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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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
times.

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.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

is it crazy?

The rest of the day yesterday went so much better.

After my haircut, I ran to Archiver's and cashed in my free coupon for a cute little "wristlet" pouch with a pocket on the front for a picture. I did one of their free make-and-takes there. They were showcasing, if you will, all kinds of Christmas ideas. Kinda fun.

Then I moseyed over to Barnes & Noble, got a vanilla latte, found a scrapbook idea book and sat down to read for an hour or so.

By this time, I was feeling a little giddy--I NEVER do this. I can't remember the last time I had unscheduled "me" time.

How is it that I can take care of everyone else, but taking a little time for myself feels so odd?!

I stopped at the butcher shop on the way home and bought some meat that we're going to need the next couple of weeks, and I headed home. I found a short cut home (after a couple of wrong turns down a scary dirt road--scary because I thought I was going to go in the ditch or get stuck in the mud). I'm not a dirt road girl anymore! I know, what a wimp, huh? Pretty much. Maybe if I had a nice four wheel drive truck.

I went to Dal's birthday party, stopped at my honey's ex's house on the way home to take some pictures of her puppies (no, we're not plotting against you, dear), then came home and went to bed.

Yesterday filled up my bucket. Simple little pleasures, a little leisure time, it's amazing what that can do.

Now I'm cleaning up the kitchen and with some Laura Story in the background, I'm feeling pretty content. I've had a sweet morning with my little ChiChi boy--we had some oatmeal and then he took a bath. He smells good enough to nibble on!

I have some nice things to look forward to here...two more days off to get the house into shape, the Rockettes tonight with DeeDee and Pearlie, and some fun scrapbooking coming up next weekend. I'm easily pleased.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

a nothing kind of day

Wowza. It's Saturday already. I'm slacking on my posts here. Well, I've been busy. My honey has been getting ready to go out of town all week long, and I've helped him with a little of this and a little of that. But now? I've got the leisure thing going on. I'm doing whatever I want to do. Even if it's nothing.

But between hunting and sleepovers, I was the only one home last night. That's a little creepy for me, going to bed when I know I'm going to be the only one home. If people were just getting home late and weren't there yet, I wouldn't think twice about it. It's so weird.

I felt like a little kid again. I woke up in the middle of the night once, and instead of getting up to make my usual girl's room run, I just stayed in bed and went back to sleep. Why is that, I wonder?

I had a hair appointment first thing this morning, 8:00 am. Bright and early. My honey said to me the other day, "I'm going to be gone hunting on Saturday. How are you going to get up in time for that?" I looked at him all crazy-like. "Um, I'll set my alarm?" The same way I usually get up?

He got this little look on his face, that little smile, like a "you can't get up without me" smile.

Whatever. I'm grown. I'll get up when I want.

I have to tell you about my alarm clock, though. It's sort of broken. When I set it, each number of the time has it's own button. So I set the hour with the left button, and I set the minutes with the middle and the right button: one for the first digit and one for the second. The middle one is broken and it is stuck on 1. So I can change the hour of the day, but can only set the alarm to go off anywhere from ten minutes after the hour to nineteen minutes after the hour. Does that make sense? I can adjust the last number anywhere from 0 to 9. I can adjust the first number from 1 to 12. But the middle number is stuck on 1.

Well, anyway, that's my quirky alarm clock. I don't want to buy a new one because this one has a phone on it, and I love it. If I set the alarm to sound like a ring, I shut the alarm off by picking up the phone and setting it down. Even more fun is when someone calls me when I'm sleeping. I pick up the phone, set it back down, and go back to sleep. "Mother, I'm not your alarm clock," my kids say.

Well, anyway, my alarm went off...6:19 am. Hmmm. Little bit longer. I'll reset it for 7:10 am. That still gives me a half hour to get ready. No sweat.

It went off again at 7:10. I rolled over, shut it off, and rolled back over. Just for a sec. When I opened my eyes again, I freaked out. It was 8:15!!!!

Fly out of bed. Let the dog out. Call the salon. Okay, still going. Feed the cats. Quick go potty. Let the dog in. Change my clothes. Grab my purse. Fiddle with the door lock. Get the door open. Lock it again. Slam it shut. Check the door. And run for the car. Whew!!!

The worst part? He was right. Arghh!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a mother's prayer

I came across this poem online at CafeMom, and it brought back so many memories. I wrote it in my journal when my kids were little and I had a copy on my fridge because THIS was the kind of mom I wanted to be. I had a long ways to go, but this gave me hope.

O, heavenly Father, make me a better parent.

Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say, and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting them or contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me.

Forbid that I should ever laugh at their mistakes, or resort to shame or ridicule when they displease me. May I never punish them for my own selfish satisfaction or to show my power.

Let me not tempt my child to lie or steal. And guide me hour by hour that I may demonstrate by all I say and do that honesty produces happiness. Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me.
(that line was meant for me!)
And when I am out of sorts, help me, O Lord, to hold my tongue.

May I ever be mindful that my children are children and I should not expect of them the judgement of adults. Let me not rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions.

Bless me with the bigness to grant them all their reasonable requests, and the courage to deny them privileges I know will do them harm. Make me fair and just and kind. And fit me, O Lord, to be loved and respected and imitated by my children.

~Amen

Saturday, November 1, 2008

love like this

Ayiesha Woods' new album, Love Like This, sports a fresh, peppy sound, but I think it might be more appealing to a younger audience.

She has a beautiful voice, but it's often drowned out by the instruments in the songs. My taste leans toward something more soulful with more emphasis on the voice. If she sang something a little slower and lost some of the instrumental sound, I'd probably like it better.

It's got a strong pop sound, with a little bit of R&B flavor thrown in. I like it, but I'm not crazy about it.

You might love it, though! If you'd like to hear her, go to this link and give her a listen. She's beautiful and talented. I think she's just going to get better and better.