Friday, October 28, 2011

November 3 in 30: Back in the Game

3in30 I'm In!!Having taken the summer off...and then some...I'm ready to join back in and have some more fun making and hopefully meeting goals.
November goals...
1. Consistently get back to the Y in the mornings.
2. Begin Christmas present making/shopping.  (Yikes!  Did I just write that?!!)
3. Use gift of encouragement.

Happy Days in November!

Talladega Superspeedway

Having tickets to Talladega was a fun weekend for our family!  We were, as the boys like to say, "VIP" for the weekend.  We had a wonderful time watching the race from really great seats at our chalet on the backstretch of the track.  Included, also, were pit passes.  We rode a tram around the track to Pit Road.  Being on the track itself was awesome...that banking is no joke!  It was a great experience for us.  Once on Pit Road, we saw some prep work being done on tires, met some pit crew members, saw the cars going out of the garage area, and took lots of pics at our favorites' pit areas.
Once the race began, we were able to listen in to the drivers and their crews which was so fun for us.  It was so cool to hear them talk back and forth.  Some are more chatty than others.  Thankfully, I can say that I heard nothing that I wouldn't want my boys to hear.  That says a lot of these drivers.  Alex listened intently to Jeff Gordon, cheering him on even though things weren't looking so good for a win.
Even though our chalet seats were awesome and track side, I took the boys up to the grandstand seats, too, just so they could see more of the track and get a different view of the cars as they zoomed around the track.  Alex and I stayed up there for the driver introductions.  It was so fun watching him cheer on his favorite drivers exuberantly, but also respectfully clapping for all of them as their names were called out.
Tim and I went up some time into the race.  He would never sit down.  He was so excited to see the cars he couldn't bring himself to sit even for a moment.  I tried talking to him once as the cars were rounding turn 2 and he held up his hand to me indicating, "1 second."  As soon as the cars had passed us and were in turn 3, he turned to me and smiled sweetly and explained that he had needed to watch for Dale Jr.  "I didn't want to miss him," he said.  Who could blame him...it was what we were there for, after all, right?

While at the racetrack, Alex listened intently to Jeff Gordon, cheering him on even though things weren't looking so good for a win.  He and I are die hard fans of Gordon.  Have been for years.  I taught him to say "Go, Jeff!" when he was just old enough to talk.  It has payed off to have someone on my side during the races.  He has other favorites he has come to like on his own the past couple of years, but the t-shirt he bought Sunday....#24.  Oh, yeah...train them up right, I always say.
After having watched the entire truck race on Saturday, I wondered how the boys would hold up for Sunday's race, too.  Wonderfully well.  No complaints ever.  When we were wanting to leave before the end of the race, Alex wasn't too thrilled not getting to see the end, but was okay with the idea after we told him we'd listen to it on the ride home.      

I'm so glad we left early...we arrived home only about 20 minutes after the end of the last lap.  Thinking ahead  got us home while it was still daylight, without any traffic jams, and all happy with our race weekend.
Tim sat in his seat with his souvenir #88 Matchbox car and gave us a play by play of his own race where his favorite driver was always out in front.  Only to get out our box of other cars once home and have more play by play action until bedtime.  Junior may not have won the race in Talladega Superspeedway, but he sure did in the mind's eye of one young boy...several times over.

Friday, October 21, 2011

backyard stroll

A walk.

Time to think.

Time to myself.

Simple pleasures.







Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Birthday #9

HaPpY BiRtHdAy, ALEX!






Today was a fun day for our household...we took our fall break day today so Alex was in charge of our agenda, as much as a 9 year old can be. :)We began our morning with Alex opening his presents.  The boys had a sleepover on the air mattress in our living room last evening, so that's where we found ourselves for the big moment with a still sleepyeyed Birthday Boy.  Alex had a busy weekend camping and riding motorcycles with his uncle, then he broke out with a terrible rash which kept him from sleeping very well last night.  He was rather quiet while opening his gifts, but he was happy.   We moved on to making cupcakes to share with our friends at Good News Club this afternoon.  Alex has always loved helping cook and bake.  His favorite cake is a white cake, so 24 white cupcakes were on the menu...half to be frosted with chocolate and half with green tinted vanilla.  It made the house smell so good!
Cupcakes cooling, we went out for a midmorning Dunkin' Donuts treat.  Yes, we spent the day runnin' on Dunkin' today.  Doubt if I ever ran off that donut...but, it was good.The downtown library was next on Alex's to do list.  They enjoy this library alot.  You don't check out books there, you simply read them while you enjoy the quietness around you.  We've been to several kid programs there before, but today was just to sit and enjoy reading together.  I studied my GNC lesson while they read book after book.  A wonderful time.
Leaving the library, a crowd had gathered on both sides of the street.  I asked a gentleman what the occasion was and he told us about the traveling Vietnam Memorial that was scheduled to go through downtown Newnan at noon.  That was only 7 minutes away, so of course we took our place on the sidewalk with the others and awaited the caravan.  It was a wonderful thing to be sharing with my boys...a door to a great history lesson even if it was a day off of school for us.

After the mobile wall truck and its escort of motorcycles rolled through, we walked to our car only to realize getting home any time soon was out of the question.  Traffic was congested and the road home was still blocked off.  Hungry and going nowhere fast, we took off on foot for a local pizza place for a bite to eat.  Expecting it to be crowded, I held my breath opening the door.  Pleasantly surprised to see plenty of seats open for a quick lunch.  Apparently, the secret isn't out yet on how great the food is there, yet. :)       
We came home to relax and frost the now cooled cupcakes before heading out to the Good News Club.  Alex's dream of getting to take a birthday treat into school came true.  It made me smile.  At the end of club today we sang him Happy Birthday and passed out the cupcakes as the kids went home.  Happiness shared with friends.  Check.
The rest of our afternoon and evening was spent at home watching the weather decide whether or not to rain or shine, all the while putting together Lego sets and building forts in the living room.  Overall a really great day, according to Alex...and I concur. 
Let me tell you about my wonderful son, Alex.  He loves to learn.  He loves to make the most of every moment.  He is natured alot like Daddy in these regards.  He is sentimental and sensitive, wtih a touch of opinion thrown in now and again.  He favors me here.  Today, he chose the library as his place of choice to spend some of his birthday.  And, at lunch, he brought in his Bible Memory lessons to work on while we waited for our food.  He's complex in a good sort of way.  A perfect mix.  My son.  And I love him.

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday: Sugar Cookies

first batch...perfect!
Fall weather always brings out the baker in me...it helps warm the house and gives me a much needed stress relief activity that produces yumminess, too.  One of my favorites to make is sugar cookies.  Closer to Christmas, I'll pull out my Grandma's roll out sugar cookie recipe, but, for now, I used a delicious drop sugar cookie recipe.
sprinkles added
Drop Sugar Cookies
3 cups sugar
2 cups Crisco
4 eggs
2 rounded tsp. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
7 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk
Sugar Sprinkles as desired
ready for freezer
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, b. soda, and b. powder in bowl and set aside.  Cream together first 5 ingredients in large mixing bowl (recipe will fit in Kitchen Aid mixing bowl very nicely).  Add flour mixture alternately with milk to creamed mixture.  Drop by cookie scoop on ungreased cookie sheets.  Sprinkle sugar crystals on dough and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Leave plain if you want to use frosting after cooling cookies.  Can be frozen.
Share what's tempting you today @ Blessed With Grace.    

Saturday, October 15, 2011

You've Got Mail

Exciting day!  Not only did my moose flannel material come from Hancock Fabrics, but also the Max Lucado book that I won from Dorie @ These Grace Filled Days
I cannot wait to begin working on the blanket for my nephew and start reading the newest book from my favorite author. 
Thanks, Dorie!
Never underestimate the happiness that the mailman can bring to your door.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a Rain-X kind of day

Rain-X® Original Glass Treatment dramatically improves wet weather driving visibility. Simply apply the treatment to exterior glass and watch the raindrops fly off your windshield while driving. Rain-X® helps improve visibility by repelling rain, sleet and snow.     (excerpt from the Rain-X Original Glass Treatment label) 
This is not an endorsement for Rain-X.  And, I'm not getting paid to write this post.  However, I am a huge fan of Rain-X.  I love how it actually works like its label says it should.  The first time I used Rain-X, I was so amazed at watching the rain zip across my windshield, it was probably a hazard at that momement more so than driving without using Rain-X ever was. 
Concerning Rain-X...I know how it works.  I like how it works.  I believe it works.
So, when my friend Jennifer gave me the best advice ever back in early 2002, I knew exactly what she meant.  And, I have never forgotten it.  I have even shared her advice with others now and again.
Jennifer told me that when surrounded by negativity, stress, or whatever it is bombarding her, she imaginatively coats herself with Rain-X so that the comments do not sink in.  They slide right off.  A protective coating that allows you to watch the raindrops of negativity fly right off of you.  You can keep on moving.  Your visibility is less blurred by the harsh conditions surrounding you.  You will feel the drops, you'll even get wet, but they won't stay around long. 
I had a Rain-X moment today.  I walked away from a situation confused, hurt, and a bit frustrated.  I sat down at my desk and looked out the window at the rain.  Instantly I was reminded of Jennifer's words to me so many years ago.  I prayed that God would coat me with Rain-X and help me let go of those feelings I was experiencing.  I didn't need to keep thinking of them or letting them get to me any more.  It wasn't helping a thing to hold onto them. 
One great part of remembering my Rain-X advice is Jennifer herself.  She was (and probably still is wherever she is these days) simply a hoot!  Her stories, her laugh, her silly self always made my day brighter.  As was the case today.  My day became better almost instantly. 
The situation remains the same, but I've changed.  Thank God for Rain-X!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

things unseen

You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
You hem me in behind and before,
and You lay your hand upon me.
Psalm 139:3,5

As we stepped out of the house early one morning, the boys and I were discussing the fog that was still lingering around us.  Then, Alex pointed out that the yard was spotted.  I looked with him and saw the spots were actually spider webs.  The dew had settled on the webs and made them almost glow compared to the leaves underneath them.  They were everywhere! 
I shuddered. 
I am not a fan of spiders.  They really do creep me out.  I don't run screaming when I see one (usually), but I do have a reaction to seeing them.  It's hard to describe the feeling I have inside, but it's the same every time.   
I know spiders exist.  I know the fall time is one of their favorite times to show up around our house.  I know spiders can be big, brown, and furry.  I know they have several offspring at a time who like to ride piggyback...until disturbed.  They then scatter their dreadfulness all over creation.  I know these things to be true without having a close encounter with the creatures. However, each fall I seem to find myself nose to nose with a spider. And, each fall the spider seems to be bigger, hairier, and uglier than the previous.
Just two days prior to the morning of seeing the dew covered webs scattered across my yard, I had my close encounter for the season.   The first and last, I can only hope. 
A bush I had been given this spring had bloomed and a cute, bright green grasshopper had landed on it and was happily munching away.  He was so cute, I grabbed my camera and started taking a few photos of him and the flower.  Only after I had put the camera down and looked at another bud forming did I realize my hands had been only inches away from a big, brown spider hunkered down on a leaf next to the second bud.  That feeling of dread I always experience when I find myself so close to a spider of the giant kind instantly came over me.
This is the thing.  I was perfectly okay after having been that close to a nasty spider.  Also, the boys were fine after going out to play in the yard/woods where there were so many spiders habitating in camouflaged webs.  Only after stepping back did I realize the potentially dangerous situation I was in.  Only after the dew uncovered the homes of the spiders did I realize how many spiders there really were where my boys enjoy playing. 
Knowing they exist and actually seeing their existance...huge difference.
God used those spider webs to remind me of the things that war against me everyday are not always visible.  Dangers lurk all around.  Spiritual warfare is real.  (Just hang with me on any given Tuesday and you'll see it in action).  I know this also to be true, but not always am I aware of just how close I am to something that could harm me or my family.  I walk through my days unaware of just how many hurtful things I am protected against. 
This week I was humbled by the new awareness of just how much God loves me.  He loves me so much to protect me from things I am unaware of around me.  He loves me so much that He still teaches me life lessons that help me realize just how blessed I am not only by the things I am given, but also by the things I am protected from.