Saturday, January 31, 2009
I am certain that the moment I made my commitment to live a 4:12 Life in 2009, Satan perked up his ears. Because that's what he does - everything he can to defeat Christ's church and to turn Christians away from God and back to sin. So when I decided to spend time in God's Word every day and to grow spiritually and be fully alive in Him, Satan got to work.
I have to admit, he's smart. Satan knows my weaknesses; he knows how to tempt me, how to make me discontent, and I don't even see it coming. But he's after me for sure. I'm feeling the attack. And I have to admit, at times I haven't been very strong against it. I feel every struggle and I get downhearted and discouraged.
But I continue to read God's Word, and as He promises, it is living and active, it is applicable to me, today. I've been reading in Exodus, and from the first few chapters I know that God is with me, even through the hard times, just as He was with the Israelites during their slavery and oppression. And while we do have a powerful enemy, that enemy is no match for God! God takes the worst circumstances and brings good from them. Most of the time this takes patience, something I struggle with. But good will come from bad circumstances. It happened over and over throughout the Bible, and it happens over and over today. And so I must draw my strength from that, and resist the devil. I must stand strong in my faith, and know that His grace is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9). And I must stick with my commitment to live a 4:12 Life - for Satan will be defeated.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
So, at 18 months, I found a great photographer and we went out to a local park and captured some precious photos of my baby boy. Despite the heat and the mosquitoes that feasted upon his soft baby flesh, all the pictures turned out really good. This one is my favorite:
Monday, January 26, 2009
I can certainly see some of these traits in Little Son. He is very methodical - he has a true engineering mind - but the detail-oriented part of him shows his artistic side. He's very strict about rules - some might even say rigid. Heck, some might even say he needs to loosen up a little! He's not terribly stubborn, and he does hate to fail, but I don't see him as a "tireless worker". At least not yet! He is very very smart, and yes, very tender and affectionate.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Bubba's Mom made a big pot of homemade soup tonight, so I went to her house, ate soup, curled up on her couch with my crown and sweats on, and watched the pageant. There's nothing like having your mama when you're sick, is there?
I must say, the pageant was much better than last year. Miss America has changed so much over the years - some of the changes good, some not. We miss the days of a September crowning in Atlantic City, of Bert Parks singing "There she is....." But we still got to see the swimwear, the beautiful evening gowns, and the always entertaining talent competition (our favorite part!). They still answered relevant interview questions, altho not much was said about their platforms. In the end Miss Indiana was crowned Miss America 2009, and we were good with that. They even played a recording of Bert Parks singing that famous song as she walked the runway. But we missed Katie Lady and D... - we'll do it next year, girls! Keep those crowns polished!
Friday, January 23, 2009
Ya'll, the judges wigged out. They thought it was a THREAT! Paula said, "You just don't say that to people!" They were serious.
Apparently these Hollywood big-wigs don't fully understand the South. "Be careful!" is one of those things we just say when we're saying goodbye - it's not a threat, but a loving kind of "see you later". I say it all the time! I'm certainly not threatening people! Hubby and I just looked at each other in confusion when the judges freaked out about it. Apparently they need to spend more time with some GRITS so they'll fully understand the lingo when they come down here!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
As a little girl, I did a lot of pretending - I loved playing dress-up and pretending to be a mommy with all my dolls, or a cowgirl riding my "horse" (which was really my bike). I never pretended to be cooking, tho. I didn't stand at my mother's knee and watch her prepare our meals, learning each step as she did it. I didn't have a little toy kitchen with pots and pans of my own. No, even as a child I knew better. When it was pretend time? I ate out.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
And now I must take the opportunity to brag on my OTHER son - commonly known here as Little Son.
Little Son has many talents and interests. He's brilliant, really, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mama. Ask D.... and she'll agree. The child is scary-smart.
His most recent interest has been baking - he made a homemade apple pie for Thanksgiving, and now he's into cakes. His favorite show on TV (besides Mythbusters) is Ace of Cakes. I gave him a cookbook for Christmas that is all cakes. The boy LOVES to bake, and what kind of mother would I be to stifle his creativity and interests? I let him bake, and I
Since Christmas he has been bugging me and bugging me to try using fondant. I've heard fondant is hard to work with, and as brilliant as he is, Little Son is still just 11 years old. I've been putting him off. But the other day Bubba's Mom bought him some pre-made fondant at the craft store - all he had to do was roll it out and create his edible work of art. He was thrilled.
And so yesterday he got to work on it - and here is his final creation:
Check out the detail on the rose:
And the best part? It was deeee-licous! I think this kid is onto something. Perhaps he'll be the next Chef Duff.....
Monday, January 19, 2009
Navy Son has the honor of marching in the Inaugural Parade with the United States Naval Academy! While I don't know that I'll be able to pick him out of the group on TV (they tend to all look alike), I'm sure gonna try! He will be a part of history - he can say he was THERE on this historic day. What an awesome experience for him! I can't wait to hear him tell about it.
If you watch the parade tomorrow, be sure to look for him! Maybe he'll wave and say, "Hi Mom!"
Saturday, January 17, 2009
BUT....I have never published a book. Until now.
My dearest, bestest friend ever (guess who it is?) took all of our Amazing Race blog posts - her pictures and my writing - and had the whole saga published in a book! A REAL book! Check it out:
Is that cool or what?!? AND? It's not just a book for me. Oh no. ANYONE can buy a copy of our book! I'm thinking by summer it's going to be on the New York Times Best Seller List. Better hurry and get your copy today!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
My one resolution for 2009 was to live a 4:12 Life - to steep myself in God's Word and to grow spiritually thru it. Last week, at my church's prompting, I read and studied Psalm 119. It is the longest chapter in the Bible, and at first seemed very repetitive. But it was a good start to my 4:12 Life because of its message of the beauty of God's Word. The Bible is a guide for life - a road map, so to speak - a flashlight to guide our path thru this dark world ("Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105) While this chapter speaks repeatedly of God's laws/precepts/statues, it also speaks of freedom in obedience to these laws. Contrary to what we often expect, obeying God's law does not inhibit or restrain us - instead it frees us to be what God designed us to be! Indeed, studying God's Word and obeying His laws brings great peace ("Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble." Psalm 119:165). And who doesn't long for peace in their hearts? I know I do.
So what does God want me to know? I believe He wants me to know that His Word is good, true, and powerful - and relevant in my life. What does God want me to feel? He wants me to feel the peace that comes with knowing His Word and experiencing freedom in Him. What does God want me to do? I believe He wants me to study His Word, to read it and "hide it in my heart" (v. 11), making it a guide in everything I do.
This week starts a new study for me, thru our church, so I am reading Exodus 1, and Genesis 1 & 2. The focus of the study will be on Exodus, so that is the main focus of my reading and studying this week. I'll let you know how it goes!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Here's what you do: Copy and paste to your blog then boldface the things you've done.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I guess I can't count our family Guitar Hero World Tour band.)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/World
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (Does Paris, TX count? I've been there!)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (Navy Son!)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (not painted, but drawn - so I'm counting this one!)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business - Check it out! www.magicalgetaways.vpweb.com
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia (Can I count my "Amazing Race" experience?)
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma (I don't weigh enough!)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (stay tuned for a blog about that!)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the paper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox - That's right, I've NEVER had chickenpox!
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Became a child of God
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
When I bought my current cell phone, it was my first time to have a camera phone. Of course I had to show off and take pictures of everyone and everything with it.
"Look how easy it is to use, Bubba's Mom! Smile!"
And here's what I got:
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Monday, January 05, 2009
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and the attitudes of the heart."
Did you see that? Living and active. That's what I want to be! Fully alive in Christ Jesus! Studies have shown that the most powerful catalyst to spiritual growth is the Bible - and I want to grow spiritually this year, I want to have that daily relationship with God that I so long for, I want to know what He's saying to me. I love how the study notes in my Bible explain this verse:
"The Word of God is not simply a collection of words from God, a vehicle for communicating ideas; it is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in us. With the incisiveness of a surgeon's knife, God's Word reveals who we are and what we are not. It penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within us, both good and evil. The demands of God's Word require decisions. We must not only listen to the Word; we must also let it shape our lives."
This will take discipline, for sure. It's very easy for me to say I don't have time, or that it's too difficult to read. Those are lame excuses, tho. I truly believe that spending time in His Word each day will change my life. Why wouldn't I make the time for that??? And the more I read, the more I study, then the more the Holy Spirit will open up my mind to understanding. God WILL speak to me thru Scripture. I don't know exactly how yet, but I tell ya what - I'm gonna find out!
At the prompting of my church, I'm reading Psalm 119 this week (yes, I do believe it's the longest chapter in the Bible!). I'm going to pray for God to speak to me thru His Word, and when I read it I'm going to ask myself three questions: What does God want me to know? What does God want me to feel? What does God want me to do?
It's the first step in the right direction - and toward a new way of life.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009
I'm sure this won't come as a big shock to anyone that many of us go to Walt Disney World in search of a little magic. After all, don't we use our Magic Your Way ticket to enter the Magic Kingdom, to watch the SpectroMagic parade, enjoy Mickey's PhilharMagic, and take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours? Aren't we even magically transported from the airport to our resort by Disney's Magical Express?........
I'm confident that long before the Disney advertising juggernaut spewed forth the notion that WDW is "Where Magic Lives," a great number of us already believed it. How else do we explain how Tinker Bell flies in the Magic Kingdom, how an entire audience can be shrunk in Epcot, or how we can enter our very own Twilight Zone at The Studios?........
Certainly we've all found our little bit of magic in every trip we've taken. Perhaps it was in the goosebumps we got as the drums sounded the beginning of IllumiNations, or in that "little something" in our eye as the music swelled and fireworks lit up Cinderella Castle, or maybe it was just in a simple hug from our favorite character........it's become clear that countless numbers of us believe that there is magic to be found at WDW, and that when we find it, we want to tell others about it. How often do we arrive home from our trips to The World anxious to tell anyone willing to listen (and a few who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time) about our Magical Moments? We want to tell them about how our little girl was enchanted by a conversation with the real Cinderella, how we had the chance to sit quietly holding hooves with Eeyore, or how our grandfather got choked up (although he'll never admit it) when his whole family gathered for his birthday during his first-ever trip to Walt Disney World........
You should note that we don't call them "special" or "incredible" or even "really cool" moments. No, we call them magical, and we wouldn't have it any other way. But what makes a magical moment? Is it a special event that's been meticulously planned and engineered, perhaps with the help of a cast member? Sure it is. Is it a trip that's been anticipated for months or even years before finally setting foot in the middle of the magic? Of course it is. Could it be a forgettable day made unforgettable by someone seizing the moment and spontaneously making some magic? You bet it is. Or maybe it's a moment when everything stands still, when you see nothing but your friends or family and the expressions on their faces, and in that instant you know that there is nowhere else you'd rather be. Oh yeah, that's one of the most magical moments of them all........
We all know that the cast members at WDW go the extra mile in making our visits as special as possible. We all know that it's often that extra mile that keeps us coming back again and again. And, of course, we all know that without the cast members there could be no Disney magic. Looking back through the ALL EARS® archives of readers' Magical Moments, I read again and again of the memorable things that cast members have done for guests. Sometimes the cast member had clearly gone out of their way to create some magic, even commemorating it with a "Magical Moments" certificate. Sometimes they were going above and beyond trying to remedy a trip gone awry, and sometimes there seemed to be a little luck, or coincidence, or (dare I say it) a little magic that brought everything together in just the right way to touch the guest and spark what would be an indelible and unforgettable moment. But I also noticed something else. While most of the writers told us of magic that had been fashioned at the hands of a cast member, there were other types of magic that piqued my interest... and got me thinking.
I read several stories of guests actually creating magic for other guests. A few mentioned the simple act of fellow guests giving away their FastPasses, another spoke of a family sacrificing some of their park time to "stay put" and guard the belongings of strangers when they realized the poor souls had walked away without their bags. And one related the incredibly sweet story of a husband buying an entire bouquet of balloons for his new wife just so she could give them away to the children around her! Goodness, tissue please.........after hearing so many other examples of guests taking magic-making into their own hands, I'd like to think that spending a few days immersed in the magic of Disney makes us happier, freer, and gives us the idea to do those nice things that may not come to mind during the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. Or maybe we just know that any kind or thoughtful act in that environment is a potential magical moment, and fuels the secret desire that some of us have to be a cast member making Disney magic.
Another type of Magical Moment that intrigued me was the magic that we make for ourselves. I was delighted by the stories of parents surprising their children with a so-called "last-minute" trip that had actually been secretly planned for months and months, and of a family spending their entire day at the Magic Kingdom "chasing" Tinker Bell around every corner and going to great lengths (a.k.a. golden cake glitter) to convince the youngest in their party that Tink was just mere steps away. I was heartened by the story of the large family who took the time to let their "number one planner" know how special he was for making their family gathering at WDW possible, and was struck by the countless stories of those whose magical moments were simply the emotion they felt when they were finally in the middle of the magic, surrounded by those they hold dear, and seeing the experience through their loved ones' eyes. Hmm. I didn't throw away that tissue, did I?
I'm not sure if I know why the images of magic that people found in themselves touched me so deeply. Perhaps they reassure me that we carry imagination, wonder, and magic with us everywhere we go, that we're not dependent on others to create it for us, and that we have within us the ability to make special memories for ourselves and others. Of course, it's certainly easier to lend ourselves to magic-making when we're surrounded by others doing the same. So for that, we have to thank the hard-working cast members who put all the pieces together. They give us a place to gather, they welcome us with a smile, they entertain us with thrills and whimsy, then they wow us with spectacles of music, light, and fire. In all of this, I think they give us permission to suspend reality and forget many of the cares we have at home, to see the magic in the moment, and to delight in those people who are most important in our world. Then I guess it's up to us to recognize those moments, then remember them, relive them and share them when we return home.
So the next time we experience a magical moment, perhaps we should thank Walt for creating a place where magic indeed lives... in the stories, in the characters, and in the people. But the next time we create a little magic of our own, maybe we need to be grateful that Walt's dream is a place that inspires us to believe, feel, and know that magic also lives in us.
That, my friends, is what keeps us coming back.
Part of the fun of Disney for me is planning the trip. Months in advance of our actual vacation, I start planning out our days, our meals, our activities. I love it! I have helped a few friends plan their Disney trips as well, and now my friends are telling me, "You could SO make money doing this!"
So that's what's been on my mind lately - starting my own Disney-trip-planning business. I can recommend resorts, restaurants, etc. and make all reservations. I can recommend which parks to go to on which days, which rides and attractions must be seen and done, and which ones can be skipped if time is crunched. I can share all the tips and tricks I've learned over the years from our own Disney trips. And - I can get paid to do it!
I haven't decided for sure yet. Starting my own business is a bit scary for me! But I'm seriously considering it. A new venture for a new year. Could make for a magical 2009!