Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Question Number 3...

Those of you who have been following my little "series" on random questions for Cyndie know that I am now on Question Number 3.

Question # 3 is one of those questions that just grabbed my heart the minute I read it. Truthfully, it's one of those questions that I imagine we've all asked (in some form) at one time or another.

Question 3 comes to us from CatBude who writes:

"What is God's plan or message for those of us dealing with Autism...His unique and amazing purpose that for me is my daily living and breathing question and challenge?"

Now, as a bit of background, "CatBude" is a friend of mine who has struggled over the past few years to learn how to be the best mother and advocate for her precious autistic son. Cat has learned all you can imagine learning to try to make sense of this horrible disease and to attempt to give her child the best opportunities available in today's world.

And yet, as we all know; somedays it's just hard to understand WHY God has us in this struggle.

I truthfully don't know that anyone could answer this question because I firmly belive that there are just some things that only God understands.

I think of the old illustration of the beautiful cross-stitched tapestry masterpiece that seems perfect as it hangs on a wall for all to gaze at and take in. With the glimpse of an eye, it simply takes your breath away with it's vibrant colors and intricate details.

But then you turn it over.

On the backside it is a jumbled mess of threads overlapping and colors that run together like a mud filled puddle on a rainy day. There is absolutely NOTHING pretty about the masterpiece when you look at the back.

That's like our lives with God.

Often, all we are able to see is the jumbled mess on the back of that tapestry. A lot of days it is really easy to get caught in the pain of that mess or the confusion that it brings to our lives. However, that's not the end of the story. You see, God sees the tapestry as the finished masterpiece. He looks at all of those confusing and painful stitches and He sees the big picture that He's weaving together into something beautiful.

We've all been in this place where we've questioned what God is doing in our lives.
Why is my child sick? Why did my husband lose his job? Why is my friend fighting an addiction? Why is my marriage failing? Why, Why, Why?

Sometimes, there are no answers except to know that God is in control. God sees our pain, He hears our cries and He will never leave us or forsake us. If He's placed you in this situation then He will never be far from you.

I have this quote sitting on my desk:
"The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you." Anonymous

To My sweet sister Cat and all the others out there who have ever wondered what God's big plan really is - have faith. You (and I) have been handpicked for our role in this life. It's only a temporary role and we only have the "blink of an eye" to do the best that we can do. For those of us who accept Christ, we can take heart in knowing that God is with us each and every step we take and our rewards (and hopefully a greater understanding) will be in Heaven. If we simply follow His will, we can rest assured that His grace will carry us through.

Thank you Cat for this question...we all needed it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dum, Dum, Dum....Drumroll Please!!!!!!!

And the winner of the autographed copy of "Hope's Wish" is..............

Jennifer is a long-distance friend whom I met about a year ago at a Writer's Conference. Jennifer has walked an amazing journey with the Lord and writes often of the lessons that God is revealing to her in the wake of her son's death from cancer. Check out her blog sometime at:


I have to say that I have been so excited by all of your questions for me and I will continue to answer all of them over the next weeks. Thanks so much to everyone who asked and please don't feel a need to stop asking:)

Congratulations Jennifer!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Question Number 2

So, here we go again...

Randomly chosen - Question Number 2 from our "Enquiring Minds Want To Know" Series.

Question 2 comes to us from Annette who asked, "How do you do Elle's hair?"

Well, Annette...let me just say -- it's been a journey!

When we were first blessed with our little adopted Elle, I used to just let her hair do it's thing. As it grew, she had a little q-tip type hair-do and I would just throw a bow in it as we left the house.

For months upon months I noticed something....my white friends would always comment on how adorable Elle's hair was. My black friends??? Well, they tended to stay VERY quiet.

That is; until one fateful day.

On that fateful Sunday afternoon I heard a knock at my door where my wonderful black neighbor stood with a comb in her hand and a misson on her mind.

"Step aside Cyndie...it's time you learn how to do Elle's hair."


Well, I'll admit - it wasn't a pretty sight. Weeping and gnashing of teeth ensued as little Elle received her first hairdo by a black woman. I remember my neighbor repeatedly saying, "Elle, you're going to have to get used to this...it's a way of life now."

And so, there you have it...No, I've not begun braiding Elle's hair yet. I'm not that talented yet and quite honestly I love the little Mickey Mouse Poofs that she wears most days. We'll get to the braids but for now we're just counting our blessings that we've figured out how to effectively comb it!

The entire process requires LOTS of detangling spray and a comb on a daily basis. We have been advised not to wash her hair more than once or twice a week and beyond that we just need to schedule an extra 15 minutes a day to get the snarls out and pull it up again.

We're far from experts but it's working for us right now. Oh, and by the way....I now get complements from both my black and white friends! :)

Reminder! Tonight at midnight is the deadline for asking me a question and being entered into the drawing for the "Hope's Wish" book! Bring 'em on!! They've been amazing so far and I can't wait to answer all of them!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friday at Midnight

Just a reminder! Friday at Midnight is the deadline for the "Ask Cyndie Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About Her" contest. Okay, well maybe not EVERYTHING.

Maybe just pick a few of your top questions and shoot them my way. I have already gotten some great ones and I'm going to be randomly going down the list to answer them for you. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then see this post. There's a prize!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Enquiring Minds Want To Know" - Question #1

So here we have it…in response to your questions, I will do my best to give you honest and complete answers. Truthfully, I am SO excited to answer all of these questions that I’ve had a rough time deciding what to answer first! Finally I just decided to randomly pick one and go with it. Here we go:

Question Number 1: Charissa asked, “What top 3 things do you do to draw closer to God on a daily/weekly basis?

Let me start by saying UGGH!!!

Who the heck picked this question?

Seriously, wouldn’t you all rather know what my favorite food is or maybe my favorite restaurant?? :)

Okay, just kidding…. Here's the scoop.

One thing that I do that draws me closer to God is in the form of a prayer. I’m not talking a “go find a kneeling alter and spend 4 hours with the Lord” kinda prayer. Those are great times too, but a bit hard to find in the midst of my rambunctious kiddos. I’m talking about a prayer that I first learned from a good friend who has since gone home to be with Jesus.

Years ago I was talking with this friend and she mentioned that every day she wakes up and prays, “Lord, let me do today ONLY what You want me to do. Don’t let me get caught up in MY schedule, MY way or My plan…let it always be about you.”

The very next morning I adopted that prayer into my life. Every morning before my feet even touch the floor, I pray that the Lord will direct that day. I pray that He allows me to surrender my plans so that I may serve Him better. I know that when I surrender my days to Him, they always go much better (even though they may look NOTHING like what I originally had in mind).

The trick is to remember the prayer that you prayed when your ‘list’ gets thrown out the window for a friend who’s in need or a husband who needs help finishing up a project for work. :)

Secondly - there’s just no doubt about it - I need my “coffee time” with God. I really struggle with this. There are some days I just don’t want to stop and be with God. There are many days when I would MUCH rather read blogs, check out craigslist or take a nap with my kids.
Many days I feel the pull of, “man, if I don’t get those bills paid right now, I won't be able to focus on my devotions anyway!” Some days I cave into those things; but it never fails that I notice myself slipping when I choose other things above God. During the times when I've let God slip for days on end, I'm sure the rest of the world can tell also!
I guess that's why I call it my "coffee time". I NEED coffee every day - just like I need God. Let's just be grateful it's coffee that I'm addicted to and not LSD...I don't know if God would appreciate me calling my intimate time with Him, "LSD time". (Okay...focus Cyndie...focus) :)

I’ve also realized one very important fact about myself when it comes to devos. I need to have something to study. Many people are fine with just picking up the Bible and reading verses, but I don’t do well with that. I need something structured to walk me through my devotion time. Currently I am re-doing the “Purpose Driven Life” and loving it even more than the first time I did it years ago. Basically, find what works for you and go with it…the key is that you take the time to do it and that you actually do get into God’s Word and meditate on it (by this I don’t mean fall asleep – that’s another topic I could write from experience on)!

The last thing that helps me focus on God is turning on Christian music. Now, I’m the first to admit that I love many types of music. My all-time favorite band is Dave Matthews, so I’m not someone who thinks you should ONLY listen to Christian music; however, there is no doubt that sometimes your heart just NEEDS it! I find that when I have Christian music on, my spirit just settles. This typically becomes CRITICAL for me right around 5pm when it seems like all ‘you know what’ breaks loose in my home! :)

Love the questions Charissa!!

Keep em comin’ everyone!! You have till Friday at midnight to be entered into the drawing! See this post if you have no idea what I'm talking about!

Soooooo EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!

My "Mr. Comment Button" has never been happier!!

Yippee!! I have Soooo many GREAT questions and I'm so excited to answer all of them :)

Thanks to all of you who have sent them in. If you have no clue what I'm talking about then read yesterday's post.

Apparently you've all been waiting for a freebie! Whatever it takes:)!

Also, thanks to Carisa for hooking me up with all of her bloggy world friends! Man, Carisa - you've got friends from ALL over! South Africa, Jamaica - I'm feeling very global now!:)

Keep the questions coming:)! I'll be working on answers shortly!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Help!!!!!!!! It's my first giveaway!!!

I've noticed something lately...no matter how hard I try; I can't seem to think of ANYTHING to write!
I know, I know - seeing as though the title of this little blog is "Always Talking," that seems to be a slight problem.

So, I figure I have two options....

1) Change the title of my blog to "Nope - Got Nuthin'


2) Beg for some help.

Soooo...here's what I've decided to do. I'm begging for your help!

I need your questions!

Big questions, little questions...brilliant questions or dumb questions. I'm not picky...I'll take em all!

I can't promise to answer every one (of course if only one of you asks a question then I guess I could guarantee an answer).

Seriously though, put on your thinking caps and ask away. I promise to be honest in my answers (there's a shock, I know....anyone who knows me knows that I can be quite blunt with my honesty at times!)

So, what are you dying to know about me or my life? Probably nothing I'm sure, but think hard anyway.

Do you have questions about how many times a day I mess up as a mom? Questions about life in ministry? Questions about organzing closets? Questions about life with my studly hubbie??? Questions about my biggest fears?? Questions about how I tame my RIDICULOUSLY frizzy locks?? Whatever!!!


Oh yes, and because I seem to have a "following" that is absolutely terrified of the little comment button below, I will go ahead and reveal an email address where you can email your questions.

Of course, if you're one of the 3 people who isn't terrified of the comment button, feel free to ask away there. :)

Maybe that's a question I could explore - What in the world is up with all of you being so scared of my sweet comment button???? :) He's really not all that scary!
Anyway, email me at: cyndiealwaystalking@yahoo.com if you're one of the scaredy cats.

Hmm....I may even make this a momentous occassion and offer a prize! Sure, why not!! Dum Dum Dum!! The first prize EVER offered on ALWAYS TALKING!

Okay, for everyone who asks a question by midnight on Friday, I will put your name into a hat. I will then randomly pick one winner who will receive one of my all-time favorite books EVER, "Hope's Wish"! I will even go so far as to getting the book personally autographed by the author (who also happens to be a great friend of mine).

So there you have it! Think about it...if no one else even asks a question, you're guaranteed to be a winner! How hard is that?!
So, what's on your minds?? What have you always wondered about me? (keep it nice, please:)!

I can't wait to hear what you're thinking about and hopefully get rid of my writer's block!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mr Magic Hands...

Okay, so I'm finally getting to posting the pictures of my exciting adventure to the nail salon with my neighbor Maryann.

It has become a little tradition that Maryann takes me for a pedicure for my birthday each year. Truthfully, it's usually the only time I actually get to a nail salon each year. Something about kids and nail salons just don't mix.

It was especially exciting for me this year because Donn was out of town all last week so for someone to come "rescue" me was pretty amazing!

I literally walked into the nail salon and was handed a bottle of Dasani and a People Magazine!! Goodness! If they had been giving out Swiss Cake Rolls at the door I may have thought I was in Heaven! Okay, maybe not Heaven...do you think they have People Magazine in Heaven? Hmm...maybe not. I am certain they have swiss cake rolls though - don't question me on that one.

Anyway, we had a great time with two of the nicest manicurists you've ever met - one of whom coined himself "Mr. Magic Hands" (trust me...his words...not ours).

The people were so nice that when they heard it was my birthday they even gave me a hot stone foot massage!

Who knew that hot stones could feel good? Okay, I realize that just doesn't look very fun, but I swear it was actually pretty nice!

Maybe later I'll run out to the scorching hot pavement and call it a luxury massage!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I personally am thrilled to have amazing friends and a husband who is back home again!

Thanks Maryann for the fun adventure!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Whatever will I do??

An entire afternoon!!!!!

My AMAZING friend, "Aunt Shelby" is picking up the boys in a bit and taking them until after dinner!


An entire afternoon of just one little girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AND THEN, my other friend Maryann tells me that she's sending her daughter over to babysit Elle while she kidnaps me for a bit!!!!!!!!!!


I LOVE MY AMAZING FRIENDS and I LOVE being Kidnapped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll be sure to let you in on my afternoon adventures tomorrow!

Yippee for me!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Nope, I got nothin' to say today but I do have a few fun pictures to share!
I was deleting old pictures in my camera last night when I came across these...I completely forgot they were there!

Sure, they're from about two months ago when Elle got tubes put in her ears but oh well...Take what you can get. :)

They're too cute not to share and I am too tired to think of anything meaningful to say.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mixed Blessings??

So, I woke up to the words, "Mom...my nose is bleeding" the other night at 2am.
Actually, let me rephrase that.
I vaguely opened my eyes and remember saying something along the lines of "Ayden, get some tissues and then you can sleep on our floor."

Truthfully, I don't really have a clue what I said, but apparently I am told those were my words.
The fact is, 2am is just not a time that I function well - 4am maybe...5am...definitely....2am - not so much.

Either way, when my eyes did actually open and the blood began pumping back into my body the next morning; I awoke to see my little 7 year old asleep on my floor with his pillow covered in blood spots.

Now, before you panic (or decide that I'm the world's worst mom) please know that this is a pretty typical occurence...Doctor's say it has something to do with allergies. Either way, I immediately began spraying down the pillowcase with stain stick and threw the pillow in the trash.

That is when I noticed the blessing.

Hey, what can I say?

My kids are just so amazing that when they have nosebleeds, their blood stains form into the shape of hearts!


Oh well, at least it made the process of cleaning the blood up bearable!

Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Decade of Memory Lane

In the past 10 years we have:

Become pseudo-Southerners
Watched our dreams come true
Cried two babies into Heaven
Rejoiced with 3 babies held in our arms
Travelled to Euro 2000 with obsessed fans
Watched you learn to downhill ski and then surpass my skills in one day
Been among the first in line at the opening of the initial Southern Dunkin Donuts!
Walked the streets of Charleston hand in hand
Gone to many late-night Bundesliga games
Spent countless hours on soccer fields
Seen God confirm His calling on our lives in ministry
Cried as good friends and family joined Jesus in Heaven
Seen our first “youth kids” have their own babies
Gained a few pounds…then lost them together
Relaxed by countless bonfires
Embraced your redneck tendencies
Watched God heal your ‘heart condition’
Cried together in Liberia
Become regulars at El Valle
Found ‘family’ in our own town
Watched our adoption miracles unfold before our eyes
Fallen in love with our little Liberian Prince
Experienced real ‘church’ in our small groups
Stood on stage with Steven Curtis Chapman
Felt ridiculously old at a Dave Matthews concert
Cried out to God after Becky’s accident- Praised God when she came back to us
Had countless ‘dates’ during CDS afterschool
Put our sweet Snickers to sleep
Cruised in the mustang- then gave in to the mini-van (sigh)
Found our ‘voices’
Screamed in frustration at God’s plan – then realized His ideas were right all along!
Tirelessly torn wallpaper from every wall in our home.
Cuddled on the shores of Lake Pleasant
Dreamed of our days of retirement (in our doublewide)
Finally gotten cable
Learned to make the most amazing carmel popcorn
Laughed till we cried at boys and their gaseous excretions
Dreamed of our ‘lake home’
Learned how to finally do Elle’s hair
Had our first camping adventure
And lived life to the fullest.

Donn, the last decade of my life has far surpassed any dreams I could have ever imagined.

You are my Best Friend, my Love, my Champion, my Warrior and you also happen to be the HOTTEST guy I’ve ever known!

I have grown more in love with you over the past 10 years and, although life has not always been easy, I am forever grateful that God has allowed me to share it with you.

Being your wife is the greatest honor of my life.

I am yours forever.

Happy 10th Anniversary – We did it!! (oh yea, and happy birthday too)!!

Note: NO, I AM NOT PREGNANT!!! I am wearing a 'babydoll' shirt and Donn just happened to put his hand there!! Thanks to my sweet little sister for starting the rumor though! :)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer is Funner!!!

Here you go! I know you've all been on the edge of your seats (Mom)!
We had an amazing afternoon (one of the best truthfully). The pictures say it all!

Welcome To Summer!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll pop back later this evening to post some pictures.

The inflatable pool is out (though it has a slow leak we have found) and the sprinkler is hooked up. Water guns are stealthly tucked away in the front bush and the side walk chalk is in full gear.

I even broke a nail drawing "AYDEN, WELCOME TO SUMMER!" on the driveway (sigh)...don't ever tell me being a mom isn't hard!

Now, we're just waiting...waiting for 2 kids to awake from naps and the big SECOND GRADER to step off the bus!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Memory Lane

As I said yesterday, my goal this summer is to savor every moment and do something FUN every day!! Granted, "fun" may be a label we put on cleaning out the closets on any given day but it's all in your attitude right?? :)

Anyway, in honor of summer being just around the corner (Ayden gets out of school Wednesday) I took a trip down memory lane yesterday while teaching my kids (and also a neighbor child that I am keeping this week) how to make 'Old Fashioned Ice Cream Sandwiches'!
These things are seriously the best ice cream sandwiches ever and as I make them my mind automatically goes back to the days of making them with my Mom. Ahhh....simpler days!

And so, here are the pictures of our blissful day of summer fun!

Stay tuned - tomorrow is Ayden's last day of school and I am planning a "SUMMER'S HERE PARTY" for when he gets home from school! (stole that idea from a friend's blog last summer - thanks Jami!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Any Ideas??

Okay, so I'm doing my best to be a "good mom" (whatever that means) and to plan lots of fun activities for my kiddos for this summer. Every year we sit down together and make up a list of "Summer Fun" with the kids. Because of my type A personality, putting our aspirations onto a list makes me feel like it's crucial that we actually follow through with them (pathetic, I know).

So, as of now, our list is filled with some local "attractions" that we plan on making excursions to; but I am also trying to come up with some creative FREE things that would be fun. You know; things like having a picnic by the old train stop where every few minutes the kids can see a train go by.

This is where you come in. I need some help!

What ideas do you have? What FREE/DIRT CHEAP ideas are you planning for this summer of "RECESSION FUN!"

Anyone??? Anyone??? Bueller??

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Field Trip!!

Today, after we wiped back our tears after our precious Eden left us to return home to NY, we decided to take a little field trip.
You see, my good friend Jennie called and said, "Let's take the kids to watch the planes!"

Now, originally, Jennie and I had planned on meeting to plan some stuff for the Mom's group that we Co-Direct, but then Jennie said something about picnic, airplanes and Starbucks all in the same sentence so I did as any sane Mom would do and said, "FORGET THE MEETING!" She had me at 'Starbucks.'

We loaded up the kids...and headed off to a plane overlook (that ironically I didn't know existed until today). Apparently Jennie didn't know about it until recently either. She was kindly informed of it by a few security guards who asked her to stop parking in the middle of the road to let her kids watch the planes take off (okay, slight exxageration but you get the point).

Anyway; minus one Starbucks bandit (who apparently snatched Brekyn's chocolate milk when I set it down on a table to help him with something) we had a very lovely day! Praise God the Starbucks bandit didn't try to take my Decaf Mocha with Skim and No Whip! I actually saw a police dog at the airport....anybody messes with my mocha and I swear I'm callin' the dogs!

By the way, please don't tell my studly hubbie that I enjoyed a lovely mocha (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). We both started a diet on Monday and ironically, mochas are not part of it! The poor man just texted me to tell me that he's starving and forgot his afternoon bananna! Funny thing....I'm not hungry at all! (Note to self: mochas really are quite filling!)

But alas, I have digressed :) !
I now leave you with pictures of our lovely summer morning!
Elle was less than impressed with the planes...mostly she liked the picnic. There's a shock...I know.Gracie was also less than impressed with the planes...(hmm...maybe next time Jennie and I should leave the kids home!) In the wise words of my grandpa, "Next time I bring you, I'm leavin' ya home!"
Brekyn's friend Aidan loved the planes so much he was unwilling to take his eyes off of them to take a picture!
This is how two girls (who are less than impressed with planes) look after a field trip to the airport. Oh and 'yes' Elle is naked in this picture. Don't ask...with a completely dry diaper she was somehow able to manage to get her dress soaked! I'm seriously wondering if the Starbucks bandit poured the chocolate milk on her as he ran off into the shadows. Hmm....

Have a great day!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer Fun!!!

We're enjoying the hot weather, sunshine till 9pm and school winding down!
We had a great weekend of summer fun, ice cream truck treats, rest and many laughs!
(take note of Daddy "babysitting" in the background)
(Now notice Daddy "babysitting" in the background)
(We just love our new sandbox that Brekyn got from his grandparents for his birthday! I accidentally deleted the picture of the kids building a castle in it - oops!)