Friday, November 14, 2014

Crafting Corner: Button Letters

Crafting has always been something that I enjoy - at Summer Camp my favorite "excursion" was the Craft Cabin.  I love being creative in anything - it's a trait that I greatly enjoy using.  That said, crafting always seemed to take a back burner in my life - because I was always super, super busy.  So sadly I wasn't able to enjoy it as often as I would have liked.  But in the last year and a half that's changed...especially in the last 5 months.  I was finding myself at home A LOT more - and that was causing me A LOT more "free time".  At first, I'll admit I bucked the idea - I hated it...and it has taken me some time to fall in love again with my home, but I am...and I think my home is loving me being here much more often.  I've tried to find various tasks to occupy my time - other than watching TV or being stuck on Facebook or Pinterest {okay that one has actually been a helpful place - so many ideas...a creative person's paradise!}.  But, in time  I'm slowly starting to enjoy my evenings of coming home, closing the door and not having to rush back out - or my weekends of more time to be home.  Don't get me wrong - I loved every moment of the time I did have outside of VdM and I still, greatly, enjoy time away shopping, spending time with friends or family, or whatever the time away may entail.  And I still try to get out some - even if I'm alone...because for me being stuck inside alone without social interaction for several evenings in a row is not good for me - I would go bonkier more bonkers, than I already am!

One of the tasks I've taken on is doing more craft projects - in the Spring time I purchased my first ever glue gun...and boy have I given it a run for it's money.  I even purchased a second - just to have on hand and because it has a more narrow tip for those smaller, more confined areas needing gluing.  Between You-Tube and Pinterest and my own brain, I've found many many projects to keep me going - and my list continually grows of "crafts to make".  I'm starting to realize I need to create a designated location for my crafting supplies - which are much more than a glue gun these days.  And I'm working on figuring out how to best organize my supplies - oh yeah, another project!

One of my most recent projects was this button letter.  My cousin's wife is expecting their first baby, a little girl, in just a few weeks - and we recently had her baby shower.  I love giving homemade gifts - some find them cheesy or elementary, but I find them thoughtful and unique.  So as I was thinking of what I'd make for Baby Kaylin - I wanted to do something with her initial, that could be used in her nursery and one day her bedroom (possibly).  I have had a bucket-o-buttons for some time now, and nothing says cuteness like buttons - what's the old saying..."as cute as a button"!  So I decided I'd purchase a wooden "K", paint it pink, cover it in multi-colored girly colored buttons, cover a canvas with fabric and then place in a frame.  I searched and researched various ideas and options, and decided to take a little of several options and make it my own.

First I sorted through my buttons and found the sizes and colors I wanted to use - the nursery is gray walls, black furniture and the bedding/accent pieces are going to be bright fun girly colors - pink, purple, yellow, turquoise, etc. 

Here is the "K" - almost completely painted. I didn't paint the back - to help with adhering it to the fabric covered canvas.

I used a pretty shade of pink, called Pink Chiffon - so that those places that buttons didn't cover up, wouldn't just be white.  I found this paint at Michael's it was Satin Acrylic - so it gave a little sheen when it was dry. 

Once the letter was painted - I let it completely dry, and then I "played around" with the buttons to position them and create the design I wanted.  It took some time - but it was like putting a puzzle together, just finding which one wentn in the exact location.  I had MANY more buttons sorted than needed, but I wanted to make sure I had several size and color options.  Once I had the design - I then began attaching the buttons with hot glue.  I tried to cover the entire top surface - that's almost impossible since the buttons are round and it's a squared/straight edge.  I wanted to make sure it looked like a "K", and not a pile of hot glued buttons - in the end.

This is once all the buttons were glued on.  I let them sit overnight to make sure they got good and set.  Some had to be re-glued for a more secure fit, but for the most part all of them set up really well.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures during the other phase of assembly - but I used a white canvas, gray fabric quarters and a canvas frame kit - all purchased at JoAnn's.  The frame was 8x10 - and the actual letter itself was about 5 inches long.

I wrapped the top and sides of the canvas with the fabric quarter, and cut off the excess.  I used a staple gun to attach to ensure the material remained taut, and for extra security.  The frame kit included Velcro that was attached to the back of the canvas and then lined up with Velcro inside the frame.  I also used a staple gun to secure the Velcro to the canvas - just for an extra measure.  It came with an adhesive strip - but I was afraid it wouldn't be enough with the natural gradual pull of gravity, as it hangs on a wall.

And this is the final "product".  I used a heavy crafting glue to adhere the "K" to the canvas - to again provide extra security.  I let it dry flat for the first hour or so, and then set it upright (as it if were hanging on a wall) for about 30 min - to make sure that it wasn't going to slip.  The letter itself is not flush, it does sit up "off of the canvas" - so it adds some additional dimension.  You can sort of see this in the picture.
Beginning to end the project probably took me 5-6 hours - this includes the sorting of the buttons, as well.  It's super cute and my cousin's wife loved it - I hope it will look super cute in Baby Kaylin's nursery.
I plan to do a similar craft - but with paper mache letters, for a Christmas gift for one of my nieces.  I'm sure I'll be posting about it in the future.
Next Crafting Corner post - Christmas Ornaments.  I'm on a roll getting various ornaments done for myself, family and as a "thank you" gift for the ladies at my table during this year's Christmas Tea. So stay tuned!  I also have some recipes - I want to share soon, as well.  Along with my Household Management binder and Christmas binder.
Until next time - don't let the glue gun burn you! :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Days of Summer...

On Monday evening, summer 2014 evaporated into autumn 2014 quietly made it's entrance from stage right.  Summer, 2014 was a great one ~ overall.

A new position...I began my (unofficial) start to summer with a new job.  I didn't leave my employer, I just took on a new position within the bank - supporting our COO - Commercial Banking.  It has been a WONDERFUL move - on so many levels.  I've met many new colleagues, have made new friends and have utilized and expanded my skill set.  I wasn't looking to make a move, but this position become available and I felt God calling me to make the move.  So I listened.  I must admit, I was very hesitant when I saw the position post - my new manager was on my {mental} list of executives I'd consider supporting should the opportunity arise.  You see I had {still have} a great relationship with my previous executive - who I supported for four years.  So I knew I had to be very selective, should I ever consider leaving my {previous} role.  The position posted just days before Easter.  An administrative group within the bank e-mailed the posting to all administrative professionals - so when I saw the posting I thought "well that would be a great opportunity for someone, that executive would be a great person to support and it would be a great opportunity for advancement."...never considering myself for the position.  Days later while stuffing eggs for the family's egg hunt - the post came to mind, out of no where...again I thought, it would be a great opportunity - for someone, else.  The next day, while preparing Easter dinner, once again thoughts of the position filled my mind...this time I was considering myself for this position.  But concerns of leaving an executive as the one I supported, added to my "maybe not" list.  I had taken the day following Easter off.  When I returned on Tuesday, I received a phone call from a fellow admin - who said "I know your answer will probably be "no", because you are happy where you are - but have you considered applying for the position supporting the COO - Commercial Banking?"  WOW!  I laughed and told her, "well actually I have and I am still considering it - but this phone call has confirmed that I should apply."  That evening I stayed a little later at work and applied.  By 8:15 a.m. the next day (April 23) HR had contacted my then executive to notify them that I had posted for the position and that I was being heavily considered as a candidate.  Within the next two days I had a phone interview, had scheduled additional in-person interviews.  By the end of the following week - I had completed 8 in-person interviews and was waiting.  By 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 5 - I was offered the job.  It was quick, quicker than anticipated.  So quick - I barely had a chance to talk to my family about the opportunity.  By the end of May I was in my new role!  All along the way - God was giving me peace.  I never once looked back - I was just looking ahead and allowing Him to lead.  I remember after I hit the "apply now" button, I said out loud - at my desk - "well God, if this is what you want you will make it clear, I'm trusting you."  An clear it was!!  I'm so happy in my position - and can already see how this was a great move for me!

An was a June Thursday at 12:32 p.m., I was at Danny's Deli enjoying lunch with a fellow admin., my cell phone caught my eye - as a phone number flashed on the screen.  Not wanting to be rude I ignored the call.  Within seconds the number flashed up on the screen again.  I apologized and said I needed to get the call.  "Ms. Thornton this is ADT and we have reports of your motion and front door alarms sounding at your residence - are you okay? Do you need us to call the authorities?"....stunned I didn't know what to say - I felt like I couldn't speak.  I told the operator  - I wasn't at home and she would need to call the police.  I went back to the table and told my lunchmate - I had to leave, someone had broken into my home.  The walk back to my desk seemed to take forever - I had to get my purse, keys, laptop, notify my boss.  I couldn't get there fast enough - I had to leave.  I remember not being able to figure out how to remove my laptop from the docking station and asking the co-worker next to me for help - he seemed confused as to why I couldn't figure it out.  (I explained to him at a later time what had happened).  I then had to get to my car and get home - again the walk to my car was forever, I walked really fast and then slowed down, really fast and then slow down - at one point I may have even been running.  Finally to my car - I had to figure out how to get home.  I called my sister - no answer, I had to tell someone - but what do I tell them, I knew nothing.  Visions of possible damage to my home were filling my mind.  Ugh...another traffic light - please just let me get home!!  Finally, I reached home - the police officer walked up to me and asked how my day was...I mean really, what do you want me to say "Oh it's an awesome sun shiny day!" hello - I'm here because someone has broken into my home.  To not give too many details - we entered the house, found a piece of evidence that confirmed someone had been or was in the house - upon my exit from the house the officer drew his weapon and announced "police - make yourself known"...all of this was going on in my quiet little home.  I apologized to the police officer that I hadn't made my bed that morning - he just looked at me and said "It is okay, I have small children - so I'm sure your unmade bed can't compare to the mess they make".  The intruder wasn't in the house - PTL, and upon further investigation we discovered how they entered.  Thankfully my alarm system scared them - and they didn't have time to take anything of great value from my home...well except for my sense of security.  The intruder was caught just two days later, and charges have been pressed and their trial begins in late October.  I'm assuming at some point during this trial I will have to testify - and that seems slightly overwhelming, but God will be there with me.  My sense of peace and security have begun to return - although I still wake up in the night fearing someone is in my home.  But that isn't an every night occurrence - just a few times a week.  I thank God for my security system - both on the day of the burglary and now as it helps give me an extra tangible layer of security.

A New Bundle of Joy brings the title of "Father"on Father's Day...As I had mentioned in previous posts my sister and brother-in-law were expecting their first child in late June - but Nephew #3 decided to make his appearance on Father's Day...the best gift a dad could ever receive.  After many hours of labor, no progression of dilating and a fever that was rising the doctor's decided that my sister would have an emergency c-section - not what she had planned, but was more than agreeable due to the circumstances.  He was born @ 8:56 a.m. weighing 9 pounds 22 inches long - and perfectly beautiful in the eyes of his auntie! :)   He and my sister were both healthy, the fever reduced soon after delivery and within two days they were home.  The family of 3 have adjusted quite well to their new normal - including the 10-11 hours of sleep each night.  My sister recently returned to work, and that has brought some heartache - but she is praying the Lord will open up an opportunity for her to be able to reduce her days away from her bouncing happy boy!

Beach+Wedding+New BIL+New Nephew = All in One Week...Early August brought a family vacation to the beach.  Everyone, except Nephew #1, went on the trip.  We were sooo excited about the opportunity to get away for a week - and by the time the trip actually had arrived, we were all more than ready for some serious beach time.  My family LOVES the beach!!  During our planning of the trip - my youngest sister and {then} fiance considered getting married while we were away.  After consideration it was decided they'd take full advantage of the opportunity with 99% of the family there.  My new BIL's son had already planned to join us - and that was great to have him there with us.  We were able to celebrate his 11th Birthday while there - and that was another special memory to have, as well.  So now I'm the auntie of nine - 5 nieces and 4 nephews...the boys are quickly gaining on the girls!!  The time away was great - and the opportunity to have the hardest decision be pool side or beach side, was WONDERFUL!!

Lots of time on my hands...I still find myself with lots of time on my hands, so I'm trying to find different "things" to do.  I've done several crafts - I'll post about them soon.  I spent a little more time in my gardens this summer and that was nice.  I attempted to grow tomatoes - but wasn't as successful as I had hoped, so maybe next summer.  I've started learning to sew with a sewing machine - and that is very exciting to me!! :)  I'm looking forward to purchasing a "real" sewing machine soon into the new year.  I've created various schedules - cleaning schedules, cooking schedules, craft schedules, encouragement to others schedules, etc.  Summer is always a little slower in the kitchen, because it is so hot...with a semi-cooler than usual summer I did do a little more experimenting than usual this summer.  Mastering a few recipes I've wanted to try - like buffalo sauce, oh yummolicious!! I was able to treat the new parents to a meal once a week for the first five weeks after delivery - and that was a great treat for me, and hopefully for them as well.  With the cooler evenings approaching and fall-like Saturdays, I'm sure the oven will be warming up on a more frequent basis! Stay tuned.

Aging Parents - Summer brought a few hurdles in this area.  About two weeks before we left on vacation my dad found out he needed a pacemaker placed - and it had to happen pre-vacation.  So one week before we left, his pacemaker was placed.  All went well with the placement and recovery has been pretty much event free. PTL!  Mom is doing okay - but the Dementia is much more present these days, even with her meds.  She still has her independence and can fully function as normal for the most part - but her reasoning/thought process, decision making rational are steadily deteriorating.  As siblings we are always looking at ways to assist her, as much as she will let us - and still allow her to maintain that independence that she needs and we need her to is a fine line, but so far we've walked it pretty well.  The new "endeavor" is the grocery store and food preparation.  We've learned, through observation, that mom quickly becomes overwhelmed with too many decisions - and she picks whatever she see first. For example - during a trip to the ice cream shop she would normally pick blackberry chip - it has been her "go to" for as long as I can remember.  However, she recently selected Cherry - because it was the first option that she saw...when asked "are you sure - they have blackberry chip?" she said - "oh well then yes, I want that - I didn't see it on the list."  Or when going to a restaurant she'll ask - "what are you having?" or "what do you like here?"  This allows her {in her thought process} to not show us that she's struggling...but we've caught on, after she's ordered "not normal to her" options.  So we always make sure we help her with her selection - in a very non-offensive way, pointing out options that we know she'd like.  That said, we've noticed that when asking what they've (the parents) have had for has been very random combinations of items.  So we've come to the conclusion that determining what's for dinner may be slightly overwhelming and she selects whatever she first sees - like a tomato and onion sandwich, yes that was a recent item!  Our plan - to join her in her grocery shopping and to create a meal schedule of what she has available, and assisting with pre-meal prep as much as we that she is able to put together a more normal dinner.  Together my family and I will make this journey as tolerable as possible for everyone involved, but I can't promise you I won't cry from time to time - as I watch my mom slowly slip away.

God has been continually gracious to me - with a new job, watching over my home, ministering in my church via VBS and the meal ministry, adding to my family, allowing me the opportunity to learn new things like sewing and doing crafts, and love for my parents as we walk this road of aging.

To God Be The Glory for Summer, 2014!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh Where to Begin...

So much has happened since my last seems to be the case with my blog over the last few year - but with the new laptop, I'm hoping that blogging will again become a regular "thing".

So where do I begin - well Maria says we should "start at the very beginning it is a a very good place to start" {okay who else is singing...I heart Sound of Music!}

So the beginning...hmm, okay....

  1. Ryan and Jenni were married during sunset on the white sands of Marco Island surrounded by their families and a couple close friends last August. Then at Thanksgiving they announced Baby Young would be arriving in June, 2014.  February revealed that Baby Young would be Baby Boy Young..and we eagerly anticipate his arrival in just a few weeks!!!! ..oh maybe I'm jumping ahead some!
  2. The end of August brought the start of school - and that meant Emily would move into the dorms for the first time, as she started her Sophomore year at Capital University.  She spent her entire Senior year of high school in a program that allowed her to get her entire first year of college completed (and it was 100% paid for, including books and parking).  So when she graduated from high school last spring, she also completed her Freshmen year of college.  What an excellent opportunity that was for her.  She has since completed her first year of dorm life and second year of college.  I'm so proud of her.  The kiddos also had a great year of school  - Sophia finished 5th grade {wowzas!}, Elijah completed 4th grade, and Ayana ended 3rd grade.  All of them had a stellar year - excellent grades, various acknowledgements along the way and much learning was had!! 
  3. After several tests and doctors visits my wonderful mom was diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia - in late August early September. It was a blessing to find out what was causing the symptoms she had been experiencing for some time.  Then in January/February we discovered that she had 3 degenerating discs in her back.  Mom just turned 70 last summer, and prior to these aliments she had been extremely healthy and prided herself in the fact that she only took a multi-vitamin each day....and that was voluntary.  It has been very hard to watch this happen.  For the most part the meds that she is on help her dementia, and we are encouraging her to keep her routine normal and still do the things she loves/wants to do...we don't/can't coddle her, she won't and shouldn't allow it.  The day will come when these things won't be a luxury anymore, and until then it's as normal as we can make it.
  4. In September I began attending a Life Group at church.  We meet on Sunday evenings, most Sundays for a couple of hours, and it is a really great time.  I am really learning to get to know each of them and I do look forward to our time together.
  5. In October my youngest sister, Kari, announced that she was engaged.  She and her fiance, John plan to get married this summer.
  6. The first Saturday in November I spent 4.5 hours taking the Certified Administrative Professionals Exam...something I had wanted to take for many, many years - and I finally did it.  After months of studying and reading, I took the hardest test in my life.  Even with 19 years of administrative experience, I still struggled and completed with only 2 min. left to spare.  My mind was fried literally.  I got lost coming home - and usually I'm extremely good with directions, and especially when my destination is home! :)   After almost 8 weeks of waiting I received the letter a day or so after Christmas, and I PASSED!!!  I was soooooo proud of myself and shocked!!  I had wanted this for so long and finally I was able to be successful and accomplish something I had so desperately wanted.  I was beginning to lose hope in accomplishing my goals and attaining dreams I had had for many years.  But this encouraged my heart.  Many weren't surprised I passed, but I was - many never even asked about the test prep or how my studying was going (only once did something ask in the entire 9 months of studying).  I don't know why that was - maybe they thought it was a given...I wasn't certain of anything until I received that letter
  7. The holiday were filled with busyness, traditions - some old, some new and a lot of joyful times.  Christmas Eve held the arrival close friends daughter - Violet...that was a special Christmas treat!
  8. Winter was cold, colder and coldest - along with snow, snowy and snowed in.  We learned phrase such as polar vortex and snow rollers.  Even winter fanatics were ready for Winter 2013-2014 to END.  It had been 20 years since temps reached as low as they did - for extended periods of time.  20 years ago - that seems like ages ago...but really 20 years was 1994 and that was the year I graduated from  high school...YIKES!!
  9. Another trip to Hocking Hills - our 5th trip to be exact.  It was a good weekend.  The weather was nice.  The food was great.  Some didn't feel so well.  Reecie girl - really struggled.  But all-in-all it was a good weekend.  Jenni, Lisa and I did a craft - to help pass the time on Saturday, and to allow Lisa to enjoy something she hadn't had much time to enjoy - since Violet's arrival.  I enjoyed some kitchen therapy...I always enjoy that no matter where I am.
  10. Springtime brought another birthday - I struggled a little, but I tried to keep that to myself.  Something I'm learning to do a lot of lately.  I wasn't overly thrilled about celebrating - but people wanted to so I let them, but I would have been fine to just let it go on by this year.  Don't get me wrong - God has blessed me in so many ways and he has graciously allowed for me to have 38 years on this earth...I don't take that lightly.  But it is very obvious that something is missing.  Someone once told me to not dwell on the situation - and I don't, they of course didn't see it that way.  I dwell in the situation...and that is completely different.
  11. At the beginning of May I was offered a new job.  I wasn't looking for a new job - I was very happy and content with my (then) current job.  But several different occurrences led me to apply for the position and within 2 weeks of applying the position was mine.  I began the new position last Tuesday.  I really enjoy it - I'm learning a lot.  My days are super busy and go very (almost at times too) fast.  I know God has a plan for me here - and my desire is to bloom where he has planted me.
  12. Next week - I'm excited to say I'll be teaching VBS.  Next week will be two years that I left the only other church I had known.  It seems like it has been longer than 2 years, and other days it feels like it was just last week.  But I LOVE my "new" church.  I'm starting to learn names and remember them with faces (that match the names).  God has really worked in my life in the last two years.  He is stretched me and molded me, and that excites me.  I look forward to working with the kids next week.  I pray I'm a vessel that I teachable, used by and for God and a reflection of God's love.

So that's where I've been.  I'm sure I've missed out on some journey's along the way, but those are the mile markers that stick out to me!

Until our paths cross again...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Simple Woman's Daybook 07.18.13

Outside my is a very humid and muggy summer's evening. The air is thick and heavy...almost too heavy to breathe. The thickness hits you as soon as you walk out into the evening.

I am I need to be asleep!! I've not slept well this week...and it is catching up to me!

I am thankful...for the opportunity to see my mom this evening, and to catch-up with her for a few minutes.

In the kitchen...I've tried to remain slightly busy - especially on the weekends, and this weekend will be no different. I'm making a couple of desserts (PB Pie and Triple Berry Cobbler) for an event an acquaintance is hosting on Saturday. I'm also going to make homemade pizza crust for Saturday evening's dinner! Love homemade pizza!

I am wearing...lightweight clothing to help keep me cool. Even with the AC running, it's hard to keep cool when the temps are so high and the humidity so heavy.

I am creating...many lists! I thrive on lists!! And I have many things coming up that require a list!

I am the beach soon!! The beach is my happy place. The place I feel closest to God!

I am wondering...oh I could go on and on here! Wondering about so many things...but I'm trying not to worry, but just trust God. He is faithful, and I'm leaning heavily on Him over the next few months.

I am reading...a lot, as I prepare for the CPS test in November. So much to read, and I feel like I don't have enough time.

I am find some ways to fill some of my open evenings, on occasion. Especially once the autumn and winter months arrive. I really need that interaction with others, and sitting quietly in my house most evenings - will not be good for me!!

I am looking forward to...Jenni & Ryan's wedding! Two weeks from today!!

I am learning...a LOT!! I'm really enjoying the summer Bible Study my church is offering on Wednesday evenings! In addition, I'm learning many new things as I study for the CPS exam!!

Around the house...doing some re-organizing. Going through and purging - that feel so good!!

I am pondering...a few changes!

A favorite quote for today..."Ayana told me you are her best friend" {my sister, Kari}

One of my favorite things...Chinese food, and tonight my {soon-to-be} Brother-in-Law invited me over for Homemade Cashew was divine!

A few plans for the rest of the week...Ayana is coming to spend the weekend with me. Hopefully Saturday {weather permitting} we will spend a large portion of the day at the pool, once we deliver the desserts. We will also make homemade sugar scrub {a new project I'm taking on} and homemade pizza, while enjoying some movies, a few hands of Old Maid and just hanging out. I love that she enjoys spending time with me.

A peek into my; lunch with a friend; dinner with Ryan, Jenni, and Ryan's dad - Gary; and working on a few wedding things {mainly just marking off that Jenni has accomplished this week}

...find the simple things in life and enjoy them, they are what make life so much fun!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New "Digs"

Well for the last several hours I've been updating my blog - so it looks fresher and happier!  I added a couple new links to my "Blog's List", and I updated my Blog needed to be happier!  It's very late...okay actually early in the morning - YIKES!  I wish I had more time to chat as I have much to say, but I really need to get to bed...especially since I have an afternoon that brings a refresh course in Business Writing & Grammar (snore galore)  that I have to endore in just a few hours!

Hope you like the looks of "the new things around here"!! I promise I'll have something more interesting to write about next time. 

Coming Posts: 
  • Cookie Jar:  Firework Cookes (so it's a little late, but hey every day deserves Fireworks, right!)
  • Sugar Scrubs
  • Inside the Quiet Walls
So be sure to stop back by in a few days or so!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Year and A Half - Seriously?...

Has it really been a year and a half since I last blogged...WOWZAS!!  I sure have missed it, and much has happened in my life.  Let's see since December 30, 2011 I've...
  • kept up some on 40x2016 name a few - lots of recipes are happening in the Megalicious kitchen, I've built a shoe organizer and assemblied my garden hose housing unit, learned to trim the front bushes (self-taught...thank you very much...and I only distroyed one extension cord).  I remain looking to accomplish these;
  • been promoted to Executive Administrative Assistant.  I was already doing many aspects of the job, so it was a nice to get the title (officially)...and a compensation reward as well;
  • paid off my car...HUGE deal and a reminder of God's faithfulness of provision to me!!;
  • started studying for the Certified Professional Secretaries Exam, which I'll take on Saturday, November 2.  This will be a great accomplishment, and if I pass I plan to take the Organizational Management test the Spring, 2014. Both would be great assets to starting a Personal Assistant business;
  • gone through another time of depression, and it is a daily struggle to overcome...but each day is better, and those days that aren't - well I have the next day to look forward to...Winter 2012/2013 was extremely rough;
  • followed God's leading and in June, 2012 left the church I'd known my whole life.  It was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've ever done spiritually and emotionally.  But God is growing me, breaking me and molding me to bring glory to Him;
  • found a new church to call home, and I'm growing...but I want to grow so much more - and I'm looking forward to the summer bible study program they are offering.  I'm hoping to meet new people...maybe even that someone special kind of people - ahem!  But that's not the focus (well not totally...but I will be keeping an eye out!)
  • watched my family grow physically and numerically.  Well the numerical part will come on August 1st when my sister will marry the love of her life, who happens to also be one of my very best friends, during a sunset ceremony on the beach in Marco Island, FL!  I'm so excited for them!! The nieces and nephews are growing physically (all but three are now taller than me), emotionally and intellectually - what a blessing to be a part of their lives.  One niece graudated High School and will start college in the stinkin' proud of that young lady;
  • watched my parent's age - this hasn't been easy;
  • been re-certified in CPR, along with a good friend...have no fear when I'm around;
  • found myself with a lot of free time, so I'm trying to figure out how to fill it - but not too much...been taking some classes to learn things I've always wanted to learn, attending a few ladies Bible studies and finding my way around the kitchen even more so than usual;
  • organized a few different service projects for my family - with one being last summer when we made 60 sack lunches and took them to homeless people throughout the C-bus about a humbling experience.  It was the hottest day of the entire summer - temps were well over 100*...thankfully we had cold bottles of water to give them as well.  The thing I learned most that day - individuality is important to a homeless person...almost all of them instantly shared their name with us.  Almost to say - "there is a name that goes with this face, and that makes me just like you...I'm a person, not a group!";
  • not done much traveling - that I can think of...although I feel like I did...maybe that is just wishful thinking;
  • experienced the strained seperation of a beloved family member.  For a long time I tried to fix the situation myself; however, I learned that I had to give it ALL to God...and that's what I've done.  Only God can change the heart and that is my prayer;
  • lived at Villa de Megalicious (VdM) for 5 years now - again another reminder of God's faithful provision to me;
  • remained single - not by choice.  "Single and Desperately Looking" The desire to marry has intensified greatly, and the reality of my loneliness is there everyday...but I'm trusting God to provide in this area.  I'm trying to do a few things to make myself more "out there" visible - not like..."oh that girl is out there!"  So we will see!!; and
  • started blogging again...after a long sabbatical.  I've have probably missed a few things...but these seem to be the highlights that are coming to me right now! 
I hope I still have some followers, and if I do - it's nice to be back with you again!  Until we meet again...

Friday, December 30, 2011

"A Year in the Life..."

Here i sit at my computer, on a semi-cold December day {we've had many of those to date}, with less than 48 hours remaining in 2011.  WOW what a year! Where did it go?  Have you ever heard the term "bag of mixed emotions"?  Well I feel that has been this year. I have experienced many happy moments, many ubberly exciting moments, moments when my heart hurt, moments filled with total agony - sadness - loneliness and defeat,  moments of pure bliss and joy, moments of anxiousness, and moments of total peace and calm.

January started with Ayana going forward to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior, and Sophia going forward to be baptized!  Talk about starting the year off right!! WOOT WOOT!! January also held the Ohio State Football Buckeyes winning the BCS Sugar Bowl - in the midst of a scandal, NCAA investigations and daily developments to the story that broke right before Christmas.{Little did we know what the rest of 2011 would bring to the beloved Buckeye football team}.  I was part of a conspiracy, towards the end of January...on a very cold January Sunday night I drove to CMH to pick-up my friend, Beth.  She was coming home, from China, as a surprise to her family during her break at Chinese New Year!  What a sweet reunion in the airport, and the Megmobile was full of giggles and excitement as we drove as quickly as legal to her parent's home. The best part was standing outside in the middle of the frozen ice covered street, and hearing her mom scream with excitement and surprise as she ran into their home yelling "HAPPY NEW YEAR"!!  It was by far one of the coolest things I've done to date!

February allowed me the opportunity to participate in a breakfast at the kiddos school.  It was very cool to be back in the lunchroom that I ate in as an elementary student and to see the kiddos in their element.  February was probably the month that held the most life changing events for me, as it started my quest to a healthier lifestyle. Thanks to a program at work that encouraged healthier life decisions - and offered a reward of $200 off your Medical Premium in 2012, if you met their challenge.  Since I'm a sucker for ways to save money, I began looking at my life in terms of getting healthy with the reward of saving money as motivation! {Btw - I met the challenge requirements in May...WOOT WOOT!}.  The doctor challenged me to loose 60 POUNDS!!  He knows I'm a control freak - so he took the opportunity to remind me that there are only a few things in my life that I can control, and one of them is food.  He then told me, "and you aren't controlling it."  Those words put me right into my place, and changed my way of thinking.  I've not had a regular soda since February, {accept the one I accidentally drank on Christmas - because I thought the can was diet...oops}, and regular soda was my "lifeline" or so I thought.  My food choices are smarter - I still eat many of the things I want, but I have to account for those in my daily points, so I'm thinking before I'm eating.  Everything in moderation. To date I've lost 35 pounds.  I wanted to do this slow and steady - I want it to be a lifestyle change...not a flash in the pan kind of thing.  Jenni and I began walking on Monday evenings, and I must say I feel much better physically and mentally.  Sophia was baptized in mid-February, and her Dad was able to be there to witness it...little did we know that would be one of his last visits to IBC for several years, as a few days later he was arrested for Aggravated Vehicular Assault - relating to the accident he was involved in the Fall of 2010.  Bringing many court hearings and legal sessions to both he and Kari - as she filed for full custody of the Kiddos {which was granted in September}.

March allowed me to use my planning skills to assist Jenni as she hosted Lisa's Bridal Shower.  It was a beautiful event!  I took on the task of making cupcakes - and I found the best buttercream recipe ever....I've used it several times since.  The cupcakes and the shower were a hit by all who attended.  March again allowed me to volunteer at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Infusion Weekend at Deercreek.  I returned to the craft room, and enjoyed seeing old and new faces alike.  March also brought a return to Hocking Hills for Ryan, Jenni, Tim, Lisa and I - and Reece too.  We once again had a relaxing weekend, filled with beautiful weather, delicious food, hours of March Madness Basketball and plenty of laughter.  It was a nice break in the routine of life - especially right before Tim and Lisa's wedding six weeks later.  Steve, Wendy, Jenni, Kari and I participated in the Channel 10 Commit to Be Fit Challenge as the Flabbiless 5.  We didn't win the contest, but we all lost weight - and that alone was a great reward!

April seems to have flashed right past.  I hosted my first non-family overnight guests early in the month - with some of the IBC teen girls.  It was nice to have other noise bellowing throughout VdM in the morning.  After the girls left VdM - I headed to Mom and Dad's for what was supposed to be a day of shopping - but plans changed.  While eating a piece of warmed coffee cake Mom experienced what we thought at the time to be a Stroke.  I must say it was the SCARIEST moment of my life - I was there as the entire episode unfolded, and I must be honest that thoughts of loosing my Mom that day filled me with fear.  Thankfully after many tests and scans, we found out that what she experienced was a reaction to something that she was eating and the physical temperature of the food - it was a natural reaction the body has  to something that is too hot or too cold, and the symptoms are all similar to that of a Stroke.  Since I love to cook/bake I decided I would prepare Easter Dinner for the family this year - a task I thoroughly enjoyed!  The following weekend I had the honor of assisting two of my best friends on their wedding day.  Tim and Lisa's wedding was beautiful, romantic and true reflection of their love for each other!!  I also challenged myself with 40 goals to accomplish before May, 2016...this is the gift I gave to myself of birthday in May.  I've worked towards many of them and have a accomplished a few, but I need to make greater strides at accomplishing them on a more regular basis.

May {my most favorite month}began with Breaking World News.  I'll never forget - it was a Sunday night, and I was in bed early still trying to recover from the events of the weekend {Tim and Lisa's wedding}.  I had the TV on for background noise, but was reading through cookbooks {hard to imagine, I know!}, and Brian Williams (NBC News Anchor) broke in and said, "President Obama will be addressing the country within the hour".  I found this to be rather importantly odd and very much unsettling - I mean it was 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday evening...not many addresses from a President come on Sunday evenings at almost 10:00 p.m. that probably are of some tragic capacity.  My attention was now half on the cookbooks and half on staying "tuned in" awaiting the address.  After several delays the President took the podium and addressed the nation and the world, announcing that US Navy Seals had captured and killed Osama Bin Laden earlier that day - peace filled my mind, fear filled my mind.  Hayden finished his first year of college at ODU in mid-May, and had his first Spring and Summer without baseball, since he was four.  I also co-planned a Mother/Daughter Luncheon at IBC for the Saturday following Mother's was a nice event, and enjoyed by many.  May also held my 35th Birthday - YIKES!!  I hosted a birthday party for my family and some friends at my favorite past time location - outside of the kitchen - Outside the Lines Creative Studio.  I think everyone enjoyed it...and some have even gone back on their own!   Jim Tressel was fired as the Ohio State Football couch on Memorial Day weekend, as part of the continuing scandal that broke loose in December, 2010 - Luke Fickell was announced as Interim Couch for the 2011 Season.

June was a super busy month!  The first Tuesday in June brought a dream of mine to reality.  I planned, coordinated and hosted a Summer Bible Study at Villa de Megalicious on Tuesday evenings for teen girls going into or already in High School.  It was a blessing and challenge - all at once.  We studied "Lies Young Women Believe: and The Truth that Sets them Free".  I had 4 girls who attended/participated each week. I'm hoping to continue a similar ministry this summer as well.  In addition to the Bible Study, I also spent most non-working hours finalizing plans for VBS at IBC!  Emily, along with the IBC teens spent a week in Utah doing Backyard Bible Clubs - and I was happy to work with the Bible Teachers to get them ready for their ministry.  Their week show an increase in attendance each night and more of a connection to the church with the kids in that neighborhood - but best of all, it held the Spiritual Birthday of one of the kids who attended!.  June held a small cut in Kari's apron strings, as Sophia attended her first year of Summer Camp at Scioto Hills - and had great week of growth both developmentally and spiritually.

July means extended amounts of sunshine, lots of time at the pool, yummy food at picnics and fireworks!  And this year was no different!  Gold Rush 2011, was a great week of ministry at IBC and we saw 90 kids attend VBS.  IBC is blessed with many talented people that made my job of VBS Director.  We continue to reach out to the VBS attendees through various means in hopes of seeing many attend IBC on a regular basis and begin/restore/continue a relationship with Jesus Christ. Once VBS had come to an end, I had more time to enjoy the extended amounts of sunlight and free time in the evening.  Ayana played soccer this summer and loved it, so many Saturday mornings you could find me on the sidelines cheering her on.  Elijah began Mai Thai - and I was able to catch a couple of his classes as well.  The Kiddos spent a weekend with me, and we had a blast hanging at the pool, watching movies, walking to meet Jenni and Ryan for pizza, and just making memories!  The Bible Study continued on Tuesday evenings - and was always a highlight to my week.  The US State Department gave me permission to leave the country by granting me a passport - which worked out for plans I had made for August.

August brought a trip of a lifetime!  Ryan, Jenni, Tim, Lisa and I (C5) boarded a plane in the wee hours of Saturday, August 13 and headed to CANCUN, MEXICO!!!  OH it was wonderful, beautiful, peaceful, restful and every thing I thought it would be.  The water was crystal clear, the white sand sparkled like diamonds, the hot sun baked us to golden tans {some more than others}, the food was outrageously delicious, the people were hardworking and hospitable, the experiences of the culture were eye opening and the memories will last a lifetime!  August also brought one of the hardest days in the life of our family, as Terry (the kiddos father) was sentenced to four years in prison for his part in the accident from October, 2010.  This was and has been the hardest part of our year - helping the kiddos understand and grasp this reality - was not and continues to be something we face on any given day.  They are still very happy children, who are active in various activities and doing well in school.  But once again their normal changed - and they (we) are still adjusting to this new normal.  August brings the end of the Summer - and the start of a new school year.  Hayden started his Sophomore at ODU and looking at internships for the Summer of 2012; Emily became a Junior and has begun the college selection process; Sophia entered 3rd grade, she loves arts and crafts, and is looking forward to playing basketball in January 2012; Elijah began 2nd grade and continues to love math and Lego's, and is becoming a Hockey fan; Ayana entered 1st grade and has acquired a love for reading, she wants to be a teacher one day, and she continues to keeps us laughing with her random remarks to life. August ended by celebrating Gabriella's first birthday.   She is such a joy to our family and is growing so quickly. Her smile and personality are such a blessing to all of us.  She knows how to say "more", "eat" and "thank you" in addition to learning to speak some basic 16 month words.

September began with Kari and the kiddos spending Labor Day Weekend Saturday with me poolside at VdM!  We swam and soaked int the sun all day, ending the day with meeting Jenni for dinner that evening - it was a great day!  Elijah decided he wanted to (as he says it) "show everyone that I (he) am a child of God's", and went forward for baptism.  September also had me on the road again!  As if Cancun wasn't enough the C5 filled a mini-van with duffle bags, coolers of cold beverages and containers of snacks - and headed for Nashville!  We toured the Opyland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry - where we sang "You are My Sunshine" on the stage.  We walked all over Downtown Nashville and toured the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Again, it was a great weekend!  The next weekend found me meeting another food challenge - planning, preparing and cooking breakfast for the BFL/MRC Board and volunteers.  I had been looking forward to this challenge for a long time!  Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and I had several ask for recipes and if I catered or would consider catering other events!  OH YIKES - not sure if I'm ready for all of that...I just LOVE to cook/bake for others!  The Ohio State football team had a rough start to what was a very rough season.  I returned as an IT leader, again this year.

October was a semi low-key month.  I enjoyed the slow pace of the month.  I took some time off towards the end of the month and enjoyed time of relaxation.  I was able to go apple picking with Steve and his family, along with Wendy's Mom, Dad and of my favorite Fall Activities! The annual Thornton Family Harvest Party was again a highlight to kicking off the upcoming Thanksgiving/Christmas season.  The kiddos allowed me to join them for Trick-Or-Treat again this year, and that was a lot of fun!  I enjoyed the Missions Conference at IBC and the IT Missionary Progressive Dinner.  The semi low-key schedule also allowed me to "get in" several of Emily's Volleyball games - where is was co-Captain of the Varsity team. 

November brought Elijah getting baptised!  It is always a highlight and blessing when you see someone in your family following Christ, in this act of obedience.  Since there were no  movies out that I wanted to see, I enjoyed pizza and movies at VdM on Veteran's Day.  Ryan turned 30 this year - but he didn't allow for a big party.  Heaven became a sweeter place on November 12, when Joan lost her battle with cancer and entered the joy of her reward.  Thanksgiving Day I spent having breakfast with Mom, Dad, Jenni, Kari and the Kiddos - then went to Jenni's for the morning and most of the afternoon to look at ads and make our plan of attack.  Jenni, Kari and I went, saw and conquered Toys R Us that evening- and then Jenni and I met up with Ryan (later joined by Tracy, Emily and Katie) at Kohl's.  We shopped for about an hour and waited in line for another three...okay we were still able to shop during those three hours, depending on which section of the store we were in.  Kohl's was followed by hitting up Steak-n-Shake at 4:00 a.m., then off to Old Navy at 5:00 a.m..  I was in bed by 6:00 a.m., and got up at 11:00 to hit the stores again - Kari joined us again that afternoon!  The Thornton Family Thanksgiving was a great time as usual,, with good food and lots of laughter, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving...even though the Buckeyes lost to the team up North for the first time in 10 years.  The T.E.A.C.H. team did a wonderful job of using their talents to minister in Jr. Church for the is such a joy to watch the teens willingly use their gifts to honor God and minister to others.

December of course brought everything Christmas!  But before that, came the announcement of Urban Meyer as head coach of the Ohio State Football Team....later in the month we learned that Ohio State would be made an example of by the NCAA, and their decision of punishment on the scandal that had broken one year before.  The Christmas Concert at IBC was a great way to  kick off the Christmas season...we are so blessed by many beautiful musical talents.  Many in the family kept the tradition of sorting cards at IBC alive for the 24th year - we sorted over 1,700 cards this year.  Christmas Eve at Jenni's included the addition of Ryan, his parents, brothers and Grandma Betty - we had a great time of food, games and lots of laughter.  Christmas Eve also took Steve's family back at Wendy's dad's  - which was a blessing for them!  Christmas Day was filled with our traditions at Kari's, Church and then to Mom and Dad's for the family gift exchange.  Later that evening some of us headed downtown for our annual visit to the State Auto Nativity and ended the night playing The LOGO Board Game.  I've taken my traditional week-off from work, and I'm enjoying lots of time with family and relaxation.

2011 was the year of mixed emotions and new challenges - some self-imposed and others not so much, but I must admit, it was all in all a great year!  2012 is going to be a year of BIG changes for me, HARD changes - but changes that need to be made.  However, I know that I will not walk this road alone - God will lead me and is leading me in these changes, and I'll have my family and friends to hold me up physically and emotionally when the road gets too steep. 

Good-bye 2011 and Hello 2012!