Thursday, December 31, 2009
NEWCOMER AWARD - COOLEST NEWEST FRIEND? Amber :)
HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR? Hopie's salvation
LOW POINT OF THE YEAR? spending Thanksgiving without my kids
BEST HOLIDAY? Christmas day with EVERYONE at Grandma and Grandpa Hughes' house
YOUR SONG FOR 2009? "Crazy Days" written by my neice Sally.
MOVIE FOR 2009? Faith Like Potatoes
WHO WAS YOUR BEST KISS? from David..who rarely gives his mommy kisses anymore
WHO DID YOU SPEND VALENTINES WITH? the kids
WHAT DID YOU DO ON HALLOWEEN? spent it with my family and friends at BBC
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR? Panera Bread
BEST DECISION MADE THIS YEAR? finally accepting the past and moving forward to a brighter tomorrow.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR? be more Christ-like, be there for my kids whenever they need me, and of course, the usual, lose weight!!
TV SHOW OF THE YEAR? haven't really watched much T.V. this past year
MOST LOYAL FRIEND OF 2009? Lindsey Armstrong. ( I love you, Sweetie, and couldn't have made it through 2009 without you).
BIGGEST CHANGE OF THE YEAR? Dustin moving out
BIGGEST JERK AWARD? I don't know any jerks ;)
NEW YEAR RESOLUTION? diet and exercise
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT for 2009? Pam Jamerson giving me my 1st Coach bag! Thanks again Pammie! Love you.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Jim Burns, Ph.D.
With teenagers in the house, there are times that most parents find it difficult to love their kids. Usually such struggles are brief; troubles resolve and emotions settle. Families get on with life. Yet, for some parents, living with an out of control or very difficult teenager is a daily ordeal. Some kids are hard to express love to - even though parents truly love them. Regardless of your life situation - parents can resort to shame-based parenting when their teenagers become difficult to live with. Shame-based parenting, when parents attempt to influence their children's behavior through shaming, nagging and negativity simply does not work in the long run, and makes it much more difficult to build an environment of love within the home. Shame-based parenting may gain an initial victory, but in the end, a parent's relationship with their kids will suffer. As an alternative to shame-based parenting, let me offer five tips for loving your teenager.
1. Place relational "deposits" in your teenager's emotional bank account.
Relational deposits can make your kids feel loved and accepted even in the midst of discipline. Here are some deposits you can make:
. Saying "I'm sorry" to your children when you blow it
. Forgiving them
. Hugging often
. Saying "I love you" every day
. Speaking with a tender tone of voice
. Playing together
. Spending time together
2. Avoid making relational "withdrawals" from your teenager's emotional bank account.
Relational withdrawals teach kids that nothing is ever good enough for mom or dad, and result in kids giving up or acting out. Here are some withdrawals to avoid:
. Belittling them
. Being sarcastic
. Making negative put-downs
. Heaping guilt on them
. Never saying "I'm sorry"
3. Affirm your teen whenever possible.
Most often, the difference between kids who make it and kids who don't is one caring adult. Even if you struggle with your teenager, I challenge you to believe in them! Most teenagers suffer from low self-esteem - and I almost always see this is cases where teens struggle with their parents. Low self-esteem is a vicious cycle that when left unaddressed creates an situation where establishing a loving environment within the home becomes much more difficult. Kids with low self-esteem tend to make poor decisions socially, in regards to drugs and sexuality - and academically. Kids with low self-esteem often act out rebelliously with their parents. Their move to a lower standard of behavior is often due to the way they perceive of themselves. These poor behaviors, in turn, create tensions in relationships between parents and their kids and vice versa. Parents can make a huge difference in their teenager's life by affirming them, praising them and believing (even in the midst of struggle) in the person they can become. When your teen has wronged you, forgive them. Restore them. Move on. (See the story of Jesus and Simon Peter in the Gospel of John as an example of this.)
4. Demonstrate affection towards your teenager.
Make it your goal to create a home environment of warmth and affection. You may rightly say, "Hey, I'm reading this article because I'm having trouble expressing love to my teenager. Now you're telling me to love my teenager. How is that helpful?" I understand your point. That's why I want to encourage you to take "baby steps" in this area.
Taking baby steps means that if you have behavior issues to discuss with your teenager when he or she gets home from school - wait. Instead, take your kid out for his or her favorite junk food. Don't bring up your issues. Instead, spend your time talking and listening to anything your teenager wants to talk about. Don't ask probing questions. Don't make accusations. Talk with your son or daughter the way his or her friends would talk with him or her. Your teenager, of course, will be waiting for the hammer to drop, but bite your tongue and don't drop that hammer. Keep the conversation warm and friendly. When you are finished, give your teenager a hug and tell him or her how much you enjoyed being together. You still have your issues, don't you? So now, after some hang-out time with your teenager, ask him or her when would be a good time to go over some of those issues. You'll usually get a better reception. Remember, baby steps.
5. Provide lots of encouragement to your teenager.
Don't withhold your emotional support from your teenager. Keep telling them that you love them - even when it's hard to feel loving. Loving your teenager unconditionally is more than expressing feeling or words - it has much to do with action (see 1 John 3:18.) Build up your teenager. Strengthen them through your words and actions. Challenge them to become all that God has created them to be!
If you are having a difficult time loving your teenager today, I challenge you to pray! God hasn't given up on your child - or you! Pray for your teenager! Pray for yourself - that God would give you the inner resources to help you respond to your teenager in ways that are helpful and loving (which often times means setting boundaries and providing consistent discipline, by the way.) Never forget that God loves your teenager even more than you do, and that He is faithful and able to work in your son or daughter's life - in His own perfect timing.
but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"
God said, "Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.."
The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have
to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."
God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you.
And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."
Again the small child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand
when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"
God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words
you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will
teach you how to speak."
"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"
God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach
you how to pray."
"Who will protect me?"
God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life."
"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."
God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach
you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.."
At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth
could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave
now, please tell me my angel's name.."
God said, You will simply call her, "Mom."
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
- 1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
- 1-1/3 cups molasses
- 2 cups cold butter, cubed
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ROYAL ICING AND DECORATIONS:
- 7-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
- 6 tablespoons meringue powder, divided
- 10 tablespoons warm water, divided
- Edible glitter
- Candy of your choice
- Dark chocolate and white candy coating, melted
- Waxed paper
- Cookie cutters—round (2-1/2 inches, 2 inches and 1-1/2 inches) and star-shaped (3 inches, 2 inches and 1 inch)
- #101 petal pastry tip
- To create star templates: With a pencil and ruler, draw five-pointed stars on sheets of waxed paper, labeling each template with its dimensions. Draw an 8-1/2-in. star, 8-in. star, 7-1/2-in. star, 7-1/4-in. star, 6-3/4-in. star, 6-in. star and 4-1/2-in. star. Cut out with scissors and set aside.
- To make dough: In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar and molasses just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Stir in eggs until blended. Combine the remaining dough ingredients; stir into brown sugar mixture. Divide dough into four portions.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion to 1/4-in. thickness. Using templates, cut one 8-1/2-in. star, two 8-in. stars, one 7-1/2-in. star, two 7-1/4-in. stars, one 6-3/4-in. star, two 6-in. stars and one 4-1/2-in. star. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- Cut two circles using a floured 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut 12 circles using a floured 2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut two circles using a floured 1-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut remaining dough using floured star-shaped cookie cutters. Reroll scraps. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- For one batch of icing: In a large bowl, combine 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons meringue powder and 5 tablespoons water; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Keep icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
- To assemble: With icing and round cookies, make six large sandwich cookies and one small sandwich cookie. Let stand for 15 minutes or until set.
- Place the 8-1/2-in. star on a serving plate. Spread a small amount of icing onto center of star; top with an 8-in. star. Spread a small amount of icing onto center of star; top with a large sandwich cookie. Spread a small amount of icing onto sandwich cookie; top with remaining 8-in. star. Let stand for 15 minutes or until set.
- Repeat with remaining icing, sandwich cookies and stars, building tree using the largest stars and sandwich cookies first. After each star is added, let stand for 15 minutes or until set.
- To decorate: Prepare a second batch of icing. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert #101 petal tip. Fill bag with icing. Decorate tree as desired with icing, edible glitter and candy. Decorate a 2-in. star cookie as desired; secure on the treetop with icing.
- To decorate small star cookies: Dip cookies in melted candy coating; place on waxed paper and let stand until set. Sprinkle white cookies with edible glitter. Leave some cookies plain if desired. Gently place cookies onto tree branches and on the serving platter. Yield: 1 gingerbread tree and 3 dozen small star cookies.
Friday, October 23, 2009
It enriches those who receive it without impoverishing those who give it away.
It happens in a flash, but the memory of it can last forever.
No one is so rich that he can get along without it.
No one is too poor to feel rich when receiving it.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged,
sunshine to the sad and nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
After months of prayer and searching for God's plan for our youth at Bible Baptist Church, He has blessed us with a wonderful youth pastor. Brother James Owalobi has surrendered his Friday nights to serve with us as we build the spiritual lives of our teenagers. We like to refer to it as Teen Bible Study, rather than Youth Group, for it is all about teaching the young people how to live according to the Word, and we spend most of our time together in the Book. One of the teens commented, "I am so excited to actually being learning the Bible instead of playing silly games all night with a quick 5 minute devotion before we go home."
This past Friday was our first Bible study. It was awesome to watch Brother James interact with the kids. He has a way of getting the kids attention and keeping it. We were blessed with 19 teens, who all participated with good attitudes. It's exciting to watch God at work in our lives as we strive to please Him in all areas of our life.
Friday, October 9, 2009
My how you've grown. It seems like only yesterday I was anticipating your birth. I will never forget how I felt when I saw you for the first time. You were this perfect little life that God had given to me to care for. It was love at first sight.
I love your happy heart! It's contagious to those around you. Keep smiling, pretty girl.
You have grown into a beautiful young woman, although I still see you as my "little girl".
Life is definitely fun when you are around. You keep those around you laughing at all you silly faces and crazy comments. Don't ever lose your sense of humor!
I hope that you have a very happy birthday, Sweetheart. I love you so much.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sin, like a virus, sneaks upon you when you least expect. In a crowded room full of temptation, rubbing elbows with those who are already infected. In a place where you know that you should not be, thinking you are invincible, you only plan to stay a little while. You can even see that some have been sick for quite some time, but you don’t think you have to avoid them, their sickness will not touch you as long as you stay far enough away. But like airborne droplets the germs float into the air and into your fragile human body and take root and begin to grow.
Even when you go back into your daily routine, you now carry an unwelcome visitor that was not there before. It soon becomes rooted inside and although it takes a while to take hold… eventually it begins to take over. Your body cannot fight the germ any more, you feel odd, and know that something is not right. Something is just a little…off. Pretty soon you begin to feel the effects stronger and stronger until you have no doubt that you have been overcome and are without hope. The virus has taken hold of you and has dug its way so far down inside and multiplied and consumed your body till it can no longer function properly. You feel queasy, and confused and vomity. The fever begins to rage inside of you and your body is no longer your own. You cannot continue living your normal life, everything you would usually do comes to a screeching halt as you resolve to the fact that you are a prisoner to this disease that has taken over your body.
Wrapped up in your blanket, shaking and trying to fight off what shouldn’t have even been inside of you in the first place, you feel repentive and remember that hand you shook and elbow you rubbed that shared their horrible virus with you and know immediately that it was all your fault and you should have never been there.
The only thing you can do is pray and hydrate and rest, leaning on the Holy Spirit to mend and heal and help you like a medicine that is the only thing that can sooth and calm the heat that is tearing up your body. Like a salve He comes to comfort, a cool water that eases the fever inside of you. Slowly, with a lot of grace and consistence…little by little you feel your strength being restored. Feeling weak and vulnerable, you lean heavy on Him, depending on Him to get you through. He forgivingly offers relief from the pain, allowing you to rest heal.
When you come out of it, you will be tired and drained and weak. But God can restore you to full health, though many will still carry the scars with them for weeks and months.
The worst part about it is those around you that you have unknowingly infected with your virus. Bringing it back to your friends, your family, your children…leaving them vulnerable and knowing that if they become infected that it was YOU who brought it to them.
Sin is a virus…like the flu. Once you are exposed, you may have to go through a whole process of getting things right and restoring your life to God. Or, you can just rot and die….many people do die from the flu you know. Every year we lose people to this common every day illness. Why do they die? Because they are weak, not healthy, don’t have the proper medicines, or are unable to heal. We lose many to sin this way too. Those who are unsaved and have no help from the Holy Spirit to get them out of their sin, or no doctor who has the remedy to help them. Soul winners, I’m talking to you. Maybe they love that sin so much they refuse to let it go and it multiplies and becomes too great a burden for their body.
We have the great gift being born with a body God made able to heal itself when attacked…and a chance to repent, again and again for the wrongs that we do. He could have been unforgiving for all the wrongs we do…but instead He is a forgiving God that will love you and take care of us even when we purposefully infect ourselves with the wrong things. Praise the Lord for a God who restores and heals.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Someone once said, “Before you engage your tongue, be sure to engage your brain.” So true. The acrostic T.H.I.N.K. says it well:
Truth- Are your words true?
Helpful- Are your words helpful?
Inspiring- Are your words inspiring?
Necessary- Are your words necessary?
Kind- Are your words kind?
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I found this article VERY helpful and hopefully it will be a great start to a healthier ME. I have read and reread it, and I am excited to start practicing good exercise habits.
by Mireille Guiliano
Look at everyday movement (what you do in street clothes, not spandex) as essential to your overall wellness, and not to see exertion as something assigned to the gym. Here are a few tips on how to stay fit without ever setting foot in a gym.
1.) Don’t save your steps, multiply them! Instead of driving your car around in circles to find a close spot, purposefully park far away and walk the couple extra feet. Do you know burning a mere 50 extra calories a day equates to five pounds a year?! Burn those calories creatively; think thrice about using interoffice mail, walk that memo to your coworker’s office. Take an extra few laps around the block at lunch time, take the long way home when walking your dog at night. The principle is to squeeze as much physical exertion as possible during a few intervals a day into what were once routine tasks tied to avoiding any physical efforts.
2.) Incorporate simple resistance movements into your daily routine. Use your own body weight as resistance wherever possible. Isometric exercises are discreet but effective. This can be done before you even leave the house in the morning. For example, while waiting in traffic or on the subway, contract your abs for 12 seconds with your back pressed against the seat (it’s better for you than road rage). When reading a magazine at home, try sitting on the floor with your legs stretched and apart in a V and your hands on each side; this is a great stretch for your inner thigh muscles.
3.) Take care of your core. I’m a firm believer that we need to attend to our abdominals as we age. These are the muscles that hold all our vital organs in place; they support good posture and a healthy spine, something we must take care of as we get older. Do a few sit-ups as part of a little stretch/exercise/yoga routine in the morning — it’s never too early or too late to start this ritual.
4.) Acquaint yourself with small to moderate free weights (3-5 lbs.), especially if you’re over 40. A bit of extremely simple resistance training is an antidote to hours spent on gym machines. Short but focused movement with small weights is a good way to preserve upper body tone and bone density and supplement the cardiovascular benefits of an active lifestyle. A little goes a long way, and that only increases the older you get, so don’t let extremism overtake you.
5.) Ride your bike. We tend to see bicycling as recreation, and often either as a child’s pastime or a hobby for only the most serious triathletes. I encourage those who can bike to work or shopping to do so. One of my pleasures is taking my bike to run errands. Riding my bike is one of my favorite warm weather routines and is, of course, environmentally clean and efficient, so I am happy to see bikes and bike lanes increasing in New York and other cities. Cycling has well-known health benefits: it’s a low-impact, mild aerobic exercise that strengthens your heart and lungs; tones the large (read: fat-burning) muscle groups; keeps joints, tendons and ligaments flexible; builds stamina; and is generally fun, reducing stress and boosting your mood. And the view from a real bicycle ride beats the view from a stationary bike in a white-walled gym any day of the week.
6.) Yoga. If there was ever a fountain of youth, it might be the practice of yoga. Not only does it reduce stress, improve your posture and help to develop longer, leaner limbs, it also speeds up your metabolism, works nearly every muscle group and promotes an overall bodily wellness that no other sport or class can compete with. I practice yoga religiously, usually in the comfort of my own home. I am no yogi; I do not spend hours upon end on my head — I simply have a handful of mastered poses and movements that make me feel good and keep me limber and trim. Most women can find 20-30 minutes a day to practice if they make it a priority. No equipment necessary.
7.) Take the Stairs! Taking the stairs whenever possible is one of the main tenets of my philosophy. It always astounds me to see people who live no higher than the fourth floor and with nothing more to carry than themselves taking the elevator. We rarely spend an hour stair climbing, but you should know that climbing stairs burns a stunning 1100 calories per hour. Climbing a couple flights a day will surely go a long way. A few times a week I choose to walk up the 15 flights of stairs to my apartment for some healthy fun — and yes, I do enjoy it.
In the end, remember that those who overexert themselves inevitably burn out, but those who know how to stay fit while enjoying life come out ahead, mentally and physically.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
There was face painting, fishing, hot dogs and hamburgers, a shooting range, a store, an old fashioned popcorn machine, a cake walk, a balloon making clown, and everyone's favorite…the big flush. Andre Floyd and Mr. Turk took turns sitting under the toilet while the kids (and some of us adults) tried to hit the target so the toilet would flush on them. Pretty gross...but very funny. The kids loved it. Everyone asked when Pastor was going to sit under it, and he responded with, "It will cost 1000 Baptist bucks per throw if I sit in there." After an hour or so, Jen Simpson went around asking for donations so she could get Pastor under the pot. She had a huge handful of bucks, but as soon as Pastor saw what she was up to he disappeared. LOL.
It was so much fun not only for the little ones, but for us grown ups alike. Such a great time to get to know the other families and just have a good time together. My kids are still talking about it, and we can't wait for next year.
Thank you to all those who helped to make it such a huge a success.