August 31, 2005

30 days of Iraq

Starting tomorrow, I will post a picture every day, throughout the entire month of September. These pictures will give you a look at Iraq, as our guys see it every day. I hope you enjoy, and please remember to say a pray for our troops.

August 29, 2005

Amazing

Every now and then you stumble upon something, or someone truly amazing. My friend is in the process of writing her memoir. Hers is a powerful, thought-provoking story of a teen mom.

She sends me each chapter as it is written, and I am so enthralled in her story that I am drawn to the computer each hour to see if another chapter awaits. I am amazed at the strength and tenacity of this woman after reading her life's story.

Growing up, I knew many girls who became mothers at a young age. I never understood their position. I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of being a mother at the ripe age of 14. Angela's story is opening my eyes to all the questions and pre-conceived ideas I had about teenage mothers. I am gaining a greater understanding to this issue.

If you are interested in Angela's story, be sure to visit and bookmark her blog, The Life & Times of Me... I feel confident that she will be publishing in the very near future, and this book is going to be a good one!

August 26, 2005

All's well

For now, all is well with Robert. He called this morning and talked with me for a bit. I was pleasantly surprised in finding his photo on the army's website.

CLICK HERE TO SEE

(The caption says, "Soldiers from the 198th Armor, 155th Brigade Combat Team, chat with patrons of an Iraqi convenience shop during a patrol in Najaf." If you don't see it on the original load, hit refresh a few times until you get it. There are several pictures that rotate at random on each page load.)

August 25, 2005

A call to prayer

Please pray for Robert this evening, around 6 pm CST. Thanks! (Update later)

August 23, 2005

True friends

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10


True friends are blessings. Most of the time, they come wrapped up in odd shaped packages and are so unexpected that you nearly overlook them.

Life has a way of weeding out friends from the true friends. Haven't you found that to be true?

When I look back at my life over the last decade, I immediately recognize two people who have been there with me through thick and thin. I'm here to tell you that the three of us have been through some major things together. Yet through it all, we remain friends. That is the mark of a true friend.

Together, we have been through boyfriends, break-ups, marriage, miscarriages, birth, death, heartache, joy, heartbreak. I don't think there is anything we haven't experienced together as friends.

True friends are a valuable treasure. Here are some tell-tale signs that you have a true friend:
  • Tears and snot drop to their shoulder while they're wearing a new, dry-clean-only dress and they never notice

  • You get mad about something and they give you your space until you cool off, then forgive you for acting like a jerk

  • You experience terrible labor pains and call at the last minute and they come to the hospital

  • You are alone, your baby is hospitalized, and they are the first person to call or come by to see if you are okay or need anything

  • You're struggling spiritually and have a rotten attitude and they are the first to set you straight and tell you that you have a rotten attitude

  • You know that it doesn't matter what time of the day or night, you can call and they will be there for you

Thank God for true friends!

August 22, 2005

Strength

"It is said that our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength."
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Synchronicity is a wonderful friend. :) This quote arrived in my Inbox at the very moment I typed and sent the following to a friend:
"Robert said yesterday was a hard day and this was going to be a rough week. We had special prayer for him at church last night. I would never wish this worry or stress on ANYONE."

Something I have learned this year is that anxiety and stress really don't help the situation. If anything, it adds to the pressure.

One definition of stress is "to test the limits thereof." I can say without hesitation that I have been tested and tried at all points this year. I have been pushed to more limits than I realized I had. And yet, I have endured.

I realize that I can spend every minute today worrying about what's happening with Robert. Or I can summons every ounce of faith and strength within me and make every moment counts towards something wonderful and beautiful that will encourage myself and my family.

I choose strength.

August 21, 2005

For Your Information

While doing research for my current book, I uncovered a valuable source of first-hand personal accounts of the war in Iraq. I am going to share some of these links with you, in hopes that you will also be further enlightened.


And for those who think our soldiers are doing no good...

August 20, 2005

Baby quilt

I wanted to share this a couple of weeks ago, but had to wait until after the Baby Shower, so as not to ruin the surprise, just in case Jennifer reads my blog. ;)

I made this cute baby quilt for my cousins' new baby boy, due to arrive in September. It turned out so cute!

Baby quilt

August 19, 2005

War

Scouts OutMy thoughts this morning are with my husband. I have been following this story since it began a couple of weeks ago. It stirs emotions in me, but not feelings of sympathy.

I totally understand people who have the viewpoint that the war is senseless. I agree. BUT...

Our troops are fighting this war, whether we like it or not. They need our support. They need us rallying for them.

When Robert first re-enlisted a few years ago, I was distraught. It caused quite a rift in our relationship. I didn't want him to sign up. Sure, it was only one weekend out of the month. I just hated the idea of him being in the "Army."

Last year when we learned that he would most likely be activated, and then when he was mobilized, a stark realization struck me. The reason why my husband signed his name on a piece of paper. He did it because of his love for our country.

The men and women who serve in armed forces for the United States of America do it because they want to. They are passionate about their jobs.

When I read stories of how our servicemen were spit on and ridiculed during earlier wars, it breaks my heart. Why weren't they supported? They were simply doing their jobs.

I think what some people fail to realize is that my husband is fighting this war so that we don't have to deal with it in our own back yards. Didn't 9-11 teach America anything??

As I stated in my opening, I understand the position of those who oppose the war. But what are you doing to support our troops until they return home??

August 18, 2005

Sharing

I don't have anything to say today, so I thought I would just share some of my school stuff with you.

This quarter I'm taking Advanced Graphics, which consists of learning how to use Adobe Photoshop CS. I am having so much fun! Here are some of the projects I've worked on over the last few weeks. I'm still a beginner, but I'm learning! ;)


Attitude


Sample Compositing

Rubberband

August 16, 2005

Wonderful works of God


"Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders."
- Psalms 119:18

Clouds outside Hope's home



August 14, 2005

Beautiful Rocks

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


What "rock pile" exists in your life? Look at it. What do you see?

Do you see just a pile of rocks? Or can you envision what can be made of those rocks?

Each of us are dealt a "pile of rocks" in our life. It's what we do with them that matters.

Can you see? Can you envision in your mind the beautiful, wondrous work of art that will come from your pile of rocks?

August 12, 2005

Courage

"Success is never final and failure never fatal. It's courage that counts."
-George F. Tiltonood


Ah, success. Sweet, isn't it? Oh, wait--what is your definition of success?

My entire adult life felt like a failure. Yes, I said failure.

I am an artist at heart. I love creating things. For some reason, I think this makes me a bit more "flighty" than the average Jane.

When the word "success" was spoken in my presence I froze. Successful? Me? No. I'm just a stay-at-home-mom. No person on this earth considers that a success. Right?

You see, over the years, I had begun many things. School. At home jobs. Yet none of these ever seemed to have a conclusion. An ending.

These loose strings hanging made me like a total and complete failure. I told myself I was a loser. A wanna-be. Stupid.

Once that ball starts rolling, it's hard to stop it.

Why do we focus on our "failures" instead of the positives?

Then one day, God placed a lady in my path that stopped the madness. After probing, Lynn asked me why I considered those things from my past as unsuccessful.

"Did you learn something from them?" she asked me.

"Yes."

"Then why do you look at it as failure? You tried something, it didn't work. So you tried something else. Look at the knowledge you have."

Whoa. It never occurred to me to look at my "failures" as successes.

As I looked through each situation where I counted myself as a failure, I began listing out points of why it was, instead, a success.

I had earned many life lessons. I couldn't see that, though, because I was too wrapped up in what I didn't do.

Success isn't a final judgement, a red stamp, at the top of your page. Success is trying as hard as you can to see if you are capable of whatever it is you are doing. Success is having the courage to try.

August 11, 2005

I'm Still Kickin'!

I have been so busy this week that I just realized I forgot to blog!

This was Emily's first week back to school--a new school. She seems to be adjusting well. I think next week she will be more relaxed and it will start to get easier. It's hard to make a transition like that, when you've already gone through as many changes as the poor child has seen in the past year.

On other fronts, you should see my desk. Oh, wait...no, I'm glad you can't see my desk. It's a mess! Folders, papers, notepads, school books--it's just one big mass confusion. I think my first order of business this morning is to clean my desk. I need a clean slate before I start working today!

Speaking of school, it is going well. I am in my third quarter now. I am enjoying the three classes I'm taking this time around. That always makes it easier. I look forward to the diploma I will receive in a few months. It will have been well-earned!

It certainly has been quiet in Comment Land lately. What are you up to? What's going on at your end of the woods?

August 07, 2005

Is it just me?

I keep seeing a commercial play that really sends me over the edge. The commercial is for a weight-loss company. You know, one of the big-named ones that sends you pre-packaged food for every day of the week. All you do is eat their food and PRESTO! the pounds melt off.

So this YOUNG lady pops onto the screen, all smiles. She looks REALLY thin, so I'm expecting her weight-loss story to be a good one. You know, the kind where she says, "I lost 200 pounds in only three months!" *wink*

Instead, she says (while flashing that brilliant smile, I might add), "I went from a size 10 to a size 4!"

HUH?!

She went from skinny to...SKINNY?!?!

SAY WHAT??!!

What is this teaching the young people of our day? Being thin isn't good enough, people--let's go for being ANOREXIC!

GET REAL!

Look, let's face it. I need to lose weight. Desperately. I have really packed on the pounds since having Elijah. But this really makes me sick. Which makes me wonder about this young woman's frame of mind.

While I am at my heaviest weight (even heavier than I was both times I was pregnant--YEAH, tell me about it!), I have never been more comfortable in my own skin. Yes, it's true.

See, it isn't about how much you weigh, or what dress size you're in. If you are happy with you, that's all that matters!

Size 10 to size 4?! GIVE ME A BREAK! If that company helped--encouraged even!--this lady to lose weight, I don't think I would want their help! What kind of people do things like that????

August 06, 2005

I am a...

I thought this would be fun to do. The results aren't what I thought they would be...but good nonetheless. :)





You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe


But don't think plain - instead think, uncomplicated

You're a low maintenance kind of girl... who can hang with the guys

Down to earth, easy going, and fun! Yup, that's you: the friend everyone invites.

And your dependable too. Both for a laugh and a sympathetic ear.




What Kind Of Coffee Are You? Take This Quiz :-)




Find the Love of Your Life
(and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.


August 04, 2005

It's that time again

Yesterday we went to register Emily for first grade. She is thrilled and can hardly wait to get started in her new class. Moma, on the other hand is kind of nervous. Emily will be attending a different school entirely, from the one she went to last year. This means she will be making new friends--all faces will be new to her.

Of course, I am worried about how she will be treated. Will she be accepted by the kids in her class? Being a "new kid" can be tough sometimes. However, Emily does have an outgoing personality, so I am trusting that everything will be okay. I felt a greater sense of peace about it after we left the school yesterday. All I can do is pray and leave it in God's hands. I know He'll look out for my baby!

August 02, 2005

Sponsor a good cause!

My good friend, Angela, will be blogging all night to raise money for Bartow County Foster Children.

The blogging begins on August 6th. Angela will blog every thirty minutes for 24 hours in an effort to raise money and awareness. All proceeds go solely to BCFC.

I am starting a $1 sponsorship drive. Come on, I know you have ONE BUCK!! Let's help Angela raise money for the Bartow County Foster Children.

Go pledge your $1 donation, then pass the word on to all your online friends!!

Just Do It!

One day a man arrived from Baal Shalishah. He brought the man of God twenty loaves of fresh baked bread from the early harvest, along with a few apples from the orchard.

Elisha said, "Pass it around to the people to eat."

His servant said, "For a hundred men? There's not nearly enough!"

Elisha said, "Just go ahead and do it. GOD says there's plenty."

And sure enough, there was. He passed around what he had--they not only ate, but had leftovers.
- 2 Kings 4:42-44 (The Message)


Have you ever argued with God? Sure, you have. We all have argued with God at some point over whether or not we should do what He tells us to do.

God works in mysterious ways. His thoughts are higher than ours (Psalms 139:17).

I cannot tell you how many times I have questioned God. In recent months, I have been pelted with so many situations that just felt simply unbearable. I questioned God:

Why? Why me? What have I done wrong? Why are You allowing this?

Now that I am on the "other" side of the storms, I can look back and, with assuredness, know that God had His hand on my life through it all.

We can never understand God's ways. There are things He does that seems so odd, so off-base. But when we can trust Him and just let Him do what He wants to do, everything works out for the best in the end.

We are His children (Psalms 103:13). He wants the best for us. But we have to be open and ready to accept it...whatever it may be.

The next time God speaks to you, just do it!

August 01, 2005

Who are you?

"When you're in your 90s and looking back, it's not going to be how much money you made or how many awards you've won. It's really "What did you stand for? Did you make a positive difference for people?"
- Elizabeth Dole


This is such a powerful quote. Lately I have been on some sort of quest for truth in my life. I am tired of secrets, deception, dishonesty. I would much rather the truth with a grain of salt than a sugar-coated lie to spare my feelings.

Which brings me to the thought spurred by this quote. At the end of my life on earth, will I be able to look back and be proud of my life? Will I know deep in my heart that I lived my life to its fullest?

Will I have experienced the sorrows of life with a measure of faith? Will I be able to say that I stood firm in my beliefs and never once backed down?

Will my children be proud to call me 'Mother'? Will they laugh and remember days gone by with great fondness?

Will my husband know that I was forever faithful to him? Will he rest in knowing that his faith and trust in me was a valued entity?

Will my friends know that I respected their ideals and opinions? Will they know that I believed in their dreams and appreciated their talents?

Will I have made a difference when my life comes to an end?