Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just For Fun Friday: The Jack-O-Lantern Edition

When our boys were little we went to a pumpkin carving party at a friend's house. We had never really carved pumpkins before that, but it kicked off one of my favorite fall family traditions. Every year after that party, Hubby, our Scientist, our Engineer, and I would each pick a special pumpkin to carve into a Jack-O-Lantern.

Years earlier, on a visit to a Pumpkin Farm, I discovered this darling little book:
It quickly became a Fall favorite of our boys and I can't tell you how many times I read it to them. The message in this book is wonderful. It shares how God's love and salvation can be very much like a farmer turning a pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern.

A few days ago, Miss Sally sent me this photo:
This story immediately reminded me of the sweet little book. Their messages are very much the same. Every time I see a Jack-O-Lantern smiling at me...I am reminded of the glorious redemption God offers each of us.  

Carving pumpkins is just plain fun. For our little family, it is a tradition filled with laughter and great family time. Over the years we have created many funny faces...and loads of happy memories. The delight of making a blessed reminder of God's grace just adds to the whole experience.

So...Just For Fun...because it's Friday...here's a picture of this year's carvings by Hubby, our Engineer, and me:
We missed having our Scientist with us to join in the fun, but it brought us smiles when he phoned and sent us texts today. 

Here's hoping you never look at a Jack-O-Lantern again without the sweet reminder of God's grace.

Happy Fall to Y'all!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Prayer for You

I have a long list of writing ideas in the Notes app on my phone. I have pretty floral file folders sitting in a cute little box on my desk with pages of writing ideas in them. I have all kinds of ideas swimming in my head and I think about them throughout each and every day.

And yet...I sit here tonight completely blank on what to write about on this blog.

I have had prayer on my mind all day today...so tonight I'm going to do something different. I'm going to write a little prayer...for you.

Dear Lord, 
I have no idea who is reading this right now or what their needs are. What I do know is that You are the healer...fixer...caregiver...plan maker...encourager...provider...fulfiller....heart-mender...forgiver...and Savior of our lives.  

I praise your holy name Heavenly Father. I give you the glory for all you have done...are doing...and will do in this reader's and my life. You are almighty.

Thank you, Lord, for the good...and the no-so-good going on at this moment. I know that Your will is best and I am grateful for Your love and presence in each person's life who is reading this right now.

Father, I ask you to meet the needs of each reader who comes to this blog. Please hold them in the palm of Your almighty hand. I ask that You comfort them and give them peace in knowing You are in control.

God...may Your will be done today...and always...in the lives of these very special blessings to me.

In Jesus precious name I pray,
Amen

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Renewed

It is always fun to get away for a weekend. It's even more fun when you are with people you love...and get to stay in a beautiful Bed and Breakfast...and you get an amazingly rich spiritual renewal. That sums up our trip to the Living Proof Live event with Beth Moore this weekend.

I am filled to the brim with blessings of the joyous time Mom, Sister, and I shared. Just completely filled to the brim.

The experience was so much more than I expected. It was...thought provoking... reinforcing... emotional... focusing... spiritual... lighthearted... deephearted... fun... uplifting... encouraging... educational... and worshipful. I truly loved every minute of it!

Mom, Sister, and I made some special memories....we giggled... talked... laughed...hugged... ate... chatted... cried... shopped... and talked some more. I really don't think we could have asked for more. Well...it would have been pretty cool to meet Beth in person...but she did come into the audience and speak to the woman right next to Mom. So we did get pretty close to her.

Over the two days of Beth's powerful teaching, we learned about a young man known as John, also named Mark. He went through a rocky time in his early ministry...Beth may have labeled him "Quitter Boy" at one point in his young life...but he went back out, gave it another try, and ended up authoring a well known gospel called Mark. It was a very encouraging and inspiring lesson.

Beth offered such intense teaching this weekend. There was a great deal to take in and I came home with much to ponder.

She gave us seven main points this weekend:

1. We can't keep riding on the coattails of somebody else's faith.

2. We don't always thrive in the spot where we're so special.
       
3. We will all fail, but the question becomes "Will we fail well?"
     
4. To have a comeback we have to actually come back.
          "Forgive people for being people."

5. Integrity refuses to enlist loyalty on the side of its offense.

6. Pressing in with Christ, our relational pattern can completely change.

7. Those around us are reading the gospel according to us.

Do any of these points impact you?

The ones that stand out to me were 2, 3, 4, and 7.  Seven made me go "ooooh".

I came home inspired and feel strongly this weekend will stay with me in the days...weeks...and months ahead. It was an incredibly spiritually renewing experience.

And don't we all need that every once in awhile?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just For Fun Friday: Beth Moore Edition

Today is Friday and tonight I get to attend my first live Beth Moore conference. I am really looking forward to it! Mom, Sister, and I will be taking a little trip...staying in a bed and breakfast...and then going to her two-day Living Proof event. I am super excited and I really don't have much time to write.

So...Just For Fun...because it's Friday...here's one of my all time favorite Beth Moore stories: 
The Hairbrush
It is the sweetest story...I just dare you not to cry!

May YOU be blessed this Friday!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

She Knew Me Then...

Today I got to spend the day with my dear friend, Warrior Mom. She is a long time friend. She has known me since junior high...and still loves me. And I love her too. Warrior Mom knows who I was during those difficult teen years. You could say she has seen me at some of my worst days.

Over breakfast sandwiches...we talked about how much we have grown and changed since those awkward teenage days. I admire the godly wife...mom...teacher...friend...and person she is today. I really liked her back then...but I like her even more now. She is one of the most understanding and supportive people in my life. And I cherish her friendship more than she probably knows.

One of the things we both love about this friendship is that we can go for days....weeks...or even months without actually talking...and yet we can pick right up wherever our conversation last left off without missing a beat. And there is never any hurt feelings about days gone by. We are both busy and we each get that. It is a friendship full of love...concern...memories...understanding...support...and forgiveness.

This morning we laughed...shared...and even teared up a little. We enjoyed some retail therapy and then headed to my house to dig through my hoard...uhmm...overabundant assortment of scrapbooking supplies. {Interesting Tidbit: Warrior Mom is the one who introduced me to scrapbooking when we were young mommas in the mid 90s.}

During our teen years we became great friends and supported each other during our college days...waiting tables together at Aunt & Uncle's restaurant...and right into our married years. Hubby and I moved away...but that didn't end our sweet friendship. Many many miles separated us for the next 20 years...but our friendship stayed strong.

Now we live just a little over an hour from each other and every once in awhile we get the chance to giggle together...face to face. It's a sweet time that reminds me how we are kindred spirits...and it's such a blessing in so many ways.

Do you have a long time friend like this? Someone who knew you when you were young and immature...and yet loves and supports you still today? If so...maybe you can let them know what that means to you.

Warrior Mom...you are a very special friend. Thank you for your sweet friendship over all these years. 

How special to have a friend that knew me then...and still loves me now.

Inspiring Ideas?

I wrote this yesterday...but didn't get it posted...so here's my blog from Wednesday:

It has been nearly a year since I began posting on My Rosie Outlook in 2012. Of course I had no idea what I was really embarking on that November day...but I'm so glad I decided to take this 2013 Year Long Adventure of Heart & Spirit Monthly Quests.

Last night I decided to print out all of my posts since starting this blog. I didn't quite get them all printed because I ran out of ink...but I already have a large binder full. I am glad to have a hard copy printed of the posts. It is a visual of what I have accomplished this past year.

Looking at that binder full of my writings really did give me a sense of accomplishment and a boost of confidence that I can do more with this blog and my writing in the coming year. It was encouraging to me.

Have you ever looked back on something you have done and surprised yourself with what you completed? Have you ever ended up encouraging yourself? Sometimes I get through something and later when looking back on it...I'm a little bit shocked I did it! Am I the only one that does that?

So...going through the binder....rereading some of the posts I have written...I am inspired to make plans for what I will do in 2014. I am giving it much thought...and praying about it a lot. Hopefully in the coming weeks I will have a clear idea of what God wants me to do with this blog.

Do you have a suggestion for me? Please comment below if you have an inspiring idea for my 2014 Blog Journey.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What's for Supper?

Once again...I started this post yesterday...and finished it today.

The chill in the air yesterday morning turned into a "burrrrrr" in the air last night. I think it just might be the coolest Fall night we have had in the Midwest thus far. It made me want to snuggle in for the evening and cook up something warm and steamy.

So that's just what I did.
I made a big pot of Cowboy Soup...

and a basket full of Cornbread Muffins. Yum.
It was just what the weather called for last night.  

Does the weather influence what you fix for supper?

I have to say there are many days around here it certainly influences me. When it is hot and sticky outside, salads and sandwiches are what's on the menu...Hubby is much more likely to fire up the grill when there's a cool breeze in the air...rainy days just beg for a steaming bowl of Chili...and I love the smell of Mom's Five Hour Stew or Grandma's Chicken and Dumplings wafting through the house at the first sign of snow. 

Of course weather isn't the only factor in making the dinner menu. The holidays bring traditions of delicious meals as well. Potato Soup does the trick on a cool Halloween night. Our family loves good old-fashioned tradition for Thanksgiving...turkey...dressing...green bean casserole...and homemade rolls. Christmas is a time for special treats...red velvet cake...lemon snowflake cookies...chocolate dipped peanut butter crackers...and my favorite: Mom's Elegant Chocolate Log Cake. 

Every Valentine's Day I make heart shaped cookies...blueberry muffins...brownies...and sometimes even a heart shaped cake. Easter morning always starts off with a delicious ham baking in the oven and baskets full of Easter chocolate.

We have many Memorial Day weekend memories of yummy family potlucks. And an Independence Day celebration for our family often means grilled hot dogs...potato salad...watermelon...and freshly popped popcorn to munch on during the fireworks.

Have I made you hungry yet?

In our house we celebrate birthdays with our favorite foods as well. Hubby and our Engineer both love my slow-cooked meatballs that spend the day getting tender in homemade spaghetti sauce. Hubby always asks for yellow cake with chocolate pudding icing.

Our Scientist will request homemade tacos and both the boys choose chocolate cake topped with chocolate icing for their birthday cakes. They must take after me a bit in that area. As for my favorite birthday dinner...I enjoy a trip to our favorite local Mexican restaurant.

Good cooks run in both sides of our families. I have a stack of wonderful family recipes handed down from our Moms and Grandmas. It is no wonder that a way we love to celebrate and show love is through food.

Sometimes there's nothing better than a warm bowl of soup and some cornbread muffins to warm the body...and the heart.  Unless...it's Hubby ordering pizza on a night when I just don't feel like cooking. And when the pizza delivery gal rang our doorbell tonight...I felt loved.



*UPDATE*
Per request -here's the recipe to Cowboy Soup
1 lb        ground beef
1/2 cup  chopped onion
1 lg bag  frozen mixed vegetables
1 can      Rotel tomatoes
2 pkg      Spanish Rice (made according to pkg directions)
1 can      stewed tomatoes
1 can      creamed style corn
1 can      whole kernel corn
2 cups    water

In a large pot, brown beef and onion. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Oh Sigh...

So I started this post yesterday...but didn't get it finished until today...so this post is my October Quest from yesterday and today.

Our favorite Fall Family Tradition is for each of us to pick a pumpkin to carve or decorate to display on our front porch on Trick or Treat night. When our boys were little we drew funny faces on our pumpkins...but as they grew older, we began an even more fun tradition of freehand carving our pumpkins each year.

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day here in the Midwest.  Hubby, our Engineer, and I went out to lunch...ran some errands...and then stopped to pick out the perfect pumpkins. There was a windy brisk chill in the air. It really added to the the pumpkin picking experience.

It reminded me of sweet fall days of years gone by...when little giggly boys romped through fields of pumpkins looking for just the right one....yes...little bitty guys with little bitty arms that could barely carry their perfect find. Oh sigh.

I am so very proud of the young men my boys have grown up to be. Our Scientist and our Engineer are now working on their college degrees. They are making plans for what they will do in their adult lives. They are thinking about their futures and what they hope to accomplish.

From the time we brought them home as tiny little babies...to now....I have enjoyed each season of their lives. As they grew...and aged...and changed...I delighted in each new stage. It has been a joy to be a part of their new experiences...learning...and progression.

I just loved the baby years...holding...rocking...snuggling...and singing to those chubby little cheeks. The toddler years were so fun as they learned to walk...talk...and sing songs all by themselves. The preschool years were filled with exploration and a new found independence.

The school years brought us many wonderful days of homeschooling together. What a delight it was to be there as they discovered a true love for learning. The teen years gave them even more independence...driver's license...time away from us...trust building...and lots of Mom praying.

I have truly loved each stage of their development. As we left one season behind and started the next, I felt joy and excitement about what we had experienced...and what was to come. I still feel that way. I continue to delight in seeing them grow and learn. But as we stand on the brink of adulthood and they move further along the path to true independence from us...I do find myself occasionally missing the Little Bitty Years.

Of course, I love getting that phone call from our Scientist excitedly telling us about that exam he aced and the thought-provoking discussion he had in class. I laugh with our Engineer as he tells us funny stories from play practice and I cheer him on as he tackles college classes as a sixteen year old high school junior.

I like this season too. I really do. It is fun...exciting...and even more than we hoped for them.

But...every once in a while...for a few brief minutes...Hubby and I will remember cool October days of panning for gold...hay rides...measuring "how tall this fall" next to a giant sunflower...taking pictures of cute little faces smiling through wooden pumpkin cutouts...little train rides where we held our breath through the tunnel...and then looking in the rear view mirror at two little bitty guys with candy and dirt covered faces...fast asleep in the backseat...still holding their perfect little pumpkins.

Sometimes...with days like yesterday...for a little bitty bit...I miss that.

Oh Sigh.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Just For Fun Friday: The PT Edition

As you know, due to a "sport injury", I am currently going to Physical Therapy twice a week. I tore my ACL while attempting to run months ago.

Because of my injury,...I am no longer a "runner"...but now that I am going to PT...I have become a "weight lifter".  This week I was introduced to the weight machine at PT and did my first sets of leg presses.  Of course...because this was in effort to strengthen my damaged knee...I was allowed to only lift one plate.

As I listened to my one little plate clank each time I did my leg press...it reminded me of comedian Brian Regan and his fabulous The Gym routine.

So...because it's Friday...here's a clip of that routine....Just For Fun!


Yes...it's true...I'm the One Plate Gal. Clank.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Happy?

Happiness. I'm pretty sure we all want it...some people find it easier than others...some people seem to not even look for it...some have every reason to be happy while others seem to have plenty of reasons to be unhappy.

Have you heard the phrase "Choose to be happy"

I have been thinking about this phrase for several days. I thought about blogging about it a few days ago...but then things didn't go the way I wanted that day...and I chose to be unhappy. That fact made it difficult for me to write a post about choosing to be happy.

Now a couple of days have passed and I am over it. And even though nothing big or exciting happened today...nothing bad or horrible did either...which made it fairly easy for me to choose to be happy when I got up this morning.

This afternoon our Scientist called and he was clearly happy. Things were going really well for him and he wanted to share his happiness with me. Of course, that just made me happy also. Then as we chatted, he told me about an exercise in his communications class earlier in the week.  

He arrived at class feeling a bit down. He was feeling frustrated about a different class and was letting that get to him. He didn't sleep well...was tired...and grumpy when he got to class. When the professor arrived, he gave each student a piece of paper with an emotion on it. He instructed the students to display that emotion during the class exercise. 

Wouldn't you know it...when our Scientist looked at his paper...it read: "happiness". He rolled his eyes. He couldn't believe that was the emotion he had to depict to his fellow students when he was feeling so low. But then the girl next to him complained she had gotten "social anxiety" and the girl on the other side of him found "depression" on her paper.

Our Scientist decided maybe "happiness" wasn't so bad after all...and he put all his effort into portraying happiness to his fellow students. Interestingly, after a few minutes of smiling, joking, and showing happiness to those around him...our Scientist started feeling happy. By the time he left class...he truly was happy.

Do you believe happiness is a choice?

I'm pretty sure there are many days in our lives when it's up to us if we are going to be happy or not. Sure...we all have days we could go either way...but truly some day's circumstances may very well allow it to be our choice.

Sometimes the circumstances in our lives are difficult....sad...and heartbreaking. I think during those times bouts of unhappiness may be justified. But if we were all being honest...most of our ordinary days...when we let the little unimportant things get to us...we allow ourselves to be unhappy when we really could have chosen to be happy. 

I'll be the first to admit that it's not always easy to choose happiness. It seems like it should be easy...but some days it really isn't easy at all. However...just because it isn't easy...doesn't mean it isn't a possible choice. Maybe on those kinds of days it is even more important to choose happiness.

I looked up the word happy in the Bible today. I found several verses on the subject, but my favorite was found in Ecclesiastes:

"I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live."  ~Ecclesiastes 3:12

Seriously....finding this verse in the Bible today...made me happy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10,000th Page View!!!

Wow! I hit 10,000 Page Views tonight!  Thank you faithful Readers!!!

Time To Move The Furniture

Ok...so this isn't the most thought provoking inspiring post I have written...but just wondering if anyone else deals with this at home?

Today I moved the living room furniture around.  I do this every couple of months or so. I have several Good Reasons Why I do this. The Guys in my life are not big fans of me moving the furniture.  I say it's because they fear change and then I remind them about my Good Reasons Why.

Here are my Top Seven Good Reasons Why I Move The Furniture:

1. Changing the traffic pattern helps keep the carpet from wearing too much in one place. We try to take good care of the things that we have...so I move the furniture.

2. Our furniture (that we purchased when we lived in our last home) does not fit the size and shape of this living room very well...so I move the furniture around hoping to find a better layout.

3. I have two favorite places for the Hug Chair. One is next to our big picture window that looks out over our backyard. The only problem is that a floor vent is also in that spot. During the summertime when we have the air conditioning running, I do not enjoy having cold air blow on me because I spend most of the time feeling cold. So when the air conditioning is running...I move the furniture.

4. My other favorite spot for the Hug Chair is next to the opening into our office area where our Engineer spends a good deal of his time. I like that while my chair is in the living room, I can still feel like I'm in the other room as well. Sometimes we chat while I am sitting in the Hug Chair and he is at his computer in the office area. So I move the furniture.

5. I like to decorate...and it turns out sometimes redecorate. So when I get bored with the way things look...I move the furniture.

6. I don't know why...but when I move the living room around...it just feels clean and fresh. Sometimes when things sit in one place for too long, I need to move them and clean. So if the house is feeling a little dusty or dingy...I move the furniture.

7. Hubby has one favorite place that he likes his Big Recliner...directly across from the TV. He especially enjoys having his chair there during Football Season. I don't know if you are aware...but Football Season has begun...so today I moved the furniture. And now Hubby's Big Recliner is in his favorite spot.

Today the house felt a little dusty...it was time to change the traffic pattern through the living room...I was bored with the current furniture layout...and thought maybe I could figure out a better layout for the size and shape of the room...there's a chill in the air and we are no longer running the air conditioning...and did I mention Football Season has begun? 

As I write this, I am sitting in the Hug Chair next to the big picture window. I am watching the trees blow gently in the breeze and every once in a while I see a leaf flutter to the ground. Hubby is happily relaxing in his Big Recliner. The Pups are sound asleep on his lap. We can all get comfortable...because the furniture was moved today...and that means everyone can relax...at least for a couple of months.

P.S.
Just as I finished writing this...our Engineer came in the house and from the kitchen I hear "Oh no...the furniture has been moved..."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Door Wasn't Just Closed...

We have all heard phrases about God closing or opening doors and windows.  "When God closes a door, He will open another one"...or "When God closes a door, He opens a window"...or a new twist I saw recently... "When God closes a door, wait in the hallway".

During a quick search on Google I found several websites commenting on these Closed Doors. There were other blog posts about the subject, some articles, and even at least one ministry named after the phrase. I've used it myself in a post I wrote earlier in the month.

For the past few weeks I have been walking through Open Doors.  The first one I found standing open...I wasn't completely sure I wanted to go inside...but the door was already standing open...so I stepped inside and took a look around and found the environment warm and welcoming...so I went through that door and walked right up to the next one.

That door was ajar...I hesitated...but then decided I would push it open the rest of the way...I stood in the doorway for a bit and realized it too was welcoming me inside.  So I walked through that door and kept right on going until I got to the next door.

That door was closed. It stopped me in my tracks...but then after pondering it a bit...I didn't want to end my journey there...so I tried the doorknob and it was unlocked. I bravely opened that door and peeked inside.  And once again....I felt invited in...so I slowly walked in and continued on to the next door.

As I got closer...I thought I saw the next door standing open and I wasn't sure if I wanted to go through it or not. I stopped and thought about it...I went back and forth about the Pros and Cons of going through that door. I was pretty sure I didn't want to go through that door...but I finally started toward the door again. By the time I got there, it was closed. The door was closed.

I tried the doorknob and found that it was locked. The shades were drawn. I was not invited to enter. The door was closed to me.

At first I just shrugged because I had pretty much decided I wasn't going to go through that door anyway. But then...I thought about it some more...and I felt frustrated because I didn't get to make the decision. It was made for me. I could not go through that door. And even though by this point I really knew I didn't want to go through it...I was still upset that I didn't have the choice.

There I was...with a Locked Door...no Window in sight...not wanting to wait in the Hallway.

So yesterday...when I was supposed to be fulfilling my October Quest...I was sitting in the Hug Chair wondering WHY I didn't get to go through the door I didn't really want to go through anyway.

Today I remembered what Jesus said:
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  ~Luke 11:9

Now I am thinking about other Doors. And when I get to the next door...maybe I'll just...knock.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Precious Memories Indeed

I love my Grandmas. I miss them terribly. I don't think there is a day in my life that I don't think of them. I have shared stories with you about both Grandma Gem and Grandma Teacher. They have both had an incredible influence on my life.

On any given day, it can be...that platter she served turkey on at Christmas...a recipe written in her distinct handwriting that she used to make...that old wooden rolling pin with the red handles...a fading photo with those laughing eyes and sweet smile...that sock monkey she made that sits in the corner of our guest room...or the hand-stitched doily she lovingly toiled over on our bedroom dresser...yes...these are items in our home that reminds me how blessed I was to have my Grandmas in my life.

Walking through our home you might not realize my Grandmas' fingerprints are all over the place.  Not only do we have these little reminders of actual material treasures...but every day I am reminded of Grandma Gem and Grandma Teacher in the things I say and do. Like when I'm cleaning the house...making a scrapbook page...decorating for the holidays...tending my rosebushes...or making Monkey Bread, Chicken Pie, Applesauce Cake, or Chocolate Pie.

When I host people in our home or invite someone to church, I think of Grandma Gem. When I taught children in school or adults at scrapbooking classes, I thought of Grandma Teacher. They were great examples to me and I learned both from watching them and listening to them.  I sure do miss them.

Grandma Gem went on to be with our Lord nearly twenty years ago. I still can't believe it's been that long ago. It really doesn't seem like it. She was young. It was unexpected. And our family was not ready to lose her. Materially she didn't leave a lot behind (that flat of little Sure-Jell boxes under her bed gave us a laugh), but what she left all of her family with was priceless.

She left each and every one of us feeling totally and completely loved. We had no doubt.  Each grandchild was convinced they were her favorite. We each had memories of moments when she gave us her time and attention and made us feel special...very very special to her.  Priceless.

Grandma Teacher was in her early nineties when she went on to her Heavenly reward. She had been sick for awhile and it was difficult on all of us. We didn't want her to have to go through that. It was heartbreaking.

Again we were left with treasure that was worth far more than anything you could hold in your hand. She also left her family feeling loved, cherished, and special. We knew without a doubt that she loved each of us...that she couldn't have been more proud of her family. My siblings and I were her only grandchildren and she adored each of us. What a gift for each of us to know that.

This morning as I was getting ready for church,  I was listening to:
and 
I love these two albums. Mr. Jackson sings many of the great old hymns that I remember both Grandmas singing at our little country church when I was a tiny girl. Both Grandmas loved to sing and sang in the church choir. I feel so blessed to have memories of my Grandmas singing at church.

As I sang along this morning...I had to stop, take a breath, wipe a few tears away, and redo my mascara...because as I sang, I thought about my Grandmas, and I am sure I heard their beautiful voices singing along as well.

Precious Memories....indeed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Just Wanted A Chocolate Chip Cookie

I can't really say how many chocolate chip cookies I have eaten today...or how much raw cookie dough I ate before that. And that is why I don't bake chocolate chip cookies that much anymore.

I enjoy baking and I'm pretty good at it. The guys in my life really seem to like it when I bake yummy goodies for them. The problem is that I just love chocolate chip cookies...a lot.

I truly can't remember the last time I made them. But I have been wanting a homemade chocolate chip cookie for at least a couple of weeks...and today I decided to bake a batch.  And it turns out I didn't really want A chocolate chip cookie....no...it turns out I wanted a lot of chocolate chip cookies.  And several swipes of raw cookie dough as well.

But you know what? I'm okay with it.  Because today I enjoyed a...well...uhmm..some chocolate chip cookies and I can check that off my Want List for awhile.

And every once in awhile I think it's just fine to go a little Chocolate Chip Cookie Crazy.

Here's to YOU fulfilling a Want on YOUR Want List today.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Just For Fun Friday: Happy Fall Y'all Edition

Fall is slowly creeping into the Midwest...which means we continue to have warm days...but there might be a bit of a chill in the air later in the evenings and early mornings.  People around here are getting excited to welcome Fall.

Pumpkins...wreaths made of red, gold, and brown leaves...dried cornstalks...scarecrows....and mums of deep rich colors are lining front porches in my neighborhood.  A few trees are starting to turn into a beautiful array of those lovely fall tones as well.

The first batch of leaves has gently fluttered from tree branch to ground. Soon the sounds of leaves crunching underfoot or the squeal of children jumping in huge leaf piles will be heard on our street. The cooler air will blow in the smell of someone burning leaves or tending a small fire in their fire pit.

It won't be long before doorbells will be ringing and treats will be requested from costumed little ones.

Yes...Fall is in the air...so JUST FOR FUN...Because It's FRIDAY...

Here are a few snapshots of how we welcome Fall around our house:
The Pumpkin Basket holds Halloween Treats for all the little goblins who come to visit us
This little Scarecrow sits on the kitchen window sill

The adorable little Pumpkin and his sidekick Candy Corn greet Fall with such cute surprise every year

Huge Corduroy Leaves landed neatly around a Pumpkin Candle inside an artsy Metal Pumpkin on our kitchen table  

The dining room is all ready for a Fall Feast
The Little Green Pumpkin Tin holds ink pens in the kitchen

This Little Ring of Fall used to hang on my classroom door when I was a teacher and now it graces the backside of our front door

Our Engineer's Favorite Fall decorations are these McDonald's Nuggets all ready for a night of Trick or Treating

Sitting at the corner of our fireplace is a Basket of Floral Fall Beauty

These Shimmery Pumpkins rest on the corner of the fireplace mantel

I love this little indoor Harvest Birdhouse

This Fall Bounty greets guests in the entryway



The Front Door Fall Wreath covers the door knocker...so visitors will just have to ring the bell

What can be more welcoming than a Welcome sign?
This little Fall Flag hangs out by the sidewalk

Once I discovered this Brave Scarecrow was taken down by a Hollow Pumpkin...

I quickly helped him up and back into place on the front porch


This first signs of Fall...a few leaves on the ground....
And the trees begin to change into magnificent color

views of our street

A sneaky peak at my Neighbor's Mums
Yes...Fall is just getting started

Happy Fall Y'all!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Some Days Are Like This

This morning was a busy one (housecleaning and an appointment)...the afternoon just slipped away (laundry and physical therapy exercises)...and this evening is zooming by at a crazy pace (supper, finished up laundry, and more PT).  And while I would truly enjoy coming up with a funny, heartfelt, inspiring, or entertaining blog post tonight...I'm just going to say this:

I love y'all...but I love Hubby more...and I am going to spend the rest of the evening with him.

Come back tomorrow...because it's Friday...and that will be Fun!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Russian Princess

Have I ever told you about the Russian Princess? I was reminded of her and our special story yesterday...so I thought I would fulfill my October Quest today by sharing that story with you.

It was the end of the summer of 2006 and I was preparing to begin my new career as a Homeschool Enrichment Teacher at a wonderful Christian school way out West. The night before I would begin this grand adventure...I was nervous.  Sure I had taught my own children...but now I was taking on the responsibility of teaching other people's children and I was a bit...terrified.

I mean it's one thing to mess up my own children...but these were other people's children!

The phone rang that night and a sweet voiced lady (who would become a dear friend I affectionately call Praise Girl) let me know she was a mother of three of the students who would be in my class the next day. She shared with me that I would be teaching her two sons...and her brand-new-just-arrived-in-the-states daughter. This wonderful new addition to their family was 11 years old...had arrived just two weeks earlier from Russia...and did not speak English!

Let me say that again...just to make sure you understand what I was told the night before I was to step foot into a classroom for the very first time and teach a room full of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. HER DAUGHTER DID NOT SPEAK ENGLISH!

Well, I don't remember that conversation word for word.  I'm really not sure what Praise Girl said...or what I said for the rest of the conversation because ringing in my ears were the words: does. not. speak. English. 

I fear I cannot convey in mere words on a blog how insane...impossible... and overwhelming those four words made me feel. I think Praise Girl reassured me...and I am sure I tried to sound professional and reassuring to her as well, but I certainly didn't feel professional or reassured when I hung up.

After I hung up, I did what any brand new classroom teacher would do when finding out the night before she is to begin her classroom teaching career that she will have a student TOMORROW that doesn't speak the only language the teacher knows: I called Mom and cried.

Mom has years of teaching experience and she did what Mom does best and encouraged me. She told me I could do it...she told me stories of teachers she knew with similar experiences...and she prayed for me.

The next day (after a quick stop in the school office where I freaked out a little...and a fellow teacher took me in her arms and prayed over me right into my ear) I walked into my classroom on wobbly legs, said a prayer, and took a deep breath. One by one my new students arrived. I greeted each of them and their parents with a warm smile as the butterflies danced in my stomach.

I was happy to meet the shy Russian Princess, her brothers, little sister, and her mom, Praise Girl. And I was greatly relieved when I realized they brought an interpreter with them. As we got through the first few hours of the day, my nerves started to settle a little.

Knowing the Russian interpreter would not be with us the rest of the school year...I tried to cover everything I could while she was there. I asked a lot of questions and took in everything she told me. She even taught me a few Russian words.

But the most memorable part of the day for me was at the end of the day. I met with the interpreter one last time to double check a few things with her. She patiently answered all of my questions and then she kindly reassured me with these wonderful words: "The student is happy here. She says she likes you because you smile. In Russia teachers do not smile."

That poor child...you know what I did...I smiled...and smiled...and smiled like crazy at that beautiful little girl. Bless her heart. I'm pretty sure I went a bit overboard on the smiles...but I wanted her to feel safe...happy...comfortable...and loved.

As the school year progressed, so did the Russian Princess. At first she did a lot of copy work as she practiced her written English...we did lots of hand gestures...we pointed...we made do...sometimes we got frustrated...sometimes we just giggled...and yes, occasionally there were a few tears.

Soon the Russian Princess was speaking English and the doors of communication opened up to her...her friends and fellow students...and to me. I delighted in every step forward she made.  By the end of the school year she had settled into life in America with a new family...new friends...and she could read, write, and speak her new language.

Looking back I still can't believe I got to do that. And that experience lead to several other amazing experiences I enjoyed as a teacher. Thanks to a local church that helped families in that community adopt Russian children in need of a family, I went on to teach many more Russian students. Instead of crying and freaking out...my heart was filled with joy when I would hear that beautiful accent coming from a new student.

I do realize that not everyone gets to do these things. After that first year with the Russian Princess, I had confidence that I could handle each unique student that came into my classroom...not because I was some fantastic teacher...but because God equipped me with people and resources to guide me through each situation.  And each time those students benefited from God's grace and I give Him all the glory for seeing me through each opportunity.

God did amazing work in both the Russian Princess and me that year.  I will be forever grateful for being given that fabulous opportunity.  It is a truly incredible experience that I will carry with me forever.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Living in the Future

Today I love technology. In fact...most days I do.  I love love love the way technology keeps me connected to my family and friends. Of course technology can be annoying at times too...but for me the good does outweigh the bad.

Yes, it saddens me when I see a table full of people at a restaurant all staring at their smart phones instead of each other. I have let it interfere with my Real Life from time to time. That is definitely the bad part.

But on the very good side...I get to use a smart phone to communicate with my college Junior living far far away. Our family is just not the same when our Scientist is away at university, but thankfully we can text him for a quick connection...or call him to hear his voice...or even FaceTime with him and SEE his face as we chat.  

What a blessing it is to look into his eyes...see his reactions...watch him laugh...or see something he wants to show us while he is several states away.  From time to time we even get to see his friends and roommates as they wander in and say hi.  We also use Skype on our computer when we want to sit down and have a nice long chat.

Today our Scientist called just because he wanted to talk with me.  He shared what he had been focusing on in the past few days and I told him all about what we had been doing here at home.  We talked...and laughed...and encouraged each other. It was a joy-filled nice long talk.

As we were about to hang up...our Scientist thanked me for talking to him. How awesome is that? Of course he didn't need to thank me because I LOVE talking with him...hearing about his college life adventures...and sharing his day in whatever way technology allows me to so.  Still...it was oh so sweet to hear him say it.

Later in the day, I connected with three dear friends who live in other states. This time the connection was made through text messages. One friend wanted to share something funny...another was checking in with me to see how I was doing today...and another one answered a question I had. I ended up messaging back and forth for a bit with each of them. It made me smile.  

I also enjoyed connecting with a couple friends through email and several more friends through Facebook.  It's amazing to think how much our lives have changed in the past few years.  Technology continues to amaze us and connect us in ways we might not have thought possible just a few years back. As our Scientist likes to say...we are living in the future.
  
It's true some days it can be annoying or invasive...but on days like today...when it reconnects me with loved ones near and far...I am so very thankful for it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What? Me Worry?

Today was a bad day at Physical Therapy. My knee hurt...I couldn't do as much as I had done before...I had a new pain...and I left feeling disappointed and discouraged. The truth is I was feeling that way even before I got there today because my knee was already hurting before I arrived for my session.

I have taken this effort toward strengthening my knee seriously. I have no interest in having knee surgery.  And so...I have this concern gnawing at me that surgery is inevitable and these physical therapy sessions aren't going to stop it.

And to top it off I am stuck listening to ESPN the entire time I am at physical therapy...which for a girl like me is adding insult to injury...literally.

Today I came home from PT sore and less Rosie than usual. I sat in the Hug Chair and rested my knee...and maybe felt a little down. I know better. There are people dealing with much bigger struggles than an achy knee.  My pain is somewhat constant, but it is no way terrible. I know in my heart this isn't really that bad. And at this moment in time...there is no surgery scheduled for me.  I don't have it bad at all.

I actually have it very good.  I have a Hubby who encourages me during my at-home physical therapy exercises.  Both he and our Engineer have pitched in and done things for me. Our Scientist and Nurse have checked in from college far far away to see how I am doing. Several of my family and friends have encouraged me. They are praying for me as well. I am truly blessed.

As I sat in the Hug Chair I thought on all these things and just made myself GET OVER IT! I'm not going to borrow trouble before it comes.  Tomorrow I am going to get up and do my PT exercises.  Then I will ice my knee and spend some time thanking God for all the good in my life.

Next, I will thank God for going before me and making a plan for my life. The kind of plan that I do not have to worry about because He is already there taking care of everything...even if I have to have surgery.

In the mean time...I will go to physical therapy...work hard to strengthen my knee...deal with ESPN blaring during my sessions...and pray that all I say and do will bring glory to God as I trust in His plan for my future.

Really...no worries.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Let the Little Children Lead

The Little Children and Jesus

"People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
                                                                         ~ Luke 18:15 - 17

If you ever attended Sunday School or maybe even Vacation Bible School, you have probably heard this wonderful story from God's Holy Word, the Bible.  

I remember learning about it in Sunday School.  My cousins, friends, and I were sitting around the half-moon table in our little basement classroom at our small country church. We were little children at the time and I remember the warm feeling that story gave me. 

It told me that Jesus loved little children.  They weren't annoying...in the way...underfoot...or too loud when Jesus was around. He did not send them away to be seen and not heard. He did the opposite.  He called them to him. He moved past the adults to be with the children.  He saw their value.  He showed them love and concern.

Not only that...but he offered the little children the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven.  He knew little children.  He knew they could love and accept Him without the questions and doubts of the adults around them.  Jesus understood little children.

Today is Church Day...so our family worshiped at our church this morning. Our church has a TV monitor in the lobby that shows what is going on in the sanctuary.  A few minutes before the service begins, the monitor will show a countdown in the corner of the live feed from the sanctuary. We call it The Countdown.  It is always our goal to arrive at church before the The Countdown ends.

This morning I struggled with what I wanted to wear to church.  I may have changed my clothes one or four times. So...we were a bit late arriving at church. We missed The Countdown.  

As we walked through the lobby...we saw the congregation already singing the first song.  Pushing through the doors, I was surprised to find a few empty seats in the back row. Thankful we wouldn't have to walk down the aisle in front of everyone...we slipped into the back pew.

As the next song began, I noticed a smiley little face tipped up at me in the row in front of us. This little blonde cutie was so happy. He was watching me intently as I sang along as if I was singing just to him. So of course...I started singing to him and his little grin grew even bigger.  

He was working on a sticker book and every once in awhile he would go back to his book...but then just as quickly he was looking up at me again with the adorable little grin. I would smile and sing to him and he loved it.  Sometimes he would dodge behind his mother's leg for a bit...but then there he was eyeing me again.

We had a fabulous time praising God together this morning.  It was a blessed little experience.  At one point he turn around to watch the choir sing and he broke out into a little dance.  Yes...God was praised in church this morning.

Later during the sermon, his mom stood up, slung the diaper bag over her shoulder, and picked up my new little friend.  I looked up just in time to see his face break into a sweet little grin and he called out to me in a little sing song voice, "Bye! Bye!"

And with a wave he was gone.  And I was blessed by the experience.

At the end of the service, a very talented piano player performed a beautiful up-tempo solo. Soon we noticed a little guy in a pew a couple of rows in front of us dancing a bit in his seat....then we spotted a little girl as she began to bob her head to the beat...soon her sister joined in. 

As the song reached it's dramatic ending, the little guy flipped onto his back and all we could see was his hands and feet waving in the air. The adults around us broke out into a little giggle...well...all of the adults except his mortified mother.

There is no doubt the little children around us sure enjoyed church this morning. 

When I was a young mother, I spent our boy's childhood feeding them cheerios...keeping them busy with books...and shushing them during church. Now I'm a little older...and my boys are no longer the little children in church...and I have a different outlook about children in church. I would say it's a little less rigid and a little more Rosie of an outlook now.  

This morning we experienced the joy of little children in church. To some the children might have been loud...inappropriate...or maybe even annoying. To me they were happy...carefree...and full of joy.

And I was blessed by the experience.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Great Way To Spend A Saturday Night

What is more fun than a two year old's birthday party?

If it's Little Nephew's party...with all of his loving family watching his every move...just waiting to delight in whatever he says or does...then there just isn't much else that could be more fun than that! And we got to totally enjoy that very fun tonight.

It was an evening filled with giggles...sparkly eyes...monster cupcakes (mine was a chocolate Cookie Monster!)...laughter...cameras flashing...hugs...balloons...birthday banners...party plates...a table full of gifts...a motorcycle trike...a puzzle that plays music...a t-ball set...a dump truck that makes noise...a little guitar that plays jaunty tunes...a new swing set in the backyard...sweet little toddler kisses...and even peek-a-boo fun of a toddler in a giant gift bag.
Is it just me...or is a two year old birthday party just one of the most fun ways to spend a Saturday evening?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Just For Fun Friday: Fun Friend Edition

It's FRIDAY...so Just For Fun:

Meet my Fabulously Fun Friend.  You already know and love her as the Gourmet Hostess...but tonight...Just For Fun...I will share her picture and name.

One of the most Fun people I know:  Miss Sally

Here we are at Chick-Fil-A...because we are really that fabulously fun.

Today a quick text turned into hours of laughing on the phone.  She is the happiest person I know...not because everything has been or always is happy in her life...but because she chooses to be happy every day.

It's so awesome to have such a fun happy friend. It means when I am with her or talking to her I am smiling and laughing.

She finds me quite funny and I find her hilarious which adds to the fun for sure.  She has the best laugh. It's a huge PAHAHAHAHAHA kind of laugh that makes those around her laugh as well.

My sweet friend, Miss Sally, is such FUN.

Do you have a FUN friend that just delights you every time you are together? Do you have such a friend in your life that you can count on to make you laugh...smile...or just make a visit to Chick-Fil-A FUN? Are you picturing that person right now? Good. Next I encourage you to take some time to dial their number and laugh a little together.

And when you call them...say you are giving them a call...JUST FOR FUN!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

In This Life...

Last night Hubby and I went to the funeral home to pay our respects.  One of Hubby's co-workers was saying goodbye to her mother.  We have only known this lady for the past two years.  We had never met her family or her mother.  But we went because we remember how much it meant to us when people came to support us when our grandparents passed away.

We walked in wondering what we would say...but we soon found that words were not important.  What was important was that we walked through the door.  One look at her face showed so much.  Her teary eyes sweetly smiled as she thanked us for coming.  It was clear to both of us that it meant a lot to her.

We asked her a few questions about her mother and soon the tears were gone and she was laughing and smiling as she shared stories with us.   Looking through the pictures the family had displayed we saw a beautiful woman full of life.  She was a little sassy...quite lovely...and certainly classy.  

We never met her mother.  We don't know much about her...but I can tell you this: She was loved in this life.  She was a good mom who raised good kids. That was clearly evident to us as the family gathered around Hubby and I to share with us about the woman they loved and will miss dearly.

It touched my heart deeply. 

Saying goodbye to someone we love and cherish is so incredibly painful.  I know because I have lived through it myself.  But I also know the comfort of dearly loving that person and knowing they loved me back.  

Driving home last night I thought about our evening and what we saw in that precious family.  I am blessed with a wonderful family that I too love dearly.  I am also blessed with wonderful friends that have become like family to me.  I know this is a great blessing.  

In this life...I know that I am loved.

Tonight I think about what a tremendous feeling that is.  

My prayer is that you know that feeling as well.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October Quest

Where oh where did September go?  I can't  believe I didn't post anything for the past two weeks!  I did finish up my September Quest and enjoyed my daily chapters in Max Anders' 30 Days to Understanding the Bible.  

I learned SO much about the Old and New Testament!  I gained a clearer picture of the timeline of God's Word...the geography of Biblical times...and the people featured throughout the stories of each book.  I am so glad I choose that Quest for last month.

So the past couple of weeks were filled with all kinds of distractions.  I had a few doctor appointments, an MRI, and several x-rays.  In the end it was determined that I have a slight tear in my ACL from when I hurt my knee running back in January.  

I am now going twice a week to Physical Therapy with the goal of strengthening my knee.  I am working hard to do my daily exercises because I would love to avoid major knee surgery, if possible.  By the end of this month, I hope to know what is in store for me and my knee.

I have also been working on a possible new experience for me.  I'm not sure where God is exactly leading me at the moment, but I am trying to patiently walk through the doors He has opened until I reach His plan for me...or a door closes.  I know that is a bit vague...but check back in the weeks to come and I'll share more, I'm sure.

October Quest
Now that we are all caught up from the past couple of weeks...it's time to announce my new Heart & Spirit Monthly Quest for October!  This month I plan to do a Quest I have done once before...and that is to Write Something Every Day.  

I have enjoyed blogging here at My Rosie Outlook and I have not given myself the time to write much in the past few months...so in October, plan to hear from me every day.  I have a few ideas of stories...deep thoughts...and some fun stuff I would like to share with you. 

I hope you will come back each day and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.