Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweet Prayers of a Child

Our 3 year-old is beginning to learn a little bit about prayer.  She insists on us praying with her every night before she goes to bed, mainly as a means of avoiding the inevitable.  But of course, we wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to pray with our daughter for anything. 

In the past, her Daddy or I would be the one to actually speak the prayers for her.  Every now and then, she’ll mention something that she wants us to pray about... usually for her Nana, Ampaw, and Granny.  But never have we heard her pray on her own. Until Thursday night...

As Daddy was finishing up story time and tucking her into bed, he asked her if she would like to pray.  And for the first time, in a very simple, short sentence, Addy spoke her first prayer.

Any guesses what she prayed for? 

"Dear God, please send us a big snow."

And you know what happened the very next day?

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. : )








God answered her prayers with 6" of the white stuff.  Does that happen often in TN?  No way.  Coincidence?  Absolutely not.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Greatest Friends I've "Never" Met

          Four years ago this past week, I had an experience that was emotionally and physically painful...  a miscarriage.  My husband and I were newlyweds and certainly weren’t trying to get pregnant so early.  One moment we were unexpectedly having to wrap our minds around having a child; then, a few short weeks later, it was all over.  Even though the pregnancy wasn’t planned, our hearts were still broken over the loss.  Because of our belief that life does indeed begin at conception, we knew that we had lost a child... not just a “fetus.”  One day his/her heart was beating and blinking on an ultrasound screen.  Days later it wasn’t.  It was a really sad time.
  During the following weeks, I began searching online to learn more about miscarriage.  Because let’s face it, up until the point I had one, I really didn’t know anything about it.  In the thick of my "googling" session, I stumbled upon a website called Silent Grief.  Man, the name said it all... a grief that many women unfortunately experience, but not many speak of.  That day I signed up for the message board/forums and unknowingly ushered in a new chapter in my life.
  There were so many wonderful women on that site.  All of which had walked or were currently walking in my shoes.  It was a big, virtual family of sorts.  I loved that I could go there any time of the day to find encouragement and support.
  Over time, there were a handful of women to whom I grew very close.  We began calling each other on the phone. We would stay up to all hours of the night, doing group chats via instant messaging.  We celebrated birthdays and holidays across the miles.  As each day passed, the more our friendships blossomed.
  The beautiful part of this journey is that, years later, my friends and I have been blessed with seeing our grief come full circle.  What an incredible gift it has been to experience pregnancies together.  Even though we were states apart, countries even,  we still came up with creative ways to throw baby showers for each other.  And presently we are journeying side-by-virtual-side through motherhood.  It’s just so incredible...  These women are very dear friends; and yet, I’ve never met a single one of them face to face.
          What prompted this post, you may be wondering.  I just think about these friends and Silent Grief so much during this particular time of year.  One thing I know and love about our Heavenly Father... He truly does give beauty for ashes.  We started our journey together as women with empty arms and heavy hearts.  Now four years down the road, not only are we mothers, but friends for life.
          If you or someone you love has experienced pregnancy or child loss, please visit  I also recommend Clara Hinton's book, Silent Grief.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Birthday Letters

When our oldest child reached her first birthday, my husband and I started a tradition for her and all other children to follow...  We decided to start Birthday Letters.

Every year on their birthday, each of us compose a handwritten letter to be opened and read on the child's 18th birthday. 

Now our goal from the beginning was to write the letters on the child's actual birthday.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, considering our daughter has totalled 3 birthdays and our son 1, we've yet to actually hit the nail on the head.

And here's a huge confession... We have fallen way behind this year.  Our son is 13 months old today and neither of us has remembered to write our letter to him.  We are 4 days behind in writing our daughter's. 

Oh, so sad.  I'm signing off now.  Bet you can guess what I'm headed to do...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Third "Tour's" a Charm?

Back in late October 2009, my husband and I entered the world of smartphones.  Since both of us would rather yank our toe nails completely off than switch to AT&T, we knew that iPhones weren't an option.  We reluctantly settled for two BlackBerry Curves from T-Mobile.

We saw right away that yes, smartphones really are all they're cracked up to be.  Especially when it comes to staying connected in business... having a tiny computer in your hand is VERY convenient.

After having the Curve only 1 week, the trackball just stopped working out of nowhere.  For those of you unfamiliar with BlackBerry phones, a Curve without a functioning trackball is like a computer without a mouse.  You pretty much can't do a durn thing without it.  Returned it to the store for a full refund.  Goodbye, BlackBerry #1!

The very next day we paid big $$$ to get out of our contract with T-Mobile and switched to Verizon.  GREAT DECISION!  They had a nice BOGO deal going on with their Blackberry devices, so we walked out with two Tours in hand.

New Blackberry Tour 9630 Unlocked Cell Phone

Fast forward to mid-January 2010... While downloading a new application from Blackberry App World, the phone suddenly died.  Gone.  Kaput.  This was a really big deal for several reasons-- 1) We don't have a home phone, only cell phones. 2) We had just launched our new business and had already become very reliant on having email, contacts lists, etc. right in the palm of our hand.  I bundled up my toddler, who was running a fever, and drove to the nearest Verizon Wireless store.  Their solution?  "Go home and we'll mail you a new one."  Ummmmm.... EXCUSE ME?!  No. No. No.

Long story short, I refused to leave until I could leave with a phone in my hand.  After two hours and many choice words with an incredibly rude manager (Hey Jermaine... find a new job!!!), I was handed another Tour.

Here I am today, ten days after receiving the replacement Tour, and the headphone jack suddenly stops working.

Seriously, BlackBerry?!  Are your phones really this cheaply made or am I having an awful string of bad luck?

So fourth Blackberry, third Tour, is on its way to my house via Fed Ex.  I'm anxious to see what will happen next.  Will the third time really be lucky?  Or three strikes, you're out?  I guess only time will tell.

I'd love to hear any and all comments from BlackBerry users.  What have been your experiences, especially with the Tour?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


          Today my little princess turned 3 years old.  Simply unbelievable!  I'm loving this age already, because she understands so much more each day.  Such an incredible time of discovery and growth in so many areas of her life.  This past Sunday afternoon, family and friends joined us in celebrating Addy Grace's birthday.  She has been talking about her birthday for weeks now, and was just overjoyed that she was actually getting to have a party for herself!

          Even though Christmas was less than a month away, new toys are always a plus during the peak of winter, along with cold and flu season... just seems to help fill the boredom from being stuck inside so much.  If you're needing great gift ideas for a 3 year old girl in your life, here are some of Addy's favorite gifts that she received:

Kid-Tough Digital Camera Case - Blue
 Kid-Tough Digital Camera Case
This past Christmas, Addy's Granny gave her a Fisher Price Kid Tough Digital Camera.  It's the cutest little camera and she just loves it.  I've been so impressed with how easy it is for my preschooler to maneuver.  So naturally, her Granny sent money for her to receive the case as a birthday gift.  She loves getting to be like daddy, with a REAL camera and case. ; )

Melissa & Doug Abby & Emma Deluxe Magnetic Dress-Up
Melissa & Doug Abby & Emma Deluxe Magnetic Dress-Up
Melissa & Doug products are my absolute favorites when it comes to toys.  Forget the flimsy paper dolls like I had when I was growing up.  These are magnetic and stylish.  Adorable!  Thank you so much, "Nana" and "Ampaw!"

Crayola Ultimate Art Supply Case-Colors May Vary
 Crayola Ultimate Art Supply Case
In the past year, Addy has become quite the artist.  This little caddy came packed with everything "artist" that 3 year old's love-- glue, scissors, markers, paint, paper, pencils and crayons.  What I love is that it all stores away neatly in the case.  An anal-retentive organized mother's delight!

Barbie and The Three Musketeers Corinne Doll
Barbie and The Three Musketeers Corinne Doll 
Yep!  Her very FIRST Barbie!  "Corinne" Barbie made it into the elite sleeps-in-the-bed-with-me club.  Now that's a big deal.

Hermie & Friends: Milo the Mantis Who Wouldnt Pray
 Hermie & Friends: Milo the Mantis Who Wouldnt Pray
This little video is precious!  We've not delved into the Hermie & Friends series until now... but I can definitely say that we were instant fans.  The animation is superb and the message even better-- prayer.

Friday, January 15, 2010


As we continue to get our new business up and running, I'm still learning day to day how to balance being a wife, mother and business partner.  There are so many challenges that come and go in a single day.  The seconds, minutes, and hours fly by hastily, so making every single one count is top priority.  The saying, "work smarter not harder," definitely rings true for me these days.

One challenge that I'm confident many mothers like myself face every day is finding time to cook.  And when I say "cook," I'm not implying Easy-Mac or Spaghettios.  But the opportunity to really serve your family a quality meal on a daily basis.  Yeah right, you're thinking...  Don't write me off just yet!  Let me share with you my FAVORITE meal time resource that I have discovered: "E-mealz."

I first heard of E-mealz during a radio broadcast of the Dave Ramsey Show about 7 months ago.  Dave claimed that the meals were delicious and that it would save money.  Of course, my husband and I are HUGE Dave Ramsey fans, so we try just about anything he suggests.  After talking it over, we decided to subscribe.  Boy, am I so glad I did!

In a nutshell, this is what E-mealz does for you for $1.25 a week...  You choose your favorite grocery store, then they provide you with a 7-day menu based on items that are on SALE.  They do all the work!  And get this, not only do you get the menu, but step-by-step recipes for each meal, also.  My absolute favorite part of all is that they generate your shopping list for you, grouped by sections/aisles. It's so easy, so convenient, and totally pays for itself the first week you use it.

Just check it out for yourself by clicking on my banner below.  As Dave says about E-mealz, "...this is a no-brainer!" : )


Monday, January 11, 2010

Trading Salary for Snow Cream : )

After my last post, someone might be thinking... wow, lots of challenges to overcome.  But I continue to mentally list each day some incredible blessings from self-employment.  A few of them are:

1. FLEXIBILITY-  Working for yourself means saying goodbye to the old model of working 9-5.  Think about a somewhat normal day for you.  Are there certain times in the day when you're more alert, more energetic, and not zombie-like?  How awesome would it be to choose to work at THOSE times of the day... not just 9-5, because those are the hours an old fogey decided decades ago that people should work. Not only does the quantity of your accomplishments increase, but so does the quality of your work. 

2. FREEDOM-  I remember feeling like such a victim to our past work situation.  Like we were its slave, just doing what we needed to do to get our weekly check and pay for our monthly expenses.  We've since realized that yes, we were a slave to work.  But not work of our own.  Choosing to work from home to do a job that we love is a definite new found freedom.  We call the shots... of course, with that comes much responsibility.  But it's OUR responsibility.  No one else's. 

3. FELLOWSHIP-  This one is huge for us. Up until this point, we were isolated by our previous work.  It allowed little to no time for relationships outside of our family. We've actually been able to choose a church community and casually hang out with friends.  Both seem so normal for most people... but they have been an unrealized longing for us.  Until now!

4. FUN!!!  Can't tell you how many milestones or events that "Daddy" has had to miss because of work.  This week, Daddy and and his sweet daughter were able to enjoy their first snow day together.  So priceless!  Here are a few snow pics that I quickly snapped with my Blackberry-

Then the best part of all- SNOW CREAM!

I told a friend just yesterday that we've lived more in the past week than we have in almost five years.  No impressive insurance policy or 401k match... just investing in LIFE!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And the Learning Begins...

Yesterday was our first official day "on the job."  I have to admit that when the week began, we were excited.  The dread that we have always felt on Monday morning was gone.  We woke up in charge and ready to take on our dreams.  Such a different feeling that is already quite addicting!
Even though we've been on this journey for only two days, we are learning so much already.  Of course, first and foremost, we're learning to trust Almighty God like never before.  Secondly, as far as our actual business goes, there are several things that have jumped out at me already.  We are finding that the simplest things can really be hard to reign in.  A few of those are:

1. FOCUS-  As we begin our business from the ground up, there are so many "rabbits" to be chased, T's to be crossed, and I's to be dotted.  The ability to discern and prioritize wisely has proven to be quite a challenge. 

2. FINANCES-  We committed to living a debt free lifestyle several years back and have been successful for the most part.  BOY, is it tempting to go back on our commitments now!  So many items, gadgets, supplies, etc. that we "need" rear their ugly heads on a daily basis.  And what makes the situation more complicated is that THIS is our income now.  We're not going to be receiving a paycheck anymore.  So, the pressure to make money quickly sits on our shoulders, as well. 

3. FAMILY-  That's right... if the adjustment of self-employment wasn't mind-consuming enough, there are still two little ones pulling at my legs all day, every day.  Two that are still helpless for the most part, still relying on their Daddy and Mommy for most things. 

The great part about all of this is, even with the challenges, we are exhilarated.  We are getting to express ourselves in our own ways, on our own terms.  Dan Miller writes in his book, No More Mondays,
Fulfilling work, work that integrates our talents and our passions, work done for a worthy purpose, has always been a sign of inner--and outer--maturity and wisdom.
"Fulfilling work."  It only takes a day or two of it, then you're hooked.  There's no going back.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New blog, New business, New beginning!

Welcome 2010!  
     The Klappers are so happy that you have arrived.  2009 was pretty rough on us.  It was definitely a year that won't easily be forgotten, if at all.  When I sat down to type this first entry, my plan was to recount and revisit all of the many mountains that our family climbed this past year.  But then I stopped and realized that 2009 is OVER!  No reason to look back right now. Let's look at TODAY and not what has been.
     On January 1, 2010, the word that resounds continually in my mind is NEW.  I meditate on the assurance that we are NEW in Christ-- Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17
     This year brings a completely NEW direction for us vocationally.  After 10 years or so of both part-time and full-time work, Alec said goodbye to the company that was, in so many ways, our comfort zone.  But what God showed us through 2009 was that HE wants to be our comfort zone... not insurance policies, over-time hours, year-end bonuses... but HIM.  We are now officially self-employed.  
     Finally, you are reading our NEW family blog.  This is something I've wanted to do, tried to do, and started/stopped many times.  There are so many incredible and interesting bloggers, that I've simply been intimidated.  I'm throwing those thoughts behind in 2010 and going for it.  My New Year's resolution, I guess you could say.  So I will make some apologies once and then take the plunge-  I'm not a writer.  My thoughts will be crazy and jumbled.  Grammatically incorrect more times than not.  Some posts may seemed very contrived or narcissistic. With all that said and out of the way, I give you "Keeping up Klapper."
     Thank you, 2009, for all the kicks-in-the-pants...  but good riddance.  2010 is a NEW year.