Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How To: Post Blog Comments

There has been a recent trend. I keep hearing people say "hey I was just on your blog the other day..." but I had never gotten a comment from that person. I think most bloggers (I know I do) enjoy getting feedback. Especially in the form of comments. There seem to be alot of people who do not realize that you do NOT have to be a blogger or have a blog account or anything like that in order to leave a comment on my blog - ANYONE can do it! There are some blogs with the security settings set so that they can only receive comments from other bloggers but mine is not. So... today's lesson is: "How to Leave Blog Comments".As you can see in the above picture there is an area in which you type your message. Then below that is a spot where you are able to choose your identity. This is actually an outdated picture so it probably won't say "other". Instead it should have a choice marked Name/URL. If you are not signed in as a blogger then you simply choose Name/URL and then you type in your name or nickname and/or your website (if you have one). Another option is to choose the Anonymous option. I ask that if you do that you sign your name on the comment itself so that I know who is leaving the message. Then just click on the button that says Publish Comment... and you're done! See, wasn't that easy!?!
The reason I am posting about this is because I am very personally invested in my blog(s). Its been a great outlet for me, especially over the last few months. I love that I've been getting regular visitors but I hate that some people stop by and never let me know they were ever here. So, please take a moment to say "Hi" and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Time Out

Nate has really really been testing the limits lately... I'm soooo tired of it. Sometimes I want to leave and not come back. Ok, I would eventually but the couple hours here and there that I get a "break" just don't seem to be enough lately. I'm trying to keep my spirits up but sometimes I'm so overwhelmed with everything... my two year old who tries my patience at every chance, my husband who I love very much but challenges me in so many ways, my son who may or may not be handicapped.... its alot to think about. I feel so alone sometimes.
On a happy note - Nate peed in the potty four times yesterday. Wow... how sad that thats the highlight of my day, probably my week. sigh... I'm not sure who I am anymore sometimes. I don't know how to be a good mom, wife, housekeeper, cook, laundress, chauffeur, lover, teacher, therapist, counselor, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend... not all at the same time... I feel like whenever I choose to do one this thing or that thing I've chosen to neglect something or someone else. You know me, always trying to take care of everyone else. I don't know how not to.
But sometimes in the back of my mind I'm wondering "what about me". How do we find the proper balance between taking care of others and taking care of ourselves? This book my small group has been reading is all about being a Godly wife... and its all give give give... and I agree that a wife is to take care of her husband and family but to what point? To the point of completely neglecting her own needs? I don't know. I'm going on a scrapbooking retreat with Sniz in a few weeks and I'm sooo looking forward to it. I don't even care if I get any scrapbooking done... I'm not setting an alarm, I'm planning on sleeping in, taking a bath (by myself!), I won't have to change any diapers or prepare anyone else's food or dress anyone - that sounds divine to me.

Tuesday Meme

Tina's Tuesday Meme
  1. What is your favorite fast food place? - How fast is fast? I really like Moe's Southwest Grill... but for drive through I would probably pick Rally's... they have the best fries!
  2. Where was the last place you got fast food from? - Moe's... mmm... love it! They make a great Chicken Bacon Club Burrito (or quesadilla)
  3. What is by far the worst place to get fast food from in your opinion? - those greasy spoon places that are just plain nasty. There is something a little comforting about a chain restaurant.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Road to Marriage.... take 1

When I was growing up (and still now for my youngest siblings) we were not allowed to date until we were sixteen. Even then it was to be mostly group outings and spending time with our families together. Wow, did that seem to suck at the time. How lame were my parents' rules?!? I rolled my eyes at my parents' attempts to help guide us into healthy relationships. They said the word "courtship" and my sisters and I groaned. Who does that anyway?
Well, I only had one boyfriend in highschool (I was homeschooled, which helped). We were together for two years before I felt God was leading me away from him. Two and a half years before I broke up with him. It wasn't a bad relationship... I just knew that God had something else in mind for me.
I was working for American Airlines at that time. When you are single is the perfect time for anyone to work for an airline. I did some traveling (I wish I'd done more). I was chosen for a six week assignment in SFO (San Francisco) training their new hires. It was so great to get away, see a city I'd never been to, be on my own for the first time. There was a brief romance with another another AA agent. But he was older and I wasn't ready to start anything with anyone, much less someone who lived across the country.
Being in San Fran was definitely a great experience for me and it helped me realize that since I wasn't going to be getting married anytime soon that I needed to find another direction for my life. I had been visiting a close friend off and on who was attending Vincennes University. I fell in love with the group of people and the ministry that she was involved with and a few of them convinced me that I needed to go to school there too. So I did.
That fall I went away to college (go VU!). There the ratio of guys to girls was something like three to one. I was involved in a Christian ministry where I met alot of "good" Christian guys. I thought surely one of them was meant for me. Just a couple of short lived interests during college (nothing that would even qualify as a "relationship"). Some great friendships came about during those years though. And it was a time of growth for me and all those "good" guys that weren't for me... they were my friends and because of them I was able to realize some things that I wanted in my future husband. I also knew I didn't want to "date". I had seen others' relationships come and go and the pain that went along with it. I did not want to go through all of that.
The summer after I graduated from Vincennes I attended a CIY conference as a youth sponsor with my home church's youth group. There was another youth sponsor there, a guy named Isaac. I had met a few times but since I'd been away at college I hadn't really gotten to know him. We spent alot of time together that week. We attended workshops together, shared meals and prayer time, stayed up late talking together. My curiosity about this guy grew the more I got to know him. He was kind of quirky, very OCD, funny, smart, interesting, firm in his faith.....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

CVS Extra Care Deals!

Ok, I've been hearing from friends and neighbors (and reading on all about the great deals available at CVS using their Extra Care Card. I got a card awhile ago but have felt a little lost as to how to make the most of it and therefore haven't used it at all. Until today!
Its kind of confusing trying to keep track of the sales, the Extra Care Bucks (E.C.B.), etc. I still feel like I need a tutorial. Maybe have someone who knows the system take me on a few trips to get the hang of things. Anyway, here's what I got:
2 boxes Wheat Thins (Nate and I have them for snack alot) - reg $3.99 ea - on sale 2@$4 - I paid $4
1gal Dean's 2% milk - reg $3.19 - on sale and had $.55 coupon - I paid: $2.24
1 Bic Soleil Razor - reg $6.99 - on sale and had $2 off coupon - I paid: $3.99 plus got $3 E.C.B.
1 Bic Soleil Refill - reg $6.99 - on sale and had $2 off coupon - I paid: $3.99 plus got $3 E.C.B.
I also used a $4 off a $20 purchase CVS coupon (click here to get your own coupon)
So.... what could have been a $25.15 bill became $10.22 with sales and coupons and on top of that I got $6.00 in E.C.B. * Not too shabby for a first try!
Now, I know I'm not exactly an expert CVSer or anything... but I saved a few bucks and I'm motivated to make the "Extra Care Card" work for me more in the future! Let me know if you have any tips on how to make the most of the CVS system!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Memory Lane

Yesterday ended up being an unexpected adventure! Christian Campus Fellowship(the campus ministry that I was involved in while I attended Vincennes University a few years ago) was having their last worship service in the location that they've been at for almost 15 years. Alumni was encouraged to come reunite to say goodbye to the building that we'd all spent so much time in during our college years at VU.
I had wanted to attend but knew alot of my usual babysitters (family) were busy so I gave up on the idea. Well, at the last minute my friend (and old "roomie") came in town from northern Indiana and she figured out that my lovely sister was available and willing to watch my boys so I could go with her! Yeah!
ROAD TRIP!! We haven't mad that couple hour drive together in a long time. It was good to have some time away from the my "normal" day and visit with a good friend. We talked and laughed, caught up on whats been going on in eachother's life, and reminisced about the good ol' days.
It was bittersweet to see the campus house. Portland Avenue used to be lined with homes. But the street is bare now, parking lots covering most of it. Over the last few years the university has bought everyone out - the last being CCF. I'm glad that we got to see it one last time but it was sad to see a building that was once so full of life and hope, now being disassembled for demolition (though the newer part of the building will be moved across campus to their new location).
Scott (our awesome campus minister) and Nick (his right hand man) were auctioning off some things that had been in the house. Everything from old signs with theme verses on them (from the years that I was there), to a shower head, to the big letters on the front of the house, to this big sombrero that Mike bought on our first mission trip to Mexico and hung on the wall in the third floor bedroom ever since. I bid on almost everything and won nothing. Oh, well... its the memories that are important and I still have plenty of those.
It was so great to see old friends (above is me with two former roomates and one former house-mate!). Some people we hadn't seen for years. Some had new babies, others' babies aren't babies anymore! What a blessing to catch up with the ones that we lived with, ate with, studied with, cried with, stayed up late watching movies with, prayed with, fellowshipped and worshiped with.
It was great to be reminded what an important part this ministry and others like it play in the lives of college students. I may have grown up in church but I don't believe that Christ has ever been as active in my life as He was while I was a part of CCF. I feel so blessed to have been a part of that ministry and to have been a part of those people's lives. I met some of my best friends through CCF... and even though the building that we all knew and loved is going to be gone... the ministry that made us feel at home there will live on in the body of believers that carry out God's work through Christian Campus Fellowship in Vincennes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Works for me Jewelry!

So, I've read many a Works For Me Wednesday post but never done one of my own... until now. Hhhhmmmmm.... what to blog about... I have so much to choose from. Aha!
I haven't done this before but was pretty excited about it. A few days ago I was checking out the clearance section at Target. I saw a set of three pairs of green earrings that were really cute. There were two sets on the rack - but one was missing one earring. I really liked the set so I took both up to the checkout. I pointed out the missing earring and asked the checkout guy if I could get extra $ off. The sets were originally $8.99... they were on clearance for $6.28... the guy gave me $4 off for the missing earring. Not bad. So... I took the one earring and added it to a leather necklace that I had already but didn't care for the existing pendant on it. Voila! A new matching necklace and earrings!
I also took a necklace that had a pink stone dangling from a heart and swapped the pink stone for one of the green stones on one of the pairs of earrings. Again, like magic, I had a "new" matching necklace and earrings!
So, the regular price would have been $17.98 (plus tax)... I only paid $8.56 and I didn't just get 5 1/2 pairs of earrings... I got two matching necklace and earring sets (plus 2 1/2 pairs of earrings that I haven't decided what to do with yet). I think I did alright... what do ya think?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Things I Love About My Life hosts a Tuesday Ten and today's theme is "10 Things That I Love About My Life". So... here are my ten things!

1. My Father, God in Heaven and the salvation that I have through Him.

2. The wonderful husband and marriage that I've been blessed with.

3. My two cute, wonderful boys! They challenge me daily to be a better person and bring joy to my life like no one else.

4. My family and the great memories I have of growing up in a big family.

5. My husband's family and the values that he was brought up with.

6. The lifelong friends that I made while I was in college... they'll always be "my girls"! Except for the guys... who obviously are not "my girls". Love ya!

7. Other women that have become my friends, my mentors and my lifelines as I'm still finding my way as a wife and mother.

8. The church body that we're a part of. I've never been a part of a better body of believers.

9. Photography... I love being able to occasionally capture a special moment that needs to be remembered for a lifetime.

10. Laughter... my close friends and family know how to make me laugh which truly is the best medicine!

** and if we were doing eleven things I'd have to add chocolate to the list!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Looking for Answers

We've had a busy week. Both of Joe's therapists were impressed with his improvement. He's been using signs ("more" regularly, "drink" sometimes), he's paid more attention to people and toys, physically he's improved his control. Its been so good to see improvement.
Thursday I took Joe to the Indiana School for the Deaf for his hearing test. They did a couple of different tests. They put little sensors inside his ears and tested his ear drums' movement/response to sound. Another test they did was to have sounds of varying volumes on the right or left to see if he'd respond my turning in the correct direction. He did not really respond to this test but its probably due to his poor motor stills. They found that he has some fluid built up behind the ear drums (which is actually pretty common among toddlers, especially when teething) which may be muffling incoming sound. The overall result was that his hearing organ seems to be functioning within the normal range. They did recommend that he see an Ear Nose and Throat specialist about the fluid build up. We are probably going to play that by ear for now.
We've been thankful to have had some really nice weather off and on over the last week (Sunny and 60-70s). We've really enjoyed going to the park a few times. Nate is fearless! He doesn't hesitate going on the "big kid" playground and going down the big slide! Both boys were worn out from the extra activity and fell asleep in the car on the way home! We'll have to get used to the summer stuff: play grounds, upcoming swimming lessons, taking walks around the neighborhood...
Friday in the wee hours of the morning we felt an earthquake! Can you believe it?!? Us... here in the good old Midwest! Isaac and I both woke up for the tail end of it. We watched a few minutes of news and went back to sleep. It was pretty exciting. We're very thankful that no one was hurt (that I've heard).
This morning Isaac and I took Joe downtown to IU Optical Clinic for his vision test. We had a very nice young intern who performed several exams. He did some of the usual stuff that we're used to from our vision tests in the past. He looked in his eyes with the light, checked the light reflection to see what his prescription was, etc. Obviously Joe couldn't read a normal chart so he used some flash cards with black grading on them to see if his eyes were drawn to the grading. They also dilated his eyes to further check his prescription. He wasn't a big fan of the eye drops they used but the Doc said that he did better taking the drops than some Marines. Yep, thats our boy, tough as nails at one year old! He got to wear these awesome shades to protect his dilated eyes from the sunlight. He was awfully cute! Ultimately the result was the same as with the hearing test: within the normal range. No reason to believe that he has any issues with his eyes.
First of all I want to say Praise God that he has good hearing and vision. However Isaac and I are both full of mixed emotions right now. We still do not know what is the cause or reason behind his delays. We've ruled a few things out but now we're kind of feeling like deductive reasoning says that its even more likely than ever that he has a neurological problem. Which quite frankly frightens the heck out of me. I felt a little less scared of dealing with a vision or hearing problem than I do about a neurological issue. There is still the possibility that he's just delayed and will eventually catch up. But its hard to know what to think right now. We still have an appointment in June with a Riley Developmental Specialist and an appointment in August with the Riley Pediatric Neurologist. All we can do for now is to continue doing what we've been doing with therapy and supplements and pray that God will continue to watch over our Little Joe.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Scrolling Saturday... a first for me!

I saw on Sniz's blog that Melissa from Such Simple Pleasures and Coleen from Manners and Moxie started this cool new meme called Scrolling Saturdays where you post old posts from when your blog had one or two readers (like your mom) in the hopes they may get more love this time around. I'm almost always up for a new meme and I thought this was a good post from quite awhile ago, I enjoyed reading it again myself! Let me know what ya think!

I don't usually pass on forwards but every once in awhile I'll get one at just the right moment that I need an encouraging word or pick-me-up. And, wow - this one made me cry. I was going through my list of people that I thought might enjoy this email forward and realized I have so many awesome friends that are walking beside me in this life. And some of you may be in a place where you are not only feel invisible but also feel like you have not done anything right... That's just bogus. And I know I need stuff like this to remind me of what I'm really doing. Don't you? We moms are all building something as amazing as a cathedral one brick at a time.
For just one minute try to imagine a place where we will actually be able to see each and every moment we made happen in their little bitty parts all adding up to one incredible lifetime. That is what heaven will be. Why else would God have written about jewels in our crown if we won't even be able to see the crown. Surely we will not only see the jewel but also the reason we have it. Think about that!
But please keep in mind that though we "do" lots of things none of it will matter if we don't recognize who Jesus is and what He did for us.
I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30 , please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going ... she's going... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are! building g when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.