Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hello Internets!

2010 has been quite a year.
Full of changes,
fun times with friends and lots of family visits.
My family has gone from four people to six and God has preformed miracles in my heart.
It's been the hardest year of my marriage and the best year of it too.
I've doubted my parenting skills more than ever
I've never believed in God my Father and His skills more than I have in 2010.

Christmas was a blast, how could it not be with this little button around:

I think I've gained about 10 pounds this last week.
I made a double batch of my Ribbon Cookies and I'm pretty sure I've eaten that whole extra batch. I'm not gonna even step on a scale, my work pants will tell the truth tomorrow morning and perhaps I'll start on some exercise routine.
I'd like to lose a few pounds anyway, I was thinking of it before this last cookie eating spree.
Well, at least it wasn't the gaining weight spree a few Christmas' back, resulting from a daily dose of Kahlua and milk- but that's another story, for another post. Who knew drinking too much milk could cause warm spots on a person's thigh?

So as I slowly ease my way back into blogging I'm not sure what to blog about?
Being a grandparent?
A parent of teenagers?
My day to day? I've been taking pictures like crazy so I could just picto-blog my life; but what fun would that be, it's kind of hard to use semi-colons with pictures and the beauty of words make me smile.

So now I will finish this Christmas weekend the only way I know how: folding laundry.
Only this time I'm doing it in my bedroom watching a chick-flick while part of the family watches Die Hard and the other Shallow Hal.

Sleep tight and may dreams of sugarplums always dance in our heads.
Love you internets!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On the Way to The Grocery...

Today I got stuck behind the slowest driver ever.
Really, the slowest- ever.
I was in a little bit of a hurry, but I didn't get irritated,
I didn't curse her out or shake my head in disgust.
Instead I enjoyed the slowness of it.
So I hope you too get stuck behind a blue-hairded lady driving a mint condition 1988 Vauxhall Nova,
may you remember to slow down this Holiday Season.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Baby Update!

So what’s it like being a Yiayia?
How does it feel to be a grandmother?

Two questions I hear a lot.
They are kind of the like the question you get on your BIG birthdays- how’s it feel to be older?
The answer to me is always the same- I feel no different today than I did yesterday.

It is fun being a grandmother and truly a blessing to have my grandbaby under the same roof as me. I get the privilege of seeing her every morning, each night before we lay our heads down for bed.
I can kiss and smooch on her,
I can help care for her while mom showers,
rock her while she sleeps;
yet when I lay my head down at night it doesn’t lift up again until my alarm goes off. Oh and did mention I get to take a picture of her every. Single. day!

So no, I don’t feel any different being a grandmother and yes I love it!

But babies change things.
Not sure you can really put into words exactly how they change things but they do. Anyone who’s lived in a household with a baby knows what it’s like. When she’s awake you just can’t help but sneak a peek, voices are quieter, things slow down. A household has reason to sit together on the sofa or the floor of the nursery, just to watch the baby. Visitors stop by for brief “I wanna hold the baby” moments.

So while life has gone on as normal- life will never be the same.
As Christmas approaches I wonder what Jesus was like as a baby? How little was he? No crying? But cooing. Sweet baby sounds, soft sleeping breaths. Innocence swaddled up in a mother’s arms coming to save the world. Coming to save me, to bring me, us, out of darkness, out of our pits, to proclaim liberty for me, a captive of myself, my own ideas and self-destructive ways; He came as a baby so “lovey” and sweet. I wonder if His mother, His aunts, had silly nicknames for Him, the Savior of the world.
My granddaughter is no where near Jesus but she too has already saved a precious life, even before she was born; her story is being written and I am so blessed I am here to watch these first chapter take place. I am so happy to be able to make up silly nicknames for her.

So now enjoy what you’ve all been asking for::::pictures!!
(All taken from the iphone)

Hanging with daddy.

She's learning the ins and outs of the Xbox.

I can't hold her enough.

More time with dad, although he looks angry but he's not.

Uncle Justin sings to me and makes up songs about me.

So precious.

At her first doctors visit, a little unsure.

Learning what it's like to hang with Uncle Scotty.

Learning to be spoiled with her BFF at church.

Will Yiayia ever stop taking my picture?

More hanging with dad.
We just thought she looked a little gangsta here.
So there it is, a small sampling of the hundreds of pictures of Illana.
Feels good to be part-time back at blogging.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

November Travel Update

So I wanted to post something today about my life.
Illana was what first came to mind but then a remembered that a whole month of non-blogging happened before she was born and my chronological brain had to go back to the other place and people that have my heart.
For 5 days in November I travelled to inner-city Detroit to love on the kids from the projects that I've had the privilege to know over the last 2 years.
Why Detroit?
Well the connection came through a local Reverend who ministered to the children living in the Jefferies projects in Cass Corridor Detroit.
If you don't know about the Jefferies here's the summary:
public housing in a racial torn city,
crime grew to be high,
drug dealing huge and certainly not a safe place to visit let alone live.
When it caught on fire one night the major said "let it burn".

Eventually the Jefferies were torn down and the families dispersed to other housing projects in the area. When we visit I am one of the drivers and we frequent the Brewsters, Woodbridge and the Diggs projects.

These children live in a city with no grocery store in it's city limits, where food stamps are spend mostly in convenient stores, they know few people, if any, with a high school diploma and many dream of one day having a job, not college, not a house, not a car but a job.
So why Detroit?
Why not.
Plus who can resist faces like this:
And football with these guys is super fun!

But they all live in the shadow of a city that was once great. Sure the picture below is like any city city- shiny and full of life.
But other most other buildings in the city look like this:
The old Cass Tech high school, empty.

Hotel Eddy Stone and Harbor Lights Buildings- deserted.
Most of the buildings are amazing in architecture and with the hope of a comeback in the city they have been "cemented in" to preserve the structure and save it from squatters.
I'd love to live in this building of course with windows and some sprucing up!

So why Detroit?
And what in the world do we do there.
It's a two-fold mission. The first being the homeless and the second the children.
We love them.
We listen.
We play.
Not that their parents don't, but in many cases, they don't.
This day we played in the leaves.
And Lisa.
My dear friend Lisa.
When we met last summer she became my Detroit friend and I her Florida friend. We gave each other nicknames and we laughed a lot!
Lisa is super smart. She tested into the best High School in Michigan, Cass Tech but recently had to move and ow doesn't have a ride so she is back in regular public school. I have the mind to move there so I get her smarty pants to Cass Tech. When I stop at Lisa's new house to pick her and her 4 siblings up-15 children come out to pile into my 7 passenger van and go to Big A. 15. From one house.

So that was my November quick trip to Detroit.
Now I'm off to get Christmas from the attic and make this place look Christmasy.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Oh How I Miss This Place

So I have been enjoying my time away from the computer.

I actually find myself contemplating stepping away from it forever----then I realize life without twitter and blogs would be sad; very sad.

I couldn't keep up with Shasta in China,
Allison down the street,
Joanna in Alaska,
Brandi in Cali,
plus the blogs I stalk- I'd sure miss them.

And I won't hide the fact I secretly like that people are interested in my life.
I guess it makes me feel important, so go ahead and comment :-)

Life has been interesting during this down time.

During this little break...
-I had the privileged of visiting all my friends in Detroit for about 5 days- boy I love that place! and when I say love, I mean LOVE/wannamove/can someone get steve on the same page.
-I had the chance to have a totally rockin, FAT commission paycheck from work.
-I ate an average amount of food on Thanksgiving,
-celebrated my Superman's 17the birthday
-attended Justin's first public music, piano, recital
and of course,
-I officially became a Yiayia last week.

As life went on this last month I found myself blogging in my head.
Writing blog posts, wording them just so, sometimes writing them down other times not.

I found myself thinking thoughts and then thinking, "oh that'd be a great tweet".

I've also found time to listen to a lot of 90's music. The music I listened to when I "came of age".
I've sewed a little, cooked a little, slept a lot and as of this last week I've missed my friends in the blogging world.

So I plan to be back this week with some pictures and maybe a post on life and my thoughts,
cause you know I have many.

Miss you all and thanks for the sweet comments- they are greatly appreciated.
Warmest goodbyes-

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Illana Belle was born today at 12:38pm weighing 6 pounds 14 ounces 20 inches long!!
Healthy and beautiful!
I am officially a Yiayia.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Event Planning

I love to attend a great party.
I love to put together and plan one even more.

I believe any gathering of friends and family should reflect the people being honored
and highlight the small moments in that event.

It's the moments in life that are worth savoring.

Contact Michelle to plan your next event, vintagesheet(at)
Follow me on Instagram: mspanos 


Barn wedding at Delamater House in New Smyrna Beach; click here for more

Outdoor DeLand, Florida wedding; click for more...

Non-profit, $100 budget banquet; click for more...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Something I've Been Wanting to Write, Just Didn't Want To- So Here It Is!

It seems as though I will not be posting around here much more.
At least for this season in my life.
Not really sure why.
I like to write.
I like to journal my life and this blog has served as a scrapbook of sorts.

But for now I am stepping back, officially.
Who knows that may change, my life is changing so fast now I sometimes can hardly believe it myself.

So in a way I say goodbye,
but then again I could post tomorrow, but I doubt it.

Thank you all for reading and please continue to check back- I like the blog following- it boosts my ego :-)

Happy Thanksgiving if I don't get back here.
Love to you all.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

One of These Kids Is Doing Her Own Thing

Bloom where you are planted.
When I started my job I wasn't sure why I was there. I had been living in boy world pretty much since birth and so dresses and silhouettes, sashes and accessories were pretty foreign terms to my ears.
Then I studied and studied.
Got trained and watched television shows about dresses and weddings.
After 6 months I can say with confidence that I do know what I'm talking about. I do know about wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, accessories, sashes, boleros, and shoes.
But I still often wonder why am I there.
Then a day like yesterday happens.
A week like last week.
I can often feel like the egg above, out of place.
But then God puts events in my life and the lives of my co-workers so we can be there for one another, to encourage, to listen, to understand and to laugh.
My desire to is to Jesus in my workplace. To be the light, the city of a hill.
It's OK to be the odd egg out, a little different.
O Lord may I be a little bit more different today than yesterday and may my difference point people toward You. May You get ALL the praise and glory in my miracle of a life.
For great is our God and most worthy of praise. Psalm 96:4a

What about you- where are you to be the light? To be Jesus?
Not only where but ARE YOU?
if yes- I encourage you to excel still more
if you're not
I encourage you to just do it, I know you can.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Day to Myself

Yesterday I got out of town!
I had been dying to GO somewhere since the Little Vacation That Could back in August.
Since I’ve been working and Steve’s business is in it’s slow season, time and money have been holding me back.
Until yesterday, when I got the heck out of Dodge!!
Where did I go? you ask-
I went to visit a friend and sight see in St Augustine!

Although I only live an hour from there I had never been to the Historic St George Street and Old City Gate.... well, now I have!

I parked at my friend Haleigh and Breque’s apartment, visited with Breque for a little bit before I headed out to see the sights!

The Lightner Museum is an old hotel turned museum. I just did a walk through the gardens by myself and once I connected with Haleigh and Breque we stopped in to see the restaurant that sits in the bottom of the hotel's old indoor pool.

The streets are real neat in St Augustine, with the building hanging tight to the streets, pushing the gardens and lawns into courtyards beyond the walls and buildings.
This store invites visitors back into their courtyard garden, it was so neat. A brick path wove around through greenery and under a pergola while a little shed sits in the back.
The I found this store! I had to take a picture because there was a day that my friend Christin and I were seriously looking into buying one of these stores.

The Old City Gate. Finally I made it
This is the view from the courtyard of the Greek Orthodox Shrine looking out onto St George Street.

Churches and their doors.

When Haleigh got out of class the girls took me to a neat popsicle store. Yes you read that correct a store that only sells popsicles! Apprehensive at first I decided to try the peanut butter pie flavor and boy was it yummy! I'm gonna have to make another trip to try a new flavor!
We also stopped by the Presbyterian Church. Oh how I love old things, especially old buildings!

Here the are my parking hosts in front of their house/apartment! How cute is that!

I ended my adventure at the top of the St Augustine Lighthouse.
It was nice to have a day off, a day away from comfortable surroundings, away from chores and errands.
As I drove home I asked God to help me not be so quick to wish I could get away, instead that I would be quick to enjoy my day to day.
A getaway is nice and in my case was much needed, but the day in, day out- that is where life is and boy oh boy--
Life Is Good.



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