Sunday, November 30, 2008

Once Upon A Time ...

While I am not one to be superstitious, the significance of the numbers that this year represent for Sean and me are pretty ironic.

My favorite number has always been, for some unknown reason, 21; and Sean's has always been 17. This past May marked the month that Sean and I had been together for 21 years, and today is our 17th anniversary. The story of us is long and not even half over, and I can't wait to live the rest of it.

We've been through a lot since the very beginning: early parenthood, going through college married and raising a child, job losses, several relocations, life-threatening illness, a child with autism and another with a mood disorder; and I'm sure I'm forgetting other significant things. And I'm also sure the list will continue to build as time goes on. But through it all, our marriage has remained rock-solid; and I know with all of my heart that was no accident. I also know that we didn't do it alone.

We've always believed deeply that God brought us together for reasons that I won't go into here; and in the last few years, we have made it a priority to have a Christ-centered family and marriage.

Along with that, we have made a commitment to cling to one another during difficult times rather than turn on one another; we know that a good, happy marriage is a daily work in progress and not a destination to be forgotten if your path takes a detour; we have an enormous amount of respect for one another; and very importantly - we laugh and laugh and laugh and have fun.

We started out as two kids who met on the first day of 7th grade when our lockers were assigned next to one another. Even when we began dating as friends three and a half years later, we couldn't have been more different - in personality, in background, in our goals for the future.

God had a plan that brought two polar opposites together. Two decades and three boys later, we're as in love as the two kids we started out as - that love has simply matured and bloomed larger and more colorful than we could have imagined.

Happy anniversary to my best friend in the whole world!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Boys Are Spoiled

by their Nana and Papa. Joel and Seth are always begging to sleep with Nana downstairs when they stay all night with us and the answer is always NO. They always stay with us during the week, which means it's a school night for the boys.

They were allowed to last night on Thanksgiving eve - and it was party time in the living room!

Even Heidi thought she was going to get to sleep with Nana ...

I ended up busting up the party when I took Heidi to her crate and made the boys quit telling Star Wars stories AT MIDNIGHT.

Speaking of my kids being spoiled by Nana and Papa - Heidi believes she is one of the grandkids and demands spoiling, as well. Papa is only too willing to oblige.

Speaking of the "S" word, I got to be spoiled today, too. I spent the morning cooking a yummy dinner with my mom, who is the awesome cook who taught me to cook; and then after we all ate and cleaned up, I took a two-hour nap!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm so thankful for my family each and every day. I'm thankful for my immediate family - my sons and my husband. I'm thankful for my extended family. I'm thankful for our best friends, who we consider family. I'm thankful for our church family.
We are very blessed, indeed - in family and otherwise.
Folks who
Matter and

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Now Return You To Our Regularly-Scheduled Programming

It's been a lackluster week. The blogging lull was but a symptom of a bigger issue: The Zipps were on vacation all week and life just wasn't the same. With my neighborly partner in crime missing in action for SIX days, I was forced to do things like repaint trim, catch up on my laundry, and vent my frustrations out to my dog.

Now don't get me wrong. I've got several good, awesome friends who I can (and do) go to any time for support, fun, great conversation, or whatever one of us needs. But being 30 feet away, Mrs. Zipps gets the good, the bad, the ugly, and whatever else I can throw at her. When I don't have two seconds to call any of my other friends or an hour to visit with them, it's Susan who seems to pop in my door at just the right time. I can sit in the recliner in their living room in my pajamas after all the kids have gone to bed and cry about my day.

Sean sulked around because he didn't have Brian to play with all week long; not to mention how massively bummed Seth is when his pseudo-sisters are gone. Talk about hard to live with. Oh. My.

So life is back in order. The Zipps are home. The Andersons are happy and all is right with our world.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Can Hear The Ad Now.

This morning as Seth (5) and I were in the middle of our morning cuddle time, he snuggled his face into my neck and said, "Mmmm, you smell like an angel ..."

And this was a totally awesome half-a-second, until he immediately followed it with, "Ewww - and that coffee breath!"

Do angels not drink coffee?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Love My Music!

This is one of my favorite songs by Third Day - and it's so awesome when they perform it live. Such great energy.




Click "Pop Out Player" which will take you to the song, then click the play symbol.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yummy Goodies . . . That I Can't Have

One of my favorite things to do is cook - even when I have no time to do it. It's cathartic for me! Plus my second favorite thing to do is give it away. Right now, I'm in a weight-loss challenge and am down 7 pounds. So when I feel the urge to cook or bake, I have to give it away if it's anything very fattening.

The day before yesterday, I spent the afternoon cooking meals for Sean to take to his mom's house. She was having an out-patient procedure done and he was going to care for her for a couple of days. So of course, my first instinct was to think that the last thing they'll want to do is cook. So I got to give all of that away (except for a bit I kept back for the boys).

Then yesterday I had some over-ripe bananas, and if you know me at all, you know it would kill me to throw them away. So I made banana chocolate chip bread and gave it to Seth's teacher and his speech therapist when I worked at his school in the afternoon.

The cutest part is that Seth wanted to give some to Mr. Mike, his bus driver, but I'd only prepared two plates. So when we got home, he found the leftover cinnamon rolls from what I had made and sent with Sean and insisted that we hurry up and get one ready for when Mr. Mike shows up. My sweet boy!

We heated it up and gave it to him when he pulled up, and he was quite appreciative.

So I guess for World Kindness Day, Seth and I were able to make three people smile with really fattening goodness.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Love to Write

In case you haven't clicked over to it lately - there is another blog that I write on my church's website called In the Thick of It.

Sometimes the posts on both blogs are duplicate, sometimes not. You never know!

Check it out sometime.

Beeeee Kind

Today is World Kindness Day. I think every day should be a celebration of being kind; but alas, it is not.

I have a naturally biting personality for some reason, and I have to work against this a lot. I'm sarcastic, prone to judging people, and can be taken down easily by small situations - situations that are manageable for others. I'm better now than I used to be, but it's because I am constantly aware of what I'm feeling and work to turn it around.

I do not have a hard time being kind to people that I run into. In fact, I try to teach my kids to engage everyday folks that they come in contact with in conversation just to show that they care how their day is going. But honestly, being truly and genuinely compassionate and kind is something I really consciously have to work on. My own emotional inadequacies often hinder this.

My genes are twisted around somewhere, somehow - because my mom is genuinely compassionate and built an entire life as a nurse on this quality. She really inserted herself into the lives of her patients, and they absolutely loved her for it. She cared for them above and beyond what the job required.

Well, let me back up a bit. It's not that I don't feel it, I just often have a hard time expressing it. Ask Sean and he'll tell you about my "bleeding heart" issue. My heart often aches for things when others couldn't care less. I'm always wanting to take people - and animals - in. I feel sorry for people for a number of weird and probably uncalled-for reasons.

But when it's time to express it, I always think the same thing, "Who in the world am I?" I often feel like I would be looked upon as an idiot; like people will wonder why in the world I think I have anything to offer.

Twisted, I know. I suppose true kindness and compassion can be shown in many ways and perhaps I'm not as damaged as I think.

I did actually tell Sean once a few years ago that I wish I could have a job where I just make people's days better. I love the small things that brighten people's spirits. Ya think there's a career in that somewhere? And do you think my experience in the cutting world of advertising and my journalism degree will even matter in that search?

It sounds like I have a future as a Walmart greeter. Though I need to put on about 30 years to qualify for that position.

Happy World Kindness Day! Go be nice to someone for no reason.

I Love Cranberries!

I realize I've neglected posting recipes, like I was asked to do, so here is one of my favorites. And not only is it one of my favorites, it's one I get requests for - especially around the holidays.

I give it away on platters all the time - especially to my kids' teachers. And it's easy!

Cranberry Orange Loaf

¼ C. margarine or butter
1 C. white sugar
1 egg
¾ C. orange juice
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 T. grated orange zest (Imperative! Don't leave this out!)
1 ½ C. fresh or frozen cranberries
½ C. pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional, of course)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in orange zest, cranberries, and nuts. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter or margarine, sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in juice. Pour in flour mixture, stirring until moistened. Scape into a greased 9” x 5” loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour, (may have to cover with foil last 10 minutes if top gets too brown). Let stand 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mmmm, That Feels Good

In honor of winter finally hitting here in central Indiana, I have dressed up my blog in richer, deeper colors - colors that make me want to cuddle up by the fire and relax.

That almost never happens, but I can pretend.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's Get Real.

I just read this in an article on MSNBC about this country's economic downturn and how it could affect movies.

"Even if a nickel no longer gets you a double feature, movie tickets remain one of the great entertainment bargains available ..."

Um, what? By the time I walk into a theatre with my husband and three kids before the show has even started, we have spent between $50 and $60 for tickets and snacks - that must be shared. And it costs just as much if you don't take your kids because then that money goes to a babysitter.

Does film critic Alonso Duralde (the author of the article) know what the word bargain means? I'm going to take a giant leap here and say he's either unmarried with no kids or hasn't a clue what real life is like for most "normal" folks here in America. Or both!

Looks like I'm right on at least one count.


Go Ahead, It's Okay.

Wanna publicly admit that you follow this blog?

Well, think about it.

If so - check it out to the left.

Updated to add: Danielle, for becoming my first official follower, find me at church and I'll give you a hug. Not a prize in your eyes, you say? How about a free goodie the next time I make food for the small group leader training class on December 7th? It's a SWEEEET deal.

And as the first person to admit to reading all of this nonsense - you get to name the followers. Might I suggest something peppy, yet filled with meaning. For instance, "chaotic" in Filipino is "gulo" - how about Gulos?

I am so obnoxious. The constant fabric softener fumes from today's laundry-doing must be settling in.

Oh No You DIDN'T!

Oh yes we did.

What Heidi looked like last week:

Heidi after being groomed Friday:

WHY why oh why? Because she had a few mats, so we decided to start all over. We recently adopted her and the previous owner failed to mention how I was supposed to groom her a certain way. I bathed her and brushed her, but with the wrong kind of brush. So now we know.

And now we wait. And wait. And wait . . . for her crew cut to grow out.

For now, we have renamed her Mrs. Bigglesworth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Can You Say AWESOME?!

Friday night was the greatest gift - on many levels. The Zipps came through and were able to provide for Sean and me tickets to Third Day through a friend that once worked in the biz. You can click their album cover at the bottom left to learn more about them or visit their website HERE.

We first became huge fans after seeing them perform at a music festival in northern Indiana a few years ago along with Kutless (another of my favorites) and Michael W. Smith. We already loved their music, but seeing them live is amazing. They connect very well with the audience and are just quite inspirational. We happened to receive free tickets to this from a radio station.

When I found out they were going to be here this summer, I wanted to go so incredibly bad, but we are trying to be very tight with our money to pay down debt. So the obvious answer was that concert tickets are not on the short list of needs (which really could be argued against). The day before the concert, I was offered free tickets from someone who received them from one of the concert's sponsors, Habitat for Humanity. I felt good about this because Sean, Alexx, and Joel had worked on building a Habitat house just a few weeks before with our church.

Again - an awesome performance.

When they began announcing the dates for the tour for their new album, Revelation, wouldn't you know - two dates in Indiana were among the first ones! I kept harping on Sean about it, to which he stood firm. Yes, he wanted to go badly as well, but we have financial goals to meet. Fine. Be mature about it.

The Zipps then asked their friend if he could hook them up with tickets, and a few days before the concert - dude came through. And did he ever! Along with the terrific tickets (14th row), he included two passes to the meet and greet after the show. Oh. My.

Now, let's just say this - I'm quite the Mac Powell (lead singer) fan. Sean would laugh out loud at this understatement. It's not so much a physical rush, but an emotional one - the man's voice and the words he sings move me. I'm not even kidding you when I say this - when I was trying to convince Sean to buy us tickets to go and he was standing his ground on the financial plan we have, I actually compared my going to see Third Day to how some people feel when they go to the Billy Graham crusade. I know. But I was just trying to make him understand how much my life depended on doing this. Okay. Now you may laugh. (And my mom is now having flashbacks to how I tried to get my way as a teenager ...)

Long explanation short - I love them. I love them more that I love Keith Urban and his music. And that says a lot. Another important point is that their music has been very instrumental in Sean's walk as a new Christian these past few years. Music is a huge part of our lives as an entire family, so it's no surprise that listening to different kinds of music helps us through many things. There are days when I am trudging through autism, where listening to certain music that reminds me of what I have in my faith is what gets me through that hour to be able to tackle the next issue. So this is a little more than fun for us. It means something.

Of course, they did not disappoint. We had a great time being uplifted once again by Third Day, and were also introduced to a band we weren't aware of, Need to Breathe, and found that we really enjoyed them as well.

We also had wonderful time as a couple, which all marriages need. The concert was at IU Auditorium in Bloomington, so we also had great alone time on the drive there and back. It was a good evening all around.

AND I GOT TO MEET MY FAVORITE BAND. They were incredibly nice. During the meet & greet, they moved around the room separately, so you were able to talk to them individually, get things signed if you wanted to, take pictures, etc. They then moved everyone through so they could all get a photo with the entire band. There are a couple of photos on the website that were taken of us by their photographer that I haven't been able to download yet.

When Mac Powell walked up to me, held out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Mac Powell," I may have grabbed his hand a little too hard - and maybe he thought it was weird when I then smelled it for a minute or so? We were able to tell him how their music has helped in the ways that I mentioned above, then he began asking about our kids and their ages and commented on how far apart they are and that they'd really squeezed theirs together . . . and then I only remember taking photos and asking if I could have his shirt to make a pillow case out of it.

Is that weird?

Fun, fun night. Now I can die.

And the next day I said something about the bottle of water I was drinking from was my "Third Day water" because it was what I got at the meet & greet. A few hours later, I noticed it was sitting on the fireplace mantel. Huh? Sean said he figured I wanted it on prominent display and that no one should touch it. Funny. Funny guy I'm married to.

Wouldn't this make a great poster? Or wall mural?

Having great couple time!

Sean and bassist Tai Anderson.

On the way home, we were recognizing God's hand in all of this. All three opportunities were put before us by others. We wanted to do something, but felt we shouldn't for financial reasons - and God provided. For all three events, all we had to pay for was gas money and, perhaps, a soda or two at the shows.
Now I know it may sound silly that we see these things as God providing. But we do, and we are grateful for the experiences.

And the Zipps totally rock for loving us enough to try and make this happen on their end!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Once upon a time when we lived elsewhere, we would sit in our garage on Halloween and hand out warm apple cider and candy.

This is the first year we have done it since moving back here. And as we do much of our life now, we did it with the Zipps! We all had great fun.

Making lots of spider cupcakes ...
Preparing for the evening ...

Ready to go!

Star Wars dudes Seth and Joel.

Even Heidi got in on the fun! Doesn't she look thrilled?

Mr. Zipps (with his injured leg and crutches) and I stayed back and handed out cider, cupcakes, candy, and trinkets and chatted with neighbors while Sean and Susan took the kids trick-or-treating.

Great fun was had by all!

Buckle Your Seatbelts

Well, you all know I'm obviously disappointed in the turn-out of the election.

I am, though, proud that we are now in a time when the majority of Americans will elect a president across racial lines. That says a lot about how far our nation has come in that respect. We have, indeed, headed in the right direction as far as that is concerned.

I am not proud of the fact that we are also in a time when the majority of Americans will elect a president with such apparently sketchy values with respect to many biblical issues. And I am not talking about any mistake the man may have made in his youth. I am referring to what he is promising to do while in office and the direction in which his "HOPE" wants to take us.

More jobs are going to be lost because businesses that can hardly pay their employees' salaries now will be forced to let them go when their taxes are increased.

More potential lives are going to be seen as being conceived at inconvenient times and snuffed out with no parental consent to do so if the girl is underage. This opens up a whole new way of thinking for people who would have otherwise thought twice before taking risks that they shouldn't in the first place.

And before you call me judgmental, let's remember that I was one of those people taking risks they shouldn't be not so many years ago and have an almost-18-year-old son to prove it. But he wasn't an inconvenience or a mistake or just "made at the wrong time," he was our son from the moment he was conceived. You'd better be ready to be a parent if you're going to have sex. That's how babies are made.

We won't even talk here about the facet of this that covers those who decide not to have their children because they aren't perfectly healthy. I'll bet my autistic son or my friends' son with Down Syndrome will have something to say about that someday. Right to choose life or death? No - that is God's job.

People who have worked hard to get where they are will be forced to foot the bill for those who have decided that jobs are for other people. Why work when the guy next door does and he'll be taxed to cover me, who chooses not to? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal!

And marriage? The definition of marriage is the union of a man and woman in holy matrimony. This is not an anti-gay statement. It is a fact. I have gay friends, and if they want to live in some type of union, go for it - it's not my life. But don't decide that the way something has been defined for centuries is suddenly not encompassing what you would like for it to, so you set out to change it. Make your own definition and fight for that.

I am reminded of Bill Clinton challenging what the definition of "is" is - remember that? How come a huge following of husbands committing adultery didn't jump on the bandwagon and try to change how we all view what the actual definition of "sexual relations" is and whether or not having oral sex with another woman does or does not mean you have, in fact, had sex? Why didn't anyone try to change divorce laws to fit this new definition?

And by the way - do you think it is any coincidence that the generation that has grown up in the wake of that incident sees oral sex as little more than kissing? Connect the dots people, and then try to imagine what picture you will see in 10 years with the agenda that will be on the table in the next oval office.

Biblical values do not change; people deciding whether or not to follow them do, which in turn changes the culture in which we live and raise our children . . . and they raise theirs.

This is a slippery slope that I wish we were not teetering on the edge of. But God is sovereign, and His will will be done - one way or another. I was just praying there would be more compliance on our end. I'm imagining He is up there thinking, "We can do this the easy way, or the hard way; but we're gonna do it." I believe we've just elected to do it the hard way.

You're darn right - there's gonna be change. This country is definitely about to see a lot of change.

And we asked for it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Our family uses humor to trudge through most things that are challenging us. We joke, therefore we are.

If you can't laugh through things, then you might as well just hang it all up.

We often chuckle through autism. Hey - this is the life God has handed us, and we handle it the best we can. Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying.

Yesterday morning was no exception. Seth (5) woke up completely off his rocker and stayed that way until he went to kindergarten after lunch. He was just mad at the world for some reason. He was angry at Joel (10) for being older than him. He was angry at Daddy because he had placed the Sorry game too high on a shelf at some point. He was mad at Alexx (17) for being gone when he woke up. None of these people were at home to shoulder the brunt of these accusations; I had the lovely pleasure of fielding all of these complaints by myself.

A couple of hours into this endless tirade of things gone horribly wrong in Seth's world, I called Sean at work to unload a little bit and told him that "Seth is unbelievably out of sorts this morning," to which Seth screamed, "QUIT NAME-CALLING ON ME!"

I told him I did not name-call, and he said, "YES YOU DID. You called me a HORSE!"

"NO - I said you were out of sorts."


The fervor with which he said it made it all the more hilarious. I had to contain my laughter, though, because I believe that would have pushed him over the edge and made his head begin spinning around on his shoulders.

We can't have that.

It's V Day.

Today is an important day for our country. I do not vote Democrat. I do not vote Republican. I do not vote Libertarian . . . or Green . . . or independent. I vote Christian. That is what my identity is based on, it is who I am and dictates how I see and do things even more than the fact that I am a woman, or a mother, or a special-needs mother, or a really stubborn, outspoken, feisty person who irritates people with my opinions.

I base my vote on, to the best of my knowledge, how much a person's beliefs align with my own - based on previous voting records, their history on the issues, their own experience in what they profess to speak intelligently on, who they will take money from to advance their campaigns, and the beliefs of who they themselves have aligned themselves with in the past as well as the present.

Simply put, I want someone in office who has demonstrated through previous actions and experiences that he or she will lead this country following (as closely as possible) the beliefs that I hold steadfastly true myself - regardless of race, political party, age, or coffee preference.

So don't forget to vote - and then go get your free coffee at Starbucks!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Be Grateful? Seriously?

The following was sent to me by a good friend (Thanks, Jen!) and is said to be written by a well-known talk show host. I can't confirm that, but it really doesn't matter who penned it - it is one person's opinion and sums up well just how sick I am of hearing the whining in this country about how bad it is here. I actually blogged earlier about how I felt HERE.

No matter what your political convictions are this is an eye opener....

"As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark.

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?'

A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state.

F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

L. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day?

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations.

They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative."

Take this attitude and boil it down to the way one person views his or her life, and now you have the struggle I put myself through for about a year and half.

We had just moved back to where we grew up after living for years with wonderful friends, in a beautiful home, in a beautiful state where the cost of living was much lower. I was homesick for over a year and it dictated how I acted every day from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. I didn't appreciate the fact that I was back near family. I didn't appreciate the fact that I was in a newer, bigger house with new, awesome neighbors.

Then my youngest was diagnosed with autism and our lives went into a tailspin. We lost hope for his future, we lost a whole lot of income to all kinds of therapy and doctors, we lost friends who apparentely felt we were no longer paying enough attention to them, we lost any kind of peace in our home much of the time.

This is what I focused on - everything that I no longer had, or would never have - everything I thought my life was lacking and that I deserved. I was miserable, and so was everyone around me because that sort of attitude is viral.

Through, I believe, God's hand in my life, my attitude changed and so did my circumstances. People were placed in my life who have walked with me through the challenges we've been handed, and I now do my best to focus on all the blessings in my life. I don't always succeed, but I push my heart in that direction.

I am grateful for what I do have, and that alone completely changes my outlook and how I view my own life. Not only am I no longer miserable, I'm happppppyyyyy!

My circumstances have not changed much. In fact, a few things have gone a little further south. But here's what I know. No human out there is responsible for my lot in life; I am responsible for how I interpret my world; and I have a choice to be negative or positive. Negative turned out badly, so common sense dictated that I turn it around.

I highly recommend it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We All Need A Break Now And Then

Apparently I'm in trouble. I've been given the business by several people who wondered out loud if I'm ever going to blog again.

The honest truth is, for the first part of last week, I was super busy. And then my parents took the boys for fall break, Sean took some vacation time, and I went crazy having ME TIME!

I can't believe how people without kids . . . or jobs . . . really live! I felt like a kid let loose in a cotton candy factory. I had day after day of sleeping until my body just woke up, and then doing what I wanted, when I wanted, and for however long I wanted - and it was a total rush. If that feeling could be rolled up and smoked, I'd be in so much trouble.

The boys came home Friday afternoon and reality rushed back in with them. So I'm back to the eye rolls, the bickering, the autism, the messes . . . and the hugs, the kisses, the fun, the hilarity.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking the dudes off our hands!