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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Live From Allume... It's Five Minute Friday



1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3.
 And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks! – Lisa Jo

I’m writing this ahead of time in preparation for what I think will be the most amazing Five Minute Friday party… EVAH!!!!
By the time this is posted I will have spent most of Thursday meeting so many “new” friends and catching up with one old friend.  I’ve spent the last two hours in a room with the fabulous Lisa-Jo and most all of the ladies that you will find linked up early on for this here word carnival.  There are just too many to name, although we hang out ont Twitter on Thursday nights at #fmfparty. You can find us all there.
I’m sure that we have hugged, laughed ourselves silly, snacked and consumed waaaay too much caffeine and sugar.  I make no guarantees what will follow this little introduction.  At this point I obviously have no idea what the word will be.  What I do know is that I can hardly stand the anticipation.
Without further ado... here are my five minutes on: Voice

I’m losing it.  I’m sitting here surrounded by amazing women.

Amazing writers, but I’m losing it.  I’m literally losing my voice from squeals, and laughter and conversation and tiredness.

But here…  with my fingers I have a different voice.

Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes serious, sometimes angry – usually at myself.
But my voice is what comes through these letters on screen for you.

You may never hear my accent, my laughter, my twang…

But I hope you do hear my voice, then I hope I lose it.

The voice I really want you to hear is the one that speaks in the whisper and the breeze, not the hurricane or the mob shouting.

I want you to hear Jesus, calling to your heart to encourage, to  remind, to speak truth over the lies, to drown them out, to then give breath to your voice.

Then lift it high in praise, in joy, in thanks, even in silliness, but don't silence it.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trick or Treat......Be careful!

Photo credit

I can't get in to it now, but I have a FUNNY story to tell you about next time.  I'm pretty well known at my job for pulling pranks on people and I have never gotten caught!!  Well, that all changed a couple of weeks ago.  Never involve your bosses and supervisors in a prank by signing their name to something; you never know when it may fall in to the wrong hands!!  Thank the good Lord for supervisors and bosses with a sense of humor.  

I was almost a Halloween baby so tricking is in my blood (even though I have declared that I am officially retired from pranking).

 Anyway… school has been in session for the first grading period by now.  If you have any concerns about your child's speech, language, or academic performance it is time to ask for testing.  Your child has had plenty of time to "adjust" to their new environment which is often a "rule-out" factor for many disability areas.  Let's get a jump on speech, language, and academic delays early this school year.  If you have any concerns you may have to be the person to take the first step. 

Sorry this was such a boring post.  I will do better next time.  I will be 40 in a few days so I decided to chop my long hair off to my shoulders this evening.  This was after a full day of work.  Not only was there a cut, there had to be color first.  So I get home and still have to do homework with both girls, bath and wash hair, and eat.  Then I get a text from my sister about my post for tomorrow, which I had totally, forgotten about. 

AAHHHHHH.....Calgon, take me away!

-Jennifer


(With all the craziness going on, this was delayed for a bit)  I’m heading to Allume tomorrow and won’t be posting again until our live Five Minute Friday party with the amazing Lisa-Jo.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Motherhood Comes Lately - A Guest Post


Today you’ll find me guest posting for Mary Beth at New Life Steward.  If you’ve never read her blog you need to change that starting today.  Why today?  Well, I’m writing over there.  J  You will then need to come back on Tuesday and every day after that to see what an amazing gift she is and has.  Luckily, I will get to meet Mary Beth in just a few short days at the Allume Conference in Harrisburg, PA.  Excited is an understatement!

She has a heart for God and His word that longs to share and teach and touch.  You will leave refreshed, encouraged, and maybe learn a thing or two – you know I’m a fan of the learning!

If you go today you will learn a little of my journey into motherhood.  It’s quite a complicated story, not your average 9 months.  I’d love for you to go and then stick around.  Look at her wonderful online home and definitely read her work.  You will be blessed! 

So what are you waiting for?  Go read about how I became a mom here as “Motherhood comes Lately”.  See you later.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Behold the Glory


Five Minute Friday

      1.    Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3.
 And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks! – Lisa Jo
I’ve been hanging out with some absolutely FAB ladies on Twitter for the couple hours before this went up.  I can’t tell you how fun and encouraging they are to me.  But next week it all changes.  The tiny photos and 140 characters will take on flesh and blood as we do this thing live from the Alume conference
Unfortunately, not everyone will be attending, but they will join us online and in our fellowship of words that is our #FMFParty!
Here we go!  Set your timers and write on:LOOK

All around me as I drive I see it.
The glory, the splendor.
This is no simple rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green and blue.
This is the wildness of russet, magenta, amber, cerulean, celadon!
The very image of beauty and wonder that comes from dying. Dying to self, dying for others.
What glory of God is shown to me when the light filters through and illuminates the spectacle of the foliage!  What a gift and blessing to have sight to enjoy it.  To breathe it in.
Before long it will be gone and there will be nothing.  But now, now I am reminded that a passing away from life to death to new life is the miracle and purpose of this world.  I breathe it in and it fills me. Then I can breathe out with confidence in what is to come.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So I’m Going to This Conference Called Allume


One week from tomorrow I am off to my very first blogging conference:
Allume: I'm Going!

I’m not sure why I’m saying it’s my first.  I always refer to it as that, and “first” automatically implies a second.  Hmmm… food for thought.

Anywho,

I hope the person that you meet there – that would be ME – is the same as the person you have met here in my space (not MySpace), on Facebook, and behind the 140 character goodness of Twitter.  I only took one semester of acting in college, so this is all I’m really good at being.

If you are new here, I can tell you that I write about a little bit of anything that blows through my mind.  Off the top of my head that would include friendships, charities, toddler boys, chocolate, coffee, shoes, and Zumba.  I’m sometimes funny (in my own mind), sometimes serious, but always myself.  My belief in God is deep and rooted from my early childhood.  While I may not be explicit about it, my faith affects every part of my life.  When I don’t act like it, that faith comes to convict me and for some reason I feel the need to share that, too.  Just keeping it real, folks.
So how did we get here?

I planned to go to Allume simply to support a wonderful friend who was just beginning to truly pursue blogging as a calling.  When I bought my ticket at the twitter party I didn’t even have a blog.  No one, other than professors had ever read a word I’d written – letters to friends excepted.  Those who had didn’t seem terribly impressed.  So now that it’s come here are some things I’m pondering:

1-    What do I want to be accomplished here in this place online?  What am I missing that will take these words and images and make them bear good fruit?  I love learning, but the doing is all so new and daring.
2-    There are so many amazing people that I want to truly develop a relationship with, some deeper than others, obviously but how does that naturally happen without being pushy.  What if we never meet?  What if they wish we hadn’t?  This will require sensitivity that I’m not sure I have honed.
3-    Can I be focused enough to pass up the flash and glamour of a particular session or speaker to be where I truly felt led to be?  This goes back to my last point as well.  Conflicts in scheduling will force me to make choices that won’t be easy.  I know me!
4-    How can I serve others and be a blessing instead of just seeking out the blessings for myself like a crazed consumer at a clearance sale. This will include not infringing on the time of others.
5-    What will I do if I am blessed to get everything that my heart desires and more in three short days??  What is my responsibility to the gift of the blessing after all is said and done and the swag is scattered throughout my home?  This is a little scary to me, honestly.

Then there are the crazy little things about Allume.  There is no way this list is exhaustive because it changes minute by minute, but here we go:

1-    Will I be overdressed, underdressed or just pathetically dressed?  I have a love/hate relationship with shoes.  Consequently, that is where my outfits tend to fall apart.  If we meet, please just have your eyes stop at my knees when you take it all in.  I’m 5’-7” so you’ll have enough to work with without going all the way to my feet.
2-    Traffic!!  I’ve driven more interstate than some truckers!  I’ve been long-haul living from my family for 17 years now.  BUT – y’all!  I have to drive the Beltway around DC for this little trip.  THE BELTWAY.  I have a general rule in life I like to follow that I avoid any interstate that ends in 95.  Prayers gladly accepted for this.
3-    I am a dialectic chameleon!  I’ve lived in Louisiana, Illinois, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Connecticut, Ohio and Virginia.  I have a crazy accent that is predominantly Southern, but my speech pathology training gave me a good ear.  Who knows what will come out of my mouth this weekend, eh? (Canadians, hello!)  If I hear it, I’m likely to say it.
4-    I tend to over carry.  I have a thing with bags and tend to take too much with me wherever I go.  Give me a minute when we trade cards.  I may have to dig for mine under 2 notebooks, 5 pens, a camera, wallet, lip gloss and who knows what else.
5-    I’m so afraid I’m going to miss you!  I’ll tell you straight up – I AM AN EXTROVERT!  If you see me, come over say howdy, give me a hug, a high five, whatever.  In my world, the more the merrier.
      
     You can find out a little more about me in my post about the 10 things my roommates will need to know.

Please tell me you have some of this same craziness going on in your mind, too.  I didn’t even mention the whole fear of being a poser.  Got your own brand of craziness??  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.  Let me have it:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Race to the Finish


It’s Friday, which means a few things to me: I will have a whole other person to help me chase the little guy tomorrow (yay), the weekend is here (yay, again), and that I’m still trying to recover from last night’s partying.  Who parties on a Thursday night, you ask?  The most amazing group of gals, that’s who!

Any given Thursday night on Twitter you will see #fmfparty start flowing through your stream around 10:00.  The official start isn’t until 11:00 (eastern), but I can’t wait that long – and neither can many others.  So what is this #fmfparty all about?  It’s FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY y’all!

We hang out - or go on to bed - and wait for Lisa-Jo’s word prompt.  Some write like crazy as Cinderella’s coach is turning back into a pumpkin and try to be the first gal at the ball. (Wait, that analogy didn’t work at all.  But you know what I mean.) It’s 5 minutes of unabashed, unedited fingers dancing on the keyboard.  Then post it, link it up, and go visit your linky neighbors and say hello.  I like to go back several times and see what’s new.

In the need for encouragement?  Look no further.  Read, enjoy, comment, discover, then join us with your own five minutes.  Now Go: Race



The word race conjures up so many images in my head and phrases in my brain.  I want to run the good race as someone who runs to win, per Paul’s instructions.

I used to imagine racing in cycling criteriums.  I may still one day, but in a much older class than I had originally intended.  This is definitely on my life list of things to do.

I race around daily trying to beat the cloch with my seemingly never-ending mental to-do list.  By the way – the clock always wins that race.

I race around our cul-de-sac with my little guy.  He is invariably Lightning McQueen.  I am often King, but occasionally relegated to the role of Chick Hicks, Mater, or even Frank – the angry harvester!  We race and run and bike until we race back to the house.

I race the sun to its setting while trying to live a full life each day.  This is the race I most want to win.  I don’t want to squander the gifts of days that I’m given.

Time’s up.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo here:
Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stella & Dot Trunk Show and Giveaway

The greatest treasures that I have collected in our moves around the eastern half of this country are friendships.  Today I want to introduce you to my great friend, Sharon Williams.  We met in CT shortly after moving there.  We visited a small church one Sunday morning.  Sharon and her husband Todd invited us to lunch with them after the service.  That was the very beginning of a relationship that grew to depths I would have never imagined.


Sharon was my “partner in crime” for many trips into Manhattan.  By “crime” I mean shopping and eating – mainly cupcakes and chocolate!  Lots of cupcakes and chocolate!  So much fun together! 
They came to visit us in Chicago on my birthday – yes, Virginia, there was Chocolate!! (Fannie Mae’s) and Cupcakes! (Sprinkle’s)  We take our treats seriously.


Since our separation she has stepped out of her comfort zone in ways I would have never guessed.  She is a card carrying member of the DAR, lives on Roosevelt Island – literally, Main St. NYC – takes acting classes and works as an extra, and has become an entrepreneur!  She is also one of the kindest and most generous people you will ever meet.  Her love for the Lord is absolutely infectious!  In fact, she was the one who challenged me to read straight through the Bible for the first time.  The challenge wasn’t verbal; it was from witnessing her life and how many times she had done it.  People, you want this girl in your corner!

As an added bonus for you, my dear readers, I am having an online trunk show for Stella & Dot hosted by my friend Sharon. I am also having a GIVEAWAY OF A FABULOUS PIECE OF STELLA & DOT JEWELRY!!  I’m excited that this is my very first giveaway and Sharon is part of that.  Read a little more here:

I will be celebrating my first year as an entrepreneur with Stella & Dot and I'll be truly celebrating what a wonderful company I work for and the fun job I have!

October is a special month for Stella & Dot because we have partnered with the Noreen Fraser Foundation in supporting research for women's cancers. Last year's net proceeds for the sales of the Tribute bracelet brought in $120,000 for breast cancer research! This year there are 5 items for sale for which the net proceeds go to the Noreen Fraser Foundation.

The Stella & Dot Foundation is a permanent initiative that supports 3 charities for women and children. This fall Stella & Dot has premiered its new Foundation bracelets! They are so pretty and cute!

The new holiday collection has finally arrived! The Courage, Light and Love bracelets are so adorable and only $19! These would make great gifts for teachers, friends, dog walkers, anyone! There is truly something lovely for every budget.

Now for the exciting part:  I will be giving away a Light bracelet to one lucky reader.  All you have to do is leave a comment about which piece of fabulousness from the show catches your eye.  No need to purchase anything to be eligible.  The deadline for entry and ordering is October 30, 2012.

**Need new bling for Allume?  Their standard flat rate shipping will have your goodies to you in about a week.**

Go, look, shop (if you want) then come back here and tell me what you liked in the comments.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I'm Baaack!!

This is Jennifer, school has been crazy but my "to do" drawer is getting smaller. I can actually shut the drawer without panicking that something will fall behind the drawer  and I will never see it again.  (Amy just informed me that panicking has a "k" in it, so if it doesn't, blame her.)  I will be back here on Thursday, let me know if there as anything "speechy" or communication related for your kiddos that you want to know about.  If I don't know the answer, I will make it up.  Just teasing.  "See" you Thursday.

Leave any questions in the comments.

Friday, October 5, 2012

You're Welcome


Linking up with Lisa-Jo today for Five Minute Friday.  Here are her rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Five Minute Friday

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:  Welcome
Go

Gracias… de nada.

Thank you… you’re welcome.

De nada,  it’s nothing, not a problem, no biggie.. You are welcome.

That word… we welcome into homes, we tell others that they are welcome.  But are they really?

When was the last time I invited someone into my home?  I’ve invited people to our little place in the mountains when we are there, but it’s not fully lived in. That’s easy.

But here, where there’s a whole hutch of dust bunnies under the sofa.  There are a few pesky dishes that need to be washed by hand beside the sink that haven’t seemed to gotten cleaned.  Those piles of papers that aren’t yesterday’s mail.. I’m not so sure that you are welcome here, not in this state anyway.  It’s not “nothing”.

It’s my never ending to do’s that make me feel so undone.  They are not welcome and need to be evicted.
Then...

Please stop by.  You are welcome.

STOP!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inexpensive Wreath Forms for Your Handmade Holidays



Last week I mentioned a bit of information I had and wanted to share about wreaths.  You may have seen this idea floating around Pinterest, but never tried it.  I did and it worked beautifully.  I now have a total of 2 Pinterest successes and 1 Pinterest FAIL (it was a bad green smoothie).

Now I want to share with you the secret that is…  PIPE INSULATION!



In the vein of Nester’s hardware store decorating challenge, I give you the humble black foam tube.  This bendy material can be cut to length, duct taped at the joint, and decorated to your heart’s content –all for less than $2!!

Use this simple formula from elementary school geometry to figure out what size you want to make.
Length of foam (e.g. circumference)/Pi =diameter

A 3’ length will give you a wreath roughly 12” across.  Pipe insulation is easily found in 6’ lengths which would give you 2 of these forms.  For smaller diameters, you want to make sure you are using smaller insulation to prevent creasing.  Here is a great little post about avoiding some of those kinks

This stuff is also amazingly light weight and will not leave those little white or green crunchy Styrofoam bits all over the place.  That drives me crazy!

Make your wreath, then wrap, glue (careful it’s not too hot), tie, pin… whatever.  Here is mine wrapped with knotted strips of holiday fabric.  Have fun and see what you come up with. 



Need ideas?  Here’s a wreath linkup that was also hosted by The Nester

So, what do you think about this idea?  Are you participating in Handmade Holidays?  Grab a button from my sidebar.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

10 Things my Allumie Roomies (and Everyone Else) Need to Know


As you may have seen me mention once or a thousand times, I am attending the Allume Conference at the end of the month.  In preparation for this trip, I need to give my roomies, Becky Daye and TracI Little the 4-1-1 on me and what to expect.  Becky and I have been friends for years, but Traci has no idea what she’s in for on this little jaunt.

If you are going to be there you might find this list interesting or useful, too.  Enjoy!

Allume: I'm Going!

1)    Becky – you know I love you, girl!  You know I love your sweet family; you know I love my family.  Do you know that I am THRILLED that they will not be there with us?  That sounds awful, doesn’t it?  But we’re realists and know that we will have more fun and time to catch up and be silly without them.

Tracy – I cannot wait to meet you.  Hopefully, I will have gotten to know you better through your words before then.  I tend to cling fast and hard, so be prepared to become friends for a very long time.

2)    I bought new pajamas.  Yes, I did.  They have silver sparkles in them – totally a coincidence and before any such discussion may or may not have happened on twitter about the state of some attendee’s hair coloring (or lack thereof).  Currently, I am still on the lookout for new bedroom shoes.  I hate shoe shopping, unless I find something that actually fits, then I love shoe shopping.

3)    My business cards that I had printed are purple.  If they all fall off onto the floor in a big pile it will be very easy to sort mine out of the mess.  You’re welcome.  Just trying to plan for every circumstance here.

4)    I will have an inordinate amount of cosmetic supplies and tools considering the outcome that will be achieved.  I promise to keep all my junk in my bag, except while it is in use.  I will, however, let you use my absolutely amazing Croc flatiron if you are in the mood for some crazy straight hair.  It’s hot pink, and I do mean hot!  This baby cooks – and ROCKS!

5)    I probably talk too much, too frequently and I easily veer off-topic.  Feel free to use the “zip it” sign or put me in verbal time out when I need it.

6)    If I am given a hot breakfast, specifically a waffle, at any time, I may not talk to you - or anyone.  I figured the other day it’s been about three years since I’ve actually eaten a hot waffle.  Coincidence of timing with getting our son, I think not.  Hot food will be a highlight of this conference for me.

7)    This will be the first time that I have been away from the little guy, except for one night he spent at Nana’s house.  Will I be sad, and depressed, and on the edge of tears all weekend – NO!! This is gonna be like vacation, baby!  Bring it on!  You might also want to start praying for Shane.  This will be his first time flying solo on the parenting mission.  It includes two pickups and one drop off, a packed lunch, and being the sole entertainment of a 3 year old for multiple hours. 

8)    You will not be intimidated at all by my stylish wardrobe of spanking new clothing that spills out of my suitcase.  However, you may be jealous that I did, in fact, only bring comfy clothes and layers so I don’t freeze in the sessions.  I will strive for a certain level of cuteness, but I can only do so much.  Do keep an eye out for the fun colored pants I found, though.

9)    My accent and word usage is prone to shift dramatically depending on who I have been talking to most recently.  My goal is to help you be fluent in the appropriate use of “y’all” and “all y’all” before our time together is ended.  The gals from my neck of the woods will be impressed. (You know who you are.)

10) I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE BOTH OF YOU!!!  What I have waited impatiently for over the past months has finally arrived.  I’m giddy with excitement and so tickled to get to see you, Becky and meet you Tracy.  That goes for all my other twitter and bloggy peeps that keep me up late on Thursday nights, fill my stream with laughter and tears and have been my people when I had none close by.

BONUS:  I am missing my 20th class reunion Homecoming at James Madison University for this here shindig.  If you know me well, you know I love my Dukes!  I have a feeling it will be worth it.

GO DUKES!!

LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!

Anything else you want to know, just ask it in the comments.  I may, or may not, answer.  ;) 

Linking up today with Brooke and Stacey!  Thanks gals, can’t wait to meet you both!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome to the Fold


Today is an exciting, amazing and terrifying day – all rolled up into one.  It’s been on my radar for just a couple of months, but has been years in the making



Today I’m joining forces with one of my dearest friends to reach out across this crazy online world to serve women.  These are not just any women – like any woman is – these are ministry wives.  What will we be doing?  We will be encouraging and introducing and praying for others through an (in)Courage Community Group.

We will have a private group on Facebook called (in)Couraged Flock.  This will be a safe place to openly discuss all that goes along with being a ministry wife.  There will be many listening ears, praying hearts and more virtual shoulders and hugs than you can imagine.  Each will encourage as they themselves are being encouraged.  It’s amazing how strength is renewed through that simple act.

Becky Daye, of Daye By Daye, is my co-conspirator in this enterprise.  We first met when her husband was called as Pastor of Community Life at a small church I attended.  We became close friends and have remained so through 3 collective moves. It was a privilege to be able to pray for her then as it is now that her husband is a senior pastor.



I have been blessed with many friendships with ministry wives from youth, to senior pastor, to campus ministry, to military chaplain.  It can be a difficult position, but you are not alone.  We want to make sure you know that you are not alone.

I speak for both of us when I say that we would LOVE to get to know you and your heart.

To join the (in)Couraged Flock community on Facebook, you can email Becky at ohappydaye (at) gmail (dot )com or Amy at amyctilson (at)gmail (dot) com.



Please check out the (in)Courage website for other community groups that are forming.  Each covers a specific need it is designed to meet with leaders who have a heart for encouraging their community.  If you are looking for community, please join.  If you know someone that would benefit from this please send them our way.

*I will be away for most of the morning and afternoon today.  I may not be able to get your invite into the Facebook group out until later in the day.