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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wilder Says Thanks

Wilder can actually say thank you! Well, it comes out like this:


But it's still 'Thanks' and for that I am very thankful! :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On Thanksgiving

-I'm thankful that I don't have to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year.
-I'm thankful that my dear, sweet mother-in-law is treating us all to southern fare and a wonderful time of family and fun.
-I am thankful that I am nearly over this blasted cold.
-I am thankful that I get to see my husband every night
-I am thankful that my kid is not a wimp
-I am thankful for the quietness of this moment
-I am thankful that God loved us enough to restore a relationship that we originally broke so that I can have a powerful connection with him on a daily basis.
-I am thankful for my life

Here's more about thankfulness, courtesy of Uncommon Women.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Entrepreneur's Dilemma

I'm bad at math. It has never been a strong point of mine, but currently I am facing a dilemma that is less about math skills and more about discernment. We, as a family, are trying to figure out what life is going to look like post-pregnancy, post-Army -both of which are quickly approaching.

Last week during an acting gig at LifeSize Communications I had the chance to work with the director of marketing. On my first day I came home and told Brian, "You know, I could work there. It's a nice environment and seems like a very good company." That got our wheels turning... So the next day while working with the dir. of marketing I asked if they were hiring. It so happens that they are creating several new full and part-time positions doing something similar to what I was already doing -demonstrating the equipment via teleconferencing to prospective clients. Heck, I could do that -and it'd be pretty fun! So I gave her my contact info and in a flash she texted the head of recruiting about me. What's next? Well, I think the ball might be in my court.

Here's where the math comes in, but first a little backstory. It recently occurred to Brian that when he gets out of the Army in April he won't be enrolled in classes (because it's the middle of the semester) and therefore not receiving the GI Bill immediately. He'll have his EMT (emergency medical training) Basic and will try for whatever job in the medical field he can get with this new qualification. He isn't sure if he can start full-time at school in the summer, so it looks like we're going to start getting the GI Bill sometime at the beginning of the 2010 fall semester. So, here I am with my calculator trying to figure out how much I need to be working in order to help cover the gap. But it's not as simple as it sounds.

I'm looking at several things. 1) How much do I need to make hourly, 2) How many hours do I need to be working, 3) Will we make more if I work for someone else or if I work for myself? The last questions is the hardest to answer. Forgive me if I'm too detailed or sharing too much information, but I'm working this out as I write and it's SO helpful!

We can be supported by my photography and the classes I teach IF I can create enough of a demand for both. Even teaching 2 of the multiple week classes with very limited enrollment I can make nearly as much as if I was working 20 hours a week for someone else -plus I don't have to commute. That's basically working 2 nights a week instead of 3 full days. I'm seeing the benefits of self-employment, BUT that depends entirely on creating the demand.

Legwork, phone calls, networking, advertising = enrollment. All of those require time and lots of effort, plus a bit of an investment. Personally I think it's worth it, but being able to go to work and come home (making work and home separate) is very appealing. It's a steady paycheck and I can't say the same for either of my endeavors.

The big reason I am contemplating working outside the home, besides the income, is that Brian would be able to stay home with the kids. I can't stand the thought of putting them in daycare -just my personal feelings- when either Brian or I could be with them instead. It's a numbers game; being efficient with our work time so that we can still be a family.

If I could guarantee that I would have full classes, I'd say forget the corporate idea. What am I supposed to do? Yep, I heard that. I'm supposed to get off the computer and start having a serious one-on-one with God to answer that question. I know my dilemma and now it's time to discern the answer. God gave me a pretty good brain, I know he wants me to use it so I won't just sit on the couch and ask that everything simply fall in my lap, wrapped up real pretty with a bow on top. I'll keep moving forward, keep exploring options, and keep hold of my solid faith that wonderful things ARE coming our way and an answer to this big question is just around the corner to be revealed to me with perfect timing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

He Restores My Soul

The past three days God has been doing some heavy duty work in my heart. We're talking major construction. Its ongoing, but the foundation has been laid and there is a definite change.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, God took me back to the place where I turned my back on him nearly 9 years ago after my father passed away at 46 years old. At that point -that crucial, pivotal point- I decided that I wanted to have nothing to do with him and I would live my life exactly how I wanted to. I began that new life of what is regrettably, but truly, darkness and emptiness, operating in despair and pain with the open wound of grief poorly covered and never allowed to heal properly. I am by no means having a pity party here, nor am I saying, "Oh, woe is me, my life sucked." I'm simply stating that the past near decade has been significantly empty of true meaning and certainly filled with a few truck loads of crap and bad choices and that, basically, life really does suck without God. He brought me to a point at this very moment in my life where I am committed to him, pursuing him and finally in a safe place with a support network to do some major healing, demolition and construction that I have previously been unable to experience. And it feels wonderful!

He truly has restored my soul. It is as if I have finally come home after a very rough journey, returning to the familiar embrace of my Father and the sweet smells of safety and wholeness. He is helping me forgive myself for the 9 years of darkness and all that went down during that time. He is holding me and healing me after years of trying to fix myself on my own -and devastatingly failing. I don't have to be strong any more because I am allowing God to hold me now; the anger towards him is gone and has been replaced with peace. It feels "quiet" inside me; sturdy and peaceful and somewhat exhausted because now I can rest.

He continues to pour out his phenomenal blessings. Uncommon Women is bursting with his work, my photography company is taking off, I'm loving being a wife and mother and working from home, I've even booked some acting gigs. And all during this whirl of activity and blessing he is helping and healing my heart.

I celebrate God's faithfulness, power and redeeming love and thank him with my whole heart for restoring my soul. It is good to be home. And whole.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Healthy Holidays -"Must-Try" Recipes!

I had the absolute pleasure of serendipitously connecting with Valerie Whitmore, founder and creator of CDKitchen.com, who provided Uncommon Women with a delicious list of holiday favorites made "light" and here it is to share! These recipes will make you drool and inspire you to get cooking and enjoy the holidays guilt-free.

I'm waiting to hear back from a gal Valerie recommended who teaches cooking classes in Austin, as well as owning 2 restaurants. She will hopefully be one of our guest speakers at this Thursday's Uncommon Women meeting: Healthy Holidays- Enjoy the Season, Lose the Guilt!

Fun stuff going on 'round here!

Click, cook, enjoy!

And The Name Is....

We've decided on a name for our sweet, little dumpling!


Waverley Jane!

Spelled like the novel by Sir Walter Scott, not the fabric company -and, no, she's not named after a cracker as some of you have asked. :)

Wilder and I just got back from a short trip to Houston visiting my grandparents, aunt and family and Brian's sister and son -what a lovely time! My aunt and grandma took us to The Nutcracker Market -an amazing holiday food and gift festival fundraiser put on by the Houston Ballet. We were definitely in Texas -rhinestones, sparkles, and bling of all kinds glittered to glaring proportions and it was so fun! My aunt followed Wilder as he ran around and allowed Grandma and I to browse the gorgeous booths and sample all the free nibbles (of which there are many -go there for lunch!) We stopped at an Old World European gifts booth and a sweet lady asked what I was naming our little girl. When I told her Waverley Jane she sighed and said it sounded just like music. *Sigh!* I agree and, of course, that just set me beaming!

Brian and I are so excited about our precious little "Wavey"! I'm 29 weeks pregnant today. How wonderful that in approx. 11 weeks we will have our daughter in our arms -Oh, more sighing happening over here!

Have a wonderful Saturday -I'll send an update soon on all the amazing things happening in our lives that are true testaments to God's faithfulness, provision and AWESOME plans! He is knocking our socks off with blessings!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Uncommon Holiday Show & Sale

Custom Cakes by Mandy, Kay's Kloset

Favor Cakes, Homemade Gourmet

Shoppers! AND my sweet Grandma Anne!! Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Carol drove all the way up from Houston for the event -I was so happy and surprised I nearly cried! Actually, I cried afterward. Several times. I felt so blessed and loved!

June Jenney with Advocare

Delicious Cameo Chocolates by Dian VerColen

Fabulous handmade items from BeckyMae Designs

Angry Baby -a great handcrafted baby and kids boutique on Etsy

Custom Cakes by Mandy Major -I loved the mint mini-cakes! So moist!

Tastefully Simple and BeckyMae Designs

Studio K setting up their great handmade items

Betty manning the Uncommon Women booth for me while I snapped away

Awesome childrens books from Usborne Books

WOAH! We did it! In truth, God did it -honest to goodness. Yesterday during and after An Uncommon Holiday Show & Sale I had so many folks and vendors tell me how proud I must be for getting such a great turn out of people and vendors for a first time event -and that it conflicted with a UT Football game and two big festivals in Georgetown. In all honesty, I am not proud of myself, I'm proud of God. I don't feel like I did anything exceptional, but was blessed all the way through my honest desire to help local women in small business get exposure and have a fun event!

Now that the big day is over and the fresh one has begun I'm definitely in recovery mode, but also thrilled to get started on all the upcoming events we have planned as well as following up with the new connections I've made.

Can I tell you how awesome God is? Friday I booked 3 -yes, count 'em- THREE photography gigs! Two women found me on my website -one for a small wedding, the other for headshots- and my third customer was one of our vendors who wants a family Christmas portrait. I booked another 2 during the Show & Sale and was amazed at the response I got from folks regarding my photography. It was so gratifying hearing people ooh and aahh over the shots and I loved having so many 8x10s of my photos displayed -I can't wait to see some of them printed even larger. So right at the cusp of the Holiday Show & Sale God blessed me with my first paid photography gigs. When it rains, it pours -and that's not always a bad thing!! Definite showers of blessings!

Another way I felt overwhelmingly blessed was by each of the vendors at An Uncommon Holiday Show & Sale. Such a wonderful group of women, all so gifted in each area of their expertise. I was amazed at how self sufficient the ladies were, originally expecting to be "putting out fires" for a good chunk of the show -but not once! Their table displays, products and services were so fabulous as well as the general good cheer and holiday spirit they emanated!

I was also very blessed by Brian (the man of the year, in my eyes) and several vendors who tirelessly helped with set up and tear down. I started having strong contractions right as the show was wrapping up and was ordered by many "mothers" to sit the heck down and let them help -and, boy, did they help! I am so thankful for all the hands and feet of Christ that helped make this event so phenomenally successful and fun!

Above are just a handful of photos I was able to take at the tail end of set-up and during the show. I wished I could have taken so many more, as well as shopped, but I had to man my booths at the front entrance. I'm glad I was able to take these. Here's a link to the set of pictures on Flicker so you get a better taste of the vendors and event!

Dear Jesus, I am overwhelmed by you and your greatness. Your plans dwarf my like an elephant does a mouse, as a mountain does an ant hill. I feel so loved and wrapped in your blessings right now. Thank you for all of the prayers that have been lifted up on my behalf and for this incredible journey we're on. May I rest in you today as I seek re-balancing after this busy time. Amen.

Thank you all for your prayers, love, encouragement, and cheerleading. This was truly awesome.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ft. Hood Shooting, Brian's Safe

Hello Dear Family and Friends,
Regarding the tragic Ft. Hood shootings, Brian is safe -still currently in lock down- and it sounds like they are getting things under control and settled for releasing everyone soon. I won't include the details, as they tend to change frequently, but I wanted to let you all know that he is safe -and anxious to get home. With 50,000 folks on post and nearly 1/2 of them living off post, it's going to be a madhouse getting off Ft. Hood and coming home.

Please keep the families and soldiers in your prayers. This tragedy is far reaching and has touched many lives. Having a soldier who's been deployed so many times be at risk state-side in this manner brings up a whole slew of emotions. Right now we all just want to be together.

Many thanks for your love and concern! Keep praying for those families directly involved.



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