The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Anniversary Trip or Shopping Spree?

illustration courtesy of

I like to go out of town with Mr. Incredible to celebrate our anniversary. Getting away by ourselves recharges my "marital batteries" and helps me relax and get refocused on Mr. Incredible rather than focusing solely on our girls. The way things are shaping up, it's a good thing that it really doesn't matter to me where we go as long as we get to spend time just by ourselves.

Last year, we ended up taking the girls to Tweetsie Railroad, but the previous two years we indulged Mr. Incredible's NASCAR fixation and traveled to "NASCAR country" near Charlotte. We visited different racing team headquarters including DEI (home to Dale Jr.'s team - and some other drivers, as well) and Joe Gibbs Racing (home to Tony Stewart and 2 other drivers). Although these sites weren't as interesting to me as they were to Mr. Incredible, I did enjoy looking at some of the memorabilia, admiring the buildings' architecture, and exclaiming about some of the modern office furniture.

This year, we will be returning to the NASCAR shops yet again. Mr. Incredible plans to purchase two more Dale Jr. cars from DEI. However, he has kindly asked if I would like to do something else on the trip. Would I?! He said we could stop by my friend Karen's house, and we're talking about possibly going to the mountains and finding some place to go canoing. I haven't done that since college, but I really enjoyed it then. Maybe next year we can go whitewater rafting again - I loved that!

How do you celebrate your anniversary?


Friday, July 27, 2007

Coming Up

Well, actually, it will be "tomorrow" in less than an hour!

Baby Bear is almost two, and we are having her birthday party tomorrow. She loves Woody from Toy Story, so I wanted to give her a Woody party, but no one carries Toy Story party supplies anymore. Imagine that - after 10 years the demand is just not there. (wry smile) The closest I could come was cowboy themed decorations and Toy Story dolls. I think she'll be happy though. We are happy that she is part of our family. I can't imagine not having a trio of girls chumming around together.

Daddy isn't too happy right now. The girls were playing Sonic the Hedgehog on his PS2. Apparently they fought over and yanked the controllers, pulling the PS2 to the ground. It no longer works. (very sad face!) It reads the discs but no longer recognizes or powers the controllers - rather a critical feature of the system. I guess this means I won't be getting a Linksys router for broadband Internet service anytime soon. I am so tired of dial-up! However, Daddy takes precedence in the wish-list pecking order, so I reckon I'll be thankful I have any Internet service at all. *smile*

Have a wonderful weekend.


We Have a Winner!

Thank you to all who participated in my giveaway for the Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway. I used the random number generator this morning, and it chose the number that corresponded to the comment left by Jen of Congratulations, Jen! I hope you enjoy your CD!

Shannon, the host of this wonderful event, has mentioned possibly holding another giveaway carnival in the fall, so keep watching to see what happens then.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

If I Had $1 Million (Tag)

Frank of The New Parent tagged me to tell what I would do if I won/had $1 million. Did you know that the average worker will earn more than a million dollars during his lifetime?

US Census (2002) stats on lifetime earnings by degrees (high school, bachelor, masters, PhD)
  • High school $1.2 (million)
  • Some college $1.5
  • Associate $1.6
  • Bachelor’s $2.1
  • Masters $2.5
  • Professional Degree $4.4
  • Doctoral $3.4
Hat Tip: The Online Bachelor Degree

So we actually decide how we will "spend $1 million" every day. That's a rather sobering thought.

Alright, here are the rules for this particular tag.

1st- Tell what you would do "If You Had $1,000,000.00 ... "

This is what I would do if I somehow obtained $1 million in lump sum form.
  • Give a minimum of 10% to our church and 10% to missionaries.
  • Pay off our only remaining debt - our mortgage and car payment.
  • Stick away a substantial amount of money for our girls.
  • Save and invest a large portion.
  • Pay for our extended families to join us for a week's vacation at a beach cottage on the Outer Banks.
  • Allot a small portion for recreational spending - what is the fun of having extra money if you can't spend a little bit? *smile*
2nd - Tag 5 bloggers by linking to their blog.
  1. Sho
  2. Karen
  3. MaryAnne
  4. Cheryl
  5. Linda
3rd - Let the blogger you want to tag know they have been tagged by commenting on their blog.
4th - Add your own blog link to the list below.

What They Would Do With Their $1 Million:
  1. SYH will spend for Family.
  2. Miche will give to the needy.
  3. Montessorimum will keepsake
  4. Healthfreakmommy will keep, invest, spend and give to the needy.
  5. The New Parent would use for education and charity.
  6. The Porch Light: charitable giving, pay off debt, save for self and children, vacation with family, spend a bit.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Back to Real Life

I've been having way too much fun entering contests and viewing my inflated stats (oh, look! visitors!!!). *grin* Well, despite all the fun, life still does go on, and I have assignments waiting to be completed, serious posts floating around in my head, and three kiddos providing daily doses of laughter and exasperation that, after this family's loss (they need our prayers and support), I hope never again to take for granted.

Here's an offer for businesses: epazz is offering a 30-day free trial of their collaboration software. Epazz touts this software as providing a solution for businesses' problems with e-mail, website management, communication between managers and employees, and more. I am not sure I completely understand how this all works, but it appears that businesses can set up private company websites for one-point secure access by employees. If this sounds like something your business needs, contact them for more information and to get set up.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thoughtful Tuesday

"A wife with good horse sense will never become a nag."

Pastor Dwight Williams


Monday, July 23, 2007

Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway - Closed

We have a winner! Click to see who is the lucky recipient of the CD.

Here is a fun idea: Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a huge give-away that is rather like a big blog party with prizes (follow the link to see the ever-increasing list of participants). Here's how it works: you offer an item that you ship to your winner. In Shannon's words:

"You can hold a drawing at your blog for whatever you want. It doesn't have to be big, or expensive, or even new. It can be something you made. Or something you found on sale. Or something you've used (a book, maybe?) and want to pass on to others. ...

The idea is simple: we'll all go "live" with our giveaways on Monday, July 23 (or anytime that week). I'll have a Mr. Linky up here where you can enter a link to your giveaway post--hopefully we'll have such a huge list of partcipants that there will be LOTS of chances to win. You'll accumulate comments through the week, and then you can draw randomly from those commenters on Friday, July 27, announcing your winner."

Shannon has stipulated that this contest must also be open to people without web sites or blogs.

Okay, so here is what I am giving away: one copy of my CD, He Giveth More Grace. This is a solo piano CD featuring 17 hymn arrangements, six of which are my very own. Songs include Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, And Can It Be?, Were You There?, I Surrender All, He Giveth More Grace, and twelve other selections. Here is a small sample for your listening pleasure: I Surrender All.

If you would like a chance to win this prize, please leave a comment. Make sure you check back on Friday for the announcement of the winner and for instructions for receiving your CD. (See added note below.) I wish you all the best!

Edited to add: Sorry, I need to edit a few details:
  1. Make sure you leave me some way to contact you - with all the participants, I would hate for the winner to forget they entered here and neglect to check back. Either leave a link to your website by choosing "Other" and filling in your name and URL at the bottom of the comment section, or leave me your e-mail address in written form (at instead of @, etc), if you feel comfortable doing so.
  2. I forgot to mention that you have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday enter this contest.
  3. I also neglected to mention that I do welcome international participants.


Let's Love on Parker

Love for Parker

Today is July 23, which means that Slurping Life is accepting donations for Parker from now until Friday. This fund raiser couldn't come at a better time: he isn't doing so great right now. After you make your donation, don't forget to leave a comment so that you can be entered in the contest for 17 great prizes. $2 (the minimum contribution) may not seem like much, but little bits put together can amount to a large sum. I'm praying that this fund raiser will be hugely successful, but that depends on us.


Friday, July 20, 2007

It's Time to Grow Up

I recently came to the conclusion that, although I am a "grown-up", I have not yet grown up in some areas, and I think it's high time I finally grow up and accept my responsibilities, particularly in the area of caring for my house.

I struggle, and always have, with house work. I get weary of fighting the same old battles: excessive laundry, mountains of dishes, dust on all the furniture. No matter what I do, it seems as though those things never change. There are days I am so tired of fighting to keep our living conditions from declining any further (not that they are terrible, please understand- only a bit messy) that I just want to run away from all my responsibilities. I feel like my family would be better off without me around. Now, don't worry, I am committed to my family, and I won't do something that stupid, but I sure would like to! (I bet I'm not the only who feels like that upon occasion.) Perhaps whacking some golf balls would be a good release for my pent-up frustrations; I don't know. (I do know that punching something makes me feel better; maybe I should take up boxing rather than golf. *smile*)

When I was mentally bewailing my fate yesterday afternoon, it finally struck me: I procrastinate as long as possible if I need to do something I don't like to do. How childish is that? It's time for me to suck it up, willingly shoulder my responsibilities, and act like the grown up my age proclaims me to be.

So here's my plan of action: starting today (right after this post *wink*), I will first work on what I dislike doing. After I have completed the dreaded task, I will reward myself by doing something I like to do - blogging, perhaps? I really do like when our house is clean and in order, and, if I work at it, I think that I can keep it that way the majority of the time instead of the minority of the time.

So ... do any of you have any suggestions for learning to enjoy doing housework? What gets you through tasks that you don't enjoy? Maybe I should post another "Reclaim Your House Week" series?


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Donate and Be Entered to Win

Love for Parker

This little guy is Parker, a special boy with Downs Syndrome who constantly struggles with daunting medical issues. His family's helpful and caring insurance company refuses to assist them with items that are of life-and-death importance for Parker's continued well-being. (Don't you just feel that warm, fuzzy, loving feeling for all insurance companies right now?)

Melody of Slurping Life came up with the fabulous idea of holding a fund raiser for Parker and his family. The dates of the love offering will be July 23 through July 27. As an added contribution incentive, beyond just our normal human compassion, Melody and others are turning this into a contest by offering prizes, including courtesy of Hewlett-Packard, a digital camera/printer/accessories package retailing for approximately $430. To be eligible to win a prize, you must donate a minimum of $2, though a larger contribution would certainly be appreciated. All donations will go directly to an account accessible by Parker's parents.

Melody contacted me about donating a prize, and I will thrilled to be able to play a part in this fund raiser. I donated a custom website design update from RS Designs, valued at $55 - $120 (depending on options chosen). The winner may choose 3 of the following options:
  1. Web site color change (change the colors of your existing template, including images)
  2. New background image
  3. Custom sidebar image
  4. Custom header
  5. Custom advertising banner.
There will be plenty of great prizes, so make sure you stop by between July 23 and July 27 to make a donation and be entered for your chance to win. If you would help spread the word by writing your own post about the contest before or during that time, it would certainly be a help to Parker and his family.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Who Is Huckabee? - I Like Mike!
If you noticed the new button in my right sidebar, you may be thinking, "Who in the world is Huckabee?" Considering his lack of media coverage, that would not be a surprising question.

Before I point you to the answer, let me explain why I choose to support this relatively unknown politician in his bid for the White House. (For a more detailed explanation, read my Rants, Raves, and Rejects post, I Like Mike.)

While I am not affiliated with any political party and would vote for the candidate who best matches my convictions (no matter to which party he belongs), I must say that I have yet to see a Democrat come anywhere near matching my convictions. The Republican party is not in much better shape, and the candidates whom the media deem worthy of coverage are a depressing lot:
If I feel comfortable voting for none of the aforementioned candidates, for whom can I vote? Enter Mike Huckabee, or rather, enter my awareness of Mike Huckabee. A former Southern Baptist minister (which, by the way, is no guarantee of anything), Huckabee's platform is "pro" in a way that I can support: pro-life, pro-Second Amendment rights, pro-Israel, and pro-heterosexual marriage only.

I cannot force anyone to agree with me, and I would not want to do that anyway. I only ask that you take a look at this Presidential hopeful and examine whether he and his campaign reflect what you want to see in our next President.

If, after examining his beliefs, you believe he is the right man for the job, how about pitching in to help his cause? Contributions are not only welcome but are also needed; you could join Team Huckabee, send e-mails to your friends; request a blog interview with Gov. Huckabee; vote or volunteer in the upcoming Ames (Iowa) Straw Poll; you can even do what I am doing in this post: blog about Mike Huckabee. Any help spreading the word about this notable hopeful would be helpful.

To end on a lighter note, you should read through the descriptions of the lesser-known Republican and Democratic wannabes. I had to laugh out loud at some of them!


Frugal Tips and Tricks

It has been quite a while since I posted on this topic. I was browsing through a cook book one of my former piano students, a sweet lady who was 73 years old, gave me. In the back of the book, there is a section devoted to "Little Known Household Hints." In it, I found the following tips:

  • Tired of dripping candles? "Candles chilled for 24 hours in the refrigerator will burn longer and not drip."
  • The glass on my oven door is covered with grease, so I was glad to find that "Baking soda on a damp cloth will remove grime and grease from glass on oven door."
  • I had heard of using peanut butter to help remove gum from hair, but this tip sounds a bit less messy: "To remove gum from hair, rub a plain chocolate bar in hair then wash."
I hope that these tips are a help to you; I'll share more with you another time.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NASCAR mania

Or should I say, "Dale Jr. mania?" Whichever may be the correct designation, the mania has hit our home on two fronts at once.

In the first place, Junior has created what I think is NASCAR's biggest shakeup since Dale Earnhardt Sr. died. If you haven't heard (this is, after all, rather old news now), after failed contract negotiations, Junior is leaving DEI, the company his father founded, for Hendrick Motorsports, owned by Rick Hendrick, where his team mates will include the man who is, in the eyes of his fans, his biggest rival: the hated Jeff Gordon.

I told you that I think this whole situation is the biggest shakeup to have happened to NASCAR since Dale Sr.'s death, and here's my reasoning behind that statement:
  • Dale Jr. is leaving his father's company for the company that puts him on the same team as Jeff Gordon. Many Junior fans view this as rank betrayal, and it will be interesting to see how many fans remain loyal to Junior and how many turn from loving him to hating him.
  • He cannot take his long-time sponsor with him. This means that fans must purchase new merchandise to proclaim their support of their favorite driver. The current diecast vehicles will probably only gain in value, but other merchandise will probably decrease in value. I mean, what good is red office furniture decorated with the #8 when Dale Jr. no longer sports those colors? (I'm being facetious here - I don't think NASCAR merchandise is exactly appropriate for serious business venues, although you might be able to get away with having a #8 mouse pad or coffee mug at work.)
  • Retaining the number 8, which is most definitely "his" number, is not a given, either. During my research for this post, I have learned that, according to a NASCAR spokesperson, Hendrick Motorsports could purchase the #8 from DEI, but I haven't come across any rumors of deals in the works for that transaction, though fans are petitioning to "Free the Eight!"
More important to Mr. Incredible than the revelation of Jr.'s new NASCAR domicile is the news that Budweiser will not be following Jr. to his new home. In fact, most rumors (see article in previous link) have Pepsi Co. as the most likely new sponsor. Mr. Incredible is thrilled that he will no longer feel guilty for purchasing a car that promotes an alcoholic beverage. He also feels this is a great marketing move for Junior: no longer will Winner's Circle cars, found at retailers such as Wal-Mart, need to create a generic car in order to be child-appropriate. With a new sponsor, Junior's merchandise can be marketed to fans of all ages, which will certainly result in increased sales, translating into increased profits.

So then ... have I bored you to tears yet? Fallen asleep? Stay with me; I'm almost done - I promise!

Let me give you a little background regarding the second front of NASCAR's attack on our home. A couple of years before we moved here, the local NASCAR shop went out of business. End of story? Nope. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Incredible came home from work and casually mentioned a little sign he had seen advertising a NASCAR sale. It was just a passing comment, and I forgot all about it ... until Saturday, July 7.

A friend had told him about Wal-Mart's latest Dale Jr. die cast inventory, which included the Winner's Circle version of the oh-so-cool-and-utterly-to-be-desired #8 camouflage car. While not the top-notch die cast that he (still) plans to buy, the Winner's Circle car would be a nice addition to his collection, so, funds in hand, he trotted, with great alacrity, to peruse the selection of 1:24, 1:64, and 1:87 scale cars.

Meanwhile, I was home with the girls, who delighted in testing my patience by acting as though they were participants in a timed mess-creating contest. I had finally found a moment to visit the "powder room" (to be prim and proper - HA!) when I heard Mr. Incredible burst into the house, frantically yelling for me. From the tone of his voice, I thought that the girls had created a more monstrous mess than usual, but when I went to find out what he wanted, he was just excited because he had stopped by the site of the NASCAR sale, and he was in die cast heaven. (That sounds a little sacrilegious, doesn't it?)

As it turns out, the "little" NASCAR sale was actually a sale of the remnants of the out-of-business NASCAR shop. Mr. Incredible was delighted to find single 1:24 scale car display cases (normally $10) for $1 and was overjoyed to find Dale Jr. die casts with prices ranging from $20 to $50. (In my limited experience, prices for die casts, not Wal-Mart versions, generally begin around $65.)

Popular driver; once-in-a-lifetime prices: now that's a winning combination. After examining our finances, we decided that Mr. Incredible could make the purchases he desired as long as any money withdrawn from our savings was returned in a timely fashion. So over the past week, he has purchased a 10-car (1:24 scale) mirrored-back display case, a 48 car (1:64 scale) mirrored back display case, and eight 1:24 Dale Jr. die casts, including the rare 1999 rookie car, which we saw valued at four times what he paid. I don't mind Mr. Incredible's spending money when it gets that kind of return on investment!


Monday, July 16, 2007

Friends, Subs, and Peach Cobbler

If you think that sounds like the recipe for fun, you would be absolutely correct. We had a blast with our friends Friday night. We started out by making the subs and eating. The kids, all 5 of them, sat around a little table intended for two children, while we grownups sat at our table, which seats eight. The kids were too excited to eat much and soon asked to be excused so they could go play. Of course we let them.

After supper, the "boys" (big, grown up boys!) played their video game while we girls chatted and made sure the kids stayed out of trouble. After awhile, we broke out the peach cobbler and ice cream. (thank you, Tina, for the recipe - it is absolutely divine! Oh, next time I'll have to try your brownie recipe; that sounds decadently delicious.) We also picked a date for us adults to go to King's Dominion together; we are all looking forward to that!

Pookie Bear wanted her little friend to spend the night and was so sad when we informed her that wasn't possible. Maybe another time.

How was your weekend?


Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Little Sketch

I am not in the mood don't have time for writing this morning; we're having friends over tomorrow, and I need to be cleaning the house. So I thought I'd share a little sketch I doodled the other day. It was supposed to be of Pookie Bear, but it really doesn't look like her - too grown up. I still think it's cute, though. I hope all of you have a great day.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007 Review

logo from

Who hasn't heard of Netflix? The concept is simply brilliant: for a monthly service fee, DVDs are delivered to your door, and you can take as long as you would like to return them without having to worry about late fees. Once you return the DVDs, a new batch is sent out.

Loving reading as I do, I was thrilled to get in on an opportunity to try out, a company similar to Netflix except that they rent out both paperback and audiobooks. There are different options available depending on the number of books that you estimate you can read in a month. The monthly fee is the only money you will ever be charged, for there are no late fees, and shipping is paid by - both ways. If you decide you want to keep a book, you can purchase it from them at a discounted price.

I was pleased to find an extensive selection of titles in many different genres. I love the classics - works by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, for example - and also enjoy reading mystery stories and some Christian fiction. In all categories, both old and new books were available and their selection includes many best sellers.

I had heard good things about Jan Karon's Mitford series and ordered the first two titles in that series. (They were excellent books, and I'm going to have to read the rest of the series now.) The books were shipped the same day and arrived in my mailbox in about three days. As promised, they came with a return envelope so that I had to pay no shipping costs.

I really like this service, though with the number of books I can read, I would have to opt for the largest plan. (In high school, I once checked out 22 library books at one time and had them all read in two days, if my memory serves me correctly.) The website is user-friendly and contains plenty of help for anyone who may become confused when trying to place an order. Just be very careful when making your first selections. I could not find a way to change the first books I selected. They were immediately queued for shipment. However, the waiting list can be changed and rearranged as much as you would like.

If you love to read, you should take a look at They have it all: flexible plans, ease of use, and great selections.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thoughtful Tuesday

"What disobedient children!" cried the old Water-rat; "they really deserve to be drowned."
"Nothing of the kind," answered the Duck; "every one must make a beginning, and parents cannot be too patient."
- from "The Devoted Friend" by Oscar Wilde


Monday, July 09, 2007

10 Ways to Save on Clothing Costs

Clothing accounts for a large portion of most budgets. I do my best to minimize our clothing spending and thought I'd share ten ways I lower the amount we put into this necessary expenditure. (These are not earth-shattering ideas, but they may be something a reader has not considered.) Even though women are more apt to identify with and use some of these tips, they are applicable to everyone, regardless of gender.

  1. Keep a list of clothing needs. Planning ahead will prevent many foolish impulse purchases and will ensure that you know exactly what is needed if you come across a fabulous yet unexpected sale.
  2. Only buy clothes you absolutely love that fit you well. (If you like to make alterations, you don't have to be as picky about fit.) If you buy something that you really don't like or that doesn't fit well, chances are that it will seldom be worn and will migrate to the back of your closet. Unused clothing is wasted money.
  3. Build a core wardrobe of timeless styles. One of the quickest ways to blow money is to purchase clothing simply because it is trendy. Trendy clothing needs to be updated frequently, but classic styles can be used for years. Just purchase a few trendy pieces to update your look.
  4. Learn from past clothing mistakes. We've all made them - the wrong color or style can make you look absolutely dreadful. Cut your losses and make a note to avoid that color or style in the future. (If you need help figuring out what is right for you, check out my 5-part series, Your Personal Style.)
  5. Buy the highest quality you can afford at the lowest price you can find. The better the quality, the longer the item will last. Initially paying a higher price can be cheaper in the long run when the item lasts for years.
  6. Purchase clothing that can be worn with at least two items you already own. Dresses are a possible exception, but I have purchased dresses with jackets that coordinated with other dresses or skirts I already owned. Building a wardrobe that mixes and matches means that you need to purchase fewer clothes.
  7. Avoid buying at full price. Nearly everything will go on sale sometime during its shelf life.
  8. Don't limit your shopping to retail, department, or outlet stores. Frequent thrift stores, clothing exhanges, and garage sales as well. I have bought many brand new outfits (with the tags still on) at our thrift stores.
  9. Be humble enough to accept hand-me-downs or to sew your own clothes. Our family is blessed in that we have not yet had to buy any clothing, other than underwear, for our girls. The Lord has provided many families who have offered us their children's outgrown clothes. The girls have beautiful wardrobes containing many name brand labels such as Tommy Hillfiger, Rare Editions, BT Kids, Rothschild, and more. Because we were willing to accept clothing from others, our girls actually have a better quality wardrobe than we would have been able to provide if we had purchased their clothing ourselves.
  10. Learn basic mending skills. Repairing an article of clothing costs a lot less than purchase a new one.
So there you go; you now know the ten ways I save money on our clothing. How do you save money on your clothing expenses?


Two for the price of one

I must apologize to Frank and Karen for taking so long to put up the memes for which they tagged me. It certainly wasn't intentional; time just seems to fly by, and before I knew it, days had turned into weeks, and I still haven't fulfilled my part as the "tag-ee."

Karen tagged me to list 7 Things about Me, and Frank tagged me to give you 8 Random Facts about Myself. Since these memes are so similar, I'm going to cheat a little and roll them into one post.

Oh, yes, I nearly forgot; here are the rules:

For the 7 Things meme - "Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own post with their 7 things as well as these rules. You need to tag 7 others and list their names on your blog. Remember to leave a comment for them letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog."

For the 8 Facts meme - "(1) Post these rules before listing your facts. (2) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (3) People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. (4) At the end of your blog, you need to choose people to get tagged and list their names. (5) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are my answers.

  1. I hate steak sauce. Mr. Incredible loves it, but I can't stand the stuff. It tastes too much of molasses and vinegar.
  2. My hair used to have very tight curls, but as I have gotten older, the curls have loosened.
  3. I am talented in creative pursuits: music, art, etc. But don't ask me to remember anything for you! I really stink at house keeping, too. *sigh*
  4. I have never tried any form of tobacco, drunk any kind of alcoholic beverage, or tried any kind of drug. I have no intentions of trying any of those, either.
  5. I hate needles, IV's, and the like and had planned to go natural during childbirth. I wimped out and asked for the epidural with all three. That was a great choice for me. Maybe next time I'll make it without that aid. *smile*
  6. I have 3 sisters and 1 brother. He was the youngest child for nearly 8 years.
  7. The high school photo at the top of my left sidebar was taken 12 years ago. In 12 more years, Mr. Incredible and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary. I wonder what I will look like then? (end of the 7 Things meme)
  8. I think I am not a very good friend. You can count on me when the chips are down, but I may not be around very much when your life is great. (Weird, huh?)
Since I started out by cheating, I may as well continue. *grin* I am going to tag 8 people who may choose which meme they would like to do Tag: Fergie, Tracy, Gracie, Shawna, Esperance, Tanyetta, Amanda, and Cheryl. (If you don't want to complete the meme, that's fine; I completely understand.)


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Comment guidelines

I made the decision to turn off comment moderation, but I am leaving the word verification on to stop any potential spammers. I know it's annoying, but it appears to be successful.

Since I am turning off comment moderation, I thought I would put some comment guidelines in place.

  • Be aware that I do reserve the right to delete any comment for whatever reason.
  • This is a family-friendly blog; please write your comments accordingly.
  • Please only post comments that are courteous in tone both to me and to other commenters. It's fine to disagree, but I do want any dissenting comments to be couched in kind and courteous phrases. Comments that I deem to be attacks against me or another commenter will be deleted.
I don't want to get too picky, so we'll start with those three guidelines and see how it goes. I have faith in you, my dear readers (*smile*), and do not believe I will ever need to add any other stipulations. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to leave a comment and enjoy the friendships I have developed with several of my regular commenters. Thanks for that unique essence that you bring to this blog.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Great gift for special occasions

Next month, Mr. Incredible and I will have been married for eight year. Where does time go so quickly? Even with all the ups and downs that are guaranteed to come with even eight years of marriage, I still cannot imagine a more perfect husband for me than Mr. Incredible.

I always love to surprise Mr. Incredible with a great anniversary gift. This year, I am giving him two gifts - one will be a surprise, and one will not. The not-surprise gift is the superb 16x20 canvas of our girls pictured above. Obviously this picture is not going to do it justice, but I can assure you that the quality is excellent, and we are happy with our canvas. (Note: thanks to my friend Karen for pointing out that the photo looks like I am part of the canvas. I am actually standing in front of the canvas.)

Actually, my whole experience with Canvas On Demand has been wonderful. Their website offers clear directions for submitting a photo and the FAQ page leaves a prospective client guessing about nothing. Turnaround time is extremely quick (even with the 4th of July holiday, we received our canvas about a week after we placed the order), and they offer a 100% guarantee. Prices are reasonable for this type of service, and the special options available ensure that Canvas on Demand can do virtually anything you want done with your photo.

If you want an unusual gift for an anniversary or other special occasion, a canvas of a treasured photo might be just the thing for which you are looking. I highly recommend Canvas on Demand for this service; if you try them, you won't be disappointed.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, America!

clip art courtesy of

I should have posted this on the third, but I thought I'd have time to blog yesterday. Well, America, you're receiving the same greetings as all my relatives: happy belated birthday!

“America is great," Alexis de Toqueville wrote, "because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, then America will cease to be great.”

I fear that America is no longer good and will not be a great nation much longer unless we who are Christians (little Christs) fall on our knees in repentance of our sins and beg God's forgiveness and restoration of our nation. I pray that we would return to the Christian principles upon which this nation was founded.

God bless America!


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Just about us

I'm actually caught up on my paid blogging? Wow! That hasn't happened in a while. It seems as though I am always scrambling to finish things before the deadline. Well, this means I get to post about anything I want. What freedom! (smile)

Mr. Incredible enjoyed his week off last week, but, thanks to July 4th, he doesn't have to work a full week this week, either. I'm so glad he still enjoys his job. After working nearly thirteen years in a job he hated, it is really nice that he doesn't dread going to work every day.

Pookie Bear, Miss Muffet, and Baby Bear are all doing well. Pookie Bear tries to help me, which is great. Sometimes, though, she's a little too helpful, and I have to remind her that she is not the Mommy; I am.

Miss Muffet is finally getting ready to be potty-trained. Before, she would request to go potty when we were out in public, and she would actually make herself go, but she was adamantly determined not to go at home. Oh, and she was not at all interested in wearing anything other than a diaper. Well, she has gone potty at home at least once a day for the past couple of weeks, and I bought some of Target's Care Bears pull-ups on clearance. She decided that she likes those, so now we are working on keeping the hearts - they disappear if she wets her pull-up.

Baby Bear has been growing up without my realizing it. She will be two in about 3 weeks, but she is such a petite little thing that she doesn't seem that old. She is letting us know that she is tired of being in the nursery at church. I guess she's ready for the "big kids" class now. *sigh* I'm almost ready for another baby.

I got baptized on Sunday night. It is so nice to know for sure that I am saved and going to heaven when I die. (Edited for clarification: I do not believe that baptism saves. It is just an outward sign to the world that you are being identified with Jesus.) Now I just pray that the girls will get saved before the Rapture takes place. Thinking of them going into the Tribulation scares me to death!

All in all, we are doing well. Thanks to all of you who stop by here. I'm glad to share a bit of our life with you.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Retirement dreams

Ever fantasize about owning a second home? I would love to own a home somewhere in the mountains. How lovely it would be to have a retreat from the summer heat! (I'm getting rather spoiled. Growing up in south Texas, I was accustomed to weeks of 100F+ temperatures. Now, I am dreadfully uncomfortable when the temperature hits the 90F range!)

I know other people, usually retirees, enjoy the warmer southern climates. If you are in this category, you might desire a vacation home Orlando-style. Florida is a popular destination for "snow birds" - as they are called there.

What do you want for your retirement?


Little Christs?

I was working on a blog design project for Imago Dei and followed with interest the crisis of faith that Amanda experienced. In the end, she determined that her problem lay not with God but with modern day Christianity.

I, too, believe that there is something dreadfully wrong with much of "Christianity" in our world, for American Christianity looks nothing like the Christianity shown in the Bible. No longer do people know that a Christian is a "little Christ" or a "Christ-follower." Today, "Christian" not only refers to one who follows Christ but may also apply to music, books, clothing, movies, and, unfortunately, has become a generic label attached to many things that bring shame to the name of Christ. Surely you have noticed how many things have some kind of religiously-affiliated title: Christian dance, True Religion Jeans, Christian handyman. This is good marketing strategy, for many people will blindly trust in anything that bears a religious label, but it makes meaningless the term "Christian."

A friend of mine told me what her grandmother always told her: "A person can be saved and not be a Christian, for the "i" in Christian always follows "Christ," and you can be saved but choose not to follow Christ." I also really liked Amanda's statement, "Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective." It seems as though everyone (and everything!) is claiming the name of Christ. "Sure, I'm a Christian, " people say, but when you ask them when they accepted Jesus as their Savior, they often say that they have always been a Christian, or they belong to "such-and-such" church, or they are a good person, or any number of reasons why they claim the title of Christian (other than acceptance of Jesus Christ's atonement for sin.)

We who are Christians: do we reflect the true meaning of the word "Christian"? Do we follow Christ? I'm not asking, "Do we follow a prescribed list of rules?" I'm asking if we follow Christ. We need not worry about man-made standards, for as we follow Christ, pray, and read His Word, He will show us what He wants us to do.

Don't get me wrong; it's not bad to have standards. Standards only become a bad thing when we elevate them above God. Instead of realizing that people are at different places in their walk with God, we too often expect everyone to hold the same convictions and standards as we have, for, of course, we must be right. (gentle sarcasm here) All too often, we fail to have God's mercy, compassion, and love toward those who are not where we think they should be spiritually. This, too, is detrimental to the cause of Christ.

I challenge myself and every true Christian to remember why we are called Christians. Let's live our lives in such a way that those who see us will actually see Christ reflected in us. Let's reject this lukewarm, nominal "Christianity" that is the standard. Let's be on fire for God, living for Him to the best of our ability and seeking to draw others to Him through our lives. Let's be "Little Christs."