Friday, August 29, 2008

Will You Join Me?

Do you ever struggle to stay on budget in the food category?

I cannot lie, it is a challenge at our house. At times it stresses me out.

And then I got the following letter from Compassion International regarding my sponsor child Yesenia.

"I am writing with urgent news affecting your sponsored child in El Salvador.

Incredibly, the price for rice, beans and other food staples has increased dramatically in the past few months--by more than double in many areas--creating a life-threatening food crisis throughout the area where Yesenia lives. Poor families subsisting on $2 a day or less have been unable to buy the food they need, resulting in severe hunger and suffering.

Virtually all Compassion-sponsored children and their families in this region have been devastated by this horrible food crisis. The situation is spreading rapidly throughout the world and has the potential to threaten all of the children in our program."

Kinda puts my food budget in perspective.

Kinda puts my stress in perspective too.

$39 will help one family for a month.

Rising food and gas prices affect me too. But I'm not worried about my next meal. I have a pantry filled with food. I have to be very careful with how I spend my money. Sometimes it feels like there is never enough...


I think that instead of using that blessing on myself, maybe it was entrusted to me so that I could pass it on to someone who really needs it to survive.

Will you join me?

To learn more about the food crisis or to give online, visit

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Listening In

Twin A: Pushes his brother.

Mommy: "Buddy, we don't push."

Twin B: Pushes his brother back.

Twin A: With tears in his eyes, "He pushed me mommy."

Mommy: "Did you push him first?"

Twin A: "No, I just tapped him mommy."

Nice try little man, Nice try.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Proper Way to Use Technology - 4

Is there a polite way to use call waiting?

According to Pier Forni, author of The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, "There is. If you're on a social call and there is a chance you'll be interrupted by a client or a coworker, and especially your boss, tell your friend at the beginning of the conversation that if you get another call, you'll need to take it."

Sue Fox, founder and president of adds, "Make your decision based on whom you're speaking with. Conversely, if you're the first caller and you're left hanging for too long, hang up. Your time is important too."

Honestly, I am not a big fan of call waiting. We have it on our phone, but I try to ignore the beeps when they happen. I like Jessica's thought of using it to see who is calling and then returning their call once I finish up my initial conversation.

It is very distracting to me when I am in the middle of a phone call and I hear that beep/pause indicating someone else is calling. Like I said earlier, I am not great at multi-tasking so the fewer distractions the better if I am going to focus on a conversation!

I should just get it removed from our phone, but it is not a high enough priority to me at this juncture to spend time calling the phone company and remove it (past experiences have proven this to be a very long process).

Moving on to the next question:

If someone calls you, can you e-mail the person back or send a text message if you're not in the mood to talk? What if you text or e-mail someone and the person calls you back?

(question and responses taken from September 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine. Article was titled "Manners 2.0 and written by Katie McElveen)

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day Dramatics

Previously on this blog (as I write this I am imagining a deep announcer voice, the kind you hear on TV shows, saying "Previously on Lost..." followed by a clip of last week's episode), but instead of last week's episode I will put a link to the story sharing our "first day of school" morning drama.

Now you get to hear the "first day of school returning home" drama! By now I can imagine you are reading my next words on the edge of your seats with bated breath. So here's the story...

I thought 3:00 would never come. That first day seemed so long! I pictured what the homecoming would look like: Mya jumping off the bus, giving me a big hug, and telling me all about her day. (I even prepared a special snack just for that moment!)

The moment finally came. The bus rounded the corner and pulled to a stop. I walked towards it with the boys behind me as kids started to emerge from their yellow confine and walk home.

I only had eyes for one little girl. As I approached the bus door, I realized something horrifying, Mya was not coming off the bus. Even worse, Mya was NOT ON THE BUS!

I started to panic, I jumped on the bus to confirm that my daughter was in fact not there. The bus driver mumbled something about not knowing all the kid's yet. All I could picture was my little girl exiting the bus too early, standing by strange houses, lost and crying. I knew her teachers at school would have put her on the bus, I just assumed she had gotten off at the wrong stop.

So I ran home, Simon and Jonah trailing behind me, yelling at them to get in the van as I ran in the house to get Sean's car seat. As I ran in the house, I almost ran into MYA! Praise the Lord!

"Where were you?" she asked.

Um, sorry kid, you need to answer that question, not ME!

And the I started weeping.

Let's just say it was not quite the homecoming I had imagined.

Are you wondering what happened? Mya recognizing the houses in our neighborhood, got off one stop too early. She ran home while I was frantically searching for her on the bus. She knew what she was doing, I didn't - resulting in way too much drama for this mommy.

Thankfully the school drama has subsided. For now...

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Proper Way to Use Technology - 3

Can you ignore someone who "friends" you on a social-networking site?

And the Real Simple experts say...

Anna Post, resident technology etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute, says "Yes. Giving someone you don't entirely trust access to personal information is a safety issue."

Joni Blecher, editorial director of agrees, "If people in your network can post and view photos and funny comments about you, it's best to restrict access to people who are truly your friends."

Jodi Smith, president of Mannersmith Consulting in Boston, adds "If it's someone you see too frequently to just ignore the request, simply tell her that you try to keep a low profile on networking sites and leave it at that."

Like some of you, it is hard for me to ignore people I know (even if I barely know them), because, well, I want people to like me. And, I want them to think nice things about me.

But, if the experts say it's okay (and not rude) to ignore someone on Facebook, maybe I CAN say no and people will like me anyway. :) Or maybe I just need to let that "people liking me thing" go...

On the other hand, ignoring people I don't know comes quite easily.

Moving on to the next question!

Is there a polite way to use call waiting?

(question and responses taken from September 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine. Article was titled "Manners 2.0 and written by Katie McElveen)

For all of you wondering how Mya's first full day of school went, stay tuned. I am planning on doing a little interview with the full-time scholar over the weekend, if she can fit me into her busy schedule!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

And She's Off!

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Mya set off on her first full day of school today. To say she was excited would be an understatement!

But, her first ride on the school bus was not the only excitement of the day -

I pulled the boys in the wagon to watch her off. Kory followed in his car. Once Mya was on the bus, we headed home and Kory headed to work.

The only problem was Kory had (out of habit) shut the garage door as he left. As he drove off to work, it hit me: the garage door was closed, the front door was locked,


Just as it started to rain.


Thankfully, our neighbor was exiting her own house as I realized our predicament and I was able to grab her phone and call Kory before he got too far.

So, it's all good.

So now I will try to wait patiently for 3:00 to come (taking that whole praying without ceasing thing to heart) and be ready to hear all about the first day of school when my little girl gets off that bus.

Hopefully I will get more than an "I don't remember."

Regardless, I'll just be glad to have her home.

(PS Stay tuned for the experts response to my last technology etiquette question - first day of school stuff gets first dibs on this blog. I know you all are just dying to know what the experts say and see the next etiquette question, but you will just have to wait.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - First Day of Kindergarten: Then and Now

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The Proper Way to Use Technology - 2

"Is it OK to talk on your cell phone when you're ordering food, getting your hair done at a salon, making a transaction at a bank, etc.?"

The Real Simple experts agreed with most of you. Joni Blecher, editorial director of, said, "It's rude to talk on the phone when you're interacting with others--no matter who they are."

Anna Post, resident technology-etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute, added "And don't forget about the people around you--they will hear your conversation."

Jodi Smith, president of Mannersmith Consulting in Boston, agrees, "You should treat everyone with common decency and respect. So don't do it to anyone."

I have to admit I have been guilty of this as well. Although, unlike the majority of the female race, I am a horrible multitasker (Kory, on the other hand, is a great one!). If I am on the phone with someone, while trying to check out at a store I do both the person on the phone with me and the checkout clerk a huge disservice!

I don't hear what either of them are saying. So, I try to avoid it.

Why is it so hard to ignore a ringing phone! (Leaving the phone in the car is a great idea if you struggle with this like I do!)

You want to try another one?

What do you think, Can you ignore someone who "friends" you on a social-networking site?

(question and responses taken from September 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine. Article was titled "Manners 2.0 and written by Katie McElveen)

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Proper Way to Use Technology

"Technology is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other." -C.P. Snow, the New York Times (March 15, 1971)

The September issue of Real Simple magazine had an interesting article. They asked technology etiquette experts (yes there is such a thing!) what is acceptable or just plain rude when it comes to using today's newest gadgets.

I want to know what you think. I thought I'd post a few of their questions over the next week and (after I give you a chance to respond), let you know what the experts say.

So, what do you think, "Is it OK to talk on your cell phone when you're ordering food, getting your hair done at a salon, making a transaction at a bank, etc.?"

(question and responses taken from September 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine. Article was titled "Manners 2.0 and written by Katie McElveen)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Something to Think About...

I've been reading the book Uncommon Woman by Susie Larson. It is both inspiring and convicting. I would highly recommend it!

Two quotes stuck out to me in the last chapter I read (both dealing with the same issue). They stuck out to me because I can be a critical thinker. I'm not talking about critical thinking in the good, sort out your problem sort of way. I mean the critical "why is he so..." or "I can't believe she did that..." or "I'm glad I'm not like..." or "I wish he could hear this message; he could really use help with..."

Do you understand what I'm saying?

When these thoughts start to creep (or jump) into my brain. I have a choice.
"There is a moment of truth for everyone," a friend once shared."People make that conscious choice in their minds when they are faced with the irritating flaws in others: 'Will I step away and judge them or will I draw nearer and serve them?'" So much hinges on that moment of truth."

C.S. Lewis takes this thought one step farther. He says:

"Abstain from all thinking about other people's faults, unless your duties as a teacher or parent make it necessary to think about them. Whenever the thoughts come unnecessarily into one's mind, why not simply shove them away? And think of one's own faults instead? For there, with God's help, one can do something. Of all the awkward people in your house or job there is only one whom you can improve very much. That is the practical end at which to begin. And really, we'd better. The job has to be tackled some day: and every day we put it off will make it harder to begin."

Hmmm... Think about my own faults and try, with God's help, to do something about them. What a novel idea! It is definitely something to think about...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A New Day

Sleep is a wonderfully relaxing thing. Waking up, ummm... not so much.

Most of my mornings go something like this -

I am jarred awake by the blaring sound of an alarm clock. I quickly kick nudge Kory to shut the alarm off (knowing it will wake the kids). The cycle repeats every ten minutes, with very little sleep in between.

Somewhere in between alarms I hear the baby. Talking at first. Content to stay in bed, so we let him.

A creaking bed adds its contribution to the morning noises. That means the boys are up.

Feet padding down the hall, Mya checks in to say good morning. Then heads off to play with the boys.

Baby is getting a little louder.

Hubby gets up and shuts of the alarm to head downstairs for coffee and to get Baby's bottle.

Baby is definitely ready to eat!

Blood curling screams erupt from the boys' room, followed by pounding feet. The screaming intensifies and gets louder. The words, "He took my Percy" somehow make their way out between sobs. Words of defense come from the "thief"

Alarm clocks, crying babies and sibling fights.

Its going to be a good day! ;)

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Fruit of Faith

I've been thinking about faith lately. Specifically, the fruit of the spirit is faith - the kind of faith our lives are supposed to bear as evidence that we are lead by the Spirit.

I looked it up in the Greek and discovered faith is a conviction of the truthfulness of God especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; and a constancy in such professsion.

It is easy for me to say that I have faith. I believe 100% in the truthfulness of God. I rely on Christ for my salvation. I feel pretty consistent in these beliefs... in my head.

But do my actions back it up?

In the past two weeks we have had some rather expensive car repairs. Expenses that exceeded the amount we had budgeted for them. The day we found out about the first round of expense, I also discovered a budgeting error in our favor. We had the money to pay our bill without tapping into savings. Praise God!

Kory just called me today with the expense report for round two of repairs. Thankfully, Kory had recently completed an outside job and we received two checks in the mail this week that will cover those repairs. Again, Praise God!

It is easy to have faith in God's provision (one part of his truthfulness), when the provision appears immediately. But, when God's timing does not match up to mine, do I still bear the fruit of faith in my life? Do I still trust in the promise of His provision?

On another vein, when tragedy strikes and a young mom is taken away from her son and husband, am I still convinced of God's truthfulness?

What does faith look like in real life?

What do you think? How does the fruit of faith appear in your life? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!