Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chesapeake Lights

Quick post of the lights this year at Chesapeake! So pretty and fun! I don't think they spend much you :o)

And these two are for the Griswald's out there who haven't realized that sometimes less is best :oP (If you look close, you will see the stars which explain why there are lights "shooting" out across their yard from the stars...he he!!)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thanks for the help Leb!!!

I have to include the pics of Caleb helping me this year...he actually helped make a couple things...peanut clusters and the oreo bon bons.

Can I tell you that I could not get one picture of him being serious...he is 16 (almost 17 now :o( ) and he makes me insane sometimes! ...asking him in my most desperate and sad voice..."please just one good picture?"... "sure mom this one will be good"...snap....Caleeebbbbbaaa!!!

Oh well now we can just laugh at him :o) silly boy who I am most grateful to for the help since this is no where close to his "thing" :o)

Such hard work...

This year I used the Great Value brand of oreos and ... no difference ... tasted just as wonderful! So I've heard anyway :o)

Oh oooooh so amazing!!! Thanks Leb!!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Okay - so here's the spread of baked goods and let me tell ya, I don't even want to think about the calories involved concerning the necessary taste testing :o)

Why oh why can't I just graze to my heart's content without having to buy new pants...well, I digress! The funny thing for me about baking is that even though I do taste test (for fear of delivering yucky icky food as a representation of my culinary aptitude :o) whatever!!) I am not a big eater of what I make afterwards...I think it is just too much...I am sick of it by the time it is done. Well that is aside from fudge, of course!! Fudge is my absolute weakness and I do make a mean fudge if I do say so myself. But of course as things get harried and I am rushing to get things done, I took a short cut this year and doubled my the way...that doesn't work well with fudge and this year it did not sit up the way it should. It still tasted heavenly but unless it was kept in the frig...quickly got pretty soft. So of course, I had to make another batch after the Christmas hullabaloo settled...peanut butter this time...just to prove that I am still more than capable of making really yummy fudge!! And so now I am stuck with a whole platter of divine tasting sin on a plate! (can something be divine but sinful...I don't think so! anyways...) That is all I can say about it! Please come over and help me eat it or I may just expand 10 sizes by New Years!! Okay...well back to topic...

This a close up of some of the fun that included toffee (ok - so that is really a weakness too...I forgot...really I did), fudge, coconut bon bons (tasted like a mounds...melt in your good! Of course...that all comes from the taste testing...not because I actually ate one...okay so maybe I ate one! gesh!!) The plates were fun but very flimsy...oh well...pretty is more important that functionality...right? We also had Christmas candy, chocolate chip cookies and oreo bon bons (absolute heaven!!! not that I tried one!) oh and peanut clusters!

So here is the finished product and I hope all our neighbors enjoyed...I wished I could send a plate to everyone!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Wanted to take a quick minute to put up Ashtyn's basketball pics. Just love watching my kids play sports...haven't really taken many basketball pictures of school ball this year but I will definitely remedy that after the break. Isn't she a cutie??
She really hates this one but I love it!
This is her daddy's fav...
Awww - love that girl!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

That girl's a bakin fool...

I love baking for the bear with me cause the next several posts will be about just that. My daughter told my husband that I am gonna be a grandma that always has something baked for you when you come visit. Man, I hope so...I just wish I could bake all the time without us all being fanny fanny 2x4's who can't fit through the bathroom door :o) Oh well...probably when I am a grandma...I just won't care and will bake all the time for everyone...

so gonna share some pic's of what we like to do every year...
I made my own peppermint hard candy for the Christmas candy I make. A girl at work got me started on this several years ago and now Christmas just isn't complete without it!

I use Lorann's peppermint oil and just let me tell need your sinuses cleared? Nothin better...
here are a few pics of the process...

This makes the house smell so nice!

You just let it cool and then break it into small can buy this premade at the cake/candy supply store but it's pretty pricey.

Then add it to your chocolate mixture...and spoon them out onto parchment paper and let cool. My kiddos don't really like the way these look but they are so yummy! I have thought about trying to find molds to put them in to make the presentation better but oh well...they are still wonderful!

So this is a pic before the baking began...and this doesn't even include most of the frig stuff...sometimes I think I am crazy in the head but I just love it and hopefully my neighbors and associates at work with love it too!

More pics to come later as I have much more to make...probably won't bore you with all the details but will let you take a peak at the end result :o)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pioneer Woman

Well I just love love love The Pioneer Woman (thanks Steph for teaching me to link :o) ...I could get lost on her web page for hours. I didn't even know who she was until one of my facebook friends mentioned her and since then I have been hooked.

There are so many things that she talks about that are right up my alley. Cooking, photography, name it. I could read her stuff for hours and as I was just meandering through and looking at her pictures of their horses and it just struck me as how sad it is that my children have not been able to have the same experiences as I have. And that they have not even been around horses since my parent's last one died and that was when they were little ones...

Those memories are some of the best I have of my childhood. I remember waking up on summer mornings and saddling up my dapple horse...Misty...we would be gone all day. I would pack a lunch and tie it onto the saddle and just ride as far as I could go on the Indian land next to our house. Or I would always barrel race/jump (stacked up hay bales :o) her on the makeshift courses I would set up in our pasture. Do you know when I went to college and my parents sold her that she won multiple competitions...I always chalk that up to all my training :o)

I do miss those carefree days but then again I don't miss the work that went with it which is probably why I have never owned large animals since I have left my parents house. Constantly running new fence out the barns...feeding...medicating...well you get the picture. And the saddest part is that I think my daughter would be a natural with horses...she just has never been given the opportunity. Of course I can pay for lessons or board...but it's just not the same as being a horse owner and actually caring for them day in and day out. Having the relationship that is borne out of caring for them on a daily basis. Especially busting up ice covered water troughs in sub degree weather...I would so have heaters on those dudes if we owned horses now!! Okay so back on track...because it has always seemed like a sad substitute...we have never boarded or let her take lessons. My son could probably care less but I have guilt when it comes to them never being allowed to experience what I so often took for granted!

But anywho...this blog was just to reflect on those times that were so fun and also say that The Pioneer Woman is a super cool chick!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas evolution...

When you look back on Christmas seasons of your life...isn't it funny how much it evolves. From when you were a child and couldn't sleep because you just knew you were hearing the tinkling of sleigh when you were a bit older and even though you were suppose to be big and grown up...somehow the excitement of Christmas would still sneak in...and affect even the coolest teenage heart?

Then comes the years when you first become independent and able to purchase your own gifts with the money you earn and begin to really start to see the bigger picture and what it means to give to others and bring joy through simple gifts. How awesome that felt...

The first Christmas with your spouse when you are so excited for them to see what you found them...them opening the horrific sweater you bought them and smiling like it was the best thing they had ever received. Such a sport... :o)

And probably the best years of Christmas that I have and will ever experience have been those with my children. As they get older the excitement is still there but it is changing each year. They are growing up and even though there is still eagerness to find out what is in those boxes under the tree, some of the awe fades away each year. Which does make my heart heavy but at the same time understanding that we are making new traditions that could not be shared when they were younger. And no matter how old they are, we can still watch Rudolph and Frosty at least one time during the season. Of course, the preference now is to sit down and crack up at the Griswalds together which is just fine with me.

And even though the true meaning of Christmas can become overshadowed to the point of sadness...I love the act of giving to one another!! And I am so thankful for all the blessings God has given me throughout these many Christmas seasons I had been able to experience so far!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Get there!!

Have you ever faced something that you dreaded and wished so desperately you could change? I was thinking about things we experience on earth and how many of those things we so adamantly fight against...not understanding that they can become the very things that eventually set us free from our worldly chains.

I also sometimes wonder about Jesus and how it must of been for Him when thinking about what His future held and more specifically having to endure the cross. When He knew what was to come...the pain...the heartache...the aloneness. What were his thoughts? In those weeks before, did he wake up during the night in a cold sweat thinking about what was to come...did He sleep at all? Did he constantly try to figure out ways he could possibly make things different so it didn't have to end that way? Were His days constantly consumed with thoughts of what He was to face...rolling over and over in His mind? I think it is safe to say, He probably had a hard time when thinking about the cross and what was to come. Yet, He didn't change it! Even though he pleaded with God, asking if there was another way, the answer remained. He chose to walk the path that lead to great suffering and eventually His death.

I think we sometimes want God to show us the path He wants us to be on but only if it fits in with our agenda. If it doesn't, then all of the sudden we want the control back and to be the one navigating again. I think we are so limited in our sight of the future that we fight the very thing that He is trying to orchestrate in order to bring us peace. I am glad that Jesus did not try to take over and veer away from God's plan. The funny thing is that if anyone would have been Him. All He had to do was call out for the angels to take Him away from all the pain...heartache...aloneness! But He knew that we all would need His sacrifice in order to see Heaven. He knew that He would have to be our Savior if there was any hope for any of us. I am so grateful that he saw the storm coming but chose to continue on in spite of the pain it would bring. I pray that I can also have the strength to march headfirst into the storm and completely trust God's will in spite of my fears~to know His plans are laid out for me and in the end it is all about spending eternity with Him!! Not so much about the easiest path that leads me there...but that I do get there!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Blindside

Okay - so I guess I am just a movie review blogger now but I had to take a short minute to write about such a wonderful movie. And wonderful it was...when I heard all the talk about Sandra Bullock being nominated for awards...I was like yeah yeah...whatever - but I can tell you my friends, she does a superb job! What a great, feel-good wasn't too sad (although my heart tugged at the thought that this was based on a true story and what that meant in relation to where this boy came from) and it definitely had great moments where I truly found myself belly laughing. On so many occasions, I was thinking...that is exactly how I would have handled that if it were I in this mom's position...the funny thing is that after the movie, Dave said that he thought of me in a lot of her actions...I won't ponder on that for too long :o) I just identified so much with this strong woman who refused to idly sit by when it came to making sure her kids needs were met. The parallels did not just stop with husband also related so much with Tim McGraw's character which when watching the movie and the "football" game, it was like someone was acting out our lives. We laughed for a long, long time after the movie just about that one scene...because I can tell you...there are many times where I wished I had certain resources available to me as she did in this scene (how is that for vague so as to not ruin it for you :o) ...and many times my husband would like to do nothing more than to put a harness on my sometimes too emotion-driven actions. So so fun!! If you have not seen it, please take your family - I promise it to be one of the best movies you have seen in a good long while. (disclaimer: there is one 3 letter curse word that is used...but momma Touhy is very quick to correct the behavior :o)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Moon :o) yes I am a Twilighter...I cannot believe the angst that comes up with people when you say that outloud...its like what is the big deal about liking these books and movies. There are some really strong opinions out there and I find it funny how most of it comes from people who have never read the books.

I will admit, my whole reasoning for starting the books was due to the fact that I have a teenage daughter who wanted to read them. I knew they were about vampires and all the little warnings went off in my head that these books would probably not be good for her. So to prove the point that they were bad to read, I decided to read some of Twilight to have first hand knowledge of why she shouldn't be allowed to read them...and guess what...yep you guessed it! I loved them.

I know young teenage love with a little far fetched imagination thrown is not everyones idea of an interesting read; however, for me it was in many ways a step back into my younger years and remembering those all too precious feelings of being young and in what I considered love. Sometimes I think that is what appeals to all the moms out there that have becomes fans. As for my daughter, there are far worse influences than vampires that drink animal blood (unless your PETA feelers run deep) and who make it a point to WAIT for marriage to have sex. I love that my daughter was able to read this fantasy and get a break from the everyday WHY WAIT message. And even though there are definitely things in the book that I don't advocate...fully knowing many could point out all the points they disagree with...I certainly was surprised by the overall content and even the author's approach concerning God.

So with all that being said...the greatest part of these books have been being able to share them with my daughter. They have created a language between us that has allowed us to talk about things far more important than the Twilight series as they have become a doorway in so many ways that has broached some of those hard issues. Which believe me...when you have teenagers, you understand the importance of being able to open up those lines of communication...for that I will be forever grateful knowing we have been able to share this common ground.

The only drawback at this point is that my daughter really believes that she should grow up and marry Taylor Lautner which is understandable since I was suppose to grow up and marry Rick Springfield...but in the end...she will find that perfect special someone just as I did and in the meantime get to experience what being young and having those sweet teenage crushes is all about!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time flies by...

So I haven't blogged in so long because I have been working bunches of hours and somehow I just can't motivate myself to write after work when I feel like I have been hit by a bus. This is my first day of vacation and really it isn't going to be a full blown vacation because I am doing some contract labor which isn't much fun but it is good money so praises for that.

God always provides and it is awesome to be able to sit back and watch Him work. I am a doer and a control freak of the highest is very difficult to let go and just trust. I think sometimes God says okay here is the test...and I have the greatest expectations for how you will not only pass it but be so much better because of it. But so often I see myself getting caught up in the 'why do you let these things happen God' and miss all the little things along the way. The way He provides the help so that we can not only endure the test but become the man or woman He knows we can be. I always have this joke that I don't need anymore character...I have plenty...but the truth is...that can never be the case and I am glad He knows that and isn't satisfied with just letting us settle to be any less than our full potential. Of course that is so much easier to say when you aren't hurting or in the darkness and not knowing when the light is going to break through...I know that feeling well my friend and it is not an easy road. Nor do I guess it was easy to hang on a cross and suffer for sins that were not His to bear. I am so unworthy and yet so expectant of the things I think are important at any given moment. PLEASE!! open my eyes Father that I may not toil on this earth for things that are meaningless and that will one day rot and be of no use. I just want to see the things that matter the most through this haze of worldly junk. Man - will I ever get intentions are good but my spirit is sometimes so weak!!!

Okay so this has went to kinda heavy real fast but my heart aches right now and I just wish sometimes that I was stronger than I pretend to be! Don't we all do that? Pretend that we are strong and that we have it all under control...because there is a illusion of peace when we think we have control of what is happening around us...but the truth's just illusion. I work so hard at letting go and having peace that comes from a Father that cares about nothing outside of my salvation...and while 98% of the time, it works...there are days that I try to grab hold of the control again...and it is on those days that my heart feels lined by that all to familiar ache and I find that I am reminding myself again that all those things that I allow to control my happiness simply do not matter! I am telling myself that today and I pray that all of my dear friends and family know I pray that for you too because I know we all carry that burden and it is much too heavy a responsibility. I am so blessed by the friends and family I have and thank God every day for you!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Ashtyn!

So today is my baby's 14th birthday and can I tell you that the past couple of years have just not been the best birthdays for her. Last year, Dave and I had to leave the day before to go to Tulsa because my dad had been rushed into emergency surgery and the prognosis was not good. Ashtyn woke up on her birthday last year in our neighbors house (bless their wonderful souls) orphaned by her parents on her most special day of the year.

And this year has now proven to be even worse for her. About a year and a half ago, she had to have a root canal done on one of her back molars which was really sad at the time but once you have it done, everything should be good...right? Wrong!! Ashtyn came home Saturday from Stillwater in extreme pain and basically spent all of Sunday trying to get by until we could get to the dentist first thing Monday morning. And can I just tell you that I did not know root canals could fail but they can and hers did. SO, after seeing two dentists yesterday and being in tears most of the day and night, she got into the endodontist this morning, her birthday! Once in the consultation, we found out that the infection was so bad that she is going to have to have the tooth pulled due to bone loss and eventually an implant put in. (Heed my not use cookie cutter dental offices!!

And remembering holding onto this tiny little creature fourteen years ago, who I knew I would move heaven and earth for in order to make sure she would not know a day of pain, reminds me that through the years, not much changes. The radar still goes off the charts and the momma claws come out when I see her flinch, even though I know she is fully capable of letting the dentist know if she is hurting...that simply does not matter when you are a momma! Just as it was when I took her home from the hospital, so small and fragile and dressed in as much pink as I could possibly layer her in. She will ALWAYS be my child and I will ALWAYS be her momma.
For those of you who know Ashtyn, you understand what a blessing she is to be around. The child is one of the most funniest people I have ever known. You cannot be around her for long before a smile is present on your face. Not to say that she never has bad moments...all teenagers do but I do not know anyone who can let things roll off their shoulders the way this girl does. And the best part of all is that she loves Jesus and it is so evident in her life. I take for granted the blessing she is all too often!! Life passes by so quickly and I just thank the Creator that He allowed me to be this sweet-precious-beautiful inside and out-girl's momma!!! Happy Birthday Ashtyn!!

Friday, October 9, 2009


My daughter's birthday is coming up and since I am trying to teach myself more about the digital world, I decided I would make her invitations. Doing so without taking into consideration that our tastes are not even close to being the same, needless to say, has been a trying task. You know the look?... The one where her face is all scrunched up and she says "well, I do like it...I mean it is okay..." For real, this is the third one I have started for you and before I can even type in words your already out on it? "well...I don't like the sparkly thingy". Of course, in my opinion the sparkly thingy makes the whole thing all the more better and as I try to explain this to my all wise daughter, she very sadly shakes her head and gives me the other look that says I am seriously out of touch. So here are some examples of what I came up with...

I do think she gets sick of always having her birthday associated with Halloween/Fall...and I understand, that would get old but it is so fun to decorate with. And the funny thing is that I don't decorate for Halloween in my house...ever. I do decorate for Fall and I just love Fall decorations but in the past we have had Halloween parties where we have carved pumpkins and went to haunted houses and there is so much to do by way of candy, decorations, etc. But I do think she is getting worn out with this theme, so the above invite was vetoed. And may I add that the "Eat, drink and be scary" got no less than 7 eye rolls...teenagers!

So this one was my favorite! I loved all the colors and textures...I even covered the screen with my hands when she came to look...nervous because I really loved it. Ok...the big reveal..."isn't it cool, Ash"..."don't you love it"? Face scrunching..."yeah mom...I like it...but why do those thingy's have to be on there...?" and "Mom, do you really think those colors match with each other?" Sigh...

Well the good news is she did decide on one and here it is!

And with it all said and done...I think she is just getting older and ready for more grown-up type stuff which is exciting and sad all in the same thought.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quiet Rain

The sound of rain falling while sitting in a quiet house is one of my most favorite things. Since Dave has taken Ashtyn to find some new "pimped out" basketball shoes (thanks gma & gpa), I am at home finishing what will most definitely be a yummy dinner. Pork loin with mushroom gravy (i.e., cream of mushroom soup), mashed potatoes, mixed veggies and homemade buttermilk biscuits. they are from a mix but anything that I have to knead, roll out and cut, constitutes "homemade". And I just love the quiet and rain sounds that are just making my soul feel good right now. When you have two teenagers as well as 4200 different ESPN type channels, the quiet is something that can be lacking. So, I am gonna get my current Luanne Rice read...and enjoy the quiet and rain for just a bit longer until my husband and daughter rush in with their bags and stories of the weird people they witnessed at the mall and my son comes home from whichever girl he is currently visiting. At which point, we will enjoy a good dinner and stories of the day and I will be thankful for the noise again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Blogger!

So my hubby is fun! I really cannot wait to see what he comes up with. I have always told him I think he should write because he is so good at it. Maybe this will provide him a creative outlet which in turn will be a blessing to the rest of us! :o) Check him out...I just know he will love me for that!!! (haven't figured out how to link to words in the blog yet)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Please pray for the West family!!

Yesterday, a mother of my children's classmates passed away after a long battle with cancer. My son played football with Stanley and my daughter is good friends with Jhames and my heart aches for those boys and her husband! So many times, I take for granted that I am always going to be here for my kids and husband but the reality is...we just are not promised that in life. I pray that I can be more conscientious of making the most of every day. I say that so often just to go back to the same harried lifestyle that we all seem to fall into.

It was just a short couple of years ago that we watched our close family friends deal with the their oldest child being diagnosed with cancer. Justin was 14 when he was diagnosed and passed away shortly before his 16th birthday. Many times during Justin's journey I would thank God for the health of my children and that He had not asked me to bear that burden because I just don't think I could do it. I stood and will always stand in awe at Christy and Robert's strength in being able to put Justin in God's hands and let him go.

I pray now that Stanley and Jhames will be able to have peace knowing their mother is in God's hands and no longer suffering. I pray that God allows me the opportunity to hug those boys necks and maybe somehow fill in some of the many hugs they will be missing from Janice. I pray that their dad be blessed with peace an courage in the coming days.

Thank you Father that you have blessed me with so much more than I deserve with two beautiful and healthy children, an awesome husband, and a great extended family. Please let me not be so quick to take these blessings for granted but enjoy every moment, every second!!! Help me to always know that tomorrow is never promised and my love and appreciation must be shown today!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

See You at the Pole!

So today is "See You at the Pole" and I just love this planned time of prayer and what it represents. Started in a relatively small youth group in Texas 19 years ago, it has grown into an event by which millions of students now participate each year. How awesome is our God and our students who strive to serve Him. It is one thing to care about your fellow students and teachers, etc. but a whole different thing to gather publicly, seeking His power and omnipotence concerning your school. And to know that you are not alone in your action, that an entire world of students are doing the same thing for their own schools. What an awesome statement!

I pray that in a nation struggling right now that God is glorified more than ever. That through the actions of students, the world will see evidence of our mighty creator and know that we must put Him first before the rest will get better! I also pray that my children will know the power of prayer and that it may be evident through this exercise to them their schools and in the lives of their friends.

"Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or more are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them." -- Matthew 18: 19-20

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flu Worries!

The flu has hit and continues diminishing the numbers of students attending school right least in the OKC area. As if missing because you don't feel good is not enough, I just heard reports that Bethany schools will not let anyone who was sick and gone from school the previous day (with any symptoms indicative of the flu) return without being cleared by a physician and with a note signed by that physician. They were not even allowed to go to their lockers and retrieve their books but lead in mass exodus from the building. can be really difficult to get into the doctor this time of does that mean that students will just continue to have to miss school until they can get in? And what about the parents that can't afford a $100 office visit just to say that their child is negative. And while I don't have to face the cost when it comes to being forced to go to the doctor, I do have to take off work in order to sit with them all day waiting to get in.

Don't get me wrong...I don't want people infected with the flu virus walking around school spreading it to my healthy children either...I guess the enormity of the situation just hit me today and beyond that comes the worry that my kids can't miss school. If they did happen to have a sick day which is not typical for them, the possibility of them being forced to get a physician clearance could possibly cause them to miss one or more additional days waiting for an opening. With both the schedules being almost entirely made up of A/P classes, that would be devastating to them as far as being able to catch up while not being there for the teaching of those assignments missed.

I also feel real sad for the doctors around are they going to accommodate this if all public schools in the area adopt this mentality? I know Caleb said there was a significant number of students out yesterday and Ashtyn had to attend "flu 101" sessions. And remembering entire schools shutting down at the end of last year does not bode well for the fact that we appear to already be approaching chaos and the flu season hasn't even truly begun. And while I am not one that worries about getting the flu...for the most stinks but you get over the same time, I also understand that when a serious flu epidemic hits, its not just about the fact that people get's about all the care givers, schools, workplaces, etc that become over-burdened and are in some cases completely closed down. I think when you hear talk about the Government being so worried about flu epidemics, it is not because they worry about us getting's that is can be crippling to society. I pray for the caregivers in this area that they are able to meet the needs of the public while keeping themselves well. And as I tell my children...wash, wash, wash your hands.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cauliflower isn't always yucky!!

Okay - so I have been feeling lately that I lack the appropriate amount of vegetables in my diet. (Whatever the appropriate amount is...who knows!! but it has to be more than once every month or so :o) I really want to eat broccoli and cauliflower but I just don't like them raw (without a ton of ranch dressing to hide the blandness) and raw veggies really make my stomach sad so I have been on a mission to find a recipe that looks and sounds good. Alas, I have found one that seems worth a try. I make squash a lot like this so I think that I could be onto something. One of my most favorite ways to cook squash/zucchini is so easy but sooo good. Just slice the squash (I like to use several smaller squash) down the middle, rub a little olive oil on it and sprinkle garlic salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese on top. Put in the oven until the cheese turns brown and the squash is soft. Oh my goodness!!!! This is so easy but soo good and healthy. I never even thought to try it on other vegetables... The recipe below also calls for parsley which probably makes it even better. Okay - so if I have enough energy after my run tonight, I am going to the store to buy the ingredients. If anyone else has good veggie recipes, please share!!!

Makes 1 serving1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) cauliflower florets2 teaspoons grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves1/4 teaspoon garlic powder1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper Salt, to taste1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 425°F.In a medium bowl, combine the cauliflower, cheese, parsley, garlic powder, and pepper. Season with salt. Toss to mix. Drizzle on the oil and toss again. Transfer the mixture to a small nonstick baking dish.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, tossing once, or until lightly browned and crisp-tender. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Isn't it amazing what encouragement can do? I was thinking about this during a weekend run when an older gentleman, running as well, approached me coming from the opposite direction. For whatever reason, he gave me two thumbs up as we passed each other on the track. Now, I don't know if this guy is just naturally encouraging or if I looked as if I were about to pass out. Probably the latter, but whatever prompted him to stick those two thumbs up in the air impacted me much greater than I would have expected. You see, I was at the end of my run and I just needed to make it to the next tree (that's how I increase my stamina by using a tree located further down the track than the one I stopped at the day before). But after seeing this encouraging gesture, all of the sudden, I felt like I had just received a second wind and ended up running another 10 trees which was close to a 1/2 mile. Because I know just how done I had been at this point, it made me realize that encouragement is a powerful thing.

It also reminded me of when I was in high school and the awesome youth group I was privileged to be part of. It reminded me of the notes I received as I walked into school on mornings that I really would have rather been anywhere else. They always started with verses from the bible...ones that were meant to encourage and you know what? Those notes were my lifelines on so many occasions. If I have never thanked those special friends, please take this opportunity to consider yourselves God's hands and feet. Because that's what you were to me.

It also makes me pray that much harder for both of my teenage kids and their youth group. Like any mother, I hurt for my kids when they hurt and I want to right all the wrongs for them so they don't ever feel pain. At the same time, knowing God is using these life experiences to refine them into the man and woman He wants them to be. I think, as it is in any youth group, Satan uses the one area of encouragement or more specifically the lack thereof to weaken the spirit more so than is ever realized. I also understand that is so often the case in our personal lives as well. So many times I spend my days worrying about getting things done...tasks accomplished...deadlines met, and I miss so many opportunities to just be encouraging. What a difference just sticking my thumbs up in the air can make...but so many times, my thumbs are just too busy to care.

Encouragement doesn't have to be received in order to be given. What if we all decided that regardless of what was currently going on in our lives...we were going to encourage someone today and the next day and the next? If I could get my focus off of myself and remember that there is a much bigger picture than what I so often let myself become wrapped up in. Then the possibilities of becoming the kind of wife, mother, friend, supervisor I know I need to be seems much easier to attain. To be someone that always makes people who come in contact with you feel better about themselves for having spent a few minutes with you... Now that is a legacy to leave behind. And while getting the work on my desk done is is definitely no legacy!!

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I am starting a new chapter in my running experience, and for many reasons, that has been very hard for me. Last year I averaged 4-5 miles at least 5 times a week. With my dad becoming ill last year and being hospitalized and with me being in Tulsa, I got off schedule. Habit is a very important thing for me. I believe it probably is for most people and that is why many people start things only to fail not very far into it. Until I develop a routine and make that routine habit...I slack off. It has almost been a year now from when my dad was ill (praises for God's will in healing his body) and I am what I call a hit and miss runner now at best. For many who have known me for the past 4 or 5 years, this is just not working for me as is evident with the 2o lbs I have gained. Wow, that hurt to write.

When one works so hard and endures the pain to get to a level of activity that allows them to feel really good about the next workout or run...that is the pay off of all that hard work. And when you get to that level and then slack off (as I call it) is the most frustrating thing in the world to know you are going to have to go through it all again to get back where you need to be. To know if you had just stayed with that routine, you wouldn't be suffering right wouldn't be sucking wind as if your lungs are going to explode. That is a big reason why I have let this motivation deficit rule me for the last 8 months. BUT NO MORE!

This is one of the main reasons why I have started this blog. No one outside of my family or myself may ever read a post but it is the thought that someone is reading. It is the fact that my family sees me and knows the effort I am making and therefore there is no room to over-glorify the truth. This is my accountability.

By the way, I put in a total of 4 miles today, of which I ran 2 of the miles and then walked two. While it is not impressive, it is a start! My first goal is to run in the "Race for the Cure" 5k on Oct. 10th and while I know I may not get back to a 9 min mile by then, I will run! That is so funny that my goal is to just to get a 9 minute mile and my daughter is trying to break a 6min mile. Did I tell you she has placed 5th and 9th in her last two cross country meets. Her best time so far this year during a meet is 6:28...I think she can make her goal and she is a great inspiration to her mom right now.

Here's to another great adventure!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Well...actually posting a blog has been sorta intimidating for me. Which is silly because it truly is more for my family and myself than trying to impress the masses. My family must still continue to love me by default so what am I worried about? So here it goes...

This is coming on my absolute favorite time of the year. There is a certain freshness with Fall that is just so endearing to me. The crisp autumn air is something I long for during the hot tedious summer days and it is coming...I can feel it in my bones. With Fall comes one of my most favorite football. I am a sports kinda girl...primarily when it comes to my kids but I won't get ahead of myself. There will be many future posts detailing the joy a mother receives from being a spectator of her child. Nonetheless, there is something about college sports that just gets me excited. Pro leagues, in any sport, never quite measure up for me. I have a feeling the main difference lies between those who are still young and at the brink of experiencing the real world versus those playing to draw a paycheck. The passion just changes and that is okay, I just prefer one to the other.

Now for my OSU friends, I love you, but there is nothing like OU football season. And I am so ready!!! Even with the sad turn of events this week and the loss of our tight end for the opening game, I am still pumped about football.

It is such a fun time at our house during away OU football games. My husband has taught me enough about football to where I can really enjoy watching the plays develop and for the most part understand what the players and coaches are trying to accomplish. That being said...I have never played football so where I can understand a lot of the lingo such as "They are lined up in an I-formation"...I, by far, am no expert. The problem is, I know enough to be dangerous and that is a large problem for my sixteen year old son who has been raised on football and has played the sport for most of his life. Where I gladly admit, I can't always see the "whole picture" as my husband and son can; there is a large part of me that doesn't care. Frankly, while in the heat of watching a play unfold, I might tend to get a bit vocal about the fact that I am absolutely certain of the missed interference call or the very obvious holding that was just ignored by the officials. This of course, for whatever reason goes all over Caleb. It drives him crazy..."Mom! He barely pushed off of him." or "That was not holding, mom...geez". In the end, I am just thankful to have a wonderful family who gets to enjoy this pastime together and cheer for our favorite team or disagree about penality calls regardless if they are valid or not. Of course, Ashtyn - my almost 14 year old daughter, usually will be found on the computer or at that mall but we will keep praying that one day she will see the light and understand there is nothing better than watching Sooner football on a cool autumn day whether we're at the stadium or having a watch party at our house. I just simply love Fall and OU football!