Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mustang Lights!

While visiting my family in OK, we went to lunch with my nephews. Their school (Mustang Elementary) had the coolest lights hanging in the cafeteria. (fyi I went to kindergarten here)
As I put this collage together I laughed because most of the stuff these are made out of are things we all have, don't want to throw away, but yet don't really know what to do with!
Banner Boys with their dearly loved cousin, Walker!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wrapping up Basketball Season

We are quickly wrapping up basketball season (Bo even had baseball practice already) and I wanted to leave you with some videos of Chapel and some pics of Deacon. After the SBU games Chapel loves to go on the court and shoot, constantly throughout the game he's saying "is it my turn?" These videos are easier to see if you click on the YouTube button below them (watch in YouTube.)
Chapel's version of behind-the-back dribble.
Chapel goes coast-to-coast

 Chapel dribbles

Deacon plays on 2 teams and these are some pics another mom from the team sent me. Deacon enjoys being the TALLEST on the team... can you believe that!? Yes, I said TALLEST!! We're praying he takes after Papa Rex :) Deacon is #32.



 Jake & Chapel entertain each other during the games! Geez
(sorry, couldn't get this pic to turn)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Please Stop Talking!

Awhile back I took a class called "Please Stop Talking! - Powerful Skills to Really Hear Your Customers". I thought as a good reminder to myself, I would share some of what I learned with you.

Passive Listening vs Active Listening
Passive is only hearing what a person has to say, but not reacting. Active is listening in a way that focuses entirely on the person, understanding their content, message and the emotions underlying the message. (I am HORRIBLE about this! Dwain will say "you're not listening, what'd I just say?" and I can totally repeat it back to him but i hadn't understood what he said.)


"A good listener is a silent flatterer."

Top 10 Active Listening Tips
1. Prepare to listen - Turn off or put away distractions (phones, tv, children, etc.) I now tell Dwain "wait a minute and let me prepare to hear you." Train your mind to block out all distractions, maintain eye contact and give the person your total attention.
2. Don't interrupt - This is rude and shows you're not really listening.
3. Allow space after they finish a thought - Don't just jump in as soon as they take a breath.
4. Nod your head and encourage conversation - ask questions too
5. Repeat back silently in your mind - This will help you concentrate on what they are saying vs what you are thinking you want to say next.
6. Take notes - jot notes of keywords, phrases that might remind you of something they said you want to ask about later.
7. Verify and check the information - "So what you're saying to me is that you..."
8. Paraphrase and summarize back to them - Reflect back what you heard using your own words with their keyphrases.
9. Use understanding responses rather than evaluative responses. 
10. Pay attention to their body language - are they avoiding eye contact? They're distracted or uncomfortable. Drumming fingers - impatient. Glassy-eyed - bored. Blank face - not connecting. Arms folded - skeptical, distrust (unless they're cold like I always am). Leaning forward - interested. If you see some of these you can always ASK A QUESTION, this will get everyone re-focused.
TO BE A BETTER LISTENER I MUST CONCENTRATE & BE AWARE!

thank you to Barbara Sanfilippo for this wonderful information!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sixty Acres & a Bride

So many of you know or have heard that my sister is a published author... Yes, I am SO SO PROUD!!! I know, I know it's not hard to believe that if you've been following my blog and see the way I write with such skill. HAHA!!! She was hired by Bethany House Publishing to write 3 books and her first came out in February, Sixty Acres & a Bride.

You can buy it at most any Christian bookstore (Mardel, Lifeway, CPO) or Barnes & Noble if they aren't sold out already. :) Which in that case you can get it online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I read it and LOVED it! It only took me 2 days and I am not an avid reader. I was asked if I could "hear" my sister in the book and the answer is "kinda". The words are so rich, her humor is hilarious and she's not mushy, but when I read it, it was hard to believe ALL THAT was coming from my sister... the one who sat on me and stuffed my mouth full of tissue to get me to stop crying, the one who charged me $$ to wear her clothes in high school (I still wonder why I wanted to??!!), and the one who I can still call and talk to anytime about anyone (usually dad) or anything! I always said "she's the smart sister!" but Becky takes offense to that. :)

So, since I'm not the smart sister, I like pictures better than words, movies better than books! So with Regina's help, here are some visuals for when you read this AMAZING BOOK!
Rosa - the main character and a quote from the book (pictured here Jaci Velasquez)
He ought to be getting to the barn, but if he could have come up with a reason to stay in the kitchen, he might've. The lady darted around like a dragonfly, never landing anywhere long but catching his eye with her brightly colored clothing, bracketed with patterns that mimicked the latticed wings of the creatures.

The broad neck on her blouse exposed more skin than he was used to seeing before evening - and then only if the ladies were dressed for a social. How did Mexican men get anything done during the day if their womenfolk flitted around the kitchen dressed like that?

She was a pretty girl, no doubt about it.

"Thank you, err...miss."

"Ma'am." She lifted her chin and straightened her back.

All right, he stood corrected. She was a pretty woman.
Weston - Hero of the book (pictured here Jim Caviezel)
She heard a horse nicker, then a man's voice. "If you're hurt, I'll help. If not, I'll pretend I didn't see anything and go on."

At his voice, the ewe struggled harder to get to her feet, but Rosa held on tight. "I'm not hurt, but I need to get this animal to the barn."

Huffing, she tilted her head to get a look at the speaker, Aunt Mary's warnings about cowboys still ringing in her ears. Besides an uneven haircut, he didn't look scary. Instead, his looks were very nice. Pleasing even. Aunt Mary's warning would go unheeded in the face of this handsome cowboy. She couldn't believe the man before her was deficient in any way, or at least his rugged face convinced her to give him the benefit of the doubt.
 The Courthouse at Caldwell County.
"One hundred and sixty-six dollars? How are we supposed to come up with one hundred and sixty-six dollars? With white knuckles, Louise grasped the brass rail bolted to the countertop in the tax assessor's office.

Rosa took her mother-in-law's arm. She had no idea how much that amounted to in pesos, but it was enough to turn Louise's skin pale. Enough to make Aunt Mary speechless, something that hadn't happened since she'd met the woman that morning.
The Dance! My favorite scene in the book.
The guitar's pulsating melody continued to envelop the humid barn floor. Rosa rounded Rico for the final pass of the set and for the first time during the dance faced Weston.

He saw the uncertainty in her eyes, but before he could understand its meaning, she pulled on the mask and resumed her character. She shamelessly met his gaze, allowing her eyes to go soft and then saucy. She pranced around him once, stepping off her territory before sweeping in toward her prey.

Hands above her head, she snapped out the rhythm with gyrating wrists and swaying elbows. His mouth went dry...
 The Palmetto (Weston's estate.)
The buggy slowed at the crest of the ridge. Weston paused at the top, and then with a shake of the reins, he urged the horses onward toward an imposing block of yellow brick.

"That's it?" Rosa asked.

"Yes, that's Palmetto."

His face wore the same look of pride that'd appeared at the courthouse.

"You appreciate beautiful things, don't you?"

"Especially when they belong to me."
  and... how could I not post at least one more of Weston?!
His breathing changed. Oh, this was worse than Rosa had ever imagined. Weston would wake to find her practically on top of him. Would he remember that he’d pulled her there? He moved away slowly, loosening his embrace, and touched her arm. Deliberately, he explored up her shoulder and to her face.

“Mr. Garner?” She could only muster a whisper.

“Rosa? What are you doing here?”
This fun site pictured Anne Hathaway as Rosa... pretty good match!
http://www.rtbookreviews.com/rt-daily-blog/caught-cover-february-2012

 My sister, Regina Jennings.

 Well, hope you enjoyed these pics. Now... GO BUY THE BOOK!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Perfect V-Day in Banner Land

It's always a perfect day when I get to wear a Creator Designs' t-shirt, so it started off great! Dwain printed this one-of-a-kind shirt for me last year, love it! The boys were excited for their parties at school and all the candy.
 After getting the boys to school, Chapel and I headed to my friend's house (Liz) and made these yummy sugar cookies... yes, that's strawberries on top! Liz is always over-the-top on greatness!!!
Chapel had a good time playing with the Garber kids, his favorites, basketball & computer.
The school does a fundraiser with carnations so I sent all the boys one. I've never given them any before thinking "boys don't like flowers" but I've come to learn they like attention any way they can get it. The funny thing is Deacon sent Bo one saying "from your girlfriend". When I picked them up they were already fighting, Bo didn't like that AT ALL! We headed to the shop to see dad and by the time we go there it was an all out Fight... WWF wrestling match right in the middle of Customer Service at CD.










Later we headed with Angie to the Squeeze Inn in Stockton for dinner. Yum!!! When we got home I got my present... see below
Oh that was delicious but to top off our evening we had a visit from our friends the Tulips, bearing chocolate covered strawberries!!!

Isn't this picture precious??!! So as you can see... the diet will start tomorrow!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Eternal Love

My sister Becky wrote this adorable poem for the boys' valentines.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sleeping Banner Boys

A Superhero need sleep too.
Chapel after a long day of basketball.
Jake DURING a long day of basketball.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Silly Banner Boys

Living with boys, never a dull minute. I take a lot of pics with my phone and post on Facebook, but Grandpa & Grandma Banner aren't on FB so I need to post these for them to see. They are so fun and always saying something crazy...
A girl from the college took Chapel to sit with her at the game the other night, the next morning the boys were teasing him about liking her. Jake says "Is she hot Chapel?" to which Chapel replied "No! She's warm." We all busted up laughing but then had to remind Jake it wasn't appropriate to refer to girls as "hot". :)
Sweet boys, eating lunch at Steak 'n Shake.
Superman!!! (I'm ready for this green grass and summer!)
Jake walks up to people and says "start at my feet and work your way up, see if you can see what's missing" the whole time while smiling like this!
Maggie at our Springfield store loves to spoil Chapel! What's better than a sucker? 3 suckers at once!!!
Hide & Seek
At Bass Pro Shops Chapel wanted a Camo suit so bad! Angie found this one, this face is after dad told him "NO!"
 Our business neighbors at Hobbytime Motosports, Chapel and their son. What a playground they have!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

SBU & Ball Boys

The Banner Boys cheer for the SBU Bearcats. They love getting all decked out in their purple gear. If Chapel finds out that there's a game, all day he begs to put on his "Preston uniform." We don't try to hide that we have a favorite Bearcat.
 Ball boys take their job serious, they've only unplugged the shot-clock twice. :)
 Our favorite professor and Chapel's best friend... Angie!
Chapel's buddy "Payt."  Of course you know you can get Bearcat shirts at CD.
 Chapel gets around.
 Sports are so fun and such a great way to spend time together, family and community!
 
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