Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

This thankful thursday morning I am happy to report the flu bug has left the building. 
I managed to escape it's clutches this time, Thank YOU Jesus, but the rest of my (minus Em) family did not. It was a gnarly bug this one and I'm so glad that even though it came on hard, it left fast.

I'm thankful for sisters. My sisters and I group text on a daily basis and sometimes a note from them can change the whole course of my day. It is a relief to know that they are always praying for me and they always have my back. Jenny and Gina are two women in this life that make me feel like I'm the richest woman on planet earth. Not with material possessions, but rich with love and devotion. They remind me that even though my girls might squabble as all teen girls do they eventually will come back around and remember they have a best friend for life. 
I heart them.

I'm thankful that my terrible,  horrible, itchy, scratchy, no good, very annoying, rash is also on it's way out of my life, I hope and pray never to return. It has been lingering for 3 weeks now, and although it was not totally painful it was beyond annoying and bothersome, so I'm glad it's loosing it's strength and leaving me a weakling in it's wake.
I'm thankful for brothers. My brothers Jeremy and Greg are two men in my life that constantly remind me of the JOY that is BOY. Raising two boys, and seeing their friendship develop is really another thing that I'm grateful for. It reminds me of scriptures that say, "There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother" which is in reference to our friendship to Jesus. That means a brothers friendship must be pretty darn close to be closer to us than the Lover of Our Souls. 
I heart them.
And finally, I'm thankful for My Giant. He works faithfully, and consistently to provide for this big family and I am grateful for his leading. I'm thankful for his character and that it is one I can admire and be proud of.
I'm thankful that he knows Jesus, and loves Jesus, and honors Jesus. I'm praying for him with a group of other women who are going through the book The Power of A Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian.
If you want to join along, I will be posting here my highlights from the book, every Wednesday for the next month. 
What are YOU thankful for this thursday?
Linking up Here;
a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut
The Fontenot Four

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday

"You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixon"
Now that you have that tune in your head come along and sing this song and join the family...
wait sorry
I don't mean to confuse you with another song.
Go back to That Rudolph melody up there and try singing this;
You Know Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday 
Cyber Monday
But do you recall the most 
 Important Sale day of all?
Giving Back Tuesday
Had a VERY shiny no.... 
What do you think could we keep going with that lil jingle? 
Oh I think we could, but I don't want to scare you off before I spread the word about what an important day it is
Give Back Tuesday.
 or as NPR(yes I listen to NPR, and yes I am old, and No I'm not offended by that) and CBS called it
Giving Tuesday.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
That's right folks you heard it here first. The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been named Giving Tuesday. And why not? There should be a day that we all remember to give during this holiday season.
You thought that was what Christmas was for, but nope. Today is a day to give not to just those you know but to those you don't know. To not just give wants, but actually provide needs.
“In giving you are throwing a bridge across the chasm of your solitude.”
Antoine de Sante Exupery
Honestly, I had no idea that this day even existed until I heard it on the radio yesterday morning. Good ole' NPR educating and what not. Be honest did you know TODAY is Giving Tuesday?
Probably not. To be fair I think this is the first one. 
“Giving is a universal opportunity. Regardless of your age, profession, religion, income bracket, and background, you have the capacity to create change.”Laura Arrillaga Andreessen
In the NPR report, they said that most people who give to charities are 65 years and older and that non-profit organizations have had a really hard time reaching or motivating younger groups to even donate let alone on a certain day. They also said they felt that was due to the lack of social media's that non-profit organizations don't really play a big role in.
Hmm... SO I thought, why not start a trend.
I'm not 65 years OLD,
But I'm also not 20 years young either.
Maybe between the two of us we can meet in the middle and get this word out
Give Tuesday
So here are some other ladies who wanted to give back and have provided some pretty great ways to do  just that. 
Carina over at Lovely Little Whimsy came up with this cute little button and a link up for us all to enjoy giving together. Go check out some of the ideas she has for ways to give back and then don't forget to link up with her, and I will be there too!
 Claudia has another great way to give back to the blogging community. I believe with all my heart in the power of words and every year when I send out my Christmas cards I pray over each and every address and family that I give those Holiday greetings to. There is power in our words, and power in our prayers so lets give those out in our cards this year.
Christmas Card Swap
Head over to Lashes and Beard and sign up for the Christmas card swap.
And finally, one more final note (and I promise it's not from another silly song)on this GIVE Tuesday I would just like to encourage you to look around.
Today as you head out the door, remember that each and every person you see has a story. 
They have a mom and a dad and people that gave them their start.
Some had good starts with great support, but many do not. 
Remember that sales clerk at Macy's has a story.
Remember that man outside in the cold ringing that bell for the Salvation Army has a story.
Remember that your child's teacher has a story.
Your hair dresser has a story.
“To the wrongs that need resistance, To the right that needs assistance, To the future in the distance, Give yourselves.” Carrie Chapman

Remember that as you walk down the street the mom at the bus stop might just need an extra minute to tell you her story. Even if you have heard it a thousand times, LISTEN. Giving doesn't mean you have to go buy a big screen TV for someone, it can simply mean you smile long, and hard, and on purpose.
Look and Listen for ways to GIVE on this 2012 TUESDAY.
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Luke 6:38

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Pics and Door Prize Winners

Well, we had a wonderful Turkey Day(despite my inconvenient-nasty-horrible-no good rash)  with 18 people at our Village Table.
That's right, I said 18 people. 
Needless to say the day after Turkey day I had three goals, 
Benadryl, Caladryl, and Leftover Turkey Sandwiches. 
I accomplished all three.
I'm sad to say that I'm not only still dealing with an inconvenient- nasty-horrible-no good rash itch and scratch over here, but two of my Fab 4 now have a nasty FLU bug that descended upon us two days after Turkey day.
I'm hoping and praying that none of our guests that day took home more than just a bag of left over Turkey.
Why OH Why does the FLU season have to coincide with the Holiday Season?
It's a bit like an infirmary over here.
My skin is literally burning while I type you this note, but no matter I have important happy news to report.
Breenah, Marci, Sonia, and Shontell you are all winners of our doorprizes from Esthers baby Shower.
Email me with your info to receive your lovely Shower gifts.
Now moving on to what was on my agenda today, being at home with two sickies provides a good amount of time to get those Christmas pics ordered. It's never an issue of what photo place is best, Costco provides the best deal 50 cards with envelopes for 14.99.  Plus, this year they are throwing in some calendars for free too. 
Not too shabby.
choosing the picture for the card that's where things get a little hairy. 
Just call me Shabby Hairy Itchy Scratchy over here!
Ok moving on, I think Benadryl might have had something to do with the above comment.
Alright, help me out here.... Option Number One is the picture up there,  but I'm not sure I like Solomon's non-smile. He's the one at the top of the pyramid of Scofields. I like the lighting, and the fact that we are hanging out in the trees. That's kinda how we live now, in the trees. In fact, you could say these pictures were taken in our back yard.
You could say we live in a tree house, it's okay I won't be offended. 
What do you think?
This one below is also an option. I'm leaning more toward the bottom pic because the smiles are all present, although now that I look twice at it Sol's smile isn't much bigger. But considering the fact that this is the child who hates taking pictures I think it's slightly better. And the eyes are in the right direction,  so there is that. There was some objection from one of the older spawn not liking the way they looked, but that spawn can be overly picky and I tend to think a bit too critical. Besides this spawn probably won't even know which picture I end up picking since most of the cards are going out of state, so I think I'm safe to choose this one. 
What do you think?
Option 1 is of us in the trees.
Option 2 is of us in the trees.
Ok, so the scenery doesn't change much but keep in mind the smiles, the lighting and which one do I look better in? 
Hee hee hee...
Come on Momma's you know part of the perks of picking out the picture for the Christmas cards each year is that you get to choose the one that YOU look the absolute best in. 
Just keeping it REAL yawl !
Oh and wash your hands!!

Cyber Monday Stores You Don't Want To Miss

Hello There Beloved Reader-
It's Cyber Monday. Ya know, in case you missed anything on Friday, today is your chance to buy it on line, as opposed to waiting in line. 
I have some stores that I would love for you to put on your Cyber Monday shopping list.
They all have some pretty great deals going on right now so don't miss out.
First have you ever shopped here, Mibbidesign ? 
Well, if you are a Harry Potter Fan, or a Fan of Jewelry that is so unique no one else will ever have the same thing, or a Fan of the Packaging being as great as the gift itself, or just of all things Britain then this is the store for you.  Head over there and tell my friend Livvy I sent you.
Maybe pick up some of these cuties while you are there.

Are you of THE Black Friday shop til you drop kind of cloth? Well, I am NOT.
My sister Bean(aka Gina) is though, and every year when we lived in the same state she would drag my sorry, tired butt out of bed for the tradition of early morning shopping. 
The only problem with me and early mornings is that I'm not generally awake until around the decent hour of ... oh say... 10 a.m. 
I mean you can see me on a weekly basis up at around 6:30 getting those teens out the door, but don't be deceived. Because although my eyes may be open, my mind is still in slumber.
SO add that kind of droopy- dozy- headed state of being + ATM card in her hand you have a recipe for disaster.
Most Black Friday's with Bean,I would come home, survey the damage and have NO CLUE what I bought or who I bought it for. 
But, hey I got it all at Bargain Basement prices. 
I'm done with bargain basement- butt-crack-o-dawn shopping. 
Bring those deals to comfort of my living room with a hot cup of Joe in my hand and we are in business.
That's why I love Cyber Monday.

If you are like me and you are looking for a store you can shop from the comfort of your living room then,

The next store that should be on your Cyber Monday Shopping list is this one, Lovely Little Whimsy
This shop has something for everyone. Beautiful scarves, sweet baby head bands, and some dainty jewelry pieces that I know you don't want to miss out on. My friend Carina has a sale going on today  so head on over there and tell her I sent you. 
Maybe pick out something like this to keep you warm this winter.
I just love that color so much. Don't you just love that color?

Now speaking of warm you might want to head over here to Knitted Simplicity
I'm in love with this piece.
 I think that would do the trick to keep my "neck meat" warm this winter. 
What do you think? If you do head over to Knitted Simplicity, please Tell Sarah I sent you.
And if you still haven't found just the right gift after all those amazing places please OH please go say hello to my friend Hannah
So there you have it folks those would be my Cyber Monday shops for you to check out. 
Oh and of course my shop, Nodots Shop has a 30% off sale today only. 
Happy Shopping !!
Check back later today for the Door Prize winners announcement. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scratch, Itch, Scratch

This week I've been working REAL hard on "counting it ALL joy" even though the "all" involved a whole lotta scratching and itching!
My body is protesting something fierce, and it's picket signs came by way of a rash.
Not the greatest topic for a blog on Thanksgiving eve, but none the less, this is where I have been living this past week Beloved Reader, and you are my outlet.
In between itching and scratching I have moved furniture to try and accommodate the 16 people that I am honored to have sit at our Thanksgiving table this year.
And then I was back to scratching.
I went to the grocery store in shifts this year so I didn't stress out.
I shopped first for appetizers.
Then for Drinks.
Then for ... well you get the idea.
Speaking of stress 
Hmm... stress... maybe this rash is my bodies way of saying you are stressed and you don't even know it??
I debated going to the Dr. all week, but I was pretty sure Dr. Gina would just tell me what I already knew, try not to scratch, take some Benadryl, and use an anti itch lotion.
I went to go see her today, and she told me...
"Try not to itch, take some Benadryl, and use and anti itch lotion" 
Oh, and the peace of mind that I am not going to give 16 people this 
All of the Doc Gina's orders I'm doing except minus the not scratching part.
I'm trying,  Lord knows I'm trying, but do you even know how hard it is not to scratch when all you want to do is scratch, scratch, scratch?!?

And let's talk about the word scratch for a minute.
Doesn't even the sight of the word make you want to scratch?
It's such a harsh word.
So blunt.
SO brutal.
So not nice.
It's like the word 
See, I got you there, now your feeling what I'm saying.
But, now tell your body NO you can't do that.
Don't you want to do it even more?
So here I sit on the eve before a feast and I'm trying so hard to follow Dr's orders and to be thankful even for this.
YOU are helping me.
See, by keeping my hands typing I'm not scratching.
 I'm thinking about how thankful I am for YOU.
But the joy or the gratitude, the thankful heart I have is in this; I have insurance. I have a great Dr. I have this luxury of getting in my car and driving to the store to get medicine. I am NOT contagious. I have a clean house. I have 16 beloved people that will join me on this wonderful day of Gratitude.
For this and so much more, I count it ALL joy!
Oh and I just baked a Carmel Pecan Cheesecake.
I'm pretty sure that will help take the scratch away, in fact I'm surprised that wasn't on the Dr.'s prescription note.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blog Baby Shower and Giveaway

If Carina and I  lived closer to this beautiful Momma  who just had a baby, like just last week, like right after the Storm Sandy came to her neighborhood....

Well, WE would have thrown her a beautiful Baby Shower.

Oh, wait how rude introductions at parties come first.
This is beautiful Esther. 
She writes over here ; Lovingly Thrown Together.
She is the momma to this cute lil man Jake
Is He not the cutest little man you have ever seen?

And now she is the momma to the Star of This Show sweet Siena.

Yes, so as you can see with that lil cute smile up there, and that precious little peanut, she's one busy momma already, as are we all, but never too busy for our blogger buds or for a fellow momma right ladies??
When I thought about the amazing bloggers group that is out there, and that would have surrounded her and encouraged her before this baby got here, if only we lived closer I got a little choked up.

And then I thought, why can't we still do that ?
I want to do that. 
I I asked Carina to help me host this shin dig... and away we go...!

Welcome TO


So here's the deal;
If you want to give Esther a gift to your Shop leave the link in the comment section with the details of what you are giving her and I will contact you with her email.
If you want to send her something in the mail leave a comment and I will email you her address.
If all you can do to bless this young momma is become a new reader and follow her blog GFC then 
You can do that HERE. Please do, she is amazing trust me you won't be disappointed.
And if you want to leave Esther and the baby a blessing or send some vitamin LOVE her way, please leave that in the ... you guessed it.... the comment section below.
And Just like any good baby shower that has games, we know there should be
SO FOR every comment you leave you will be entered into a giveaway.
If you become a new GFC follower to Esther let us know here and you will be entered to win again.
Visit these stores to see what you might walk out the door with;
Maybe a lil something, something from  
 Hannah ,
Carina ;)
But before gifts I thought you should know what kind of Baby Shower you would have attended.
I would have decorated with these.
They are my new favorite at the sewing machine.

And made her a cake that looked like this. 
Ok, well maybe I would have bought a cake that looked like that.

And YOU would have been invited to join in some fun games, great conversation, and coffee (of course there would be coffee)
We would have had egg salad sandwiches, and I would have had those pastel sugary- minty- melt- in- your -mouth candies all over.
We would have prayed a blessing over her and the baby that goes something like this;

Thank you Father God for Esther and for this new life.
Thank you for getting Siena here safely despite the storms of life.
We ask that you would give good health and overflowing joy to them as begin this journey of the mother daughter relationship.
Give Esther and Phil wisdom, trust, and peace in you as they now lead the way for two little ones. 
We pray you give this little one ears to hear and eyes to see you at the youngest age possible.
And WE Thank you so much for all your incredible blessings.
In your name Jesus we pray. 

Don't forget to get some cake on your way out ;)
or leave a comment so you can win.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Hello There Beloved Reader,
Have I ever told you that Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday?
Well, it is, and I will tell you why.
Because, in every life there will be good days, bad days, and even horrible no good very bad days. But even on those horrible, no good, very bad days if you look closely you can still find something to be thankful for.
I believe with all my heart that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for, and that's why I love the holiday that celebrates gratitude.
I think a thankful heart is contagious, and that is also why I love the link ups on Thankful Thursdays.
So here I am, 
One week before the actual DAY of Thanksgiving and I find that I am thankful for being thankful.
Corny as it may sound, I am thankful for my grateful heart.
There are a lot of close friends and even family who are going through some very tough times right now. My heart hurts for them, but their hardships only seem to illuminate my abundant blessings.
I suppose that with every life you can always find someone that has it worse and someone that has it better than you.
I realize it's easy to keep a perspective of gratitude when everything is gravy and all roads lead to mashed potatoes(ha ha, did you like that?)
But, it's those tough moments in life that you make you who you are, and my tough moments have taught me to always, always, always look for the silver lining.
How does the saying go?
"It's not happy people who are thankful, it's Thankful people who are happy"
I think that's how it goes, and I have to say that I totally agree.
With that I give you just a small portion of my list of thanks this morning;
I'm thankful for old friends. 
I'm thankful for community.
I'm thankful for pictures.
Oh my goodness would you look at this Stud-Muffin, I mean just look at my Baby, so grown up and cute, with his hand in his pockets all stud like and what not !!
I'm thankful for Fall and the beautiful colors that surround me.
I'm thankful for little kids that are not in double digits yet.
I'm thankful for young adults who are in double digits.
I'm thankful for my "walk and talks" with my Dad, and sister Bean.
I'm thankful for some much needed time with my Giant.
I'm thankful for texting.
I'm thankful for my sewing machine.
I'm thankful for food, really good food.
I'm thankful for Mulled Wine.
I'm thankful for God's never ending faithfulness and love.
I'm thankful for the written word.
I'm thankful for a warm cozy cabin.
I'm thankful for my new tattoo.
I'm thankful for holidays, and menus, and mashed potatoes.
I'm thankful for the abundance that my country has been blessed with.
I'm thankful for "new days, fresh with no mistakes" in them.
I'm thankful for art.
I'm thankful for music.
And I'm thankful for thankfulness.
What are YOU thankful for today on this Thankful Thursday?
Linked Up Here
The Fontenot Four
a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A New Tattoo

I got a new tattoo last night.
Not many of you know this but, my Giant is a tattoo artist.
All the ink I have came from him except the two crosses on my fingers.
Those are the handy work of "Slick Rick" from Sparks NV.
What a hot dog that guy was.
So the story goes like this, back in 2008 I had saved some money for Mo to get a new tattoo for his father's day present. Upon giving him the money he said, "Why don't I just order a tattoo gun and try to tattoo myself? Worse case scenario is I'll end up with some funny marks and a great story" 
We got a kit for 200 bucks, it came with a DVD, some fake skin, and Mo taught himself how to permanently mark his body with ink. 
Crazy, right?

Right, well my son Solomon is also an artist like his dad. 
When I asked Mo for a new tattoo with the theme "Smile At The Rain" he said, let's have Sol draw it.
So the drawing above is my 11 year olds version of,  Smile At The Rain.
I'd say he's following in those big footsteps wouldn't you?

It's funny, I never thought I would be a person that would have tattoos. 
I certainly never imagined my kids would draw up tattoos for me.
I wasn't your rebellious teen who couldn't wait to show her parents that she had a mind of her own so she went out and got a unicorn on her hip.
That wasn't me.
But, here I am all inked up by my boys and their creative genius, and I gotta tell ya it makes me smile SO big.
This new art reminds me of that fact that in this life there will be rain,
 but when you learn to smile at those rainy days, you learn the key to a happy life.
It also kinda reminds me of one of favorite musicals.
Today I'm singing in the rain people, and it feels pretty damn good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christmas Photos √

This past weekend we took family pics for Christmas cards.
The photo above is just a teaser, of my oldest and my youngest who spontaneously wanted to take that picture. 
Melt my heart. 
I have to tell ya, this is not an event that anyone in our family looks forward to. I love the end result, but the getting there, not so much.
Over the years this event(family picture day) has changed quite a bit. I remember when my kids were little I would get all twitter patted over what they would wear, how their hair looked, what My Giant would wear and so on and so forth. 
Now, I'm good if we all get out the door with some what of a theme, clean clothes and if we make it through the event with out any major melt downs.
Do you know what I'm saying?
I have to report that this past Saturday was a success. Thanks to our amazing resident photographer Dana, who made the experience much more enjoyable we now have some new photos of us all together.
If you are still preparing for those Christmas photos this year let me give you some tips.
1. Don't sweat the small stuff.
2. Try to have fun because this will be evident in the final product.
3. And hire a great photographer who exudes joy.

Thank YOU Dana, we appreciate and are grateful for you.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Flashback Friday

My Flashback for you this week is a movie called Move Over Darling. It is a movie about a woman who comes back from being supposedly dead for almost 5 years. She returns to find that her husband has moved on and married another and the whole movie is about her trying to stop them from consummating the marriage. It's actually quite comical the lengths they are both willing to go to keep this new bride out of the loop. The husband then finds out that his old wife was stuck on an island the whole time with a good looking fella.  The old wife tries to lie and say it was an ugly man that she wasn't attracted to. She even sets up a fake meeting using Don Knotts as the "ugly guy from the island" so that her husband won't be jealous. Because, who could be jealous of Don Knotts? Poor Don Knotts, always gets cast as the ugly, goofy guy. Anyways, it's your classic funny old movie and I thought it was really cute.
It brought up all kinds of questions like what would you do if your loved one was dead? 
How long would you wait before "moving on" so to speak?
I have always said since the moment Mo and I married that if he ever passed away I wouldn't re-marry. I got hitched when I was only 20 years old so that was quite a shocking thing to say back then, but I always felt like I couldn't imagine my life with any other. Not much has changed between then and now, except that we reproduced. And I'm too old and too tired, my plate is too full and.... Man Alive that Sounds Terrible!!

Mo used to say that he would re-marry when we were younger, (It used to hurt my feelings) but last night I heard him say that now he doesn't think he would.  That made me laugh, because I feel I have broken him. I know what he means though, because after all these years of marriage where we have had our fair share of UPs and DOWNs, you realize that a good marriage is hard work, and I think neither one of us are willing to work this hard again, ya know? Anyways,  It is such a funny hypothetical conversation to have with your person, and I suggest that if you do decide to have this talk remember that it's not real. 
They aren't really cheating on you !!
Moving on...

Now it's time for what I like to call a little FBF- if you are new here this is a link up for blogs that are a year or older. You find an old post that you want others to read or re-read, grab a cute lil VW button and link it up. Don't forget to at least comment on one other link up, that's where all the fun happens. 
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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Thankful Thursday

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” 
                                       Mother Teresa

This Thankful Thursday morning I am so beyond grateful for my recent trip to Nevada to be with my family. On Sunday, I got to surprise my mom and dad who share the same birth DAY. They were both born on November 4th, but 4 years apart. 4 is kind of their number. Their birthday is the reason that they even met. A mutual friend of theirs 42+ years ago set them up on a blind date because of it, and the rest... well it's MY history.

“I sustain myself with the love of family.”  Maya Angelou  

My parents are without a doubt my heroes. 42 years married, 5 children, 6 grandchildren, a faith in Christ that is inspiring, those are just some of the reasons I look to them for inspiration. This past summer my dad had some major health issues and so this birthday I was especially grateful for his 71 years of life.  Nothing like a little brush with almost death to appreciate the everyday moments.

“you can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”
― Frederick Buechner

Another life I'm really thankful for this morning is my brother Greg's. That's him in between my sister Jen and I on his birthday. He was born the day right after my mom and dad's birthday on November 5th. My mom tells the story that she was at her birthday party 35 years ago, big and pregnant and she started to get contractions so she had a glass of wine to relax her. Well it did relax her, so much so, that Greg was born the very next day. Huh, funny thing is though the "relaxed" effect didn't linger. Nope, that kid is full of more energy than Red Bull on Crack! Seriously though,  My brother is all kinds of amazing. He is a truer, than true friend and I'm thankful I also get to call him my brother.
I got to see this little sweetie, my niece Sophia that I have nicknamed #lastminutebiscuit , because she was born on Dec 31st last year. I can hardly believe that this biscuit is going to be 1 year old soon. She is walking and talking and I was bound and determined to teach her my name while I was there. I kept saying can you say....  Auntie N-o-e-l....  Auntie N-o-e-l? She just smiled at me so sweet and cute like. It melted my heart every time. The good thing about the beginning of my name is that its the start of another word that most lil's learn to say pretty quick(NO!!) so I'm pretty sure my name will beat out her other Auntie's and Uncles.  Well, and even if she just goes around saying NO!! I'll take the credit for that too ;)
Are there any words that an Auntie can say to express the joy within that our nieces and nephews bring to us? All I can think of to say is that my nieces, even my oldest niece Kaylanne who I haven't seen in far too long, brings me such joy. When I see a part of my siblings, or my sister-in-love Hillary who is no longer with us, in my nieces it makes my heart swell with joy. They are JOY incarnate to me. There I tried, to express what a niece or nephew can do.

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” 
 Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

The final above quote is truly what I'm thankful for today because, I realize that my family of origin, is a rare gift. The older I get the more I realize how rare this gift, my family, truly is. I deeply love and admire each and every one of my siblings, and my parents. To have had the health and good fortune that we claim, through the Grace of God, is without words the greatest gift a life could ever behold.

Linking Up Here and Here

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

PNW meet up

This past Saturday I got the immense pleasure of going the PNW blogger meet up in Portland Oregon.
I drove down with Carina from Lovely Little Whimsy and Erika from Rouge and Whimsy.
The Paper Mama Blogger Meet Up
I loved sharing the road trip time with these "whimsical" ladies who are amazing, talented, smart, beautiful, and amazing.
Yes, I meant to mention their amazing-ness twice.  See that's me hoping, wishing, praying that their amazing-ness rubbed off on me in the back seat of Carina's car, on the car ride down.

The road trip from Seattle to Portland this time of year was beautiful. I have made this trip from Seattle to Portland countless times, but it never ceases to amaze me the beauty that is right outside my front door.  There was a point in our trip when a train was coming down the tracks, and the backdrop was a breath taking, beautiful Fall foliage, and I am pretty sure my heart skipped a beat.
When we arrived in Portland, even though I had packed us all snack bags, our bellies were rumbling so laid before us was the difficult task of choosing a place to eat in a town that has a plethora  of "Foodie" food LOVER options. 
We chose to eat( pretty unanimously, and without even a doubt)  at a McMenamins.
Sidenote- If you have never been to a McMenamins in Oregon do yourself a favor and hop on that train.
It's a good one.
This was my view from the table where we sat outside and soaked up the good conversation, great food, and even better... 

A Ruby.
Beer lovers take note-
McMenamins+ Ruby= Good Times.
The description of this wonderful delight can be seen below.


"One of our most popular standards, we still make Ruby with the same aims we had when brewing the first batch back in March 1986:  To create an ale light, crisp and refreshingly fruity. Great Western Premium 2-row and 42 pounds of Oregon-grown and processed raspberry puree is used to craft every colorful batch. Simple but delicious.  Taste the original!"

And that was just the pre-blog meet up events, Now moving on to where the event itself was held. It was held in a store called West Elm. Honestly, I had never heard of this store before this event, and in my silly- over -crowded- with- information- brain, I thought West Elm sounded kinda like a  Best "West"ern, and I assumed it was at a hotel.
Just in case you haven't heard of West Elm either, it is NOT a hotel, and SO NOT a Best Western ;) 

West Elm was a beautiful venue to have this really beautiful event. It is packed full of gorgeous 
furniture, and owl mugs.  Yes, I was eye balling these beauties  for only 8.00 all night long.
Did I mention they gave away a $50 gift card to go shopping that night? I didn't get it, but if I had, I think I would have bought one of these cuties in every color.

Yes to me, West Elm was like a land flowing with "Milk and Honey" or at least it was flowing with  Wine and Cute Little Pumpkin cakes with carmel sauce drizzled on top provided all free of charge by Whole Foods.Thank you West Elm and Whole Foods.

Now onto the nitty gritty, the actual Meet Up. As I stood in line to get my swag bag and name tag I started to realize what an awesome, but uniquely strange event this meet up really was.
Meeting people that you feel you already know because you have read about their lives online is weird.

There I said it.
It really is weird.
It's weird in a good way.
But none the less weird.

It's weird because you talk about life from an angle that is very contrived.
I'm not saying that blogs or bloggers are contrived. Not at all, it's just that until you really stand face to face in front of a person, and ask questions and get answers that you don't have time to think about and then respond to, your relationship is fragmented at best.
Does that make sense?
You can't really know whether you would really be great face to face friends until... you are face to face.
Online persona plays a huge part.
The courage that one might feel behind a computer screen is very different than what you feel when you are actually in a room full of virtual strangers. And I use the term virtual strangers quite literally.
But, here's where the weird part occurs, you realize you are all in the same boat.
The Life boat, 
The blogger boat.
It's a boat I like.
Going to this meet up was me stepping out of the boat of "just" blogger friends, into the waters of face to face friends. These are friends indeed, and I'm extremely grateful for each and every new friend I made that night.
I had so much fun meeting these incredible women and ONE man.
Yes there was ONE male blogger there.
I like this world. 
I like these amazing people who have taken blogging to a whole new level.
And I'm ready for some more "meetin' up!"
When's the next one?

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