Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm singin' in the rain, just singin' in the....

What a BLAST we had yesterday! PandaPop is off on Thursdays and we were planning to go to Canton (the largest outdoor flea market in the universe....well, maybe not universe, but it's big). We knew it would be raining, but also knew it would be the only time we could go since it is only open on the weekend of the first Monday of the month. PandaGirl and I went on a search for rainboots. I pulled out our anorak rain jackets and we were ready for our wet adventure. When PP came home from work we were chatting about the awful traffic we'd have to endure on Thursday morning just to get to Canton. Before I knew it he had made reservations for us to spend the night and we were leaving in an hour! Woohoooooo!!!! We packed lightly, grabbed some din-din and jumped in our little black Jeep and headed east. I LOVE spontaneous things like that! That sweet man of mine did that just to bless me. He rocks. We had a wonderfully fun time all together and it couldn't have been any better.

Just a bit of trivial information: Those plum colored anorak jackets have been with us since, oh----about 1993!!! Love those things! If you don't know, they are the jackets that fold right up inside themselves, stuff into a pocket and zip up. PG's did the same. LOVED my rainboots!!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Beautiful You

I believe every woman and girl on this planet should hear the words of this song. I know it's popularity won't reach all who need to hear its message, but maybe you haven't heard about this yet and will be blessed by being reminded that you were created by the Living God who made you just the way He designed you to be. There are purposes you specifically were meant to fulfill. We do have to make an effort to take care of ourselves and the gifts we've been given, but our beauty does not come from outward appearances, rather from our heart. That's what God sees and He's the One who matters in the big scheme of things and in the little details of life.

I am reminded on a daily basis how every woman I meet or every girl I encounter struggles with the desire to be beautiful to someone and how the fear of getting older and less attractive in the world's eyes is all-consuming. I want Jesus to show through me and have HIM as what people see as the beauty in me. That is my desire.

Little girl fourteen flipping through a magazine
Says she wants to look that way
But her hair isn't straight her body isn't fake
And she's always felt overweight

Well little girl fourteen I wish that you could see
That beauty is within your heart
And you were made with such care your skin your body and your hair
Are perfect just the way they are

There could never be a more beautiful you
Don't buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

Little girl twenty-one the things that you've already done
Anything to get ahead
And you say you've got a man but he's got another plan
Only wants what you will do instead

Well little girl twenty-one you never thought that this would come
You starve yourself to play the part
But I can promise you there's a man whose love is true
And he'll treat you like the jewel you are

So turn around you're not too far
To back away be who you are
To change your path go another way
It's not too late you can be saved
If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear they can all be washed away
By the one who's strong can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears dry all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world
He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light He will show you truth
And again you'll see through the eyes of a little girl

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Holy Forty, Batman!

What a whirlwind of a weekend! After getting back from Children's Camp, PandaGirl and I hit the ground running to set up for PandaPop's 40th Birthday Party with all the great Batman stuff we have gathered for just this special occasion. What a blast we have all had and what blessings God has favorably given us with PP as a husband and father. Those who know him I know are blessed by his contagious laughter and gorgeous smile, his willingness to speak Truth and his zeal for life. He absolutely gets better looking with age. Those little gray hairs coming through his gotee and sideburns just scream HANDSOME to me! ; ) I love growing older with my best friend.

The pic above was PP's one request for his Batman birthday: a brownie instead of cake. He found this fabulous Batman logo cake pan online and I enjoyed making it look just like the Bat-signal. We had BBQ sandwiches, chips, homemade vanilla ice-cream and BROWNIE!

Is this not the CUTEST little Batman EVER?!! LOVE this pic of PandaPop as a little boy all decked out in his favorite super hero's outfit. PP has a fetish for the man from Gotham to this day. We have had so much fun getting ready to celebrate this milestone birthday.

I have wanted to give PP a Batman party since before his birthday last year, but wanted to save it for his 40th. I have looked for shirts all over and figured I'd just have to get them online and pay for shipping and THEN---just the other day I went to Kohl*s and there they were---and on sale for $10 bucks!! Woohoo! PG's was at Old**Navy and I couldn't have been more pleased!

I had a BLAST writing this for the "invitation" to the party that we changed to just include PandaPop's family due the fact that there was NO WAY to include all our friends from church in our home without being jam-packed or leave someone out. So after making the waaay cute invites we ended up just having an intimate little family party at home and it was the BEST!!!

Holy mid-life crisis Batman!
There's your signal in the sky!

It must be a party for
That kid-like kinda guy.

Ya know, the one who smiles a lot--
He's known as[PandaPop--real name that rhymes with gotham].

He lives in his suburbanville,
But dreams that he's from Gotham.

Grab your cape--Secure your mask!

Hike your tights with all your might
[PandaPop's] 40 now!

PP made a great haul on presents!

PP and his parents! ; )

The whole family along with PP's sister.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top 12 Things Discovered at Camp

1. There's always a new addiction around the corner.
My friend introduced me to this little goody at children's camp this week. Love it and can't get enough of it!!!

2. David was at camp, too.
One of the two precious friends who went Home to be with Jesus last week was a camp staple. David had been to children's camp many, many times and had quite a legacy from past trips. Even last summer when he was very sick with chemo treatments he made his way out for a couple of days. This past February when PandaPop and some other guys went out to check out the ropes challenge course, David went vowing he'd be at camp this summer. He just didn't tell us it would be in his handprint all over the thing. There are too many "you had to be there" moments to explain, but the Jason Mraz moment happened when the early group of leaders were in the van on Sunday after dinner and all listened to the radio play "I'm Yours" by this artist and got misty-eyed because it was the song played during David's photo montage at his funeral. David's presence was at camp. While we played camp for a week, we know he is having CAMP FOREVER with the King of kings!

We felt you, David.

3. Gravy is the new apple.
No lie. We were served white gravy 8 out of the 10 meals that we had there. I was so surprised that they didn't plop down a spoonful for the pizza we had last night.

4. God can change the weather just for camp.
We were so worried about the horrible over-100-degree temps. that were blaring us in the face for camp and then right before we left we got the report that the temps. would be down and wonderful. Oh my. The beauty of our campgrounds made me clap for God's work and the temps. WERE perfect!!!!

5. One can't really die from humiliation.
Thank goodness or else PandaGirl would be dead from swimming with floaties. The girl can't swim and the rule was: wear floaties or don't swim. Easy enough?


Drama, drama, drama until I finally let the floaties come off and I started dunking the kid until she finally would hold her breath and STOP choking on pool water every stinkin' time she went under. By the end of Wednesday my sweet little panda was swimming like a fish. Without floaties. ; )

6. "J" is the best letter.
Others might disagree, but if your name starts with "J" then you get it. I bought this hot pink "J" notepad for myself and a green "J" for her. We love our "J".

7. Lava Lamps make me smile.
These were part of our 70's decor. Yes, that big one really is big. It is about 2 1/2 feet tall, but spilled most of it's "stuff" on the way.

8. The Captain and Bugsy have a lot in common.
Our camp theme was loosely based on the 70's decade. For one of the theme nights we all dressed up in our 70's garb and carefully used old LP album covers for decor like the awesome "Captain and Tennille". PP and I had just watched Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler the night before we left for camp so this "Bugsy" was fresh on our mind with his HUGE eyes in the movie. Little did we know that The Captain's eyes would look just like Bugsy's, but they were REAL!!! We got a big laugh out of this "sight"! HA!

9. A Princess always drinks Mountain Dew.
This girl is going to make one amazing wife to one very blessed man....someday.
I love my J.O.!!! She is just THE BEST! So God-loving, giving, creative, honkin' funny, Mountain Dew addicted, ADHD and AWESOME!!! Her heart is in the right place for her Prince to come, but the Prince just needs to get here!!! The Lord has His plans, we know. I just know that this precious woman is being held at bay for something amazing awaiting her....and her Prince.

10. Getting stung by a bee doesn't mean you have to feel it seems.
PandaGirl had a HUGE three-inch in diameter hard, feverish, red circle on her knee sticking out like a golf ball and she says, "Mom, my leg hurts a little when I try to sit on it."

DUH!!!! What the heck IS that thing?! I immediately walk her over to our dear, precious friend Miss M. who was our nurse and she took care of PG. Three nurses all said it looked like a bee sting, but none of us could figure out how a six year old didn't scream when stung. Hmmm.

11. My man ROCKS!
I already knew that so it's not a discovery, either, but I do have to say that I enjoy watching him "do ministry" as a children's minister and all the ways he just loves the kids and people. He is a gem and I am the blessed one to have him as my husband. Not to mention he just KEEPS on getting cuter with each passing year! ; )

12. It follows me.
Ever since I was a little girl 12 has been my favorite number. It was usually the number I'd be given for contests, random things, whatever. Too many times to count. I LOVE that it follows me places. Lo and behold, guess what room number we got at the camp "hotel"?

YES!!! ----12.

LOTS more camp pics to come later along with PP's 40th birthday coming up on Sunday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Camp or Bust! 2009

Headed out tomorrow afternoon for a week of Children's Camp! So very excited and thankful that it will be the lowest temps of the month with the highs only hitting the mid-90's!!! WOOHOOOOO! Thank You, LORD! That is a huge difference than when those little digits creep over 100 degrees. Anything over 100 is just down-right miserable. From 88 degrees to 95 is just bliss! Well, I wouldn't go that far, but at least sweat doesn't drip off my chin at those readings.

I'll be back in a week to report on all the happenings---THEN----PandaPop turns 40 next Sunday and I'll have some really fun things to post about that!

Have a blessed week! ; )

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Last week was filled with our VBS/Kids Praise kind of event for our Kindergarten through 5th grade children at church. It was from 9-3 everyday, but wasn't just VBS as traditionally known. Our church has always done VBS one week and then a music camp another week in the summer which culminated in a musical performance at the end of the week. PandaPop wanted to merge the two to save some time for families, lower the cost and focus more on worship than performance. All the years past have been wonderful, but it was time for a change. This one was a good change. These kids worked their little hearts out and LED us in worship on the last day at the evening worship experience called Born to Worship. Blessed my heart, for sure.

PandaPop was either welcoming all the parents or telling the kids they did great...I can't remember. No matter, at some point he told them that if they raised enough money to meet the goal for the mission project for the week, he'd dye his hair royal blue to keep up with his awesomeness from last year's challenge. However, the next day he was doing the wedding ceremony for my cousin as posted a few days ago and couldn't really walk into the wedding as the minister with blue hair. I was bummed for that reason and for the fact that the kids didn't make the goal and there weren't any adults to pitch in to make it happen. Boo. I was looking forward to ROYAL BLUE hair! Oh well, I'm sure some other goofy challenge is right around the corner.

Adored having my daughter lead me in worship with her special part in the experience.

Does this pic make your heart melt? Make you want to worship right now? Make you believe that you were born to worship the Living God who created you? The other side of the stage has three more poses with kids in front of them, too. This was quite powerful while the whole group of 250 kids sang, "Here I am to Worship".

PG and her sweet friend. These two always get mistaken for each other at church. The other day was fun for me and the friend, because we walked hand-n-hand together without PG and everyone just assumed it was PG. We giggled. ; )

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

...and other lofty goals.

What's a "stint" you ask? I had to look it up since the only "stint" I know of is the kind of stent placed in hearts to make them work better. Apparently the little guy below is called a stint. However, I don't think PandaGirl meant that she wants to be a bird when she grows up. After giggling to myself and then asking my precious girl what she meant by writing this word, I found out that she wants to be a SCIENTIST when she grows up.

Oh yeah---I already knew that. Silly me for mistaking those letters.

PG has wanted to be a scientist for a couple of years now. Wonder if that will stick? I know that around her age I wanted to be an aerobics instructor so that I could wear those white Reebok high tops with the two Velcro straps at the ankle.

That never quite came to fruition seeing as how I was a Nike girl and all....oh, and never liked to exercise.

PandaPop and PG and I have really run ourselves ragged this summer. I truly feel that today, July 15th was my FIRST DAY OFF for summer.

It felt so great.----I wrote in my journal for awhile and then did something so foreign: I snuggled around in my bed with my cozy, cool, fluffy down comforter until 10:00am. Glory.

Poor PandaPop. He still worked like crazy. No break yet. This is his busy time of the year. We leave on Sunday for children's camp for the week. Lots of work for him to prepare for an event like that. Fun, but tiring.

This "summer" has been so crazy first of all getting out of school on June 5th as opposed to the more sensible May that has always been the norm around these here parts. Then the very next week I gladly spent helping taking care of my mom after her double knee replacement surgery for a week. Once back home I tried to get our home back in the groove after working full-time all school year only to find myself busy everyday running errands here and there with PP for ministry events, which I love to do, but still had no "down time". I still hadn't decompressed after a very stressful nine months. We had to get ready for our VBS/kidzpraize event thingy last week and all the while trying to prepare for a home study visit from our adoption agency that took place yesterday.



Not one of my favorite days, I must confess.

Ever have a proctology exam (as PP so sarcastically speaks as a comparison)? Though I've never had one, really, I'm quite sure I experienced one while in my own home doling out answers as to why I think I'm ready to adopt again.

You're kidding me, right?

It's all part of the process, I'm told. The process to parent a child in the foster system. I thought our process to adopt from China was hard. Not so. The extremely detailed profile we've had to put together along with tons of training required in choosing this route have pretty much tapped me out.

Well, until yesterday.

There's no point in whining or belaboring the point. Let's just say, that though the girl sitting on our couch (who was sweet and knowledgable as she could be----but not yet a parent) did only what her job required, I felt like Captain Jean-Luc Picard when on trial with Q and all the little people laughing and pointing all while Picard is trying to figure out where he is and what is going on around him.

Sorry for all you who have no clue what that means. PP and I love Star Trek. It was the frame of reference most familiar to me at the moment.

Just suffice it to say that the enemy, the father of lies was hurling insults at me while I tried to explain why we want to adopt through the foster system. If I remember correctly, it seems as though "they" are always begging people to adopt, yet make it incredibly laborious to do so. Scrutinizing, if you will.

It's all for the safety and well-being of the children. Yes, I agree. I just don't like the feeling deep down in my soul that reminds me I am a barren woman.

There could be much worse things.

Thank you, Lord. When I am weak, You are strong.

I was reminded today as I read a friend's blog who shares my "lot" in life:

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord."
Psalm 113:9

It was for the first time today that I noticed the word "children". I have read this verse many times and never noticed the plural. Though I feel happy with PandaGirl and she is the reason I am a mother and no longer "barren", this Living Truth gave me hope.

Hope of more to come.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Wedding

PandaPop officiated the wedding ceremony for my cousin who is 10 years younger than me. Her sister was actually the one who introduced PandaPop and I in 1991. These two sisters have said that they always looked up to me (probably because I'm so much older than them and everything I did was "awesome" in their little girl eyes at the time). Now it's so crazy to see them as grown women! I just can't remember PandaPop and I looking soooo young when we got married, but we were. My cousin is 28 and I was 21....meaning that I was even YOUNGER looking-----and much more inexperienced in life.

After the bride started to dance with her dad the DJ called for all Dad-daughter duos to get on the dance floor for some sweet moments. LOVE these two together!!

Of course, dancing with MY Daddy! Mom has done fabulous with her double knee surgery recovery and was at the table taking the pic.

Oh---these two tanned people!! Since I can't get a tan to save my life I am so thankful for these two who have such gorgeous summer sun-kissed skin!
(However---notice in the pic above how DARK my Daddy's skin is......umm...nope....I didn't get any of that. That's OK Mom, mine and your skin is perfect just the way it is!)

It's such a blessing to be this man's wife. He still calls me his "bride" and I a melt when I hear it. We are rushing towards 17 years of marriage in about five weeks. Funny to watch my cousin be so youthful and giddy on her wedding day. So much lies ahead for this new bride and groom. No one could have prepared us for marriage, life in general and growing older. You just have to do it to "get it". There's no other way. And no one else I'd rather experience "it" with than PandaPop.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 70th July!

That's not a typo!
Today is my Daddy's 70th Birthday!!

OH--Happy Birthday, America, too!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fabulous New Discovery!!!'s a fabulous new discovery if your name is JANA! ; ) As much as I adore my pseudonym "PandaMom" I must say that I love my real name, too. This very day my friend blessed me with the fine bottle of life. And it's written in my favorite color! What could be better, right? How about that it comes from SAINT JANA by the Adriatic Sea. Sounds so luxurious don't you think?

So....CHEERS to all my sister Jana-s out there! ; )