Ordinary People, Doing Extraordinary Thing

I am extremely grateful, thankful and humbled today for the special people that watch my daughter every day. When I began looking for childcare again 18 months ago, the first place I called and visited ended up being the place I chose. I visited many times, talked to the owner and the director several times and not only loved the facility but the atmosphere. Once we started all of the workers, not just the teachers in her room but the cook and the floating helpers, the directors and other teachers in other rooms just fell in love with Aylin. It was great to take my child somewhere where I knew she was being loved on, and maybe even spoiled just a bit.

Every room that she's been in the teachers talk so highly about her and just love her to pieces. All of the younger ladies argue over who should get to baby sit for her the next time. Aylin has even been known to get offended if Mrs. Nancy (the director and grandmotherly type) comes to her room to give them all attention, and Aylin had her feelings hurt that she was 3rd in line to get kisses. Clearly she *feels* loved by these amazing people. Could I really ask for more? Amazing care, by sweet loving people!

But there *IS* more. Mrs. Nancy knew that Jeff had been laid off. She pulled me aside one day just before the Thanksgiving break and asked me what size clothes and shoes Aylin wore. I told her, and then she tells me "Christmas is taken care of, don't you worry about a thing". I struggled with it for a while, several days even. I kept thinking "surely there are others out there who are in more need than us", "So we really deserve such a gift"? Then some friends of mine convinced me that clearly God has placed it on this woman's heart to bless us. Not only does she get the joy from being able to bless us, but by accepting her gift WE are allowing God to work through her and to feel HIS Love and Grace. And nothing touches a momma's heart more, than someone loving on her baby. Today as I dropped my daughter off on my way out of the door she loaded my arms with clothes, snow boots, and 2 large toys to wrap for Christmas.

Thank you Father for your Love and Grace. Thank you for teaching me YOUR definition of grace, not man's. I am so unworthy, but You love me anyhow. My cup runs over.

Thankfulness

I am thankful for:

* a short work week
* for a lunch/chat session with a great lady tomorrow
* work being mild and slow
* for my fun little family that makes every day special
* for my BIG family that extends grace and love and acceptance regardless of where I am in my walk of life.
* for my amazing Heavenly Father who is teaching me more about him and his love and faithfulness Every. Single. Day.
* for a husband who decided that I was worth the effort and sacrifice
* for friends who lift me up when my face is in the dirt
*
*
*

Psalm 27

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

4 One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.

13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
 
 
Thank you for this reminder today, Father.
For You, I will wait.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know...

This simple children's bible song is going around and around in my head this morning. What is ironic about that is the fact that I probably haven't heard or sung it is many many years. But it is so so true. He loves me, and I know it. MY Heavenly Father has been showing himself to me in ways that I never thought possible. This past week has been the most amazing week, in terms of spiritual journey's, that I have ever experienced.

God has been showing me how much he loves me, and that I am not alone. He's telling me there is nothing to be afraid of, that He can repair things that are broken. He is not just some distant figure available out there to call on when someone is sick or hurting. He's right here, with his hand on my shoulder wispering words of love, acceptance, and encouragement into my ear. He's holding me tight, and showing me that it's not by my own strength that I move forward but with His.

I think back to the Footsteps poem where the single set of footsteps appear, and God explains "I did not leave you, that is when I carried you". He is, and has been carrying me. I am basking in His love. He is faithful to provide exactly what we need. 

Jesus, take the wheel

She was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati
On a snow white Christmas Eve
Going home to see her Mama and her Daddy
With the baby in the backseat

Fifty miles to go and she was running low
On faith and gasoline
It'd been a long hard year

She had a lot on her mind and she didn't pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew it she was spinning
On a thin black sheet of glass

She saw both their lives flash before her eyes
She didn't even have time to cry
She was so scared
She threw her hands up in the air

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own

I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus, take the wheel

It was still getting colder when she made it to the shoulder
And the car came to a stop
She cried when she saw that baby in the backseat
Sleeping like a rock

And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I'm sorry for the way
I've been living my life

I know I've got to change
So from now on tonight

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own

I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on

Oh Jesus, take the wheel
Oh, I'm letting go

So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I'm on
From this road I'm on
Jesus, take the wheel
Oh, take it, take it from me
Oh, why, ooh
-------------------------------------------------
 
These lyrics speak my heart right now as I reach out to my Father and ask him to lead.
 
I can't do this on my own.
 
Save me from this road I'm on...

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee. --John Donne

It always takes me longer to process my feelings that most others. Even now I really don't have any of my own words. However this collection sums up my feelings rather well.
 
The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden's Death http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-gerloff/the-psychology-of-revenge_b_856184.html?ref=fb&src=sp
 
A great quote:
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr."
 
Proverbs 24:17-18 (NKJV)

 17 nDo not rejoice when your enemy falls,

And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;

 18 Lest the Lord see it, and 3it displease Him,

And He turn away His wrath from him.

 

It's the small wins...

In celebration of my 5 pounts lost on WW, I decided that I would share my favorite snacks and dinners. One of my favorite parts of the diet experience so far is eating all of the fruit. Especially blueberries and raspberries. I. Love. Berries. So those are my treats, and they are ZERO points. So I gobble them up and try not to think about how much they cost this time of year... I use fruit to fill in my diet since they are zero points, and I usually just need something to munch anyhow. So far it's been working out really great for me, and it helps me keep on track. I have very rarely gone over my PointPlus values in a day, even while I was traveling. It's taken a LOT of self control, especially when we go out to eat with family or friends. Because I want to be bad. But usually I can convince myself that I would enjoy something that is on my approved list just as much as something that is not. And in the end, I do!

 

Baked Shrimp in Lemony Garlic Sauce

  • 1 1/4lbs Lg Shrimp
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice (Recipe calls for fresh, but I used the bottle...)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Lemon Pepper seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 2 tbsp Parsley

Preheat oven to 425. Arrange (thawed if not fresh) shrimp on a baking dish. Combine all ingredients minus Parsley and pour over shrimp. Bake for 8-10 minutes until shrimp is done. Sprinkle with parsley.

I served the shrimp over wheat spaghetti noodles with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Super yummy! Super easy!

 

Pork Kebabs with Rum and Clementine Glaze

  • 1lb Pork Loin cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 6 Clementines
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Rum (I actually used bourbon because that was what we had)
  • 1 whole star Anise (I couldn't find this, but I had a Chinese 5 Spice and the 2 main ingredients were Anise so I sprinkled that in...)

You can either cook on your grill, or under your broiler in your oven. I used the broiler.

Cut your Onions into wedges, peppers into chunks, and remaining clementines (Leaving the skins on cut in half, and then in thirds making 6 pieces for each clementine). Squeeze the juice from 3 of the clementines to get apx 1/3 cup of juice. In a sauce pan combine juice, brown sugar, rum, and anise. Cook over medium heat for apx 6 minutes to form a glaze. While glaze is warming arrange your kebabs alternating Pork, Clementine, Onion, Pepper, repeat. Should make Apx 6 kebabs with 2 sets of each item on the kebab. Once your kebabs are complete brush on half of the glaze then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn and brush on the remaining glaze and cook for an additional ten minutes or until done.

I served over instant white rice, but would probably be better with brown rice. This was also super tasty, and hubby said the left overs were just as great. Easy, but not super fast due to cutting, arranging, etc.

 

Yummy Snack (Doesn't have a name....)

  • 1 apple (I use Gala or Fuji)
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Reduced Fat Feta Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar Pecans

Core and cut apple into bite sized pieces. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with feta and pecans. Stir until mixed well, enjoy. The measurements are not exact. Just do what looks right. It's super yummy!

Things I love about today... so far

  1. I got to sleep in...
  2. My daughter slept late...
  3. I had 45 minutes for quiet and coffee before I had to do the mommy thing.
  4. My husband put together 2 bowls (1 for me, 1 for Aylin) of his special Oatmeal together before he went to work. All I had to do was add water, and microwave. My husband is AMAZING!
  5. It's 68 degrees outside right now!
  6. Got some good playtime outside late this morning. Aylin rode her trike while I pushed her and she rang her bell. Then we ran around the yard giggling at cats and dogs. Then we played with chalk on the porch.
  7. Lunch was super easy. She wanted a cold hot dog (a current favorite), a slice of cheese, and apple slices.
  8. AYLIN IS TAKING A NAP... this is huge, and I hope I didn't just jinx it. But I managed to get her down by snuggling on my bed with her until she fell asleep. Then very sneaky like snatched my arm from under her and rolled off the bed.
  9. Because my daughter is napping in my bedroom and not hers, I can do laundry and dishes and not wake her. And therefore get my weekend cleaning out of the way a lot easier and sooner.
  10. I'm really excited about having joined Weight Watchers, I don't know what the results are from my first week. But regardless, I'm proud of myself for setting boundries and sticking to them.
  11. Did I mention my daughter slept late AND is taking a nap? Because that's a big deal. :D

The one thing I don't love about today is that Jeff had to work. But it's good money, and it's a beautiful day so maybe it's not a horrible thing, just a not so great thing.

Ahhh Num New! XX

This is what my daughter tells me yesterday while being in the tub, after being a rascal! She had been exceptionally misbehaved in the tub, and I was just about to call it quits when she suddenly realizes that she's pushed me too far and sits down like a perfect angel and plays nicely with her toys. She proceeded like this for probably 10 or 15 minutes. I got distrated for a moment and wasn't giving her my full attention, so she comes over to the side of the tub where I was sitting on the floor, grabs my face between her wet hands to get my attention and says "Ahh num new!" and proceeds to give me two open mouthed kisses in a row. I sat there and blinked for a moment or two until it registered what just happened, and then my heart just melted right then and there. A big pile of goo. I grinned back at her and told her I loved her too and she grinned and laughed a proud laugh. It was a very sweet moment. Love that sweet kiddo!!

Blessing for the Melton family

My 29th birthday is one that I will not forget any time soon. We have experienced huge blessings this week, ones that will be life changing in ways that we never could have imagined, or dared to hope for.

Back in September I did a complete overhaul on my resume and for kicks and giggles (what could it hurt?), decided to keep it out on Monster.com for whatever opportunities might come. Well, it got someone's attention this past Wednesday, and I received a simple email inquiry as a result. The email asked if I was still in the market and would I be interested in a position with their company as an Analyst, if so to respond by email or phone. That day was a particularly busy day at the office, and I was curious about the company but just didn't have the time to look into it at all during the day. That night at home my husband did some digging, and we determined that they were a seemly well established company, and that it couldn't hurt to talk to the guy. So I had in mind to follow up with the man the next morning by email and just see where things went. The next morning I didn't have the time to even frame my thoughts on a follow up email before I received a voicemail from the man asking again, if I was interested in speaking to him about this position. That got my attention. This guy was serious, and he was clearly interested in me. From there a wild email conversation followed that quickly snowballed from "Yes, I'm interested in speaking with you today. When is a convenient time to call?" to "Come by our offices at 2pm, and we can discuss the possibilities". So, that I did. All the while thanking our Father who knowing what was in store for my day, had me prepared for an impromptu interview by having the appropriate clothing on and opening my schedule for the afternoon to allow for the said impromptu interview. So I made a quick stop by Kinko's to print off a more snazzy copy of my resume (yeah, he already had a copy... but it couldn't hurt to show up with a *nice* looking copy of one vs. one he probably printed on copy paper assuming he printed it at all). Grabbed a Cherry Coke from Sonic, and headed to the address of the offices. At this point, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I was prepared for the possibility of an interview, but was really only expecting a conversation. It ended up being far more than even just an interview. I show up, introduce myself and sit down. He proceeds to tell me about the job, and how things are run. A little about the company, what they do and how they've grown. Then comes his question to me, does this sound like something you are interested in, do you feel like this would be something you would enjoy doing? In short, YES! The job, to be brief, is right up my alley in terms of things that I enjoy doing. I would be pulling data, and analysing it. Preparing reports, and supplying them to the sales manager and the companies we sell product to. This is something I have always enjoyed doing, and have been told I am quite good at. But here lately have not had the time to do near as much future planning and data pulling due to changing processes, and constant fires in my current job. The next big question was compensation. To which, I had no answer. I guess at least up to this point, hadn't decided how much a move like this would be worth to me and what it would take for me to leave where I was at. So he decided to let me sit with the other lady in the office and get a view of exactly what I would be doing, and how often. Just to get an over all feel for what I would be getting myself in to. After sitting with her, I was even more excited about the possibilities. The nerd in me was spazing out! They want me to do what I like?! Under a less stressful, more flexible environment? Next came the compensation discussion. When the number was provided, and the question was posed "So, are we in the ball park?" I was able to very calmly answer "Yes, you're in the ball park". While in my mind reviewing "Less stress + More flexibility + Good Pay = HOLY COW! Is this really happening? At this point, it was revieled to me that one of the references listed on my resume was an aquaintenace of the man I was interviewing with. The reference was also a co-worker and friend one of the interviewers good friends. Who also happened to be someone who knew me, and worked with me early on in my Walmart career. So while I was job shadowing with the other lady in the office, he called his friend up and got a good reference for me. To hear that was just amazing to me. How God put together this chain of events continues to amaze me! After wraping up our discussion, and preparing to leave the comment was made that "I have one more interview tomorrow, but if I had the option I'd make you an offer right now!" I couldn't even have begun to hope that that impromptu interview would have gone so well, and that I would walk away with a possible offer! The excitement was amazing, and Jeff and I proceeded to discuss the process and talk through questions I needed to ask or get clarification on. We wanted to be sure we weren't missing anything. This was all happening so fast. The next morning, I decided I was going to drop in to the office of the man I had listed as my reference, who is also a mentor of mine. I talked it through with him, wanting to get his perspective. Wanting re-assurance that I was looking at everything I needed to be. Is this company stable, is this man going to stand up to his words? And I had a very fruitfull conversation. I had, in fact covered most of my bases. I was given some advise to ask a few questions. But all in all was told, "if I were in your shoes, I would take this opportunity". All answers pointed to GO! So when the offer email came through I asked my questions, but let them know I was very interested. A phone call over lunch ironed those details out. Immediately returning from lunch I typed up my letter of resignation to the company, giving my 2 weeks notice. Which still seems surreal to me... I think I've been running on adrenaline since 2pm Thursday afternoon. The week of Christmas my new life outside of Walmart begins. I'll have my very own office, window, and front row parking (this is a big deal to those of you who have never had to walk a mile to your car in the rain, cold or other nastiness)! I'm looking forward to this new chapter in my career building. The possibilities are seemingly endless. And I stand in Awe and wonder how I (and my little family by extension) deserve all of this. I never would have imagined such an amazing thing would have been dropped in my lap. This kind of thing only happens in movies, right?! :) So, here I am, wide awake at 2:30am. Still wondering if all of this is real, and could this really be happening. God is SO so great. It is clear to me, that without him none of this would have happened. He prepared me, he tailored this for me. Now the excitement begins, and to Him I give ALL my praise!