The cross is the greatest example of humility and devotion in the universe. Jesus put your needs ahead of His own. He considered you more valuable than Himself. - Chip Ingram

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Did Somebody Say "C"?

Onto the letter "C"....and it's all about ME (of course)!

I do not curse. Okay Trish and Jen, maybe I have slipped a few times but for the most part I do not curse. Besides obvious spiritual reasons, years ago I realized that I tend to tune people out who curse. I'm not sure why...but I do know that I don't want to be tuned out. Therefore, I do not all. Hehehehe.

I do not like chips...fritos, YES,....chips, NO!

I love Chicago. I planned my first event for BP in Chicago. A budget of $50,000 for a party of 35 was pretty cool. It is fun to spend other people's money.

Color is a big deal to me. I am a visual, yep...Color is a biggie.

Christ is everything to me.

My dog is named CHARLIE! He is the sweetest old cocker spaniel EVER!

My family loves the Cleveland Indians, the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Cavs.

I love being around children (mine and other peoples).

I have a re-occurring cold sore. UGH!

New Song

Okay, so I have another favorite new song. You will see it to the right. It is called Come To Jesus by Chris Rice. If you click on it you can listen and see the video. Just click the top box. I especially love the last verse....
"With your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye and go in peace and laugh on
Glory's side and fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus and Live."
I SO LOVE THAT! I love that it says "laugh on Glory's side." It's good to know that those we love, who have passed are having a GOOD time.
Plus, this song is so thought provoking. I think it really shows that we should turn to Jesus in all circumstances. Good stuff, I tell ya.
::she jumps down from pulpit and exits room::
Peace Out!

Well, Aren't We Funny

Not much going on in the house today. We have more JO Tryouts tonight. This should be interesting because Paige barely slept last night. Why is it that when kids can't sleep...they wake the PARENTS? As if we have to be awake because they are awake.

Anyhoo....a couple of funnies to mention:

Trent: Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?
Mom: I have no clue
Trent: Because he didn't have any guts..


Paige came home complaining about religion class today, in a way ONLY Paige could complain. She said something is bugging her. She wants to know why the religion teacher, when giving examples, always makes himself GOD in the example and the kids in class are the sinners. (A complete shocker.) This just cracked me up. Only she would notice this and take offense. (Okay, maybe this isn't that funny. But I know the religion teacher and it made complete sense!) BWHAHAHAHAH! I guess it is a teacher's perk.

Onto the ABC's of ME:


My last initial has been "B" my entire life. First I was a Bursley and now I am a Blackburn.
I retired from BP Oil Company when Austin was two years old. I actually loved my job, but loved my son more.
I lived in Bay Village for 12 years and loved it. I think we would still live there if we didn't have the naked neighbor, the fake Christmas Trees and a one car garage.
I have many relatives with the nickname "Bill."
My first dog was named Beau Bijou (french poodle) and my second was named Bogie (English Springer). Bogie was a biter and we had to return him to the breeder.
I am still close friends with my best friend from high school, Barb.
I love to read books, but I can only read in short spurts because it is difficult to concentrate.
I love the Bible. I believe every word is the inherent word of God. It is a really good book. So...try it.
I hate the taste of beer.

Oops....How could I forget? My mother's name is Betty! **kicking**

Monday, October 29, 2007

ABCs of Me

I have really been enjoying Tina's blog and her ABCs of me posts. SO....since I am the master of copying all my friends...I think I will steal this idea. Today, I begin THE ABCs of ME!


My oldest son (and one of my most favorite people) is named Austin.
I seem to love to eat anything that contains Apples.
I currently live in Avon, Ohio.
Advent is one of my favorite times of the year.

On another note, I spent a wonderful day with Trent's class last Thursday. We visited Lake Farm Park. Let me tell you, if you have never been to Lake Farm Park, grab the nearest youngster and RUN to this place. It is such a cool place. We milked cows, made cider, watched how they use dogs to coral their sheep, and my favorite..........we got to pet the CUTEST little piglet. (Wait...Did I mention that Trent was too grossed out to milk the cow? HA!) To top it off, autumn was in full force and the colors were beautiful. The trees were like paintings! Honestly!

Friday night, Trent had his friend, Jeremy sleep over (the little guy holding the potato next to Trent). Jeremy's dad is one of the coaches for Lutheran West's football team. So, Trent and Jeremy got to lead the team to the field and spend the entire game on the side-lines with the team. Yep, someone was in their glory. Only problem is.....WE DON'T HAVE PICTURES! ugh!

Paige is busy trying out for JO Volleyball. She had a difficult tryout on Sunday and seemed a bit discouraged, but we will keep trying. She wants to be on a more challenging team than she was last time, so the competition is a bit stiffer.

Austin went to the annual Halloween Party at the Stover's House. As usual, he had an awesome time. He really likes the Stovers (they are great people) and has been friends with Marissa since fourth or fifth grade.

TTFN! (In the words of Tigger "Ta Ta For Now!")

Thursday, October 25, 2007

According to Tina....I'M IT!

So, Tina Zarlenga (scrapbooker extrodinaire) tagged me and made me IT. Now I have to list seven interesting things about myself. Does she know she is speaking to the most boring person on the planet? Okay...well here goes.

1. I have four double cousins. My dad's brother married my mom's sister and they had four children. Therefore, I have four double cousins.

2. I worked for a man who actually got on an airplane, forgot about a meeting and then got off of the airplane before it exploded in the sky over Lockerbee, Scotland. I was his secretary at the time of the accident.

3. I am actually good at event/party planning.

4. I won $300.00 off of my wedding dress, a trip to Hawaii and a trip to the Ritz Carlton Jumper Classic in Boston....all before the age of 30.

5. I have an "ex" neighbor who would stand naked in her window and planted artifical Christmas trees on the border of our two lots. Nice. Yeah, I know.

6. I have an extreme fear of disappointing people.

7. My daughter was a twin, but I miscarried her twin in my fourth month.

Well, how is that for bearing my soul?

Now, apparently I must tag five people but I do not know five people who blog!
Therefore, I tag Chris Rodriguez, Jen Forbus, Pam Kaszar and Michelle Griffith!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

For Me?

Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers, "Do you like it? I did it just for you."

- Max Lucado

Usually I have the quotes at the end of my posts. But, today I thought it was important to put it at the very top. And this is why I feel that way.................

I am loving this rain. Here in northeast Ohio, we usually get our fair share of rain. And in October, usually the rain is accompanied by the damp chill that goes straight to the bone. It is not always a pleasant visitor. Usually this time of year I groan at the thought of this type of weather. But, this morning I was watching the news (not always a good idea, either) and I saw the horrific fires in California and the extreme droughts in the south (especially Georgia) and it got me thinking. I guess we have a lot to be thankful for in these little water droplets and in these grey clouds. Maybe here in Ohio, it was something "just for us."

So, I lit some cinnamon candles, made some hot tea, turned on some good music and started to clean a little. All of this while hearing the rain pittering on the roof.

Good Stuff.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Award Winning Weekend!

I had an award-winning weekend. Okay, other than the Cleveland Indians LOSING, I had an award-winning weekend.

Firstly, let me offer a hearty CONGRATULATIONS to my favorite volleyball conference champion...Miss Paige Blackburn! I am proud of this little peanut. She loves this game and she has totally become a leader. Not the kind that is bossy, but the uplifting kind of leader. This weekend's volleyball tournament was a real-nail biter, but the Lady Tigers pulled it off. And it is so cool to see them win since many of these girls have been schoolmates and friends since kindergarten. It's like seeing a whole team grow up before your eyes. So....congratulations ladies!

Secondly, I got to crop this weekend with some of my most favorite people on the planet. Of course, Trish and Jen were in attendance. Where would I be without these two people? Trish, I just continue to study you so that I can copy everything you do and then act like it was an original idea of my own. Jen, if were ever stop having crops in the fall you will be required to make Dinner In A Pumpkin for my family. are rockin' your new look. I'm totally jealous. Marti, rent the movie "Mouse Hunt." It may strike a chord with you! ;)

As for Mrs. Tina Zarlinga....I am posting the pictures of my insignificant halloween/harvest decorations! I'm going out to buy some more today because I hate to be outdone. You just wait.....Your dog-chewed witches legs are GOING DOWN! HA! You made my day! Just the laughs I needed.

Now, for Miss Jen Forbus! I just love everything about you! You are a warm, loving soul. I think we totally understand eachother in ways no one else would understand. Maybe when we are old, blue-haired ladies we can live next door to each other and own 100 dogs together. Then, no one would turn us into the police for being insane animal lovers! I'm so glad we have become buddies.

Lastly, what the heck happened to the Indians? Trent had a good cry this morning when he heard we had lost. Together, we have decided to cheer on the Colorado Rockies in the World Series. At least NOW my family can get to bed at a decent hour. We will now focus on the Cavs and Buckeyes. Not a day goes by without sports in this house!

Blessings Everyone!

“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”
Max Lucado quote

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Teen Age Years

Well, by now you all pretty much understand how I feel about my kids and parenting. I love the kids but they can be challenging. As for parenting, well sometimes I think I get it, and sometimes I think I have failed.

I was recently on a scrapbooking message board and a woman posted a link about trouble she was having with her 13 year old daughter. Apparently this daughter had never been trouble until recently. Now she is making many mistakes and has the household in an uproar.

I busted a gut when I read the following response to her post:

Good afternoon and welcome to the Teen Years Train(wreck). You have chosen to get on this express train with your child, and we regret to inform you, that for the next 5 or 6 years, you cannot get off. No matter what your child does, we have you trapped on the Teen Train. The windows do not open, so nobody will hear you scream. You cannot throw yourself under the train, you can only watch as the world flashes by. The only sound you will hear on this train will be the constant drone of your child arguing with everything you say. On this train you will see people who look old enough to be your parents....they're not, they're your neighbors, the ones with a child two years older than yours. Try not to stare, they know they have aged 10 years in the last two. You will too. This is not the Twilight Zone passengers, this IS your worst sit back, tighten your seat belt, and get ready to rock and roll....

HA! How true, how true!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'm not liking it.....

I'm not liking it. Not one bit. I'm not liking the fact that Austin is a Senior. Nope. It just isn't sitting well with me.

Yesterday, Austin and I went to visit the University of Akron. As Austin and I were driving yesterday, it struck me that I absolutely want him to stay home. Well, at least another year or two. It also struck me that he wants to leave as badly as I want him to stay. If I think about THAT too much, I will become sad so I will move on.

I have a whirlwind of questions as Austin plans his future.

1) Will he actually decide to value school and study?
2) Will he control his temper?
3) Will he stay away from life's temptations (i.e. drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc...)?
4) Will he take his medicine everyday without me reminding him?
5) Will he remain faithful to God, attend church and trust in God?
6) Will he miss his friends terribly?
7) Will he be sad?
8) If he has a problem, will he let it eat at him instead of telling his parent?
9) Will he want to come home?
10) Will he miss us as much as we will miss him?

I'm sure if Austin read this list he would roll his eyes and maybe even sigh a deep sigh. He would view this as my lack of faith in him. But it's not. I guess it is pure fear. You think you have raised them right, but you never know until they are gone. Maybe it's my lack of faith in how we have raised him.

I don't want him to jeopardize any of his chances for happiness (hence the list of questions). I'm not ready to let him fall on his face. I'm not ready to "let him fly" because he may be too proud to let us know he needs us. And, we need him.

I have also come to realize that, as parents, we get comfortable in the driver's seat. We get used to being the safety net. You love these kids so much that it is painful to even THINK of releasing them to a world you are not supervising.

No, I'm not liking this one bit.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Senior Homecoming Week

It has been a very busy week at our house. To begin, it was homecoming week at Lutheran West. Homecoming week is a big deal at West, as it is in most High Schools. This year's theme was Past Generations At Lutheran West. Each class was designated a decade. Austin's class (seniors) were given the 1980s.

Monday was "Dress As A Television/Cartoon Character" from your decade. Austin and a group of friends decided to dress as the Solid Gold Dancers. WHAT A HOOT! I spent Sunday afternoon concocting an outfit for the occasion. As of today, I do not have pictures of the group. Austin had to change after sports performance, so I didn't get to see him. BUT, I did manage to take a picture of the very beautiful outfit. {{sigh.....}} They actually won the contest that day. Apparently Elliot brought a boombox of music and they did some "dancing" at the school assembly. Austin and a partner also won the Survivor Games to the tune of $25.00. He was a happy boy!

Tuesday was "Dress as a game/toy" from your decade. Austin went as a pillow person. Do you remember Pillow People? I caught him carrying his costume most of the day. Apparently it is difficult to study in class wearing a stuffed pillowcase over your head. Who would have thought?

Wednesday was Class Colors/Field Day. I did manage to sneak of picture of him on that day. They pretty much try to cover themselves in their class colors (seniors=red) and have field day competitions.

Thursday was a chapel day. He dressed in regular clothes this day. You could wear "vintage Lutheran West" clothes if you wanted. But, for some reason, he wasn't interested in wearing my letter jacket. HA!

Friday was a day off of school, but the Homecoming Football Game was played in the evening.

Which leads us to today. Homecoming Dance and Seniors Soccer Game. We won our soccer game 7-2. Below are some of my favorite pictures from the soccer game. The team prays before every game and then they sway back and forth with their arms around eachother while they are introduced. Kind of cool................... There is also a picture of all the senior soccer players and of course, a picture with his coach. Finally a face to go with the bare feet. Although, today he did wear shoes. Unfortunately, we lost last week.

And the dance..................

Well, my favorite part of this dance is that Austin is going with three of his closest friends. As you can see in the picture of all the guys together, Austin and Elliot are still EXACTLY THE SAME. Elliot has been Austin's best friend since fourth grade and a complete blessing to all of us. See the identical behavior?

They are having dinner at Steak On A Stone. It is a new restaurant in the area. Austin forgot the wrist corsage (second year in a row) so Mike had to run it up to the restaurant.

You may recognize the pretty blonde in the pictures with Austin. That is Stephanie. She has been Austin's date for homecoming sophmore, junior and now, Senior year.
By the way, did I mention that I never looked like that in high school? Heck, I never looked like that.....period. HA!
Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Chip Off The Old Block?

Many of you may be surprised to know that I know how to play the piano. I took lessons for quite a few years and I still sit down to play every few days. Well, they say that the third time is a charm.....and maybe they are correct. Trent has been begging to take piano lessons. Unfortunately, it doesn't work into the budget right now, so I have decided to teach him. We have a lesson every Monday after school. We have only been working on lessons for two weeks, but I never, EVER have to ask this kid to practice. He goes right to the piano each day after school.

Now, before you get excited, I know I am not going to be able to teach him for too long. I'm just not qualified. But I think this may give him a head start until I can get him into lessons. Hopefully, that will be soon. Until then, I enjoy the time sitting on the piano bench with my little boy, watching him plink away at "Old McDonald."

Okay, one more thing....I just had to post this picture of Trent having his after school snack of apples with peanut butter. Call me crazy, but I love his slouched posture with his feet up on the stool. Just hangin' after a day of school........

I could eat this kid up!

A real Christian is a person who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip.
-Billy Graham

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Senior Pictures

Well, as I mentioned before, I am VERY blessed to have two wonderful photographers as close friends. Jen and Trish took some casual senior pictures of Austin. I thought I would share a few with you. They did such an awesome job of capturing his personality. Plus, it was just plain fun! In two weeks he will have to go to the photography studio to have his "formal" photos taken. He isn't too crazy about this appointment. I'm sure it won't be as fun as an evening with his favorites, Trish and Jen!
P.S. I know, dad. I know that the ones with the goofy faces aren't good "senior pictures." But they are great to have. You know your grandson. They really are his personality.

ALWAYS A Part of Me

Yesterday was the second anniversary of mom's death. I've always thought the passing of time would erase some of the heartache, but it really doesn't. I still think of her everyday. I know that if mom was here, she would be the "one in my corner." She would work with me everyday through the struggles with my kids health. She would give me good advice on dealing with friends. She would share the recipies that were stored only in her head.

I have a million thoughts running through my head and my heart regarding my mom. Therefore, once again I will resort to a list to describe my memories.

1. During cold season my mom always smelled of Vicks Vapo Rub and had a Kleenex rolled up in the sleeve of her shirt.

2. As a little girl, I loved to lay behind my mom on the couch during the morning. I loved how she felt of soft flannel pajamas (and yes, smelled of Vicks Vapo Rub).

3. My mother sneezed louder than most human beings. Oh, and she yawned loudly too. And for fun she would always drag out the "ooooo" at the end of a sneeze and the "awwww" in the middle of the yawn as if she was screaming. I think you could hear her for blocks, but it was funny.

4. My mother had the appearance of an angel but the sense of humor given to devils. She had a loud, course laugh that she used only in those devilish moments.

5. My mom was a neat freak and she ironed EVERYTHING. I can remember her checking my refrigerator grate when she would visit. Growing up, people would comment on how she kept our house so clean while raising three girls.

6. My mom had a home remedy for everything. It usually involved a form of asprin and a heating pad. And on a bad day, it would involve rectal suppositories or enemas. (No child abuse involved, I promise!)

7. My mom was a closet smoker. Man, I'm not even sure she ever knew that we were on to her! She would sneak over to our neighbors to smoke. And....she kept the cigs in her purse.

8. Every now and then I would catch my mom crying over the loss of her dad and her brother.

9. My mom was a nervous driver. She HATED to drive to downtown Cleveland. In addition, if dad or any of us girls were more than five minutes late getting home....we were DEFINATELY in an auto accident or laying dead in a ditch.

10. My mom was a lady. She was always telling us when we weren't "lady-like." Growing up, we always had Easter hats and purses with white gloves and cloth handkerchiefs.

11. Mom loved her grandkids. Everytime I had given birth and the baby would eat for the first time, she would always say, "boy he/she is a big eater." I thought that was funny. To her, Austin was the next Albert Einstein, Paige was the next Cindy Crawford, and Trent was so sweet...he had to be the next Billy Graham.

12. My mom had a crush on my dad until her last breath. I LOVED that about her. She would send us girls around to do her "dirty work." She would always say, "check who he is talking on the phone with" or "ride down the street and find your dad." She couldn't have him far away. Once she told me that "dad isn't a softee, but he would walk through fire for his girls." I thought that was sweet.

13. Mom was one of the smartest people I've known. When I was pregnant with Austin, she told me to pray for average kids. Anything above or below was difficult to handle...and BOY was she correct.

14. My mom was a worker. She was ALWAYS cooking, cleaning, sewing, planting, etc.

15. My mom always had time for everyone. People were always asking for her help....and she always provided it.

Honestly, I can hardly wait to see my mom again. But, for now, I take comfort in the fact that she is with the Lord. I also take comfort in knowing what a genuine gift I was given to have her as my mom. She will ALWAYS be a part of me.

Hugs, mommy!