Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm not a big fan of winter...

... but I can definitely appreciate it's beauty.

Ice-covered holly trees outside our front door.

Friday, January 29, 2010


We've been worrying sick about my grandmother, Abu, who ever since Christmas Eve has had one serious medical issue after another. She is currently in ICU. And has been since Wednesday. Her kidneys are failing, her lungs have lots of fluid in them and she has an extremely dangerous infection in her digestive system. They are very aggressively treating the infection, but her body is not responding to the antibiotics. At all. It is all very,very stressful.

Abu & Sam hanging out. Sept~2009


I've been really, really tired and totally uninspired, which is NOT good considering everything that needs to get done on any given day.


I've started planning Sam's second birthday party. First of all let me just say that I cannot for the life of me believe that my baby is turning two. Two! Anyway, I am so proud of myself being that his party isn't until the later part of March and I've gotten so much done already. It will be at the Fire Museum. The cake and cookie favors have been ordered. I still have to buy the party supplies, order his birthday shirt and oh yes, make the invitations. Did I already mention that I am so totally uninspired these days? Well, apparently that's a problem when you have to come up with a totally handmade (and preferably cute) invitation. I'm open to desperate for any and all ideas you'd like to send my way.


I've been thinking about the meaning of true friendship and thanking God for the few, but amazing, true friends He's brought into my life. And you all know who you are!


I've been reading. A lot. I love to read, but found it hard to make time for it lately. I'm now making the time at night, right before I go to bed.

I recently read this and really enjoyed it:

Then I found this at the Bargain section of Barnes & Noble. It was just OK.

I just started reading this:
Too early to tell, but I'll keep you posted.


I started a new Bible Study at church. It's called Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl and it is wonderful. I truly do look forward to my Wednesday mornings at Hope and I absolutely cherish the women in my group. I am so blessed!


I discovered and am totally obsessed with:
  • Castello del Poggio Moscato D' Asti
  • craigslist ~ especially their furniture section
  • Starbuck's Caramel Apple Spice drink
  • THIS blog and I'm totally determined to make THIS. Scott's going to help me. Or I'm going to help him. Either way I cannot wait!

I've been researching like crazy all the school options we have for Isabella who is starting Kindergarten in the fall. I think we've made a decision as to where she is going. That is all I am going to say about that since I pretty much do the ugly cry every single time I think about my baby girl starting "real" school.

Yep, I think that's about it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ask him to look at the camera...

... and this is what you get:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bring on the projects

Although it's not quite Spring here, I mean it is still January, we are having amazing days with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s. And do you know what this means? Projects, baby!

I hereby re-introduce my monthly OPAM (One Project a Month) posts. Geez, I can't even remember the last time I blogged about OPAM.

I have recently developed an obsession with craigslist. Oh. My. Goodness! Seriously, where have I been? I love browsing through all the junk fun stuff they have on there. I am currently on a relentless pursuit of a few key pieces that will be extremely helpful with my home organization initiatives. But since I am 110% committed to simplifying and decluttering our home this year, I have to exercise some serious self control and use good judgment when it comes to what may possibly come through our front door at any given time.

I am however ecstatic to report that I made my first craigslist purchase today~ a wicker headboard for Isabella's room. It's white and in really good shape, but Isabella and I plan on giving it a little TLC this coming Friday ~ a little cleaning, a whole lot of spray painting, a dab of hot glue magic, and some amazing flower power. Ooh, we're so excited!

Stay tuned for some before and after pictures. We can't wait to share it with you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Letter to Sam

My dearest Sam,

I love you so much. You are affectionate, unbelievably smart and absolutely hilarious. If I had to sum it all up in one word, it would have to be AMAZING!

But if I may speak candidly, I could honestly do without the hitting, screaming, throwing, crying and unpredictable tantrums.

Oh, and by the way, I happen to know for a fact that you're not deaf. So when I call you repeatedly and you do such a superb job of ignoring me, yeah, I could do without that as well.

Just sayin'.

You sure are super adorable, though!

Love you forever,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is it just me...

or does the sight of that doll inside a clear upright suitcase
creep you out too?
(Isabella on her way to spending the night at Tata & Papa Abu's place last Friday.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hearing the voice of God

There are a few areas in my life that I need to totally change, like NOW. All of these areas are definitely within "my" control.

I mean, no one dictates what I eat or drink, but me. So my weight issues are totally within "my" control.

No one really dictates how I spend my time, but me. So my lack of time (read motivation) to complete certain tasks is definitely within "my" control.

And don't even get me started on my lack of patience these days. That's definitely within "my" control. Right?

Well, that's what I've been thinking for the last few years. But then it suddenly hit me,... if all of these issues are totally within "my" control, then why have they been, and continue to be, issues that haunt me on a daily basis? Obviously, I'm doing a terrible job! So by the way and just for good measure, let's now add GUILT to the list of issues I have that are within "my" control.

So, I decided one of the things I need to change immediately was the time I was spending with God every day. I'm ashamed to admit that whatever time God did get from me was usually at the end of the day, when I was physically exhausted and emotionally and spiritually unavailable. And seriously, doesn't that just sound like pure joy? Anyway, since that was obviously NOT working, I wondered what would happen if I met Him first thing in the morning instead, as soon as I woke up, with an open heart and mind.

Well, yesterday morning I finally opened the devotional I purchased well over a year ago, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. (Rachel ~ your copy is on its way!) And this, my friends, is what I'm struck with first thing on Monday morning: "Trust Me by relinquishing control into My hands. Let go, and recognize that I am God." Hmm,... OK? So maybe I'm not really as in control as I like to think.

And that was immediately followed by this: "When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before Me. Speak to Me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank Me for the answers I have set into motion long before you can discern results... If you keep on stating your concerns to Me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank Me for how I am answering your prayers, your mind set becomes much more positive." And honestly, who doesn't want to be more positive? So I proceed to tell God about a few things that I'm currently struggling with and would really appreciate His help with, since I'm doing such a bang up job handling them myself and all.

Like for example, the fact that some big, overly dramatic and cranky boy apparently ate my sweet, happy, little baby boy, since he's been MIA for the last few weeks. (Hello, Terrible Twos!! We meet again!) And I really need His help since I have absolutely NO patience with Sam lately, but I don't want to be remembered as the mom who yelled all the time. Because I honestly feel like I have been yelling at that boy ALL.THE.TIME for the last few weeks.

Can I just say that Sam and I had a wonderful day yesterday and are on route for another wonderful day today. Not because my sweet, happy, little baby boy is back. Oh, no! I shudder at the thought of what comes after the terrible twos,... it's the atrocious threes. It's all because I am now getting some much needed divine assistance! It's SO crystal clear to me.

Last night my wonderful church was hosting Lysa TerKeurst and the introduction of her new Bible Study. This is the second time I have the privilege of hearing her speak. She is funny and amazing and inspiring in oh so many ways. She has been featured on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, Good Morning America, Woman's Day Magazine, “O” Magazine and on the Oprah Show, twice. If you have not seen or heard her story, I totally encourage you to check out her speaking schedule to see if she's visiting a town near you. You will not be sorry!

One of the first things she said that definitely got my attention was: "Would you like to know what God's will is for you? Because if you do, I'll tell you." Yes! Tell me!! Tell me NOW! And she did. She said God's will for all of us is written in His book for all of us to see, read and apply. You can find it in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

She was quick to explain that it's not easy to be joyful always. Life is definitely not always a joyful ride, and don't we all know it! And also, that it's no coincidence that the Word says give thanks IN all circumstances and not FOR all circumstances. There are definitely circumstances in life for which no one is thankful. But God wants us to change our perspectives. To re-write the scripts in our minds. He's not interested in what He wants us to do. He's interested in who He wants us to be; in our characters. Especially when life happens. Because when we give thanks to God, it absolutely moves His heart! And you see, my personality type is that of a feeler and a pleaser (is that even a word?), so the thought of me doing something so little that actually moves God's heart, well... that's just mind-blowing.

But I'll be the first to say that as I was sitting there I was thinking "Yep, that sounds wonderful. It really does. But how exactly does one get there?" And just as if she heard my question, she answered it with: "You need to learn how to rely on God on a daily basis. You need to learn how to become dependent on God every single day. You need to learn how to pray continually and ask God for your daily portion of __________(fill in the blank ~ patience, will-power, faith, hope, strength, optimism, courage, humility,...). Because when we ask God, His strength is always a perfect match to our weakness". WOW!

Can I just tell you that I have never in my entire life heard God speaking to me more clearly and more loudly than I did all day yesterday. I know many people who often hear God speaking clearly and directly at them. Yesterday, I was one of them. And it was AMAZING!

To open my heart, my mind and my ears and go to God first thing in the morning with my minuscule problems (in the grand scheme of things) and actually have Him respond the way He did, is one of the best experiences I have ever had.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January SNL Layouts

I just successfully completed my first scrapbooking class of the new year, and I'm glad to report that it went really good. The theme for our January SNL class was Winter and Valentine's Day, and here are the LOs we created:

Non-traditional Valentine's Day Single LO
A more traditional Valentine's Single LO
Winter/Snow Double LO
I was so glad to have the recent Iowa pictures.
They worked beautifully with my Winter LO.

I've already got some fun ideas percolating for February's SNL, but first I'm looking forward to getting back to doing some personal (non-class related) scrapbooking. I'll make sure and share once I get some LOs completed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wise Men Still Seek Him!

Happy Wise Men's Day!
Feliz Dia de los Reyes!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Iowa Visit-Part Deux: New Year's Eve/Day

So upon the arrival of our dear friends, the Rieds, to the Miller Plantation (as we so lovingly call it now), it was catch up time, for adults and kids alike. I remember way back when these gathering consisted of only adults. Then there were a few babies here and there. Now there are as many children as there are adults. Crazy, isn't it? The handsome Miller boys, the beautiful Ried girls and my two played so well together, they made it easy for the adults to do what we do best,... eat, drink and talk!

On New Year's Eve, shortly after Sam threw up a bunch of grapes he had eaten and they all landed on yours truly, we managed to put the kids to bed and get the party started. Our New Year's Eve was definitely a celebration of friends, food, beverages, games, and a whole lot of laughter.

First order of business: the party supplies~hats, tiaras, beads and leis:
No, you do not have to adjust your monitor. Our party supplies do indeed say Happy 2000 on them. So that, my friends, is how we welcomed the new year. So what if our supplies were an entire decade behind, we partied like it was 1999 and we loved every minute of it.
We played the game Battle of the Sexes and laughed so hard, some of us even cried:
But then again, he might have been laughing at this:
When Rachel brought out her 1999 video recorder we laughed until it literally hurt. And I know for a fact that it brought many of us to tears.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when we served the champagne and we all gathered in front of the TV with the anticipation of watching the ball drop in Times Square only to miss when the clock struck midnight because we were entirely too confused on what channel was televising the ball drop. Ladies and gentlemen: the ball is in NYC and had dropped an entire hour earlier when the East Coast's clock struck midnight. Seriously, I'm still laughing at our faces when the realization finally hit. Yeah,... good times!

Anyway, we re-celebrated the arrival of the New Year with the kids on New Year's Day. Out came the 2000 hats and tiaras and confetti poppers. We actually counted down with them and they were thrilled:
Other than that, New Year's Day was exactly as I had envisioned it ~ laid back and relaxing! We spent a lot of time in front of the TV lounging and talking and napping:
I mean seriously, what more can you ask for?

We are so blessed to have these people in our lives. People that I have known since 1995 and have had the honor of celebrating so many of our life changes together. People that I know will be there for us in the next 10, 20, 30 years. I love you guy, and I can't wait until the next time!

Oh and BTW, Rachel has started her own blog about life on the Miller plantation (don't you just love how that sounds?!) to keep their friends and family updated. So stop by sometime to check it out and tell her I say hi. Here's the link: Life on the Miller Plantation.

January SNL Sneak Peek

Baby, it's cold here in Memphis (colder than usual, actually) and with no warmer temperatures in sight, I've been busy working on creating fun Winter and Valentine's Day layouts for the upcoming SNL Class.

And since I always like to share a peek of what we'll be making,...

Remember, we'll be creating eight (8) 12 x 12 page layouts that will have you run home to pick your favorite winter/snow and Valentine pictures.

Join us:

Saturday Night Layouts (SNL)
Saturday, January 9th
4:00 - 8:00 pm

Don't delay!
Call Eclectica today at (901) 377-0730 and reserve your spot!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Iowa Visit-Part One: Sledding

I can't think of a better way to ring in the New Year than getting together with our wonderful friends, the Millers. If you know me at all, then you know that I love me some Miller time! They recently relocated to Iowa due to Rob's job and we thought it was as good time as any to go visit them in their new home.

They bought a beautiful home on a couple acres of land right smack in the middle of the country. And when I say country people, I mean country. Look outside the window to find wild turkeys eating some of the bird food kind of country. Look outside the window to see a bunch of deer passing through the yard kind of country. Look outside the window to see the most beautiful varieties of birds eating out of their bird feeders kind of country. We loved it! It was peaceful and serene and the view from every single window in the house was breathtaking.

Having not lived in the Midwest for the last 8 years or so we had totally forgotten what Midwest winters are like. Holy Cold, Batman! And I mean seriously! I think at one point I described the crippling temperatures as inhumane. But nothing could keep the kids from going out there and having a blast.

Isabella & Jack hamming it up for the camera.
She loves Jack!
Rachel wiping out on the way down the hill.
Sam looked like this pretty much the entire time he was
out in the snow.
... unless he was being held by his Daddy,
... or actually sledding.
That he loved!
Isabella was in heaven the entire time she was playing in the snow.
She wasn't completely sold on the whole sledding thing though.HA! I love her face in this picture.
Here's Rachel giving Sam and Scott a little push.
Isabella & Luke sledding down one of the hills in the backyard.
Luke is clearly loving it. Isabella, well the jury's still out on her.
I think she might actually be praying.

Unfortunately, Sam was so miserable outside I decided to take him back to the house to warm up a bit and have a snack. Isabella and Scott stayed outside and made snow angles and footprints and even rolled down one of the hills together.

Did I already mention this one loves snow?
She LOVES it!

After all the fun and excitement of playing outside, we all went inside to enjoy some yummy hot cocoa with marshmallows and wait for the arrival of the our dear friends, the Rieds, who were also joining us in ringing in the New Year at the Miller's.

Stay tuned for Part Deux, coming soon!

Friday, January 1, 2010

My "One Little Word" for 2010

Happy New Year, everyone!

So here we are with 2009 behind us while we welcome 2010 with wide open arms. Don't get me wrong, 2009 was a fabulous year for our family. We are all alive and healthy and happy and together. And in my book, that makes for a pretty wonderful year. But I'm also very excited about the new year and all the possibilities it has to offer.

If you've followed this blog, then you know I don't do the traditional new year's resolutions. However, at the beginning of every year I pick a word, one little word, to focus on in the new year. Last year my word was "Simplify" and you can read more about that here.

Simple is definitely not the word I would use to describe 2009. In my defense let me just say that I actually picked that word before I knew of the arrival of my parents to Memphis and my Dad's heart surgery and then the arrival of my grandmother, her most recent hospitalization, and so forth. I had really high expectations of a much "simpler" year, but never the less the circumstances of our lives did not really foster simplicity. So, I'm going to give "Simplify" another chance and a different spin this year and try a word that is much more within my control, regardless of what life throws my way.

So for 2010 the "One Little Word" I have chosen to focus on is: "DECLUTTER".

"DECLUTTER" as in:

DECLUTTER our house. Have a yard sale (or two). Donate to those in need. Donate to Goodwill. GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE!

DECLUTTER my mind. Stop worrying so much about the what ifs or the whys or the whens. Focus on gratitude and praise. LIVE IN THE NOW!

DECLUTTER my calendar. Start saying no. Leave some margin in our calendar. Focus my time on things that really matter. Enjoy more quiet time. LIVE A MORE PURPOSEFUL LIFE.

So there you have it ~ I am planning on doing some serious "decluttering" in 2010 and just writing about it makes me giddy. Deep inside I crave simplicity and organization and this is the year I'm going to make it happen. And I can hardly stand it!

Oh, and I think I might also want to try my hand at crocheting. We'll see.