Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tis the Season to be Jolly!! :o)

Ahhhhhhh....the holidays are HERE at last!!! Christmas Tree lighting at The Domain, store fronts decorated in red, green, silver and gold, Christmas music jingling in my ear, Egg Nog and Gingerbread creamers, oh this is MY SEASON!!! I feel most alive this time of year. I am truly full of joy when I reflect on holidays and what they bring to me. Christmas time brings such warmth and such a sense of healing to a part of my soul that's untouchable. The random acts of kindness, the baking, the cooking, the holiday cards from family members and friends that I don't get to see or speak with on a regular basis, Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, all the laughter and joy around me, hanging ornaments on the tree and remembering the special meaning of almost all of them . . . these things just FILL ME UP!

Planning menus, reviewing sale adds, writing letters to Santa, working on Christmas crafts --- oh how I just love this!! It's exciting and invigorating, how can it NOT bring life to me?!?! Watching the kids hang candy canes on the tree, begging to just have "one more", laughing as they check their stockings to see if there was anything left from last year, asking 100 times for the baby to STOP touching the tree (LOL). . . THIS is what I "live" for!

Sure I let my "Holiday Gina" come out the day of Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve when I'm preparing the meal and well, she's not so nice BUT quickly changes once everything is set and ready to go! I LOVE serving my family and my friends, it truly brings me the most joy. From here on out, it gets a little more hectic, some days are more stressful than others, but there's just something about catching a glimpse of the sparkly decorations around making everything just a little bit prettier that makes that stress not seem like such a big deal!

So here's to The Holidays 2010!!

Thanks Heather for photographing my family once again!
You capture these moments of joy for me and I'll always be thankful!

Monday, November 15, 2010

San Antonio Rock n Roll

Finished my last Half Marathon, full report here! Intimidated a bit by DOUBLE THE DISTANCE but am thinking I'm pretty sure I may be finished with half marathons once I complete the Austin FULL Marathon.

But then again, who knows! LOL

Menu Plan Monday 11/15

I'm trying to incorporate fish into the menu weekly whether it's for lunch or dinner. Found a really cool season packet by McCormick at HEB for Salmon and it ROCKED!!!! Had it for lunch last week and am doing it for the family this week for dinner!

Happy Monday!!!

Mon: Sausage and Peppers (doing it with Chicken and Feta sausage, should be good!)
Tue: Pasta Fagioli, salad
Wed: Honey Mustard Pork Chops (a good WWatchers recipe!), jasmine rice, broccoli
Thur: Baked Ranch Chicken Breasts, roasted veggies, Red Lobster cheddar biscuits
Fri: Pot Roast
Sat: Salmon, rice and green beans
Sun: Baked Ziti

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 11/7

Okay, trying to find my groove again and get better at blogging!! :o)

I ALWAYS have my menu on my Google calendar and will try to be better at putting it out here too! I *heart* menu planning!!!

Monday: Sofrito Pork, Beans and Tomato Salad
Tuesday: 40 Clove Garlic Chicken in Crockpot, green salad & bread
Wednesday: Quesadillas, Fruit Salad
Thursday: Baked Cod, corn on the cob, cranberry salad
Friday: Beef Stew in Crockpot
Saturday: MNO
Sunday: Chili, Cornbread

My Irish Sweetie!

Today was a WONDERFUL day! Chris and I were able to take part in a very special family's Baby Dedication, not only as guests but Chris actually performed the ceremony and I was blessed to be named one of the two Godmothers. This family holds a VERY special place in my heart.

They are two of the most giving and loving people I know. I adore them both! Honest, nurturing, giving, humble, loyal, organic (yes I admire those organic types!), the list really can go on and on. There is something about this Irish Beauty, aka Sabrina that just boosts me up every single time I talk to her! She is one of my biggest fans. And I don't mean "fan" in the way of idolizing or worshiping another person, I mean that type of "fan" like a mother or family member can be to someone. She's encouraging, motivating, loving and seriously just breathes life into me when we get to visit with each other! She speaks my language. She knows what I need to hear and doesn't hold back. I truly need a friend like her!

I hate that I forgot my camera but am just hoping that she emails me a pic from today!! It truly was an AWESOME day and I just LOVED sharing it with so many of her newer friends that I just KNOW she's had some great impact on! Every person she touches, she leaves her mark...I just love her!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chosen, Me? Really?

I've been chosen! Me? Really? Is this a joke????

So I've been really pensive lately, analyzing a ton of different things in my life! I think it's been spurred on by the running, seriously. I usually keep my mind WAY TOO BUSY to focus on anything for too long, but my long runs FORCE me to do just that...think!

I wanted to share some things that I think are just plain AWESOME! They may not seem super special to everyone but I'm just BLOWN AWAY by it all! This may go all over the place since I don't reread my posts a hundred times, don't always spellcheck and/or edit...I just process out loud and hit here I go!

As many of you know I have a heart for Hutto's Orange Santa program, gathering and distributing toys for families in need. Well, a few weeks ago I was put in touch with a gentleman that is the President of an amazing group called Celebration of Love. His vision started with just him and a handful of families reaching out to do what we do in Hutto, for our soldiers in Fort Hood after being inspired by his experience with this program in California. He had the heart and passion to help others and let God lead the way. Never giving up, overcoming some obstacles I'm sure, he has now, 7 years later grown to support not just the soldiers, but now almost 10 school districts, has a food pantry and resource center and just gives his life away to show God's love to others! I'm BLOWN AWAY at how excited he was to meet me and help us reach even more families than we have in the past.

I walked into a meeting today at his office, looking at an executive meeting table full of people older than me, more educated than me, with more life experience than me too I'm sure and I felt like I was going to have a minor panic attack! LOL I put a smile of my face, wiped my clammy hands on my blue jeans and made eye contact with a sweet lady that I later found out is a member of a church in Georgetown trying to do more of what we do at my church! We got to chatting a bit, I finally was able to relax, chew on my gum and jump right into the conversation asking tons of questions like I usually do! I made everyone laugh a couple times as I settled into feeling like "Gina". I was asked for my business card by a few people, and as funny as it sounds, I gave them my "family contact card" explaining that I'm just a stay at home mom that values community outreach so it's nothing fancy, has all my kiddos names on it as well as my contact info! :o) I approached the President and VP of COL asking some more questions, then moved onto the Marine Corps SSgt Hargrave who is the Toys for Tots Coordinator, then onto some of the other school district heads and left the office beaming, FULL OF EXCITEMENT!

After a very great meeting, I sat in the car and realized my hands were sweaty and shaking, heart was racing and I had a permanent smile plastered to my face!!!!



Broken, insecure Gina?

It just hit me full force and I started to pray right there at the light on Vision Drive asking God if this is what he has been preparing me for the past 4 years!


All my flaws, my crazy past, my insecurities, my crazy mind that can never focus . . . Gina . . . the girl that has never been "good enough" is actually GOOD ENOUGH!

And you know what they say about God, he gives in abundance. The wealth and riches are NOT financial, we make it, but JUST make it and that's okay. The riches that he gives me grab my heart, take hold of me and won't ever go away!! How amazing is that?!?!?!!?!!

Not only is he showing me that sure, I can help people, but he has put others in my path to help bless people in abundance!!!

Orange Santa has provided families with toys and it's been a great program!! I'm just so passionate about it and blown away at how everyone comes together to pull it off! But now this year, not only are we able to give gifts to these children but with the help of Toys for Tots and COL, we are going to be able to use our fundraising money to FEED THEM ALL!!!!

Yep, you read that correctly, FEED THEM ALL....300 FAMILIES here in Hutto!!!!! We typically collect toys, raise money and use that money to buy the rest of the gifts to fill the wish lists but now with the help of Toys4Tots and COL all of the money we collect will go to give these families a Turkey dinner, complete with sides, rolls, pie and a half gallon of milk!!!


$26 feeds a family of 10....that's all it takes!! If any of you have the heart to give, it's so easy to make such a HUGE impact with such a small sacrifice.

I truly am blown away today.

I've been working through so many things on so many levels and my eyes were opened this afternoon. I got a small glimpse of the HUGE picture of God's plan for me and my family. My friend Kyle said it really well so I'm copying him . . .

"I'm writing my story as I go."

I am choosing to follow my heart, and I know that God will lead me in the direction I need to be going.

WOW, what a way to kick off a new week and a new month!!! :o)