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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

bracing for goodbye

Thanksgiving meant a little more to me this year than usual.  I've always been a big fan.  It's my favorite holiday by far, but as we climbed in the car and headed to Grandma's house I felt a wave of sadness wash over me.  She's 95.  A very independent spry 95, but still.  They found a spot on her lung recently and I just have this feeling it's our last Thanksgiving with her.

Honey putting on his game face.  Family gatherings stress him out for some reason.


This is the house my Grandma has lived in for the past 60+ years.  It's this place that I've had every single holiday meal...made all those special memories with cousins and aunts and uncles.

My dad is one of eight kids.  He's the oldest son.  So we have a really BIG family.  We all try to cram into the little rooms and huddle around listening to windy stories about days gone by.

He always leads us in a word of prayer before our meal.  His words carefully spoken...deep with emotion.  I love to hear my dad pray.

I was first in line this year.  Plate and fork in hand.  I wanted to etch every little detail into my brain.  My Grandma is famous for her rolls and peanut brittle.  She still single handedly makes most of the meal for all of us.  I've never seen a grittier harder working person in my life.  It's her legacy.

I wanted to remember every room filled with family.  Even though we are related I feel distant with most of them.  Time has morphed what used to be the inner core, into this large extension of second cousins I don't know and their spouses.  It's strange to go home and not recognize everyone.  But so it goes...

I eventually drifted into Grandma's unheated upstairs where I found the girls happily playing Barbie with their cousins.  Wasn't it just yesterday that was me?  Playing with those same Barbies...staying out of the way. 

I sat on the bed for the longest time shivering...thinking...remembering.  This is the same room my dad shared with one of his brothers.  He didn't have heat either and they used to put so many blankets on the bed that they could hardly move.  The patchwork carpet reminded me of mine growing up.  All the old stuffed animals and antique furniture...just Grandma stuff.

I'll admit I'm extremely sentimental.  I don't know how I ended up this way, but I'm glad God made me the way I am.  I have a huge place in my heart for remembering.  And long after she's gone and the house is sold...I'll always remember the sights, sounds and smells.  I just will and that's a gift.

As we packed up to go I told her she needed to smile for me.  She isn't big on getting her picture taken, but I think if you look real close I got one.  If not... I more than made up for it with mine:)

Have a blessed day.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Home & three winners:)

Hi girlies...hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We just got in from our trip back home.  I was majorly homesick.  I hadn't set foot on Illinois soil since March and the ache for all things familiar was starting to get to me. 

I thought I'd take you home with me.  This is the road leading to my folks house.  It's about now that I start getting excited.  The bumps and dips in the road so close to my heart. 

The sweet family of horses that we pass.  The cute little pony that never gets bigger.  These are our friends.  We ooh and ahh every time we drive by.

Morning on the prairie.  The beautiful sun breaking the dawn.  Pure magic:)

Then the unpredictable weather that I remember so well.  Every morning was different.  We had fog, wind, rain, 70 degree weather.  It's a crap shoot.  Makes for a pretty picture though.

The fence my dad built.  Every member of my family is an artist somehow.  My dad welded for years and years.  He can bend and build just about anything with metal.  My momma makes beautiful church banners.  Her medium is fabric. 

And finally my home.  The place that will always mean the world to me.  It was here that I had my first kiss, where my Honey got on one knee and proposed...where I spent nights dreaming about my future and reliving my school days.

used to spend countless hours on this porch singing and playing with my dolls.  Always alone.  My brothers were a lot older than me, so I learned to entertain myself well.  We didn't have heat upstairs so on winter mornings I would wake with frosty snowy window sills and visible breath.  It's those memories that shape me.  It's so good to revisit that place...remember those days.  I simply love coming home.

Have a blessed day.

*****It was so fun reading through all the things that made you HAPPY.  What a great idea that was...ha;)  I was constantly checking my Blackberry updating the comments.  I hope you had a chance to read some of them too.  Is there anything better than a grateful heart!******

Now for the winners...

Congratulations ladies:)

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

My happy list and a GIVEAWAY!!

It's finally here...Thanksgiving week.  I LOVE everything to do with Thanksgiving from the comfort food, to the focus on being grateful, to the coupons and shopping...oh and family and friends too;)  It's just great all the way around.

I wanted to let you know how much I'm thankful for each one of you too.  You brighten my days and really make me happy, so I'm having a little give-away:)  THREE lucky readers will receive a glass pendant or keychain of their choice...YAY!  To enter leave me a comment for what you're happy about.  EACH COMMENT will be an entry to win.  Leave lots and lots!  I will love reading through them and so will everyone else.

So to kick us off (in no particular order) here are just a few of the things on MY happy list:

1.)  Dairy Queen has pumpkin pie blizzards and I do not lie that a little tear popped out when I was eating mine!  If you like pumpkin pie you MUST run to DQ immediately and get one.

2.)  McDonald's has the McRib right time offer.  It reminds me of being twelve all over again.  I know that's weird, but it does:)  And just so you know I don't eat fast food very often at all, but this was a special "limited time offer";)  How can you pass that up!

3.)  My paintings make me sooo happy.  I've been really busy creating one of a kind home paintings for people and it makes me feel like a REAL TRUE artist.  Best feeling in the world!

4.)  My organizer thingy from IKEA completely transformed my mess of a studio into some place I actually want to be!  It's definitely a happy feeling being organized.

5.) My front porch beckons me home.  It cheers me up when I look out the window, drive away or pull up.  It's so beautiful.  I had a few of you want to see the whole thing.  So here it is:)

6.)  My girl's laughter and singing.  They pretty much chatter all the time and most of the time it drives me nuts, but I know that someday I will miss I'm trying to take it in and just enjoy the noise:)

7.)  So incredibly blessed that God has given me so many special people in my life.  You know who you are.  You pour love on me when you listen...when you reach out and care.  You bless me beyond words.  I love you.

8.)  Oh and my sweet little Fergie.  She's my company during the day.  I just love that little bundle of fur:)  This is her new favorite spot.  We keep her in the laundry room when we're gone and she's found the perfect bed to lounge on!

That was just some of my happy things.  I can't wait to see what makes YOU happy!!!  I'm taking a little breather for the holiday and will let you know the winners AFTER Thanksgiving.  I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with all of God's goodness:)

Have a blessed day.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The push for perfection

When we moved to the Twin Cities it was clear that I physically didn't really fit in.  There is a pretty big population of Scandinavian people here.  And by people I really mean women...they are tall, blond, thin and athletic build.  I am short, dark, not naturally thin etc..  After a while I kind of stopped noticing it, but lately it's been annoying me again.

When I go to the gym the women look like they just stepped out of a fitness magazine.  Every hair is in place, the outfits all match and look expensive, makeup is applied.  I applaud them for the effort that must go into looking so good sweaty, but I just don't have it in me to compete.  As I cautiously walk up the stepmill machine, the girl in front of me (all sinewy and ripped) is running up the stairs.  It's exhausting honestly and I don't know what to think about it.  Confusion is a better word.  Do I push myself to try and keep up, or do I just give in knowing that it really isn't a reality?

I just started a new bible study recently.  We are reading Calm my Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow and today's chapter was called "content to be me".  The author had us focus on three scriptures.

Psalms 139: 14-16
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

This is my favorite passage in the Bible.  When I was in high school I gave a poem recital and the teacher let me use this chapter for my speech.  It speaks to me because NOTHING makes me feel more special than the realization that God created me...ME!  He knit me together in my mother's womb.  He knew the plan and path my life would take.  He lovingly created me just the way I am.  As comforting as that is, I was surprised to find out that others in my group didn't feel the way I did.  These scriptures made them uncomfortable...because they struggle with who they are and I guess why God made them the way he did. 

These scriptures somehow give me relief and take off pressure.  They remind me that I am an original.  There is no one just like me.  He meant to make me the way I am.  He loves me and so should I.  It also changes how I view other people because if God made "them" a certain way...who am I to want to change "them" etc...  Does that make sense?  So instead of comparing or competing with others who are not me, I'm changing my focus and purposely praising him for his handiwork.   It's not an easy task...especially if you struggle with certain things about yourself...but the Master loves every little hair on your head.  He of course put them there...why wouldn't he?:)  Isn't that an amazing truth!



Have a blessed day.

Picture is taken from a Gap store front.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My winter porch

This was my porch all harvesty and fallish.  Every year we do mums and pumpkins.  We never carve them so they usually last until Thanksgiving.  But this year I'm all gungho for Christmas for some reason and I thought I'd show you how it looks now.

My friend Kristine...really inspired me by taking me to this florist wholesale place.  Talk about overwhelming.  Aisles and aisles of greenery, little berries, branches, ribbon etc...  It was awesome.

When I left I had all kinds of goodies to fill up my wooden baskets.  These baskets are really special to us and never leave our front porch.  Honey's dad made them and they look so good with greenery in them.  Who knew?  I've never decorated the outside for winter.  Just lazy I guess...or TOO COLD!  Anyway I got 4 greenery bundles, 2 berry bundles, a blueish white bundle, a snowy branch with pine cones and a willowy tree thing to fill each one in.  I think I got all of it for around $80 at that wholesale place, and it will last me years.  So yay!

Kristine came over and we just ripped out my poor old mums and shoved the bundles right down into the dirt.  Easy peasy.  Seriously took us all of 10 minutes to decorate the front porch.

She helped me wrap some pretty red and white ribbon on my old wreath and my little goose.  We threw some IKEA pillows on the chairs and voila!  Instant makeover.  I don't know why I never did this before.  It's so cheery & happy.  May just be the ticket to enjoying winter a little more.

How about you?  Do you fancy up your outside for winter??

Have a blessed day.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

SNOW & Shutterfly's special offer

Hi girlies hope you're having a great weekend so far.  We got SNOW! Lots and lots of snow:)  And it's really inspired me to get going on all things Christmas.

(Sorry about picture quality...Picnik wasn't working all weekend for me.  Anyone else??)

Which is kind of out of the norm for me, but since we are going to be really busy Thanksgiving we got a jump start and got our stuff out now.  Yeah you heard me right...we got ALL our Christmas stuff out now.  Bring it:)  I'm trying to embrace winter...remember!!

I'm thinking it was a good plan that we got our Christmas card pic LAST weekend.  This was the same spot last night.  No one's going tromping through that!

Anyway thank you so much for helping me decide on a pose for our card this year.  It was between the sunflare one or the laughing cow and I of course chose the laughing cow.  Big Chick looked a little spacey in the other one and I thought our expressions were all natural in the cow pic.  And I just adored that cow...we bonded:)

So now I need to order the cards and I usually go with Kodak,  but I've seen all over blogland Shutterfly's special offer for bloggers.  If you link to them and write a little somethin' somethin' they give you 50 FREE cards.  You know I was all over that.  So here are my favorites so far...

This one is called Hip Hop Berry Christmas.  I like it because the picture is the focus and it says peace.  Peace is good:)

This one is super cute too.  It's called Holly Frame Christmas.  I really like it because it's says Merry Christmas.  I know this sounds goofy, but 90% of them say Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings and I'm just partial to good old Merry Christmas:)

This one is Oh What Fun.  Love all the COLOR of course!  And it says Merry Christmas...yay:)  So there you have it my top 3 picks.  Which one do you love??  Now go sign up, blog about it and get some free stuff!!  It's officially time.

Have a blessed day.

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