Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Mom. That is so embarrassing."

Silence for a couple of more seconds as she watches a few more frames. Mary Grace's hand is over her mouth. Then, when she sees the clip from the high school gym, her hands fly to her cheeks and she says, "You did not do embarrassing!"

Yep. I did it. And my partner in crime? My dear friend, Marla Roweton Kemp, God love her.

The first seeds of my adventure were planted when our clan started watching The Amazing Race together on Sunday evenings. I love to travel, and I'm a smidge competitive - both of which are prime ingredients of this particular reality show. Our family would cuddle together in the family room, munch on popcorn and/or ice cream, pick our favorite teams and then cheer them through the various road blocks and detours - always predicting how we would do if we were in the same situation.

I could often be heard exclaiming, "I want to be on The Race!"

Well, wanting to be on The Race, and actually applying to be on The Race, are two different things entirely. I can hardly believe I actually followed through and really applied - but in 2006, that's exactly what I did. And sweet Marla was willing to take a month off and go with me if we made it!

Obviously, we weren't chosen, and when you watch our application video, you can probably guess why.

But I don't regret applying at all.

It was a blast to talk about applying and then to really do it! We backed up our talk with action!

It was also a blast making this video. Marla and I have laughed a ton over it.  And we all know what laughter does for you...

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..." Proverbs 17:22

And believe it or not, the time after we sent the application in and before the deadline set for choosing the teams, was actually a fun time. It was that time of potential. We might be chosen - probably not - but we might be. Somebody has be chosen! It could be us. It was exciting.

I share this post for three reasons.

I've got The Amazing Race on the brain because it starts back up this Sunday. We've already set our DVR.

Secondly, I just wanted to provide a smile or giggle to anybody who takes the time to watch the video. Don't feel bad if you find yourself agreeing with Mary Grace.

And thirdly, I wanted to publicly declare that I've been blessed by God with true blue friends - one of which is featured here. She loves, encourages, cries, and laughs with me. She always speaks truth to me. And she's willing to doing crazy (albeit harmless) stunts with me! That, dear readers, is a friend!

And if I want to keep her as my friend, I'll end here and give her a call. She needs to know what is about to debut on the world wide web!

It's Amazing!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Simple. Cell. Saturday.

Instead of Friday, like it's supposed to be.

But I won't worry about that right now. I'm just happy to have a few moments to hang out on the computer and remember my week.

And, I'm really counting on these InstaFridays to help me remember my life when I'm old and have possibly forgotten the sweet details of "the good ol' days."

Speaking of a good day, that's what our volleyball team had last Saturday at the Buffalo Tournament. We won the whole thing! Car trips home are so much more fun when you win. I'm sure the key to our success was this little lactic acid draining exercise...


The opposite of winning is what these two Razorbacks witnessed last Saturday in Fayetteville - but let's not talk about that. Let's just be happy when your sweet daughter messages you this picture from the game.

The senior and the freshman

Sunday, I made the younger 3 pose for a pic just cause I thought they looked cute.

Moms can do that whenever they want. If I get any static about this right of motherhood, I use the "I gave birth to you" trump card, and they get in picture position and smile.

This week, for the first time this year, I made it to Mary Grace's school with a special lunch. I grabbed one of her favorite subways, and we inhaled them in the 21 minutes middle schoolers are given to snarf lunch. The "International Plaza" at Bolivar Middle School is inviting and festive. So are Mary Grace and Grace.
Instagrammed it:)

Twice a month, Mary Grace and I leave Bolivar at 6:50 a.m., to drive to Springfield for her violin lesson at 7:45 a.m. It's early, but she's a happy camper.
Her grandfather's violin

Wednesdays also happen to be date day with my man. After I hightailed it back to Bolivar with Mary Grace, I turned around and went back for a fun day with Lou. We recommend lunch at the little deli inside Mama Jean's on Republic Road.

Speaking of food, let me introduce you to my constant companion since July 16 - myfitnesspal. Since that fateful day, I've logged every morsel of food that I've eaten and every bit of exercise I've done.

Has it been a pain? Yes.

Has it been worth it? Yes.

When you join, you enter all your vital stats (which no one can see) and how much you want to lose a week. (The suggested amount is 1 lb/wk). The app does all the calculations and lets you know how many calories you can eat per day and lose weight.

I'm down 13 lbs since I started. It's a free app, and if you join, I'll be your friend and we can encourage each other! Look me up...ShelleyMarea.

I did exercise after I snapped this, - just so you know and can be impressed.

It's always interesting to see what the girls end up wearing for dress up days. Thursday night at K-Life was '80s night. That is some serious make-up and hair. And earrings.

Ok. I know you've seen a similar screen before, but I just can't help posting another one. It's just too good! This is my favorite app! Fighter Verses from the ministry of Desiring God. Spend the $2.99 and download it! You will not regret it. The words on this screen are different than any other words you read. They are the words of life.

This app will say the verse of the week out loud to you. It will sing it to you. It will quiz you till you've got it down. Then, God can use these verses that are already in you to guide and encourage you as we go through this thing called life!

And, we round out the week with Friday.

Faith and Lou headed to Fayetteville for a visit with our Razorbacks. Fun, precious father/daughter time.

I headed to our football stadium here in town to cheer on the Liberators. The theme this week for our student fans was Motocross. Elizabeth and her friend, Kasey, did their part! Very fun!

After the win, our students circled up to pray for one of our players who was injured during the game.

Seeing this kind of thing fills your heart in the best kind of way...

Thanking God on this Saturday for filling my heart this week with many good things.

Thanking you for stopping by and sharing it with me.


life rearranged

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

15 Minutes

True confession time.

I can be busy all day long and not get much done.

How frustrating is that? I'll tell you - very, exceedingly, intensely, decidedly.

The above happens when I spend the day reacting to the many "fires" burning in my home. I respond to them, but usually, they don't get resolved. And I really have no plan to put them out. I just walk from room to room  - reacting. I used to think this happened because I just didn't have enough time to get everything done.

But I'm becoming more and more convinced that the reason I don't put some of the fires out is because I lack focus. I don't want to concentrate on a particular fire - usually for one of the following reasons.

     1. I'd rather be doing something else
     2. I can't do it perfectly right now, so I'm going to wait until later when I have the time to do it
     3. It will take too much time.
     4. It will take too much energy.
     5. I might do it "wrong."
     6. I have a lazy bone.

Wow. That was cathartic.

So, what do I do when I find I'm having those kind of days more often than not?

I remember The Flylady.

A few years ago, I was introduced to The Flylady. It was there I learned a little habit that helps me focus. Why I don't do this on a daily basis, I don't know. Every time I employ this little trick, I always sit back and admire what I've done.

The trick?

SET A TIMER FOR 15 MINUTES and work at a particular task like your life depended on it.

Talk about focus. Whenever I do this, I have tunnel vision. I work like I'm about to have a visit from the President of the United States - complete with camera crew - and I need to be ready!

That kind of little game/competition works well for my little competitive spirit.

And when that timer goes off, I stop. It feels good to have gotten something done. It also feels good to know you have permission to stop. You had a goal (work like a crazy person for 15 minutes), and you completed that goal.

I promise that if you do this little exercise, you'll be amazed at what you've accomplished in such a short time.

I'd also encourage you to check out The Flylady's website. There's all kinds of helpful habits there. I haven't been there myself in a couple of years. Revisiting it in preparation for this post inspired me all over again to not live in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I know I'll be heading back over there!

And a kind of interesting last note:

I started this post on Tuesday. I didn't finish writing it that day (yesterday) and on Wednesday, my hubby and I spent the day in Springfield. We stopped by Barnes and Noble and as I was glancing over the books on the  "New Releases" table, this caught my eye:

I haven't read this book, so I can't wholeheartedly recommend it, but I thought it was so funny I'd see this with my unfinished "15 minutes" post simmering in my brain.

So, I guess I'm not the only person who struggles a bit with this. I'd love to hear some ideas any of you have that help you focus and get things done.

I want to be busy, but not frustrated, and I want to get the right things done!

Friday, September 14, 2012

InstaFriday - 51-derful Birthday Week

Fall is in the air, and PSLs are at Starbucks!
Before you can even say three of Faith's favorite words this time of year - Pumpkin Spice Latte -  this week happened and was gone!

Do you ever feel that way? Wow. We were busy. And a bit unexpectedly - but in a fun way.

Our Faith, of above PSL fame, is on our school's homecoming court. We found that out on Thursday, and she will get to wear a beautiful dress in just a couple of weeks. That means we need a beautiful dress. Since we don't have those kind of dresses hanging around in our closets, we made an unexpected but fun trip to Springfield to find the dress.

Of course you have to eat out. We recommend Pickleman's in downtown Springfield, where they have the world's coolest coke machine. Or in my case, the world's coolest Diet Coke machine.

And with this unexpected Saturday outing, I was very thankful my sister, Kathy, was here to hang with my mom while were were cavorting around the mall. Elizabeth is named after her.
Elizabeth Kathleen and Martha Kathleen

I was doubly thankful for Kathy on Sunday, because we made a mad dash to KC after church because we had no luck finding the dress in Springfield. I was up to my usual shenanigans and made the girls traipse up a hill on the side of the highway en route to KC because I can't pass up such beauty!

Thank you, God!

We did find the dress in KC, after trying on every dress in KC - or at least at Oak Park Mall. I'm gonna save a picture of it for a later post, but I'll show you the back of one of our favorite dresses.

Not the dress, but beautiful back!
I leafed through a couple of magazines in between the fashion shows, and saw this:

Would my 6 kids describe our household as chaotic?


Are they worth all the chaos?

Double yes.

After all our unexpected weekend travels, something very expected happened.

My 51st birthday.

Lou couldn't have found a more appropriate card in light of the year we've had. I instagrammed it.

Where are their helmets?!?!

So far, getting older is not adversely affecting my health - which is nice.

However, filling up our suburban this week just about gave me a HEART ATTACK!

This is not nice

It was very nice to not have to take that gas guzzler to see our three kids who now hang out in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We be-bopped down in the TL, hiked a bit with Hannah, and then dined with her and the boys. Fun. Fun. Fun.

We did not disturb wildlife and we maintained control of our speed at all times

We helped Hannah hang a couple of things in her apartment before we left. We used one of my favorite apps to make things look just right - a level!

Very handy - and free!

And to round out the week, I'll share a pic of something I really think is wonderful - a healing husband!  He's 9 weeks out from the wreck and doing well. Our local paper contacted him about sharing his story. He was more than happy to encourage the world to wear their helmet!

I like this guy
And, I like that you've stopped by.

I hope you have a restful weekend. And enjoy the gift it is.

Remember, every day is a gift. That's why it's call the present.

life rearranged

Friday, September 7, 2012

InstaFriday - Stop the Presses!

Whoa! Stop the presses!

My handy dandy iPhone documented a rare occurrence! All 6 of the Harris kids were home for Labor Day! And, they were cool about all riding in the suburban at the same time - mainly because we were only going a couple of miles down the road. Those long car trips we've taken to Colorado over the years are still fresh in their minds and their legs start cramping at the thought of riding like this for any significant length of time.

Uhm...can you tell where they went/go to college?
 Whoa! Stop the presses!

My man and I enjoyed our Wednesday date right here in Bolivar. The Tea Garden Cafe affords a beautiful view of our courthouse. If you are wondering if I made the sky bluer than normal with my fun Instagram app, why yes, I did.

Afterwards, we hit Bolivar's newest coffee shop - The Bean 3:16. The coffee was good and the atmosphere was very cool. We'll be going back!
"Daily Brews" sign is chalk art - very impressive!

After our hot, dry summer, we all are still glad to see these kind of clouds.

Score! Hit a garage sale on Thursday and picked up this little gem.

Not sure where it's going yet, but I like. I like!

 On Thursday, our sweet Faith found out she was on the homecoming court. A dear friend texted me and let me know. I promptly texted Faith.

I took a screenshot of our conversation and sent it to my Arkansas kiddos - it was how I let them know our fun news - and that they need to come to the football game on the 28th.

I hate to finish a good book, but that's just what I did this week.

So, so good.

I'm not usually a war story kind of girl, but McCullough is a master at bringing history to life.

You are there. You know the characters.  I was swept away as listened to the author read this to me. Fabulous.

And last but not least, we hung some pictures on the stairway!

Whoa! Stop the presses!

I did what I've seen DIY bloggers suggest before you start putting nails in the wall. I made newspaper templates the size of our pictures and taped them where I thought I wanted them. When we were happy, then we drove those nails. It took a little extra time to make the templates - but I think it was totally worth it. We drove those nails with confidence!


Senior pictures!
There's the first week of September in the books.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek.

And, whoa! Stop the Presses! I'm posting my InstaFriday on Friday!!!

life rearranged

Tuesday, September 4, 2012



That's how I'm feeling today. When I looked the definition of that word up on my computer's widget dictionary, I saw that I was pegged on both counts.

I was wanting to blog, but felt...uninspired. (See first definition)

I needed to do some stuff around the house, but felt...uninspired. (See second definition)

So what do I do about feeling uninspired?

Well, the first voice I hear is my dad's. He would say at this point, "How you feel is how you feel." No sense in trying to say you don't feel a certain way when you do. So I acknowledge it - to myself and to God - and then I try to make a conscious effort not to wallow in it.

I am not always successful in this - just ask my hubby. I can wallow with the best of them.

Then I remember the gist of a paragraph I read one time while we were visiting friends in Texas. I don't remember the book, but I do remember it talked about the "art of plodding." A lot of life consists of plodding. Not everything is exciting every moment. Sometimes, you just have to plod along. Check out the definition of "plod."

plod |pl├Ąd|verb ( plods, plodding plodded no obj. ]walk doggedly and slowly with heavy steps:we plodded back up the hill | figurative :talks on a new constitution have plodded on.• work slowly and perseveringly at a dull task
Talk about kissin' cousins - plod and uninspired fit the bill.

But, if you plod even though you feel uninspired, you have done something. You've walked. You've worked - which means you've done something. Hopefully, that something benefits you and/or the people around you. And when you've done something that's helped, you feel better.

So, we are back to the feelings...after we've gone ahead and plodded through and done what needed to be done, we feel better! Our uninspired plodding has actually been what God uses to work on our feelings.

He does things like that.

And that, my friend, is inspiring.

I'm feeling better already...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

InstaFriday - Last Week of August

My eyelids were heavy when I uploaded these pictures at 11:20 on Friday night. So heavy, that I loaded them and promptly went to bed. I really like going to bed. When I'm really tired. Like I was last night at 11:20.

I didn't even set the alarm this morning, although I woke up at the normal time - 5:30 a.m. I smiled, and turned over, relishing the fact that I could roll back over and sleep in a bit.

Up by 7 a.m. but feeling like I just enjoyed a mini vacation on this rainy Saturday morning, I've been about normal household stuff. And now, another mini vacation as I do something I so enjoy - blogging.

If I'm blessed with old age, I think I'll look back rather fondly at my InstaFridays. The recording of normal days and the joys and jolts that they bring.

Knowing that they are all gifts from God.

So, how did we live our last week of August?

Last Saturday, we enjoyed an evening at the zoo with some friends from church. It had been forever since we'd been to the zoo! Too long.

When I looked at all the various animals, all I can say is, God has quite an imagination!
Instagrammed the giraffe feeding moment

Since we were already in Springfield, we made a quick trip to Academy Sports. I saw this and decided that all moms need one these. In fact, this could be the gift I start taking to baby showers. What do you think?


We've had some car issues this week, so I've driven our kids' '87 Dodge Dakota a couple of times while my beloved suburban was getting some TLC.

Feel free to sign the ceiling if you are ever in it.

I have not made homemade bread since before Lou's bike wreck.

Can't say that anymore! It's back! My family is very glad.

My senior and junior volleyball players had their first game this week. I was one of the moms to feed them beforehand. This elite group of moms are known as Momerators. And of course, I had to document such a momentous occasion.

We enjoyed a good laugh over the "before" picture where the girls were making sure smiles would be perfect for the "real" picture.
"Elizabeth, you've got something right here."

Ok, this next picture proves that you can't trust pictures! Two people are photoshopped in...

Can you tell?

Took a picture of this picture and sent it my 3 older kids asking them the same question because photoshopping amazes me!

Photoshop-ees are my Faith (#7) on the front row, and my Elizabeth (right behind #22) on the second row.

In my Bible study this week, this caught my heart.

I'm studying Nehemiah through Kelly Minter's Living Room Series. Nehemiah had it in his heart to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. In that study, they also cite this example, where we see what David had in his heart to do.

The study is challenging me to ponder the following question:

What has God put in your heart to do?

And how I want to hear the same words shown below..."you did well to have this in your heart."

And near and dear to this turtle's heart is our cat food.

Fascinating to me how every once in a while, this same turtle shows up in our garage and enjoys a snack.

Mary Grace long ago tagged our friend with her initials - a sideways "M" "G"

Speaking of Mary Grace, I don't think she has stopped smiling since she bought this poster of One Direction at her school's book fair. It's now on her wall.

Her fav? Harry
Our first home volleyball game brought out the fans. Best fans I can remember ever having at a volleyball game. Uhmmm, do you notice anything about the majority of fans at a girl's volleyball game? Can you say "spandex?"

Nothing handy to write on? Just grab the nearest wrist. It's attached, so it's pretty hard to lose.

Faith's notes

And speaking of notes, I'm writing a note to myself - not on my wrist - but on my calendar: do your InstaFriday on Thursday, for Pete's sake!

Hope you can look back at your August and smile.

Looking forward to a grace-filled September!


life rearranged