Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 People

I saw this idea on a blog I sometimes read, and I thought, just to make ya'll go hmmmmmm....I'd do a post on the 10 people I'd most want to have over for dinner!

So, here goes!!

Celine Dion is my favorite singer.  She'd be gracious enough to sing with me!!

I would want to have their WHOLE family over! Of course I'd pick their brains. They inspire me.

Colin and Mrs. Gunn are filmmakers.  He's Scottish.  My husband would adore just getting to have a good chinwag with him!

Ree Drummond is hilarious and I have her first cookbook.  I'd want her to come over early and cook with me.

Doug Phillips is the president of Vision Forum Ministries and
stands for all of the same principals and philosophies that we do.

Beall Phillips is the wife of Doug Phillips and she and I have a similar vision, and I'd love to just sit and listen to her and glean from her wisdom.

Alton Brown, zany and smart and funny and a great cook.  He'd be cooking with me and Ree and we'd have a blast!

Julie Andrews is elegant and poised and I'd love to hear all about her many years as a film and musical icon.  Of course, there'd be a trio with her and me and Celine! 

Jan Karon is my favorite author and I have almost every book she's written, in hardback.  She'd be another elegant guest and I'd ask her if she would sign all of her books for me!

Scott Brown and his wife are the founders of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches.  We have many sermons by him and we'd love to soak up his wisdom.

I know my choices aren't "popular" or "hip", but those two words are just not the words that anyone would use to describe me, thank God.  And I don't think one dinner would be enough for me with these iconic people....I think we'd have to do a weekend-long retreat!

Who would you choose?


The REAL Rosie the Riveter!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Pennie Post

Look at this girl!!!

She's 16 month old now.  Can you believe that??!!

I've never done a monthly post-type thing, but I want to for Pennie, just because she's so doggone cute, and I want to share her with you!

So, here's her "specs":

She's wearing size 18 month clothes, but she still fits into 12 month clothes too.I just put her into the bigger size to give her "wiggle room".

She's wearing size 4 Huggies Little Movers diapers.

She doesn't have tons of hair, at least not yet!

She sleeps in our room, in her crib.

She regularly sleeps from 10 PM to 4 or 5 AM. She takes two naps a day, at around noon and around 6 PM.

She eats all kinds of foods and drinks out of a regular cup really well, but she likes to spill the cup! She does drink out of her sippy cup, but she prefers a regular cup like her Big Sisters!

She LOVES cucumbers and ranch dip!! 

She isn't really nursing much anymore.  She always wants to nurse when she's tired.  So, I'd say she nurses about twice a day.

She got her very first pair of shoes the other day!! I know, I know...I always say that, with my newborn babies I'm going to put shoes and headbands on them from the get-go, but they always end up tearing them off, so I guess I never keep that promise! She got shoes the other day....sad to say, they're BOY shoes! We needed some shoes for her really quickly because we were going to the park out by the river and we didn't want her walking around barefoot, so we stopped at Goodwill and just picked whatever fit.  This DEEPLY offended my snooty sensibilities, but.....we needed them so we got them! She's so cute walking in them! But I don't like them....I have my eye on a pair at Target, but....we'll see!

This girl is so so so active! I mean it, I've never had a baby as active as this! She's all over the house every minute she's awake! We really have to keep an eye on her.  Her favorite thing to do is go in the bathroom and unload the garbage into the toilet!! We'll be getting one of those small garbage cans with the lids soon! YUCK!!  She also loves to unload our purses.  Sounds like FUN!

First swimming suit!
She got her first swimming suit too! This was one we had saved that was Lucie's.  When I put it on her, everyone just about fell apart! She was so cute!

At our house, we think that pretty much every single solitary little thing she does is just to die for! She's the cat's meow, the bee's knees! We could just eat her with a spoon! 

Look how far she's come!!
I added the last picture to show just what a Big Girl she is now.  She was so small when she was born that we had to go and get Preemie outfits for her, and for the first month or 6 weeks of her life she lived in a diaper! Oh, how my heart aches when I see her newborn pics! So sweet, so warm, so snuggly.....

She's in a Big Girl carseat now too! She still fits into her infant carseat, but we like to put her in the Big Girl seat just because she feels like a Big Sister!! Ha!

I hate to end this post on a sad note, but when I look at these pictures I can't help but see a shadow of Olivia, especially in the newborn pic.  We call Olivia our Livie Birdie, and on Pennie's bedding there are birdies around the bumper pad and on the sheet, as well as on a couple of her blankies.  Her diapers even have tiny birdies on the back, and when I'm changing her I hold the diaper up and point to the birdies and say "bird", and she tries to say it! I'm looking for a silver birdie charm to put on my necklace from The Vintage Pearl, which I wear every single day. My arms and heart ache for Olivia but she lives always for me in Pennie's eyes.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing a bit of our Pennie!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pennie Post

Well, I wanted to do a post on Pennie, as it's been quite a while since I've even talked about her, but I want to post pictures of her and I just can't find the file they're on.

So, I'll save the Pennie Post for another day....

But she's the cutest, most amazing, most energetic, most incredible thing that's ever happened to us!!!

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 18, 2012

La la la, Part 2!

I thought I'd post some pictures of the concert that Husband and I were in.  I hope you enjoy them!

Cutie Bean.
The Gang. Waiting patiently in the lobby.
Daddy and Pennie
Waiting....and waiting.


It was a great evening and the auditorium was totally packed.  I'll share more pics later!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


So has anyone out there ever experienced a situation like the one I will shortly relate to you.....if you haven't, I hope you never do, and if you have, my sympathy and understanding are with you!

The day: Sunday.  The place: Church.  Here's the scene:
I was sitting in a pew in the back, watching the kids get ready for their bell choir number that they were scheduled to do that morning.  As I sat there, a gal came up to me in a VERY excited and pleased manner.  I know this gal, but not well, and she was positively bursting with gladness! I initially thought she was just wanting to be friendly and was just going to talk for a moment......But she grabbed me around the shoulders, and here's what she said:

"Oh my goodness!!! I heard a rumor that you're pregnant and I just want to be the first to congratulate you!!!!!"
I had about two seconds to figure out how I was going to respond to this situation......
So I said:
"Wow, um, no, I'm sure not, but I do look pregnant!"
And she said:
"'re not?"
And I said:
"Not the last time I checked....ha ha're jumping the gun a bit!"
And she said:
"Okay, well, never mind then!!"
And she walked away.
Let me just say that I used the nicest tone of voice possible under the circumstances and I tried to go out of my way to make it a joke.  I felt SO bad for her!! I mean, she wasn't the first one to make a comment like that in the past month, or even the first person to ask me that.  I always try to respond very graciously......I bet she was so embarrassed.
But the truth is, I was upset.  Let me try to explain, in some concise fashion, what was going through my mind.
You see, I am overweight.  I know that! Also, if you were to look into my closet, you would probably wonder where all of my clothes went! Truth is, I don't really have any clothes.  
The reason I hardly have any clothes is because of lack of finances.
Yes, I am overweight, but truthfully, you probably wouldn't stare at me on the street and whisper wowwww, look how fat she is!!!! My tummy IS large, I mean, I've been pregnant 12 times!!
So lately it's been really easy to choose an outfit every day because.....I only have two to choose from!
I threw one of my dresses away recently, because someone at church asked me when I was due, and someone else asked me if I was expecting again.  It was a kelly green maxi dress.....a maternity dress.  I was only wearing it because it was one of the only things I had to wear.  So it was really full and too big.....and it went in the garbage when I got home.
So, being overweight, and not having many clothes, I guess feeling beautiful is important to me.
If I was being really honest, I would tell you that feeling beautiful and looking elegant and pretty and well put-together is VERY important to me.
And looking pregnant when I'm not is on my mind too.
I deeply desire to feel pretty.  
But my self esteem has always been very, very low, due to the way I was brought up and exacerbated by the past two years of living in a very difficult situation with others who neither respected me nor liked me at all.  Trying to conquer that on my own has been a life-long process and honestly.....
I haven't begun to win.
Because I know that I can't find my value in how I feel or how I look or how others view me.  I know that!! And I still struggle!
Friday I went shopping to try to get an outfit to wear to our concert that evening.  I picked out one that I thought was beautiful.  It made me feel elegant.  I felt so confident.  I looked nice!
And then I saw the pictures that were taken after the concert.....and I almost cried because I looked AWFUL!!!! 
So you see the conundrum that circles around and around in my mind??
I came across a really fantastic post this morning written by a gal I read regularly and respect greatly.  She nails these issues.  She understands! She gets it.  And......she struggles a teeny bit with this too, even though she's super beautiful!
Go read the article. It's on Erin Kern's blog, Superfluities.  It says everything I want to say.  It's everything I want to be.  And I'm thinking about getting the book that she quotes from at the end of her post.

(I tried to make a link, but we have a new Mac and I can't remember how to do it, so you'll have to google her blog!)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

La la la!

Well folks, I can now say I have successfully completed a quarter at COLLEGE!!!

Wait! Before you get all like, woah, Leanne actually went to college??? let me elaborate.

My husband has been a member of our local community choir through our local college since early spring, and he's been begging me to join with him, and I've refused, for one lame reason after another, for months, and okay, I finally joined up in early April!

Was I nervous?? You bet! I had all these preconceived notions that there'd be all these super stellar singers there and I'd be the only raw, unused talent there......

And I was WRONG!

There was an ecclectic mixture of ability levels there, since admittance to the choir at our college is not by audition.  Anyone who wants to can join....with mixed results....

So we had our concert to cap off the quarter last night.  The concert was a combined effort, with the jazz choir, the concert choir, the community choir, and another small choir.  And you can join more than one choir, although it's a pretty grueling schedule if you do.

The community choir sang selections from Show Boat, Carousel, Frankie and Johnny, and Irving Berlin, as well as a couple of single pieces.  The ensemble from Irving Berlin was perfomed with all of the choirs combined.  We also did "Somebody To Love" from Glee as a combined experiment.

One of the fun things about the whole experience was that individuals could audition for solos, and Husband told me we were going to audition.  So, I dusted off my vocal pipes and gave it the old College try.....

We sang "Never Walk Alone" from Carousel, and I convinced the choir director that there ought to be a solo in there, just because I had been dying to do that piece for about 1000 years, so she agreed, and I tried out for it, but both she and Husband, as well as the piano player, told me that me singing that piece was like listening to a flute that was not being played to the best of its ability, which was a really great compliment!

Husband and I tried out for "Why Do I Love You?" from Show Boat, and we got it!!! So, Husband and I did a tiny duet last rave reviews! I think the novelty of seeing a husband/wife team doing something like that just impressed people! It was so so so much fun singing with him!

The concert turned out so much better than we thought it would! And, as a bonus for the whole audience, there was a suprise marriage proposal too!! It was so sweet and romantic!!! We were all freaking out and screaming and clapping....the young man who proposed told NOBODY he was going to do it, so even the director was totally surprised.  And the gal said yes!!!

It was a totally incredible experience for me, considering the fact that I myself have not done anything in a concert setting for about 20 years. I was a bit rusty....

A bit about my background: I've been singing in one choir or another since 1979 (am I that old??), and it's one of my few "claim to fames" so to speak.  My voice is a gift that God gave me, and it seems I've always been able to sing.  However, my voice has never been developed.  I do have the raw talent.  I'm a soprano and a first soprano. 

There's a gal who, though she's only 22, has met with success on the European circuit, with opera being her speciality, and I sat next to her through the whole quarter, and let me tell you, her voice was amazing.  She's a really sweet person too! I considered it a privilege and a joy to get to sit with her and learn from her, and she inspired me! Her example aspired me to reach as deep as I could and give it everything I had.....For the first time, I know what I want from my voice.  I know I can, and I'm going to do it! 

And Husband and I have decided that I will enroll at the college in the Voice course that our choir director offers.  It's a very small class.  I've never done anything like that to develop my voice.  I'm nervous and excited and ready!! I believe the class starts in July.  I will also be joining the concert choir in the fall.

YIKES!!! For the first time in my life, at the age of almost39, I'm allowing myself to dream.  I do have a good voice (is that bragging?) and I've been told that I have the ability to develop my voice to be super.  So.....I'm running with it!!

I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Blog

Lately I've been thinking about my blog.

I've been reading other gals' blogs and thinking, gee, I'd love it if my blog was funny....or trendy.....or stylish.....or this....or that....

I've been doing a lot of comparing and sizing up and really, it has come down to me asking myslf:

What do I really want my blog to be?

I'd like to have a goal for my blog.  And objective.  A raison d'etre, if you will.

I haven't come up with a bullet list or a one-year lay out plan for my blog, but here's what I do know:

I want my blog to reach you. 
I want my blog to challenge you, sometimes.
I want my blog to be more than a laugh.
I want my blog to be more serious.
I want my blog to share pictures.

The most important, most crucial, most non-negotiable thing about my blog is that Jesus Christ MUST be glorified here, every single day, every single post.

I'm not sure if I'm doing that.

I don't post a lot of things that are on my mind and things I think or things in my heart, just because I wonder if they would be of interest to others, or because I don't want to bore anyone or seem like I'm trying for piousness or perfection......because I'm NOT.

I recognize the fact that this vessel that contains the essence of my being is cracked and chipped and old.  It's not pretty.  It's even deformed and crushed in places.  So many things go through my heart and mind on any given day.....but the one thing I've come to realize is that it doesn't matter if I'm broken.  It doesn't matter if I'm leaking so often that I can't retain things.....I wonder if that's God's plan for me?

I've come to realize that Christ wants brokenness because He can fix it.
Christ wants cracked and chipped and worn because He can flow out of the those places better.
In my scattered pieces Christ finds me beautiful because He can put me back together.

I'm trying so hard to be what He sees me to be.  I'm failing so often.

I want my blog to reflect that type of person.

I am NOT SuperMom.
I am NOT patient.
I am NOT perfect.
I do NOT have it all figured out.
I spend days saying I'm sorry a ton.

I heard recently that perfection is overrated.  Perfection is overrated because once you reach perfection, what is left to strive for? And if we aren't striving daily, are we really living?

I hope my blog can be a place of refreshment for those who need realness.
I hope my blog reflects what Christ is doing in me.
I hope my blog honors my children and my husband.

Lastly but chiefly, I hope my blog looks like a person trying to love and serve and be holy, because that is what Christ asks of me.

So be it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Are You Awake?

Can I ask you a question?

Do you pray for your husband?

This post is going to be kind of a continuation of my post on modesty.  Let me bring another idea to you:

Do you pray for your husband's purity?

Yes, he's married.  Yes, he's in a monogamous relationship.  Yes, he does come home to you every night after work.......but to me, that's not all there is to purity.

If the Bible says that if you have hatred in your heart, then you're a murderer...and if you have lust in your heart, then you're an adulterer.....yikes.

Please forgive me in advance for stepping on your toes or offending you.

There are so many pitfalls for a man out there, ladies.  Are you aware, based on my post about modesty, and based on all of the women out there who don't care how much skin is showing or who sees whatall they own, are you aware of how many "stones" are strewn in your husband's path??

Your husband IS married to you and he may be faithful to you, but that's only half of purity. Can I suggest focused ways that you can pray for your husband, to endow him with power and strength in the area of keeping his mind and eyes pure?

Okay. Thanks.

Purity is not setting any thing in front of your eyes that may cause you to stumble into lust or coveting.  Purity is being vigilant to avert your eyes from looking at things that you know would dishonor your mate and alienate you from the Lord. Purity is being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Purity is asking the Lord to KEEP your mind and eyes pure. Purity is a choice.  Purity takes maintenance.  Purity takes being willing to be accountable to your mate, and to someone, or a small group of people, who you know you can trust with your life.

Because purity IS your life.  It's a lifestyle.  For you AND for your husband.

You can ask your husband about this.  I ask my husband about this, all the time.  He has made himself willing to be accountable, when he's online and when he's out and about.  I do ask him regularly how he's holding up in this area, because it's a tough world out there for Godly men.

My husband made the decision years ago to become a member of Covenant Eyes.  This is an online protection service that will block sites from your computer, and also blocks ads and pop-ups.  It keeps a record of where people have been on your computer, and it sends you a report, weekly or monthly.  You can choose two people to which these reports will be sent.  My husband chose me and another friend.  I believe that the cost is VERY minimal. 

Also, I pray for my husband.  Daily.  Sometimes hourly.  I pray very specifically.  I pray for the Lord to keep his heart focused.  I pray that God would blind his eyes to the temptations that are out there.  I ask God to keep his eyes AND his mind pure.  I pray that God would keep his family at the forefront of his mind.  I also ask God to bear him up on angels' wings, lest he dash his foot against a "stone".  I believe that this has greatly strengthened my husband.  He has told me time and again that he appreciates it so much. 

Sometimes, randomly, I'll call him up during the day, just to ask how he's doing and if I can bring him something, or if he needs to talk.  I ask him if he has a specific thing he wants me to pray about.  He really loves this. 

When I pray for my husband it shows that I am vigilant and I'm doing my duty in my marriage, to pray for and lift up my husband. 

Let me tell you something: out of all the marriages we know, all of our friends and relatives, ours is one of the ONLY marriages that has survived.  Seriously.  That is a VERY sobering thought.  And it hits home for me.  It is a wake-up call that I can't rest on my laurels and just sit back and relax my vigilance with my marriage!

I pray for my husband's purity because I know how easy it is for him to cross that line.  I know so many husbands who weren't pure and who aren't, and it has destroyed their marriages.  This is very scary for me. 

You have heard that it was said that marriage is 50-50....well, let me propose a revolutionary idea to you: make your marriage 100-100.

And let me tell you that it doesn't matter if you and your husband are struggling in your marriage.  You step up and make this commitment, and I promise your marriage will revive.  Not overnight.  Not even right away.  But you make the commitment to pray for your husband anyway.

Yes, there are other things you can do daily to raise or keep your husband's interest.  Do you know what your husband likes? Do you know what's on his wish list? Are there practical things you can be doing that you aren't doing? I know there are things I myself can do, and I want to! If you don't know any of that about your husband, I suggest, for the safety and salvation of your marriage, that you take your husband out for a meal and pick his brain!

I mean it.  Ladies, we HAVE to save our marriages! We HAVE to have strong marriages!

Praying for your husband is one VERY important way you can strengthen your marriage.

Strengthening our marriages is not something that is a static thing.  What I mean is, strong marriages are not like a buoy that, no matter the weather or the condition of the water, that buoy is going to float with no problem at all.  Strong marriages take maintenance.  They take discernment.  It takes God's strength in you to do this thing.

I apologize if I have given you the impression that my marriage is perfect and I'm Mrs. Goody-Good.  Oh no.  That's definitely NOT true! My marriage has had its struggles.  The first 12 years of my marriage were horrible.  Because of ME! I wanted to be the boss and I wanted to wear the pants in the family. I thought that since that ring was on his finger, that's all it took. I went to sleep, basically. I got my book and sat on the couch and read my books all day, every day. Yikes!

Let me tell you about two things that saved my marriage and changed my mind: A book fell into my hands years ago, I can't remember how, but it was straight from the Lord.  It's called Created to be His Help Meet.  Now, I will say right now that I don't endorse everything that Michael and Debi Pearl stand for.  Actually, I don't like Michael Pearl at all.....but this book was just what I needed just when I needed it! A slap in the face.  A dousing with ice-cold water.  I saved it so I can refer to it every now and then.

Surrendering my "agenda" to the Lord was another turning point in my marriage.

If you hear anything in this post, hear this: PRAY for your man.  Take possession of him! Act like it!

Do you have any other ideas that we can use to strengthen our men? Leave me a comment with your idea!

Friday, June 1, 2012


Okay.  This is going to be a weird post, so bear with me till the end.  It's on my heart and I really believe that someone out there needs to hear this.

Listen.  Let's talk.  I know your heart is broken right now.  I know the pain hurts so bad that sometimes you feel that you can't draw a deep breath.  I know that physical pain would feel better than this shattered agony you're experiencing.  It aches so bad that you want to die, just to get some relief.

I know.
I get it.
Because I feel like that too.
I'm walking that road too.

You are wondering if you will ever NOT feel like crying.  You are confused at the constant lump in your throat and the feeling that there is an elephant sitting on your chest, suffocating you.

You aren't alone.  The enemy of your soul wants you to feel like it's only you and you're the only one and nobody cares about you.  The enemy is telling you all kinds of things right now, such as: this will never go away.  Nobody cares.  Who wants to hear? It's your fault. Nobody loves you.  You deserve this.....

Nothing the enemy is saying to you is true. 

Listen to me.  Listen carefully.

Your grief is not your fault.
You are N O T alone.
I'm going through it.  And I'm right along with you.  I'm walking the path too.  And you know what? I've been here before.  So, that makes two of us.  But you know what? I'm not the only one who's walking this path with you! There are more Mamas.

This path is SO hard.  It's long.  It's rough and hot and parched and there are SO many holes and stumps in the way.  I want you to know that you WILL make it.  You CAN do this.  You know how I know?? Because I myself did it, have done it, and AM doing it!

Because God has not given you more than you can handle.  "I can do ALL THINGS through Christ Who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

And because "God has NOT given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind."2 Timothy 1:7

And do you know something else?  The enemy lies to you when he tries to tell you that Christ has forsaken you or that He doesn't see or care what you're going through. You are being lied to when the enemy says that Jesus Christ does not know what you are going through.  Here's how I know that: "For we do NOT have a High Priest Who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet was without sin."  And here: "BUT You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth!" 

I feel compelled to post this today just for you.  I know you're feeling anguished and desperate and even despairing.  I know how some days, you can't even get out of bed or put one foot in front of the other.  Oh, I know.  I know intimately just exactly how you are feeling right now. 

Let me tell you something: I would be dead without Jesus Christ.  I would have killed myself 8 years ago, had I not had His Word posted all around my house, to remind me of what He wants me to know.  I'm serious. 

Listen: You're alive, even though a part of you has died.  The Lord wants to help you through this.  Get on your knees right now and cry out to Him.  With all the desperation and despair in your heart, scream out to Him.

He can take it.  Whatever you want to dish out to Him, as loud as you want to yell at Him, as much as you want to cuss and be angry at Him.....He won't be shocked.  He already knows all that anyway.  He reads you like a book, but He wants you to come to Him of your own volition and dump it all on Him.  Give it all to Him.  He can handle it, and He won't run away.

He'll give you strength. 
Oh, your pain won't go away overnight.
But tomorrow, when you open your eyes, you'll notice it's a teenie bit easier to put that foot on the floor.
And the next day, you'll notice you're just a teenie bit stronger.
Trust me.

Please don't let the enemy lie to you anymore.
You ARE strong for this trial!
In Christ, you ARE able!

So, NOW what are you going to do??