Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

One year ago tonight, Bobby and I came home and realized our world had flipped completely upside down and we were facing a new "normal." There have been some ups and downs. There have been some happy and sad moments. But I have learned so much over the last year. (Too much to list here) As sad as this day could be, it's not, which I know sounds completely crazy to most people. But when you have so many friends, a wonderful family, and a God that is always there when you need them, you look at life and all of its difficulties with a positive outlook.

Michael's monument
Tonight was the first time I have been to Michael's grave. I put it off for a few days even though I wanted to see his monument that was set Saturday. At the end of my work day, I knew there was a reason why I put it off. Today was the day – the perfect day! I know God had a reason for me to wait to go. It was a strange feeling knowing Michael was there but not there at the same time. My dear friend, Patty, went with me because I didn’t know how I would react the first time. I was glad she was there even though I didn’t lose it like I was afraid could happen. I was almost what could be called giddy. I think it was the monument. I felt so at peace standing there looking at it. The Cruiser is there just like I wanted and just like I know he would have wanted. One friend pointed out to me that it looks like the Cruiser is driving off into the sunset! (I can’t remember who, sorry if it was you L) And of course I had to make sure he had the Aggies there.  It is just perfect!

So, please don't cry for me or for Bobby. We were so blessed to have Michael even though it was for too short a time. When I look around, there are so many reminders of his love for us. He was an incredible man!

Tonight, take a moment to thank God that I did get to have him in my life. Thank God that Bobby got to have such a wonderful Dad. We know that God put us here for a reason and I'm truly having fun discovering all the things that God has done for me in the last year and I'm excited to see what's next in the coming next.

Everyone, stay tuned to see what's next in our ongoing adventure!

Esther 4:14b (TNIV)
And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saying a Prayer with Guests

I just read this wonderful idea in Ladies' Home Journal (which I have no idea why I'm receiving it since I never ordered a subscription but they have an interesting offer for my "renewal subscription").

Tie a jingle bell to a a piece of twine and use it as a napkin ring. Ask everyone to make a wish and hang their bell on the tree. Ladies' Home Journal, December 2012/January 2013

I love this idea but instead of a wish it will be say a prayer. What a wonderful reminder every year of the time you spent together. 

Bell Gift Tag

Every time you hear
This bell ring,
May it be a reminder of
God's love for you!

Feel free to download and save this tag for your own personal use!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Couponing Hints

A few friends have asked bout how I coupon. First let me say, I'M NOT AN EXPERT! But I believe that we can all learn from each others experience. So here are some ideas of where I find my coupons:

I follow a lot of blogs that post links to coupons. 

Many times the companies have coupons on their websites or on their Facebook pages.
Be aware that some coupons from companies can be printed only one time. But some of them you can back up to the page and print it a 2nd time.
These are the companies that you will see coupons from in the newspapers. I try to limit printing from them because they are usually the same as the free newspaper version. Why waste my ink & paper, when I can get them for free?

Also, luckily for me, my wonderful mother-in-law saves her coupons for me!
If you are one of those people who likes to shop in different stores (not me), there also many blogs that will list sales and price comparisons. 

Coupon Mom is fabulous because she helps you find the lowest prices and which stores to find the best prices. She also has the links to the coupons that are listed in her price listing.

 Some blogs recommend not cutting out the coupons, just keeping them in files and pulling out the coupon you need when you go shopping. That to me sounds like a huge pain! I guess it would work if you lived closer to the stores than my 30 minute one way trip, it would make sense. They can simply go back tomorrow or another day to use their coupons. I cut out all of my coupons that I could use and put them in plastic sheets that are sold for trading cards. I take my binder with me just in case we see something that wasn't on the list or something that is a fabulous bargain. To me, it would be a waste to be at the store and need to buy something and not have my coupon! Why go through the trouble of cutting them out, saving them, and not being able to use them.

For me, personally, the biggest problem that I'm still trying to figure out is what is the best way to keep track of my coupons and having a usable list to shop with. I did create a spreadsheet where I listed each of the items, the coupon, and what is the required purchase for the coupon. Bobby said it was the quickest way that we had shopped yet. I'm still learning and always trying to make it better and more convenient.

I hope this helps someone out there! I would welcome any suggestions you have. I want to learn from your experience, too!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grieving God's Way

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a book that sounded like just what I needed at this time in my life. I wish I could remember where I found it but…alas my memory fails me again! That is beside the point now because the book was delivered today by the “Brown Santa” (UPS delivery man). The book is called Grieving God’s Way: The Path to Lasting Hope and Healing by Margaret Brownley.

Michael died a little more than 6 months ago and I’ve been looking for the “right” book that would help me process everything that’s going through my head. Some days it’s as if everything is going to be great and then the next day you realize how difficult things are and you are having to do it all by yourself.

  • There is no one else to bounce ideas off.
  • There is no one there to say you are overreacting!
  • There is no one to snuggle up to.
  • There is no one to make you laugh and disgusted all at the same time.

But other days, I feel as if I can conquer the world! Bring it on!

  • Lawn mower stopped working? No problem – check the oil, check the gas, jumpstart – mow away!
  • Flat tire on the riding mower? No problem – ask your brother-in-law to show you how to take it off, get flat fixed, put it back on – now you’re back in business!
  • Door won’t close? No problem – ask Dad to teach me how to fix it and now I can do it for any door that might be a problem.
  • No place to put your shoes? No problem – check Pinterest for ideas, hang a rod, bend the hangers, & voila, problem solved!

But when I read about this book, I felt drawn to it so I immediately preordered it from and waited for it to become available and today it arrived! It’s a 90 day devotional that begins with:

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

In each verse Ms. Brownley breaks it down for you to see how it can apply to grief. Verse 3 hits home the most right now for me because the author states “A normally dependent woman must learn to do for herself after her husband’s death rather than transfer her dependency onto her children.”  That describes me to a T! I had become dependent on Michael to do so many things and I didn’t see it. I had lost my internal strength to “get ‘er done!”

After reading that statement I remembered – I want to do it all by myself. I’m going to do this but sometimes I just need to be reminded that God has given me this task and I’m up for it!

Thank you God for trusting me to be strong enough to handle anything that comes my way!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eight Years Ago Today

Eight years ago today, on the other side of the world, a woman who had sacrificed so much for nine months, was in a hospital giving birth to a baby boy. She knew that she couldn’t raise him. She knew that he belonged somewhere else. She knew that God had big plans for him.
Meanwhile, back on this side of the world, a young couple was beginning to realize that having a child the natural way wasn’t going to happen for them. They had tried all the ways that man has to offer but God had big plans for them.
That little boy was in the hospital for 15 days before going to his temporary home where he would wait for his mom and dad to come get him. Every day he was held and rocked and loved by the wonderful women at the orphanage. He grew bigger and stronger in that love. But still he knew that God had big plans for him.
Fast forward almost two years and you will see a little boy that was waiting patiently for his mom and dad while they were working tirelessly to get to him. Until one day, Marcy 21, 2006, the phone rang…
 “Hello,” his mother said.
“Kirsten? Are you okay” the voice said.
“Yes – I’m just trying to figure out why you’re calling me on a Friday afternoon.” (You see the voice was the adoption coordinator. They had a standing appointment for Monday afternoons but this was a Friday, highly unusual.)
“Well, I may have a baby for you,” she said.
The rest of the story is history, as they say. For the next two months, the little boy’s mother and father worked even more tirelessly getting ready to fly to the other side of the world to claim that boy as their own.
I have always heard that the first time you see your baby, you are instantly in love. I worried if I, too, would feel that instant connection. After all, this child grew under another woman’s heart for nine months and was loved by caretakers for 2 years. Would he reject me? Would our battle to have a child of our own come to an end or keep going?
Well, I’m here to tell you that the moment I saw that little boy in person, I was instantly in love! He was a little unsure at first but he came to understand that we were his family that he had been waiting for. Those two years before he came into my life were just the catalyst that God used to get us ready for family life.
And so today, I wanted to take time to honor that young woman that sacrificed so much to have a healthy baby. She had to hide her pregnancy because she was unmarried and would have been killed (beheaded) if her secret was found out. Instead of getting rid of that baby, she snuck into Kazakhstan where she knew she would be safe and so would her baby. When I think of her, I always say a prayer of thanks to God but I also offer up a prayer for her. I hope she knows that her little boy is well, happy, loved, and smart.
Even though this is a day to celebrate Bobby’s birthday we know how much bigger it is that we have him. So, thank you to that young woman that we will probably never meet. May your life be filled with blessings every day as ours is because of your gift. Thank you God for Your grace and love that allows me to be that little boy’s mother. Thank you God for giving him a wonderful father that was willing to go the “extra mile” to get him. Every day I have with that little boy is a blessing and he continually reminds me of Your unending love.