Friday, December 31, 2010

What IF....

"'What' and ‘if’ two words as nonthreatening as words come. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: ‘What if?'..."

What if....

What if...

I just finished watching Letters to Juliet. The quote is from the movie when "Juliet" writes a letter to Claire.

What if....

How many times have I thought "what if" (see this post if you don't believe me). And in doing so, how many times have I worried. And worried. And worried.

"What if" keeps me in the past. And worrying about the "what if" for the future just gives me a nervous stomach!

So, here's to moving forward and leaving the "what ifs" behind. Wanna join me?!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Praise to God on High...

Admitting I'm not "feeling" all Christmas-y is something I'd rather avoid. But, sigh, it is true.

I was listening to Christmas music when BarlowGirl 'Hallelujah' popped up on our media player. I really listened to the words this time instead of half listening.

I have to admit, I'm starting to "feel" Christmas-y now!

Hallelujah, we’ve been found.

A child is born to save us now,
Hallelujah, light has come
A savior set us free…

No matter where you are "at" this Christmas, have a Blessed Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Time

Merry Christmas!!

May you feel the love of God no matter what your circumstance.
May you find God's peace and comfort that is always there.
May you seek out others to help and give of yourself.
And through the above, may you enjoy the time
and savor time spent with others.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.

Isaiah 9:6-7

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It Happens In A Blink

RUE ? was on a shirt our girls owned. (are you ready? get it... red 'e')

Are you? If you died today, are you ready to meet the Lord? Am I ready?

My husband's first cousin, his wife and 10 year old daughter were involved in a tragic car accident late yesterday afternoon. A woman blew through a stop sign and hit their car. His wife, mother of their 7 children, went to be with Jesus last night. Their 10 year old daughter went to sit on Jesus lap this afternoon. Hubby's cousin is breathing on his own but is still heavily sedated. Not knowing he lost the love of his life and precious, always smiling 10 year old. His children, brother, sister and parents will tell him. It is going to be one of the hardest moments one could ever imagine. (driver of the other car died as well)

When I think of the mom of 7, I know she was ready. I know it. She was such a godly woman. And the sweet 10 year old loved Jesus. It just oozed from her. They are both dancing with Jesus tonight. That gives me peace. I'm still very sad, but know they are with our wonderful Lord.

Since the family attends our church, it was a somber day. Tears and hugs were everywhere. But what really got me were my own thoughts. It could have been us dealing with this tragedy. The accident was on the same road Writer Daughter takes to and from cosmetology school five days a week. In fact, she had school the same day as the accident. She called us to let us know she was headed home. Twenty minutes later we heard the call on our son's scanner. Twenty minutes is about the time it takes her to get to the intersection of the accident. After hearing how bad the accident was and the calling of air ambulances, I tried calling her cell phone. And tried again. And sent a text. Nothing. No familiar voice calling me or answering the calls. I will admit I had fear. Great fear.

What got me through was prayer. Even though my momma prayer of "Lord, tell her to call home" wasn't answered, and my stomach ached with fear, I knew no matter the outcome, God was with me. I praised God loudly when she pulled in the drive. (she had her phone on vibrate...she got a lecture! ☺) She never saw the accident so she went through the intersection before it happened.

But an hour later our joy turned into heart ache. I ache for our relatives. I really hurt.

I'm still dealing with the "what ifs". What if she would have left school 5 minutes later....What if the woman who ran the stop sign would have left 5 minutes later....what if, what if. I know in my mind I can't dwell on that. I know. But my mind won't stop. The tears still flow at just the thought of the what ifs.

I'm trying to focus on Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

As well as a little further in the chapter, vs 17 & 18: "But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs."

It has been a difficult 24 hours. But the Lord my God is here. He is with my husband's family and with the other driver's family. He is here.

When tragedy strikes, call out to God....He is always, always with you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Books, Blankets and Cuddles


Don't you just love them?

Books to feel.

Books to smell.

Books, blanket and cuddles.

Writer Daughter sat on the floor of a book store and said, "Heaven is going to be one big book store!" At that moment in time, she was in a little part of Heaven surrounded by books!

I was involved in a conversation on facebook recently who is a teacher. The conversation turned to books. Classic Children's.

I started to remember the countless number of books read to my children. Some of which were read to me when I was a child. What a treasure it is to have those books from my childhood. What a treasure to have cozy memories of mom/dad and books.

Here are just a few.

Not sure if this is a classic yet...but to us it is!
Plod, plod, plod Little Bear. ☺
What are your favorite books from childhood or you read to your children?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beautiful Snow

To me, that title is an oxymoron!

Writer Daughter is driving back and forth to cosmetology school this year and I am seriously praying for a mild winter. Fifty minutes of white knuckle driving is the pits! Plus Dancer Daughter has jobs now and two teens (19 is still a teen, right?!) driving....I will have no fingernails left! ☺

However, this morning, as I witnessed gentle snow showers, I do have to thank the Almighty for the beauty of it all.

Big, fat flakes gently floating to the ground.

It reminded me of a song. I shared this song last year and it is still a beautiful favorite of mine. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Busy Yet?

photo courtesy of Dancer Daughter/Season Photography

The month is usually filled to the brim.

Company and family Christmas parties. Baking and cooking. Cooking and baking. Friends getting together to celebrate Christmas and friendship. Shopping. Extra services at church. Concerts and plays. And, more shopping. Last, but not least, finding time for family movie time. It has become a December tradition.

The list could really go on and on and on and....

Sometimes, it's all so overwhelming.

During this busyness, it is easy to forget to get together with the One who has made this all possible. God.

We started a nightly Advent reading. We did great until the last few nights. Hence, what got me thinking about the busy.

The Advent reading is a Jesse Tree reading. It takes one from the beginning of the world to the birth of Jesus. When we read about The Fall (Adam & Eve eat the forbidden fruit) in Genesis 3:1-21, I was struck by something I never thought much of before. In verse 9, God asked "Where are you?"


Where am I (we) that we couldn't take 10 minutes to "do" the Advent readings?

Where am I that I am short on patience and long in temper because I haven't spent time with God?

Ouch, again!

God is always with us. Always. No matter the circumstance. Good, bad or ugly. He never leaves us. Where am I?

I read a blog post today from Shannon Primicerio called Finding Jesus. Please click on her name to read the won't be sorry.

May we all take time to find Jesus through all the busy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Soul Crying Friday!

My soul cries out...

O Praise Him !

He is Our King!

What LOVE Really Means! (nuf said!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

♪God is Love♫

Do you know that song? The official title is "Come Let Us All Unite To Sing".

Growing up in church, we sang the song a lot. A. Lot. I don't remember the words to most of the verses but I do remember the chorus. "God is Love".

Yesterday, our first Advent sermon was on Love. Even the love chapter (I Cor 13) was read along with many other love verses.

Yesterday afternoon I needed to prepare for a meeting with my youth in the mentor program we have through church. We decided last summer we would study a book called Being A Girl Who Loves - Learning to love like Jesus by Shannon Primicerio. The book is sadly out of print but my daughter owned a copy and I found a neighbor who had a copy. (yay!) Due to some schedule challenges, we are just now going over the intro and first chapter.

Guess what the intro and first chapter reinforced? The sermon yesterday. It was so cool to read something so similar to our sermon.

And yet....

God is telling me something!!

Don't you just "love" days like that?! ☺

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's Okay

It's okay. Sometimes that is all a person needs to hear.

It's okay to cry.

It's okay to get angry.

It's okay to scream that life isn't fair.

It's okay not to feel cheerful every single minute of the day.

And it's okay to be thankful for those bad times that come your way.

What?! Thankful for the bad times?

Yup, you heard me right. We, as humans, really need to acknowledge the awful times. We really do.

However, we humans need to practice looking past the terrible times to see what blessings we have to be thankful for.

When you have that sort of perspective, you really can get through the really terrible times.

I felt the need to write this on the eve of Thanksgiving. I know there are people who are really going through a tough time. Those out there who might not feel like celebrating tomorrow. Those who feel like they are suppose to just put on a happy face and fake it. Or those like me who are just plain cranky tonight and are wondering what in the world I can be thankful for when I'm just in one terrible mood. (my poor, poor family!) I just want you to know it is okay. BUT, I have to put things into perspective and realize how blessed I really am. I really blessed and have a lot to be thankful for. I'm okay. I really am.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Are Beautiful

I had an appointment with Cos Daughter (aka Writer Daughter) Saturday. Yes! She is able to cut my hair, color and all kinds of fun stuff!!

Since she is still in cosmetology school, they each have a station in which to work. Each station has a mirror and the teacher writes the students name on the mirror claiming that to be the student's spot.

When I sat down at my daughter's station, I noticed another thing written on the mirror in her own handwriting.

"You are beautiful"

The words were like salve to my heart. I don't think I'm beautiful on the outside and to be honest, pretty ugly on the inside at times. (I'm trying to work on that and at times, well, I fail. But, that is where grace comes in.) But, just having that reminder as I sat down made me feel...well, beautiful.

I want you to know. You are beautiful! (pass it on!)

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!"
1 John 3:1

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How Many Days?!?!

45 days.

Yes, 45 days until Christmas one website has so kindly informed me.

Every year I tell myself I'm not going to let the commercialism "in" this year.

Every year stores start getting out the decoration the minute halloween is over.

Every year I tell myself I'm going to enjoy Thanksgiving which doesn't get its fair shake.

And every year I'm consumed with who I get what present, the cost and tend to skip over the thanks in Thanksgiving.

So, this year, I'm saying 15 days until Thanksgiving....what and who am I thankful for?!?!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dear Children

This weekend was movie time. We decided upon the Hannah Montana movie. I won't review it. You are welcome.

There is a song in the movie I found extremely touching. Maybe it is because of the ages of my children. Maybe it is the realization they will "fly away" at a point in the not too distant future. Or maybe I'm just a is a God-given talent, I tell you.

The song, Butterfly Fly Away, has been haunting me since movie night. It really got me thinking. When is the last time I wrote a love letter to each of our children? I wrote a letter to Writer Daughter (aka cos daughter) for her graduation from high school this past spring. But the other two children? Can't remember when I expressed our love through a letter.

When our oldest, Writer Daughter, was a baby, I use to write her a letter. It wasn't poetic. Just words telling her what she was physically doing at the time and cute things she did or said when she could talk. Then, our second daughter was born and time just got away from me.

I think it is time I started writing love letters to my children again.

What about you? And if writing is not your thing, then tell them in a way that is most meaningful to you.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Heart Is Yours

'You Won't Relent' by Misty Edwards is a song that I only recently heard at a time of corporate worship. It is beautiful and a prayer from the heart.
Based on Song of Solomon 8:6-7.

Just a warning for those of you who do not like music that rocks out...
listen to the first part before it rocks out.
I personally love the rocking out but if you aren't into that, be warned. ☺

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend of Fun

What a great weekend. The weather was splendid. It is October and we are having 80ยบ weather. Go figure! I'm sure not complaining even though I love the cool, crisp weather of fall...and spring!

Where, oh, where do I start?

Friday afternoon I found out an author, Jody Hedlund, was going to be in a city close to us for a book signing. How exciting! I read Jody's debut novel, The Preacher's Bride, and totally encourage everyone who loves Christian fiction to run out and buy the book.

Writer Daughter (aka Cos Daughter) found Jody's blog or Jody found Writer Daughter's blog (can't remember how it happened) a few years ago. Jody has commented on a few of Sarah's post so I thought I should check out this smart lady! Jody's blog is full of the process of getting a book published...the good, the bad and the ugly. Even if you are not a writer, her posts have the best analogies in them.

Sarah (aka Writer Daughter) & Jody Hedlund

So, Saturday morning, Writer Daughter, Dancer Daughter and I piled into the car and off we went. It took us about an hour to get there but it was so worth it. I, of course, had my copy of The Preacher's Bride in hand. Hello, I'm gonna get it signed!
 Jody recognized Writer Daughter from her picture on her blog and instantly was up walking toward us giving us hugs. What a wonderful welcome! Jody was gracious to us and especially Writer Daughter as they talked "shop". And Dancer Daughter did was she does! ☺

Sunday consisted of worship at our church. What a beautiful day to worship the Creator of Heaven and earth! Our Sunday School lesson consisted of Psalm 9. What a wonderful passage. 

I enjoyed the warm weather and the changing-color-leaves with my Dancer Daughter (aka Photo Daughter). We went to a local woods and she took lots of pictures. What a nice way to spend time with a daughter.

Firefighter son was enjoying the afternoon with his uncle. There was a go-cart race locally. However, by the time they got there, the race was finished. So, they hung out together for a few hours. A great time of getting to know one another better I do think.

Writer Daughter was interviewed by a girl from the UK. You can check out the interview here.
Weekends are great...too short, but most of the time great! I say we start a petition. Let's have 5 day weekends and 2 day work weeks...and get paid the same amount of money as we do when we work 5 days a week!! Who's with me?!

Breaking news! Mennonite Girls Can Cook will have a published cookbook in the Spring of 2011. Being Mennonite myself, I find this exciting. Yes, there are lots of Mennonite cookbooks. Every Mennonite church in our area has a cookbook fundraiser. However, I've been following their blog and I believe while it will have the more traditional recipes, some up-to-date recipes will give it that extra push. Congrats, girls!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I never meant for this to happen. It just did. If you are feeling neglected, I'm truly sorry. Really. How can I explain this so you'll understand?

Life. I know it sounds like an excuse but it isn't. As much as I long to sit down with you in the form of my creative outlet, life just gets in the way sometimes. But, that isn't a bad thing.

People are important. I have some pretty important people in my life which I thank God for allowing. People sometimes need me. And I need people. A. Lot. Sometimes people are there for me more than I am for them. I hate that certain things get in the way for me being there for my people. But. It. Happens. And my people extend grace like no other people I know.

And, things, dear Blog, get in the way of us meeting together like we use to. I'm sorry if that is hurtful but things need to get accomplished. Phone calls to the hospital, EMS people, insurance companies. Things like being overwhelmed at the way our house is looking very cluttered. Things like remembering to take a deep breath. You know, those kinds of things that make the time fly by like there is no tomorrow.

Trust me when I say I haven't forgotten you. And as life goes back to "normal" (whatever that is), we will meet more. For now, let's be happy with meeting when we can.

Thanks for understanding and I promise to see you soon!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Week

Yesterday was one week since the accident. Our daughter drove to her 50-minute-away-hairdressing-academy alone for the first time since the accident. She was scared out of her mind but she did it and I couldn't be more proud.

People have prayed. I mean really prayed. Not the "I'll pray for you" but then never really prayed type of thing that I am often guilty of. I really don't mean to be that way. I honestly forget. I need to get better at remembering and praying because prayer does work. It sounds cliche to say that but it really does work.

Do you mind if I pray right now? I didn't think you'd mind!

Heavenly Father,

I just come to you now with a heart full of thankfulness. Thankfulness for what You have done and what You will do in our lives. You have such a wonderful plan for each of us and I pray You may help us to recognize it and obey Your calling. Give us the strength, courage and endurance to run this race for You.

I pray now for Sarah as she is driving to school right now. I thank you for sparing her life, Lord. I thank You for the safety of the other driver as well. As Sarah drives to school right now, please help her to replace the fear with courage and the knowing of You are her strength and she can do all things with You by her side. Help her to recognize You in the van with her this morning and give her a sense of Your peace. Thank you, Lord.

There are so many hurting people in the world. Reveal to us the people in our lives who may have a hidden hurt. Help us to speak your words to them in a loving way. Help us to remember to pray for others.

Thank you for your kindness and love.
In Your name we pray, Amen.

I'm linking this with Emily at Chatting at the Sky. She has Thankful Tuesdays which are fun to read. I didn't realize when I started this post this morning how thankful I really am. Travel over to her blog today!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What a Way to Start the Week

"Mom, I was just in an accident."

I gasped as I could feel blood race away from my tingling face. (She is fine. Sore but fine.)

We live in what some would call the country. We have a farm fields all around and 2 lane square mile roads. We have 2 way and 4 way stops with extra care to be taken when corn is tall.

Writer Daughter, who I will now call Cos Daughter in this post, was starting her 50 minute trip yesterday morning to a city to continue her education in the Cosmetology field. The phone rang not long after she left and caller ID told me it was Cos Daughter. Thinking she must have forgotten something and would be asking me to get and have it ready for her, I answered the phone. When she said those words I really did try to stay calm. Except my heart and my breathing didn't get that memo!

Cos Daughter did tell me during the call the location and the fact she blacked out after the crash. What happened? Less than a mile from our house (yes, you read that right) is an intersection where those who are traveling east or west must stop at the stop sign. side note: our neighbor's son was killed at that exact corner approx 15 years ago  If you are traveling north or south (which is our road), then you have the right of way. Cos Daughter had the right of way. The other girl didn't. The other girl DID stop at the stop sign but then proceeded to cross the road RIGHT in front of Cos Daughter. Cos Daughter slammed on the brakes and hit the car. She didn't have time to even slow down. She was that close to going through the intersection. Cos Daughter hit the other car by the front driver's tires. Air bag deployed and she couldn't see. The brake pedal went to the floor and next thing that she knew she hit a tree and blacked out. However, hitting a tree did not come up in the short conversation we had before I tore out of the house to get to the scene.

Cos Daughter was out and walking when I arrived. And my heart started to beat normally again....key word, start. Soon after, the deputy sheriff and emergency personnel started to arrive. I honesty remember hearing sirens in the distance but do not remember the sound after that. After telling her she HAS to go to the ER, off we go. Her way being announce with lights and sirens and me speeding after them.

She is fine. Physically sore and her left knee bothers her. However, we truly believe God had an angel in there with her. No burns or bruises from the air bag which hit her in the face. No seat belt burn. She was going 55, no time to slow down and she hit a tree head on. Head. On. We are praising God for His encasement of protection. He is an awesome God.

Mentally, she could use your prayers. Understandably, she is scared to drive. Her heart beats quickly while driving. She has had some flashbacks and remembers the deafening noise of the crash. Pray for peace and to overcome the fear.

The other girl is fine. The van, totaled. Having our daughter living and breathing, priceless!

What a way to start the week. It was the scariest thing I've ever experienced. But, thank you, Jesus, for our daughter's safety yesterday! Praise God from Whom ALL Blessings Flow!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Methinks 'Tis A Very Good Book Indeed

I need to blame someone. My house is a mess. Two days. Two. Days. I read The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund in two days. I feel like I should feel guilty about that. But I don't. The book was that good. Seriously good. And besides, I at least did laundry.

Jody hooked me within the first chapter. I mean, really, what mom wouldn't be hooked by the main character, Elizabeth, trying desperately to help a poor babe whose mother just died. Come on, moms, are you with me on that one?

What really struck me about Elizabeth was her commitment to obey God's calling no matter what the cost. How many times have I said, "Umm, God, are You sure that is what I'm to do? Because if I am really hearing what I think You are saying, other people are going to think I'm nuts!" The Preacher's Bride really had me thinking about issues and how I would react. Would I react in my selfish ways or stand up and stand firm?

The following is from Bethany House (publisher) website. I thought it does a better job than I ever could in describing the story line.

This fall debut author Jody Hedlund delivers an emotionally powerful story that will tug at readers’ hearts. Fascinated with history—and the courageous lives of heroes of the faith—Hedlund pens a dramatic and moving portrayal of people determined to follow God’s will in the face of persecution.

“This story is inspired by real people and real events,” says Hedlund, who, while doing research, was touched by the story of Elizabeth Bunyan—wife of Pilgrim’s Progress author John Bunyan. “But it’s also a tale of Christians facing persecution for their beliefs.”

Yet The Preacher’s Bride is not a fictionalization of the Bunyan’s lives. It’s a story unto its own, compelling and captivating while also insightful and thought-provoking, delving into the difficult decisions and lessons every Christian must undergo.

“God wants to use our hardships to develop our holiness. Sometimes He will lead us down a difficult path or ask us to do hard things, and He doesn’t want us to avoid them for the easy way,” says Hedlund. “Ultimately He uses those difficulties to shape our character and deepen our love for Him.”

It’s also a story that rings true on a personal note for Hedlund.

“Through my own personal struggles, God has emphasized that I need to continue to live a life of obedience to Him and walk the difficult path,” she says, adding that this is what her characters ultimately learn, as well—no matter the consequences.

With a moving plot, a sense of intrigue, and a sweet romance, The Preacher’s Bride is a perfect book club pick and an ideal read for fans of Lynn Austin, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Francine Rivers.

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher—whether her assistance is wanted or not.

Yet Elizabeth Whitbread’s new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John Costin’s boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher’s enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she’s more determined than ever to save the child—and the man—she’s come to love.

I strongly recommend you RUN out and buy this book!! (The author nor her publishing house is paying me to say this...I just think it is a great story!) Official release date is Oct 1. However, it is showing up in stores sooner and you can order online.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chicken & Noodle Time

This recipe is so quick and easy, you'll send me money for posting it for you!! (hint, hint) ☺

The "creative" title is Mom's Chicken and Noodles. Except it isn't my mom's recipe. Heck, I don't even think they made Ramen noodles when my mom was still alive. So, therefore I will call it....wait for it......

Easy Peasy Chicken & Noodles (creative don't you think?!)

4 pkgs chicken flavor Ramen noodles (found in grocery stores everywhere)
3 c. water
3 small cans Swanson's white chicken meat (I just use what I have here at home and eyeball what I think our family would like)
1 (6 oz) pkg cream cheese softened

Cook the noodles in the water for the amount of time on the pkg. Add season packets frm the noodles and stir. Stir in chicken and cream cheese. If mixture is too thick, add a little water. Serve plain or with toasted bread cubes.

Peas: heat some water, dump in peas. Cook until desired tenderness. (☺ I had to add peas as a side dish or my new "creative" title would have been just dumb! heeheehee!!)

Slap on a plate, say a prayer and eat!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

♪Feelings, Nothing More than Feelings♫

I do realize by the title I am showing my age. And you can thank me later when you cannot get that song out of you head...just like I can't at the moment!! ☺

I've been thinking a lot (gasp!) about how we treat one another. Let me tell you, I've been showing an enormous amount of the uglies lately. At home, at work, at Wal-Mart (but can you really blame me on that one?! ☺) , at....well you get the picture. And, by the way, what ever happened to customer service?!

But God wants me to love. Remember that little ditty in the Bible? "And the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor 13) Okay, Okay, I get it. Love. But some people are just so hard to love is the arrogant thought which runs through my stubborn head. It could very well be the un-customer service person is just having a rotten day. Or maybe one too many people yelled at him/her for something that had nothing to do with him/her. Yet, I feel entitled to feel grumpy toward him/her just because I didn't get a friendly hello or he/she didn't take me to the isle to help me find something. Wow, bad case of the uglies! And no showing of grace. Sigh. Sometimes those feelings just really get in the way of how God wants us to treat one another.

Don't get me wrong. God gave us feelings for a reason. However, when those feelings of entitlement for myself come along, I'm sure those feelings are not the love God talks about.

I've been slowly reading a book called "Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl" by Lysa Terkeurst. I'll wait here while you run out to buy it!! It. Is. Good. In one of her chapters, it talks about the uglies we have. It was a very timely read for me. I won't spoil it for you but it has something to do with praise and thankfulness.

Sure we will all have bad days. Awful days. That is where change, grace and forgiveness come into play.

I'm trying. I'm really trying to love people at work, at home, at Wal-Mart, at..... Wanna join me in looking at everyone with love? It won't be easy, but if we can accomplish it, what a better world it will be.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Found By You

(The song starts at about 3:50)

Britt Nicole & Brandon Heath ~~ Found by You
On Britt Nicole's album: Acoustic


I'm a little girl
And I'm just trying to figure out this funny world
It's so big
It's got me running around
I just wanna be found by You

I just wanna be found by You
I just wanna be found by You

See, I
I'm not ashamed
Of being small enough to fit inside Your hand
Take Your cup
And let Your love abound
'Cuz I just wanna be found by You

How will I know if I'm alive if I'll survive
Without Your Spirit inside to guide me
Alone You're making me strong
I'll never feel alone as long as I belong
To You and Your Son
You're the only One I'll ever need
And I just wanna be
I just wanna be
Your little girl
I don't have to figure out this crazy world

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Cats and I Do Not Get Along

There are many stories behind that title. Many. But I'll just bless you with one story behind the title. One that happened yesterday morning.

Careful! Don't let the cuteness suck you in!!! Read on...

We have a bush in front of our kitchen window that I’ve been in denial that it is dead….oh, let’s just say for the last few years. Hey, there are some green leaves on it every now and then….I just didn’t want to pull the plug!
And, we have kittens which are probably more like teens since they were born early spring.

The said bush is right in front of the kitchen window where we have a kitchen table. Almost each morning, one of the teen cats will climb up the bush, which the limbs lean toward the house, and meow when someone is eating breakfast. Honestly, at first I thought it was cute. But, I usually pull the blind after I see one climbing so it doesn’t try to jump on the screen.

On this particular morning, I hear a noise while in another room. I asked my son what the noise was since he and I are the only ones home. He calmly says it was a kitten (aka teen cat) that jumped on the screen. Yes, this alarmed me. I travel quickly to the kitchen and find the screen ripped/shredded. Oh. Boy. Was. I. Angry.

I am in the process of closing the window when I see another teen cat climb up on the bush, stopping to sharpen its claws mind you, and starts eyeballing the screen again. I, yes, a grown woman, HISS and clap and make all sorts of noise to scare the stupid, yes stupid, thing. At which point my son informs me that the cat I just scared wasn’t the one that jumped on the screen. LIKE. I. CARE. I think they were having a competition on who could ruin my screen more!!!!!

So I do the next logical step. I have my son go down in the basement and get the tool to cut the bush down (some sort of hand tool thing). Let’s just say NO cat/kitten/or anything will be climbing that bush stump anytime soon!! Yup, I pulled the plug finally. I even threw the branches at the cats/kitten that had the nerve to sit there and watch. And then they just came back after I came close to hitting them w/the branches. (no cats/kittens were hurt in the angry tirade) Dumb. Cats. Oh. Man. I’m still mad. We can’t open up that window now since the screen is really quite ripped.

AND I really don’t want to have to tell hubs he needs to fix one more thing. That will win me the coveted wife of the year award. Dumb cats. Dogs are so much smarter…..well, at least at the moment that is my outlook about dogs….until mine does something dumb again!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Only a House

I know it is only a house. Something material. Something tangible. If that house was no longer there, I would still have my memories but I would be sad. Very sad.

I, along with a few relatives, took a tour of my Grandpa and Grandma's house this weekend. Its third set of owners since my Grandparents sold it, graciously allowed us to traipse through and relive our past. It was fun. No other word but fun. My relatives and I had brought pictures we had of the house both inside and out. The owners were so appreciative to see the pictures and asked questions about how things looked before the previous owners remodeled.

Memories flooded my mind as we walked through the house. This house was like my second home. My family lived basically around the corner from my Grandparents. When I'd go for a bike ride, that is where I'd end up. When I wanted to run away from home, that is where I planned on going. (I was not an adventurous child! ☺) I helped my Grandma with housework, much to the puzzlement of my mom who could never figure out why I could help my Grandma but fought her tooth and nail at home when it came to housework. I also remember my Grandma talking with me about that while we did dishes. She told me she told my mom it was more fun to help someone else, which I totally agreed. But my Grandma also encouraged me to help at home, which I reluctantly did. I made my first "employment" dollar at that house. Mowing lawn. Oh how I hated those deep ditches. My Grandpa took pity on me and mowed the ditches. He also taught me how to mow lawn "properly" (a.k.a. mow the lawn my way or else! ☺).

I also learned more family history this weekend. A story I had never heard before (much to my dads surprise). As I was taking my dad home, I told him our family (his brothers and sister) need to get together just for story telling. I will gladly don the title of note taker so we can write the family stories down for my generation and the next. I became even more convinced how important it is to tell your children stories of your past. What may be inconsequential to you is history to them.

The house is different on the inside and outside. But that is okay. The newest owners are a great family and I am really glad they own the house. I have my memories and touring the house and property was a wonderful experience. It is only a house, but deep inside it is secretly still my Grandparents house.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Overwhelming Tears

I cried twice today.

The first time the tears came was this morning when I read and watched this. And then I was moved when I looked at pictures.

Then, my younger-self came to the surface again by reading this at Ann's site. My heart was torn open again. I was the girl who was hurt and haunted by others who thought they were better and needed to torment me to prove it. It has shaped my life when I really think about it...whether good or bad, it has shaped me.

I may be brave and write a post about it soon. Maybe it is finally time to write about the hurts. The social struggles. The want of feeling like I'm just as "good" as everyone else. But, it will hurt to bring up everything again. I say I've forgiven. But have I really when it still hurts?

Maybe I'll be brave soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This & That

Wow, can summer fly any faster?! I would really like to say I'm not complaining...but I am. Why lie.

Writer Daughter is now a full time cosmetology student...for a three full days now. She. Loves. It. There is a ton of memory work but hopefully as she does things over and over again, it will cement into her brain. She is a very visual learner so she struggles at times on the if you ever feel like praying for her, you are more than welcome. Also, prayers would be great for traveling safety/mercies. She travels 50 minutes each way...we live in an area which witnesses both fog and snow. Yeah. And one thing she was afraid of and it looks like it might be coming time for writing. That was her biggest fear. We made a schedule and between her full time school schedule and her job to pay for said school...No. Time. I keep telling her it is only one packed full year. She'll get through it.

Our friend, Shannon, is on a Compassion International trip to Colombia. On her blog, she is writing a daily post about her time there. It is worth your time to read her postings. It will change your outlook. (scroll down to her Aug 12th post and read "up" from there) I've been thinking a lot about what she has written so far this week.

Dancer Daughter has some more pictures up on her blog. I think she is doing a fine job...but leave some comments over there for her if you see anything you like...which I know you will see lots of pictures you will like!! ☺ And if you are on facebook, consider "liking" her "business" page.

I'm about to make a confession. Full. On. Jealous. Yup, I'm full on jealous of this room.

These picture were respectfully stolen  borrowed from Ann Voskamp over at Holy Experience. Seriously, if you have never visited her blog, RUN--don't walk--over there right now. It is peaceful. I'm not sure I really want a room designated for teaching at home anymore since our children are getting older, but I'd love this look in any room of our house. It just looks so homey to me. Maybe it is the colors, wood and lighting. Whatever it is, it looks inviting. Am I right? sigh. Oh, and another confession? I would love, love, love to sit down with Ann. (if I read her blog almost every day, that gives me the right to be on a first name basis with her, right?!). I really think we could be friends.

Anyone out there needing a gift for a baby or toddler? Or maybe you have your own baby/toddler you'd like to look even cuter than they already are. My friend is a great seamstress and is in the business of cute kid clothes, bibs, burp cloths, crayon rolls, etc. Go here and show Laurie some love.

Need a good laugh, or two, or three? Go visit author Jenny B Jones blog. She is someone else I would love, love, love to meet. Not that I would expect everything that comes out of her mouth to be funny...only every other word. No pressure, Jenny. No pressure.

Well, I need to get out of blogland and into the real world....sigh. Have a great week pressure.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Strolling Down Memory Lane

I went to a reunion this past weekend. Have I mentioned my hatred of such events? I think I get it from my dad...yeah, let's blame him. I just don't like the awkwardness of small talk. And this reunion would be huge if everyone came. It was a reunion which included my Grandpa's brothers and sisters (about 8 or so total) and their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Eeek! However, this reunion was different.

My 2nd or 3rd cousin (not good at that either...there's once removed, twice removed, hair removal...oops, that's another post!) contacted me and another one of those cousins removed via facebook to see if we'd be our family's representative. She must have asked on a good day because I said yes. However, I did inform her I had a graduation coming up and other things to do to get Writer Daughter ready for cosmetology school. She was totally cool with that.

I was dreading the day. I picked up my dad, who was also dreading it, and traveled about 4 miles from his house to the reunion location. I felt a little awkward at first but soon it became fun to see people I haven't seen since I was in Jr High and was forced to go to things like said reunion.

Relatives were told tables would be available for heirlooms to display. I thought, "Yeah, big deal." But really, it was a big deal. It was so interesting to see some of the material things collected from our past. Way, cool.

After eating a potluck of all the yummy things from the past and present, we had a time of story telling. There is only a brother and a sister of my Grandpas left. It was fun hearing the stories of my Great Grandpa and Grandma and even a little about my Great-great Grandpa. I think the story time was my favorite part of the afternoon. I learned so much. Like there are 10 sets of twins (My dad and aunt and a set of first cousins are part of that number! THAT is why I asked at the ultrasound how many were in there, people!!) in the family. And how a younger cousin of my dad's had a near death experience when he was a little boy and vividly told us what he saw and felt.

Lesson learned? Keep an open mind and a closed mouth about family reunions....I just might learn something! ☺

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lemon, Lemon, Lemon

This is so embarrassingly simple yet scrumptious! If you like lemon, this is for you. The person I begged asked to share the recipe didn't know the proper title so she made one up on the spot. Lemon Desert. But, it looks like a Lemon Fluff to me. Let's go with that one, shall we?

Lemon Fluff

1 small box lemon Jell-o
1 small box lemon instant pudding
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple (do NOT drain)
1 8 oz container sour cream
1 8 oz container Cool Whip

Pour sour cream and pineapple into a large bowl. Add the Jell-o and pudding DRY; mix very well. Fold Cool Whip into the mixture. Place in desired bowl and refrigerate.

The picture is a doubled recipe. Enjoy!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Family Memories

Grandparent's home in the background
Family history. Those two words put together never excited me. In fact, I would run in the opposite direction when my family began to play the "Mennonite game". That game may have a different name depending where you are from but around here, it means long conversations of who is related to whom.

Yesterday I did something I've been wanting to do for a very long time. I stopped at the home/farm where my Grandma and Grandpa lived until the last few years of their lives. The home has had 3 owners since my Grandparents auction. Each owner has made improvements to the old brick home. I'm sure if I ever went inside, I would not recognize the rooms.

The current owner is having a garage sale. So I seized the opportunity to talk with the owner and ask permission for my Dancer Daughter (a.k.a. budding photographer) and I to stop in sometime and take pictures of the pond and weeping willow tree I helped my Grandpa plant (which they agreed...yay!!). While I was there, they started asking questions about the house and farm when my grandparents lived there.

Memories came flooding back. You see, growing up we only lived a half of a mile (at the most) from my Grandparents. It was like a second home to me. It was familiar. It was safe. It spilled over with love. I spent many hours helping my Grandma with housework or the garden. I remember watching her make cinnamon rolls. I remember hours spend under the dining room table playing (for some reason underneath that old table was just so much fun!) and the hiding place for all the yummy goodies. Watching my Grandpa use his power tools in the barn (he was a carpenter) and the summer kitchen converted into a woodworking area. And I use to mow their lawn and earned some cash. The many, many times aunts, uncles and cousins would visit. So many memories. If I wrote them all here, the post would turn into 5 pages!!

And of course there are the memories that aren't so great. Like the time my Grandpa had a stroke and my mom, Grandma and I as a very small child brought him home from the hospital. He still had an IV and I was pretty scared of him. Or when Grandma started to go "blind" when she was older and had to use a magnifying glass just to read the church bulletin. And I'll never forget getting the phone call early one Sunday morning telling us our uncle who was visiting had died during the night in the house. Or the mixed emotions when they decided to auction off the farm and house because they were getting older and couldn't handle the upkeep much longer. Not all memories are pleasant. But isn't that what life is about? The bad naturally comes with the good.

Family memories. I think I like those two words. Those two words make me happy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

At the End of the Day

"At the end of the day, what matters is
when you've looked up at God and can say,
"I followed your voice." Your identity is in Him,
not in the notions of others."
~ a beloved friend

How many times have I looked to others for approval? How many times have I missed a God-directed-moment because of a negative comment someone said in the past which still holds me down and haunts me today? How many times have I berated myself because I am not as "good" as so 'n so? Why can't I get past the rejection and hurt? When will I get past the insecurities?

Sometimes, words are like atomic bombs. They have the power to knock us down and destroy for years. How many times have I said something I should not have said to a person. How were my words like atomic bombs in someones life? What about the co-worker who really only needs to say one thing "wrong" and I am grumpy to her the entire day? I'm not showing Christ in my grumpiness. It is easy to love the lovable. But we aren't called to love just the lovable. (sigh.) 

I'm glad God is a God of second, third....twentieth.... chances, aren't you? I want to say at the end of the day, "I followed Your voice" and not have regrets. How about you?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You Make Beautiful Things

Beautiful Things by Gungor

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll even find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Sights, Sounds & Smells

Birds chirpin'
Kittens jumping
Children laughing
Water splashing
Sun shining
Storms storming
Skunks smelling
Lawn mowers mowing
Swings creaking
Fans blowing
Ice cream dippin'
Weed pulling
Camper's Pie eating
Garden hoeing
S'more making
Fire blazing
Dog panting
Hair frizzing
Sun burning
Baseball bat cracking
Wind blowing
Bathing suits drying
Porch chair rocking
Sunset watchin'
Fireworks bursting
Bicycle riding
Tent camping
Toads croaking
Marshmallow roastin'...

What are your sights and sounds of summer?

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Last Times

I am reminded how quickly time flies by. One minute you are holding your first born baby and wondering why the nurse let you leave the hospital with this life you have no clue about. The next minute your first born is an adult.

Time seems precious to me at the moment. It seems like there are a lot of "we better do this now because it might be the last time all five of us will do...." (even though she will be living here and commuting back and forth to school, I know she won't have the time to do stuff with us.) I know this is part of life. I know this feeling or realization has hit many parents. I know she needs to grow, mature and become the woman God has intended. But I didn't realize how hard this would be.

I lived at home until I was married. One day after I had children, I must have been saying something to my mom about one of the kids doing something (I can't remember). My mom told me that the hardest thing she ever had to do was watch me carry my clothes out to my car to move them into the house my soon-to-be hubs and I would be renting. Well, many years later, I think I understand a little bit of what she was feeling.

But as Ecclesiastes 3 says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven..." I need to remember that. I was young once and remember this is a natural thing. Yes, the family dynamics will indeed change, but God is my constant.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What Stirs You?

What stirs you? A song? A dance? Artwork? A passage from the Bible or a book? A giggle from a baby? What is it that gives the goosebumps or "holy-bumps"?

I have found several things stir me. One of which is movement.

I was flipping through TV channels the other night and came across America's Got Talent. I'm a sucker for a good story and a contestant and his mom were being interviewed. Watch the video below to find out his story and his talent. Before I watched his talent, I thought dancing was the only movement form which stirred me. But I do believe I found other form (below). It was extremely relaxing. It could be due to the song he used along with his talent or maybe it was just the movement. Whatever it was, it stirred me.

See for yourself and let me know if you were stirred.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smile, Laugh and Enjoy

Never underestimate the power of a smile and a hearty laugh!

(I wish these guys were still together!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


If you have been reading my blog for a while, you'll know my family and I have been going through something. (you may read about it here and here)

This afternoon, something wonderful happened. We finally had an answer. AND finally, I believe, have this issue resolved. Woohooo!!!!

I was outside when I heard the news and I do believe the entire neighborhood heard my celebration and my "Praise the Lord!" statements.

Thank you to all who have prayed for me and my family during this time! God Bless!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Teen Summer Bible Study~~The High Tech Way

Just a quick note to all those who are teen girls or know a teen girl.

Check out author Shannon Primicerio's blog/vlog. It just started yesterday so you'll have time to catch up. It sounds like fun.

Shout it from the roof tops and tell all your friends!!

Too bad I'm not a teen anymore...oh WAIT, I totally take that back. ☺

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Life is pretty much up in the air right now. Which really stinks. I like my little, cute ducks all in a row so I know where I'm headed....or in this case, where someone I love deeply is headed.

What really stinks is this entire thing is out of my hands. I've done the best I could for this person I love. There is still a chance it will work out how we hope but there is always that gloomy cloud hanging over our heads until it is all cleared up.

I don't understand why we are going through this. I don't understand the big deal that is being made out of this particular issue. I don't understand why others are dictating the way it should be. I don't understand why no one really knows what is going on.

In the midst of me crying-my-way-through sharing this not fair situation with a dear friend, I truely believe God spoke to me through her. It is okay if I don't understand a lot of what is going on. It is okay if maybe the person I love's future goes in a different direction than this person and us thought. God is still here. He is still in our lives. He knows the plans for us. He gives us a future and a hope.  And even though I would love a neon sign saying to go this way or that way or to tell us what we should do, if God did that it wouldn't require a ton of faith on my part.

So, (insert huge sigh) even though I am NOT enjoying this trip one bit (I can say that out loud because God already knows it...yeah, I kind of told Him...oops!), I will choose to ride this ride with the person I love. And, hello.  He is God. He does know what He is doing and doesn't need me telling Him any different. (trust me, I've already tried that approach....doesn't work out the greatest!!) Kind of requires just a wee bit of faith and trust...hmmm....

What about you?

Let the Waters Rise by Mikeschair

***Update: things are looking up. Heard something positive this afternoon concerning the situation. I am happy but cautious. I'll let ya'll know when I'm doing cartwheels!!! ☺

And this video is "just because"! Yep, you are welcome!
Better Than A Hallelujah" by Amy Grant

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sing Me A Love Song

Dancer Daughter had her first ever ballet recital. She attends a family-based, Christian-based studio. The song for the performance was Sing Me A Love Song by Barlow Girl.

So proud of her.

Check out her new adventure here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Worthy Blogs

I may be bias, but here are three fabulous blogs worth checking out.

I've mentioned both of the following is Writer Daughter's blog and one she shares with two other girls. Her writing blog is no longer getting up dated on regular intervals but keep checking back!! She is getting ready for college plus has decided to work on her book and not devote so much time to her writing blog...for now. (Oh and check out her latest post for

This one is brand spankin' new. It is Dancer Daughter's blog. She is just getting stop and say "hey!". She is a budding photographer and has lots of pictures to share. Keep checking back as she begins this journey. Here is just a sneak peek before you travel on over to her blog...

And here are a few other blogs I really enjoy:

Annieblogs She is funny. She is human. She is real.

Debra Weiss  Wisdom from a young one.

Jenny B Jones She. Is. A. Hoot.

Shannon Primicerio She writes for girls but it also applies to us big girls!

Holy Experience Simply beautiful...the pictures, the written words...beautiful. And make sure the speakers are on because the first song that plays is very, very calming.

(In)Courage and She Seeks  Great places to get refreshed.

Lysa TerKeurst She the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She is real...real funny and real life. Plus I'm thinking she is around my age so she automatically scores some major points! She makes reference to 80's music...I can relate. She also has written a book I'm reading at the moment called "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl". It. Is. Good.

Okay, I'm sure I'm missing someone but that is all my little brain can pull up right now. Have fun browsing the blogs! And if you're reading this saying, "Hey! What about my blog!!" Just give me a shout in the comments and I'll write a blog devoted to you!! ☺

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hey, Jude

Have you read Jude lately? Hint, it is in the Bible. Another hint, it is a small little book with only one short chapter. And, its location is before Revelation. I know, because I had to ask.

Jude the chosen one in our adult Sunday School class. And like any bad student, I waited until we were ready to step out the door for church Sunday morning to even look at the lesson help. Like a mad woman, I perused my Bible's table of contents. I couldn't find poor Jude. It was beginning to feel like a "Where's Waldo" book. I had to ask a daughter of its location....sheesh, for a minute there, I thought my Bible didn't have Jude! Panic adverted....Jude was lost but now he is found (sounds like that would make a catchy song!).

I would definitely encourage you to read little, old Jude. It is quite interesting and one can learn a lot in just a page. Go ahead, jump over to Jude and read...I'll wait.

Did you read it?

Isn't that little book of the Bible somethin' else. Seems to me it has everything in it. It has an urgency at the beginning that makes one want to read faster. Then it launches in to the past. History. And, what happened when they didn't follow God's path. we ever really learn from it? When I was in high school, my history teacher was extremely boring. Seriously. I'm not sure I learned a thing. Though, I could tell you how his shirts were strangely tucked in and how he stood....but that would be mean and for another post! ☺ I think the only thing I learned in his class was when a fellow student asked why learning all this history was important. His response is still with me today. He said, "We need to learn about history so we can learn from their mistakes." Now, to me, we still have a long, long way to go in learning from past mistakes. But, it does make sense. Especially when you read verse 5-7.

There is even some rebuking, "woe-ing" and grumbling going on. You know you're in trouble with that combo! Verse 13 (about the waves foaming up their shame) really gave me a visual. I had watched the news that morning and saw the waves bringing oil to shore (from the Gulf Coast oil disaster). Waves (our life) can be beautiful, but when there is dirt (sin) being washed ashore, yuck!

But the writer saved the best for last. After he tries to warn them, the encouragement breaks forth.
"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."
What a great way to end a letter, don't you think? I love the word picture in HIM who is able to keep you from FALLING..... Close your eyes and imagine that! Ought to put a huge smile on your face. ☺

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Phew! Tired.

Woke early. Couldn’t go back to sleep. Grudgingly get up all the while thinking this is what getting old looks like. Cereal and cappuccino. Showing Dancing Daughter how to print borderless when the electric goes out. Decide to waterproof wooden swings and step while still cool. Getting hot quickly. Kids want pool put up. Sigh, a lot of work those cheap blue pools. Kids and I start to put up pool while Hubs weed trims. Pool patched last year but didn’t last. Try to patch again before fill with water. No good. Go purchase newer, supposedly better pool. Putting up newer pool family affair. Hot. Hot. Hot. Getting cranky. Sweet daughter gets cold cloths for everyone’s neck. Ahhhh…for 5 minutes. Sweet daughter gets everyone water. Pool doesn’t fit where old one went. Scout new location. Just want this silly pool up and done. Finally done. No one hurt in the process. Filling with water. One daughter and I go to church to work on a few things. Come home. Pool still filling. Daughter makes supper. Squirrel is to blame for earlier electric outing. One less squirrel in the world. I help other daughter address thank you notes for her graduation party gifts. Done! Relief! Son helps by cleaning up after supper. Sit down for first time today to read. Can’t. Read. Words. Tired. Get up and check on pool. Still filling. Long, long way to go. Can’t believe it is Saturday. Tomorrow is Sunday. Where is the weekend going so quickly? Shut off water going into pool to do laundry. Finish loading dishwasher. Tired but brain won’t stop. Typing blog post. Finished with post and going to take a bath and go to bed! So. Tired.