Monday, January 31, 2011

Never-Failing Mercy

"Because of the Lord’s great love for us, we are not consumed,
For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness"

Every day I fail.  I try to get it all right.  Really I do.  But in spite of all my trying, I fail over and again, and again.  And on the days when I'm not trying so hard?  Well, I can't even bear to talk about those days. 

The above verses have been coming to mind a lot recently.  It seems like everywhere I turn there they are...reminding me...comforting me...and encouraging me to trust in His love, and compassion, and His faithfulness. 

Good grief.  He is right here with me, wanting to grow me, to strengthen me, to love me - - to use me.

I'm thinking if He is willing to give me fresh mercy - fresh compassion - every. single. day. of my failure-strewn life, then the very least I can do is grab His hand, dust off my knees, and forge ahead. again.

...and be unceasingly grateful for the privilege and opportunity to do so.




Some life gifts for which I am grateful this week...

sweet, uninterrupted time with Jesus

my new, easy-on-the-eyes Bible

katie's blog with consistent updates on the babies

my children's reports of answered prayers

fresh mercy (lamentations 3:22-23)

morning Bible study with new, and far-from-new, friends

the arrival of Ann's new book

owen's rollover

utter confidence that God is in control

the bittersweet missing of friends far away

the sweet comfort of friends nearby

strength for today

hope for tomorrow

For what are you thankful on this brand-new, shiny Monday?  I would love to hear how God has blessed your heart...

...and I hope your Monday is just full of happy!
Renee

(A Thousand Gifts #261-273)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Five Minute Friday: The Women

Oh Five-minute Fridays, how you challenge and liberate me so. 

Today's topic?  Women.  Hmmm.

I'm finding this little exercise rather intimidating this week for some reason, primarily because I like to talk a lot  and I'm not sure I can even begin to articulate the thoughts popping into my head when contemplating women, in only FIVE MINUTES.  It's easier - and harder - than you might think :) 

However, I'm nothing if not game, so here goes.

{Start}

I just got off the phone with Kari. 

Sometimes I'm shocked when talking with my sweet baby girl at how grown up she is.  When God gifted me with my daughters 20-some-odd years ago I didn't understand the magnitude of that gift.  I knew those sweet babies were precious, but oh the wonderfulness of having these dear women in my life.

Who knew that in some ways the adults would be even more fun, and dare I say - even more terrific  than the babies I couldn't get enough of?

These little girls have done me proud.  They are friends and wives and teachers and leaders who love Jesus with all their hearts and are routinely encouraging the other women in their lives.  I'm so grateful that God trusted me with them for a little while when tiny...but I'm even more grateful that we are able to share our lives together now.  Who knew that those sweet things could and would teach me so much?

{Stop}


Fun!  Feel free to link over with Lisa-Jo and give it a whirl.

Oh! - and have a simply swell Friday!
Renee

Thursday, January 27, 2011

TMBS...Yaaay!!

I'm just going to warn you right now.  I'm feeling all listy these days & I'm not sure it is going to change anytime soon.  I don't know what has gotten into me lately but I can't seem to shake this good mood that I have going. 

So I press on.

Tuesday morning was the beginning of another Bible study at SBC.  Now I started to say "I can't even tell you how much I love Tuesday morning Bible studies," but then realized OH YES I CAN!   So I shall now share WHY I love me some Tuesday morning Bible study.



1.  I love-love the variety of the ladies attending.  I don't know what makes the morning-study so unique, but more so than in any other setting I find there to be a simply delightful mix of women.  It's different from study to study, but on Tuesday I met beautiful young women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s...and I'm pretty near certain there is maybe one or three even older than that but I REFUSE to say in order to protect my they like me status... 

(Wouldn't it be AWFUL to get it wrong?!!  No way I'm risking that kind of terrible awful mistake.)

Anyhoo, there are mamas with babies and mamas who are grandmas, and everywhere in between.  There are women who are single (Hi, my name is Renee and I do not have a husband ;) and who are married.  There are women attending who I have loved nearly as long as I haven't... and some adorable ladies I met Tuesday.

Like I said VARIETY!

2.  There is something about waking up first thing in the middle of the week with the intention of putting on pants that button, running a brush through my hair, and hugging on some friends that makes me happy to see what happens next.

3.  There are snacks every. single. week.  All manner of yumminess that does not include the hard-boiled egg or steel-cut oats that I typically eat.  And I'm just going say it.  I am a lover of the random, pot-lucky snack item.  Snacks are good and good for ya.

4.  We share prayer requests, and I write them down, and then I pull that list during the week and pray for these women with their varied lives.  I love the sharing.  I love the praying.  I love the getting behind the smiles part of the sharing.  I can't even tell you how my heart broke when the lady sitting three chairs down from me quietly told us she would likely lose her husband within weeks. 

We never know what kind of pain the person sitting beside us might be experiencing...

5.  Coming together week, after week, after week knits our hearts together.  There is time in a three-month-ish period to watch God working in our lives.  Good stuff.

6.  I love the clean-slate feeling of that first morning as I open up my brand-new workbook and prepare to dive in!  I just know God is going to teach me something new.  He does that, ya know. 

7.  Did I mention the SNACKS??

I  humbly suggest you go find yourself a group of girls to open the Word of God with STAT.  You will not be sorry... and you will likely make yourself some new friends that you might never have met otherwise.

Make it a happy Thursday!
Renee

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seven Different Kinds of Happy

So y'all know I tend to drift over toward exaggeration-land from time to time, and sometimes I feel like you might not be taking me seriously when I announce something makes me multiple kinds of happy. 

This is why, when I was looking at this picture & thinking this picture makes me seven different kinds of happy I decided I should tell you why, you know, it does :) 


1.  Do ya see that pink chair that Miss A is sitting on?  That chair belonged to her mama.  when she was a little girl.  In my mind's eye I can see Katie sitting in that chair...I can even picture what she's wearing.

Sigh.

2.  Take a look at that semi-crazy baby hair.  Audrey is two and still has the same sweet, fuzzy baby head of hair that she has had since her beginning.  This makes her mom a little bit aggravated, but I love it LOVE IT.

3.  Dogdog.  Her best friend.  Oh the struggles they have endured together.  I appreciate how Audgie looks after her friends.  She's loyal like that.

4.  Take a look at the size of that bowl!! 

5.  I'm loving the blue chair that is just the right size for Dogdog.  The pink chair would have been entirely too big for him. 

6.  In a (somewhat) related note, I appreciate DD's excellent posture.

7.  Those toes MY WORD THE TOES!  At times her cold little tootsies bother me, but what can we do??  The kid hates socks...and those are some sweet baby feet.

{I would like to take this opportunity to thank my daughter for taking so many fun pictures & sharing them...without them I'm not sure I could bear all the MISSING THEM}

Have a happy Tuesday - I'm off to Bible study - Yaay!
Renee

Monday, January 24, 2011

Still counting

God loves me.  He loves me!   It's Monday, and I am thankful.










Another week has passed, seven more days of paying attention, of being aware, of acknowledging what He is doing all around me and for me...another week of counting...

Thank you, Jesus for 
 

my freezer stuffed with goodies

new-tire peace

quiet...

yankee candles flickering in the dark

kari-hugs

sunny sundays

tgifriday's vanilla bean cheesecake...and the funds enabling the indulgance

son-encouragements to come again

luke 9:23

siestaville

book clubs

you are my sunshine

books!

my camera and the ease of capturing as many visual memories as I have time and inclination

dishwater bubbles and oh-so-yummy scent that comes with

draino

stephanie...and cracker barrel

an empty schedule and the accompanying unhurriedness...

the birds outside my window

the happy flutter of looking forward to...something

meeting someone new

reconnecting with someone from before

the crinkle sound I hear when I open my Bible (one of my favorite sounds...ever)

the precious, limitless potential of her future...




Happy Monday!
Renee

(A Thousand Gifts #237-260)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This is the Day

...that the LORD has made.  Let us rejoice and BE GLAD in it!


- - praying you have a beautiful day with the Lord...and your sweet families :)
Renee

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Person Prompt

So today the goal is to think about some person I encountered this week and write about him or her for five - and only five - minutes.  No crazy editing.  No backtracking, or rethinking, or questioning myself.  Just free-style writing.  Soooo.....here we go!


{START}

Why is the grocery store so crowded when I'm trying to fly through grabbing things willy-nilly off the shelves?  I dropped some things off at the laundromat and was trying to get everything I needed for my taco soup before the clothes would be ready for the dryer.  Therefore, there was NO TIME for actual interaction with other human beings.

I saw him as I was trotting down the soup isle looking for who-knows-what.  He seemed a little tired, a little worn down, maybe a little sad?...and more than a little confused.  I murmured some sort of greeting and he asked me if I knew where the  Campbell's Chunky Soup was.  Only he didn't know he was actually looking for Campbell's Chunky...he just knew the soup wasn't where it used to be.  I spent a couple of minutes trying to figure out what he needed and helped him find it.

...and rushed on my way.

Fifteen minutes later I'm putting my clothes in the dryer and there he was...chatting with some stranger in the laundromat, repeating what he had been saying to me about how things keep getting changed all around and why can't things stay the same.  Obviously the whole grocery shopping experience had worn him out.

I couldn't stop thinking about when I have another 20 years or so behind me... will I be shopping all alone and confused about where the familiar has gone?  I certainly hope the people I encounter are a little less hurried and distracted than I was with him. 

This week I'm asking God to help me to be kinder, slower, and less politely distracted with the actual living, breathing, needing people I encounter.

{STOP}

Have a lovely weekend, y'all :)
Renee

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Road Trip!

So I've had a good week so far & I'm so glad!  When you become a littlebit old you realize that a week that's all good is a good week indeed :)

I changed my work hours to second shift and so far there is a whole lot of loving it going on.  No more 5:00 a.m. wake-up calls for me, and believe me, with The Insomnia that is also a reality in the life of a littlebitold person, the whole sleeping-in thing is another bit of the GOOD.  The only downside so far has been how it has knocked my bloggy schedule all out of whack.  I'm still working on that, but I'm thinking I may loosen up just a touch about the time-of-day portion of my bloggy Master Plan.  We'll see.  How do you feel about it?  Did you prefer me to be all finished first thing in the morning or do you think it balances out in the end?  I'm a little mixed-feeling-ish in this regard.

Before I say another word, take a look at this sweet boy.  Can you stand the wonderfulness of that little smile? :)



(happy) sigh.

Bright & early on Monday morning I embarked on a mini ROAD TRIP to see my sweet babies.  Oh how much fun to walk through the door to all the happy-happy that is my two tiny tots :)  I am so ashamed to report that I have no photos of my girl.  I was much too busy either jiggling Owey with both hands while swaying from side to side or playing silly games with Audge to take my usual mediocre pictures.  Audrey is SO FUNNY and makes me laugh all. the. time. when I'm with her.  She's starting to talk more conversationally, which is a hoot :) 

As is our tradition when together, after visiting for a couple of hours Kate and I loaded up the kiddos and headed to the mall.  We stopped at TGIFridays for our favorite desserts (vanilla bean cheesecake anyone?)  After that we wandered the mall a bit and let Audrey run around fearlessly in the play area for a while.  The funniest part of the whole mall adventure (for ME, anyway!) was the long, cold trek back to the car with Audrey sobbing for the "CAR PLEASE!" over and again.  It might have been the most polite tantrum I have ever witnessed.  Katie just kept lugging her to the car, thanking her for using her manners while hollering her head off.  (Btw - she wanted the car-strollers in the mall, not the actual car-car.)

Hysterical.  hehe.

Anyway, I donned my froggie jammies which made the aforementioned girl-child very happy and eventually went to sleep.

The end.

Just kidding, kind've.  I headed home the next day about lunch time...as usual drove the first 45-mile stretch wanting to cry because I had to LEAVE! my FAMILY!...got over it...bought some Loreal Preference at the CVS...and settled in on the couch to work my shift. after changing into my jammies.  Good times.

The rest of the week I've been working and eating salad.

Like I said when I started this informative chat, a good week indeed.

TTYL!

Renee :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tumbling Idols

Hi y'all :)  I'm back home & will tell you about my (somewhat) impromptu road trip a bit later, but I just had to share what God has been showing me this morning.  It seems everything I've read this morning has shown me yet another way that I'm still all about me!  How in the world can that be??  I will never ever understand the dichotomy between my seemingly never-ending supply of "self-esteem/worth" issues and my never-ending pride issues.  (pretty sure they go hand-in-hand!)

Sigh.

I love, love, love Psalm 19:14.  I imagine I'll officially memorize it sometime this year.  (It's another one that I know exists and can find it if I search for it, but it isn't embedded deep in my brain for instant recall.) 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD my Rock and my Redeemer.

I have to say I'm pretty not-too-terrible at the words of my mouth part, but oh how I want the meditations of my heart to catch up! 

* * * * * * *

And then I popped onto Ann's post this morning on prayer and good GRIEF the conviction.  Yet another spotlight shining on even more idolatry in my life.  She put it so beautifully - and succinctly - - anything that I put ahead of my God time is sheer idolatry, whether it's chatting with you on this blog (even if I'm chatting about HIM!) or tackling the dirty dishes in my sink.  Who am I to for one second think my agenda is more important than His??

* * * * * * *

I then peeked in on Edie's page to see how her family is holding up, and there is C.S. Lewis right there in my face...again sort of/kind of dealing with the whole pride versus humility thing.  The quote from Mere Christianity is really addressing God's willingness to stoop down to basically scoop us up, but the line that really struck me was

"...It is a poor thing to strike our colors to God when the ship is going down under us,
a poor thing to come to him as a last resort, to offer up "our own"
when it is no longer worth keeping..."

Ouch.

I know He is there for me when I have lost everything and am in despair, and He wants to be! but oh how I want to reach for Him when life is feeling kind've comfortable and un-miserable.  I want to prioritize Him in my day and in my heart. 

Oh how I want my idols to tumble.

Renee

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gratitude

Well. 

I've been reminded again this week that there is a whole world of hurt outside my four walls.  In the course of the last week I have heard of a mama who escaped a house fire in the middle of the night with her husband and children, losing everything they owned (four days before Christmas!); a seemingly perfect, less-than-a-week-old, baby girl suddenly in the NICU fighting to breathe; a young single mommy who has been desperately fighting to keep her family together, now facing yet another life-altering challenge; and a healthy, 38-year-old mom fighting for her life after suffering a massive stroke. 

That was just what I became aware of this week.

There are people in pain everywhere we look, and if we aren't actually suffering at the moment...we likely will be sooner than we'd like.

I don't know what my tomorrow will look like but I am comforted to know that the One who loves me most is never surprised by our heartbreaks, and He will walk me through whatever pain, or fear, or loss I am sure to face.

And when I'm in the middle of that storm?  I know from past experience that He will love me, and teach me, and grow me, through each excruciating, bittersweet moment.

And for that I am very, very thankful.



Would you join me in praying for Edie, and Joanne, and Ellyn, and Ann's niece this week, making sure to also thank our Father for so lovingly caring for us? 

And would you also drop me a line below and share how God has blessed your heart this week?  It would surely make my heart smile :)

Renee

(A Thousand Gifts #236)



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Did you guess?



Yeah, me neither!!  I cannot say with absolute certainty what on tarnation Angie and I are looking at, but I have a pretty decent guess so I say we go with that, okay?

First off, I do know this was New Year's Day/Our Family Christmas, so we were filling in our fancy-schmancy, brand-spankin' new daily planners with everyone's birthdays and anniversaries.

Alas, I must admit to the venture being a complete failure as Angie's birthday was this week, less than two weeks after noting said date, and I missed it.

It turns out having your family's birthdays written down in your pretty little calendar is pointless if you don't look at it.

Sigh.

What's that?  You're more curious about our posture than our organizational skills??

Well.  What I suspect is going on is a demonstration to my niece (who is taking horrific photos from the floor - giving us two to five chins depending on the angle) on how much younger and svelte mamas appear when looking upward. 

This particular shot may have been a touch of overkill.  But I do think we're looking pretty young.

Happy Sunday!
Renee :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Five-Minute Friday: Photo Prompt

What is the objective of Five Minute Friday
Choose one photo and write about it for five - and only five - minutes.  That's it
Easy-peasy...sort've :)


I only have eyes for you, sweet Owen...

This photo was taken at Christmas, as evidenced by the stunningly beautiful earrings I'm sporting.  I was surrounded by the happy chaos that always accompanies holidays with the family, but I love this photo for it's peacefulness.  You can't see Audrey running around like a crazy person/toddler getting into all manner of messes, or the wrapping paper strung everywhere, or the dog getting into things... 

And at that time, in the midst of the clutter and clamor, all I could see was my still-nearly-newborn first grandson snuggled in my arms.  I could gaze at him for hours, and likely did.  Such perfection, such innocence, such promise and potential. 

None of the chaos matters when compared to the beauty of the gift of a child and the promises that God has given me for him.

Thank you, sweet Jesus, for this beloved boy-child and for the wonderful things that he will do for you as he grows into manhood.  Thank you for trusting us with him, and for using him in the days to come.




Have a happy weekend!
Renee

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Eleven in 2010

I made some fun and encouraging discoveries this year.  As I have mentioned once or thrice, I do not live exactly on the cutting edge of what is cool & wonderful, so do not mock my pattern of coming late to the party.  That being said, the following miscellany have brought me much happy-happy in the last twelve months.   

1.  All my life I have loved poetry.  The lyrical flow of words never fails to make my heart sing.  This year I discovered someone who is seemingly unable to write without poetic beauty, and her words always, always turn my heart toward our Creator and Father.  Visiting Ann Voskamp's website is a nearly daily sojourn I take to encourage me in my spiritual journey...& I'm so grateful to have discovered her 2010!  Two of my favorite posts so far are this one, and and this one

I highly recommend you take a peek sometime when you don't mind shedding a tear or six.

2.  The musical stylings of Tenth Avenue North and Need to Breathe.  I admit to varied taste when it comes to music, but Need to Breathe's Let us Love makes me feel perky and ready to face my dirty dishes.  Just sayin.

3.  Pandora.  I will let all of my on-and-on Pandora ramblings from December speak for themselves.  But seriously, y'all, from Hillsong to Casting Crowns...Josh Groban to Shania...Pandora can take care of any musical needs you might face.

4.  Twitter!  It is way more fun that I would have expected to chat with both my children and semi-famous people that I will never meet...at the same time.  Good times, folks.

5.  Swagbucks.  This is a Katie discovery.  All I had to do was download the toolbar and I started earning "swagbucks" which could be redeemed for various items.  I went with Amazon gift cards and actually purchased one or five Christmas gifts with my earnings.  Free money?  Count me in!

6-7.  Netflix and Roku.  Cox Communications-who?  I haven't missed my cable at all since discovering Netflix and then buying a Roku box.  With the Roku I can stream Netflix, Pandora & a myriad of other various media-related channels.  I could watch Murder, She Wrote, and Monk 24/7 if I wanted to.  Fortunately I recognize my need for sleep.

8.  And ohmygoodness, Melanie, aka Big Mama, makes me amused and tickled, with the occasional LOL, every Monday through Friday.  She lives in Texas, loves Jesus, and has a young daughter who gives her much amusing fodder.  She is very lighthearted 99% of the time and makes me happy 100% of the time.  She also occasionally gives me great music discoveries.  It was on her blog that I discovered my SNTR-Holiday on the Pandora.  I will never be able to thank her enough for that one.

9.  Sophie, aka BooMama, is another blogger I discovered this year who makes me laugh! kind've a lot!  I may have picked up my exclamation point! habit from her...I really can't say.  She has a young son and lives in Birmingham.  She also loves Jesus and makes me laugh.  A great combination in my book.

10.  Same Kind of Different as Me.  No top ten list could be complete without a book selection.  This one was really, really good.  Kind've makes me want to go love on somebody who is all alone in the world.

11.  Homemade granola. 

Not a glamorous finale, but seriously people... homemade granola thrown on top of some Dannon's vanilla yogurt is some Heaven on earth, and I'm not even kidding a little bit.

That's it.  My first top-ten list that turned into eleven.  Feel free to check out any or none of my suggestions, but I'm tellin' ya - you will have a more fun if you do :)

* * * * *

Just kidding! 
I can't talk about favorites of the year
without a picture of my favorite new somethin' in 2010


I love you like crazy, sweet Owen.


Hope ya have a simply swell Thursday!
Renee

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Can you guess...

...what on earth my sister and I were doing??



Happy Wednesday!
Renee


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Intentionality, or intentionalness...or something like that

I've spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks thinking about the last twelve months, what I would do differently if I could, what I feel peaceful about, and what I would like the coming twelve months to look like.



I love what Ann had to say about looking to the year to come in this post.  She likes to name the upcoming year and then sets her course accordingly.  I thought this was a splendid idea, so I set out to think about what name I might find appropriate for me and my very own 2011.

Through the years I have found that I can be all about the great idea, but oh the struggle that is my follow-through...

I think a lot of good thinks...but they never get past my initial thinking.

Between being easily distracted and my chronic procrastinitis, my results tend to be abysmal. 

I write dozens of beautiful notes in my head.  I throw out the "let me know if I can help's" and the "just drop me a call's," and even the "let's do lunch sometime's" on a regular basis, but alas, lack of follow-through.

I also tend to be reactive in my days.  I guess it goes along with my "WHATever" personality...but ambitious I am not.  This means sometimes a whole lot of not a lot gets done.

So I've named 2011 my Year of Being Intentional

Nothing fancy.  I just want to finish what I start... and start something!  I want to be a little more proactive and a little less reactive.  God has gifted me with a finite period of time here to make a difference.  I want to honor Him with my recognition of the gift that is time and make it count.

I have a couple of things on my heart that I want to spend this year praying over.  No forging ahead or even talking it to death, just quiet prayer and contemplation over how He might want me to proceed.

I have been wanting to memorize more Scripture.  I used to do this all the time but somewhere along the way I stopped.  Again, no grandiose plans...just slow and steady memorization.  I joined in with about 9,000 others(!) through Beth Moore's blog. 

I have had Francis Chan's Crazy Love for months & months and have yet to pick it up and read it.  I have no idea why...but that is now on my ASAP list.

I also really, really want to make a difference in someone's life this year.  I don't know who...or how...or when, but I'm praying that God will bring someone into my life who needs something that I can give. 

Sounds simple, enough, doesn't it.  I guess we shall see!  I would love it if you would keep me accountable, and I'll keep you posted on how being intentional is working out for me :)

Happy Tuesday!
Renee

p.s. That's my grandson up top...couldn't you just eat him up :)  Interestingly enough I have no trouble whatsoever being proactive with him!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Enough, and more


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more. 
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beattie




On this second Monday of January I am filled with thankfulness.  As I reflect on all I have and all I have to give it takes my breath away, and I feel a renewed sense of purpose and responsibility to share with others.

Please show me, Sweet Jesus, how to fill some need for someone this week,
and Thank You for...

toddlers arranging clementines, and

delightfully unexpected gifts


early morning sunshine streaming through my kitchen door and the way the filtered light dances around the room

pinto beans bubbling on the stove

footie pajamas

smiling infants

diligence

clear eyes


the tingle of my cold nose while burrowed under my down comforter

payday

the sound of the heat kicking on against the raging winter wind outside my window

psalm 65:11

dreams that come true, God's promises kept



 
the internet and the spiritual encouragement that can be found there

hot showers

trimmed bangs

passion 2011 streaming live…

replaced expense checks

lazy saturdays with family

visiting the "dollar store" with a five-year-old

panera wi-fi, and

the way this...


gently, silently, peacefully - and quickly - becomes this...



Happy Monday!
Renee

(A Thousand Gifts #212-235) 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Construction Zone!

Ok, so here's the deal.  I was utterly and completely and without question tired of the pink after the four long months of blogging so I decided a change was in order.  That's all well and good until the internet decides to become temperamental.  I am at the Panera typing this and they are kicking me out...and yet THE TWITTER!  Basically there is much tinkering to be done, but it shall have to wait.

Please in the name of all things merciful do not judge.  I have two or seventeen OCD tendencies within me so sleep is going to be tricky enough without any excessive judging :)  In no time at all I'll have things just how I like them...so in three months I can be desperate for a change again.  Thank you in advance for your kindness :)

Nite y'all!!
Renee

Friday, January 7, 2011

Five O'Clock News

I have all kinds of important thoughts jumbled up in my head.  Serious thoughts about time gone by and time up ahead...self-indulgent thoughts about how it doesn't seem to matter whether I drink Pepsi or water, I will never again fit into the clothes I wore when I was but a child last year...sentimental thoughts about how my Shayne-y is turning into a man right in front of my face, and probably other kinds of thoughts that I have forgotten at the moment ...but for the life of me I can't make any sense of them at the moment.  So I'm going to just let it go for the time being.  You can't force a masterpiece.  Sometimes the genius just needs to simmer a bit.

So for now I'm just going to give you my breaking news.  kind've a World News Tonight, except it's only my world and it's bright & early in the a.m. 

Moving on.

1.  I finally polished off the bulk of the leftover goodness that was my menu for the past couple of weeks....only to pull out the M&Ms last night.  I don't even know what to say.

2.  Yesterday I  was so sleepy all day that nearly every thought in my head was preceded with and then followed by I am so sleepy WHEN can I go to bed?  This made for very coherent conversation when talking to my boss on the phone.

3.  Speaking of work (kinda sorta), I trashed an expense check the other day.  Like, literally threw away a check.  I was 80% willing to just let it go and forget the (much needed) money because I was so embarrassed to tell the office.  However, when I found myself chatting with the office on a different, unrelated goof-up on my part I decided I might as well come clean.  They were very gracious and didn't laugh in my face, but I suspect they might likely have talked about me behind my back. 

Can't say I blame 'em.

4.  I dropped my laptop today.  Well, that's not quite true.  I actually tripped on the power cord and knocked it onto the floor, where it landed open and completely flat, upside down.  I was so afraid to even pick it up and look.  It is still functioning, but I fear it is not long for this earth.  I was actually talking earlier about how I'm concerned for its long-term prognosis, and now this.  Can I just say - and I mean this with all kinds of sincerity and mercy toward myself but GOOD GRIEF.

5.  It's Friday and I can't even believe it.  I don't have a single party planned...no cookies to bake/eat...no doggone traditional Christmas cupcakes to bake/eat...no sweet potato casserole to prepare/eat...what am I going to eat??

6.  Finally, in perhaps the most tragic story of this report, my slippers died this week.  I can't even tell you how sad this makes me for both practical and sentimental reasons.  For one thing, I have cold feet all. the. time.  and for another I don't even know how long I've been wearing these slippers but I can say with confidence that it has been many years.  I imagine my kids probably gave them to me for Christmas at one point or another and I literally wear them every single day.  The poor things were exhausted.  I knew they had to go when I started picking  up chunks of the rubber soles off the living room floor, off the kitchen floor, off the bathroom...you get the idea.

That's it.  That's all the mind-blowing, earth-shattering news that I have to report. 

Now go forth and be thankful that you don't have to walk a mile in my tattered shoes. 

Have a lovely, happy Friday!
Renee

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A recap with a few less words

So I pretty much wore us nearly out Tuesday recapping our Christmas, but my family had one more celebration that must be adressed, journalized, noted for posterity, etc., etc.  However, since we're so sick of the pretend-sound of my voice I shall post some lovely, mediocre-quality photos and let them do the talking for me.  Photojournalism at its best, folks.

My brothers and sisters are not all here in town - and we have way too many places to be over the holidays - so years ago we designated the first Saturday following Christmas Day to be our Christmas gathering.  Gotta say it works pretty well.  It's nice to have a plan, and we don't feel so torn to be thirty-eleven different places at the same time.  And we get to stretch out the eating like crazypeople thing all the way through New Year's.  This year we were missing a few, but nearly all of us made it.  Mom made her macaroni salad and Heavenly Hash, so basically the world will continue to spin on the 'ole axis...and there was lots of huggin' & laughin' & teasin & clowning around to be done.   All in all, New Year's Day was pretty great, if I do say so myself. 

Although it's kind've a shame that we don't get along better.

















Happy Thursday!
Renee

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My name is Renee and I talk too much

I refuse to be excessively wordy in my Christmas Eve/Christmas Day recap.

Again I say, I refuse to be excessively wordy in my Christmas recap.

That being said, a couple of words are in order, and then about twelve or thirty-seven pictures.  We'll see.

Christmas was pretty much FUN this year :)  We had a fair amount of craziness but no insanity.  Kate & company celebrate on Christmas Eve with some of Jeremy's family, so they were gone for what felt like a thousand hours but not really.  However, we managed to have a few giggles even without them.  My sister & the little boys came by bearing Butterfinger cake (ohmyword the yummy goodness of this cake...you probably don't even want to know), and hugs & snuggles were exchanged all around, and then they headed home to get to bed in preparation for Santa.  Somehow I don't seem to have a single photo of the boys that night.  I have no explanation so I won't try.  I do however, have one of my sister with little Owey.  That's right...you heard me.  I said Owey.  It appears to be becoming a habit of mine.  Poor little boy.

(Remember when I said this would not be wordy?  well it ain't lookin' good...)


Anyhoo, after Robin left, Mary came over with my littles.  I can't even tell you how much joy and fun and gladness they bring to my heart.  I don't even think Christmas Eve could be Christmas Eve without those sweet things.  I have about 700 pictures but in the interest of not driving you off your rocker I will only submit a couple.  Just tell me this - would it even be possible for them to be any cuter?



After their visit it was time to get the Christmas Eve show-on-the-road...


 I ate two or three more cupcakes, drank a couple of Pepsi's & went to bed for about twenty-seven minutes - and look what I discovered bright & early the next morning!!


That crazy snow just kept a'comin for a really long time, and we were sooo happy!  I don't recall when I last watched falling snow on Christmas Day.  It's every bit as great and wonderful as it's hyped up to be in all those goofy songs that I boycotted this year :)

We then just went completely and totally messy for a pretty long time.  My mom & dad always drop by the kids' (that's me still - haha!) houses on Christmas morning, just to hang & try to catch a bit of the gift opening craziness.  The bonus for dropping in on us this year is Mom got some serious Owen-snuggling in while the rest of us were busy ripping into paper and saying things Yaaaay!!  I really really was hoping for that hair straightener/mixing bowl/batch of snickerdoodles!




 

(OK seriously, this hug is in the midst of gift exchange frenzy...
I could expire from the sheer preciousness that is this child)

 








I know it looks like mass materialism, but honestly it just looks like a lot.  For us it's about sharing with each other & just being together.  Several years ago, certainly before my girls decided to be grownups(!), we starting giving each other three gifts at Christmas, plus our stockings.  (OK, not gonna lie - on Christmas Eve I would also gift them with new jammies and an ornament for their future trees.)  We try to give each other something that is wanted, something that is needed, and something that is sentimental or homemade.  For instance, this year I gave Drew snickerdoodles; Jeremy got oatmeal raisin cookies; and the girls got the promise of their favorite homemade chocolate meringue pie when the sugar insanity of December is but a memory.  We have loved this tradition.  We still end up opening probably too many gifts considering it isn't even OUR birthday, but there is no overspending or materialism.  It makes us happy & helps us to stay a bit more focused.

All that being said, we still had a whole lotta paper flying in da house.


I am going to get fired because this post is so long, so to wrap things up...
After gifts we ate our traditional breakfast pizza,
Kari & Drew headed over to his family's house,
and Audrey read a book or six under the Christmas tree...See?


We took a few more dozen photos of this little guy....

 

... and this little girl got to horse around in the snow for a while.

 

...and it was a very-very, very Merry Christmas.

The end.

(for now!)


Happy Tuesday!
Renee