Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some days are just like that

I had my first mammogram. I put it off because it scared me, all the smooshing, mashing, and flattening of such sensitive skin. And besides, mammograms are for old people. And suddenly I'm denying being in that age category. I had the appointment last week. It truly was not nearly the excruciating experience I was anticipating. Sophia, the tech, was sweet and explained each step to me, the rooms and plate were not the frigid temps I've heard other women complain about, and the scans themselves take about 5 seconds each once my breast was positioned just so. I've definitely had better appointments (think pedicures!) but in the end, the hype didn't live up to my painful expectations. Whew!

And then I received a call to come back for 'additional views of right breast tissue.' The caller was very careful to let me know this was not something I should spend any time worrying about, that baseline mammograms have no previous scans with which to compare, so they compare them to each other, right breast to left breast. Any issues seen in an initial scan are usually just the way the person is created, not cancer. Yesterday was my second appointment.

So I had more scans. With odd shaped paddles at odd angles at (I swear!!) higher pressure to try to get a look at the area in question. And then I sat in the dressing room waiting for the scan to be read. I was called back for a few more, this time twisting my breast (really?!?) while the plate descended to try to get a slightly different view. More waiting room, and then an ultra sound. I almost asked for an ultrasound picture of my breast for my husband because when you get an ultrasound you should really get a picture of something cute out of it, don't you think? I didn't think it was cute, but at least I could have said, "Here's a picture of my boob, show anyone you want!" The Dr. came in at the end of the ultrasound to check out my very normal but hard to penetrate breast (I always wanted a super power!) and to let me know that he was not seeing anything to be worried about, that I just have fibrous breasts, and to come back in a year.

When I got dressed and left I thought I was going to cry. I guess that despite warnings to not over react, I'd gotten myself pretty worked up. I didn't even know it until I just wanted to go home and go to bed. I hoped I could get there without crying. That emotional exhaustion is hard to navigate!

The hospital is on the side of a hill. Or Duluth is on a giant hill on which the hospital also stands. The drive home is uphill all the way. So I'm driving, turn right to continue uphill, and my van dies, power steering and brakes go out and I coast to an ungraceful stop right in an intersection, blocking two lanes of full end of the day traffic. Awesome. Hazards on so cars can stop beeping at me now please. Try and try and try to start the van, nothing. By now I've probably flooded it and drained the battery on top of whatever made the van die. So much traffic that I can't even put the van in neutral and coast back to an out of the way place.

And I'd like to take this moment to thank the woman who felt like it was necessary to pull along side of me, roll down her window, and yell, "Get off the f****ng phone!" because that was so helpful, really the best advise I've gotten in a while. And you're absolutely right, I should just leave my van in the middle of the intersection and not try to call anyone for help. Too right. Thanks!

Yeah, by then I was crying.

And a most sincere thanks to the perfect stranger who pulled over in the middle of his busy day, stopped traffic, directed me in the direction to steer while recruiting a volunteer off the street to help push my car uphill, over two curbs and off the street! I hope I can return the favor to someone someday!

And the man in the auto shop who came to see if I needed help even though I was getting towed to another auto shop, and the friends from church who saw me and stopped to see if I needed help, and the friendly tow truck driver, the other people who saw me and texted that they were praying for me, and my sweet husband who came to rescue me - thank you!

Definitely one of those day!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coffee Cozy

I cut these out on the last craft retreat I went to, and then decided to go home at a decent time on Sunday instead of sewing them up. Last night, Grace helped me match buttons to each one and I sewed them on. Made 100% from materials I already had, I like how they turned out. And of course they are all backed in repurposed jeans. Here are my coffee cozys:

Most people would make something because they had a plan for it. Not me. These are another item I made with no real plan, I just knew I had all the materials to make them, so I did. As I've completed them I've decided they will just be used to bless some people I love. I'll probably include a small coffee shop gift card. Maybe one will be left in a mailbox, another might get mailed. One will probably go for my friend who is doing my hair for the prom on Friday. Another for a friend who is having a challenging time in most areas of her life right now. Now I'm excited to give them away.


One woman who will get one of these blessed me the other day when she heard God's heart for me.

I was sharing in a class that I help lead and told how I was on the South Beach Diet wagon, and how I'd fallen off the South Beach Diet wagon, and was now trying to get back on. I have lost some weight, but not as much as I hoped, but that I wasn't giving up, I know God is in it wanting to break off my 'need' for sugar. 

Later, she told me to stop being so hard on myself. That as a parent, I should know that God isn't looking at me with disgust. She compared it to having a baby who is learning to walk. When your child takes their first steps, you drop everything and cheer. You don't tell them, "Eh, that was okay, but it was really only a step and then you fell. Next time try harder and I'll be here when you get it right." You keep encouraging them to try over and over again. 

That's what God is doing with me. He loves that I'm stepping out, listening to Him and following Him. He's cheering me on and when I stumble, He stops to see if I need help or if I can get up myself, gaining strength from His presence. He cheers. For me. And I have strength to try again. Soon I'll be running, and He'll still be cheering.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's with the delay?!?

I don't know why I haven't been blogging lately. Lots going one, but no more than usual. I try to stay away from blogging when I'm overly emotional, but I don't think that's it, either. I've been reading my favorite blogs, but just haven't been inspired to write on mine. In an attempt to get back in the mood (and I know you want me to keep blogging about sex!), here's a picture post with some explanations. 


My s-i-l sent me this link from 'dog under my desk' and said I should make some of these.
So (sew?) I did. They are little earbud cases because earbuds make a mess in your purse or gym bag and I am not coordinated enough to untangle them while on an elliptical machine! I also use one for the blue tooth thing for my iphone so it doesn't get lost or lose parts. Since I have a thing for repurposing jeans, I backed most of these, or lined them, with jean and even reused jean zippers. (I also learned that if you have a fairly sturdy fabric to tear something out of, the edge of a rotary cutter makes fast work of it - just be careful!)

A few more projects made while on a craft retreat(L-R):
Monster iTouch case for Grace. It has a loop that goes around one of the button eyes to keep it closed. I really like how the variegated yarn made a fun pattern. I did most of this while watching
"The Help.'
A hair accessory organizer 'thing' for Grace. Her hair things are all over and I'm sick of it! The background is made from (surprise!) repurposed jean, the ribbons are for barrettes and the caribeaners on the sides are to hook on hair ties & scrunchies.
Cute little mouse for ??? just because. (I need to find the link where I found this and the monster case pattern to give credit! If you're just dying for it, check back, I'll find them!) The woman who made this mouse pattern just makes these sweet little mice to give away. I love the idea of finding one of these little cuties somewhere! It's body is about 1.5 inches + the tail.

I decorated jars for each family member and gave them for Valentine's Day with a stack of hearts cut out of scrapping paper. In theory (because I need to be better at this!), we will all find these cute little hearts in surprising places around the house, with little notes of love and appreciation on the back. So far Grace and my husband are the best at this!

We took a trip to the American Girl store in the Mall of America. Happy girl to get rid of the Christmas giftcard that was practically burning a hole in her pocket! Real men have awesome mustaches and are confident enough to carry around a doll in the biggest mall in America.

 Micheal (my secret admirer) sent me a surprise - a FitBit!! we are both trying to make healthier choices including better food and more exercise. The FitBit tracks activity (pedometer, stair-meter), is a sleep monitor, loads wirelessly, and syncs with a bunch of apps. The flower grows when you meet your activity goals for the day. It helps keep me motivated. Between exercise and the South Beach diet, I'm down 21 pounds.

 Totally random stuff:
- Grace with her foot up in the middle of the night, thought it was funny.
- Happy rubber scraper.
- Me, trying on dresses for the adult prom our church is throwing.
- Our version of a peasant bowl, a favorite from a local restaurant.
 - Woman w/a mustache. During a message on evangelism, I'm the only woman on the screen with a mustache?!? How did that happen? (The mustaches were an example of how we are usually happy to talk about things we are excited about, like Mustache March.)

Grace made a fort in the living room and we had to walk around it all week. Finally, I offered to make curtains to put up around the base of her loft so she can have a fort any time she wants. She picked three not so matching materials, but they are pretty cheerful, and she's happy. And I can walk through my living room now so I'm happy, too!

So, now you're caught up! The 'Good Sex' class Micheal and I were teaching is done now, so I'll have some time to post some of what we talked about each week, and our reactions to it. Overall, we think it went well for the first run of the class.

P.S. Micah still lives with us, I even made him an all-jean earbud case, seems like I need to take more pictures of him!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jump-Start Your Sex Life

Did you see yesterday's post about building intimacy? Check it out here if you didn't! There are some great ideas there.

Today, I'd like to pass on the ideas we collected to jump start your sex life! 

* Put on some lingerie, sexy boxers, or offer to share the pajama  tops/bottoms  and surprise your spouse. Sometimes just a pretty bra & undies on under the covers says "I'm in the mood".

* Show your willingness to try new positions. (There’s an app for that- seriously!) Try something new.

* Say something sexy. Tell your spouse you want them – now. Make it simple, direct, and to the point, using whatever words you are comfortable using or that you know they’ll appreciate. Use a sexy whisper, or a more forceful tone – surprise your spouse with your forwardness!

* Open the door naked. A simple, yet obvious strategy that really can’t be misconstrued or go undetected (unlike more subtle moves). Your spouse will usually take it from there. *** Make sure you confirm it’s your spouse and only your spouse before you swing that door open!

* Do a sneak attack. Sneak up behind your spouse naked, when they least expect it, brushing up against them, maybe give a naughty caress or squeeze…

* Share a blanket. You might remember how intimate and sexy that was when you were dating. Your hands are free to wander and explore, all while safely hidden under the protective camouflage of the blanket. What happens under the covers stays under the covers!

* Set the stage for sexy bedroom antics. A few simple steps to create the perfect atmosphere can go a long way. Rose petals, candles, make your bedroom more than a walk-in closet.

* Get sudsy together. What better way to unwind after a long day than to share a relaxing bubble bath? Scented bubbles, candles, whatever makes you relax, share it with your spouse!

* Relive an X-rated memory. Look at your spouse and finish this sentence: “The most memorable erotic experience that I have had with you was…” Then re-enact it, even if it’s not in the same place.

* Write a steamy love letter to your spouse. With a little thought before sending, you can make your letter as steamy & sexy as you possibly can. Use hot adjectives in describing all the things you love most about your partner. Suggest a rendezvous and describe in graphic detail what will take place. Make sure you are very specific with a time and place (even your bedroom after the kids are in bed), the intention of the date, and what your spouse might expect. Spray it with their favorite perfume or cologne to give it a personal touch.

* Whisper sweet nothings. This is a lost art that should definitely be revived. If you can, come up with something sexy or shocking, that you know your spouse would like to hear. Be prepared to follow up on what you said!

* Whisper sweet nothings - in public. Tell your partner, in detail, what you want to do together when you get home. Ignore curious glances of onlookers who are wondering what you’re whispering about. Try this when you won’t be home for a while to build anticipation.

* Treat your spouse to some steamy shower action, by surprise. Slip into the shower with your spouse when they least expect it. Offer to soap them up, wash their hair, even shave if you want. Then let them reciprocate. Bonus: It saves water (possibly) so you're caring for the earth, too!

* Look, listen, & learn while your partner provides an intimate road-map. Take a half hour each to show one another how and where you want to be touched, with the other looking on to learn. Take notes (or photos), you won’t want to forget these lessons!

* Finger-paint. Open your fridge and cupboards to find a variety of colored delights just waiting to be used. Chocolate syrup, whipped cream, pudding… Draw pictures on each other.

* Bring dessert into the bedroom! Whip cream, strawberries, or.... whatever!

* Parking the car, wherever (a discreet location) and making out in the car. It’s cold out, so you can decided where this leads…

* Shop online together for something to enhance your sex life. Either a new oil, cream, mighty, silk scarfs...... talk about what you would like, would like to use, how thinking and talking about it makes you feel. Be open minded with your spouse.

* Turn the lights on. Be vulnerable, & trusting enough to let your spouse see & accept you.

* Play footsies out to dinner, moving up, & up their leg. Or go to a movie, sit in the back, & be naughty enough to make sparks.... but not so much that you’re breaking any laws.

* Practice verbally telling your partner what you'd like and then being a passive receiver. And vice versa, to learn to get comfortable allowing them to serve you in that way.

* Make love at a different time of day than usual, or a different room of the house, if possible.

* 7 Day Challenge! Commit to making love each day for 7 days, which can really stretch your creativity!  (Can’t do 7? Try 5)

* Plan a day when you have sex every week, no matter what. That way you both know it’s coming, you can anticipate it all day, send each other excited text messages, & prepare any way you'd like. It takes the excuses of (insert excuse here) not doing it away & neither party have to really initiate when you both are anticipating it.

When I posted our book resources a couple days ago, I said I'd talk about these books, below. A few friends recommended these to us so I picked them up on Amazon. Each page is an envelope that you tear out, each page is a surprise! They are also labeled for him or for her, titled (so you get a hint!), and noted regarding cost involved. They are quite scripted. If the above suggestions are steamy, the ideas in the book are probably red hot. But we have them on the table for anyone to grab from if they want.

101 Nights of Grrreat Sex: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples 
by Laura Corn

101 Nights of Grrreat Romance: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples 
also by Laura Corn

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Intimacy Building Ideas

Because we were already thinking about our relationship's health in the areas of sex and intimacy, as we were planning for the class a friend suggested having a basket full of' 'challenges' from which attendees can pick. After almost 20 years of marriage, I'm embarrassed to admit that all my ideas are getting old. And someone else's ideas, though old and tired to them, are new to us!

Facebook is great for information gathering, so I sent a private message to some friends and asked them to share their ideas to foster intimacy, and separate ideas to put a spark in your sex life. It was fun to read them all!  : )   We saved some ideas to throw out to the group during discussion, and put the rest in the basket.

Without further ado, here are the intimacy ideas that made the baskets. And I challenge you to pick one and give it a try!

* Give the gift of your time by doing chores for your spouse that your spouse doesn't like to do, such as folding the clothes, running an errand, washing the car, etc.

* Share memories by looking at old photographs and talking about memories you share together.

* Write unexpected love notes and leave them in unexpected places.

* Schedule a day or a date to just be leisurely together. Hold hands, be a tourist, share a kiss or two, remember to enjoy each other.

* Give a small gift ... just because you love your spouse. Receiving or giving an unexpected gift is a true delight, try to choose something your spouse will enjoy, not something you want for them.

* Put a blanket on the floor or bed in your bedroom and enjoy an intimate picnic with one another. Or go to a pretty park for the picnic

* Start to write what you're grateful for about your spouse in a journal. Share it with them, or save it to give as an anniversary gift. Either way you will start to notice more and more things to be thankful for.

* Make a point to encourage your spouse on a regular basis via email and text, challenge to send encouragements 5 times each day. (It’s easy to do with a cell phone each time you go to a bathroom!)

* Trade nightly foot rubs. It’s easy, it’s intimate, and it just makes you feel good. It can be tough to concentrate on anything else when your feet are aching and tired. Get some pleasantly scented lotion or oil and let it go wherever you feel led.

* Blind date night: pick a place to meet at a certain time but get ready at different places when you both get there, act like it's the first date ask questions about each other what you do for a living or what hobbies or activities you like. Get to know your mate all over again.

* Tickle time that doesn't HAVE to lead to sex. Set a timer...

* Take turns reading a book out loud to each other. Choose a book you may both like, or a book on relationships/sex with a light hearted tone.

* Voucher to do that thing I always refuse to do.( ie I hate to ice fish, so if I pulled that, then I need to go on a limb & vice versa. )

* Sit down, & tell your spouse something that you have discovered, & love about them that you didn't know when you married them.

* Spend time just watching your spouse while they are not aware that you are watching them. Just take in the wonder of the fact that you belong to each other! Then, tell them what you just noticed.

* Look for ways to speak your spouse’s love language. For instance, if they are all about acts of service, love them with an act of service you don’t usually perform.

* Make a mixed tape (CD) together. Spend time remembering songs that you both like, maybe danced to, or sang to when you were dating, or just songs that make you think of each other. Then put them on a CD or play list to enjoy together or play when you are apart.

* Plan a little alone time with your spouse during the day to do something fun, maybe over lunch or before work. It could be going for a walk, surprising your partner with a muffin and coffee, make breakfast together, walk downtown, grab a cookie at a bakery, etc. whatever fits and is mutually meaningful.

* Agree to daily cuddle time that will not (have to) end in sex. No obligation cuddles!

* Give a back-rub with scented oil.

* Spend some time this week noticing when your spouse goes out of their way to encourage you and thank them. Find a new way to encourage them back.

* Spend some time praying out loud for God's blessing on your spouse this week, thanking God for who He made them to be. Don’t try to pray any changes over them, just bless who they are.

* Snuggle up and watch a romantic movie together. You might want to pick one that you watched when you were dating. Avoid distraction, wait ‘til the kids are asleep, grab a blanket, and enjoy being close to each other.

* Find something to do together – with the TV off. Do a puzzle together, play cribbage or battleship… Something that promotes one on one time with each other.

* Think hard. Is there something you’ve never told anyone else? Take a quiet minute with your spouse to share that memory.

Tomorrow, the sex challenges!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sex & Intimacy

I am busy.

I am reading my way through a stack of 15ish books about relationship and sex. And it's making me overwhelmed, frustrated, randy, motivated, and thankful. At the same time, and separate times, and in unexpected combinations. I mean, randy & motivated are a great combination (for my husband to have me experience!), but frustrated doesn't really go with thankful! At least I don't do them together well.

Micheal and I are teaching a class entitled "Good Sex' at our church. This week is week 4 of 6 weekly classes, and it's what's really on my mind and heart.

Since my blog has been like a ghost town (ghost blog?), and I really want to write what's going on with me and what God is doing in our lives, and sex is it. So yeah, I'm talking about sex. And yeah, I said 'randy' about myself. This is crazy soup, readers.

How did this come up? What makes me(us) think I(we) know enough to teach a class? Who would even listen? I'm not sure, God, and who knows? But we know it's important, and when we were asked to teach something for a group of classes under the title, "Empowering Families," and what did we think God wanted us to share? I honestly responded that I didn't know what God wanted us to share, but that the thing He keeps pestering me about is pursuing sex & intimacy. Micheal sat with his mouth open while one of our pastors asked if we really want to talk about sex & intimacy? Well, I don't know if I really want to talk about it with a bunch of people I don't know, but it is what God is talking to me about... and Micheal said that HE could talk about sex! And here we are, talking about sex.

We are not experts, but we are willing to talk about our experiences, our difficulties and embarrassments, and what works for us. (Although I do think there are things Micheal is excellent at, I won't be really explicit here so you are probably safe to keep reading! I won't be sharing any one else's thoughts here - just what I'm learning, and the significant stuff isn't the physical stuff.) It seems like no one really wants to talk about this super important topic! The Wilson's are breaking the silence.  ;o)

To begin, we bought a bunch of books. Here are the resources we are using, noting the really excellent ones.

The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women
by Gary & Barbara Rosberg

The 5 Sex Needs of Men & Women
by Gary & Barbara Rosberg
We really liked both of these books by the Rosbergs. In fact, both books now have many notes and excessive underlining and asteric-ing in them. Great for the differences between the sexes, and how we are created to compliment each other. We also liked that the Rosbergs never imply that manipulation is useful to getting your needs met; instead the main point is to serve each other.

101 Nights of Grrreat Sex: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples 
by Laura Corn
101 Nights of Grrreat Romance: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples 
also by Laura Corn
We used these two books for something I'll probably talk about in my next post so stay tuned!

Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage
by Kevin Leman
I give this book to every engaged friend. It's great for premarital info, covers more than just sex (of course it does, Kevin Leman is great!) and deals with some relational issues. Good stuff!

Men Are Like Waffles--Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences

Guys Are Waffles, Girls Are Spaghetti
by Chad Eastham (Bill & Pam Farrel)
The Farrel book above, rewritten for teens. We bought this for our 17 year old, his future wife will thank me.

by Ed & Gaye Wheat.
This book has been around for years and is the go-to book that Christian (pre)marriage counselors seem to recommend the most and it includes the how to, technique, and dealing with issues.

Is There Really Sex After Kids? by Jill Savage
Rekindling the Romance: Loving the Love of Your Life by Dennis Rainey
Is That All He Thinks About?: How to Enjoy Great Sex with Your Husband by Marla Taviano
Red-Hot Monogamy: Making Your Marriage Sizzle by Bill & Pam Farrel
The Married Guy's Guide to Great Sex by Clifford & Joyce Penner

So... stay tuned for more on this hot topic! And check out some of these books, I don't think you'll regret it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mom always said....

Every time my mom's car got washed, she would say, "There is just something about a clean car that makes you feel like the car actually runs better!"

And she'd smile.

My teenage self would smile, nod, and walk away thinking, "whatever..."

Also, winter jackets? They are so much "warmer when they are clean!"

And now I'm a mom with my own house, and car, and laundry...  and this weekend I realized just a few more ways my mom was right:

The shower walls I scrubbed with the brand new shower liner - and when you use it, your body feels  even cleaner than usual!

The car I ran through the wash and suddenly that squeaking pulley sounds like a soft purr.

To continue to test this, tonight I will drive home in my clean car, shower and shave(!), and then go to sleep in a bed with... clean.sheets.

It could happen. And who knows what tomorrow will be like!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Aaaaaand again...

I made more stuff. Annnnd I may need a Pinterest intervention.

You can follow me on Pinterest and see what keeps my attention to the exclusion of all else, simply by clicking the 'Follow me on Pinterest' button at the top right of this blog. Do it. I should probably link back to the original posts, but I just can't make myself do it right now, but Pitnerest will do it for me, and you may find some other stuff you like.

Someone at the bridal shower I attended even made a Pinterest comment when my gift was opened. The covered cake pan the bride registered for was filled with crocheted dishcloths and a variety of potholders I made.

(Sometimes Blogger is so frustrating. Like today when this photo is obviously supposed to be turned the other way. Gah! No matter what I do, it's wrong. Maybe someone from the Google corp. will see my complaint and want to give me a huge gift card to make up for the inconvenience?!? It could happen.)

Cute, bright materials, all backed with repurposed jean material. Jean is so durable, these should wash up really well. And the jean parts should interfere with the grooms masculine preference...'

 Cupcake potholder.
Japanese style potholders, minimalistic, nothing extra to get in the way...

In lieu of a bow, I added this little guy to the outside of the package. I like these kind of little primitive crafts, good for not much at all, other than getting a smile! I liked him so much, I started on a few more.
These are sitting in the basket of socks & underwear I should have been sorting & folding instead of crocheting. Maybe the socks will get done tonight. Or, if I leave them long enough, the family will have dug through the basket, picking their own stuff out... and then I could crochet more...

Monday, January 9, 2012

How I Might be Growing Up, and Some Gifts I Made

The Chenille quilt I made this fall has found a new home. It is living with a cute little snuggler named Henry. He also received these letters I found a pattern for online (I can't find the original link - sorry!!)
I used scraps from the chenille quilt and a couple other coordinating fabrics, cut the edges to rag and washed them up. They are pretty cute. Next, I sewed them on a wide ribbon, vertically, to hang on a door or wall. So cute. Unfortunately, I did this last step in a hurry the morning of the shower, which I was hosting. Here's a blurry shot of the result:
Do you see what I didn't? ?   ?      ?     Yeah, it says 'Herny', which is CLOSE to Henry, but not close enough. I had this hanging as a decoration to go home with the mom, and finally someone was nice enough to point out my spelling error. Bah. It was a good laugh, and now it's been fixed and is ready to go in the mail back to Henry. Embarrassing, but we had a good laugh.

Henry also got a couple rattles that I made. The first one, I saw Stephanie, a friend, post on her blog 'built to last' a while ago (check her blog out - you'll like it!), and then when I saw one on Pinterest it reminded me how much I liked them. I totally free-handed mine and let's just call them an interpretation of the cute ones I've seen. Or maybe 'artictic'? He has a little bell in his nose so he makes a small noise, not too obnoxious.

Then I crocheted a wormmy kind of stacking-ring-ish rattle. (I may have called his back end slightly phallic shaped in the past. Don't judge, I just kind of made up the pattern as I looked at a picture.) This one has a cat toy in his head (a bell in a plastic ball) so he rattles a little louder. The rings come off and the yarn is all 100% cotton as are the tshirt strips I stuffed him with so he can be thrown right in the wash. The rings should be good sizes for baby hands.

Also, some fun paint chip garland was made. This was fun decoration, and almost free - just the cost of some thread, and time. Grace even helped punch these out, and I think the garland will live in her room now that the shower is over. I ended up with almost 15 feet of garland. We sprinkled some extra pieces on the bar where the shower treats were, very festive!

The baby shower concluded a couple weeks of lots of company. We had some good friends over a few times over the Christmas holiday, hosted a game night for our small group, and then the baby shower. My husband likes to have people over. I don't, not as much anyway. But I noticed something in myself as we were having company. I was enjoying it. I was relaxed and having fun. I wasn't worried about getting on to the next thing. It was even OK when I didn't get to play a single game with our small group and refereed kids instead so other parents could have fun.

I'm also in an accountability group with a couple other great ladies to encourage each other in the area of health. We would all like to lose weight, but want to not do a fad diet. We all feel like there is a spiritual component to this fight, so we are fighting. And most of all, we are praying for each other and trying to allow God to speak into this area of our lives. We're reading a book about this together, using the 'my fitness pal' app on our phones, and meeting weekly. I've lost 9 pounds so far (2 or three weeks? Three maybe.) by cutting out some extra eating and just being aware of how many calories are in the regular food I eat. I still need to add in exercise, throw out the McD's Mocha Frappe that I love, and commit to better meal planning, but it's a good start.

But the thing I'm noticing is that I feel better about myself. Typical of my experience of God, I'm asking Him to do one thing, and He's doing that and other stuff at the same time. He seems to be speaking to my identity, telling me I'm OK, and making me comfortable in my own skin. I think that's why I liked having people over and didn't have to worry overly much about the house being perfect. I think I could relax and have fun because God made me OK with myself. Crazy. Great. I jokingly told my husband that I am 41 and it feels like I'm just growing up in this area. I want to get healthy, but I can't wait to see what else God will do through my willingness to let Him in. Stay tuned!