And So It Begins

Yesterday was my last day at the job I've had for almost 20 years

I came home to a  sweet surprise from Melissa and Taylor 

It's been a week of celebrations:

a party by my co-workers

toasts at gno

treats from rocky mountain chocolate factory from my baby girl

my beautiful surprise balloon bouquet above

and dinner out with my sweetie last night

I'm so blessed

 I've been asked about a million times

"so now what are you going to do"

well I've to lots of ideas

but I'm really excited to see what plans God has for me

and so it begins

Thankful for:

641.  Gods plans for me
642.  easter decorations 
643.  first dates
644.  family coming to town
645.  girls night out
646.  fruit/veggie smoothies 
647.  my oldest granddaughter getting her permit (OMG!) 


And It Begins

You know it's Spring when you start seeing the soccer uniforms.
And I think the pink makes it all the better.


the next step

In three more days

I will be the closing of this phase of my life.

I will be retiring.

Actually retiring is the wrong word.

I don't actually get a retirement.

It's more like taking the next step.

Finding out what my God given gifts are.

I'm so looking forward to the journey.


More time with my sweetie, babies and grandbabies.

More time with family and friends.

Finding out what plans  God has for me.

I am so greatful  to have worked for and with some of the best

women I know.  

I'll miss everyone of you but as luck would have it,

I'm also blessed to call you my friends.

So that means lunches together.

Luckily I don't have to say goodbye.

This past Saturday they threw me a "retirement" party.

Thanks Linda for hosting it at your lovely home.

delicious food

great conversation

lots of hugs

appreciated gifts

red velvet cake

(does it get any better than that)

Thank you Marsha, Lisa, Ana, Karen, Nancy D. and Wanda
for making such a special memory for me.
Love you girls.

Also thank you to the husbands who came.
Sweetie, Daniel, Bob and Mark.
(Special thanks to Bob for such delicious dishes)

Cyndi and Nancy C. were unable to make it 
but I love and will miss them too.

And Wanda

your the best boss and friend anyone could ask for.


The Opryland Hotel

(This photo is from The Opryland Hotel website)

I've recently posted about TPE-II.   One of the perks of going was being able to 
stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  It is as beautiful as you might imagine.
If you remember, they suffered flooding damage a couple of years ago when
Nashville had their historic flood.   But southerns are resilient and you would never
know it happened, at the hotel anyway.  Their still repairing the mall that sits right
next door.

What was so amazing is the sheer size.  It's the biggest hotel (besides gaming hotels)
in the US.   I had a little time to take a few pictures but let me tell you that unless
you're there pictures just won't do it justice.  It's really beautiful.

indoor fountains

boat rides on canals

beautiful flowers

spectacular water falls

shopping villages

many dining opportunities

it's like you're inside a giant terrarium

I won't lie, it's pricey.  The accommodations, shopping and food.
But it definitely did not disappoint.  Just a heads up.
Everyone locally told us that at Christmas time it's magnificent and
they have specials.  

(this picture is from the Opryland Hotel website)

this is the beautiful ballroom where TPE-II took place

Thankful for:

636.  flowers.
637.  waterfalls.
638.  american ingenuity.
639.  boat rides on man built canals.
640.  sweet memories.


Prayer Request

I'd like to ask for your prayers for my niece, Jessica.    She's the one I've posted about for the fund raiser "7 for our 7th".  She's been having shoulder pain for a couple of weeks and had to go to the emergency room Wednesday  evening because of unbearable pain.  It turns out she had a severe ruptured disc in her neck and had to have immediate surgery.   She is home but it will be a long recovery.  Please pray specifically for a full recovery with no lasting nerve damage.

630.  the surgeon's skillful hand.
631.  Melissa's safe flight.
632.  helpful friends.
634.  loving kids.
635.  having baby girl back home with us for awhile.

                                                                    Thank you!



Wordless Wednesday (almost)

                                                  (Turn off my playlist first)


                                                         Amazing Grace

                                                            Thankful for:

                                             626.  my baby brother's birthday.
                                    627.  a surprise dinner out with my sweetie.
                                                 628.  bang  bang shrimp.
                                                  629.  much needed rain.


The Pearl Event II-Double Strand

It's been a little over a week since I've returned home from The
Pearl Event II, Double Strand  (TPE-II).  I've been wanting to write a post about it
but I really wanted to let it soak in first.  What a blessed and wonderful time.
How could you not love being  in a gorgeous southern ballroom with
lots of crystal in a magnificent hotel, 
with inspiring testimonies and beautiful worship music by a group
of lovely women who love God and have a heart for loving
and supporting their sisters and daughters in Christ. 
It really doesn't get much better than that.

First and foremost, there's Sibi.
One of the most beautiful, spiritual and loving women I've ever met.
She is the author of the beautiful blog, Pearls and Grace.
She is the creator, organizer, planner and heart behind TPE-II.

Her calling, in addition to being a wonderful wife and mother, is blessing
women with the knowledge that they are God's pearls.  No matter
what has happened in their lives or where they are now.
God created and loves us and we are SPECIAL.

In the culture we live in most women need to hear this.

Sibi and her sweet husband, Eric, along with her beautiful
oldest daughter Macey worked hard and gave up much time,
energy and resouces to make her vision come true.

Through the circumstances of her hard life, she rose up as she was blessed
and loved by God and has a heart for sharing her testimony to bless others.

I've followed her blog for a couple of years now.
Long enough that it feels like I know her. 
If you're a blogger you know what I mean.
Now that I've met her in person, even though it was just over the
weekend, she feels like a long-time friend.

She loved on us and cared for us the entire time.
She was so sweet and when the room got colder as the
day wore on, I could hear her tell her husband,
"My girls are cold.  Go see if you can do something about it.
My girls are cold"

Thank you Sibi.  You've made a difference in more
lives than you know. 

Sibi, I was able to speak to your first born baby girl, Macey, several
times on Saturday.  She was even the one who placed the pearls around my
neck.  She is such a beautiful and sweet girl young lady and
I know you must be so proud of her.


Then there is Paige.
She is the author of the very popular blog, Simple Thoughts,
a photographer and an ambassador for Noonday.

Noonday is a company the helps widows around the world
provide for their children.

Paige became a widow as a young women when her husband
passed away from cancer leaving her with 3 small children
under the age of 3.  So this is a cause near to her heart.
The Lord sent her a godly man who loved her and her girls and they
later added another baby daughter to their family.

She is blessed with four  sweet and beautiful girls.

Paige has been a sweet "blog" friend to me for quite a while and actually
was one of the main people who inspired me to find my gifts from God and
pursue them.  I'm "retiring" next week and will begin my journey.
She also has a heart for widows and orphans and that is a cause very important
to me also.  And if that wasn't enough, I very recently found out (at TPE)
that she was the oncology nurse for the son of a dear friend of mine.
It's a small world and I'm so happy that Paige was one of the
medical professionals that loved on our dear Jesse.

I just love her.


Next there is Sarah.

I heard several of the speakers refer to her as Miss America
and indeed she is beautiful.
But honestly, she's even more beautiful on the inside.
Sarah is the author of the blog, Mercy Living .
She is the mother of two children and two baby boys in heaven.
Her testimony is about God's comfort, grace and redemption
that got her through the tragic loss of her twin baby boys.

There were lots of tears shed in her story but her unbelievable
strength and grace is so inspiring. 
It was an honor meeting her.


Now on to Edie.
Edie is a funny, beautiful southern mom of four children.
She made "the best chocolate chip cookies ever" for
everyone and they indeed were the "best".  Yummy.
Five years ago she gave up her career as a family
practice pediatrician to stay home full time with her family.

She's a home schooler, blogger of the popular blog, Life In Grace.
She is a self proclaimed goddess of the domestic arts, loves
cowboy boots and Loretta Lynn.

A little over a year ago a fire destroyed everything they owned and
barely made it out.  Visit her blog to see the amazing things
God has done in her life.


We had the most amazing worship music throughout the day
by Brittany.  She has a new blog, Melodies of Grace.

She released a cd:  Nothing But The Blood.

I encourage you to buy this cd.  She has a true  gifts for writing and
singing worship music that I've ever heard. 
She blessed us thoughout the day and we were so greatful.

Her in-laws played backup music and they were
so talented. 


And finally there is Jane.

Jane is a single mom to a teenage son.  She works for a
international Christian ministry as a prayer counselor.
(Wow! A professional pray-er)

Her testimony is about how god got her through not only
her parents painful divorce but her own eventual divorce.
God has done amazing things in her life and she
was such a great speaker.

She is also a blogger.  You can find her at Design with Grace.
Jane was new to me until I registered for TPE-II.
She has some design posts.


The Pearl Event-II was an amazing time
where the speakers were able to share their stories.

Their testimonies of how God was there for them.

How God loved them.

How God loves us all.

I feel blessed to have been there and I'm hoping there will
be a Pearl Event-III so I can invite my mom, sisters,
daughters and granddaughter and nieces.

Do you hear that Sibi?   Just saying.

Someone asked me if I could sum it up in one word, what would it be.
I thought about it and decided I'd sum it up with many (one words).












cowboy boots


I'm sure there's many more words but this blog is long already.

Thank you Sibi.  Thank you for blessing us, loving us,
praying for us, finding wonderful speakers to share their story,
finding a beautiful location where we feel special,
and working tirelessly to make it happen.

You definitely are his pearl.

Thankful for:

621.  Sibi's hard work.
622.  lemonade.
623.  returning home safely from our travels.
624.  new friends.
625.  lessons heard and learned.


Happy St. Patrick's Day

                This year since my sweetie and I were all alone and St. Patrick's Day fell on a Saturday
                          I decided to make it a little special and make all of our meals "green".

                                       So for breakfast we had green eggs and ham,  naturally.

This is a regular egg omelet. I made mine with egg whites and it didn't turn out as good.
Three eggs and 1 drop of green food coloring.  Add what ever you want inside the omelet.

I made hot chocolate and shamrock whipped cream topping.
I got the idea from a blog I recently stumbled on that I love called

Just put one or two drops of green food coloring into a thawed cool whip container.
Line a pan with wax paper and then spread the cool whip out to about 1 inch think
Let it freeze over night then cut out shamrock shapes.

Lunch was easy.

Spinach wraps cut into the shape of shamrocks.  I just printed off a pattern on line and
cut them out.  Then add whatever cheese you like to make
cheese quesadillas. 

I decided to make a fruit/veggie smoothie to go with it.

I used frozen strawberries
a little ice
a little vanilla almond milk
a little orange juice
a little strawberry/banana fruit fusion (with veggies added)
baby spinach (to make it green)

You don't have to be precise, just add it what you want.
It was yummy and tasted just like strawberries.

For dinner I made Pioneer Woman's Beer and Paprika Beef Stew
They just need to call it THE WORLD'S BEST BEEF STEW!!!


Now I know the stew's not green but it did have beer in it and 
I added green peas to the recipe for good measure.

You can find her recipe here.

And finally for dessert, I made two different little treats.

Mint Oreo Truffels 
Oreo Stuffed Chocolate/Mint Chip Cookies

Mint Oreo Truffels

Just soften cream cheese
 put a package of Mint Oreos in a food processor

Mix together and roll into balls.  

Melt chocolate and/or white candy melts and dip the balls into 
candy melts until covered then place on silpat.

After your done keep refrigerated until you serve them.

I melted a small amount of white candy melts and added green
food coloring to decorate the tops with a little green.
They're so easy and so yummy.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate and Mint Chip Cookies

Just make you favorite chocolate chip (or mint chip) cookie recipe.
Scoop a small ball and flatten out until it's somewhat bigger than the Oreo.

Place another flatten ball of cookie dough on top and make sure it's completely covered.

Put them in the freezer for a few minutes to become firm
then bake at 350 for 8 to 12 minutes.
(Mine took about 11)

So we ended the day with a few Patty's Day treats.
They were really yummy.

As a matter of fact, a little too yummy.

So I packaged most all of them up and sent  them to 
the neighbors.

Good thing I had my own leprechaun who was willing to brave the heat and
do the delivering for me.  It was 90 degrees today people.
Can you believe it.

May God be with you and bless you
May you live to see your children's children
May you be poor in misfortune and rich in blessings
From this day forward and in the days to come.

Irish Blessing

From our home to yours

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Thankful for:

617.  the color green.
618.  Irish blessings.
619.  my neighbors.
620.  spring.


7 for the 7th Campaign!

Aren't they adorable.

And this is their beautiful family.

At first they thought their family was complete but God had different plans.
If you look really close, you'll see there's something missing.

They're next on the waiting list for the baby boy that God knew would be in their
family all along.  They had all the funds provided for.  Then along came 
unexpected expenses.  Dental and Medical bills.  House and car repairs.

Remember, our enemy hates adoption.

But through God, all things are possible.

So that leads me to the 7 for our 7th Campaign.

It's really simple, click on the (7 for our 7th) link above.
If you'd be willing to donate  $7.00 (less than one pizza)
and then possibly facebook, email or blog about it
then each $7.00 will quickly add up.

As Christians, we are commanded to care for the orphans.

For some that may be through adoption and others, it may be
advocating and support.

Did you know that if just 7% of Christians 
adopted one child, there would be 
orphans in the world.

Please help bring their sweet baby boy home.

Thank you so much for considering this.


Wordless Wednesday (almost)

Brittany, Paige, Edie, Sibi, Sarah and Jane
Just returning from an amazing weekend in Nashville
attending The Pearl Event II, Double Strand.

These beautiful women, inside and out, blessed us with
their testimonies of what God has done in their lives.

I'm planning to post about it but right now I'm soaking it all in
so I can put into words my thoughts and emotions. 

Thank you ladies for loving us enough to show us God's
love for his "pearls".

Thankful for:

617.  my new friends.
618.  amazing worship music this weekend.
619.  a chance to visit our favorite town, Franklin.
620.  the people in Tennessee with their sweet southern hospitality.
621.  comforting words.
622.  my sweet brother and sister-in-law.
623.  Brittany, Paige, Edie, Sibi, Sarah and Jane.


Four more weeks, St. Patrick's Day and Nashville

        Four weeks and counting until I get my hands on my Illinois grandkids.  Missing them lots.

easter eggs  to hunt

swimming to be done
movies to  watch

books to read

playgrounds to play on

family to love on

Does it get any better than this?


I made a few St. Patricks Day decorations this weekend.

I actually made this gingerbread house at Christmas.  My first one
made from scratch.  I didn't have the heart to get rid of it after 
Christmas season and since it had hearts on it, I thought it made a good
Valentines house.  Well, with a little green paint and a very small
leprechaun I think I'll get one more use out of it.

So happy to have one more use out of it.
(Of course, there's  always Easter)

I made the garland out of  shamrock felt cut outs (Jo Ann Fabrics)  and fishing line.

Frames from Hobby Lobby, craft paper and shamrock stickers
and I can put a little "luck" through out the house.

More on St. Patrick's Day later.


And that leaves me with Nashville.

So exited to be on my way to the Pearl Event II.

Making new friends and being blessed by inspiring women.

Taking a couple of extra days to spend some much needed windshield time 
with my sweetie.

Have a great week.

Thankful for:

611.  the color green.
612.  grandkids who excitedly tell you there coming soon.
613.  packed suitcases.
614.  meeting new friends.
615.  a road trip with Mike.
616.  Trader Joes.


Fun Friday

  We had a fun and action packed Friday.  I was lucky enough to have the
   opportunity to watch my nieces and nephews for a few hours.  
I picked up Dylan so he could play with his
                                   cousins and off we went to their house.  It was alot of fun and
                                 we were even able to fit in an art project.   I have to say we have
                                                   quite the budding artists in our family.

They take their art seriously around here.

Dylan absolutely loves his Meron.
And what would an afternoon of fun be without Easter Little Debbies.
Ta da da da!!  The finished project.  They did such a great job.

What's Fun Friday without a little bit of craziness.

Thanks Jessica and Nick for giving me the afternoon with the kids.  We had a great time
and I'm already  looking forward to next time.


Our fun time continued when Dylan came home with me for a sleepover.  He was pretty tired
after a busy day so it was dinner, bubble bath, movie (Toy Story of course), books and bed.

Thanks for a great visit sweet boy.

Thankful for:

606.  an afternoon with some of my favorite family.
607.  nutella and banana sandwiches.
608.  creative kids.
609.  backyard tree houses.
610.  sweet smiles.