Monday, November 16, 2009

Christmas Fever

I have always been a proponent of celebrating the holiday at hand instead of rushing on to the next. It always comes as a surprise to me when I see Christmas trees up in stores in October, even though I should be expecting it since it seems to get earlier each year.

However, this year I have been wanting to put up my tree for weeks. I don't know why, but it just seems like the thing to do. Normally I wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year I will be out of town, so I am giving myself permission to put it up this weekend.

We always have so much fun decorating, especially now that BK is old enough to enjoy helping. Last year was the first time that she and I put the ornaments on together. We turn on Christmas music and pull all the decorations out - the old ones mixed with the new. So many old memories - mixed with new memories we will make this year. After the tree is all done, maybe we will make a batch of cookies - decorated with green and red sugar sprinkles, of course.

Christmas is a magical time. A time for kids and kids at heart.

No wonder I can't wait.

Beef Taco Bake

I found a new recipe and tried it at a family gathering last night. Everyone said they liked it...I think it's a keeper.


1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed tomato soup

1 cup chunky salsa or picante sauce

1/2 cup milk

8 flour tortillas (8-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces

8oz. shredded cheddar cheese, divided

3/4 can corn, drained

1 packet taco seasoning

1 t. cumin

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Cook the beef and onions in a skillet until well browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat. Stir in all the ingredients except for half the cheese. Spoon the beef mixture into a shallow baking dish. Cover the baking dish and bake at 400° for 30 minutes, or until the beef mixture is hot and bubbling. Take off the cover, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake another 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Faux Friends

Online relationships are tricky. Whether it is someone from my past that I haven't had any contact with in years, or a family member that I don't see very often, or even people that I have never met in real-life, the way that people deal with each other online is often very different than in real life.

Since opening a Facebook account not so long ago, it has changed the way I see people and things.

For one thing, when we read things that others post to these websites, we start feeling like we know them better than we actually do. It is very easy (at least for me) to lower my barriers and to feel emotionally connected. This tends to give a false sense of security and makes it easy to believe that we are closer than we really are, therefore enabling us to think it's okay to share our hearts...when in fact it is not.

I am not talking about opposite-sex friendships leading to something inappropriate (although that danger does exist), but rather just a false sense of intimacy that develops...a faux friendship, if you will.

One such instance happened a while back, when I read a note that a relative had written on Facebook. This is a person that I love and respect and have enjoyed reading his writings very much. But I found the direction that his posts were going a bit disturbing. I sent him a message telling him that I was concerned for him and that I had decided not to read his posts for a while because I didn't seem to be able to keep from leaving negative/snide comments, so it was better if I just didn't read his posts.

Talk about opening a can of worms.

Not only did he amend the original post to blast me, but he sent me an angry message, bringing up all kind of things from the past that had nothing to do with this. I could only deduce that his intent was to hurt me, as he said that I had hurt him...and he was successful.

Should I have just kept my thoughts to myself? Probably so. But this goes back to the original subject of this post, which is that false sense of intimacy. I felt that I was close enough to him that I could speak my heart in love and that even if he didn't accept it, at least he would hear and understand my concern.

Boy, I could not have been more wrong.

What I heard him saying is that because he has made some gay/lesbian friends, now he is leaning toward the belief that their love must be pure and therefore accepted by God.

What he heard me saying is that I am threatened by all things homosexual and that I believe Christians should beat them over the head with their Bibles until they see what dirty sinners they are. (NOT)

Angry impasse.


Another situation just happened this week. I have been a moderator on a mom's forum for a few years. We post about many things on this forum, sharing details of our lives, offering advice and prayers, laughing and crying together. I've met many of the women through Mom's Night Out and different activities.

What I realized is that many of their children have had birthday parties in the last couple of months, but that BK had not been invited to any of them, even though they posted photos and it was clear that many of the other kids were there. So I decided to post and just ask about it...telling them that I was not upset, just curious.

A few people answered, but the one that stood out to me made it clear that we were just "online friends" and she felt that should explain it.

Wow. Seriously?

Okay, so now I am having to rethink all of my online relationships...and maybe some of my real-life ones too. Are they genuine or faux?

I'm not sure that I am going to like the answers. Suddenly I feel very lonely.

30-Day Giving Challenge

I just "happened" upon a blog during the wee hours this morning. It is Keeping the Kingdom First, Balancing Faith, Family and Frugality. If you have never seen this blog, head over and check it out.

Alyssa was challenged by a message from her pastor to spend 30 days with a journal in hand and to document everything you give, along with the blessings that come your way. He went on to say that generosity is a Kingdom Dynamic. Read the original post here.

From this message, The 30-Day Giving Challenge was born. Even though I have missed the first week or so of the challenge, I'm jumping on board. What better way to spend Thanksgiving month than to give from the abundance that God has given us.

Let me know if you will consider joining this challenge. Be sure to take time to keep notes of your journey.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Raining Leaves

Today was a beautiful fall day here in Mississippi. We typically don't have much of a from summer's heat and plowing into winter's cold. So when the weather is this nice, we have to get outside to enjoy.

There are a lot of trees in our neighborhood. We have a few in our back yard and all of our neighbors have them in abundance. As I sat on our back porch and watched BK play, I could hear the wind coming through the neighbor's yard to the west of our house. Slowly the leaves began to rustle and then the tempo increased, moving closer and closer to our yard.

When the wind finally made it to our trees, the leaves started to flutter and rain down in our yard. BK was delighted. She squealed and she ran back and forth trying to catch them. Then as suddenly as it came, the wind moved on to the next neighbor's yard, sending their leaves flying as well.

I was glad that I had my camera in hand to capture the moment.

One more example of simple joy...experienced through the eyes of a child. What could be better?

Christian Homemaking Website

Blair Massey has unveiled her newly updated Christian Homemaking website today. There are contests and give-aways every day through the 13th. Click here to head over to join the fun and register for a prize, which will be given away daily.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Deals of the Day

I just love it when I can find a bargain. Here are mine for today:

Comfort Choice buy one, get one 50% off

I chose a bra for $22.99 and put two in my cart. The first listed as $22.99 and the second as $11.49. Then I searched on Google for a Roaman's coupon and found one on RetailMeNot for 30% off my highest price item. When I applied this code, it brought the first one down to $16.09. Total for my order (including shipping) $34.57.


1. Puffs tissues - 216 ct. box - regular 2.19 - with sale paper coupon 2/$3 (I had two .25 manf. coupons that I used) Total price for two boxes: $2.50

2. Bottled water - 24 16oz. - regular 4.99 - with sale paper coupon $2.99

3. Dawn detergent - 10.3oz. ultra concentrated - regular 1.59 - with sale paper coupon .99 (I had two .25 manf. coupons that I used) Total price for two bottles: $1.48

4. Wal-Zyr (generic Zyrtec) - 60 ct. box - regular $23.99 - buy one, get one free!

For more Frugal Friday ideas, head over to Life as Mom.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cook Ahead - Roast

When Kroger puts English Roast on sale, I buy a family pack of two roasts, which is usually .10 or .20 cents a pound cheaper than buying the single roasts.

I go ahead and cook both roasts (using an envelope of onion soup mix and a can of mushroom soup...baking at 275 for about 3 1/2 - 4 hours). We eat what we want for dinner, then I cut the leftover meat into bite-sized pieces, separating into several meal-sized portions and put in zip-lock freezer bags. I pour any gravy over the top of the meat and freeze. This usually makes at least three bags for three more meals.

When I'm ready to use one of the bags, I just put it in the crockpot frozen, add some baby carrots and peeled, chunked potatoes, and another can of cream of mushroom soup. I usually sprinkle some brown gravy mix over the top, then let it cook on low for about 6 hours - or until the veggies are done. Serve over rice.

For more make ahead meal ideas, head over to the recipe swap at the Life as Mom blog.

Spirit of Adoption

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15

Those of you who know me in real life, know that adoption holds a special place in my heart. My sweet girl was given to us through adoption and I can't think of a more selfless gift.

We made the decision when she was very young that we would tell her early that she is adopted. I want her to grow up knowing that she was chosen and that she is loved very much.

Sometimes she and I talk about adoption. Today it was about a baby kitten being adopted. We talked about the baby kitty needing a family...and a family needing a baby they took the kitten home with them to love and be a part of their family. Then I reminded her that she is adopted and that her daddy and I brought her home with us to love her and to be a part of our family...forever.

She looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes and said "Mommy, do you love me in your heart?"

I had to swallow hard before answering to keep the tears at bay because she wouldn't understand them.

"Yes sweet girl, Mommy's heart is full of love for you."

I am thankful for the gift of adoption. For the opportunity to mother this precious angel. And for my own adoption that makes me the daughter of the King.

The Spirit of Adoption is sweet and precious...and forever.