>Thanksgiving!

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My Wonderful Family!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. The kids went with Bill to Central City around 9am and I headed down to Brad’s moms to help cook. It was wonderful for me and Leigh and her to just hang out and cook in the kitchen together. The food I snuck while ‘cooking’ was pretty amazing as well. My favorites at ‘Gran Gran’s’ house are the Pretzel Salad and Deviled Eggs. I had plenty of both.

Here is Brad with his Turkey Portion….Just Kidding, he got more than that

We had eaten and cleaned everything up by 1pm so you know what I did, took a nap. I love me some naps on Thanksgiving Day (well, everyday, but this day its traditional for me)

Me and my buddy Hunter napping after lunch. . .

Several friends and family stopped by throughout the day and we had a great time catching up with everyone. We left there around 4 and we headed home to get ready to go to my cousins for the Dinner meal.

We headed to Cadiz around 6pm and got to visit with all my aunts and cousins I don’t see as often as I would like. My mom’s famous german chocolate cake and some really awesome ham topped my list of favorites in the eats department. As we always do, Lori and I got to reminicing about how crazy we were as kids and how much our kids are going to be just like us. . . scarey. We got back home around 11pm and I pretty much called it a day! I am so thankful for the blessings we have and am so proud of my husband and kids!

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>Monday Morning Blah Blah Blah

>Sorry, today is going to seem like I threw-up on paper. That is how my head feels anyway. I have so many thoughts and feelings churning up here that I cannot imagine that this will even make sense. So, I started to write nothing. But then these thought would churn all day and I would be way less productive.

I have been very busy lately and some of that is real and some of it is because I don’t prioritize well and then I get stressed and then I get testy.. you can see how this, after a few weeks of going in circles, can end badly. Well, yesterday, it did. Brad and I got in an argument (on the way to church, of course) that lasted all the way through church. It was over something really stupid and all it resulted in was hurt feelings and us both feeling inadequate as partners in this team. Yesterday for teamdeason it was a swing and a miss…several times.

Here are some things I am trying to learn:

  • Get your work done when it is work time, then you won’t be stressed so much at the end of the day
  • Be thankful for the little things, they really do mean alot
  • Don’t expect others to read your mind, heck, most of the time I have a hard time understanding my crazy ideas. . .
  • Enjoy the down time, don’t make it so complicated
  • A good book and a nap can do wonders for your stress level
  • So can a bubble bath
  • Never underestimate how being tired affects your decision making
  • Love your family and your friends, they are the ones who put up with you all the time
  • If you feel overwhelmed by your workload – break it down into sections and tackle it one section at a time
  • Watching a kid movie in 3-D makes you smile (and jump sometimes)

Thanksgiving is Thursday and this is a short work week for me, so there is a ton to do. . I am going to try and take the advise from a very wise and Godly man, the apostle Paul. Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. . .

I am going to try and do everything this week as unto the Lord: my work, my home, my cooking, my patience, my love . . . wish me luck and say a prayer!

Have a great week!

>Breakfast with Brad

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This morning Brad & I went to breakfast at Holiday Burgers. We only do that about once a month, mainly because Brad works second shift and is usually up late and wakes a bit late. There is something about having breakfast with just the two of us, that makes the day go better. I so enjoy when we connect on this level, that is when we seem to talk about our hope and our dreams and our successes and our failures.

It is so odd for us to go out to eat now that he has had his gastric bypass. He ordered one egg, scrambled and had 1/2 a piece of my bacon and part of a piece of toast. It is so strange when the waitresses look at this big guy and he orders one egg. You can tell they want to say, are you sure sir? but they don’t.

We split a kids meal at O’Charley’s the other day and asked for an extra plate. The server gave us a look that cracked us up after she left the table. We usually explain and then this light bulb goes off inside that you can just about see. . . judgement is such a strange thing.

I think sometimes our judgement of others keep us from seeing just how big God can be. How do we rank or judge people. Is it their clothes, their car, the way they talk?

Do you see a girl with a nose ring and automatically decide she is a rebel and loves heavy metal music? Do you see a tattoo and automatically assume that person drive a harley and drinks alot of beer? Do you see a bi-racial couple and cringe? We shouldn’t – see these things are not sins – these things are things that society has put out there as acceptable or not.

The Bible teaches us in Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Sometimes we want to look on the outside of a situation and put our judgement on it. Maybe that girl with the nose ring is a grad-student who will make a difference to our country one day. Maybe that tattoo has a significance to that man that gives him hope everytime he sees it. Maybe that family has more love in it than you could ever know and if your mind were more open, would be happy to share it with you.

What about the other side of judgement. Do you see a man in a business suit and assume he has his life together? When a family is walking down the lane with a stroller and a five-year old on a bike, do we automatically go, “Awww, how sweet”. ? Do we look at preachers and teachers and elected officials and automatically assume they should be ‘perfect’ people?

See, judgement can be negative even when we think we are being positive. Maybe that man is crook and stole from his employer today. Maybe that family is on the brink of divorce because of infidelity. Maybe that community leader is just a person like us with faults and needs.

When we judge people either positively or negatively we take away God’s ability to give us discernment into how to pray. If we take off our judges cloak and ask God to show us people’s hearts and intentions, then we can pray for them as God would want us to.

Galations 2:6 says As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance . . .”We should not have agenda’s when we bring something to the Lord. We should be asking him to help us to see past our human weaknesses and to pray for our family, friends and neighbors just like he would want us to. . .

In 1st Corinthians 4:5 we read Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” See, God does not need our help in deciding who is worthy of His Love and His Salvation. It is our job to show forth His love so that people want to know more about him.

One of the most interesting scriptures I found brings me to my final point. Why don’t we judge ourselves with the same yardstick we do others? Are we easier on ourselves or our kids or our husbands that on a family down the street? Let’s read 1st Corninthians 11:31 “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.” How is that for God telling us like it is. . Let’s remember to judge others as we would judge ourselves and to seek God’s discernment about all situations and He will give us the answers we are seeking.

Have a blessed Thursday!

Shell

>It’s a Girl! > > > LOL

>Well, if babies without move able parts that cry on cue and only coo ‘if’ you bounce them for exactly 12 minutes count, then I am a grandmother.

Logan brought this thing home for the ‘baby think it over’ project in school. I am not a fan of said project but it was the baby or a 500 page report and he really wanted to do the baby instead. So, here it is. . . my granddaughter Dawn (he named her after my middle name, how quaint) and my son Logan…He is very attentive at the moment but just wait til she cries for the fourth or fifth time at 5 am. . .

>Wow….What a Day!

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Today, is not a good day. My online faxing is not working and everything I set to do is going wrong. My work phone is on the fritz and I cannot get anything accomplished work-wise.

I had a melt down before Brad went to work and even threw my stapler across the room (not at anyone, of course, just so frustrated). My wonderful husband shooed me away from my computer so that I could go get a bite to eat and veg out while he got things fixed. I went to the fridge and as I opened the door, stuff just starting falling out, out rolled 3 cans of Dr. Pepper and 2 bottles of Gaterade. . I just left them on the floor and walked to teh living room with my garlic bagel chips. See, now that I am writing this it seems funny. Funny was not how it felt three hours ago.

So, Brad found me a new fax service which is awesome and after having my carmel dipped green apples, I decided I would come on back and give work another shot. Alas, yes alas, that is a good word for my day. . . now my phone wont hold a charge and I can’t get it to come on. I know I probably have 15 messages (that’s no joke) from clients checking the progress of their cases and my hands are tied until I can get my phone back up and running. I am going with God had a different purpose for me today instead of being buried in paperwork, or he has at least wants me to find humor in the irritations of this day.

In the midst of it all, my husband sent me the sweetest, most loving email. In thie middle of this horrible day, my friend was here for me! I am so lucky!

This afternoon, I am probably going to be a ‘grandmother’..LOL. . .Today Logan is supposed to bring home his ‘baby think it over’ . . He is stoked about it. He has names picked out and everything. . . I hope he is as excited when it wakes him up at 3am. . .because I’m not getting up with it. . I will fill you in on that later.

>Be Still and Know

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Sometimes circumstances happen and we cannot, as my husband is fond of saying, see the forest for the trees. Sometimes things come at you so quickly you don’t know how or why and for us, as women, we tend to react the wrong way. That is one reason I am so thankful to have a strong husband. Brad is such a God-Sent man in my life. To imagine my life without him in it is unspeakable, unfathomable.

When Bill and I divorced the Summer of 2004; I thought my life was over. I had prayed and cried and begged God to fix my marriage. I had made mistakes and so had Bill and I could not for the life of me figure out why it would just not be fixed. Needless to say, it didn’t fix, so there I was, scared and confused, alone for the first time since I was 15 years old, I had spent 1/2 my life loving one person, 1/2 my life as a wife.

What was I supposed to do now? Blame God, that was the answer. So, I blamed God and decided marriage was not for me. I had tried it and it had failed miserably and now, I would just be alone, forever. . .

With that decision firmly in place, I began to date and ‘enjoy’ my new found singleness. I made a new friend, this guy named Brad, who was crazy and funny and ran a non-profit group for kids. He was a hoot! My girlfriends thought he was hilarious, my co-workers said he was smitten by me. I just said nah, he’s my friend. And he was, for a long time, as a matter of fact, he is still my best friend today. He is there in every moment of struggle and when questions haunt my mind. He is my rock and he is steady in every storm.

Of course, we became more than friends and on May 13, 2006, we started our life as TEAMDEASON. . . That is what we are, a team. We make decisions together, we laugh together, we cry together, we pray together and we raise our family together. We have fought storms together: child custody battles, bankruptcy, job loss, loss of friends, career changes and car repossessions. We have also had many victories together: renewed relationships, new jobs, promotions, new friends, and blessings that cannot even be explained.

Recently we were so blessed for someone to give Brad the funds for him to have is Gastric Bypass surgery. He had his surgery on October 22nd and as of today, he has lost 39 lbs. I have never been so proud of him or for him. He is doing the right things with his food and his workouts and he is taking full advantage of this tool he has been blessed with. As our Pastor said Sunday, with great blessings, come great challenges.

Just one day after we returned home from Brad’s surgery, I was hit with a very spiritual attack. I was not sure what was up or down. Where I should be or what I should do. But you know what my rock said? “Be still, God has got this” “We just have to wait and see what He says, not what we say”. .

So, reluctantly, I listened. And fervently, we prayed. “Please God, show us your path.” “Please God, show us your face.” “Please God, we want Your will, not ours. “

Not overnight, not the first week, but gradually we have begun to see the light and that we were in the right place and that God’s timing is always perfect. Sometimes I think God puts things in our path that we don’t necessarily like to see how we react, or how others react. Sometimes I think God allows things in our path so we can get on our knees and really seek him. The bible teaches us “Seek Him while He may be found”. God is not lost, but a lot of times we are.

On the hardest day of this trial I was in the prayer room at church. As I cried and prayed, I said Lord, I feel lost. Not unsaved, just lost. I feel like I have no direction and You have to show me the way. The way was to be still and be attentive and to know that we are in the palm of his hand.

I am thankful that God helped me through this hard time and I am ever so unworthy of the wonderful husband that He sent me. I have been re-reading some books by Stormy O’Martin where she really emphasizes praying into your life using God’s Word. It is a powerful thing! We can pray for our families this way and see real change come forth. I remember when I first started asking God to create a desire in Brad to be a true spiritual leader. That was hard for me, because I am not a follower for the most part. Past hurts have caused me to want to control situations for the protection of my heart.

God began to answer those prayers and then I was not sure I wanted Him to. I soon realized that for Brad to be the leader, I had to be a follower. God works all things for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, so I knew that I must put my money where my mouth was and not only trust Brad, but trust God.

I am so Glad I Did!

>Comfort Food

>It seems that fall/winter is the time for comfort foods. Last night I made a batch of Wassail and tonight we are having our friends over for homemade potato soup and ragin’ cajun sandwiches. I thought I would share these recipes that have been shared over our dinner table in the past and forever more in the future…ENJOY

Wassail: Makes enough for 20 people – you can also freeze half of it and use later if you have a smaller crowd.

  • 1 Gallon Apple Cider
  • 24 Whole Cloves
  • 4-6 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 Quart Orange Juice
  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 Large Can Pine-apple Juice
  • 1 Cup of Sugar

Mix all ingredients in a large pot and simmer on low-med on the stove until warm. you can also crock pot this to keep it warm and soothing.

Home Made Potato Soup: This makes a good sized pot. Now honestly, I don’t do too much measuring so, just use your best judgement. . .

  • 10 Lb. Potatoes
  • 1/2 Gallon of 1/2 n 1/2
  • 2 Lb. Velveeta Cheese
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Stick of butter
  • 32 Oz. Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Chives
  • Bacon Bits
  1. Peel and dice potatoes. Boil potatoes and onions until they are done but still have some firmness. Drain all the water but enough to cover the potatoes and onions. Throw the stick of butter and about 1/2 of the half-n-half in and stir. Put on the stove on low. stir often but don’t mash up potatoes, be careful.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, take the cubed velveeta and 1/2 cup of the half-n-half and put in microwave to melt (over the years, I have discovered this works best and cuts scorching down tremendously) (You can also melt down in a double boiler if you wish.)
  3. After cheese is melted really well in to a cream state (you may want to add some more half-n-half) add the mixture to the pot of potatoes and other ingredients. Stir well.
  4. Take the sour cream and mix a bit at a time in a side bowl with the remaining half-n-half until it is creamy and ready to add to the pot. Add the rest of these ingredients to the pot and mix together well.
  5. Warm on low or put in a crock pot or double boiler to prevent scorching. Dress with shredded cheese, fresh or dried chives and bacon bits….YUMMY!

Ragin’ Cajun Sandwiches: My friend Mandy and I created these when I had a little restaurant/catering businesss and they are a hit with the soup or alone.

  • Shaved Cajun Roast Beef (found in Deli, you can use regular if you cant find it)
  • Swiss Cheese Slices
  • Peppers (Green or Red)
  • White Onion
  • Jalepenos (if desired)
  • Hoagie Rolls
  1. In a skillet take 1/2 stick butter (or Pam if you are healthly minded) and saute the sliced onion, jaelepenos and peppers (red is prettier but green is fine cuz they taste the same and are cheaper..LOL).
  2. While this is melding together, cut the hoagie rolls in 1/2 and butter. Toast in the oven under the broiler.
  3. Remove bread from oven and place 2-3 oz. of roast beef on each roll. Top with the sauted mixture. Put a slice of swiss cheese on top and then the top bun. Wrap in aluminum foil and put in oven on warm for about 5 minutes, or just put back on baking sheet and watch closely.
  4. These do great cut in half with a large bowl of soup. Another option is to do ham or turkey with this cheese or pepperjack.

Sweet Treat brownies:

  1. make brownies according to package directions
  2. Take 1 small jar of marshmellow cream and 1 bar of cream cheese and blend together. Spread mixture over brownies.
  3. Top with fresh cut strawberries.

Everyone have a great, food-filled weekend

>ENOUGH ALREADY!

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Have you ever said that? Enough Already! I know I have! I’ve said it in the heat of arguments, I have said it when my kids are fighting with each other, I have said it to the Lord when I think I cannot take another minute of a trial or a test. Usually we say “Enough Already” in frustration. Laying in bed this morning, the Lord brought the Chris Tomlin song “Your Grace is Enough” to my mind. Chris wrote this song based on II Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”.

So today, as I feel a little laggy and actually overwhelmed by the work on my plate (thank you God for blessing me in my job) I have to look to Him and realize that I have “enough already”. I have to really rely on the fact that his ‘grace is sufficient’ or ‘enough’. . that in my weakness (ADD and the want to do nothing because I have so much to do) His Strength can find perfection in that. That is overwhelming to know that God knows our weakness and wants us to say, you know, I have enough already. Enough Grace, Enough Love, Enough Strength, Enough Reliance on God – to get through this day.

I promise I did not intend for these blogs to seem like devotions, but that seems to be the theme right now. Maybe these blogs are my communication with the Lord and I just happen to be sharing them with you, the reader. I just know that I woke up with this today and couldn’t shake it off, so I thought if I’d just type it out, it would help me get my day going in the right direction.

Speaking of right direction, I lost another pound today..WOOT! Since my biggest, I have now lost 23 lbs and went from size 20 pants to a comfortable 16 (and a not so comfortable – some 14’s). . anyway, I’m gettting there, slowly but surely. . and that’s enough already!

>Coming up to breath

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Okay, So, we have been going to the gym since the first week in October. We have walked and worked out in the pool and really noticed it working us out. Well, tonight was like the boot camp of all boot camps. Our gym guy, Raymond, kicked my butt..well actually my arms and abs and then forced me onto some cardio. I still can’t breathe well and it is twenty minutes later.

He started Brad on some weights for his upper body and he was so toasted he couldn’t lift his arms when he was done. We are so out of shape that it is not even funny. The one good thing about going to the gym is that we go as a family. Logan runs around the gym (like he needs to work out) and plays basketball or gets on the treadmill. Cait favors the stationary bike.

I, favor laziness, which of course, is not a God Chaser kind of thing to be. So this is a growth area for me, I can see right now. I literally prayed for about 5 minutes of my cardio just to get through it. I hope as we go through this weight loss journey that I can embrace this with motivation and strive to be in the best physical shape possible.

Please pray with me regarding communicating with my daughter. It seems like she is more like me daily, and we get along less and less. I know some of this is to be expected, she is fifteen years old, but there has got to be room for harmony in this as well. I pray that God gives me the patience and the understanding to communicate my love for her in a constructive way. It is such a huge task to be a mother and to try to impart responsibility and love and loyalty and understanding to a teenage girl. I didn’t learn these things until way too late in life and i don’t want her to struggle like I have, but I guess to some extent, we all have to find our own path in our own time.

“God, please help me to be all that you want me to be, to my family and friends and help me be a light to others. Please let them see Your reflection in me!”

Good Night