Tuesday, December 30, 2008

a quick update

This has to be quick. I have five minutes. I want to be in bed by midnight tonight. Last night I stayed up waayy later than I should have, chatting with Rob, seeing how his Christmas was.

It sounded like he had an okay time, even a good time, but it's so strange to think that the boys are going to have good Christmases when they're not home with me. For heaven's sake...I need to get a grip on myself! He's not eight anymore, for crying out loud. He's twenty-eight.

Okay, now that I got that wet noodle slapping out of the way.

We have one boy back in the house, at least temporarily. Hooray!!! I miss all the boys so much more than I thought I would. I thought I would be fine. Are you tired of hearing this tune yet? Then turn up the volume and listen to the other tunes. I put them on for something different. :)

Johnny is back for now...his hours got cut a little, money was tight, so he moved out of his (first) apartment. Boo hoo...but on the bright side, there's another reason, too: he is saving up to buy a ring for his sweetie!! They picked it out, but he hasn't asked her yet. But it's coming down the pike. His will be the third official wedding in the family...and I'm assuming the relationship is going that direction. So that's why I say he's here for now at least.

It's amazing and scary to watch your kids get into relationships. Amazing because it seems like just yesterday he was playing with Legos and K'Nex toys, and today, he's a man with a woman. She is such a sweetheart, too. They're so cute together. And it's scary because we adults, older adults I should say, know how many things could go wrong, and in how many ways their hearts could get broken. We just have to hang onto faith after we teach them good judgment. You have to let them go.

Anyway, so that's the scoop.

I didn't make it into bed by midnight...I'm ten minutes over right now. And I'm three days past due for a review of the coolest study Bible ever. When I first started trying to study Scripture, I wanted a concordance, a Bible dictionary, and some Bible history stuff to give some context...this has it all and then some. And it's in chronological order, as much as the editors could come close to. So you can kind of read it how it happened.

Okay, that's another post, but it's coming real soon. Right along with my fruitcake post. Right before it, actually.

So there you have the sneak preview along with the update. Ta ta, and g'nite. Or as I've been saying to the kids, G. Noit. [G'nite with a British accent] LOL. I know. I'm a dork. And it's okay. I know you won't laugh at me. Much.

Friday, December 26, 2008

still quiet...somewhat

There was absolutely no structure to my day. The lack of chaos and lack of busyness or hurriedness gives me an uneasy feeling, almost like the calm before the storm. That's the thing about too much unstructured time for me. It gives me too much time to think, and I get a little weird. I feel like I've forgotten something and it's making me nervous.

The only thing I really did was do a few chores, buy milk, and go to Archiver's with Gee. We're both going to make scrapbook calendars for 2009. That's something fun to look forward to.

Gee had a sucky day before we went to Archivers, though. She took X-man to Target with her and bought some things with her gift card. She paid for her stuff, put her wallet back in her purse, and someplace between the register and the car, the wallet disappeared.

Poor girl. She was just beside herself. She's usually so precise and so careful. She thinks it may have happened while she was waiting for little X-man to stop having a fit about having to go home. She's not sure if it fell out or if someone snatched it. There were keys attached, so you think she would have heard it.

She retraced her steps, several times, asked everyone she could think of if they had seen it, and finally she came home, in tears.

She had to cancel the cards, alert the credit reporting bureaus, and now she has to get new dorm cards and keys, new credit/debit cards, new driver's license...what a pain. It's going to cost her a little moola to fix this.

Say a little prayer for her that things go as smoothly as they can. I know she'll appreciate them.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

the house is so quiet...

...I can hear the cat pee! What a far cry from yesterday at this time.

Yesterday the house was full of noise and little running feet. T-boy let out some mighty screams when he opened his Star Wars Lightsaber. He was dancing up and down, and his curls were bouncing so hard I thought he might put his momma's eye out with one of them. He has the most adorable hair.

And D-boy got a Nerf gun. It's a good thing for the cats that we didn't load it up right then and there. Saving it for home was a better idea.

Cindy (D-boy and T-boy's mom) was thrilled with a wok--she's a regular little domestic diva. She cooks up a storm.

Pearlie tried to take a picture of herself and some of the kids, and she ended up only getting her own head in the picture. We laughed so hard.

John and Jessica were cuddled up on the couch--so cute.

Frosty and Nichole had to make an emergency detour to the doc to check out Dominick's rash...but it wasn't chickenpox. Just an allergic reaction to something. So although they were a little late, they still made it.

Dee was happy with the books she got, and Little ChiChi boy was completely enthralled with the dinosaur book Gee gave him--it's almost as big as he is.

It was the funniest thing. Momma Dee went to bed when she finally couldn't take any more fun, and she took him to bed at the same time. About twenty minutes later, here he came out of the bedroom. He was holding his little finger up to his lips and shushing us, "Sssssssss. Mommy." He totally sneaked out on her after she fell asleep.

He had to go back into the room, though, and here he came staggering back out, carrying the humongous dino book. He paged through it for about a half hour! "'Ma! Dinosaur!" Five seconds later, "'Ma! Dinosaur!"

Erica was pleased with the huge Get Fuzzy book from "Juan and Morticia" (oh, I mean Jon and Melissa--who missed the second holiday in a row, I might add), and she was ready to go out in the snow right then and there with her orange snow goggles and mitts.

Gee got some of her favorite music, and Casey was pleased he had another pair of sweatpants to wear to school.

"Papa" and I got spoiled by the kids this year, as always. Gift cards for Barnes & Noble were the theme of the evening, and I'm looking forward to finding a nice book about cardmaking or scrapbooking...maybe even a cookbook.

I wonder if I can find one with recipes that take no time at all, and taste like a million bucks. And don't cost much to make. I don't want much. I just hate to cook.

And tonight, I'm thinking about the boys out in Wyoming, and hoping that their Christmas was okay. I miss them so much right now.

Gee brought her webcam home from the dorm, and I got to see Lewie online. I had to laugh or I would have cried. My eyes have been so lonesome for their faces.

So, how was your Christmas?

Monday, December 22, 2008


This is for a program in education that's close to my heart. This button is for TRiO, a group of programs that helps low income, first generation students access college and succeed.

I fell into both of those categories when I enrolled in college for the first time. Student Support Services got me on track, told me what I needed to know, kept me from falling by the wayside, and gave me the tools to help me succeed.

I can't say enough about it. Go and vote for it, won'tcha?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

review of 'the voice'

I've been reading The Voice - a retelling of the New Testament.

My take on it is that it is extremely readable, and what I find particularly helpful is that footnotes are inserted in text boxes throughout the text, rather than all being at the bottom. That way you don't have to jump your eyes back and forth...it's easier to just keep going without losing your place.

It's written much like a screenplay, where dialog is clearly indicated. It has the feel of a fine work of art, and that, I think, is due to the fact that it is a collaboration between scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists. It completely draws me in, and I find myself learning much more about the context and background of each book. It has a very personal flavor, and I love that.

Here's a quote from the introduction to the book that I think sums it up nicely: "The Voice is a collage of compelling narratives, poetry, song, truth, and wisdom, ...[and]...will call you to enter into the whole story of God with your heart, soul, and mind."

I'm so glad they gave me an extra copy so I could give one away and keep one for myself! I might have had a tough time giving this one up very soon.

So, here's the deal. Leave a comment, get a chance at a copy of this for yourself. I'll draw a random number at the end of the week. Think of it as a belated Christmas present. Christmas will be over, and you'll be getting a little extra sompin' in the mail from me! I have the extra copy sitting here, not lost in the black hole, not put in a "safe place" (so safe I can't even find it)...just sitting here, waiting to go to your house! Make sure I have a way to contact you.

You're going to love this. Good luck!

Friday, December 19, 2008

it's snot much

Some people will buy anything.

You've probably heard that Scarlett Johansson blew her nose on a tissue when she was on the Tonight Show, and Jay Leno gave her a baggie and told her to put the tissue in there and put it on eBay. Give. me. a. break. Are you kidding me??! Well, the last time I looked, the bidding was up over $4000!! For a tis-sue. A used one.

Oh my gosh. Who are these people? Have they lost their minds? How many idiots morons people are out there with that kind of money to blow (no pun intended) on a used nasty tissue? Sorry...I have to keep reminding myself of what I tell my kids. Don't make fun of people. Even when they make it easy for you. They can't help being like that.

Yes, yes, I know they're donating the money to the food shelf. Still. Don't you think they're taking this celebrity thing too far? Would people buy some toenail clippings in a baggie, too, if they said they came from some football star's feet?

But it was originally Samuel L. Jackson's cold, she says. And? It was someone else's before him. Who cares?

It's still snot in a baggie. Eeeewwwww. Eeeeww again! What in the world will you do with it? Reuse it? And then never wash your face? Until you get that cold...

I'm pretty sure if I put a snotty tissue in a baggie and tried to sell it anywhere, someone would be calling the men in the little white coats to haul me away. Or they'd have me arrested for attempted contamination or something.

The only difference is that I'm a little older (a lot, Gee would say) and not nearly so cute. And I'm not famous. Except in my own mind.

Still. What would you be willing to buy from your favorite celebrity? And who would it have to be?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

today was sluggish

I had to drag myself out of bed today, whapping myself with a mental noodle. My brain kept saying, "Get up!!" And my body said, "What? Already?" *snore*

I walked around in a fog all day. I sat in a meeting for three deadly hours, taking notes. I hope I can make sense out of them tomorrow.

I went to pick up E-girl from practice, and fell asleep in the car waiting for her. Practice did not get over early as I thought, and I napped for almost an hour.

I came home, put a quick chicken and rice dinner in the oven, and curled up under the covers because I was still tired, and I was freezing. The next thing I knew, it was done. Just like that. Well, not really, because I actually slept for an hour until my sweet Dee told me the timer was going off.

I think my candle might be running out of wick. Too many late nights and early mornings. Time to turn over a new leaf, just in time for New Year's.

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions because I only usually keep them for about three days, and then it's like they get wiped out of existence.

But a new habit...they say it takes about three weeks to develop a new habit. If I think of it as a habit, it might work. (I can too trick myself, Gee. I do it all the time when I turn my clock ten minutes ahead so I think I have extra time. LOL) But I think if I get into the habit of going to bed early, many other things would fall into place.

I wish I was in the habit of being timely. I try to cram too many things into too short a time and it makes me run late.

I wish I was in the habit of being cheerful. Even if I sound cheerful on the outside, I find myself being cranky inside for no reason sometimes.

I wish I was in the habit of not procrastinating. I'm tired of doing everything at the last minute in a hurry. It sucks all the fun out of my day.

What habits are on your wish list?

Monday, December 15, 2008

life is meant to be shared

I spent much of Saturday with Mugs. We went shopping for baking stuff, and then we went to buy yarn. My honey made venison steak for dinner, and Mugs and I sat up half the night crocheting. For all of the time I spent trying to make this little dinky practice hat, as I called it, I only got this much done before I went to bed.

I worked on it a little more on Sunday, and the rows kept getting shorter and shorter. It was supposed to be a square, but it was looking more and more like a trapezoid. What's a trapezoid, you ask? Think waaaayyy back...it's like a squished square.

I think I have to do it when it's quiet so I can concentrate on how many stitches I'm putting in each row. I gave up and ripped it out. I'll try again when I get a quiet minute. Maybe that won't be until the next time she comes over again. LOL

I stayed up pretty late Saturday night, cleaning up the kitchen and clearing off the counter so we could have plenty of space to work. It makes it so much easier, and less stressful, if you ask me.

Clutter makes me stressed, have I said that once or twice? So why do I have so darn much of it? I guess it's like doing steps six and seven over and over again. You've taken the inventory, you know what you need to do, but you keep doing the same thing over and over again until you're so sick of the results that you're ready to do whatever it takes to change them.

So when I got up Sunday morning, the kitchen was blissfully clean. Well, not spotless everywhere, but the dishes were done and the counters were clear and clean. Just beautiful. Do you think it means that I'm getting old if I get so much satisfaction out of a clean kitchen? My kids think I'm absolutely weird because of the things that make me happy. I can hear them roll their eyes even when their backs are turned. I can.

That reminds me of two ladies at work who were having a discussion about age. One of them was telling the other one about how she was trying shoes on at one store, and she forgot to roll her jeans back down after she put her hiking boots back on, and she had these woolly socks on, besides. She went to a few more stores dressed like that, and didn't realize it until she saw herself in a mirror! She was mortified.

The other lady said, "Well, you know, people expect a certain amount of eccentricity out of a woman of a certain age. Don't worry about it."

The first lady spouted back. "Well, I'm not that age yet!"

Well, I think I am getting awfully close to that age! Here's my theory. Many women spend much of their younger years being responsible, taking care of a home, and raising their children. Once the bulk of that is done and their responsibilities lighten up, they want to have a little fun and be a little silly. That's what Marguerite and I did this weekend.

We made our fruitcake, laughed a lot, took pictures of every stage along the way--I'll post them soon, I promise--and we had so much fun doing it together. It was no grand party night out, but it was satisfying. It wouldn't have been half as much fun doing it by myself.

If you're lucky, you have friends to share the good times and the bad, and friends who will be silly and have fun with you any time you get a chance. If you're even luckier, you'll be friends with your family.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

off to a GREAT start

The weekend is in full swing already--I'm loving it!

Last night I rearranged the things in my room, and everything fit where I had imagined it. This will work. It's not the prettiest, but it's fine.

My sister-in-law Marguerite came over for the weekend so we could hang out and make fruitcake. She is so fun to have over. She brings Odie, her little dachshund, and he gets Augie Doggie all livened up. They chase each other through the house, and then they always do this little stiff-legged dance around each other, nose to tail. And then, like they have a secret signal, they're both off and racing around again.

And then, Mugs (that's her nickname) and my honey will tease the daylights out of each other, just like they did when they were kids. Only it's so much funnier now.

So we have to make a quick trip to the store this morning and buy our ingredients, and another stop to buy some yarn. I'm going to give crocheting a try again. I want to try to make some hats. Barb over at A Chelsea Morning had a super easy-looking hat pattern on her blog a little while back that I saved, and Mugs knows how to crochet. So I can ask her if I get stumped.

Speaking of Barb, I WON something from her blog! Have you visited her yet? I'm always hopping over there to get ideas for crafty things, and to get new recipes to try for our crew here. Her broccoli beef stir fry is a universal favorite over here.

But I got an email from her this morning telling me I won the Debbie Macomber Cedar Cove Christmas book!! You have no idea how tickled I am! Thank you, Barb!

I'm off to head out into my weekend, but I'll check in later and let you know how all the projects went!

Friday, December 12, 2008

a weekend in Boulder?


Ya gotta love this logo:

and this...

Those are some cute chicks!!

Seriously? If I won these tickets to Boulder to the Chicks Who Click conference, I would do back flips. Oh. Wait. If I did that, I'd break things on my body, and then I couldn't go. I would do mental back flips. They'd be so much more graceful anyway.

And chicks who click is a group whose time has come! We women need to take some ownership in this techie world. No more of this, "I can't do that" stuff.

Kirtsy is a sponsor of this get-together, and is giving away some cool stuff! Go check it out. But don't enter the iphone giveaway--I've already got my name on it. =)

weekend plans

I'm looking forward to this weekend. I have high hopes of it being a fun and productive one!

Mugs is coming over to help make fruitcake! Yay! We are going shopping Saturday to get the goods for them. I think I'll have to do the rest of my grocery shopping then, too. I have five more meals to buy for.

I've been inspired by Karen over at the art of heart to create my own holiday wreath. Hers is simply gorgeous. AND it was free! I'm going scavenging in the yard to see what I can come up with.

The Nester has a Mr. Linky going where bloggers can show off the garland they've created--there are tons of ideas here! Go and visit a few of them for more inspiraton.

Off the top of my head, I can already think of a few things: grapevines from the neighbor's fence--the shoots that did a sneak attack on my lilacs, a few snips from our Douglas fir, some rosehips from our Rosa Rugosa bushes for a nice splash of red, and maybe some brass decorations, if I didn't already throw them all away. Wrap it up with a shimmery cream and gold taffeta ribbon that I have in my scrapbook supplies, and who knows how good it could look! Maybe Mugs will want to make one, too.

I'm rearranging my closet, one more time, because the last change is just not working. I've thought of a new arrangement, and I have an empty tote for the books I'm not reading yet, but don't want to toss. I'll add that to the stack of totes in the...garage! That's where the mess is migrating to, once again. We'll have to do a spring clean sweep of the garage.

I wonder if that's enough to put on my list. I always have way more on my list than I have time to do. I think it fills some deep psychological need in me. Ha! If I got everything done, what would I do with myself?

If the promised ice storm shows up Sunday morning, I don't think we'll be taking D-boy and T-boy to church. We'll be sitting tight until it blows over. If it passes us by, we'll go.

I wonder if I can fit a little scrapbooking in somewhere this weekend--or would that be the splash that makes the bucket overflow? And where, I wonder, are we going to fit in some Christmas shopping?

A happy Friday and a pleasant weekend to you all!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

was this addressed in the employee manual?

I knew there were more good reasons not to eat at KFC. I already don't eat there because of the flak that came out a while about chicken brutality. Okay that sounds kind of funny, but it's not supposed to. There were videos published about the way the workers abused and tortured the chickens at the KFC "farms" -- horrible! You can google it, I'm sure, but I have a hard time writing about it. It makes my stomach feel throw-uppy to think about it. I haven't eaten there since that came out.

So I always say to myself when I drive by a KFC, I say -- "Kentucky Fried Killahs" -- and yes, I say it with a Southern accent in my head.

Then today on the news, didja see this one?

Three employees of KFC decided to take a bath at the end of the day in the kitchen sink at the KFC they worked at (notice the past tense--worked) and posted the pictures on their mySpace sites. Can we just say a collective "eeeewwwww"? Yuk. Double yuk.

Here is a goofy KFC Bathing Beauties slideshow that someone already threw together:

Apparently they don't make enough money working at KFC to be able to afford an apartment with a tub?

Maybe a new meaning for the acronym KFC: Kentucky Fired Cuties? Okay, that was bad. Maybe you can think of a better one.

People's stupidity lack of forethought never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

i feel like scrooge

So I'm thinking that it sounds really nice to NOT put up a tree this year. I don't think I'll get away with that, though. I can hear it already. Wails of protest.

It's like the little red hen, you know? Whooo is going to help carry the stuff in from the garage? Whooo is going to straighten out the lights? Whooo is going to make sure all the ornaments have their little hooks? (Sounds more like an owl, really.) But seriously. I have so many better things to do.

Part of the problem is that I want my tree to look Martha Stewart-ish...something like this:

And by the time the cats get done with our tree, it usually ends up looking more like a Charlie Brown tree, like this:

So really. Why?

Are you shocked? It's not a stretch...you just combine my characteristics of procrastination and being lazy and before you know it, it's the new year already!

There you have it: my energy-saving tip for the day. Just say no.

Monday, December 8, 2008

school holiday concerts

I found myself at a high school holiday concert tonight, and none of my kids were even in it! I'm not quite sure how I got myself into that, except that E-girl was supposed to help at it, and I just stayed there instead of dropping her off. Not that I saw her at all the whole night...miss social butterfly herself. She had Dee curl her hair before we went. And what a nice job she did on it! E's growing up too darn fast.

Have you been to one (some) of those concerts? You know what I'm talking about, then. But you have to go and be supportive. You go to hear your kids, but you have to be polite and stay and listen to two hundred other people's kids, too, and it takes foreeeeeeevvvvveeeeeerrrr.

The highlight of the whole night for me? The drumline. The band teacher is quite creative. The principal had been requesting a drumline all year. There was only one problem. There was no money in the budget for drums. Did she let that slow her down? Not in the least.

They used galvanized metal garbage cans, and it was simply fabulous! They were great! And just for fun, they used...balloons! You had to be there.

And the theater group put on a one-act play: Rapunzel Uncut. It could have been entertaining, had it not been for the fat jokes that pretty much took the fun out of it for me.

As for the rest of the concert, well, let me just put it this way. It was like many Christmas concerts I have attended. It was about two hours long, so by the time we could stand up and move around, my tailbone had become one with the chair. I wasn't sure if my legs were going to hold me up, because they had fallen asleep, the lucky dogs.

The students were talented, they sang beautiful Christmas songs, but they were too quiet and I only slept about four hours last night. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

a snowy mess!

Well, we're finally into winter for real. It's snowy today, and there are a few inches on the ground. I actually had to shovel the sidewalk. It's been cold for a while, now, but this is the first real snow to speak of.

We were driving back from church today, and there were cars sliding into the ditch everywhere! So we're driving slow, and there's people getting all up on our back bumper. What do they think? That they'll just magically glide over the icy spots at their sixty miles an hour?

Dee said a truck went crashing right into the guardrail right next to her when he tried to pass her too quickly. It's like every winter, everyone has to re-learn how to drive in the snow. Everyone doesn't have as old a brain as I do...you'd think they would remember for more than just one season.

Just watch this. LOL. I want to know what is with the people with their doors open, for crying out loud.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

single mom ministry

Gail Showalter is on a mission, and she wants to share it! I was asked if I wanted to review her materials on her blog tour, and even though I didn't know a lot about it, I said, "Sure, why not?"

Gail was a single mom for many years, and she remembers how difficult it was. She took her experiences and turned them into a ministry for other single moms. Her materials are inexpensive and easy to use. If you check out her website, you'll find a plethora of resources for churches or groups wanting to do something more (s'more) for the single moms they know.

Here is more from Gail.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my passion for single mothers. In the United States, alone, there are over ten million mothers raising children alone. Over one third of them live in poverty. After years of being on my own as a mother of three, I came to realize how little is done in our communities and churches for this group of children with absent fathers and women with no husbands. The vast majority does not attend church, but our neighborhoods are filled with single moms.

I’ve created and implemented, along with an eleven member board, a detailed plan for encouraging, inspiring, and blessing single mothers. If you have ever wondered what you could do to make a difference for even one of the moms, this is the answer. It is easy, inexpensive, and exceedingly worthwhile.

Interview Questions

1. You have established a ministry plan for single mothers. What motivated you to do this?
A. For sixteen years I was a divorced mother with three children. I was fortunate to have family support and yet the disappointment, emotional pain, and daily difficulties were devastating. I’m happily remarried now for twelve years and my passion for the over the ten million single mothers remain strong.

2. Why do you think a ministry plan is needed?
A. Single mothers have a difficult time day-in, day-out. I think churches want to provide supportive programs for them, but –though there are some successful ministries—much still needs to be done to minister to single moms. Often what you see on the outside doesn’t reveal the heartache and fear she is experiencing on the inside. Church leaders I’ve spoken with have expressed genuine interest in implementing this plan.

3. What do you call the ministry?
A. SMORE for Women. SMORE is an acronym for Spiritual Ministry Offering ReTREATs and Encouragement. Our program assists churches in providing Saturday reTREATs in a home or intimate church environment.

4. What is the ultimate goal of SMORE for Women?
A. Our mission is to inspire and encourage women, especially single mothers, to discover and develop their abilities and inner strengths. Ultimately I hope to see churches across the country implement these programs. And in the process develop ongoing programs and activities for single mothers in their communities.

5. How do you convey this information to church leaders who want to provide a program for single moms?
A. The plan is laid out in detail in print in a guidebook titled Encouraging Single Moms to Grow Their Strengths and with forms on CD’s. I serve as a facilitator when a church implements their first reTREAT.

6. Tell us why you prefer that the reTREATs be in homes?
A. Homes provide an intimate, friendly, and non-intimidating environment. Homes also have the amenities for several of the pampering areas. A reTREAT can also take place in a church or other facility.

7. What do you mean by pampering areas?
A. At each reTREAT each mom is treated in several areas. Depending on the home she may use a hot tub or swimming pool. She will receive a brief massage, and even have a quiet private prayer time.

8. Is there any charge or fee to the church for you as a facilitator?
A. I am available as a facilitator via long distance conference calls. For as long as I can I only ask for a love offering which helps sustain my expenses. If I must travel a long distance I ask for travel expenses. AND if a reTREAT date is on the 2009 calendar by January I will facilitate (via long distance) free of charge. The guidebooks are $20 and each of the Seed Packet booklets for the moms is $10.

9. What are the costs of implementing a reTREAT?
A. There is a nominal budget. It is similar to hosting a dinner party. Usually the volunteer hostesses contribute food. Church members donate gifts and invitations can be printed on a home computer, ordered, or printed at church. The ministry is a collaborative endeavor. Our reTREATs are very small with only six to twelve guests.

10. Are all reTREATs the same?
A. No. We have eight themes for encouraging moms to discover her inner strengths.
They are
• Personality Predicaments
• Money Matters
• Bonding and Boundaries
• Job Jump Starts
• Dating Do’s
• Nutrition and Manners Matter
• Family Fun
• Grieving a Loss.

11. Where can we go for more information about the SMORE for Women ministry?
A. We have a web site which is www.smoreforwomen.org and a blog which is www.seeinguthrough.wordpress.com.

In closing, a reTREAT can be hosted by a small group of compassionate women. The guidebook, Encouraging Single Mothers to Grow Their Strengths, includes step-by-step guidance for planning and hosting a reTREAT. Once you’ve experienced one Saturday reTREAT filled with joy you will want to plan another and another. In the process you will get acquainted with some remarkable women and you might inspire them as they see Christ in you. Please visit SMORE for Women at www.smoreforwomen.org.

Friday, December 5, 2008

happy Friday!

I remember when Pearlie taught me this one. I don't care if she calls it the Cha Cha Slide, I call it the I'm so glad it's Friday dance!

Or, as it's titled, Your Tax Dollars at Work.

Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up!

yes, I am crazy

They say you inherit insanity from your kids. It could be...they drive you to it! I was thinking about that last night.

E-girl is in basketball, now. I'm finding out how much fun it is to be a sports mom. Well, only about a couple of weeks' worth of fun, so far. My part has consisted of picking her up after practice. There's a home game tonight. I think I'll go.

But she's hardly ever home now. I have to get all my words out when we're in the car or she disappears into her room to do homework after she gets home. Or she gets on the computer and goes into zone-out mode.

So anyway, I was feeling a little goofy on the way home yesterday, and she was tired. So of course, she was giving me these half-hearted answers when I'd ask her something. Yeah. Um hmm. Nope. I dunno. Looking half asleep. Doesn't even look at me.

And I'm like a little kid. If I don't get a reaction, I just get crazier. So I'll sing her little songs, or just do things that make no sense. I finally got her when I wasn't even really trying to. We had just pulled into the driveway, and I yelped. "Ouch!"

"What?" she says.

"Oh, no big deal. The elastic on my waistband must have caught one of the hairs on my back and pulled it. It hurt!"

She gave me a long stare. "You have hair..." her voice trailed off. And then, "Yeeeaaah, the weather sure is getting cold. Think I'm goin' in the house, now."

Laughing, I got out of the car and shouted after her, "It's only baby peachy fuzzy hair!"

What will the neighbors make of that?? I crack myself up sometimes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the black hole

How about a lighter note after the yukk from yesterday?

I would way rather have this black hole than the one that lives in my bedroom closet!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

what gives?

Did you hear about the girls in Albert Lea who were abusing the Alzheimer patients in the Good Samaritan nursing home? Here are two of them. You can read all about them on their myspace pages if you click the links below. They look like your normal everyday popular high school girls.

. . .
Brianna Broitzman (Myspace) and Ashton Larson (Myspace)

Callousness is a common characteristic in our society, and yet, people are surprised because these girls look like your average cutesy cheerleader type. Some people chuckle. Or think that it wasn't that bad. Some people seem so shocked that they would do things like the ones Brianna admitted to. I know I was appalled. She said once she... "hocked a loogey from her throat and spit it into a resident's mouth..." Isn't that how you would like your family member treated?

I wonder if people think that pretty girls aren't capable of being vulgar, rude and crude? It's like reverse discrimination.

I hesitate to say this, but if they weren't pretty young little things from a small town, if they weren't dance team sportsy kind of girls, do you think some people would laugh it off the same way? If they were homely, if they were heavy-set, if they were immigrants, or if they were open lesbians, say...would they be treated the same? Looked at the same? Would it have taken seven months from the time it was reported to hit the national news? Would they be out walking around free?

And would people be less surprised if the perpetrators were men? Only then, they wouldn't chuckle about it behind their hands. Would they be saying how lucky the guys were to see "Brian's" bare derriere? Would they have the prosecutor already saying that they would probably get off with a suspended sentence and probation, like Craig Nelson, Freeborn County Attorney has already said?

And if the men were men of color? God help them. They'd be like the Jena 6: buried in jail as deep as officials could find paperwork to cover them.

It kind of reminds me of Abu Ghraib. It was nowhere near as severe, but it's just because the girls were so open between each other about what they were doing to the residents. Taking pictures of the residents when they were vulnerable, when the girls were teasing and tormenting them. It was just for fun, they said, or because the residents made them mad, or who knows why else. But the residents were dehumanized. They were powerless. They didn't even have a voice because the girls chose patients who couldn't remember or verbalize well enough to tell on them. And none of the young workers who knew about it wanted to be the one to tell the truth about what was happening because they might put themselves at risk.

It makes me want to ask where the distinction between right and wrong has gone? What is it that makes people think they can do these things to people? What has happened to compassion and character? Why do some people get it, and others like these girls, really don't?

I guess for me the bottom line is that people make mistakes. These girls made some. Heck. I've made some, too. Not exactly the same, but who's to say what anyone could do? We're all flawed. I don't think any of us could say without a doubt what we might do in a particular situation, given the wrong circumstances.

Now the question is, what will they learn from it? What will we all learn from it? Any thoughts on the situation?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

off to a slow start

Ooooh. Missed blogging on the first day of the month. Not a good thing when your child has been harassing you about being a slacker. Have you seen her comments on here? "Mom. You're fallin' behind. How'm I supposed to keep up on the daily dirt when you only blog catchup posts on the weekend?"

Sorry, Gee. It's been a little busy, doing things like GOING TO GET YOU A MATTRESS, and working and cooking dinner...you know, all those inessential things. :) No, I'm not really shouting at you. I'm em.pha.si.zing. Ok, maybe I'm just a tad PMS-y. I'll try to tone it down.

Let's see. What's going on today? Well, this is nothing new, but I was talking to Gee on the phone tonight, and she let me go because she couldn't tell when I was talking to her and when I was talking to someone here. You know how they say dogs are color-blind? They can't see colors? Well, people in this house are phone-blind. When I'm on the phone, people just walk up and start talking to me. I'll do the exaggerated pointing at the other side of my head where the phone is, mouthing silent things like, "Hello, I'm having a conversation here. Do you think I'm talking to myself?" They look at me like I have given all my marbles away.

So I fling my hands up in the universal "whatever" sign, plug my open ear, and squeeze my eyes tightly shut. They finally shrug their shoulders and tromp away, asking each other, "Why is SHE so crabby?"

And the person on the phone can't hear the other conversations. All they hear is my conversation with them, punctuated by the bits and pieces I throw out to other people to try to satisfy their need for information. So I get, "Are you talking on that phone that doesn't work again? I can't understand you."

I'm caught between two conversations and I don't hear either one. My brain can't handle it. I'm going to give up talking on the phone. In fact I'm going to move to a little cabin in the woods that doesn't even HAVE a phone. Ai chi wa wa. Well, actually I'll have to save up for it first. I'll put an envelope for it in my Dave Ramsey budget plan. Escape Cabin.

In the meantime, don't be surprised if you call and I answer the phone with, "WHADDYA WANT??!" Don't worry. It's nothing personal.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

my to-do list

Today's to-do list is much like any other day's.

~Finish the dishes - I have to write it down to make it an official thing. If I don't, they will slide right under the radar. I like to check things off my list more than I hate to do dishes.

~Pick up the living room. The floor looks like we had an explosion of dinosaurs. Little man is obsessed with them. And there are more things in the living room than there are places to keep them.

~Sit on the bed and stare at the mess in the closet to see if any brainstorms roll in. There are things sitting there that I want to keep, but I don't have room to put them in the bedroom. There's a whole box of books. At the rate I'm going, maybe I should find a tote in the garage to store them in. They're piling up faster than I have time to read them. Or maybe I should just give them to the free shelf at the library. Someone else can take them home and figure out where to stack them.

I'm seeing a theme here. It could be one of two things. Too little storage, or too much stuff. Or both. I think it makes Dee itchy to start tossing things out. Of course, then, that would open the door for me to do the same for her. "You don't need this. It just sits here." Hey. We could help each other clean. The stuff that I kind of want but don't know where to put? She could toss it! There's no emotional attachment there, so it'd be easy for her to just cart it out the door to the Goodwill.

~Bake some of Karen's Dragon Snap Cookies. I think I'll pass on the whole rest of the list and skip straight to this one. Yes!! It's a perfect day for it. And then Gee can take some to her dorm with her when she goes back today. Comfort food from home. And she'll eat one, and smile and think of her lovely mother slaving away to make her nice things...okay, maybe that's just a little daydream. She'll roll her eyes when she gets back to school and reads this, I'm sure, but she'll love them anyway.

**I took a little break from blogging, and I have some fresh cookies to savor while I do dishes. Oh, the zip and zing of ginger! And rolling them in cinnamon sugar instead of just plain old white sugar is the perfect finishing touch. And then, the slight afterbite of cayenne. Oh, yes! The best molasses ginger cookie EVER. Karen, you are a genius!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

an honest award!

Karen from The Art of Heart is so sweet--she has bestowed this Honest Scrap Award on me. And if you don't say it very carefully, it could sound like an oxymoron...something politicians are very good at handing out. So speak (or read) it very slowly. Enunciate!

Here are the rules that you agree to when you accept this award--although I can't write a rule like that without wanting to break it:

"When you receive the prize, you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in their content or design. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing that they were prized with 'Honest Weblog'. List [if you can and/or dare] at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!" (Karen's version was more entertaining; you should click over there to read hers when you're ready.)

But should they choose to accept this award, I nominate these honest bloggers:

Melanie, over at Smellyann Strikes Again
She is creative to the max, energetic, and funny. Did I say honest? Oh, my. That she is. :) And she always manages to snap the cutest pictures of her adorable kids. If we were neighbors, she'd probably have to chase me away with a sharp stick because I would want to go over and have coffee with her every day.

crazy daisy at Forever Daisies
She and her hubby are the proud owners of their first house! And she's a fellow scrap enthusiast--and I think she is much more creative than I am. And, she has adorable new puppy pictures on her blog. What more could you ask for? :)

Kate at The Accidental Traveler
She is one of the most eloquent writers I read. She's so wise. And she's a great mom to an adorable little boy. It's funny, but I always realize something new or profound about myself every time I read her posts. Her heart is totally sold out to God. She inspires me.

Melissa at A Long Way from the Theta House
If I moved to Texas, I'd look for a house on her block because then I'd feel right at home. She's so down to earth. I love reading her blog--she's got a heart for ministry as big as the state she lives in, she's FUNNY, she doesn't take herself too seriously, and she posts great recipes! Try the Darius pasta if you need a new meal for your menu. Mmmm mmmh!

Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom AND Full Bellies Happy Kids
Talented, talented lady. She maintains both of these blogs, AND she's a cooking machine, I tell ya. I look for the easy recipes that sound tasty, but I end up trying almost all of her creations. She is the one who would bring a pasta dish over if you broke your leg, and she'd have it there before you got back from the doctor's office.

and my final victim blogger is The Nester at Nesting Place
A creative home maker, a talented artist, and the most optimistic make-lemons-out-of-lemonade blogger I read. She could create something beautiful out of a stick and some string. I want her to come to my house and practice her home decorating. I'll have to settle for stealing lifting some of her ideas.

Yes, that is only six. Refer to earlier comment.

Without further ado, Ten Honest Things about me...most of which could cause you to fall on the floor laughing and pointing in my direction [but hopefully not the first one]:

1. Injustice is on the top of the list of things that drive me mad, crazy-mad. Following closely behind are arrogance and close-mindedness.

2. I am a procrastinator. To the max. I work quickly under pressure, but any other time, I put off the things I hate to do. Which explains why we usually eat dinner around eight o'clock at night, and why it's an event when I actually clean the hard water deposits and rust stains from the tub. Just saying that makes me thing of about fifty scrapbook pages I could make instead. Meals are overrated anyway. I'd rather snack--graze, they call it now.

3. I love, love, love to collect scrapbooking supplies and organize them in pretty containers. I like being able to see the colors and the textures of all my toys. Imagine that. I hate clutter, but I collect it. Then I rearrange them into new containers, always finding a reason why the previous ones weren't just right. Occasionally I scrapbook.

4. I am bored, bored, bored by routines and schedules. The only thing I obsess about doing the same every time is making sure the toilet paper lays so it comes off the top of the roll and hangs in the front. If it's backwards, I have to switch it before I use it. 'Nuff said about that.

5. I hate going to bed. Well, at least I hate it until I'm so exhausted I could just lean over sideways and crash in place. I'm a night owl, have always been a night owl. I tried being a lark for many years. Even if I get up at the crack of dawn, I still get this creative burst of energy about 11:30 at night. If I get into bed before that, I'm good. If I get on the computer or start scrapping around then, it could be one, two, or even three in the morning before I get to bed. The ONLY time I regret that is when my alarm goes off at five the next morning.

6. I love my coffee. I usually make a pot of joe every morning. My dealer of choice is actually Starbucks, but I don't indulge there too often. Venti sugar-free vanilla latte, with only two pumps of flavor. But not fat-free. Oh wait...that's me (not fat-free, that is.) If I'm not drinking coffee, then my favorite drink to splurge on is Kristian Regále Sparkling Black Currant Juice. A homemade sparkler with apple cider and club soda over ice is a decent substitute, and much cheaper. I lean toward frugality, with occasional bursts of indulgence.

7. I love to bury myself in a good novel. I'm also always checking out books from the library about organizing, cleaning out clutter, and finding new ways to store the junk I have. It's hard to find the time to read anymore. I'm going to have to make some time for it, though, because I just received a set of Beth Moore books from Tracy over at Peace and Quiet. Thank you, Tracy!

I can't wait to get started!

Oh, and to go along with the organization thing, I've never seen a bag or an organizing container I don't like. I've even won a couple of gorgeous bags from other bloggers. This felted booga bag is from Smellyann,

and this one is from Cheryl at Bayou Bags.

Are they not the prettiest things you've ever seen?? I treasure them.

8. All my children are teenagers or older, which means I have now been relegated to that worst of all parent stages: the uncool. The dork. The *eyeroll* "Really, mother?" And the secret knowing looks shared behind my back when I try to sound like I know something about what's up. If I turn around quickly enough, I will catch them with their quickly stifled smirks fresh on their lips, and then they will burst into laughter and tell secrets behind the door.

9. I love to dance, but I'll only do it in the house with the curtains closed when everyone is sleeping. So when they say "Dance like no one is watching," I really do! And fyi, there will be NO secretly shot footage coming to your local youtube video page.

10. Our living room has been under construction for...I think it's...four years now. I've stopped explaining. It only holds water for the first time or two that people see it anyway. After that, yeah. Oh, well. It's my house. It'll get done when it gets done.

All right! Enough about me. The All-About-Daisy window is closing. Start clicking--there's a whole list of brilliant bloggers there to go visit.

Friday, November 28, 2008

the perfect day--no cooking!

I think I'm still full from yesterday. I haven't been very hungry today. And we have so many leftovers that I haven't cooked a thing today. I did make some fresh cranberry orange relish today just for us. The kidlings won't eat it so it's kind of pointless to bring it to the family shindig.

But yesterday the animals were trying to get in on all the Thanksgiving delights too. Look at this picture carefully. PaPa got up early, rolled out his piecrust, put it in the pie plates, and covered them with a towel until he was ready to fill them. When he went to fill the pumpkin pie shell, look what he found:

There, perfectly pressed in, was the evidence! Charli walked across the towel-covered pie plate and left her tracks behind. Good thing PaPa didn't catch her in the act!

The new sweet potato recipe won, by the way, and those who like sweet potatoes said it was great. Those who don't like them wouldn't try it.

Here it is...I just used less orange juice, based on the feedback on the Food Network website. I think I used about a quarter cup. It was perfect.

Ina’s Smashed Sweet Potatoes


4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes, prick them several times with a knife or fork, and bake them for 1 hour or until very soft when pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and scoop out the insides as soon as they are cool enough to handle. (Do you know how easy sweet potatoes are to peel if you've already baked them? It practically falls off them.)

Place the sweet potato meat into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and add the orange juice, cream, butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Mix together until combined but not smooth and transfer to a baking dish. (I used a hand potato smasher because I like mine a little chunky.)

Bake the potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

and a frenzy was had by all...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

It's been a whirl of cutting, slicing, dicing, baking, cooking, and cleaning up this evening. I had to wait till evening because I had to work today--no sick days to take off cuz I was gone with strep throat last week. Two whole days I used up feeling lousy.

But tonight, everyone was helping. Pearlie made a bunch of wrapped pickles. I was lucky and got to eat one of them whole. Oh! It was delicious. So delicious. Do I dare tell you she was going to throw it away because the cat licked it?

Hee hee! I can hear ya now...ewwww! Mmm hmm. Prolly too much information for Turkey Day. No, I don't think he really licked it. He thought about it, though. Really. So why was she going to throw it away? Don't pursue that line of questioning very far. I'm still hungry. I could take an arm off or two.

But then she made Snicker salad, too. With apples, and cream cheese, and cool whip. Have you had that?? Oh, boy.

DeeDee is making pretzel jello and Great Gramma's potato buns. "We're having dead gramma's buns?" the kids ask. "Oh, yay!" Invariably someone will make the comment, something about being well-preserved, or something more graphic. Sickos. We're just batting a thousand, here, aren't we? I'll bet your appetite is shriveling now. Hey. I'm just helping you out with a little portion control.

That's our family--crazy. Crazy about the buns, that is. They are like little feather pillows, they're so light, as long as you make them right. Every year I hold my breath until I know if they are going to turn out. If they don't, I blame them on gramma. The dough is out on the deck raising as we speak. It's refrigerator dough. Gotta be up in about four hours to punch it down and shape the buns. *big wide yawn*

Cindy is making green bean casserole and mac and cheese. John is coming up to our house tomorrow morning to make smoked turkey wings and greens. PaPa is making the turkey lurkey, the ham bam and the to-die-for dressing.

I'm making sweet potatoes. I'm debating between making Ina Garten's version with orange juice and a little cream and sugar, or making the standard with a prince's portion of marshmallows embedded in it. I'll let you know. The thing is, if I make the ones I want, with orange juice, no one else will probably eat them, but they'll eat the marshmallow ones like crazy. :(

We're attempting another pumpkin cheesecake. Oh, and PaPa is getting up early to make a couple of pies, too. Pecan and pumpkin. What a sweetie.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but whattya expect? It's only one in the morning. I surrender. I'm going to bed, after I hug DeeDee and kiss her whole face for doing the dishes. Mmmmmm...*huge sigh of satisfaction*

What's your favorite dish at Thanksgiving? Is it a long-held tradition, or a standard favorite?

wacky web wednesday 11-26-08

It's Wacky. Web. Wednesday!
It could be me.

But I would still be trying to get up from that move in the middle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

don't call--the phone's off the hook!

It's the final night for Dancing With the Stars!

It sure seemed like Brooke had it all wrapped up in the bag last night, if you listened to the judges. I'm sticking with my favorite from the beginning of the season: Lance and Lacey, or Lancey, as their shirts said last night. Warren and Kym are my second choice.

I know that Brooke has been the most consistent with her dancing, and she is very good, but I usually find myself rooting for the underdog. We'll see what happens.

Oh! For the kids' dance, I really wanted Mitchell and Maria to win, and that other snappy little couple won. Well, not really a couple. The brother-sister team. They are funny together before and after the dance, but during the dance? They are SO focused. I guess they're pretty good, too, but Mitchell had that cute little grin--do you know what I mean?

Okay...have to make dinner quickly so that I can just sit and enjoy when DWTS comes on. Dah ta daaaaaah!!

movies, movies, movies

I've heard quite a bit from people who are planning to see the movie Fireproof. I wanna hear from people who have already seen it. What do you think? Although I really don't want to hear about the whole movie cuz I haven't seen it yet...I want your reaction. I'm trying to decide if my honey and I should go see that this weekend. We go to the movies so seldom that I want every one we see to be a hoopla hands-down awesome movie.

Last time we went out, we saw Hancock. I thought it was pretty hysterical, mostly because it reminded me so much of someone I know, AND because he really did have a good heart, even if it was covered with a bit of a rough exterior.

Before that, I think we saw Sweetland. Is that the name? Sweet Land? About a German war bride who came to America during WWII? Oooh, she had a rough time of it. She was ostracized, threatened, completely cut out of the community at times. Even the church. It reminded me of how we have treated the Muslim population after 9/11. I would totally recommend it. It starts off a little slow, but you get drawn in without even realizing it.

Wow. That's been a while. We DON'T go very often, do we? We're cheapskates, not expensive dates.

Anyway, how about that Fireproof? I've heard the acting's a little shaky but the plot makes up for it. So? What if I don't want to go to it to get relationship therapy? What if I just want to see a good movie? Thumbs up or down?

Aw, one other one I want to see, but I'll have to rent it or buy it: Horton Hears a Who. Comments?

Monday, November 24, 2008

a random giveaway

**It's gone to Carla--keep your eyes peeled for more giveaways as I keep cleaning. **

I was cleaning on Saturday...(yes, cleaning won out over sleep--can you believe it?) ...anyway, I came across a CD that I don't listen to anymore, so I'm giving it away.

If you're a Charlotte Church fan, this one's for you! It's her Voice of an Angel CD, recorded when she was the tender age of twelve, I think? It's pretty amazing.

Listening to it, I can imagine myself sitting in a cathedral with this washing over me.

If you like, you could play it in the car when you go Christmas shopping, or if you shop online, you can slip it into the computer.

But if you'd like this, it's yours. Leave a comment and a way to reach you and I'll send it off.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

fruitcake...love it or hate it?

It's almost that time again...time to think about making fruitcake for Christmas. Don't wrinkle up your nose and make that face. Awww, you gotta give it a chance, first, before you say you hate it. C'mon. It's delicious! Well, maybe it's an acquired taste, but you'll never know until you try it.

Last year, my honey, Mugs, and I got together at our house one weekend, and we made a whole bunch of little loaves of fruitcake. (Did you notice how purposefully vague that number was? I was going to say 28, and then I thought, wait. Was it only 14? I don't know. So...a whole bunch.)

But it was sooo good! We have one little loaf left in the freezer, double wrapped and baggied. I might have to break it out this weekend.

But it takes a whole month to make and ripen it. You bake it, and then you baste it twice a week or so with a mixture of orange juice and brandy, for four weeks. Then. You can have a piece or three, with a fresh cup of coffee. It's quite addicting.

But if you don't want to wait a whole month, you could just go to Wuollet's and buy yourself one. Theirs are the best we have found, and it's a seasonal thing. For which my children are probably very grateful, because they are rolling their eyes right along with those of you who hate fruitcake.

Ooh, and while you're there at Wuollet's, pick up some pulla and one of their Old English Plum Puddings. Simply. the. best. I'm getting hungrier by the minute.

So how about you? Are you a fruitcake fan or would you rather use it for a doorstop?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

happy birth.day to you!

Happy birth.day to you, happy birth.day to you...can you hear me singing it yet?

There's a special someone out there in Bloggityville whose birthday is today...yes, Jordan, it's you! I wish you had a card from me to open, but the next best thing to being there is blogging about it! So I'm hoping this will bring a small grin to your face, or even better, one of those beautiful, million-watt smiles!

I met Jordan through Karen, and I met karen through the Big Bloggy Giveaway Carnival last July when I won one of her exquisite cards. Not only is she a talented artist, she is a wordsmith as well! She is a woman with a heart as big as can be, and she has a way with words that is crazy beautiful.

After you watch these little cuties, hop on over to karen's world. Read Jordan's and her story. (Is that right?) It will make you laugh and cry, and think and wonder. Maybe you could leave a little "hope note" for her very special young man, Jordan.

Love you guys!

Friday, November 21, 2008

a different kind of carnival

We just finished a bloggy giveaway carnival. How about a can't give it away carnival? Seriously, or maybe not so, crazy daisy over at Forever Daisies is having a junk carnival. She and her husband are the proud new owners of their first home, and are in the process of moving.

Who but a dedicated blogger would take the time to share their junk drawers at a time like this? LOL

She has challenged her bloggy friends to share their own junk drawers...I don't have any unorganized junk drawers...oh, wait. Maybe I do. Right next to me, by the computer. Selective vision. I'm not looking.

But anyway, I picked a junk cupboard. It's scary. I only use a couple things from the very front layer of the things in the cupboard. The rest of the stuff? It could have little dead mousie bodies or other gross things in there. It's on my list, but who knows when I'll get to it. Maybe on a Tackle-It Tuesday. Someday.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the scary cupboard. And I'm not doing anything with it this weekend. I'm sick, and I'm going to be a slug. That involves staying in bed, eating only comfort food, sleeping, and watching sappy movies.

This is like a side by side shot, so you can see it in its full scariness.

and now it's Friday...

...and my productive weekend I had planned may be shot full of holes--I have strep throat. I'm laying around, thinking about what I want to get done and having no energy whatsoever to do it.

Mama Dee took little man in last night to see if he had it, too. Happily for him, he didn't.

I felt so bad for him yesterday. He woke up from his nap, and you know how when you have a cold or whatever and your throat is full of yucky gunk when you wake up? Well, that was ChiChi, crying and coughing, and he couldn't figure out what he needed to do to get rid of it. Poor little guy.

I took yesterday off work because I felt like a truck had hit me, knocked me down, backed up and ran over me again. I told my honey that, and he says, "Welcome to the avenue."

I looked at him--What??

"I live on that street," he said. "Happens to me every day."

He is so funny.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a great way to end the day

Did you ever get a new daily devotional book, and you get all excited about reading it? And then a few days or a week or two go by, and you kinda forget to read one night? And pretty soon, there are a bunch of other things stacked up on top of it, so you don't read it for a while. And then a month or two goes by before you uncover it again and say, "Oh! That's where that book went."

Well, it didn't happen this time. I got this One Year Women's Friendship Devotional, and I have to tell you--it is quickly becoming one of my favorite devotional books. The messages are positive, uplifting, and relevant to my daily life. The topics are right on the money. It's like meeting up with a friend before I go to bed and having sweet conversation. And personal? Mmm mmm.

You know how sometimes when the pastor is talking about something, and you think he's been eavesdropping? Do you notice that he seems to be looking right at you? That's kind of how this devotional has been for me, in a good way. The topics are encouraging, but so in tune with how a woman feels. At least this woman! :)

And the cover. It's beautiful. Look at those happy daisies in bright pink and bright orange. How can you not have a smile on your face when you see that??? Well, what did you expect me to say about that anyway, with a blog title like "A Daisy A Day"? *It was meant to be, she said, with a smile.* Okay, never mind that.

Well, that's my take on this book. And now, a few words from the authors:

Here's Cheri,

and here's Sandra.

Hello ladies!

They're here to tell you all about why they wrote this simply lovely devotional.

The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional (Tyndale) is the latest book from friends and coauthors Cheri Fuller and Sandra Aldrich. Not only does the text provide a deeper connection to and enjoyment of God and His Word, but it is a wonderful opportunity for today’s busy women to connect with each other as they discuss the short daily devotions and the “To Ponder” questions at the end of each week’s section. Perfect for small groups or two girlfriends meeting over coffee, the devotional also is appropriate for those who prefer individual study.

1. What can women gain from The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional?

Sandra: The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional is designed for today’s busy woman. Each of the 365 devotions are on one page and contain a daily Scripture, short devotional thought from either Cheri or me and end with an honest prayer and an insightful quote. At the end of each week are questions to ponder individually or talk over with a friend. But beyond the friendship connection is our heavenly Father’s invitation to know more about Him and His living Word.

Cheri: One of the benefits of our One Year devotional is it provides a vehicle to discover your natural rhythm for drawing near to God in a personal and regular way. For right-brained people like me, the structure helps me stay in God’s Word day by day so my roots can grow deeper in Christ. Being a lover of people, I also enjoy exchanging ideas and discussing how a certain verse or story spoke to me, and the weekly questions are ideal for that purpose.

2. Why do you say “His living Word”?

Sandra: God’s Word isn’t just ancient wisdom. Its principles apply to modern challenges such as how to make good decisions, how to get along with those who irritate us, how to handle finances, how to know our heavenly Father on a deeper level. And that is just some of the treasures contained with the pages.

3. What’s the target audience for The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional?

Sandra and Cheri: This devotional is written for women of all ages. Some of the illustrations deal with situations young career women face, and some touch a woman’s experience during mid-life. But all age groups will find material that will relate to their life and situations.

4. I understand the need for younger women to develop solid friendships, but why is friendship so vital to women 40-65?

Sandra: Friendship is vital to all age groups. However, women 40-65 often have entered the Empty Nest and/or grandparenting stage of life and need the strength and advice from friends who already have experienced these challenges. In addition, women in this age group tend to be more comfortable with who they are. Not having to prove anything to relatives, friends or even themselves provides remarkable freedom that allows them to encourage others and share the wisdom of their years.

Cheri: Nothing is more refreshing than time spent with a girlfriend, and who doesn’t need that? A friend can quiet our fears, pray for and with us. We all need friends to laugh with and even travel with (I took my first across the country road trip with my sister Marilyn last summer and it was a blast, and summer before last a great trip to Maine with my two “since teen years” friends). Three of my longtime girlfriends and I celebrate each of our birthdays together—so no matter how busy we are, we get to see each other four times a year. We’ve found enjoying a long lunch out at a fabulous place (and gifts from the other three) really takes the sting out of growing one year older.
5. What are some of the topics covered?

Sandra: The 52 weekly themes cover many issues of a woman’s life, including career challenges, the power of encouragement, joyful living, hearing God above life’s roar, when your childhood family is toxic, faith building, avoiding overload, attitude adjustments, finding your spiritual pathway, dealing with stress, wading through grief, telling and hearing truth, making a difference, dealing with Christmas frenzy, a fresh-brewed prayer life, freedom from fear, and reaching a hurting world.

6. What types of questions are at the end of each week?

Sandra: The four or five questions work well for either journaling or discussion with a friend. For example, the first week of April presents the theme “Loving the Lord and Others.”

The questions at the end are:

1) What loving-kindness have you received at a low moment in your life? Who gave it?
2) What encouragement do you try to offer others?
3) When it is most difficult to show love?
4) Have you ever learned a lesson from someone who didn’t know you were watching?

Cheri: We also suggest to the reader she might pick a few of the questions for the week to discuss as she exercise-walks with her walking buddy. Or she can share her responses and thoughts via e-mail with an across-the-miles friend. Reading the same daily devotional with its Scripture, prayer, and devotional thought is bonding and connects our hearts no matter where you and your friend are. You could even share it via webcam or over lunch with a co-worker in the office. The format makes it very versatile and doable.

7. Does the reader need to start reading the devotional on January 1?

Sandra: No. This devotional isn’t about performance; it’s about connections. One of our weekly themes is about guilt, and we don’t want to add more to our readers’ stress-filled lives.

Cheri: One of the helpful facets of The One Year Women’s Friendship Devotional is that you can jump in and start any day, wherever you are—which is very much how God graciously interacts with us. We don’t have to get to a certain place to experience his grace. In this book, there is encouragement, hope, and inspiration for every day of the year—whatever age or stage you are currently in.

8. What’s the biggest challenge to women developing friendships today?

Sandra: Lack of time. And a lack of a sense of community. Today’s women have daily to-do lists as long as their arms. It’s difficult to concentrate on deepening friendships—or even developing them—when our idea of fun is crossing items off that list. Also, those endless lists make us feel alone even in a crowd. Women need each other, but often it takes special effort to form those connections.

Cheri: Recent research shows that 30% of Americans are lonely and often feel isolated. The more hectic life gets, the more we need friends and the encouragement that comes from relationship with God and our sisters in Christ. Our hope is that reading The One Year Women’s Friendship Devotional will energize your spiritual life and your friendships.

Another major challenge we face as women is taking care of so many people that we neglect ourselves and become irritated or burned out. Taking time to refuel spiritually and emotionally is important and the benefits ripple out to our children and family members, job, and all the people our lives touch.

9. You both are busy women. What has been your hardest friendship challenge?

Sandra: Even though most of us do not have our days consumed by cooking meals over a wood-burning stove or washing clothes in a copper kettle in the yard, our schedules still are not our own. Some days it seems as though each minute is controlled by demands from bosses and needs of family, leaving us little time for the soul nourishment friendship provides. The women of my long-ago farm community worked together—canning, quilting and cooking for ill or grieving families. In addition to accomplishing a needed task, they built a friendship fortress that provided an example of how community is supposed to work. I long for those relationships today.

Cheri: When I started speaking and writing, women I knew assumed I was working all the time and stopped calling to go to lunch or play tennis. They thought I was just too busy for fun. But I love people; I’m refreshed by being with people. My heart would dry up and have nothing to say without friendships with women and time with loved ones. So I’m very intentional and initiate getting together with friends.

10. How did you solve your own friendship challenge?

Cheri: Taking time to cultivate friendships is one way I solved my friendship challenge. For example, I call my friend Marcy, who owns a women’s clothing store (she’s beyond busy!) and we go to a chick flick every once and a while. I meet my thirty-two year old daughter Ali for coffee at Starbucks, because she’s one of my dearest adult friends and I want to stay in touch on a heart level. I have a writer-friend in the area, Melanie, and we occasionally get together and encourage each other about our latest book project. Older women friends have been incredible supports for me (since my mom died at 59) and I’ve learned so much from them because they’re farther down the road. Like Patty, who is 80. When I was about to turn 50 and a little down about it, she said, “Cheri, you’re about to enter your ‘Fabulous Fifties.’ The fifties were some of the best years of my life! Enjoy them.” And you know what—they are! How grateful I am for friendships with women!

Sandra: I don’t have that farm community today, but I still need the friendship. Thus, I asked the Lord to provide a friend or two who would understand my intense schedule, accept my down-home personality and provide the honest relationship for which most of us long. Through a series of events, five of us from church began to meet five times a year to celebrate our birthdays. Our little group represented separate ministries, so we scheduled the dinners in our daytimers as though they were important board meetings. Soon, what began as polite meals in which we talked about families and careers, turned into the cautious opening of our hearts and led to an incredible bond. Now, we meet several times a year and are there for each other during life’s challenges. My Birthday Group is a wonderful answer to my prayer asking for a “friend or two.”

11. What’s an example of a devotion in the book?

Sandra: My accounts usually feature one of my young friends facing a challenge or a memory from my Kentucky farm days, which leads to a spiritual point. The following devotion is from June 13:

Carried by Our Father

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he
cares about you.—1 Peter 5:7

I remember a long-ago night in our Kentucky farm
community. I was five years old, and my parents had
taken me with them to visit neighbors. By the time
we left for home, the stars were already out, and
our lane looked long and dark in the moonlight,
especially where the thorny blackberry bushes hug
over the ditches. Quickly my dad swooped me up and
carried me on his strong shoulders. The night was
still dark, and the bushes still had thorns, but I
felt so safe I fell asleep.

There have been many times in my adult life when
I’ve been carried by my heavenly Father. And I’ve
noticed that though I long to be carried away
from the darkness, I’m actually carried through
it, just as Daniel was saved in the
lion’s den rather than from it (see Daniel
6:16-23). I confess, I don’t like the challenges and
trials that often accompany daily human existence.
In fact, I’ve often thought I’d like God to say,
“Good morning, Sandra. This is what I plan to do
today for you and your family. Is that all right?”
But, of course, he doesn’t, and I’m left to choose
once again whether I will trust him during the scary

A while back, I was intrigued by the word care
in 1 Peter 5:7, so I researched it. I discovered
that the word can have two meanings: our worry and
God’s comfort. The worrying type comes from a Greek
word meaning “to divide the mind.” How perfect. My
mind is divided when I allow worries, distractions,
and anxieties to interfere with my trust that my
heavenly Father will carry me past life’s dark
ditches and thorny bushes. So what’s my goal? To
concentrate less on the situation and more on him.

Lord, even though I’m an adult, many times I feel
like that little girl facing thorny bushes and deep,
scary ditches. Help me to feel your strong arms
carrying me to safety. Help me to rest in you.

God is in His heaven; God is on the throne; God
is fully in charge of His world.

--J. I. Packer, Theologian and Author

12. Both of you share intense personal accounts. Was it difficult to be so open?

Sandra: Of course it’s difficult to share personal challenges and failures—even triumphs. But those human elements provide encouragement for others who are going through the same situations. Every woman has a story. As we share those stories, we learn from each other. And we grow.

Cheri: When I speak or write, I purpose to be vulnerable and open about my life. There are times I’ve been through a particularly difficult time and said, “God, I don’t understand all this, but if you can use my pain to distill into something that would give hope to another woman—have at it!

13. Talk about that power of story.

Sandra: We have a perfect example of the power of story as we look to the parables of Jesus. He tucked spiritual points into stories of people and situations His audiences could identify with. And they remembered the lesson because they remembered the stories.

Cheri: Stories are what impacts a heart. Stories are what we remember. The concepts and truths are vital, but I’ve often learned the most from stories of living people I meet, people from the Bible and throughout history—especially missionaries who lived on the edge of adventure, often with no one to depend on but God. So I love to weave stories into the devotionals or other writing I do.

14. You’ve stated what you trust readers will gain from using The One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional. What did you gain from writing it?

Sandra: I always say I have my master’s degree from Eastern Michigan and my Ph.D. from the School of Hard Knocks. Thus, if I can pass along some of my experiences or those of my wise friends and encourage readers or help them make good decisions, then I am grateful.

Cheri: I enjoyed tremendously the wide variety of themes we got to write about in this book—things that really matter to a woman, like not getting caught in the comparison trap, or how to live with joy and a sense of purpose in a stressed-out world. I loved doing the “Lessons From the Garden” to share some practical life lessons I’ve learned while planting and growing flowers. Hopefully, not only our reader will be blessed by the devotionals Sandra and I have written, but she’ll have fun sharing them with a daughter or daughter-in-law, a next door neighbor, co-worker or friend.

15. What parting words do you have for your readers?

Cheri: Remember that God loves to hear your voice, just as you love to hear the sound of your kids’ or loved ones’ voices—not just once a week on Sunday but throughout your days. And every time we open his Book, the Bible, there’s a gift, a promise, or a truth that will help us learn to live abundantly no matter what we’re facing.

Sandra: Because of the shed blood of Jesus, we have the incredible privilege of stepping directly into the Presence of our heavenly Father through prayer. Years ago, a woman asked the great preacher G. Campbell Morgan if she should pray about everything or just the big things. Morgan answered, “Dear lady, pray about everything. After all, what could possibly be big to God?” I love that. And I love knowing we do not pray to air.

In closing, the One-Year Women’s Friendship Devotional provides connection in this fragmented world—connection to other women and, most importantly, connection to our heavenly Father. The quickest way to order it is through amazon.com. For more information about Cheri Fuller or Sandra Aldrich visit their websites at www.cherifuller.com/ or www.sandraaldrich.com/.

And remember: the heavenly Father is just a whisper away.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

welcome to hump day

It's Wednesday, and it's hump day. One of the women at my work always greets me on Wednesdays by saying, "Welcome to hump day!" Every other day, she says, "Welcome to work!" She's so funny. It's really kind of nice. With the job I have now, I can do most of my work on the computer and I don't necessarily have to conversate with people unless I have a question. Or if they are giving me something to do.

But this woman is chatty and cheerful, and she pulls me out of my introvert shell. With my last job, I had to talk to people all day every day. Now, it's still a novelty that I don't have to do that. It makes the job seem easier, somehow. Is that strange?

I think introverts get a bad rap. The stereotype is that they are the non-social geeky types. Well, that could be, but I have a very vivid inner life. Of course, sometimes it spills out into my real life, and that's when my kids start to give each other funny looks and say things like, "It's okay, Mom. It's gonna be all right."

I mean, I always have a tune playing in my head. It's my mini jukebox. Even if it has no words, the beat and the melody are there. I like music. Nothing wrong with that.

I make a great listener. The only problem I have is when I get together with another introvert. It can get pret.ty. quiet. Or a little awkward, especially when we both know we're just trying to make small talk.

But anyway, I guess I'm just trying to say that I think my job is a great fit for me. How about that for good news?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday catch up

Well! It's Sunday again, and I feel like the week whizzed by and nothing happened inbetween. Although I'm sure that many things did. I was just oblivious. Here is my random list of things from the last week.

~ The new job is taking some time to get used to. I still feel a little disoriented. You know how when you are used to a job, and you know what to expect and what to do, you just don't have to think about it too hard to remember if you're doing everything you should.

I still get that little burst of panic when I think I'm forgetting something that I was supposed to do. It's not automatic yet. I still have to write everything down, and check and double check my lists. I hate being new. Of course, you usually get cut a little slack, and people don't expect you to know everything.

I forgot my password for one application I use, and someone asked me for a printout of something I need to get from there--I was in the process of trying to figure out the password, and she came back three times in fifteen minutes to see if I had it yet. Talk about being under the gun.

~ I have to remind myself once again not to get too attached to the kids' "others," as in significant others. One of the girls broke up with her boyfriend, and doggone it, I LIKED him! But I think her reasons make sense, so what can I say? She has to be in it for the right reasons, and "my mom likes him" is not the right reason. I still like him.

It wasn't a bad situation or anything, and I'm pretty sure they're on good terms, but even so. It still makes it a little awkward. But life goes on.

~ Last week I stayed home Monday and Tuesday to watch my little ChiChi bear while Grampa was off to catch Bambi with the boys. I'm sorry to tell you that it was not a successful season, at least not for the one they got. I had to go into the garage for something, and totally forgot that it was hanging up out there waiting to be butchered, and oh! I was startled to see it there. I wanted to throw up in my mouth. Yuk.

~ Wednesday, Thursday and Friday whizzed by. Friday evening I went to Scrap Mania and worked on my book a little. Saturday morning I went off to Luvvy's and worked on my scrapbook. I got there around noon, and I worked on my scrapbook until probably around 1:30 in the morning. I packed up all my stuff and came home. Today was short because I slept in.

~ I've been working on the acrylic album. It'll be cool to keep on my desk, or carry around with me to whip out when people ask about family. It's getting pretty thick, though, between having to add extra pages and such.

I've had to be creative about adding pictures. There are a limited number of pages, so when I've had extra pictures to squeeze in, I've used envelopes, and just hole-punched them so they can be inserted into the appropriate place in the book. I attach the extra pictures with ribbons, so they can slide out and back in without falling on the floor. I think it turned out pretty well.

There are a few more things to add, but I'm almost done with it. Then I'll start my next book, which will be about our Colorado trip from two years ago. Hopefully I can find my journal from the trip. Too bad it wasn't last year. I probably would have blogged about it and I could use those notes for my journaling.

~ I've been trying to think of a good way to scrapbook the pictures I have, because I originally wanted to start a book for each one of the kids. But then how do you scrap the things they do together without each book ending up being a duplicate of the other? And most of the kids are older, and I don't have day-to-day stuff to scrap about. Like the Wyoming boys. I get one or two pictures every other month. If I'm lucky.

I think maybe I'll start the books for the kids, but I don't want them all the same. I want to make a unique one for each, and then they can read each others. I don't know if the boys would want one anyway. I don't think they're as sentimental about things as I am. I tried to give Lewie his things I saved from school when he was moving out, but he didn't want them. He said something about those being for me, not for him. Will he change his mind someday? I don't know. Do I hang on to them in case he changes his mind? Probably.

Too much thinking about it hurts my brain. I'm going to stop thinking about it all, and just get ready for bed. I'll see if I can get ready and be in bed before midnight tonight. Don't bet on it. But I only have to brush my teeth, put my jammies on, put Friends in, set the sleep timer, take my vitamins, and leap into bed. The doors are locked, the cats are fed, the dinner is put away, the dishes are done, the checkbook is balanced, the scrapping things are put away...I'm so efficient today, I scare myself.