Friday, April 30, 2010

"Q"uite Surprised!

This past Wednesday night when I waved my official flag of defeat for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge, a few of my readers let me know that they were slightly bummed.  I was quite surprised that people were actually checking my "letters" everyday and-- believe it or not-- enjoying it somewhat.  Who knew?!

So, this post is to let those readers know that I will finish.  Of course I won't be able to complete the challenge by the deadline (which by the way is today).  But I will follow through and journey to the very end.  Just promise me that you'll keep reading all the way to Z!

Blogging for the past four months has been incredibly enjoyable.  Thanks for all the support!

360° Life by Billy Joe Daugherty (plus Giveaway!)

"I've lived as if my life was not my own, as if I have been bought with a price.  My goal is to touch as many lives with the love of Jesus as I can in my brief journey through this earth...  That is how you live the 360° Life-- knowing that you started with God, entered the earth, touched others during your brief stay, and finally completed the circle to enter eternity with God."
--Billy Joe Daugherty

As part of the 360° Life Blog Tour, I recently had the opportunity to read the late Billy Joe Daughtery's last book. It was a very simple, yet encouraging read. He asks these profound questions to the readers:

What if you had a second chance to chart your life?
What if you only had a few days to live?
Would you love?
Would you laugh?
Would you give?
Would you life differently than you do right now?

Ironically, Mr. Daugherty passed away from Lymphoma while this manuscript was still being written. With assistance from his wife, Sharon, and others, final touches were applied and the book was then completed and published. According to the many who knew and loved him, Billy Joe Daugherty truly lived the 360° Life.

This is a wonderful book for anyone to read who is new in their faith or needs fresh encouragement. Even though I didn't agree 100% with his doctrine, I still enjoyed the opportunity to read 360° Life and participate in Waterbrook Multnomah's blog tour.

If you would like to download and read the first chapter of 360° Life, click HERE.

One of my readers will win a FREE copy of 360° Life by Billy Joe Daugherty. Here's how to enter the contest:

Simply leave me a comment after reading this post and include your name and email where you can be reached. Comments will close on May 14, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST. One comment per person, please (unless you do the extra credit). US residents only. Duplicates and comments not including the above information will be disqualified. Comments are moderated. Please note that winners must respond within 48 hours of being announced/contacted or another winner will be drawn.

Want an extra entry? Do any or all of the following and receive an extra entry for each one. Be sure to leave me a separate comment for each additional entry.

*Follow me on Twitter AND tweet about the contest. Be sure to leave a comment below with a link to your "tweet."

*Subscribe to my feed via email or reader. Leave a comment letting me know that you've become a follower of "Keeping Up Klapper."

*Announce the "Keeping Up Klapper" giveaway on your Facebook page. Leave me a comment with a link to your announcement.

*Blog about this giveaway. It doesn’t have to be a separate post. Just include a blurb about it when you blog about other giveaways. And as always, be sure to leave a comment with the link to your post.

This book was provided to me at no cost by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in order to facilitate my review. I was not required to provide a positive review, only an honest one. The viewpoints expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

P is for Priorities

With only two more days/letters left in the Blogging from A-Z April challenge, it's completely safe to say: I BLEW IT!

Getting life back in order after a vacation sure isn't easy. And that's where the heavy-duty prioritizing has had to come into play this week. Unfortunately, with all that I've had to do, blogging has been on the bottom of the list. So now I find myself at "P" when I should be seeing an "X" in my post.

Even though I won't make it through the challenge 100% successful, I've really enjoyed trying. I've met some wonderful people and now have several new favorites to add to my blogroll.

Thanks again to Lee at Tossing it Out for leading us on this blogging journey this month!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Only a Few More Steps

Many of you know that my 3-year-old and I travelled to Destin, Florida, last week with my husband's family.  I've always been a huge lover of both the beach and sun, but haven't had a chance to visit the ocean in 5 years.  It was such a nice vacation and a priceless opportunity to reconnect with my daughter, Addison, one-on-one.

Once I knew our trip had been finalized, I began telling her about where we were going and all the things we would get to see.  I tried my best to describe how much fun she would have playing in lots and lots of sand.  She had never seen an ocean or beach before, so I knew this would be an awesome sight for her.  The excitement and anticipation was almost more than she could stand!

The time finally came and Addison got to lay eyes on the beach for the very first time.   I sort of expected her to take off running ahead, but instead she prematurely got excited and quickly began shoveling sand into her bucket.  We were at the very edge of the sand line, with a huge beach and majestic ocean ahead of us.  She didn't understand that we hadn't fully arrived and that the best was yet to come.  When we finally coerced her to keep walking, she came to realize what we had been promising her.   Her already big blue eyes grew as large as ever as she saw the ocean for the first time. What a precious moment that was... Really wish her daddy could have been with us to see it.

As we enjoyed our time in the sunshine, I began to think about Addy's first impression of the beach. The Lord gently whispered to my heart about my own bouts of premature contentment.   I realized how often God brings us to note-worthy places and experiences along our life's journey... and how we all too quickly settle with the first glance.  We think that our first footprint in the sand is the last, neglecting to keep our heads up and eyes peeled on what the next few steps hold for us.

Taking it even a step further... I get very content in my life here on earth.  TOO content.  My eternal home in heaven is only a few proverbial steps away, but my mind gets stuck in the "sand" of earth.  I picture myself as my 3-year-old, quickly scooping meaningless treasures of earth into my perishable bucket.

It's so funny to me how the Lord gets our attention sometimes, especially in moments when we least expect it.   I hope I can remember this particular vacation for as long as possible.  Father, help my family and I to keep dreaming big and yearning for our home in heaven.   Help us to not ever miss the forest because of the trees... or miss the beautiful beach because of the sand.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him... 1 Corinthians 2:9

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No Internet

Hi there, blogging world!

After 9 days, I'm finally back to finish up the Blogging from A-Z challenge. My daughter and I arrived home at midnight from our FABULOUS Florida vacation. I was pleasantly forced to mostly "unplug" for the entire trip. There wasn't an internet connection close enough to our condo to be able to consistently keep up with my blog. So, I decided to embrace the time to relax both physically and mentally.

Our time at the beach was incredibly slow-paced and relaxed... completely opposite of what my life normally resembles. The sunshine was warm and the wind was cool. Just a perfect blend! Now the challenge begins to keep my new tan until summer time. : )

Well, I sure have a lot of catching up to do with the A-Z challenge. Here's hoping I'll be able to finish in a reasonable amount of time!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Much Needed Vacation

I totally dropped the ball on my "M" post yesterday. But I have a good excuse, I promise! When I began the Blogging from A-Z April challenge, my calendar was pretty much wide open for the entire month. Unexpectedly, I have the opportunity for my daughter and I to go on a week vacation to Destin, Florida, with my husband's family. He has a lot of work to do, so he and my son are staying home. The Klapper girls are heading to the beach and we're leaving today! I'm so excited! I'm not exactly sure what my internet situation will be down there. I plan to continue and finish the A-Z challenge, but maybe a few days later than expected. Hopefully, this much needed vacation will bring me back rested and rejuvenated, ready to hit the blogging ground running! Goodbye, Tennessee pollen... Hello, Florida sunshine!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Livin' la Vida Loca

"It may be a "krazy" life, but it's our life..."

Since Lee over at Tossing it Out mentioned my blog today, I thought I'd take the opportunity to let my readers know more about myself.  

Me and my husband, Alec

I began "Keeping Up Klapper" back at the very beginning of this year with the intentions of blogging about the life of our family, the Klappers.  Around the same time, we had just began our very own home-based business, so I also figured I would write about that journey, as well.  Three and a half months later, I'm still blogging about our family and business, along with quite a few book and product reviews thrown in for fun.  Even though one of the unwritten rules of successful blogging is to find a specific niche and stick to it, my posts for "Keeping Up Klapper" are a bit all over the place and I'm loving it.

The two monkeys who keep us so krazy... and so blessed.
Currently, I'm a stay-at-home/work-at-home mother of two precious children.  In my down time, I mostly enjoy reading and blogging these days.  I've recently taken on the high-intensity sport of "couponing" and am always on the hunt for a good bargain.  One of my highest ambitions is to be a godly wife, mother, and friend.  Every day for our family is a winding road with lots of bumps, hills, and valleys. But we manage to keep taking deep breaths and journeying on with the Lord as our Guide.

Thanks again, Lee, for including my blog in your A-Z challenge.  It has been and continues to be quite an undertaking for this busy mom, but I'm having a really fun time in the process.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

K is for Kickin' Back!

Tonight, my friends, I'm gonna spare you all a long, jumbled blog post and spend some time with my feet propped up and my eyes glued on the TV.  It's been several weeks since I've just spent time relaxing, so that's what I'm going to do tonight.  Gonna get caught up on a few DVR episodes and then wait for my two favorites:


It's going to be a great night!  So, hopefully my brain will be working well enough tomorrow to compose a decent "L" post.  Mr. Arlee Bird has told me he'll be mentioning my blog tomorrow so I need to think of something worth reading! ; )

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just can't decide...

Here's a confession about myself:

I have a really hard time making decisions.

I'm an incredibly detailed person.  Some people would consider this a blessing.  Yes, I think it is a blessing on occasion.  But the problem for me is, I get weighed down with details.  To the point where I spend way too much time flip-flopping decisions, outcomes, scenarios back and forth in my mind. It drives my husband crazy at times, because I can't ever seem to make a decision and stick with it.  I'm always worried about making the WRONG decision.

My example story happened this morning with a $20 gift card at Target Supercenter.  Let me start off by saying that unlike many women I know, I do NOT like Target.  (For many, many reasons.  But that's another post on another day.  Maybe it'll be my letter "T.")  So, the fact that I had to spend the twenty bucks at Target began my shopping trip on a negative path.

For someone like myself who has trouble making decisions, spending the gift card was SO DIFFICULT.  There were so many things that we needed but I just couldn't reconcile my thoughts around what was needed the most.  Yes, in the end, I picked up a few things with the gift card.  But the frustration that accompanied all of my decision-making haunted me for the rest of the day.

Sounds crazy, right?  Well, I used to think it was just an ordinary thing.  Until I truly realized how much of my thinking was enslaved to decision making... how I was always afraid of what might happen if I made the wrong choice.  Then a year ago I found out the issue.

This is actually a common tendency of people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Now, I don't mean to the degree of constantly washing my hands or locking/unlocking doors or any other type of compulsive behavior.  My issues are all stuck inside the gears of my brain.  The "Obsessive" part of OCD.  And I fall into the category of "Doubters and Sinners."  A person in this category is always "afraid that if everything isn't perfect or done just right something terrible will happen or they will be punished."

So how do I deal with it?  First of all, I've found that sleep is a major player in my symptoms.  When I don't get enough, I have an incredibly difficult time making decisions or getting out of my thoughts (if that makes sense).  At the end of the day, if I realize I've had an anxiety-ridden day over decisions, ninety-nine percent of the time I can blame it on inadequate sleep.

Exercise also helps tremendously.  It pumps up those seratonin levels and other big-scientific-named things that the brain needs to feel good.

Prescription antidepressants, such as Prozac, do a great deal to help ease the symptoms.  I've been extremely inconsistent with these since I can rarely get past the side effects that many of them cause.

Lastly, the three therapies I mentioned above are essential, yet NOTHING can take the place of spending time with the Great Physician.  He is the Prince of Peace, at whose feet I can lay all of my burdens, worries, decisions, and cares.

 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

Now that I know the root of my decision-making issues, it's much easier now for me to deal with them.  I'm thankful that my personal level of OCD is extremely mild compared to other stories I've heard or read about.  I'm also glad that I've been made aware of the issue and can now watch for early symptoms in my children, as well.

If you have thoughts, advice, recommendations, or just a comment about this topic, I'd love to read them!

See you tomorrow for letter "K."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

iLove the iPad

A week ago I wrote about a belated birthday gift that I was anxiously awaiting.  Well, on the morning of April 3rd, it arrived.  My husband had ordered an iPad for me! 

This thing is SO cool!  I’ve had it for a week now and have yet to figure out all it can do.  Since my husband has been out of town, my time on it has been very limited.  I mean, how can I argue with my 3 year old daughter when she says, “Mommy, put the iPad down”?!

My first impressions are:

*The battery life is freaking amazing.

*This little tablet will seriously do just about everything a laptop will do.

*It was a much cheaper purchase for us than laying down at least a grand for an additional Apple laptop.

*The iPad is exactly what I need to perform my responsibilities for our business.

*As far as fun stuff goes, I am having a blast with the applications.  I know I will find many more that I enjoy, but right now the Netflix app is my favorite.  If you are a Netflix subscriber, you can watch movies and tv shows instantly on your iPad.  Most of the newly designed iPad apps are in HD, which make them visually top-notch.

My only complaints are:

*It doesn't support Adobe Flash.  This is a big downer at this point for us, mainly because our company's website was built via Flash.  But we knew this fact before we made the purchase, so we will manage without it.

*There's a bug on the Blogger website that's not allowing me to type my posts directly into Blogger.  Up to this point, I've been typing them in a separate application then copying and pasting into Blogger. SURELY they will fix this soon!!! (HINT HINT)

A few reviews worth glancing over if you're in the market for an Apple iPad:

Laptop Killer? Pretty Close!

Verdict is in on Apple iPad: It's a Winner

The iPad Launch: Can Steve Jobs Do It Again?

My husband gets two thumbs up plus a big hug and kiss when he gets home for a great birthday gift!  ; )

I did not receive any compensation for this post.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Sleep, It Does a Family Good" by Dr. Archibald D. Hart

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart
when I'm awake, you know?"
— Ernest Hemingway

Like Ernest Hemingway, I love sleep.  I NEED sleep.  Yet, I feel like I've been without sleep for over 3 years now, thanks to my two sweet children.  It really does make it hard to be all that I can/should be each day without adequate rest.  So, when I recently received an invitation to review Dr. Archibald D. Hart's new book, "Sleep, It Does a Family Good," I literally laughed out loud.  If there's anything I need more of these days, it's definitely sleep.  

I'm pretty certain that way too many of you can relate to my sleep deprivation woes.  It is actually a rapidly growing crises in our country.  According to several polls from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), about 70 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder.  And even many more suffer from some form of periodic sleep deprivation.  Because of these blaring figures and the toll that sleep deprivation took in his own life, Dr. Archibald D. Hart wrote his newest book, "Sleep, It Does a Family Good."  He sincerely believes that "bad sleeping habits in either children or parents can have a devastating effect on the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of the whole family."  Ohhhh, I'm right there with you, Dr. Hart!

The book is divided into three sections:
  1. Part 1: Understanding Your Family's Need for Sleep
  2. Part 2: Determining Your Family's Sleep Problems
  3. Part 3: Overcoming Your Family's Sleep Deprivation
Within each section, he teaches about the issues of sleep disorders and how to address them.  Also included are various aids, such as a guide for creating a sleep diary and "sleep aid package."  The book is very informational, and yet a bit wordy at times.  But for anyone who is looking to take a true look at sleep and its function, this is a wonderful resource.

So, now I'm off to put to practice what I've learned from "Sleep, It Does a Family Good."  Time to catch some zzzzz's (I hope...)

A copy of this book was provided to me at no cost by Tyndale House Publishers in order to facilitate my review. I was not required to provide a positive review, only an honest one. The viewpoints expressed in this review are my own.

H is for Heart

Meet Carter...

This is one incredibly special little boy.

You see, when Carter was born almost 6 years ago, he was born with only half of a heart, or what's technically known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

For six years he has been such a strong fighter.  His sweet family of 6 has been on quite a journey, if you can imagine.  And just yesterday, he was given a NEW heart via transplant.

People all over this country are praying for little Carter's earthly healing.  Would you please join us?

If you'd like to read more about Carter and his story, visit his CaringBridge website here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Growing Weary

In my very first post of the Blogging from A-Z April challenge, I wrote about the fact that my husband was going away on a business trip for 10 days.  Well, we have made it past the halfway mark and are now 3 1/2 days away from his return.  All I can say is, I AM SO READY!

I'm drained.  It's hard to even type a sensible blog post at this point.  So, I'm still going to do my best to stay with this blog challenge.  But today's entry is going to be extra short.

Until tomorrow, my friends!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fifteen Things in Fifteen Months

A few weeks ago, I joined in on an internet meme titled, "99 Things I Ought to Have Done."  As I look back over that list, I realize that I've been blessed with some really priceless experiences.  Yet, there's still so many cool things left to do, especially with my children.  So, I've decided to create a new list, one that contains things I'd like to do, places I'd like to visit, or experiences I'd like to... well, experience.  I also desired that it be accomplished in the next fifteen months, instead of just committing to eventually carry it out in my life time.  This way, I'm giving myself a time frame and specific goals that can easily be checked off as I accomplish them.  And as a bonus, this automatically provides me with fifteen future blog posts. : )

1.  Reach 100 followers on my blog.

2.  Take my daughter to her first movie.

3.  Go on a nice trip with my husband.  Sans children.

4.  Potty train my son.  (Not very fun, but hey- it's gotta be done!)

5.  Pay for another person's coffee at the Starbucks drive-through window.

6.  Finish losing all of the weight I gained with my last pregnancy.  (17 out of 50 pounds left to go!)

7.  Get a family portrait taken.

8.  Have a family day at the zoo.

9.  Purchase my own domain name.

10.  Go backpacking with my husband.  (Did this once before we had children, but I cried when we had to sleep in the middle of the super dark woods.  Plus, there were two "granddaddy longlegs" crawling in our tent!  Maybe it'll just be a day trip this time...)

11.  Begin to teach my daughter how to play the piano.

12.  Take our very first family vacation.

13.  Play in the rain with my children.

14.  Buy seeds to plant a small flower in a pot so my children can see the whole growth process from beginning to end. 

15.  Send a card to at least 5 people that I haven't seen or communicated with in over a year.

And there you have it... Fifteen things for me to do by July 7, 2011.  As each one is completed, I'll return here, cross it out and then blog about it.  Should be fun!

This blog is participating in "Blog Bozzled: Blogging from A-Z April Challenge."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Everyone Communicates, Few Connect" by John C. Maxwell

"Talk is easy.  Everybody talks.  
The question is, how can you make 
your words count?"

True or False:  Great communicators are born that way.  They're naturally outgoing and full of energy.  The rest of us introverts are left in their dust, wondering why they're so likable or we're not...

The answer is FALSE.

I confess I used to believe those statements above, before I recently read John C. Maxwell's newest release, "Everybody Communicates, Few Connect."  Instead, now I know that any person is capable of learning how to not only communicate, but to connect with those around them.  In his book, Maxwell uses very simple, yet practical ways to convince his readers that this is possible.  

The book is divided into two parts: Connecting Practices and Connecting Principles.  In the first section, Maxwell explains what connecting really is and what it takes to truly be successful at it.  He also shares personal accounts from his own journey as a professional communicator and leader.  The second section provides specific guidance on how to actually become one who connects.  

It has been quite a while since I found a book worth covering in highlighter.  But this one is now marked from beginning to end.  Not only that, but it took me much longer than normal to finish reading.  The reason being, my husband kept taking it from me to read for himself!  Needless to say, we have been and are STILL thoroughly enjoying this book.

"Everybody Communicates, Few Connect" is a book that I would highly recommend.  It contains tools and information that teachers, doctors, parents, spouses, ministers, bloggers, or ANYONE can benefit from.

This book was provided to me at no cost by Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Bloggers program. I was not required to provide a positive review, only an honest one. The viewpoints expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Doing what a toddler does best...

Here is a lesson from my 15 month old on how to properly 
eat a hard-boiled Easter egg:

The egg hunt begins..

"Wow, I found one."

"Gonna get a quick taste while no one is watching..."

"Hey, this is pretty tasty!"


This blog is participating in "Blog Bozzled: Blogging from A-Z April Challenge."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Coffee, how I love thee!

Today began as a rainy, Saturday morning, just perfect for hanging out in pajamas while watching movies with the kiddos.  What makes this and every morning even better is:

I haven't always been a coffee addict drinker.  It started about 10 years ago when I began my first job right out of college.  An acquired taste, for sure, but it didn't take long for me to be hooked.

With the variety of coffeemakers, french presses, grinders, etc, out there for coffee connoisseurs, there's one thing I've discovered over my caffeine-buzzed years:

you just gotta have a great mug.

There's just something about finding that one special mug that makes the morning cup of joe even tastier.  No, really!  It does taste different to me in different mugs.  Sort of like, a Coca-cola tastes different in a can than in a bottle... or a red M&M tastes different than a green M&M.  Call me crazy if you want.  I'm cool with that. ; )

Of all the mugs I've test-driven, these are by far my favorite:
Great White Coupe Latte Mugs from Pottery Barn
My husband and I were given a set of these as a wedding gift.  After accidentally breaking one and even misplacing another, we're down to only two of these wonderful cups.  We pretty much keep them washed on a daily basis, as we certainly wouldn't ever want to argue over something as trivial as a coffee mug.  Nope, not us...

So what are my favorite brands/brews?

The Dark Italian blend is our favorite.

Starbucks Pike Place Roast

So, now I have to ask... Are there any fellow coffee lovers out there?  If so, which brands are your favorite?  What tiny details make your coffee experience even better?  Do you have any brands, mugs, creamers, etc., that you think I should try?

This blog is participating in "Blog Bozzled: Blogging from A-Z April Challenge."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Belated Birthday Gift

I'm really excited about tomorrow!  Why?  Because my birthday gift from my husband is scheduled to be delivered.  Yeah, it's a few weeks late, but I feel as if this one is worth the wait.  Here are a few hints of what it is:

*Hubby and I are tried-and-true Apple/Mac people. 

*April begins the 4th month of our new business.  We're still in the process of slowly purchasing tax write-offs equipment that we need.

*This gift will be sort of small, but perfect for me to carry on the go.

*It has been advertised for weeks and months to be released on the magic date of April 3rd.

*It will give me a topic for the "Blogging from A-Z" challenge for letter "i."

Any guesses?

This blog is participating in "Blog Bozzled: Blogging from A-Z April Challenge."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Away with Agendas

In less than 24 hours, my husband will be going away on a business trip for 10 days.  The days can seem quite long when he's gone, especially with a 3 year old and 1 year old.  Being the only parent on duty for all 24 hours, 10 days in a row, is extremely draining.  So, I'm taking some time today to think through the upcoming weekend and following week, stating some guidelines for myself to hopefully make things go a little more smoothly...

*First of all, I have to come to terms with the fact that things might not--no, WILL not-- go smoothly.

*Cleaning will happen as it happens, but I am not allowed to feel guilty if it doesn't.

*Same as above, but insert the word "cooking" for cleaning...

*Whatever agenda I may have in mind each day should be approached very loosely.  Most of the time children have their own agendas and that's okay.  Especially for the next week and a half.

*I must keep rest as a priority for myself.  A sleep-deprived me equals a cranky, depressed mother.

*And the most humbling guideline of all-- it's okay to just ask for help.

These are the "rules" that have initially come to mind.  Am I forgetting anything?  If any of you have any more suggestions, please leave me a comment.  I'd LOVE to read them!

This blog is participating in "Blog Bozzled: Blogging from A-Z April Challenge."