Monthly Archives: April 2011

I AM…An Amateur Web Designer

•To visit Jenny’s website work, go to

•For more “I Am…” stories, click here!

•Do you or someone you know have a story that could inspire other women?  We would LOVE to feature you!  Email us at

Leave a comment

Filed under I AM..., Stories

May Day Tradition

May Day is just around the corner. Do you do anything SpeCiaL to celebrate May Day?

For as long as I can remember my mom and dad have had their own May Day tRadiTion.  Each spring morning on the first day of May, my dad hand delivers a freshly picked wildflower to my mom.  Can’t you just picture him?  A hardened Kansas farmer with callused hands and weathered skin, hand selecting the prettiest flowers from the middle of his cattle pasture to deliver to his wife of 36 years?  That mental image always melts my heart…  Sometimes nature dictates what’s in season.  The wildflower may be yellow, white, or blue, but the beauty and L O V E it represents remains the same each year.

Having only been married for 5 years I see how easily life gets in the way of doing the “little things” to express my love.  Sometimes the simplest act can show the greatest amount of thoughtfulness and appreciation.  This year consider starting a new tradition with your loved one.  You never know… it may end up being something you’ll hear your kids talk about after your 36th year of marriage :)  Make this May Day a MeMoraBLe one!



Leave a comment

Filed under Marriage, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Traditions

Biggest Bang For Your Buck – Toned Arms

S  u  M  m  e R   is just a month away!  This is what works for me when it comes to toned arms…

I’ve never had naturally ToNeD aRmS, but being a farm girl who would spend her summer days bailing hay I would have defined arms at the end of each summer.  After I got a teaching job and no longer spent my summers on the farm I looked for an alternative to getting toned arms – lifting weights.

A fitness magazine had promised me toned arms if I would do their exercises 15 minutes a day, 3 times a week.  I began doing these arm exercises using dumbbells and weight machines.  After a few months of this regimen the results were, well, disappointing.  I could barely tell any difference.  So I came up with my own plan:  PuShUpS. 

When I started out doing pushups I had to do them on my knees.  Because my upper body had never really been that strong, I could not do many in a row without resting, but I pLuGgEd AwAy.  I did this for three weeks and was very happy with the results, so much so that I decided I would do 75-pushups each day.

I don’t actually do 75-pushups a day, but that is my goal.  Sometimes it may be 3 times a week, sometimes 5, something is better than nothing.  I can’t do all 75 at once and so I break it down.  Now I have something that not only works, but takes only a few minutes each day.  I cAn HaNdLe ThAt. =)   


Post Pushups


Leave a comment

Filed under B.B.F.Y.B., Health/Fitness, RANDO•RAMA, You

Compliment Etiquette

How do you respond when someone gives you a compliment?  Do you shrug your shoulders, shake your head, start laughing, or just deny that the compliment is true?  Have you ever given someone a compliment who responded in this way?  How did it make you feel

When I was a camp counselor in college, people use to compliment my singing talent quite often.  I never made a big deal about it, and come to think of it, at times I don’t even think I said “thank you.” It probably sounded more like “Oh. Well, I had a good music teacher.” It wasn’t until someone called me out on it that I realized how my responses were rude to the person giving them, let alone to myself and God!

Being HuMbLe is a quality that God wants us to possess, but being COURTEOUS in our response is also important.  If someone gives us a compliment, whether we agree with them or not, we need to be kind in our reply.  A simple “Thank you” will do, allowing you to be a gracious and humble receiver.

Some people don’t accept compliments well because they don’t like to be in the spotlight.  If that is the case for you, remember that all of our talents or successes in life are because God blessed us with them.  He gives each of us a talent whether it is a quality singing voice, a warming smile, or being a good listener.  By saying “THANK YOU” not only does it show appreciation to the person giving the compliment, but also thanks God for the wonderful qualities he has given us!

Next time someone says something N I C E try responding with confidence and appreciation!  It will not only make you feel better but will encourage others to continue sharing a good word!


Leave a comment

Filed under Getting Real, Life, People, Relationships

“Pan Out” – The Challenge (Wk 4)

Its Week 4 of the six-month challenge towards your dream or goal.  How are you doing?  Maybe you started out “The Challenge” excited and filled with anticipation and now the excitement has seemed to be all but gone.  WhAt NoW? 

This week’s focus is to Re-AsSeSs.  This is something that we will be doing from time to time during this six-month challenge.  That is because although sometimes you start off thinking that your goal is one thing you find out along the way that it is really something else.  Take for example the goal of losing weight.  Maybe you start off thinking that a certain number on the scale will bring you happiness, but along the way to your goal you realize that the ‘ole number on the scale isn’t what brings happiness, instead it’s the P e A c E you have inside because of the self-control you have developed allowing you to put food in its proper place.

Have you ever been on Google maps and were so close up you couldn’t get your bearings but as soon as you panned out you could see things clearly?  When re-assessing your goals, it is necessary to “PaN oUt” and see the big picture.  Sometimes we are just too close up to our situation to see things clearly, but when we step back and get some perspective things begin to come in to focus.

As you look at your goal don’t forget to “pan out” and see the big picture.  When you do, the map will be much clearer and you will have the AdVaNtAgE oF pErSpEcTiVe.


P.S.  Regarding my six-month goal of peace with food, I’m making progress!!!  I haven’t done perfectly, but one thing I am learning to do is ditch the “All-Or-Nothing” mindset with an “Adapt and Be Flexible” one.  (That’s another post for another day!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Dream Big, Inspire, The Challenge


•For more “I Am…” stories, click here!

•Do you or someone you know have a story that could inspire other women?  We would LOVE to feature you!  Email us at

1 Comment

Filed under I AM..., Stories

Easter Eggs to Dye For!

Want to try a new way to decorate your Easter eggs this year?  My daughter and I used rubber bands!  Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed!

1)Boil the eggs and let them cool, then wrap the eggs with rubber bands!

2) Pour boiled water into glasses or bowls.  Add food coloring and a teaspoon of vinegar.  Place the “rubber band eggs” on a spoon and set them in the colored water!

3)Keep checking on the eggs until they reach the desired color.

4)Place the eggs on a dry paper towel and let them dry.

5)Now the fun part!

6)How cute is this?!

HaPpY EaStEr!


Leave a comment

Filed under RANDO•RAMA, Traditions

New Beginnings

In Kansas, we live in what is known as the tall-grass prairie. 

When explorers first came to the Midwest they called it the “Great American Desert” because they witnessed hundreds of miles of prairie grass that was as tall as a man on a horse.  Each spring, by either lightening or fires intentionally set by Native Americans to attract large herds of buffalo, millions of acres of this tall grass prairie were burned to make way for new growth.

Our ranchers continue this TrAdiTioN each spring with controlled fires.  Soon after burning the old dry plant material, new lush green grass emerges for their livestock to graze.  As a rancher’s daughter, helping burn pasture was a yearly ritual that I very much enjoyed.  The crackling sound of the old stems and smell of burnt grass created a chalkboard-like pasture that was wiped clean for a new season.  These sights, smells, and sounds create a sense of nostalgia that takes me back to some of my fondest MeMoRiEs as a child.

Just like ranchers, we can perform a similar ritual this spring by eliminating the old to make way for the new.  If there is something that has been weighing on your mind or holding you back, now is the time to send it up in flames and get a NeW StARt on life.


Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Getting Real, God, Good Life, Hard Reality, Inspiration, Inspire, Life

Easter Nests – Feature Guest: Tonya

This is my new, favorite EaSteR tReAt compliments of my friend Tonya who just shared this recipe with me.   I had to pass it along to you because I think it is so fun and yummy!!!  I photographed these pictures in her kitchen and it literally took her 10 to 15 minutes (max) to prepare.  (Not counting the hour necessary in the freezer.)   It is sooooo EaSY!! 

The ingredients for the EasTer NeStS:  1/4 cup of butter (1/2 stick), 2 cups of marshmallows, and 4 cups of Chow Mein Noodles.  Ingredients to fill the nests:  coconut & green gel food coloring for the grass, and Easter candy such as jelly beans, M&M’s, malted eggs, chocolate eggs, etc.

Measure 4 cups of ChOw MeIn NoOdLes.

MeLt 1/4 cup of butter.

Measure 2 cups of MaRsHmaLLoWs.

Add marshmallows to melted BuTtEr.

Stir marshmallows and butter until marshmallows are completely MeLtEd.

Add Chow Mein Noodles to melted marshmallow and butter MiXtUrE.


Butter a MuFfiN pan.

Butter your FiNgErS.

Use your fingers to FoRm nests.

Place in the freezer for 1 HoUr.

Remove nests with a KniFe.

Combine cOcOnUt and a few drops of GrEeN gel food coloring to make grass.

The best green grass you’ll ever EaT!

Time to fill the nests with GoOdiEs.

Place CoCoNuT gRaSs in nests.

Fill the nests with your favorite CaNdy.

Time to EnJoY!!


1 Comment

Filed under RANDO•RAMA, Recipes, Traditions

How Do You Measure “More” & “Better”? – The Challenge (Wk. 3)

Sometimes goals are very cOnCreTe.  You want to save up money to buy a car, go to school to get a nursing degree, or run your first 5K.  These goals are very specific.  You either have reached the goal or not.  But, then there are those goals that aren’t so concrete such as you want to be a better wife, have more patience with your kids, or not be so worried about what others think of you.  These goals are much more vague and although they are noble and worthwhile to pursue, if you don’t make them specific you will ever really know if you accomplished the goal.

So, how do you make a vague goal sPeCiFic?  The best way to do this is to ask yourself what that quality looks like in concrete terms.  For example, if your goal is to be a better wife, what does being a “better wife” look like in your eyes?  Could you be a better listener by giving your husband 100% of your attention when he is talking to you, have dinner waiting for your husband when he comes home from work, be more supportive of him by not criticizing him around friends and family?

Once you know what a “better wife” looks like then you will need to quantify it.  (This will probably look different from everyone else depending on you and your husband’s needs, personalities, and individual situations.  Don’t think this has to be a carbon copy of someone else.) For example, “I will have dinner on the table when my husband comes home from work 4 out of 5 times a week.”  “I will plan a night for us to go out on a date and do something we both enjoy at least once a week.”  These goals are very specific.  You either did them or you didn’t.

Let me share a personal example with you.  In the SuedeSofa’s six-month Challenge, my goal is to be at peace with food.   I know in order to do this, I must use self-control in my eating.  That is a good goal to have, but how do I know if I am using “self-control?”  I have turned that vague goal into a specific one by quantifying it.  One bad habit I had was eating all my food for that day by breakfast or lunch.  Then I would try to compensate by skipping dinner.  My specific goal to counteract that bad habit is to eat three meals a day – saving calories/points/etc for each meal.  I want to do this at least 4 days a week.  At the end of the week I know whether I met my goal or not.

Notice that I am taking <s m a l l  s t e p s> in this goal.  It would be unrealistic if I expected myself to do this seven days a week.  But 4 times a week is an achievable goal.  Some weeks I may be successful, other weeks I may falter, but I am at least moving towards the target of self-control.

In this process it is important that you don’t expect perfection, but rather PrOgReSs.  As long as you are getting closer to the goal you are succeeding.  If you seem to be failing miserably it may be time to reassess your goal.  Make sure it is something that you can succeed at regardless how small the step.  As you get small successes under your belt you can up the ante little by little.  Remember this:  SuCcEsS bReEds sUcCesS.  

     So, go for “MoRe” and “BeTteR”.  Just be sure you know what “more” and “better” looks like.  Then you will have a clear cut target and increase the chances that you make it to your goal.


Leave a comment

Filed under Dream Big, Inspire, The Challenge