Sunday, December 31, 2017

Resolutions for 2018

Well folks, this is it! I am saying GOOD BYE to 2017 and hello to all the possibilities 2018 holds. Safe to say that 2017 was NOT my best year when ya look at it on the surface, but, as with most difficult times, 2017 grew me. I am not the same woman I was this time last year, and I have no reason to doubt that 2017 prepared me for what lies ahead. 

I am more emotionally stable than I have been in many years. I have a more realistic view of myself and the people in my life, not to mention that I have a healthier attitude about what my role is in this world (it's not to save it, in case you were wondering).

My goal for 2018 is simply to get a grip. Chaos gives me anxiety and stresses me out. Even so, MANY areas of my life are still completely chaotic. My resolutions center around my desire to live my life purposefully rather than going through each day managing crises or trying to "catch up." 

2018 will be my year to get it together, figure out what works (I am well aware of what doesn't), and set the stage to move forward. I'll be focusing on being productive in the ways God has blessed me instead of  allowing all the ways I am failing as a mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, etc. to steal my joy. 

I am going to focus on making my outside match my inside, something that is LONG overdue. I'm going to use my bucket list to help accomplish this. I have had fitness goals on there for years. This year I plan to reach those goals.

I have often noticed that my car and house are a direct reflection of how I feel inside. My finances can also be put in this pile of stuff. Currently, it is all a utter mess...a pretty good reflection on what I've been the past several years.  As I continue to neaten, clean up, tidy up, and redecorate "Kristyanna" in an effort to become the woman I believe God intended me to be, I am going to  do the same to the things God has entrusted me with so that they reflect the positive changes going on in me.

All that being said....

In 2018 I resolve to:

  1. Follow the Bible Reading plan to read through the Bible in a year
  2. Plan  menus and Make a grocery list each week 
  3. Go shopping ONCE a week; buy only what is on the list 
  4. Drink 80 oz water every day 
  5. Pay off my credit cards
  6. Mark 25 things off the bucket list 
  7. Use my calendar
  8. Blog once a week for 52 consecutive weeks
  9. Have Christmas gift buying done by October 31
  10. Unplug (including texting, email, games and TV) one day per week for 52 consecutive weeks
  11. Do something social with girlfriends once a month 

What are your resolutions?

Share in the comments!

Much love and big hugs!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday's Thoughts on.... 2017

Here's my annual list of 100 things....

                 In  2017 ......
  1. I tried to commit suicide 
  2. I was committed... twice
  3. I went to Horse Therapy!!
  4. Brian and Bryn graduated from High School
  5. TRUMP!!
  6. "Lying Hillary"
  7. Lexys Rhea made All West Choir again 
  8. Russian Interference in the 2017 Presidential Campaign
  9. North Korea - Nuclear Weapons
  10. "Rocket Man" Kim Jong Un
  11. Otto Warmbier (22 yr old student) died after being in a North Kriean prison for taking down a poster.
  12. # MeToo movement gave voice to victims of sexual assault 
  13. More than 30 prominent men from Entertainment, Business and Politics were removed from their positions because of accusations of sexual harassment Including:
  14. Harvey Weinstein
  15. Matt Lauer - fired from NBC for sexual misconduct
  16. Senator Al Franken - resigned after multiple accusations of "   "   "
  17. Dustin Hoffman - accused of " " " by 6 woman
  18. Las Vegas Massacre - 59 killed, more than 500 wounded
  19. Texas Church shooting - 26 dead, 19 wounded
  20. Terrorism was rampant- suicide bombers and people driving cars into crowds attacked the following:
  21. Ariana Grande Concert
  22. London's Westminster Bridge
  23. Department store in Stockholm
  24. Lower Manhattan
  25. Opioid Epidemic recognized and addressed
  26. Hurricane Harvey flooded texas
  27. Hurricane Irma
  28. Jess moved out on her own
  29. TOTAL Solar Eclipse
  30. Push by the Left to Remove Historical Confederate Monuments
  31. Kneeling at NFL games (Collin Kaepernick) during the National Anthem
  32. US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
  33. Women's March on Washington - vagina hats - SMH
  34. People "identify" neither as male or female (Seriously??)
  35. "Fake News"
  36. Bill O'Reilly fired from FOX News
  37. Senator Baseball game shooting
  38. Mexican Border Wall
  39. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engaged
  40. 13 Reasons Why
  41. Izzy had a cyst on her tailbone
  42. David Cassidy Died
  43. Della Reese "
  44. Fats Domino "
  45. Tom Petty "
  46. Hugh Hefner "
  47. Glen Campbell"
  48. Cuba Gooding Jr "
  49. Mary Tyler Moore "
  50. Don Rickles "
  51. Monte Hall "
  52. Jim Nabors "
  53. Izzy killed her first Buck
  54. Brant Bolden started at Pearson as Youth / Worship Minister
  55. first ladies' event in several years : What Christmas Means to Me Table Scape Dinner
  56. I sold a painting for over $100
  57. Brian, Tayler and I went to Trans Siberian Orchestra in New Orleans
  58. Townville
  59. Pearl Pirates won 6A State Championship in Football
  60. got Diesel the Dorky Dog
  61. Myles - cancer
  62. Jaron - Lukemia came back for round 3
  63. Mrs. Liz Died
  64. Gel Pens!!!
  65. Bullet Journal
  66. Collide Weekend
  67. Article on my journey w Doc Schweinfurth in ENT Newsletter
  68. Gel Nails
  69. SNOW - Dec 8
  70. Black and White photos
  71. Izzy cut off her hair 
  72. Brian and Tayler
  73. Set date for Book completion - 2025
  74. Reprimanded for being late to work all the time
  75. Graham Allen Daily Rants
  76. Heather Land - I ain't Doin It
  77. Mila and Emma - You Tube
  78. Zach Tanksley started his business
  79. A Night In BEthleham
  80. Beauty Bloggers - yes that's a thing
  81. Got my Survivor tattoo
  82. Pumpkin Patch
  83. Snapchat Filters
  84. Iz and GLou
  85. Started painting landscapes
  86. Kingston Frazier killed
  87. Brian - knee surgery
  88. Beauty and the Beast
  89. Rise Against Hunger
  90. Brian worked at Central Hills Camp all summer
  91. Brian Surrendered to the ministry
  92. Izzy started playing Bass
  93. BDub and Lil Squash
  94. Ryan and Kara got married
  95. Calvin and I celebrated 20 years
  96. Ryan graduated college
  97. Ic Devos last new devotions published in December
  98. DACA
  99. Ryan and Kara having a baby... making me GREAT Aunt Kris! OMG
  100. I survived 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wednesday's Weekly Recipe - New Year Traditions - Southern Style

Some things are certain. Among those are death, taxes, and what ya eat on New Year's Day... at least if you live south of the Mason Dixon. 

Now, my mom swears you have to eat Black-eyed Peas, Collards, and Hog Jowl. We ate this every New Year's Day for my entire life. She still calls me and my siblings to make sure that we have had our New Years Meal. 

I personally do not like hog jowl, nor am I particularly fond of collards, and I am something of an all or nothing person, so I confess that I have not continued the tradition....

Until this year!!

I did a little research and discovered that a traditional Southern New Year's Day meal consists of 3 primary components:
  • Peas
  • Greens (turnip, collard, mustard, kale, or cabbage)
  • Pork 
So here's my plan...
  • Traditional breakfast including eggs, deer sausage, biscuits, gravy, and bacon (pork)

  • For lunch, Cabbage soup 

  • For supper, Hoppin' John (Black eye peas), Cornbread, stuffed deer tenderloin

Here's my recipe for Hoppin John: 
Compliments of the Pioneer Woman (click link to follow to her full recipe and directions)
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 2 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 4 cups Soaked Black-eyed Peas
  • 5 cups Low-sodium (or No-sodium) Chicken Broth
  • 1 whole Ham Hock
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • White Or Brown Rice, For Serving

(Soak black-eyed peas in cool water for at least 6 hours. Rinse before using.)

Heat butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, green pepper, and celery and stir. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in soaked beans, then add chicken broth, ham hock, salt & pepper, and cayenne to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover the pot for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, check the liquid level; if it's too soupy, cook with the lid off for another 15 minutes or so. If it's too thick, splash in a little more broth. 

Stir in vinegar, then taste for seasonings. Add more spice if needed.

Serve over white or brown rice, making sure to get plenty of the cooking liquid spooned over the top. Or, you may mix the bean mixture with the rice before serving. 

Variations: add red bell pepper, canned diced tomatoes, diced jalapenos, diced ham (instead of ham hocks), or sliced bacon (instead of ham hocks). Stir in torn-up kale when 5 minutes of cooking time remain. 

Variation: use canned, drained black-eyed peas if preferred. Just use diced ham instead of ham hock and a little less broth, as peas won't need to cook as long.

Now, if you aren't from The South and are wondering "WHY???" I have a little bit of history for ya to go along with this recipe...

Supposedly, the tradition spread after the Civil War. During General Sherman's march, the Union Army pillaged the Confederates' food supplies but left the peas and pork believing they were food for the animals and not for human consumption. They (of course) were not familiar with Greens and did not consider them food at all. The Southern soldiers thus felt lucky to have these supplies to get them through the cold winter.

I'm not the least bit superstitious, but my Nan would tell you that eating these 3 things on New Year's Day will bring you money and luck. Add in Cornbread because it is "golden" like... you guessed you are "sure" to have a most prosperous year... according to my Nan.

For me, it's just fun...and I do like traditions.... and with my modified menu, I LIKE the food!

I'd love to hear what New Year traditions you have!
Leave them in the comments.

Much love and BIG hugs!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tuesday’s Tips and Tricks- New Year Resolutions

I’m super excited about the new year. I mean, really excited. I love the whole idea of getting a fresh start. I try to spend some time the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to evaluate where I am, imagine where I want to be, set some goals to get there, and make some resolutions to help reach those goals.

Here are my tips for making resolutions...

Ask the following questions:
1. What’s really good in my life right now?
2. What is good but needs improvement?
3. What’s a mess and needs to be sorted out?

That takes care of the major things.

Now think about the following areas:
Spiritual- Am I closer to Christ today than I was a year ago?
Mental- Did I learn to do anything new this past year?
Relational- How’s my marriage? My relationship with my kids? Parents? Siblings? Friends?
Physical- Am i in better physical shape than I was last year?
Emotional- (this is new... given what all happened this year... it is needed) Am I emotionally stable?

Consider where you want to be 12 months from now:
How can I improve?
What would improvement look like?
How can improvement be measured?

Then formulate a plan:
What steps do I need to take to be where I want to be in 12 months?

My Resolutions are born out of those steps.

I may resolve to read my Bible 30 minutes each morning so that I start my day focused on Christ.
I may resolve to drink 80 oz of water a day to improve my health.
You get the idea.

Start big and broad.
Gradually narrow it down until you can come up with things you can Resolve to do in 2018 that will improve the areas of your life that you choose.

I’ll share mine when I get them done!
I’d love to know yours too...
You can leave them in the comment section!

Much love and big hugs!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday's Thoughts on.... Friendship

This post should be about Jesus, but if you know me at all, you know that I might write about Christmas in August....and I might write about friendship 4 days before Christmas. Just the way it works around here. 

I have a friend. I mean, I have more than one friend, but this friendship is different from all the others. 

This girl...gracious mercy...the things she has been through with me...FOR me. 

Just this week she went with me to the doctor because I was convinced that I had breast cancer. (I don't BTW) When the doctor thought he had explained everything and we were through with our visit, she said "Excuse me... Dr...Bush.....You don't know me. I'm Christie and I just want to say that she has already diagnosed herself with cancer." 

See, she KNOWS me and she knew she was going to be left to deal with my "but what ifs" if he did not say the words "You do not have cancer."  

Here's the thing...

This friendship is a miracle. Not because it's a great friendship, but because it almost... well, it almost wasn't.

We were the absolute best of friends. Our husbands were friends. Our children were friends. We were inseparable. Over the course of a year or so, things happened that destroyed our friendship. I don't say that lightly. We did not care if we ever saw each other again. Think Hatfields and McCoys. It was bad. It was very very bad.

Time passed.

We started bumping into each other here and there.

One night after our families had run into each other, she called and asked if she could come over. 

We talked. 

Gradually (over the course of 6 years) God healed our hearts, and goodness it's like we never weren't friends.

Only God could do this. The forgiveness, mercy, and grace offered to us by and through Jesus made it possible for us to forgive each other. 

It's one thing to save my soul from hell... that's kind of a big deal... but to give me my best friend back...just because I need her in my life, because I am better when she is in my life... I am overwhelmed.

It still amazes me that Jesus would live life here, with all our junk, to ultimately be beaten and die on the cross for our sin. To think that anyone, let alone the Creator of the universe, would DIE for me is something that I simply cannot comprehend.

He came to earth, lived a perfect life, died a horrific death, was buried, and rose from the grave so that you (and I) would not have to pay the penalty for our sin...because that debt is too great for us to work off in a thousand lifetimes. 

He offers the hope of heaven, 

     the promise that this world is not all there is, 
          and that your pain, whatever the cause, will NOT last forever.  

He did it ALL.  
HE made all the effort.
HE paid the full price. 

All we have to do is put Him first. 
Follow Him. 
Trust Him.

 Acknowledge that He is LORD.

In this world we WILL have trouble, but we have hope in HIM because HE has overcome the world. In the end, HE WILL make everything right. If you are His, your pain will end....and when we get to heaven, all our brokenness will be completely restored. I am so thankful for my friendship with Christie and for the visual that friendship gives me of the power of God's restoration and healing....and that's just a friendship. I can only imagine how it will feel to be completely restored to GOD, to be completely and totally exactly as God created me to be.

Ha! I guess this was a post about Jesus after all. 

Much love and BIG BIG BIG hugs!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday's Weekly Recipes - Christmas 2017

Fantasy Fudge

I made reference to my Nan's fudge a week or so ago. I have not stopped to make it yet, but here's her recipe (exactly as she wrote it), should you want to try it yourself....

Makes 5 pounds


  • 3 cups pecans
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 3 pkgs HERSHEY's chocolate chips
  • 3 tsp vanillla
  • 4.5 cups sugar
  • 1 can Carnation evaporated milk
  • 1 pint marshmallow cream

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Mix sugar, butter, and Carnation milk
  2. Cook over medium heat stirring CONSTANTLY (Because this mixture sticks easily)
  3. Bring to a rolling boil that you cannot stir down
  4. Start counting SIX minutes as SOON as it comes to a rolling boil (do not over cook it)
  5. In a large bowl, place chocolate chips and marshmallow cream and vanilla
  6. Pour the hot mixture over the ingredients in the large bowl and mix and beat by hand thoroughly
  7. Add nuts
  8. Pour on to a large tray or platter to cool
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tuesday Tips and Tricks - Christmas Edition - Week 3

How to get teens and pre-teens EXCITED to help Decorate for Christmas

A friend told me recently how excited he was to go pick out his tree with his daughter and get it decorated. Later he told me that she wasn't all that into it. 

Of course as an adult, i know what she doesn't... she missed a HUGE opportunity to make memories with her dad. My goodness, none of us are going to be here forever. She's not going to be at home forever. 

I would not trade the memories of my silly Nan dancing in the living room singing "oh Christmas Tree" for ANYTHING... and this girl...well, she honestly just acted like most teenagers. My kids don't help me decorate either, but it doesn't bother me. I enjoy every bit of decorating the house for Christmas....heck! I practically vomit Christmas and they just let me do it cause it makes me happy. 

BUT if you are a parent who desires to make decorating a family affair and your sweet little angels are acting like the Grinch,  here's my suggestion... 
Speak their language 
(Cause kids don't appreciate "memories")

Explain to them that you will put the same effort and time into purchasing their gifts as they put into all the other stuff that makes Christmas full of amazing memories. They only want one strand of lights on the tree...fine...they get one gift. 

I bet your house will be lit up like the Grizwolds in no time!!!!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday Thoughts .... on the magic of Christmas

It's that time of year...Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Christmas baking, Live Nativity scenes, Christmas Carols, Casseroles, Egg Nog, Boiled Custard, Gingerbread houses, garland, ornaments, pictures of screaming kids with Santa, assault and battery charges resulting from a fight over the last Black Friday TV, Jingle bells, sleigh rides, reindeer, fruit cake, gifts, and in the middle of it all...

the Nativity. 

My dad gave me the most amazing Nativity set several years ago. It is is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly "me".

There is something so...magical...about Christmas. Yes, it is a mixture of the lights, food that we only get this time of year, and joy that seems to fall like glittering snowflakes to cover us all in the "Spirit" of Christmas. It's ALL those things and so much more! Christmas makes my eyes sparkle with childlike wonder...and I LOVE it!

A song comes on the radio and brings back memories of my Nan dancing and singing in the kitchen while we made fudge.

Other songs remind me of some of my best highschool memories, singing in malls, nursing homes, schools, etc. all December long. I will NEVER hear the 12 days of Christmas without laughing about Marlon Jett playing the part of 6 geese a laying and splitting his pants (and yes, as his name suggests, he was a huge foot ball player ) or David Howard yelling "Birds!!!! Hey Birds!!!" for 4 calling Birds.

I can't think about gathering at Grandmother Thompson's house without laughing about my brother and I sliding down her stairs on pillows and getting in trouble...EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

Each ornament I unwrap to place on my tree reminds me of people I love, many of whom live far away or are no longer here to celebrate with me. 

I will try to make my Nan's fudge again this year...and maybe it will actually be as smooth and creamy as hers was. (doubtful, but I will try all the same)

One year My Step mom was showing the children this amazing carousel teapot and I, being the intellectually gifted person I am, thought that pulling the plug out of the spout was a good idea. Of course, my brother got it all on video so it will haunt me every Christmas for all of eternity.

This year, my precious mom in law gave me her Christmas dishes, which I will one day pass along to Izzy. What an absolute treasure. 

I remember when I was about 5 or 6... KNOWING Santa wouldn't come until I was asleep...I used scotch tape to tape my eyes shut. (Did I mention that I was a gifted? LOL)

I have new traditions with our kids. One of my faves is eating at Waffle House with friends on Christmas Eve and then packing as many kids as possible into my vehicle so we can drive around town and look at lights. There is NOTHING that compares to a toddler looking at Christmas lights. Hands down the best thing EV-ER!!!

One of my very favorite things to do is something I will do tonight. After the tree (and the mantle, and the bathrooms and the kitchen) is decorated, I'll turn off all the lights except for the ones on the tree and Be thankful. Be peaceful. Let my poor battered soul rest and I'll start every morning from now til New Year's the same way, but with a very large cup of coffee in hand.

So many times (I have been guilty of this myself) we allow ourselves to let the people and things God has blessed us with become the PRIMARY focus of Christmas. When we do this and a relationship ends, we lose our house, car, or other stuff, or a loved one passes away, our sense of loss overrides the joy that just IS Christmas. Even worse, we often allow ourselves to be so utterly consumed with giving and receiving gifts that we focus on nothing else. 

I also want to acknowledge that all Christmas memories aren't warm and fuzzy. Some are just terrible. Some are filled with more tears and hurt and disappointment than you think you can stand. I get it and I am so sorry if your idea of Christmas is scarred by these things. Here's what I know, it is bad enough that bad stuff happened. It is an absolute TRAVESTY to allow it to ruin every Christmas for you forever. 

My point is simply this...You can be excited about Christmas or not, the choice is yours, but it IS a choice because there is MUCH to be amazed by at Christmas. 

And we would have NONE of it with out Jesus. Jesus gives us hope. He gives us peace. He gives us a reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Jesus gives us purpose. Jesus heals hearts. Jesus gives us the ability to love and to forgive. Jesus gives us joy. Without the birth of Jesus, our lives would be completely hopeless and there would be no Christmas magic, no joy, no WONDER.

Much Love and BIG BIG hugs!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday's Weekly Recipes - Christmas 2017

2 words...


I found the most wonderful (translation: practically no fail) sugar coolie recipe and royal icing recipe last year. I confess I did not make CHRISTMAS cookies last year...I was a bit late discovering my passion for these little pieces of art. Iz and I started making cookies in January. This year I have time blocked out to make cookies and i am pretty stinkin excited about it.

Now, to be fair, this is NOT something that can be done quickly. This is NOT the thing you want to try for a last minute something to take to the office party. No, this is a Saturday afternoon endeavor.

My plan is to make make and roll my dough on Thursday night,  bake the cookies on Friday night while I clean house, finish laundry and house work on Saturday morning, get supper in the crockpot and then spend Saturday afternoon decorating cookies with the girls. (it's just too much for me to do in one day)

Before i forget (gasp), here is a link to the recipes for sugar cookies AND royal icing that I use:
The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe. Ever.

Couple of quick things...
Use parchment paper. Totally worth it.
Bake your dough COLD.
Chill your rolled dough for at LEAST 30 minutes
You want to take them out of the oven BEFORE they turn "golden" if you want nice chewy cookies. Once they turn golden, they will be crunchy.

Get a feel for using an icing bag before you start on your cookies.

I have done cookies with my kids since they were LITTLE. Iz and her friends LOVED making cookies when they were tiny. Back then I used sugar cookie dough from the grocery and cake decorating icing (also bought from the grocery) and lots and lots of "sprinkles". We made cookies for Halloween, St Pats, Valentines, Christmas, pretty much any time we wanted.

Yes, they make a huge mess... but OH the memories!

Now that she is older, Iz and I have moved up to homemade cookies and royal icing.

Here are some inspirations from my Pinterest "Cookies!" board:


Much love and BIG hugs!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday's tips and tricks - Christmas Edition - Week 2

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you realize that I struggle with anxiety and depression. 

If you struggle with Stress and Anxiety, especially during the holidays, here are some Tips and Tricks I use to keep myself relatively sane.

Utilize a Calendar!
I can't stress this enough. A few minutes a couple times each day will help you plan your week and eliminate most all panic over last minute events.

Make a List!
A running list goes hand in hand with your calendar. They prompt each other. A calendar event can prompt me to add something to my shopping list. My to-do list can prompt me to block out time on my calendar. I am visual and need a good bit of positive reinforcement, so marking things off a list encourages me to get more done.

Get some SLEEP!
I mentioned resting last week, but SLEEP is also so very important. I have "lights out" on my calendar every day and do try to get in bed and on my way to sleep by that time, knowing that it allows me enough hours of sleep before my alarm goes off the next morning (also dictated by my calendar). We all know that woman who seems to have it all together but is a sleep deprived grouch. Don't be that girl. Go to sleep.

Eat GOOD food. 
I have to remind myself of this constantly. Food is fuel, not entertainment. Food is not a reward, nor is it to be used as punishment. Food is just the stuff your body uses for energy and nourishment. That's it. OH! I so totally struggle with this! I do know that when I eat good healthy food, my body thanks me for it. I have more energy and am even in a better mood. 
"Do not reward yourself with food; you are not a dog." 

Get moving!
They say that Exercise is the most under utilized anti-depressant. I have experienced this for myself. After a particularly stressful day, time on the elliptical will markedly reduce my level of anxiety. Remember this, Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not punishment for what you ate.

STOP Procrastinating!
This is my SINGLE greatest cause of stress. My calendar and my lists help with this, but it is a daily battle. If you are a fellow procrastinator, get that calendar out, make some lists and get some stuff done!

Finally, the greatest thing I've learned this year...You are only responsible for yourself. You are not responsible for making anyone else happy. You are not responsible for anyone else's behavior, nor is anyone else's behavior a reflection on you as a person. Remember, you don't have to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.

Much love and BIG BIG hugs!!!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Tablescape Dinner 2017

What Christmas Means to Me

Christmas means something a little different to everyone. This was the thought behind the theme for our Ladies Christmas Tablescape dinner this year. I LOVE the progression of what Christmas means to the ladies as they age. The youngest table hostesses had festive tables, those who have lost husbands had tables filled with bitter sweet memories, and others used keepsake treasures for their centerpiece.

We all know that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

We all know that the birth of our Savior is central to our Celebration of Christmas. 

It is nice to recognize the other things that make this time of year so special. Those are the memories we share with the people we love: laughter with friends, treasured decorations, travels, and family recipes. None of these are the "Reason for the Season," but together they do embody the heart of Christmas...


It's the love we have for those God has given us that makes Christmastime so special and that love is displayed best by God Himself...

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)

I am excited to share the following pictures from this wonderful evening with you. 

Women from all walks of life, of all ages and backgrounds were together laughing and enjoying themselves. We had over 80 women attend the dinner, ranging in age from 10 years to almost 90 years. 

What a blessing it is to have such a diverse group of women in my life. 

Finally, Our guest speaker was Jay Tea Leggett from the Center for Pregnancy Choices

She expressed the need for volunteers at the center as she explained to our ladies what services the center offers. Several ladies showed interest in becoming volunteers. 

We will be collecting diapers, wipes, baby lotion, etc. at the Christmas Eve Service and will deliver those items to the center in Pearl shortly after Christmas.

My heart is full.

Much love and BIG hugs!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday's Weekly Recipes - Christmas 2017

With Christmas comes baking (or stopping at the bakery) so what better time to share recipes?
I confess, I am a Pinterest junkie and I LOVE to try all the fancy things that people post on their Recipe boards. I don't always have TIME for these kitchen adventures and am learning that sometimes it just isn't worth the stress to do homemade. HOWEVER, when I DO have time, I love to bake. Over the next few weeks I'll share some of my favorite recipes.

Let's start with something super easy. This is my absolute favorite thing to make for parties. 

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Crescent  Poppers

1 package Cream Cheese (8oz) softened
4 oz diced jalapenos ( you can add more or less to taste)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 can Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

Makes 32 crescent Poppers (I usually make 2 batches...they go fast!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add Cream Cheese, Jalapenos and sugar to mixing bowl and ... mix
Sometimes I use a mixer, sometimes not. Up to you.
Once everything is blended together, I taste to see if I want more kick.
If you want more, just add more peppers and mix again.

Set mixture aside (Don't put it in the fridge. It's easier to spread at room temperature)

Open can of Crescent rolls and separate into 2 rectangles. Pinch the seams together.

Spread 1/2 the cream cheese mixture over one of the rectangles (I use the back of a spoon for this).

Once you've spread the cream cheese, roll the crescent starting with the LONG side. (like a pinwheel log)

Once it's rolled up, get a really sharp knife and cut it in half.
Cut those 2 in half
Cut those 4 in half
Now you have 8, right?
Cut those in half.
You should have 16 .

Now do the same to the other rectangle of Crescent Rolls.

Once you get them all cut, you can refrigerate and cook later if you are making these ahead of time.

When you are ready to cook them (oven preheated to 375), place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and bake for 13 minutes or so...might want to watch them since all ovens are different. When they are golden brown, take them out.

They are sooo good right out of the oven!


Much love and Big Hugs!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday's tips and tricks - Christmas Edition - Week 1

Oh my GOODNESS! Is it December already???

I am totally not ready for Christmas and all the craziness that goes along with the Christmas season!
In an attempt to defend against Holiday Overload which can lead to extra anxiety and depression (which I definitely do NOT need), I am making a conscious effort to NOT get overloaded. Thought I would share my tips and tricks for surviving the holidays.

Week 1


I have a propensity to over-book myself. I love Christmas and all the things we do during December, so my immediate answer to most any invitation is "YES!!!!" I am TRYING to make a habit of saying "Let me check my calendar." This will help me keep my schedule doable. That being said...

I've already stretched myself too thin and it is only December 5!

Saturday was our Ladies Christmas Table Scape dinner. (pictures and post to follow on Thursday of this week) Sunday was church, I'm on the Praise team rotation this month, requiring practice Sunday morning and afternoon. We had a Chili and Soup Fellowship Sunday night.

Last night was my youngest's band concert.
Tonight we are attending a Christmas party.
Tomorrow is Church.
I have horse therapy scheduled for Saturday and am chaperoning a bonfire that night.
Then Church all day Sunday again.

This brings me to my second tip...


For my friend Christie, the schedule above is no problem. She has 4 children and manages them flawlessly. I, on the other hand, am lucky to get to work with matching shoes most days! Christie can handle this week's schedule without breaking a sweat. Me...not so much. It seriously pushes my limit. My chest is tight and my heart is racing just thinking about it. The thing that is saving me from a panic attack is my calendar...where I can SEE that Thursday and Friday nights are clear.

My point is simply realistic about what you need in terms of social interaction and time alone. If you need alone time like I do, be SURE to schedule that,  which segues nicely to tip number 3...


A calendar, if used properly, will not only keep you from being over-booked, but will also insure that you have time to care for yourself. Perry told me to schedule EVERYTHING and this has proven more valuable that I thought possible. While you are marking out time for parades, parties, dinners, and concerts, be SURE to also mark time on your calendar for...

  • house cleaning (i know...YUCK! but better to have time to do it than to have someone show up with Christmas Cookies and see a week's worth of laundry piled on the couch!)
  • REST - oh my goodness, sweetheart...schedule some "me time" - Merry Christmas to ME!!! Schedule time for a nap, reading a book, watching a movie in bed...whatever is relaxing to you. Take time to just REST.
  • baking - if you like to bake, that is...if not... just buy it...not worth stressing over!
  • cooking - (see note on baking)
  • visiting with friends - with all the traveling we do in December, it is so nice to have a stress free evening or afternoon with the people we do life with day in and day out. 


Yes, your kiddo would LOVE for you to make those amazing Santa cupcakes she saw on Pinterest for her class party, but if it requires you to miss 4 of your 6 hours of sleep...not worth it. Go buy some cupcakes and call it a day. 


Let's face it. Some women can pull out all the stops, be the perfect hostess or guest and make it look completely effortless, but we ALL know that one woman who is present at EVERY event, is the BEST at everything from decorating to baking, whose kiddos are always dressed all matchy matchy and NEVER have chocolate on their faces, who ALWAYS brings the most beautifully wrapped gifts...and is a total sleep deprived, stressed out jerk.

Don't be that girl honey. No one likes to be around that girl.

  • Use your calendar.
  • Be realistic about what you can do.
  • Schedule EVERYTHING (including rest)
  • Stop guilting yourself.
  • Stress less...ENJOY MORE!

Much love and BIG BIG hugs!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Equine Assisted Therapy - session 1

I started "Horse Therapy." 

My friends and family have had great fun telling me what they envision this to be. 

I've only been once so far. Yes,  I talked to the horse. No,  he did not talk back. 

I was talking to the horse the way a person NORMALLY talks to a horse. Ya know, "Hey big guy. Aren't you a sweet boy." He acted like horses act. He wanted me to rub his nose and scratch his back and he sniffed my hair and clothes. The therapist, Nancy, was there of course and we were getting to know each other as well. The horse startled and I said "Oh! I'm sorry!" 

Nancy asked, "Do you realize you just apologized to the horse?"

I don't remember my response, but I do remember she laughed and told me I'd done it twice. She asked what I thought happened just then and I said something startled him. She asked what I though that was and I said that I thought he saw something over my shoulder. She said something along the lines of...

"So you are apologizing to a HORSE for something you have absolutely nothing to do with."

Imagine a 3-D puzzle. Say its 100,000 different shaped pieces that, together make some random abstract image. It has holes and gaps and some pieces are placed in precarious positions that make the structure vulnerable in multiple places. The entire structure is fragile, but familiar and that familiarity allows it to remain intact, albeit unstable. You believe the structure will fall apart if anything about the structure is altered. You are afraid of it all falling apart and fiercely protect the out of place (even broken) pieces that make the structure unstable and fragile...because this abstract, unstable, fragile structure is all you know. 

Initially this was me. Just me. That's almost exactly how I felt for...well...forever I guess. I have said so many times "I am afraid if someone touches me I will break into a million pieces"

I tried so HARD to keep this structure together.  The catalyst that drove me to the point of suicide was the realization that I cannot maintain the "structure."  Almost everything in my life was viewed through the lens of what "should be" or what I "should" do/think/feel.  All these "shoulds" make up the structure.  When my suicide attempt was unsuccessful, I THOUGHT that the way to get over this was to figure out how to get back to "normal" and protect and support this unstable structure that is... well.... I guess it's me. 

Enter the horse.

I realized that I was taking complete responsibility for a horse being startled by something I had nothing to do with, and something that fragile structure shifted.

I realized that I take complete responsibility for LOTS of things that might not be completely my responsibility, and it shifted a bit more...

Add Counseling with Perry back into the picture...

Perry and I revisited my session with Nancy and the horse. We talked about that for a bit and then about the upcoming holidays and how I'm feeling about that.

Somewhere in this discussion, it hit me that I am not responsible...not just that I don't have to FEEL responsible, but that in reality I am NOT responsible for SO MANY things, and that one little piece of the structure that shifted with the horse fell out of place... and when it did, the entire structure started falling apart...

But it didn't really fall apart at all...

It caused other pieces to shift and tumble and find NEW places...places where they actually fit.

That structure that was so precarious and fragile before is now becoming a solid cube, with all those 100,000 pieces becoming firmly seated in their proper place. I can see that the end result will be something solid, dependable, safe, whole, durable, finite, and stable.

It SEEMS like our world will implode if let go of the death grip we have on the way things "should" be, but letting go of the precariously put together, fragile, unstable image of how things "should" be and accepting the reality of the way they ARE is how we find healing.

I've said many times that I truly believe that every part of this journey has been necessary. I absolutely believe this to be true. I believe that my medicine is necessary, as is counseling with Perry and with Nancy. I believe that my time in the hospital was necessary.

I still have good days and bad days...the crazy thing is very freeing.  It's okay to have bad days because I am beginning to feel...


I don't know how else to describe it.

Much love and BIG BIG hugs!