Thursday, December 29, 2011


My very sweet and wonderful husband bought me a new laptop for Christmas. This really was becoming more and more of a need each passing day.  My old computer took about five minutes, more or less, to boot up each day, and frequently did not want to turn off.  Using certain programs insured a lockup  (this would be my picture organizing and editing software that holds nearly 15,000 pictures).  Yep, you read that right!  I am one happy, snappy, camera toting mama!  Anyway, most of Monday and Tuesday was spent in computer lockdown while the old computer transferred all its files to the new computer.  I was so relieved I didn’t have to do each program by itself, the “old-fashioned way.”  Now all you have to do is connect both PCs to your home network and hit “Easy Transfer” and voila, it works all by itself!  Now, I was a little anxious when it took nearly 24 hours to transfer all 49 GB, afraid that one of the kids would touch it and disturb the transfer, causing us to have to start the whole process over again, but (big sigh of relief) it all worked out perfectly.  Now all I have to do is re-install some of my favorite programs – music writing, picture editing, and that kind of important stuff.

I am also trying to prepare myself for the possibility of a disaster – the chance that I might lose all my pictures.  It almost makes me cry just thinking about it!  So, I am also transferring all 15,000 pictures to my Snapfish account.  The best thing about Snapfish is not just their great photo sales, but the fact that they have unlimited online photo storage for free! I can definitely use that!  So, over the next few days, weeks, months, (as Eeyore says, “Who knows?”) I will be transferring all those memories, one MB at a time! Why did I take so many photos?!?!
A word to the wise, start uploading your photos  before you reach 15,000.  Depending on your internet speed, the time to transfer those important moments can be quite time consuming.  Right now, I am organizing all of mine by time segments (May 2010, June 2010, etc.).  That way, I will have a general idea of where to find certain events when I want a specific picture.  Don’t wait – the next crash could be around the corner! As much of a bother as it is to move pictures to online storage, it could save you a lot of tears later.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Well, for those of you who have been downloading the freebies from My Memories, we have another new page kit – this time it is more in theme with little boys – blue and green.  I thought this one was particularly cute.
This is your last chance to get these, because due to the underwhelming lack of interest, I will no longer be offering the digital freebies…unless I hear from you otherwise. :)  They are cute, fun, and easy to use, but if you guys aren’t interested in them, I will find something more to our mutual liking! You can still get $10 off the My Memories Suite using the code STMMMS94566.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sit Back and Enjoy

Now that the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday is over, I plan to just sit back and enjoy myself and my family.  We had a lovely time together on Sunday – Church service in the morning, followed by a fellowship meal and then, after much waiting, came the time to open gifts.  My favorite part is watching everyone’s faces as they see the gifts for the first time.  I got so caught up in watching, that I really didn’t get many pictures.  I did get a few pictures before the chaos began, so it will not go totally undocumented!


Here is our happy clan.  We need to get a new family photo made, but one of our children has issues with group photos.  I won’t say which one, but he has to be threatened to smile in many instances. :)  We still attempt pictures, but half the time, his little face is scowling.  I just take the pictures anyway and laugh when I think about showing them to his girlfriends in 20 years or so…  I am  such an evil mother!


As we sat with the wreckage of our materialism surrounding us, I could not help but think how good, gracious, and generous our God is.  He has given us richly all things to enjoy – including those presents for which we scrimp and save.  He gave us His Son, the greatest gift ever given.  We make a habit of listening to Handel’s Messiah each year, and the phrase of Scripture, “the Gentiles shall come to Thy light”  seemed especially poignant to me this year.  In the Old Testament, the law and its type of salvation was given only to the Jews.  With the advent of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, the wall of partition has been broken down, and now, salvation – without the law – is available to not only the Jews, but the Gentiles, of which I am one.  Thank God for the gift of salvation!

Monday, December 26, 2011

First Week

Our first week in Mississippi has been a flurry of activity, running here and there, trying to get our bank accounts, drivers’ licenses, registrations and the like all done before the holidays.  After several trips back and forth from our storage unit, I think we have everything we need.  I cleaned all the summer clothes out of the kids’ room so that they could put all of their winter clothes in the drawers.  That was a chore that I am glad is done for a while.

The weather here is milder than in Indiana, but I know the summers are going to be killer.  The cashier at Kroger, upon learning that we had just moved from Indiana, said to me, “Oh, you’re going to hate it here!”  I hope she was just talking about the weather! :) We didn’t have a white Christmas this year (they only get snow about once a year, and not very much at that).

We are almost all settled in, and I think after another week, things will be back to normal.  That means back to school, too.  I have one more glorious week of freedom before school starts again!  Thankfully, I had the foresight to get my lesson plans done before we moved, so I will not have to do those this weekend!  I do have some catch-up to do on my grading – it seems like those papers just multiply while sitting in my dark desk drawer…

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This has been such a busy year for us, and I know you all have had a lot going on, too.  Just wanted you to know I did get my Christmas decorations up in the trailer – with just a few days to spare!  I guess they will stay up extra long this year to make up for the late start! :)  You can see a few boxes stacked in front of the couch, too, but hopefully, those will all be gone soon! 


I thank you for reading, keeping up with me, and all of your words of encouragement over the past year as I figure out this whole world of blogging! I pray that each one of you has a Christ-honoring Christmas, filled with the joy that only Jesus Christ can bring!  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Safely Home

Welcome to Mississippi – our new place of residence!  We had a long, but uneventful drive down from Indiana, for which I was grateful, since I had to drive the 26’ Penske truck full of our junk.  I am already planning my next garage sale, and I don’t even have a garage yet! :) 

There are sad things about moving – saying goodbye to all our friends and family in the Indiana area, leaving my beautiful house(whaaaa!), and boxing up a lot of my things to be put in storage until we purchase a new home.  however, there are a lot of positive things about moving as well – being a part of another great church, making new friends, and beginning a new ministry.

Thanks to so many people who helped us get our things packed and loaded on the truck.  It was no easy job, let me tell you, and I nearly had a meltdown while loading!  Thanks, Mom, Allen, Matt, Michelle, Kirsten, Ryan, Jeff, Gord, Brad, Pastor Jordan, Mrs. Kathy, and everyone else who offered their services.  We could not have done it without you!


Here are some of our weekend heroes!  They look a little tired about now, don’t they?  Please don’t look at all the stuff – I can’t believe how much we have accumulated in the past year and a half! 

We had our Christmas programs on Sunday.  Josiah did a great job in his part as Benjamin the shepherd – he worked so hard to get all of his lines!  The big scary-looking guy is Paul.  He grew his beard out for the part.  Thank goodness, it is gone! :)


I was thrilled with the job the children did.  An added blessing was that one of the little boys came forward after the service to be saved!  Thank the Lord for His blessing!


Here they all are – dressed in their finest!  I love the bow ties for the boys – really makes everything look sharp!  The girls, of course, were beautiful in their Christmas finery!  I wish you could have heard them sing!  What a blessing to be able to work with these kids, and with my friend and director, Julie (she worked at least as hard as they did).  I am already looking forward to hearing how next year’s program goes!

The adult choir performed John W. Peterson’s cantata, Love Transcending in the evening service.  It, too, was such a blessing.  I was privileged to be a part of this momentous event!  Thanks, choir members – you all did a tremendous job!

Monday morning, we packed the trailer up, stuffed the kids in the trucks, and hit the road, headed for Mississippi.  It was a nice day for travel – cool, with scattered showers, and clear roads.  Josiah rode with me, and took this very flattering picture of me driving the truck.  :)


Driving the truck was quite a workout for me, since I am so short.  The seat didn’t scoot up far enough for me to rest my heel on the floor to work the pedals, so a lot of the day, I just had to suspend my right leg by sheer muscle power to operate the gas pedal.  I was able to use the cruise control at times, which gave me some relief, but in the construction zones, or when there was heavy traffic, I had to drive the old-fashioned way!

Well, that’s enough catching up for now.  I hope to get back on the blog regularly, once my internet connection is established.  Thanks for your patience and most of all, your prayers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Well, by this time, we should be settling down in Mississippi – I am doing this post ahead of time, because I think that this week is going to be crazy!  I will update you all as soon as I get a chance to catch my breath from unloading all those boxes!  I will give you another freebie today from My Memories.

Download this page kit by clicking on the link below.

Don’t forget that you can get a great deal on the My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software by using the code STMMMS94566  to get $10 off and another $10 coupon for the online store!  These pages are a snap to use with the MMS software!  The possibilities are endless! 

Now, go enjoy your day, and be thankful you are not moving the week before Christmas! :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Harried and Hurried

Ok - some of you may be wondering what happened to me, while others of you may be relieved not to have to read about my crazy life!  The truth is, I have hardly had time to brush my teeth, let alone sit down and blog the last few weeks - thank goodness for the scheduling options on Blogspot!  This week has not had many posts because I just didn't have the time to write.  Even now, I write hurriedly, hoping that my husband doesn't see me working on the computer instead of packing boxes! :)

Our truck arrives this morning, and there is still so much to be done.  We lost some time because we took a day to be part of a funeral service for a family in our church that lost their baby at 27 weeks.  Please pray for the family as they deal with this difficult loss.  Saturday is our kid's Christmas program rehearsal (yes, I am helping with that, too), and I am looking forward to this year's program.  The kids have all worked so hard.  I think the Lord is going to use it in a special way.  Sunday morning is the children's program, followed by the adult program Sunday evening, and a going-away/Christmas fellowship party for our family after the service.  Then Monday morning, we head out to Mississippi.  Paul will be driving the truck and trailer, and I will be driving the 26' moving van.  We didn't really need one that big, but when we upgraded from a 16' truck, they didn't have any 22' trucks available.  Go figure!  Look out, everyone!

This may be my last post for a week or so.  I guess only time will tell.  I certainly don't anticipate having any spare moments in the next few days! :)  I will try to let you know when we all get settled.  Pray for us!  Moving is such a  delightful experience!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Well, today certainly is wacky around our house as we continue packing up our belongings.  The truck arrives in two days, and then it will really get crazy! (I keep telling myself not to stress, but I think moving is just stressful no matter how you look at it!)  I hope you are all having a wonderful week, and enjoying the holiday season, with all of its excitement, last minute shopping, and yummy baking.

Here is a digital freebie from My Memories to sweeten the holidays just a little bit more.  I love the pink papers and giant eyelet frames – they are perfect for that little girl in your life!  It is so easy to use these quick pages with My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software.  You still have time to put together a great album for the grandparents for Christmas.


Download this kit by clicking on the link below.

Don’t forget that you can get $10 off the My Memories Suite software by using this code STMMMS94566.  This code will bring the price down to $29.97, and you will also get a coupon for $10 off in the digital scrapbook store!  Hop over there today and take a look at all the great pages, kits, and ideas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Only Key

While my husband was out of town recently, he asked me to retrieve something out of the toolbox mounted in the back of his truck.  No problem.  I grabbed my keys, and endeavored to open the lock, but to no avail.  I might mention that this particular lock has been a source of aggravation to me for a long time.  It seems that my key just doesn’t want to turn in the lock.  Not to be outdone by a simple mechanism, I rubbed my half-frozen hands together and gave the key a mighty wrench.  To my great surprise, it yielded to my power – or so I thought.  I looked down and gasped as I realized the key had snapped off in the lock!  Not good! 

I called my husband, thankful for the long distance between us at that moment, and told him we would have to pry the door open and take the lock out.  He sighed, in an oh-so-longsuffering way, and said it was okay.  I managed, with the help of some friends to get the door pried open, and the lock taken out of the toolbox door. 

It was only after he arrived home that I found out why my key would not turn in the lock.  Several months ago, when we were escaping from being parked next to a burning RV (read my earlier posts this year), he dropped his keys in his haste.  We had duplicates made of the trailer keys and house keys, but he took my copy of the toolbox key.  I don’t think I even knew about his petty theft.  So, they key I tried to use was not, in fact, the right one.  Oops! 


There is a spiritual parallel to this story.  God has given us the only key to salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Without Christ, all our attempts to access eternal life and heaven are fruitless.  Religion, good works, doing our best – none of these work in the end.  They might fill the hole, just as my key fit in the lock, but when it comes to actually working, they fall short of doing the job.  No matter how sincere my belief that I was doing the right thing, my efforts only ended in destruction and despair. 

As we approach the Christmas season, let us ponder the true meaning of Christmas.  Jesus Christ, God Himself, humbled Himself and became human.  He lived a sinless life and died a horrible death to take our place.  Accepting His sacrifice is the only key to our eternal salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

Friday, December 9, 2011


Have you ever been disappointed?  Perhaps it was by a friend, a family member, a lost opportunity, or things just not working out like you had expected.  Life is full of disappointments, both small and great, but how do you handle those let-downs? 

This week, I received a package in the mail – something I had ordered.  When I saw the box, I was at first puzzled – what was this?!  I had ordered something, but I had expected it to be a lot bigger package, since there were two items in the box.  Upon opening the package, my eyes nearly bugged out – in fact, I think they were bigger than the items I had ordered!  I had planned to give them as birthday gifts to my girls, but after seeing them, decided they would make better stocking stuffers.  I was rather disappointed.  The promised goods did not meet my expectations.  However, I figured it would be easier to just keep the gifts and learn my lesson, than to try to return them and get a refund.  At this point, I am all about what is going to be easiest for me!  :)

The reality is, we get disappointed many times.  I can think of several situations in which I am perpetually disappointed – things beyond my control.  The good news is, Jesus Christ never disappoints me.  He is always what He says He will be.  He will never let me down, or leave me in the lurch.  He always exceeds my expectations.  So when I am facing disappointment, I need to go to Him.  Reading God’s Word and praying help to alleviate the pain of human disappointments.  Does the situation change?  Not necessarily, but my perspective changes, and I know that with Christ beside me, I can survive anything that comes my way.  So, take those disappointments to God, and allow Him to carry you through the less-than-ideal situations of life.


By the way, today is Mega Swagbucks Day – an awesome opportunity to earn rewards!  If you haven’t signed up for Swagbucks yet, you are missing out on a great way to save money!  I earned a lot of Amazon gift cards this year, and paid for most of my Christmas gifts with them!  All at no cost to me! If you want to save money and earn great rewards, sign up for Swagbucks today!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sewing Away

In an earlier post, I mentioned getting all the 18” doll clothes patterns.  Well, I have been putting them to use lately.  I have just a few more things to finish and my sewing projects for this year will be complete.   I am trusting you not to mention this to my daughters – I have managed to keep it a secret so far, sewing late into the night after they have gone to bed.  All the clothes are modeled on the same doll for sake of time.
Disney Princess dress, Ariel – colors of my choosing. Simplicity 5705


Disney Princess Dress, Belle (without drape and gauntlets) colors of my choosing – Simplicity 5705  I intend to make a black shrug for this one, if time allows.


Dress – Simplicity 4654  This one is rather simple, but pretty in a Little House on the Prairie way. :)


Shirt and Poodle skirt – McCalls 8555  This is an older pattern, but I really love the outfits!  The poodle skirt is so easy to make!  I still have to sew the snaps on the back of the shirt, but other than that, it is all done.


What the girls also do not know is that they will each be getting nightgown with a matching nightgown for their dolls.  I found these on sale at Kohls, and with my coupons and discounts, I got them for a great deal!


So it looks as if the girls and their dollies will be well clothed in the coming year! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Time for your weekly freebie again!  This two-page layout coordinates with the one given last week, which you can still get if you go to last week’s Wacky Wednesday.

Use these with any digital scrapbooking software or treat yourself to the newest version of My Memories Suite, Amazon’s best-selling scrapbooking program.  Use the code STMMMS94566 to get $10 off of the software and get a coupon for another $10 off in the online store!  Think of all the beautiful pages you can make! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Drip Drop

The last several days have been rather wet here in Indiana –the chilly, damp weather that seeps into your bones and makes you crave warm soups, fresh baked goods, and hot chocolate. 

Last weekend, we picked up our RV from the repair shop and paid the hefty bill (somehow it seems wrong that they can charge $100 an hour for labor), glad to finally have our trailer back.  For me, this meant that I can begin packing in earnest, stashing things in the trailer for immediate use, and packing up the non-essential belongings.  At least, that was the plan…

Paul went over to the trailer and came back with a very perturbed expression.  It would seem that we have a leak in the roof – due to scraping against a tree branch.  Since the past several days have been so wet, he was greeted by a huge puddle on the kitchen table that had spilled off onto the dinette seats, the couch, and the carpet.  Everything was soaking wet!  Not a pleasant discovery on a Monday morning, just after having the trailer serviced!  Thankfully we were able to get it into the body shop immediately (they have a four-week waiting list right now) and hopefully, all the leaks will be repaired.  Whew!  Now, back to all that packing! 

The moving truck arrives in 10 days… we leave Dec. 19th.  Crunch time is upon me.  It is rather exciting, but also nerve-wracking.  Moving at this time of year is even more difficult because of the holidays and the precipitate weather. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hitching A Ride

This was a first for me – the ever wary, skeptical, and suspicious part of me that is always vigilant around people I do not know.  Perhaps my vigilance is due to an almost-snatching when I was in grade school - we were on a field trip to the airport when a man tried to get me into his car as I was walking ahead of the rest of the group in the parking lot.  After using my famous, “movie star scream” and running through the parked cars, I was slightly traumatized, and all the mothers were on high alert.  The man sped away, and was not seen again - lucky for him, since the moms would have seriously hurt him.

I had a bad scare as a teenager, when a neighbor kid approached my brother and I as we searched for a small object in the yard after dark.  Again, cue the movie star scream and a broken halogen flashlight.  Apparently, in my fright, I used the flashlight to club my brother so I could outrun him and thus escape the evil monster that we both imagined.  It was a horrific moment, no doubt caused in part by our heightened senses and active imaginations.  I will never forget either of those incidents – they are indelibly etched upon my mind and possibly in my brother’s forehead, as well.

Several years ago, my pastor’s wife was the victim of a purse-snatching as she walked in the parking lot of a department store.  The thief drove by in a car and grabbed her purse.  She didn’t want to let go of her favorite handbag, and was dragged by the car.  I now take precautions for my personal belongings as well.  I am beginning to sound like a paranoia-ridden sociophobe, but really I am not… I am just very careful.

So, to my own surprise, a few weeks ago, I offered to take a little old lady home from Kroger.  She had locked her keys in her car, and her husband was at home with the other set.  Since they only had one vehicle, they were both stuck where they were.  I sized her  up, and decided that at 4’ 11" she didn’t pose a serious threat to me or my 25 pound purse.  I took her home, and then back to the store with the spare set of keys.  It was liberating! :)  I made her day as well.  She said in all her 92 years, she had never done such a forgetful thing, and thanked me profusely for my kindness.

Saturday, I had to pick Paul up from the airport.  He dropped me off at the store to finish some Christmas shopping while he went to the RV body shop to pick up our trailer.  I finished my shopping, but had to cross a busy highway to get to the other store.  How was I to do this?  I thought at first that I would just walk across the intersection, but on second thought, it was really busy.  As I pondered my dilemma, I decided that I would “bum a ride” with some nice person.  At this point, I had to decide who the lucky person would be.  I chose my victims carefully, and approached them as they were stuffing their large Christmas purchases into a very small car.  The three ladies looked askance at me, but after a moment decided that I was harmless ( little did they know) and agreed to drive me across the road.  I was so grateful, even though I did have to sit on top of the seat back due to all the packages.  :)

I do not plan on making either giving or taking rides to/from strangers a regular habit, but it is nice to know that some people can still be trusted.

Have you ever had to hitch a ride?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ticklin’ the Ivories

Music has been a part of my life ever since I can remember.  My parents sacrificed for my brothers and me to take piano lessons.  I began taking lessons in 1984, and continued all the way through my college years and beyond.  I suppose my last formal lessons were in 2001, but I have endeavored to continue learning and improving my playing, even though I no longer have a teacher or a regular lesson time.  Those of you who do the same know how difficult it is to challenge yourself!

I have begun teaching my oldest two children, and they are coming along rather well, in spite of the irregularity of their lessons ( we do not have a piano or keyboard in the trailer, so when we are on the road, the lessons are sporadic at best).  However, they all have developed a great love for singing, playing, and anything musical.  We have a lovely piano that the Lord allowed us to purchase, and although I want to keep it free from little fingerprints, I allow my children access to this instrument at all times.   Here is Daniel picking out a tune on the piano.  He “practiced” for about twenty minutes before I snapped this picture. :)


The most important thing is that they learn to enjoy playing.  I do not believe there are ever any great musicians who do not love to play their instrument.  Dedication is good, and discipline is essential, but without the love of playing, you can never truly pass over the line to true musicianship.  I want to instill in my children a love for music that will drive them on to greater heights than I and my husband have achieved.  I do not want to pressure them to be a copy of my husband or myself, but I do want them to get the most out of our musical training.  One step at a time, I want to lead them to a love of music, and a lifetime of enjoyment serving the Lord with their talents.

Do you play an instrument?  Did you ever take lessons?  Who was the most influential teacher you ever had?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Write It Down

While packing up my belongings in preparation for the big move, I came across this stack of journals in my closet.  For many years, I have made it a regular practice to record my thoughts and experiences each day in my journal.  There have been exceptions to this rule, but not many.  I find it interesting to scroll back through my written memories every once in a while and just remember the events surrounding those thoughts. 


Now, I will say that the usual entries are nothing to write home about – the hum-drum life of a stay at home mom.  However, they are spiced with travel and interesting stories every now and then.  The great mountain-top experiences are there as well as the valleys.  Joys, laughter, pain, triumphs, tears, anger, and heartaches are all recorded there.  In my opinion, you can learn a lot about a person by the way they express themselves, especially in written form. 

I have learned about myself, and the things that matter most to me.  They are the everyday happenings that make our life what it is.  Life is not all great moments.  Life is a simple thread of everyday events that holds the pearls of great experiences together.  Without the mundane, the gems would be scattered.  So, in 70 years, when I am gone, the thread of my everyday life will be there for my children to see.  (There is no way I am letting anyone read those before I die!)  I hope they can learn from my example as well as my mistakes. 

Do you keep a journal?  If not, I challenge you to take a few moments each day to jot down what you are thinking, your plans, achievements, and experiences.  It will be a wonderful treasure trove of memories for the ones you love.  New Year’s is fast approaching – maybe it could be your resolution this year.  It’s a lot easier than losing weight!  :)