Friday, May 28, 2010

One eskimO

Anybody out there bored with their current music collection?  If so, I've got a new release to share with you:

I have to confess that until I received the invitation to review this album, I had never heard of this critically-acclaimed English band.  But they have been knocking down the charts with the adult alternative song, "Kandi."  The talented group is made up of four guys, with singer/songwriter Kristian Leontiou in the lead.

One eskimO performed for over 300,000 people in the US & UK last year, opening for big names such as Tori Amos, Bob Schneider, and Gomez.  They are currently opening for Michael Franti and Spearhead through June 2010.

In my opinion, One eskimO's self-titled debut album is creative, relaxing, and vocally sound.  It's one of those cds I'd carry along for some down time at the swimming pool or beach.  A few of the tracks are a tad on the weirder artsier side of the spectrum for me, but nothing over the top.

This album is currently available at Target, Best Buy, Borders, and Barnes & Noble, or can be downloaded from iTunes.  If you'd like to hear a taste of the album before purchasing, then check out their video for "Kandi" below:

A cd was provided to me at no cost by One2One Network 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.

"Frame-it Friday"

Is it seriously Friday already?!  This week sure is flying by...

The pictures I'm sharing today will give you a peek at what I've been busy doing this week.  Hubby and I have been reading the popular book, "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.  We've been working like mad to get ourselves and business organized.  I already feel more relaxed by what we've accomplished in the past few days and we've really only hit the tip of the iceberg.

First of all, we bought an additional desk and chair at a garage sale so that I could have my very own space.  No more sharing.  We spray-painted the desk black and it looks good as new!  The chair was missing a wheel but we easily replaced it from an old chair we already had.  Don't you just love good bargains?!

We also bought a second one of these guys.  Label makers and I always make the best of friends.

See?!  Doesn't it make simple things like files look so much better?

Now I must get back to "getting things done."  Hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Golden Hour

“The first hour is the rudder of the day — The Golden Hour”
Henry Ward Beecher 

How do you begin your mornings? 

When I worked full-time as a teacher, my weekday mornings began very early.  Usually around 5:30 am.  I was never one to be able to roll out of bed, jump right into the shower, throw on clothes and make-up, and then head out the door in under 30 minutes.  For me, I've always needed for my mornings to be quiet and slowly paced.

Since having children, I've found myself allowing them to be my alarm clock every day.  Even though there's nothing inherently wrong with that, over the past few weeks I've decided to make an adjustment in my morning routine.  Instead of trying to catch every single minute of sleep that I can before the children wake up, I've discovered that it's much more beneficial for me to have a set time to get up every day.  By getting up intentionally at 6:30 am for the past two weeks, here's what I've realized:

* It allows me to wake up slowly, not abruptly.  Awaking to a child crying or yelling "ma-ma" over the monitor is not very peaceful.  And I have to admit, when I'm very tired, it certainly doesn't put an instant smile on my face.  I currently have a soft, pleasant alarm tone that sounds on my phone.  Yes, I give myself permission to press snooze a few times, too. 

* I get alone time, which may or may not happen later in the day.  If I wait until naps or another opportunity later in the day to have "me" time, more times than not, something else comes up and it doesn't happen.  Getting up before everyone else guarantees time for me to be alone.  Sometimes it does get cut a bit short if one of the children wakes earlier than expected.  But even 15 minutes alone can be golden to a worn out mother like myself.

* That alone time provides me the opportunity to fill my mind with truth.  I believe it's so important to fill our minds with positive things throughout every day.  But especially so in the mornings.  Some things I've chosen to do to clean and re-frame my thinking first thing are: pray, read God's Word, read other encouraging books/blogs, and listen to uplifting music.  I really like how Dan Miller put it in a recent blog post titled, "I've Got a Dirty Mind:"
"I’m very protective of how I start each morning.  I know I’m planting the seeds for what the day will hold..."
Knowing that my entire day is affected by how I began it sure does change my perspective on early mornings.  It has already made a huge difference and I look forward to continuing and protecting this new routine.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Frame-It Friday"

It's Friday again... which means it's time for more pictures!

My family and I took a little field trip today to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville.  Since we had never been before, we jumped on an offer from Groupon to buy an annual family pass for over 50% off.  (And by the way, if you haven't subscribed to Groupon yet, you're missing out!)

Unfortunately, we chose a day when many, and I mean MANY, schools in the area had also chosen the Adventure Science Center as their field trip of choice.  Because the museum is actually designed for older children (meaning K-12), we didn't get to stay very long b/c our little tots were having to dodge getting trampled at every turn. : (

Anyway, here are a few shots of my munchkins enjoying the no-big-kids zone.

major magnet concentration


train tables


photo opp

dodging crowds and dinosaurs

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Wisest of Women

Do you ever have those moments when you're just trucking along in your daily grind of motherhood and the Holy Spirit heavily presses truth in your heart and mind? I had one of those moments yesterday. It happened while I was in the middle of the glorious task of loading/unloading the dishwasher. Sounds fun, right?!

I was listening to a podcast titled, "Is There a Hero in Your Husband?" from a past "Focus On the Family" radio broadcast. Dr. Juli Slattery was speaking on marriage and specifically hit on the subject of submission.

Here I should pause briefly to confess that the whole submission thing is tough for a girl like myself. Type-A personalities such as mine pretty much run in the opposite direction when this subject is approached. I'm a major control freak who enjoys being in charge. So why would God give me these desires and traits if I'm not supposed to be the boss? Does He think that women are too weak and incapable of leading? Isn't "submission" sorta like slavery??

Absolutely not. Quite the opposite actually.

And that's where one small verse from the Bible jumped out and gave me a swift kick in the rear:

The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.
Proverbs 14:1

Wow... Submission has nothing to do with the negative connotation that we so often hear it associated with. Submission is about P O W E R, not weakness.

Do you see in the verse above just how much power is in a woman's hands? From this verse, we can actually see that a woman may have more power in a marriage than a husband does. Submission is all about recognizing that we do have intense power... power that has potential to destroy our husband and our home.

In Ephesians 5:22, God directs us to submission so that He can teach us how to use that power for good and not destruction. He specifically calls to the wives and says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." When we as women refuse to obey this command, taking matters into our own controlling hands, those very hands have potential to tear our house down.

The "wisest of women builds her house..." and she begins with submission.

Guess good things can come from doing dishes after all. ; )

Friday, May 14, 2010

Venus... Razor, not Planet.

Yes, that's right. My "V" post for the Blogging from A-Z challenge is about a razor. That means if you're reading this and you're a male, then feel free to hit the nifty "Next Blog" tab at the top of the page.

I'll start off by saying that this post is 100% self-inspired. I received no coupons, free products, discounts, or compensation of any type. Believe it or not, this blogger has found a little product she likes and feels the need to tell her blogosphere sisters all about it, expecting nothing in return.

Now I have to confess that throughout my shaving years, I have always used a disposable razor.  Not exactly sure why... guess I was just always looking at the price tags and they were always the cheapest.  A week ago, Publix had this particular razor on sale, plus I had two great coupons to stack on top.  So, I thought, "What the heck?  I'll try it."

Oh my gosh!  What a difference.  Seriously.  I will never go back to disposables.  The result is an incredibly smooth, close shave with zero irritation.  I've even heard of a few people using it without shaving cream because it's so quick and soft.  I haven't tried this out yet, but am definitely going to.  Shaving is my least favorite activity in the world (next to going to the dentist) so I'll try anything to make it as fast and painless as possible.

The Venus Embrace normally will cost you anywhere from $6.00-$8.00 (maybe a bit higher some places).  With my coupons and in-store special, I was able to grab it for 3 bucks.  If you can find a good deal on this razor, then pick it up.  You and your legs will thank me. 

Happy Shaving!  (If there is such a thing...)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Under the Weather

Just a quick update on us... my 1 year old came down with hand, foot, and mouth disease over the weekend. So, I've been dealing with one incredibly CRANKY little boy. If you've ever seen a child infected with this virus, it's a really pitiful sight. Fever for several days plus lots of painful blisters in their mouth, throat, lips, hands, feet, etc.

My daughter has been running a fever today, which I'm sure means she has contracted it, too. So, not much writing for me this week. Hopefully our crew will be back to normal soon.

Until then...

P.S. 21 of 26 letters done. Am I ever gonna make it through the challenge?! ; )

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Things I love about being Mommy

I love...

- hearing my 3 year old say, "do you know that I love you?!"

- seeing my daughter take care of her baby dolls

- that I didn't have to teach her how... it's all instinct and observation.

- that my 1 year old says thank you on a consistent basis

- that my daughter loves dress shoes, even to the point of sleeping all night with them on... no lie.

- that both of my children love spending time with their mommy more than any other activity

- the open-mouth, snotty nose kisses that I receive from my son every day

- that the first words I hear every morning through the monitor are ma ma. (ok, maybe I don't always love that on super early mornings)

- how incredibly tender-hearted my little girl is

- how rough and tough my one year old son already is

- that both children have to sit on my lap at the same time. This is one activity when they aren't required to take turns.

- that God has blessed me with the incredible gift of being a mother. Thank You, Father.

Free Clipart

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Frame-It Friday"

Because of the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge, I put my weekly "Frame-it Friday" posts on hold for an entire month. So, to reintroduce the self-created meme, I'm posting one more video of the Nashville Flood. These images were pretty much the only ones "framed" in mine and many others' minds this week.

I'm so very proud to call this city home.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time for a Declaration

And here it is:

From this day forward until the next 17 years or so,

  • There will be dirty dishes in the sink, crumbs on the countertops, and grimey finger prints on the dining room table.
  • Beds will not always get made, especially mine.
  • You may find a pile or two of laundry laying around.  It may need to be washed or just folded and put away.
  • Toothpaste will probably be splattered on the bathroom mirrors.  The toilet paper will probably need to replaced.  Just grab a roll out of the cabinet.
  • All floors will need to be mopped, swept, vacuumed, polished, whatever one is supposed to do to filthy floors.
  • I promise you there will be dust on something.
  • Our business office is in the corner of our bedroom.  There's just no other space for it right now.  If the door to our bedroom is closed, it's a giant mess and not worth peeking in.
  • When walking throughout our home, always look down, not forward.  There will probably be a small toy that you will trip over.

I say all this to say, I'm letting it go.  Yes, I will do what I can, but I'm sick and tired of the unending cycle of cleaning house.  It's wearing me thin.

I'm letting go to smile at my family, not bark at them.  I want my children to look back and remember how much I loved them... not how much I cleaned.

So, if by chance or invitation you end up at our casa some time in the next decade or two, consider yourself forewarned.  Just do me a favor by printing this out and reading it a few times before you head over.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shout Outs!

Over the past week, two of my "virtual friends" were very kind and gave Keeping Up Klapper recognition on their own blogs.  Both of these ladies blog-bozzled their way with me through the Blogging from A-Z challenge.  I definitely owe it to both of them to return the recognition and also to finish the challenge completely.  So, count this one as my "s" post. ; )

Tori over at This Journey Called Life so kindly recognized me with a Sunshine Award.  She is a dedicated blogger and a definite ray of sunshine in the blogosphere.  I met her via the A-Z challenge and am now a devoted follower.  What an encouraging writer Tori is!  Definitely head over and check out her blog. 

The Sunshine Award is an award to recognize blogs that bring a little sunshine to the blogosphere.  Here are the rules:
1. Nominate 12 bloggers.
2. Put the award logo onto your sidebar or within a post.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let the nominees know they’ve received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link the sidebar logo to the person from whom you’ve received this award.

Right off the bat I'm going to let you all know that I'm not going to follow the rules exactly.  (Rules are made to be broken, right?!)  Many of the bloggers I follow have already received this or a similar award.  I'm going to step out and recognize three writers who, like myself, are new to the blogging scene.

1.  The first person I'm nominating is Suzie at Nashpredfan's Blog.  Suzie began her blog back in January and really got rolling during the A-Z challenge.  Way to go, Suzie!  Keep it up!

2.  I'm also awarding Tammy at Being a Mom with the Sunshine Award.  She has a brand new blog that's very open and personal about her journey of motherhood.  Tammy writes really well and is a fabulous mother.

3.  The last person I'm nominating is Tasha at Delivering Miracles.  Not only is her blog new, she just began a new, exciting process of surrogacy.  She's using her blog to document her unforgettable journey of selflessly delivering miracles for others.

Secondly, I was tagged for "5 Times the Fun" by my sweet friend, Melody. This is a fun game where I get to answer 5 questions, 5 times.

Question 1 – Where were you five years ago? 
1.  Finishing up my last month as a teacher
2. Planning my wedding! ; )
3. Living in an apartment in Nashville
4. On the hunt for a place to live post-wedding
5.  Completely clueless as to what the next five years held, that's for sure.

Question 2 – Where would you like to be five years from now?
1. Helping my husband and our business to thrive
2. Homeschooling my children
3. Back to the weight I was 5 years ago
4. Still blogging
5. Maybe not in Spring Hill/Nashville, but we'll see.

Question 3 – What is (was) on your to do list today?
1. Keep on cleaning the house
2. Continue blogging for the A to Z challenge
3. Hang out with a friend and her little boy for pizza at the Target food court (classy!)
4. Send out some e-mails for BluEyEdea Media.
5. Reading and reviewing more books

Question 4 – What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
1. Chocolate, of course 
2. Tortilla chips and queso
3. Chocolate
4. Coffee and chocolate
5. Hmmm... something healthy like a banana chocolate.

Question 5 – What would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. Pay off my house and make sure I have money to retire on… and maybe move.
2. Give 10% to my church.
3. Fully stock my children's college and wedding funds.
4. Buy and RV and travel to all of the places in the US I still haven't seen.  
5. Have fun anonymously helping people who need it!

Tagging 5 friends I’d love to know more about!
Kelly @ Kelly's Home

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Plan B" by Pete Wilson

If it hasn't already happened to you, it will happen.  You are going to feel like you're pouring your heart out to God and your prayers are bouncing right back and nothing is changing in your circumstance... You have been praying about a dream that feels like it's slipping;  you've been praying about an unmet expectation.  But nothing.  You pray, but you see no change in your circumstances.  You pray, but the thing you are dreading still happens.  You pray, but you still feel all alone.  And maybe not just alone.  You feel like you've been kicked in the stomach.  When the One you depend on to give you what you want doesn't do his job, you feel betrayed, let down, thoroughly disillusioned.
That's practically the definition of a Plan B circumstance...

Pete Wilson, Plan B Book, pg. 91

I recently received this book to review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze program.  When I committed to reading "Plan B" and participating in the May 3rd blog tour, I had no idea what circumstances were to come.  As I type this today, many streets, homes, business, landmarks, etc. of Nashville, TN, are under water.  Flooded.  Devastated.  A "Plan B" at its best... or worst.

I've been following the author, Pete Wilson, via Twitter for several weeks now.  He is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church here in Nashville.  As soon as the flooding hit (and still continues), he was out helping his community with their Plan B.  I think it speaks volumes that he's living out what he has written in this book.  Instead of celebrating a new release, Pete Wilson is out helping his world around him, extending his hand to many with the painful reality of a tragic Plan B.

This book provides much needed encouragement for anyone going through shattered dreams or unmet expectations.  Drawing from real-life stories of his own, from others around him, and from the Bible, he gives readers advice on how to:
  • move past the feelings of crisis: panic, fear, paralysis, and overcontrol
  • see God in your circumstances, even when he doesn't seem to be there at all
  • make peace with doubt, which can actually be an expression of faith
  • find hope through the redemptive power of community
  • ask the right questions in order to find real, satisfying answers
  • explore the relationship between shattered dreams and true spiritual transformation

    Included at the end of "Plan B" are discussion/study questions for each chapter, making this book a great resource for small groups to read together.  What I appreciated the most from Plan B by Pete Wilson is that he points the reader to God.  Not a method or 12 step program.  But to the Creator who is always present and desires our heart, soul, mind and strength. 

    Watch the following video to hear from Pete Wilson:

    PlanB Promo from Cross Point Church on Vimeo.

    Be sure to visit the book's website at

    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.

    Remember Nashville

    If you watched the news at all this weekend, you might possibly have seen footage of the bizarre weather that Middle Tennessee received over 48 hours.  It's angering to me how little coverage the national media has given this disaster.  Many have lost homes and several lost their lives.  This has been so surreal to see and experience.  Even though our home is on a hill and we are fine, others in our community and surrounding areas were not as fortunate.  Our rain gauge measured over 18 inches of rain by Sunday evening.  Unbelievable.

    Thankfully, the rain has stopped;  but, rivers are still rising and devastation continues.  Many popular landmarks, such as the Opryland Hotel and historic Second Avenue, are all flooded with several feet of water.  Please remember the people of Nashville and its suburbs in your prayers today.  For so many, this will take a long time to clean up and process.

    Here are several videos of footage from the weekend:

    My husband took this video of streets surrounding our neighborhood:

    Pictures of downtown Nashville as of noon today:

    Footage of the well-known Opryland Hotel:

    And lastly, the phrases from Chris Tomlin's song, "God of This City," are repeating in my head:

    You're the God of this City
    You're the King of these people
    Greater things have yet to come
    Greater things are still to be done in this City.