Friday, December 31, 2010

So Long, 2010!

Though it has been a good - no a great year - I am bidding adieu to 2010 with smiles and anticipation for 2011. I saw this on a blog I follow and thought it was neat: My Twenty Ten in 10 words.

Mommy-hood
Unemployed
Growing
Struggle
God-seeking
Challenging
Laughter
Family
Snuggles
Love

My, how God has blessed us in this year. I have so many hopes and dreams for 2011. That's something fun and great about a new year - new possibilities, though we do have those every day, huh? As I struggled to write the words for my year (I've been thinking about this for 3 or 4 days, people!), I realized how tough and equally great this year has been!

Thank you, Abba Father, for this year. Thank you for the struggles and pains. Thank you for the rejoicing and love. Thank you for Dillon, who will always be my favorite little brown-eyed smiler. Thank you for little (and BIG) reminders that you are here, in the midst of sorrow, strength, death, and new tomorrows. I love you so...and long to honor you with my life.

I leave you with this shot...my greatest blessing and struggle (all at the same time). The sky so blue, our dreams so high and big, our smile so big, and our God so great. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Few Things You Should Know...

I'm linking this up to a blog I follow (and am inspired by weekly +) here. She's fabulous. She encouraged us to do this and link up, so here I am.

These are a few things you should know about me (but probably don't unless you're REALLY close):

  • I hated high school, don't remember junior high (for some reason?), and LOVED college. Would re-do college any day of the week.
  • Christian fiction is my downfall...I'd rather read than do just about anything else (besides blog) if I have a few free moments to myself.
  • I don't like being a SAHM as much as I thought I would...it's a struggle daily (sad, I know...)
  • If I ask, I will learn something new every time I open my Bible...that's amazing...and I'm excited to know that it will be that way my whole life.
  • I'm a born and bred Nazarene....don't think I will ever change (and that's okay with me). I realize it's not about the denomination....some of you understand.
  • I can never get enough sleep, and sometimes I cry when I have to wake up early (I know, right?)

  • I think Aaron has the prettiest blue eyeballs of anyone I've ever seen! (Sadly, you can't see them in the above photo.)
  • I am a home-body, but when I'm stuck here (as in don't have a car or can't leave the house for whatever reason, I HATE IT.)
  • I love to go to the Dollar Tree with a few dollars in my hand...I like to buy myself a little treat.
  • I used to go to the bathroom with the door open....but now that we have a 4 year old, I lock the door, turn on the fan, and grab a book...seriously. It's my only alone time.
  • I'm undeniably and certifiably addicted to Diet Mt. Dew.

  • There are days that I actually can't believe I'm a Momma...(and I love the feeling that accompanies that)
  • I HATE cats (I'm very sorry for those of you cat people...I'm a dog person, I get it-I think.)
  • I can read a book in any situation. I have the ability (due to being a PreK teacher) to block out unnecessary noise. My favorite place to read these days: Play Place @ McDs.
  • If my husband is off or works the night shift when I'm home, I always ask for a McD's Large Diet Coke (what's UP with that? We have some in our pantry, but it's NOT the same.)
  • I am constantly adding to my list of "cute things to make," though I rarely ever get to that list. (Thus, massive piles of "junk" in my closets). It'll be cute one day...
  • I love my nieces and nephews (and best friend's kids) with a fierce intensity that scares me sometimes...
  • I hate filling up ice trays...I know, right? What's the big deal? I do not know.
  • In my opinion, there is nothing cool about feet. Seriously. All of them are gross...I often question why the Creator thought they were a good idea...(I have to admit that itty bitty baby feet (2 months or younger) don't gross me out yet.)
  • I overuse the () keys....sorry (I probably over use the ....... key, too, huh?)
  • I'd rather not get out of my pajamas unless I have to.
  • If I were hiring (which I'm not), I would literally not hire someone unless they correctly used your, you're, and other contractions and grammar correctly).
  • Doritos and Double Stuff E.L. Fudge cookies are my junk food of choice (and I never buy them for this reason.)
  • I let my dog lick my feet (and kinda like it) - don't judge.
  • Also - I secretly feel jipped that we never had an indoor dog my whole life. There will probably not be many days of that left in my life...

  • I talk to my best friend every day. Either by phone, text, email...but I usually know what's going on at her house daily. I live too far away from her and miss her terribly most days... :-( And I thank God for her every day. She is my sunshine.
  • There's a little piece of me that adores my husband even when I'm angry with him (angriest of angries, too!). I am so blessed!
  • One of my biggest pet peeves is when people smack their food! CLOSE YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU EAT! Good grief.
  • I love being married. And I love going on dates. And I love laughing together and making fun of each other. Most of all, I love holding hands...

Enough about me...what about you?

PS - This is where I did my link up. :-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Show 'N Tell: Mini Shelf Makeover

Crafting is my favorite! It's a release for me; it is productive. It turns out making adorable things out of what may be called "shabby" before.

I plan on submitting this simple project to some of my favorite crafting blogs, but for now, for my friends and readers (all 2 of you), I am here to show off my work in a non-tutorial kind of way. :-)

Here are the cute mini shelves my Momma gave me a good year (plus) ago. They're alright the way they are, but I kept envisioning them over my sink (on my ugly white kitchen cabinets. They can hold knick knacks or (GASP!) flowers and such...just something to draw the eye away from my overly painted uglified atrocious cabinets.

Okay - so I forgot to take a FULL "before" shot. Bear with me. The right one is before sanding. It's cute enough, right? You just wait...The left one is after sanding #1 (there were 3 sets of sanding. Didn't take much other than the shine off. Below is the Sanded x 3 version.

Next, I wiped them clean with a warm washcloth, let it dry, and then did it one more time for good measure. Then I spray painted...or should I say "WE" spray painted. Dillon thought this process was SO cool (the first 2 coats)...after that, he was pretty much annoyed that we weren't playing out there anymore. We would take "breaks" and go put another coat on when the timer went off. As you can tell, this has been months in the making b/c we all know we haven't seen the sun here in IL for a good 2-2.5 weeks.



That there was my last coat. First time ever experiencing spray paint, so as you can tell by the running (which I then had to sand AGAIN), I need to work on even distribution...and not spraying too much!

Then, the easiest and most time consuming part came in: painting. I found a cheap paint at a large box store (which will remain unnamed) with "navy" as the title. It didn't look terribly navy, but hey...it was cheap. 7 coats later, it wasn't navy. Imagine that. Went to my favorite craft store and purchased an acrylic brand I trust that called theirs navy, and 2 coats later - BAM...the cutest little shelves ever!

My sweet hubs got them up this week, and I already have some cute stuff on one of them! It won't take me long to fill the other one!

And yes, those are real flowers. And yes, they're from my favorite brown-eyed 4 year old. And no, they are not for "no reason." Those are birthday flowers! :-) In my opinion, they look fantastic on my mini shelf.

Easy peasy. PS - this project cost me $4.5o (would have been $3 if I wouldn't have bought that cheap paint to start off with!).

I linked up with

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Show 'N Tell: DIY Stocking Holders

So I'm the girl who gets most (if not all) her Christmas decorations after Christmas. What can I say? There are some things that my mom just knew what she was doing. She would squirrel away whatever $$ she could (even if it was just $20) and go hit those after-Christmas sales!

As expensive as all those beautiful Christmas decos are, I just almost have to do it this way to have cute stuff around the house. (Some of you know what I mean...)

Enter After Christmas 2008. I only had about $13, and I wanted to make it last. (Also, enter the fact that I had just discovered the art of decoupage and wanted to decoupage EVERYTHING!) Went to Hobby Lobby about 3 weeks into January, and couldn't BELIEVE the stuff they had at the entrance for 90% off! They literally just wanted to get rid of stuff! I was able to buy stocking holders for $0.90! Yup! Here is the ridiculously gaudy looking thing here:


Yes, yes...that is silver, bulky, and weighs about 5 lbs. And since I'm hoping (praying) and expecting to have a larger family, I bought 6 of them. (:-) I kid you not. All along, I had this dream of decoupauging them and making them super cute.

Christmas 2009 came and went. I do think we used them for our stockings, but we used them as is.

Well, this is my son's first Christmas with us, and this was one thing I wanted to have done. So I have been diligently repainting these suckers this week and then used some fun paper and made these:

I know, right? They're totally fabulous! We each picked our paper out (except Gil, of course...we haven't figured out how to get the mut to talk yet!) :-) And yes, that is sugar cookies on mine...if I can't eat them maybe I can look at a cute pic of them! And yes, that's Dillon's all covered in presents! He insisted that I get that paper for his!

This was my first experiment with the Matte Modge Podge, and let me just say - I {love} it!

So I must put the overall effect pics up, and then I promise I'm done for the day.

Hopefully Santa can find them since we don't have a mantel...(And yes, that's the reason I put them right in front of the front door!)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Show 'N Tell: DIY Advent Calendar

Now, I know I've already confessed to you all my severe addiction to the blog world. Not so much now that I've started babysitting by day, as it takes up any spare moments I used to have during the day. :-)

However, I came across this a few weeks ago, and put a MUST DO on it. Christmas is really fun with a 4 year old, and I want to make it ultra-special for my little guy. In doing so, I'm trying to do all the little things my parents did that made Christmas time so magical...I don't care what they say - it isn't "Santa" that makes this time of year magical. It's our attitudes, our non-self focus. It's the urge to do something for others and the pure joy we get out of a snowflake. And it's the fact that all these "wordly" traditions, from christmas lights & trees to candy canes - all stem and go around our Savior's birth. (There may be more to come on this in another post.)

Anyway - in being true to myself, I wanted to make our very first advent calendar and I wanted it to be something that could be made and be stored easily. I got this idea from here, which is one of the bajillion blogs I follow and copy ideas from on a daily basis. (Thanks, by the way!)

It is easy and simple, and I was able to use my early Christmas/birthday/...present (Cricut!!!!!) to make all the numbers. It took a few hours, just b/c a lot of it is cutting, punching out, gluing on, and those little magnets were a PAIN! But I think it will be fabulous to use over and over. All it took was a mini-muffin tin (3.87 @ Wally World), paper, and little magnets.

Along the lines of being true to myself - instead of giving my little sugar-crazed child more sugar, we are going to do a special "Christmas activity" each day. I used her list that she posted and added a bunch of my own.

And I know you're all anxious to see what all this blabber is about:


See?!?! Isn't it FABULOUS!?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Show 'N Tell: Dirty/Clean Dishwasher Mag

Okay - so I know I've mentioned my addiction to blogs before. Here is another by-product of my gentle perusing of others thoughts, creations, and diy projects. I'm calling it my dirty/clean dishwasher mag. No more wondering if the dishes are clean or dirty. No more inspecting dishes or loading dirty dishes in a clean dishwasher.



TaDa!

I used an old cd, a small scrap of scrapbook paper, 2 different size ribbons, stickers (for letters), the ever-beloved Mod-Podge and buttons of different sizes.

I found the original idea on this blog, called Living Life Crafty. Love love LOVE it! Anyway - happy crafting!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Show 'N Tell: Go Away, Big Green Monster

As one of my favorite children's books (being that it is very age appropriate for PreKers), I was thrilled to death when Dillon brought this home from school. It's a replica of the Green Monster in Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley Little does he know how much I love this book! So much so that it inspired my very first scrapbook page for my little munchkin!



And I had to take a picture to share it with you all. (Thus the show n' tell title) I'm sure there's more to come, for the stack is large, and time is small. For now, though, I am so happy to have D's first page in his blue scrapbook that I bought before we ever even got him!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Kick in the Gut

Just yesterday, I was in tears on my couch telling my husband about how I miss working, even though I know it's in the best interest of my 4 year old to stay with him.

A year ago, I would have never dreamed of actually getting to be a momma (especially the instant kind). And here I am, 7 months into this journey. My son will have my last name soon, but for now, we spend countless hours singing, reading, playing, hugging, running, shouting, building, and loving.

Just last year, I had a whole classroom that I decorated and kept clean and ran as smooth as a whistle (if there is such a thing as "smooth" in PreK). I had friends who worked beside me all day every day. They supported me and lifted me up. We laughed every single day. We shared stories, struggles, and triumphs. They were not only my friends, but they were constantly affirming me and helping me to be a better teacher.

And now it's just me and D...and though I love it, I miss teaching.

Enter my newest obsession - blogging. Not so much mine, but reading other people's. There are some crazy creative people out there. Seriously. And I can sit for hours and read random stranger's blogs, their thoughts, ideas, crafts, d-i-y projects, and other mommy-ness. And I feel a part of some community, be it very shallow and full of strangers.

However, today I had a divine appointment with my new favorite blog, I Can Teach My Child! Somehow I feel I might be related to this chick. We're very much the same. And she just wrote this blog about approval. It.Hit.Home.

And though I must hit the proverbial "sack" now, I want to share the verse that kicked me in the gut tonight from my bloggy world:

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." -Galatians 1:10

This is so not about me. It never is. And I have my little pity parties on the couch, fully equipped with tears and a truly sad heart (it was pitiful, I'm tellin' ya). But that's me shining through. Yucky, old, selfish and gross me.

I needed a kick in the gut tonight, God. Perspectives that help me focus on You and You alone are just what one needs at times. Thank you...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm a dog person...


I'm a dog person. I know what some of you are thinking - WHAT?!?!?! Is this the same girl who begged her parents at age 10 for a mutt named Panda and then virtually forgot about her, whined about having to feed and water her, and never spent time in the back yard with her? The same girl?

Others of you (Williamsons especially) are thinking "Gross!" I know...I know...

I was raised to like to look at dogs. My daddy has a heart for animals...always has. Grammy has lots of stories. But due to multiple circumstances and life experiences, we did not have an indoor dog. We did, however, have Panda...Poor Panda. Enough about that.

I married a dog person, actually, married into a dog family. There wasn't a time in Aaron's life that he didn't have a dog in their home. And there are stories...boy, are there stories.

Enter the ever-lasting argument about indoor dogs. Some people like 'em; some people don't. I had a misconception that indoor dogs made a home smell or dirty. Not sure where I got it, but I did. We have friends that have indoor dogs. Their home isn't smelly or dirty, though I have been in homes that were. I officially think that's due to the owner and not the poor dog, but that's another soap-box.

Aaron & I couldn't agree. Aaron didn't want an outdoor dog; I didn't want an indoor dog. So I would always be denying him and our children of an experience that he treasures from his childhood.

Here I am, 2 years after getting our favorite K-9, Gilbert Rufus Keathley, proclaiming that I'm a dog person! I love little dogs and big dogs. I like licking dogs and barking dogs (though that can get annoying on both parts). I love puppies and old dogs. Seriously. They're so great. What a great companion...Recently, I have met a yorkie that I adore (CJ), who belongs to my cousin.

Anywho - all this to say...Gilbert, though he doesn't speak, is always here for me. When I cry, he sits at my feet (or on my lap). When I sleep, he snuggles up (or takes up most of the bed). When I am in danger (even if it's pretend), WATCH OUT! He sure loves hims Momma...He listens (sometimes), obeys (usually), and loves. He guards, protects, and hunts. He loves...he loves me, Dad, AND our new addition, 4 year old Dillon. They are the best of friends.

There's not a thing that I would trade for this dog. Seriously. He's the best thing EVER. And yes, I have to vacuum and clean more. I have to spray febreeze on our couch. I have to smell his stinky farts, and fight over the spot where my feet are supposed to go in bed. But my life is better with Gil.

I am a dog person. Officially. To which Aaron replies FINALLY. (and who wouldn't be with THIS thing living with them!?)(okay - I adore this pic. Gil actually gets behind people on the couch...as if he's hugging or something. He loves his dad. :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Never-Ending Story

I’m Joslyn. Many words could tell who I am: 29, wife, Momma, crafty, lover of books, crazy about Jesus, family oriented, card-making scrapbooker, friend, passionate, singer, teacher, photographer wanna-be, cook, encourager, adopted. Yes, I said adopted. And though I am all those things, only the people who know me best know that I’m adopted.

And yet it’s not a secret. The world acts as if it’s unfortunate. People say things like, “Oh, I’m sorry” or “Oh, I didn’t know that” in very uncomfortable tones and then quickly change the subject. Others have questions and bring it up like it’s an open wound or something.

And so I’m here to tell you my story. So you won’t be sorry. And so you won’t be sorry from now on when you hear someone is adopted.

First, I want to gander at my favorite piece of literature. Here, we do not shy from talking about adoption. In fact, adoption is the analogy used to explain how one becomes a part of God’s family. When we put Jesus first, it’s as if we get a whole new family! Galatians chapter 4 tells us that

“God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

The Bible makes it clear in numerous places that we are adopted into God’s family. And isn’t that the case? How many of you non-adopted people out there are closer with people from your church than you are with your own family? How blessed does that make you feel? It’s as if you were chosen; accepted as you are for who you are and not who you are born of.

And so it is for an adoptee. We are chosen. We are plucked from whatever situation, and we are placed in arms made of unconditional love.

Here is my (hopefully) never-ending adoption story:

I was born 12/8/1980 to Sarah, who was 42. I was her fifth birth child, and I was the third one she put up for adoption. My parents, who had been trying to conceive for 7 years, got the call on the day I was born. Though it took them 6.5 weeks to get to me (interstate adoptions and all the legalities), they were thrilled from that moment on to be my Mommy & Daddy.

My parents chose me. They wanted a baby for 7 long years, and I was the answer to their prayers. They had prayed for me for 7 years; longed to hold and smell those fresh baby smells for 7 years. They cried over it, and they trusted God over it. Ironically, over the weekend they came to get me (1/16/1981), my Mom wasn’t feeling so well. Turns out that’s because my sister, Katrina, was already causing a ruckus in the womb! In the next 5 years, my parents gave me 1 sister (Katrina), and 2 brothers (Jeremy & Nathan). I always joke that I made my parents fertile. J

The 6 of us had a very busy, full life. My dad, Gary, is a Nazarene pastor. My mom, Shiela, is a trained teacher who stayed home with us while we were all in school. We lived on little, laughed a lot, played a lot of games and sports, and celebrated holidays more with traditions than gifts (though we did do gifts, just not extravagant ones). We had family night through much of my childhood and adolescence. We were at church anytime the doors were open. We siblings fought much, and tended to form teams against each other. We picked on my baby brother (sorry, Nate), and ganged up on each other (and sometimes my parents). Though life wasn’t always easy, I look back and am thankful for my large family. I’m thankful for the many camping escapades and sacrifices my parents made for us. I’m thankful that Mom was always home when I got home from school (even though it was kind of annoying at times). I’m thankful for chores, allowances, and learning about stewardship early in life. To this day, my sister is one of my dearest and closest friends, along with my brothers. I never hesitate to spend time with them.

I have had a great life. I literally could not ask for more. And though you may think this is where I tell you that this is it, I’m going to tell you that now I have the pleasure of adopting.

As a PreK teacher in the public school system, I had the chance to meet many fun little people. It is the job God created me for, and I loved most minutes of it! Enter Dillon, 3, on 8/2009. He was sweet, rowdy, and had very few words in his vocabulary. And did I mention that he was the cutest boy ever with the deepest brown eyes? As the year progressed, I continued to fall for this little man. His foster parents loved him so very much but had already raised 4 grown children and were ready for retirement years. Long story short, I had this wild idea that I should raise him! I already loved him! How hard could this be? The next step would be getting my husband involved and on board.

Though I expected opposition from him, he encouraged me to look into it and was willing to do what it took to get our foster license. In turn, we started seeing Dillon more often at our house and spending more time with him.

We got to add a 3rd member to our house on 4/12/2010. I will never forget that day. To this date (11/2010), we are still in the process of adopting. In the meantime, Dillon is the light of our lives and the joy to all of our extended family. He is still sweet and rowdy, and his vocabulary is limitless now. We do everything together, and we love each day getting to know him more and more. Sometimes we get sad that we missed 4 years and 3 weeks of his life. Sometimes we feel robbed. And yet, when he smiles at us the way that only he can, God fills us up once more.

Adoption is not a curse; it’s a blessing. Adoption is scary, and yet fills so many lives with joy. Adoption is risky, as are most important decisions we make in our short lives. And, in my case, I’m hoping that my adoption story is never-ending. I want my son to value it so much to include it in his future family and so forth. Just as God’s adoption story is never-ending, I pray mine will be, too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I LOVE him...(part 2)

I know you're all on the edge of your seat from yesterday wondering why this girl loves her some Aaron Keathley.


Today is officially our 3rd Anniversary, or as Dillon calls it, "Kissing Day." That must be all he remembers from our wedding pictures. The two that we're kissing in. That's okay, at least he knows we love each other, right? He'll be grossed out soon enough over all of that...

I do love Aaron more today than I did 1,095 days ago. It's hard to imagine. That day was such a happy and full day. I literally could not have imagined it going any better.

Marriage is tough. I'm not going to lie. And those of you out there who are married are saying "Preach it SISTA." It just is. As my wise pastor says, "When two living, breathing people with opinions live in the same space, there WILL be conflict." Add this truth to the fact that I'm a stubborn, first-born, perfectionist who lived on her own for 6ish years before getting married...we have had a lot of conflict. And we still do. But man, I love that boy.

I love him because he is kind. Almost always, even in the midst of conflict, he's kind. I love him because he doesn't let me stay the same. I love him because he knows me. He knows my walls and why I put them up and when. He knows how to tear them down with kindness instead of hammers. I love him because he knows how to build me up. I love him because he encourages me. I love him because he sees me the way God sees me.

I love him because he puts up with my crafting obsession. I love him because he takes me to Mexican when all he really wants is a burger. I love him because he loves God deeply and desires to do his will. I love him because he is honest with me. He doesn't let me lose.

I love him because he usually knows just when I need a hug. And I love him because he not only knows when I need a hug but the kind of hug I need (because sometimes you just gotta have a hug that's tight and forever long). I love him because he's predictable. He goes to the same 12 websites a day. I love him because he's conservative and passionate about politics that matter. I love him because he is incredibly smart. I love him because he tries to fix stuff before calling someone...and usually succeeds, thanks to the WWW :-). I love him because he fixes me hot dogs on the grill (or my favorite dry rub bbq chicken) any time he has an evening free. I love that my hand fits perfectly in his.


I love him because when I told him I wanted to bring a 3 year old to come live with us and be his parents, he didn't deny me. He let me explore, and then eventually jumped on board. I love the way he loves D. I love how emotional he gets when we think about all that we missed in his little life. I love how D's changed the way Aaron views all things unfair...and all the children that are exposed to that. I love Aaron because he's letting me stay home with D. And on the same token, I love him that he gives me a "break" when he can and encourages me to do things outside of being a mom.

I love him that he watches at least one episode of the Office every single night before we go to bed. I love that he mostly just quotes it because he's seen them all so many times. I love that he watches random episodes now, even though I never know where we're at and if Jim & Pam are flirting, married, or dating. I love that he doesn't laugh a lot, but when he does, he usually laughs so hard he struggles to take a breath. I love that he always has a funny sarcastic remark about most things, especially the subject of marriage to me. :-) I love that he still makes me laugh.

I love that we cuddle when we sleep. I love that we love to watch SNL, even though we usually end up just talking through the whole thing. I love watching him grow in the Lord. I love hearing him speak passionately about growth he's experiencing or maybe a new concept from the Word.

I love that he humors me and my cooking. He's a good sport and will usually try something once. Then he rates it, and I decide whether or not to make that again. I love that. I love that he always notices all the work I do around the house. This is so affirming to me. It helps me feel like all I do is not in vain. I love that he helped me see I'm a dog person. I love that he cuddles with Gilbert.

He is an amazing man, and I am so blessed to call him mine. I am forever grateful to my Abba Father for watching out for me and helping me to wait for my Prince. I am thankful for happy endings, even when the middle gets kinda sticky at times. I didn't want to gross you all out and tell you that I love that he's the best kisser in the whole world, but I guess I just did anyway.

Well, it's true.

Happy Anniversary, Aaron. You complete me. I love you fully and can't wait to grow old with you.

I LOVE him...(part 1)

3 years ago, I had the privilege of marrying my best friend. I mean this in a totally non-cliche form of the phrase. Aaron Matthew Keathley really is my best friend.

(These wedding shots are taken by the fabulous Megan Williamson - aka my sis-in-law - of Rockwell Photography out of Indianapolis. You should call her.)

Who knew that one very sunny day in Clinton, IL (at the Nazarene church with the prettiest stained glass windows I've ever SEEN!), I'd meet MY Prince Charming while one of my dearest friends was practicing getting married to hers. Aaron said I walked up to him, put a quarter at his feet, said "Hi. You must be Aaron. I'm Joslyn. Stand on that quarter, would ya?" He says the first words out of my mouth were bossy, and I haven't stopped since. :-) He's funny, isn't he?

Though Mr. Keathley didn't have much to say to me that weekend, we began to get acquainted long distance through a mutual friend and the lovely world wide web. Though those days were exciting and fresh, I never once toyed with the possibility that anything would last. After all, I lived 4.5 hours away. How would this work for 2 strangers?

But God had a bigger plan. After 5-6 weeks of emails, internet conversations, and eventually phone calls, we planned a date. We would meet 1/2way, in Terre Haute, on a Sunday afternoon. I was excited (of course!), but still...didn't let the girl part of me take over yet. However, when I got a call on Friday afternoon to interview at a school 20 miles away from Aaron's hometown on the following Monday, I at first got the creeps and then got God-bumps. I ended up coming to IL Sunday a.m. and got to spend most of the day with Aaron, including dinner with Ryan & Bethany (whose wedding we met at). That was so special.

The rest, as we say in the cliche world, is history. I got the job, moved here, kept on dating Aaron and eventually fell in love. Our dating life was quite uneventful. We rarely argued, and I rather liked the "rose colored" view of life pre-marriage. The engagement and next 3 months were kind of a whirlwind. I had 96 days to plan a wedding, pay for a wedding, all while working and also relocating to a new home. I don't remember much about those engaged days, though I do remember finally having some disagreements. I know that I tended to be a "Bridezilla" in some forms, as the perfectionist in me wanted everything perfect AND free (which is mostly impossible). Thank God Aaron didn't back out on me.


(I love this pic! 2-3 months into our dating relationship at a cook-out. Taken by EE.)

Though I don't remember much about the engagement, I do remember every moment of the night before the wedding and the wedding day. I remember the text he sent me at 10 a.m. (1 hour before we were supposed to meet for pictures): "Will you marry me today?" I remember coming to our rehearsal with curlers in my hair (:-), all the pictures, Diet Mt. Dew, laughing and getting excited through the ceremony, seeing all the people I love in one place, hugging strangers, Kennedy all over the place up there on stage (including having communion with us), seeing Donna's face when we played James Taylor as our exit song, not getting to talk to everyone at the reception (sadly), getting cake smeared on my face (I kid you not), ice cream, bubbles, Nate speeding down country roads to see how fast Marmi's car would go, and then the whirlwind to get outta there...



More tomorrow...I wanna tell you why I love Aaron Keathley.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Touchy subject

I have a friend named Ann. She is an amazingly beautiful soul with a passion for adoption. I just read a post on her blog that moved me, and I hope moves you, as well.

Read Ann's blog that boldy asks if we, as believers, are REALLY against abortion. Touching.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Win Free Stuff

Check it out, girls! I'm selling 31 Gifts and Accessories now! I'm telling you - this stuff is great, which is the #1 reason I signed on!
First things first - what is 31? It's a great Christian-based company selling affordable and personalized (and cute) gifts, accessories, organizational tools, bags, purses, wallets, cards, etc. Please check out my website to look at the products yourself. Just click on the catalog button, and it will show up. You can zoom in on pages while you're there if you want.
Now, for the October special. This stuff is awesome, and I can't pass it up! I'm offering a door prize of 1 of 2 bags that I have. I have a mini organizer (awesome for many different things - I use mine for scrapbooking, one for cards (and cute pens that I use to personalize them), or you could use it for many different things) OR - I use mine for scrapbooking paper (it holds TONS), library books tote, clothes for an overnighter, etc. It's large, and also folds up for virtually no storage space (if needed).
So - here's the deal. You can qualify for the door prize in multiple different ways (as listed below):
* Spend $31 and get the Organizing Utility Tote for $5. Seriously. This bag is so versatile. I want 12. (Think Christmas gifts - I know I am!)
* Refer a friend to spend $31 and get the Organizing Utility Tote for $5 (just tell them to tell me your name, you will be entered in addition to them)
* Book a party for November or December (can be a book party or a home party - or somewhere neutral if you'd prefer)
* A friend you refer books a party in November or December (also can be a book party or home party). In this case, you'd both be entered, as well.
You can be entered to win multiple times, depending on how many friends you lure in (:-) or how many orders you can get! I will close the offer on 10/29.
Please help me start my business off with a bang. My goal is 12 of you to put in an order! These gifts are functional, cute, personalized, and did I mention ADORABLE?! Great for gifts or spoiling yourself a little bit. Let's do it! Send me an email (joslynranae@yahoo.com) or a message on FB to get in the drawing!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Joys of Parenting - Part 2



Part 2 in my ramblings of being an insta-mom. He continues to make me smile, giggle, and love immensely every day. In addition, there are other emotions...I don't necessarily have to go into that with those of you who are parents, but man, that kid can push my buttons!

Knowing him...really knowing him
- When we first got Dillon, it was embarrassing to go to McDonald's and not know what my kid wanted on his cheeseburger (or the fact that he didn't like cheese on his cheeseburger even though that's what he told me he wanted!). There were many-a-fits in different food establishments for that very reason. These are things you don't think about when you go from being a wife/teacher to a wife/MOMMA in a matter of instants. What do they like on their pizza? Will they eat mashed potatoes (mine won't)? What do you have to call macaroni and cheese to get him to eat it (cheesy mac)? Will he eat fresh veggies (YES! Even though Daddy won't!)? It is such a blessing now to go get a burger @ McD's! He wants a cheeseburger with ketchup and pickles...that's it! Simple! He likes almost anything on his pizza, but doesn't care to make it homemade. He loves cheesy mac, and always corrects you when you call it mac & cheese. He won't eat mashed potatoes, but he WILL eat potato cakes the next day cut into strips and dipped in ketchup (which we're having tonight).

Curiosity that killed the cat will not kill me yet - It won't, people! I won't let it! Instead, I will continue to answer every question until he is satisfied and smarter than I am! Where chocolate come from (cocoa - a plant/tree in the southern hemisphere tropics)? How cows get those spots (different breeds)? Where pepper come from (also a plant that grows in the ground called peppercorn that is ground up)? What time is it? (He asks this multiple times a day, and repeats what you say, but has NO idea what it means (and won't until he's 6 or 7)) You check on me? (Every night/nap he wants to make sure I will come and check on him...) When Daddy gon be home? Why Daddy gotta work? (This question is...I don't know...3-5 times every day Daddy has to work. And now, I just say "Dillon, why does Daddy gotta work?" and he tells me why...so he knows...he just misses him and wants to be reassured.) What we doin after we wake up? (EVERY DAY)...The kid's a planner, and I didn't even teach him to be! :-)

Rocket ships, new stories, and a love for Jesus
- Each night we read a new Bible story from our Toddler Bible. It's so neat. So age appropriate. And he loves it and has lots of questions. I'm so thankful he loves this! It was one of my fears...him not being from a Christian home/foster home, and being very active in church. He loves it! He often randomly shouts throughout the day "I love Jesus!" He also asks if he can take a rocket ship up to heaven to see God and give him a hug...(and everyone says "awwwww") Truth is, I kinda wish I could take a rocket ship up there...everyone needs a good God hug now and again. Thankfully, we have his presence with us all the time for that...but still...

Outside Time - This is the most frustrating part of most days in our house. I like him to spend 20 minutes outside mid-morning. It's when I empty the dishwasher and put a new load of laundry in. I go and check on him, and he's pouting or sitting on the step. We have a HUGE yard...why is he pouting? Why does he dread going out there? He has a 30 gallon tub of things to do out there...balls, bats, golf clubs, frisbees, not to mention a 65 lb dog that likes to run. What's the dealio? Note to self - he loves to go play outside if I'm watching. So lately, it's Momma's book time (I sit on a lawn chair, interact with him a little, encourage him, and read my book for 20 minutes. Then sometimes we play together for a while. Discovery: he doesn't want to play alone. Though I think there's something a little wrong with that, a piece of me will just enjoy it while it lasts, knowing that he won't always want me around.

Intuition - Sometimes I think he might be the best friend I have (besides Aaron, of course). He just...knows when I need a hug or an encouraging word. He seems to sense my moods. Sometimes he pushes my buttons (ok - he does that a lot), but if I'm having a rough day or don't feel well, it seems like he's fully able to control himself for those moments that I need him to. He doesn't probe me, he just...is there. And he keeps himself busy in those moments, or he sits with me and looks out the window. Or he cuddles with me or rubs my face...I mean, really...I fall in love with him in new ways every day.

This isn't the last of my ramblings of being a momma, but as I'm reflecting today, it sure is a blessing to be one. 170 days ago, I knew nothing of these things...God is so good to give Dillon to us when He did. I can't wait til we can change his name and have him ours for good.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A New Chapter - School


My little man started Pre-K yesterday. I was/am excited, nervous, sad, happy, and a little scared (all at one time)...is that possible?! Wierd. I'm just...the only teacher he's ever had. He knows my boundaries. He knows my rules. He tests my limits, but ultimately knows who's boss, and I just hope and pray that his new teachers are able/willing to put forth the extra effort for my little hyper one.

I was just thinking today about how he came into my life on August 20th, 2009. He knew 18 words and could not sit still for a book. Yesterday, during "book time," he sat on his bed and "read" 21 books before getting bored (basically looked through each one at the pics, but it's a start). THIS IS PROGRESS. He used to just moan and scream when someone did something that made him mad. Today, Gilbert was messing with one of his toys, and he said "Gilbert, NO!" and got that toy right back out of his mouth. He sure can stick up for himself now. THIS IS PROGRESS. He now talks so much that sometimes Aaron and I declare that "it's our turn to talk, Buddy." THAT IS PROGRESS.

I am so proud of him. He's come so far in such a short time. And this is just a new chapter. The very first chapter was me getting to be his teacher. Then I got to be his Momma AND his teacher. And now, I just get to be his Momma. And though I love this job, I miss him terribly while he's away (and yet can't wait for school to start at the same time). I think I'm just a walking contradiction.

Anyway - just wanted to update my blog for my besties. Thanks for reminding me, Belle. I will get better at updating this more often.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pot Roast Musings

I get home from North Carolina on Sunday, and my husband has planned to have a pot roast. He makes the BEST pot roast (aside from my mother, more on that later). How kind and thoughtful of him. I talked him into pizza. He was disappointed, but gave in b/c he loves me and he didn't know quite when we would return. So the plan was Monday night...nope - class. Tuesday night...nope - forgot to put it in the crock-pot (woops). Wednesday night...nope - forgot again and then didn't have enough time to make it in the oven (did you KNOW it takes 2 hours to make a pot roast?!). By this time, we're a little concerned over the meat in our fridge and whether or not it will even turn out. Aaron is frustrated that we haven't had his favorite meal that we'd planned on for how many nights now...And then I start thinking about the fact that we have only had pot roast a handful of times in our marriage. And then I started thinking about the fact that Aaron has made all of those pot roasts. Why?! Who doesn't LOVE a perfectly moist pot roast with potatoes, carrots, onions with great seasoning...I know I certainly do.

But alas, all is well. We did have our pot roast. I got everything washed, cut up, seasoned to perfection and in the crockpot @ 10 a.m. Thursday. The plan was to eat before practice @ 7.

I was tinkering around the house all morning, but left in the afternoon for several hours. I walked into the house from being gone and BAM! It hit me like a brick wall. The aroma. And I immediately ached for my mom and my family and our old Nashville house when everything in life seemed difficult but really wasn't. Before the fire, before boyfriends, before siblings grew up and had families, before church drama, before my mortgage payment. Marmi is the best cook...seriously. I want to be just like her when I grow up. One of the meals she did best (especially on Sundays, but occasionally other times) was pot roast.

I realized that this is why I don't make pot roast...this aching feeling I have as I smell the aroma. Funny how God uses smells to remind us how much we love people. Funny the amount of emotion that can come from smelling something. I didn't mean to not make pot roast. Honestly, I didn't. I just...miss my family when we have it. Even as I sat down to eat it, I ached for my family. I tried to enjoy the moments with my new God-given family...Dillon trying to get the strings of beef out of his little teefers (that's what we call teeth), smiles and conversation we shared over dinner. But honestly, all I could think about was that large dining room table we had at the Nashville house, and how we would fight for a bench seat and who would have to fill up drinks. And the silly laughter and conversations...my dad is stinkin' hilarious, and I didn't appreciate it when I could have.

I miss my family. I hate being hundreds of miles away from them. And I probably won't make pot roast unless prompted, even though it's one of my husband's favorites (sorry, love).

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Joys of Parenting - Part 1

Okay - so I figured I'd blog more now that summer's here and I'm "off work." However, as it is slowly slipping away, I wanted to just make sure I had some memories written down (even if they're not-so-good memories).

Shots - I'm not mad, people, but WHY didn't someone tell me?! I was doing my best to stay composed for my little guy, but he was screaming his head off, and they were stabbing, and I had to hold him down, and he said "this is mean," and it was TERRIBLE. Just...terrible. I will never forget those moments. (Sorry for the run-on.)

Choking - I knew it was coming...my friend Kim is always worried b/c one of her children is a choker. But that moment...when Dillon was sticking his hand down his throat with panic in his eyes...It was a thinly sliced pickle, for goodness sake. But I went into Emergency Mode and we got it out, but for a few seconds there, I thought we were going to have to call 911. That was horrible. Aaron saw the whole thing happening from a parking lot and raced over just in time for D to catch his breath...but he had his phone out. I am so thankful that I had dealt with choking children before.

"Mommy, you play wif me?" - Each time he says this, it makes me stop and realize what's REALLY important is not having the counters cleaned off or the floors saved from potato chips. It's the imaginary conversations that Woody has with Buzz, and seeing how high we can build a tower. It's moving dirt from one spot in the yard to another with his uber-cool dump trucks and watching him run through the sprinkler. These are the memories that will forever be etched in his little brain nodules, and will always bring him a smile. I pray that I can be more mindful of this.

"I want a baby brudder like Caleb, Momma." - My friend, Belle, is having a baby very soon, and we have seen her several times since April. She has a 3 year old who is buddies with little D. This last time we went to stay, he just won't stop saying this. He informed Daddy, and is now helping us pray for a baby "brudder." We've been wanting a baby for a year and a half, but God has other plans. Dillon probably would have never come to our home if we had had a baby when we wanted to. And now, we are all 3 ready, and we're thinking that this 4 year old, to which all this "God stuff" is new, might have his prayers heard. Wouldn't THAT be fun?!

The mocking/mimicking - I have been a PreK teacher for 4 years, but worked with kids since I was...12?! I know all about this...that they do what they see, say what they hear. It's almost scary. But those moments when someone takes a toy from him, I see growth. What we're doing DOES matter. In the past, he would whine, cry, hit, etc. Now he says "That's mine, give it back." or "That was not nice. Don't do that again." He's showing a thankful attitude, especially when we pray, which helps us to know what our prayers sound like. He LOVES going to church, just as much as his Momma and Da-Da.

I just am...in awe. Being a parent is so very hard, so very draining. And yet, in these glimpses of God's goodness, I am so thankful...for the good moments and the tough ones. For the job at hand is so very rewarding...I never dreamed it would be THIS rewarding.

PS - I labeled this Part 1 b/c I figure there will be more of these as I learn...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My First Mother's Day



It's the end of my first mother's day...my very first mother's day. All these years...wishing I could be getting a carnation during church service (or in the Brown County days, the Lucas' plants!). All these years...wondering when I would get to be a mommy and celebrate this day.

And here it is. I'm approaching the end of it and reflecting on the gift that it was. Aaron has set the bar pretty high. No cleaning and cooking for this momma...also, this beautiful Willow Tree Angel given to me by my boys. Dillon's exact words were "This is Mommy and Dillon." He was so proud of it. Aaron took me to El Rodeo for lunch (my fave) and made my favorite foods for dinner...yummo! He pretty much just treated me like a princess.

And then I have this amazing mom. I can reflect on life with her and see how her character, determination, stamina, and motivations have shaped me and helped me be who I am. There were days in my youth (possibly and mostly adolescence) when I wasn't very nice to her...and yet, she continued to love me unconditionally. She was always there with great, healthy meals, lots of interesting activities (and no, I'm still not thrilled about the time she dragged us to the "monk"estary), and was there for every event I ever remember having at school. She made birthdays and holidays very special, and she is an amazing and award winning bread maker. 2 more things about her and I'll shut up...1) She never yelled at me. I never remember her raising her voice. I never felt be-littled by her and the way she treated me in public. 2) She knew her Bible...read it in front of us, read it with us, shared stories, memories, and thoughts about it.

As I reflect on my first mother's day...just one day short of 4 weeks into being an "insta-mom" to this amazing 4 year old, I want to be like my mom. I want to love and live on the Word of God. I want to never yell at my child. I want to honor them, be there for them, cook healthy meals (and yummy bread) for them. I want to make birthdays a big deal (not necessarily with presents but with enthusiasm and love). I want to be like my momma.

And so - the ultimate shout-out to my mom...a beautiful soul who has lived without her mom for so many years and yet turned out to be the best one I've ever seen. Someone who's sketchers I am not worthy to put on my feet (though they're like...5 sizes too small anyway). I love you, Marmi Jo...you are my rock. Thank you for loving me and my brudders and sister with all that you have. I wanna be just like you when I grow up. :-)

Also - shout-out to my husband who has made this day especially memorable with his words of kindness, deeds, and planning. And a very big shout-out to my new son, whom I adore. Look at those eyes...how can you resist?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Thoughts: "The Shack" (Young)

So, I've been working on this book for 8 weeks. Not sure why it's taken me so long to get into it. It might be because it requires 100% concentration and thought process, unlike other fiction I often wrap myself into.

Today I finished it. And I want to write about it and commit to re-reading it again soon. What a message. What a vivid display of the God-trio - Father, Son, Spirit. A journey of a broken man, his journey to forgiveness and wholeness, and the way it affects the rest of his life and the people he loves.

The first time through, here are the things that were meaningful to me:

~"If anything matters, then everything matters." I mean, really...think about it.
~"I'm especially fond of you." - God, Jesus, Sarayu (the Holy Spirit) This was something that was said so many times. Almost as if the author wanted to make sure the readers closed the book and knew without a shadow of doubt that they were loved by God.
~Whether we like it, know it, talk about it, or experience it...other people's past relationships (good and bad) follow them and affect them for the rest of their lives (unless, of course, true wholeness is provided through forgiveness).
~We have a lot of misconceptions about God. Things that aren't necessarily in the Bible and aren't necessarily true. I realize this was a fiction book, but it has opened my eyes a little bit.
~Forgiveness is more for the one forgiving and not as much about the one that is forgiven. Did I know this? If not, how come? Why has this never been spoken this simply. It makes total sense to me, and maybe it will help me to forgive...maybe I can let go of some things?

Anyway - that's all for now, but I'm telling you...that book is read-worthy. It's fiction, but God may speak to you through it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

While I'm Waiting

I have wanted to be a mommy since I was...I don't know...4. :-) Those of you who have known me this long know that - even then, I was bossy and had everything ALL planned out. I treated my poor siblings like they were my children (and maybe still do - Sorry, guys!). I started babysitting a 3 year old and set of newborn twins when I was only 13. So...I just...I can't get enough of children.

There's this little boy...his name is Dillon. He's in my classroom, and he's a foster child. (B/c of that, I will be unable to post pictures or give any more details about him online. Email me if you want pics :-) In October 2009, Aaron and I jumped at a chance to "adopt" the little guy...it's a LONG story (you know how my stories tend to be), but one laced with God's timing and goodness. We had the privilege of keeping him for a whole week last week while his foster parents had some personal matters to tend to.

It was fun to "play Mommy" for real. It was tiring. It was fulfilling. It was fun. It was busy. It was full of answering questions and singing lots of silly songs. It was full of smiles and hugs. And I could NOT get enough.

Sending him home was one of the hardest things I had ever done. I have struggled at times to keep my emotions under control (I know this is very difficult for some of you to see in me :-). This is going to happen soon...sooner than I can know, but it will. And we can't wait. We will "foster" him for 6 months and then petition to adopt him, and he'll be all our until the end of time. We can't wait (have I mentioned that yet?).

As I was pulling away from his foster parent's home after dropping him off, I was bawling (as you know I would be)...and this song was on the radio. God is so good to give me songs in the exact moment I need them.

I don't know what you're waiting on. I know people waiting on all sorts of things...a job, a career, an education, houses, a bill to be paid, love, money, etc. But man, this song...it has helped me so many times today just stop and worship in those moments when I start to waiver and ask God what's going on and why things aren't happening when I WANT them to. I trust my God. He has this all planned out. We have already seen His hand in so many things and ways this has all worked out so far; He has never failed me yet. We truly want His will.

I've posted the words to the song, as well as the YouTube video below. Enjoy and be blessed.

While I'm Waiting - John Waller

YouTube Video

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fruits of the Spirit

Pastor Ed talked about the fruits of the spirit at church yesterday. I've been thinking about them anyway...sometimes I find myself being so very ugly (to my husband, to people I love, or even in my heart of hearts - that no one but God sees). Seems like this is the new thing God is teaching me.

You see, I know all about the fruits. I have them written on my heart...I don't remember a time of not knowing them. I know that a person who loves God and lives in the Spirit HAS them...or at least is working on growing them. And yet...14 years into my spiritual walk, and I still have a long way to go on most of them.

Love - Boy, do I like to think I have it. And I do. It's not an emotion...it's a trait. I'm learning that slowly. But boy, do I need it NOW more than ever...in my home, in my classroom, in my marriage, with my family, with my co-workers, with strangers...Can they tell I have love?

Joy - There's another one. I sure would like to think I have it. Maybe sometimes I do. I used to be terribly (as in a good thing) optimistic....not so much anymore. Now I'm more of a realist. But with this new...I don't know...outlook, some of the joy is just sucked right out. But the truth is - I need joy...gotta have it. It should quite literally spill out of me. Maybe it does. But not all the time. He's gonna have to grow it back. Do people who have known me forever wonder where my joy has gone? Do people that know me now see my joy?

Peace - Now, this one...I'm really working on. Well, He's really working on. It's my life theme this year. It's what I am overall trying to learn above all else. And the song "Be Still" by Hillsong is the song of my heart. It's overflowing. And I really, truly, desire to have peace in all areas of my life. I truly want to live with less stress, more seeking, more understanding of what's really important. And to truly "ride" along with Jesus and understand, above all else, that He is God and I am but a broken vessel that needs to share Him with others. To look up in the middle of the storm, be still, and KNOW that He is God.

Patience - I'll be honest with you about patience. I feel as if I have a lot of patience. I deal with twenty 3, 4, & 5 year olds for 7 hours straight every day (and LOVE it, by the way). I can handle that. Sometimes in my personal life, though...I need patience. I need patience as I long to be a mommy. I need patience as we try to get rid of all our debt in order to live life Christ-like. I need patience with my husband, who is nothing but patient with me. I need patience with timing. I need patience when I don't understand. I think all of that goes with the peace thing God is working on in me.

Kindness - I mean...we all hope we're kind. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm very kind to my enemies. I definately don't go above or beyond the call of duty with them. I'm not hateful...but am I kind? Am I always kind to Aaron? Am I always what he needs me to be? Am I critical in all the wrong times/places?

Goodness - I always wondered what exactly Paul meant by this word. After all, don't we all hope we find ourselves on the right side of "good?" Eugene Peterson (in the Message) uses the phrase "a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people" to describe "goodness." I sure hope I have that. I certainly have a goal to have that (if nothing else).

Faithfulness - Yea, I'm faithful! I go to church weekly (x3ish). I read my Bible every day. I write in my Tjourn (Thankfulness Journal). I call my mom every day. I love my husband and wouldn't even look at another man. In my spiritual life, though...am I committed? Am I over-committed? Do I follow through? Do I do what I say I'm going to do? Do we, as people of God, "guilt" our way into "committing" to things in the heat of the moment (or question or expectation)? Do we mean what we say and say what we mean? Do we give to God before...you know...others or ourselves? I don't know...I want to examine myself intensely in this area. I want to be called "faithful." Won't it be neat one day? "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Self-Control - Now this one...this is a toughie. I clearly do not have self control, though I long for it on a daily, hourly, sometimes momentary basis. I have 100 pounds to lose (10 at a time, over the course of years). But in the process of that is a re-wiring of my brain....of the relationship I have with food...of the unhealthy way I idolize good tastes in my mouth. This is where I need self-control. And this is where I will come out a different and better person in the end of this journey. Because one day, I will proudly say that I do have self-control. And until that day, I am seeking.

And so - I will seek. I will continue in my hunger for the Word. I will keep asking God to speak to me. I will be more conscious of the way I treat people, especially those closest to me.