Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Resolve

My mom rarely makes promises so when she does, you can pretty much take it to the bank. She doesn't make 'em 'cause she knows life happens and she doesn't want to risk breaking her word. Her word is important to her and she wants it to mean something to others too. I feel the same way which is why I've never been too keen on making New Year's resolutions. Afterall that's basically a promise you make to yourself (or others, too, I suppose).

I tend to think that, for me, New Year's resolutions are a setup for failure. I'm very reluctant to risk breaking a promise to others yet I seem pretty careless about it when it comes to myself. In years past, I'd go into it with all sincerity and determination to succeed but usually by mid-February, I'd trip up and fall flat on my face. Then I'd pick myself back up and try, try again, but by spring I was done; the extra pounds still there, the new discipline not formed, the goal not reached. And I would feel like L.O.S.E.R. - Again. So I finally decided to stop doing that to myself. I decided that it's good to set goals (and January does give you that clean slate feeling) and to work hard to attain them but to tie them to a promise - even just to myself - was just not fair 'cause I know I don't show myself nearly the amount of grace that I would show someone else over their broken promise. But, with each January, still comes the question "To make a resolution or to not make a resolution?"

As I was driving today, I thought about the word itself. Resolution. Resolve. Somehow in my brain there's a bigger difference between the two words than one's a noun and the other, a verb. Maybe it's because of my experience with the words. Resolution seems kind of shallow to me. It's something I think up - a list of changes. But to resolve. Now, that's a little deeper. To me, to resolve, is a matter of the heart. There's conviction there. I thought of the Bible study I've been doing on Daniel. He resolved - do you remember?

In Daniel 1:8, after King Nebuchadnezzar had taken Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah captive (among others from Judah), "Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." (italics mine) Daniel felt personally convicted against eating anything that was considered unclean according to God's law. Not only that but he and his three friends were deeply convicted and...resolute...to stay true to their God in every way - no matter the consequences; and they suffered consequences.

Like I said earlier, January does bring this feeling of a fresh start and there are things I'd like to change - eat better, exercise more, blah, blah, blah. Then there are things that are closer to my heart - finding creative ways to spend quality time as a family; ensuring I have my time with the Lord and in His Word daily. These are very important to me. But is there something I resolve to do? Maybe there is but I think it comes more in the form of a prayer because it's a change that I can't make on my own; it's got to come from God.

I hesitate to share it for a couple of reasons. One, because it probably sounds kind of corny or cliche and two, because the last thing I want to do is come off sounding holier than thou or like some kind of phony but considering there are only maybe four of you that actually read this blog that I'm aware of, I guess it's a fairly safe risk. Besides the Lord is the judge of my heart. Anyway, I've resolved to seek God more than ever before, to give Him my whole heart and, to the best of my ability, not to hold anything back. I've struggled with giving certain things over to Him but like Beth Moore often says we can either bend our knees over a matter or God can bend 'em for us. While God is always loving even in His discipline, I think I'd still rather opt for the first one. I've never been a big fan of unnecessary discipline.

May you have a very safe and blessed New Year's. May you sense God's presence in your life greater this coming year than ever before and may He ignite a fresh fire in your spirit for Him.

Be blessed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Oh my gosh. Christmas has been over for two days and I just can't seem to do much of anything nor do I want to. Not at all. I want to crawl into my flannel-sheeted comfy bed and stay there for the rest of winter. Wake me in spring.

Alas, we all know that won't happen so instead here's a couple of pics from Christmas. Later all.


He's a very happy boy.

Just what she was hoping for.

The picture didn't show up as well as I'd hoped from the outside. Oh well.

And of course it never looks all that great from the inside...

I did like my bannister though...just wish I'd bought two of these.

Even the animals had fun with their gifts...

A little top heavy, but festive...

More to come...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Be a Mary

This morning didn't start out too well. As I was about to get ready for work this morning, I learned that my daughter had taken my favorite hairbrush to school with her yesterday and then left it there and/or lost it. My hair just doesn't turn out the same way with any other brush. I don't know why, it just doesn't. Well, I wasn't a happy camper. Then my plans to work from 9am-12 noon, followed by an afternoon of Christmas prep (baking, cleaning, wrapping) an evening of dinner with friends and a lovely Christmas Eve church service) was foiled by the sheet of ice that was my driveway. I nearly fell three times this morning just trying to get to the car door. So I turned myself around and gingerly made my way back inside the house to wait for things to thaw a bit (it was supposed to get to all of 50 degrees today). I left the house by 11:15 and left work by 2:00. Everything has been pushed back and I was more than a little stressed and really very cranky, especially this morning. (Yeah, I felt a little evil this morning.)

On top of that, I'm pms-ing (hence the feeling evil), I've been shopping and wrapping and decorating and planning and crafting and running for what seems likes weeks (2 probably). I've been wanting to download some pics to post here - some of my house like everybody did on Boo-Mama's Tour of Homes as well as some of what the kids and I have been up to but there's just too much to do! IT'S CHRISTMAS, PEOPLE!!!!

THEN...As I'm cleaning some mess up outside, I hear a big CRASH inside and it turns out my daughter accidently knocked over a vase I've had for years. There were broken pottery shards everywhere. My daughter had this look on her face like "oh boy, mama's gonna blow." As I looked at the broken pieces all over my floor, I suddenly felt calm. I thought, somebody's tryin' to steal my joy and I am so not gonna let it happen. The story of Martha and her sister, Mary from the book of Luke chapter 10 came to mind. When Jesus came to their village, Martha invited Him and His disciples into their home. But, while Martha busied herself preparing a meal for everyone, Mary just sat at Jesus' feet the whole time listening to everything He had to say.

After I pondered this story for a moment, I told my daughter not worry; I'm not mad. I knew it was an accident. It is Christmas Eve, the day before we celebrate our Savior being born. All this other stuff is piddly in comparison. Yes, I have been spinning my wheels just like so many others this time of year. This is truly prime season for all Marthas. But in the midst of cleaning up the broken vase, I realized that even more, I need to be a Mary.

Yes, Martha, let's prepare, let's make a good meal, create a warm and inviting atmostphere and show love to our family and friends; let's do it and do it well. But in the midst of it, don't forget to be a Mary and worship our God. He sent His only Son to be humbly born in a lowly manger and to ultimately die for our sins. Like Mary, I want to be at His feet and hear what He has to say.

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42

Merry Christmas! May His Name be praised and may you be blessed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's On My Heart

It has been nearly a month since my last post and no I did not fall off the face of the earth nor did I quit bloggin' though it surely seemed that way. Thanks, Calista for checkin' in on me. It feels good to hear I've been missed.

My days have just been soooooo busy. My beloved hubby who works in the insurance industry had been down South handling Hurricane Ike insurance claims for six loooooonnnnngggg weeks and finally came home Nov 8. And it was about time, lemme tell ya. He's traveled for long periods of time before - the longest, I think, was four months, but this trip just seemed particularly hard. There was a lot to handle during that time - Apollo's many medical mishaps and involved aftercare (all with kids in tow); financial stress; ADHD concerns/testing/evaluations for my son AND myself; work; school commitments and more - and all of it simultaneously, without an extra set of hands to help out - not even family nearby. It was very stressful and more than once toward the end of the six weeks, I was reduced to sobs crying out to God for wisdom, help and strength.

Now, I don't know for sure why God allowed me to go through all of that but I will say that it has opened my eyes to something and because of that, I'm grateful to Him. There are so many women - men too, perhaps, but so many women out there going through similar things...on their own...and their situation will likely not get much easier after six short weeks. For many of them, they don't have a husband who's coming home to them anytime soon. As difficult as it may have felt to me, my husband was still working hard to support me and our family. Single mothers are going it alone and many have been for a long time.

I am blessed to work at a wonderful church that has recently begun to minister to these women and I have been in a position to hear some of their stories. Can I tell you, these women have gripped my heart.

While hubby was away, the light switch in the bathroom died. Had it happened when he was home, he could have and would have fixed it easily and quickly. I, on the otherhand, didn't have a clue of course so I fixed it my way - I took my daughter's desk lamp with the purple shade and put it on the bathroom sink. It didn't fix the switch but at least we had light and the hue from the purple shade added a nice touch of ambiance, in my opinion. Within several days, hubby got a friend of his to come over and fix the switch for us.

What happened to me is a common challenge for the single mom. Maybe a light switch, a jiggly handle on the toilet or a minor computer issue. I know there are plenty of women out there who are very handy but I also believe there are even more who, like me, aren't. Not only do they not have a husband to handle that stuff, many don't even have families living nearby to help them out and their financial resources are sorely limited. Something as easy as raking the leaves is a challenge simply because there's not enough time in the day to do all that needs to be done and they've got to prioritize. They're having to work full time, take care of their kids and run a household all by themselves and that's not even considering the things that you can't plan for that throws a wrench into even the best scheduled person's plans - the death of a parent, the emotional torment of a difficult divorce, your own medical issues, teenage angst, for cryin' out loud.

While hubby was gone, I tried to get out and rake our leaves. The yard was a big mess and I like raking the leaves. Unfortunately, because Apollo has grown very strong (he's about 50lbs now) and still pulls on his leash with all his might, I now have quite a bit of pain in my right shoulder from trying to restrain him. I couldn't rake. My shoulder was killing me. But, like so many others, money's tight right now too so we really didn't want to have to pay someone to do it. Thankfully my neighbor helped us out and did the front and back yards for a reasonable amount until hubby got home.

Something else I've noticed in some single moms, something I can totally relate to; it's very hard to ask for or receive help. Maybe it's women in general but it seems like there's this guilt thing going on or something. During that 4-month stint my husband was away on hurricane duty a couple of years ago, a woman from the church we were going to at the time, came to me and asked if I would like to have meals brought over for me and my kids occassionally. My immediate response was "No, I'm not sick or just out of the hospital or something. I mean, I can cook." She said "I know you can ; what I'm asking is would it make your life a little easier to have a home-cooked meal already prepared for you and the kids with very little clean-up afterward - yes or no?" Well, I jokingly told her "Anytime I don't have to cook makes my life easier." She said "That settles it. Until your hubby gets home, you guys will receive a meal at least once a week." And they did - faithfully. I've never been so humbled.

So why do I share all of this? What's the point? Well...it's on my heart. But also, I believe that God is opening my eyes and when you feel like you're seeing something really big, you want to know if others see it too and if not, you want to make them look. Like I said, these women, their stories, their strengths and their weaknesses have just gripped my heart. And I don't think they're really ones to draw attention to themselves.

The single moms I've known don't go around sharing what's really going on in their hearts and they will rarely ask for help. They will do their best to be strong and capable for themselves and their kids. But in the quiet of the night or maybe just the shower, the very real truth is many are overwhelmed and hurting and few people will ever know the extent of it because these moms feel like there are others far more in need and deserving of assistance than they are. But God hears their cries and He wants to bring healing for their hurts. And as His body, we can be a part of that.

I have to tell you what I've been seeing as my church reaches out to the single moms in our community. There are a group of people who have begun helping these moms with the kind of stuff I wrote about. Stuff around their home or a home-cooked meal in throw-away pans. The reaction? The women are blown away. They've said stuff like they "didn't think the church really cared about them." They've said with tears flowing "This is an answer to prayer!"

Folks, this is huge! From what I'm hearing, this is a group of people who have felt largely overlooked. And we can do something about that! That excites me. I don't know that I'll ever have an opportunity to do any kind of missions work in another country; I may never get to see first-hand God move powerfully in an inner-city. But I can show God's love to the single mom in my neighborhood who's raising three kids while still dealing with the effects of a nasty divorce all while walking along side a loved one through their battle with cancer. I can bring that meal, I can watch her kids, I can pray for her, with her... and I can tell her God loves her because it's true.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:40

May you be blessed and give thanks to our very generous God who did not hold back even His own Son so that we might live. Hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Livin' Life in Hindsight

Have you ever wished you had the gift of foresight? Sometimes, I think perhaps I do but that's usually when I'm reflecting back on a situation that went wrong and realize the thought had occurred to me to do something different which I ignored. Kind of like what I wrote about in the last post.

I'm pretty sure I have the gift of hindsight. It's a gift available to just about anyone if you're paying attention. You see, it's been a rough couple of weeks, really draining. At the end of each day I've collapsed into bed and rebelled against the alarm clock each morning. Because my days (and my mind) have been filled beyond measure, I've been unable to make time for my daily Bible study. I really don't know how I would have done it but I wish I had.

I got an email from someone in my small group the other day and she mentioned how encouraging this past week's readings were. Apparently it spoke of God's provision and protection. That reminder would have been a real encouragment in the middle of all that's been going on. I mean, it still is now - now when, Lord willing, I'm nearing the tail end of all this.

I guess my point is this - and take it from one with the gift of hindsight, (which you know is 20/20) - stay in the Word of God no matter what! Like my sister always says, even if it's just a verse or a short passage, read something of God's Word. And then meditate on it. God's word is alive and active. Keeping our eyes and our deeper focus on God through the rough times is what will get us through them without feeling like we've been run over by a bus. Now me? I can still smell the exhaust fumes but I'm lookin' up again.

One good thing about hindsight is that there's always a lesson to be learned if we're paying attention. I just wish I didn't have to repeat the class so much.

But what about you? What verses are getting you through your tough times? I'd love to hear.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not Again...

I'm having another one of those days. Haven't I said that recently? I feel like I've been having quite a few of those lately.

I had a strong feeling this morning that I should not have been bringing Apollo down to the bus stop this morning. But do I listen to myself? Nooooooooo! He's been pulling on his leash like crazy lately - more so than usual and that little voice in my head said I should just leave him home.

Well, I didn't. He loves going down to the bus stop in the morning. He's like a celebrity down there. The kids love him; the adults love him; and Fred the black lab loves him too. They're good buds and always enjoy a little play time after the kids get on the bus.

Unfortunately, today things went a little awry (not a word I use everyday but it is what happened). After the kids got on the bus, Fred's dad and I brought the dogs together for their little howdy-do time and things were great until Apollo somehow got his toe stuck in Fred's collar. I'm tellin' you it was the freakiest thing I've ever seen. They wouldn't have been able to do that on purpose if they tried. Both dogs freaked out and were scared to death. Apollo got dragged a bit and dripped blood from his toe all the way home. I managed to get the bleeding stopped but things didn't look so good so I brought him to the vet to have him checked out and good thing I did.

He needed stitches between his toes and unfortunately had to be completely sedated to do it. So a simple, inexpensive procedure it was not. Oi Vey. Just when you think you have a chance to get out from behind the 8 ball, life happens. As they dragged him to the back, the poor thing was fighting to get back to me, crying and looking at me like he was pleading for me to save him from a fate worse than death.

Now the poor little(?) guy has his foot all bandaged up and lampshade (aka Elizabethan Collar) on his head. Just pitiful.

**P.S. It seems the stupic collar isn't keeping him from getting to his foot! Joy. Guess who's not gonna sleep well tonight.

***P.S.S. Well, I think we all slept most of the night anyway but the bonehead this morning got the cone off his head!!! Unbelievable. Off to get a BIGGER lampshade.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kids Do Say the Darndest Things

I was up at my kids' school today helping with health screenings - you know the whole weight, eyes and hearing checks, etc. My job was to usher the kids back and forth between rooms. Eyes and weight in this room, hearing across the hall. I really like this job 'cause I get to talk to the kids a little bit while they wait plus I'm usually able to catch one of my own kids either during the screening itself or just in the hallway between classes. That always gives my heart (and my face) a smile. I love their reaction when they see me so unexpectedly.

Anyway, I had a group of kindergardeners waiting to for their hearing test and with the school all decorated with fall themes made by the kids, I asked them to sit on the floor behind the scarecrow that's pasted on the wall. I told them he was the lineleader - they all respect that. Across from him was another scarecrow only this one didn't have a mouth as one of boys pointed out. So I asked them why they thought that was. One boy said it was because the scarecrow was cold so he had to pull his shirt up over his face (and demonstrated what he meant). Then one of the other boys said - and this totally cracked me up - that someone must have farted and it smelled bad so he pulled his shirt up as he pointed out that the tip of the scarecrow's nose was indeed covered by the shirt.

Sounds to me as if this boy or someone close to him has had some experience in the matter. I cracked up.

Hope you're having a sweet-smelling day.

Be blessed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time to Pick the Pumpkins

It was time for our annual pumpkin picking outing. We had a good time, met up unexpectedly with some friends and came back with a few good finds. Now where are my carving tools?

I wish I had taken my sunglasses off;
this would have been a good picture.

Be blessed.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What's in a Name?

Quite a lot, I'm learning. Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. Perhaps you know the story in Daniel. The 3 of them thrown into the fiery furnace only to be rescued by God. I don't usually think of those names only one at a time either - they all go together - those names just flow; I don't separate them. Kind of like the 3 musketeers or something.

In those days, names weren't just what people went by, they were a person's very identity. Can you, without looking it up, remember what their original names were? Did you even know that they had other names? I didn't remember that and I certainly couldn't have told you what they were - until today. Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, taken captive along with the rest of the Israelites, were the names the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, gave to them and they each had meaning identifying them with the gods of the Babylonians. Their Hebrew names (and meanings), however, given them at birth were (in the same order), Hananiah (Yah has been gracious), Mishael (Who is what God is) and Azariah (Yah has helped). Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to completely forget who they were and identify themselves completely with their new culture. Can you imagine how insulting and demeaning it must have been for these true young Israelites to be called by such idolatrous names?

Let's bring this to present day. As Beth Moore said in today's study, "In our culture, a name's sound or sentimental value is a far bigger priority than its meaning." Many don't even know what their name means. We often get our identity, however, based on what other people have told us we are. Hopefully that's been a good thing, something life-giving. Unfortunately for many that's not their story. Beth asked a question "Has the world (or worse yet, a loved one) ever tried to give you a bad name or a bad identity?" "Did you fall for it?" "Are you still falling for it?"

Over the years, I came to believe a big part of my identity was "Unable". That there were others far better able at (fill in the blank) than I was. This led me to not even bother trying and I settled for a life of mediocrity. No more. Thankfully God has been revealing a completely different identity - one that's in Him. God says to and of me "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Also, "it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." (Phil 2:13)

How about you? Whose identity are you going to take? One of this world fathered by the father of lies or the one, true God, the Father of life? Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. From now on, I'm going to try to remember them for who they truly were - who God meant and proved them to be. I don't want to remember them just by their Babylonian names any more than I'd want myself to be remembered simply by my life outside of Christ.

By the way, my first name means "dark". My middle name, Ann, I just found out, means gracious, merciful. While I like the sound of my first name, I've never much cared for its meaning. And I never even thought to look up the meaning of my middle name 'cause I never liked it. I thought it was boring; Now I think I was wrong. Now, it seems like I have my whole testimony and a constant reminder of what God's done in my life wrapped up into my two names - grace and mercy followed the darkness. Indeed it did. Praise His Name!

Be blessed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A New Day Has Dawned

Things often seem better in the light of a new day and today is no different. A little sleep doesn't hurt either.

Apollo is still definitely not back to himself by any means, but he does seem some better. He slept the whole night and today he's mellow and restless at the same time. I had him in his crate just to try to keep him quiet and get some rest but I noticed he was shivering so I put a towel on the couch and let him go up and cuddle next to his favorite girl. He fell right to sleep.

Yes, sleep is a beautiful thing.

Hope you're having a good day.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stick Me With a Fork, I Am Done

I should be going to bed right now because I am utterly exhausted. I mean emotionally, physically, eyes burning, tired. What a night it's been. I guess I just need to share before I crash.

First, I had to finally tell my pastor and worship leader, both of whom I love and respect immensely, that we believe God is calling us to a different church. I had been procrastinating on this for a while because, well, I knew it would be hard. I love this body of believers and they have meant so much to me and my family and I have poured so much of my own heart out there. As much as I believe we're doing what God is leading us to do, I had hoped it would be easier. I don't know why. From past experience I know that some of what God asks of me is not necessarily easy. I feel like I broke up with someone and asked them if we could still be friends. Is that ridiculous? You know what? Don't answer that. At least for a couple of days until I get some sleep, have had time to pray some more about it and can think with some clarity. Until then, please be kind.

Then after crying my eyes out there, I come home to find that Apollo has thrown up all over his crate and as I got him outside, he continued to throw up, was walking weird, stretching his back legs out straight, drooling like a broken faucet and generally looked awful. I was really worried and called the vet who had me come straight over.

After taking an xray they found what looked like tiny bone chips in his stomach. She said it looked like about 20 of them though when I looked at it, I didn't think it looked like quite that many but what the heck do I know; I'm not the doc. Anyway, she gave him all kinds of meds and fluids and some special high-fiber food to get things moving so he can hopefully pass them. I've got to give him Mylanta twice a day before eating. When we got home from the vet I still had to clean the mess in his crate and realized that part of what he had thrown up were these stupid red landscaping rocks we've got in our backyard. Now that didn't look like what I saw in the xray so I'm wondering if it was the rocks that made him get sick and the bones were already there. I don't know. I guess I'll call the vet in the morning.

I just feel awful for not keeping a better eye on him and I don't know if it's my own guilty imagination or what but I swear it seemed like the vet and company were lookin' and talkin' to me like I was just some irresponsible pet owner or something not worthy of this precious little guy. Now you all know we are just crazy about this dog. My poor daughter was beside herself with worry - I think having flashbacks about when we had to put our cocker spaniel down a little over a year ago. Poor kid had to go the bathroom twice and sat outside a couple of times to get some fresh air, pray and calm down a bit.

All of this on top of being concerned that my son's teacher wants a special conference. She did tell me why and it's nothing horrible and I'm sure I'll probably post about it in the future but for now, it's still a concern all the same.

But like my daddy used to say, "This too shall pass" (hopefully literally in Apollo's case). Beside, in about 15 minutes, it'll be a whole new 24 hour period. Glad to put this day behind me. Later, folks.

Be blessed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

An Apollo Fix

It's been a whole two weeks or so since I've posted on Apollo and I've got pics to share! Many of us know that having a puppy in the house is, in many ways, like having a baby around (only without the diapers! sigh...). Well, like any mother of a toddler knows, if it's too quiet, check 'em! They are surely up to no good. I was getting ready for work this morning and took the risk of leaving Apollo unsupervised since he seemed perfectly content laying on his blanket playing with his chew-toy. Well, as I flat-ironed my hair I thought it had been a little while, I should probably check on him. This first picture is what I found. Notice he still had his toy.

As adorable as he was I did kick him off - but not before I got the picture!

Still lovin' the sand

And the leaves...

And this is just plain cute.

Hope you liked. Be blessed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What do you think?

"You are SO mean!" "That's not FAIR!" "HER mom let's HER do it!"

Do those words have a ring of familiarity at all to you? I'm almost certain I've spoken them in my lifetime (although probably not the first one 'cause I liked my head where it was and didn't want it handed to me but the other two for sure). I did however have them spoken to me today and it got me a little curious, hence the poll to the right. Let me explain.

Today my 10 year old daughter's friend (also 10) came by on her bike; she lives several blocks away. Each time this friend (who I like very much by the way) comes by, my daughter wants to go bike riding around the neighborhood with her and my answer is the same each time - no, you're not old enough. It's a safety thing, particularly with some of the stuff going on in our neighborhood right now. She proceeded to ask how old she has to be to be allowed and I said 12. Of course, she had a hissy fit and that's fine. I have my reasons and I'm perfectly comfortable with my answer.

This has been a conversation some other moms and I have been having lately too - at what age do we let our kids go riding around the neighborhood? So, I'm curious, what do you think? Obviously an individual child's maturity level and the type of neighborhood one lives in might influence one's answer but generally speaking at what age have you or will you allow your kids to go riding with friends or alone without adult supervision?

Feel free to take my poll at the right, comment below or both. Thanks for your input.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Sobering Reminder

Because I have a tendency to lean toward being a bit serious with myself and life in general (who said drama queen???), I love opportunities to laugh. I love spending time with funny people. I'll take Scrubs over CSI or Monk over Law and Order most days of the week. But life is about balance and there are serious things that absolutely deserve and warrent our attention.

Now, if you have visited my blog for any length of time, you probably have noticed that I am a big fan of Beth Moore, her Bible studies and writings and a regular visitor to her blog. Her daughter, Amanda, seems to have some of the same giftings as her mom and posted an incredible message on the blog today. It's something, I believe, we all need to be reminded of...I was going to say from time to time, but on second thought, it deserves more than that. Let's allow it to remain in the forefront of our minds; let it impact our prayers and our conversations with others. It is not funny but it is of the utmost importance.

Can I encourage you to pop on over to Beth's blog and read Amanda's post entitled "There Is A Rescuer" for yourself? I think you'll be blessed. I certainly was. Here's the link.

Be blessed.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Seven Random Things

Well, I was visiting my blogger buddy, Lynn's blog at Somewhere in the Middle and she got tagged to share seven random things about herself. She then invited anyone who wanted to join in to do so. So here goes (yes, I tagged myself). What!? It's fun.

Ok, seven random things about myself...This is actually hard - how weird do I want to let you know I am? Hmmm.

1) I often pop a Lord of the Rings dvd in while I sort or fold laundry. Not always, mind you...but often. Sometimes I listen to one of Beth Moore's messages or I download a message from church.

2) I prefer Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi.

3) I am a major procrastinator when I have to do something I consider difficult or potentially unpleasant.

4) Growing up, I dreamed of performing (ok, starring) in a Broadway musical. Closest I ever got was when my friend, Gerry, got us front row, center seats to see Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby. We were right behind the orchestra pit and I could even see back stage. Not the dream but still very fun.

5) I spend a lot of time on the computer to the neglect of - ugggh - housework.

6) My favorite comfort food is peanut butter and jelly WITH a glass of chocolate milk, preferable Nesquik.

7) I crave afternoon naps.

So there you have it. My seven random things. Now, I'm supposed to tag seven other people but I don't know that many blogs, so I'll tag the ones I know and if you're reading this and want to play along, consider yourself tagged. C'mon, it's fun. Let me know if you do 'cause I'd like to read yours too.

Tag, you're it!

Tater Mama at TaterTales
Elaine at Peace for the Journey
Calista at Can I Get a Witness?
Nancy at Olive Leave Ministies

Be blessed!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm guessing it's all the rain we've had lately but the stink bugs are out in force the last couple of days! Let me make this perfectly clear - I HATE STINK BUGS!!!! They totally creep me out. I know they're harmless but there is something about them and their creepy little armored bodies that totally gives me the willies. I can be sitting on the couch minding my own business and all of a sudden out of nowhere comes a stink bug whizzing past my head. I sucked up about 5 of 'em into my vacuum and I know there's one I missed. I saw him by the motion detector a minute ago but now I don't know where he went. I'm sure I look ridiculous walking around my house with the vacuum attachment as long as I can make it saying in my sing-song voice, "ok, little creepy bug, where did you go?...I know you're in here..." And, even though I'm sitting momentarily at the computer, don't think for a minute that I'm not totally looking around every few seconds making sure it's not anywhere near me.

That picture above? There were actually 5 on that window, 3 on the bathroom window, 1 on the kitchen window, 2 on the living room window and...eeeewww there's the one I tried to get before and I don't think I can reach him; he's too high and I'm out of attachments. Gross.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Go back to bed now sweetie...

My kids just crack me up. Last night, my sweet, mostly asleep daughter got up out of bed and came to me and said "It's not working." Now try to hear this as she said it, half-asleep, slurring her words with her eyes only barely open.

Me: What's not working, honey?
Her: Blowing on my stomach...it's not working.
Me: Huh?
Her: The fan, blowing on my stomach...it's not working.
Me: What???

She then ruffles through some papers on the table near me, hands me our little hometown paper and says.

"Here, hold this." Then proceeds into the bathroom and then back to bed.

She has no rememrance of this whatsoever and we all enjoyed a good laugh (me for the 2nd time) this morning.

Too funny.

Be blessed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just waiting...

Where does the time go? I've been wanting to post but haven't had much of anything going on and I'm not nearly as witty as some of my bloggin' buddies whose blogs give me a laugh nearly every time I visit. Their humor is very Seinfeld-esqe in that they can find something funny to write about in just the day-to-day routines of life. If you haven't checked out some of the blogs to the right of my posts and you'd like a chuckle or two, by all means, give a click and check 'em out.

For me, life right now feels like the warm-up portion of a workout. I'm definitely on the go, my calendar is filling up slowly but surely and little by little activities are shifting into gear. However, we could use some prayer if you think of it. While I'm just warming up, hubby's schedule has kicked into overdrive and that means less family time and more stress on and the shifting around of already tight schedules. Thanks.

In other news, our sweet Apollo gets bigger by the hour it seems (he's 15 weeks old & 30 lbs) and is doing really well with his training. He's having fewer accidents, sleeps through the night, will sit, stay, come AND give a paw on command - that is when he wants to 'cause if he doesn't, even a flank steak won't pursuade him. I understand stubborness is a boxer trait.

I'm working on getting him to stop pulling on the leash. Why do dogs do that? Do they like that crushed esophagus feeling? I'll never understand that. I take him over to one of the local pet places for training and the trainer had the class pick an aisle to walk the dogs back and forth. One by one, the trainer worked with each dog as well and when he got to Apollo he said Apollo's doing very well. I'm thinking that's 'cause there's nothing of interest to him in the aisle; try takin' him down to the bus stop and tell me how well he does.

Well, that's it for now. I've got dishes and laundry just piling up demanding my attention. I pray all is well in your corner of the world. Hope you enjoy the latest pics.

Be blessed.

Angel: "If I don't look at him, he doesn't exist."
Apollo: "Just a few more inches..."

My monkey...

I hate him.

Now What?

I'm glad you're comfortable.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Eager Expectations

For so many reasons, this time of year is probably my favorite. I love the crisp air and the beautiful colors that I'm already seeing sprinkled throughout the trees. There's excitement all around over various start-ups about to kick in - music lessons, sports, church programs, etc. For me, what I probably get most excited about is the start-up of Women's Bible Study and I'm definitely excited over this season of study. Because I couldn't decide between two of the offerings, I decided to do both (pray for me). Actually, there are quite a number of us who are doing the same thing for the same reason so I'm in good company.

The first study is The Essential 100 (or E-100). This study will take us through 100 carefully selected readings throughout the Old and New Testaments. We've been told the readings should only take about 15 minutes or so to complete and then each week we'll gather to discuss that week's readings.

The second study will be the 6th Beth Moore study I've done - Daniel, Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy. I am completely stoked about this study. I picked up my workbook on Sunday.

So what's the reason for all the excitement? Is it that I'll get to meet and/or catch up with some ladies I've come to admire and whose company I enjoy? That's certainly part of the draw but that's not the main reason. Is it the studies themselves? Well, that's a big one for sure. I did say I was taking a Beth Moore study and I'm a total groupie, as my sister calls me. But truth be told, as much as I love Beth, that's not the only reason.

The main reason is God. After only four years of participating in Women's Bible study, I've come to expect that God is going to do amazing things in my life through the study of His Word. There's going to be stretching, growing, learning and, if He should so choose, perhaps a revelation or two (oh, I hope). Not to say these changes are easy all the time because they haven't always been. Oftentimes, stretching hurts and, for me, there's often a need for me to let go of something which can bring up a lot of fear. But, oh the grace and the mercy and the relationship that I experience in the midst of it. It's unmatched.

One of my favorite songs is Travis Cottrell's "Falling". The lyrics explain some of what I experience during each season of Bible study. I hope the link above works. If it doesn't, I've got the lyrics below.

Be blessed.

On the edge of something big and brave
Every breath is another step of faith
Part of me still likes the ground
Where I feel safe and sound
but You push me, pull me
and I finally let go

Falling, falling
To the heart of someone so much stronger
Falling in to love

Ever closer, closer to the truth
One by one my fears fade into blue
Wherever You are taking me
Is where I need to be
And You have Your reasons
Who am I to say no


I waver, You're steady
I falter, You never fail
You fight for me, I surrender
To You, to You


Saturday, September 6, 2008

My First Award

I received my first award! How cool is that? It comes from Nancy Douglas of Olive Leaf Ministries. Nancy is an author, speaker and an advocate for special needs children. Her blog is a blessing to many including me! Thanks, Nancy.

This award comes with a few rules. They are:

1. Mention the blog that gave it to you.
2. Publish these rules.
3. Share six values that are important to you and six things you do not support.
4. Grant the prize to six people.

What I value:
The Word of God
My family
My friends
A good midday nap

What I do not support:
Athletes getting paid more than our military and law enforcement professionals
Generalizations about people
The Big Bang Theory
phone telemarketing (very annoying and always at dinnertime)

I pass this award on to some Godly women whose blogs have been a blessing to me. They are:

Lynn at Somewhere in the Middle
Calista at Can I Get a Witness
Regina at Grinders Switch: Heaven on Earth
Tater Mama at Tater Tales
Elaine at Peace for the Journey

Thanks, ladies, for letting His light shine through you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to School

Ah, the first day of school! Did you know it is possible to feel compelled to do a happy dance and be sad at the same time? It's true. By summer's end, the boredom-induced bickering between my two, sweet, precious, most beloved children just plays jump rope with my last nerve 'till I want to see a school bus so bad I'm reduced to looking them up online and show them to my kids saying "see kids, you're going on one of those really soon! Yep, you sure are, oh yeah.

But then the day comes and so does the real bus and my same beloved kids, now chatting happily together and dressed all spiffy in their new back-to-school-clothes, loaded with backpacks and smiles, climb on, happy to see friends they haven't seen since the beginning of June and eager to embrace the day. The doors close, my kids and I exchange sign-language "I love you's", the bus drives out of sight and then it happens. There's no music but someone's humming, there's toe-tapping which progresses into full-out dancing; there are high fives all around and then...a few tears.

Yes, there are a couple of moms new to this first-day-of school ritual and their hearts have just jumped into their throats with the realization that they have just entrusted their beloved child to a complete stranger! Oh, the rest of us remember that feeling well. We tear up too with the recollection and rush to hug, share stories and encourage them praising them for their restraint in not following the bus to school. I, personally, had no such restraint with either of my kids but that's a story for another day.

This day I skip home ready to enjoy the peace and relative quiet that awaits me on the other side of my front door. I say relative because, well, I do still have that 13-week old puppy who has to pee every 20 minutes and my beloved hubby works from his home office. Still, I'm heartened to hear no whining, no tattling, no teasing and no Hanna Montana. Peace (relative). 15...30 minutes, tops, goes by and I'm suddenly struck by quiet. Apollo's sleeping, hubby is busily working...It feels a little empty...There's no laughing, no giggling, no surprise hugs, no little faces at my front door asking for my children to come out and play. Just. Quiet. Sigh...

How long 'till the stranger brings my kids home?

Be blessed.

This was actually taken on the 2nd day of school (I forgot my camara the 1st day)

Only 2 days of school and my sweet boy was just tuckered out.

He doesn't even go to school but he's tired too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Proud Mama

I can't help it. I feel like one of those parents who whips out photos of their new baby every chance they get. But he's just so darn cute!

We had our neighbors over yesterday and they brought their 2 girl puppies (german shepherd/lab mixes). Our pups are all about the same age. I think Apollo's only a week older but he's already so much bigger and lumbers around like a bull in a china shop. The girls were pretty timid around him for a while but once they got comfortable they had a blast tearin' around our backyard together and we laughed our heads off watchin' them. Our sandbox was a big hit. I only wish I had video. Oh yeah, and he seems to like watching SpongeBob too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Don't forget your vitamins...

Could it really be this simple? Folks, I think I may have found an answer I've been looking for for quite some time.

For years, I've lived with near-constant fatigue as well as a myriad of other little annoying general symptoms. Every year at my annual physical, I tell the doctor how tired I am all the time. I rarely have the energy to do much of anything but I plug along because that's what one does. Faith, family, work, laundry, dishes, pets, all of these responsibilities can't just stop because I'm tired. I always shoot for 10 hours of sleep but even when I'm actually able to get that much uninterruped sleep (which is rare by the way), it's still not enough. I have blood work done year after year and, aside from my cholesterol being on the high end of the normal range, all comes back fine.

When my kids were real small, I'd be told "of course you're tired; you have babies at home." Then it was "You're the mother of young children; it's natural to be tired." Occassionally there'd be an ever-so-slight insinuation that I was just lazy. When I would complain of how tired I am, certain members of my family would say "What else is new" or "You're always tired."

It doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to tell that I don't have the healthiest of diets. I eat far too little of the heathly stuff and far too much of the unhealthy stuff. But still; I've just always thought there's something else I'm missing.

Well, I think I may have figured it out. Recently my friend and I got talking about vitamins; I think because I mentioned reluctantly wanting to cut back on caffeine. I say reluctantly because that's one of the primary things that keeps me going everyday but I hate how jittery it makes me feel. She suggested perhaps I needed some B vitamins for energy. I started looking into it and realized that I regularly deal with a number of the symptoms mentioned under B vitamin deficiency. So I went to the store, got me some B complex vitamins and I can honestly say I feel a little better. Even after only one dose, this stupid, ugly, embarrasing little crack in the corner of my mouth (also on the list of symptoms) went away. I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to get rid of that thing for months and it just wouldn't go.

Now, before you get all nervous about my self-diagnosing, rest assured that I plan to talk to my doctor and/or pharmacist about the whole thing, but I'm just feeling so encouraged. And slightly well-rested.

Be blessed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Clean Slate

My has it ever been a busy week. You met the newest addition to our family in the previous post. His official name is...........Apollo (after Rocky's Apollo Creed - another boxer)! At least I think that's the official name. Yeah, we're pretty sure. Once we had him home, Hershey didn't seem to fit and Hubby didn't like Cooper (though the rest of us still kinda do).

George brought him home Monday morning. I had no idea he was going out so early to get him. I was still sort of asleep but mostly I was in denial of being awake when I got this feeling that someone was looking at me. I opened my eyes to the cutest little puppy face.

That first day all Apollo really did was sleep. He just seemed so overwhelmed and afraid of everything. We brought him outside to introduce him to some of the neighbors and he was incredibly shy even with the other puppies in the neighborhood. He's since come out of his shell a bit and his favorite place to be in under the dining room table. He seems to feel safe there.

It's been a long time since we had a puppy in the house so maybe I just don't remember this with the other puppies I've had in my life but I'm most struck by the fact that he knows next to nothing. I don't mean that in a negative way at all. He's just so new to everything - a completely clean slate. We've got to teach him everything. Like that stuff I put in that bowl on the floor is for him to eat. I had to coax him to eat by dropping little bits of food leading to his bowl until he he figured out it was ok. He's starting to learn how to go up the stairs but seemed to get a little dizzy climbing the stairs to the deck (he kept looking down). Good thing I was behind him. Going down the stairs is a whole other story; he's not even considering that yet. Walking with a collar and leash is just wrong as far as he's concerned and he doesn't like it at all though he's getting a little better. The first few times he just wouldn't move. He sat or laid down and that was it. By Wednesday, we managed to get around the block with him - it took an hour but we did it.

In addition to all this, he is full of puppy kisses, "talks" to his toys (he already has a favorite, a little stuffed monkey) and has twice slept the whole night. He's got the cutest little face and we just love, love, love him. Here are some pics to see why.

How you doin'

Apollo LOVES the sandbox


Nose to Nose

Sizing each other up...

Sleepy boy

That can't be comfortable

Boys best friend


Here's lookin' at you