Rhett

Rhett

Friday, August 31, 2012

THE BIG 1,000... and Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

I'm not going to waste a lot of time. I'm just going to tell you the WINNER OF THE 1,000TH POST CONTEST IS...

LEANNA BROWN

CONGRATULATIONS!

I'll be getting in touch with LeAnna today to see which Gift Certificate she will choose (Lucia's Italian, Another Broken Egg, Olexa's or Original Pancake House).

I want to thank everyone for entering. At last count (midnight last night), there were 158 entries from 26 different readers.

That's not bad at all!

Other than saying, "This is my 1,000th post," and announcing the winner of the Contest, I'm not going to make a big deal about the number 1,000. (I'm humble that way!)

I will say a heartfelt "Thank You" to anyone out there who visits A Simple Life from time to time.

And I hope you continue to visit me twice a week as A Simple Life works toward the goal of 2,000 POSTS!

That will be a good Contest, too!

REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER! - Okay. After four years of blogging, A Simple Life will become a twice-weekly blog which will contain a little bit of everything I love (pictures, randomness, dates, ways to embarrass your 16 year-old daughter, recipes, traditions, parties, etc.).

This new format will begin Monday, September 3, 2012!

NEW THING! NEW THING! NEW THING! - Today's the last day I'll be posting oldies for a while.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - PASSION - Originally Posted December, 2010

Mike and I were watching Julie and Julia recently. I love that movie. The first time I saw it, I thought I loved it because it was about a blogger... who became famous... and wrote a book... which was turned into a movie... and the blogger had Amy Adams portray her in the movie.

But watching it the second time, I realized I loved the movie because of a different reason entirely.

It was about two people struggling to discover what they were passionate about, and then pursuing their dreams.

Julia Childs was passionate about food and her husband. She poured herself into both, and was a hugely successful chef, teacher, television personality and a wonderful, loving, appreciative wife. And she was not a young thing when she started pursuing her dream. She was in her 40s. (I am in my 40s. Coincidence? I wonder.)

Amy Adams' charcter, Julie, was also struggling to find her passion in life. In the movie, she is portrayed as a woman who loves her husband very, very much. She's also a good cook in her own right, but she's meant to be a writer. When she discovers something (blogging) which puts two of her passions together (cooking and writing), her passion explodes... and so does her career.

This is not a religious movie. It does not talk about God's gifts or God's perfect will for your life. But if you think about it in those terms, God has given us gift(s). We even have classes at our church which help you find your God-given gift if you are struggling.

For some, it is obvious. Some people are natural teachers. It is their passion. It is what they pour themselves, body and soul, into doing well. Roxie has a math teacher who comes to mind. (Since I haven't asked his permission to use his name in the blog, I will just call him Mr. "R.") He is amazing. He is passionate about teaching math. And because he recognizes his passion, he is soooo good at making math enjoyable... even for non-math kids. He uses games, humor, music, etc. to make the subject he loves fun for his students. (He has other gifts, too.) By using his God-given gift of teaching in such a passionate, interesting, unique way, he is also inspiring would-be teachers (who are now only 12 and 13 years-old) to go the extra mile. He is not wasting his gift.

NOTE - He is not the only teacher I know of who uses his/her gift so well. We are blessed to have many such individuals in our schools.

What is your God-given gift? What is your passion? If you know the answer to those questions, that is great. Now you just have to figure out the best way to use your gift to the glory of God. If for some reason you haven't figured out what your gift might be, praying is always a good way to start... for all of us! But you can also ask your spouse or a close friend what they think. Sometimes what is obvious to others is invisible to us.

When you give someone a gift you spent time and effort looking for, you do not want to see them nonchalantly discard the gift. You want them to be excited about receiving the gift. You want them to use the gift, and enjoy themselves while doing so. God is no different. Each gift he has given us was given for a reason. And throwing it away is more than a waste. It will keep us from finding the joy God has in store for us in our daily lives.

What is The Enchanting Belinda's gift, you may ask? What is The Enchanting Belinda's passion? In a word, I would have to say "family." And that is not to say to every mother reading A Simple Life today you are NOT passionate about your family. No, sir. I don't know mothers who are not passionate about their families. But my purpose at this time in my life is to find and share ways to pour all that passion into spending purposeful, meaningful, Christ-centered time with our families.

Am I a perfect example of how to do this? Nope. Never have been, never will be.

Do I strive to do this? Yes, but not each and every day. I stumble and fall and make mistakes galore.

Are my kids perfect and my husband always happy because this is my passion? Oh, please! Give me a break. I think most days I get on their nerves more BECAUSE of my passion.

It is what it is. I'm a very broken vessel trying very hard to use God's gift. And every day I wake up and try, try again. Will I succeed? I'll have moments. Will I ultimately fail? Not as long as I am pursuing my passion (and God's perfect plan) for my life.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

RANDOMNESS - We played volleyball. I took pictures. We won. (It's going to be a very long season.)


Crouching Tiger!


Killer serve!

Weekend Happenings

Thank goodness! We have a long weekend. We are exhausted from two whole weeks of school. We SO desperately need this break. (I am NOT kidding!)

That being said, I have nothing planned and set in stone at this time. A lot of "this and that" is floating around our heads, but I will not put pen to paper... yet.

I made an "I HOPE" list...

I HOPE some of us get to go fishing this weekend.

I HOPE some of us get to go on a date with our husband this weekend.

I HOPE that someone is me because, as far as I know, Roxie didn't get married this past week.

I HOPE The Faulkner Five get to enjoy one or two meals together this weekend.

I HOPE The Faulkner Five get to enjoy a Game Night/Movie Night this weekend.

I HOPE The Chick and I get to shop a little this weekend.

I HOPE The Boy forgets to bring his laundry home bright and early Sunday morning. Oh, how I hope!

And I HOPE y'all have a wonderful weekend! I'll be here Monday morning with Mindless Monday, pictures and Randomness.

Remember... I'm only posting on Mondays and Fridays beginning next week!

Take care, and I'll talk to you MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Always Hopeful Belinda

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Conversation Dates for Daughters

Good Thursday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie will be playing JV volleyball tonight... so look forward to volleyball pics in the morning!

Shocking, I know.

RANDOMNESS #2 - When I helped Austin move into his dorm last Friday, I ran into a gas station a few minutes away from JSU. I knew the public bathrooms in the dorm would be busy with so many extra people helping kids move, and I thought I would avoid a "waiting in line" problem.

I was wise.

When I came out of the gas station and walked to The Big Gold Van, I noticed a beautiful horse in the middle of a field nibbling grass, and I thought to myself, "Forget The Boy. I'm going to take some horse pictures!"

And I did.

I walked up to the white fence, and the horse noticed me and came to greet me.

Fun Fact - I don't normally pet horses. I have ridden them from time to time, but I've never been a chick who feels the need to walk up to an animal with a giant head and rub. Go figure.

But this horse was different. This horse was a kindred spirit, I think.

I have no way of knowing, but it was such a pretty horse and such a sweet horse and such a smart horse... I think it was a girl.

And in my head I named her "Aurora," which is Sleeping Beauty's real name.

If my tiara had been in The Big Gold Van, I would have put it on her giant head during our photo session. Yes, I would.

I talked to Aurora. I petted Aurora. I took pictures of Aurora.

And before I left, I put my camera down and hugged Aurora.

That's right. I hugged a strange horse behind a gas station.

Which is so unlike me.

I'm usually so dignified.

I know this story would be so much better if I had actually jumped the fence and rode Aurora bareback around the green pasture, but I had to mop The Boy's dorm room and clean The Boy's bathroom and make The Boy's bed. (Actually, I didn't HAVE to... I wanted to!)

But I think I'll be visiting Aurora again.

I also think I'm going to start telling people I own a horse, but I board her on a small gas station/horse farm in Jacksonville, Alabama.

That sounds legitimate, doesn't it?


See what I mean. "She" is beautiful.


And just look at those eyelashes.


I cannot wait to see her again... and next time I will have apples and carrots and sugar cubes.

Not only do I like to bribe children to love me. Apparently, I now like to bribe horses to love me, too.

REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER! - Okay. I've decided on the fate of A Simple Life. After four years of blogging and soon-to-be 1,000 posts, A Simple Life will become a twice-weekly blog which will contain a little bit of everything I love (pictures, randomness, dates, ways to embarrass your 16 year-old daughter, recipes, traditions, parties, etc.).

This new format will begin next Monday, September 3, 2012!

When August is over and done, I hope you'll still come visit on Mondays and Fridays.

I'll still be here! (I'm just going to semi-retire!)

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - This is my 999th post for A Simple Life. The countdown ends TODAY!

Believe it or not, as of this very moment, I have 149 entries for the 1,000th Post Contest. That's right... 149!

Several of you have well over 15 entries. Some a little less. But I'm only drawing ONE name out of the bowl, and it could be you!

The Contest will be simple. The rules are as follows:

Leave your NAME followed by the word "CONTEST" in the Comment Section of A Simple Life, e-mail me (mfaulkner1306@charter.net) or go to my Facebook page.

You can enter the Contest until tonight, August 30 at midnight.

I will write my 1,000th post Friday morning, August 31.

I will draw from a HUGE BOWL of names, and a winner will be announced the morning of Friday, August 31.

The winner will receive a $15 Gift Certificate to one of the following restaurants:

1. Another Broken Egg
2. Original Pancake House
3. Olexa's
4. Lucia's Italian Restaurant in Helena

It will be Winner's Choice!

If you win and you live somewhere other than Alabama, you will win a $15 VISA Gift Card!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

NEW THING! NEW THING! NEW THING! - I'm going to post one of my favorite posts each day from the past four years until August 31.

FOOD POISONING FROM A 5-STAR RESTAURANT - Originally Posted June, 2010

I may have told this story before, but in case I haven't (or you've forgotten), this one definitely falls in the Mishap category.

Mike and I celebrated our 20th anniversary 18 months ago. We decided to spend a few days in Charleston, South Carolina. It had something for both of us. History and plaques galore for my plaque reader and beautiful homes, scenery, etc. for me. It is definitely a "walking" city, which we both love, too.

We stayed in a very old and beautiful bed and breakfast on the edge of downtown Charleston. Gorgeous. We were very pleased with our accommodations. This was definitely going to be an anniversary we would never forget. (Boy, were we right!)

The first full day in Charleston, we put on our walking shoes and we walked... and walked and walked and walked. We had chosen two restaurants we wanted to try while we were there, but for some reason, instead of stretching it out over two or three days, we had lunch at our first pick and dinner at our second pick on the first day. Both restaurants were five-star and the food was delicious. However, on our leisurely walk back to the bed and breakfast, Mike mentioned he wasn't feeling quite right.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I don't know. My stomach is a little upset," he said.

We walked a little faster and made it back to our room. Within 30 minutes, Mikie was sick. And I don't mean a "little bit" sick. I mean "throwing up a lung" sick. After a couple of hours, it wasn't getting any better. He didn't have a fever, so we had to conclude it must be food poisoning.

He had eaten shrimp and grits (a famous Charleston staple) for lunch, and then for supper he had done something we both had questioned when talking to the waiter. He had ordered the pork.

"How would you like that cooked, sir?" the waiter had asked.

"What do you mean? I want pork cooked well. Very well," he responded.

The waiter then gave us a five minute description of this particular pig and how it had been raised, killed and later prepared for this particular five-star restaurant. "Most people eat this dish medium rare," he finished.

I looked at Mikie and shook my head ever so slightly to indicate, "If you eat pork medium rare, you will die." We had been married 20 years. He knew exactly what I was thinking... mainly because he was thinking the same thing.

"Well, I'll have it prepared medium well," he compromised.

The snooty waiter left, his suggestion having been tossed, and I leaned over to Mikie. "Are you sure?"

"Medium well should be fine for pork. It will be delicious, I'm sure," he said, sounding very convinced.

When the meal was brought to our table a little later, it was beautiful. Mike declared the medium well pork fabulous, and we enjoyed our dinner. Little did we know two hours later he would be so very, very sick... and so very, very loud.

Something I learned about Mikie soon after we got married was he was not a quiet sick person. He wanted to be heard. Something else I learned soon after Mikie and I got married (and excuse me if you're eating... which you shouldn't be doing so close to a computer anyway), before he gets sick (like food poisoning) he yells.

"She must have meant to type 'moans loudly,'" you're probably thinking to yourself.

Nope. He yells. And then he gets sick. It's really quite awful. I've been known to leave the house when he has been sick before because the yelling is so incredibly loud it gives ME a headache... and there's no sense in both of us feeling badly.

But I was in Charleston, South Carolina, and it was the middle of the night, and we were in a tiny, thin-walled bed and breakfast (next door to honeymooners, I might add). There was nowhere to run. Finally, around dawn, the sickness subsided. The yelling stopped and the moaning took over.

"Could you please go downstairs and ask them to fix me a piece of toast with coffee and water?" he asked.

"Of course, Babe. As soon as the other guests have finished breakfast and left the dining area I'll slip on down there," I said sweetly.

"I'm pretty sure I'm totally dehydrated. I really need the fluids."

"Of course you do. And as soon as everyone clears out, I'll run downstairs to the dining room and get you everything you need."

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to die soon. I think I need it NOW," he declared.

"Mikie, I love you. However, you kept this whole bed and breakfast awake last night yelling every time you got sick. They're going to know I'm your wife. It's going to be totally embarrassing."

"More embarrassing than me crawling down the stairs and into the dining room on my hands and knees... and telling them my wife WOULDN'T get me a cup of coffee," he threatened.

"Okay. Okay. I'll go," I said, albeit begrudgingly.

I went out the door. In the hallway before I headed down the stairs, I heard my name being whispered, "Belinda... Belinda."

I walked over to the window where my name was being called. "Hey, Mikie. Are you whispering?"

"Yes," he whispered again. "Could you hear that?"

"Oh, yeah," I said. "So I imagine the pre-sickness yelling and the post-sickness moaning is definitely the topic of discussion downstairs right about now."

"I'm sorry," he whispered, and I made my way to the dining room.

As I walked in, the conversation died and everyone turned to look at me. I smiled weakly, walked over to the lady in charge of breakfast and asked for water, coffee and toast.

"Is your husband okay?" one of the guests asked me.

"Oh, yes. It was just a little food poisoning," I responded. "He's much better this morning."

"We thought he was dying," one of the honeymooners said.

"Well, if you asked him, he would agree with you," I said, trying to appear cheerful and failing miserably.

The eight people sitting around the breakfast table looked tired, but they were kind and concerned. True Southerners. As they filed past me on their way to a "fun day in Charleston," they each offered their condolences and told me to tell Mikie they hoped he felt better soon. I was touched.

The woman in charge of the kitchen brought me what she thought I had asked for... orange juice, hot tea and a toasted English muffin. I didn't want to push it, but I knew I had to take up at least ONE thing Mike had actually requested. I decided to keep the English muffin, traded the orange juice for water and poured a cup of coffee while she was in the back getting the water.

"An English muffin," Mikie whined. "I don't think I like English muffins."

Did I mention after the pre-yelling and post-moaning comes the eternal whining.

Yep... Mikie's a keeper! NOTE - And I need to mention, he's a much better nurse than I am!

Blog Linkage - Short, but sweet!

1. Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and click on today's post entitled "Road Trip Fun With Kids." They have some good game ideas for the kiddos if you're planning a road trip. Or going to the mall. Or five minutes down the road to Wal-Mart. Check it out.

2. If you're a picture-taker (professional or amateur), go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and click on "Photography" at the top of her page. She has some good tips about cropping squares. She's brilliant, I tell you!

Enjoy!

Conversation Dates for Daughters

As is the norm, these ideas came from Pinterest... www.imom.com to be exact!

1. She’s a Masterpiece - Dannah Gresh encourages you to thoroughly pamper your daughter during this date. Find a teahouse or swank hotel and make reservations. Enjoy lavishing her with your attention and all the niceties of a girls’ lunch.

Conversation Goal - Try to get a sense of how your daughter feels about herself overall. Talk about how you felt at her age and share what insecurities you might have had about yourself. Respond to her with encouragement, affirmation and love.

2. She’s a Unique Beauty - Dannah’s suggestion? Visit a spa or beauty salon for some girl pampering. After your spa visit, head to a quiet place for lunch where you can further your relaxation with a slow-paced meal.

Conversation Goal - Call her attention to her specific and unique beauty strengths. Yes, compliment her pretty eyes, but also talk about her inner beauty (compassionate, funny, slow to anger, etc.). Try to bring up the topic of how images your daughter sees in magazines or online are usually re-touched photos.

3. The Real Source of Beauty - Now take the focus off the external to the beauty inside your daughter and the world around her. Dannah suggests infusing this date with nature. Go horseback riding, have a picnic, get up early and watch the sunrise or go on a hike.

Conversation Goal - In her book, Dannah Gresh says, “Where does beauty really come from? As girls we sometimes get stuck on thinking it comes from a great haircut or new fingernail polish. Sometimes we think it comes from being surrounded by friends or being noticed by cute guys. But you won’t find beauty there.” Talk about how beauty shines forth from a strong spiritual life, from a relationship with God.

4. Educational Excursion - Even if your daughter is still in grade school, hit the road and visit a college campus or a community college in your town. Let her see what lies beyond.

Conversation Goal - Ask your daughter where she sees herself going to college, or what kind of education she wants after high school. Talk about the freedom and responsibility college brings.

5. Chow Down - What’s your daughter’s favorite food or meal? Surprise her with a trip to her favorite place, even if it’s not the healthiest grub in town. After lunch, drive around a pretty neighborhood and let your daughter point out the houses she likes.

Conversation Goal - Ask your daughter what she thinks makes a house a loving home. Ask her how she feels about her home life. Does she like being home? Does she feel cared for and loved? You can even ask her about meals she’d like to have more often!

6. Faith Excursion - Experience a different worship setting together. Attend a church as a visitor. Present your daughter with a book or CD about faith. Suggest going through it together.

Conversation Goal - Use this time to assess where your child is spiritually. Steer the conversation toward what’s really important in life.

7. Retail Therapy - Yes, we can put too much emphasis on shopping if we’re not careful, but if your daughter likes to shop, teach her how to do it with fun and restraint. Visit some stores that have great buys, but also visit some stores that are great just for window shopping.

Conversation Goal - This outing is a natural for two topics... How to dress and managing money. Use this time together to talk to your daughter about dressing cute, but modestly. You can also bring up the need to budget in life.

The Enchanting Belinda - I loved these ideas. The only thing I would add is scripture. Find one or two verses to go with each and every date. Write the verses on index cards. Tape the index cards to the visor on the passenger side of the car.

On the way home from the date, have your daughter lower the visor and read the verse aloud. Make sure she understands the Biblical reference.

If possible, try to memorize the verse before you pull into the driveway.

Guess what? This website has Conversation Dates for Sons, too. I'll post those next week!

Have a totally terrific Thursday, and I'll try to do the same. I'll be back tomorrow with the WINNER OF THE 1,000TH POST CONTEST, Weekend Happenings, volleyball pics (are there any other kind?) and Randomness.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Backyard Camping Party (Originally Posted October 20, 2008)

Good Wednesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I didn't say anything yesterday because I wanted to make sure it really happened... Roxie was asked to play during the Varsity volleyball game last night. (JV didn't have a scheduled game.) She's still on the JV team, but it was an honor to play on Varsity, too.

I've included a few volleyball pics of her and friends doing the exact same thing as always... but wearing the Varsity gray jersey!


Kaitlyn was asked to play in the Varsity game, too... and it was her birthday... and she was really, really happy!


See? Just like Saturday's pics... only grayer.


This is our sweet friend, Kelci. You probably remember her from the 10,000 or so pictures I posted from last season.


Kaitlyn, Mary Allison, Taylor, Roxie and Kelci. (Mary Allison and Taylor are FANS! They play basketball and softball, but they support their volleyball buddies, too.)

RANDOMNESS #2 - I want to make sure EVERYTHING is about Roxie today! (She hates when I do that.) After the game last night, Mikie, Roxie and I drove to Oneonta to pick up her new-to-her car. Her 16th birthday isn't until September 25, but Mikie found Big Red a little early, and it fit our criteria.

Don't worry. She will NOT be driving the car "early."


Pretty spiffy, isn't it?


I'm not certain, but I think Mikie is getting all the "car" credit. Hmmm. I'll have to do something about that.

REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER! - Okay. I've decided on the fate of A Simple Life. After four years of blogging and soon-to-be 1,000 posts, A Simple Life will become a twice-weekly blog which will contain a little bit of everything I love (pictures, randomness, dates, ways to embarrass your 16 year-old daughter, recipes, traditions, parties, etc.).

This new format will begin Monday, September 3, 2012!

I think I'm going to have to ease out of blogging a little more slowly. It's been a big part of my life for the past four years, and I don't think I'm going to be able to stop "cold turkey" as I originally had hoped.

So when August is over and done, I hope you'll still come visit on Mondays and Fridays for awhile.

I'll still be here! (I'm just going to semi-retire!)

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - This is my 998th post for A Simple Life. The countdown continues!

The Contest will be simple. The rules are as follows:

Beginning today, leave your NAME followed by the word "CONTEST" in the Comment Section of A Simple Life, e-mail me (mfaulkner1306@charter.net) or go to my Facebook page.

You can enter the Contest ONCE A DAY (each and every day including Saturdays AND Sundays) until Thursday, August 30 at midnight. (Your name could be put into the drawing bowl a total of 2 times between now and Thursday, August 30!)

I will write my 1,000th post Friday morning, August 31.

I will draw from a HUGE BOWL of names, and a winner will be announced the morning of Friday, August 31.

The winner will receive a $15 Gift Certificate to one of the following restaurants:

1. Another Broken Egg
2. Original Pancake House
3. Olexa's
4. Lucia's Italian Restaurant in Helena

It will be Winner's Choice!

If you win and you live somewhere other than Alabama, you will win a $15 VISA Gift Card!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

(I'm going to be saying that for the next 2 POSTS!)

NEW THING! NEW THING! NEW THING! - I'm going to post one of my favorite posts each day from the past four years until August 31.

AUTUMN NUT - Originally Posted October, 2008

(Originally written October, 1997) I am the original "Autumn Nut." I love the way the light comes through my living room windows at 4:00 in the afternoon.


Fall Picture #1 - Candlelit fall dinners.

I love the way the squirrels throw huge hickory nuts at me as I run with Roxie in my arms to my van.


Fall Picture #2 - Bonfires.

I love raking up huge piles of leaves and letting my boys jump in them (and when I think my neighbors aren't paying attention, I've been known to take a leap or two myself).


Fall Picture #3 - Pumpkins.

I love the smell of cool, brisk autumnal air.


Fall Picture #4 - Acorn chunking.

I love the word "autumnal."


Fall Picture #5 - College football games.

I love gray days because the colors of the leaves are so vivid against the sky.


Fall Picture #6 - Mums.

I love wearing sweaters as opposed to bathing suits (for all the apparent reasons).


Fall Picture #7 - Pumpkin scented candles.

I even fell in love with Mikie in autumn. (Of course, being the typical male, he didn't fall in love with me until the following spring.)


Fall Picture #8 - Long Sunday car rides looking at leaves with Mikie.

Why have I bored you with an essay of all my favorite things? I have in recent years learned a very important lesson from my obsession with all things autumnal.

For a long period of time in my life, I trudged through the long summer months muttering under my breath every morning, "I can't wait until the leaves start to turn." I wasted many beautiful summer days longing for something not promised to me in the future. And then when autumn finally appeared, I was so worried about it lasting for such a short time that instead of enjoying its beauty, I found myself dreading the end of a day because it meant we were that much closer to the end of MY season.

What turned me around? What made me see the beauty in every season of my life? What catastrophic event turned the original "Autumn Nut" into someone who was capable of enjoying a 99 degree summer day?

Well, it was one of those passages of scripture we've all heard since the first day we walked into a church. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a season for every event under heaven."

I first used this scripture in my own life dealing with the doldrums that can set in with working and stay-at-home moms. The mundane routines of everyday life can easily fall into a "season."

There are the enormous amounts of laundry, meals to prepare, car pooling, runny noses, temper fits in Wal-Mart, sticking your finger in the back of the baby's diaper and acting surprised when there is actually something in there (WHY DO WE DO THAT?), annoying telephone calls from solicitors, large, gaping holes in brand new pairs of pantyhose that you throw on as you're walking out the door on the way to a worship service, a slip that is doing exactly what the name implies and is down around your ankles before you notice (and by that time, you really don't care anymore), and lest any of us forget, the signature baby URP on the shoulder of your new black suede dress that no one feels the need to mention until you ask, "What is that smell?" and they quickly point out it's you.

I guess what I'm trying to say in my own simple way is I don't want to miss any of my seasons by being so caught up in the stresses of everyday life. I want to experience the joys of autumn all year long.

What I've determined to do is enjoy some part of my "season" each and every day. I don't want to miss the winters, springs and summers of my life because I am so focused on getting to the autumns.

I don't want to wake up one day and the kids are gone, the house is neat and clean, the laundry hamper is empty and then realize what a beautiful time of my life I hurried through. What a waste that would be!)

I think Paul said it best in his letter to the Philippian church, "...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." (Philippians 4:11). What a wonderful thing to strive for... contentment in the winter, spring, summer and autumn seasons of our lives.

Well, I have to finish up this little article now. There are noses to wipe, laundry to do, beds to make, kids to take to school, kids to pick up from school, supper to prepare (chili and cornbread, of course), and I noticed something an odd "autumnal" color in the refrigerator I think I need to investigate. (It's truly amazing how many times you can use that word if you really apply yourself!)

But I think I'll take a few minutes to slip out on my back deck and feel the cool, refreshing breeze on my face, watch the squirrels chase each other and enjoy the beautiful yellow, red and orange leaves falling at my feet while sipping warm cider out of my new pumpkin mug (Cracker Barrel - $3.99).

Yes, autumn is by far my favorite season, but winter, spring and summer have their good points, too. You just have to look a little harder!

Wednesday Wisdom - Oh... my... goodness. How true. How true.

"The choice before us is plain... Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration. I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as American Citizens. The time is come, it now is, when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship. America's future depends upon Her accepting and demonstrating God's Government." Peter Marshall

Backyard Camping Party (Boys or Girls)

This was the very FIRST Party I ever posted on A Simple Life. It is still one of my favorites.

Every fall and/or late spring we set up our tent in the backyard. I usually look for a long weekend because if the weather is good, you can sometimes have two campouts with two different sets of children. On Friday night, I may have my little girl and two or three of her buddies come over, and on Sunday night after church, I will let one of my sons have several of his buddies over. The tent stays pitched until everyone has had a chance to have their own camp out.

What you will need:

Tent
Laptop computer (for movies in the tent)
Sleeping bags, pillows, blankets (each child brings their own)
Flashlights (each child brings their own)
Popcorn (Jiffy Pop over the stove for old-fashioned fun)
Cooler with water bottles set out in the tent (less damage with spills)
Crockpot hot dogs
S'mores (make these in the oven before you go outside for the camp out)
Banana Boats (make these in the oven before you go outside for the camp out)

Have everyone arrive around 6:00 or 6:30. By the time everyone sets up their gear in the tent, eats dinner inside or on the deck, makes s'mores, fixes the popcorn and changes into their PJs, it will be close to 8:00. Once the kids are in the tent, let them watch their movie (not too scary or you'll be out in the tent all night with them).

When the movie is over around 10:00, if your husband is game, load the kids up in the van with their pajamas on and make a milkshake run to a local Sonic or Arby's for a fun surprise.

When they arrive home, let the kids come inside to brush their teeth, take a bathroom break, etc. Escort them to the tent giving them the "rules." We always tell them to stay in the tent unless they are coming inside the house. The door to our bedroom opens to the back deck and stays unlocked. We also keep the flood lights on so they can see easily when they leave the tent. They can come back into the house through our room, and I know when and if they are up and moving around. I set up comforters and blankets in the den off of our bedroom so if they decide they cannot sleep outside, they can make their bed on one of the sofas. So far, they've always stayed outside.

For the older guys, the same rules apply. However, since they are a little "braver" than the younger girls, I do set the alarm for 1:00 a.m. just to check and make sure everyone is accounted for and sleeping.

The next morning, we have eggs, bacon and biscuits. Depending on the weather, these can be served on the deck. Moms come to pick up the happy, but tired, campers around 10:00 a.m.

Since all the meals are being served outside on the deck or picnic style, there is little or no clean up inside the house. Also, all of the bedding goes home with the other children.

Just do a little dustbusting in the tent for the next camp out.

We've had up to three camp outs in one week during Spring Break, and it worked out well all three times. All of the kids had multiple friends over, with minimal mess and everyone had a lot of fun.

Although we camp in State Parks once or twice each year, the backyard camp outs are fun because they are easy spend-the-night-parties. While we usually like to just take family on the camping trips (or meet other families at the campground), this allows the kids to have their friends over to enjoy one of their favorite things.

Have a grand ol' Wednesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage and a Date, an oldie, pictures, Reminders, etc.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oven Roasted Sausages, Potatoes and Peppers

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS - I'm in my 50s. There. I said it out loud... AND I wrote it on the blog. So it must be true.

The following is a list of "things" I noticed about my 50th year of life...

1. I had a really good "hair year" last year. I wore my hair a little longer and a lot bigger, but it suited my mood... even if it did take a lot more time to fix.

2. I realize Spanx or no Spanx, I am who I am. I need to embrace it... Or have emergency scissors and a special bracelet with instructions in case I pass out from lack of oxygen.

3. The ages 60 and 70 no longer seem "old" to me. In fact, they seem almost doable!

4. The person or persons who declared "40 is the new 30" and "50 is the new 40" should be shot. At once. Multiple times. But only in the foot. No need to become too violent this late in life. (I realize that may seem a little harsh, but so is waking up and realizing 50 is NOTHING like 40.)

5. Except for a little graying, Mikie still looks younger than me. And even though I love him, it gets on my last nerve.

6. Because I have been so "open and honest" about menopause and my "season of life," Roxie has decided to skip this season of life altogether. (If anyone can skip a season, it would be Roxie.)

7. I've accepted the fact I will never (intentionally) wear skinny jeans. I may wear "too tight" Mom jeans, but if you see me out and about, know they never, ever were skinny jeans.

8. I've also accepted the fact I will not be able to attend Body Pump classes until the day I die... unless, of course, I die while taking a Body Pump class.

9. I still adore and love my family, but I have to admit, they take up a lot of space... and oxygen. Oh. And food. They eat a LOT of food.

10. I've discovered the best way to apply make-up is to unscrew one of the three light bulbs over the sink in the bathroom. (I promise. It takes off two years, at least!) And I'm considering unscrewing another one to see if I can look 46 again!

And here are some more of my birthday pictures for your overall enjoyment!


Roxie and Zac were in attendance.


If there had been a contest, Melia would have won for "best wrapping."


And the gift in the package was really good, too! Loved it!


Mikie and I are now officially the same age... for a few months. (And this picture is tinted because we clash in color.)


Austin chose not to clash with me, so he was able to keep his "pigment."


And I had to take one of Austin and Melia... because they didn't clash, and they're so cute.

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - This is my 997th post for A Simple Life. The countdown continues!

The Contest will be simple. The rules are as follows:

Beginning today, leave your NAME followed by the word "CONTEST" in the Comment Section of A Simple Life, e-mail me (mfaulkner1306@charter.net) or go to my Facebook page.

You can enter the Contest ONCE A DAY (each and every day including Saturdays AND Sundays) until Thursday, August 30 at midnight. (Your name could be put into the drawing bowl a total of 3 times between now and Thursday, August 30!)

I will write my 1,000th post Friday morning, August 31.

I will draw from a HUGE BOWL of names, and a winner will be announced the morning of Friday, August 31.

The winner will receive a $15 Gift Certificate to one of the following restaurants:

1. Another Broken Egg
2. Original Pancake House
3. Olexa's
4. Lucia's Italian Restaurant in Helena

It will be Winner's Choice!

If you win and you live somewhere other than Alabama, you will win a $15 VISA Gift Card!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

(I'm going to be saying that for the next 3 POSTS!)

NEW THING! NEW THING! NEW THING! - I'm going to post one of my favorite posts each day from the past four years until August 31.

During the time I was receiving the Martha Stewart Living Magazine (2010), I loved comparing my calendar to Martha's Calendar. Here is a short and sweet version of one of those comparisons.

RANDOMNESS - Originally Posted September 15, 2010

I received my Martha Stewart Living magazine yesterday, and, as is my custom, I went straight to Martha's Calendar. It's an amazing calendar. Although I did the same thing last month, I want to do a little comparison. Bear with me, please.

MARTHA'S CALENDAR - October 1

Morning workout
Plant garlic
Apply compost to vegetable gardens

THE ENCHANTING BELINDA'S CALENDAR - October 1

Eat breakfast
Walk two miles
Eat second breakfast
Water dead fern
Pretend "brown" is the desired color of all outside plants

MARTHA'S CALENDAR - October 2

Schedule a mammogram
Remind female friends to do so, too
Take down outdoor clothesline

THE ENCHANTING BELINDA'S CALENDAR - October 2

Take a moment to be thankful mammogram isn't until January
Wash three loads of clothes
If dryer is broken, throw wet clothes over neighbor's fence

MARTHA'S CALENDAR - October 3

Put away stable fans
Replenish supply of vitamins and fish oil
Set up humidifiers throughout house

THE ENCHANTING BELINDA'S CALENDAR - October 3

MARTHA TAKES FISH OIL, TOO. COOL!
Host Josh's 17th birthday celebration

MARTHA'S CALENDAR - October 4

Morning workout
Have house boilers serviced
Horseback ride

THE ENCHANTING BELINDA'S CALENDAR - October 4

Eat a piece of Josh's birthday cake
Walk two miles
Eat second piece of Josh's birthday cake
Find out what a "house boiler" is

See. We are so similar it is uncanny.

Oven Roasted Sausages, Potatoes and Peppers

You will need the following:

1 pound of your favorite sausage links
4 to 5 potatoes
1 small jar banana peppers
1 to 2 bell peppers, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons dried rosemary (optional)
3 tablespoons creole seasoning (optional)

1. Spray a large baking pan with nonstick spray. (Do not use a flat baking sheet.)

2. Slice sausages into thin rounds, about 1/5″ thick.

3. Cut potatoes into 1/2″ chunks.

4. Slice onion and pepper into strips.

5. Place all ingredients on baking sheet and drizzle oil. Use hands to toss everything together in the oil, making sure everything feels coated.

6. Add salt and pepper (and spices).

7. Top with sliced banana peppers.

8. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes (until potatoes are fork tender).

Mikie said, and I quote, "THIS is really good!"

"You mean as opposed to anything else I cook?"

"No. I mean I want you to make this again and again and again."

Okay. I can do that!


This is a picture of the dish BEFORE cooking. It looked just as pretty and yummy when it came out of the oven, too. (I just forgot to photograph it!)

Have a fun Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition, an oldie, more pics and Randomness.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

Except for the daily instructions (CONTEST! and NEW THING!), Mindless Monday is really a picture-story of my weekend. I LOVE picture-stories. They are so much easier for me to understand than ALL WORD stories. Sad, but true.

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - This is my 996th post for A Simple Life. The countdown continues!

The Contest will be simple. The rules are as follows:

Beginning today, leave your NAME followed by the word "CONTEST" in the Comment Section of A Simple Life, e-mail me (mfaulkner1306@charter.net) or go to my Facebook page.

You can enter the Contest ONCE A DAY (each and every day including Saturdays AND Sundays) until Thursday, August 30 at midnight. (Your name could be put into the drawing bowl a total of 4 times between now and Thursday, August 30!)

I will write my 1,000th post Friday morning, August 31.

I will draw from a HUGE BOWL of names, and a winner will be announced the morning of Friday, August 31.

The winner will receive a $15 Gift Certificate to one of the following restaurants:

1. Another Broken Egg
2. Original Pancake House
3. Olexa's
4. Lucia's Italian Restaurant in Helena

It will be Winner's Choice!

If you win and you live somewhere other than Alabama, you will win a $15 VISA Gift Card!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

(I'm going to be saying that for the next 4 POSTS!)

NEW THING! NEW THING! NEW THING! - I'm going to post one of my favorite posts each day from the past four years until August 31.

50 IS NIFTY... AND OTHER URBAN MYTHS - Originally Posted August 25, 2011

Today is the LAST DAY I will be in my 40s. The LAST DAY!

This was a difficult decade for me. Very difficult. But I learned a lot. I leaned on God more and more... not less and less. I lived one day at a time. Oh. And I made a list of things I observed along the way. (You know I made a list!)

1. When I turned 40, my kids were 4, 7 and 10. They were so little. When I turn 50 tomorrow they will be 14, 17 and 20. They are now SO big. Heavy, heavy sigh.

2. When I turned 40, we were planning our first ever trip to Disney. It... was... magical! This year, we spent several days in the middle of a lake on a houseboat. It... was... peaceful! (Who knew "peaceful" would one day win over "magical?")

3. When I turned 40, Mikie was healthy... I was healthy... and all three of my kiddos were healthy. Ten years later, one of my children has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, and I don't take the word "healthy" for granted any longer.

4. When I turned 40, I had never experienced the grief of losing someone unexpectedly who was extremely close to me. As I turn 50 tomorrow, I am still dealing and living with that grief on a daily basis.

5. When I turned 40, all of my family lived under the same roof. When I turn 50 tomorrow, one of my three kids has been living on campus nine months a year (not counting weekends)... and I am surviving and thriving. (And so is he!)

6. When I turned 40, my hair was a lovely shade of auburn. Tomorrow when I turn 50 (and forevermore), my hair will be a lovely shade of auburn.

7. When I turned 40, most of "me" was still in the vicinity of where it was supposed to be. When I turn 50 tomorrow, I will have to admit gravity has taken a toll, but thanks to Spanx, I will hoist everything back in place for the majority of the day!

8. When I turned 40, I mourned the fact I didn't have "just one more baby." When I turn 50 tomorrow, I will be so thankful for the three I have, and I will dedicate the next decade to "finishing what I started."

9. When I turned 40, I didn't think I could love Mikie any more than I did at that moment in time. On the threshold of turning 50 tomorrow, I realize I was wrong.

10. When I turned 40, Mikie and the kids took me out to eat and to a movie. My favorite thing in the whole wide world. Ten years later... Mikie is taking me out to eat and to a movie. My favorite thing in the whole wide world! (Oh. And I'm having a family party with the kids, etc. Saturday night! I didn't want you to think I was leaving them out!)

Ten years ago, I would have said, "I can't wait to see what the next decade brings." I am older and wiser now. Today I will simply say, "Thank you, Lord, for today." Yep. I'll say that... and I'll try to find all the joy "today" has to offer.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I am officially IN my 50s. Although I told you Friday I would post my ponderings in list-form of the last year, today's post is SO full, I think I'm going to wait until tomorrow.

Feel free to take it up with the "Author of the Blog" if you have any complaints. I hear she's pretty easy to talk to!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I call this picture-story "Austin's Last First Moving Day to JSU."


Austin has a reversible black and gray comforter with matching gray sheets... and a black throw pillow... and a matching JSU sweatshirt blanket... which is supposed to be folded neatly at the foot of his bed.

Austin PREFERS his camo sheets Melia's family bought him as a gift last year because of several reasons... the main one being he likes camo.

The sheets do not match anything else in his room, but The Boy likes what The Boy likes, and I understand that concept!

You're right. You're right. When the bed is totally made up, you cannot tell he has non-matching camo sheets.

Other than last Friday, I don't think the bed will EVER be totally made up again!


This is Austin's FAVORITE room decoration. Melia made it for him last year, and he loves it.


And I love the sweet verse in the middle of the frame. Perfect.


I took one last picture of Austin looking out his dorm window. He has had four different rooms in four different years, and I'm hoping he'll have his happiest memories in this room.

I don't have a picture of his room totally finished because with EVERYONE moving into Sparkman Hall at the same time, people were lined up to use the elevators. Austin and I walked up eight flights of stairs with a load of cleaning supplies and X-Box equipment.

While I sanitized, Austin made two more trips down and up, down and up for bedding and other necessities.

He made the uber-wise decision to wait until all the extra people (parents, grandparents, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.) left the dorm at 5:00 p.m. to move in his recliner, television, bookcase/television stand, etc.

I'll see if he'll take a few "finished" pictures this week so you won't think his room is drab and depressing. (I'll need to see those, too. I don't want to think his room is drab and depressing, either.)

RANDOMNESS #3 - This picture-story is entitled "Roxie's First Ever Volleyball Tournament as a Sophomore." (In case you didn't know, I'm really good at coming up with the catchy titles.)

It's a gift, I think.


We won our first match (9:30 a.m.), so we were pretty excited about the rest of the day.

And, yes. There is a ball somewhere in the vicinity of Roxie's outstretched hands. I'm good, but I don't always have time to get a ball in EVERY picture.


This wasn't a "volleyball" action shot as much as a "ponytail" action shot. Use your imagination. You can almost hear the "swish!"


And then there is the obligatory "clapping and yelling" motivational picture.

Maybe Roxie could be a motivational speaker when she grows up. She can certainly make you listen!


Our school volleyball team is full of very pretty young ladies... and Kaitlyn is one of them!


And Kennedy and Kirsten are two more. (If you haven't noticed, we have a lot of girls with "K" names.) A lot!


This is what always happens. I take a group picture... and then everyone's PHONE takes a group picture.


Casey, Kennedy and Baleigh are ready for action. (If they were standing closer together, they would look like Charlie's Angels, I think.)


I LOVE "We just won a game!" pictures.


You can almost hear the squealing, can't you?

Our next game is this Thursday night, and I have a feeling I'll have many more "We just won a game!" pictures Friday morning.

I just know it!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Do you want to guess the name of this little picture-story? Do you? Okay. "The Enchanting Belinda Turns 51." Simple and to the point.


My niece, Katie, ALWAYS makes my birthday cake. An unexpected beach trip came up with some of Katie's friends, and being the BEST AUNT EVER, I wanted her to enjoy her friends and the beach... just this once.

That left my sister, Bev, in charge of the cake. Bev, who just had knee surgery. Bev, who is still unpacking boxes after moving into her house after a tornado destroyed the old one. Bev, who doesn't bake cakes quite like Katie.


This is my birthday cake from last year.

Can you see the difference? Can you?

This was Katie's last beach trip on my birthday... EVER!

I'll finish my birthday "picture-story" tomorrow. I'm going to be late for Body Pump!

Have a terrific Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with my "ponderings," Randomness, pictures, a Recipe and more.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - You'll be pleased to know, this blog post is brought to you by the folks who invented VOLLEYBALL!


We won our first game against Briarwood. We were pumped. We were excited. We were intense.


We played two out of three games (which is customary for JV).


We were awesome during the second game...


But to no avail. We lost.


The third game was incredibly close.


But we eventually lost that game, too.

The good news... The girls played very well together, and I can see many, many wins in our future.

I was PROUD of all of them!

RANDOMNESS #2 - The second part of this blog post is brought to you by Krispy Kreme!

I prepared a special Pinterest meal for dinner last night. (More about that Monday!) The JV team stays at the school while the Varsity team plays their game, so I had plenty of time to have everything ready when Mike and Roxie walked in around 8:00.

It was going to be our last dinner as the Faulkner Five before Austin left for his Senior year at JSU.

And I had a major dessert surprise.


That's right, Baby! It was 9:00 p.m., Roxie was exhausted and The Brothers had TV plans for the evening, but Mike told everyone to get into The Big Gold Van... and they did!


It's a sweet tradition... in more ways than one!


And when all is said and done, it's not a tradition we're ready to give up... yet.


Nope. This tradition looks like it's going to hang around for a while!

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - This is my 995th post for A Simple Life. The countdown continues!

The Contest will be simple. The rules are as follows:

Beginning today, leave your NAME followed by the word "CONTEST" in the Comment Section of A Simple Life, e-mail me (mfaulkner1306@charter.net) or go to my Facebook page.

You can enter the Contest ONCE A DAY (each and every day including Saturdays AND Sundays) until Thursday, August 30 at midnight. (Your name could be put into the drawing bowl a total of 7 times between now and Thursday, August 30!)

I will write my 1,000th post Friday morning, August 31.

I will draw from a HUGE BOWL of names, and a winner will be announced the morning of Friday, August 31.

The winner will receive a $15 Gift Certificate to one of the following restaurants:

1. Another Broken Egg
2. Original Pancake House
3. Olexa's
4. Lucia's Italian Restaurant in Helena

It will be Winner's Choice!

If you win and you live somewhere other than Alabama, you will win a $15 VISA Gift Card!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

(I'm going to be saying that for the next 5 POSTS!)

NEW THING! NEW THING! NEW THING! - I'm going to post one of my favorite posts each day from the past four years until August 31.

EMBARRASSMENT - Originally Posted October, 2008

Although Austin was only three at the time the following happened, I know and accept that I have become a HUGE embarrassment to my two teenagers and almost teenage daughter in recent years. Sometimes, just stopping and looking at underwear for a minute as you pass by that department in a store, or even laughing too loudly at the "wrong" part in a movie can cause a teenager's skin to become scarlet, their eyes to roll into the back of their heads, and the inevitable hiss that will follow... "Motherrrr!" (Sometimes I do it on purpose... sometimes I'm a little perplexed at what caused the above reaction. But I do know it's a natural part of growing up... for a child and a Christian!)

When my son, Austin, was a little older than three, our family took an annual seminar trip to the beach. It was our sixth year at the seminar seeing the same mothers and children. While our husbands were in meetings, we relaxed around the baby pool and talked about how big the children had grown over the past year.

It was a morning like any other at the baby pool when Austin suddenly slipped and went under water. I jumped up from the lounge chair that was less than two feet from the edge of the pool, and in true Olympic form, took a step to dive in and rescue my precious baby. To my disbelief, my feet flew out from under me at the edge of the pool. There was no time to stop or soften the fall and consequently, I landed squarely on my posterior. I can't even begin to describe the horrific sound of tightly stretched spandex hitting wet concrete... or the unbelievable pain that soon followed!

I quickly hobbled to Austin and brought my slightly sputtering three year-old to the surface where he gasped for air. His first words to me were, "Mommy, you embarrassed me!"

My mind went numb. (I wish I could have said the same for my tailbone.) I embarrassed him?!? I was incredulous. This was the same kid who five months earlier had knocked over a Salvation Army representative outside of K-Mart, who in turn knocked over her metal Salvation Army sign and kicked her iron Salvation Army bucket into the street. This was the same kid who then climbed UNDER and UP my skirt while I contemplated whether we could make it to the car and out of the parking lot without anyone getting my tag number.

This was the kid who in his first Christmas pageant EVER picked his nose like it had never been picked before without missing a beat.

This was the kid who sucked two pieces of Big Red chewing gum up his left nostril two days after I came home from the hospital with Joshua, and I had to remove the giant wad of gum with eyebrow tweezers.

And where the heck did my three year-old learn how to use the word "embarrassed" (and use it correctly)?

The truth of the matter is, no matter how embarrassed we become either by ourselves or with a little help from family or friends (or three year-olds), I can't imagine how much more we must embarrass our Heavenly Father with our thoughts, comments and deeds throughout a single day. How many times has God listened to me and wanted to shake His head because I knew better than to say or do those things which were displeasing?

The Bible gives us very specific instructions that, if followed, would alleviate many situations in which we embarrass our Lord and ourselves as Christians. Paul wrote a letter to the Church at Thessalonica and in 1 Thessalonians 5 he had these words of wisdom to share. "Encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men," (v. 14). The unselfish acts of encouraging, helping and being patient help take our eyes off ourselves and focus on others. No time to sin there!

"Rejoice always," (v. 16). I don't know about you, but when I'm rejoicing about something, that usually means I'm in a pretty good mood; thus, my "sinful nature" is a little easier to control.

"Pray without ceasing," (v. 17). It's pretty difficult to say, think or do the wrong thing if we're praying all the time and seeking God's perfect will for lives.

I know when my kids have embarrassed me to the point I don't want to crawl out from under the restaurant table, at some time in the future, the embarrassment will fade, but my love for them will not diminish. Thankfully, I also know God's love for me is unconditional and steadfast. There will never be anything I do that could lessen His love for me. And because of His love, I will try harder each and every day NOT to embarrass my Savior. (I just wish my kids would make the same commitment about embarrassing their Mother!)

Weekend Happenings

The Boy and I are headed to JSU today. He will be moving into his dorm as a Senior.

There will be no tears today, but my heart is still heavy.

Austin is excited and looking forward to his last year at JSU. He is ready to reunite with old friends. He is ready for football season, and even though he is no longer a Marching Southerner, his internship with the Sports Department this Fall is all-consuming in his thoughts.

And I'm excited for him.

Roxie has her first Volleyball Tournament of the year all day tomorrow. Mike and I will be there.

And Josh... Well, after his first week of college, Josh will once again be cutting lawns... making money... enjoying the fresh, clean air!

On Sunday, I will celebrate my 51st birthday at my Mom's house. We'll have Sunday lunch and cake. (I will ponder aloud all of the events of my 50th year of life Monday morning.)

I have a lot of pondering to do this weekend.

That's our weekend. Busy and full.

I hope your weekend is WONDERFUL! I'll be back Monday with Mindless Monday, pictures, pondering, etc.

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda
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