Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WFMW - Free Meals

A few months ago, when I was bored at work, I googled "free meals" and entered my town name.

Boy was I surprised when I found a list of places where you can sign up via the internet for a free birthday meal! So I signed away.

And then I forgot all about it.

Until last Friday...

So far I've had a great meal at Red Robin, I plan to have another great on at b.d. mongolian and Arby's, I've won a free "something" to eat at Famous Dave's and you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be eating the Cold Stone Ice Cream and the Baskins Robbins scoop without a care in the world.

You know, this turning 37 thing isn't bad at all... If you want to join in my festivities and giveaway, read my pre-birthday post to see if you want to join the fun!

Head on over to Shannon's for some other great tips.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gratituesday 4

It's time for a little shout out to the Lord, so you know that it must be Gratituesday, where one can be vocally thankful for something in life.

I'm so grateful that there is an entire family of believers around the world.

You don't have to live next door to someone to be a member, nor do you have to look remotely the same or even speak the same language. All that's needed is to have the belief in Christ. God, who is Love, will take care of the rest.

I find that simply, utterly, beautifully amazing.

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Monday, April 28, 2008


High school: The start of where you really learn about life, who you are and who you didn’t want to be.

Being the nerdy, school-loving person that I was, I could not wait to start ninth grade. The shear joy of signing up for my choices, finding out how much time I would have to run from one class to another, discovering who would be my classmates for the next four months (or if it were a full semester class then for eight months all together.) Oh and the clubs! We could join clubs of all sorts. Really, I was a social butterfly that first year: Thespians (All the hazing during pledge week! Every time a member approached, Danny, Jennifer and I had to fall to our knees and loudly proclaim “Oh great Thespian I adore thee!”), Choir, FCA, Pep, French… and others that I can’t think of at all right now.

Bummer. I only made it in Girls Chorus. Oh well, I could sing Soprano there as well as in Chorus. And then of course I had to take the dreaded PE class that every upper classmen swore was better to get out of the way early rather than later in the high school way of things. But at least I had Mandy in that class. If I’m going to look like a dork in that ugly goldenrod t-shirt and those black shorts, we’ll at least do it together. But I did make it in all the AP classes I wanted, which was probably a miracle of sorts because most of my friends were smarter than me. (I’m not saying that I wasn’t smart; I know I was. I’m just saying that on the smart scale, I was on the lower end of the smart stick. Hey, I’m just keeping it real.)

First day there, I started making additional friends. Being outspoken and witty at the right moment can do that for you. (Or not, I have no delusions that everyone loved me.) But the transition from attending a school with 600 to a school with 1600 wasn’t too hard on me. Of course I worried about being cool and fitting in, but for the most part, I didn’t worry about being liked or making my mark. Amazing, when I think about it. Who goes into high school completely comfortable with who she is? Sure I worried about the *cough, cough* occasional zit and the complete lack of datability, but overall, I really liked who I was, where I was at and who was traveling that road with me.

Football games were fun and freeing. I often met my friends for the game. Cheering, laughing, yelling and enjoying those warm Southern nights… A Friday night really couldn’t get any better. Saturdays nights often turned into sleepovers or Youth Group activities. Oh, and it was due to sleepovers that I really discovered how weird I was. I was often awake and out of bed by 7 AM. How boring it was to be at a friend’s house when everyone slept until 10 AM. Sigh.

PE – not coed, thank goodness! Freshmen girls have a hard enough time dealing with the way they look without having any of the guys as onlookers as well. Mandy and I had a great time learning how to pretend that we could do anything athletic. Wait a second, athletics was an area where I was very insecure. I was 5’ 1” and a whopping 80 lbs, if that. I’d always been the shortest and smallest in class and therefore the last to be picked on teams (a tradition I loathe, by the way. Lucky for those elementary educators that I didn’t allow myself to be scarred for life and have traumatic emotional issues over always being unwanted…) But AHA! Mandy and I learned to kick boo-tay in Volleyball and guess who took first place in the Badminton Championship? Uh-huh! You got it! We bad! We bad! Hey, it made our entire torturous time in that class well worth it. Leave me be in my glory days.

One class that I couldn’t wait to attend was English with Mrs. Werner. Oh if only everyone had a mentor or encourager like her! She was the first teacher to bring English to life for me. She expected top notch and, if she didn’t get it, she would send your submittal back to you with instructions to do better. She encouraged reading and opinionating what you read. She delighted in reviews, creative writing and the idea that books are something to be enjoyed, not endured.

Girls Chorus was unique. There I made friends with a myriad, most of whom were named Jennifer pr some variation of the name. Some became really close buddies. We laughed, enjoyed music together and, well, mostly we felt sorry for our teacher, Mr. Svelte. Poor man. He tried so hard, but he had such a spineless way about him. This characteristic did not bode well for anyone teaching teenagers. I cannot count the number of times that year that he came to school in the same clothes because his wife kicked him out of the house and refused to let him enter, even for necessities. He was a nice man, but slightly off-kilter due to a number of factors. Our chatting, giggling selves couldn’t have helped at all.

I discovered the joy of working a play. Building a set, painting, rehearsals, long hours memorizing lines... and the camaraderie that is naturally built when working several hours a day together, only getting longer and longer as the performances drew near. These were the moments that I loved. With these surroundings came a kind of vitality on which I could almost feed. I just knew that I had found another niche, one that could bring me joy from a different perspective. Although I didn’t make it into any of the plays that year, I vowed that I would the next. That was a promise I intended to keep…

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

And We Have A Winner... And Another Giveaway

First, for the lovely polka dotted pink bag:

(The Girl does not come with the bag. I need her to stay here for slave labor and for future modeling gigs for the up and coming giveaways.)

Suzie G (who unfortunately doesn't have a blog... yet), who actually answered the suntan/sunscreen question, was the lucky #124.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway.

Now, if you're interested in another ongoing giveaway, you can find out more details about it on my Birthday Bites post.

As an update Ornery's Wife of Thoughts from Miller's Manor has graciously offered two of her homemade card sets from her Etsy shop as giveaway prizes. She is seriously talented and I can state from experience that you will be fighting with your family over who gets to give the cards. They're that beautiful!

I sincerely hope that you'll come to my birthday celebration because I need all the friends there that we can get. So go out into the hiways and byways and invite everyone you know to this shindig!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Birthday Bites

Hey, did you know that my birthday is coming up in a week? Normally I wouldn’t beg for a gift, but seeing how it’s not actually for me, I think I’m allowed this little faux pas in birthday etiquette. I mean, you would generally WANT to get something for a friend’s birthday, right? And I'm your friend, right? So I’m just going to cut to the chase and tell you want I want most in the world. And it’s probably within your grasp to provide it.

What I want more than anything in the world for my birthday - which really isn’t until next Saturday, May 3rd, but hey at least you won’t have to worry about it arriving on time - is for you to make a donation of $10 for a mosquito net. But it’s not for me. It’s for others who really need them to stop the malaria epidemic. Want to know more about it? Watch the following to find out more.

Want it in print? Head to Bite Back to find out why these nets need to be bought… now. So that we can bite back at a senseless, stoppable disease.


I would love to have the donations to be in the hundreds or heck thousands! To encourage your outpouring of birthday love (but more importantly love to families in need), I’m holding a special giveaway for those who donate for those who give me this special present. There’s nothing like a giveaway to encourage this blogging force!

Leave a comment when you’ve bought one for my birthday. And if you made a donation already, yay for you, but it doesn’t count! You have to buy one with me in mind… because buying one for someone else and then giving it to me just doesn’t have the same special feel in a birthday present. (See? I’m nothing if not self-centered, but you knew that already, I think.)

So the giveaway will work as such: for every one hundred comments that state that you’ve bought my present (on blogger’s honor of course), I will give a prize to one randomly chosen commenter. The prizes are yet to be determined because once again I’ve had a brainstorm without having all the details. But they will be good prizes, I promise… not some piece of candy that I found squished in the side of the couch. I’ll post pictures as soon as I figure out what the prizes are.

Obviously you don't have to be a blogger, but you will need to make sure that you leave a working email where I can reach you if you are one of the chosen ones. And to spread the birthday cheer, these giveaways will be open to the entire blogging world. No matter if you live in Idaho, Italy or Ireland, you give to Bite Back, you're in the drawing!

If you could go one step further and blog about my birthday present and the giveaway, asking your readers to give me a birthday present and directing their “I bought your birthday present” type comments to this post, I'd really appreciate it. (I’m only doing that so that I’ll be able to keep track of the number of giveaways I’ll need to have.) Then ask them to blog about this birthday present thingamajig to their friends… and so on and so on. Get the word out people! It’s party time, and I want everyone to know that they’re invited! And really, I want a lot of presents… because I am greedy presents are part of my love language.

I'm not going to give dates for the drawings because as soon as each 100th comment mark is reached, I will have a drawing. So it might be multiple drawings in one day or it might be a drawing every few days. The number of drawings will be left up to you and your generosity.

Personally, I’m someone who loves to celebrate her birthday. I love knowing that I’m still alive and kicking. And I really like the cake and ice cream deal too. I’m looking 37 in the face and laughing myself into a new year.

I just hope that this year I will get best birthday presents that I never got.

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Citizen Girl

So, it's been a while since I've reviewed any books from my Spring Into Reading 2008 list. Never mind the fact that I'm over half way through it, and I've even added/read a few that should have been on the list in the first place. So much for following my word that I would post reviews faithfully. Just be prepared for multiple book reviews over the next few weeks because it there's one thing I dislike to do, it's not keeping my words...

I didn’t read The Nanny Diaries. I didn’t see the movie either. But the cover of the sophomore writing - Citizen Girl - written by McLaughlin and Kraus, caught my eye, so I thought, why not?

What do you get when you take two authors with a previous bestseller and give them a contract to write another blockbuster?

Crap. Pure unadulterated crap, which I realize is an oxymoron. That should have been my "why not"…

How vile an offering this waste of good paper was! It was bitter, harsh and ugly, with nary a moment of hope or usefulness. I cannot scour my mind enough from several passages of this repulsive storyline. It is right on par with Happiness Sold Separately, which, if you recall, is anything but a compliment.

Girl, the recent graduate with high hopes of entering a world of business where women support and embrace the efforts of other women, is a feminist in the sense that she things women deserve equality from men and women. Yet she starts out in a position where she is constantly trampled by her female employer. She then gets fired, which should be a good thing. Enters new position into which she completely muddles her way, where she is again berated and treated poorly only this time… it’s by men of all stereotypes: chauvinistic, gay, unconcerned, domineering, lazy – take your pick for there are those that fit each category. Girl – “the woman of character” – continually sells herself to the paycheck, allowing herself to be dominated, humiliated, and used for whatever purpose the men need her. Why? Because in “this market” you don’t say no to any job, as if political leaders were to blame for her lack of backbone, as if anything in the name of money is acceptable. I realize that I'm making her sound like a prostitute, but that's not what I mean. If anything she's a "corporate whore" who is selling herself to the corporate world. Where is her sense of pride? Where are the morals that she often mentions as a part of who she is? Sheesh! It was revolting to see her bend over time and time again as if she had no other choice.

Throw in the fact that she has no idea what love is, but she is more than willing to jump into bed with someone she just met. Oh, wait… excuse me. She waited a week. That obviously makes it all right. And then, after a week, she has the gall to play the part of the mad lover because he goes to a bachelor party that serves up porn and a stripper. Or she has the tendency to get angry because he’s not there for her. He often reminds her that he is taking flack from his friends because he is with her. (Hello! Clue to get out!) Or she has the audacity to get angry over her coming home drunk from an extremely erotic club, coming onto her sleeping boyfriend and then crying about his forceful sexual play after basically requesting it… Ummm, ever heard of saying “no”? Obviously not. Ever heard of actually finding out something about a person before shacking up? That would also be a no. Ever heard of having standards? I’m not even going to answer that. She was so desperate for attention or psuedo-love that it makes sense that she would want to be with this type of jerk. At the end she keeps going back to this idiot who she does not know, but continually tries to change to her idea of a good man. Any fool can see that they’ll never work or be happy because neither of them know what it means to commit or to be selfless or even how to be honest with each other.

I don’t even want to go into the idea of these authors use of women for playthings, the gay/lesbian lifestyles that are flaunted throughout the book, the lack of decency from EVERY character… no matter their sexual orientation ot life situation. No one was kind or courteous for any length of time, not even the protagonist that the authors wanted you to like, to support or to cheer. Ugh. Yuck. Patooey. I really need to take a shower now. Does anyone have a brain enema I can use?

What incenses me the most is that I didn’t quit reading this piece of literary feces. I actually read to the end. Who’s the idiot now? Me. That’s who deserves a good head-knocking.

I’m off to read something else, anything else that will remind me that words, if put together well and with a minutely hopeful storyline, can be a balm to a stormy soul. (Jeana, I’m even thinking that the next Mitford book that I need to read would be perfect right about now... even if it's not on my list!)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

WFMW - How To Shop For A Wardrobe On Ebay

A recurring question from my Prêt-à-Porter, Fiesta Style! post that I have been asked is "How did you buy all your clothes on ebay?!"

Come closer my little friends. I'll tell you my shopping secret...

Here’s the long and short of how to shop ebay for clothes.

  1. Log onto ebay and select “Clothing”.

  2. Next select “Women’s Clothing”. Ummm, if you're a guy and you're shopping you might want to select "Men's Clothing". If you're a guy shopping for himself and you're selecting "Women's Clothing", then I don't want to know about it.

  3. From there you can do one of two things: type in your normal clothing size to see all the clothing that is available for you. (You can further narrow it by adding a color or a style that you want.)

  4. OR you can do what I do: I put in my size and then add the word "Lot". All the bulk clothing listings will come up. You peruse those lots and then decide if you want to bid.

  5. Remember to look at the shipping when you are determining how much you want to pay over all because some of the sellers will gouge you there.

That’s it! I found two lots - one that had 31 pieces and another that had 40 pieces - that I bid and won, costing me $150 altogether or the equivalent of 3 or 4 things in a store. I’m not a huge ebay advocate; I just love that I won two lots that contained several pieces and that I don’t have to go shopping except for undies and shoes…

Oh, and unless you wear a size 6x like Michelle thinks that I do, you can bid to your hearts content and you won't bother me a bit!

Head on over to Shannon's place to get some other awesome tips!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Gratituesday 3

It's time for a little shout out to the Lord, so you know that it must be Gratituesday, where one can be vocally thankful for something in life.

This week, I've been blessed more and more with the knowledge that The Girl and I have a pretty good relationship. Never mind the fact that she's teetering on the fence from being a girl to becoming a woman. Never mind that I'm a walking hormone waiting to happen. We still get along and laugh most of the time.

Yesterday, when we had to get lost from the house because Mr. Right was showing it to some potential buyers, she and I ran to Walmart to look at shoes. For half an hour we tried on all sorts of shoes, making fun of the throwbacks from the 70's and talking ourselves out of some shoes because oh my lands! I'm not ready for her to be in heels yet... But can I just share with you how thrilled I was when this sweet girl walked beside me talking to me about anything and everything while holding my hand?! In public! Without a care for anyone who might see!

These are the things that make me realize that the best things in life aren't things.

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It's In The Bag...

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

It’s that time of year again – the time where you put all your hopes into the hands of others and pray that the Random Number Generator will be your best friend time and time again…

If this is the first time at Shalee’s Diner, then welcome! Coffee is on the house for you, and you’ve just got to try some of the strawberry pie… it’s that good. As the sign says, I’ll be serving the same slop as I always do. Now doesn’t that just make you feel special?

If you’re a regular, then welcome back. You’re seats have been awaiting your derriere and as usual, pour your own coffee. I’ll bring “your usual” when I get a moment. Oh, and I’m putting off the 1986 post until next Monday. I don’t think anyone except my Mom or Chris will be disappointed about that delay...

This time I’ve got a fun bag to give away and it just shouts “Spring!!!” And to model it, I once again enlisted the help of The Girl.

Notice the brightness of the bag and those cute, adorable dots?

Did you see how deep it goes?

Just think of all the goodies you could sneak into the pool this summer if only you had this amazing bag!

If you don't need a new bag, can I interest you in a new hat?

Or tiara?

How about an apron?

Hey, you shouldn’t use the bag as The Girl is using it right now… Oooo, she’d better watch it! The Boy is getting bigger and stronger every day and one day, he’s gonna let her know it. I’m just saying... (Oh, I hope I’m not the one around when that happens. That should totally happen on Mr. Right’s watch.)

Alrighty little blogging buddies, if you would like to win this sweet carry-all, leave me a tip telling me what kind of suntan lotion you love to use.

And just to sweeten the prize: for every comment that the winner (yet to be determined by the handy dandy number generator) leaves on the Tuesday through Friday posts, up to one comment a day, I’ll add a mini prize to the bag. (For example: If you’re the winner of this giveaway and you leave comments on Wednesday’s post and Thursday’s post, then you get two addition prizes that will fit in the bag. Make sense? And don’t ask me what they are because I only just thought of this little brainstorm, and now I’ve got to figure out what those prizes might be. Sometimes I'm too smart for my own good...)

So the more you actually talk to me, the more you can win! It's a win-win for everyone, especially me because I love chatting with y'all!

The drawing, open to ALL bloggers - no matter if you live in the tundra of Siberia or the tropics of South America or any place in between - will be left open until 12:00 CST Friday night (April 25th). I’ll draw the winner on Saturday, and please, for the love of trying to make things easier on poor old waitress, would you be kind enough to make sure that I can easily contact you? If you don’t have a blog, then please leave your email address so that I know where to leave the check tip.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

You Can Quote Me On That

Chilihead posted some quotes that were her favorites. I thought I’d totally piggyback on her and do the same. Because I am a copycat. And that’s what friends do. They steal good stuff from those they love. You can quote me on that.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." - Steven Wright

"I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific." - Lily Tomlin

“The 12-step chocoholics program: NEVER BE MORE THAN 12 STEPS AWAY FROM CHOCOLATE!” – Terry Moore

“A friend is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.” – Frank Crane

“Just do it.” – Nike

"Live today as if it were your last." - Anonymous

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” – Elizabeth Kubler Ross

"Live and learn. Die and forget it all" - Shalee's Mom

“Be still and know that I am God.” – God

"A face without freckles is like a night without stars." - Anonymous

“God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.” – William Goldman

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right.” – Henry Ford

“I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it.” – Jack Handey

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” – A. A. Milne

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – M.K. Gandhi

“Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” – Franklin P. Jones

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I love you, Mommy, more than anyone else in the world... but not more than God.” – The Boy

“Mom, this is my Favorite Meal ever!” – The Girl (said at almost every meal)

"You gonna eat that?" - Mr. Right

I have to stop now. I could go on forever… I didn’t even add any movie quotes, and I have a number of them! What about you? What quotes mean something to you or just make you smile?

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Green Around The Gills

Although I think Al Gore is full of something not-quite-green and I shiver at the thought of his loosely "researched facts” garnering him a Nobel Peace Prize, I do think that he has a minute point about considering our surroundings. I also think that we have a responsibility to clean up our acts - literally.

So with slight trepidation, I’m letting you know about Seattle Mom’s Earth Day Countdown.

Why slight trepidation? Because I don’t want to be considered a fanatic that places the earth above people. I think people deserve the utmost respect, yes, even above the black-footed ferret, the forests or even range-bred chickens. This earth is our home… for now. With it come some tough decisions about how we’re going to treat our surroundings.

I don’t follow most of the line of thought that “Everyone should go green!” or “Global warming is on the rise!” or “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” But I do believe that we each could be held to a higher standard in how we live and what we do with the gifts that God gives to us. Teaching ourselves and our children to be respectful and appreciative of all our blessings is a very good thing, whether it's through using things until they disintegrate, recycling or taking care of our patch of Earth by physically picking up after themselves (and other people who could care less).

For our part, we do some small, but effective, things to help. We recycle our paper products, as much as we can. If we had a recycling station that did glass, I’d probably do those too. I reuse the some of the plastic bags that I gather from the stores while the extras we take our plastic Walmart/Target bags to the recycle boxes. Sometimes I even remember to ask for paper bags at the grocery store.

Oh and speaking of going out, I try to combine most of my trips into a few trips, avoiding multiple trips to various places. One thing that helps is to make lists so that I know where I'm going and what I need when I get there. With the way gas prices are now, it's to our advantage to use our fuel wisely.

When cleaning, I only run the dishwasher or clothes washer when I have a full load, saving water and energy. I've learned the value of cleaning with the cleaners of yesteryear - vinegar, bleach, baking soda, Comet. Not only are they cheaper, they're better for the drains, not to mention the sewers.

We use things to the nth degree. By that, I mean that I don’t buy new clothes because it’s a new year. I use them all for as long as I can, or if I happen to tire of something, I donate it so that someone else can get good use of it. (We have a donation center at our church where people come for help. Excellent resource for someone in need!) Mr. Right has suggested that I give myself permission to let some things go that have been in our closet for 10 or more years. It’s hard when you have this frugal way of mind.

My jeans with a hole in the knees become summer shorts. My tennis shoes that are well-used become yard shoes. But it’s not just clothing that gets the long wear: we drive our cars until they no longer work and then we replace them with used vehicles; our tv is over 10 years old and counting; I refill our Dial foaming soap dispensers with baby soap and water to keep from purchasing new bottles, I make my own laundry detergent… just to name a few samples of finding ways to make things last longer. The kids learn that having the newest of everything isn’t what matters; it’s appreciating God’s blessings – no matter the age of it – and finding contentment with what you have. Plus it’s a great lesson on stretching your money far so that you’ll have extra to give to someone else, whether it’s for a child in another country or a homeless person around the corner.

As for our health, there are times that I would like to buy organic. But for the most part, I consider the cost comparison, and I can’t justify it in our budget. The only way I think I could do organic is if I grow my own. But knowing how I have the talent to kill anything “plantish”, I might want to steer clear of that path… And frankly I don’t have the time. Making my own flour sounds like fun, but I feel overwhelmed as it is just getting to work on time and coming home to my other full-time job.

So… we eat mostly at home from recipes made from scratch. Rarely do we get into the processed foods frame of mind. It’s good for the environment in that we’re using reusable plates and flatware, we’re not adding as much to the dump (because let’s face it, when we go out it’s usually to McD’s, Tacky Smell or some other fast food joint), and we’re getting in some good quality family time. Add to the fact that our homemade meals just taste darn good and that we’re getting in some good meats, vegetables, grains and dairy that keeps us healthy, then that’s a bonus too. (Less hospital visits is always a good thing for us! The last time any of us were at the hospital for illness was so long ago, I can’t recall the visit.)

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that we can all do our part, no matter who small that part is. We can encourage each other to find some way to help ourselves and our surroundings. After all, unless Jesus comes back soon, our kids are going to have to live on this same planet and deal with these same issues.

Got suggestions for me? Have a shout out you’d like to share? Leave a comment or do your own post, and I’ll see how you are making your world a little better. Oh, and thank you for doing your part, whatever it is.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WFMW - Second Glances

Seeing how I recently wrote about my eyesight, I thought this was very appropriate to post today.

I received an email from a friend yesterday.


I am getting a kick out of your memory blogs! I'm not sure if you watched MTV when your parents weren't looking, but Bowling for Soup has a song called 1985 and you should totally watch the video...especially if you watched music videos in the 80's! I really enjoy checking out the music you've selected for the years. Many of the songs were featured on Miami Vice (1985 & 86) as I have found a site that has old episodes online! Hope you and Mr. Right are doing great!

-- Chris

After reading it, I replied with this:

Well, ummm, I’m glad that it’s making you sick?! You might want to have a bowl around for the next few Mondays…

I’ll have to check out the Bowling for Soup song. I’ve heard it, but I’ve not seen the video. (Yeah, I was an 80’s video watcher – back when they were great videos and not soft porn. I have to tell you, I never watched Miami Vice. That was such a guys show and it never, ever interested me. But at least it had great music!

We’re great here. Hope all is well with you too!


Sometime later I happen to glance at his original email and then sent out the following to him:

Hey Chris… I have to tell you that I thought the first line read I’m getting SICK of your memory blogs… Perhaps I need glasses after all! So ignore the first paragraph of the last email I sent you!

To which he responded:

I don't care who you are, THAT'S FUNNY! I would never let you know if I was sick of your blogs! That's just too rude! It's just fun looking back and you hear a song and instantly you remember where you were in life when that song came out. I'm glad you got to watch some MTV when you were young. You for sure need to see the Bowling For Soup Video now as it totally spoofs Robert Palmer, Michael Jackson, Run DMC, George Michael, etc. Hope you have a great week!

So my advice is to either read your mail carefully or don't tell the world the day before that you're thankful for the fabulous eyesight that you have. It could come back to bite you later.

Want some really good tips? Head to Shannon's for some words of wisdom. For some words of wisdom.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gratituesday 2

It's time for a little shout out to the Lord, so you know that it must be Gratituesday, where one can be vocally thankful for something in life.

It's so simple really, but after talking with multiple people the last few days about glasses/contacts/eyesight, I am so grateful that I don't have to have anything to see yet. (I do have a pair of reading glasses, but I only got them because we had money to burn in our cafeteria plan. The optometrist said that I could get glasses if I wanted to get them, but I didn't have to have them. I still read without them, but boy, they look pretty in that little blue holder!)

What a joy to not have to search or worry about glasses in order to take in this beautiful world. I know that my time is coming to need them, but until that happens, I'm going to appreciate that I am apparatus free for now!

There are so many things that I take for granted. This sense happens to be one of many things that I don't really thank God about on any kind of basis.

Head on over to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers to see some other ways that people are thankful for their not-so-little things.

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Monday, April 14, 2008


Eighth Grade

What can be said about this year?

It was a year that brought me face to face with so many things. Some good, some that no child should have to know.

I was in my first wedding that year. My mom’s best friend’s daughter was marrying and she asked for me to be her flower girl. Yeah, at 13 years old. Well, I felt lovely (though not beautiful) in that long pink gown. I can remember the pictures of my standing next to Sean, the ring bearer. He too was 13 years old and a member of our youth group. I’m sure that he was only in the wedding because his mother made him be in it. That made for great pictures, let me tell you…

In school, we began the process of having multiple classes with other students. Though the classes were assigned, I remember the thrill of walking down the halls to attend with different friends. Danny remained in my music and English class. It was in this English class where I learned, really learned, the value of a good debate. (Oh how I wish I could remember the teacher’s name! He was a huge man who looked exactly like a gorilla and he had the condescending way of looking at his students over his glasses.) It was in his class that I sparred verbally for my earned A in the class. He was tough, intelligent, but not unbendable. I do believe I received my A, not only because of my work, but because I was willing to challenge him on a intellectual level rather than whining.

Fortunately Mandy and I still had three classes together, one of which was Social Studies with Mr. Cumming. That man was a hoot! He definitely brought out the ornery in me. Mandy and I were often trying to pull some sort of mischievous deed on him.

Unfortunately, it was also in Mr. Cumming’s class that I received my first migraine. As I was sitting in class, my sight slowly started to fade into white spots. Eventually, I became scared enough that I poked Mandy in the back and pleaded with her to ask Mr. Cumming if she could take me to the office to call my mom. I must have looked the part of scared well; she didn’t even question me. She went straight up to make the request. To which he told her to sit down and for me to quit starting trouble. I think I was able to sit five more minutes before I had Mandy take me up to Mr. Cumming. I recall with clarity the calmness that I had while describing what I could and couldn’t see. And then I broke out into tears. He then let Mandy take me to the office. I think he figured out I wasn’t fooling at that time.

Next up to convince: my mother. I don’t mean to say that I cried wolf a lot. I didn’t. But I’m sure it will come as a huge surprise to you that I was a drama queen. (I can hear the gasp from here!) When I got Mandy to call her, I started bawling about not being able to see and my head hurting and could she please come and get me. She came and got me and we went straight to the naval hospital. There I was told that I had to stay up all night with nothing in but water and then come in the following morning for an EKG or an EEG or something with a G. That was another fun night let me tell you. My parents took shifts to make sure that I stayed away. Can I just share with you how much there wasn’t on tv at zero dark thirty in the morning?

Cut to the quick: The guy put all this plaster around my head, stuck some wires to my noggin and turned on a machine. I still don’t know what it was all about, really. All I know is that I remember wanting to fall asleep each time I closed my eyes, but the guy didn’t say that I could or couldn’t so I jerking my eyes open. Guy pulls wires from my head, eventually someone comes to tell my mom that I have optical migraines, but no worries! Mine are triggered by a combination of types of food (lots of junk) and lack of sleep. Ta da! And then he sent us on our merry way to get that plaster our of my very, very long hair.

What’s the first thing we do? We eat at El Toro Taco, the best hole-in-the-wall place that served Toro Burgers, which is basically taco meat in a hot dog bun, served with the secret sauce and cheese. Yum! It was heavenly after that fasting. However, getting all the plaster out of my hair wasn’t. It took 3 washings to remove it. My poor mom, I'm sure she was transported back to the time when I was three and full of sand...

Fast forward to Pep Rallies, school games and “dances” (You know – the times when music was played, but no one would get out there to dance because no one would ask the other to dance. Instead there was lots of talking above the music and head-bobbing all around.) Cheerleaders and players. Yelling for your team and laughing with your friends. Comforting someone who ran to the bathroom in tears because her boyfriend of two weeks broke up with her and now she’s destined to thwart love forever! (Not me by the way. My time came when I was much more mature – like in 10th grade.) These were the moments that made up 8th grade.

Sleepovers and playtimes. Makeup and daydreams. Wanting to grow up, yet still enjoying being a kid. Getting to go to a movie without a parent. Eating cold pizza and guzzling a good portion of the 3-litre of Coke. These were exciting times in the life of a 13 year old. Things were changing, and we were just along for the ride.

But not all change was good. Jenny A., a sweet, likable girl who seemed to have it all – a nice jock-boyfriend, a position on the cheerleading team, the latest in clothes, she took her life one day – shot herself without fully thinking of the ramifications of what it would mean to those left behind. Though I was not bosom buddies with her, I remember crying and being stunned, over the loss, over the sadness, over her hopelessness. I still don’t to this day know why she did it. I do remember thinking that if she had just held on a little longer, things might have been different for her…

Why did life have to be so confusing and unstable? We were just kids!

But thank you God for short-term memories. Life resumed at its normal pace, and the thrill of living returned soon enough. School and its work did not stop. Church activities still blossomed, creating more and more endearing relationships with those in the same group. Life as a middle schooler continued with a determined hope that things would never be bad enough that it couldn’t be handled in the here and now. I’d rather live and cry than to die and to miss out on the things to come – whatever those things happened to be.

Summer came and with it came thoughts of my biggest challenge yet – high school. I wouldn’t be a fish in the pond any more. I would be a little minnow in a sea of faces. 1 in 1,600 because we had a large high school… but I was ready for it. I had energy and hope to spare and the friends to help with all the fun to come.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Prêt-à-Porter, Fiesta Style!

Welcome to my closet! Come in, come in. There’s not much room, but maybe if we rotate a bit, I can get you all in here.

Chocolate strawberries anyone? How about some mozzarella sticks? Oh and just take your pick of wine or Diet Coke (Blech, if I do say so myself). If we run out, I’ll just send Mr. Right out for more. He’s really good like that.

Comfy? Good. Now let me share a bit about myself with you so that you can understand my closet a bit more.

I cannot express to you enough my loathing of shopping for clothes. Well, loathe is too strenuous of a word, but the idea surrounding “loathe” fits.

Have an aversion to
Find it a huge waste of time

Yeah all those fit. There have been 4 times that I’ve actually enjoyed shopping for apparel.

  1. The first time was with my mom back in 1987. One day, she walked up to me and said, “Let’s head to the mall together and hit the sales.” I don’t ever recall her asking to do this before – just us girls, one on one. (Sure we shopped before, but this was a big deal, like one woman to another.) I went and had a great time with my mom. I think I liked it mostly because I was actually with her, talking, laughing and getting her unstuck from dress that thought it was Venom. Oh, and we had Milano’s Pizza, the best pizza bar none. That was memorable too.

  2. Next was the time when I moved to Nebraska to be with Mr. Right. He said that my clothes, my good Southern clothes- thankyouverymuch, wouldn’t be good enough for a single winter day, even if I wore them all at the same time. I told him that I had sweaters and he laughed. In my face. It was a good thing that I loved him! Alas, he was so right. I froze my patoot off until I had a real coat and clothes to go under them. Plus, I felt like Pretty Woman, without all the sex and Polo. (Virgin, remember? And Nebraska! No Polo player worth his weight in salt would go to Nebraska for the game. Sheesh…)

  3. Then there was shopping for my wedding dress. I did it with Mr. Right and my mom. Yes, Mr. Right helped to pick out my wedding dress. Hey, I figured that if I’m going to blow that much money on a dress, I might as well pick one that he liked too. It turned out to be the fourth dress I tried. AND it was on sale. Bonus! (I still tried on other dresses because hello! Wedding dresses! You don’t get to try those on every day…)

  4. Lastly, there was the day I took The Girl out of school to shop at the Junior League store. That was a blast! We both left with some “new” things to add to our closet. More importantly, we left with a memory that still makes us both smile.

Four times out of 36 years of living is quite pitiful. I recognize this fact. But I am the way I am. I don’t like all the fuss and bother of trying on new clothes, and really when I think about the money it can cost, it just sets my heart racing. ($40 for jeans! $100 for a new coat! $150 for shoes! Ack!)

If it were up to me, I’d run around naked as a jaybird. But then again, I’d be in a loony bin. Not nearly as much fun as being crazy on a blog. So I do have some clothes to show you after all. You’re welcome.

Mind you, I’m a working woman. I mean that I work outside of the home as well as taking care of the home. I have to wear “appropriate attire” in the office. So here goes…

In this array of clothes, you’ll find Ann Taylor and Banana Republic Suits, Gap, Express, Wet Seal, Liz Claiborne, Talbot’s, 5th Avenue… and others that I can’t even remember. Can I just share with you how much I really like well-made clothes? Well, I do. I just don't like going to get them...

Sometimes I wear these when the boss is gone. Tee hee!

By the time I’m home, I just want to chuck these clothes and head straight for the jammie pants. So I do.

But when I’m ready for a play date with Mr. Right or time out with a friend, you can find me in some comfy clothes like these:

Now, knowing that I don’t want to go and shop and that I cringe at the thought of spending a ton on clothes, you might ask how I own some things that take time to find.

Here is where Big Mama might want to avert her eyes. I’m pretty sure she won’t answer the phone any more when I call if she knows this about me.

She gone? Good. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Come closer because I can’t let everyone know…

I got all of the above on ebay (and more that I didn't show you - there were 74 pieces all together) for less than $150… including postage. That works out to $2 per piece! Fortunately for me, the sellers did all the hard work of putting it together. Now I don’t have to wonder if A goes with Q or if I have anything that will go with that shirt. It’s all done for me. Remarkably, every single thing fits perfectly - even the jeans - and is in style. Woo hoo! If you realize anything about me now, it’s that I don’t have much of a fashion sense which is alright with me because that just leaves me more time and energy for the fun stuff like reading and eating. You can send Big Mama back in now.

And that concludes the tour of Shalee’s closet. Hope you’ll be able to come back later when I tell you about shopping at another place that will probably have Big Mama breathing hard with disbelief. I know that she’s already trying to figure out how to convince me that the world cannot run without a love for a great pair of flip flops.

Enough of this clothes stuff! Let’s head down to the kitchen and I’ll show the insides of the fridge that has some killer apple pie, brownies and cheesecake. Oh and as always, there’s some kickin’ coffee to go with it. Then we'll talk about how I got my shoes...

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Not-So-Perfect Timing

Having a hormonal daughter aligned with a hormonal mother may just mean that we’re going to have fireworks a time or twenty-two… Poor Mr. Right. He’s going to be there to witness it all. Or maybe not. Maybe he’ll think that having Guy Time with The Boy would be perfect right about now.

Until 2015.

It's not even bad right now, but from all that I hear and all that I remember, it's going to come, no matter how good/sweet/gentle of a person she is. It’s the patience that I’m going to need that gets me to thinking. If you’re gonna pray for my sanity, please pray for that. I’m going to need all the serenity and fortitude that I can get, not to mention healing for my tongue for all the times I'm going to bite it in hopes of an showing love.

What can I do that will help The Girl and me with our tidal waves of emotions? Along with patience, I could use some wisdom from experience too. Think back to your adolescence. What happened that was a comfort to you? What do you wish could have happened to make this transition easier for you? What did you do as a parent that worked wonders with your pubescent children? What would you change if you had that chance again?

Spill it, people! I need help, one blogger to another.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Run Down

One man who's been hit with a head cold for over a week

One girl who is on the cusp of adolescence

One boy who, at times, can talk non-stop like Goob in Meet the Robinsons

One boss gone for most of the week

One house still for sale

One cat who is being missed

One stack of books read

One movie watched - Enchanted (I liked it!)

One day is begging to have someone (me) play hooky to go play with Jeana in London


I really wouldn't want it any other way.

(Well except for that house still for sale and that head cold thing. It's totally leaving Mr. Right exhausted by 8 PM and messing with my ideas of a good time. *ahem*)

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Are you looking for a little pick me up between Sunday and Thankful Thursday? Are you seeking ways that God is active not only in your life, but the life of others? Well, then let me share a bit about Gratituesday with you!

My friend Laura (not the friendship like I am with many of you - this is the real deal! We've been in Chorus together in college, had babies at the same time, played cards and games on fun nights, had girl talks about our men... you know real life friends. And look! She still talks to me! Bonus...)

Where was I? Oh yeah, my friend Laura at Heavenly Homemakers has decided to use every Tuesday as a day to be grateful. She says that she wants to use Tuesday "where I post about something I'm grateful for or something about how God is working in my life. I'm working to expand this and would really like to use it as a way to encourage others all over Bloggyland. Beginning this Tuesday, I'll be using Mr. Linky so that others with blogs can write their own Gratituesday post, then link up at my site...and then we can all read about how God is blessing people!"

Sound like your kind of everyday encouragement? Then head on over to Laura's place and let the gratefulness begin! It's really easy to think of a praise when you stop to recognize how God loves each and every one of us.

My gratefulness is the joy of having employment that I actually enjoy. I can't be a stay at home Mom; our finances are such that I must work if we're going to do fun things... like eat and have electricity. I know. We're wild here. But I am constantly amazed that God has given me a wonderful place to work, with two coworkers that I really like, and for a boss who is kind, fun and understanding, especially when it comes to the kids. Where else could I have lots of time to read books, blog and still feel as if I've accomplished something good in a day, like executing a meeting for 20 people with only a moment's notice? Having a job as such takes the sting out of not being at home. Thank you God for this wonderful way to make a living.

Now what about you? Do you have something for which you can be grateful? If you feel like sharing, write your own post, spread the word about Gratituesday and add your words to the Mr. Linky! It's so much easier to be happy when you remember that you have reasons to be!

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Monday, April 07, 2008


Take a stroll with me, would you? Here, I'll even give you some walking music.

Ahhh yes, 7th grade: the time when everything was different - clothes, school, the body itself. It was here that I first learned to change classes every hour. It was here that I discovered how truly inept I was at Social Studies/History (Sorry Mr. Webber... I really did try! I just couldn't make those dates stick in my head.) It was here that everything held more meaning than it should have. Any action was fraught with emotions from all sorts of causes - a broken pencil, a ton of homework, parents not understanding me, the fact that Jeff W. wouldn't acknowledge that I was alive.

Oh yeah. These times? They were, like, you know, kickin'. (Not to mention full of many tears, moments of frustrations and questions about whether I was good enough. Good enough for what, you ask? Well, for anything.)

And yet...

7th grade was also when I met my best friend Mandy, the first girl that I felt actually understood me and truly liked me anyway. Shy, quiet Mandy teamed up with loudmouth, outgoing me... We were like the Laurel and Hardy of the middle school. She was blonde, pretty and extremely talented with the art pencils. I was brunette, acne-covered and not good at much except making others laugh. However, we were both pretty smart. We had that in common and we were in the same classes all day long. (It was in 7th grade where we began changing classes, but we did it as a whole class. I think the administrators thought that it would help us to slowly work in changes.) Boy did we make a great team in each class! She was my chum, the sister I never had, my secret keeper, my bosom friend.

This was also the year that I became friends with Danny. We had earlier due to the fact that his sister and my brother were in choir together in high school. Both of our parents helped with all choir activities and trips. So we had met, but had never taken the time to befriend each other. Here is where it happened: in the cafeteria and in our own music class - one class where they did join some of the students. There we had our common ground that lead to other eventual common grounds.

It was in this time that I found secure footing at church. As a new Christian, I wanted to be useful. So I became a JOY Bus teacher, singing and telling stories every Sunday morning as we picked up kids for church. I, along with all my church friends (who also became school friends since the middle school had many of the elementary schools merge into one) also became a more involved with the youth group. Attending their teen times, getting to be one of the "elite" (you know - how you thought those older than you getting to do things you couldn't - they were just so cool!), joining in the youth activities, youth rallies and mini-mission trips where we would help others. But the big thing we were able to do was to go to Chickasaw... the memorable, fun-filled week of summer camp that everyone looked forward to attending. Never mind that it was the Middle School version of the High School week. All that mattered is that we arrived.

Although I look back at seventh grade and see the typical questions of abilities or being acceptable to others (and always - I saw myself as not pretty... I think that comes with the territory of being a tween), there was still that spark of something inside of me that knew I was valuable, that I was okay. I was, for the most part, able to be myself without too much worry about what others thought of me. I actually liked me! (I only wished that God had saw fit to at least give me a chest. That might have helped with the self-confidence in 7th grade...)

Surprisingly, in this tumultuously rocking boat on a sea of change, where several of my friends fell, I found secure footing in who I was and what was slowly molding and defining me. I was pretty comfortable with the way was God making me, who he brought around me to shape my mind and emotions and into what he was making me: a likable, funny girl with a heart ready to take on what the world would give.

That, my friends, was worth more than anything I could think of value at the time, even more than Jeff W. noticing me.

(Strangely enough, The Girl is fast approaching these same years. I have hope, as I watch her now, that she will in fact, turn out to be my daughter. This is when I truly hope she takes after me.)

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt

A word of warning: This post is the longest review I've written, but it's full of really good things, so I encourage you to read to the end. I tried to cut it down, knowing that length can be a blog killer, but I couldn't trim much; it's not full of much fat. Perhaps you can grab your coffee now and relax whilst I talk a bit. Oh, and you might want to get a snack too. It may take a while.

Let me start by saying that the reasons I picked up Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt are because I am an admirer of Anne Rice's writing skills, and I wanted to see her take on Christianity, now that she has accepted God, Christ and the gospel fully into her life. I wanted to see how she could be a tool for Him in this world.

Her writing does not disappoint. Although I know the ending of the entire trilogy that she is creating, she has a way of creating new life into this story. (Not that it needs new life - just that she gave it a new perspective.) Her stories are written from the viewpoint of Jesus himself. This book takes us through the 7th year of Christ, when he is just beginning to understand that he is different, that he has a purpose unlike anyone else that he knows, that he is capable of things that are impossible for others. It really was an inspiring, unique look at the One who was born to die for each and every one of us.

Rice, ever the prolific writer, keeps the story moving by inventing created characters while weaving known ones into this history. (I want to call this a historical fiction, but I don't want to confuse or mislead anyone in my whole-hearted belief in Christ - his birth, his death and his resurrection. But for all intensive purposes, this telling is a historical fiction due to the nature of the writing. Can we all say "I understand" and let me move on? Thank you very much.) Many names are familiar - Jesus, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, John, Salome, and James, while others are new - Cleopas, Alphaeus, Rabbi Berekiah, Rabbi Sherebiah, Old Sarah - family members and teachers of Jesus. They feel authentic even if they are figments of Rice's imagination for the purpose of the story.

She took time to study the customs of the Laws and the sacraments of the Feasts. She wove Biblical facts into each of the events, describing the required rituals with accuracy from the book of Leviticus. The priests were adorned correctly according to the scriptures and the offerings were realistic, including the blood and the rites incorporated with the sacrifices, without being gory or over the top. She did a fine job presenting her studies. She did a fantastic job keeping the reader interested despite knowing the end.

Here is where I deviate from the praise to criticize her efforts. In the author's note section, Rice stated, "Every novel I've ever written since 1974 involved historical research. It has been my delight that no matter how many supernatural elements were involved in the story, no matter how imaginative the plot and characters, the background would be toughly historically accurate. Over the years, I've become known for this accuracy."

If only she had followed this desire for accuracy when presenting some important material in her story.

Now I understand that Rice came from a Catholic background and that Catholics hold Mary in high esteem (sometimes in too high of an esteem in my opinion). The Bible describes Mary as "highly favored" (Luke 1:28), having "found favor with God" (Luke 1:30) "blessed" (Luke 1:42, 45 and 48), but nowhere does it describe her as more highly favored than her child (Jesus) or untouchable as a wife, as Rice portrayed her.

In the book, Joseph refuses to "know" her because 1) she is so special she can't be "known" to a man and 2) he would feel an inadequate lover compared to the Holy Spirit. Rice completely ignores the scripture that states "But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus." (Matthew 1:25) He was a proper husband to her, but it wasn't until the birth of Christ. Rice's attitude for Mary was that Mary has "never been with another man, not then, not now, nor will (she) ever be. (She is) consecrated to the Lord." Yet there is no scripture to back up this theory. If anything, there are many to rebut it.

In the novel, Rice got around the issue of Mary having "other children" ("Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? - Matthew 13:55-56), by having Joseph have an older son, James, from a mysterious first wife and also by Mary adopting her brother's children and raising them as her own after her brother's wife perishes from an illness.

But this idea is ridiculous because it would be counter to the scriptures, especially the first part. Were Joseph to have an older son by another woman, then it would make the scripture incorrect. In the scriptures, Jesus is their firstborn. 'On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."' (Luke 2:21-24) The firstborn is counted through the father's lineage only, not the mother's. The entire family would have thought of Joseph as the father, even if he knew he was not. So if Joseph were to have a son through a first wife, that son would have been consecrated to the Lord, not Jesus. In the book, Rice does not have James consecrated to the Lord as the Law ordained.

Another item that Rice added to the story was that family traveled with Joseph and Mary, not only to Bethlehem, but also to Egypt. Nowhere in scriptures does it indicate that they had additional family members with them. Each time they traveled, the scriptures say that Joseph traveled with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him (Luke 1:5) or with the mother and child. "When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. '"Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." ' (Matthew 2:13-15) Or these verses a little further down: (vs 19-21) "After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel." Though it would be tradition to travel in a family group for safety, it was also tradition to ostracize those who were considered shameful. Joseph and Mary both would have been deemed unacceptable since they were perceived as fornicators, punishable by separation from family. Therefore, it makes sense to follow the wording in the scriptures that it was just that immediate family. Besides, can you imaging trying to get 20 additional people to flee in the middle of the night? They wouldn't have left for at least a few days! All those men packing the donkeys...

Also, Rice has Herod killing all the children 2 and under immediately after the birth of Jesus. This part cannot be since it took time for the Gentile Magi from the east to make their way to Bethlehem. Obviously they were not from that area because they stopped to ask Herod which Bethlehem they were to visit. They were following a star, so the directions were a little vague to them. But Rice has the killing spree within days of Jesus being born. Were that true, why would Herod kill the much older children as well as the young?

Still another error in her research: Rice has Jesus, at the age of 7, making the statement, "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:49). Had she read just a few verses earlier, she could have easily remedied this inaccuracy, for in verse 42, it clearly indicates Jesus' age. "When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom." There was no need to make this alteration to the scriptures.

Lastly because really, you all must be bored to tears by now by my little Bible research project, I disagree with Rice's account of Zechariah, High Priest, and John, his son. According to Rice, John was a somber, non-lively child. He kept to himself and acted as an "adult child." This view does not hold to the verse in Luke that says, "And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel." I admit that this part is my opinion, but I cannot see John - one who is strong in spirit - as someone who would not also be happy and joyous with life, praising his Maker openly and readily. As a firstborn, he too would have been consecrated to the Lord and attending the lessons toward priesthood until he went to the desert. Being strong in spirit, I could only imagine him to be full of song and hope in the Lord. But maybe that's just me.

As for Zechariah, Rice had him killed between the Temple and the altar, by the hand of the Roman soldiers, with the other priests doing nothing to rebuke or to prevent it. The Romans wanted Zechariah to tell where his son was since he was of the House of David. She wrote it assuming that his death was the death of Zechariah son of Bekeriah ("You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar." Matthew 23: 33-35) However, if her research was done properly and thoroughly (pronounced "thur-oh-ly" by the way, Shannon), she would have found that Zechariah son of Berekiah refers to the prophet in Zechariah 1:1. I do not say that Zechariah, father of John, could not have been murdered at the hands of the Roman soldiers for the benefit of Herod; it is a fitting scenario. But to equate it to the Zechariah of old, almost exactly as Jesus states, is not appropriate to following the scriptures. As far as we know, it is not the one in the same person.

I know these things sound picky, but they're not. I'm not even saying that I myself have all the right answers. But if one is going to take on the initiative to write about Jesus, even a historic fiction, I would advise that the author follow scriptures rather than theories from other sources. It just makes sense to go to the real Word rather than the words of men.

It may sound as if I'm telling you not to read it. I'm not. As a matter of fact, I'm thrilled that I read it because it made me go back through the Word, time and time again to either find justification for passages in the book or reasons to refute them. And anything that causes me to pick up the Bible and to search the scriptures is a very good thing! So read Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, but have a Bible at the ready for you to study on your own.

Thus ends my longest and most detailed review to date. I hope that I have proficiently proved to you that I'm a study geek in need of friends... God bless you if you read all the way to the end! You deserve some kind of reward or some chocolate at least. I've got some of my kids' Easter candy still if you need it after this long read...

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dear Drivers

Dear Sirs and Madams of any and all vehicles:  

I would like to share my noted observations for several of you who "share" the road with me.
  1. While I may not pay as many taxes as you do, Mr. Hummer or Mrs. BMW, I still do pay them.  Therefore, the road is mine as well as yours.  Please cease and desist from acting as if you are the sole owner of the pavement.
  2. Mr. Explorer, when you bob and weave in traffic every morning, making dangerous lane switches and causing those behind you to slam on the brakes, you do not in fact get any further down the road than I do.  On most mornings, I catch up to you at the lights.  I just thought you should know that.  It might help you to calm down and to realize that we all eventually get there in time.
  3. I'd like to give a Shout Out to every single driver that wouldn't allow me to switch lanes when I sat there with my blinker on behind a stalled vehicle, waiting for someone to slow down and show kindness rather than speed up.  Those were a good three minutes, I'm telling you.  You really were showing some driver love then.  Thanks.
  4. Mrs. Morning Mascara Applier:  Ummm, don't.
  5. Mr. Black-Smoke-Coming-Out-Of-My-Muffler:  Please get your vehicle off the road and into a shop for repairs.  It smells awful, the other drivers sometimes have a hard time seeing, and I know that you're not doing wonders for the environment.  Please, please, please get that fixed.
  6. Mr. Caddy, I think everyone who is capable should be able to drive.  However, if you cannot at least drive within 10 miles of the speed limit, would you please delay your driving time until after the bulk of rush hour is pass?  You sweet thing, I, as well as your fellow commuters,really would appreciate making it to work on time.  Thank you!
  7. Mr. Ride My Tush, since you can't seem to make a correlation of my reaction to your driving, let me just say for the record that when you ride closely to me trying to get me to hurry for your benefit, you bring out the ornery in me.  Every. Single. Time you drive so closely to me, I will match the speed of the car next to me, even the speed of the aforementioned Mr. Caddy.  The reaction on your face is worth this juvenile behavior on my part.  (The funny thing is that I would totally make it so you could get by if you wouldn't follow so closely.  I thought I would just let you know.)
  8. Mr. and Mrs. I-Must-Be-First, when there is a road that has two lanes and it merges into one, it is common courtesy to allow the drivers in the merging lane to be added to your lane.  It is not illegal for the other drivers to be in that lane and those drivers are not out to get you.  They just want to merge as the road indicates.  Please stop speeding up and not allowing drivers to merge.  It's nothing personal to you.  I promise.
  9. To every single talking-on-the-cell-phone-while-driving driver, if you cannot do both safely, please either refrain from chatting or pull over to finish your discussion.  I'm tired of having to practice my defensive driving skills around you all... and there are many!  Oh and when you do use your cell, please understand that your hands are for driving, not for talking.  Your caller can't see your gestures, in case you didn't know.  You're welcome.
  10. BLINKER!  Hello?  Anyone?  Beuller?  Beuller?  Beuller?
  11. Oh and on that note, just because you turn on your blinker, you do not have the right to move over immediately.  You must look first, and if it is open, then you can switch lanes.  By "open", I do not mean one car space; I mean ample room.  The two blinks of your yellow tail light does not give me enough time to slow down nor does it give you the right to cause an accident.  I'd like to remind you that you have a thing called a brake on your car.  There will be times when you will need to use it.  This would be one of them.  Thank you.
  12. Mrs. I-don't-have-a-car-seat-for-my-child, please get one.  You create more worry by trying to deal with your jumping toddler in the backseat.  And I'm not only talking about the times that you swerve into my lane.  I'm talking about safety here, for us and for your child.
  13. To all cigarette smokers:  Your window is not a trash can.  Please refrain from flicking your cigarette butts out the window, especially when they're still hot.  Please use your ashtray and empty it later.  If your car doesn't have an ashtray, please add one to your vehicle.  Thank you.
  14. To Mrs. Sing Along: We're driving sisters, do you know that?  I was right there with you with the "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" production we did in our cars.  I was right there with you.  See you on the stage tomorrow, same time, same station.
  15. To Miss-Change-Her-Clothes-At-The-Stoplight who sat in the car behind me:  Dude!  You have brought back some great high school memories for me!  So that's what I looked like as I shimmied into my jeans...  Thanks for waiting for the red light.  I totally was hoping that it would be enough time for you, and it was.  You were getting your last sneaker on as it was time to move our cars.  Sweet!  May you be blessed with many more ample moments should you find yourself needing to pull a Superman...
What would you tell other drivers if given a chance?  I know I missed some stuff that probably needs to be said...

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008


You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

Too bad I married a colon… (Kidding, Mr. Right. Just kidding!)

So what do you think?  Right?  Wrong?  I need to hear from you.  I'm feeling down right lonely of late...  Tell me what you think and if you take it, tell me what YOU are and we'll see how accurate/inaccurate it is for you.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Thanking Those Who Deserve It Most

Somehow my post for today pales when compared to an email that I received last night. So I'm replacing whatever mundane thing I had to say with these wonderful words that were written from a loving parent.

Whether or not you support the war in Iraq, it does not diminish the fact that men and women put their lives on the line for their fellow human race. They do it not for glory or for accolades, but because it is their beliefs that their country is worth the dangers of fighting and that every human deserves to be protected.

First, please go to this post and this post, reacquaint yourself with SSG Heathe Craig, a man who perished for the sake of serving you. Then you will understand the reason I received the following from his father, Jeffery Craig.

Dear Shalee,

I would like to thank you for your July 2006 remembrance of PFC Brian Bradbury, and, SSG Heathe Craig. It has taken me some time, (as you can see) to tell you thanks. I am the proud father of Heathe Craig. I am also the proud father-in-law to Judy. She is a wonderful person, and always a part of our family. The two of them created two very beautiful children, and we love them all dearly. But we do miss them. The distance between is hard, but, we try to stay in contact as good as we can. Judy, the children, and, Judy's mom and dad were here to visit last summer for 2 weeks, and , we had a great time with all of them. My wife Sheila and I are planning a trip to Germany later this year to see all of them again. We would certainly love to see all of them more often, but vacation time and $ make it a little more difficult.

I know Judy has told you much about Heathe, and, I also remember those times of him as an adult, but, I also remember the little boy. Laying on the bed with him as an infant, just watching in amazement at the little being before me. I also remember the scraped knees, bloody noses, sickness, laughter, and just watching him grow so fast.

Heathe was always a very compassionate kid, always willing to help, and, feeling right along with anyone in pain. He always had a very big heart. It didn't surprise me to hear that he wanted to be a medic. To help other people. I never saw him turn away from a chance to help. It was his nature. To him it seemed like his destiny.

We as parents spend our children's young lives trying to teach them everything that's right. The rest is up to them. Heathe mastered the right way to do things. I feel I could use a few pages out of his book. I always thought as Heathe's father, someday I would be his hero. Quite contrary. Heathe is my hero and always will be. He will live on in my heart forever. I will be with him again someday.

My wife told me once that she felt that I was making myself a victim. I suppose at the time she was right. No longer am I a victim, but, just a father dearly missing his son. They say it gets better with time but they never said how much time.

My prayers are with all of our military people all over the world. Without them I would probably not be writing this now. We have them to thank for our liberties.
                                                                                                                                                                       Thank you once again, and, sincerely,

Jeffrey Craig

Dear Jeff,

I'm so sorry that you and your wife have been put into the position of missing your son. But I thank you for raising Heathe to be brave, caring and concerned for the welfare of others. Your words are full of love for not only Heathe, but for your daughter-in-law, Judy. You're right. It is because of heroes like Heathe that we have the security and freedom today. Thank you for sharing so eloquently and beautiful the value of each soldier. They are all somebody's child, full of life and part of someone's memory. 

May God grant you continued peace and healing,


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