Saturday, December 31, 2011

Let's go 2012

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jon Acuff and Stuff Christians Like

This article is taken from the Stuff Christians Like website by Jon Acuff. He makes me laugh so hard sometimes and teaches us Christians not to take ourselves so seriously. Read on!

#4 in 2011: “Wait, what???” Bible verses.

Sometimes, if I am reading the Bible too quickly, I have a Wile E. Coyote moment. Often when chasing the Road Runner, Wile E. would get so focused on what he was doing that he would run 15 feet off a cliff without realizing it. Then he would pause in mid air, look at the camera, then at his feet and plummet.

I feel that way sometimes while reading the Bible. I’ll get in a rhythm and start making progress. I’ll be cruising through Genesis and Exodus, moving along at a good clip, flying by the material, until out of nowhere I’ll pause, mid thought and say, “Wait, what???”

I’ll go back a few verses and realize that I breezed past something outrageous that at first glance I took as commonplace. Recognizing my error I’ll push pause, reread the verse and then fall off a theological cliff much like Wile E.

That’s exactly what happened to me last Monday. I was reading Exodus 4 when God gives Moses his marching orders. Here is what verse 21 – 23 says:
The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

God is giving Moses instructions. Dire, serious instructions, but thus far I am as pastors love to say, “tracking with him.” I get what is happening, having discussed the Passover story and the plight of the Israelites a lot growing up. So, at Wile E. Coyote speed I continue to the next verse:

“At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him.”

Wait, what??? In one verse, God is telling Moses what to do, and in the next verse he’s about to kill him. Not, “thinking about killing him,” but “about to,” as in “this is on like Donkey Kong.”

I might be the only one who has had a “Wait, What???” Bible verse moment, but if you ever experience one, there are three things you should know:

1. Slow your flow.It’s not a race. If you catch yourself running over cliffs regularly, chances are you’re speed reading the Bible. Slow down Vin Diesel. No need to get fast and/or furious through Exodus.

2. Version it out.When I run off a cliff, I immediately check other versions of the Bible. NIV, ESV, KJV, ETC. My coworker recently told me he read that someone had “vanished right before their eyes.” His version made it sound like Phillip had Scott Bakula’d right out of there. We checked multiple versions to figure out the text.

3. Enjoy the pause.You can read the Bible 1 million times and pick up 1 millions different things. That’s the beauty of the word of God. He’s going to highlight and call out new things each time you crack it open. Don’t think a “Wait, What????” verse is a bad thing. It might be exactly what you need to read.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever read the Bible and had a “Wait, What???” moment?

What verse gives you pause?

Also, give this one read - it's awesome!  ...and also makes us feel powerful as women....haha.

The Proverbs 31 Wife

Friday, December 23, 2011

That Hush

Below is my newest Bargain Hunter blog.  In thinking about what to blog about this week, I thought about how much I enjoy the time between celebrations.  When our Christmas Eve family fest is over and it's not yet Christmas morning.  Read and enjoy...

That Hush

How do you describe the hush that descends upon the world Christmas Eve?

Shoppers still scurry out of stores clutching last minute packages, harried brows knitted in anxious urgency.  Candies and cookies may still be sitting on waxed paper, waiting to be scooped onto a platter and cozied up to the other pecan tassies and Mexican wedding cakes.  Preparations have been in full swing for weeks for the culmination of this night.

Have you ever gone outside on this night, though, and stared up at the sky in wonder?  A “midnight clear” isn’t even enough to describe it.  The world hovers in expectation of something, and some still don’t know what it is they are waiting for.  

I remember a Christmas Eve we came home to gather presents and clothes to sleep over at my mom and dad’s house.  It was quite awhile ago when the kids were small.  George and I pulled in and got out of the car, but were stopped still in our tracks.  The moon was perfectly bright and the frosty air hung light and pure.  It was very cold, but the stark beauty and stillness – perfect stillness – were astounding to experience.  I simply stood and embraced the cold and hush of night.  

Even today, with the hustle and bustle that Christmas has become, and always will be, we still are waiting.  A pause is necessary, to feel and reflect on what Christmas is.  For me, it’s that moment between our extended family celebration on Christmas Eve, and the time we come home and midnight hovers near.  It’s a precarious balance, a hovering of coming to the top of a very high precipice.

We take this time to don our Christmas pajamas, while the kids throw all their blankets on the floor in front of the tree.  We make a last cup of coffee and sit in the living room with only the tree’s glow as a reflection.  No matter how old they are, they still must sleep by the tree.  We have no hearth with a fire, or even a chimney to hang our stockings, but as night falls, their bodies shudder and relax into heavy slumber - tucked together in sibling closeness to await yet another Christmas day.  

As we sit in our living room waiting for Christmas to arrive, usually around 1 a.m. George calls his family in Mexico who are ushering Christmas in as well.  They are an hour behind us, so we celebrate with them as we talk quietly into the night.  With a kiss and a salute, Christmas greetings are sent and received. 

I know Christmas day will arrive with all its splendor and gift-giving.  We will read the Christmas story and revel in what we know it really means.  But for me, that time when Christmas is close to descending upon the world, and that hush that falls quickly and breathtakingly over all – that’s when I feel Christmas.  I feel it, in the silent lucidity that is a Christmas Eve night.  And I thank the One who brought this perfect reassuring hush.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Christmas Stuff

Christmas, you've snuck up on me once again.

I knew you were coming, but once again p.r.o.c.r.a.s.t.i.n.a.t.i.o.n reigns supreme in my world.  ...and I love it.  To me, there's nothing like Christmas shopping and discovering wonders, deals, and snapping items up happily on a whim.

Lights, one by one, have been strung on my porch and throughout my home.  The manger scene is twinkling on top of the TV cabinet where it's held court for as many years as we've lived here.  Chipped camel and all.

My decorations aren't spectacular, things are chipped and cracked.  But they are mine.  Loved and worn to a perfection that lives in my heart.  The old Christmas balls are the only things my kids will put on the tree.  Red, gold, green and speckled with age.  Every year they are dragged out and the kids gently hang them on.

I don't aim to compete, or feel inferior when it comes to decorating for Christmas.  I just know I need to feel it in my heart.

Friday, November 18, 2011

High time?

What do you think? 

I think it's high time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A new favorite blog

The following article is from the blog called Mom's Plans.  I recently started following her and her take on life/work/money is so exciting and refreshing.  She challenges me to be more than I think I can be.  Take the time to read this great article - you won't be disappointed.  

How Do You Behave During Financial Booms?

by MELISSA on NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Recently, when researching my staff writing post about the current job boom in North Dakota, I ran across an interesting article, “I Doubled My Salary in North Dakota.”  The article is about a man who had formerly worked in a factory in Nebraska, but lost his job thanks to the recession.  He took the leap of faith and moved to North Dakota and took a job in the oil fields.  He is not afraid to work hard and takes advantage of all of the overtime available.  He averages “on the low end. . . $92,000 a year, and [on the] high end. . . $130,000.”  Because I like good rags to riches stories, I was excited for him.  By working hard now, he has the potential to change his life forever.  He also sees the significance of what he is making, stating, “Where I’m from, the only people who make that kind of money are doctors or lawyers. And I don’t have a degree. . .”  His plan is simply “to make the most amount of money possible in the shortest amount of time possible.”
No one knows how long the oil boom will last, so his plan is a smart one.  Work hard now while the opportunity is available.  Before I could finish the article, my mind was already wandering with what he could do with that kind of salary for five or ten years—max out his retirement plan, start a college fund for his daughter, buy a house with a substantial down payment. . .His possibilities are really endless if he keeps his income low.  So, you could imagine my disappointment when I read on a bit.  He proudly states, “I’m able to buy everything my daughter has ever wanted — toys, clothes.”  I already sense where this is going.  Like one who can’t turn away from a car wreck, I read on.  He further states, “Before, I had a Jeep Wrangler and my wife had a Jeep Wrangler. So I was able to buy a brand new Mercedes, and my wife a Mercedes.”  Now I see that his future probably won’t be changed.  He may well likely be one of those people who win a multi-million dollar lottery and in a few years are bankrupt.  I hope not, but I have concerns for him.
Even more surprising, the airwaves and Internet have been abuzz with the story of Carl Richards, a financial planner who moved to Las Vegas right before the housing collapse, bought a house that was more than he could comfortably afford, repeatedly borrowed against the house as the equity grew, and then ultimately ended  up $200,000 upside down in his mortgage.  He and his wife stopped paying their mortgage and went through a short sale.  When interviewed on NPR and questioned why he, a financial planner, could get into such a financial mess, he explains:
“The value of the house is growing dramatically, my income’s growing dramatically and we all have this tendency to base the future on a relatively recent past. Right? So we project that into the future. And when you project that into the future, we had no problems.
And then the next mistake we made was not realizing that things change.”
What a powerful explanation.  He projected his success today into the future, and when he did that, he had no problems.  He didn’t make a contingency plan; he didn’t think things would change, but they did, rapidly.  This is human nature; to assume things will continue to go smoothly, which explains in part why it was so easy for the man who moved to North Dakota to buy two Mercedes.  Even though he doesn’t know when the oil boom will end, he anticipates living like this for quite a long while, even though he could be injured tomorrow, and the money would stop flowing in.
I have recently had the pleasure of watching Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff’s explosive financial growth.  This summer, she left a cubicle job where she was making $35,000 a year to work for herself as a blogger, writer, and advertising liaison.  While she was successful from the beginning and making at least as much being self-employed as she made at her old job, it is only in the last few months as her advertising business has taken off that her income has skyrocketed.  She is now averaging well over $10,000 a month in earnings, and she has been talking about her husband leaving his job as a school librarian to help her run her advertising business.
That fearful part of myself read the latest developments with some trepidation.  After all, blogging and advertising are very lucrative for her now, but they may not always be that way.  The blogging world is still very young; who knows how things will change in three years or five years.  Having her husband quit is quite a leap of faith.
Yet, unlike the others in this post, she is carefully laying the foundation for an even more secure future.  She is on track to pay off her house by the end of 2012, or at the latest, 2013.  She is not even 30 yet, and her house will be paid off.  She is fully funding her retirement, and she also has a large emergency fund.  While it would be easy (and natural, as Richards explains) to spend freely during this time in her life, she is choosing not to.  Sure, she may spend a little more for a nice dinner out, and she might buy sheets that are more expensive than most might buy, but she is not being reckless.
If her husband does quit, I believe they will be just fine.  If they continue to plan as well financially as they have been, they may both be able to retire by the time they are forty or younger.  And if that income stream dries up?  They will have a paid for house to live in, maxed out retirement funds and a hefty emergency fund.  In short, unlike our other two examples, they will be in a much better position than they were before her radical income jump.
When we find ourselves in a good financial position, we like to believe that our finances will be like this forever.  However, the nature of life is cyclical.  There are bound to be down times; while it is tempting to not plan as carefully for the future when things are good, it is ultimately in each of our best interests to do so.  Who would you rather model your financial behavior after? Carl Richards or Crystal?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thoughts for the future....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Bookish Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I love October, especially for the fact that it's my birthday month.  Although I'm getting slightly older, it still holds all it's mystique for me.  I've described just how how I feel about it in my newest Bargain Hunter blog.  Check it out here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Selena Part II

Life throws stuff at you.  Hard.

I'm sitting at a window on the 3rd floor of The Cleveland Clinic main campus waiting for my girl to get discharged.  We went in on Thursday of last week to see if we could get the infection on her incision site taken care of.  They went in surgically, and she went under.  We'd been unsure if she would have a total "surgical" procedure, but it sure was -- with all the bells and whistles.

Selena has worked so hard.  She's been dedicated in all her stretches, exercises, and rehab appointments.  This infection was a hard knock on the head that, thankfully, was nothing more than superficial.

Her ACL/Knee area was not infected.  In fact, when Dr. Saluan went in surgically on Thursday to clean it out, he went in with a camera to look at that area.  It looked strong.  In fact, so strong that they were suprised and very pleased at the progress it had made.  I told them Selena was stubborn and wouldn't be held down.

For now, after two days stuck here in the hospital, with a cold generic cocktail of antibiotics dripping into her arm, we get to go home.  Interestingly enough, the cultures they are trying to grow from her wound refuse to grow.  They were strong enough to make her suture site infected to the point of grossness.  But now that they want to see what kind of bacteria it was, it's being uncooperative.  

I think it's Selena's body just being stubborn as usual.  

I guess I don't really care what kind of germ it was.  I'm just glad that it's gone.  We should be leaving here in an hour or two.  She already has plans to go to the soccer game tonight.  It's senior night for her girls team, and she said she has to go.  She has no restrictions, has no limitations, and wasn't really sick.  The bacteria in her body couldn't even produce a fever.  

That's one tough chick.  That's my Selena. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A few drool-worthy foodie pics....

Pumpkin cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting

Smores Cookie Bars

Red Velvet cookies w/cream cheese filling

Pizza in a cone!!
This is definitely not a Wordless Wednesday post.  I'm thinking about food today even though I'm trying to eat less of it.  Not sure that these luscious photos will help me.  Sigh.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

That poke in the back

I'm filled with a longing this morning to dip inside myself and find what I know I am.  I want to work from home.  I want to write and create and be self sufficient within the framework of our family.  I struggle with these truths, then turn the other way and know I love the check I receive from working outside the home.  Money earned on other people's time is easy.

It's hard to earn a check from doing it yourself.  Or rather, I should say it's harder to stay on track and get things done that need done to work from home.  In the end though, it's what I long for.  I want an office that I can go to and write, unobstructed, letting fragments of thoughts pop to the surface.  Those fragments blossom and expand into stories and moments that I know I can catch and make into a story.

A different set of thoughts and opportunities have recently been thrown around and talked about.  It's something that along with the writing, could make a decent cash flow.

I know I'm a whimsical dreamer who is able to buckle down and do work when necessary.  What I need is a framework in which to put it in.  I need boundaries and deadlines.  I need a plan that will enable my brain to wrap itself around what needs to get done.  When I stay on task, things get done.

I've been reading a series of articles from The Money Saving Mom, who is a blogger like me.  She's been able to buckle down and make all sorts of residual income.  She is an inspiration, even though she's much younger than me, and it makes me feel that I can accomplish what I want to do.

When my kids were small, I never thought I would have time to myself.  Now that I do, I want to make that time productive.  I want to produce and put out there what should have been done a long time ago.  That aching, or some could call it nagging, that keeps poking me in the back is God telling me keep going.  Keep. Going.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nothing to fear, baby, nothing to fear....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Snippets of my life

Snapshot of my week:

~ work
~ fetch kids from various practices
~ attempt to make a supper that falls far below my standards
~ tell myself it's okay to have tuna melts, again, for supper
~ work
~ sit and listen to a girl who just wants to be back to normal
~ share tissues, tears, and good convo in the purple room with aforementioned girl
~ marvel at boy who has managed to sell $500 in Hiland soccer paraphernalia
~ get suckered into buying a more expensive Hiland soccer shirt by said boy
~ realize after handing over check he could sell dirt if he wanted to
~ work
~ drink coffee 
~ buy half & half for the second time in 3 days
~ make mental note to cut down on the coffee
~ brew more coffee
~ watch girl hold back tears as she comes home and tells me the soccer bus left without her to their Triway game
~ try to figure out what happened and know only that they thought everyone was there and must have left early because she was there right at 5:15
~ pull weeds, trim out of control bushes that I don't remember planting
~ try to wrap my head around the fact that they never even texted to see if Selena was coming
~ remember:  assuming makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me"
~ remind myself not to use "ass" on my blog anymore
~ tell myself it's finally Wednesday and I'm off until next Tuesday!
~ talk to child in Florida and make sure she makes it home safe after babysitting
~ remind myself she is almost 21 and it's safe to bike to her apartment at night
~ thank Jesus for my family
~ look at George and still get that fluttery feeling after 23 years
~ make him a cup of coffee that's extra sweet
~ remind myself that these days are precious and few and not lose them to anger
~ even though I love this new laptop to death, remind myself I still need to get lost in a book

"Tell me, what is it that you will do with this one wild and precious life?"  ~ Mary Oliver

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

wordless wednesday

"A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A little courtesy, please...

Below is my latest blog on the Holmes Bargain Hunter . It's something poured from the core of my heart -- so basically I've left my heart for all to view. I guess that's nothing new from me!


“No one is too big to be courteous, but some are too little."

I’ve come to believe that life is full of surprises. Like Forrest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Wise words, Forrest.

Simple things in life make me happy. Hearing my children laugh with one another, standing in warm tropical waters with my husband, or a good meal seasoned with humor and love. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy.

I also know what it takes to make my family happy. Hot meals, soft fluffy towels straight out of the dryer, knowing when to dole out a hug and knowing when not to. Our lives are lived with a healthy dousing of silliness, and an even bigger amount of respect and courtesy.

Cour-te-sy:  a courteous, respectful, or considerate act or expression.

In our family, living without courtesy would be like living in a zoo. No one would care what anyone else thought. A small courtesy is picking up a pair of dirty socks, or pouring a cup of coffee just the way your other half likes it. Because they are my kids, I shuttle them here and there. Soccer practice, to a friend’s house, out to Walmart at 10 p.m. because they forgot something they just have to have for school tomorrow.

These are all courtesies I perform everyday.

Am I to expect the same courtesy once I leave my own home? Once I step off my front porch am I fair game to the world? We are to treat our own neighbors as ourselves, and I think that applies to the world. Without civility, we lose ourselves.

I struggle with whether the expectations we put on our families are to be put to the people that live around us and in the world.

We expect civility. We expect common courtesy. We expect that others will treat us the way we have always treated them. Is this too much to ask? If the courtesy isn’t returned, do we lose our cool in disbelief? Unfortunately, sometimes we do.

Life is full of surprises. People we think are one way turn out to be another way. A way we treat someone for years is the way we expect to be treated. Sometimes we get burned in this process. The mistake may lie in believing everyone else has the same inherent beliefs we do. It’s a big mistake.

Because someone attends the same church we do, or goes to the same sporting events we do, or simply is someone we’ve had a kind hello with in passing – this doesn’t mean they believe in the same courtesies we do.

My husband tells me I’m naive sometimes. I like to believe that in everyone lies goodness. I’m the “everyone-really-is-a-good-person” kind of person. Sometimes we find out the hard way that they aren’t. Does this mean I should lower my expectations of people? I don’t believe so, but I’m losing heart fast.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

I cling to this verse, but believe others have lost sight of it. My glass-half-full mentality is almost on empty. Betting on others goodness and courtesy is something I want to dobut until my bruised heart heals, is something that won’t come easy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Selena

Our lives have been shaken up a bit in the last week.  Things were humming along nicely, but always when you think everything is perfect something comes along to shake it up.  You know, like how God likes to shake our foundations once in awhile?  
Selena.  She is always the one I have had dreams about. She is so steady and calm, but the one I lost in the Schottenstein Center when she was 9 years old.  She said mom I wasn't lost - but I said to me you were.  I'm not sure why it's not the crazy older or younger kid that I have scary dreams about, but it's not. It's always her.

She has crazy dreams too.  Dreams we talk about and dissect.  She is older and wiser than her 16 years.  She is meant for something higher, and God knew that when she was just a little girl. It's also I'm sure why He knew she could handle things.

Injuries suck.  I'm just saying it how it is.  When she fell last week at soccer camp at Cedarville College and heard those three pops as she went down, God already knew what he was doing.  I can't say it was meant to happen, although that is what she tells me.  He probably knew she could handle it.  As for me, the tears wouldn't stop.  The parent of any athlete can tell you just how hard it is to see your child in pain and off the field.  

Soccer isn't our everything.  There is more to life than getting on that field and just going hard.  But to a 16 year old going into her Jr. year of high school, it's pretty darn important.  She blithely tells me mom, it's okay.  I have my senior  year and I'll be better than ever.  As for me, until I see that MRI result (which is happening tomorrow) I'm believing God is knitting her back together.  

In the wise words of Pee Wee Herman (!) ".....knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting..."   If anyone has not seen Pee Wee's Big Adventure then you must google it.  Those words were never wiser! 

Below is my entire blog post from the Holmes County Bargain Hunter.  It's what I feel and what I know.  Because without faith, what is there? 

A God of small things 
By: Melissa Herrera

"He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." Job 5:9


What are they?  Do they really happen or are they just coincidences?

….or maybe they are just God’s coincidences?

Children’s bodies are strong.  Smooth, supple skin that tans in the hot sun.  Endurance and energy that comes from a hidden wellspring that is deep within them.  The belief that nothing is going to happen to them.

It’s that wild abandon that we sometimes lose as adults.  We see our own mortality as the years gather around us.  As children, 30 seemed so far away and so old.  I laugh when I ask my kids, well how old is he/she?  Oh pretty old, maybe your age.  It’s a sense of yourself that keeps you young, no matter what age you are.  Even at 42, I still feel 25… though you could never pay me enough to actually go back to that age.

I certainly don’t look 25, but I’ve had lots of strangers tell me I don’t look old enough to have an almost 21 year old.  Thank you kind stranger.

I believe in miracles.  I believe with abandon.

My dad has been gone now for close to two years.  He lived a full life with a lot of sickness at the end of it.  Through it all, he still looked – to me anyway – like the very tan, healthy dad I remember.  He would have a heart procedure, and come out and say, “No, I wasn’t afraid. I feel great.”  

I don’t know whether I actually believed in miracles until his ventricular storm happened.  His heart went wild, and his defibrillator even more.  When a paramedic neighbor came over to mom and dad’s house in the middle of the night, he was close to gone.  At the hospital, he was gone.  For 45 minutes they worked on him as he wasn’t breathing nor his heart beating.  They told us to be prepared.  Still, they took him to Aultman Hospital where he was put under a new technology at the time – a cold blanket.  It lowers the temperature to where the body, they say, can start to heal itself.  For days we all waited.  He would open his eyes and look around, and in my mind I was thinking he’s just not there.  It’s not going to be him, he was down for so long. 

I’m not sure, at that point, where my faith was.  All the doctors told us was that if he woke up, he wouldn’t be our Dad anymore.  Too much damage.  Not enough oxygen. 

I don’t think Dad or God was listening.  He woke up.  And he was Dad.   And he lived for another three years, against all odds. 

What I need to remember is that those odds weren’t God’s odds. God has a different set of odds that aren’t of this world.  We witnessed a miracle, and The Tribe of Clyde had their Dad, Grandpa, and Great-Grandpa for bonus time.  That’s what he always called it.

I think… no, I know that my God is the God of small miracles.  He’s with us in times that may seem insignificant to the world.  Times that are small in scope to others, but dire and heart breaking in our lives.  Times that, although aren’t life threatening, mean the world and more to who they happen to. 

My heart pulses loud and fast today.  I believe, with an abandon that’s against all the world’s odds, that God will perform a small miracle today and in the coming weeks.  It’s insignificant to you.  Nothing but a mere blip you might hear about and say, Oh wow, that’s too bad. 

Still, I choose to believe.  Because if we don’t believe in miracles, hope against hope, and throw it all to the wind and say God, it’s yours – what is there to believe in?

Whether God chooses to bless us with this miracle, I don’t yet know.  I do know that I choose to believe until He shows us otherwise.  Because miracles still happen.  Big, small, in front of the world, and behind the scenes.  So many have given up hope and tell you it can’t happen.  I, for one, choose to believe.

Let go and let God.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer 2011

I will not label myself a bad blogger - even though all I've done is throw a few pictures on lately. 

It's summer. 

That means humid weather, barbecuing, taking random short road trips, and all around reconnecting with my family.  We've been watching alot of soccer, and the kids summer soccer schedules are also in full swing.

It's also the first summer I've worked and my kids were at home.  :/   It's hard, but they aren't small anymore so they are pretty self-sufficient.  They make it easy because I'm not a clingy mom and they aren't clingy kids.  We raised 'em good.

Our trip to Mexico was fabulous.  Having Belle fly in from West Palm Beach and meet in the Mexico City airport was like something out of a movie.  We didn't realize there was a new second terminal there, so of course she landed at the unknown-to-us 2nd terminal.  After a short train ride, we were reunited.  We flung our arms around each other and yes - it was just like out of a movie.

The family was awesome.  As always, there's slight conflict in any latin family.  Heck, there's conflict in every family.  George is not one to let things simmer so there was good convo, heated convo, and casual convo.  There were long breakfasts with great food that lasted for hours.

The kids took to the streets to play futbol and hang with friends they hadn't seen for five years.  Everyone had grown up and gotten so big.  It did my heart good to see them out there having fun.

We took a surprise trip to Acapulco thanks to one of my sister-in-law's sister-in-laws .... if that makes sense!  They had chartered a bus to Acapulco and had several seats left.  Before we knew it we where traveling by darkness and awoke to the lush landscape that is Acapulco.  It was so random and spontaneous that thinking back I can hardly believe we were there for four days.  

The hillsides dotted with houses that seemed to extend into the bays like long fingers.  It reminded me of Greece or at least the pictures you see of the Grecian hillsides.  We stayed in the La Caleta area, which as we found out later, was where most Mexican people stay when they visit Acapulco.  It was the homeland resort - and it was beautiful.  

We are not ones just to hang out in one place, so we took to the streets and grabbed buses to all the beaches we wanted to go to.  Those buses were memorable.  They were pulsing with loud music, each bus a different variety.  They would fly around the curves etched into the roads that led to where we wanted to go.  You had to hold on for dear life.  We would laugh so hard as we flew around each curve.  We have pictures, which I will post later, that showed these buses.  

We fried in the sun, while waiters in white pants brought us giant shrimp and cold cerveza con limon. All this while sitting in our colorful wooden chairs under a grass hut. I want to go back.

Acapulco was an unexpected pleasure.  The cliff-diving, remote beaches, and food I will never forget. My kids faces as we watched the divers plunge into the water.  I would never take back being spontaneous - ever.

We visited the pyramids, and also celebrated Selena's 16th birthday for which she had her first real mananitas sung to her.  She didn't want us to sing happy birthday in English.  She said it would have ruined the moment. :)

Now we're home and sinking back into reality.  July is half over already.  The kids have traveled to the Mennonite  Youth Convention in Pittsburgh.  George and I were alone for a week and what bliss it was.  It's a good portent of how we will fare when all our kids graduate.  We spent time watching movies, eating, and taking off on more random short day trips. 

It's summer.  I only have three more summers with my kids home.  Or at least in school and home.  Once they're off to college they aren't really yours anymore. 

Here is a short list of words I'm going to use to define the summer of 2011:

-- savor
-- relax
-- patience
-- reap
-- be present

How is YOUR summer going?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

"i don't know what it is about you that closes and opens, only something in me  understands the voice in your eyes is deeper than all roses."  e.e. cummings

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I want to lay down in these pillows and go to sleep. Thanks to Hidden in France for putting these on her lovely blog.  I'm addicted to the colors. 

One of these days I will be updating this blog with a story or two from Mexico -- I seem to be mourning not being there.  Until then, I will be obstinant until a story comes to my head or at least  until I stop being depressed. :/

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Longing for the hammock

Oh, how this sweet little post from a favorite blog speaks to me. It's hard getting back in the swing of things after being on vacation for two weeks. I just want to hang a hammock and sway away....


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One picture in many....

"And a nameless longing filled her breast - a wish that she hardly dared to own - for something better than she had known."  - John Greenleaf Whittier

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Restless is definitely the word for me this week. I'm patiently counting down the days til we head south in a big jet plane. My feelings and the restlessness I've been feeling have been put down on paper in the Holmes Bargain Hunter for all to read - take a look.  Patiently counting down the days....


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kindred Poet

I have found a poet by the name of Mary Oliver.  Over the last several months I've been finding quotes that I just love, and realized they were all by her!  Just the way she writes touches a nerve deep inside me. 

I used to write lots of poetry -- maybe it's time to start again?

The Journey
by: Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Random Vignettes in my house!

I have always had my dresser arranged with found things.  This treasure chest was found at Save n Serve and is exactly like one my dad had.

The combination of this apple pic, one of my favorites, and the green walls never fails to make me smile. There's something about those apples....

I collect random glass containers to display bathroom items -- I find it lovely!

Ok, I made this -- but it's inspirational and I love it.

This is a collection of found things with a nod to George's Catholic upbringing.  Who said religious things can't be displayed in a funky unique way?

I'm not even sure where this little box came from, but my collection of little bottles, birds, and random paraphernalia is pleasing to my eye.  I look at it daily as it sits on my bookshelf.

Lastly, this grouping of wine bottles brings back memories of friends gathered around our table, anniversaries shared, and other good times had.  

Thanks for taking a trip through the randomness that is my house.  Aside from the obvious that makes us happy like family and friends, we all have things in our house that speak volumes to us.  Why not take the time to re-examine why they do?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Still here

I'm still alive -- still plugging away!  Work, kids, life has taken over so this blog suffers in the meantime. 

Check out this link here. It's my latest blog at the Bargain Hunter on my love for the hand held book over the e-reader.  Chime in and give me your two cents on your preference. 

We're going to Mexico.  Yes.  After five long years of George not seeing his family we'll be taking off in a big jet plane southward.  We'll leave the end of May and return June 11.  Tickets have been bought, passports applied for, and now we wait.  

It's track season, so we're headed out this slightly gloomy Saturday to watch Hunter and the entire Hiland track team run their best.  Love sitting in the stands at my kids sporting events.


Friday, March 11, 2011

My Friday ramble on earthquakes and calamity

This poor little blog is a little dusty and neglected.  Well, at least post-wise.  It's always fun to gussy it up and make it look pretty, but another story to try and find something to write about.  I don't like to blog about boring things.  Although things I may find boring are interesting to other people.  Ramble, ramble -- that's how I feel on this Friday night.  

I've been following the quake/tsunami in Japan and I find myself glued to the set. I rarely sit down and devour the news channels, but bring on a natural disaster and you can't tear me away.  Why are we drawn to the bad stuff?  There's no rhyme or reason to it.  I can tell you exactly where I was when I heard about 9/11.  I was folding towels on my living room floor.  The kids were at school, so I was able to watch the coverage all day without interruption.  It was riveting.  Going back even farther, I recall watching the war as it raged in Iraq back in the early nineties.  Bernard Shaw and all his buddies as they hunkered down, telecasting the news while shrapnel fell around them.  I'll never forget how the sky looked as the artillery streaked through it.  Mesmerizing. 

George will watch for awhile, then he grows bored of the same pictures being shown over and over again.  I could watch it twenty times over.  As I sat there this morning watching coverage with Hunter, the wave of debris broke through the bridge and just poured into nothingness.  There were people in that debris -- I just knew it.  I was more than affected by the coverage of it.  It was the humanity.  It locks you into your seat and you can't tear your eyes away.  

Natural disasters will come and go.  The L.A. earthquake was another catastrophe that held me to my chair.  Thinking back, I always found the TV specials about earthquakes like the one in San Francisco long ago so interesting.  Maybe that's why we so enjoy movies like that?  Armageddon, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow...  

I don't think it's wrong to watch it and lament with the victims.  Or to be moved as the houses are swept away and crushed together like matchsticks.  It makes us human.  And it lets us feel compassion, because too often we forget how that feels.  Our days all run together until we are nothing but a lump trying to recover from our week.  

I'm stealing a Bible verse my friend just posted on Facebook.  God controls our world -- the good and the bad.

"When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm."  Psalm 75:3

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

I love this bed.

"The bed has become a place of luxury to me! I would not change it for all the thrones in the world." ~Napoleon Bonaparte

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One Egg Cake recipe!

After repeated requests for the One Egg Cake w/Chocolate Sauce recipe, I'm finally posting it so everyone can enjoy! A little background would be in order for it.  My mom created the paring of the two.  She baked the One Egg cake from the old Betty Crocker cookbook and thought it needed a little pizazz.  Her grandma made an old-fashioned cooked chocolate pudding that she thought would go well over squares of cake.  Thus, One Egg Cake w/Chocolate Sauce was born.  The cake is served hot with the hot chocolate sauce poured over it.  The result is heaven on a plate and is the Sundheimer family all-time favorite dessert!

One Egg Cake with Chocolate Sauce


1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2  t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cup milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups flour

Mix sugar and butter.  Blend in baking powder, salt, milk, vanilla, and egg.  Stir in flour.  Bake at 350 in a greased and floured baking pan for 35-40 min. 

Chocolate Sauce:

4 T. butter
2 squares unsweetened Baker's Chocolate
4 cups milk
2 cups sugar
8 T. flour
1 t. vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

For Chocolate sauce:  Melt butter and chocolate squares in a large saucepan over medium low heat.  Add milk. Heat on low until almost boiling.  Mix sugar and flour in a separate bowl and add just enough watter to make it pourable -- make sure you  mix this smooth and get out all the lumps.  Pour sugar mixture into milk mixture when milk starts to rise in a rolling boil.  Turn to low and stir constantly until sauce thickens.  Add vanilla and salt.  Cut cake while still warm and serve with hot chocolate sauce.