Friday, May 6, 2016

Journal For Avery

I received this journal as a shower gift at some point, and before Avery was born, I decided to make it into a journal for her. I began writing letters to Avery while she was still in my tummy. I told her about her birth, I documented some of her milestones. I wrote in it a lot more often as a baby because her milestones were so many, but now, I write in it at least 6 times per year, especially after holidays or her birthday. My last entry I wrote my testimony and how I came to know the Lord, and not just when I got baptized but how I went away and came back to Him. My plan is to tell her stories of my life like how her dad and I met or things that happened to me in school. I want her to have something in my handwriting that she can read and come back to when she needs help or guidance or comfort.

Doing estate sales, I find a lot of treasures, and a lot of those things that are valued most are items that have handwriting and that document something historical, either in the family or in the kids' lives. I don't normally fear many things in society or the future, but I have a genuine fear for our generation and those that come after us, and that fear is that our kids will having nothing to keep that has our handwriting in it. Nothing of substance, anyway. We put our feelings on Facebook and on blogs, texts or emails, but I'm afraid we don't spend time writing things down for our kids to keep. There is just something very personal about reading something someone actually wrote with a pen and paper. The other thing I think parents don't put a lot of value in is sharing our stories with our kids. We don't share our struggles, our hopes and dreams. Our kids grow up without perspective that while their parents seem to have it "all together," there were things that happened before they were born, obstacles that had to be overcome, faith that had to grow over a period of time. In the Old Testament, the Lord required the stories of people be passed down to the next generation, so that the story of the Lord wouldn't be forgotten, and if parents didn't do it, the kids would never learn. If we don't do it, how will they know?

I encourage and challenge all parents to start doing this and to leave a legacy to your kids, one that they can keep and read throughout their lives.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Favorite Beauty Products

I saw on Kelly's Korner that she's doing "Show Us Your Life: Favorite Beauty Products!" so I thought I would participate!

First and foremost: makeup, cleansers and moisturizers.

I've tried a lot of cleansers and moisturizers and I've pretty much gotten back to basics. One tried and true product I have used since I can remember has been the Apricot Scrub. I got it originally because St. Ives used to be the cheapest, but it's become a brand name itself so now, I will just use the generic brand of whichever store I'm at. I use it in the shower every day and I love the way it exfoliates my skin. I have found good old fashioned Oil of Olay to be a great way to daily moisturize. It goes on light and works well. For those days I need extra skin cleaning action,. I used my Clearasil 5X cleansing pads. These are amazing and usually lesson breakouts within 24 hours. At night, I just will not actually wash my face. I guess I'm just too lazy and I hate water running all over the sink, so I use my Neutrogena cleansing cloths. They take off eye makeup easily and really seem to rid my skin of all makeup.

I've had this same tub of petroleum jelly since my daughter was born - 5 years now - and by the looks of how much is left, I might have it until the day I die. I use this, every single night, on my lips right before I go to bed. It works wonders for chapped lips and keeps my lips silky and smooth!

For makeup, I've really been impressed with the Bare Minerals line. Because my face is in the public eye so much, I really depend on makeup to hold up well throughout the day, cover well, and look as natural as possible. I've used their powder foundation for a while but needed to up my coverage a little more, so I recently tried their liquid line. You literally need three drops for a full face application and the brush is amazing. It's $28, but trust me, it applies makeup beautifully.

I also use Bare Minerals All Over Color, which adds color all over for a bronzed glow, their blush which goes on beautifully, and of course, the best thing of them all, their Mineral Veil, which blends all of the elements together and sets the makeup for the day. A little goes a long way!

For my eyes, I use a couple things. I love Ulta and received this free birthday gift last year of their eye palette. This is actually very good eye color. It blends really well and goes on smoothly. I was very impressed!

I've heard a lot of people like the Urban Decay nudes palette, but it's $50 and I can't bring myself to spend that much quite yet on eye shadow - don't get me wrong, I'd love to - but this Maybelline palette is a good alternative and about $41 cheaper!

I've tried all types of mascara, including pricey brands like LancĂ´me and Mary Kay. I've yet to find a mascara I like better than Voluminous by Loreal. It plumps and lengthens beautifully and doesn't rub off during the day. 

I have never thought to try Merle Norman because it always sounded like an old brand and we even have a store close to my house but have never been in. However, I bid on a beauty basket for an auction at Christmas and received these lip pencils and I LOVE THEM. I get more compliments on my color than any other lip stick I've used. I actually received three pencils in the box, one side is liner and one side is filler. I love the color and the way they blend and they last along time!

Another must have lip product is the Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie collection. This gloss stays on forever and it's beautiful. Some glosses collect and get sticky throughout the day, but not this! It's a great top coat and works great with my Merle Norman pencils. I got these glosses in the Bare Minerals store, 6 for $19.50 which is a steal! And they'll last me a long time.

Now: Hair Care!

I'm one of those who feels like more expensive salon brand shampoos are a must have, especially if you color your hair. I'm lucky, though - with a sister as a stylist, I have access to good discounts.

Matrix Biolage Color Last is one of my go tos. Of course, the smell is phenomenal, but it cleans and conditions without weighing my hair down. My color lasts and my hair never gets dry.

My hair is very frizzy and wavy, so I don't ever miss out on anti frizz serum or oil. Really any brand works well, these are the two I'm currently using because they were free products with other items I purchased.

I use either a straightening or curling iron on my hair every day, so protecting my hair from heat is essential. I love the way CHI smells, any of their products are great. This heat guard goes on wet hair and protect, so does the Kenra products. I recently tried the Paul Mitchell spray - it goes on dry hair before you apply heat and it doubles as a styling spray. I really love this product!

On those days I don't care to wash my hair, I use Bumble and Bumble B6 powder which is essentially dry shampoo and works to dry out grease and freshen roots. Did you know that baby powder is what dry shampoo really is? I will use that if I run out of the good stuff and it works just as well. This stuff doesn't have the strong baby smell, though. The Beyond the Zone Fresh Fix gives my hair a fresh fragrance and allows for next day styling.

Last but not least: Skin care!

You can't beat the best - Bath and Body Works! I love their scents but I love the moisture and it lasts all day. I put on lotion after every shower and before bed and my skin stays soft and smooth. I always wait until they have buy 3 get 3 free and each bottle works out to cost less than some of the best grocery store brands. Those six bottles will last me a good six months and it's worth every penny!

I hope you enjoyed my tour through my favorite beauty products!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Passion of the Christ

Jason and I were reminded this morning about this movie....we had a lovely day, it was a gorgeous day with family. We celebrated our Lord's resurrection and we sang beautiful songs....but after we got home and put Avery to bed, Jason suggested we watch the movie The Passion of the Christ.

I saw this movie back in 2004 when it came out in the theater. I spent the majority of the film with my hands over my ears, my eyes closed and balling. It was such a gut wrenching experience that I swore once was enough, I'd never watch that movie again, it was too much for me to handle, even the first time. In 2004, my life was in a different place with Christ. I knew Him and He knew me, but I wasn't close to Him. He was in my heart, faintly but there, but He certainly wasn't the Lord of it. Watching this movie was gut wrenching because of the physical pain that Jesus went through, but I don't think I truly understood the fullness of what it was I was witnessing.

As a 36 year old, I am closer to God than I've ever been, and when Jason said we needed to watch it, we both agreed - as a Christian, I feel that's it's not only our obligation to watch it but also to watch it with our eyes completely open. As I watched the movie, the whippings, the floggings, the cat of nine tails, the taunts, the crown of thorns, and the nailing to the cross, no matter how much I wanted to shut my eyes and pretend "it's only a movie" I just couldn't. It broke my heart in a million pieces - for Jesus and for us. I have fully began to grasp the weight of what Jesus bore on that cross. And while I'll never know what that must feel like, I know that now, I understand that sacrifice more than ever.

As my daughter came out during the movie for another hug, I hugged her so tight I couldn't squeeze her any tighter. As I looked at her beautiful flawless skin, I just kept imagining Jesus as a bouncing baby and then as a man, ripped and bloody, taking the punishment because of me. And I thought about Mary watching as her son went through this torment and I then realized the full weight of what God asked of her, when he told her she'd give birth to the Messiah. She knew that at some point, she'd watch her son die at the hands of man, the very ones He came to save. And then I think about those men, the ones who beat and humiliated Him, as they watched Him breathe His last breath, then watched as the whole earth shook and realized "this surely was the Son of God." And the religious leaders, who turned away from Jesus' being beaten, the very thing they asked for, and the cowards they must have been and the fear He struck in their hearts. And then I thought about our God up in heaven, watching his son bear the weight of all the world's sin, so much so that this beautiful innocent, sinless man, was so ugly to him in the last moments that he turned his back on Jesus from the ugliness He was cloaked in.

But thank God it didn't end that way. Thank God, Jesus came back and rose again. Thank God for loving me that much, loving a lowly sinner like me enough to do that for me. Thank God for sending his son to take my place and for a son who knew what was going to happen, and let it happen anyway. If you haven't seen that movie in a while, I highly suggest doing so.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Five Things I've Learned From Doing Estate Sales

I've officially become the owner of My Jennarocity Estate Sales - it's certainly not something I set out to do but certainly something my heart is in. This time of a family's life can certainly be overwhelming and emotional and it makes me happy that I can help make it easier. Now that I've gotten a few under my belt, I can certainly share a few things I've learned.
1. Purging is important, not just for you, but for the benefit of others.
The main reason estate sale companies are necessary is because the vast amount of possessions people acquire over the years. It becomes too much to handle - what is important? What isn't? What holds emotional value? As time goes on, things you own become less and less important, suddenly those lamps, frames, TVs are all banished to an unused room or to an attic - never to be heard from again. You think to yourself, I'll keep them just in case! They still work, they are in good condition, I'll use them again. But alas, you never get around to it. As you get older, money becomes more available, and instead of pulling out those old items, it seems easier to go to the store and buy new ones, and on and on it goes.
What ends up happening is you have a house full of "things" that are of no use or value to you, but could be a lot of use to those just starting out in life. Donating is fine - it's always good to donate - but you know what's better? Find that couple or that family, at church or school, who is just married and doesn't have much money, and tell them to go shopping in your home! You don't have to go through your things, you let them do it. They end up with new items to furnish their home and new life together, and you get the pleasure of knowing where your things have gone and that you've helped someone!
2. If you haven't used it in a year, you probably won't use it again.
Cleaning out those old magazines, books, clothes you haven't used - and probably don't even remember that you have - is very freeing. Keeping things requires space and storage. Not to mention, it's a constant burden hanging over you head, and never ending "to do!' that never gets "ta done." Every year, make it a point to go through items and donate them. Make that important and ask your family and spouse to do the same!!
3. If at all possible, move furniture around and vacuum underneath as much as you can.
What happens when you move furniture that's been sitting in the same place for months on end is that you end up with a house with a stale, musty smell, not to mention thick layers of dust and possibly pet hair. Moving things around often allows you to take stock of your furniture, what you like, what you no longer do, and it helps give you a new lease on your home (spoken from someone who constantly moves her furniture!!) If it's hard for you to move the furniture, hire a professional every six months or year to come in a do it for you. It will be worth it!

4. Some people have some really, really cool stuff.

One of the coolest things about doing estate sales is the absolute treasures you find. While it's cool to come across antiques and collectibles, what's very interesting is coming across someone's passport and seeing tons of stamps. I see a lot of newspaper articles cut out of things that were important to that person at one time or another, I see inscriptions written in old books. I love coming across old Bibles, especially ones with lots of notes scribbled in.

These are the hardest things for people to part with, either when they are downsizing or after their loved one has passed on. I know it seems silly, but have a plan for those keepsakes. It's very difficult for loved ones to throw away items of great sentimental value, even if they aren't anything of great importance. Keep all of these items together in one place and take stock regularly of what you want to keep and what you want to toss. If you are holding onto something to donate to an old university or to pass on to a child, why wait? Go ahead and do it now.

5. A shredder is a great investment!!

One of the most prominent things I find in houses is old documents - bank statements, pay check stubs, old credit cards, auto insurance policies. All of these are worthless but you don't just want to chunk them in the trash. When you have piles of paperwork needed to be shredded, it can be overwhelming. My shredder is going constantly - I have a basket in my office and as mail comes in, if it's an application for credit or an advertisement with my information on it, I put it in a basket that gets shredded once a week. I actually pay my 10 year old to do it and she loves it. I have noticed people who buy file folders just to store old documents, and then have to keep up with them for years on end. Here are some guidelines about keeping paperwork:

Auto policies should be shredded upon expiration, as well as credit cards that are expired or replaced, and bank statements.

Tax returns: The IRS says that most returns should be kept for three years after the original date of return, seven years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction. Paycheck stubs could be kept up to a year, but no longer. Most stubs now are electronic, anyway, but printing them off to keep them is not worth the time or space.

Receipts, invoices, or warranties:  Receipts for your home should be kept indefinitely for any working items or replacement or repair. Warranties should be checked to ensure they are still in date or tossed if the item is no longer used.

I hope this helps even one person out there toss out a few things and lighten the load!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Musings of a 35 (almsost 36) Year Old Woman

My poor blog has been sorely neglected lately. Not sure why I haven't added much to it this last year, but tonight, I felt I had some things to say.
Dogs. They are a gift from God, and I truly believe that. My dogs are my companions, my friends. They are always excited to see me walk through the door. Even if I've only been gone a few minutes, they greet me as though they haven't seen me in a lifetime. They love my hugs, my kisses, my presence. They follow me around the house, watching me to see if I'm going to do something different than I have ever done, if I have a treat to give them, watching me in anticipation to see if I'm getting ready and about to leave them. Walking in between my dogs through my house is an exercise in agility, as it's almost like manipulating an obstacle course. They sleep soundly when I'm in the same room. I watch my pups curl up on the floor next to my feet, just happy and content to be near me. My pups have been with me now going on 7 years. They've been with me during the most important transition of my life. They've had kids that have loved them, given them attention, dressed them up despite their disgust otherwise. They've patiently awaited the birth of my daughter and licked and loved her from the moment she came home from the hospital. I looked at my dogs this week and felt the reality that I only have another 6 years with them, maybe longer if I'm lucky. It makes me spend every moment with them in happiness and feeling like God truly blessed me to give me such a beautiful example of pure, unconditional love.
This year has been a year of change for us. It doesn't normally affect me when the kids move from grade to grade, but for some reason, this year is already proving to be hard for me. My oldest is going to be a freshman, my middle one will be in junior high and my youngest will be in kindergarten. These years have gone by in such a blink. I feel like I enjoy every moment, every phase, even the hard ones. The little ages aren't the hardest for us, 2 and 3 went by ok, but it's the one Sophia's in now that are the hardest ones to take. The age of 10, as they pass from 5th grade elementary students to 6th grade junior high schoolers, has proven to be the most challenging. The in between, too old to be young and too young to be old. Annoyed by their younger siblings. Know it alls. Independent yet still dependent. Going through the major milestone of body changes and opposite sex relationships. And with a girl, it's hard because friendships change and become harder. Before we know it, though, they will be graduating and it will all be over, and we will look back and wonder where all the years went. I watched my husband and daughters tonight, my daughters still wanting the presence and snuggles of their dad, watching Goosebumps under a flowery blanket, and knowing that before too long, this stage will be over and only one will remain, until it's time for her, too, to be old to think spending a Friday night this way is "cool."
My husband tonight said I am spoiled, and he isn't the only one to feel this way. I am spoiled. Spoiled by the Godly man I married, whose hope in life is that he makes my life easier. He listens to my ramblings, my fears, my concerns, and is there for me, every step of the way. He picks up my messes, he comforts me even when I'm sounding a little looney, he makes me laugh and he loves me even when I don't make much sense. When God sends you the right one, you hold on to him tight and appreciate every day, because you realize that without him, your life simply doesn't make sense. I look at my handsome husband sometimes and pray to God that he never leaves me, as he travels for his job, and pray hard, he comes back. Every moment, every memory, every hug and kiss is a blessing that I cherish.

I guess I'm feeling a little emotional tonight and thought I'd share it with the world.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Trip to Taos!

Jason and I decided in the summer to take a trip around Christmas, just the two of us. We wanted to go to a ski town and be around the snow. We found the cutest place in Taos and thought we could drive down there.
We spent the night in Amarillo on our way, at the Big Texan Inn, across the street from the Big Texan Ranch, one of our favorite pit stops!
It was all decked out for Christmas. A good meal and a full night's sleep was awesome!
The next day we headed to New Mexico!
The GPS took us on an adventure. We ended up on this dirt road through the mountains. It was a little scary there for a while, wondering if we were on the right track, but before we knew it, it popped us off right at Angel Fire and we were on our way! It's a good thing Jason and I were in good spirits and laughing, we were both a little worried!
We were pleasantly surprised by the town of Taos. It's a small village of nice resorts and restaurants. However, we were surprised about two weeks before arriving that while we got there on Monday, the lifts didn't open until Thursday, so basically, the entire village was closed until Thursday. There was a little cantina open in our hotel, as well as a convenience store and a pizza place. We got some groceries on our way into town and spent those three days relaxing, getting massages, sleeping in, and hanging out.
Our room was nice but small, but the patio MORE than made up for it. Look at our view from our room!

It actually worked out well that we had a few days to get used to the altitude. Our first full day, we could hardly walk up stairs without getting winded. That altitude ain't no joke!
We spent a lot of time at this cute little place called the Stray Dog Cantina. We met a lot of locals and watched some ball games. I even met another Realtor and had a nice time getting to know about the business in New Mexico. It was really great, especially since it was two feet away from our door to our room!
By Wednesday, we got our feet under us and went on a walk around the village. The snow was ready to go, all fresh and beautiful.

We even played a couple board games from the hotel on our patio, just because, how often do you get to play board games with this as your view??

Thursday came around and it was time to ski. As you can see, there is a picture of Jason, but no picture of me. He's had a lot of experience skiing, I have not. I tried it for about 30 minutes and didn't care for it at all. I gave up and decided to go down to the lodge and spend my time watching other skiers.

By the end of the day, Jason was worn out and I was ready to visit a couple bars/restaurants that hadn't been open. I had the best chicken pot pie I had EVER had in my life! Which was a welcome change from the never-ending dishes with green peppers the rest of the week.

We were supposed to head back Saturday and drive the whole way back, but by Friday, we were ready to go. Plus, it was supposed to snow a lot through Friday night and Saturday morning and had no interest in getting stuck in that. We drove back and spent the night in Amarillo, stopping at the mall and finishing up some Christmas shopping. We made it back later Saturday evening. It was a great trip, but we both agreed it was a long time to be away from our little stinker. The kids are getting big enough that next year, we've decided to go again but take the kids. They have snowmobiling, tubing, and other things for the kids to do (as well as ski school) and we think they'd love just being in the mountains. Although, spending that quality time with each other was very welcome and it affirmed how much we really love being around each other and how much fun we have together! I'm a lucky lady!