Friday, January 30, 2009

Nichole Greene

Just look at this precious family. This is Norm and Nichole Greene and their four kids -a young family from our church. I have only met Nichole once; she is a friend of my friend, Julie Gebhards. Nichole has been battling cancer for some time and my heart has totally gone out to her and her family. I have prayed for her and cried for her as I have read Julie's updates.

Julie encouraged some of us who have blogs to share Nichole's story with others and ask them to pray as well. I would like to do that, so if you feel inclined to pray, please do and perhaps bookmark this blog that some of Nichole's closest friends maintain to share about how she is doing and how to pray.

While cancer has touched my family, I cannot imagine how it must be when it hits the mom of the family. Especially one with such young children and a husband who must work to support them all. Nichole is an amazing testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you read some of the blog I mentioned above, you will see a woman that is focused on God's glory. She is a precious sister, please pray for her.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Whatever - the post office

So, today I had to go to the post office to mail something I sold on eBay. It is definitely not my favorite thing to do!

I got inside to see a line about 18 people deep and ONE window open out of eight. Typical, so I just took a deep breath and settled in for the wait. I could hear the drill of the clerk with each customer - is this perishable? is this hazardous? is this liquid? do you need delivery confirmation? do you need stamps? and on and on it went with every customer in front of me.

So, when I got to the counter, I cut right to the chase. I said, "This is a book. I want to send it plain media mail please."

Of course, you know what the next question will be.

"Is it liquid?" the clerk routinely asked.

"No, it's a book," I simply replied.

"Is it perishable?"

You have got to be kidding me. It's a BOOK! Is he even listening? Is this a person, or a robot?

I try one more time.

"No, it's not perishable. It's actually... a book."

You guessed what's next.

"Is it hazardous?"

Well, I guess you could find someone who might consider Drew's college Geography book hazardous (there was some mention of evolution, after all). But I decided I'd better be conservative.

"No, it's not."

"Do you need delivery confirmation, insurance.....blah blah blah...."

"No, thank you, nothing else."

Then, this one that really made me laugh.

"Do you need any stamps or passports today?"


That's not exactly a "tack-on-the-end-of-your-order" item, in my opinion.

I was truly tempted to say, "Oh, yes, I just remembered! I'm going to Bora Bora today and I haven't gotten a passport yet. Yeah, go ahead and throw in a passport with that."

I really, really wanted to be a pop-off, but I didn't.

"No, thanks, I don't need any stamps...or any passports today."


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WDW - Easy weeknight pasta dinner!

This is a busy week for us, as it is production week for the play Emma is in. There are long rehearsals every night, so I needed some quick and easy weeknight dinners to keep us away from Panda Express.

Speaking of Panda Express, I just want to pause and say how much I love their Orange Chicken. I still haven't figured out if there is actually any chicken in it, but I really don't care. It's so stinkin' good. Anyways, back to the pasta...

This is a great go-to recipe which is hardly even a recipe. I don't even actually have a name for it. All you need is a bag of pasta, a package of Italian sausage, some fresh broccoli, a little parmesan cheese, olive oil and half and half.

First thing I do is put on a big pot of water to boil.

While I'm waiting for the water to boil, I start with the sausage. I like Trader Joe's chicken Italian sausage. I prefer to take off the "skin" by just running a sharp knife down the long side of the sausage. Pull out the sausage meat and put it into a large saute pan (I use a stir fry pan) with a touch of olive oil and some fresh garlic if you like. If the sausage is mild, I like to throw in a few red pepper flakes as well. Turn the heat on medium, and saute until cooked, breaking up the sausage into bite-sized bits. Turn off the heat when it is done and just let it sit.

When the water boils, throw in about a half a package of pasta (about 1/2 lb.). I like radiatore, orriechetti, or rotini for this dish. Cook the pasta about 5 minutes, then throw in (to the boiling water with the pasta) approximately 2-3 cups small broccoli flowerettes. Cook about 5 minutes more, until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain everything together, and dump it into the saucepan with the cooked sausage. Turn on the heat to medium, and toss everything together. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and at the last minute stir in a splash or two of half and half. Just a splash - we aren't making Alfredo here.

Serve immediately with parmesan cheese - this is a fast and easy one dish meal. I think it's a rather comforting dish, too. My family loves it.

Most people will want to double this recipe. The way I make it serves about 4. Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Consumer Bliss...I'm on a roll!

Just had to post this. Everyone has heard of Priceline, right? Those annoying ads with William Shatner, you know? Have you ever tried it?

Anyways, I decided to give it a try today. Emma and I are visiting my dear friend, Carol, in March, after she gives birth to her 7th child (supermom). She lives about 1 1/2 hours north of Seattle, and I need to get a car to drive to her middle of nowhere charming and secluded home. We are only able to go see her because I got a GREAT deal on airfare (hint: wanna get away?), so I knew in order to keep this a sweet deal I had to get a cheap car.

So, I searched the net for the rock-bottom price I could find. Using a discount, I could get a 4-day car rental for $96, but once they add in all their ridiculous charges, the total came to over $150! So, I went to Priceline, put in that I only wanted to spend $15/day on a car, and guess what?? I got it! In 15 seconds, I was out the door for about $100 on my car. SWEET!

Try it sometime!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Surprise from Canon

A few posts back, I blogged about how happy I was that Canon was going to fix my broken camera for free. I was astounded at how well the company handled this. They sent me a free shipping label so I could send the camera back to them, and in as little as a few weeks time, they completed the transaction. I was so excited to get my little Powershot back.

So today, I received the package, with a letter that stated:

"Thank you for trusting Canon with your repair needs. Due to the lack of essential components at our repair facility, and in order to expedite your repair, we have exchanged your original equipment with a new or factory reconditioned replacement model of equal or greater value."

What this amounts to is they sent me what appears to be a BRAND NEW CAMERA. Not just a brand new camera, but one that is the most current model. Emma checked and discovered that said camera is worth over TWICE as much as what I paid for mine 5+ years ago. User manual, new battery and charger, the whole she-bang. BNIB, baby (that's ebay speak for brand new in box).

Wow, how's that for a deal?

This just may make Emma a Canon girl!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WDW is back!

Now that I'm back in a routine, I feel it is time to return to Way Delicious Wednesdays. Here's a recipe especially for Stephanie (and Sabrina too)!

So I ask, who doesn't like a good homemade meatball? I love to have a bag of them in the freezer. Just pop them out, simmer in some marinara sauce, and serve over pasta or make meatball sandwiches with them. Great weeknight dinner on the fly. And if you ever feed groups of teenagers, you will find yourself going to this recipe time after time for meatball sandwiches. I personally have an intense adversity to jarred spaghetti sauce, but I have to say I really like plain Ragu brand. I also like Trader Joe's marinara sauce - the one in the green can. Neither of these have any bizarre chunks pieces of nutritional vegetables floating around in them; I like my marinara smooth.

So, I whipped up a quadruple batch of meatballs last week for a lunch we served on Sunday to a large group of teens. The day I made them, I was having my carpets cleaned. The guy who was cleaning the carpets turned his machine off to come find out what I was making in the kitchen. They do smell good. I offered him some meatballs, and he wholeheartedly accepted! It was so funny. Here he was, my carpet cleaner, in my kitchen, eating meatballs - kind of awkward!

This recipe is one I developed years ago, and I love it. It's SO easy, and I even mix them up with ease in the KitchenAid. Have I ever extolled the virtues of a KitchenAid before? If you like raw meat all over your hands, go ahead and dig in with your built in mixing tools. I personally don't appreciate meat under my fingernails, so I use the KitchenAid.

Anyways, I don't fry these - I don't like the mess or extra grease. These bake up perfectly in the oven, and you can just dump them into sauce after that, or freeze in a Ziploc for future use. They are also great in lasagna, too!


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 cup panko bread crumbs or homemade bread crumbs*
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in KitchenAid. Using a light touch, form into 2" meatballs. Bake on greased cookie sheet (I prefer to line my baking sheet with Parchment paper instead) for 20 minutes.

*To make your own breadcrumbs, bake french bread slices (thin) at 400 until dry. Pulverize in food processor. Store in freezer.

Makes approximately 24 meatballs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Emma's new room

Emma and I had SO much fun remodeling her room together. I love her style and I think she has a real eye for color and design. Thought I'd share a few photos of her beautiful new room. But first, here's some "before" pictures. They really don't do justice to how disgusting the walls and carpet were, and how cluttered this little room was (this room is so small, it is even hard to get photos of it).

Emma worked very hard emptying everything out, going through it all, and organizing it. Drew painted the walls and assembled all the new furniture, and we had the carpet cleaned. It really turned out nice. It makes a nice guest room now as well. and white was sweet...

We were happy to give the old furniture away to a darling seminary couple. My dear friend in Washington wanted the quilt for her daughter's room, so I'm shipping it to her. Hope you enjoy it Hannah!

This is the dresser AFTER it was cleaned off.

And lastly, the big wardrobe which was too big but not functional enough. I advertised it as free on my blog but had no takers. So Rich took it down to the curb and a lady driving by asked to have it. He followed her home with it in his truck, and now it lives about 8 houses away from us.
And now for the new...(yes this is the same room)

The walls are a pretty ice blue...we got rid of the hideous ceiling light and replaced it with a pretty chandelier.

Twin matching armoires replace the dresser and closet, new wall mirror to match.

I love walking by and peeking in...this is what I see. Oftentimes, I used to walk by and shut the door! It was scary.

And finally, a cute red nightstand we found at Home Goods (I love that store)
A beautiful new room for my dear daughter. I hope you enjoy many sweet dreams in your new room, sweetie!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Update on Free Stuff

As of tonite, I now have a home for the quilt set. and even a back-up person for the bedroom furniture should the couple I offered it to decide not to take it. So, that leaves the wardrobe. Anyone have a lion and a witch they need a wardrobe for? Sorry...couldn't resist such corny humor.

My hubby doesn't want to store it, so if someone doesn't want it in the next few goes to Goodwill.

Free Stuff!

We are in the process of re-doing Emma's room. At almost 16, we felt like she no longer needed to have a little girl's room of pink and white. Also, her room is tiny and the furniture we had in it was not right. Several years back, we bought a full/queen size reversible quilt (same pattern both sides), two standard shams, and two balloon shades made by Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic line. We got everything at Target, and they still have it, to my knowledge, or something that looks very similar to it. It's just darling, but we have no use for it now.

Here's a view of the set on the bed - sorry, cat not included. I have another cat that could be included if you are interested.

Close up shot - I have a cute little neckroll too, that is included.

Here's a shot of how the balloon shade looks on the window. I have two of these.

So, I was wondering if anyone out in the blogosphere would be interested in this stuff. It's in really good shape - and it's FREE! The balloon shades were on 40" wide windows. They go up and down by the pull of a string.

Moving along....

I also have a large wardrobe that I'm trying to get rid of find a new home for. If our walls could talk, we would ask them why Emma's room had absolutely NO closet. So we picked up this wardrobe for her at antique store when we moved in. She now has way too many stinkin' clothes outgrown the space and we will be replacing this wardrobe with two smaller armoires from IKEA - one on each side of her window. Should be cute!

Here's the specs and some photos of the wardrobe:

21.5” deep
72.5” tall
48.5” wide

There are two sides for hanging clothes, and the right side has a shelf above the hanging rack. There are also a couple hooks on the left side for belts and such. There is a full length mirror built into the right side door. The piece is hardwood (not sure what kind) and stained dark brown. I could picture this refinished in kind of a distressed creamy white with cute new clear knobs - but it is decent as is. The piece could have multiple uses.

We have a truck, and could probably assist with delivery.
I'm waiting to hear from a young couple to see if they want to take her bedroom set which consists of full size bed with headboard/footboard, two nightstands, and a large 7 drawer dresser with a large mirror. My guess is it's from the 1950's - it's pretty cute but could use refinishing. I may be offering that next week, if they don't end up taking it. So, stay tuned if you need a bedroom set!
If anyone is interested, feel free to email me @

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pie 'n Burger

Pasadena is the food capital of the world, as far as I'm concerned. Many of my favorite restaurants are there, such as Barney's, Marston's, The Hat, Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, Julienne and Green Street. But, if you really want a good burger, you gotta try Pie 'n Burger. It's a great little hole in the wall place on the border of San Marino, and a true landmark of the neighborhood. If you exit the 210 freeway at Lake Avenue and head south, and then turn left on California, you'll be right there. Rich and I were out in Arcadia today looking at porch furniture, so we decided to stop there for lunch. We hadn't been there for 20-something years, and by the end of the meal I was really kicking myself for that. I spent the drive home trying to figure out why.

The restaurant is a great nostaligic place with mostly counter seating. You can tell it's been there awhile because the posted menu looks like it's been whited-out and prices upped. It's not cheap here - lunch for two = $25. But you get what you pay for -it's quality food. The waitresses still even mix the sodas by hand with syrup. Be prepared for a bit of a wait, but I promise you won't be disappointed. The waitresses are skilled and friendly, the food is fast, hot and delicious. Their burgers are up there in the top three I've ever had (aren't you dying to know the other two? OK: The Apple Pan on Pico & The Burger Joint in New York.) The patties are juicy and have a nice crust and come on the perfect bun, with lettuce, tomato, pickles, fresh or grilled onions if you like, and thousand island dressing. The fries are out of this world - one order is plenty to share.

Does this not make your mouth water??
And, be sure to save room for pie -we thought the boysenberry was perfect- they don't call it Pie 'n Burger for nothing, y'know. You really shouldn't leave without at least splitting a piece, and ask for it warm! They claim to have 22 types of pie, including (in season) olalieberry, strawberry and peach. All house-made, every morning.

Incidentally, if I haven't convinced you to go there YET, I'll have you know that in 2008, Pie 'n Burger received not only the best burger award (City Search) but the best pie award. The best burger and the best pie, all under one roof - how convenient is that? C'mon, you don't get those awards for just ordinary food, folks.

You gotta go. Really, you do. It's SO good!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Consumer Bliss - Canon camera

Welcome to my newest topic here at Country Living...Shadow Hills. It's called "Consumer Bliss." I decided that I would begin to give credit where credit is due when it comes to my relations with the consumer world.

Today's plug is for Canon camera. Now, don't get me wrong. I am neither a "Canon" person nor a "Nikon" person (though my daughter Emma is definitely a "Nikon" person). I just wanted to share how well Canon handled a problem I was having with my little point and shoot Powershot.

I turned my camera on recently to find that the screen wasn't lighting up. I couldn't see the image I was taking or had just took. I just figured my camera's little life was coming to a sad end and I started to look to see if any sales were out there for a new one. Emma takes most of our photos with her SLR, but this is a great little camera to keep in your pocket or purse. It actually takes really good pictures, and I couldn't imagine living without it.

Then, in a stroke of genius (if I do say so myself), I decided to google "Canon powershot screen won't light up". Wouldn't you know that some dude out there had asked the same question on a forum and some other dude answered him! He said that it was a problem Canon was having and left a link to Canon to send your camera in for a free repair! So, guess where my camera is right now? Is that cool or what? Things like this never happen to me (i.e. my appliance curse). I'm pretty pumped about this.

I just wanted everyone to know the other thrifty thing I did today. Yesterday, I was shopping with Emma for new bedlinens for her bed when I started thinking about the fact that our bed set was getting rather shabby and faded (it's 5 years old). Then, this morning, as I was making the bed, it dawned on me that my quilt and shams are all reversible! There is a striped side and a floral side. So, I flipped over the quilt and all the shams and it looks brand new. You may think this sounds rather elementary, but I was pretty proud of myself for thinking of it. Another free solution! Yippee!

So please stay tuned. You might not want to drop that Consumer Reports subscription just yet, but I just may turn you on to some pretty cool things every now and then.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Birthday fun for 2009!

Be sure to read the marquis...pretty funny! Wondering how I did that? click here

Actually, if you aren't already aware, Disney is offering FREE ADMISSION on your birthday this year!!! Which is a great marketing scheme by Disney, if you ask me. Of course, you are not going to go alone, and of course you are going to eat all their expensive food. Brilliant!

But, seriously, if you are interested, click here to register and get your free admission certificate. You can't just show up at the gate on your birthday and expect to get in free.

And, if you are already a pass-holder like me, they are offering other "birthday gifts." The above link will explain it in detail - they are pretty good gifts as well- like free admission another time, a special fast pass, and free merchandise offers.

So, if you aren't doing anything April 8th, please join me at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Newport Photos

Here are some photos from yesterday. As I mentioned in the last post, we like to celebrate Brady by doing something he always enjoyed. We had lunch at the Crab Cooker in Newport, enjoying yummy red clam chowder, char-grilled shrimp, scallops, & incredible romano potatoes in his honor. We then took the ferry to Balboa Island for a Balboa ice cream bar and a little shopping. Emma had the idea to go to Disneyland after that - and since we have yearly passes, why not? So, we headed over there around 4:30 and stayed until the park closed at 8:00. The kids weren't too prepared for nighttime cold, so of course we had to get a new sweatshirt, gloves and scarf a la Disney for them (which was a special treat because we don't usually buy the outrageously priced Disney merch!). The park was surprisingly busy, but it was also really fun to be there unexpectedly. All the Christmas decorations were still up, which was neat. With teenagers' busy schedules, Rich and I cherish the times when we have the kids all to ourselves! It was a very happy day.

Me and my sweetie

Drew loves being photographed with Mom.

The kiddos at Crab Cooker

On the ferry

Emma taking a pic of the bay

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Brady and Psalm 103

Brady and baby Boomer

Psalm 103: 1-4

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities;
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from destruction;
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.

January 5th will mark the 5-year anniversary of Brady's homegoing. On that day in 2004, the Lord graciously saw fit to end Brady's physical suffering, at age 14 1/2, after a 4-year battle with brain cancer. During his treatment time, while we watched him deteriorate physically, we watched him grow spiritually. The Lord used this trial to help Brady recognized his own sinfulness, and he embraced the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. We saw the Lord do a mighty work in his life, which is by far the greatest joy a parent can experience. We knew he was very sick but we took great comfort knowing that he was prepared to die and that his eternal life was secure. When we witnessed him take his last earthly breath, we knew that he breathed his first breath of heaven. Safely home. And we greatly rejoiced. We found great peace in Psalm 103, and used it for his memorial service.

Like I said in my my New Year's blog, time goes quickly. And for that I am actually grateful, because I want to march quickly towards heaven. Christians love life because God is the giver of it, but we also long to live in our true home, and this earth is not our true home. Jesus said in John 14:2:

In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

We will be celebrating our son's life this Monday. We will be heading down to Newport for a meal at the Crab Cooker and a trip to Balboa Island. He loved the beach and he loved seafood, so it always seems a fitting way for our family to remember him.

One thing I have always been so thankful for in the loss of Brady is that I have Rich, who knows exactly what it feels like to lose this precious son. In God's grace, He gave me someone to share this burden with, one who feels the same pain. And Rich has recently been showering me with love on this occasion. Yesterday, a huge bouquet of fresh orchids arrived, with a sweet note with Psalm 103 on it. And then- he blew me away with this - he surprised me by ordering a special stencil of Psalm 103:1-4 that he custom designed to go around the entire soffit of our new porch. What a crowning jewel that will be to our home! Now, every time I cross the threshold, I will be reminded that God healed Brady's diseases, redeemed him, and crowned him with lovingkindness and tender mercies (and that He will do the same for me some day). What a promise! I just had to post a photo of the orchids- they are by far the most stunning flowers I have ever received. And as soon as we get the porch stenciled, I will be sure to post it!

Not the best quality photo -they are much deeper purple.
I had to just use the little point and shoot, as Emma was busy editing!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Whatever - new laws

There are two things I traditionally do on New Year's Day. One is falling asleep enjoying watching the Rose Parade on TV, and the other is reading about all the ridiculous sensible new laws that come out each year. Here are a few of my favorites for 2009:

Alternative fuel: Allows drivers who run their vehicles on restaurant kitchen grease to skip most of a $300 fee previously required of anyone who hauled used vegetable oil or other grease away from an eatery.

Do people actually run their cars on KFC trans fats? Ewww.

Carpool lanes: Makes it a crime to forge, counterfeit, or falsify a clean air sticker issued by the DMV to certain low-emmission vehicles, allowing them to be driven in high occupancy carpool lanes.

So, just in case you thought you'd slap one on your Prius, beware. I bet these are the same people who had fake ID's for underage drinking. They're just faking "going green" now.

GPS devices: Allows a global positioning system device to be mounted on the windshield of a motor vehicle only in the 7-inch square in the lower corner farthest from the driver or in the 5-inch square in the lower corner nearest the driver.

Hmmm, let me think about it, do I want my GPS the farthest or closest from me? Maybe they can make cup holder laws too. If they put them far away, you can't reach them. I think this would cut back on accidents.

Human trafficking: Voids any provision of a contract that purports to allow a deduction from a person's wages for the cost of the person imigrating and being transported to the United States.

But, we will give them a driver's license and free medical care if they are illegal.

Meat Safety: Makes it a misdemeanor to buy, sell, or butcher sick and some disabled animals for human consumption.

So, if you own chickens, remember NOT to butcher the limping one. It's illegal.
I can just see the range chicken, disabled chicken....

And of course, everyone's favorite:

Text Messaging: Writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication while driving will be against the law for all drivers in California.

We needed a law for this?

Don't worry, ladies, applying make up is still perfectly legal. And as far as I know, you can paint your toenails, too.


Scroll down for my other New Year's Day blog...

Happy 2009!

I can't believe it's 2009! Doesn't it just seem like yesterday that people were gearing up for Y2K? Whoa, time goes by so quickly.

Which is good. Every year that passes brings us that much closer to our home in eternity. Every day, we are one day closer to being with the Lord. Maranatha!

We had a great time at the Dempsey's last night ringing in the new year. I couldn't think of a better way than spending the evening than with good friends. We brought in some Stonefire grill take-out, played games and hung out. Later in the evening we tried a recipe for the "Frrrozen Hot Chocolate" that we had and loved at Serendipity in New York with the Dempsey's last April. I had found a recipe for it in Bon Appetit magazine that we tried. It was SO good. I mean really good. Think of the best frappuccino you could ever have and that is a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.

You make what amounts to a high quality chocolate syrup and then mix it in a blender with milk and ice. Here's the recipe:


6 1/2 oz. milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), and semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
3 cups crushed ice
Fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings

Place 6 1/2 ozs. of assorted chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Add sugar and cocoa and stir to blend. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup milk, whisk until well incorporated. Cool mixture to room temperature (can be done hours in advance.)

In blender place remaining milk, chocolate mixture, and ice in blender. Puree until smooth. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Variation: Add 2 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter in blender.
This serves 3-4.

Note: We quadrupled the chocolate, and then mixed 1 cup of it in with each batch we made. I used one pint of whipping cream, which I whipped stiff in the Kitchenaid with a few tablespoons of sugar. It was more than enough for all of us.

I'm sure this is just the recipe you wanted to start off the New Year. Sorry.

Maybe save it for Valentine's Day.

If you're like me, you're ready to shed a few of those holiday pounds. Well, I can't just blame the holidays. A few pounds have been slowly creeping on for a few months now and I've just been ignoring them and rotating the next size up jeans to the front of the closet. Kari and I were talking about how we need to go back to no white sugar and no white flour. Seriously, if I cut those two things out, I will lose weight.

But first, I must finish the large bag of Western Bagels I just stashed in the freezer. And what's a bagel without lox shmear? And a gingerbread latte to go alongside. C'mon!

But seriously. At last Sunday evening's service, Nathan Busenitz reminded us that we need to make our New Year's resolutions more than just "losing weight and getting organized." Our resolutions should revolve around the Lord, and how we can serve and obey Him better. I am making a simple resolution: to read my bible every day. As a busy mom, this doesn't always happen, but I am purposing to spend time every day in God's Word in 2009 (and hopefully beyond). I look forward with confidence to the way the Lord is going to bless that time. I find it ironic that I have the time to shower, brush my teeth, eat, and even exercise every day, so I know it is just a matter of making that a priority.

So, with a heart full of thankfulness for all the ways the Lord blessed me in 2008, I commit anew to serve Him with a whole heart for 2009!