I woke up to an email from Bobbi with a link to the review she wrote of Misplacing God here. She said such nice things that I feel all warm and happy inside despite my cold toes and the snow outside the window.
I woke up to an email from Bobbi with a link to the review she wrote of Misplacing God here. She said such nice things that I feel all warm and happy inside despite my cold toes and the snow outside the window.
So it's Monday morning on spring break week for me. (The girls have spring break next week, which is actually going to work out okay.) And while I wish this was what I was doing this week:
I missed it yesterday--my THIRD blog-o-versary!
Post #1000. Can you even believe it?!
Wow, ya'll (that's for my friend Lisa!) have been commenting like crazy. And I want to sit down and write each and every one of you back. But it's so not gonna happen.
My phone rang today when I got home from school; it was my friend Janine who lives in Chicago. She was calling to tell me she'd just called in to Moody's Midday Connection to tell them how much she loves my blog. They were doing a program today on blogs and websites.
I am loving seeing all the ways that God has blessed you...me...us! Thanks for sharing and keep 'em coming. If you commented early, go back and see what others have said--I know you'll be blessed!
Thank you for all the kind words and congratulations! You guys make me grin like crazy. In fact, I'm sitting here in my pjs in the dark with the biggest smile plastered across my face after going through my email just now.
I got an email from Leanne the other day, asking for help. She's putting together goody bags for an upcoming marriage retreat for her church. She needs to be both frugal and creative.
Just got this email:
Congratulations! Your blog is in the running for the Ladyblog Award for our favorite parenting blog. We asked readers and fans to nominate female bloggers in five different categories (conservative politics, parenting, lifestyle, religion, and entertainment), and then Ladybloggers narrowed the nominations down to five blogs in each category. Yours made the cut! Now, voting is open on Culture11 — just click the appropriate category and then click on whatever blog you'd like to vote for.
Voting closes on January 26 and you can only vote once. Winners will be featured in a prominent location on our site for the following year and will get their very own mug embossed with their blog name and "Ladyblog Award Winner." Also, I've enclosed a code for a widget you can insert into your blogs to remind your readers to vote for you.
Feel free to email me with any questions, or just to touch base — and good luck!
So thanks to whoever nominated me!
Just have a minute before I need to jump in the shower (Isn't that a funny expression? I mean, really, jumping in the shower would be slippery and dangerous!) and get going for the day.
Carolina Mama (who really loves snow and wishes she were here to shovel my driveway for me) tagged me for this Christmas meme. I know I'm supposed to tag people too, but join in if you want--it's an open invitation!
I can't even begin to say how much your comments have meant to me. Thank you so much for your love and encouragement and prayers. What an amazing gift you are to me.
Hey all you Feedburner subscribers,
1. I loved hearing from so many of you who entered the giveaway--lots of first-time commenters! I wish I had the time to respond to everyone individually. Just know that I love knowing your name and visiting your blog if you have one.
Which is fun, but takes forever. Lots of tweaking. T W E A K I N G--always makes me think of that line in You've Got Mail. Love that movie and now that fall is coming, it's time to watch it again.
I upgraded my account on Typepad so now I can customize things a little more. So I've been playing around with a different design. The old one was getting, well, old, and it was time for a change.
After our fun luncheon earlier this winter, we definitely needed another bloggy get together--this time with kids included. So with lots of prayer for good weather, we hosted The Big Backyard Bloggy Bash today. It was super fun!
So I've just noticed comments here and there that never made it to my email in box the way they're supposed to. AHHH! Typepad is usually so good about that.
So if you've left a comment and asked a question and I didn't respond, give me some time. Don't know what's going on...
Janna, I wondered where you were at Beth and didn't see your comment until just now. Did you get the phone call and hear all the singing?
Susan, somehow I missed a bunch of yours. And thanks for the call on Friday--I was checking into the hotel, so sorry if I sounded totally distracted!
Don't know what's up--because it's doing it to people I've always gotten comments from just fine. I've checked my spam folder and am totally confused. I'm off to check all my settings again.
My inbox is full of such sweet notes of encouragement from all of you--I wish I had time to sit down and respond to each and every one.
Yesterday morning was awful too, but I had a great talk with Audrey's teacher after chapel and she said she'd talk to her. Don't know if she did, but Audrey came home from school and apologized and has been her usual sweet self ever since.
I appreciate your prayers and encouragement and am sending some right back to all of you!
When I'm looking for something to do, it's fun to look at stats and see what people typed into google to end up here. In the past week or so, I've had a surprising number of hits based on "Oil of Olay Fill and Seal" or "fill and seal wrinkle cream." Yep, wanna know about wrinkles and wrinkle cream? Come see Joanne!
Anyway, if you landed here because of needing some wrinkle control, I feel your pain. A couple of weeks later I am still pretty pleased with the product. My wrinkles are still there--but not quite so noticeable, I think. Anyway, hope you stick around and come back again soon!
...yesterday was my two-year bloggiversary! I can't say how much I love blogging--it's been so fun to be able to look back on our family over the past two years--to see pictures and what we've been up to.
And meeting all of you has been beyond wonderful.
So, two years, 622 posts, almost 2,500 comments, more than 100,000 page views...WOW!
My friend Jen left a comment asking about Easter traditions around our house...I'll blog about it in the next few days. It reminded me of the Q & A trend that I've seen going around blogland.
So...anything you want to know about? Ask away and I'll do my best to answer. And, remember, there's no such thing as a silly question!
This has been a good week for making blog friends FTF (face to face) friends too. Yesterday, Teri came to my open house (which was perfectly lovely, if I do say so myself--smaller than I'd anticipated but I just told God that I'd cleaned house and made food; he'd have to do the rest of bringing people and orchestrating conversations) and it was such a delight to meet her face to face. Another Colorado blogger! Holly came so they got to meet face to face too.
And in the midst of talking and introducing everyone, it was just so amazing to see what a small world it is when God is involved. We're all family in him--and it's such a small, tight-knit kind of big family. I just love it!
(And before you ask, I totally forgot to take pictures though I did set the camera out in hopes that I'd remember!)
Then today I met Trish, Holly, and Meredith in Castle Rock for the day. We met this morning at Trish's hotel (she's from Arkansas) and immediately exchanged big hugs and started talking--and kept right on talking through coffee at a little coffee shop and then lunch at Black-Eyed Pea (mmm...fried okra!).
I've spent time with Holly and Meredith before, but none of us had met Trish in real life yet--though we've all "talked" a bunch. As Trish said, it's just so fun to meet women who are exactly who they say they are on their blogs and whom you love even more in real life than you do on...well...whatever it is the internet really is. (I just don't understand how it all works, but I'm very thankful it does!)
And Trish blessed us all--including our daughters--with lovely crocheted twirly scarves. Warm and soft and fun and happy. Don't you just love presents? Especially hand-made ones?
(And, yep, I left my camera in the car. I'll "borrow" a photo from one of the other gals and insert it when I get it!)
By the way, Susan, everyone loves my necklace and wants you to put a link to where you got it. Trish wants to know, as does my regular check-out girl at the fabric store. Plus my friend Lisa who's getting ready to go to Israel.
On a last note, tomorrow is my retreat day for this month. I'd planned to go use the prayer room that DOES exist at my church. But Toben's going to be gone much of the day and I'm feeling worn down and tired. (I haven't slept well in more than a week--taking forever to fall asleep and when I do, sleeping for only an hour or so and then waking up for a while. Then repeating. Not good.) And, as much as I hate to admit it--like I might be fighting off something chesty and throaty. So I may just spend my retreat day in my bed, drinking tea and orange juice. I NEED some rest.
Wish ALL of you could have come with us today. I think you'd have had as much fun as we did--though we would have needed a much bigger coffee shop...
...I would sit down and write each of you who comment a long letter on pretty stationery with my favorite fountain pen. I love hearing from you and learning about your lives. I appreciate your prayers and am humbled by them. Thank you.
Please know that I read each comment--usually more than once. That I look forward to them and cherish them. That I lift you up in prayer and visit your blogs (if you've got one).
So while I don't have time to respond to each and every one, please keep them coming!
Sorry about having to type in a wacky code to leave a comment now. But I've been getting all kinds of spam on old posts and I don't want to close comments or get any more weird spam stuff. So...just think of it as good practice for touch typing.
And if you've NEVER left a comment, go ahead and leave one! I'd love to hear from you.
On Saturday night, our friends John and Stacey had an incredible dinner party and we got to meet so many of their friends. Toben and John have been working together a ton on a book that John is writing, and Toben usually has dinner at their house on Wednesday nights when he's in Phoenix.
Among the friends I got to meet was my blogging friend, Linda. Linda and I have emailed back and forth and commented on each other's blogs quite a bit. It was so fun to meet her in person! Yet another blog friend I've now met face to face. See? Think it won't happen? It will. It's just a matter of time.
Anyway, Linda has the most amazing craft room ever--I have total craft room envy. Go check her blog to see the pictures.
Next time I'm in Phoenix, we're going to go shopping together and she can teach me how to thrift. She gets amazing things--and the best I can find is sewing patterns. I think I must be doing something wrong. As I told her, "Teach me!" (You can see the amazing apothecary jar she got recently for only $12. Yes, $12!)
I also had another small world experience. Before we left, I got an email from Stephanie, who lives in Denver but moved here from Phoenix. Turns out she's friends with Stacey. And Angie, another blogger I sat with at dinner on Saturday. Hey Stephanie, Angie says hi!
Oh, you all are such a blessing to me. Knowing you were praying made all the difference today--I felt so encouraged and excited and comfortable. Thank you a million.
Traffic was fine, it didn't snow, and I had such a good time meeting some wonderful women and sharing with them this morning at Angie's MOPS group. I started talking, and the next time I looked at the clock I realized that I'd been talking for well over 45 minutes and needed to wrap it up--quickly!
The past four or five days have just been crazy. Not bad, but so very full. Most of it is seasonal stuff--Girl Scout cookies to be delivered, parties at school--or last-minute random things, but even after a great night of sleep last night I'm still tired and ready for our trip to Phoenix tomorrow. I'm going to float around the lazy river, lay by the pool, and enjoy not being cold!
My email box is full again--though I really did have it all cleaned out last week some time--and I keep thinking I'm going to have time to respond to each one of the sweet comments ya'll have left. But I don't think it's going to happen before we leave--there's still laundry and packing and housecleaning to be done before taking Daisy and Joey to the kennel and heading to school for Valentine parties and getting the girls.
So, thank you for your kind words, your prayers, your friendship. I cherish your comments and love hearing from you. I know I say this a lot, but I really do love you all and am blessed beyond words to "know" you!
Can I just say how much I love having women in my home? I just LOVE it.
We had such a nice time at lunch today--though we were sorry that Amy was sick and Wendy was having granite counter installation woes. We missed you two and prayed for you!
It's so fun to sit back and hear how we're all connected somehow, how God has brought us together to encourage and share life together. What an incredible thing! I just love each of these women and was sad when they left.
Miss Millie joined us for lunch in the dining room, wearing one of my favorite aprons.
The table all set...
...but looking so much nicer with everyone around it. (Kari left before we remembered to take a picture, and thank you to Abbey--Meredith's darling daughter--for her photography skills.)
(Back row: me, Meredith; Front row: Kate, Holly, Angie, Kimberly)
We ate Meatball Minestrone (the recipe is oh-so-easy--just search over there to the right for "minestrone" and you'll find it posted on my site), homemade Italian bread, and salad. I made apple pie for dessert (since Meredith doesn't like chocolate--crazy, I know!). But I could eat apple pie morning, noon, and night (and will, since I made an extra!) so I'm not complaining.
So go grab some girlfriends and have lunch together--you'll be glad you did. And to those of you who were here today (and anyone else in the area)--let's do it again soon!
So I've been a little remiss in offering thank yous and passing on some awards.
Thank you, Susan, for The Daily Dose award. You're on my Daily Dose list too!
And thank you, Trish, for the Excellence award. Right back at you! And I'm so excited to get to meet you in person--starting to count the days!
So, to pass them on...which is hard, because I think some of these people may have already received them...
I go here for a Daily Dose of bloggy goodness (even though they don't post every day, I'm always hopeful!):
Beth, Amanda, and Melissa at the Living Proof Ministry blog
Angie at Flibbertigibberish, a blog friend soon to be real life friend...tomorrow!
Wendy at The Celebrated Family, a blog friend turned real life friend
Holly at Crown Laid Down, another blog friend turned real life friend
Meredith at Life at 7000 Feet, yet another blog friend turned real life friend
And the Excellence award goes to:
Susan for her transparent honesty
Kimberly at Kimberly's Cup for the sheer beauty of it--another blog friend turned real life friend
And how fun that a bunch of these women are coming for lunch tomorrow. The camera's sitting in the dining room and Miss Millie's moved down there too--dressed and everything. Pictures, I promise!
And thank you for all the well wishes for Emma. She woke up this morning without a fever ad is headed back to school tomorrow!
My sister just redid her photography website. She has some amazing pictures up there...and I just realized my whole family has been bumped. The old site had lots of pictures of my girls and now we're nowhere to be found.
Time to make a studio appointment, I guess!
Anyway, go check it out. And if you live in the area, give her a call for some new family photos...
Do you know how much I love you all? I'm so blessed to "know" you and I appreciate you so much. I love getting comments from you, hearing about your lives, reading your blogs (if you have one), and I just can't wait to meet you someday.
Thank you so much for praying for me yesterday. While I didn't sleep very well on Monday night, I was up on time on Tuesday, had a great quiet time, and was dressed and made up and everything by the time I woke the girls up. (I bought a great new dress to wear--waaaaaay marked down at Anthropologie--and thought about putting on compassion and kindness and love and all that with it. Things that just go with any outfit, don't you think?) We ate breakfast together and read some more of The Boxcar Children mystery we're reading at breakfast each day. We got out the door and to school happy and looking forward to the day.
I popped in a Beth Moore CD that Holly gave me for Christmas (Wisdom for Women) and hit the road to drive up to Arvada. I figured that if I listened to Beth, my mind would be occupied and I wouldn't be nervous. And I'd learn something!
I hummed along for about 10 miles and then traffic screeched to a halt. The road was a sheet of ice and I traveled the rest of the way going 10-15 miles an hour. Strangely, I wasn't worried. I'd planned to arrive early--by 8:45--and have an hour to visit and get ready before I was supposed to speak at 9:45. Let me just say, it's totally unlike me not to freak out at a delay like this. But I couldn't do anything about it, had a number to call if the time got too tight, and just kept on listening to Beth preach it.
I rolled into the church parking lot at about 9:20...just as the CD ended. I guess God really wanted me to hear what he had to say about wisdom. (If you've not heard this CD set from a Living Proof Live weekend she did, go get it. I'm through the second CD now and can't wait to hear the last one!)
Anyway, I rushed into the restroom--drank way too much coffee to sit on an icy road for that long--noticed my dress wasn't zipped up (not sure how I forgot that), zipped it up, sprayed myself with some Static Guard, and got up to speak.
It meant so much to me to know that ya'll were praying.
So I started by praying too--for God to calm my anxious heart and help me--and he did! I ended up talking for almost an hour and I think it went pretty well. I'm definitely more comfortable communicating on paper than in person, so while I'm not scared of public speaking, it's not as comfortable as writing for me. But I've prayed long and hard that if God wants me to do this, he'll have to do it. I haven't pursued speaking at all, but have let opportunities come to me. I figure any request is a door he's opened.
Because I'm more comfortable writing, I'm pretty attached to my notes--and I'd love to be able to fly by the seat of my pants a little more. When I write, I feel like I'm just having a conversation with you. But talking to a group doesn't feel as much like conversation to me. Maybe I need to walk around more and ask people to talk back!
I loved meeting Erin and Charlotte (the MOPS coordinators) and they even invited me to come scrapbooking with them--the one craft I just can't seem to get the hang of! I got to talk with some other moms too and see some darling little kids that make me miss that season of life. Especially having a stroller to cart your stuff around in. I tell you what, I think someone could make some money selling "strollers for stuff" for moms whose kids have outgrown the need for one. I could definitely use one!
I knew a couple of the moms who go to this church's MOPS group, and I got to have lunch with Amy afterward. She lives in my exact same house--but all the way on the other side of town. It was so fun to see how our homes are similar and different and to see how she's arranged all of her furniture. We had fun!
I also got to swing by my friend Janna's house and meet little Jack, her new baby. Oh, I love holding babies who are just a few days old. He was all swaddled up in a flannel cowboy blanket and just as sweet as could be. Oh, time flies...
All that to say, thanks again for praying. I just love you to pieces! Know that I pray for you too--for God to bless you right back for blessing me.
So I was looking at visitor stats this morning and came across a referring address I'd never heard of and discovered this. Google translate. How cool is that?!
You can type in text and translate it into any number of languages...or...you can paste in a URL and have an entire webpage or website translated. Oh my goodness. How amazing is that?!
Can you tell I'm excited? I have a French degree, but I don't really use it that much. I do read some French blogs and, well, I don't always understand everything. But now I'm in business. Hooray!
So, if you're a language geek like me, go check this out!
The idea behind the award is discipleship--following Jesus each day and learning from him. And when I think of other bloggers I love to read who pursue the heart of Christ, the first to come to mind is Susan. While I've not met Susan (at least not in the normal face-to-face kind of a way!), I feel like I know her heart and consider her to be a dear friend. One of the reasons I long for heaven is to get to hug her and sit down for a nice long chat.
I love her honesty, her longing for Jesus, her willingness to get up each day and continue the journey of becoming "this girl"--a new creation in Christ. Her love for God shines through her words and she radiates his glory.
So, Susan, I pass this award on to you--I love you lots!
I also have to pass this award on to Holly. I have met Holly face to face--which is a wonderful thing, because Holly is one of those people who glows. She shines from the inside out. In fact, I secretly think of her as "Happy Holly."
Even in the midst of turmoil, trials, and testing, Holly has a smile on her face for she is confident in her Jesus. She follows him closely and knows that her Redeemer lives. She has confidence in him, and takes him at his Word. She knows she is loved and it shows.
So, Holly, I pass this award on to you too--I love you lots!
Oh my goodness, I can hardly believe it--500 posts!
And so, to celebrate, I'm opening a shop page here. My books, some handmade goodies, a little of this and a little of that are now available. Go take a peek!
To kick it off, let's have a month of little giveaways. Beginning next Friday, November 30, I'll be giving away a little something. Simply leave a comment on the Giveaway post by each Friday and I'll have one my little elves draw a lucky winner each Friday until December 21.
Susan tagged me to share seven weird/random things about myself. Only seven?!
1. I hate to fly. I used to love it, but had a bad plane experience a couple of summers ago. Stuck way in the back, between two huge men, one of whom smelled like booze. It was about 100 degrees (not joking, it really was that hot outside) and the air on the plane wasn't on. I had my first panic attack and seriously considered running screaming off the plane.
I survived by putting a cold bottle of water on the back of my neck, praying "Help me, Jesus!" over and over, and knitting.
But ever since, I really, really don't like to fly. I have to sit up front, on an aisle, and can't get too hot. I do better when Toben goes with me.
2. My nose is pierced. I got it pierced a couple of years ago and love it. I wear a small, sparkly "diamond" and even though my mom doesn't think so, I've been told it's classy!
It did hurt and kind of felt like when you put a toothpick through raw chicken. The needle pushes down for a while before it slides through. Ewww...I know! I took Emma with me and she held my hand. I did get it done at a tattoo parlor; if you've never been to one, they are really very clean.
3. I used to have my belly button pierced. I went with some girlfriends and got it done when I was 30. I loved how it looked, but it never quite healed right (Emma was still small enough that I picked her up a lot and it got knocked quite a bit--OUCH!). So I took it out.
4. Despite my nose and belly button, I have a huge needle phobia. I get that from my mother.
5. Emma was born at home. I had a midwife for both of my pregnancies and planned homebirth for both of the girls. I ended up going to the hospital with Audrey (failure to progress after 36 hours of labor), but had Emma at home in my bed. I'd rather have a baby without drugs that ever see another epidural needle again. ::shiver::
6. I am tall--almost 5'11''--and love to wear high-heeled shoes. Toben and I are exactly the same height in our bare feet; so who's tallest depends on the shoes and Toben's hair (he has BIG hair these days!). I've never dated anyone taller than me.
7. Toben and I are high-school sweethearts. He took me to my senior prom, we got engaged the night before I graduated from high school, and we got married in college. I was 19; he was 21. That was just about 16 years ago... (For those of you trying to do math in your head, I'm 35.)
I'm sure I could think of many more random things...like an irrational fear of snakes (which I think is a perfectly normal and rational fear), the need to go to bed early almost every night, a love of pajamas, and the desire for a tattoo (needles and not being able to decide what I'd really want are holding me back)...but I"ll stop for now.
So...who to tag?
I want to create a blog badge/button thing for The ABCs of Living Simply. I've googled "blog badge/button/create" until my fingers are numb, and I can't find any instructions that make sense. Does anyone know how to do this? Any help would be so appreciated!
Dear all of you who commented the other day,
I've had your comments saved in my email inbox all weekend and have wanted to sit down and write each one of you back. But I think I'd say the same thing to all of you, so I thought I'd just do one big thank you.
Thank you to all of you for sharing so much of your own lives and heartaches and joys with me through your comments and emails. It's such a privilege to know each one of you. Even though I've not met some of you face to face, I do feel like I know you and count you as my friends.
In a very real way, blogging and "meeting" you has made me long more and more for heaven. Won't it be grand to sit and visit together in eternity? Something makes me think that it's going to be like one big family reunion. And even if we never meet face to face here on earth (though I surely hope we will!), we'll recognize one another and throw our arms around each other with exclamations of joy.
You are so dear to me, and I love you!
Just like it's fun to rearrange things in the house (the girls and I rearranged the basement some yesterday morning--they had to help because I couldn't move the daybed myself and so they learned the joy of moving the same piece of furniture around and around until you find that perfect spot) it's fun to rearrange and update a website.
I've spent some time this morning updating and changing some things around here.
Over there (<------ on the left) you'll see a new thing: My Pages. Listed underneath are some pages I've added to the website. Here's what you'll find when you go check it out...
Around the Web
Here's where you can find me out there in the big webby world. Facebook groups, other blogs I'm part of, that sort of thing.
Yep, pretty much what it sounds like. Wanna know more about charm bracelets, online Bible study tools, or where to find great fabric? That's where to look. I've also begun to list my bloggy friends and plan to add a list of sites I find inspiring--if I've left you out, be patient, I'm still working on all this!
In the Media
Here's where you can download or link to radio/television interviews I've done. I've also linked to some magazine articles I've written, or been interviewed in. I've organized it by book title.
Reviews & Endorsements
These are endorsements and reviews for my books. Again, I've organized it by book title. Want to add a review of your own? Leave a comment on this page to let others know what you think.
I'm also working on getting a shop up and running as well as some free material that will be available for download...stay tuned. Plus, Toben has ordered me a new Mac since mine is getting old and tired. I'll have a built-in camera and will be able to add some video stuff to this site. So more changes coming...but change is good, right?
As always, I love, love, love hearing from you. I hope you always feel free to leave a comment, ask a question, or just say hello. I really mean it...having the opportunity to "meet" you just makes my day!