Thursday, December 16, 2010

prayer

the objective of prayer is three-fold: to know God, to learn God's will, and to align yourself to it.

i can't say that i always do well at it (okay, honestly, i can't say i do well at it even occasionally). most of the time, my prayers are prayers of wishes, a laundry list of how to make my life better.

Lord, help me seek you, all of you, in everything i do. amen.

"For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them." ~Saint Augustine of Hippo

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

one word

i finally (finally!) finished reading 'eat, pray, love' and while it was well-written, it was not my cup of tea. however, i did find the concept of 'one word' very interesting. one word to describe myself, my life, my interests? or one word to focus my (future) energy on? i think most people probably do this without realizing it.

when i changed the name of this blog to 'one word at a time', it was because i was struggling to find anything worthwhile to say - i thought if i just used one word at a time, eventually words would flow again (kind of like continuing to put one foot in front of the other and eventually you have run a marathon). :)

the word of 2010 was struggle. i struggled to find me; i struggled with my kids and being a good mom; i struggled to be a good daughter; i struggled with my grief; i struggled in my marriage; i struggled in my habits. it was hard. it was painful.

struggle produces gratitude, strength, joy, purpose, grace and wisdom. one word to sum it up is growth. i think my word for 2011 is going to be growth.

Monday, November 29, 2010

zzzzz...

the thankfulness continues with:

-z

Sunday, November 28, 2010

why ask 'y'

-y

x

-x

Friday, November 26, 2010

w

-wine
-water
-warmth
-white christmases

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the secret of 'v'

i am thankful for:

-v

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

only 'u'

-u

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

t

-tinfoil
-tea with milk and a dash of honey
-tapioca pudding
-tulips
-taxes
-teachers
-trash collectors (what a horrible, thankless job)
-traditions
-tabletop decorations (i love them!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

s

-shelter
-seasons (well, spring, summer and fall anyway)
-sunrise
-sweet potato fries
-space/stars
-sunflowers
-sting rays
-skiing in the black hills
-stationary/school supplies

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

remembering may 20th

today is the 6-month anniversary of my dad's death. each day with him gone, means i have to let go of a plan i had for my dad. he will not play catch with the boys in the backyard; he will not watch the boys play football; he will not be there when the boys hit a homerun for the first time; he will not help design and build the boys a fort; he will not advise me on the tools i need to construct furniture; he will not fix my electrical problem in the laundry room; he will not be there when we build above the garage. i relied on his guidance and expertise a lot. i miss you daddy.

i finally sent in the paperwork for my insurance inheritance. i have no idea what i am going to do with it. ideas i am toying with are lasik eye surgery, landscaping our yard, family vacation on a disney cruise, savings bonds for the boys' college, adopting a girl...

i want to do something that he would approve of.

Friday, November 19, 2010

minding my pea's and q's

can i find anything that starts with 'q' to be thankful for? i'm not sure, but i'll give it a try:

-quality time with the people i love
-quotes that make you think
-quiet/harmony

Thursday, November 18, 2010

p

-photography
-pinesol
-pansies and poppies
-peaches
-peppermint
-police (THANK YOU for helping to keep our streets safe)
-philanthropy and generosity
-purpose
-prayer
-pedicures
-pillows
-perfume, specifically the smell of cashmere mist
-praise

two things i despise: prostate cancer and pedophiles

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

o

i have deep gratitude for:

-ordinary people who do heroic things
-obedience from my children
-oak trees
-order and organization

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

n

-nuts, especially cashews
-new life
-noticing you have grown up

Monday, November 15, 2010

m

things that i am grateful for include:

-music
-military (THANK YOU for your service to our country)
-mushrooms (they make most meal better)
-mashed potatoes
-messiah
-metal that i am not allergic to and can wear (aka my new wedding ring)
-memories
-midwest work ethic
-moonlit nights spent on the back porch with bfp

Sunday, November 14, 2010

la, la, la, la 'l' words

-lilacs
-laughter
-lullabies
-living on a lake
-light and heat from the sun
-lazy sundays spent lounging in bed
-lip balm (no seriously, without this i'd be hurtin')
-lobster (oh yeah baby!)
-loyalty

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ3eiaK6LAU

Saturday, November 13, 2010

oh-'k', doh-'k'

-knee-high boots
-kissing
-kitchen appliances
-kuchen (it tastes so good it's magical)
-knitting

Friday, November 12, 2010

jack-in-the-'j'

-joy
-jelly (homemade, of course)
-jewelry

Thursday, November 11, 2010

i

you can never have too much of this:

-iris
-imagination or intelligence
-incredible, incurable, indestructible love
-inner strength to overcome obstacles

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

h

-hot water for showering
-hospice volunteers and workers
-hgtv
-heaven
-hors d'oeuvres
-honey
-health
-honesty, honor, humility, happiness, hope

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

golly 'g'

appreciating the large and small things in my world:

-God
-grandparents
-girly, flirty, enticing dresses (aka gowns)
-glitter
-garage sales
-gifts (both giving and receiving)
-globes, especially vintage
-gloves
-gardening
-garlic
-grilled cheese sandwiches (yum!)
-granola on yogurt (double yum!)
-gleeful giggling full of goofiness
-gratitude

Monday, November 8, 2010

'f' it

-football (NOT the sport, my oldest son)
-forgiveness
-frogs (so many childhood memories involve these amphibians)
-fairs (i love the carnival rides... and the fried food... and the craft booths... and the people-watching)
-fireworks
-fleece blankets
-'french' anything (french kiss, french wine, french fries)
-fridays

Sunday, November 7, 2010

oh you rascally 'e'

i am grateful for:

-elections
-electricity
-eggs
-elipticals
-evergreens
-erections (sorry, tmi)
-eyes
-elegance

Saturday, November 6, 2010

d

today i am thankful for:

-daisies and daffodils
-donating to charity
-dreams
-dancing
-dishes (i have a china and platter addiction)
-dogs, specifically my dog
-deodorant (what a smelly world we'd be without this)

Friday, November 5, 2010

i see, you see, we all see 'c'

-CHEESE!!! (stop by my blog http://www.everythingisbetterwithcheese.blogspot.com for recipes involving cheese)
-crisp fall weather
-caramel apples
-cherries
-colors, specifically turquoise
-calla lilies
-church
-certainty
-card games
-contacts (so i can see without wearing glasses)
-chandeliers (and other thing sparkly, pretty, shiny)
-cameras
-clean houses
-crockpot cooking
-comfortable friendships (and furniture!)
-cuddling with the hubster

Thursday, November 4, 2010

4 = b

-bfp
-books (of course)
-bible (which is technically a book, but i thought it rated its own entry)
-blogging
-balance (i mean the life thing, but not falling over is pretty nice too)
-basil pesto
-barbeque chips
-bacon
-butterflies (but i hate actual bees)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

brought to you by the letter 'a'

i got up this morning (reluctantly) and realized that it is already the THIRD of november. (no one can accuse me of not being quick!) i want to take the month of novemeber to make a list (me and lists, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g...) of the things i am grateful for. this list is brought to you by the letter 'a'.

-advent (it might be too early to bring christmas preparation into the discussion, but that's how i roll)
-angels
-artwork from my son, artist
-adhesive (yes, i could just say 'tape' but that isn't as much fun, plus it starts with the wrong letter)
-adoption
-alphabet (yay for spelling! and words!)
-adjectives
-archs in architecture
-aprons
-asparagus and avocados
-affection

one thing i am not grateful for and think may be evil: alarm clocks

**what are you grateful for?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

number fifty!!!

this is my 50th post! whoever would have thought that one new year's resolution would have had such an impact? crazy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

poodle princess in the driver's seat

i'm doing nano again this year. last year i wrote 30,000 words and this year my goal is 40,000. i have a great idea for a children's novel. wish me luck!

you can join me at www.nanowrimo.com.

Monday, October 25, 2010

no longer lying

last year, i wanted to lose 13 pounds by my birthday. i didn't make my weight loss goal by my birthday (or even in the same year for that matter), but i did make it. :) i am happy to report the weight listed on my driver's license is no longer a lie.

Monday, October 4, 2010

did you know:

september was prostate cancer awareness month and october is breast cancer awareness month?

prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and is the second leading cause of cancer death in american men (behind only lung cancer) causing about 11% of cancer-related deaths?
breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and is the second leading cause of death in american women (behind only lung cancer)?

when compared with all causes of death in men over age 45, prostate cancer ranks fifth?
when compared to all causes of cancer death in women over age 45, breast cancer ranks fifth?

1 man in 36 (around 32,050 men) will die of prostate cancer this year and 5-year survival rate after it has metastasized is 30.2%?
1 woman in 35 (around 39,840 women) will die breast cancer this year and 5-year survival rate after it has metastasized is 23.4%?

there is a 17% chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer over a man's lifetime?
there is a 13% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer over a woman's lifetime?

prostate cancer research receives less than half of the funding breast cancer does ($399 million compared to $891 million)?

did you know that breast cancer incidence rates decrease by about 2% per year while prostate cancer increase each year?

when you are donating to the susan g komen foundation for breast cancer this month, please consider donating to prostate cancer as well.
http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5699537/k.BEF4/Home.htm

Monday, September 20, 2010

musing - who we were before

bfp's grandpa died from acute leukemia on labor day after being diagnosed 10 days beforehand. our house was broken into and robbed by two gang members (while we were home, up the stairs, sleeping, didn't hear a thing) last week. my boys are not sleeping well; they are having nightmares. they wake up crying and want to sleep in our room. all of it - the death of my dad, my grandma, bfp's grandpa, the robbery - makes me feel so sad and so helpless. i pray. because that is all i can do. much of the time, i feel depressed. but sometimes i catch a glimpse of the happier girl i used to be. a fellow blogger wrote this post that seems to capture the heart of how i feel and i thought i'd share her words with you.

***
I saw her again. That girl I used to be. She was having lunch with her college roomies. She was having a beer with an old friend.
Laughing.
She’s so tempting to me. I want to flirt with her, dance with her again, but it’s too dangerous. How can I come back to this girl if I linger too long at that girl’s side?
Because I have to come back.
People are counting on this girl.

My mind keeps dragging out moments from 2 summers ago. And the summer before that.
I hit them back like a pi├▒ata and they swing back at me,
again and again,
until it busts open. All the pieces of my life scattered across the lawn. It can’t be put back together, so you grab what you can in your hands and go on home.

But home doesn’t feel good either. The walls are covered with pictures of that girl’s life. And the cute boy she married. Those people our children will never remember. The ones I want to dance with.
The people we were before.

please go to http://www.thewhitts.com/half12/2010/07/flash-dance.html to read more.

Friday, September 3, 2010

recommended read

i ran across this prayer and it touched me. i hope it touches you.

Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

amen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

i am just a stupid girl, and a stupid one at that...

to let this tear me up, but i deleted my dad's email address from my list of contacts today. :(

Thursday, August 26, 2010

emotions

i changed my blog's name to 'things that matter'. i am not quite ready to change it back to 'thanks and praise', but i am passed 'one word at a time'. i am finding my voice again, although i feel raw and exposed.

ten years ago today is the day i married bfp. this morning he surprised me with flowers and chocolate and a love letter. i choked up because although bfp shows me how much he loves me everyday, he is not much for being sensitive.

he wrote:
you are my breath, the catalyst of my existence
my vastness of love for you is unwavering/unending
the light of your smile moves me
embracing you feeds my soul
wife of mine, i love you.

romantic, huh?

later this morning, after i dropped the boys off at school, k-love played 'untitled hymn (come to jesus)' by chris rice, one of the songs at my dad's funeral. i pulled the car over and cried. i probably almost caused an accident. sorry, people behind me, who thought i was out of my mind on drugs.

now i think it's time for me to "fall on jesus and live".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

confidence

grief is an isolating emotion. i think it is meant to be so that you reflect on the person and what you lost. not only thinking of what that person meant to you, but what traits he or she added to make your life better. the traits that may now be missing and how you are going to replace them.

as i have been reflecting on both my dad's and my grandma's lives, i am having a crisis. a crisis of confidence, i think, because it is not a crisis of faith. my faith in God is as strong as ever, but my faith in myself is lacking. i think of the wonderful attributes that my dad and my grandma possessed and i can not find them in myself. my husband says i am being too hard on myself and maybe i am. but i am sad for myself and my children because they won't experience these two people the way that i did and that their only connection to them will be through me. i pray i do them justice.

activities and attitudes to be more like my dad:
- the ability to solve problems in the simplest way
- decisiveness (i can narrow things down, but i want someone else to have the 'final' say)
- can fix or make anything
- skiing
- tell jokes/stories well
- appreciate the outdoors
- not complain or gossip about people
- loyal
- organized (every tool had an outlined place and everything was returned to its place after use)
- enjoy what you are doing and not worry about what you are not doing

activities and attitudes to be more like my grandma:
- dancing every saturday night
- not wasting time (busy hands, mind, body)
- hanging clothes outside on the clothesline so they smelled like sunshine
- gardening pansies and daffodils
- canning the best raspberry jelly
- making every person she was with feel important
- frugal
- making her home welcoming
- sewing and baking (i am *awful* at both of these)
- classy

there are so many more things that i admired in both of them. how am i going to make up for them being gone? i am ill-equipped.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

lost

my grandma darlene (dad's mom) passed away today. i called and spoke with my family. i called my husband. i cried with my grandpa. i updated my status. i posted in a forum i belong to. i have received many condolences and prayers for peace. they are touching, yet i still sit here feeling lost. feeling a little bit like i am waiting for something; something that will perhaps make me feel a little bit better?

i feel unsettled. when my dad died, it was sad but i felt peaceful about it. it was the right time. for him, for us. i am surprised that i do not feel that way now. my grandma has been a shell for the last seven years (alzheimer's) and so i know that she is better for dancing gracefully up to heaven at last, but it feels... wrong. i feel like my family is being torn apart a person at a time and i don't like it.

i want to feel at rest. instead i feel fearful and angry and resentful. those feelings conflict with knowing how i should feel - trusting, content, joyful. instead of anchored, i feel adrift.


please, Lord, calm the stormy sea of my feelings. fill me up with love for You and Your perfect timing. shine your face on me with graciousness and give me peace and acceptance. amen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

my latest google searches

1.) americana bedroom decor
2.) cucumber soup
3.) the color turquoise
4.) flea images
5.) blessed synonyms
6.) atlantic versus pacific salmon calories
7.) maggiano's phone number
8.) psalm 105
9.) dia parking
10.) edible playdoh
11.) 'hard candy christmas' lyrics
12.) u.s. territories
13.) pomegranate cocktail ingredients
14.) half marathon podcast
15.) jaguars
16.) phil wickham concert tour dates
17.) raw dog food recipes
18.) james 5
19.) denver art museum free days
20.) how to fix a broken sewing machine

what have you been searching for?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

sorrow

"Can God, who gave His all for you, ever do wrong by you? Shall you accept the good from His hand and then charge Him with wrong doing when something does not go your way? Shall you thank Him when He blesses you with what you approve but not thank Him when it seems bad and painful for you?

Is He worthy of praise only when His acts please you? His chosen way for you is always good and perfect and best. He is evermore worthy of thanksgiving and praise, even in the darkest times. Your trust in the dark so pleases your Heavenly Father. Your praise in pain honors Him." ~J White

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent. ~Psalm 27:5

***
my dad died may 20. father's day was june 20 this year, exactly one month after his passing. the last six weeks, i have been hiding out. now that my sorrow is ebbing, it is a time for rejoicing. my dad's pain is gone. my dad is meeting with Jesus. my dad is living in heaven! PRAISE GOD! tomorrow is the birthday of our nation and i will smile and laugh and enjoy the day. it did not come without its fair share of sorrow too. God has a purpose for all our pain.

Friday, May 14, 2010

mother's day

i wish that i could show you in pictures how perfect my mother's day was. it was one of those dream days when everything fell into place without a bit of effort. it was a day that i will look back on with envy when my kids break a dish (or the refrigerator) or are constantly bickering (about nothing) or when i am running late for everything. but alas, there are no pictures because i still have not replaced the camera that broke in september last year. darn! i have been acutely missing the camera for about a month now, so that means i probably should get on buying a new one.

the day started with the boys leaving the house at 7:15 (to go buy mother's day gifts, but i didn't mind since it gave me the house to myself). i took a long, hot bath and finished re-reading a book. they came home at 10:30 and i opened presents. football made a poem using my name (i need to get that laminated).

d-delightful
a-awesome
w-wonderful
n-nice

artist made a bookmark saying 'mommy' using stickers (the 'm's were actually upside down 'w's, but i won't tell him that).

both boys colored cards at school. they brought me flowers and a pretty new turquoise vase to stick them in. they each picked out two new books for me (as has been tradition for the last two years). i love how their personality shows in which books they choose for me. artist's choices had dark-colored covers and were the urban fantasy books. footballs's books had lighter covers and were romantic comedies. :) bfp bought me two new chairs for my outdoor patio set. it was perfect.

we then took my client out to breakfast. a balloon artist was there and the boys each got monkey-on-a-motorcycle balloons. it was fun. we came home and both bfp and i called our moms, while the boys played out in the sun.

next, we drove down to the local nursery. i enjoyed walking up and down the aisles, and not being rushed out of the store (bfp usually hates going to a store without an agenda). i bought three rose bushes (firefighter red, pumpkin patch orange and a pretty yellow and pink stripe) and a few poppy plants (i have big plans, ambitious plans, in my mind for what i want my yard to look like ten years from now). we came home and the boys got me a glass of tea while i directed bfp where to dig the holes.

we were done with enough time to make it down to 'sonic' for half-price drinks. the boys rollerbladed while we walked behind. after that was a trip to the supermarket to pick out supper. bfp wanted to grill and i wanted to eat out on the patio table. we enjoyed shrimp cocktails, cesear salad, grilled lobster, corn on the cob and fried potatoes with onions. delicious! bfp made everything and cleaned up afterwards too. i did nothing!

we watched 'blindside' as a family (great movie) and bfp surprised me with cheesecake and homemade strawberry puree. he even made a heart-shaped strawberry for me. what a wonderful, perfect day! it will be tough to top this day next year, but i have faith that my family will manage.

what did you do for mother's day?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

interview - the perspective of a kid - new answers

EVAN'S (little over 8) ANSWERS
1. What is something mom always says to you?
“Feed the dog."

2. What makes mom happy?
“Hugs and kisses before bed."

3. What makes mom sad?
“When we do bad choices, like breaking stuff or lying."

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
“Tickling."

5. What was your mom like as a child?
“I have no idea... I didn't see you as a child. Were you mostly a good kid?”

6. How old is your mom?
“Thirty-one.”

7. How tall is your mom?
“Five foot two inches.”

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
“Go to work. No wait! Play on the computer.”

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
“Go to work.”

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
“For being the best mom in the world.” (ahhh... brownie points)

11. What is your mom really good at?
“Wii bowling.”

12. What is your mom not very good at?
“Wii baseball.”

13. What does your mom do for her job?
“Go into peoples house and talk with them. Make them food. Clean their house if they are seniors, like old people.”

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
“Cheese enchiladas. Probably.”

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
“When you beat me at stuff like board games, Wii and other stuff.”

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
“Word girl.”

17. What do you and your mom do together?
“I can't answer this question... It's hard.”

18. How are you and your mom the same?
“We both have brown eyes.”

19. How are you and your mom different?
“You are a girl and I'm a boy. Plus, I am a kid and you are a grown-up.”

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
“Because you are my mom.”

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
“I would say... go shopping for dog toys. Oh yeah, we do that together sometimes.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RYAN'S (almost 7) ANSWERS
1. What is something mom always says to you?
“You usually tell me to clean my room. Or clean up something. It's not very fun."

2. What makes mom happy?
“When we behave."

3. What makes mom sad?
“When we do bad stuff."

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
“Tickles me."

5. What was your mom like as a child?
“Yikes... You had a cat and a dog. That's all."

6. How old is your mom?
“I know dad is thirty-two, so you are thirty-one."

7. How tall is your mom?
“About two of me make you, so that makes you twice as many as me.”

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
“Play with Cocoa. And us sometimes. But mostly, play on the laptop.”

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
“I don't know. Do you smooch with dad?”

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
“Being on the laptop. *laughs* That's what you would be famous for... Mom, was that a good joke?”

11. What is your mom really good at?
“Teaching the dog... no actually, that's dad. I guess... What's it called? Knitting? Knitting. You are kinda good at that.”

12. What is your mom not very good at?
“Threading. You don't even know how to thread.” (does he mean sewing?)

13. What does your mom do for her job?
“Help people at their houses. And be at the bank.”

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
“I don't know that one but I'm going to say celery.”

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
“When you train Cocoa to like me.”

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
“I think you would be good in a teacher cartoon."

17. What do you and your mom do together?
“Play the Wii.”

18. How are you and your mom the same?
“Because sometimes we do the same things, but at different times though. And we love each other.”

19. How are you and your mom different?
“Because you go on the laptop a lot and I don't.”

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
“Because you tell me.”

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
“Buffalo Wild Wings, that's mine. But you are a better cooker than them. I like the food here.”

old interview here - http://thanks-and-praise.blogspot.com/2009/03/perspective-of-kid.html

Monday, April 5, 2010

two year anniversary

it has been two years (and a three days) since we were told the news that my dad's cancer was going to kill him. what a whirlwind the past two years have been. praise the Lord that he is still alive! God is good to me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

spring!!

welcome to the first day of spring! it is gorgeous outside here. as i was walking the new puppy, i realized that summer is right around the corner. it's time to shed those extra winter pounds! who's with me?

**goal: lose 13 pounds by june 21 (my birthday)

p.s. how's everybody doing on their new year's resolutions?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

character building

it's lent!

i know that it's weird, but every year i look forward to giving something up for lent. sacrificing something that means something to me. testing my will-power and dedication. changing my habits. building my character.

and so it begins again today. as you all know, i love my facebook. it's the very best form of gossip. :) i spend about 3 hours a day on it, sometimes (depending on the day) more. for lent, i'm giving up my facebook time.

this one is going to be hard! harder than last year when i gave up eating out (even when we traveled). harder than the year before when i gave up tv. no more mafia wars. no more clever status updates. no more time suck. wish me luck please. or better yet, pray for me.

what are you doing for lent this year?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

christmas letter

it's been a while since i've written a christmas letter (yes, i know it's past christmas and into a new year already). i think the last one i wrote was when football was 2. yikes! we normally send out a card and family picture - and if you're lucky, and we like you, there might be a few hand-written words on the back, such as: "we had a great year; busy. lots of changes. hope you and your family are healthy and look forward to seeing you soon. God bless you and keep you safe." (pithy, huh?) this year, nada. no letter, no picture, no card. it was kind of the christmas-that-wasn't. i thought i'd recap the year here instead.

it's been a busy year. lots of changes.

my dad's condition is the most notable change. it has been a roller coaster ride (and not the fun kind either). the beginning of the year was difficult and we prepared for the worst. he rallied and gave us a couple of good months that we made the most of. his health deteriorated slowly but steadily and he started home hospice in late september/early october. the day before thanksgiving, he ended up in the hospital because the pain was so intense and could not be controlled with the morphine or other drugs. it was a very somber holiday. two weeks later, we were all called home; it was time to say good-bye... but dad rallied again and he was still with us at christmas-time. we weren't sure he was going to make it that long, so we were pleased to have him with us. thank you, gracious, merciful God! we have been blessed with so much extra time with him.

we spent countless hours making memories with dad. we went up to spend time with him and mom, and when able, they came down to visit us. oh, the many, many hours we spent riding in the car! :) we took dad up to pikes peak and on the coors brewing tour. we went to 'hart ranch' over the summer and the new spearfish water park. dad went to a denver broncos game. dad and notme made birdhouses together. dad and mom celebrated another anniversary. it was a year packed full of love. one of the most wonderful things happened in the fall. dad accepted Jesus as his personal savior! it made me so happy; it is something i have been praying for.

mom is holding up as well as can be expected. she is so strong and does what has to be done without complaining. i admire her for that (and many other things). she and dad have some great and wonderful friends. they have been so helpful and supportive. what a blessing they are! i am so thankful for these ladies and men; they enriched our family so much last year. hospice has also been amazing. truly, these people are gifted with compassion. the comfort they give to dad and to us is indescribable. it is touching to know so many people care about my family and are there for my mom and dad. mom's sister and brothers (and their spouses) came out to visit at thanksgiving. it was great having everyone together and i know mom appreciated the time with them.

when not taking care of my dad, you could find me volunteering eight hours a week at the boys' school last year, which was fun and fulfilling. i participated in some great bible studies last year and read a lot of books (on a side note, the review site is doing well). i also started a new hobby. i began the 'couch to 5k' program in late june. it is a running program designed to get you from a couch potato to running 3.1 miles in 9 weeks. it took me much longer than 9 weeks, but imagine me. a. runner. it boggles the mind. :) i ran 2 5ks last year - one for breast cancer and one for prostate cancer. in 2008 i learned to knit, so i am happy to report a 2009 hobby that is a little less geeky. [what? i said 'little'.] another highlight of my year was attending a ton of baseball games at coors field with my family. i met my sports idol, seth smith, and got his autograph. upon meeting me, he fell a little bit in love with me (it's hard not too). i'm taken, so i had to break his heart. he took it well and we remain friends. great guy. ...okay, that only happened in my imagination, but still. it *could* happen. oh, and i really did meet him and get his autograph.

bfp had a stressful year at work. the westminster job ended (that job was a story in itself - ask him to tell you some time) and the economic downturn finally hit his company in the fall. bfp kept his job, but had several agonizing decisions to make. it was hard to watch the company, and him, struggle. luckily, both are doing much better now and bfp enjoys the challenges his job provides. thank you Lord, for this season of reforming and rebuilding. bfp spent some time 'up the hill' playing poker in blackhawk. he really enjoys that (especially when he wins) and he's a pretty lucky guy. :) my brother and bfp went deer hunting together last year. they both brought home our supper. he also went fishing with his brother and dad in mobridge, so we had a freezer full of fresh walleye. on top of his food-providing skills, he really enjoyed grilling and cooking for us. i think i am pretty lucky too.

the boys are getting so mature. football is a second-grader and artist is in first. they both love school, and report card time is a happy time in our house. one day, football and i got in an argument about him wearing his coat to school. he came home in a bad mood and said 'i hate it when you are always right, mom'. (lol. this one knows the way to my heart.) over summer break we had lots of adventures including horseback-riding, camping and 'water world', but both of them were excited for school to start back up in august. they were enrolled in art lessons, which artist just loved. that kid has some *talent*, but boy, do we go thru paper. :) we joined boy scouts last year and they love it. as you can see, they keep us busy. i keep a blog about the humorous things they say over at http://fromfrogtoprince.blogspot.com/ if you want to follow along in our sometimes-funny family journey. we had a new addition to our family last year. cocoa, a chocolate labradoodle, joined us in december. she is so sweet. she loves going for walks and playing fetch with her ball. she brings lots of joy to this family.

of course, our year is not complete without a car accident or two. bfp's vehicle was side-swiped and mine was backed into while parked. it is a running joke in the family. we'll see which one is next this year. bets, anyone?

speaking of cars, we did some traveling last year, taking the boys up into the mountains, over into nebraska, to the south dakota state fair, and off exploring the black hills. i went to arizona for a girls trip and paul went to vegas for a guys vacation. we spent some time in lovely casper for my younger brother's open heart valve replacement. (how awesome is God's timing? what other 25-year-old would have been able to have 3 months off work to spend time with his dying father?) he is back at work now [yay paycheck!] and feeling great. even though it sometimes felt like it, we weren't always gone; we stayed at home a bit too. we worked on those pesky house projects, fixing the balcony, doing minor cosmetic repairs, painting and some light landscaping. we planted blueberry and raspberry bushes, lilacs and cherry trees. we even had a couple of great nights spent with friends. the 'casa de wagner' bed and breakfast was as busy as ever on our weekends 'off'. one of these days, oprah is going to discover us (and how awesome at hosting we are) and then it's going to be really hard to make a reservation. :) until that time, here is your open invitation for 2010.

that was our 2009 in a nutshell. we hope you and your family are healthy and we look forward to seeing you soon. God bless you and keep you safe.

me, bfp, football, artist and cocoa

Saturday, January 9, 2010

today i didn't...

keeping track of the positive things i do:
today i didn't... go out to eat for lunch (so tempting)

today i didn't... stop in walmart for those unnecessary things

today i didn't... ignore my kids when they got home from school

today i didn't... yell at my husband when i wanted to

today i didn't... put off walking on the treadmill


"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier

Friday, January 1, 2010

identity (a.k.a. a list of the things i like about myself)

i'm insecure. there, i said it. and it feels really good to have that out in the open. my self-esteem is like a wavy line with hundreds of crests and valleys each month. as an insecure person, i sometimes forget my own value. there are things that the bible promises me that i can count on. i am grateful to know that:

God made me in his image
God chose me
God loves me
God accepts me
God forgives me
God finds me important
God gives me His favor
God has a plan and purpose for me
God thinks i can do amazing things to glorify Him
God guards me
God will fight for me
God has victory in store for me

but in the day-to-day living of my life, sometimes those promises are not enough to chase away the blahs i get when a friend chooses to spend time with a different friend instead of me, or when my kids prefer to spend time with their dad because 'he's more fun', or when i think i wrote a hilarious facebook status and nobody comments on it (yes, it's sad, but sometimes my self-worth is connected to the number of people who respond to a facebook post). can anyone else relate? can i get an AMEN from the peanut galley?

since i like lists so much, i am going to take this space to write down what i like about myself (and come back here often to remind myself that i *am* everything God says i am).

1. i think i am witty
2. i have a wicked (and naughty) sense of humor
3. i like my laugh
4. my smile
5. i have beautiful top teeth
6. i am physically attractive (in a cutesy way)
7. i am a smartie (when someone asks 'what does ____ mean?', i know the answer)
8. i like to give gifts
9. i am romantic
10. i am thankful
11. i am (mostly) honest (we won't talk about how i like to steal dishes, silverware, salt and peper shakers, etc from restaurants, okay?)
12. i am a reader
13. i am curious about many things
14. i am knowledgeable about many things
15. i like to learn
16. if i set my mind to do it, i will do it
17. i am hardly ever helpless and i don't fall apart in a crisis
18. i have a strong faith
19. i am logical and not overly emotional
20. i am passionate in my causes
21. i am good with money
22. i am curvy *g* (with VERY good boobs)
23. i love easily and freely
24. i am good at forgiving
25. that i am a great freakin' cook
26. i love to try new food
27. i am a good friend
28. i get excited for others
29. i am a good motivator
30. i know what i like and what i don't (although when trying to be polite i tend to get wishy-washy)
31. that i like to cook and eat veggies
32. i am a supportive wife
33. that i want only good things for my sons
34. that i am not a huge shoe-lover (ummm, yes...the 'not' is supposed to be there)
35. i am crafty
36. i am good at decorating and picking paint for walls
37. i am a collector (of people AND things)
38. i am loyal
39. the great taste i have in men (i.e. my husband, my sons, my brother, my friends)
40. i am ambitious in my thoughts and dreams
41. i make decisions in an instant (and they are usually good decisions too)
42. i don't spend much time primping
43. i am obsessive and completely dedicated to whatever thing i am into at the time (i know hubby hates that, but i like it)
44. even though i would like to be thinner, my weight does not define me
45. i am conservative
46. i am fun to have at a party
47. employing correct grammar and punctuation (even if saying that will make you judge me for writing in all lowercase)
48. i am good at zee strategy and zee planning (okay, now i'm just talking all goofy-like)
49. i am goofy
50. i am a hugger
51. i am good at card games and board games
52. i am a gracious loser (in between all the smack talk. you might not recognize it. but i am. i swear.)

*check out http://www.kenboa.org/downloads/pdf/IdentityAffirmations2.pdf for more on who God says you are*
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