Sunday, January 19, 2014

Happy New Year Lovelies!

Yep, I'm kind of late to the party, my momma always said, "Better Late than Never;" I am trying to embrace this.  The late I am talking about is not being late to places, events, appointments, but the concepts, the processes!  I have always processed differently than others (please don't judge), but I am embracing this in my fifties. Take for example New Year's it is middle of January, and now I am thinking about it, processing the goals, putting them on paper, oh I have an obsession with paper, pens, I digress.....

What I have decided is to try a monthly goal process.  I really love reading about others' goals; it inspires me, sometimes inspires me so much, I can even check it off my list...haha!

What are your goals for the year or for the month or even the week?   Do you even like goals?  It would be great to have some comments on my post and on the other posts; it's encouraging...don't you think?

So here we go with my monthly goals...
****Make something chocolate for my husband; this is a no-brainer, I know his love language
****Stay to my weekly meal planner, not eating out so much
****Start a new Bible Study; join us on Wednesday nights @ 6:30 at TUMC for the new study, "Stronger," by Angela Thomas
****Ask for the Holy Spirit to fill me, guide me, and grant me a willing spirit...oh this is powerful, thank you Jesus for sending us the Holy Spirit 
****Support my friend Courtney at her exercise party; I did this earlier in January. I still can't do yoga, can someone please tell he why I get so dizzy?  I am not balanced (again, no judge)
****Smile out loud, oh this feels so good....Amen
****Thanks Therapy is God's prescription to Joy, writing out 1,000 gifts, at least one a day (having a pretty journal is a must)
****Encourage at least five ladies a month!
Oh, I would love to meet my Christmas secret sister, Jessica; can we make this happen?

So lovelies, what are your goals?

By Julie Ford

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Mix "Tape"

We finally ditched DirecTV for $8/month Netflix.  Out of the hundreds of channels available on our previous satellite provider, there never seemed to be much of anything on in the way of quality viewing.  Sure, we watched people make moonshine out in the woods, but did we honestly need to know how this process works?  Yes, I learned how to incorporate a gummy skeleton into a dessert dish in only twenty minutes, but I do not think I have to worry about repeating this in my own kitchen.  Taking all of this into account and combining it with the rising costs of satellite channels and the increasing quantity of commercials, it was a decision we have not regretted to date.

Luckily, this change occurred over Christmas break, so we were able to become fully acclimated to this new form of viewing on demand minus commercials.  Moving the treadmill in front of the television, I have now actually walked on it while watching the series Lost.  Okay, I was hooked at the beginning and then ended up watching just to see what finally happens.  What ensued was a philosophical look at death, the afterlife, and the true necessities needed for survival.  Scavenging from the suitcases of airplane passengers, one male "survivor" found a cassette tape and showed it to a fellow female "survivor" with whom he had a flirtatious relationship.  The female response was, "Is this my mix tape?" which, in turn, brought a smile to my face and a flood of memories from the past.  I then sought the hub out and asked if we had ever created a mix tape which represented our love, and we agreed we had not.

Fast forward a couple of days, and I found a cd sticking out of my cd player in the mom van.  I figured it was the girls' dance cd, put it in, and thought nothing more of it.  Later, the hub asked if I liked my surprise, and he informed me that said cd was made for me.  Thus, the reasoning behind the love message written on the outside of the cd which I had not seen.  Now, the songs placed on the cd make sense to me.

While at the stoplight in my sweats and pink breast cancer awareness coat, you will probably see me rocking out to Nelly's Hot in Here (so take off all your clothes) or Ice Cube's You Can Do It (put your back into it) with the hugest grin on my face knowing my hub took the time to make this "mix tape" just for me.

So, I vow to have the thirteen-year-old neighbor show me how to burn a cd or rip mp3s (correct lingo?) so that I, too, can show my love for the hub through music for Valentine's Day.

By Courtney Winkler

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Season of Hope Book Club

Season of Hope Book Club

By Courtney Winkler, "This book is written by local (Glen Carbon) author and woman blessing Rhonda Tibbs.  Support independent authors!"

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just Say Jesus

November 17, 2013, will be a day I will remember for the rest of my life. It was a Sunday, but that was the only normal thing about that day.  My oldest had spent the night with my parents, and so I only had my two youngest with me as we got ready for church that morning.  My husband had driven to church separately because he's on the worship team. It was my niece's birthday, and I had made her cake.  We were going straight to her party after church and so I wanted to take the cake and presents with us to church so we wouldn't have to come all the way back home.  I had my middle child go out and open all the doors for me while I took the cake out to put in the van.  I shut all the doors, but did not know that she had gone back out there later and accidentally let our dog into the garage where the van was.   I had gone back into the house to get the presents, and she came running back into the house yelling that our dog had eaten the cake!!!   I couldn't believe it! I salvaged what I could off the top of the cake, and we headed for church.  When we pulled into the church parking lot the bank clock said 65 degrees.  After church we went to the local grocery store and bought my niece another cake.  My husband was not feeling well and decided to go home instead of going to the birthday party. As we headed out of town and to my brother's house for the party, the bank clock read 75!  I had a really bad feeling about how the weather felt.  There was a tornado watch already, and the weather people were saying there was a 90% chance there would be a tornado that day.  The wind had really picked up while we were in church.  It was nearly blowing our van off the road as we drove east from Rantoul to Gifford to meet the rest of my family for the birthday party.  As we were driving, my middle child commented how "funny" it was that there was a tornado watch and there was a tornado on the Wizard of Oz cake I had made for my niece.  
When we arrived at my brother's house, we ate lunch while keeping an eye on the tv.  Within a few minutes, a tornado warning was issued, and we sent the kids all to the basement to play and to be safe.  In the meantime, my dad called me outside to hear this eerie noise.  It was this constant roaring noise.  Like a jet plane flying over, but constant.  It was the scariest sound I have ever heard, and I hope I never hear it again.  We decided all of us needed to go into the basement.  Once we all got down there, we realized my dad was not there with us.  I went upstairs and found him outside still listening to that eerie noise overhead.  Suddenly it started to hail. We turned to go into the house and get into the basement.  As soon as we turned towards to house, the tornado sirens went off.  When we got into the basement, I ran to my three girls and my niece who were in the closet.  My brother and the rest of his family were in the bathroom, and my parents and aunt and uncle were in the laundry room.  As soon as I got into the closet, I grabbed my three girls and pulled them down on my lap and grabbed my niece and pulled her onto my lap, wrapped my arms around all of them, and held my hands together as tight as I could.  Within seconds, we could hear things start to hit the side of their house, and windows were blown out.  I reached over and grabbed the closet door and pulled as hard as I could to shut it.  I could feel the force of the suction pulling at my clothes.  I was more scared than I have ever been in my life.  All I could think to do was pray, but nothing would come out of my mouth but "JESUS!"  HAVE MERCY ON US!"  I said it about five times, I think, and it was suddenly very dark and very quiet.  

We made the children all wait in the basement while we adults went upstairs to assess what had just happened.  It was like nothing I have every seen before.  A tornado had ripped a path right through the middle of town.  Gifford was destroyed.  Many of my brother's neighbors and friends came out of their basements or crawl spaces to nothing above them.  Their entire houses ripped off the foundations.  All of their worldly possessions gone.  Our family had eight vehicles there, all of them were destroyed.  Our van had the window knocked out by some baby's high chair tray.  It was in my van.  My brother's house was damaged severely, but still standing.  As we looked around Gifford, we became very aware of how protected we had been.  The tornado came in the west side of town, ripped a path through town and exited the east side.  

We were stranded at my brother's house the rest of day.  No one was being let in or out of town.  There were power lines down everywhere and gas leaks.  There was no electricity, gas, or water.  My husband was anxious for us to get out of town and get home.  He was ready to see me and the girls and know that we were ok.  Right after nightfall we decided to take my two oldest nieces and bring them to stay with us for awhile, and my parents took my other niece and nephew.  As we were driving home that night, my oldest niece was sitting in the front of the van with me when the song "Just Say Jesus" by 7eventh Time Down came on the radio.  I could not stop weeping.  The reality of what we had just lived through hit hard.  

Much has happened since then.  Cars have been replaced or repaired.  Houses have been torn down or fixed.  Many have moved out of Gifford; hopefully some will return some day.  Thousands flooded the town for weeks after the tornado wanting to help lend a hand in any way they could.  Every time I hear that song on the radio I think about that day.  

"When you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus
The name of Jesus
If the words won’t come
Cause you’re too afraid to pray
Just say Jesus
Whisper it now or shout it out
However it comes out
He hears your cry
Out of nowhere he will come
You got to believe in it 
He will rescue you
Just call out to the way
The truth, the life

When you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus
There is power in the name
The name of Jesus
If the words won’t come
Cause you’re afraid to pray
Just say Jesus
There is just one name
Strong enough to save
There is just one name
There is just one name

When you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus
There’s still power in the name
The name of Jesus
If the words won’t come
And you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus"

When I was afraid and did not know what to pray, I just said Jesus.  He heard me and protected me and my family.   Two houses down from my brother's the next two blocks are completely gone.  Even though many houses were destroyed, not a single person was killed.  That is a miracle.  I'm sure there were many people in town that day calling out to Jesus.  There were many stories of families whose houses were destroyed or totally blown away and yet no one in their house was harmed.  Just amazing stories.  
 I will never forget that day.  The sounds and sights will forever be etched in my memory. That day has changed my life.  All the little things seem so insignificant now.  I find myself thinking "this does not matter" more often now.  I constantly remind myself things could have turned out very differently that day.  I could have lost my daughters.  I could have lost my own life.  I could have lost any or all of my family members that were there that day.  But I didn't.  Jesus protected us all, and I thank Him for it every day!  

By Lisa Powell

Monday, January 13, 2014

Everything Happens for a Season . . .

My husband and I were driving down the road the other day and passed a church that had this message on their marquis: “Everything Happens For A Reason.” I repeated that several times and thought that was a little clich├ęd for a church sign. Obviously “everything happens for a reason!” I know that God has a reason for everything that goes on in this world and they are not always reasons we understand or are supposed to understand.
But, then it occurred to me, as I investigate my own current season that “everything happens for a season.” Just as we experience fall before turning into winter, and see the many environmental changes that take place, we know that it is all temporary. After winter, we will see the emergence of spring with beautiful, vivid colors and lots of flowers blooming. Then comes the heat of summer, then the crispness of fall once again. It’s all temporary and ever-changing.
There is a comforting hope in knowing that we have seasons of our lives. Periods of time that are temporary. Of course we want the good times of life to last forever and the bad times to go quickly. That is human nature.
When Jerry and I got married, I wanted our honeymoon to last forever. When I gave birth to each of our girls, I wanted the awesomeness of those moments to last forever. The first time we had to visit the emergency room with our child, I wanted it over as quickly as possible.
When our girls were babies, I thought that I may never have a life of my own again. Then, before I knew it, they were off to college and I had more time to myself than I could bear. I missed them terribly. I had to re-invent myself. Now I see those times as some of my seasons of life.
We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 of the New International Version:
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to tear apart, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
I have come to the point in my life that I have learned to embrace the seasons of my life. I am very blessed to be in a season where I get to wake up every day to a wonderful husband, spend quality time with my grandchildren, still have a trick or two to teach my daughters and wait in anticipation to see where I can serve the Lord.
Everything does happen for a reason…. and a season!

By Pat Schwieder

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Fake Boob

After reading through Deb Ellis' recommendation of Why Being Mom Is Enough written by Rachel Marie Martin, I smiled.  In a nutshell, the blog post discusses quality time with your children, big or small, and savoring those simple moments.  Mothering is not about where you take your children, but, instead, when you are with your children, completely present . . . the little occurrences.  For these seemingly trivial events are the ones which matter and may occur in the most unwanted of life circumstances.

Diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, I ended up having a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.  This immediate reconstruction involved replacing removed breast tissue with tissue expanders, which would eventually make room for breast implants.  Shortly after my tissue expanders were put into place, I developed an infection which resulted in the removal of my left tissue expander leaving wrinkled skin at the incision area and a lopsided chest.  To remedy this situation, I had to visit a medical supply store which sold specialty bras capable of housing the prosthesis or in layman's terms, fake boob.

Having to walk into the store with only a one-sided projection from my chest and then have virtual strangers eye my naked chest and make measurements was not an incident I would like to relive no matter how kind the women working in the store were.  I simply wanted the process to be over and was immediately pleased with any synthetic plastic breast they selected for my use. 

Not wanting my girls to be startled or scared by my scarring or the intricacies of the reconstruction, I told them the cool, gel-like shape which they found on my dresser was a boob protector  which I wore to protect myself after surgery, and they bought it.

With reconstruction now complete, I no longer need the fake boob for medicinal or aesthetic purposes, but I do need it for the laughter it brings not only me, but my hub and my girls.  This fake boob has now become an object to manipulate in order to play tricks on one another.  For example, any one night might find this fake boob in the pillowcase of any of our pillows.  When the discovery is made by the one being tricked, belly laughter is sure to ensue by all.  The girls may slip the fake boob in question under their shirt and demand for us to look at their "boobs" or "belly" depending on where the device may lie.  Recently while snowbound with 14+ inches of snow, the girls had a friend over for the day and had the run of the house.  While folding clothes on the couch, I could see their friend strutting down the runway (our hallway) with the fake boob placed atop her head as in how a beanie might be worn.  Thus, as one may guess, giggles soon followed.

This fake boob could be a symbol and constant reminder of a difficult year.  Instead, to me it represents God's greater plan.  Much happiness, love, and simple mothering moments have developed due to the presence of this fake boob and all it represents.  

"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."          Jeremiah 29:11

By Courtney Winkler


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Why Being Mom Is Enough

Why Being Mom Is Enough

Submitted by Deb Ellis, "These are words I needed to hear today.  Actually I need to hear them every day.  I am enough!"

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Daily Wisdom: Clear the Clutter

"If you are feeling cluttered in your spirit, ask yourself. "Is there clutter in my life?
    Do I have a closet full of closed and sealed boxes that have been untouched in years without being used?"

So it can be in our spiritual life.
    Do you have spiritual gifts, treasures, insights and lessons learned that you have put away into storage and are not using?
Give them away!  Utilize them in your life today!  Clear the closet!"

~Katherine Walden~

Submitted by Carol Pigg, "Oh my gosh—this is why I’m not sewing like I should.  My room is too cluttered." 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TGIW Cancelled for January 8, 2013

See everyone January 15, 2013 at TGIW!

Wednesday Bible Study

This Wednesday begins a new TGIW at church, I am facilitating a study called "Stronger," Finding Hope in Fragile Places by Angela Thomas.  It is a video based study so we will watch the video then have discussion.  If you want to check out the study before coming, just Google her name or the study.
God is stronger than everything... our struggles, our bad news, our overwhelming life, our attitudes, ugh....anything broken in me, pretty much sums it up. 
We will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Oak Room, hope to see you.
By Julie Ford 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Daily Wisdom: Medicine

It is foolish to be grateful to doctors who give us 
Medicines to cure our bodies, yet to be ungrateful to God for things
That appear harsh to us.

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Carrying Extra Wait

Have you ever considered how much of our life is spent waiting? We wait for computer downloads, traffic lights, elevators, microwaves, home pregnancy test dots, packages in the mail, books in a series, tables at restaurants, doctors, pottying dogs, Fridays, rides at Six Flags, test results, kids at practices, toast, company, vacation, Christmas, and on and on. I have heard it said that a person can expect to spend three years of her life waiting over a 70-year lifespan. Waiting can be maddening for horn-honking, microwaving, overnight-mailing, fast food-eating, express line-shopping us!
        That said, how do we respond when we have to wait for God because, sometimes, that is in fact what He calls us to do? Our timing is not necessarily God’s timing. We cry out to Him and He responds, but not the way we thought He would or hoped He would. Calendar pages stack up at our feet. We throw a hissy fit and tell God what He needs to do for us, right now, and He gently ushers us over to His time-out chair. “Wait here.” “Ain’t nobody got time for this,” we mutter. It is at this point, when we are tempted to give up on God and go it alone, that we need to remind ourselves of Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” God keeps His promises! He is faithful! He is working in us and on us while we wait for Him! It should come as no surprise to us that the Hebrew words for “waiting” and “faith” are sometimes used interchangeably in the Bible.
        Take a look at the following passages of Scripture and see what they have to say about how we are to wait and what we should do while waiting: Psalm 22:1-5; Psalm 37:7; Romans 8:23-25; Isaiah 26:3; and Philippians 1:6.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in Him.
- Psalm 40:1-3

By Sue Busler

Friday, January 3, 2014

You Are . . .

beautiful, inside and out; joyful; unique; interesting; worthy; independent; loving; nurturing; helpful; kind; hysterical; talented; intelligent; blessed; loved; needed; wanted; and don't YOU ever forget it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

An Investment in Myself

One of the ways I started this new year off was with buying myself a gift!!!

Boldly listed at the top of my 2014 to-do list was to read and write more.  On a trip yesterday to Michael's for some yarn and a new journal, I received one of those "nudges" and just a few moments later I found myself meandering the religious section of Books-a-Million.

What I wanted was a Bible.  I admit; I didn't have one.  My husband has a pocket version that he was given in boot camp.  I knew we had one buried somewhere in a pile of books in my oldest son's room, but I wasn't sure I could even find it.  What I really wanted was a Bible of my very own.  One with meaning.  One that someday has my very own story inside its thin pages.  A tangible version that I could hold, smell, highlight, write in, earmark, whatever my heart desired.  I selfishly wanted it to be ALL MINE.  No sharing!  So, with a house full of boys, I knew it also had to be PINK!!! The options were plenty, but WOW some Bibles sure are expensive!!!  I originally wanted one of the Read the Bible in 365 Day versions, but on my way to the store I heard on Joy FM that they had a checklist available online.  I'm also a realist and didn't want to set myself up for feeling like a failure if I was reading the date of May 2nd on July 16th.  So, I eventually chose the less expensive, just as beautiful, pink and brown leather-like NLT version.  It is now all mine!  

Inside the front cover I filled in the blanks: 
There are so many reasons that I wanted this Bible, but the one reason that sticks out beyond all the others is THE INVESTMENT IN MYSELF.  I'm worth it.  I deserve it.  ❤️
Jessica Dudley

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

White Chocolate Chex Mix

3 cups corn chex
3 cups rice chex
3 cups pretzels (sticks)
3 cups honey nut cheerios
1 can mixed nuts (or just peanuts)
2 bags M&Ms

Mix in large bowl.  Melt two bags of white chocolate chips, pour over, and mix well.  Spread out on wax or parchment paper.  When it hardens, break into smaller pieces,  Store in an airtight container.

Submitted by Sarah Kirkpatrick, "Alton Brown calls it White Trash, but I prefer White Chocolate Chex Mix."