Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, Food, and Fun

Friday, November 21, 2008

I have a clean house (sorta)

I am so, so happy. I found a new housekeeper. Our last housekeeper left for Mexico on a "family emergency" after cleaning our house last December and she hasn't been heard from since. She was a great lady who loved my kids "helping" her- or at least she pretended.

Up until now, I have been trying to clean house myself on the weekends and I finally threw in the towel. It is impossible. Weekends are family time since it is the only time we are all home together.

I had a little guilt for not being able to do it all myself but then last night I realized....our housekeeper brought 2 helpers. It took 3 of them 3 uninterrupted hours to dust, clean the bathrooms, kitchen, and floors. So that means it would take me 9 hours to get it all done....are you kidding me? With a 4 year old, 2 1/2 year old and 11 month old? That does not even include the time it takes to wash the bedding and all the laundry that mounts each week. Impossible! So there is no more guilt, I am PROUD, I tell ya, to have a housekeeper! So now I have more time to actually "tidy up" because Lord knows I could spend 9 hours just putting things back in their places!

So, I have a CLEAN house! Clean floors. Shiny bathrooms. A clean kitchen. No dust. Yea me!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I heard God yesterday

Now, before you read on, let me tell you I have never before recognized when God was directing me to do something. I have prayed to hear Him before and maybe I was not ready until yesterday. But I heard Him loud and clear. And I obeyed!

Yesterday we had appointments for all the kids to get their flu shots at 2:50. This was a horrible time because all of the kids are down for a nap by 1:30, but it was the only time available so what do you do? I told Stephen to call the doctor's office and ask if they had any cancellations and they did. I thought Stephen said he got it changed to 2:00.

I felt bad that I couldn't go help Stephen but I had a meeting at another elementary school at 2:00. Once I was at the meeting I asked if the other teachers would mind if I just left my folders to be signed so I could go to the doctor's office and help with the scream-fest that was about to take place. It was not a problem and lucky for me, I was just down the street from the doctor's office. I made it with 8 minutes to spare.

I parked and started to walk in. I didn't see the van so I called Stephen and he said the appointment was at 2:20, not 2:00. So I went back to the truck to grab some magazines. As I walked towards the office building, I contemplated going back and waiting in the truck, which is what I normally do. This must be when God started to speak because I decided to go on in and find a bathroom. As I approached the entrance, I saw a woman sitting on the bench. There were tears streaming down her face and she was all alone. I wondered if I should stop but I was afraid I wouldn't know what to say. How could I possibly help this stranger? So I went inside. I felt like I needed to go back outside and at least wait to help Stephen unload all the kids. I told myself that if the woman was still there, I'd try to comfort her. She was gone.

I started to sit on the bench where she had sat and I noticed it was soaked, all but the spot where she had just sat. I started looking through my new magazine and she came back. She sat right back down on that wet bench and just let the tears fall.

The voice inside my head went something like this, "Okay God. I know I am supposed to do something here but what? I don't know what to do or say. Should I hug her? She's not very clean, Lord.....Okay, I'll stop procrastinating."

And I placed my hand on her back and asked her if she needed a hug. I asked her if she just received some bad news and she told me yes. She just found out she has cancer and she is being sent to M.D. Anderson in Houston. She said she has been in pain for a year but she didn't have insurance. I asked her if there was anyone with her and she said she had a transportation service bring her in from a town about 45 minutes away. They wouldn't be back to pick her up until 5:00 but she had a friend of a family member coming to get her. She said she has a 22 year old and an 11 year old and she didn't know if she should tell them.

She asked to borrow my phone to make sure the ride was on their way.

I just couldn't imagine all the things that were going through her mind. Then you add to it that the holidays are here and they might be her last. I thought of how I lost my mom unexpectedly and I told her she should tell her her own time...but soon. I told her she needs their love and support.

About that time I saw Stephen and I excused myself to go help him. As we walked by her on our way into the doctor's office, I asked her her name. I gave her a hug and told her I'd be praying for her. As I walked away, I hoped that I made a difference. I regreted that I didn't ask her if I could pray for her right then but I've never done that before.

All because I skipped a meeting and ended up at the doctor's office 20 minutes early. Not a coincidence, a Godincidence. Please pray for Brenda.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Holiday Baking

I don't know about you but I am soooo very much excited about cooking for the holidays. We stay home for Thanksgiving so we can watch the Aggies vs. The Longhorns, then the Cowboys. The rest of the weekend is spent decorating for Christmas. Even though there are only 5 of us, I still cook the whole meal.

Up until last year, I have always baked about 10 different desserts to divide and take to my parents', my in-laws', and the huge family celebration at my grandmother's for Christmas. In previous years I have taken orders from co-workers and just baked to my heart's content. Last year we stayed here and I didn't get to do much because my little miracle was born on December 20.

This year will be quite different because I lost my mother in April and my grandmother in June. My aunts and uncles won't be having the big family gathering as we have my entire life. It just won't be the same. We don't know what we will do for Christmas this year. We don't know where we're going, if we're going anywhere at all, but I do know this, I am already planning on trying some new truffles, bark, and fudge recipes. Come back later and I'll tell ya what I tried and how the recipes turned out.

Overwhelmed With Joy is once again hosting Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style. Please stop by her site and see what wonderful recipes everyone else is sharing. If you are new to my site, thanks for stopping by and please visit Aggieland Mommy Cooks where I still have moved most of my recipes. As you can see in the labels on the right-hand side, I still have lots of great dessert recipes on this site. Please feel free to leave a comment, it gives me warm fuzzies to hear from you.

Fight FOCA

Obama made a promise:

"The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do."

If you haven't already done so, please visit this site and sign the Fight FOCA petition.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Party on the Patio at our house!

Before (10x8) After (16x25)
We just love it. The kids can ride their bikes and we don't have to worry about them rolling into the street (our driveway has a slope). Abby can play and we can kick back on the cushioned swing and have a good time watching them. I have big ideas for decorating too but that will have to wait until next year since all the stores have packed their patio stuff.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Fun

Last weekend we went to Fort Worth and took the kids to Boo at the Zoo. If you've never been before, it really is not about being at the zoo at all. It is just a lot of fun for the kids. You get candy tickets with each admission and the kids get to go to different candy stations around the zoo to "trick-or-treat." They also have a few shows and as we were nearing the end of the path, we found a neat area set up with carnival games for the kids. Unfortunately, as I tried to snap pictures of the kids playing games, the batteries died. Guess we'll just have to go back and take more pictures next year.

Halloween Night:
Abby as Cinderella and Lauren as Tinker Bell of course! We have gotten our money's worth out of that Tink costume I tell ya.
Look at our SWEET Caleb. As you know, Caleb is obsessed with Thomas. For some reason, he did not want to wear his costume. See below:

We fought with him and fought with him. Finally we just strapped him into his car seat and left.

Yes, she is always this happy!

We started off the night at a festival put on by St. Joseph School. There were plenty of games for the kids. We ran into several of our friends from church but didn't think to stop and get pictures together.

Daddy and Caleb goin' fishin'.

The kids got to decorate their own cookies.

Bean bag toss.

Mommy and Cinderella.

Mommy and Thomas. Look at this boy. Not only did he keep his costume on, but by the end of the night we got him to wear his hat AND smile!

Look at those HUGE pumpkins. After the festival we went home to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood. Unlike our old neighborhood, there were tons of kids. It was a fabulous night.