September 30, 2010

O Happy Day

Good news!  I’ve decided to extend the BUSHEL & A PECK FALL SALE!

Yes, you read that right…now you have until October 31st to order your new Blog Design for just $45.00.  Do you remember everything that comes with that?

Let’s have a quick overview:
Full Bushel Package Element-SEPT SALE

You can go visit my “Portfolio” page to check out some of the wonderful gals who got their new makeover.  And if you need to be further convinced you can go check out my “Kudos” page…

Still not sure?  Let’s break it down:
  • If you don’t have a blog, but would like to start one? 
  • If you have a blog, but never write because the “layout” doesn’t inspire you?
  • If you love to write, but never took the time to make the blog page reflect who you are?  Maybe you just aren’t sure how?
  • If you love the “look” of a makeover, but have no idea how to achieve it?
  • If you want a cute new look for your blog for the holidays?
  • If you are sick of staring at the basic blogger patterns?
  • If you have a life event approaching or just past and you want your blog style to reflect that?

Do I really need to keep going?  Let’s get this party started! 

Happy FALL!!

September 28, 2010

Miss Delicious Cheeks

Have I shared this picture of The Princess with you?  I don’t think I have…and that’s just criminal.  So, so wrong…because, well just look at her, will you?  

IMG 13

I’m wanting badly to write something substantial here today, but I can’t.  No time to say hello/goodbye.  Ok, well a little time.  Obviously.

But the truth is, my folks are coming for a visit.  Yes, they are.  And it’s a big deal.  This is their first opportunity to meet Miss Delicious Cheeks and I have to say, I feel bad for them.  I mean, they are really in for a bad case of upsidedowninloveitis.  Yes, yes they are.  And the last time they were able to be with Quint it was early 2009.  And that’s just too long not be able to squeeze and snuggle that little man.  They would agree. 

So I’m busy.  I mean, you understand right?  I’m busy prepping, cleaning, organizing a little bit, feeding my cows on Farmville and working some magic on Blog Designs over at Bushel & A Peck Designs

Speaking of?  You should go sneak a peak-a-roo at Lisa’s new bloggie over at “Life with Briana”.  That’s the latest little “apple” to come out of the Bushel Factory.  Only TWO MORE DAYS to place your order for a September Sale Design for only $45.00.  You could be next!! 

Ok, so anyways…parents are coming and I’m at a loss for some mad-witty-writing skills today.  A loss.  And I’m gonna have to hope that for right now?  That picture up there of Miss Lovie will suffice for a couple more days.


September 23, 2010

Happy Autumn

So, it’s finally here…even though the temperature outside doesn’t agree with my calendar….I’m ignoring that.  Stupid weather.  So, without further ado…

(ahem…) Autumn, how I love thee!  And since it’s official on the calendar?  I’m getting out my decor and going red/orange/brown/yellow happy.  Amen.

Other than that?  I offer visual deliciousness…

IMG_5750IMG_5747IMG_5775-rev  IMG_5748-rev 
I can’t help it.  I want to eat them for dessert.  It’s like Hansel and Gretel over here…except I don’t live in a candy house and I’m not a mean old witch.  Well…one out of two ain’t bad.  (rim shot)  Ok, (rolls eyes) I’m not.  But some days….well, anyway

We went to the doctor yesterday for Keira’s checkup and she’s a nice 23 pounds.  OK, and 14 ounces.  But she asked me to leave that last part out.  Said it totally didn’t matter.  Details, she said.  But I insist.  She’s a healthy one.  Oh, and talking?  Yes.  All the time.  Like a parrot, will repeat anything you want her to say.  Amazing!  Oh, am I bragging?  She says bragging is fine as long as I don’t leave out that she has the most kissable arms, legs, and cheeks on the planet.

And when the doctor, who we love/heart/love asked me how everything was going I might have, before I could stop the words and they came tumbling out of my diarrhea mouth, said that "living with two toddlers nineteen months apart was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my lifetime thus far and that some days I need a little ‘somthin’ to make it all better and did he feel generous enough to prescribe said ‘somthin’ and help a sister out?”  Cough.  I might have.   Or something about shooting me in the head, but only on days ending in “y”.  Also that my back and neck have been hurting a little, but I think I'm sleeping wrong.  Something like that…(trails off….) 

Is that so wrong?  He’s handsome.  He makes me nervous.  Pretty people make me nervous.  I’m just sayin’.  I’m just sa…(trails off again)

You know, looking back...(taps fingers on desk) I think he was asking me how the kids were doing.  Oh gawd.  Oh my gawd.  (buries face in hands)
So anyway….be sure to go say “howdy” to Stacey over at Linus & LuLu – she’s got the latest look from Bushel & A Peck Designs!  And for you?  Only SEVEN days left to get your new look for just $45.00.  You’re next!

September 20, 2010

I don’t want what they don’t have

I’ve been on an almost ten year exploration of how to let go of stuff.  And money.  Money and stuff.  You’ll kindly note, the ten year reference magically matches that of my marriage to AB.  Yes.  Yes it does.  And he is so good about not attaching himself to “things”.  He has a few items of value to him.  Keepsakes, if you will.  But his attachment to them is minimal.  If he lost them, he would be disappointed, but not shaken down.

Letting go of stuff, for me – well, that’s like…akin to sacrilege.  Somehow, stuff became part of my identity.  Still is, if I’m honest with you.  And I have many tubs of stuff in my attic.  Scrapbooks and pictures and letters, cards, and clothes I can’t seem to let go of.  I mean, important clothes.  Like dresses or camp t-shirts, or concerts t’s.  Whatever.  You know what I mean.

And then there’s my little house.  I mean, I am not a clutter person.  At all.  But I like my house to be just so.  Especially when people come over.  And I’m really worked up about things looking right and being clean, and having nice things.  My house.  My stuff.  Somehow equaling who I am. 

And more and more I see women everywhere acquiring stuff.  Things.  Items.  Building nests and in some cases cocoons and in other cases, tombs.  Tombs of things they want.  Need.  Have to have.  Love.  Desire.  Can’t do without.

Today, I was at the mall with the kids.  And we strolled casually past the entrance to Pottery Barn.  The grown up one.  The one with every perfect and beautiful thing for your home just inside…just over the threshold of that doorway.  Perfect decor for Fall…pillows, warm ivory throws, candles, couches, table settings…fixtures…on and on.  And while my eyes lingered on each gorgeous piece in the window displays, and I casually had to caress the drool away from my mouth, I audibly said “yes, please…” to everything I was looking at.  And on we walked…slow motion like.  I was sad.  And I had a momentary pang of…I don’t know…frustration that I can’t have those things.  That belief that somehow those things would make me happier.  Make my home better. Make things better. 

And this is what I want to ask:  To what end?

The county in which we live is quite…wealthy.  We are not.  Not at all.  But there are many very wealthy people, and many fabulously large homes and even mansions.  The popular thing to do where we live?  Shop and eat.  And shop.  And many of the stores around here cater to that.  The wife or woman shopper – the homemaker.  Scratch that.  The trendy homemaker.  The “gotta have it” homemaker. 

And to tell you the truth, I’ve spent many years battling this feeling.  Though we’ve never been in a position to afford those luxuries, I’ve always been at war with myself…internally…wanting what I haven’t got.  Wanting what she’s got.  Wanting what I think I need.  Wanting this perfect thing or that incredible thing.  Wanting the perfect house.  The perfect wardrobe (ha…that’s hilarious coming from this baseball hat wearing, t-shirt/jeans loving mama!  But still…)

To what end?  Isn’t there more to life than stuff?  Aren’t relationships and life experience better than a new couch or dinnerware?  I have been to some really, really discouraging places.  Poor, poor parts of the world.  And yet.  I have dined with people who’ve shared with me, maybe what very little they had to offer – in a sparse one-room living area…and had some of the best, most memorable, most meaningful times of my life. 

I’ve spent the last few years of my life trying to let go.  Let go of my need for what the trends say my house should look like.  Trying to let go of what fashion mags tell me I should look like.  Trying to let go.  Trying to embrace the “less is more” approach to living.  Trying to donate more, purge more, and let go.  Find ways to give more.  Or start opening myself up to letting go so that I can do what God would have me do.  Or listen more closely so that I can be who He wants me to be.  Better serve those He would have me serve.  Understand what He truly desires for me. 

And I’m pretty certain, it isn’t stuff.  I’m pretty sure the proverbial washing of someone else’s feet does not require a porcelain washing basin from Restoration Hardware, tempting though it might be.

I’m pretty sure, fine though all these things are…that He didn’t put me here so that I could spend x number of years doing as I please and making myself happy and surrounding myself with stuff.

Letting go of the need for a better car.  A bigger home.  Finer things. 

Because I’ve sat across the table from those who the world would consider to have nothing.  And I have to tell you, they seemed to have so much more.  In so many ways.  So much more than I had accumulated in my own life.  They had more inner joy, peace, and happiness in their humble surroundings – than I’ve ever managed to conjure up in all my years of trying to be what I think I’m supposed to be.  Who I’m supposed to be.  What I’m supposed to be. 

Stuff does not equal happiness.  Maybe temporarily, but you can’t take it with you.  I’m learning more and more, that I must focus on others and let go of myself.  Move towards the happiness that comes from living free from the burdens of “keeping up”. 

Stuff is just stuff at the end of the day.  Home is really where those you love are.  I don’t really think having stuff…no matter how expensive or nice, is really having anything at all, at the end of the day.  And for that matter, I don’t think it’s the point of this life. 

Living life matters.  People matter.  Relationships matter.  Serving others matters. 

All these years spent thinking that I want what “they” have?  I think I’m finally learning that I don’t want what they don’t have…

Now to apply it.  Help me, Lord.

***Stop by and see Michelle's new look over at Celebrating Miracles!  Michelle's Blog Makeover is the latest from Bushel & A Peck Designs.  Your turn!  September is almost over and so is your chance for an awesome blogger design for just $45!  Place your order today! 

September 17, 2010

Daily Grace

I don't know about you, but I have to extend grace to myself every single day.  Sometimes I forget to do it - and that's when I seem to have the hardest time. 

But lately, I've been looking around my house and wishing for this and wanting for that...and I stopped, took a deep breath...and remembered.

This is temporary.  This mess?  All these toys everywhere, laundry piled high, dust bunnies trailing the floor, dishes in the sink, messy mess?  Temporary. 

I'm not a slob.  I'm a neat freak.  And these past two + years have been wreaking havoc on my sense of cleanliness.  To the nnnnnth degree. 

But it's temporary.  A phase.  A verse in the song of our family life, before we head back to the chorus.

Some days?  Some days I don't unload the dishwasher for the third day in a row.  And it ain't pretty.  But she is...and so I give myself the grace to let it go.  And enjoy the moment.

Other times?  Other times I let the toys lay all over the living room floor and we play with this or that one day...and the next day we scour the pile for another something fun to play with.  And it stays there.  And by day whatevertheheck I start to grumble and feel a little stressed about that pile.  And a little mad at myself that my house has left behind the old ways of being "company ready" at all times.

Then again, when we've exhausted ourselves playing and running around and wearing ourselves out with this or that toy?  I have to admire the scenery of that living room...and of little boys who are played out.

So I find myself letting go a little bit more each day.  It is what it is.  And it's not all bad.  It's not. Though it's hard to bid farewell to the ideal, I'm giving myself grace to say "this is OK too"

and it's temporary.  Sadly, very temporary.

Have a great weekend!

**If you have a minute, stop by and see Suz, Jennifer, and Kelly - who just got their makeovers via Bushel & A Peck Designs!  So great to work with each of you lovely ladies!

September 14, 2010

Isn’t she lovely?

IMG_5674 - Colorized 
I’m in awe of her.

In awe.

IMG_5664 - Colorized Revised
She’s a survivor by standards far greater than I can comprehend or would ever want to.  And all that she has overcome already – just in 15 months of her life, to be present with us each day.  All that she will continue to overcome throughout her lifetime.  All the questions she will carry in her heart. 

I’m so deeply moved that God entrusted her to me.  To us.  That He saw fit that we should be given a gift of this magnitude.  That He trusted us with her life and her fragile heart.  Are we worthy of that confidence?  I’m humbled that He picked me…out of all the mothers in the world…little me…to be her safe place.

IMG_5629 - Glamour - No Vivid Skin Tones

She is so lovely, friends.  So very lovely…

September 10, 2010

Finding what’s present


Let me ask you a question.  Do you think a good marriage is determined by what is absent or by what is present?

Now, before you answer – think about this:  what makes your marriage good?  For a long time, I have lived under the idea that my marriage is good in part because AB doesn’t mistreat me.  Because he has not cheated on me.  Because he has not done drugs and is not an alcoholic.  Focusing on the world’s standard and putting what he doesn’t do to the front and center of why I would consider myself happily married.

Do you think that is living marriage to its fullest?  I don’t think it is.  I think it’s luke-warm love.

I recently read a short article about this topic and it left me wondering if too often we settle for what is comfortable and what is “not bad” in our lives. 

“I’m blessed because he doesn’t cheat on me”. 

Instead, we miss placing our eyes on what is truly wonderful and fulfilling in our marriages. 

For instance, all of those things about Anton are true – he is faithful, he does not mistreat me…etc.  Not to be down-played, those are wonderful attributes in a spouse.  However, should we focus on that? 

More so, should I not focus on what Anton does, rather than what he doesn’t do? He is a wonderful cook.  I know you’ve heard that many times.  Trust me when I tell you that it bears repeating.  He is a very affectionate soul.  He loves to hug and touch and kiss those around him.  He is an encourager.  He loves to reach out to his children, his students, and yes – his wife to tell them what they mean to him and how great they are.  He is a hard worker and a solid provider for our family.  And he sacrifices daily.  He is committed and faithful and loving. 

What could we do for our marriages if we could adapt the mindset of being blessed by who our spouses are to us and how they bless us.  In that, we would be better able  to foster trust in our marriage and truly live for each other.  Beyond that, we might learn how to put the needs of our spouse before our own – and reap the rewards of watching them do the same for us. 

Trust is a beautiful thing in a marriage – and not just in regards to fidelity.  In so many ways – trust is essential to loving, accepting, nurturing, being intimate, and even developing a deep friendship with your husband or wife.  If we trust our spouses to love us back, with the same depth of gratitude and respect that we offer to them – for seeing and acknowledging what is PRESENT in our marriage, rather than what is “absent” – that’s when we’ll begin to see luke-warm love turn into something remarkable and rewarding.

That’s how we find that magical person we said “I do” to all those years ago…again.

I’ll start…

You with me?

September 9, 2010

Bang Head Here.

Stress Kit


Today was a difficult day for mothering.  A difficult day to look in the mirror and be proud of myself. 

One non-existent step forward for Motherhood.  One giant leap backward for Christie being a mother.

And guess what else?  My kids love, I say, LOVE melting down in public.  It’s like their secret handshake “thing”.  We get out of the car, we enter whateveryourmama building and they freaking freak out and lose their ever lovin’ minds.  Like they’re winking and giving the “now” nod to each other and then screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth commences.  No really.  It’s like baby drama for yer mama drama for yer mamas mama.  For real.

Also?  I cried like three times over the span of twelve hours.  And don’t e-mail me and tell me I’m depressed.  Freaking newsflash police!   Of course I am.  I’m pretty much sure that, save like three people on the planet, this phase of having two little ones (or more for some of you out there – bless your saint’s heart) all day,  all the time, all day….all the time…it’s allowed.  To be a little depressed on certain days ending in “y”.  Ok to be like “frig…forget it!  this sucks!”  Or like talk through your teeth so much you get a bit of a jaw ache, and issue warning after warning to all people under 3 feet until you're a bit hoarse?  Just me?  Sure. 

Oh, and also?  I’m pretty sure my kids know exactly how to make me want to pull my hair out one individual strand at a time.  They do.  They’re geniuses like that.  Yes, they truly are.  And I’m going bald.  Geniuses.

Like pushing each other.  Scratching.  Biting.  Throwing toys, often at each other.  Climbing all things dangerous.  Stealing remote controls and shoving them out the dog door.  Throwing food.  Eating dog food.  Tormenting the elderly cat.  Tipping the water bowls.  And essentially running amok until I’m talking through my teeth and issuing final demands and warnings until I’m hoarse. 

Another side affect is repeating myself…which I just did.  I just repeated myself.  I issue warnings until I’m hoarse.  Did I already say that? 

And before you think I need a firmer hand?  Stand aside.  This is the House O’ Discipline.  Yes, it is.  And I am no softy to bad behavior.  Valerie, can I get an amen?

I would like to say that I’m not complaining, because they’re great kids and all.  But let’s face it?  I am complaining.  They are great kids.  They’re robbing me of my youth and giving me Tourettes, but yes - they’re great.  Terrific even.  Beautiful.  Wonderful.

Part of this Motherhood gig, I think?  Is really stressful.

Ok, so where was I…ah yes.  Step 1.  Place kit on FIRM surface….check…

September 8, 2010


I haven’t really had any time with Keira since coming home from China.  Not really.  Not solid, tangible alone time.  The kind that equals just her and I for hours at a time.

So in a way?  I guess I feel like we haven’t really had the time to just “be”.  We’re making it.  But we’re just getting through, in a way.

Don’t get me wrong – I love her deeply.  But, sometimes?  


Sometimes I feel like I don’t know her.  And she doesn’t know me.  And we’re just moving through the day from chore to chore or action to action.  Eating, changing diapers, playing with toys, napping, more eating, more diapers, bath time, bedtime.  On and on. 

I know this is a side-effect of having more than one child in the home.  It leaves little one-on-one time.  Especially when the two children are only 19 months apart.

And so I’m hopeful.

Even though it’s hard to drop Quint off at school, I can see that it’s going to afford me the chance to have five hours alone with Keira, twice a week.  And that’s something she’s never had with me.  


Something I’m pretty sure she’s never had with anyone

September 7, 2010

It’s not that he’s almost 3

or that he looked so little but so grown up with his backpack and lunchbox


or that he agreed to let me take pictures of him with only a couple of huffs and puffs

or that he had his first day of school or pre-school or whatever you want to call it

or that he gave me nary a nod or look back when he entered his classroom this morning

it’s not any of that


it’s only that he’s taking those steps that will hurl us into a rapid lifetime of memories

the ones I can’t stop.  the ones that go too soon.  the ones that don’t come back, no matter how much our hearts long for them…

the ones that are passing me by and begging me to enjoy every single moment of them before they’re part of the past and can only sit in a sweet place in my mind

that’s all. 


otherwise, it was a great first day of the rest of our lives

September 6, 2010


Pardon my dust...I'm updating for Fall!!

Love having you visit!

And the Winner is...

(trumpets sound the winners anthem...)

Congrats to The Gang's Momma for winning our Blog Makeover Contest, and she can thank AB for his random drawing skills.  We listed each contestant next to a number.  AB chose the number 6.  The number 6 belonged to The Gang's Momma.  So whahoo, yippee, and wooka wooka!!

For all those who entered and did not win, I thank you (bowing bowing bowing) and ask you to email me at so you can get a very special something that I have for you.

Now for the rest of you wonderful people following this blog - come on, you can't pass up a $45 blog makeover!!  Look  at all you get?!?

Did I mention that 30% of your order is going to Amazima Ministries for the month of September?!?  That's a good cause AND a blog makeover!

Place your order today!  My wait-list is starting to grow...

September 4, 2010



When we made the decision to put our sweet gal Kaleigh down, back a few months ago, it nearly killed my heart.  And I was just devastated for Quint.

Some of you have e-mailed me privately to see how we’re doing without our Kaleigh-girl, and I thank you deeply.  We miss her still…

But as with so many things in life, there was a tender outcome for someone I love just as much.

Our Anabelle…who has taken to being the only dog so well, you would hardly know she ever had a "sibling".  She's been lapping up the attention, and snuggling in with all of us more than ever.  She is a joy.  And as she was with us first and now will be with us last, it seems appropriate. 

Anabelle who we have loved and doted on for almost ten years and who is just as much a part of our family as she could possibly be. 

Who still sleeps in the bed with us.  Loves us and obeys to a fault.  Diligently keeps watch over us.  And is our constant.

A reminder that even through sadness, life goes on and there is so much good to soak up and enjoy…she is a gentle soul in our house and we love her through and through.  I’m so glad she has shared all but two months of our married life.  What a joy and blessing she has been to us these many years and now to our children as well.

Friends, pets are such a wonderful gift from God…aren’t they?  Truly, they are so special.  We are blessed…

**Winner of Blog Makeover Give-away will be announced Monday, September 6th.  Thanks to all who entered to win!