Tuesday, November 05, 2013

How do I love thee? Let me quilt the squares...

I started working on Austin's old t-shirts again. 
For years I've wanted to make a quilt for him for when he graduates high school. Doesn't it seem like some plans you have are so far off? That's how it has felt, but here I am. 
I'm at that place... his senior year. People keep telling me to enjoy it because it goes so fast. 
I suppose that lots of future posts will be about the happenings of a high school senior. 

I'm proud of the boy. He was recently nominated for Scholar Athlete among 3 other seniors in his class out of 175 kids. That's pretty cool. 

Speaking of scholarships... we are up to our eyeballs in scholarship applications, college visits, and other kinds of paperwork. Austin is responsible for most of it, but there have been times when he has forgotten to bring home paperwork that we need to see. We keep reminding him that scholarships mean dollar signs that will greatly affect his future. 

In the meantime, I will be cutting out t-shirt squares and trying to figure out how to make a quilt out of them.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Updates are needed when you've gone MIA!

I hope you feel like staying awhile...

Whew! That was a long break! I'm back to post an update, but I'm not sure I will post on any regular basis unfortunately because we are SO busy. It seems everyone is nowadays. How 'bout you?

We had a great summer and we are well into our school & fall sport schedule.
Some of the things we did over the summer were:


* Ran our 2nd half marathon - technically that happened in early May.
* We re-stained our deck. That on the whole is boring news, however it was a really big deal considering the time it took (3-4 weeks), not to mention the ghastly amount of gallons to do 2 coats (13 to be exact!!), and it looks fantastic! 
*We went to the Outer Banks, NC for our family vacation and that was our first time there. We loved it! On the way down, we stopped at Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh to have one of those famous "samiches" that has homemade French fries and coleslaw on it. It was aired on Triple D, but since we lived there for a few years back in the mid 90's we had tried Primanti before. Double yum! Call us lame, but we stop by that famous dance place called the, "Abby Lee Dance Co.". She's raunchy, but it sucks you in. One time they showed Abby going into a bakery downtown so we tried that, too. Whilst we were visiting our old stomping grounds, we showed the kids our first apartment which housed mostly older folks. We were clearly the youngest tenants, and newly married nonetheless. We even had to buy an artificial Christmas tree as a courtesy to them there older folks because of the fire hazard. All in all it was a nice first place! 
*I painted my front door. Wow, what an exciting summer! I know, I can't even contain the excitement over this list I'm posting. 
*Shawn planted a huge, very fruitful garden this summer. We have potatoes coming out of our ears! His garden was fantastic and a great hobby for him.
*We went to graduation open houses for two of our nephews, Brad and Andrew, among others and a couple of weddings. At the open houses I took notes because a certain firstborn in this family will be graduating in June.

Yes, Austin is officially a senior! Shawn and I sat down the other day after talking with Austin over the past couple of months about college choices and possible majors and scheduled visits to a couple of schools. We'll be heading to Michigan State University in a couple of weeks and next stop will be to Purdue in October. He has wanted to be a Boilermaker like his dad since he was a little boy. Out of state tuition is N.G! (no good in Jersey speak). I guess I am quietly hoping he'll choose MSU so he's much closer to home. But as these sorts of things go, God has plans for that young man and may His will be done, not mine.

I'm not sure I have any idea of how many times this happened over the summer, but that young man had one golf club or another in his hands while on the greens of Binder Park Golf Course. He has loved the game of golf since we lived in England where he took lessons from a bloke named Steve at Lymm Golf Club just a few miles from our home there. Austin might even trade in his baseball bat next spring to play on Marshall's golf team. Gasp!! Somehow that makes me a little sad as I have been a baseball mom since he was about 4. Again, I have to give up my little control to let Austin grow, change, mature, and make choices of his very own. I really am not a control freak, but I like some measure of it anyway. He is entirely into his golf game these days that he put the golf clubs he received as a Christmas gift in England on E-bay to earn some cash to pay for new-to-him clubs that his friend, Jared, is selling him. He has also been able to purchase one here and there on E-bay to round out the set. 

Austin continues to work at Schuler's Restaurant in Marshall bus-ing tables and has kept consistently busy there since July. June was a different story. Week after week he was not being scheduled for work, and we all got a little worried about the lack of funds in his wallet. No funds = cash from our wallets for gas especially since he is a taxi driver part-time for the Busse crew. ;)

Lately I've seen Austin's boyish looks slowly changing into that of a young man. He melts my heart. 

Braaten Noelle, my 15 year old, and a sophomore this year, is beautiful inside and out. She was nominated last winter to be in the winter court at Marshall High for the Freshman class. She was honored. She was also nominated to Student Council at the end of last year and that has been keeping her busy. 

The sophomore class' fundraiser comes from the concession stand during varsity football games. Guess who is in charge of finding able bodies to work the stand? Braaten! Guess how many of her peers don't want to work during fun football games? Most, if not all, of them. Guess who got roped into helping run that operation? Shawn, Grant, Cooper, and I!! What's a family to do?? We are all-for-one and one-for-all. She needed the help. We gave it. Simple as that. It turns out that we all had fun doing it and we'll be back there this Friday night. 

My girl played volleyball as a freshman. She tried out again last month and it turned out that she was cut. It seems that Shawn and I were a lot more disappointed that she didn't make the team than she was. She had a sense of relief and honestly seems o.k. I cried when I got the news. Shawn and I were away for a couple of days and weren't around when Austin let us know through a text. I was at the beach in South Haven with tears forming behind my sunglasses. We were looking forward to watching her spike the ball at the net. She was a very good player, but not as strong as some. We loved watching her play. I suppose there is always next year, but with how competitive the sport is, I'm not sure she will try.

She does great in school academically and is friendly to all of her peers. If someone crosses the line, though, she is quick to correct them. Standing up for what is right is important to her. That's not easy to do and I'm proud of her for it.

Bray loves Instagram, Twitter, and getting inspiration from Pinterest. She has all kinds of boards on her page. She loves vintage clothes with a modern flare. Hmm... I'm not sure I captured her style, but I tried.

Braaten enjoys photography and will have her first opportunity as a second shooter during a wedding at the end of October. She is thrilled to be able to do that. She has done a couple of high school senior shoots and did a great job.

Melanie Grace is in 8th grade at MMS (Marshall Middle School). She loves spending time with her friends and misses the ones that moved away. Mel cherishes all of her friendships. I love that about her. She's devoted. 

She recently made the 8th grade volleyball team. Her first volleyball game is this Thursday in Coldwater, MI. She was the labero on her AAU tournament team from January to June. The twins would often ask her if she got any good "la bears" during her games. That's funny to me. :) I can't wait to see how she does on the court for the Redhawks.

At the end of 7th grade Melanie received various academic and citizenship awards. We're really proud of how hard she works. She also got 3rd place during her science fair back in the spring.

Mel went to kids camp through our church again just a few weeks ago. It was a very powerful and impacting experience for her. She loved all the girls in her cabin and her leaders which are two beautiful young ladies. They love and serve the Lord passionately. When camp was over she was actually a little depressed for about a day. She wanted so badly to be with all of those young ladies that love Jesus like her. 

My girl loves singing, dancing, swimming, and watching movies. She is signed up for 3 dance classes starting this week. Thankfully they are just about 3 in a row on Wednesday nights with a one hour break somewhere in there. She will be one tired puppy on Thursdays!


Grant Matthew is in the 6th grade at home with me and boy do I love that! This is my 10th year homeschooling. My, how time flies! I really love being at home teaching and experiencing life with the twins each and every day. It's an adventure. Of course it has its challenges, but blessings are way more abundant than any complaints I might have.

Grant is 11 and will be 12 on Christmas Eve. He loves making creations with his Legos and making little movies with a Lego app. It's so cool. I really should post one on here someday. 

Baseball is the sport he likes the most. He plays second or third base. The boys played for the same team they played on last summer- the Marshall Indians. It's always fun to watch them play. 

Grant is definitely my goofball! He loves to make people laugh with his antics. When he was little we dubbed them "Grantics" as in Grant's antics. He's just funny.

Cooper Nathaniel, also 11... obviously. He's Grant's twin. It's always tempting to lump the boys together, which I do often, but I know it's important to recognize them as individuals. They do everything together and enjoy all of the same things, not to mention play the same sports, have the same friends, serve in the same ministry at church, etc, etc. Ya see?! They lump together so beautifully.

Now back to Cooper... Coop loves to draw. He and Grant both make comic books that are amazing. I'll have to take pictures of the books and post them on here, too. You just have to see them! Whenever they receive the Lego magazine in the mail, they go right to creating their own personalized Lego magazine. Every month they want to send it to the Lego company in hopes it will be published.

Cooper loves baseball like his twin and usually pitches or plays first base. They have both played basketball for Upward which is an organized church basketball league. It's not very competitive so this year I'd like to see them play on a new league in case they'd like to play in school in the coming years. We'll see how that goes.

Grant and Cooper (I'm lumping again) also went to kids camp with church and it is ABSOLUTELY the highlight of their year. One of our pastors put a little bug in our ears to serve as a family. We are considering it for next August. We'll see. Boy will that be a stretch for me. I like being home, but I love being obedient more. If God has that plan for us, we'll do it!

And this is Hayley R. She is my friend, Bree's daughter. This year I get to homeschool her as well. Talk about being on an adventure. She is terrific! The "adventure" is not about home educating Hayley, but it's about me being outside of my comfortable little box and doing what we feel is the Lord's calling this year. Different people have jokingly, and maybe not so jokingly, said to me through the years that they wished I would homeschool one or all of their children, to which I would laugh at and think, five children are enough! Not this time! God knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me... His plan for this 12 year old young lady is join the boys in school and learn here at the Busse Homestead. God's grace is sufficient for me and I choose to do His will. 

It's not always easy, but it gives me peace at the end of the day.

That, my friends, is a little glimpse into our family. How have you been?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

transforming the transformed

Once upon a time I changed the bedding in my guestroom so that I could wash what was on it. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, it was just time to freshen it up in the wash. The fact of the matter is that I had alternative bedding in my linen closet that I had wanted to try.
So that's what I did.

As I proceeded to put the new bedding on both the trundle and top part of the day bed, I started to ooh and ahh a little. Just a little, though, because it didn't match the walls exactly. ;)

As I began to imagine the possibilities of this room with its new comforter, I started to imagine adding and/or changing other parts of the room. The wall color is not the green hue that shows in these first two photos.

For example, I have always loved toile and I hadn't incorporated it in any way in this home. The dining room in our previous home had blue and cream toile drapes. They were so pretty. The previous owner made them herself and left all the window treatments for us when we purchased the home. It's an added bonus when the owner before you is an interior designer.

The toile curtains here were made by my very talented friend. I don't know where she learned how to sew, but I love what she does! That little suitcase and fan came from one of my favorite shops in Marshall. I also painted both dressers in this space white a couple of summers ago from a pickled wood color. My new plan, maybe, is to use a cream-colored chalk paint by Miss Mustard Seed that I recently purchased. 

My girls informed me that I am always painting. Sigh.

(The color of the walls you see here is more like it.)

All of a sudden... I have new bedding and new curtains. The next step was to clean the scrapbooking clutter, ebay sale items, school books, and other junk from around the room to create a new, inviting space. There's always the one room that gets the junk that piles up as long as you can close the door. Flylady calls it a hot spot. That place was smokin'!! 

:/ Eek, the room was beautiful to begin with. I had only transformed it a couple of years ago after all.

The next step in this transformation was painting the bed (Minus the one missing spindle. I still don't know how that broke or where it is. I'd love to find it and have Shawn do a little fixing.)

The bed went from a pale green to black. And notice those sweet pillows that were also custom made. :) Love!

You are never going to believe this! 

Do you remember the bedding that started this whole project? I don't have a photo of it at the moment, but it never did make the new transformation. 

It turned out that the toile curtains clashed with that bedding. I ended scouting the house for an alternative and found the cream bedspread. I used to keep it at the foot of our bed. Now it works perfectly right here.

I have decided to keep the green desk and chair as part of the color scheme which is (Robin's egg blue, red, cream, green, and yellow).

I found this cute little box in the store I mentioned above.

I cut out a couple of circles of scrapbook paper to put on the tops of these mason jars to hold craft items.

That long table has a story all its own. My old neighbor had it in her living room. One day when I was there I mentioned how much I loved it. She proceeded to tell me that she paid $5 for it at a garage sale (who sells beautiful pieces at that price?? certainly not second hand stores or Goodwill!) and that if she was ever going to get rid of it, which she had been thinking about doing, I could have it. Huh? Really??? Oh, thank you. I would love that.

P.S. A year or so went by when she called me and asked when Shawn could come over and pick it up. She also offered her husband to help get it across the street to my house. Score!! 

And the best part is that my friend, the seamstress and my running pal, suggested that I purchase a piece of finished wood for the bottom so I could put baskets on it and use it for storage.

That's absolutely genius!! Why didn't I think of that? 
Mind you, trying to stain it to match the original color of the table has been challenging and quite honestly has cost more than the table itself. Well, I guess almost anything costs more than that table like a Starbucks coffee, a pound of land o' lakes cheese, a bag of apples, or a half dozen donuts! I can't complain about a little stain for a wood project, can I? By the way, I found gel stain to be my new best friend. No fuss, no muss.

And the last part of this story is that my firstborn daughter would love to snatch this room right from her mama. Uh-uh! It is the guestroom slash scrapbook slash sewing room afterall. 

I think it's lovely and it's mine, all mine.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Countdown

I think it was about 3 weeks ago that I started THE countdown.
The countdown to spring break, that is. 
At the time it happened to be 7 weeks away and as I type it is just a little over 4.

You better believe it.

You see a couple of years ago give or take, our friends Mike and Liz, were feeling led to move to Florida. They have some family down there, but they both grew up in Michigan. They loved visiting Florida to visit family, for the sunshine, the ocean, the fun times, and well, just to get away from the Michigan cold. 

And it's cold right now. We've have at least 39 snow days, and it's time old man winter gets outta here! I'm exaggerating but not by much! Ok, 39 minus 34 or so.

Back to Mike and Liz...
So as time went on and they visited Florida about twice a year, they began to feel the Lord and His gentle stirring of a change ahead. Liz, as I recall, was having none of it. She used to say, "I'm not moving to Florida." or something close to that and Mike, well he was digging it down there. He loved being there. Liz loved visiting, but her heart was here. And as God kept opening certain doors and closing others, they began to really see His calling. 

It was time to make the move. Everyone was happy for them, but it has left a certain void not having their family here. Our church family misses them like crazy and I know their family misses them even more.

So in exactly 31 days I'll get to hug on my precious friend Lizzy and I can't wait!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cooking - Pernil for the first time

Recently I have had a desire to cook some of the dishes that my friends' families make and I used to get to eat when I was growing up. Rice and beans, pernil, and fried plantains are the dishes of choice. Some of my closest friends in Hoboken, the town I'm from, are Puerto Rican. Let me tell you...they can cook.

Sometimes when I'd go over to Annette's, my friend for over 35 years, her mom would give me a plate of white rice. I was absolutely content with it even though it was just rice. It wasn't any old rice; it was Mami Elsa's rice. With a little but of salt it was perfect. And if she happened to have a pot of yellow rice and beans, I was in heaven.

My sister Cindy is amazing at cooking Spanish food. Why has it taken me this long to ask her how to teach me? Well there is no time like the present!

My hubby and I prepared the pork shoulder for marinating and Tuesday we'll cook it and see how it tastes. I made a pot of rice and beans for the first time and it was pretty good. It'll take some time for me to perfect it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Family Night - Fondue Anyone?

Family night is incredibly important in tying our heart strings together with our children's. 
Our family has been encouraged through the years to be very intentional about planning out one night a week to join together as a family and do something fun.
The thing is we've done that in spurts, but haven't been consistent. We do spend a lot of time together, in general, but have not planned out "family night" each week. That's about to change people. :) I'm really excited, too!
I'll share some ideas towards the end of this post about rules to set in place and themes or ideas for your family. :)

Our pastor is doing a series titled, "Parent Training". You can find the first 2 sermons here if you are interested in viewing it to get great ideas and teaching on how the Bible calls us to raise up Godly children. Our pastor and his wife have 3 grown boys that are each Godly men, serving Christ, and leading fruitful lives. Have they made mistakes? Sure. We all do and will, but we continue to strive to live our lives as God leads us to- with Him, for Him, and all to His glory.
He calls us to love Him and love others to put it in a nutshell. Cover to cover, that's the message the Bible is all about.

So back to family night. Our Pastor gave us all some ideas on the way they have done things through the years:

1. Pick one night a week to have your family night. The rule they put in place is to not schedule anything that will keep anyone from being able to be home for that evening. 
(exception: your 16 year old has to work on that night, therefore you must change to a different night for that particular week. That's the case for us this week.) Our normal night will be Thursdays, but this week it's tonight!

2. Each family takes a turn planning what family night will be for that week. (It's my turn this week and I can't wait!)

3. Have a budget. Their budget originally, years ago, was $10, but went up to $25 more recently with inflation. Our family has set ours to $20. You have to be creative with 7 people to pull it off, but that is part of the challenge and fun. For goodness sake, there are loads of ideas that are absolutely free. In that case, let the family night budget build for other times where you might make an exception and spend a little more.

4. Have a blast!

My plan for tonight's family night is to have a Fondue Night. I'm making cheese fondue for dinner and chocolate fondue for dessert. I've been on Pinterest scouting out recipes today for each type and I need to get busy. I can spend $20 alone on various cheeses! That means I'll be making homemade poundcake, possibly a French baquette, and maybe even pretzels. The idea is to not get overwhelmed with it all, but we have never done a fondue night and I want it to be delicious and special!
Here's one of many cheese fondue recipes, and a chocolate fondue recipe that I found on Pinterest.

Other family nights that our different pastors and their families have done are:

a. Pajama Runs- when everyone has gotten into their pj's, Dad shouts "pajama run!!". Everyone excitedly loads into the car and goes to Mickey D's for ice cream. It's cheap, exciting, no, not so good for you, but oh so fun!

b. Iron Chef- you have a couple of teams competing and you have to use one ingredient that needs to be a part of your food and transform it into something delicious. I'm not sure who your judge is, but that's not the point, right?

c. Canvas Painting- buy a canvas for each family member at your local craft store, choose paint colors you'd like to use, and then everyone goes to town and creates something beautiful. My friend plans on hanging all of them on one particular wall in her home.

d. Cupcake Wars- another pastor and his wife at our church had two teams make their own recipe and their friends and family members on their Fa*eb*ok page voted for their favorite. It was fun to participate. The men of the family won this one because it was made with all kinds of chocolate. I personally voted for the ice cream sundae cupcake, but they both looked fantastic!

e. Game night- this one speaks for itself.

f. Family night swim- Our family does this occasionally after dinner during the summer. As it gets dark out, we all get into our swim suits and have a family swim.

g. Movie night with a concession stand- the same family that did the canvas painting recently has a daughter that had the idea of renting a movie and creating a concession stand with popcorn and candy that each family member used monopoly money to pay for. It's also a great way to get a math lesson in there!

These are just a few ideas, but there are countless other ideas. If you have any, please leave them in your comments. I'd love to get as many ideas as I can.

I hope this is as encouraging to you as it has been for me.
Our family is over the moon about re-incorporating this into our family again. It's been way too long since we've done this on any regular basis.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Fitness Pal

I've been a runner for almost a year and a half now. It's been a wild adventure in many respects. First off, I started with the Cool Running plan which is also known as C25K (Couch Potato to 5K). I was determined to try it. Several of my pastors were running, their wives, and other friends, and also some of my cousins. I needed a great way to get more fit, perhaps take off a few pounds, and there is also the idea of being able to eat naughty foods that I love and not gain weight. The last idea is not a sensible one, but it's a reality. I like cake.

Last May I ran a half marathon in Kalamazoo. There were major highs and some really low lows to that run. The "lows" I can't really talk about, but I learned a great deal from that run. Because of the benefits of the Borgess Run, the atmosphere, the route, the proximity to home, and the desire to re-run what was such a difficult run experience, I will be doing it once again on May 5th. 

Honestly, if it weren't for my running partner, Pam, I probably wouldn't be running half marathons at all. I'd still run, I would eat cake, I would endure snow, ice, and spitting rain, but I would not be running long runs. I enjoy the camaraderie, the talks, the sighs, the plan-making, the heart-sharing, the grunts, the ups, the downs, the sheer enjoyment of taking in God's creation, the benefits, the challenges, and what it does for me as a person. It has changed me in many ways. So thank you, fitness pal. You are awesome!

I never know exactly where a blog post is going to go. The title started in my head about an app on my iPhone that I love, and it turned into a post about friendship and gratitude. If you are one of my friends and you are reading this, I love you and you play a very specific role in my life that has helped to shape me into who I am. Maybe you don't run with me, maybe you moved far, far away or I'm the one who moved and I think about you just about everyday. We might have lived down the hall from each other from the time we were 10 and you will always be my very best friend. Perhaps you live in another state, you have a blog and I met you in blogland,. You've touched my life. You might live in the U.K. where I once lived and you showed me a whole other world that I miss. You might be someone I see at church, we hug, chat, smile, and wait another week until we meet again. Maybe we went to college together and our friendship has withstood time and distance and we will be friends for life. Small groups at church have been a conduit to many of our dearest friendships. I might like your statuses on FB and am moved at some of your writings. I might have sat next to you on the bleachers watching our husbands play basketball and our conversation was effortless. You might be a friend that I once had and time and circumstance has changed what once was, but you will always have a part of my heart. Maybe you are the dearest, sweetest, best friend that I will ever have; my husband. Whomever you are, I am ever thankful for you that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty put you in my life. You've helped to shape me into the person I am right at this very moment. 

With Love and...

Friday, January 18, 2013

You are I am

I recently heard this song for the first time. I adore the chorus! The song talks about our doubts, our struggles, and ultimately what Jesus has done to take that all away. It makes me LOVE JESUS so much more. Do you have a song that moves you like this one does me?

"You Are I Am" by Mercy Me (album: The Hurt and the Healer)
I've been the one to shake with fear
And wonder if You're even here
I've been the one to doubt Your love
I've told myself You're not enough

I've been the one to try and say
I'll overcome by my own strength
I've been the one to fall apart
And to start to question who You are

You're the one who conquers giants
You're the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You're the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan's hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I am
You are I am

I've been the one held down in chains
Beneath the weight of all my shame
I've been the one to believe
That where I am You cannot reach

You're the one who conquers giants
You're the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You're the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan's hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I am
You are I am

The veil is torn
And now I live with the Spirit inside
The same one, the very same one
who brought the Son back to life

Hallelujah, He lives in me
Hallelujah, He lives in me
Hallelujah, He lives in me
Hallelujah, He lives in me

You're the one who conquers giants
You're the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You're the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan's hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I am
You are I am

Thank you, Lord, that you are I Am. 

Monday, January 07, 2013

Go Redwings!

Give a cheer, give a cheer, give a cheer again!
Rah, rah, rah, rah, rah.

I was tagged on my FB page with this photo a couple of months ago.
Oh the memories it brought back. 
I am on the far right, top row.

I cheered back in the early 80's when our football team went to the State Championship and lost to Ramapo High School. We played at Giants Stadium and what a thrill it was.

This was a great year (2012) for Hoboken High School. I found this write-up on the internet:

"The Hoboken High School Football Team won the 9th State Championship in program history on Friday evening at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. After breezing by their first two rounds of playoff opponents by a combined score of 89 to 14, the Redwings defeated Roselle Park High School 39 to 9 to secure the Group I North II Championship. The Redwings, led by Coach Lou Taglieri and his staff, will be honored in a parade on Monday, December 10th. The parade will begin at 11th Street and Washington Street at 3:30pm and will conclude at City Hall at 94 Washington Street.
'Congratulations to the Redwings football team, Coach Lou Taglieri, and his staff, for an amazing season and for bringing the State Championship back to Hoboken,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “We invite the community to join us for a parade on Monday to celebrate their great accomplishment.'"

Thought I'd share a blast from the past.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Stuff, change, things, and Carol Burnett

Sometimes there is so much stuff swirling about in my brain that I just don't blog about anything. I get overwhelmed and decide to deal with it in real life instead of putting it down here on my neat and tidy blog page. Then I eventually get to a place that I want to write something... anything because I've missed it so. And the Christmas season can have an entire blog all to itself because life is so busy and there is much to write about. Of course the time passes and all of those unwritten blog posts in my head are now outdated. Be that as it may, if I have a post about Christmas in February so be it. At least I've written about it as a memoir. Right??
 Our family took a couple of hours to find our tree this time around. It was a beaut, but next year we are heading to a small, local business that we know that will appreciate our business, and we will enjoy the fast transaction. :) Win-win!!

I'm sitting here at my computer as I have been at least 10 times today catching up on my SparkPeople page, checking out my FB page to see what my peeps are up to, working on some budget stuff, paying bills on-line, and also pondering all that God is doing in my life. I am really excited!! Change is ahead and I am embracing it!

God is at work.. He always is and has been, but I am stopping long enough to listen, pay attention, and obey. Getting ready for Christmas and 3 birthdays in December and January for the past couple of months has lent itself to a lot of spending, overspending as it were. If I pull that darn credit card out one more time to accumulate points, I'm going to scream! Ok, maybe not, but I really am tired of it. It's time to change my spending habits. Dave Ramsey says that if you spend with a credit card you will overspend 8-12% more than if you were using cash. Psh... I can say without a doubt that we've spent way more than that! Buying things with cash is also painful which makes you spend far less. Yes, that's what one of the major changes in my life will be, to develop a zero balance budget and do my absolute best to stick to it. I know that it is a matter of trial and error to develop a solid budget, really working to crunch the numbers because it's not always an exact science, but it's worth achieving "Financial Peace." I am so ready for this! And I am ever grateful for the Lord's gentle nudging for me to get to this place. It certainly helps that my church stands on these principles and some of my closest, dearest friends live this way.
Baby Steps... have a credit card cutting party; use a cash-in-envelopes system, etc. 

In other news... :) It's time to change the eating habits to some degree. Oh how I like my sweets! Everything in moderation is a great thing, isn't it? Today I was doing so well up until the Dunkin' donuts entered the house. Yes, I had a Boston cream. It was calling my name. Seriously, I hadn't had a single M&M, cookie, or any other such delicacy prior to the "d" word. Blast those donuts! My husband got a gift card and picked some up while he was in Kalamazoo for the girls' volleyball practice. I thought he was bringing home a pound of coffee.

And speaking of coffee, I don't know what is going on, but drinking coffee with cream and sugar does NOT agree with me at all. I've been drinking coffee for years and for the past several months my stomach feels sour and you can figure out the rest. It's not good. Sooooo...

I have decided to not drink coffee for the next 5 days minimum to observe the difference that will make. I picked 5 days because I like to enjoy my morning coffee with Shawn on Saturdays and Sundays. I shall drink tea, both hot and cold, in its place. Wow! Are you keeping up with all of these changes?

*Change eating habits
*No coffee

And if that is not enough, I'll be running a Half Marathon again in May which means lots and LOTS of running.

*More excercise

Oh, and I want to lose about 10 pounds by the summer. Not if I keep eating those donuts, though!

*Lose weight

In all seriousness, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phillipians 4:13) There is no possible way I can do any of this without Christ in me, who has brought me to this place of hearing, listening, and obeying. 

And on a little lighter note: My sweet, handsome hubby bought me the Carol Burnett dvd's for Christmas. Several weeks before Christmas I was watching an infomercial about them, got a little teary-eyed as I remembered watching her show with my mom, and really wanted to have them as a keepsake. She really is hilarious!
My mom loved the convenience of wearing a turban on occasion, and on this particular day, Braaten wanted to look just like her grandma. Braaten's name is my mom's maiden name.What a precious photo.