Thursday, March 31, 2011


The other day I was sitting on the back patio of our house, enjoying the warmer spring like weather (which by the way has quickly turned back to cold and dreary days... figures, I live in Memphis).

I sat on our patio in a chair with my laptop and a cup of Chai Latte, working on some things as I enjoyed the warm breeze and the sounds of the outdoors while my furbabies piddled around in the backyard looking for something to get into.

After some time, Kodi Bear came onto the patio and laid down beside my chair, seemingly taking in the nice weather, warm sunshine, and special time with his momma. Dexter however, the crazy Husky fur pup that he is NEVER ONCE SAT DOWN on his one.

As Dexter ran to and fro, all over our backyard, up and down from the patio, and all around, I began to get distracted and annoyed by his constant go. I asked him to sit down next to me, he obeyed. I asked him to lay down, he obeyed. Yet, less than a minute later he was back to his pacing to and fro, running from here to there and back again, and constantly jumping up to the patio and down again.

I watched him for awhile, wondering how long he would keep this insanity going. It continued...And then I went from annoyed to highly annoyed, completely distracted, and wished that Dexter would just sit, rest, and enjoy the day with me for awhile.

- - -

Funny thing is, a few hours after we came back into the house and I was thinking over my afternoon with our furbabies, I felt God telling me that often, I am like Dexter.

I am like my fur pup that is constantly on the go, running from here to there without a stop to rest, relax, and enjoy the day with my Maker without prodding.

Sure, I'll obey when I hear God say "sit" or "lay down", but like Dexter, my obedience is short lived... rather than resting in the sitting or laying down with the Lord for any length of time, I'm up again running. Just like I became annoyed by Dexter's constant unrest, I imagine that the Lord often shakes His head at me, thinking, when will you ever just come to me on your own and rest? I'm waiting. I'm here. Are you coming?

Talk about a realization.

So in keeping with the personalities of my two furbabies, I want to work to be more like our furbaby, Kodi, enjoying the blessings of my Papa and resting in Him being nearby!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My hubs forwarded me this article and I believe it's too good and too relevant not to pass along. However, before I show you the little preview and provide the link for you to read the full article, I have a few questions for you...
  1. Do you know your neighbors?
  2. How many neighbors on your street in your apartment building do you know?
  3. Have you ever invited your neighbors over?
For Mr. McGoo and myself, the answers to these questions are not very positive....
  1. A couple, we know our neighbor to our left and the neighbor to our right.
  2. Out of a whole lot of houses on a big block, two houses is it.
  3. No. We have never invited our neighbors into our home, nor worked to get to know those outside of our next door neighbors to our right and left.
We have lived in our house since the day we got married, and Mr. McGoo 5 years prior to that. Granted, we could make excuses and say we live in a college neighborhood with a whole lot of rental homes, meaning college students come and go, which is true, but that would be a co-out. I know for a fact we have multiple home owners on our street and even if college students come and go - couldn't we reach out to them during that season?

So with that being said... here is the teaser and the follow up link for a must read article:

by Ben Stevens

Having recently moved into an anonymous apartment complex so common around the country, my wife and I decided to invite all the people in our building over for Sunday lunch. They didn’t know each other, we didn’t know them, and we had no idea how it would be received. But most of them came. In fact, they stayed for four hours. And before long we were making up a list of our birthdays to exchange with one another, at their suggestion.
When we moved into the complex, we thought a lot about “how hard it is to meet your neighbors.” And when we discussed the idea of a get-together with the few people we knew in our building, they also commented that it is “tough to have community in the suburbs.” But we were all wrong. It is not difficult to get to know your neighbors—it is simply not something most of us value.
The result is a culture of seclusion [...]

So needless to say, after reading this article I asked Mr. McGoo when we're holding the neighbor get together? :)

If you're succeeding in getting to know your neighbors and inviting them into your life, let me know! I'd love to hear some of the creative ways you stay involved in their lives and get to know them along the way!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stretched & Out of Comfort

The more I come to know the Lord in a personal way, the more I realize He's in the business of stretching people and taking us past our own limits. Past our own abilities. Past our comfort zone. He's about using lay people, normal, everyday, don't really fit the right mold for the job kind of people.

The Bible is full of stories of the Lord using the common man to do extraordinary things through Him. From Moses, who had a speech impediment, leading His people out of Israel and approaching Pharaoh on a regular basis to request that he "Let my (God's) people go!" to Esther, who was an unlikely queen and fit to save the Jewish people, to Paul, who killed Christians prior to being converted and spreading the Gospel... the Bible is full of God using unlikely people to do His work.

I'm certain God made it that way on purpose... He called the "simple" people to be His disciples (developing from fishermen to fishers of men), and constantly uses those who are lacking to reveal His glory and His provision. By calling people out of their comfort zone, God gets all the glory... we no longer can boast.
"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”" - 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 

I was able to experience this process last night - - -  being stretched by the Lord and called to do something totally outside of my comfort zone and gifting. I was invited to speak at my church's Girls Night Out event (something hosted monthly for ladies by the Women's Ministry). The theme of the night was "Gifts and Giving Back" and I was asked to be one of two featured speakers to talk about what God has shown me through our mission trips to Ethiopia. To say that this was out of my comfort zone and gifting is an understatement... but the Lord provided, as always.

I was amazed and so blessed by the level of support, encouragement, and lifted prayer on my behalf for the night. I was showered with words of affirmation and encouragement and sent reminders that I was being prayed for by my sisters in Christ leading all the way up to the moment I stepped on the "stage" to speak for my ten minute window!
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
The kingdom of God and being in community with believers is such a beautiful blessing!!!! I'm so thankful for my church family and the fellowship of believers I'm blessed to have! This life is not to be lived and walked through alone! Praise God for that!

I'll share more about what I felt led to speak about on another post... [stay tuned]...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Broken Road - What do you really want?

On of my besties (we've known each other since we were 14) posted a blog post recently that really resonated with me and I believe will resonate with most - if we're willing to be vulnerable and quiet enough to be convicted by the Spirit.

I want to share it with you...

Most of the time, when God is trying to teach me something by allowing me to experience pain, I sit around and complain.  I tell Him that I hate what He's doing, and I want Him to stop.  I tell Him I want out of whatever particular circumstance is grieving me at the moment.

And He reminds me that the point of the pain is to help me rely on Him more, know Him better, and, ultimately, reflect Christ more accurately to others.

Continue reading by clicking the [...] at the end there or clicking the title above, "What Do You REALLY Want?"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

TFC Blog: It's Not About Me

Lent: It’s Not About Me

   Just two or three days into Lent, I experienced the power and blessing of participating in the TFC Lent Challenge. During this time of preparation for Easter, I am sacrificing my time on Facebook and my consumption of sodas – both things function as part of my daily routine as I check Facebook regularly on my phone and tend to drink at least one soda for lunch.

   It was a typical day at work. I [...]

To continue reading follow the ... to The Forsaken Children's website and blog or click the title link, "Lent: It's Not About Me"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For One

I've been reading The Hole in Our Gospel off and on for awhile now. Although I have "enjoyed" it in the sense that I definitely recommend it for others to read, it's impossible to "enjoy" this book in the typical book reading way. It's a hard book. A hard read, not in verse or wording, but a heard truth. It has a heaviness of content and the conviction, questions, and re-evaluation of your life it can bring is not without its own uncomfortableness. It can leave you restless and unable to sleep at night if you allow the reality of it all to penetrate your heart... it definitely has that affect on me.

However, I think it is important that we, especially believers in Christ know the realities of the world around us. The struggle of our brothers and sisters. The famine. The poverty. The disease. The thirst. The depravity of those around us, whether in our city or in a continent half across the world.

This book does an excellent job of painting that picture in the rawness of the pain and suffering the world at large is experiencing, yet sharing the HOPE that comes through Jesus Christ alone. The HOPE that comes because of the LIVING WATER of life (John 6:35 - "Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.") and the HOPE we can share as believers by being the hands and feet of Jesus to the world around us (Ephesians 5:1 "Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children."). We can make a difference and God often invites us to be a part of the solution and help he wants to give to our neighbor.

The other night this section from the book really resonated with me...

"I can imagine my own life without many of the so-called necessities that I have. You can take away my car and I would find a way to compensate by using public transportation or carpooling with a friend. You could take away my computer and my Internet access, my television, stereo, and radio, and I could still have a full and prosperous life. You could reduce the size of my house and my income by half, and even take away my education and I could survive and perhaps even thrive. But if you take away water and sanitation, you take away my health and that of my children. If you take away my health, you have taken away my energy and my industry. If you take away my energy and ability to support my family, you have taken away my dignity; and if you take away my dignity, you have taken away hope- for the future, for my children, for a better life. This is the harsh reality of the more than one billion people in the world who live without access to clean, safe water."
(pg. 139 - The Whole in Our Gospel)

Let that sink in for a little while...





And once you become a bit uncomfortable with that reality, desiring to turn away a little bit, to squirm, and maybe even begin to think, "why does that matter - I cannot really make a difference anyway for one billion people?"... I share the next quote that puts into words what God has been constantly revealing to me in the last year or so...

"Bob Pierce once said, 'Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything.' These are wise words to anyone overwhelmed with the magnitude of human suffering in the world. We are not asked to help all of them at once, just one at a time." (pg.152 - The Hole in Our Gospel)

And last but not least, I leave you this story:

"One early morning, after a fierce storm had hit the coast, I strolled to the beach for my morning walk. Horrified, I saw that tens of thousands of starfish had been washed up on the beach by the winds and waves. I was saddened by the realization that all of them would die, stranded on the shore, away from the life-giving water. Despairing that there was nothing I could do, I sat down on the sand and put my head in my hands.

But then I heard a sound, and I lifted my eyes. There, in the distance, I saw a man bending down and then standing up, bending down and standing up. Curious, I rose and walked toward him. I saw that he was picking up the starfish, one at a time, and throwing them back into the sea.

"What are you doing?" I yelled.

"Saving the starfish," he replied.

"But don't you see, man, that there are tens of thousands of them?" I asked, incredulous. "Nothing you can do will make a difference."

He did not answer me but instead bent down, picked up another starfish, and cast it back into the water. Then he smiled, looked me in the eye, and said, "It made a difference to that one!"

(pg. 162 - The Hole in Our Gospel)

I'm so thankful that God has called us to something greater than ourselves. I want to be a part of the big picture and sharing the hope I have because of Jesus.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day Off With My Man

At the wonderful suggestion of my hubby, I took the day off Friday to have a day with my man to celebrate our 4th anniversary and ultimately spend some extra time with one another.

Friday was a great day. We slept in until about 9am, when I was woken by a phone call from my dear friend, Shoko in Japan. Thankfully we had already been notified earlier last week that her and her family were safe following the tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan, but hearing her voice was a blessing and treat! Our wedding anniversary marked four years since I've seen Shoko last (at my wedding) - I cannot believe it has been that long and miss her greatly. She now lives in Japan and I look forward to our next visit!

After chatting with Shoko and catching up about life, Mr. McGoo and I cleaned out one of our rooms that had turned into a "catch all" room as we worked on other rooms over the last year or so. We worked to throw away junk, put to the side "garage/yard sale items", and organize things that stay. It was Mr. McGoo's idea, which is an especially fun treat (speaking my love language), and we cranked the process out in a few hours!

Following our clean sweep, we headed out to Ubee's to watch The University of Memphis compete in the NCAA basketball tournament. There we ate a yummo lunch and watched with other Memphis fans as Memphis fell two points short of getting past their first game of the tournament. Nevertheless it was a great game and a lot of fun!

In order to help "lick our wounds" from the Tigers loss and also show our furbabies some love, Mr. McGoo and I took Kodi and Dexter to the park. There we let them run free for awhile and enjoyed some "family" time out in the beautiful weather!

The rest of the evening we continued to enjoy the NCAA men's basketball tournament until our tummies begged for dinner. We headed out for a late meal at Buckley's and filled ourselves until we were ready top pop.

What a great day with my man!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

4 + many more

Four years ago my life changed forever. No longer could my last name be successfully pronounced every time. No longer would I be Ms. Wilson, but would forever be known as Mrs. Heather Wilson McGugan.

It has been the best four years of my life and although it seems that we have known each other forever, our wedding doesn't seem very far away. I am a very blessed woman and could not ask for a better husband, teammate, and best friend in Mr. McGoo.

One of my favorite things about our anniversary is that we reminisce a bit about our dating history and the last several years of our life. We like to look at where we came from and what has flourished in the marriage years under our belt. After looking over this last year, we can testify that God has done some mighty work within us as a couple and even through us as we've partnered with The Forsaken Children, our church, and have worked to show and submit to Christ as Lord of our life, not just an added part to our lives.

In addition to reminiscing, I often take the time to look back over our wedding day and the beautiful photos we have available from that day. It was a very special day for me and one that I will never forget.

I love you, Mr. McGoo. Happy Anniversary!

Engagement photo session
Engagement photo session
The big day - ceremony at Christ the King Lutheran Church
Sorry, couldn't help it - love this one!
We're not "normal", so why take "normal" photos with our wedding party?!
Some of the awesome people that stood by us that day!
One of my favorites - our first dance as hubby and wife!
Cake - he was so sweet to me and I got him good!
Mr. McGoo rockin it on the dance floor - yay!
Time to go

Ruth 1:16-17 -  "But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”"

 PS - Happy St. Patrick's Day to all.

Our favors - pots of "gold"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Walking by Faith

An amazing testimony of walking by faith! I am challenged, encouraged, and praising God for this young marine's faith and the testimony he shares. Please take the time to check it out:

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." - 2 Timothy 1:7 

"The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" - Psalm 118:6 

Nephew & Week with Grace

I mentioned that last week we had the pleasure of not only greeting our nephew into the world (Praise God for a healthy baby boy and Momma too), but also spending a full week with our niece, Grace. We were blessed to have Grace's company from Sunday afternoon until Friday morning when Mr. McGoo dropped her off at the school. It was great.

Here are some fun photos from the week...

Daddy McGugan holding his baby boy
Grace holding her brother like a pro - so proud!
Kisses for baby brother
Tristan Campbell McGugan
Mr. McGoo and his niece acting goofy together
Showing off Grace's craft creations
Aunt Heather getting some loving from her niece!
Scrapbooking time - Aunt Heather and Grace
Always time for another silly photo with us!

Grace Showing off her scrapbooking skills

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

3-4 Days

The goal per week is 3-4 days a week. I would be happy with 3-4 days a week. In my post "The Cycle Continues" I talked about my desire to get back into a real workout routine, one that simply does not start and stop without any consistency. I have pursued that goal and have succeeded some weeks and have been less successful on others. But the goal is still underway and the fact that I'm continuing regardless, now on week five is a great step in the right direction.

In case you're curious here is what my workout schedule has looked like in regards to what days I've participated and what days I've sat out. As you can see the first two weeks were perfect - 4 good days a week. Week three wavered a bit and week four was especially difficult with a little person in our house setting much of the schedule in the morning and evenings. I give exceptional props to you mothers out there that are also working out regularly-you guys rock! This week (wk 5) has just begun.

This evening in my Nutrition class we talked about some suggested LIFESTYLE STRATEGIES in regards to our health and eating habits. I thought these strategies were simple and to the point, but can also give us all some thinking points regarding ways we can easily change our lifestyle gradually for the better.
  • Be Realistic - make small changes first, not great leaps: such as regularly taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going ahead and taking the far away parking spot instead of waiting for the "VIP" close spot to the store, begin working out once a week instead of expecting yourself to do 3 or 4 times right away, etc.
  • Be Adventurous - expand your taste buds and give yourself and your family variety, add new vegetables and fruits to your food choices.
  • Be Flexible - balance food and exercise - do not fret about it happening every day, but throughout the week work to balance your food and exercise as a whole. If you desire to maintain weight, consume as many calories as you burn off, if you desire to lose weight, work to burn more calories than you consume.
  • Be Sensible - savor your food, give yourself a chance to enjoy it and acknowledge that you're getting full, put your meal on a lunch plate rather than a dinner plate to help keep your portions correct, add activity to your day.
  • Be Active - walk your dog, go to the gym, play with your kids outside in an active way... there are ways every day we can be active.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lent Devotions

The Forsaken Children have posted a weekly devotional for Lent, as well as a weekly Bible verse and a guide for specific children YOU can pray for during this time. 

In addition, I read this great devotion this weekend regarding Lent and wanted to share:

Mar 10, 2011
by Mark D. Roberts

Hebrew 4:12-16
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Hebrews 4:16
Growing up in a Protestant family and a secular culture, I thought of Lent as an unfortunate burden for my Roman Catholic friends. The only time I ever used the word “Lent” was in a joke. If, while playing football with my friends, I kept dropping the ball, I might have said, “Man, I’ve gotta stop fumbling the ball. I’m going to give up fumbling for Lent!” That sorry attempt at a joke did reveal the extent of my understanding of Lent. It was a time when some Christians had to give up things, like eating meat. If you had asked me why people did this, I would have told you that it was part of Catholic tradition. That’s all I knew.

I now know that some strands of Protestant Christianity also acknowledged Lent during the years of my youthful ignorance, but my evangelical brand of Christianity never considered it. In fact, I expect that had I thought about it, I would have regarded it as the kind of Pharisaic pietism that is inconsistent with biblically based faith. I no longer see Lent this way. But it is important to note that nothing in Scripture requires Christians to practice Lent, and that, like any religious practice, Lent can become laden with graceless legalism.

Yet, in the last twenty years of my life, I have discovered that Lent can also be a season for spiritual growth and refreshment. Above all, Lent is a time of preparation, a six-week season for readying our hearts for a deeper and truer experience of Christ’s passion and resurrection. The chief purpose of Lent is to help us know God more profoundly as we celebrate the amazing news of Good Friday and Easter. Since I have recognized Lent, I have indeed experienced this very thing.

Lenten practices vary widely among Christians. Historically, the season of Lent has been a time of fasting, a time for giving up something enjoyable in order to focus more fully on God. Yet, other Christians have stressed, not so much giving up something in Lent as taking on a seasonal discipline. Many churches sponsor special Lenten Bible studies or service opportunities. Individual Christians often use Lenten-themed materials for their personal devotions.

The point of Lenten practices, however, is not in the giving up or the adding on. It’s in what happens inside of us through these practices. They are meant to help us focus more fully on God. Fasting for Lent makes us more aware of our neediness for the Lord. Lenten disciplines draw our attention to him. Thus, the point of Lent is to respond with greater intentionality to the invitation in Hebrew 4:16: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Lent is a time to come before God with consistency, to open your heart to his mercy, to make yourself available to his grace. No matter what you do or don’t do during the weeks before Good Friday and Easter, I would urge you to draw near to God regularly so that you might be renewed in your relationship with him and so that you might be ready to experience more deeply and truly the passion and resurrection of Christ.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How have you thought about or experienced Lent in the past? What about now? Do you see Lent as a season in which you might draw near to God? What might you do (or not do) so as to focus more fully on God during the season of Lent?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I need the encouragement of Lent right now. You know that. It is so easy for my life to become full of everything except you. My concentration can be scattered, my attentiveness to your Spirit dampened. So, I am grateful for a Christian tradition that interrupts my status quo and calls me back to you. Thank you.

I do not want this season to be a time of going through the motions. May the things I do, and the things I refrain from doing, simply be channels of attention and grace. May they help me to focus on you, opening my heart to all that you would do in me.

Above all, may I draw near to you in these days. To be sure, I should do this all the time. I know that. But something about setting aside a special season helps me to remember you and to approach you. How grateful I am for the invitation to come before you, and for your promise of mercy and grace!

All praise be to you, O God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Week

This week, with the birth of our nephew, Tristan, Mr. McGoo and I have the pleasure of hanging out with our niece, Grace, all week. She's staying with us (since Sunday afternoon), so we're playing the role in getting her ready, taking and picking her up from school, helping with homework, making lunches, etc. and the fun stuff included too: singing (Mr. McGoo) and dancing (Mrs. McGoo) to music together, working on some craft projects, etc.

We thought we'd have her this weekend too, but she's heading out to visit her grandmother after school tomorrow, so I think we'll attempt to continue our adventures the following weekend. We've had lots to do and projects begun, so we definitely want to find the time to complete some of those items and get the opportunity to hang with this fun-loving, goofy 9 year old as much as possible!

Here's a photo to share, but I'll have another post later filled with a good variety of pictures to show a bit more about the week.

This is the first time Grace held her little brother. So cute!

Oh, fun comment and conversation with Grace last night at dinner... We were talking about school and she mentioned social studies, so I asked, "What did u learn in social studies today?". She replied, "Oh, we talked about the old days, you know, back in the 1980's when they didn't have phones or cars. They rode horses back then". Mr. McGoo and I just laughed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

First Day of Lent

Today is the first of Lent - " a time when many Christians prepare for Easter (the day of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave). Christians observe Lent by setting aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ through fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.

By stripping down to essentials, Lent enables us to focus on our individual relationship with God, let go of the bondage of sin and celebrate freedom from the bondage of slavery. During this time, Christians meditate on the great sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross to pay the price of everyone’s sins and His ultimate triumph over the grave through His resurrection from death!" (quoting TFC's Lent post)

I am participating in Lent this year, specifically in The Forsaken Children (TFC) Lent Challenge by sacrificing my time on Facebook and sodas throughout this 40+ day period. I will use the times I would regularly be on Facebook (during my lunch break, in the evenings, random wait periods) or the times I crave that soda at lunch to PRAY. Not only will I pray to my Savior about the things going on in my world, enjoying more intimacy in our relationship together, but I will also specifically pray for The Forsaken Children in the following details- choosing a different topic each day: 

  • Pray for the beneficiaries/children of Onesimus who know Christ that they mature in their faith.
  • Pray for those beneficiaries/children who do not yet know Jesus as Savior.
  • Pray for the Onesimus staff as they seek wisdom from God and minister to the children/families of their country. Staff names: Nega, Alex, Ribika, Emu, Netsanet, Sodo, Mesfin, Fitele, Abezu, Alemayehu, Seble and Wanashet.
  • Pray for The Forsaken Children’s Board Members as they seek wisdom and His direction for The Forsaken Children.
  • Pray for Central Church’s Short Term Ethiopia Missions Team: Pray for the leader, Kelly McGugan, the people who join the team, fundraising, team building/fellowship and God’s plan for ministry while in Addis Ababa.
It is not too late to join the challenge and observe Lent to acknowledge all that Christ has done for us - check out the TFC link to learn more. I'm looking forward to what God has in store for me during this time and am reminded already of the ultimate sacrifice He gave by sending His one and ONLY Son to die for the debt I owed. Thank you Jesus!

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

PS. If you're participating in the TFC Lent Challenge - please share your stories, things sacrificed, and what God shows you and does along the way - post on the TFC blog - HERE, or email:

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Addition

Excited to welcome my nephew to the world...

Tristan Campbell McGugan

Mom and Baby (and Dad) are well, but tired after a long day yesterday. Mr. McGoo was able to meet his nephew last night and get a few photos, but I held down the fort while our niece slept at our place. She's staying with us this week so we can spoil the big sister for the week before life with little brother begins regularly.

We're taking our niece to meet her little brother this afternoon after school. Looking forward to meeting the new family addition and catching some additional photos of my own!

So thankful that God blessed our family with another healthy addition.

Friday, March 4, 2011

2011 American Idol Elimination Brackets

We are now to the TOP 13 of American Idol's Season 10. Time to breakout the 2011 Elimination Bracket Challenge.

Anyone want to play?

Think of the NCAA basketball bracket done during the March Madness Tourney... this is similar but American Idol style. The goal is to predict who will be the next American Idol.

Bracket Entry Deadline:
Wednesday, March 9th – 6pm CST
(That’s before the Top 13 sings again)

To Play: 
Turn in brackets by noon, Wednesday March 9th. Turn your answers in via email ( using the bracket below or by posting on the comments section of this blog post.

YOUR goal in this elimination bracket challenge is to select every Idol contestant that will REMAIN each week, ultimately choosing the NEXT American Idol.

If you are filling out the bracket supplied below, do NOT write down the person you believe will not make that Top list, only write the folks down you believe will stay each week. If you want to leave your choices on the blog post or email without the bracket, you'll write you answers opposite - go to the comments section and list the names of who will leave each week. For example: 12. Casey 11. Thia, 10. etc - listing the person that will be voted out and unable to proceed in that top X week.

Let me know if you need more clarification, I'll gladly explain. Ultimately I'll post everyone's selections on my first American Idol update for all to see whether you email or go ahead and post it yourself.

Point System: 
Each week you will get points for each person you choose correctly to stay in the game. Therefore, if you get the right person out of the game from the start, the first week you can accumulate up to 12 points. If you get the wrong person, you'll only get 11 points. The point accumulation will continue throughout the entire competition.

Each week, Mrs. McGoo (Verbal Vomit) will tally up your points according to how many Idol contestants you correctly picked to be in that TOP round. Every two weeks the points available for a correct pick will increase, as seen on the bottom of your bracket sheet.

A tally of scores or scoring updates will be posted every week on Verbal Vomit – so check back to see how you’re doing in the running.

Person with the most points at the end, WINS.
If there is a tie in points, the person with the actual American Idol pick WINS.
If there is still a tie, the person with the most fully correct weeks WINS. If there is still a tie, I'll pick a number from 1-50 and those who have tied will guess what number - closest to the number I choose WINS.


Winner will receive a $10 Gift Card 
to their choice: Target, Best Buy, or Starbucks. 

2nd place receives a $5 Gift Card 
to their choice: Target, Best Buy, or Starbucks.

American Idol 2011 Elimination Brackets
(Feel free to use the bracket below for your own AI competition with friends - it's fun and a great way to keep up with the show on a weekly basis - adds a little flavor to the mix)
American Idol Elimination Brackets 2011                                                                                                   

Let the games begin. Again, I'll post weekly updates on how everyone sits in the standings.

PS. You don't ACTUALLY have to watch the show regularly to play (Mr. McGoo and myself have yet to watch a single episode this season) - make a guess at it if you want, I don't mind... you may even do better because you won't over analyze it like the regular watchers will do. Often it's a combination of who American likes popularity wise AND who sings well... so the choices definitely get tricky at times! Enjoy!

More Bang for Your Buck

I don't know about you, but I'm definitely in need of further advice, instruction, and habit forming in regards to my grocery shopping, food making, and anything that involves spending money on and preparing better and healthier meals.

It's something, I'm learning, that takes time, effort, and patience to learn the tricks of the trade. Thankfully I'm not attempting to be the resident guru for everyone else, I can lean on the lessons taught and learned by the coupon guru bloggers of the world... so today I share a new one (for me) with you -The Coupon Geek!

My middle sis had this one linked to her "blog reads" on her blog, and I am definitely going to take some time and check it out. Right away I found a post she wrote: "31 Ways to Save on Your Grocery Budget (Without Coupons!)"

Check out the Coupon Geek's Tips:
You can go to her post HERE, and get full details on each and every tip.

TIP #1: – Create A GOOD Grocery Budget And Stick To It!

Tip #2 – Create a Weekly Menu Plan

Tip #3: – Have a “Low Inventory” List in your pantry /on fridge

Tip #4 – Inventory Often To Avoid Expired Food

Tip #5 – Shop With An Organized List That’s Listed By Store Aisle

Tip #6 – Never Shop Hungry–And Leave The Kids At Home

Tip #7 – Keep a Price Book

TIP #8 – Keep a Clean Fridge And Know What You Have On Hand

TIP #9 – Make Your Own Single-Serving Snacks

TIP #10 – Only Shop With Cash

TIP #11 – Use Your Leftovers

TIP #12- Use Proper Storage to Extend the Life of Your Food

TIP #13 – Create and Live Off a Stockpile

TIP #14 – Switch From Bottled Water To A Pitcher or Water System

TIP #15 – Skip Convenience Foods And Make Your Own

TIP #16 – Freezer or Once-A-Month Cooking

TIP #17 – Always Have a Quick Back-Up Meal On Hand

TIP #18 – Try To Work In Some Crockpot Cooking

TIP #19 – Use Recipes With Few Ingredients

TIP #20 – Be Creative And Make Your Own Restaurant Meals At Home

TIP #21 – Try The Store Brand Version of Products

TIP #22 – Try Alternate Stores Like Aldi’s or Warehouse Clubs Like Sam’s or Costco

TIP #23 – Buy Your Spices Elsewhere Or Grow Your Own

TIP #24 – Always Be On The Lookout For Great Store Deals That Don’t Need Coupons

TIP #25 – Simply Put, Use Everything!

TIP #26 – Consider Canning/Preserving Food

TIP #27 – Plant Your Own Garden

TIP #28 – Visit Pick-Your-Own Locations

TIP #29 – Shop At Local Farmstands And Farmer’s Markets

TIP #30 – Change Your Eating Habits, Take a Little, Go Back For Seconds

TIP #31 – Alternate Ways To Cut Meat Expenses

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stuff Christians Like by Jon Acuff

Too good not to share... what a great depiction of our selfish flesh coming out in our churches. The McGoo's have definitely been there before and are so thankful to be a far cry from this "hard time connecting at church" now! It takes work and effort and sometimes vulnerability... but MAN is the reward an awesome blessing!

This church isn’t very friendly. Have you noticed that? We might need to change to a new church, because we’re having a really hard time connecting at this one. We’ve been coming here for six months, sitting in service, not talking to anyone, then immediately sprinting out of the building and going home. And no one has connected with us. Rude!

We haven’t met anyone in small group either. We didn’t sign up for one, but still, it would be nice if a small group kind of magically happened in our living room, on a night that was convenient for us and someone brought banana pudding. Not box banana pudding, but like the kind your grandmother used to make. Is that so much to ask for?

Probably, considering that this church doesn’t really seem to reach out to people who have spent six months attending Sunday morning service and not participating in any other activities.

No one even called us and asked why we weren’t at the fall festival. Sure, we’ve never given them our number, but google it. And then help us connect.

I thought this church was going to be different. I thought it wouldn’t be like the last three churches we attended. Remember those three? Always saying, “Please stay for lunch and learn about the church. Please let us know if you have any questions. Please come to our first time visitor’s luncheon.” So annoying.

What’s that you say? Where are we serving at the church? Serving is a great way to get connected and plug into a place that is ultimately a two way street of people loving and giving and growing together? Even something as simple as handing out bulletins can jump start new relationships with new people? Ugh, that sounds like a lot of work. Quit judging us.

And start connecting us.

We’re having a hard time connecting at this church.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

TFC Lent Challenge

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter (the day of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave). Christians observe Lent by setting aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ through fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.

Lent 2011 begins Wednesday, March 9th and will continue until Saturday, April 23rd.

This Lent, The Forsaken Children invite and challenge you to: 

Check out the TFC Lent Challenge HERE, learn about all the details, and think/pray about what you can sacrifice starting March 9th and give the Lord an opportunity to work boldly through your sacrifice.

I am joining the challenge, sacrificing Facebook and sodas. I plan on blogging through that process and how God uses this time for His glory and to encourage The Forsaken Children/Onesimus.  

Will you join me in this challenge and share with TFC and me what you "give" and what God does through that process!?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


A friend of mine shared this with me yesterday and I think it's too good to not share with you.


Floyd McClung:
It doesn’t take courage to be a critic. It doesn’t take courage to leave knock weird, religious people. And it doesn’t take courage to complain and react. It doesn’t take courage to build walls around your heart and let no one in, to live a self-centered lazy life. It certainly doesn’t take courage to place impossible demands on God and then feel justified in your disobedience when God doesn’t meet your demands. It doesn’t take courage to refuse to share Jesus with neighbors or refuse to expose your heart to poverty by serving the poor. All it takes to live without courage is a bucket load of excuses and misuse of God’s grace.

Why do we have to wait until we are “called” to do something radical for God? What’s wrong with volunteering? God won’t be upset with us if we choose to lay down our lives…He won’t lean over the balcony of heaven and say, “Hey, cut it out! Your messing up the ‘I call you, you don’t call me,’ system.  Stir up courage in your heart and go for it! It is this radical way of looking at serving God that is at the heart of living a courageous life.

Courage is the quality of those who see the need in the world, have faced their fears, and chosen faith instead of fear. Our greatest concern should not be dying or a fear of dying, but living a life that is not worth dying for. Courage is overcoming our struggles by facing down the lies of the enemy that have been holding us captive. Courage is not the absence of fear in the face of danger; it is the willingness to trust God in spite of danger. Courage is believing that God’s grace is sufficient for every situation, and then acting on that belief. I am convinced that in myself I would deny God if I was persecuted. I am banking on the grace of God. That, to me, is courage.

I believe courage is not waiting for God to call you, it is stepping out in faith by calling on him. Courage is volunteering to be used by God in places he cannot find anyone one else to go, knowing God doesn’t punish volunteers but rewards them.

Courage is not waiting for something mystical to happen to us to make us obey God, it is stirring up our hearts to believe God. The Bible says Daniel ‘stirred’ up his courage. It tells us that Joseph of Arimathea ‘took’ courage. Courage does not come arbitrarily to the brave; it is taken hold of by the obedient. It is the reward of those who refuse to be prisoners of their fears, the lies of the enemy and the temptations of the world.

Be courageous today!

Deuteronomy 31:6
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

1 Corinthians 16:13-14
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love."