Saturday, April 12, 2008

Doggy School...

We have a pretty challenging dog. He is beautiful, and exceptional with the girls, and just plain loves people. The problem? Well, for starters, he doesn't seem to care for other dogs, which poses a little problem when we try to take him for a walk. Second, like I said, he LOVES people, but a little too much! When visitors enter my house, if we haven't been able to wrangle him into his kennel quick enough, they get pummeled.
So, we have embarked on a doggy school adventure. I'm still not quite sure why I feel the need to write about this, but I was sitting at my computer browsing around some stuff, and I just felt like I should.
Week one of school went pretty well. Just the basics. Walk, and sit. We could handle that, although big dog has REALLY long legs (Greyhound-Pointer long legs), and a TON of that greyhound energy, so i had a time keeping up with him. DUH! He's supposed to keep BACK with me. Ok, got it, now you try to teach a greyhound to walk slowly. My neighbors must have thought I was completely losing it, until we explained that we were just doing our homework.
Week two, we added a left hand turn - fun sometimes 'cause you get to give him that little kick he deserved when he ate the play-doh last week, or let himself out of the LOCKED sliding glass doors, leaving the door open and the 30 degree air pouring in! Well, it was fun until big dog decided that he did not like any of the other dogs in class. This would be where I exited as "teacher" and my dear husband has assumed the role.
You know that saying "Anything you can do , I can do better"? Well, I can't do this better. I lack the amount of strength it takes to control a large four legged creature who has decided it would be a good thing to rip out the jugular of his peers! So, after looking like a complete, Um, blubbering fool, I turned over the leash. The second half of class went much better! Oh no, this does not get me out of homework. If anything, it gives me more! I need to get big dog to show me the same respect he shows my husband! Ha! We're still working on it!
That brings us to today, week three. Today's lesson was "stay". This dopey dog has to now understand that when you hold your hand a certain way in front of his face, and move your right foot, he is to stay where he is. (oh, and the whole left - right thing - not as easy as it seems!) This task was actually easier for the dogs to master than any of the people holding the leashes! Also providing wonderful entertainment for the people running the class! Hence, we have our homework for this week, and big dog and I will be spending lots of time in the driveway!

Sometimes I wonder, particularly when I am trying not to lose my temper with this big dog, if God ever feels like I do when I am trying to get he dog to follow my commands. I keep showing him the same thing over and over, so why doesn't he listen! I almost chuckle out loud when I try to picture God saying, "I keep answering the same prayer over, and over, but she doesn't hear me!" Oh, I know that God has infinite patience with us, but this experience has caused me to really slow down and try to listen more carefully. I am proving to be a pretty unruly child, and I know it. So, I am going to do my best to follow the commands that God has given me, but more than that, I am really going to try to set my mind to doing what I know he wants me to do, but gives me the freedom to decide on my own.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

8 in 2008 Update...

Well, since I skipped last month (things were completely nutty around my house!), I guess I had better get back on track! Especially since the last time I even wrote was for the 8 in 08 for February! So, here goes nothing!

1. Quiet time…I admit that I am failing miserably at this goal. I still have plenty of excuses, but none of them are valid, so I won’t even go there! I will just ask you to pray for me that I can fulfill this goal this month, and take it from there!

2. Goal Weight…I have accomplished this goal! I got to my goal weight in February! Hooray! So, I guess I need to change this goal for this month…

I think I would really like to focus on maintaining my weight, and in order to do that, I need to be conscious of what I am putting into my mouth! My goal for this month is to journal what I eat. I’ve slacked off in that department big time, and it is what keeps me on track!

3. A workout plan…This is another goal I have failed miserably at. I do need to tweak this goal a bit though. Rob and I have signed up to do a 20 mile walk in June for suicide prevention. Yes, you read that correctly! 20 miles! So, my workout goal for this month is to make sure I walk for at least 30 minutes everyday!

4. Patience with my girls…this is the goal that I have been able to keep! We have our moments, but before the top blows, I am able to assess the situation.

5. Organization…this goal is such a thorn in my side! I have gone through more paper than I ever thought I had, and I have so much more to do. I end up going through it over and over again because each time I make myself throw something else away that I really do not need to save. Slowly, I am getting there!

6. Budget…big progress has been made here! We are paying off our debt! We have our eyes on the prize, and my mindset has finally realized exactly what needs to be done! I won’t say I have achieved this goal, I have a long way to go, but I have made some serious progress!

7. To play…the girls are growing, and changing so much everyday! My big girly is getting into “Barbies”, and dress up, and my little one is working so hard on playing with her toys! We are having a lot of fun trying new things, too! I think that this goal may have been reached – I’ve been in a really great place with this for well over 2 months now! So, I suppose I will come up with a new goal for this spot next month!

8. The dreaded basement…well, my girls have a space to play in the basement right now! You can’t see it because my “big girl” has taken out every toy that is down there (she really missed those toys!), but we will be working on that this weekend! I have been trying to fill one garbage bag each time I go down there. Last time, I filled two! I was able to give away a ton of baby clothes (Thanks E!), and that really freed up some space! Right now, we are tossing around the idea that we may need to simply take everything OUT of the basement to really go through it. I know, crazy, but I am stuck, and I have no room to sort!

All in all, I think it was a pretty good 2 months!

I look forward to reading everyone else’s updates!!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

8 in 2008 Updates!

Well, as I look at the goals I had set for myself, I am excited about the progress I’ve actually made on some of them. Then there are those that make me cringe as I read them again! So, let’s see how it’s going…

1. To make the time, no matter how hard it is for my quiet time each day, and to get through the 4 devotionals that have been collecting dust on my nightstand!

Hmmm…well, I did really well with this one for the first week and a half! I have since “fallen off the wagon”. I have a list of excuses I could put here, but I will not do that. I will just do better this month! Next month I want to be able to say that I have completed this goal for the month! (Of course, I will just re-set that goal every month!!!)

2. To get to my goal weight by the time we go to Disney on March 8th! (Kinda funny, huh?) I have 8 pounds to go, too!

I have 1.5 pounds to go!!! This is the toughest part, though. The last 3 pounds seem to be giving me a lot of trouble! We’ll see tomorrow!

3. To find and actually implement a workout plan that will help me to lose that 2 baby jiggle I've got in my belly, not to mention the arms and thighs!

Half of this goal is complete! I have found some videos that I really love to do! Now, I just have to make the time to do them! Right now, it’s pretty sporadic. Next month will be better!

4. To have the patience with my girls that Jesus has with us.

I can honestly say that this goal is working. No, I am not completely there yet, but I can see that I am stopping and thinking before I react more, and more. I’m learning that my children are just children, and that I need to think before I react to what they are doing!

5. To get my papers all sorted, filed, tossed, and organized! This is forever a challenge for me! I love office supplies, so you'd think it would be easy, but I am a pack rat, and it is completely out of control!

This is going to be a LONG process! I have started, and so far I have managed to get through quite a bit. One of my biggest problems is how to effectively store what needs to be kept.

6. To stick to the budget that my hubby and I have come up with to get ourdebt paid off! I hate budgets!

Budgets, budgets, budgets. Forever a thorn in my side! I love to make them, and they look so pretty on paper (yes, I’m a little strange about this stuff!), but just don’t ask me to stick to one! So far I would say that I have made some progress. I have paid off one of the smaller debts we had! It really was small, but a huge deal for me! I’m learning, very slowly, that this needs to be done. I want immediate results all the time. Something like this takes time. So, by next month I hope to have another small debt paid off!

7. To learn how to play again.

This one is good! I have made a declaration that I want to be joyful. I was on quite a “joyful high” for a few days! Then, I sort of came down off the cloud for a few days, but I have found a happy compromise right now! I was so joyful it was annoying for a few days! Now, I am just trying to stay positive, and happy. This is such a big part of learning how to play again! I have found myself just singing and dancing in the kitchen with my girls! We have so much fun! They love it – little lady gets right into it, and the bean just laughs and giggles and jumps in her exersaucer! Fun!

8. To get my basement cleaned out and set up for all the scrap booking that needs to be caught up on. We need a safe place for the girls to play down there so that scrap booking can be done during normal waking hours!!!

I think I am most excited about this goal right now. So far I have managed to switch the sides of the basement around. So, now all I have to do is finish going through the “stuff”, and sort. I’m sure there is a lot that still needs to go, but we are so close to being able to let the girls play down there!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


So, this "I want to be joyful" thing - it's pretty darn amazing! I just keep saying it over and over again, and you know what? It's working! Any time in the last 2 days that I have started to get frustrated, or mad over something silly, I was able to stop and say "I want to be joyful", and pray just a quick simple prayer "God, please help me see the joy in this situation", and poof, I calmed down and moved on. I can't tell you how wonderful this is when dealing with those "pre-school moments" i have with our little lady! Sure, there have been some things in the last 2 days that i just don't get, and that simply make me angry. Even still, I am now able to stop and pray about these things, and while I may still be sad or angry, I felt this calmness that God will take care of it.

I have not perfected being joyful, but I'm working on it!

Today, when I would typically be in a frenzy because I was having a houseful of company to celebrate my Mom's birthday, I found myself dancing and SINGING in my kitchen with my four year old! Now, I will sing to the radio, but I never quite get as into it as I found myself today! And I just didn't care that company would be arriving in 15 minutes and we still didn't have everything perfect! I was joyful! Oh, let me tell you, my little girl had fun, and so did I! We also discovered that our little bean discovered how to really laugh out loud today (at 6 months old!), so this made us just keep going!
I will also tell you that this was the first time that I have had company where things just seemed to flow. I had no stress, no pressure, it was just plain fun. I know, I know. DUH! I'm a little slow to accept what I know is true. I finally let it go, and just let God run the day. And, much to my amazement, it worked! Go figure! Now, the real trick will be to see if I can keep it up!
I'll try to give an update next week!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Make a Joyful Noise...

I want to be joyful. I just spent an amazing few hours with a wonderful friend, and right now, I should be snuggled in my bed, the feeling of cheesecake warming my belly, drifting off to dreamland, but instead, I want to be joyful. Oh, I was actually in my bed, but I was not snuggly. I was restless. I felt like I had not completed my night. Had I missed something I was supposed to gain from this precious time, had I not listened as well as I thought I had? No, I did, and I plan to take each bit of advice I was given and use it. Ok, so what? Why can't I fall asleep? I have to be up SOOOON. I need to sleep. I want to be joyful. Right, so you want to be joyful, good, now close your eyes and joyfully go to sleep. I want to be joyful. Joyful is not going to happen unless I go to sleep. No, I want to be joyful. Get out of your bed, and pray. Pray for joy. And so, I prayed a simple prayer.
" Jesus, please show me how to be joyful. Help me to be joyful to honor you. Amen."
Back into bed. Snuggly, warm, sleepy...eyes pop open. I want to be joyful! I want to be joyful! I WANT TO BE JOYFUL!!!

The dictionary definition of joyful is:

1.full of joy, as a person or one's heart; glad; delighted.
2.showing or expressing joy, as looks, actions, or speech.
3.causing or bringing joy, as an event, a sight, or news; delightful: the joyful announcement of their marriage.

I want to be joyful. I can honestly say that I have never thought about simply being joyful before. I don't know why. Perhaps because I tend to have a kind of Eeyore outlook on life. I could make a mile long list of the things that are NOT joyful in my life. BUT, I want to be joyful. What brings me joy?

My husband brings me joy. He is my best friend, my support, he makes me laugh, he respects me, he's so many joyful things for me.

My girls bring me joy. They are silly, innocent, active, unconditionally loving, and joyful!

My parents bring me joy. They love me for me, they respect me, they love my husband, they love my girls, they are supportive, and we have fun!

My friends bring me joy. I have the most amazing friends! They are my network, they are my confidants, they put me in my place when I need to put in it. They love me for me.

My God brings me joy. He loves me unconditionally.

So why am I just now declaring that I want to be joyful? Here is where the doubt and guilt try to creep in. Should I be joyful right now? After all, this has certainly been a year that could kill any kind of joy I might have had. Do I have the right to be joyful right now? Shouldn't I still be harboring my grief, and anger and wonder over my brother? Is it ok for me to be joyful when I see my parents who are certainly still in a state of strong grief and bewilderment? Don't get me wrong, I am grieving. I will grieve for my brother for a long time. I love him, and I miss him, and I truly don't know when I will get to a point where it doesn't put a knot in my stomach to think about it. At the same time, I want to be joyful. I don't want to be in a constant state of "well, I'm hanging in there, but it's still so hard". I know it will be hard, and part of me welcomes that in a strange way. I fell almost a loyalty to Jon for this to still be hard for me to deal with. I want to be joyful. I wasn't joyful before my brother died either. I was a miserable grouch, just like I was until tonight. I want to be joyful. I need to be joyful. How wonderful would my days be if I could find even one thing to say "Hey, that makes me joyful"!

I will be joyful.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2008 begins...

I have a particularly challenging four year old, to say the least. She is extremely bright, and often succeeds in outsmarting her parents to the point that we are completely speechless - hard to do if you know us! She can be completely exasperating, and push us to the point where we literally need to walk out of the house to keep from going completely ballistic. On the other hand, she has a sweet, caring, nurturing, and really funny silly part of her, that thankfully far outweighs those trying times. Well, our poor little lady is sick. Just a nasty cold, accompanied by a pretty decent fever, but it was enough to keep her in her bed ALL day today. It's days like this that truly make me appreciate the over active preschool behaviors! All day we worried. We worried to the point that we were annoying her! So, when she finally came stumbling out of bed around 6 pm tonight, we were ecstatic to see her! (Of course, we did look at each other with that "uh-oh, now she'll be up all night expression, but it only lasted for a brief moment!) This tired, stuffy nosed little girl's only concern was her baby sister. As hoarse as she is, she pulled her little chair up next to the baby's exersaucer, put on the headphone to her little mp3 player, and sat singing (nothing other than Hanna Montana, naturally) to her baby sister for a good half hour. Now, the littlest lady was in absolute glory! She whined and carried on most of the day because she LOVES her big sister, and would prefer to have her undivided attention every moment she is awake! When our little lady just couldn't sing anymore, she sweetly told the baby "I have to take a break now, but don't worry, I'll come back".
These are the moments when I wish I could bottle that patience and use it when we are having one of those "preschool moments". One of my "8 in 2008" was to have more patience. I adore my girls. I adore my husband. I also have a very short fuse. I admit this freely, and often. I also spend an awful lot of time apologizing for losing my temper. So, if I know this, and I regret the decisions I make after the fact, what keeps me from being able to stop before I get to the breaking point? (This is actually a question, I really don't know the answer, so any advice will gladly be taken!)
I'm currently working through a devotional by Lysa TerKeurst titled "The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I Feel Drained". (Forgive me if I am not grammatically correct in how I quote things, I'm still learning, and have lost my Practical Stylist book!!!) I've just started it, but I am truly hoping that this will help me to uncover some things about myself. This fuse is not just short at home. I tend to have a short fuse at work, or in a store, or wherever I may be that things don't go the way I want them to. I'm just not so vocal about it unless I'm home!
There is one particular quote from this book that jumped right out at me: "if I can change the way I think about something, I can change the way I react to it. If I change the way I react, I can change the way I define myself as a mother." (p. 11) This is a quote I am taking to heart. I plan to post it where I will see it often.
That said, perhaps I should add a 9th goal to my "8 in 2008". To change the way I react in a "preschool moment".

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I know I am a little late, but I really want to do this! So, here we go! To find out the whole story behind this challenge, please click on the button! It will bring you to Extravagant Grace (and I am a little slow about how to get you there from within my typing, but I'll figure it out soon!!!

So, here goes nothing, my list of 8 for 2008:

1. To make the time, no matter how hard it is for my quiet time each day, and to get through
the 4 devotionals that have been collecting dust on my nightstand!

2. To get to my goal weight by the time we go to Disney on March 8th! (Kinda funny, huh?) I
have 8 pounds to go, too!

3. To find and actually implement a workout plan that will help me to lose that 2 baby jiggle I've
got in my belly, not to mention the arms and thighs!

4. To have the patience with my girls that Jesus has with us.

5. To get my papers all sorted, filed, tossed, and organized! This is forever a challenge for me! I
love office supplies, so you'd think it would be easy, but I am a pack rat, and it is completely
out of control!

6. To stick to the budget that my hubby and I have come up with to get our debt paid off! I
hate budgets!

7. To learn how to play again.

8. To get my basement cleaned out and set up for all the scrap booking that needs to be caught
up on. We need a safe place for the girls to play down there so that scrapbooking can be done
during normal waking hours!!!

I am so looking forward to this! I can't wait to check in on February 8th to see how everyone is doing! I'll be anxious to see how I am doing too!