It’s The Little Things That Matter

I’m sitting at home tonight with a heavy heart.  This post has nothing to do with Pinterest and everything to do with life.  

My son has a friend at school, Isaiah.  They were in the same Kindergarten class.  They still play together on the playground, even though they’re not in the same class.  To quote Brayden, they are “Best Buds”.

Isaiah has a brother, Ethan.  The same year that Isaiah and Brayden were in Kindergarten, Ethan was in 2nd grade.  During Christmas Break, he was diagnosed with cancer.  I can only imagine what went through his parents minds.  

Last year, the family moved away so they could take Ethan to a Children’s Hospital in North Carolina to get treatment.  Brayden really missed his best bud.  He was so excited when we walked into school for Open House this year & saw Isaiah…his best buddy was back!

We didn’t hear a lot of updates on Ethan last year.  One of the last ones I had heard was that he had a bone marrow transplant & all had gone well.  I was optimistic when we saw Isaiah at school.  Perhaps, Ethan was well enough for the family to come home.

Unfortunately, Ethan lost the battle with cancer last night.  He was a 9 year old boy who loved life, the Virginia Tech Hokies and went through more in 2 years than anyone should ever have to go through in a lifetime.

As a mom, I mourn with Ethan’s mom.  I think about Brayden and how he is about the same age Ethan was when they discovered the cancer.  My kids are healthy, except for the occasional upset tummy and runny nose.  Tonight, we talked about taking things for granted.  I discovered I sometimes take these little things for granted.

It seems like I read a lot of this kind of thing happening.  Young children faced with terrible diseases, dying young.  Many people see this and start to question.  They question God.  Why does God allow this to happen to someone so young, so innocent?  Why do they suffer when others don’t?  Why???

It’s ok to ask these questions.  Sometime, I think we ask these things or think these things and then feel guilty.  Don’t forget, Job asked God questions.  Of course, Job never got any answers.  That’s ok too.  It’s not easy to understand.  But we have to remember, God is in control.  We may think we are, but when things like this happen and our world is turned upside down, we quickly learn otherwise.

When my son came home from school, the first thing I wanted to do was give him a huge hug.  I wanted to tell him over and over again that I love him.  I don’t want to take him or Sophie or my hubby for granted.

James says that “…you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” James 4:14.

A mist…a vapor.  Our life is so short in the grand scheme of things.  Do not take the little things for granted.  

Two songs immediately came to my mind today.  They remind me that no matter what happens in this world, it is not the end.  There is a better place waiting for me.  The first one is by Jeremy Camp, called “There Will Be A Day”.  The chorus goes like this:

 There will be a day with no more tears

 No more pain, and no more fears

 There will be a day when the burdens of this place

 Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

But until that day, we’ll hold onto you always.

 The other one is by Building 429, called “Where I Belong”.  This chorus says:

All I know is I’m not home yet

This is not where I belong

Take this world and give me Jesus

This is not where I belong.

 These words may or may not bring you comfort, but in thinking about life and what this family must be going through, I found some peace in them.  Ethan’s mother wrote a beautiful and courageous post on Facebook earlier today.  In it, she talked about how Ethan is no longer in pain.  She imagined what Ethan is now able to do, things that he missed out on in this life.  In a way, she reminded us all that this world is not where we belong and there is something so much better waiting for us.

Oh What A Night!!

*Update* Little Jackson went to Philadelphia earlier this week to have some tests run and evaluations with specialist at the Children’s Hospital there. I am posting a link to his blog that his parents have started up. The blog details what happened & some very exciting news they received while there and a special surprise visit to a doctor in Boston. Here’s the link:

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jacksoneli/createorsignin

Phew! What a weekend!!!  Brayden had his first fall ball baseball game (they won, by the way!).  He had a birthday party to attend and the cherry on the sundae was the benefit dinner and auction that was held last night.

I’d like to do a follow up blog on an article I wrote a few days ago (see “Going once…going twice…sold!).  A quick recap:  There is a dear sweet family who attend at our congregation.  They have an 18 month old son who has been suffering with painful mouth ulcers for most of his life.  Doctors don’t have a diagnosis or treatment.  The family is now on their way to Philadelphia to see some specialists at the children’s hospital there.  Evaluations and test will be ran tomorrow.  To help cover some medical expenses and this trip, some friends decided to throw them a spaghetti dinner to raise some money.

Well, what started out as a small dinner, quickly grew into a wonderful evening.  Not only did we have delicious food prepared by Sara & Andrew Guertler, Amy Dyson and Elizabeth Barron, we had an evening filled with fun.  Ben Yoder from Enlisted Auctions donated his time and services and held a live auction.  We auctioned off pretty much anything and everything.  So many people donated goods and services, it was really overwhelming!!

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In addition to the live auction, we had a couple of fundraisers where proceeds will go to the family.  Amy Dyson, Independent Consultant for 31 is donating 20% of sales from her party to the family.  Here’s the link to her website, in case you want to order something 🙂

http://www.mythirtyone.com/207948/

Maybe purses & bags aren’t your thing, but you like your house to smell nice.  Brittany Griffin Miller is having a fundraiser with her Scentsy business.  25% of the proceeds will go to the family.  Her party will be open until August 31.  Here’s the link to her website:

https://brittanymiller84.scentsy.us/Scentsy/Home

Andrew Guertler put together a lovely slideshow with adorable pictures of Jackson and a great explanation about what is going on with the medical side of things.  

So many people donated goods or services for the auction.  The Blue Ridge Church of Christ donated their building and some food, Central Virginia Rental donated beautiful tablecloths so our dinner looked elegant, Zeus Theater donated movie posters and banners, the P. Buckly Moss museum donated 2 amazing prints to auction, Jeff Griffin with Mac Tools donated several tools for auction, and on and on and on.  I could fill this whole blog with the many people who donated.  Everyone one of them made the evening possible.

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ImageImageI would like to thank the wonderful ladies who were instrumental in putting the evening together.  Thank you so much for your hard work & dedication.  The evening would not have been possible with out Jennifer Strosnider, Sara Guertler & Amy Dyson!!!

I want to share a scripture with you all that I found fitting.  It comes from 1 Corinthians 12:26-27.  “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

To me, this scripture promotes a sense of community.  We hurt when others hurt, we rejoice when others are honored.  Last night was an evening filled with encouragement and rejoicing.  We hope that not only were the Hewitt’s blessed with the evening’s events, but most of all, God was honored.  We give all the glory to Him.

ImageWe love you Jackson!!!

There’s An App For…Almost Everything!

My hubby and I joined the 21st century and got iPhones last fall.  We tried Android for a while with a different carrier.  Between poor coverage in our area and cheap-o phones…we were not impressed.

My brother has been promoting iPhones to us for about 1 year2 years…well, forever.  When he went to school, one of their recruiting tools was every student got an iPhone (of course, you paid for it!).  I’m pretty sure it was love at first sight & he was hooked ever since.  He even started designing apps for it.  He mainly designs them for churches, but in one of my earlier blogs (see i Miss Mommy!!  July, 22, 2012), I featured one of his newest, non-church app.

I’m amazed at some of the apps people come up with.  Some are funny, some are silly, some are a waste of the space on my phone, and some are pure genius.  Introducing my newest, favorite app:

http://www.dailycandy.com/everywhere/article/132960/Artkive-Mobile-Appvwink=DC:Email:EDIT:KSF:20120821:5:795724:40

Now, for some of you who are saying to yourself, “hey, this blog is supposed to be about things found on Pinterest”…well, I found this pinned on one of my friend’s boards & I repinned it…so, technically it’s still a blog about Pinterest 🙂

This app just came out & as of yesterday it was FREE!!!  If you have young kids or school age kids…you MUST GET THIS APP!  Sorry Android users…you will have to wait until September to download it.

Basically, it lets you take pictures of your kid’s artwork and then stores it in their Cloud.  There is a feature where you can “Share” your ArtKive with anyone you’ve added to your list.  It will send them the pictures via e-mail.

But wait…there’s more!!!  When you get a collection of pictures together, you can then order them in a BOOK!!!!!  That’s right!!!!!!!!  Can I get a few more exclamation points?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, the book feature is not up and running yet (insert disappointed look here).  This was the feature I was most excited about.  After spending about 20 minutes searching all over the app, I e-mailed the developer.  To my surprise, they responded very promptly.  They wanted to release the app in time for back-to-school & will add the book feature in 60-90 days (mark your calendars!).

I still had Brayden’s 1st grade pictures handing up in our kitchen, so I immediately took them down and added them to his ArtKive.  A nice feature is you can have multiple children in your account and you can arrange them by grades.  I already have his 2nd grade folder ready…now I just need some artwork.

I really hope this app comes through on the book side.  I have no idea how much the books will cost, but to parents who want the memories without the clutter, it’s priceless!  I have visions of books lined up on my shelf & when Brayden’s in college or married, I’ll be able to pull one out and take a trip down memory lane…

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One of his MANY art pieces from last year.

ImageJust had to share this one!!!  Makes a mommy’s heart happy 🙂

Potty Training 101

There’s not a lot in life that can bring grown men and women to tears.  For guys, maybe their favorite team losing the Super Bowl, for women, it might be that new Hallmark commercial.  There is one thing can stop us dead in our tracks and bring us to our knees.

Potty Training

If you’re a parent of an older child, you know what I’m talking about!!  Coaxing your child to use the potty.  Bribing with M&M’s, stickers and movies.  Giving them crazy amounts of juice to encourage multiple trips to the potty chair.  Begging them to sit still.  Throwing cheerios into the toilet to help with “aiming”.  There is crying and sobbing involved…and the kids get upset too!!

This is the stage of life my family is in right now. Today was Day #1 of potty training my daughter.  She picked out big girl panties.  She chose some from the movie “Tangled”.  This led to us watching the movie while sitting on the potty…twice.  How did we do???  Potty chair: Zero…Wood floor: 3.  Thank goodness there isn’t a lick of carpet to be found in our house!!

I see tons of potty training help on Pinterest.  Some boast weekend potty training, potty training your kid in a day.  As a mom that has potty trained a boy before, I tend to have the green eyed monster stir when I read of people who potty train their 18 month old in 1 day.  

I think if someone started a business where they would come to your house and potty train your child for you, they could make a fortune!!!  Potty Train your kid in a week, or your money back!!  I would gladly pay for that 🙂

While potty training Sophie today, I was taken back to the potty training days of Brayden.  Now a 7 year old, he would probably be upset if he knew I was talking about this, but hey…7 year olds don’t read blogs!  

When he turned 2, I went out & bought a really cool potty chair.  It had lights, it had noises, it had sensors that detected when “something” happened.  Did my son make the connection between going potty and the rewards of music playing??  Did he get the simple cause & effect link??  Nope…he thought it was a toy.  He learned he could push certain buttons and things would light up and play music.  How can a 2 year old figure out how to make electronics operate within 15 minutes, but can’t seem to make it to the potty on time???

I pulled my hair out.  I cried.  I pleaded.  I begged.  I lamented to my husband that Brayden was going to be sent off to college with a box of Pampers loaded with his books and clothes.  So I tend to be a little over dramatic.  But that’s how I felt.

I think what it all boiled down to was Brayden wasn’t ready.  He was 2.  He was (is) a smart kid, but developmentally, he just wasn’t there.  Right before he turned 3, we moved, so I’m sure that didn’t help matters either.

I found this link on Pinterest the other day.  It’s one I wish I would have read before I started potty training with Brayden.

http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/CTGY/Potty-Training-Tips.html

Wow!!  The amount of information you find on this website is amazing!  Techniques, when to start potty training, articles, how to handle resistance, potty training for girls, potty training for boys, and on and on.  If you are at this stage in life, or will be there soon, I definitely recommend this website to answer many of your questions.  

So, I did NOT potty train my daughter in one day.  Time to get a good night’s rest, have a nice breakfast, take a deep breath & make sure my handy steam mop is nearby.  Round 2 starts in the morning.

Going once…going twice…sold!!

I attended Oklahoma Christian University from 1997-2001.  I majored in Public Relations/Advertising.  I have used my degree zero times…at least officially.  I have never had a job where I did PR work.

This past month, I have had an opportunity to stretch my PR wings.  I am helping out with a benefit dinner.  Let me tell you a little bit about it.

We have a sweet family who are members at our congregation.  Chris, Rachel & Jackson.  Jackson is an adorable 18 month old boy.  Since he was about 3 months old, he has had an undiagnosed medical condition.  He gets painful mouth ulcers that are usually accompanied by fevers.  Medicine has been able to decrease the amounts of outbreaks and pain, but it hasn’t been able to make them go away completely, and doctors are still baffled.

If you met this family, you would probably not guess that this is going on.  Jackson’s parent, Chris & Rachel have handled this situation with dignity and grace.  They have patiently visited doctors and specialist, without the answers they are wanting.  They sit by and watch their son suffer, and the only thing they can do is comfort him.

Later this month, they will be traveling to Philadelphia, to a Children’s Hospital, to have doctors run some more tests and evaluate Jackson.  We are praying that they will be able to diagnose this problem, and more importantly, find a way to cure little Jackson.

A few friends of this family have gotten together to throw a benefit dinner and auction for this family.  We can’t cure Jackson, we can’t take the pain away from him, but we can shower this family with love and support.  All of the money raised at the dinner Saturday will go to help offset the costs of their trip & medical expenses.

This isn’t an original idea.  You hear of special benefits going on all of the time to help out people, especially for medical expenses.  When hard times hit, we as humans, need to “do” something.  So, we pour out love in the form of spaghetti sauce and serve it up with slices of bread.

This is also a Biblical concept:

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.  From time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need”.  Acts 4:32-35.

Whether or not the funds pass through the collection plate on Sunday morning, or it’s put into a donation box at a spaghetti dinner, people are being taken care of.  After all, our possessions are not our own!!  

If you’re in the area Saturday evening, need a good meal, and would like to help out one of the sweetest families you’ll ever meet, let me know!  We have a ton of items that we’re auctioning off, in addition to the dinner.  I think it’s going to be a wonderful evening!!!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crayons Optional

Tomorrow is my son’s first day of 2nd grade.  I’m feeling a little bit, somewhat, A LOT nostalgic right now, so I’m afraid you’ll have to indulge me on this blog article 🙂

We got his school supplies last week (yeah…I’m a procrastinator!).  There were pencils, paper, notebook binders, spiral notebooks and notebook paper on the list.  We even had hand sanitizer, tissues and ziploc bags.  What I noticed at the bottom of the list was this:

Crayons (optional)

Colored pencils (optional)

Washable markers (optional)

What????  Second grade & crayons are already optional????  When did this happen?  I remember having crayons pretty much up until Junior High & then, we might have had them there too.  

This got me to thinking…kids grow up so fast in today’s world.  My kids love watching the Disney Channel.  Sophie loves Doc McStuffins & Brayden is really into Phineas & Ferb.  What my husband and I noticed is the other shows & how much older the kids are acting.  There’s a show where the kids dance and it just seems they’re dancing more “grown up”…not necessarily what some would consider provacative, but still more than what I’m comfortable with.

I understand I can’t base my opinion on teeny-bopper shows on the Disney Channel, but I see it in other areas of life.  I know I was ready to learn how to drive when I was 12 & wished a lot of years away.  I couldn’t wait to get to Junior High, couldn’t wait to get to High School, college, driving, dating, etc.  Isn’t it interesting that when we’re kids, we can’t wait to be “grown up” and when we grow up, we wish we were kids again?!?!

Kids have a lot of pressure on them today.  I didn’t even think about ACT tests and college entrance exams until about Sophomore or Junior year of HS, but I think it starts much earlier now.  You see Little Leaguers dreaming about making it to the big leagues when they’re 8 & 9 years old & parents push them into lessons and playing baseball year round.  Don’t even get me started about toddler pageant shows….

I was thinking today about children…particularly about a story in the Bible where the disciples asked Jesus who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.  For some, that’s a reasonable question.  We have a pecking order in school, at work, why not here?  Jesus’ answer?  He called a child into their midst and said “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven”.  Matt. 18:3.

Now, does that mean we’re supposed to act like the “Wal-Mart babies”, as my hubby calls them?  Running around, spoiled & wanting everyone to wait on us, hand and foot?  I don’t think so.  What I picture is my son, asking questions about the Bible and the wonder on his face when we tell him stories about how God created the world, about the donkey that spoke to a man, about how a man and his 3 sons built a boat by hand & then loaded up all of the animals on earth & lived on it for the better part of a year.  I think of the innocence of my daughter and how she is learning something new every day.

So, instead of pushing for our kids to grow up faster and faster, let’s take some time to enjoy whatever stage their in…celebrate the day and live for each moment we have 🙂  

ImageBrayden’s first day of Kindergarten

ImageBrayden’s first day of First Grade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Spaghetti!

I was feeling very ambitious the other day & managed to make two brand new recipes in one meal.  The first one I shared with you all the other day…the stuffed portobello mushrooms with roasted tomatoes and goat cheese.  In keeping with the tomatoes, I thought I would fix another new recipe…Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes.  Despite the long title, it is a pretty quick fix.  Here’s the link:

http://godofscrumprecipes.tumblr.com/post/21100317594/spaghetti-in-garlic-gravy-with-herbs-and-lemon

The recipe calls for you to marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes to overnight.  I marinated mine for about 3-4 hours and the chicken had a nice lemony taste to it.  I felt very fancy chopping up all of the fresh herbs…which I never buy for our meals.  You don’t need a lot & I found out they’re not that expensive.  Of course, if you know someone with their own herb garden…you might want to sweet talk them out of a few 🙂

My hubby and kiddos really liked the meal.  I was told it was a keeper!!  It had a nice, light, garden fresh taste to it, which I would attribute to the cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs.

One mistake I made was with the gravy…I added the flour to the butter, then added the chicken stock.  After a few minutes, I saw that the gravy was not thickening as it should.  I stuck my pinky in the “flour” only to discover I had grabbed the wrong container and had added powdered sugar (which I always have an abundance of…since I make a few cakes!)  So, in true Tiffany fashion, I had to dump the whole thing (luckily I had not added the chicken or noodles to it yet) and started over.  It kind of frazzled me, so I don’t think I let it thicken up enough…oh well!  There’s always next time!!

If you’re looking for a nice light summer dish, this one would be great!!  I think you could also substitute shrimp for the chicken to give it a nice change.  Enjoy!  Happy eating!