Thursday, December 23, 2010

My favorite day of the year

December 23rd has been my favorite day of the year since I have been in high school. There are always fun things to do and I feel like if I truly thought about it, I might be able to remember every 12/23 for the past 10 years. The anticipation and excitement that I feel for the next few days coupled with fact that I just finished wrapping the last of the gifts and making 3 kinds of cookies with my adorable mom makes me so thrilled for the celebration of the birth of Our King.

Today I am just thankful. Thankful for a Savior who loved us so much that he came to earth knowing that He would have to be the sacrifice for you and me. I am grateful for the love that He is despite my constant sin- not just the love he shows us, the love he IS!

(by the way- I am also really thankful that I am going to see the kids tomorrow)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010

This was yesterday. Lots of presents to be delivered.


Here we are on our delivery from today.  This is Meal's On Wheel!

I am thankful that nearly 6000 gifts will be delivered to sweet seniors this week! It is such a blessing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Believe it or not, I am completely done with wrapping gifts for Be a Santa to a Senior. To be honest with you, I cannot believe it myself. When this season started, I was worried. Worried was an understatement. I was sleepless and overwhelmed. This has been the busiest season our company has ever had, and I knew that i would not be able to devote every waking moment to micromanaging every second of the program.

If you know me well at all, you would know that I have a bit of a control issue... Again another understatement. So even though I was unable to control every bit of this amazing few months, it has been accomplished... And today as I sit on my couch watching 'The Invention of Lying' I feel relaxed and at peace and for that, I am soooo thankful!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Today has been so productive.  I have sent out two more shipments of presents- totally about 500 gifts to 200 seniors.  It is always so amazing watching the cars, packed to the brim drive away. 

Today I am thankful- more like overwhelmed.  I am so blessed that God has chosen me to work in a place that sees people as top priority, a place that no matter what will cling to relationship.  Nearly 4 1/2 years ago when I started working here at Home Instead.  I met a client named Mr. F.  This little man stole my heart from the first moment that I met him.  He is about 5 foot tall and weighs probably 100 lbs.  We actually provide care for his wife, and he had always done the insurance billing for her.

I will never forget the first time I met him.  He came in, feet shuffling beneath him.  In his hands was an envelope that held all of his wife's insurance forms.  He wanted me to sit and help him fill them out.  After looking through the paper work, I realized that no matter how I described the papers to him, he would still be confused.  The silly papers are simply confusing!  I told him that I would do it for him.  The look that came over his face was relief mixed with joy.  So because of Mr. F, I now bill nearly 50 insurance companies and handle claims for seniors. 

Every year for the past 5 Christmases, this sweet Jewish man sends me a Christmas present.  Today, I was feeling the stress of bills and presents and all, and there in the mail was this card... this card filled with a generous Christmas present!  Today I am thankful for God knowing just what we need, when we need it!  Check out those crazy birds wearing Santa hats!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December19th, 2010

Today was a great day.

When I woke up at 7:30 to the sound of my sweet parents putzing around in the kitchen.  I hopped right out of bed to make eggnog scones.  We had a nice breakfast and then my brothers, Rachel and myself went out to finish up some Christmas shopping!  It was a blast all being together!

When we got home, I wrapped all the gifts and put them under the tree.  I don't know about all of you, but there is something about wrapped presents under the Christmas tree that truly brings Christmas to the next level for me.

I get giddy thinking about cute little faces waking up on Christmas morning to open gifts and fish out goodies from stockings.  This year, the kids will be sleeping over on Christmas eve, so we will get to enjoy every minute of that with them!  I can't wait.  Today I am thankful that after 3.5 days of work that I get to be back here with this adorable family sharing Christ's birthday with them!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

failure... double failure

life is fast.  it is rushing by!

I don't even have time to think.

As I type this, I am being summoned to help my mom make her bed.

Today I am thankful for great relationships with my whole family.  We all get along great.  As a matter of fact, Slim and Greg have been off gallivanting across town the past 5 hours.  I'm off to make a bed- and then to play some cards!

Please be merciful to me :)  I will promise to do better this week!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Yesterday I was a failure, and did not post a blog.  To be honest with you, I didn't even think about it one time until I went to sign in to post today's thankful post.  Sorry to the two of you who read this.

Well believe it or not, we are a week away.  A week away from a couple days off of work.  A couple days off to celebrate with my dear and darling lovies!

They fly to Florida today from Colorado, and just simply  having them in this time zone makes my heart happy!  I am so thankful that we will be together for Christmas.  Together at my parent's house.  Though it was never my house, it has begun to feel like home.  I love waking up early there.  I love hearing my parents rustle through the kitchen at 6 am. I love wearing my bathrobe all day because just being together is enoug.

Today I am thankful for all of my immediate family being in the same time zone!  Silly as it sounds, I woke up and thought, today much more will be right with the world. 

My grown up Christmas wish for you is family, love and friends.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I can't believe that we are so close to Christmas.  So close to the best days of the whole year.  I simply cannot wait!  I can't wait for the feeling of waking up knowing that I get to be together with the ones I love the most here on Earth... celebrating the One I love the most EVER!

Today is a silly post, but hey, I am truly thankful for the following things.

Hot Apple Cider/ Caramel Apple Spice

Peppermint Mochas

and Mochas from Dunkin Donuts

I know it seems silly but I really am happy for this time of year, because all of the above are ok for me to drink because it is Christmas and the calories don't count... at least that is what I am telling myself!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wind Chills

Today the wind chill made the temperature this morning feel like it was in the 30s.  I know what you are thinking... a girl from Syracuse should be able to handle that weather.  Well I can, but it still feels very very very cold to me. 

Today as I sit and listen to the wind whistle outside my window.  I am thankful, very very thankful for this wonderful place that I live.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would live in a place where palm trees were dressed up in lights for Christmas, where the beach is the place people go for baptisms, and where 30 degrees makes me cold.

Though I am thankful for this amazing place, I am also so thankful that I grew up with the seasons.  I love the feeling of expectancy when I would hear that we were going to get dumped with snow.  I adored waking up to white blankets of beauty covering the trees, sidewalks, and roads.  I truly loved it!  I am thankful that I know what it means and feels like to have to scrape my car- or blow dry the ice to melt it so that I could open my door.  Those memories are amazing!

Here is a fun article that I came across the other day.  I am thankful I grew up there, but even more thankful that I don't live there now :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Constant reminders 12.12.10

Today, Sunday the 12th of December I am thankful for God's constant reminders of His love for us!

It may seem silly, but Friday night, I went to a Christmas performance of 'Creepy Crawly Christmas' and I was reminded through some adults dressed like bugs that Jesus didn't leave Heaven to come to Earth, Jesus is Heaven. 

Over the last couple of days, I have been very aware of Christ's presence with me. Whether it was because of the sweet man ringing the Salvation Army bell who was singing Christmas Carols and making up his own words.  It just brought such joy to my heart to see the large white man with New Balance Sneakers remind me of my Savior.

Strangely enough, I almost took a picture of my hair on the wall in the shower today (gross, I know)- it was definitely in the shape of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in the manger. It was so weird but so amazing.  I am definitely not one of the people who see Mary in their toast and then sell it on ebay, but today I could have been!  Hahah!

I never doubt He is with me, but today I am even more thankful for the reminder of his love and presence. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 11 - The Slimtronic5000 takeover special!

I must warn up front that while this isn't an abnoxiously long post, it's certainly not short either... however, today, on December 11th, 11 days into the this journey of 30 days of thankfulness, I'm thankful that my wife never changes her passwords!

While many may frown on a spouse of "hacks" into the others, however I assure you it's with great cause as I, much like the angel in the Nativity story, bring good news of great joy!

I know what you're thinking:
"Are they moving?"
"Did one of them get a new job?"
"Did Slim's band, FellowBliss, get signed?"
"Oh dear, are they preggers!?"
"Oh no, I know it... Slim finally cut his hair!?!?!?"

No... it's none of the above... it's MUCH better!!

"What's better than all of that stuff?" I know you're asking...


With that being said, the Slimtronic5000 takeover edition of Laura's "Thankfulness" series is two-fold...

I'm thankful for spaghetti, spaghetti night, and pastas in general. As you may know, I'm a published food writer with a righteous, rich, and rather respectable palette (if I do say so myself)... so needless to say, I love me some food, especially when it's GOOD!

But more than the spaghetti and fine foods, I'm thankful for a bride that enjoys cooking and taking care of a shlub like me. I'm certainly not easy to put up with as it is, and definitely even harder to live with! With three jobs, one of which includes a touring rock band, my schedule is out of control. Couple that with the fact that I'm a genuinely awful human being, and even worse a husband, it makes sweet Laura into even more of a Saint!

Seriously, patience like I've never seen before! Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, but she's got a heart the size of my web presence on social networks (for those of you who know me, you know that's friggin' huge!) and is, in her own right, HYSTERICAL.

I know many people, and many funny people to boot... but nobody ever seems to get me chuckling quite like the L-Train does.

She's the greatest friend that anyone could ask for... honestly. She takes care of everyone that comes into contact with her, and would truly give you the shirt off of her back. (er... well... maybe not literally...)

There are so many things I could say about this ridiculously amazing woman... in fact, I found a small list that of things that I love about LBG that I wrote a month before our wedding. It's amazing how everything I penned years ago still holds true (and more) today:

Things I love about her...
• Her smile
• Her eyes
• Her voice
• Her own little language (i.e.: "Fiffernug", "Jean Ween" etc.)
• Her humor
• Her wit
• Her sense of style
• Her classy-ness
• She's a dreamer.
• She's prone to extreme silliness.
• She's honest and trustworthy and loyal.
• She has a bizarre sense of humor.
• She makes a good eggs.
• She's cute.
• She puts up with me.
• She's going to be a FANTASTIC mom
• Her energy is infectious
• She's adventurous, seeking out new experiences.
• She's sexy AND smart.
• How she continues to fight for me, even when I neglect her
• Her unflagging curiosity about everything around her.
• She's a great cook.
• She's not afraid of speaking out even if it means going against the majority.
• How she questions things most people take for granted.
• She's not afraid of goofy fun.
• Her writing is from the heart. She may claim she's not a writer, but her blog entries have made me laugh out loud and also teary-eyed.
• Her positive attitude and humor through experiences many other people would be constantly whining about and using as a crutch. Instead, these experiences seem just to make her stronger.
• The way she helps friends find cool opportunities.
• She doesn't mince words, especially when she's pissed off about something. You always know where you stand with her. No mindgames, no emotional manipulation.
• She's a great listening ear, sympathetic but also objective. Doesn't let me get away with self-indulgent crap.
• She's intellectually and emotionally honest.
• She's gorgeous.
• She's a loyal friend and an amazing woman. I feel incredibly lucky to be her friend.
• She has what I believe to be the softest skin in the universe.
• She can dance
• She can sing too.. although she doesn't always get the lyrics right...
• She is extremely photogenic; she does not take a bad picture!
• Spending the day with her guarantees lots of laughter
• She never takes life for granted.
• She gets such a joy out of her family's joy.
• She looks comfortable and classy in anything, from a slinky formal dress to baggy sweatpants and a t-shirt.
• The fact that despite her crazy schedule, she still makes it a priority to find time for me.
• She could spend hours browsing the children's section of a bookstore.
• Her playfulness.
• The depth of caring she shows her friends and family.
• The fact that she loves me
• Her sweet face
• The fact that she let's the Dude sleep on the bed in the master bedroom when I'm not around.
• "You wanna snuggle one time some times?"
• "I love you a whole lot of bunches of oodles plus 2?"
• "You... you... you... wanna get meeearrrieeed?"
• Her family
• Her friends
• Her stories
• Her laugh
• Her love.
• Her commitment to God
• Her general outlook on life
• Her heart
• Her life
• Her warmth
• Two words: "Fri" "tata"
• How she's picked up MY own little language
• How she moves her hands when she talks
• The cute little dance she does when she thinks nobody is looking.....
• How God designed her specifically to mesh with me
• How God made her my wife (to be)
• How it doesn't matter how long we're apart, she'll write little cards for everyday that we're away from each other.
• The way she hugs me
• The way she kisses
• Her smell
• Her touch
• She does my laundry

I love every single thing about her. As the days get closer to our wedding, I started to realize that I'm just falling deeper and deeper in love with her. I can't wait until we are old and hardly functional, so that I could look back on my life and realize that I had the greatest life ever, and that people would have killed to have my life and to have what I have. To look back on my life and realize that there really is a God, and that he loves me and shows me daily how much he loves me by putting such an amazing, stunningly beautiful woman in my life.

That's my wife... my sweetest babe... my friend... my lover... and most importantly, the maker of my spaghetti. She's what I'm thankful for, not just today... not just this season... but everyday of my life.

And his heart grew three sizes that day...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas is 15 days away!

Happy December 10th.

Can you believe how fast the time is going?  For me it seems that it is going way too fast.  I have so much to do for Be a Santa to a Senior that I can barely breathe... but at least it is something that I enjoy and know that it is making a difference!

Today I am super thankful for both of my brothers.  I love having an older brother because growing up, I had someone to look up to, someone to follow their lead, and someone hang out with.  I love having a younger brother because it was always fun to have someone to pal around with, and torment :).

As adult children, I really enjoy both of my brothers company.  Greg is an amazing father and super hard worker.  Jim is a great friend, hard worker and both are just a blast to hang out with. 

I can't wait to see them next weekend, and again the following weekend. 

Here is a picture of us from little Jimmy's wedding!  Do you think we look alike?  I have honestly heard both yes and no.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Today was a fun but very long day.  It was our office Christmas breakfast which was fabulous, and so I was up bright and early making some delicious goodies. 

Superficial thankfulness is still thankfulness... right?

Well today I am thankful for wonderful people who make products for poor people like me.  I have forever been a fan of Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo.  It smells delicious and leaves your hair feeling especially clean. 

A few months ago, while I was walking through Target, I spotted something that I had to try.  Suave, yes Suave has made their own version of the Rosemary Mint (compare to Aveda).  OH MY GOSH! Every time I use it I am so excited because the two bottles together cost me less than $3.50.  Now it is not 100% as good as the original, but it is one tenth of the cost and I would say it is about 95% the same!!!

So hooray for refreshing showers, and hip hip hooray for saving money!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Piggy Backing

To piggy-back on my last post, today on December 8th, I am so so so thankful for my amazing job!  People probably say it all the time how grateful they are to have work and to be able to do something they enjoy, but I truly truly mean it!

I would have never imagined myself doing the job I do.  I always thought, since forever that I would be a stay at home mom, who maybe taught every now and again.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be working with seniors, managing CAREGivers, or running an office... but I love it!

This week I have had to have some tough meetings.  Meetings where Home Instead almost had to part ways with CAREGivers, and even though the meetings were hard, they made me so thankful for what I do.  I work for people who truly care, they care not just about their office staff, but about the 200 or so clients we take care of, and about the 200 CAREGivers to whom we provide employment.  The Bidwells would seriously give the shirts off their backs to make life easier for someone else, and that is simply refreshing.

Every morning I wake up and get to work with these lovely people.  Man how the group has grown over the last few years.   When I started my job in 2006, there were about 8 office staff between our two offices, and now look at this great bunch!

God is so good!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7th, 2010

Every year this blog is busting at it's seams during the months of November and December with tales of Christmas gifts for sweet seniors. This year, with my non-blogging self, you have been spared the long stories of all I do during the holiday season.

More than ever, the Naples community has risen to the occasion of helping some of their own.  Yesterday, I sat with my amazing boss and went through about 500 gifts and I have to tell you that I am never not amazed at the awesome generosity of people.

We were opening gifts and each time calling the other to 'look at this' or 'oh my gosh, check this out' while bundles of presents bounded from the wrappings. 

So today, I am thankful for all of you.  All of you who see the importance of caring for someone who may have less, who may not have a visit from a friend or family member, and who may have lost the hope of something or Someone much greater!

As I am typing this, we just got a call from a women who last year donated homemade quilts for seniors who may not have gotten a gift.  She will be dropping some off today.  It is just overwhelming and amazing.

So Merry Merry Merry Christmas from us at Home Instead Senior Care and THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts-

Be a blessing to a senior- someone from the greatest generation!  Share a smile, a gift, a hug! 

*And that is a pretty amazing looking Mimi Claus if you ask me!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6th.

Today I am thankful for my dear old friends.  I have some great ones. 

Ones who I have been friends with for much more than half my life.  I think of Gidget and Erin and all the crazy times we spent together during my teenage years.  I think of sweet Jenny and can't believe that she is going to be a mom of 3 by next summer.  Times just fly by.

I have some awesome college friends.  I think of Heather and Jake, who I adore.  I think of the the  Hams(Jessica, Heidi, Sarah, Lacey, Joette, Winebrenner, and Jenn) and all their shenanigans.  I think of so so so many people who made my times at Houghton some of the best in my life.   A happiest birthday to dear Jenn Bullock.  If you aren't friends with her, it is because you haven't met her yet.  The girl is amazing and probably the best at keeping in touch of anyone I have ever met.

I made some great friends during my short stay in Long Island.  I think of Mishy and her fun spirit.  I think of Judy and how she has 3 boys under 2.  It is amazing!

I think of all the wonderful people that God has brought into my path here in Naples.  I couldn't even begin to tell all of the people who come to mind.  If you are reading this... then that means you!

But on this December 6th, not only am I super thankful for the people and friends that God has blessed me with over the last 30 years of my life, but I am especially thankful for my darling best girl friend, Carly Jones.  Carly has seen me through some of the greatest and worst times in my life.  Even though we live thousands of miles away, she always has the right words and thoughts to keep me in line, or just the ear to listen when I need to vent.   She will be bringing her second little sweet girl into the world in the next month I can't wait to meet little Maggie Bell!

Car, I love you and am so thankful for you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The fifth

Today is December 5th.  20 days until Christmas, and I am definitely not running out of things to be thankful for.  God is truly good, and despite our circumstances, He is constant and supreme.

Last night I sat in the studio with Slim and Matt and listened to another cut of the Fellowbliss album.  Over the last year I have probably spent about 30 to 40 hours in that room, but last night I was reminded of how thankful I am for that crazy band.  I cannot believe that it has been two years of music, touring, and fun shared with some of the greatest people.  I love that Slim gets to pursue his music and gets to do it alongside such rad friends.

So on December 5th, I am thankful for the '5' members of Fellowbliss.  Five is in quotation marks because as of last week, it was announced that Magic Mike would have to be stepping away from the band to focus on work and his family.  In my eyes, he will always be a member, thus the 5.

Sheena Jubilee is a crazy fun friend with an amazing voice.  Mr. Matty A, aka my son, is a blast to hang out with, and is such a great drummer.  C-Bear, the newest member and youngest member, has such a great heart and passion for people, plus he does a crazy cool bass spin.  And of course the one and only Slim, who is by far the best guitar player I have ever heard- yes I am biased, but it is true.

If you have never heard the band, check out their newest music video. 

Happy Sunday, friends!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The 4th of December

I am kind of in a funk today.  I am watching Giada's Family Christmas, and it is making me feel all mushy inside.  So far she has made Strifuli- honey cookies, as well as Polenta- two of my most favorite family dishes! I just love how food can remind you of family and people you love.

Speaking of people you love, for those of you who don't know, I spent the week before Thanksgiving out in Colorado Springs.  I got to spend such great quality time with family.  Today I am super thankful for three blessings.  Three incredible children who since the day I met each of them, they have been one of the biggest joys of my life.  I honestly don't think that I could love them any more.

Brayden is now 6 and is such the first child.  He is the leader yet loves to have that one on one time without the others around.  Davis who is 5 is of course not ours by natural birth, but couldn't fit better into our family.  He is a sweet spirit who loves pretty much everyone who he comes in contact with.  And of course sweet 4 year old Grace.  She reminds me a little bit of a Sour Patch Kid-- haha.  She is sassy and sweet and everyone loves her. The girl knows just what she wants and will fight hard for her cause.  I just love that about her.

I can't wait to see them in about 13 'dark naps' as Gracie calls them... and to be able to spend Christmas with those lovies.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The 3rd!!!

Carly is asking for a few shallow things thrown in... so today she is getting her wish!

I have to be honest with you.  The last week has been so rough.  The weather is getting cooler, which I am so not complaining about.  We don't have a heater (not that my sweet hubs would let me use it anyhow) and so each morning, as I roll over to turn off my alarm, I am stunned by the frigid air that haunts my body.  Nothing in me wants to get out of the nice warm blankets.  Well I shouldn't say nothing...

There is one thing.  One thing that has kept me going all week.  And today, at the end of this work week, I am incredibly thankful that my darling boss blessed us with the a Keuring and the Green Mountain Holiday Coffee.

This week I have had all of the tasty flavors, and if you ever read this blog- the two of you who do, would know that I love the Gingerbread coffee with the Italian Sweet Cream creamer.  OMG.  It is delish! 

So I raise my glass of Holiday Blend and toast you today.  Praise God that in about 4 short hours I am celebrating the weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


October, November, and December are my absolute favorite months.  There are many reasons why, but one thing that I am truly grateful for is that I live close to my sweet parents. 

In 2003, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life; where I wanted to move; where I wanted to work- I knew that it had to be pretty darn close to my family.  I knew that they would be moving to Orlando within the next couple of years, so SW Florida seemed like a pretty darn good place for me.

We only live 3 hours from them, so Slim and I get to be with them pretty much whenever we want.  It is fantastic.  The truth is that we don't even have to be doing anything special- many times the entire day will go by, and I won't even get out of my pajamas and robe.

Jan and Bernie McElheny are constant reminders of God's grace and love.  They truly adore their children.  They want the best for us, and even though sometimes we don't do things just as they would, they support and pray regardless.

So on this second day of December, I am twice as thanful for these two lovebirds.  (almost like two turtledoves :) )

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roses in December...

Life is hard, isn't it? Times are different for my family... different than they have ever been. I am not going to go into details, but I decided to move on from the stress and discontent, and look to gratefulness.

For the next 25 days, I am going to blog each day about something that I am grateful for this December. There will be no particular order to this- each I am equally thankful to have

"God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December."
James Matthew Barrie

So today is December 1-

Have you met my husband? Slim Gillian is the craziest yet most amazing person that I have ever known. I have had countless people tell me that they wouldn't have put us together in a million years and to be honest I have even thought the same thing myself.
I work a desk job and wear professional clothes. He has piercings on his face, is covered in tattoos, and plays in a rock band. Things like this just simply don't usually make a good match. But our God has a great sense of humor, and knows just what we need. Slim calms me when I stress and helps me to loosen up a bit. I help him stay focused and try to keep him organized.

Through these last rough few months, Slim has been so constant and encouraging. His love and support has been overwhelming and amazing, and I know that I wouldn't be the same person without him.

I love you, babe- Thank you for all you are to me and to so many. I am so blessed to walk this journey alongside you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Melinda and Amir

In a few short hours, I will board a plane to Chicago to celebrate the wedding of my cousin, Melinda.  Melinda (or Mindy, or Majinja- depending on who you are speaking to) was more than a cousin to my brothers and me... Because she was an only child, she got to come for weeks at a time during the summer.  We would stay up late chatting, play in the pool all day, make bracelets, watch movies, and just hang out! Those summers with Melinda are some of the best memories from when we were kids. Check out our great hairstyles!!!

One thing that I adore about Melinda, is her love for family. She always makes time to spend with us. She treats my parents like they are hers, and she loves my niece and nephews probably as much as I do! Melinda is going to make an incredible wife because she understands the commitment that it takes to make marriages work.

As anyone who is married knows, sometimes things are tough. Life is not always fair and selfishness cannot be an option. Love is about give and take; it is about trust and communication; it is about putting your spouse before your own interests.

I love you Melinda, and I love you Amir. Cheers to a lifetime of happiness, joy, and laughter! (and a bunch of cute kids along the way)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My dear friend!

Have you ever had a friend that seems to make life just that much better?  That one friend who knows just what to say when you are having an awful day.  The person you call when everything else in this world seems to be crumbling... that is Carly for me.

God knows our every need and He provided the best girl friend that I could have ever needed.  Even though she lives 14 hours away, and we only get to see each other about every 4 months, our relationship will stand the test of time.

Today is her birthday, and even though I know she wishes that she was turning 23, the maturity and growth that has happened over these last 9 years, she wouldn't trade for anything.

She finds out today what her second little love with be- boy or girl... actually probably right as I am typing this.  No matter girl or boy, that sweet child will be blessed to call you mom, Kevin: dad, and Libby: sissy!

I love you, Car, and I am so thankful for you!

Monday, August 2, 2010

30th Birthday Wishlist

I know my birthday is still 3 months away, but I have been thinking about the things that I might like to have when that day comes...

I have never owned a pair of actual Chuck Taylors, so since I am turning the big 30, I figured now was the time.  I can't wait to rock these suckers.... What color do u think I should get?

Tom's shoes have been one of those things that I have loved for a really long time, but have yet to purchase.  If for some reason that you have been living under a rock and don't know about Tom's... they are an awesome humanitarian effort to provide shoes for children who need them.  It is their one for one program.  I adore what they are doing, and have wanted to be a part of it, but in the past I haven't been able to because of my crazy feet.  Why are they crazy you might ask... if you are asking, then you have yet to see them ;).  Anyhow... these would work, and feel free to purchase them here.  I wear an 8.5/9...

As you know, I have been working on a getting myself a habit.  I decided that I am going to start sewing.  My mom of course is a great seamstress, and I would really like to learn too!  I would like the above machine, because the reviews say that it is easy for beginners, but it is also a good quality machine!

That is all I have for now... if you have any suggestions for me, please let me know!!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy 30th Birthday

to this lovely lady!   Jessica Terry Burke and I have known each other for about 15 years now, and we were fast friends and have stayed close over many miles and stages of our lives.  I wish I could be with her today to celebrate 30 years of her.

If I was there, we would have coffee, go to some delicious bakery, have a healthy lunch, and then a huge delicious cake!  It would be amazing.

Jess, I love you and hope that today is the start of the best years of your life.  You are a doll face, and I am so thankful to have you in my life!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Some Brant Lake Pictures

We did some awesome things...
We celebrated Sharon's bday!!!

We had campfire sing-alongs!!!

We went to a chicken BBQ!!!
We swam in the lake!!!
We went to a cute carnival!!!
We played games!!!

We played BINGO!!!

We had a wonderful time.  I have plenty more pictures to upload, but I wanted you to know that we are back- safe and sound and enjoyed every minute!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Brant Lake, NY

I will be heading out to Brant Lake this week to spend a few days on 'business' with the full-time staff at my office.

Brant Lake is a small lake in the Adirondack Mountains, and it is pretty much a piece of Heaven on Earth.  I have spent a few weeks there in the past, and I just cannot wait to sit on the Adirondack chairs on the wrap around porch, book and coffee in hand.  Oh just thinking about it makes me fuzzy inside.

The weather last year was frigid, but this year it is supposed to be perfect.  Highs around 80 and lows in the 50s... what more could you ask for really?

Stay tuned for fun pics of the vaca  I mean business trip :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I can't believe he is turing 5!!!

On Saturday, July 10th, this adorable little man will be turning 5 years old... 5, can you believe it?!?!?  I cannot believe that Brayden is already 6, Davis is turning 5, and Gracie is 4.  The time has just flown by!  Even though it has only been almost 3 years since Davis came into our lives, he has been the perfect match for our sweet family.  Even though we weren't there 5 years ago when he was born, he was birthed in our hearts and has grown into the sweetest young man and I honestly cannot imagine our lives without him. 

The joy that smile brings is nothing short of contagious and every person he hangs around wants to scoop him up and take him home with him.

G. Davis McElheny,

Uncle Slim and I are crazy about you!  We miss you and wish we could celebrate with you on Saturday!  Play hard and have a blast.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

We love you, sweet boy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My amazing nephew

This child is awesome!  Yesterday was his 6th birthday, and being that he is my oldest nephew, he has always held a special place in my heart!  The kids is clever, cute, sweet, gentle, and overall amazing! 

Yesterday when he received a birthday card in the mail that held $50, he decided that he wanted to use the money to donate to Children's Hope Chest.  At first he thought that he would give 40 of the dollars to feed children in Africa, and the other 10, he would use to buy himself a remote control car. 

I spoke to him when he was on the way to drop the money off at Hope Chest, and he said "Do you want to know how many children I can feed?  163!!!"  He was so excited! 

When he got there, he decided that he wanted to give all the money instead of keeping any for himself.  How wonderful is that?!?!  Brandi, my sister-in-law told him that they were well on their way to feed one child for an entire year.  He was so excited about that... he even asked Brandi to 'tweet and ask other people to help'.  Adorable.

Currently in the Brayden's birthday fund there is $199.75 which is enough to feed 799 meals!  If you would like to participate in my nephew's charity, go to and click give. In the notes section write "Brayden's bday / Africa food" They'll give me an update or you can email my sister-in-law at and tell me how many meals so that I can share with Brayden. (one meal is $0.25)


Aunt Laura and Uncle Slim are so proud of the man you are becoming!  We want to be just like you when we grow up!  Keep up the awesome work!  We love you!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The end of an era

When I first moved to SW Florida, I started meeting with a great group of girls. One of our first small groups consisted of Carly, Kate, Mel, Abby, and me. I learned so much from each of these ladies over the past 7 years. They have been people I have turned to for prayer, encouragement, and comfort. They have each brought me so much love and joy and I am eternally grateful!

Kate was the first to leave in 2005 when she left and married her true love! She is one of those people who is the best friend to u even when you may not talk for months on end. She sends the nicest letters and always is a blessing. I always say that when I grow up I want to be as good of a friend as she is!!!!

As you all know, it has been 2years since the bff Carly moved with her doll baby in her belly and her hubs by her side. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't miss her! If u didn't know, she is expecting baby 2 right around New Years.

Tonight I went to a going away party for my darling Mel!!! She and her husband Mike are moving to Northern Cali to commit full time to running a Christian camp! This is a perfect job for their adorable family of 4... But that doesn't mean I won't miss them like crazy!

So Abby and I are left here... Abs, I sure hope u stick around for a while!

Monday, June 7, 2010

We're Moving


Slim and I will be moving into this lovely house at the end of this month! 

For more of an idea of the inside of the house, here is the layout

These are pictures from another house's main space. Ours is just like this but flipped around.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rocking Out with this Crew Tonight..

Slim and Fellowbliss have been away for a mini-tour with SRT throughout central and northern Florida.  Today, Amber and I will be joining them for their show tonight in Bradenton, Fl!  I CAN'T WAIT.

If you are interested in learning more about SRT, check this out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oh how time flies

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit one of the best friends anyone could ever have. Jess was one of my college roommates, and we lived together in Long Island before I moved to Naples.

Her sister Kim was graduating from Palm Beach Atlantic University on Saturday, and so I decided that I would drive over to spend the day with them.

It was so much fun!  She is now a mom and we realized that it had been exactly 5 years to the day that we had seen each other.  That was way too long.  More pics will come from our weekend together, but here is a lovely picture of her that I stole from her facebook  page.

Jess.  I promise that we aren't going to wait 3 more years until Britt graduates before we see each other again!  I love ya!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Flat "Brayden" visited us this week

Sometimes I really miss being a teacher. I was so excited when I heard that my nephew's kindergarten class was doing the "Flat Stanley" project. Flat Stanley visit My parents, Brandi's parents, and then came to visit us.

This is the letter that I am sending back with Flat Stanley about his time here in Naples:

Dear Friends and Classmates,
You would not believe the adventure that I have had with Uncle Slim and Aunt Laura. I have been with them since Saturday, and during that time, we have visited so many places in South West Florida! Have you ever heard of the Gulf of Mexico? That is where they live! I thought that when we visited the beach, we were actually going to the ocean, but instead, it was the Gulf of Mexico. The west coast of Florida beach meets up with a body of water that divides Florida from Texas. Wow was it beautiful!!!

On Saturday afternoon, Uncle Slim’s band, Fellowbliss, was playing at an event in Cape Coral, Florida. A cape is a piece of land that goes out into the water past the rest of the land. Of course Cape Coral goes out into the Gulf of Mexico. We had to take a bridge there, but I wasn’t scared. It was actually so cool! The band did a great job, but it was way too hot for picture taking, and I was too busy signing autographs. While I was there, the band invited me to come with them to their music video shoot on Tuesday. I had never been to a video shoot, so of course I said yes.
Not knowing what to expect, I made sure to bring my brief case along! The first part of the shoot was at a place called Allied Recycling. This place was so amazing!!! They take old trucks and any kind of machinery and smash it down to reuse it again… that way they don’t have all that metal hanging around our dumps and junk yards. When we got there, the recycling plant had actually just made a huge sale of $200,000 worth of used metal, and so the owners said that because so many people would be working to transport all that metal, it was not a safe place for the band to film.

We moved on to a warehouse in Fort Myers, Fl and that is where I got to star in the music video. Uncle Slim let me hang out with him and the band, and he even let me play his guitar! Wow, it was AWESOME! The band took some pictures with me after, and it was so cool.

I can’t wait to get back to see you in Colorado Springs, but I sure am going to miss Uncle Slim and Aunt Laura. I have had a lot of fun with them!

Your friend,

Flat Stanley (As you can see I have been practicing my autograph)

Monday, March 15, 2010

I have another sister!

On March 5th, we welcomed Rachel to the McElheny family.

It was a brisk but sunny day on a golf course in Harmony, Fl when Little Jimmy married his one true love, Rachel! The ceremony was beautiful, the reception, a blast, and the cookies... oh the cookies were delicious!

Thank you for always loving and honoring our Jimmy. We look forward to many years for family fun together. Here's to a lifetime of happiness and lots of little kids running around your feet!

Love you both!

Monday, March 1, 2010

These two...

...are coming to visit on March 17th-24th. Be jealous, be very jealous! I can't wait!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some people that I am missing...

Carly Jo Jones:

Gosh I could write a novel about how much I truly miss this person. She is the best friend anyone could ask for. Carly knows me and knows when to tell me that I am acting crazy! As you know, she moved to VA just before her sweet Liberty Rose was born, and though we don't see each other everyday like we used to, we do talk almost every day. I love her, and everything in me wishes that I could just go to Starbucks with her and talk to her for hours. I also would love to just shop with her. Since she left I haven't really had someone to 'just shop' with. Come back to visit us soon, Carly Jo!

Jessica Terry Burke:

It was on her blog that I got the idea to write about who I am missing. Jessica and I went to HS together from 10th-12th grade. We became instant friends from the time that I transferred to FHS. I adore her sweet family and miss her like crazy. We have made wonderful memories over the years, and I can't wait to make some more with her. She is a doll, a wonderful mother, amazing friend, and such an encouragement. I wish that I could just drive around Syracuse with her, coffee coolatta in hand, shooting the breeze and loving life!

Jessica Miller Jackson:

It has been almost 6 years since I have seen the lovely Jessica Miller Jackson, and gosh do I miss her! Jess and I have had our ups and downs in our relationship, but we always settle on the up and up! We lived together in college, and were inseparable, moved in together after college and taught together at Our Savior Lutheran school. Despite not seeing each other over the last 6 years, I still think of her daily and can't wait to see her again. She is an awesome mom, fun-loving spirit, and amazing dancer. Love you Jess! The above pic is from our college days, man we were so young!

Finally- The rest of the Ham House:

These loves were part of the best years of my life: college! We had a blast. We love to eat, dance, go on trips, and just be together. This pic was taken at Jess Jackson's wedding, so here are the rest of us hanging together. On the top: L to R. Lacey Jo Plymel Hoobler- Lacey is living in Nevada, married to her bullfrog, working part-time at Gap and going for her Master's in education. Joette Richardson Kelleher lives in NY, teaches English and is crazy in love with her husband Patrick. Jenn Carl Bullock aka MamaB. She is a stay at home mom blogger who will have her second little girl in March. She lives in Charlotte, NC. Sarah Marie Moore Marquart is another English teacher who lives with her hubby near Syracuse. She has an adorable 9 month old named Owen. Bottom Row R-L Jessica Winebrenner is a paralegal from Raleigh, NC who is single and loving life. I love catching up with her and being able to see when I am passing through or every few years at weddings. I adore her! Heidi Martinez Hanes is a mom of 3 boys with her 4th child on the way. She married Ryan right when we graduated college and has been teaching school and making babies ever since- pretty much missing from our lives, but we recently reconnected through Facebook! Last is me of course!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New things in our lives

Slim has become a spokesperson for the Special Olympics! Crazy, I know, but so amazing. We will be helping with a lot of events that will be in the South West Florida area. I am super excited and cannot wait to see how God uses us.

We have recently become super-convicted about our nonchalant use of the 'r' word.

Check out some of these ads for the Special Olympics.

Pretty heavy huh?

What can you do to help? Well, you can take the pledge to end the 'r' word! Click on the badge below and you can learn a lot more about putting an end to this term.