Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New You!

I've said before that I'm not a big fan of New Years Resolutions.. It just seems like setting myself up for failure. However, a couple of years ago, I made a list of a sort of plan of directions and it's sort of become my reminder to refocus on life after the craziness of the holiday season. It's a great reminder to me that as a child of God, there is always something new to learn and for me to become. Soon after I made this list, we packed up and moved across the country and our lives were chaotic for a bit. But, all and all, I think I did incorporate quite a bit of it into our lives, though there is much to strive for still. So once again, here are my thoughts about the direction I would like my life to take as we approach this new year.

My prayer to God is that I will always be renewed. That I will never feel as if I've reached a plateau and that I will always grow enough that I look at myself the year before and think, "what was I thinking"? So far, so good.

So without further ado, coming to you from January, 2008:

Ok, I never make New Years Resolutions because I believe that New Years Resolutions are doomed to fail. However, I do make some sort of plan at the beginning of the year that is intended to get me back on track after the holiday season. I guess I believe that since I'm not calling this plan resolutions, somehow the name will help me succeed. Somewhere in my heart, I hold on to the idea that I'm different than other people. Just like all the other different people in the world. Well, as I was making the plan this year (get in shape, get the house organized, you know, the typical) something occurred to me... It's plans like these that keep me from doing the things that I actually enjoy. So, here is my revised plan for 2008.

I'm refraining from numbering because numbers often indicate importance and these are being put down simply in the order that they pop into my head.


* Make a new friend. You know one of those friends that comes into your life and you know that your life is better because of them. One of those friends that understands you without you having to explain yourself. And, it's not even that they love you even though they disagree with you sometimes but that disagreeing with you isn't something that they think to do. They just let you be just the way you are because that is you and they love you. I have a couple of friends like this but they are few and far between and everyone could always use another.

*Be the same kind of friend I've described above.

*Spend time with this friend above (even if it is in an unorganized house) because spending time with people like I've described undoubtedly makes a person better.

* Give more kissles. At our house, kissles are a mix between a kiss and a tickle. When they are given, the recipient squeals with delight and says, "quit kissling me, quit kissling me". Kissles are a favorite at our house for Emma and Chloe shows signs of loving them too.

* take more naps with Chloe on my chest and Emma cuddled beside me.

*have conversations with God like He's sitting in the chair across from me.

* kiss Adam often and sit close.

* laugh until I cry

* praise a lot and criticize little

* take walks... not because I'm getting in shape but because I love the sunshine.

* take time to let Emma (and soon Chloe) help me while I cook and clean. Because doing it perfectly isn't as important as doing it together.

So those are the ones that come to mind right now and I think I'll add to the list as I embrace the things that are important as I embrace an imperfect me. I must go now, I see a child that needs some kissling!

Love from above,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Card

Since my spicy Christmas card got such a good reaction, I decided to attempt to make it a tad more Christmasy and send it out. I ended up getting them printed at Target. They were a glossy finish which isn't my preference but much better than the junk I got from Walmart. (Btw, I e-mailed Walmart and never got a response), I dropped them in the mail on Monday so they should arrive soon but, since my Christmas card list increased to over a hundred this year, I narrowed it down some with people that we might lose touch with without them at the top. If you didn't get a card this year, it's not because I don't love you but more likely because I'm cheap!

Oh and if you found yourself getting upset because it says holiday instead of Christmas, let me say that: holiday season in my mind is to include the whole season including New Years and the word holiday actually is derived from the words holy day. Oh, and you should read my post below for a different perspective on the issue.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Letter About Christmas from Jesus

My father-in-law recently posted this on his blog. I love it. He received it from a friend after writing THIS blog post

And since we all know that I'm never short of opinions, my commentary at the end of course :).

Dear Children,
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. . . although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

•1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
•2. Visit someone in a nursing home... Not just during Christmas time, but all through the year. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
•3. Instead of writing the president complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sends out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family? Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.
•4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
•5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
•6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
•7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families
•8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.
•9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.
•10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions and words that you are one of mine.
Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :


I must admit that I'm often frustrated by all the griping that goes on by Christians about the world. See here's the thing, if they don't know Jesus, then they don't have much of a reason to worship him or act like him. And if they don't know Jesus, then what is our job? Um, if I'm reading my Bible right, it's not to stay away from them because they are offending us. See this what I've realized, if I walk out the door, looking to be offended, it's going to happen. No doubt. But from what I read of Jesus, if He had worried about not going somewhere because he might get offended, well he probably wouldn't have achieved much.

It's really pretty easy.. If you're offended, don't be. Christianity doesn't offer us a life of comfort. It offers a life with a better way. A way that stands out, a way that makes us look like aliens. But here's the thing, to look like aliens, to look different, well, we have to be around some people that are different than we are.

So let's get off of this soapbox and choose a better battle. Let's pull back out that light that we learned about many years ago. Let's quit just taking it to the neighbors that think like we do and let's shine it ALL over the neighborhood.


Vitamin D

I recently came across a post written by a fellow mommy blogger about the issue of Vitamin D defenciency and nursing moms. I've been researching the Vitamin D topic since I began breastfeeding in 2003. Since I have moved out of the breastfeeding phase of my life (I loved, loved, loved breastfeeding my children and wouldn't trade the experience for anything but, can I just say that big boobs are highly over rated? I'm so glad to be able to run again). Anyway, since I've moved out of that phase in life, I don't think as much about it. But, I came across this post over at, Mommy Molecules and it has some great information in it.

Before I share that information. I want to be sure to say that Vitamin D deficiency is not only a problem for nursing moms but for 85% of Americans. I recently read an article that said that taking 2000 IUs of Vitamin D a day decreased the risk of certain cancers by up to 77%! It also improves energy and your immune system!

And Here is Muggs post:

Vitamin D and Nursing Moms

Today I got a call from my doctor about my blood test results for my annual physical. I am going to a new doctor who interestingly enough includes a Vitamin D test in the blood panel which I assumed I would ACE no problem living in Southern Arizona as I do and going outside for walks every couple of days. I was astounded when they told me I was Vitamin D deficient. The doctor told me to take 3000 units daily and get at least 10-15 minutes of daily sun on my arms and legs and then to get retested in 8 weeks.

Wow. How did that happen? I drink fortified milk, eat eggs, and get a good amount of sun, and take a prenatal vitamin. Hmmf. Well, I guessed it must be that I am still nursing our son who is now almost 15 months old but I thought I would do some research to share the recommendations for nursing moms.

I discovered that a study reviewed in 2007 found that nursing moms should be taking 10 TIMES the amount of Vitamin D Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for the average person. That amounts to 4,000 IU (International Units). The study researchers recommend a minimum of 2,000 IU but really push the higher dose saying up to 10,000IU is safe for up to 5 months just beware of toxicity of higher levels.

So, what are the health risks of low Vitamin D?

•Rickets (a bone deforming disease) if your baby is deficient
•Osteomalacia (bone thinning disorder in adults characterized by musculoskeletal pain, hmm, sounds familiar, that was a complaint of mine on this doctor visit)
•Heart Disease
•Diabetes in adults
•Flu infections
•High blood pressure
•Autoimmune diseases
Who is the most at risk:

•The elderly
•Extremely Obese individuals
•Exclusively breastfed babies
•Those who get little sun exposure (Did anyone hear new or working moms who only get sun going from the car to work and back to the car?)
•Those with darker skin as it is harder to absorb sunlight
So what can you do?

•Get sun on your bare skin (more effective in southern geography)
•Take a supplement
•Eat these foods: cod liver oil, fatty fish, eggs, beef liver (eww), mushrooms, some meats
•Talk to your pediatrician about a supplement for your child
Doing this research freaked me out pretty well but really made me realize how serious this can be and that you should never assume you don't have a deficiency of Vitamin D. (Another important nutrient for pregnant and nursing moms is Iron by the way. I stopped my prenatal vitamin for awhile after I had my son and starting having dizzy spells, etc.)

The links where I found the information above are here if you would like more information:,b1kJpvRw,w

Thanks for sharing Muggs!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recession Style Christmas Card...

I have had two failed attempts at a Christmas card.

Here is my first attempt. I had given up getting a Christmasy picture so I decided to throw out all Christmas colors and make an attempt to spot light their personalities. But, when I showed it to Emma, she said it looked more like an Easter card than a Christmas card. I decided that she was right and started once again, my pursuit of a Christmas picture.

And I got the picture below and made the following card. It wasn't my optimum photography skills as the picture isn't very high resolution but the girls looked sweet in it so I decided to go with it. I sent them to Walmart because I didn't have time to order the much better quality prints from Smugmug. When I got to Walmart, the guy was totally rude telling me that I needed the Copyright release. Which I found ironic since the photography quality stunk. But fine, I get that he needed to cover his tail. So I told him I didn't have a copyright release since I took the picture but I'd be glad to write him one. He handed me a form to fill out. But, when I asked him a question, he threw his hands up and refused to speak to me like he wasn't going to have anything to do with my criminal activity and would not speak to me the rest of the time I was standing there. Probably not the best call if it's your tail you want to cover but we'll see what your manager has to say about that. Then when I got to the car and looked at the picture, half of the writing was cut off the side. A far cry from what I would consider professional looking photography or professional behavior from a customer service associate. Once again, Walmart scores a BIG FAT F!!

I may give it a rest and sike myself back up and try one more time and I may not. So you should probably take a good look just in case. I have worked everything out for a stress free Christmas except for these stinking Christmas Cards!!

Deep breaths, deep breaths!



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Swagbucks 101

Search. Earn. Spend.
Register for Swagbucks HERE

Several people have asked me to explain how Swagbucks works so I thought that I would do a post that I can refer people to for information. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first but since they didn't ask for a credit card number and it didn't cost me a thing, I thought I'd give it a try. So I clicked on a referral link like the one I posted above and signed up. When I signed up, I sent an e-mail to a couple of my friends and they signed up. I didn't even go back to the swagbucks site for a couple of months and when I did, I had 30 swagbucks. The reason that is, is that for every friend that you refer, for their first 100 swagbucks, you get them to0. So, I of course downloaded the swagbucks tool bar and started telling people to sign up. I just recently traded in 590 swagbucks for a $50 amazon card. So, I'm here to tell you from experience, that it does in fact work. Woo Hoo! So, for those of you that are curious, here are some swagbucks pointers.

So many ways to earn Swagbucks!

Search the Web
Shop Online
Trade-In Phones & Video Games
Refer a Friend
Submit a User Poll
Comment on the Blog
Much much more…

Swagbucks Tips from the Pros!
1. Install their toolbars and then make sure you do your internet searching through swagbucks.
Click HERE for that
2. Set Swag Bucks to your homepage
3. Send in old cell phones/mp3 players or old video games/consoles and they will give you Swag Bucks according to what you send
4. Take a picture of you with the prize and send it to them to earn even more Swag Bucks
5. Submit polls to Swag Bucks. If they use your idea, they will reward you with Swag Bucks.

This is the most exciting part!
I’m shocked at how quickly my Swagbucks add up and it doesn’t take a ton to make a prize purchase.

So what are you waiting for? Click HERE and start getting stuff for free!


Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Can Still Change the World..

Last year, we started a new Christmas tradition. We gave no gifts and filled the days leading up to Christmas day with activities: crafts, baking, games and scavengar hunts. Much of our family joined us and gave us money instead and we were able to send money to Living Water International towards putting wells to provide clean water to a whole city in Rwanda. You can read about it HERE and HERE. After Christmas, we took a much needed vacation to Disney World. This year, we knew many people closer to home that were in need of financial help so we kept our charity closer to home. Since a Disney World vacation isn't in the budget every year, we have elected to give the girls one present each (more on that later). It is our desire that we teach our children that Christmas is a time to focus on relationships and others, because of our relationship with Jesus, rather than getting all the stuff that they want and don't actually need. Will you join me this year in sharing a much better story with our children?

Friday, December 04, 2009

And the winner is...

Thank you all for the overwhelming participation in the hopper dog giveaway. I wish I was like Oprah and could give one to everyone. But since I don't have enough hopper dogs to go around, the results of a random drawing using chose:

Stephanie over at GraphicI. Stephanie does photo greeting cards and has some great designs. If you're wanting a greeting card, you should check her out because since I can no longer get my favorite program for my new computer (Microsoft Picture It 99. I know that's old but it worked the best.) I'm closing shop in the greeting card designs.

If you would like to order a hopper dog, then hurry on over to Bella's Toy Shop on ebay. She was planning on selling out before Christmas and everywhere else I had found were sold out. Or, you can skip the middle man and e-mail the seller directly at

Blessings and a Merry Christmas to all!