Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's a good Saturday...

Nowhere to be this papers to games to go appointments or meetings or functions. Just me...a cup of coffee...and a cool, breezy Saturday morning. I'm happy.

So I'm sitting here sipping my coffee and working up the gumption to go out and get my new veggie plants into the ground. I planted a bunch of seeds a while back but then it began to rain, a lot...and none of them came up. Not one. I'm assuming they rotted from too much moisture? So no zucchini, no cucumber and no sunflowers. The only things that came up from that planting were the nasturtiums. And they're doing great! Not to mention the four tomatoes and five peppers I planted a long while ago. They've hung in there...thank goodness.

Today I need to plant three zucchini (yes, I am crazy, thankyouverymuch), three cucumber, a half flat of marigolds, some chives, sage, thyme, lemon thyme and lemon balm. Then I'll plant some seeds for the beans and the lettuce. Should be a nice little garden one of these days.

Later this afternoon I'm meeting a long-time friend for lunch. She moved away to Reno a few years back and we try to get together when she comes to town to visit her daughter. Today we'll meet for a delicious salad at our favorite local Italian restaurant. Good food and lots of conversation with an old friend...sounds like a nice afternoon.

Until then...I will finish up my many loads of camp laundry! I'm almost done!

What have YOU got going on today? Make it fun!

Friday, May 28, 2010

so much to do today...and what am I doing?

Well, I'm writing a blog post, of course! Isn't that what we all do when there's too much to do and we don't know where to begin? No? It's just me? Hmm...I better work on that then.

It's's cloudy and's chilly...and I have a lot to do. know me so come the Bullet Points!

To do:
  • Finish final paper and create a Power Point to go along with it. I've never created a Power Point in my life and I will be receiving assistance from my KIDS in learning how to do one. That means that I am officially OLD.
  • Payroll and bank run.
  • Pick Ian up from school after his long week at 6th grade camp. So looking forward to my baby being home and in his own bed. So not looking forward to the pile of laundry!
  • Drop off funds to the ministry for airline tickets to Belgium!! I still don't have quite enough...but I'm trusting God and believing Him to get me there. He's gotten me this far financially (through the generosity of others...thank you)...I believe He'll provide the rest.
  • pick up a few groceries for the weekend...and cat litter.
  • install Publisher and Word 2007 onto this new computer.
  • order books for my next classes...already. Accelerated classes rock.
  • order pizza for dinner. Love a menu plan, don't you?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday in the Word.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

A thorn in my irritant...something painful...and hard to withstand...a constant reminder. That's what I believe depression is for me...a thorn in my flesh. It's a reminder that I am human, and fallible, and imperfect, and incapable of doing this whole "life" thing on my own. It reminds me that I am weak. And it keeps me tethered to God...reliant on reminds me just how much I need Him in my life. When I am weak, He is strong. When you are weak, He is strong. His grace is sufficient for me...and for you.

Can you think of something that you've been "pleading" with God to take away but He hasn't? And you think He's just not answering you? Well, maybe it's not a matter of Him not answering your prayer...but more a matter of Him deciding that very thing you want Him to get rid of is what He's going to use to keep you close to Him...reliant on Him...leaning on Him. You think? I don't know...just a thought...

It took me a while to come to this realization. And I fought it for a long time...wondering when it would just go away. But then one day I read that scripture and it made sense...and it made it OK in a way. I guess the knowledge that God was allowing me to struggle with depression made me realize that He was also in control of it. Yes, He could take it away from me, if He so chose. But since He's not choosing to...and He's allowing me to deal with it on a regular basis...then He must be with my while doing it and helping me with it along the way. Knowing this made all the difference in the world. Knowing that I was not alone (which is the big lie the enemy wants you to're alone...nobody loves you...nobody understands...blah blah...lies lies lies) made me confident that I could power through, because God was right there with me every step of the way.

One of the great things about thorns in the flesh is our ability to learn from them and then take what we've learned and help someone else in the same situation. You know the saying, "It's not about me."?'s not. It's about God. And the His Kingdom. So maybe it's time to stop focusing on the thorn and our own pain and reach out to someone whose thorn is embedded a little deeper than our own.

God is good...and His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Belgium Update!

Before we talk about Belgium I just have to tell you I sent my son, Ian, off to 6th grade camp this morning! My baby was loaded down with about a 200 lb. suitcase, a sleeping bag and pillow and a backpack! He was really excited and I know he's going to have a blast...but it's so weird not having him here. I miss him...and it's only been what...? 8 hours? It's going to be a long week.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Belgium Update! Belgium is coming right along...we're purchasing our tickets this month and I have almost enough for it! God is so good...He provided the means to do this through many of YOU. Thank you so much for taking part in this with me.'s been amazing to know that you are pulling for me and praying for me and supporting me. It's humbling...and blesses me beyond belief to know that you've got my back. Thank you...
Did you know that Giving is a spiritual gift? It is. It's defined as "to share what material resources you have with liberality and cheerfulness without thought of return." Isn't that beautiful? And that's exactly what many of you have done...given liberally and cheerfully for the good of the Kingdom. Be confident in knowing that someone out there will be helped and encouraged because of your generosity. You can find out more information about spiritual gifts here. There's also a test you can take to see what your particular gifts may be surprised! God has already blessed me in amazing ways by providing just about all of what I need for my airline ticket and I haven't even sent out one single donation request letter yet! They (whoever they are) say that the most important thing to do when getting ready to go on a mission trip or a ministry trip is to get your donation letter sent out...pronto. I mean, you need a way to pay for it all, right? It makes sense. But for whatever reason I just never felt a sense of urgency to get my letter out...let alone written! So I didn't write it for a long time...and guess what? It was OK! Because before I knew it, God had provided almost the entire amount to pay for my ticket without sending out a single letter. Is that AWESOME? Oh my's miraculous and blows me away. Seriously...God is really showing me that His hand is in the ministry trip in every way. He's also showing me that He is my Provider...and He is making the know? It's also a reminder that this is all about Him...not me, not Belgium, not money...but about Him. Unbelievable...thank you, God.

And thank YOU for allowing God to use you.

So I've almost got my ticket paid I just need to gather enough for food and hotel and other necessities while I'm there. I will be sending out the Donation request letters this coming week to family and friends as well as keeping the Donate button on my blog in case anyone would like to contribute through Paypal. And please continue to pray for me...and for the team...that we would be obedient to God and follow His will to a tee in this endeavor.

As my beautiful friend Christina would say...One Love. We're all in this together...xo

Friday, May 21, 2010

attitude adjustment.

So I was walking out the door this morning to take Ian to school and a thought occurred to me. (I know, I know...scary, isn't it?!) This thought hit me like a bolt of lightning. It was like that proverbial light bulb went on over my crazy, mixed up head and I instantly had clarity instead of confusion. And the thought was this, "I am one blessed woman."
Honestly. I am so blessed...beyond belief...beyond what I deserve...beyond what I ever expected. In all honesty, at around the age of 25 or so I just figured I'd be the crazy drunk lady living in the little bungalow on the corner with 14 cats. I don't know why, really. Maybe past hurts just finally put that brick wall up so high that I figured my heart was permanently barricaded? And I thought I was OK with that? I mean, a protected heart is better than a broken one, right? It was safer that way. At least that's what I thought.
God had a different plan for me. This brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Knowing that he plucked me right up out of that pit I was sinking into and saved me blows me away. Why me? Who am I? I'm a breath of air..a flash in the pan...temporary...made from dust. But not to Him. To Him I am valuable. And He saw differently for my life. My gratitude is's something I can only express to Him through prayer...and thoughts...and tears. It's a heart-cry...from me to Him. A quiet and humble whisper, "thank you".
I am blessed. God blessed me with a loving, thoughtful, funny, handsome, talented, hard-working husband. He blessed me with two amazing boys to raise and care for...and they bring a smile to my face daily. Yes, sneers, is life, after all. But more smiles. Hands-down.
What really smacked me upside my head was the fact that I have been so whiny lately. SO whiny...
Poor me, my computer broke and now I can't blog...or do homework...or play Word Twist on Facebook. Poor me, I am so busy with work and school and kids and business and sports and life. Poor me, my house is a mess and there's laundry on the bathroom floor and a carpet to vacuum and crisper bins to clean out. Really? Really, Michelle? You are complaining about all of this? Seriously?
You need to be thanking God every minute of every day that you even have these things to complain about! You need to be grateful that you even have a man, or kids. You need to be grateful that you live in a country where all of these opportunities are handed to you. You want to complain about having to pay for a doctor's appointment for your son? Really? How about being grateful that you have a son. And that you live in a country where medical care is even available. Really, Michelle? You need to be thankful that there's food in your fridge to be cleaned out! That means you have an abundance. You have enough. More than enough. You need to be grateful that you have a home to care for. You have a roof over your head. Your house is standing. You need to be grateful you have a bathroom and not just a hole in the floor.
And no computer? poor baby.
Wow...I'm ashamed.
Get a grip, girl. Snap out of it. Wake up! Life is good. Life is wonderful. Life is a gift. And a blessing. Be grateful for it...
Now...go. Go about your day. Smile at someone. Do something nice for someone. Be Jesus with skin on. Change your attitude...because your glass is definitely half full.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday in the Word.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

I wanted to share a different scripture with you this morning but it just didn't feel right. I stopped and took a minute to pray and Proverbs 3:5-6 popped into my head. And right away I knew it was for me, personally. And maybe for you, too.

I have been leaning on my own understanding. I like to think I'm relying on God. I like to think that I am in communion with Him and moving in His will always. But if I really stop and think about it...I haven't been leaning on Him. Or trusting Him all that much, for that matter. I have been going full steam my own power and strength. And then wondering why I'm so stressed out.

Why am I not leaning on Him? Maybe it's got to do with feeling like prayers are going unanswered...feeling cast aside...and forgotten...and confused. If I'm being honest here, this is where I'm at lately.

The silly part of all of this is that I know if I were to just hand it all over to Him...give it up...stop obsessing and worrying and fretting...I know that my negative feelings would subside. Because I know that my God hasn't forgotten me...or cast me aside. And I know that if I were running things by Him rather than running ahead of Him I wouldn't be confused because I'd be walking in His will...and not my own.

Thank you, Lord, for this gentle reminder this morning. Thank you for that little whisper reminding me to trust you. Thank you for reminding me that I can trust you.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm ba-aaaackkk....

Whew. That was a rough go of it last week with the computer broken! I am quite reliant on my computer now that I'm taking online classes...not to mention my attachment to this blog and all of you who share it with me. I will say though, it was a nice break from the from the Internet. I realized that I waste a lot of time looking...for...what? Just looking, really...wasting time...zoning out...escaping. And honestly, I don't have TIME to waste! I need to use every bit of my time wisely. Don't we all? I complain about not having time to do this, that or the other thing...but if I'm more careful with my time, and I don't waste it...then...well, you know.
So we've got our new computer...I'm back online...but I have no pictures. They're all on the other computer and I'm just praying that they can be retrieved. Things will be a little quiet around here for a while...I'm going to scale back on computer more organized with my files...and be better at prioritizing my life. I've missed you...and appreciate the encouraging comments and emails. It's good to be back...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

technical difficulties.

My computer died on Monday. We have a new one on order but it will take a week or so to arrive. Until then things will be quiet around here. I miss you! See you soon....

Monday, May 10, 2010

a good day...

Happy Belated Mother's Day! I hope yours was as nice as mine. I actually had the Mother's Day weekend...
Our celebration started Saturday with a barbecue at my brother's. we put together a good buffet! Would you believe I forgot my camera? What a dummy. But...if I hadn't forgotten my camera you'd see a picture of a giant platter of perfectly grilled teriyaki beef skewers, a giant bowl of fried rice with lots of bacon and green onions, a big bowl of strawberry salad with mixed greens and champagne vinaigrette, fresh green beans and an abundance of garlic bread.
Oh my...we ate very well. And were all stuffed to the gills...but somehow made room for strawberry shortcake! What? Yep...strawberry shortcake with homemade shortcakes! Yum. Mom made them...and they were delicious!
After dinner we all crammed on the sofas to watch Avatar in Blueray on my brother's big screen. After a while, because we're all getting old, we were dozing off and decided to head home. Of course the kids were wide awake...but us oldies were done for the day. that was Saturday. Not even Mother's Day yet and already we've celebrated very well. I woke up Sunday morning to a pile of cards, a box of Mike and Ike's (one of my favorites), a Starbucks gift card from the boys and a pedicure gift certificate from Chris! Nice! So sweet...and the cards were so nice. Funny...sappy...lovey dovey...perfect.
We headed off to church which was nice. Our pastor gave a nice sermon about mom's...and then gave all the mom's a gift! It was a cute notepad, a bookmark and a piece of chocolate in a gold box. Don't tell anyone, but I bought the notepads with my discount at the book store! I'm friends with our new pastor's wife so she popped in to the store last week and we picked out some nice gifts to give to the ladies. She added the chocolate as a that was nice!
We ended up socializing at church for a long was good. I was the one doing most of the socializing...Chris and the boys went to the car and Chris let Seth drive for a while. What?!! I about fell over when I saw my son drive past the MY car...wasn't he just born last week?
Anyway...we finally left church and headed to our favorite Mexican food restaurant for some lunch. We ate way too many chips and salsa so we all had enough leftovers for dinner, too! Perfect! I hadn't planned anything for dinner anyway! Instead, I took a nap! All in all, it was a really good weekend. Lots of fun...lots of family...lots of friends...even a little rain, I believe it was just for me.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I love's my most favorite day of the week. Especially Friday night. It's the best...the end of the week...nothing to's like you can finally let down your guard and relax a bit.
Tonight, however, I'll be doing homework. i usually do it on Sundays...but it's Mother's Day...and who wants to do homework on Mother's Day? Not me. So I'll do it tonight so I can leave Sunday open for fun stuff...I'm thinking some gardening is in order. I've only got tomatoes and peppers going. All my seeds rotted with all of the rain. So I need to start over with my cucumbers and squash and sunflowers. And I also need to get some lettuce and beans in the ground. My poor little garden is looking pretty homely right now.
As for this beautiful Friday? I'll watch the rest of my homework DVD this morning...take lunch out to the office for Chris and payroll and pay a few bills...make a quick stop at the grocery store then head home. My mom got some new area rugs for her home and she's giving me one of her old ones. I'm excited! I've had the same area rug in my living room for over 12 years. I loved it when I first got it...but it's time for something new. So I'm excited to see how the rug looks in my home. We're pretty sure the colors are just right and will go with my things perfectly. I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

this morning.

Today is Thursday. My Friday at the book store. The weeks are flying by so fast, aren't they? I can't keep up. It's like the first of the month gets here...and I start thinking about the bills to pay and such...and next thing I know it's the 6th! How does that happen? Is it just me?
I had a coffee date set for 9am but the friend I was to meet (our new pastor's wife) had to go to Sacramento to be with her daughter in law who is in labor! Woohoo! Keep Shannon in your prayers today...this is her first baby and you know how those first labors can be. Loooong. My first was 32 hours from start to finish...yikes. And I did it again! What's with us crazy moms? That's a God given gift...the ability to forget what we just went through so we'll do it again...and again and again in some cases!
Since I'm finding myself with a bit of extra time this morning. I think I'll use it to do homework. I have to watch a documentary and write a minimum 2-page paper about it. That's a weekly thing with online courses...a paper. I don't have any trouble coming up with two pages of words (obviously, as you can see, I tend to be a bit chatty...ahem) but I do have trouble formatting my dang citation page! And I even bought a special program to help me DO it. I have got to figure that's costing me points on my papers. So far I'm still maintaining an A...thank goodness. But I'm right on the I need to step up my game!
I can't even believe that I'm in Week 6 of my 9 Week class. See what I mean about time flying? Seriously. That means I'm almost done with my second class!! Woohoo! I really need to take two classes per term...but I am worried that I won't be able to keep up. School is a lot of work! My mom says if I didn't blog I'd have plenty of time...which is true in some aspects. If I didn't READ so many blogs I'd have the time...and this is something I need to consider. Too bad I don't get class credit for blogging...hmmm, I may have to look into this. Not a bad idea...
Anyway...I'll figure it out. Time's never been my strong suit.
Even still, today is off to a good start. It's cool and breezy. It's sunny and bright. It's calm and quiet...the only sounds I hear are the wind blowing through the leaves of the maple in my front yard and the soft purr of sweet Rosie. Definitely off to a good start...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday in the Word

James 3:18

18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

I want to be a peacemaker. For the good of others. And for the good of myself. My pastor spoke on James 3:16-17...but as I was reading along in my bible...verse 18 popped out at me. Typically when a verse leaps off the page at me like that, it's because God wants me to pay attention to what He is saying...
"Be a peacemaker, Michelle. Bring peace to those around you. ALL around you. In your home. In your church. In your work. In your social settings. On the road. Sow in peace. Be a peacemaker. "
Do you want to be a peacemaker? I do. Bring peace to someone will be a blessing to them and to you. And remember...Jesus loves you. It's not just a bumper sticker. He really, really does. xo

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The art fair.

Hi! I'm sorry it's taken so long to report about the art fair. What a whirlwind BUSY weekend! As a matter of fact...all of last week is a blur! But...everything worked out in the end and everything got done. Well, except for a load of whites so everyone had to scrounge around for socks Monday morning. But other than that...

We reported for our booth space at a little before 8am on Saturday morning with our cars jam packed with stuff. We set up the canopy, two tables for display and a card table as a "register" area. We used canvas drop cloths to cover the sides of the canopy as well as the display tables. It gave the booth a nice neutral and casual backdrop. As we were setting up and hanging pictures and standing easels, we realized that we probably could have had our own booths! We were pretty cozy in that little space!

My friend Chris could have had his own booth for sure. He has a TON of inventory that he's amassed over the past few years. Me? Umm...I could have. But it would have been a little sparse. I don't have a lot of inventory, especially larger pieces, as I am just getting started in this endeavor. However, I met a nice gal first thing in the morning...a fellow photographer named Jessica (who does amazing Polaroid transfers, by the way, and I forgot to BUY one!)...and she had her booth set up cute and she didn't have a TON of inventory. When I went down to visit her she said, "See? You could have your own booth." And she was right. I could have. Next time?
So once the booth was set up, a little before 10am, we were ready for business. And let me tell you, the place was hoppin'! There was a steady flow of people It was a beautiful day...sunny and warm with cool breezes. Perfect. (Except for the wind that picked up around 3 or so and had everyone running after business cards and holding on to their canopies for dear life!) So many friends and family came by to support us...I saw people I hadn't seen in years...and met some new people. All in all it was a good experience. I'll do it again...definitely.
Once all was said and done I came away with $100 profit that went directly into the Belgium Fund envelope. This doesn't include my initial investment of frames and mats. But it does include my booth fee and packaging materials.
Thank you for all of your encouragement and interest. I wish more of you could have been there...but it would have been a bit of a I understand. *wink* And I know you were there with me in spirit...which was almost as good!
Anyway...all in all it was good. But I have to say I would NOT have been able to do it without the help of several people. My mom first of all. Oh my goodness...she helped me with every aspect of getting my things ready. Frame selection..mat selection...framing...all of the stuff that overwhelms me when I try to do it on my own. So...thank you, Mom!! You RULE!!
A thank you to my Dad who let me run by at the very last minute to borrow the card table and chairs. I literally called him from my cell phone to ask if I could borrow them and when he said yes I said, "Thanks! I'll be there in 30 seconds!" And I was. He loaded them in my car and off I went. Thanks Dad!
And a thank you to Aunt Lisa who loaned me drop cloths and cool display pieces. She left a variety of things on her dining table for me to choose from...I went by while she was at work and borrowed what I needed. So thank you Aunt Lisa!! The addition of your cool stuff helped make the booth look interesting! (And by the way...Ollie is a VERY good watch dog...ahem. I like his pointy teeth and deep guttural growl. As Jenna would say...NBD.)
Also a thank you to Chris and Pat, my friends who joined me in this endeavor. They are husband and wife and helped me immensely. Pat was our secretary...setting up our booth fees and information...making the calls and dropping off the money. Thank you, Pat! And Chris saved my life at the last minute when my glassine envelopes hadn't arrived. He happened to have two packs of the exact sizes I needed and let me buy them from him. Whew!! That was close!
Seriously...I could not have done this on my own. Wait, I take that back...I could have. But I'd have been sitting on the ground, Indian style, holding down a half assembled canopy and selling my photos out of the envelopes they arrived in from the developer!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

today is the day...

This is where I'll be today...ALL day...selling my wares.

Wish me luck!