to the kitchen, Flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge full of goodies galore.

I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
Till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground !!

I crashed through the ceiling. Floating into the sky,
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie,
But I managed to yell as I soared past the trees ... Happy eating to all! (Pass the cranberries, please)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Everything Give Thanks

This morning in church our pastor preached on 1 Thessalonians 5:18..."In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Just to read this without thinking about it, you would assume that Paul says to give thanks for everything. But look a little closer. It doesn't say "for" everything. It says "in" everything. If we give thanks for everything, we are giving thanks for sin, too. We don't want to do that! To give thanks "in" everything means to give thanks for God in ALL circumstances.

Sometimes we go through trials, and circumstances are not what we would like for them to be. But, God puts us through these trials to help us to grow and become more like Him. It is in these trials, that we learn to trust in Him. We grow. So, we should be thankful that God is dealing with us in this way. He is preparing us for His kingdom. He didn't say it would be easy. It is easy to give thanks during the good times. It is much harder when things aren't going good. I don't always do this. My family has gone through some pretty tough times. I have even questioned God as to why he was putting us though a particular situation. The last thing I wanted to do was to thank Him for it! But, this is the will of God. We won't always know why He allows bad things to happen to us. But, we'll know His purpose when we get to Heaven. Our eyes will be opened, and it will all make perfect sense. So, just know that God is in control.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." As I was researching for this blog post, I came across this amazing video of Nick Vujicic. After watching this, I realized that if this guy can give God thanks and praise, how much more should I do the same?! I hope this touches you and blesses your heart the same way that it did mine. And remember...IN everything, give thanks. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ode to My House Shoes



I love my house shoes.

They are so comfy and cozy.

It just feels wonderful to take off my shoes at the end of the day and slip into my fuzzy house shoes.

I also love slipping them on first thing in the morning when I get out of bed.

Mine are burgundy.

They are the kind that have the big cushion on the bottom.

They just make my feet feel good.

If I ever lose them or misplace them, I can't stand it.

I've gotta have my house shoes!

Don't even think about coming and stealing them from me.

You get your own!

I would hate to have to hunt you down and beat you up for my house shoes...but I will!

These are MY house shoes, and I LOVE them!

P.S. I could use a new pair for Christmas...mine are almost worn out!

What random item do you have that needs an "ode" written to it/them?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On Attending Church

Why do we go to church? Is it to worship and lift up the name of Jesus? Or, has it become a routine just because that is what we have always done? Well, I didn't go to church this morning. I had my own private Bible study between me and God. What I studied was Isaiah 1:1-2:5. What I took from it is this. God doesn't want us to come to Him out of burdensome obligation. He wants us to come to Him as a joyous renewal of our relationship with Him. He wants us to hunger for His Word. He wants us to join in fellowship with other Christians because it strengthens our walk with Him. We are obligated to God. He has provided a way for us. But, we should want to lift up his name and praise Him for his blessings on us. Just think of that. What has He blessed you with today? Are you going to church for the right reasons?

Isaiah 1:11-12 (NIV) "The multitude of your sacrifices--what are they to me?" says the Lord. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?"


Friday, November 14, 2008

WELCOME!!! A Little Bit About Me and The Fam

I finally did it! I am finally launching my new blog. I hope you like it. I deleted my former blog, The Weekend Homemaker, a few weeks ago when I realized that I wasn't much of a weekend homemaker, either! Don't get me wrong. I TRY to keep my house orderly, but with all the testosterone around here...it doesn't happen much! So, I have to constantly repeat the serenity prayer: "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." This is one of those things that is not going to change. There's no use in fretting over it. I just do the best I can. Flylady says, "Housework done improperly still blesses your family." So, that's what I do. I do as I can, and try to get some help now and again from the other members of the family. Which brings me to the introductions of my groovy family. I'll keep it short and to the point. You'll learn more about them as this blog progresses. You may want to refer to their pics in the right sidebar while reading the introductions.

Hubby: Kevin; Deliverer of medical equipment; Loves video games, Mountain Dew, & the Auburn Tigers

Oldest Son: Justin; 19 y/o; Future rock star, drummer/Current college student; Slacker

Middle Son: Chase; 17 y/o; Athletic kid; Enjoys rap music a little too much

Youngest Son: Jordan: 14 y/o; Developing musical ability (saxophone & bass guitar); "The Good Kid" of the family

So, there you have it! There is always something going on in my house. There is hardly a quiet moment to be found! I have to go to work to get a break! But, I love it. Welcome to my groovy life. Please subscribe and follow us in our many adventures. I'll tell you how Justin's music career is coming along, how Chase is doing in football, and Jordan's adventures of high school marching band, concert band, jazz band, and show choir band. There will be random tidbits from me of things that are on my mind, or things I find interesting. Please feel free to comment any of my posts or anything else on this blog. You can also follow my updates on Twitter: follow SandySmile Thanks for visiting...and DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE! :-)