December 30, 2004

Pray

Please remember to say a prayer today for the masses of people still fighting for their lives. The number of dead continues to rise and will do so in the coming days and weeks. If you can afford to help in a tangible way, here is a list of relief organizations you can contact.

December 28, 2004

Drip, drip, drip

The last of the ice is finally melting away with the sun's warm rays this morning. I'm glad. I don't like ice. Give me snow any day, just keep the ice to yourself, thank you very much.

Now that the fun and excitement of new toys has faded, we are slowly getting back to our routine. Well, sort of. My personal routine won't return to normal until next week when Emily returns to school.

I'm registered for school! I will start in a couple of weeks. I will do all classes totally online, so I won't have the worry of finding a babysitter for Elijah. I'm looking forward to doing this.

I suppose that's all I know right now. Nothing new going on here. Now I'm off to enjoy my time with Robert!

December 26, 2004

Mass destruction

Christmas is over, now the real fun begins--cleaning.

Our living room is covered with toys. We cleared a path large enough to walk through last night. Of course, there is church this morning and tonight so I'm sure the cleaning will be put off one more day.

Emily's bedroom is tiny, so her Strawberry Shortcake house consumes it. She doesn't care though. She's just happy that she got her Strawberry Shortcake house. Along with her Barbies, Barbie shopping cash register, clothes, boots, coloring books and markers, Strawberry Shortcake radio and cds (along with a lot more that I can't even remember)...she's a happy girl.

Elijah got lots of little trucks, trains, and many other noise-makers. He didn't get to play with much of it last night because he crashed when we got home. I'm sure our house will be filled with lots of bells, whistles and music this morning as he discovers all his new treasures.

I'm happy it's over. It was a nice Christmas, but the tree will come down either today or tomorrow.

I hope you had a fabulous one as well!!

December 23, 2004

Happy Holidays!

Emily couldn't wait, so we had our family Christmas this morning. I was so busy enjoying the "show" that I didn't get many pictures, but here are the few I did manage to snap.


Emily & Elijah
Emily & Elijah


Emily
Emily


Emily, Eli, & Robert
Emily, Elijah & Robert


Robert & Elijah
Robert & Elijah


Robert
Robert


Robert & his toy
Robert & his big boy toy

December 20, 2004

Christmas

What makes Christmas special to you?

It isn't in the gifts,
wrapped in neat packages
with pretty ribbon and bows.

It isn't in the tinsel,
that drips from the evergreen
Or in the lights
that wink from the tips of branches.

It isn't in the carols,
being sung by a choir
Or the marshmallows being roasted
over a blazing fire.

Christmas is
...memories
...happiness
...joy
...family
...health
...togetherness
...home
...peace
...love

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS!!

December 18, 2004

YIPPEE!!

I got an early Christmas present yesterday--home networking with wireless internet access. I suppose I'm behind the times, but we never needed networking up to this point. Now Emily can play on the desktop while I'm writing, reading, blogging online from my favorite chair. :)

December 16, 2004

Self-care Quiz

How good are you at taking care of yourself?

In the December issue of Encouraging Coach's newsletter, there is a terrific article on self-care. This is a gentle reminder to all you women that self-care does not equal to selfishness. Self-care is essential to our health and well being. Many times we cram ourselves down to the bottom of our list of priorities. I invite you to read this article, take her quiz, then apply the action plan she suggests.

Lessons

My troubles turned out all for the best-they forced me to learn from [God's] textbook.
--Psalm 119:71 (The Message)


It is terribly easy to become so enthralled in our problems that we lose sight of lessons to be learned. I believe that everything happens for a reason, which means I can learn something from everything.

I must admit that the latest "trial" I have been going through has been tough. So much so that I resorted to folding my arms across my chest, sticking out my bottom lip, and pouting over it.

I've been hurt that my husband was called to active duty. While I am proud of him for protecting our rights and country, it is difficult to raise two small children alone while waiting for the day he returns home to us. And I've been kicking and screaming ever since he left.

My little sister slapped me back into reality a couple of days ago. I don't think she realized it (still may not), but she did. She relayed an experience that she's been going through to me. She said she realized that she hadn't been acting like a spoiled child. When she said that, my lightbulb came on.

Even in the midst of troubles, God did promise that He will never leave me. Oh, I may pout and throw a temper tantrum, but He's still right there all along. He didn't promise me that this road would be easy. But He did say that I wouldn't have to travel it alone.

Now that my eyes are opened, I can hardly wait to see what lessons I will learn from God's textbook.

December 15, 2004

Joy in the Journey

"We need deliberately to call to mind the joys of our journey."
--George A. Buttrick


During one of my sessions with Lynn, the topic of our conversation was how I view everything as black or white.

"There's no in between with you, Hope," she declared. "Everything is either black or white."

Suddenly it dawned on me. While I lived this daily, hearing the words come from someone else was an eye-opener.

The perfectionist in me only allowed me to view every stage of my life as either a failure or a success. And in that bleary way of reasoning, I believed that most of my life was a failure.

"You have to see these things in a different way," Lynn admonished me. "These are not failures, but rather journeys. Your life is a journey. So what you didn't finish college! What did you learn from that?"

I couldn't see the forest for the trees. My life, which should have been a celebration of joy, had only been a lists of all the things I'd done wrong or things I'd never completed.

I never once stopped to recognize the fact that I was brave enough to try all these things and go through the wonderful experiences. Instead, I chose to focus on the negative aspect and berate myself for it.

In everything we do, we should never lose focus of the joy in it. Life is not a destination, but rather a journey. Our journey is filled with ups and downs. In the end, we should reflect and smile, knowing that we lived joyfully through the journey.

December 13, 2004

You just never know...

Emily stayed at church yesterday afternoon to practice for the children's Christmas play next Sunday night. After returning home, she immediately kicked off her shoes then proceeded to dance around the living room while singing songs from the play.

At first, I wasn't really paying attention. Singing and dancing (dramatically) is quite normal for her every day. Suddenly though, I was yanked to full attention when I heard her sing:

"Something's up down in Bethlehem,
Something's up down in Bethlehem,
What the h*ll is going on?"


WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!

When I finally recovered from shock and was able to lift my jaw from the floor, I couldn't stop laughing. Of course, not knowing what she was singing but thinking that she was delightfully funny because I was laughing at her, Emily continued in this little ballad.

Needless to say, we immediately went to one of the ladies in charge as soon as we got to church last night to correct the somewhat misconstrued line. Hopefully she'll be able to remember the correct words next Sunday night!!

December 12, 2004

Must Read

Every now and again I happen upon a blog entry elsewhere that touches my heart in a special way. This is one of these. When you have a few minutes today, please go visit Fallible.com and read her latest entry entitled, "Angel Eyes". You'll see why it warmed my heart once you've read it.
Warning: Tissue may be required!

December 11, 2004

Busy Bee

Things have been so crazy around here that I haven't found time to blog. So I'm taking that moment now. My blogging may be scarce the next couple of weeks. But then, I'm sure you will probably be a busy little bee, too!

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. I have a ton of books to be read that have been multiplying like rabbits. I have been making time for myself each day for reading. Great relaxing time!

I'm also thinking of introducing my daughter, Emily, to journaling very soon. She's very creative and has always loved to write and draw. I'll take her shopping for her own special journal, then explain to her what a "journal" is. Then I think it would be wonderful for us to journal together every evening after Elijah goes to bed. That would be our own special time together. I think she would love it, and I know I would!

December 09, 2004

I Dare You!

I have always suffered with low self-esteem. Around the time I turned 19, I had finally worked myself out of the negative thought patterns and turned myself into a courageous, self-assured young lady who wasn't afraid to say or do anything. Somehow over the last six or seven years, though, I managed to lose myself in the process of getting married and having a family.

Over this past year, I worked hard at regaining my self-identity. I struggled long and hard with redefining myself as a woman, not just a wife and mother. I have dreams and desires, just as my husband and children do. Yet, I had been stuck in a thought process that told me I didn't deserve to have any part of that happiness or fulfillment until my children are grown.

It amazes me at how many other women feel this very same way. Many of us put our lives on the back burner for others. And then we wonder why we struggle with feelings of unworthiness, self-doubt and fear. Somewhere, somehow, we must stop this cycle of self-abuse.

The fact of the matter is nobody but you or I can do it. We cannot sit around and wait for external acceptance. That will never satisfy us.

Dare to go deep within yourself. Find that inner peace. Rediscover love and acceptance for yourself. Allow yourself to live in the moment without feeling the burden of what someone may (or may not) say, think or feel about you. It's your life--just BE!

December 08, 2004

Changes comin' real soon

After lots of pondering and such, I have decided to make more changes to my website. These changes will most likely take place in January. I have revamped the entire website to reflect my writing abilities. My blog isn't going anywhere. I'm just going to add my clips, more free articles, etc.

I have already revamped all pages and everything is ready to go, but I like my Santa Claus that's up right now, so he will stay until after Christmas. I will probably play around with my blog and change just this page from time to time, but the rest of my website will stay the same when the new layout arrives. :)

December 07, 2004

"10 Things BETWEEN You and a Great Life"

By Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach

1. Unfinished business: Free yourself from the past by identifying and cleaning up your unfinished business. Call an end to whatever you started - a project, a diet, a feud, a commitment - by dumping it, delegating it, or doing it.

2. Ignoring the Present: Today is a result of all the Today’s that came before it. A well lived present will naturally produce wonderful future. Save a dollar today, and you’ll have a dollar tomorrow. Eat 500 calories less today, and you’ll lose weight tomorrow. Only what you do TODAY can affect tomorrow.

3. No Priorities: Never trade what you want at the moment for what you want most. If you just react to the next thing that gets your attention, you’ll never have enough time for what is important. Don’t schedule your time around your priorities. Schedule your priorities around your time.

4. Betraying yourself: Telling lies to yourself is the most hurtful form of disrespect. Write out the ways in which you have been untruthful to yourself, and how you can change that. “I will no longer pretend that what I put into my mouth doesn’t matter.” “I will no longer pretend that overspending my budget is ok.”

5. People Pleasing: If you always say yes even when you want to say no, you will find yourself unhappily going through the motions of living, giving control of your time, energy, and spirit to anyone who asks for it. Free yourself by learning to quietly assert your boundaries.

6. Accepting Energy Drainers: Everyday crisis and problems ARE NOT “just the way it is”. Choose to put life on your schedule. Make a conscious choice to simplify your tasks, organize your environment, and set up your life to support how you want to live.

7. Complaining Instead Of Asking: You will only get as much as you ask for. Complaining is passive, not active. Choose to consciously educate people on what you need by making a request instead of complaining.

8. Low Reserves: Without reserves to back you up, you will make decisions based on your LACK…lack of money, lack of time, lack of energy. And that will cause you to make mistakes, and miss opportunities. Systematically eliminate things from your life until you have a built-in reserve of time and money; then build from there.

9. Hiding your weakness: Let your weakness help you be more truthful. Educate people. “I’m really impatient; please let me know if I skip over something you don’t understand.” “I’m not good with secrets; please don’t tell me anything that you don’t want me to repeat.”

10. Wishing Instead of Planning: START! Do something! If you just sit around *wishing* that things would be better, it’s not likely that they ever will be. As my mother used to say, “wish in one hand, pour peas in the other…see which fills up faster.” Create a plan, and get into action.


Life Coach Kathy Gates specializes in helping people who are ready to create a simpler, less stressful, more joyful and meaningful lifestyle. Visit www.reallifecoach.com to learn more.

Reflection

It's that time of year again. Time for reflecting on what I accomplished in 2004. I have certainly come a long way, and yet have so much farther to go. While I did accomplish some of the goals I set for myself this year, I don't feel that I worked hard enough on the major ones that really matter to me.

Over the next two weeks, I will be concentrating on wrapping up lots of loose ends. My desire is to begin the new year with a fresh perspective and clean slate. While I have many physical goals that I will be working on in 2005, one of my main personal goals is to say, "No" more often. I have always had this terrible leech on my back that made me say, "Yes" even when I didn't want to. I'm tired of being a People Pleaser.

I have a feeling that once I begin being me some of my friends and family aren't going to know what to think. I think some of them may get mad at me. Some may stop talking to me. Regardless of what happens, it's time to get my house in order. I'm tired of living under this cloud of guilt and self-doubt.

Good riddance to the me that lives to please everyone else! Hello to the new me, the real me!

December 05, 2004

O Christmas Tree

We decorated the tree tonight. Emily did most of it all by herself. As you can see in the pictures, she's proud of her work. And she should be. She did an excellent job.

We strung little army men and put them on the tree, too, but you can't see them because they're blending in with the tree. I should have bought bigger men. Anyway, this is our special "Daddy tree" this year. Green and gold.

Emily decorates the tree

Em decorates

Em's pretty tree

December 03, 2004

Weekend getaway and other thoughts

I'm going to go see Robert this weekend! Yay! Actually, I'm leaving today. I'm so excited! I will get an entire weekend with my sweetie pie, minus two kiddies (one of which will be very mad at me if she finds out!). I have earned this break from the children and with my husband. I'm going to live it up to the fullest!!




I have a hero. I just realized this morning. I absolutely adore Shirley Jump. Not only does she write fun books, but she is just as much a down-to-earth person as you and I.

In the few years I've known her, I watched as she became a published author of several books. I was there the second her first book hit the shelf, grabbing it up and announcing to everyone in the store, "I know this lady!" And then for the second and the third....

I have a binder filled to overflowing with valuable information from Shirley on writing. I print out a lot of her emails from Mom Writers because they are filled with such nuggets of gold that I fear I will not remember it all if I don't save it somewhere. This slowly turned into my "Shirley's Writing Advice" book that I keep handy as a reference.

She is an encouragement and inspiration to me. She makes me see and believe that I can do anything I want, if I just keep persisting and never give up. She's my hero! :)

December 01, 2004

Winter Shop

My scarves shop is open and ready for business!! I finally figured a way around my camera problems. I have 7 scarves ready to warm some necks! Here's the link: http://www.hopewilbanks.com/scarves/

I will update and add more as I get them done.

November 29, 2004

Be Happy

Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design.


Whatever the situation, you are the only one who determines your happiness. Sure, others may contribute to your being miserable. But you are the only one who settles into happiness or misery.

Happiness is shaped and molded from your well-being. Moreover, happiness is a feeling. Aha! We have the choice to decided whether we will feel happy or sad.

Be happy!

November 27, 2004

Romance

After seven years of marriage, romance had pretty much become a funny, weird word in my vocabulary. No longer did I get butterflies in my stomach. Nervous jitters were a thing of the distant past.

Something strange has happened.

Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder.

I watched Raising Helen tonight, which stars one of my favorite actresses, Kate Hudson. It was a light comedy, sprinkled with a bit of sadness. There was just enough romance there to put the butterflutters in my tummy again.

Another really good romantic comedy that Kate Hudson stars in is How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. This one stars another of my favorites, Matthew McConaughey, who is a cutie pie with a southern accent. This movie will be my next purchase. I rarely buy movies, but every now and then I find a really good one that is worth watching over and over until the tape wears out. This is one of those.

It's funny because I thought romance was gone from my life forever. After several years of marriage and several children later, you tend to forget about the romantic, sexy side of you. You sort of put that person on the shelf and only dust it off every now and then but not too often.

I love it when something sparks that inside me once again. Plus, the fact that I've been seperated from my Hunny Bunny (not by choice) since August only adds to the sweet expectation of seeing one another again!


I have decided to go through The Artist's Way once more. I will begin in January. Why wait until January? Well, you see, I have TONS going on in January, including:

  • Launching a new magazine, Mother Devoted
  • Printing the THIRD issue of Cup of Hope (print edition)
  • Robert leaves for Iraq
  • I'm going back to school
  • and much, MUCH more

So why add something else to all that? Because The Artist's Way will actually give me a break. It will be my "release" from everything else. I think it would be a perfect way to begin each year, as a matter of fact.

So now I'm off to find a special journal to use for my second round of The Artist's Way!

November 25, 2004

Abundant Living

Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.
- John Petit-Senn, 1792 - 1870


You can hold all the riches this world contains, but if you are not happy with yourself and the simple things in life, you are yet a poor person.

As you spend time with family today, remember to stop and take notice of the small things in your life. What do you overlook? What do you take for granted? Do you "get" and "get" and still find yourself feeling unhappy?

Enjoy your simple abundance!

November 23, 2004

Bible Alive

The writer in me loves reading different versions of the bible. They make the stories come alive. While studying this morning, I read this passage of scripture. If you are ever in the mood for dramatic action and suspense, you need not run out and buy a new novel (although that is great!). All you need to do is pick up your bible and read a bit. Before long, you'll uncover some action!

For instance, read this story of Ishmael:


"But in the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, came. He had royal blood in his veins and had been one of the king's high-ranking officers. He paid a visit to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah with ten of his men. As they were eating together, Ishmael and his ten men jumped to their feet and knocked Gedaliah down and killed him, killed the man the king of Babylon had appointed governor of the land.

Ishmael also killed all the Judeans who were with Gedaliah in Mizpah, as well as the Chaldean soldiers who were stationed there. On the second day after the murder of Gedaliah - no one yet knew of it - men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria, eighty of them, with their beards shaved, their clothing ripped, and gashes on their bodies. They were pilgrims carrying grain offerings and incense on their way to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem.

Ishmael son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to welcome them, weeping ostentatiously. When he greeted them he invited them in: "Come and meet Gedaliah son of Ahikam." But as soon as they were inside the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and his henchmen slaughtered the pilgrims and dumped the bodies in a cistern.

Ten of the men talked their way out of the massacre. They bargained with Ishmael, "Don't kill us. We have a hidden store of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey out in the fields." So he held back and didn't kill them with their fellow pilgrims.

Ishmael's reason for dumping the bodies into a cistern was to cover up the earlier murder of Gedaliah. The cistern had been built by king Asa as a defense against Baasha king of Israel. This was the cistern that Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled with the slaughtered men.

Ishmael then took everyone else in Mizpah, including the king's daughters entrusted to the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam by Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, as prisoners. Rounding up the prisoners, Ishmael son of Nethaniah proceeded to take them over into the country of Ammon."

-- Jeremiah 41:1-10

November 22, 2004

Christmas is coming!

Have you started your shopping yet? I have about half of mine done. I decided that this year we are keeping Christmas in the family. As in our immediate family. Christmas is expensive enough without adding pressure on myself to buy something for everyone.

Jesus is the reason for the season!

And by the way, how is it that halloween and Christmas are two of the biggest celebrated holidays, and Thanksgiving is practically skipped over? Ever thought of that?

November 20, 2004

Simple Pleasures

I love simple pleasures. I relish the joy that I find in small, silly things. Here are a few of my simple pleasures:

  • Pink & Purple ink pens (actually, I love any funky-colored ink pens)
  • Note pads (the small ones you can carry in your purse)
  • Bright post-it notes
  • Cute tablets (small ones--great for notes)
  • Bold, bright Sharpie markers
  • Heartsong books (inexpensive & perfect size for carrying in purse or in glove box)
  • Daily devotionals (again, quick reading & fast inspiration)
  • Circle-a-Word puzzle books
  • Stickers
  • Yummy-scented candles (Petals & Pears from Home Interiors is my current fave)
  • Chai Latte
  • Iced hazelnut coffee

What's your simple pleasures?

November 19, 2004

Busy, busy

This has been a long, eventful, busy, crazy week. I realize I haven't written much here. Maybe you have taken this time to backtrack through the archives to find something meaningful for you. Or perhaps you've discovered another terrific blog to read. In any case, I will be back next week with lots of great stuff for ya!!

Have a great weekend!

November 17, 2004

The love of God

Psalm 91:1-4
You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "GOD, you're my refuge.I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right--he rescues you from hidden traps,shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you--under them you're perfectly safe;his arms fend off all harm.


Just when it seemed like I didn't know what else to do, God swooped in and rescued me. When I couldn't feel Him anymore, when I thought I'd walked too far from His grace, He was still right there beside me.

He held me in His arms. He told me He'd seen every day that had been filled with anguish and pain. He told me that He saw the painful tears I cried in private that nobody else knows about. He told me that He is going to take it all and turn it around to be used for something other than pain.

I could literally feel His arms of love wrap around me. They encompassed me. They made me feel safe and loved and cared for. And I knew in that very moment that He really was there all the time. He had never once left my side. It was I who had turned my face from Him.

If you are searching for tangible support or love, remember that God is the only One who can love you unconditionally. His love never fails. He will be there with and for you when nobody else is. When all your friends abandon you, when you have no family to turn to, God will be there. Trust in Him!

November 16, 2004

Mother Devoted

If you are a Christian mother, I would like to invite you to join my new online magazine, MOTHER DEVOTED.

Beginning in January, Mother Devoted brings articles and information for today's Christian mothers. It is our desire to equip today's mothers with timely knowledge, power from the Word, and Godly friendship with other Christian mothers.

We encourage you to pray for us as we embark on this wonderful journey together. Hand in hand, heart to heart, together we will create a network of strong, supportive Christian mothers.

Bookmark our website =>MOTHER DEVOTED.COM
Sign up for FREE updates =>Join TODAY!


We are building a strong community and would love for you to join us in our endeavors.

P.S. Don't forget to pass the word on to your friends!

November 15, 2004

On-time God

The woman said, "I don't know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we'll get the whole story."

"I am he," said Jesus. "You don't have to wait any longer or look any further."
--John 4:25-26


How many times have you reached a place in your walk with God that felt like He was nowhere around? Or that He wasn't listening to your prayers anymore? Or that perhaps all the things you did wrong piled so high and wide that you could never be forgiven for them?

The Samaritan woman stood at the well that day talking to Jesus. He was right there. Right in front of her. Talking to her. Yet, she didn't even know it.

He didn't get angry. He didn't walk away. He stayed right there, and let her know that He was there.

How awesome!

He loving, patient and kind. His mercy abounds forever and ever, with grace trailing along. Oh, to be like Him!!

If you're feeling down, discouraged, or hopeless I have a message for you. Jesus wants you to know that He loves you. He cares about you. Nothing can ever seperate you from the love of God! He is there, even if you can't feel Him. Be still and know that everything is going to be okay. Just keep trusting. Keep believing. The answers will come. He's an on-time God!!

Inspiration

I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning.
- Peter De Vries


I have often asked myself why I can't seem to make myself write when I don't feel inspired to write. The answer is quite simple. Inspiration isn't a huge brick that slaps me across the head and wakes me up. Inspiration is simply me sitting down and doing the work. If it is to be, then it's up to me!

It's 9:26--time to be inspired...

November 14, 2004

Cup of Hope -- Issue #2

The second print edition of Cup of Hope is now available! Use this button to purchase via Paypal, or email me for other purchase options.












Use the button below to purchase your annual subscription. (ONLY $6!)










November 12, 2004

Hope

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, "You're going to have a big family, Abraham!".
--Romans 4:18


This verse encourages me this morning. It is so easy to be quickly swept up by cares of this life. Sometimes it feels like I'm trapped in a whirlwind, swirling round and round, and no matter how hard I struggle, scratch and claw to pull myself out of it, I just can't.

Hope is so easily lost. One small incidence can crumble away every ounce of hope we hold on to. Physical, tangible things are much easier to believe in. It's easier to trust in what you can see, feel, touch, taste. The hard part comes when you can't see your path, and you can't feel God's presence. But even when we don't feel Him, we can rest assured knowing that He is there with us.

Obstacles block our vision. Obstacles are illusions. They make us think we can't overcome them or find a way around them. They are mirages. If we only will trust in the promises God has already assured us, we can walk through anything at any time. The trick is believing in God more than false hinderances that stand in our way.

Today's Takeaway:
When nothing seems possible, when it seems like there's no way you can win, stop and remember what God said. He promised that He would never leave, nor forsake us. Center yourself in Christ and know that His hand is on this. Don't believe in what you see you can't do, but rather in what you know God can do!!

November 11, 2004

A Rose

The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.
- Hadia Bejar
*


Kindness. Compassion. Laughter. Joy. Forgiveness. Understanding.

These are roses in our hand. When we are able to release our rose and give it to another, the sweetness of that simple act will remain with us forever.

What rose do you hold in your hand? To whom can you give it today?

*Thanks to Daddy for sending me this quote.

November 09, 2004

On Break...

Robert is home on a 3-day pass. Blogging will resume here on Thursday. See you then!

November 05, 2004

Be A Hero
Continuation of the "Courage" series

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson



When I think of the word hero, I think about a person who stands head and shoulders above everyone else. Distinguished. Different. Great.

There is a hero inside each of us. Unfortunately, we don't always allow that hero exposure to the rest of the world.

A hero does uncommon things. A hero surpasses the thought process of an average human being and climbs to a higher level. A hero takes the different path. She surpasses what is expected of her by the rest of the world and does the uncommon, unusual thing instead, thereby displaying great strength, courage, and nobility. Character shines through in a moment of heroism.

The wonderful thing about being a hero doesn't mean that you have to commit some huge, outrageous act (although that is wonderful, too!). It simply means moving yourself to action where you see something more that can be done, but isn't being done by anyone else. You really can be a hero in five minutes.

It only takes five more minutes to:

  • Speak a kind word.
  • Extend sympathy/empathy.
  • Listen.
  • Smile.
  • Give a child a hug and tell them how special they are.
  • Call someone and tell them they've been on your mind.
  • Secretly give an anonymous gift to someone who is feeling down.
  • Make a new friend.


ACTION POINT: Be a hero today!

November 03, 2004

Courage

How much courage does it take to change your life? Only an ounce.

Steps to Courage:

Fearlessness
What is your greatest fear? The first thing you must do is recognize and acknowledge that fear. No, don't embrace it. Rather, put your finger right on the middle of its nose and say, "Hey, YOU! I know who you are. You can't scare me anymore!"

Once you recognize that fear, you can then declare your freedom from it. The path to freedom is action. Take one step at a time against that fear. You will conquer it!


Bravery
When you stomp all over your fears, the next step is bravery. Now that you have mastered your fear(s), your spirit will soar, allowing you to rise to the occasion and do anything and everything you've been longing to do. You will find strength during this time. You will believe in yourself.


Courageousness
During this final phase in your trek to discovering courage, you will possess and embody courage itself. You will realize your potential. Everything that seemed so cloudy and negative will suddenly become unlimited possibilities. Not only will you do this, but you will face and deal with every obstacle henceforth without shrinking in doubt and fear.

Now the power has been shifted back into your hands!!

November 02, 2004

Be heard

I was going to avoid the subject of Election 2004 today, simply because this will be a hot topic everywhere. However, I feel that it is important to voice what I feel this morning.

You see, this will be the first time I have voted in ten years. Voting has always intimidated me. To know that your vote can make the difference one way or the other (yes, I firmly believe that) is a powerful thing.

This year is different. This year I watched as my husband left for war. I stood with my five-year-old daughter and nine-month-old son and said, "Good-bye."

This election is different for me. Different because I will make my voice heard this time. I will vote. I will stand for what I believe in.

Please do the same. Weigh the options. Yes, things in this world are terribly crazy these days. But don't slack on your duty as an American citizen. Get to the polls today and be heard.

Today I will cast my vote. For my country. For my husband. For my children.

November 01, 2004

The Choice is Yours

The difficulty in life is the choice.
- George Moore


There are many things in this life that we have no control over. War and famine and poverty. But the one thing we do have control over is ourchoice.

How we decide to act towards a situation is ultimately the determining factor of our character.

Choice controls:

  • Our actions
  • Our words
  • Our destiny


What choice will you make today?

October 29, 2004

Empowering yourself

Begin doing what you want to do now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand -- and melting like a snowflake.
-- Marie Beyon Ray



My Story:

I came to a screeching halt. I stood in the middle of my Road. There was no Stop Sign, telling me that I couldn't move forward.

The Road forked, to the left and the right. But in between all my choices, I saw yet another path. This one was not paved. It was narrow. It even looked a bit scary and dangerous.

A Voice talked to me from deep within.

"Stop! What do you think you're doing? You can't do that! You can't go there!"

Before I even realized what I had done, I was sitting in the middle of the Road. I began to cry. I started feeling very jealous of others who passed me by. Some stopped along the way and encouraged me to stand up again.

"Come on, Hope. You can do this."

"Get up, girl!"

I didn't listen. Actually, I didn't want to listen. The thing I wanted most in that moment was to sit there and wallow in self-pity.

My leg was bruised. My ankled was sprained. Blood oozed from a gash in my knee. And I wanted to feel that pain. I didn't want help.

Something happened.

A bright light shone in my face. It blinded me. It startled me because I wasn't expecting it. That light is called Truth.

Truth is sometimes ugly. Sometimes painful. Sometimes sad.

But truth is uplifting. Truth is powerful. Truth is the tool that, when taken in hand, will lead you out of your misery.

I grabbed onto Truth. I held It tight. I embraced it. I welcomed it to embrace me. Right then and there I realized that the strength lied within me all along.

I could get up. I could move forward.

And it was okay.


Empower Yourself Today

The greatest power lies within ourself. The key is realizing who we are, where we are and what we want. How do you empower yourself?

Acknowledge yourself.
For a long time I only gave credit to others. Whenever someone paid me a compliment, I found a way to make it all about anyone else but me. You must realize that you are special. You possess awesome and unique talents and abilites that only you can offer. Take pride in yourself.

Grant yourself compassion.
I realized some time ago that in the past I was a judgemental person. I didn't want to accept that about myself. But now I understand that the reason why it was so difficult for me to forgive others was because I wasn't forgiving myself.

So you messed up. Everyone makes mistakes. You can't tie weights to yourself each time you make a mistake. If so, you will end up drowning in despair. Cut those ropes! Forgive yourself. Show compassion to yourself. You are worthy!

Authorization Approved!
Confidence in yourself is one of the most powerful gifts to give yourself. You will carry yourself in a different manner. And I promise you others will notice.

You carry your inner feelings on your outward appearance. You may think you're hiding it from the world, but trust me--you're not! We know. Breathe deep. Believe in yourself. Know that you are beautiful, inside and out. Give yourself the authority to be confident in everything you say and do.

Invest in Yourself
What is your greatest possession of everything you "own?" YOU! Never doubt that! You are either your own best friend, or your worst enemy.

Choose to be kind to yourself. Pamper yourself. Indulge in simple pleasures. Lift yourself up. You are strong and powerful. You must give to receive. Give something back to yourself each day.

October 28, 2004

Hope

There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.
- Clare Boothe Luce


I once wrote a small piece about how people use my name in sentences. That has always bothered me. This morning, however, I am realizing that my name in itself holds great weight.

Of late, I have experience vast feelings of hopelessness. I didn't actually put that "label" on my feelings. But I felt as if all hope was gone. So I looked up the term "hopelessness." Here's what I found:


hopelessness: The despair you feel when you have abandoned hope of comfort or success

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

All of a sudden I had become a person full of negative energy. I thought I was hiding it well, too, but guess what...I wasn't. Every ounce of negativity that I hadallowed to enter into my being oozed from me onto others. You see, what you feel or tell yourself doesn't only affect you. It is a domino effect.

It started when I felt sorry for myself because my husband was away. Sure, those feelings are okay. But I took them to a deeper level within myself.

I began harboring the pain, hurt and anger. Instead of allowing myself to feel and live through these feelings, I buried them. I didn't want to let go of them. I wanted to love them and nurture them and let them grow.

This is not healthy.

As I loved my strange child, something else began to happen. I forsook everything that would bring joy to my life. I denied myself every ounce of happiness.

You know how when you sit in a tub too long you start looking like a wrinkled prune? Well, that was me. I sat in my tub of pain until I was wrinkled from head to toe. I couldn't even recognize myself anymore.

The ironic thing is that I knew that I was doing this to myself, but I didn't care. I had lost all hope.

I did everything except the one thing I wanted to do. I stopped allowing myself to be free through my writing. I didn't feel like I deserved to live joyfully. After all, my husband surely won't experience much joy in the upcoming year. So why should I?

Then something happened. My friend took a gigantic leap towards her dream this week. While I was extremely excited and happy for her, I felt strangely jealous of her. I went so far as expressing this to her. How selfish of me!!

Knowing that I had abandoned all my dreams and desires of becoming successful, and that I inwardly told myself that I didn't deserve to keep living my life while my husband is away, suddenly caught up with me. And then that feeling consumed me.

Hopelessness.

Not because of someone else's succes, but because of the despair I had been feeling from abandoning all hope of my comfort and success!!!

What a HUGE wake-up call!!

When stark realization slaps me in the face, well, that's a pretty hard pill to swallow. But it went down. And I survived.

Only you can let go of hope. Nobody can take hope away from you. And it is as easily picked up as it is put down. The trick lies in knowing yourself, realizing where you messed up and the willingness to admit your mistake then pick yourself up and try all over again.

Today I start anew. How about you?

October 27, 2004

Success

(While searching for a source of inspiration, low and behold I inspired myself! So today I share with you an oldie, but goodie. Because I think words are like wine, they get bolder and better with time.)

What does success look like? Does it drive a brand new car? Does it keep up with the latest trends in fashion and wear expensive designer clothing? Does it walk with an air of arrogance? Is it haughty; never reaching out a hand to someone in need? Does it look down its nose (outwardly OR inwardly) at those who appear to be less fortunate than they?

Is success rude? Does it interrupt others? Does it finish other's sentences? Does it overlook the one who truly deserves the advance on the job and instead gives it to a "friend." Does it fail to notice the hard work, time, and dedication that others put into some particular thing, and observe only the negatives about that same person?

Can success be defined as educated? Is success only achieved by a degree? Are life's lessons just erased, and discounted as success? Do hardships and trials take away from one's success?

Is "overnight success" real? Is "success" that is handed to you on a silver platter truly success?

I am successful. Not because of who I know, or where I go, or what I am. I am successful because I set goals for myself and I work hard to achieve them. I am successful because I am a good mother. I am successful because my children know that I love them. I am successful because I am a respectable wife. I am successful because I believe in myself and my aspirations.

My success does not depend on anyone else. My success will come totally from within. My success is dervied from time, effort, and hard work.

I am a success!

October 21, 2004

Truly, truly I do

Pre-mobilization photo

I love my Honey Bunny. I truly do. And because I miss him so much, I decided that I would blog about him tonight while I'm sitting here dreaming of him. If reading sappy lovey-lovey things bores you, then feel free to yawn your way to another blog. ;)

What do I love about him?
  • He's kind.
  • He's funny.
  • He's silly.
  • He's caring.
  • He's compassionate.
  • He supports me unconditionally.
  • He "gets" me.

(My list goes on for miles.)

How did we meet?
  • At church.
  • The first time I met him, I thought he was the goofiest person I'd ever met.
  • I told a friend that if Robert were the last man alive on the face of the earth, I would never marry him. (Boy, did I ever EAT those words!) ;)


Did I say, "YES!" immediately when he asked me to marry him?
  • NOPE!
  • He asked many times.
  • I was afraid to say, "YES!"
  • He didn't give up.


When did he first ask me out on a date?
  • At our church Christmas banquet.
  • My friends conspired to help me against me and "accidentally" seated us beside each other.
  • He came up to me afterwards and asked me out.
  • I responded in the only way I knew how (smart-aleky) and said, "Noooooo, Robert!"
  • I was joking.
  • He thought I was serious.
  • He just said, "Okay," and walked off.


So how did we end up together?
  • I had to suck it up and work up my nerve to call him and tell him that I really did want to go out with him.
  • He gladly asked me out again.
  • The rest is history.


Sometimes I forget what my life was like before I met Robert. And sometimes I can't imagine what my life would be like if I never had met him.

If I searched the whole over, far and wide, I would NEVER find another man who would be so wonderful to me. It's amazing to know that I am blessed with a best friend and husband, wrapped all up in one sweet package.

He's my Honey Bunny and I wuv him!

October 18, 2004

Be gone, Evil One!

Drats to that old evil People Pleasing thing that rears its ugly head within me!! I am working so hard on doing the things that I want to do, and being me but it isn't that simple.

Just when I think I am moving forward, It rears Its ugly head again. It stifles my ability to think clearly. It makes me doubt myself. It makes me paranoid. It plays a song in my head, the title of which is, "You're a failure, and you'll never be anything but!"

Where's my weaponry? Where's the sharp words of courage and self-belief? Quickly now I must reach deep within myself and pull out the courage that I know lies within. Victory SHALL be mine!!

P.S. Never fear, all is well. I just thought it would be fun to create a humorous post about the silly things I deal with sometimes.

*Keep on keepin' on

I am quickly learning that no matter what I do, there's always something said or done that won't sit right with someone. It's frustrating. But I know that if I just continue doing what God tells me to do, and use my talents for His glory, something good will come from it!

Prayer: Help me, Jesus, to forgive those who hurt and abandon me. Show me how to be kinder to others around me. Help me to have an open heart and mind. And bless those who love and dislike me. Make me more like YOU!

*Repost from June 5, 2004

October 16, 2004

Uncovering the cover-ups

You can't whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
- Proverbs 28:13 (The Message)


Ah, that stinky human nature! What is it about us humans that makes us think we can cover up our sins and hide them? Even if we are successful at hiding them from others, God see and knows all!

I wonder if we forced ourselves to become more aware of God's presence in our lives, if that would change us. What a revolution we could start if we all started living according to the five Jesus senses:

  • Jesus is watching.
  • Jesus is listening.
  • Jesus is feeling.
  • Jesus is tasting.
  • Jesus is touching.


No matter where we are, or what we do, Jesus is there by our side. We might be able to cover up our sins so that our friends and family can't see them. But what does that do to us?

Each time we attempt to cover a sin, we apply layers of shame, hurt, and guilt to ourselves, compounding the situation. Imagine this. Each time you sin and try to cover it up, you are putting on another shirt. How many shirts have you put on just over this past week? Do you have so many layers of clothes (covered-up sins) that you can barely walk now? Are you hot? Bothered? Irritated?

Now imagine peeling away each layer of clothing as you ask God for forgiveness and welcome His grace and mercy. How does it feel as you disrobe each layer of shame and guilt? Can you feel the weight lifting off your shoulders? Don't you feel lighthearted and free again?

This is God's desire. We all sin. We all fall short. But THANK GOD we can find forgiveness and mercy at the foot of the cross! Make your way to Him today and leave it all there!

October 15, 2004

Busy as a bee

"If you did not look after today's business then you might as well forget about tomorrow."
- Isaac Mophatlane


I didn't realize that I neglected my blog all week! And bless your wonderful heart if you have clicked back each day, waiting for something new. I do apologize.

So what have I been so busy doing, you ask? Working on Mother Devoted, my newest venture. I am gathering resources, building a website, collecting information, going through some terrific submissions. Mother Devoted launches January 2005, and the time is drawing near!

I have also been busy working on other websites. It seems sometimes like there aren't enough hours in one day!

The last thing I will share with you today is that I have begun charting a new course with a coach. With Lynn's perception and nudges, I am beginning to live my life for ME once again. It's been WAY too long!! If you are seeking improvement in a certain area of your life, give Lynn a try. You get a complimentary call, which is DEFINITELY worth your time! There are absolutely no strings attached. But I think you will be happily surprised at what you will get out of a free 30-minute conversation! When you email Lynn to make an appointment for your complimentary call, tell her that "Hope Wilbanks" sent you!

October 12, 2004

Create Positive Energy

I must admit that I have been down in the dumps for three days now. I blame most of my mood on the weather. It's been rainy and yucky. And of course, I miss my Honey Bunny.

So this morning I am working my way to a better, more positive mood. And what better way to do this than to crank up some good praise music! While sitting here listening to my favorite online station, I thought, "Hey! I should share the love!"

If you have a good internet connection, open up your Windows Media Player and connect yourself to Z88.3 (in Florida). They play positive, upbeat tunes 24/7. And I wuv 'em! CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE WEBSITE AND LISTEN!!

October 11, 2004

Changes

As you can see, I have changed things again. I was not happy using the other interface, so I'm back to Blogger. I saved the most important files from the other program I was using. Everything has been deleted in order for me to publish, using this same url. Otherwise, I would have to change links again, and I don't want to do that.

I will customize the look here, but for now that is not at the top of my to-do list. I'll get around to it when I have extra time.

In other news...

Website Design by Hope
I now have three website design accounts! Business is slowly building. How exciting! If you need a website but don't have the "know how" or don't want to do it on your own, EMAIL ME with your full name, email address and telephone number and I will call you and give you a FREE quote. No strings attached, of course.

Cup of Hope
If you haven't ordered your copy of the Premier Issue of Cup of Hope, you don't know what you're missing! There are still a few copies available, so hurry and order one now! Only $2.00 per copy! I pay for the shipping. ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

I am also in the final stages of binding my new Cup of Hope zine. Just wait until you see it!!! It is small enough to carry around in your pocket or purse and filled with lots of inspiration and encouragement! I can't wait to get those to you!

If you still haven't signed up for my FREE Cup of Hope e-zine, you are truly missing out! Here's what subscribers are saying...

  • "Wonderful, wonderful. Thank you Hope for your gentle reminders that stir up goodness and great ideas of the way we should be! God Bless ya! Good work!" - Cindy Irish - http://www.itsmysite.com/beeskneezcom/


  • "Just wanted to say I enjoyed the latest Cup of Hope." - Audra Silva - http://writingmom.bravejournal.com/


  • "Your mention of plucking fresh fruit was heartwarming. As kids, we had peach trees from which we could pick and eat the fresh fruit. And those peaches were wonderful! But every now and then, we'd find a worm inside what we thought was a good peach, and we'd have to pick another instead. The rotten ones were tossed to the animals. Thanks for bringing back for me such a warm memory. And for another great lesson to consider." -- Dar Arechederra


June 15, 2004

News Bulletin

Associated Press released a report today that says Batter-coated french fries are a fresh vegetable. Say WHAAAAAAAAT?

In entertainment news, Prince Harry Hopes to Join British Army, which would make his mummy proud, I'm sure.

Top story is President Bush says the U.S. will turn over former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein but declines to set a timetable.

And last but not least, if you're an interior designer, whatever you do..... DON'T criticize anyone's deor!

...And now back to your regularly scheduled programs...

June 14, 2004

AHA!!!!!

I'm successful and didn't even know it! After stumbling upon this article, I discovered that the one dream I've built my hopes upon came true over a year ago. I'm already a published author! hehehe

Kindergarten Camp

Emily has Kindergarten Camp this week. So I was none surprised that she was up and running when Elijah woke up at 5 this morning. Excitement! (<=Emily) Nervousness! (<=ME) My baby's growing up too fast!

June 13, 2004

Sunday!

I've been busy this week. I've been working on various things and doing a bit of writing. Sorry I haven't been around. Hopefully I'll be able to post more this week.

June 12, 2004

Goodbye

It's never easy saying good-bye to a loved one. My heart was wrenched with pain last night as we watched Mrs. Reagan say her last farewell. Robert and I were both moved to tears. The Reagan family has always been an American icon. They stood for family, honor, duty, morals. They had strong faith. I'd never given much thought to it until yesterday. But it almost seemed as though one of the last of the true Americans (in the full sense of the word) was laid to rest.

I especially enjoyed the stories that each of the children told. I thought they honored their dad by sharing the parts of him that they knew so well with the entire world. They shared with us a part of the man that made him so well-loved and respected. It was also amazing to see so many people, of vast nationalities and social statuses, to come together and pay respects to such a man.

June 09, 2004

BOOK ALERT!

Shirley Jump's latest book is on the shelves! Run out and get your copy, or click on the picture below and get your copy from Amazon. You won't be disappointed!

Buy it TODAY!

Meaning of a military funeral ceremony

I found this article, and thought I'd share it. I learned several things I didn't know. There is meaning for each of the 13 folds in a flag. Did you know that? Go check it out for yourself.

Goodbye, Mr. President

I've been watching the departure of Ronald Reagan's family from California to Washington. I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment as I listen to the band play "Amazing Grace" and hear the blasting of the 21-gun salute.

On one hand, it almost feels like an invasion of privacy. I wonder how I would feel, if I knew that people all over were watching such a personal affair. I think it is affecting me so greatly because of the latest news that Robert could very well leave us soon.

God Bless America!

June 07, 2004

Stronger


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Okay, so I suppose I've gone music crazy. So sue me. If you liked the 80s (or the movie 'Mannequin'), hit Play.

I feel like I'm growing stronger within myself. I'm believing more in myself these days. My mantra this year has been "ACTION CONQUERS FEAR". I've said it continuously this year. I've written it at the end of nearly every journal entry I write. It became a natural habit to say it. The thing is, it became just a set of words. Mindless repetition.

Let me tell you, my friends, mindless repetition is sometimes a wonderful thing. Because in the oddest moments, realization will knock you off your feet, and you get one of those, "AHA!" moments.

Have you had an "AHA!" moment lately? What was it about?

June 06, 2004

Getting Stronger

I am growing more empowered by the minute. Who did this to me? ME! It is possible to encourage yourself and do things you never thought you'd do. Give it a whirl! What do you have to lose?

It's happening again

As if yesterday's song-playing-in-my-head-over-and-over-again wasn't enough, it's happening again this morning. CMT is playing all love songs this morning and now Faith Hill is playing in my head repeatedly. So I thought I'd share the love.


Hit the "Play" if you dare!

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Darkness

Three words tickle my ears this morning. Dark. Roasted. Coffee. Ahhhhhh. For some reason I had the hair-brained idea to purchase medium roast coffee. MEDIUM roast??? What in the world was I thinking? So when I went back for a new package of dark roast last week, imagine my surprise and disgust when there was no dark roast Community Coffee! YIKES!

*Disclaimer: I was born in Tenneessee, but raised in Louisiana. You can take the girl out of Cajun country, but you can't take all the Cajun out of the girl!

Community Coffee ROCKS! Fortunately for me, I managed to dig around in the shelves until I found a canister of dark roasted Folgers. *SIGH* Okay, so Folgers isn't the same as my Community, but at least it's dark roast!

Try this for fun: Cooking with Coffee

June 05, 2004

The heat is on!

Ever get a song in your head, and it just keeps playing? After a tiny nap, I woke up and this song's stuck in my head. I have no idea why, because I haven't even heard it today.

Hit the "Play" if you dare!

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Blog sparingly

No, it's not just you. I haven't blogged as much lately. I don't know why, but I just can't seem to get here every day and post something. It isn't that I don't think about it. But I just don't seem to have anything to blog about lately. Perhaps it's because I have one too many blogs. I dunno. And I dislike posting dum-dum posts (like this one) where I don't really have anything to say and so I just blabber on and on.

I'm also getting bored with my site's appearance again. Jeepers. What do you think? Should I keep this look a while longer, or are you ready for something different, too?

June 04, 2004

I took Eli for his 6 month checkup and shots yesterday. I prepared myself for screaming when the first shot went in his leg. He didn't even flinch!! He just looked at the nurse, then at me. I couldn't believe it! I've never seen a baby not cry when they get shots.

Rob has drill tomorrow. They are going to have a Family Support meeting, but I don't know if I'll be able to go or not. I'd really like to, but I just don't know how I'll pull it off. Guess we'll see!

And now an advertisement for a friend.
Buy the book

June 03, 2004

I'm a Mom Writer!

Well, Eli woke up around 3:30 this morning. He went back to sleep, but Mommy didn't. And while I laid there counting sheep, this LOUD voice in my head kept saying, "GET UP AND WRITE! USE THIS TIME! IT'S QUIET! GO WRITE!" You know....THAT voice.

So I peeled away the covers, came in the living room, and spent a few minutes with God in prayer. I had to thank Him, you know, for waking me up so early this morning. :)

Afterwards, I got the laptop out and opened up my file and got to work. I got about 3-4 pages out pretty quick. However, this tiger inside, named Sleep Deprivation yawned, stretched, then yawned again.

By this time the hubby was up, asking for coffee. So I closed down my apps and made coffee. I nestled my big booty into our VERY lumpy sofa and sunggled up with my favorite granny-square afghan that my sister made. Alas, the afghan (much as I love it) isn't long enough to cover my long legs. So I wrestled with it for a few minutes, finally hooking my big toe into one of the holey spaces, and pulling it up under my chin as much as I could. I closed my eyes, and.........

PA-DA! PA-DA! PA-DA!

The sound of Eli bucking his butt in the baby bed told me he was awake.

After a bottle and a burp, Eli was back in his bed, and I in mine.

June 02, 2004

REJECTED!

Received a rejection this morning on one of the three pieces I emailed out. Oh well. :) I can't expect to be accepted every time I send something out. So now it's time to roll my sleeves up and get back to work again.

June 01, 2004

Riding the Wave

What in the world possessed me into thinking that I couldn't do this?

Today I submitted two devotionals to paying markets. That's a total of three submissions within a week. Now, some of you veterans are probably snorting at me, pointing your fingers and hee-hawing at my kitty-cat-meows. :) That's okay! Go ahead and laugh!

So why am I so thrilled at three submissions in one week, when none of them have been accepted yet? For the first time, I believe in myself. I'm trusting that my babies writing is good enough, and I am giving them wings to soar.

Better Known As...

I got this from Angela. I nearly peed in my pants when it generated my name. LOL

From now on, you may refer to me as...
Acorn Short of an Oak Tree
instead of Hope Wilbanks

Or better yet....
Dances with Chipmunks
instead of Hope

Get in touch with your inner squirrel, then come back and tell me your true squirrel name.

Overindulgence

After a weekend filled with food, I'm feeling a bit yucky today. :) It's my own fault, really. I started out really good, but by the end of the night last night, I was as stuffed as a Thanksgiving Day turkey. So I decided this morning that I will do a liquid fast today. Of course, I can't do without my morning coffee, so I'm working on that as we speak. But the rest of the day will be water and maybe a little bit of juice only.

What was your Memorial Day weekend like?

May 31, 2004

Yesterday morning in church Emily asked for paper an a pen. She likes to "write" during the preaching. (Maybe because she's watched me take notes?) So I pulled a notepad from my bag and a pink ink pen. After several minutes I looked over to see what she was writing. She wasn't. Writing, that is. She was drawing. She was holding her hand in front of the pad, with three fingers in the air, and drawing! I do believe I have an artist on my hands!!

It thrills me every time I see her doing something like this. She is quite talented, even at five. I am going to do all that I can to encourage her to develop this talent (if she desires to do so).

May 29, 2004

Can't Wait! Can't Wait!

I'm letting my inner child play. Sound silly? I certainly hope so! *VBG* Who made the rule that you have to stop having fun and being silly when you grow up?

Come on, little Hopie.....let's go play.......

May 28, 2004

Aw MAAAAAAAN!

I'm sitting here thinking about this weekend. Our annual Memorial Day picnic at church is Sunday afternoon. Food and fun. Then Monday we're going to another Memorial Day bash. More FOOD and fun. :) I am going to have to really watch what I eat. I will NOT gain back the few pounds I've already lost! I won't....I won't....I won't.... :D

Encouragement

What do you do, or where do you turn, when you need a boost of encouragement? I don't remember what I did before the internet. There is such a wealth of information at our fingertips, and I was just wondering if we utilize it in a nurturing way. Something to think about! :)

May 26, 2004

I messed up

And now I'm beating myself up. I've been going to Weight Watchers several weeks now, and have done really good so far. I just blew it. I am an emotional eater, and although I've done very well controlling my urges, today was horrible. I've been a little upset about something, and I threw all my self-control out the window and binged big-time on cookies and milk. And of course, now I feel miserable. Ahhhhh....All I can hope is that tomorrow will be a better day.

Empowerment

Noun: empowerment
The act of conferring legality or sanction or formal warrant

I feel empowered this week to do things I haven't done in a long time. And what exactly is empowerment? It is when we give ourselves authorization. WOW! That is awesome. We have the power to either stop ourselves from going for what we want, or pushing through the barriers to move forward with our goals.

Here's your authorization. Do what you want to do today!

May 25, 2004

Life's Accomplishments

I was given an assignment this week to create two lists. The first is a list of my "wants." The second is a list of my life's accomplishments (great and small). I was pretty leery of this assignment. I figured that my list of wants would grow like Pinocchio's nose. I didn't think I'd be able to think of any accomplishments to write down.

When I opened a blank file and began typing, I amazed even myself. You see, after writing a handful of "wants" down, I couldn't think of much more! So I opened a new file for my "accomplishments." To my delight, I began remembering things I've done that I'd forgotten about.

You see, I've been so focused on what I'm not doing, that somewhere along the way, I've lost sight of all the things I've already accomplished in my lifetime! I am humbled, and yet excited. Because I can see where I've come from and I see the path ahead of me.

Are you feeling a bit blue with your present situation? Feeling like you will never be what you want to be, or do what you want to do? Sit down now and create a list of your life's accomplishments.

May 24, 2004

Rejuvination

Have you ever experienced a moment in time when it seemed as though the entire universe clicked its heels just for you?

I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God has heard my prayer. I have my first assignment. I am a woman on a mission. Stand back and watch me roar!

May 23, 2004

Sunday Brunch

I happened upon this one last week, and thought it might be fun. So here goes:

My Favorite Things

1. What is your favorite color? RED!

2. What is your favorite piece of clothing? pajamas

3. Where is your favorite place to eat out? Fazoli's

4. What is your favorite meal? Baked Spaghetti

5. What is your favorite sport or recreational game?Volleyball

May 22, 2004

Step up to the microphone, please...

Do you blog hop? Do you visit the same blogs regularly? Do you have a favorite blog(s)? When your favorite bloggers don't blog regularly, do you still find yourself clicking like a blog-crazed maniac for a new post? Or do you just give up and never go back again?

Where are these questions coming from? My own blog-hopping-craziness! :)

May 21, 2004

No news is no news

For some reason, I've felt lack of inspiration to blog this week. So instead, I've practiced the art of refilling my well each day. I've created several wonderful mini pieces of art, using my watercolors. I'll be posting them on my Treasures blog every now and again.

May 19, 2004

Hiatus

I've been on a short leave of absence. A break. A rest. A brief time out.

I needed to regroup and gather my thoughts. After dealing with the baby being sick for several days, I was stretched and pulled to every limit, and then some!

Monday Rob came home and shoved me out of the house. He knew I needed some time to myself. All it took was a few minutes. I took my laptop outside, sat on the swing underneath the oak trees, and started writing. Fifteen minutes later, I had three completed articles. They still need editing, of course. I felt absolutely fabulous that I'd create these pieces in such a short amount of time. There's no telling what I can do if I could just find a few free minutes each day!

May 16, 2004

Seven Years Ago Today I...

...was young.
...was carefree.
...was outgoing.
...was happy.
...was in love.
...got married.

Seven years ago at this time my best friend, sister, and I realized that nobody had made rice bags for the wedding. My head covered in pink and purple hot sticks, we jumped in the car, and drove to Hobby Lobby. We made it there before they opened, and sat in the car waiting for the doors to open. We went in and bought tulle, ribbon, and a white wicker basket to hold the confetti bags. Then we ran back to the house and set in to make the tiny pouches.

What sweet memories!

May 14, 2004

Cool Find

For all you creative beings out there, someone was kind enough to share this link with me, so I'm passing it on to you! So much fun!! Don't get addicted. ;)

Refrigerator Poetry

art

This really has nothing to do with writing, I suppose, but I'm going to share anyways. I just finished 2 Cup of Hope RAK cards that was ordered this week. I'm so excited about the finished product! Instead of making my cards in bulk, I've placed some samples online, and then when I get an order, I make a special card, just for the person that is being RAK'd. It's a wonderful, giddy feeling, knowing that these cards I make are going to be in someone else's hands in a few days. They will be cheered with a message of kindness. I can just imagine the smiles on their faces now...

May 12, 2004

BOO!

Okay, I admit it. I've been hiding out. It seems like I've been in a whirlwind for about a week now. The dust is finally settling, and I'm kicking my booty into high gear. I have To Do lists coming out of my nose. Hopefully with any luck, I'll get half of it done today.

The kids are both fussy and grouchy. Emily is dealing with a terrible bout of allergies (wonder where she got that from?) and Elijah is still trying to cut teeth. Although the two bottom teeth are out, they've just bared popped from under the surface of the skin. So he's still uncomfortable from that.

Yesterday's episode of Starting Over was interrupted by the probing into the abuse scandal. Now I realize that this is a real issue, with merited concern. But I need my STARTING OVER, people!!

May 10, 2004

I sat here playing with my Word Web trying to find the right word to use to describe the way I feel today. I found the perfect word.

thwarted
PRONUNCIATION: thwortud

Adjective:
         1. Disappointingly unsuccessful

Verb: thwart
         1. Hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of


I am thwarting myself. I know this. I've known it for some time. So why do I continue doing this to myself?

May 07, 2004

Makin' it through

Well, it's nearing 2:30 and I haven't received a call from Robert yet. Maybe they will pass his unit again. It certainly is tiresome on my mind to worry like I have been. I think they should keep quiet if they really don't know anything, until they have definite concrete news!

So yesterday was weigh-in day and I lost 1/2 pound. I knew I wouldn't lose much, if any, because I had a terrible week last week. I'm having a much better day today. There's something about feeling like you have a fresh start.

May 06, 2004

Dread

Okay, I know I went through this same routine last week, but I really mean it this week. Today's weigh-in day, and I know I've gained at least 2 of my 5.5 pounds from last week back. I didn't even do good HALF of this week. I did horrible every day. I've got to do better this week.

May 05, 2004

Got time?

If you have some extra time on your hands, go check out Keri Smith's website for some interactive serendipitous fun (flash required).

May 04, 2004

Capturing Memories

I got the kids' pictures yesterday, and they are so good! Unfortunately my scanner doesn't work, so I can't scan and share with you right now. I said I wasn't going to spend extra money on a bunch of pictures, but.......well.......I fibbed! All in all, for what I paid and what I got, I definitely got my money's worth! You just can't put a price on memories!

May 03, 2004

Pins and Needles

When Robert got home last night, he informed me that they told him at drill this weekend to be expecting a phone call this week. They also told them to be prepared to be gone for 18-24 months, and that their destination will be Iraq. Now I was fine until he said that. Then I cried a little. For my son. Elijah is only 6 months old. If Robert were to be gone for two years, Elijah would not remember him. Yes, I can show him pictures and talk about his daddy to him, but that's not the same as seeing him every day.

So now I must put my game face on. Yes, if he has to go to Iraq I'll worry about him. But if he has to go, I want our time together now to be good. I don't want him to leave and have him worry about me the entire time he's away. I want him to leave knowing that I will be okay, and that his family will be right here waiting for him when he returns home to us.

May 01, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

aMusings is one year old today.

Interesting Find

There is a Journal Genie that can analyse your journal entries. Supposedly it will help you help yourself. :) What will they come up with next?

April 30, 2004

The Digressed Writer

Today I'm feeling quite creative. But what am I doing? I'm sitting here on the internet reading blogs, articles, etc. instead of CREATING! I do this a lot actually. I tend to let other things (radio, tv, kids, books, etc.) sidetrack me. And then when I finally decide, "Okay, time to work," the creativeness is gone. I don't think it's really gone. Misplaced, maybe.

April 29, 2004

Get your dancin' shoes on!

I lost 5.5 pounds!!!!!!!!!

Wish me luck!

Da-da-da-duuuuuuuum

Today's the day. Weigh-in day. I'm nervous, excited, scared. I just hope that I come back with a good report. :)

April 28, 2004

Blog Blowout

So here I am again today not knowing what in the world to blog about. I've visited my favorite daily blog reads, but I'm still sitting here stuck. How about YOU take a turn? Answer these questions in the comment section:


  1. Do you only READ blogs, or are you a blogger, too?
  2. Do you have a favorite blog? (Share a link.)
  3. What types of blogs do you enjoy reading? (i.e. parenting, humor, inspirational, etc.)
  4. What is the greatest take-away value you obtain from reading a blog?

April 27, 2004

Excuse me, have you seen my mind?

I felt bad because I helped spring clean my mother-in-law's house, but I haven't done anything in my own. So I decided this morning that I'd clean a bit, then I'd be able to write during my quiet time after lunch. This is so NOT going to happen.

So far I've cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, but I'm still not finished. I still have yet to scrub the tub and sink in the bathroom (I always save that for last b/c I hate doing it). I went through my little hutch and cleaned it out and organized my canned goods, but I still have to go through my other cabinets. I think I will save that for later, though, b/c they're not that bad.

I also decided while working in the kitchen that I'm going to paint the cabinets. They are a horrible dark brown. My kitchen is so small as it is, that the cabinets swallow it whole. I will probably go with an off-white to brighten things up.

To Blog, or not to blog

I guess you can probably tell that I haven't been in a blogging mood for about a week. I don't really know why. I guess I've just been so busy with other "stuff" that it really hasn't crossed my mind.

I'm enjoying the wonderful weather. Last week it rained nearly every day. This week the sun is bright again, and it's so nice outside. Yesterday I was able to keep the windows open all day and enjoy the fresh air. It was just cool enough to keep it from being stuffy in the house.

I have lots to do this week. I have to wrap up May's issue of Cup of Hope. I also have a few other "loose ends" to tie, too.

April 26, 2004

Monday! Monday!

It looks like the rain has finally broke. The sun is shining bright this morning, birds are tweeting, it's nice and cool, and MY GRASS NEEDS TO BE CUT! :) Robert's been so busy with everything else that he hasn't had time to do our lawn. I think he'll probably get to it today, though.

I'm babysitting this morning. I was afraid Jayden would cry all morning. He did cry for just a minute, but then I cuddled with him and we watched JoJo's Circus. He snuggled up with a blanket and went back to sleep. Now Emily's up and she's keeping him busy. LOL She loves having company to play with. It seems like she gets along better with boys than she does girls. YIKES! :)

April 25, 2004

For my friends, Angela and Kelly:

When things go wrong,
(And they sometimes will)
Put a smile on your face
And keep holding on.

Trials and burdens
Get the best of us all.
But you must stand again
After the fall.

Lessons learned,
Hard as they may be,
Prove their value
To you and me.

Take your enlightenment,
Hold it in your hands.
Turn it left and right,
Look at every angle you can.

What have you learned?
What truths does it bear?
Search and you will find
A pearl of wisdom there.

April 23, 2004

Drippy

It's still raining! Three days and counting. I love rain. BUT...I have to get out in it after while with both kids by myself! I'm taking them to have pictures made. I hope it slows down at least before we have to leave. We're under a flood watch until this evening, too.

Today is my first day on WW. I did good (mentally) until lunch. That's usually my breaking point. But, I fixed my lunch, and cut an apple into small slices (so it would last longer) and placed it on my plate with the rest of my food. By the time I finished everything, I was so full I didn't even want any cookies. Plus, I just realized as I marked another box off for water, that I only have one more glass of water to go for today's 8 glasses! Wow! I think I'm going to have Robert take a "before" picture of me so I'll have something to show off when all this weight is gone.

April 22, 2004

Recipes?

If you collect recipes and happen to have some quick, simple, easy Weight Watchers recipes (or links to some) please share them! I'm putting together a new recipe box. Gotta take this seriously!

Paying to be Healthy

I joined Weight Watchers tonight. It was much more laid back and relaxed than I thought it would be. I was very nervous, but it went okay. After returning home, I sat down with a pencil and paper and wrote down my typical day's diet to figure up points. I think this is going to be fairly simple and easy to follow. I just need to cut a few things out that I consume daily (sweets, etc.). Let's hope I lose weight, especially since I'm paying to lose it!

April 21, 2004

A-B-C

Emily, who is 4, has been "writing." Yesterday she came in the living room with a stack of books, her sketch pad, and twistable crayons. She sat in the floor and spread her books all around her. Then one by one, she wrote words from each book in her sketch pad.

Maybe this is nothing grand, and perhaps your kids have done the same. But I am amazed as I watch her do this. The other day she did this, using her flash cards. First she wrote the word "Pear" from the pear card. Then she looked at me and said, "Pear." Even though she doesn't realize it, she's actually teaching herself to read!!

April 20, 2004

Internet Burnout

This week I will be limiting my online time. I need to shift my focus to my family and writing at the present time. Never fear, I will blog. But I have several ideas that need to be put on paper, and I am doing so well on my novel challenge, that I want to keep the ball rolling as fast as I can.

Today will be Library Day for Emily and I. This used to be our special time together before Elijah. I'm so consumed in bottles and diapers that it's hard to find time to do things with Emily only. She's looking forward to our trip to the library, so I'm sure it will be fun.

April 19, 2004

More weighty issues

Coffee, sugar, flavored creamer, ice cream, chocolate, cookies, candy.......can you tell where I'm headed with this yet?

For over a month I made a concerted effort to cut back on the "bad" foods. The harder I try, the more I eat. I think my problem is that I think about all the things I can't have instead of what I can eat.

This weekend I've heard lots of news about Iraq. I'm getting the feeling that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. With the death toll so far at 100 in April, this brings the total since last March to over 700. After taking control of power, Spain's new prime minister is withdrawing their troops. Even though there is a cease-fire through tomorrow, one can't help but wonder if there isn't some sinister planning going on right now.

With Robert in the Army National Guard, I can't help but keep myself updated on what's going on. In the beginning when all this started, I worried a lot. Now I have come to the conclusion that worrying is useless. If he goes, all I can do is wait for him to return home and pray for his safety. If I ever feel myself returning to that "worry" frame of mind, I stop and remind myself of all the women who don't have their husbands anymore. Somehow they find the strength to continue on. So can I.

April 18, 2004

Remember

It's funny how I think I can't remember much from my childhood, then something comes along and jogs my memory. This is just a bit of fun for my family. When you guys read this, post a comment and tell me if you remember any of it.

Remember:


  1. When I won an art contest in high school? (I painted Bart Simpson on a t-shirt.)
  2. When I was obsessed with Gremlins and wanted a little "furball" of my own? (I wrote a letter to Granny telling her I wanted one.)
  3. When I had a crush on G.C. (If you can't figure out the initials email me and I'll remind you! I'm sure you'll remember then!)
  4. When I won an art contest in elementary? (I don't remember what grade---5th maybe?) My prize was a huge art set.
  5. All the writing and spelling contests I entered?
  6. All the high school slumber parties?
  7. When I asked Moma to drive the car less than a mile to Kasey's house, and ended up quite a bit FARTHER from home?
  8. When we used to make "playhouses" out of quilts and blankets on the clothesline in the summertime?
  9. When I walked out of the bathroom at church with my (purple) dress tucked in the top of my underwear?
  10. When Angelique and I sang a "special song" in church and my microphone fell out of the stand onto the floor?

What do you remember?