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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It Warms My Little Pea Picking Heart!

Oh....those Kodak moments. HA! Really, it isn't like this around here all the time. Actually, Trent isn't lovey that often. BUT, if he were to be lovey, Paige is definately one of the ONLY people to be on the receiving end of his affection. I just love his sweet, tender little face. AND, I love how he loves HER!

This photo.........well, this photo would be Trent at his best....WHEN HE IS SLEEPING! (Typical 8 year old boy!) Again, I could just MUSH that face!!! Too, too cute.

Go ahead.....envy me!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back In Business! (For Trisha Jones!)

Okay, well I haven't quite figured out why I am married to a computer genius but never have a computer that works properly! Anyhoo....I am back and in business.

You may have heard....the Buckeyes lost! BWHAAAA! I have to say, they were simply out-played. Eh.....we'll be back. Isn't that what you learn to say when living in Cleveland?

The biggest news around here would be our eventful weekend. Mike had to work in Chicago this weekend (again)! He left Friday evening. Friday after school, Trent came home and told me that he had his cub scout pinewood derby on Sunday. Oh....and he didn't have a car. It was more like a simple block of wood, four nails and four plastic wheels. I called my father-in-law and he agreed to help Trent make his car on Saturday. Well, to make a long story short, we found out that his car had to be weighed on Saturday at NOON! AHHHHH! Thank goodness I have a wonderful father-in-law. Trent and I basically jumped out of bed and got in the car on Saturday morning. We spent around three hours at Grandpa's. The guys worked on the car, painting the wood, adding the wheels, correcting the weight and making it race as fast as possible.

After leaving Grandpa's we went directly to the Annex at St. Paul to have the car weighed. When we arrived at St. Paul, I think both Trent and I were stunned. Honestly, these cars looked like masterpieces. There were cars that looked like KitKat Bars, Lizard Skins and Spiderman. The one that hit the hardest...was the one that was totally done like Ohio State. It was scarlet and grey with OSU decals. It was darling....and Trent's whole demeanor changed. It was then that I noticed that, not only did he want to compete in the Pinwood Derby with his DAD, but that he was holding a plain green block of wood. His car was basic.....SIMPLE, compared to the others. The plain block of wood was transformed into a green, plain block of wood. **sigh**

We weighed his car and had to leave it with the scoutmaster. When we got in the car, Trent was putting a good spin on everything. We discuss how it was "all about the speed" and not the paint job. We talked about how Austin's pinewood car had the same shape as Trent's and it was a winner! We discussed how next year dad wanted to spend "lots of time" making a cool Cleveland Browns car. (Yep, thought that one up quickly!)

On Sunday, my oh-so-wonderful husband rushed home from Chicago in order to attend the Pinewood Derby at 1:00 p.m. And guess what? Trent came in 3rd place! He is going to the next level of races! BEST of all? He got a trophy. You see, I have noticed that SOMEHOW a trophy makes everything better. Seriously! They should have trophies for eating the ONE meal your mom will make for dinner! Or, how about trophies for brushing your teeth! Better yet, a trophy for not wearing the same underwear two days in a row! Can you imagine the arguments that would be resolved if mother's only had an endless supply of trophies to hand out?

Anyhow, I have one happy scout on my hands! So....I'm going to be thankful for that!

On another note.....Is it windy enough for everyone? Our house sounded like a bag of bolts in the wind storm last night! Our trampoline went airborne across the development. It managed to take out our neighbor's lamp post during flight. It finally came to rest in ANOTHER neighbor's yard. Worse yet, our poor back-door neighbor! Last summer he finally finished building a wooden swingset for his young boys. He spent DAYS building this project only to have it blown over into our yard last night. Poor guy. He was out there hammering at 7:30 this morning.

I'm off to study the Book of Revelations with Paige's class. It has been such an interesting class. I have to say, I am learning so much and am very impressed with the teacher on this one!


P.S. Trisha Jones....I promise to get better. I NEVER want to be the reason you are bored at work. NEVER!

Monday, January 7, 2008


Okay, so it is time to come out of the closet! I know I hide it well, by I am (as is my family) an Ohio State Fan. AND there is a big (and I mean BIG) game tonight. YIPPPEEE......So, that means, in the morning Ohio State will be National Champions (God Willing).
I was on a scrapbook message board this morning and I found the following picture. I feel somewhat guilty, because I believe the picture is someone's family (and I stole the picture!), but it made me giggle so I had to share it!

Yes, that would be Jesus as the "H" in "O-H-I-O"! How funny is that?

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I have a friend named Jenny. When I first met Jenny, I thought she was a little quirky, yet sweet. Jenny is physically a very pretty woman. She is a loving mother and wife. She is an excellent homemaker. AND she is an excellent health care worker. Jenny just cares about everything she does.

In the fall of 1999 ( I believe) Jenny and I chaperoned a trip downtown for our kids. Our two children were friends and were taking a trip to see News Channel 5 in downtown Cleveland. Now, if you know anything about that area of town, there are MANY homeless people in that section. I worked in downtown Cleveland for over 10 years. Seeing homeless was nothing new for me. I had always felt sympathy for them. Yet, in all truth, I never really DID anything about it.....until Jenny.

The day of our trip, I arrived in the morning at Jenny's house, ready to venture out for some fun. When I walked in Jenny was in the process of packing a large box with brown bag lunches. Jenny had made lunches for the homeless downtown. Little did I know, but our adventure would be MUCH more than a trip to News Channel 5.

That morning we spent two hours driving around downtown seeking out the homeless and placing lunches near their bodies, sleeping on the ground, covered in blankets. Some were awake, waiting to be acknowledged. Some just wanted a conversation...with anyone. Jenny delivered every lunch with a simple message. First she would ask "are you okay"? Then she would hand them a lunch and tell them that someone cared about them.

That day both Austin and I learned so much. We learned that being homeless not only meant a lack of shelter. Most often it ALSO meant a lack of respect, conversation, compassion and dignity. The homeless feel ignored to the point of feeling invisible. They want to be treated as if they matter and have a purpose. They want decency.

I won't lie to you, when we first handed out lunches both Austin and I were uncomfortable. We didn't know what to expect. But we both realized that in order to make a difference, we have to put ourselves aside. The world can't be about ME! Secondly, you have to stop judging people. Even those less fortunate than you or I have the same needs and desires as we do.

We did make our trip to News Channel 5 that day. But on the way home, it wasn't our TV appearance that was the topic of conversation. We all (kids included) talked about the people we had met on the street and the experience we shared.

I have come to realize that my life is a gift of grace. I am blessed to not only live in the U.S., but to have been born in the family I was and to have married into the family I now share. I could easily have been the orphan or the homeless woman owning only a blanket or shopping cart. I will not take that for granted.

Everyone I know lives in excess at times. Maybe it's multiple trips to Disney. Maybe it's a Christmas tree loaded with presents. Maybe it's indulging in a hobby too much. Whatever your poison, perhaps there should come a time to put it aside and do what's right. Don't make it...about you.

"At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by 'I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.'Hungry not only for bread -- but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing -- but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks -- but homeless because of rejection." ~ Mother Teresa

Friday, January 4, 2008


I am not spontaneous. Not in the least. Actually, I am a planner. I plan too much. BUT, last night something spontaneous happened....and it was great! Trish called because she was able to buy tickets for the Hannah Montana concert and was surprising her daughter with the tickets for last night's performance. And you know what? I GOT TICKETS TOO! Yeah! At first I was nervous because:

1) I am not spontaneous. Remember?
2) I am paying off my credit cards and have been trying not to spend.
3) I have NO idea how to get to the "Q."

Anyways, I called Trish and she offered to drive us......IN THE LIMO SHE HAD RENTED! Big relief! I haven't had too many limo rides, so this was a treat. As usual, Trish's husband managed to surprise she and Jamie with this treat and we rode on their shirtails! (Thanks, Chris) And away we went! And for the record, that is the ONLY way to arrive at a concert. The girls felt like movie stars! (I will add a picture of the limo soon. I didn't take my camera. Trish did the photography. We forgot to take a picture of the limo and she had run out of battery. Therefore I took the picture on my cell phone. So...I have to have Paige get it on the blog. I'm too old and not as computer saavy!)

It was a complete whirlwind. Paige had to scramble to do homework immediately after school and then shower and "primp" for the concert.

I must say, Miley Cyrus is a doll and really put on a show. But those Jonas Brothers...... Okay, these guys are no Matthew McConaughey and they are a little young for me, BUT......cute, cute, cute! I almost like them more than Miley. Almost........

We had a blast! It was so worth it. It was a great time with friends, but more importantly, a great time with Paige. She seems to glow when we do these things together! We don't splurge too often in our house, but it really is worth the cost to have an evening like that with Paige.

Onto other things...... I have to finish this stinking alphabet.

The Letter "V" name. I was never really crazy about my name (sorry, to whomever named me). BUT, I did enjoy my name when I worked in Patent and License at BP. ask? Because I met my dear friend, Valerie Salvino and we had more fun sitting next to each other ...both being Val's.

Valerie true friend. Val has been my friend through everything. She is probably singlehandedly the FUNNIEST person I know. Sometimes it seems like we actually think the same things at the same time. She has a heart of gold and can be tough as nails. I admire so much of what she has done. She has raised a fabulous daughter, Mandy....and has given her the best. And, quite a bit of the time she had to do it all on her own. She is an awesome, awesome person.

Valentine's Day. Okay, I love Valentine's Day. And when I met Trish and saw that she has a Valentine Tree.....I had to have one too! Somehow it makes me "get over" the dismanteling of Christmas!

Vera - As you have seen in earlier posts, my dad remarried this year. He married Vera! I just love Vera. She is so funny and warm. Did I mention that she is active? WHEW! I can't keep up with her! I think she must be 20 years physically younger than I am! AND she thinks my dad is funny. HA! That's because she hasn't known him that long. We will check back with her in a few years! Hee hee. I don't want to get too mushy, but as for Vera marrying was a good thing.

Vacations - My family hasn't taken a vacation in almost five years. Seriously. That is so sad. We have had many things come up that just kept us either time-wise or financially from having a vacation. This summer...we are taking a vacation. Period. I don't really even care where we go. Since Austin will be going to college in the fall, I want our family to have the time together. So.....I will let you know when the plans are made. (Notice I said "plans"?)

Well, today I have to scramble to get a few things done. I have to make Amish Friendship Bread, thanks to Jen and I have to go to the Photographers to see Austin's Senior Pictures. UGH! I hate that we have to spend this money when I have friends that do a better job! I also have a little shopping to do and more sleepovers tonight!

Hugs to everyone!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Out with the old..........

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It is 11:14 a.m. on January 1st and I have NOT been able to yell that as of yet!

New Year's Eve is usually quiet around my house, and frankly...I like it that way. Austin went to a party at Leah Nagy's house (because he is 17 and actually has a life), but the rest of the family stayed home. We had burgers and fries from Five Brothers (our favorite) and played board games and had a movie night. Our movies consisted of Underdog (Trent's current favorite), License To Wed (Paige's current favorite) and Hairspray (so, so cute). You may already know that we LOVE to play board games, so that was a big part of the evening.

Trent was so excited for New Years. He and Paige received Silly String in their stockings and he couldn't wait until midnight to use this stuff. He warned me that if I fell asleep he would spray me with silly string. Unfortunately, this is what happened:
The "man with a plan" pooped out at 11:30 p.m. with Silly String in hand.
Yeah, and him too.............................

So...I guess a Silly String fight will be on the agenda today. That's good, as I will have more energy to clean up the mess!

I am really looking forward to the new year. I hope to make some positive changes....the timeless phrase "out with the old and in with the new" sounds good to me! I am not big on New Year's Resolutions because I never keep them. BUT....I am making a list of things I would like to improve upon in the New Year. Here goes:
1. I want to spend more time with God.
2. I want to be a better wife, mom and friend.
3. I want to lose weight. BOY, do I want to lose weight.
4. I want to exercise daily.
5. I want to guide my kids to be good people.
6. I want to get Austin settled in and happy in college and Paige settled in and happy at High
7. I want to count my blessings.
8. I want to find a way to give back, especially random acts.
9. I want to try to be more outgoing.
10. I want to love people at face value.
Now for the trivial:
1. I want to be better at cleaning.
2. I want to declutter the basement and my scrapbooking room.
3. I want to learn how to decorate cakes.
4. I want to learn how to knit.
5. I want to make HUGE progress on my scrapbooks.
6. I want to make HUGE progress on deocrating the house.
7. Keeping up on the laundry would be nice.................
8. It would be nice to work on the hair and nails. I am looking too frumpy!
9. I want to read more books.
10. I want to keep up on my blog.

Gosh, I have been so short on words of wisdom lately. Maybe I have just been too busy in the Christmas/New Year's seasons. But, I have found some really cool comments made on the blogs of Tina Z. and Melody Ross. I think they need repeating as we ponder how we will spend our New Year.

Per Tina Z's blog:

I think you become a better human being by contributing in some way to the world. It doesn't have to be a big thing, and you don't have to have money or power. It can be little things - helping someone who needs help, working with an organization, offering simple kindnesses and common courtesies without expecting a reward.

When you help because it's the right thing to do, you know it whether anyone else does or not, and you've made your corner of the world just a tiny bit better. I think that when you feel good about yourself, all the rest, the eating, and the health, and the waistline, and the spirit - take care of themselves.

From Melody Ross' Blog:

What’s in YOUR little wrapped box when God hands you thoughts that are like gifts that make life make sense? Do you even open the box? Sometimes I don’t…today I did. I am going to try harder to open the box every time.

….I am thinking about the way that God chooses to bless us sometimes and the way we don’t always see things as blessings until much later in our lives….I am thinking about gifts that come that we see or don’t see….and sometimes that we leave unopened for way too long when the intention of the giver was that we would derive joy from the very moment that the gift was thought of…but that sometimes we don’t see. I am thinking of nothing in particular, but how many things fall into these categories……do you ever wake up with all of the bigness of life swirling around in your head in such a way that it makes you want to jump out of bed and live BIGGER… breathe it in and then to breathe it out… take it in and then give it out….GIVE IT OUT?
Okay, so I WILL make a resolution. I will try to open the box every day and discover the blessing inside!