Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On the Surface

Some of you may know we are trying to sell our house right now. I was cleaning our house like a madwoman on Friday for a showing we were having, and I realized how good I was at making things look clean on the surface. I have the ability to "stage" a house so that it looks like it is immaculate. I hide away the bills, school papers, pictures, and dog bowl. Other things sometimes get thrown in the dryer. I wipe up the wall marks and dust really quickly with those new wipes. It lasts at least until after the showing. And I know to put away half of my kitchen counter so it looks like a hotel. Please don't think I'm bragging, because those thoughts quickly led me to the realization that often I do that same thing with the other areas in my life. For so long I wanted to look like I had it all together and wasn't struggling with self control, perfectionism, pride...

I read a book called "The 12 Steps for a Recovering Pharisee...Like Me", and it changed my mindset. I am a recovering pharisee, too. I have worried about how what I say makes me look. I have worried about what I wear and what others will think of me because of my look. I have thought too much about impressing others. I have to work hard at stripping back the layers of pride and perfectionistic thinking that have been built up and really let people see the real, vulnerable Denise. I almost said "weak", but I am not weak. I have weaknesses, but I am strong. My strength comes from the Lord, and it is only when I allow myself to be real and vulnerable that He can make me strong!

I would suggest the book if you haven't read it. More importantly, I would highly suggest trying out the "being real" thing. Don't wear makeup for a day. Don't worry about making sure you look or sound just right to others. Just let people see you for who you are. Zits and all. As hard as it is to start, the freedom it allows is pretty amazing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


We love to hear fun ideas from families about them spending time together without spending a fortune. We know there are many who love to hang out together but are on a tight budget. Last year we were trying to figure out what to do on Spring Break and wanted it to be amazing but had little money to work with at the time.

I saw someone talking about staycations on the news and googled it. From there the ideas started flowing, and we ended up having what my girls say is "the greatest vacation ever." We wanted to share some of the ideas with you and hope that it spurs new ideas in you that you will share on our blog ( or on here. We're working on some for 2010 right now, because Spring Break is only 3 weeks away! We thought we'd be filming our children's DVD, but since that's not happening until July we are going to surprise the girls with a few special days. I'll share those days later, but here's a glimpse of 2009's Staycation.

Last year's journey around the world (the key to each day is the costumes and characters you create complete with fictional names):

Day one (or the nicest day): Camping at Yellowstone National Park
Restaurant called the "Canteen"
Cereal in a box for breakfast and fruit
Free exploring time in the am; lay and read; Google Yellowstone and identify the various animals living on our campgrounds
Hotdogs and chips for picnic lunch
Fishing-afternoon activity and bike ride to search for "footprints"
Go Fishing
Freshly caught fish for dinner (have back up fish if needed)-serve on tins and in thermoses
Build a fire, roast marshmallows/smores, sing campfire songs & tell stories
Sleep in sleeping bags in the family room-everyone!-or borrow a large tent
Buy glowsticks and play hide-and-seek or tag with them

Day two: Hawaii
Restaurant called the Copa Cabana
Buy leis and have a few decorations (shell centerpieces)
Breakfast is coconuts, bananas, and Hawaiian sweet bread french toast
Morning activity-make a lei or fly a kite
Lunch-ham sandwiches and pineapple
Afternoon activity-free time then make your grass skirt with paper strips…, watch a movie set in Hawaii
Dinner is build your own grilled skewers and grilled corn on the cob
Have a luau party with dancing, grass skirts and umbrella drinks and invite a few friends to join you

Day three: Wild West party
Restaurant called the Chuck Wagon
Buy red bandanas, gingham checked cloths and burlap sacks for decorations; make a horse with 2 sawhorses and a long broom covered with a big blanket and a horse head taped to the front
Breakfast-eggs and bacon
Morning activity-Go to the “Sheriff’s office” and make wanted posters-dress up with vests, cowboy hats or bonnet, frilly dress, etc; take picture & put picture on brown paper bag paper, print out “Wanted! And Big Reward” with a statement at the bottom “If you have any knowledge of the whereabouts of this despicable criminal, please call the Local Sheriff.”
Lunch is sloppy joes and fries
Afternoon activity-barrel racing outside with trash cans; lasso stuff; horseshoes
Dinner-b’bque ribs, chicken, mac n cheese, salad, and horseshoe biscuits, root beer or other bottled drinks-sassafras
Play card games

Day four: Kids plan
They loved getting involved and making the plans
Ours ended up being the Indianapolis Children's Museum (where grandma is a member and got us all in free)
Make your own pizzas for dinner

Day five: Spa Day
Relax at home
Take baths while reading books
Do nails, hair, makeup (probably won't work with the boys :)
Stay in robes all day
Order dinner in and ice cream for dessert
Finish with a movie

I hope this gets you started on your own creative staycation experience!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Update on Robbie

The prescription pain meds are now completely out of Robbie's body. Yeah God! While he's in quite a bit of pain with just Advil and Tylenol, he's very happy not to be sick and hot anymore. No major side effects from going off the meds, which is great. He is realizing how much he doesn't remember about the past 4 weeks, which is kind of sad. He's having trouble sleeping, and we're not sure if it's the pain or the Tylenol PM that's having the opposite effect on him.

His therapy has been bumped up a notch too. He's now hanging a bag with a 2lb container of peanut butter on his left arm to try to pull it straight. It's a pretty painful process, but for whatever reason his left arm isn't progressing quite like the right. So they're trying to help it along a bit.

He goes back to work 1/2 days a week from tomorrow. Pray that he feels comfortable driving by then and opening doors. Also pray that he can sleep, because his body really needs it to keep healing. And finally, pray for more opportunities to share Christ and bring glory to His name through this. We feel the prayers from everyone and know that God is going to use this small trial. We may not know how, but as our verse from our 2nd DVD promises, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Update on Robbie

Robbie had his 1st follow up with the doctor today. The doctor called him a "rockstar" and said he is making great progress. He also saw the PTist, and she is encouraged by his progress as well. As a matter of fact, she is presenting his case at a conference where she is teaching doctors. I guess having 2 arms broken gave her 2 case studies in one patient :)

Robbie has another week and a 1/2 off work after this week, then he'll be able to go back 1/2 days. He also decided to stop taking the pain meds yesterday and has started just Advil and Tylenol. Please pray he does okay with the pain. He was on one of the highest-powered meds out there.

He's worn out and now sleeping soundly. But he's not been nauseous since he went off the pain meds, so he feels 100% better.

Thank you all for your prayers and concern for Robbie. We treasure all of you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Update on Robbie

Thanks for checking in here to find out what's going on with Robbie. He is slowly but steadily improving in motion. He is extremely tired from the physical therapy and has been sick the last couple of days again. Not sure why this time. Maybe from starting to wean off the pain meds, or maybe from the pain itself. Don't know, but that makes it more difficult to get the needed exercises in each day.

It's a long road, you know? Kind of like life. This is a marathon, not a sprint. And there will be days when things are really rough, and we feel attacked from every direction. Or days when we feel like God could never love us after what we've done. Then there are days when we are soaring and truly living in His grace covering for us. But why don't we live like that every day. We can. The goal is to live in that covering all the time, because that's the way God sees us. His perfect, holy children covered by His grace, because of Jesus' love and sacrifice for us on the cross. We just need to keep going, keep pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14). Run the marathon.