Friday, December 31, 2010

Year In Review

It's the last day of 2010...WOW. As I look back on this year, I guess I'd rate it a 5 on a scale of 1-10...not awesome, but it didn't totally suck either. :-) Considering the state of our economy, I feel we are blessed to have jobs that give us enough $ to pay our bills, a cute little home that keeps us safe & warm, and friends & family who are amazing. My desire for my personal growth is to examine the ups & downs of this year, learn from them, and continue a forward path toward being my best self. I compiled a list of all the baggage I wish to "leave behind" in 2010. What I discovered was that all the things I wanted to change about myself fell under the very first "issue" I had written down: Self doubt. I don't know if it's a fear of failure, a fear of success (or maybe even both), but I stay in mediocrity (hence the fact that I view this year as a 5?!) because it's safe. For example, I have a few business ideas swimming around in my brain, but I make NO attempt to pursue them. Also, I've pretty much always struggled with wanting to be thinner and in better shape...yet you haven't seen my a$$ at the gym, nor do I seem to have the willpower to put down the _______ (fill in the blank with any non-diet approved food). My family deserves more....I deserve more!
My sister-in-law Michele and her fiance Charlie are visiting us from upstate NY, & we've all made this "goodbye 2010" list. Tonight we're going to have a bonfire, roast marshmallows, and throw our list into the fire. Here's to a new year...Happy 2011!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Meeting Santa

What is your first memory of Santa? I've seen pictures of my sister and I on Santa's lap when we were really little, but I don't remember many of the actual interactions I had will Old Saint Nick. Last weekend we saw Santa greeting shoppers outside O.P. Taylors, a fantastic toy store in downtown Brevard, NC. Rich was excited to introduce Santa to Gage...I was expecting Gage to run the other way in fear. The outcome?!? Well, nothing melts your heart like seeing your 2 year old run up to Santa to get a hug...

I know Gage won't remember this first time meeting Santa, but in this case, a picture really IS worth a thousand words...let the holidays begin!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Being Thankful

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade through the eyes of a 2 year old...

I have SO much to be thankful for. I don't even need it to be Thanksgiving Day to be reminded of our blessings...Gage does it for me. He reminds me to enjoy the little things: dancing in the living room, playing in the dirt, singing in the car (current favorites include The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Baby Shark), sitting down at the table for dinner, reading a book (or a zillion books), splashing in the tub...the list could go on for miles...
I've seen the Macy's Parade on many Thanksgiving mornings, but I have never enjoyed watching it as much as today. Watching Elmo, Ernie, and BB (Big Bird) in the parade rocked. Thank you, my sweet boy, for bringing me once again back to the little things...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back By Popular Demand :-)

I have this love/hate relationship with blogging...I love writing...I hate that it cuts into the time I have in the evening to spend with my family. That being said, I'm a night owl (Rich says I have vampire blood in me) & the men in my life are...well...not night owls. So rather than playing another round of Scrabble on facebook (but don't get me wrong, I LOVE my fb Scrabble games!) I'm going to give this blog another chance at life. :-)
Something that makes me very happy is to try recipes my mom has given me. I've been especially loving this recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins & I thought I'd share it...maybe it will make you happy too! :-)
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
1 1/4 c flour
1 c quick cooking oats
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1 c plain yogurt (I don't usually keep plain yogurt around, so I've substituted it with blueberry yogurt and it is super yummy!)
1/4 c butter, melted
1 c blueberries
dash of lime or orange zest
*Combine first 8 ingredients. In separate bowl, combine egg, yogurt, & butter. Stir this mixture into dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin tin 3/4 full. Bake @ 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes. Enjoy my friends...tell me what you think of them!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

We had a wonderful easter weekend with Rich's parents & brother...a little campfire time (complete with Peep roasting)...

easter egg coloring fun...

dinner outside on the deck...

and a visit to the Biltmore Estate to complete the weekend festivities...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I've been in hiding from my blog for a sorry. (But I have some really good reasons!!!) I went home a few weeks ago to help welcome my new nephew into the world. Here's a glimpse of the handsome Cavin Michael Chapman...

We have also had our hands full with our little monster...he's SO close to walking. He did take a couple of steps on his own recently, but he still prefers to hold on to mommy & daddy's fingers for support. :-)

I wanted to mention that even though I failed (miserably) at blogging everyday for my 30 days of the Jabez Prayer, I did in fact manage to say the prayer..and I'm still praying it! I do believe there is power in prayer...especially when it is not confined to our will, but left up for His will to be done.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day 16&17/30

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all! I feel myself falling quickly out of my blogging habit and I'm going to pull a David Letterman and give you a
"Top 10 Reasons Why Danielle Is Losing Her Blogging Focus" list:
10. Looking at the back of my eyelids appeals to me more than looking at the computer screen.
9. My crafting habit > my blogging habit
8. I haven't been keeping up with my book reading which was the catalyst for this 30 day blog...although I have been praying and seeing a LOT of blessings! :-)
7-2. Uh...I really don't have that many reasons...after all, I do enjoy blogging, I just need to get my head back in the game.
1. Nobody reads this anyway!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crafting 15/30

I've spent my entire night getting crafty in preparation of my newest (and yet un-named) nephew. My computer desk is littered with craft supplies: paper, buttons, scissors, paint, and my favorite...Mod Podge! My sweet husband just can't hang with me when I get the craft bug in me...he retired to the bed about an hour ago. :-) Needless to say, I haven't done any real planning for my blog topic tonight. So I'm just going to go back to my fun because when I talked with my sis today, it sounds like that baby could come anytime! I'll leave you with a couple of photos of me and my little sister. Hang in there Deanna...I love you!
An oldie but goodie...

And one from my wedding...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Midnight 14/30

Tonight at Vertical, Pastor Bruce discussed worshiping God even when it seems He is nowhere in sight. He talked about how we all go through the midnight...the dark times in our lives that test our faith. Citing various stories throughout the Bible where Christ followers were going through their darkness, it was remarkable that the stories were often not so much focused on what an individual was going through, but how they handled themselves. Remember when you are in the valley, you have a choice...of how to react, how to learn from the trial, and how to continue worship the loving God who made you. And don't think no one notices...people are always watching...interested to see how you will handle and persevere (or not) through your midnights.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lucky Harm 13/30

Tonight Rich and I went out on the town (downtown that is) to celebrate our friend's birthday as well as experience a little Blue Ridge Rollergirls action. What an experience! If I was about 10 years younger I might even consider trying out for the team...once upon a time I was a bit of a daredevil, but those days are long gone. :-( Our Gage free evening made us realize how important it is to have date night every now & then. Even though we weren't sitting in a little cafe gazing into each other's eyes (I mean, really?!?! Does anyone ever do that?), we had a blast just as a couple. Someday G-man will be grown & on his own, so Rich and I need to continue developing our'll be just the 2 of us again before we know it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Heart Mullets 12/30

Sadly, one of our American Idol favorites this season, Alex Lambert, was voted off last night. His most notable attributes (other than an amazing voice) are his humble personality and a rockin mullet. Rich knows I've been doing a lot more praying lately and I got the cutest text from him this afternoon:
Say a prayer for mullet guy. Just think how he is feelin today.
I just love my husband...squeeze his cheeks and put him in my pocket I could. :-) Well, sing on Alex Lambert...we won't see you anymore on AI but I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of you!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home 11/30

I was reading through the Jabez chapter on enlarging one's territory and one particular paragraph stood out to me:

Suppose Jabez had been a wife and a mother. Then the prayer might have gone: "Lord, add to my family, favor my key relationships, multiply for Your glory the influence of my household." Your home is the single most powerful arena on earth to change a life for God.

What a powerful idea for a woman who wants to enlarge/enrich her family to pray the Jabez prayer this way. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the daunting task of reaching the masses for God, but really it all starts at home...and expands from there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lost Boy 10/30

I woke up this morning to learn that my first celebrity crush, 80's actor Corey Haim, died of a drug overdose. He was only 38 years old. I started this blog to keep our family & friends informed about how addiction was impacting our family and I realize more every day how much of an epidemic drug & alcohol addiction is in our country. A couple of days ago I was reading a magazine article that was interviewing Lindsey Lohan and she talked about how she was still drinking in spite of her 3 different stints in rehab. She even had the nerve to say rehab was a vacation. As the spouse of a recovering alcoholic, it both saddens and angers me at the way addiction is almost glamorized by the media. Listen to me...addiction ruins lives, marriages, and friendships...and all too often the end result is not recovery, it's death. I do hope Corey's soul has finally found peace, but I wish he didn't have to leave the inevitable wake of sadness behind him. His loved ones have to live out the rest of their lives knowing he was never able to find peace and recovery in this life, never having the chance of so many possible good memories with someone they lost way too soon.
If the Lord has blessed me in any way, it has been His gift of recovery that has both healed and saved my marriage. I know life after addiction is possible. My family is living proof. That is never to say we are without problems (just look at my pity party yesterday!), but we have learned to live in it, with it, and through it with the help of God. He will never give us anything we cannot handle.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Grrrr... 9/30

I'm not going to write much today because I'm frustrated, tired, & grumpy. I was wonderfully blessed with a full day of clients which is so important as our bills are piling up. But my mind and heart have moved on. I'm not into my career the way I used to be. Maybe it's just another phase. I don't even really know what I would do if I had any job in the world to choose from. Sleep tight world...tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscars 8/30

I stayed up late last night to watch the Academy Awards. I was overall pretty bored with the whole show (but darn if they don't save the best categories for last!)...I did enjoy the 80's movie montage (honoring the movies of the late John Hughes) that ended with this quote from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
"Yeah, life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Today I had a lot of things I needed to But last night a friend from out of town called to say she was going to be coming into Asheville and wanted to see if I wanted to spend the day with her. Honestly, my first thought was, "Well...I have a lot of things I need to do."...but then I started prioritizing my list, and nothing I had planned for today was an absolute necessity. What was a necessity was spending time with my friend who has 3 small children and lives in a tiny town with no friends. We had a wonderful time drooling over all the fun possible art projects at Michael's (stuff our husbands absolutely hate doing!). And I even got a couple of the errands on my list crossed off! I have to give a shout out to Ferris for reminding me to stop & enjoy life! I'll close this blog entry with a photo from the movie Ferris Bueller's Day of my most favorite things to do...singing in the shower!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Signs of Spring 7/30

What a beautiful day!!! Rich & I spent Gage's nap time out in the yard raking leaves & cleaning out the garden (much more productive than yesterday, eh?). I love seeing the little hints of green sprouting out from the dirt...little whispers saying, "Spring is coming!"
Our next door neighbors have a little boy who turned 1 today. They invited us over for a little playtime & birthday cake...yummy! Here's a photo of the kids playing...Happy 1st Birthday Ethan!!!

Vertical rocked tonight. Tonight's sermon was focused on having personal time with God and Pastor's challenge was to dedicate at least 15 minutes a day for this next week with God in prayer & reading the Bible. One of his points was the idea that as our relationship with God grows stronger, so will our fear of "what others might think" by how we worship. He pointed out that a true sign of maturity in a person is when they care less about what others think and more about what God thinks. That hit home for me because I've always struggled with worrying about what other people think. Who do I have to fear when God has my back?!?!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Joy of Sleep 6/30

Overall, today didn't rank up there as one of the most exciting, life changing Saturdays I've ever had...but I did get to do something I love...take a nap! I remember "back in the day" taking a nap every weekend and it is one of my favorite past times. :-) I usually try to be productive during Gage's naps, but today I stretched out on my bed and happily drifted off to dreamland. Maybe tomorrow I'll be more productive...maybe not..hee hee!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bunco 5/30

I'm such a homebody and today was no exception. Rich took Gage to daycare on his way to work, and I proceeded to chill out at my house in my pjs all day. Don't get me wrong, I did accomplish some tax paperwork stuff, but overall I didn't go out of my way to be productive. Then I got a call from my friend asking me if I'd be interested in subbing for a women's game night. I feel painfully awkward in new social situations where I don't know anyone but I resisted the temptation to decline because of my own silly insecurities. So, tonight I had the pleasure of meeting some fun new women and learn how to play the dice game called Bunco...I'm hooked! It really is good for the soul to break out of our comfort zones and experience something new! My territory is enlarging! :-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Loving Life 4/30

I had a busy day at work today which is the first full day of doing hair I've had for awhile...factors like the weather, the post-holiday conserving money, etc. have made the hair business a little slow so far in 2010. But today I had some of my favorite clients with great hair, Rich was busy at work, & Gage's daycare wasn't was a productive day!!! Yeah! I'm going to go relax on the couch with my hubby and put my feet up...goodnight all! xo

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bless Me...A Lot! 3/30

I'm trying to focus on a particular point the author of the Prayer of Jabez made in his book: "He (Jabez) left it entirely up to God to decide what the blessing would be and where, when, and how he would receive them." While I do believe there is a need for specific prayer requests, this "blessing" part of the Jabez prayer focuses on giving the Lord complete surrender of our will/desires. Proverbs 10:22 says, "The Lord's blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it." I usually think I know what I need and I tend to ask God accordingly. But do I really know what I need? How many times have I been given a "blessing" (and I use that word loosely) that I didn't want but discovered down the road that it was exactly the kind of thing I needed?!? How much more powerful will His blessings be for me if I just ask? I'll let you know...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

(Another) Snow Day 2/30

It has snowed a LOT this winter in the mountains of NC. I can't tell you how many times I've complained about how the snow has cancelled daycare, caused my clients to reschedule, & kept Rich from doing exterior paint jobs. This morning we woke up to an inch of snow on the ground and it hasn't stopped all day (we're up to about 5 inches this evening). I prayed the prayer of Jabez & wondered how God was going to answer me on this particular snow day. Daycare opened late which would have made me have to reschedule a client or two, but my first client cancelled so I was able to drop Gage off and go into work for several hours. Daycare closed early, but I only had to reschedule one appt. and I was able to make enough money to pay the bills that I was worried about having the $ for. Not only did God give me just what I needed, but I've also been looking back at the fun photos of other "snow days" this winter and...well, we've had a blast! Check out some of our fun moments:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Zoom Out 1/30

Last night we went to Vertical (a.k.a. awesome, contemporary evening service for us non-morning folk) at Biltmore Baptist Church. A new sermon series started this week called iWorship & I'm really excited for the growth potential I see this series having in my life. I also just finished the book The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson and today (March 1, 2010) is the beginning of my 30 day plan outlined in the last chapter of the book to help facilitate a lifelong habit of prayer (specific prayer)
Here is the plan:
1. Pray the Jabez prayer every am, & keep a record of your daily prayer by marking it off (I'm going to do this blog style!)
2. Write out the prayer & tape it somewhere you'll be reminded of your new vision.
3. Reread the Prayer of Jabez book (it's only 92 tiny pages) 1X each week during the next month, asking God to show important insights you might have missed.
4. Tell 1 other person of your commitment to your new prayer habit.
5. Begin to keep a record of changes in your life.
6. Start praying the Jabez prayer for your family, friends, & local church.
And here is the prayer...
Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
& enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
& that You would keep me from evil.

This morning I prayed the prayer...very quickly followed by what I seem to do best...worry about s#@*. I know, I'm talking about praying to God & cussing in the same blog, but that's exactly what it is...a bunch of crap that I worry about. Today it was about money...specifically the lack there of. I could literally feel myself cowering into a little ball of self pity and then I started thinking of last night's message at Vertical. One of pastor's points was how we have to "zoom out"...I thought about a manual focus camera that is zoomed in on an object so much so that you can't see the big picture. How often do I do this in my life? All the time! I stay so focused on an issue that I can't see the larger purpose of my life, full of tons of blessings none the less! If I'm going to pray this prayer & ask God for more, I have to zoom out to see how He's answering me!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Trip Down Penny Lane

It was exactly one year ago today we made the journey up Penny Lane to Christian Love Ministries. What a scary evening it was for me coming back to Asheville alone, picking up our son from daycare, & going home to face the harsh reality that I was going to be living the life of a single parent for the next 2 1/2 months while Rich was in rehab. What doesn't kill us, right?
The AA motto 'One day at a time.' certainly applies to our family...some days are great & others are a struggle as we continue to find our new "normal." I wanted to share one of the traditions we've established that has helped make our family stronger...and it's so simple!!! The little act of eating dinner together every night at the kitchen table has been so awesome for us...nothing could replace the conversation, laughter, and bonding we do while sitting around our little red table.
So tonight I celebrate my family sitting together around our table, eating dinner, and talking about the journeys we have already taken and those we have yet to experience. I thank God for recovery!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Time Flies When You're Turning One!

The Becker family has been busy! Not only did our little guy turn one at the end of October, but Rich is also celebrating a milestone of his year of sobriety! My hat goes off to the two most important men in my life...

I haven't blogged for quite a long time (obviously) but I'm going to make more efforts in 2010 (sounds like a resolution!?) to give my readers some more frequent reading material...yes...all 5 of you. :-)