Sunday, December 27, 2009

just one day at a time

I started my blog almost three years ago. I have friends I've had less time than that. 656 posts in less than three years. That's an average of over two hundred posts a year.

Boy, does that make me feel productive on a day where I feel like I haven't done much at all. I'm feeling a little down in the dumps after all the holiday hullaballoo, now that it's all over.

But my average hasn't been that great this last few months...

I feel like I've just abandoned ship in the middle of the night, tossing out a few random posts here and there like a bone to a starving dog. I wait until I feel guilty, and then throw something up onto the blog. It's like a friendship that I'm not making time for anymore. That's kinda sad.

It's been that way with everything. Scrapbooking, in fact any kind of crafting, computer anything other than my classes (which, by the way, I did not get straight A's in. 2 A's and a B, which was entirely my own fault.) Two more classes coming up next semester. I think I need to find a "fun" class to take over the summer. And maybe ASL in the fall. Who knows? So I haven't been completely slacking, but I haven't done much of anything creative, which makes me sad.

I just watched Julie and Julia tonight--for the third time--and I got all warm and fuzzy about my blog so I had to come back and post again. Have you seen that? I think it's one of my favorites. I particularly liked the song "A Bushel and a Peck" by Doris Day.

I had to look it up in the soundtrack (online), and then had to find it on youTube so I could get all the words to it. I LOVE the internet!

The only part of it I've ever heard is when my mother-in-law used to randomly sing the first part of it...♪♫♪I love you,♪♫ A bushel and a peck,♪♫ A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck...♪♫♪♫♪. But that's all the farther she would sing it.

Now, I've heard the whole thing. I love it. And I love Doris Day's singing. Have a listen:



I'll be back sooner than two weeks from now. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

coming up for air again...

whoop! gasp!

and she plunges down for one last marathon of studying.

One more final on Monday, and I'm done for this semester. Not bad for an old chicka...chicka wha-! (that was for you, Erica.)

It's been a mad whirl of tests and papers, all semester. Only six credits, but that's besides work. I know there are people who do more, but I'm pretty happy to have done just six. Now I'll get a break for a few weeks, and start again after the new year starts.

Not much excitement around here. Just work and school. Oh! Other than what happened this last week. It was the morning after it snowed. I heard the forecast, and I listened. The day before we got the snow, I brought my boots in out of the garage, which is where I store them over the summer. Well, where I USED to store them.

Morning hit, the alarm went off, I got up. I had my boots by the door, and I went to put them on to go start the car because there was too much snow on the ground to wear my Crocs.

The litte voice in my head said, as it does every year, "You should check those boots to make sure there is nothing in them." I have checked them EVERY year and there's never anything in there, so I finally cut myself some slack and decided to just put the boots on. I was tired.

Well the first inkling I had that this was a bad decision was when my foot hit something disgusting-feeling. Like crunchy and mooshy at the same time. Aaack! Aaack! Gross alert!

I pulled my foot out as fast as I could, and immediately stuck my hand in there to pull out whatever it was. I guess somewhere in my brain I magically thought it was just wood shavings or bird seed or something. Bad choice. Whatever it was in there, I sank my hand into it, got it under my fingernails and got a better feel of its unlovely crunchy mooshiness. I jerked my hand out and ran for the sink so I could wash my hands off, just trying to breathe. "Oh yuk, oh yuk, oh yuk!" I just kept swallowing so I wouldn't throw up.

After I dried off my hands, I tried to look in the boot, but I was so tired that my eyes couldn't focus in the darkness of the bottom of the boot. So I took it under the light and looked. I could barely make out the shape of a little mouse's head, but the body was kind of hollowed out. I saw some little bones and a couple of dried up maggots. Yukkk! Bleah!!

I was freaking out by this time. Ick! So I pulled the liner out of the boot to just wear the boots so I could go outside. The car was still waiting to be started, and time was passing by way too quickly. Mornings do that to me.

The little voice said, "You better look again." So I looked into the bottom of the boot before I leaped into it, and there was a HUGE sluggish spider crawling around in there. I am NOT a fan of bugs, LEAST of all those eight legged creepy crawlers. Even if my honey does say they are my friends. If they're my friends, why am I not happy to see them? Something is wrong there!

I lost it. I was screeching and practically crying, and my honey came flying out of the bedroom to see what in the world had happened to me. "What is the MATTER?" he says.

I couldn't do anything but whine like a two year old having a fit. "I just stuck my hand and my foot into a dead mooouu-uuuuse! Aaaaaaahhhhhh! And there's a spider in my boooo-ooot!"

I was dancing around in a frantic circle, waving my hands as I went. If I were him, I would have fallen down on the floor laughing, but he was kind enough to stay calm and just say, "Just wear my boots then."

I picked up the offending boots before I went out, and deposited them in the trash bin outside when I went by it. There was NO way I was going to deal with them. That is just no way to start a morning.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

emerging from the deep...

It sounds like the title of a creepy movie! Ha. ...from the deeeeepp!

I have been simplifying my life. Less stuff, less clutter, fewer late nights, oh, and can I add less spare time? Classes really have a way of sucking up every little window of time that exists in your day. Between studying for tests and writing papers and going to class...wow! But I love being in class. I love to learn things. So I'm really not complaining. And I'm learning something that is fun for me.

Next fall, I'd like to take a sign language class with my honey. An evening class, once a week. Doesn't that sound like fun?? I hope it works out.

So what's new? I got healthy again, mostly. Still have a plugged nose, but I think that is from allergies. Which I'm not medicating as consistently as I should.

My Erica is playing basketball once again, and she made the varsity team. She's so nonchalant about it all, and my buttons are just popping off my sweater! But I try to contain myself. I do think this year it's going to be a lot more work, more practice.

Gail is just going to school, doin' her thing, working hard. Living on campus seems to have settled down into a familiar pattern, and she's doing great, at least from my perspective. I can't really speak for her. And tomorrow--tomorrow we're going scrapbooking at Archivers! They have a "make a calendar" class. Time to let the right side of the brain take a break, and let the left side out to play. Mugs is going, too. I'm so looking forward to it.

My honey has been so sweet and thoughtful to me--I'm lovin' it. I feel a little spoiled, though. He goes out and starts my car for me every morning, and he's been getting up early and making coffee so we can spend a little quiet time together before I go to work. That man has a soft spot in his heart for me...I'm telling you.

My bloggy friend daisymarie was talking about the theme of her life recently, wondering what it would be if she tried to nail it down. I think mine would be something along the lines of enough...in terms of having enough, and realizing that I have enough. I don't need "stuff" to fill up the hole in my heart. I have a pretty excellent hole-filler in mind, and He doesn't take up any floor space whatsoever. However, I have let Him take over the interior decoration both in my house and in my heart. I don't need the clutter to live my life. I don't need to hang on to it in case I am lacking it someday and need to pull it out. That's really what it is, you know. A deep down fear that someday I will need something and I won't have it. So I save every possible thing that I think I might need someday down the road. Why worry? Why stack it up? It just makes me miserable and makes everything messy.

I really need to soak that in and revel in that knowledge. Thanks, daisymarie. A beautiful day to ya, hon!

Friday, October 30, 2009

*cough! cough!*

Wipe off your keyboards. Clean your monitors. It's very contagious! We are the official sickies around here. In my spare time, I sleep. On my lunch hour, I sleep. I go to bed early, and I get up as late as possible and still get to work on time. And finally, thankfully, it's Friday and I don't have to get up early!

I feel the drive to scrapbook coming on. Next weekend, Archiver's is having their holiday bonanza sale, and the following weekend, they have a super duper calendar class happening! I'm really tempted. If I'm not still tired, that is. This has to end sooner or later. I've been feeling yucky since I got my flu shot a little over a week ago. I want it to be done.

I've been slacking on the blog since I started classes, and now I have classes two nights a week! I have another test on Monday and a paper due again. I better factor in some study time this weekend instead of waiting till two hours before class to buckle down. Although if you look at grades, what I've been doing has been working, cuz I have a 92% in the class. But I want to RETAIN this stuff! Not just ace the test and forget it. That's for rookies. I want to be in it to win it and be able to pass certification tests and such. Maybe that is part of why I'm tired. My brain is working overtime! Ha!

Well, there's plenty of family drama going on. Oh, the stories I could tell! But it's nothing that I can blog about, so I'll just ask you to pray about my kids. And me, too. And my honey. Oh, heck. All of us! Thanks!

Friday, October 23, 2009

shebang! he has claws

It's official. Garfield, Mugs' cat, has discovered that he has claws and that our cats, Tucker and Franklin, do not. What an attitude change. he no longer cowers and hides. He struts down the hall. He lollygags in the chairs, sprawled as far as he can stretch. He saunters in front of the cats, stopping to give them a cold stare.

But it doesn't stop them from trying. They still gang up on him and try to intimidate him. Today Franklin had Garfield blocked into the hallway and was growling at Garfield, so I went to break it up. Franklin turned around and headed for the dining room when I shooed him away, and right after he turned around, Garfield exploded past me and leapt onto Franklin's back with all his claws outstretched! Wow!

Franklin crouched down and started yowling. Tucker rushed over to defend Franklin, and Franklin turned and hissed at him, too. Tucker started to yowl. That is an eerie sound. It started out mournful and rolled right on down into a rumbling growl. Zowie! That's the most excitement I've had in weeks!

Cats do not play nice. They strut and puff and bluster just like men do (sorry guys, but you do). And I couldn't believe that Garfield gave Frankie the equivalent of a sucker punch. Hit him when his back was turned.

So Garfield has been banished back to the bedroom.

He is so funny, though. We bought those sticky sheets of plastic that you can stick onto the upholstery to keep cats from shredding up your furniture when they want to sharpen their claws. We heard him back behind the couch...rip, rip, rip...if you have cats, you probably know the sound.

So I took out the sticky sheets and applied them to the back of the couch. After a bit, I saw him head back there, so I quietly peeked my head over the back of the couch to see what he was doing.

That little stinker. He was back there, touching the plastic sheets with his paws. He'd give them this disgusted look. But instead of giving up, he put his face up to them and grabbed a corner of the closest strip with his teeth and tried to peel it off the couch! What a smartie!

My usual line of defense when the cats are doing something they shouldn't is to squirt them with water from a spray bottle. I didn't have that handy, so I blew a big puff of air at his face. He stopped, for a second, and went back to it. I had to do that three or four more times before he ran out of there and left them alone.

My goodnes. It's like having kids around. But the next few days will determine if Garfield stays or goes. He may have to go back to our niece's house if he can't get along with Frankie and Tucker. He's young, and our kitties are almost fourteen years old. They're destined to lose if Garfield doesn't cool his jets.

You know that old saying...something like, Youth and strength will never win out over age and treachery? It doesn't work here in our wild kingdom of cats. I think the tide is turning. The theme from The Lion King is playing in my mind...The Circle of Life. They were the kings, but there comes a time when the younger, stronger ones are ready to take over. Kind of depressing, you know? LOL

Friday, October 16, 2009

cats don't share

Franklin has become a class A-1 bully. A bully, I tell ya.

Mugs, my beloved sister-in-law, has moved in with us. For good. She comes with pets. One little wire-haired dachshund, Odie, and one big orange and white cat, Garfield. I know--it's perfect!

Except Garfield doesn't really live up to his name yet. He's pretty shy and retiring. Very meek and mild. Hasn't been fixed yet, still has his claws. And he's timid. Go figure.

Odie has been a frequent visitor, as he has come with Mugs when she would stay for the weekend here and there. Garfield, on the other hand, has not.

Franklin, our black and white kitty, is a PILL. He stalks poor Garfield every time he pokes his nose out of Mugs' room. He'll sit down at the beginning of the hallway, and he just pokes enough of his face around the corner so he can see if Garfield is out of the room.

Mugs has the room at the end of the hall. I'm afraid poor Garfield is destined to live down there. He's such a timid thing. I know that our cats are going to run his life and make him miserable, just the way they did little Charli-mama's.

Has anyone had any luck with getting cats to get along? Because my cats definitely don't sing that song..."Can't we all just get along?"

Tucker, our big black cat, has already let Odie know who's boss. He's the one with the Garfield personality, really. Odie got too close to him one day...it was kind of like when someone keeps backing up out in public somewhere and doesn't look behind them. You know what I mean? And all of a sudden, they're in your bubble? You want to give them a shove or something, but you usually just back up and wait for them to notice they're too close. They run you over, and you move out of the way. Crazy.

Well, not Tucker. Odie got too close to him and as soon as Tucker had had enough, he gave poor Odie a good CHOMP! on his backside. Odie yelped and took off running for Mugs. He sat under her chair looking out at Tucker, like, what the heck is your problem, cat? Tucker just sat there and gave Odie a cold stare.

They are so entertaining! Who needs TV?

Yes, I know we said NO NEW PETS. I don't think these count, because they're technically not our pets. Really.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

a very one-sided conversation

I can text message from my email. I have to pay for each text on my cell phone, so I very often use my email to text Erica, who has unlimited texting on her phone. It's not foolproof, but it usually works.

Tonight was another story:

d (9:28 PM): hello?
d (9:28 PM): hello erica:
d (9:28 PM): hello erica. do you need a ride home from church tonight? we didn't talk about that. let me know
d (9:28 PM): hellow? hello? 'ello? 'LO?????
d (9:29 PM): howdy doodle little noodle
d (9:29 PM): are u there?
d (9:29 PM): erica
d (9:29 PM): ERICA
d (9:29 PM): er
d (9:29 PM): i
d (9:29 PM): ca
d (9:29 PM): hello?
d (9:29 PM): h
d (9:29 PM): ell
d (9:29 PM): o
d (9:29 PM): ?
d (9:30 PM): hoo hoo...
d (9:30 PM): doo doo.......
d (9:30 PM): doot de dooo... erica.....
d (9:30 PM): doot de doodley doodley doo
d (9:30 PM): woo hoo
d (9:31 PM): what is the name of that cough drop where they sing it like they're up in the Swiss Alps?
d (9:33 PM): that's how I'm singing aer--ikaaaaa... aha! i kept thinking fabiooooo...but it's Ricola. Riii---colaaaaa
d (9:33 PM): Airrrrr--icaaaaaaaaaa


She's probably just ignoring me, now. Ya think?? Because I'm probably driving her nuts. hee hee hee!!!

Oh! Now, four whole minutes later, after she waded through my texts, now this:

Erica (9:37 PM): Mom
d (9:37 PM): Oh, finally!


*laughing hysterically* Can you hear that tone? Mom. Like, are you kidding me.

I am easily amused.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

what i've been doing in my spare time...

...learning how to use Camtasia. Too much fun!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

it's been another week since I blogged

Let's see...I had class, took a test, handed in two papers, cleaned stupid Microsoft Agent malware off my computer (four evenings!), got a daybed and mattress for Mugs, babysat my little ChiChi boy, went to a wholesale jewelry show--(can we just say, oh, my?!), did laundry, have all the dishes done right now (yippee!!), and I'm back to class on Monday. It'll be here before I know it. (pant, pant) I can barely keep up with myself. I can't believe how fast the weeks go.

The cedar waxwings are back, on their semi-annual migration. Their sweet cheeps gave them away last night when I walked the Augie-Doggie Doomeister. Their song is so distinctive...it's like no other. Anyway, I think they're heading south just in time! Winter is coming fast on their heels. (Do birds have heels? I dunno.)

In one day, our weather went from summer to almost winter. Yikes!! I left this morning to go to the jewelry show and it was a balmy, oh, 65-ish morning. Beautiful. It got cooler as the day went on, though.

When I finally got home tonight after bringing Gail back down to the dorm, I swear I could hear sleet on the window. It was really just rain, but with the wind, it was soooooo cold!

In fact, it was so windy that Mugs called to see if my honey was still alive. That's an inside joke. He loves the wind. He says it calms him down...makes him feel peaceful. He said one time that the day he dies, it'll be a windy day--it'll be blowing about 50 mph. So she had to call just to check.

Okay, it's kind of a morbid joke, but you have to know my honey. He's a straight talker. He doesn't pretty it up to spare your feelings. He just says it like he sees it. So when he thinks about dying, he just says it right out loud. Drives us all crazy every time he says it, but so it is.

And every time it's windy, we have that conversation, or something like it. Nice, huh?

Well, I feel better because I got my blogging fix, and now I'm going to go listen to Al Green sang some gospel before I toddle off to bed. 'Nite, all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

while i was away...

Actually I haven't done much updating here at all. I don't think I've been sitting long enough to do it without any interruptions! No, seriously! And things aren't going to change that much for a little while:

We're still working on the house, only at a slower pace.

I'm still working full-time (thank you, God!).

Mugs is moving in by the end of the month, and we have things to do to get ready for that.

I'm taking three classes this semester, and they are starting to pick up the pace--I'm supposed to be studying for a 3-chapter test this morning. (Do you see how well I spend my designated time?) Ha!

Oh, and I have two papers to write. The list goes on and on...

So why am I blogging? Well, I just kind of got here to my blog because of autopilot or something.

Do you know how when you're driving someplace, and you suddenly realize that you've turned to go someplace else--someplace where you're used to driving all the time? That's what I call my autopilot.

Like for the first half of my drive to work now, it's the same as the way I used to go to my old job. One morning I found myself driving to my old job when I had no intention of going that way! Crazy!

Well, now that I'm completely aware of what I'm doing, I guess I better quit and get back to my homework. :) I have something else I want to write about and reflect on, but I'm going to have to save it for later. AFTER my homework is done.

AND, I hafta tell you, too, that I found the cutest thing for my house at a garage sale, of all places. Actually I've found a few nice things lately. I'll tell you more later. I have so much more to say!!!

Aaiiiggghh! It's killing me to quit writing here. You never want to do something more than when it's impossible to do. LOL.

On my way, now. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

this is outrageous

I guess Steve and Marian are not the only ones whose lives have been turned upside down by insurance companies...



It is a racket. I don't get it. How do they sleep at night?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

a fine day for a wedding

Wow! Yesterday went by in a blur of pictures, people, pulled pork, and pure fun.

The ceremony was at the town hall just down the road from Jon & Melissa's. It reminded me of a little old white one-room schoolhouse. You could have spit across the room inside.

The reception was at Mel & Jon's, the bride and groom's place. There were more cowboy boots and hats there than I could count. The mosquitoes were out in full combat gear, dive bombing everyone in sight. Dogs were running around the yard, and the people just kept on coming.

They were parking all the along the long driveway, and valet service was provided by the ushers on an old golf cart. It was pretty speedy--I caught a ride with them myself! Very efficient.

The pole barn was transformed with white tulle and strings of sparkling lights. It was quite nice!

We went to a nearby park to take family pictures before the wedding. Then my camera battery went dead, and I had no backup. So hopefully others will share their pictures with me from the ceremony.

The lovely bride and her groom:



Melissa and my honey and I:



Instead of a dollar dance, how about a dunk tank? Here is the brave groom:



...and the bride in her best dunking duds (the white boots were my fave) patiently waiting for her turn:



And the crowd gathered around to spend their dunkin' dollars!



I have to say, it is the only wedding I have ever attended where the best man's and maid of honor's speeches were upstaged by a rooster! Mel and Jon's rooster came hustling into the pole barn where we were all seated. You could tell where he was under the table by watching who was wiggling around in their seat and trying to see under the table.

But it was a beautiful day, and the ceremony, although short, was very nice.

Lots and lots of friends and relatives came out to wish them well. We didn't stay for the whole night...by 8:30 pm, it felt like midnight! I was exhausted and had had enough fun for one day. LOL. I went home tired, happy and full of good food. Cheers!

Friday, September 11, 2009

happy wedding day!

Saturday, September 12.

My baby is getting married!

Ready or not, here it comes. Melissa and Jon are getting married today!

I'm up late Friday night, putting the finishing touches on her garter, and hemming my honey's dress pants. No sense doing early what can be put off till the last minute, you know.

I found a dress on Tuesday. Ordered shoes online and got them Wednesday. Picked out some sodialite pieces and Luvvy put them together for me last night...at about midnight.

And I should be sewing, but I just had to take a little break and breathe here.

We went to the rehearsal tonight and went out to Mel's for dinner. Wow! Have they done a lot of work to get ready for this. The place looks fabulous. Sorry I can't claim any of the credit...I actually have not been responsible for very much. She gave me one thing to do. One. And I waited until today.

I could tell you a little secret about how it all worked out, but someone doesn't want me to tell how they helped me. So I'll just say THANKS again, and get back to the hemming.

Pictures at 11, and by this time tomorrow, she will be a Mrs. instead of a Miss. Wow!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

whew!

We've continued to work on the house...my honey bought trim for the living room and bathroom windows--oh. my. Hardwood is not cheap.

We had a few snafus today. The bathroom mirror we bought had an obvious chip in the front of it, and the light fixture didn't fit well, so that came back down off the wall. Back to Lowe's we will go.

I bought a couple of upholstered chairs at a garage sale. I think they'll look great after a shampooing. They're in decent shape, and I love the look of them. I think we'll get them reupholstered in something besides white moire when we get the couch reupholstered.

Tomorrow I have to do some sewing. Pants need hemming, a garter needs sewing, and I want to get some plum colored fabric for a bathroom curtain. I'm debating if I want to make a balloon shade I can tie up or a Roman shade. I think the poufs of a balloon shade would be very attractive in there. I need to get a haircut and find a dress for the wedding.

Do you think I'm cramming too much into one single day?

Naaaahhhhh! Not if I get an early start! LOL. I work better under pressure.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

COOL GADGET ALERT!!

Oooh, ooh!! Can I share a very cool gadget with you??? I don't hear anyone saying no, so I'm gonna. LOL

This is the coolest thing for cleaning up cat (or dog) hair off a couch, chair, anything that's upholstered in fabric. It's a Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair. There's a little video you can watch. I get excited all over again when I watch it. Ha!




Two swipes and the cat hair on your couch is sucked up by the dual rolling brushes. Gone!! I'm so serious. This is the most fun I've had in months.

Usually I go through this long process of vacuuming my furniture to get this stuff off, and with four three shedding cats in the house, it builds up fast!

But I just got this fabric sweeper thingie, and I went through and cleaned all the furniture in a minute! Literally. A minute. If you have issues with pet hair, you're going to love this thing. One disclaimer on the package: "Not for use on animals." Uh, yeah. Only if you want them to bite you when you start pulling their hair out with these roller thingy-dingies.

It says it's not for vinyl or leather. Well, yeah, that's kind of a "Duh!" thing. Use a wet wipe or a dust mop thingie, or a Swiffer or something. This is for serious pet hair issues.

Oh, by the way...the package also says, "Do not try to empty or disassemble disposable sweeper." They want you to buy a new one, not reuse the old one. Of course they want you to throw it away and buy another one. Hello. I will just tell you, the cover does come off and you can empty it and reuse it.

But they work so well that I couldn't believe they had any left on the shelf when I went to find one!!

Oh, this makes me think of my BFF Beth, AKA Super Gadget Girl. I have to tell her about this one.

I am so easily pleased!

Yes, children. Your mother is a fork, I mean dork. (If I text the word dork, the default selection is fork...sorry, I couldn't resist!) Yep, I see them, rolling their eyes again. Stop it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a decision!

Wow!

The pressure is off.

We got a phone call letting us know that the inspection has been canceled. The decision was made TODAY to place the children back with the father, and therefore, we are out of the picture.

What a mish mash of emotion. We went through all that work, money, time, stress…and now, poof! It’s like it’s all gone. An illusion. Not real.

There’s a sense of relief, an easing of the pressure. That was getting pretty intense, like the thumbscrews were being tightened till something had to give! All of a sudden, the pressure is gone. There’s kind of a nothingness there. It'll take me a little time to get used to that, now.

But on the bright side, the kids are able to go back to the parent, and lots of nice things have been done to the house. We can continue to repair and renovate, but at a much more mellow pace. Who knows? We might even start to enjoy it!

Thanks for your supportive comments and encouragement and prayers!! We appreciate them all!

will we pass muster?

Tomorrow is the day. It's the day that we will find out if we are up to the mark, if we're good enough, if we pass muster. My kids would be saying, "Pass the mustard? Huh? We don't even like mustard." And even if I explained, they'd be looking at each other behind my back and rolling their eyes. "She's making up words again," they'd say.

But really. How many times in your adult life do you have a situation where an outsider comes into your home, and looks around with a critical eye to see if you are good enough, perfect enough, and up to their standards? Very seldom, if you're lucky. It's getting a little stressful!

But if we are going to be able to get this foster care license, that's exactly what we have to do. We have to pass the inspection. And I don't know if we will.

Thirty-some years of rough-and-tumble from the kids really takes its toll on a house. You know the saying about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Well, we need to make a serious investment in silk fabric, I'm tellin' ya! In fact, I think we ought to buy a whole silkworm farm and get a head start.

It's not quite to the point where we keep the neighbors out of the house with an outstretched palm, but it almost is. "Umm, sorry. You can stop right there."

And add to that fact that we have been clutter collectors for many years as well. It's amazing to see things get uncovered as we weed through and throw things away. Wow. So that's what the dresser top looks like. And the floor space! It looks so open. I did the little trick of not putting the furniture all the way next to the wall. It's away from the wall about six or eight inches. And the room looks bigger!

I have to admit. Some of the stuff is just getting shoved into totes and hauled into the garage, just because of the time crunch. But I swear it's going to get cleaned out and gone through. We've come too far to go back now.

This cleaning out process has been good for us, but stressful at the same time because of the pressure of a deadline.

Well, it's coming to a head. Tomorrow. Do or die time. Will we cut the mustard? (Now there's another expression the kids have probably never heard.)

We'll see. It's going to be a push tonight. I'll keep you posted. If I survive.

Friday, August 28, 2009

coming up for a little air

I thought I'd drop by and post a short update. I know I've been absent from my blog...no one else is here to mind the store. Maybe I could find a guest blogger. LOL.

So the wedding countdown is minus two weeks and a day. Melissa's girlfriend is giving her a shower this Sunday, and I'm going up tomorrow to help her frost cupcakes. I still have to make the garter. It's still a toss-up if the procrastination will win out, or if I will get it done ahead of time. Oh, and of course I have pants to hem, and a dress to find...no sweat, right? Yeah, riiigghht.

Do you think I should have given her a shower, too? I don't think the mother of the bride usually does that. Isn't that like a social no-no or something? But usually don't they have a girlfriend shower and a family shower? It's been so long that I'm just not up on the wedding etiquette stuff. I should consult Gail. She has magazines and workbooks and long-term and short-term planning lists, and her wedding is a year away. She would know if anyone would!

Maybe it doesn't matter. But each side of the family usually does one, and we have nothing. Just this one, and the invite said to "bring something romantic." I'm a little afraid! LOL. I can just imagine.

Oh, and Mugs has been over all week. She just went home last night. And she is so much like my honey that it makes me just howl. It's so funny. So he gets to deal with the female version of himself all day long. She said she went and took a nap in sheer self-preservation. And my honey told me he's considering withdrawing his invitation to her. Hee hee!! Ah, it's all in love. They're crazy about each other. Really! :)

And Luvvy was over almost every night, and our niece...and her kids...and then our nephew, his daughter, and her boyfriend came over one night to help, too. I missed all the fun that night. I had class, which I'm very excited about. I'm taking computer networking classes! For free. Basically.

And then Johnny was over last night helping my honey put up the bathroom ceiling board--you should hear them yell at each other. Seriously. Yelling. They are SO alike. So here's me and our niece, trying to help hold up the ceiling board, and my arms feel like they are going to fall right off my shoulders they hurt so bad. And here's my honey and Johnny, ARGUING about where to put the screws to hold up the board! Are you KIDDING me??!

"I'm dying, here!" I shout. And they both look at me, look at each other, and keep on shouting. Totally hysterical. And then when the work is done for the night, they are both perfectly calm, and they hug each other goodbye when Johnny goes home.

"Love you, bud." "Love you, too." "G'nite, now. See you next week," they say.

And I'm just sitting there with my finger in my mouth...going, "Huh??"

It's like a three ring circus. Who needs TV, I say. I have my own family sitcom right here in the house. Maybe I could sell tickets to the nightly show to raise money for renovations. Ha!

Okay, I'm really not complaining because my house is looking better every day. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

blast from the past

I just got back from my nephew's wedding. I have decided that I do NOT like riding in the car when I'm tired. I haven't had to do that for a while. I would rather be tired at home, thank you, where I can just go to bed when I'm ready. Even if I have to start brushing my teeth when there are people over, at least I don't have to sit in a squishy little space (the front seat of the car) where I can't get comfortable and my claustrophobia gets the best of me.

I was so uncomfortable all the way home I probably drove my honey absolutely batty. I told him he married a spazz. Jumping around, twitching, thrashing around trying to get comfortable.,,it was a horrible car ride. Thank goodness my honey drove. I was so glad when we got home that I almost got out and kissed the ground a few times. LOL.

It was fun to see family I haven't seen for a while, though. The kids don't stop growing when you don't see them...in fact I think they speed it up and put it in overdrive. Wow! Some of my brother's grandkids have gotten married already. I'm not there yet. I'm just getting used to the idea of MY kids getting married.

Tomorrow, it's back to work with the painting again. We got the walls in the living room completely textured, and tomorrow we paint them. I think they look fabulous already. It's going to look great. I can't wait. No more Christmas morning pictures with the blotchy sheetrock in the background.

And the bathroom walls are nearly done...all they need is paint and a little trim. This place is going to be like a whole new house when we finish everything that needs doing.

I gotta get to bed, though. I just had to sit down and type a few things and get my online fix because I haven't been on the computer all day. Is that sad?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

steve and marian need help!

Who are Steve and Marian, you might ask. Good question. Oh, my gosh. I read about this the other day, and it keeps haunting me.

This guy Steve, his wife is sick. Like really sick. And the insurance company in its infinite wisdom, has decided to deny her benefits. The doctors have recommended various therapies that would help her, but the insurance company hired their own doctor WHO HAS NOT SEEN HER, and this doctor has decided that she does not need these treatments. Supposedly she will not benefit from them. They sent her to a nursing home without providing for any rehabilitative treatment. HOW DOES THIS PERSON SLEEP AT NIGHT???

It reminds me of when my honey got permanently injured at work...when he put in a claim for disability benefits, they had a doctor see him, who only looked at him, asked him a couple of questions, and told him he could return to work.

My poor honey could hardly walk into the office using a cane because he was in so much pain. "Oh, no. You're fine," the guy says. "You can go back to work tomorrow, and with no restrictions." In fact, he told my honey he had to go back. And if he didn't, they could fire him. What a farce. Anyway.

What if my honey were in that situation that Steve's wife is in? What could be done? By me, or anyone.

Well, Steve's friends and family aren't sitting around crying. Well, they probably are doing that, too. But they have turned to the wonderful blogoverse to ask for help spreading the word about his wife's situation. Take a quick look. You won't be sorry.



They are starting to feel a small inkling of hope. Go ahead. Go on over and leave a comforting word for them. Spread the word. You'll feel better.

Monday, August 17, 2009

the scariest concept in the world for me

I have taken a bit of a break from book reviewing, but this one grabbed me. Letting go of control is very scary for me, as it probably is for many people. This book is written by Sandy Hancock, a woman who had to let go because everything she was hanging on to disappeared from her grasp. Marriage? Poof. Security? Poof. Gone. It's my worst nightmare. So of course, being who I am, I have to read about it to see how someone else did it, so that if it happens to me, I'm prepared!

Meet Sandy! Read more about her experiences here, and follow the link at the end for more information if you like.

Question: What inspired you to write Letting Go, Pathway to an Amazing Life?

Answer: I have had a personal relationship with God most of my life. I attended church, prayed daily, participated in church activities, etc. I knew Jesus offers joy and peace. Yet happiness in my life seemed to come and go. There had to be more to life. I heard others say you will have happiness if you have a relationship with God. I had a relationship with Him yet something was missing.

Then I went through what I call a “wilderness experience”. This is a time of hardship in which there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. We discover we must let go of our grip on anything in our life that we are seeking to find satisfaction from and embrace the life God called us to live. Experiencing a wilderness experience changed my focus and my life. What resulted is a strong desire to tell what I discovered to all who are on the same pursuit for happiness that I was on.

Question: Letting Go, is an intriguing title. Why did you choose it?

Answer: We tend to hold onto the things we think will bring us contentment. In my life I held onto my dreams and desires. I believed they would provide me the happiness I sought. Yet everything I pursued failed to bring meaning to my life. It was not until I reached a point that I realized that my own pursuing was not working that I was able to let go and surrender all to God. It was at this point that my life changed. It was in letting go that I began to find true joy and peace in my life.

Question: How can reading your book have an impact on the reader’s life?

Answer: As you travel with me on my journey to find contentment, I share the secrets I discovered to have inner peace and true joy. I encourage the reader to let go of the obstacles in their life that hinders them from experiencing the abundant life Jesus wants all of us to have. Further, fundamental truths are revealed that guides the reader to a closer walk with God.

Question: How did you become a Christian?

Answer: My parents made the decision to enroll me in a Christian school. My parents did not know God, but they knew the value of a good education. They felt a Christian school would give me a better education. It was at school that I learned who Jesus is and about the love of God. I value those days and the valuable lessons I learned. Those lessons were what would get me through many challenges in my future.

Question: You speak of joy and peace in your book. In what way did you find these?

Answer: For most of my life, my eyes were focused on my life, my circumstances, my dreams and desires. Once I let go of these and put my focus on drawing closer to the Lord and embracing His desires, my life began to have meaning. When I stopped placing confidence in myself to find happiness and started having God-confidence, He brought me an inner peace and joy that I had previously only had glimpses of. My circumstances did not change but how I felt inside did.

Question: Was there a pivotal point that changed your life?

Answer: My childhood held a lot of precious memories. It was during my childhood that I grew to have a special love for family. It was a place where you belong; a place you can count on, or so I thought.

During my junior high years my family started to come apart. Investments my dad made put a strain on his marriage with my mother. Finally my dad stopped coming home. My world was turned upside down. The family I knew and loved was gone. All I depended on was no more. What I was left with was my pursuit to have a loving family again. It became my life’s goal.

In my pursuit I would meet several men; a few that were good to me and many who were not. I ended up in some pretty awful circumstances at times. Yet I just hung on. I believed so deeply that if I could just meet that special one, I would be happy at last. Then one day I did or so I thought. That man became my husband. Then four days before Christmas he walked into our bedroom and said there was a U-Haul in the driveway and he was moving out. I could barely breathe. The pain was intense. This is what I had waited for all my life. This marriage was supposed to bring me happiness. And there were many times it did. But in the end I was left empty and alone.

For most of my life my focus was in finding Mr. Right. I believed once I did I would my life would be complete. When my husband walked out, I realized all my pursuing only left me broken and without hope. I saw following my own pursuits was futile. It was at this point that God was then able to show me a much deeper love than I had ever experienced and I was able to let go.

Question: How has your book been received from its readers?

Answer: Here are some excerpts of what others have said after reading my book.

“Phenomenal book! From her personal experience, Ms. Hancock gives inspired counsel on how to have a truly amazing life. Her insight often goes against the modern cultural norm, and challenges popular notions by taking us back to basic concepts that have been known and have worked for millennia. A must read, if you dare. Warning! Do not read this book if you’re happy and content with just miserably existing in this world. You will be challenged.”

"This book has a great message to anyone who reads it. The author shares many of her life stories plus a great pathway to happiness. It is a true must have for any Christian reader. The book holds your interest from chapter to chapter."

“As an avid reader of mostly non-religious books, I was pleasantly surprised how much liked this one. I found "Letting Go" to flow smoothly between scripture and the stories of the author and others. This is a REAL story, from a very REAL person who takes us on a journey through her trials & tribulations of looking for her "true love". She would come to discover that the only "true love" can be found in Jesus Christ. This is a terrific book about life and living it to its fullest. A very inspiring book to readers of any denomination and I recommend it highly."

Question: Are you associated with any other organizations you would care to share with our readers?

Answer: I have partnered with Inspire Life Skills Training, Inc (www.inspirelifeskills.org). They inspire young adults who are aging-out of the foster care system to become independent. Half of the proceeds from the sale of this book is given to them.

Foster youth face enormous challenges in making a smooth transition to adulthood and building successful lives. These young people often leave the foster care system with few resources and very little support. Often they have suffered physically and emotionally from the lack of a stable and supportive family. As a result it is common for these youth to face homelessness, limited education, unemployment, incarceration, substance abuse and unwanted pregnancy.

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life?

Answer: I currently reside in Southern California. I am the Director of Amazing Life Ministries which gives me the opportunity to travel throughout the country and minister to people. I have two grown sons, David and Jeremiah. I love the outdoors. Some of the activities that I enjoy participating in is skiing, hiking, camping, bicycling, and scuba diving.

Question: How can our readers purchase your book?

Answer: It can be purchased directly from my website at www.pathwaytoanamazinglife.com. Also it can be bought from several online bookstores.

Thank you for your time and May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

so long, sweet boomboom

What a sucky weekend it was. We had to put Dee's kitty BoomBoom down. The poor baby...he was pretty sick. She had him in to the vet, and it sounded like it was going to be so expensive to take care of him, and she just couldn't afford it.

Now some of y'all probably would spend the money on the cat, and honestly, I have such a soft heart that if I had the money, I would have done it. He was such a sweetie...so mellow and loving that it about broke my heart to do it.

And THAT is why I'm going to stick to my mantra of No New Pets. Too much heartbreak. I can't take this anymore. Our two cats are twelve, and Augie Doggie is eleven. Their clocks are ticking, and I'm turning into a wimpy kid, here.

Pets have one downfall. They just don't live long enough.

Farewell, sweet BoomBoom baby.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

a cleanin' I will go, a cleanin' I will go...

Hi ho the derry-oh! A cleanin' I will go.

We have been existing in a state of desperate frenzy ever since we decided we would apply to be foster parents. A whirlwind of activity has been going on here! Clean this, repair that, put those away, install this, buy that...it's not simple to become licensed for foster care.

The state holds you to a high standard of safety and preparation, and I know it's because they could be liable if they placed the children in an unsafe environment. But there was just so much to do.

There is a family member whose children need to be in foster care, probably only temporarily. But if they are not placed with family, they could be permanently placed outside the family. My honey says you don't let that happen to family. You do what you have to do, and you take care of your own. Okay, honey.

He told me when we got married, that I better hang on to my hat, because it could be a wild ride. I never thought that this was what he meant, though! LOL.

On the bright side, however, I have sheetrock on my bathroom walls for the first time in, oh, almost twenty years! It's so beautiful. I cried.

It got torn apart when there was a water leak, and that's pretty much how it stayed. There were always other things more pressing, more of a priority, like...kids' shoes and clothes, groceries, school supplies...you know the drill. Even with one kid, that can get spendy. Times that by eleven, oh my.

But. We decided that if we were going to be living here much longer, we had to put some more money into it. So the rejuvenation project was started already when this other situation came about, so it's just being put into high gear. Well, as high as it can be when you consider all the factors. Most of the kids work full time. I work. My honey, disabled as he is, can do things in short bursts, but he gets frustrated because he can't work the way he used to before he became disabled. He has the knowledge, but not the same ability.

And, we may yet have Mugs living with us, which will be a joy! We had planned to invite her to move in here eventually, when a bedroom emptied out. It just got moved ahead due to changes in her living situation. It's just the logistics we have to think about and plan. We'll be back up to ten people in the house. I guess these four walls are taking in a deep breath once again. Oh! And Mugs comes with a dog.

You know, I thought this was going to be one of the quietest years yet, so I signed up for three classes this fall. The boys have all moved out. Gail will be in college full time again. Dee is working full time and X will probably be in daycare. Just imagine...one teenager and my honey and I.

All that I can keep thinking about is the old saying, "Man plans, God laughs!" I'm betting He has a big smile on his face right now, because He knows the outcome of this. He can see the big picture. The only view I have is what's right in front of my nose.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

it was the title that caught me

I must confess, I agreed to review this book because the title caught me: Confessions of a Pastor's Wife.

I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the book virtually fell into her mind, as a complete piece, chapter titles and all. (I have had that happen a couple of times, but I didn't write the books. I could kick myself for that!)

But there was more I was looking for. I think by necessity a pastor's wife must be discreet, but often that discretion seems more like distance. It can feel like a barrier. Kind of like, I like you, but don't get too close to me.

I don't know what a pastor's wife goes through, but I can imagine the demands can be stressful. It has to be difficult to make friends you can trust on an intimate level. And still, you can't trust them with other people's confidences. Even if you just disclose your self, and the friendship melts down, it leaves a gaping hole from which the shared confidences will inevitably pour out. It's a risky business. I thought that the book was going there, but it really didn't do that as much as it documented her personal journey about learning to listen to God.

But anyway, when I saw this book, my interest was piqued. Kathryn Bonner has graciously consented to answer some questions which will tell you, better than I could, about her experiences with being broken, and how when she listened, God was able to put the pieces back together for her.

Her marriage fell apart, and much of this is the story of the man God put into her life, but the book is full of tidbits and eye-opening nuggets of wisdom that I keep mulling over in my mind. It's a great read!



Kathryn, when and how did you first get the inspiration to write "Confessions Of A Pastor’s Wife"?

I write about this in the intro of the book. It was literally like a burning bush moment for me. In 2004 God gave me all of the chapter titles all at once. He was literally speaking this book into me! I never expected it! It’s one of the reasons the subtitle is “He Speaks, Can You Hear Him?” I literally ran into my office and grabbed my prayer journal and began writing all of the chapter titles down as fast as He was delivering them to me. They came in perfect speed – it was overwhelming and awesome! I stood there in amazement staring at each chapter title - knowing what would be in every single chapter! Of course, immediately thereafter began to have all of the feelings of being unable, unworthy, and unqualified to do this work. But it was God who gave it to me and He who made the way for it to be completed.

What was the process of writing this book work? Was this an all-at-once kind of epiphany or did this take years in the making, collecting thoughts and ultimately putting them together?

I mentioned before how God gave me the book to write in 2004, but it wasn't until 2006 that I really began to write it. He had to build my faith further, nudging me along. One of the ways in which He continued the prompting was that He provided me with a life coach to hold me accountable, to push me. Then once I finally surrendered all of the self-doubt, unworthiness and fears I began standing it this beautiful place of faith, with His power. He gave me a joy around it and then I began to write. It was like opening up a vein, it just began to flow. There were times when I couldn't pull myself away from the writing, that's when the writing is great! That's when you feel the power of God, the Holy Spirit moving through you, Him speaking. That's the gift He gives me in it. I am so thankful for this gift. It's all from Him, all of it. I love it.

One of the chapters in your book that is titled “Discovering God” you say that there are “moments when God speaks to you through your dreams” does God still speak to you in your dreams?

Oh yes, He sure does, and I hope He never stops! He also speaks to my husband in dreams. Dreams seem to be one of the ways He has revealed major transactions that are headed our way. He speaks profoundly to me through the dreams. It’s not every day, but when it happens it’s intense. In the book I write about some of the dreams He has given me that have come to pass. He’s also done so with Bruce.

You talk about the many ways in which God speaks to us, do you hear His voice as an audible voice or is it an inner sensing voice? Also can you share a few ways in which God speaks and reveals Himself to us, while backing this up through Scripture?

I don’t hear Him in an audible voice, it’s an inner voice that I hear Him, and I hear Him through His Word. Some Biblical references in which God speaks to us are: Exodus 3:14: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” ACTS 9:15: “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.’” 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The book frequently takes a humorous approach; I found the chapter titled “The Bug Truck" to be deep and absolutely hilarious all at the same time. It has a kind of an intimate "ya ya sisters" kind of thing? Do you think of your book as something that will appeal more to women than to men? Why or why not?

Women love it, and they laugh as they fly through the pages and then they cry as they land on the very next sentence. It’s been very soul stirring. You know, at first I thought that it would have an appeal mainly to women; however, I am getting incredible feedback and actual responses from men. Men are really able to relate to this book on numerous levels. They have shared how parts of it have essentially moved them emotionally as well.

This book is about marriage, talks about becoming a blended family, and talks a lot about Bruce and his approach to our marriage, speaks to raising our children, financial concerns, and being a supportive partnership in marriage. So it has been speaking volumes to men, which I am glad to hear... God is good.

How did your husband Bruce support your efforts with the book?

Bruce was totally supportive. He was an encourager to me. He prayed for me, he knew that this was something new for me and he enjoyed the process along with me. I think he was rather fascinated with the way that God had spoken this book into me.

Was he at all curious of just how much "confessing" appears in the book?

I'm sure he was a bit, but interestingly enough he wasn't asking to read it, he wasn't asking me what I was writing. I found that interesting, because if it were him writing a book, I know that my curiosity would get to me, I'd want to read each page as it was written. He didn't do that at all. He just watched me as I wrote, sat back and smiled at it all.

What do you think is the essence of what you felt compelled to say?

Oh wow, that feels like a loaded question! There are so many things regarding faith, family, how God moves and so much more. I think the two main things that I want people to recognize is how God uses each of us, and the other thing would be the most beautiful and profound ways He speaks to us. He uses you to speak into my life, into my heart, to hear Him.

This book is a portion of my life story, (not all of it certainly and there are more books to come). In this non-fiction faith story, you will find pieces of your very own faith story as you turn the pages, you will hear the quiet whispers being spoken lovingly straight into your very own ears. God has a way of speaking; He has a desire to be heard, and to be trusted by us. He has such wonderful and glorious things to reveal to us, not only through His powerful Word, but also through all of His people.

I am compelled by God to share the ways in which HE SPEAKS to us, all of the many and wondrous ways… through Dreams, through Wise Counsel, through the Stillness of Meditation Alone in our Closets, through The Whisper of the Wind, through a Bumper Sticker, through Children, through the Clouds, and in so many other ways! None of them are farfetched at all! I want it to be known how the Holy Spirit works, in the holy and mysterious ways.

He wants us to hear Him so He uses the multifaceted ways to grab us, ways that He knows we will hear. The Bible reveals to all of us many of the ways He speaks. Through Clouds, through Donkeys, through Burning bushes and the list goes on and on.

Our lives are a walk of faith, struggle, joy, and more struggles and more faith, but we are never alone, never without El Roi – Our God who sees us.

How has the book been received so far by those who have read it?

It's been really cool for me. My sister called after she read it and said "Wow, I'm so surprised, pleasantly surprised!" She didn't realize the writing ability that I had; I laughed and said that I had no idea either. My mom and dad love it, and of course they would. My mother-in-law raves about it and says I should be on Oprah, which makes me laugh. Bruce loves it, of course. My kids adore it; my sons-in-law enjoy it and are proud of me, Of course each of my family members would respond that way.

What has been wonderful to see though is all the reader responses on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, all give it 5 Star ratings, even men have made comments on it. The other blessings are the emails and calls and notes that I have received telling me how the book has moved them, how it’s spoken to them, increased their faith walk, made sense in areas of their lives where they needed that exact Word from God. Others, tell me that there are so many places that they can relate, and still others tell me that they feel like they know me better, and understand the way that God Speaks because of it. This is the essence of the book, and speaks directly to the subtitle “HE SPEAKS CAN YOU HEAR HIM?”

What, in your opinion, will readers find most surprising about the life of a pastor's wife?

That we are just as human as they are, we make mistakes. I will make more mistakes, certainly not intentionally, just because I am human. I am very honest and candid in sharing my truth, my life, and my confessions of when and how I have messed up, done things the wrong way and what I’ve learned from it. I think that they can have certain expectations of who we are as a “Pastor’s Wife” or who we should be, that in reality we just aren't. And yet, they may also find that to be refreshing.

I am a leader among women, and enjoy that role, and I am a woman who loves the Lord with every inch of myself and want so badly for the world to love Him as much as I do. I hope that they find me to be normal, very real, and see that I am trying to walk out my faith the best I can. They may be surprised to note that in my daily living I am a bit ditsy, (OK, maybe that won't really be surprising! :)

What are your plans for the future in the publishing world? Think you have any more books in you?

Oh yes, there are at least four more to come. I have also written a Bible Study Companion to this book, it’s in the first stages of completion. I have written a guided Biblical Meditation titled “In The Potters Hand” which is derived from Jeremiah 18:1-5, and it is beautiful, and profound and straight from God. It can be found on www.AwakeningsLifeCoaching.com. I am also in the beginning stages of the second book now. This is truly a calling the Lord has placed right in the middle of my heart.

What else does God have you doing these days Kathryn, and how can our readers connect with you?

I am in the process of writing more books, and just finished the Bible Study Companion to this book. I am a Life Purpose Coach, and I do two day 1-1 individual retreats facilitating Life Plans for women, the part I love is which is an amazing thing to witness, is when a women discovers her purpose and passion. My husband also does Life Plans for men. We do couples’ Life Plans as well. I am an instructor through LPCCI for those who are interested in becoming a Life Coach. I am an international speaker and enjoy traveling to the various parts of the world encouraging and sharing the wonders of God!

My websites are www.AwakeningsLifeCoaching.com (based on Isaiah 50:5 “He awakens me morning by morning…) and www.KathrynBonner.com I am putting together Writers Retreat in September for Christian Women. They can register for this retreat and find out more about this opportunity by going to my website www.WomenOfPassionatePurpose.com.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

wacky web wednesday

You would so not want to be late for this wedding!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

sunday smiles

Here is something that makes me smile today. With all the horror stories about animal abuse that are in the news, this helps restore my faith in human nature.



Tell me something that made you smile, or if you post it on your blog, leave a comment with a link.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

can a clutterbug change her spots?

Do you think I could get blurry vision from running around like a chicken with my head cut off? I thought, even though everyone keeps telling me not, I thought, that the fewer kids I had at home, the more life would slow down. It's simple math! One 24-hour day, divided up between 11 kids, a husband and me...and sleep, and eating, and working. Crazy busy, right? Now, just a couple of them are home. Piece o' cake, right? NOT.

Do ya think stress wears you out? Yeah, I know. Dumb question. I know it does, but it's like it's hitting me for the first time all over again. Most of my stress is unbloggable because it also has to do with other people, but if you feel so moved, pray about that. Pray about the things that are stressing me. Every single one of them is out of my control, so I have to just keep handing them over to the One in charge.

Even though most of the time there is just one, or sometimes two, of the kids at home, I don't even have enough time and energy to grocery shop AND put groceries away in the same day. We got the majority of the shopping done yesterday and finished it today. I'm still putting the stuff away.

We did go with Pearlie to look at houses today. And I did finish the last few things on my list. But I didn't cook a meal. I didn't wash a dish. I puttered a little bit in the kitchen, putting things away and cleaning up, but other than that, nothing to make me this tired.

I guess it doesn't help that the whole house looks like everything kind of grew and multiplied and exploded out of its normal place. Not that everything had a "normal" place anyway. LOL. We are squishing stuff into every nook and cranny to make room to work, and if all else fails, we just stack it up in the corner.

It is making me CRAZY. I can't rest--I can't relax--I can't even think!

I am trying to take the opportunity to throw things away, to pare down my stuff, and to really think about what I actually want in my house. I'm so tired of the things that I've had in the house for years and years that I'm ready to throw it all away and just have nothing until I find what I want.

Sentimental I am not. At least not very. Only about certain things. Like pictures. And books. And some handmade furniture. But not about junk. But one woman's junk is another woman's treasure. So who's to say?

I'm reading the coolest book by Jill Butler called, Create the space you deserve : an artistic journey to expressing yourself through your home. It tells about her experience of buying a house and recreating it to be her dream house. There are little snippets of other women's stories in there as well, and lots and lots of pictures of her house creating process.

It's giving me some ideas, and she talks about writing down or drawing it the way you envision it. Making a dream book. I've already started one of those. I think it's time to pull out the magazines I've saved and go through them. It's that same concept that Sarah Ban Breathnach used when she created her Illustrated Discovery Journal. If you haven't read her book, Simple Abundance, you ought to check it out from the library. It is fabulous.

Sarah published another book a few years ago, Moving On, and one of the things she said when she was talking about the book really resonated with me.

"I think we, as women," she said, "create homes for our husbands. We create homes for our children. And, as a by-product, we get a bed. I bet if you stopped ten women on the street and asked if they're really comfortable in their homes, most of them would have to admit that there's not much place for them at home, no sanctuary."

That's it, exactly. I've spent so much time trying to make room for everyone's stuff in this teeny tiny place that it feels like there is no space left for me. My room seems full of everyone else's stuff. How does that work?

But as I've been reading the Create Your Space book, I see lots of possibilities for change. A clutterbug truly can change her spots!

I think it's more fun to read about it than it is to do it, but that doesn't really get me very far on this place, now, does it? I'm just impatient to see it finished. It's just like cleaning. Love the results when it's done. Hate the process.

I think there's a character lesson buried somewhere in there, but I'm too tired to find it. LOL. I think a shower and bed would be a better choice. I'll take the book with me and fall asleep reading the first page I look at!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

eight weeks away...

My sweet Melissa is getting married in eight weeks. Eight short weeks, folks! A little less, even, because it was eight weeks from this last Saturday, when we went looking at wedding dresses. She found one she likes, and I did my best not to embarrass her by getting all sappy and teary-eyed on her there.

The bridesmaids found their dresses already...kind of a royal navy blue (is that a color?) with a smallish diamond-shaped rhinestone accent where the bodice and the skirt come together. They're so classy! They could easily wear them to another wedding...they do NOT look like a typical are-you-kidding-me bridesmaid dress. Have you seen 27 Dresses? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. These are not those. LOL.

But anyway, I took pictures of her modeling The Dress, but I can't post them...her honey can't see the dress until the day of. You'll have to take my word for it. I just have to say. She is going to knock his socks off. She'll be one beautiful bride!

And then when that wedding is done, I still have two more of my kids' weddings in the next year to look forward to. The fun never ends at our house.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

new digs!

I found a new background that's perfect! It's like a home remodel. What do ya think? It just goes along with our whole "new house on the blog block" theme.

And just for an update, the carpeting is out. The base for the dining room floor and living room floor are in. New carpeting, tile, and laminate flooring are in the (hopefully near) future. Depends on the finances.

This is like the most exciting thing we've done to our house since we painted over the baby poop brown siding with a lovely slate blue paint, and put white shutters on outside. I know, I know. I'm easily pleased. It's part of my charm. LOL

New floors, new walls, new ceilings in places, and eventually most of the bathroom and kitchen will be redone. It'll be a long process, but so worth it.

We'll take out the tub and the tub surround and put in a tub length shower. There are some very nice looking ones...I'd like to build in a bench at one end. Here's an example, kind of...



The bathroom vanity that John made us will go in, along with a new sink and countertop. I like the sinks that sit on top of the counter...have you seen them? Vessel sinks, they call them. Like this.



Trendy, but very cool.

Lots and lots of work!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

quoted from John Fischer

I love what John Fischer had to say today in The Fischtank:

Through eyes of those who know better
by John Fischer

It was a day when commitment to family and belief in God won out over the incessant rumble of the public's and the media's infatuation with setting up and tearing down celebrity.

Anyone who saw Michael Jackson's memorial service yesterday now has a whole lot of new information to add to what has been communicated to us up until now about the man. For two hours, we saw him, not through the eyes of critics, pundits, and self-righteous moralists, but through the eyes of friends and family close enough to know what they were talking about.

And here's what I found out about the man through them:

That he liked to laugh.
That he loved his family, deeply.
That his family loved him.
That he loved the world and believed he could make a significant impact on it by bringing diverse people together through his music.
That his work was inspired by the love of God.
That he had a lot of "know" when it came to his understanding of human nature.
That God has a purpose for everyone and Michael completed his.
That he saw everything with his heart.
That he was fragile.
That he made us love each other.
That he believed he had a God-given responsibility to give himself to his music and his fans.
That he gave all that had been given to him.
That he likes eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on the floor with a friend… out of the bucket.
That his favorite song was "Smile when your heart is aching."
That his heart was aching most of the time.

But by far, the most important thing I found out about Michael came through the eyes of his 11-year-old daughter who believes that her daddy has been the best father anyone could imagine.

That was all I needed to know.

…and I laid my mantle on the ground, and felt the rain come pouring down—the rain of my religion, falling down like weeping from the sky.


Thank you, John.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

the never-ending trap

I did it again. I promised myself I wouldn't do it anymore, but I did it anyway. I started checking out books from the library again.

I can reserve them online. It's like shopping, but you don't have to pay. They send you an email and tell you when they are ready, and you just go get them. It's addicting.

I don't know why I do it. I don't have time to read them. I check them out. I bring them home. They sit there in a box until they are overdue, and then I bring them back.

I have to pay the overdue fines if I want to pick up the next batch of reserved books. So I guess it isn't free, really.

Yesterday was the worst, though. I was hurrying, trying to pick up my books before I went home for the day. And you know how when you're in a hurry, things just seem to go wrong? Well, yesterday was no exception.

I emptied out one of several tote bags I had in the car with me before I went in to the library. The first library stop I made, that is. (I can use my library card from the rural library system where I live at the suburban library system branches, too.) Double the fines, double the fun!

So anyway, I dropped my keys into the side pocket and went in to fetch my books. I took the bag because I knew there were about fifteen books I had on hold. You can always tell what is going on in my life by just looking at my library books. Right now, I have lots of remodeling and decorating books in my bag.

If you should happen to see any books on demolition in my bag, that means I've completely lost it, and someone should notify my honey before I figure out how to completely level the house.

But I digress. When I got done checking out my own books at the self check-out, I pulled my keys out of the side pocket of the tote with my left hand, put them into the right hand, and got ready to go back out the door. As I was walking to the door, it slowly dawned on me that something was just not quite right.

Maybe it was the way my fingers stuck together a little on the hand that fished out the keys, or maybe it was the smell of fragrant dark chocolate that was wafting up from the keys. Either way, it made me look at my hand. There was warm, mooshy melted dark chocolate all over the keys and all over my hands.

Are you kidding me?! I have to open the library door without getting warm moosh all over it for the next person. I have to keep it from getting on my clothes. And I don't want to make a scene, even though a hissy fit is only about THAT far off! *holding thumb and fingers up together*

Wait. Never mind the library door! What was I thinking? I had to get the key in the lock and open the car door without making a chocolate mess everywhere! Little #s and @s and %s were flying in a little floating banner before my eyes. Grr!!! No tissue, no purse, because of course...I left it all in the car to be more EFFICIENT. And efficiently, I stuck my keys right into a dark chocolate Hershey's kiss that melted in the hot car all day long in the side pocket of my bag!

I managed to get into the car, and sat there trying to figure out how many people would be able to see me if I just licked off my keys and my fingers. I hate to waste lovely melted chocolate!! Reluctantly, I fished for tissue instead, and spent the next ten minutes or so wiping melty, messy chocolate goo off my keys and my hands.

Melted chocolate is one of my weaknesses, though. I have to tell ya, I did try the chocolate that was smeared on the plastic tag on my keychain, but it tasted lousy. Must have been in the bag for a while. LOL.

So that was my adventure in booklending yesterday. The other library was uneventful, thank goodness. I don't think I could have stood any more excitement last night.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

happy 4th of july!

Here is Mr. X, dressed in his finest patriotic gear, trying to fathom the mysteries of the cellphone. He is having a one-sided conversation with Gail, who has already hung up.
video

Friday, July 3, 2009

stuck in my head

I woke up with this praise song by Lincoln Brewster echoing from my dream. What a great way to start the day!



Enjoy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

when all else fails...

My honey took me shopping a couple of weeks ago and I found some cute summer clothes on clearance at one of my favorite shops. I've been wearing them a little at a time...just to drag out the pleasure of wearing something new. Do you ever do that? I don't want to wear all my new things in the same week because then it's over too fast. I know. I'm a nut.

So anyway, yesterday I wore this shirt for the first time. The fabric is a sheer blue and black kind of paisley print over a black shell. Nice, right? It is until you wear it for a little while, and then the front starts to creep down. It's a square neck, but the middle part has a little shirring, and it's actually kind of stretchy. It started to sag. I kept pulling it up, but it had a mind of its own.

Here's what it was like: Strrrretttcchhhh!! YANK it up, pull it down in back. Strrrretttcchhhh!! YANK it up, pull it down in back.

Well, I'm not a d├ęcolletage kind of girl. I can't stand shirts that leave half your cleavage hanging out. And this shirt just kept slipping lower and lower. I didn't have a spare shirt with me...I just don't usually carry a change of clothes. I stay pretty clean at my job, except for the occasional clutzy food spill. LOL.

So in desperation, I took off my shirt and put it on backwards! Problem solved! I doubt anyone would have noticed except I wanted to share my ingenuity with a couple of coworkers, so I told them! I think they laughed for twenty minutes. :)

I like to let my wackiness out of the bag every now and then. It spices up my life!

Friday, June 26, 2009

busy day

I got up this morning when my alarm went off, shut it off, and jumped back into bed! I didn't get up until 9:30 am. Wow, did that feel good. Especially when I didn't get to bed until almost 2:00 am. I stayed up watching Michael Jackson videos on youTube.

But I spent the better part of today messing around with the IKEA room planner software figuring out what I'm going to need in my kitchen. I know, I know...that doesn't get any walls ready to paint. It's like whistling Dixie. It passes the time.

But it's so cool, because you can rearrange the room however you like, and then look at a 3-D view of the room the way you put it. You measure your room, add in the windows and doors, and then pick out your furniture.

And then I "checked out" to see what I would need to buy to put the kitchen together: $4,235.92. That's with almost the most expensive cabinet fronts. Is that an average price for kitchen cabinets, I wonder?

But if you want to work with what you already have, you can use the Better Homes & Gardens Arrange-A-Room site. You can customize the room and then save your room so you can go back to it later. Fun toys!

But my honey did make some good progress on the wall. He is a bit of a perfectionist, and the walls are going to be beautiful! I can see them done in my mind! In color!

There are a lot of virtual sites online where you can try out paint colors to see what a whole room would look like painted in your colors. I like the Pittsburgh Paints Voice of Color page, where they ask you a bunch of questions...almost like a personality test or something. Then they come up with a top choice and a second choice of color families for you.

It was pretty close! My top choice was al fresco, and the second one was almonds & honey.

I started putting pages in my dream book. It seems like so much busy work and I feel as if I'm not getting any real work done. But I have to visualize it before I can do it, and this helps me put my thoughts in order, and nail down what I want to do.

Once I figure it out, I can put it all in one place so I can review it and learn it, so I can plan the project. Otherwise it all stays in my mind in the realm of possibilities like a constantly shifting landscape, and it never becomes a concrete entity.

What's that one quote? If you can perceive it, and then believe it, you can achieve it. In other words, dream on!

michael, michael, michael...



So, so many favorites from this man. Here is just one of mine:

Dangerous: Love the choreography in this one.



Michael, you will be missed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

a busy summer ahead

We are continuing to work on the house, slowly, but surely.

The living floor is done...ready for pad and carpet, and ceramic tile by the front door. Yay!

First, though, we have to prepare, prime and paint the walls. That is going to be so fun to get done! I have about forty books on decorating and remodeling ideas out from the library. I always say that you can tell what's going on in my life by the books I have out from the library. The sad thing is that I NEVER get them all read. But I skim through and pick ideas.

The dining room floor is mostly ready. There is one spot by the wall that we had to cut out and reinforce because of water damage from many years ago.

The kitchen and back hall are waiting for us. Here's how I see them...huge ghostly shadows rearing up overhead, with claw-like hands reaching for our money! "Come fiiiixxxx us," they whisper. "Don't worry. It'll be fiiiiinnne." I'm very afraid!

My honey agrees that it's time for some serious clutter pitching. Yes!! Someone to prod me when I want to procrastinate. Seize the day!

I'm starting a dream book, an idea binder where I can save pictures of what I think I want my house to look like when we are done, storage ideas, decorating ideas, paint color swatches, etc. I think it will help make it more real.

We've put so many years into raising the kids, and when something broke in the house, if we didn't have the money, we just made do without it if we could. But there comes a time when you have to pay the piper. I think this is it. :)

I know next to nothing about construction and painting and flooring and such. But I can learn!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

x-man makes me laugh!

Xavier is such a card. He thinks you can smell his stinky feet through the phone! LOL. It's so funny to hear the next thing he comes up with...almost on a daily basis.

Here is his latest "cheesie" for my picture gallery:


The boots keep his feet from getting wet while he's sleeping, I guess. :-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

noise, noise, noise

Yesterday for Father's Day, my honey wanted to grill ribs in his handy-dandy grill. Frosty, Cindy, Pearl and John came over with their families/others, and all the kids came along. Wowza!

I think the top of the house was probably bulging, ready to explode from all the energy building up inside. Those kids were playing like they had been cooped up in school all day...running and jumping, screaming and wrestling...oh, my!

I had to go hide out in the other room for a break. :) I've come to the conclusion that I am just not a crowd person, no matter who it is. I'd rather be someplace quiet, reading a good book. It makes it hard to be social for long periods at a time. It's the introvert in me.

But it was still a fun day, even though I was so tired at the end of the day that I just fell into bed and crashed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

a good cause!

Maggie Doyne is one of my heroes. My friend Karen has been sending us all off to vote for Maggie in the contest sponsored by DoSomething.Org.

Maggie is the awesome 22-year-old woman who started the Kopila Valley Children's Home in Nepal because she couldn't bear to NOT do something for these children. Here she tells about her journey.



I am still so amazed by her. At 22, I was a mess. I was a young mom who didn't know beans. Maggie? Amazing.

She has a heart for these kids...they live with her in this home in Nepal. She has volunteers from the community who come in and help her with the children, and you can read about them on her blog.

She started a foundation to help support them. She has had an ambitious dream of creating a free open primary school and community center. And now, thanks to everyone who showed up and voted for her, she can! She was the winner of the "Do Something" contest, and now she has $100,000 to put towards the projects of her heart.

Take a little time to go and read about her on her blog and the BlinkNow Foundation website. I think you'll fall in love with all of them just as I did.

And now, Karen is giving away beautiful necklaces to everyone who voted and came back to comment on her blog. Thanks, Karen, for sharing them with us, and thank you so much for your generous gift to your bloggy visitors. This is one of the reasons I love being a part of the blogoverse! How else could this all happen??

Sunday, June 14, 2009

feels like summer today

Today it finally feels like summer. It's about 82°, sunny, and the house is still. It reminds me of summer when I was a kid. I was the youngest, and my summer days were spent doing pretty much anything I wanted to, within reason. Well, anything I wanted to do that I could get to on my own. If I could walk or ride my bike there, I could generally just go.

We lived in Boulder, CO, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, so I could take a twenty-minute hike and be up in the mountains. It was awesome. I still miss the mountains.

This has been a fairly mild spring and summer so far in MN. It's the first day I've really wished the air conditioners were in. It still gets cool at night, though, so the house cools down. On the flip side, it is saving a ton of money in electric bills. The last few years by this time, the heat was unbearable. Of course, hot flashes don't help, either! They can make it feel like it's 90° when it's ten below outside. LOL.

Let's see...what else is happening? Erica just turned 17!! Unbelievable. I think she's way smarter than I was at 17. I was a little naive.

The kids are growing up and moving out at a record pace.

I've been thinking about weddings lately--we have three weddings within the next year and a half. I don't think I have this nest-emptying-out thing down very well yet.

When I was in the stage of having babies, I knew what to expect each time we were having another one. I knew the drill, and had it fairly down pat.

Now as they're going the other direction, there's less to do and more time to think about it. And I'm discovering that much of the meaning in my life is wrapped up in my children. That has been my life for the last thirty years.

I know it can't stay the same, and I don't think I'd want it to because I am too stinkin' tired to keep up that pace! But I don't know so much anymore what to expect as far as how I feel about it. It changes from day to day.

But I know there's going to be a balance. The ebb and the flow--they complement each other, balance each other out. When you empty things out of one part of your life, it leaves room for other things. I'm looking forward to what those things might be.

But right now, I just want to enjoy the day--what's left of it. A little cleaning, a little sorting, a little cooking on the grill--some burgers and hotdogs, and maybe updating the music on my iPod for next week at work. A lovely not-much-going-on Minnesota summer day.