Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Me & My Gang | Good News & Bad News

Firstly, if you've been thinking that my writings have been a little off or non existent lately....well, I've been a little distracted.  I apologize to anyone that frequents here and felt they left empty handed.  I try to be up beat and leave encouraging tid-bits for you to leave inspired.  I just haven't had it in me lately due to a little exhaustion and somewhat of a time deficit. 

Why, you say?

Life, it gets crazy sometimes.

Unexpected trials come our way and you just never know what you might wake up to the next day.

Last week, I woke up to a normal day.  Yep, my naive, stuck in my routine self thought that ordinary was in store for me.  Get dressed, a little morning Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest play, emails, spreadsheets, budgets, daily workout (insert the sound of screeching tires here).

Routine wasn't in the cards for me or mine this day. Instead, it was filled with the smell of a hospital ER along with all the beeps, dings, waiting for hours, monitors, needles, numerous test and then a room.

On the surface, it appeared that my husband was either having a heart attack or a stroke. What?  He's a puppy!!!  He's not over weight, doesn't smoke or drink.  What's the deal?!!!

He was admitted with a blood pressure reading of 211/119.  Apparently, this isn't a "take two aspirin and call me in the morning" kind of thing.  Wait a minute, I think they actually did give him an aspirin.

I thought I would share a few pics from behind my iPhone.

The most precious of them all was when Ethan and Kenzie decided this thing was bigger than us and they prayed together for their daddy.  Yep, I probably should have been praying with them, but I COULD NOT pass up capturing this very special moment.  I'm so thankful they are learning to trust in a God that is bigger than our problems.

After numerous test and multiple medications, he was released and is now in the follow up stage with the "gist" family...(Cardiolo(gist)...Endocrinolo(gist)...) to ensure no other fowl play is going on in his body.  Next steps...a series of blood work, kidney and artery scans.

That's the BAD news...we are still in limbo.

The GOOD news, all of his test so far have eliminated heart attack, stroke and heart disease.


While in the ER, we received a FINAL confirmation from an issue from 6 YEARS AGO!

6 years ago, my husband visited the doc with pneumonia which resulted in a chest x-ray.  Purely by accident, the x-ray captured a portion of his liver which identified a 3 centimeter mass.  An immediate biopsy was ordered to find out what this unknown "thing" was in his liver.  We found ourselves rubbing shoulders with Oncologist and docs that we never thought we wold visit, especially so young.  Fast forward a little bit to post prayer,  post procedure and results...we were told the biopsy came back normal or the tech might have  "missed the spot".  He was release from ongoing care 6 months later after being told everything was fine and apparently the spot on his liver was fine.  Great news, right?!  Yes, but it's been in the back of my husbands mind for years that resolution seemed a little less than certain.

Well, it gets BETTER!

During this most recent (a week ago) episode in the hospital, the heart doc was asking Allen about the incident 6 year ago...somewhat scratching her head.

She said, "I just reviewed your medical history and I wanted to let you know that the mass that was on your liver 6 years ago...it's no longer there, it's gone".

That was the first person that bothered to tell us this news.

My husband said "God knew that I needed confirmation of healing and He loves me so much that He chose to prove it, right there in front of my family, so there would be no future questions".

He loves us...Oh, how He loves us!!!

Thanks to all who have sent text, emails, called and especially for your prayers and concern.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Me & My Gang | Integrity

Proud of my E!!!

Ethan continues to be a star student and has maintained his all A's status since he started school.

  We are so proud of him!!!

International night was very interesting to say the least. There were dancers (they were beautiful), art, cuisine and much to learn about places around our world.

I had a good talk with E's teacher and she said so many kind things about Ethan.  There was one thing that stuck out in my mind above all the academic stuff.  She said "Ethan has great integrity...I know he'll always tell me the truth".

Way to go E!...you make me one proud mommy!!!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Simple Things {1.29.12} | Big B

I've said it before, sometimes you get lucky and stumble upon simple and it's beautiful.

In between all the "Quit Ethan!..."He did it first!"..."Mom, make her stop" and sibling rivalry in it's purest form, there is love, loyalty and memories in the making.

She calls him "Big B" and she absolutely adores him.  She thrives on his attention and find his humor captivating.

He is quite the big brother as you can see.

Yes, he's normal...video games, trendy jeans and slings his hair to the side as he walks, but he takes a special interest in his little sister and endures silly songs and immature 4 year old ramblings at times.

He's thinks he's just coloring in the photo above, but I know he's setting up camp in her heart...and mine!


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Love Your Home | The Urge to Purge

It doesn’t take me long after Christmas and a good snow to start craving tulips, dogwood blooms, open windows, birds chirping and the sweet smell of Spring.

  Seriously, I have a terrible case of Spring Fever!  

Well, we haven’t been blessed with a big snow yet and I have a few months before I can shed the scarf and tights due to temps.  That usually doesn't stop me from spring dreaming.

For me, this time of year usually brings an overwhelming URGE to PURGE all things not needed in my home.  I want to organize and clean EVERYTHING and I start thinking of all the home projects and “spiffing” I want to do around the home.  I think I probably somewhat scare my family because a mild possession takes over my spirit and I lose my sentimental approach for a few weeks.  If we don’t use it, I try to lose it.

Does this happen to any of you?

A possession just comes over you and you just want to slap labels on on everything?

  I store less anxiety in a clutter free abode.  A clean home almost goes hand in hand with a clean conscience to me…it just feels better.

One thing that helps me during this time is to burn my favorite room oil.  It is laced with eucalyptus and mint and brings a sense of cleanliness and spring freedom to the air, even if your drawers are full of clutter and it is 10 degrees outside.  It buys some time until spring actually arrives.

There are so many things that I want to do to get a little organized over the next little while as we enter into the season of peep toed sandals and lighter hues.  I know, I know...I'm a little antsy on the spring thing...but a girl can spring dream, right?

In my "spare" time when I'm not wiping noses and kissing boo boos, I would like to some how put on my Wonder Woman suit and add these beautiful elements to our home.


Canisters, Baskets, and Shelving!  OH MY!!!

I would love to have a version of the canisters below displayed in my kitchen.  I love natural elements such as oats, wheat, rice, etc.  Some folks like to hide their food.  I think it's beautiful if displayed in an organized fashion.
Clear Glass Canisters w/ Scoops

Here a basket, there a basket!  
I would like to add an abundance of baskets in my kitchen pantry, linen closets and laundry.  

Does anyone else think books are beautiful?  While we have shelving in our office, it is waist and above height...not ideal for K.  So, I would like to do a child height book shelf in open view of our home instead of having all those beautiful colorful books in a basket in the closet.
Children's Book Shelves

I purchased the hardware you see on the left several years ago at IKEA while visiting Chicago.  I fell in love with the display in the store, but with a minor adjustment.  I think I want to attached them to wood planks instead of directly to the wall.  Also, I've told you before about my desire to organize all of the kid's artwork that I've taken photos of over the years.  I hope to do that this year and have a wonderful display like you see below on my wall.
Organize & Display E & K's Artwork

I would like to add over the "throne" shelving in my hall half bath for organization and to display pretty little things.  I hope I can get my husband to help me with this one.  He looks much better in a tool belt anyway.  *wink*
Over the Throne Shelving

I'm revisiting this desire and hoping to add some type of display for my collection of white dishes.  I just love looking at them.  They bring me joy when passing them.  Silly, I know.
Organize & Display White Dish Collection

Organize and display house/life rules.
I've LOVED this idea from the moment I saw it.
Organize & Display House Rules

Below is proof that your laundry room doesn't have to just be dust bunnies and clutter.  I would like to add a shelf over my washer and dryer complete with baskets and glass canisters housing clothes pins, detergent, etc.  I think I might need the mister for this one too.
Laundry Room Baskets, Shelves & Canisters

I have thousands and thousands of photos (no kidding) that for some reason or another are not displayed throughout our home.  I hope to make a folder of some of my faves, print and display them in our home.  This is something else that brings me great joy when entering a room, seeing my babies and the moments that we've captured them in all their sweetness.
Organize & Display Photography

Congratulations to you if you made it this far and are still reading!!!
I know this might have been a yawner for you, but I'm organizing my thoughts too.  I told you I was organizing EVERYTHING.

I hope this inspires you to Love Your Home & Get Organized!!!

You can find the source for all the photos above by visiting Anna & Co. on Pinterest.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Currently Craving | Spring

I did a post way back when indicating my "current craving" of the season.

Recently, I was reading a blog I frequent and stumbled upon this labeling again.

So, I thought I would introduce it here as a fun way to organize my random cravings in a short and sweet entry.

Today, I'm craving Spring.

I have a terrible case of SPRING FEVER!!!

It happens every year about this time.

I will elaborate more very soon.

I hope you will choose to share what you are "currently craving" in this series.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Design | {Freebie} Oreo Pop Tags

I recently attended a Christmas Cookie Exchange party.  I know, I never got around to writing about the event, but that doesn't mean it wasn't eventful.  

I wish you could have seen it!  The cutest ideas were presented and some of the best cookies I've ever tasted....not to mention I was in some of the best company of females around.  I hate it that I didn't take more pics to share, but really, I was eating COOKIES (in my best cookie monster voice).

I chose to make the latest craze... Oreo Cookie Pops and tagged them with the recipe cards (free to you) you see below.  Note: Without lollipop stick these little guys instantly become truffles!!!  Well, these ones ended up landing BEST PRESENTATION (giddy) and my first cookie exchange experience landed me the cutest embroidered kitchen towel as a remembrance.

Thank you Tammy for hosting this fantastic event.
I decided to make these tags available for download for FREE in case you have an event where they would be useful and you just happen to be taking/making Oreo Cookie Pops/Truffles.

A little HAPPY NEW YEAR from Anna & Co.


~ Notes ~
Collection is best if printed on medium to medium/ heavy weight card stock.

Also, I would love for you to share how you use these printables.



Go "like" Anna & Co. Facebook to stay connected for more freebies.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Me & My Gang | Jesus Calling

~ Jesus Calling ~
This week, Allen (my husband, father of my children, lover and friend since teenage years) introduced a new daily devotional we were going to do with the kids in 2012.

It's titled Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

It's geared toward children with simplistic approaches and the devotionals are targeted to be between 15-20 minutes depending on how long your children are engaged.  We've found that Ethan is VERY intrigued and engaged.  He really seems to be enjoying this time together.  We've also found that he knows WAY MORE about the Bible than we thought he did.  Now Kenzie, she keeps asking "when is daddy going to tell a story?"  Bless her.  She sits with her little arms folded and looks up at her dad with anticipation.  We ask her how she feels about what we talked about and she responds "I don't really know (with shrugged shoulders)...can I have some pretzels now?".  Regardless, I know they are both getting something, even if it's only knowing that we are gathering once a day as a family to fill our hearts with the things of Christ.  

Ethan, he has a heart of compassion.  He is generally thoughtful, generous and very sensitive to the voice of God.  Kenzie, this little girl has a heart for prayer.  Every single time she hears someone in the house say they have a headache or something is hurting, she covers her itty bitty face with her itty bitty hands and begins it with "Jesus, I pray for...."

You know they are "getting it" when you hear little voices echoing from another room "I know the master of the wind, I know the maker of the rain".

When Ethan was younger, I would hear...Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love.

He knew EVERY word.  Talk about a blessings!  There is nothing better than the evidence of Christ dripping from your child's soul.

Really, NOTHING!

So, thank you Allen for adding this small element of unity to our family and taking the next right step toward leading our "babies" to Christ.

I hope this inspires you to hide the Word in your little ones hearts so they can cling to it's promises in this dark ugly world we live in.


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Monday, January 9, 2012

Design | Giddy Up

Anna & Co. recently had the privilege to design a western invitation for a very special round up celebrating the 6th birthday of one of the cutest little cowboys this side of Texas.

A huge thank you to this sweet family for choosing Anna & Co. to be a small part of this milestone.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Me & My Gang | Forever Young

I was playing around on manual (I still have mucho learning to do) with the Canon trying to become more familiar with all those settings that have intimidated me for quite some time.  If the lighting is right, I tend to rest in the security of auto/no flash and then edit.  Not this year, in 2012 it's my mission to hang out in manual.  Eventually, in my "spare time" I'll take a class.  All that to say, these are just goof off photos and I know they are buried in flaws, but they are still fun and capture the youthful silliness that allows me to see this world through young eyes.  I wanted to share because they make my heart happy. 

No matter the years that stack up, in my heart they'll always be FOREVER YOUNG!!!

May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam
May sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home
May you grow up to be proud, dignified and true
And do unto others as you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave and in my heart you'll always stay

May good fortune be with you, may your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to Heaven with a prince or a vagabond
May you never love in vein and in my heart you will remain

When you finally fly away, I'll be hoping I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime, no one can ever tell
But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Inspiration | A New Year and a Better Me

Well, it’s that time when everyone proclaims premature victory over their goals for the year.

You know, you’ve heard it…20lbs by April, no more caffeine, a week from Thursday…

It’s January, we ALL get a fresh start with the same number of days in the year, hours in the day and minutes to our hours.  If you are like me, you find this VERY refreshing!

We are all equally given the same power, the power of choice.

I’m in the midst of the Matthew Kelly series “Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose”.  It’s amazing!!!

If you need renewed inspiration for 2012, I suggest you indulge yourself in this series.

Now, I know you are going to run off and Google the cover and read the intro…it doesn’t do it justice.

A friend introduced me to this series after reading one of my ramblings on the same topic.

Let me boil it down for you.

The foundation of the series is to strive for the best version of yourself and who God created you to be in each quadrant of your life; Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally and Spiritually.

How? What is the secret to becoming the best version of me/you?

Choice!  Everything is a choice. Are you choosing happiness or misery?

This series is motivational toward mastering the point of decision.

Choices create habits, habits create character and character is your destiny.

So, ultimately we control our own destiny by being able to master the point of decision.  

Simple enough, right?  We know the things that bring us happiness, why don’t we choose them?

Our lives change when our habits change.

So, no more “a week from Thursday”...”Next Monday”... "Someday"... let's make some changes and strive for the BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES IN 2012?!!!

Ready? Set! Go!!!

So, all this to say that my New Year’s Resolution…

Drum roll please……


I hope this inspires you to strive to be the BEST VERSION of YOU in 2012!!

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