Monday, June 16, 2014

Help Me Get to Haiti

I am ecstatic!  Why?  Because my church is doing a missions trip in March 2015 & by all intents and purposes, I am going!  But I need your help!  The cost to go is not as great as some places, but it is still high & I need to raise $1700.  

With that said, this is Phase 1 of my fundraising strategy:
Help me get to Haiti! ALL my prints (and most are NOT on Etsy yet as they charge me and take a percentage of my sales so you can view them at Angela's Heartwork on FB) are going towards my missions trip to Haiti! All the Scripture and Inspirational Quotes are going to be $5 each or 3 for $12 with $2.50 shipping. All Poetry prints will be $7 each or 3 for $18 with $2.50 shipping. Help me get to Haiti in March! Just browse my PHOTOS then message me or email me at with what print or prints you wish to order and the quantity and I will send you an invoice via Paypal. It's that easy. 

Some of my work includes:

Thank you for your support as I strive to check off one of my "bucket list" items and share the gospel with the children and people of Haiti.

More information on Phase 2 to come...  ;)

Counting it all joy,

Monday, May 26, 2014

How Can We Allow Ourselves To Forget?

I overheard a lady on Sunday, as I was hiking back from visiting a rather popular waterfall in the Smoky Mountains.  She was with her family, enjoying the long weekend.  She said, "This is such a great holiday!," with so much joy in her voice.  Now, maybe it was because I was dead tired from hiking 4 miles and still had another mile to go to be done with this torture, but her comment really irritated me.  If I wasn't still trying to catch my breath, I would've turned to her and said, "Really?  Such a great holiday where we remember all the hundreds of thousands of men and women that died for us to live in this country?"  I was tempted, but I let it slide.

Now, you may say I am a hypocrite as I was out hiking, too, and enjoying the weekend.  I DID have a great weekend camping with my family but I also took the time to explain to my 5 year old WHY we had Monday off, WHAT Memorial Day was and why it was SO IMPORTANT.  Maybe this lady did the same thing, I don't know.  Maybe that is why I felt it best to bite my tongue.  I don't know. 

The point is: We have a number of "Holidays" here in the United States.  But do we always teach our children what the REALLY mean and try to make them understand that, yes, it's awesome that we can spend quality time with our family and friends and do some wonderful things together but there are some people, some kids, that do not have that luxury.  Let us remember THEM, too.

There is a great deal of sacrifice that is WILLINGLY laid down for us every single day yet most of us take that for granted.  Memorial Day.  Veteran's Day.  Then there is D Day & Patriot Day - Better Known as September 11th.  Do we, as parents, talk to our children about these days?  How about MLK Day?  Or President's Day?  The list goes on and on.

My issue with her comment was this: Memorial Day is NOT a "great holiday."  I have friends and family that have lost loved ones to wars.  I have friends and family that have experienced the side effects of war.  I have friends and family that survived war but did not "survive" war.  No, Memorial Day is not a "great holiday."  It is a time to be thankful for these men and women AND for their families.  For sacrificing so much.  For willingly sacrificing so much.  Not everyone is cut out for the military.  These men and women are the ones who deserve the accolades.  The men and women and children who survive the military lifestyle, they, too, deserve the accolades.  It isn't easy.  But is a price that many pay for all of us.  

No, freedom is not free.  But ask many of them if they would do it all over again, and they would say in a heartbeat.  So thank a soldier, whether active or retired.  You will make them feel good, even if their tough exterior doesn't show it.  ☺

Counting it all joy,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When Will The Judging END?!

I am going to come clean here:  I do not read a whole lot of other blogs.

Here is why: the comments.  O.M.G.

If I could just read the blog and move on with my happy self, I'd be fine, but my erratic scroll-y finger goes nuts and just has to check out the comments.  (If you even read THIS blog, you'll notice that is so NOT a problem here, as no one, like, EV-AH, leaves a comment.  Thanks??)

Anyways, so, I get to the comments and then I get irate and agitated and annoyed and I am like, should I comment back?!  Should I move on?  Why am I still scrolling? Why can I not stop reading?!  It is like a horrible car wreck.  What is WRONG with people?!

Seriously, people, what is WRONG with you?!  Do you have nothing better to do with your time than to lambast some poor blogger and just word-vomit all over their nice blog with all your ranting and ravings about how much better you are at raising your child and how this article and this study shows that you are, evidently, doing things so perfectly better that your child is going to metaphorically kick all of our television-watching, vaccine-getting, dye-ingesting, tap water-drinking, non-organic eating, spray can sun screen-wearing, diaper-wearing, circumcised-boys, play gun-toting, candy-eating kids butts?!  Really?!  Really?

Because from the spot I am standing in, we are all the same.  We are all just trying to keep our kids alive and to make them as civilized and as good as possible future citizens of this world.  And it ain't easy.  And it sure isn't getting any easier when we have to weed through all the drama from overzealous people who think they and their children are better than everyone else.  (Or that they are doing a better job at raising their children than everyone else.)

So here is what I propose:  

Listen to ourselves.  What do we (typically) tell our children when they say something mean, not positive, etc.?  "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."  Let's use that advice more often, shall we?  If it sounds condemning (even if it isn't meant that way) just don't say it or type it.  Simple, don't you think?

Remember that there is no such thing as a perfect mother.  Learned that from my Pastor on Sunday - yes, ON Mother's Day.  And it is the truth.  There is no need to be perfect (you will never BE perfect) so quit trying.  Who are you trying to impress anyways?  Because from where I am standing, the only one that matters in the end is GOD.  And me feeding my kids organic cereal is NOT earning me brownie points in heaven.  Me teaching my child to love one another, well, that there is a whole other story.

So, yeah, I would really like to read some more blogs and see some positiveness pouring forth from all the women out there.  Spread some love around, some sunshine, some joy!  How much happier would this world be then?!  Gosh, too many people are wearing their panties in a bunch - no wonder they are all so cranky!

Get out there ladies, and be a LIGHT in this world.  

Counting it all joy,

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, My Sweet Boy!

It's here again, another birthday for my sweet boy.  5 years.  It is hard to believe.  It keeps flying by and he keeps insisting he is going to marry me when he's bigger.  But he does promise to let Tom Hiddleston marry me, too.  (Yet another reason to ADORE my child!)

So, with that, I bring you, his annual 20 Questions. 

1.       What is your favorite color?  Orange
2.       What is your favorite toy?  My Cars
3.       What is your favorite fruit?  Melon and Cantaloupe
4.       What is your favorite tv show?  Turtle Man
5.       What is favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Turkey Sandwich
6.       What is your favorite outfit?  All of them!
7.       What is your favorite game? Chicky Boom
8.       What is your favorite snack? Pretzel Logs
9.       What is your favorite animal?  Baby turtles
10.   What is favorite song? NY2LA by Press Play
11.   What is favorite book?  The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
12.   Who is your best friend?  All of them
13.   What is your favorite cereal?  Mommy's cereal
14.   What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play
15.   What is your favorite drink?  Water
16.   What is your favorite holiday? Birthday!
17.   What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Nothing
18.   What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Waffles
19.   What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Birthday cake
20.   What do you want to be when you grow up?  A train conductor

His answers are getting more in the range of "Duh, mom, don't you know?!"  Talking to him is like talking to a miniature man and that is both hilarious and frustrating.  He is no longer a baby but he is still a little boy.  He still insists on hugs and curling up in my lap.  (Thank goodness - I have to remind myself that this is a HUGE blessing, even when I am in the middle of typing & trying to get some work done.)  

He is stubborn - like me.
He adores animals - like me.
He is a climber - like me.
He has a heart for adventure - like me.
He is a trouble boy - like me.
I thought that when I learned I was having a boy and not a girl that maybe, just MAYBE God was granting me a reprieve.  HAHAHA!  Nope, he was just giving me a mini-me in boy form.  Such a funny sense of humor that God has!  ☺

He makes me laugh and he frustrates the crap out of me.  He makes me so mad sometimes but often it is to the point that I can't help but crack a smile.  Sometimes I think I am the absolute worst parent ever.  Then he hugs me for no reason and tells me he loves me.  

When I am upset and crying, and especially when I try to hide it from him, he knows.  And he always tries to comfort me.  His heart is amazingly sweet.  I don't know what I would do without him.  I really do love him to the moon and back.

He is 5 years old and even when he is 50, he will always be my little boy.  I pray that no matter what, he knows that I have tried my best.  I pray that he knows that I may not have always gotten it right but I through it all, I loved him with all that I had.  

Happy 5th birthday, baby.... 

Counting it all joy,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thank you....

I don't know your name, but you made my son smile one of the biggest smiles I haven't seen on his face in a long time.  A stranger - a man, nonetheless - who brought pure joy to my little boy.  Such a simple thing but it made this momma so happy.  

And it was so random.  Four grown men at the zoo on a Saturday.  Grabbing some lunch at the Safari Cafe and you all sat near us.  You had me cracking up.  My "kids" (1 of mine, 3 I nanny) thought you were nuts.... but in a good way!  (They should know, they put up with me quite often, and I am far from "normal.")  

You tried to get them to sing a Whitney Houston song.  They had no clue what you were talking about.  (I did - "Greatest Love of All.")  You advised them that you expected them to know the song next time you saw them.  I'm still giggling.  

When the boy I nanny asked your name, you said it was Big Papa.  Silliness ensued at our table.  I just shook my head.  My son kept hitting you with his hand and every time you turned around to look at him, his face beamed.  I mean, BEAMED.  I wish I could've preserved that image forever but my camera was not by me and really, how silly would I have looked taking a picture of that?  The image is seared in my memory, though.  It fills me with joy just thinking about it.

So, thank you.  To you and the other 3 gentlemen who were with you.  You were super sweet to my brood of children and you really made our trip to the zoo even more memorable.  You may not think it was anything, you may have forgotten it already, but I haven't, and believe me, if they see you again, they will ALL recognize you.  They will remember that you acknowledged them, you conversed with them, you made them laugh.

I may just hug you if I see you again... be warned.

Counting it all joy,

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When Did I Become An Adult?!

I turned 38 today.  When did THAT happen?!  When did 20 years since I graduated from high school fly by?  When did the 80's become "classic rock?"  When did I become this close to turning 40??

I took one of those bazillion buzzfeed quizzes on Facebook that ask what your "true" age is and I got 22.  *snicker*  Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  ☺  I nanny 5 kids part time (to a family of 6) and have one of my own.  The age range is 17 down to my almost 5 year old.  I am around a lot of young minds.  Apparently, I fit right in.  

I hardly live like I did when I was 22.  Good golly, just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt and gives me a headache.  The only reason I survived those early 20's was by God's grace and His grace alone.  Now, one glass of wine, and I'm flushed and ready for bed!  

So, in honor of my 38th birthday, I bring you:

38 Things You May or May Not Have Known About Me ~

1. I wanted to have 4 kids. I REALLY wanted to have twins.  God knew what He was doing when He only gave me 1.  ☺

2. I hate wearing shoes but I think high heels are sexy as all get out.  If I didn't have to walk in heels, I'd own a closet full but since I don't have money burning a hole anywhere, that won't ever happen.  Give me bare feet or flip flops any day.

3. I want to photograph children while on a missions trip.  I think capturing the innocence of a child in a photo is priceless and I would love to be able to do that while being God's hands and feet, too.

4. I started baby sitting when I was 9 years old.  Seriously.  Could you imagine that now?!  Oh Lordy.  And how about this: I am still in contact with 5 of the "kids" I used to babysit.  3 of them are brothers and the other 2 are brother and sister.  I even went to two of their weddings.  Craziness.

5. I need an iPod for all the music I listen to - my iPhone does not have enough storage.  This totally sums up my musical taste:

6. I want a home just big enough for myself, my son and guests to visit.  The biggest room will be the family/living room and the 2nd biggest room will be the kitchen, where you will also eat as I do not want a dining room.  (Who really uses them anyways - most people eat in the kitchen anyways or the living room.)  There has to be a front porch and a nice sized yard for a garden.  It will be a home & it will be perfect.

Available on Etsy

7.  I love to laugh.  And when I do, I LAUGH.  I have a loud laugh.  Some people hate it, some people love it.  Irregardless, it is mine, and I, personally, love it.  I have embraced laughter so much the past few months.  It is refreshing.  Laugh.  And laugh loud.  Who cares what other people think?

8.  This describes me perfectly:
Is it just me?  I mean, seriously, sometimes I look up and am like, "How did I get this far?!"  My car must have autopilot because if it didn't, who knows where I'd end up?

9. My biggest pet peeve is hypocrites.  Don't get me started.

10.  I love roller coasters.  All of them except the Top Gun Coaster at Canada's Wonderland.  I screamed like I have never screamed before during the entire ride.  It was horrible.

11. I am terrified of swinging bridges.

12.  I want ride the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

13.  I ♥LOVE♥ tattoos.  I am finally at a point in my life where I feel as if I don't have to answer to anyone about what I put on my body.  If I want it and can afford it, I am going to get it.  There is meaning behind my choices and I have so many ideas that I would love to have done.  In due time.

14.  I love books.  I thought I would never want to own a Kindle because I love the feel of a book in my hands and then I won a Kindle Fire and now I am an addict.  I have so many books downloaded, waiting to be read, and it is awesome.  I love being able to carry tons of books on one device.

15.  I have never read Pride & Prejudice or Les Miserable, although they are both on my Kindle.

16.  I have never watched It's A Wonderful Life.

17.  My favorite movies are Pretty Woman and Gladiator.  Oh, and you might as well add Thor 2 to that as I am now obsessed with Loki.  OMG.  ;)

18.  Chewbacca is my favorite Star Wars character.

19.  I love doing crafty stuff.  Any kind of crafty thing.  Pinterest is my BFF.  I have painted, refurbished, re-purposed, you name it, I have had a ball doing it.  And the sky is the limit man.

20.  My passions are poetry and photography.  I love to write.  It is oftentimes a struggle but it brings me the most happiness.  And taking photos also brings me peace and joy. I would love to write a book and combine those two joys.

21. I have written over 1000 poems.

22. I just wrote another one, seeing as the inspiration struck me.  I love when that happens.

23. I am a night owl.  I stay up way too late. This does not work out so well when you have a child.  Him going to school in the fall is going to be very difficult.  For both of us.  He is a BEAR to get up in the morning. 

24.  I buy Disney movies for me... but say they are for my son.  ;)

25.  Tangled is my FAVORITE Disney movie, although Frozen is pretty high up there now.  Rapunzel is my favorite Princess, though.  ADORE her.  And Eugene is just he cutest.  I kind of like "Punk Rapunzel and Eugene" better, though.

26. When I was little, we had to write what we wanted to be when we grew up. Apparently, my aspirations were really low.  I had put a cashier.  Ironically, I have never been a cashier anywhere.  I have worked at retail places, but they were Hollywood Video and Tuxedo Junction, nothing like a grocery store or retail store.  I never achieved my "dream."  LOL

27.  Of course, I also thought I'd have long, flowing blonde hair and be tall.  What did I know?

28. I love living in East Tennessee but often dream about moving to a tropical island.  My soul longs for salt air...

29. I hate bananas.  Don't get me wrong, I love banana bread, banana pudding, banana flavoring, etc., but just sitting down, peeling a banana and eating it?!  Blech.  Cringe.  I cannot do it.  It just grosses me out.  I have no clue why.  It just does.  Yes, I am weird.  Whatever.

30.  If I could have any book boyfriend, I would choose Logan Cross.  If you do not know who that is, shame on you.  And you need to read the Mageri Series by Dannika Dark now.  It.Is.Amazing.

 31.  I love nail polish.  I hate painting my finger nails.  My toe nails, however, are a different story!  ;)  I have at least 40 different nail colors in my collection.  But this, this is also me:

32. I have had the same flat sheet since I was a teenager in Connecticut.  It is my favorite.  It is soft and worn in and a comfort.  If it ever rips or wears through, I am going to be heartbroken. 

33.  If I was ever let loose in a Container store, it would be scary.  I am obsessed with organization.  It is borderline OCD. 

34.  I want to visit Everglades Holiday Park mainly with the hopes of meeting Paul Bedard.  (He's so stinking hot!) Because of Gator Boys on Animal Planet, I am now a fan of alligators.  I would love to touch one and plant a kiss on one -- as long as it's safely taped up.  ☺

35. I need a girl's only vacation... bad.  And not just a few days.  Like a week.  On a cruise ship or at the beach.  NEED I tell you.  The first time I went on a girl's only vacation was when I was 22 and my friend and I flew down to Ft. Myers, FL.  Not exactly Miami, but the flight was cheap and the condo was free. 

36. I'm a Jim Beam girl.  Yep.  I said it.

37.  3 words: Ice Cream Cake.

38.  I have amazing friends.  Some since I was 4 years old.  I may not see them much, but they are always in my heart.  Love them.  Others I have never even met - they are my "craft" friends or "Facebook" friends but they are some of the closest, sweetest friends I have.  Then there are my mom friends, the ones I met because of my son.  They are my "God send."  If it weren't for them, I would be a lonely bumbling idiot.  Instead, I can be a bumbling idiot in a group... with wine and food!

And there you  have it!  Good gracious, that seemed to have taken me forever!  I hope y'all enjoyed learning a bit more about me.  It's been a good day for me.    
Let me show you what my son got me...

The story behind this is so cute... We were at Target today, to pick up some play food for our churches Kidz226 & while I was standing in the checkout line, Lucas was over by the jewelry section. He was like, "Mom! Would you like this! And he was holding up a necklace. I was like, "Lucas, just bring your dad here later." Then he runs up with this huge Hello Kitty necklace and was like, what about this one? I'm like Good Lord, what am I going to get for my birthday from this one?! Again, I'm like, "Just bring daddy here later!" Then he comes up to me with THIS one and goes, "I want to get you THIS one!" So I repeat myself again and he goes, "But it'll be gone!" So the cashier offers to put it on hold at Guest Services for him with his name on it. Lucas was like, Okay. It was beyond precious. His dad went and picked it up this afternoon. Lucas was so proud of it! I love him.♥

Counting it all joy,

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What I Have Learned...

about Christianity, Religion, Evangelism, Jesus, Faith and Friendship.

Woah Nelly.  You may want to sit down with a tall one for this!  Seriously.  Pull up a chair and get ready to either love me or leave me.  No worries.  I'm already forgiven by the only one who matters. 

Let me begin, or rather, preface a bit by explaining that my Pastor touched on a point today that resonated with me in such a way that I just have to share my thoughts.  He spoke the truth.  I mean, I literally wrote down in my journal TRUTH and then put notes.  

We are in a series called "I Love The 80's" and we have been going through Psalms 80-89.  This week we were in Psalm 88, which he lovingly called the Prozac Psalm.  We only read verses 1-4, mind you, but it was enough.  ☺  He brought up a huge point (a huge point for me) and that was, one word became really "dirty" in 1988 and that word was Evangelism.  Did this lady yell AMEN! or what after that?!  Oh my!  Here comes the photo of Jim and Tammy Baker and then Jimmy Swaggart. Swish, slam dunk!

TRUTH: I was 11, going on 12 in 1988.  The tele-evangelists were a HUGE turn off to me and gave me more reason to not want to believe in Christ.  I saw it as hypocritical and a joke.  They did a HUGE damage to the youth of the 80's. 

That is word for word what I wrote in my journal this morning.  That is what I need to elaborate on.  It took 10 years of Christ pursuing me, for me to turn my life over to Him.  By His grace and His alone am I a firm believer in the Lord.  But man, how many of my friends and fellow students are not?  How many of them still shun the Bible and the TRUTH because all they see is hypocrisy?  

Unfortunately, it still exists.  And not just on television.  But in so many churches in this country.  Men and women who stand up and preach from the "good book," but do not walk the walk that they are talking on Sunday.  

Do you know how frustrating it is to share the love of Christ with someone who is so adamantly opposed to all things God?  It breaks my heart.  Literally breaks my heart.  

I am not a believer in religion.  I am a follower of Christ.  I have a relationship with the Lord.  He is my Father, my Papa.  He is my comforter, my healer, my peace.  It is simple for me to choose joy because of Christ living in me.  It is not always easy, but it is a choice that makes the most sense.  People may ask me how I can be so positive/optimistic and that answer is easy: It's God.  It's not me.  If it weren't for my faith, I would probably wallow in my sorrow and self-pity.  That is the human side of me.  The supernatural, awesome part of me - the Spirit of God part - that part, well, He keeps me keeping on.

THAT is what people need to understand.  Faith and belief in God is not a Bible-wielding preacher asking you for money.  That is a Pharisee and even Jesus called them out and didn't like them a whole lot.  

I was around 22 years old when I finally accepted Christ.  And there's this pretty amazing thing that happens when you allow the Lord into your heart.  You begin to understand the word of God.  Because, let me tell you, prior to opening up my heart and asking Him in, I read the Bible, and it didn't make a lick of sense to me.  After I admitted my need for Him, however, not only were my eyes opened, but my mind, my heart, my soul.  I was reborn.  It was the best decision of my life.

You may think you have all the answers and you don't need a "savior."  I beg to differ.  I was burdened with a weight I did not know I was carrying until I finally said, "enough."  I was lost and missing something.  That something was the Lord.  He lifted that weight and gave me freedom.  He grants me mercy every single day.  I still screw up but man, at least I know that no matter what, He has my back and loves me just the same.  

Stop thinking on the people that give you a bad taste about "religion."  They are not what God is all about.  They are not what Jesus is about.  They are not what YOU are about.  If you based all your choices on a few bad seeds, you would miss out on the world.  You would never drive, never ride a bike, never fly, never walk.  You would miss out on living for fear of dying.  That is what it is like by choosing to believe that all things God is bad because of a few. 

Let me ask you this: 
What if I am right about God?
What if He loves you so much & He has been pursuing you but you are just too busy to pay Him any mind?
What if you refuse to listen with your heart to hear His voice because you are too stubborn and narrow-minded to believe that someone that amazing could love someone such as yourself?
What if I told you that it was true?
What if I am right but you still won't even consider the possibility and you die tomorrow and are face to face with God and He turns His back on you because He says He never knew you? And He wouldn't know you because you kept turning a deaf ear to His voice and never reached out to Him?  

What do you have to lose by listening to the Word of God?  You don't even have to step foot into a church... just listen to my Pastor online.  (I mean, come on, our worship band started service with Guns N' Roses this morning!  We can't be that bad!)

You have nothing to lose, I promise.  

And, listen, if you click on the link and listen/watch a sermon & love it, please let me know.  If you hate it, well, that's fine, too, but I want to keep this page free from drama, so feel free to share your opinion just keep it user friendly, if you please.

Counting it all joy,