Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm Such A Weirdo

Heather from Funny Thoughts About Life's Crazy Happenings caught me for another meme. Susanne tried to get me too, but all it takes is one tag to make me it. And here I thought I was playing hard to get… Heather totally got me when I was looking the other way.

The meme requires that I must list 5 weird things about myself or my pet and then I must tag 5 people to do the same. Five? That’s all? Honey, don’t you know that this list could go on for DAYS? I won’t chicken out and do the pet thing. I’ll grab my idiosyncrasies by the horns and pray that I don’t get hurt on the way.
  1. When riding in the car, I envision a long cutter that will cut down all the tall grass on the side of the road. This only applies when I am on the passenger’s side, front seat. And my cutter can magically go around all signs leaving them intact. Don't have an answer as to how or when it started...
  2. I like my house HOT. A pleasant 80’s is perfect for me. Fortunately I married someone who feels the same way, at least until his allergies start acting up. I do, however, turn it down for company, so fret not if you are ever inclined to head my way. Just don’t be surprised to see me in a sweater if I need it. In the cold, I don’t want my house all stuffy, so it is kept down with the fire place used for old-fashioned heat (although it’s a gas fireplace, so it’s not the same as a great wood burning fire).
  3. I have been known to get so engrossed into what I am doing that meals can pass me by. Often, around 2:30 in the afternoon, I will start to wonder why I am hungry, only to realize that I’ve missed lunch altogether. Then I have the debate of waiting to eat at dinner or ruining it by eating at that time. It’s usually a toss-up as to which one wins.
  4. I love Monty Python. They crack me up! I could sit and watch them and then hope to find funny ways to insert some of the most clever lines into real life dialogue. The same goes with Napoleon Dynamite. And LOTR. And Anne of Green Gables. And… well you get the idea. Lines I can use in a fit setting. But if someone asks for one outright, my mind goes blank. Kind of like jokes. I can’t remember a joke right for nothing!
  5. I’m an onion lover. The more the merrier in my book. And all its family members. (That includes garlic, a.k.a. the stinking rose. Betcha didn’t know that, huh? See you can learn something from me.)
  6. And just to be different, I’ll tack an extra one on mainly because I hate it when something tells me that I MUST do something. (Do you wonder where my son gets his obstinacy?)
    I’m not a crafts-type woman. I can do nothing without a detailed list of instructions and even then it probably won’t look the way it should. I applaud all you who have a way with sewing, gluing, drawing, placing, and basically creating something out of nothing. I have not that gift. Maybe it skipped about 4 generations and my kids will miraculously have it.

Now I hereby declare that I touched Shayne, Melissa, Addie, Chilihead, Bekah and Jeana’s Katie. I’d pick Jeana, but really she definitely gives us her weirdness in full force. We won’t get to read her daughter's answers, but everyone wants to be picked sometimes, especially sweet blogging girls.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

WFMW - Thank Yous

If you are anything like me, thank you notes go by the wayside, as do organizing my closets and yearly doctor checkups. Sometimes you just forget to make times for things. Sadly, this is a pattern that regrettably being passed on to my kids.

Fortunately for me (and you), there is a saving grace. I have this little gizmo called "a blog". I can just take a picture of the world's cutest kids and paste it into the post, like so:

And then come up with some snappy words to say thanks:

Thank you Aunt Lynnette for this shirt for my birthday! I LOOOOVE it and it's sooo me!

Your completed project should look something like this:

Thank you Aunt Lynnette for this shirt for my birthday! I LOOOOVE it and it's sooo me!

See the thank you is complete and it took little time and effort on my part. All you have to do is to make sure that said recipient reads your blog.

Hey Lynnette!!! Are you there? Give us a shout out so that these nice people will know that you're real and not make believe. (She'll do it when she get's a chance. She's that kind of gal.)

Now I just need to teach my kids to do this so that I free up some time to do some other projects, like that disasterous hall closet... But don't count on it.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

****Click on the pics to get a larger view. For some reason, photobucket either made them thumbnails or larger than my computer screen.****

This past weekend we happened to be blessed with four tickets to the Cardinals vs. Cubs game. I say blessed, but on the other hand, when I looked at my checking account, it became quite the burden. Do we go and enjoy the game or do we do the responsible thing and say, “It’s nice to receive these, but there is no way we can go unless we put ourselves in debt”?

Of course we did what any responsible American would do – we charged the whole event. I mean how often is one given the opportunity to watch a professional game with the kids without selling your right arm, just to see the game up close and personal?

We did try to economize as much as possible however. First we detailed to the kids our need to be frugal. After telling them that we could go if we were thrifty, I looked straight at my son and said, “That means you don’t ask for lots of things.” He nodded and said, “Got it! … Can we go to McDonald’s?”

That boy has a mind like a steel trap, I’m telling you…

We ate breakfast in the car ever so early on Saturday – praise God for donuts! And we took as many snacks as I could fit in my bag. After the four hour car trip to St. Louis, we started looking for a cheap place to lunch because this I know: do not try to eat at a ballgame if you are attempting to save anything.

Can I just share how surprised I was at not finding a fast food place that was open before the game? I’m talking a burger and fries joint. After cruising the one ways for a while, we discovered a Wendy’s, so my daughter and I jumped out to get the food to go. As Mr. Right pulled away, I realized I left my cell phone in the car. Dumb move on my part, especially when we walked up to Wendy’s and THEN realized it was closed.

I prayed that God would reveal a fast food place to me quickly so that when we got back into the car, we would have something to eat in our hands. I looked around and discovered a Lion’s Choice. Never having been there, I hoped that it would fit the bill. Next thing we knew, my daughter and I were delivering roast beef sandwiches to everyone. They were pretty good, too – on the smallish side, but tasty none the less.

After parking the car and filling our tummies, we were off to join the throng of fans heading to the game. This game was toted as the hottest ticket in town, especially since there has been a long time rivalry between the two clubs. It was amazing how packed the new stadium was. Over 47 thousand in attendance that day. Wow.

As we approached the seats, we realized that we were practically sitting on the field, right beside first base and next to the dugout. I kid you not; we could practically spit on the any of the players if we were so inclined, which we were not because we actually have been taught good manners. It was that close though.

We had prepared for rain the entire game since the weather indicated that kind of downpour. Umbrellas – check. Waterproof bag – check. Remind the kids that getting wet is part of the fun – check. Not wearing a white shirt – double check. We were ready for anything.

What we enjoyed was a hot afternoon with no direct sun. My son kept asking when it was going to rain because he was (his word) HOT! God did bless us with lots of clouds and a nice breeze after a while. We just reminded the kids of some of the other times we had been out and burning, so the cloud cover and the breeze that cooled us every so often was to be greatly appreciated.

Mr. Right and I enjoyed the game. We enjoyed seeing the players bat, watching the outfielders catch the pop flies and watching some amazing plays. Our daughter enjoyed being with us, but I could tell that being there wasn’t her favorite thing in the world. For the most part, she kept a great attitude and had a good time.

My son, I have discovered, could careless about sports or watching them in person. He kept sending little reminders such as “If we were at home, we could watch this on TV” or “I can’t wait to go swimming at the hotel.” Or my favorite: At the 7th inning stretch, when everyone was getting up and moving around, my son’s face brightened up and gleefully inquired, “Is it time to go?!” Oh the joy for him when we gathered our things to leave three innings later. (It was a really short game too! Only two hours long… imagine what he would have to endure if it was a really active game!)

Although the game was pretty calm, it was exciting in that it came down to the bottom of the 9th inning. The score was 1-1, and I fully expected this game to go into overtime. The first Card had a single and then stole 2nd base. The second Card struck out. The third man up managed to hit a single, but the man on 2nd easily ran in for the winning run. That made it a thrilling finish to the even game. We were cheering and jumping and high-fiving each other. My son was high-fiving because it was finally time to leave.

One thing that I thought was wonderful was something that happened after the game. There had been a raffle to benefit a children’s hospital, and if you won, you would receive the shirt off of a player’s back. All the winners trotted out and each player came out, took off his jersey, signed it and handed it to the person holding the corresponding jersey number. The last one to give out his shirt was Bennett, the player who caused the winning run. You should have heard the stadium erupt! Such a great way to support a needy cause and to bring some continuing excitement to the fans!

Much to the joy of my children, we made it to the hotel to swim and then we at a enjoyable restaurant called “The Old Spaghetti Factory.” The food was good and the price was extremely reasonable, plus everyone had ice cream as part of the complete meal deal that the restaurant included. The kids were talking about going back to it again as we were leaving the place, so you know it made a great impression on them.

Sunday found us talking about God and His beautiful nature, about how it is our responsibilities to help those in need (we saw a few homeless under the bridges) and about how our God is bigger than the Arch we were going to see. You really can take any situation and point it towards God.

The kids enjoyed seeing the arch, although they were disappointed that we didn’t go up it. (That silly thing called lack of funds kept getting in our way.) My daughter wasn’t going to let that disturb her. She said we should just take the stairs to the top. And she meant it. I told her that although the determination was admirable, we didn’t have the time to get even halfway up before we had to leave. But I do believe that we have a new short vacation idea for the future.

I’m thanking God for His wonderful blessings of being able to attend the game, being with my family and to appreciate His answer to my prayers, especially the one that I prayed about not fretting over the expense of it all. He is so very good indeed!


Monday, August 28, 2006

I Knew I Packed a Jolt!

Since you all were wondering...

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

I figure that if you add a little cream or a little Bailey's, I'd be just about right.

Tell me what kind of caffeinated beverage YOU would be...

Live! Today at Shalee's Diner: Susan The Lurker

I feel so Regis and Kelli - ish.

I've a guest blogger today and I couldn't be more excited!

For those of you who attended the KC Lunch of Bloggers, you were fortunate enough to meet this lurker of a gal. Susan, who has a blog, but would rather spend her time visiting everyone else, completed the book meme with which I tagged her. (I happen to know that she is a book lover as well, so I was hoping she would take the bait.)

So without any hesitation, let me introduce to you Susan the Lurker! (Applause)

I returned home from vacation last week and was catching up on my blog reading. Imagine my surprise in discovering I'd been tagged! And a worthy meme it was too. Well, I considered doing an actual blog on my actual blog site. I thought and thought.....and thought and found I could not make up my mind how to answer. Then I'd commit to an answer in a draft only to chicken out change my mind the next day. I cannot adequately describe the amount of thought that I expended on this effort. Further complicating things is the fact that my thought window is never more than about five minutes long, maybe ten on a good day, before I am interrupted by someone wanting me to play in his room or be taken to soccer practice or my personal favorite, sign this ream of papers for school. Anyway, that, my friend, is why I choose not to blog at this time. I like the idea of it but the execution leaves something to be desired.I do email, though. So I thought I'd answer your tag that way on the off chance that I've read something that you haven't or that you might be interested in reading. So here goes. And, thought it's sure to happen, I will fight the desire to revisit this email with additions that undoubtedly will pop up in the coming days causing me to slap my head in disgust and say I can't believe I left that book off the list. Anyway, without further ado, here is my answer as it stands, on this day, at this hour.

1. One book that changed your life:Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five by Penelope Leach. Penelope Leach, along with T Berry Brazelton, was one of the "baby gurus" at the time of Jeremy's birth Sixteen+ years ago. This book was my lifeline. Almost everything I did as a parent I learned from Ms. Leach. By the time Matthew came along three+ years ago I was more or less comfortable in my baby parenting skills. I was curious about how Leach's book would hold up against the current wisdom, however, so I took an occasional peek inside. Not to worry, I mean, just look at the results:

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2. One book that you've read more than once: Every couple of years or so I re-read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I get the itch to read it again every Fall. I'll be reading it again any minute now.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: How Everything Works: Making Physics Out of the Ordinary by Louis A. Bloomfield. OK, it's true that I haven't read this book from cover to cover. This is a book that you keep coming back to time after time and can sustain you over an extended period of time. With this book I am given the illusion of having actual knowledge. Some of it may be useful on a desert Island.

4. One book that made you laugh:Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger. This book was somewhat sentimental but hilarious none the less. It's set in World War two era and is what I would call "baseball centric" although it is not about baseball per se, and, it relies on literary device I would describe as scrap booking. Kleenex may be required at the end. I should probably mention that as a movie, with language intact it would probably get an R rating.The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde was really amusing in that "Oh, I get it, ha ha" sort of way.

5. One book that made you cry:I wasn't in tears for the duration, but, there are sections in each of these books that had me crying the ugly cry: Plainsong by Kent Haruf, Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt, Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith

6. One book that you wish had been written: Hypnosis and it's Practical Applications in Parenting Your Teen

7. One book you wish had never been written: Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I don't know. Maybe the terrorist training manuals.

8. One Two books you are currently reading: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris. Thoughtful in the same way that Blue Like Jazz is but more, ummmm mature? Feminine? I don't know but it's a good read and not at all Christian lit-like. I'm also reading Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson.

9.One book you've been meaning to read: One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, both by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I started One Hundred years of Solitude in high school but couldn't get through it. I've been meaning to get back to it ever since.

Thank you Susan for those wonderful book suggestions. I will also readily second Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series and offer his Nursery Crime series as another great read!

Now coming up next: Owners who look just like their pets, Helga the world champion clogger and a singer looking to make a comeback - Debbie Gibson... Viva la 80's!

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Buy Your Tickets Here For The Carnival!

The Carnival is in town! The Carnival is in town!

Step right up and see the acts that are being featured at the Blogging Chicks Carnival.

Yours truly even gets to have center stage for a short time, but only after the elephants. They told me to just watch my step.

And yes, I do work for peanuts.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's Not All About Style

Sometimes, being mom is all about comfort, not style.

Boomama had her little say about why she is against the late 8O's coming back. She figures that she lived it once and that was enough. Personally, I could go either way with it. I loved my high school years, so that may have something to do with not minding the memories that will come flooding back at the sight of skinny jeans, doubled shirts and hair so sprayed that heat from a candle could ignite into great balls of fire. I still love the music, the movies (even though I watch some of them now and roll my eyes at them) and the there was always Moonlighting of course. (They just don't make shows like they used to...) I may even have some items at the back of my closet that I could pull out to sport again. (Just kidding. Just kidding.) At least it got rid of bell bottoms.

When viewing her comments on that great post, I saw this video and I totally admit to stealing it. If you want a good laugh, watch it. I think you'll appreciate the humor of being "MOM" in all her glory.

Now what did I do with those oversized shirts and friendship bracelets? I've got to have some freeze spray around here somewhere... Oh, and I'm definitely wearing my sunglasses at night!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Blessings Galore

Let me first begin this post with a sincere thank you for your kind words about my attitude with my sickness Tuesday. I have to admit that every time I read words that praised my faith or my mindset, I squirmed. I shook my head and thought if you only knew the real me. I want to put in the picture to you all that I don’t have my act together. I am not amazing in any sort of way. I am only a fellow follower of Christ who is trying to not pull an early Peter, but rather wanting to be a woman of complete and utter faith in every miniscule part of her life. I’m not there yet, but it is where I want to be. But I am excited for the journey that God has set before me.

Now that I know I’ve set you straight, I can continue on with the genuine subject of this post.

Yesterday was such a peculiar day. First with your comments, then with the wonderful posts from others who don’t realize where I’m at in my life – but God used their words to encourage my faith, to build my hope and to encourage my prayer life – and then the situation that I had at home. It’s not even a week into school and my son was sent to the principal’s office. Ugh.

His teacher had reminded him a few times to keep his hands to himself, but he chose to ignore her instructions. When she was moving another boy away from my son, my son reached out and Indian burned his arm. That was enough for her, so she sent him to the office, rightly so I might add. The principal spoke with my son and then sent him back to the class.

When I picked my son up from after school care, he ran to his backpack and immediately pulled out the note from the teacher to give to me. He knew he was in trouble big time. We have a rule that if you get in trouble at school, then you will get in trouble at home. And it is the type of trouble that will not feel good, if you know what I mean. (Ahem.) So he knew that he was facing “hard” punishment the moment we were in the door.

I took him upstairs to his room and discussed the entire situation with him, asking why he chose to disobey, why the hurt the other boy (“He hurt me first!”), what was he thinking when all this was going on, what other choices would have been better and how the behavior of others should not discourage him to make wise choices for himself. After his spanking, he was required to write apology letters – one to the teacher for disobeying, one to the student for hurting him and one to the principal for having to be sent to him in the first place. The boy was at the table the entire time until bedtime. Plus when his father came home, my son endured another stern talk and further instructions on his atonement for this willful sin. I would so not want to be a child in trouble in this family. We’re hard!

The entire situation made me think about grace – about how I am glad that God extends it to me when I make bad choices, but He still has me endure the consequences, not because He doesn't love me, but rather specifically because He does. It sent me into my son’s room to remind him that we do love him – that we don’t enjoy disciplining him, but it is because we love him that we do. Hugging and holding him, but still having him face the penalties should encourage (we are praying fervently that it will) him that he is good, just that he needs to make better choices to develop into a better person and a faithful Christian. All that is what God wants for us too.

After the kids were in bed and Mr. Right and I had some “us” time, we were settled in for some reading. Alas, it was not the nightly Bible reading, but rather a mystery and a history book, respectively. I’ll let you guess who was reading what. I hadn’t even read a page before I received a call from, as Mr. Right put it, “Susanne in Canada.” I grabbed that phone as quickly as possible and talked with our very own Susanne from Living to Tell the Story. What a blast! We were laughing, talking, giggling and basically chatting like two teenage girls who just had new phone lines installed. And, knowing how I feel about talking on the phone, I was completely surprised that we had talked an hour. It only felt like 20 minutes at the most. That, my friends, makes it a great call in my book!

This morning I started talking about the call again, and before I could get it out, Mr. Right looked straight into my eyes and said, “I know, Shalee. We’ll get to Canada someday. I promise.” That man is so smart and so good to read my mind like that and so sweet to say it out loud. (So someday Susanne, you're going to need to clear some couch space for us and have lots of coffee on hand.)

So I've had blessings galore, and for that I thank God for His goodness and His showering of blessings even though I know I don’t deserve them. He is that good.

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Tech Call Follow Up

Remember that Tech Help submission that I shared last Friday?

I received a call from the technician and he was laughing outright and fully. With mirth in his voice, he told me that every techie there had seen it and enjoyed the accute description of a prodigal scanner. Of course, they got my problem fixed in a jiffy.

I love making someone else's day without getting in trouble myself...

It's the small stuff, I tell you, that really counts.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Hot Water Bottle

There's a saying I like that applies to every prayer. "When you pray for potatoes, have a hoe in your hand."

In other words, do not ask God to bring it on unless you are ready for His answer, whatever it is.

Monday night, God definitely brought it on. I, who has rarely used more than two sick days a year for myself, was up most the night with my eyes feeling as if they are rolling in their sockets. I, who rarely has any sinus botherings, could not make the world quit spinning whether my eyes were opened or closed. And any who has ridden that spin ride more than 20 minutes knows what it will do to your stomach.

Yeah, I was that sick.

But I have to admit that amid all the nausea and wishing I could sleep, I talked with God. A lot. And often it was not about me. So when God brought it on, I could feel myself drawing nearer to Him, which was the purpose of asking Him to bring it on in the first place. It's like a mini "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" deal - except mine was more like "If You Ask God To Get Your Attention" type thing.

I choose to count it a joy that He answers prayers the way that He sees fit. Today I am better with a new appreciation for health, a refreshed esteem for an understanding boss, a sense of gratitude for my daughter who tried her best to tend to me before and after school, a son who knew not to bounce the bed and a husband who really there in sickness and in health. Oh I praise God for making saltines since they were the only thing to stay down...

When I read the story below, I thought it fit perfectly with the saying above.

This story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa.

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).

We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). "And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

"All right," I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as did most days, I went to have prayers with many of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God" she prayed, "Send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon."

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen"? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything, the Bible says so.

But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door.

By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.

Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting.

Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out - yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly too!"

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!

Looking up at me, she asked: "Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?"

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it "that afternoon."

"Before they call, I will answer." (Isaiah 65:24)

How does this apply to my situation? I'm reassured that God will prepare things in advance of my asking them. He created that weather system days (weeks?) before I asked Him to bring on whatever was necessary to take me down, make me stop and bring me to my knees. He's that good of a friend and that magnificent a God.


WFMW - Shower Caps

You know those shower caps you get at hotels? Well I never use them for a shower because most of the time I wash my hair to rid it of chlorine or bedhead, but I always bring them home because, well, it's there and I liked like to make my $120 a night (or more) count for something.

When packing my suitcase for some trip, I can put my shoes in a shower cap and it keeps them off my clean clothes in my suitcase. Maybe, by some chance, I won't look all dirty after I get to where I'm going. It is so embarrassing to have to explain a shoe print on your white shirt, especially when you are trying to give the impression that you don't let anyone stomp on you.

If you don't have to travel and you don't care about whether or not you look stomped on, you can also use those showercaps. Ask your mate to bring them home if they travel and you can
use them to cover food at a picnic (provided you haven't used them for shoes before).

Using things for purposes other than they were intended works for me!

Go visit Shannon's place to see many other helpful hints that might make your life a lot easier!


Monday, August 21, 2006

Thank You Lauren

Lauren at Created for HIS Glory (oh, how I love the name of her blog!) just totally made my Monday. She so graciously bestowed upon me the LOCA award, which I now display with honor and (good) pride.

When I told her that I couldn't wait to meet her in October to give her a real hug, this was her response:

You’re the shoe smeller* right? I didn’t realize you were a hugger too. I plan to buy new shoes before I arrive and receive plenty of hugs once I’m there. I don’t want to miss out on anything Shalee can throw at me.

*This makes more sense if you've read this post by Antique Mommy.

Who knew that my reputation would precede me so well? But "shoe smeller"? Oh, I've got to do something else to get a new nickname and vision for her head...

Bring Them On

I don't know about you, but I find that so many parts of my life goes in cycles. From PMS to levels of desires in cleaning, from energy levels to hours of sleep, from friendships to workload. They all seem to ride the waves of highs and lows, from backburners to extremely important. Sad to say, my spiritual side does not escape this sequencing.

It seems that I go through all sorts of spiritual levels, mainly in my reliance on God. I don't mean to say that there are times when I really think I don't need Him. I know that I am fallible and need God's strength and guidance. But there are times when I don't go to Him as I should.

When life is going well and the birds are singing, I don't take to Him my little thoughts or worries. I let those slide by and don't really think to ask for Him to intervene on my part for them. I sometimes forget that He is watching over me and keeping me in His arms.

But fortunately for me, God knows my little oddities. And He knows just how to remind me that He is capable of handling everything. He has a special way of getting my attention to rely on Him, to draw my focus back to where it should be ~ on Him.

Just when things are going splendidly, my sweet Father will allow difficulties to creep into my life. He allows sufferings to send me to my knees. He permits financial burdens beyond our means to penetrate our lives. He lets me wrestle with a sin that I cannot resist on my own. You see, my God knows that I need Him, even when I forget that I do.

And it is through these difficulties that I remember to go to my Father, to ask for forgiveness, to remember who I am called to be as His daughter. I pray more often; I see His glory in more outcomes. I sing songs of praise in times of stress. I seek His comfort when I hurt. I start to remember that this loving God is faithful, even when I am not. I am reminded that this life is not about me, but rather about Him who created me and wants to use me for His plans. He also jogs my memory that I am not to go it alone. Not only do I have His strength, but I also can rely on my fellow brothers and sisters to help to see me through. They are a part of the cord that keeps me from breaking, as stated in

Not always joyfully, but always respectfully, I bow to His way. I know that eventually, perhaps sooner than before, it will turn into joy again, where despite my circumstances, health or burdens, I will see God as my rock and power ~ the only one who is to have authority in my life.

Sadly I know that after a time, God will start my cycle of remember over again - sadly because I know that I will forget His supremacy and not keep it at the forefront of my life where it belongs.

But do you know what I say?

Bring them on.

Bring on the trials. Bring on the pain. Bring on the wondering of where the money will come. Bring on the times that will leave me standing with no other strength but that of God. Bring on the situations that create in me the desire to cling to the One who is capable of doing more than I can imagine. Bring. Them. On.

Not because I desire hardships or burdens, but because if this is what it takes to be truly reliant on God and to remember where my eyes and thoughts are to be directed, then I desire His prompts and reminders that He is God. I'd rather be in His kind, loving discipline than out bumbling on my own. I've been there before and it is not a fun place to be, nor is it a pretty sight. Whereas I feel completely loved and absolutely beautiful in His arms of protection when I hang on tightly to Him.

So how does God remind you to rely on Him? Or what do you do to place Him in view and not waver from His sight? Because if you do that, I definitely need you in my cord, binding me to God all the tighter, not to mention your suggestion on how to never let me keep Him from sight.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

My Company's Tech Help Desk

A real incident I submitted today:

Problem: Scanner has gone all hormonal on me.

Problem Description: Although this scanner has been given lots of attention in the past, and it started to work when tweeked, it has decided to act like a teenager; by that I mean it is ignoring me, then pretending like it will do what I ask and then doing nothing. This attitude has been extended to others in the office as well, so I am not the only one to whom it is not paying attention.

Please give it some good old disciplining before a take a back hand to it, or a good swift kick to its panel.

Now wouldn't you love to be the person who gets that on a Friday? Wouldn't that make you at least smile? Think of all the boring requests they get: Printer won't work. Program is not responding. I need ____ installed to complete my tasks. BORING.

I love my job. There are great perks. (I'm sure I'm going to get a "talking" for this one...)

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School Daze

Yesterday the kids went back to school. This year wasn’t as hard for me as last since my son is in first grade now.

On Wednesday, the school had a “Meet Your Teacher” Lunch. Now, I think this is a great idea for those moms who are blessed enough to stay at home. However, it sucks for those of us who have to work. The really big bummer is that they did not have an evening meet and greet, so it was either take off and make it or let the kids meet the teachers on the first day of school.

Fortunately I have a wonderful boss and work situation. I left directly from lunch and grabbed the kids to whiz up to the school right before the teachers’ meetings started for the afternoon.

My son was able to meet Mrs. Pittman, who definitely gave him some one on one connection time. We put all the supplies away and let him find his seat. He seemed to feel okay about this new teacher, and she seemed to be excited about the school year. I always love meeting teachers who WANT to do the job. (There are definitely some teachers who should do everyone a favor and find new positions. What is the purpose of teaching if you yourself don’t want to be at school?)

My daughter met her teacher too, Mrs. Adriance. She also seemed to be ready to start the year off with a flourish and pizzazz. She had my daughter put everything away and then talked with her for a short while before she was called away. I was relieved at the first impressions that the teachers left with me. I think it is going to be a fabulous year.

Later that evening when I was talking to a neighbor with an older child, I mentioned that my daughter had Mrs. Adriance, and both she and her son started excitedly started to enumerate all the magnificent qualities of her. The son had happened to have two years in a row with this teacher, and he said he would have loved to be with her longer if he could. He said that she made learning fun. The mom agreed and then also stated that her son is super prepared for middle school because although Mrs. Adriance is fun, she is also a exacting teacher who pushes each child to try harder and to go further than they thought they were capable of doing. Those are magical qualities that I love to know exist in a teacher!

Also, another unseen blessing that came from the talk with my neighbor dealt with bussing. Last year my daughter walked home from school, but this year she made it clear that she was a bit frightened because she walked home by herself. (The neighbors around us either ride the bus or their parent picks them up.) So, since I cannot get off in time to pick her up, she was signed up for the bus, even though it costs an arm and half a leg to afford it. I’d rather her be safe, feel secure and pay for it than to be the cheapskate that I am underneath, force her to walk and have her think that we don’t care about her security. My friend, when hearing that we signed my daughter up for the bus, immediately said, “Shalee, that is just not right. I drive by your house every morning to take my son to school. Let me pick her up and bring her home, especially since it is on my way.” And I thanked her, said yes, and immediately thanked God because I have been praying for him to make ways for us to afford everything since money is non-existent right now. I have been praying for money, and this is just as perfect of an answer, one better than I could expect because not only are we now keeping that arm and half a leg that we didn’t have to loose in the first place, but my daughter will be safe and secure in a friends car rather than on the bus. God is sooo good, and I don’t tell him enough. (Would you give God a little shout out for me? You can do it on your own; you don't have to post it.)

Yesterday went really well at school and today started out just as great. The kids are excited to get back to school and to making new friends while renewing the old ones. The early bedtime? Not so much.

Tonight, my son is having a friend sleep over (first time for the friend) so we are going to watch a movie, eat pizza and in general, make it a memorable experience for both of them. Hopefully I won’t be yelling at them all night to GO TO SLEEP! Maybe the chocolate chip pancakes we have for breakfast will bribe them to knock out sooner…

You may want to say a prayer for me. Patience is not my strong suit.

Blessing to you all this fine Friday. May God grant each of you a special memory of which you will surely blog about come Monday.


Why Men Shouldn't Take Messages


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Too. Many. Houses.

It's been 3 weeks and I have finally viewed every house on Boomama's Tour of Homes. All two hundred and forty-three entries.

I think I need a stiff raspberry lemon martini and a great designer to join me after work. After seeing some of those houses, I can tell I do not have the gift of decorating in my genes.

Antique Mommy, I hope you're free. Bring Sean and my kids will dote over him while we ponder what to do with my house on a shoe-string budget... Or we'll just drink wine and by the end of it, we'll decide that my place doesn't look so bad after all.


Kathryn at DYM told of an exploit at her place. Well, not necessarily at her place. She told it on this site due to an embarrassment issue, but we all knew it was her, so I don’t know why she had tell that story anywhere else. We've seen her embarrass herself enough at home.

Anyway, after accidently smashing her little Laylee’s fingers in the door and calling 911 to save the day, some really great EMT took charge of everything and even had the niceness to wink. I love that story. It makes me think of "Emergency!", the show featuring Station 51 and all sorts of emergency problems. (Anyone remember that show? I bet many a kid decided to go into that field because of it.)

Some people get all the luck.

Our one experience with 911 was confusing, to say the least.

A couple of years ago, I was at work when I received a call from Mr. Right telling me that our son was attacked by a dog. The boy was swinging on the swing when a neighbor’s dog was outside doing his business. All of a sudden the dog took off and just bit my son in the leg, no provocation or teasing or anything. My son, who was scared of dogs anyway, just started screaming, while Mr. Right came running to the rescue.

Of course after hearing the news, I took off from work and made it home in about 3 minutes. (Only a 7 minute drive anyway, but a kid in trouble always makes my foot press a little more.) Mr. Right was talking to 911 when I walked in, and they said to just wait there, someone would be there soon.

Now I don’t know about you, but soon to me is 10 minutes top, especially in an emergency. Okay, this wasn’t an immediate life or death emergency, but I expect all other things to stand still and to take second seat when one of my children is in trouble. Now call me generous or stupid, but 30 minutes later, no one had appeared. No EMT, no policeman, no dog catcher… Nothing. Me being me, of course, I was fuming and getting ready to just take my son to the ER, breathing fire at 911’s lack of response.

Mr. Right, ever the controlled one in our family, called 911 back, happened to get the same operator (big town – so unusual) and asked why no one had responded to our call. The operator said that when you own the dog, the policeman will be by later. I don’t know where she got that we owned the dog, but when she found out that we were the parents of the attacked boy and we had called almost 4o minutes, she immediately started to backtrack. She offered the ambulance, the police, free speeding pass, tickets to the policemen’s ball… whatever it took to fix things.

As if that where possible.

I was already getting my son out the door for an ER visit. We had good suspicions that the dog had already had its rabies shot, mainly because the owner came to apologize profusely and to request all the bills and to find all the vet records, proving she was up to date on her shots. I was upset at the owner for not having the dog on a leash, but I couldn’t stay mad with that kind of personal accountability. (The next day we went up to tell them that we had no hard feelings and even took them cookies. But alas, they were so embarrassed, they moved out by the end of the month. I kind of felt sorry for them.)

Eventually everything worked out at the ER, the policeman found us there for the report and pictures, and my son came away with stickers, a lollipop and nary a stitch (which they debated over for a small time). The boy was happy and we were relieved, although I was still ticked at that operator for not listening to our call.

I’m sure it was an honest mistake, and really I’m not upset anymore. I just hope it helped her to be a better listener for the next calls. We were blessed in our “emergency”; some others may not be so fortunate, when every second counts.

All that being said, I want to give a huge THANK YOU to those men and women who serve to help and protect us when we need it most. You are heroes in my eyes. (Yes, even you little lady operator.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

WFMW - Helping Others & Helping Myself

One of the things I love about this blogdom is the fact that we all are getting comfortable enough to ask for help, suggestions, directions and most importantly, on occassions - prayers. I think this kind of fellowship is doing wonders for the entire community - the blogging communities, our community of friends and the community of God. Where else can someone feel so unencumbered about asking for things or seeking guidance?

"Help! I need parenting advice..."

"Has anyone ever come across this situation before?"

"How do you make ____ happen on my blog?"

"What would you say to someone who..."

"Will you please pray for me about..."

This is the language that I think has God smiling ear to ear. Our confessing that we don't have everything together, that we need help, that we are willing to lean on the shoulders of friends in times of need, excitement, uncertainty. God knows that we need this vulnerability if we are ever going to truly learn to depend on Him.

I am certain that He has given precise wisdom to some of you to help with our needs. He has endowed others with the gift of gentility and comfort so that we will have a safe haven everyday. He has blessed some of you with technical merits to aid those of us who are struggling in this blogging world. He has granted some of you the gift of caring and praying for those who need and/or request it. He has enabled some of you to have great pasts and terrific memories to recall times in your lives to share with us. He has awarded some of you the gift of humor to make us smile.

The list really can go on. We all have uses. Every single one of us. We all have the ability to reach out to help a fellow traveler on this road called life, be it in big ways or in small. There are no little/unimportant people here. We all matter to each other... and we should.

My WFMW suggestion (and really everyday suggestion too) is to not be afraid to reach out and to call on these newly made friends. And please do not be afraid to accept the challenge.

I think we all have reached a break through that has been missing for a while. We are understanding the meaning of "Community". And when we understand that, we will be able to better understand what it means to commune with God.

I started thinking all of this mainly because Lauren, from Created For HIS Glory, requested some salmon recipes since her freezer is stuffed to the gills (a-huck a-huck) with the freshly caught fish.

So here's me coming to her aid. You all might like to try it too. It is a fabulous recipe that my entire family (and many a friends) have loved.

Salmon Steaks
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 tsp dill
2 Tsp lemon juice
dash of ground cloves
2 10 oz salmon steaks

Whisk together the first five the ingredients. Pour over salmon. Grill in the warm weather or Broil for 4 minutes, each side in the cool weather. Serve with lemon halves to squeeze on the fish.

We serve it with sauted green beans (fresh green beans sauted in olive oil, soy sauce and 2 cloves of sliced garlic added in the last few minutes of cooking), honey glazed carrots, a loaf of sour dough warmed in the oven and a nice Chardonnay. If you are not a wine drinker, it goes really well with sun tea, too.

Always glad to help Lauren! (And that goes for any of you out there who need a hand too.)


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Life With Kids: The Conclusion

Last read on Life With Kids:

Mr. Right finally made it home, and my daughter begged to head upstairs. He said
dinner could wait and then slowly we made our way up the stairs. When we
arrived, we turned to our daughter and said, “This is for your birthday. Happy
10th, sweet girl.” And then we turned her around to see…

Now for the exciting conclusion of “What Did She Get For Her Birthday?”…

As we opened her bedroom door, my daughter beheld a new room. Gone were her twin-sized bunkbeds, her purple satin comforters that would not stay on her at night (even with the help of superglue) and her plain beige walls, doors and rail. Gone. Gone. Gone.

She saw a room full of colors that even Gibee would be proud to house. Aloe Vera coated the bottom of the walls, bringing brightness to her surroundings. A white chairrail divided the room, followed by her love of Guardian Angel purple. The closet and door were exchanged into the same white accenting the colors just enough to make them shine.

Her bunkbed was traded out for a full-sized bed, complete with a foam pad (her favorite). No more cold nights for her! The bed was also bearing a new comforter of many colors, used to accentuate the colors in the room. New pillows and sheets topped the bed, making it oh-so-her. The bottom of the bed was surrounded by the bedskirt that Grandma had made just for her.

Her bare previously walls were accented with a white shelf with hooks for her sweaters and scarves. On the other wall hung a memory keeper for those little mementos she could not let go. She loved having something on the walls to make it more comfortable and stylish. And the pièce de résistance was the letters that hung above her bed in a carefree fashion, spelling her name and indicating her full ownership of this haven. (To which I have Jules to thank for her rubbing them out of the big pictures. But here is an example of some of the letters.)

She turned and looked at us with the most precious smile. Gently she whispered “Thank you. Oh, thank you so very much.” Then she walked about the room, touching this and that. Picking up books that she remembered and lying on the soft bed. She even invited her brother into the room to enjoy the new view. She must really have been pleased if her brother was allowed into her sanctuary.

Hugs and kisses followed, followed by the announcements, “I can’t wait for ______ to see this!” (Insert name; it probably was mentioned.)

The evening ended with a family dinner, eaten in the newly painted dining room. The kids didn’t notice the big change in there as much, but they were talking a mile a minute again in between bites. We ran to the pool to enjoy some of the water play and then it was time to go to bed.

After tucking the kids into their beds, singing songs and saying prayers, Mr. Right and I relaxed outside in the cool air. Ah, it is good to be together again under one roof. What a blessing to be parents of kids we love, but who also kids that we really like.

Life really can't get much better than this, and for that, I'm thanking God.

***An extra special thanks to kpjara for praying that Blogger would get on the ball and load the pictures! Stupid Blogger. I had this all set to go since 9:30 this morning. Oh well, maybe it built up the excitement.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Now Showing: Life With Kids

Well, regular life has begun for me again. I am actually starring in the role of Mom again in the now-playing drama/comedy/sometimes horror “Life With Kids”. It is amazing how much I have missed being this character over the last couple of months. It's a role that I don't want to relinquish in this lifetime. I'm sure I'm a shoe in for it; I'm taking the part with no pay. They can't find a better deal than that.

Friday at one o’clock, I was waiting at the designated spot to hook up with the in-awes. While reading (One Tuesday Morning – good book, oh what a crier!), my daughter comes running up to the car with the hugest grin on her face. She barely let me open the door to hug her before she tackled me. It had to be one of the longest, strongest hugs I have ever receive; that’s saying a lot considering the hugs that I have had the privilege to have! Eventually she let me hug her brother too. I think he missed me a bit as well.

We walked into Wendy’s to eat lunch together and from that moment on, my ears were ringing. Both kids had so much to say, usually at the same time. During lunch, I felt that I was going to have whiplash the way my head was swinging back and forth to hear what each of them had to say. (You know I had to sit in between them.) At one point, they were both talking and I could not keep up with them so I had to get everyone to take turns, my father-in-awe included. (My mother-in-awe was just sitting across the table, stifling each giggle from the moment. Of course, it may just be because she was gleeful at the anticipation of sleeping in the next morning or the quiet, uninterrupted ride on the way home or going to bed earlier or...)

My son was talking a mile a minute, and when I thought he was done and his sister started to speak, he reached around my head, put both hands on my cheeks and turned my head so that I could still listen to him. He didn’t put his hands down until he finished his words. It was so adorable and so perfect for the way that he wanted to show he valued my attention, that he wanted me to look him in the eye and really listen to him as he explained each character in some show that they had seen on Disney. (Does Ben Ten sound familiar? It was something like that anyway.)

(I wonder if it is like that with God. Does He often put my face between His hands and look me in the eyes to say, “Listen to me. I love you and I want you to devote all of your attention to me and what I am saying”? I would love to say that He never has to get my consideration, but that would be an all out lie. But I love the thought of Him caring enough to make the effort for that kind of talk with him. I’d love the thought more if He never had to do that in the first place.)

After lunch, we eventually transferred all their stuff from the grandparents’ van to my car. I’m pretty sure I only took three bags up to their place. How is it that all the stuff multiplied and at least 10 bags made it into the car? But I will take it because they totally aided us by purchasing the school supplies. I’m sure Grandma made that trip to the store much more fun than I would have. Usually, I’m rushing them to avoid the crowds. “Just grab the cheap stuff and move on!” She has a much more patient way with them than I do. "Do you like this bag? Oh, these are such cute folders. Why don't you pick out the ones that have those characters you like..." Grandma's are just like that.

The ride home was fun and the kids were able to enjoy a little Gameboy time. They had been suffering withdrawals from it for the past two months. Me? I see it as building character, of course, I’m the old fuddy-duddy mom who could care less about those little games. They were aloud to play for a short time, but then I wanted them to talk with me about all the stuff they had been doing over the last couple of days.

We did make it home, but it was too early for my daughter to see her surprise that we had for her birthday. I made them stay away from the second floor, even though it was about to kill my daughter. She knew she had a surprise coming, but she didn’t know what. She guessed a new bed, but then she said she really didn’t know. The hardest part was that Mr. Right made it home ½ hour late, so her wait was longer than normal. They “made do” by playing with Tenni, the cat they hadn’t seen all summer. That distraction more than made up for the delay. That poor cat is not going to know how to walk if the kids keep carrying her everywhere!

Mr. Right finally made it home, and my daughter begged to head upstairs. He said dinner could wait and then slowly we made our way up the stairs. When we arrived, we turned to our daughter and said, “This is for your birthday. Happy 10th, sweet girl.” And then we turned her around to see…

To be continued tomorrow…

(I know, mean aren’t I?)


Carnival Time

Head on over to the Carnival at Blogging Chicks. No admissions necessary, unless, of course, it is in response to someone's post.
I'm part of the event. Just look for me in the tent as the Invisible Woman... if you can see me that is.
Oh, and the funnel cakes are to die for; boy, are they worth the wait in line! I've had two already... Next you may be find me in the World's Largest Woman tent, if I keep this up.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Deer Tick Warning

I hate it when people give bogus warnings, but this one is real, and it's important. So please send this warning to everyone you know:

If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting a survey on deer ticks and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, DO NOT DO IT!

IT IS A SCAM; they only want to see you naked.

I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid now.

I'm just glad it happened when the kids weren't home...

Speaking of kids, today is the day that I'm going to tear them from the clutches of the evil grandparents...

Wait, that's not right. I'm going to be tearing them away from the ever-so-loving, nothing-could-possibly-spoil-these-kids hugs from the grandparents. And that is when they will be kicking and screaming because they will be re-introduced to a little thing we call "rules". Oh yes, they will be begging for summer to start again when they get to our house - the house where bed time is early and dinner is not always McDonald's or peanut butter and marshmellow sandwiches and ice cream is not necessarily doled out every night. Oh (evil grin and rubbing of hands) they are mine, all MINE! Bwa ha ha ha.

So, if you don't hear from me today it's because I'm actually going to be enjoying the art of motherhood again. I can't wait to hug those munchkins again.

Seriously, what a humongous blessing to have the kids actually spend quality time with all of their grandparents. But I am going to be ever so happy to have them home with me again. I have missed their cuddles, their smiles and their playfulness. I could definitely get used to that again.

Have a blessed Friday, and remember the tip above... unless of course your spouse is the surveyor. Then I guess you could boogie to your heart's content.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Time for Prayer

****Updated below****

Thirteen reasons I will commit to pray at 8 PM CST every night
  1. Faith in God's power
  2. Safety for those serving to protect us
  3. Plead for America's return to God
  4. Future for my children and grandchildren
  5. Peace of mind
  6. Hope for others who need to know Christ
  7. What better thing can I do in a minute?
  8. The practice of prioritizing my activities
  9. To thank God for my life right now
  10. To edify and build my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ
  11. To know that I'm part of a group prayer all over the country.
  12. It's the least I can do.
  13. It's the most I can do.

Someone has said that if Christians really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer,we might be speechless.

In W.W.II there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace.

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America.

If you would like to participate:

Every evening at 9:00 pm Eastern Time (8:00 pm Central) (6:00 pm Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation.

Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.

Together, we "CAN" make a difference!

If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along.

I had no idea about the thwarted terrorist airline attacks when I posted this morning. All I can say is God is good and I thank Him for protecting us once again!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

WFMW - Quieting babies

My first born didn’t cry all the time, but when it did, it was usually in the car.

Now there’s not a lot you can do for a crying baby when you’re driving. You can talk to her, reach back with one hand and try to rub her while missing the cars around you or you can cry yourself. I’ve tried all three. I wouldn’t recommend the last two suggestions.

But one day I was at my wit’s end. I was sooo full of despair that I just started singing to let it out. Full-blast, as operatic as I could make it, came O Holy Night. And what to my wondering ears did I hear? A miniature baby not making a tear.

That’s right folks. The ever-so-loud and quavering song totally threw her for a loop. I’m not sure if it was shock of such a different kind of singing or the fact that it was a God song that did it, but I didn’t care. It worked. And when you’re desperate, you take what you can get.

And it worked every time for both of my babies. (The others in the car may look at you strangely, but when they see the affect it has on your baby, they will completely understand. They may even want to join in. But don’t let them. It’s nice saying that you’re the only one able to do this for your child…)

So my suggestion is to let it out, give it to God and to let those vocal chords ring. The most you have to lose is your dignity if others are in the car. And honey, you lost a lot of that a long time ago when you agreed to change cashmere for spit-up.

Go see Shannon for some other fabulous tips.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Anyone Want To Buy My Blog?

Who knew that this little place was worth so much... Most of the time, I think it's a junk heap.

I'd be willing to sell it for much less if anyone is interested. I've got some bills to pay!

My blog is worth $190,814.52.
How much is your blog worth?


A Meme to Think for Me

In the absence of any original thoughts, I thought I would do this little meme that kpjara so kindly threw my way. It was more like a dodgeball aimed directly at my head, but hey, whatever works. (Luckily for me I have ninja-like reflexes and it only skimmed my flyaway hair. But being the honest person that I am, I totally copped to being hit.)

1. One book that changed your life: Aside from the Bible, there have been a couple of books that has revolutionized my way of thinking. The first one is His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley. This book has amazing insight on the needs of each spouse in the marriage and how, once the couple discovers the needs that matter most to each other, the marriage can flourish and become a pillar of strength and a safe haven for both people. Mr. Right and I have read it both twice (in 14 years) and we will continue to do so to keep our great marriage on track.

Recently I’ve read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and I love it’s openness and unabashed look at Christianity. Although I don’t agree with all of his thoughts (politically), I do agree with the true essence of the book, the core meaning that says basically “Love like Jesus”. You just can’t go wrong with a message like that. Plus there were times that I would have had coffee coming out of my nose had I been drinking it at the time. I finished it a couple of months ago and I'm still pensive about his thoughts. That makes it a good book to me.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffernegger is still my favorite book. Mr. Right gave me an autographed copy for my birthday, so I will probably read it every two or three years now. Yes, it’s that good. I’ve also re-read Odd Thomas, Lightning and Watchers by Dean Koontz. He’s such a witty writer who knows how to keep the book in your hand, anxiously reading to see what happened next. Grasshopper by Barbara Vine is a wonderful mystery with a bit of humor, suspence and romance thrown in for fun. And almost all the Jane Austen books have been worn to pieces with their re-perusals. I love her turns and her happy endings.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: Too bad it wasn't a dessert island... that's the kind of island I would love to stranded on. Okay, not including my Bible, a survival book. Boy, would I need it.

4. One book that made you laugh: all of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Seriously, I cannot not laugh out loud when reading them.

5. One book that made you cry: Oh, there are too many to chose from. But, consider the source here… I cry when reading I’ll Love You Forever and Guess How Much I Love You and Charlotte’s Web. I’m a woman who is not afraid to be in touch with her emotional side. (Mr. Right says that this is one of the things that really endears me to him – that I would cry over a fictional character in a book. He says it shows that I have a caring heart. I like that he thinks that.) I really empathize with many characters, so it is easy for me to hurt for them. Unequivocally, I would have to say Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers had me considering purchasing stock in Kleenex and so did Time Traveler’s Wife. Oh, and Year of Wonders too. But they are such good cries...

6. One book that you wish had been written: Hasn't everything under the sun been penned?

7. One book you wish had never been written: Davinci Code. My kids could write better drivel than what was in that piece of “literary” work. Blugh. What a waste of time. Fortunately for me, since it was such a childishly penned work, it didn’t take too much of my time to discover how beastly and dull it really was. Unfortunately for me, I feel that I should finish a book because sometimes they turn out well in the end. This one was one time I should have put it down and walked away.

8. One book you are currently reading: The Bible (I’m in Romans now), One Tuesday Morning, The Fourth Bear, Captivating, Last Man Standing and Danger in the Shadows.

9.One book you've been meaning to read: Searching for God Knows What, Jennifer Government, The March, Lonesome Dove, the entire list that kpjara sent me, and Herb’s First 100 Years which I cannot find anywhere in the KC library system. Hmph!

Now it’s my turn to throw the dodgeball. I’m tagging Chilihead, Shannon, Laura – aka org junkie, Big Mama, Antique Mommy, Mama C, Ken - aka the voice, Susan E who is a lurker who loves to read and Jeana. And I’m much nicer than kpjara… I’m aiming for your behinds.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm So Blue-oo-oo, Blue-oo-oo, Blue-oo-oo-oo, I'm So Blue, I Don't Know What To Do

(That's from Veggie Tales in case you were wondering...)

This weekend has been the oddest ones for me. On Friday, my boss walked in, looked at me directly and said how are you doing, and I did something I think he should have expected knowing me but didn’t. I told the truth. I completely laid it out there that I didn’t feel like myself, that I was having a hard time sleeping lately (very little sleep this past week) and that everything seemed off. I then said, “Oh, was that a little too much honesty? Sorry, you just asked at a vulnerable moment.”

He nodded his head, said sorry I was feeling that way and reaffirmed that he did ask how I was doing, not how I was not doing, so the honesty thing was just fine. We then went about our morning like we normally would. But at 10 AM, he called out to me to say that both Leisa (whose father had passed away a couple of weeks ago and who was preparing for the memorial the next day) and I could go at noon. This is how happy and appreciative I was – I didn’t even argue. I just said thank you ever so very much and then told Leisa about the command from the best boss in the world. She looked just as relieved and thankful as I did.

So with Friday afternoon off and me being sleepy, what did I do? Well, I tried to nap, but that did nothing for me. Naps and I do not always coordinate well. So I watched a movie (Ray - I can see why Jamie Foxx won that Oscar now) and then I did some laundry, dishes, weeding and worked on some papers that needed to be filed. When Mr. Right came home, I was so blue with lack of sleep and frustration that I asked him to be in charge of dinner. (He made some mean chicken salad wraps.) After that he just held me while we watched Once Upon A Time In Mexico, which I must say had me in stitches. It was just the kind of movie that I needed to see that night. Yes, I know... two movies on one day, but trust me, it was all that I could handle.

I did manage to catch about 6 hours sleep that night, and the next day was full of things to do. We have been working on a surprise for our daughter’s birthday (can’t tell because she reads the blog, but I’ll tell later after she comes home next weekend), so we were trying to finish that up. We have some friends who are moving at the end of the month, so we wanted to be of assistance to them with packing. We had dinner with them and then finally made it home late. In bed by 10:30 PM, but the night wasn’t meant for sleeping I guess. Up at 3:30 AM, I was desperately praying to God for sleep. At 4:30 I woke Mr. Right to ask for a backrub because many times it helps to relax for slumber. At 5:30 I started changing beds to see if a different room would help. At 6:15 I gave it up for good and just got up.

Cranky and church should never go hand in hand, but that was the call for the day. To be honest, I was just angry with God. I need sleep. He knows I need sleep and yet I can’t sleep. What’s up with that?! I really wanted to have a great attitude – and I did at times, but it was really hard. Mr. Right ordered me to bed after lunch and I willingly obeyed. I did fall asleep finally. I slept a solid 2 ½ hours, the kind of sleep where you wake up sweating, so deep and hard it was. I guess God wanted to show me that He is God despite my grumpiness at Him and that He still loves no matter the mood. For that I am extremely thankful.

Amazing what a little nap can do. Suddenly the world didn’t feel so oppressive and blue and my view wasn’t so bleak. I felt like doing things again. I was ready for the dinner we were having that night at friends’ house. I really was anxious to watch a football game that was playing, despite it being a Raiders’ game. And I really loved that man who ordered me to my room. He did everything he could to make it so that I could sleep that afternoon.

So after a fantastic meal and talk with our friends, we went home to return to bed. I was able to fall asleep fast (which I worried about after that hard nap) and stayed asleep until 6:30 AM. When the alarm sounded for us to exercise, Mr. Right said I was sleeping like an angel and he didn’t have the heart to wake me, so no exercise for me this morning. Woo hoo! (Isn’t he the best man?!) I’ll get in a walk or run after work to make up for it.

I guess I wrote all that to say that it is amazing how different one day can be from the next, especially if I get some rest.

Blessings to you all.

Oh, and if you want the recipe for the chicken salad wraps, here it is.

Chicken Salad Wraps (serves 2)

1 cooked chicken breast (I used the old slow cooker idea to cook the chicken.)
2 Tsp mayo (or enough to your desired consistency)
1 tsp mustard
¼ cup celery, diced
¼ cup onion, diced finely
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
4-6 leaf lettuce leaves, washed and whole

Suggested accompaniments: sliced tomatoes, sliced avocados, shredded cheese

Using 2 forks, shred chicken breast. Combine remaining ingredients, excluding leaves. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to your desired taste.

Fill leaves with mixture, adding other accompaniments if desired. (We had ours with tomatoes, and it was fabulous.) Eat like a wrap/taco.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Elephant's Memory

Incredible story about an elephant's memory...

A young man was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. While he was walking through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot. As carefully and as gently as he could he worked the thorn out with His hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later the man was walking through the zoo with his teenaged son.

As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they are standing at the rail. The large bull elephant stared at him and lifted it's front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times, all the while staring at the man. The man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant.

After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him. The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Have a happy Friday.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Birthday Fun

Okay, you know you’re late putting a post out when your Mom calls and says, “Where’s the post!!!”

And you know your loved when your honest and your "friends" call you a slacker. Sheesh... All I can say is "Sticks and stones, love, sticks and stones." (Bonus points to whomever names the movie first.)

Let me just say that things have been a bit… oh, shall we say, busy on my front.

For starters, I bet you didn’t know this but you toured my home without a hostess this past weekend. While you were toodling around my house, admiring that dining room, testing out the couches and petting the toxic cat, I was off playing in Nebraska. We were visiting the kids again, but we had a specific celebration to enjoy – our daughter has finally made it to the double digits. She turned 10 years old last Friday, so we just had to be there for this wondrous event (because really there were days when I wondered if she would live to see nightfall. God indeed is faithful.)

Look at that girl... 10! I can't believe I have a 10 year old. That just doesn't seem right. She was just a toddler a couple of days ago.

To commemorate this amazingly beautiful girl, we threw caution – and our checkbook – to the wind and took our family and one of her closest friends out to celebrate. First we went to my daughter’s favorite restaurant in Lincoln – Grisanti’s – a great Italian eatery. She loves, adores, often talks about wishing to have their French onion soup, so we thought it would be great to let one of those little fantasies come true. We get to the restaurant early and what does she order? You got it. Pizza. Oh well, it was her birthday, she could eat whatever she wanted. She did get to eat some of my soup, so at least she took a small trip down memory lane.

All the little critters in the petting zoo

Next we were off to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Good night nurse! Do you know how much it costs to watch the critters do their thing? I asked if I could leave my right arm as payment, but they turned their nose to that suggestion. They said that the animals would fight over it, so it wouldn’t really worth the time and effort to saw it off. I will say this: If you want to pay out the wahzoo to see some animals, I do suggest this zoo. It was fun and exciting for everyone.

Yes, that is a shark behind us. Odd having the sea creature swim right up to us!

We went to the desert, through the rainforest, under the ocean, froze with the penguins and watched the polar bears swim, swim, swim (my favorite). The kids also enjoyed the petting zoo, where the goats were playing king of the mountain. Since the day was a scorcher, we just traded out some indoor sights with some outdoor sights. The best part of the day for the kids was when we had just come up a big hill after a bit of a walk and the kids spotted a mister, specifically set for the patrons to enjoy. They basked in that cool water for at least 10 minutes, getting soaked. Okay, I did it too. It was sooo worth it!

The next day, Grandma Von threw a little party for her granddaughter, inviting a few of the friends my daughter has in that town. The first order of business for that party was to fill over 100 water balloons. The kids took turns filling, while I tide them off. Before it was over, we were having a great war, every kid for themselves. Of course, it only lasted about 8 minutes. And those buggers hurt if they are thrown hard and don’t pop! It’s a good thing I didn’t cry. No one wants a cry baby at a party!

Next we went in for cake and ice cream and presents. You know how that goes. Get them all hyped up on sugar and then watch them fly. Fortunately, we had a plan for it. After all that yummy stuff, we took them to the fabulous pool I talked about earlier. It was hot, but it was so much fun. All the kids were old enough to do their own things, so we just had to look out for our son. He was riding the slides like he had been doing it all his life. And then he completely floored us with his request to jump off the diving board. From that point on, he was Mr. “I’m-so-comfortable-in-the-water-I-am-going-to-prove-to-you-that-I’m-really-a-merman”. He was trying to do backwards dives, cannonballs, dives… I’m telling you, I don’t know what happened to my old, clingy, don’t leave me in the water alone child. I like this new kid just a little better.

Yes it was as much fun as it looks! (and a great workout)

When all the festivities were over, we headed back home to enjoy the rest of the night as a family. Grandma Von and Grandpa Ron were happy to have us sitting there all together. It was just a lot of fun.

Sunday, we headed to church. Since we used to live in that town, we had lots of hugs to get and to give, lots of talking to do and a lot of pulling names from the back of our minds. “Honey, who was that that I just told my life story to?” “Oh that’s so and so.” “That’s her? She’s gotten so much OLDER!” (Of course that doesn't happen to us.) Overall, it was like a mini reunion all around.

One thing I will say is that I have become acclimated to a children’s worship. There were kids crying and talking and a couple were running down the aisles while the parents chased them down to get back into the pews. I felt sorry for the preacher competing with all the noises and distractions! So let me just say right now: I love the leaders of our children’s ministry. I thank God for you and your servant hearts. You really make my congregational worship time something special! There, I feel better.

It was incredibly hard to leave the kids Sunday. I was tearing up as we hugged and kissed goodbye. I promised them that we would see them very soon since it won’t be long before school starts. I truly appreciate the fact that my kids have grandparents (both sides) that want to see and be with them. I just miss the little munchkins a lot. Overall, it’s a sacrifice that is priceless, but I will be glad to have them back home, until they get on my last nerve again, that is. Maybe Grandma can take them back over fall break…

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Happy Tenth Birthday Sweet Girl! I am so thankful that God gave you to me as a precious daughter to have and hold... a lot.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

WFMW - Waiting

I've discovered that if I wait until REALLY late to post my WFMW blog, no one will come and visit.

Just so you know.

Go see Shannon for some real tips from some others who didn't wait.