Top Ten Reasons I HATE the Mall in December


1. I should probably tell you that I hate the mall every month out of the year, and I try to avoid going at all cost. The month of December is worse!

2. Where is Christmas Cheer? I’ve been to the mall four, yes I said FOUR, times this month. Most of the people I have come across can’t even share a smile, much less show common courtesy.

3. Is it just me, or are the items that are 40% off already overpriced by 50%?

4. The parking lot was so full! There were cars just sitting in the aisle waiting for people to come out and leave. So if you happen to turn down an aisle without looking, you could get stuck behind said car waiting for who knows what! Speaking from full experience here, and it is quite frustrating to be sitting behind that car, expecting someone to pull out so they will move, and it never happens.

5. I don’t like crowds. I have personal space, and I will respect your personal space.You aren’t allowed personal space at the mall in December. I was constantly bumping elbows with someone, or having my foot stepped on.

6. They have a train weaving in and out of the crowds of people! A train. Need I say more?

7. The lines to check out are horrendous. Why have 4 people working in the store and only 1 at the checkout?

8. I don’t understand the kiosks in the middle where people just randomly decide to get a massage while shopping. In clear view of everyone else. Sure, a massage sounds wonderful to me. I’ve never paid to have one, but I can imagine a warm room with candles, aromatherapy, and an angelic looking person ready to rub the stress away. Am I the only one that has a problem here? Please tell me you don’t think I’m weird!

9. I also don’t want to be tempted by the wonderfully delicious looking chocolate covered treats and apples that are selling for what I can buy an entire bag of apples. I thought about it. Really I’m still thinking about it…No, I don’t want to go back.

10. Santa doesn’t bring out the best in all children. I’ve got three kids, so I can speak from personal experience here. We teach our kids to stay away from strangers, yet we plop them down on Santa’s lap and walk away. Then we wonder why they scream for the next 20 minutes. Hhmmmm…

I’m linking up with Oh Amanda for this post.

Dolphin Tale

This giveaway is now closed.

Today I’m giving you the chance to win the movie Dolphin Tale, from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group. It will be released to the public tomorrow, but you could win the Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and Digital Download valued at $35.99 right here.

“Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. She is rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, where she is named Winter. But her fight for survival has just begun.

Losing her tail may cost Winter her life. It will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a brilliant prosthetics doctor, and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a groundbreaking miracle- a miracle that might not only save Winter but could also help thousands of people around the world.

The real Winter, who plays herself in “Dolphin Tale,” today serves as a symbol of courage and hope to millions of people-especially those facing their own physical challenges-who have been touched by her remarkable story of recovery and rehabilitation.”

This is an amazing true story of a dolphin and brave boy who makes it his mission to save her. It includes a fabulous cast of Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, and many more! Every New Year’s Eve we snuggle in and watch movies as a family, and this movie is on our list. I can’t wait to watch it, and share it with you. Just leave me a comment to be entered to win. Tell me what you think of the movie, if you haven’t seen it yet, or what you’re having for Christmas dinner. It doesn’t really matter what you say, just say something. I will draw a winner this Friday at noon and let you know.

This can’t be possible

Brooke is currently sitting in her second class of Drivers Ed. This wasn’t my idea. I don’t think she needs to drive, but she and daddy disagree with me.

How did she grow up so quickly?

My precious baby girl

A little confession

On Friday evening we watched Brooke cheer the Cougars on at their first loss. It was a tough game! I love watching Brooke though, so I still enjoyed it. She is simply beautiful, loves deeply, and is so kind hearted. I am blessed to call her my daughter.

She will be starting Drivers Ed on Wednesday, so I could use lots of prayers. I’m going to be a blubbering mess!

Saturday brought with it Matthew’s second basketball game of the season. He has picked up a lot since last year, and it’s fun to watch him understand what’s going on. It also helps that Brooke’s boyfriend is an awesome player on the Varsity team, and he is eager to help Matthew out.

Here’s where the confession comes. Are you still there? I’m just a little competitive. Ok, maybe a lot! I could tell you that I just want him to have fun, but I really want him to win. I want him to have fun while winning. I don’t know where this comes from, because I didn’t play any sports when I was little. But something comes out in me, and it’s not pretty.

This year we have a referee, and he makes some calls, but he clearly stated that they didn’t want him to make too many. Well, when a kid takes my baby down to the floor, I expect a call. I almost came off the bleachers to save Matthew, but thought better of it when Brian looked me in the eye and told me “it’s ok.” Obviously it was NOT ok, as some kid just took. my. baby. down!! Then his mom cheers him on! This is when something snapped in me, and I yelled out, “don’t let him push you around, Matthew!” And the next time Matthew scored, I cheered extra loud. Looking back, I’m not proud of my behavior. I am proud of Matthew though.

That evening we had the pleasure of traveling to another Cougars game, and watching them pull off an awesome win. The calls were terrible, and it was a close game up to the last second, but it was probably the most exciting basketball game I’ve been to. Everyone left smiling.

Yesterday we cleaned the house a little and Brooke’s boyfriend spent the day with us. He was outside playing basketball with the boys while Brooke finished a project, and I think she might have been jealous. It was sweet. Matthew has been having a hard time leaving me for school lately, some days he has cried and not wanted to get out of the car in the drop off line. This has gone on for a couple of weeks now, and it always rears up at the last minute in drop off, until last night. Last night, he became very teary when I said there were only eight more days of school until Christmas break. He told me he didn’t want to go to school because he misses me too much when he’s there. We spent some time laying on my bed talking, crying, and praying. I told him that we thought our family was complete, and then I decided we needed one more child, and that Jesus gave us him. I shared with him that Jesus knew what He was doing, and that He has great plans for Matthew. Also that He’s always with us, so when we get scared, all we have to do is call out to Him. We prayed a lot, and we went to bed in a better place.

I didn’t wake up today with that same light heart though. I hit the snooze button, so there wasn’t time for me to do my bible reading. I was grouchy when I walked into the kitchen that I had cleaned yesterday, and discovered a large mess on the table and in the sink where someone made muddy buddies and didn’t clean up after themselves. The dog was into EVERYTHING! I was also dreading waking Matthew up. I didn’t want to deal with any more tears, and I was just a grump. Little things kept hitting me, and I know it was satan. Brooke waited until this morning to print off her project and the printer needed to run a test print first. Her ride showed up and she told them to go on, so I had to take her to school. I was in a full blown tizzy by that time. When I came back home, Matthew and I sat at the kitchen table together. I could tell that he was trying to hold back the tears, and he could probably tell I was being overly talkative. We were doing well until he reminded me that we needed to fill out his reading log, and I couldn’t find it. I made one out, and we were racing out the door to make it to school on time. I drove to the end of the road, came to a rolling stop and turned right. As soon as I did, I saw the cop sitting there. When I passed him, he pulled out behind me, and next I saw his lights. I knew what I had done. I was guilty and wrong. And running late.

The officer was very nice and just gave me a warning. I know I should stop. Completely.

We went off and made it to school in time. Both of us were trying to hold it together by this time, and we managed to do so. I promised him last night that we would do something special if he didn’t cry, so tonight we made homemade sugar cookies together. As we were sitting at the table, he said, “thanks for bringing me into this world.” I chuckled as I asked him where that came from, and he said, “you know, last night when you were talking to me about wanting another baby, thanks for having me.” My heart melts!

A Giveaway For You

This Giveaway is now closed. I used Random generator and lucky commenters number one and four win! I will be sending you an email to get your address. Thank you for participating!

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Mitch Albom about his book turned movie, Have a Little Faith. I’m excited that I have two copies of the book to give away!

Enter by leaving me a comment here. Tell me if you’ve read the book, watched the movie, your favorite part, or if this will be a gift. You can get a second entry if you tweet about the giveaway and link back to me, @jenprays. I will keep the drawing open until 12 Eastern time on Wednesday, December 14th. At that time I will draw two random winners and notify you.

This giveaway is possible because of the great people at Grace Hill Media. You can find the movie airing on The Hallmark Channel too. I watched it again last night.

The One Where I Ramble

It’s almost been a week since I last posted. I feel like there should be a meeting for me to attend, where I stand at a podium and make that confession. Sorry, I got sidetracked there. That’s my problem though. December. I get sidetracked a lot. There is too much going on, and I’m on the train most of the time. Going 100 miles an hour. And then other times I’m chasing the train. It’s still going 100 miles an hour.

Do you ever feel like that?

I hate it! There’s too much to do, too many places to go, extra money needed, and I still have the same resources.

I have to give myself a breather, and just pray. I’m not alone. I am not alone. Jesus is my guide. He doesn’t expect to be perfect. He knows I’m not, and He still loves me! And now, I feel better!

I’m on track with my 90 day bible readings. I had a little catch up to do over the weekend, but I’m back where I need to be. I cannot tell you how much I love it! It’s probably what is keeping me sane right now.

Saturday was Matthew’s first basketball game of the season. He’s in second grade, and they can steal the ball on passes now. That’s a big thing! It’s so much fun to watch him play, and he’s really improved since first grade. He towers over everyone, so he is the rebound king. I named him that, unofficially, of course. After his very early game we decided to eat at Bob Evans. A ten to fifteen minute wait turned into 45 because they crossed our name off the list as if they had seated us. When they discovered it, the manager suggested to the greeter that maybe we wanted to sit outside. We didn’t find that funny, but we continued to wait. What came available was two different seats, so Brooke and her boyfriend had a table all to themselves. They loved that!

The afternoon consisted of a Toxic Waste candy eating contest. It’s supposed to be the most sour of all candy, and the boys asked for it for Christmas. I know it wasn’t Christmas, but they couldn’t wait. And I couldn’t resist the temptation of seeing the puckered faces. In our opinion, they aren’t as sour at Warheads, but they are pretty sour. Matthew put three in his mouth at once, and I really wish we had recorded his reaction. It was hilarious! I had skin hanging from the roof of my mouth with the three pieces that I ate.

Sunday was the racing banquet for the boys. That needs to be a separate post, because I have so much to say about it. I’m so proud of both of them!

Monday I woke Matthew up and he complained of a sore throat. He had coughed all night, so I took his temp and he had a fever. The doctor sent him for a chest X-ray because his lungs sounded coarse, so we hung out at home for the day. They called us in the afternoon and told us the X-ray was negative, so it’s probably something viral. Also encouraged us to get the flu shot, because it’s already in Indiana. Ugh! Why does she insist on arguing with me every year about the flu shot? We’re not going to do it! Get that in your head.

So, now you’re caught up with my ramblings, I mean my weekend!

Speaking of a virus and cough, I took Nyquil about an hour ago, so I can’t guarantee that any of the above will make sense to you, because I can’t follow it. Good night all!

Jacob and Joseph

Genesis 28:20-40:11 Day 3 of 90

I loved today’s reading. There was so much information to process so I’m gonna jump right in.

1. Talk about love at first sight! Jacob loved Rachel and promised to work for seven years in order to marry her. Seven years was up and Laban tricked him into sleeping with Rachel’s older sister, Leah. Jacob promises to work another seven years for Rachel.

2. In chapter 30, Leah conceives and believes she will finally be loved. She felt this way even with the third son she bore. She knew Jacob didn’t love her as he loved Rachel

3. Rachel couldn’t conceive, so she gave Jacob her servant. Did we not learn anything from Sarah?? Leah also gives Jacob her servant to lie with. Leah had six sons and a daughter before Rachel had a son. His name was Joseph. This story just screams that we need to be patient and have courage to wait for God. I know I struggle with that.

4. Jacob is on his way to see Esau and he is very apprehensive about how he will be received. 32:22 says he took his 2 wives, 2 servant wives, and his 11 sons across the Jabbok river. What about his daughter, Dinah? She isn’t mentioned until she is raped by Shechem, and her brothers exact revenge upon him. I feel sorry for her because she isn’t really consoled or taken care of. Something so horrible happened, and she is allowed to go with Shechem until her brothers come to kill him.

I love how Esau greets Jacob. It’s as if the time has healed the distance between them and all is forgiven. Forgiveness can do amazing things for you!

In 33:14 Jacob tells Esau he would meet him at Seir, but then he stops at Shechem. Why did he do that?

5. Jacob wrestles with God! And he is not giving up until God blesses him.

6. There is so much in the story of Joseph to talk about, but the big thing is that God blesses him and helps him succeed in everything he does.

What do you have to say about today’s readings?