Archive for July, 2010

Locks of Love

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Sarah and her long hair. It took her three years to grow it this long after her previous bob.

Sarah has had quite a week! She had a tonsillectomy on Tuesday morning making the tonsil-less Jobe count 5. Yes, her mother and her three older sisters have had the procedure too. After spending two days resting and watching movies, she requested a hair appointment. While she wanted to cut her hair short, I preferred she trim it and keep it long. However, I changed my mind when her stylist informed me that she had enough hair to donate to Locks of Love. This is a wonderful program that provides opportunity for people to donate at least 10″ of hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Sarah eagerly desired to donate her hair, so I agreed to let her have a short hair style. As her stylist cut, I was so thrilled with her new look! The bob looks so sweet on her. I am more than proud of my girl who, with a sore throat, went to have her hair trimmed and ended up giving it away to help someone else.

Smiling - even though her throat still hurt.

Sarah holding her "locks of love."

The Cow Appreciation Contest… A Year After the BIG Win!

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Last year, on Cow Appreciation Day, a day when Chick-fil-A awards free food to its cow-look-alike customers, my herd took full advantage. The children got out white and black and excitedly designed their costumes.

CAD EVE! Anna, Sarah and Bethany are ready for the big day!

They laid them out, went to bed, and had dreams of what soft drink they’d order with their combo meal – a luxury for my gang because I usually insist on water when eating out. Before we left for the restaurant, we took a picture in our basement, using my son’s bedspread for a backdrop. My husband took the picture, his last words as we left for lunch being, “No, I don’t want to be in it! I’ll take the picture and if you win the national contest, I’ll buy my own chicken.”

The kids looked so awesome. We hung my son's comforter in our basement as a backdrop and took this winning picture!

Seven weeks later, we won the national contest. The prize… 52 meal coupons for each person in the picture!

The younger calves of our herd.

I owe the win to my facebook friends (especially my dad who I called my campaign manager!) and church family who found it fun to log on to facebook to vote for us and my friend Sarah who posted about our family on her blog which was then linked by several mom bloggers. I didn’t expect to win. Originally I just thought the children would enjoy seeing their picture in the contest. After two weeks of voting, we were voted into first place. It appeared that we had little competition until the last two weeks of the contest when a Star Wars storm-trooper cow entered and threatened (and took over a couple of times) our lead. Ultimately, CFA awarded both the Storm Trooper Cow and our family  grand prizes – a very diplomatic move as we both brought about 15,000 hits to the site. By the way, the other winner is awesome – a Christian guy with a sweet family who has since become a facebook friend! (See his winning picture on the official CAD site!)

Yesterday was CAD 2010 and yes, we attended again.

CAD, 2010. Anna is at camp and Nathan at tennis... so I borrowed a child - a friend of Bethany's!

We are not, however, entering the contest. I guess I should “never say never” but I can’t see myself entering any online contest again. While thankful to win, the contest began to take on a life of its own toward the end. I seriously had several strangers sending me negative facebook messages. There were slanderous comments written about me and my family. I definitely was given opportunity to pray for my enemies! (… and yes – all for chicken!) The competition grew pretty fierce and I began to wish it over. Thankfully, I’ve seen that Chick-fil-A has changed the contest to protect the privacy of the participants. To my knowledge, there is no way to search the participants by name and no links on the contest site to profile pages. Voters also can vote only once – not once per day for seven weeks. Whew! That was a long contest!

There is one change that I find disappointing. This year, children in a picture are not eligible to win prizes. There is a kids’ contest that children ten and under may enter. Only those 18 and older may enter the facebook contest. Children 11-17 are not eligible to win any prizes at all. While I am not at all seeking further publicity (I actually have been relieved not to see our picture “out there” after my contest experience), Chick-fil-A has not used our winning picture. I believe this is because they do not desire to promote families entering since all members aren’t eligible for prizes.  I do hope this rule is reconsidered and I’ve contacted the company expressing my thoughts (click link and you can do the same!)

Is Christina not the grooviest, most stylish cow ever?

My family has brought many other families to CFA as a result of winning the contest. We’ve treated moms and other children at  birthday parties at the restaurant. We’ve given CFA coupons as gifts. We’ve given them to families in need or in the hospital. My husband has even given them to clerks who’ve been especially helpful. I know children are not income-producing and thus can’t on their own patronize the restaurant. However, most families, if they know their children aren’t eligible to win, won’t enter the contest at all. Yet, my observation about CAD is that families take advantage and enjoy. The kids love it! Families bring other families to the store and families (including children!)  should be eligible to participate together in the contest! I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to do so with my children.

While I am not entering the contest, I am voting! I have three friends in the contest this year:

The first was a huge supporter of our herd last year. Her picture can be found here:

The second is a local friend of mine who can be found here:

And the third is also a mom to six! She is a blogging friend of mine and her picture can be found here:

Regardless of their decision about children in the contest, I am very grateful for Chick-fil-A’s family friendly atmosphere. All my children love eating there. The company honors the Sabbath by closing on Sundays and I praise God for that! They are a great company and our local Chick-fil-A is simply the best! They always go above and beyond in serving their customers. CFA has been my favorite place for a sandwich since I was a child living near the original CFA south of Atlanta and it will continue to be!

The children even dressed Tanner up as a cow!

… And for the record, Daniel didn’t buy his own chicken this year. Instead, he took little Esther’s coupons and bought her a kid’s meal with each visit. He got a combo and she got a prize – a win/win situation!

Esther and Mama. She loved dressing up this year!

Summer Fitness, Lies Women Believe, and a T-Shirt!

Monday, July 5th, 2010

A month ago, I began a Bible study with my girls called Lies Young Women Believe (LYWB) by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. At the same time I also began my first month of All Out Fitness Boot Camp. The Bible study addresses lies that our culture tells women and Biblically addresses what our responses should be. Boot camp, on the other hand, is an hour long resistance training workout that I am attending three days a week.

I’ll admit that my primary goal in signing up for the fitness camp was to lose weight. I’ve battled the same ten extra pounds for several years and I decided that this would be the summer it would come off for good! I had a number in my mind that I desired to weigh, and I was sure that fitness camp would get me there quickly. It’s tough! Even my athletic dancing daughter, Anna, tried it tonight and admitted that the workout was intense. I’ve run at least three miles on the days I don’t attend. I’ve eaten well. I’ve drunk LOTS of water and severely limited my sugar consumption. After three weeks, it didn’t appear that I had lost a. single. pound.

This is where the Bible study enters the picture. This is a mother/daughter study. The book addresses lies that young women tend to believe (at least the title implies this!) However, as I’ve studied, I’ve realized that women in my stage of life also listen to them (including me!) Many of the un-truths our culture tells women have to do with body image. I’d like to say that I don’t ever listen to such lies. I do recognize more of them now than I once did. I was a large child. In the 5th grade, I was my full height of 5’2 1/2″ and known as “too tall Tina.” I was teased. I was a little chunky. As I naturally lost a few pounds in jr. high, I received much attention and came to view “thinness” as “worth.” Praise the Lord, over time, the Lord healed me of some dangerous thinking and behaviors… but I still have to be careful to recognize lies that I tell myself. Lies that our culture tells women such as…

You need to weigh this. (Really? Says who?)

You can’t eat these foods. They are bad. (Moderation is key!)

Being thin is beautiful. (We need to be a healthy weight. However, true beauty comes from the cultivation of gentle and quiet spirit. This is what I desire!)

As I’ve exercised this month, I have been careful to focus on scriptures that are truth! I have prayed about my motives in exercising and eating right. My body is a temple. It is my responsibility to take care of it. What the scale says truly doesn’t matter if I am doing my part. When I’d not lost anything after two weeks, I was discouraged. After three, I weighed myself again  and felt the Lord telling me to put the scale away. The wonderful thing is, I didn’t even care that the numbers weren’t coming down! I simply just put the scale away and enjoyed my praise music while running outdoors and the fun camaraderie of my class. I also took joy in the increased energy I had due to working out.

Once a month we are tested. Yesterday marked the beginning of my second month and I had my second test. I was so pleased that I’d gained a great deal of strength and endurance! My one mile run time decreased from 10:04 to 9:09. I did 42 knee push-ups in a minute while last month the number was 22. I did lose 3.2 pounds. However, I wasn’t nearly as proud of the few pounds as I was over the fact that I am stronger than I was a month ago. I had no idea after my testing that my improvements were actually enough for me to win the greatest point total for my camp….earning me a T-shirt! It says, “Fitness Boot Camp… It ain’t your Mama’s workout.” Cocky… and I hope not like me. But one of my friend said, “That shirt is hilarious… especially on you! You MUST wear it.” I think I will… at least to camp!

This may be the goofiest picture of me posted ever. I am suppose to be pointing at the big muscular arm. Aren't I tough? (Don't answer...)

I look forward to another month of exercising at fitness camp. Might I be able to run a mile in under 9 minutes? Will it be possible for me to do 50 push-ups in a minute? Possibly. Yet, there are more important questions for me to consider. I’m spending an hour a day working out. How much time am I spending daily in God’s word? What is he teaching me? Am I closer to the Lord than I was a month ago? What scriptures have I memorized/hidden in my heart that will help me recognize the lies that Satan would like for me to listen? I hope a month from now I am more spiritually mature. That is my true goal!

Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:4)