Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Under Attack

Normally I publish more often than this, but life is not going well for me. I am afraid, lonely, often angry, occasionally uplifted. But for the most part, this week has not been bloggable unless I want to regret my words. I could be funny and just let you think everything's status quo here, but I live a real life, often marked by very low lows. It typically happens in April, but I'm not blaming the month. I blame sin and the Enemy. I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bahama Breeze Birthday

Going out for Sarah's birthday is never just an event; it's a process. We asked her where she wanted to go and she said, "somewhere new and far away." New to her, that is, not necessarily a new restaurant. "Far away" means a drive of about an hour --preferably longer--not in the heart of town. She has always loved long drives, from the moment she was born. (But that's a whole 'nother post to be categorized under "colicky baby.") This night she would be ordering a drink as she was turning the legal drinking age of 21. She was more excited about being carded, to be honest.

After that, she decided she'd rather go south, not north. So even though Philly is far away, it's north. Even though south could mean Annapolis, it was already 6:15 when she got home from babysitting and all of us were hungry. We didn't have the patience to drive an hour. A 30-40 minute drive plus a 40-minute wait was pushing the limits. Finally, following much online searching and Paul suggesting restaurants he'd been to with colleagues or heard good things about, Sarah decided on Bahama Breeze in Towson.

The hostess told us it would be a 40 minute-or-less wait. The "patio" is seat-yourself, first-come, first-served, where live music was playing. Not sure if the singer was Jamaican, but he could certainly pull off the calypso sound with natural flair. His voice was better than his diction, but his smile made up for some garbled words. I must say, he made Air Supply's "All Out of Love" lyrics sound more like a celebration of break-up than a ballad of a heartsick Romeo.

More entertaining than he, however, was Sarah, whose social commentary amuses me often. Her subject this time? A couple she surmised were an e-Harmony pair --early 40s; woman was a bottle blond and somewhat into him. He looked like a jerk from Atlanta who was really into her. I didn't like his Joe-Cool mannerisms, red wine in hand, leaning to blondie's face; Sarah agreed he was trying too hard, but "people on alcohol get like that," she said. They had started at the bar, then made their way to the patio area for self-seating when a table came available.

"Just look at them, they're too affectionate to be married, and too old have met the normal way," she concluded. Then there was a couple barely out of high school who had been there maybe ten minutes, who rudely made their way ahead of e-Harmony Couple. "Watch; I bet they're gonna get in a fight, Mom. That e-Harmony guy has been waiting a long time. He's gonna say something to that rude dude." Both of us were disappointed when e-Harmony got called to a regular table in the main part of the restaurant. No fight to watch.

Once seated in the main part of the restaurant ( 40 minutes exactly from check-in), I ordered a fabulous mango mojito. Sarah got a Caribbean Sin, which she wished was named something else. She said, "Mom, should I ask her what Caribbean Sin is like?" I said, "Probably like sin anywhere." Unfortunately, she didn't get carded. "I must look 35," she said. (Sorry, there's not a picture of her drink, but here's mine.)
Mojito Cubano Mojito Cubano
Bacardi Superior Rum, crushed spearmint, lime, sugar cane

The appetizer we chose was Crab, Shrimp, Mango and Avocado Stack Crab, Shrimp, Mango and Avocado Stack
Jumbo lump crabmeat, chilled shrimp, fresh avocados and apple-mango salsa layered and stacked; with a spicy honey-red pepper drizzle. Generous amounts of shrimp, plenty of jumbo lump crabmeat, finely diced mango, with the perfect amount of avocado, baby greens, slivered almonds, and a deliciously sweet-hot red pepper sauce. We thought it should be served with six tortilla triangles, not two, but other than that, we thought it was delightful.

The birthday girl chose the chef's special, boneless fried chicken over mashed potatoes with spinach-cream sauce, black beans and corn. Every bite fantastic.

I had a hard time narrowing my choices, but finally went with Calypso Shrimp Linguine Calypso Shrimp Linguine
Tender shrimp in every bite…sautéed with garlic, scallions, tomatoes, Creole spice and a touch of cream. Some restaurants claim to put tender shrimp in every bite; Bahama Breeze delivers on their promise.

Paul ordered NEW Cuba Libre Shrimp Salad Cuba Libre Salad
Chilled shrimp tossed with a rum and cola glaze; served with fresh greens, pineapple and candied almonds tossed in sugar cane vinaigrette.The presentation of this was show-stopping with the top of the fresh pineapple and the bright yellow flesh supporting the major players.

Joel's entree came from the very limited kids' menu. He chose chicken fingers with fries--some of the best salty fries I've had in a long time. Usually kids' meals taste like afterthoughts, but not so this one.

Each dish tasted so good that we decided from the get-go that we'd eat for three minutes and then rotate clockwise, except for Joel, who took a couple bites here and there from the rest of ours, but who was quite content with his selection, thank you very much.

The service was excellent. Two managers came to the table after we told the waitress it was our first time. They made us feel very welcome--great PR, if you ask me. I love the atmosphere: romantic, friendly, dim but not dark, with classy Caribbean decor. E-Harmony couple sat three booths away, on the same side of the table, which is so high-school if you ask me when nobody's on the other side. At least Sarah and Joel sat opposite Paul and me, so we wouldn't be mistaken for star-crossed lovers. How embarrassing that would've been to our kids. His only complaint was the giggling gaggle of the bachelorette party seated near us, but they left after 20 minutes, and I didn't find them at all distracting. I was too busy enjoying every bite and sip of Bahama Breeze.

Our new favorite restaurant.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Almost Batting a Thousand

I'm almost up to my 1000th post on this blog. If I were to count my other blogs, I'm already past it. But there is something about getting close to 1000 right here that's making me happy.
Besides marriage, mothering, and meditating, blogging's the one thing in my life I've done consistently. (Consistently positive thing, I should note.)

Three cheers for stick-to-it-iveness!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bible Humor

What's the smallest sin in the Bible?
Flee fornication.

(Get it? Flea fornication?)

My husband told me that one. It shouldn't have cracked me up; I mean, isn't that junior high humor, for Pete's sake?

Have you heard any good ones lately?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Me & My Girl

Sarah turned 21 today.
(Officially at 5:32 am.)

You know how memories are, seldom chronological. I am
remembering snapshots through the years, in random order.

I can remember :

the first time I held her. We both cried. There have been several occasions over the years when we both cried at the same time.

-the first time she rode her bike. We lived on Dunmurry Road and her bike had pink plastic tassels hanging from the handlebars. The sidewalks were kind of busted up, so I was extra nervous. But she did fine.

-her fine straight in pigtails as she wore a lime green little sundress and consoled her infant brother "Fian" (Stephen), even when he wasn't crying, She'd pat his bald head and say, "It's otay, baby. Sawah's hee-yuh. I yuv you."

-going to Russia together when she was a senior. I had really wanted to give her a homsechool graduation ceremony, complete with a big party, but she said, "No, Mom. I really don't want that. It's not me. I'd rather you put the money into our trip." So I did, reluctantly.

-how hard she cried when I told her of each of my miscarriages. You'd have thought she was the mother hearing the sad news.

-how eager she was for us to adopt a little girl from China, only to find out I was pregnant after 10 years of trying, and then she cried over that news. When I told her I was carrying a boy, she cried more. She wanted a sister. When she saw her baby brother Joel for the first time, she cried again and said it was the happiest day of her life.

-watching her teach Sunday School. She's a natural with age groups that don't come naturally even for some parents. I'm talking two-year-olds. She loves them!

-the camaraderie between her and her friend Hannah. The height difference is hysterical. Sarah is 5'11" and Hannah is 4'11". Hannah and Sarah have never had an argument, though they haven't agreed on everything. I tease Sarah that "for two people who never see eye-to-eye unless Hannah stands on a milk crate, you two get along famously!" Their friendship has taken them from VBS when they were six to camp counselors together at 20.

-the way she takes care of her grandparents.

-the way her dad will do anything for her. I'm talking about airing her leaky back tire every other morning, jump starting her engine on the days in between, and lining up all her "car doctor" visits.

I could go on. But that's where I'll stop.

Happy birthday, Sarah. I love you no matter what.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hoping My Dreams Don't Come True

Last night I had one of those dreams you just know comes out of what you've been dwelling too much on. (Okay, that was a lousy sentence, but so what? I'm the author and finisher of very bad grammar once in a while.)

I'll admit up front, I'm hair-obsessed. But I haven't met a real woman yet who isn't, so I won't feel bad that I think about my next haircut right after getting a recent one. I think about changing my color. I think about what it would be like to have long, thick tresses or short, straight, course hair.

I've also been thinking about a concept used in martial arts about pulling your opponent toward you rather than resisting him. This concept has nothing to do with hair, unless I stretch the analogy, which I won't. It was just something I read in a book related to an area of struggle I'm trying to find a new way to deal with.

Combine those two thoughts with ice cream before bed, and you have the making of a wild dream.

In this dream, I am sitting in a hairdresser's chair.

She: So what do you want done with your hair?
Me: A change.
She: What's bothering you about the way it is?
Me: It's too choppy in the front. It's uneven.
She (slicing through my hair with pinking shears in about four seconds): There! Now it's choppy all over. What else is bothering you?
Me: The color. It's mostly a brown I like but there's hints of grey. Can we get rid of the grey?
She: (pouring bottles of liquid I can't see, through my hair. Spins me toward the mirror): There! Grey's gone!
Me: But now it's striped with green and yellow!
She: You asked if we could get rid of the grey. We did. Anything else bothering you?
Me: The texture. It's always soft, which is good, but I wonder if I could get more volume in it somehow.
She (taking my index finger, starting to plug my finger into the electric socket below the blow dryer cord):---

That was it! I bolted awake , upright and decided to give thanks for my sort of uneven, brown, somewhat/sometimes grey-tipped, soft-but-not-voluminous hair.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Meal Plan

Monday: chicken broccoli bake
Tuesday: venison/bacon burgers
Wednesday: crab cakes with asparagus
Thursday: Mexican OR Karen's pork tenderloin in the Crock Pot
Friday--out to celebrate Sarah's b'day
Saturday-chicken Tandoori
Sunday: leftovers

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Random 42

1. Never in my life have I been:
able to watch boxing, wrestling, or bull-fighting for more than a couple minutes. Ew to all 3.
2. The one person who can drive me nuts is:
related to me.
3. High school was:
a mixed blessing. Great preparation for my academic future, but lousy for my spiritual growth.
4. When I’m nervous I:
push my hair behind my right ear. That's what my kids say; I'm unaware of it.
5. The last song I listened to was:
Don't Stop Believing, by a really good impersonator of Steve Perry
6. If I were to get married right now my best man/maid of honor:
Would be the same as 23 years ago.
7. My hair is:
getting on my nerves.
8. When I was 5:
I had a kindergarten teacher named Miss Hart. It was a lousy name for her.
9. Last Christmas:
was the best in recent memory, but I can't remember why, and I'm not trying to be funny.
10. I should be..:
shot for thinking some of the thoughts I think.
11. When I look down I see:
depressing things.
12. The happiest recent event was:
a young friend's wedding.
13. If I were a character on 'Friends' I would be:
A little bit of Phoebe because I can be a real ditz once in a while.
14. By this time next year:
Who but God knows what next year holds?
15. My current gripe is:
not hearing encouragement in my own home...feeling like I have to look elsewhere for it, but craving it too much no matter. I should just concentrate on giving it and forget wanting to get it.
16. I have a hard time understanding:
why there's so much red-tape and scrutiny of adoptive parents but zero training for biological parents-to-be. Some people have no business being parents and I want to ask God why when I get to heaven.

17. There’s this girl I know that:
grew up on the outside but still acts very childishly sometimes. I see her in the mirror every day.
18. If I won an award, the first person I would tell would be:
My daughter
19. Take my advice:
Learn to cook and enjoy it. You'll have to eat every day, so might as well bless yourself and others by learning.
20. The thing I want to buy:
new family room carpet, furniture, and accessories

21. If you visited the place I was born:
You would say, "Looks like a normal hospital. You were born here?"
22. I plan to visit:
my best friend in Kansas for my 45th birthday
23. If you spent the night at my house:
You would have to turn off Stephen's alarm clock for him.
24. I’d stop my wedding if:
I knew my daddy would be disappointed in my choice of husband.
25. The world could do without:
26. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than:
I'm not going to answer that one.

27. Most recent thing I’ve bought myself:
two tops; a black one with a good bit of Spandex, and a coral cotton one
28. Most recent thing someone else bought me:
white flowers. They were for Easter from Sarah and Joel.
29. My favorite blonde is:
True blonde? I have two--my sisters Andrea and Jill. Dirty blonde: my second son.
30. My favorite brunette is:
I have 3--first and last sons, and my only daughter
31. My favorite red head is:
my dog Molly
32. My middle name is:
33. In the morning I:
make coffee, pack lunches, read and meditate from about 8-9, do chores
34. The animals I would like to see flying besides birds are:
35. Once, at a bar:
I practiced ballet. Oh, wait. Not that kind of bar.
36. Last night I was:
not someone you'd want to be around.
37. There’s this guy I know who:
peed in the toilet tonight and announced that his pee was the color of dog shampoo. (We needed to hear that, Joel. Can you believe our lives would have been woefully incomplete without the comparison?)
38. If I was an animal I’d be:
an eagle, flying high above the earth, dwelling in cliffs, knowing instinctively when to push my eaglets out of the nest
39. A better name for me would be:
Kate , as in Kate from Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew
40. Tomorrow I am:
Who but God knows what tomorrow holds? But if it's like most Mondays, I will teach an art lesson to 5th and 6th graders.
41. Tonight I am:
holding on to hope.
42. My birthday is:
a bigger deal to me than it probably should be.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sunday Stealing

It's not Sunday yet, so the title is a bit of a misnomer. But this is a meme I found and thought I'd like to do.

1. How do you feel about "Gladiator" sandals, also called "Roman" or "Jesus" sandals? A fashion yea or nay?

I think you need to be pretty darn righteous to wear them. It's kind of like putting a fish bumper sticker on your car. You're setting yourself up.

2. What is your favorite pizza?
I'm pretty easy to please. I can go for simple cheese, or you can load it up. I prefer lots of veggies rather than meat on pizza. Not a pepperoni fan.

3. What prop, background, set, etc. from what TV or movie would you buy if you could? I would want the kitchen table that the Waltons used. Every time I watched the show, I imagined myself growing up to have so many kids that we'd need a 12-person table for dinner every night.

4. Name a local food or restaurant that your area is famous for.
Maryland is for crabs.

5. What is your current favorite snack?
Ice cream sandwiches.

6. Hypothetical: You are required to be a reality show contestant. Which show would you choose based on your probability of success? (You cannot choose "none.")
A. Dancing with the Stars
B. Biggest Loser
C. Survivor
Biggest Loser. The answer to #5 should have tipped you off.

7. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being uninhabitable and 10 being cleanliness that meets the standards of OCD, how clean is your vehicle's interior? At the moment a 6.
I still haven't vacuumed since unloading a lot of styrofoam bricks that I was going to use for the Good Friday service props until the whole project got scaled way back. My school bag is also in my vehicle since I didn't want it to get rained on when the deluge hit as I parked in the driveway on Friday afternoon. Truth is, I really didn't want to carry the bag in and probably wouldn't have even if the sun was shining.

8. It doesn't feel like Spring until _________.
I see daffodils in bloom and remember my favorite spring of all: March 21, 1988 when my first child was born.

9. Something that made you laugh really hard recently is ____.
Sorry ,but I haven't had a good laugh in a while.

10. Tell me about a goal you're working toward.
Sounds petty, but I'm trying to grow my hair all one length so that I have more options for a new style. I would love to have a 1940's wavy bob.

11. Share a thought-provoking or inspiring quote this week.
I've been journaling the words of Jesus from the book of Mark. Today I read 3:3, where he told a man with a withered hand: "Step forward. " The first step toward Jesus was this man's first step toward healing. It has made me think that anytime I have been healed, whether physically, emotionally, relationally, or otherwise, it happened when I stepped forward toward Jesus--not to doctors, counselors, exercise, books, or anything else.

12. Name one thing that you do as a parent that you absolutely know will make your kids happy. If you're not a parent, feel free to substitute "friend" or nomenclature that works for you.
From youngest to oldest: snuggling; spiritual talks; taking a country drive; backrub.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I'm very much a student of people. I love to learn what makes people the way they are. My question today is about skills and also the lack thereof. I'm curious to know what skills you learned as a child or young adult that you can directly attribute to your parents. (In other words, we've all learned something from the school of hard knocks, or from other people, or from books, and so forth, but I am especially curious to hear what your parents taught you that you're thankful for.)

This is not meant to be a "brag on yourself" list, but a "thank my mom and/or dad" thing.

So, please comment in the box about 5 things you learned from them.

Then name 5 things you wish you had learned, which they may have tried or not tried to teach you, for whatever reason. Not to blame them, but to show your weaknesses lest anyone be jealous of your strengths in isolation.

I'll start.

5 Skills Learned from my Parents:

1. how to play an instrument (piano)
2. how to appreciate other cultures
3. how to read
4. how to express my thoughts verbally and in writing
5. how to fix nutritious meals and make them pretty

5 Skills I Didn't Learn

1. the value of physical exercise
2. punctuality
3. better conflict resolution
4. how to say "no" without feeling guilty
5. to be able to concentrate when it's noisy

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ben's Car Accident

I just found out a couple hours ago from Paul that Ben was in an accident on his way to school this evening. It happened on Monument Street. From what I've heard, the guy pulled out on him from a side street and hit his front corner panel, damaging it--but it's driveable.

They got out to exchange info, and the guy said he didn't have his license on him.

At that point said he would call the cops. The guy hopped back in his car and sped off. Thankfully Ben got a tag number and did call the police. The cop who responded said he patrols the area, and has for 11 years, and will keep an eye out.

Ben had to get to school for an important accounting quiz. Please pray for his nerves and his body and that, come what may, we will remember to be thankful. Thankful that Ben is okay, that it wasn't worse, that he had the presence of mind to get the tag number and call the police, that he has integrity, unlike the person who hit him, that he called his dad who is in the insurance business and puts the rest of us at ease with his expertise and clear head in times like these. I also thank God that it happened in broad daylight and that the guy didn't get violent in the face of trouble.

This event happened two hours after I'd finished praying for a soldier named Jeff, a friend of Ben's just a smidge older than he. Jeff came to my class to talk today about his experiences in
Afg....When I was praying for him, I had a mother's heart, so naturally the tears sprang to my eyes. I had to turn away when finished and gather tissues and composure before continuing with the party. I kept thinking, "He could be my son. How do mothers do this?" I had the urge to drive home and hug Ben. Now I will when I see him this evening. He'll probably need a back rub and shoulder massage, too, by then.

I'd appreciate your prayers.


is currently being edited.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spoons & Lupus Awareness

How many "spoons" do you have a day? When was the last time you were aware of just how difficult it is for a chronically sick person to get through the day? Maybe you can relate because you are chronically sick, but you don't know quite how to explain your limitations and "what it feels like" to be you.

I read this today and it opened my eyes. An object lesson I can understand, a little.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook, 4.10.10

A Simple Woman's Daybook
provides my writing prompt today.

Outside my window...evening in the upper 50's, air filled with a pollen count so high
I would be foolish to sit outside.

I am thinking... it's been a lovely spring break, which ends tomorrow night. I've been able to clean out a lot of junk from the garage, keep laundry up, have friends over to help me spring clean some of my first level of the house, sleep in, enjoy a whole day with Paul on Wednesday when he took off work to work around here.

I am thankful for... one of my Ben's friends, Jeff, who has come home on leave for 18 days and has agreed to speak to my class this week. I love to take every opportunity I can to thank a soldier.

I am wearing...a purple polo, tan jeans, and ankle socks.

I am cute Joel looked this morning when they put shoulder pads on him at football registration this morning. He wants to be a wide receiver. Ben told him last night, "But all the girls think you're the man if you're the quarterback." He said, "I don't care. I'm the man anyway!"

I am going... to plan the next two weeks of school tonight, refusing to think that it's the last quarter of the last year of our tiny Christian school's existence.

I am currently reading...Organizing for Life; Hitler's Niece; inspiring garden books

I am hoping... to rejoin Weight Watchers this week.

On my mind... the way my Sarah, while working on a presentation for an education class, said to me, "Mom, I might need your help with this grammar crap."
I replied, "Okay, but first you must apologize for using the word "grammar" to modify "crap."

Noticing that...hardly anyone comments unless I come right out and ask. What's up with that?

Pondering these words... "[Christ's] resurrection is just a metaphor, people." --said by an unbelieving family member in a recent email. My husband is pondering a reply.

From the kitchen is the swoosh, splash, and hum of a beloved dishwasher. I prefer to keep the kitchen closed now, but someone with silver hair has requested brownies. Small request considering he oiled all the squeaky doors, folded a lot of laundry, cut Joel's hair, made shrimp scampi last night, and is generally a really swell guy.

Around the house... less doghair, fewer cobwebs, a newly spray-painted table lamp base, and
a reorganized pantry. But a lot of laundry to be put away, and an upstairs that needs attention.

One of my favorite things...listening to a child read with expression.

From my picture journal...

Friday, April 09, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Fun with a Friend

I have a friend named Cheryl who is great company for me. Not only is she a gentle, fun-loving teacher and dear c0-worker (she teaches the morning classes, I teach the afternoon ones) but she is also that kindred spirit.

We have this yin-yang thing about us. I love to laugh; she loves to cut up. I love deep conversations; she goes quickly from superficial to the heart. I love to lighten my workload whenever possible; she is a Clydesdale. (That is only referring to her endurance, not her size. She was a ballet instructor back in the day.)

Today we combined some of her goals with some of mine and some of ours:

Her goal: Raise money for her mission trip to China
My goal: Help send her
Her goal: Visit with me at least once during spring break
My goal: Visit with her , too
Her goal: Help me if I needed her, to get some deeper cleaning done this week (which is not at the same time as my collegers are off)
My goal: Take her up on the offer, while giving Joel a friend (her youngest boys) to hang out with. As the mother of a sort of "only child," I have to make extra effort to socialize him. "Twas never an issue when I had 3 close in age.

I also know Cheryl's son, Caleb, is a hard worker like herself. Well-trained to persevere "as unto the Lord." I could make him a list and he'd knock it out, with minimal instruction and even less supervision. When asked if he'd like to earn money, he gave a thumb's up, so I made a list. I wouldn't have to go behind him.

Daniel and Joel were all about earning a buck or two as well, so I put them to work. Before I knew it, they had done a really good job wiping down my base kitchen cabinets, shining the appliances, Windexing the front glass door, and emptying the contents of the pantry so I could clean and reorganize it.

Caleb spring-cleaned the living room--from taking down curtains, to doing windows, vacuuming vents, cleaning piano keys, and dusting the furniture, scrubbing baseboards.

Cheryl and I (mostly Cheryl) cleaned the family room while I did stuff that took decision making, tossing out, washing pillows and curtains, and other miscellany--plus serving green eggs and ham. I mean boiled eggs and ham. If I'd thought of it sooner, I would've colored them green for fun.

I'm sitting here loving the clean-house smell and the how it looks--very much improved. My back is sore, my mind is clear, and my heart is happy. Spring cleaning with a friend is the way to go. (That's a note to self for next year.) The rest of the house will have to wait. I have more friends, but no more break and no more energy.

"To China with love!" (Hear the clink of wine glasses filled with ice water?)

(Photo was taken by one of our students when we went to a local Indian restaurant as a geography class field trip. My straw slipped out and made me feel goofy and I mouthed the words, "Take the shichture, pwease. My wips are schtuck wike dis.")

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Open Rebuke or Hidden Love?

This morning I read Proverbs 27. A number of the verses grabbed my attention, but this one must've been the one I needed.

Proverbs 27: 5 "Better is open rebuke than hidden love." I would have to say that the number of times I've been openly rebuked as opposed to how much "hidden love" I can only surmise, probably says more about me than it does of those who have "hidden."

Sure, family members do it regularly here. Probably in your house, too. But really, who is courageous enough to openly rebuke a friend?

How often have you not rebuked someone who was:

-speaking unkindly to her children
-joking about her rebellion
-undermining authority
-talking too much, dominating the "floor" in a group setting
-immodestly dressed
-making fun of someone
-wasting time
-not tithing regularly
-using God's name in vain
-not being reliable
-ignoring her children
-flirting with a man other than her husband
-being deceitful
-drawing a lot of attention to herself with words, laughs, pictures, or gestures
-making excuses for not regularly communing with God (if she's a Christian)

(I say she, because I think 99.9% of my readers are female,)

Just recently I've wanted to say things--openly rebuke someone in love--but have not. Why go along with what's wrong? Why so fearful? I am convinced that I don't truly, truly love most of the people I call "friends." I'm hiding behind wanting to be liked and not wanting them to dismiss my rebuke just because I have sins of my own. Scripture doesn't command us to correct one in another in love only after we're perfect (which, last time I checked, means we'd all be in heaven together).

Most of the time I am guilty of saying the wrong things and regretting it. But this verse has got me thinking: how much I withhold. When was the last time I gave or received an open rebuke? If love is hidden, is it love at all? Who are my "friends"? Who are yours?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Let There be Lamps

I'm in a redecorating mood--again. Is there anything that says "change it up" quite like spring? Even though I'm fighting a cold or allergies or something that is sapping my bodily energy, my mind is jumping from project to project. The first thing I want to tackle is a change of lamp in my family room. The one beside my recliner is downright ugly. Don't I value myself enough to not keep Ugly in my view? What's wrong with me?

I think I'll spray paint Mr. Ugly Lamp and see if he looks any better. He'll be a black man when I'm done with him. What color hat should I put on him? It's currently red. If he doesn't do anything more for me in black skin, out he goes.

I spotted two nice lamps in the Five Star Consignment Shop today (a place near home) that would be so much fun to use. One is cool because it's a sleek metal, geometric base. The other is fun because it has a little black door that opens to a cubby with two shelves. What's more fun that being able to look inside a secret space? It would even stash clutter in a pinch (not that I have clutter. Ahem!).

What decorating item are you especially prone to collect, change, or otherwise obsess over from time to time?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Describe that Place

Describe the place where you do, or would, like to go for worship and prayer in or around your home, to be alone with God. What makes it your favorite place for "solitude" (I put this in quotes because not everyone gets to be alone when they want.) What changes would you make to improve upon that place?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Missing the Celebration of the Resurrection

This is the first Easter in a very long time that I have not spent rejoicing with gobs of saints to celebrate the Risen Lamb, Jesus Christ, in church.

I am sick today. Coughing, sneezing, aching. But wanting to be in the company of my church family very much. I debated going, armed with Kleenexes and cough drops, but that would not be very loving of me. Who wants to sit close to a cougher? Joel keeps saying, as I grab a tissue, "Look out! She's gonna blow!" My boy's sense of humor is such good medicine.
He, too, is sick today, though on the mend. Paul thought it would be best for him to stay home and rest with me.

My loving husband got up and made a breakfast sausage casserole. I love that stuff--hearty and satisfying. It also tastes extra good while I'm looking at the white roses my daughter and little son bought for me yesterday. How thoughtful they were to cheer me up that way!

Though I couldn't be with the saints in body today, I was there in spirit. I am praising Jesus for redeeming my life from the pit. For forgiving all my transgressions. For loving me the way I am but not willing to let me stay that way. For giving me his Holy Spirit to teach me the mysteries that would otherwise be hidden from my understanding. For convicting me of sin when I commit it. For blessing me with more blessings than I could ever count. For preparing an eternal Home for me. For giving me hope, and a future. For healing me in body, mind, and soul. For His Presence always and forever.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

I only wish I could glory in my Redeemer in the sanctuary I love so much.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Dressing up for Easter?

Growing up, we didn't have money for new clothes very often, and it wasn't part of our tradition to shop at Easter. We dyed Easter eggs and had hunts while my parents took their Sunday nap, but that was about it. I didn't feel deprived, or left out. Just never felt the connection between new clothes and Easter.

When we started having children, Paul and I agreed that Easter should not be a "look at me!" day with new clothes every year. I think a couple times we bought "Easter outfits," but they were few and far between and the result of kids having outgrown last year's dressier clothes. I usually save the shopping for a new dress for myself till Mother's Day. All that to say, dressing up for Easter is not the norm in our family.

Today Sarah took Joel out to buy eggs and some dye kits at Wal-Mart. It appeared that a lot of kids were getting new clothes. She said to him, "Joel, how are you going to dress up tomorrow for Easter?"

He asked, "What do you mean?"

She said, "Well, a lot of kids dress up for Easter."

Bless his heart. The next thing he said--quite seriously--was, "I guess I'll go as a bunny."

"No, no," Sarah laughed, "That's not what I mean."

"Oh, then I should go as an egg?"

Truthful? Yes. Accurate? Not Quite.

You just have to laugh sometimes when kids screw up your exact words. A dose of humble pie
made me feel almost as good as the DayQuil had. Here's what happened yesterday.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Sickness and the Afterlife

I have gradually been catching the upper respiratory bug that made Joel miss three days of school. I am coughing, sneezing, fighting the drippy faucets of my eyes, wishing I could scratch my throat, and wondering if people can hear me because I can't hear myself.

But I have managed a modicum of tidying up around the place. nothing strenuous to cause a coughing jag, but enough to show that, perhaps, I don't just take up space around here.

To rest productively, I've been reading a book that a few people recommended from high on their lists: Same Kind of Different as Me. I may write a review in the future. It's the best thing I've read in its genre for a long time.

But after finishing one of the last chapters, with Joel snuggling beside me, I asked him," Where do you think I would want to be buried when I die?"
He hugged me tightly around the neck and said, "I don't want you to die!"
I assured him I was not planning to anytime soon, but I would; it's a fact of life. "So what place do you think I would want to be buried?"

He said, "Somewhere with lots of flowers. You loooooove flowers! But I don't think there's an afterlife."

Shocked, I corrected him. "Sure there is! It's called heaven--or hell, depending--"

"Oh, yeah! " he said with that "I remember now!" tone.

Reminded me that I need to be thinking out loud more about heaven with the little guy. It's been a few months since our last discussion of "the afterlife" (which is a term I am not sure he's heard us say unless he remembers my talking about it when I was studying ancient Egypt with my class). I just thought it was funny he's call it "the afterlife" instead of heaven.