Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday

My second work week is done.  I'm really getting the hang of it.  There's plenty to do in the short amount of time I'm there.  I think I'm gonna like it.  God knew what He was doing when He put me there :-).

I'm still trying to work out my schedule and make sure everything gets done in a timely manner.  It's been working out great, which I'm thankful for.  I get up most mornings at around 6:30, wash up, get breakfast ready, wake up my son E, then sit down for my bible study in the book of Daniel.  At 9:00 we start school, and go straight through till noon or 1:00.  When it's time for my son to take his online lesson, it's time for me to get some housework done.  I do laundry, sweep, mop, dust, cook, whatever needs to get done.  At lunchtime we sit down to eat, then it's off to makeup and wardrobe to get ready for work.  Once I'm set I sit down with my son for more schoolwork before it's time for me to leave.  I pack my dinner - usually a sandwich and a box of vanilla yogurt covered raisins, along with a bottle of water - and head out the door.  It literally takes me less than 5 minutes to get there, and I work from 3:00 to 8:15pm.  Then I head home, finish cleaning up anything that didn't get cleaned up earlier, shower, and I'm ready for bed.  Sounds simple, right?  Except nothing ever goes exactly according to plan.

Wednesdays are the only day I get off work early - 6:00pm.  We agreed when I started working at the tutoring center that I would leave early on Wednesdays for church and Awana.  I love the girls I serve with, and I also love the opportunities to teach.  Our leader asked me last week if I would like to teach this week, and I said I would.  All week I wondered, "What was I thinking?!  I just started a new job!  I can't get ready to teach this Wednesday, I have too much on my plate!"  I prayed and went through the lesson book.  Only one lesson stood out to me.  It was a pretty sad story, which I don't particularly like telling, but it was the only one I could see myself teaching.  All week I wondered if this was the lesson God wanted me to teach, because I felt like I wasn't learning it the way I should.  Ultimately I just gave it to God and asked Him to speak through me.  Did He ever come through!  The kids were excited, the leaders were excited, everyone enjoyed the teaching, and I was amazed at how God put it all together!  As I told the leaders, it was definitely a God thing - no way could I have pulled that off by myself!  To God be the glory!

This morning should have been smooth sailing, but I woke up late.  Or rather, I woke up early which made me wake up late.  For some reason, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, then I can't get back to sleep.  Last night was one of those nights.  I woke up at around 3:30 in the morning and didn't fall asleep again till 5:30, so of course I didn't wake up till after 7am.  Still, I was able to get back on track quickly.  E had a few lessons to do, and he got them done in 3 hours.  After that he worked on his community service hours.  I was right on time, till I stepped out the door.  My neighbor's mother stopped me to talk.  Her daughter is selling her house, and it was supposed to be purchased by the neighbors on the other side of her house.  Turns out the deal didn't go through, and they're back to looking for a buyer.  I felt bad for them, and I especially felt bad having to cut her off (politely of course) so I could get going.  Thankfully I got to work right on time.  I hate being late anywhere.

It was a non-stop kind of day.  Phones ringing, appointments coming in, students testing...we had a little bit of everything.  I told my boss it's a good thing I only work 4 days a week - I need 3 days to recover!  Actually, it isn't that bad at all.  I like the work, I really like the people, and I feel comfortable working there.  I cannot express how blessed I feel that God would give this gift to me.  It still blows my mind!

Tomorrow is a school day but not a work day; at least not at the office.  I have grocery shopping to do, then I have to color my hair.  I can't believe how quickly my roots have sprouted!  No way do I want to get dressed up for a wedding with all these gray hairs creeping out.  Funny, I've been taking biotin pills to help strengthen my nails, but it looks more like my hair is getting stronger and growing faster.  As if it didn't grow fast before!  My hair grows like a weed, and now it's really shooting up!  I'm gonna have to buy stock in the hair colorant business.  Our women's bible study group meets tomorrow as well, at 8:00 in the morning.  That means I don't get to sleep in tomorrow either.  I guess it's true what they say, a woman's work is never done.  Off to sleep I go (or at least try to!).  Good night ya'll, pleasant dreams.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What's Been Going On

I really did want to post about my wildly wonderful weekend, but it was nonstop every minute of every day, and I just wasn't able to sit down long enough to post.  Even yesterday and today have been busy, but I figured if I didn't post now I might forget everything I want to include.

Thursday night our church started its yearly carnival, but none of us went.  It was in the 30's - yes, here in South Florida! - with winds making it even colder.  Floridians don't do well in 35 degree weather.  We weren't even going to take a chance.

Friday morning I went to the women's bible study group at church.  I'd been attending on Thursday nights, but with my new job there's no way I can make it there on time.  Thankfully there's a group that meets Friday mornings, but they're a week ahead of the Thursday group, which means I missed chapter 6!  I'm hoping there will be a makeup class like they've done before, so I can watch the classes I missed.  My youngest son went to the carnival that night while my daughter, best friend and I headed to the Chris Tomlin concert.  It was the first stop on the Love Ran Red tour, and we were excited to be there!  Unfortunately we missed the first act, Rend Collective, thanks to the insane traffic (which is why I make it a point to never go into Miami).  When we finally made it to the venue, Tenth Avenue North was on.  They're a local band, from West Palm Beach, so they're always enthusiastically welcomed back home to South Florida!  We had floor seats so we were able to watch up close and personal.  It was totally amazing!  I love the idea of spending eternity in heaven worshiping God with Chris Tomlin leading worship!

My son went back to the carnival on Saturday, but I took that time to get some housework caught up and run some errands.  I went to Target to find myself a belt for my jeans, and some ballet flats like a pair I'd gotten a couple weeks ago that were really comfortable.  I got 3 belts, 2 pairs of shoes, 4 tops that were on sale, a wallet, and a nail polish.  That's the problem with Target.  It's like Lay's Potato Chips: you can't get just one (item).

Then Sunday, after church, we ran home and got ready to see Tim Hawkins.  He is my all-time favorite comedian, the funniest man on earth in my opinion.  I would highly recommend anyone who hasn't heard Tim Hawkins to check him out on YouTube.  I love the fact that he's a Christian so none of his comedy is raunchy or inappropriate.  My son was happy to miss the last day of the carnival for Tim Hawkins!  I'm thankful that I can cross that off my bucket list - though I wouldn't hesitate to see him live again!

Work is going really well.  I'm slowly getting the hang of how everything works, though I still get some of the teacher's names confused and I don't know most of the students.  Everyone is being patient and helpful, which helps me feel more relaxed.  Today I was brought in to see a couple of students being tested.  The school director/owner wants me to become familiarized with the testing procedure so that I can administer tests in the future.  Tests are given to new students to determine their grade levels and choose the appropriate curriculum to work with.  There's reading and math tests; the reading test shows whether the child can read and what their level of comprehension is, while the math test is very detailed and intricate.  Most kids who come into the center are having trouble with math, so that is a big focus.  There are students as young as kindergarteners, all the way up to college and everything in between.  I'm enjoying the kids as well as the environment.

My dress arrived today!  I ordered a gorgeous little black velvet dress from New York and Company last week for a wedding my daughter and I are attending on Saturday.  I wasn't sure how it would fit, even though all the dresses I've bought from NY&Co. lately have been size 10.  I don't like ordering clothes online because I hate the hassle of having to ship it back if it doesn't fit, especially after waiting a week for it to arrive, but this dress was only available online.  It was on clearance too - originally $79.99, I paid $23.98 for it, a deal I wasn't going to find at the actual store.  I nervously tried it on, and I'm thrilled to say it fits perfectly!  It's the right length, right on the knee.  It's also my favorite style, fit and flare.  I'm so relieved it fits, because I couldn't find anything at the stores, and there's no time to go out looking for another dress.  This one worked out splendidly!

Homeschooling is also going well.  My son is working on polynomials, ocean currents, and learning all about classical music.  It's diverse and interesting.  He's also working on his community project hours by preparing plastic eggs for the church's Easter Egg Hunt.  They put out thousands of eggs, some with prizes inside, and they also give out candy to all the children.  We're probably going to help with the candy bags as well, when Easter gets a bit closer.

That's my recap for the weekend.  Tomorrow I'm teaching at Awana.  I'm kind of nervous, because I don't feel like I've prepared enough, but Lord willing everything will go smoothly.  I've been keeping to my schedule and managing my time wisely, so that, even though I'm busy, I'm able to get everything done.  Until next time, good night and God bless.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday

What a week it has been!  I didn't realize how "out of it" I was in respect to being in the work force.  So much I've forgotten, so much I need to relearn!

I began working again this week after 6 1/2 years of being a stay-at-home mom.  I knew it would be different, but I didn't realize how different.  I felt a little like a fish out of water, even though my bosses are dear friends of mine who love the Lord and have great patience and understanding.  I had to admit to MM today that I had to get used to the phone.  I haven't had a land line in 3 years.  I haven't answered a work phone in twice that.  So the phone rings, and I honestly don't hear it!  I try to pay attention to it, but I get busy doing something and my mind blocks out all other sounds.  I have to make a conscious effort to listen for the phone so I can help get it answered.

It's also a very different industry than anything I've worked in.  For my last two jobs, in which I worked a total of 20 years, I worked in manufacturing.  I was a purchasing manager for 10 of those years.  Yes, it was office work, but extremely different from the service-type of industry I'm in now.  I didn't have to deal with customers.  I was the customer.  People came to me offering me products and prices, and I got to shop and get paid for it (every woman's dream job).  Now I have to work with the public, learning the names of the teachers and the students, their curriculum and needs, and it's gonna take me a while to get everything straight!  I pray each day that I would please my Heavenly Father by doing the best job I can while treating others the way I'd like to be treated.

The perks of this job are simple: I work 4 days a week, Monday through Thursday.  I work from 3:00 to 8:15, which gives me plenty of time to homeschool, take care of the house, and make food.  I've timed my drive to work:  3 minutes, unless I get caught by the traffic light, in which case it takes 4 minutes.  All the teachers have been super nice to me - they all like my daughter, so it's easy to see why they'd be that way, but I do believe they're just all really nice.  Most of the teachers are college students, though one is in high school and another is an older guy that's been there for years.  They're very professional and polite.  It's a great environment to work in.

Of course I've had to really buckle down and keep my commitment to managing my time efficiently.  It hasn't been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, though.  In the mornings I make breakfast, then I have my bible study time while eating.  I make sure E gets up early as well; no more starting school at 10 am I'm afraid!  We start school at 9:00 and go straight till either noon or 1:00, depending on what classes he has.  I've used the crock pot to help me, so I don't have to stop and cook, though I have done that as well.  Today for instance, I made meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  Meatloaf is a quick prep, then it goes in the oven.  The potatoes take longer because I make them from scratch, but I didn't make a huge batch so I was able to get them in the pot fairly quickly.  Recipes that are quick and simple are my go-to's now (think: 30 minute meals).  After lunch I get dressed and put on my makeup, so that we can get some more schoolwork done before I have to leave.  While E is doing an online class, I'm doing laundry, preparing the meal, sweeping up dog hair, whatever needs to get done.  After work I come home and finish anything that didn't get done earlier, including any pending schoolwork.  All in all it has worked out quite smoothly, I'm glad to say.  I think I can relax a bit now.

I got a couple of shipments in from Bare Escentuals this week.  The palette arrived yesterday and I immediately started to use it.  I'm in love!  The palette has 4 color groups: pinks, plums, golds and greens.  The pinks are a nice neutral, with a brown shade that is really pretty.  I used that one yesterday, and the plum colors today.  They go on smoothly, blend really well, and last the whole time I'm wearing them.  I'm dying to try the greens!

I also received my skincare order, with the Active Cell Renewal Night Serum.  I'd used several samples the company had sent me on previous orders, and I could clearly see and feel a difference in my skin.  I've also been using the Purifying Facial Cleanser which is gentle on my sensitive skin, and the moisturizer that accompanies it.  I love the mild smell; I can't use products with fragrances because they make me break out.  This moisturizer doesn't irritate my skin at all.  It's been nice using products that are helping my skin rather than harming it.

Of course my weekend won't be very relaxed.  My best friend IV got us tickets to see Chris Tomlin in concert tomorrow - it was her Christmas present to us.  Our church is having its annual carnival starting tonight, though we passed on it.  Our temperatures have taken a bit of a nosedive.  It was 50 degrees this morning when I got up, but thanks to the wind chill factor it felt like 43.  Tonight the temps are going into the 30's.  It was already cold and windy out there when I got off work, and I knew it wasn't going to get any better, so we chose to stay home.  Tomorrow my son and his best friend will go to the carnival while the ladies go to the concert.  I don't like going without him, but he wants to hang out with his friends, which I totally understand.  Saturday will probably be more carnival time, then Sunday we have tickets to see Tim Hawkins, my all-time favorite comedian!  My daughter got to see him live years ago, but I wasn't able to go.  I'm so excited to see him this year!  

That's my wrap up for the work week.  I'll do my best to get a post up before the weekend is over.  It's gonna be a busy one!  God bless and good night.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday, Monday

Happy President's Day!  Or as we used to say when I was a kid, George Washington's birthday.  It used to be specifically about George Washington, then about Washington and Lincoln, then about all the presidents.  Our poor first president has gotten lost in the shuffle.

I didn't post yesterday because, quite frankly, I was being lazy.  I went to church by myself because my darling little boy woke up with pink eye.  Not something he wanted to go sharing with the other parishioners.  When I told a couple of my friends about the job they were thrilled for me, which made me feel even better about taking it.  Surprisingly, I'm not the least bit nervous.  The only thing I keep thinking about is how I'm going to manage my time so that I get everything done and still get where I need to be on time.  I hate being late anywhere, and I hate when others are late, something I've had to get used to in this South Florida laid back culture.  I want to make sure my family and my employers are taken care of, and that means making sure I manage my time wisely.

After making lunch and putting one load of laundry in the wash, I pretty much sat in front of my computer and watched YouTube videos most of the day.  I did do my Bible study, but that was it.  I didn't even put the laundry away.  As I sat there mindlessly watching other women talk about makeup and fashion and weight loss and blah-blah-blah, I realized why I was having so much trouble figuring out how to manage my time.  I've become an expert at wasting it.  This has happened in the last couple of months, and I'm only now seeing how bad it's gotten.  Well, that's gonna have to change.  And fast.

I've decided there's only two YouTubers that I'm going to watch whenever they have videos because they're my favorites: Shelbey Ashburn and Alex Garza.  Oh, and Angie at Hot and Flashy.  The first two are young girls.  I've been watching Shelbey particularly because she does a lot of Bare Minerals videos, especially new product reviews which I enjoy.  Angie is a year older than me and does videos geared towards women my age.  I'm going to watch their videos when I have time, which will most likely be on the weekends, since my weekdays will be packed.  Today I haven't watched any videos, and I've managed to do another load of laundry, put all the clean clothes away, vacuum and mop the floors, cook a chicken pot pie from scratch, take the car in for an oil change, and even watch a couple of episodes of the Tonight Show.  I've also got some pot roast meat on the counter which I'm going to put in the crock pot tonight so I don't have to worry about cooking tomorrow.  MM has asked me to go in early so she can give me some training, so I won't have time to be in the kitchen cooking.  I have lessons to go over with E before I leave for the school.  I told her I'd be there between 12:30 and 1:00, and I want to be sure I don't leave any loose ends.

I did go online for something else: dress shopping.  I still wanted to find a dress for this wedding, but I'm tired of going to the stores and finding nothing.  Either the clothes were for girls in their 20's, or they were for women in their 60's.  I fall into neither category, and I certainly don't want to dress like I do.  I decided to check out New York and Company again.  Score!  They had a really good sale, and I found a black velvet Eva Mendes dress on clearance for - get this - $23.98!  It is such a pretty dress, in just the right style and color to be appropriate for a special occasion.  I know I'll get some use out it.  It better fit too - since it's on clearance I can't return it.  I'm normally a size 10 in their dresses.  I really hope that's the case with this one, because quite frankly, it looks perfect.  I can't wait to get it and see how it looks!

Our temperatures are going haywire again.  Yesterday we awoke to 41 degree weather; today it was 56.  Tomorrow it's supposed to get up into the low 80's, then dip down into the 40's overnight.  It's pretty hilarious; one day we're out in flip-flops and the next day we're wearing boots!  Yes, South Floridians wear boots.  It's quite comical.

I'm gonna shower now, then get that meat in the crock pot before I head on over to bed.  Time management means I've gotta get up early (not just wake up early, but literally get out of bed), and that means getting to sleep early, too.  I'm gonna try to post every other day so my blog doesn't get monotonous, unless something crazy and exciting happens (though not too crazy, I hope).  Good night, ya'll.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Singles Awareness Day!

Nothing like a holiday to remind you of how unattached you are.  The first year of my separation was difficult, and days like these only emphasized it.  Especially since a week later, on the 21st, is my wedding anniversary.  But you know what?  I'm not letting a holiday ruin my day.  No sir, I was determined to focus on the positive, not the negative.  Easier said than done, huh?

Our language is limited when it comes to the word "love".  We expect it to explain the feeling we have towards our family, our friends, our spouse, our children, and our favorite food.  In the Greek language, there are several words that are used in reference to love.  Phileo love is affection towards friends, people that aren't related but who feel a sort of unity in brotherhood.  It's where we get Philadelphia from, the city of brotherly love.  It also denotes those things that we prefer or cherish, like foods, movies, clothes, styles of music, etc.  There is Agape love, which is unconditional.  It's the kind of love parents have for their children, the kind of love God has for us.  And then there's Eros, which is where we get the word erotic.  It's romantic love, love between a husband and wife.  It's the one we immediately associate with Valentine's Day.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  Valentine's Day can be a day about any type of love.  There's no reason to limit ourselves.  I kept that in mind for today.

First thing this morning I prepared a menu plan for the next couple of weeks.  It was important that I pick meals that are quick to make, or that can be made in the crock pot.  That way I wouldn't be stuck in the kitchen cooking, then rushing to get out the door.  I think I came up with a good variety that we all love and I can whip up in less than 45 minutes.  I then got dressed in a long sleeved shirt, jeans, sneakers, and a white denim jacket.  Not the typical South Florida type outfit, but it's been mighty cold here!  We got some rain a few days ago, and since then the temps have taken a dip: it was 46 degrees this morning, but it felt like 41 thanks to the wind chill.  For a Floridian, that's downright freezing!  The temperatures got up to the mid 60's in the afternoon, but it still felt pretty chilly, even with the sun out.  I bundled up accordingly.  I also used my Complexion Rescue as foundation, and I am loving it!  At first I wasn't sure I was impressed with it; it worked nicely under my liquid foundation but I couldn't see myself using it alone.  With some experimenting I found the secret to making it look like a flawless face - mineral veil.  Mineral veil is Bare Mineral's loose translucent powder.  I set the Complexion Rescue with mineral veil, then add a little bronzer, blush, quick eye shadow and liner, mascara and lip gloss, and in less than 10 minutes I'm heading out the door looking amazing!

I'm still trying to shop for groceries every two weeks instead of weekly, and keeping to a budget of $300 or under for the whole two weeks.  I know, not an easy feat with prices being what they are.  I'd already gone to Winn Dixie yesterday and gotten my meats, along with a bunch of produce and canned goods.  I'd spent $104.58, so I had about $200 left to spend.  I went to Walmart first.  I had to buy a few food items, including Molly's dog food which includes both wet and dry, and I needed some toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, etc).  Despite getting a few items not typically on the grocery list, I spent $104.92, which I thought was eerily close to what I'd spent the day before.  From there I went to Costco for the bigger items: toilet paper, olive oil, dog biscuits, bacon (yes, we eat a lot of bacon.  Don't judge me).  The total spent there was $58.99.  So all in all I spent $268.49, $31.51 under budget.  Yay me!

Of course I was quickly going to spend my savings :P.  I wanted to take advantage of the pants sale at NY and Company to get some work appropriate pants.  I once owned a large amount of dress pants which I used for work; being a purchasing manager meant I had to meet with vendors on a weekly basis, and while jeans were allowed, they weren't a professional look for me, so I dressed in skirts and pants most days.  About a year after I stopped working, I got rid of all but two pairs of dress pants.  It made no sense to keep a bunch of clothes that I wasn't wearing, and I was not wearing dress pants at all.  The two pairs I kept in case it got cold out (like this winter) so I wouldn't have to go to church in a dress or jeans.  Now, however, I'll be in an office where pretty much everyone is in dress pants or Docker style pants - no jeans allowed.  Yes, I can wear a skirt, and I may occasionally, but the school gives us button down shirts with the school logo, and I don't know that those will look very nice with skirts.  I got a couple pairs, one in navy blue that almost looks like dressy jeans but they aren't denim, and the other pair in brown.  Nice neutral colors that'll go with anything.  Then I looked for a dress.  My daughter's college roommate's brother (did you get all that?) is getting married at the end of the month, and I need a dress that is dressy but not formal (that's what her mom said).  So I'm looking for something that is pretty and wearable, classic and wedding appropriate.  There's a catch, though: it can't look like the dress my daughter will be wearing, a navy blue lace dress.  Okay, not a problem.  I figured I'd find something I liked, since NY & Company is my favorite store.  And I did find a dress I liked.  It's a lace dress, very similar in style to my daughter's dress, except it's in teal, which means it isn't the same.  That's what I told her, anyway.  She ain't buying it.

We went to several other stores, and I quickly spotted a trend.  Lace dresses are all the rave.  They are everywhere, and most of them are navy blue or orange.  Orange is a lovely color, just not on me.  I can wear peach, but bright orange washes me out and makes my skin look yellow.  Jaundice is not an attractive look, let me tell you.  I left the mall with just the pants.  I'm wondering if I'll find anything I like.  I have a dress that's been in my closet for, oh, I'd say at maybe 8 years?  It's tight up on top but I can manage to get it on.  If I can't find anything else, that's what I'll have to wear.  I'll just eat very light, and breathe minimally.

As a Valentine's Day gift, my daughter bought Domino's pizza.  I know many people like Domino's pizza.  Not me.  I'm a native New Yorker.  I know what pizza is supposed to taste like, and it's not supposed to taste like Domino's pizza.  I've told my children plenty of times that Domino's sauce is the worst I've ever tasted.  They know I can't stand it, but my daughter had a coupon, and it was a sweet gesture, so I said okay, and I ate the faux pizza for my daughter's sake.  I know I make it hard for her.  She was saying how I won't eat Pizza Hut pizza because it's too greasy (it gives me a stomachache it's so bad), and I won't eat Papa John's either (seriously, the box it comes in probably tastes better).  The only pizza I can stomach is Little Caesars, because it's only $5 so I feel like I'm getting my money's worth.  There's not much I miss from my days in New York, but New York style pizza is definitely at the top of that short list.

So that's it for my day.  Maybe not the most "romantic" Valentine's Day, but still filled with love, and that's what matters, right?  Hope everyone's day was filled with love.  God bless ya'll.

Friday, February 13, 2015

And The Answer Is...

Yes.  The answer is yes.  I prayed about it, I have peace about it, and I can move forward in confidence.  A new season is starting.  A busy one, but I believe a happy, healthy, and productive one.

Back on Tuesday I posted about a job offer I received out of the blue.  My daughter's bosses, who are friends of mine, offered me an office assistant position at their tutoring school.  It was so unexpected that it caught me unprepared, and I told JM and MM that I needed time to pray and be sure that this was God's will for me.  That's what I've been doing, and what others have been doing for me as well.
I talked it over with my kids, breaking down the pros and cons of going back to work, even if it is part time.  To be completely honest, I was having trouble coming up with cons.  After all, the hours are from 3:00 - 8:15 pm, and since the school is 10 minutes from my house, I could leave at 2:45 and be there early. This would allow me to continue homeschooling my son E without any interruption.  The work week is Monday - Thursday, with all school holidays off.  I'd be working with my daughter and with people I've known for years and have always been close to.  They are devout Christians who don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk.  And let's face it, a little extra money coming in always helps :-).

The cons?  1) Having to learn time management all over again.  That shouldn't be a problem.  Truthfully speaking, I've become very comfortable (read: lazy).  I get up later and start school later because I can, not because I have to.  There's no reason why I can't get my butt in gear and get organized. 2) Leaving my son E at home while I go to work for 5 hours.  Okay, even I laughed at that one.  I used to leave my two older kids alone when they were 13 years old and I was gone from 7:45 am to 5:20 pm.  E is 15 years old, and he'd be alone for far less time: not only because I'd only be gone for 5 hours, but also his brother is here part of the time, either before he goes to work or after he comes back.  And again, he's 15!!  I can't treat him like a baby just because he's the youngest.  We all need to get over that.  This is probably the best way.

What ultimately convinced me that this was coming from God was a conversation MM had with my daughter A.  She told A that for months she's been praying about needing an assistant, and each time God brought me to her mind.  She started hearing people call out my name in stores and restaurants, and let's face it, Arlene is not a common name.  She didn't say anything for a long time because, as she said to me, "I wanted a sign.  A big bright neon sign from God telling me this was what He wanted."  When she finally told her husband what she was considering and praying about, he immediately said, "Let's call her and see if she'll take the position!"  I knew God wouldn't dangle a dream job in front of me, and put this so plainly in MM's heart, if He didn't mean it.  He isn't going to play games with us.  I felt sure that God's hands were all over this, and He gave me peace about it, so I called MM today and told her yes, I wanted to give this a go.  She was so thrilled she couldn't stop talking, which is very unlike her!  She kept telling me how she'd prayed and prayed and this was an answer to prayer.  It brought joy to my heart.

A little while later I went to Winn Dixie to pick up some groceries, since this is grocery week.  I found some great deals on meats, and was picking up some canned goods, when who do I run into but MM!  I know she lives close by, but I've never, and I mean never run into her at the grocery store, even though I've lived in the neighborhood almost 15 years and they've been here even longer.  When she saw me she couldn't stop laughing, and we hugged because we both felt it was confirmation from the Lord.  She even looked up and said, "Okay, Lord, I get it, I hear you!"  We feel so blessed, and I'm looking forward to what else God has in store for me.  

Let's see, what else has been going on?  Oh, this weekend Bare Escentuals has free shipping on all orders, and 25% off their Last Chance products (items that are on clearance).  I took a quick look and about jumped out of my chair.  A skincare set I'd been eyeing for months was on the Last Chance section: a kit containing their Purifying Facial Cleanser (which I use and is phenomenal), the Purely Nourishing Moisturizer for combination skin (also a great product that doesn't cause me to break out or itch), and what I wanted most of all, their Active Cell Renewal Night Serum.  I've used this several times when I've received samples, and I could see the difference in the texture of my skin.  This product is the best I've tried, but 1 ounce of it costs $50.  Ouch!  I had seen the skincare kit and was tempted to buy it: all three products together for $58 is an incredible deal, since the facial cleanser alone is $20 and the moisturizer is $28.  I kept putting it off in favor of other deals, but today I couldn't say no anymore.  With the 25% off I was getting the kit for $43.50!  I'm so glad I waited and didn't pay the full price for the kit.

A few days ago I went to Target with my daughter and picked up some nail polishes that were on clearance.  They're Revlon Perfumerie, and it claimed the nail polishes were scented.  I sniffed one in the store; to me it just smelled like nail polish, but the colors were so pretty, and they were $3.77 each, about half the regular price, so I got 3 of them, two for myself and a deep purple one for my daughter.  She did her nails the next day, and told me that once it started to dry it definitely had a really pretty scent.  I went ahead and gave myself a mani-pedi today using the color Moonlit Woods.  It's a purple with blue undertones, almost like a dark lavender blue.  Sure enough, as I was painting my nails I started to smell the perfume.  It's actually a lovely scent.  If you like perfume scents.  My nose doesn't.  I'm so upset, because I love the color, and I really do like the smell, but it's making my nose sore.  I hate that I have these stupid allergies to perfumes.  It's so not fair.

Wednesday night was movie night at Awana.  Pastor G brought the movie The Perfect Game, a true story set in the 1950's about racial discrimination.  Pastor said the movie was an hour and 17 minutes long, which was perfect.  We sat the kids down, gave them chips and Capri Suns, and sat down to watch the movie with them.  We were all getting into the story (once all the adults got over the fact that Cheech Marin plays a priest in the film), when parents started coming in to pick up the kids.  I was surprised; it was obvious the movie was not finishing any time soon.  Then we looked at the movie sleeve: the movie length was 117 minutes, not an hour and 17 minutes!  We all had a good laugh, even though we felt bad for the kids.  They didn't get to see the ending.  Sorry kids.  Just for reference: the Mexican kids won!

I want to say that yes, I kept away from my blog for the past few days as I meditated and prayed and waited on God's answer.  It was the right thing to do, but I do hope to continue updating my blog as this new adventure starts.  It's gonna be hectic at first, I'm sure, but I'm really looking forward to it.  And guess what?  My first day is Tuesday, because Monday is President's Day which is a school holiday!  It doesn't get much better than that!  Good night ya'll, and God bless.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tackling Tuesdays

As much as you want to plan your life, 
it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things
that will make you happier
than you originally planned.

That's what you call God's Will.

I'm still deciding if today's surprise is God's will or not.  If it's one of those unexpected blessings that you didn't even know you wanted or needed, but you have to trust God that it's perfect for this moment.

Back in 2008 the company I'd worked for for close to 12 years went bankrupt.  This was more than just a job; the people there were like my family.  Some of the folks had worked there since I'd been there, some for much longer, others had come and gone, but the finality was strange.  Not unexpected, at least not for me.  As the purchasing manager, I worked directly with accounts payable and knew the bills weren't being paid.  It was very sad to see a company that had been around since the early 60's go under the way it did, but it was happening to many businesses at the time.  As the warning signs grew clearer, I'd prepared myself for the worst and updated my resume.  I sent it out to every company, every ad that was in the newspaper, in Career Builder, Monster, anywhere and everywhere.  There was nothing.  Companies were getting hundreds of applications for each job they posted.  The competition was fierce, and even though I had experience and a great record, there simply weren't enough jobs to go around.  I was at peace, though.  I felt God acknowledge that I would be home with my family until He said otherwise, and that's what I've done.  It's been an exercise in faith, and I'm thankful to say that He has never let us go hungry, nor has He allowed us to get into debt, or lose our home, or go without electricity, or water, or anything else.  God has taken care of us and seen us through every difficulty we've faced.  I have seen His Hand in our lives and I'm extremely grateful for it.

I haven't looked for work since that time.  I've been a stay-at-home mom, caring for my kids and my home.  Even when my marriage crumbled, I felt that God wanted me here and would make sure I had everything I needed.  So when I got the call yesterday from my friend MM, and my daughter told me it looked like they were going to offer me a job, I was skeptical.  It wasn't expected.  I hadn't asked God for it.  But I was willing to go and see what it was all about.

My daughter was right.  My friends JM and MM offered me a job.  As a matter of fact, JM made it clear this wasn't an interview, it was an offer.  I would be working part-time, from 3:00 to 8:15 pm Monday - Thursday.  When I mentioned that Wednesdays is my Awana night at church, they said no problem, they'd be willing to accommodate me.  And I have to admit, it appears to be perfect.  Too good to be true.  I would be able to continue homeschooling my son, and since it's a tutoring school, my son would receive free tutoring if he needed it.  I would have Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays off, along with any school holidays.  The pay wouldn't be much, but it would be a little extra income coming in for extras and emergencies.  Plus, it's 10 minutes from the house on heavy traffic days.  I wouldn't be spending a lot of time stuck in traffic or a lot of money on gas.  

It sounds like a dream come true, doesn't it?  Only I wasn't dreaming about this.  It truly came out of the blue.  So my answer to them was, I need to pray about it.  I have to ask God if this is right.  And they not only understood but encouraged me to pray and speak to my family about it.  I told them I'd give them an answer on Friday, so for the next few days I will be praying.  A lot.  And asking anyone and everyone to pray alongside me.  I want clarity, and I want peace.  I'm trusting God to give me both.

What else happened today?  Oh yeah, Beauty Rush!!!  I was so excited, because I'd read somewhere that Bare Minerals has their Beauty Rush sales on the third Friday of the month, so I was expecting the next one to be on the 20th.  But here it was, a whole 10 days earlier!  I didn't want to spend a lot of money, though.  I have so much stuff as it is, that adding to my makeup collection seems frivolous.  But I decided to check it out anyway.  My main intention was to look for skincare; lotions, creams, cleansers, treatments, that sort of thing.  I didn't find any that caught my attention, but another thing did:  an eye shadow palette that I've wanted ever since I first saw it.  It's called the Ready Convertible Palette, and it comes with 12 eye shadow shades.  The palette is unique in that the eye shadows pop out and can be put in the center which is detachable, making it compact and portable.  The colors range from browns to greens to purples, all colors I love.  The problem was the price: $49.  It came out just before Christmas, and I'd already spent a lot of money on makeup and presents for myself and my daughter.  I couldn't justify getting this expensive eye palette as well, so I passed on it.  Last month I saw it on sale for $25, and I thought about getting it, but there were other things I needed to get first.  By the time I went back to check on it, it had sold out.  I was bummed, because I'd gotten a $10 off coupon from Bare Minerals and had hoped to use it to get this palette.  I figured I'd save the coupon for something else that I would want or need.  Well, last week the palette was back on the website on sale for $25.  I suspect they got returns in from the stores and wanted to get rid of them.  I thought about getting it with the $10 off; that would make it $15, a real deal.  That was a few days ago.  Today the palette was on Beauty Rush for $18.  $18 dollars ya'll!!!  I snatched it up in a heartbeat.  I thought about getting some eyeliner pencils as well, but honestly, I didn't need them.  I took the eye shadow palette, used my $10 off coupon, and with tax and shipping paid $12.80 for it.  From the original price to just under $13.  Now that's what I call a blessing from above!

That's my Tuesday.  It's been quite a day!  School went well, Beauty Rush went very well, but nothing tops the unexpected surprise of a job offer.  It's time for bed now; I've got some praying to do!  Good night ya'll.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday, Monday

The problem with a busy weekend, is getting back into the swing of things.  Maybe that's why everyone hates Mondays so much.  It's hard to recover from a weekend of non-stop fun.

I did try to get up early today.  I tried to get school started on time.  But it was like we were all running low on gas.  There was so much I needed to get done that didn't get done over the weekend and certainly didn't all get done today.  How does one get caught up?  How does one eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  That's the way it's gonna be this week.  I hope.

The only housework I managed to get done was laundry, and I'm not done.  I got everything into the washer and dryer, but nothing is folded or put away.  I sat and did school with my son for most of the day, and he finished 3 out of 4 assignments that were due.  Algebra is giving him a run for his money.  He's still working on statistics, and today it was all about correlation and causation.  It gave him a headache.  That's what happens when he's trying to understand something and it doesn't click.  I finally said he needed to walk away, and we'd work on it again tomorrow.  I think there's a lot he gets, but the actual process he's not fully understanding, and he gets frustrated.  Thankfully he has 2 live lessons tomorrow and one assignment to do, so there'll be plenty of time to work on algebra.

I got an interesting phone call today.  It was from my daughter's boss.  Typically that wouldn't happen, but her bosses are friends of mine from church.  MM called and asked if I would be willing to meet with her husband JM this week.  I agreed to see him tomorrow at 4:00.  At no time did she tell me what it was about, and I didn't ask.  Like I said, they're friends.  If they want to see me, I'm happy to oblige.  But when my daughter came home she was all questions, and wanted to know if they'd told me anything.  I calmly said no, just to go and meet with JM.  Then she said, "Would you like to know what it's about?"  I'll admit I was somewhat curious, but not enough to beg and plead with her to tell me.  I'm quite patient; I can wait till tomorrow to find out.  She, on the other hand, couldn't wait to let me know what she knows.  She told me JM asked if I was looking for work.  I'm not, but who knows?  The school where she works is an after school tutoring school.  It would mean working in the afternoons/evenings.  I'm gonna have to pray about this tonight, and ask for guidance.  God provides in the most unexpected ways.

That's it for today.  It's been all about school, a pretty ordinary day, except for that one minor detail.  Tomorrow is another day.  Let's see what God has in store.  Good night everybody.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekend Recap

Since I spent the weekend running around like a madwoman with a mission, I decided one post to recap everything would be enough.  It's easier for me, I think.  As long as I remember where I've been and what I've done ;-).

Saturday started off early.  We were attending a baby shower for a sweet friend who is visiting from Sweden.  She's almost 5 months pregnant with her first child, a little boy, and my daughter and I were excited to share in this special time with her.  The baby shower was a brunch, which started at 11:00.  That meant I had to have breakfast, get ready, and leave something for my son to eat so he wouldn't burn down the house while we were gone.  I wore an outfit that I consider to be casual and trendy: a white sweater with a light grey hot air balloon motif all over, a burgundy tank top underneath, a pair of "boyfriend" jeans (skinny jeans slightly rolled up at the hem) and tan high heeled sandals.  I'm the type that likes to get dressed up, but my daughter said everyone would be wearing jeans because it was a very casual get together, so I dressed accordingly.  My daughter and I both got the baby a couple of outfits, but when we went to pack the gifts we found only Christmas themed boxes and gift bags.  So we stopped off at CVS and bought one bag for everything, then headed over to the shower, which wasn't far from our house.  We were among the first to get there; the pregnant girl's mom and grandma were there, along with a cousin and a friend from church.  Everyone was dressed up.  I felt like an oddball.  Yes, the hostess was wearing jeans, but she's a mom of a toddler and was cooking up a storm, so she doesn't count.  As more people started coming in, I noticed more ladies in dresses or dress pants.  I mentioned it to my daughter, but she insisted it was still "casual".  I'm not buying it.

We did have a really good time, playing the standard baby shower games and eating delicious food.  The menu was chicken and waffles.  The waffles were made fresh right there, and there were all kinds of toppings: whipped cream, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, and of course syrup.  I didn't have any of it.  Instead, I went directly to the shrimp and pasta salad.  It was out of this world!  I had me two servings, along with chicken and pastries.  I didn't want to overdo it with the carbs, and having pasta as well as waffles would have meant rolling me out the door.  I'm glad I stuck with just one.

While we were gone E got picked up by his dad, so when A and I got home we decided to go to Target.  I needed a belt for my jeans; even though I'd bought a size 6 they were still big at the waist.  I also needed to buy towels.  Ours are old and worn, and they get stinky really fast which is annoying.  I found some nice towels, some on sale and some not, then we passed by the shoe section.  My daughter saw that they had boots for 70% off so of course she had to stop and check them out, because we all know how vital it is to have boots in South Florida :P.  I looked around and found a cute pair of ballet flats in a beige and black stripe design for $16.99.  They are so comfy!  I also went to the makeup section and got a few nail polishes that were on sale, and a brow pencil/gel.  I've been wanting a brow pencil because lately I've noticed that some of my eyebrows are turning bright white, and against my black brows it isn't attractive.  I got brunette, since my hair is dyed auburn, to help the brows match my hair.  My daughter didn't find any boots she liked, but she did find a comforter set in white that she fell in love with.  Her bedroom is pretty dark; dark wood floors, deep purple and grey walls, dark wood furniture.  The white bedding brightens up the room and makes it look luxurious, like she's in a 5 star hotel.  While we were at the store E texted me that he was back home, so we quickly paid for our goods and left.  As soon as we were on the expressway, I realized I'd forgotten to buy the belt, which was the primary reason for going to Target in the first place.  Don't you just love it when that happens?

Today also started early, with Sunday school at 9:30 (except I got there at 10:00.  Running late this morning again).  After service - which was awesome - we had a meet and greet with our new youth pastor.  He's been the youth pastor at our sister church for the past 9 years, and now he's taking over the youth ministry at our location as well.  I was so impressed by his philosophy and his goals, and very encouraged by the lessons he's teaching the next few weeks.  He's doing a series called King, in which the youth group is studying several of Jesus's attributes: His sovereignty, His holiness, His goodness, His justice and His love.  This pastor is all about bible teaching, which is what I wanted to hear.  I'm looking forward to helping out in the youth ministry once Awana is done and summer rolls around.

There was a pizza lunch served, but my son E, who was hanging around with his friends and got there late, didn't get to eat anything, so we left after the meeting and ran home.  I made him a quick lunch, then we headed to the bowling alley for his best friend's birthday celebration.  I had to change out of my church clothes; there was no way I was going bowling in a dress and high heels.  I wore the skinny jeans I got on Friday along with a hunter green tank top, a long black sweater and my new ballet flats.  Casual and comfy!  My daughter also went, and so did my Tuesday night running buddy.  The three of us played a couple of games; it was clear that I hadn't played in a while.  I was pretty rusty, though I didn't do quite so bad on my first game as on the second.  I scored a 70 for the first game; the second game I got a 14.  We only got to play 6 frames before we ran out of time, but still, a 14?!  I had 3 gutter balls in a row!  My running buddy did terrible for the first game, then did much better for the second game.  I guess that evened things out ;-).  Another lady that I've met previously at IV's house (it was IV's son's birthday) was also there.  She's a real spit-fire, and I love talking to her!  We all had a really nice time bowling, eating, talking, laughing, and just plain fellowshipping.  It's the perfect way to end a weekend.

And so, that's pretty much it.  I'm gonna wash my face (my makeup was on point, by the way), change out of these clothes, and relax before studying for my Thursday night bible study.  I'm studying chapter 4 of Daniel, when King Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind.  So much to learn!  Tomorrow starts the new school week.  Back to the old grind!  But I'm thankful for my life and all the blessings God bestows upon me each day.  God bless ya'll, and good night.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Week In Review

I had every intention of posting yesterday.  I really did.  But we don't always do what we want, do we?  We plan, but God commands.  I decided to give more of a recap, instead of posting separately for yesterday and today.

Yesterday was a pretty busy, non-stop type of day again.  We woke up to rain, and went to bed with rain.  It rained on and off all day long.  Thunderstorms woke us up in the morning, but thankfully the rest of the day was quiet.  It was hot, muggy, and dreary.  School was good; my son got caught up on all his assignments.  Unfortunately, his cold was making it difficult to focus, so he did 4 hours worth of work and left it at that.  Since he'd done an extra hour of work earlier in the week he was able to finish early and rest, which is what the body needs with a cold or flu.  He's feeling much better today; not 100%, but certainly not as bad as yesterday.

After school I threw a load of laundry into the wash, then got ready for bible study.  I look forward to our Thursday night study because Beth Moore teaches like no one I know.  I wore a pair of dress pants because, with weather as yucky as we had, I didn't feel like getting dressed up.  That was my thought process, anyway.  I ended up looking pretty dressed up in my navy blue pants, navy blue long sleeved v-neck, and cream colored scarf.  I wore a pretty pair of cream colored heels too, because I don't have many closed shoes.  Living in Florida means sandals, flip-flops, open-toe shoes, that sort of thing.  I also have sneakers, but I wasn't about to wear dress pants with tennis shoes.  I did my makeup pretty quick, and it turned out lovely.  I got there on time (I'm always on time everywhere, which is unlike the South Florida culture), and enjoyed some fellowship with the ladies.  Then we sat down to our study.  Once again, the teaching rocked my world.  Honestly, we here in the US take prosperity for granted.  We complain about what we don't have, when there are people in this world who lack the basic essentials.  We're so busy trying to keep up with the Joneses, that we don't appreciate the fact that, compared to most nations of this world, even the poorest American is wealthy.  It cut me to the core.  I am so blessed - how dare I complain and whine about what I don't have?!  God reminded me that we're to show compassion, not feel it.  It doesn't do anyone any good if all I do is have pity, then turn and walk away.  I have to be willing to do something!  It gave me a lot to think about, and plenty to repent from.

After I got home, my daughter wanted to tell me all about her day.  She literally followed me around the house talking away, which is why I didn't get to post.  I was exhausted by the time she was done.  Besides, I wanted to get to bed early.  My cousin asked me to babysit her youngest son, so I had to be up and ready when he got here the next day.

Unlike yesterday, today was chilly and cool all day, without a cloud in the sky.  Those who live in Florida know, the weather changes in the blink of an eye!  I'm kinda hoping the whole weekend is as beautiful as today - it was gorgeous the entire day!

I thought I was up pretty early, but I was finishing up getting dressed when the little guy showed up at the door.  He's in pre-k, but he wasn't able to go to school.  He has eczema.  When the school teacher saw it she said the school needs verification that it's eczema and not impetigo.  His mom made a doctor's appointment, but the doctor can't see him till tomorrow and he won't be allowed in school till he gets medical clearance.  He's a sweet little 5 year old boy, and I'm always happy to have him here.  As long as he can watch his favorite TV program, Super Why, he will behave like a little angel.

E did his one assignment for English (and got a 90%) and attended his Hope live lesson, then he watched documentaries on Netflix because he was all done for the week.  It was a much easier day for him, which he totally appreciated.

After school was done and our little guy was picked up, my daughter and I headed to the mall.  We have a baby shower to attend tomorrow.  It's a brunch style shower, so the ladies will most likely be dressed very casual.  My clothes are mostly dressy, or around the house type of clothes.  I have 2 pairs of jeans that I wear occasionally, which are hand-me-downs from my daughter.  I wanted some jeans of my own, something more appropriate and dressier than what I have but still casual-looking, and New York and Company had a sale going on, so that's where I headed.  I found two pairs of jeans, one pair a dark indigo and the other a very dark grey.  I wasn't sure what size would fit, so I got a size 8 and a size 10.  On top they fit fine, the 8 better than the 10, but the length...either I'm shrinking or these things were excessively long.  I mean like, even with a pair of stilettos they would be too long.  I was sure I hadn't pulled any jeans from the tall section, so I didn't understand why they were so long.  Then my daughter heard one of the sales associates say that this particular style came in one length.  Obviously that length was extra long :P.  I didn't want to get something that I'd have to hem or get altered, so I went back and got a pair of skinny jeans and a pair of ankle length "boyfriend jeans" (why any woman would want to wear her boyfriend's jeans is beyond me).  I picked up both in size 10 and headed to the dressing room.  I tried on the ankle length jeans first; they were enormous on me.  I was afraid they were going to fall off!  Well, maybe not that big, but they were really big.  So I asked my daughter to get me a pair in a size 8, and she went ahead and got the skinny jeans in a size 8 as well.  I tried the ankle length in size 8; still too big.  I could say right now that I was frustrated, but what woman gets mad because she's smaller than a size 8?  My daughter went back for a size 6, and in the meantime I tried on the size 8 skinny jeans.  Perfect fit.  She brought back the size 6 ankle length jeans.  Another perfect fit.  Which is why I always try on clothes before buying them.  You never can tell what's going to fit, and it's better than making another trip to the mall.  I didn't get anything else, because I didn't find anything else I liked.  NY & Co has always been a favorite store of mine because I find clothes that are stylish while still age appropriate for me, but what I saw today was a lot of clothes geared towards a more youthful demographic.  Even my daughter said, "Sorry mom, but it looks like NY & Co is trying to bring appeal to a younger crowd."  Not what I wanted to hear, but I had to agree.  My store is a-changin'.  :'(

We got some really cute baby outfits for tomorrow.  Our friend is Puertorican like me, but she lives in Sweden with her husband.  She's visiting family, and a quick baby shower has been organized so she can take stuff back with her.  She specifically asked for baby clothes, because she says they're really expensive in Sweden.  We found some adorable outfits at The Children's Place that were super discounted, and which I think she's gonna love.  We are so happy for her, and happy to be able to share in this joyous celebration of new life with her.

So now we're back home, I just finished having dinner (fried chicken, shells with white cheddar cheese, and mixed veggies), and now I'm gonna do my nails.  I haven't figured out what I'm gonna wear to this baby shower tomorrow, but of course I want to look as pretty as I can!  Good night ya'll, be beautiful!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wednesday's Post, A Day Late

It's funny how yesterday was such a hectic and busy day, yet there isn't all that much to write about.  Ever have a day like that?  Wednesday was my hectic quiet day.

It started off early with school, since E had 3 live lessons to do.  He had music first, so he did the reading for that before going to class.  He is currently studying the music of the Baroque period (and if it's not Baroque, don't fix it).  After that was science, with an assignment that he finished and turned in.  Then he had algebra class.  He hasn't done that assignment because a) he didn't fully understand it, and b) he didn't have enough time.  There was a Hope assignment he had to do (he got 100% on it) and an English assignment (another 100%).  His science teacher checked his portfolio and gave him 100% on that too.  So it was a busy but very productive school day.

I got my package from Ulta yesterday, and tried out the Complexion Rescue, but I have to honestly say I didn't pay much attention to it, other than the fact that my face felt very hydrated.  I had too much other stuff to focus on.  I couldn't spend much time looking at my face.

I made my turkey and quinoa chili which we love.  After lunch I showered and did my hair and makeup.  This is the second time I use the Pretty Wild kit from Bare Minerals on a Wednesday, and the second time I get complimented on my looks.  Obviously, this choice was a hit!

Awana was great.  The boys and girls had game time together, so they were pretty riled up, but my girls were focused on getting their work done.  One of my girls had me chuckling.  She is an overachiever in every sense - she's ahead of all the girls except one, who is tied with her in her book.  The assignment was to make at least 3 drawings of 3 separate times when she was afraid, and how God helped her through it.  She got one picture done, then said she couldn't think of any others because "she's never afraid of anything".  She claims she always knows what to do so she has no reason to be afraid.  While I applaud her bravery and positive outlook, I don't believe her for a minute.  So I said we'd ask Mom to help us.  She didn't think that was even necessary because Mom wouldn't be able to think of any times either.  I asked Mom anyways.  She gave me that, "Are you kidding me?" look and said, "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll remember some episodes before we get home."  I couldn't help but laugh at my new Merida (I told her we'd have to change her name because she's so Brave).  These girls give me life, I'm not even joking.  They make me smile from the inside out.

After that we came home, and I got ready for bed.  Here I was, in my jammies, and my oldest son comes home with his best friend.  I was not about to go out into the living area in my jammies, so I stayed in my room.  My computer was in the dining room, which is why this post had to wait till today.  And now today is gonna be another busy day, so let's see if I have a chance to report today's activities tonight!  Have a blessed day ya'll.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tackling Tuesdays

"Fear is the glue that keeps you stuck.  Faith is the solvent that sets you free." - Shannon L. Adler

There's nothing like that panicky fear of not knowing what to do.  That reminder that control is an illusion.  Faith is letting go of the fear and trusting in God to come through at just the right time.  My daughter had to learn that lesson once again.

Last night, after I'd entered the tax information that she'd given me, my daughter A was facing the prospect of having to pay over $200 in taxes to the IRS.  She was hoping to get money back so she could pay some bills, but instead was looking at having to dish money out.  I told her we'd work on it after a good night's sleep, when our heads were cleared, but she couldn't sleep.  She lay in bed for several hours turning the whole thing around in her head over and over.  I, on the other hand, prayed about it with my son E, then went to sleep.  I knew it was something God would reveal at the right time, so I chose not to worry about it.  This morning, as soon as she got up, A had a million questions about why and what and how.  I told her we would delete the entire return and start fresh, looking for possible errors and ways to bring her debt down.  That's what we did, and God began to show us different deductions that she could take that hadn't even occurred to us the day before.  In the end, she went from owing over $200, to now getting back over $300.  God is so good!  Why should we panic or fear?  

At 10:00 I told her we had to stop so that E could start school.  I got him settled with his English live lesson and started fixing my bed (no, I hadn't even fixed my bed yet).  Suddenly Molly started barking at the door.  She does this when she hears someone coming, usually the mail lady or the UPS man.  This time, though, it was J, my kid's father.  I think he came to see if E was actually doing schoolwork.  He doesn't approve of me homeschooling E, but there isn't anything he can say to change my mind.  E is doing better than ever in school, and he actually likes it more.  He's learning and progressing, and getting very good grades.  J watched him for a few minutes, used the bathroom, then left.  It was pretty annoying, but at the same time it was satisfying to know his purpose was defeated.  

E finished his English class, then did his music and leadership work before stopping for lunch, fish tacos.  They were so good!  After lunch he did his algebra assignment and got 100% on his quiz.  Woohoo!!  He's getting the whole statistics thing with no problem.  He still needed an hour to finish the day, and I knew we'd probably do it when we ran with our running group, but I decided we would watch a video sermon my Sunday school class had been watching called "Is America A Christian Nation?" taught by David Barton.  I highly recommend this video.  David Barton provides documented proof that the Founding Fathers were all Christian men, and that our government was founded on Christian principles.  It was a great teaching, and we both got encouraged by it.

After our run, I took a shower and continued working on income tax paperwork for my kids.  I won't be sending anything in yet, since the software I use (H&R Block) has an update coming up, but I want to get as much done as possible so that all the returns can be sent in early.  But now it's late, I'm tired, and I still have to clean up the kitchen.  So I will say goodnight to all, and pleasant dreams.  God bless.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday, Monday

Monday is a fresh start.  It's never too late to dig in and begin a new journey of success.

Mondays are always busy for me.  A new school week, new menu plan, new items to add to the old schedule.  I don't hate Mondays, though.  I look at it as a new beginning.

School started at 10:00 am today.  We were all kind of slow this morning because it was so dark out.  It was a hot and muggy day, totally the opposite of yesterday with its cool breezes and clear skies.  We got rain on and off all morning, and even when the breezes picked up in the afternoon, they were warmer than what we'd gotten the past week.  Of course, it's supposed to get back down into the 50's tonight, so the weather roller coaster ride continues.  

So anyway, school began with music, Hope, and science.  At noon my son paused to take his algebra online class, and I made Southwestern style chicken soup.  Days like these call for soup.  I'd bought everything to make the soup except the tortilla chips, because I knew we had some.  What I didn't know was that they'd gone a bit stale.  I still ate them, but my son E wasn't too happy.  Oh well.

After lunch we finished working on science, and he took his quiz.  He's got a 90% so far, but the teacher has to grade a couple of essay questions.  It was a normal sort of day; he got all his work done and completed his required 5 hours, so we're both happy.  It looks like it might be a slower day tomorrow, but we'll take it one day at a time.  He's doing well so far, so I'm pleased.

I started working on my daughter's taxes.  It looks like she's gonna have to pay, which she's not happy about.  She has to pay her own taxes for her church job, and while we did the worksheet and figured out how much she needed to pay, it seems it was short.  I'm looking to see what can be done additionally to get the amount down.  I feel bad for her; she was counting on getting some money back, but instead she's gonna have to dish out about $200.  That's gonna put a dent in her savings for sure.

I have to share this amazing quote from Beth Moore from the Daniel bible study:  "A sovereign, powerful God sits upon His throne, and nothing misses His gaze.  He will right all wrongs.  I do not know how, but I know Who."  Amen!  Thank You Jesus!

And with that beautiful thought I leave, saying Goodnight and Pleasant Dreams.  God bless.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Simply Sunday

Today's been a lazy day.  Which is appropriate, because even God rested on the seventh day :-).

I was sound asleep, when suddenly I was awaken by the sound of the alarm chime.  My son had gone out after work, and was coming home.  But for some reason, I forgot he wasn't home.  In my sleepy stupor I thought someone was breaking into the house.  I was sure someone was coming in through the sliding glass door, so I got up to see who it was (what I intended to do to the intruder, I have no idea).  As soon as I opened the door, I saw my son R in the kitchen, and reality came back to me, so I went back to bed.  Unfortunately, I couldn't go back to sleep.  It was 3:00 in the morning, and I probably fell back asleep at around 5:00.  That was not a good feeling.

I got up at 7:00 and hit the shower.  I hadn't washed my hair yesterday, and it looked like a grease ball.  I finished showering, then finally decided what it was I was going to wear.  Awake for 2 hours in the middle of the night, and I don't even remember how long I debated in my head whether to wear my green and blue plaid skirt or my light grey skirt.  That's what happens when I wake up in a fog and think burglars are in the house.  I went with the green and blue plaid skirt, with a beige short sleeved sweater.  Once I was dressed I got my Complexion Rescue sample in tan and put it on.  I wanted to see how it looked under my Bareskin foundation.  It's definitely darker than my skin, that's for sure.  I made breakfast, then did my eye makeup before putting foundation on.  Since Complexion Rescue is a tinted moisturizer, I wanted it to set and get absorbed into my skin before putting on any other face makeup.  The eye shadow I used is from The Hot List collection from Bare Minerals; it's a champagne shimmer color and a matte grey color.  My eyes looked amazing!  The swelling from the stye was gone (Thank You Jesus!) and I was able to do a beautiful look on my eyes.  Then I put my glasses on and covered them right up :P.  It's a bummer that I can't wear contact lenses, but I suffer from dry eyes.  I got tired of always looking tired, because my eyes would turn red and burn from the dryness.  Anyway, I went ahead and put on Bareskin (the Bare Minerals liquid foundation) and my skin looked flawless.  With the foundation on top, the color of the moisturizer balanced out and my makeup was on point.  And since there's very little humidity in the air, my hair turned out gorgeous.  I may have been exhausted, but I felt incredible every time I looked in the mirror!

Our church has a private school, and today the children did a presentation.  It was wonderful hearing the children sing praises to the Lord!  One boy is in our Awana group - I didn't realize he could sing so well!  Then the new head master gave the message.  Oh, my word, what a powerful message!  He taught on Lazarus, and how we often think that God has abandoned us because we don't get the answer we ask for right away.  Lazarus's sisters, Martha and Mary, both told Jesus that their brother would not have died had He been there, but they didn't understand the reason for the delay.  There was no mistake made; Jesus meant to arrive after Lazarus's death to bring glory to God and show everyone there who He really was.  It's no different with us now.  When God doesn't answer our prayers right away, it's not because He's abandoned us.  It's because He is waiting for just the right moment, that He may be praised and glorified.  It was a reminder of God's sovereignty, and how we need to have faith.  It was really encouraging.

The weather was perfect once again.  The breeze was cool and comfortable, the sun was shining brightly, and I was glad we got to enjoy yet another stunningly beautiful day.  Once we got home I made some pasta with the meat sauce I made a few days ago.  I try to make a large pot of sauce for days like today when I don't feel like making a big meal.  My family doesn't care for sauce in a jar.  They like Mom's homemade sauce.  I have to admit, so do I.

I did manage to get a couple of loads of laundry washed, but I haven't put anything away.  I'm leaving it for tomorrow.  I've felt sluggish due to not getting a full night's sleep, but I didn't feel like napping.  I just vegged most of the day, watching YouTube videos.  The way I see it, it's gonna be a busy week, so I may as well relax today so I can be recharged for tomorrow.  So goodnight ya'll.  Have a blessed evening.