Sunday, December 31, 2006
10. Darren surprised me with a new (to us) car on my birthday in June. And I mean SURPRISED me. We hadn't even discussed buying a car - hadn't even dreamed of it yet. I've never been more shocked or more totally in love with him than I was that day!
9. My annual ScrapShare Texas Retreat in November is always one of my favorite events. This year was no exception. Hanging out in jammies all weekend, scrapbooking and chatting and hanging out with good friends whose passion about the art of memory making is as strong as mine is.... I love that!
8.We allowed Dani to begin supervised dating in September. Brian proved to be a perfect first boyfriend, respectfully playing along with our somewhat strict rules, specifically mine. To my amazement, I had a harder time with the whole process than Darren did! Brian got a car in December, and so car dating is just around the corner. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time. On one hand, I'm thrilled for Dani and love visiting my own teen memories while watching her make her own. On the other hand, I remember what it was like to be a teenage girl, and it makes my heart stop realizing that I now have a daughter who's experiencing that stage of life. Wacky, wonderful and wild all the same time. She's just like me, and maybe that's what scares me most. ;
7. I loved this photo session with the boys. On the banks of the Trinity River, they played with and looked out for one another. Aidan relishes his role as The Big Brother, and I adore watching him in that role.
6. Driving on this shelf road in the mountains of Colorado was exhilirating. I was peeing myself with every bump and jostle, but I refused to ride in the passenger seat. I wanted to EXPERIENCE the DRIVE, baby! What a thrill!
5. Fortress's 10th Anniversary was fantastic. So much anticipation, work, planning... and all so worth it in the end. It's such a blessing to be a part of this incredible ministry, especially when I get to do it with such beautiful friends. I'm the most friend-blessed person I know!
4. Visiting my friends Jenny and James in Minneapolis in March was COLD!! I walked through snow in my Crocs, caught snowflakes on my tongue, and walked out on a frozen lake. Don't ask my why, but I got the hugest THRILL out of that. I was like a little kid. All I needed was a sled and a hill. Maybe next time! :)
3. On our family vacation to Colorado in July, we tried several times to take photos of us all wearing our Ira Hays wristbands. (see the link in my sidebar). This one was my favorite - overlooking the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
2. In January, I organized the first-ever Fortress Scrapbooking Ministry retreat. The money didn't come through until the last minute, but as He always does, God provided and we had a wonderful WONDERFUL weekend away from the city. The ladies who participate in the ministry spent the weekend in comfy beds, with hot meals prepared and served and cleaned up for them, with goodie bags full of scrapbooking gifts, and with unlimited cropping time. We laughed 'til our sides ached and grew so close that weekend. My heart was full to bursting when it was over. Our 2nd Annual is coming up in just a few weeks. Again, all the needed money hasn't come through yet, but I'm confident that God will provide somehow. We've all got it on our calendars!
1. In late September, Bobbie and her two girls moved in with us temporarily. I loved having them here. Well, okay. Sometimes, I found myself longing for my home back. I'm sorta ashamed to admit that, but there it is. I'm human. But mostly, I loved having them here, and I missed them after they moved into their own apartment. The past three months have solidified new relationships with my neices, especially 13-year-old Brittani, whom I just adore. And Brianna's relationships with the boys grew to new depths. They adore her, and she them. It's been a blessing having Bobbie and the girls here with us. Definitely, the highlight of my year.
Happy New Year! May enjoy all the little things that 2007 has to offer. :D
As we celebrate the dawn of a new year, let's take a moment to look back over the last twelve months. We're going to celebrate the little things by counting down the Top Ten favorite moments of your year. Use photos if you can, but if not, paint word pictured telling us why these moments meant so much to you. Have fun looking back!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
All seemed relatively normal up until Christmas. She opened the DVD set - Season One - and squealed with delight. The next day, we began watching them. That was Tuesday. Tonight is Friday. We've watched all 24 hour-long episodes.
See, I thought I could walk away, I really did. But then I started suspecting that Nina was a mole, because the script was making it seem like Tony was a mole, so I knew they were trying to throw me off course, and I had to stick around to find out if I was right. Turned out that neither Nina nor Tony were dirty, but Jamey was, and her suicide pretty much confirmed it. By then, I was completely drawn into the storyline of Kim and Terri, too, and the cute bad boy Ric, and his evil friends. Several times, I shouted at Kim to STOP BEING A BRAT and just LISTEN to her MOM, for cryin' out loud. Especially when she ran out in the open field and drew fire from the snipers. Oh my WORD, I could've killed that girl myself.
And then, Senator Palmer's wife started pissing me off, then I got away from the bad dudes and was safely tucked away in the safe house then I wrecked the car and it blew up and I had amnesia and then I got kidnapped again and my memory came back and I realized I was married to Jack Bauer who was in mortal danger and I couldn't trust ANYone with ANYthing and then my son was being framed for murder and my husband's speech writer was makin' eyes at him so I decided to take advantage of that situation and THEN I got thrown in jail with a bunch of drug dealers, but one of them fessed up and got me off and I was on my way to be reunited with my Mom when the squad car was hit and once again I was on the run and ended up jumping into Los Angeles bay or whatever it's called fully clothed and with my hands tied, and I'm not even sure I'd eaten a bite in the last 24 hours, but whatever, and the terrorist dudes are all dead now, but Jack escaped and the Senator left his evil wife and Kimberly was reunited with her Dad, who went to find Terri, who it turns out had been killed (I think) by NINA, who THEN it turned out that Nina WAS the mole and Jamey's suicide wasn't a suicide at ALL but a MURDER, and I'm still not sure about Tony, but the season is officially over and we've already added Season Two to our Netflix queue and bumped it to the top, and I've been answering my phone, "CTU, Stacy speaking" all day, and if it's for Dani, I say, "I'll patch her through," and I'm not sure I"ll ever have time to blog again.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
The singing was great, the play was adorable, communion was meaningful, the prayers were heartfelt and moving. But the most worshipful moment of all came when my friend Kristi spoke.
She had barely gotten three words out of her mouth when her voice cracked and she began to cry.
"...I'm just so thankful for the gift of Jonathan," she said. "The court costs have been so high. We've made so many sacrifices so we could pay the adoption lawyer. Last week, we sold my car so we could make the final payment. But the thing is, Jonathan is a gift. He's priceless. And I thank God for giving him to us."
It just melted my heart. I know that money has been tight for Dale and Kristi, and I know they've made sacrifices this year that they never dreamed they'd have to make. But I also know that they're learning tough lessons in all of this, and I know that they're being prepared for the future in some way. And I know without a doubt that they don't regret the sacrifices they've made and are making. In fact, Kristi was grateful that they owned a vehicle they COULD sell for enough cash to pay the lawyer. Jonathan is worth it to them. So this year will be a skimpier Christmas than years past. This year, they'll have to make do with one car for a while. This year, there'll be no big fancy computer purchases and exotic vacations.
But this year, there'll be Jonathan. The gift.
No amount of money could lessen the importance of that.
No stack of gifts under the tree could mean more to their kids.
No new HDTVs or Playstation 3s could bring more pleasure than this little brother they've come to love and cherish.
Kristi GETS that.
And because of her, I get it too.
I love her for that.
Thank you God, for Jonathan. For giving my Aidan another "little brother" to guide and love. (Aidan ADORES Jonathan.) For giving Kristi her heart's desire. And for reminding me today, through Kristi, that it's not about money. It's about gifts. And you're the best gift-giver of all.
I received this in an email from my friend DogtownScrapper:
Hey Stacy, I so love reading your and other’s blogs. I think your challenge is great!! I haven’t got the courage to start one yet, but it always makes me think about what you are challenging people to writeabout. Recently I was reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I was just randomly opening pages and came across Oct 23rd (if you have the book). The topic is money………. she says, “Take a deep breath. Relax. Be open. …….. The love of it. The lack of it. How we accumulate, spend, save, and squander it, lust for it, worship it, worry about it, work for it. Like success, money is an emotionally volatile issue for most women. It’s probably the most complicated relationship we have - and the one that controls our lives because we let it.”It goes on to say………“...our lives are hell not because money is so important to us, but because it is not important enough, …… if money were more important to us, we would seek to understand its impact and how it influences every aspect of our lives."Anyway Stacy…….I thought this might make aninteresting challenge……….. I think Diane is right. This DOES make an interesting challenge, especially on the heels of the biggest spending season of the year. How did money affect you this holiday season? Did it affect you at all? Did you overspend? Did you work within a tight budget? Did you feel guilt or anxiety over how much you spent? Did you find yourself wishing you could spend more, or wishing you had spent less? Did money control the way you gave, and did it influence the way you received?
Two days ago, I suddenly realized that we were only 4 days shy of Christmas. So in the last 48 hours, we've:
- visited Santa in Sundance Square
- decorated a Gingerbread House
- wrapped umpteenhundred presents
- grocery shopped for Christmas Eve party and Christmas dinner
- taken the boys shopping for Dani and Dad
- created a new playlist and burned CDs for my two bested buds
- created the gifts I've known I was gonna make for the last 2 months for those same two buds
- managed to company-clean the house
- created and delivered a gift for our neighbors
- last-minute shopped for someone on our list who I almost forgot
- helped Cara create "Granny's Recipe" cookbook covers for her family
- finally called my Mom back
My kids are good for my self-esteem. Last week, Aidan was asking why I need to be on a diet. (See, my new lifestyle is a big deal in our family... we're all a part of it.) I explained to him that I want to be healthy and skinny, and BESIDES, I'm gonna be way prettier when I'm skinny. He replied, "But Mommy, I think you're pretty even when you're fat." I love that kid. :)
Today, Ian - the kid who will not give hugs and kisses - gave me a hug. I didn't even have to bribe him or nothin'! Then he said, "Mom, you have spiky thangs on your legs. You need to shave." bwahahaha (IT's WINTER. When's he gonna catch on??)
The food temptations the last few days have been killer. I haven't succombed, but I'm tellin' ya, I've been feeling reallllly deprived and cheated. And it's starting to show in my mood. Tonight at dinner, while everyone noshed on buttered honey bicuits, I threw a tantrum. "I don't feel like eating," I said. "I'm not gonna eat at all." And with that little announcement, I got up and left the table. I think everyone was in shock. Dinnertime is one of our favorite family activities. Much laughter and hilarity and conversation takes place at the dinner table. Tonight, while I sat here at the computer mindlessly surfing and reading, I didn't hear one giggle from the kitchen. I felt sorta guilty about that, knowing that I'd cast a weird cloud over everyone, but not guilty enough to go fix it.
A little while later, when Darren came into the family room to watch TV, I curled up on the couch next to him and fall asleep on his chest. I slept there for an hour and a half. Meanwhile, Dani was upstairs creating the first two pages in what will be my newest scrapbook: my weight loss journey. Her pages are titled "12 Things You Are", in honor of the 12 pounds I've lost so far:
- Full of Life
- Choosing joy
- a great Mom
- loving your family
- easy to talk to
I cried. Yes indeedy, I cried.
GOD, I love my kids. Thank you for blessing me with their precious hearts and souls and noses and toes.
Merry Christmas, all!
May your holiday be filled with happy surprises, zero tantrums, and as many carbs as you can bear! :D
Friday, December 22, 2006
Stacy is still very much on nice list, but must continue good behavior. Should eat more vegetables instead of junk food. Was very polite last Thursday! When doing chores, needs to do them as well as possible. Often exhibits good behavior.
It's been more than 6 weeks since I had a candy bar or a bag of chips or fast food french fries. My grocery receipts prove that it's more expensive to eat healthy. I mean, think about it. Ramen noodles and Hamburger Helper and Macaroni and Cheese, and rice, potatoes, peanut butter sandwiches... that's all pretty inexpensive. But fresh veggies and lean meat... that stuff will break your bank! So HMPF, Santy Claus. Pay more attention and bump me up to that "very nice" list. I want a Kitchenaid 5-qt mixer, Empire Red. Target has 'em in stock. And since Darren can't spend 300 bucks on me, it's up to you if I'm gonna get it.
Speaking of pressies (that was for my Austrailian friends), tonight we celebrated Christmas with Bobbie, Brittani and Brianna. I loved watching them all open their gifts. Brittani especially liked what I gave her. YAY!! Funny thing, though. In the course of gift opening, we realized that Bobbie and Darren bought me the same thing, and so did Brittani and Dani! How hilarious is THAT? Do these people know me or what?? No worries. Darren's taking the duplicate gift back to the store tomorrow (it was a red clock from Target that I've had my eye on for my scraproom), and Brittani is taking hers back as well. (Don't know what hers was yet - have to wait 'til Christmas to open the one from Dani.)
Wanna see what Santa has to say about you?
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I haven't done any holiday baking. None. Zip. Nada.
But that's not the weird part.
Today, my sister was here with the boys while I took my oldest neice shopping. I asked Bobbie to bake a batch of brownies. I don't miss the goodies much, but I miss the smell of holiday baking! I haven't bought the ingredients this year for ANYthing, but in this house, we always ALWAYS have brownie mix on hand. I figured that would do in a pinch.
So I came home to a house in which the aroma of freshly baked brownies permeated every corner. I loved it. I took it in and savored it.
And here's the weird part: then I asked Bobbie to take the brownies home with her.
In other news, Ian assisted me with Aidan's Kindergarten class party yesterday. He was the official photographer. Here are some of his shots:
Ian is immediately available for parties should you need a trigger-happy, easily-distracted, bouncing photographer. Competetive rates!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
It doesn't take much to make me well up. A good sermon, a choir singing "What Sweeter Music", Aidan telling me I'm pretty... and now, listening to my sweet friends Poor Rich Folk singing their newest song. You know the kinds of tears I'm talking about. They start in the depth of your soul, slowly working their way up until they cut off your breath. They stick in your throat for a second, then give you an instant headache 'cause you're trying to hold 'em back. Then they start to well up, balancing precariously on the lower lids of your eyes before finally spilling over - hot beads of happiness rolling down your cheek and off your nose. And then you realize that you're smiling. THOSE kinds of tears. Please listen. They've added two of the brand-new tracks to their MySpace.
Here's the deal. Just over a month ago, PRF hadn't raised the funds needed to record another album. I gave everything I could give, and I prayed for God to put me in touch with a wealthy person who'd be willing to invest in the band. It didn't happen. So on the last night, at the 11th hour, I dragged my sister to the Last Ditch Tryin'-To-Raise-Money-For-Nashville live show. She was supposed to go to an Arbonne meeting that night, but I said, "Bobbie. Skip it. You have to hear this band."
When we got to the concert, Bobbie said, "Hey. This is the church my meeting was gonna be held at!" And sure enough... in another wing of the building, dozens of Arbonne ladies were milling around. Bobbie walked over and said, "Y'all should come hear this band after the meeting."
And so they did.
And one of the Arbonne ladies is rich.
She listened to the last couple of songs. She spoke with the band. She liked what she heard. And she left.
The next morning, Luke had to call Nashville and either confirm or cancel his appointment with the big-time record producer. As he picked up his phone to cancel, his email dinged. It was the Arbonne lady.
"I'd like to give you $1200," she wrote. Luke replied, "That is so awesome. We're very grateful, and we will definitely accept your offer. But just so you know, we're not going to Nashville after all. We fell way short of our fundraising goal, and we can't afford it yet." Then the lady said, "How much do you need?" Luke told her. $12,000, I think it was. The lady said, "Let me talk to my husband." Two hours later, they met with the band. And funded the whole thing!
Now here's the deal. (And this makes me tear up too!) God is in the little things! I prayed for him to lead me to a rich person with a generous heart. In a round-about way, He did that! Through my sister, through Arbonne, through making the two events happen at the same place and time.... our God is an awesome God, and I feel so totally humbled and blessed to have played a tiny role in it all.
And now, Luke and Jon and Andy and Randy - the same guys who played a charity event for me last spring and who sat on my porch swing - the same guys who've been through break-ups and weddings this fall - the same guys who quit their day jobs to follow this dream - the ones who prayed and prayed and prayed and dreamed big and kept writing and making music through it all because that's what they're called to do - the sweet guys who humor me with warm hugs and don't get scared (or else they hide it well!) when I tell them I think of them as little brothers and I love them that way too - these four guys are laying down tracks in Nashville with the dude who produces Bebo Norman and Jars of Clay. And they're recording with Jars of Clay's Dan Haseltine, who sings backup on "To End This Quiet".
Tonight on the phone, I told Luke, "Next thing we know, you'll be opening for Jars of Clay." He wasn't quite so confident. But I am. Big things are happening. I've seen it with my own two eyes. I've heard it with my own two ears. I've felt it in my own heart and soul. And I'm wiping the tears that flow because of it all.
Poor Rich Folk. Listen to 'em. Be moved. Be blessed. Believe.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.” - Washington Irving This week, paint us a picture of a time when you cried. Maybe it was recent, maybe it was ages ago. Maybe it was tears of grief over a break-up, or tears of joy over an engagement. Maybe you cry when you get mad, or perhaps you cry when you're laughing hysterically. Perhaps you have a hard time crying at all. Pick one time, and color the story for us.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Then I came home and found an email from my gorgeous friend Terri, which contained a link to make an elf of myself. So that's just what I did. Check it out!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
2. The last book I read: No Way to Treat A First Lady by Christopher Buckley - I got it in a book exchange on ScrapShare. Entertaining enough, but the ending was a cop-out. Author must've had a deadline and had to wrap it up fast!
3. The last book I bought: "The Tale of Three Trees", for my boys for Christmas. Precious folk tale about three trees who each want to grow up to be the biggest tree in the forest - but they all get cut down. One becomes the manger, one becomes the boat that Jesus preaches from, and the other becomes a pile of cut lumber. ...but THAT tree ends up becoming the most important thing of all....
4. The last cd I bought: Celtic Woman Christmas
5. Another CD I wanted but didn't buy: the James Taylor Christmas
6. What I'm wearing right now: brown sweater that was too small last year and blue panties that are too loose in the legs. I already shucked my jeans... didn't even have to unbutton 'em! WHEEE!
7. The last gift I bought for someone: a whole slew of photos of the Fortress 10th Anniversary. I gave 'em out at scrapbooking today. :)
8. The last time I laughed heartily and loudly: about 2 hours ago when we were leaving Fortress, and Nikki said, "Cara, you better put some shoes on 'cause cold feet will make you have diarrhea in the booty hole." BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! She was totally serious, too.
9. My favorite holiday ornament: this year, it's a Radko dreidel
ornament that I RAKed to a Jewish friend, 'cause receiving it made her so happy!
10. My house smells like: Virginia Pine, thanks to the tree we cut down yesterday.
11. The first thing on my to-do list tomorrow is: mail packages to Delaware, California, Australia, South Carolina and Georgia
12. If I could sit on Santa's lap and believe that he'd bring me whatever toy I wished for, I'd ask for: a Wishblade.
13. If I could holiday shop in ONE store, all expenses paid, I'd shop at: Target. I could do some serious damage at Target. :)
14. If an angel alighted on my doorstep today and said, "I'm here to grant a Christmas wish," I'd wish for: complete healing for Ira Hays of Brooklyn, New York.
15. When I see a bell ringer while out shopping, I: go out of my way to use another entrance. I hate to say no, I'm not good at saying no, but I *need* to say no. I *want* to say no. So I avoid the whole situation. Is that bad?
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Aidan, age 5.
And Ian, age 5.
But only for 6 more minutes.
For on December 8, Aidan turns six, and the magical nine days is over.
Nine days ago, Ian woke up on his 5th birthday. He usually sleeps in 'til 9:30 or so, but on that morning, he was dressed, down to his shoes and socks, before 8.
"IAN!" I exclaimed in not-quite-mock astonishment. "What are YOU doing up?"
"It's my BIRTHDAY!" he beamed. "AIDAN! I'm five like you!"
He thinks he's the coolest kid ever, being five like Aidan.
And Aidan thinks it's pretty cool, too. With his cool little smirk, he said, "Only for nine days, Ian. Nine days."
For those nine days, the boys are on even turf. There are no hierarchies. No king-of-the-hill battles. They are twins.
Ian got a $20 check from his Grandma and Grandpa, and when we went to Target to spend it, Aidan whined about not having his OWN money to spend. "But Aidan, it's not your birthday yet," I tried to explain. "You'll get yours in nine days."
He was almost okay with that, but Ian wasn't.
"Aidan," he said. "I'll give you ten and I'll have ten, 'cause ten and ten makes twenty."
Aidan smiled so sweetly, I kissed him right on the lips.
"Ian, when I get my birthday money, I'll share it with you, too."
And I knew he meant it.
Tomorrow, Aidan will be six. Once again, he'll be the older brother. Ian will be the little one. There will be squabbles and turf wars and hierarchies.
But for nine days each year, it all vanishes.
Happy birthdays, boys. You make me love being a Mom.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
I notice that every day, you dress your dog in a different outfit, and change her leash to match. Is it because you need a hobby? Is it because you have that much money to burn? 'Cause I can help you out in both of those areas....
I think the fact that you're rocking your breast cancer diagnosis by incorporating a huge pink ribbon in to your Christmas yard decor and by throwing big smashing Bosom Buddies parties - well, I think you just plain ROCK. Should I ever have to face such a diagnosis, I hope to do it with the fortitude and grace that you are.
Sarah and Bailey:
It's a good thing I love your owner so much, otherwise I'd string you up by your paws for peeing on my rug.
Every checkout person in America:
No, I do not want to apply for a store credit card. I do not want to save 10% on today's purchase. I do not LIKE green eggs and ham.
Don't ask me again. Thank you.
I miss you. Beautiful brown blobs of bad carba.
This week, your blog challenge was inspired by an old friend - James' Gal from the old S&S days! She's given me permission to say hello and to post her blog here. Check her out!The challenge: Write 5 open letters. People, places, objects, animals. It doesn't matter. Write 5 succinct letters and express what you can't express in person. Strangers? People you'll never see again? People you're afraid to be completely honest with? Corporations? Celebrities? Your sister's cats? Write to 'em.Angry? Disgusted?Enthralled?Amused?In awe?Annoyed?Admiring?Write about it. 5 of 'em.Let it all out. Have fun!