Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Hugs with Mommy!
Snuggles with Daddy!
My new LSU boa!!
Santa Gift at Nana's house! Tea party!
Ride 'em cowgirl!!!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Mom's at work, so I can do this really quick without her knowing.
I figured my fans needed an update on my life, since I'm over 5 months old now. I'm practically ancient! But Mom realized yesterday she was going to be 25 in March and freaked out. It was pretty funny. Dad's a year younger than Mom, but they look fine to me. Hey, as long as they keep the bottles coming, who cares how old they are?
So I had my first piggyback ride the other day. That was cool. I like being up high. Thanks Daddy!!
In other news, I had my first taste of green beans the other day. I make faces when I eat them, hoping that will make Mom stop, but she says I need them to be strong like Daddy, and I do wanna be buff. So I make myself eat them. I guess they're really not THAT bad...
Still loving my playstation. Not much new there. I sit in it a lot in Mom's bathroom while she does her make-up and dries her hair. Sometimes she sings Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree to me and we groove.
I opened some Christmas gifts from Mimi yesterday and that was awesome! I looooove wrapping paper. She gave me good gifts, too. A stuffed horsey I can sit on, a steering wheel that makes car noises, and some clothes. I like my footie PJs.
My favorite blankie still makes me sooo happy! Mom and Daddy let me play nakey in my crib sometimes with it and I get all excited. I love Fleece!!
There are still a bunch of shenanigans going on, as you can tell. But I'm happy! Life is good. Mommy and Daddy are pretty cool even though they still have their weird-making-faces moments. But its okay. I know they love me!! And I can't wait to see what all this Christmas stuff is they keeping talking about. Just a few more days, from what I hear.
Uh oh, Mom's coming!!! Gotta go!
Friday, December 19, 2008
I'm done! Enough is enough.
Why is Christmas only wished with calories, fat grams, and sugar? Seriously, the last two weeks here at work has been a true sugar fest. We've literally gotten at least one delivery every day of some form of cheese straw, gourmet chocolate, cookie, candy, or roasted nut. We've got pies, cakes, breads, teas, hot chocolate mixes, and "reindeer food" (trailmix). Each day I've told myself I wouldn't eat anything else sweet and each day I caved.
Last night, I decided NO MORE. I'm still trying to lose 10 lbs or so of baby weight, not add to it, AND I want to be able to enjoy a few of my favorite family goodies on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
So I am done eating badly for the next week. Besides, the last several days at work I've left feeling truly miserable. Not just feeling "emotionally fat" like women tend to do, but feeling physically blah and borderline sick from the mass sugar intake.
Not exactly the best way to get in the Christmas spirit!
I was quite happy with my decision to abstain, and figured the delivery rush was surely over by now. So I came to work this morning, put up my bags, reached for my Diet Coke, and - saw a coworker bringing in a giant new basket of cookies. Followed by a second coworker toting a large bakery box of donuts - my favorite brand.
I actually considered crying.
Instead, I took my Diet Coke to my desk, pulled out my trusty breakfast granola bar, and chowed down as planned, thinking "get behind me Satan!" every time a donut image popped in my mind.
I'm quite proud of myself for resisting. Now let's see if I can keep it up for the rest of the day.
Victory, so far, is much sweeter than cookies.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
You really can be rich in every way, every day.
So you want to own the home you love, make memories on wonderful vacations with family or friends, finance college educations, and help others too?
You can—starting here and now.
With lively humor, proven know-how, and practical principles for financial health, Living Rich for Less helps you stretch your dollars to realize the lifestyle of your dreams. Ellie Kay’s entertaining and enlightening examples show you simple steps to save, spend, and give smart, and her three main principles are undergirded by dozens of effective rules and hundreds of Cha-Ching Factor™ tips that keep or put money in your pocket.
Ellie knows what it’s like to be financially-strapped or struggling, wanting to be the Joneses but feeling as poor in spirit as in pocketbook. She went, within two and a half years, from being a new wife and mom with $40,000 in consumer debt and seven children (and college educations) to support, to being completely debt-free and within fifteen years able to pay cash for eleven different cars, give away three of those cars, buy two five-bedroom houses (moving from one to the other) and nicely furnish each, take wonderful vacations, dress her family in fine fashion; and support more than thirty non-profit organizations in more than a dozen different countries, giving away more than $100,000.
Isn’t that the kind of transformation to a rich life that you want?
Living Rich for Less helps anyone get there in our taxed-out, maxed-out times. Because financial security doesn’t mean just genuine prosperity, but being able to live luxuriously, give generously, and care for yourself as well as the others around you.
Why keep up with the Joneses when you can be them?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I heard something on the radio today that really made think.
Look at the nativity scene above. A classic portrayal. Nativity scenes at Christmas are just like this one, with only slight variations. Sometimes Jesus is in the manger, other times he's been held like in this shot. Usually he is glowing in some sense, or surrounded by a halo of light. Sometimes there are more animals, or no animals. Other times the night sky is present, with stars. Or you might see more of the stable - sometimes there is a roof, other times not.
But you know what is always missing?
Think about it. Jesus was BORN in a STABLE. As I heard on the radio this morning "births are messy." Having just come through such an experience myself 5 months ago, I wholeheartedly agree. And I had pain meds, nurses, doctors, stitches, sterile equipment, a contractable bed, fresh linens, a private bathroom, and several sets of PJs!
Now obviously no one is going to set out a nativity scene on their mantel and cover it with goo. But seriously - these tidy little portrayals of serene Mary, glowing baby, and sweet animals has got to be far from the actual details of that cold, holy night.
I don't want people to be grossed out on Christmas. But I feel like these happy, peaceful, serene little nativity scenes take the reality out of how JESUS became MAN. It happened! And I can almost guarantee it wasn't nearly as easy as these nativity scenes make us think it was.
Of course I have no intentinos of trying to be sacriligious here, but work with me. Who else thinks Jesus was born screaming like other babies? Who else thinks Mary growled and grunted and sweated and cried and wished the epidural had been invented? Who else thinks the straw got quite messy that night? Who else thinks Mary had puffy, red-rimmed eyes along with that relieved smile when she held Jesus for the first time? Who else thinks Joseph was freaking out along with Mary? Who else thinks the animals brayed and mooed and hee-hahed and whinnyed at the invasion of their space?
Jesus was the real deal. He was God and became man. Holy, yes, and perfect - but still a man. He still entered the world the same way all of us did (only through a virgin birth). Maybe God cut Mary a break and gave her an easy delivery. But I'm kinda thinking He didn't. I bet Mary got stretch marks and had scary-strong contractions and everything else like other Moms. I really believe Jesus came just like the rest of us in that regard. But he came perfect into an imperfect world. He didn't slip easily from Heaven to earth - he came cold, hungry, and wet. His coming was truly a sacrifice - especially considering how He knew He was coming to die.
While I love nativity scenes and the reminder of what they represent, I'm going to try to view them a little differently this year, and truly remember the reality of the sacrifice of what Jesus did for us.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Yep all that, in a slightly longer than 24 hour period. Excuses like "being in a hurry" or not, that's pretty bad.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Getting to Know Your Friends (Christmas!)
GEORGIANA DANIELS posted this fun "get to know you" on her blog and I stole it to play along!
Here we go! Ho, ho, ho! (I've posted some fun new pics along the way just for kicks!)
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper!! Its more fun to tear apart. =)
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial! I never had a real tree growing up so I have this weird, self-inflicted fear of a squirrel flying out ala CHRISTMAS VACATION or the needles covering my living room floor or bugs attacking me in my sleep or me sneezing 24/7 from allergies or the whole thing tipping over cuz the trunk was infested with termites or...
3. When do you put up the tree? Weekend after Thanksgiving
4. When do you take the tree down? When I'm off work for New Years!
5. Do you like eggnog? Yucky yucky.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember loving my pink bicycle with streamers, and the super cool doll houses my daddy built for me and my sister by hand. But I think my favorite would be the year I got my horse and for Christmas (just a week or two later!) I got a ton of stuff for him - buckets, brushes, a saddle, a halter, blanket, etc.
7. Hardest person to buy for? My husband and my dad and grandfather - men in general!!!
Hey, where's #8???
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a Snoopy one!!! haha. The sheep are little Woodstocks. Its awesome.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail! I did good this year - real photo cards!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? My well meaning great aunt's sweaters. hahaha.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? ELF. Its hysterical.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? USUALLY in early/mid November but this year, I started a week ago. lol Having a baby made a difference. =)
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so! Maybe a mug if I had too many Christmas mugs one year.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom's cookies
16. Lights on the tree? Of course!!! Who doesn't?
17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home! And go to my mom's, who lives 25 minutes away.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes! Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Vixen, Prancer...Rudolph...Snookie...Lulu...okay I was close.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
21. Open the presents Christmas eve or Christmas day? We do Christmas Eve presents at my grandparents every year, but save immediate family gifts for Christmas morning!
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The traffic and crowds trying to shop when I am!!! lol
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I think the white treees with the bright teal, turquoise and hot pink ornaments are awesome but Hubby would never let me get away with that. lol Our tree is an artificial, pre-lit with white lights and I decorate with a hodgepodge of ornaments collected over the years, all fun ones, mostly from Hallmark. I love it!! Here's a pic. of our tree this year.
24. Favorite part of Christmas dinner. Ham and dressing!
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A nap =)
26. Who is most likely to respond to this? Whoever has finished their shopping and has time!!! hahaa =P
Who else wants to play? Copy and paste onto your blog and let me know if you did!!!
HO HO HO!!!!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
You Are the Furthest Thing From A Grinch !
You love and live for the holidays. You even love the Grinch!
You're in the holiday spirit year round...
because you're all about celebrating and giving.
Yay! I'm grinchless. haha. Sounds about right. Even when I get stressed I still looooove the holidays and the atmosphere. I'm the girl who listens to the after-Thanksgiving, all day, no commercial break Christmas music stations up until Christmas night! =)
(Georgiana, I can't wait to see your results. HAHA!)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawai’i. She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown. As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives. Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.
Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation. But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost. And yet...maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
You think I'd stop being surprised by now - but I'm still regularly shocked by the news and the current lack of unbiased journalism in the world today. Everything has a spin, everything. Sadly, its usually a spin that favors secular worldview and downs Christianity.
We warned about this in the Bible. Paul said "in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents… brutal… lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God…"
But I still wasn't prepared for the shocking and ridiculously UNTRUE comments journalist Lisa Miller, wrote for NEWSWEEK magazine. The article below was featured on the front page of MSN.com today, a news site I frequently check for updates around the world.
It's a three page argument stating that Jesus and the Bible do NOT condemn homosexuality.
Her arguments are weak, her tone whiny, and its more than obvious that she picked random verses from the Bible and twisted them to meet her own agenda. Everything she wrote has been taken 100% out of context and is a shameful, truly embarassing contribution to journalism.
I used to have respect for the media. After all, I'm a writer. I was on my high school's newspaper staff. I worked for our local newspaper here in Louisiana for years. My dad still works there today. I read the newspaper, I read magazines, I try to stay up on current events. I used have the utmost respect for the difficult job reporters/newswriters have for portaying events in a non-biased manner. It's very hard to do!
I suppose that's why so many of them have given up doing it.
We need more Christian journalists and reporters to step up, speak out, shout louder. We need to strike back. Why do we let the lies of Satan infiltrate our media so completely without a fight?
I made a username (Angelkiss216) and posted a comment on the newsweek's site, along with hundreds of others around the world. At first skim, it seems like more of the non Christians are speaking up than the redeemed. We need to change that!!
We're not here to condemn gays/lesbians. We're here to show them the way to Jesus and to salvation and forgiveness. We're here to light the path to the Lord, not judge them. Too often Christians are perceived as judgmental and legalistic. We have freedom in Christ.
But don't try to tell me that Jesus, the Bible, and God never spoke against homosexuality. Don't try to tell me that Jesus just wants me to be happy at all costs. Don't try to tell me that David and Jonathan were gay. (yes, all of the above are in this article!)
We can't stand for this reckless, embarassing twist of God's word. Maybe one little short comment contradicting the article amidst a sea of others won't be noticed. But maybe it will. Please consider making a free username on NEWSWEEK and speak up for the Lord. Or post a blog about this article and spread the word about its lies.
Satan wants us to ignore this. Satan wants us to hide our heads and not start an argument and avoid confrontation out of fear or self-doubt. "What can I do?" You can write back. You can fight back.
Monday, December 08, 2008
I'm a TWILIGHT fan.
Yep. I am. Oh, I fought it. I read the novel for the sole purpose of seeing what all the hype was about, figuring I'd finish the last chapter, smirk, and say "that was soooo not a big deal" and then rip the book apart, mistake by penned mistake.
Instead, I read the last pages with a pounding heart and a strange sense of melancholy. Edward and Bella were going away--at least until I could get my hands on book two in the series, NEW MOON. Any writing-craft boo-boos were ignored by my roving eyes eagerly devouring each paragraph. I'm realizing more and more that story trumps craft every single time. But that's an argument for another blog! =)
I went and saw the movie yesterday with my sister and it was sooooo great seeing Edward and Bella and all their family/friends "live". I thought the movie was wonderful - but ONLY because I read the book first and already loved the characters. If you're not into the books, you might not like the movie. It probably won't make a lot of sense because it isn't filmed like most blockbuster hits. At times its almost like a series of scenes, some of which would be pretty boring if you hadn't read the story first and knew what the characters were thinking/feeling in those scenes. Other times you might feel scenes are pretty cheesy, but again, having read the book first, you're sucked in to the moment and instead find it to be the most romantic thing ever.
At one point I sucked in my breath and looked over at my sister and whispered "I keep forgetting to breathe!!" She cracked up and admitted to having just thought/realized the exact same thing.
So that brings me to the question...why is TWILIGHT so good? What makes it so addicting? What made me immediately start siding with and rooting for the characters, cheering them on? What made me stay up at night, already with a headache, and read solely by light of the TV because I was holding Audrey and didn't want to wake her up to turn on a lamp? What made it so irresistible???
I think I figured it out.
Bella and Edward have one of the best series of conflicts in a novel I've ever seen. A girl and a vampire in love, well, you can't really find a better reason for why they can't be together. But even more than that, he's a vampire who is particularly drawn to Bella's scent. Because of that fact, the stakes (pardon the pun! haha) are high from the first moment they meet. The conflict is poignant from the beginning and only increases the more they can't resist being together.
So there is the personal conflict of why the hero and heroine can't be together. Then there is the external conflict of their circumstances and the suspense - other vampires coming after them.
Then there is the internal conflicts. Edward is tortured because he doesn't want to be the monster he is supposed to be, but he isn't sure he can resist his urge toward Bella.
And speaking of urges, there is the sexual tension/conflict because they can't be together physically because Edward is afraid of not being able to control himself. He doesn't want to hurt Bella - either by killing her as a vampire would, or by not being able to control his extraordinary strength. (which is fantastic, because YA novels of late have sex on half a dozen pages! Yay for abstinence in a YA novel, even if the motive isn't because of regular morals...)
The variety of conflict makes this book a page turner, makes us love the characters and want them to succeed, and makes us guaranteed to buy the series. Therefore, a success.
Every author dreams of writing such a story, a novel that is gobbled up by the masses and made into a movie and obtains instant success. Not because we want to get rich (though I'm sure Stephanie Meyer isn't minding the cash flow coming in! ha!) but because we want to touch someone. We want to make them feel the way we feel when we read the classics. We want our stories to linger in the reader's mind and we want our characters to become so real the reader forgets they are fiction.
You know how sometimes when you try to remember something but can't, you say "its on the tip of my tongue!" or "It's right there, I just can't get it!!" and its so incredibly frustrating?
That is exactly how I feel after I see/read a poignant love story like TWILIGHT, THE LAKE HOUSE, THE NOTEBOOK, etc. I feel that I have such a story lurking beneath the surface, waiting and wanting to be written, but I just can't find it yet.
I can only hope it breaks free one day.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
You Know a Lot About Christmas
You got 6/10 correct
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Other years, things are so hectic and you're so far behind in your shopping that its all you can do to smile and not burst into tears when someone wishes you a Merry Christmas at the mall.
In that case, your crazy holiday tree might feel more like this:
I'm thinking this year for us is going to fall somewhere in the middle!
I haven't started my shopping and usually at this time of year I'm almost done! My house is decorated (thanks to my mom's generous help!) but not the tree. Its up and lit (it's a pre-lit tree, haha! we cheat) and I hope to do it tonight... but I've said that every night for the past 4 days!
I don't stand a chance of cooking a thing or contributing to our family dinner. (I usually at least bring a dessert!) There is simply no time. I'll have to leave that to the mothers and grandmothers that don't have 4 1/2 month olds needing their constant attention. =)
But you know what? Even if I finish my shopping on Christmas Eve, don't get to bake or enjoy an evening by the fireplace, and only get to wrap half the gifts I buy, this is going to be the best Christmas ever because we have an addition to our family! Audrey's first Christmas! Even if nothing goes as planned, it will be super special because I'll get to see Christmas through my daughter's eyes. She'll be 5 1/2 months at Christmas this year, and I realize that's too young to understand what's going on or even to unwrap a gift, but it is going to be fantastic. I can't wait!
And hey - since Audrey's not crawling yet I don't have to worry about ornaments on the bottom part of the tree! (assuming it ever gets decorated, of course) =)
So who cares about the stress! Jesus is the Reason for the Season and we can worship and adore Him and celebrate His birth regardless of how our tree looks or if the house smells like apple cider! If you're already stressed this holiday season, take a breath and refocus. Get your eyes back on the manger and off your dwindling checking account. Put down the credit card and pick up the nativity scene.
It's all about Jesus!
And to help you relax a bit further, check out these cool, VERY unique trees!
The Charlie Brown tree...
And my personal favorite...a book tree!!