Are You Happy?

We live in a beautiful world that God created.  

But not everything is beautiful.
Our world is inundated with ugly things. 
I fear for my children  all while trusting God.  
I don’t think He intended those two things to be done simultaneously.
Some days, I do better than others.
After watching the news and reading about crime, sometimes I feel like our home, our cocoon, is being watched by a hungry predator.
And yet, I feel like we are overcoming the enemy of ungodliness.  
Because we are happy.
Sure, we have bad days.  Just read my blog awhile.  We aren’t perfect.  We argue, disagree, and make plenty of mistakes.  We crave material possessions and don’t seek God enough.
We don’t laugh all the time or smile constantly.  We’re just a pretty average family. But our happiness runs deeply because it comes from joy.  Joy grows from a deep contentment for the good and the bad because God is good.  All the time.
I ran across this article by The American Chronicle, titled, “Secrets of Happier Families.”
According to research that crosses socioeconomic lines, there are seven similarities happy families have in common:
  1. Priority is placed on the primary relationship
  2. Respect for children
  3. Time spent together
  4. Regular family meetings
  5. Open and honest communication
  6. Showing appreciation
  7. A spiritual focus
I don’t think this article was written from a Christian perspective and I would put them in a different order.  But aren’t these the reasons Christians should be happy?
The author ends with this, What these findings do tell us is what most of us on some level already know but do not consistently practice. Namely, that a cohesive family unit that is willing to work daily at creating a loving, respect-filled, secure, and mutually supportive environment for one another in spite of external pressures can thrive… even in today´s uncertain world.”
Many times, our happiness depends upon our situation.  Good day, things going our way? Happy face.  Crummy day? Happiness is out the window.  
I think perspective keeps our happiness level.
Are you happy? 
Food for the Soul:
James 5:13, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.”

Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You-The Fun Run

Hello!  Glad to have your here this week for Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You!  If you want to join in, please read guidelines here.

I have always had an athletic build.
Let me rephrase that.
I had an athletic build, before three pregnancies left me with a dumpy athletic build.
Don’t wait for the punch line.  Because I’m not joking.
As a kid, I was muscular.  I had large thigh muscles and defined calves.  I had a runner’s body.
The summer before the  seventh grade, I aspired to join the jr. high track team.
So, I signed up for the Summer Fun Run.
Because I thought it would be fun.
Did I mention that it was a 5 mile run and I had never even run a mile?
Yeah, that didn’t seem to be nearly as important as my outfit. Does Jane Fonda ring a bell?
I remember being very concerned about what I wore.  I coordinated my top and shorts to match my brand new little white canvas sneakers (the ones WalMart sells for like $3 bucks).  
The idea of support never once crossed my mind, until I actually started running.
And then that’s all I thought about. My legs ached, my feet cramped. And the blisters were unsightly.
I remember thinking, “Fun run? You’ve got to be kidding me.  What’s so fun about this?”
My parents and siblings followed me in the car, screaming out the window, “Go, Kristen!  You can do it!”
I was dying.  Surely, this was death.
I’m not sure how I finished the run, but I did, dead last.  I learned something very important that day.  
I was destined to be a sprinter.
And just because the word ‘fun’ is in the title, doesn’t mean it will be.
But this?  Laughing at all of you? Now, that is fun.  

Viewing My Life Thru Blog-Colored Glasses

I love being a Mom.

It is the one thing I’ve always wanted to be. 

I love knowing that The God of the Universe created me to be the mother of my children.  And even though I am not worthy, I am.  

But a couple of months after my third child was born, something happened deep within me.

I realized that being a mom wasn’t enough.

It shocked me too.

I think at first, I thought the feeling came from postpartum blues or from my baby’s difficult birth. But one thought kept playing itself over in my brain, I need something for me.

I remember the first time I spoke those words out loud.  My sweet hubby suggested a pedicure. No. Deeper, more, meaningful. Okay, a writing conference? Mr. fix-it knew my deep desire to write and my frustration with no one willing to give me a chance. But that wasn’t it either.

And then I got busy with life, and the words, although still present, quieted to a whisper.

I started my blog when my baby was 9 months old.

I had no idea it would be the answer to the question.

Now, nearly a year later, I view my life thru blog-colored glasses.

Blogging has turned me inside out.  It has fulfilled my need to write, yes, but even more, it is has quenched the thirst to have something for me. 

It is mine.

And I have learned so much about me.  I have discovered an innate desire to encourage.  It has always been there, but I thrive on helping people view their life more positively, while they are changing diapers or tackling clutter.

Blogging has also helped me to capture the fleeting moments.  For years, I’ve neglected writing things down, but now in doing so, I have seared them into my heart and mind forever.

Many people view blogs as vanity on parade. And I can understand why.  Since vanity loves company, I’m glad I have all of you.  One of my favorite parts of blogging is the creativity that has been birthed.  I think my creative hemisphere has grown immensely and made my head is bigger.  Really.

It has also taught me to laugh. And to look for the humor!  A year ago, I remember a friend of a friend commenting on my family’s frequent visit to the ER.  I was offended. I mean, how rude to actually mention the truth.  

But I’ve learned to laugh at myself and that’s been the biggest lesson of all!

Oh, and while I do not hope for mayhem, or encourage disaster, my senses have been sharpened to them. 

Because seriously?  A post about my hubby smearing peanut butter in his armpits at a family talent show, is just too good to forget. Tune in, I’ll tell  you all about next week. And there will be pictures.  Oh! Goody!

And my life?  It looks like roses thru those blog-colored glasses.

For more tips, visit Works For Me Wednesday.

And This Is Where You Lose Respect For Me

Answers Part II
Way back when, you asked me some questions.  I answered the blogging questions first. Because I am an expert.
Basically, those questions were just easier to answer than these.  It’s not that I don’t want to get personal with you, darling, I’m just afraid you will not be impressed lulled to sleep by my riveting life.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 10 years I will be 45.  Give me a moment because suddenly I’m feeling a crik (southern talk for ache) in my back. Thank you. In 10 years, we will be living on some land in an old home outside of Texas. I will be writing up a storm and my mantle will be lined with autographed copies of my first book.  Because I am that vain.  We will also be preparing for my first born’s high school graduation. Excuse me while I go stunt her growth.
  2. Were you born in Texas? Born and raised and then my hubby and I lived in Arkansas, New Mexico and Florida.  We love Texas, but land is expensive here, so there might come a day . . .
  3. What does your back yard look like? I am so glad you didn’t ask me this pre-stimulus check.  We just did a major overhaul.  Because sinkholes are not my friend and I didn’t want to breed mosquitos for a living anymore.  You can read way more than you want to right here. And there are pictures, lots of pictures, oooh, you are so lucky! Aren’t you glad you stayed?
  4. Does your car stay clean? I think this question is just mean. You can read about what can be found in my car on any given day here.  (This is probably the point you lose the rest of the respect you had for me).
  5. What’s the update on the squirrels? I don’t want to talk about it. Okay, if you insist.  They have taken over.  Please help us. I’m talking out of the side of my mouth so the squirrel that is holding a gun-shaped nut to my temple won’t hear me.  Thanks for asking.
  6. What two colors would you paint your toes for the rest of your life? I’m not certified to paint my own toes.  And I like French Manicures.  So, those colors.
  7. What are some of your favorite books? For years, I devoured Historical Christian Fiction like Brock & Bodie Thoene’s series and Lori Wick.  Lately, I’ve been into Jodi Piccoult. I loved The Plain Truth. I’m in a neighborhood book club that exposes me to things I wouldn’t normally pick up. Right now, I’m reading The Shack.  I’m pretty sure it’s going to change my life.
  8. What is the most annoying thing about being a mom? The laundry. Oh, and the waiting in car lines, doctor’s offices, etc. I’m not a good waiter. And I can’t leave out, looking for ticks in the privates.  Just keeping it real.
  9. What’s your favorite dinner? The one that’s cooked FOR me.
  10. What’s your favorite ice cream? Blue Bell. Any flavor. It’s the best ice cream in the country. Don’t even argue with me about that.
  11. How does McDonald’s sweet tea compare to Southern?  This question made me weep.  I have puffy eyes and a heavy heart.  It does not compare.  Be good to yourself and try this.
  12. What things do you say to your kids that your mom said to you? Ask your father. Because I said so.  Don’t wipe your boogers on your clothes.
  13. What are two things you can’t live without?(besides family) Total carnal answer here: my macbook and my iphone.  I’m an Apple girl, through and through.
  14. What is the meaning of life? This link will take you to the best answer for this question. It’s long, but powerful and I fully believe it.
  15. What is your ‘come to Jesus’ story? I love this question!  And since I don’t want to mix it in with the above nonsense, I think I’ll save it for it’s own post!

Secret Santa Mail Contest for Newsletter Readers!

If you’d like your child to win Santa Mail from Gorbella’s, leave a comment on this post! 

For only $5 you can fill out an order form here for a letter (it’s tax deductible and the money goes to a wonderful cause)!
Reader (no blog) Melissa R
Rachel @ The Coupon Grabber
Congrats, y’all!!

The Games Children Play

The other day as I was cooking (a.k.a. heating and stirring), my older kids sat at the kitchen table playing a word game.

I wasn’t paying close attention, but I knew my daughter was asking my son some questions and giving him multiple choice answers. And as long as he followed her directions exactly, there was peace.
I don’t know where she gets that from.
“Nope!  You are wrong!” my daughter declared triumphantly.  Encouragement may not be her gift.
“Stay here,” she commands and comes over to the stove where I am laboring over macaroni and says, “Mom, we’re playing idioms.  Can you give me another one, so I can see if he can guess the meaning?”
I must confess even though I have a degree in English, I couldn’t recall the definition of the word idiom, much less an example.  Probably because I was using so much energy and brain cells on cooking.  
I told my daughter as much and she looked disgusted.  It must be hard to be gifted and talented and live with such trolls.
She returned to her seat and looked into the face of little brother.  “Do you even know what an idiom is?”
He paused.  I leaned in, hoping to hear the answer.  He scratched his head and pushed up his glasses.  I could tell he wanted to please his big sister.
“Am I an idiom?” he asked earnestly.
I laughed and said, “No, honey, but great minds think alike.”
My daughter stood and declared, “That’s an idiom.”
And so it is.

THAT Family Tree Society-Issue 1

I’ve had some THAT family moments this week: Ants marching 2 by 2 carrying off crumbs and my toddler to their hill; another ER visit (make sure you warn your children when the floor is wet); and this sentence actually came from my lips in a parenting moment, “We do not head-butt others or sniff other people’s arm pits.”

And just so I don’t feel so alone in my moments, I’m going to feature a random member of the THAT Family Tree Society, every Sunday! Tracey from IPost is lucky number one.  Lucky is a relative term in this club. She submitted this post: Burp, Fart, Cough, Hiccup, Boogies and Vomit.

I seriously cannot relate, as we have never done the things in that title. Well, at least not in the last 2 minutes.

1. What is the name of your blog? Why?
The name of my blog is Nine Acres- 20 Miles North of Nowhere.  I chose this name because about 3 years ago my family (me, hubby, 2 kids) moved from the suburbs to a small rural farm in Northern Maryland.  Lots of crazy stuff goes on here and while the blog was originally a place to keep my family and friends up-to-date on the goings on in our world, it quickly grew into something larger.  Now I blog because I am addicted to it and get grumpy if I don’t.

2. How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging for about 3 years.  I switched url’s in January of 2008 for personal reasons, so I don’t have archives dating back 3 years.

3. How would you define THAT family?

THAT family can mean many different things.  For example, it can be the family that always has *drama* going on.  Or it could be the family that sticks out in the neighbor hood for one reason or another.  But no matter why you are THAT family, it is a family that sticks together.

4. When did you realize you were a member of THAT family?

The first time I truly realized we were THAT family is when I accidentally cracked my son’s head open on the corner of a door frame while playing a tag game.  He was 4 and my daughter was 2.  I was home alone when it happened and, of course, my kids were filthy and bare foot in clothes that were sadly not fitting very well.  It had been one of *those* days.  And there was no time to make ourselves presentable for society.  So, when we arrived at the hospital for stitches, we were the sight to see!  You know,  dried snot plastered on faces from all the tears, filthy clothes from  playing outside, knotty hair, barefoot, etc.  And that was just me, you should have seen the kids! ;0)

5. Where can we find your blogging home?
You can find my blog at  I know my url doesn’t match my blog name and it drives me crazy, but I am reluctant to change it for fear no one will find me!

Thanks for pulling all of THOSE families together!

If you’d like to join the THAT Family Tree Society, grab the button on the sidebar. If you’d like to have your blog featured, you can read all about it here.

As you’re reading this, our family is leaving for Family Camp.  We’re driving this.  Honk if you see us.

At least we warned them THAT family was coming!