Friday, December 28, 2012

Lilly Love

So, I don't know if you know this or not, but the word "fan" is actually an abbreviation of the word FANATIC.

I said that because I am a fan . . . okay I'm a FANATIC of Lilly Pulitzer.  Such a fan, in fact, that I even know that her birthday was just a few weeks ago on November 10th!

Who is Lilly Pulitzer, you ask? 

Well first of all, shame on you for not knowing, especially if you call yourself a southern girl or a girly girl!

"It all started in a juice stand" in 1959!  Lilly is a designer I LOVE (yes, we're on a first name basis . . . at least from my end we are!)  I've mentioned Lilly before.  She is a designer that I love!

She has been called the "Queen of Prep."   Her bright, cheerful, clothes are popular and have been worn by actresses, First Ladies, and me. :)  (I keep such good company!)  And also by my cousin, Jen, who I just HAVE to mention because she introduced me to my obsession love of Lilly years ago. 

Check them out, I bet you will be hooked too! www.lillypulitzer.com

Oh, and by the way, now in addition to ladies' clothes, the Lilly line carries children's and men's clothes, shoes, jewelry, bedding and more!  Man, I sound like a commercial for Lilly.  But I can't help myself!  I love her!

Lilly lovers know that there is no comparison, and just wearing Lilly has been known to make your day better!

From my side of the fence, every day (even cold days!)  should be a Lilly Day!

Cathy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Not a Diet


I don't know if you have seen the movie Kindergarten Cop before, but it's so funny.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is a cop who impersonates a Kindergarten Teacher in order to catch a crook.  In the movie, there is this one kid who is a total fatalist and constantly says, "Maybe it's a tumor!"  Finally, in a moment of madness, Arnold's character yells "It's not a tumor!"  Only in Arnold's voice it sounds like, "It's not a tuma."

That story has nothing to do with this blog other than when I think of the title, "It's Not a Diet," I think of Arnold's voice saying it like his character in Kindergarten Cop saying "It's not a tuma!" 

Truthfully, I kind of feel the same frustration he must have felt in that moment, because I keep telling myself I need to go on a diet, but my other self says, "It's not a diet!"

In an effort to be open and transparent ( like some friends I so greatly respect) I am going to share with you, my blogger friends, about a struggle I have called weight. I have struggled with my weight since our youngest son was born, 12 years ago. Before then, I never struggled with my weight.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted.  But not now. No way. Just looking at a piece of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory makes me gain 5lbs!

My goal is to loose weight and be the healthiest mom I can be.  So today, I started a journey, (ok, i started it again, for the 100th time!)  My journey to good physical health.

In the past, I have consulted nutritionist, trainers, you name it!  I have gone to them for the quick fix on loosing weight. News flash, there is no quick fix. The thing is, I KNOW how to lose weight and get healthy!  I know that 80% of a weight issue is what we put in out mouths,  and 20% is from some sort of work out that gets your blood flowing. I know the right and wrong way, I know the foods, to eat, I know how to do interval training, and the list goes on.  

I just struggle to do it.  

I am asking each of you to pray for me as I start this journey for the FINAL time. Yes, I said final. I am taking all of the knowledge I have gleaned over the years and the encouragement of friends, and I have set goals to loose weight and get healthy. I am not using a trainer (been there done that).   I am not using a prepared meal plan (done that too). I am going to be eating clean, small portions, 5-7 times a day, no and I mean NO processed foods, and I am starting to train again for a little race in January. 

Feel free to message and ask me how this journey is going. I welcome the accountability. I will keep you all posted. 

From my side of the fence, I'm pretty darn excited to think about myself at this time next year.  I'm gonna be one smokin' hot mama!  (HA!  My friend Carol told me I had to say that!)

Cathy

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some are Called to Go; Some are Called to Give

I want to tell you guys about an incredible woman today.  Her name is Sammie Smimmo, and on January 1, 2013, she will leave Houston, Texas, and begin a journey that will take her through 65 cities, with stops at 52 Homeless Shelters in 52 Weeks.  A documentary of her journey will be filmed and book will be written that will share this amazing look at the homeless in our nation.

Her purpose?  To take the message of Hope to people who seemingly have no hope.  And to raise awareness for the homeless situation in this country.  (Did you know that more than 50% of the homeless in our nation are women and children?  I am ashamed to say that I used to think that homeless people were all drunks or drug addicts. Not true, I have learned).

Sammie's story is pretty amazing.  She went from being a millionaire to being homeless, all in just a few short months.  Her husband, a drug addict and philander left her after 16+ years of marriage.  Depression, of course, took over, and one night she took herself to the hospital, thinking she was having a heart attack.  In reality, it was just a panic attack, but while there, they discovered a lump in her breast.  A lump that turned out to be cancer.

Sammie lost it all.  Her marriage, her business, her health, and her home.  She went from living in a palatial home to living in a tool shed with no running water (no bathroom, no shower, all while struggling through brutal chemotherapy!)

During that time of incredible personal loss, Sammie discovered a deep love for Jesus.  And He called her to work with the homeless.  Since that day, she has worked 7 days a week (even during chemo and the 17 cancer related surgeries she had to have afterward!) feeding and loving the Homeless.

When asked why she is going on this journey across the country, she said simply, "People on the street need to know that they matter.  They need to know that someone knows they exist; that God knows they exist.  And they need to know that there is hope for them.  I'm going because God told me to go."

I want to help Sammie on this incredible journey.  There are many ways each of us can help.  Some can give money.  Some can host Sammie when she is in your city.  And I've thought of another incredible way you can help!  Sammie will be living out of her car and providing food and Bibles out of her car for the THOUSANDS of people she will meet on this journey.  And to do that, she needs a way to be organized and to carry all of her stuff.  (ah hem . . . throat clear noise . . .)  I just HAPPEN to be a 31 Gifts Consultant and we just HAPPEN to sell a product that will both help Sammie get organized and to carry all her stuff.

This is where you come in!  I have a list on my website of all the totes that Sammie needs.  But we have to do this fast because as I said, she's leaving on January 1, 2013!  If you want to help, go to  www.mythirtyone.com/catherinehenry, click on events and then Sammie. There you can purchase one of the organizing utility totes or the large utility totes.  And, just to be sure you guys don't think I'm doing this to promote my own business, I'm giving 100%, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of my profit to Sammie's trip!

From my side of the fence, I see a big chance to make a big difference in the life of someone else.  Some of us are called to go, some are called to give.  I'm glad Sammie's going.  And I want to join her by giving!  Will you join me?

Cathy

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I, Cathy Henry, Am a Duck Fan


Our family is hooked on a new show called Duck Dynasty. I know what you are thinking, someone who loves Lilly Pulitzer, pink and green, tiaras and monograms, and is KNOWN for being a girlie girl! . . . a show called Duck Dynasty?! 

If I have to pass blame, it's to our oldest, "D", who started us on the show. He kept telling us we had to watch it because it was soooooo funny! 

And he was right!  Omgosh!

Yep, we love it. 

Maybe it is because it takes me back to my roots of the south, where guns and camo and old fashioned values all matter. Maybe it's because I grew up with all brothers and now have sons. 

But whatever the reason, it's great!  The show is about a family from Louisiana who has made millions $ making duck calls.  The "founding father", Phil Robertson is the neatest man. He loves life and is always positive. He loves God, his family, and his country, and he is not afraid to tell anyone about it!  

He stands on principle and the truth. He stands on the Word of God, and that's rare to see now days. At the end of the show they always close with the family around the table, heads bowed, praying.  What a great way to end a show and a day.  

There is no profanity, no ugliness, only laughter,  and lots and lots of pranks.  It's about knowledge and love being passed from one generation to the next. That's it!  Now this is family TV. I laugh till I cry almost every time.  (On a recent episode, they were all in the forest picking Muscadine berries.  Their Uncle Si bent over and picked up a berry off the ground and ate it, then said, "That tastes like crap!" (okay, maybe there's a little bit of language!) His nephew looks down and says, "Did you eat berries out of that pile right there?"  And Uncle Si said, "Yes."  Everyone died laughing and the nephew said, "Uncle Si, that's a pile of coon turds!  When was the last time you had your eyes checked?"  I laughed until I cried.  Yes, "I" watch this show! 

My favorite saying is from Phil Robertson. He says "Happy, Happy, Happy" I love that! 

From my side of the fence, I think TV needs a lot more "reality" shows like this one.  Love, values, and just plain old fashioned fun!  If you haven't seen it, it comes on A&E on cable.


Cathy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Decorating Makes My Heart Happy


I am not a cold weather girl, 
(my parents have said I have salt water in my veins, and I think I do. 
I like it hot and the sun shining!)


The only exception to this is for the holiday season.  I love the holiday season!
I love everything about it.  (Even the cold!)

I so enjoy listening to Christmas carols and decorating our home.



And decorating for Christmas, bringing out all the special ornaments and things the boys have made over the years...this makes me as happy as a warm summer day! :)












I have added a few new decorations this year, of course ideas I got from Pinterest!!




From my side of the fence, I think every season should be as awesome as Christmas.  Then I'd never miss the beach.  (Who am I kidding, that's totally not true!)

Cathy


...off to finish up the decorating!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Traditions




So, as I was having a conversation about holiday traditions with a friend of mine the other day, she asked me if I was going to blog about what we do for Thanksgiving, and I thought, “Well, I guess I should.”

I mean, that’s kind of the point of a blog isn’t it?  Giving you all the cruicial details of my life and family and life habits and traditions and dinner menus and such. 

So as I sat down and thought through our family holiday traditions, I was really overwhelmed by how much I love my family.  I know this isn’t a surprise to any of you, and it’s certainly not a surprise to me, but sometimes I am just overcome with how blessed I am to have the family I have.

Really, it’s what I love so much about this time of year.  And of course we have traditions we cherish.  For starters, no Thanksgiving Day is complete without the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I love the music and dancing.  It makes me stop and think about ALL I really have to be thankful for, and I realize once again how much the Lord has blessed me.

Then we almost always go to my oldest brother's home. My brother smokes a turkey and ham.  The girls, (my mom, sister in laws, and myself) make all the sides.  (of course we all have our certain ones that we ALWAYS make.) The men, silly boys, always ask for the same thing EVERY year...strawberry "salad" (which consists of jello, whipped topping, pretzels, and strawberries), deviled eggs, dressing, (yummy) spinach casserole, squash casserole, and sweet potato souffle.  These are the things we MUST have!  (Don' t even think of  subtracting something from the menu or the men will revolt!)

It seems our large family likes tradition, even when it’s with the food!

Another tradition we have is that we always draw names for Christmas, on Thanksgiving.   Once our family got so big, it was just easier to draw names, and it makes it more personal we have found over the years.


Of course there is the tradition of the lighting of the great Christmas tree in Atlanta. We don’t ever miss it! 

From my side of the fence, I have to say that I just love tradition, and I love the holidays! 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours~
Cathy



 Shhh. I am adding something
 (don't worry, I am not removing one 
thing from the menu!) hor d'oeuvres, 
something I found on pinterest, http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/appetizers-and-snacks/jalapeno-bacon-and-cream-cheese-bites/ 

I am so excited about this!  I will let you know what kind of reviews my family gives!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Top Ten Ways to Grow Your Direct Sales Business

I know I've mentioned this before (okay probably many times) but I am a Thirty-One Director.  I am a part of a great company that produces an amazing product that everyone can use.  I love this picture because it's the day I was recognized as a "Director."  There's nothing like having your name in GIANT PRINT to motivate you to succeed!
Direct sales work is a home-based business.  I am my own boss.  I get to decide if I succeed or if I fail.  I am basically self-employed.
And let me tell you, it's not easy to be self-employed.  You have to be motivated every day to be "out there" selling your product, yourself, and your business. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to grow my business.  I want it to be all it can be, all it should be, and so I think about, read about, talk about how to grow a direct sales business all the time.
So between all this talking, reading and thinking, I came up with my "TOP TEN WAYS TO GROW YOUR DIRECT SALES BUSINESS."  I hope this helps you get you re-focused on your business and all the potential it has! It sure helped me to sit down and write these things down and start doing them!

MY TOP TEN
  1. Make 7 phone calls a week related to new business.  In the case of Thirty-One Gifts, the company I work with, this means asking for new bookings. Remember, you will probably get about 1 yes for every 4-5 no's, so don't give up!  Because you won't get ANY yeses if you aren't asking!
  2. Write down your weekly and monthly goals and put them somewhere you will see them EVERY DAY!  I create a "note" on my iphone, then screenshot it and save it as my wallpaper.  So literally every time I get on my phone, I see my goals.
  3. Share the opportunity about your business with at least 4 people a month (this is for those of us that are trying to recruit people).
  4. Showcase your products...purses and totes? CARRY THEM.  Jewelry? WEAR IT.  Make up? USE IT. Whatever you have, use it daily so people see and want it too!
  5. Do a drawing via facebook or email once a month for a giveaway to all your hostesses and customers...it doesn't have to be something big. No matter what it is, people love to win something, anything!
  6. Hand out 5 of your business cards EVERYDAY! Dry cleaner, restaurant, your child's school, doctor's office, you name it! You never know where that business card or even a business catalog may end up! :)
  7. Offer to do a fundraiser for a local organization and giving back a portion of your profits! People always like to support their favorite cause and getting something in return is extra fun!
  8. Don't allow other people to run your business...book parties on days that are convenient for you.  After all, you are your own boss for a reason, right?
  9. Always, always, always send a handwritten thank you note the day after an event or party. Thank the hostess or customer for using you and supporting your business! People will always remember the business owner that had the "attitude of gratitude" and they will come back!
  10. Have fun! Enjoy what you do! People are drawn to positive energy and positive people!
From my side of the fence, I love getting to do what I do.  I can't believe everyone doesn't own at least one Thirty-One tote because they really are that good.  I hope you feel that strongly about your product or business! Oh, and feel free to check out my business here: www.mythirtyone.com/catherinehenry

Let me know how these things work for your business, I would love to hear back from you!
Cathy

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankful

I'm just thankful.

Thankful for God's grace and mercy in my life.

Thankful for second chances, and 3rd, and 4th.

Thankful for a husband who loves me the skinny me, the not-so-skinny me, the moody me and the almost always happy me.

Thankful my parents picked me, or rather that the Lord picked my parents for me. :)

Thankful God blessed me with children, sons, (whom I love to the moon and back and with all my heart).

Thankful for my brothers AND the amazing women they married (so now I have sisters)!

Thankful for my mother-in-law.  I really love her.

Thankful for cousins (one who is like a sister to me) aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Thankful for my friends.... God has blessed me with friends that "stick closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24
if you are looking for a great book about grace, joy and a thankful heart, check this one out....
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp

Today, I am overwhelmed with a thankful heart.

What are you thankful for? Post below and share with me.

Cathy


Monday, November 5, 2012

SURPRISE!

Other than the joy my husband brings me (just by being himself!) the joy of being a parent is the greatest thing. (Okay, there are lots of things that bring me great joy in my life, but seriously, being a parent ranks WAY up there in the top two!)
I enjoy so much about my sons, but watching them play the sports they love is incredible.  Right now it's basketball season, and that is our oldest son, D's, sport! He transferred this year to a new college, and with that comes some uncertainty about new coaches, new team mates, and playing time of course. I spend a lot of time praying for him, (not all related to sports, of course), but I have prayed and prayed for the Lord to keep him healthy and allow him to shine with the talents I know the Lord has given him! He has such passion for basketball!
Well, now that I have properly set up this story, I have a D. story for you. :)
On Friday of last week, we loaded up and headed 3 hours south to watch him on the road for his team's first game of the season. We were really excited as we traveled down the road, mostly from the anticipation of seeing D., but also knowing we were going to surprise him by being there for his first game! (His little brother even had on his new CCG t-shirt to show his support!) 

We got there right on time, and when D. turned around and saw us, he smiled from ear to ear! Surprise Success!
The joy of his surprise would have totally been enough for me, but he played amazingly well! He was the high scorer of the game with 13 points! (Humor me, it was a proud mom moment ok?!) 
And I may or may not have stood up after his third 3-pointer and yelled "That's my boy!" HA!
We were not able to make it to game #2, which was the next day, but we got the update as soon as it was over . . . 13 points and 7 rebounds!



I hope you enjoyed your surprise, D.  We LOVED surprising you!
"Lord, thank you for blessing this very un-athletic momma with two boys that take after their daddy and love athletics. Thank you for giving them the bodies and desires to pursue their dreams. Lord, please keep them safe from injury (and heal the injuries we already have...son #2 is almost out of a cast from a baseball injury, broken arm)."
From my side of the fence, I am blessed. I love watching my sons play sports and have fun! But mostly, I love being a mom. 

Cathy

Friday, November 2, 2012

He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures

Being a stay at home wife and mother is hard work for many reasons.  That doesn't mean that working outside the home isn't hard, or maybe harder because you (moms, and maybe some dads) are working outside the home and also have to do all the things many stay at home moms do.  But it doesn't mean my job isn't hard.

I  am typically on the go doing something for someone every day.  I'm taxiing people, running errands for my husband or my kids or my family or my neighbors or my friends.  There is a common misconception among people that we stay at home moms have tons of time on our hands, so they are always asking us to do stuff  PLUS, I'm a doer and a server (and an enormous people pleasure), and I find it difficult to say no at times.

Plus, when you are a stay at home wife and mom, there are expectations about the cleanliness of your home and the quality of the meals you cook.  I mean, you're at home all day.  You should have a super clean house, no dirty clothes and a hot gourmet meal on the table, right?

Stay at home moms are supposed to either be homeschooling their kids or volunteering often at their kid's schools, providing snacks at all sporting events, running the booster club, and anything else that might come up related to their kids' interests.

We should be thin from all the time we have to workout.  We should be rested and ready (wink) for our husbands because of all the free time we have on our hands each day.

And we should have figured out how to have a 6 figure income (okay, well at least a 5 figure income) by some incredible stay at home job as well.

Right?

But just for the record, these are my expectations of myself.  I'm sure there are SOME people out there who might also have these expectations of we stay at home moms, but for the most part, I have the greatest expectations of myself.

I think it is because with a personality type like mine, I want to be sure I'm contributing, that I'm pulling my weight.  Honestly, it's why I started selling Thirty One.  And though I love the product (I DO!) and love what I'm doing for myself and for other families, I started doing it because I wanted to feel like I was contributing to my family.

But man, Satan can sure use all of that against me at times.  It's not that I want to be super mom.  I don't.  Or super wife (just ask Ray, HA!)  But I want to know that I am helping my family in every way I can. It's finding the balance that is difficult.

So I'm spending some time at the feet of Jesus asking Him to help me find balance, to give me direction, to show me my worth through His eyes.

From my side of the fence, maybe I'll sit here in the tall grass of His green pasture for a while.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Forgiveness



Sometimes, people you love and that love you, hurt you.  That's a reality of life.  Yet, it is our human nature to protect ourselves from ever being hurt again by holding a grudge against the person who hurt us.  It's not that we want to be bitter, angry people.  It's that we don't want to be hurt.  And by being vulnerable, trusting, . . . forgiving . . . we open ourselves up to further hurt. 

Why am I saying all of that?  It's because I have recently learned a very valuable lesson about bitterness and about forgivenss.

Recently, my family was hurt by someone, a hurt so deep that the bitterness from it consumed me.  Not only that, my bitterness affected my youngest son who had also been hurt.  It's as though my bitterness gave him permission to be bitter as well.
One day, a sweet, precious friend told me that I needed to be on my knees and to ask the Lord to set me free because the bitterenss was consuming me. That afternoon, I got down and begged the Lord to set me free and deliver me from my anger, bitterness, and resentment. The Lord saw my heart and knew I was crying out for His help.  I could not do this without Him.
Then I went downstairs to find my youngest son (who was home from school that day) so we could talk about what God was teaching me.  We talked about my bitterness and also about his bitterness.  We both asked the Lord to forgive us and to set us free from these feelings that were controlling our lives.
As I stand (ok sit) here today, I can tell you that the Lord lifted a weight from both of us that day. We are free from the weight of unforgiveness, and it feels amazing! There is a weight, a heaviness in your spirit that comes from holding a grudge, from being bitter.  I heard it said once that bitterness is like swallowing a poison and waiting for the other person to die.  So true.
I realized that by holding onto my resentment and bitterness towards the person who had hurt my family, my youngest son was following exactly what he saw me doing.  I was bitter and unforgiving, therefore he was bitter and unforgiving. (Great mom award, right? NOT!) The bitterness that was eating me alive was also eating him alive.
So, I am here to tell you, from personal experience, you will be wronged in your lifetime.  Someone is going to hurt you.  And when it happens, and it will happen, you have two choices; forgive or hold onto the hurt and anger.   
But I have learned this; when we hold onto the hurt and anger, it eats us alive, inside and out. It physically hurts our bodies.  And, if that's not enough, it also ages us on the outside too, YIKES!  And with all we, I do to try to stay looking younger,  (ok, I am vain, I admit) why would we age ourselves and live in bitterness and anger?  We lose!
It's good to be free, and forgiven.  And it's a great anti-aging RX!
From my side of the fence, I must constantly realize that Jesus offers me forgiveness every single day, many times a day. How can I do any less?

Friday, October 26, 2012

David



I knew when I started this blog, that I would someday write about my brother, David.  Losing a sibling is the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life, and has shaped me in such significant ways, that I knew I would have to share his story.



David was my little brother, and I use the word "little" only because he was younger than me.  In size, he was a 6'3" 250lb, overgrown teddy bear with a heart of gold; certainly not "little" by any stretch of the imagination!

David and I in High School
 
Of four siblings, David and I were the closest in age, so we grew up together playing outside, riding four wheelers, dirt bikes, and go-carts, doing chores, fighting as only brothers and sisters can, and sharing our lives.   He and I were best friends growing up, even going on double dates together when we were older.

David loved life to the fullest, and he loved people.  He would share anything he had with anyone, and I do mean anyone!  If you did not know David, and he did not know you, and you approached him and told him you needed something, anything; if he had it, he would give it to you.  He was just that kind of guy!

 

 Uncle David with D and A


On January 9, 2007, David came home from work early. (He was the General Manager of Southern Flooring and Interiors that my older brother owns.) He came in, kissed his wife, and said he was going out for a ride on his four wheeler with his buddies. His wife asked him to be home in 2 hours for dinner, but less than an hour later, a friend came to the house and told Erin she needed to come quickly.  An ambulance had been called and was on its way. 

David had wrecked his four wheeler.
 
 
 
 
The rest of my family was 45 minutes away, at a basketball game for our oldest son, D, when David's wife called us to say there had been an accident.  We found out on the way to the hospital that David had already passed....it was the hardest thing I have ever heard over the phone. I can remember hearing those words even today.  I know right where my car was and on which road, when my sister-in-law told me. 
 
 
David actually passed away the instant he wrecked; flipping his four wheeler and breaking his sternum, puncturing his aorta when he went over the front.

David left behind a wife of 10 years, a little boy who had just turned 3 and a little girl who was not even 2. In my opinion, and I have told God this many times, David left way too soon.  I wish I had been given even one more day to tell David how much I really loved and appreciated him, and how I love the memories of us growing up together.

I have cried and watched my parents and brothers cry until we have no tears left to cry. The pain of this has been the most intense I have ever experienced.

But five years later, I want you to know that although I do not always like what God allows to happen, I know He will use it all for HIS good.  (He promises this in Romans 8:28) We had the plan of salvation shared at David's funeral...and do you know 5 people were saved, and their lives were changed forever, for eternity! 

Remember I said David would do anything for anyone?  I think David would have said, "I will go through that again, for others to find Jesus."  He was that kind of man.

David is missed daily, and will always be missed. There is a hole in our family and a void at all family gatherings.  But the one thing that makes it better is knowing my little brother is perfect now; he does not struggle with life, with the economy, with the influences of this world.

He is perfect and rejoicing with HIS Savior whom he loves so much. David knew Jesus personally, and because of that, we will see him again someday.  He is waiting with my grandparents, in heaven. I love that picture.


From my side of the fence, I just want to say,
"I miss you, David.  And I love you."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Afraid of a little dirt?

I am kind of a girly girl.  (Okay, that is a HUGE understatement!  I am a serious girly girl!)  I like pink.  I love anything Lilly (and if you don't know who and what Lilly Pulitzer is, we need to talk!)  I like love monograms.  I think EVERYTHING should be monogrammed, and I do mean everything, right down to your underwear! 
My close friends and husband and family, okay pretty much everyone, all call me a princess.  And I am totally okay with that.  In fact, I have a princess crown.  A fact that I am not even remotely embarrassed by, because a princess should  have a crown!
Now that I have laid the foundation, let me tell you what I did last weekend.  A MUD RUN and OBSTACLE COURSE!  (Yes, I have the pictures to prove it and the the bruises on my body!)
 Let me tell you how this came to be... a couple of years ago, some friends did a run called the "Warrior Dash." It's a muddy, fire jumping, overall dirty 5k. I told them no thanks, but thanks for the invite.  I mean, I like to run, but when it's all said and done, I just want to be sweaty, not muddy, ya know?
So, for the life of me, I have no idea what came over me, but in an obvious moment of weakness, I told a friend of mine that I would do this run called the Down and Dirty with her!  Had I lost my mind?  I mean, I'm not afraid of dirt, people . . . I just prefer to be fashionable and clean when I'm working out.  If I'm gonna get dirty, it'll be riding a 4 wheeler (and yes, I do that too!)
Anyway,as the date got closer, I was questioning my sanity, seriously.  But I would not back out with my friend. So, on the day of the run, I picked her up bright and early, and we headed to the race.  The more we saw as we passed the course, the more knots I got in my stomach, and the more it churned . . .mud pits? rock wall? slippery soap wall? hurdles?  OH MY!
Can I just say that when it was all said and done, I was so proud of us! I pushed myself through things I did not think I had the strength to accomplish!  I am glad I did this run with Steph, and when everyone thought this girlie girl would never do something like this (myself included) I did it!
Don't get me wrong, I have no plans to do this again anytime soon.  I will stick to my normal races.  Probably.  I think.  Until next year? 
From my side of the fence, I'm glad I took a risk and did something out of my comfort zone.  Let's see, what should I do next?  Maybe I'll  . . .

Monday, October 22, 2012

MYSTERY DATE



When I was young, there was this board game called Mystery Date.  I never played it because I was too little to understand what the game was about.   I not only understood very little about dating, but I certainly wouldn’t have grasped the idea that a “Mystery Date” would have been exciting. 

(Oh trust me, I totally understood dating later on . . . but that’s a whole other blog!)  In the game, you took the chance that you’d end up with a dream or a dud (horrid, I know, but true!)

Now that I’m older, I LOVE a good mystery.

So today, I’m going to throw a Mystery Thirty One party.  This party is complete with prizes and even has a mystery hostess who will walk away with ALL of the FREE Hostess gifts! 

Here’s the way it works:

Click on this link For the entire month of October, for every $31 you spend, you will get one of five items for HALF OFF! Here’s a special flyer for the sales items

 

















AND,  no mystery is complete without a surprise ending,  so, every person who makes a purchase through my mystery party will be eligible to be the winning Mystery Hostess.  At the end of the party, I will draw a name from among all the people who played.  The winning name will be named the Mystery Hostess and that person will receive all of the Hostess Gifts (just like a real 31 home Party!)

From my side of the fence, this is going to be awesome!  There’s a game, a sale, a surprise ending, and oh what the heck . . . I’ll even throw in free shipping.  Don’t forget, you have to click this link, place your order by going to “Events” and selecting “Mystery Party.” 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Togetherness Makes a Mama Happy

There's nothing that makes this mama as happy as having all her boys together!  And this mama had a happy weekend!

It was a fast weekend with 10 hours of driving for 24 hours together, but so well worth it to hug our college boy's neck!

D is our oldest son, and he left for school, to a new college on August 15th.

We have not seen him in 73 days... But who's counting? :)

Oddly, though this is D's third year in college (where has the time gone?!) having him gone is just as hard as it was his first year away.  I so miss not being able to see him, hug him, and have him home.

Yes, I know I sound over protective, and yes, I know he has to grow up, but not just yet, ok?!

So Friday afternoon,  all 3 of us (Ray, our 12 year old, and I), packed up, jumped in the car, and headed to see D, 5 hours south. 

Five Hours.

But the time passed quickly because we were all so excited to see him.

He met us for dinner at Longhorns and when he walked through the door, I SWORE he had grown in the 73 days since we had last seen him.  I know his facial hair had! Ha!

We had a wonderful evening of dinner and then he took us to a local coffee shop he likes that is right on the water. It was a perfect evening!  Wait . . . did I just say he took us to a local coffee shop?

Yep.  You guessed it!  The only thing that could get our athletic, 6'7" boy to a coffee shop (and not always in the gym) is a girl! She is an athlete, smart, very cute, and oh yes, a Georgia girl! :)  We loved getting to meet you AP!

I hate saying good-bye after a fun 24 hours together, but I guess these college years are just a part of growing up.  And saying good-bye is part of the process.  Sigh.

D, thanks for showing us around your new college home. We can't wait until basketball season starts, and we get to come watch you play!!   We are so proud of you and we love you very much and still miss you as much as we did the first day you left your freshman year. (And yes, I know that's a run-on sentence, but I just really love my kid!)


From my side of the fence, togetherness makes a Mama happy.  Guess I'll just have to keep myself busy until next time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Adoption

I love the beautiful picture of adoption.  It's incredibly close to my heart because I was adopted.

the month they brought me home

My mom and dad already had a little boy, my older brother, but after his birth, they had 5 miscarriages and stillbirths. My mom was told they would never have another child, so to consider her son a blessing. That led mom and dad down the road to adoption, and to me.

As the story goes, (I have heard it 1000 times and still love hearing it) when my mom and dad got the call,  on October 4th, 19 . . . (let's not disclose the year, haha) , they were told that there was a baby girl they could come look at and see if they were interested in adopting. My dad's response to DFCS was exactly this, "Come look at her? See if she fits our family? That's our baby, and we are on our way to pick her up!" And pick me up they did.

They drove down to the foster agency where a little foster baby was waiting, and they took me home! They had to stop on the way home to get diapers, and food and clothes.  They were completely unprepared to be bringing a baby home, and they had nothing!

my dad and me!
The next day was my oldest brother's 5th birthday party and boy were my aunts, uncles, and grandparents surprised when they arrived for more than just a 5th birthday party! They got to hold the new baby girl (me!).  Mom has told me so many times that I was perfect;  I smiled and didn't cry at all, even with all these new faces! 

The best part of the story to me is this; Mom and Dad later went on to give birth to 2 more children, AFTER they adopted me.  I have 2 younger brothers! I love knowing that God had my parents picked out for me, and that HE knew I wouldn't be the last of their children.  It's so amazing to  me, too, how much I am like my family.  I am tall like my family, same coloring, eyes, etc!! God had it all planned out, He always does!


Adoption is also special to me because of our oldest son, D. I did give birth to D, but was divorced and a single mom by the time he was 18 months old. My amazing parents and brothers stepped right in and helped me raise him. I am blessed!


Then, when D was 3,  I met and eventually married the man of my dreams. And that man adored my son, and adopted him as his own.  And the crazy thing is, that D looks like  Ray (my husband)! He is athletic like him, has the same sense of humor as him, even wears the same size shoe (14!)

From my side of the fence, I love seeing God work in my family. He knew from the start who my parents would be and who my son's parents would be... And even down to shoe size, God made things match.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Week With a Princess

As the mother of two boys, there is one thing that this pink loving, self-proclaimed, girlie-girl princess missed out on . . . the fun of having a little girl!

Well in the "be-careful-what-you-wish-for" world, I got to spend a full 5 days with my cousin's daughter last week!  And oh what a week it was!  I'm laughing to myself just thinking about some of the things we did.

First, you have to picture this sweet little princess . . .

Long, curly blonde hair,

big blue eyes,

sweet round face,

and a darling little high-pitched voice

And, you should know that her parents (my cousins) have NEVER gone away, alone, without her, since the day of her birth THREE YEARS AGO!  Clearly they needed some alone time.  And they trusted us!  Wow.  What an honor!



 
I have to tell you,  I kind of expected a week of
playing dolls and dressing up like a princess.
Well, she might look like a princess,
but that little girl wanted to find the best place
to get dirty and play outside everyday.
 
 
This is the cutest picture I have of her!  I love it
because she's covered in dirt, but with a big pink bow in her hair and a sassy look on her face that only a three year old could get away with!




 
 
We rode four wheelers, played in the dirt,  and drew with sidewalk chalk (that stuff gets all over you!).  We played with rocks and trucks. That girl was all about rough and tumble, getting dirty, boy toys!
 
Not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed about that. But we still had so much fun.
 
OH, and lets not forget the Spiderman dress up costume that she LOVED! (yes, i added a pink bow to the top of "Spidey's head!)

 


And let me tell you, if you don't have toddlers, they are busy, little creatures!

My sons are much older now and don't need me as much (a fact that makes me very sad), so I might have forgotten how exhausting it can be to be needed all day long.  Between the potty training and the questions . . .  3 year olds ask a lot of questions . . . and the sudden urgent declarations of "I gotta go pee pee!" I was exhausted by bedtime every night!

One of the best parts of each day for me was night time (and not just because she was going to bed! HA!).  I loved it because after her bath, I would brush her hair (didn't get to do that with my boys!) and then rub her back while singing "Jesus Loves Me" as she fell asleep.

From my side of the fence, I think EVERY summer little "C" needs to come spend a week with us.  But next summer there WILL be some dress up and dolls, manicures and maybe even a trip to American Girl!



Monday, October 8, 2012

MY PINTEREST BREAKFAST




 
I don’t know how many of you have discovered Pinterest, but if you haven’t then your dishes are probably clean, your laundry is done, your ironing is finished (does anyone else still iron, or am I the only one who still does that?) and you aren’t just thinking about what to cook, you’re actually cooking.  I’m not kidding, Pinterest will just plain suck the hours out of a day if you let it!
 
Last week, I was wasting way too much time on Pinterest, and I decided that instead of just pinning things, I would actually cook something.

So, I made my first Pinterest recipe, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who liked them . . . (note to self – if you have never cooked a recipe before, perhaps you should not substitute ingredients the FIRST time you make it!) 

Perhaps if I had used almond milk instead of water, and regular oatmeal instead of steel cut oats, they might have tasted better . . .

Anyway, they were “okay” in my book, but I’m guessing the polite smiles (picture a smile, no teeth, lips pressed together in an awkward smile, saying “mmm hmmm.”) that I received from my husband and son would indicate THEY didn’t think they were so awesome! 

Here’s the recipe:

Breakfast Cookies

3 mashed bananas (ripe),

1/3 cup apple sauce,

2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats,

1/4 cup skim milk,

1/2 cup raisins,

1 tsp vanilla,

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp sweetener.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl really well. Let this mixture stand for at least 5 minutes to let the oats become good and hydrated. Heap the dough by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20

From my side of the fence, I think it's a perfectly healthy breakfast for me to have with a yummy cup of coffee tomorrow am!  And Ray and A. just don’t have to eat them!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

RIGHT WHERE I BELONG





On June 30, 2010, my birthday to be exact, I decided to become a Thirty One Consultant.  It’s such a big part of who I am now and such a big part of how God is growing me to become the woman He wants me to be, that I have to tell you the story!  It’s a good story, so go grab you a brownie and a sweet tea and settle in.  Go ahead.  Go get it.  I’ll wait.



Okay, here’s the story.

I got some birthday money (yes, I still get birthday money!) and wanted to get in on this great deal where I could buy $300 worth of Thirty One products for only $99!  And one of the things you’ll learn quickly about me is that I LOVE a good deal! 

 
(Granted, sometimes my good deals are not so good.  Like this one time, I bought a purse off a stranger in a restaurant . . . Oh never mind, I’ll tell that story later.)

Anyway, back to Thirty One!

Fast forward to December of that same year, and a friend said, "Let’s do a vendor show at your house, you sell Thirty One, right?"

Ok . . . I am always up for a party, so I said “Yes.”   We did it, and I had no idea what I was doing, but ended up with $700 in sales!  SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.  True Story.

I sort of piddled around with Thirty One, until one year after I made my famous “birthday money purchase,” when I was invited to attend the National Thirty One Conference.
 
It was a difficult decision for me . . .  Girl’s weekend, road trip, shopping . . . ummmm, yeah, not so hard.  Of course I went!
That was the weekend that changed my life, seriously.
 
I had been searching for something that I could call "mine" . . . not because I don't LOVE being a wife and mom, but as my boys have gotten older (one left for college in August 2010) I just kind of felt like I needed something else.

When I got home, I asked Ray if I could do it; jump in, full force, with both feet . . .

Still a little unsure, I prayed and said to God, “If this is what You want me to do, please send me my first recruit.” Within 24 hours, I got a call from a girl I go to church with (whom I did not know well at the time) that wanted to sell Thirty One! How is that for God answering prayers and sending messages to me?!
Here we are 15 months later, and my team, which I have named "31 Believers”, is now 35 ACTIVE Consultants strong! I love this company! I never thought I would be in direct sales; never thought I would be working like this...but God knew all along, and He knew I would LOVE it!

Here are just a few things I love:
·         I love showing people the super fun products.

·         I love that I get to share the business opportunity with other women.

·         I love how this company supports us in the field and how it gives back.

·         I love that I feel like I am making a difference in people's lives and in mine!

·         And most of all, I love that I know I’m doing what God wants me to do!

Plus, it’s pretty cool that every time I open a party, I get to talk about how the company got started; and I get to talk about Proverbs 31, and a little about my relationship with God.
 
From my side of the fence, I’m right where God wants me to be. 
 
(And as a bonus for my blog readers, if you want to check out Thirty One, I’m offering a Blonde Fences deal of free shipping in addition to the current monthly special! 
Just click on my website, go to “My Parties” and select “Blonde Fences.  Next week I’m going to host a mystery party and the “mystery hostess” is going to get all the hostess gifts!  So check back for that too!)