Ps 91 (NKJV)

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the perilous pestilence.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"O" for...

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me

Overweight - that's me. I won't tell you how much I weigh - I need to keep some secrets.

I keep trying to lose the weight. I'll do well for a while and then I'll get stressed about something and I go back up. I'm a stress eater/drinker (soda, not the hard stuff) and the Older I get the harder it is to lose the weight. I refuse to drink diet sodas - yuck.

For a while I was hardly eating anything and then a friend clued me into an app for my Android called MyFitnessPal that helps count calories (as well as other nutritional information). As I input my information, I found that I wasn't eating enough. As I forced myself to eat more, I came back to my original problem - too many calories. I can't seem to find a happy medium and I refuse to starve myself or cut out all sugar. I want a change that I can keep up indefinitely, not some fad diet to lose weight in the next six months and then put that same weight back on in a few months.

I'm also trying to exercise four or five days a week on my elliptical. I'm so out of shape. It's hard to get motivated.

Have you found a diet/eating plan that works for you to get the weight off and keep it off (especially if you're over 40)? Tell us about it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Life as a zoo keeper...

...I mean a home schooling mom, wife, and animal keeper


6:30 - rise and shine (me) - fix husband's breakfast/lunch, let out the horses to pasture, fix my breakfast
7:00 - wake kids, eat, exercise, devotions
8:00 - school begins - reading out loud for an hour to an hour and a half (A World of Adventure)
9:30 - start laundry (Mon., Wed., and Thurs.), check e-mail/facebook, answer questions, check schoolwork
11:30 - lunch, laundry, check schoolwork
12:00 - chores, round up the horses (they are being kept in a pasture free zone in the PM due to weight and foundering issues), laundry
1:00 - reading time (kids), and sometimes me, but I NEED to work on my book, so I have quit requesting books at the library :-(  , laundry
2:00-5:30 - free time (kids); me: laundry, check schoolwork, sometimes read/work on book and then fix dinner
5:30 (generally) - dinner
6:00 - 8:00 - kitchen clean-up (kids); me: do animal chores - check water/food, gather eggs; then go to whatever activity is scheduled for that particular night
8:00 - kids bedtime - regardless of age (older ones are allowed to read); me: tv time with my husband
9:30-10:00 - my bedtime

Of course this is just a general overview of what gets done in my home. Things change, of course, and we just go with the flow. Fridays we have off for now, but on Sept. 9th we will start our homeschooling co-op and we will get out of the house by 8:15 or so and return between 2:00 and 2:30.

Sacrifice is the word of the day/month/year/life. When I had child three or four (I don't remember which it was), I sacrificed my perfectionism on the altar of sanity. I want a "Better Homes and Gardens" house, but when there are at least seven of us home all day, everyday, I had to realize it wasn't going to happen. Happiness and sanity were more important. So while my home is picked up and vacuumed/swept daily (almost), it is not BH&G perfect and that's okay.

How's your schedule? Do you sometimes get frustrated, like me, with how much there is to do and not being able to get it all done? What have you sacrificed?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"N" - Names

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me

Tigers die and leave their skins; people die and leave their names.  ~Japanese Proverb

If I listed a few names of few people - George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson - you would know immediately about whom I spoke. Why? Because of their NAME. We associate THAT name with what that particular person accomplished. Some people even name their children after someone with a well-known name.

What about names like John Wilkes Booth or Benedict Arnold or Ted Bundy? What do you see when you hear those names? An assassin, a traitor, and a killer.

The Bible gives great importance to names, so much so that God changed people's names as necessary. Abram and Sarai became Abraham and Sarah; Jacob was renamed Israel; Simon became Peter. There were many others. These are but a few examples. 

I know I sometimes find myself thinking someone with a certain name will be "like" someone else I know with that particular name. I go into the encounter prejudiced. I try to not do that since I figured out I was doing it, but that did have some relevance when I named my children. LOL

I'll save you the list of their names and their meanings, but I was very careful what name I chose by its meaning. My first name means "pure" (my given name, not Ginger, which is just a nickname *smile*) and my middle name means "sheltered from the storm" (which I didn't know until I just looked it up). Find out what your name means here.

So what about your name? What will it mean when you've gone? Will people associate your name with kindness and caring or with something else not so flattering?

Please share with us what your name means.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck" by Kathleen Y'Barbo

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher for review purposes, but my opinion of the book is just that, mine. I was not paid or coerced or forced to give this book a favorable review. :-)

Having said that...just the title made me want to read it. I mean, really. Many marriages back "in the day" were marriages of convenience and Ms. Y'Barbo gets my attention immediately by calling this marriage INCONVENIENT.

So I read it and enjoyed it, immensely. We have seen Charlotte Beck in previous books by Ms.Y'Barbo ("The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper" and "Anna Finch and the Hired Gun"). Charlotte is feisty and opinionated and born before her time. I love her zest for life, which tends to get her in trouble. She is a rider, and shooter, and all-around accomplished woman, which I also liked. You just have to laugh at her antics.

I personally think this would make an awesome movie. Thank you Ms. Y'Barbo for such a wonderful romantic comedy that I could "see" as I read.

As always, under HIS wings,

You can find more about Kathleen Y'Barbo here or purchase the book here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Leibster Award

I was awarded the Liebster Award this week - and I must say thank you to Susan for the honor.
The Liebster is awarded to blogs with less than 200 followers. It's an opportunity to shine the light on fantastic blogs and their authors in an effort to build readership. Each blog I've listed here are ones you'll love to read.
Here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver of the award and link back to them.
2. Give the Liebster to five bloggers and let them know with a comment to their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award onto your blog.
4. Have faith your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. Have blogging fun!
And here are the winners of my Leibster Award  :)
1. April - The Grammar Doctor 
2. Patty Wysong - Ordinary Lives
3. Salena Stormo - Through His Eyes
4. Debra Collins - Debra's Reading Corner
5. Ane Mulligan - Southern-fried Musings

Each of you ladies have earned this award by being wonderful bloggers. I see many of your happy faces in my comments or around the social media playground. You're always good for some great "take-away". I hope this award blesses you this week!  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Letter "M" - what will it be?

Ordinary Lives. From a 2 z 4 u & me

Is it Mystery, Marriage, Money, Magic or Marshmallows?

Well today I decided to have FUN - so it's going to be Marshmallows!!!!

What are Marshmallows - besides yuMMy? According to Alton Brown they contain gelatin, water, sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla extract, confectioner's sugar, and cornstarch - sometimes with added coloring. According to Wikipedia (and we know that is always a reliable source - LOL) marshmallows were probably a medicinal substance made from the root of guessed it...the Marshmallow plant. It was used to treat sore throats. The original Marshmallow - used as a candy - dates back to ancient Egypt. :-)

Okay, enough history. What can be done with a Marshmallow? 8-) Here are a few of our favorites (disclaimer: I do not support, nor did I completely check out all of these pages):
Now there are so many other things that could be done with Marshmallows that just wouldn't fit on this blog, but you get the idea.

Personally, I like to eat Marshmallows plain, straight from the bag. How about you? How does your family like their Marshmallows?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just as I am

So this morning I woke up and readied for my day. I prepared my husband's breakfast and lunch and got him out the door. Then God bombarded me. My reading this morning was about coming to God without a mask, without pretense, without trying to be something I'm not. As if that would work anyway. Then I watched a Joyce Meyer episode about having faith and being real enough to not fake it. The song "Just As I Am" got stuck in my head. I searched on YouTube and found this version. I turned on my instrumental station on Pandora. What was playing? "Just As I Am"
Am I the only one or do you thing God is trying to get my attention this morning? 

I want to be "real" for people, but it's hard sometimes. Some people don't really want to know "me." They want a superficial relationship that doesn't dig deep into reality. So I show them a different face - the one that is not fazed by life.

Then there's God. I want to be perfect for Him. I try so hard. I fail Him often, though. He knows all that, and He loves me still. He wants me to come to Him just as I am. He doesn't want me to pretend - or at least "feel" like I have to pretend - to be something I'm not.

My question is: Who am I? I've been what others expect of me so long that I don't know anymore. Am I more than a wife and mother, housekeeper and cook, teacher and disciplinarian? Is this a common mid-life crisis thing for women? Do all women go through a moment in their lives when they don't know who they are?

I've been a wife for 20 1/2 years and a mother for 19 1/2 years, about half my life. Is there more to me than this? Where does the real me come in?

So this seems like a depressing kind of post, but I'm going to leave it. I'm trying hard to be "real." Even if "I" don't like the real me at the moment.

Ever under HIS wings
Ever trying to be better
Ever falling and then trying again

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Letter "L" - Lightning

Sunset before the storm
I know, I know. A weird topic, right? But lately the storms here in Alabama have been both beautiful and destructive.

Yesterday I was on my way home from running errands and got caught in a storm. Several hundred yards in front of me a lightning bolt struck a telephone pole. A ball of light formed and then there were fireworks. It was amazing and frightening.

I looked up lightning at Wikipedia. It says that lightning can travel at speeds of 140,000 mph (220,000 km/h) and can be as hot as 54,000 degrees F (30,000 degrees C).

These pictures of cloud to cloud lightning were taken from the safety of my back patio last night. I'm getting better at my photography.  :) 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Name change

In case you haven't noticed, my blog title keeps changing. That's because I can't figure out what I want to call it.  :)

Under HIS wings was my first thought, but there are too many of those out there already. Then I did Living, Loving, Reading and Writing, but it seemed so impersonal - you know, anybody could write it. Then I thought about and researched Living a Legacy - tons of those out there too. I don't even remember my last title - must have been amazing. :o

So now I am trying out "A Bed of Roses...Thorns Included." My favorite quote (has been for a long time) is listed above. If you haven't already figured it out, my favorite flower is a rose - any color, any shape, any size. I have no less than 10 plants at the moment, which doesn't seem like much, but usually I only get two or three in the ground before we move again. (No, we're not in the military. Just job changes or life changes.)

My plan for the future - when my children are gone and I have more time - is to have a rose garden, complete with gazebo. When we bought this house, I told my husband that I was buying it to stay. Now God may have different plans, but at this moment, "I" do not plan on moving from here, ever.

So tell me what you think of my name change. The good, the bad, and the ugly - as the saying goes. I can take it - I think. ;)

I remain...under HIS wings,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Conference Newby Nerves

At the end of September I will be attending my first ever ACFW Conference. This year it is being held in St. Louis, Missouri. I will be traveling alone from my home in Northern Alabama. Will I get lost? Be able to find parking? Hit traffic?

Driving there is not my only concern, however. My anxiety also comes from how I will act when I get there. How many times will I make a fool of myself (notice I didn't say "if" but how many)? Will I be too nervous to talk or will I talk too much?  Will I just sit in a corner and watch from a distance, which tends to be how I cope with new situations? 

Then there are the ultimate writing questions: Will an editor like my book? Will my setting in a foreign country be a strike against me from the start(being that I am unpublished as well)? Is my book any good? Am I just fooling myself that my writing is interesting?

Those are the thoughts that flit through my head multiple times each day. There is still over six weeks until the conference. What will I do to relax? 

I pray and leave it at the throne of God. If He truly called me to write this book, which I feel He did, then He will guide me to the right person, at the right time. Though that is easier said than done, I will remind myself daily that God is on my side and that's good enough.

As always, under HIS wings,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My "K" for

Kitchen island - made by my husband (except the Boos top)
If your kitchen is anything like MY kitchen - a lot of stuff goes on there. Not only is food prepared, but occasionally eaten there. I am blessed to have a fairly large kitchen. The above island is 3 or 4 feet across and 4 or 5 feet long. (Even though I designed it from various sources, I've forgotten.) The entire thing weighs close to 400 lbs. I've had it a couple years now and I'm not sure what I did without it. I LOVE IT!

But that's not the point of this post. See that floor? It's tile. Poorly installed tile. It's not even. Some of it is cracking. We want to replace it soon, but I don't want to put down tile again. We have an open floor plan, so I have three different floors that flank my kitchen: hardwood (real), carpet (on stairs and in a bedroom), and laminate (wood look). We're thinking of extending whatever we put in the kitchen up the stairs as that carpet is worn considerably.

I will NOT put down linoleum or carpet. What other choices do I have that will look good, but wear well? Someone suggested that we continue the hardwood into the kitchen (flanks it on two sides). I'm unsure about getting a good fit. The current wood floor is "cut-off" in a straight line where it meets the tile; that would look funny if we did add more hardwood. I do not want to replace all of the wood. I like it's look. Is it possible to match the current floor? Hmmm...lots to think about. If you have suggestions, please leave a comment.

Okay, so there's my "K" - kitchen. :)

As always, under HIS wings


Monday, August 1, 2011

School is in session...

The joys of homeschooling are endless:
  • I get to choose when we start.
  • Curriculum is also my choice - what works for one does not necessarily work for another. I also try to arrange my high schooler's work toward what his/her interest is.
  • My children can go as slow or as fast as they (or I) choose. If he/she is better at math, then we can work ahead.
  • We can take breaks when we feel like it. Is it a super nice day out? Let's go play.
  • School can happen in pj's or sweats  :) I don't have to buy certain clothes to keep up with the current trend.
  • Wake up time can be whenever I deem it to be. Bad night? Get up later.
  • My kids are with me ALL the time.
  • PLUS more.
School? What's school? Oh, let's study the effects of sliding down the hill and falling on our backsides.
The headaches of homeschooling (and I'm sure public school, too):

  • Bad/late night? People tend to get grumpy.
  • Hard work? Would you like some cheese with that "whine?"
  • Questions? I have to answer them all, even when I don't necessarily know the answer. Thank God for Google.  ;)
  • My kids are with me ALL the time.
  • There are probably more...
So today was the first day of school for us. I know it's a month early for some of you who read this blog. North Alabama schools will start either next week or in two weeks depending on where you live in this area (no they're not all the same). We started early because we are taking a mini-vacation next week, which was the planned week to start. In order to stay on schedule, we started a week early.

The normal grumbles happened. More, harder work causes little mouths to protest. On the first day, I choose to ignore them - actually for the first week. After that we are getting used to the new work load. For the first week, I usually need the afternoon reading time to regroup. I am one who thrives on peace and quiet to recoup my sanity. With seven children (all of whom still live at home), I NEED that afternoon time. Today I needed it more than ever. Shew, what a day!

But you know what? I would not stop for anything. God has called ME to do this; He will give me the grace to continue it.

Crystal growing experiment

Unfortunate spill from crystal growing experiment
This is my fourteenth (14th) year and every year I experience what I call the "back to school blues." We don't WANT to go back to school, but we have to. It's time. The fun of summer is over. My marathon reading is done. I get back to one book every two or three days like normal people instead of one to three books per day (depending on length).

Ahh, the joy of doing the best you can for the ones you love. Just like God does for us - everyday.

As always, under HIS wings,