My Big Life Change!

Picture taken by Abby Austin of 1000 Miles on my own two feet.


To transform my life, with God's help of course, one step at a time.

1. Get healthy & honor God with my body

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

2.Become at least 50% sustainable with emphasis on doing our part to take care of God's planet.

3. Live life as an adventure, experiencing new places, things & people.
18 out of 150 bucket list goals accomplished

4. Become debt free & build security for my family, so we can then bless others financially also.

5. Continue to grow closer to God, building My family's faith & sharing the Gospel with those we meet, by using the talents and gifts God has provided us.

6.Continue to make money by creating and sharing my thoughts and beliefs through artistic expression: all the while hoping that my art will impact others. "Holly Kennedy

: All I know is, if you don't figure out this something, you'll just stay ordinary, and it doesn't matter if it's a work of art, or a taco, or a pair of socks! Just create something... new, and there it is, and it's you, out in the world, outside of you, and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it... and you know a little more about... you. A little bit more than anyone else does... Does that make any sense at all?" Quote from PS I LOVE YOU

Monday, April 30, 2012

Getting away from the world

I have been really suffering lately with what I think is pneumonia, but the doctors only thought sinus infection. So I have been taking my antibiotics and hacking away my lungs one cough at a time for 3 weeks now. The antibiotics were only given on Tuesday of last week because of my sheer stubbornness to go and pay two doctors which I ended up doing anyway. But, slowly but surely I am coughing up less and getting a little bit more energy. I still get so worn out after little chores but I am learning to cope. So when my adopted mom Marcie invited us to go camping despite my sickness I was skeptical. But Marcie was very convencing. "I always feel better when I am out there." and "You will be able to rest more with us helping you with Joslyn." Well that was a big selling point since John has been working a lot lately and I get so worn out with her. So when my OB checked on the baby and listened to my lungs and said to keep taking the antibiotics, I decided to go. Thursday was rough. I spent the morning at the doctor getting poked and prodded. Then I picked up Joslyn from my good friend Amey's house. I picked up Mickey D's on the way to Marcie's and dropped off Joslyn so I could go to the store. By the time I got to Marcie's I was ready to crash. I started my coughing fit and didn't stop until we were at the camp site. It was at least a two hour drive down to Lake Texoma, and that was without stopping to pickup and hookup the trailer to the SUV and potty pit stops. But Joslyn fell asleep on the way there, that gave us a peaceful ride there. When we got there we saw this!
Water! I can't ever deny the pull I have to bodies of water. I feel a sense of peace I have when I am near it. Rivers, Oceans, Lakes all of them. I was so nervous though that this time would be different. I haven't ever had Joslyn near water for this long of a time. I was very aware of the danger of my daughter being near water for almost 4 days. It is so easy to lose track of her for a minute and that is all it takes. But when we got there I saw that our campsite was about 50 yards away from the water. Far enough for me to be able to catch her if she headed that way. So I relaxed, a little. Joslyn was very excited to see the water, she kept calling it a river. She also called the forest a dundle (Jungle).
The next part was to set up the camper and campsite which is no easy task, but it was very nice to get it done and start enjoying the weekend. Pretty nice setup we had thanks to Rosie McLeod, Marcie's best friend who invited us all along. The campsites at Texoma were nice, they had iron lined firepits, complete with a hinging grill top, clothesline, tall buffet table and stone picnic table. Of course there was the electrical and water hookups too. Rosie has been camping with her trailer for years, so she has everything down to a science. What she needs to bring, what she has to do to set up right and take down right. This woman is amazing! I would freakout if I had to back up an SUV to hookup a trailer, much less pull one and do it all alone. We collected firewood and started the fire to grill hotdogs that night since we didn't get there till after 5pm. We set up our beds and changed clothes. That first night was the roughest. I had trouble getting Joslyn to sleep in the new place and then once I layed down my coughing got the best of me. I was so worried about waking up my campmates with my coughing. But sleeping in the camper is definitely camping in style. No bugs to worry about crawling in bed with you, a bathroom five feet away for those pregnancy pee stops that happen many times a night, and we even had air conditioning! So the next mornign we wake up and Joslyn was the first awake. Soon after Rosie's granddaughter Maddie woke up (she is 4) and the girls were ready for a fun day. Rosie made pancakes, and my pregnant nose could not handle it, I had to find the nearest tree to empty my belly. First time I have actually thrown up with this pregnancy, but I get nauseous everyday. The girls ate pancakes and I ate toast. Then they played with their buckets and the stethescope that Rosie brought.
Joslyn and Maddie were friends right away. Bossing each other around and fighting over toys was a common occurance, but mostly they wanted to be around each other. Friday they chased butterflies, played with the dirt, played near the water and collected rocks. I got to nap a little that day and we had a great day. By Friday evening I was feeling a lot better and sleeping that night was much better. Saturday I actually got in the lake (BRRR) and took Joslyn and Maddie out in the floatie. Joslyn had lots of trouble sharing her floatie but ultimately they had fun.
The girls also got to reel in the fishing pole and each one of them caught a fish. Well Maddie caught a fish, but Joslyn's fish was a fish they found and stuck on the pole so she would catch one too. Look at her face in this pic, she might be a reluctant fisher, like mommy.
We really had a good time. It was so relaxing and fun, despite my sickness. And we really enjoyed our time with Grandma!

Just wanted to say thank you to Grandma Marcie for insisting we go and for putting up with us and helping me watch her. And for Rosie for inviting us and putting up with us and for preparing all our wonderful meals and staying strong even through all the kiddo's drama. And for Nancy for being a great roommate and for becoming a new friend. And for John who let me go. And for my daughter, who was a very good girl and constantly showing me the beauty in this world. I love her sense of adventure and ability to see the wonder in nature. I can't wait for our next Dundle trip where we can go fishing and see the bugs and look for tigers. (What? All jungles have tigers, right?)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Our First Blue Jay!

Okay so I did not take this picture. But I did see one today. One of my daily enjoyments is feeding the birds. Joslyn and I usually venture out to our porch in the afternoons and I let her play. Sometimes she plays with chalk, sometimes she plays with playdough, sometimes its her outdoor toys, but almost always she helps me feed the birds. Now granted most of her helping is eating some of the bread and the rest is dropping it for the eager awaiting dogs. But she will throw out a piece or two for the actual birds. Normally, we only used bread that is going bad or leftover cereal or stale chips to them. Most of our birds are House sparrows. Occasionally we see doves, but most of them won't come and eat our measly leftovers, which is fine with me. I hate doves, they remind me of pidgeons. But the sparrows are very cute and fun to watch. They fight over pieces of bread when there is another piece at their feet. They get very anxious when they see us come out of the house. They will land really close and look at me, almost begging for their treat. The really cool thing is that they will flitter away when I throw bread at them, only to have them come right back, but my dogs and child on the porch don't scare them one bit.
So anyways you can imagine my delight to see a blue jay. I have heard that they are kind of aggressive, but this Blue jay just took a piece of bread and flew off. It makes our bird watching activity so much more colorful. Even on days like this when I am so sick, I can feed the birds and feel joy. I am grateful that Joslyn is learning to take care of the animals too.!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Please Bear with me!

Please Bear with me, I have been a bear lately.

I am dealing with a major sickness that shows no sign of stopping any time soon. I have been wanting to write an insightful piece about being the Church, but since I am so sick and emotional, I was afraid it would offend instead of inspire. So I am sticking with small, un emotional pieces. We go to our first baby doctor appointment on Thursday and I am praying that I don't die before then. I will get on my hands and knees for antibiotics, because everything else has been tried and it is not working. This is my first time meeting this doctor, so I pray that we get along. Otherwise I am full swing into the pregnancy hormones right now, crying at the drop of a hat and getting angry or snappish. So my poor hubby who is sick too has been walking on pins and needles lately. I am really trying to be good! I really am but I am so tired and sick of being sick and tired! Please pray for me! I love you all and will try and update you soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The 13th Tribe - Book Review By Robert Liparulo

Jagger, his wife Beth and his son Tyler live in in a Monestary. Not just any Monestary, located at the base of Mount Sinai. The very mountain that Moses came down from an encounter with God with the 10 comandments. Though he stood sometimes on holy ground, Jagger was angry with God. He rubbed where his arm should have been, now replaced with a metal bar that served as his second arm. He lost his arm in an accident that killed his best friend and his best friend's family. Now he served as a security guard on these hallowed grounds while he tried to piece his life back together. Little did he know that 3500 years before-hand on this very same ground a unimaginable thing happened in 40 people's lives that would affect him today. They were 40 of the idol worshippers that could not wait for God to send Moses back down from the mountain. They worshipped their golden calf but drinking of blood. When Moses came down from the mountain and God opened up the depths of Hell to swallow the betrayers whole, they were spared. But once they awoke from the atrocities they realized that God had turned his back on them. They were not allowed to die, they were never to find favor with God and they were not allowed in the promised land. For 3500 years they plagued this Earth, trying every way possible to find favor with God. Their latest plan was to kill sinners to show God their loyalty. But when their plan brings them face to face with Jagger and his family, trouble ensues. With Jagger's family in danger, he has to find a way to stop these immortals and their evil plan. Will he make it in time, and will this encounter with the Immortals reconcile him with God?

It took me awhile to read this book I will admit. But I don't think it was because the book was slow I think it was from outside influences. But the book isn't as fast as many of the books I read. There is a lot of history in this book and much of it is Biblical. But the plot of the book is facinating. You can definitely feel the spiritual battles in this book between the bad and good characters. And I love how the characters struggle with some real issues. Like why bad things happen and if it is possible to earn favor into heaven with God. I think the book blurs the lines from fiction and fact well, possibly making many of the readers want to explore more into the Bible to discover the facts. During the middle and the ends of the book the plot keeps going faster and has more twists and turns. I do feel that the author left the book open ended for possibly a sequel. I really enjoyed this book and felt like I was gaining a secret look into the time of Moses.

I was provided a copy of this book for the purpose of a review by , I was not paid to give a good review. These thoughts are mine alone.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baby things and baby feelings.

It is still so surreal to me that we are having another baby. But slowly the pictures come into my head of holding a baby, taking Joslyn and her little bro/sis to the park. All sorts of little images that I never thought I would be having pop into my head. Poor John I am so emotional I am able to snap at him in 1.5 seconds as where before I normally had a cool head. This weekend we were talking about all the things we were going to have to by for another baby. Because of our big move into a tiny apartment, we got rid of as much as possible. I am big into recycling and try to reuse things often so that we are not wasteful, so it is heartbreaking to think we need everything over again.

Oh how I love hand-me-downs! We have been so fortunate to have friends that are willing to hand down clothes that their kids wear. So we always do the same. I think it is such a blessing to be able to give something away to someone that really needs it. A lot of our clothes and baby items went to the local crisis pregnancy center when we lived in Chickasha. I was picky about who I gave to because I wanted the people who really needed it, to be able to get it and not have to pay for it. Hannah's Heart in Chickasha was started by a lady who wanted to make a difference for new mothers that were in need. So she opened a closet in Chickasha, where moms could get things like clothes, baby food, formula and diapers for free. They ran on mostly donations and we loved to donate items to them. I also was able to get items sometimes when Joslyn was running low on clothes. The crisis prgenancy centers here in the city take donations of clothes and supplies. I used to get cans of formula as samples and took the ones we didn't use to the center.

As a Christian it is really easy for me to give help but not as easy to ask for help. The Bible talks a lot about being humble. But the world views humility as weakness. Just look at the people who stand on the corner. In the worlds eyes they are con men and women, choosing that road. But as Christians God asks us to love our neighbors as ourselves, not as lesser people. And He makes no stipulations one only helping people if we feel that they deserve it. So why is it so easy to fall into Satan's trap and become prideful? Because we don't want the World to view us as lazy or unworthy. I would rather look unworthy to a world that will judge me wrongly either way then to be disobedient to God who has loved me unconditionally. In James 1: 9-10 it says "The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower." God is saying that if we take pride in our money or posessions we will waste away when our wealth does. Money is so feeting these days. Security in houses and cars and stocks can all be destroyed in a day. Our security is only secure in the one who built the World, not in the things that are on it. People, money and economy will let you down, but the Lord lifts you up.

It was selfish of me to worry about this baby. Trusting in our own abilities to provide for another mouth to feed, will only let me down. But trusting in God? Well gave me this blessing, He is forming this baby muscle by muscle. So He will provide for this baby. So, when John was talking about looking for stuff we needed to buy I decided to take a risk and ask if anyone had anything we could use. We are spenders. We love to spend and then deal with the consiquences later. But I really want to be humble and be wise with our money. I know that if we are wise with our money then the Lord will bless what we do have. We found something on Craigslist and it would have been a good deal, but that 75 dollars would be something we need later. saving now and spending later that is what I am really trying to learn. So I posted our need on facebook and what do you know. Someone has a bassinet and a swing they are wanting to get rid of. Hallelujah. God will provide all of our needs. If I could just learn this about food, I would be doing really good. So we are still in need of many things and we are just beginning to collect the items that we will need for Baby J2, but I have no doubt that God will provide all that we need. He sends so many great people our way for us to give and take what is needed. Sharing our thoughts and our hearts and our stuff, really is doing God's will.
On another note, I have felt baby move. It is so cool to not have to wait to feel baby for months like last time. Being out of my first trimester already is making this momma very happy! The nausea is starting to calm down and now that I am not dealing with a really bad sinus infection I am much happier. I hope that this week finds you all good and happy. I still pray for you all!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Baby J 2?

It only took one look through that fuzzy black and white screen for me to fall in love with you! Unlike my first pregnancy where I wasn't sure what was happening to me or you at the different stages, I know with you. You are developing perfectly without much of my help. It is only by the design of God that you will be formed. Your perfect chin and face that I will hold one day soon. You little fingers that will hold mine and your daddy's fingers. Your belly that your big sister will blow on. All of it perfect just the way that God makes you. So grow baby grow, with the knowledge that you are perfect just as you are. And that you are very very loved! It was good to see your little arms and legs moving around in my belly. Showing that you are already content in your surroundings. They told me that sometime in October I will get to hold you for the first time. I am super super excited for that day! So grow well baby, Mommy, daddy and sister love you very much!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Yes, today's appointment confirmed it! Joslyn is going to be a big sister. Even as I type these words, my mind is reeling! Another baby! We had not planned for this. We didn't think it was possible for us right now. We are very scared. BUT, God is good and all that he does is good. I cannot deny that God's plan is what is best for me. It always has been and always will be. So yes we are excited. Here's the interesting news. We don't have a clue how far along I am. Normally, you would go by the momma's last period to figure out how far along we are. But, I haven't had a period since October! So yes we are befuddled. My doctor's appointment today was just a $40 confirmation that the stick I peed on wasn't defunct. I was kind of hoping it was a little. But the moment that test came out positive, I could no longer deny the symptoms I have been having. Sore boobs, trouble breathing,  extreme moodiness, sex issues, dizziness and of course nausea. All of these symptoms were just random things I have been dealing with for awhile but never put them together until last week. Even when I decided to take the test I was still thinking I wasn't pregnant. I truly thought that I was depressed and maybe was having early menopause. But alas, I was in the big word denial! When that stick had a plus sign on it I was shocked. What was God doing to me? I wasn't ready for this. I had my life already planned out. My toddler would one day be potty trained and I would send her to school for a few years and then go back to school myself. Get my degree in Computer Aid Design and start making good money from home and raise Joslyn. We would save money, become debt free and get to go on family vacations and have fun with just one child. DENIAL!
But I should have known that God would have different plans for me, he always does. Because as many times I think I have His plan first, it usually is a worldly plan instead. To raise my children right in the way of the Lord and to reach others for His Glory should be my only plan and then he will bless me. This second child will be a blessing like Joslyn will and I can already see him or her, growing and learning and playing. I already desire to see his/her face and hold my baby. I can't wait to see Joslyn as a big sister and watch her teach her younger sibling things. I desire to see her hold this little one and help change diapers. I desire to see her grow up to be a big sister and to protect and be there for her little sibling. I will be calling doctors soon and setting up an appointment to see how long we have to prepare for this little one. I will need your prayers and support as we go on this journey. Thank you for being my family that I can share this with. I love you all!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Adventure 17

It was the weekend after our vacation and I was still in vacation mode. I didn't want to come home and deal with the normal stuff like laundry and dishes. So when i found out that the circus was in town I was so excited. Joslyn had never been to the circus and I hadn't been to one since I was a girl. I was wondering if it would still have the exciting feel as it did to me as a kid. We got there early so we could check out the fun things they had going on. And I looked over and my heart got fluttery. Elephant rides!

When I put ride an elephant on my adventure list I never considered that it would be so easy to accomplish. I remember looking at the State Fair last time hoping they had something like that there, but alas they didn't. So when I looked over and there it was, I was thrilled. The big question was Would Joslyn go with me? We bought tickets and stood in line. We had talked and talked up the elephants before the circus to get her excited about going. So standing in line to ride I showed her that we were going to get to touch an elephant!

We ended up being first in line for our elephant named Viola. Joslyn went on first and was a trouper. Normally a strange guy picking her up would have scared her, but she went with it. Then it was my turn. I looked at that high elephant and said how do i get on? He held his hand out like a stool and offered. I looked at him like he was crazy. He must have been 100 hundred lbs soaking wet, and he wanted my hefty but to stand on his hands? I reluctantly got on and hefted my self on the big beast. Now look, I am no little fairy of a woman. I am big bold and beautiful, but even Viola got nervous when I got on. She started moving back a little and I started to get nervous. I silently said a prayer and thank you to Viola for suffering for my benefit. Turns out she was spooked because I was sitting above the mat and that made her nervous. So they had me scoot back and she calmed down. I patted her head and said thank you sweet elephant! Joslyn was calm the whole time until I got nervous about her being nervous. They loaded a couple other small kids and we were off.
What a ride! Oh I will admit I tried to stay calm while I was on there for Joslyn's sake, but I was terrified! Joslyn was able to pat her head and feel her bristles. Joslyn was fearless! She had fun! Momma did not. I am really glad I did it but I don't think I would ever do it again. Everytime that Viola moved I felt we were going to fall off. I was a nervous wreck until we got off that elephant! A nervous wreck with a smile though! I looked in Viola's sad eyes as we parted ways and thanked her again. I will never understand what it is like for service animals. We all can speculate what they are feeling as they are doing our bidding. Whether it is a service dog, a competition horse, or a circus elephant. All I know is that I will always have respect for the animals. When Adam and Eve took those bites of that apple, they not only changed our lives but the lives of the animals. God created the animals for companions to live in the garden, leisurely lives in Eden to live out eternity. Suddenly thrust in the world to be looked at as food and as the help. Then as sin corrupted all of the Earth, their lush homes turned into desserts and their past companions turned into enemies. I try and remember this as I look at the animals that pass through my life. Gifts from God to his people. Respect and love is something I wish I could convey to everyone in respect to these animals. They aren't playthings or things to abuse, but gifts from God to enjoy and be thankful for.
Thank you God for the animals! Thank you that we have them to share live with, eat and work with. Thank you for their sacrifices for your benefit. Help us to know how best to love and respect the animals and therefore honor you. Thank you for the joy they bring and help us to do our part in taking care of the blessings that you provide for us. In your name amen! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Restaurant Review: Sultan Kabob House in Charlotte, NC

So I have never written a restaurant review on my blog before so I hope I do it justice.
It was March 19th, 2012 when we went to dinner at this little resturant. My brother who has been here many times, called ahead and reserved a table because he had invited quite a few friends to join us. When we showed up at the restaurant I was surprised that we were the only ones there. It was about 6:30, so I assumed that the dinner rush would be full on.

When we got inside, the owner Nari had set up a beautiful table for us. She had blown up balloons and put a birthday decoration on the table. While John paid for the meal I sat down at the table with Joslyn. The restaurant used to have a menu and would serve you individual items that you would order. But being a family owned restaurant, and business being slow, they found better results by serving a buffet with many different favorites of the Mediterranean variety.  The buffet was really cheap, 9.99 all you can eat!

Okay so I really failed here. I didn't get pictures of the food. I didn't know that I was going to do a review until after we were done eating. So I found this pic taken from one of their reviews online. I had these potatoes Harra and they were good, but kinda spicy. I will try and mention as many of the foods that they had there.
 Falafels- I didn't like
Lentil Soup - fabulous
Lamb kabobs - didn't like
Chicken Kabobs - wonderful
curry rice - very good, not a strong curry just light
Tabouli - didn't like
There weremany other things that I was too nervous to try, like Baba ganoush, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and many other things. I think that what I liked most about the restaurant, was the friendly atmosphere. For a mother of a toddler, any restaurant can become a miserable place. Toddlers do not like to sit still for dinner and so keeping them still and quiet can be a hearty task. When we first arrived at the restaurant, I was already seeing that Joslyn was not going to cooperate in the sitting still. She was running around the small room and pulling down the balloons. The restaurant owner, seeing how freustrated I was getting came up to me and said that it was okay. There was nothing she could get into and that her daughter SuSu would play with her if I wanted. I was reluctant but agreed. SuSu was a delight! Helping her mom by picking up the trash and playing with Joslyn and the other little boy that was in our party. Since we were the only party there I was able to relax and let her play. Nadi was blowing up more ballons for the kiddos to play with and occassionally we would all jump when one of them popped. But I was very happy with the relaxed atmosphere and the wonderful service! I give this place 2 thumbs up!
So if you are every in Charlotte, NC and want some Mediterranean food, definitely head to this restaurant!