Friday, March 31, 2006

Had to add this quick thought...

If you haven't seen God lately or heard from Him, it's probably not because He's not there. Most likely it's because you haven't been looking or listening. It still blows my mind everytime I think about how much God cares about little ol' me. That thought alone makes my toughest moments in life bearable. I couldn't walk through this life without Him!

Staying grounded.

Staying grounded in my life means that I have to connect with God and keep focused on what truly matters in my life. If you were to count the number of times that I whisper a prayer throughout my day, you would think that I was trying to earn my sainthood status. It's no secret here that I live my life in light of Heaven. I live knowing that there is an endpoint- that God created me for a purpose, that God wants my heart and my worship- which on any given day or at any moment- looks like different things. For me it doesn't just happen Sunday morning in church. In fact, sometimes during my week I worship more in my heart rinsing dishes as I load them into my dishwasher, than I do in my heart on Sunday morning.
Last night, after washing three little girls' hair, I plugged my keyboard into the outlet in front of the bathroom door, and worshipped God while they finished splashing in the tub for 20 minutes. The more they splashed, the louder I sang. They laughed and played and I imagined what it will be like to glimpse Heaven for the first time.
If you haven't imagined what Heaven will be like- I invite you to think about it at some point this weekend. Maybe some spring flowers are starting to pop out of the ground in your yard. Or maybe your life is so full of chaos and stress that you can't handle one more thing on your plate. I invite you to turn your focus to God for a few minutes and see life from a different vantage point. It's amazing to me how looking at life from God's point of view, can put my life back into place.
It puts a little spark into my day- even in the middle of wet bath towels and drippy kids. God will meet you anywhere. I think sometimes He even enjoys bathtime and doing the dishes with us. We just don't think to enjoy His presence here as often as we should. I wonder where He's gonna meet me in my day today?! Goodness knows I can use Him... that's what keeps me grounded.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I should get my own product line...

I must have a little bit of Scrap Etc Event on my mind, so bear with me. Actually some of you die-hard scrappers will probably be ready to head to to place your order for this item- I know what you people are like. If it's funky and new- you just gotta have it!
Hold on for a minute. This is just another design idea I made up in Photoshop this morning. If I had more time I would have done the mixer in a cool, custom pattern, but after yesterday's post I realize I have more important tasks at hand. I am totally digging the idea of designer kitchenaid mixers- even beyond the 240 colors that already exist. I can totally picture a turquoise/orange/green paisley print mixer on my counter. Or a brown and pink polka dot one. How fun would that be to make big batches of buttercream in?!!! And of course I would dig a matching Nitty.Gritty. mixer to go with my tumbler. That would take the cake.
In thinking about and learning some of what is involved with this scrap event I am attending next month I find I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. In a good way, I guess, but still a bit uncertain about what to expect. I love paper and embellishments and design stuff and even different kinds of adhesive... but I'm not really a scrap person at heart. I've only made 2 actual paper layouts in my life. I've done some digital scrapping and I've made plenty of handmade cards- but this event is going to be intense. Here's a good analogy to convey what I am feeling. I have logged a lot of hours in hospitals and ER visits the past few years, and I am fairly comfortable in hospital settings considering how many trips I've taken there. I know generally what to expect when I step through the doors of a medical facility. However, you won't find me performing surgery or even taking vitals. I'm usually more of an onlooker. That's how I feel about this event.
I can tell you that I'm excited about it. I know I'm going to have a great time. I just have this weird feeling other people will wonder what I'm doing there. I'm scared that I may get kicked out of class for not staying on task or finishing a project.
Speaking of project, someone commented that I look like Heidi Swapp- which I take as a major compliment~ so I think I might just make a t-shirt that reads "No. I'm not heidi swapp." =)
To all of you non-scrappers, maybe one day you'll understand all this designer-fun I'm having!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How do you do it?

I have had several nice emails that alude to the fact that I am some supermom that has it altogether. Today I am writing, first, to dispell any myths that you are believing to be true about me in regards to this matter, and secondly, to tell you where I am coming from and what drives me to do what I do. I hope you take this the way I intend it to come off- not as boasting....I am totally NOT boasting about myself. I simply want to share a little bit of how my life "works".
I am a busy mom of 4 kids at home, ages 7, 5, 3 1/2, and just turned 2. My 5 year old has developmental delays and special needs. So, that in itself, if you are at all familiar with child-rearing is a daily challenge and definitely a full-time job.
I have a great support system in my husband and nanny/friend at home. Chip and Rachael help me out in so many things- they carry a lot of the work load that comes from a busy home and schedule; I couldn't do what I do without them. I appreciate all the extra things they do, the little things- like dropping Brock off at school each morning or emptying the dishwasher at night- these things allow me to have my morning quiet time and blog time too.
After the death of my daughter, Teagan, I struggled with so many things as you can imagine, and one of the biggest things was that what had mattered in my life prior to our accident, suddenly lost all meaning. Things like vacuuming the floor, or making the bed. Really earth-shattering details, I know. I happened to have been raised by parents who took pride in our home and how we cared for our things and ourselves. Not in an obsessive or glamorous way, but we tried to keep our place neat- we didn't jump on furniture or let the dishes pile up in the sink, or have junk all over inside our cars. I was really torn after our incident- how the idea of homekeeping and self-care suddenly lost it's purpose. I struggled with finding some sort of balance between my grief and heartache, and the fact that life still had to go on.
I don't remember exactly what it was that realigned my focus; it was probably a combination of time, attitude, and my hubby pushing me to accept the reality of my life.
I realized at some point then, that there were things in my life that seemed meaningless, but they still had to be done. I decided one morning to look at my life as a job- meaning mothering and keeping house and all the routine that goes into that. I realized how much I missed Teagan and that nothing in my life was more important than being a mom and wife. I realized that God had given me my family and that in reality I was being who He wanted me to be. I felt like I was "working" for Him. I think it helped to refocus my priorities in life. I decided I was going to get up each morning and be the best person I could be that day, whether it meant making beds, meals and folding laundry, or giving a statment in court before the local judged handed down the sentence to the woman who killed Teagan. I thought about it this way- if I were working outside my home (which I do as an event coordinator at weddings), I would probably go to work and do my best each day. I would want to impress my boss and coworkers and feel good about what I was doing. I would probably try to earn bonuses or get meet goals...all in the best interest of myself and the people I would be working for. I translated these thoughts into what I was doing at home. Afterall, don't I love my husband and kids 100 times more than coworkers? Of course! So why not try to do my best for them each day?!
This is the attitude I live with each day. But it's important for you to know that I do not always have a perfectly clean home, or 100% happy kids {or hubby!}, or a giddy attitude about dust bunnies and piles of dirty laundry. What I have is satsifaction that I am doing my best and that it does matter, to God and to my family, how well I manage myself and our home. Somedays I would win "Employee of the Year award", and somedays I think I should resign from my position- I'm underqualified.
I do know that God gives me strength to do what needs to get done, He gives me the choice to do the work with a cheery attitude (or not), and He loves me even when I fail at my attempts to be a great wife and mom. I'll admit I still need to work on consistency- somedays I say, "There is more to life than crumbs, so let's just enjoy the moment"...and another day I'm about to go nuts if one more thing gets thrown on the floor. I'm a woman, I have hormones and good and bad days and all that stuff- so it's bound to happen.
The good thing is that each day is a new opportunity for me to do it all again~ this time even better! Now, I best go get my bathroom cleaned up and I think I'll start a load of laundry too!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Short & sweet

In case the suspense is killing you, I thought I'd be nice and tell you all that I have received several emails to my new inbox and so three of you lucky people will be getting some real-life Nitty.Gritty. mail. I have to go back to yahoo and check out those names- but in the meantime, if you still feel the need to send me email, you can still send your address, because you never know when I might send you something for no reason at all. Actually it would be because I just really like mail- plus some weeks I am short on good deeds...and sending random Nitty.Gritty. mail would be the ticket for me in that department.
That paragraph was supposed to be the [short] part of this post. Here is the [sweet] part. If you have toddlers you probably have had issues with foods they like or dislike. If they are anything like my kids- they love stuff with sugar in it. I am pleased to tell you that I came across something that contains NO SUGAR...and my kids will eat it. Get this! Their Hello Kitty Toothpaste has a note on the back side which says, "Contains no sugar." I am so glad to know this- first, that I haven't been scrubbing sugar into their teeth every night at bedtime. That is a load off of my mind. And second, I know my kids are developing good eating habits- I mean this stuff has no sugar and they'll eat it! By the way, don't worry and email me the hotline to poison control...these kids don't eat it every night, and when they do it is a pea-sized amount. Their health is not in jeopardy from brushing. As long as I'm on the topic of kids' eating habits- do you think we could start something- like banding together and as a group getting companies to create tasty and fun kids foods? I'm thinking in particular of Pop-Tarts. There are like a million flavors out there... and though they tout themselves as a breakfast item- these things barely, if at all, qualify for breakfast food. Don't get me wrong, I probably have at least two varieties in my cupboard right now, but among the hundred different flavors- about 3 of them are breakfast and/or healthy. Have you seen the latest? Like Strawberry Milkshake, Cookie Dough, or that new 'Retro Wild-Blue Smurfberry' one. (Okay, I admit, I made that last one up.) I guess where I'm going with this is how come they can't make a tasty stripey Broccoli/Cauliflower Pop tart? Or even a simple Peanut butter and jelly kind? I bet the moms would dig this stuff...and we wouldn't feel so bad about forcing our kids to eat their veggies.
Maybe there are some Kellogg CEO's who read blogs. They'd be smart to enter keyword 'Pop-Tart' and read through the post here.
I'm about through with this "quick" post now... and I have a weird craving for a Smurfy Pop-Tart! Gotta run!

Nitty.Gritty mailbox

It has come to my attention this past week that I have not been receiving all of my emails for some unknown reason. I feel badly about this and am wondering how many of you out there think that I am some sort of stuck-up snob who can't return a well-intended note. Honestly. I'm really not normally a jerk on purpose- except to the telemarketers that call me right at 5:08pm and my 4 kids are running circles around me practically gnawing my legs off because they just realized at 5:00pm sharp that they are famished. You know- it's probably been at least 22-26 minutes since they ate or dumped the last snack that I fed them on the floor- so they're really, truly hungry by 5:08!
Moreover, most of you know that I have a weird obsession with mail. I love getting it, sending it, decorating packages with big colorful return labels, waiting for it, reading it, rereading short, I just like mail. It may be an obsession- but it's one that I have well under control- I am not even on any medication for it or anything. It's perfectly normal and healthy.
So, to feed this small obsession and to hopefully curb the problem of not getting certain emails, I created a new email account for myself today. I am excited to post my address here... and I hope that you are as excited to see it for yourself. In fact, I've decided that the first 3 people to send me email at my NEW EMAIL ADDRESS will get a personal, handwritten piece of Nitty.Gritty mail in their real mailbox. (Just make sure you include a home address for me to mail it to you.) How's that for excitement?! I don't know who should be more excited about this- you or me?!
I now present to you my newest email address:
Please note...the first three people to email me (not to leave a comment) will get Nitty.Gritty mail. I love and still accept comments too. But you already knew that! Now hurry up so that nobody else beats you in this little Nitty game. Go!
Oh yeah, one more thing to note. Of course I still have my other email account- I intend to keep that open and active and I'll still check it about 6 times a day, as usual. You now have two choices when you really want to send me a note, and I now have two places to read online mail. Boy, first Scrap Etc. event and now TWO mailboxes. I wonder what great thing will happen next?!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I love...I mean, LOVE my husband's boss!!

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness! I think you should know that I love my husband's boss, because he is the real reason I just got registered and booked my flight to attend this event next month! Chip is headed to Ireland this fall, with his boss- to golf and enjoy the breathtaking countrysides. I wish them well...but more importantly, I get to attend this Scrap Event- just because they are going on their trip. Lucky, lucky me! I'm not going to Ireland- but I feel like the luckiest one here...and besides, my plane ride will be much shorter than theirs.
So, if you are remotely aware of anything inside this ever-growing scrap-industry, you will recognize some of the faces from this promo and should be excited for all these women, because next month they will get to meet me! How cool is that?! They are about to get a real-life dose of Nitty. Gritty. me. I bet they can hardly wait. As for me...well, let's just say this.
I've waited on John Walsh (America's Most Wanted) and Cindy Crawford (Mother and Supermodel), I've had my appearance with Oprah, and now THIS.
What's next for me? I should check with my agent. Actually I just got confirmation that I will be rooming with 'Knitnpurlgirl' at the event. So, for the next few weeks I don't care how many times I'm caught singing the Gidget theme song or sweeping Lucky Charms off the bed...I know in my mind things are okay with my world.
I'm going to Scrap Etc Event. Yea for me!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Post 100!

Wow! I made it...this is the official 100th post to Nitty.Gritty. I guess I've had more than to say and show you and entertain you all with than I realized several months ago when I started this whole thing. I don't exactly know what I intended this blog to be about or to do for me personally- but it's been great! Really. Your comments make me laugh, or think or click or your blogs and learn about your lives. It's fun and interesting too.
I don't know what it is that makes so many of you keep coming back here. I mean, I talk about stuff like my kids and the stuff they do, like Ava yesterday. She dumped out two bowls of cereal all over my bedroom- no kidding- the bed, the floor, under the dresser...and then walked around stepping on the "crunchies". I was throwing laundry in the wash and trying to make zucchini bread. I thought she was munching breakfast in front of the 'Backyardigans'...nope. When hubby stopped home for a minute [unexpectedly] he sees me (mind you, I was sporting a hankie in my hair and looking a little disheaveled at this point) and says, "Hi Beautiful! What's up?" I smiled back and said, "You said 'Beautiful' a bit sarcastically, and if you really want to know what's up, I just grounded Ava from Lucky Charms until she's at least 8 years old."
I've written and posted pictures from my real life and you still keep coming back here. I told some people earlier this week that we really have become a 'reality-tv obsessed' culture. And blogging, to me, is sort of like that. I think this works because not everyone is interested in the latest Hollywood celebrity breakup, or what kind of drama is playing out in the NBA or even what the media is doing to twist the truth about politics in our nation's capitol. Don't get me wrong... I stay informed; I know what's going on in the world- but it's refreshing to just hang out among other "normal" people and watch their lives unfold and read nonfiction about life.
So, I hope for the next 100 posts to give you more of what you've already found here.
Unedited, unscripted, and occasionally interesting and thought-provoking too. And don't worry, I'm not really grounding Ava from Lucky Charms for the next 6 years of her life. Maybe the next 6 weeks- after all, I believe that the punishment should fit the crime! Have a happy, 100th-post inspired Friday.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What goes around, comes around.

I guess this saying is very true in so many respects. What goes around, comes around. Even fashion styles- which I think is funny- how twenty or thirty years later the things we poked fun of in our parents' closests are the clothes and accessories we pay big dollars to get our hands on. Sometimes we don't even spend big dollars- but we wear the stuff anyway. I am not looking forward to the day that ZUBAZ (is that how you even spell the name of those ridiculous printed pants!!!) or banana hair clips come back into fashion- even though I never wore either of them. They just aren't cute or flattering on anyone!! Just like pink stretchy pants. I'm sorry I had to be the one to say this, but if you own a pair of PINK STRETCHY PANTS- please, step away from your computer slowly, head to your closet or armoire, get those babies out and then RUN with them straight to your closest garbage and do yourself the biggest favor you can today and throw those pants in there...then take a deep breath and tell yourself you will get through this. I'm here for you if you feel you need support. Leave me a comment- or privately email me. I applaud you for taking this leap into your new world- one without pink stretchy pants.
Okay, I will down step down off of my fashion soap box- as if I had any right to be up there in the first place! Someday when I write that book of mine and I go on tour and I'm sitting on the set of the Today Show with the fashionable Katie Couric or Matt Lauer, they will probably have gotten their hands on some photos of me as a adolescent or young adult and they will post them behind me as we discuss my book. You will watch in disbelief that the pictures you see are really me. It's true. I look nothing like myself as a kid, teen or even young married, harried wife and mother. Thank goodness. Aging is being good to me in my thirties so far. I hope I stay lucky in that respect. Not that I think I look so great!- but at least I'm growing into myself and I'm definitely "improved" since so many fashion-mistakes along the way.
This post has gotten off-track from what I initially had in mind when I sat down to write it. I didn't intend to write about fashion at all. It just poured out of my heart and soul. What I wanted to touch on is how our actions affect everybody around us...and sometimes they ripple out and affect people we don't intend, or even plan on affecting. Like what I do here. I write for me. But I realize that my words aren't just hitting me- but many of you come across them and they hit you too. I wish the world were full of people wanting their words and actions to hit others in the best way possible- everyday, all the time. Unfortunately that doesn't happen- some people even try to do and say hurtful things. I don't get that- but it's a part of life and the world we live in. And I myself am not immune to hurtful words. Sometimes I lie to telemarketeers that call me at all hour of the day. Sometimes I tell them they have the wrong number when they really don't. Sometimes I tell them that I can't talk because one of my kids is vomiting in the other room- this is usually a true statement- but I think I intend it to be hurtful to my listener- they usually cut the call very quickly after that.
Today I am going to try to think before I speak. I am going to be thoughtful about my actions. I am going to try to express goodness...and if the old saying is true, goodness will come back to me. Now, if you still have a pair of pink stretchy pants lying around, I encourage you in the nicest way possible, to go throw them out. You'll thank me later. =)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

One Shot...

The title, "one shot" probably means many different things to each person who reads this. From tequila to medicine to guns to a chance... you see? We're all coming from different walks of life. Even two words can bring a myriad of thoughts- none of them right or wrong. It's just sometimes I think we get hung up in our own little worlds, and we walk along going about our business in life within the tiny scope of our own perspective.
I've talked here about how things aren't always what they seem. That sometimes our own experiences or values or lack-thereof can influence what we see and what we choose to believe in this life. Simply by looking at someone or something rarely tells the whole story. That's what's on my mind today.
For some reason I was reflecting on life and the fact that we all only get one shot at it. Most of us have no idea how long that shot is or how many twists and turns will take place within it- but we are given one lifetime. I know it comes up alot, but I can't help but think about the fact that we all are facing death- it's a part of my life after having my own brush with it and staring it in the face when Teagan died. Death is very real to me and a big part of things that have shaped me the past few years. And the truth is that we will all die someday.
I live not fearing death or wondering how it will happen to me (actually I do think about that quite a far I haven't picked the way I'd like to go...still working on that), but realizing that life is a very special thing that I think too often I [still] take for granted. I can get caught up in daily routines and the busyness that we all face in our schedules. I think sometimes I like to step back in my mind and ask myself, "Is this what you want to do with your single opportunity? Are you really living life to its fullest?" Some days I truly think that I am. I also understand that life has ups and downs and even holding patterns. But I know that even in the "dry spells" we can learn and grow and enhance our understanding and a lot of other things.
I guess you stumbled upon my inside thoughts today. The ones that don't really tell you anything new or exciting- but they are just out there for you to consider in your own life. I ulitmately hope that my "one shot" will leave a good impression on all the people that happen to "brush up against me" in my walk through life- whether they be close friends, family or just people that come and go. I would like to feel that within my little world, my one shot served a purpose, and that when it's all said and done I will realize that as I sit and look back from a place in Heaven- whenever that time comes. Have a thoughtful day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Shameless self-promotion

Having some background in design and computer know-how can be a good thing at times. like when you want a blog business card... I simply sit down at my computer and whip one up myself. Now, when I stand in line at the grocery store and see a harried mother behind me, or when I go and get a refill on my Starbuck's coffee beans- I can hand out my own card. I know. It's kind of goofy. But, I figure if can get 200+ comments for writing about "personal body issues", then maybe there are a lot of people who want some "real life" stuff to read about.
Today happens to be a slow day for me. I guess I've hit the "blog-wall" as far as new material goes. So, shoot me some suggestions in my comments, or tell me what your favorite episode was from the Brady Bunch or anything interesting you can think of.
I actually had an uneventful trip to the grocery store today. I've also got that Rachel Ray Raspberry Tart baked up and cooling on my kitchen counter. I'm telling you- scroll down until you find this recipe and do yourself a favor- print it out and make this dessert!
In the meantime, if you bump into me just ask me for one of my cards. I'll be happy to give you one! That's all for this Monday. See ya!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

No ordinary day...

If you've been following this blog for any length of time you just knew you'd see a picture of Teagan here today. It's her birthday, and she's in Heaven and we're down here...not my ideal way to celebrate a birthday, but someday we will all be up there with her and I can't wait!
Teagan loved a good party...balloons, presents, cake, family and friends. However, she had a thing about growing up. When she turned four, she said to me over and over, "I just want to be four forever." I didn't understand why she would say this. I would try to talk her out of it. I'd tell her she was wrong and that it really was so great to grow up and do big people things. I told her how beautiful she was going to look , especially dressed like a princess in her wedding gown someday.
Teagan stood firm no matter what I said, and simply said, "I just want to be four forever." She had two separate birthday parties when she turned four. Twice she got to blow out the candles on her cake. I know in my heart when she closed her eyes and made a wish that she wished "to be four forever". She was killed in July that summer. One of the first things that I thought of when the doctors told me she was gone was, "She got her wish...she gets to be four forever." Maybe that's why I am able to celebrate her birthdays with happiness. I don't know- but it still gives me an occasional chill when I hear her voice saying those words in my head. I know that Heaven is where we all hope to be someday- and she's already there- so I live with an inner sense of peace everyday.
We have lots of big purple balloons at our house today {thank you, Rachael & Emily!!} and the girls definitely know something is going on- but they probably just think it's their crazy momma doing crazy things again. They had their swimsuits and sunglasses on by breakfast and it's been a fairly happy place to be today-a far cry to how we were all feeling this time last week! [If you remember, Wyndham spent the afternoon in the ER on IVs.] Brock was an excited kid when he got a purple lightsaber from Teagan on HER birthday. What a great big sister she is- all the way from Heaven. I even got the coolest pair of purple Victoria Secret loungepants. It's amazing to me how when I set out to find or create joy- that it actually works and comes back to me more than I could have expected.
I hope that you find this to be true in your own life. There is joy and goodness and peace all around. No matter the day, no matter your circumstance- these things are out there, and they are available to everyone of us. Today I've received love, peace, joy and goodness- all in memory of my little girl who had more joy, love and goodness in the 4 short years she had on this earth, than some people have in their whole lifetime. She even got her wish. "Happy birthday, Teagan" from a Mom who keeps getting more joy and love and goodness out of life than I ever deserved. The sun has beamed down on me all day- You and all your angel friends must be smiling and having the party of your life. Thanks for never leaving my heart and soul!

Friday, March 17, 2006

I have no idea why this post talks about Sesame Street!

Today's post is being brought to you by the letter, W, and by the number 12. Remember watching Sesame Street (for some of you it was as a kid...for some of you it was a mere 20 minutes ago) and having this at the end of each show? Well, the "W" here stands for Wow...and the number 12 stands for the number of comments I was just starting to get used to seeing around here.
I say wow, because I've gotten a lot of emails and comments of support in the last couple of days- some from total strangers. I don't mean that you're "strange"; I'm simply implying that we've never met or been formally introduced. So, to every one of you, "Thank you". I appreciate that you feel such empathy for me. I find it somewhat surprising that after all these years my story still has a way of touching people in such a meaningful way. I think a lot of that has to do with who Teagan was to me in my life.
If you had spent any time with her at all you would know exactly what I am talking about. I looked back today at an email I had sent out to my family and friends 4 years ago as the first birthday of Teagan's approached in which we would be celebrating it without her. In this email I listed several things that reminded me of Teagan or specific things that she loved, that I hoped other people would do to honor Teagan's memory. They were things like, buy some purple balloons and let your kids send them up to Heaven to Teagan, rent and watch the movie 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' was the first one Teagan saw in the theatre and she loved it so much she stood up and clapped at the end of it (she was only 3!), buy and listen to the 'The Playground' CD by Tony Bennet or Kenny Loggin's 'More Songs from Pooh Corner'...Teagan loved to sing and dance to these. Those were just some of the ideas off my list.
When I look back and see how I was coping with my loss at that time, I am somewhat amazed myself that I was able to process and react to my situation as I did. I've had so many life experiences since then- I've watched other people around me deal with grief and hurt and pain in life. We all do it differently, and I'm not sure that everyone can relate to how I've been able to come to this point in my life.
I will tell you that St. Patrick's Day makes me think of my Grandma. She is and has been one of the biggest influences in my life, thus far. She claims to be 100% Irish- and we had big Irish dinners every year at her house for years when I grew up. I heard she was pulling off this same meal again this year- including Irish soda bread and potatoes with cabbage that you pour melted butter over. Mmmm. I'm getting hungry just strolling down memory lane!
Back to my story... if you met my Grandma Shirley you would be immediately drawn to her. She has a wonderful sense of humor, a zest for life, and a story of her own. The version she has told to groups of women and churches over the years is too long to share here- so I'll just highlight the main points.
She was left in a hospital by a teenage mother in South Dakota. After 3 months, she was adopted by her parents in Minnesota where she has lived her whole life. There was an explosion and fire in her home which burned her husband and killed her 6 year old son in the 1950's. Her husband was a guinea pig for 2 years of burn treatments at the University of MN hospital- as he had received third-degree burns over much of his body. Three weeks after getting out of the hospital (where he had been for 2 YEARS) my Grandma was driving the family to a birthday party for the afternoon and the car had carbon monoxide poisoning- which put everyone inside of the car to sleep. She hit a guardrail and the car crashed- the impact killed my grandpa and then my grandma spent 7 months in the hospital with broken knees and injuries. I am not making any of this up- I promise you!
Some years later she married and that husband was the grandpa I grew up with and loved with all my heart. He died in 1988 of grandma has been alone since then. But despite the hardships of her life (and remember, I just wrote the condensed version), she was my "funny Grandma". You know how Grandmas are all different?! Well she was the one who always had a silly prank to pull, or a funny story to tell, or a sarcastic way of looking at the "bad stuff in life". I think of all the times I heard these stories, or watched her live out the bad stuff of her life. I guess I didn't know it at the time, but I was tucking all that away to use later (which is now) in my own life.
I had the chance to spend some time with her in Minnesota a few months ago. She has health issues- but she still talks and reminisces and shares her life very candidly. She has given me much encouragment through my trials the past few years- and has constantly prayed for me and offered support. I thought a lot about what it was in her that I will remember most when she is gone. I came up with this statement- which I shared with her during our last visit. I told her, "Grandma, you have had a life of hardships and tragedy... and what I admire most about you is how you walked through this life. You made the suffering look easy."
She was humbled by that- but I told her it was so true. I know she has a strong faith in God and He was the One who helped her along her journey. I have felt the same comfort and peace that He gives in my own life. But, I think it was her example to me that life will throw you some curve balls, and you can let it bring you down or use it to grow and learn.
This St. Patrick's day and night before Teagan's birthday, I hope that I can be my grandma to someone else in their life. I know some of you think I am some sort of superhero (right? at least one or two of you out there, right?....just say so in your comments to me), but I'm really just a person responding to the life I've been given and it just so happens I grew up with one of the greatest role models ever. And then I was given Teagan- and I sometimes think she was truly an angel sent to me by God to redirect my life- and to teach me more than I could ever have imagined.
There you have it. My longest post yet. I just hope that I can be a small source of inspiration- however you might need it in your life. I don't wish my life on any of you- but I do hope that you can learn from it. And I hope someday to be the Grandma who has mattered in someone else's life.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Create your own joy.

Here I am in my Nitty.Gritty. tee. This one is just a bit more subtle than the t-shirt I had originally designed and posted- partly because of the fact I printed and made it myself, and I just didn't want to be so bold right off the bat.
I was thinking of doing another retro-post and write about some of my other fond memories of childhood, including my [I still have her]Mrs. Beasley doll, a tv show called "Emergency" and the fact that I still beat my hubby everytime we play a game of Ms. Pac-Man. In light of the number of comments I got after posting about Gidget, I think I may even have a "flash-back" post at least once a week. You are all such nostalgic people out there!
However, I'm sticking with my inner thoughts and going with my heart and soul, which I may have already spilled here once or twice. The kind of thoughts that reach my emotions and make an appearance once or twice a year. Yeah, those thoughts. By the way, at the end of this, leave me a note if you would come back and read more of this kind of stuff. Chip says everybody has heard it all before- and I say I think it's fresh material for some of you. So, feel free to let me know who is right.
At Christmas I wrote about a festival tree event that Chip and I attended the first Christmas season we were struggling through without Teagan. You can look back in the December archives if you want the whole story. As Teagan's birthday approaches each year, I find myself with similar feelings of sadness and hurt. It's a day that kind of hits me and shouts out to me that the reality of my life isn't fair. No person should have to celebrate their child's birthday without them because that child was killed. And yet here I am. And I know I am not alone. And I don't want pity. And I don't pretend to think that you can ever know how I truly feel. And I would never want for you to know this sting, really. I won't lie to you- it hurts. Even after 5 years- it hurts. Deeply.
I'm getting better at holding back my tears. I'm getting better at breathing through the pain and recognizing the many faces it has and how it shows itself in me. I am proud that I know how much I will always love Teagan and that her life still inspires me and challenges me every single day. I am happy that I can accept her being gone and yet I still feel a connection to her spirit that warms me in my bleakest hours- she will always share a part of my soul and that thought gives me an overwhelming sense of contentment.
I write all that not for you, but for me. I take note of it and see that through death and pain and grief, I have lived and learned and I continue to grow. Teagan's life may have ended in the physical sense- but she herself has lived on within me and made me a better person in many ways.
As her birthday approaches it does indeed bring feelings of sadness and there are twinges of bitterness that spring up for a moment or two. How I wish we could be together again- if only for an hour!- to sing and laugh and touch and hold each other close. I can't imagine the bliss. I'm sure even an hour with feel like it ended too soon.
So Chip and I have had a few years of experience with days such as this. As Teagan's birthday approaches we think of ways to turn our sorrow and hurt into something beautiful and positive we can do in our lives and others- to combat that pain, to share Teagan's life in a meaningful way, and to honor her memory with joy.
One year we sent the production staff at Harpo (ie. the Oprah show) some gourmet chocolates and a bouquet of lavendar roses with a message that said, "Thanks for letting us share Teagan with the world. Enjoy a little treat in memory of our sweetie." We have learned that the best way to overcome hurt is to create your own joy...and in so doing, you can't help but have your own spirits lifted. Even when it hurts to do something in the midst of pain and sorrow, we have found that there is a measure of comfort and sometimes even joy.
This year we are planning on purchasing 9 books off of our school's library wishlist. (Nine books- since Teagan would be turning 9.) They will be donated and have a label inside stating they are in memory of Teagan's birthday. It makes me feel good knowing that her life continues to impact others in a positive way, even though she's gone. I'd like to challenge you to do something positive or fun or joyous not because you know me or Teagan- but simply because you are alive and you have a world of opportunity to do so.
I've already been doing little things this week. I made the baby onesies in the posted picture for a music teacher that is expecting a baby girl in May. I hardly know her- but I know that I like to create and making t-shirts and putting together an unexpected gift made me happy. I've got more things to do before Saturday- but here are some ideas to get you started. Maybe you will send a handwritten note to someone as a total surprise. Maybe you will turn on the CD or radio player and dance with your kids even though they have their jammies on and they are supposed to be getting into bed. Maybe you can smile all day long- and actually mean it inside. Just knowing that you're alive for today; you can create your own joy. And in so doing will touch another person's life in a positive...and maybe even memorable way. That's my Nitty.Gritty. for today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Baby, baby~

Baby Ava, where have you gone? That's what goes through my head when I look back at photos of her just 2 short years ago. My little Ava arrived weighing 5 lbs. 14 oz. and she had a head of dark, soft silky hair. Her skin was smooth and blemish-free, her nose and mouth wrinkled in all the right spots. I stared at her over and over the first several weeks she was home... I couldn't believe how perfect she was- I called her my "Miss America Baby" because she was just so flawless. She had a quiet, sweet diposition to match her looks. I soaked up every minute of that newborn baby-phase that flies by all too quickly- for a seasoned mom like myself. Having had 4 babies before her made me keenly aware of all that I would miss about her in mere days and months. I made sure I held her often, nuzzled her extra close and reveled in the innocence that surrounded her.
Today she is a full-blown two year old. She can sing songs, laugh {loudly}, count to 7- skipping 5 and 6; she can climb on top of the dining room table, turn the videos off and on, she can get her own snack from the cupboard. Ava still loves to snuggle when she wakes up and she voices her opinion about going down at night. She knows what she wants, and will stamp her foot down in front of you to get her point across (it's so hard not to let her see me smile when she does that!), she hugs tight, dances in circles, runs with abandon and holds no emotions back. Ava has learned from the best (her other siblings) how to do so many things- and will always be one step ahead of herself- wishing she were older and able to do everything the "big kids" do.
I love her with all my heart. I wish for her a charmed life. I hope to give her direction and support and love and kindness and faith and hope- a solid framework in which to hang the canvas of her life and the art that she creates along her journey.
I would have posted a picture of her as she looks today- but she hates the camera. And no amount of coaxing or bribery has done the trick to catch the glint she has in her eyes and the smile she has to match them. That's okay with me. I'm happy to look back at the picture of her tiny baby face and fondly remember those days that passed all too quickly. And soon enough she's likely to change her mind and I'll have my camera poised and waiting.
Happy Birthday, my Baby Ava. You have made the past two years of my life better and better! Love, Mom

Monday, March 13, 2006

I'm no Tara Whitney, but...

For those of you who don't know who Tara is- she is a wonderful photographer and mother, who happens to capture life in really casual, beautiful pictures. I love the way she frames her pictures. I love the way she captures a certain feel. I can't do it like she can. I've tried. I just don't have the knowledge and experience and warm California beaches to photograph my subjects at. But what I can do is take pictures. So I take a ton of them.
These are a couple of pictures I took of Ava last week after I dressed her up as a princess and hoped to get some shots of her smiling- close up. No such luck. She just doesn't like when I get the camera out and turn it on her. Apparantly I've done it too many times already- the novelty has worn off.
Two years ago at this time I was being admitted to the hospital to give birth to Ava. I was probably being very nice to the hospital staff and my husband, as the labor was in it's early stages and I'm usually fairly nice until about 5-6 cm. I remember the experience very clearly. Although this was my fifth go at it- it didn't matter. It was as exhilarating and memorable as the first. I have a fondness for the movie "Big Daddy" starring Adam Sandler, because it was playing during my labor. And parts of it even made me laugh, despite the IV and the contractions I was having at the time. [side note here: For me Adam Sandler was comical during labor and delivery; Al Roker was not- Al Roker was in fact, far from funny, and particularly annoying at times during the peak of contractions. If you are planning on having a baby soon, I recommend you stay away from the Today Show and Food Network- stay far away. Sorry Mr. Roker.]
Back to my story. So I was just reflecting on the fact that Ava was born nearly two years ago...her birthday will be tomorrow, and I remember that day so clearly. I don't miss the way I looked and how much I weighed. I look back and think of how lucky I was to get such a sweet little baby girl.
I cried when I held her not just because she was finally here- but because she was the second little girl to come into my life after losing Teagan. We didn't "plan" her. We weren't "trying" to get her. In fact, both Ava and Isabella were "surprises" in our lives. I know they are both meant to be in our lives. I feel like the luckiest Mom to have them as my own. I wouldn't trade a minute of their lives for anything.
So, my princess Ava turns two tomorrow. My other princess Teagan's birthday is on Saturday, March 18th. If she were here with us, she would be turning nine. We will celebrate both Ava and Teagan this week. It's a happy time and yet it makes me think deeply about how life could be, should be or would be. I've come to realize that if I could change things that have happened in my life, I would. I've also come to realize that because I can't change certain things, accepting reality is the best thing I can do in life. I've realized that by accepting life as it has come, has allowed me to live with joy and I've gotten unexpected gifts along the way. Ava is one of those gifts. If I could change my present life, I wouldn't.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

How's your weekend shaping up?

Probably not too shabby compared to mine. Here are three out of four of my kids that are typically running all over my house. In the above picture they are actually looking very perky compared to yesterday. As I stated in my post on Friday, husband was to be away all weekend at a golf show. Well, after our daughter (in the pink tshirt), Wyndham continued to decline and dehydrate, I called him back to help me out. I've logged about 8-9 hours of combined sleep since Thursday, and Wyndham hadn't kept down any fluids since then.
So, Chip and Wyndham spent the afternoon at our local ER. Not really a fun thing to do on the first warm, sunny day of the spring season. No, not a fun thing at all- even on a not-so-sunny-day of spring. I read a lot about people struggling to find balance in their lives these days.
Try my life on for a few minutes. It rips my heart out watching one of my kids so sick- and so often. [This trip to the ER for IV fluids and observation one of about 12 times this has happened in the past 3 years. Wyndham has an ever-growing collection of hospital bands to prove it.] Then the others have their wants, needs and agenda. Something always has to be sacrificed for something else. It's never an easy thing to let one kid down- especially when you have no choice- like in this case- because of illness.
I try my best. I look for solutions and compromises. Both Chip and I look at ways to make the tough moments of our lives easier to swallow. Yesterday it looked this way...
Chip had to cover his job and make a trip 3 hours over and then back to Novi today. He took Wyndham in to the hospital- normally she would have to be admitted- but this visit Chip knew the ER doctor on call. The Dr. gave us his home number and allowed Chip to bring Wyndham home for observation and advised us to help her get more fluids and rest. Trust me- you always sleep better at home in your own bed than at a hospital- unless you're on a high dose of morphine.
I got to spend the afternoon with my other 3 kids playing outside with the neighbors and enjoying the fresh air. Chip had promised Brock some Krispy Kremes- so those were dessert last night- only a couple of hours old. Yum-o. Then, to top it off I joined Bella in the jacuzzi for a little spa-treatment...we even lit the ginger-citrus candle for effect.
Today has been a bit laid back- with day old Krispy Kremes and easing back into a normal routine. I still don't get why poor Wyndham has to always be the one to suffer so much. I still wish I could have had my normal amount of sleep and that Chip could have spared himself all the extra hassle and miles on the road. But the bottom line is that despite all the rough spots this weekend, I can honestly say it wasn't that bad and it even had it's bright spots. I hope your weekend played out even better than mine. Although I just pulled 4 small loaves of zucchini bread out of my oven- so you're gonna have to top the smell of fresh baked bread and clean sheets in the house. How's that for balancing life? A trip to the ER, lacking sleep and still baking and blogging. I'm sure you can top that!

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Life's like a bowl of granola..."

Have you heard this line? "Life's like a bowl of granola. If you're not a fruit or nut, you're a flake." I think I'm still a little high strung about the choose your own cereal box idea-so bear with me for yet another cereal post. Actually, if I can even present something in a coherent manner today it will be an amazing feat.
Chip is away at a golf show for the weekend {working at it- not just hanging out and browsing- so I totally support him being gone} as I mentioned, so I got left with one sick girl, another crying and complaining of earache and the other two wanting to bounce off the walls and be their ordinary energetic little selves. Fortunately I have an enormous amount of patience (or at least I'd like to believe I have more than some moms out there), after losing a child it helps to put the rest of your child-rearing years into perspective. So, I'm hanging in there, playing Deluxe Monopoly- which frankly I think deluxe simply means- "more pieces to keep track of or make a mess with"- but that's a debate I could raise with Mattel another time. So, I let a few things go today, and mealtime was one of those things. I fed the kids mix-match dinner, fruit & cheese, noodles and crescent rolls. Nothing glamorous. Anytime there's someone sick at my house I find I have a hard time making great meals. This is where the cereal part comes in.
After more laundry, tidying the kitchen, bathing 3 of 4 kids and getting everyone into jammies, I decided I should eat something myself. So I poured myself a bowl of Frosted Flakes and then I sliced up some strawberries and threw them on top. Here's where it gets good. Now I know some of you will be thinking, "What? She did what?", while the rest of you will be thinking, "I will definitely be trying that on my next bowl of flakes!" It's not all that weird- I just poured my milk on top- but then I added a splash of French Vanilla creamer. I can honestly say it was one of the tastier meals I ate all week!
I plan on having Great Grains with nuts and adding a splash of Butter Pecan cream next round. Or maybe I'll have Shredded Wheat and Hazlenut. I just thought it was a really simple thing to do- and it changed up my whole meal. So, I want you to try it and tell me what flavors you ate and how you think they worked together. Also, I know a lot of you do other funky things to food and recipes and they sound twisted or terrible and yet for some reason they taste great.
If you've got a favorite- little bit funky food tip- tell me about it. I think I could start gathering a bunch of weird ideas and put it into a Nitty.Gritty. cookbook and well, you get the idea. I could design a cookbook cover and add this item to my Nitty.Gritty. boutique. Okay. I'm now open for your ideas, recipes and comments. Go!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Under the wire...

Here I am writing just before the day is done- but still in time to get this published on Thursday. Had me a busy day with one sick little girl (Wyndham today- it was Ava the past 3 days. I've taught my kids to share so well they even do it with sicknesses.), lots of little projects to do, and one major trip to the grocery store. Had to do the grocery shopping as hubby will be headed out of town for the Novi, MI golf show. I will miss him and his help around here- but at least we'll all be eating great!
I had a major realization in good ol' Meijer Store today. Besides the fact that we all have way too much in this country- well a good many of us do- there are just far too many choices for a busy mom like myself to have to pick and choose from off the shelves. Wouldn't you agree? I mean, really, do we need 15 fragrances of Dawn dish soap and Tide detergent? I stand there reading the labels..."hmmm. Do I want Apple blossom, Spring Rain, or Ocean mist for the next 2 months? Or maybe I'll get the Oxygen-infused soap. Yeah. I could definitely get into extra oxygen while I do my dishes." To top it off, I'm reading the box of Corn Pops cereal this afternoon, and coming soon they will be offering 4 different box designs so that you could choose the one that best suits your personality or style.
First off- I know you're wondering how in the world I find time to sit around and read cereal boxes- and you know what? I don't have to answer that at this time. It's my blog. You'll just have to wait and see if I get back to you on that one- or else figure it out on your own.
Secondly, doesn't Kellogg's know what they are doing to fontaholic/design fanatic people like me? I thought 2 hours was a long time to grocery shop already. How am I gonna get my shopping done in a timely manner if I have to pick and choose between font styles on products?!! This is really frightening and yet exciting at the same time. My blood pressure shot up just imaginging all the new product labels that will be coming out soon. What's next? Design your own cereal box? Just like the photo stamps you can upload and buy. Oh yeah. I'm definitely going to have to go play with Photoshop and put my face on a cereal box. You knew I'd do it sooner or later- probably I'd look best on Froot Loops.
Never mind all that. I was actually trying to post a picture of Sally Field here as she appeared in 1965 playing the role of "Gidget." What a great tv show...and I haven't seen it for years, and can vaguely remember any of the episodes- although I know her friend's name was LaRue, and the hunky guy she liked was named Jeff. I think she used to lean on her surfboard and say things like, "Isn't he dreamy?!" Or maybe that was a line from 'The Parent Trap'. I can't be sure.
I've probably lost at least 70% of my readers by now. You have no idea who Gidget is and have no idea why I'm blogging about her. I'm not totally sure either. However, I've had the Gidget theme song in my head on and off for like a month now.
When I started singing it in the car on the way to get groceries I thought, I'll bet there's a site that has the words to the theme song and that way I can read them through and fill in the words I'm missing. Nope. Can't find it. Found a few cool pictures that I couldn't post here, and I think it would be neat to go back and live in the 60's for about 2 weeks. Great fashion. Okay. If you know all the lyrics to Gidget's theme song, please leave a comment or email me. You will be my new hero for at least the rest of the day.
I'll get you started because it might jog your memory. Hope to hear from someone!
"Do you believe in angels being real? I can erase any doubt you think that you feel. Wait'll you see my Gidget you'll want her for your valentine...." Something, something, something, something-thing, something, something, something, something-thing...You're gonna find that Gidget is mine!"

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Nitty.Gritty. boutique~

Okay~ Don't get too excited about these t-shirts, because so far they exist only on my computer screen. I have lots of designs for fun t-shirts in my head, but getting them into production is another story. It's not like I have a team of people behind me or my own label, like Heidi Swapp. I was just playing around with PhotoShop and thought the "Nitty.Gritty. Have you read my blog today?" t-shirt would be cute for me to wear while I sip out of my tumbler. And of course, I'd have to make a bunch of these for my kids to wear out and about.
Then I had flashbacks in my head to when I was young and I would see whole families and groups out at places like the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry or the good ol' Minnesota State Fair (yes, I'm a nice midwestern girl); all the people in these groups had matching t-shirts. I guess it's supposed to make it easier to spot someone when they stray from the group and get lost- but it always seemed to me it would be easier to lose someone with a matching shirt because it would be awhile before you noticed that person was missing.
Maybe that's not remotely funny to you- but it always made me laugh to see these matching-shirt field trip people... especially when it was a family event where even the "big kids" were wearing them, and you know that teenager was thinking, "I am so not going to meet any cool chics today wearing this neon yellow 'I belong to the Hansen Family' shirt." Of course, I know my shirts are cool to wear, but I may have to mix them up a bit before sending my relatives out in public in them. My hubby's would simply say, "Don't bring up my wife's blog." My Mom's would read, "If I wasn't scared to turn on a computer, I'd have my own blog!" and so on and so forth.
This probably doesn't even matter in the scheme of your existence, but it makes me smile thinking about it. Besides, I think I'm getting Christmas present ideas here- so just play along for my sake.
One more thing about these Nitty.Gritty. designs. I own a very old version of Adobe PhotoShop which I get some enjoyment out of from time to time. I know how to do some simple graphic design and photo manipulation with it. I usually use it to play with color and brightness and contrast on my photos and I also resize them for printing or posting online.
The tumbler I posted a couple of days ago was created using Microsoft Picture It! 2001. (I know, that's old too... but it still works for me!) This is for Wendy Smedley's inquiry as to how I did it. I guess I figured everyone could make one of them just by looking at mine and getting the idea. Here's a few more details- in my non-teaching, non-techinical terms.
I scanned the little paper insert that came with the cup and then I filled it with my chosen color of pink. Next, I added graphics to create the words, "nitty gritty"- which I got from the Shabby Shoppe online site. ( ) The letters are from the Tropical Winter kit- cute, cute...and costs about $5.95 for the kit. The rest of the little designs are actually fonts that I downloaded and purchased from Scrap-N-Fonts. They are Elsie Flannigan's CK High Energy Doodle, CK Funky, CK Circles & Swirls, and CK Bohemian. They cost $2.99 each- but I bought 'em on the 2 for 1 special last week. That's all I did. I played with the colors and placement and just printed it out- sized to fit my cup.
The cool thing is that these cups can be made with traditional scrap methods too. I made one earlier with patterned paper and stickers- and it turned out cool too. These are my new favorite tumblers. Even if you just cut a paper that you love and stick it in there, it looks cute. You can change the paper or images as often as you like, and trust me, the flavor of your beverage is enhanced just because you are drinking from a funky cup.
You could make political statements with your morning Chai Latte, or show off your funny wedding photos you've had hidden in your closet for years.The possibilities are endless! There you go! {Did you catch that, Wendy?!} Hope that helps! Think easy.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kicking it up a notch-

First, just a quick little ditty that happened last week. We've got a jacuzzi tub at our house that the kids love to "swim" in. I happened to climb in with my 3 girls the other night, because it's so much easier to scrub them when I'm in the middle of the suds- instead of hanging over the edge getting soaked and not having the least bit of control over who does what, when and how much. It was finally Bella's turn and she "ordered" the pink strawberry shampoo with a spoonful of the "green stuff" as well. I normally wouldn't do it, but I obliged her with my spa-line sugar body scrub. {I know...sounds like I'm living the life of luxury in my own home- but I assure you it's not quite the 5-Star resort club you are imagining in your head at this moment.}I did a quick shampoo on her and then I got into the sugar scrub. She was helping me rub it on her tummy and arms when she exclaimed, "Mmmmm, this is yummy. It smells just like lettuce!"
Mind you~ I eat a fair share of salads and mixed greens during the week, but it's not like I'm a huge salad person. And although Bella picks her favorites out of my salads and occasionally eats lettuce, I don't think that salad generally smells that fragrant. I got a good smile out of it- and told her what she was really smelling was Ginger-Citrus. She just said, "That's the kind I like!"
Now, back to my blog thoughts for today...
I was doing my quiet time this morning and reading some good Bible verses, which if you aren't a regular Bible reader and you don't know where to start, try reading Ephesians 4 and 5. [Ephesians is in the New Testament.]There are a lot of good thoughts in there and I found some words that struck a chord with me and hopefully will stick with me so that I could put them into practice in my daily living. The title comes from a thought I've been entertaining- not in regards to Emeril and cooking ["Kick it up a notch"], but in regards to getting more personal with some of you who want to do that. I'd like to invite any or all of you who have issues in your life- big or small- to email me or leave a comment if you are comfortable with that- so that I could pray for you. That's it. You can simply leave me your name, or you can write a bit about what you specifically want me to pray for.
I want to be honest here, I am not an ordained priestess. I am not a Saint Anything. I don't light candles or do any unusual worship rituals. I simply talk to God on a daily basis. I have seen prayer work over and over in my life, and I truly believe that God wants us to talk with Him- to vent our frustrations, to thank Him for the blessings we have, and to ask Him for help or strength to face certain obstacles that come up in our lives.
If you think I'm weird, that's okay. I'm just putting the opportunity out there for anybody that wants a little spiritual support in their life. Just so you know, I will pray for your situation; I would love updates from you as to how things are working out- if you feel led to share more; and I will leave this as an ongoing opportunity. SO, even if you stumble upon this post days or weeks later and you wish you could have someone pray for you- please email me. I will be humbled and honored to bring your requests, concerns, questions, and even thanks to God.
I guess you might say we're taking this blogging thing to the "next level". I am just trying to live out my life as I feel led by God. I think He would love to hear from you too! Email address:

Monday, March 06, 2006

My newest favorite fonts!

It's no secret to my close friends and family that I LOVE fonts. I've done some simple graphic design stuff since my college graduation and with each letterhead or business card I made, I found myself more and more into type and all the fun ways a person can combine letters. I've gradually become a "fontaholic"... and have been known to name fonts from different advertisements on billboards while driving in the car on long road trips. My husband doesn't get it much beyond Times New Roman and Arial, but it's still a source of fun for me.
So, I purchased and downloaded a few new fonts last week from the Scrap-N-Fonts website. They are all created by Elsie Flannigan- who I think has such a fun style and zest for life.
My sweet friend and nanny, Rachael, had a tiny card and a "design your own Starbuck's tumbler" sitting on my kitchen counter- just for a no reason gift to me. {How many of you have friends like that?!} So, I got busy on my computer the other night, played around with my fonts (which on the cup are the little pictures and words all over it) and used some alphaletters from my Shabby Shoppe Tropical Winter kit (the actual "nitty gritty" letters) and voila! My own blogging tumbler!
Now I'm thinking I should start taking orders from all 3 of you who are reading this saying to your computer screen, "I want my own personalized tumbler!" Maybe that's the dream I am to be pursuing in and creating Nitty.Gritty. products. My t-shirt is almost done, and some of you will be getting your Nitty.Gritty. fridge magnets in the mail this week- thanks for all those limericks!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Hill of dreams

This is kind of a follow-up post to my previous post on living out the poetry of your life. As most of my readers know, my daughter, Wyndham, sustained a closed-head injury as an infant and now carries lifelong scars and disablities.
I watch her grow and learn new things every week- she is an amazing little girl! However, in imagining dreams for her life and all that her future holds, I find myself torn inside. While we have never been given a definitive prognosis as to what to expect Wyndham to ultimately be able to do or not do, we have come to realize the past few years that she has an inner spirit and strength and drive to want to do more than we realize at times.
I have come to a place in my heart where I think I am confident that her life will serve a wonderful purpose- no matter her disablities. The fact that we have seen God work miracles in her short 5 years is enough for me to hand over all her issues to Him and let HIm decide what He wants for her to become.
I'm writing this all basically to document this quote that I modified after seeing another person's life story about overcoming disablities. Here is my new quote for Wyndham's life...
"The disabilites you possess are no match for the dreams we hold for you." I am the fortunate one in her life to be able to watch her dreams unfold a tiny bit more day after day. I think the world sometimes puts a big burden on not just Wyndham and all the challenges she faces, but on each of us in our own way. We get held back by messages we start to believe from seeing things on tv, or from celebrities who modify or glorify certain aspects about themselves. Some of us believe that we will never be as good as someone else we know who does_______. (This could be anything- that's why I left a blank space for you- fill it in in your own mind.)
The point is that I think we all believe certain things about ourselves that bring us down or hold us back. Today I want to challenge you to tell yourself something that's true about yourself... that will bring you a tiny step closer to unfolding the dream that is inside you somewhere. And I know you have one- because none of us is perfect and sitting on top of our hill of dreams.
Just so you know where I'm at, I'm going to try to clear the clutter off of my kitchen counter and get one simple step closer to my dream of organization and finding "breathing space" that I know I have in my life- it's just buried under clutter right now. How's that for dreaming big?! =)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Live your Poem"

I sure hope that my niece Aly won't mind that I posted her picture here and am sending her Happy, Bloggity Birthday wishes today, as she turns 10.
I matted and framed an 8 1/2 x 11 scrap page for her and mailed it along with a couple of other goodies for her birthday. There must be something in our water this week because this whole poetry theme has come out of nowhere! On Aly's print is a small vellum tag that reads, "Live your Poem". That along with the limericks have got me thinking, I guess. Life really has a sort of rhythm and sonnet-like movement if we stop and reflect long enough. And it certainly has occasional rhyme and reason, as well as depth and insight.
I wish everyone in the world had someone off in the sidelines cheering them on and giving them encouragement for whatever dream in life they were working to achieve. Can you imagine how this world would be a different place? I know some people find it within themselves to overcome great obstacles and to live a life of "greatness". Others have a host of "cheerleaders", opportunities and potential and for some reason they throw it all away and live a life of chaos, sorrow or turmoil. I wish it weren't true. I wish everyone could choose to do something good everyday to make themselves or their life better.
If I were 10 again I would wish for somone to tell me to never stop being me. To never give up on my dreams- to dream bigger dreams than I actually think are possible to attain. To be the best me I could ever become!
The cool thing is I still have time and so do you. Granted, I don't know how much time I have- but I can still pursue wild dreams. Starting with small things to make me a better me. I can love a little harder. Become angry a little bit slower. Breathe a little deeper. Create a little more creatively. Sing a little louder {my hubby's gonna love that!}. Find joy in things a little simpler. Reflect a little longer. Give thanks a little sooner.
I guess I've got a lot to do...and I hope I've already started being me a little bit better because of this blog post. One final note...on the scrap page the corner circle quote reads, "Inspire everyone around you." In celebrating Aly's birthday, her life has caused me to want to do that. I hope you want to do it too!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Inquiring minds want to know.

I guess there is at least one person who thinks about me beyond this blog. Not much further, but a little bit beyond here. So, I will answer {Rhonda} responses:
{Rhonda said}"I think your house smells like baked goods" True- at least 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes more, and sometimes it's because I'm burning my buttercream candle or blueberry muffin candle. Gotta love 'instant baked goods' in the kitchen!
{R said}"I think you plant flowers" Answer, true. I wish I had more time to garden....grew up with parents that grew lots of veggies and way overplanted flowers along the landscape. Even entered a few things in the county fair when I was in 4-H. Bonus answer here: I can still recite the 4-H pledge- just ask my hubby if you don't believe me!
{R said}"I think you rent dvd's and make popcorn". More false than true. Rarely rent dvd's, sometimes make popcorn for bedtime snack for the kids- but then I worry someone might choke, so I have to watch them more then the movie. Love that Cinnabon popcorn where you pour the frosting all over the top. Good, sticky stuff. Worth the mess involved, even.
{R said}"I think all your plates probably match with 2 or 3 stragglers but your glasses are all different." Answer...most of my plates in the cupboard are plastic with various characters on them, like Barbie and SpongeBob. Gotta keep mealtime entertaining for the kids...and you wouldn't believe the drama involved if someone gets the "wrong plate". Or fork. Or cup. As for glassware- I have a nice set from Williams-Sonoma. They're the French tumblers you can use for cold or hot drinks. They all match- haven't broken one, yet!
{R said}"You probably have a favorite coffee mug or maybe a couple favorites." Yep. Gotta have my morning coffee. Have a couple of "Thanks, Oprah" mugs- that for some reason I don't use that often...and if you are short on good deeds lately and looking for a random act of kindness to do, you can pick out any of the cute mugs on the shelves of Starbucks right now and mail it to me. I loved 'em all there the other night!
{R said}"You have a big fluffy comforter." I do have a big fluffy comforter, but don't always have it on my bed. Right now I've got the old heavy Polo denim comforter- because I can never be too warm at night.
{R said}"You own a pink shirt." Yes I do- more than one.
{R said}"You like flip flops." Actually false. Haven't worn flip-flops for years. They always hurt my toes and they make that snapping sound with every step. Never got into that- although there are some really cute ones out there! I think my next shoe purchase will have to be a pair of Crocs- EVERYBODY is wearing these!
{R said}"You have a pair of oversized sunglasses." Not for a long time. Been wearing my regular glasses since 2001...and haven't had prescription sunglasses, yet. Might have to get me some along with those Crocs.
{R said}"All your towels are never clean at the same time." True. With as many people in my house, nothing is ever clean at the same time. Maybe I should get me a cleaning lady to go along with my new Crocs and glasses!
{R said:}"You will go to the Megameet in May." Don't know about a Megameet...but if it's conveniently located and Heidi Swapp, Cathy Zielske and Kelli Crowe are gonna be there- then count me in!!!
As for {G} who commented about my underware. You are so sweet for thinking of me in that way. Now everybody reading this, go do something productive with your time. Enough about me!