Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Batgirl, and her trusty sidekick, Monkey with Banana.

I have a winner!

I have a winner for the Keith Martinson cd! It's #4 which was....{drumroll}.... Aimee!

Aimee said...

Woo Hoo!!! Your first giveaway!!!! Congrats...I knew it was bound to happen one of these days.

Okay, I've been listening to Matthew West a lot lately, but my "oldies but a goodies" that I always default to are CCR or Aerosmith. Man, I love them!!! :)

Congrats, Aimee, I think you'll love it! I'll be in contact for your address.

Thank you everyone for playing, and if you didn't win it, you can still supply yourself with incredible piano music by going to Keith's website. Both of the cds available in his store are worth purchasing, and would make great Christmas gifts!!


My First Giveaway!!

** Contest Closed! Please head over to Keith's website to purchase his cd! **

Oh, yes, I AM!! I could not be more thrilled to be participating in the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival! If you're a freebie addict like me, check out the carnival. There will be over 1,000 giveaways listed!

So if you are here visiting via the carnival, welcome -- please -- have a seat. I appreciate you stopping by. Sometimes I write about my precious children. Sometimes typos. I'll be honest, quite often I don't write anything worth reading. And really, I'm just trying to get back into it all now that the Funk has lifted. You are so very welcome to come again.

Now, for my FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY! I am so excited to be giving away a fabulous piano cd by a friend of mine, Keith Martinson. The cd is called "Today", and it is brand spanking new. I was able to attend the cd release concert this weekend (well, well, look at me -- out of my house at fancy cd release concerts). It was a beautiful concert (David Ask was also performing), and I only wish our church would allow us to bring tasty hot beverage treats from the Caribou into our sanctuary, because I would have loved to have just leaned back with one and gone into a state of permanent relaxation.

Keith has a gift. I mean really. I love when he just plays under prayer or something at church, because he moves flawlessly from song to song, sometimes making it all up as he goes along. Furthermore, I remember once asking him if he knew a certain song. "I'm not sure, sing it." So I sang part of it and he just started playing. Did he know the song? No. But he could just hear the melody and was able to accompany me. It's sick. And I wish I was afflicted with it. But at least I get to witness it. And Keith is completely down to earth, which makes it impossible to hate him or even dislike him.

More about the cd: Keith's "Today" cd is entirely original music. From the liner notes: "It seems that Today is so often marked in the scriptures by God's action and our decisions. 'Today is the day of salvation... Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster... Today when you hear his voice... Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.' God is always doing something Today! My prayer is that this music will be a blessing to you and a reminder of God's presence today."

I started listening to "Today" today (ahahaha), and I love it. It made me want to stop what I was doing and just be. Instead I did some dishes and it was nice for that too. It would be nice to have on while reading. Fun to listen to in the car. It just made me feel reflective. And while I enjoyed all of the songs, I could put "All Things" on repeat for roughly, well, forever.

I have one cd to giveaway to a very lucky reader! If you are less lucky, please visit Keith's website where you can order his previous cd "Faith, Hope & Love" (another favorite of mine), and I suspect "Today" will be available... any day (ahahaha). Do you see this people? It's not quite even for sale online yet, but I have it for you. You're welcome.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite musical artist/what's in your cd player/what's in heavy rotation on your ipod. Something of that nature. You have until 8 am CST Oct. 31, 2008. Then I will figure out how to use Mr. Random Integer to draw a Big Winner. You'll need to either leave me your email or a link to your blog so I might contact Lucky Lucky You. One entry per person. U.S. only please. I will post & contact the winner Friday, and said winner will have until noon Monday to claim this fabulous prize. After that, it's back to the random integer I go.

I want to thank Keith for helping me out with this giveaway -- remember, Christmas is practically around the corner and wonderful piano music would take care of a lot of people on your list. Also, check out another friend, Tony's site, but first read more here.

And -- BEGIN!!


These precious, precious dear ones.

While shopping at Target with both girls the other day:
Ella: "Mom? You're a really nice mom. I love you."
Me: "Awww. Thanks, Ella. That's really sweet."
Ella: "Because I really, REALLY want to go to Pizza Ranch."
Ah. Apparently she had not missed that if they were good we would go out to eat.

A few weeks ago at church, I wore my fabulous shoes to church, and switched to some flats to run a couple errands before we went home.
Natalie: "Mom, did you change to flats? You had heels before."
That just makes a shoe-loving mommy's heart skip a beat when said by a 3 yr old.

Last night:
Ella: "MOoooooom? Natalie says she doesn't want to be my sister anymore."


Oh how I wish this was interesting.

Last night I headed to dinner at Bennigans. Where I almost ordered the Guinness glazed chicken & shrimp. At the last possible second, I opted for a buffalo chicken sandwich, so I could get fries. I didn't pay attention to the fact that the chicken would be breaded & fried. And oh my, was it fried. To a crisp. And then some. You may be thinking "Yum-O" if you watch too much Rachel Ray, but none for me, thanks. I like my chicken grilled. In any case, I choked it down. The fries were good. There was so much oil involved in the chicken, that I'm pretty sure I could have pricked my finger after and greased a cookie sheet or two.

In any case, I had made a decision beforehand that I was going to Caribou afterwards for a chai. I like my chai. So despite the fact that I felt disgusting, I went anyway. Gimme my chai. I ran into Mr. Caribou, even though he isn't working at that one anymore. He likes to be around his peeps. "Whaddya drinkin today?" Mr. Caribou has a knack for drink suggestions. I said I was having a chai because I really don't know what else to drink when it's cold since... I don't really like coffee. I KNOW. Shoot me. Anyway, he suggested next time I get a shot of white chocolate. Meh. I said really I'd just like the chai to be spicier. "Get a half a shot of extra chai."

I'm sorry, what? Can I do that? Just get more chai in my CHAI??? "Go tell J. to put an extra half in right now." Oh how I hate to take things back. I mean I really hate it. I eat things I shouldn't, just to make life easier for everyone. I feel bad even asking for skim milk in my chai when I order it.

But I did go back & ask for an extra shot. Maybe because I still felt so wronged by that buffalo incident. And yeah, they stared at me. In fact, J. yelled to him, "Why Mr. Caribou? Why extra chai?" But he gave it to me. And you know what? Chai perfection. It's all I can do not to get in my car right now, and go order another. Heaven in a cup. May your chai always have 1 1/2 shots.

This was all followed by a wretched night of sleep. I mean, terrible. That chicken yelled at me all night. I just watched the minutes tick by in agony. Not to mention, both of the girls have colds, and EVERY TIME they cough, I wake up. One cough. I can't sleep through it. My children are ill. So just as I could quiet the flashbacks of greaziness, the coughing would start and I was up laying awake for another half hour. Dying from grease poisining. Morning came all too soon.

But oh sweet Caribou. I feel like the scales have fallen from my eyes. All this time, and all I needed was an extra half shot of chai? I'll be back, my steamy friend. And I will ignore the poster that says to spit in my chai, labeled "Picky Chai Girl." I won't even notice. And I'm certainly not sending it back. Not now.

Tackle it Tuesday!

Woohoo! It's Tuesday! Ugh. Whatever. Tuesday mornings suck the life out of me. But that's another post.

This week I'm participating in 5 Minutes for Mom's Tackle it Tuesday. Because I'm all about tackling house projects {insert hysterical laughter}. No, seriously, they offered free CLR. These days when I hear "free" or "win", I am a complete junkie. I'd probably jump at the chance for free garbage. But please don't stage an intervention, I'm not ready yet.

Anyway. So the kind folks at CLR were going to send out a bottle of CLR Bath & Kitchen Multi-Surface Cleaner, and I was supposed to find something gross in my bath or kitchen to clean to show how fabulous CLR is.

Surprise #1: I sort of expected some little trial size bottle, just enough for my Tackle it job. Full size bottle. Thanks, CLR.

Without further ado, grossness from my bathroom.

Ish. Sorry about that. Going back in time, I would not have purchased this vanity. Whatever the sink is made out of refuses to ever really be sparkly clean. Gross.

So I waited til the munchkins were at school, hosed it down in CLR and waited the prescribed 3 minutes. I shut the bathroom door to keep the cat out. Because even though I may be sick of the cat, I don't want to deal with a poisoned one.

Surprise #2: When I walked back into the bathroom, I expected my senses to be assaulted by hideous chemical smells. It really didn't smell much. I could smell my rubber gloves more than the spray itself.

I ran a little water & wiped the sink down. I wiped around the faucet, and it seemed like it wanted to be cleaner than the paper towel was getting so I grabbed an old toothbrush and swiped at some of the crusties. They came willingly.

Surprise #3: It seems to work.

So while my sink is still my stupid sink that hasn't been sparkly since Day 1, it has definitely improved. Moreso than with any other cleaner I've used actually. They already gave me the free CLR, and I don't get paid so there's really no reason for me to cover for them. I'm interested to see what other nastiness it might remove from my house. It really doesn't even come through in the pictures how much better it is.


Awesome music, anyone?

So my friend Tony recently posted on his Caring Bridge site a way we can help. And actually, it's a way you can help too. Tony is a very gifted musician and songwriter, with a heart for Jesus. For the next few months, their income will be less but additional medical bills will be added.

I've been singing with Tony at church for almost 6 years off & on. It's been really fun to watch him grow as a worship leader. I've also been blessed to sing some really amazing songs with him, and still have a list of a few that are left.

Tony came out with a CD a couple of years ago, and any purchases of said CD would really help their family right now. It's a cd I've loved -- "I Gotta Get Back." His website has samples of the songs if you'd like to listen first. You can also search for "Tony Pitschka" on itunes, and buy it that way. And I've added the link on my sidebar to his website as well. It's just him and his guitar, and some great lyrics. Christmas is coming, so maybe you could pick up a couple?

So check it out and see what you think. I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.

Today Tony posted some lyrics of a song that he said made him cry the first time he sang it. I remember hearing him sing it the first time at a church celebration, and it's become one of my favorites.

I Have a Maker

I have a maker
He formed my heart,
before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call

I have a father,
he calls me his own
He'll never leave me,
no matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call
He hears me when I call


This is my transition post.

It's a meme, from Fiddledeedee. Seemed like a good transition from funk back into fun.

Here are the rules:

  • Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following questions.
  • They have to be real places, names, things. nothing made up!
  • You can’t use your name for the boy/girl name question.

1. What is your name? Sarah

2. A 4 Letter Word: Soup. First thing that came to mind. I love soup though.

3. A Boys Name: Samuel

4. A Girls Name: Samantha

5. An Occupation: Singer

6. A Color: Sienna. Love me some deep browns.

7. Something you wear: Skirts. I prefer skirts over pants and shorts, generally speaking.

8. A Beverage: Shake. Chocolate. Or a chocolate peanut butter! Or oreo at Applebee's after IV on a Thursday night -- oh -- good times.

9. A Food: Salmon. Got to go to a salmon bake after a ferry ride from Seattle -- sealed the deal with me & salmon.

10. Something found in the bathroom: Sink.

11. A place: Sea Island. One of my happy places from another of Captain America's work trips. I miss those work trips.

12. A Reason for being late: Sarah. I am my own reason.

13. Something you shout: SHUT. UP. It's from watching too much Stacy & Clinton on What Not to Wear. It can't be helped. At least it's in a positive light.

*sigh* That felt nice. Ok, I tag anyone who needs blog fodder.


Less funk.

I've had a few great blog ideas in my head. But due to the funk, I just didn't feel like it. I have to say, though, I think the funk is lifting. It feels less consuming, and more like occasional funky fog. Would you believe *gasp* I didn't even feel like shopping? I KNOW, right? That fact alone filled me with more funk. How could I possibly not feel like shopping? It just didn't feel natural.

Now I could use something fabulous in a deep purple for fall. And maybe a strapless dress for a wedding we're going to in November. And I might start getting some ideas for next year's purse.

God is good, and God is faithful. That's not something I can bring myself to doubt. But sometimes I think it's ok to wander through the funky haze. Peaks and valleys and all that.

Thanks for being patient. Give me another day or two, and I think I'll have a lot to fill you in on. If I can remember the posts written in my head. If not, I'll just make something up.


Stepping out of The Funk for a moment...

To wish my dear friend Amy a very Happy 11 Years! Amy and Captain America had a few classes together in high school. When Amy was mid-college, she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. It was eleven years ago today that her brother supplied bone marrow for a transplant.

After her recovery, she moved to Duluth just 2 blocks from where we lived as newlyweds. And even 10 years later, I still miss opening the door to see Amy had stopped by. Or watching 90210 together at her apartment, followed by riveting discussion over her Sicilian Meatloaf. Those who know her, know Amy is a ray of sunshine in your life! So while I'm sad we now live states away, I love that we at least have email.

We each have a unique perspective on life, because of the circumstances we have each experienced. I am so grateful that God keeps her in my life, so that I can benefit from hers.

Happy 11, Amy! We love you!


In a funky room, with funky curtains

I am in a FUNK. A cloud of Funkiness has settled. There is a haze of Funk. I am looking at the world through Funk colored glasses.

Last week I found out that a friend has Lymphoma (of the Hodgkin variety, which is the good of the bad). The Funk is two part.

Funk Part 1
What a horrible thing to go through. I feel for him, and for his family. Although he'd felt sick-ish for about 5 months, I know for myself I would have chalked it up to allergies/colds/seasonal crud. He had a chest x-ray late last week, and the next thing you know it's a biopsy & lymphoma. He'll be working with doctors this week to find out the extent of it, and come up with a treatment plan involving radiation, chemo or both.

Funk Part 2
I confess, illnesses of this proportion are something I reserve in my head for other people's parents. Great uncles. Maybe a grandparent. NOT PEOPLE MY AGE. I have heard of a few others, but this is the first within my acquaintance circle. And it slaps me like a 2x4 with the sense that life is so very fragile. Not even in the sense that it could end at anytime, it can also just flip you upside down at any time. You can just be rolling along, set on cruise, and the next thing you know you're plopped down on a completely different road in another country where you don't even speak the language. Hence, the FUNK.

Yesterday one of the songs I got to sing with Tony (just days after a biopsy on his neck -- are you kidding me? I'm at home in bed if I'm him) was Not to Us. "Not to us, but to Your name, be the glory," based on Psalm 115. So ultimately, that is my prayer. And I think once it soaks in, the Funk will lift. Grace and Joy will remain. Because of God's Love and Faithfulness. Because that is what is true.


Shhhh.... she's sleeping...

5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a fantastic bedroom set! To enter, I need to post a picture of my sleeper. Natalie really doesn't fit in her toddler bed anymore, and this set would be so wonderful! Under the bed storage? SIGN ME UP. I am all over the Lily Rose set. So cute.

Without further ado, my sleeping angel:

Ok, fine. We'll talk about it. Yes, this is taken from the driver's seat. Yes, there is scenery whizzing past in the background. Before you call child protective services, I did not turn around to take it. I held the camera over my shoulder with one hand and got lucky. Hence, it is not crystal clear and perfectly focused. I peeked in the rear view mirror, and could not resist. Furthermore, it was taken on the drive from Fargo. My peeps in the W MN can attest there is nothin' but nothin' on that straight shot.

Oh nevermind. I promise to never do it again. And I pray that it wins her a bedroom set, so it wasn't for nothing.


Can you hear me now?

Ok, this requires input. Every 2-3 months I debate losing the land line entirely and just going with cell phones.

My hangups (oooo -- sorry -- that was AWFUL) are as follows:
1. I work from home and use the land line to talk to my customers because I have unlimited long distance. I can easily end up on the phone for an hour or more per day on work-related calls.
2. If we switch to cells only, because we live in the stix it will suddenly be long distance for my family members across town (and the school for that matter) to call us.
3. I don't mind being in the phone book.
4. As Ella gets into school, how are her little friends going to contact her to play? Not that it's happened yet. Just thinking ahead.

It's just that I get tired of paying for cell phones and a land line. I'm not about to give up the comfort & convenience of the cell. And I wouldn't mind if Santa brought me an iPhone, which would require a substantial upgrade in our cell plan.