Thursday, January 31, 2008
Now, I'm no mechanic, but I'm pretty sure I would've noticed a strip of duct tape holding three wires to the side of an engine part, don't you? Instead, I just stared into the twisted intestines of the white dinosaur and joked with the seller, "Looks fine to me!" I'm such a blonde sometimes for being brunette.
The AC doesn't work, either, which is probably why the guy slung back the sunroof as we test drove it, and pointed out how fast the car is capable of going on the back roads of Delaware. Guess he thought romance would overpower our need to know if the AC worked. He thought right.
The upside? The car is big and absorbed a lot of the blunt force of SArah's hitting a dirt wall a few months back. It's got giddy-up but hasn't gotten her a ticket (yet). She pays at the pump for that giddy-up, and would prefer fewer horses that drink less.
We affectionately call it the Lemonexus.
Soon we'll trade our perpetual lemonade for something less...sour. Got anything to sell?
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I'm not gonna make you take a dumb quiz, but I'm giving away the following books:
All Creatures Great and Small (James Herriot) oldie but goodie
George Muller (Basil Miller)
For the Children's Sake (Susan Schaeffer Macaulay) brand new....I have another copy
Quilts & Totes for Little Folks (thin, oversized pb) by Creative Keepsakes Designs
Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty (hb) oldie but goodie; not something Joel appreciates
Dave Dravecky (pb autobiography of the Giants' one-armed pitcher.. 4th/5th grade level)
I'll be happy to mail these by media mail if you pay shipping . I take Paypal, must be paid by Friday, and you must be a blogger I recognize. Local folks pick up by Friday.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
a) making the home look better to
b) serving the family to
c) practicing hospitality to
d) listening intently to God's voice to
e) doing a hobby for personal refreshment to
f) trying a new recipes
Challenges? Goals? I dunno, but I like to add variety.
Here are the goodies for the week that I'm shooting to accomplish.
a) Homefront: deal w/ the clutter in my bedroom
b) Vehicle: get the van fixed (power steering's acting up)
c) Make a soup for HZ and return her soup kettle
d) Read Acts 3-7
e) Sew my k. curtains
f) Do something new with fruit
Wanna come along?
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I'm posting this mainly for Jessica but if you're thinking of being creative to surprise someone you love, try one of these. I made and sold a few of these last year while trying to raise funds for Russia. (A couple ladies from church were getting them from hubbies, so I couldn't post them back then.) Sorry about the blurry first picture. Just pretend it's sort of foggy, wispy, airy, romantic, ethereal on purpose.
Instead of chocolates, you could use assorted candies, little cheap toys, play jewelry, or even rolled dollars bills and shiny coins to decorate it.
For the Valentine wreath pictured here, I'll give you the supplies list and my directions. All of these can be bought at an arts & crafts store like Michael's.
1 (14") flat styrofoam wreath base
1 pc cardboard or tagboard, cut to same size as wreath (it's got to be sturdy to support "toppings")
1 roll valentine wrapping paper
1 large heart-shaped box chocolates
1 small heart-shaped box chocolates
1 square box chocolates (for height)
1 bag Hershey's Kisses *
1 bag Dove chocolates *
1 wooden LOVE sign ($1)
1 roll each pink & purple curling ribbon
1 roll pretty pink satin ribbon slightly wider than side of wreath
hot glue gun and glue sticks
1 roll wide beautiful gauzy (not gaudy!) ribbon to tie on top
1. Prepare hot glue gun have extra sticks available. Open all supplies before starting; you'll have to work quickly at times for the sake of the glue.
2. Unroll paper so it's about 2" wider than wreath. Fold it in half and cut along fold so that you have two equal pieces, one for the top of finished wreath, one for the bottom, plus enough to overlap the edged of wreath.
3. Lay wreath on "wrong" (i.e. undecorated) side of wrapping paper to make your template. Trace around bottom edge of wreath with pencil. Remove wreath. "Eyeball trace" another circle approx 1/2" beyond original one. (The extra inch will hang over sides and get glued down and covered up by ribbon.)
4. Glue cardboard securely to one side of wreath (this is the top side).
5. Glue wrapping paper to each side of wreath. Working quickly, glue excess paper down as smoothly as you you around the sides. Don't worry if it's not perfect. Seam won't show.
6. Glue large box down in center.
7. Glue small box on top of large one, where the points of the heart meet. This gives you room for the square box to also sit on the large heart.
8. Glue square box on.
9. Glue love sign on.
10. Glue satin ribbon around sides of wreath.
11. Glue assorted chocolates on (or whatever elements you've chosen.
12. Cut lots of curling ribbon in approx 6" strands, curling and gluing them around top edge of wreath as desired. Whatever suits your fancy. (If you want, like I did, you may add "roses"; cut gauzy ribbon into 4" strips and wrap them around two fingers to form roses. Glue roses onto perimeter of wreath here and there.)
13. Tie an extravagantly long piece of gorgeous ribbon to the top box.
14. Add a name tag or your own special card, and you're done! Love is in the air!
Would you lookie there. A Valentine Wreath in "14" easy steps. I wasn't trying for 14, it just happened. :)-
*I used these kinds because they went well with the paper I'd chosen.
+If you are looking for less expensive options: choose a smaller wreath, use foil instead of wrapping paper, omit the satin ribbon, make your own LOVE sign. The idea is to make it something your recipient will LOVE. I'm so inspired now, I just might make these again this year, just for my family.
(If you'd like me to make one for you, a donation of $40 will go towards Sarah's mission trip to Mexico, but no pressure. I would just need to know by Feb 5th. I could do just about any theme--trucks, farm animals, princesses, travel, cold hard cash, etc.)
Friday, January 25, 2008
2. I am 911 Queen. It's downright embarrassing the number of times I've called 911 while on the road. I'm a real tattler of speeders and love to say, "Yes, he's zooming past exit 74 on I-95, southbound, late-model red Chevy..... No, of course I didn't get the tag number. He was speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeddddinnnnggg!" I've called 911 for downed wires, traffic lights out, apparent road rage, suspicious behavior, smoke in the air, small children out of their carseats, and every single accident I see.
3. Sometimes when I have conversations in my head, I'll speak out loud. Randomly. We'll be driving along the open road, and I'll be lost in my thoughts, oblivious to passengers, seeing nothing that would jar me into 911 mode.... For example, I might be on the beltway heading to a friend's, thinking about joining a quilting guild one of these days, and in my head I'm conversing with the women about quilt patterns and colorways.
"How about a rail fence in blues, greens, and tans?" I say.
"What are you talking about?...... Who are you talking TO?........ Who said anything about fences?" my passengers have asked, looking perplexed.
I think Sarah and Stephen were actually getting spooked by it, so I have tried to curb it. It's kinda freaky to me, too. (Makes me wonder if it's an early indicator of Alzheimer's.)
4. Some days I just want to move. As in, leave the state, the country. Just for the fun of exploring God's great earth. It's highly motivating to me, so I start rapidly dejunking as if I'm going to be moving. I get it from my mom. We moved 11 times by the time I was 13. I remember just a few of our moves. The only really painful one was from Kansas to Maryland at the end of 4th grade.
5. I would love to try living in every possible arrangement. So far I've lived in: a city apartment alone, a city apartment with friends, an apartment house for internationals (my parents owned it and called it International Friendship House), a farmhouse, a split level in the country, a college dorm with roommates, a dorm room alone, a small town parsonage, government housing, a seminary campus apartment, a rancher in the burbs, a duplex, and single family homes. At times the eccentric author in me wants to take on a new ID and write memoirs of my experiences in disguise. Where would I live? on an island; on a houseboat; in the bush; in a homeless shelter; in a palace; in host families' homes all over the world. 'The only place I would avoid experiencing is prison. My fertile imagination ....
6. I like to eat okra right off the stalk, with salt, in the garden. Haven't done that since 1977.
7. My father-in-law, God rest his soul, was right when he told me I was born with a horseshoe up my butt. Whether it's by strategy, knowledge, or luck (99% luck), I seem to win almost every contest I enter. At baby and bridal showers, find myself taking home candles, note cards, bubble bath, you name it. I've also won countless raffles. Paul has benefited from my horseshoe; when we were dirt poor with two preschoolers and a babe on the way, he ran a 10K race and hung around for prizes afterward. We won an all-expenses paid trip to Tampa, Florida. How does this happen? It's weird. One time I went to a shower and said to myself, "Don't play any games or answer any questions. Just keep quiet in the back. " When I got there, I hung out in the back, unusually quiet. All I had done was write a recipe for the bride to be on an index card, and dropped it in the basket. Just like everyone else. Well, wouldn't you know, after passing up all the games, zipping my lip when I wanted to blurt out my guess to a question, the emcee says, "and one more thing...we're going to draw a recipe card out of this basket, and whoever's name is on it wins this last prize." I hung my head as she read, "and the winner is....." Too bad they don't give away Jags at these things.
I tag you if you have ever won a contest of any kind or if you like okra in any form.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
She has recently found someone she'd love to have mentor her. I told her of my longing for the same. Somehow, being 42, I feel I shouldn't need a mentor, but something tells me that's the devil talking. Pride will keep you distanced from people. There have been godly, older women in my life, but I feel I am always the one initiating, and it's usually when I have a serious problem. And by serious, I don't mean a broken oven or I'm out of gas on the beltway. (For those I'd call my hubby, anyway.) When you're always initiating, you can begin to feel like a nag or a burden.
I have close friends who are intuitive, insightful, and interested. But the "i" word "initiative" is severely lacking. Why is that? Am I unapproachable? Do I come across as more "together" than I am, or "too far gone"? Do people assume that my age and my "avid Christianity" (as my aunt puts it) make me an unlikely candidate for a mentor?
Just opening this up for dialogue. Do you have a mentor? If so, how did it happen, and how often do you talk with her? If not, why not? I don't want to hear "busy lives" because I think that is a socially acceptable excuse. Call me harsh on that one, but I have felt very shoved aside by the "busyness" of other women. I was busy with three young kids under the age of five once upon a time, but ladies in our church were always in and out of each other's homes. Two of them took me under their wings. One is still my good friend, the other is a New Ager, but her counsel was good at the time! (She had a husband who talked to her worse than you'd talk to dogs, but she always spoke well of him.)
I am in a different season now, but in some ways it's more difficult. Three of our four kids are nearly grown and I don't know what I'm doing. Where are the women who have transitioned from Mommy to Mom to Friend Called Mom? Where are the grandmothers who have been there/done that, and will initiate a relationship with younger women?
Or is it the responsibility of the younger woman? Initiative is one of the characteristics I highly value, so when I see a problem or an opportunity, I like to initiate. Are there other people, women my senior, who are just chompin' at the dentures--I mean bit-- (how I loathe cliches!) to share their wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, from everything from pickling cucumbers to parenting older teens, to preparing a will?
What say ye?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Today was a very weird day, it went from the usual into the miraculous. As anybody who knows our family, knows we have a REALLY SCREWED up medical condition. We'll here it goes for today. I received a call from the school nurse and she was telling me that Jonathan came in complaining of chest pain, trouble breathing, numbness and sick to the stomach with cold chills. So, I did what any guy who does not have a whole lot of medical training does, I handed the phone to Linda. The nurse stated that Jons heart rate was extremely high and would not go down even after resting. So we waited a little longer to see if it would adjust with resting ( a few minutes), it did not. So the nurse called the paramedics who ran a EKG that looked like a toddler with a pencil in his hand drew it. They put IV's in and wired him up and sent him out to the hospital. The hospital was only a few minutes from the school, but we still beat them there (Linda was driving :-O). They let us come in to the room only to try and sort out out CRAZY CONNECTIVE TISSUE disorder (named Zubrowski syndrome), which has problems concerning the heart. At that point his heart rate was 180 then it climbed to 200. They were working quick asking questions and getting him ready for a procedure that was a little scary. First they mainlined a needle full of heart regulatory meds and watched, NOTHING. Then they loaded another syringe of meds and injected it in, NOTHING. The EKG's looking worse now. Then they said they would have to put him out and shock him with the electric pads to try and stabilize his out of control heart. NOW Linda and I are getting a little SCARED. The crash cart comes out, breathing bag, breathing tube, and about 10 people in the room, they are talking a little louder and getting the electric pads charged and ready. They stick protective pads on his chest and some one blurts out "KING OF KINGS". They are discussing the new tattoo Jo n has on his arm and someone asked if it was gang related. And we answered "it is the ultimate gang" Jons then says he put it there for that reason, "so people will ask, what does it stand for or about ?" We are waiting for the anesthesiologist and then the talk turns to church and worship music. The one paramedic is a Christian who goes to a local congregation and is on a worship team. In flies the doctor to put him under and Linda and I are praying silently. We jokingly say good night and watch his eyes roll back into his head. At that moment the monitors click back to a perfectly beating heart beat and the doctors says shouts stop the meds and the anethesiologist grabs his face and starts talking to him and waking him up. I am thinking this is a miracle to happen so quick. Jon starts to get disoriented and jumping a little waking up, and then the doctor turns around and says to Linda you were praying weren't you? And she said yes, the doctors exact statement was "I could feel it in this room". It baffled them too, the anesthesiologist says it can happen but they never seen it before. I am getting copies of the EKG to have, I will post them when I get them. The cardiologist asked what the name of our church was, three times. Jon was released only a few hours after all the tests and blood work came back in and was put back on bata blockers for now. I truly thank God for his intervention when we really feel helpless and scared. Our assoc, Pastor Jeff Hudson and Worship leader Chris Gorsuch (great friends) were there within the hour for Jon and us. A tattoo, A prayer, and a miracle. When you are really afraid of not knowing what is next in your life, and Gods just shows up when you pray, it confirms He is really here. I know some skeptics will say it was this or that that snapped Jon out of it, but I truly believe and know it was God and prayers. Jon will be going for some more tests and follow ups so keep him in prayer and please spread this around, it may cause someone to have hope in a really bad situation. We are not great or super spiritual people by any means, but we do have faith and hope in OUR GOD.
Monday, January 21, 2008
For example, I am thinking that this party is going to be held in the parking lot of Walmart in Abingdon, and no one is allowed to wear make-up. If you know which blogger would be unhappy about these two things, leave a comment and then --on your blog, write two more things that would make a different blogger friend unhappy at her birthday party.
The idea here is to have a little fun! Let's see how many different bloggers we can "invite" to this party by way of knowing them through their blog!
Removed books one by one from bedroom bookcase.
Dusted each one off.
Found clippings from decorating magazines beneath one of the stacks.
Decided to part with a stash of new greeting cards I hadn't used despite promises to myself.
I found a journal from a previous century. Literally, my journal from 1999. I reread of my excitement as I looked forward to Y2K!
Converted the bookcase to a keeper of fabrics. It will get moved to the basement where I am redoing the office into a space more for scrapbooking than anything.
In so doing, I'm finding more goodies. Cassette tapes from worship conferences. Kiddie cassettes. We are never going to listen to them again, so out they went. I'm having a grand time imagining how our bedroom and the new hobby room will look. It feels good to dig and examine, to briefly enjoy mementos from bygone days, then chuck 'em in the trash or relocate them where I can appreciate them better.
This entire upcoming week you might not see me. If you do, I'll be covered in dust!
Tuesday: clear the desk and floor
Wednesday: give away all clothes that aren't a "9 or 10" in how they look and feel on me
Thursday: spend 1 hour organizing photos
Friday: scrapbook 4 pages: Thanksgiving and Joel's day on the snow
Saturday: figure out organizational solutions for hobby room; go shopping!
Sunday: rest and enjoy fruit of labors
Saturday, January 19, 2008
1. I wish I had a new kitchen with beautiful cherry cabinets, granite countertops, more drawers, and an island.
I am very grateful for the kitchen I have. Enough cabinets to house what I have (almost) but not so many that I can further indulge my love of dishes, gadgets, and small appliances.
2. I wish I had a laundry room on the same level as the bedrooms and bathroom, as opposed to having it in two flights down in the basement.
The truth is, if doing laundry were easy, we'd probably accumulate more clothes. We have too many as it is. Besides, I need the exercise, and Paul doesn't have the worry of a 3rd floor laundry room flooding the lower levels.
3. I wish I had some whiteware dishes. Food just looks superb against white. But, I am thankful for the dishes I have--three sets, including china--and the free hutch and buffet given me by my dear friend Bonnie.
4. I wish we could figure out how to make our family room suit everyone. I'm not comfortable in it because of the mismatched styles and the broken door on the TV armoire and the lack of art. However, I am very thankful for all the good times we've had as a family in that room and that we hang out together regularly.
5. I wish we had twice as many children, including adopted ones. But I am grateful for every baby I carried, even the ones who weren't born, for their brief lives took me into a closer relationship with God. I also love, love, love the four children we have-- and have not given up on the notion that God may still want to add to our quiver through adoption.
I am extremely blessed and am glad I don't dwell on what I don't have.
Spriritual Wish List
1. I wish I had a quiet and gentle spirit. But I'm thankful for the hope to change.
2. I wish it was easy to submit to my husband. But I'm glad that he's patient with me.
3. I wish all 4 of our kids were believers. Grateful that it seems that the Holy Spirit is really acting on my youngest one's heart for salvation.
4. I wish I loved my neighbor as myself. I'm thankful for First Corinthians 13 that tells me what that looks like, and for Jesus who modeled it in his humanity.
5. I wish I was faithful in all the little things. I'm grateful for every victory that God has given me in little things, and that He keeps giving me new opportunities to improve in faithfulness.
I tag Leanne, Betty, and Tori. Feel no pressure, though. Not everyone likes tags.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Here is a list, in no particular order.
1. Make do. We never had money to spare, but Mama has always been creative with resources. She doesn't buy poor quality on the cheap; she buys the best she can afford, but isn't at all a shopaholic. Her stuff lasts a long time.
2. Preserve your lettuce. Unwrap it, then drop it hard onto the counter. If the core doesn't separate from it, bang it against the counter. The idea is to get that sucker apart from the leaves, keeping the head intact. (Maybe this is another way of saying, "Keep your head about you"?)
3. When you write, be yourself. Don't try to sound like someone else. I clearly remember entering an essay contest for the Daughters of the American Revolution in fifth grade. I was writing on the Battle of Trenton. Researched it well (back in the day of the printed encyclopedia) but I tried to make my essay sound like the article in World Book. My mom said, "You're trying too hard." She encouraged me to put what I knew into my own words. She also taught me how to consolidate many small words into one bigger one and use it naturally. (She is still trying to get me to reduce the total number of words I use, as is my husband, my kids, my best friend...).
I won the essay contest and got my picture in the local paper. It was the the start of a lovelife with writing.
4. Use good manners. "Please" and "thank you" go a long way with everyone. Don't interrupt. If you must, place a hand on the speaker's arm and wait to be acknowledged.
5. Minister to the poor and needy. That was it. I didn't hear the corollaries such as "and you'll feel good about it" or "it will come back to you" or "because you never know when you'll need the same kind of help." She didn't quote scripture about "casting your bread upon the waters and in many days it will come back to you." It was never about rewards. It was about loving your neighbor. Mama and Daddy lived (and still do live) generously. Mama taught two somewhat mentally retarded teenaged sisters from our church how to clean a house. It was our house, and she paid them. Those girls couldn't have gotten a better arrangement: learn a skill and get paid for it by someone who loves you.
6. Read your Bible first thing every day. My sweetest memory is of shuffling out toward the kitchen for a bowl of cereal on school days. Mama was in the adjacent living room, rocking in the harvest gold rocker, her Bible open in her lap. (I should've put this at the top, not four doors down from "preserve your lettuce." But then again, I've never been as organized as she.)
7. Set a table properly and nicely. She first taught us when we were about three years old. She used a wood puzzle with four simple pieces: fork, plate, knife, spoon. She always tried to teach us the "why" behind the "how" so that in case we forgot "how" we could figure it out with the "why."
8. Say "yes" to your children as often as possible. I would have to say this built in me more confidence in God than anything else growing up. My parents gave us the confidence to ask them things (for advice,for help, for money) by usually saying "yes" or at least "we'll see." Their first response was not "no" so we didn't feel pessimistic. Lest you think we were spoiled brats, quite the opposite is true. (Only my baby sister born 14 years after me can say that!)
For example, "Mama, may I please go with the youth group to Pizza Hut after chuch Sunday night?" "Yes, if your room is clean by Friday night and stays that way." Or, "Mama, may I go on the ski trip with Campus Life in December?" "Most likely yes. We'll have to talk about it and you'll probably have to pay at least half."
9. Use clinical terms when talking about the anatomy. Okay, so I don't use these with my little kids. I should. I just hate the "v" word and the "p" word. I can handle words like
patella, quadriceps, and larynx.
10. Don't marry a show-off. I didn't. (My husband did.)
Thanks, Mama. That's only a list of ten, and I have so much more to share! But I shall revisit the words in red on #3 in hopes of making my point.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
food and feathers. He used his new freebie kid binoculars to check out an abandoned nest way, way up in a tree aoross the street, and said, "That is COOL!"
Today I decided to subscribe to a magazine that my friend, Sharon M, loves. It's called "Birds & Blooms." It combines two of my favorite things in one magazine, and I think will inspire me way more than "Better Homes & Gardens." (Every time I read that title, I think, "Better than whose?" and it rubs me a little the wrong way. Someone's house is always gonna be better than mine, and so is their garden. Or vice versa, so the dual sins of jealousy and pride lurk at my door and garden gate. Ergh!)
Anyway, back to the birds. I'm excited to get out this afternoon with Sarah and Joel to the pet store. We got an unexpected gift check yesterday, addressed to me, yay!, so I've decided to put it toward birding and a bird garden.
On my list:
-birdwatching mag subscription (did that)
-birdfeeder (replace old one)
I told Joel he could pick a favorite bird and so would I, then we'll design our next little garden to attract those birds. I chose the hummingbird. He chose a raven. Um...not sure they'll co-exist well, honey. Maybe we need to rethink our choices or do some research first.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Teaching gives me deep satisfaction. It's kind of that "ahhh, I'm home" feeling or the sense of "Wow! This is what I was born to do!"
However, the way I happened into the job of art instructor still makes me scratch my head. When I first learned I'd be the point person for K-2nd art in our homeschool co-op, I thought it was a mistake on the administrator's part. High school English any day, but not first grade art. Are you kidding?
I didn't remember giving anyone the idea that I 'm qualified, that I can communicate my passion for it into the minds and hands of little ones. Certainly I love art, but I'm not good at it. In many ways, I'm just learning. The last real art lesson I took was in third grade public school. After that, the Christian school I attended couldn't afford an art teacher, and in college I thought it was a waste of money since I wasn't good at it and would never do it professionally, let alone teach it (or so I thought).
The books I check out for possible use in a co-op art class are ones I need for myself, not just to show "samples" to the kids! I always have to do a practice run (or several) and often Joel's product looks better. He says mine look better, so we have this mutual admiration society, but sometimes he even wriggles his nose at my work.
For example, yesterday I was trying to teach him how to draw a goat. I tried and tried to make MINE look like a goat. It looked like a sick donkey with a goatee. And I can't draw a donkey to save my a@@.
Anyway, here are snapshots (unedited) from my classes in November. Can you see why I miss them?
The drawing (at the bottom) of kitchen utenils is a still life with overlapping. I was practicing with Joel. He amazed me with his sketch, but it took a second to see he followed instructions. I said, "Joel, draw only what you see, not what you think you see." He was sitting to my left and we had the cup of utensils in front, between us. My perspective was almost straight on. When I compared the results, he didn't overlap the same way I had, so I questioned him. "Did you draw just what you saw or what you think you saw?" He answered, "What I saw." Me of little faith, I actually switched places with him, and lo and behold, the utensils appear to overlap differently from HIS perspective! I had to apologize. Lesson learned. (I had to hold the papers down with measuring tape and knife to take the picture because Joel had already curled his in half.)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Have you seen the nail clippers?
She asked me before looking.
"Did you check the junk drawer in the kitchen?
I used them there while cooking.
"They aren't there,
so where else could they be?"
"The last place someone had them,"
I say obnoxiously.
Maybe on the school shelf
Between the scissors and tape,
Or in the refrigerator
Beside a rotten grape.
How about in the garage
Under the box of weed killer?
Or ask your Dad if he used them
To fix the roto-tiller?
I bet they're in my brown purse
Or in the console of the van.
I clipped my nails at a red light
And got a mean look from Policeman.
The nail clippers might be up
Near your brother's drums
Those cymbals, snares, and sticks, you know,
Can break the nails off thumbs.
If you're still baffled--
As confused as can be--
Try looking on the piano
Just left of middle C.
"Not there," you say? How odd!
(Since "c" stands for clippers.)
Maybe they're with my sewing stuff
Along with ten-inch zippers.
"I give up! I'm stumped!
They're nowhere to be seen!
Guess I'll try the last resort--
In 'cosmetics' at Walgreen's!"
Monday, January 14, 2008
Well, I just read her blog (where she posts her lovely embroidery) and she announced the death of a mutual blogger friend, Renee.
Renee'. I didn't even know her except through her very sweet and uplifting comments on my blog. She taught me little things, and I especially appeciated her lesson about myrrh. She embroidered with a passion for Christ. Her works were portrayals of the life of Christ, and when she blogged, biligually, Renee always imparted the gospel. This woman raised many children, not all her biological ones and has a real heart for the poor and needy. I was curious that she found my piddly little life so fascinating, the way we do things here that are different for her in France.
She hand't commented for quite a while, nor had I visited her blog recently, so I was shocked to hear the news on Isabelle's blog. (KittyCouture). She had been in the hospital since before Christmas with lung trouble, according to the last post her daughter wrote for her. She would be undergoing a risky surgery on Jan 17th.
Oh, I am crying over this loss. This is the first time I've ever lost a blogging friend. Though I didn't know her personally, she left an impression on my heart. All I can say is, I am sorry that her family has lost such a dear mum. She is rejoicing in God's arms now.
Tues: I will mail all my Christmas thank yous, no matter what
WEds: I will try a new recipe (asparagus fixed differently; got advice?).
Thurs:i will buy a garden journal to sketch my dreams, write plans
Friday:I will ask a friend over for lunch (don't know who yet) Last week it was Kelly, impromptu, and I was so refreshed afterward!
Friday: I'll do something special for Paul (don't know what yet)
Saturday I will donate a bunch of stuff to Goodwill.
Sunday I hope to go to church .
Will you be joining me for any of these?
Doing today's samll thing can earn us points for vacuuming. We are allowed to delegate, and I'm a pro at that. Besides, dcotor's orders...
One thing I CAN do w/o help is post my menu for the week.
Monday: Mitzy's bringing dinner!!!
Tuesday: Chicken Caribbean Salad
Weds: Smoked Salmon (Ches Qual Traders), rice pilaf, fresh asparagus
Thurs: Pork Chops Creole in the Crock Pot
Saturday: Chicken Alfredo, spinach/strawberry salad, green beans
Sunday: Lil Caesar's Hot 'n Ready pizza (5 bucks apiece, pepperoni or cheese. This has become our favorite thing on Sunday, swinging by there after church .
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I mean, if I were to limp in on a pair of crutches or shuffle behind a walker, people would say, "How'd that happen?" If I had my neck in a brace or my arm in a cast, most people would steer clear. But what is Joe Churchgoer gonna say if I brought a 4-inch foam toilet-ring shaped pillow to the service?
First of all, he'd probably be three years old. Second, being three means being curious and perhaps not quite in big boy undies or accustomed to big boy politeness. Third, his curiousity would find its way to his voicebox in the middle of a pastoral prayer just as he spotted my tushy-cushy.
"Mommy, is that lady potty training, too?"
Yesterday I was awakened from a nap and experienced one of the side effects of the pain medication. This side effect isn't mentioned anywhere in the literature, online, or in ads. My surgeon didn't tell me about it either, probably because it's so rare. What is the side effect? Rhyming thoughts.
I kid you not, I woke up with this question on the brain: Have you seen the nail clippers? And lo and behold, I started thinking of all the places they could be and before I knew it, I had written about 12 stanzas answering the question with poetry. Really, really dumb rhymes that made me laugh all over myself. I've chosen to laugh more about disorganization and not let it make me feel like a monumental failure. They're just nail clippers, not my living will.
If you want me to post it, let me know.
If you have better ways to spend two minutes, as does my husband who cut me off in the middle of the second verse, I'll understand. No, it doesn't start out, "How do I lose thee let me count the ways?"
Friday, January 11, 2008
Maybe I think I might inspire someone.
Maybe I want a compliment or someone to just notice.
Maybe I believe I need a place to mention the seemingly insignificant things of my life such as:
-cleaning out and organizing the space under the bathroom sink
-using cloth napkins for a change, when we're just having meatloaf
- matching up a dozen pairs of socks that needed a sock version of e-Harmony
-showing a throw pillow I made or
-taking a mayo jar full of rolled coins to the bank
Petty stuff that gives me (and sometimes my family) an emotional lift. Something that makes home homier. Makes a burden lighter or a plain space pretty. Sometimes I wonder if I make too big deal about small things. But then, there aren't a whole lot of big things in my life on a daily basis. I love to see the little things that other people do, but not sure if it's mutual. My husband and boys think it's just so girly to mention some of the things I do, like how a nice table settig floats my boat, or finishing a scrapbook page makes me want to announce it to complete strangers.
Well, I found a site that seems to care about the little things we homemakers find noteworthy, if only to ourselves. Not surprisingly, I found it on Beth's blog. The blog is called Home Sanctuary. I think I'll like being a Company Girl. Not only is it a place where you can check off things you've done (that won't grab Donald Trump or Donald Duck's attention) you can actually get points and maybe win prizes! I'm all over prizes like syrup on pancakes.
Paul is on his way to the airport now. I would have gone but am still not comfortable sitting straight up for any length of time. Plus, I know how Paul drives. Nuff said.
Joel said last night, "I miss Sarah. I miss her a lot. When she gets home, I'm gonna love her like I never have before." He went on to try to express how much he loves her. He always goes for dimensions. "I love her all the way from that door to this one. No, that door way way over there." Or "I love her as big as heaven."
Yeh. Me, too.
Annette wants to make him an officer in the company-- with profit sharing. She asked how much he makes, he gave her a rough idea, and she said, "You're underpaid." (Always good to hear when there's money to be had on the table.)
This position is so attractive to him, mostly because he will finally have an outlet for his creativity in how to grow a company. The man has such business savvy that's being wasted. He says his current employer isn't thinking of the customer, doesn't care about innovation, promises pay for performance which is a joke, and recently slapped people with mandatory overtime till the numbers are up. It's just really baaaaad.
There will be some travel, but he says, "I won't mind traveling if I know there's not a pile of work on my desk before I leave and a ton more accumulating while I'm gone. I'll be good to start with a clean desk with people who want to hear my ideas on how to turn a profit." In short, he could help design the company, but at the same time it's already a strong place.
He didn't bring up money, but Annette did, and he was upfront that it's a big factor in his decision. When he mentioned having two kids in college plus a third going in the fall, she began asking personal questions, really interested in the family. (I wonder if he mentioned that his wife would like not to have to work for money because she enjoys volunteering as an art teacher too much ?)
Paul sounded really pumped on the phone afterward. As a wife, I haven't heard this level of enthusiasm in his voice for years, about his job anyway. And since he spends 60-70 hours a week at/driving to/from/thinking about his job, that's a huge percentage of his week. The Lord has sustained him for sure, but I have been pleading with God to show Paul a place to use his giftings, not just his abilities. He is gifted in business, but all his superiors have tapped him for is his work ethic and knowledge. In 24 years, he doesn't have a single black mark on his record. I know if it was me, I'd have been out of there years ago (either voluntarily or otherwise!) I would have told a ratty boss, "I don't have cloven hooves! I'm not your ox! I've got some ideas for how to make a buck around here and since you don't, well, sir, with all due respect (???), sseeeeeee ya!!!!"
Good thing God didn't put me in charge of holding this family together with an income!!!!!
I'm so proud of my man. He is nothing short of a Godsend to me, to us, to his present employer (whom I am SURE will counteroffer when they see the ox has greener pastures and NO MUZZLE elsewhere).
Thanks for your prayers. Please, I ask for wisdom as we talk about the options. I want to be the wife who is supportive regardless, but in my heart I want to see the man come home smilin' every evening (or at least not droopy and utterly beaten down inside) and eager to get up and grow a company and be rewarded verbally and psychologically for his contributions.
Meanwhile, I sit here selling college books on eBay and am happy to report have had a banner day in the virtual marketplace!
Whistling, "How great is our God, sing with me, How great is our God....!"
So many attractions about this, we have to seek the Lord.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Paul is an excellent candidate for the job since he knows these specialty insurance lines so well.
He's nervous about the decision, but after analyzing the pros and cons of both companies (without knowing more details about the new company) he says that there is only one difference and that might be neither here nor there if his employer didn't downsize.
So...he's making his list o' questions tonight and praying for wisdom.
Please join us. We are so excited!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
1) The entire staff at UpChuckapeake Hospital were very, well, hospitable! From the concierge who directed us to the surg center, to the IV tech who found a vein on me in only 2 tries, to the anaetheisologist whose name started with Ambrosia. It made me want some.
2) I wasn't famished like I usually am with that "nothing by mouth" pre-surg order. It's funny: I almost never eat between midnight and 8:30, but tell me I can't, and I'm starved. Not so yesterday. I was comfortable.
3) I did get one surprise: the term "diabetic" was written on my hx form. I had had bloodwork done Dec 27, but the dr didn't call me w/ lab reports. It was kinda weird; seems the patient should be the second to know, not the hospital. Oh, well, as I said, I'm not surprised; my mom's diabetic and so was my Granny (her mom). I am going to be really aggressive in treating it. My mom says the mantra is "Walk your way out of diabetes."
4) Two incisions in my upper thighs are proving to limit my range of motion. It's kinda painful to get into bed, lifting the legs just so into a comfy position. I have to sleep on the living room sofa (which is ultra comfortable) till I can do stairs. I'm restricted from heavy lifting, strenuous activity, and %#@ for a month. Two outta three ain't bad!
5) The doctor must've numbed my bladder pretty darn well cuz I can't feel it fill. So I go to the bathroom as if potty training all over again--20 minutes after a meal and then every 1.25 hours whether I feel the need or not.
6) The intake nurses liked the Aunt Tilly jokes. I'll have to find some more.
7) Paul is taking GOOD care of me. What a guy. This "in sickness and in health" vow is once again being put to the test. He's Mr. Laundry, Mr. Meds Reminder, Mr. Grocery Shopper.
He picked up Joel from a friend's in Middle River. He fetches me water, food, computer, toilet paper, you name it. (Though not all at once.)
8) My mom called last night and so did Sarah and Barb. It's always great to be thought of and pampered if only over the phone! Barb is sending me a belated Christmas present, which will feel extra sweet to just for me--one I didn't pay for. It reminds me of when I was a fifth grader in the HCC musical "Music Man" when we all the "swindled" kids broke into the song "Oh-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-coming now, oh please, please let it be for me!"
9) Stephen made Sloppy Joes and mac 'n cheese for dinner last night. That was great. Smiths are bringing a meal tonight . I know from experience that Priscilla's lasagna is delish. I hope it comes w/ salad cuz I could use the fiber.
10) Paul said the surgeon was a "pretty sharp guy." I am so glad he said that. It was their first time meeting, and Paul's a good judge of character. I'm not. ( I bought Sarah's car, remember, and now we call it the Lemonexus.) So it's good to be married to one whose discernment is pretty spot on. I am too easily swayed by personality, whereas he can cut right through that.
10) Send me jokes. I will heal up much faster with a steady diet of laughter.
Well, it's 11:01 and that means time to go to the bathroom.
For those who are wondering what my surgery was for, let me put it in code: Think of the phrase from the ballpark: Swing, batter batter, swing. It rhymes with Batter Swing. :)
Thanks for your prayers. Don't stop now!
Sunday, January 06, 2008
The second point Jim made that spoke comfort to me was this: The Apostle Paul says, "may the God of peace be with you." Not the peace of God. (Though that's a fine expression, it's not the way the apostle put it.)
The past few days have offered such moments of being aware of God's nearness to me and my dearness to Him as I've been preparing mentally, spiritually, and practically for surgery tomorrow.
Mentally I have been aware just how little I understand about the human body, but am glad others do. Doctors and nurses who devote their lives to studying anatomy and physiology so that others can have a better life deserve our commendation.
Spiritually I realize that, for all the wonderful treatment I have been given medically, I have a tendency to rehearse the errors. I think that one such error occurred when Joel was born, and I have had to forgive that doctor and just accept the fact that, in addition to receiving a beautiful baby boy who was the answer to ten years of prayer, I also received less than perfect medical intervention the hour he was born. But the experience has taught me much, mainly that doctors are human, just like me. I have always believed the OB made a mistake by not listening to me when I said, "If I push, I think I'm gonna pop." I think I should have had a C-section, but what happened happened, and it has taken nearly six years for me to realize that I can't reverse it, but am thankful that surgery can improve my lifestyle. I pray, I pray with all my heart, that this operation will do what I expect it will.
Practically, I have tried to prepare the house. Christmas decorations are put away, tree is out decomposing in the woods behind us. Everything on the first level has been vacuumed and dusted. Laundry is never caught up , but I'm working on the most needed first. Paul was gracious to go grocery shopping even though I offered to do it after my manicure. (There's something about having smooth, pretty nails when you're being poked with needles and such, right, ladies?) I procured homeschool books at the library--the subject matter being insects for this week in the curriculum. (Not my favorite topic, but staying on track here after a 2-week Christmas break.) My little care group is bringing four meals, bless their hearts. The moms I carpool with for school have been very understanding that I'll not be able to do my share of it for a couple weeks or more.
And, last but not least, I've tuned into comedy. Laughter is the best medicine, after all. I love "Bananas," the Christian stand-up comedy show. Tonight I heard a ventriloquist (can't remember his name) do a joke with Aunt Tilly, his 94-year-old "friend" (dummy).
He: How've you been?
She: Well....all right. Had a cough, though.
He: What did you do for it?
She: Went to the doctor. He gave me a laxative.
He: A laxative for a cold? How does that help?
She: Makes me afraid to cough.
He: I guess so.
She: A laxative and Prozac.
She: Uh huh. I go to the jon a lot, but I feel good about it.
He: Oh, okay. But do we have to talk about this in public?
She: Uh huh. I have to tell you , I'm regular now. Every morning at 7 o'clock---
He: Well, that's good.
She: No, it's not. I don't get up till 8.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Changed plans, as I remember when I did it two years it ago it was sooooo good but I had to go at a Kentucky Derby pace (about 4 chapter a day) and it was hard to do any deep study.
So I decided to make a list of 26 topics to study study for two weeks each this year. Some topics came easily off the tip of my pen. They are the ones that I didn't sense conviction about. That's right...the ones that did NOT make me wiggle. Or ones that actually reinforced my temptation to self-righteousness. You know the ones--the areas that come easily to you most of the time. But when I came up short by about eight topics, I asked for input from the family.
Trust me, if you don't want to wiggle, don't ask your husband, kids, or best friends what topics they think you should take a hard look at. But I did, and I wiggled, and I wrote them down. Actually, I had to scratch out a couple of original "easies" to make room for the newbies. Ouch.
So here's the plan now, after having sought the Lord on what to start the year with:
1) Read 1 Corinthians 13 every day, first thing, this year.
2) Study what He says about marriage, bibical womanhood, and sacrifice.
3) Don't stray far from studying forgiveness, anger, gentleness, and gratitude.
4) Revisit passages frequently on my identity in Christ.
5) Apply hospitality principles. Don't wait. Initiate.
So far it it's been quite a discipline to get my Bible open to these passages every day. And this is only January third! Don't get me wrong, it's not the time with God I dread, not at all. But boy, I started with 1 Corinthians 13 and realize just how UNloving I can be so often. As a performance evaluation, this chapter was not encouraging. As a description of God, it is thorough and comforting. I'm so glad I'm secure in my identity as a child of God or else I wouldn't have gone through with the reading on Day 2.
To accompany my Bible reading, I picked up a book yesterday I've read before, Biblical Womanhood in the Home, edited by Nancy Leigh deMoss. Little did I realize how I must have skimmed the chapter on the foolish woman the first time; either that or I was a wiser woman a couple years back. This time I was underlining and copying whole paragraphs into my journal.
Then I got busy doing things I'd asked my husband to list as important. "Tell me seven things you'd call priorities," I asked him, "so I can try to knock them out before Monday." (I'm having abdominal surgery.)
So he did, and I took care of organizing the linen closet. I was so tickled with how it turned out. When he walked in the door last night, he said "The house looks great!" and I said, "Thanks, but you should see the linen closet." Okay, just how many times in a man's career does he get to come home and hear that? I should've called WJZ TV and nominated myself for a Gold 13. "Oh", did I just fish for a compliment?" I asked "Sorry. Old habits die hard."
I'm sure Paul was busting at the seams to see my linen closet. (When it looks good, I call it my linen closet. The rest of the time, it's "the linen closet.") :) "It's got labels and everything, honey!" I told him as he went up to change clothes.
His interest was piqued. I have to applaud the man for even caring about the state of the linen closet, but considering he had taken everything out of it on New Year's Day just trying to find a new toothbrush, filling three laundry baskets in the process, it's no wonder he put it on The New Year's Projects List.
He came back down after changing clothes and said, "looks good, labeled and everything. "
"Did you read ALL my labels?" I asked. I was a bit too enthusiastic. It's just a linen closet, for crying out loud.
"No, I didn't."
"Well, there's even a label for the mismatched pillowcases. I called it "PILLOWCASES WITHOUT PARTNERS." He rolled his eyes and smiled. Then he sat down and enjoyed every bite of his favorite dinner: meatloaf.
Tonight he wants to take me out to La Tolteca. I don't want to say no, but I want to enjoy this last evening with Sarah before she goes to New Hampshire for a week. I'm already missing her and she hasn't even left. But I will go out if he still wants to.
As for the hospitality, that was easy. I had my dear friend Renee' over to celebrate her birthday. A very good day, but now it's time to tackle the next project on this famous priority list: the master bedroom.
Honestly, it deserves to be categorized by the compass: South corner clutter; East Corner sock basket: North Corner bookcase; West Corner homeless photos (ie photos that need to be put in albums). The closet is a room unto its own. When I finish it, it'll be renamed my closet.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Started out by sleeping in.
Then I went to the grocery store with a good attitude. (That in itself is an act of God.)
I came home and made French toast, bacon, fruit salad (strawberries and canned peaches) and coffee.
Stephen and Eric emerged just about the time I was into my third bite of French toast, but I got up and fixed them some, too. With a good attitude. Yay for God again!
Then Stephen, Eric, Paul, and I played Taboo together. What a fun game. It's one of the few Paul actually enjoys playing, and we seem to beat anyone else we play!
Afterward, Paul the Perennial Listmaker presented us with his 20-item list. I knew it was coming. It wouldn't be New Year's Day without it.
He and Stephen set into the basement, pulling out couches from the wall to vacuum behind. Ben is ...I don't know....making plans to go skiing tomorrow and taking care of odd jobs per parental bidding.
I went headlong into putting away all the wrapping paper from Christmas.
Next I hit the linen closet project--cleaning it out and reorganizing, long overdue. (How many ACE bandages does one family need at any given time? And those little hotel shampoo bottles; are they on fertility drugs?)
I may even post pictures of the successful show when I'm done. I was inspired by a blog, www. declutterit.com.
Right now I need to call Barb back. What a fun way to be interrupted during a major task!
I'm enjoying it while I can. Tomorrow school starts again.