My Valentine to the Readers

Even if you don’t have that special valentine today, or you are feeling sad and low… I, even a stranger to you, want you to know that someone DOES love you and saw you before the beginning of time. You are important; you were designed to come into this world, you have something to add, and you are still here for this purpose.

Be you…but be kind.

Don’t listen to naysayers.

Dig deep.

Keep going.

Happy Valentine’s Day❣️

 Psalm 139:15-16 (NLT) – “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Advertisements

Twenty Creative Ways to Leave Love Notes

Twenty creative ways to leave love notes for people.

When my husband and I started dating, we enjoyed leaving love notes for each other in creative and clever ways. ❤️ Later on, I tried to do the same with my two kids. And, I sure got a kick out of seeing them doing the same for us, each other, and now with their spouses.

But, you don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to surprise someone with a love note. We have left notes for all sorts of reasons…a job promotion, a Geography Bee winning, a note of encouragement or note noticing your kid helped another person…the skies the limit!

Here, I snuck out after the snow stopped to leave love notes for my hubby to find before he left for work the following day. 🙂 ⛄️

kissy.JPG

OK, so here’s the list of things we actually did throughout the years, or ideas I came up with.

(More pictures at the end of the post. 🤗)

THE KEY IS… USE YOUR IMAGINATION!!



❤️Twenty Creative Ways to Leave Love Notes❤️

• Hide notes in lunch boxes, books, backpacks or under and behind items for someone to find when they clean the house.

• Sneak out at night and write a sweet message on their car with shoe polish paint.

• Leave a note under their favorite coffee cup or hygiene item they use every morning.

• Use dry erase marker to write a love note, positive thought or verse on their bathroom mirror.

• Print out a sign and tape it to a wall where they’ll see it when they open their door or behind a door they will close. (i.e. bathroom door)

• Find your kids’ homework agenda and leave a congratulatory, encouraging, or fun message on a particular day. (i.e. a tryout days, their first week of school, a birthday, a milestone.) 🗒

• Kiss the back of a card’s envelope with lipstick on and print S.W.A.K. (Sealed With A Kiss) 💋

• Leave a note on the rear view mirror or in their car seat.

• Write a note on the toilet paper using a Sharpie. 😉HA

• Slide a creatively designed note under their door at night, so they see it first thing in the morning.

• Use dry erase marker or permanent Sharpie to write on a coffee mug or favorite glass.

• Make a unique plate to be used for special occasions ONLY. (i.e. “You’re So Smart”, “You Did IT!” “Congratulations!” “We’re Proud of You!”) 👍🏼

• Tuck a note in a pant pocket, coat pocket or glove.

• Leave a note inside their glasses case. 👓

• Leave a note on top of a stack of  clothes you’ve folded.

• Leave a card or note under the car windshield wipers while they’re at work.

• Leave a note taped to their computer, the remote or TV. 📺

• Tape a note to their favorite food item that they use every day. (i.e. creamer, cereal or coffee can.)

• Place a note under their pillow or pinned to a favorite blanket. 🛌

• Tape a note to their car keys.

• Leave a note in their suitcase as they leave for camp or a business trip.

• Lastly, of course, you can always just send an e-mail or text. 😉 💌

JUST HAVE FUN WITH IT❣️

Tell us in the comments below what you have done before. 👇🏽


us-and-kids

heart-bannernew-design

Have No Regrets!

Do you constantly see things in the news or feel frustrated with hearing issues you wish you could change? 😿Well, you can… in your own, little corner of the world. Bloom where you’re planted. 🌻You may not be able to help everybody, but you can help that one person.

Do good. 🌾

Even in your own struggle and pain; REACH OUT to others.

It’s very hard at times, with all that life throws you, but oh so rewarding!

You were designed for a purpose. Don’t leave this earth regretting you didn’t do more to help mankind or to be God’s hand extended.

Waste no time.

Leave this earth knowing you made it a better place!

🙏💕

(pic taken along a walking trail with my hubby)

Born Today, 23 Years Ago…My New, Lil’ Tax Deduction

Today is the day my daughter was born, 23 years ago.

So please bear with me as I brag on her. 😉

This blogging is kind of like a life’s journal, right?

Anyway, I was scheduled to be induced as I was past my due date and had grown very, very LARGE.

And, as usual, (I had done this before. 😉 ).    I couldn’t sleep at all!!

2916_1080758532259_3975374_n

That morning was stormy and a tornado warning had just been issued. We joked about naming her Stormy. We had names swirling around in our head, but hadn’t chosen one, just yet. (Ha, I realized I used “swirling” around; that really was  coincidence.)

She was born at 5:35 on April 15th, and we named her Morgan.

Yep, she was our new, little, tax deduction. 😉

208037_1776344481473_5520569_n

Well, not so little.
She weighed 9lbs!!!! :/

10439443_10203181780558424_6241584198523133196_n

She was a joy from the minute she arrived; an easy baby.
AND SOOOO cute, I must say. 🙂

16-7Morg

Everyone always wanted to hold her. I got comments everywhere I took her.

As she grew, her eyes became so expressive. She had/has large, pretty eyes with super long eyelashes, just like her Daddy.

16-4

She’s always been more quiet.  She’d just sit back and observe everything. So, at first, she seemed a little shy and rarely talked. (I used to be that way all through grade school…hard to believe now. ) But, she was also quiet due in part to her ACTIVE, TALKATIVE, big brother.

One day, she was caught talking to her little “boyfriend” (in first grade) and the teacher scolded her and said, “Morgan I always catch you talking to Quinn; do you ever stop talking?” And the teacher told me Morgan then put her little hands on her hips and emphatically exclaimed, “Well, I can’t get a word in edgewise at home because of my brother!”

Morgan never really gave us any trouble.

She used to be a cheerleader, violin player, volleyball and basketball player.

morgan cheer.jpg

She enjoyed helping in church by leading worship during the adult and teen services. She loves to sing and can sing harmony.

She’s always been quite the fashionista, since she was young. She would rather get jewelry and pretty shoes for her birthday presents, than toys. Every time we went shopping, I’d turn around to find her on the floor trying on shoes, even adult ladies’ shoes. HA

morgie kindergarten

Her kindergarten teacher told me Morgan would often notice what she was wearing and would even compliment her.

Later on, Morgan graduated early from high school (she couldn’t wait to get out of there) and sadly moved far away from us to Georgia. She had met a cute boy while visiting her cousins, through the years, and I think that was a big draw to leave Indiana.

morgan and logan1

Plus, she said she always hated the overcast weather here in Indiana. I also think it was fun driving around on golf carts in that golf cart community down there.

Morgan's Graduation 10

She attended college and graduated with a 4.0 then went on to be a dental assistant.
She married that wonderful guy, bought a house and now has become quite the carpenter and decorator after watching all these shows on HGTV where they flip homes. (We’ve even decided to start our own blog together detailing some of her, and my work. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running. 😉 )

One, neat memory we share was when I entered her in a SUBWAY restaurant contest hoping to win a 529K college scholarship for her. She was 11. She ended up winning, and was one of ten national winners. They featured kids hoping to promote healthy eating.

subway

Maybe some of you younger bloggers saw those commercials.

Does the phrase “Play Hard Eat Fresh” ring a bell? She was featured as the ice skater. She had been a figure skater competing since she was five, so her sport was spotlighted in the commercials.

She first won a trip to Dallas where she shot in front of a green screen and met some phenomenal kid athletes from around the country. Then, later we were asked if we would like to travel to Hawaii to shoot commercials with Bethany Hamilton. She was presently working with SUBWAY and they offered to fly us to her home in Kaua’i.

Anyhow, it was all a fabulous blessing for our whole family to vacation on the gorgeous island of Kaua’i.

1900164_10202330612319750_1085874373_n

Well, we vacationed while Morgan worked AND ate a lot of SUBWAY sandwiches. 🙂

 

I’ll end by saying my Morgan is a caring, compassionate person who can read people well and is good at tuning into peoples’ feelings. (I hope I had a part in training her that way.)

But, it makes my heart soar to see her reaching out to all types of people, from all walks of life, and going out of her way to think about them and finding ways to meet their needs. That makes me more proud of her than anything else.

Throughout her life, when people would compliment her beauty, I would always be quick to point out to her (and them) that a “pretty heart” was so much more important. I just didn’t want all the compliments to make her vain, and I do now believe my daughter, although so beautiful on the outside, is just as beautiful on the inside.

And that makes my heart happy and proud. 🙂

wedding dress1

Daddy and I celebrate the person you’ve become today!
We love you Morgie.

Make a Fudge Heart in 20 Minutes

I had some leftover milk chocolate and at the last-minute, like 10 PM last night, decided I wanted to make a fudge (for my hubby) for Valentine’s Day. So, I experimented with my Easy, Ten Minute Microwave Fudge Recipe and came up with a quick way to make a valentine heart in about 20 minutes! (including chilling it. 🙂 )

I was happy it tasted good and that it turned out looking so cute.

Not that he will care that it looks cute…but I DO!

photo0032

The easiness (and cuteness 😉 ) demanded I take some quick pics and share. (Hence, the dark, grainy photos. 😦 (sorry) and…

because you still have some time to make one, for your lovey.

It’s THAT FAST!!

Ingredients:

1/2 of a 12 oz. bag of milk chocolate morsels

1/4 Cup of a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

A dash of salt

A dash of vanilla extract

*chopped nuts optional

And… you will need a cookie cutter OR just cut it out by hand with a knife.

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients and microwave till everything is melted well.

Pour into a liberally greased, small glass bowl.

Chill in the freezer until firm. It firms up quick, I tell ya!

Use a wet knife to cut around the edge to loosen the chocolate. You may have to carefully turn, then run warm water over the bottom of the bowl to loosen the chocolate, as well.

Place on a firm cutting service and cut out the chocolate.

Then, consume the extra chocolatey scraps. 🙂

20 minute fudge heart recipe for Valentine's Day

I decided to leave the fudge in the cookie cutter ’cause AGAIN, I thought it looked cute!

And, I found a few strawberries, so I garnished…I feel so professional, ha!

You also could write a note on your plate using dry erase marker or red icing.

Here’s some ideas: Twenty Creative Way to Leave Love Notes

So Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone out there in blog land!♥♥ 

ally-morgan-carpoolin

I know some of you just don’t like this holiday. I get it. BUT, you can still show some love to a family member, someone who’s been there for you, a dear neighbor or even a stranger…just think how it will make their day!! So, LOOK around.

me-and-dad

papaw

chinese

me-and-gwen

me-and-bibi

It might even be a divine appointment; be open to it!

It's not all about you poster


Tell me what your plans are below. And come back and comment if you’ve shared some love in a unique way or had a special encounter; I’m dying to hear!

valentine-to-family

♥♥ Written In honor of my boo…whose always been there through all my health issues and MORE!

♥♥And my kids…my you’ve grown up way too fast!

29 Years Ago, I Married

1987 weddin day

Today I’ve been married 29 years.

October 23, 1987. The year of oversized shirts, big earrings, and mullets.

We met at church when I was home for the holidays; I was a junior in college, and

he was a sophomore.

He was attending school, here in Indiana, and I was in Missouri.

He studied business, and I was in education.

Can you believe an old boyfriend introduced us?

Fast forward…soon after we were engaged, I left to teach in China for a year.

I was 23 and he was 22.

Yep, an entire year.

me-teaching-in-china

(me and a few students)

Some people thought I was nuts to do so, but it all worked out in the end. 🙂 Obviously.

We both knew I had to go. Felt it was my calling, and I knew we’d both regret it if I didn’t.

I think it made us stronger, actually.

Long before we were serious, I had planned to teach there; so, off I went.


Communication was tough.

Oh, I did try to make a call this ONE TIME.

I had to “make an appointment” to get help with getting a call out to the US, and it had to be done through the government officials’ office. Three men sat around STARING at me as I uncomfortably began to speak. I constantly was trying to hear my fiance over the multiple Chinese voices I heard coming across the line.

I grew increasingly frustrated. :/

They were all  trying to talk over me as I struggled to hear my fiance’s voice; it was a true Chinese, party line!

I don’t know what happened but in the midst of that chaotic, but short call, abruptly the phone went silent. Ended!

Later on, I found out my hubby/fiance thought I hung up on him. Whaaaa?!

us-and-kids

Yeah, right. I finally save up money to call you, clear around the world, and in the middle of our conversation decide I need to hang up?

Anyhow, I found out that he really couldn’t hear me, thought I was in the middle of a big party, with a bunch of Chinese friends 🙂 , AND… I hung up the phone.

Clearly, that process was never attempted again!!

(I wanted to stay engaged. HA)

Plus, it was so expensive.

So, the only way we could communicate was by cassette tape.

Late nights consisted of me lying on my cot, head on a bag of beans (pillow) surrounded by a mosquito net, talking very low, into my handheld tape recorder. (I didn’t want to  disrupt my roommates, nor have them hear my conversations.)

Now that we were engaged, I had more serious questions.

I mean, we WERE still getting to know one another…

“How many kids do you want? What are your thoughts on where we should live? What did you do today?” Then, I’d rehash the day usually adding all the funny cultural differences and stories in full detail.

(I like lots of details.)

Then I’d WAIT.

Wait for weeks.

And another tape would arrive with all my answers. 🙂

It was fun, and a daily diary of sorts. It helped the time pass.

It was a lifeline, and  it helped me get through the year.

One Christmas tape, had me and my roommate singing all the familiar carols while adding our own hysterical lyrics that reflected living abroad.

Our families really got a kick out of that one.

We worked really hard on those lyrics.


me and tim

So, we still have all those tapes.

LOTS of them.

We haven’t relistened to all of them, in full, but a few years back I started to play one for my teenaged kids, and hubby walked in very confused asking whose voice that was.

He couldn’t quite wrap his head around it.

It was a time warp, really.

Finally realizing that low, “mushy” sounding voice was his own, he quickly asked  demanded we turn it off. 😉

I think he felt somewhat embarrassed as our kids listened intently, hardly believing what they heard.

I don’t think the kids thought that was truly him! 🙂


I remember times while living in China, I’d go outside and look at the moon (thinking about life) wondering what he, or my family members, were doing clear across the other side of the planet.

And thinking…we look at that same moon just at different times.


So, here we are 29 years later.

Still together. We’ve seen a lot of life.

We’ve weathered some really tough storms, too.

But, together.

That’s KEY.

img_6211

WE honestly grew closer, not further apart.

Through some of the toughest times that LIFE’s curve balls could throw.

Many of them my health battles.


BEST of FRIENDS, STRONGER!

That year apart just may have taught us a whole host of things that would later keep us grounded, and working together.

I think I’m just now realizing this as I type.

Perhaps, that year apart solidified a firm foundation for the rest of our lives and getting us through many more years together!

God has surely been with us the whole way.

family-wedding-pic

NOTE: I dedicate these reflections to you, honey. I thank God for the gift he’s given me in YOU!

Don’t Judge…You Cannot Know the Pain Someone Is Going Through

Don’t Judge…You Cannot Know the Pain Someone Is Going Through

 

Don't judge...for you can never know another's pain.

Be THAT Parent

caring kids

Be THAT Parent

I saw this on my friend’s Facebook page, today. (It was originally shared from the Scary Mommy page, I believe, but thought it too good to not share.)

I always had hoped I taught my children these important lessons.

Well, I know I had.

I saw them display this type of kindness from time to time as they were growing up.

After a prayer/object lesson each morning, I would say, “Now go let your little, light shine.”

Hoping to remind them to let God use them no matter who they encountered.

And when they’d return with a story, similar to this saying above,

well…it’d make THIS Mom’s heart swell!

Make A Flag Topper to Enhance a Simple Wedding Cake

make a simple flag bunting topper for wedding cake

Make a Flag Topper to Enhance a Simple Wedding Cake

Take a simple cake from a local store (ie SAMS, Costco or local grocery store) and make it unique by adding your own flags and some flowers and voila!!…a customized cake for cheap   that was less expensive!

My daughter liked the flag idea for the top of her cake. However, I could not find any pre-made flags the right size for patterns, to place on the cake nor any of the colors of her wedding.

So, I decided to make my own. It was super easy and fun!!

flag supplies

Supplies you’ll need:
A heavier weight or “stiffer” paper for making a pattern for your flags. We used scrapbook paper in multiple colors. We found individual sheets (which is much cheaper) esp. if you get them on sale to boot like we did at Hobby Lobby. So, they were just pennies… YAY me! You can also find them in book form with a common color scheme at most craft stores.

Some bakers twine , jute twine, or I used a two-toned silver/copper wire from Hobby Lobby. Just think about how you want the flags to hang. (Do you want the string taut or have a swag to it.)

Glue stick for paper flags and heavier glue to secure beads/wire to skewers.

Two, wooden dowel rods or skewers from Hobby Lobby. (You could paint these but I liked the bare look of the wood.)

Beads if you want a more finished look to the top of each skewer.

flags to top a cake

Directions:
First, decide the scale of each flag’s keeping the size of your cake tier in mind. (I mean, you don’t want too tiny of flags for a large cake or vis versa.)

Then, decide how long they should string across the cake. You want to make sure it’s not too long for the size of the cake layer you’ll be stringing the flags across. But not so short you only get 2 flags on your wire…that’d just look weird. 🙂

Lay out the way you want your design to look.

Cut out the flags by placing the pattern on the fold to make it easier to attach to your string or wire later.

pattern for cutting out flag topper

Decide the spacing between each flag as well as color and shape of each flag.

flags to top a wedding cake

Arrange on the wire and glue the paper together first by folding. BE CAREFUL on how much glue you use as it can bleed through the paper.

I thought it’d look more interesting to make different flag shapes, so I placed alternating flags on the wire. Also, try some “see thru” papers adding a color underneath as I did with this black and white designed paper. I liked how the pink paper showed through.

a

I later tied wrapped and frayed the ends of the wire to make fancier “tassels” then  secured them to the skewers. Make sure they are tight or glued so they don’t slide down the stick.

Most importantly, make sure you think about how the wooden rods will angle once inserted into the cake.

This way you won’t keep poking holes in your cake. I kind of practiced after laying out a template of the diameter of my tier since I didn’t have the cake in front of me yet.

Now add some flowers and VOILA!…a unique design for your cake! (Wish I had a clearer picture! ugh)

I do think our topper of flags turned out really cute and with all the other added expenses for this wedding, we definitely saved on the cake!

Here’s the initial cake we ordered from SAMS. but we removed some of the designs to make it more simple.

(We had other desserts anyhow; this was just for the cake cutting ceremony anyhow.  😉

Need more ideas? More pictures from the wedding can be found here: http://wp.me/p5ntHO-aZ

To make an easy ring box look here: http://wp.me/p5ntHO-ae

Make flag topper bunting for wedding cake

Make a cake flag topper.

Have you tried something like this? Tell me what you designed?

Speaking of cakes check out my friends’ business. Her cakes are the most unbelievable work of art, EVER! https://www.facebook.com/thecakeryartisticbakery/?fref=ts

Fall Farm Wedding in Georgia

My daughter got married on a beautiful fall day on a picturesque farm in Georgia. She was wearing an Alvina Valenta gown made of lace with blush undertones. She purchased the dress at Fabulous Frocks in Georgia.

Alvina Valenta blush wedding dress

The back was just as pretty with buttons going all the way down the train!

Backless lace and blush wedding dress

lace wedding dress

Blush bridesmaids

The bridesmaids had dresses made in blush chiffon, and

the groomsmen wore charcoal gray.

groom succulent wedding boutonniere

Alvina Valenta Blush and Lace Wedding Gown

Lace and blush backless wedding gown.

Morgan really wanted a flower crown and we asked our wedding designer/venue owner if she could design one. It was her first attempt ever, and it turned out just perfect! ♥

Romantic wedding, flower crown.

wedding dip pin

More pictures of our venue and decor to come!!

Georgia Farm wedding

candlelight tree branches for wedding decor

wedding flowers wedding aisle

But for now, have fun watching our video of the wedding  here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JulFPewaiEw

Gold and plumb fall wedding decorations

our wedding pics

bride and groom on a farm

wedding table decor