Tuesday, February 24, 2009


First, no, I am not Catholic. (I just think that several of the Catholic traditions are wonderful for all Christians.)

LB got me thinking about it again. It was something my youth pastor in high school always encouraged. Plus For the Family's Sake encourages it too.

A time of fasting and focus on God. It's definitely a tradition I want to be in our home as we establish our family and our traditions. In high school my youth pastor always encouraged us to give something up for the 6 weeks before Easter: sweets, TV, video games etc. and set that extra focus on our relationship with God. Lent begins tomorrow, February 25th on Ash Wednesday. 

I want to share an excerpt from For the Family's Sake from the chapter "A Look at the Everyday All Around Us-All Year Long." I feel that this is an excellent explanation of the Lenten season. (Highlights are from my reading of the book.)

"The early church chose Easter as the best moment of the year for new believers and their families to be baptized and to join the inner circle of believers. The converts came from a variety of backgrounds, many being scarred emotionally from past hard lives. Prosperous merchants (both men and women), scruffy odd jobbed men, slave women who had been used sexually since before puberty, solid Jewish families who already knew about the God of the Scriptures, previously cruel masters needing to learn compassion and humility, people with no self-worth who needed building up, women beautifully dressed but imprisoned as chattel of a Roman husband, contrasting with a runaway slave or two - what a crowd! Nothing like this had ever been seen before. 
Early church converts represent the varies throng of humanity that chooses to follow Christ: He promised full forgiveness and assurance of eternal life to each and every one. Typically, they started listening to the Gospel and then believed it was true. They then accepted the Lordship of Christ by a personal choice. They could pray right away, but they still had a lot to learn too. They listened carefully to teaching in the Christian fellowship and asked for baptism, thus burning the bridges behind them. This decision was courageous, and it must have felt especially strange to those who usually expected others (such as slave owners or husband) to chose for them!
Newcomers were startled to have their world turned upside down. From then on, they learned, all the long-held traditions about who was more and less important in society had to be forgotten. Gone. Here there was to be no rift or superiority in any way: Jew or Greek, Roman, Asian, or African. Here there was to be no distinctions between rich or poor, slave or free, educated elite or illiterate "scum." Converts must have been startled and offended when they found out that the lowly were to be respected as much as a Roman centurion in all his fine adornment, as much as a learned rabbi. In this assembly such a one had to listen respectfully to a slave or to a person who shoveled manure. For many the great shock was that women were equal with men. Prejudices and habits of a lifetime and entire cultures had to be broken. And this was only the beginning. People would not have drifted into such a society, for it asked for a great deal of change. They came because they were sure that Christian claims were true (Galatians 3:26-29).
Anyway, the preparation and anticipation for Easter was enormous. By the time the annual festival came, the baptismal candidates had been instructed carefully. They would have shown that they were trying to follow God's ways in their everyday, ordinary lived as they were waiting to be baptized. Those who had been thieves had given up stealing and had a decent job. Men had stopped visiting prostitutes, some of them had married. They and others were learning how to have homes of order and love, where each person, whatever the age or gender was respected. A few older women helped instruct others in this practical, every day aspect of learning to live a Christian life. 
The whole church waited for the special annual rejoicing of Easter. Poorer families would have saved up so that a special meal could be enjoyed on the big day. Cleanliness really goes with godliness: Houses and forecourt would be swept in readiness for the special celebration. 
But they were taught that visible cleanup was not enough. When we celebrate something very wonderful, we prepare our inner selves too. Of course, in that congregation, some were just stopping the most blatant sins. They struggled to stop cheating with their weights in the market or abusing their wives and so on. Others seemed picture perfect on the outside, but their Lord had told them not to look merely on the outside. God looks on the heart. 
There is always internal house-cleaning for people to do. And they were going to take their first Communion after their baptism, which always needs careful inner preparation. Thus it becomes the custom that the days leading up to Easter were special for personal reflection. "Is my inner self reflecting Christ's life?" They and we also must ask ourselves, "When His light shines into my heart and my everyday life, what does it show up that needs changing?"
This type of questioning and subsequent insight clear the way for goodness to be chosen and grow in our everyday lives, with God's help. This is the best preparation for celebrating our response to God's love to us in Jesus! Of course, we listen, read, understand and pray to have God's help every single day of the year. But busy routines can easily result in habitual complacency. We can get stuck along the way and stop making progress. It is good to set aside a special thoughtful season regularly to "take stock" and respond.
Christians came to call this special preparation time Lent. This season emphasizes taking Christ's Word right into our everyday lives and choosing to obey even the hard requirements.
Of course, not all of us now who are Christians are in traditions that still use the beautiful liturgies for Lent. But we should pause to consider the ideas behind such practice. Such a response to Christ's life, death and resurrection, and offer of salvation to each of us personally is more appropriate than getting lost in wrapping paper or chocolates. We are in danger of even losing even the concept of a truly Christian celebration. The price of God, for Jesus, was high. Dare we be trivial or materialistic in our memorial times? It is better not to sing hymns of thanks and praise that to do so glibly.
Old wisdom decreed that there should be extra simplicity in the weeks before these two (Easter & Christmas) times of remembrance for Christians. Such wisdom is practical. Chosen simplicity for a season can mean more time for reflection , prayer and reading together or alone. Simplicity provides a contrast with the celebration feast! For, yes, we are creatures of body as well as spirit, it is good to celebrate our Christian belief at home and in our communities."
( pg. 247-250)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Food, Friendship & the Family Table

That is the name of our new church cookbook- which is almost done and off to the publisher! I'm shooting for Tuesday to have it all in the mail. I made this comment on Bren's post about re-organizing her church library: 

Wow! What a project! I feel that way too~ I somehow thought it was time our church did another cookbook for our 35th anniversary this year and so I got put in charge of it. Duh Andrea. I've had to choose a publishing company, collect all the recipes (online), decide on format, proof, etc etc... 450 recipes later we should have it all sent into Morris Press Cookbooks this next week. All I know is someone else can do the next one!

*Side note: our pastor's wife, Donna, has been right along side me proofing all these recipes! I can't forget to thank her!!

As I was writing that comment my mind began to wander: It's been 10 years since our church last did one- so another 10 (or 15 years if we wait til our church celebrates its 50th anniversary) could even put me at 35 or 40 years old. That's really crazy for me to think about! Just about as crazy for volunteering to oversee this project! ;)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Blog!!

I've been on a creative roll lately with gifts and this has come from that!

After no luck on etsy.com, I decided at the minimum my creations could just be on a blog with pictures. 

You can thank Jason for the name, 
The Organic Bloom

Friday, February 13, 2009

101 Reasons I LOVE My Valentine!

101 Reasons I love my husband, Jason... Happy Valentine's Day!!

1. He gave me Finnigan
2. Love & Respect (that's some good stuff!)
3. Pillowtalk
4. He plays basketball- my favorite sport to watch!
5. He has LOTS of tools and knows how to use them
6. He tells me in great detail how he took his milling machine apart today. I love how his mind works :)
7. Haircuts are easy to give
8. He puts so much honey on toast and pancakes - every square inch of surface area is covered!
9. Fixes my computer and understands it all for me. 
10. Practical
11. It's important to him that I have the resources I need to excel as a wife (mostly that I have time to invest in learning- hobbies, skills, traits)
12. He's my blog's biggest supporter, he likes our lives being recorded
13. He reads A LOT
14. He thinks it's important to do things that stretch yourself- like going to Mexico with 30 teenagers for a week on a missions trip
15. He is obsessed with Finnigan. I would've never guessed!
16. He encourages me to buy organic food
17. He will snuggle up and watch a chick flick with me, just because he know's I'd like it
18. He trusts me with the part of our business that I handle- he doesn't do much of the vending except repairs and moving of pop/snack machines.
19. It was his idea to pick and juice apples last fall- and yes he helped juice them too!
20. He loves that I take lots of pictures.
21.He is a good friend (also to others, not just me!)
22. Quirky little things like Capitalizing Letters In the Middle of a Sentence, "Because those words are important too, Andrea."
23. He watched John & Kate Plus 8 with me when we were in Florida (one episode) because he knows I like that show
24. He is 100% the head of our household
25. He doesn't like pink, or should I say hates pink. Pink has negative manly-ness in his book!
26. He changes the TP roll when it runs out and doesn't just leave it for me to do. And on top of that- he is particular like me that it is put on correctly- where it comes off the roll from the top!
27. He usually notices the small things I do for him, like having a fresh glass of water on his nightstand (pre- kitten days though!) and makes a point to say thanks.
28. He agrees with me that what is the point of having nice decorating if you don't display it- like making the bed (he will if I ask) and closing the shower curtain (almost always gets this one right!)
29. Snuggling is really important to him
30. We share the favorite movie: The Count of Monte Cristo
31. He played all 16 rounds of the double fifteen dominoes with me recently and only won like 4 rounds. He was a good sport (for the most part) at letting me beat him so many times
32. He really encourages my creative side
33. He grew up watching Feature Films for Families too!
34. He wanted to paint all the walls in our apartment so I would feel like this is really home until we can build our house
35. He mostly doesn't care what other people think about him. Example: he wears polo shirts almost exclusively with jeans or shorts. So he has "work" polos and "nice" polos! It's like his self imposed uniform. 
36. He would rather eat at home than go out to eat. 
37. Even thought the acting was slightly cheesy, he really liked Fireproof with me. 
38. He make sure the door is locked every night before bed so I feel safe
40. He loves Royal Family Kids Camp as much as me
41. He really likes to encourage people by helping them- like Danny & Amonda moving a house to the country or when Tim & Danielle added on to their house. 
42. He enjoys the beach and the mountains, now if I can just get him to want to go skiing at some point!
43. He likes to listen to Chip Ingram's podcasts
44.He doesn't want Finnigan eating junk food, so we only buy organic cat food.
45. He doesn't quote movies all the time like a lot of guys do
46. He uses electrical tape instead of band aids
47. He knows how to weld
48. He puts up with me listening to my "Rascal Flatts" country station on Pandora.com
49. He likes to stop and look at things on road trips- like going across a field to look at windmills or a harvested cotton field on the way home from Amarillo
50. He wants to build our home completely sustainable- off the grid, rainwater collection, geothermal heating/cooling
51. He maintains our vehicles himself
52. He always stops to help people push their car out of the road if needed
53. He let me design my wedding ring- it's so me! I love it!
54. He believes we should operate on a cash basis- and have done so for 2 years now. 
55. He is primarily friends with guys who are engineers (like 6+ people I can think of off the top of my head)
56. He is always very generous with his time. 
57. He is tall. I always wanted to marry a tall guy!
58. He likes to laugh
59. He really enjoys Pixar movies- when we go out, we do our best to hold it to a G or PG movie, a standard he set for us. 
60. He puts his dishes in the dishwasher if there's room. (Helps me keep my sink shiny!)
61. He is just plain ole tough! After he rips out cabinets or does some other demolition on a job he usually calls me and tells me he is "made for that kind of work!"
62. He is a great speller
63. He understands accounting (if not more than me- and I have an accounting degree...)
64. He drives me crazy when he eats the tortillas as fast as I can make them, but then again that means he likes my cooking! Same with cookie dough!
65. He always tells me when I go have a girls night or coffee date that I am more than welcome to stay as long as I'd like, don't worry about rushing home. That means a lot to me!
66. I'm learning to appreciate that his relationship with God is different than mine.  ;)
67. He listens to audio books when he is doing mindless work like grouting a tile job. He's so smart!
68. He is a super hard worker. 
69. He is a thinker through and through. I can't keep up with him- I've tried! 
70. He is leading our lives in a disciplined and determined manor- determined not to float throughout life living just "doing what everyones doing" but rather a "think for yourself" mindset
71. He's striving to let my organization skills rub off on him
72. He loves the outdoors - especially admiring God's creation
73. He's like me in that many of his friends are twice his age- there's much to be learned from a mature friend! ;)
74. He always prefers to give a job to someone he knows so that they benefit from the referral
75. He calls me often in the middle of the day, just to see how I am doing. 
76. He thanks me often for feeding him. The way to his heart really is through his stomach!
77. He values my opinions
78. He is "Map Man" a nickname he earned in high school. He loves maps!
79. He always hangs up his wet bath towels
80. He knows my love language is words of encouragement and is a wonderful encourager :)
81. Almost every Sunday morning after I am dressed for church he tells me, "You look cute today, baby!"
82. He loves to visit my family it TX like I do! Guns, tools, wrestling, intellectual conversation- he loves all the testosterone there! We ladies are outnumbered!
83. Often on the way back from Arkansas he stops at Braums and we get ice cream cones together!
84. He is so good with our friend's kiddos, he's going to be a fantastic father!
85. He enables me to be a good gift giver- I LOVE to give gifts, especially out of the blue! I think that's my "how I show love" love language!
86. He is ok with me going on an 8 day missions trip this summer, even though he's said multiple times how much he's going to miss me (mostly I think he'll miss his meals being made every day! haha!)
87. He does beautiful remodeling work. He makes me SO proud that it's gorgeous and high quality!
88.He talks with me a lot- females need lots of conversation and he's so good to me!
89. He and I work together often. I consider that a HUGE blessing in our lives. Many people tell me they couldn't work together with their spouse and I'm so glad we can! We won the "how well do you know your spouse" game at home fellowship last weekend! I credit it to how much time we spend together!
90. He reaches things up high for me so I don't have to get a ladder, stool or chair to stand on!
91. He is always trying to come up with the next best analogy in conversation. My brain so doesn't work like that! (Jason adds: my friend Thomas is my newest mentor, he is the king of analogies!)
92. He enables us to take lots of trips. I still can't believe we had about 10 weeks off last year for camps, missions and personal trips! That's incredible to me!
94. He looks at almost everything and wonders, "How can I make that?"
95. He fixes everything! (Including me! Sometimes I have to remind him that I don't always want to be fixed, just listened too! haha!)
96. He has really high standards for just about everything. 
97. He is like our friend Danny said once, "a sponge" because he just soaks up every little piece of information possible!
98. He is a faithful husband, son (in-law), brother (in-law) and friend. 
99. He tells me every single day he loves me!!!
100. He is taking me to Fleming's Steak House for Valentine's dinner!
101. He will be embarrassed by this whole list- he's a humble guy who doesn't like to be the center of attention, but he's the center of my little world! 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Play Date & Monkey Business

Vanessa brought Pippy over to play with Finnigan yesterday. They weren't too sure about each other. Pippy was the instigator, she kept batting at Finn. Finnigan is pretty passive though. He just kinda took it, but then when Pippy got distracted with a toy Finn would jump in! They were fun to watch! Pip is so small compared to Finn still!

Finn playing with his dollar store valentine! Let's just say he was less than thrilled at my amusement of looping the monkey's arms around his neck! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Continue to Pray

Please continue to pray for Nikki. 

I asked my friend Diane this morning at Bible study if her daughter, Ashley, was able to take Nikki to meet with CPO last Friday. Diane said she had some sad news. Long story short- Ashley gathered Nikki didn't feel comfortable telling her she'd probably gone ahead and had the abortion. Please pray for this woman to come to know Jesus. I know she must be hurting and needs healing. Please pray that Ashley can continue to create a realationship with her and minister to her. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Finnigan fell asleep like this. He leads a demanding life, I know. ;)

This is my favorite picture of him so far. He just looks so happy! 

A couple weeks ago was the first time I've been to watch Jason play rball. 

I've seen a lot of Little Guy lately. He's not a fan of rice cereal. 

Look at his two new teeth!

We went out to eat with our friends and Little Guy. We had fun watching him keep trying that lemon!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Being the BEST Babysitter Ever!

While searching for that pilates video on my computer I stumbled up this list I had made in 2005 for one of the ladies I babysat for- she really wanted her other babysitters to do what I did, clean up after the kids were in bed!

I was talking to my friend Danielle last night and she told me she's never had another babysitter do what I did when I used to watch her kids. So maybe these tips will help out the girls she uses now. It was fun to go back and read this! I somewhat miss babysitting- I did it ALL the time before I got engaged and married! I remember one Saturday specifically in college I had 7 calls to babysit for that night! That's a good problem to have...it's also no wonder I rarely had a "w-2" kind of job throughout my high school and college years!

I've also always said, I am going to be the hardest person in the world to babysit for someday!

Andrea’s Keys to being the Best Babysitter in the World!
March 23, 2005

Play with the kids: parents are not paying you to watch their cable TV, read a magazine/book, sit around and eat, or talk on the phone.
  •  Kids love crafts, playing games, going outside, etc

Don’t tolerate misbehavior: parents don’t want to come home to a bunch of whining, griping kids that are still in a tussle with brother or sister. You are in charge; don’t ever let a kid convince you otherwise and therefore you have the ability to discipline within reason and/or as the parents have directed you. (I refuse to babysit for parents who don’t themselves actively discipline or allow me to discipline their kids-its too chaotic)
  •  The best way for kids to stay out of trouble is to keep them occupied; but if they begin to whine or bicker with siblings, redirect their attention to something else. 
  •  Reinforce good habits like apologizing to siblings for misbehavior, etc.
  • Time-outs generally work well (one minute for each year they are old, sitting away from action of siblings, and no talking privileges)
  • If a child persists in being belligerent, take away privileges -such as going to bed immediately instead of getting to play hide n’ go seek with you and siblings before bed or no dessert, etc.

Make sure the kids get something to eat: a meal, a snack
  • If parents have directed that the kids eat all their dinner before dessert, you are there to reinforce that.
  • Special “babysitter only” foods are fun! My favorite is pretzels dipped in frosting!

Give the Kids a bath if deemed necessary: and of course if the parents tell you to!

Get the kids to bed: do whatever it takes; this is the mark of an awesome babysitter!
  • A good rule with babies: if they cry, let them cry for about 15 minutes before going in to check on them UNLESS it sounds as if something is wrong. Sometimes I sing to a baby or rub their back to help them stop crying and fall asleep.
  • If an older child won’t stay in bed or lay down, lay with them for a little while until they are asleep. Be gentle and firm with older kids that they need to stay in bed.

After the Kids are asleep
  • Laundry: do it & fold it!
  • Clean up the playroom/toys
  • Dishes: always empty or load the dishwasher, never just stack dishes in the sink.
  • Take out the kitchen trash
  • Straighten up any other areas of the house

Once the house is in tip top shape, then feel free to watch TV, read a book, eat some food or do whatever!

When the parents come home: tell them what you did with the kids, what they ate and when, how they behaved (or misbehaved!), if/when a baby had a dirty diaper, etc. Parents want that reassurance that their kids are in responsible hands.

Today's List

Today's To Do: ( I like posting my lists...it kinda helps keep me accountable- especially for getting that pilates video done!)
  • Do Esther lesson while drinking hot tea
  • Pilates video- no pilates class today at the YMCA, only step class and my legs need a break from the past 3 days!
  • Go to UPS and mail 2 packages
  • Go to Sam's, get gas and some food & vending supplies for Monday
  • Laundry, wash sheets
  • Vacuum, dust
  • Dishwasher loaded, started, countertops cleaned
  • clean cat box (yuck)
  • take out the trash
  • Play fishy with Finnigan
  • Make cookies for Jason's lunches
  • Post new adorable pictures of friend's foster baby and of Finnigan
  • Post "Dangerous Chocolate Cake" recipe on blog
  • Take it easy with my husband this evening. It's been an exhausing week. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I don't know

Well this morning Jason told me I hadn't posted much on my blog lately. He said the nickle picture didn't count. I asked what he would like me to blog about, his response: "I don't know" so I guess I'll just let you know what is going on. We have been busy. Aren't we always? 

  • It was icy last week. It put my work schedule off 2 days since I didn't want to risk driving in and out of parking lots all day and get into an accident. 
  • Jason signed up for a 4-on-4 basketball league at the Y with a couple guys from church. 
  • Jason's been playing a lot of racquetball lately. Usually twice a week. I told him it's gotta come down to once a week if he is going to be playing bball one night a week too. Three nights a week gone late is too much for this little married gal to take. I try to go watch him if I have time, but it's not good "face-to-face" time together. 
  • I signed up for a membership at the Y with my friend Jessica in mid-January. I've really enjoyed working out with her 1-2 times a week and then going to step aerobics a couple other times a week. I've yet to make it to a pilates class even though I love pilates. Hopefully Friday I will have a free day to go! I went to one yoga class a week or two ago. I decided yoga is for the birds. It was dumb, a waste of my time. Pilates at least works out your muscles.  I'm trying to get my mom to join too so she can go with me sometimes!
  • We went to $3 burger night at McNellie's last Wednesday night after rball with Jason's friend Thomas. They give you like a 1/2 lb. burger~ there was no way I was going to eat mine all by myself!
  • We went to the youth group super bowl party Sunday night since we are youth sponsors. We went, but I can honestly tell you I watched none of the game. Football is so boring to me! I don't think I even watched any more than 3 commercials either. 
  • I went to a baby shower for a friend from church Monday night. One of the other guest's I met owns this cool restaurant, Elote. We are going to have to check them out. They serve primarily organic Mexican food! How cool is that!?
  • Saturday Jason & I are helping lay floor tile for a church project at the local Teen Challenge center. Today my mom is starting to teach a class there on Joyce Myer's Battlefield of the Mind
  • Finnigan is growing. It's getting harder for me to just scoop him up with one hand. He's very talkative and likes to wake up about 4:30-5am every morning. He will sleep till 6am if we play a whole bunch with him before bed time. He has this fish thing on an elastic string he LOVES it!
  • Besides my mom, I haven't seen the rest of my family for like 2 weeks. :(
  • If you go to church with me: get on the cookbook website and enter some more recipes! We have only 12 more days!!! 
  • Jason has been working a lot on this huge way up high project. He is replacing all the eaves on a two story house in a historical part of town. in January he got to buy a 20" planer, a joiner and a drum sander for this project. He was excited!  The night we had home fellowship last month was the day he had gone to Dallas to pick up the planer- when he was late to our group our pastor asked me where Jason was. He misunderstood me and thought Jason was in Dallas buying a plane! Greg said, "What on earth is Jason getting into planes for?!"
  • We went to go see Madagascar 2 last night at the dollar movie- 50 cent Tuesdays! It was ok, not as good as a Pixar movie though! 
That's all I can think of now. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I found this in one of our vending machines 
yesterday and thought it might be worth 
something more than 5 cents....
A whopping 50 cents

Monday, February 2, 2009

Update 2

Another update from my friend, Diane. :)

Good news!  Ashley called a few minutes ago.  She had spent the afternoon w/ Nikki.  They went to the clinic (Ashely is in the middle of her  dr's residency) and got an ultrasound w/ lots of pics.  Nikki was crying as she was watching the ultrasound.  She is planning on cancelling the abortion appointment at this time!  She is open to Ashley calling CPO for her and making an appointment to talk!  Nikki feels much less overwhelmed now.  Oh, and during the ultrasound, Ashley could not find two babies.  She thinks perhaps that one twin didn't survive and was re-absorbed since the last ultrasound that had been done at an ER.  Keep praying that Nikki will make more good choices and that she will definitely cancel the abortion appointment.  Praise the Lord that so far she has chosen life for her baby.
Thanks for praying,