Monday, November 15, 2010

A week goes by...

...and where did the time go? The daily chaos at the Viking Hus continued but in a good way...

*Lord, thank you for my new job. Even though it's part-time, even though it's temporary through the holidays, and even though the pay is not great, it was Your perfect timing for something to fill our recent "gap" financially.

*Thank you for the environment at work. The quiet, the mental challenge, the adult conversation, the wonderful people have all been a change of pace and a blessing this past week one way or another.

*Thank for our continued great weather. I can't remember the last time I wore flip-flops in mid-November in Michigan.

*And, God, thank you for the safe travel this past weekend. I was *so* tired but You got us home safely.

*Thank you for watching out over my step-mom who is in the hospital. Thanks for the people caring for her - help them to keep her in mind at all times. Mend her body quickly and guide the doctors' hand so that quickly happens as well.

*Thank you for DaHubby again, Lord. He's been wonderful taking over the "momma duties" and working as a "house husband" the last week. He's doing a great job. Help me to keep up with the standard he's setting once it's all back in my hands. And, remind me often to thank him and encourage him along the way because I know that eventually it'll begin to drag on him too.

*I praise You, Lord, for the situation You presented for DaHubby's living arrangement in Illinois. It's better than we could've imagined space-wise and money-wise. Just please keep Your hand over him during the longer commute than we anticipated.

*And, also for the conversation with a possible renter for next year if the house doesn't sell in time for the kids and I to join DaHubby. I've been trying to "let go and let God" with regards to my stress about the upcoming move and you've been answering each fear one by one. You are awesome that way! We are still without unemployment and food assistance but I have faith those things will work out in Your timing as well.

God's working things out for the good of those who believe! How 'bout you? What are YOU thankful for today??

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday memories



Many thanks to my in-house uber-geek for whippin' this up today! A blast was had by all!

So what are YOU thankful for today?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Home sweet home

The Viking Hus is tired from our whirlwind road trip Saturday morning 'til tonight. So, I'll keep it short and sweet...

Thank you Lord for all the really nice people along the way.
Thanks for the traveling mercies and Your hand of protection through icky Chicago traffic. LOL
Thank you for the restfulness at the hotel. I may not have slept that well but being "off duty" from momma chores and the like was a wonderful break from the grind.
Thanks for your beautiful Creation and the wonderful weather!
Thanks for my hubby - a wonderful traveling partner.
Thank you for Your hand that kept DaHubby safe, as well as accident/injury free at his recent temp job which resulted in the bonus check that financed the trip.
Thanks for the fun that was had, the laughs shared, and the snuggles obtained.

God is great!

So, what are YOU thankful for today?

Friday, November 5, 2010

A slip up and catch up.

I generally write my blog posts after the Vikings go to bed. However, I missed the last few nights as our schedule left me falling asleep on the couch right after the kids went to bed.

So, to make up for lax blogging...

For Wednesday...thank you, Lord, for the people who work for the state of Michigan within the unemployment/job assistance office as well as the people at the food assistance office. In this economy, they work *really* hard under less-than-stellar circumstances while trying to maintain a positive and polite attitude. While we didn't get the answers we would have wanted, everyone was polite and helpful.

For Thursday...Lord, you sent us two God-moments...what others might refer to as coincidences. Lord, you sent me a part-time, temporary that fits *perfectly* into the next 8 weeks. And, then, as we were talking about our trip to Illinois this weekend and whether we should go, the phone rang and it was one of Mike's future fellow Exelon employees. It completely answered our uneasiness about traveling and, while it was a change of plans we didn't expect, we could see Your will!

And, for today...a day off! Finally! Flicka's off school today for end of card marking. We slept in, met a new friend of DaHubby's for breakfast, and have been hanging around the homestead getting things done.

So, what are YOU thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

I am thankful beyond words that people I know...friends, family, and others...daily defend my right to have walked into my local ice rink and, within 10 minutes, cast my vote in the 2010 elections.

Whether "my" choices win or lose, democracy doesn't get much better than this! *big smile*

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." - John Quincy Adams

"Freedom is when the people can speak, democracy is when the government listens." - Alastair Farrugia

Monday, November 1, 2010

Girlfriends

Despite what many might believe, I actually have a tough time making friends with other women. Being a non-shopping, clothes-hatin', non-wine-drinking, no-men-bashin', low-maintenance, no-make-up-wearing girl doesn't exactly make me the first person new female neighbors flock to. LOL

However, I have a few girlfriends that God's blessed me with that really "get" me...or find me silly enough to have put up with me for many years out of sheer entertainment value! LOL

At the top of the list...Lisa. We've been friends since we were 8. That would be nearly *cough, cough* years of knowing each other. While she began as the one who I was always with when I got in trouble, she became the one that lead me OUT of trouble in my adult years as I wander a bit after college. Her kids are perfect angels as far as I'm concerned and I'd walk to Northern Michigan to see them all at any time.

And, as for the one who really WAS the one I was always in trouble with...Jodi! Since junior high, I've been following her adventures through life, through her military service, through her family, through her work and have to say - NO ONE works as hard or plays as hard as she does!

As for Jill, I knew her in high school but we didn't become friends 'til she suddenly got placed across the hall from me in my dorm sophomore year at MSU. Jill and her brother are the ones that led me back to church and to Christ and I am forever in their debt. I should see her and her family more. I miss seeing her kids and her cool hubby...but we keep in touch.

Shelagh met me in a low part of my life. She proved herself to be more loyal, more patient, and a better listener than anybody I know. She also worked her tail off and continues to work for the University of Michigan in a much better, more prestigious job than when I met her! LOL

All the friends above are long-distance from me and have been in my life for 14+ years. But, I am also blessed to have two local buddies that I couldn't have made it through the last few years without them.

Mel and Amy are my momma-idols and sounding boards. They both have adorable kids who are some of the best little people I've ever met. No crazy idea, question, or thought I've had has ever made them laugh...unless I meant for it to. LOL

When I've been bummed out, overwhelmed, exhausted, or just plain lost, one or both come to my rescue. In a bind, they are the first ones I call for help. When I was an hour away from home last month and my child care plans unexpectedly fell through, I called them.

These six ladies have cried with me, laughed with me, drank with me, held me up, set me up (LOL), and came when I called. They bless my life beyond anything they can imagine. I hope I can be as good of a friend as they have been to me. A great big *MWAH* to you all!!

So what are YOU thankful for today?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Thank-You Journal

I'm currently in a Bible study on Wednesday mornings that's reading "The Power of a Positive Mom". One of the suggestions in the first half of the book is to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude" in your kids.

I have been meaning to start it with the Vikings back when I read it the first time but we're still finding our groove with first-grade worksheets/reading homework, the Sunday school worksheet (aka "God Time" sheet), and Bible memorization.

So, tonight, DaHubby was able to pick up some of my slack and grabbed Pojke for a pre-bedtime book so I could do Flicka's "God Time" exercise for the evening. So, I impulsively grabbed a small spiral notebook and when I went to tuck my little raiders in, I asked them to tell me 3 things they were thankful for.

Pojke: God, toys, and for replacing the burned-out bulb in his bedroom ceiling light. (LOL)

Flicka: for taking them to the Y swimming tonight, for meeting new people, and for being able to "help" me teach 3rd grade Sunday school this morning. (Awww.)


So, today I'm thankful that this exercise was initially successful. I'm also thankful for DaHubby pitching in, and for being able to get a peek into the Vikings' hearts.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yea, what he said...

This is not technically on thankfulness but more about "mindfulness," I suppose. But, powerful nonetheless and a must-see especially for those of us techie, smart phone, Facebook, Twitter devotees...and well worth the 15 minutes spent watching.



So, what are YOU thankful for today?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thankful for those that listen to His call

It may seem odd but I'm thankful tonight despite my sister-in-law being rushed to a hospital earlier tonight.

Peggy has spent the last 33 months in the fight of her life but she came out victorious! She's been cancer/leukemia-free (and technically "male" for the rest of her life thanks to her little brother's stem cell transplant LOL) since August 2008.

But, it's been a long road back and life has hardly been back to "normal" for her. Peggy's back to work but she's definitely dealing with a new "normal." That new normal includes still getting the seasonal cold which for her still can become a major problem.

Which brings me back to the hospital trip today.

Peg was rushed to Chicago (about a 90 min drive from here) via ambulance to be with the original team who treated her for her leukemia to treat what initially seems to be a case of pneumonia.

And, MAN, am I thankful for that team! That team (as well as Peg's great and mighty God) brought her back from the brink of death. Peg, her immediate family, and those of us in the extended family have been blessed beyond comprehension by the work these medical folks do.

And, while I'm praying tonight for Peg, I'll be praying for that team, thanking God for gifting those folks the way He did, for the strength and wisdom He provides them, and thanking Him that they followed His calling into a field where life and death are an everyday deal.


So, what are YOU thankful for today?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My in-house handyman

One of my favorite things about DaHubby, after his musicality, is how darn handy he is. Not only is he crafty-capable but he does beautiful work.

DaHubby has, among other things, built houses, built boats, remodeled our old kitchen, re-roofed that home, and re-wired our current home.

So, as we face the very-near possibility of selling our house in the next 8 months, it is nice to be having conversations about fixing this or that, replacing major things like counter tops and floors, or talking about painting rooms knowing that whatever he attempts will not only work but make this house more beautiful for the next people who own it.

So, what are YOU thankful for today?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Short & Sweet

Quick list since I'm snuggled up on the couch with my favorite nuke worker who is on his only night off.

Bible study today. Great.
Gorgeous weather. Even better.
Getting the grocery shopping done in under an hour. Pretty awesome.
Family night at home w/ a movie & pizza for all four of us. Priceless.

So what are YOU thankful for today??

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jobs found

I don't think it's any big news to anyone that this recent economy stinks. And, it's no big shocker that Michigan has gotten hit with more than its fair share of the bad news. Finally, the county I live in has one of the highest unemployment rates in Western Michigan. And, my county's rate has been higher than all but four of the counties in the Upper Peninsula.

Nearly every block around my neighborhood has 3-5 houses for sale, many left vacant either through foreclosure or someone who's moved on to their new home and is paying double mortgages.

Yet, this family is still praising God that, despite DaHubby's layoff in early February, we are current on all but one bill - and that creditor is aware of the problem and is working with us. In addition, due to our Dave Ramsey training, we still have NO credit cards and have created NO new debt during the last 8 months.

Our extended family has also been hit by the financial squeeze but, like I mentioned yesterday, the tide is turning to better news. Just this week, I found out that DaHubby isn't the only one with a new upcoming job! My sister-in-law and my niece both have new employment.

And, for today, I am heartily grateful for that.

What are YOU grateful for today?

Monday, October 25, 2010

A good turn of events...

Murphy's been visiting often to the point of moving in the last few years. Murphy as in Murphy's Law.

It's been one thing after another for over a year. Fridge breaking down. Car problems. Unexpected ER trips with large deductibles. Home repairs. DaHubby's hours got cut. Then, he got laid off. DaHubby's unemployment got summarily canceled twice by mistake leaving us with no income for 2-4 weeks. Inexplicable and repeated "no" results from initial job interviews for DaHubby. The list goes on and on. "Bad things happening in threes" would have been a blessing compared to the last year or so.

But, the tide has been turning. Finally, DaHubby was offered an outstanding job - his first choice, actually. It'll require moving 3 hours from here but, after nearly 9 months of layoff, ANY job is a good thing!

Then, we got some more good news today for which we are very thankful! A few months ago, DaHubby found his way via our local unemployment office to a federal program for displaced workers. He had a meeting with his contact person today and, as part of the program, they will be helping with our moving expenses come 2011!!

This is such a relief for me. As the financial "geek" of the family, I was been praying about how in the world we'd be able to afford the costs associated with running dual households from the time DaHubby leaves until we are able to follow in June. Also, I had no clue how we'd pay for the extra costs involved with a multi-state move. And, thanks to this program, the "damage" on our regular budget will be minimal.

So what are YOU thankful for today?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stick-to-it-tive-ness

Very appreciative of a few of DaHubby's many good traits today.

One of my favorite things about him is his musical ability. It calms him, challenges him, and brings him (and those around him) a lot of joy. Watching him play is almost as fun as listening to what he's playing.

Before we met, one of the things high on my future-husband priority list (LOL) was someone that would help fill my future home with music. DaHubby does that and much more.


However, today I'm full of respect for that man o' mine for another reason. He's working his tail off lately. Working midnights. Working a very physical, very tiring job. Working 10 hour shifts, 6 days a week. And, yet, he has not missed one praise and worship assignment he was given this month.

He's been scheduled for 5 or 6 services this month. This means, more often than not, he comes home exhausted at 7am, catches about an hour of sleep and then spends the next 2-3 hours serving the Lord and our congregation. While I worry about him like a momma bear, I couldn't be prouder.

So, today I'm thankful for a man who works hard, keeps his word, and shares his gift for God's glory.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A New Friend

The Vikings and I were out and about today as has been our habit lately while DaHubby works nights and is sleeping through the morning and early afternoon.

We spent a couple hours at the local kids' museum, grabbed lunch out, and then headed to our local theater which is running a family friendly film festival with second-tier (like just out on DVD) big name movies which are free for the kids and only $3.50 per adult.


Anyway, while we were at the museum, my two little raiders were enjoying the new displays that were rotated in when school started. At one display, Flicka ran into a new friend from her recently-joined Girl Scout troop. This young lady's mom was nearby with a younger sister and brother. And, we got to talking.

As an aside, I find it fascinating that when meeting a fellow mom it seems one of two things seem to happen: it becomes apparently *really* quickly that you're each from a very different parenting approach and/or background and have nothing in common OR as you chat about nothing of much consequence who start to realize how you have tons in common! LOL

It was the latter case today.

We talked for about an hour while the bigger kids played. She's a relatively new mom to the area - having moved back from Washington state last spring - but she has family in this area. I was the new mom here several years ago and only had DaHubby's family to lean on then. She was reading a book that I had finished over the summer. She was nursing her youngest which I also had done. Our husbands' training and work has and will required travel. She was very calm and peaceful...well, maybe that was one thing I can learn more about from her! LOL

Anyway, I had a lovely time getting to know her. I also invited her to our local MOMS Club chapter so she can meet some more folks around town and have some opportunities to visit some of the more "hidden gems" of this area that one generally needs a "local" to find.

I tend to have difficulty connecting with people beyond the small talk but I'd like to think this new friends has some real promise and I'm thankful for it!

Well, technically...

...I missed my Friday post since it is 12:15am but before I go to bed, I wanted to make sure to write down what I'm thankful for today.

I'm thankful for my Bible study and an attempt to re-vamp my attitude. With all that's been swirling around us the last year or so, it's been hard to stay focused on what's important. But, we're reading "The Power of a Positive Mom" for Bible study this session and it is *really* making a difference.

While there are still tantrums, sassiness, and all the usual suspects of misbehavior (mostly from the Vikings LOL), there have been more moments of conversation, laughing, snuggling, and such than I remember in a long time.

The book continues to remind me that the majority of the attitude, feel, and spirit in our home comes from ME and I can CHOOSE to be positive.

Mainly, I've been really blessed to spend some real quality time with each Vikings recently and have been able to see how grown up they've "suddenly" become. And, I don't want to miss any of it for the world.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My favorite lake

Except for a short period of time in high school when I thought I'd grow up, be all metropolitan, get a job at Metro Detroit's alternative newspaper, and live in some converted loft in downtown Detroit, I've wanted to live near Lake Michigan. For as far back as I can remember.

DaHubby and I joke that I only agreed to marry him after I saw he drove a great big, brand-new, beautiful, black Ford F150 4X4 and I learned he in lived in Southwest Michigan within walking distance of the lake.

And, after living here 10 years - the longest I've lived in any place but my childhood home - the lake still mesmerizes me. I still haven't gotten used to the way it affects the weather. Plus, the wind around these parts is like nothing I've ever seen living anywhere else in Michigan.

Besides my husband and little ones, it's become my heart, my anchor here. And, I am going to miss it so.

And, as if leaving my "second" heart wasn't enough, in a mere 8 months, we will no longer be Michiganders either. For the first time ever. This is a major deal for a dedicated Yooper and Metro Detroit native. Our babies will not be raised here and learn to love this state as much as we do. And, for some reason I've yet to identify, it's very upsetting to me that they may not remember living here and they'll consider themselves Illinois-ians.

But, in the meantime, I plan to enjoy every last minute of living in this precious place. I'm so thankful for the opportunity of living here.

The beach. The pier. The sound. The smell all the way up at the house. The weather. Seeing the freighters, sailors, fishermen, jet skiers, and kite boarders. Feeling safe seeing the Coast Guard boats and helicopters regularly.

Watching the fireworks over the water, watching from the bluff or the beach. Remember our sweet angel-dog chasing waves on the shore.


Having 4 or 5 beaches in the summer to choose from. Finding the one little beach-gem that the tourists don't know about. Music on the bluff. Music on the pier.

The frozen lighthouses. The huge Christmas tree on the bluff. The Christmas lights decorating the trees all above the lake.The stacks of ice on the shore. The holes in the ice - like blowholes on a whale - throwing frigid water into the sky as the water moves beneath.

I'll miss you, Lake Michigan. I'll be finding a new heartbeat in Northern Illinois but you'll always be the best place I've ever lived.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Simply Time

Our life has been moving like a freight train lately with DaHubby and I hanging onto the railing on the caboose! LOL But, I guess that's better where we're looking right into the oncoming lights.

DaHubby and I are seriously time-deprived lately. Like the last two years while he was working full time and schooling full time, I'm basically running everything at home. The difference? DaHubby's now he's working six 10-hour midnight shifts a week the last few weeks. And, while both of us have working midnights different times in our single and married lives, this one has thrown us for a bigger loop than anticipated...not something this super-planner mom needs when we have the holidays coming and we need to have DaHubby packed up and ready to move...alone...to Illinois in 8 weeks.

However, today is DaHubby's single day off. He got off this morning at 6:30am but rolled in at home as we were walking out for the school run at 7:30am. I've been feeling a little punk lately - fighting off some random boogers and cough. DaHubby's just flat exhausted so what did we do? We gave ourselves a little mercy...and a little blessing of time while Pojke went off to the grandparents for the day.

We spent the majority of the day just talking, snuggling, and taking a 4 hour nap! LOL So, today, I'm incredibly thankful for a simple gift of time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leading Our Little Vikings

We are truly blessed with the number of "angels in our midst" when it come to those non-family folks that love on our kids. We've been just tickled pink with the adults that have come along side Flicka and Pojke in our recent travels.

We couldn't have be happier with Flicka's kindergarten teacher and are completed thrilled with this year's first grade teacher. From the principal to the support staff to the librarian to the "specials" teachers - Flicka's school has given our eldest angel reason to smile over and over and over again and grow into a budding young lady.

Flicka has also had wonderful Y instructors including an amazing swimming teacher. We are also excited that she has such superb Girl Scout leaders.

As for Pojke, again his Y teacher and the Y nursery workers are second-to-none.

Finally, our church has done some unbelievable recruiting to have filled multiple programs worth of child care and Sunday school with such great people. Pojke attends "Just For Kids" on Wednesday morning while I'm in Bible study; both kids attend WOW (Worship On Wednesday) nights; and, last but no means the least, the regular Sunday morning teachers. In every situation, we can already see the fruit of all these folks' hard work as they have been discipling our babies.

All of these folks are doing a fantastic job leading, molding, mentoring, and teaching our little raiders in a way with which we are thrilled! If I was doing the traditional 30 Days of Thanksgiving, these folks would take up the largest chunk of the month! LOL

Thank you to those folks who touch our and our kids' lives as well as those that go unseen and unknown elsewhere. You are making a difference in eternity!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whether to be thankful for the weather?

It's been an exceptional fall in Southwest Michigan. And, when I say "exceptional" I mean that these last few weeks have been the exception to the Michigan historic fall "rules." We have had particularly wet autumns the last few years. However, the last 30 days have been quite the reverse. According to the Weather Underground site, we've spent 26 of the last 30 days without precipitation! Shocking, isn't it? LOL

So, today, I am thankful for the beautiful sunshine that I enjoyed as I walked to and from a friend's house today. "Miss Amy" had us over for a visit while her munchkins and Pojke played for a bit.

Speaking of Miss Amy, I am incredibly thankful for friends like her. She and another girlfriend have continued to hold me up through the last few months. They're my encouragers, my cheer leaders, my coaches...and I love 'em for it!

What are YOU thankful for today?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day One Begun Thankfully

Off and on for the last few years, I've been the home base for the "30 Days of Thanksgiving." I let it slide in 2008 and 2009 but feel I need to do a derivative of it for 2010.

Originally, the idea was to create a list of 30 people to send a snail mail, email, text, something to once a day for 30 days to say thank you for the part they played in your life. Instead, I'm going to attempt to blog everyday for 30 days and create a sort of online gratitude journal from now until Thanksgiving. Think of it as a Thursday Thanks Tank every day for a month.

There is much chaos around the Viking Hus these days. It'll take many, many posts to get everyone caught up on the last 5 months of our lives. Know that we are all fine but there are many struggles, stress, and changes on the horizon.

So, for today, I am incredibly thankful for my hubby. He continues to work his tail off and does us proud. He graduated in May in the top 5 of his class. He landed a temp job that he is currently working midnights learning the ropes at one of our local nuclear plants. Then, after a half dozen initial interviews, he landed a full time operations job with the largest owner/operator of nuclear plants in the United States that he begins in January.

He still makes my tummy do loop-dee-loops with his smile and his laugh. And, I can't smile any bigger or be any prouder because of the sheer joy on his face when he plays piano for praise and worship. He's truly the smartest man I think I've ever met - he can build anything and has become a near-savant when it comes to math. LOL

I barely remember my life before him, can't imagine walking through this life without him, and look forward to growing old with him in the future.

I love you, handsome. You're the best.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One month later...a 95% Motivated Mom! LOL

Well, as of yesterday, I have been on my new housework organizer one month from motivatedmoms.com. And, I think I can easily say EVERYONE around the Viking Hus is really enjoying the fruits of our labors.

The dishes are being kept up with; the laundry is done regularly, too. The kitchen floor has been mopped more often in the last 30 days than ever before. The bathroom is cleaner than any time since we've moved in this house. And, the kids rooms have stayed clean for....wait for it...THREE weeks straight!

The biggest adjustments have been (1) finding a solid block of time and (2) breaking the pattern of addiction with my to-do list. LOL

I find that if I can get 30-40 minutes uninterrupted, I can knock out 90% of the planner's list. Most times that is immediately after I drop Flicka off at school and return home, but not always.

And, I guess I'm starting small with the second issue. LOL I've learned to start saying "no" and "enough" to myself. For example, I majorly fell off the housework wagon the last week and went back to "survival level" maintenance tasks. Due to DaHubby's finals and graduation along with celebratory dinners, graduation party, our wedding anniversary, and the fact we're leaving for a road trip in less than 12 hours, things have been a little off kilter on the to-do list to say the least.

But, just like I've found this lovely button on Google Reader labeled "mark all as read" which I've learned to click without TOO much hesitation when I have 200+ blog posts sitting waiting to be read, I've found the ability to look at my to-do list and just say "this can wait" or "this doesn't need to be done now" or, better yet, "this doesn't need to be done EVER" with relatively little remorse.

I drop nearly a dozen things over the last 4-6 days. *gasp* Did the world come to an end? Did DaHubby pick up and leave because I didn't sweep the porch on the day the housework list told me to? NO! I needed to remember that *I* am in charge of the to-do list and not the other way around. LOL

So, after we get back from our little jog across the state, I'll start the new sheet for Monday. Until then? I'm going complete to-do list free (well, nearly LOL) for the remainder of the weekend!

If you are looking for a housework planner and you haven't found one that fits yet, I would highly recommend motivatedmoms.com

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pottery, Willow, or Leather? Huh?

Three thousand, two hundred, and eighty-seven days.

That's how long DaHubby and I have been married today. In some ways, it's seems like yesterday. And, in others, my single life seems like EONS ago. LOL

But, as I considered what to write in praise of my wonderful partner-in-crime this week, my attention fell more than once this week to a little wall plaque in my kitchen. This wooden heart hung on the wall in my apartment when we were engaged and in each house we've lived in since we were married.

While we were a-courtin', DaHubby made this heart for me to remember the promises he would make at our wedding and would keep in the years ahead. Some of what he wrote...

"Beth, I promise you the following things...

My love for you will never be compromised by anything in or of this world...

My love for you makes me smile all day long, even when the storm threatens to sink my ship. I can always count on knowing that there is someone out there who feels the same way that I do.

My love for you will always give you my honesty, wit, heart, mind, and soul to make you happy and whole.

My love will always support you in any of your dreams and goals.

My love for you will always make you number ONE in my life.

You see, honey, I will be honored to give you my hand, heart, and soul in marriage; to always put you up on a pedestal where you belong. I love you and I always will..."

*happy sigh* What girl wouldn't sign up for a marriage like that? LOL

And, he has kept these promises through thick and thin...

Through infertility, surgeries, procedures, miscarriages, and heartbreaks...
Through every time I questioned myself, he stood beside me...
Through multiple pregnancies, he's kept me calm and walked beside my overanxious self .
Through deaths in both our families that have shook us hard, we've walked hand-in-hand .
Through blockages I've put up before me, he's challenged me, coaxed me, and occasionally pushed me. LOL
We've fought hard to get on the same page with our finances.
We battled next to each other through the last 2 1/2 years of life upheaval while he completed his schooling to grab for us a more secure future.

When I look back at what God's brought us through the last nine years, I stand in awe. Without Him, we never would have made it. Ours is truly a marriage of three: DaHubby, God, and me.

Happy 9th anniversary, my love. You are the answer to all my little girl hopes, my teenager dreams, my single girl imaginations! I love you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Tip Jar

This is a quick and easy tip that keeps my purse (somewhat) cleaner...

In the interest of child and parent sanity, I've carried crayons in my purse for those unexpected down times mommas often find themselves with as long as I can remember. But, I hated the way they left "goobers" all over the bottom of my purse. Even when I kept them in a Ziplock-style bag, it wasn't a perfect solution.

I don't remember where I saw this but have been so thankful I did.

Ya know those mini M&M plastic tube containers in the candy aisle? Pop for one (or more depending on how many little ones you need to entertain), eat the candy, and VOILA! Instant perfect 6 crayon holder!

Crayons contained and (mostly) unbroken - a momma idea that works for me!

As an added benefit, I also keep my iPod earbuds in another so I have them with me (and, more importantly, have them UNTANGLED) whenever I head to the YMCA!

For more TTJ, stop by Blogmommas today!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Thanks Tank

It's a hard week to remember to be thankful. Life keeps coming at us with both barrels.

Boogers and sore throats have plagued the house this week.

When I went to pay 1/4 of this month's bills this week, I had a whopping $49 dollars to work with.

Then, we woke up this morning to the minivan having a flat. Not something that could be patched or plugged but in the sidewall so the only choice is to replace it.

But, there were things holding my hope afloat and filling my tank...

We received a card this week for our upcoming anniversary with some money to go out to dinner.

I received another card from an old friend with a thank-you, a sweet message, and gift.

A friend of ours paid for a used tire to replace the minivan's flat one.

We were thrilled to celebrate with DaHubby late last week at honors convocation. He is graduating summa cum laude which means all A's!!

And, this Sunday is commencement!

What about you? What filled YOUR thanks tank this week?

Pam is on hiatus right now but you can see her previous Thanks Tanks here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Have you thanked a teacher lately?

I've been doing research for a gift for Flicka's kindergarten teacher this week because Teacher Appreciation week starts next Monday.

I've always been jealous how elementary teachers seem to benefit more from this than us poor, neglected secondary teachers. LOL But, I also remember vividly how much work teaching is and I want Mrs. S to know how much Flicka and her parents appreciate all the work she does.

I've come across so many cute ideas, I made a list of links to share:

Family Fun magazine has craft links for gifts.

Here's a list of thank you's using food and cute sayings (like giving Pop Rocks and saying "You ROCK!" That kind of thing.)

About.com had an article about how to do a small little gift all 5 days next week.

This site is WAY beyond my crafty level but the ideas are really cute.

I like this long list of frugal gifts at betterbudgeting.com too.

And, here are some random suggestions from actual teachers.

Finally, here is a list of suggestions from the NEA - the national teachers' organization

A (sorta) Wordless Wednesday

Miss Flicka at cherub choir at last Saturday night's church service.
She's the blond on the left end. LOL

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Tip Jar: chore cards for pre-readers

So, do your kids have chores? Daily tasks? Family contribution tasks? For money or expected?

I think chores are often one of those parent conundrums we all deal with at some point. At the Viking Hus, it was determined early that the Vikings would be responsible for their general upkeep. LOL But, how does a mom do this with preschoolers, kindergarteners, and/or young children?

The trick was I wanted something that a certain level of parental hands-off-edness. LOL I dreamed of being able say to my 4 and 6 year old "Go do chores" and the Vikings being able to do them without 64 million repeats of "now what?" and "what else do I have to do?" Having pre-readers, this presented a challenge.

So, I decided to have their chore chart "speak" to them in pictures! And, it has been wildly successful! A little card stock and some clip art and I give you the Vikings' chore card for today!

Translated?

Flicka has to make her bed, wipe the dining rm and kid tables, make sure her closet area is clean (pick up clothes, put shoes back where they belong, etc), and pick up 5 toys from anywhere in the house and put them in her room.

And, Pojke has to make his bed (which consists of throwing his blanket over a toddler bed LOL), pick up his multitudinous Matchbox cars, make sure his floor is clean/clear, make sure tub toys are out of the tub, and pick up 5 additional toys.

For more TTJ, stop by Blogmommas today!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thought in development...

Had a random thought during Pastor D's sermon last night...

I've heard people say before "I don't believe in a God that would damn anyone to hell" "God is love," and things of the like. And, as tempting and warm & fuzzy that is, it's always bothered me. Partially because it seemed like a cop-out.

First of all, how good is a parent that is all-mercy with no discipline? What do they end up with? Spoiled, self-indulgent kids. So, a holy and righteous Creator and Judge of the universe that's all mercy and no discipline? The Bible doesn't back that up.

Second, if parents ask for no accountability and answering for what you've done from their kids, what do they get? Self-centered, selfish kids. So, a holy and righteous God with no accountability? Not Biblical either.

Finally, saying God is only love seems to disqualify the wondrous sacrifice Jesus made for us. If God didn't expect our "sin accounts" to be balanced, what was the point of what Jesus did? If God is holy and righteous (and He is) , our sin deserves death. Sin and those who sin cannot be near God. Thus, Christ's redeeming gift for all of mankind. To bring us back to God.

Still pondering...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Thanks Tank

"Turn that frown upside down!"

In an effort to stay on the thankful side of things, I'm taking the list of gripes I've had in my head today and choosing to put a positive spin on them.

I've got a sore throat and I think I'm getting sick:
Well, having a cold is WAY better than being hospitalized, having cancer, having something broken, or a chronic illness. There are many in the world that wish they could have "just a cold".

I'm on-call for jury duty next week:
I live in an awesome country with democratic ideals and it is a honor and privilege to participate in the process. I may not get called but, if I do, God may be placing me there for a reason. And, I want to be in God's will.

Our money situation:
Hey, food in the fridge, roof over your head, relatively reliable transportation, and even at the level of unemployment income, I'm still living better than probably 70% of world.

I have so much housework and laundry to do:
See above - at least you HAVE a home to clean, clothes to wash, and a way to wash them!

I have so much homework to catch up on with my Bible study.
Yea right - at least you HAVE a Bible, having homework means being able to read, and the privilege to gather and talk about God.

I'm PMS-ing.
Well, I guess it's too bad your body is functioning as it should and that your body is still (technically LOL) capable of one of the greatest miracles God's ever designed.

And, so ends my momentary schizophrenia. LOL It's all in how you look at it.

Pam is on hiatus right now but you can see her previous Thanks Tanks here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Well-Needed Reminder

DaHubby and I married in 2001. We were 32. So, after the whirlwind courtship, the 11 months of wedding planning, and then the ceremony, we deemed it appropriate to jump right in with the whole makin' babies thing. (Don't worry - this is a family-friendly blog. That's as far as that chain of thought is gonna go. LOL)

However, as 2001 ended, we were completely obsessed with temperature taking, charting my cycles, and the like but still were baby-less.

Then, 2002 moved through spring, summer, and into fall. Still no luck and then we were mending our broken hearts over our first miscarriage. In the midst of that grief, I rededicated my life to the Lord and was re-baptized for the first time as an adult.

By 2003, I was completely undone again. I felt like God had left me where I was - childless and alone. It was hurting my health, my spirit, my mind, my faith, and (if I had to be honest) probably my marriage. I was depressed, gaining weight - which ironically worsened our chances of conceiving.

I remember crying at the sight of babies. Being unable to attend baby showers. Unable to hold a baby. Feeling like an awful person when I couldn't manage to be happy for yet another friend or acquaintance who was pregnant. I remember being livid at stories of parents mistreating their children. Every month was yet another disappointment. I felt like a failure. My body was betraying what I thought was my God-designed purpose.

I remember a call to prayer around that time at the church we attended. In the middle of praying about something completely unrelated, I fell apart. I recall laying on the floor face down just sobbing. My heart didn't know what to pray anymore so I just cried and repeated over and over and over "Your will be done, Lord, Your will be done."

I had been praying for over 2 years. Twenty-five cycles I spent praying for just one tiny miracle. "Let me, Lord. Please. I won't complain. I'll love him/her. Raise he/she right and to serve You. I've truly realized what a miracle it would be. I would never, ever take it for granted."

Then, the Lord granted my prayer. We found out we were pregnant in July. And, Flicka was born in March 2004. They said "take her home and love her. You'll probably never conceive again."

And, yet, I began to complain. Flicka was a colicky baby. Spent most of her first 8 weeks screaming whenever she was awake. I spent days wondering "what about ME, Lord? I'm tired!" And, even when God blessed me again with my second miracle, despite my whining and complaining, it was hard to feel grateful at the time as I was still nursing a 15 month old. After Pojke was born in 2006, I began to take it for granted.

So, six years later and earlier this week, I found myself undone again. The ongoing stress and strain of the last 2 years of DaHubby's schooling; the stress and strain of him being laid off in February and surviving on $350/week unemployment; and then the stress and strain of 2 very opinionated, also stressed out kids blowing major tantrums, ignoring me, and being generally rude - I just shut down...and cried.

"I can't do this anymore, Lord."

And, He reminded me yesterday..."But, you prayed for this."

And, I cried again. I was so embarrassed and ashamed before the Lord.

"Yes, Lord, I know. I prayed for..."

the temper tantrums
the mess
the hysterical hyena laughing that sets my teeth on edge
the non-stop talking
the unending questions
the interruptions
the pigpen rooms
the fussy eating
the momma body
the chauffeuring

"I prayed for it all. I also prayed for..."

the constant band-aid dependency
the midnight wake-up calls
the sleep deprivation
the stacks of sticky, dirty, stained laundry
the overnight "accidents"
the 2am calls to the pediatrician
the ER runs
the gum in the hair
the ruined clothes from marker fights
the whining

"Yes, Lord. I asked for all this. I even prayed for..."

the preschool attitude
the kindergarten "Diva" 'tude
the stomping of feet
the awkward questions in public
the embarrassments in stores
did I mention the tantrums?
the sibling bickering
the sibling big time baby-wrestling
the plaster ripped from the wall
the broken curtain rod

And, I even prayed for...

the "clingies"
the little person version of nagging ("Mom? Mom? Mommy? Ma? Mumma?" Repeat ad nauseum)
the God-knows-what in someone's ears
the who-know-what in someone's nose
and, the last night runs for Tylenol or Benedryl

Help me, Lord.

Just like I'm thankful for DaHubby because I vividly remember my awful single days, I just needed to be reminded where I was before God provided me with not one but TWO miracles in my life.

What would my life be like without the Vikings? My heart breaks to even think about it.

But, to remain in a state of thankfulness and gratitude, I also need to remember that I can't do this momma-parenting thing all alone.

I need Him.

Help me, Lord.

Psalms 46:1 ...God [is] our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A just reward?

I've been pondering a question posed to me yesterday and just couldn't come up with a good answer.

While at the park with the kids, another mom I know was there. As we exchanged pleasantries, she asked how things were going. I gave her my usual update: 20-some days 'til DaHubby's graduation, 9 weeks since his layoff but by God's grace we were hanging in there, paddling against the tide, keeping our heads above water.

Later, she happened to ask how long we'd be there and did we come to this park often. We haven't seen each other much lately and we both felt it would be nice to meet up again.

I said "oh, I bring the kids out as much as possible since (DaHubby's) home studying full time now."

"Well, you must be wife of the year then!" she replied.

I laughed and jokingly said, "oh yea, he's gonna owe me BIG time!"

Then, she startled me with the next question:

"If he could get you anything you wanted as a reward, what would you want? A new car? A new house? A vacation? Jewelry?"

And, I was really at a loss. While all four of us at the Viking Hus have been keeping little "wish lists" for when DaHubby graduates and gets his first big job in his new awesome career, it's never really occurred to me that I would be able to finally get what I "deserve" for dealing with everything over the last two years of DaHubby's training.

I think I mentioned "a vacation would be nice" but I was thinking more upstate and camping rather than Disney and Florida.

And, when I told DaHubby how the conversation had unfolded, he just smiled. Not sure exactly what that meant. LOL

But, my wish list has included things like a new kitchen floor, a new kitchen counter, a new wedding set to replace the ones I lost 3 years ago, some new clothes that come with TAGS and not receipts from Goodwill, some rooms painted around the house, a dinner out, new windows in the house, a compost bin...yea, I know, a compost bin.

And, if God's will is that we stay in this area and not transfer out-of-state for a new job, those are still the things I'd like.

As to what I "deserve"? I keep hearing Dave Ramsey's voice in my head from our Financial Peace University (FPU) classes.

“People think they deserve it just because they suck air, but they don’t!”

"You don't deserve anything until you save and pay for it."

"The most important business lesson my dad taught me was that money comes from work. Don’t talk to me about what you deserve or what you’re entitled to. No one is going to hand you anything. This has been true since the beginning of time: You’ve got to leave the cave, kill something, and drag it home. Then it’s yours."

Honestly? What I've done the last few years while we got our finances together ala FPU and then with DaHubby's subsequent schooling and lay off is what is expected of me in a godly marriage. To give sacrificially. To the glory of God - not myself.

I'm fortunate to know that DaHubby's looking out for me and, when the time is right, there may be some rewards for all we've been through the last 4 years. But, there was NOTHING in our marriage vows or some contract since (verbal or written) that said "well, I'll sacrifice this for you but THEN I get this."

And, there have already been rewards.

Improvement in my marriage through trial, struggle, and joint problem solving.

Improvement of my and DaHubby's character.

Improvement in our sense of contentment.

Improvement in our discernment about what's really important to us as a couple and as a family.

Increase in our faith that our Jehovah Jireh will provide.

Evidence that we have some pretty cool family and church family who will step up, walk with us, pray over us, and take care of us in times when we need them.

Considering what I've seen around me during that same time span, I think we've already been blessed WAY beyond the investment of time, money, and stress we've both put into these challenges.

So, what exactly is my "just reward"? Just what I've already received in addition to the wonderful blessings God's got planned in front of us in this new season of our lives.

To God be the glory. Amen.

Monday, April 12, 2010

One week later...

Last Monday, I bought a new housework planner. To be honest, I was desperate to find something to help me get on top of keeping my home clean. Yet, I had low expectations since I go through organizational attempts like overweight people go through diet plans - I've tried most of them.

I've read "Sidetracked Home Executives" TWICE but there was just WAY too much up-front work getting all the index cards filled out and organized by daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. LOL

I thought about trying out FlyLady but for various reasons (the 30-day warm up, the sheer number of reminder emails, and the insistence of doing your hair and wearing shoes first thing in the morning) it just didn't seem like me. LOL

Then, one of my favorite bloggy moms mentioned recently she was using a Motivated Moms housework planner. So, I went to the site and looked at some of the sample pages here, here, and here.

I went ahead and pick the one I felt best fit me and popped for the $7 (I had an online coupon code for $1 off). When I posted on Facebook that I'd be starting the planner the following day, I got some feedback from a fellow SAHM that a list like that would completely overwhelm her at this stage of her life. And, I agree...to a point.

As an ADD-er, I'm entirely familiar with the idea of being overwhelmed. However, being the "housework boss" still leaves me in control. I just need help with the breaking down of projects into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Many of the things listed on the planner either don't apply to me or aren't a priority for us. Vacuum? I have hard wood floors. Dust the porch light? Seriously? So, I just cross it off the list. But, helping me remember to rotate out my dish cloths and towels regularly? You better believe I need help in that area.

Also, many of the everyday things are things I was already doing: running a load of laundry, running a load of dishes, rinse kitchen and bathroom sink, plan and cook dinner, etc. And, of the 5-8 things added each day, I'm practicing some new "delegation" skills and generally can hand off nearly half to DaHubby and the Vikings.

For example, my list for tomorrow has the following:

change dishcloth/towel (Flicka)
change towels in bathroom (Pojke)
inventory fridge to plan meals (me)
vacuum (the one area rug in living room - Pojke)
vacuum living rm furniture (Flicka)
clean toilets (Flicka w/vinegar and baking soda and some supervision)
replenish TP stock (Pojke)

Notice how only one of those is actually mine. LOL

So, it's one week in and what do I think? It takes me a little more time but everyone is loving the results! And, Momma's happier with the whole less clutter and cleaner-appearing environs. And, ya know the old saying: "if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"? The reverse is also true.

So, I'm planning to schedule another post at the one month mark and see how I feel then. If I'm still sticking to it, it may be the best thing that's happened to the Viking Hus in a while!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Things I Learned Over Spring Break

Spring Break is over as of tomorrow at the Vikings Hus. And, to be honest, I'm torn.

First, I learned things about our time management.

The ADD-er in me like the external structure Flicka's school day imposes on me. We *must* get up and be out of the house by 7:30am so much more is accomplished in the AM hours. This is one thing I noticed as I let our natural clocks take over and let the Vikings stay up 'til 9 or 9:30pm (and on one particular night 10pm) which resulted in all of us waking up between 8-9am the next morning. LOL

On the other hand, as an ADD-er, I *really* stink at sticking to a schedule and I feel extended and heightened anxiety keeping us on one. So, I admit that I love breaking from the structure and enjoying the freedom that comes with my impulsive decisions. LOL

However, I did find that the Vikings are probably not sleeping enough. Prior to vacation, the kids generally go to bed between 8-8:30 and get up between 6:45-7am, resulting in about 10-11 hours of sleep. But, when I let them stay up late and sleep in, they slept 12 hours.

Since they are resisting bedtime after the time change and the extended daylight and have long since dropped an afternoon nap, I'm at somewhat of an impasse. Our evening activities often go 'til 8pm so making their bedtime earlier isn't a realistic option. Dropping their activities altogether means no midweek church and no swim lessons. Hmmm - a momma dilemma.

Secondly, being off school also brought back the desire to homeschool. Yes, homeschool, even with said problems with schedules, structures, and such (see above LOL). While Flicka is doing well, she is the only girl remaining in her kindergarten class and there are resulting concerns as well as focusing on more of a Bible-based education.

Third, I've discovered my daughter has some *seriously* crazy planning abilities. LOL Before vacation began, I made a grid of sorts of our week off and started plugging in activities scheduled over those days. Then, we brainstormed a list of additional possibilities and tried to see if we could fit some of them in. Flicka THRIVED on knowing exactly what we were doing each day and the next. Each night ended with the question "so what's on the schedule for tomorrow, Mom?"

And, while I spent most of the week pleading with DaHubby to take a break from his studies to take the Vikings for an hour or two due to some awful demonstrations of sibling big time wrestling rivalry and flagrant disobedience, I know I also will miss having both Vikings with me over the next few weeks 'til Flicka's graduation in June...that is if I survive DaHubby's finals week and graduation May 2nd!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday Thanks Tank

I don't even know where to begin this week. So, in no particular order, this is what's filling my tank this week:

Our new church. Its "upper room experience" on Maundy Thursday and its Good Friday services were A-MA-ZING!! And, the spring programming starts Monday - a new women's Bible study, the kids' midweek programming. We can't wait!

The beautiful weather that started Spring Break last week.

The wonderful all-day play date with a family from Flicka's school. A nice break from housework and to-do lists and a great time just visiting and watching the kids play.

Our local cinema's family film festival. It happens twice a year. The Vikings are free and I'm only $3.50. We've be able to see "Planet 51," "AstroBoy," and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" recently in the theater - something we couldn't afford otherwise.

Continuing provision from several sources. Since DaHubby was laid off the first week of February, things have been particularly hard around here financially. Living on $350/week unemployment even with the food help has pushed my thrifty skills to the limit. Our family, church family, and friends have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep us afloat. The assistance and their help have been heaven-sent! And, it's only 25 days 'til graduation! LOL

For DaHubby - I have been reminded often lately how lucky I am to have him. My single friends, divorced friends, and even married-but-struggling friends and all their stories make me want to come home and spoil him rotten. LOL Being married to my best friend who is one of the smartest and most hard-working men I've ever met was WELL worth being single until I was 32! LOL

What about you?

Pam is on hiatus right now but you can see her previous Thanks Tanks here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cleaning Spurt

The spring cleaning bug has bitten here at the Viking Hus. Now, I'm not a big wall-scrubbin', toothbrush-in-the-crevices, washin'-a-whole-house-of-windows type of spring cleaner but there have been some projects pending long enough that they're irritating. LOL

So, on this rainy day during spring break, we were anticipating company this morning so we did a medium-level sweep of the house. That meeting got canceled but we were already on a roll, I decided to keep going with my new "Motivated Moms" cleaning/chore organizer. And, when I got to a moment's pause in that, I tackled an eyesore that's been buggin' me for months.

Can you believe that this:


all fit into this?


What's more amazing is that it looked like *THIS* when it was finished! *big smile*


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: One BIG Fireplace

Pojke at one of my favorite places to visit in my hometown.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Sunshiny Day

Despite the starts and stops of Michigan's spring the last week or so, the lengthening of the days is a definite indicator that spring is coming whether Michigan's weather wants it to or not! LOL And, with those longer days comes more sunshine!

But, before the meteorological weather would cooperate, Dianna dropped some sunshine on me all her own. It's been along time since I've been given a bloggy type award or acknowledgment so this was a wonderfully pleasant surprise.

So, in the interest of spreading the sunshine around, I apparently need to follow the following rules:

1) Put the logo within my blog or on my post
2) Pass the award onto 12 fellow bloggers
3) Link the nominees within my post
4) Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5) Share the love and link to the person whom you received this award from.

I'm not doing 12 but my nominees which are currently sunshine to my life and smiles to my face are:

Gibee at Kisses of Sunshine
Heather at Not a DIY Life
Sara at The Busted Stash
Jill at The Diaper Diaries
Jen at Zaankali's Adventures

And, remember the words of America's own "sweaty toothed madman" aka Walt Whitman: "Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you."

A Busy Mom's Bible

As many of you know, I often take advantage of freebies. Especially books. E-books, hard cover, paperback - doesn't much matter. LOL So, I definitely jumped on the proverbial wagon when Zondervan offered bloggers a new Bible to review.

As a rule, I'm usually not a fan of the ever-lengthening list of Bible translations and specialty Bibles. I did invest in a Amplified Bible for a new take on my Bible reading this year but have long since walked away from NIV translations since I found it frustrating and even inaccurate at times in comparison with KJV and NKJV.

And, I generally find it a little irksome to see the rows and rows of Bibles for women, men, pastors, kids, teens, charismatics, Lutherans, Catholics, families, students, those in recovery, recent graduates, brides, couples, parents, sports fans, military, public service, and the list goes on and on.

But, my curiosity was piqued when Zondervan was offering a "Busy Mom's Bible." And, I thought I'd give it a shot.

The book itself is well-constructed, solid, and has a nice feel in your hands. This is a quality book. I'm not into the whole "pink is for girls" thing so the hot pink and pale pink cover was a bit much. Maybe a "tomboys" Bible is in the works!? LOL

"Busy Mom's" is a NIV translation but I found it worked in this particular situation. My guess is that the publisher was responding to the much heard cry of busy moms in and out of the home who can barely find time to shower much less get to their Bible reading each day. So, they interspersed "Busy Mom's" with 1, 5, and 10 minute devotional inserts throughout. And, I think the NIV translation facilitates the read-it-and-go idea.

The inserts not only have the 1-5-10 devotional options but they are also thematic on topics including the following: God is..., Family Ties, Your Marriage, Raising Your Kids, Your Relationships, Your Identity in Christ, A Woman of Character, Overcoming Obstacles, Your Emotions, Your Spiritual Life, Healthy Living, Stewardship, and God's Love For You.

The additional inserts are equally spaced throughout the Old and New Testaments which while visually pleasing are a little annoying since the Scripture reference cited in the devotion is NOT necessarily where the insert was placed. For example, the insert on Stewardship appears near the second and third chapter of John in the New Testament yet cites 1 Samuel 5.12 for the 1 minute devotional read. Or, the insert on being a woman of character is placed near chapter 5 of Song of Songs while citing Philippians 2.3 about doing nothing out of selfish ambition.

There are some very useful references and tools in the back of the Bible including a 104 page concordance. One reference is a "10 minute study index". It is organized by subject and are follow-ups to the inserted devotionals. Due to the way it's organized, I'd find this index WAY more useful than the inserts.

Finally, I really like the "5 Minute Readings of Jesus" and "5 Minute Readings About the Women of the Bible". Those were lists I would definitely use if I truly only had 5-10 minutes to read my Bible.

Overall, this is a quality Bible for someone looking for a relatively well organized way to use a short amount of time to get into God's word. I see from Christianbook.com that they are offering this for $16.99 and it retails for nearly $25. I would definitely say it's worth the price. And, other than the two inserts on marriage and having kids, this could be a good buy for any busy woman and not just a busy mom.

Thursday Thanks Tank

Filling my tank this week...

...my boss at Lake Michigan College. She just cracks me up.

...being a (very small) part of the wonderful things going on at the new First Church - Benton Heights campus!

...listening to Pojke singing "Fa-der A-bra-ham had many sons..." while playing in his room LOL

...and listening to "God bwess A-meer-i-ca...land dat I love..."


...I've said it before but Flicka's teacher. Our family is so blessed by the school Flicka is at. Everyone on the staff is becoming like family but Mrs. S in particular is an answer to prayer.

...apparently Flicka has had a major "light bulb" moment at school and is suddenly writing and reading at increasing speed. As an English teacher by training, that warms my heart beyond description.

...my ASL teacher, Heather. She really kicks my butt during class but is also a very wise woman of God who gives really good "momma advice" when I asked her about a request Flicka had made recently.

...my dear hubby who continues to be a very good sport about picking up on the chores I've let drop due to my recent work shifts. It's been a long time since I've worked outside the home but even longer since he had to tackle the laundry, motorpooling the Vikings, and more than the occasional load of dishes and he's doing a great job! LOL

...as odd as it sounds, hearing how much DaHubby's classmates and teachers like him and are impressed with him. "You get a student like him once every 20 years" said one of his instructors. I'm so proud of him anyway and to hear that makes me want to yell "TOLD YA SO" and then grin like an idiot! LOL

...and my Bible study ladies. They never fail to make me laugh 'til I cry; then share something that squeezes my heart 'til I cry; and then we pray 'til we cry! LOL Lots of crying going on.

What about you?

Pam is on hiatus right now but you can see her previous Thanks Tanks here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Callapidder and Viking Spring Reading

Welcome to the virtual Viking Hus! My little pillagers and I are out and about today but I wanted to make sure I jumped in with Katrina and her Spring Reading Thing which kicks off today!

As I started to think about my list for this challenge, I tried to balance out my fiction and nonfiction as usual and diversify the types of nonfiction into a parenting book, a Christian-themed book, etc.

But, as I went through my wish list (now at over 150 possibilities at Paperbackswap.com), the same types of books started jumping out at me.
So, I'm dropping my usual fiction/nonfiction set-up to jump in with a tandem-themed list.

The first thing I noticed about my wish list was the number of history and fiction related the my great home state. So, to honor my poor strugglin' Michigan, I have four possibilities about the Great Lakes state:


Guiding The Way From Middle Neebish by Edward T Cook (interlibrary loan)
Isadore's Secret: Sin, Murder, and Confession in a Northern Michigan by Mardi Link (interlibrary loan)
Lake effect : two sisters and a town's toxic legacy by Nancy A. Nichols. (LT library)
Pandora's Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway by Jeff Alexander (SJ library)

Then, I happened to notice that many of the books on my list were ones put there at Dave Ramsey's recommendation. Now, obviously, I didn't exactly talk to him personally about this but Dave does keep a well-stocked and fairly diverse list of books he recommends beyond his own.

So, in honor of Dave and with DaHubby's graduation and "new life" and career just 6 weeks away, I'm going with the following
Dave Ramsey recommendations:

More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey (home)
48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller (home)
The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard (home)

Now, that's seven nonfiction books in 12-13 weeks. While it may appear to be a reasonable goal, I've NEVER done one of Katrina's challenges without at least ONE fiction book. LOL So, I'm hoping I don't get bogged down too badly.

If you are interested in what everyone else is reading or maybe just looking for some good ideas for some summer reading, stop by Katrina's place and check out the sign-up list here.