Friday, December 31, 2010

The Christmas letter that never was...

As 2010 is nearing it's end I thought I would share the "Christmas letter" that never was. Ok I wrote this in November to enclose with our Christmas cards...Which I decided to not send (in order to save money). I had thought of sending them as New Year's "updates" to our friends and family but didn't do that either. It is a wonderful yet short recap of what the McClendon's have been up to. I am not editing it for bloggy purposes so it is what it is. Enjoy and Happy New Year to you all!!!

Greetings Family and Friends it has been a couple years since we last sent out a little note of what we have been up to! We are so excited to take a minute so you can all catch up. This past year a lot of great things happened so what better time than now for an update.

Michael is still hard at work at the same company. Logging 11 years this past June. It is great to still have a job after the rough ups and downs of our economy. Hollie has been hard at work with PTO, church, new volunteer endeavors, sewing, and of course child rearing! We led our family on a wonderful trip to West Virginia to participate in a United Methodist Conference called Aldersgate. It was a wonderful time and we look to make it a yearly tradition no matter the ever-changing location.

Jesse turned 10 this year and is a “senior” at her elementary school. It is hard to believe she will be in middle school next year. We are over the moon happy to report all A’s! After a jammed packed school year last year Jesse decided to drop dance and make gymnastics her main focus with a lot of swim team and soccer mixed in!

Duece turned 6 this year and had a milestone of his own…he is the “freshman” at their elementary school. He too has worked really hard and we couldn’t be happier about all A’s from him. Duece like Jesse added swim team to his agenda and he LOVED it. The child who never liked sports has found his niche! YAY He too still enjoys gymnastics. He and Jesse are both still actively involved in children’s choir and other areas of our church.

Cooper celebrated his 2nd birthday. As a matter of fact the last “update” letter we sent he hadn’t even been born yet! He started preschool at Kiddie Kollege this fall and is in love with it and his teachers. This sweet little boy has added so much to our family.

WOW, a lot has happened and we wish we could share it all. We hope we hit all the highlights! 2010 has been a wonderful year and we know God is going to do even greater things in 2011 and we can’t wait to see what they are. We leave you with many wishes of a wonderful and blessed Christmas season! Until next year…

Much Love,
Michael, Hollie, Jesse, Duece, and Cooper
*You can now follow all the madness of the McClendon household at: www.mcclendonmadness.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I will praise you in this storm...

Wow talk about a whirl wind week of events. Just as our Christmas celebrations came to an end, our food finally began to settle and just a day after the garbage truck took all the boxes away...Michael and I got a tough blow that we had been kind of expecting but at the same time praying God would prevent. Michael found out today (Wednesday) that he is going to be loosing his job after next Friday. After 11 years of hard work and dedication it is just going to be OVER. No chance at un-employment (as his boss didn't pay in) and no severance. Like I said it was not a huge shock but never-the-less it was tough pill to take. My first emotion as he told me was " I can't let the kids know I am upset, he can't know I am worried...Must keep it all in." That gave way to a sobbing break down what followed next surprised me I was ANGRY! I was mad that not only would his boss lose his company but our "rug" would also be pulled out from under us. So many hopes and dreams seemed to flash before my eyes. I think I could have spit nails that very moment. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised though as I prayed all afternoon for peace and understanding my anger was replace by these very words that sprang from my lips before I even knew I was speaking them out load..."God no matter what happens or how hard it gets we will continue to serve you and praise your wonderful name!" Oh yeah I said it and for a half a second as Michael looked at my I thought I had LOST my mind. But Michael said " I know Momma that is what it is all about we have to have faith!" Ha we were on the same page and knowing that made me feel so much better.

So looks like Michael is on the market or should I say in the market for a new job. I don't think either of us care about where it is or what the pay is as long as we aer all together with a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food to each God will work everything else out. It is scary but we know the only way not to worry ourselves to death is to hand this one over to the ONE who can fix it all because sometimes things are just so broken only our Daddy above can repair them for us. I know this road may not be easy but we have faith He will make a way and we are only speaking life into this situation because God's promises are real and we believe He can do the things he says he can do!

I am still worried about the zillions of changes this will bring on for us. I don't think Michael and I even know the fullness of those changes. I also worry about the kids I don't want this to impact them in such a way that they too become angry but I am handing that over to God also. I know what kind of kids I have been trying to raise and I believe they will be understanding and take things as they come all while praising the One above just as Michael and I do.

Nothing in this life is certain other than life and death. But I know a comforter that can help me through it all and you better believe that before our feet hit the pavement our knees will be hitting the ground for His direction.

One last thing please join us in prayer over this situation that Michael might find work easily and that I too might find something if need be, pray please that God would let His plan be worked out here and not our own. And please speak positive things over and into this for us. We love you all and are thankful to be surrounded with some wonderful friends and family.

Simply the best

Sorry I missed posting on Christmas so Merry Christmas and before I forget Happy New Year!

I have to say that this Christmas was the best one we have had in our married life. It was simple and WHITE. We had decided a couple of years ago that our children would only receive 3 gifts, then one from each other and a family gift. But we really set out to simplify not only what they received but all our other giving. This season is not about all those electronics or labels on the clothes under your tree but about our Saviors birth. Our goal..."Get back to the real reason we celebrate!"

It was wonderful we spent time with family and friends. Enjoying each others company and lots of wonderful food. Christmas morning was extra special as we noticed it started to snow while unwrapping gifts. I think a white Christmas in north Alabama is a true Christmas miracle. We sang happy birthday to Jesus, went out for breakfast, then played in the snow and my wonderful hubby and older children built us a snowman! I think the snow was the best gift I could have received. For several hours my children weren't wrapped up in what was being given or received but enjoying God's Christmas gift to them...SNOW!

I thank God for the tug at my heart to simplify...I thank Him for giving us a chance to get it right. There are no words to truly explain the feelings Michael and I felt wrapped in HIS love this Christmas. This one was simply the best and way better than all the rest:)

Friday, December 24, 2010

His plan and not my own

With Christmas fast approaching Michael and I had some really tough decisions to make not to be taken lightly! I was stressed, overworked, depressed and BUSY. It was after explaining to my friend the effects some of those "changes" that I realized I was indeed busy but not in the way you are thinking I was B.U.S.Y...Being under Satan's yoke. I had somewhere in all of the overwhelming thoughts in my mind left my "easy yoke" and taken up another. She told me I needed to hold true to the things I knew God was promising and remember He is still in the miracle making business.

Why is it that I so easily fall victim to Satan's scheme? I don't know...But I do know the true miracle of Christmas the virgin birth of my savior is something amazing to celebrate. I guess you can say Satan got his way I felt I didn't have anything to celebrate...But I do!!! Jesus was born and died so that I would NEVER have to live in hell or suffer the true cost of my sin. I will stand on that and declare he (Satan) has no rule over my life, I will not live in fear and in this very moment of tough decisions I will take this opportunity to "live out my faith" so all can see! It is after all HIS plan and not my own...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I did it on a budget

I am so proud of myself, I even asked Michael if I could have an award this Christmas. Our extreme frugality has been in practice around here for a bit and I was trying that concept on in regards to Christmas. I sat down last night and figured out how much we had spent this year and was stunned that we came in just under $700. That includes all 3 of our children and the zillions of other gifts we give like to teacher, Sunday school teachers, and such. Of course I made a lot of gifts including stationary, etched containers, aprons and pjs. And I didn't send Christmas cards to anyone that wasn't family and didn't live out of state. I know some of you are thinking that my children will suffer or that others received junk from us but it wasn't so. Of course the norm was practiced with the children receiving 3 gifts each just like the baby Jesus did and one "group" gift. This allows us to get them 3 great gifts and not 20 little things. We like it and they do to... and since we don't do Santa around here it is well understood how it all works! I was happy to start getting the focus on the true reason for the season and not so much on "stuff." (Remember God is working with me on this big time) I am excited to see every ones faces when they open the gifts I have made for them or painstakingly picked out for them. I am happy to spread a little more of the "It's the thought not the gift" spirit around:)

Friday, December 17, 2010


A dear friend of mine Lindsey over at squeezingtheday does music therapy Thursday each week. And just yesterday she shared "Ava Maria" the English version. Leaving me moved beyond anything I had ever heard was a song that showed the heart of the mother of Jesus. As she and I talked about the song and it's meaning and such I told her how another song all about Mary was moving me in ways never before this Christmas season so I wanted to share those lyrics with you!


Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.


Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.


The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.


Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.


The last 4 lines posted above shake my soul every single time I hear them, read them or even see them. I wonder about Mary what it was like to be a young lady unwed and carrying the Messiah. I know what it is like to be unwed and pregnant. But the fact that the child she bore was the "Great I am" is almost to hard for even my Christian mind to get a handle on! I wonder if Mary knew what it would be like...I wonder what Jesus was like as a child....I wonder what Joseph thought as she delivered that sweet baby in a lowly manger. I am over come with emotion as i think of my King laying in a manger that night of His birth or how Mary must have felt so alone with no "comforts" for her new little one. The number one thing I have wondered endlessly about is did Mary know that her son my King was destine for the cross. Did she know that He would pay for MY sins before I was even a twinkle in someones eye? I don't know if I could have been a willing servant if I had known my sinless son would die for someone else. Lastly I share Lindsey's same thoughts....We often think favor from God means or lives or our families lives will be easy but when you think of Mary God showed her what I believe is ultimate in favor as she carried the Messiah and I know her life was no to easy as Jesus began his ministry. I am thankful for Mary and her willingness to do what she was called to do and I am so thankful for my King who lived as a man to die on a cross just so I wouldn't have to! I am happy to celebrate His birth!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy with simplicity

For quite some time now God has been transforming the hearts of both Michael and I... There so many details I want to share but am unable to but one thing I can say is simplicity is something we are working on right now. Most people assume that since I stay at home we are in some insane high tax bracket but it is the opposite we make sacrifices so I can be at home with our children. So simplicity is not a new concept but almost a way of life for me the happy with it part is what God has been working on me with. And now is starting to work on Michael about. We have always tried tiredly to "Keep up with the Jones" you know new car, nice clothes, bigger house, you get the idea. And for Michael simplicity to him means he isn't providing for our needs.
But I don't see it that way here is what God has done to my thinking of simplicity...

I for a long time thought about living simply was doing without or not having things you desire. But my God showed me otherwise. If He blesses me with a fortune it is not mine but His and I should use it to do His work furthering the Kingdom and blessing the socks off of people! RIGHT? I am to be in this world not of it. I want to put the "Jones and their stuff" aside and realize I could do more for my God and His Kingdom with a more simple state of mind. God is tugging on our hearts to do something big something different something that will take resources. And I KNOW that if I were more simple I could do just what He wanted of me. As Michael and I work to rethink how we see these things we are also training our children to be content with simplicity. I don't want children who are so consumed with what other have that they aren't able to see the true blessings in life. Because for me I was consumed with an appearance and not able to be who God was really calling me to be. Call me radical but I would rather have nothing and KNOW that I served my King and did exactly what He was calling me to do!

I leave you with this not because it has anything to do with my post but because I can't get it off my mind. My pastor in his sermon last Sunday said this and I can't stop chewing on it..."A family is a powerful tool in and for the Kingdom of God." As I said I can't stop chewing on this one this week. (Jeff I hope you don't mind me quoting you and I hope I didn't mess the quote up!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Big 3-0

Today is my wonderful hubby's 30th birthday! He can't believe it and thought he would all of the sudden feel and look old. HA I told him this morning I was surprised none of his organs had shut down or his hair changed colors over night! No really he was a little sad I however think it is wonderful. The true miracle here is that we are celebrating his 11th birthday together. 11 years ago today I went to our cities Christmas parade with Michael and never in a million years saw myself married to him or having his babies. But God had a great plan in store and here we are celebrating his big 3-0 I am so happy. I can't believe all we have over come in 11 years and I know I can't wait to see what else is in store. Happy Birthday baby I love you!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

He is our portion

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Who of you by worry can add a single hour to your life?" Matthew 6:25-27

I have always thought of God as my portion and "He is enough for me!" But with so many worldly worries and trails it is easy to loose sight of the one who always comes through and always provides.

It is no secret that we at this household make many a sacrifice so that I can stay home and care for our children, my husband and our household. And due to the state of our economy, lack of work and endless rainy days things are a little tighter around here. We don't complain (OK well a little) because we are so strongly tied to our decision for me to be at home and we know this too will pass. But God showed his glorious face to me by making a way and providing big for us this week and taking a huge load off with the approaching holiday. No we aren't rich all of the sudden but He took alot of worry away and I am so grateful for that.

Just when it seems like things are a mess God always seems to show up in my life and most of the time He is showing out! His favor upon myself and my family is great almost unmeasurable at times. We know one day his plan will be so clear to us and we will know his provision even more. I cling tightly to His biblical promises and to the ones He has given my heart. He is our portion and has been and will always be enough for us.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday


As you know for the month of November on Thursday's I have been writing about things I am thankful for. I have been thankful for my savior, veterans, my husband, children, family and friends. Through this I have realized I have so much to be thankful for that the "list" could go on for ever. God has blessed me and my family beyond worldly measure in so many area it is hard to contain it in a list. I could ramble on for hours and get no where but the one thing I think I want to stress is we should be thankful all year and not just today! I do have one last thing I am thankful for that I wanted to note...




I am thankful for life! Mine, my husbands, my children's...well every one's!! Life is a gift not to go without recognizing it can be short or long but what you do with it and who and what you serve is up to you. I chose to serve the most awesome real God and I chose to be wife, mommy, volunteer and whatever else hat I can pull out. But I think all that would be for not if I didn't have Jesus the giver of life at the very center of it all. So I am thankful for life and without being repetitive I am thankful for the One who died so I could have it so wonderfully.




Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends. I love you and count myself blessed that you are part of our lives. Might we remember to be thankful all year!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast

I never thought that I would be cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal alone. But these year I am. And I have to admit I am not at all excited nor am I happy to be having Thanksgiving "alone." Well I wont actually be alone but it will only be me, Michael, the boys and my brother Adam. Jesse is going to the beach with my dad and we aren't doing anything with Michael's family. So I was left in a predicament....I could usher all of us to a restaurant or start our own new tradition. We have spent every Thanksgiving since we have been married with Michael's mom and step-dad except last year which we spent with my dad. And when my mom was alive we actually had 2 Thanksgivings so we could have one with my fam. I will totally miss my mom this time she made the best dressing I am sure mine will never be as good as hers. I thought I would share our menu with all of you for fun!

McClendon Thanksgiving Menu:
Ham
Fried Turkey
Dressing
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
Green bean Casserole
Mac-n-Cheese
Rolls
German Chocolate Cake
Pumpkin pie

As much as I am not looking forward to cooking all of this I am looking forward to eating it! What will you feast on tomorrow?

Friday, November 19, 2010

In need of motivation...Got any?

The chaos that is my brain has thrown up in my house! I am serious my mental state has been shall we say scattered. I don't have a handle on anything and you can FORGET time management....I have none. It is that time of year where my "plate" is far too full, my mind in shambles and my pocket book starting to squeak as it is pulled so tight. Now every room in my house is suffering and in bad need of a TON of TLC. I have a chart hung on my fridge outlining my daily cleaning schedule, yeah right! I haven't done anything in days and am so far behind on my sewing that people are wondering if the "dog ate my homework" aka that lovely outfit they ordered. I am going insane over my lack of motivation or care. I don't seem to mind the mess thus wondering, about that dirty floor maybe if we let the dog in she could lick it clean, hopefully nobody will fall upon arrival at hour house considering all the toys in the floor, and that bathroom DO NOT LET A GUEST ENTER IT THEY WILL NOT COME OUT!!!! It is nuts and I must get it under control I can't handle another minute of the madness. Come heck or high water I have to do something about it. This house is affecting my mood, not to my surprise...I don't really like my house! I have done a million things to make it make me happy but nothing helps. I must get it under control and clean so I can start having something to take pride in. My mind is wondering, my thoughts a trillion different places and I can't seem to make myself start never mind finish anything. I NEED MOTIVATION...GOT ANY????

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Wow I didn't realize there wasn't many Thursdays in November. I have so much to be thankful for I am going to have a hard time getting it all in over the next two "Thursday" post. This week I am thankful for family. My wonderful husband and amazing children!

I have one amazing husband. He works a very hard physically demanding job rain, shine, hot or cold to provide for our family so I can stay at home. I have to say there is NOTHING easy about his job or the boss he has. But in this economy and his field of work that job in itself is something to be thankful for! After work he comes home and helps me with the children and even helps with the housework. He is so realistic in that he knows being a stay-at-home mom to 3 kids with full schedules and her own hectic schedule is a BUSY HARD JOB! He is very understanding if the rough end drags a little or alot and is always ready to help out and pick up my slack. He is also a pretty loving guy...Ok he is really loving! I can't imagine my life without him we as sappy as it sounds complete each other to make a PERFECT team. I know God hand picked us to be with each other. I am thankful for Michael in more ways than we have time to even list...I have a great man.

I am also thankful and count myself blessed by Gods unmeasurable favor to have 3 amazing children. All of which are healthy and mostly happy;) Jesse my oldest is a helper always willing to lend a hand no matter the task. She even helps look after Cooper is I need to take care of something or do a little "work". She is a eager learned both at school and home a wonderful student and a great friend to her mom! Duece my middle child (who has the middle child syndrome in the bag) is a really mommas boy I am so glad. He is a lover not always the most productive you should see his room and the number of tissues used to dry his tears during chore time! This kid stands up for what he believes in and is very kind and caring. Now Cooper...well he is 2!!!! And I think I could leave it there. Aside from fits and rages he is a pretty great kid very loving but all boy. And he loves him some football already I think that might actually be a prayer Micheal prayed that was answered. All joking aside I am blessed and feel like God was showing His favor on me by giving them to us! I hope that in the future He might show us a little more favor in this area;) Pick you lip up you knew that was coming!

And with out being too general I am thankful for family... parents, brothers and sister, in-laws, grandparents, cousins and all. I think we have been blessed and cursed in this area. While we have wonderful relationships with some of our family there are others we only see at holidays and it makes me sad. But we have friends who are like family and that is a wonderful blessing. But am a thankful for family no matter what. They are sometimes all you have.

I am also thankful for friends! This is one area I know we are so very blessed. As stated above we have friends who are like family to us. They always make up for any lacking family relationships and support us so much. We love them more than any of them even know they are a very big part of our life!

We are not only thankful but also blessed!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Santa Came Early...


And this is what I got!

I have been sewing for quite some time on a borrowed machine and now I finally have my own!

Back a year and a half ago I started sewing and I loved it. My good friend Ellen let me borrow a machine and dew to rough economic times I hadn't been able to buy my own. But as they say good things come to those who wait. And I got a new "brother" machine for Christmas...even better it was early:) I am so excited it is computerized has 50 stitches, 80 functions and 5 button hole settings and is SOOO easy to use. My other good friend Jennifer has been sewing on one of these for about a year and LOVES it so I got the same kind. I totally recommend it if you are in the market for one. I know I have already used it and plan to put it to good use sewing Christmas gifts I am making, thus the reason I received it over 1 month early. Well gotta go I can't wait to get back in my sewing room!

A huge thank you to Ellen for letting be use hers so long! And to Jennifer for recommending this one to me I know it and I are going to be great friends!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Just for Mom



Today my heart aches as the memories of the day I lost my wonderful mom come flooding back. I have said many times this week that there days when it seems like it happened 24 hours ago and then there days when it seems like it happened 20 years ago. Instead it has been 7 years. Boy how my life has changed and with each new adventure I long for her by my side even more.

My mom was diagnosed with Leukemia in January of 2003 and died one month shy of her 38Th birthday on November 12, 2003. The events of that day and the days following it are forever etched into my brain. After being admitted to the hospital 3 weeks before my mom had began chemo and ended up very sick and on a ventilator. While she was in ICU so much was going on I was pregnant with my second child Duece and my sister Hillary gave birth to her son Taylor all while our brother was a freshman in high school. I spent many days in Birmingham with my family but also many days at home with Jesse trying to keep her life "normal" which is what my mom wanted me to do most. I remember thinking about how she had already "beat" this once before and we would weather this storm and she would come home. I kept telling myself and Jesse that. I was wrong...She got more and more sick as time went on. On the morning of November 12 my dad called and woke me up. He told me that my moms organs were starting to shut down and that she had little brain activity (had been on the vent more than 3 weeks) and that she wouldn't make it until the night. I had a very hard choice to make leave and go be by her side or stay at home with Jesse. I chose to stay home with Jesse. I thought this is what my mom would have wanted me to do. Now looking back I wish I had of left Jesse with friends to go and be by her side. The next couple days were insane they came and went in the blink of an eye. During all of this my sister had her birthday major crappy right?

I still have tons of unresolved emotions from that day. I was pregnant with Duece (a pregnancy that already was a little rocky) and didn't want my stress or grieving to be hinder the developing baby. To this day I know I still haven't grieved like I should for what I lost. I miss my mom so much and there is almost not one day that goes by that I don't miss her. I know her heavenly Daddy longed to have her in heaven with him so He called her home. I also know that no matter how badly she or I would love for her to be here there is no way she would leave the wonders of heaven to be with me. She instead waits for me, my siblings, father and her grandchildren at those pearly gates. Knowing all of that brings me alot of comfort.

For a long time I had been questioning why God would take this wonderful special person from me. I will never know why and it is not my place to question God. But I have learned God gives and He takes away...And as the song goes "My heart will chose to say BLESSED be His name." I can't wait to get to heaven and see what my mom thinks of who I have become but most of all I can't wait to give her a hug and have a LONG talk. The one thing I miss the most about her for myself is how she use to call me every single day so by then the LONG talk will be much needed!
Mom,

I do miss you so much and my heart almost longs for the day that you and I will be together again. But God has called me for things on this earth that are yet to be done. And you have 3 grand babies who need me to shape and nurture them as you did us. So until then please watch over us everyday and save us a nice spot on that cloud you might be perched upon. Put in a good word for dad I am afraid he might need it. We love you and while you are gone from our lives your impact will never be forgotten. I love you!

Picture Blog For Mom

Because I wanted to honor my mom today I thought I would share pictures of her along her life. I unfortunately don't have as many as I would like to have but she really didn't like having her picture taken. I hope you will enjoy and I hope for family it brings back all the good memories you might.

Mom and Dad while in the fall before I was born in January.
Mom hiding her face of course with me! I am not sure how old I was here but I think Cooper kind of looks like me here.

This is a 1989 throw back Adam is about 1. Mt.Calvary church directory pic. Moms eyes are closed she haunt me for posting this I am sure.


Adam and Hillary on a visit to our Great Grandparents farm before they sold it. This is Adam's favorite pic of mom he keeps it in his car.

Me, Mom and Hillary at my baby shower for Jesse.

This is another one mom will for sure kill me for posting...This is Jesse and mom getting ready for bed in the pjs when we were staying with them after the car wreck.

Easter 2001 Some people in this pic aren't even looking at the camera but at least you can see mom smiling!

This is my wonderful mom 1 month before she died. She is watching the balloon release for Cameron at Jesse's 3rd birthday. Wow the things I would have said or done if I had of known I only had a few short weeks with her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This is my brother-in-law Alan on his last deployment to Iraq. I am so grateful to call him both friend and family. We love Alan and no matter where he is serving or stationed we know he is doing it for us...for you! Much love Alan we miss you even if you are state side:)




On this Thankful Thursday which happens to be Veteran's Day....I am thankful for all of the men and women who fight for our country. Each one of these service men and women joined for different reasons but all do the most important job I can think of and that is of course protecting our freedom. That freedom makes this post full of lots of things to be thankful for.



Michael and I are so grateful to call ourselves family to wonderful service men both living and gone home. Thank you Alan, PawPaw, Pap, Cousin Jay, Uncle Cecil and Uncle Matt! And we are even more lucky to call some veterans friend. Thank you JT, Jeff, Ken, Riley, and Gabe. If I left someone out I am so sorry. We are forever indebted to you for protecting us and making this country a safe place to call home.



Veteran's please know that we pray for each of you as you might be in harms way and also please know that you are all loved and appreciated in our home. Thank you once more for you service.

While I don't have pictures to share I want to say a big thank you to JT and Riley for being Jesse and Duece's guest veterans at their school program and parade yesterday. Thank you for being will to endure a couple hours with 100's of kids so Jesse and Duece you show you how much that appreciate all you have done. We love you two very much.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Money Matters

Well I am jumping on the "Money Matters Monday" bandwagon with my friend Lindsey over at www.squeezingtheday.blogspot.com. I thought I would share some of the ways I am going to SAVE this Holiday season.

It seems like every single year my Christmas list grows as I have more and more people who mean so much to me that I want to show them a small gesture of how much they mean to me. Add to that my CRAZY LONG family list of people to buy for and I promise it is no less than 25 peps not including the kiddos and hubby. Wow I never seem to have enough good ideas and time to do all I want to do. This year I made my list early and I am going to sew yes I said sew several people presents and I am also going to do some personalized stationary as gifts. I am off to a good start I just need to actually begin my handy work.

Here is a short list of what I will be up to:)
PJ sets
Hooded towels
Aprons
Stationary
Tote bags
Framing photo collages
A toddler bed quilt
And maybe appliqueing a couple of fleece blankets

I can't tell who these are each for as some of them read my blog. How are you planning to save this Holiday season????

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today is the start of Thankful Thursday's leading up to Thanksgiving. I can't remember if I did this on my blog last year or just did a long one on Thanksgiving but anyway. I will do one a week but might be thankful for several things.

This week I am thankful for...

My Heavenly Daddy! I am thankful for salvation through him and the many many blessing in my life. I am thankful that He loves me even when I am not worthy. I am thankful He has a plan for my life. And I am very thankful that He is not finished with me yet.

I am also thankful for a wonderful church family to be part of. My church is in Holy Spirit Revival and it is amazing...We have seen all kinds of works and wonders and God is transforming and entire congregation! I love my church.

In reference to yesterdays post on being radical...I think all Christians are suppose to be that way. As my friend Lindsey's mother put it "You almost have to be a total Jesus Freak!" I don't know about you but I want that to be me:) I want to be able to shout it from the roof tops there is someone who will calm all your fears, ease all you pain, take all your worry, has a healing hand, a loving embrace, and when He shows up things get done! Radical...I shall be!

*Third religious post this week...Guess you can tell what is on my mind:)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Radical???

While JUST reading one of the many blogs I like to read I happened upon this quote:

On page 181 of Radical, Platt says:
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy; it is dangerous. It is not smooth sailing aboard a luxury liner; it is sacrificial duty aboard a troop carrier. It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in the world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And He is more than enough for us.”

Hello spiritual stop sign....Now going to go and ponder what God is trying to say to me by making the above ring LOUDLY in my ears!

The blog I was reading is strivingfor31.com and her reasons for posting the quote I am sure have nothing to do with why it is impacting my heart! But I am going to have to find out about this book!

Worship...Not just for Sunday!

It seems like here lately alot of things are changing not just the seasons. Every member in our family is growing and changing in their faith. Michael and I the most! We are starting to EXPECT God to work and show up in our lives...Boy does that change alot. I find myself thinking if He doesn't show up I am in BIG trouble. I am going out on a limb giving my all (or the best I can) to the one who loved me so much He laid down his life for me before I was even a twinkle in my mothers eye.

It is amazing how different my life and days have been since I have started letting go off all my worry, insecurities, pain, doubt, and just my junk in general. My life is amazing I am blessed beyond any measure...I have a wonderful husband he loves me, protects me and most of all supports me. I have 3 amazing healthy children! I am provided for even when work is slow and rainy days are long. My cup truly runeth over and it is about time I start praising him for it.

I use to be a Sunday morning worshiper (is that a word). But I have decided to worship my Daddy all 7 days a week. I am not ashamed to say I know the one who holds my plan and I know He calls me daughter and friend. Join me rethink your worship life do you praise Him just for allowing you to wake each day...I didn't but you better believe I WILL/DO now.

I have started spending time listening to praise music inviting Daddy to join me in my everyday life asking Him what my next step should be. I have been spending more time in prayer and study just letting Him take over my life and thoughts. I wonder what impact all of this will have on my life? I wonder what letting his Spirit dwell in me will do to who I am or who you see me as? I just want more and more of my Heavenly Daddy!

Tomorrow...Thankful Thursday I will have one for every Thursday leading up to Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finger of God

A blind woman was healed...
Manna fell from heaven...
Gold dust sprinkled about...
Gems falling from heaven...
A women's heart healed by 8 year olds...
A dead man brought to life......................................

These are just a few testimonies from a movie my small group watched last night. The DVD is entitled "Finger of God." Several people had been a buzz about this movie at my church for some time now and my pastors wife lent it to me to watch. I was so thrilled to finally get to sit down and watch it. I was over come by the "challenge" that the above is/should be the Christian norm. Hey that is what I want my walk with Jesus to be like:) I want to see and be part of miracles, signs and wonders. I know things like this are a tough pill to swallow for some but trust me if you experience healing you wouldn't doubt it anymore and I assume the same of the other wonders. I don't think God wants us to sit idly by and play church or "do religion" I think he wants us to do the things he has empowered us to do through the Holy Spirit. He says we will do the things he has done and even greater things. This quote from the beginning of the movie keeps ringing in my head "Religion is what you are left with when the Spirit leaves the room." WOW I don't ever want the Spirit to leave the room....or my life for that matter. So what do you think ready to start listening to God and see what he is challenging and calling you to do?? I think this is becoming my norm and the norm in my church. I like when I expect God to show up and he shows out! My walk is forever transformed!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

HALLWAY

Last April our small town was hit by a tornado. Bringing a new fear to my family of all storms. Yesterday school was let out early due to impending bad weather and possible tornado's. As soon as I got my children home we had a warning for our area and into the hallway we went. I took the radio and flashlights. Cooper was so scared he said to me "Cooker (as he calls himself) scared need bebe." Bebe is his most prized possession a now ratty blue blanket he has had since birth. I should have known better to take cover without it...So I went quickly to find it. It seemed like we spent hours in that hallway doing homework, playing games,reading books and listening to weather reports. Cooper however was bored so he used my flashlight as entertainment. Needless to say we need batteries before the next storm. After the lose of things my children heard about and saw after Aprils twister they decided they needed to take their most loved dolls, books, toy cars and play phones in to the hall with us. I didn't think I would ever get all the JUNK out of the hallway when our town got the all clear. Luckily our town was spared this time but a small town north of here was not so lucky I pray for a quick return to normal for all those affected. I love rainy nights and we so needed that rain...I on the other hand HATE storms and tornado weather. I am glad we are at the end of tornado season that is until it returns in the spring!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Taco Soup

Someone asked me for this recipe so I am sharing it on here! I am thinking about making my own recipe blog what do you think???


Taco Soup
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
1 sm onion
1 can kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans
1 can rotel
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn
1 package taco seasoning
1 package hidden valley ranch dressing POWDER
sliced black olives optional

Brown meat and onion until done. Drain and add to crock-pot. Drain and rinse corn. Drain Rotel. Combine all ingredients with meat in crock-pot along with powder seasonings. Let cook around 4 hours on high or all day on low. Then enjoy over tortia chips with sour cream and olives on top. It is really yummy and a crowd pleaser:)

Love Compassion and Forgiveness

Just yesterday I had a nice phone conversation with a dear friend. We were talking about a TON of things but we had a nice long talk about loving like Christ did. Wow and I had this thought...If we all loved, showed compassion and forgave like Christ did we could change the world. There are so many un-churched people out there searching for a peace in their soul. But for whatever reason have turned away from the church and God. I think sometimes Christ followers who don't show the above give the rest of us a bad wrap. I don't know about you but I would rather love someone, show them I care and forgive when needed and therefore show them the face of Jesus instead of looking down my nose at them driving them away. I know it is not always easy to love someone...trust me I have been really tried on this one before but it is the greatest command of all right?!? I am always telling my kids to love like Christ did and then I gripe about someone 5 minutes later. It is not my place to judge anyone but to love them so they can see Jesus through me. That is my goal for myself and my family that people might be able to see Jesus through us and our actions. I know I won't be perfect at it and I know I will fall way short alot of the time. But I can try...I will try! I wouldn't be the person I am today without someone showing me love, compassion and forgiveness like that of Christ and I wouldn't know that He loves me so if someone had not shown me that love!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Menu Making Monday

Well this is a day late but...I am going to start sharing my weekly diner menus with you. I have tons of friends asking me what I am cooking all the time and how I stay on a tight grocery budget. Hey and if I am telling the world what I am cooking them maybe there wont be as many repeats thus making my hubby VERY happy. I hope you all will share yours sometime so we can be inspired. So from now on Menu Making Monday will be my Monday morning post:) I actually make my menu on Friday in preparation of my grocery store trip but Menu Making Monday will be when I share my "revised" version with you.

Sunday-Lunch: Taco Soup
Diner: Chili Dogs (Hubby cooking so that is his choice)
Monday-Diner: Taco Salad (that is a taco double wamy)
Tuesday- Diner: Beef Stir-Fry with rice and green beans
Wednesday- No cooking this week we will eat at church
Thursday- Diner: Crock-pot Chili with cornbread
Friday- OUT TO EAT My family goes out to eat all 5 of us every Friday night honestly we are better but sometimes this is the only day of the week all 5 of us get to enjoy a meal together and I love the break from having to cook!

So whatcha ya cookin???

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Cost Is...EVERYTHING?!?

Yesterday was Sunday and we had a wonderful church service and some great friends over for lunch. Our pastor preached on Stewardship and about doing you part. He said something rather profound at least it was to me..."The impossible is possible and the price is EVERYTHING!" Sometimes as a Christan this choice of "lifestyle" cost you all you have friends, money, power etc. It is important to realize the sacrifice that was made for you and that the same ONE who died on a cross for you wants to love you and bless you! I want to see the impossible become possible or dare I say the norm?!? I am willing to pay the cost even if it is EVERYTHING. I would like to leave you with the verses he shared yesterday with us. To the ones at the McClendon household they were powerful and made a huge impact!

Luke 19:23-27
Then he said to them all "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of his Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."

And just in case any of you wondered I am out of my "funk". I had to face a couple things head on and realize I serve an AWESOME God and he will work His will in my life when He is ready and on His timing. I will serve him no mater the outcome as I am the daughter of a KING!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Duece is a S.T.A.R

About a month ago Duece won an award at school and since I like to do a little "scrap booking" on my blog I wanted to share it.




I for the life of me can not remember what the S.T.A.R stood for. But to sum it all up it is for a child of good character. I couldn't be more proud of my sweet, kind, helpful, HUGE hearted little boy. I think they give this award out every month...I think his sweet little friend Emma is up for one next she sure deserves it:)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Value Of A Praying Husband

As I shared yesterday I have been going through a rough time as of late. But after a long conversation with my hubby I realized I have something very good to be thankful for. I have a praying husband. As the one who prayed for many years for him I know how hard it is when you pray for your spouse and there is no answer or "change." Michael shared this morning his "trouble" about his prayers for me not being answered. I reminded him of the long nights I had spent praying for him and it took several years to see the fruit. After my reminder he said he would continue to pray for me like never before. I am so thankful to have a praying husband.

When I was pregnant with Cooper and undergoing complications he prayed. He prayed when Cooper was indeed induced early. He prayed ALOT when that same child was thought to have had a "possible early fusion of the sutures in his scull"...Our sons head was flat and changed shape in mear days. He has prayed over our home, finances, and for Gods blessing upon us. He now prays for a new job for himself, a refreshing of myself and soul, he prays for our children, our family and friends, and he prays for our recent struggle to have another child.

My husband prays for this family every time he is with the Lord. I have realized now the true value of a praying husband and thank God for that part of him everyday.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Knowing Gods hand is in your situation

As of late I have fallen into a terrible funk a little mild depression. Michael and I have been going through 2 profound (for us anyway) struggles the past couple of months. (I wish I could share exactly what they are but this is not the time for that.) I have found my days of being a cheerful God serving, family serving stay at home mom replaced by doubt, fear, worry, and a spirit of total laziness. I am hard pressed to get showered and dressed most days and haven't been able to keep a handle on my housework in quite some time. I have let total madness become to atmosphere in my home in the evening with little ability to control it. I am working so hard to climb out of the hole.

A couple weeks ago my very thirsty spirit was given I nice BIG Holy Spirit drink at our revival and while I received clarity and confirmation on Gods promises in my life I find myself still struggling in depression. I am pretty sure this is Satan's way of trying to stomp out all God is trying to do for me. My Gods bigger than any funk or depression that I might be in and I am always comforted by the Bible verse that says "He knows the plans He has for you, plans for good and to prosper!"

I know God has a plan and his hands are all in our situation. I am sure when it is all said and done I will have seen His face and felt His hand.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year...

Oh how I love this time of year! It makes my heart smile when the leaves change, weather is cooler and everyone is cozy inside. I have almost always loved fall it is by far my favorite time of the year. And now in North Alabama I know it is here by the blue jeans and light jackets every member of my family donned today for the first time in MONTHS. It was great.

One of my favorite parts of this time of year is this means I get to start making soup again. And most of the time the first solid week it is cool I make soup almost every night. Soup just warms your soul if you know what I mean. Then Duece reminded me of one more fall favorite HOT CHOCOLATE. Now that is what I am talking about with a dollop of whipped creme.

Just for fun here are a list of my favorite things about fall in no particular order!

Leaves Changing
Leaves Falling
Colorful mums adorning my porch
Pumpkins left uncarved to usher in even Thanksgiving
Jeans oh how I love thee
Soup chili, potato, tortia this list could go on and on
Light jackets
Sweet baby sweaters
Hot chocolate
Pumpkin patch trips
Riding through the State Park
Apple Cider
Pumpkin Pie
No more 100 degree days :)
The only thing I miss as fall arrives is .... flip-flops And I hate changing all the season clothes around. Happy Fall Y'all!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

We went down to the river...

*Please excuse the highlighted word...I am unsure why even after a spell check it is that way?*
Okay so actually we went down to the pool of our good friends James and Kim Wilaby but I digress. Our daughter was baptized in an example of full submersion on August 22. She had made a profession of faith on July 21 while attending VBS at her God parents Riley and Leigh-Ellen's church. As Christ following parents we have to admit this was one of the happiest days of our lives ranking high on the list next to the day each of our children were born or the day of our marriage. Jesse decided to follow King Jesus and even though she was baptized in our church as an infant wanted to show and outward example of this decision. As most know full submersion baptism is not the "norm" in the Methodist church so our church didn't have a baptistery therefore resulting in a hot afternoon spent at the Wilabys worshiping and ending with baptism. When this day was first planned it was for Jesse to be baptized. But as they say God showed up and showed out. And three others were baptized that same day. Chase and Alysa brother and sisters who had also made the same profession as Jesse at the same VBS came forward when the pool was opened to others and following them Jame's daughter Anna was so moved by the Spirit that she stepped in to the pool in her Sunday best to rise again new and full of that wonderful Spirit. It was an amazing day for our family and Jesse was so blessed to share it with 3 wonderful others. I wanted to share the wonderful pictures of that day and the lyrics of "her song" that Jake sang that day!..."Oh how he loves us" Enjoy!





Listening to "her song" being sung...He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, And I realise just how beautiful You are, And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so, Oh how He loves us, How He loves us all
Yeah, He loves us, Oh! how He loves us, Oh! how He loves us, Oh! how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize, Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, If His grace is an ocean, we?re all sinking.



And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, And my heart turns violently inside of my chest, I don?t have time to maintain these regrets, When I think about, the way? He loves us! Oh how he loves us!







**I think it is funny that the coloring in the pic of her coming up out of the water is different than the coloring of all the other! I know the Spirit was there. It was a great day**

Monday, September 27, 2010

BIRTHDAY GIRL


HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSE-GRACE!

This photo was taken in Gulf Shores Alabama on one of our family vacations. She was around 3 years old. I wish I had one of her as an infant to post but didn't have any on this computer! This will have to do. She has grown and changed so much I miss this sweet little girl! Perfect picture to capture her true personality.

Ten years ago...

Ten years ago today I became a parent with the birth of my daughter Jesse-Grace or Jesse as she now wishes to be called. I was a YOUNG mother and Michael and I not yet married (oh close your lip you knew this) it was I have to say the happiest and scariest day of my life. I was so overcome by joy, love and fear as I held my sweet baby and looked into her eyes. I know that God chose me to be her mother for all his reasons not mine. I know he knew the plans surrounding her conception and birth and I know he knows where she is going. I am so blessed to be the mother of this wonderful young lady!

Jesse was the only grandchild my mother ever got to meet...I am overcome with emotion today thinking what my mom would think of who she is becoming. And how proud she would be of Jesse's recent choice to serve her King Jesus and her example of water baptism.

Jesse is full of attitude as all girls her age are. And as each day passes myself and Michael become the biggest dorks on this planet. But the joy this child as brought me and so many others is worth all the attitude in the world. I thank God everyday for Jesse and for blessing me with this opportunity to be her mother. Happy Birthday Jesse we love you:)


Jesse shares this special birthday with her late cousin Cameron Bryant Winn. Jesse was born on his first birthday and one year later just before turning two he passed away. I remember his sweet face and spirit and I love his mother so much. I know we were all blessed to have known this child no matter how short a time it was we had to spend with him. Happy Birthday Cameron could you do Jesse and I a favor and give her Nonnie a big hug for us?!?

Friday, September 17, 2010

1st Place


Last night Jesse's school had "Grand Open House" a chance for the students to celebrate their grandparents, show off our school and of course visit the book fair. And while the songs were great and I am sure she enjoyed the book fair with her Paw Paw (my dad) my highlight was....Jesse won 1st place in the essay contest. They were given the "prompt" My Grandparent is my hero because. Jesse chose to write about my mom who died almost 7 years ago. I helped her with a couple details as she was so young and didn't remember things like my brother and dad shaving their heads to match my mom or how much my mom enjoyed her visits. But other than that it was all her memories and her feelings. I cried spell checking it for her so I knew I would cry last night. What I was not prepared for was Jesse's emotions while on stay reading she began to cry and Mrs. Sheets ( her principal) had to finish reading for her. I am so proud of her not just because she took 1st place but because she wanted to honor her Nonnie that way. I know as much as I want my mom here she would never leave the wonders of heaven to return to us but I am so comforted knowing how proud she would have been last night of her "love buttons". I know she was smiling down from heaven. Following reading the essay Jesse received her first ever standing ovation. I know she had to be so brave to share all those emotions with everyone there last night.

Below is a copy of her essay...We hope you enjoy!


My Nonnie is my hero because she was brave when she battled leukemia. When I was 2 and a half my Nonnie found out she had a very bad kind of leukemia. She wanted to get better so she could see me grow up. So she took chemo to help her get better. When she did all her hair fell out. I was scared to see her like that. My Uncle and Paw paw shaved their heads so they all could look a like. No matter how sick she was she always wanted me to visit her.

She fought very hard to get better. My Nonnie was not scared to die she knew if she did she would go to heaven with her grandparents and other family who died before her.

Her leukemia went away for a little while. We were happy she had almost died but got better. Her hair was growing back. But 1 week after my birthday her leukemia came back. She had to go to the hospital again. But she never got to come home. No matter how brave she was, she was too sick. Her lungs got really sick because of the chemo and she had to use a ventilator. Her organs all got sick and then she died.


What I remember most is she fought hard to stay with her family. She was brave and I hope that I can be brave like her to. I miss her everyday but her battle makes her my hero.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

GIVEAWAY

VISIT MY SEWING BLOG www.stitchesandkisses-customsewing.blogspot.com FOR OUR FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY! THERE YOU WILL FIND A LINK TO THE BLOG FEATURING US AND A PLACE TO ENTER FABULOUS FRIDAY FREEBIES GIVEAWAY. WE WILL BE OFFERING EXTRA SAVINGS DURING THIS TIME TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THOSE VISIT US ON facebook Stitches & Kisses. THANKS HAVE A GREAT FRIDAY:)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

The end of summer weather is near, school has started, so that means one thing...


Happy Birthday Daddy!



My daddy (Billy King) is celebrating his birthday today and I wanted to take a minute to share a little about what he means to me and/or has taught me. My dad is the hardworking type... boy is that a understatement:) He worked two jobs when myself and my siblings were young so our mom could stay at home and nurture us. He took me to church taught me about God and on the night I was SAVED he told me all about "being born again" and prayed with me. He taught me to always be true to myself and be who I am not matter what. He taught me hard work and determination! He helped me understand forgiveness and most of all unconditional love. He also knew when to let me stand on my own and make my own choices...but always willing to help me through when things got a little tough. When I was a pregnant teenager he never told me he was disappointed (while he didn't condone my pre-marital situation) he stood by my side, took up for me, prayed for Michael and I and so much more. Now as a mother of 3 I have ALOT more respect for him and all he has done and continues to do for me!
Happy Birthday Daddy I love you!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blessed be your name

Just for you Lindsey! We love you and will keep you and yours lifted up. And as you said sometimes a song can say alot so here is the one I was talking about!

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Monday, August 2, 2010

Money saving tips

Here are three NEW to me recipes I am using to help save money! Try one and let me know what you think. I will keep you posted!

Fabric Softener:
1 Container of Name Brand Fabric Softener
4 Inexpensive sponges, cut in half

Pour entire container of softener into a 5 gallon bucket. Fill empty softener container with water twice. (2 parts water to 1 part softener) Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet.

Household cleaner:
Make an all-purpose green cleaner by combining 1 tsp. borax, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. vinegar, ½ tsp. dish soap or mild castile soap, 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice and 2 cups hot water. Store in a spray bottle and use like any all-purpose cleaner. I doubled this to fit in my spray bottle!

Laundry Soap:
Ingredients
4 cups Borax (in the laundry section)
4 cups washing soda (found at cooks and sons in albertville)
1 bar Zote laundry soap
1/2 cup Oxi Clean
Grate the soap then put it in the food processor and pulsate it into a fine powder. Mix all of the ingredients and store in a covered tub. I put mine into a locking lid Rubbermaid tub. Use 2 tablespoons per load. It will not form a lot of suds and will get your laundry clean.
1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle will freshen your load.

I am excited to be saving money...I have been using coupons and stuff but this makes me really excited I know these 3 things will work great and save TONS. Below is a list of my cost so far.

Borax $3.50
Washing Soda $4.00
Zote $1.09
Lemon $1.00
Baking Soda $1.00
Spray Bottle $1.00
Rubbermaid x2 $10.00
Sponges $2.00
Fabric softener $4.00
My total so far $26.59 and I think it will last at least 2 months which means I made 3 products to last 2 months for less than just laundry det would cost me!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Looks Who's 2



I can't believe it but our "baby" Cooper is 2 years old today. Two years ago today James Cooper McClendon arrived 6 weeks early after being induce due to complications. We knew he would never make his actual due date...but his arrival on July 28 was a TOTAL surprise! Last night we sat and tried to remember the events of the weekend before his Monday birth. And how my regular doctor appointment turned into the DAY! He was born at 8:35 p.m. weighed 5 pounds 9 ounces and was 18 inches long. But WOW oh WOW how he has changed...

Today Cooper is 2 weighs 24 pounds and will not stand still long enough for me to see how tall he is. He LOVES mac-n-cheese, fruit snacks, juice boxes and french fries...I know not the healthiest things ever but hey he is really picky! He is learning to sing along, loves tractor and trucks, HAS to have his "bebe" (aka blanket) and is almost ready to potty train. He has totally earned his nickname "Monkey" which started as a sound he made as an infant, however now he climbs and clings just like a little monkey. Kind of reminds us of a spider monkey!

We can't believe the sweet little boy he is growing into. As with all of our children we are so proud of him. He was and is a WONDERFUL addition to our family:)

Happy Birthday Coopmando We Love You!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Aldersgate

Wow what a great trip we just returned home from....My family (all 5 of us) traveled to Charleston West Virgina for a Aldersgate Conference. What is that you ask? It is a United Methodist conference on spirit filled living. We have been blessed to be able to attend the last two years. It is a chance for us to be with like minded people that share our beliefs and learn more about being empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Michael and I are kind of new to this spirit guided lifestyle! LOL What I mean is until we were blessed by the arrival of our newest pastor who is ON FIRE for Jesus and helped usher a new found fire inside of Michael and I we hadn't heard/learned much if anything about being spirit filled. Now that is our one desire is for our lives and the lives of our children to be spirit filled and driven. We know we serve a God who IS and not a God who was or is going to be...He is and he can do the things he says he can do and he WILL do the things he says he will do. I know this first hand by two recent healing in my family.

Being Christan parents is something very important to us and going to this conference always fills us up just a little more so we have plenty to pour out to our children but also to others and our community.

I am blessed to serve a risen Savior and having weekends like this one just affirm that fact even more. I would love to blog more about the Aldersgate ministry so I might just do that one day! It is something near and dear to my heart as I believe God is calling us his church to rise up and do the things he said we could do!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day


Today we celebrate our countries Independence...As an American this entitles us to many freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. So today as you eat that all that yummy BBQ, hug friends and family, and enjoy your fireworks please don't forget to pray for all the men and women who make all those freedoms possible.
My family is celebrating to with friends. These friends are like family to us and we are happy to spend the day with them! We are going to enjoy a meal of pork, baked beans, corn, cucumber/tomato salad, apple pie and homemade ice cream...I almost forgot homemade salsa and chips. YUMMY We are also having the return of the redneck slip-in-slide. It is going to be TONS of fun. Then we will go to Michael's grandmothers at dark for the annual fireworks celebration. This is a long running tradition for his family that is being carried on with our children. It was always Michael's Pawpaws "thing" he would make a huge deal of the holiday and he himself would shop for all the fireworks and he would make his famous homemade orange sherbet. This year the celebration will be missing Pawpaw and most likely his sherbet. I know Michael will miss Pawpaw like crazy. But I am sure he is in heaven enjoying his own fireworks. It might not be the same with out him but his memory and tradition live on.
Happy 4th of July everyone...Enjoy every minute of it with the ones you love!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer structure...not free for all

Oh yeah summer is in full swing down here in Alabama complete with 90 degree and 100% humidity! School has been out of just about a month now and when it started I decided not to let my family fall into the old routine of "lazy summer syndrome" you know the parenting part of us that wants to let the kids sleep in and do nothing. Oh no that was not going exist around here not this summer. I have always been a firm believer in keeping my kids "busy" so they don't fall into laziness and boredom. So I have structured out somethings for us! We signed up for swim team, are planning a couple day trips when swim is over, taking a vaca to an annual Methodist Conference, and we are summer homeschooling to try it out to see if we want to make a way of life. And several other little things.

Now I know not everyone shares my opinion on keeping your kids busy. But I am a firm believer in the old saying "idol hands do the devils handy work". I believe nope scratch that I know if left the their own vices most children at some point would get into mischief and or act out. All children need structure of some sort ALL the time. School or no school they need to know what is happening and when...Thus NO free for all around here. We begin most days ( I say most because if my children have sleep over company I let the "schooling" go for a day) with breakfast followed by a writing assignment and then some reading and math work in their workbooks. Then we move on to chores. Then we are off to swim practice. So on and so forth I am sparing you the other details:) This has been working wonderfully for us. I am so glad to be offering this to my children. A little side note would be that I have always keep my children busy...I believe they need those opportunities to shape who they become.

There are many in this world who might think I am a lazy parent because I choose for my children to be at these activities. And to them I would say "WHAT" who do you think drives them there, sits through the activity, chases the toddler, and helps them practice LOL. For a couple of short hours everyday my children my not be with me...But that doesn't make me lazy! I am still the one giving them 90% of their care and meeting ALL their needs.

Enjoy your summer it will be over soon! And if you live in Bama stay cool;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wondering what it would be like

Today as I was reading a post of another blog I read I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like if my mother was still around to be with her grandchildren. This blog I was reading was telling about how she has spent the last two week visiting either her parents or her in-laws and just yesterday her post was about her mother driving down for a visit and helping her with her little one while she ran errands. There was a small twinge of jealousy that ran over me (even though I don't personally know this person) as I was reading about how much the grandparents enjoy this child.

I know it was God's plan for my mother to leave this earth. I know her body is fully restored and she is watching down over us every single day. But I DO miss her and mostly for my children. Unfortunately I have not been blessed with the most attentive in-laws. Living only 45 minutes away it is like pulling teeth to get them to come and visit our children. And they are ALWAYS to busy to help on the babysitting front. All of this makes me a little sad that my boys and my niece and nephews never got to meet my mother. She was a WONDERFUL Nonnnie to Jesse and would have been the same to the others. I sometimes sit and wonder what it would be like if she was here...Would she just drop by to visit, stop in to let Michael and I have a date, or take the kids for a weekend just because? I am almost positive she would.

But for now I don't have this. I almost always depend on friends to watch my kids if I am going somewhere they can't, almost never does anyone attend their events/sport stuff, and more than once they have even missed a birthday party. Most of the time it is Michael and I plugging away at this all alone. I am so lucky to have found some friends who really love us and our kids. Because with out them I am almost sure I would be a pile of mush wishing for a little love and support!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monkey's for our Monkey

Well as I posted a while back Cooper will be turning 2 in July! I am a little sad...Okay ALOT sad:( I can't believe the speed in which the last 23 months have gone by. It just seems like yesterday I was sitting at the pool on the 4th of July talking to someone about how I still had until the first of September to go! Little did I know Cooper would make his appearance 6 weeks early via induction. We have alot to celebrate....Getting Cooper here healthy was not the easiest task I ever undertook (is that a word?). I have been blessed by being his mother the totally adds a TON of fun to this house!

So anyway I have decided to go with a the "Mod Monkey" theme offered by Birthday Express. We have called Cooper our monkey for a long time so it is a truly fitting theme for him. I finally decided on having it at our church in the fellowship hall. I realized Cooper is too young to enjoy a "location" party. Hey plus it has air-conditioning. PLUS PLUS for Alabama late July. I am so excited I have already began the party prep! I can't wait it is going to be TONS of fun...I am going to decorate all over with the blue and yellow found in the plates and napkins, do a candy table and I am going to make him his own special birthday banner. It is going to be great....And for those of you who know me know that I LOVE to plan a party!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Where did I put that floppy straw hat

Well today is the official start to summer vaca at my house. Albertville City Schools due to the Tornado actually have school through Friday. But with end of the year parties done, graduation (from kindergarten) under our belt, and awards all handed out the McClendon's are DONE! We decided that this last week might lack structure so we opted out. So it begins today SUMMER that is and my never ending battle on how to entertain my crew for the next 10 weeks and 2 days! I know most of our month of June is full of swim team "Go Gators" of which we begin morning practice TODAY and then we are looking forward to attending Aldersgate a United Methodist conference on "spirit-filled living". Other than that and a possible long weekend trip to the beach depending on the oil spill we are just up to "normal" summer time stuff...VBS, gymnastics camp, day trips with Mom! It is going to be fun. And I am hoping that one day this week will be get the pool up that was given to us by our good friends the Poole's so I can enjoy my lemonade under my covered patio while my crew splashes around to beat the Alabama heat. So bring on the flip-flops, a good book, sunglasses and my floppy straw hat (of which I actually own and wear) SUMMERTIME is here!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Show us your life-Things you love/make you happy

There are alot of things that I love or make me happy. I will try not to ramble and save you all the pain of me listing them all...


My husband and children: they bring me the most joy in this whole world
A good worship song on the radio

Cooper's sweet feet in my lap

No laundry in the hamper

Peach sweet tea;)

A perfect sundress that doesn't show my arms

Watching Jesse do gymnastics her smile is priceless
Duece singing in the back of the van when he thinks nobody is listening

A spotless kitchen floor

Uninterrupted sewing time

When Michael let's me lay with my head in this lap and he rubs my eyebrow (you have to REALLY know us to even begin to understand;) )

Sitting under and umbrella at the beach reading a book while listening to the kids splash in the waves

My church

My friends and their children

My niece and nephew

Painted toenails

Earrings

Great flip-flops
Volunteer work
Hugging my children
Reading a bedtime story
Helping others
Sharing God's word and the work he has done for me
Fresh flowers in my kitchen
Front porch on a spring night
I think I could go on forever but as the song says "These are a few of my favorite thing!"


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Proverbs 31

Back in December when I was making resolutions I mentioned my desire to study and try to be more like the Proverbs 31 Woman. Well I bought a "study" book on the subject and of course I have read that chapter in my Bible a MILLION times. But I have not been taking the steps to be more like her. Even though I know part of my High calling is to be more like her! So God who is not so suttle has been letting me "run" into this topic over and over. So now it is a lot like convection convection! A blog I read is doing a study on this chapter of the Bible on Wednesdays and I have only been following it for a couple of weeks but yesterdays "topic" knocked me back in my seat. In verse 28 they say " Her children rise up can call her blessed" ( my paraphrase) and as I read on and on I realized just how I had missed the mark. I have become so consumed "working" on PTO, teaching children's Bible study, working to help staff our church nursery...That I haven't been doing my part to build disciples in my own home! I am going to start Monday I am going back and printing all her previous talks on this subject and tucking them in my book and going to start studding and trying to be more like the woman spoke of in Proverbs. As mothers God has given us one of the highest callings if you ask me...to raise spirit filled disciples for Christ. And while I realize that not all my readers might feel the same way this is what I truly believe is one of my many jobs as their mother.

Side note when I started this blog I never intended for it to be a religious forum I was really using it to almost scrapbook or journal our lives. But I feel strongly about this topic and also know that should someone stumble on this blog this something I feel led to share. No not all my topics are religious so please visit again! I am also not promising that I wont touch this or other subjects like this I know part of God's calling on my personal life is ministry and sharing is love joy and promise to each of us.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hey Mom Look What I Made

I so wish I could share pictures of the sweet gifts my wonderful older children made me at school. But as you know if you have been reading my blog for anytime my camera and computer do not have compatible software...But I digress. I received some of the most wonderful handmade gifts from my children.


Jesse my 9 year old 3rd grader who's year making gifts for me at school are numbered....Made me two sweet poems one of which she said " My mom looks funny when she cooks" and she also made me a cute little paper tea cup with a poem on it and a lovely smelling tea bag inside of it. I still cry every single time I open one of this most wonderful gifts.

Duece my 6 year old has many a year ahead of him making me gifts at school but this year his teacher was extra crafty and he was SO proud of this gift. They used white 4x4 tiles and decorated them with a flower made out of their finger prints then the finishing touch was his name wrote in his handwriting on the top. Oh I almost forgot he wrapped it...Not sure whose idea it was to use packing tape though! It was wonderful and it to made me cry.

I love these gifts more than any other gift that could ever be bought for me. These handmade gems mean the world to me and I will cherish them forever. I can't wait until the day Cooper brings gifts in with that sweet smile on his face.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Show us your life-Baby Names

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

Jesse Nichole Grace ~ Michael Kelly Duece ~ James Cooper

Today I am linking up with a blog I read daily (kellyskorner). I really enjoy her blog and don't always link up on "Show us your life Fridays" but I REALLY like today topic. BABY NAMES I thought I would share how we came up with our children's names.

When we found out we were having our first child we were so young and lost we were willing to take other peoples advice on this subject...My mom STRONGLY recommend we name our first born after her grandfather Jesse Paul. My mom was really close to this grandfather even though he died before I was even born I knew he was a huge part of my moms life. So we decided boy or girl it would be Jesse. My mom also picked out our middle name once we knew it was a girl...I wanted to call her by a double name (Oh so southern I know) so my mom suggested Grace and sealed the deal with telling me the names meaning. Grace- a gift from God we do not deserve! PERFECT But Michael wasn't so cool with having no say so we decided on Jesse Nichole Grace whom we would call Jesse Grace. Now almost 10 years later she only wants to be called Jesse but will only us the monogram for Jesse Grace! HA Love it!

Naming our second born was ALOT harder...We waited until we knew what we were having to start talking about names. Since we were having a boy I pretty much decided to let Michael take over! So Austin James it was or so we thought. Then one day I heard of someone calling a sports player whos number was 2 Duece (Deuce). Which we all know mean number two. I hadn't really liked Michael choice of name so I saw this a my chance to when Michael over. See Michael's full name is Michael Kelly and he didn't want to name our son that for ALOT of reasons to many to list in this blog...So anyway I suggested we name our son Michael Kelly Duece instead of Michael Kelly II or Jr. That was that we were having a Duece! Some family called him Michael or little Michael because the didn't like Duece...But now at age 6 Duece lets people know really quick he is NOT Michael.

When naming our third child I wanted something to honor my mother who had passed away. So I thought of many names perfect for little girls honoring her. And only had one for a boy which was Kingston since my maiden name was King. This was quickly shot down due to Gwen Stefonie (SP) having a son by this name :( So we began tossing names around Michael was still stuck on James and I loved Cooper so I suggested James Cooper. Michael was like no he didn't like it at all but called me the next day on his lunch break and said we should name him that. I guess God really wanted us to have a James Cooper to have changed Michael's heart.

I love all of my kids names they each have some biblical name or meaning to it so that is our theme! Cooper however is the only one with out a double middle name so when and if baby number for comes it will have to be like Cooper! So he wont feel left out. I trust that one day God will bless us with another child and until then I am tight liping my other names. But if it is a girl I will be honoring my mother and you know it with have some Bible relation of course!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Planning a party...Need a little help!

Cooper's 2nd birthday is coming up on us FAST! It is about 11 weeks away. And I have ALOT to do. I am almost positive the theme will be "Mod Monkey" from birthday express. That is not the problem the real problem is where to have it. Being at the end of July I need some where with a little A/C and enough room for the kiddos to run around. I was thinking about a water themed party at my house complete with baby pools and slip-n-slides but then thought of the mess that would create. So then I thought about Chick-fil-a but I really want to be able to decorate just how I want. So now I am not sure where to do this shindig. I am OPEN to ideas so if you have ANY please share them with me:) This momma needs a little help!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chore Packs

I have had several people ask me about the "chore packs" I am now using with my children. So I thought I would share a little about it with you. First I am going to share some helpful links then I am going to tell you how I made mine. Some on these links are fancy I made mine simple because I wasn't sure they would be worth the trouble...But they are two days running and all chores are finally getting done! So here are the links I read getting ready to start this!
http://www.noordinarymomentsblog.com/2007/10/our-chore-system.html
http://shecanlaugh.blogspot.com/2009/05/chore-packs-independent-chore-help.html
http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/2009/07/chore-packets-teaching-our-children-to.html

Those are 3 really good links plus you can google "Duggar chore packs". I made mine out of those spiral wrist key rings that you get in the stationary section at Wal-Mart. To that I attached one half of a 3x5 index card with a number and a chore. These didn't hold up so I...Cut card stock into 2.5x3 inch pieces and then printed and cut out my chores and used packing tape to stick it all together punch a hole in the corner and put it all on the key ring. If they get the morning section done before school they can take them off and leave them here but if not then they HAVE to wear them to school! It has worked so far. I will keep you posted I started pretty simple but will be adding and changing things over the next couple of weeks. When I have my system like I like it I will share again. This is also working with our reward system to earn money and with our house rules! So many things are changing in our household over the next couple of months ( NO I am not pregnant...more details when I can share) I wanted to get this system, house rules, and other things in good working order. Our old system which was mom asked and I just didn't do it! HA That was not working...I think I need to do this for my children and me. Hope my sharing is helpful...I will for sure be sharing more so check back often!

Also, here are some links to ideas for age appropriate chore!
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1572055/age_appropriate_chores_for_children.html?cat=25
http://www.familycorner.com/parenting/growingpains/3.shtml