• ~Psalm 46:4-5~

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
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Twenty Ten

I blinked and it was over. 2009 has come and gone. There was a lot of stuff worth remembering but personally, I’m ready to “Keep Moving Forward.” So rather than re-cap the year, I’m going to re-cap the last few weeks and then move on.

Our Christmas budget was about $200 short of last year’s amount. So I didn’t send out Christmas cards thisĀ  year and I was super careful with my spending. As a result, Bridoodle had an ENORMOUS stack of gifts under the tree. I found some great deals. Seriously, there were so many gifts for her that she couldn’t open them all on Christmas day. We had four left over when she went to bed. Best. Christmas. Ever!!!

Hubster’s family came over to our house for Christmas brunch and he went to work that evening. So he got to see all of the unwrapping and eat yummy food before working. It was perfect.

Our daughter’s most treasured gift was the kitchen set that we assembled on Christmas Eve with parts strewn everywhere all the while watching The Christmas Story. (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”) I loved being in our own home for Christmas Eve and Day. We usually travel. It was so much fun to fill stockings and pile presents in our own living room. (We might make this a standing tradition!)

Bri’s second most favorite gift was a foam puzzle of the Disney princesses. It cost a whopping $1 and she pulls it out every day to play “puzzah.” She knows all of the princesses by name too. “Snoh White, Cinewella, Kasmine, Awiel and Sleeping Cutie.” (My favorite is Sleeping Cutie.)

For New Year’s Eve we went to a 1920’s themed mystery party. It was the sequel to one we’d done for Halloween and it ROCKED. I had so much fun! The hostess and I have been dreaming and scheming together for a couple of months. I call her the Ethyl to my Lucy. She’s awesome. So when I suggested a slideshow in addition to my regular shooting for the party, she was totally on board. It was a big hit and I feel confident that I can do it again for a wedding reception. I’m stoked!

After the party we went home and put Bri to bed before jammying up to watch the ball drop. We sipped sparkling white grape juice (a tradition that we’ve kept our entire marriage so far) and flipped channels. Unfortunately the sight of J.Lo in a skin tight unitard pushed us over to the Letterman show. We watched it and giggled deliriously. Hubs had been up since 4am for work. We kept flipping the channel so that we wouldn’t miss the ball dropping but somehow we did. At 12:09 I finally turned around to check the clock! So we laughed and headed off to bed. Apparently we missed the first nine minutes of the year!

We spent New Year’s Day on the couch recuperating. Then we went out to dinner at Outback. Bri could not handle the ten minute wait (so glad I called ahead because otherwise it would have been forty minutes easy) and we sweated though a couple of her meltdowns before being seated. Other than that though it was fabulous!

The next day we started a diet/excercise regimen. We bought a chin up bar and real dumbells so that we can do P90X together. The first workout kicked our butts! It was actually really fun. I can’t believe that Hubster can do 12 pull ups! He’s amazing! I can’t wait to see what we can do at the end of the program. Our reward for finishing it will be a trip to the beach this summer.

Looking ahead to the upcoming year I have two goals. For my business- I want to do three weddings this year. For myself- I want to be a better Bible Study leader and connect with my girls more often and on a deeper level this semester.

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Spiritual Inspiration

My brother-in-law, who happens to be a pastor, posted on his blog today about resolving to improve your spiritual walk in the new year. He offers lots of inspiration for areas that might need improvement. It’s a fabulous inventory! So, in a few weeks after I’ve finished my portfolio, taken my Christmas stuff down, and partied like it’s 2009, then I’ll prepare my new year’s resolutions, and I’ll probably steal some of his ideas.

It’s like I’m in a different time zone than everyone else. Only the clock is set one month behind!

Permission To Be Human

It’s the very last day of 2008 (insert mock gasp), and for the first time since I can remember … I’m not making any resolutions! There are a few reasons for this unusual behavior. First, I’m coming down home stretch for a portfolio project that has been beating the poop out of me for the last three months (now that I’m a mother I get free usage of the word poop). It’s due January 22nd. I started on this portfolio in January of 2007. Yes. Two years ago. I am so ready for it to be over. In a lot of ways, this feels like the end of that project more than the beginning of a new year.

Another reason why I’m not keen on making resolutions this year has to do with my recent introspective criticisms. I’m tired of trying to “fix” myself and “perfect” myself. I recognize that I have many faults. Let’s save some time here and skip that lengthy list.

I guess my point is … I’m going to give myself a break for now. This isn’t any kind of resolution. In February, when the project is finished and I can paint and craft and read novels and WRITE my novel again … then I will probably pick up with the self-improving. For now though, I am going to be unresolved. And that’s okay by me. I am giving myself permission to be human.

Anne Girl Giveaway

When I went to the bookstore in search of Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery and the clerk had to escort me to the children’s section, I must admit, I was a little embarrassed. I had the sinking sensation that perhaps my girlhood friend Anne would not live up to the idealizations I’ve cast in my memory.

But it turns out that a kindred spirit remains a kindred spirit at any age. I have loved, loved, LOVED reacquainting myself with this delightful little girl. Only now I find myself equally drawn to the other kindred spirits in the book. I want to know more about Miss Stacy, for example. She seems like such a good teacher. And I had forgotten about Mrs. Allen, as well.

Anyway, tomorrow night I plan to post some of my favorite quotes from the book. If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of Anne of Green Gables (not my copy, since I want to read it again, but another copy without any flu germs on it) then you need to post your favorite quote (it does not have to be from the book) in my response section before midnight Wednesday Sunday night. (Time extended to fit in with the Bloggy Giveaway carnival. Check it out for more chances to win free stuff!)

I will pick MY favorite of the quotes posted and then I will get in touch with the winner so that I can ship you a brand new copy of Anne of Green Gables (most likely from Amazon.com). Please make sure that I can contact you. I am not a mind reader. So please, leave a link to your blog or an e-mail address where I can find you if you win!

Enjoy!

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Over Spring Break I had a chance to catch up on some fun reading. One of the books on my list was The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. I’ve seen lots of commercials on Lifetime for the movie based on this book and I was excited to read it.

The commercial hits all the happy highlights. The book is easy to read and it feels like real life. But the downside is that it feels like real life. I’ve discovered that I enjoy escaping into a happier place when I read. If the book is not happier than my real life, then I’d rather get a pedicure.

I know I’m pretty pathetic.

Sadly enough, I kept turning those pages hoping that the good part was about to start. When I finished the book I felt so depressed. What a wasted clump of relationships. There was so much potential. The book really emphasized the fact that no secret is worth the cost of a destroyed family.

Wicked lived up to its name

My New Year’s Resolution was to read a book each month. I did not consider what I would do if I found the book distasteful.

I stopped reading Wicked back in February because it contained several really bad, bad words and the overall direction of the book seemed to be going in a negative spiral. I was really disappointed because I’ve heard such great things about the play.

Hopefully I’ll get the chance to see the play myself. It seems that the book does not do it justice.

Book Review

My New Year’s Resolution this year is to read more. And my goal is to read at least one book each month. So … to kick off the new semester I thought I’d start with The Freedom Writer’s Diary. Let me tell you … it is an amazing story!

I was awed!

I was inspired!

I felt like quitting my job.

Because let’s face it … I could never be half as good of a teacher as Erin Gruwell. She actually worked three jobs so that she could take her classes on trips and have parties for their families!!! Three jobs! And on top of that, her kids would sometimes work on projects with her until 9 and 10 pm. She was soooo dedicated. Me – I grumble if I have to take papers home to grade them.

But the progress she made… I just hope that one day I will have been able to impact even one of my students the way she impacted all of her classes. She really taught them how to succeed. And as a result her low-income, impoverished, least likely to graduate classes, not only graduated but went on to go to college!