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Stuttering Shell: January 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

dear Lord, this is a mess...

because it really is.

i received a very sweet email from a dear friend, whitney, yesterday. y'all...she's a doll {and i'm a poet and i didn't even know it}.

i shared with her {and a few others} some of my family's recent struggles & worries. she replied back with words of wisdom. words that i needed to read. encouragement that i needed to get. she directed me here.

it's funny. that particular devotional rings so true with me. i wouldn't be surprised if it did with you all, too.

i am a do-er. i am a thinker. i am a "what if-er." i have a tendency to try and micromanage any & all aspects of my life...even the ones that i cannot control. i have a need to feel in control...even when it's blatantly obvious that i cannot be. so, that devotional really hit home for me.

it hit home because, in my mind, i need peace. i need peace & quiet {i'd like some at home, too, but it's hard when you've got an 8 year old & a 6 year old who can & will argue about darn near everything}. but, there IS no peace...not when i'm worrying. if i could just let go and let the Lord tackle this issue for me, then i would have more time & more energy to cherish other things like my children, my husband, my family. because, seriously y'all, worrying about this {for the lack of a better word} crap is exhausting.

whitney shared a powerful bible verse with me that helps her get by in tough times:

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness...”
2 corinthians 12:9

what's funny is that i have the very same bible verse pinned to my bulletin board here at home. well, it's just a smidgen different {but you know how the different bible versions can be}:

"My strength is made perfect in weakness..."

2 corinthians 12:9

after i read whitney's email, i took a second glance at my bulletin board and, wouldn't you know it, this is what else i saw:

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you."

Psalm 55:22

go figure. all the reassurance i needed was right there all along. but, of course, having the added encouragement from good friends is all the more wonderful. so, i'm going to move forward from here and not let our current strife weigh heavy on my heart {at least i'm going to try really hard not to}. if i had all of the answers or if i could foresee the future, i wouldn't be in this family wouldn't be in this situation. and, there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord would not give me {or my family} any more than He thought we could handle.

so perhaps there is a reason for all of this. what that reason is...i do not know just yet. i don't want to know just yet. i'll wait for the Lord to show show us. instead, i'll do my best to keep calm & carry on. God has been good to my family thus far...i can't imagine He would fail me now.

like the devotional says, the first four letters of Messiah spell...yep...m-e-s-s {kinda like the word stressed is desserts spelled maybe it's not entirely like that but when i'm cramming chocolates down my throat i find comfort in that tidbit}. i'm turning over this mess to the Lord. clearly, i'm not able to make sense of it all. i'm teetering on the verge of angry bitterness and that's certainly not the way to solve this issue.

i truly believe that we will be okay in the end {even though it doesn't seem like it right now}. "all you need is love" is what my husband keeps saying. ha. don't i wish. but, perhaps he's right. so, i'm going to be hopeful. perhaps one day i'll be ready to forgive. but, for now, the only way i'm going to get through this is by letting the Lord handle it {because goodness knows i don't need an ulcer right now, too}.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

because of you...

i've learned what it's like to have my world ripped apart.

i know what it's like to be disrespected & under appreciated.

i have never felt more rage & bitterness than i do now.

i've learned how NOT to be a parent.

i second guess people.

i know what it's like to fail. badly.

i have been taken for granted. we've all been taken for granted.

i wouldn't have made the decisions that i did.

i wouldn't have acted the way that i did.

i stood up for myself. i stood up for my friends. i stood up for my family.

i learned to appreciate what i have.

i learned that you can't always get what you want.

i sleep well at night.

i don't miss the stress or the pressure.

i had fun.

i have good memories of better times.

i am thankful for the different opportunities.

i acquired new skills.

i excelled in what i did.

i traveled.

i really do live with no regrets.

i value my family even more.

i have my husband back.

i am truly loved.

i praise God for watching over us {not you}.

i am pursuing my dreams.

i am doing what makes me happy.

i am myself again.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where in the World Wednesday

it's that time of the week again!! you know - it's time for some fun with classy in philadelphia as she hosts yet another weekly installment of where in the world wednesday.

{i'm on my lappy top & i'm too lazy to download the WITWW icon...please accept my apologies!}

you know the drill. post a pic of you anywhere in the world...whatever you consider to be traveling. tell us a lil' bit about the pic and then post the link over on this week's WITWW post at classy in philadelphia's blog.

this week i'm sharing a photo of me & my sweetie. we didn't travel far in this photo...we were simply a few miles up the road from our home at the virginia beach amphitheater.

the date: august 15, 2007

the concert: dave matthews band

memories of the show are kinda bittersweet {wow, my hair was really light back then!}. these were the best seats we've ever had for a dave show {and we've been going since the 1990s} - 8th row orchestra. this was also the last concert that WE saw in which musical extraordinaire, leroi moore, played with the band. he was injured in an accident & was too fragile to play with the band during 2008's summer show and, sadly, many months before the 2009 summer show rolled around, he had passed away. but, don't fret...we're all still dancing with the groogrux king.

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the commute.

i mentioned previously that i have a killer commute.
well, compared to the 10 minute commute {from home to work} that i used to have, anything else would be considered a killer commute...but, this - oh, this - is the epitome of a killer commute {well, maybe not, but it is to me}. my fellow bloggers & friends in the hampton roads area will know what i mean. some will sympathize. some will thank their lucky stars that they don't make the same trek daily. my theory is matter where you are in our section of the mid-atlantic...the traffic sucks. it really does.

yesterday was no exception.

the drive to work was a breeze. seriously. not much base traffic {the world's largest naval station thankyouverymuch}. no back-up or delay at the hampton roads bridge tunnel {i drive to & from work through the tunnel that is partially pictured below...yes, i drive under the water}.


the drive home was the extreme opposite {although i can't complain too much because the tunnel wasn't too terribly backed up}.


i made it home tuesday evening approximately twelve hours after i left home that morning and i worked an 8.5 hour day. my commute to work yesterday morning was only 45 minutes. you do the math.

yeah. back-ups near the naval base is to be expected. what i wasn't expecting was having to go out of my way to get home because ALL the lanes of eastbound traffic on the particular section of interstate i needed to travel on to get home were stopped. it was one, big parking lot.

but, i made it. and i'll make the same trek again thursday. and friday. and so on and so on.

{thank goodness i keep an extra drink & a snack packed in my lunch for the ride home!}

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

work it.

today was day two for me.

two days on the job. woo hoo!

so far, so good.

i enjoy getting 'dressed up' for work again. and, this part-time schedule kind of works to my benefit because i only need to get 'dressed up' three days out of the week. ha! it's kind of like a win-win situation because i get a long weekend & i can still act like a professional career woman.

where this job will take me...who knows. i'm hoping it will turn into something more {you know, like a full-time gig}. i think it will. i know it will. i've got breathing room. i've got room to grow. i traded in my own private office and inflated salary for a cubicle, a pay cut & a monster commute.


i'm happy, i'm secure, i'm welcomed, i'm appreciated.

they smile. they say hello. they take time to get to know you. they shake hands. they stop by just to say 'hey.' they are patient. they are kind.

i love that i'm in an office that's full of men & women, young & older and of all different backgrounds & cultures. i love that i have my own space to decorate. i love that i'm not the only part-timer. i love that i'm not the only parent. i love that i'm surrounded by people who value work & family...and recognize that family comes first. i love that i am part of something wonderful.

wow...and i only just completed day two. sounds crazy, huh?

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Friday, January 15, 2010

we have a GIVEAWAY winner!

thirty-six of you entered to win some pink & green organizational goodness and chose the 32nd entry as the winner.

i'm quite happy to tell y'all that the winner is...

congratulations!! please send an email with your mailing address to me: shell {at} stutteringshell {dot} com

thank you to all of you who entered to win and hello & welcome to some new faces who came over to see what the giveaway was all about!

if all goes well, i just might hold another giveaway next month {and maybe i'll have a small giveaway every month in 2010...who knows}. oh, and keep your eyes peeled because i will be getting my future etsy shop in order this weekend.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

monday, monday

first of all, don't forget to enter my pink & green giveaway. i want to help keep YOU organized in 2010 so click here to enter, okay?


it's been a while since i last posted, huh?

i've been around. here, there. well, mostly here. here being at home. the unemployment saga drags on, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. of course, the obvious light at the end of the tunnel would not only be a job*, but to have my unemployment hearing side in my favor. yes, folks, i'm battling for unemployment benefits. at the end of this month, i'll find out if i, indeed, qualify or not. waiting a month & a half for money sucks...and that's all i'll say about that.

the kids are back in school. adam's back to work. i'm back to crafting things, dreaming about things, wishing about things & wondering about things. it's all good, though.

i really do think i'm serious about opening an etsy shop. i don't know where to begin. i don't know what i should peddle {sounds so much cooler than saying sell}. well, i do, but it's such a random smattering of things - reverse-applique shirts, glass ornaments, ribbon topiaries & wreaths. nevertheless, i've got dreams. i've got plans. i'm just not ready to put it all on the internet yet...or am i??

i've been creating lots of things. things i owe you pictures of {tomorrow, i promise, but i'll link you to my twitpics for now}. i painted four wineglasses {the glasses were upside down because they were still wet & not heat set}. this one is mine and i lve it. if you haven't guessed, i hang out with some w{h}iners. i made my momma a cone-shaped breast cancer awareness topiary. i have yet to completely finish it {i.e., set it in the pot} but i'll do that either tonight or tomorrow. i also made my friend, maria, a lovely purple topiary for the desk she'll have at her new job. and, this afternoon, i finished this heart-shaped wreath for my front door. i've definitely been busy.

i've got lots & lots on my plate this week - mostly deep cleaning & organizing our home {oh, and bathroom} - but thank goodness for some fun with friends. on wednesday morning, i'm having coffee with her & her. and, on friday night, i'm getting together with her {again!}, her & her for some mexican food. yum! we've all met up before and, let me tell ya, i'm gonna be in good company as they are three fabulous women. saturday night, i'll be crafting again - painting more wine glasses - with friends & family.

so, there's my week. it's gonna be a busy one. don't worry, i'll be a bit more faithful with the blogging. i've got a bunch of kidlet-related shenanigans to report. trust me.

have a great week, y'all!

* so, about that light at the end of the tunnel i referred to as a j to the o to the b. i've been offered one. it's part-time {with potential to go full-time}. it's kinda-sorta for a company i'd love to work for {all i'm gonna say is that the company i would be working for...if i accept the for a wholly-owned subsidiary of that really big company that's getting ready to move it's headquarters from california to northern virginia}. i've got lots to think about because monday the 18th could potentially be my first day back to work. i'm thankful. very thankful.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

GIVEAWAY - Pink & Green Organizational Goodness

thanks to all who entered!

as promised, i have a giveaway for you!

in celebration of my 600th blog post {which happened last monday}, i have a little pink & green organizational goodness for you. it will help you preppify your desk, if you will.

it's nothing too exciting or too fancy. trust me on this, folks. i'm on a bit of a tight budget due to this self-inflicted unemployment, so don't be disappointed when i say to you that these fun items came from target. from target's $1 section, to be more specific.

can you believe it??

the lucky winner will receive:

  • 2 packs of pink & green file folders {3 folders in each pack}
  • 1 pack of pink & green binder clips {various sizes}
  • a magnetic list pad {embellished with a cute pink bow}
  • a set of sticky notes
  • a magnetic weekly planner

so there you have it. nothing fancy. but extra super special, in my opinion. if you're teetering on the verge of being unorganized {like i am} then these little gems should come in handy...especially if organizing your work space is one of your new year's resolutions!

to enter, all you gotta do is comment on this post. that's all. nothing crazy. no silly questions to answer or websites to check out. you can tweet about this if you want. feel free to blog about this or copy the picture to post on your blog's side bar. but enter, all you gotta do is comment.

i'll leave the giveaway open until 11:59pm EST on january 14th and i'll announce the winner on friday, january 15th. international bloggers are welcome to enter, too!

the fine print: i was not asked to giveaway these items nor was i endorsed by target in any way, shape or form. i purchased these items with money from my own pocket. they were not given to me. nor was i asked to review them or blah blah blah. so on and so forth...

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chocolate + sheet cake = ♥

i'm hanging my head in shame because i've held out on y'all. i can't believe i'm just now sharing this with you.

sometime after thanksgiving, but before christmas i baked this little gem:

you know, ree drummond's the pioneer woman's chocolate cake. not just any cake, but the best chocolate sheet cake. ever.

sorry about my fancy, schmancy cookbook set up...this was before i gifted myself with a cookbook stand. but, a sugar pourer & a magnetic clip did the trick, right?

it was good...and easy to make. while i still prefer black magic cake as my 'go to' chocolate cake recipe {it's darker & more also has coffee in it}, i thoroughly enjoyed the pioneer woman's cake. it was moist. it was chocolate-y. it had nuts in the frosting for God's sake {although you could omit them if you didn't like nuts}!

you can find the recipe by clicking here.

i had all of the recipe ingredients in my fridge & pantry. i even made my own buttermilk so i wouldn't have to go to the grocery store & schelp out a few dollars for something that i would only use to bake one cake. pretty cool, huh?

i definitely recommend that you try this cake. if you're already a fan of the pioneer woman & her cooking {as i am!} then you won't be disappointed with this cake. promise.

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Where in the World Wednesday

it's that time of the week again {i took a break last wednesday}...

go over to classy in philadelphia's blog and participate in where in the world wednesday. it's super easy...just post a pic of yourself anywhere in the world - up the street, uptown, downtown, across town, across the world - whatever you consider to be traveling. then, be sure to leave the link in this week's WITWW post over at classy in philadephia's blog. easy peasy.

let's travel, shall we??

this week, we're going back to the year 2004. it was our first trip to cancun, mexico. the hubs & i were on the bus. drinking. heading to dinner with the fam at perico's in downtown cancun. {side note: i really miss those dragon sunglasses with the red lenses}

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

gone missing.

sometime between thanksgiving & christmas something happened.

my usually perky, happy-go-lucky six year old son {pictured below} went missing.

i don't know where he went, why he left or what even happened, but the little boy who came back to take his place is NOT the same child.

sweet aidan has been replaced by his alter ego. and, i don't like him {i'm allowed to say that, i'm his momma after all}. i want the aidan pictured above to come back home.

this whiney, naughty and, overall, emotionally & psychologically grating little boy {pictured below} has become my son.

{granted, this picture is about a year old, but this is, indeed, the aidan i'm dealing
with...sad face, tears & all...just minus the chocolate milk mustache}

my nerves are shot, y'all. thank goodness school is back in session because aidan's been quite the character lately. perhaps he's regressing back to his toddlerhood, but DAMN, i don't remember him being this irritating even during the terrible two's & torturous three's!

don't get me wrong, he's still polite, uses his manners and is relatively pleasant to be around. but, watch out, in the blink of an eye he's a crying, blubbering mess. he's a whiner. he's a poor sport. he's not satisfied with anything. his temper tantrums are exhausting. thank goodness they aren't's not like he's flailing himself on the floor. oh, wait. he is.

there's not enough room in this house for such ridiculousness. besides, doesn't he know that mommy is the only one allowed to have these kind of meltdowns? y'all , he's turning my gray hairs white.


i miss my joyful aidan. my goofy aidan. my silly aidan.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

many thanks.

i just wanted to take a moment to let you all know how much i appreciate each & every one of you. whether you follow & lurk, follow & comment or just stumble upon my little piece of the internet just because...well...i thank ya!

i don't always reply back to comments. i need to get better about that. i'll admit, most of the time it's due to pure laziness. i have good intentions of replying, i do. but, often times i'm hindered from doing so because of that 'noreply {at} blogger {dot} com' foolishness. anyways, just know that i love each & every comment...from my faithfuls, my anonymous peeps {even though i know who you are!} and my new followers.

blogging has been a blessing in disguise. it's opened a whole new world for me. i've never been a journal writer, but blogging has given me an outlet that i suddenly cannot seem to do without. i'm sure many of you feel the exact same way...and perhaps that's why we've found each other. who knows.

i just wanted to say thank you. from the bottom of my . your kind words, your encouragement, your support, your bloggy friendship, your generosity, your amazing talent, your honesty, your all means a lot. a whole lot. each & every one of you is truly unique and you've all touched a part of my heart.

thank you. thank you for being you. thank you for finding me.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

january 1, 2010

happy new year, y'all!

we had a lovely time last night celebrating the coming of a new year with some good friends in the comfort of our home. everyone had a great time. unfortunately, i must now shampoo my carpets, scrub the heck out of my kitchen floor & search for one of my painted wine glasses that has turned up missing, but what the hell. we had fun.

i nearly missed the ball drop. i was in the bathroom, um, emptying my bladder of what felt like three gallons of wine. i could hear adam calling for me. it's hard to buckle your belt & wash your hands in a hurry. i made it out just as the countdown went, "3-2-1...happy new year!" whew. there was a lot of hugging & kissing in my living room. pictures were taken. people were smiling. it was a perfect moment.

miraculously, i am not hungover.

we're celebrating again tonight. this time with our kids {who are coming home today} and my parents. we're planning on gorging ourselves on delicious "lucky" foods like black-eyed peas & collard greens. we're also going to have a chinese feast - peking duck, roast pork, turnip cakes. adam's going to attempt to make some homemade dim sum dishes, too. i'm already looking forward to dinner & sharing the yummy goodness with the people i l♥ve. besides, new year's day isn't complete until you've noshed on some fabulous grub that brings good luck, right?!

today's the first day of a new year. a fresh start. a new beginning. i'm welcoming 2010 with open arms & i look forward to the possibilities of what lies ahead...whatever they may be.

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