Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Love Letter...

Dear Child of Mine,
I see you sitting there...tired, stressed, worn out and empty.
Another year has used you up.
You sometimes feel happy...and you sometimes feel helpless,
like a baby.
That's okay.
I know all about being a baby.
I was born one for you many years ago. 
 I know the ache you feel to be held and loved,
and that is why I came.
I knew you would be sitting there in the future, 
praying and asking me to hold you...
and I am, dear one.  
I am holding you.
Let me give you a special Christmas gift of love
as I breathe new life into the center of your soul.

Do you know that I think of you every moment of every day?
I watch you as you go through your day.
I watch you with the children I gave you and i know how badly
you feel when you get frustrated and lose your temper.
I forgive you, my child, just as you forgive your children when they make 
a mistake.
I'm so proud of you and how you followed me when I asked.
Your sacrifices say that you love me.
I know all about sacrifices.
I left everything that was mine when I came from heaven.
I know how you feel when the Father asks so much of you.

Look at me, my child.  You may feel beat up, but do you know that
you are still beautiful? 
I see that smile.  
Yes, you're still as beautiful as the day I created you.
I love who you are and I'm whispering your name.
Can you hear me?
Remember, my child, this is not your home.
You really belong here with me in heaven,
but I want you where you are now,
to love the friends and family I gave you.
Don't give up.
Don't despair.
Trust me.
I won't let you down.
Every promise I've made is true, and someday,
I'm coming back for you.
For now, rest in my love.
Tonight...and tomorrow when you wake up, 
I'll be here watching over you.  
I love you.
Merry Christmas..
And thank you for celebrating my birthday:)

(Merry Christmas, my friends!
 i received a letter in my email this morning.
it was a devotional for homeschooling moms.
talk about a WINK from God!
it got me thinking how we ALL need a love letter like this,
especially those struggling right now.
so i re-wrote it...from me to you.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wink, Wink...

hey y'all...Merry Christmas Eve!!!
hope all is merry and bright with you!

i'd like to tell you about this little book i'm reading,
"When God Winks at You"
by Squire Rushnell.
it isn't new...2006...but it's really good!
it would make a GREAT last minute gift for someone if you need it.

see...i'm a SIMPLE person.
one time i even had a patient tell me and a fellow nursing student that he thought
we were PRETTY nurses...but kinda simple:)
the same goes with the way i learn...
i like to keep it simple.
so when i find a book on Faith,
i especially love when it speaks to me...SIMPLY:)

here's what it's about in the author's words...
"What do Godwinks mean? Think about when you were a kid and someone you loved gave you a little wink across the dining room table...Mom or Dad or Grandma. You didn't say "What do you mean by that?" You knew. It meant: "Hey kid, I'm thinking about you right now." That's what a Godwink is too: a message of reassurance from above, directly to you, out of six billion people on the planet, saying "Hey kid...I'm thinking of you! Keep the faith! You're never alone."

 it also talks about how our life is a jigsaw puzzle.
all the pieces are there and looked at from above, they all fit.
and those little "coincidences" throughout our life weren't coincidences at all.
this isn't a new concept to many of us.
but it may be to some...
so to them, THIS IS FOR YOU.

ever had a "strong gut feeling" 
or felt that "someone is trying to tell you something?"
as a believer, i don't think it's my gut talking:)
but let me tell you about a few "winks" i caught recently.
one i already spoke about happened after my daughter's
performance in the Nutcracker,
when a relative stranger reassured me that my dad did see the whole performance,
with a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye.
you can read more about that HERE.

something else happened shortly after my dad passed.
my sister welcomed a new grandbaby into this world.
i think baby Lathan Leo (named after my dad and his great grandpa)
arrived just a few days after my dad went to Heaven.

well, my sister didn't even know he was to be named after my dad.
it was a last minute change...and what a precious one.
she told me that her first thought, and what she said to my mom,
was that she wished my dad had been able to hold this little boy.
then, it occurred to her, that he DID.
he held this baby close before God delivered it to earth.
he cuddled it and kissed it's soft cheek before sending it to all of us.
now that baby has some mighty big and wonderful shoes to fill.
maybe my dad whispered some words of wisdom in his ear:)

see...i said i was simple.
but i think many in this world are.
and they want to believe...have faith...
but sometimes it seems so out of reach.
but it isn't.
God is right there.
giving winks and signs to let you know which way to go.
so what do you say...
ever received a wink from God?
i'd love to hear about it if you did!
now don't forget to get a copy of this book.
speaking of jigsaw puzzles,
we'll be starting our Christmas puzzle tomorrow
for my dad, the puzzle king.
bless and BE blessed, my friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

naughty...or nice?

since i KNOW y'all are NICE out there,
i have some nice little treats for you.

and since we ALL know someone on the NAUGHTY list...
some goodies for them too:)
(thanks to pinterest) 

or maybe you have a GRINCH in your life.
if so, check these out...
you just need green m & m's and you're good to go!

okay...enough for the naughty list.
how about some NICE little treats.
the only criteria here:

1.  Christmas tree brownies:
 pretty self explanatory but how CUTE!
we also like to cut out brownies like snowflakes and draw
on them a snowflake design with icing.

2.  North Pole Cupcakes.
 again...just look and copy them.
i mean, what isn't to like about a cupcake,
FLUFFY frosting and a candy cane stick?

personally, i think this next one is GENIUS!!!
3.  Donut Snowmen.
i say it's genius because it's SUPER easy, yummy AND kid friendly!

4. Santa's Hat Brownies.
 again...self explanatory.  These are soooo good!
we also used to make them on a vanilla wafer when my girls were young.
Sometimes i make a tray of the strawberries and whipped cream hats alone
and put them on a tray Christmas morning.
very FESTIVE...and simple.

hope you're all feeling MERRY and BRIGHT!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

PRETTY Christmas Trees and GRINCH Cookies Too!

okay, so they're not really for sale...
they are in my own personal tree lot:)
and they are SOOOO pretty, if i say so myself.
 what do you think?
thanks to my sweet friend Trisha from Glass Slippers and Stuff,
i am HOOKED on bleaching and coloring bottle brush trees.
(soak in bleach water...color in easter egg coloring...and decorate:)
i bleached, Taylor decorated.
cute huh?

i know...i keep saying that.
but doggone it, we haven't done anything this cute in a long time so let me just say it again...

and we made us some GRINCH cookies too...
 thanks to cookin favorite food blogger.
sooo easy, yummy and GREEN!
and the best don't even have to be a grinch to eat them:)

BEST cake batter cookies this shabby chick has ever tasted.
give em a'll be hooked!
       makes about 36
1 box French vanilla cake mix
6 T butter
2 eggs
Green food coloring (60 drops)
1 C powdered sugar
1 t corn starch

Preheat the oven to 375°. Melt the butter and set aside to cool. In a shallow dish, mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch with a fork.  In a large bowl, mix together the cooled butter, cake mix and eggs. This will be a little hard to stir together. Add the green food coloring and make sure it is all mixed in. drop a blob of dough in the powdered sugar.
Move it around with spoon until it is mostly covered in powdered sugar. Then, once it is already covered, roll it into a ball and place it on a cookie sheet.
Make sure you don't over crowd the baking sheet because these cookies spread out. 
bake these for 9 minutes. (They won't look done but they are.) They will look slightly puffed up and crinkly...very GRINCHLIKE:)

that's it for me folks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

it's all how you look at it...

after the Nutcracker last Saturday,
 (official pictures coming soon but here's one...)
a SWEET lady came up to me, 
a lady i didn't know...
to tell me what a JOY it was to watch Taylor...
and to give me a hug and say she was so sorry about my dad.
she had heard through the grapevine that he went through a lot...
and had prayed for God's strength...
for him and for us, the whole time. 
that she was STILL praying for us meant a lot.

imagine that...
someone i had never really talked with...
remembering a family she had never met in PRAYER.
just talking to this lady, i knew she meant it.
her words were precious and so meaningful.

as if i wasn't teary from watching my daughter perform,
i burst into tears and wished out loud...
"i only wish he were here right now to see his granddaughter."
she took my hands, looked me straight in the eyes and said
"do you not realize...he saw the whole thing. 
he watched his beautiful granddaughter
perform with GRACE and BEAUTY, from his new home in heaven,
with a smile lighting up his beautiful face...
a face that is perfect and a smile that is pain free"

WELL...wouldn't you think i REALLY cried then?
but i didn't.
it's as if i opened my eyes and saw clearly for the first time.

 it took a stranger to look into my eyes, 
to make me listen to every word...
to realize my dad...and my girl's PRECIOUS grandpa,
would always be with us.

 as if her performance wasn't special enough,
i met a stranger,
who reminded me of something
i knew...but sometimes forgot.
my SWEET dad is by God's side...
and is still the proud grandpa he always was.

i saw a quote the other day by the author C. S. Lewis...

now go spread some joy, find some for yourself...
bake cookies, wrap gifts, take a walk and look at the pretty lights...
you know, the simple things.
and remember there really IS something to look forward to:)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

sneak nutcrackers and opening night at the ballet

happy pink saturday everyone!
it's been awhile since i got my PINK on:)
but i couldn't resist today...
after all, what could be more pink than ballet.
pink tutus, pink-ish pointe shoes,pink tights...even pink Nutcrackers!!!
tonight is opening night...
and it really is SOOOOO exciting! just so happens that my ballerina is dancing the role of
Sugarplum Fairy/Grown up Clara.
AND, AND...she is wearing ALL pink!  
like a sneak preview?
 in case you're wondering, those tutus are even MORE beautiful up close:)
and cost a LOT of $700 and up.
anyway, i thought i'd not only give you a peek at her,
but a peek into her dance bag.
trust's pretty interesting...and yes, she could live out of it, i'm sure:)
COOL dance bag, huh?  
okay...let's look inside...
 what do you see?
 there's the usual stuff...
cellphone, water, bandaids, legwarmers, sweater/shrug,
practice skirt, scissors, notebook, ballet magazine, needle and thread,make-up...
vitamin C lozenges...
take a CLOSER look...
see the flexi-stretcher, to help perfect those arabesques and other things:)
there's hair stuff, shout wipes, a first aid kit, and icy hot cream for those aches and pains...
haha...yes, jet glue.  sometimes it's called pointe shoe glue.
she puts it in the toe/box of the shoe to harden them and get a TINY bit more life out of them.
at anywhere from $70-$90 per pair of shoes,
and they last about a week and a half...
extra life in the shoe helps!

 just a few more peeks...
there is a foot massage ball, a ballet shoe change purse,
tiger balm for aches...and pliers.
what? Pliers?
i've been looking all over and they are in her dance bag????
and a lighter???
what is going on?
well, let me tell you...
each dancer has a a different way of getting their shoes ready.
Taylor's is this...
take the pliers and pull the nail out of the shank of the shoe.
bend the shoe back and forth and push on the sides of the shoe to soften them.
(there may be more but that's my take on it:)
then she sews the elastics and ribbons a certain way...
and uses the lighter to singe the ends of the ribbon.
glad she does her own shoes these days;)

so like I said, today is the day...
and i woke up to find her sitting in bed, making last minute touches to her shoes:)
(i tell you, this girl LIVES in a bun...
that's why ballet dancers are affectionately know as BUNHEADS:)
so there you have it!
pink saturday, ballet, opening night and Nutcracker all rolled in to one:)
and since this is a sneak peek kind of blog post...
take a sneak peek behind the scenes...
have yourself a great day! 


Thursday, December 8, 2011

random HOLIDAY treats...

yep...random and holiday in the same sentence..
because i'm pretty sure that's how the Holidays are stacking up around here...
totally RANDOM:)

first up...Christmas TV!
My sis just sent me an amazing link with ALL your favorite
holiday shows and movies listed and what dates they are showing. 
and now that we're on the subject, what are YOUR favorites?
let's see...for stupid humor (the best kind)
i like Elf and National Lampoon Christmas:)

          and for classic we LOVE White Christmas and
Miracle on 34th Street.
so how about you?
any favorites you watch every year?

Naples had it's big Christmas parade the other night.
it's really so cute...
they have every band and firetruck in town with a few floats
thrown in for good measure:)
i think next year i'm going to wrap lights around Maui and ride him through town.
he's about as big as a float:)

my sugarplum fairy rode on the Naples Ballet float
so that was really COOL for us!

(this is last year's sugarplum fairy costume...
she's wearing PINK this year:)

any tips for me?
because i am just not feeling it this year.

 I will probably do much of it online.
guess i better get going!
now i'm not saying this next part because you can order them from
my blog,
but did you know you can order AMAZON.COM gift cards
right here, at the top of my blog?
seriously, i'm ordering a few cards myself today:)
and i saw this idea which i am SOOOOO doing for next year...
take a plain binder and print out some christmas photos, 2012...
and you have a Christmas idea binder for gifts, decorations you want to try,

so...have you been baking?
we haven't...maybe after Nutcracker.
actually, i might just make about 10 batches of my favorite wreath cookies...
 but since i would eat all 10, that might not be a good idea.
i know...cookies made with cornflakes, butter and marshmallows?
hey.  i'm a simple kind of girl:)
but i have to say, if you've never made them...
and if you like rice krispie treats...
you'll LOVE these treats!

last up, let's talk LIGHTS!
i put a few up at my mom's house...
 it looks so cute:) took the WHOLE week to get them to work right!
in the midst of sadness, we managed to crack up over those STUPID lights.
just call me Clark Griswold:)
(but isn't mr. snowman cute?)

i wasn't going to put any up around here...
then last night i had an idea.
as soon as i'm done...and it may take a week...i'll be sure to show you!
are you doing lights?
shopping much?
watching Christmas tv?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wishing You...

 a BEAUTIFUL monday.
THANKING you for your MANY prayers and kind emails
with the illness and passing of my sweet dad.
even through 9 weeks in the hospital the nurses nicknamed him
because that's my dad...

i will be emailing each of you to thank you personally.
but for's back to it,
and back to getting ready for Christmas.
in fact, this is NUTCRACKER week!!!

so i'm off to get STUFF done...
my gift to you today is this.
notice the photos?  
while in Michigan, we had snow (YAY!) and these photos
have been edited with the photoshop app...
something for us photography rookies to have FUN with.
check it out...
and like I said, make it a BEAUTIFUL day!


Friday, November 25, 2011


a loving hand will be laid upon your shoulder
and this brief message will be given:
Billy Graham

that "someday" was today for my dear, sweet dad.
today, God laid his hand on my father's shoulder and whispered "come home".
for 9 long weeks, he fought to stay with us.
if i listed the complications that wracked his body,
you wouldn't believe me.

 it wasn't that he was afraid to die. 
for he knew exactly where he was going
and who he would be with.
he would finally be home...with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
with his family and many friends who had gone before him.
(click HERE to read a birthday blog about my dad:)

 i know they are falling all over themselves to greet him...
Perry, Emery, Jack, Doc...just to name a few.
and Pork Chop...
yes, Pork Chop...the man he worked with for many years,
who loved my dad,
who watched my dad, a man of faith, live his life for Christ every single day...
and knew that my dad was a true man of God.
i believe that
the real believers know how to reach others by example.
that was my dad.
i'm not sure why Pork Chop came to mind...
except that story is a perfect example of the kind of man he was.
reaching out to others.
i learned a lot watching him with Pork Chop and so many others like him.
Pete is another example of someone my dad reached out to.

my dad fought to stay on earth to live one more day 
with his beautiful bride of 61 years,
 to have one more cup of coffee with her in the morning,
gazing out at the backyard he loved so much.
to be there for his four daughters,
to treasure his many grandchildren and great grand-children.

 i just love the quote at the beginning of this post.
it is by a true man of God also.
i read it in a book i bought this week to give my dad for Christmas.
it's called Billy Graham in Quotes and I can't tell you 
how wonderful this book is.

as if Billy Graham hasn't already reached many people, he will reach so many more with 
this book, because it is so simply written yet based on scripture.
i can't stop reading it...the comfort it is bringing me today is priceless.
this book covers more than 100 subjects, every feeling and sentiment,
many different trials and life's more difficult moments...

my dad would have loved this book.
now i think it's my mom who will treasure it.

...just as i treasure all of the friends i have made through this blog,
who take the time to stop by,
read, comment...even when i have checked out and don't respond back.
i can only hope i get my head straight and 
that all changes in the near future:)
mostly, i treasure the prayers i know have been sent up for my dad...
and i will be so grateful if you continue to remember my family...
especially my amazing, wonderful mother...
who will undoubtedly be the subject of a blog post someday.
i think it will be a post that talks about what it means to
not only SAY your marriage vows, but what it means to LIVE them...
as my mom my dad's side until the very end.

i'm sorry to write this on thanksgiving weekend.
but that's life, isn't it?
we need to always remember to be thankful in all things...
most importantly for those we love and those who love us.

i don't believe we lack faith when we grieve.
as he also says in this book...
when we grieve, we simply are showing how much we have loved.

Billy Graham has another quote in this book...
it really does say it all.
we could all replace his name with the one we love.
here it is:
"Someday you will hear that Billy Graham is dead.
Don't you believe it!!!
I shall be more alive than I am now.I will just have changed my address.
 I will have gone into the presence of God."
Billy Graham

 i know my dad is also in the presence of God.
while we will miss him terribly, 
he is now in his perfect heaven...without any pain...
waiting for the rest of his family to join him someday.
and because he was a faithful husband and father,
because he raised us as God's children,
he knows we WILL be with him someday.
 thank you dad...for everything!
  i love you.

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