Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ch - ch - ch - Changes!


I've got a hot date tomorrow night.

It's the first going out-no kids-spend money-have a sitter-date in well over a year! Needless to say, I'm just a little pumped.

So. . .

I went shopping today. Cato's clearance. Spent $40.00 - jewelry, shoes, shirt and slacks.

Oh, and the pants I tried on? Size 12!!

Oh! My! Gracious! Last time I was a size 12 was over 14 years ago. Seriously.
Here's a picture of me close to my heaviest, in 2006.

And yet another one.

I still can't understand how I could look like that but not realize that that's what I looked like. When I looked in the mirror every day, that is not what I saw. I'm almost ashamed to see those pictures now . . . how could I ever let myself feel so bad, so tired, so sore - and never do anything to try to fix it?

But I digress.

Back to today. So the girls and I came home, and I tried everything on for them. They wanted to take pictures, so we had a mini fashion show.

Wanna hear some other numbers?

You know, cause you care?

During the month of January, I did cardio 6 days a week, with some strength training 3 days of the week. My cardio consisted of Zumba classes at the gym (LOVE IT!!!!), running, and getting on the stationary bike. I can now run 35 minutes without stopping, and have done as much as 50 minutes on the bike. Woo hoo!!

My results were so good, Ivan decided it would be a good investment for me to be able to join the gym - he's not used to me loving exercise! :)

And you know, Ivan knows a good investment when he sees one.

Oh, you want to know the results?

You know, it's not really that big of a deal. Just a little bit. . .

Okay, okay!

15 pounds! And 13.5 inches! Off this short-stuff 5 foot body!

I realize that in the grand scheme of life, my weight loss journey is not a big deal. It seems kind of silly to be so excited about something so superficial-feeling. But I'm changed on the inside more than on the outside. I feel like a new woman. . . I'm finding a new confidence in myself - a new joy in life - a new appreciation for this body the Lord gave me, and how much it can do if I push it just a bit! I have so much more energy - and so much more of myself to give to others. I'm finding new fulfillment in my ministry here at home. I'm serving my family so much better.
I still have a long way to go. I'm 39 pounds down from my highest weight, and I have 41 (at least) to go. But you know what?
I'm gonna do it.
With a smile on my face, and a song in my heart. (Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul! Thank you, Lord, for making me whole! Thank you, Lord, for giving to me. . . life more abundant, so rich and free!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Where, Oh Where, Has my Margie Gone?

I'm here! I'm still here!!

Contrary to popular belief, I have NOT dropped off the face of the earth. Really.

I mean it.

Let me 'splain.

I blog for me. Blogging, so far, has been MY time. A time where I think about me.

I think about what I like and don't like.

I think about what I'M like, and not like.

I think about what God is doing in my life.

What He's teaching me.

How He's growing me.

And every once in a while, those thoughts make a little bit of sense on the screen.

I re-tell funny things that happen in our family - things I don't want to forget.

It's MY time. I try not to blog when my children are awake and need me. I usually don't blog when my hubby's home. (Cause, you see, I am married to him, not this computer.) :) So, normally, I blog on Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday night when he's working at his 2nd job. It's a small window of opportunity, but I do what I can.

I still love to blog, and have all kinds of thingys floating around in my head wanting to be blogged about.

And, I will get to them.

Just not today. :)

You see, for the past 2 or 3 months, I've had something else vying for my "Me time". Something very important.

Taking care of myself.

I'm counting calories. I'm strength training. I'm doing 30-45 minutes of cardio 6 or 7 times a week, whether it's running, Zumba classes, or walking with Leslie Sansone.

So, in the midst of priority #1 (my 3 girls, plus 2 more that I take care of at different times through the week), priority #2 (getting school done every day), priority #3 (being the godly wife I should be) and priority #4 ( keeping our home in some semblance of order), I'm really trying to take care of me, so I can continue to juggle everything that I love so much. At this point, it takes a LOT of time.

I'm hopeful that it won't always be this way. One day, I won't have to be so stringent about counting every calorie that goes into this mouth. One day, I'll kind of know just what I can eat, and how much.

For now, however, I need to dedicate this much time to this. Because you know what? This isn't a passing phase. Not this time. I am absolutely changing the way I live. I'm changing my eating habits, and I'm changing how much this ole body moves.

I'm just beginning to see the outward changes. Yippee!!! But you know what's even better than that? The inward changes that I've felt for the past few months. I'm succeeding! I'm running 2 miles at a time and I'm in control of the food that goes into my mouth. Food used to be in control of me. It's a very sad/sick feeling to know/feel that as much as you shouldn't have that brownie, you just don't have the willpower to resist it. To feel like a failure every time you eat, because you just can't seem to stop.

I've felt that way for many many years. And I can't even really tell you why. But I feel that way no longer! I tell you, every time I eat now, it's one more notch in my success belt. In the past 2 weeks, I've gone over my calories one day. That's it! And when that happened, I didn't give up and quit like I had every other time. I questioned why I did it, figured out the answer, and began again the next day, knowing I could remain in control.

It's a good feeling. One that I don't want to let go of.

Ivan found this picture yesterday flipping through the photos he had on his phone, taken in late November. Just 2 1/2 months ago. It's obviously a picture of the girls, but there I am in the lower left corner, looking like a linebacker at the computer. Look at that back, and those shoulders, and that big ole rear end! Why couldn't I see that this is what I looked like?

Ivan kept trying to tell me when he found this that I don't look like this anymore. I didn't believe him.

I'm in the same size clothes. Very few clothing items "feel" different. I don't SEE much change when I look in the mirror.

So, we recreated the picture, sans Emma and Sarah. We tried to get me in about the same position, with the same clothes on. Yes, the shirt's a different color, but it's the same shirt. Same brand, same style, same.

Here's me yesterday.

Can you see the difference?

I know, I know . . . I've still got a bit of a muffin top - I've still got a long ways to go. (Like 45 pounds!) But, I'm on my way. No pills, no medical help, no shortcuts. Just good old-fashioned diet and exercise.

So, bloggy world, forgive me for not visiting as often as I should. I love you, and miss you old friend. :) Although I don't see you as often as in days of yore, I think of you often, and MEAN to stop by.

My busy days will soon be gone. So although I'm not here as much, I am still here. I will return.

Hopefully this week.

Cause you KNOW you can't get rid of me THAT easily!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dustbunnies begone!

You know, we're just a typical homeschooling family.

The girls rise early, bring me breakfast in bed, and ask, "Mommy, how can we help you?"

"Can we rub your back? Can we rub your feet? Can we clean the bathrooms? Fold some laundry?"

Nary a harsh word is spoken. Nary a frustration between siblings.

No fighting.

No raised voices.

No meltdowns.


We all dance around our home, joyfully cleaning and singing "What a Wonderful World!"

Okay, okay . . . maybe not so much.

I just have to tell, you, though, I've discovered something that gets us close!

I read in a Family Fun magazine (sorry, don't remember which month) about a family using this - it is so FUN! Are you ready?

Daddy Dollars!!

I set out 1 Daddy Dollar for each of the girls first thing in the morning. They have their handy-dandy chore charts to check off as they go. When (and only when) all their morning chores are done, they can pick up their Daddy Dollar. The caveat is that the dollars are only out for so long. If chores aren't done promptly, no moolah. I repeat this at noon and after dinner.

For their chore charts, I blew up a piece of clipart, printed one out for each of the girls, and one for the reward chart. The little circles under the chore have A's, N's, and P's in them. A is for a.m., N is for noon, and P is for P.M. I covered the charts (along with the dollars) with contact paper, so they can mark off each chore with a dry erase marker. I clean them off each night and waalah - they're ready to go again for the next morning.

Now, before you give me a hard time about what a slave driver I am, know that these chores rarely ALL have to be done every day. For example, although the girls have to check the dishwasher 3x a day, it usually only needs to be emptied once a day. They are responsible for checking, though.

Here's Sarah's (6 year old) chart.

And here's Emma's (almost 9 years old).

So, the girls can get 3 Daddy dollars a day, if not more. I've handed out a few "freebies" when I've seen them being extra loving to each other. Once they've got a few dollars, they can go shopping at the Mommy Mall! Here's the breakdown:

This works because, if you notice, I don't have to run to the store, or worse yet, take them to the store as a reward. :) These are all things available at home - and many of them increase that good quality family time.

I made the "biggie" having a friend sleep over. We love to have the girls' friends over, but I don't want this to be an option every weekend. With Daddy's two jobs, all of us being together is a rare treat and I don't want to dig into that time. So far, though, my girls haven't saved up near enough to get close! Just like real money, it burns a hole in their pocket!

Here are the reasons this is working so well for us.

  • I don't have to lose my patience voice reminding the girls over and over and over again to do their chores.
  • Computer time is limited without me being the bad guy. (If we had a tv, I would obviously have put a tv time reward on there also.) The girls have to pay their money if they want on the computer.
  • Candy is also limited without me being the bad guy. On my counter I've got the goodie basket. For $5 Daddy Dollars, the girls can choose one thing out of it. It's full of nothing but dollar store items and a little bit of candy. Playdoh, pencils, nail polish, headbands, etc. Again, usually they don't get any candy unless they pay for it.
  • I don't have to lose my patience voice reminding the girls over and over and over again to do their chores. Yes, I meant to put this twice - this is awesome!!

To make your own Daddy Dollars, or Mommy Money, or whatever you'd like to call it, go to It's very simple - upload your picture, edit as you wish - go to town!

I actually made bills in $1, $5, $10 and $20 denominations. The higher bills were mainly for trading in. So far - this hasn't been necessary yet! I think the most either one of them has had at one time was $5.00, spent on the goodie basket.

There you are! A shining light in my little world - my Wonderful World.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Amazing Grace

Okay, embedding was disabled, so I'm gonna have to give you the link to see this. I PROMISE YOU, it will be very worth your time to just click on over here.

I got an email this week from Mama with the link for this. I have never heard of Il Divo, but I'm a new fan! This is a breath-taking rendition of Amazing Grace.

A happy in my day. . .

Saturday, November 14, 2009

white picket fences by Susan Meissner (GIVEAWAY!!!!)

What do you think of when you think of a white picket fence?

A little white house?

With 2.5 children and a dog?

Maybe the "perfect" family?

white picket fences by Susan Meissner is a story of the Janvier family, a family that seems to be living the perfect life. When the family decides to take in Tally, their niece and cousin, the threads of perfection begin to unravel. Meissner effortlessly weaves in multiple story lines that keep the reader enthralled - I literally could not put this book down!

A father that has disappeared, tragedies not forgotten, secrets uncovered, and stories of the Holocaust - will Tally's appearance bind the family closer together, or will their white picket fence protect their facade no more?

white picket fences is a clean, dramatic, and uplifting novel. Although the main characters don't seem to have strong, thriving relationships with the Lord, they learn that they can ALWAYS turn to Him - nothing we do can keep us from His love!

One of you lucky readers can win a copy! Just leave me a comment on this post telling me what your all-time favorite book is. I'll draw on Friday, November 20th sometime after noon.

If you don't win, you can purchase this book here.

These (2) books were provided for review and giveway by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Let's Talk about Romance . . .

Let me hear it, ladies. I KNOW you love getting some pedicure action on. Okay - there may be a few of you out there that don't want anyone touching your feet. But, alas, I am not one of those women. I would be one happy woman if I could just have my feet rubbed every night.


I've asked Ivan like 1,000,000 3 times in the past week or so if he could rub my feet. Actually, I asked if he could "do" my feet. When I ask that, I'm leaving it up to him as to how much or how little he does . . . beggars can't be choosers, right?

Let me just say this. I'm a blessed woman. My man can paint toenails as good, if not better, than I do. And I went to beauty school. So, I was hoping I'd get a new paint job, after some lotion and maybe a little foot massage. But, again, I didn't ask for specifics.


Two nights ago, 10:00 rolls around, and I've all but given up. I'm laying in bed, telling myself that I WON'T ask again. It's just not quite so enjoyable when I've had to ask numerous times. To tell the truth, in a perfect world? I wouldn't have to ask at all. He'd be asking me, "Honey, can I do your feet?"

But I digress.

So. Ivan had spent the day reorganizing his workshop. Getting his tools and bags just how he wanted them. He was so excited. He pulled me back there and showed me a big, empty bag. "This is my project bag. When I've got a project to do, I'll just put everything I need in here, and it's all together. When the project's over, I put everything back and the bag is empty again. Isn't that cool?"

I was so glad to see him excited about organization!


Back to 10:00 - I've given up. I'm laying in the bed working on some Sudoku puzzles. Lo and behold, I hear him rustling around in the hall closet - he's getting my nail stuff! Yay!!


He gets started. I've got numerous foot filing thingies. You know, the glorified nail files, for your heels? He starts there. Yay! I'll have pretty feet again!



Where are you going, Ivan?

He's gone like - 5 minutes.


Here he comes.

With this.

Yeah. That there on the left? His project bag.

That there on the right? What was in it.

Let's look a little closer, hmmm?

Yeah. That would be a sanding block, a wood shaver, and yeah. His drill.

Even closer.

Yeah. That would be the sanding bit. FOR MY FEET!
Be still my heart.
You think maybe that's why I had to ask 3 times?
No wonder he's not asking me if he can pamper me this way! :) Methinks a professional pedicure should be on my Christmas list.
P.S. Guess what? They didn't work. None of them. That 'ole foot filer did the job, as always.
P.S.S. I love my husband! I'm sure if this were our first year of marriage, I would have been just a little offended. Now I'm just. . . tickled. You know somebody loves you if they're not afraid to put a drill to your feet!
And my feet may still not look good (no polish), but they sure are soft!
What a fairy-tale, romantic life I live!
What's the most romantic, or misguided romantic thing your husband's ever done for you?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh

* My apologies to Multomah Publishing. I *thought I had scheduled this to post 11/6, but apparantly I was mistaken! So, here's my review, 1 day late and a dollar short. :)

As my first read by Tamara Leigh, Leaving Carolina was a delightful foray into the life of Piper Wick, a southern girl who has done all she can to rid herself of her heritage. Having grown up in smalltown USA, (Pickwick, NC) with an eclectic and conniving family, Piper escapes to L.A. to make a brand new life for herself. 12 years later, her uncle's health scare and concious bring her back home - home to keep him from spilling all the family secrets.

Little does Piper know how much her trip home will change her life - and her heart. Tamara Leigh brings her characters to life with a potpourri of wit, sarcasm, and true-to-life struggles. I can't wait to read more of her work!

This book was provided to me for review by Multnomah Publishing. To purchase this book, click here.
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