Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Riddance Day

I saw a post about Good Riddance Day over at Inky Smiles and thought, well that’s something that might motivate me! 
So here is the premise.  Let’s today, choose to get rid of something in our life that is holding us back or that we are holding on to without reason.  There are so many things that each of us could get rid of.. so where do we start?
I’m not sure what all I’m going to get rid of yet.  Too many things come to mind.  But I do know that I going to do some spring cleaning of the soul!
One of the reasons this concept of Good Riddance resonates with me is that I just finished reading Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. If you haven’t read this book, you need to!  Miller writes about living a better story and how we have to choose to live a story worth writing about: an adventure!
So why don’t we live better stories? In my opinion (and my mom’s) one of the biggest things that holds us back is fear.  We fear change, we fear … well we just fear.  If we were to get rid of fear, just think about the things we could do!
Another reason we don’t live better stories and can’t seem to let go of things or people is that if we don’t have that crutch or reason, we might have to actually get to living and sometimes that’s messy!
We can talk about what we would do if only we could.. but we never take the step and do it.  I know that in my family, we are constantly thinking ahead and being “visionaries” but we don’t seem to put into practice much of what we would like to see.
So this year, my first Good Riddance is complacency. If I were to step away from complacency, I could:
  • lose the 20 pounds
  • serve more people in more tangible ways
  • have an adventure to go in my life story
Now please note in the above that I never mentioned a diet, exercise, a clean house or other unreachable new year resolutions!! While I know that I will have to diet, I will have to exercise and my family would all appreciate a clean house, today I’m just going to focus on the attitude.  The action will follow. Tomorrow!
Have a great 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Going a little crazy..

Well, as you can tell, I am going a little nuts with Photoshop and creating new backgrounds for my blog and various other websites.  It's just so much fun to create and it doesn't make a mess!  While it will never take the place of hands-on crafting, digital design has carved a place in my life.  I can play on the computer while nursing baby and I don't have to worry about little hands getting into glue or getting inked or anything like that!

So here are a few of my backgrounds I've made in the last day or so.  If you want to use any of them for your blogs, or have a request, let me know :) I am still learning, so don't expect too much, but I'd be happy to share if you would like to use any of my creations!

These were all created to be used with 3 column format, but can easily be made into the traditional 2 column format as well.

Well, thanks for indulging me.

And here is the latest on Kylie... at her 4 month check up yesterday, she weighed in at 18.4 pounds and was 26 inches long!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas is SNOW much fun!

Wow!! Snow for Christmas.  Here in Texas that just doesn’t happen! The girls had a wonderful time playing in the snow Christmas eve and Christmas day.  It was nice to be able to stay home and just enjoy each other.snow2 snow

And there was a special present under the tree for me this year.  Lexi wrapped this ALL by herself :) At age 5, I think she did a pretty good job! Inside was a shirt that she picked out to give me.  Thanks Lex!christmas2

One of the traditions we started a number of years ago is having a Christmas morning brunch.  Well, it started as a brunch and now it’s more of a breakfast in that none of us can wait that late to eat :)

This year along with my parents and Doug’s mom we had two international students, Nancy and JC join in our fun.  JC even played dolls and helped to dress them.  It was really cute!

brunch brunch2Finally, one of the funny moments from the day…. Doug came in the house with this.  For people that are not used to seeing icicles, this was crazy! (In fact, Lexi just walked by and said, “Daddy has an ice sword”).christmasWell, there were lots more special moments during the day and we were able to see and enjoy family all day.  Christmas is such a special time.  Trying to find the balance in giving is sometimes hard, but it is so worth it. 

One thing I have really tried to do this year was to make more gifts and have them on-hand.  I so love to give people gifts when they come by!  We have laughed that we have traded goodies with one of the older ladies who lives across the street from us all season.  I think we have all been blessed by doing so.

I hope that your families had wonderful celebrations and that you were blessed by others this season just as you blessed others.

Today, Doug and I are celebrating our 11th anniversary and then tomorrow we are celebrating Christmas with Doug’s brother and his family.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Joyous Christmas Eve

 From the McLemore family we wish you all a Joyous Christmas eve and a wonderful Christmas.

May your holiday be filled with the laughter of children as snowflakes fall on their faces..kylie_dec 24

May your home be filled with the sweet aroma of
God’s love and provision…popcorn

gingerbread house

May the joy of the Christ-child live in your hearts and that you look to serve others just as Jesus served us all.

family Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No Strings Attached

hot choc3
This morning my girls and I helped give out free hot chocolate in front of Wal-Mart for a few minutes.  My mom and her friend Teresa were manning the station and while I wanted to continue, the wind was chilly and having a 4 month old get sick days before Christmas is not my idea of fun!

What was interesting was that while we had a sign that said FREE hot chocolate and while we said FREE hot chocolate, people were very leery of taking it.  They just couldn’t imagine us doing something completely free.. no tips, no fundraiser, no anything.  Just a Merry Christmas!

I think part of the nervousness that people had was the venue, when you walk up to the doors and people are standing there, if you are like me, you are already rehearsing your “No” speech.  No cash.. maybe on the way out… you know the speech I am talking about.  So when we offered something free, we threw people for a loop.  It was unexpected.  How fun! It kind of fits the Christmas story doesn’t :)

I don’t know how many cups of hot chocolate were served this morning, but I do know that many more people were touched than actually took cups.    hot chochot choc2 And let me brag on my girls for a second.  Yesterday when I was making the leaflets for the cups they asked about what I was doing.  I explained and they said Oh and just smiled and went on their way.  Then this morning I said we were going to go help a few minutes, that we needed a lesson in serving and they were all for it.  A little cold as they didn’t take jackets like they were told to, be they went and would have continued to serve for as long as needed. What was fun is that they never asked why or thought we were crazy, they just went.  What a lesson for us all.  We should all be willing to go and serve, even when we don’t know why!

And for those of you out there that need a reason for doing things like this, go read The Outward Focused Life or check out the website.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

1 year ago

One year ago this weekend our life was thrown for a wonderful loop.  I found out that I was pregnant with Kylie! 

Oh how life changes in a year.  kylie dec17

What a joy and blessing she is to our lives!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Crocheted Necklaces

necklace necklace2I am becoming a jewelry making fool.  Last night I completed my 10th piece.. all in one week!

I’ve also learned a lot in the process.. like silver wire stays on the roll and unwinds nicely. Gold wire does not!  I’ve also learned that the best looking pieces have a variety of gemstones and acrylic beads.  This also helps with the cost if you happen to need a lot of gifts.

One of the nicest things about these pieces is that they are forgiving when it comes to size.  The mesh you  make crocheting gives the piece flexibility in the size!

necklace4  necklace3 My inspiration for these necklaces came from Inky Smiles blog and like Erin, I recommend watching the tutorial below curtsey of Auntie’s Beads if you want to learn how to create these yourself.

One thing I would say different than the video is that it does matter (at least to me) how the beads are strung onto the wire initially.  Random is great, but if you have different sized beads or a few special beads, you need to take the time and string them on at different intervals on the wire.  Otherwise you will get a lump of special beads.  Yes, I speak from experience :) In the necklace above, you can see what I am talking about!

Well, good luck in your jewelry endeavors!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How about some fudge with your beads?

With only a few more days of school left before the holiday (oh Hallelujah) the girls and I made fudge tonight so that Maddie has teacher gifts!  You can see that this was serious business. I am always glad later that I take the time to do these things with the girls, but during the mess and the project, I rethink the whole "get your kids involved" concept!

To go along with the fudge, I have also made beaded necklaces (and one bracelet).
Here's an up-close view of a couple of the ones I have made so far.

And here I am modeling one for you :)

So, that's what I am doing tonight.  Well, that along with refereeing the girl's fights,
telling them to stop whining, and all manner of kid juggling.

I know, one of these days, in what will seem like a blink of the eye, the girls will be grown and I will miss these moments. And that's why I do it.  That's why even when I am exhausted to the point of tears, I make fudge and let them help even though it takes twice as long to make.  Because these moments are precious and years from now I pray that they will remember the fudge we made together for their teachers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Beading to China

I came across this incredible site this morning and just had to share!  Please go look at and consider purchasing some of her beautiful pieces.  Adoption is so very important to our family that I know I will be looking to support her efforts in a tangible way soon!!

Here are a few pictures of her work that I have stolen off her blog!

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Handmade Christmas: Sneak Peek

A quick glimpse of today's project!

One the books for tonight?  A little crafting with friends then more holiday elf work!
For tomorrow? 120 holiday cards for school between 2 Christmas church services.
For Monday? Complete a handmade baby album
For Tuesday? 12 fleece scarves
For Wednesday? 6 beaded projects
For Thursday? 2 batches of homemade fudge

and on and on...
why can't I just give gift cards????

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sister Suffragettes

I wonder if the women that fought so valiantly for equal rights for women would be happy with where we find women today?  I ponder this as I struggle to juggle work and family and house and everything in between.  I'm not trying to say poor me or anything like that, but I have to say, I'm tired! (draft started at 6pm Thursday night... coming back to it at 6am Friday morning...)

I don't know about where you are in life, but all I can say is that there is too much that has to be done!  Going non-stop from 6am to 10pm taking care of others or working leaves very little for me. My favorite tv show is The Biggest Loser, in fact, it's the only thing I watch all week.  This last season one of the women on it was Liz.  She's was just your average mom and yet, she resounded with me because I could so see myself in her.  She talked about how she gave all of herself to her family and that in the end, there was nothing left for herself.  This at the age of 49.  I can see myself in her as I struggle to take care of my family and at the end of the day not only do I not have the time or energy to exercise, but I haven't even done the laundry yet!

So here I sit at 6am having a cup of coffee and listening to the baby squeak that she's awake and ready to be fed, but I'd really like to finish this post.  My social and political leanings are decidedly left of center, but I have to say, that right now, I'm not too thrilled with where I find myself.  I'd like nothing more to just stay home today and take care of my family and me.  But reality sets in and I know that I've got to get ready for work.  As long as my job provides health insurance for my family, then I must go to work.  Really, I am so blessed that I really enjoy my job, but for today, can I just stay home?

And for all of the "sister suffragettes" I'd be interested in your take.  Mrs. Banks had a great life, a husband and two kids, a governess, a maid and a cook. She said that one day we would "sing in grateful chorus. Well done, my sister suffragettes." But in the end, even she needed Mary Poppins!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gold, Common Sense and Fur

One of my friends emailed me this story.. So funny and cute! I am sure it is making the email rounds, but if you haven't read it, it's worth the time!

My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but
hadn't been blessed with a baby.

I decided to do some serious praying and promised God
that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother,
love it with all my heart and raise it with His word
as my guide.

God answered my prayers
and blessed us with a son.

The next year God blessed us
with another son.

The following year,
He blessed us with
yet another son.

The year after that we
were blessed with a daughter.

My husband thought we'd
been blessed right into poverty.

We now had four children,
and the oldest was only
four years old.

I learned never to ask God
for anything unless I meant it.

As a minister once told me,
If you pray for rain,
make sure you carry an umbrella.'

I began reading a few verses
of the Bible to the children
each day as they lay in their cribs.

I was off to a good start.

God had entrusted me
with four children and
I didn't want to disappoint Him.

I tried to be patient the day
the children smashed
two dozen eggs on
the kitchen floor searching
for baby chicks.

I tried to be understanding...
when they started a hotel for
homeless frogs in the spare bedroom,
although it took me nearly two hours
to catch all twenty-three frogs.

When my daughter poured
ketchup all over herself and
rolled up in a blanket to see
how it felt to be a hot dog,
I tried to see the humor
rather than the mess.

In spite of changing over
twenty-five thousand diapers,
never eating a hot meal
and never sleeping for more
than thirty minutes at a time,
I still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn't keep my promise
to be a perfect mother -
I didn't even come close...
I did keep my promise
to raise them in the Word of God.

I knew I was missing the mark
just a little when I told
my daughter we were going
to church to worship God,
and she wanted to bring
a bar of soap along to
'wash up' Jesus, too.

Something was lost in the
translation when I explained that
God gave us everlasting life,
and my son thought it was
generous of God to give
us his 'last wife.'

My proudest moment came
during the children's
Christmas pageant.

My daughter was playing Mary,
two of my sons were shepherds
and my youngest son was a wise man.

This was their moment to shine.

My five-year-old shepherd
had practiced his line,
'We found the babe wrapped
in swaddling clothes.'

But he was nervous and said,
'The baby was wrapped
in wrinkled clothes.'

My four-year-old 'Mary' said,
'That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly.
That's dirty, rotten clothes.'

A wrestling match broke out
between Mary and the shepherd
and was stopped by an angel,
who bent her halo and lost
her left wing.

I slouched a little lower
in my seat when Mary
dropped the doll representing
Baby Jesus, and it bounced
down the aisle crying,

Mary grabbed the doll,
wrapped it back up
and held it tightly as
the wise men arrived.

My other son stepped forward
wearing a bathrobe
and a paper crown,
knelt at the manger
and announced,
'We are the three wise men,
and we are bringing gifts
of gold, common sense
and fur!!

The congregation
dissolved into laughter,
and the pageant
got a standing ovation!

'I've never enjoyed a Christmas
program as much as this one,'
laughed the pastor,
wiping tears from his eyes.'

'For the rest of my life,
I'll never hear the
Christmas story without
thinking of gold, common sense
and fur.'

'My children are my pride
and my joy and my greatest
blessing,' I said as I dug
through my purse for an aspirin.

Jesus had no servants,
yet they called Him Master.

Had no degree,
yet they called Him Teacher.

Had no medicines,
yet they called Him Healer.

Had no army,
yet kings feared Him.

He won no military battles,
yet He conquered the world.

He committed no crime,
yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb,
yet He lives today.

Feel honored
to serve such a Leader
who loves us.

May each of you have a blessed Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A little digi scrapping while learning more about Photoshop!

Don't you just love this page!! I made it using Jessica Sprague's photoshop tutorial, click here to go to her website.  Her tutorials are outstanding and very user friendly. I am getting ready to take some virtual staff development courses using Adobe and I think I like her tutorials the best!

If any of you out there have taken online courses in Photoshop, let me know what you liked or didn't like about them.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CTMH Megga Sale starts tomorrow (Dec. 2)!!

Close To My Heart is having a HUGE sale starting on December 2nd!  It's going to be fabulous!! Click here and go to my website for the sale!! 

Some of the cool things on sale are embellishments starting at just $1 a package! Paper packs starting at just  $4! Stamps sets starting at just $2!!!  Can you believe this???? I am pumped!

You don't wanna miss this if you have any crafting needs!

Email me if you want the pdf list of items.

Have a great day and plan ahead as the sell starts at 9am PST time Wednesday morning!