Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Time to Cherish

This past week has not been the most exciting or uplifting week. To be completely honest, I feel very down and I just need to share what is on my heart.

A coworker/friend of mine’s mom passed away suddenly on Thursday morning.  My co-worker was at work when she received the phone call and it was awful.  I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. They were supposed to celebrate Christmas TODAY as a family (brother/sister/mom/dad/grandkids) but for reasons we don’t understand, they are not going to get that chance. The timing of her death was awful.

As a work department, we are all very close. They are my 2nd family and I love them all. When one hurts, I hurt. I think it was a wakeup call to our entire department – that could have been ANY of us.  Her mom was only 57 years old. They decided to have a memorial service for her on Friday afternoon, so all 6 of us piled into a car and drove to her mom’s service in a town 3 hours away (see, I told you we are all very close…I don’t drive 3 hours away for just anyone!).

One of the hardest parts of the entire thing is my friend’s little girl. She’s 5 and was very close to her grandmother. She called her grandmother EVERY night and was at staying at her home the week she passed away. She witnessed her grandmother being driven off by the ambulance and fully came to realization that night that her grandmother was not returning. It’s so sad that at such a young age, she is old enough to understand and feel the hurt.

Working around death is hard enough in itself – but having to deal with it on a personal basis is even more tough. I go through these “down” times every few months, I cry for a few days, then I’m ok again; so that’s what I’ve been doing the past 2 days – nothing but crying.

To make matters worse - 2 weeks ago, a 33 year old that I go to church with passed away suddenly & last night, our physicist dad passed away.

So much death and sadness when the holidays are supposed to be a happy time – it shouldn’t be this way.

I’m not trying to depress anyone, I just need to speak what is on my heart.

Everyone is born to this earth with a time that they are going to die. It’s a part of life.  They say “Life is Short” and “they” are so right only sometimes, we don’t realize just how short life is until it’s too late. You never know what tomorrow will hold - so call your mom, call your dad, your loved ones, your friends and family and tell them that you love them. I called my mom on Thursday, just to hear her voice.

The ironic part of it all – as one life is being taken from this earth, another new life is being born. I get overwhelmed at times because it’s too big and too complicated to contemplate life and the reasons things happen. We just have to trust that God knows what He’s doing and put our faith in Him.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

I will return tomorrow with a much more uplifting blog post. I’m sorry for being so down.

I truly hope everyone has a good New Year’s Eve. We are going to a friend’s house for the evening to celebrate. I will also soon begin a recap of our Christmas celebrations!

Remember you never know what tomorrow will bring, so cherish those people who are in your life NOW – don’t wait.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

We pray that you and your family have a very blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!!

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“I pray that I become what You would have me be
That I would give as much as You have given me
In a world that's torn apart
Heal the hatred in our hearts
It's Christmas time
And there's no better time for us to start

We pray for joy, we pray for peace
from the west unto the east
and that every man may find someone to love
we pray for strength, we pray for life
and on this holiest of nights
deliver hope where there's despair
Jesus hear our Christmas prayer.”

Our Christmas Prayer ~ Plus One Christmas Album

Love
Jason, Karen, Pixie, & Madalynn

Friday, December 16, 2011

Swamp Stomp Half Marathon 2011

Well, Christmas time is in full swing! So far, I’ve attended 3 Christmas parties with another one tomorrow!  This weekend, I’m in a wedding (I’m Matron of Honor AND Coordinator…oh boy….) and after the wedding, I’m going to Disney World! I can’t believe that the wedding has already arrived. Seems like the Bride was just announcing her engagement not very long ago (it was a year ago) and now it’s here!  Crazy how fast time flies!

This past weekend, I ran the Swamp Stomp Half Marathon in Moss Bluff, Louisiana. 

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To see a full race recap, visit Claim Your Journey.

Out of all the races I’ve run, I feel as if this one has by far been the worst run for me – even though the past 2 times I’ve run it, I’ve PR’d. Crazy, right?

A recap of the Swamp Stomp Half Marathon 2010

In comparison, last year’s Swamp Stomp was by far more miserable! Last year’s race was warm and muggy and started late because of the crowd coming into the park. The route had gentle inclines (HILLS) and the wind was blowing against the runners.  However, last year’s race held my Half Marathon PR (2:12) up until the Gulf Coast Half Marathon (2:08) in  October of 2011. 

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I went into the 2011 Swamp Stomp with a bad attitude because I had a lot of negative thoughts related to last year’s race. I don’t know what I did to squash those bad thoughts, but I somehow managed to PR! My prior PR was from the Gulf Coast Half in October of 2011 (2:08) and I finished the Swamp Stomp in 2:01! NEVER in my life did I think I would be so close to breaking 2 hours!! That’s just insane to me! I also saw that if I had run just 1 min and 30 sec faster, I would have placed in my age group. Oh well, there’s always next year! :0)

The temps were much cooler this year and the wind wasn’t as bad as last year. I really enjoyed the race – it was nice and quiet and tranquil. AND there was not as many things for me to take pictures of…..hmmmm…..maybe that’s problem!  HAH!

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! 

This has gotta be the good life! :0)

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See ya real soon!! :0)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cinderella’s Closet

WHEW! Hello hello to blogger-land!  I have not forgotten about you guys, just been incredibly busy!  This weekend, I am the Matron of Honor/Wedding Coordinator for a friend’s wedding and as soon as the wedding is over, we are leaving for Disney World, so I’ve been super busy getting everything together before we leave!

Anyway, this past Sunday, our church had a “dress drive” for our new ministry called Cinderella’s Closet! Have you heard of Cinderella’s Closet?  I definitely had not heard of it, so when I was asked to play the role of Cinderella, I had to do a little research of my own…..

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Cinderella's Closet provides formal wear to girls who could not otherwise afford to attend their prom. Through donations of new and gently used formal dresses and accessories, we are able to "Turn Dresses Into Dreams" for juniors and seniors referred to our organization by their school, community organization or social care agency. Even more than a dress, Cinderella's Closet provides an unforgettable, amazing experience. From the moment our princesses dance through our doors they are greeted with an environment of grace, love and respect. It is our mission that they leave knowing they are cherished.

Our goal is to provide dresses to girls who otherwise cannot afford them. They also have shoes and jewelry as well! On a set day each year, the “boutique” will be opened to girls who are recommended by area counselors. The girls will be treated like Princesses as they try on gowns in the boutique! It’s a really great idea and the whole focus is giving those girls a real dress shopping experience! Everything comes in by way of donation and this service is offered to these ladies free of charge!

Pretty nifty, right? :0)

Yours truly had an AMAZING time playing Cinderella. I was worried about my DARK hair and my DARK eyebrows, but it turned out ok. Didn’t look completely natural, but it was still fun!! :0)

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Dressed and ready to go!

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Our Children’s Pastor wanted me to go to Children’s Church to speak. Wow….those kids were too funny!  All of these girls know me - Karen….and not a single one of them realized it as me dressed as Cinderella. The one in red couldn’t stop hugging me or smiling at me or touching my gloves. ADORABLE!

Our Music Pastor’s little girl cracked me up!  She’s 5 years old and at first, was very excited to se Cinderella at church.  She hugged me, told me that I was her favorite princess, etc.  Then she stepped back to think for a few minutes while I talked to her sister. Before too long, she said, “You’re NOT Cinderella!  You’re Mrs. Karen dressed up in costume!”  FIVE years old…..I told her she was ms smarty pants and too smart for her own good! Hahah!

I had a great time “playing the role” and if you’ve ever been to Disney World, you knew  where I was coming from.  Otherwise, you probably thought I was a fruit loop.  People probably still thought I was a fruit loop anyway, but that’s ok! :0)  It was fun!

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“Oh!  My handsome Prince Charming!”

(See what I mean? Totally fruit-loopy!)

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Next two raffle winners!!!

Congratulations……

Megan from Meg’s Malarkey

and

Stephanie from Running to Health

They are the newest winners of my DetermiNation Raffle!

Thanks so much for your support , ladies! I really appreciate it!! :0)

Email me at: kren2700@gmail.com and let me know which prize you would like! :0)

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There’s still lots of ways to win! Check out my DetermiNation Raffle to be a part! Don’t miss out!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy 33rd Birthday to Jason! :0)

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Two days ago, my sweet husband turned 33 years old.  He had to work nights, so I sent him to work with a dozen cupcakes (just like a mom does with her kid to school).  Hah! 

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Wasn’t he the cutest kid? :0)

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His mom cleaned out their attic and she found his “potty training Pooh”.  She wrapped it up and gave it to him last night as a gift! Hahah!

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I’m sure he’d appreciate knowing that his old photos are on my blog!  Hahah!

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Here he is in high school playing in Disney World! Pretty cool!! :0)

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Seeing these “older” pictures of Jason always makes me smile. In high school, I had a secret crush on Jason. We went to the same church and he played in our orchestra so he was on stage every Sunday.  I wasn’t a stalker (hah!) but I did admire him from afar! :0) 

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Had I only known the future……  :0)

Happy 33rd Birthday, Jason! I hope you had a great birthday and I love you!!

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I had an eye Doctor appointment yesterday and he dilated my eyes for the first time ever!  I’ve seen the same eye Doctor (for the past 15 years) and he’s NEVER done that to my eyes. I had to drive home and it was a beautiful, clear, blue sunny day.  Of course.  I was going to try to run before Jason’s birthday dinner but yeah, that didn’t happen because I had a horrible headache!  I know it’s for health reasons, but I don’t ever want to have that done to my eyes again!

I’m hopefully going to try to sneak a run in this afternoon. We’ll see!

Also, don’t forget to check out my DetermiNation Raffle! There are a TON of awesome prizes and there will be a lot of winners!!

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Have a great Wednesday! :0)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday, the weekend, and a Raffle winner!

Friday morning (Black Friday), we woke up at 3:15 a.m. It was our goal to be out of the door by 3:40 a.m. We did a good job because my #1 goal was to make it to JCPenny by the time they opened at 4 a.m.  I collect the Disney snow globes that they give away at the door every year so it’s my tradition! :0) 

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We parked and made it to the door right as they opened! YAY!

The one thing I wanted to look at in JCPenny was a 4 piece luggage set that was advertised for $39.99. Of course by the time we walked to the back of the store, ALL of them were gone and people in the back of the store were hoarding the luggage sets.  Not a great way to start out my morning, but that’s ok!

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After finishing up at the mall (JCPenny, Bath & Body, & Kohls), we had breakfast at Starbucks – yet another tradition!  I usually get a Peppermint Mocha and a slice of Banana bread but this morning, I changed to Oatmeal! :0)

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It’s way too early for this! :0)

Next on our list was Target, Bed/Bath&Beyond, Old Navy, Academy, and Michaels.  I avoid Wal-Mart on Black Friday at all costs!  Although I do have to say that this year, the parking lot was relatively empty (since they opened at midnight).

One thing that struck me as really odd this year were the lines to check out!  Usually, we have to wait at least 45 minutes per store in a line that is wrapped around to the back of the store to check out.  Not this time!  I LOVED IT!  Most places, we were 3rd or 4th in line at checkout! That shaved a TON of time off  which meant more shopping for me!  YAY!

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Madalynn’s toy from Santa! :0)

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No buggies at Target!

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This was a neat promo at Old Navy! While everyone waited in line, a worker went around asking questions such as “Who has a picture of their pet”, “Who is wearing a pair of Old Navy jeans”, or “Who has an out of state drivers license”?  If the questions applied to you, she gave a Lucky in Line card! Inside was a coupon for either $1 off, $3 off, or $5 off your total purchase! Sweet deal!

After waiting in the longest line of the day at Old Navy, I was POOPED!

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Here I am waiting on Kim to check out at Academy! Hah!

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As a surprise to us, we were completely finished with our shopping trip by noon!  Usually, we don’t finish shopping until at least 2 p.m. but with the short lines at checkout, we finished up early!  It’s a good thing too because I was exhausted….not to mention that my shoes were hurting my feet, especially the spot where I broke my foot 2 summers ago (not good).

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Our loot in the back of my car!

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I’d say we did a pretty good job! We talked about making shirts next year! Hah!  There were SO many people out shopping that were wearing shirts!  We’ll have to see! :0)

If BF 2012 is the same as 2011, I’d be a happy camper!  I would leave the 10 p.m. and midnight shopping to all the crazy pepper sprayers and wake up way early the following morning to shop!  (Hah….I don’t think that EVERYONE who shopped at midnight is crazy!)  :0)

We ate leftovers at my parent’s house for lunch, then I CRASHED and slept for about 3 hours.  Friday night, my parents called me to hang out with them because Jason was working nights, so we went BACK to the mall (crazy, right?) and walked around a bit more!

I had a great day!!!

Saturday morning, I woke up at 4 a.m. (early again) for an 18 mile run.  I had to be in Thibodeaux, LA for a family reunion at 11:30 a.m., so my friends agreed to run extra early for me!

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This is most of my family from my mom’s side. There were 8 brothers and sisters. One brother and one sister (my grandmother) have both passed away, but everyone else was there including my 96 year old Great Aunt! It was a fun day and it was neat hearing people talk in Cajun French again. (It’s been YEARS!)  Sadly, it’s a dying language.

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With all the weekend business, I forgot to announce my latest raffle winner!

Congratulations……

Suzanne from Cows and Lasers and Everything in Between!

She’s the 4th winner of my DetermiNation Raffle!

Thanks so much for your support , Suzanne! I really appreciate it!! :0)

Email me at: kren2700@gmail.com and let me know which prize you would like! :0)

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There’s still lots of ways to win! Check out my DetermiNation Raffle to be a part! Don’t miss out!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that all of you had a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!  :0)

I had a great day, myself!  Here’s a little recap:

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I woke up at 5 a.m. and began my search for a news paper!  Little did I know, my dad asked my grandpa to save his for me!  Wasn’t that sweet?

I got dressed and drove to town for the 5th Annual Go Run Turkey Trot.  It wasn’t a race – our coach set out different mileage routes and you could run/walk however far you wanted!  Heather and I ran 6 miles. 

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Gobble Gobble!

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I came home, showered, then brought homemade Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls over to my parents house for breakfast!  SO very good!

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For lunch, Jason and I went to his grandmother’s house where we skyped his sister, her husband, and his parents in Kansas City!  His parents were in KC for a visit so we missed them this Thanksgiving!

After lunch, I picked up my mom and we drove to Michael’s for a little pre-black Friday shopping!  It was fun and we got a LOT of good deals!!!

For dinner, we went back to my parents house where we FEASTED on a ton of food!

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THIS is the reason I ran 6 miles yesterday morning!

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Lots of eating,

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Lots of BEGGING,  (doesn’t my face say “I’m starving! Give me a bite!”)

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…and lots of desserting!!  Is that even a word? Ah well. We ate lots of dessert! :0)

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………and my doggie tried to eat my mom’s bird for dinner.

We left my parent’s house, drove home, went to sleep, and woke up 4 hours later for BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING!!!!! More on that later! :0)

That about sums up my Thanksgiving!  Hope everyone enjoyed theirs too!! I had a blast and I can’t wait to be with all of my family again at Christmas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pinterest

Anyone use Pinterest?  I think it’s the most addicting thing EVER!  I’m a really crafty person, but I’m not good at coming up with ideas on my own – so Pinterest is REALLY dangerous for me!!

I attended a Baby Shower last Sunday for a friend’s daughter and her decorations were the CUTEST owl’s that she cut out of felt!  She found the pattern on Pinterest.

Knowing that I had a Bachelorette/Lingerie Shower the following weekend, I decided to look through Pinterest for a few decoration ideas.

What I got myself in to was a mass of scrapbooking paper, LOTS of trimming, ribbons, and feather boas!  I had a lot of fun and everything turned out really cute, but it was incredibly time consuming!  I only had about 6 hours of sleep each night last week AND I didn’t get to go for a run until Thursday afternoon (because I made myself stop and go for a run)!  Me + no run = GRUMPY!!

Here’s the decor!

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Feather boa’s on the TV, mantle, and coffee table
Banner on the mantle that says “Oh La La!”
Scrapbook underwear :0)
Pink stones in vases on the mantle

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Close up of the mantle

I was so happy with the way everything turned out!!

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Close up of the banner

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Banners behind the couch

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Close up of the banners

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The pink polka dot set was my favorite! :0)

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1 Matron of Honor, 1 Maid of Honor :0)

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The games were hilarious,

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laughter was in the air,

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and the Bride had a great time! 

Overall, I’d say the shower was a success!! :0)

If you have a Pinterest account, follow me

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After having only a few hours of sleep after the shower, I woke up on Saturday morning and ran 14.4 with my running buddy Heather! We had a great run and it was a beautiful day!  After the run, I came home and put up my Christmas tree! :0) 

I’d say that I had a FABULOUS WEEKEND!!!!

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