Showing posts from October, 2011

Remembering Grandma.

Assuming all went as planned, I'm in Illinois right now attending my Grandmother's memorial service.  This, I believe, is the only video I have of her with baby Coralynn Mae.  It's from last Christmas. 

It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.  ~Barbara Kingsolver

"It's okay. I can do interpretive dance!"

So, what's missing from this picture?

2 hours earlier:  Last Saturday while the Bits was sleeping and after Amelia had packed, we decided to go work on my suitcases for the trip to Illinois.  We had the windows open because the weather was perfect.  Amelia and I were packing, Tony was watching football, and the kids were playing.

When the football game hit halftime, Tony came in to check on our progress.  I had him shut the door because I didn't want to risk waking the baby.  We chatted about my clothing options, and then we heard the baby waking up.   I finished packing the last items and zipped up the suitcase.  (We can't leave anything out or Terror Bits will be into it!)

As Tony was heading out of our bedroom, I heard a thud followed by sounds of rattling and jiggling.   "Umm, Amelia, can you come here?"  I look up to see Tony and Amelia fussing with the door knob.  "Hey, Chloe, try to open the door."  I hear Chloe desperately trying to open the do…

Wednesday's 7!!

~Last night's basketball banquet was a lot of fun.  Carson received a "Best Effort" award, and Chloe did a nice job cheering!

~We are packed and ready to head to the United States in the morning.  (We would definitely appreciate prayer for safe travel, settled stomaches, and made connections!)

~The whole family had a great time with Amelia here!

~The kids all seem to be healthy and ready to travel! 

~I get to see my big brother tomorrow!!!  (and my parents)

~I got dinners made for Tony so he won't starve while we're gone!

~We found out yesterday that Coralynn is in the 50th percentile for height and weight.  The Bits has motored up to average!!


A week ago, my best friend came for a visit.  It was my parents' birthday present to me.  I've never been more excited about a present I received 13 days late!  We had such a good time enjoying this Panamanian adventure together.  She could only stay for a few days, but it just made everything seem right.  Complete.  And, as with everything, it made me think.

Enjoying birthday lunch with my Bible study group!
I've been friends with Amelia since 2007.  I have the unique pleasure of remembering the first time we met.  We were visiting the big church in the small town in Georgia that was our new home.  Amelia was the first person who came up to speak to us because she wanted to. not because she wore the greeter name tag, but because she was truly welcoming us.  A few days later, she called to invite us to church supper.  In her Alabama drawl, the "Come on" seemed deeply welcoming, so we came on!  We've been together ever since.  The richness of that friendship I …

Money Monday!!

(Sorry I've been absent.  My bff was here last week, and my internet has been out all day.) One more week.That’s all that is left of October.  So, how are your budgets looking?Ours is uncomfortably snug, but I think know all will be fine.We have passed our original grocery budget number, but we have been able to move things around in other categories to make it work.(For the fiftieth time, you need to let your budget grow and change.It needs to be flexible enough to allow for life.) As some of you know, I have twice-weekly language lessons.In theory, these are helping me learn to communicate in Spanish.In reality, they afford me the opportunity to chat with my language trainer, too often in English, about all my Panama questions.At first, she stuck to the facts without much opinion. As we’ve spent more time together, she’s been more forthcoming with her thoughts on my questions. We usually start each Tuesday class with a discussion on our fin de semana (weekend).She was telling me ab…

Money Monday!!

I've been pondering since Friday what I was going to write about today.  The grocery budget is hanging in there, the house savings is growing, and the opportunities to give have been amazing.  We continue to be beyond grateful to God's mercy on us.  Nothing really interesting in all of that.  Hmm...  What to write??

A web friend has started a blog about her debt journey and was sharing some of her struggles and victories.  I loved her candidness.  (I have a thing about real.  Transparent makes me happy and draws me in.)  As I read her posts, I began thinking about all the financial oops-es we've made over the years.  It occurred to me that maybe I wasn't free enough in sharing those.  Not because I was hiding them, but because they didn't seem relevant to today's successes and growth.

But they are relevant.  And they are relevant for a few reasons.  First of all, they taught us what mattered to us financially.  Also, I want you to have the full financial pictur…

And the Winner Is...

The Drawing Container!
The Names!
Ready for the Drawing!

And the winner is...

A big thank you to everyone who participated.  Jen and I had a great time making this possible for y'all.  And I hope you enjoyed this first giveaway.  Definitely check out JustJen82 to use your 20% off coupon code: PANAMOM20.

Glenda at Enriched-Mom!!!


UPDATE:  If you cannot get the comments to work, please email me at panamom4@yahoo.comand I will happily add you to the list

Out senior pastor's father gives away gifts on his birthday, and I thought that sounded like a fabulous idea so I began researching the idea of having a giveaway.   My friend, Jen, from Illinois has an etsy shop and agreed to participate in this fun day!

Jen and her husband, Dan, were our first ever Crown Financial leaders, and their money skill is in a league of its own.  I have never seen anyone stretch money farther (or is it further?) than these two.  Whenever I get down about our money "issues," the Lord reminds me of Dan and Jen who stick with seemingly unrealistic financial goals until they are met.  Truly amazing!

Now, on to the giveaway...

Jen at JustJen82 is giving away a $20 credit (with free shipping!) toward ANYTHING in her store which is full of cute handmade wallets, barrettes and more!  You have to look at her adorable party invitati…

Weekly Wednesday!

~I have four healthy happy kids whom I not only love, but enjoy hanging out with!

~Bible study continues to be an awesome time of growth!

~We are settled here in Panama- this feels like home!

~I was able to get our plane tickets back to the US for my grandmother's memorial service!

~The kids did super well on their 1st quarter report cards!

~My bff will be here in 6 days!  (The best birthday present EVER!)

~I have the privelge of sitting here watching Coralynn play in the mirror with a stuffed monkey.  I'm so thankful that I get to be home with her to enjoy all the little moments.

Remember-- Tomorrow, we will have our first giveaway.  It will be perfect for ladies and girls!!  Stay tuned!!

Money Monday!!

(My apologies for no Funsy Friday.  Just wasn't particularly Funsy here on Friday.)

I have to tell y'all about our fabulous warehouse store find.  I've mentioned before that we buy a lot of things in bulk because the prices are better.  The problem with this is that it ties up a lot of the budget early in the month.  And since budgets are alive, the tied up money can cause some issues.  I've decided that if the savings aren't very high (more than 50 cents) or if it's not going to be used in a week or so then PriceSmart isn't the way to go.  Simply put, we want to make sure that the savings is worth the money being tied up.

I've known for some time that salsa, a staple at our house, is expensive at the normal grocery stores.  I was saddened to see that my usual PriceSmart stop carrying the big containers.  As part of my birthday celebration, we went to the other PS to check there.  (Yes, that's how I wanted to celebrate my birthday.  No shame.)


Thoughts from Thursday: Guest Blogger!

As you all know a thousand times over, I love all things October.  Today, we have a special guest blogger who has a special affinity for October, as well!  Throughout this month, we will be having special and surprise blogs!

For those who don’t know me, I am Erica.  I have been married to my husband, Bruce, for nine years.  We have three fantastic children, Natalie (8 this Fri!!), Caleb (3), and Ephraim (19 months).  And now you maybe thinking- great, so why are you guest blogging?  Well the answer to that is simple and complex all in one.  My youngest child has Mosaic Down Syndrome, and October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.    Now if you didn’t already know about Oct being DS Awareness month, don’t feel badly.  Until I learned of my son’s diagnosis and started stalking blogs of other parents, I had no idea either.  In fact, until I had my son, I didn’t know much about DS at all.  Sure I saw a few kids at school when I was growing up but they were kept apart from the “normal” kids.…

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

And that's why God gave me kids.

The inside of the lovely handmade birthday card from Chloe had this lovely handwritten message:

"I love you and I am glad you live this long!"

Thanks, dear.  I love you, too.

Partying Like It's 1978!

The Bits and I are celebrating while the kids are school.  Mashed banana for everyone! 

Time for the Wednesday 7- Birthday Edition!

I'm thankful for:

~My parents.  They are great in so many ways, but the one that strikes me this morning is that they never treated me like I was just a little kid.  My father is a notorious strong disliker of baby talk, but it was more than that.  I was always allowed to have a voice.  We definitely didn't always agree, but I got to be heard.  When tough or stressful things came along, the information wasn't hidden from me.   The highest compliment any of my children has ever told me came from Chloe.  During the stress of the move to Panama she pulled me aside and thanked me for "even though I'm a kid, you let me know stuff like adults know."  Feeling like you are actively involved in your own life instead of a boat in the waves is an awesome gift- and I definitely received it from my parents! 

~My big bro.  Tim and I are alm…

Money Monday!

Sweet victory, folks.  We've had a sweet financial victory.  Chloe earned enough "money" at school to "shop" at her class's "store."  She got in the van beaming with the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing a goal.  She bought the item she's had her sights on for nine weeks.  She earned... the frame!

When she saw it, she knew she had to have it.  Why?  Because she has a picture where she's wearing her red and black cheerleading uniform and standing with bff, Libby.  The picture would match perfectly, and from that moment on, the frame had to be hers.

I've known from the beginning the item of her desire.  A picture frame?  Seriously?  Nine weeks of saving to get a red and black picture frame?  I can't imagine, but here's another one of those money truths that seems so obvious when you look at a child, but so difficult when we look at each other. It was her money.  Her desires.

And she had done the right things- moneywise:�…


I've mentioned before my love for fall.  My heart is drawn to the change of seasons. The surprise of weather that every day brings,   I love the crisp cool mornings and warm afternoons.   The rainy days that signal the nearing cold weather.  Nature is actviely preparing itself for the deep slumber of winter.  It's magical to me.  It sends my mind deep into my soul.

As I watch the seasons run their course, I'm acutely aware that we all change.  Perhaps not as obviously as the seasons, but we do change and grow.   Looking back over months and years, we can notice how we are not the same person who started this journey.  Other times, we can look back at a single moment and realize we are now on a different path.  The rains of fear and hurt bring forth the growth of trust in our souls if we allow Him to work in us.

Last Friday, life brought a rain down on my life.  Not a heavy thunderstorm of grief, but the drizzle of sadness that reminded me that, again, I am in a season of cha…

Happy October!!

I love October! It's my favorite month, and not just because of my birthday. Tony's birthday is also this month! I love fall weather (though I won't get to experience any this year). October is the calm before the storm of the holiday season. Have I mentioned that I really don't care for the holidays? Someday I'll blog about it. Until then, I'm enjoying the cuddly calm of fall- even if it's 90 degrees outside.