Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Skinny on the Elf... He Lives On...

Okay, I confess: I couldn't kill him off. I just couldn't do it. Although, I did enjoy a week long break from Elf-Shenanigans.

We discovered that his secret mission was to collect broken toys, bag them up, and leave them with a note for our son on Christmas morning. My boy tends to be rather rough on his toys. This was a fun reminder to take care of the toys since Santa's elves work hard all year to make toys for children all over the world. He got the point and vowed to take better care of the toys Santa gave him for Christmas this year.



Okay, back to not killing the elf. Our elf. Handsome Little Elf. HLE, for short.

HLE DID get a promotion. He is now a liaison between scout elves and toy-maker elves to effectively communicate what toys children are wanting toy-maker elves to create.

This solved two problems for us. First, my son wanted a toy that hasn't even been invented yet so HLE will be working closely to remedy issues like this. Second, because of HLE's new title, he can only visit for a couple days before Christmas each year.

Okay, so it really solved three problems. Now, I only have to suffer through Elf-antics for a couple days instead of a whole month! And my children weren't devastated that he was gone for good but rather, happy for HLE moving up the ladder in the Elf-world.

Oh, and during that week with HLE away, we were all able to re-focus on the real meaning of Christmas. The chants for HLE began to fade as we filled our days with Christmas books and crafts reminding us that Jesus is the reason for the season and that the greatest gift we give is love.

In the end, this was a good change for our family. I simply caution you to decide if the Elf on the Shelf is for you and your family. You might love having an elf in your home... but set up your rules ahead of time to keep it from becoming overwhelming.

For another fun twist you might enjoy, consider what this family does with their elf on the shelf.

But whatever you decide, have fun and do what is best for your family. We did. :)

Smile :) donnamusing


Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Elf Must Die At Some Point, Right?

The elf must die... or at the very least, he MUST go!

It started innocently enough. In 2009, a co-worker bought an elf on the shelf for her son. I thought it sounded weird and creepy. However, she said that her son would behave for the little red-suited creature. And that is when the temptation started.

Maybe this will work for our son. Maybe this little, cute, adorable, rosy-cheeked fellow would be the answer to my prayers.

(Side note: I'm pretty sure God doesn't use lies and scare tactics as miracles in our lives.)

After the temptation, then there was peer-pressure. This may very well be the only time in my adult life that I've caved to such an adolescent pitfall.

"It'll be fun," they said.
"Your kids will love it," they said.
"It can be a new family tradition," they said.

A new family tradition. They got me. We were adopting and our family needed some traditions of its own.

So, during my lunch break one day, aforementioned co-worker joined me as we drove out to pick up our new elf.

He was cute, in his creepy, eyes-never-quite-looking-at-you way.
But very fake looking. His hands and feet came to a point. Were my kids really stupid enough to fall for this?

I rushed home, hid him on a shelf, composed a letter and sent the kids to the mailbox. They came running with the companion book and letter from Santa announcing that he had sent a special elf to our house and the book would explain the rest.

My kids were ridiculously excited and spent an incredible amount of time talking to HLE. The kids named him Handsome Little Elf and call him HLE for short.

The first few days were fun. Where could I hide him that would be a little harder than the day before?

Then, one morning, my son came to me terribly upset.
He explained, "HLE didn't write to me on the board."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I asked him questions and asked him to write me the answers on the board."

You have got to be kidding me! 
Now, I have to eavesdrop on elf conversation.

Certainly, finding just the right spot for him to hide is bad enough. And, the responsibility of remembering this chore weighs heavily. But now, this.

Christmas came and HLE hibernated in a cardboard box for eleven glorious months.

Then, some yuppie moms decided to up the ante and ruin it for the rest of us. The elf needed to do mischievous acts. Wallow in a bowl of marshmallows, write on picture frames with a washable marker, leave secret messages, dance with Barbie, steal the last cookie, poop out a Hershey kiss, and leave hidden messages around the house.

And God forbid that HLE take a day off and just hide in the cupboard. Blasphemy. 

The chants came:
"HLE, hide somewhere hard tomorrow."
"I drew you a picture. Can you draw me one back?"
"I have questions. How old are you? Will you ever die?"
"Will you really leave if we touch you?"
"How does Santa make it around the world in one night?"
"Can you stay all year long?" (HECK TO THE N-O!!!!!!!!!)

Let me pause my rant to say this. The marketing on this little guy is impeccable. You can buy a birthday outfit for him so he can show up on your child's birthday just to check in on him. You can buy matching chef aprons so the elf can wear his while you bake Santa's cookies. You can even have a transgender elf by leaving a skirt out for him and then he magically becomes a girl elf. The list goes on.

In the midst of all the elfishness, my kids are no longer focused on the true meaning of Christmas. I can't take it anymore. Christmas is NOT about a free-loadin' elf looking for a good time.

This is our fourth year and sorry kiddos, but it's the last.
I. CAN'T. TAKE. IT. ANYMORE.

So far, HLE has been super lazy. He showed up on the 8th in our Christmas tree. 9th- hiding in the manger. 10th- on a shelf. 11th- clutching a sword on the wall. 12th-hanging from a curtain rod. 13th- hanging from the other side of the SAME curtain rod.

At this point, my kids are begging HLE to do something fun. Anything other than just show up somewhere. There's even whining and complaining that he hasn't even hidden in a cupboard this year. Because sitting out in the open is so four years ago!

Well, HLE ain't got no time for that!

Instead of HLE, this is what my kids found when looking for him today.





This is just preparation for the final good-bye. The big adios. Maybe HLE will get a promotion to oversee all the scout elves in our region. I'm still working on that.

For now, HLE is camping out on the top shelf in my closet. Maybe I'll bring him back in a week to share the big news.

This mama is done with the elf.

My advice. Read this carefully. DO NOT START THIS TRADITION!

There are a bazillion better traditions out there.
Some of my favorites that we do are decorate a gingerbread house together, bake a birthday cake for Jesus, bake cookies for Santa, watch classic Christmas movies, and we buy a book for our kids every Christmas eve and read it to them.
That last one is my favorite.

I wish you all much success with the passing... I mean, promotion of your elf.
If you have done such a thing or are contemplating it, please leave a message on my blog. We'd all love to read it.

Keep an eye out on my blog for the final good-bye from HLE.

Okay, I feel so much better now!

Now, off to bake bread and make Christmas Pretzel M&M Hugs with my kids. Something fun and delicious. Not menacing and annoying.

Smile :) donnamusing

Monday, December 2, 2013

How to NOT make an Advent Calendar... or Something Like That...

It all started innocently enough. Yesterday, I had planned to have hot cocoa with my kids and maybe watch a Christmas movie, but then I saw it- a facebook post of my friend's son holding up his Advent Calendar. Suddenly, I remembered that ours had broken last year.

I can do that, I thought. Pssh, it'll be easy, the creative voice whispered inside my head.

In a couple of clicks, I found myself on pinterest perusing all the lovely options. I chose an easy one. Soon I would have my own mini muffin tin Advent Calendar to enjoy with my kids. And what's even better is this was going to be Fun! 

As most adventures go awry, I didn't bother with directions... Seriously, it's a collection of decorative circles with magnets on the back. What could go wrong???

After lunch, I gathered all the necessary tools and took over the kitchen table as I prepped my kids for the super-awesome craft that their super-awesome mom had planned.

It was all a ski slope from there.
For starters, I didn't have a shape maker to cut the perfect size circle which meant I had to cut circles the old fashioned way... with scissors! And my kids didn't want to help cut the circles.

I even learned how to tie a bow on a fork for my eighth day.



I started with card stock and scrapbook paper and we began gluing away with the most evil, non-helpful glue known to man. (Just wait for it!)



Finally, after getting all of our designs done (except for the numbers and 3D elements) it was time to add the magnets on the back. I had some sheets of sticky magnets... except all of the sticky had worn off so I retreated to the glue.

After gluing on the magnets, I began to notice that our cute little circles were beginning to curl up on us. But never fear, that's what old dictionaries are for, right? At least I attempted to flatten them with the old beasts.



After an hour or so of that, I called my troops back to the table. Well, one of them showed up. My son was beyond bored at this point. My daughter and I started to add the numbers and final embellishments. That is, until she got bored, too. She actually said, "I think you've had enough kid time, do you think you could finish this by yourself?"
Thanks a lot, daughter. Leave me in the trenches... This is all for you, you know.

At some point in the six o'clock hour, my son came to me and said, "Mom, I'm not trying to complain but I'm starting to get hungry."

Okay, just five more minutes, kids!

After making dinner, I stopped to take a photo of how far we'd come.



Not bad, right? Well, I thought it was decent. Still, it took too much time, but decent nonetheless.

Decent, that is, until I lifted it to hang it up.



The magnets worked fine but the designs were too heavy and the weird gel glue began to make the paper curl. I wish I had thought about my double-sided photo tape.

Here's a view of what they looked like from the side.



Um, yeah. That's kind of disheartening after all that work.

That's okay. I'll be able to fix it tomorrow, I attempted to console myself.

Today, I decided to conquer the project once and for all. The sad news is they were in even worse shape this morning. Many of the magnets had already come apart from the paper, leaving behind a dried gel glue residue. You have GOT to be kidding me. Deep breath, it's okay. 

I tried to use the photo tape and put the magnets back on.
Didn't work.
I ripped all the magnets off and threw them in the garbage.
Spirits lifted slightly.
I attempted to use photo tape over the dried glue to just adhere the circles.
Go ahead and laugh.

This meant war.

Okay, what is stiff enough to get the curl out of these things?
I tried adhering them to a manila folder and laminating them.



But I couldn't do that with the pieces that had 3D images and guess what? I had just made them heavier.
What. A. Joke.

This was supposed to be fun and done yesterday. And I hadn't even considered what to put in the tin slots yet and I was already a day late.

Time to face the music and count my losses. I REALLY didn't want to do that but what other choice did I have. I might lose the battle but not the war- I would have an Advent Calendar to hang on the wall if it was the last thing I did... okay, maybe not that far, but I'm a pretty determined chick!

At last resort, I headed over to etsy and found a set of adorable PRINTABLE perfectly sized, already decorated, just print on your own card stock, designs for the LOW price of $2.00!!!!

And here is a much happier result. No funky glue. (that glue has been trashed, might I add)
No magnets, just one double sided photo split on the back of each one. No crinkling. And it is hanging up! Yay!



There's just one more thing. I still have to put the goodies in the tin. I'll do that tomorrow. I'll only be two days late by then.

Smile :) donnamusing

P.S. Check out Flip Chick Designs on Etsy to find your own SIMPLE project. Don't do it alone. Don't reinvent the wheel. Spend the $2 and get it done in a fraction of the time.












Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Disney Do's and Don'ts- Food

If you are like me when it comes to traveling, you pack food.
When Matt went to Uganda, I packed him entirely TOO MUCH FOOD and he was able to leave organic poptarts (yes, they exist), gatorade packet mixes, Clif Bars, and many tasty but unhealthy treats for the outreach team, there.

But, we are talking about Disney. I must admit that I packed food to save money... even though we signed up for the Disney Dining Plan. I wasn't really sure what to expect and I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg every day on food.

So without further ado, here is my first "DO!"
DO the Disney Dining Plan! We had so much food and saved money. It was ridiculous. The plan we chose included one table service meal, one quick service meal, and one snack per family per day. Included, we each received a refillable souvenir mug to use at our hotel. However, even though the fine print says it the chip-embedded cup will only work at your hotel, at this writing, that is not true so fill 'er up at other resort locations. (more on that magical mug in a minute)



DO use the table service meal for character dining when traveling with children, or if you are just young at heart. These are the pricier meals but order whatever you want, with the Dining Plan you've already paid an upfront fee so no need to stress over cost.

In Epcot, I highly recommend Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for the little princess in your life! All of Disney's classic princesses come around and meet you at your table, sign autograph books, and take photos. Not to mention that Cinderella might catch you up on what Gus-Gus is up to or Ariel might ask if you've seen any pesky sea-witches, feel free to ask Snow White about her little friends, Aurora won't fall asleep at your table, but Belle might speak of dancing with the Beast. Each day, one Princess greets you as you enter the Hall and takes a picture with your little princess or your entire party. During the meal, your photo is brought to your table in a decorative sleeve. (This is part of your dining experience.)



In Magic Kindgdom, have Breakfast with Pooh and Friends. Again, each character will make a special appearance throughout your dining. There is even a parade that your little one can take part in, marching with the characters through the restaurant.



And one more wonderful character dining is Tusker House, in Animal Kingdom. Indulge in a scrumptious breakfast or lunch buffet while receiving a commemorative framed photo with Safari Donald Duck. Safari Goofy, Daisy, Minnie, and even Mickey, himself will make their rounds during your meal.



DO know that you can choose a bagel, muffin, or pastry item as a snack. On days, when you want a quick breakfast, this is a perfect option. However, if you want a juice to go with your snack, that would count as an additional snack. If you like the idea of having juice with your bagel, choose juice with a quick service meal the day before and save it for breakfast. You can use that magical mug with unlimited free refills during your stay to have an iced tea or soda with dinner.

DO's and DON'Ts on the mug:
DO know that you can fill it with hot or cold beverages. Some folks like to fill it up with hot coffee and sip on it while riding out to the park.
DO or DON'T carry it with you to the parks.What I mean is this, if you are eating lunch at a resort connected to one of the parks, you may want to carry it for that refill. But, if you are eating in the park- like one of the wonderful restaurants listed above- there isn't a refill station, so you'll be stuck carrying it around all day.
DON'T fill up with the wrong beverage, dump it, and try to immediately refill with something else. You can only refill it every two minutes. If you gulp it all down in a minute and a half, the machine will tell you that you have 30 seconds left before you can refill again. (I know, a computer chip in your mug... it's like, the end of the world, or something.) ;)

DON'T over pack your suitcase with food. You are going to Disney, not camping. It is good to have a few things for the plane and if you'd like a certain something for walking around the park. But, I will say that while enjoying the Dining Plan, you'll have more food than you can shake a stick at. Each quick service meal includes a meal, snack, and drink. At the end of the week, we ate double snacks in the park and chose 7 packaged snacks to carry home with us, just so we didn't lose them.

DON'T choose a $1 cheese dip as your snack. We ordered a Mickey Pretzel in Hollywood Studios as a snack and the additional cheese dip would've cost us a snack, and know that two people can easily share one cheese dip (Just break off pieces of your pretzel, no double-dipping!) Seriously, fork over the buck for the cheese dip and bank that credit to use on a $5 goody, later!

DON'T stress over food. I know we saved money by doing the dining plan. One meal at some of the character dining restaurants would've been what we paid per person for a whole day's food allowance.

Oh and one more "DO"... DO expect for your pants to fit a little tighter by the end of the week, everything is delicious!

Smile :) donnamusing

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Disney Do's and Don'ts- Accommodations

Over the next few days, I plan to share some Do's and Don'ts for Walt Disney World. Little nuggets of knowledge we uncovered along the way. I'll start with accommodations.

DO stay at Disney's Art of Animation Resort. It is Disney's newest hotel so it is crisp and shiny. The hotel is divided into four sections, three of those sections are suites decorated with Cars, The Lion King, or Finding Little Nemo. The fourth section, The Little Mermaid is basic double bed rooms.



DO choose the suite if traveling with children. It is just a few dollars more and well worth it to tuck the kids in the murphy bed and sofa bed, then retreat to your own private bedroom to keep the lights on planning the following day or enjoy a late night show together.



DO spend time walking around the resort. Each section is lovingly decorated. There's even a Cozy Cone Motel; the large cones are shaded seating around a half circle pool. The Little Mermaid section also has a small pool but The Lion King area doesn't have a little pool. Not to worry, the Nemo pool is the largest resort pool in all of Walt Disney World. And, it comes complete with spray and playground too.



Now for the DON'Ts...

DON'T stay in Cars Building 1 facing the parking lot. Every night around ten o'clock, huge trucks unload large metal bins with wheels. IT. IS. LOUD. We assume the staff wheel in food for the restaurant or perhaps, laundering services for the hotel. Either way, it lasts for a couple hours and you might as well have your window open. Request not to stay in Building 1 and you should be okay.



DON'T take the elevator. Check to see how close you are to the end of a building. It may be more convenient to walk down the stairwell at the end of the building rather than walk to the center of the building just to ride on the elevator. We actually saved time and footsteps by taking the stairs when we didn't have luggage.



DON'T stress! The entire staff was incredibly helpful from the moment of check-in, to making reservations, as well as meeting additional requests, and the housekeeping was wonderful. You have an entire fleet at your fingertips making sure your vacation is as magical as possible. Also, make sure to tell the staff upon check-in if it is your first visit. You'll receive a "First Visit" button to wear, bringing you special attention through the parks during your stay.

And as always, Smile :) donnamusing


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Of Broken Vases...

My son is an early riser, to say the least... Imagine how enjoyable that is for grandparents. Well, a few months ago, my son spent the night with his Oma. Oma told him that he could get up at 7:00am and either play with his toys in the guest room quietly or go watch T.V. without any toys until she got up.

Now, I'm sure you realize that when parents and grandparents give direction, it is for good reason. Maybe this realization hasn't dawned on my son, yet, or maybe, he is just sneaky.

At 7:00am, Alec chose his own option, to play in the living room WITH his toys.

When Oma awoke, everything was fine until she noticed some silk flowers on the floor that belonged in her yellow vase. Once she bent down to pick them up, she became aware of something far more peculiar. Her vase was broken.

In a very sad attempt, he tried to hide the broken pieces in the vase and put it back on the coffee table.

What hurts me most about this story is the deception. But when I think about it, I recognize myself. Haven't we all chosen our own path at times, when God has clearly given us a direction. And our own way has brought us destruction. Then, we try to hide it, as if God can't see through our facade.

I wanted to teach my son a lesson in restoration and so we went "vase hunting" with his money. We could not find another yellow vase but found a ceramic vase, similar in size, so we purchased it and some yellow paint from Lowe's. With some teamwork, we were able to create a comparable replacement.

He had already said I'm sorry to his Oma, but I believe that actions speak louder than words. He could never replace the vase that he destroyed... It will never be the same. But he could sacrifice something that belonged to him, in this case- time and money. And takes those steps toward restoration.

Oma graciously accepted his gift, placed her silk flowers in the new vase, and set it on the coffee table. (His apology note remains hidden in the bottom of the vase.)

As a parent, I can only hope that this lesson will stick with him. The point is, whether the vase cost $5 or $50, he broke it because of disobedience and then lied with his actions. But, he took steps to restore not only the vase but also his relationship with his Oma.


Smile :) donnamusing

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Week in Social Media

Have you ever taken a little break from Social Media and wondered what you missed?
Well, just in case you do ever take a break and feel left out, just read this blog entry and you'll be fully informed in no time.

Monday:

Politics, Game Requests, and Babies, Oh my! 
My job sucks. My car sucks. My life sucks.
#Meatless Monday
#Meme Monday (Yeah, I went there... but they really don't just show up on Monday) 




Tuesday:
Cute puppies. Grumpy Cat.
I'm in debt up to my eyeballs but check out my new car!
Nothing ever goes right for me... 4 days 'til vacation!
If you read my statuses, write where we first met. (crickets) If you don't write on this post, you'll be deleted... (still, crickets)
Is it Friday, yet?




Wednesday:
Hey Mike! Mike! Guess what day it is?!
(every other post is a camel)
#Happy Hump Day

#Wordless Wednesday = Flood of Photos




Thursday: 
Poster: Today is my Friday! Yay!
10 Friends: I hate you!
#TBT = Newsfeed is swamped with big hair, short shorts, poofy dresses, moms posting their grown-children's bathtub photos, booger pickers... We should just call it "Embarass Ourselves Thursday"




Friday:
Longest. Week. Ever. 
Hello FRIDAY! 
What are you doing this weekend?
Here we go with the crazy neighbors again, don't they know we have kids trying to sleep? I'll open all our doors and you drown 'em out with the surround sound.
#Finally Friday #Party YOLO 




Saturday:
I'm bored. What's everyone doing today?
Words with friends, anyone?
I just ran a full marathon... twice! 
Look what I'm having for dinner!
Pins Galore: Organize your closet is 572 easy steps! Perfect pie crust every time. 1,000 things to do on a rainy day. Make your own laundry detergent- really, it smells great!
#Selfie Saturday

#Date Night
#First tooth lost





Sunday:
#Getting my church on! verses and songs beat out memes! (Until tomorrow)
I'm not doing nothing all day, except check facebook, of course...
Darn that tooth fairy. I can't believe she forgot your tooth. Don't worry sweetie, tomorrow she'll bring $20 and a new playstation.

Weekend is fading. Monday in sight. Commence whining.




Did I miss anything? Feel free to share.

Smile :) donnamusing






Saturday, September 28, 2013

What literary character are you?

Here's a little quiz, just for fun.

Ten simple questions to find out who you are as a literary character.

I got Juliet from Romeo and Juliet.

"You are a romantic, but not afraid to stand up for what you want. While you believe in happily ever after, you are no damsel in distress and have a strong mind." (quoted from abebooks.com)



So, of course, I got curious and went back to type in some random options and up came the white witch from The Chronicles of Narnia, so be warned not all of the characters are good guys.


I'm not sure what all the options are but I'd love to hear yours.

Click here to take the ten question quiz and post your character... unless, of course, you turn out to be the white witch... or worse. You might not want us to know that about you. ;) 

Smile :) donnamusing



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Punctuation Day!

Happy Punctuation Day! 



Yes, it's a real day and it is today, September 24th!

And on this day, I choose to honor the interrobang. I'm a huge fan of ?! and wish my computer had a special key just for this lovely punctuation mark. However, I am an abuser of the exclamation mark! I use him entirely too often!!!!! But he's just so exciting!!!!

I am, however, excited to announce that you can create your own interrobang in Word by typing Alt+8253 = 

Also, do you know there is a special mark to denote irony?


Here it is, let your readers know you are being a bit ironic by preceding your sentence with this: ؟

I cannot find the Alt code to make the irony symbol- and well, I find that a bit ironic. ;) But, feel free to cut and paste it from this page.

Flavorwire offers some wacky punctuation marks. The sarcasm mark, love point, and doubt point are all quirky little nuggets worth checking out.

Even dictionary.com has gotten in on the action, with this fun slideshow featuring commonly used marks. 

I hope you have a Happy Punctuation Day and gain a few wrinkles from this post.

,.?/<>;:'{}[]\|"="+_-()*!#@%$^&—‽...¿


Smile :) donnamusing

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sharing in Sorrow

These past couple weeks, I have shared many sorrows with several friends that I love dearly.

Although the grief is not my own, I share in their anguish. Tears have filled my eyes and overflowed as I lift each one up in prayer. I cannot fathom the heartaches each is facing. 

I have even caught myself enjoying my day and then, remembering each hurting friend, bow in remembrance.

Different circumstances. Diverse losses. Still, sorrow. 

Sorrow: the expression of sadness, grief
            affliction, agony, anguish
            distress, mourning, pain

This morning, as I sang these words:

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest in his unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

I can relate to those words. In moments of darkness, I've felt that God was somehow hiding himself from me. But He isn't; His grace is unchanging, unwavering, immovable. He is faithful. I'm anchored in His love.

The song continues:

Christ alone; Cornerstone
Weak made strong, in the Saviour's love
THROUGH THE STORM, HE IS LORD
LORD OF ALL

I needed this reminder today. Even in the storms of life, when the waves beat upon us, when we don't think we can take the sorrow, He is Lord.

I continue to pray that my friends will somehow see God in the midst of their circumstances, rest in His unchanging grace, receive God's strength for their weakness, and remember even in the darkest of times, He is Lord.



"Surely He has taken up our griefs, and carried our sorrows." Isaiah 53:4



Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

Do you watch The Gilmore Girls? I've never seen it but now I want to check it out! I have read on a few blogs lately about the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge and decided to share it with you all.



Apparently, over the course of the show, Rory Gilmore was filmed reading 339 different books which can be found here on listchallenges.com. Click on each book cover as you scan down the page and a little check mark will magically appear to help tally your score.

I started the list with full confidence that I'd have at least one-third. I'm ashamed to admit that I have read less than 10%. If I could've counted movies as well, then, my score would've been a bit higher.

However, this list did remind me of a few books that I've been wanting to read but just haven't gotten around to it, yet. Also, there are a few that I certainly don't want to read so I'll most likely never complete the RGRC.

What about you? What is your score? Post below and let's see who has the most.

Smile :) donnamusing

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 twelve years later...

The alarm bursted into song at 3:15 this morning. Way too early for me. I don't do early... but this morning I drove my hubby to the airport and sent him off with hugs and kisses.

Today marks twelve years since that Tuesday morning. The morning so many American's lost their lives at the hand of senseless violence. The morning so many other American's stepped up to make a difference; to dig through the rubble, to offer aid, to work through the tears. The morning we all gasped, held our breathe, came together as a nation, and prayed. The morning we will always remember and never forget.

For a moment, it felt strange to send my husband off in an airplane, on this anniversary. But then it hit me, we cannot live in fear. If the enemy were given a foothold, would he not gain ground? No, I hold my head high as an American, thankful for the men and women who have fought, are fighting, and will continue to fight for our freedom. Our freedom to live without fear.

I remember what happened. I'll never forget the news coming through the airwaves at our office and my friend's grandmother bringing by a small black and white television for us to stay updated. I remember the fear that surged through me, wondering what was next. I remember the agony of the multiple attacks and contemplating how many planes could possibly be compromised. I remember hoping that my cousin and his new bride were already home from their honeymoon. But I also remember something else...

I remember fire-fighters, police, EMTs, military, and regular good old folks stepping up, marching in, and being there. I remember prayers lifted, compassion given, doors opened, and love displayed. On that day, we all bled red, white, and blue. We came together to pray for those injured, to mourn with hurting families, and rejoice with each morsel of good news emerging from ground zero. We stood strong, together.

May we never forget the lives that were lost. Such a horrific loss; the greatest tragedy in my personal lifetime. But may we also remember the spirit of the American people coming together in a time of despair. And may that spirit be one that stays with us, day in and day out for all the years to come.

Always Remember. Never Forget.





Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life Lessons From Philippians

I have many favorite passages in the Bible but Philippians must be my favorite book. I tend to go back to it again and again, re-reading the same verses I've long since underlined and highlighted.

Within its four short chapters I find enough verses to challenge me for a lifetime. Here are a few:



Philippians 2:5~
Attitude check! Maybe this was the verse that spurred the whole WWJD? movement. I don't know that for sure, but I do know there isn't a day that goes by that I don't need this reminder. Is my heart where it needs to be? Does my attitude line up with Christ or does my attitude stink?


This one is a lifetime challenge in and of, itself:



Philippians 2:14~
Yeah, I admit it. This was our back-to-school verse this week. I also admit that it wasn't just for the kids. It was for me. It still is for me. "Do everything without complaining or arguing." Really, God? Everything? Let that word "everything" stew for just a moment and see how far you get. If you are like me, you'll start complaining about this verse or arguing how impossible it is to follow. Thankfully, there's another verse in the Bible about nothing being impossible with God.


Here's a great two-parter:



Philippians 4:4-7~
Rejoice in the Lord always. Then the writer repeats the direction: Again, I say, Rejoice! These words always and everything stir up something inside of me. Can it really be done, Lord? Not apart from Him. Verse 6 is where it really starts to get me. Through prayer we can trade in our anxiety for peace. What a deal! Sign me up! Yet, I know that many times when I am anxious, I turn to everyone and everything but prayer. If only I could remember to turn to him first. I hand him my darkness, the crumpling piece of coal. He returns to my hands a shining light, a dazzling diamond. Anxiety for peace.

Philippians 4:6-9~
Another way to have peace in our lives is to keep our minds focused on these things: whatever things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
I am compelled to believe that keeping our hearts and minds on good things keeps us from anxiety in the first place and guides us to have a better attitude. Without a doubt, a better attitude will keep us from complaining and arguing.

So, today I rejoice to be alive! I rejoice for God's goodness and provision in my life! I think of all the wonderful things He has done for me and I praise Him. I turn my worries and fears over to Him and receive his peace. I set my thoughts to Him and already feel a better attitude coming over me.

I am thankful for the answers He has given us. All we have to do is take the time to read His love letter to us!

Do you have a book in the Bible that you are drawn back to over and over again?

Smile :) donnamusing

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Feather Pillow

As a child, I remember sleeping over at my GranMa's house. Her sheets were always crisp and I could smell the sunshine that dried them. Better than that, she had feather pillows. Why are feather pillows so exciting? Well, I'm glad you asked.



A Garfield comic strip had given me a grand idea. Somehow, a feather had landed just perfectly so that as Garfield snored, the feather would fly up and then come back down to his lips again. This happened over and over- ultimately, leading my small brain to believe that this could be done. And, so I tried.

Each time I curled up on the crisp sheets after saying goodnight to my GranMa, I would feel around on the pillow and pluck a feather loose. Then, I would try to accomplish my quest. Over and over, I would place it on my lips, blow it up, and then it would land somewhere on the sheet. I'd feel around for it and try again. Much to my dismay, I never achieved the task.

Nearly ten years ago, I spent the night with my GranMa when I'd work at my boss's satellite office near her home. Even still, I would pluck out a feather and try. Mostly just for fun and the nostalgia of it... but, it could happen, maybe.

Well, today that memory came rushing over me as my daughter plucked a feather from the decorative pillow in our office. I watched as she rubbed it up and down her arm. She admitted, "Sometimes, I like to pull the feathers out of this pillow."

I reassured her by telling her my story. So, there we lay trying to blow a feather up from our lips and hoping it would come back to the same place so we could start again.

I'm happy to share that I've tempted my daughter with a lifelong quest.
I'm ashamed to realize that my GranMa probably has a half-filled pillow in her guestroom. ;)

Smile :) donnamusing


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mzungu

It's so good to have my sweet hubby home. We are both glad that he stepped out on faith for this adventure to Uganda but just shy of two weeks was the longest we've ever been apart. I asked him to guest-blog a story that he wrote a couple days into his trip. Of course, I hadn't heard the story before seeing these t-shirts he brought home. The blog explains the shirts so well.


Mzungu 

I learned a new word shortly after arriving in Africa: Mzungu. It’s the name for white people among the Ugandan people. At first you might think of this as some sort of racial slur. And maybe to some Ugandans, it is. I’m sure some have been hurt by white people in one way or another. But that’s not the way I heard it. I heard it from Ugandan children with smiles emerging from ear to ear and hands raised high with enthusiastic waves. They were excited to see us. Mzungu is good. Fun. Different.

Years ago I would have never signed up for a trip like this. Never. I’m comfortable and content in my US born-and-bred life. I like my creature comforts. My food. My warm bed. My health. My family. My god who doesn’t need me to “go.” I can grow where I’m planted.

So, why am I here in Africa? What changed?
Well, first, I met my wife. She’s the reason my involvement, and even attendance, at church had a rebirth after years away. I looked at her and saw a love for Christ that I’d never known. A relationship, not just an acquaintance. I wanted that. I got involved with my church. Played bass in the praise band. Living the US Christian dream. Still wouldn’t be caught dead in Africa, though. Nope.

When I started attending Brentwood Church, I decided to make a shift. I wanted to go deeper with God. I saw people like Jeff Sellers and I wanted to have that same passion and drive for Jesus. I met Jeff for lunch one day shortly after he had gotten back from Uganda in 2012. He couldn’t say enough incredible things about it. He was completely enamored with the people and the country. The seed was planted. God was saying, “GO.” At first I wanted to ignore it. No way I was going to Uganda. But, I realized I had said, “no,” too many times already. Staying the same is not the change I wanted to see in myself. 

So, here I am.
Mzungu. I am a mzungu in Uganda. I am blessed to be within an entire group of Mzungus. A fantastic team I get the privilege to work with. They bless me with their hearts and their kindness.

I have seen a great many things in just the first few days of my trip that I never thought I would see. On the 7-hour ride from Kampala to Gulu, I saw miles and miles of country that was foreign, yet sometimes familiar, and I would snap back to the reality that I am indeed in Africa. I’ve seen monkeys and baboons even before the safari later this week. I’ve seen the Nile River from a bridge with armed guards because of the recent fighting in Uganda and the strategic point the bridge represents. I’ve seen reckless disregard for life and limb in the way people drive on these streets. I’ve seen slums so full of filth and decay that it made my heart ache. I’ve seen the faces of little children delighted at my presence. Holding my hand, the hand of a stranger, as though I was their best uncle Matt (and not to mention delighting in seeing their faces in a photo on my camera). I’ve seen people restored through the work of Sports Outreach Institute. I’ve seen a church service within a small building on Koro Farm full of local people with more spirit and faith than mega churches in the states. I’ve seen Jesus in the people of Koro Farm. And I am touched and honored to be here.
I am anxious to see what’s next. Tomorrow.

Matt Tyree

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Less Talk - More Action!

Matthew 8: 1When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 

I've read that account several times but when I read it two days ago, I perceived it differently. Previously, I've wondered why Jesus didn't want the man to tell anyone. If I had just received healing from a pain-inducing, body crippling disease that marked me as an outcast, you better believe I'd turn into the town's own Henny Penny. So, why the silence? 

Because it wasn't about telling, it was about showing. Does it do any good for me to tell you that I care about you and then spit in your face? What about a man that beats his wife within an inch of her life, then whispers that he loves her as she lay in a pool of her own blood. Certainly, the truth is obvious without words. 

I like how verse four reads in The Message Bible: Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.” 

Our actions bear witness. Our actions reveal the evidence. 
Actions sing from the rooftops what words merely whisper in the cellar. 

Live a life of action, for our actions paint a vivid picture of our heart when words evaporate into nothingness. 



Smile :) donnamusing

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Matt is in Africa! FOR. REAL."


While I've said that phrase several times and keep having this crazy 'Ah-ha!' moment -which I'm sure pales in comparison to that realization running through his own head- the kids and I have stayed busy.

So, what have we done while Dad is away?

Gone swimming.
Sleepovers with Grandparents.
Ordered pizzas and watched movies.
Lots of mommy snuggles.

Reading Harry Potter with my boy.
Reading Anne of Green Gables with my girl.
(If that isn't enough to give you literary whiplash, I don't know what is! With all of Anne's imaginings, I'm certain she never would've imagined Hogwart's!)

Toss Up. My son brutally beat us. He's vicious.
Make Welcome Home cards when Dad had only been gone for one day. No procrastinating here.
A magical lunch in the land of the stone fairies.

Ate peaches while the juice ran down our chins.
Learned to Skype. An essential when dear hubby is on the other side of the Earth.
Laundry.

African tea.
Wear earrings: made in Africa.
Geography lesson. Traced his path on the globe and let the kids repeat it.

Read.
Write.
Pray.

Read blogs and Facebook updates just to catch a dust particle of his experiences.
Eat ice cream. (Shhh! Don't tell anyone!)
Nap-trap.

Teach kids how to trim their own nails. (One more responsibility for them. One less for me.)
Sold stuff on ebay. Bought stuff on ebay. It balances out. ;)
Stay busy.

Sing silly songs and hear my kids laugh.
Remind them to stop laughing twenty minutes later. ;)
Let my 7 year old vacuum with the big vacuum just because she wants to try.

Pseudo make up my bed. (Matt usually does it, he's particular. I'm not. Don't judge.)
Chase my dog (in my socks) because he is hard-headed.
Lowe's Build and Grow.

Visit family I haven't seen in ten years. (Yep, it'll probably be ten more.)
Watch my kids pet calves and snarl their little noses at the smell of manure.
Spend time with my sissy-poo.

Olive Garden.
Barnes & Noble.
Library.

Witness a miracle for a friend. Cry. A lot. Happy, sloppy tears.
Feel love from friends just checking on us.
Dream.

Make clay minions.
Rent the first Despicable Me. (We watched the new one with Dad before he left.)
Eat Brussel Sprouts as a late night snack.

Live. Laugh. Love.

Countdown.
Six days from tomorrow.
Smile.

:) donnamusing

Thursday, July 18, 2013

GO CHANGE THE WORLD!



Today, my husband along with eleven others, left our small hometown for Gulu, Uganda. This is his first time overseas and his first foreign mission assignment.

He didn't take the call to go lightly. For anyone who knows my home-loving hubby, this is completely outside of his comfort zone. With layovers included, the team will span 42 hours between getting out of bed this morning and resting in Kampala before another 7 hour drive to Gulu. His head will surely meet an airport floor at some point. Not quite as comfortable as our tempur-pedic bed, but at least he has a neck pillow.

Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and Malaria! Oh my! Those are just three of the dangers he is walking into, although, he has prepared with medication and shots against them. He must continue the stomach-upsetting malaria meds four weeks after returning home. Not to mention, he made copies of his yellow fever immunization card because, well, without it, the US will not let him come home.

Our church has lovingly assisted Pugwini village. Last year, a group went to build a piggery for them, providing food and work for the people. Another team went this past May and now, the July team. This group is building a safe house for girls exploited by the war.

I must mention that it is the resources of many that have allowed this work to go forth. People who care about other people that they will never meet. My heart melts at the kindness shown and sent over to a hurt people, looking for hope.

My husband has already started posting updates and I was slightly taken aback by a comment that one of his friends posted. Basically, she said, good for you but what about the people needing help and support in the US?

I do believe that "charity starts at home" but I do not believe that is where it ends.

Part of me wanted to ask, So, what are you doing at home or abroad? I quenched my cynicism.

We have taken part in many home-front opportunities to serve others over the years and at thirty-eight years of age, my husband is just now taking this giant leap of faith to go beyond our borders.

One of my favorite local ministries is Mosaic- a ministry for foster children. Just one of the ways Mosaic blesses children in our local community is providing  "Welcome Bags" to agencies to give out to children when they come into foster care. Our children are all adopted from foster care and we know that when they come into care, it is all too often with only the clothes on their back (sometimes, not even that).

In the end, we are all called to serve others in one way or another and if we were all doing our part (myself, included) what a different world we would live in!
I think about the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 which includes the words, "all nations" and Acts 1:8 that says, "...into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the Earth."

For those that Jesus was speaking to, that includes the local area, region, country, and the ends of the Earth or as stated in Matthew, all nations.
So for us, it might sound something like, Heart of Virginia, Eastern United States, North America, and all other nations of the Earth.

Whether you serve soup at a homeless shelter, pay for the person behind you at a cafe, adopt an elderly person to buy groceries for, foster hurting children, or assist those whose homes have been destroyed by a natural disaster. Whether you serve near or far, or everything in between. Whether you bless one life or millions. Go Serve! Go Bless! GO CHANGE THE WORLD!

Smile :) donnamusing

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Celebrations of Life and Love!

Last week was a FULL week. A week of celebrations! We celebrated  my nephew's baby dedication, Independence Day, the wedding of two dear friends, a friend's birthday, and my son's birthday.

My nephew's baby dedication was a time of hope and of blessing. How small and precious he is. His new life brings hope and happiness. His little smile is so joyful and I know the world is a better place with him in it. We celebrated with his mom and dad while praying for his future.

We enjoyed a fun-filled day with Grandparents at Poplar Forest for Independence Day! Complete with a sword swallower, pony rides, dress-up fun, dances for the kids, writing with quills, watching a potter, lace maker, wool spinner, and basket maker. And don't forget the funnel cakes and deep-fried oreos. What started as a completely soggy morning turned out to be a wonderful time for all! The only problem is I wore blue jeans. In a sad attempt, I tried to convert them to shorts. Note to self: on hot days wear shorts, even if it is raining.



Our friends' wedding was simply a dream. With only family and close friends, the attendance ran around forty people. But trust me, just because it was small, doesn't mean a single detail was left out. Every detail held a story. Probably many that I will never know, small secrets for the bride and groom.
The heart of this man and woman captivated us all. I feel certain there was not a dry eye in the place.
And my favorite part of any wedding is watching the groom's face as he patiently awaits his bride, then seeing his expression as she enters the scene.
I won't fully divulge all the beauty of this intimate gathering but I will share this one small detail.
The wedding cake consisted of cupcakes chosen by the bride and groom.
The oreo cupcake chosen by the bride and the raspberry filling chosen by the groom. Both were delicious. (Yes, I had one of each since they had enough for each guest to have one there and pre-packaged ones to take home.)



I experienced the joy of a child's birthday twice. We celebrated with dear friends at Putt-Putt and with our son at FunQuest. If nothing else, these birthdays remind me of how much I'm aging. Just trying to keep up with the kids is a work-out in itself. But the happiness in a child's eyes is so fulfilling. My son is in double digits now! How did that happen? Although, I enjoy watching him grow into a young gentleman. He grows leaps and bounds with each passing year.

So, here is to a week of celebrations! To new life, to childhood, to finding your soulmate. We rejoice with all of our friends and loved ones and wish them all many more happy times to come.

Smile :) donnamusing

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where Did The Orchard Go?

Recently, while at my GranMa's house, I enjoyed walking down the edge of the field behind her home. When I turned around, I was stricken for a moment with the thought, "Where did the orchard go?"

There was the old shed, her little white house, all of her beautiful flowers, the place where the garden once grew, and no orchard.

Don't get me wrong. It didn't just disappear, it hasn't been there for about half of my life now but in that moment, I missed it and I wanted it there. I wanted to run over and eat too many blackberries straight from the vine. Sneak a bunch of grapes into my palm for later. But most of all, I wanted to see my GranPa standing there with his straw hat explaining to me about his apple tree grafting. Oh, how I would lap up every word if he had been there. 

I had to take some classes in June and each one started with the get-to-know-you type questions. One day, we all shared our name and our favorite childhood food. Mine was anything from my GranMa and GranPa's garden. I promise that my GranMa grew and cooked up the best green beans my tongue ever tasted. But another of my most favorite things was anything I could just pick and eat straight from his orchard. 

My Dad has a photo in his living room, of GranPa in his straw hat and checkered shirt standing in the orchard and that is how I remember him. How I remember that place. How I see it in my mind's eye. 

So, the answer to my question, "Where did the orchard go?" 
It is still there for those of us who look hard enough.

I went there just this morning. I bit into a peach, not one of those store bought ones. A real one. A juicy one, grown in a local orchard. The sweet flavor of Summer carried my mind back to a time and place that lives on inside of me. A place where a little curly-headed girl, along with her sister and cousins listen to stories from a man they love, while nibbling on nature's desserts grown in the orchard.

Smile :) donnamusing





Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May~Day

What do you think when you hear the words, "May~Day"?

I think of a plane going down, sending out a distress signal and I picture Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron.

I also have a faint memory of dancing around the May-pole, braiding a rainbow of ribbons around a giant flagpole at a Nursing Home. And afterwards, passing out little hand-made gifts to the residents- never once thinking that I'd grow older. After all, in that moment, my childhood seemed to drag on forever.



I didn't really know "why" today is called May Day or why that phrase is used as a distress signal. So, I decided to do some research...

May Day -the holiday- has several points of historical significance. Most notably, as I have found via my limited scope and google searches, it is a celebration of Spring and all the lovely things that go along with the season. Love, flowers, new birth, and HOPE.

It is a day for honoring martyrs, a Celtic Festival Day based on Irish mythology, and in Germany it holds reference to Bloody Mary.

I also found it interesting that February 1 was honored as the first day of Spring and May 1 as the first day of Summer. And was thus, a day of Summer celebration in pagan European culture.

The scope ranges across Europe from Great Britain to Germany, Ireland, Finland, France, Sweden and beyond. But let's skip to the good ole U.S. of A.
Early American settlers brought the tradition over with them and started the first version of "ding-dong, ditch" that I've ever seen on record. A giver leaves a small gift basket on a receiver's doorstep, knocks, and runs away. The receiver then tries to catch the giver, and if the receiver is successful, the giver receives a kiss. Knowing this, I'm sure the givers slow their gate a little. ;)

~

My next quest led me to figure out why in the world "May-Day" is a distress signal.
May-Day comes from the French word, "m'aider" meaning, "Come Help Me!"

Aviators aren't the only ones to use the distress signal, Mariners do as well. Word to wise- it is a federal crime to make a FALSE May-Day call in the United States. And it is a costly mistake, up to a quarter million dollars and half a dozen years behind bars- yikes!
But not to worry, if you say "Matey" with a thick accent and you fear it being confused with "May-Day" - chances are you'll be safe. Just like "Beetlejuice" - you must call out "May-Day!" three times in a row to be considered a distress call.

~

May 1, 2013 ~ I am looking at today as a day of HOPE and standing in the gap, pleading for a miracle to be granted to someone that God sees in the clutches of distress.   

Smile :) donnamusing







Friday, April 5, 2013

The Castle Project

Our projects usually come about something like this: I have this grand idea and tell my hubby about it. I think it'll take a day and he wants to do it big, really BIG. And well, that takes more than a day.

This project took us four full days. Needless to say, we are tired. But the payoff was worth it. Our kids love it!

My idea was to turn our kids' bunk beds into castles and the underneath part into a sitting area and toy storage. Matt didn't jump right on it but he did start thinking about it and planning. Before long, we found ourselves scouring the aisles of Lowe's and carrying home some very heavy MDF. 

Our kids knew we were working on "something" they weren't allowed to see until we finished, but they had no idea "what" it could be. 

Over these past few days, I believe I've learned enough life lessons to write an entire book called "The Castle Project"... maybe I will. 

Without further ado, here are the finals:

Sir Alec's castle:








Princess Lora's castle: 



                                                               
Love the underneath lighting: 




The look on their faces was priceless! Even better was Alec's expression when he realized that he actually got to sleep in the castle, not just play in it.
In the end, it was worth the blood, sweat, and tears! Love my kids!

Until the next project, 
Smile :) donnamusing

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

#ThankAWriter- Mo Willems

#ThankAWriter No.1 goes out to Mo Willems.



Dear Mo Willems,

This is a small thank-you.

I first heard of you on a library field trip, with my then-preschool foster daughter. The dragon lady at our local library read  "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus". I took delight in watching the story come alive for my wide-eyed daughter. But this thank-you reaches much deeper than that incident.

Last year, I came across a darling book at our local bookstore. "Amanda & Her Alligator" has become a family favorite. I overflowed with emotion the first time I read Alligator's words, "Why was I in the sale bucket?" and "Why did no one want to buy me?"

You see, both of my children are adopted from foster care and they have asked similar questions. "Why did I move fourteen times?" "Why did it take so long for me to be adopted?"

The first time I read your story to my children, they hung on pins and needles for Amanda's response.  Her answer echoed my own to Alec and Lora.
They can relate to Alligator's fear and sadness at being passed over in the "sale bucket" but know the value of family is found when you are meant to be together.

Thank you for writing this story, especially chapter four. It has blessed my family.

Smile, Donna Marie Tyree



Smile :) donnamusing



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bamboozle...

"Spell the word, Bamboozle."

A big smile spread across my face as adrenaline pumped through my veins. Bamboozle was highlighted in my little book covered with yellow and black bees. I knew the word! My long hours of practice were about to pay off.

"Bamboozle. B-A-M-B-O-Z--- NO! I mean..."

Too late. The rules of the spelling bee sent me back to my chair. Crying. No, bawling- hysterically.
My little face rested in the crook of my elbow as giant sobs dripped pools of tears into my glasses. Even worse, snot flooded the top of my desk.

I told myself that it didn't matter what my classmates thought. I was going to die right there in that spot. They'd remember me as the girl who lost the spelling bee and cried herself to death.

I berated myself to a pulp. After all, I did know the word. I was just too excited and spit it out all wrong.

Life lessons kind of happen like that. You just know... And then, like a bug smacking into the windshield, life gets messy.

Mrs. Kelly let me cry. I needed to mourn, to grieve, to let it all out.

I'll never forget her. Her salt and pepper hair. Her permanent limp. Her classroom right next to the library. Her kindness.

Mrs. Kelly encouraged me to write. She encouraged me to write how I felt. "Just put it all in words," she had said. And so I did. And so I continue.

Years after this event, I worked as a waitress at Shoney's.
I greeted the aging couple in my section and quickly recognized her sweet face. "Mrs. Kelly!"
I cherish the grateful moment.

My age has doubled since thanking her for the impact she breathed into my life. I don't know if she really remembered me that day in the restaurant but I'll never forget her.

If I knew where she was, this is what I would write to her:

Dear Mrs. Kelly,
Thank you for your kindness to this snot-nose fifth-grader. Thank you for taking the time to encourage me, to speak words of blessing into my life. Thank you for helping me to realize that it is okay to cry and that losing the spelling bee was not the end of my world. Thank you for encouraging me to write.
Thank you for caring. You will always have a place in my heart.

Smile :) donnamusing

P.S. Bamboozle. B-A-M-B-O-O-Z-L-E. Bamboozle.



Friday, March 22, 2013

Coming Soon... Tarradiddles of the King

My husband's aunt, Caroline M. Reichard is chipping away at her new series, "Tarradiddles of the King" -a collection of charming stories based on her father's embellished stories.

We are all excited to read these long-awaited adventures.
You can read about the books and meet the author, here.

Might I humbly add that the creator of the cover art, is none other than the fabulous illustrator, Matt Tyree.

For more on Caroline M. Reichard: http://www.tarradiddlesoftheking.com/

For more on Matt Tyree: www.tyreeonline.com


If you are working on a beloved project, remember this:
"Continuous effort - not strength or intellegence - is the key to unlocking our potential."   ~ Winston Churchill

Keep working. Keep trudging. Keep dreaming.

Smile :) donnamusing


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#ThankAWriter

Who doesn't love to curl up with a good book and nice hot cup of tea? Or disappear into another world while falling asleep?

I certainly do.
Although, I've learned that falling asleep while reading a traditional book is slightly less painful than with my kindle. Ouch.

Recently, thanks to the fortuitous happenstance of google, I have found my way to Nathan Bransford's blog. It's all his fault that I learned the painful lesson of kindle to chin...

Without further ado, I must point you to his blog today. I love "thank you" projects and here is a new one that I'm looking forward to taking part in. It's the #ThankAWriter project!

Here is the link to his blog where you can find all of the details:
#ThankAWriter Project

I may have to thank an English teacher, as well.

Go grab a pen and get to it! It's good to be thankful!

Smile :) donnamusing



"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day... Did you know?

Did you know that the traditional color of St. Patrick was actually blue? We "put on our green" to remember the shamrock that St. Patrick used to teach the Irish of the Holy Trinity. And, of course, Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle.

Did you know that the Chicago River is dyed green on St. Patrick's Day?  Hmmmm... I wonder what the fish think about that! Maybe they are Irish fish and don't mind.

Did you know that apparently everyone is Irish when St. Patrick's Day rolls around? Have you seen the merchandise based on, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish!"
Well, I really am Irish.
No, really, I am.
I am Irish and Indian, and a whole bunch of other stuff. ;)

Did you know that the first Irish Parade happened in America? Yep, in Boston- must've been all of us Irish-wanna-be-folks!

Did you know that each leaf on a clover stands for something? Faith, Hope, Love, and the fourth is Luck.
Interesting, my son found a five-leaf clover, and of course, I researched it. Irish legend says that anyone who finds a five-leaf clover will have abundant luck and financial success!

Did you know your odds of finding a four-leaf clover? 10,000:1 Pretty crazy, for every four-leaf clover, there are 10,000 three-leaf clovers.

AND...
Do you know how St. Patrick's day got started? It all started with a young fellow named Maewyn...
Here, enjoy this video, it's simple and fun. :)


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Smile :) donnamusing


Thursday, March 7, 2013

May Your 'Wowwies' Be Behind You...

Mrs. D did an excellent job of not even letting Lora know that she was in therapy, as Lora would refer to her as, "my big friend, Mrs. D." On this particular day, they were decorating masks with feathers, stickers, jewels, and pom-pom balls.

Over the past four years, this little angel had been passed around twelve times. Lora longed for permanency, a forever mom and dad. Lora would tell her big friend how much she wanted to stay with us in our "wovewy" home. (her l's and r's sounded like w's)

While decorating masks together, Mrs. D said to Lora, "I know you are worried about having to leave this mommy and daddy. See this pile of pom-pom balls, let's pretend they measure how worried you are. Make a pile to show me."

With her tiny four-year old hands, she scooped up as many pom-poms as she could hold and moved them over to her side of the table, repeating this action until the entire pile rested in front of her.

Mrs. D acknowledged Lora's concern but then asked her, "What would happen to all that worry if the judge says you can stay forever?"

Again, those two small hands moved each pom-pom until every last one sat on the chair behind her.

Mrs. D asked, "What does that mean?"

"Mrs. D, it means that 'aw' my 'wowwies' 'wiww' be behind me," Lora replied.

About six months after this, we were able to tell them that they were, in fact, without a doubt, staying forever. That was the day those pesky 'wowwies' were put behind us. And what a beautiful day that it was.

I encourage you, the next time you are having a craft day with your kids- pick up a pom-pom ball and put it behind you. Take joy that your adopted child is yours forever. If you are still on the road to adoption, hold on tight, your day will come. One day your 'wowwies' will be far behind you, as well.



Smile :) donnamusing