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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Here’s What I’ve Been Up to For the Past Year

Posted by Carol on December 8, 2010

Obviously, it hasn’t been writing.

My last serious (by serious, I mean more than a few words) blog post was around this time last year. I have found that the busier I am, the harder it is for me to write even though it seems the opposite would be true. If I’m busier, it would be logical to think that I have more to write about.

However, I have found that when my brain is full of  “stuff I need to do” the creative section takes a back seat to the busy section. If I don’t have much going on in my life, the creative stuff has room in my brain to grow and develop into ideas and a story or blog post.  Is it like that for you, too?  Or am I just weird?

Wait, I think I already know the answer.

My lack of writing would mean that my life has been very busy and full since moving to Colorado in July of 2009. And that’s a good thing, but I miss writing and I miss you. So, it is my intention to start writing this blog again. Here’s hoping anyway.

Ok, back on topic – what have I been up to?  Hmmm, let’s see…

In the fall of ’09 I got my Colorado Real Estate Broker license. You can read about that here and here.  I loved it when I first started and I still love it. All in all, I am very happy with how my first year in the business has gone. I have a fantastic mentor who is generous, honest and wise. She is teaching me so much more that I would have learned on my own this year. I am happy to be working with Keller Williams Realty. It is a real estate company whose founder, CEO, and president are Christians and run the company on Christian principles.  I am working on getting a couple of professional designations to keep up my education and help me serve my clients better. And I even have a few transactions under my belt!

On the family front, Darling Daughter left for her freshman year of college this past August making Dear Hubby and I empty nesters. I was a mess when College Son left in the fall of ’07 – so much so that Hubby was very worried about what my mental state would be when my baby left. After all, she was just in kindergarten last year.

But I surprised both of us by mostly being ok with the whole empty nest situation. I think it is easier the second time around, but I attribute it to the fact that Hubby and I are in a much better place in our marriage than we were in 2007. And that is a very good thing!

As hard as it was to leave our friends, church, and home in New Jersey after we had lived there for 10 years, I am loving life in Colorado. We live very close to my husband’s brother and his family. They have become our dearest friends here. I just love their kids (it helps with the empty nest thing) and my sister-in-law is the absolute best! My mother-in-law lives nearby, too. This is the closest we have ever lived to family our entire married life of almost 25 years. And to be completely honest, while it does have its challenges, I have to say that living near family is better than living far away. 

 Also, jumping right into real estate almost as soon as our last box was unpacked, forced me out of my comfort zone and opened the door for me to meet many, many wonderful people both in and out of the real estate world. I tried (unsuccessfully) to start a business networking group, and even though it didn’t take off the way I’d hoped, I am very thankful for the contacts and friends I made through that attempt.

So that’s really it. That’s what I’ve been up to. Nothing really earth shattering or super exciting, but I am thankful and happy and look forward to our second full year in Colorado.

And I look forward to a new year of blog posts 😉


Posted in College Son, Darling Daughter, Dear Husband, family | 1 Comment »

Hello! Are you still out there?

Posted by Carol on July 13, 2009

Starting this post has been harder for me than I expected. I have started writing it many times in my head, but getting it on to my computer has been a battle.

I’m not sure why, but somehow it seems awkward to re-start a conversation that stopped abruptly a few weeks ago. It feels like running in to an old friend at the grocery store and not being sure what to say.

It’s not for lack of things to say. After all, we packed up our home of ten years in New Jersey, loaded up our car with whatever belongings we needed for a few weeks, our two young adult children and our Shih-tzu and drove across the country non-stop in a little over twenty-four hours to Colorado. If that’s not ripe with blog fodder, nothing is!

And I will tell those stories soon. But first I just wanted to say one thing:

Hi! I’m back and  I have really missed you.

Everyday, I get a devotional emailed to me from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Today’s was especially poignant to me, yet, even if you’ve lived in the same home 30 years, it can apply to you, too.  It’s called SHINE. Go ahead and read it. I’ll be back tomorrow with tales of car sickness, moving vans, and speeding tickets.

I know you can hardly wait! 🙂

Posted in devotions, family | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

On the Bright Side

Posted by Carol on April 16, 2009

Last week we were out in Colorado looking for a new house for The Big Move that is taking place this summer. We have it narrowed down to 2 or 3, but have not made any offers until we have things more squared away here in NJ.

But I wanted to share with you one of the reasons I am looking forward to moving to Colorado.  As we drive around town, here are some of the views we will see:

colorado-and-ls-bday-023(Sorry about the light pole, it must have jumped in front of the camera when I wasn’t looking!)


It won’t replace the many friends I will miss dearly from NJ, but it does make the move a little easier to take.

Posted in family, pictures | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Game On

Posted by Carol on April 15, 2009

It’s official – our house is on the market. Over the almost 23 years we have been married, we have bought and sold 6 homes (this will be our 7th sale) with all the moves we have made across the country.

Normally, I am a very laid-back person, but as soon as that “For Sale” sign goes up in the yard, something snaps in my head and I become extremely Type A.  It becomes my mission to get our house sold and no dust bunny, errant piece of paper, or glob of toothpaste in the bathroom sink is going to get in my way.

Because we all know that dust bunnies have thwarted many a home sale in the history of real estate transactions.

My poor family. Please say a prayer for them. They are not used to this strange woman who will be living with them for the duration of the home sale.

Or pray for me, that I keep it all in stride and realize that a toothpaste glob is not in control.


It’s good to be back after Spring Break. I’ve missed you!

Posted in family, Martha Doesn't Live Here, The Big Move | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

What I Learned This Week ~ We’re Moving to Denver!

Posted by Carol on February 24, 2009

I was born in New York (Long Island to be exact), grew up in Connecticut, went to college for three years in Florida, got married, finished college in Illinois where my husband was a youth pastor; and in the subsequent years of our marriage, we have moved to Connecticut (again), Colorado, California, Florida (briefly), Virginia, and now have been in New Jersey for the past nine and a half years. Whew! And we’ve only been married 22 1/2  years.

In early January, my husband’s company had a reorganization.  The good news is that Hubby gets to keep his job. The not so good news is that he is being re-assigned to cover the Western half of the country. Since we live on the East coast, that poses a problem.

However, Hubby’s company had a solution to the problem. They said that they would move us to Dallas, Texas.

No offense to all you Texans out there, but I was not too thrilled with the idea of moving to the Lone Star State. (I was not too thrilled with the idea of moving anywhere after calling NJ home for so long) I even asked God if He were absolutely sure He really needed more Christians in the Bible belt. Plus, this Connecticut Yankee does not know the proper grammatical use of the word y’all.   After living in New Jersey for almost 10 years, I’m much more familiar with you’s guys.

Well, God must have done a re-count, because He decided that we are not moving to Dallas after all. It’s a very long and convoluted story, but we just found out last Thursday that we are moving to Denver, Colorado instead.

If you look up at the long list of states where we have already lived, you will see that we have lived in Colorado once before.  It was about 15 years ago when our kids were very small. We were there for 4 years. We  loved our church and our neighbors were our best friends. We made many wonderful memories there. When my husband’s company (different from the current one) moved us to California, I was heartbroken.

As hard as it is going to be to say goodbye to the many friends and neighbors we have here in NJ, I am so thankful that if we have to move it is to Denver. Here’s why –

Do you remember how sad I was that College Son left home and went to a college that was exactly 1777 miles away. Guess where that college is.


He even tried to transfer to a college closer to home, but it inexplicably (he’s a good student) did not work out. Now we know why.

My husband is one of five siblings.  Guess where he grew up and his mother and three of those siblings live.


I wrote a post not too long ago about how difficult last year was for me. I have been praying that God would do whatever it takes to work all those difficult things out and I know that this move is part of His plan for us – even if it had been to Dallas or anyplace else. He is in control and I only want to be where He leads us.

To see what everyone else has been learning this week, visit Jo-Lynne at Musings of a Housewife!

Posted in all in a day's work, family, The Big Move | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

What I Learned This Week ~ It Doesn’t Always Take Two

Posted by Carol on February 18, 2009

I have been working on this post since before Valentine’s Day. It was my goal to have a post about love and marriage in keeping with the whole Valentine’s theme, but I have written and re-written this so many times that I have obviously missed my self-imposed deadline.

And that’s the great thing about self-imposed deadlines. They can be changed by creating a new self-imposed deadline. So that’s what I have done.

Jo-Lynne at Musings of a Housewife has started a weekly carnival called “What I Learned This Week”. The idea is to post something either serious or amusing that you, uhm,  learned this week.  Well, just as I take self-imposed deadlines very lightly, I am going to take the term “this week” very lightly, too.  Because what I am posting I have learned over the years, but it just dawned on me this week that perhaps it could help others, too.

My husband and I have been married for 22 1/2 years. We have had our ups and downs in those years. We have had many relocations, two babies, sickness, health, lots of better and lots of worse. About 3 years ago, we were at a pretty low place in our marriage. We had decided early on (before we were even married) that divorce was never going to be an option for us, but I did not want our marriage to be a “grit your teeth and bear it so you can say you made it 50 years together” kind of thing. Yet that’s what it was becoming.

I knew my husband was not at a place where he would be open to marriage counseling. He travels a lot for his job and he did not have the same sense of urgency that things could be/needed to be “fixed” that I had. So I went to a Christian counselor by myself. At first, I was very angry about going by myself. After all, why should I be the only one who cares enough about our marriage to make changes while he sails along doing as he pleases? Why should I care enough to go to counseling when he can’t be bothered?

Well, it’s because  I stood in a church all those years ago and I made a vow before God that I would love my husband for better or for worse and if I wanted to keep that vow, this is what I had to do.

But you know what I found out? It doesn’t necessarily take two to make your marriage better. I cannot control what my husband does, or thinks, or says, but I can control my words, my thoughts, my actions (as much as humanly possible).  And just changing myself was enough to have a very positive influence on our marriage.

In counseling, I learned about the negative attitude I was having that was poisoning our relationship. I learned about my self-righteousness and pride that I needed to ask God to strip away. I learned that I was living pretty opposite to what God describes as love in I Corinthians 13 in the way I was treating my husband. My friends and children probably felt loved by me, but not my husband.


My husband never believed change was possible, but when he saw the changes in me through the power of the transforming grace and love of God he softened, too.  Our marriage is not perfect, and we still have a long way to go, but we are much closer and I am actually looking forward to being an empty nester with him in a few short years. We are not just gritting our teeth and hanging on by our fingernails anymore.

I have been involved in women’s ministry long enough to know that there are many hurting marriages in the church.  The divorce rate is just as high for Christians as it is for the rest of society. I don’t have all the answers, but God’s Word does.

Check out I Corinthians 13 and do a self-assessment of the love you are showing to your spouse.  Sylane over at the TBloG is doing a great series of posts on I Corinthians 13. She has much wisdom and insight and I urge you to go read what she has to say.

If you want something that you can do today to start making your marriage better – even if your spouse has given up – here’s what I would suggest.  Go rent the movie Fireproof and watch it, with or without your husband/wife. But don’t let watching this movie become a source of conflict in your marriage. If you end up watching it alone, that’s ok.

Then go get the book that goes along with this movie, The Love Dare.  It is a 40-day plan that incorporates the principles found in I Corinthians 13 and other Scripture to improve your marriage.

Here’s a couple of pieces of advice about doing The Love Dare:

– Don’t feel like you have to do it in 40 days. Take a week on each point if you need to. Don’t feel pressure or guilt that you have to get it done “on time”.

– Don’t feel like you have to do it with your spouse. If he/she wants to do it with you, great! But my husband does not even know I own the book. I did it that way on purpose. I didn’t think he would be able to commit to do it because of his travel schedule and I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment.

The happy side effect of this approach is that now I can tell you that it works even if you are the only one putting these changes in effect.  My husband has been blown away by some of the things I’ve been doing because of The Love Dare and his response has been extremely positive.

Ok, I’m going to give you a little something to try in the meantime before you have a chance to get Fireproof from Blockbuster or Netflix and The Love Dare from the store or internet.  The very first assignment in The Love Dare is to show your spouse patience (as in love is patient, etc).  For this assignment, if you choose to accept it, purpose to not say anything negative to your spouse even if it leaves teethmarks on your tongue. This was a big one for me, but the results were almost immediate.

Try it, you’ll see.

I actually just realized that the title of this post is not quite accurate. It does take two to make your marriage better, just not the two I was originally thinking of. It always takes two to change your life – God and you.

Posted in but seriously, family | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Merry Christmas!!

Posted by Carol on December 24, 2008


Wishing you a Merry & Blessed Christmas 2008!

Dear Hubby was taking the picture, but here’s me with College Son, Darling Daughter, Sadie, and Kobi wishing you a Merry Christmas!

You Tube won’t let me embed this song, but here is Michael W. Smith with Mandisa singing Christmas Day just for you!! Copy and paste the link to enjoy.

Posted in family, holidays, pictures, Worship Song Sunday | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Merry Christmas!!

A Simple Thanksgiving

Posted by Carol on November 27, 2008

thanksgiving-08-006This year Thanksgiving was very simple. It was just the four of us, Hubby, College Son, Darling Daughter and me.  Although I did miss the hustle and bustle of a large crowd for dinner, I love having all of us together especially since the kids are getting older and I can’t take it for granted that they will always be home.

College Son works at Starbucks and he was scheduled to open this morning. That means he had to be there at 4:45 AM. He was supposed to be off by 1:15 but I guess the line was out the door all day, so they kept him until 3:30 PM.  I had planned a late dinner, but I was a little annoyed at the caffeine junkies who should have been home eating turkey so my son could get home to eat his. College Son was not at all upset because on holidays they earn time and a half. His feet were loudly protesting the long day by the time he got home though. : )

Dinner was simple with the usual Thanksgiving menu: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, rolls, and cranberry sauce. Home made pumpkin pie and apple pie were dessert, of course.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Oh, in case you’re wondering, Saturday Stirrings is taking a break this weekend for the holiday. It will be back at its regularly scheduled time and location next Saturday.  Thank you for your understanding!

Posted in family, holidays, Martha Doesn't Live Here | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Martha Doesn’t Live Here

Posted by Carol on October 9, 2008

Martha Stewart definitely does not live here. 

I decorate for Christmas.  That’s all.  It takes every ounce of my decorating ability to deck our halls as festively as I possibly can.  Some years I even put up two Christmas trees.  I know that is small potatoes for some of you obsessive decorators out there in Bloggsville, but for me, it’s all I can do without my head exploding.

One year, I went to Costco and bought a wrapping paper kit that included little miniature bells, snowflakes, wooden soldiers, and the like to adorn the gifts. On Christmas morning my family was in awe. In hushed tones, they still talk about the year that Mom even decorated the presents. 

I am not totally inept at decorating my house for everyday life.  I can pick out paint and curtains and accent pieces with the best average of them.  It’s just the holidays that knock me for a loop.

My sister-in-law has been a preschool teacher for many years.  As a result, she has decorations for every holiday known to man and she uses them.  At the appropriate time of year,  you can walk into her house and see happy green leprechauns for St. Patty’s Day or cute little Easter bunnies complete with an Easter tree decorated with colorful Easter eggs hanging from its branches.  And at Christmas, forgetaboutit.

My own sister inherited the Martha Stewart gene, as I call it.  She is all crafty and creative. She stamps her own greeting cards, arranges flowers, and knows how to sew.  She is also three years younger than me.

Life is so not fair. 

When I want to either buy a new piece of furniture or hang something new on our walls, my husband has to call my sister to get her opinion.  Only if she gives her OK to my decorating ideas do we move forward. But unless I am making some heinous decorating faux pas, she usually sides with me.

My kids have asked me if we can decorate for Halloween this year.  I really do not want to decorate for Halloween.  I am not morally opposed to Halloween per se.  But the thought of purposely putting gross and ugly decorations all around my house does not appeal to me at all. 

I have a hard enough time with pretty, non-gag inducing decor.

I thought I had the problem solved when I sent my husband over to get some free corn stalks that were left over decorations from our neighborhood block party.  I placed them on the wooden posts of our front porch and on our lamp post. 

I began to feel all Martha-like inside. 

Later that same day, at the grocery store, I saw these adorable miniature pumpkins in both orange and white as well as some Indian corn.  So, inspired by my corn stalks, I bought some and a pumpkin pie scented candle to boot.

I brought them home and made a nifty little arrangement on my kitchen table.  I thought I had done a good job and my husband commented on how happy and festive our kitchen looked. That’s what happens when you keep their expectations low. 

Darling Daughter even approved, but informed me that I had made a critical error.  I had decorated for Fall, not Halloween. 

I was hoping no one would notice the difference.

Back to the store we went and picked up some fake cobwebs and bloody hand cling ons to put on the windows.


(Go to I am Blissfully Domestic for ideas you can actually use!) 



Posted in family, holidays, Martha Doesn't Live Here | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

A Wise Fool?

Posted by Carol on August 26, 2008

For those of you out there struggling through 2 AM feedings, potty training, the terrible twos, the first day of kindergarten and all those other wonderful but sometimes grueling milestones that come with raising younger children, here’s a glimpse of what’s to come when those little ankle biters grow into teenagers.

First, just a little background – our 19 year old son just started his sophomore year of college at a local school so he is living at home this semester.  His freshman year was spent at a large university over 1000 miles away, so he has had 9 months of total freedom from his parents.  No curfews, no calling mom if he is running late, no one telling him to do his homework, clean his room, etc.  And he did a very good job. 

Having him home again has been great, but has required some adjustments on both sides. For example, yesterday he helped some of his friends move back to college about a half hour away.  The original plan was that he was going to spend the night at the college, so we were not expecting him home.  We had been in bed for several hours when we heard the garage open at 1:45 AM.  College Son came not too quietly up the stairs and into our room.

CS – “Just wanted to let you know that I came home. They don’t have air conditioning at the college and I couldn’t sleep.”

Us -“Gee, thanks for letting us know. Good night.”

Next thing we know it’s 3:30 AM and all the lights are on in our house.  I got out of bed to see who was still up and what was going on and discovered that not only was College Son nowhere to be found, but neither was our 16 year old Dear Daughter.

Thank goodness for cell phones because I called DD’s phone and she answered it like it was 3:30 in the afternoon.

Us – “Where are you and CS?”

DD – “We went out for a drive to talk.”

Us -“You couldn’t just stay home and talk?”

DD – “No, we wanted a change of scenery.”

Us – “Well, come home right now and the next time you want a change of scenery, wait until morning and ask us first.”

DD – “Ok, we’re almost home.  We’ll be there in one minute.”

And sure enough, we heard the garage door open for the second time in the middle of that night.

Wouldn’t common sense have told CS that he should have reversed things a bit?  That he should have NOT woken us up to tell us he was home when we weren’t expecting him to be, yet when he was taking his 16 year old sister OUT of the house at three in the morning, that might be something we’d be interested in knowing?

I looked up the word sophomore in dictionary.com.  It is derived from two Greek words.  The first one is sophos which means wise.  The second is moros which means stupid. 

If the shoe fits.

Tee Hee!

Posted in College Son, Darling Daughter, family | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »