Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What if Mary had told the Angel, "Sorry I'm busy"?!

So, last night on the drive home Alyssa asked me to sit in the back seat with her. And, to her surprise, I said yes. This was a HUGE treat and she wasn't going to waste one second of it. Right away, as Daddy pulled out and headed homeward, she said, "Let's PLAY!" She wanted to act out the story of the Angel telling Mary that she was going to have a baby, even though she wasn't married yet. We acted it out several different times bringing in different aspects of the story and, of course, conjuring up different silly characters to add to the scene. Finally, she wanted me to be the Angel and she would be Mary. So, in my very best Messenger of God voice I said to her, "Mary! You are highly favored and chosen by God for a very special task!" Alyssa said, "OH!" So, I continued: "You will have a baby boy who is God's own son and His name will be Jesus! And, He will grow up to save the world!" And, she said, "I don't have time, Angel. I'm TOO BUSY and I'm running late!"

Whoa, talk about a slap of conviction right in my play-acting face! It didn't take more than a fraction of a second to realize where Alyssa had heard those words before. And, as Jeremy and I laughed at her response to my Angelic message, I had to wonder if maybe Mama's been saying those words a little too often lately.

Then I asked Jeremy, "Can you imagine if Mary had actually said that to the Angel?" I mean, isn't there a huge possibility of that happening? Especially if Mary had encountered her divine visit in today's world! How many of us are so busy doing important things for God that we're missing out on or not even listening to the one task HE is actually asking us to do?

Of course God's plan to save us all from sin and death would have continued even if Mary had taken a pass, but it's interesting to think about isn't it? And to apply to our lives. I often feel Mommy-guilt for telling Alyssa I'm too busy working or doing laundry or cleaning the toilets to play at the moment. But, how often do I feel Christ follower-guilt over telling God I'm much too busy being a Mom, serving in the nursery at church, or doing a radio show to do whatever it is that He's asking of me at the moment. It may not even be a conscious thing, just a habit of doing what I think is important instead of taking the time to consult the Savior of the world. Hmmm....the things our kids can make us think about!

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Time for Barbie to GO!

That's right, I'm taking a stand against a doll! No, I'm not banishing Barbie from my home. Believe me, I tried to keep the golden haired menace away for as long as possible. But, Alyssa loves her "Darbies" and I've decided it's just better not to make a big deal out of it and potentially create a problem where currently there isn't one .

However, I AM banning Barbie from the shower! You see, Alyssa, recently started including her Barbie dolls in her bath time. She loves pretending they're swimming, dancing, appearing on TV, or just taking a bath. Here's the problem: after bath time all the toys get scooped up into a big, green, plastic turtle that allows them to be rinsed off and hung to dry. So, every time I step into the shower, at least one of those Barbies is staring right at me. Barbie…the very picture of a physical ideal that for most women is simply unattainable. That’s what I see first thing in the morning. Kind of intimidating.

Well, since I just started taking some serious steps toward getting healthy, I need all the encouragement I can get. And, I've decided that this icon of impossibility just isn’t cuttin’ it! So, starting today, the Barbies are going to find her own “special place” to dry out after Alyssa’s baths. I think they should consider themselves fortunate that it's not in the recycling bin!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why are we AGAINST everything?!?!

I know I may come off sounding a little controversial here...but something's been weighing a little heavy on my heart lately. Is it just me or are Christians AGAINST EVERYTHING? I get it...we need to make our voice heard and stand up for our values. I'm all for that. But, it seems like everywhere I turn it's all negative. We're AGAINST so much and we have no problem stating the fact that we think it's terrible that the mainstream media ISN'T against it all or that (gasp) other Christians aren't also making a stand against the very thing to which we stand most vehemently opposed. Don't get me wrong...I don't want to be like the frog that got boiled alive because he didn't notice the temperature rising degree by degree. But, I just really feel like I'd rather be known for what or rather WHO I am for than what I'm AGAINST. Above and beyond my opinion on health care, the Gosselins, traditional marriage, whether or not kids should "celebrate" Halloween, or even the h1n1 vaccine...I want people to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm for THEM because Jesus is for them. I love THEM because He loves them. Is that wrong?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Plane Crash in Peoria

Wes Brooks, the 13-year-old son of 91.5 WCIC station manager Dave Brooks, created this video after filming the activities surrounding the freak plane crash on Allen and Willow Knolls Saturday Evening (10.17.09)in Peoria. Check out his work! And, what a praise that no one was hurt and the pilot walked away with only bumps and bruises. God is good!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Something of Value

Ever had that sick feeling in your gut that you've lost something of great value to you? That happened recently in the Tracey house. Somehow a ticket to a Carolina Panthers game in Charlotte went missing. The ticket was for a game Jeremy had been planning to attend with some friends for a guys' weekend and we couldn't figure out how it disappeared. After that first moment of panic stricken awareness...oh no, it's not HERE...we dove into a search and rescue mission. We combed through piles of bills and other important papers that had been set aside as "go through later". We searched through drawers and cabinets that no one had opened in months because we were determined to leave no stone unturned in our quest to find the evasive ticket. Nothing. Bummer. Serious bummer! But, it was reality...an expensive reality. Thankfully we were able to take care of the problem but were more than a little frustrated that our search was so unsuccessful. What can you do, right? Well, except for keep better track of your stuff. However, one good thing that came out of this was a reminder for me of how valuable I am to God. I'm so valuable to Him that if I were to get lost, He would turn His house upside down, inside out, and every which way in order to find ME. And, He'd never give up and say, well, I'll just have to make a new Jill. Nope, He'd never stop searching - just like Jesus' story of the woman who lost her coin and wouldn't rest until she found it or the shepherd who left the 99 to find the one sheep that had strayed. Isn't that the coolest thing? I know we all KNOW this - we've read the passages - probably dozens of times. But, isn't it cool when God can use a frustrating situation as a little reminder...a little aha moment. So, THIS is what it feels like to search and search for something that means so much! OK, OK, the lost Panther's ticket is nothing in comparison to a human being's eternal soul...but it's a little taste anyway!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deny Myself?

So this morning I was driving past a church with a big sign out front that said, "Deny thyself, take up your cross, and follow me" ~ Jesus. And, it made me think a bit. First of all, I wondered how many people driving by this sign have no idea what it means? Is it making a difference in anyone's life? I'm not so sure. But, then, I had to stop being the cynical me I tend to be about things like this and ask myself if I really know what it means. I know the context: In the 8th Chapter of Mark in the New Testament Jesus has just finished describing to His followers all the pain and suffering He's going to endure on behalf of all mankind. Then Peter says, (my paraphrase) "Come on Jesus...You don't have to go through all that! You're scaring everybody!" And Jesus says something like "You don't know anything about God's plan. He's going to offer Hope and Eternal Life but it's going to come at an unbelievable cost to Me. And, watch out, there's a big cost coming for you, too, if you want to follow in My footsteps!"

But, I still kind of struggle with applying these words to my life. DENY MYSELF?! Who really denies themselves these days...especially in this country? I love America but, come on, we have so much. Even while I was conducting my 40 Day Vegan experiment, I never went hungry. There are so many options available that you could be completely satisfied at all times even without partaking of meat or dairy products. Basically, we're bombarded by abundance!

So, why deny? Jesus of course goes on to explain that if we pursue our selfish desires and all that the world offers, we'll eventually lose our souls in the process. But, I also think it's about practicing. We practice denying ourselves so that we can follow Him! Follow Him as He offers eternal life in heaven. Follow Him as He puts others first. As He hands over EVERYTHING for the sake of the very people who had turned against Him. Follow Him as He serves. So, practicing the denial of myself...of my desires and earthly needs...will get me in the habit of being willing to put others ahead of myself...just like Him.

Now the questions remains...HOW do I deny myself. I think you know where this is headed. What do I struggle with? I wish it were a taste for fine fashion, interior design, or even too much exercise. But, no, my passion, my indulgence, is FOOD! So, this is day ONE of a 10-day denial. I'm going to eat only fruits and vegetables - kind of what's called a "Daniel Fast" except that in the Bible Daniel only ate vegetables. I feel the need to truly deny, to go without, to learn to lean on Jesus a whole lot more than I do now. And, hopefully, in the process I'll learn to more easily put my own desires aside and really serve others in His love and on His behalf.

Wanna join me? All the cool kids are doing it. ;) Please let me know if you'll take this challenge with me and how it affects your daily walk with our God!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jaime or Lindsay?

You know how those little aha moments come to you at really weird times? Well, today it was right as I was saying AMEN during our staff prayer time. At that moment I realized that something had been lurking in the back of my brain that I didn't even have concsciousness of until that very moment. So, as soon as I closed the prayer it popped out of my mouth...Jaime Jamgochain (the Christian music artist and worship leader) is Lindsay Davis's (91.5 WCIC's awesome and super cute promotions director) Facebook twin! It just came to me. Aha! Here...see for yourself...

Lindsay Davis

Jaime Jamgochain

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The 40 Day journey comes to an end!

So my 40 Day Vegan experiment came to an end on Sunday and I thought surely I had overcome any desire for meat and dairy products. Surely I would continue my quest for all things healthy. Surely my taste buds had turned toward more sophisticated fare. And then we went to The Spotted Cow in Peoria yesterday. Of course, Monday's special is my favorite, the chicken cheese quesadilla and tortilla chips. So, I ordered that without even thinking. In my defense, I did share it with Alyssa. But, then...well, I'd already had meat AND dairy, so why not have some ice cream too? And, while we're at it, put that toffee coffee and mocha me crazy in a waffle cone. YES!

Apparently I need to reign things in before they get way too out of hand. But, I have to say, that WAS a pretty good meal. I'm just not sure if I should be disappointed in myself.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Everything Changes

It seems like one thought has come to my mind over and over this summer...Everything Changes. NOTHING stays the same. And...NOTHING seems to turn out the way you expected it would. I guess it all started when I realized that my good friend, Tara, was close to the end of her life at just 35 years old and before she'd had the chance to raise her two beautiful kiddos. I remember thinking I never expected there would be a time when Tara would no longer be here on earth with the rest of us. Well, at least not until we were all starting to face our final days as old men and women who had reared their families and sent them on their way. This feeling about how everything changes persists now, many weeks after Tara's death and for varied reasons. Sitting in a hotel room with a good friend who has seen her world change from one where she was a stay at home, home schooling Mother to one where she's been kicked out of her husband's life and replaced by another woman. A world where she's struggling to keep her head above water. To pay the bills, spend time with her sons, and just SURVIVE. As she poured out her heart I couldn't help thinking how so many times things turn out so opposite from what you'd ever imagined. We never thought HE would do something like that. People are people, though. Feelings fade and hearts harden and you can be left heartbroken and alone. But, the lack of the constant and stable doesn't just pertain to tough situations. The always-changing aspect of this world of ours reaches also to the good. There are happy changes, too. Watching my daughter grow and try things she never has before. Just yesterday as we went out to play she spotted a small white butterfly flitting around and took off like a shot after it. She probably chased that butterfly for twenty minutes. Except for the times when she told Mommy to chase him because she was "going to take a rest". I thought of Mary in the Bible who pondered everything in her heart. It felt like that's what I was doing as I thought back to the days when I would have had to point out that butterfly to her. Or the days I would have had to carry her over to the grass only to have her recoil at the thought of her feet touching it. Boy, things have DEFINITELY changed there. And, come on, even that little butterfly wasn't always a butterfly! So, with the good and the bad constantly evolving, expanding, decreasing, or simply fading away...there can sometimes be a feeling of despair or at least lack of control that leaves me feeling kind of "flitty" like that butterfly - going here and there with seemingly no real direction or anchor. Guess it's a good thing I know Who to cling to, huh? 'Cause it sure seems like there aren't a lot of things in the world that stay the way they are. And, sometimes, even knowing Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and being thankful that He will never change...I would still like for the people I love to stay married, for my friends to be here, for my daughter to always want to cuddle with me in the mornings, and for my favorite restaurants to stay open.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Um, Honey, you could use a mint!

So, it's day 27 in my 40-day Vegan Journey and things are good. I've had a few occasions where I've eaten something I thought for certain was vegan only to find out( too late) that it has some milk derivative in it. Argh! And, I'll admit, a couple of times I've added creamer to my coffee when nothing else was available. Not cow's milk or half and half, but it definitely had some form of milk in it in some small part. GUILTY!

But, for the most part, it's been pretty easy. I'm actually enjoying the foods I'm eating. That's something that's kind of surprised me. I thought for sure it would be torture to watch someone eat a turkey sandwich or something sweet like ice cream. But, for most things I've been able to find a replacement like a vegan burrito or a dark chocolate bar, etc. Honestly, the journey has been a lot less stressful than I'd imagined it would be.

HOWEVER...there has been one interesting development in the past 27 days. Apparently my breath has taken on a foul odor. Most likely it's due to the fact that I'm eating a lot more foods (like hummus which is yummus) that contain lots of garlic. The key to the vegan diet is seasoning...making the veggies, beans, and whole grains as tasty as you can. So, garlic and other natural taste enhancers have made their way into my diet on almost a daily basis. I was unaware of the lasting ill effect though until Jeremy brought it up ever so gently. I believe his exact words were "what's the deal with your breath lately?" :)

So, let me apologize in advance if we have a chance to talk face to face before I've had a chance to grab a mint!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Can't believe it's been a week!

Day 8 and things are going well. I'm really not missing meat or dairy products. I think the hardest thing about following the Vegan Diet is just finding things that have no animal products in them whatsoever. Other than that...it's pretty yummy. I've been eating some of the Amy's Soups and Burritos - the ones that specifically say VEGAN in the ingredients listing. And, hummus is my new best friend. :) Coconut Milk is definitely better than the Almond Drink. But, I think I'll prefer the original organic version over the Vanilla flavored. The Vanilla tastes just a little too artificial for me. So next time I'm going for the original!

During my 40 Day Vegan journey I've been getting a lot of help from friends. Coleen brought me some delicious Vegan breads from the Peoria Bread Company. Tasha made a Vegan cake which was scrumptious. And, yesterday, I received two books in the mail from my sister-in-law, Aubry! They're all about following a Vegan diet and making it easy for yourself. There are also a TON of Vegan recipes, so I'm looking forward to diving into those. When I wrote to thank Aub for the books she said she was excited when she heard about my experiment because she and my brother, Eric, do a lot of Vegan eating AND she said, "You can't live off nuts, hummus and dried fruit all the time. Nor can you live off salads. Variety is a key...!" Thanks for looking out for me, Aubry! Thank you everyone for your help and encouragement! Please keep praying for me when you think about it. Quite a ways to go- but SO FAR it's easier than I thought it would be!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 4 in the experiment

The 40-Day Vegan is doing well so far. A few ups and downs.

One "up" is I found out that Jimmy Johns has an awesome veggie sandwich. If you order it without the cheese and mayo it's completely vegan. Yay! (However, if you order the Skinny Chips...they are tasty, but make sure you read the nutrition information including the serving size. There are TWO servings in the bag, not ONE. I found out that one a little too late.) Also, most of the Great Harvest and Peoria Bread Company breads do not have any egg or milk products in them. A "down" is that I found out, too late, that the Great Harvest Savannah Bars are made with eggs. Oops! So, I won't make that mistake again. And, I had THOUGHT that the organic toaster pastries I buy for Alyssa were safe. But, looking closer at the ingredients, I've noticed whey protein made from milk. Ugg! So, goodbye to those treats! Another "down", the Almond Drink is getting a little old. I'm going to try to find some coconut milk today.

I'm finding that as long as I have plenty of nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, and veggies and hummus to snack on...I'm fine. Preparation seems to be the key; making sure I don't go anywhere without snacks on hand...especially work! Yesterday I was even able to get Chinese with Jeremy. I just stuck with the sautéed broccoli and steamed rice. I also ordered spring rolls. I asked the lady at the counter if they are egg, meat, and milk free, and she said yes. Jeremy wondered about the wraps, though. I honestly don't know. So, if you do, please let me know!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The journey of the 40-Day Vegan begins

So far, so good. It's really not bad. Yesterday was day one and here's what I ate:

Handful of cashews
Handful of dried cranberries
Bowl of Shredded Wheat with Almond Drink
Coffee with cinnamon and Almond Drink

Couple bites of a big banana

2 TBS All Natural Peanut Butter (I tried to find another kind of nut butter at Wal-Mart, but I'll have to look elsewhere for that)
1 TBS all-fruit spread
1 Tortilla (realized my whole wheat bread had milk products in it...again, will have to look for an alternative)
1 serving plain Sun Chips
2 TBS Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Fresh Veggies
3/4 of a Peach

The rest of that banana
1 serving raisins
1 serving almonds
Vanilla/Caramel Tea

Veggie Lover's pre-packaged salad topped with sunflower seeds, blueberries, and a raspberry vinaigrette
1 smallish baked potato topped with Salsa
A few Kashi garlic crackers (kind of like Triscuits)
Water and a little bit of Alyssa's organic low-sugar berry lemonade she wanted me to try

A bag of simply salted all-natural microwave with no butter or milk products that I sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning

Struggles so far: Called to RSVP for my cousin's wedding and they had no vegetarian option for dinner.
Solution: I ordered the roast beef. I'll give my beef to Jeremy and hopefully there will be a baked potato or something else that I can eat. Also, I'm hoping Jeremy will let me eat his salad as well as my salad and maybe there will some whole grain bread or something.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Watch out Bob and Larry!

OK, I've started something new today and I need for you not to laugh at me hysterically. I'm going to try a vegan diet for 40 days (and 40 nights as Alyssa said when I was talking about it with her Daddy). Basically I'm cutting out all milk, egg, and meat products during this time. This also means most sugars and goodies since so many of them are made with at least one of these products. Jeremy thinks I'm a little on the loopy side for doing this but I'm curious. How much of a difference will it make in the way I feel? I'm not just talking about weight loss - although I am hoping that will come into play here. I'm wondering about my struggle with allergies and sinus headaches, energy levels, and dealing with pain due to Fibromylagia, etc. Will I be better able to keep up with my 3 1/2 year old? Will I just have a healthier me in the long run if I stick to mostly raw fruits and veggies and whole grain foods? So, today's the day! And, I'm making it really hard on myself by blogging about it. For the next 40 days I'm going to try to blog at least a small blurb about what I ate that day simply for accountability. And, other days I may also include the struggles I'm facing in keeping to this plan or, hopefully, the benefits I'm realizing as a result! So, please pray for me. Granted, today is day one but...so far so good. I can only do this with God's help and strength, though, so there's some direction for prayer if you feel so inclined! Thanks! Jill <><

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some things just DON'T make sense!

Tomorrow Jeremy and Alyssa and I will catch a flight to Charlotte, NC to be with the family of a very close friend who passed from this life into the arms of Jesus last Saturday at 9:11 pm ET. Tara Rinehart (second from left in the photo above or my current Facebook profile picture) was only 35; the mother of two adorable kiddos that she was completely devoted to; the supportive, loving wife to John; friend to thousands.

Jeremy and I first met the Rineharts when we joined a married couples' Sunday School class at Central Church of God in Charlotte about 7 years ago. We were struck right away by the natural, real, and openly vulnerable style of this big guy and small woman who'd soon become two of the closest friends we've had in our married life together. They obviously loved Jesus but there was no stuffy, churchy language in this class. There was no spiritual pretense. This class was like nothing we'd experienced before. It was a Married Couples class that was actually a Biblically based challenge to work on our marriages week after week. It forced us to take a real, honest look at our relationship that was sometimes funny and sometimes painful...but always necessary.

In John and Tara we found friends we could completely be ourselves with. Friends who'd experienced a little more life than most people and lived through it, so they weren't surprised by much. Friends who made Jesus their number one priority without ever coming across as pious, judgmental, or condescending. We were so excited to be able to continue our friendship when Jeremy and I moved to Peoria in 2004.

Then we got the email in 2006...Tara had found a lump under her arm. Surely it was nothing. Then...it wasn't nothing. It was cancer. For the next three years through the struggles and the victories a story of faith unfolded that I'd never personally encountered. Tara and John showed strength in ways I can't even begin to explain. And, yet, they were still there for others...heading up missions trips, reaching out, helping out, loving. All of this on top of raising a family. And then, things took a turn for the worse. Surely God would heal her right? Her whole life was service to Him. She breathed obedience to the One who had created her and saved her. She would be healed and He would get the credit...right?

Well, her healing wasn't the kind we were all praying for. She and John will never celebrate a 20th, 25th, or 50th wedding anniversary. Tara won't get to raise her beautiful 8 year old daughter and super smart 7 year old son. She'll never tease me again about an insecurity I'm struggling with in that gently sarcastic but loving way that helps me look at things more objectively. She'll never serve us Cheese Pie or any of her yummy recipes again or take us on in Boggle, Scene It, or that game where you see which couple knows each other best. She'll never co-lead another short term missions trip or finish the photo project she was working feverishly on just two short weeks ago.

BUT...she is with the one she did all those things for! She is WITH JESUS! That's where the hope is, isn't it? And in the fact that in the big picture...HIS big picture...there's a reason for this. No one knows what will happen on Friday when the so many who loved Tara will gather to remember and honor this unique woman. No one knows how God will use this seemingly senseless death to bring life to others.

Does that make it easier for her husband and kids right now? No. Does it fill the hole in our lives that she filled? Of course not. But, there IS hope! There IS JESUS! Thank you, God, for Tara Rinehart. Thank you for the time we had with her on earth and the time we'll spend with her, and YOU, in eternity! And, please help me not to be mad at You! Help me in my time of doubt and hurting. And thank You for being able to handle my questions, fears, and anger!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things you DON'T say to a three-year-old!

The other day Alyssa and I were in the car where we tend to have some pretty deep Mommy/Daughter conversations. Is it like that for you and your kiddos? Anyway, Alyssa wanted to know if Mommies and Daddies sometimes have time-outs too. I told her that no, grown-ups don't usually get time-outs for bad choices but that there are other consequences we face for doing something we shouldn't or for not doing something we should. This of course prompted a VERY CUTE "like what, Mommy?" So, the first thing that came to mind was showing up for work. I told her, "Well, if Mommy decided not to go to work when she was supposed to she could lose her job, you know...I could get fired." Yeah, I totally wasn't thinking when I said the word fired! But without missing a beat Alyssa came right back with, "But I would save you from the fire, Mommy!" Does it get any cuter than that? :) Of course I then had to explain for the rest of the ride home why being fired doesn't mean actually being SET on fire. But, that initial response kept me glowing the rest of the day!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is that what I ordered?

Just got back from a quick run to Arby's. It's been a crazy day...dozens of errands and work projects to wrap up before leaving on vacation tomorrow morning. So, of course, in all the chaos I forgot my healthy, pre-portioned, whole grain lunch at home in the freezer. No problem...had to go back out for a couple of things anyway and decided to pick up a sandwich and drink. So, I ordered the small combo to save a little money because, let's face it, a dollar at Arby's doesn't go nearly as far as it does at, say, McDonald's. I thought at least I'll be smart and get the SMALL in order to conserve a little on the fat and calories. Well, I thought I was ordering the small. When I received my order I was given a drink that I believed would be a medium by today's standards and what would have been considered a large soda a few years ago. I asked just to make sure and the lady helping me said, "Oh, yeah, that's a small. They get a LOT bigger than that!"

I can't BELIEVE how large the drinks and food servings are getting these days. And then we wonder why we're all struggling with our weight? It's crazy!!! I do have to say I made at least ONE wise dietary choice by giving away half of the fries to Jay, our promotions intern. He's young...he'll burn it off, right?

Note to self...order salads and water on the road trip!

Hey, have a great week and a very happy Fourth of July celebration with your family. After today Jeremy and I will be off for several days. We're looking forward to being back on the air on Monday, July 13 for Doing Life with the Traceys on 91.5 WCIC!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The way we ate when we were kids...

I don't know about you...but I really wish I would have become more disciplined in my eating habits when I was younger. Instead, I distinctly remember going swimming with my friend, Stacey, every afternoon in the summer. This would make us ravenously hungry so we'd go back to my house and promptly pool our money and order not a small, not a medium, but a LARGE pizza for just the two of us which we would then devour. And, yes, we would usually eat the entire thing between just the two of us. If one of my brothers were home we might give them a (emphasis on A) piece depending on how generous we were feeling. And, sometimes we'd toss a few pieces of crust to the beloved family dog, Benji. Yup, we had no idea just how much we were harming not only ourselves but an innocent animal as well with our dietary choices on those hot and humid days. So, our nutrition for the day would usually consist of some chips and sodas consumed at the pool, 1/2 a large pizza, and whatever our Moms were serving for dinner that night when they got home from work. Healthy, huh? And I wonder why it's so hard to practice self control now in my thirties...almost forties!!

Looking back on all of this I know without a doubt that I want to give Alyssa a hand in learning to make healthy choices and developing a taste for yummy nutritious food instead of yummy not-so-much-in-the-nutrition-department foods. And, I know the older she gets the harder that's going to be since I will have less and and less control in this area. So, what do you do to help the older kids and teens eat healthy even when they have to fend for themselves? Share your ideas! And, thanks for the help! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Last Birthday in my 30's!

This is it...the final birthday I'll ever have in my 30's. How did it get here so quickly?! Wasn't I 19 like five minutes ago? You can't expect me to believe twenty years have flown by while I was busy doing other things.

When I stop to think about some of the things I'd like to accomplish before I turn 40 and then realize I now only have ONE YEAR to do them...it can be a little overwhelming. I've never visited the Grand Canyon. I haven't learned to speak fluent Spanish. I haven't lost those 40 pounds that have been dogging me for the last 3-4 years. And so on and so on. I'm sure you have things you'd still like to do but don't know when or IF you'll ever get to cross them off that proverbial list. I am SO there!

But, I can't complain really. Look at what I have to celebrate...a God who loves me unconditionally and gave me the best gift ever in Jesus. A husband who is truly committed to me and a LOT of fun to be with. A daughter who brings me so much joy and inspiration day in and day out. A family that supports me. A job that I enjoy. Friends that enrich me. So...BRING IT old age. I think I can handle it.

And, who knows...maybe I'll actually do some of those things on my list this year after all!

Have a great weekend! ~ Jill

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Becoming a Grown Up...is it possible?

The other day on Doing Life with the Traceys we talked about when you knew that you were a grown up and we heard a lot of great stories. I think most of us definitely grew up in a hurry when we became parents, don't you? There's just something about realizing you are now responsible - COMPLETELY responsible - for a teeny, tiny, helpless human being that makes you braver somehow. I would say I fit into the category of people who GREW UP a lot at that point in life. It was just a little later for me than most since I didn't become a Mommy until I was 35!

But, does this mean that I am officially a GROWN up? I mean, is that really a valid term...GROWN up? Does that mean that at some point the growing has come to an end? I don't think so. I mean, physically, yes, the growing UP one day ends. (Unfortunately for me, the growing OUT never really seems to end.) But, when it comes to growing in other ways...mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually, does the growing up ever end? I sure hope not. And, what about the desire for new adventures, thrill seeking, and risk taking?! I don't want that part of my life to ever stop. How about you?

I guess we could go with the term ADULT instead of GROWN UP. But, that can have some negative connotations, can't it? I tried to explain to Alyssa that she couldn't watch a movie the other day because it was an ADULT film. And, well, that just sounded wrong. Now I tell her that some movies are for Mommies and Daddies and not for kiddos that are just 3 1/2 years old. So, for this and other various reasons, I don't think ADULT quite describes what I've become at this point in life either. No, I think we need to coin a new term altogether.

I think we should call ourselves grow-ING ups. We're at that stage where we are older, more responsbile, and (hopefully) wiser. But, come on, we're not DONE growing! Whether we're 25, 35, 65, or 105...there's so much more to come. There's so much more life to experience and so much more growing to do. We can learn to open our hearts just a little more. We can learn to love just a little more. And, we can always learn more of God and experience more of a real relationship with Him.

Maybe this all has something to do with my final birthday in my 30's staring me right in the face. Maybe not. ;)

So, what do you think? Will you join me in becoming a grow-ING up?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Holiday Weekend Gone!

Do you ever feel a little bit of a let down after a Holiday Weekend like the one we just celebrated? I don't know about you but it seems that I look so forward to having a little time off...a little break in the routine. And, then, before I know it, it's gone! Then it's back to the regular mundane stuff of life...scheduling hair appointments, going to the grocery store - AGAIN, filling up the tank, cleaning the house - AGAIN! So, I'm thankful for the little breaks even if they're too fast. Otherwise I think life's to-do's would just overwhelm us all. Don't you? Remember when we were kids? Those special days were HUGE - three or four day weekends were EXTRAORDINARY and vacations were LEGENDARY! We hardly paid attention to the in between stuff. Now, at almost 40 years old, it seems like the in between stuff can be all there is sometimes. So, here's to the long weekends and the days off that help us refresh and better tackle the everyday! Hope you had a GREAT weekend!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rain, rain, go away!

Yet another rainy day in central Illinois! It's amazing how much the weather affects my mood. Yesterday with the sunshine and the warm temps, I had so much energy. Today, I think I could sleep all day if I had the chance. Does it affect you like that too? Well, at least I remembered my umbrella before I left to do Doctor's appointments and drop offs at school and work. So, today I'm sleepy but not soaking wet like I was while I was running errands on Wednesday! :)

Hopefully we'll have a little sunshine for ya this afternoon on Doing Life with the Traceys. We'll find out whether a new release this weekend is Family Friendly at 3:21. And, at 4:31 we're going to take a short poll to see whose family is attending the most recitals or end of year concerts this month. There just might be a prize for the winner. Tune in to 91.5 WCIC to see if you win!

In the meantime, stay dry and awake!!!

Happy Weekend, Jill <><

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Variety is a good thing...right?

Tonight Jeremy and I decided to stop by KFC for dinner. Thing is...we couldn't agree on what we wanted. I wanted a bucket of grilled, he wanted Original Recipe. Alyssa didn't care, she was just bummed that we were still going to be eating at home instead of in the restaurant. But, she doesn't stay bummed for long, so really she was pretty happy.

In steps the VARIETY BUCKET! We got the grilled chicken, the OR chicken strips, and Jeremy's favorite, hot wings! Boom, everybody's happy!

But, this got me thinking...there's so much variety in our world these days. Nobody ever has to give up what they want, or at least it seems that way. But, is all of this variety really a GOOD thing? What about when we're trying to teach Alyssa that you don't always get what you want? Could she argue that she could as long as we get a Variety Bucket? OK, OK, I am NOT blaming KFC for all the ails in the world and all of the problems with kids these days. Besides, they wouldn't sell the variety bucket if people weren't buying it, right? And, that goes for restaurants and retailers in general.

So, where is the problem? Is it with advertisers who dream of schemes of getting us to believe we deserve more, more, more?

I believe it's more of a human heart condition. It's a base desire to have everything we want right when we want it, isn't it? Advertisers in our country have just figured out a better way to tap into that desire.

It all goes back to free will. Sometimes I wish God would have made my heart in such a way that the only things I'd ever desire are the things that please Him, the things that are good for me and for others. But, that's up to me, isn't it? I've got to pursue that harder, less immediately gratifying path toward pleasing Him instead of myself. He doesn't push it on me. He simply waits and watches as I try Variety Bucket after Variety Bucket and eventually decide to turn to the ONE THING that truly satisfies my soul.

Hmmmm...all this from a bucket of KFC. Maybe it's indigestion. Regardless...I'm starting to think about it. How about you?

Monday, May 11, 2009

We're back!

Hello! Jeremy and I hope you've had an awesome week! We are still basking in the glow of memories of the Music Boat 2009. But, at the same time, we can't wait to talk with you this afternoon! Feel free to check out our photos on my Facebook profile page!

Oh, and speaking of warm weather memories...tomorrow afternoon on Doing Life with the Traceys on 91.5 WCIC we're going to be talking at 4:31 about researching summer camps for the kiddos. Any ideas on good questions to ask before they go? Also, we want to hear your favorite camp memories.

PLUS...don't forget that you and your family could enjoy a FREE family summer membership at the Clubs at River City in Peoria. That includes free admission to the outdoor pool ALL SUMMER LONG. Nothing wrong with that, right? Here's how you can win...join the Doing Life with the Traceys group on Facebook. That's it. Once we get to 500 members, we'll do the drawing. Everyone who's a member will automatically be included. The faster we get there, the faster you can win! So, tell your friends!!!

Have a great rest of your day and enjoy this BEAUTIFUL weather. Love to you!!! Jill <><

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taking advantage of those little moments

Got a chance to snuggle with Alyssa this morning and I'm still riding on that high. Isn't it invigorating to spend even a few moments with your child just tickling, hugging, kissing, and talking? I'm determined to spend more and more time each day focusing on these activities. And why not? It makes Alyssa feel secure in who she is and in the love her mommy (and daddy after snuggle time with him - see a small example in the photo) has for her and it completely energizes me! It's better than coffee, exercise, or even a girls' night out. So, why don't I do it more? Ah the struggles of balancing work, home, and family, huh?

What's your favorite way to connect with your child?

Oh, and a reminder...if you posted a comment on Friday, April 17's blog entry, I need to know where to send your 91.5 WCIC reusable shopping bag! Email me your address at jill@wcicfm.org!

Wishing you lots of kiddie cuddles today!!! Jill <><

Friday, April 17, 2009

Super Why's in a Movie to teach Kids about Going Green!

I've been a little confused about whether this movie is already playing and have finally found out that YES it is playing on Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of April at the Rave in Peoria. I'm so psyched. Alyssa ADORES Super Why and also Word World, who's characters join Super Why in this full length feature film called Earth Days. Its centered on introducing toddlers and preschoolers to the idea of taking good care of our planet. So, I'm thinking Mommy/Daughter date! :) Really, it's a win/win. We get to spend quality fun time together without the hustle and bustle of the weekdays. And, I get to introduce my three year old to Going Green. Pretty cool, huh?

So, here's my question for you...how do you introduce the concepts of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle to your kids? Have you found something that works better at one age than another? Please let me know and you could win a way to go green yourself. The first 25 people who post a comment to today's blog entry will receive a 91.5 WCIC reusable grocery bag/tote. Super cool, huh? And, we just might use your ideas on the air next week!

So, send us your ideas and tell your super GREEN friends about it, too! And, maybe I'll see YOU at the movies! Have a great weekend, my friend! :0)

Jill for the Traceys <><

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter '09 Memories

We hope you had a fantastic Easter Weekend with your family. The Traceys celebrated by attending church and then heading to Grandma and Papa's house for lunch and time with family. Alyssa's cousins, Brandon and Derek, (and my sister, Jennifer) joined us for a little Resurrection Rolls making.

They were so cool because when you bake them they come out of the oven hollow, just like Jesus' tomb was empty on that glorious Sunday Morning two thousand years ago. Thanks so much to Dawn who emailed the awesome idea to us. You can get the recipe for next year. We've posted it on the Doing Life with the Traceys page at www.wcicfm.org.

All in all, we really feel Alyssa is starting to understand the true meaning of Easter. That it goes way beyond bunnies, chocolates, and baskets. But, she still enjoys those things. Who doesn't? I know I still do and always will. But, the true joy is in celebrating Jesus' resurrection with your loved ones and looking forward to the promise of Heaven and our forever future!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Well, the day I'd been anticipating, albeit with a trace of dread in my heart, finally arrived. Jeremy and I took part in the Lakeview Museum Interplanetary 5-K in Peoria this past Saturday. And, let me just say, WOW am I SLOW!!! :) It's OK, I expected to be slow and I really don't care that I came in dead last...beaten by EVERYONE by at least 5-6 minutes. All I wanted to do was FINISH THE RACE. And, I did. And, even though I was last my time of 42:15 was about five minutes faster than when I ran the distance in training. That's pretty cool! Now I can actually say I have run in a 5-K race. Amazing! Never in my life would I have dreamt of achieving such a feat. And, I'm even thinking about the next one...isn't that unbelievable? Of course thinking and TRAINING are two different things, aren't they? :)

OK, I have to back up just a little. When I say I came in last, that's not exactly true. My wonderful husband came in last and NOT because he had to. He ran right next to me for the entire race at MY pathetically slow pace so he could encourage me to keep going. Everytime I wanted to give up he was right there with a word of encouragement, reminding me that it was a great accomplishment to just be IN the race and that I COULD make it to the finish line. Then, at the very last leg of the trip...he dropped behind me so that I wouldn't be the last runner to come in. What a GUY, huh? He's my sweetie!To see more pictures, check out the Doing Life with the Traceys group on Facebook. It was a great day and I'm so glad I got out there and did it. And, I just want to encourage you...whatever it is that you've been THINKING about doing...whatever challenge you're facing...you CAN DO IT! Just find a friend or loved one to run the race with you and to help you keep going when everything inside of you SCREAMS that you can't! Latch on to that person who will remind you that with Jesus you can do ANYTHING. And, you know what? You can!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tomorrow's the BIG DAY!

I never thought I'd EVER hear myself say, "I'm running a 5-K tomorrow". But, wow, I GUESS stranger things have happened, huh? It's amazing what you can do with Jesus and your husband at your side. If you're available tomorrow morning and want to join us, we'll be taking part in the Lakeview Museum Interplanetary Run at Detweiller Park in Peoria at 9 am. I'm pretty sure you can still register at the event. You can find out more at www.lakeview-museum.org. We'll be sure to post some pictures after the BIG DAY! :) Please pray for me!!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Amazing Faith

Hello! Jeremy and I just had to share this news story with you out of Ft Mill, S.C. Our dear friends, John and Tara Rinehart, have been waging a battle against breast cancer as Tara received news that she had a regional recurrence of the disease back in July. She has fought and fought with chemicals and other treatments. Now, she has decided to go the all natural route and trust God for the outcome. She knows it is not what God puts on the heart of every person facing this awful disease. But, she believes it's the way He is leading her. Please read Tara's story. We think her faith will encourage you and maybe someone you love. It has tremendously encouraged us in many ways as we continue to pray for her and for John and their two beautiful kiddos. Just click on the link for the news story!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Running Update ~ 3.11 MILES!!!

Just a quick note to let you know...I DID IT!!!! This past Saturday morning with Jeremy at my side I "ran" (slowly jogged) the entire length of my 5-K race in preparation for the Lakeview Planetary Run coming up on Saturday, April 4!! I absolutely could NOT have done it without Jeremy encouraging me and cheering me on every step of the way or, of course, without Jesus! :) I'm thrilled to know that I can actually cover the distance (on the treadmill at least) and hope now to simply better my time. It took me approximately 47 minutes to go 3.11 miles on Saturday. I know, I know, pathetic! :) But, wouldn't it be cool if I could shave off at least 5 minutes when I do the actual Run? Only time will tell - no pun intended! Thanks for your support in my training. And, don't forget to send us your Getting Healthy in '09 goal. Just go to the Doing Life with the Traceys page at www.wcicfm.org to find out all the details on how you can win an iPod Nano and a Running Central Family Footwear Fourpack!

Running for my health and to win the Ultimate Prize...Jill

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sharathon 09

THANK GOD and THANK YOU for a fantastic spring fundraiser for 91.5 WCIC! We are in awe of what's happened over the past few days. Record breaking hours, super duper challenges, and YOU making YOUR pledge. Every amount helped and we closed Sharathon this morning just after 9 am with 1,068 new members of Team 360!! Yeah!!!! Thank you so much!!!

Another highlight of Sharathon this year are the staff videos you can see at www.wcicfm.org. Or, just click on the link below. And, make sure you check out Jeremy's debut as a Magic Man (Dropping the Gauntlet)! :)

Videos :: Family Friendly Radio :: WCIC

Alyssa goes to Chuck E Cheese's

Alyssa experienced a first earlier this month...the ever popular Chuck E Cheese's! I'm not quite sure how our sweet girl made it past her third birthday without frequenting the little indoor amusement park that is CEC...but somehow she did! Her friend CJ was turning three and we helped him celebrate by playing the games, riding the rides, and eating the pizza. We were there at 10 am so we practically had the run of the place...not the story at other times, I've heard. Alyssa LOVED it!!! She wants to know when CJ will have a birthday again so she can go back to Chuck E Cheese's. I told her that she and Daddy and I will have to go sometime "just because". So, she's looking forward to that. And, I should probably warn our friends and family ahead of time...Alyssa wants HER next birthday party to be at...you guessed it! Have a great weekend in the meantime! ;)

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Heart's at Home!

Just want to send a shout out to our good friends at Hearts at Home. Their national conference for Moms is going on this weekend on the campus of ISU in Normal. The latest we've heard is that there are still walk-up registrations available for the Saturday session. Find out more at www.heartsathome.org or www.wcicfm.org! And, Jeremy and I hope to see you if you're at the conference tomorrow. We'll be at the 91.5 WCIC booth near the resource center/shopping area from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm in case you get a chance to stop by. We'd love to say HI and chat with ya a bit! Otherwise, have an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

She Did What?

I no longer have the ability to say that my sweet, mild mannered, compliant, three-year-old has never purposely destroyed anything in our home. On Sunday afternoon Jeremy went to wake Alyssa from a nap when he found her on the floor, sleeping away in the midst of a huge pile of items that had been stored in a tidy little white basket on the top of her dresser. We thought it was well out of reach for someone who's only three feet tall. Little did we know her capabilities as a monkey-like climber. She was able to grab the basket and pull it and it's contents down to the carpet. From there she proceeded to take the Baby Vick's and spread it all over her adorable pink with white polka-dots rug. Then she found those little baby nail scissors! What harm could those do, right? They have the rounded edges and can barely even cut her nails half the time. They're just not that sharp. Well, I guess they're sharp enough to make little tiny cuts up and down one of the panel of her sheer white/polka dotted curtains. Was it the polka dots? Maybe that's what inspired her to attack both the curtains and the rug. She did tell me later she wanted her dots from her curtains. So...maybe she was trying to cut one out?! Who knows! All we do know is we finally have one of THOSE stories to tell as Alyssa grows up about her sometimes mischevious nature. I guess I should be happy that she got past her third birthday before an episode like this took place! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Alyssa and I did each other's nails this morning after her bath! How fun to be able to do such girlie things with my little princess. And, I was impressed with her abilities. Although most of my nails are only half painted, she did stay ON the nail pretty much, which is better than I can do myself most of the time! Oh, the precious memories! Now Alyssa wants to paint DADDY'S nails next! :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Tank Trips - Fun but CHEAP Family Vacation Ideas

The phone lines lit up this afternoon with GREAT ideas for stuff to do with your family during Spring Break. With the economy as tough as it is a lot of folks are staying close to home this year. It reminded me of a trip our family took last June. We rode the train from Normal to Chicago just for the day and visited Navy Pier and the Children's Museum. So much FUN! Do you have ideas to add to the list? Just post a comment and let us know!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thank God for extra time!

Found myself with some extra time this morning. And, it's kind of ironic. Last night I told Jeremy it would be great if one of my meetings got canceled today so I could clean the house for our small group meeting tonight. And, it did. Now, I didn't pray for that to happen and I know it's most likely a coincidence. But, I'm feeling guilty because for the past 20 minutes...instead of getting a jump on the cleaning...I've been answering emails and posts on Facebook! So, I guess I should wrap this up and get moving on the cleaning. :) Just wanted to check in and say HI and HAPPY WEEKEND!!! Jill <><

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Race Update

Wanted to let you know...we've chosen the date for my first ever 5-K run. Jeremy and I are going to take part in the Lakeview Museum Interplanetary Family Fun run on April 4. It's at Detweiller Park in Peoria and is supposed to be all in the lower part of the park...meaning NO HILLS! YEAH! So, who wants to run with us?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Free to be Me

Have you ever noticed how we can base our opinions of ourselves on how we’re performing at the moment? I'm training to run a 5-K in a couple of months and I've had lots of ups and downs. One day I'm able to run a mile and a half. Then, the next time I go to the gym, I can’t even push myself to run one mile!

I've realized that on the days I do well I feel great about myself. I feel fit and like what I see in the mirror. But, on the days I struggle and, in my mind, FAIL, I'm down on myself in almost every conceivable way. It’s all based on my performance in one small area of my life. Have you ever been there? It reminds of the song we're playing right now by Francesca Battistelli, "Free to be Me". The line that says, "perfection is my enemy". Oh, I can SO resonate with that lyric!

Aren’t you glad God loves us no matter what? No matter how well our workout goes…no matter what promotion we get or don’t get…no matter how our children behave or MISbehave...no matter how we feel about ourselves!The Bible says God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And it says His love for us is forever! Maybe that will help us feel differently about ourselves!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Getting Healthy with the Traceys Update

Big News!! On Sunday I finally ran over 1.25 miles without stopping! I know, if you're a runner, this sounds utterly pathetic! But I'm that much closer too being able to run a 5-K in late March/early April! We just have to decide on WHICH 5-K!

Today I was a little bummed because I just couldn't push myself to go that far again. But, I'm taking it in stride and realizing there are going to be ups and downs as a I continue to train. So, I'll be back at it Friday morning! :)

Jeremy's doing a GREAT job with his Swimming Lessons. He starts week two tonight and so far only has one bump on the head as far as mishaps go. He's hoping to be able to swim those two lengths of the pool by the end of March.

Don't forget to tell us your Getting Healthy goal for 2009! You could win two free passes for a free week's membership at The Clubs at River City in Peoria. Plus you'll automatically be registered for the Grand Prize - an iPod Nano and a Running Central Family Footwear Four-Pack! Just go to the Doing Life with the Traceys page at www.wcicfm.org!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Alyssa was so excited to attend her first Valentine's Day party today. I can't wait to ask her how it went. I'll have to let you know. Jeremy is also so excited...he's looking forward to seeing how much candy Alyssa will bring home from the party. :) On a serious note, we just wanted to remind you that whether you're married, single, divorced, engaged, whatever...there is Someone who loves you more than you will ever know. We hope that this weekend will be a reminder for you of the awesome, eternal love our Father God has for you and expressed through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ!
Happy Valentine's Day from Jeremy, Jill, and Alyssa Tracey <><

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What a day!

I can't believe I was able to take Alyssa outside for a quick PBJ picnic lunch today! Who would have thought it could happen in the middle - not even quite the middle - of FEBRUARY! All I can say is we NEEDED that after the llllllooooooonnnngggg period of SUPER COLD days we've experienced in central Illinois this winter. So, what have you and your family been doing to take advantage of the nicer days lately? Post a comment and let us know!

Friday, February 6, 2009

How'd you meet your spouse?

We had so much fun listening to all the cool and unusual stories of how people met their spouses. It made us think about the day we met. It was January 10, 2000 at a radio station in Charlotte, NC. Jill was co-hosting the Morning Show and part of her responsibilities included writing and reading News headlines. Well, she had left the room to rip a feed off of the station's AP wire. When she returned to the studio, the "new guy" was sitting in her seat! He had been asked by the station manager to come in early for a "welcome to the station" interview by the Morning Show team. Jill, however, was unaware of this fact and at the moment she only had about 30 seconds to try to say "Hello" in a nice way and also get into place for her hourly newscast. Suffice it to say that, instead of an instant love connection, Jeremy got the impression that the morning girl was a little too task-oriented! :) Thankfully he got over that first impression and eventually asked Jill to marry him!

The phones were ringing off the hook yesterday with friends telling the fun story behind how they met the love of their lives. If you didn't get a chance to call and still want to share...just post a comment with your story. Maybe we can read it on Doing Life with the Traceys during "Love Week"!

Have a great weekend and God bless you! ~ Jeremy and Jill Tracey <><

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Ground Hog Day!

Isn't it funny how a certain date on the calendar brings back old feelings? Today is one of those days for me. Ground Hog Day always brings back the feelings of pregnancy. All the ups and downs, queasiness, cravings, excitement, and inability to sleep comfortably. Our precious girl, Alyssa, was actually due on Ground Hog day back in 2006. So, the entire time we were expecting we often referred to her as our little Ground Hog. We joked that we were wondering if she was going to pop out her head and decide to go back inside for six weeks. And, believe me, the longer I was pregnant the more I feared that something like this could actually happen. :)

But, the idea of our little Ground Hog arriving on February 2nd was bypassed quickly on the morning of January 9th when we found ourselves rushing to the ER with complications and found out we would be "delivered" that day. I remember I had to verify what the Dr. meant by that. "You mean we're going to have the baby...today?!" And, while we didn't actually have her that day, we did the next, and we were SO unprepared. We had only taken one childbirth class and I hadn't even BEGUN the nursing classes. Talk about waiting until the last minute! So, we didn't get a Ground Hog after all! Instead we very nearly found ourselves with a New Years' baby and we couldn't have been happier to have bonus time with our little Princess.

This morning I was remembering the days of waiting for Alyssa to come while I was watching her take part in her weekly gymnastics class. Wow, did three years fly by! There she was doing a forward roll all by herself and I was reminiscing of the days when she fluttered and kicked and struggled with hiccups in my tummy. What fun memories. And, what better way to get over the fact that the old Ground Hog just predicted another six weeks of winter for us?!

Friday, January 30, 2009


Isn't if funny how we feel so differently about snow when it comes at the end of January or in February than when it happens at the end of November? One time of the year brings out the "oohs" and the "aaahs" and the other brings out the moans and the groans. Be sure to let us know how you react to yet another snow fall on our weekly poll to the left of the page.

I think what makes it so hard for the Traceys is that there's all this awesome white stuff on the ground and it's TOO COLD to go outside and enjoy it. So, we just try to keep Alyssa otherwise occupied. Someone gave us the idea of bringing the snow in; using a bucket or plastic storage bin to transport it inside so you and your kids can play in it without having to brave the freezing cold. I'll have to try that. And, if you have an idea for making winter time fun even when it's just too cold to go outside...let me know!

Happy Friday! Jill <><

Friday, January 23, 2009


I know it's still a long way from a 5-K, but I finally did it! Something I haven't done in years if ever...I RAN A WHOLE MILE AT ONCE...without stopping! I know, it's not that big a feat (no pun intended)...but for me this is HUGE! It means that maybe running 3.11 miles is actually achievable. It means I'm not so pathetic after all. Well, unless you look at HOW LONG it took me to run that mile (14:51). But, that's not the point. The point is that I've conquered A WHOLE MILE! YEAH!!!!!!
I now know for sure - ALL things are possible with Jesus!
What victories are you celebrating today? Leave a comment and let us know. Maybe we'll get to read it on the air during Doing Life with the Traceys!
Have a fantastic weekend,
Jill for the Traceys <><

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Time really DOES fly

I realized it's been almost two weeks already since Alyssa's birthday and I haven't written anything about her big day. Yes, I've been busy. But, I also think the whole thing is a little emotional for me, you know? I mean, wow, it's amazing how FAST time really DOES FLY! Of course when you're pregnant or taking care of an infant everyone tells you the time will fly. And you know in your head that the years will pass quickly. But in the middle of feedings, diapers, baths, diapers, playing, diapers, sleeplessness, and...diapers - it kind of feels like you will have a baby forever! But then the baby learns to sit up, to crawl, to walk. And, before you know it you're having complete conversations with the tiny toddler in the back seat as you're running errands around town. And then she turns three and you feel like you haven't even had time to blink. A few weeks ago I actually asked Alyssa if she would PLEASE stop growing and she said YES! So, I'm going to try to hold her to that! :)

The party was a lot of fun. Alyssa's family and a couple of friends gathered to wish her a Happy Birthday. She had a cake with Rocket from the Little Einsteins on it...something she was REALLY looking forward to. Grandma bought her and her doll, Millie, matching birthday dress outfits. And, of course, Alyssa received lots of wonderful gifts. It was a precious sight to see this little girl SO EXCITED about having a birthday. I couldn't help but think of the words in the Bible about Mary, the mother of Jesus. They didn't have digital cameras or scrapbooks or videos on DVD back then. But, I love how the Bible takes time to focus on how the Mommy was feeling during all of the incredible events that took place after Jesus' birth. Luke 2:19 says, "Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often." Now there's a true Mommy Moment, huh? I'm so fortunate to have pictures and recordings of the special events in my child's life. And, some day I'll get around to getting them scrapbooked for posterity - some day! But, I will always quietly treasure these things in my heart and think about them often!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thank You Notes!

Why is it that a simple act of gratitude seems like such a HUGE task to take on? Here we are almost three weeks after Christmas and I haven't even begun to construct my list for Thank You notes. And, it's not like I have hundreds of people to write to. So, why does it seem like an impossible mountain instead of a fun mole hill? I really am so thankful for all of the wonderful gifts our family received this year. And, I really, REALLY want the precious friends and family members who gave them to us to KNOW how thankful I am. And, yet, it still seems like a chore. Like something I HAVE to do rather than a joyful expression of my thankfulness. What is wrong with me?! Am I alone in this? I probably should have used the time I just spent blogging on busting out a few thank you notes, right? I'm thinking time management is my biggest issue here.

I guess part of what makes it seem like a chore is that we just got our Christmas cards out of the way and that was definitely a sprint. And, Alyssa's birthday was on Saturday. So, now I need to add those gifts to the list. OR is it bad form to send a combined thank you for the Christmas Gift AND the Birthday Gift note? Probably so, huh? I guess there's no better way to get it done than to just jump in and get started!

What's your system for getting fun and meaningful thank you notes in the mail in a timely manner? Oh, and while you're here...THANK YOU for reading our blog and THANK YOU for Doing Life with the Traceys!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries on the Oprah Show


It's truly an amazing story!

Penn does a little talking

An amazing wake up call from someone who doesn't follow Jesus. But, hopefully, one day he will. Watch this and let us know what you think!

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy and Jill <><

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sinus Trouble

How can one little part of your body cause SO much pain? It all started for me Tuesday evening with some sneezing and a scratchy throat. By Tuesday night I knew I was in trouble. Wednesday morning...no question...I had either a sinus infection or a serious cold. Regardless, my face felt like a Mack Truck had tried to drive through it and every time I coughed or sneezed...well let's just say it wasn't pretty. The Mommy side of me is so concerned that Jeremy will get whatever I've got. And that means that our daughter, Alyssa, is right behind him. And, her birthday is on Saturday! I really don't want my little girl to be sick on her birthday! What Mama would want that? So, I'm doing a lot of kisses on the back of the head so I don't pass on my yucky germs. And, I'm surprised I have any skin left on my hands with all the washing and sanitizing! This morning the plight continues and I'm seeing it as an opportunity to whine a little bit. I know I know, what's new right? Actually, I'm feeling a little bit better and may even be able to trudge into work this afternoon. I wonder if anyone would mind if I show up in my jammies? :)

Seriously, the pain and dizziness are reminding me of something. They're making me think of my dear friend in South Carolina who is battling breast cancer for the second time. The tumor is refusing to shrink this time and is causing chronic daily pain for my sweet girlfriend. And, whenever she tries to treat the pain, her body reacts severely to the pain medication. I'm also reminded of many other friends and family members who face debilitating pain every single day. So, yes, I feel yucky. Yes, my face and head ache. Yes, it's OK to whine and let my husband go out for soup from Panera to make me feel better. But, I'm also reminded of the gift of my health the other 90 percent of the year. Usually I can jump up and do whatever I want to do. I'm training for my first 5K and it's actually something I have the ability (if not yet the endurance) to do. Usually I can walk around my house getting things done without feeling dizzy and lightheaded. Usually. So, while I'm really looking forward to the return of "normal", I'm also thanking God that I have a "normal" to return to. How about you?

Have a healthy day!!!! Jill <><

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year

Looking ahead to a new year is even more exciting through the eyes of a child don't you think? We were so fortunate to ring in the New Year with our friends the Davises and the Fruendts and their adorable kiddoes. We feasted on pizza, wings, appetizers, cookies, and an assortment of leftover Christmas goodies. Basically everything that's bad for you - Yummy! I think the sugar overload helped all the little ones stay up until Midnight. :) My favorite part of the evening had to be when we turned on the TV at about 11:58 to watch the ball drop in Times Square. All the kids and adults got involved in the 10 second countdown. Then the three year olds toasted each other with sparkling Apple Juice in their sippy cups. They were actually saying, "Cheers!" So cute! They may not have known what the excitement was all about but they were excited nonetheless! Just seeing the glow of fun in their eyes was a great start to 2009 for all of the adults. How can anything in the world be wrong when pre-schoolers are having a party? We hope the New Year has started well for you and that maybe there's a little hint of child-like anticipation for what God will do in 2009 in your home! God bless you!!!