Monday, December 31, 2007

From the Mountains to the Beach

We arrived home from our mountain vacation in Gatlinburg, TN on Christmas Eve, spent Christmas day with family, repacked our truck and headed to the beach for a week. My dad owns a beach house (as a 2nd home) and since he spent Christmas in Branson, Missouri this year I asked him if we could stay in his beach house for the week.

My step-daughter came with us so it was Greg and I and the two kids. It was awesome!
We had rain a couple of days but the weather was basically nice and sunny. The kids were even able to go out in the canoe one day!

One thing they got the most enjoyment out of was feeding the birds! Greg went by the day-old bread store and bought a huge garbage bag of "day-old bird bread" - they sell it for $1.99 and it comes with about 20 loafs of bread in there. The kids went through all that bread in 3 days - feeding the seagulls, herons, pelicans, and Canadian geese that came up. I have video of the geese swimming up to the pier and eating out of their hands.

Slideshow of our time in Gatlinburg

Greg & I (along with our black lab) arrived in Gatlinburg, Monday 12/17 around 5:00 pm. We invited my mom and step-dad to join us for the week so Dakota rode with them in their van - they have the DVD player that he can hook up his xbox to and play games the whole trip up so makes for a great trip for him! They didn't arrive until about 1:00 a.m. Tuesday! Greg & I had an evening to ourselves - very nice!!

Most of the day Tuesday everyone rested from the 8-10 hour car rides the day before. I played games on my computer, got in the hot tub, took a nap, read a book and was just plain lazy all day long.

On Wednesday we went to the Arts & Crafts Loop which is an 8-mile drive through this community of arts & crafts stores/vendors. We saw about 1/8th of what there was to see!! We are going back in February for a Marriage Retreat with our church and I am scheduling this activity for one of the days! LOL

On Thursday we decided to go into the Smokey Mountain National Park and drive up to Newfound Gap and on over to Cherokee, NC where we ate lunch and did some shopping.

One of our favorite places to visit everytime we go to Gatlinburg is The Donut Friar.
It is a tiny little shop that has the absolute best donuts anywhere!! (Even better than Krispy Kreme!) My sweetheart got up around 6:00 am the first morning after we arrived and drove down the mountain into town and got some fresh donuts from this store....awwwww, these are just heavenly. After this, my mom and dad were hooked! We showed them where the store was and they went back themselves 2-3 times! LOL

We did a lot of walking around and shopping in the little stores around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge the week before Christmas. We were not really exchanging gifts with anybody this year except my dad/step-mom and my in-laws so we had to find gifts for them while we were out of town.

We attended one dinner show - Black Bear Jamboree. It was a fantastic show and the dinner was outstanding but I wasn't happy at all with the seating arrangments. I won't go back to that show again because of that!

The day before we had to leave - Greg, Dakota, Jet and I drove back into the Smokey's and over to Cades Cove for the day. Dakota wanted to go hiking but it was really too cold to hike to any of the waterfalls or anything so we figured he could get a look at all the old cabins and churches and be satisfied with what little bit of hiking we had to do to get to those places. He was pleased - he fell asleep on the way home! LOL

We drove home Christmas Eve...had an uneventful drive home, Praise God! I couldn't believe it was Christmas Eve and we were not out shopping (as was normally our custom!) It felt so odd to both Greg and it wasn't really Christmas time, but we both agreed this was the best way to spend Christmas and we are definitely doing it again next year!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We are in Gatlinburg and it is so beautiful!

We arrived yesterday in Gatlinburg! It was 26 degrees last night! Wow, big difference from our home in FL - LOL. I researched cabins/chalets for 3 days before finally finding one that accepted large pets AND was within our price range. We had never rented a chalet before up here - we've always stayed in hotels - we weren't sure what to expect. When we got here we were THRILLED with the home!! Oh my goodness the view is AWESOME! There's a little bit of snow around the house but lots of snow on the mountains that we can see (our view). We are here for a week. Feels so good to just get away and relax.....

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blog Friends Award

I received an award! My first in this blog world and it came from my friend, Sniz, who never fails to crack me up with her witty blog! I've posted this award in my sidebar. Thanks Sniz!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Walmart Troubles

My daughter, Felicia, lives in Hawaii. She knows how much I love my black labrador retriever. For my birthday she wanted to give me a statue similar to this one with our last name engraved on the plaque instead of "Welcome". She ordered it from and had it sent to my local Walmart through the site to store shipping program they offer.

I received an email yesterday letting me know my order was ready to be picked up. In the email I see that I am getting a Labrador statue...14" tall but that's all I know at this point.

I go to the store to pick up my birthday gift and the salesclerk brings out this small box and proceeds to open it up and pulls out an engraved nameplate and looks at me and smiles. "Okay, that's nice...where's the rest of it?" I ask her

She says "This is the only box." So I said "Well, is there more in that box? Because on my paper right here it says there is supposed to be a 14" Labrador statue and I don't believe that will fit in that small box." She says "No this is all there is. You'll have to call Walmart's customer service to find out what happened to the rest of it."

WHAT?! EXCUSE ME?! Aren't YOU Wal-mart customer service??~~~I leave there with an 800 number to call. So on my way home I call this 800 number and it literally takes me 20 minutes to get through to a real live person!! By this time my temper is starting to simmer just below angry. I explain the situation to the customer service representative on the phone and after waiting a few minutes for her to access the order she tells me "Hmmm, it's showing online that this item is no longer available. I'm sorry, we are out of those."

I ask "Okay, what do you plan on doing about this." She says "Was there anything else you wanted to order?" I explain once again..."I didn't order this to begin with, it was a gift FOR me so I have no idea what's on your website." She says "Well if you have access to a computer perhaps you could find something else we could replace this with and we'll ship it to your home for free." I told her I would look at the website when I got home and see what I thought - I got her name and information and hung up the phone.

Once I got home and looked at their website I decided it was too much trouble to try and find something online when I could just go in the store and pick up something I wanted (I can always find something in the store! LOL)

So today after Dakota and I meet with our homeschool group at the park, we go into Walmart for me to get a refund. I go to Walmart's Customer Service (not to be confused with's customer service, mind you!) and am quickly told that since I only brought in the emailed paper that was good enough yesterday to pick up my package....and not the little receipt they handed me yesterday....they are unable to help me. I said "WHAT?! You can't use this order number and look this information up on your you did yesterday!?"

"No, ma'am. But you can go back to the Site to store area where you picked it up and see if they can help you?" I march back there and the same lady who "helped" me yesterday is back there and she remembers me but guess what? She can't help me either...BECAUSE...once I leave the store I have to have a receipt to get a refund. If I had just requested a refund yesterday while I was standing there instead of leaving the store and making that telephone call I could have eliminated all this aggravation. I told her this is the most ridiculous thing I've heard of...why on earth they would even ship the stupid thing without the rest of it is beyond me and now I have to make another trip back home and back to the store with the receipt....she started talking and apologizing and I just grabbed my box and walked off before I went off on her. I know it's not her fault but I was beyond angry and I was just about to be as un-Christlike as ever so right in the middle of her profusely apologizing I walked away.....

I really hate it when stores do stuff like this!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I have a job moderating an online forum in my community. It is called Pcolamoms. What began back in May 2007 as a way to earn some extra money from home has turned into a wonderful network of new friends that I've begun meeting with regularly.

For the first time in about 10 years I have friends outside of church and family. It's a strange feeling because my husband doesn't know who these women are and they are such a part of my everyday life now. I have a group I meet with once a month (or every other month) for "Ladies Nights Out". We try to go to a nice restaurant for dinner and just spend time relaxing and getting away from the husbands and kids for an evening.

Then there is another group I meet with every Tuesday for lunch. We try different restaurants around town. I have really begun looking forward to these lunches. We laugh and joke around so much!

The last (and my most favorite friendships so far) to come from this group is my fellow homeschooling moms....we started meeting every Thursday with our kids back in August at a park for the kids to just get together and play. The kids look forward to this as much as the adults do. They all get along so well. Last Thursday we had a Christmas party for the kids at the park. Lots of sweets and a gift exchange. They had a blast!

Most of these women are not women I would ever have "hung out" with had it not been for Pcolamoms and stepping out of my comfort zone because many of them are not Christians and a lot of them like to party...BUT we do have being a mom/wife/women in common and I have found that's enough of a commonality to get a relationship started. On this forum there have been deaths, sicknesses, problems with children, frustrations with spouses & family members, and all kinds of other problems...I have witnessed the strong bond of "sisterhood" in every situation and it's remarkable to me how all these women can join together and rally around each other in times of need when the majority of them have only been "friends" in a virtual world - yet they still rise to the occasion as if their dearest childhood friend were the one in need.

Back in the springtime I began to pray to God for Him to expand my boundaries...God is faithful...all the time. (My Christian sisters know what I am talking about) Praise God!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas in FL

December 9, 2007
Pensacola Beach, FL
Temp was in the high 70's
Sun kept going in and out of clouds and it was a windy day but I would rather be here than anywhere on a day like this in December! We took these pictures at the beach today.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I'm 40!!

My birthday was yesterday - I turned 40 yrs old! I had a wonderful birthday celebration WEEK! I was taken out to lunch or had a party or something every day this week except yesterday (my actual birthday)...but that was okay because I was tired and wanted to rest during the day in anticipation of going out last night.

The morning started out wonderful with DH giving me a new DVD palmcorder (something I was totally not expecting) and a tripod/camera bag set (which is what I had asked for). The last few days he and my best friend CJ had gone back and forth about what we were going to do Friday night for my birthday. First I heard we were going out as couples, then I heard it had turned into a ladies night with just 2-3 of us, then I was told it may not happen at all. By the time last night rolled around I was VERY upset because Greg came home late from work and I couldn't get a hold of CJ and I didn't know what was going on.

I now know that was the "plan" all along! Let's just say I ended up walking out of the house as soon as Greg got home...none too happy with him...and in tears on my way to CJ's house. I was under the impression that because I had wanted to go bowling and Greg didn't want to go he had pawned me off on CJ and another friend so now it was just going to be the 3 of us going out instead of couples + Dakota (my son.) By the time I got to CJ's house I was ranting and raving and she & her hubby were just listening to me...being all sympathetic and saying "awww, we don't have to go out, you can go spend time with Greg."

LOL, I was saying "NO! If he doesn't want to be with me on my birthday then that's his choice...I'll celebrate without him. Guess it's not important enough for him. I've never done that to him!"

Well anyway we arrive (the 3 of us) at the Mexican restaurant and CJ tells the hostess "table for 3 please" and as she leads us to a booth I start to sit down and CJ turns around and starts walking away...and over to another set of tables where a group of my friends are sitting!!!

I was so shocked and overwhelmed! I couldn't believe they had done this. I was immediately horrified at my reaction to Greg and I told everybody right away "Oh my heart! I've got to call my husband!! I was sooooo ugly to him!" Of course they all got a huge laugh out of that! CJ starts telling everyone how mad I was and how she felt terrible and almost told me about the party...she felt so bad for Greg! My poor husband!

As soon as she "crowned me" and all that I called my dear Greggie and told him I loved him and thanked him. He told me to have a good time with my girlfriends...he and Dakota were going to have a "boy's night out."

After we finished eating and I opened gifts we went bowling. I had another friend meet me there - she couldn't make it in time to eat with us but she was able to come join us for the bowling. It was so much fun! I finally got home around midnight last night. I had the best birthday party ever with my gal pals!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Really nice waitress

Dakota & I went to Jerry's Drive-In Restaurant yesterday after our homeschool Christmas party. He had never been there and I had only been there one time myself so I thought it would be a nice treat for him since I've heard they have Pensacola's BEST hamburgers and Dakota absolutely LOVES hamburgers!

After ordering our drinks, we start looking at the menu and only then do I see the sign on the menu that they don't accept credit/debit cards....only cash and checks. OH NO! You've got to be kidding me!? I NEVER EVER carry cash and I don't write checks. I quickly pull out my wallet and thank GOD I have a $10.00 bill in there...don't know where THAT came from? I tell Dakota our dilemma and the fact that we have already ordered our tea and coke which is $3.00 of our $10.00 available....if I had realized this 5 secs earlier we could have ordered water (grrrrr!) and he is looking at the menu and decides he wants a cheeseburger and cheese fries.

It turns out that Jerry's is pretty cheap so with our drinks and what he wants plus tax & tip it only came up to about 7.85 so we decided to stay and I let him order his food. I had nibbled on stuff at the party and wasn't as hungry as he was plus I'm not a red meat eater so nothing really enticed me here anyway. But when the waitress came to take our order and I told her what Dakota wanted she said "You don't want anything?" I said "no thank you...I didn't realize you guys didn't take credit cards and I'm limited on my cash so I'll wait til later." She said "Oh, I'm so sorry!"

His food came out within 5 minutes and when she brought it out she asked me if I would like some fries or something...her treat! I thought that was so nice of her. I declined though - I really wasn't that hungry and after seeing the huge portion of fries on my son's plate I knew he wasn't going to eat them all and I would be sharing with him! LOL

My Son Found His Christmas Spirit

This holiday season has been difficult. It has been the first holiday without my daughters around and I've realized how much I've truly missed them. We liked baking and shopping together; making gifts for people; doing charitable things throughout the season (Angel Tree, collecting coats for the homeless or blankets for nursing home patients)...we were always doing stuff together and it was great while it lasted - I praise God for the good times!
This picture of the girls was taken last 2006.

Now it's just Dakota and I and my sweet little man is just that...a young boy growing away from his momma and NOT interested in the same stuff I'm in to. He hasn't been very much into Christmas this year. I've practically dragged him to the few "festive" things we have attended. I had decided I wasn't even going to decorate - if he didn't care, I didn't care and I wasn't going to bother with decorating (yeah, I know...real mature of me wasn't it?! LOL) We are leaving on the 17th to go to Gatlinburg, TN for the holidays anyway so I figured why bother?

That was until yesterday...
I had told Dakota Wednesday night on the way to church that after our Christmas party Thursday (with his homeschool group) I wanted he & I to go by the mall and pick a name off the Angel Tree and shop for the child whose name we choose. We had a lengthy discussion in the car because Dakota told me he didn't want to do that...I could do it by myself. To make a long story short - he didn't have a choice - and after our party yesterday we DID go to the mall and once he saw all those names on the tree I think something must have tugged his heart strings because he realized the "need" and wanted to help out then. He chose a boy the same age as himself and he had a great time shopping for the little boy!

While we were shopping, we were having such a good time and we came across these white Christmas trees - we both said "Oh, let's get one of these!!"

I let him pick out the decorations and much to my surprise - Dakota came home and pretty much put this tree up and decorated it by himself!! LOL I helped just a little - VERY little! After we were done, we ate pizza and watched two Christmas movies....what an awesome night we had!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

All time Favorite Christmas Movie

Thanks to a friend who found this video for me...I LOVE this movie!!

Weather Blues

Okay so I looked back over my blog because I thought I had posted about the "cold" weather setting in once already - well I was wrong! After that initial 1-3 day cold snap it warmed back up quite nicely and it has been in the 70's here.....BEE-U-TIFUL!
MY kind of weatherPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
So yesterday I wake up with the AC on, wearing shorts and it's a gorgeous day until about 3:00 in the afternoon and the temperature starts to plummet!!
This morning I get up and Greg is turning off our fan (we keep on our dresser - mainly for "white noise")and cranking up the heater and I flip on the TV and it's like 22 degrees outside!!Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I never understand how the temperature can drop so much in one 24 hour time's no wonder our allergies go crazy here in FL!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Charlie Brown Christmas

I remembered to watch this tonight! Actually I forgot until one of my very good friends called me to tell me it was coming on TV. I have Snoopy as my background on my myspace page and I love the Peanuts gang! Since I very rarely watch TV, I never remember to look for when this is going to come on. This is so sweet....

40 years old this Friday

I'm going to be 40 years old this Friday. I've been okay with this. 40 isn't old! I look better now than I did at 30. I feel better about myself-- more confident, more secure.

So why the heck have I been so weepy the last week?? Oh my goodness it has been terrible! It finally donned on me though.....It's not that I'M turning's this time of the year and I no longer have little ones around to share the excitement of Christmas with.

Greg and I went to Cracker Barrel Saturday morning and there was a precious little boy and his momma eating breakfast together....he was probably 2 1/2-3 yrs old and as he walked by everyone's table he said "Bye" and waved. Just watching him made me start crying! THAT is what makes me sad about turning 40 this week - my children are grown and gone and I do so miss those days.

I love parties

At church, Greg and I attend a Sunday school class (called Group Life) which consists of people much older than ourselves. We like the spiritual maturity of this class and most of this class participates in mission trips - which is MY passion so I have a lot in common with many of the older people in my Group Life class. However, we also attend the Group Life fellowships of another class because these people are more our peers and the ladies I hang out with on a daily basis.

We went to this Class party Saturday night. It was so much fun!! We had a ton of food - everyone brought appetizers and desserts to eat - and we played the "Dirty Santa" game - we had male & female presents to pick from. This was the most fun of the entire evening. I just love going to parties!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Holiday Evening in Olde Seville Square - NOT!

Greg had to work late last night so Dakota and I attended the annual "Holiday Evening in Olde Seville Square" celebration in the downtown park. I haven't taken Dakota to this since he was a small child. He was in one of his "moods" last night - not wanting to stay home, but really not wanting to go to this event either. I was meeting a couple of my friends down there and he was mad because none of his friends were going to be there. I had tried to find one of his that could go with us but none were available.

We got there right as everything was starting. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there so it took us a few minutes to find my friends and set up our chairs. The local bagpipe band was playing Christmas music to begin with - they have such a neat sound to them!

Dakota sat between one of my friends and I, which was fine with me - I know he didn't want to be left out entirely of the conversations - but his behavior during the event continued to go south...along with my mood.

The whole evening consisted of different local bands performing Christmas music, the lighting of the huge park Christmas tree, the arrival of Santa Claus, and a local newscaster reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas" - but it's done in an audience-interactive way which is lots of fun! The evening ends with mass caroling by candlelight. This is all done downtown at the park so people bring tables and chairs and have picnics and dance and just have a really good time. Well, Dakota kept complaining about one thing after another and I finally had my fill of his attitude.

He knew when he had pushed me too far - I stood up and started packing up my chair and he asked me what I was doing. I told him to get his stuff, we were going home! He then begin to say "no, we don't have to leave, stop mom, don't pack up your stuff, we can stay. I don't want to leave...." as he tried to "help" me unpack my bag chair. I whispered ever so lovingly in his ear "you have embarrassed me for the last hour with your attitude and I am now ready to have about 10 seconds to gather your belongings before I embarrass you in front of these hundreds of people like you've never been embarrassed before and I am angry enough to do it so don't try me!"

We rode home in complete silence...when he came in to kiss his daddy goodnight and tell him he loved him he looked at me and said "Good night MS. ELISA!"
Alas, today is a new day!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Golden Compass

A friend posted this link for me to Bryan McAnally in reference to all the hoopla over "The Golden Compass" movie...very interesting take.

The Most Dangerous Christmas Movie Ever

This just in my in-box (kinda), like 800 times:

    I don't just generally dismiss a movie or book just because someone 'says' it's meant to be something else...but this is worth knowing if you plan to see it (or plan to take your kids).

    "Hi! I just wanted to inform you what I just learned about a movie that is coming out November 9, 2007, during the Christmas season, which is entitled FRED CLAUS. It stars Vince Vaughn and it is directed toward children. What is disturbing to me is that this movie is based on the legend for children called SANTA CLAUS written by an unkown citizen of Holland, Germany, or possibly Madison Avenue in New York City.

    The creative mind behind Santa must be an atheist and his objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism. I heard that he has made remarks that he wants to kill God in the minds of children, and that's what his legend is all about. He despises C.S. Lewis, Narnia, Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings Triology, TestaMints, Scripture Tea, etc. An article written about him said "this is the most dangerous author in the world" and that he would be the writer "the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed." He said he doesn't think it is possible that there is a God and he has great difficulty
    understanding the words "spiritual" and "spirituality." What I thought was important to communicate is what part of the agenda is for making this picture. This movie is a watered down version of the primary legend, which is the least offensive of three legends about Santa. The second legend is THE CHRISTMAS SLEIGH and the third is THE REINDEER WITH THE GLOWING NOSE. Each legend gets worse and worse regarding Santa's hatred of God. In the legends, a young man becomes enmeshed in an epic struggle against a nefarious Church known as the Magisterium as it tries to silence the benevolent people known as the Mattelites. Another character, a snowman with a corn-cob pipe and two eyes made out of coal describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake." As I understand it, in the last legend, an assortment of caribou are depicted playing a variety of activities called frivolously, "Reindeer Games," and excluding the red-nosed deer, provocatively called RUDOLPH (which is definitely not Guliani). Since the movie would seem mild if you viewed it, that's been done on purpose.

    They are hoping that unsuspecting parents will take their children to See the movie, that they will enjoy the movie and then the children will want to embrace the legends for Christmas. That's the hook. The goal of Santa is to have children decide against God and the kingdom of heaven.

    If you decide that you do not want to support something like this, I suggest that you boycott the movie and the legends. I googled a synopsis of FRED CLAUS. As I skimmed it, I couldn't believe that in a children's legend part of the story is about categorizing children as "good" or "bad" and punishing them with lumps of coal.

Just in case someone does not see the gentle sarcasm of the parody and satire, let me take just a moment to be explicit.

I don't support the ideologies behind The Golden Compass, (or those of Fred Claus, for that matter).

I don't intend to watch The Golden Compass, or read any of the books from which it is derived. Nor do I intend to allow my children to do that as well.

I also think it is fine that many Christians feel compelled to get the message out that The Golden Compass is no friend to the gospel. I liken it to having a friend tell me, "you probably ought not drink that sulfuric acid. Even though it smells like liquid deviled eggs, and I know how much you like deviled eggs, sulfuric acid actually is poison and you won't feel so good if you take a swig."

That said, here's what I find interesting: we (Christians) are not very consistent. The messages of countless other movies are just as guilty of distracting, distorting, or denying the message of the gospel, yet only the ones that egregiously do so receive the dramatic intercession like the effort coordinated with The Golden Compass.

Virtually every other Christmas movie seems acceptable. Movies about Santa's miracles on 34th street, his three legal clauses, a grinch stealing the holiday, and other jocular premises leading viewers toward materialistic efforts of Christmas rather than the majestic emphasis of Christmas are given 'thumbs up family-friendly stamps of approval.'

We are inconsistent by what we support with our money and family time.

Related to this, we are inconsistent by how we confront problematic provocateurs. Last year The Da Vinci Code was a commended as a great opportunity to engage non-Christians by addressing the biblical response to the false allegations presented in the novel and film. Bookending that movie, both Facing the Giants and The Passion of the Christ were commended and recommended, as palate-cleansing, antithetical recruit-worthy films offering biblical messages. Illogically, though, movies like Dogma and The Last Temptation of Christ (just as anti-Christian as The Da Vinci Code) were labeled "dangerous," and a rally was sounded to boycott and protest.

My question is, "Who makes these decisions and who listens to their advice?

By the bottom line account, the most popular Christmas movies have had little or nothing to do about the Christ for which the holiday is offered. The biographical-ish movie offered last year could not even crack the top 10! (I confess...I haven't seen it. I heard it was poorly acted and weakly scripted. Based on that, I was certain I would like the book better.)

While, I will not see The Golden Compass in a movie theater and I won't read the source books, I will likely spend enough time familiarizing myself with Pullman and his writings through free online sources that I can speak intelligently to how the Bible competently and convincingly rebuts his assertions, offering a more preferable message than that which he attempts to convey through his tales of dark fantasy.

As an aside, I think it's funny that some are getting so worked up over this movie when those who were putting it together couldn't even get the title straight. The author, for all his dogmatic anti-Christian fervor, could not even to successfully get the movie's producers to name the movie correctly. Let's not be so swift to fret that this film will have the ability to lead the world to an atheistic abyss when the decision-makers don't seem to know the difference between a compass and a compass.

Too many of we Christians focus our energy on the secondary issue. Perhaps more of we should take our eyes off of movie screens instead fix our sight upon God and his good news. Jesus does not need us to defend him. He will do just fine against Dan Brown, Philip Pullman, or anyone else who seeks to disparage the gospel.

God does, however, expect us to be prepared and able to give an explanation for the hope that lives within us. Let me encourage you to try this: for every person to whom you forward the warning about The Golden Compass, share the gospel with another person. Don't just inoculate people from a poison, instill in them the truth of God's love.

And be reasonable. God's in control.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

God is always faithful

"I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer." Psalm 17:6
God is always faithful and always there when I need Him. I have been going through tests the last couple of months trying to determine if I have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia or something else. I have good days and bad days with my pain levels and fatigue. But mostly I just want to find out what is wrong.

I've been waiting 3 weeks since the last round of bloodwork/x-rays to hear from my doctor. Today while Dakota and I were running errands and heading out to grab a sub sandwich for lunch the doctor's office called. The nurse informed me that all my results were normal. I know that should have made me happy. But I hung up the phone and just felt numb. Then I began to cry.

"Normal? Normal! Then why am I hurting so much!?"

I needed to talk to somebody. Who could I call? I picked up the phone to call my husband....but, no - wait, I can't call him - he's having a very busy day at work. He couldn't even talk to me earlier on instant messenger.

I know! My best friend, CJ - I'll call her! No-wait she is out of town taking care of her sick dad so I can't call her right now either.

Then I realized I don't need to "call" anyone...I just need to "talk" to God and pour out my heart to Him. I'm still driving down the road and I'm talking to God and expressing my complete frustrations with the situation and asking for Him to help me with my pain and take my worry away and all of a sudden my phone rings and it's my best friend...CJ.

She says "Hello! What are you doing?"

"Me and Dakota are heading to Firehouse Subs to get some lunch. What are you doing?"

She then asks me "I'm driving back home from my daddy's house and I started thinking about you and was wondering if you ever heard back from the doctor?"

Is God good or what??

For the next 20-30 minutes we talked about it - she listened to me cry about it and she encouraged me with words of wisdom and I was able to put it behind me the rest of the day.
Thank you Jesus....for putting CJ there right when I needed a friend!

Going away for Christmas

We've decided to go to Gatlinburg, TN for Christmas this year. I am so excited! It just won't be the same around here with all the kids away so I asked DH and son if they would be interested in going away for a week and surprisingly enough they both readily agreed! The next question was "where?"

I gave Dakota the choice of Disneyworld or Gatlinburg and he chose Gatlinburg. I was completely shocked! So now I am off to find a pet-friendly cabin for us to stay in. I did a preliminary search last week and there were plenty available. I'm ready to seal the deal today. So excited!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Tina & Felicia

My girls are TWENTY years old today! This is the first year they are apart from each other and from me for their birthday. One of them lives in Hawaii and one of them lives in CA. They are both married with children of their own.

When I called and talked to Tina to tell her happy birthday she was very sad because her husband wasn't making a "big deal" of her birthday - like we always did. I explained to her that she needs to tell him what she wants - don't play games with him - just tell him if she wants to go out to eat or have friends over or whatever. She thought he should just know what to do like she does. Such a sensitive girl. My sweetheart! They've almost been married 2 years (in February) but her husband was in Iraq so they have only lived together since March of this year - they are still getting used to each other.

Then I called to talk to Felicia and she & her husband and kids were just spending the day together because that is what she wanted to do today. She's been married for almost 4 years already and is used to "telling her husband what she wants/doesn't want."

I sure have missed my girls today - and this weekend in general...Happy Birthday sweeties!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Get a Sexy, Colorful and Cute Comment from TODAY!

I thank God for:

  • my family's health
  • my daughters husbands who take good care of them
  • my grandchildren
  • the fact that my 11-yr-old wants to go on the youth ski trip WITHOUT me in January - even though this REALLY hurts my feelings it is a sign of his growing independence which is healthy and I praise God for this (although I will probably still try to go - gotta get pictures of his first ski trip!!)
  • 12 years together with my husband - some of which has been very rocky - but that has just made our relationship stronger
  • renewed friendships from the past in which I hope God will use me to make a difference in their lives
  • my awesome church family -a wonderful example of a church on mission like Paul talks about! I can't wait to see what God is going to allow us to accomplish in 2008!!
  • my terrific Pastor and staff at church whose leadership is second to none
  • always supplying my needs, emotionally and physically..

God Bless you and yours this Thanksgiving! Count your many blessings!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Logan, the Sky Angel Cowboy

This speaks for itself...grab your tissue. What a sweet, insightful 13-yr-old boy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ever wonder "Why Me Lord?"

I have really struggled with this question a lot lately..."Why me Lord?" It wasn't very long ago (perhaps 2-3 years ago) that I was an extremely shy, introverted person who preferred hiding in the shadow of her husband's comfortable 6'2" frame. I worked with children for many years at church because I could "hide" out in that department and not have to mingle and small talk with the adults. I could love on the children and blend in with them and they loved me back unconditionally just because I showed up every week and I cared about them.

Then my dearest, most precious friend in the sister (in Christ) saw more in me than that and started gently mentoring me and nudging me out of my shell. Of course I didn't realize she was doing that - I just knew she was my encourager and she always knew when I was doubting myself and she was right there to pick me up and give me strength.

(I am in the middle and CJ is on the right in the
pink shirt - 10/07)

There was one time in particular about 3 years ago that our Women's Minstry at the church we were going to held a Christmas Banquet on a Saturday evening. I would NEVER attend these functions alone (i.e. alone means "without my husband") and my friend, CJ, had asked if I was coming and I was giving her some excuse as to why I couldn't make it and she wouldn't take no for an answer. She knew the real reason...because I was a chicken and intimidated to walk into a roomful of women and have to make small talk...and she assured me she would meet me at the door and "hold my hand" through the entire evening. I reluctantly agreed to meet her there. I got so far as to drive up into the church parking lot and when I saw all the cars there I sat in the car talking myself out of going in...the fear was consuming me. She knew! She called me at that exact moment and let me know she was at the door waiting for me. It still makes me cry to this day to think back at how God used CJ in MY life at that moment because that was the beginning of the transformation I've gone through the last 3 years.

I am a new woman today. CJ and I are now at another church working in ministry together. I lead the Women's Ministry. I speak in front of Women's Groups. I teach and lead Bible Study groups to women of all ages. I teach Weight loss classes to women and men. I don't hide behind my husband anymore. I now meet with women to encourage, motivate and strengthen them. My favorite verse in the Bible is "I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13 I KNOW that I CAN do all things through Jesus because I am living proof!

There are times I feel completely overwhelmed when there are so many women calling me, emailing me, sharing their lives with me...they are hurting, troubled, confused
and I just have to ask myself "Why me, Lord?"...then when I stop to talk to Him and reflect on my life I know Why...because I've been there and I can relate and I can empathize and I am a living testimony to God's mighty power. The ladies who know me now can't believe I used to be like gives them hope that they too can overcome if they'll only have faith and rely on God's strength and not their own.

Hotel Reservations

Are you going to be traveling during the 2007 holiday season? Or are you planning a special vacation in 2008? If you are then more than likely you're going to need to book a hotel for one of your trips. Let Hotel Reservations do the work for you! They can book hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, flights, cars, vacation rentals, vacation packages, cruises - you name it they can do it! You can book all your travel needs online through Hotel Reservations or call and speak to an experienced agent on the telephone. They are available 7 days a week 24 hours a day!

I am planning a trip of my own with a large group from my church in February 2008. We took this trip last year at the same time to the same city and I made all the preparations so I know what all the costs were. I have not booked my hotel yet for this next year. After reviewing hotels for this particular city at Hotel Reservations I found that they offered great discounted competitive rates! I was very pleased with the prices I saw for the hotels I looked up.

The last thing I wanted to point out that Hotel Reservations offers is tremendous discounts to many world-wide destinations including, but not limited to, Australia, Germany, Italy, Greece, France, England and Portugal. There are two phone numbers listed on the website where they can be reached from the US (toll-free) or from Europe. If you need to book for more than 9 rooms/day you would do better to call and get special group rates. As you can see, this really is a one-stop shop travel destination website - meets all your needs!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thirty Day Challenge

Back in the summertime when I initially started this blog it was with the intention of following our progress as we work our way out of debt and into our first home. I've not posted about that too much since that time even though I work on it daily. For the last several months most of what I've done has been "learning the ropes" so to speak. I am AMAZED at all the information out there! It is simply mind-boggling! Sorting through the legitimate information and the "scams" is a job in and of itself!!

Well, in my research about a month ago, I came across this website - Thirty Day Challenge and I signed up to receive the emails from the guy but then I got busy and never did anything beyond glancing at his website. The premise behind it is "Can you earn $10.00 online in 30 days and not spend zac....?" (zac - I'm assuming is money? LOL)

Okay, my first thought is $10.00 in 30 days - are you serious?! I can earn that in no time by filling out surveys, selling on eBay, etc. But....I didn't fill out surveys because frankly I hate doing that AND I quit selling on eBay because I just got tired of dealing with the customers and their questions/comments/problems/complaints/whatever.

So I decided since I didn't have to spend any money what could I lose by trying this challenge out? I am only on the Pre-Season content (been doing this for 3 days!) and it is AMAZING what I have learned so far about my computer, browser and everything it can do for me. I am simply blown away! I can't wait to get through the rest of this Challenge!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Miscommunication at its best (worst?)

Last year I started an email prayer chain for our church. Over the last six months there have been more and more people contacting me wanting to be added to this email list. I have started using this email list to mail out Calendar Information, Announcements and any other pertinent information that needs to get out. If people can't reach me by email they call me to get the word out...which is what happened today.

I received a call this afternoon from a friend of mine at church, a young lady who was calling me from the waiting room at the hospital to let me know that her husband's grandmother had just passed away (during surgery) and her husband was enroute to the hospital along with their children - she was worried about him driving because he was so distraught over the news - his grandmother raised him and they were extremely close. I talked to her for a few minutes and offered words of comfort and told her I was on my way home and as soon as I arrived home I would get the word out.

After hanging up with her, I immediately called our church secretary to let her know what was going on so she could get the word to our pastor. She told him and he and one of the deacons raced to the hospital. Meanwhile I get home and email everyone (over 200 people in my church contact list) letting them know what has happened. I then proceed to work on something else and don't get a chance to go back to check my email before I leave for church.

When I get to church for our Wed. Night Supper, the secretary greets me at the door chuckling and asked me if I received the pastor's email reply to the one I sent out....I tell her no, I haven't been back in my email since I sent it out. My phone begins to ring at the same time she starts talking to me and it is my friend (who lost her grandmother) and before I answer it the secretary tells me this....when the pastor got to the hospital he found out that the grandmother DID NOT DIE after all!! There was a miscommunication between the hospital & the family! I quickly answered my phone and heard the story from my friend and couldn't believe that had happened to them - the grandmother was still in serious condition but she was alive!

At the end of choir practice tonight we normally have a short time of prayer requests/praises before we pray and go home....I took that opportunity to ask everyone "Did ya'll get the email about (my friend's) grandmother dying?" Most everyone shook their head and said yes and there were murmurs of "that's sad" and things like that. The music minister knew the truth and he looked at me and smiled...then I said "well I just want you all to's a miracle, your prayers worked! She's alive!" LOL

Monday, November 12, 2007

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Yesterday at church 11/11/07 was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We watched a part 3 of a series we've been watching on Sunday nights that is put out by The Voice of the Martyrs - it is called Underground Reality Vietnam and it is about 8 teenagers who smuggled Bibles into Vietnam last summer. (I was thrilled that we watched this final episode yesterday because I was in CA the night they showed Part 3 and I was so bummed to have missed this!) This trip was a life-changing event for these teenagers from the USA and Australia. There is a short video on the website - go check it out.

Watching this video really puts you under conviction for how much we take for granted
  • the freedom to worship when and where we want
  • the freedom to pray when and where we want
  • the freedom to talk about Jesus Christ whenever we want to
  • the freedom to carry a Bible

and all of this without fear of persecution...yet so many of us don't do it. We don't sing loud because we might sing off-key or we don't feel like it. We don't pray out loud because others might make fun of the words we use or we don't feel comfortable praying in front of others. We don't talk about Jesus because we don't want to make others around us uncomfortable or we might lose our jobs. We don't carry a Bible because it's just a burden...

Christian Persecution that merits the attention and assistance of The Voice of the Martyrs has been identified and defined in two categories:

  • Restricted Nation: this includes countries where government policy or practice prevents Christians from obtaining Bibles or other Christian literatur. Also included are countries with government-sanctioned circumstances or anti-Christian laws that lead to Christians being harassed, imprisoned, killed or deprived of possessions or liberties because of their witness. These countries are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Brunei, China, Comoro Islands, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Burma, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tibet, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen
  • Hostile Nation: This includes large areas in nations where governments consistently attempt to provide protection for the Christian population, but Christians are victims of violence because of their witness. These countries are: Chiapas (Mexico), Colombia, Gaza & the West Bank, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey

What can you do to help?

  1. PRAY - first and foremost
  2. Get involved -
  3. Appreciate YOUR freedom to worship Jesus Christ and spread the good news!


My friend, Miss Sniz, tagged me last week for this fun meme so here goes...

Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five.

Here's the class you and I are taking together Miss Sniz -

Price Checking 101 - this class will teach us how to spot the "sale" signs, read the fine print and haggle with the gum-smacking employees to get the prices we want to pay...AND we'll learn how to get this done in a timely manner so as not to hold up the line behind us.

How to ENJOY cooking for your Family - since I would rather be anywhere than in the kitchen cooking, this class will instill the "love" of cooking into my genes. I'll complete this class and want to dazzle my family with my newfound love of cooking them dinner every night - they'll be so amazed at my skills and they'll love everything I place in front of them.

Internet Marketing for Dummies - after completing this class I won't have to muddle through all the annoying forums and sales pages; I'll be techno savvy and in tune with the IM world and raking in enough money to allow dear husband to decide what he wants to do with his life.

How-to fit 24 hours worth of work in a 12-hr day - Hmmm, I'll just have to show up at this class and see it to believe it. Perhaps the phrase "miracles do exist" would apply here?

Alrighty, I can only think of these 4 classes and as for the ladies I am tagging....there's only 3 I keep up with that I think would do this, so here's the 3 I'm tagging.

Sandy at Relaxed Homeschool

ClaireBoe at Two Kids, a Gear Head and Me

Toni at In the Midst of This Season

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cooking Made Easy - 1 Bag = 5 Dinners

Do you like to cook? I used to like to cook when I had my own kitchen. Now it's just not the same...but in order to survive we either cook or eat out all the time and since it is neither healthy for our waistlines or our wallets I have to cook. I love this website: because they have delicious simple meals! You can also sign up to receive FREE monthly magazines from them with lots of yummy recipes and ideas. I just got the monthly email tip from them this morning and it had this shopping list in there to purchase 1 bag of food to make enough for 5 meals (4 servings each)! The meals are:
1. Crispy Baked Pesto Chicken
2. Cheesy Meatball Subs
3. Polynesian Glazed Meatballs w/ Rice
4. Chicken Alfredo Pesto Pasta
5. DiGiornio Frozen Pizza

What is your favorite website to get recipes, meal ideas from?

I believe WINTER has finally set in!!

Brrrrrrrr....Oh my goodness it's cold outside! Two days ago it was in the 80's! MY kind of weather. Guess we have a cold front coming through though because last night the temps dropped quickly. We went to a softball game at 8:00 last night and my husband warned me it was supposed to get cold. I grabbed one of my hoodies, another lightweight outer coat (just in case I needed it) and a small blanket to throw over my legs...let me tell you it was NOT enough! We sat there and literally froze to death. Thank goodness I still had my gloves shoved in my outercoat from last season so my hands were a little warm.

I'll never understand how the weather can be in the 80's one day and drop to the 30's the next?! One nice thing about FL weather...this won't last but a couple of days and we'll be seeing 70's again...ahhhhhh

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

God's plans different from ours...

My husband and I went to visit an elderly man in the hospital Saturday morning. This gentleman is not a Christian. He is the boss of my best friend. I have gotten to know him over the last year when I have done some temp work for them and he is a "crotchety" old man but he is one of those that grows on you. We have come to love him and he holds a special place in our hearts. My friend has worked with him for 20 years and has prayed for him constantly all that time hoping to see him turn his life over to Jesus. He just turned 77 years old last month and his heart is failing him. But over the last 6 months he has started showing up at church unexpectantly and asking more questions about God/Heaven, etc although he hasn't committed his life to Christ yet.

DH & I like to go to Cracker Barrel every Saturday morning for breakfast - just the two of us. That's our's our time together every week. When we were leaving Cracker Barrel this past Saturday, DH was the one that suggested we go visit our friend in the hospital. I really wasn't up to visiting with him at the moment but I realized that was selfish of me so I agreed to a quick visit and off we went.

When we got there my best friend was sitting by our gentleman friend's bedside (she is like a daughter to him...he really has no friends or family so she has taken over that role) and she was waiting on the doctor to come in. He was in a semi-private room and the man on the other side of the curtain was snoring off and on loudly and tossing around on his bed. I made the comment that it would be nice if he could have a private room if he has to stay very long in the hospital wouldn't it?

Well we made the usual small talk until our gentleman friend drifted off to sleep and my dear friend and I stepped into the hallway to talk for a few minutes. About that time the snoring man on the other side of the curtain sat up at the end of his bed and started complaining to my husband...about the fact that he had come in last night just for some tests and they ended up admitting him; nobody was telling him anything; it was now 10:30 a.m. and he hasn't had any breakfast or anything to eat since last night and various other things. My husband listened to him and asked him a few questions and offered to pray with him. When the man accepted the three of us gathered around him and prayed with him. Once we were done he thanked us and continued right on with his complaining.

Then he said "They told me last night I could walk out of here and go home and die...and that scared me." My husband said "Well let me ask you something...if you did die, where are you going to spend eternity?" And this young 29-yr-old man said "I don't know. I've never thought about it." So my husband had the privilege of leading this man to Christ Saturday morning.

We ended up spending all afternoon at the hospital talking to him. It was such a wonderful thing to hear what had transpired in this young man's life over the last 2 weeks to get him to this point...his testimony was powerful! He started crying when he was talking about what had happened and how now he could see how God had gotten him here.

We found out Sunday from my dear friend that all day Saturday (after we left) the young man continued telling everyone that came into the room that he was in the hospital for an enlarged heart....but he knew the real reason it was large because he now had Jesus in it and he wanted to share that news with everybody!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Received 2 checks today!

How exciting! I received payment today from two different places! It was only $60.00 but that's a start and it was for less than 30 mins work so I'm thrilled!! One of them was PayPerPost which I've talked about on here - where I get paid to blog about certain things and the other payment was from Inbox Dollars - where I read emails they send me and fill out surveys (takes all of about 20 secs to do.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Great deals for Holiday Shopping - Coupon Chief

The holiday season is upon us! Now that Halloween is over the stores are pushing out the Christmas displays faster than you can say pumpkin pie! Seems like we don't even get to ENJOY Thanksgiving as a holiday soon as the pumpkins, hay bales and scarecrows (or goblins, ghosts and ghouls if you tend to lean towards the scary side) are packed up from Halloween then we are bombarded by ads on TV, and in the newspapers for the best deals around for all your Christmas shopping needs.

It's no wonder that stores are having to compete so hard for our business....millions of people are now shopping online more than ever before. I know I do! I love shopping online!! Especially when I get great deals, FREE shipping and awesome coupons without ever having to leave the comfort of my home!! I found this site that will supply deals for all your shopping needs this holiday season - Coupon Chief- for every member of your family (including those beloved pets!) you can find awesome coupons and deals at many of your favorite stores!

CouponChiefis a wholly owned subsidiary of Coupon Chief, Inc. They provide a one stop coupon deal and discount resource for Web site visitors. I checked Coupon Chief to see if a couple of my favorite places to shop (Target & Best Buy) were listed on their website and, sure enough there they were - and there were some great Target deals and Best Buy Coupons to be found!

Monday, October 29, 2007

San Diego Zoo

My daughter, son-in-law & granddaughter and I went to the San Diego Zoo yesterday. We had a great time seeing the wide variety of animals on display there. This zoo is huge! We were amazed at all of animals (whose names we couldn't even pronounce) that were endangered or extinct! This zoo didn't have your run-of-the mill animals like lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, rhinos, etc. No, it had things like a Visayan Warty Pig from Asia, Yellow-backed Duiker from Arica, Lowland Anoa from Asia, Japanese Serow from Asia, and a Buergers' Tree Kangaroo from Australia. These are just a few examples of hundreds and hundreds!! We were there from 11:00 - 4:30 and only saw about 2/3 of the park. Our feet were tired from walking around so much. It was a lovely park with more than ample shade and beautiful landscaping everywhere!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California Bound

My daughter is safe and back in her home as of yesterday! I decided this afternoon to go ahead and fly out there tomorrow and see them. I am so frustrated with Delta though! What a racket!! I used skymiles to get my first ticket (when I was going to fly out Tuesday, 10/23) and I had to pay $75.00 since I was purchasing my ticket less than 21 days out. Well, when I couldn't go on Tuesday due to the wildfires I called Delta and had the miles put back in my account and because of the wildfires they were waiving the re-deposit fees (normally $75.00 - what a joke that fee is!) They did refund my $10.00 I paid for taxes but of course they don't refund my $75.00 fee. So today when I called to schedule another flight for tomorrow they wanted to charge me ANOTHER $75.00 - I asked to speak to a supervisor and she informed me they are only allowed to waive the fee one time and what I should have done is rescheduled in the first place instead of redeposit my skymiles back in my account. I told her "well two days ago if I had known what the wildfires were going to do today and if I had known that the area I wanted to go to was no longer under an evacuation order today then I would have booked a flight for Thursday instead!!!" DUH! UGH!! So frustrating! I had decided NOT to go because I was so mad and I was just going to schedule a flight 21 days out so as not to pay another 75.00 but my husband talked me into going...he reminded me that we still can't get a ticket from FL to CA for $150.00 and with the flight I picked out it used 12,000 less skymiles than I was originally using - so that was a major plus!! So, anyway, I am leaving tomorrow heading for San Diego, CA for a week....just in time too because it has turned cold here!! I've been freezing all day and my daughter says it is HOT out there - with all the fires I guess :-(

Monday, October 22, 2007

California Wildfires

I am supposed to fly out to see my daughter, her husband and my granddaughter tomorrow in San Diego, CA but I received an early morning phone call today from them letting me know they are having to evacuate their home due to these wildfires raging in CA right now. I am not sure if I am going to be able to go see them tomorrow or not.

12 Year Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my dear husband, Gregory....I love you! Thank you for the last 12 years of your friendship, love and devotion....I adore you!

Monday, October 15, 2007

My stepfather needs prayers

My stepfather, Pete, had a heart cath this morning. The doctor found 3 blocked arteries, one of them pretty significant. He called in another heart doctor for a 2nd opinion because he is not sure how to proceed at this point. The doctor is recommending heart bypass surgery now which has to be scheduled so he is planning on sending my dad home in a couple of hours....with those 3 arteries STILL blocked. All of this is much to the great dismay of my mother. Before he went in for this procedure today we knew he was having some problems but we didn't know how "severe" the problems were. Now that we know it is really scary to think that he is coming home without them fixing things. If you are reading this, just say a little prayer for my sweet Pete. Thank you and God bless....

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Darling Dakota

My sweet youngest child has hit the tweenage years and HIT THEM HARD! If the last 3 months has been any indication of what the next 9 years is going to be like (the age at which he will no longer be a TEENager) I believe my knees are going to have calluses on them from all the praying and my hands are going to have permanent fingernail impressions from the balled-up fists when I am trying to keep my mouth shut out of frustration and rely on God for PATIENCE instead to see me through.

One minute I have a loving boy around me who wants to "play with" my hair and run his fingers through my hair (because he loves my long hair), play a game with me, sit in my lap and surf the internet together looking up information, crawl up in my bed and watch a show together, take a walk, or various other activities....then in the blink of an eye this other child I don't recognize pops out of nowhere and rears HIS ugly head! In the place of MY sweet boy, I now have an argumentative, crying, sulky child who looks at me like I am the most ignorant person in the world! I reach out for a hug and he pulls away with horror like I am covered with leprosy or something.

He looked at my blog the other day when I was sharing it with somebody else and he was so offended because there were no pictures of HIM on here! Now I have a myspace page with pictures of HIM all over it and I just never even thought to put pictures of him on my blog. I told him "but honey, look let me show you....I wrote about your birthday on here and I bet I put a picture of you there..." and I scrolled down to that posting but guess what?! I put a picture of HIS CAKE - not HIM! Oh my goodness - did that ever set him off!!! Now I am not one to "coddle" my children - I'm really not, honest and I can only deal with so much "temper tantrum" and sulking before it's off to the bedroom with you so I don't have to look at that sulky face...BUT, there have been some things going on within our household lately (of which I'll be announcing at a later date) besides just him being a tweenager that I think may be causing him to act this way so for that reason I am posting some pictures of my "sweet little man" on here for him to see that I want everyone to see HIS pictures on my page just as much as any other pictures I post on here. Enjoy!

Uncle Dakota and his brother-in-law Bryant (the big guy) rough-housing with nephew Allan - Feb 2007.

When I got back from Brazil in September, we went out to eat with my mother-in-law for her birthday. This was at the Chinese restaurant we ate at.

In July, my daughter - Tina and her baby, Bailee came into town. Dakota is such a good Uncle to all his nieces and nephews! He loves on them and is so eager to see them and they LOVE and ADORE him!!

Dakota is in the kayak at my dad's beach house in August. He is getting pretty good at manuevering that thing! Dakota and I were dancing the ChaCha Slide at Relay for Life in April - we love participating in this Relay every year. Raising money for cancer research. We also like doing this dance!! We danced it about 10 times that night!! LOL