The Summit is Like a Big Wad of Toilet Paper

The Summit is Like a Big Wad of Toilet Paper

The Summit….it’s like a big wad of toilet paper.

I mean that in the best kind of way!

Haven’t you been in a public restroom stall and you reach beneath the gray plastic holder hanging on the wall that’s supposed to contain a roll of toilet paper the diameter of an old 33LP (kids, that’s what we used to listen to music on before CDs or ipods were invented) only to discover that there is NO paper?!  There’s someone in the next stall so you tap-tap-tap on the wall and ask timidly, “Um, do you mind giving me some toilet paper?  There’s none over here.”

You hear the rattling of the roll rotating in the plastic holder and from under the divider comes her hand with 2 squares of tissue.  NOOOO!  I NEED MORE!!!!  But you just take it and do the best you can.

This is how so much of our interaction with others goes.  We are right there, next to each other, sharing space and time.  But our relationship is unsatisfactory.  “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, how are you?” “Fine.”  It’s two-squares, not sharing, not caring emptiness.

But then there’s that occasional time when, miraculously, from under the stall wall comes a giant wad of toilet paper so plentiful that you can probably leave enough extra for the next unfortunate soul who comes in.  Thanks to this stranger you have everything you need….she really understood and gave you all she could.

That’s what the Summit is like.  The women there give it all, love, joy, hurt, concern, sympathy, truth, grace.  The masks come off, we share our hearts, we are honest and open, we see each other and for the first time in a long time we feel understood.

Personally, I am terrible at chit chat.  I go to these big events or church or a party and I want to get in a corner with someone and dig into life and its messiness.  I want to laugh hard and cry the ugly cry and pray together and really, I mean really, care about each other.  But people don’t do that.  They hide.  We stay in our comfort zones and think we are safe.  But the truth is, it’s an illusion.  Let’s be real!  Let’s give grace!  I’ll share my toilet paper with you when you need it and make sure you have enough to give to someone else!

Ain’t nobody got time to drip dry.

OK, maybe this analogy is going a bit too far.

But I want you to really get a sense of what happens at the Summit so you will go next year and experience it for yourself!  We worship, we pray together, we let the walls down, we share our pain, we find healing, we get ready to go home changed.  Women last weekend testified that they had been able, for the first time, to let go of bitterness, confess secret sin, fall back in love with their husbands, feel equipped to mother their children, on and on each story humbled me over and over.

There’s a lot of laughing too.  I mean a lot!  In fact, my friends and I did a skit called, “Mrs. Homeschool Universe” and we took it to the extreme.  I can’t tell you the whole thing, but here we are finding out what the winner gets and when we heard that part of our prize was a whole week of uninterrupted showers we pretty much started to cry.

Those other 3 gals in the skit are the funniest people!  I had to keep from cracking up at their every word.

And they each are sharing on their blogs about their Summit experiences from last weekend.  Don’t miss their posts!  I’ll bet none of them even mention toilet paper, so they will be much more interesting.

Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschooler shared her “Top 10 Experiences of the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit
Heather at Joyful Socks Mom gives her “Why Finding My Tribe at Winter Summit Makes All the Difference” (Heather’s site is down right now, so check back!)
Connie at Smockity Frocks is sharing about “Winter Summit 2016 ~ Homeschool Moms’ Retreat

I also got to have two of my daughters with me, which was a double blessing!  They came to help serve the moms and I was just so happy to spend some of this time with them!

Aren’t they gorgeous?  Yes, I am blessed.  (and they both have blogs, J. Grace Pennington and The Epic Place)

Next year the Summit will be in Oklahoma Jan 20-21 and in Texas Feb 3-4.  Go register NOW!  You’ll get the best prices AND you can just put it on the calendar and start inviting your friends.  Like one gal told us all during a time of sharing, “I will never miss the Summit again if I can help it.”  She already registered for next year.  What’s stopping YOU?!

And be sure to book your room!  This year the hotel filled up and some of the gals had to stay at a different hotel.  The price is great, the rooms are all suites with plenty of space for at least 3 ladies and that keeps the cost low.

If you have a Summit story to share, hop over to my Facebook page and spread the news!

Some Days are Just Harder

Some Days are Just Harder

I’m just gonna be real with y’all.  Last week was rough.

There’s something that happens after ministering to others; I believe it’s a spiritual attack.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

I know this battle happens to many people….the enemy gets his nasty old foot in the door if we aren’t careful.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for pastors and missionaries who do this daily.  I need to pray for them more!

The Summit is such a time of ministering to women who are tired, broken and hurting.  I prayed with at least 20 women in Oklahoma, every one more desperate for God’s answers than the one before.  My heart broke for each of them as we asked God for a miracle in their lives.

It is an honor to talk with these beautiful souls and that God would allow me to pray for them is nothing less than humbling.  I plan do it again this weekend with excitement and love.  The Summit is such a time of healing and encouragement.  I was talking with one woman on Sunday morning after it was over and she told me that this had been her first time to go.  She said, “I have thought about it for a few years but just never did it.  I never knew….I never knew what it was like….that I would experience such a breakthrough with God from being here.  I will never miss another Summit if I can help it.”

I can’t wait to be there this weekend with my Texas people and do some serious praying, learning and LAUGHING!  Last weekend I laughed so hard I almost blew tea out my nose.

But afterward, I pay for it.  I am drained and wiped out from the spiritual battles and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  I got home late Sunday night and went to bed…..for 2 days.  I felt dragged down and depleted.  And yes, I let my armor slip.  Why do we do that?  My husband James says I let myself get too tired which contributes to me getting down.  I’m sure he’s right.  After nearly 30 years of marriage he does know me pretty well.  He’s seen the good, the bad and the very ugly.

Sometimes I don’t share this stuff on the blog because, while I want to be transparent, I also know that there are people out there who take what I say and twist it into their own ideas of me and post it on their sites saying things like, “Look! Now she is having a hard time.  Ha! Ha! She deserves it because she is so ______” (fill in the blank).  It’s sad really, that anyone would spend time taking apart someone’s words instead of adding grace and love to the world around them through their own gifts.  I really do think of it as their problem, not mine.  But some days I am just not. in. the. mood.

So, why am I even telling you all of this?  For three reasons.

  1. I want you to know that you’re not the only person who has hard days.  I have hard days sometimes and that’s OK.  You can lay low for a few days then get back up.  Give yourself a break when you’re having a rough time.  Everyone does that occasionally.
  2. I want to be honest.  I hate it when people only show the perfect side of life on their social media or blogs.  We all know that no one is perfect, but it can be comforting for someone else to say it.
  3. Because no matter how I feel, it doesn’t change who God is or His character.  I may be blue, but He is always full of joy and ready to give that to me at my first request.  When I was ready last week, I went outside and listened to some praise music.  I asked Him for joy and He gave it to me.  Like Glenda the Good Witch said, “You’ve always had the power my dear.”  Of course, it’s not really MY power but the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is always there for us!  There is always, always something to be joyful about.

I hope I haven’t been a drag here.  My joy is in the Lord and even though some days I get down or depressed, I always know that there is a way out.  Although, I am sometimes a little slow about it.  Of course, I used my oils too….they are so uplifting and when I remember, “Hey!  I should diffuse something to help me!” it brightens my mood.  (today I am diffusing lavender and geranium together and it smells lovely!).

I am doing better now and actually, even though it wasn’t the way I would have wanted, I got a lot of much needed rest.  Because I didn’t feel like going out, I was just home with my kids and we had a nice time together.  Because I spent a lot of time in my bedroom I got it really cleaned up.  I got caught up on the boys’ schoolwork and some closet organizing done.  There’s always something good that comes from even an unpleasant situation.

Lastly, I hope you will pray for me and all of the Summit team this coming weekend.  I am not the only one who comes under attack after loving on these beautiful women.  We all struggle to find our footing after such an intense time of prayer and support.  I really, really appreciate your prayers.

And if you’re still thinking of coming I hope you will!  Pray about it and ask God if you are supposed to be there.  It’s not too late to register.  Have I made it sound appealing?  LOL!  Don’t let my honesty about the struggle keep you away.  The event is a blessing and I only get down because of how much we love the women there and the power of the Holy Spirit!  It is a GOOD thing!

Thanks for “listening”.  Have a great week, my friends.  I plan to.

Come on over to Facebook for more conversation!

Do You Remember?

Do You Remember?

Isn’t it funny how things burn into our mind?  Those catastrophic events that freeze time and we never forget where we were standing when we heard and the moments following.  Then the mention of them brings back floods of memories like the smell of Grandma’s bread baking.  Whoosh!  We are transported.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.  For many of you it is too long ago to remember (you young’uns), but I have a clear picture.  I was planning my wedding and I remember EXACTLY where I was when I heard about it.  I had decided to knit some gifts for my wedding party so I went into a nice yarn shop (where I had never been before) and was looking for something soft and affordable.  They had a TV turned on up in the corner and 2 women were chatting across the counter from one another about a class they were teaching that night.  I was caressing a skein of yarn when suddenly one of them stopped and yelled, “Oh NO!!!”  The three of us turned toward the television reporting the explosion.  We just stood there, not believing it.  Not moving.

I guess there’s a second of belief that if you freeze, time will stop too and this disaster will reverse and life will go back to normal. Like maybe you can stop it from happening.  I remember wishing that during my births! LOL!

Another woman walked into the store, the little bell jingled over the door and she picked up immediately on the intensity of the moment as she turned toward the TV that we were all staring at.  She was the first of us to start to cry.  I heard a slight sobbing sound and glanced at her.  There were tears streaming down her face and that’s when I knew the magnitude of this moment.  Space travel, our hope, our path for our country had forever changed and I was watching it happen.

The woman at the door said, “Hey, I know we don’t know each other, but would you all pray with me?”

So we all gathered in the middle of the store, holding hands in a small circle and prayed.  These women were older than me, probably in their 30s and 40s, but they seemed so established and grounded.  I was only 20 years old and there to celebrate a new chapter in my life.  The world was rich with hope and possibilities.  They were mothers.  They felt it very deeply.

I don’t remember any of the words spoken in prayer that day, but the feeling of standing with 3 strangers in a circle crying and praying for our country, for the families that had been sitting in those benches and watching their loved ones die, for the school children of Christa McAuliffe who had been watching it from the classroom.  That prayer will go down in my life as one of the sweetest.

Tomorrow we move on and it goes back in the files of our memories again.  There are other days….9-11 of course, deaths, personal tragedies, etc.  So today is a day to let it sink in that no matter what is happening around us, we can come together as strangers to lift up a nation.

Oh, and I never did knit anything for my wedding party.  I couldn’t bring myself to do it, plus I really wasn’t very good at knitting.

Do you remember where you were when the Challenger exploded?  Hop over to Facebook and share!

A Little Bit o’ Books and a Little Bit o’ Travel

A Little Bit o’ Books and a Little Bit o’ Travel

This post contains affiliate links.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back to a normal-ish routine.  The Christmas decorations are down and we are doing our simple Monday-Bible study, Tuesday-Church, etc.  No more big parties coming up or gifts left to buy.  I love Christmas, but I also love me some simple, easy going days.

With the Summit coming up this weekend in Oklahoma and in Texas just 2 weeks later, I do have some travel stuff to work on and my talks to nail down.  I’ll be sharing ideas from my book, “Mama Needs a Do-Over: Simple Steps to Turning a Hard Day Around”  If you can’t make it to the Summit, you could get the book.  My friend Roxanne will be speaking there too and her book is awesome.  It’s called, “Are You Enough?: Encouragement for the Overwhelmed & Exhausted Homeschool Mom.”  You’ll LOVE her!

Here are Roxanne and I from last year’s Summit pajama party.  I am telling you…we all have a great time!

Since I have a long drive this weekend, I am getting some audiobooks ready for the trip.  I really love a good book and audio is the way to go when you’re traveling!  I listen to everything from fiction to marketing and leadership guides.  As long as it doesn’t put me to sleep we’re OK.  I once got a book that was read in such a monotone that I started to snore before he got through the introduction.  It may have been a good book, but I will never know because I couldn’t stay awake.

Speaking of narrating audiobooks (see how I did that segue?), my oldest daughter is using her gift as a great narrator and she has a book that just came out (she didn’t write the book, she only narrated it) that is a sweet story.  I listened to it a couple of weeks ago and I am still thinking about it; I love those kinds of books….that stay with you.  It’s a good, clean, encouraging read.  It’s called “The River Girl’s Song: Texas Women of Spirit.”  I hope you’ll consider supporting this talented author and her ever-so-talented narrator.

In other news, I have been cleaning out my bedroom in sections.  I did one of the dressers over the weekend that serves as my official junk drawers.  There was everything in these drawers from people’s business cards to clothespins.  I had a couple of spoons in one (shhhh….don’t tell me kids!) and I found 3 USB drives (I wondered where those were!).  It’s always nice to have this kind of job done.  I tend to shove things in these drawers until I am forced to look for something which requires pulling everything out and wondering why I kept half of it.  Good times.

I think when I get back from the Summit I will tackle the cabinet/desk otherwise known as the Black Hole.  Who knows….I may actually find my camera one of these days.  It’s been lost for 2 years.  Of course, if I do find it I won’t find the charger or memory cards with it because that would be way too easy.

I also like putting things back where they belong and getting rid of the messes.  It’s so nice to know that if I opened one of the cleaned out drawers right now I would be able to locate anything.  It’s the best feeling to know where your unnecessary junk is.

I hope you have a mah-velous week filled with normal-ish days and a little bit of organizing.  And don’t forget to register for the Summit!!!  You don’t want to miss this.  You NEED it!

Have a good one!

Let’s continue the conversation on Facebook!

I Survived the Budget Meeting of 2016

I Survived the Budget Meeting of 2016

I am deep in the work of finishing the first draft of my next book and James came to me a few days ago saying, “Um, I know you’re busy but we need to schedule our annual big budget meeting.”

#heart #sink

I hate, I mean HATE the budget meetings.  They are a rip the Band-Aid off, face reality, things-are-about-to-get-tight-around-here torment.  For you Dave-Ramsyians out there, there’s no question which of us is the free-spirit and which is the nerd.  But I knew that this past year I had gotten out of control and spent a lot more than I wanted to know about.

I told him I would stop writing early on Saturday night and we could talk.  We ate dinner, played some games with the boys and I braced myself for the meeting that was to come.  I had been praying for a few days and asking God to prepare my heart.  No, seriously, I really don’t like these.

My dread is not just because of the inevitable budget changes, but knowing that he will ask me things like, “That $17 you spent at Target on October 9th, what was it for?”  No!  Please don’t ask me!  I don’t even remember and no way am I going to find that receipt.  But he needs to know and for good reason.  I get it.  I just don’t like it.

And then there’s the announcements.  “OK, here is the grand total we spent last year on eating out…..” Or “Guess how much we spent on your hair.”  I grab the arms of my chair, tighten my shoulders and close my eyes for the shock.

Turns out that the only real surprise was how much I spent on iTunes.  It was ridiculous.  I will just order a song and be like, “Oh, it’s only $1.29” until I have a-dollar-twenty-nined myself into a big chunk.  That one’s easy.  No more iTunes.  I am not even upset about losing that.  I can take a year off or, if I want a few new songs, put it into the budget and not do any more spontaneous buying.

As I prayed all day about the meeting, asking God to give me a heart toward my husband, I felt God softening me and reminding me that this is good for us.  I know James spends hours getting all of our finances in order so we can keep on track.  I know he takes such good care of our money and is so sweet about my receipt challenges and iTunes purchases.  I have mad respect for how well he keeps us in the black around here and manages all of this mess.  I put some Peace & Calming in the diffuser and got my mind and heart ready.

I think 2015 was just such a hard year and I didn’t pay much attention to money.  I was focused on other things and let the important, daily life stuff slip past without intentionality.  I am ready for that to change.  I needed this meeting, as much as I didn’t want it.

We talked for about 3 hours, going through it all and planning for how to use our money wisely this year and where we can cut back so we can afford the things we want to do.  And in the end we are still friends.  #BFFs

In case you don’t know, my husband is a CPA and a tax attorney.  I tell you this so you will understand that this meeting wasn’t just a piece of paper with a list of numbers and dollar signs.  It’s columns and documents and words like assets and amortization.  My head nearly explodes.

But even with his mad skillz, budgeting is not that complicated.  We add up all of the money we brought in last year and all of the money we spent.  Then divide the spent columns into categories (groceries, insurance, clothing, entertainment, etc.) and we see where our money went and make decisions for the coming year.  Sadly, there’s no iTunes column.

Years ago we were all cash, which I liked because I didn’t have to think about my spending as much. If money was in the envelope, I could afford it.  If it wasn’t, I couldn’t.  We’ve tried apps and other methods of keeping up with it but we haven’t found one that works for us.  Since having my car broken into I don’t like carrying much cash anymore, so I just need to be aware and get better about giving him all of the receipts.

Managing the money is a constant process.  Even with this big annual meeting, we will still have to sit down together a couple of times a month to check on the progress and see where we need to adjust.

In the end I am glad we did it.  It’s as necessary as rain to the plants, not just for the health of our finances but for our marriage and our future.  I want to encourage you all to sit down with your spouse and make a budget for 2016.  Be realistic about what you can afford and what your goals are.  It will make such a huge difference in how you make decisions.

Happy New Year!

A Word for 2016

A Word for 2016

So it’s a whole new year.  Clean slate.  Ready – set – go!

For me, 2015 will go down in my personal history as one of the hardest years of my life.  Years from now when I am in the nursing home and an attendant pushing my wheelchair asks me, “So, tell me about your life.” I will say, “I don’t remember much, but I do know that 2015 was H-E-double-hockey-sticks.”

I am glad to have it behind me and I have high hopes for 2016.  Not that there’s any reason to think that except trust in God and believing He knows that I can only take so much.

Then there’s that “Word of the Year” thing people do.  Last year I chose the word “trust” and man-oh-man, did I get tested on that.  I’m pretty sure I passed, but my grade might be like a D.  So this year I wrote down a few words that I thought might make the year a little easier.  I thought maybe a word like SLEEP would be good.  Or SNACKS.

But then, ya know, I prayed about it and God said no.  I had to have a word that actually would challenge me to be more like Christ.  Really, these words, it feels a little like He chooses them because I will start to feel drawn to something in particular and slowly it becomes clear.  Like those Magic Eye pictures from the 90s where you think you see a kaleidoscope of images but when you change your focus it actually has a crystal clear other picture there.

This one, for example, shows 3D snowflakes and two of the birds float to the front when you look at it with a different focus:

So I changed my focus on my list of word ideas and God gave HUMILITY for 2016.  I am really hoping for a gentler lesson than the 2015 experience, but with a word like humility, it could get rough.

I think I am going to order one of those teeny stamped rings with my 2016 word on it.  I have a few others already with some favorite words that inspire me.  I have one that says “abundance” another “valor” which are my favorite essential oils.  I have a “trust” ring for 2015 and a few blank ones.  I was, of course, originally going to get my kids’ names on my rings, but with 9 of them it was too many to wear at once and I felt bad thinking I would have to choose which kids to wear each day, so I went with motivational words instead.  After all, if I am drawn to be more humble, trusting and brave then I am a better mom with or without their name on my finger.   So I will add “humility” to the stack and hope it helps me see where God is leading me this year.

God has been convicting me more and more over the past few months that I need to expand my serving.  I would have told you that I already do plenty of that, but since He has been so clear to me that I need to do more then I am following His lead.  Plus I need to work on other areas of humility like to listen more and talk less, think more of others and recognize more that I am not always right.

I don’t know where God and I are going with this, but I am bracing myself for the journey.  I am not going to force it.  I’ll just start small and see where He leads.

Speaking of humility, I’ve been sharing some sweet, humble stories on Facebook all week of acts of kindness and caring.  Finding these stories to share is helping me see where I am supposed to shift my perspective.  Plus it’s been good for me to see how many selfless things people do for each other.  We all need that reminder in the midst of news stories of school shootings and people tearing each other down on the internet.

This one is too long for me to share anywhere else and the image quality is bad, but it’s worth sharing!.  Be warned…you may need a tissue….

So his mom posted the on social media:

And look what happened….

It was even better than they could have planned.

 

This was a little boy’s dream come true.  A simple act of kindness could alter his life.

Don’t be mad at me if you’re bawling now.  I gave you fair warning.

What about you…do you choose a word for the year?  I’d love to know what it is.

Join the conversation over on my Facebook page!

A Galactic Christmas

A Galactic Christmas

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new Star Wars movie that opened this weekend.  We are sci-fi people.  Not me really….I just tolerate it.  But my children, they love it.  I blame my husband.  He plays Star Trek trivia with them and teaches about the differences between lasers and phasers.

But, we aren’t crazy enough to want to go to a crowded movie theater at 3 in the morning to see something on opening weekend.  We all agree to wait until it’s less crowded.  No thank you to paying $10/person to share an armrest with a stranger who talks all through the movie.

I have a soapbox about talking during movies and you do NOT want me to get up on that.  It’s part of my OCD (I am not kidding…it’s real) and I can’t tune out noises.  Every little sound.  Drip.  Sniff.  Click.  Whistle.  They all enter my brain like they’re vital and I can’t help it, it distracts me terribly.  So when someone starts to talk in a movie it immediately tears me away from what’s happening on the screen and I have lost the storyline.

Sometimes a noise can’t be helped (sneezes, a baby fidgeting, the occasional throat clearing, etc.) so even though those distract me, it doesn’t annoy me.  But if you’re just talking to your friend while I am trying to enjoy the show then I will ask you to stop.  I’m nice about it, but people don’t like to be shushed.  I’ve had people yell at me, throw their popcorn at me, keep talking only louder, it can be a hard decision because people aren’t always kind.  But I’m like, “Oh well….it’s a risk I am willing to take.  I don’t like to hear all about your thoughts of what is happening in the movie.  I don’t even know you.”

OK, I can see that I got on my soapbox.  Sorry.

While we are on the subject of movies, I have tested my limits of Hallmark Christmas movies this year.  I generally watch the Hallmark channel or HGTV.  Hallmark has made both channels all Christmas all month.  The stories are all the same: girl in trouble meets a guy she doesn’t like, they end up falling in love and he proposes.  There.  Now you don’t need to watch any of them.  You’re welcome.

I have seen so many of these movies that I am starting to feel like I am in a close relationship with Candace Cameron Bure.  (she’s adorable, by the way…have you read her book?).  Even though I am tired of them, these movies definitely have gotten me in the mood for Christmas.  I don’t know, I just wasn’t sure I would get there this year.  But thanks to the Hallmark channel I am ready for some hot cocoa and gift wrapping.

Star Wars never did that for me.

This week I will be reviving some old posts while I take some time to spend with my family.  I hope you have a galactic sized amount of joy over Christmas and enjoy a few cheesy movies while you’re at it.

Merry Christmas!

Come hang out on Facebook to continue the conversation!

 

Have You Finished Your Shopping Yet?

Have You Finished Your Shopping Yet?

The race is on to get Christmas shopping finished up in time to actually enjoy the festivities.  I am down to a few gifts in my Amazon cart…OK 26.  Yes, I have 26 items sitting there while I decide if I want to buy them.  I know I don’t want ALL of them, so I keep sifting through and culling more until I have that perfect stocking for each person.

Last night I sorted through what I already have for my stocking gifts once again, evaluating and making lists of what I need to finish up.  With so many stockings to fill, I have to keep it organized.  I have 5 large elfa mesh baskets in my closet designated for stockings.  These baskets are intended to be used as drawers, but I just set them on the shelf and they are perfect.  I labeled them last week while my friend Becky was here.  I used chalkboard tags from my etsy shop and Chalk Ink markers to put the names on the baskets using wire.  It’s 2 people per basket and I toss the stocking items into the baskets as I buy them.

That makes it easier to keep up with, but I still have to look through it all repeatedly and keep a list on my phone of who I still need a few things for.  I can’t seem to hold that info in my brain anymore.

As I was I looking through it all again (which means using the step ladder to pull each basket out to see what’s in there) I think I can officially say that I am down to needing just a few small things.

Which leads me back to my Amazon list.  That’s the way to go…..no parking lots to drive around in circles looking for a spot to park or inside the store to wait for the world’s slowest cashier, wondering if you should change lines, but you never do, you just stand there.

Yesterday I went into Walmart to pick up a few groceries.  I am a big fan of the self-checkout, no matter how much I am buying.  I like to bag the items myself and watch the prices carefully.  But I was buying gift cards and I wasn’t sure if you could do those in the self-checkout, so I begrudgingly went to a cashier to pay for my things.  It was like torture.  She was slow and careless and uninterested in her job.  I watched her try to scan one of the gift cards over and over and it wasn’t working.  If I am ever captured and someone wants to extract valuable information from me, all they will have to do is threaten to make me go through the checkout at Walmart and I will spill everything I know.

In order to avoid ever doing it again, I thought I would ask the checker if I could buy gift cards in the self-checkout, you know, ‘cuz silly me thought she would know the answer.  But when I asked she literally froze and just stared at me.  No response, no blinking, just staring.  It was like a comedy routine complete with a raspy voiced customer in line behind me yelling, “Hurry up already!”

I couldn’t help but giggle, which really made the scene complete.  I’m laughing, she’s staring blankly and the woman in line behind me is pounding on the conveyer belt telling us to move faster.  The checker finally mumbled something unintelligible and I didn’t press her to clarify.  I just made a metal note to get my gift cards somewhere else.  I will drive to Siberia next time if that is what is necessary to avoid that episode again.  And you can’t drive to Siberia.  At least not from Texas.

I think I will just go ahead and order my last few items from Amazon and be done with it.  There’s really no need to drag this out any longer.  If I get any more crazy ideas to give gift cards I can just give the person money instead because basically a gift card takes money you can spend anywhere and turns it into money you can only spend in one place.

Then I will be finished, although I always have that feeling that I am missing something.  Inevitably, no matter how hard I try, I bring all of the stocking stuff out on Christmas Eve to discover there’s at least one child who has next to nothing and I send James to the grocery store to get whatever he can find.  This is how, many years ago, we ended up giving one of the boys a plastic, fur covered cat that had some kind of battery operated breathing mechanism and when you petted it, its stomach moved up and down like it was taking long, deep breaths.  It was the weirdest thing you ever saw and in a bizarre twist became that child’s favorite Christmas gift of all time.

Thankfully, since we  are only doing stockings for the kids this year, I don’t have to wrap anything.  But if I did I would follow my friend Sara’s tips because she is the gift wrap BOSS!  I will be adding big bows to a few things that don’t quite fit in the stockings (Shhhhh!!!  Do not tell James because that is against the “stocking rules”), but that’s it when it comes to wrapping for me.  2015 will go down as the year I didn’t throw my back out trying to wrap the gifts.

So, how’s your week looking?  Are you finished with your Christmas shopping?  I’d love to hear about you and what you do the last few days before Christmas.  Hop over to Facebook and join in the conversation!

Have a festive week!

 

Sometimes I Fall Asleep at Target?

Sometimes I Fall Asleep at Target?

Last weekend my friend Becky from Organizing Made Fun came for a visit.  I just LOVE getting to see friends who are like-minded and we can have great conversations and challenge each other.  When I say we are like-minded, I don’t mean we agree on everything.  I mean we agree that the Bible is our guide for life and we can have fruitful conversations that will encourage us both to seek God and not the world.

There’s too much of that these days…. people seeking the world.  Man, oh man, it’s like the planet has shifted on its axis and we all got shook crazy.  I mean, the bashing and hating and being SO willing to criticize other people (almost always without the benefit of hearing their side of a situation) is pure cuckoo.

I can’t even watch the news.  It’s just glorified gossip and slander.

But now it’s Christmas time, so there’s a teeny reprise from the ugliness.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could be this nice all year ’round?  Although here in Texas it’s just too hot in the summer to be nice.  The cooler temps help.  A lot.

I am wrapping up my shopping this week and I will be so, so glad to have that finished.  In the past I shop all year for sales and I am finished before Thanksgiving.  But this year I did ZIP-NADA and now I am paying for it.  Literally.  The sales are OK, but when you’re forced to get it now and you’re too tired to go digging for a better deal, it’ll cost ya.

I was so tired yesterday that I fell asleep in a rocking chair in the baby section of Target.  I sat down in a very cozy seat for a sec to look over my list.  With this many stockings to fill, I have a hard time shopping for everyone at once, so I have to divide it into groups of 2 people and just think about those when I walk around.  After I’ve found what I can for them, I go back to my list and head all around the store again with a couple of others in mind.  In between rounds I check and see what I need next.  It’s a complicated and lengthy, but effective system.

In Target there are some very comfy chairs for, I assume, new moms since they’re where they sell diapers and car seats.  These chairs are so snuggly that I like to go sit there and check my phone.  So yesterday I laid my head back for a sec and wham…. next thing I knew I snorted and jerked awake.  It was probably only a few seconds, but long enough for me to have what felt like a sweet dream about Chris Hemsworth.

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Speaking of Chris, his new movie coming out about a whale attacking him and him getting lost at sea, etc.  Yeah, I have no desire to see that.  Chris is just too pretty to be killed by a whale.

When I woke up in Target I decided to stand up before someone noticed me sleeping and stole my purse or worse…. took a video of me snoring.  Can’t you see it being shared all around by the haters?  I’ll just end the suspense and tell you upfront, it’s not pretty.

Tomorrow begins the task of me taking the kids out to get their Christmas shopping done.  This is the dreaded portion of the season.  They have better taste than their wallets allow and I am constantly tempted to offer to pay for some of their purchases, which my husband is not a fan of.  I know, I know.  They should stick to their budget and no one really cares what the kids buy them and it is a better lesson for them to get what they can afford than me jumping in and giving them money.  But they’re so adorable with those puppy dog eyes trying to find the perfect thing for their big sister.  I can’t stand it.

Our level of activity right now is much more than I like and certainly more than my sleep patterns prefer.  I’m up really early most mornings with errands to run and out every night to church events, parties or get-togethers.  I think I will be home 2 out of the next 9 evenings.

No wonder I am falling asleep at the store.  When else am I gonna get any rest?!

Have a festive week!

Getting Back to Normal (Kind of)

Getting Back to Normal (Kind of)

I am sitting in a hotel room in a small Texas town with my computer.  I am supposed to be catching up on emails and blog posts, but instead I am shopping all of the Cyber Monday sales.  I can’t help it.  I need these great deals to fill all of the stockings I have to fill on Christmas morning!

I am in this hotel because I drove 6 hours to Dallas yesterday and didn’t want to drive all the way back home late at night.  I am not good at night driving and now that it gets dark at 6:00 I start falling asleep by 8.  So I stopped about 1/3 of the way home and spent the night.  I was in Dallas to see my niece’s play and take my oldest daughter back after she spent Thanksgiving with us.  Another of my girls went along to spend the week there, so the drive was a fun fest of chatting and singing and planning.  I mostly love to listen to them talk to each other.  It’s amazing to have adult kids who really love each other and I just soaked in the sweetness.

I feel like I am still recovering from our Thanksgiving, which was wonderful!  We had 4 families over and there was so much food that I am still full.  We emptied out the living room to add 2 extra tables and everyone brought their favorite dishes and we stuffed ourselves.  There was so much pie that it was slightly shameful.  We could have opened a diner with as much pie as that.  After the food was put away we played games and that is where the magic happened.  We laughed so hard I had sore muscles around my rib cage.  There is nothing better than a day with good food and great friends!  I hope that your holiday was just as wonderful!

We did go Black Friday shopping which turned out to be not so great deals, but a good time anyway.  I had 2 of my girls with me, my 16 year old son and his friend.  We ran around the mall and Target, saw “Mockingjay – Part 2” and ate Chickfila.  I think we spent a grand total of $25 on deals, but it wasn’t about buying.  It was really about the time spent together.

Once we got home from shopping and ate some leftovers, I was worn out.  I laid in my bed at 8:15 and Levi (my 8 year old) came to talk to me.  He scootched under the covers next to me and started to tell me some of his ideas about a book he wants to write and how I can help him with his Disney collection and on and on.  But I was so tired that I kept falling asleep.  He would hear me snore a little and push my shoulder, “Mommy!  You fell asleep again!”.  I tried to stay awake and he kept talking until finally I must have fallen so hard that he gave up because I woke up at midnight with the lights on and he was gone.  Poor kid.  I will make it up to him with a good listening session one night this week.

I am so happy that it’s Monday and we can get back to school and normal activity.  Or as normal as it gets when you have to boil all of your water like you’re living in circa 1807.  Our hot water heater died and we are struggling to figure out what we want to do.  The plumber has been working with us to figure out if we should change over to an instant hot water system or replace the tank.  I don’t really care as long as I can get this settled within the next few days.  When an appliance goes out on Thanksgiving week you really get to discover what you’re truly thankful for.

AND since they say things happen in threes, I am praying this is the last of our appliance deaths for a while.

I need to get back to my cyber shopping before I have to check out of my room.  Have a great week, friends!