Monday, November 30, 2009

real life calls and so I answer reluctantly

Man I wish I had some sweet tea right now. The problem is I don't have any sugar. Why don't I have any sugar you ask? Well, my friend, I don't have any sugar because I haven't been to the grocery store in two weeks. Two weeks! Do you know what that means? That means that I am going to have to brave the grocery store for a WHOLE lot of stuff. Ick, ewww, grrrrr.....

I'm sitting here trying to figure out how long I can delay the inevitable. I really had no intentions of leaving the house today. We've been gone since last Wednesday due to Thanksgiving festivities and I have a tiny bit massive amount of cleaning and washing and folding and putting away and organizing and getting back to real life to do. How am I going to fit in a trip to the grocery store? Hmmmm, McDonald's is very close....maybe I could get out of the house today. ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

deckin' the halls

This is what I am listening to....

can you guess what I am doing?

Monday, November 23, 2009

my laura ingalls wilder moment

This weekend I realized that if Shawn and I were to have lived in the olden days we would have made it. I would wear long calico dresses and my hunk of a husband would bring home the bacon.... or the deer.

Sunday evening, decked in camo and bright orange my man shot his first deer! Isn't that like a rite of passage or something? What? Oh, only if you are from the country? Gotcha...

Way to go baby, your girls are proud of you and happy to know that we could survive in the wild... well, that is if this woman of yours could learn how to prepare the meat without the luxuries of a modern kitchen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

in the trenches

Last week I had a rough day. It was one of those days that started out promising yet never delivered. Lauren and I were off. It wasn't meshing. It wasn't pretty. At one point we were both sitting on the floor in the living room crying. Literally staring at each other and crying our eyes out. It wasn't my proudest moment as a parent.

My mood that day was sour. I allowed the enemy to gain access into my thought closet and if I am being totally honest with you I am just now today feeling that grip loosen from me. For one split second I lost sight of my goal. For a moment I allowed myself to venture into the dark place of self-doubt and it crippled me for almost a week. The questions were right there and easy to speak... What am I doing? Obviously I am not a good parent, why am I here? Isn't there someone more qualified? Am I messing this whole thing up? Do I have anything to offer or teach her? Why is this so hard? Why is it not perfect? (of course I should have expected this one, right?)

I talked to several people that day and the next. I knew that they were speaking truth over my life, even if it hurt and it meant that I had to buck up and stop my pity party. I knew I had to pick myself up. But still, I had let the enemy in to my most sacred and private areas and he kept tormenting me with them. Every time I thought it was under control, the heavy cloud settled back in my heart. I felt defeated and a mile behind.

I don't have a pretty way to tie up this post. All I know is that I am in the trenches. Fighting hard every day for my daughter. For her heart. I fight for the decision I made almost two years ago to stay home. I fight for my marriage and the love that has grown and changed and stayed true. I fight for my family and the legacy that we will pass on to our children and grandchildren.

Some days I lose the fight. Those are hard to take and leave me broken. But, some days I win. Some days I know the very peace that comes only from God and from honoring Him with this job of serving my family. And I learn. I change. I become better for having fought it out in the trenches.

A Piece of Plastic Clay
by Dr. Henrietta Mears

I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day,
And as my fingers pressed it still,
It moved and yielded to my will.

I came again when days were passed;
The bit of clay was hard at last,
The form I gave it still it bore,
But I could change the form no more.

I took a piece of living clay
And touched it gently day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child's soft and yielding heart.

I came again when years were gone;
It was a mind I looked upon;
That early impress still he wore,
And I could change that form no more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the big day

November 17th is here ya'll. I don't know why I said ya'll but it seemed to fit, so forgive me. 2 years ago today I found out I was pregnant after waiting for a I bought 2 fantabulous cd's that I have been waiting a while for. Not quite the same? Oh well. I am still excited and giddy and if you could see me you would probably be ashamed for the crazy dance moves I've been busting out all up in my kitchen.

I DID NOT purchase these amazing cd's from ITunes. Don't get me wrong I love me some ITunes, but when it comes to my most favorite of all favorite singers ever I buy the hard copy ya'll. Again, sorry. I got my butt out of the house and made it to both Best Buy and CPO in order to get my hands on this ear pleasing music. Whoever beat me to Sara's CD at Best Buy, kuddos to you. Thankfully, John was waiting there for me and so all was well. The poor clerks that checked me out probably thought I was a crazy woman...seriously did they not know how important it was for me to Guess they didn't get the memo that today is a momentous day in the world of music. Or at least in Jen's world of music.

I feel called to mention that Nora Jones also had a cd come out today and as much as I love me some Nora Jones, I had to pass that baby up. It is going to be hard enough for me to memorize every single word, note, and arrangement in these two cd's by tomorrow and I just didn't think it would be smart to add another artist to the mix. I have my sanity to think of people.

If you are wondering how I do this whole new cd thing, let me explain. Basically I listen to the songs over and over and over and over and over until I could sing the song word for word and dramatic note for dramatic note. I play the music in the background, in the car, and while I am putting on my makeup. It drives Shawn batty, but it is just me and I love it. I guess I should add that I cannot actually in real life sing. Just in case you were thinking of booking me for your wedding or next corporate party.

Now, I thought I would share a couple video's from the new cd's. The first one is called Twice as Good from Sara Groves new album. This song is a shout out(oh yeah, I just said "shout out" and I am twelve) to all my girlfriends. Seriously, life with you girls is half as hard and twice as good!

This next one, Half of My Heart, is by my John and Taylor Swift (love her). How cute is that?

Monday, November 16, 2009

a little help?

Shawn and I just sat down to go over our budget. We use the mvelopes system online and both really like it, BUT I seem to have a problem that I need a little help with. See, in order to utilize the mvelopes system to its fullest you really need to keep and enter ALL receipts. I will be honest with you guys - I have the hardest time holding on to my receipts. Sometimes they get smashed into my purse, sometimes they go in my wallet, sometimes they stay in the bag with my purchases, and sometimes they go flying across the parking lot never to be seen again. What do you do to keep your receipts organized? I thought about getting a ziploc bag or just a mind that remembers but I thought I would ask you all first. Thanks in advance for your amazing answers and for saving my marriage!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Last night something really cool happened. Our little family made the decision to sponsor a child through the Compassion Organization. I talked briefly about this earlier this summer, but it has taken us a while to finally just do it. To put aside all fears and worries and just trust God with the little bit we are able to do.

Last night our little family grew with the addition of a precious 8 year old boy named Leo. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to know that soon somewhere in El Salvador Leo will learn that someone cares about him and wanted to sponsor him. Leo has been waiting for more than 6 months to be sponsored. Doesn't that break your heart? It did ours. The other really neat thing about Leo is that he and Lauren share a birthday. Shawn and I thought it would be a really wonderful way for Lauren to connect with Leo as she gets older.

It is our desire as parents to raise little Miss Lauren to know the needs of the world. To be God's hands. To never take for granted our blessings. To realize just how lavishly we live and to have a giving heart.

I wanted to post this, but I also worried that by posting the impression might be given that this is for our glory or that our family is being prideful. Truly, it is not and we are not. We are so thankful to be used by God in this young man's life. God doesn't need us to reach His people. He is God and He can do anything. He doesn't need us, but he allows us to get in there and feel. He allows us to show His love to people. He lets us get our hands dirty and in the end we receive the blessing. How wonderful is our God?

This week there are a group of Compassion bloggers in El Salvador. If you'd like to hear their stories you can read Kelly's blog, Heather's blog, Molly's blog, Keely's blog, Shaun's blog, or Patricia's blog. I encourage you to take some time and read through their posts, look at their pictures, and feel what they are feeling.

We've obviously spent some time before making the decision to sponsor a child through Compassion. I can tell you that I was always looking for the way this wasn't legit. You know, like they were taking 90% of the money and the other 10% actually made it to meet the needs of the child. Thankfully, this is SO not the case with Compassion. Here is a quote from Kelly's blog regarding this issue:

"Someone asked me what % of money actually goes to the children. 83% of money given to Compassion goes straight to help the children. Of course - the other 17% just goes to running the company - the offices all over the world. Charity Watch dog is an organization that checks charities and Compassion is the only U.S. company who has received the highest ratings for the last 7 years. We saw file cabinets yesterday with the records that blow my mind that are kept on every child and every penny spent. Compassion is the real deal. It is making a difference."

I'd love to hear if you sponsor a child from somewhere. One of the quotes on one of the Compassion blogs I was reading the other day said that a picture was shown in the Compassion office of a young child. The speaker looked at the bloggers and said, "This child deserves to know Jesus." Yes... yes he does!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

sumpin to watch

I love the band/group/whatever, Lifehouse, and tonight Shawn showed me this video his cousin sent him. Very cool - make sure to watch all the way until the end. Beautiful song. Beautiful message.


Aren't these kids the cutest?!?! All us moms were jumping up and down and clapping our hands and acting just plain silly to try to get these sweeties to look!

Isabelle was on the run and Preston was trying to keep her from sweet!

Poor Preston, the girl just can't be held back!

Lauren was tired of all the noise!

Cougar Mama at her post checking out the latest New Moon info!!!

And tonight I have a date with this little lady....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

oh Christmas presents, oh Christmas presents...

So, I saw on one of my favorite "kiddy" blogs the idea to put together a little Christmas wish list for Lauren. Now, first and foremost...I am not advocating ANYONE going out to buy any or all of these items. I just thought it would be fun to throw out a few things that I really think she would like/get good use out of over the next years. Some of these things the grandparents have already said they might be getting, but some of it is new stuff that I thought might help with the question of what to get Lauren.... now you have some ideas. :) Again I feel as though I should clarify - I am NOT ASKING anyone to get Lauren presents (this is mainly for family who have asked what to get her) Also, if you are reading this and see anything that you have good or bad feedback on - I'd LOVE to hear it. I hate wasting money!!!!

A little table and chair set for her to play on/color on/eat on/whatever!!!

Touch and Feel books.... she is totally into reading and loves new textures. I really think she would like any book like this!

Lauren is just entering the stage of liking to play with crayons and even paint...can you see where this is going? I thought this little artist smock would be nice!!!

Finger paints!!! Oh the fun we could have!!!

Isn't this baby doll the cutest? I'd love for her to have a baby, but she hasn't really acted that interested in them so far. P.S. Did you know that there are baby dolls out there that are like 80 bucks? Seriously?!?!

She loves Play Doh and I thought this set was really cute with the little tools!!!

I'd love for Lauren to have a set of wooden blocks. I thought these were cute with the letters and pictures on them!
I really like this magnetic letter set from Melissa and Doug. I've seen a lot of really neat activities using these and I like that there are uppercase and lowercase letters!

How cute is this kitchen? I am not sure this particular one would work for our house though because it is a corner unit, and believe it or not, we do not have a corner open....unless I actually put it in the dining room....hmmmm... I do think Lauren would like this as she is really into pretend play!Of course, this cute little food set would be fun for her too! Also, a mess?!?!

Musical Instruments!!!!! Drum, xylophone, maracas, any of those would be fun!!!!!!!

Counting bears!!! These are great for color sorting, counting, texture, pretend play, and on and on!

How about this? I am thinking this would be sooo wonderful for indoor play during the cold winter months! Lauren LOVES the slide at the park and I can imagine she would really enjoy this mini version!

Shawn and I were also thinking of getting her a little reading chair for the living room....any thoughts?!?!

Monday, November 09, 2009

an open letter to perfectionism

Dear Perfectionism,

You and I have been acquaintances for a long, long time. To say that we have been through a lot together would be an understatement. The truth is you've been my constant companion. The first one to cheer me on or to call me out. You've pushed me, pulled me, encouraged me and then mocked me.

Have you had fun with yourself all these years? Have you loved watching me as I tirelessly reached for you over and over again? Have you laughed to yourself as I came up short again and again and again? Have you sat mesmerized as I gave up and didn't finish project after project or commitment after commitment out of the fear of failure you instilled in me? And have you enjoyed lacing any success I have had with your bittersweet, "could have, should haves"?

Yes . . . knowing you - you have.

After all, isn't that what you do? You hide behind a nice, neat title and then wreck havoc on the lives of those you encounter. Most people don't even recognize it is you. They blame it on pressure and their own hard work ethic. All the while you get off free and clear.

Well, Perfectionism, today I have your number. I've been watching you...tracking you. I've been analyzing the areas where you have me and the wonderful and horrible things you've used to lead me to those places. Today, I am seeing things a little more clearly. I'm taking my ownership and heaping yours on you. How does it feel?

I know that I am not immune to your deceptions and as much as I wish I could be, that will not happen while I am alive on this earth. There is no pill or shot I can take that will untangle your hold from me. It is too twisted, too methodical, too consuming for human hands or mind. It is going to require God. It is going to require an overhaul of the way I think and who I listen to. It is going to require that I purposefully set you aside daily or even hourly.

I guess this means we're breaking up. It's been real. But it hasn't been fun.


Friday, November 06, 2009


So in about 20 minutes we've got to pack up to head to Lauren's 15 month well child visit. How can it be that she is old enough for one of those? How can it be that she is no longer a little baby? I mean, of course I will always consider her my baby but if I am being honest with myself she is a toddler. A toddler! How does that happen?

On another note, Shawn is getting to move offices and I told him Lauren and I would love to come help this afternoon. This means that she will probably be running all over the place and getting into all of his stuff, but I think it will be fun to hang with him a while and hopefully it will help him get it all done faster... we'll see!

Saturday I am helping my friend, Kelly, with a conference she is putting on for her middle school girls at their church. The conference is called, Beautiful You, and it is all about being beautiful in God's eyes and putting off the way the world sees beauty and embracing the way God sees it. I am really looking forward to it and I have got to pick the tee shirts up we had made today!!!

Sunday, we are having our family pictures done and I am really excited. My parents and brothers are coming up and I think the last family picture we had done was when I was 14 and it is really time to get another one up!!! I am looking forward to it and hopefully Lauren will smile and look at the camera. Doubtful.

In other exciting news the 17th is getting closer and closer. I can't wait to hear the new stuff from John Mayer and Sara Groves. I told Shawn that I wasn't sure the world could contain that much excitement from me in one day! And, the 20th is New Moon with some of my crazy, awesome friends. Did I tell you we had tee shirts made for that too? Oh my! They are really cool - but who knows if that will translate to us. ;)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

normal day

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.
- Mary Jean Iron