Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My How Time Flies...

Growing up, my parents had all kinds of good solid parenty phrases like:

-"work before you play"

-"you will understand when you are older"

-"sometimes that is just the way things go"

But the most unfathomable phrase, hands down, was:

- "my how time flies"

I thought they were absolutely nuts! Besides the obvious next question of WHERE exactly does time fly to, in my own childish experience time seemed to crawl by. There was always something wonderful (like Christmas, Spring Break, a birthday party, etc.) that were days if not weeks away and it always felt like the big day... would... never... ever...arrive!

And now, because "sometimes that is just the way things go", I am sitting at my computer and the title to this blog is "My How Time Flies", and I do understand because I am so much older now. Well, maybe not very much older as I still have yet to fully assimulate the whole "work before you play" idea.

Happy New Year dear friends!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Memory...

...from Thanksgiving past:

When D and I were in our first year of seminary, we stayed in TX for the big Feast and invited some seminary friends to eat with us. This was a really big deal for us as we had always travelled back to family for this occasion and the new friendships we had made thus far were still, well, new.

With great confidence I bought the turkey several weeks in advance. I had never prepared one before, nor had I ever paid the least bit of attention to anyone else's preparation of one, and so I figured it would be wise to have all the shopping done nice and early. It was a fresh turkey, by the way. Fresh turkeys do not stay fresh for several weeks in advance of the Feast. Fresh turkeys that aren't fresh tend to make this fact known in dreadfully unmistakeable ways!! Lucky for me, the local WalMart had also made a mistake with my fresh turkey. The buy date had been mislabelled as if it were frozen and so we were able to trade in the nasty bird for a non-nasty bird.

My confidence that I could actually prepare an edible Feast was a bit shaken by this drama, not helped at all by the disgusted look on the face of the butcher at the WalMart, but I wasn't going to give up. Thursday morning I popped the new turkey in the oven, tucked neatly into its little turkey-baking bag, and I went on with my other preparations. The guests arrived and we all were enjoying conversation over appetizers, when little D decided to check out how the turkey was doing. He peeked in the oven, and in a voice that only a 5 year old boy can possess when you least want him to, he said, "What the h--l is that"! You could have heard the proverbial pin drop.

We were thankfully amongst true friends that day who at least pretended like they believed us when we insisted that we really don't talk like that in our home and we had no idea where he learned it, etc.

...from Thanksgiving present:

C and J were helping me clean in preparation for the company Thursday morning. It was so nice to have their help as I once again prepared the whole meal (only with a frozen turkey this time). As she dusted around my big pumpkin flavored candle which I have enjoyed the past few Thanksgivings, J asked: "Can we light the stinky candle today"? Oh! Wow! Maybe not everyone is as crazy about it as I am!

D and I laugh over that fresh turkey/cussing incident every Thanksgiving and this year, the re-telling of it was just as funny as always. I am somewhat amazed that another Thanksgiving has come and gone with yet another memory to add to the others.

And I pray that my heart will choose to remain very aware of all that I have to be thankful for. Thankful for the memories from the past, the blessings that are in the present, and the hope of the future that God has in store for our family!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reindeer Games

I know, I know...it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, for which I am very thankful! I am cooking The Meal for everyone this year which is a little scary, but actually isn't the point of this blog post. I may post about that topic next week. (:

Back to reindeer games! Each year D and I host a couple of Christmas parties, one work related and the other with a group of friends. And each year I search and struggle to come up with fresh ideas for entertainment. This last week, after logging in several hours worth of internet research looking for fun Christmas games, I finally got smart. I made up a list of 9 games that were the best of what I found out there so that next year this process will hopefully be a little easier for me. Some of them are old classics but with new twists and others I had not heard of before.

Below is the list numbered in no particular order, and if you are interested in any of them for your own parties just drop me a line and I will forward the instructions to you. If you happen to know of any other games not listed below, I would LOVE to hear about them!! I plan on adding to the list each year as I hear more fun ideas.

My List of Christmas Party Game Ideas:

1. Right/Left Christmas Game Nativity Story (gift exchange)

2. A Crazy Christmas Scavenger Hunt (prizes to winners)

3. Gift Exchange/Guessing Identity Game

4. Christmas Memory Game (prizes to winners)

5. Mystery Auction (prizes to winners or gift exchange)

6. Christmas Feud Survey Results (prizes to winners)

7. "Are you ready for Christmas?" (prizes to winners; ladies luncheon type thing)

8. Christmas Gift/Name Bingo (prizes to winners)

9. Classic White Elephant/Dirty Santa with New Twists (gift exchange)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

An Update on the Adventure

On October 10th, I posted about a new adventure God was was giving to me. On November 4th, a holiday from school for all my kids, I went through the training to be a substitute special ed. para-professional.

From my viewpoint:
I had to spend a day away from my kids to be trained for a job that was supposed to keep me on the same hours as my kids schedules. Immediately following the training, two of my kids had dentist appointments at the same time as the dr. appt for M who had a mysterious illness pop up that morning, J had gymnastics, and I still had to vote. Crazy!!! Could I possibly have heard God correctly on all this?

God's plan revealed:
What a strange "coincidence" to run into two women from our church also coming for the training. I got to spend time with them in a way I could never have dreamed up had I tried on my own strength. And all the other things fell into place like clockwork...like it was all part of a plan.

From my viewpoint:
I left the training a little discouraged that I may not get so many opportunities to actually work this new job. I was one of 20 women in the room which came as a huge shock as in the past they have been desperate to find subs for this position. Probably half of them had held this position before and were just returning for an update of information. And so, I rationalized to myself, it was really just as well to have a little bit of time to assimilate all the information and I was going to have to take D to the airport on Thursday morning anyways and my life is really quite full with plenty of things right now. It was good that I wouldn't probably get a call for awhile.

God's plan revealed:
On my way home from the airport this morning I got a call asking if I could come in as soon as possible today and also tomorrow. Amazing...

From my viewpoint: I showed up ready for action (read: prayed up and ready as I possibly could be) and was informed by one of the para-educators working with another child that the little girl I was assigned to often cried and to not be surprised if she pushed me away. Another lady confirmed this saying as soon as she would walk in the room the girl would run. A little daunting for my first go round.

God's plan revealed:
I walked in the room and the Special Ed. teacher introduced me to the class as K.'s helper for the day. I sat down in back of the mass of children who were having story time and K. immediately stood up, smiled at me and sat next to me. I had a great afternoon with her! Such an immediate connection was so confirming that God IS at work and I AM on track with what He has for me right now. And I must say, I really like looking back and seeing things from His vantage point rather then my own!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Leaps!

A leap off the deep end. A leap in the dark. A game of leap frog. A leap of faith.

There are all kinds of leaps. Sometimes we measure the risk before our leap. Sometimes we just jump and close our eyes and trust it will all turn out ok. Regardless, it is exciting!!

What motivates us to take these leaps?



This leap is from D's and my first weekend together. We were still friends at this point, but we both had already felt the spark of heart-recognition. My motivation was to impress D's flip flops off (as opposed to impressing his socks off, but we were at the lake) and I knew he was watching.

Yesterday morning in Bible Study we looked at Mary Magdalene and how her commitment to Jesus was pure and it was extreme. What motivated her to take that leap of dedicating her life to serving the Lord and at a level of commitment that took her to the foot of the cross and then beyond? She had been freed from her chains. (Psalm 116)

I also have been freed, though not in precisely the same way Mary was. So where does my commitment to Jesus and faith in Him need to take a giant leap?

The more I think about it, the more I am coming to believe that my faith doesn't need to take so much a giant leap as a series of baby steps. And some of those baby steps cover territory already travelled on but, unfortunately, need to be covered all over again.

Baby steps in my faith doesn't sound nearly as exciting as taking flying leaps off the cliffs of life. But in their own way, baby steps take courage and the results will be exciting even if the process itself isn't. I have all the motivation in the world to do this...I have been freed from my chains! And I know Jesus is watching and is with me as I take each and every step.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To Facebook or Not To Facebook?

That is the question of the week for me.

Big D joined that bandwagon last week, which totally explains why I am even thinking about it. It all happened because a girl from his highschool class is on a mission to get all 27 of their classmates reunited through facebook.

It all sounds very innocent perhaps, but facebook appears to be very addictive. And I am getting increased pressure to join the crowd.

"Everyone is doing it." "It is so fun!!" "It will be good for you!" "God wants you to be on Facebook." (Ok, that last one isn't really anything anyone has ever said to me, but I threw it in just for kicks.)

So I have steadfastly resisted the peer pressure! And yet I still wonder if it is just a matter of time before I am asking if you will be my friend.

Are you a facebooker? I spend enough time on the computer with my emails and "creating" an occasional blog. Is it really worth more time on the computer? Would be interested if you had any input.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Very Strange Coincidence!

Several weeks ago I was apprehended by the law. I was doing 55 in a 45.

In my defense...and why I feel like you would care to hear that defense, I am not sure. Stories about tickets are kind of like birthing stories. If you have ever had one, you feel like you need to share it with everyone else. Sorry, I digress. Back to my defense: it was almost midnight and I was on a country road I had never driven on before and the speed actually was 55 at some point on that road. Apparently, it had stopped being 55 by the time I got to the little nook where the police car was hiding in wait for its prey.

ANYWAYS! I got the ticket. I was indeed guilty of speeding. I paid the ticket. I thought that was the end of the ticket. But for the last few weeks I have been getting spam on my personal email for gotocrazydriverticketschool.com (or something like that).

My question is, how do "they" know that I had a ticket? I didn't write down my email on the ticket or on the payment check. It is a very strange coincidence, don't you think?!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Honestly, it is an addiction.

Hi my name is MEH, and I watch What Not To Wear. I actually record them all, and then watch multiple episodes while I fold clothes. Not too terrible, right? But invariably, my piles are done before the show ends...and I just keep watching. I can't help it!

So I heard a great quote yesterday while doing the whites pile. As they watch footage of some poor tomboy trying to negotiate stilleto's in the dressing room, Clinton asks Stacy at what age the typical female learns how to walk in heels. Stacy, without a blink, replies by age four. And she is pretty much right.

Hop over to Lift My Noise and see the photo that reminded me of that little nugget of truth. It is an adorable glimpse of femininity.

And if you are interested in joining an online support group for those who love What Not To Wear just a little too much, let me know. I am sure there is more of us out there! (:

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Way He Is

For the last 17 years and 1 day (the age of my oldest) I have dedicated my life to mommyhood--what God has called me to and what I have mostly embraced through these years. But I always knew that there would come a time when those sweet kids of mine would need fewer of the hours in my day and God would call me into some new adventures.

A few weeks ago an ad in my daughters school newsletter caught my eye. The schools in our district desperately need substitute special ed. aides. I read the ad. My heart lurched ever so slightly. And I threw it immediately in the trash. By noon the next day I had dug the paper out of the trash, out from under the nasty apple cores, etc., and called the number for more information.

Which reminded me of the year 1998 and Allyssa.

In 1998, Allysa was about 13 years old and the daughter of a fellow seminary wife and good friend of mine. Out of the blue one hot Texas day, Sally asked me to consider watching Allyssa (handicapped both physically and cognitively) for about 20 hours per month and for which the state paid a certain sum. My heart was touched but I immediately said no. The next day found me calling her back for more information.

Ten years later and I am still fighting stubborness and still learning to discern God's voice speaking to my heart. I guess that is just the way I am!

I am excited to see what God wants to show me personally for now and possibly for my future. I am nervous about the unknown environment that I will enter. I am excited that God has provided a new opportunity for me to serve others, especially the "least of these." I am nervous to see if I have what it takes to step up to a new challenge and still keep my priorities in line with God's priorities.

In a few weeks I will go through the orientation and begin stretching my wings in a little different direction then I am used to. I have no idea if this will be short term or long term but I have committed myself to a certain amount of time and I will let you know how it goes. One thing I do know, Allyssa stepping into my life so many years ago didn't just bless my friend but also enhanced my relationship with God and forced me to grow in ways I wouldn't naturally have pursued. I think my patient and loving Lord wants to do the same thing again. That is just the way He is!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Family Barber

After a blissfully relaxing weekend away to visit my dear friend Kellie, I came back refreshed to my loving family and my job as mom.

Alot has been written about Mom as the V.P., janitor, chef, shuttle van driver, tutor/teacher, nurse, etc. Is there any other job out there that is so diverse? Honestly, I can't say I am passionate about some aspects of my job as mom. Toilet cleaning immediately jumps to mind!!

I have recently added a new item to my personal mom job description--barber. I used to do this long ago when my boys were very small and didn't like going to the barber and they didn't care what their hair looked like, which was good because all I could manage was a buzz.



Weren't they cute little guys?! I wonder which holiday we were celebrating in this picture?! (: I think they were singing Your a Grand Old Flag for the patriotic show. It is hard to say for certain since we did them every year and they kind of blend together in the memory.

Anyways, we took a little break from mom-barber at some point and the boys had "real" haircuts at the barbershop just like their daddy.

But just this last summer, my boys discovered that they liked buzz haircuts again. And my husband discovered he is growing closer to his dream of being bald, and all of a sudden I am the barber again. Buzz haircuts for all three now!! Here are some recent photo's from this summer at Higgins Lake. Isn't that sweet with D and the girls? And yes, the minnows were alive.







Not only do we save at least $45.00 a month in our budget, but I also get to love on and talk to and listen to my boys (and my man) as they sit completely still without any t.v. or x-box distractions. And my food budget will go down too if they keep eating what they catch at the lake!!

I love my job!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Band-aid Day!

It started with a broken nail as I walked in to Bible study this morning.

Is there anything so aggravating?! It snags on everything, because of course I don't carry emery boards in my purse.

Then at lunch with D and the staff, a plastic fork (heavy duty, no less) snapped in my fingers as I cut through a red onion sliver (!!!) and literally punctured a hole in my finger. D's ad.min. had to run and find a band-aid before I bled all over the food while I phoned my personal injury lawyer.

As we got up to leave the room after lunch, I conscientiously pushed the chair back under the table with one hand while holding a pile of used paper plates in the other, because I am a mom and that is what mom's do. But the chair was on rollers and my thumb nail was pinched in between the table and the arm of the chair right at the cuticle. (I didn't cuss, I promise!)

And somehow in the course of today, I have managed to aquire a large paper cut on my other thumb.

All these things are quite trifling, little injuries in the grand scheme of things. But as any kid can tell you, the little boo-boo's can sometimes hurt worse then the big ones!!

Does anyone feel sorry for me yet?!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For Pete's Sake!!

Pete is our brown and white rat. She (yes, Pete is a female) has the dubious distinction of having the two largest tumors known to rat-kind on her right side.

She used to have a friend in her cage. Guess what her name was? Yep. You got it!! Her name was Repeat. Repeat went to the great Sewer in the Sky several months ago when she escaped her cage by chewing a hole in the wire lid and getting into something mysterious in our basement. That was back when they belonged to D3. Since that time, Pete has been handed down to C. as her new/old pet. (Convenient...right before it dies from acute tumor-itis. D3 is probably just protecting himself from the inevitable sorrow that is coming.)

So now Pete has a new home upstairs across from my bedroom. As I type, Pete has woken up for the night. Rats are so very nocturnal and it is all of 10:27. She is standing on top of her house and she is proceeding to gnaw with extraordinary energy on the packing tape that is covering the old hole that was Repeats escape hatch in the wire lid.

I am debating my choices.

A. Do nothing and risk having a be-tumored rat loose in our house come tomorrow morning.

B. Release Pete to the great outdoors and allow her to scamper (hobble, really, with those horrible tumors) through the wild grass that grows just north of our house.

C. Figure out some way to keep her first and foremost IN the cage as well as quiet for the rest of our night tonight. (The gnawing is wearing on me even as I type this sentence. Maybe "quiet" actually is first and foremost in priority.)

Option A really seems foolish as I think about it. I have no desire to do a search and rescue tomorrow morning for the rat, and she might die somewhere hidden and that would really stink. Literally.

(Oh!! No!! The lid is starting to give way. Ok, it is back on now.)

Option B, while tempting, seems a tad harsh. If the owls didn't get her, my cat would. Hidey-cat would probably not respect the fact that Pete is a fellow pet in the H. household. In fact, she would probably leave her on our front doorstep. OOOOOHHH!!!! And even more importantly, C. would be heartbroken to find her missing. Which is bound to happen soon enough at this rate of gnawing going on, but I would rather not have quite that much to do with it.

(FOR HEAVENS SAKE PETE, QUIT GNAWING!!!!!!!)

Option C...Ok! I think this is it. The cage is going in the utility room immediately as the lid really is starting to give way and I have to find something better then packing tape to secure it.

Now where is the duct tape when I need it?!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Just a little sassy!

Yesterday was a long day at church with a lot of action. Great sermon, awesome worship music, childrens ministry focus, hilarious video during the sermon that everyone wanted to talk about, missions luncheon, a car broken into and credit cards stolen, 911 called for a sick lady... Lots of different things were going on at the tail end of a week with lots of different things going on. It was really a great day for the most part, just long and tiring.

I can get a little "sassy" when I get tired so I usually try to disappear when I feel that sassiness setting in. Kind of like the Hulk ducking into an alley when he transitioned or the Superman in the phone booth thing. I need to be away from other people for my own good as well as theirs. Unfortunately, our church is not furnished with either alleys or phone booths. (Maybe I need to talk to the deacons about that!)

Anyways, I got a little sassy with some sheep. Don't worry, it was pretty tame and I already confessed to D. He just laughed. The first time was in the ladies room where 2 ladies were having a conversation about health food stuff in the stalls when I arrived. I knew who they were but they didn't know I was in there. You know how I am about health food. The temptation was just too much. I joined in the conversation as soon as there was a convenient break in between the benefits of keefer (???!!!) being extolled and the best price on cocunut oil I said, "What are you...a bunch of health nuts?!"

You could have heard the proverbial pin drop.

About half a minute later one of them tentatively started talking again about something else and I decided the time had come to reveal myself. Fortunately, they have a sense of humor. It would have been a shame to have lost their families at church just because I was feeling tired and sassy!!

The second incident I believe I won't share. It would take too long and it would lose something in the telling, I think.

I guess the moral of my little story is: beware when I get a little tired.

Or maybe the moral is: don't talk about health food in public bathrooms.

I am not sure. Either one works for me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Little Button Pusher

My 8 year old is mostly out of the age of saying cutesie things that she doesn't really understand. But that doesn't mean that every once in awhile something hilarious doesn't come out of her mouth in a most unexpected moment.

J. is now old enough to know how to push people's "buttons". She dearly loves to do it to her siblings in annoying ways but with her daddy, she mostly just teases. The other day we were watching football to J.'s great disgust as Hannah Montana was available on another channel. Without any drama whatsoever she casually threw out this fact, "Football players wear capri's and tights!"

And my little button pusher is absolutely right!! I personally had never noticed that. (:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Politically Speaking

Politics makes me feel intensely uncomfortable. Whenever I read a political article or watch the news lately, it is like I am the unwilling bystander overhearing the heated argument going on between a couple who knows each other very well and know just how to push each others buttons and is intent on winning regardless of what it costs.

And it doesn't matter whether the slant of the media coverage is conservative or liberal, the anxiety remains.

And it doesn't matter that I know that regardless of what happens in politics, God is still my loving and faithful God.

So my question is, how do I remain in touch with what is going on in the world around me when I feel the need to run for the hills and a good strong Dr. Pepper as soon as things start to get interesting?

Any ideas?

Anyone?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

So Very Quiet!

That is what I hear in my house.

All my little ones skipped happily off to school this morning. Actually, not really. D3 drove M and C so there was probably no skipping involved if he had anything to say about it. And J is really the only one truly happy about school starting back up. But she will get over that in about 2 weeks when the new of being a 3rd grader with her very own locker wears off.

So back to the quiet. There is the sound of D's fingers quietly tapping on his computer in the other room. There is the quiet hum of my computer as I check email and read some blogs. And I am surrounded by my own thoughts.

It is so very quiet!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thoughts

The existence of God. Can He/Does He step in and intervene in my very own mundane daily life? Or is my faith simply the psychological crutch some would claim it to be. Yeesh! Where on earth is this blog going?!

You guys know me! With my history of faith in the actual existence of God and His personal intervention in my life, why on earth would I spend any precious time thinking about this topic?

I spent some of my yesterday thinking these deep thoughts and being the devil's advocate, probably literally. I ended up by asking, if it was good with Him, to show up in a big way for me in the near future. Nothing specific was required, but would He show me Himself in such a way that I would see it was undoubtedly Him and so encourage and remind me in my faith. I laid out a fleece.

This morning, God showed up. Yet again, may I say!!

I have been praying for the last two days for a friend whose house was in process of foreclosure and her family was to be homeless in 2 weeks time. They were able to make monthly payments but not make up for the several months they had missed. No matter what avenue she tried, she kept hitting a brick wall and unkind people unwilling to listen or help. And so I prayed for intervention from God and provision. And I prayed she would find favor with the people in the mortgage company. This morning she called with the news that her mortgage company had called her with some new developments. In a nutshell, everything unpaid has been "forgiven" and she has been given a new rate with monthly payments even less then before. This from a company that had flatly refused to work with her and that HUD had warned her to be impossible to work with in her situation.

And so God revealed Himself! I was allowed the opportunity to pray with her and for her personal issues and in the process God reminded me yet again of Who He is and how He works. He is a personal God who cares and specializes in the impossible!

I am not sure why I went through that little exercise of questioning and laying out a fleece yesterday. For heavens sake, I can count many, many times that God has revealed His Presence to me through the beauty of creation and through others life experiences, as well as through His Word made alive in my own life. But for whatever reason, my faith is encouraged and I have been given a reason to praise God. And I pass this encouragement along to you, if by chance you have even stayed with this blog long enough to reach this point, and pray that you too will see a reason to say thank you to God for His existence and His intervention in your own life. Pass it along to someone else and let the Name of the Lord be praised!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Leotards and Ponytails

J. is ecstatic! She broke the exciting news to her Papa (who is visiting in town) and to Big D about 8 times in a span of 4 hours: " I am signed up for gymnastics!! It starts September 3rd at 4:40 and I need a leotard and have to wear my hair in a ponytail."

This has been a dream of hers for about a year, which for an 8 years old is an extremely long time. She went with a little friend to a free session and was raved over by the coach. And we have been hearing about it since. We thought time would help this phase to pass along into history. It has not. We signed her up for basketball, which was fine, but certainly not gymnastics. And so now she gets her very own gymnastics session until January 3rd.

Watch out Olympics 2012!!

I did some gymnastics as a kid. Maybe a year, maybe two. But I loved it and continued to practice even without lessons. For many years of my childhood I entertained the entire watching world with my ability to somersault faultlessly and cartwheel perfectly and best of all, do back bends, back walk-overs and back handsprings in the imaginary Olympics of my own mind. (Oddly, I never could get the front ones down for some reason. ) Anyways, I gave myself a 10 every time!! Except for that one balance beam routine on the tailgate of the old truck in the pasture next door. That earned me a sad 9.4 and a painful trip to the emergency room with a broken arm. Oh, there was also the unfortunate "see how many back hand springs in a row" episode. That too earned me a trip to the emergency room with a broken wrist and worst of all, another low score.

For anyone who is wondering, my gymnastic routines are now only on exhibition for close family and mainly take place on a diving board or on a trampoline. But I am thrilled that soon J. will be taking over my old role and I can live vicariously through her.

Maybe I can become her coach and travel with her to London! Someone has to wash her leotard and scrape her hair back in the tight little ponytail!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grandpa

Last Saturday and Sunday was spent with my extended family. Extended, as in 2nd and 3rd cousins that I haven't seen since elementary school. My grandpa was the last of his generation in the family, the last of the family to live in Iowa also, and so a grand effort was made to re-unite.

The whole weekend was a series of breakfasts and dinners and times to remember. It was very sweet and meaningful. Some hilarious things came up also, which I know that my Grandpa would have truly appreciated as he had a strong sense of humor.

The memorial service on Sunday was held in a quaint little Presbyterian chapel, but was held in a Quaker style since that is the tradition both my grandparents were raised in. Quaker services are very dignified. They are focused on quiet and meditation and also allowing the opportunity for anyone to stand and share what God has laid on their heart.

So a group of grandpa's friends from the nursing home came to the service and sat right behind me and my sister-in-law. Towards the end of the service during a pause, one of the gentlemen decided he would like to share a memory and slowly pulled himself up. How can I say this delicately? Into the waiting silence, he passed gas. I must say that I am so proud of myself for not falling off the pew in laughter. Honestly, I am not sure if he even knew it happened because he didn't skip a beat. But oh, it was so funny. And I have no clue what his memory of Grandpa was.

Another gentleman shared about how Grandpa in the early years of practicing medicine was well known for his home remedies. He was the town Dr. for 58 years and much revered. But there was one remedy that he took off his shelf, his cough syrup. Apparently it was made of half honey and then the secret ingredient was half scotch. A mother called him one day and said her son had been coughing and so she was treating him with grandpa's cough syrup, but he was reacting very strangely to the medicine. Grandpa asked how much she was giving him and she said one tablesoon every hour. Grandpa was horrified and told her it was supposed to be only one tablespoon a day. And that was the last of Grandpa's home remedy for coughs!

After the service, one of the older ladies came to us and said she had a memory but didn't think it was appropriate to share in the service. She said that one morning at the breakfast table in the cafeteria, Grandpa leaned over to her and with a twinkle in his eye said, "Let's start a rumor!" Apparently, after Grandpa was widowed he became prime prey for the widows at the nursing home. He never even thought of re-marrying but obviously was willing to enjoy a bit of a social life.

Grandpa was quite a person. And I am so thankful he is with the Lord and reunited with his family who are already home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Barista-Boy

At long last, my eldest child will be able to truly show his gratitude to me. Gratitude for the late night feedings, the thousands of diaper changes, two years of homeschooling, several science fair projects, scads of basketball practices, a couple scares in ER, and laundry, lots and lots of laundry!

As of Monday, he will become an official barista.

He came home for lunch today and let me know the great news he had just been hired at Biggby's, my favorite coffee/tea hangout with my pals. The only downside, he said, was that he will be called a barista, which according to him sounds a bit girly. For starters: nothing could make him girly and, besides, isn't it just Italian for "revered maker of the coffee"? ( I really have no idea! I don't even know if I am spelling it right!)

And so where does him showing his gratitude come in? He gets a free drink each shift. And, this is where it gets really good, he doesn't like coffee!!!!!!!!!! Or hot tea, for that matter!!!!!!!!

Cha-ching!!!

Such a good, good kid is my barista-boy!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Grandpa and the Rabbit-Skunk

My Grandpa died 10 days ago at the age of 101.

He went from being a farm boy who drove a plough behind a team of horses to medical school (great grandma mortgaged the farm to pay for it). He returned to Indianola, Iowa after med. school. From his small town medical practice he served his country as a World War II doctor and then came back home again to live for the rest of his days. From Quaker roots, he was always a quiet and dignified man.

Grandpa's memorial service will be in a couple of weeks and we grandkids are supposed to come up with a memory to share. Try as I might, the memory that remains at the top is the story of the rabbit-skunk.

Growing up, when my family would make the 8 hour trip up north to visit Grandma and Grandpa, one thing I looked forward to was how different things were in Indianola, Iowa. This town was the epitome of small town Americana with a square and a local coffee shop stocked with old men drinking coffee and killing time in the middle of the morning. Sidewalks lined every street so we kids could ride the old fashioned bikes we found in the garage all the way past the city park garden to mainstreet to the tennis courts and back home again. But whatever we did, we had to be back in time for dinner!! I can still picture the dining room and the placemats neatly set in place and the fresh flowers beautifully arranged on the table for dinner. The windows might even be open letting the breeze flutter the curtains...completely unheard of in Oklahoma summers.

One evening, after the silent prayer Grandpa always observed before dinner, he announced that he was afraid he had seen a rabbit-skunk in the garden earlier that day and we were all to be very careful to not get too close.

A rabbit-skunk!! Amazing!! We just didn't have rabbit-skunks down in Oklahoma and I very much wanted to see one. I wondered how they looked. I wondered if they sprayed like regular skunks! Did they hop?!?

I can't remember exactly how the devastating news was broken to me that Grandpa had seen what he thought to be a rabid-skunk, and that there really was no such thing as a rabbit-skunk. I just remember the laugh it brought that night and for years following anytime we visited. It was kind of a bond between a quiet and dignified grandpa and his littlest granddaughter.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

VBS Weary

I spent all yesterday weaving my normal daily activities in and out of VBS preparations. I started out working on the supply list for snacks and then cleaned up the kitchen.

I worked through the preschool curriculum and did a little vacuuming.

I made some phone calls and emails to volunteers and put the laundry up and made my bed.

I had the girls and the next door neighbor do a "wet" run on the preschool water games in our front yard while I did some more emailing.

The list goes on...

And it didn't end when my head hit the pillow. All night long my mind tossed through vbs issues like diet restrictions for the preschoolers and oranization of the volunteers. Which means that this morning, I am completely and totally weary of the whole VBS thing.

So I am not going to touch it today. I am going to have to hide it, because if it is out it will call to me and I might give in. But enough is enough and I want to sleep tonight dreaming of anything but VBS!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dilemma's and Decision's

We really shouldn't be surprised. It was bound to come up with our kids just like it did with us growing up. I am talking about movies and the battle with the world over what is and isn't appropriate for a kid to view.

The Movie Dilemma...the ones they are allowed to see appear so lame compared to the "exciting" ones that are off limits.

The Movie Decision... go see the movie the friends are seeing and lie to the parents or just go home and miss out on all the fun.

"I know what you are feeling, and believe me, I hate it for you!"

This is what the movie conversation usually starts with. And it is so, so true! I wonder if they realize how much I mean it when I say it to them.

My sons are older and they have already heard this more then a few times over the past couple of years. My daughter heard it for the first time today. She is 12 and entering Jr. High this next year. I told her to get used to hearing it.

It is a battle. A battle for me to protect her innocence and purity as far as I am able while still preparing her for her future. Her near future as a teenager with a little more freedom and independence. Her distant future when she will be an adult with big decisions to make in a world that is tainted and ugly by the effects of sin.

And so, after a little pep talk, I showed her the pluggedinonline.com website. The boys already know about it and have used it. Now it is her turn. It is just one little tool in our arsenol against what the world says is ok and what the Bible says is ok.

Please, God, help us to parent wisely and well!! Please help our kids to have the strength to stand alone when necessary!! Please bless their obedience in choosing to honor their parents standards!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Memory Meme

This meme comes compliments of Lara over at From My Texas Window. Here are the rules:

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you.

Thanks for playing along. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Brilliant Foo'

It is true. I did it. You may not believe I did it, but regardless, it happened. I signed up to co-lead our church's VBS.

Perhaps we should all pause now for a moment of reflection on the foo' who commits to things that they know they will probably regret...

Ok, I am back.

Actually, now that I am done being drama queen over this, it is actually going quite nicely. And I owe it all to the fact that I have been so brilliant as to choose a great partner. My co-leader just happens to be little Miss Organizer Extraordinaire.

And she owns a sleek and snappy little ski boat.

So what does that have to do with the price of apricots, you might ask?

Today we had a VBS meeting. She basically outlined to me what she had accomplished thus far and I nodded at all the appropriate times. She handed me a folder to look over (really a token job I am sure) and we were done in 20 minutes. My kind of meeting!! It only got better!! We then loaded all our kids up and spent the rest of the afternoon ( with a high of 79 degrees, thank you very much) on the lake skiing and swimming and boarding and tubing. Oh, and eating chocolate chip cookies too. A very important detail.

So I am thinking maybe I am one brilliant foo'!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Gift of Summer-Time!!

Given the time I would...

lazily read novels on the beach in hot sunlight;
join my kids in the pool for fun and frolic;
work new flowers into warmed, rich soil;
laugh and tease my husband in soft moonlight.

I do love the gift of summer-time!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

How Hidey Got Her Mohawk

Once upon a time there was a cat with lots of hair! Long and flowing, it kept her cozy and warm all the hard winter long.

But, alas, as she hunted and gathered rodents for her pets (that would be us), her long locks also gathered nasty burrs, growing matted and ugly as the days went by.

With tears in their eyes (literally, as she still does have all her claws), her pets were driven to the point of shaving the once beautiful and now matted coat of hair.

But on the bright side, the hair growing along her elegant spine was still knot free.

And that is how Hidey the cat got her mohawk!

I would post a picture but as soon as we were done she was out of there like the proverbial bat!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Welcome Home!!

Seperately, the words "welcome" and "home" are full of meaning and evoke all sorts of emotions and memories. But put those two words together and they really pack a lot of punch! All of a sudden, it is very personal.

When Big D and I come home from missions trips, one of our favorite moments is when we land on American soil and hear the customs officer say "welcome home". We love going on these trips and investing our small part in The Great Commission. But we know where God has us full time and we frankly enjoy the good old U.S.A. with its drinkable water and a Dr. Pepper in most vending machines.

Each time we make our way back to Oklahoma for a visit to the family, we may not hear the actual words of "welcome home", but it is always communicated in any number of ways. Whether its the bear hugs as we enter the house or the smell of a favorite dinner being cooked, we are being welcomed home. Honestly, by the end of our visit, we are usually ready to go back to our own home and our normal lives. But for that brief span of time, we revel in being with those who love us so deeply.

After all, "Home is where the heart is".

It is where we fit because God has put us there. It is where we are loved. We know we belong.

We got in late this last Tuesday night from a long month of travel, ministry and personal vacation all combined. We were exhausted!!

As we entered our house we were confronted with an amazing surprise. Our table was beautifully set with flowers in a vase. On the counter was an assortment of breads and cake. The refrigerator I had left empty was stocked with two days worth of incredible home cooked food.

Welcome Home!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Girl is Back In Town!

But just for a little bit and then we are back on the road. If you want to see what we have been up to recently, go to the "stay connected" tab and then the blog portion of the Volunteers for Christ website. The address is on the left side of my blog.
Ciau!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Too Good To Be True!!

Ok my dear sweet friend, you need to do the following exercise with me:

1. Go to http://www.chrysler.com/en/2008/town_country/.

2. Pretend the car is silver.

3. Hop in the passenger side and breathe deeply the new car smell as sirius radio belts out the tunes.

4. Admire the sheer cleanliness of the floor mats (not one little crumb or stain).

5. Look over at the driver and imagine me taking us out for coffee.

I have been dying to celebrate my new car with somone who will truly celebrate with me, with no strings attached and no guilt trips. So I am doing it online with you. (: I got it yesterday. I really, really, really like it. Alot!! Yippee!!!!

Here is how it all came about. Basically, Big D is making the ultimate in man-sacrifice. He is giving up his big manly truck (who we affectionately refer to as "dog") and will now drive my 2003 Chrysler Town and Country. And I get the shiny new Mom ride just before we make the big summer vacation trips across the country.

Ok, now go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEFE3B0Rje0.

That is probably what it will look like by the end of summer, but as of Day 2, it is still pristine.

Biding My Time!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Is it just me...

or does everyone else have this issue too? My nose waits to itch at the worst possible times.



For instance, as soon as I get both hands wrist deep in the dishwater, my nose invariably will itch. And not just a little itch, but a huge itch that if I don't scratch I feel like I will die!! So I either have to die, or get my face wet, or stop washing to dry my hands to rub my itchy nose.

(My nose is itching just thinking about all this. How funny!!)

This also happens when I wash the car and when I mop. But the common denominator isn't water, because I have no such issues in the shower or in the pool, though the bathtub has seen its share of itchy nose moments. This also happens when I am in a deep conversation with someone over something deeply personal in their life. I find myself wondering if it would look too terribly rude for me to reach up and rub my nose while they are spilling their gut. I try to time it with perhaps something less painful then the current rebellious children/goofball husband/difficult parent/random church issues. Sometimes I manage.

Last year I had a biopsy done (benign by the way) and for an hour I had to remain motionless. My nose went crazy!! The poor nurse had to use a piece of gauze to itch my nose half a dozen times during the procedure. Surely there was enough other stuff going on with my body that my nose could give me a break!! And as soon as I could move again, magically there was no itchy nose!!

So it is probably psychological. But please tell me that someone, anyone has this happen to them also!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finished!!!

At long last, I have finished the book on my nightstand. Cokie Roberts' book, Founding Mothers, is somewhat thick and so that is my excuse. It isn't a good one. Probably not good enough for the library to waive the late fees for me.

Truth be told, it was just hard to get into. But somewhere about half way through I got hooked and then I slammed it. The women of the Revolutionary period were absolutely amazing people. Strong. Idealistic. Realistic. Brave. Feminine to the core. Impressive. And Abigail Adams was one of my favorites.

Anyways, it has fired me up to read more history from that time period and more about her, so I have started John Adams by David McCullough. I may finish it sometime next school year. Wish me luck! (:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gone, As In Disappeared!!

I am talking about my flowers. The pretty little colorful things that I just planted. Gone I tell you!! The green plants are all still intact but every little flower head has been nipped neatly off.

I am sure it was the deer. And this just after I was bragging to my next door neighbor yesterday about how Truck keeps the deer away from my gardens.

Oh well. Maybe the flowers will come back and the deer will keep their distance now that they have done their damage. But I have to tell you, I feel a little invaded!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another tag and I am taking it...

from La Vid Dulce. I had nothing else to say today, so why not!!


In your entire life, have you ever...

gone on a blind date? No

skipped school? yes, but it was college. Does that really count?

been to Canada? yes

been to Mexico? Yes

been to Florida? yes

been on a plane? Yes

been lost? yes! On a dirt road. In rural Oklahoma. And a guy chased me down because a rock my car had kicked up had broken his windshield. When I realized that he wasn't trying to tell me my car had a flat or something, I told him to eat my dust (or something like that). Then I cried. I was only 18, so give me a break!!

been on the opposite side of the country? yes

gone to Washington, DC? Yes, as a kid.

swam in the ocean? Yes, but I don't like it at all. I don't really like swimming anyways.

lettered in a high school sport? I honestly can't remember. How sad. I am sure I did though because I played varsity tennis for 4 years and varsity basketball for two at least.

cried yourself to sleep? I don't think so.

played cops and robbers? no, but when I was a kid my "gang" of neighborhood kids saw a robbery going down in the woods behind our neighborhood.

played dolls? Yes, but only with stuffed animals. I dressed them and loved them and named them and spanked them.

recently colored with crayons? Yes. Amazingly therapeutic. Try it some time.

sang Karaoke? in the privacy of my own home, thank you very much!

laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose? I can't remember beverage actually coming out, but on the first date with D, I specifically remember something funny being said or happening about every time I took a drink of Dr. Pepper around the campfire by the lake that night.

caught a snowflake on your tongue? it is a hard thing to avoid when it is coming down as hard as it does up here.

danced in the rain? Another date with my D when we were engaged. What a sweet memory!

written a letter to Santa Claus? No. Why would I write to him? I knew very well where the "goods" came from. (:

been kissed under the mistletoe? yes!

watched the sunrise with someone you care about? Yes, but it has been awhile. I need that to happen again soon. Cheap date idea coming on.

been arrested? Never

gone ice-skating? Yes, but I really, really stink at it. I always wanted to make it to the Olympics. Another dream dashed!!

been skinny dipping outdoors? No. I did lay out naked though when I spent a semester in Europe. I didn't want tan lines!! So I opened the wooden shutters to my room on the 3rd floor and laid on the floor in the patch of sun for awhile. I am so wild!!

had a nickname? Trala. It has been awhile. I liked to sing when I was little.

been to Africa? no

eaten cookies for dinner? undoubtedly. I just can't remember a time specifically.

been on TV? no

stolen any traffic signs? no

been in a car accident? a couple, none when I was driving though, thank you very much

What is your...

favorite drink? dr.pepper

birthplace? Honolulu, Hawaii

favorite vacation spot? Cotswalds in England

favorite salad dressing? Full fat and full calories, ranch!!

favorite pie? blueberry, but I don't ususually eat pie

favorite number? dont really know...I guess 37

favorite movie? Pride and Predjudice, BBC

favorite holiday? Christmas

favorite food? mexican

favorite day of the week? monday

favorite brand of body wash? don't have one

favorite toothpaste? aquafresh

favorite smell? pine trees right after it rains

Do you have any...

tattoos? tramp stamp, butterfly. Ha, Ha!! And I know you didn't bite on that Kellie so don't even bother to give me a hard time.

body piercings? Ear lobes. I was a wild child and had two done on my left ear lobe in the late 80's. Someone slow me down!!!!!

Do you drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? mini-van

What do you do to relax? sleep (I am being totally serious!), read, be all by myself

How do you see yourself in 10 years? My youngest, J, will be graduating from highschool, C will be graduating from college, M will likely already be in the work force and D 3 will possibly still be in graduate school if he gets to do what he wants to do. I could very well have several grandkids by then. D and I would be free to travel around the country on our Harley Davidsons and do seminars on how to raise perfect children into fantastic adults (cause that hasn't already been done by someone yet). He will have written his first series of books and I will pose with him for the picture on the back covers as any dutiful trophy wife would do. Or maybe we will be full time missionaries travelling to various countries encouraging other missionaries. Or maybe I will have gone back to school and will be doing...only God knows what at this point. Or maybe we will still be here. What an adventure this life is!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tagged

I was tagged by La Vida Dulce today for this meme:

What’s been one of the scariest (in a terrifying or humorous sense) thing you’ve ever experienced?

Honestly, it took me all of 1/4th of a second to know what has been the single most scary, terrifying experience of my entire life. I pray I never experience that kind of terror ever again!! And I can't share it with you, my dear internet circle, because it involves someone else.

So now I need to think of something that would come in second. And I am coming up with...nothing. Nothing!!!

Well, maybe my first kiss. Truly terrifying (will we bump noses? does my breath stink?) but would that count as one of the scariest? It doesn't seem to fit. Such a teenager moment!!

There is always child birth. That was pretty scary, and definately not a teenager moment. But the nice Dr. came in the nick of time with the big syringe full of epidural good stuff and then all was happy again. So that doesn't really work.

Oh, I have one. A real one! Way back when, D was an attorney in Oklahoma City. On the morning of April 19,1995, he went off to work and I went to a community Bible Study. As I entered the building, word sifted through the ladies that the Federal Courthouse building had just been bombed. I knew that D had a federal case that morning. Needless to say, the phone lines were completely jammed but miraculously I did at last get through to his secretary who confirmed that he was indeed downtown for the federal case. Fortunately, I was able to also get word quickly that it was not the courthouse but the Murrah Federal building that had been blasted apart, just 2 block away from where D was at the courthouse.

Thankful doesn't begin to describe my feelings that D was safe, but it was and is hard knowing how many other family's have a different and very sad story about this same day.

So I am supposed to tag some other people on this deal. My problem is I don't have any clue how to paste those cool little links in. That in and of itself is terrifying!! SO if you read this, consider yourself tagged and let me know!

Monday, June 2, 2008

37 Working on 18

That would be me, 37 years old working on 18 years of age!!

Last week I got to be a kid again. M's class does a trip each year and this year we went to the Cincinnati area. A Creation Museum and an Aquarium started us off. I was full of energy and willing to try anything. Including taking on any and every taker in Dance Dance Revolution at the pizza place where we had dinner afterwards. I was so 18 again!!

And then we spent the night at an incredible hotel with an inside water park. There were a gillion rides and I did them all, but suddenly at around 9:00 I realized that I was really more like a 25 year old then an 18 year old, so a group of us headed off to the hot tub. By the time we got out at 10:00, I had mysteriously aged another 5 years.

The next day we spent at the nearby theme park. As a 30 year old (in my own mind) I was boldly unafraid to face any and every roller coaster. Almost. After two consecutive runs on The Beast I had aged about 3 years. But I was still pretty impressed with myself and began to think that I could probably win that Guess the Age game pretty easy. The little blonde running that booth would have no clue that I was older then 33. Not a chance.

But, in the way these things go, by 3:00 in the afternoon I had actually screamed right past my own age of 37 and had hit about 45. I had hit the proverbial wall. We (my 2 buddies who are a bit more aged then I am) walked to the water park portion and found a nice grouping of chairs under a big umbrella and we took our shoes off, laid down, and took a little siesta surrounded by all the little bikini wearing, tanned and buff bodies of true 18 year olds. You know they were shaking their heads and saying to themselves, "NEVER!!!".

We had left at 4 AM on Wednesday and didn't get home until 1 AM on Friday. It was an absolute blast! Really. And I am still recovering. Seriously. I am actually on antibiotics and ibuprofen!! But at least I am back to my real age of 37. I have concluded that it isn't such a bad place to be!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Flexibility and Change

I am a very flexible person. Spontaneous. Able to accept and even embrace change.

On my terms!!!

But when change is forced upon me, and upon my already well-thought out plans, I can be stiff as a board. In fact, I panic. Maybe not always on the outside that others can observe, but invariably, I have an internal temper tantrum of a panic attack!

I use the words temper tantrum because that is really what it is. MY beautifully crafted plan has been messed with and I don't like it, thank you very much.

Right now, it is my mission trip VBS schedule that is being "messed" with. So I am taking this break to blog about it and then back I go to work. Not so much to work on the schedule as to work on my flexibility!!! (:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I have to brag...

Last night, we were all out in the yard doing some gardening, throwing the baseball, and J was bossing Truck around. (She loves the power trip of telling the huge beast to heel and sit and fetch it up. She is such a girl!! And I already feel sorry for her future husband!!)

But then the boys started to feel destructive and decided they wanted to cut something down. Fortunately, we have about 10 dead trees in our front yard that have been just begging to be removed for the last 2 years. So with a dull axe and an even duller hatchet, my boys happily went to work. After hacking away for about 30 minutes, they decided it would be even funner to pull the trees down with the wench on Big D's truck. That occupied them for another 30 minutes. And meanwhile we were all getting very hungry. But there was no way I was leaving two teenage boys alone with a wench. (: (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

This is where my proud moment comes in. C volunteered her services as chef. When she called us in, the table was set complete with flowers in the middle of the lazy susan. Spaghetti was our main course with buttered slices of french bread and a salad on the side. Drinks were at each place, which is something I always seem to forget until right when I sit down. It was so wonderful I could have cried!!

And that is why I had to brag!! I sure like my kids, every one of them!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Choices

Some choices aren't too hard. And honestly, the consequences aren't earth shattering either way I decide to go.

Do I drink the hot tea at 9:53 at night (risking the effects of caffeine) or wait until tomorrow morning?

Do I let the boys wrestle in the livingroom (though it makes me a little crazy) or do I ask them to cease and desist?

Other choices require alot more from me!!

Like do I give in to feeling sorry for myself because my husband, who has been out of town Monday - Thursday night at a conference, just flew out again this afternoon to attend a family reunion through next Monday on a lake somewhere beautiful and I am stuck here at home with all four kids and nothing to do but more laundry and cooking and housework and yard work. Or do I just suck it up and rejoice that my husband gets the opportunity to go and be thankful that I have 4 awesome kids to spend time with all the holiday weekend long?

So in case you were wondering, I did drink the tea, which is why I am sitting here typing with the smug satisfaction of having lasted a whole 5 minutes before "encouraging" the boys to take it somewhere else.

But I am still working through the third choice I have to make. And yes, I do know what the right decision is. I just need to suck it up and actually do the right thing!! Something tells me I may need to revisit this decision a couple times this weekend. I am so very weak!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Simplicity

Last month I was studying the spiritual discipline of simplicity. It was interesting. It was convicting. It is also a discipline that is difficult to apply practically.

The question that struck me the hardest was this: how often do we replace an item because it has actually worn out? My answer? Not very often!! While I have several areas of simplicity in my life, I am far from having all my ducks in a row on this one.

I know I am not alone in this. How many of us drive our cars until they literally no longer run? Or even until they are unreliable? Car purchases are usually based on looks and updatedness and the financial means to finally make the new purchase we have had our eye on. How often do we buy clothes because ours have worn out? Isn't it more about the latest style and boredom with what we already have? The examples could go on and on and on...

The fact is, most of us have the ability to indulge ourselves in many ways daily and we are not shy about taking full advantage of that ability!

So it has been good for me to think on this and look for more ways to incorporate simplicity in my life.

And on that note, I am off to Biggby's for a decadent coffee treat before I go trade in my old cell phone for a newer model!!

(Before you lose all respect for me, please note that I have a coupon for a free coffee and my 2 year old cell phone is hanging on by a string, literally, and no longer shuts properly.)

Simplicity does not mean I can't enjoy good things that God provides in my life. Or new things. Or fun things. I just need to be very aware of why I am buying those "things" and what role those "things" play in my life.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Solitude

I am an introvert so the discipline of solitude shouldn't be difficult. Or so I thought.

I am finding that solitude is so much more then being alone and quiet. It is about God-focus. An ability to not be distracted. A honing of my spiritual senses, enabling me to better experience the Holy Spirit's leading in my life moment to moment.

In his book Celebration of Discipline, Foster writes this additional insight about solitude:

"The dark night is one of the ways God brings us into a hush, a stillness so that he may work an inner transformation upon the soul."

He goes on to explain how this "dark night" is often accompanied by feelings of a barrier between my heart and God. A suspicion that He is far away and my prayers are not quite hitting His ears and His Word is not quite touching my heart.

I read this and something inside me nods in agreement. I think that is a place I have visited a time or two. Or ten.

But another (rebellious) part of me just wants to argue with Foster's observation.

Aren't challenging times most often the result of human failings? Why should He feel the need to inflict me with hardship to inspire soul growth? Can't there be an easier and less painful way?

I reflect on those questions personally and the truth is blindingly simple. I have control issues. I want to determine when I enjoy my solitude. I don't want God enforced solitude. I think I know myself best! And if I don't feel like growing spiritually I shouldn't have to!!

Foster goes on to say regarding those harsher times of solitude, "Be grateful that God is lovingly drawing you away from every distraction so that you can see him clearly."

These enforced moments of solitude are really expressions of love from a God who desires my soul to expand into something more lovely, more Christ-like. From that perspective, the solitude of a dark night suddenly becomes strikingly beautiful. It is confirmation that God is not done with me. He hasn't thrown up His hands and said "Enough! I am through with her".

Solitude allows God to pull my heart closer to His own!! Solitude allows me to bide my time while God does His work in me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Today I am...

...listening to rain drops on my back deck through the open windows.

...watching Sweet Home Alabama for the umpteenth time.

...labeling items for a Brazil fundraiser garage sale still fueled by a Skinny Biggby's Teddy Bear from this AM.

...thankful there is a big empty space in my dayplanner from noon on.

What are you up to?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One of Those Moments

Yesterday after school, my 16 year old son picked me up from Big D's office in his car. (!!!!)

We were headed downtown to a tux shop because my baby boy has been invited to prom by a girl from our church. (!!!!!!!!!!!!)

As the tux shop guy showed my son the options, I had one of those moments of blinding insight. He is not my baby boy anymore. He is growing up at the speed of light and he is drawing very close to adulthood.

This is one of those moments when I should NOT be "biding my time". The time is now! The time to love on him and cherish him and laugh with him and listen to him. The time is now!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

T.T.

T.T. stands for toilet tissue, thank you very much. I have decided to try and refer to it as that from now on. It sounds very genteel and ladylike. (You might use T.T. for gently dabbing mascara off your face but you don't even think about using T.T. for a midnight foray on a neighbor's yard right before a thunderstorm is expected. )

Here is the story:

D and I were reminiscing about his mom the other day and somehow the topic of toilet paper came up.

(Maybe because we were down to one roll in a house of 6 people. Maybe!)

Anyways, he mentioned that T.T. was how she referred to toilet paper on her grocery list, although in real life she called it TP. I guessed that maybe she thought if she dropped her list in the store and someone behind her picked it up and saw the initials T.T. they wouldn't be able to decipher her code-word and figure out that her family was the kind of family that found themselves in need of TP. D just kind of looked at me. I could tell he would never have even thought of that as a reason.

Someday, we will get to ask her. I really would love to know. And we will probably have a really good laugh over it.

And on that note, I wonder if when we get to heaven we will actually remember all the general, non-life changing but personal and quirky questions that were never asked.

Biding My Time!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ok, ok...I get the hint!

This week my theme verse is Psalm 94:19. Lots of stuff going on, anxiety is all around me, but I am running to the consolation of the Lord.

So apparently I need a little bit of help on this. Instead of attending Bible Study and then shopping for a get-together at our house tonight, I am home sick with a stomach thing. Ok, I get the hint. I will slow down. I am running to You!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Anxiety and Consolation

Hey girls,

It has been a really long and busy week. And just a bit stressful. C'est la vie! But that doesn't make the anxiety in my life any more right! Which is stressful!

At any rate, I did get some stuff done. For example:
*a couple Bible studies
*one skit re-written to a 5th grade level
*four VBS skit rough drafts scripted out
*A few emergency children's ministry meetings
*An all day track meet ( by 1:00 we were betting on and cheering for various random kids who were competing and who we had no clue who they were but there was nothing else to do).
*A pedicure along with my book club girls (which was pretty tough but I gutted it out...ministry, you know).
*A cook out (not so bad a thing all by itself, but I had to clean the house before they got here).
*And driving 2 hours a day because my son's carpool was out of town all week. (Gas prices are enough to stress anyone out!)
Plus the normal list...laundry, etc. And there was so, so, so much more I had on my to-do list!!!! Like putting the laundry actually in the drawers. Like blogging. Like reading your blogs. And it was stressful to not check everything off the list. I didn't even have a written list, which I obviously love, but had to do mentally which is stressful in and of itself!

I had the luxury of a few moments tonight and so I decided to catch up with you via internet. It was good to just sit and read and catch up with my sisters in Christ. Having a few moments to be quiet and alone reminds me that this stress thing just doesn't work. It is going to be another busy week. Stressing and anxiety won't change any of that. It doesn't really help me accomplish anything extra. And there is certainly no joy in it.

"When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul." Psalm 94:19

I am going to run to His consolation this week when that busy, stressy feeling approaches my heart. I am committing to that!

Will let you know how that goes! (: Have a good week!

meh

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beautiful Simplicity!!!!!!

The daffodils are up!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Opportunities

I am pretty much a pessimist. Wait, I mean realist! When the challenging stuff happens around me I have to discipline myself to look at circumstances with a glass half full mindset. I squint hard to catch a glimpse of silver lining somewhere. It isn't always easy and I don't always succeed, but sometimes some pretty cool things come out of this discipline. Opportunities!

We live next door to the people who sold us our house two years ago. It wasn't part of their plan to become our neighbors. They didn't even want to move in the first place. When we moved in, they reluctantly moved on to another state because that was where he could find a contract job. On his first day at work, he fell and broke his back. Their family eventually moved back to live in his Dad's home so he could rehab and look for a new career and she could work two part time jobs.

And so they live next door to the home he built and they loved and we now live in. Awkward? Deeply! An opportunity? Definitely!

Last Fall, the wife came to me and apologized for all the tension. It was hard to wave at us and be friendly when they were drowning, she told us. She said that she would ask me to pray except she had lost hope. I told her I would pray anyways if it was ok with her. Over the past months, we have reached out to the family gradually. Their youngest girl and our girls became friends and the little girl accepted my girls' invitation to attend church with us. She now attends almost weekly with her parent's approval, though they don't come. A month ago, the little girl trusted in Christ! She reads her new kid level Bible daily (she had never opened a Bible before) and loves doing the projects they suggest (journals and all sorts of fun stuff). I am excited to see what God has planned next for their family! Maybe the parents and the big sister will begin to have a spiritual stirring in their hearts!

D and I were just finishing our run yesterday. My legs were like lead and we both only had about enough energy to drag our out of shape selves back into the house.

But a neighbor who was getting her mail a couple houses down stopped us to talk. She is one of those "wave at" neighbors who you maybe chat with briefly twice a year. But today she wanted to talk. She asked us to pray for her husband who was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. So sad? Deeply! An opportunity? Definitely!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Oh, Hail!!!

Yes I did too just type that!!

It is storming this evening and I am home with 2 little girlies, J and a little friend of hers. They are watching a movie and I am trying to sort out a 5th grade Sunday School lesson. The rest of the crew are at a pro b-ball game to which we were given 4 great tickets, and it just so happens that today is C's big 12th. (Crazy!!!)

So it started to rain really, really, really hard. In fact, we are in a tornado watch, which is vaguely amusing now that we no longer live in tornado alley. A brief thought flashed through my mind about the back windows in D3's car being open, then I dismissed it. They surely got rolled up. Right! And then came the wind and hail as a compliment to the blinding rain. So I ran out into the storm in my pj's (yep!) and socks to pull in the car (stick shift), quickly see that the back left window is indeed down as I try and back up, promptly kill the car, apparently because the emergency break is still on, restart, peel out and skid forward into the garage.

Next Big D's truck. (Still not sold, by the way.) I run into the house to grab his keys, then back out only to realize I first have to move 2 bikes and a kennel with a big 90 lb scaredy-cat black lab in it, and then back into the storm. Parking a dooley in a garage aint easy, especially when there is already a car in there. Congratulating myself on successfully not scratching any paint, and collapsed against the wall in wet muddy socks with the cat calmly looking at me like I am a complete loon, I watch the garage door go down and note that it is not only no longer hailing, but it has also stopped blowing and raining. In fact, the sun is shining quite brightly again.

Oh, hail!!!

Editors note: If you find it offensive that it sounded a whole lot like I just cussed on the internet, please note that the spell check option has been used and that certain voice inflections can drastically alter the meaning of a given phrase. Besides, I am anonymous. (:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What is Popping Up In My Garden?

Not much...yet. But I am so excited that Spring is lurking close by. I can't plant anything up here with any level of confidence until after Memorial Day, but I already have some seeds picked out and some good ideas of what I want to do.

So for now, Truck is all that is popping up in my garden:



Usually he is curled up on the rocking chair, but I guess he just felt the need of someplace soft for his big behiney!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Refrigerator Lit. 201

When my children were small we had little colorful alphabet magnets that I stuck on the refrigerator. It was just my little way of helping along the education of our next generation and besides my kids thought it was fun. But we are now well past that phase...sigh. But on the upside, we have graduated up to Refrigerator Lit. 201!




We like to think of it as a more mature method of creative magnet education on the refrigerator.



At various points in time we will see a new arrangement and we will pause to read what incredible literary genius has been born in some family member's mind.



As you can see, they come welling up from the depths of our hearts and minds. Don't worry, you will be the first to know when I compile and publish our work!

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Monday Phenomena

I just got back to my house from dropping the girls off at the bus stop.

Some mornings this little ritual is murder. Nothing goes right. They are running late as soon as their little feet hit the floor. The bathroom is too small for two little girls. Lunches are such a pain to make. Backpacks are heavy and unwieldy. Tempers rise. Mom gets tense. We pray together and the bus arrives. Those days are often Mondays.

But this Monday, everything has turned out right. C's alarm didn't go off and I woke them up 10 minutes late, but no big deal. The outfit J had picked out didn't match so Mom had to make an adjustments, but that was ok too. The bathroom was the perfect size for two little girls this morning. The backpacks didn't occasion one comment. The lunches were made before I even reminded them. No one was tense. We prayed together and the bus arrived.

So what happened? New duds! New Spring duds, no less! I am pretty sure that is the answer. It is going to be 67 degrees here today (we are told) and bless their little girly hearts they are both in new white capri's and loving it!! And honestly, I can't blame them. I feel the exact same way about new clothes. So now I just need to figure out how to provide the girls with something new to wear for the next 6 Mondays of school so this Monday phenomena can continue.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Bible According to C

Last week when my parents came in town during Spring Break, my Dad thought he would create some healthy conversation at the lunch table. So he asked the kids who knew of a Bible story where someone asked for something but got something else that was even better.

Fairly quickly, one of them hit on the story of Peter and John meeting up with the beggar at the Gate Beautiful from Acts 3:6. Papa agreed that was the story he had in mind and asked the kids what Peter had said to the beggar. In a matter of fact tone, and without skipping a beat, C responded with, "Peter told him to get up and get a job!". I was in mid-chew at that point and it took me a good 3 minutes to stop laughing enough to swallow. It was just so darn unexpected!

Nothing daunted, my Dad pursued the Bible story conversation-starter idea. He asked if anyone knew of a story where someone gave something away but was punished because of how they did it. Ananias and Saphira giving money from their real estate deal was the answer and C once again contributed her interpretation of the Scripture. "Peter said, You little liars, now you are going to die."

I don't think I have ever laughed so hard through a lunch in my entire life. And even more so because it is not usually C who comes up with these hilarious things. And in addition, I will vouch for her that she was not being sacriligous or even trying to be funny, she was just putting the stories into her own words. But oh, my, it was SO FUNNY!!

Dad gave up at that point and we just finished our lunch with smiles on our faces.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

NEVER!!!!!!!

My kids, like most toddlers, had their own funny little ways of saying things as they learned how to communicate. For instance, D3 would add an extra "i" into words, like panicakes and pianio. M would just say funny things in general....he has always had an incredibly great sense of humor. C named one of her grandpa's Pookie, which was pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. And then came along the littlest animal in our forest. Whenever there was an emphatic "no" on anything, J would say in a very serious voice and with a very serious expression on her face, "NEVER to hit the dog" or whatever was the current issue at the time. For some reason, that phrase will still pop up in our family's conversation when ever we feel very strongly in the negative about something. Today that happened to me. Only I was by myself. But it still needed to be said.

NEVER to run outside in 42 degree weather with a wind gusting at around 100 mph, give or take!!!

I am still in pain an hour later and I think I have done irreparable damage to my lungs.

NEVER, I tell you, NEVER!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Jelly bean jar

A very fun thing happened for C during Spring Break week. She actually won something...a very large jar of jelly beans from a grocery store. My young mathematician calculated the number of jelly beans by looking at the serving size on the package the store had laying out and estimating. She came within 15 beans. The actual number was something like 1122 beans. And she was so-o-o excited to win!!! We were too since she generously shared all week long.

Jelly bean jar then (we had already dipped into it by the time I took the pic) ...







Jelly bean jar now...




I like the purples. The girls like the pastels. M prefers the black. D and D3 pretty much just grabbed by the handful and didn't worry about the color, unless it was black. As you can see, you pretty much don't want to be a jelly bean in our house. And M gets the last laugh as black are the only ones left.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring Break Memories part 2

I can't believe how fast the week flew by. Here are just a few highlights!

There were games...lots of games!!!



Snow ball fights with the grandparents...





Football in the snow...


Snow Angels...



A visit to the farm and the maple syrup grove...




We of course watched March Madness (Go Jayhawks!)and most of all just relaxed together and had fun!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Break Memories

My family rarely took vacations over Spring Break.

Friends and classmates would gather on that first day back and compare notes on their "fun" Spring Breaks. After they had gushed about their ski trips and cruises and beach trips and Disney World, they would look expectantly at me and I would have to summon up a false smile and put some incredible spin on either staying home all week or the trip to Grandparents that we did take.

My grown up mind recognizes that my parents did an incredible job of loving us and taking care of us and providing us with plenty of fun memories together. The problem was, it just wasn't fancy fun that you could brag about to your friends.

But I also understand why my younger self struggled. And to that end I am going to try very hard to make this week a fun and different week for the kids!

Fortunately for us, we started our Break with 6 inches of snow. Thick, wet, sticky snow that is incredibly perfect for building snow art and making snow balls. All 6 of us piled out into the yard and had an absolute blast on Saturday. I would post pictures but the camera is dead (just batteries...it isn't permanent). C got stuck for 10 minutes in one of our giant snow men that she had hollowed out. M relaxed in his snow chair and ottoman and watched D3 and his dad snow wrestle.

Today we slept in late and then played basketball up at the church gym. It was so fun watching my 6 ft. D3 guard little J on his knees, getting down to her size. And tonight we are all going to the movies at 9:00. J's eyes got wide over her lunch when we told her what time the movie was and that we would be leaving the house at what is usually her bed time.

I am not sure what the rest of the week will look like. It may not be fancy fun like their friends who are jetting off to Florida, but I am going to make as sure as I can that it is different then a normal week in their life!

Happy Spring Break to us!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Question About A Breakfast Drink

Just to humor me, would you please anwer the question below, out loud.

(No one is around, so just do it!! There is a reason.)

*What is orange and you usually drink it for breakfast? And please listen to yourself say it out loud!!!!!





So here is my real question. Did you say "orange juice" or did you say "oran-juice"?

My husband has voiced a problem with the fact that I don't enunciate all the letters and have turned two words into one word. In my opinion, it is a waste of my precious time to say the full "orange juice". It is awkward and a mouthful. And besides, after 19 years of hanging out together it seems a little late to have an issue now with how I say "oran-juice". That should have totally been covered in our pre-marital counseling!!

And we don't even drink the stuff in our family except when we have company!!

So I would love to hear how you say it. Especially if you say it like me!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Brazil Blog

If you have the chance, pop over to the Volunteers For Christ website (it is listed on my "blogs to check out") and click on the "stay connected" tab and go to the blog portion. There are some exciting things going on in Brazil!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Comfort Food

The last few days I have been pondering one of the deeper questions in life. Just how bad does your day have to get for comfort food to be justified? And I am not talking about meatloaf or fried chicken, which I suppose have some nutritional value. I am talking the real comfort food like:

*Hot tea and crispy slices of buttered toast
*Dr. Pepper/lime with chips and salsa
*choc. chip cookies and ice cold 2% milk

Any of those options sound good to me right now!! If I had half a brain I would probably go exercise, but where is the fun in that?!

Besides, I can't work out because I "injured" myself on the ice getting out of my car in a parking lot and I am still so sore you would think I had run a marathon. It was totally unexpected, which I suppose most of these accidents actually are by definition. With my arms outstretched and flailing I collided with a suburban parked next to me. Keys in one hand and purse in the other! And there was someone in the car!!!!!!! So I swallowed my pride and tapped on the window to apoligize. (Note: I hadn't just bumped against this car, I slammed into it with all I had.) The guy rolled his window down 1/4 of an inch and looked at me like I was a loon! When I apoligized and explained I wasn't really attacking his nice, shiny vehicle but had slipped on the ice, I assumed I would get a "no problem" type statement. In fact, I might get a "are you ok" type statement to which I would reply that I was just fine and all would be well. What I got was the tiniest of nods and a window shut immediately on me. It literally added insult to injury! Was that a bad enough day?

Or perhaps it is the kind of day when, on the drive home after you have just learned a friend is moving out of the country, you find your dog in the middle of the road. Don't worry, Truck was fine. He had just run away...again...and so I popped him in the car and shut the door. As if on cue, he promptly began to "toss his cookies". He had apparently been playing trashman in our neighbors yard. Their trash was his treasure, and now it was on the floor of my car!! ICK!!! Was that a bad enough day?

Well, I am off to get a cup of tea. And things can only get better from here!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring is Just Around the Corner


A couple days ago I heard the distintive trill of a Sand Hill Crane. I ran to the window and there it was, strutting across my snow covered back yard. This just has to mean that Spring is around the corner!!! (Please, Please, Please!!!!)I think he may be the baby of our pair from last year. He is bigger then they were. ("My, how he has grown up!") And apparently they do tend to return to their "homes".

But I am absolutely thrilled to let you know that as of today he has found a mate. So hopefully in a few months our family will be stretched out in the warm green grass of our yard, enjoying a lazy summer day. We will hear the Sand Hill Cranes trilling their approach and will get to watch the proud parents and their new little baby toddling across our sunshine filled yard. The boys will spot them first, the girl's will adore the cute little baby, Hidey will try and stalk them, Truck will ignore them, and it will all be good!

Biding My Time!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I had a fabulous weekend with Kellie over at La Vida Dulce. You spoiled me shamelessly, my sweet friend!!



















Sunday we did "church" in the desert, hiking up the side of a mountain and occasionally tiptoeing through icy water. The desert was incredibly beautiful and the weather was so, so nice!!










I think that morning might have been the highlight of the weekend!
































Or maybe it was eating authentic mex!!



















Or maybe it was reconnecting with her family. Oh, who am I kidding, the whole weekend was a highlight!

It was hard to say goodbye to my friend Monday morning, bright and early. But God knew all this and that is why He invented airports. Enough said! And when I finally saw my honey at baggage claim, and was wrapped up in his big arms, it was all good!! Home sweet home and still biding my time!!