Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Perfect Place to Read

Today, I'm searching for the perfect place to read ...... ahh, think I found it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

My Secret Addiction

They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one .... I certainly hope so.

You see, I DO have a problem -- a dirty little secret I have kept hidden for months now. One that I am almost too embarrassed to confess. Something that started so innocently has now become nothing less than an addiction. This addiction is the reason my bed is not currently made, the dishes in my sink are dirty, the laundry in my home is reaching mountainous heights, and my blog has suffered from lack of posts for almost all of the last year.

I haven't come forward with this news before now because I thought my secret was something I had under control. What I was doing was not hurting anybody. No one had to know about it. It was just a guilty little pleasure that brought me joy.

Besides, it started with great intentions. I was invited by a friend to join this new website -- a website where I could write in the presence of friends, much like my blog --- the blog which I had originally started as a way to stay in touch with friends and family who lived far away. What was the harm? All my friends were already doing it. It seemed like the whole world had already discovered it. Facebook.

I loved Facebook from the start. I loved that I could now connect with friends I hadn't seen or heard from in years. I loved (and still do) seeing photos of their children, reading about their travels, their jobs, their lives. I loved (and still do) posting my own family photos, writing about my travels, my adventures, my jobs--past and present, my children, my life. Yes, this writing took away from the time I had previously spent on my blog, but I was now connecting with many people I hadn't heard from in years. I received immediate gratification for any wisdom or wit or even seemingly mundane moments I experienced and posted .... I loved (and still do) reading the comments, and leaving comments, and savoring the wit and wisdom and mundane moments experienced by my friends and family around the world. It felt like I finally had everyone I loved in one room, ready to chat over morning coffee. What a blessing!

But then -- here comes the embarrassing part -- I discovered .... Facebook games. At the request of friends, I opened a Farm, a cafe, a fish tank, and spent endless hours nurturing my crops, animals, and business. So much time, in fact, that my Farm became more beautiful than any garden I had ever cultivated, my cafe served up culinary delights that had never graced my kitchen table, and my fish were more well-kept than the real-life pets that currently lived in my home. Over time, thankfully, I noticed my virtual life was becoming more glorious than real-life, and wisely took action. I retired from my farm where I had become a virtual millionaire, closed my very successful online cafe, and allowed all my fish to be adopted into better homes.
That should have been the end of it, right? Problem solved. My secret addiction should have then become a fleeting memory. But then, a friend sent me a request for Family Feud, and another friend was achieving freakishly high scores on Bejeweled, and I thought, "What's the harm?"

Well, I bring you to the present time. This week, I have unleashed my brain power -- not on solving real-life problems, or saving the world, or earning money, or studying for an advanced degree. No, I've used my intellect to answer Family Feud questions so my friends could earn bonus points. My hours at home were not spent organizing, writing, cleaning, or otherwise doing anything useful. No, they were spent trying to beat my friends' ridiculously high Bejeweled scores. (Really, who can actually win 589,000 points within the span of a minute game of Bejeweled? Who? But darnit, my competitive streak was going to try!)

Finally... my secret is out. I have become addicted to Facebook games. Me! The mother who is always nagging her children to get off their video games and play outside, or read, or practice music or do homework or anything more productive than sitting in front of a computer or television screen.

I will say, however, that it does feel good to admit the truth. Hopefully, my admission, however embarrassing it may be, is the first step to freeing myself from this problem, once and for all. The first step to becoming more productive, more creative, and ending my secret time-wasting habits for good.

But, in closing, I can't help but wonder ... which of my friends is currently toppling my latest Bejeweled score?! :-)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Join us where skies are blue ....

Blue Skies is a ministry that offers weeklong family retreats to bring the hope of Christ to families living through the challenges of pediatric cancer and other life-threatening pediatric illnesses. Our hope is that children who are sick will laugh and play again; that siblings, who often compete with illness, will feel cherished and valued; and, that marriages and families will be strengthened.

Please Text* 104120 to Pepsi (73774) and VOTE DAILY online to send kids with cancer and their families to Where Skies are Blue.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Peaceful WindMark Beach

“Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.” ~Anonymous

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One of those happy, blessed days!

Photo from St. Joseph's Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe, Florida -- America's #1 Beach, 2002

Don't ya love those days ...
when life greets you with a smile ...
when everything goes according to plan ...
when you hear from someone unexpected ...
when you realize the world really is on your side ...
when someone you know apologizes first, and you apologize too, and you don't even remember what you fought about to begin with.
Now I know that not all days are like this,
but when one does come my way
like today ...
I feel so happy and so blessed and so lucky to be alive
so I just want to say
Thank you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Snow Grateful . . . Ponderings of a Summer Dreamer during Winter

"I am not fond of snow. Cold, wet winds neither exhilarate nor enthuse me. To praise with joy the glory of harsh winter would be -- for me-- to sing a lie. . .
And yet ...
What graceful glory, serenity of silence, as the full fat moon sends tiny beams to reflect on snowflakes resting, like bridal lace, on the arms of great trees. The absolute stillness of mid-winter's eve unites above with below in such perfect symmetry that my heart swells, and I almost cry at the deep beauty, deeper quiet, deepest Oneness of it all. Thank you. . .
"My spirit does not gleefully jump at soggy mittens, wind weepy eyes, cold ears, runny nose, almost frozen fingers and toes, icicles forming in my hair, or leaving my gloves in the car overnight." ~ Elizabeth A. Johnson from Gratitude: A Way of Life by Louise Hays & Friends
And still . . .
Happily I extend heartfelt gratefulness to: chicken soup, fuzzy slippers, woolen mittens, fluffy pajamas I can wear all day, cozy fireplaces, hot cocoa with cream, tankless hot water heaters, my dog fearlessly dodging into snow drifts, my cat purring cozily on my lap, dressing in layers, snow boots, the smiles snowflakes bring to my children's faces, the laughter that sleds and snowballs bring, the sun brightening up the sky and initiating the great thaw.

"**It is not terribly thrilling for me when parts of life are closed or cancelled like school" or dance classes, or grocery stores, Super Bowl parties, neighborhood roads, or the base hospital. And snow. Snow. Shoveling more and more SNOW. And melted snowy footprints upon which my son slips and breaks his elbow when roads and othopedic clinics are closed.
But also . . . I turn to the window and see the neighborhood children laughing and snowboarding and sledding and building igloos. I join in a snowball fight with my children and fall and giggle until my sides ache. My dog slushes through the piles intentionally as if her life-mission is to conquer the snowbanks in her path. The neighbor's lap dog runs circles around her, taunting her, teasing and prancing atop the snow. My children create snow angels. And then . . .

** I am reminded that God loves to smile!

And I smile too. Nothing to do but savor my daughter's joy at catching a snowflake on her tongue, and my sons' thrill at zooming down sled hills at break-neck speed. Freedom. Happiness. Appreciating the moments when real life slows down and we are FREE to laugh and play and just BE. . .

Wishing you all the blessings of Winter and Life as well,

All quotes in the above post came from my reading today in Gratitude: A Way of Life ... which inspired me to expand and share my own story of gratitude here. **Quotes from Elizabeth A. Johnson

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sharing our Win through Vacations for Veterans

Many readers of IdeaMom know this year has been an enchanted one for our family. One year ago this week, we learned that we had just won the WindMark Beach Idea House from The home is located 90 miles away from my hometown in Northwest Florida. We are a military family who has moved around the country and the world for the past 15 years. Our plans have always been to return to the Florida beaches I call home, but didn't quite know how that would become a reality. MyHomeIdeas, their parent company, Time Inc., and St. Joe Company, the developer of WindMark Beach made that possible. In a few years, when my husband retires from the Air Force, we will have a charming beach house to call home.

Until then, we are spending vacations in the home, which we have named Summer Dream, and renting it out when we are not there. With the publicity the home received from MyHomeIdeas, we have had no problem filling the home with vacationers over the past year. Family reunions, wedding celebrations, and many other special memories have been created in the home. Sharing the home and hearing the stories of those who have visited has been a true gift to us. How wonderful to know others are enjoying our wonderful dream come true, as well!

Last year during the holiday season, we donated a week stay at Summer Dream to a deserving family at the Air Force base where we are currently stationed. This gave me the idea to research other ways we could share the blessing of our life-changing win. That is when I found Vacations for Veterans.

Vacations for Veterans is a nonprofit which organizes stays in donated vacation homes to wounded war veterans. This allows our nation's heroes an opportunity to readjust, rebuild their lives, and reconnect with families in luxurious accomodations they might not otherwise be able to afford. I listed our home with their program last Spring. We have just found out that a USMC Sgt who was awarded a Purple Heart in Iraq will be vacationing at Summer Dream, this Christmas.

This is a full-circle blessing for us. You see, we visited the home for the first time during the week of Christmas last year. I remember feeling as if I was floating on a cloud during the entire visit. What a joy! What a dream come true! And now, to share our blessing with a soldier who was injured while defending our country. Wow, what a joy! What a dream come true!

It is a wonderful feeling to see our family's blessing flow to bless another deserving family this Christmas. I know first-hand the sacrifices of our nation's military families. I am grateful for the opportunity to share our gift. My hope for the family this Christmas is for them to feel as if they are floating through a dream come true just as we were last year.

You may visit the Vacations for Veterans website to find how you may help as well. Though they are always grateful for the donation of vacation homes, they have many other needs as well, including travel expenses for veterans to the homes. We are in the process of contacting local businesses near our vacation home to have meals, gift certificates and tour packages donated to the family during their stay. A team of giving hearts can truly make a deserving person's dream come true.

Blessings to all of you,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Your Fears Erased Here Daily

What a great idea! I don't know where this is or who created this (I found the photo on the 29 Gifts website), but what a wonderful concept!! I'm inspired to create something similar in our home. We all need the opportunity to erase our fears!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Can Hug

I love this photo of my daughter at play near our Summer Dream beach house at WindMark in Port St. Joe, Florida . . . It captures how I imagine her frollicking in dreamland each night.

A Magic MOMent in Dream Making. . .

We nestled down in my daughter's "flower bed" (a name my daughter sweetly coined when she first received her adored floral comforter) at dusk to partake in our nightly ritual of bedtime "dreammaking." Dreammaking weaves gratitude for today's blessings with our heart's special wishes into a blanket of dreams to comfort my daughter while she sleeps.
On this day, she was thrilled her Daddy had spent the better part of the afternoon painting her room to create a dreamy pinkaliscious retreat. We decided her room had been magically transformed into a fluffy pink cloud~ a perfect place to dream.

Each night, during dreammaking, I try to offer a little bit of wisdom and whimsy for my daughter to carry into her night. This night, the wisdom and whimsy was not mine to claim. No, it came wrapped in a five-year-old's innocent curiosity ~ a question.

Mommy, is a dream a wish? A wish that comes to you? So then you can hug it?

I nodded and said, "Yes, I believe you're right. A dream is a wish your heart can hug!"
I hugged my little dream come true, and kissed her goodnight.

Later, in my own room, I said a prayer of thanks, and carried the sweet dream my daughter had woven for me into the night.