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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Get Your Gratitude On!

Gratitude Journal

...on the counter, by the coffee, so it cannot be missed.

Thirteen months ago I read One Thousand Gifts.  It shifted my heart and my head - and now Ann Voskamp's hauntingly, beautiful book is in the form of a Bible study.

In Vava-terms, you cannot have joy without thanksgiving.  That's the bottom line of the book.  BUT!  Don't just take my word for it. Read it.  Now.  If you have not.

1. For the beauty in an ugly barrack of #2 Son's graduation.
2. Uncle Steve's kindly demeanor toward his nephew.
3. Anticipation of movie night with My Guy.
4. A good hair day and a pretty necklace.
5. #1 Son's surprise visit.
6. Count down until November 6 (NOT the election; but the homecoming of #2 Son).

See?  My list is certainly not profound.  I passionately believe if we open our eyes and thank God for our everything(s), joy takes over.  Sometimes it's calm and quiet, sometimes a tidal wave.  I'll take either!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Life's No Cake-Walk

In retrospect...

I don't think I've ever said those words aloud until this morning.  You see, it's close to one year that #2 Son left us.  Not of his own accord, mind you.  "The Authorities" had something to do with it.  I often have 'aha' moments or thoughts of clarity while in the shower or putting on my face.  So be it, this morning.

When you consider something in retrospect, you think about it afterwards, and often have a different opinion about it from the one that you had at the time.  Well!  H-E-L-L-O, yes I do. 

On November 17, 2011, I heard:  "He BETTER learn his lesson."  "He's made his own bed, and now he has to lie in it." More comments were peppered our way - many solicited.  I am a prayer hog.  Not much is off limits for me.  Man, I was on board with the decision of the court.  He needed this program.  There really was no other choice...And, yes, he deserved it AND earned it AND needed it.

November is drawing near - and he will soon be released to us.  Am I ready?  I am.  In retrospect, it has taken these many months for HIM to submit to authority, be quiet and have lots of time to repent and think.  Same for me.

I've spent many hours journaling, in prayer, and reflecting.  It's been good - really good.  How odd that while my son, my baby, has been behind a barbed wire fence, I have been okay.  Not every day, but more often than not.   I guess you'd say there has been a calm within a my storm.  This season has been THE most difficult #2 Son has experienced.  I see it on his face when we visit.  

Just last week we were granted an hour and a half visit.  He literally did a hop-skip, giddy-jump when he spotted us.  A HUGE grin spread across that gorgeous face, and he said: "Man, it's good to see y'all.  I love you!"  We sat and talked quietly.

Toward the end of our time, his shoulders stooped a bit and he told us that he may get written up.  The good news is he wears blue - he's a "leader" and has a job.  His is in the chow hall...he dishes out the slop.  And cleans up.  

He devised a better way to clean CAKE crumbs.  Sweep said crumbs from the table into a cup.  Dump the cup.  Why am I going into so much detail about CAKE!?  Patience...

A CO walked up to him and informed him he'd be written up.  For "stealing CAKE."  Now c'mon.  There should be consequences for actions. Always.  But I believe my son for a number of reasons.  Who would want to eat disgusting CAKE crumbs???  Plus, he's a tad OCD and germ-aphobic.  Alas....he is under authority; so it's out of my hands.

We'll learn in our next letter whether the DR (Discipline Report) was dismissed.  If it was not, his 'out' date could be extended.  I can do nada on his behalf.  Except pray - which I have - and asked my prayer team to pray, that #2 Son is granted favor. 
  • In retrospect, the past year has not been a CAKE walk. 
  • Our son could not have his CAKE and eat it too; therefore he is where he is...
  • That CO really 'takes the CAKE' when it comes to power trips.
...BUT the icing on the CAKE, will be when our boy comes home, a changed young man.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Bacon.  Perfectly cooked, crisp-to-the bite bacon.  How I love you, and did not even know it.  I've been back a week after a journey to India and have not been myself until today.  My Guy sizzled up the kitchen and I was in heaven.  The little things we {spoiled brats} Americans take for granted:
  • Google
  • Peanut butter
  • TV
  • Apples
  • Water from the faucet
These are just a few of the things I soaked up after landing stateside. I'm not often word-less; but am finding it impossible to describe this adventure!  

When my pastor first invited me, my heart said 'yes,' but he sagely suggested praying about it.  Oh, and seeing what My Guy would think about it.  From the get-go, I knew I was to go.  I asked Sister Kiwanya to be my partner to speak at the women's conference.  (In India, Christians are addressed as Sister and Brother).  
Is she beautiful or what?????

Well, God certainly knew THE perfect roommate for me.  We were overwhelmed (in a GRAND way) by the hospitality, grace, and love of our Indian sisters.  Tears fell...often.  And then, in our hotel room, on the floor, laughing at night.  Just one glance of hers would set me off.  We are soul sisters, for life!  After  day 2, I felt as if I had done 2,000 sit ups, my abs hurt from laughter!  In India.  In a ummm...'hotel' of sorts, with an air conditioner that forced us to wear socks while sleeping, and our shower was just IN the bathroom.  Water, water, everywhere.  Shower shoes were a MUST!

We had been told we'd "teach" or speak to around 50 women.  I'm no pastor; but when MY pastor said, "Can you give a party?"  Well!  H-E-L-L-O, yes, I can.  That gave me license to talk from the heart.  And so did Kiwanya.  We had an interpreter.

Day 1, Patna, Bihar.  We looked out into the classroom of women in saris - so different from us.

They stared.

We shared.

We told stories of families with alcoholism, addiction issues.  Of a childhood where parents did not say "I love you."  Of single motherhood, of distant parents.  Children in trouble.  They leaned forward, and heard us.  Our very own stories...

We learned a lovely, universal gesture is placing one's hand on one's heart.  We had like hearts.  It was beautiful.  How many times can one use "beautiful?"  Any doubt of why we were there was erased after our intros.  We may never know if we TAUGHT them anything; but they loved our love!  Oh, how we enjoyed that!  They relayed to our interpreter how shocked they were that "people who look like us" have the very same issues!

Day 3.  Kiwanya turned to me and asked: "Sister Virginia, did YOU know what you wanted to do as a little girl?"  And at that moment everything made sense.  I've always surrounded myself with women, girlfriends.  I'm a "woman's woman" far more than a "man's woman!"  They give me life.

As a young girl I was drawn to families - whole families.  I invested as much time with them as possible. I loved and STILL love older women - from the Young Life leader, who was probably all of 32, to my 16.  To my two aunts and loving Mimi.  At church, I stalked a woman to get to know her.  I wanted to sit at her feet. My gaggle of girlfriends have saved me.

And, so never before had Jeremiah 29:11 made more sense.  Oh, my YES...does the Lord know the plans to prosper me, to give me hope and a future!  A year and a half ago, when Pastor Dan asked me to come to work, I nearly fell over.  Next...working in our women's ministry.  Then, a mission trip to India...speaking to WOMEN about women, being strong in the Lord!

So, no, Kiwanya, I don't think I had a grand scheme as a young girl...dreams were dashed and not nurtured.  But, the Lord saves.  And redeems.

Back to India...I can't speak for K, but when I WAS speaking, I felt gripped by the Holy Spirit (and that was a specific prayer request of mine!).  It was just so delightful to share how to do life.  It took a while for the Indian ladies to warm up, but slowly, they'd stand and tell us their needs.  Devastated were we.

Our artist friend, Hannah, made a poster of a vase that we taped to the wall.  We handed out a sticky note in the shape of a flower and each woman hand-wrote, in Hindi, her prayer request.  They LOVED the poster and it was quite a hit!  And, yes - it looked beautiful.

Now, don't think the trip was all-so-serious.  We toured the Taj Mahal.  Oh, yes we did.

Agra, India (built 1632-1653)
 Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife.
Widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India."
(It was stunningly beautiful).

We toured "Old Delhi" in a rickshaw.  And saw henna heads!

Our hands became works of art...

But, mostly the work was done in my HEART.  

India - I love.  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Sappy Soul am I!

I am such a romantic...but do not play it out very often.  It's usually when I am alone, buried in a book, or melted into a movie!  Suffice it to say, I'm a sap!

Tonight, I did not move, while watching "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday."  Yes, it is sappy, but the scenery, OH!----struck such a chord in me, that I pushed the "stop" button so that I could stare at the beaches, the sand dunes.

Someday, I WILL live by the sea.

Sunday afternoon, especially THIS one, as I was alone, was sedentary, solitary, and soul-FULL.  While leafing through magazines and ogling cozy cottages, ANOTHER chord was struck.  I could live in a nest.  Our home is not that large; yet...I do not even need this.

...I think I'm leaning toward getting lean.  We need a bedroom, a kitchen, a bedroom for #2 Son when he returns and for guests, and a room full of books.  Throw in a couple of potties, ok, ok.  Really!  What else does one NEED??????

My  Guy shall return tomorrow.  I've had four nights by myself with much time to think.  I wonder what HE'LL think!!!???

Now, all of this processing could very well be due to the fact that on August 1 I head off to India for 11 days.  The Lord has been preparing me for that journey - and I am absolutely thrilled to go.   I've had a visual of a cork or a stopper on my soul...and HE wants ME to pop.  So, pop I shall, in INDIA!

These times of solitude really do a number on my soul.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Panhandle Perks!

Road trips - we love 'em!  They most often begin with...


...and good tunes!
My Guy can SING this one!

We arrive at THE warmest home in the panhandle of Texas 
and share a libation...

Mornings on the porch are cool.   Doves coo.  And trains whistle.

Fun is not an option.  My sister + brother-in-law host well.

We girls tend to drift from Our Guys.  A girl's gotta do
what a girl's gotta do...
Shop, laugh, get pedis, shop, hit antique stores, eat, shop.

Pete's Greenhouse is a MUST! We played "Where's Patty?"

Time to eat again.  A throwback, The Golden Light!

A little tomfoolery while antiquing!

Friends of all ages are in Amarillo.  A good time for all!

Nary a garage sale escapes us!
"Gabby" got us to our destinations.
(inside joke)
Note The Driver's focus...

"Seriously?  There's a LOOP in Amarillo?"
Seriously....we drove a ways out in the country for this garage sale!

For July 4th, Our Guys even got into Pinterest!   The end result was a hit!

Meet Max.  I tried kidnapping taking him home.  I think he'd really like Houston!

Amarillo behind us, heading south on 287...

home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

...and I agree.  Life IS beautiful!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Miracle Grow???

How are your miracles growing?  

When I glanced at this very old photo yesterday, it made me feel warm and fuzzy.  On THAT day, it was a miracle that we captured any love-joy.  The minutes up to this photo were wild!  #2 Son was running through the blue bonnet fields like a whirling dervish.  We begged #1 Son to lasso his little brother.  Got 'em!   How I love this bunch of hugging boys!

And so they into 22 and almost 29 year old young men. 

Had I known what was ahead of me, I could not have handled it.  

Today's Jesus Calling tells it like it is...

Six months down and six to go in 2012.  Have you been part of any miracles?  I have!  

I'm not a green thumb; but have learned I CAN grow miracles.  Thought you might like to know how.  (It is readily available AND easy to use!)  Focus on God above.  As our beloved Tracy Porter espouses, "...eyes up!"   IF I focus on the overwhelming issue or the current 'whirling dervish' of life... I am sucked right up into it!

Take a moment to soak in that devotional: "rest with Me, focus on Me, I will equip you...." Oh, it works, it works, it works.

Miracles are popping up all over my family.  They are HUGE!  I wish I could tell you all of them; but some of my peeps are a tad more private than I am.  Just trust me.  Miracles DO happen!

Open up that 'miracle grow' of YOURS!!!  

Dig deep - place your 'stuff' at the cross - cover it all with prayer - and believe!  Believe that NOTHING is too hard for Him!

I've decided to track my miracles.  A little notebook is devoted to them - big and small.  Wanna join me?????  In six months, let's see how many {more} grew?  

Get planting...




Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Harvest Season!

I cannot wait for fall.  What you say?  Summer has just begun.  Yes, BUT...fall is my most favorite time of year.  Perhaps because it is the time of my birthday, or that it was when I got new school supplies.  "See you in September" forces me to close my eyes and sway a bit.  Fall is my 'spring' - time of renewal.

AND, everything I listen to or have read in the past few days points to a HARVEST OF JOY around the corner.  Promises in the Bible, in songs, in my readings.  

Definition of harvest:

  • a yield
  • the consequence of an effort or activity
  • the gathering
  • the season

#2 Son is to return home in September - these past 10 months have  been a Season, with a capital "S", a consequence of certain "activities" of his.  The YIELD will be repentance & restoration.  And the gathering.......oh, the reunion!  

We will have one 8-hour day with him in August - his furlough, before his sentence is over.  See?  August - fall'ish.  So much to look forward to...

Today, I was led to this Psalm of restoration:

He is bringing our family out of captivity.  Better than we ever dreamed.  We are filled with joy.  We have shed many a tear, but will reap with songs of JOY!  

Can I hear a chorus of woo-hoo's please??????

JOY to you...

Saturday, June 2, 2012


He is poetry to me.  Strong, yet restrained.  Calm and accepting.  Loving.  So filled with love, that in his presence, I can sense it.  We don't get to hold him, hug him, or even peck him on the cheek.  But the love was pinging all around us.

We had 90 minutes today...which is 30 extra.  He wears a blue smock now - an outward signal that he is a leader.  They call those in blue "Structure."  He had to be voted on among his peers and the promotion brings perks:  more visiting time, first in line at chow.

My Guy snapped a picture while we were waiting.  What you may not be able to see is the smile.  This picture speaks a thousand words.  My boy behind bars, held back, fenced in, restricted, guarded.  You can see where this is going...

And so from here we were let in through the gate to a large room - set up in a "U" - where we sat across from #2 Son.  I then became a prisoner....restrained, held back, forbidden.  To touch.  {I did sneak a hand holding when I was sure the guard's gaze was averted}.  

I stared at him.  He looked good.  No, actually GREAT - with a touch of sunburn/tan to his face...which made him appear healthy.  As I looked at him, I couldn't help but watch him watch My Guy, his Dad.  

We womenfolk tend to notice what our guys may not.  #2 Son rarely took his eyes off of his Dad.  He'd catch me staring and I'd wink.  I wanted to capture his face on film SO badly.

My Guy has been over-the-top supportive these past 7 months and #2 Son now knows the love his Dad has for him.  I'VE known of it, but #2 Son perceived a lack.  

An interesting way to spend a Saturday: arrive early, spend an hour listening to a counselor, then 90 minutes with him.  There were varying degrees of emotion.  Faces of frustration, smiles of forgiveness, and unconditional love.   A mish-mash of humanity!

We have June, July, August and 10 days in September to ramp up and become strong and able.  He'll return home to us.  Transformed. This journey is not only about him, though.  My Guy and I must be transformed.  

What is my take-away today?  Well, appreciate what you've got people.  A dear friend is going through a very rough season with her very ill husband.  She asks us to do the same: do not take anything for granted.  I don't.

I thank God for my family.  My Guy, My Sons and the extended peeps I love.  

Blessed am I!  And in a few months, our family will be FREE. 


Monday, May 28, 2012

I Know My Own Strength(s)

"When can we start?" is a recurring question in my life.  Always rearranging my furniture, switching my calendar system, starting a new book, trying the latest product.  StrengthsFinder 2.0 helped me to understand why! 

When I learned what my "strengths" were - my brain was exploding with those 'aha' moments: AHA, that's why!  AHA, no kidding.  AHA, cannot wait to explore that one!  It is empowering to see - in black and white - my strengths.  We women can play the humility game all too well, right?  As long as Christ is at the center, our strengths are a blessing.

The on-line test revealed mine as:

1.  positivity
2.  empathy
3.  woo
4.  communication
5.  activator

  • I see the glass half full.
  • I often put myself in your shoes.
  • I love to win others over (WOO).
  • I enjoy communicating (blog, FB, face to face).
  • I dig action - moving furniture,  "make a party," anything spontaneous!
There are sensitive aspects of a strength - I witnessed this recently with someone I love.  I sensed this person feeling left out, perhaps intimidated, inadequate.  So much so, that I did not want to make eye contact as I did not want him/her to know that I know.  My heart and gut hurt.  

A couple of hours later, I processed WHY I "felt" that person so much.  THAT would be the empathy trait.  Many, many times I have had that gut-ache and could not articulate WHAT it was.  Empathy aches.  Those lacking the empathy gene might not have the gut/heart aches; they are a bit more inconsiderate or distant.  Give me the aches!

 "Let Your Life Speak" by Parker J. Palmer is a little book I read prior to the strengths book.  The title is a time-honored Quaker mantra.   I devoured it, took notes and highlighted it to pieces!   May has been a good month for good books!

I believe life teaches me something most days.  I don't want to just slip n' slide through it but welcome the LARGENESS of life that now lies open to our souls ("Let Your Life Speak").  

Friday, April 6, 2012

A REALLY Good Friday!

It's Good Friday...and it really is!   First pedi in ages - pale toes for Spring.  Date Night with My Guy.  Good Friday.  A phone call from #2 Son.

What's the big deal you ask about a phone call?  Well, #2 Son was transferred to "the program."  It is an intense one at that...starting with 35 days of Orientation (translation: no contact other than letters).  However, he completed his "modules" 15 days early AND was rewarded a call to his Dad.  My Guy relayed how strong he is, how positive he is, and how "other-focused" he is.  He asks about us.... 

He is in a Mental Health Residential Program mandated by the courts.  We miss him.  Crazily.  I have to confess, it took three months or so for ME to miss him.  But, oh how God restores the heart - especially between a child and his parents!  

It's timely that I just started Beth Moore's "James" study.  In the intro, she talks of how we fill our emptiness with girl friends and people who think like us.  If we are at odds with family members OR if we think our family is odd, it hurts.  I agree.  No matter how brave and bold I am when I say: "oh, I'm ok.  Haven't seen so & so in ages, we have nothing in common."  Deep down, I ache for a connection with that family member.  "Have you discounted His ability to restore your natural family?" {Beth Moore} 

...and until restoration occurs, there is the One who can fill our aching hearts.  

I'd love to share a portion of one of our son's letters:

If you "knew us when..." Mmm.  And all his letters read like this.  I believe that God is doing a mighty work in our boy.  Our family WILL be restored.   

Oh, yes, it's a GOOD Friday!!!  And to make it even more so... I WON a "giveaway" from House of Turquoise!!!  Yup, that was me who squealed with delight!!   Check out a lovely book by Kathryn Greeley.  

So dear friends, I'm praying we all take time to contemplate what these next three days mean.  And get some happy toes while you're at it!  

Happy Resurrection Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

BIG Love!

Let me tell you a love story.  Once upon a time, in a family of four, two boys were well loved.  They were seven years apart in age.  The eldest entered the world with ease, everything came easily for him, that is, until #2 Son hit grade school.  Family dynamics changed.  But...there was still a lot of BIG love.

When #2 was good, he was very, very good and when he was bad... well, I won't spill all our beans.  But, throughout "it" all - from the first day I held him, until my last touch, on November 17, 2011, I loved fiercely.

I must confess that I lost that lovin' feeling over the autumn of 2011.  When he was sentenced in November, I was MORE than fine with the judge's decision.  For the first four weeks, I was firm in my belief that he deserved this.  He was in the right place.  And it was high time that My Guy and I had peace. This was BIG.

And then, he morphed, became a new person.  I must give credit where credit is due, it was the Lover of our souls Who was working on #2.  It has now been three months.  Three months of nothing to do all day other than watch TV, play dominos, and read (The Bible and Purpose Driven Life).  He is in a "detention facility" until his transfer takes place.  There are NO programs, no structure.  Boredom with a capital "B."  Yet, he survived the first month which was quite hellish.  He's strong as an ox.  When we visit, he asks how WE are.  That's big.  The love he has for us is blatant.

And, in the last two months, I have that lovin' feeling back.  Oh, my goodness....three days ago while staring at his face through a thick piece of glass, I wanted to hug him so badly, I ached.  We placed our hands on that glass and "touched" the best we could.  The love between #2 Son, My Guy and me is palpable.  We stick out in that facility.  Like sore thumbs.

#1 Son has a newfound respect for his little brother and expresses HIS love to him.  That's big.

The {love} story is not over....many more chapters in the making.  But, #2's story was known and crafted long, long ago by The Author of Life (a song I sang to #2 when he was 10)!  HE knows what's best for both my boys.  Oh, and for me as well.  This is a difficult season; but BIG things are happening.

Our God is BIG enough to handle all of it - all of us - no matter where we are: in a jail cell or in the suburbs.

It's Valentine's Day and my heart is full.  My Guy and I are in a really good place with one another.  We have fun, we laugh, and cater to each other.  It's BIG!  My only wish is that I could break #2 out of jail for one long hug.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Like her or not, I do!

I so dig digging until I find something I cannot live without (translation:  it need not be pricey!).  It may be a book - picture frame - footed tray - tarnished silver -  those treasures that tickle my fancy.

Several years ago, my friend, Peaches, came to town and we hit The Guild Shop run by St. John the Divine.  It's a resale shop that's a "cross between Antiques Roadshow and your grandma's attic."  It takes a certain person to scour for hours.  Peaches was my main gal!

I know several others who would lose their mind at The Guild Shop.    Some {dear pals} I've not yet met other than through email, and an occasional phone call.  We discovered one another on a certain lifestyle blog.  And, it was there I learned I am not the only nut who enjoys the hunt, rearranges furniture {a lot!}, collects shelter magazines & books on decorating. 

I cannot wait till they visit - we most certainly will bust down the doors of The Guild Shop!  One of my favorite purchases is a vintage lamp.  It's a personal thing.  I know some do not "get" her; but every time I look at her, I smile.  Well, the poor dear wore a horrible lamp shade for the past 2 or 3 years until just last week.  

Let me introduce my little pretty:

I went to a lamp shop where an expert found just the right shade, and
shortened the harp (...and SHE told me SHE would have grabbed this ole gal herself).  Like I said, some would, some would not.

Let me know if YOU have that certain something sitting in your haven, that may not appeal to your guests, but it sure tickles YOUR fancy.  

Hhhmmmm.....may be time for a visit.  To a thrift store.

Saturday, January 21, 2012 H-Town!

What a FUN day....we headed into town for a couple of errands.  Our favorite optometrist is inside the loop and it's time for a new look - I'm going the Tina Fey route.  Or...Debra Messing in her upcoming show, "Smash."  Darker frames, tortoise shell - a more intelligent look.

Our kale, blueberry and protein shake for breakfast was wearing off; so I googled.  Although we are changing our way of eating, it DOES include a bit of protein.  Burgers - as long as grass fed - are ok.  Yup, I found where in Houston to eat such a burger!

The website will inform you of their location...they're always on the move.  May I say, I thoroughly enjoyed {i.e., devoured!} my burger.  Sans bun + fries.  My piece of grass-fed beef was smothered with bleu cheese, burgundy-infused mushrooms, and "tipsy" onions.  OMgoodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the way to the eye doctor, I chomped gum and chewed on mints to deflect those onions...poor eye docs!  Those close encounters!  Ewwwww.  Any-hoo, had tons of fun picking out my new frames.

Time for a more serious stop.  We went to visit #2 Son.....and felt like tour guides as we helped several couples learn the ropes.  It's rather strange to feel comfortable on Baker Street in Houston.  Our
boy is doing well - God is working within the system.  He's been incarcerated for 9 weeks and is the most stable we've ever seen him.  Since time heals all wounds, I am now ready (i.e., no longer angry) to wrap my arms around him.  In fact, it kills me that we cannot touch.  Talking through the speaker with a thick glass between us is NOT good for mother-love.  Or father-love (especially since My Guy is so tender...).

Speaking of My Guy, he suggested another stop downtown - Phoenicia.  We literally went around the world - it was fascinating to see so many countries represented in food aisles!!!!

An olive oil aisle that went on forever....

Coffees from every corner of the world!

Date Day in H-town is as fun as we make it folks!  Something I want to be intentional about is to step out of my box.  I want to explore - enjoy - and love my days to the fullest.  I'm a lucky gal to have a Guy who wants to hang with me and do the same.  2012 is rockin' thus far!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

CPR for The Soul!

I love my "stuff" - it brings me comfort.  
But, this is getting a little nuts...

That would be the make-up drawer of a product junkie!  And, believe it or not, this is the stuff that I {only} use on a daily basis!  I have more, hidden from sight.  

It's hard for me to keep my "toilette" simple.  But, it IS more appealing, the older I get.  Really!  Who do I need to impress?  IF I get to that less is more look, I'll let you know.

All around me, it's always been more is more.  Friends come over and ask:

"Vava, do you have enough black pencils?"

I think I'm ready to simplify - starting with that toilette of mine, getting organized and purging stuff!

AND, this unexpected season is a gift I never saw coming.  The quiet in our home is just what the doctor ordered.  Literally.  I treasure my early mornings: coffee, journal, my daily must-reads, and time with Him.

In the afternoon, two dogs are it, when I walk in from work.  No other demands of me.  (Well, My Guy, yes.  But I get home a few hours before he does.)

One project that will help organize me is on the drawing board.  We are turning our study into a "library."  It is heavy with furniture: BIG desk, and not-so-pretty free standing bookshelves.  We no longer use the space as originally set up.  I'd like to make every room user-friendly.  John, the carpenter, came by last weekend to measure and the big reveal should be mid-February.  By now, you know I MUST have tons of books.  I plan on organizing them and putting all of them in our "new" room.  The thought of a room for reading just about makes my head a good way!

Part of the reason for writing this year is so our son can read it when he comes home.  He is a fan of mine (blog-wise) and will miss out on Life at Home for many months.  He told My Guy and me: " strong, I am going to make it."  Well, if HE is, so am I!  

Another plan of mine is to be intentional in how I spend time.   I don't want to waste it.  I want to read more than watch TV.  I'd like to do more with friends.  

...have friends to our table.  Talk.  Laugh.  Fellowship.  Friends are "the stuff of life" I DON'T want to purge!  They are a blessing.

Vava's List for 2012
1. Take less time to get ready in the mornings = purge products!
2. Purge each room monthly = dispose of stuff!
3. Get strong = exercise!
4. Read!
4. Stay connected to God!
5. Connect with friends!

Connect + Purge + Read = CPR for my soul!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's All Mine!

Rearranging, fluffing is my hobby.
Took over a corner in our master...
It's quite girly and makes me smile.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Nine days in and it's been a VERY, VERY good year.  Many blogs tout a new year, new you; fresh beginnings, a brand new start.  I am The Poster Child for these cliches!  #2 Son is out of pocket.  Let's be honest - he's incarcerated.  Ok, he's in the slammer.  On November 17, 2011 they took our "baby" away and I was cool with the court's decision.  It had to be.  As the judge stated, "...there is no other option."  So, a good year? Yes!

Let me explain.  Have you ever been worn out and so frail and frazzled that you became another person?  This past fall, I turned into a dull, lifeless, lazy version of myself.  Vava sans the voom.

A book I've posted about, A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life is my mantra.  Inside, it's all about the cozy, imperfect interior as far as I'm concerned.  Yet, during the fall 2011, MY innards were unkempt.  I like my innards to be "perfectly kept."

I was furious and fed up with his antics.  He was becoming a danger to himself and others.  He is gone for a bit and now....our home is {once again} our haven.  There is a palpable peace within.  I enter with a smile.  When gone from home, I long to be in it.

My innards are healing and I'm getting my "voom" back.  I think I'll try my hand at blogging again.  I've been fluffing around the home crazily.  Can't help myself there.  In our master, I removed the TV. Rest, relaxation and calm is what we need.  I made a little corner all mine, a girly, "Vava" corner.  It puts a smile on my face.

I am filled with anticipation and HOPE.  Excitement is building - all around me.  At work.  Oh, and literally!  We are building out our study...with tons of shelves.  I need a library more than an office.  What a delicious thought - a room to snuggle into to read.  {sIgH!}

All the while, Jesus Calling has been by my side.  That little book is better than a breakfast of Wheaties!  And better than any book, is Jesus Himself.  He's never left me.  At times, I drifted...but He woos me back.  He's my true "voom."

I hope to be around more and would like to raise a glass to each of you.  Here's to a NEW year - let's all get our voom on!