Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's He REALLY Thinking? by Paula Rinehart

"Am I going to count love as it comes to me in a male package? Or am I going to spend my life insisting love be delivered in the manner I recognize most quickly - words and empathy?"

These are questions Paula Rinehart asks in "What's He REALLY Thinking?" It's an age old dilemma - men don't understand women and women don't understand men - the basis for many frustrations in relationships. Rinehart hits this issue head on - with refreshingly simple insight into the male psyche.

Based on what she's learned through many years as a counselor, Rinehart gives us glimpses into how men think, why they hurt, and what drives them to be the fascinating creatures they are. This information can help you learn how to better relate to the men in your life, and in turn, have a greater impact on them.

This book challenged me. It encouraged me. It helped me to understand my husband more deeply. If you are looking for a shift in your attitude, a change in your perspective, then this is the book for you. It contains the tools you need to transform your communication with your husband, father, and any other significant man in your life.

Interested? Click here!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This week's Blog Hop is our Favorite Childhood photo. This is one of my favorites - simply because Aubrey's eyes are just sparkling!! You can really see what a bright blue they are.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Saturday, July 25, 2009

11 Ways to be a Better Wife

Rothaarige Frau öffnet gespannt den Liebesbrief

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Today we celebrated our 11th anniversary. Believe me, we've had frugal anniversaries before, but this year. . . well, let's just say we had to get REEAAALL creative. We talked about what we could do, and decided to write each other a love letter. In my letter to Ivan, I told him my top 11 favorite things about him, then wrote out 11 things that I will work on for him, and for our relationship in general. Then I cracked open The Book and got busy.

Now I don't know about you, but for me, when I read some of the verses in the Bible, I think about other people and other relationships, not my marriage. What a difference it makes to shift my thinking just a little bit, and try to apply them to us. Here's what I told Ivan I will be working on:

1. Philippians 2:3-4

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others".

I hope I'm not alone struggling with this! My biggest downfall is in thinking about my "needs". I selfishly think, "He should be trying to meet my needs. . . I'm trying to meet his!" How loving is that? I'm sure he'd rather me not try to meet his needs at all if that's my motivation. This is definitely a biggie for me.

2. Philippians 4:6

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God".

My husband has enough weight on his shoulders without me worrying about everything and him having to deal with my anxiety. I'm going to try to hand those worries to the Lord before I dump them on my husband.

3. Ephesians 5:22

"Wives, be subject to your own husband, as to the Lord".

You didn't think you'd get through this without this one, did you? When there is a big decision to be made, I'm going to tell Ivan my opinion, then try to let him make his decision on his own. When I'm trying to force my viewpoint, and convince him to do things how I think they should be done, I'm not letting him be the spiritual leader the Lord has commanded him to be. I always wanted to marry someone who would try to lead our family spiritually - yet I find myself not letting him many times. Definitely something I'm working on.

4. 1 Peter 3:8-9a

"To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead;"

I so want Ivan to think of me as a blessing. I'm sure this is pretty morbid, but if I end up dying before he does, how will he remember me? Our time here together is so limited, when you think in terms of eternity. It seems like a pretty big waste of time to be insulting each other and egging on discord when the Lord can lead us in being harmonious.

5. Ephesians 5:33b

"And let the wife see to it that she respect her husband".

Here's another one that's not always easy to hear. However, I'm beginning to see how simple it really is. Ladies, I believe that men THRIVE under the respect they receive. We thrive in being cherished, they thrive in being respected. Although I'm obviously not a man, I think men feel disrespected through our words AND our body language. A rolling of the eyes, a sigh of frustration . . . we can tear them down so easily with this - and turn them away from us. I want Ivan to know, without me saying it, that I respect him. Period.

6. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a

"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion".

First, am I a companion to Ivan? Do I regularly watch out for his needs and try to take care of them? Can he confide in me, and trust that his secrets are safe? Secondly, am I taking care enough of myself so that when he should fall, I have the mental capacities to lift him up again? Am a being a "team player" in this marriage, so we have a good return for our labor?

7. Proverbs 3:11-12

"The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life".

Read that again. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. I TRY to do good for Ivan, but my selfishness gets in the way ALL THE TIME. So although I may not be intentionally being evil, there are plenty of times that I'm not doing him good.

8. James 1:2-4

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing".

This is not the first thing that comes to my mind when we're having a disagreement. In fact, it NEVER comes into my mind at that time! I'm beginning to believe that if I think of our disagreements as God trying to grow me, I will behave differently in the midst of them.

9. Philippians 3:13

"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. . . "

I know that this verse is not specifically talking about the marriage relationship - but it could change your relationship with your husband if you let it! We've heard it all our lives "Don't bring up past offenses". That's hard to do, especially if your spouse brings up all that you've done wrong in the past. Whether it's a little spat, or a major offense that needs forgiveness, at the point that you forgive them it shouldn't be spoken of again.

10. Proverbs 31:26

"She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue".

Okay. . . this one is difficult. We women have lots of things coming off our tongues, as evidenced in this post! :) Is kindness what Ivan thinks of when he thinks of my words? What about wisdom? Does he think I talk to much, that I'm a busybody? If so, then I doubt he puts "Margie" and "wisdom" together.

11. Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things".

This baby covers a multitude of things! What I think of most is - are the majority of my thoughts about Ivan pure, lovely, excellent, honorable, etc etc etc? Or do I think on what he's done wrong, or what he's not doing for me, or the dishwasher he didn't load how I do? Love. believes. the. best. More than that, I think love should DWELL on the best. Do you look for the good things your husband does, or says? Do you kick out those negative thoughts as soon as they enter your mind? It's much simpler than you might imagine. I just had to decide to do it, and I feel the Lord has blessed that attitude. However, I certainly don't have it licked, so I'm committing to work on it more.

I know that these 11 scriptures don't even begin to touch how many we could find that would help us to be better wives. What about you? Do you have a specific verse that has helped you in some way in growing with your spouse? Please share - I need all the help I can get!!!! :)
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Sing, Sing, Sing!

Oh, I love this song! When we sing it at church, I end up with it in my mind all week. I always have such joy when I sing this song, and I know that must make my Father happy. It's so easy to just sing sometimes without really thinking about what we're singing. I never have that problem with this song!

Aren't you grateful that we can sing to Him, and grateful that He hears us? Lift high His name!

Don't forget to go see Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders for more musical inspiration!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Turtle Cheesecake

CAUTION: This recipe is NOT low-fat, NOT low-calorie, NOT quick, NOT simple . . .

BUT TOTALLY WORTH IT! I make this for myself almost every year for my birthday. It's from the cookbook Diner Desserts, by Tish Boyle. This is the best cookbook you will ever have, people! Here's the link for it on Amazon. Some of the best money I've ever spent - I promise. Enjoy!

Cheesecake Filling

1/3 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 3/4 lbs. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 TBS cornstarch, sifted
1/2 c. sour cream
4 large eggs
2/3 c. heavy cream
1 TBS vanilla

Caramel Topping

1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Pecan Garnish

1/2 c. pecan pieces, toasted (spread in cookie sheet, bake @ 350 for 5-10 minutes. Shake pan a few times while baking. Allow to cool before using).

Chocolate Drizzle

2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 c. heavy cream

1. To make cheesecake filling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Dust with graham cracker crumbs and tap out excess.

2. In an electric mixer, using the paddle or beaters attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch and mix until combined. Add the sour cream, mixing on low speed just until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until blended.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 225 degrees ane bake an additional 60-70 minutes, or just until the center no longer looks wet. Turn the oven off (without opening the door) and leave the cake in the closed oven for an additional hour. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours before making the topping.

4. To make the caramel topping, measure out the heavy cream and have it ready near the stove. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it turns a dark amber. (I actually only let it become medium amber.) Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the heavy cream (it will bubble vigorously). Return the pan to medium heat and stir just until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Scrape the topping into a medium bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until it is a spreadable consistency.

5. Remove the side of the springform pan from the cake. Using a small offset metal spatula, spread the caramel topping over the top and sides of the cheesecake, covering it completely. Press the toasted pecans around the side of the cake. Refrigerate the cake while you make the chocolate drizzle.

6. To make the chocolate drizzle, place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and separate the top pan from the bottom. Let the chocolate mixture cool for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is just warm.

7. Scrape the chocolate into a small, sealable plastic bag and seal the bag. Cut a very small hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag (better too small than too large). Drizzle the top of the cake with the chocolate mixture, using it all. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving.

Voila! Heaven on a plate! Sorry I don't have a picture - next time I make it, I'll make sure to get one and post it!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, July 17, 2009

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays - Lay It Down

What a great meme this is! I'm going to try to participate each week. The song that has really been speaking to me this week is an older song by Jaci Velasquez called Lay It Down. Some of the words are a little difficult to understand, so here are the lyrics.

I've been lookin' til my eyes are tired of lookin',
Listenin' til my ears are numb from listenin',
Prayin' til my knees are sore from kneelin'
on the bedroom floor.

I know that You know that my heart is breakin'
I'm runnin' out of tears and my will is breakin'
I don't think that I can carry the burden of it anymore.

All of my hopes and my dreams and my best laid plans,
Are slowly slippin' through my folded hands

So I'm gonna lay it down
I'm gonna learn to trust You now
What else can I do?
Cause everything I am depends on You
And if the sun don't come back up
I know Your love will be enough
I'm gonna let it be, I'm gonna let it go,
I'm gonna lay it down.

I've been walkin' through this world like I'm barely livin'
Buried in the doubt of this hole I've been diggin'
But You're pullin' me out
I'm finally breathin' in the open air.

This room may be dark but I'm finally seein'
There's a new ray of hope, and now I'm believin'
That the past is past, and the future's beginning to look brighter now.

Oh, cause all of my hopes and my dreams and my best laid plans
Are safe and secure when I place them in Your hands.

Sometimes it is so difficult for me to give ALL to my Father. I try to tightly grasp little things in my hands - thinking that I can manage them so much better than He. How ridiculous!

He knows me. He loves me. He has plans for me. Plans to prosper and not to harm me. Slowly but surely, I'm learning to Lay It Down.

Go see Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders for more inspiring music!

Hotel Hendricks

We've got some dear, dear friends from Arkadelphia who have since moved to Abilene. You can find no friend truer than Jill. Her heart is as gold - she is always thinking of ways to do something nice for someone else. She talks a mile-a-minute, she's rambunctious, she leaves 5 minute messages on your machine, she snorts, and she'll make you laugh '
til you're crying and wetting your pants at the same time. I've probably never had a more thoughtful friend. She made these curtains for Aubrey.

Mike was one of my Art professers at Ouachita. He's soft-spoken and a little reserved. Yet, like Jill, he has a heart of gold.

Jill's family lives in New York. Her sister would have lost her life a couple of months ago, were it not for the mighty hand of God. So Mike, Jill and the 4 kiddos are headed up, by way of minivan, to New York for a few weeks. Their first stop was Hotel Hendricks, the halfway point to Mike's dad in Tennessee.

Here's Jill and I.

And Mike and Ivan.
They're such manly men!

We were all so glad to see that the kids were taking advantage of this limited time together, and playing with each other as much as they could.

Yes, every single one of them had some sort of game system in their hand. Gotta love it!

Analeigh, their baby, was precious! She has quite the personality under that dark hair. But she's so gosh darn cute, I don't know how her parental units ever get on to her.

I think it was a great time had by all. Jill's visit was certainly a burst of fresh air and encouragement to me. I'm thankful to have such a commited sister in Christ in my life. I love ya, girl!

Makeover Magic!

I think ya'll would all agree with me. . . we're going through some tough financial times. Life as a broker (and broker's wife) has been horrible a little rough lately, to say the least. Ivan, being the great daddy and husband he is, has taken on a 2nd job, to help make ends meet. So, his new working hours are 65+ hours a week.


But we're really trying to make the most of it. I'm trying to make those days that he's gone ALL day a little more fun.

Hence. . .

Makeover Day.

The girls have really wanted to give me a makeover lately. Actually, I've needed wanted to give myself a makeover for a while now, but that's beside the point. So, I let 'em at it. Here's my before.

I know. Typical "before" image. I can't believe I'm actually posting this on here.

Here's my after.

Hee-hee! Don't you love the eyeliner halfway to my ear? In a perfectly shaped crescent? I'm also wearing a black scarf, rhinestone necklace, rhinestone bracelet, and Hello Kitty ring halfway down my pinkie finger.

Ew-wee! I know I'm hot! :) You'd better watch out, Ivan. Someone's gonna snatch me away lookin like this!

I can't believe I'm actually posting this on here.

Of course, it couldn't be a Makeover Day without my little angels getting done, too.

I present, Diva #1.

And, Diva #2.

Of course, being the diva that she is, one picture just wasn't enough.

Neither were two.

And, finally, the fabulous posed threesome.

I know. It's the stuff memories are made of. Amen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Peek into My Soul. . .

Time for a blog hop! Doesn't this look like fun? I think it's a great way to meet some new bloggy friends. This week's topic is 3 random things you may not know about me.

1. My current foodie obsession is Peanut M & M's. And I have to eat them a special way. Or 1 of 2 special ways, anyway. When eating these little morsels of deliciousness, you need to either (a) suck on them until the crisp chocolatey coating is melted, then eat the peanut and soft chocolate, or (b) try to bite it perfectly in half, actually only biting off 1/2 the chocolate so an entire peanut and 1/2 the chocolate is remaining. You may then commence to eat what remains. I promise you, although they are mucho delicioso when you just pop them in your mouth, for some reason they taste better when you eat them one of these two ways. Don't ask me why. They just do.

2. I struggle DAILY with putting my husband above God in my life. It is such a struggle to not make Ivan foremost in my mind and thoughts - because I can touch him, look at him, and audibly hear him respond to me. I'm usually thinking - "How can I love him better?" - and this is a good thing to think. However, I should be asking the same thing about God. Do any of you struggle with this?

3. I have a pretty big self-esteem issue. And I don't have too many reasons to, intellectually. I was raised in a loving, Christian home. My parents did a great job making me feel secure and loved. I've always been blessed with lots of friends. I have a husband who loves me for who I am, warts (or extra weight) and all. I know that I am blessed - but I really get down on myself sometimes. I have a hard time seeing myself through the Lord's eyes - although I do okay seeing others that way.

So, there you have it! I hope you join me in this fun hop!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Morning Shop

Mama came down for the weekend, so yesterday we decided to take the girls to some yard sales. Emma and Sarah had just over a dollar each, and we'd spent half the day Friday convincing them that their buck would bring more at a yard sale than Wal-Mart.

Sarah got a DS cover, a pen, some eye shadow and 4 tubes of lip gloss for about 85 cents. Emma found a HSM radio, 2 eyeshadows, 1 lip gloss and 1 bottle of perfume for about 70 cents. Not too bad! I think their yard sale initiation wasn't too shabby!

Mama found this adorable Limited Too dress for Emma.

How much do you think I paid for it? $5.00? $3.00?

How about $1.00! I think this was definitely the deal of the day. I also found this cute hat for Sarah. It was .50, and it is just her style.

We all thought it looks pretty cute on Aubrey, too!

Of course, we couldn't have the camera out without the girls doing a little more posing!

The Piano Man

I read about this video over at I'm an Organizing Junkie. I haven't heard either of the songs that it's taken from, but it is just beautiful.

It made me happy, so I wanted to share!

I did a little more searching, a found another great piece. This great piano man is Jon Schmidt, and the following is "All of Me".

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book Review: The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

Richard Stearns, former CEO of Parker Brothers and Lenox, shares his testimony of the Lord's movement in his life. He tells of his struggle with the calling the Lord placed on him to leave his corporate world and become the U.S. President of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to helping the impoverished of our world.

To be honest, when I first read the title of this book, I was a little afraid. Who was this person saying that there is something wrong with our Gospel? Does he have a right to say that? After reading this book, I believe he does. With lots and lots of scripture, Stearns challenges Christians to live out the WHOLE gospel - which, in essence, should reach the entire span of the earth. The Bible is full of verses commanding us to love our neighbors - to help the widows and the poor.

Although I got a little bogged down with the numbers, Stearns minces no words in informing the reader of how "rich" even poor Americans are. As Christians, it is our responsibility to "be" Jesus through our hands, feet and yes, our wallets. Sadly, most of us fail miserably at this - outside of the four walls of our churches.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone - Christian and non-Christian alike. It just might make a difference in your life - and your purpose.

Click here to go to Thomas Nelson's product page for this book.
Click "read" below to preview the book.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Birthday Fun

Although it's a few days late, I wanted to show you a few highlights of my birthday.

First thing in the morning, Emma rushed up to me and handed me this beautiful card-

Here's the front. . .

. . . and the back. Doddle page - dontcha love it?

And finally, here's what I found on the inside.

For those of you that are natural editors as I am, you'll notice that there are only 9 dimes, not 10. I know! Hilarious! Come to think of it, there were only 8 in the card that morning. I found one on the dining room floor later that day.

Oh, it made me smile!!

The best next door neighbors in the world arrived that night with some fabulous German Chocolate Cake. Delish! We fixed some coffee and had a ball hanging out. Emma and Sarah got their dress-up on and wigs out, as usual.
Silly Emma

Then Ivan decided to have a little fun.

Oh. My. Goodness!!! Hilarious!!

Here she is without all that "Miss Piggy" hair.

Little Miss Blue Eyes

All in all, I think year 36 started off in JUST the right way.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Like Sands Through the Hourglass. . .

. . . these are the days of my life.

35. Here I am on the eve of my 35th birthday, and all I can think is. . .

It doesn't seem possible.

How could I have lived 35 years already? What happened?

Me as a wee little lass - 1975?

Have I grown? Have I changed? Have I learned anything?

Yes, I've grown. Yes, I've changed. Yes, I've learned. . . at least I'd like to think so!

What amazing experiences these years have brought! I've seen a roadrunner racing across the acrid Arizona desert. I've nearly drowned as a child in the Atlantic Ocean at Myrtle Beach. I've seen my daddy charged by a mama moose in our backyard in Alaska. I've graduated from high school, beauty school and college.

Arkadelphia, AR 1999
Arkadelphia, AR 1997

I've lost 2 grandfathers, 1 grandmother, an uncle and my daddy. I've lost 3 babies of my own.

I've found love. I've made a family.
Wedding Day - July 25, 1998

I've learned what true friends are, and what true friends aren't.

I've been hurt beyond measure.

I've also been loved beyond measure. I've spent many hours laughing, crying in joy, and crying in pain. I've mourned. I've rejoiced. I've celebrated!

I graduated from Ben Eielson High School in Alaska 17 years ago. I'm not the same person I was then. I don't trust quite so easily. I'm less sure of myself. To be honest, I'm probably a lot bit more selfish than I was then. But I wouldn't go back - and I won't regret.

High School graduation 1992

This past year alone has brought tremendous changes to my life. I've had another baby. I've made friends and lost friends. I've been through some of the best and worst times of my life in these past 12 months. We've had struggles in our family and struggles financially.

But this family is closer than I believe we've ever been. We're closer to the Lord and closer to each other.

Lord willing, I've got at least another 35 years on this earth. I'm sure many more struggles and many more successes are in store for me. I will continue to laugh, to cry, to rejoice and to mourn.

I will continue to grow. I will continue to change. And hopefully, I will continue to learn.

So, what has your journey in life taught you? What would you encourage me to do to live the rest of my life, however long that is, to the fullest?
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