Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My thoughts today...

Basically, we are still wrapping our minds around it all. I am praying and trying to BE STILL and LISTEN. I'm not good at being still and listening. One day, I think "we could totally do this." Then, I think "no, we can't." I have no clue where this will take us. But, I think God has made his point with me. Don't box him in. Anything is possible. My options are still wide open. All I have to do is look and seek. I know the answers will come. I just have no idea what they will be.
Remember, tomorrow is Wednesday. Send up some extra prayers. I've been given a door to have the student moved to another room. I am going to see how it goes tomorrow. Pray I can do it - not through MY strength, but His.
Love you all!

Monday, January 30, 2012

And the journey continues.... (part 2)

*part 1 in post below*
Everyone still with us? Feel the misery? Feel the heartache? Have you asked yourself and God over and over, WHY???? I mean, why? It just makes no sense. I have wondered what I have done wrong or if I should've done more. Then, I think, it's not about "works". I have wondered what the lesson is that I should be getting. I've wondered WHY, oh WHY, would God want to put someone in my room that will cause me to hurt so badly (and bless her, it is SOOO not her fault!!)?!? Salt in the wound. Why? I keep going back to the fact that God isn't mean or vengeful. Our God is a loving God. He wouldn't intentionally hurt us. So, I can't help but think no matter how badly it is going to hurt, He has a plan in this. For some reason, this girl and I are supposed to cross paths. The part that is going to drive me insane is that I may never truly know what that reason is. Faith. Such a tricky thing sometimes.
So, this is where I am Saturday as I go to church to volunteer for Upward basketball. Keep in mind my eyes are all puffy and swollen from bawling my head off the night before. And, I seriously doubt you are ready for what God has in store next. So, sit down and grab hold of your seat. It's a wild ride!!!
A few hours into my shift at Upward, one of my favorite little boys comes to get nachos. This kid is adorable!! Kevin and I coached his big brother last year. His parents did IVF twice to get pregnant. His dad is one of those people who talks to everyone and has no reservations about what he says. (Remind you of Kevin? ha!) Anyway, last year, I spent the first Upward practice with him talking about infertility. So.....there's a little background. Back to the adorable boy. He is sitting at the snack bar, and his dad comes in to sit with him. He waits a little bit. I know what's coming. I can see it in his eyes, plus, he asks whenever he sees me or Kevin. And, this is how the conversation goes...(me in a whisper, low voice/him in a booming, loud voice)
The Dad, "You pregnant yet?"
Me, "Well, no. Turns out we can't have kids."
The Dad, "Why not?"
Me, "Well, he doesn't have any swimmers, and I don't have any eggs."
The Dad, "Really? We have some frozen embryo's. Do you want them?"
Me, "What!?! What are you talking about?"
The Dad, "We have six frozen embryo's left over from our last IVF. We pay $400 every 6 months to store them, and we don't want anymore kids. Do you want them?"
Me, "This is crazy!"
The Dad, "We've been trying to figure out what to do with them. We don't want to destroy them."
Me, "Wouldn't that be weird in a few years when we walk into Upward practice with your biological child and see you?"
The Dad, "We don't want anymore kids. We are done. We have 6 embryo's frozen and don't want to destroy them."
Me seeing Kevin - "KEVIN, come here!!"
Basically he tells him the same thing, and then goes into how the expensive part is done. And all they would do is give me some hormones to trick my body into thinking I was ready to get pregnant and insert the embryo's.
Interesting. Crazy. Who knows how to respond to that?!?!
It basically ends with the Dad saying, "You two pray about it." And me saying, "I'll pray and do some research."
Then, I had to question the timing of it!! Was God trying to tell me something? How crazy is this? What in the world? I never even heard of such!!!! Then, I find on the internet that it is basically the newest form of adoption. You are just adopting the embryo and getting to carry the child through pregnancy. Is it science or is it God? Is it right or wrong? Should we think about it? Should be just make peace with no children? It's pretty out there. What in the world is going on???? If you are like me and had zero clue this was an option, research frozen embryo transfer or adoption. Who knew???? We're praying about it. Right now, my head is spinning. I have no clue what God is up to. I have no idea what we will do if anything. Maybe He is just trying to tell me to keep my options open?
Keep praying everyone. But, ESPECIALLY ON WEDNESDAY!!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

And the journey continues...

Anyone who has been around this blog or my life for any amount of time knows that life around here is full of surprises. Sometimes pleasant. Sometimes not. Let me take you to earlier in my week now that I can type/talk about it without crying. First, in your mind rewind to November 28th. The day we found out no children for the Benson's. Are you there? Then slowly walk through a torturous December. Depression. Blah's. Going through the motions. Now, just as slowly start clawing your way out of the pit with me. That's right. January. A new year. New beginnings. It's going to be GOOD! Put the past behind us. Make the most out of the situation. Let's just make peace that we can't have kids. Laughter returns. You get the point? You see where we are. Do you feel it?
Now, I find out I am getting a college student in my classroom to do her field study. No biggie. Not really excited about it, but I can make it work. I am hopeful it will be a better experience than I've had in the past with these kinds of things. Because after all, it is a new year with new beginnings. Right? College student is supposed to arrive on Friday. I will be ready for her and put her to work. But wait, it's Wednesday. Who is standing at my classroom door? That's not a parent!?! OH, it's my college student. 2 days early. I'm not expecting her. Have nothing ready for her yet. AND, even better, SHE'S 6 MONTHS PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!! That's right folks! I get to spend every Wednesday from now until the first week of May with a pregnant college student following me around. Oh, joy! There are three, count them, three 4th grade teachers. There are 3 college students coming. What are the chances that I would get the pregnant one? Oh boy, oh boy!
Where does this take us? Right or wrong, and say what you want, but it takes us sliding back down. Yep. Lost count of how many times I almost cried on Wednesday alone. Then, I did let go when I got home. I was so upset with God and why he would do this. Because let's face it, there are no coincidences. God put this girl in my room. For some reason, we are supposed to be together. For the life of me, I have no idea why He wants me to go through this when I felt like I was just overcoming the battle. I have prayed. I have questioned. Well, and I'll be honest here. On Wednesday, I sulked like a baby and just flat out didn't talk to God. I was mad. I still don't know what He is up to with this. I was doing good, and since Wednesday, today is the first day that I haven't cried. Friday night, I cried myself to sleep so hard that the Saturday my eyes were swollen until well into the afternoon. Why? Why? Why? On the one hand, I think I can't take it. I can't do it. I just can't do it. Then, I think "I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me." Then, I think, WHY does he keep strengthening me? I should be so strong by now that I can lift my Tahoe with my bare hands!!!!!!!!! Seriously! I mean, let's face it, we all know my kids are going to be curious about her pregnancy. They are going to ask questions. Then, they are going to start asking when I am having a baby. Oh, it's coming. And, what in the world am I going to say??? I have only been able to say the words OUTLOUD without crying a hand full of times. Dread. That's what I feel. My safe place of work has been stolen. I have no clue why this is happening. But I have to once again rally. Suck it up. Make the best of it. Not let it get me down. Not look at other people's lives and wonder why they seem to have it so easy. Stay focused. Keep reading my Bible. Keep trusting. He has a plan. I just do NOT see it yet. Maybe He is trying to hit me over the head with a message. I don't know. But, I do know that I would appreciate some extra prayers every Wednesday. Please!!
And, that's not all. This journey gets more interesting. But, I'll continue that tomorrow. For, now, sit with where I was Wed. thru Sat. until tomorrow.....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Grade: A+

I honestly was prepared not to like this book. It's out of my norm, but I couldn't put it down!!! It consumed me for 3 days!!!! Yes, a first! I read a book DURING THE SCHOOL WEEK in 3 days! Why? Because this book makes you want to take off work, so you can just stay home and read it! I can't wait to get to Barnes and Noble to buy book #2 and 3 in the trilogy!! It's been fun to share with my kids at school too. One of my students is almost finished with book 2 right now, and daily we check in to see where we are & others have caught the excitement!

Here's a summary from online. If you haven't read it, check it out!! (even if you don't think you'll like it from the summary, because I didn't think I would but I tried it anyway)

The Hunger Games (2008) is the first book of the wildly popular trilogy of young adult novels from author Suzanne Collins. The series is set in the country of Panem, a post-apocalyptic version of North America. Every year the government in the Capitol organizes an event known as the Hunger Games: a bloody, gladiator-style fight-to-the-death battle between 24 randomly-selected teenagers from the oppressed Districts of Panem. To top it all off, the carnage is broadcast live on television – as entertainment for the residents of the Capitol and a reminder to the residents of the Districts of the totalitarian government’s ultimate power.

With all the violence and gore and killing of people on live television, these books have been nothing less than a best-selling sensation. The second novel of the trilogy, Catching Fire, was published in 2009, while Mockingjay, the final installment of the series, was released in August of 2010. The books read like a fast-paced movie, and from all the hype we’ve heard about them, this series might just be the next Twilight (but with better fight scenes).

In the first book of the trilogy, The Hunger Games, we meet our heroine and protagonist, Katniss Everdeen. An experienced hunter, Katniss is a killer with a bow and arrow from District 12, a poor coal-mining region in the country of Panem. Katniss is a tough-as-nails survivor with a rebellious streak a mile wide (assets in the Hunger Games, needless to say.)

The other lead character we meet in the first book is Katniss’s co-tribute from District 12: the charming baker’s son, Peeta Mellark. Unlike Katniss, Peeta is a bit of a softy, is great at decorating cakes, and is very much infatuated with his co-tribute, Katniss. That’s, of course, where things get complicated: Katniss and Peeta begin to play up an on-camera romance between the two of them in order to win over the audiences at home and gain sponsors. While playing star-crossed lovers for the camera proves to be a powerful and effective strategy – what exactly happens when those cameras stop rolling? When the stakes are high as they are in The Hunger Games, it’s difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

"Hey, my name is Caleb! Wanna be friends?"

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski



This isn't the type of book I usually read, and it took me a bit to get used to the style of writing. It's written in a way that almost makes you feel like you are just having a conversation with your best girlfriends. It turned out to be a really good, fun light read. I am trying to branch out from my regular mystery novel. After about the first 40 pages, I really got into it.
Here's the gist of what it is about:

Meet June Parker. She works for L.A. Rideshare, adores her rent-stabilized apartment in Santa Monica, and struggles with losing a few pesky pounds.

But June’s life is about to change.

After a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June finds herself in possession of a list Marissa has written, “20 Things to Do By My 25th Birthday.” Even though they barely knew each other, June is compelled by both guilt and a desire to set things right and finish the list for Marissa.

The tasks before her range from inspiring (Run a 5K), to daring (Go braless), to near-impossible (Change someone’s life), and as June races to achieve each goal before the deadline, she learns more about her own life than she ever bargained for.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend News!!

What happened this weekend besides going to an all-you-can buffet on Friday night and eating so much (including TWO cinnamon rolls!!) that it completely counteracted how good I've been trying to be?!? Well, Saturday morning, I think I was still reeling from all the food the night before!! ha!
But the rest of the weekend held Upward volunteering and caterings. And apparently my mom added a new four-legged friend to our family!!! Meet Chester:

And, Miss Grace who has been fostered by my mom, got to go to her new furever home today! yay!! She is such a good girl!
And, I finished the book I was reading (book review tomorrow) and am about to start The Hunger Games from my winning trip to Barnes & Noble this week! Hello - $25 gift card + 25% off for teachers!! Yippee!
And, that pretty much wraps up our excitement! Oh, and I finally caved and got on pinterest!! Yikes!!!!!!!!!!
PS. The dog video has been repaired in the post below! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Difference between labs and boxers...

Just watch in about 40 seconds, this video explains it all!

Rex may not be able to CATCH the ball or FETCH the ball, but that doesn't mean he that he doesn't LOVE the ball! ha! And yes, that is the shape the ball is in after about 10 minutes!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kill Me if You Can by James Patterson

Rate: D
Book 1 of the New Year was a big flop! This may be the worst James Patterson I've ever read. It started off good, but went sour fast. There was one plot twist that was totally bogus. And, one part that was just unnecessary. It was confusing because it started out in first person and switches between being first person and not. The only reason I didn't abandon reading this book was because it was my first read of the new year!!! I'm not disappointed often in Patterson, but if you are a fan, this one is a skip it!

It seems I am not alone in my opinion. Here is a review from goodreads.com:

's review
Oct 24, 11

1 of 5 stars
Read in October, 2011

This book has made me reconsider a lot of things in my life.

First of all, it has made me look at all of the other books that I have given a one-star rating too. Yeah, The Shack was bad, but was it THIS bad? It has also made me think of how many people might be out there reading books like this, or any other books which appear to have been written as a sixth-grade writing assignment, and live to turn the pages and get wrapped up in the action. It makes me immeasurably sorry for them. It has also made me think about what kind of money I could be making if I got into writing a brainless book over the course of a weekend. Or, better yet, have someone else entirely write the book and put my name on it and slap a picture of me looking rather smug and dapper with a really nice watch on the back cover. It has made me consider what watch I want to display when I am rich and famous.

There are many things that can be said about this book, but none of them should be said. It probably shouldn't exist. The fact that it does leaves me and Faulkner weeping for the future.

It is typefaced in 24 point font. It has over 100 chapters, none of which extend beyond four pages. There is also no purpose to the chapters other to advance the reader along so that they feel a sense of accomplishment in what must be their very dreary, multiple-cat-filled lives. It is written in first-person narrative, but then it is not, but then it is again. There are uncomfortable sex scenes strewn throughout. Mostly uncomfortable because I am pretty sure that whoever wrote them had not yet experienced sexual intercourse. It might be cliché to talk about how writing is cliché, but this shit is cliché. Like, laughably so. A bag of diamonds. A bag of DIAMONDS! A Russian bad guy. A Russian bad guy named CHUKOV! The level of corporate sponsorship is astounding. Since when were novels used to hock products. "Since now, bitch!" says Patterson, proud supporter of Tom's of Maine (it keeps my breath fresh for hours). It is ridiculous. It is senseless. It is drivel.

And it is genius.

Tag Heuer. I will wear a Tag Heuer watch. And, my novel will be about a professional killer... named Tag Heuer. Watch out, Patterson!

Monday, January 16, 2012

3 day weekends ROCK!

I am super grateful for this 3 day weekend because I needed today to recover from running on GO all day Saturday and Sunday!! It was good busy though!! Saturday started with an AWESOME yard sale of only scrap & craft stuff!!! Woohoo! 10 tables in a rented building selling their stuff. Score on the bargains!! I think I shopped for nearly 2 hours and only spent about $20!! Plus, I got some cool craft ideas. Check them out below:
Some will be used for an upcoming craft women's event at church, some you can expect as gifts, and some I plan to make some with a dog theme and give to BoxAR Rescue to sell at their monthly booth at the Memphis Flea Market. Exciting!! See how my new craft room is benefiting others! ha! Here are my scrapbook scores (a nickel a sheet for most of the paper!!!).

So, what did that inspire me to do? You guessed it! Scrapbook!!!
So, here is what I love about blogging the most! All my scrapbook journaling is DONE! Once I get ready to do a page, I go back to the blog post and pretty much copy/paste into word, put a cute font on it and print on vellum. Journaling is done!

The rest of Saturday held volunteering for Upward Basketball at church and doing a home visit for BoxAR rescue. And, as a result of that home visit, Grace (the one my mom is fostering) has a new home! woohoo!
Sunday held church, a visitation for a family friend, Memphis Flea Market to see BoxAR's booth, and a meeting with some women at church to get some women's ministry going at our church. Whew! I was one tired puppy after all that!
Today, I graded papers and finished the disappointing book I was reading (more that tomorrow!).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jax painting!

My painting of Jax is all done!!! This is a picture of it that she sent me with her phone. She says it's even better in person. I can't imagine, because it looks pretty awesome to me! Oh, how I will cherish this forever!! My beloved Jax...only just the greatest dog EVER who loved me unconditionally and with all he had. I still miss him!!

A huge thank you to Brittney Turner for painting my boxer boy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Random Things

First, MOM LOOK! This is what I did with the other dresser I brought home. I put it in my walk-in closet and it is AwEsOmE!! It holds a lot more than the old Wal-Mart dresser I had in here (that is now in the closet in the craft room holding gift wrap stuff). Anyway - I'm glad I didn't let you put them on a yard sale. I love having them. Thanks!! Makes me want to have more furniture with a story behind it instead of just going to the store and buying it!
And another random thing that mom will love as much as me - my new favorite hot chocolate mug from Santa!!!

In other randomness, I am ready for some snow! This time last year, we were on our first snow, and now we are no where near cold enough. :( I need at least 3 unexpected snow days please!! Anyone know where I put that order in?
And last before I go scrapbook, what do you think of this idea? A flea market with a catering kitchen in the back. I run the flea market and do the books for the catering kitchen. Kevin runs the catering kitchen and caters out of it (obviously) and has a little seating area for shoppers at the flea market!! We want a flea market booth when we retire someday, so this idea was born out of two things we love. We bought a lottery ticket hoping for the start-up money, but no such luck! ha! Seriously though, the more I think about it, the more I like it.
Oh my gosh! I just realized that when we were slow, I could be scrapbooking behind the counter at the flea market! This is such a win all around idea!! Anyone want to fund it? heeehee!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Craft room in the making!

This room is no where near finished, but over Christmas break, I did get it primed and painted. I also got my scrapbook desk cleaned out and organized, an old dresser from my Mom's moved in, and the closet cleaned out and organized!! Oh, and shelves moved in and filled up! Now, I am looking for a futon or sleeper love seat to add to the room. Then, I can fold it out when we have guests (or when Kevin snores too loud!), but it doesn't take up the room of a regular bed!! Once I get that, I will finish up the walls. I am still looking for just the right thing for here (over the super sweet cricut expression 2!!):
The cool thing about the dresser that the cricut is on is that it was purchased by my Mom waaaayyy back when she first got married to my father, so it has been with us for my entire life - almost 39 years! (gasp!) Anyway - in my parents move lots of stuff had to go and I found a place for this dresser and the one that went with it. Bonus is that my cricut gets to stay out!! AND, all the cricut cartridges live in the top drawer. Each drawer is dedicated to scrapbook materials! Whoop!! I am thinking about stripping it this summer and doing a distressed look. We'll see after I find the right futon/love seat!
Below is the dresser that I moved from my walk-in closet and put in the craft room closet. I bought that at Wal-Mart for a dresser when I was a poor college student for something like $30 and still get use out of it!! I'd say I got my money's worth!!! This is my card and gift wrapping station. It is full of tissue paper, ribbon, gift bags, and all those goodies!
Here is the scrapbook area all open and ready for business. Perfect little nook for me with my cricut handy! See that cute little black sign hanging inside my desk? It says "My husband said it was either him or scrapbooking...I took pictures of him packing and made the cutest pages." Ha!
And when I'm not scrapbooking, I can close it all up:

My first scrapbook page in the new craft room:
My first craft:
Hopefully, I can finish up this room with my birthday money! :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Before/After (so far) at the Farm

Over Christmas, we went to my parents new farm and what a difference!! Keep in mind, they have 10 acres, multiple shops, 2 barns and a house they are getting ready to be put on the market in Newport. At the same time, they are trying to get the house in Beebe to be livable, so they can move there and then add-on when they sale the old place. LOTS of work, but I couldn't believe the progress!! And, I admit my first impression was just tear down the old house and start fresh, but it is really shaping up! And the master suite they are adding on will be AWESOME! Anyway...here is some of the work so far. Living area before:
After (with temporary furniture):
Look who else loves boxers!! heehee! This is the wall in the before shot above where the upside down triangle shelf is on the wall:
Bathroom before (the only one until the master suite is added on):
After with an extended sink and new vanity, mirror cabinet and paint does a world of difference:
One of the bedrooms before. I think the window was even broken. It was yucky in there and looked small.
But wow! It fit 2 dressers, a nightstand and a bed with plenty of room left over! Bigger than we thought and the new carpet and fresh paint made a HUGE difference! Go Mom and Dad!!
It pretty much has new floors and paint throughout. The kitchen is still on the to-do list, but that will be a BIG project. It's looking good!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book vs. Movie

My final book for 2011 was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. And, I can sum that up by saying it is easily the best book I have read in a long time!! I was sitting here trying to figure out which was my favorite character, and it's tough. You just fall in love with more than one and for more than one reason. I admire Miss Skeeter and found myself wondering which character would I have been most like had I grown up during the 60's. I can only hope I would have been like Miss Skeeter and not followed the crowd and realized that the separation between white's and black's was wrong. I loved the sass of Minnie and the warmth of Aibileen. And, then the one you love to hate, of course, is Miss Hilly. For New Year's Eve, we watched the movie, and it followed the book really, really well. There were minor differences because the movie would have just been too long to leave every detail in. The only thing that would be sad about just watching the movie and skipping the book is that you wouldn't get the full character development. You miss the feeling of anxiousness over them getting caught meeting and the inner thoughts of the characters. If you don't read anything else this year, read The Help and then treat yourself to the movie. But if you just can't make yourself sit down and read a book, then definitely watch the movie! You won't regret it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutions 2012

I mean, you gotta have 'em, right?
Simple and realistic is the goal. That and getting back to what I love!
I will try to:
  • give up tv (my goal is to try to only watch 2 hours a week!!) and cut down on computer time. My hope is this is going to give me time at night to read and scrapbook (two things that make me happy!).
  • pay off at least one debt. (one less worry and a step closer to my big camper!) :)
  • take the dogs for walks (anything will be more than what they get right now! ha)
  • find ways to be more involved at church. I want to serve and be the hands and feet of Jesus!

There it is...totally achievable goals! :)

Tomorrow is back to work for me, but this week, I promise to share with you some before/after pics of Mom and Dad's farm and some pics of the craft room progress. It's nowhere near finished yet though!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Good riddance to 2011!

I know that 2012 is going to be a much better year than this past year. 2011 was full of infertility, disappointments, struggles, and sadness. It ended with us both in a pit of despair, and November 28, 2011 goes down as the day our hearts were shattered to learn that we won't be able to have children of our own. It was an ugly year. I wasn't even sure our marriage was going to survive. I did, however, come to truly appreciate our church family. I realized that in a crisis, we are blessed with a preacher who will drop everything and come over to sit with us and talk and listen. I realized that in a crisis or while going through a trial, I find my strength in my Bible Study. So, the blessing of 2011 is knowing I have an abundance of prayer warriors, an amazing church family, and my faith has grown as well as my marriage. I am sorry you have had to listen to so many down times and struggles lately but am glad you stuck it out with me. 2012 is going to be a good year, and maybe we will get to see my "greater yes".
If you wanted something so badly that you thought it might kill you if you didn't get it, and God said no, there is some huge greater YES! Your purpose is wrapped up in the greater yes." -Beth Moore