Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

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What a blast we had this weekend entertaining some friends in our new backyard!!! Great way to kick-off the beginning of home ownership. I can't even explain how much I love our pool, the chairs, tables, umbrellas and ESPECIALLY my darling little colorful lights and citronella candles!! A backyard oasis that I haven't had since I lived at home with my parents in the country.

Below was actually on Saturday with my parents who visited and helped fund some of the fun new things in the oasis.

We really missed not having PandaJoy with us as we usher in summer, but again.....He is in control even when our hearts want more than the blessings He already lavishes on us.

We will be traveling sometime this week to help PandaPop's family say goodbye to his grandfather who passed away this morning. Interesting that he died on Memorial Day when he served our country in such a gruesome way as the medic/clean up crew a week after we stormed the beaches at Normandy. These last few years were difficult on PP's family because Grandpa had signs of dementia and wasn't very friendly. So sad. Thanks for your prayers. Remember those soldiers and their families who sacrifice for our country. Our country whose top leadership at the moment exhibits no patriotism for the USA, whatsoever.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Country Lemon

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PandaGirl was so excited to discover this darling hat in the $1 section at Tar*get a few days ago. We bought hot pink and black, too. There are more posts coming with those pics, but OH. MY. WORD.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these pictures even if I did take them myself! STUNNING colors!!!!!!! We ended up taking this swimsuit back to Tar*get because the front was cut WAY, WAY to low for anyone, much less a little girl!!! Crazy.

I really cannot wait to share the next several sets of collages that I've done with just pics from the weekend.

I didn't want to bombard you all at know with all the awesomeness. Sorry! LOL!! I just get so addicted to taking pictures and now putting them all together.

I can spend an hour playing around with pictures and think it's only been about 10 minutes.

No exaggeration.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

These Small Hours

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You know I love small details in life that seem to pass us by if not intentionally noticed. I want to document the things that go on in daily life. At the beginning of the year I found a place online called ShutterCal and really loved it, but got behind on uploading a photo-a-day. The 365 Project calls my name, but everyday life seems to call louder. I hope to get all my pics together, edit, organize and not let life slip by unnoticed. My post about this song rings in my little family's ear.

Have fun looking into our piece of the world, but remember to enjoy your very own small hours.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Everything In Its Time

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On Monday, PandaPop and I closed on our first home purchase on the house in which have been living for a year and a half. We have been married almost 18 years and have never owned a home for various reasons. Over the years we have enjoyed not being concerned about having to sell our house or financing any problems that would arise since all we have had to do is call a landlord and let them worry about it.

I grew up in my same house my whole life until I got married then we proceeded to move homes 14 times in 16 years. The Lord can call us away from our current ministry at anytime, but we are hopeful to stay put for awhile since we have moved so much already.

We have had a lot of fun this week tweaking some things around the house to make it even more "ours". Thankfully, we are out of debt except for our one car and now the house. THAT is a huge relief!!!! PP has been diligent to seeing us get out of debt and the Lord has blessed us abundantly. Now we have to save for a foundation repair, a kitchen face-lift and Disney!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Twinkle Toes

PandaGirl's ballet recital was last Saturday. She was so beautiful! All the girls were in those gorgeous white costumes. Sweet innocence. Nothing like that last post I am so enraged about with the dancing harlots who really had no choice in the matter EVEN IF they chose to dance. The adults in the know KNOW. The innocence of those little girls dancing like stri*ppers has been lost. No, stolen.

Anyhoo--back to my beauty! She did so great.....for her 60 second dance.

Yes, we paid a large monthly fee, recital fee, costume fee, breathing fee, sitting fee and smiling fee all to get a 60 second dance out of a two hour recital. Oh my. It was worth it to see our daughter dancing on stage!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

So Appalled I Can't Even Express It

There are so many words that I could write about this, but really there are no words.


Makes my heart absolutely cry out in horror for these darling babies who have been openly placed into child p*orn while a whole crowd of parents and instructors cheer them on. How oh how can this be?

Click here to watch a video of one of the most horrible excuses I have ever seen for entertainment.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How to Hold Your Heart in One Piece

Oh how the grace of the Lord carries us through life.

After babysitting PandaJoy for over a week we had to release her again today to the foster parents. We have kept her about 8 or 9 times since the end of January. She is so much fun and brings our family much laughter. Very exhausting taking care of a very busy toddler, but oh, the joy this little girl brings us. We see her again soon, but this morning was extremely difficult to see her go after playing family-of-four for so long. Thank you so very much for your continued prayer for whatever the Lord holds for us and for PandaJoy. PG & PJ would make great sisters. After she left my arms this morning I went straight to my knees, lifted the hurt to the Lord who sees, cried a few tears and then got up, trusting that no matter what, He truly is in control.

The pics below are from this afternoon at PG's school Field Day festivities. The temps are already so HOT! I love this pic because even in my "skinny" days I have never had such gorgeous shapely legs like PG does. I think her legs are so stinkin' beautiful! If a baby would have emerged from PandaPop and I----poor thing would have been chunky-dunk, thick-thigh, bubble-butt instead of these wonderfully lean, toned and tanned PG legs! ; )

PandaJoy's darling chunky fingers and toes are my delight to share with you. Hopefully soon she will be a more permanent part of this blog and our life allowing me to post her most beautiful face. If she is not to be a part of the PandaFamily then I trust the Lord to work His good in her life as well as ours.

Tomorrow is PG's ballet recital and I can't wait to post the pics for it!

Have a wonderful weekend!!! ; )

Monday, May 17, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We started a small garden in our back yard on Saturday. So fun to take more "ownership" of our home. We should be closing on the house in a few days and are really excited because it is our first house purchase. I know, it seems like we should have already purchased a house after being married over 17 years, but there never seemed like the right time to do. We have lived in this house for a year and a half and love it. I mean, it's not our dream home, but we have made every single place that we have lived our haven. We make it our own. Now we get to pay for it like it's our own. Now when something breaks we get to pay for it instead of calling the landlord. LOL!

PandaPop painted our front door "phantom mist", too. Love it. It's between black and brown and pulls out the dark splotches in the brick. We can't wait to get through with fixing a problem with the master tub and tile area and THEN ON TO THE KITCHEN FACELIFT!!

Lowe's was having a clearance sale and we got several veggies to plant. Since we are just getting in on the very last moments to be able to plant some seeds and get something from the labor we took what we could get for this time of year. Actually, my labor was clicking the shutter button on my camera while PP and PG and our little JOY that we are babysitting did all the gardening. I really wanted to do the planting, but I couldn't miss all the fun photo opps going on in front of my eyes!
PG had a blast and the little JOY was totally entertaining us with her very funny self. I can't post any pics of her since she is in the foster system, but know that she is one of the cutest little chunky-dunks I've ever seen!!

Below is a picture to prove she really was with us and so you'll know that we would REALLY, REALLY appreciate your prayers about these cute little feet and the darling little girl attached to them.

If you know us in real life, then you already know how to pray for her and for us. If you have just followed along on this blog through our adoption valleys for baby number two then you can understand that this is a big deal. After last fall's heart-wrenching experience we lived through with the disrupted adoption and all the rest of the attempts we were completely "done" trying. These little legs walked into our life without our bidding. It's been unorthodox, weird, different than anything I ever dreamed, but the Lord knows what He is doing and we have enjoyed it thus far with this little JOY. I'll keep you updated if anything transpires.

These darling--and I do mean the cutest little chunky toy cars I've ever seen in the brightest most awesome colors kind of darling--toys were at Tar*get and our little JOY didn't care about them so much, but I, PandaMom LOVED them!! I couldn't resist these cuties. At. All.

Once opened from their package and placed on the kitchen floor? Squeals of delight rang through our home. ...
Oh--and little JOY loved them, too!

Again, I am not posting face pics of her cutie-patootie self for safety sake. Trust me on how darn cute she is and how well she goes with PandaGirl. She is not Asian, but they totally need to be sisters. ; )

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Non-Response from B & B Works

Here's the non-response I got back from Bath & Body Works. You can read my original post HERE.

We appreciate you taking the time to write us to share your concerns. We are always reviewing our standards to improve as a company and we are grateful for your feedback.

We are committed to excellent customer service, and our top priority is to make sure that every one of our customers has a comfortable and enjoyable experience every time they visit one of our stores, view our website or receive our coupons. The pictures are intended to reflect product benefit by focusing on healthy, beautiful and glowing skin. We understand and respect the opinions of others about what may be judged as fashionable imagery. Bath and Body Works will continue to evaluate input from our customers and will take your comments into consideration.

We want to thank you again for contacting us and we regret any concerns that may have arisen regarding our image presentation. You are an important part of our business and we don't want to lose you as a valued, loyal customer. If we can do anything else for you, please reply to this email or call us at 1-800-395-1001.


Tami Henry

Tami Henry
Customer Relations Representative

There are more important things at stake than not getting to buy their pretty smelling lotion.

I'm not shopping there.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

On Being a Mom

Mother's Day is always such an ocean of feelings for me. I find myself so very grateful for the gift of being the mother of PandaGirl. Why did God see fit for me to get the blessing of being her mommy?!! I am truly blessed.

I think of my own mom whom I adore and no words can express my thoughts deeply enough.

I think of my mother-in-love that has blessed my life so.

I think about all the years of crying and wanting and hoping and waiting and the disappointments in trying to start our family and then experiencing the wonderful blessing of finally being a mother.

I think of my friends who have never gotten the opportunity to "finally" become a mother and have basically given up due to age. That hurts my heart for them.

I think of my younger friends who are entering that awful heart-wrenching stage when all their friends so easily get pregnant--and pregnant again--yet their own turn seems so out of reach.

I think of my grown up friend whose own mother ran out on the family when my friend was a teen and wasn't there for her as a child much either. My friend is an AMAZING mother.

I think of a little girl at church whose mommy died way too soon leaving a six year old to cling to the memory of a mom.

I think of the children who are beaten, abused and neglected by their own mom and about what happened to her to make her act in such a way.

I think of those orphans who might not even know they need a mom.

I think of the woman who carried my daughter in her tummy and who, for whatever reason, made the life-changing decision to let go of her baby. How she changed my life as well.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day. Enjoyed worshipping at church, got hand-made cards from PG and PP. Very excited about getting the new Francine River's book Her Mother's Hope and super pumped about my new Mercy Me CD: The Generous Mr. Lovewell and can't get enough of the Honey Pear Cider candle wax in my new Scentsy burner.

By the grace of God I can enjoy all these bountiful blessings!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seduced at Bath & Body Works?

I wrote to a company today. PandaPop and I walked into Bath & Body Works to get him some shaving cream and were slapped in the face with a six foot poster of a totally naked teenage girl up on the focal wall. I was nice, but was emphatic towards the manager on site that THAT kind of marketing was not OK. She was very professional and promptly escorted me to the counter where she rather quickly gave me the corporate contact info so I could make my voice heard. She said that last night her workers called and said they'd put up the new promo poster and were sure that she would not approve. They had to do it anyway because those were the orders from the top.

Purity. How in the world are we supposed to teach our young girls that they don't have to show their bodies to live happy lives when THE most popular retail store in America for lotions and body soap (my own analysis) promotes their products in such a seductive manner? I am greatly disappointed in B & B Works. The following is the email I sent to the corporate office via their website. We'll see if I get a response. Their phones lines were down this morning. Made me wonder if they were already flooded with calls about this very topic.

"The new marketing plan as of May 6th is quite appalling. The huge poster of the completely nude teenager is completely inappropriate. (Even if the actual model is over the age 19, it is clearly implied that she is a teenager). How can a company which promotes wholesome mid-American sweetness use an advertising ploy that is clearly child pornography? Your products sell themselves. Sex is not needed to boost the sales. I love your products and have used them since the 90's. I do not want to have to stop giving your company my business, but will certainly do so if the new direction is to degrade females of all ages through the use of sensual, seductive advertising. Your message of using body lotion could have been promoted in a much purer, innocent way. It was very offensive to my husband who went into the store specifically for your male product line. It is not alright for children to be exposed to a nude picture either. I am so dumbfounded at the lack of foresight on the part of the marketing team at Bath & Body Works. Please have your retails stores remove the picture of the nude model. Thank you."

Don't be fooled if you go to the website to check it out. It's the same model, but not the same picture as the one in the store. The one in the store is of her sitting with her legs stretched out and she is 100% naked.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

They Outdid Themselves

I am in love with the new Mercy Me CD and I don't even have it---YET!

I have always loved this band and they just keep on getting better with age and life experiences. I think they hit the jackpot with this little baby they just released. Not only is the music awesome, but the "look" of the album and their costumes are fabulously my taste in creativity and the meaning and hope of the whole thing is, just, well, just God.

They are hoping for a movement of real Jesus love in action. I've no doubt it will flourish and God will bless it.

God will be blessed.

So interesting that I find this on the very same night that I finished up Financial Peace University and our final lesson was about GIVING. Dave Ramsey gave us so much knowledge and tangible things to do to be good stewards of God's money over the course of the 12 previous lessons and tonight stated that none of it matters if we don't understand that we are called to be givers and not hoarders.

I have always been faithful to tithe and I am, by nature a giver. I would LOVE to give, give, give to everyone, but for some greedy reason I hate giving tips at Sonic. I mean, really--walking from the counter to the car and handing me my brown bag and caramel/mocha java chiller isn't that hard. PandaPop and I have gone 'round and 'round with this for years. He waited tables a bit in our seminary days so he has buy in. I have no problem tipping at restaurants, but for some reason I have had an issue about Sonic tips.

How dare I?! My heart is the issue, not the tip! I will roll down my window and hand a person on the street corner ANYthing I can find in my car but I won't tip at Sonic.

No more.

I am a changed woman and will forever tip EXTRA at Sonic and anywhere else. None of the money is mine anyway. It's all God's.

The Generous Mr. Lovewell is my new focus.

The Generous Mrs. PandaLovewellMom

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Little Girl of Mine

Who IS this big girl I see?!!!

PandaGirl has been in one continual growth spurt over the past several months. I LOVE seeing her grow physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and yes, financially. She is learning how to allot her monies that she earns to give (tithe), save and spend along with us through the Financial Peace University which wraps up this coming week.

My girl is growing so tall and is a stinkin' hoot! The kid has got great comedic timing!!

I have been busy with life in general with PandaGirl and helping out PandaPop with some children's ministry events coming up in the next few months. I've also been very busy in the past two weeks with some great families doing photo shoots. Remember that you can check out my portfolio HERE.

I get such a rush from taking the pictures and editing them. I am hoping for some better equipment and software this summer to do even more of what I know I can!

Had "fun" this weekend by contracting STREP for the second time in two months. Doc said for me to get on Clar*itin daily to help with not continually inviting Mr. Bacteria to party in my tonsils on an ongoing basis seeing as how having surgery to get my tonsils out as an adult is a MAJOR thing that can easily go wrong with bleeding to death. Great options. I feel like I'm getting old having to take meds and vitamins everyday. Maybe my friends and I can meet up at Star*bucks and chat about our ailments over a cappuccino this week.

Three years ago today was our first Sunday on staff at our church!! I absolutely can't believe it's been THREE YEARS!! We adore our church family and can't imagine being anywhere else! This morning was Children's Day at church with all the children's choirs singing this morning and honoring the children in our church. I'm so proud of PandaPop and all the hard work he does for the ministry. The nature of his job means that many efforts go unnoticed---but that's totally OK because he knows that's his job and even his delight. Though PP is a huge ham for most people and on stage, when it comes to work ethic---he is a behind the scenes, take no credit kind of guy. Love that about him. He is a true team player and servant-leader. Enjoyed PG's children's choir leading us in a worship experience tonight. So precious to see all the kiddos doing their best to sing, act and make sure they do their part just right.

Tomorrow I'll be preparing a talk on friendship for our MOPS group on Tuesday. I'm not in MOPS anymore because PG isn't in preschool, but I'm looking forward to what the Lord will put on my heart about this subject. I have been blessed with so many really great friendships from all the churches in which we've served, college and even one friend from Kindergarten. I've got a lot to say, but need to smush it down to a reasonable amount of information that will invite the listeners to tune in instead of looking at their watches. I'll let you know how it goes.

Got lots on our PandaFamily's heart lately. Laying some things down at the Lord's feet. Trusting in His plan and not ours. Being patient and believing that He is in control. Thanks for praying along with us even if you have no details. He knows.