Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some Last Words Before She Speaks

Here's another great post for those of you who are going to She Speaks. This one includes info about a blogger meet and greet on Friday night. Can't wait to meet everyone!

I am probably not going to be posting anymore this week after this one, simply because:

  1. I have a sinus infection. Yes, the sickness that I have talked about has morphed into an actual identifiable, drug prescribable illness. But hopefully with the start of drugs comes the start of health... I appreciate your prayers b/c my voice has definitely been affected and I have to speak on Saturday... perhaps some of you remember the coughing situation from last year? I am having flashbacks.
  2. I have to pack and make sure my daughter packs.
  3. We have an out of town guest. Oh Kaaaren, I have your daughter. And I might not return her!
  4. I have to make food for my family to eat while I am gone. I did actually get to the grocery yesterday to get the stuff they will need for meals, even with a sinus infection. Insert martyr pose here.
  5. My son has a consult for some oral surgery he is having on Monday. We are book-ending my She Speaks experience with his surgery. Isn't that special?
  6. That same son has a birthday party tonight at our pool. Because, you know, it wouldn't be fitting to just relax and take things easy the night before a big conference now would it? Nope. It would seem not!

So, hence the reason for this being my last post for the week. BUT I will be Twittering all through the conference so you can catch up with me here and see what's going on (Twitter updates are in the top right corner of the blog), check my status on Facebook (Twitter feeds right to Facebook-- I just love technology--when it works for me and not against me), or follow me on Twitter (there is a link in the top right corner that will take you to where you can follow).

I want to leave you with one last thought that I read yesterday in my quiet time. For those of you who are going to She Speaks, I want you to be thinking about this verse all through the weekend. Because it's what we all need to remember:

Psalm 57:2, "I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me."

We all have different purposes-- custom made for us, crafted by His hands. It's easy to look over at the purposes of others and get off track. It's easy to see others' purposes being fulfilled and wonder: will that ever be me? This weekend, make your heart's cry for His ears and trust that He WILL fulfill His purpose for you.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

For Those Attending She Speaks

Here's a great post for those of you who are planning to attend the She Speaks conference, which starts this coming Friday! Rachel shares some insider tips that are quite beneficial.

I can't wait to meet those of you who will be attending. We are gearing up for one of the best years ever... I might not be around much this week as we start our part of She Speaks on Wednesday and are on the go from then on. But you can be certain I will post photos and thoughts about the weekend once I get home and settled. And I will be Twittering from my phone so check back in via Twitter or the updates in the sidebar for a play by play of the weekend.

If you couldn't come this year, start praying now about being there next year!!
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Cold In July?

I am sick.

It took me a long time to admit it.

I spent the first few days in denial. I mean, it's July. That's not exactly normal time to get a raging head cold that makes you feel like your brain is filled with cotton and your senses have gone on vacation. Not to mention the coughing. Oh, the coughing! I am just generally unpleasant and unhappy right now.

A few minutes ago I had to cancel plans with friends for tonight that have been on the calendar for weeks. We had all looked forward to this and I had to go and get sick and ruin it for everybody. So now we add the pity party to the general unpleasantness.

Be glad that you don't live at the Whalens this weekend! It's not a fun place to be because you know the old saying: When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

I am praying for a full recovery before we start She Speaks on Wednesday. If you feel like praying with me, I sure would appreciate it! On a good note at least I didn't get sick a week from now. That would have been much worse. Oh, and my daughter is home safely from BigStuf. She is sleeping in the room across from me as I type this. She will probably be sleeping most of the day, as a matter of fact. But she is home, which is where I like her to be.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Daybook Update

Because I have nothing interesting or compelling to say, I will update what I wrote for my daybook entry yesterday... if you keep reading, it is at your own risk because I have already confessed I have nothing interesting or compelling to say.

Outside my window... I wanted to get to the pool yesterday but the skies were overcast. Am hoping for better weather today as it has been almost THREE WHOLE DAYS since we went.

I am still thankful for... the three hours of blessed, blissful silence I am getting every day this week as my kids are in VBS. I camp out at a nearby Starbucks and try to suppress the big goofy grin on my face, lest I scare people. I have had some great time with God and even managed to write a devotion about how God can speak over the loud jazz music, patrons' voices, and grinding machines at Starbucks.

From the kitchen... still haven't made those blueberry muffins... but they are still on the list. Tonight we had a gourmet meal of Hamburger Helper. Just keepin it real, folks. (Mommy did not have HH. Mommy drove herself to Panera and got a salad. Did you know that 1/3 cup of HH is 280 CALORIES???) Not. Even. Worth. It. But my kids gulp it down and ask for more... go figure.

I am reading... Dune Road by Jane Green. I am NOT impressed. But the stupid thing is just interesting enough that I am now reading about every 5th page just to see what happens. Ie, if what I guessed was right.

I am hoping... my kids are having a great time this week at VBS! They love it and fall asleep at night anticipating the next day. Now that makes me very happy to know that while I am enjoying my time, they are enjoying theirs! Also, my daughter sounds like she is having an amazing time at BigStuf. I can't wait to hear all her stories when she gets back.

I am creating... you can create a lot in 3 hours of time with no kid interruptions, I am finding. Today I "interviewed" my newest character (Susan Meissner taught us that in our clinic at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference) and had a blast writing a very rough summary of the plot. What's that you say? I haven't sold my other novel? I know... but I just can't sit back and do nothing so why not start another novel?? It's a disorder.

Which brings me back to what I am praying... that my novel will sell. I am trying to remain focused on what God wants and not just what I want, and not letting my dreams override His Will. But in my heart of hearts, I really want to see it in print. Will keep you posted.

Around the house... working on basic cleaning in the afternoons after we come home from VBS-- dishes, laundry, tidying, etc. Slaving over complex and time-consuming meal preparation like Hamburger Helper. Endlessly visiting my closet to decide what I am wearing to She Speaks. Still haven't started preparing for our company or out of town guests... but I will... eventually. I am still not spending much time on the internet. Confession time: I am enjoying the break!

One of my favorite things... Mint Oreo ice cream from Baskin Robbins with half the fat of their other ice cream! Delish! It was a little treat my husband and I went out and got tonight, just the two of us. We call that a pseudo-date.

Just as an aside and then I really must be going... Have you ever noticed that my favorite things tend to be food related items a lot of the time??? And that, my friends, is why I get on that treadmill every day.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: The Tuesday Edition

For Today...

Outside my window... A gorgeous summer day that is cooler than our normal late July temps.

From the learning rooms... VBS is serving as our learning for this week.

I am thankful for... some time to myself each morning to work on things for She Speaks.

From the kitchen... homemade blueberry muffins made with fresh blueberries

I am wearing... khaki capris and a tee shirt-- my summertime uniform

I am reading... Dune Road by Jane Green-- still haven't decided if I like it.

I am hoping... my kids like their VBS experience, a safe and fun trip for my daughter to BigStuf down in Daytona with our church.

I am creating... ideas for another novel.

I am praying... that my other novel will find a home at some publishing house somewhere.

Around the house... keeping up with housework in spite of being gone more than normal. Preparing for some out of town company this weekend and having some friends over on Saturday night.

One of my favorite things... turkey bacon and tomato sandwiches. I could eat them every day and just about do.

A few plans for the rest of the week... VBS every day, getting my daughter back on Friday night from her trip, meeting up with some friends to listen to music on Friday night, having friends over Saturday night, Mackenzie coming on Sunday to stay with us til She Speaks starts.
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Monday, July 20, 2009


Welcome to all of you who stop by after reading today's devotion! I am so glad you stopped by!

It's a new week! How are you going to spend it? I am spending it shuttling 3 of my kids to Vacation Bible School at a church about 30 minutes away. Even though it's a drive, I decided to do this particular VBS because they were offering the GoFish guys' curriculum. Having seen their energy, fun music, and heart for the Lord at Hearts at Home back in March, I knew that we couldn't go wrong. So we will be up early this morning to make our first trip there. I am looking forward to a fun distraction from our normal summer days at home... and some time alone while they are in VBS to work on the final touches for She Speaks, which starts for the speaker team in just a little over a week! The timing couldn't be better!

Later this afternoon, I am joining some friends for shopping for She Speaks and dinner. While most of my outfits have been planned for weeks, I will still have my eye out for that "must have" item! I love having something fun to look forward to and this shopping trip fits the bill!

My devotion today is a very personal one, as I share about times when I have neglected my marriage... letting it become dull and dingy. Where once I was excited to be married, I let busyness and stress deter me from staying excited. I let my marriage become commonplace. The longer I am married, the more I realize that this will be a battle I fight almost daily. But continuing to work at polishing up my marriage will yield big rewards... rewards that are more precious than diamonds!

How are you going to restore the shine in your marriage this week? I'd love to have you all share here-- maybe we can inspire each other! Read this post from last week for some great inspiration from author Tricia Goyer and be sure to check out the comments on that post.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Learning To Live Like Pigs

My dear friend Ann mentioned our book today on her blog. I feel so honored! Even more honored to know her daughter read the book when it arrived-- I don't think any of my own children have read it!!

Case in point, my 7 yo saw me looking at what Ann had written this morning. "What's your book about?" he asked.

"It's about learning how to handle your money wisely," I said.

My 3 yo, who was curled up next to him in our bed said, "No it's not. It's about pigs."

That cracked my husband and I up to think that all this time in her little three year old brain she has been thinking that he and I put our heads together and wrote about PIGS!! (Check out our book cover in the sidebar to get why she might have thought that.)

You just never know around here...
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Where I'm not... here.

Where I am... the kitchen, the car, the pool, the treadmill, the library, the pool, the grocery store, the Target and... oh yeah, the pool some more.

Don't you just love summer?
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Make Your Marriage Rock

I loved Tricia's tips for ways to make your marriage rock in this post:

Which one are you going to try today?

I am going to greet my husband with a smile and a kiss no matter how grumpy or tired I am. That is one area I have never been good at-- and I need to do better!

Would love to hear your tips if you have any to add!
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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook Monday July 13, 2009

For Today...

Outside my window... It's still dark but I am hoping for a nice sunny day so we can get to the pool.

From the learning rooms... Picking back up with our Summer Bridge books after a week off.

I am thankful for... a safe trip for my kids. They were in a fender bender coming home but no one was hurt, thank the Lord.

From the kitchen... still on strike for one more week... aaaah! I am planning a trip to the produce stand to pick up more tomatoes and peaches soon. I could live off bacon and tomato sandwiches with a fresh peach for dessert-- divine!

I am wearing... my green Ireland tee shirt and black knit capris... I will be on the treadmill in this outfit later so this isn't about looking good so much as feeling comfortable.

I am reading... Save The Cat Goes To The Movies-- a book about screenwriting that is so fascinating! I am loving it! I am also reading Journaling As A Spiritual Practice for my quiet time and loving it too! I love it when I have good books to read!!

I am hoping... for a week that goes well. After our week off last week with three of the kids being at the beach, I hope this week is peaceful and fun and not full of the turmoil that can come with adjusting to so much togetherness after time apart.

I am creating... documents I need for She Speaks, which begins for the speaker team just two weeks from Wednesday!!

I am praying... for God's will in all things. And for His prompting and insight at all times.

Around the house... three kids' worth of laundry to do from their week away.

One of my favorite things... my children's faces-- I missed those faces this past week. Also seeing them run to me when they got home. A happy reunion!

A few plans for the rest of the week... blueberry picking, trips to the pool, referreeing, She Speaks preparations, maybe some blackberry picking, maybe a summer movie, my daughter volunteering at Proverbs (which means driving her there), an oral surgeon appointment for my son who needs to have teeth removed, and some fun plans with friends this weekend.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Bring It To Me Devotion

I have been remiss this week in posting here daily... which makes no sense as my load was much lighter on the homefront! Have you ever had plans about the way you thought something was going to go-- only to have them completely not go that way?? Well that's how this week has been for me. Three of my kids are gone with their grandmother to the beach. One of my kids stayed with my father in law. And my husband was gone til today. So for most of this week, it's just been me, my 3yo, and my 14 yo. (She was even gone one of the nights!) I have had a lighter load-- but not more time like I anticipated. What's up with that??

Oh well, I have enjoyed every second-- that's what counts! On Monday my 14 yo said, "Mom, why do I feel like this week is going to go by too fast?"

I looked at her and replied, "Because it is."

Don't get me wrong, I love and miss my kids-- but the noise reduction and reduced extra work of cleaning up after, feeding, and referreeing those three particular children has been a welcome and restful break. A public thank you goes out to my mother in law for her service to our family!!

Today I have a devotion running at P31. Welcome if you are stopping by to visit after reading! I love this particular devotion because it came in a burst right after my son said that. I went to my room, opened my computer and wrote it all down. Devotions don't always come to me like that-- some are harder work to write than others-- so I especially love it when that happens and remember those writing experiences fondly. Those are nice little surprises from God, and in my opinion they are the best devotions I write because they come straight from His heart to mine and then I get to share them with you!

What do you need to bring to God today? I would love it if you would share it here. Let's all lift each other up in prayer as we hear what's on each other's hearts.

To be fair, I will start: I am continually bringing my writing efforts to Him. I can't write a novel, a book, a devotion, an article or anything without first bringing it to Him. The verse, "Apart from Him, I can do nothing" comes to mind... For those of you who read my post "Before And After," my dieting adventures were definitely a minute by minute "bring it to me" situation. There were times I really thought I couldn't do the diet one more minute-- I wanted bread or a cookie or just a bowl of cereal so badly. So I would bring it to Him-- bring Him my goals and desires, bring Him my waning willpower-- and let Him equip me to make it through. And He always would. Additionally right now I have started a new venture (news coming soon!) and every time I get that "Oh my goodness I can't do this! Why did I say I would?" feeling, I have to just bring it to Him. It's too big for me, but it's not for Him.

Bring it to me... I needed to read my own reminder this morning.
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Before And After Questions

I have had a ton of emails, comments, and Facebook inquiries about my "before and after" post. Thanks so much for the encouraging words! I have tried to respond to all the questions-- even if it was just a brief "I have no idea!" response.
The diet I did was a program developed for me by a naturopath. So I can't speak to anything other than what I did. I can't address all the specifics as we are all in unique situations with unique limits, body chemistry, etc. I guess my main encouragement in writing about my experience is to encourage you not to give up, not to sit back and say "there's no hope because I have had kids or I have hit a certain age, etc." There is hope and I am living it!

With that said, here's one request that I have gotten several times that I can answer: what is the salad I loved and what dressing did I make?

The salad is lettuce (I used field greens) (60 grams measured on a food scale), cut up deli turkey (60 grams measured on a food scale), cut up strawberries (100 grams measured on a food scale). The dressing I put on it was 4 tsp. of olive oil mixed with 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar. I added coarse ground pepper and sea salt to taste, whisked it all together, and poured it on the salad. The dressing tasted so good with the turkey and the strawberries-- a flavor explosion! It made me so happy I took the above photo! (More proof to my kids that I am indeed crazy. "Mom, why are taking a picture of that salad?" In the photo I did grilled chicken instead of deli turkey but you get the idea.) Isn't it a pretty salad??

I hope if you try it it will make you happy, too! To your health!
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Monday, July 06, 2009

A Short Daybook Entry

What I am listening to: John Mayer's first cd-- in my opinion it's still his best. A great cd to listen to in the summer.

What I am thankful for: three of my kids are with grandma at the beach so I have a much lighter load!

What I am making: not much this week... I did make a delicious chocolate chip cake with a rich, fudge icing to take to the 4th of July party we went to this past weekend.

What I am thinking... the laundry load goes down significantly when you have half the children! Having a break is a wonderful thing.

What I am reading: (Can't wait for this book to come out! This link is to the first chapter so you can get a sneak peek.)

What I am hoping: that this week doesn't go by as fast as I think it will!
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Friday, July 03, 2009

Before And After

Before (June 08)
After (July 09)

(These aren't the best before and after pictures, but they will have to do-- you can mainly see the difference in my face, which is what I was struck by when my friends and I snapped the bottom picture on Wednesday night. These lovely ladies are Kimberly and April-- some of my best friends from high school.)

In honor of Independence Day, I am going to finally blog about my freedom from the extra weight I had been carrying for years...

"Why haven't you written on your blog about losing weight?" my friend asked me.

"Because I'm not ready," I replied.

My friend has been chronicling her weight loss journey on her blog from the get-go, so my not talking about it here was odd to her. A great deal of who I am and what I do is here, but I can't share everything. Especially something that is very difficult. Especially something that at first you feel like is going to be the death of you... take for example, my efforts to finally shed the weight that had crept on with six pregnancies.

For years, every day I woke up thinking, today will be the day my metabolism is going to wake up and get back on track! And every night I went to bed thinking, ok maybe tomorrow?

Then one day I finally decided, enough was enough. It was time to do whatever it took to get rid of the weight. I had tried not eating. I had tried running. Nothing seemed to help. The most I lost was 5 pounds and I needed to lose a whole lot more than that.

A friend of mine had shed 42 pounds doing this diet that involved going to a naturopath and being put on a strict diet. (And when I say strict, think Nazi-strict.) But seeing the difference in her and knowing the similarity in our situations, I knew that if it worked so well for her, it might be worth the suffering I would have to go through. So, I talked it over with my husband and on February 3rd, I took the plunge.

I know you are going to ask what I ate, so I will tell you. I ate three meals a day and no snacks. The meals were weighed on a food scale, which I stuck to very closely. This was a huge wakeup call because my portions were definitely out of whack! I also drank a drink made up of a protein powder and water, 4 times a day. This did help to curb hunger between meals.

Typically, here's what I ate each day:

Breakfast: two pieces of turkey bacon or 2 poached eggs, cantaloupe or grapefruit

Lunch: a salad made with lettuce, cut up deli turkey, strawberries and a balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing I made with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. This salad is so good I could eat it every day!

Dinner: a piece of meat-- a hamburger (without the bun of course), a chicken breast, or a piece of fish-- and a side of either watermelon or broccoli or small salad.

Yes, I got tired of the lack of variety. Yes, I daydreamed about lots of other foods. Yes, I nearly fell off the wagon tons of times. But inevitably I would get a fresh vision for what I was doing and why and get back on track. This happened sometimes many times a day!! One woman I know who is now on the diet has named it the "Jesus Help Me" diet. And that is the truth!!

I did the diet until May 3rd (3 months total). At that point I had lost 32 pounds and 35 inches. Even though I have taken a break, I still do the diet in moderation, and probably will for life. I gave up caffeine on the diet (required) and sugar. I added back sugar in moderation but don't plan to ever add back caffeine. I found I don't need it like I thought I did! Once I detoxed from it (and that was truly what it was like-- detox), I didn't ever want to go back on it. I had a serious coffee and sweet tea habit, so that was HUGE for me to kick! Now I start my mornings with my Zen green tea sweetened with Stevia. And I am just fine without my giant mugs of coffee and creamer.

Another thing I will not change is working out daily. Part of the diet requires that you work out 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. And I still do. I am on the treadmill every day for 30-40 minutes and I also do 100 situps. It has become part of my routine and the day doesn't feel complete without it. I know... I used to dislike people who talked like that, too

I am so glad I did the diet. Yet, I am still not where I want to be. I would like to lose 5-10 more pounds. (My goal is what I was when I got married (5 lbs.) or what I was when we dated (10 lbs.). That's kind of lofty, I realize, but I am so close I figure... why not? At the same time I can honestly say that I am very happy with where I am at, too. Happy enough to eat two freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last night! Just keepin it real...
I am so glad I did what it took to shed the weight. I would have told you that it was impossible, that those extra pounds were just the sacrifice I made to bring 6 people into the world. I am glad I learned that it didn't have to be that way. I feel more like me again.

And that is a very good thing.
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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Mom's On Strike

The other day my husband announced I was going on strike. No cooking for 2 weeks. The kids will make their own dinners of either sandwiches, cereal, soup, mac and cheese, etc. (Of course I will help the younger ones.)

This was after several nights of them bitterly complaining about the well-balanced meals I worked hard to make. Meals that virtually went untouched. Meals that sat as leftovers in the fridge, growing mold like prize science experiments. I told Curt that I felt unappreciated for the amount of effort I put into planning the meals, buying the ingredients and preparing the food. He said that there was no need for me to do it if they weren't going to eat it.

So he announced the strike, which begins today. (I had to cook up the remaining meals that were in the house before the strike could begin-- I am practical, after all.)

I am looking forward to my strike. Wonder what I will do with all that extra time I am not spending in the kitchen?? What would you do with your extra time if you went on strike? I am hoping the strike will help change some attitudes around here. Sometimes going without something is the best way to start appreciating it again. Let's hope that mentality works with the Whalen kids!
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