Friday, February 29, 2008

In The Space Of A Few Hours

Yesterday morning on my way to work, I was praying about being led by God's hand, that I would follow his lead willingly and be of use to him as he wanted, not how I wanted. I was asking to help me take myself out of any equation so that he could be the only right answer.

The morning proceeded normally. I ran by Panera's for a continental breakfast for a meeting. I made it to the meeting place in great time. Everything went beautifully, for my part at least. Then I headed back to the office until it was time for me to set up lunch for the group.

I thought I might as well use that time wisely (for me) to swing through the drive-thru at my bank to deposit one of our state refund checks.

While at the window, I turned into a teenager. And I don't mean that I looked youthful and weighed only 85 lbs like I did back then. I mean it in the way that you want to slap some 16 year old silly if they acted that way to you.

When attempting to deposit the check, the teller very politely said, "Mrs. Shalee (she used my last name of course, but I'm not going to advertise it here even though I'm sure you could never find anything about me with such a common name like Shalee...), I'm sorry, but I will need your husband's signature on the check since his name is on the front as well." Really she was as sweet as could be.

Me? I did the biggest eye-roll ever known to man. I'm amazed that I didn't injure myself with the stretching of optic nerves that I did at that moment. It was a fantastic expression of impatience, annoyance and self-pity all in one movement. I'd have slapped myself if I could have seen me.

The teller? She said, "I'm sorry, Mrs. Shalee... I just don't want to make a mistake on a government check."

Do you want to know what brilliant words came from my mouth? "Yeah, yeah, yeah." (Sigh) "I'll be back later after I get his signature. Thank you." And then I took my check and drove off.

My very first thought was, "Well there was a fabulous example to Christ, don't you think, Shalee?" Remembering her name from her tag and I thought, "Sule probably would have preferred to see God and you totally got in the way again, Shalee." And I wanted to park the car and go apologize to her for my rude behavior.

But I didn't. I can be such an idiot sometimes.

I returned to the office to work for a bit, left to set up lunch and then continued on my way to meet with Mr. Right for lunch since I would be driving right by his work. While waiting for the light to turn on the interstate, I noticed a homeless person standing on the median, holding a cardboard sign that said, "Please help me. I'm homeless and anything will help me SURVIVE."

As I waited for that light, I had multiple thoughts run through my mind as I avoided looking at him.
  • I never have money on me.
  • Why is he standing on that corner? He looks completely capable of working.
  • What would cause someone to succumb to panhandling for money?
  • He probably won't use it for what it should be used for...
  • Is he cold?
  • Will this light ever change?
And as I waited for the light to turn green, I actually turned to look at him. He looked downcast, embarrassed to be there, broken, not making eye contact with any of the drivers. And I realized that all of my thoughts were meaningless in the scheme of things. Here was a person asking for help from anyone who would give it.

I quickly pulled out my wallet to see if I had anything to give. And there I found some forgotten Christmas money that I had left over from a recent purchase. I grabbed it quickly, as the light had just changed. I rolled down the window and extended my hand to him and said, "If you'll come quickly, I'd like to help."

Amazed that someone had noticed him, he stumbled for a moment and then ran to the window. He smiled a beautiful smile. "Right on! Oh, thank you! God bless you!" Those were the words I heard as I sped up to make my turn.

Driving down the interstate, I burst out into crying. Was it the loss of the money? Was it that that man was standing there needing help and I was the only one to see him? Was it that this is a broken world that we cannot fix by money alone? Was it because I know that I can behave so badly one moment and then be better the next? I really don't know why I was bawling. It just felt like the right response.

And as I recalled his words, "God bless you!", I realized that he does. Every single day. In ways that surprise me and make me want to know him all the more as he's taking me from a selfish, inconsiderate twit in the morning to a kinder, open-handed person by the afternoon.

It was a direct answer to the prayer I prayed that morning. God took me out of the way and made himself known, at least to one man standing in the middle of the road.

And I have to tell you, I liked losing myself.

I liked it a lot.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Susanne Update

Well my blogging friends, I was trying to figure out some way to help Susanne while living way too many miles away from her.  Typically, in this scenario, the Christian help comes in the way of a meal, but I don't think she would appreciate getting a roast with all the trimmings in the mail...

So I offered to do an update about her hand for her.  It's not much, but it's something.  And of course our prayers will do much more for her than a moldy roast would ever do.

Here's the scoop:

Susanne did break her hand in such a way that she'll be having surgery on Monday to put pins in her hand.  After that event, the doctor called for at least 6 weeks of healing and then physical therapy on top of that.  Right now she's on Tylenol 3 and will remain on it until the surgery.  They may put her on something stronger after her placement of pins.

Susanne did have one specific prayer request.  She asks that we please pray for a supernaturally-quick healing because financially there is no way she can take 6 weeks off work.    She took off yesterday and will see how she feels for the other days, and then she'll take off Monday and Tuesday for the surgery.   She is blessed to have a friend who will come in and help her intermittently for the next couple of weeks, but even with that help it will be very hard.

(She runs daycare in her house. Can you imagine wrangling 6 little ones one handed? I can't even wrangle my hair with two hands and she's going to take care of others who can run, jump, argue, eat and go to the bathroom.)

There are two blessings in her pain: 1) she did not break her favored hand and 2) she didn't break her sense of humor.  She specifically stated that one-handed typing is for the birds, so I wouldn't be looking for caps when she does get back in the blogosphere...   And of course, she wants to thank us for our love and prayers.

So what I suggest is a good old prayer-a-thon.  Would anyone be willing to bring our friend Susanne to the Lord in prayer and petition starting today and covering her through at least next Wednesday?  I think it would be wonderful if we all would say a prayer for her at least once a day.  Remember, you don't have to know someone to pray for them.  I think the best part of being in the family of God is that you have lots of extended family who can care for you, no matter the distance, color, sex or the title above the door of where you choose to worship.

If you're going to pray for Susanne, would you please leave a comment?  I think it would be encouraging to her to see that others are lifting her in prayer over the next week.  And if you wish to remain unknown, just sign in as anonymous.  You can keep yourself in the background while still heartening our friend.   

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WFMW - Magically Appearing Dinner

Yesterday, The Boy was sick and Mr. Right elected to stay home with him.  That was good for several reasons, one of which was that Mr. Right could put some finishing touches on the house before it goes on the market.

When I returned home from work, I walked into a kitchen where Mr. Right was making dinner... and I don't mean he was calling out for it either.  He was making it from scratch from a recipe that I pulled from the internet, but we had never tried.

I could have kissed him right then and there.  (Oh, who am I kidding?  I did kiss him right then and there.)

He was making Chicken and Corn Chowder, and let me tell you how good it was: three out of four of us had seconds.  And really The Boy doesn't count because he wasn't feeling well, remember?  It was deeeeelicious!

So if you want to have your dinner magically appear before you, I suggest that you marry someone like Mr. Right (but not him specifically because he's taken you see... and I will fight tooth and nail with any woman who tries to steal him away.  It will not be pretty.  You have been warned.)

But I will do half of the equation by giving you the recipe.  Maybe you can leave it on the counter and your man will magically make it appear for you too.

Chicken and Corn Chowder
  • 1/2 c butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c onion, finely chopped
  • 6 T flour
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 1/2 c hot water
  • 1 1/2 c cubed cooked potatoes
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 3 c hot milk
  • 1/4 t white pepper (black will work too)
  • 2 chicken breasts, poached and chopped
Heat butter in large saucepot and cook onion until tender but not browned.  Add flour; cook and stir for 5 minutes over low heat.  Do not brown.  Add bouillon cubes and hot water, stirring with whisk to fully mix together.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  (It will become thick.)  Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil.  Serve with bread.

There, you have the recipe.  Now find the person who will make it for you!  Head on over to Shannon's place... maybe someone posted about how to find that person.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Prayer Alert!

Susanne from Living To Tell The Story just fell down her back stairs and broke her hand. She's at the hospital now as I type. Would you all say a prayer on her behalf now? I'm sure she could use it... maybe we should pray that it's not the hand that she uses all the time!

Thanks everyone!

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It's Official...

We have a momentous day in our house.  

A day that has already been noted on the calendar.

A day that caused much celebration and smiles of glee.

A day that I knew would be here soon enough...

Today is the day that The Girl is taller than me.

I can't tell you how many time she has come up to me doing the hand measure test... or the back-to-back test... or the "Come stand by me in front of this mirror" test.  She's all smiles and happiness right now.

Yeah, well...  She may be taller, but I've still got 20 pounds on her.  Hah!  Beat that, The Girl.

At least I'm still a half a head taller than The Boy, though I know that won't last long either.  (But he too has me beat in one department... I also officially have the smallest feet around here.)

Please send condolences... and chocolate.  I could use both today.

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Monday, February 25, 2008


Why will children, when you must wake them for a moment, insist that they were not sleeping when they were, in fact, sleeping like a log?

Why, when you finally decide to mop the floor, will your child track mud through two rooms before realizing that he should have taken his shoes off at the door?

Why would anyone believe that scientists can foretell global warming when they can't tell you what the weather is going to be like tomorrow? (Hello snow that was on no one's weather map!)

Why is it that you can clean your house from top to bottom, but it won't look like it in one day's time?

Why is it that boys cannot keep their pee relegated to the toilet only? (When cleaning The Boy's bathroom, I found urine on the toilet, the floor, the wall next to the sink which is not near the toilet and the bathroom door... I was mightily disgusted and told The Boy so. Those night time bathroom visits are going to be the death of me...)

Why do some people seem to make it well on just a few hours sleep while others who sleep eight hours and get a nap still complain that they are tired and could they please sleep just a little more?

Why does God know to send the right messages to me at just the right time in just the right way so that I can really hear it?

Why does my hair do whatever it wants until I start talking about cutting it, and then it does everything I want, lulling me into a sense of satisfaction, only to revert to doing what it wants again once it realizes that I've changed my mind?

Why is it that when you try to tell a woman that she looks good she will find some way to tell you how you are wrong?

Why is it children are not expected to have good manners any more? Please and thank you, ma'am and sir, respect for what a parent says or for others: these things are missing something fierce these days...

Why do I miss the cat's nocturnal crawling over my head and kneading parts of my body each night? (Tenni the cat went home with Grandma when they came for The Girl's baptism. It will help us for her to be gone when the house gets on the market.)

Why does this post come off as if I'm complaining when, in fact, I am quite content and happy?

Why don't you tell me some of your why's?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Refined Like Silver

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study, and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.  As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it."


I did not write the above, but I liked the message so much, I can't help but share it with you.

When was a time you felt as if you were tossed in the fire, but only later discovered that not only did you not get burned, you were more beautiful to behold and had a greater sense of purpose? (Not really rhetorical - I would love to read some of your answers.)

Some times in our lives when we felt the fire was when Mr. Right was let go of jobs, two in a row, right after purchasing our house. Times were tough, pride was broken and many a tears were shed on my part.

BUT! God never let us go hungry, others were gladly willing to be of service to God (we had a few anonymous donations that paid our mortgage), friends came rallying for us and we became so much more defined in our prayers, in our faith and in our speech to others about how God is good in all things. And he still is. He's never changing. It's we who are the changelings, thanks be to God.

Share if you feel comfortable. If not, perhaps you will feel encouraged by others. Blessings on each and everyone of you today, and may you too feel the heat of being loved.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

This Post Comes With A Warning From The Cleaning General

Word of caution: Unless you really need to clean your screen, I suggest that you set your coffee aside for the duration of the clip. I'm just saying... (says she with a washcloth in her hand.)

Happy Thursday to you all. May your entire day be filled with laughter!

(Tell me something that's made you smile in the last few days.  I'm happy enough today that I'd love to smile with you too.)

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WFMW - Simple and Delicious

About a year ago, my mom gave me a subscription to a little recipe magazine called Simple and Delicious.  Little did I know that it would quickly become a way to introduce some new and easy recipes into our repertoire.  I've made more recipes from it than I imagined I would have!  They weren't kidding when they created the title!

What's really neat is that most of the recipes come from the readers.  They are tried and true, favorite recipes that the readers think will be a hit with others.  I'd much rather spend my time working on a new creation that other families love than to waste my time and resources making something that we all wish stayed in the cookbook.

The tag line for Simple and Delicious is "Quick, easy recipes.  Everyday ingredients."  That's so true, friends... it's so true.  For $14.95, you can have a new magazine every other month, giving you some much needed refreshment in the cooking battle.  The magazine is filled with gorgeous pictures and very simple to follow instructions.

The best part about the entire gift?  Everyone in my family goes through the publication, circling the ones that they want to try.  It's a family affair at our house, one that makes me smile - especially when I see The Boy circle one that actually has vegetables.

So if you are looking for an easy way to spice up your daily cooking, I highly recommend that you check out this sweet magazine.  If you don't want to commit to a subscription, check it out at the supermarket or a bookstore.  You can usually find this magazine at the magazine display or at the checkout line.

But I warn you:  You may just want to pick up a copy if you find it in your hands... it's that good and useful!

Head on over to Shannon's place for some excellent suggestions that will help you in your everyday life.  But be very quiet... she's trying to catch up on her sleep!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Yesterday we ran to H&R Block to have our taxes done.  The kids were so good as they sat in the waiting area; all the tax advisors there even commented on their surprisingly most excellent behavior.  (Evidently our kids'  behavior was the exception, not the norm.)  Our advisor suggested in a joking way that we should take them out for ice cream.

Since we found that we were actually getting money back, we decided that we would treat them to Cold Stone Creamery.  It was to be their first time ever to this heavenly place.  

On the way to the creamery, The Boy asked for a snack when we returned home.  We said he could have a snack, chuckling on the inside because they were about to have the best form of snack ever!  We went, they gasped, oooed and ahhhed over everything, took 5 years to make a decision because there were SO MANY CHOICES!, and then they smiled with realization that God made ice cream and it was good.

With full tummies we made our way home.  The Boy quickly quipped, "Do we still get to have a snack when we get home?"  and then he laughed gleefully.  

That Boy... he's such a kidder.


The Girl is finding that though she is now a member of the body of Christ, The Boy annoys her just as much as he did before she became a Christian.

She's struggling to find the right reaction to him, but at least she's trying.  Oh girl, this is just the beginning...


I was reminded again last night how incredibly blessed I am to be married to Mr. Right.  This realization came as we were watching the fourth hour of Pride and Prejudice, and he was enjoying it as much as I was.  But he likes chick flicks and always has.  We love to watch When Harry Met Sally, Return To Me, While You Were Sleeping, Notting Hill, Always and many more.

Sigh.  I just love that man.

Edited to add:  Mr. Right would also like it pointed out that he likes Enter The Dragon, LOTR series, The Dirty Dozen, Tora Tora Tora, The Matrix, the Die Hard series, Gladiator, Mission Impossible series and many more.   He's not a wuss.  (Lucky for him, I like all those movies too.)

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Monday, February 18, 2008

What A Perfect Weekend

Some weekends are just so perfect, you don't want them to end. I'm really happy that we have Monday off as well. We're going to soak in the beauty of an extended break.

Well, you know that the best thing in the entire world happened Friday night. The Girl specifically requested that it be a small gathering with selected friends. "Not that I'm ashamed to get baptized, Mom. I just don't want to do it in front of everybody!" So we chose Friday night, after work and in time that her grandparents could join us for the festivities. It was such a beautiful, special time for her and for us.

After she had been baptized, I had a special moment with her in the changing room. As I was blowdrying her hair, she asked me what it was like for me when I was baptized. Thinking back to that special time, I recalled how I, too, was 11 years old. One Sunday morning, I had this feeling, this shivering, exciting feeling inside of me that made me step out into the aisle during the invitation. I knew, deep down in my heart that it was time. As I walked up to the front, I walked right by my parents. I could hear my mom say to my dad, "Don, that's Sha!" I think it surprised them because they hadn't discussed it with me, but because my dad was the evangelizing type and because I'd gone to church for as long as I could remember, I knew what I must to make myself right with God.

My dad baptized me that morning, April 10th to be exact. I've a baptism certificate somewhere, but I don't need it to remind me of that day. It's ingrained in my memory.

As I was talking to The Girl about my baptism memory, she was nodding, as if agreeing that that was exactly how she was feeling at the moment. And for just one moment, I had a glimpse of how it will be when she has her wedding day. That moment of connection when we're on the same page about the events that we will share. It was an exhilarating, yet mind-boggling thought. I'm not ready for her to grow up, yet I can't wait for her to have her special times.

Most everyone celebrated the entire event with a run to Dairy Queen because nothing caps the night like a hot fudge sundae! (Yes, Susan, we did see your son there. He was slaving away in the back.) Laughter, joy, family gathering... these were just icing on the cake to complete this most glorious day.

Saturday began with homemade biscuits and sausage gravy (Grandpa's favorite!) and really great coffee. The rest of the day involved working around the house some more (will we ever be ready?!), a run to get our taxes done (yay, we're getting enough back to pay off the last credit card! Hallelujah and thank you God!) and because we knew we were getting money back, we splurged for pizza that night. Ahhh, no dishes to clean... see, I wasn't kidding when I said it was perfect.

Sunday was church, where we witnessed The Girl taking her first communion. I cried. Oh, what joy to celebrate all over again. We had lunch with our friends and we asked them if a couple of their kids could spend the night that night. The kids have played well all night and all this morning. I can hear the boys playing some kind of superhero imagination game as I type and the girls are upstairs doing girl things.

Today, at this moment, I am realizing how God has blessed us and is continuing to bless us in ways that are beyond my comprehension. Isn't it such a humbling thought when you realize that though hard times will always cycle into life, goodness and blessings will always be prevalent too? May we all have such realizations today.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

I Call Dibs On Sitting By Her In Heaven...

Guess what family just got a little bigger....
Yours, I hope!
Say hello to your new sister.

There is no greater joy for a mother than this moment!

The angels are rejoicing in Heaven...  What a glorious day Friday turned out to be!

Would you mind saying a salutation to The Girl, your new sister in Christ? (But I wouldn't recommend that you pull the old "Now go around the room and tell everyone's name bit" yet... Give her a week and then pull it on her.)

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Around the World In 7 Days *Updated

 The Girl awoke feeling a world better than yesterday.  She's down to a good cough at night as far as I can tell.  But she had a great 15 minutes at school handing out the valentines and getting scads in return.  She's found that middle school's valentine giveaway isn't as fun as elementary... but she still received candy, so it was worth the non-hoopla to her.
I take back everything I ranted about The Boy's friend.  Well, no... I don't take it back, but I would gladly go through hours of having him around the house if it meant that my kids would avoid the agonizing pain that the friend's brother, G, is enduring.  Remember that I mentioned that G broke his leg?  He broke it really well - both bones in the bottom of his leg.  I took some dinner over to their house yesterday, just in time to see them arrive home from a doctor's appointment.  G screamed in hellacious pain the entire time he moved back into the house, tears running down his eyes; he kept screaming, "Mommy!!!" every few seconds too.  The boy is 13.  I felt so sorry for his mother.  She looked frazzled, anxious and very tired.
Please lift them up to the Lord, would you?  I haven't asked outright yet, but I don't think they have insurance.  They're not Christians, so they don't have a church family to fall back on at this time.  And we haven't sold our house yet, so we don't have much to offer other than support and small increments of help.  They just need God's hand of provision on them for so many reasons...
A friend of mine sent me this email.  She doesn't read my blog (that I know of), so I think the reception of it came in God's timing.  I thought I would share it with you as well.  It goes to further encourage me to scale back and to re-prioritize what I think is important to what God wants me to be concerned about.  (Poor sentence, but you know what I mean.)
But you know what?  I'm not writing about a Christian only activity.  No matter your belief in God (or lack of one), this work is for everyone.  Every age, every race, every sex, everyone.
Please, today, find some way that you can do good to others, for others, with others.  Make it a commitment in your heart.  There's so many ways to help:
  • Making a monthly meal for the Ronald McDonald house (This is actually fun to do with another family or two!)
  • Buy food specifically for a food pantry monthly.
  • Give that extra dollar on your electricity bill that will be used for the financially strapped.
  • Give a donation to Salvation Army.
  • Work with a shelter.
  • Rock babies who are born addicted.
  • Adopt a child.  Go one step further: adopt an older child.
  • Visit the lonely in a nursing home.
  • Give blood.
  • Give a kidney.
  • Work on a Habitat for Humanity help.  (Hey, if I can be of use there, then you can too!  Trust me on this one.)
  • Learn a new language to talk to someone.  (I'm signing.)
  • Sponsor a child.
What I'm trying to say as sweetly as possible is this:  Don't just sit there.  Get up and DO SOMETHING!  We all have something to give: money, time, talent, love.  It doesn't matter how small the gift.  All that matters is that you're giving.
Thus ends the soapbox.  Below is the email to which I was referring.  I hope it hits a homer in you too.
An poignant demonstration of what is eaten in one week by various families around the world...

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (Sure hope most American families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.)
Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mex ican Pesos or $189.09

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

Suddenly, my lack of Thin Mints seem ever so trivial in the midst of these findings.  How I really wish that I could send my pantry contents to the last few...

Updated to add:  Beck sent me the photo link for all these photos and more.  Go check it out.  Very thought provoking again...

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love In The Time Of Cholera Colds

The girl stayed home yesterday.  She awoke with a 100.6 fever and she had chills that were multipying...  I told her to shape up, but she just stared at me, slightly glassy-eyed.  

After dosing her with dry toast, a large glass of water and some ibuprofen, she seemed to be better.  You know what she's hoping will happen, don't you?  She has to be back at school for "The Big Handout '08".  She's so ready to pass those little papers with cute dogs and cats on them to her friend.  I'm pretty sure she's thinking that she won't get any if she's not there, too.
She recounted that she missed school the two days before Thanksgiving, she was sick after Christmas and if she's not better by tomorrow, she'll miss out on Valentine's.  Holidays don't fair well for her; however, let the record show that she was right as rain on New Year's Eve/Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Groundhog Day.  And she has a good chance of feeling great by President's Day!

Mr. Right and I tag-teamed today.  He stayed home for half a day in the morning; I wisely took the afternoon shift.  Why wisely?  Oh, because I totally missed out on the traffic coming home and I had the wherewithal to stop by our favorite Chinese restaurant for our traditional sickday fare: hot and sour soup.  And since I was there, I had to get something for me too, right?  Well, I did.  So there.  And I even shared it with Mr. Right.  So we fed three people for the price of one.

With The Girl down for a second nap, I spent my time wisely around the house.  I cleaned out The Boy's closet, cleaned out the game cabinet, dusted (YUCK!), recycled papers and tossed out more junk, compiled more for the donation pile, cleaned up the basement and talked to Jeana.  I always love doing that last one.  I know!  We talked on the phone and I liked it!  Will wonders never cease?

Suffice to say, I kicked cleaning-house tushy today.  It's not completely ready, but we're a lot closer now.
The Boy had a friend come over after school because his parents were going to be at their other son's basketball game.  Ten minutes after the game started, she called to say that her son broke his leg and could I keep him for a while.  Of course I said of course.  But I have to tell you... Five hours with this boy is enough!  I know this next bit was on accident, but he put a huge scrape in my wood floor. Did I mention that WE'RE SELLING THE HOUSE?! He's loud, he doesn't have great manners and he's DRIVING ME CRAZY!   Oh, and he's still here.  I'm wondering if his parents took off for Toledo or something...

Thank you.  I feel better now.

The Girl hit the hay around 7:30, after a warm up in the bath.  She was slightly shivering by the time she got in bed, so I treated her to a warm cocoon.  Do you know that is?  It's where you get your kid all tucked in and then you run a blowdryer under the covers so that it's nice and toasty warm.  Pretty soon her shivers disappeared and a smile replaced them.  Oh, how I love that sweet smile.

With no other fever throughout the day, The Girl is hoping to score big at school tomorrow.  Lord willing, she'll sleep the sleep of the healthy and tired.  And all will be back to normal - whatever that is.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.  If I had enough valentines, I'd stuff one into each of your handmade boxes.  But since I don't, maybe this one will tell you how I feel about you instead.

Click here for your special valentine, Valentines!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WFMW - Personal Mailboxes

Since it's the day before Valentine's, I thought I would post a suggestion that would help your kids know that you love them... all year long!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE getting real mail. But with the convenience of email and postage being outrageous, we don't receive much in the way of real mail - only credit card applications, mailers and other stuff. Oh yeah... and bills. Going to the mailbox isn't any fun anymore.

Years ago, my mother-in-awe sent a valentine present to my daughter. It was candy in a metal Snoopy mailbox. It even has a flag on the side. My daughter loved that candy and the container too. Have I mentioned that she also can be a bit of a packrat? Well, she can be.

One day, I left her a note in her mailbox, flipped up the flag and waited to see how long it would take her to discover it when she came home from school.

Not long. That's all I can tell you.

She walked right into her room, saw the flag was up and ran to it. She loved the note. She loved the communication. She loved that it was for her and her alone. She checked that box every day for a week and then some...

I think I'm onto something here.

You know how kids go beserk when they get a letter from someone? It works the same even if it doesn't comes in the "real" mail too. A letter is a letter is a letter to them.

Over the years, I've placed little notes, little gifts, whatever I wanted to put into that box. Sometimes it takes her a while to discover it; other times she finds it right away. She always loves the attention and little nods of love going her way.

My son wants a box of his own too, so I'll have to figure out something that will work for him as well.

So I guess leaving mail for my kids works for me. And so do the hugs and kisses that I get for taking the time to do it in the first place.

Head on over to Chilihead, our lov-er-ly surrogate host for this week for some other great tips.
Originally published May 5, 2007

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free As A Bird

I'm not sure I've made our plans known to you as of yet, but we're putting our house on the market (again) so that we can move into a house with a smaller mortgage.  Our hope is that we will be able to use the money that God has given us to do two things: pay off debts and have money at the ready to give away to others.  Our plan is as simple as that - not lofty, but still a way to honor God with the possessions that he has given us.  

(And if it sounds as if these decisions were easy for me to make, I suggest that you head back to my archives about a year ago and see how much I fought God regarding these choices.  I'm entirely too stubborn for my own good, but God is way more stubborn/stronger than me.  He's softened my heart to see the goodness of this plan.)

Knowing that we would like to get the house on the market in March, I took some time this weekend to clean out the kitchen drawers, giving away items that we no longer use, throwing away older items that should have been tossed before moving into our home in the first place and straightening things in general.

I was doing well until I opened the pantry.  It dawned on me how much God has given to us.  Look at this pantry...  every shelf is filled all the way to the back!  

That got me thinking about all the other places that we have food or items that are pure fun...

A few of these bottles were gifts, but for the most part, we purchased them.  For our amusement.  Whenever we feel like having a drink.  And to avoid dusting, as you can tell from the picture.  (Hey!  I'm short.  If you can see it, I'll just hand you a rag and you can dust it.)

This freezer is in our garage.  It is so packed with meats, vegetables and cheeses that I have no need to purchase anything for months.  MONTHS!  How insane is that?

Our fridge doesn't have much space in it either.  And most of what you see in there are extras, like ice cream, cookies and after school snacks like yogurts and fruits.
I didn't even take a picture of the snack cabinet that has peanuts, crackers, fruit snacks and the such.  And I avoided the spice cabinet and the ones above the stove that has all the oils, teas and hot chocolate mixes.

I have to tell you:  Alone in my kitchen, I wept from embarrassment and shame for the ludicrous amount of food in one place for one family.  It dawned on me how incredible blessed we are financially (even though we're considered on the low end of middle class) and how pathetically selfish we have been with what we have been given.  We are spoiled beyond belief!  There really is no need for a family of four to have this much food - no reason at all, especially a family living in America where there is food everywhere.  It makes me think that I have my stomach set as a more important thing than the welfare of others or trusting in God to provide what we will need.  And if the truth be known, it's really starting to show on me.  My tummy is becoming a visual representation of where I'm putting my trust.

I think that God is challenging me to really understand these verses from Matthew 6:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (19-21)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (25-27)

Suddenly my desire to have a full array of choice dining options is tainting my thoughts about food.  Already my portions have gotten smaller, and my heart is lighter, knowing that I am in the position to help others in need.  And I really am enjoying the idea of being worry-free.

I truly believe that this "fever" to make a change in our dependence on the idea of having a lot of  food is God-given. I have high hopes that it's something from which I will never be cured.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Disappointment Derailed

Thursday night I really wanted "to get silly" with Mr. Right.  I happily went through the ordeal of shaving my legs, wearing something that he bought for me (that I don't really like but he really does) and I put on some fabulously scented body cream called Seduction.
I was turned down flat from that man.  He was just too tired to do "get silly."
Bummer.  Big fat bummer.  That is one strange man is all I can say.  He wasn't too tired to play a game for an hour and a half.  Hmph.  I would have been so much more exciting than Zelda.  I know that for a fact.
Friday morning, things were off between Mr. Right and me.  I wasn't mad at him, but I didn't really want to talk with him either.  I fought it well, but I know he felt it too.  I did give him a good kiss when I left, though.  There is that.
On the way to work, I realized that I forgot to blog that morning. I knew that I wouldn't be able to do anything about it because of the filter at work. (STUPID WORK FILTER!)
I discovered when I arrived at work that I didn't have my office keys.  (Yes, I thought of you, LW.)  I knew that someone would be along soon, so I wasn't too worried about it.  Half an hour later, my boss finally showed, and thanks be to God, he had his keys with him.  (He doesn't always.)
I found that I had several tasks to accomplish that involved getting other people to put in some effort for me.  Do you know what it takes to get five other people to cooperate so that you can get something done?  Let me just say that sometimes it's not pretty when I have to get all parental.
I found out that all I managed to bring for lunch was my mashed potatoes...  sans butter even.  Well, at least I had something.  
And no matter what I did,  I could not get warm at work.  Cold feet all day is not a pleasant experience.  I even had my illegal space heater going and I was like an iceberg that would not thaw!
I was really ready for a do-over day.  I wanted to just go home, curl up in bed and start again on Saturday.  But then I read this post that Mary wrote at Owlhaven.  What an eye-opener for me.   I decided immediately that I would make some changes so that I too could be 15 minutes better.
I stopped by Panera's to bring home some sourdough bread with our homemade vegetable beef soup that was simmering at home.  It's a luxury that we don't always get to indulge.  It made the meal seem more complete, more special.
Since The Girl was set to go to an all-girl's lock-in at a friend's church and Mr. Right was working late that night, I decided to have a date with The Boy.  We had such a good time.  We went and bought a special candy for us to enjoy during a movie.  Then I pulled out the new Charlotte's Web that I had checked out from the library, we set up the teepee that Aunt Lynnette had given to the kids for Christmas one year and we laughed (okay, I cried - I'm such a a softy!) our way through the movie.  I have to tell you, The Boy sure makes a great date, especially when he's all happy from a Fun Dip!  Some girl is going to have it easy with him later if he stays on the same course.  Just give The Boy some candy and he's like putty in your hands.
Mr. Right arrived home just in time to tuck The Boy into the teepee so that he could continue his night of fun.
After the big tuck-in, I had another date with Mr. Right and finally was able to enjoy was a bit of "silliness".  We were down-right silly, and it was totally worth the wait.
Two dates in one night?  I don't even think I did that in college...
Sometimes all it takes is a new way of looking at things in order to turn a dud of a day into a fun night to remember.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sending a Bit of Birthday Love

Do you know who has a birthday today?

Antique Mommy is celebrating the fact that she looks absolutely nothing like an antique mommy.  She is one gorgeous, youth-filled woman - on the inside and the out!  That girl... if it weren't for the fact that I think she's the greatest thing since slice bread, I'd be totally envious.  But I won't be because she's too sweet to let someone feel that way over her.  

If you haven't read Antique Mommy, then head on over to her place and see why she's all that... and more.

This suggestion comes with a contingency though: You can only go read her as long as you promise to come back here too.  Once you read what really great writing is, you may not be so inclined to visit me as much...  So come back for your daily dose of mediocracy, okay?  Okay.  I'm glad we've got that settled.

Happy Birthday Antique Mommy!  

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

There’s Power In The Blood

We gave blood the other day. I received a call from a blood bank who stated that there is a blood shortage due to the wrecks in the bad weather we’ve had around our city lately. I signed us up immediately because it’s a small thing to do that will help someone else in a time of need.

Mr. Right and I arrived for our appointment with the kids in tow. They’re old enough to see us give, and they need to learn early that it’s not a painful event at all.

Now Mr. Right sailed through the entire process in 30 minutes, no problems or glitches anywhere.

Me? I was still sitting in the booth, waiting for them to go over my information by the time he was eating pie with the kids.

I was still waiting when they left to go home.

I was just getting onto the chair when four drop-ins who arrived after me were already hooked up and ready to go.

I was still sitting there, filling a bag when three of the drop-ins were on their way to the sugar table.

I was finally heading home an hour and a half after stepping foot in the door.

I think God was having a little fun at my expense over the lie I told.

But you know what? I’ll do it all over again in the next blood drive. It was worth every minute of it. Not only to me, but to the person that will use it when the time comes. And who's to say that it won't be me?

If you can do it, would you donate a pint of blood? Consider it an anonymous donation and leave knowing that you may have saved a life one day. You’ll feel really good about that as you walk out the door. 

Plus they give you pie or cookies for it. It’s totally worth the trade.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

WFMW - Online Shopping

Well, I must be frank.  No, I'm Shalee being frank, but not in a transvestite sense either...

I very much dislike shopping.  I'm such the atypical girl.  I love having new things and girly stuff, but I want someone to either give it to me or to do all the mix and matching for me.  I'm a real go-getter, aren't I? I don't even have the patience to look at things online...  after a while, my eye starts to twitch and my pulse races, not in a good way.

And the retail prices!  Sheeze Louise, how can people pay what is charged at the mall?  I've have so many other things on which I would prefer to spend that money - like groceries or a date night with Mr. Right.

But now and then, I need to find a particular item fast, and I don't want to pay an arm and a leg for it.  So I head to Amazon.  That's where I not only find great deals, I can locate hard to find items as well.

For example, my favorite cookbook, Betty Crocker Old Fashioned Cookbook, has been out of print forever.  About two years ago, I spilt something that appears to have contained industrial glue or liquid sugar in it, all over the book.  Oh what a sad discover I had when I found that I couldn't separate some pages.

I've looked for a replacement since then, and lo and behold, one day I found three of them on Amazon.  Woo hoo!  Life is good again.

I also found the perfect Valentine's gift.  It's something that I know my entire family will love and find funny at the same time.  Plus, I'll be introducing a certain fine culture to my kids as well.  I can't say because Mr. Right reads the blog.  I've kept it a secret for a month now, and I don't want to botch it this close to Valentine's Day.

There are a few times I actually have to make a purchase online and when I do, I always check to see if there are codes that will give me a savings.  So before you press buy, take a few minutes to Google "(name of store) online codes".  You will be thankful that you did.

When buying Christmas presents for my boss this year, I talked him into digital photo frames for the ladies, mainly because I did NOT want what he was originally getting for everyone.  So I found the best deal at, did a search for Target online codes, and saved 10% on the entire purchase, which for him was around $100 dollars.  Not only did I save the company money, I made myself look good for taking the extra initiative to find a deal.

And that, my friends, may make me some more money in the long run come evaluation time.

Head on over to Shannon's place for some more ideas on online shopping.  I'm sure those other  entries will have way more fantastic ideas than this non-shopaholic.

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I Cannot Tell A Lie

Well, that’s a lie. I totally can tell a lie with the best of them. If it were a sport, I could probably medal in it somehow.

What I should have said was I shouldn’t tell a lie. But there again, I do. Want a few examples? Of course you do. We all want to know that we’re not alone in the Liars Club, for which I have a lifetime membership with all the dues I’ve paid.

I lied when I said to my son, “I don’t know where that Happy Meal toy is.” I knew it was in the bottom of the trashcan.

I lied when I said to my kids, “Ummm, don’t come in here. Your dad and I are having a talk.” We might have been using our mouths, but it was for kissing and stuff… You know, married stuff. Talking wasn’t the gist of our meeting.

I told a bold-face lie when I told my kids, “Try it. You’ll like it.” Dude. It had lima beans. I won’t even like it.

I lied and didn’t even flinch when I said that the Thin Mints that I found in the freezer were too old to eat. They tasted mighty fine to me.

I told a whopper when I gave blood last night. I knew I was short a few pounds in weight to give blood so I rounded up. Hey, it was for a good cause.

I lied when I said, “We don’t have the money for that. Put it back.” We totally had the money. I just didn’t want to spend it on that product.

I lied when I told you that I was giving up Lost. I’m not giving it up. I’m just watching it when no little ears are around to ask,
“Who’s Dammit?”

I lied to the kids when I told them that they had to go to bed early because they had been up late a few nights in a row. Seriously, I’m the one who needed to go to bed; they just had to do it first so that I could crash.

Don’t feel badly. I totally lie to myself too.

Gosh, I’m funny!

One bite won’t hurt.

I’ll fit into that dress again soon.

Today’s the day that I start walking again.

I’m not going to make up/eat a batch of cookie dough.

I’m not bummed at all about not winning a prize in the giveaway.

I’m going to make much better choices and not fall into that temptation again.

I don’t feel badly at all when my kids glare at me like I’m the meanest mom on earth.

So, in the spirit of making me feel a wee bit more normal, would you fess up? What have you lied about? Hey, you could totally lie about it, and I’d never know. See how easy it is?

(And I really don’t want to hear that you’re the perfect mom who doesn’t lie about a thing. That, my friends, would not make me feel better AT ALL. I’m being completely honest on that one.)

*This post is not an advocate for lying. You really shouldn’t. It’s just me holding up a mirror to myself and realizing that it’s a lot cloudier than it should be. No “you should know better” mail please. I’m just telling it like it is with me.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

And The Winners Are...

The Giants!!!

Oh, how I love that Brady was still beat by a Manning...  That, my friends, is what I call poetic justice.
I also have another winner to announce for the Bloggy Giveaway.  
But first, let me tell you that I laughed over many of you comments.  I wouldn't be able to limit myself to just three things to put in the bag either.  And for all of you wondering, yes - putting a bag over you head is a perfectly acceptable fashion statement... especially when you either have a truly bad hair day or a huge zit.  Or if you just don't want the world to see you.  Any of the above will work.  
But if you're trying to hide from your kids, it won't work.  Trust me on this one...
And I give a special shout out to HolyMama!... she's the only one who recognized the great about of restraint I had when I mentioned Mr. Right and whipped cream.  I was hard, but I didn't want to scare anyone off on the first day.
Anyway, the winner of the fabulous bag is Rachie S.  at Two for One.  Congratulations, you mother of twins!  I can only assume that you will need all the help you can get...

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Friday, February 01, 2008


About a year ago, Mr. Right and I finally let some friends of ours talk us into watching Lost.  They've been working on us since the show began, but we just don't have the need to watch tv like most people.  After hearing all the glories of the show, we said okay and they let us borrow their Season One, and...

Oh. My. Lands!  was it good.  I think he and I watched the entire season in a few weeks, which is pretty good considering us.  The kids were too scared (as I knew they would be) to watch a show about a plane crash.  That's not really a bad thing.  I didn't want them watching it anyway.

At the beginning of summer and the kids were at Grandma and Grandpa's house, I finally got Season Two from the library.  The good side was that I waited on a very long list to get that season and finally it was in my hot little hands.  The down side:  I had a week before it was due for the next person fill their need.

Mr. Right quit at about the fourth episode, but I persevered.  That puppy was fully watched and returned on time.

Not to be too far behind, I have been watching Season Three online for a awhile now.  I watched one now and then when I awoke at the zero dark thirty hours.  I finally finished up the last episodes of that season a couple of weeks ago.   Whew. I am up to date like everyone else at the beginning of Season Four.  Woo hoo!

I actually thought I had missed the premier.  I thought it was on Wednesday, but when a friend called last night and mentioned that the two hour season opener was going to be on in 40 minutes, I quickly hustled everyone; baths, Bible reading and bedtime routines were accomplished in record time!

Oh, what a huge disappointment to find out that the first hour was just a recap.  We did other things until the "real" show began.  Which was really good because it would be bedtime for The Boy by then... or so I thought.

The Boy quickly ran to his room, only to return immediately with a "gift certificate" that I had given him for Christmas.  It was the one that said he could stay up an hour late.  He wanted to read with his daddy.  That sounded like a good reason to me, so we waited for Mr. Right to get home from work.  He got home just as Lost was about to begin.

The Boy sat with me while Mr. Right was taking a few minutes to get settled.  He saw the opening of Lost, the part where Jack looks at the dead girl while talking on the phone to be rescued and then after hanging up, Jack says, "Damn it" and then looks around like he's trying to figure out what to do. 

Before I have a chance to mute, to hustle him out or to talk about how that was bad language, The Boy innocently asks, "Mom, who's Damn it?"

And that's when it hit me that we've done such a thorough job of trying to keep only good things coming into the house that he doesn't even know what many curse words are.  He knows it's not pleasing to God when people say his name in vain and that we consider some name-calling words to be like curse words too, like stupid, idiot, moron.  And thanks to school and Ben 10, we've discussed how butt is to be used properly.  He is 8 after all.  I can't prevent him from hearing everything.

But when I heard him ask that innocent question, I realized that I was completely at fault.  We have a rule that we don't watch tv for a reason, and this was exactly why. In my excitement to watch the premier, I didn't think about what he could see or hear.  My bad.  Very much my bad.

I explained to him that Jack shouldn't have said those words because it was really a curse; then Mr. Right swooped in to save the day by taking him upstairs to read.

But I've decided one thing:  I'd rather lose Lost than to help my kids to get lost in this world.  

And I'm okay with that.  I can always watch the episodes online again if I feel the need to know, but right now, my need to know falls way short when compared to my need to be a great example to my kids.  

I find it amusing and fitting that these verses were among our reading last night.  I just didn't realize at the time that they would be appropriate in more ways than one...

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be
lost. Matt 18:1-14

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