Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Change has Arrived!

Hello Friends!

We're so proud to announce the brand new web site for Doing Life with the Traceys. You can find it at www.doinglifewiththetraceys.org or by going to the 91.5 WCIC site at www.wcicfm.org, clicking "on the air" and then choosing Doing Life with the Traceys in the drop-down menu. 

With the unveiling of the new site, we are transferring this blog to the brand new blog on the new site. So, you will no longer see updates on this blog.

We'll be chatting with you about about family life, show stuff like articles and interesting links, and other fun things. I really hope you'll join us on the new site. One other cool thing...on the new site you'll find out about blog-only giveaways, so be sure to subscribe to follow the blog and site updates!

Thanks for Doing Life with us on blogspot and we'll see you at www.doinglifewiththetraceys.org!

Jeremy and Jill

Friday, July 29, 2011

The winds of change are a-blowin' :)

Hey, Everyone!

I'm so excited to say that change is on the way! I know the posts have been rather infrequent lately, but some big things are in the works. Please stay tuned for more updates!

In the meantime, have a great weekend! LOVE!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom is never, EVER, free!


Are ya ready for the Fireworks? The Traceys sure are. Happy 4th of July to you!

As we gear up for the Holiday festivities, I was thinking about the old saying, "Freedom is never free!" I love that and it always comes to mind at times like this. Freedom really is never free whether we're talking about the freedoms we experience in this incredible country of ours or the eternal freedom we have because of what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago.

The free gift of God's grace makes all of us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. ~ Romans 3:24 (NIRV)

No, the liberty we have in this country to live where we want to live, say what we want to say, do what we want to do, and worship in they way we choose did not come freely. Those freedoms have been bought and continue to be paid for by the sacrifice of the men and women of our nation's military. If you are now serving or have ever served our country in this way, THANK YOU! Your sacrifice means so much for the rest of us. And, thank you to the military families as well.

Just as our civic freedoms have been purchased by someone else's sacrifice, our eternal freedom has been paid for us. But, the good news continues...this freedom is paid in full! When Jesus gave up His life as the payment for all of our wrongs, He took care of the check for the rest of ALL TIME! Now there's something to "ooh" and "aah" about.

Is this freedom something you can enjoy? Do you have questions about all this Jesus stuff? We'd love to chat with you. Just leave a comment on today's post. And, have a great Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Caribbean Dreamin'

Our daughter, Alyssa, posing on an island in the Caribbean
I LOVE days like today and yesterday. The sky is SO blue. The breeze is JUST right. The sun is warm but gentle and the birds' songs are melodious. You would think I'd love for the weather to be like this all the time. Well of course I would, there's just one problem...I can't get anything DONE! Are ya feelin' me? Every thirty seconds I stop typing, researching, show-prepping, or whatever, and just stare out the window at this picture perfect day.

There's nothing at all to complain about, I guess I'm just wondering if it's OK to daydream off and on throughout the workday because I've been revisiting the island in the Caribbean Jeremy, Alyssa, and I got to enjoy in February on our big family vacation. This weather puts me right back there and I want to start looking for some seashells and building a sand castle. Anybody wanna join me? We'll just be gone for a few minutes and then it's back to work.

What's your favorite thing to do on a day like today?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting past "fine", "nothing", & "I don't know"

I've noticed a pattern already when it comes to asking my 5-year-old about her day. In fact, I heard it again just a few minutes ago. I had called my mom after Vacation Bible School pick-up to see how Alyssa enjoyed the second day.

"What was the best part of the morning?" I asked expectantly.

"Right now, being with Grandma!" She bounced back.

"Oh, that's great! And, what was the best part of VBS?"

"Right n-  OH! (giggles) Um...doing the verse (for her teacher)."

Did you catch it? I've been hearing it a lot lately. At dinner when I ask what was the best part of her day she'll shout out, "Right now!" We've always responded with "Aw"'s and "That's so sweet"'s. But, I'm on to her. "Right Now!" is her version of  "fine", "nothing", and/or "I don't know". Aaaack! Aren't these a parent's most dreaded responses? And, isn't she a little young to have a pat answer?

So, I need to put a little more work into getting some real answers from my little girl. Here are some questions I think might mix things up a bit:

What story did the teacher tell in class today?

Did you have broccoli and spinach for snack?

What was your favorite song during music time?

I'll be adding more to my repertoire as I go along. But, I'm determined to get the real AND the full story from my daughter. I truly want to connect with her and find out what's going on in her beautiful little head and heart.

What gets your kids talking in the car or at the dinner table?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Random Fun Facts for a Friday...and a Random Giveaway!

Today work started, like most days, with a post on facebook. It was a Random Fun Fact I'd found on my eNewsletter from BabyCenter.com: Did you know that butterflies have about 1,200 eyes? But they're clustered together, so they kind of look like one big eye. Just a little randomness for a Friday. Well, right away three or four friends commented with their own fun facts and that's when the lightbulb went off. How about a Random Fun Fact for Friday Random Giveaway?! Yeah, it's a long title, but it just came to me!

I'm sure you have some  Random Fun Fact stored in that incredible brain of yours. Here's you chance to let it out to shine, baby! Share your Random Fun Fact as a comment on this blog post and you could win. What's the prize? We'll draw a few winners at random and send them, well, a random prize. Could be a T-Shirt, could be a CD...could be TICKETS to Faith and Family Night with the Peoria Chiefs, Lincoln Brewster, and this year's Opening Act winner. I'm just saying...it COULD be. But, you'll never know until you win. And, you'll never win until you comment on this post with your favorite Random Fun Fact. Make sure you include an email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

We'll post the Radom Winners Monday morning right here on the blog. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Best feeling in the world!

I used to think the best feelings came from the thrill of riding a roller coaster or the heart pangs of the beginning stages of infatuation. But, I had no idea what was waiting for me as a Mommy! This morning as I dropped off my five year old at Grandma's house, I experienced one of the most incredible moments of my life.

I was getting into the car to leave and Alyssa said, "Mommy, I'll help you close the door!" She pushed the door closed and pressed her little face up against my window and yelled through the closed pane, "I love you!" Her eyes twinkled, her little nose crinkled and she smiled that smile that only comes from a truly happy little heart. Then she blew me several kisses one right after the other. And then she was gone. And I was flying high!

Knowing how much my girl loves me and how happy she is tells me three things:

She knows she is loved by her Mommy and Daddy

She knows her Mommy and Daddy love each other

She knows she is loved by God

I mean, think about it, aren't these the three things it all really comes down to? Aren't these the things that make a child feel confident and secure? And then, knowing these three important things, a child can be truly happy. I know I know, it's a lot to take away from one little moment. And, yes, of course, a child can feel confident and secure in a single parent home as well. But somehow this morning that brief interaction spoke volumes to my heart and encouraged me in a way few others have!

Tell me about a favorite moment you've shared with one of your kids or a loved one recently. What did it speak to your heart?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Last Day of School!

Alyssa at 2 1/2 when she started at Redeemer
They say the first day of school is so hard for the Mommies. They're lying. The first day of school is exciting, happy, new! The LAST day of school is the one that's emotional!!
Alyssa on the 1st day of Pre-K this yr
(SIGH) I just dropped off Alyssa for her very last day of preschool and childcare and I can't keep from tearing up just a little. It's amazing to ponder all of the changes she's experienced in the almost three years we've been at Redeemer Lutheran in Peoria. She's learned to use the potty all by herself (for the most part...but we won't go there). She's learned her letters, her numbers, her colors, and how to listen to the teacher. She's transformed from not-so-sure-about-this-place to completely confident and ready for anything. She no longer uses a stroller, a bib, or a booster seat at the dinner table. So many phases and stages have come and gone in this short time. It's definitely the end of a chapter for the Traceys. We no longer have a little girl in the house. She's departed forever and has been replaced by a beautiful, smart, and hilarious big girl who's all ready for Kindergarten. I just want to know why no one waits for Mommy to be ready. Yeah, yeah, it's a good thing. It's the way of life. Kids are supposed to grow. And, I do look forward to the next big adventure. But, I won't hide it, this is emotional! I'll probably shed a tear or two at graduation tonight. (I'm sure I won't be the only one!) Then, I'll squeeze my sweetie and try to hold on to this age for as long as I can. That is, until she says, "Too tight, Mommy, too tight!"

Thank you to all the teachers, aides, helpers, and staff of Redeemer Lutheran Preschool and Childcare for three wonderful years. We love you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a FREE Resource & the winner of a "Child-Like-Fun" prize

Congratulations to melissaH! Melissa, thanks for posting what brings out your inner child. We've got a Child-Like-Fun prize pack for ya including a 91.5 WCIC t-shirt, portable picnic blanket, and a CD. Just email me at jill@wcicfm.org with your shirt size (Adult S-3X) and your mailing address. And, again, congratulations!

How about something else FREE? If you're looking for some encouragement and practical advice for your family in just about every area, you're not alone! Jeremy and I are always looking for some good, solid help and guess what? I just signed up to receive a F.R.E.E. subscription (yes, FREE) to Thriving Family, a bi-monthly magazine published by Focus on the Family. I'd picked up a sample issue this year at the Hearts at Home Conference for Moms in Bloomington and was very impressed. There were articles based on your child's age and what you might be facing, marriage issues, managing money, and more. Very practical and very positive! You can get a free subscription as well. Click on this link for all the info: http://www.thrivingfamily.com/Additions/subscribe-to-thriving-family-magazine.aspx.

I called the toll free number to order my free subscription and didn't have to give anything but my name and address. It looks like if you order on-line, you will have to provide your credit card numbers, but won't be charged anything. Thanks again for all the great posts and enjoy the free mag!

So, what's your favorite parenting or marriage resource? Share it with us in a comment!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So many distractions!

Hi! First a quick reminder...make sure to post a comment on yesterday's blog entry (5.10.11) to be in the running for a fun prize. Tell us what helps you bring out your inner child!

Today I want to share a quote that's really got me thinking. Stormie Omartian, author of The Power of a Praying Parent says:

There is so much in the world to divert our children's attention away from the things of God, and the Devil will come to each child with his agenda and plan to see if they will buy into it. But when we do our part to teach, instruct, discipline, and train our children in the ways of God, then our children will develop a hunger for the things of God.

This is challenging, convicting, and a little puzzling. How do you know for sure if your child is just being a five-year-old and getting really excited about a new passion in life (Star Wars and the Stars Wars Lego game on XBox360) or if the enemy is presenting a temptation to your child to keep her away from the things of God? We don't let Alyssa play video games every day. She plays on the weekend and for a limited amount of time. And, we try to keep her changing the games so it's not always the same one. We read the Bible together as a family. We pray together. We talk about the things of God throughout the day. Still, Stars Wars and that Star Wars Lego game seem to be on Alyssa's mind A LOT! She loves talking about Star Wars, acting it out in the car, playing the game when she's allowed, and now wants to find books at the library about...you guessed it...Star Wars.

So here's the dilemma...do we again shorten the time she's allowed to play? Do we take it away altogether for fear that it's becoming an obsession? Or do we keep on as we have been; allowing her to play for a limited time on the weekends only while making sure she's getting outside to play, ride her bike, etc.? My fear, if we take the game away completely, is that we'd be setting her up to resent us in later years. I mean, we can't remove everything she seems to have a passion for in life that's outside the "Christian Bubble", can we? What if the obsession becomes gymnastics, dance, or horse riding? Am I only afraid of this particular phase because it has to do with so often demonized video game industry?

Another question that comes to mind is, can we use this current interest to draw her nearer to God? We've already talked with her about how "The Force" is a mythical thing but that we, as followers of Jesus, do have a "force" within us that is called the Holy Spirit. A force that guides us to make the right choices and allows us to know more of God. We've talked about how God talks to her through His spirit, helping her make decisions in tough situations, like choosing to stay in bed during nap time even if Mommy's sleeping in the next room and won't hear her walking around.

I feel like we're doing a decent job exposing Alyssa to the things of God every day. But, I don't want to ignore an area that could potentially draw her away from those very things. This is where the hard stuff begins, I do believe.

So, what do you think? Have you faced a similar issue? How did you handle it? And, how do you help your child(ren) develop a hunger for the things of God?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh, to enjoy life like a kid again!

Do you remember losing yourself in having fun? I loved that about being a kid. And, I love to see it in my five year old. When exactly do we decide to enjoy life a little less? To hold back the pure bliss of riding around town with the windows down? Sad, really. I want to help my daughter hold on to that excitement for life as long as she can! So, tell us, how do you bring out your inner child? Comment on this post for a chance to win a 91.5 WCIC t-shirt, a portable blanket great for summer picnics, and a CD from one of the artists you hear on the station! Dig deep and find that zeal once again!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Traceys Ditched Bedtime!

So last night we were planning on heading home, getting Alyssa to bed on time, and then settling in to watch "Makeover Week" on The Biggest Loser. But then Jeremy got a text from Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave. He said he'd heard a rumor that we might be coming out for their concert at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington and was hoping he'd get to hang out with us a bit. Well, Jeremy and Mike always have a lot of fun when they get together, so my first instinct was to say yes. Of course, who wouldn't want to see BDW, Chris Sligh, AND Luminate? Crossroads always puts on a GREAT show and the people are so friendly (they gave Alyssa pizza and cookies last night which makes them rock stars in her mind). Plus, it would be something different. GOING OUT ON A SCHOOL NIGHT? We almost never do that, at least not all three of us together. By the time we get off work, pick up Alyssa, get home, and have dinner together, it's usually time for her to head off to bed. So, the thought of breaking the routine for just one night was more than intriguing. After a few minutes of debate back and forth we decided to go for it!

And, we are SO GLAD WE DID! Jeremy and Mike got to hang out quite a bit and they were having a great time laughing, trading stories, and looking up funny stuff on the iPhone (I know, surprise with iPhone, right?). They even recorded a short video together which Jeremy will post soon. Alyssa loved the fact that not only did she get to meet Mr. Mike, but then he sat with us, and then she got to hear him sing!

All three artists were terrific. Luminate is very young but extremely talented. I look forward to more great stuff from them. Jeremy loved the lead singer's vulnerability about the fears he faces in life. Chris Sligh...in a word...HILARIOUS. The singing was good, too. And of course, Big Daddy Weave, one of my all time faves. They never disappoint. The energy and professionalism combined with the heart and 'relatability' (I think I just made up a word) is matched by very few artists. They are simply incredible and I am always amazed by the fact that they sound live exactly the way they do on the radio. Just a little louder. :)

The highlight of the night, though, came when Mike Weaver was sharing about the needs of so many kids around the world for even the simplest necessities. He talked about visiting some children in Ecuador and how full of life and smiles and dreams they were. His passion for helping these kids in Jesus' name was tangible and Alyssa felt it big time. When he asked for folks to raise their hands if they wanted to sponsor a child through World Vision, I thought she was going to rip my arm off trying to raise it. She looked at me as if to say, "Mommy, why aren't you raising your hand? We have to help the children!" So, Jeremy and I had a brief on-the-spot conference and decided it was time for Alyssa to choose her own child to sponsor in a developing nation. At the World Vision table in the foyer we found a picture of little 5-year-old Bilihehe from Tanzania. She's just 15 days younger than Alyssa. She was definitely the one. In fact, she was the only child I saw on the table who was even born in 2006. God's hands were all over this and the most precious memory of the evening was seeing Him work in my little tired girl's heart, sparking a huge desire within her to help others. She talked about Bilihehe and Mr. Mike all the way home. Well, until she fell asleep. Plus, she was so excited to find out she was able to pick out one of Big Daddy Weave's CDs as a gift for signing up as a sponsor last night. Double Score!

So, the takeaway? Sometimes ditching bedtime can be a good thing. A really good thing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Doing Life With Alyssa

We thought we'd share some of our past Saturday morning with you. Check out Alyssa checking herself out in the iPhone! :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Do YOU remember?

Jeremy's friend, Dave Renfrow, sent him the link to a blog that's all about remembering the great stuff from the 80's and early 90's and WOW has it got us remembering! What's your favorite memory from that time period? Or, better yet, do you still have a memento? Take a picture of yourself holding it and you could win a prize. And, no, it won't be something from the 80's or early 90's! Just post your photo here or on the Doing Life with the Traceys page on Facebook. In the meantime, have a smurfy day!

Oh, yeah, here's the link to the I'm Remembering blog!


Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Peorian on Czech Superstar!

We just had to share with you the incredible talent we were made aware of today that's representing central Illinois halfway around the world! Nancy Klopfenstein of Peoria talked with us on the phone this afternoon about her grandson, Noah Ellenwood. Noah lives in Eastern Europe with his parents, Mel and Amy (Nancy's daughter) who are missionaries with an organization called Josiah Venture. And, Noah is also in the top 16 in Czechoslovakia's version of American Idol, called Czech Superstar. "Check" out his awesome talent:

It's easy to see why Nancy is so proud of her 15 year old grandson! She's also super proud of her daughter and son-in-law who are among 200 missionaries working in 11 countries to share the love of Jesus in an area where 1/2 of 1% of the population are Christians!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A great quote for a Friday

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. ~ Ephesians 1:17-20

My wish for you is that God's power will be what gives you strength as we enter the weekend. Whether your challenge is weight loss, family conflict, or a health issue, that power can get you through, my friend. I'm seeing this in my weight loss journey (join me for more on this at www.tellmeitsnottoolate.blogspot.com) and Jeremy's seeing it as he travels through the reality of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. So, we're confident that His power will give you strength in whatever you're facing today. I'm not saying it will remove the struggle. Oh, how I wish that would happen. But, as we endure the pain and the heartache, His power helps us to NOT surrender to the grief, the hardship, or the just plain yuckiness! Thank you, Jesus!

I really hope these words from the Bible bring you some peace and brightness especially if you're having a dreary day, regardless of the ever changing weather!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Let your voice be heard!

Well, I'm experiencing something lately I usually never have issues with. Since Friday night I've been practically speechless! Not because I can't think of anything to say, but because of a sinus infection. I've lost my voice! And, wow, you never realize how much you rely on something until it's gone, huh?

I'm a talker. It's my vocation and my style. I could talk all day and all night and still have more to say. Now, I realize I waste a lot of words. I say a lot of stuff that's not worth saying and to which probably nobody really listens. But, I really depend on my voice. REALLY! How frustrating to try to ask my daughter what she wants for breakfast when she can't understand what I'm squeaking about. I even tried drawing a waffle and a fried egg so she could choose between the two and, let's just say she thought I was giving her a choice between a waffle and a cowboy hat. Ha! (This would certainly be easier if she could read!) But, the real challenge comes when you have to venture out into the world without the ability to make yourself heard. I have a deeper appreciation for those who, for whatever reason, know this struggle as a way of life, permanently.

This world is wired for sound and if you can't make one, you're at a serious disadvantage. I'm sure with the invention of the internet, blogging, and social networks like Facebook things have become a little better. But, going to the post office and trying to tell the attendant that you'd like to purchase the mailer, mail your package, and buy two books of forever stamps...not having a voice presents a problem. And, the funny thing is the quieter you speak the louder the other person tends to shout back at you. At one point the attendant even showed her frustration by saying, "YOU'RE SO SOFT SPOKEN!" I know she didn't mean it to come across the way it did but she seemed to be saying, "Your lack of volume is an inconvenience for me!" I pointed to my throat and squeaked out that I had lost my voice and her attitude changed completely but I was left wondering what it would be like to face this kind of attitude on a daily basis. It must get really old walking up to cash registers or bank teller counters or just about anywhere that requires you to speak and have to point or write a note to communicate. Hopefully most people understand and are able to show compassion and patience. But, I'm sure there are always THE ONES who make things awkward. The ones who seem to be just a little put out at having to take a little extra time to understand and help. You'd probably have to learn who understands you best everywhere you go. Maybe you get used to it, but there would always be that extra step, especially when you go somewhere new.

I tell ya, I'm convicted and challenged to help make folks with any medical disability feel completely at home when I meet them or find myself dealing with them in any way. If losing my voice can make me feel like an outsider, I can't imagine dealing with what some folks deal with day in and day out. I guess I should thank God for giving me this experience so I can have more empathy and, hopefully, His eyes and ears for things like this in the future! And, I know I am going to DEFINITELY thank God for the return of my speaking voice. Which, hopefully, will be by 1pm today when I'm slated to be on-air with Jeremy for 91.5 WCIC's Spring Fund Raiser, Sharathon. (Please Pray!!)

At any rate, I'm so glad Jeremy and I have worked over the past 5 years on different ways of communicating "I LOVE YOU" to our sweet daughter. She knows the sign for it and we love to point to our eyes for "I", our hearts for "LOVE", and point to the other person for "YOU!" Her Great Grandfather Tracey did that during his final days on this earth when he was hospital-bed-bound. No matter what pain he was suffering and how hard it was for him to speak, he would always smile with his eyes and do his own version of sign language to let us know that he loved us so much. Now, there's letting your voice be heard! I hope I will always shout LOVE out to the people around me, whether they can "hear" me or not!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A chance to sing!

OK, so, the weirdest but coolest thing happened to me yesterday and it all started in a bathroom stall at Panera, West Lake in Peoria. Yes, a bathroom stall. I was sitting down and, well, you know...and the lady in the stall next to me starts singing! It was pretty singing and it was even a song about Jesus, but I was a little put off at first. I remember thinking, "Kind of a strange place to burst into a praise song, but hey, I guess I'll just enjoy it." Then, a woman standing at the sink joined in with the first woman and started singing harmony. At that point I'm thinking, "OK, I'll just finish up and get out so they can continue their little worship session uninterrupted." But then the really strange thing happened. I felt a strong urging in my brain and a tugging in my heart. It wasn't an audible voice, but it was clear. It said, "Start singing with them!" I almost laughed out loud. What?! Hello, I'm sitting on a toilet! And, besides I don't know that they even want to make their duet into a trio! But then it came again. Very clearly. "Start singing with them!" I was about to ignore the "voice" when another thought took hold of me. How often do I get a chance to just start singing with total strangers who also apparently are in love with an incredible Savior? If you're going to have something in common with someone you don't even know, that's a great thing to have in common, right? Why not sing praises to Jesus with these women with the beautiful voices? So, I stepped out of the stall and toward the sink where they had gathered and were still singing. One of them apparently worked at Panera and was putting on an apron and seemed to be preparing for her work shift. They stopped singing briefly when they saw me coming and made room at the sink so I could wash my hands. I almost backed down at that point thinking, "Well, they've stopped, oh well!" But, instead I heard myself say out loud, "I LOVE your singing. You have really got me going for my morning!" That was all the encouragement they needed and they started singing again. And, yes, I joined in. Yes, I did! There we were, three believers joined for 30 seconds to a minute in that intimate bond of worship. As I sang with them their smiles grew to unbelievable sizes and their singing grew louder and more beautiful. It was as if they were saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah! Let's keep going!" Finally I asked them, "Did you make up this song?" They said no; it was a song they sing in their praise band at church. Of course that prompted my next question, "Where do you go to church?" They beamed and said, "Gospel Experience!" Now, that sounds like a fantastic place, doesn't it? As I wished them a wonderful day and walked back to my table, I felt as if I were floating. My day was truly lifted by that impromptu praise session with these women whose names I don't even know. And, as I sat down to dive into my Bible Study (my reason for being at Panera yesterday morning), I continued to fly high as what I read on the pages in front of me totally related to what had just happened. My friends and I are going through a devotional on John, the disciple who was basically Jesus' BFF during his time on earth as a human. But, today, the focus was on Peter and his reaction to seeing Jesus when he appeared to them on the shore of the Sea of Galilee after He had risen from the dead. After the whole ordeal of them going fishing, not catching anything, then this stranger showing up and telling them to fish on the other side of the boat and they had so many fish they could barely haul it in, John realizes and tells his friends, "That's Jesus!" Well, that's all Peter needed to hear. He jumps into the sea and swims, walks, and runs as fast as He can to get to His Lord! Beth Moore comments in the devotional that this is the reaction she always wants to have to Jesus. She doesn't care if she looks like a fool, she always wants to run to Him! Isn't that perfect? At first I thought singing in the ladies' room at Panera was a little foolish, but I believe God's spirit in me recognized Jesus in that place and wanted me to dive in and do whatever it took to be with Him. Do I always follow these nudges in moments like these? Sadly, no. But, I'm so glad I did yesterday and I hope I will in the future, no matter where I am!

Monday, March 7, 2011

And the winners are...

Congratulations to Abbie Johnson, Chris, and Ken for winning a copy of Living with Less so your Family has More from Jill and Mark Savage! Thanks so much to everyone for posting such thoughtful comments on the things you ARE giving up, HAVE given up, or NEED TO give up in order to give your family more time, attention, fun, and peace. We can all use that, right?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Living with less really can mean MORE for your family!

Another fantastic in-studio visit with the awesome Jill Savage of Hearts at Home. This past Wednesday Jill stopped by to talk about how giving up things, activities, and even money can mean MORE for your family. More time, more family togetherness, and more PEACE in your home. I especially appreciated what Jill said when Jeremy asked her how you can know that you really are too busy. Without missing a beat, Jill answered right away, "When the things that are important to you aren't happening. Like family meals...". Talk about hitting home!! The Traceys are definitely seeing the benefit of giving up activities, eating out, and buying stuff in order to actually have MORE for our little family! What have you given up so that your family can have MORE? Or, what do you need to give up ASAP? Let us know in a comment on this blog post and you could win a copy of the book, "Living with Less so your Family can have More" by Jill and her husband, Mark Savage. (Make sure to add an email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!) Hurry! The winners will be posted tomorrow (Monday, March 7) at 5pm. Oh, and check out info on Jill Savage and the Hearts at Home National Conference for Moms at www.heartsathome.org

Friday, February 11, 2011

The LOVE-ly winners...

Congratulations to the winners of the three books courtesy of Jill Savage and Hearts at Home. Melanie is the winner of Real Moms Real Jesus. My Heart's at Home goes to Jamie A. And, Living with Less so your Family has More was won by kwood. Yeah! Ya gotta LOVE gettin' something for free, right? Melanie, Jamie A, and kwood, please contact us with your address. You can send the information directly to Jessie Browning, 91.5 WCIC's incredible Promotions Director, at jessie@wcicfm.org.

Hey, have a wonderful Valentine's Day. Jeremy and I have next week off for a little vacay time, so we'll check in with you later! LOVE!

Gotta love LOVE!

Aw, don'tcha just love LOVE? You know that we do. Look at the multitude of chick flicks that come out every year, mostly with the same theme. Guy meets girl. Girl is already in a relationship with some jerk. Guy shows extreme self-sacrifice and a combination of strength, humor, and humility. Jerky guy crosses some line and Girl opens her eyes. But, she appears to be too late. No, wait, she's NOT too late. Girl and Guy finally find a lifetime of happiness and perfection in each other's arms. (SIGH) Isn't that just the way it happens in real life? Ha! BUT..we love those love stories.

So, why is it that we can love the love stories but forget to show real expressions of love on a daily (or at least a regular) basis? I don't know about you but I get so wrapped up in the everyday stuff that I neglect to show my extraordinary hubby exactly how much I adore him. Sad, right? But, it's reality. That's why I love Valentine's Day. Sure, it's full of commercialism but it IS a good reminder to slow down and take the time if even for just one day to focus on loving our loves! If only Valentine's Day would happen once a month. I know, I know, that's what date nights are for. But when EVERYONE else around you is talking about it and making plans, it's a whole lot easier to force yourself to make the effort. Let's hear it for peer pressure! Only the positive kind, of course!

Maybe you're a whole lot better at this daily (or at least regular) expression of love thing than I am. Here's your chance to show off. Leave a comment on this blog post. Let me know what you do routinely to express sweet love to your spouse or special someone. And, it just might mean a gift for you to give yourself or your Valentine this year. The FABULOUS Jill Savage (founder of Hearts at Home) has given us three of her most popular books and your comment could win you one of them. The titles included are Real Moms, Real Jesus (LOVE this one, my Bible Study group went through it last Spring - just what I needed), Living with Less so you Family has More(Co-Authored by Mark Savage) - can't wait to go through this one with Jeremy, and My Heart's at Home. You can learn more about Jill at www.jillsavage.org or www.heartsathome.org. She and the ladies at Hearts at Home are AWESOME!

Time is of the essence here...we'll do a random drawing from all the names of commenters on this post and let ya know who won by 6pm today!

LOVE to you and yours and have a LOVE-ly weekend! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sometimes a song can say it all...

I can remember hearing the song "Candle in the Rain" by David Meece the summer before I started Bible College back in Renaissance times. Seriously, it was quite a while ago...we're talking the fall of 1988 - maybe you weren't even born yet. There's a good chance that's true.

Anywho...I had never really heard contemporary Christian music before (besides listening to the occasional Amy Grant album at my friend Heather's house during jr. high and high school) and this was like a breath of fresh air. A song that wasn't a hymn, that was more like something I would hear on the radio. And, that song perfectly described the way a relationship with Jesus could be. I remember my eyes instantly filling with tears and the constant requests of my roommate to put that cassette tape back in her cool boom-box-stereo-thingy. I was simply amazed. When did this type of music come to be? Little did I know back then when everything was still in black and white that one day I'd be working in the Christian music industry. God works things out, doesn't He?

So, how about you? What song has had a life-changing impact on you? Maybe it was the song that got you through a painful divorce, the death of a loved one, or a serious and scary medical journey. We want to hear your story. Tell us how a song you've heard recently on 91.5 WCIC has been THE song for you and you might be a part of our audio-visual promotional pieces for Sharathon, our Spring Fundraiser. And, those chosen will receive a special “Thank You” gift including some cool station gear, a travel mug, a wireless mouse, and a couple of CDs!

Leave your story here as a comment or on the Doing Life with the Traceys page on Facebook. And, thanks for sharing the music!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

And the winners are...

Congratulations to Pam and Taryn. You've both won a copy of the CD "Sunny Day" by Kid's Music extraordinare, Julie K! And, we're with you, can't WAIT for Spring!

So, Pam and Taryn, I just need you both to contact me at jill@wcicfm.org with your mailing address for the CD! Yeah!

Happy Sunny Thoughts for the weekend!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We could use a Sunny Day right about now!

OK, as we're busy preparing for the snow storm of the century, what my husband has dubbed "Snow-maggedon", I think we need to take a moment to dream of the future. Just a few seconds to ponder the fact that in about 6 weeks or so this blizzard will be a distant memory and we'll be looking forward to spending time outside doing something besides shoveling and FREEZING! We'll be actually pausing to look at the displays of shorts and t-shirts at all the department stores without laughing at the thought of actually WEARING them. Can you picture it? NO? Well, we'd like to help!

Kids' Music extraordinaire, Julie K, has kindly provided the Traceys with several copies of her awesome CD, Sunny Day. I tell ya, popping this puppy in the CD player will have you and your kiddos dreaming of running, playing, biking, and going to the ZOO...all OUTSIDE. Yes, really! You'll even start looking forward to seeing a swarm of bumblebees! It's a fun CD that's designed for kids but will have the adults singing along as well. So, it's time for a giveaway to get us believing Spring will actually come this year!

Here's all you need to do: Reply to this post with a comment about a Sunny Day. It can be about what you can't wait to do this Spring or Summer. It can be wistful thoughts about the lack of snow. It can be a haiku about warmer weather. Just make us forget about what's really going on outside...if even for a few seconds. The folks with the most creative posts will receive a copy of "Sunny Day" by Julie K to help get you through the coldest days this winter!

I'll announce the winners by this Friday at 5 pm, so get those creative juices flowing. Oh, and don't forget to shovel the driveway! (I know, UGH!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Did you do donuts?

Last night I was leaving the radio station and drove by Arby's which was apparently suffering a little downtime because the entire parking lot was empty. Except for one car. One car was slipping and sliding around in circles, getting dangerously close to crashing into a light pole at times. And, just like that, I was transported back to my youth. I can remember getting my friends together to go do donuts in a deserted school lot. We would have been in SO MUCH TROUBLE if we had been caught by a school administrator, or the police, or especially our parents. It was irresponsible. It was disrespectful of school property. It was dangerous. So, why did we do it? It was FUN!

I know. That's not a good excuse. I should have followed the rules. I should have been more careful. Seriously, I should have. If you're a minor and reading this, DO NOT take my admission to doing donuts as an excuse to do them yourself, because I really could have been hurt, along with the way too many friends packed into the car with me.

But, I'm reminded that there's something to be said for having FUN! In my adult world with my lists of to-dos and my responsibilities and all my rushing around, I forget to take time to just have FUN! How about you? Now, I'm not saying we should go out and do donuts and possibly harm ourselves, our cars, or someone else's property. But, I do think we should go sledding, have a snowball fight, or take a midnight walk in the snow. Who knows, maybe we'll start celebrating like our kids do when we hear reports of yet ANOTHER snow storm heading our way. Maybe.

So, here's my challenge to myself and to you, if you're willing to accept. Let's get outside and do something, anything, fun this week. Just a few minutes of not accomplishing anything but the enjoyment of the cold, the snow, and spending time with our friends or loved ones.

Hmm...who will reply 1st with what you've done after reading this blog entry? Let's just say a comment might be well worth your effort! ;)

Friday, January 21, 2011

WATCH OUT WORLD...My child is a creative genius!

Yesterday I attended Alyssa's pre-K parent-teacher conference and I tell ya, when you hear from a teacher how creative your child is, you can feel like you're raising the next best-selling author or world-renowned artist. I knew Alyssa was doing pretty well with her letters and numbers. But, like all her classmates, there's always a few that she gets stuck on. So, I'll be working more with the flashcards, helping her keep it fresh in her mind. But, when Mrs. Neal launched into a description of how well Alyssa's doing with her drawing, I couldn't help but swell with pride, just a little. I know Jesus gave her the talent, but she's MY KID, right?! Then I learned that one of the skills they work on during this year is to have the students each come up with a one or two sentence story about the latest picture they've drawn. Well, apparently, Alyssa can go on all day with the stories behind her works of art. (SIGH) I can see the book reviews and long lines at author signings already.

OK, OK, I'll try not to get ahead of myself. But, I'm so proud of my little creative girl. If you're a parent, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. There's a certain, well, almost HIGH you can get by celebrating the strengths of your child. For me I think it's the awesome realization that I (with my husband and God's help of course) have created this beautiful little being and now she's creating beautiful things. I'm sure you feel this way about whatever area your child is excelling in, too. Now, the challenge will be to continue to encourage the creativity and freedom of expression without allowing my own self-worth to be confused with my child's successes. Know what I mean?

Anywho, for now, I'm just going to revel in my daughter's creative genius. I'm going to let her know I think she's awesome. And, I'm going to look forward to seeing what God does with this strength that He has given her!

Hey, have a great weekend, and feel free to comment with a story of why YOUR kiddo is a genius! :)