All About Me
Dawn - edging ever closer to 30, although I still feel like I'm 21. :) I'm married to a youth pastor ('Big G'), and have THREE wonderful kids: a five year-old son ('Little G'), a just turned two year-old daughter ('A'), and our newest little girl blessing, Baby R, was born May 28/07!! They keep me hopping as I juggle them, my WAH part-time job as an accountant, being a pastor's wife, and of course hobbies like quilting, scrapbooking, and blogging!

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Callapidder Days
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Life in a Shoe: The Methods and Madness of One Family of 10

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You know it's going to be one of those days when.....
Tackle it Tuesday - the office!
First tooth!
Yes / No...Don't Know?
A digital photographer's best friend
Wordless Wednesday - ready for solid food?!?
It's not fair!
5 going on 25??
I've got the reading blues


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Monday, January 22, 2007
Help, I've fallen!
It was 10:59am on Sunday morning. Most of the congregation were in their seats, waiting for the worship singing to begin. The youth worship team that I help with had just gone up on stage and were getting ready to start. One of the singers whispered to me to ask if I could grab her forgotten water bottle off the front pew for her. I went up the couple stairs on the stage and handed it to her, then turned to come back to the piano so we could get going.

Something went terribly wrong.

I'm still not sure whether I tripped on something or just had an episode of pregnant brain and forgot how to walk, but suddenly I somehow found myself launched forward and sliding down the stairs on my right knee, coming to land in very ungraceful fashion at the bottom (only after knocking over a small table, of course).

The church collectively gasped and I heard several "are you alright?"s as I quickly tried to regain my composure. I felt every eye on my back as I made my way to the piano as quickly as possible - I knew I had about five seconds to get there while the adrenaline surged through my veins before the pain kicked in. I sat down on my bench and, ignoring the anxious looks of my team, started right in to the first song.

I did manage to make it through the worship set, although there was a searing pain in my knee every time I depressed the pedal - and I tend to overpedal, so that was a lot! When I got up from the piano, my pants were kind of stuck to my knee, which upon investigation I learned was the result of a pretty serious oozing scrape. I didn't seem to have any other visible injuries, so I rejoined the service, again feeling everyone's eyes on me as I walked up to the front to sit with my husband (who hadn't even seen me fall and was confused why I was limping!).

I'm feeling much better today, although my knee is definitely bruised (on the inside, apparently, since I can't see much on the skin). I was worried yesterday that it was going to be a fairly long-term injury because if I sat down for even a few minutes, my whole leg was just throbbing up and down. Fortunately it vastly improved overnight and I think I'll be back to running (well, if I wanted to) by our trip to Breakforth this weekend!

posted at 10:12 AM  

Thursday, January 18, 2007
God has no in-laws, either
"God has no grandchildren."

Those of us who grew up in a Christian home have likely heard this statement before. It means that no matter who your parents are, even if they are pillars of the church and examples of faith for thousands, you won't score any points with God because of them. You have to make a personal decision to follow Him and choose for yourself to give your life to Him, not just hang on the coattails of your parents' faith and think that will be good enough.

People who have been raised in the church and prayed 'the prayer' at a very young age often speak about a time in their lives when they had to make their faith their own. During childhood and even into adolescence, it is easy to do the 'right' things when that's just what your family does. It doesn't take much strength to choose to attend church faithfully and have daily devotions when such activities are part of your family's routine. But there inevitably comes a point when you have to choose for yourself who you will serve.

This concept came to my mind last night as I was listening to my husband speak at our weekly youth Bible study. It was questions night, and one of the questions was something about how you knew if you were living the 'proper' Christian life. In the process of answering the question, Big G said something to the effect of that you need to know in your own heart that you are truly following after God with all you are and not just going through the motions.

And something occurred to me. I don't know if I ever actually did make my faith my own.

I was the oldest child in my family, the 'good girl' - at least as far as my parents were concerned! I certainly did my share of stupid things, but for the most part managed to keep it secret and still played the role of the perfect daughter.

I went to Bible school for a year after high school planning to get myself back on track and establish my faith. I did a lot of stupid things that summer before I went away, fully believing that it was 'okay' because I was going away in a month or two to Bible school and would straighten everything out then.

And in a way, I thought I did. I came back from that year having learned a lot and grown a lot. Oh, and with a fantastic new boyfriend (that would be Big G, lol). We got married a couple of years later, and here we are now, eight years down the road, a pastoral family expecting our third child already. And they lived happily ever after.

Except last night it occurred to me that maybe I just swapped one thing for the other - my parents' faith for my husband's faith. That maybe I'm now relying on him to carry me. It was an uncomfortable thought, and one I'm still working through.

God has no grandchildren...and you know what? He doesn't have any in-laws either.


posted at 8:33 AM  

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
WFMW - digital picture organization/storage/sharing

I can hardly believe it's really only been a few years since 'everyone' has had a digital camera! Can you believe that only ten years ago, hardly anyone had even heard of such a thing?!? Now I think the question is really what kind of digital you have, rather than whether or not you have one.

We got our first digital about two and a half years ago, a Canon A70, and last summer I was ecstatic to finally get a digital SLR to continue my photography obsession - a Canon Rebel XT. In the two and a half years since we've 'gone digital,' I have taken something in the neighborhood of 3,500 photos (well, that's how many I have on the computer...I'm sure I've actually shot a lot more than that).

I realized very quickly after getting the digital camera that regular folders on our hard drive were just not going to cut it. Sure, I could sort them into folders based on the month and year they were taken, but then what happens later when I'm looking for that cute picture of Little G at the park and I have no clue whether it was taken during that warm spell in April, or in September? And even if by some miracle (and it would take a miracle, let me tell you) I do remember the correct month, I still have to sort through all kinds of cryptic 'img2846729209.jpg' names and squint at the little thumbnail pictures to figure out which of the 50 pictures I took that day is the one I'm looking for.

What usually happens? I'd just give up on finding it at all.

But thankfully I found a program that has saved me from this predicament many a time - Adobe Photoshop Album. They are on version 3.0 right now, but from what I can tell I prefer my v2.0 - the newest update doesn't seem to have the same backup capability as mine does. The key to this program is 'tags' - basically the equivalent of little sticky notes put on each photo to categorize them. You can set up however many tags as you wish, and sort them into categories (I have 'people,' 'places,' 'events,' etc.). Then all you have to do is click and drag the tags that apply to your photo on top of it, and they are labelled with that category or categories. Searching for just the right photo later on becomes easy - I just check the boxes for 'Little G' and 'Outside' (I have a lot of categories based on the kind of scrapbook pages I would do) and voila, up comes all the pictures that have those tags assigned to them, regardless of where they happen to reside on my hard drive. I can even take older pictures off of our computer and archive them on CDs, and the program still retains a thumbnail of the picture so I can still search for those photos.

As I mentioned, the program has a great backup utility (although it doesn't seem to be as complete in v3.0), and the ability to create and share pictures and slideshows with others. One of my favorite things is that is automatically resizes your photos to whichever size you choose (small, medium, large) when you share by email - something I'm sure your friends and family would appreciate if you've been clogging their inboxes with giant photo files!

The other decision digital camera users face is the question of how to share their pictures online - one of the main reasons for going digital, if my friends are any indication. There are a myriad of options available today, which makes choosing one very difficult. I think I probably have accounts at at least five different sites that I tried before finding one I was happy with!

There are several free options, which may work for you for a while, but let's face it - nothing is really free. There is always a catch - either your photo page is covered in ads, your friends have to give a lot of information to set up an account to even see your pictures, or there's a limit on how many pictures you can upload and store in your account...or usually all of the above.

After all my experimenting with various options out there, I finally heard about Smugmug. Out of all the choices on the net, Smugmug received the Editor's Choice recognition from PC Magazine as 'the best.' And it is. After a free trial so you can check it out, it will cost you ($39 a year), but what you get for that price is pretty great - and I'm a cheapskate! You get:

I have been thrilled with Smugmug, even though I was admittedly a little reluctant to part with my hard-earned cash! It works for me - maybe it will for you too!

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posted at 2:05 PM  

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
For Kelli
There's something very special going on in the Blogosphere today. If you haven't yet read about Kelli, take a moment and read Boomama's original post here. Boomama has felt led to help this friend who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant and is struggling with the costs going along with that.

If you feel led to do so, please visit Boomama today and make your donation, whatever size, to help out Kelli. And if you don't feel led to donate (which is fine!), please do pray for her and her family.

The wonderful Susie over at Bluebird Blogs (who did my blog design) is also getting into the action and donating 20% of all her blog orders between January 11th and 21st to this cause. If you've been thinking about maybe getting a blog makeover, now would be a great time to do it - and help someone else in the process!

posted at 7:59 AM  

Friday, January 12, 2007
We've got some 'splainin to do...
Heard at yesterday's ultrasound...

Little G: Mommy, do I get to come with you when it's time for the baby to come out?

Mommy: No, sweetie, but after the baby is out you can come visit us at the hospital, okay?

Little G: (puzzled look on his face) Oh. But I wanted to see how they're going to get your tummy off.

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posted at 10:46 AM  

Thursday, January 11, 2007
Where MY Heart Is
I started blogging several months ago, without a clear purpose in my mind about what I wanted to talk about or where I wanted to go with my site. I started off with the name 'Things I Think About at Night,' which was appropriate at the time, as I was still in the nursing my baby at night stage. (Now I'm in the 'please stop singing E-I-E-I-O in the middle of the night stage,' but that's another story...) As I've read more and written more over the past year, it's become clearer to me what I want this blog to be. Hence the name change... to Where the Heart Is.

"Home is where the heart is." I'm sure you've all heard this phrase before. This has come to mean a lot to me over the last year as I made the decision to not return to working outside the home when my maternity leave was over. I know many people thought (and several have told me as much) that I was wasting all my years of education, that I could still be a good mom if I worked outside the home, and that I would feel happier and more satisfied if I worked. I did struggle with the decision, but in the end it just came down to the fact that my heart told me I should be at home with my family. I don't love my job, I love my kids.

The internet can be such a cold and impersonal place - you can read some blogs, which are sort of like a person's diary in some ways, and yet come away not really knowing anything about the author. I want you to read my blog and feel like you're sitting down for coffee with a friend...and so I feel like I should introduce myself and share a little more information than you get from my Blogger profile. :)

I'm Dawn, I'm within a couple of years of 30 (yikes!) and I'm married to a wonderful man of God (who we'll call 'Big G' for our purposes here). He's a youth pastor and definitely young at heart! We've been married for seven years and have been blessed with two children - our son Little G, who is four and a half already somehow, and our daughter A, who just turned 18 months. We're also getting excited about #3 who will make his/her appearance probably in late May. We live in a small town (like less than 5,000 people) in a fairly rural area in Canada - it can be cold and snowy, but we know it's where the Lord has called us to be and we love it.

Where is my heart?

My heart is...with the Lord Jesus Christ above all. I grew up in a Christian home and have grown in many ways as I learned to make my faith my own. I struggle and sin daily, as we all do, and am learning each day to rely on Him more.

My heart is...with my family. I can't believe how many parents have children and then want to get rid of them as quickly as possible - can't wait for them to be in school all day, enroll them as many lessons and classes as possible so they don't have to be with them for hours after school, and speak of their blessings from GOD as if they were inconveniences at best. I believe that after my relationship with God, my husband and my children are my highest priority. I believe we as parents are responsible for bringing our children up in a way that would be pleasing to Him.

My heart is...with our church family. We have been so blessed to have our first church be such a wonderful experience. We have been here for four years (way longer than the average youth pastor stay of 18 months) and can't imagine leaving without the Lord really changing our hearts. We have grown to love our church family so much and have formed beautiful friendships here.

So there's a little bit about me - and I'm sure you'll find out much more as I post here! I hope that this blog will be a blessing to others in some way...I don't feel like I have much to give, but I have been so blessed by the writing of others and pray that someone will be encouraged or amused or inspired by something I post here. God bless you, and stop by and say 'hi' if you're visiting. :)


posted at 7:08 AM  

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Welcome - how do you like the new place??

My blog design from the wonderful Susie at Bluebird Blogs is complete and I couldn't be happier! I'm just settling in here to my new digs but I'm sure it will feel like home before I know it (I'm still a little surprised each time my site loads, lol).

Hope you're able to visit often!


posted at 9:18 PM  

WFMW - Eating well
In keeping with a lot of people's New Year's Resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, whatever you choose to call it this year...the theme for Works-for-Me Wednesday this week is eating well.

My tip isn't really a recipe, but just a way that I've found to eat a little bit healthier without feeling too deprived: salads.

I know, boring, boring. But wait! What works for me is to add things to your basic pile of shredded lettuce so you don't feel so much like, well, a rabbit or something.

Some of the toppings I like to add to my salad (obviously not all at the same time, although usually a few together) include taco meat, flaked ham (or turkey or chicken), leftover chicken breast, hardboiled eggs, shredded cheese, nuts, raisins, cut-up apples or dried fruit. Adding some of these to my salad makes me feel like I'm eating something substantial, yet still healthy.

Oh, and skip the creamy dressings - it's frightening how quickly they can transform a healthy salad into a fat-laden feast!


posted at 2:53 PM  

Friday, January 05, 2007
Oh my.
I don't even know what to say in response to this recent NY Times article, 'Middle School Girls Gone Wild.' You know what I did for my school talent show when I was ten years old? Sang 'I Can Sing A Rainbow.'

I understand that things do change, and I don't expect children today to be wearing feedsack dresses and eating lard sandwiches whilst stoking the wood stove, but not even a generation has passed since I was in school! It was 'only' 18 years ago that I was in fifth grade. The massive change in that short a period of time scares me to death. I can only imagine what schools will be like as my children grow up - girls wearing nothing but their bras and thongs to class? (There is the slight problem of the -30 weather up here...) School-sponsored seminars on intercourse techniques? It sickens me. I almost don't know how it could possibly get any worse.

Lord have mercy on our children.


posted at 1:23 PM  

Wednesday, January 03, 2007
WFMW - paper organization

The 'brain center' of our home is on the counter beside our phone, as in many homes. I have a daily planner calendar there, and this is where all the incoming mail, letters from school, etc, end up. The amount of paper that enteres our home is staggering!

Up until the other day, these papers just got stuffed somewhere within my calendar - any statements that needed to be filed downstairs usually got stuck near the front of the book, until that side of each week was leaning at a precarious angle from so much paper stuffed behind it! Anything else that needed to be dealt with ended up somewhere a few weeks ahead of whatever week we were on, and often just kept getting shuffled further and further ahead as the pages got turned. Sometimes there would be so many things piled on top of the calendar that I didn't change the page for weeks at a time - what was the point, since I couldn't see it anyway?!?

But the whole new year, turn over a new leaf attitude has got a hold of me this week and I've set up a new system. It's not very fancy, but it works! I took three regular file folders - labelled 'IN,' 'OUT,' and 'FILE' and taped the edges so they would act as pockets. Then I pinned them to the wall behind the counter where my calendar sits. Now I actually have a place to put all the paper that threatens to overtake the counter! And I don't put off the filing forever and ever anymore because only so much will fit in the folder!

Works for me!


posted at 9:45 AM  

Tuesday, January 02, 2007
The first step is admitting you have a problem...
So here I go!

I can't believe I'm posting these, but A's room has gotten way out of hand the last few months and I'm hoping by admitting my problem to all of you that I will get motivated to do something!

It's a fairly small room to start with, and at the moment it is being taken over by various piles and bags full of clothes - the result of a couple of generous people who handed down some wonderful high-quality clothes to A. Most of it has been sorted (honestly) but there wasn't a lot of room in her dresser at the time because I didn't have any more big boxes to put the clothes that were too small in, so I couldn't get them out of the drawers to make room for the new clothes... Plus I was taking care of an extra baby and had morning sickness! Really, none of these are excuses, and I just need to get to it! I have figured out that if it's going to get done, I'm going to have to put A down for her nap in the playpen in another room and do it then. Have you ever tried to make orderly piles of clothes with a 17 month-old around?!?

I hope to report back soon that this project has been successfully completed!


posted at 1:35 PM  

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year everyone!

We are back from our Christmas vacation and ready to get back into the swing of things. We had a huge answer to prayer with a calm and virtually conflict-free Christmas at my parents', even with all four grandchildren, Big G and I, and my drug addict sister staying under one roof for a week! We went through some awful weather on the way home yesterday - pouring rain which of course immediately froze on the highway, turning the road into the rough equivalent of a very large skating rink - but we got through it safely (we saw many vehicles flipped in the ditches as we were travelling).

Stay tuned for my new blog makeover, coming soon, and (hopefully) lots of fun posts this year! May God bless you and your families in 2007!

posted at 1:30 PM