Monday, December 25, 2006

Unto Us A Child Is Born!

Merry Christmas to you all. May you feel the love of Christ in his birth, in his death and in his resurrection today and always.

I'll be on a blogcation for a week. Have the best of holidays and I'll talk to you in the new year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Weekend Wishes For You

I just want to wish you a very merry weekend as you do your last minute detailing for Christmas. May all your tape dispensers be full, all your baking be successful and kids go to bed even earlier on Sunday night and sleep to 7 AM. (Yeah, right. I'll be lucky to make it to 6 AM!

Until then, why don't you enjoy this little ditty to put you even further into the holiday mood.

Christmas Cheer!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

These are NOT my children

Because my children would be selfish and self-centered just like me and ask for the world for Christmas.

However, these children who are living in my home have blown me away with their requests to Santa.

My daughter's list
  • a pineapple
  • tangerines
  • chewy granola bars (chocolate chips or s'mores)
  • a jumprope
  • a huge Hershey's bar
  • a sled
  • shoes
  • vitamins (gummy type)
  • pj's
  • gift card to B & N, Wal-mart or TJ Maxx
  • funny face glasses (Chili would be so proud!)
  • any arts and crafts
  • a mountain bike
  • a gameboy game (doesn't matter if it's used)

Do you see how many things are really affordable on this list? And what child asks for vitamins?! So not my child!

My son's list

  • vitamins (gummy worms)
  • transformer
  • 1st grade workbooks
  • bouncy ball
  • sidewalk chalk
  • shoes
  • kiwis
  • grapes
  • pears
  • chewy granola bars (peanut butter with chocolate chips)
  • hula hoop
  • chocolate
  • Veggie Tales CD
  • a gameboy game (any kind)
  • books
  • pogo stick
Can you see the theme here? My kids are asking for fruit and granola bars and vitamins from Santa! You would think that I never feed these kids or that they never get these things normally...

Perhaps I (and my pocketbook) should just be extremely grateful that these children take after their father in more ways than one...

Labels: ,

Fall Into Reading Part ?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

December 21st is finally here? It went entirely too quickly.

Okay. Here's the problem with my reading. I've read entirely too many books that aren't on my list in the sidebar, and I can't remember what they are called. So I'll quickly cover the ones I do remember.

Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger - I liked it, but the end really ticked me off because it's a total cliffhanger. His books usually don't end that way. Grrr.

The Mermaid Chair by Susan Monk Kidd - She wrote the Secret Life of Bees which was wonderful. This one? Not so much. The story was predictable and was about an adulterous relationship... with a MONK for goodness sakes! Sheesh. I should have just watched tv for an hour to get that fill...

The Sea by John Banville - it's a Man Booker Prize Winner. Short for "really slow and boring and you just want to finish the book so that you can put it down and say 'Why on earth did I spend my time reading that?!'". Or something like that.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini - I really liked this book. It was very much along the lines of LOTR, but written in a way that children could understand and appreciate its color and story. Yes I am a LOTR lover. But it's okay to make room for another trilogy in my book.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie - of course it is good. Look at the author! But it is the first introduction to Hercule Poirot and it is full of clues that make you look back and say, "I should have known" or in my case "I guessed right! Woo hoo!"

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain - I'd never read it before. I tried the internet sight that Beck recommended where it would send you a little bit every day. It was supposed to take 142 days to complete it. I think I took 30, which was too long for me. I'll just never be an e-book type person. I like the feel of the book in my hot little hands.

The Husband by Dean Koontz - I am a Koontz fan. I like his ability to spin a good yarn and to keep you wanting to turn the page for more. It actually got me because I didn't guess who was the dastardly character in this book. Yeah, I like it when they get me. I recommend it for a nice, scary, what-is-going-on? read.

That's all I can recall, because did I write any of them down? Noooo. (I'm such an idiot.) I'm the type who walks by a book in the library and just picks it up because it caught my fancy. I had several that did that to me this month. Oh well.

Now to those on my side bar: I finished all except two entries, one of which is not my fault. I can't get Broken For You at the library until something like 2008, so it's just going to have to wait. And I didn't finish the Narnia Series. I'm on the fourth in the series, so there's still hope that I'll get it done before the end of the year. Oh, never mind. I'm going to take my time to read through those.

Affinity - I pulled this one off of someone else's list, but I don't remember whose list it was. It was mysterious and readable, but when I was done, I just didn't like it. Can't explain much why. I just didn't.

The Bookman's Last Fling by John Dunning - No not in the way you're thinking. Sheesh. You perverts. This book is a series about Cliff Janeway, a good cop who was forced into retirement due to his loosing his cool now turned antique bookman. I like this series because Cliff is funny, real and not everything is wrapped up in to a pretty little bow. The stories usually follow a realistic investigation where those who are asking are given lots of unusable information, but with hard work and a lot of luck, they can sometimes find some answers. The characters are likable and the plot is believable - two plusses in my book. If you choose to read this series, I suggest that you start with Booked To Die, not because the books can't stand alone, but because other characters and situations will make flow in the reading.

Captivating - What a beautiful perspective on women. How we were made to be thought of as God's masterpiece, how we long to be noticed as beautiful, how we each want to accepted. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend that all the women read it. Maybe you too can be a lot more relaxed when it comes to being you.

Financial Peace University - I think every person should read this book. Better yet, if you can take the course, you will find the encouragement from others to get your spending life in order and to create a plan to have yourself debt-free. It takes time. It takes will-power. It takes determination. But as you start paying off debt, you feel more free as a person, as an employee, as a couple (in our case.) Does it work? You bet. Mr. Right and I have already paid off 2 medical bills and a small credit card. And we feel SOOO GOOD! So I definitely recommend this book!

Sheet Music - I love a book that starts off by saying that it is written for couples only - and married couples at that! It takes a good hard look at the who, what, when, where, why and hows of sex in a marriage. I loved it! And my favorite part was all the homework that I made for Mr. Right and me. You know me... I've got to be the A+ student. It's a great resource, especially if your sex life isn't so exciting and you want it to change. It's all written from a Christian point of view, so the situations and wording should not offend.

Bible (Galatians - Revelations) - I did it! After 2 years, I finally read my Bible all the way through. I have to say, God gave me such insight and enlightenment as I read through to the end. Verses that I had heard but didn't know the entire context around suddenly made perfect sense. I found books that I love and situations that made me stop to think about how it applied to me present day. I found myself praying more and praising God more as I went through my days. I'm heading back to Genesis to start over again. This book really is THAT exciting!

Katrina asked us to answer these questions:

The best book I read this fall: The Bible. I really did find it the most inspiring and the most challenging literature to comprehend.

The book I could have lived without: Toss up among Affinity (see above), March and A Rift In Time.

Whether or not I would have read more without the challenge: Since I read so much, I don't think it affected my intake. I may be reading more AFTER the challenge...

The best thing about joining the challenge: I'm going to have a nice LONG reading list! Yipee!

If I discovered (and enjoyed) a new book or author after reading someone else's list: Not yet, but I bet that is in the works...

Any other insights, enjoyments, thoughts or impressions: I love anything that convinces others to read more. I'm so looking forward to trying new books and to seeing how books help to define each other - tastes, preferences, etc. I really can't wait to do it again and I hope even more will join in the fray of expanding minds - and my reading list!

I'd like to thank Katrina at Callapidder Days for thinking of this whole idea. It's been encouraging to have so many others on the same quest: Reading for fun!

Previous Fall Into Reading Posts

The Beginning

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WFMW - Sharing the Bounty

You know how others will give you sweets and pretty soon you have 8 dozen cookies, 4 dozen candies, 19 jars of hot chocolate and a recipe for partridge soup?

Our family decide that to keep it all would be a shame, since most of it will end up contributing to our pudges or in the trash in a week. So we regift it.

WHAT? You regift?!

You betcha baby!

We wrap up several varieties of the offerings and we give them out to our neighbors, especially the ones we don't know so well. It makes for a great introduction and it alleviates my need to eat all the cookies in sight helps us to put the cookies to good use. And it helps to keep our Christmas giving costs down a little bit too.

Simple, yet appreciated by those who live around us. Most of them are surprised that we would give them anything. I feel that we are just trying to get back to community - the way it used to be.

Head on over to Shannon's to see some other great ideas.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I have this album by Joshua Kadison. It's only about a million years old, but well-loved. I adore his voice and his poetry in his songs. I so highly recommend it. And since it's so old, you can probably get it for like 37 cents on Amazon.

And you know how sometimes you hear a song and the words just stike you as a perfect description of how you feel right then? Here's one of the songs from the soundtrack of my life right now. I can't seem to get it off autoplay...

Woke up this morning with a funny feeling...
wasn't really sure what it was all about.
But it felt like I was disappearing,
so I ran to the mirror to check it out.
I said, "Here I am, here I am, here I am...
but why do I feel like the invisible man?"

I stumbled back into the bedroom,
and stared out at the rising sun.
Then I heard myself shout out the window,
not really talking to anyone.
I yelled, "Here I am, here I am, here I am...
but why do I feel like the invisible man?"

Lights went on, people started yelling,
"Will the crazy man go back to bed?"
And there I was, laughing out my window,
feeling much better now,
somebody heard what I said.

Well it's no big thing, no revelation,
no answer to these lives we lead.
But I think I do know one thing;
Sometimes I think we all need to say:
"Here I am, here I am, here I am"-
when life makes us feel like the invisible man.

Lights went on, people started yelling,
"Will the crazy man go back to bed?"
And there I was, laughing out my window,
feeling much better now,
somebody heard what I said.

Woke up this morning with a funny feeling,
wasn't really sure what it was all about.
But it felt like I was disappearing,
so I ran to the mirror to check it out.
I said, "Here I am, here I am, here I am...
but sometimes I feel like the invisible,
here I am, here I am, here I am...
but why do I feel like the invisible man?"

So here I am shouting:


Hello? Is anyone out there?

I think everyone went off to Christmas vacation just a tad bit early. Not that I'm feeling lonely or anything... Sigh.

Hope you're enjoying your time off. But boy will I be glad when we get back into the swing of things...

Labels: ,

Monday, December 18, 2006

T'was the Night Before the Arrival of Family

My parents were coming in yesterday and this post seems to be an exact repeat from last year. So I'm just going to repost it. Because really, I don't have time to reinvent the wheel or be so incredibly creative.

Blessings to you all this week as you prepare for the birth celebration of Christ!


An ode to all of you who have visitors over this special holiday...

T’was the night before company and all through the house
Everyone was working or else being called a louse.

The dishes were hung on the drying rack with care.
The mop, pail and broom leaning on the stairs.

The children were straightening the covers on their beds
While visions of playtime danced in their heads.

And I in my scrunge clothes and Mr. Right in his cap
Stared longingly at the made beds – just a short nap.

When down in the basement arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my scrubbing to see what was the matter.

Away to the basement I flew like a flash.
I made it look like the 100 yard dash.

The floor on the basement, clean moments ago,
Looked like a vacuum in a rage in reverse did blow.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But two little kids, quaking with fear.

And I knew in a moment, for you see I am quick,
Who was deserving a couple of licks .

More rapid than eagles my words they came,
And with two tight lips, I called their full names.

"What were you doing? Who made this big mess?
Go get the broom; don’t bother to confess.

To the first floor by the top of the stairs,
Grab the broom that’s awaiting you there!"

As little mice that before a wild cat do scurry,
When they meet with a paw, run around in a hurry,

So up to the stair-top the kiddies they flew,
To gather the tools to make it look new.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the first floor
The prancing and dancing done before any chore.

As I drew in a breath to yell, “Come on down!",
Down the steps they each came with a bound.

One held the broom, the other the pan.
The two worked it out as best as two can.

They swept all the dirt and threw it in the trash,
Now a toy in their hands, they looked ready to dash.

Their eyes -- how they twinkled! Their smiles were so bright!
They felt that with this task done all would be right.

Their cute little mouths were drawn up like a bow,
All felt complete; they were ready to go;

The broom they left askewed near the hall.
Never mind the hand prints now left on the wall.

As I grabbed a hold of their little round bellies,
I shook as I laughed at these two nervous nellies.

“Where are you going? There’s much more to be done.
Get yourself up there; there’s no time to have fun."

A wink of my eye and a given task that was said,
Soon gave them to know they had something to dread.

They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
And did all the chores, thinking their mom was a jerk,

And surveying their efforts all the way through,
And giving a nod of approval, out the door they flew;

They sprang to their bikes, with a whoop and a whistle,
And away they both flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard them exclaim, ere they ran out the door,
"Thank goodness that’s done. Let go before she finds more!"

May your days be not hectic like mine; rather I hope they are full and devine.

I hope you have a Christmas as relaxing as theirs...

Labels: ,

Friday, December 15, 2006

All I Want For Christmas

This is a post that I will probably reissue every year. It's an oldie, but a goodie!


(Cue piano bar music)

(In a hushed, calm voice, like one remembering Christmastimes past)

My favorite Christmas song is one that is not usually sung around the Christmas tree. However, it is one that I usually love to sing with full emotions and spirit... with feeling, if you will. I hope that it is one that my children will learn and pass on to their children to come.

No other song that I know of will leave you feeling... well, something, for the special gift-wishing of Christmas. I, too, want this pretty little dolly. I am still hopeful that I will get one this year.

Now, without further adeiu, I give to you Mona Abboud's "Pretty Little Dolly."

May Santa bring you everything your little heart desires too.

(fade to black)


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday to the boy

You know that I've not been on the mark exactly for this sweet boy's birthdays, but last weekend, I think I finally got it right. Whew. (John, that was not a self-degrating remark. Do NOT threaten Da Vinci Code again! At least, not if you want that dinner that we owe you.)

While we were waiting for the guests to arrive, all the early arrivers were jettisoned downstairs to play. Legos became the highlight. Can I just tell you how much I love them?

Mr. Right captured this last moment of peace prior to the sugar rush. Isn't that just the loveliest shot of the back of my head? My best side you know...

Look at all those great ships they built. (Hey don't knock it; they spent half an hour down there playing peacefully.)

Here's the silly picture that had to be taken...

We couldn't hold them off forever. Here is the boy and his Ben Ten cake. (Homemade because I could not find a topper anywhere. But made with love.) Kudos to Chili for help with this photo. Yes, I do know the boy's name. I just don't want weirdos knowing it too... Chili excepted, of course.

Cake and ice cream all around. (And I mean all around: around the table, around the floor, around their mouths.)

Here's a tip: If you want to say "Not near the tree!" a hundred or so times, just give nine little kids balloons and watch them as it turns into a balloon-bopping war. Hey, I'm nothing if not a wealth of knowledge.

Oh yeah. Presents - which everyone wanted to open. And play. Right then.

My favorite part was when all the kids are trying to read the cards and each others' writing. "Mom, what does this say?"

Well the party started with Legos. It makes sense that it should end with them too. Each kid was in a different part of the house playing with all the toys and games.

Although it was a lot of work and a lot of fun (when the phone rang, I answered it "Chaos Central"), I'll be glad to do it again. In a year. And a half. With a bottle of wine hidden for the after party.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Using The Gifts That God Gives You

This story makes a great illustration or followup for Laurel Wreath's experience yesterday.

A minister concluded that his church was getting into serious financial trouble. While checking the church storeroom, he discovered several cartons of new Bibles that had never been opened and distributed. So at his Sunday sermon, he asked for three volunteersfrom the congregation who would be willing to sell the Bibles door-to-door for $10 each to raise the desperately needed money for the church. Peter, Paul and Louie all raised their hands to volunteer for the task.

The minister knew that Peter and Paul earned their living as salesmen and were likely capable of selling some Bibles. But he had serious doubts about Louie who was a local farmer, who had always kept to himself because he was embarrassed by his speech impediment. PoorLouie stuttered badly. But, not wanting to discourage Louie, the minister decided to let him try anyway. He sent the three of them awaywith the back seat of their cars stacked with Bibles. He asked them to meet with him and report the results of their door-to-door selling efforts the following Sunday.

Anxious to find out how successful they were, the minister immediately asked Peter, "Well, Peter, how did you make out selling our Bibles last week?"

Proudly handing the reverend an envelope, Peter replied, "Using my sales prowess, I was able to sell 20 Bibles, and here's the $200 I collected on behalf of the church."

"Fine job,Peter!" the minister said, vigorously shaking his hand "You are indeed a fine salesman and the church is indebted to you."

Turning to Paul, "And Paul, how many Bibles did you sell for the church last week?"

Paul, smiling and sticking out his chest,confidently replied, "I am a professional salesman. I sold 28 Bibles on behalf of the church, and here's $280 I collected."

The minister responded, "That's absolutely splendid, Paul. You are truly a professional salesman and the church is also indebted to you."

Apprehensively, the minister turned to Louie and said, "And Louie, did you manage to sell any Bibles last week?"

Louie silently offered theminister a large envelope. The reverend opened it and counted the contents. "What is this?" the minister exclaimed. "Louie, there's $3,200 in here! Are you suggesting that you sold 320 Bibles for the church, door-to-door, in just one week?"Louie just nodded.

"That's impossible!" both Peter and Paul said in unison. "We are professional salesmen, yet you claim to have sold 10 times as many Bibles as we could."

"Yes, this does seem unlikely," the minister agreed. "I thinkyou'd better explain how you managed to accomplish this, Louie."

Louie shrugged. "I-I re-re-really do-do-don't kn-kn-know f-f-f-forsh-sh-sh-sure," he stammered.

Impatiently, Peter interrupted. "For crying out loud, Louie, just tell us what you said to them when they answered the door!"

"A-a-a-all I-I-I- s-s-said wa-wa-was," Louie replied,"w-w-w-w-would y-y-y-you l-l-l-like t-t-to b-b-b-buy th-th-th-this B-B-B-B-Bible f-f-for t-t-ten b-b-b-bucks, o-o-or wo-wo-would yo-you j-j-j-just l-l-like m-m-me t-t-to st-st-stand h-h-here and r-r-r-read itt-t-to y-y-you?

Everyone has talents. It's how we choose to use them that counts.

Even in the feminine products aisle.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Eye Opener

I awoke very early this morning. Ugh. I feel grumpy and down and I just want to snuggle back into my down comforter, put a pillow over my head and hide away today.

After doing all of the above, pretending that it may actually happen - but knowing it won't because I have to go to work in an hour, someone crawled up on my side of the bed, lifted my pillow and uttered, "I love you with all my heart, Mommy, and I will forever." Then my son snuggled up to me and kissed me all over my face.

Perhaps being MOTY isn't all that elusive as I think it is.

And suddenly, the day doesn't seem so dreary after all...


Monday, December 11, 2006

Computer Woes... Again

I put this entry into my posts, but I missed posting it for some reason. I'm sorta glad that it's here because I just can't make a new one today.


I'm aware that it has been suggested by some that the IT dept is purposely sabatoging my computer, but here is one problem that is not limited to just me.

When I returned to work Monday after Thanksgiving, I and all my cohorts coworkers discovered that the computers were extremely sluggish. I was forced nominated to send in the ticket for this quandry.

Subject: Our internet has eaten too much turkey!

Description of problem: It's acting like it has been given a hefty dose of turkey enzymes that makes everyone sleepy after a Thanksgiving feast.

Problem: It seems that the internet in our office has extended its laziness of the holidays to this week as well. I would love to follow suit; however, I need the money for my good honest work, so I thought I would ask that you fix it. Although it is waking up, it is doing so in its own sweet time. I'm not sure if it needs a shot of expresso or a good kick in the backside. I leave that prescribing to you, the professionals. I'm not an IT doctor, but I do play one in the office until someone kicks me out and does all the right stuff.

I have made mention of this slowness of internet wit to one Mr. (IT man) and he indicated that he would talk with George Michaels... no that's the singer - I mean Eddie George... no, no he's the football player- what was that name... I got it - M George, duh - who could forget him!
- about how to give the internet a major dose of adrenaline so that it can keep up with us snappy employees.

Until the next time on "As the Computer Turns..."

It's a week later and they're still working on it. I'm thinking that it's not just the computers who had too much turkey.

But at least work is not as slow as dial up...

Labels: ,

Friday, December 08, 2006

My Grown-Up Christmas List

I do wish for everyone to come to know Christ and our Father on an intimate basis, for good will toward men and for there to be an end to world hunger.

Yada. Yada. Yada.

Now as for the completely worldly side of me, here's my earthly wish list: (and no Jeana, there will be no partridges on this list. You can hold the market on that little niche.)

Okay... I've just sat here for 5 minutes and I can't think of a thing. Am I lame or what? I'm going over everything I "need" and I just realized that God has given already provided for me in so many ways.

Give me a few...

Not that I have to have any of this, but here goes...

  • Dark Chocolate. (But that's a given right? I'm a girl so it should go without saying.)

  • Wine (To go with the dark chocolate because I should attempt to keep my heart healthy in all ways possible, right?)

  • And Coffee for after the wine... or the next morning, whichever time it is
    needed the most.

  • A Date Night with Mr. Right (You know, one where you dress up and eat at a place where there is absolutely no plastic in the vicinity.)

  • A Victoria's Secret GC (NOT bought from the rack, mind you, so that I can get something fun for the end - or beginning - of said date.)

  • Dance lessons for all the other nights where Mr. Right and I can't go out, but we can turn on some tunes to twirl around the living room but NOT do the white man's dance. (step, turn, step, turn, repeat indefinitely, get dizzy, dip)

  • A trip to Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Washington, Washington DC, and Canada to meet with some beloved blogger friends and family (There are other places too, but I can't remember where everyone is from right now...)

  • (Oh heck, let me just throw in Europe too since I want to go to Italy, Ireland and Spain as well. If I get to go to Spain, I fully expect some cooking lessons from Willson...)

  • These glasses to complete my sets to 8 altogether

  • And lastly, I wish that everyone would get on Verizon so that we could all be IN and I could talk to you all whenever without having to worry about minutes. Really is that too much to ask? Please keep that in mind when your contract expires and you are looking for a reason to switch. (And no, that's not a paid endorsement. Just pure selfishness on my part.)
You know, just a few simple things. That's all that I require.

Oh, and I really do want World Peace. (I sound like Gracie Hart with that line. I'll be practicing my queenly wave for the rest of the day, if you need me.)

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 07, 2006

TT 11

I know... Shocking, isn't it? The last one I did was in July.
Here are 13 (or so...) ways that we had fun over the snow days...

The snow starts falling...
(Kid's play and Mr. Right works to clear the driveway.)

The kids on Saturday morning

Ummm, I did feed them before they went out...

Sunday's snowman, Chilly (No, we did not pay hommage to you Chili. Sorry dear friend.)

Mr. Right and the boy pack it down

The boy works on the middle section

The girl molds the head. (She actually came up with a nicely sculpted head. She put ears and a nose on it and everything. However, it was entirely too small for the rest of the body, so she chucked it and started over.)

Watch out, Mr. Right!

Everyone needs a little snowfight in the middle of a making a snowman, right?

Watch out, girl!

The final piece!

Ummm, yeah, so I don't have any pictures of the KIDS with Chilly, but being the self-centered person that I am, I made sure that I was posed next to the finished product. Chilly was so cute, I couldn't resist a little kiss.

Normal pose... how boring. But I love the look of me in the picture! (See, self-centered, I tell you!)

Okay, one of Mr. Right. He's such a hottie, I'm surprised Chilly didn't melt with his nearness. I certainly do!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A friend sent this clip entitled "Government Employees" to me. I thought it was hilarious and very much on the mark in some of my dealings with them.

But then I started thinking about how that really is so very much ME at times in my life. Sometimes when I face a disturbance in my journey, I make the assumption that I am stuck with no way out of a situation, hardship or sin. So I start yelling for help.

"God! I need a little help here..."

Never do I see that the solution is open before me, behind me or even beside me. I'm too focused on my problem to see my way out. God has already provided many answers to my dilemma if only I would open my eyes to them.

"Hello! God, can you hear me?" I cry a little more frantically, thinking that if I'm louder, then He obviously will start fixing the things around me. I do not consider that it is me who is broken; it is me who God is fixing.

This little clip also reminds me that those with whom we travel can make all the difference. What if the lady behind the man was able to see that there was a way out, took the man's hand and lead him to the top? Sure, the clip wouldn' t be nearly as funny, but it would have shown that those we travel with can take the lead and help to guide us to the places we need to go. Am I traveling with such people? I sure hope so.

I wonder how many of us get stuck on our escalators when all we need to do is use our feet to get going again. How many of us become content with the surroundings of our lives, but when a problem arises, we find that our legs have atrophied, our muscles are weak, our thinking outside of the box is gone? Hmmm. It makes me want to do mini workouts so that I'll be ready when I have to "walk".

I hope that God will work each of us through our own personalized little training exercises today so that when we have trials, we can run like a sprinter rather than sit and quack like a lame duck.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Humbled and a Blessing

Okay, I was seriously floored by your responses from Friday's post. What an encouragement you all are. Thank you from the words of affirmation and support that y'all showered on me. You have no idea how deeply they have touched my heart. It seems that my trepidations were all for naught.

I have to admit that I sweated over that post - mainly about your reactions. I actually had Mr. Right read it before posting - something I have never done- because I wanted to be sure it wasn't "too much." Even when he have the nod of approval, I had the post sitting on my computer all day, waiting to be published. I finally just hit the publish button and walked away. I guess, in a way, your opinions about me do matter after all. Everyone wants to be accepted and find approval from those they admire. I'm really no different. I'm just delighted to find that no one is shunning me (that I know) after the post. Whew and thank you.

Now on to other exciting things...

Last week I told someone that I wanted another 2 1/2 day work week. I just love it when God unexpectedly gives me the desires of my heart. They are such a nice surprise...

On Wednesday, when the ice/sleet was coming down in fullness, my boss told us to cut out at 3:30, much to my surprise. I gladly accepted, reminding him that if the kids had a snow day, then I would need to work from home the following day. He agreed that that was acceptable, and I left with a thankful heart.

We had yet to decorate the tree because we wanted to make sure that the cat wouldn't climb it and topple it off the stand. So we used that night to trim the tree. It looks beautiful, if I do say so myself. The kids were up a little later than normal, but being that the next day was sure to be a snow day, it wasn't a big deal.

I awoke early the next morning to find lots of ice and little bit of snow. I actually turned on the tv to make sure that schools were closed, but much to my surprise our school system was not listed as a closed school. This really surprised me, but I thought I would keep an eye on the so-called news to see if they would close it. Around 6:15 am, they school district finally sent word that it would be closed. Whew.

We stayed in on most of Thursday. It was stinkin' cold with no good snow for playing. However, when the kids went to play at a friend's house, I took off and finished the last of my Christmas preparations. I still have to wrap them, but that's no biggie. (Can I just tell you know how much I love Dollar Tree? They had exactly what I needed for cheap, cheap, cheap. Can't get much better than that!)

Later that afternoon, the real snow started to fall, but only a bit. The kids were heartily disappointed. They still went out to throw some of the snow around.

We settled in for a cozy night in the house, with the kids both praying for lots of snow. They didn't even turn their pj's inside out, but God overlooked that faux pas and sent some our way anyway. Once I pointed out the window in the morning, it took everything I could muster to keep them in long enough to eat breakfast!

The kids went to a hill in our neighborhood, but they didn't enjoy it because everyone was running everyone else over. So later, I took them to "the good hill" and we all went sledding. I had such fun whizzing down that hill! We were all frozen solid, but we stayed a good hour. However, I for one think someone should install a chair-lift for us old folks. My legs were burning when I walked back up that hill!

We tracked home to have some homemade chicken noodle soup and some chocolate chip cookies that I had baked that morning. And of course both of the kids begged for hot chocolate AND a warm bath the moment we hit the door.

Ahhh, life is good all around.

It wasn't until Sunday when I realized that God granted me another half-work week. Somehow, that makes me savour the days and memories all the more.

And it makes me praise God all the more loudly, remembering that God listens to my smallest requests, even when I don't know that I'm asking for them.


Monday, December 04, 2006

And It's Not Even My Birthday!

How's this for unexpected gifts?

Months ago, I lamented about how we were losing our fine preacher to a church in the South. Although I was happy for him and his family, I knew we were losing a great man of God who filled my mind and heart with food for thought. We have been on the search since then for another preacher. This has been an arduous task because not every minister wants to work with a large church.

After searching high and low, our church has found and signed a new preacher. (Yay God!) He and his family, who presently live in Memphis, came to a our church for a meet-the-congregation time on Saturday. I'm totally guessing that this couple is in there mid-to-late 40's - they have two children who are attending ACU. I was excited about meeting them because really anyone remotely from my area of the country, be it shipped in or raised from there, sends shivers of happiness down my spine. In some weird way, it's a home connection. As it turns out, this preacher preached at the church where Mr. Right and I were married. (It wasn't my home congregation, but it is where we selected to be wed.) So in a sense - a very stretched, loose sense - we have a connection.

Later that morning, I needed a pen and I noticed that the new minister had one in his pocket, so I saddled up to him and, because I have no manners, when he looked at me (while talking with another couple), I pointed at his pen and said, "I need to steal that pen a moment." He gave the okay, I retrieved it from his shirt pocket with a smile of thanks and took off.

A couple of minutes later when walking back to return his pen, I thought about my rudeness and I decided that I would have patience and wait until there was a break in his talking to other people. I went and stood beside him - but not too close... just around him, waiting patiently while he continued his conversation with a couple. In the middle of their conversing, the lady who was talking to the minister says, "I take it you have children." And here she looks directly at me and smiled an "I'm talking about you" smile.

I looked at our new preacher and then we both bursted out laughing. He's stating "Yes, but not her" and I'm saying "Now that's a classic! No, I'm far to old to be his daughter! But I love you for thinking it."

I think when they finally move here, I'm gonna call him Dad. Maybe he'll even give me some spending money.

And as if to reaffirm this spirit-lifting feeling, this conversation happened the following day yesterday at church. A friend with whom I used to go to college and was in the same club (15 years ago) was sitting across the aisle at church. Although she looked so elegant and grown up, I knew who she was the moment I saw her. I even recalled her first name, but for the life of me, not her last. That didn't stop me from walking up to her and saying, "D., it is so wonderful to see you again! I knew you the moment I saw you."

She looked at me with a smile and said, "Shalee, you haven't changed a bit. Seriously, you haven't aged and look exactly the same."

That, my friends, is so much better than being carded. I can't wait for my 20th high school reunion if this keeps up...


Friday, December 01, 2006

Actual Serious Post (Egads! From Shalee?)

Although this post is "clean", it will contain a real-life conversation that I had a couple of nights ago. You may think me a bit forward after reading it, but if you’ve been reading me for any time, you know that I would rather have an honest conversation than a trivial one. Thus ends my cautionary prologue.

Believe it or not, someone asked if I was a prude again... This, after the "Get your hands off me" incident and a fun cozy dinner of nine after the retirement party. It really was a nice, get-to-know-your-business-associates type dinner, filled with mini Dr. Phil moments.

On the after-dinner ride back to the office (where my car was), the driver remarked with a sly chuckle that we could have eaten at Hooters for dinner, to which I responded, "No thanks, I just can't eat at a place like that." The other person in the back seat replied that he hadn't eaten at one either. He, the driver (yes, it was a he - now there's a surprise), asked what was wrong with eating at Hooters. He felt that the food was great.

I remarked that my comment had nothing to do with the food; it was all about the atmosphere and the lack of clothing on the servers. I then explained that the one time I had ever crossed the threshold of a Hooters was about 15 years ago, when Mr. Right and I , fresh out of a Christian university and only 3 months married, were on a trip and we pulled over for the night around 9 PM:

We were hungry, and there was this new restaurant next door to the hotel called Hooters. We walked in and sat down. As I surveyed the place, I have to admit that my eyes were as big as pancakes. I felt as if I had just walked into a strip bar. I turned to Mr. Right and said, "Honey, I don't think I can eat here." He breathed a sigh of relief and replied, "I was just thinking the same thing." We were collecting our things to leave when the very voluptuous, scantily clad waitress came up to us for an order. We sputtered something about how we couldn't stay, all the while averting our eyes to the wooden floor and scooting out of the business. We drove another 20 minutes to find a "decent" place to eat.

The driver could not understand why we would choose not to eat at an establishment due to clothing or the lack thereof. He replied that the waitresses were just nice kids who were working - that not too much gets out of hand - well except when you can get them to drink with you and then the occasional breast may fly out...

Here was where the employee in the back stated that he probably wouldn't want to eat there either, but he didn't have a big problem with the restaurant. And then I asked him, after hearing what the driver just said, would he want his daughters (he has 3 teenage girls) to work there, having guys ogling them, trying to come on to them or just lusting after them. Silence from the backseat... followed by a thought-filled no.

I expounded on how I make certain choices by what I believe and how those choices affect different parts of my life. I gave him the for instance of holding onto my virginity until I was married.

He sputtered, "You mean, you did that?!" After responding with a yes, he asked, “Wait a minute. What do you mean by 'virgin'?”

I gave him a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me look, which he didn’t catch because it was dark, paused with reflection of how best to explain my meaning and then said deliberately, “My hymen was intact before the wedding. It was not broken. I did not have sex before marriage.” There were all sorts of appropriate hand talking to emphasize my meaning as I spoke. I would have made an excellent Italian momma at that moment, thankyouverymuch.

The passenger in the backseat started laughing, saying, “Well that’s pretty clear, don’t you think? You definitely know what she means by virgin now.”

Okay, my friend the driver could not wrap his brain around that at all. “You mean you’ve never slept with another person? You’ve only been with one person your whole life?” he asked, as if that was some sort of torture that I’ve been self-inflicting on myself for my entire adult life. He sneered, “Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like with someone else? Don’t you feel that you’ve missed out not knowing how it could be with another man?”

I answered that I’ve only been with my husband, that I in no way consider it a hardship, that I don’t think I’ve missed out on a thing, especially since I am a very happy woman in my marriage and marriage bed. Then I replied that I want to keep myself out of indecent situations, which included things like how I dressed and where we chose to go or not go due to the surroundings – like Hooters.

Then the driver scoffed, "Well, aren't you the prude... Well if you won't go there, you might as well not watch tv."

And then I floored him when I told him that for the most part we don't. If he could have fallen out of a seat he would have. "You don't have a tv?!!! That's just not right."

I recanted that I do have a tv; however we use it sparingly for football games and movies and the occasional show.

When he heard movies, he immediately threw an unexpected question in my face. "Have you ever watched porn?"

I, after debating how to answer it, settled for the truth. I regrettably replied yes, but then I asked him to ask me how long ago it was and how I felt about it. I said that I wish with all my heart that I had not, that it added no value to my marriage bed, that I felt guilty over it for a long time. I don't think that was the answer he was expecting, but I really wish I could have honestly said no.

I pointed out again that what I believe, I try to live, that I've made - and I'll probably continue to make - lots of mistakes, but I do try to walk my talk. I continued that one of the reasons that I do it because I want my children to understand that they don't have to follow everything the world says is right. I want them to do what is right in God's eyes.

You should have heard the explosion of "That's just not possible!", "You are fooling yourself!", "You are expecting too much out of your kids!", "The world just doesn't work that way." that I got from both of them.

I replied calmly (Me? Calmly? Can you imagine? But I did.) that though my children probably will falter and most likely will make poor choices in their lives, I do not think that trying to teach them to think and to react differently is wrong. There is no harm in trying to teach them to be in the world, but not of it. They both conceded that there was nothing wrong with it, that it is something that is needed in this world, just that it will be extremely difficult for them. I didn't disagree with that statement at all.

The last thing said to me as we pulled into the parking lot was from the passenger in the back. "Well I've learned quite a few things tonight. Some very surprising things." This comment was given with a smile of friendship and amazement - in a good way. I think that perhaps I gave them some food for thought, something they may have been starving for, by their replies.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I felt really good that I was being questioned for my actions, my views, my choices, my beliefs.

And it felt even better that I had answers to give.