Sunday, December 28, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - The Big Reveal

I have to tell you--this has been the most fun ever! The anticipation each evening...from our family, from you all, from Ted's co-workers and even from the kids' friends, has been such a kick. We thought we had it nailed as to who was blessing us, but we were oh, so wrong.

One of Caleb's friends finally fessed up last night. He's such a dear, along with his whole family. He told us that each year his family prays about who they should do this for. They want to bless a family who has especially blessed them throughout the year. We didn't even know we had blessed THEM at all! But what joy they have brought to us. Each gift was accompanied by a card that reminded of us the REAL reason for the season--the Christ Jesus came in the flesh as God's unspeakable gift to us here on earth. What a lovely reminder and beautiful way to share God's love at Christmas time. We can't wait to start this as our own tradition next year.

EXCEPT just one thing:

This guy?

Claire HATED him...she was absolutely terrified of it--especially when we turned it on (it's animated and played the sax). She ran and hid if we even picked it up to move it. Fugeddabout pressing the start button. We even put a cookie for her on it's nose and she never ever warmed up to it. And Claire LOVES her cookies. Cookie is her favorite word in all of human speak. She did, however, finally snatch the cookie, after many false starts and with lots of encouragement from us.

So, this has been a great Christmas. We took the tree down yesterday (Ted's getting ready to finally finish off the
Texaco bathroom) and are looking forward with great anticipation to a new year. And next Christmas, if sometime on the evening of December 14, your doorbell rings and mysteriously, no one is there, but there is a little gift for you...who knows...this could be the start of something big!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Christ is born, the angels sang, the shepherds watched, the wise men came. And that's just the very beginning of the story...He was wounded for our transgressions, scourged for our sins and was crucified, died and was buried for them. And He rose! HE LIVES! For you and me! Not only for our salvation, but so that we can have life to the fullest. He loves us, He really, really loves us!

With unspeakable joy and a full heart, Happy Christmas to you and yours from The Hoyles (and Claire). (EDIT: I am supposed to also add here the names of the Bigdogs, Otis and Staley, and Baggie the cat, who do not have a cute Christmas dress to wear).

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stay tuned

Several of you have either commented or sent me emails about what came next...
Well, as of 6:30 this evening, I finished Christmas shopping. Tomorrow morning I go to our local homeless shelter to volunteer for a couple of hours and then at 4 tomorrow afternoon, I check in at church for worship team practice for Christmas Eve service. I have fallen behind in pretty much every area, but I promise to post soon.

You're all going to have to wait to see what our secret friend has brought us.
We are delighted with everything and are looking forward to paying this forward to another family....

Stay at 11.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On the 4th Day of Christmas...

...we received from our ding-dong ditcher a pretty little glass Christmas tree filled with chocolate. My personal weakness and a food group in an of itself....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the Third Day of Christmas

For the multitudes (ok, the ones) of you following our story...
Last night, true to form, the doorbell rang at about 9:15....strange how that happened right after I returned home from a meeting with one of my suspects. Who, of course, acted completely dumb and confused when questioned. Hmm.....
Anyway, last night's gift was a beautiful wintery throw with aqua and white snowflakes on a Royal blue background. And soft? Oh, my. Think of a "soft as" dial and go about 4 clicks up from the "Cloud" setting.
This is just so much fun! I'm already planning on doing this for someone else next year! I would do it this year, but you can't really do the "12 Days of Christmas" with only 8 days left. I guess I could start on Christmas Day and extend it out that way, to 12th night? Anyway, stay tuned. I am hoping to post photos soon (when The Girl tells me where she's put the digital camera).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ding-dong Goes the Bell..

Sunday night, at about 8:30 p.m., our doorbell rang. This is pretty unusual. On the one hand, almost everyone who knows us, just taps on the door and walks right on in (yeah, we keep it unlocked usually. Probably not the safest thing, but I have 3 dogs who alert me if something’s up). On the other hand, those folks who do know us know that Ted tries to get to bed before that because during the week, he has to leave for work at 3:30 a.m. Not a typo. Three. Thirty. A. M. The good news is he’s home right after normal people eat lunch.

But I’m digressing. My doorbell rang. We all were startled. Claire, aka “la femme Cujo,” was especially indignant that the bell rang at what around here is a pretty late night. When the kids opened the door, there was a card and a pretty Christmas door mat. The card wasn’t signed, but it said “On the First Day of Christmas,” in handwriting that looked like someone was trying to disguise it. I counted...yep...12 days from Sunday and we're there….

Then last night, Monday, we had a pretty wild snowstorm. I whined and whimpered enough to get out of driving to a staff meeting. It snowed so much that by 8 p.m. last night they delayed school for 2 hours. And then cancelled this morning. At around 6:30 p.m. last night, Tanner was standing near the door watching the snow fall. And a little boy who he didn’t recognize came up to the door and rang the bell while putting his finger over his lips in the universal sign language for “SHH!!” The gift from last night was a bottle of apple cider and some mulling spice. The 2nd Day of Jesus' love.

I quick sent a text to the person I thought was responsible: my boss’ wife, who also happens to be my pastor’s wife. She has the sneakiness factor (the whole tp’ing incident was her idea) and the means—she teaches 3rd grade, so has access to a number of little boys that we wouldn’t recognize. She had no idea what I was talking about. But said that she WISHED the idea was hers.

So, we’re snowpacked and icy. Yes, I know that 5” is not a lot of snow to many of you. But ice is ice, and if it’s on the road just ½” thick or ½’ thick, it’s still slick, and everything around here is pretty much shut down for the day. So we’re wondering if our secret Santa will be like a postman and make his or her appointed rounds. This is so much fun…stay tuned and we’ll let you know what happens!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No bad gift...

goes unpunished.

Usually, by Thanksgiving, I have completed my Christmas shopping. Not so this year. The pretty little tree in my sidebar tells me I have 16 days left before the big day. That means 15 shopping days. You all realize I work for a church, right? That this is probably my busiest time of the year? And of course, since we are in a new building now, I have been told that we have to empty out our giant, filled to the gills 10’ x 20’ storage unit by the end of the month. In my defense, I wasn’t able to drive at all until around Halloween. And then, my stamina was limited. Now, we’re pretty broke, so I’m thinking just an afternoon or so and I’ll be able to wrap things up in one fell swoop, so to speak. But, in your quiet times, please say a little prayer for me that I can get it all done, as little as there is to do this year. Hopefully we’re getting the tree up tonight. SHEESH! And rumor has it that the in-laws and out-laws may even be coming here for Christmas. I gotta get myself in gear. Can Flylady come visit me?

Speaking of gifts, I freely admit that I am NOT the easiest person in the world to buy gifts for, but over the years I have lightened up to the point of tricky, up several steps from difficult, or fuggedaboudit. However, I have to protest that one of my reasons for being difficult is that I have been badly scarred from past gifts. There was my 16th birthday, when my dad gave me jumper cables. Or the first birthday after my wedding, when my husband got me a set of canisters. Yes—right after my wedding…showers, etc. You see where this is going? (and they were pretty ugly, too). Or we won’t mention that 1st Christmas together when I got (gasp!) a microwave/convection oven. Nevermind the fact that it was 1980, and said oven cost approximately the National Debt at the time. I was hurt. Not only because I felt like these kinds of gifts were impersonal, but because my mom, who died when I was 18, was probably the all-time, most phenomenal gift chooser on the planet. She knew exactly how to read someone's heart's desire and then act on it. No matter the occasion, you felt like you had been thought about and loved on and you were special to her. Now, I am all about the practical gifts. When I have specifically requested them. Like my Sears all-in-one tool box that was just for me that I still treasure. Or the comforter and sham set (Foley’s Catalog, 1989, pg 38) that I still love to this day, and only removed from my bed this past summer because my friend had an intervention for me and told me "it was time." But, really…if it has a 3-pronged plug on it, or if it will reside on a countertop, or just for utility’s sake, please don’t, unless you know for sure that I have dropped numerous hints and direct verbage towards you about it. Like: “Hey, honey…see this cool food processor I picked up today that you bought me for Christmas? Let me just whip up this batch of appetizers and then you can wrap it for under the tree!”
Even gift cards are sketchy now…what with stores like Mervyn’s and Linen's N Things going out of business and Circuit City filing for bankruptcy protection. Cash and checks work well, thank you very much. But, all in all, if you see Ted or my kids shopping around tell them this: Pam doesn’t want anything extravagant, or even impossible to achieve, like Peace on Earth…just peace in the house for one day. And a huge hug from each of you, knowing that you are safe and warm in our little home. And an evening of family games would be nice, too. What I want is costly: I want their time. Probably the only thing that you can’t ever earn back, once it’s spent. Just time with momma and the family…

And, on a lighter note, I got a HUGE laugh out of this video. It’s kind of what inspired this post….

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Infected....(or, it's Never Too Early)

Have you ever been around someone who always seems to make you feel stupid without seeming to mean to do that? I have one of those people in my life.
No matter what I say, it always seems to be the wrong thing. Or come out the wrong way. I am often gently edited or gently corrected or gently teased by this person. I firmly believe this person holds no animosity towards me, nor do I think that they dislike me at all. I think they genuinely like me. I think the person just wants to clarify what I am saying, or improve upon my delivery. I just seem to always get ‘foot in mouth’ whenever I speak in front of them. I need this person to know that I’m not stupid. Blunt, yes. I don’t pull any punches. I admire this person and desire the respect of this person. Every time I am around this person I pray that God would put His arm around my shoulder and His hand over my mouth. And it seems like every time I end up disappointing one of us.

I am sure that God is trying to teach me something here. I will listen more closely to Him. I will ponder what I say, before I say it. I will sand off some of my rough edges and not be as blunt as I am. But I will not forsake honesty and forthrightness. If I were to be less than honest, or not forthcoming, I wouldn't be me. I know that I am shaped that way. I think that God is just molding me somehow. That is going to be a fine line, and (at least for me) something to be achieved only through great effort. It’s a little early for New Year’s resolutions, but that’s my plan.
In a nutshell.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 charged

So....I didn't got to jail. I feel kind of bad...someone DID give money towards my bail. And I will send the kind people at March of Dimes a check. But the week came crashing down and I ran out of time and out of me.
As a substitute sentence, I DID spend an hour and a half at the Motor Vehicle Division getting 2 duplicate titles issued on some trailers we recently sold at church. And I couldn't go to the MVD Express (15 minutes, or less....In-DUN-GO!!) because they can't do duplicate titles there. So I got to rub shoulders with all the other losers unfortunates who either couldn't do their business at MVD Express or didn't want to fork over the $15 that you pay for the 15 minutes or less gig. It's interesting how many people:

a) are missing one or more permanent teeth, usually in front. Usually these people have at least one "homemade" tattoo on their body. Sometimes it's a teardrop on their sad

b) bring their toddlers to the MVD in their pj's. And then buy them snacks out of the vending machine that said toddlers proceed to sprinkle over their fellow MVD goers.
c) appear to be shocked and surprised that there is a wait at the MVD.

So, jail is apparently off my horizon. At least for now. No more tp'ing for this mom! I don't even want to think what the sentence/bail might be for a 2nd offense.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I know you thought I was kidding..

But really I'm not...I really am supposed to report for jail on Wednesday at noon...that's a little less than 36 hours as I type this. And I've raised exactly....drumroll....

Towards my bail. Please help these little babies...and please help me get out of jail quick! Just clock on this link: and you can donate directly. If you would like to help out, but would rather mail a check and want the address, please leave me a comment and I’ll get the information to you.

I know you thought I was kidding.. and you can donate directly through them. If you would like to help out, but would rather mail a check and want the address, please leave me a comment and I’ll get the information to you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Doin' Time

Last week I implied that I was possibly going to be placed under arrest…well, it’s true.
A dear friend (read with heavy sarcasm) has turned me in to the March of Dimes for my participation in an unfortunate toilet-papering incident back in September and on December 3 I am being held until I can raise $1000 “bail” for the cause.

SET ME FREE! …and help the March of Dimes arrest the rising rate of premature birth. 1 in 8 babies is born to soon, and often too small. These tiniest babies struggle to survive, and too often many don’t.I will soon be incarcerated in the March of Dimes Jail & Bail where I will be served only the finest bread and water (okay, maybe lunch!) You can help ensure my good behavior through your contribution. My hard earned bail will aid and abet the March of Dimes in funding lifesaving programs of research, education and community services. Programs that will save babies’ lives.

March of Dimes is a wonderful organization whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Each year in Albuquerque, they hold their annual Jail and Bail to raise money for this worthy cause. I know times are tough all around right now—hey, I work for a non-profit myself! But I’m hoping you can donate anything, (even just a little) and also help spread the word to your friends to donate in my name…just click on this link: and you can donate directly through them. If you would like to help out, but would rather mail a check and want the address, please leave me a comment and I’ll get the information to you.

Please, please help! Not only is this such an important fight, it’s become something very personal, because my friend who ratted me out is also being arrested and I desperately want to out-do her in donations. Don’t delay! Click now!!!! Time is running out….

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sometimes I Just Crack Myself Up

Two of the kids in the first youth group I was a part of leading got married about 2 years ago. They had a beautiful little boy, Cayden, on Tuesday.

I can't draw. But I'm a whiz with Publisher and an iron. I made these little onsies for them. I may very well be on to something here. I just crack myself up.

(p.s. Tyler got Caleb's iPod back at school today. What are the chances? There are about 3200 kids at this school. Some guy came up to a friend of Tyler's and asked if he wanted to buy an iPod. Friend recognized music as being Tyler-like and then saw photos. Tyler approached the seller and now Caleb has his iPod back. No case, no headphones. Caleb's still pretty ticked, but glad to have the iPod. I'm hoping he'll let it go about the case. Not worth getting suspended or worse over. Did I mention that both Tyler and Caleb are black belt candidates in Wushu Kung Fu? Yep. Both are 2nd degree browns right now. If I were that guy, I'd make sure Caleb got his stuff back).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Just Not Right...

I was very creative today—way more creative than I usually am. And since artsy-crafty stuff isn’t my forte (despite my parents wild excitement over a lot of white glue, some marbles and a wooden box), I was proud and about to post pictures. But I’m not going to.

Because this afternoon I found out that Caleb’s iPod was stolen from his gym locker today. He paid for it himself, scrimping with money saved from helping neighbors, lunch money he stashed and helping his dad out with less than pleasant chores. He is only 15 and doesn't have a regular job. He took very good care of it. Today was his first wrestling practice of the year and he didn’t bring an extra lock. He put his iPod in his backpack and put it in a gym locker. After practice, he discovered that his backpack had been rifled and his iPod is gone. I am so sad for him. And he keeps saying, “It was all my fault—I’m the one who didn’t lock it up.” And then, “If someone wanted or needed an iPod that bad, I would’ve given it to them. Now I’m just mad!”

The thing’s NOT his fault. He was careless, yes. But the person clearly at fault here, clearly the one to blame, is the person who took something that didn’t belong to him. I understand temptation. But this just stinks. My stomach hurts. We’re not the kind of folks who can afford to replace an iPod, but I want to because Caleb just doesn't deserve this. I am just so sad….

Monday, November 17, 2008

Am I really the only one?

..who hasn't read Twilight yet? And I just spent about 8 weeks laid up. I can't believe it. As mush of a reader as I am. I read ANYTHING. Everything. I am going to get this book. This week. I feel so....left out....sigh....
Everyone who I know who has it has lent it out to someone else.
I may need to save it for my time in the slammer...I'm pretty sure I'll be serving time soon...

Final Fall into Flavor

Don't you just love Fall? The time when you have excuses to bake new comfort foods....

gotta make 'em and try 'em before the holidays. Linda at 2nd Cup has been hosting a cooking meme where we all share recipes for our faves...hers this week sounds like the answer to PMS, sad chick flicks, rainy days and other excuses to treat yourself all rolled up into one.

One of my favorites to make is baked stew. Using a cast iron or other oven-proof skillet, the gravy gets all creamy and the potatoes just a little crisp around the edges. Then top it off with canned biscuits cooked right on top, and , VOILA! Instant comfort...

1 1/2 lbs stew meat, cut into bite-size portions

1/2-1 sm onion, chopped kinda big (about 3/4")

6-7 potatoes

1 lb baby carrots

1-2 stalks celery, cut about the same size as the onion

1 can Rotel tomatoes with gr chile (we like medium hot)

3/4 c flour

1 t. season salt

1t. pepper

1/2 t. celery salt

1 can beef stock or 1-2 bouillon cubes with about 12 oz of water

oil to cover the bottom of you cast iron skillet

2 cans of refrigerator biscuits

Mix flour, salts and pepper in a bag or a plastic container with a lid. Add the meat and shake it until well coated. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet (or other oven proof skillet with a lid) and brown the floured meat and onions until the onions start to caramelize, turning frequently. Add the rest of the ingredients except the biscuits. Make sure you put in any leftover flour dredge. Cover (preferably with a heavy glass lid) and bake at 300 for about 2 hours. Watch the liquid and add more as needed (water or stock). Remove glass lid and heat oven to 400. Put biscuits on top and back for 10-12 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown. Serve immediately. Stew is great the next day as leftovers, but the biscuits--eh, not so much. So you should probably eat them all then. Even if it means having 3 or (gulp) 4 biscuits...
Hope you've enjoyed this meme as much as I have. My Curves instructors do NOT approve. Maybe I should give them the little coffee mug cake things for Christmas...hmm.....
OH! I almost forgot--rumor has it that I will be facing an arrest warrant! Not a lot of time to tell you about it, but watch this space. I WILL need your help....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday...

I lurk (pretty often) on lots of blogs by other Christian women. And am so often humbled and encouraged by their stories and writing. Amy over at Signs, Miracles and Wonders, does a weekly meme called Then Sings My Soul...the idea is to post lyrics or maybe even a video of a song that speaks to you especially, right where you are.

This is my first time to participate, and I have been thinking about it all day. It's not even Saturday here yet (it's about 11:50 p.m. on Friday), but all day I have had this song in my heart. And then, this evening, while still working (some more frantically than others) to finish up the new building for our grand opening worship service on Sunday, the sound guys were testing and played this song...

The lyrics say:

You're calling me to lay aside the worries of my day

To quiet down my busy mind and find a hiding place

Worthy, Worthy

I open up my heart and let my spirit worship YoursI open up my mouth and let a song of praise come forth

Worthy, You are worthy

Of a child-like faith

And of my honest praise

And of my unashamed love

Of a holy life

And of my sacrifice

And of my unashamed love

This has been an amazing week of ups and downs. Monday we were walking thru studs, no sheetrock in site. Tuesday, we were painting--not just primer, but in color. 7000 sq feet. And I came home so tired and exhausted, I wept. Wednesday, I spent part of the afternoon there, taking lunch to the team; I didn't plan to make it to the new place in the evening, but at around 5:30 p.m., I received a frantic call from my pastor--"Quick--google how to get paint out of carpet--we've had a spill of about a gallon. Rally everyone you can to bring towels and buckets." (I should note here he's seldom, if ever frantic. Wry, yes. Sarcastic, sometimes. Frantic--doesn't happen). Yesterday I came home after on and off all day at 11:30 p.m., tired with my fairly fresh incision throbbing and my ankle telling me I was stupid, but with full confidance that we would make it--today the fire marshall threatened to shut us down. After faxes and calls and entirely humble hearts, at 5:30 tonight, when fire marshalls never, ever work, we got it: our Certificate of Occupancy.

I am a part of our worship team (vocals and violin). I haven't played my violin since before the accident, obviously. This was one of my favorite songs to play. The violin part in it sings so sweetly. I miss playing so much. But I may again, least that's what they tell me.

Now, listen to these words. The enemy opened up his arsenal and wanted me to worry. But I chose to listen to God's call..and put aside my worries and quiet my busy mind. And do what I was created to do: worship. He is above all...WORTHY. This week was allowed to happen this way because we need to be able to point towards God and say that without Him, it just wouldn't have come together. I am unashamedly, unabashedly, completly without dignity and wholly in love with my God.

Head on over to Amy's blog and check out TSSS

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things you didn't know about me (and probably don't care...)

Lidna at 2nd cup isn’t feeling well, so she posted a meme, or a fill in. It’s nearly 10:40 p.m. in the big city as I type this and wait for my various bulletins and flyers to print off and my eldest to get home from work, so I thought I’d take part in this. Join if you will…

What is your writing process?I don’t think I have a process. I think I mostly just sit down and free associate. I’m sure you can see that by reading some of my blogs. Very under-processed.

What are your greatest creative inspirations?
Watching the way that God orchestrates both the big and little things in my life and the lives of my friends and family. Being out in Creation. And my silly little dog, kids, youth group and family.

What are your greatest creative barriers?I feel like most of what I write is so hackneyed that no one would ever waste time reading it. I so badly want to be entertaining and engaging, but feel that most of the time I end up being just sort of…boring.

What is your favorite word? I’ve been using “wield” quite often lately. Like in swords and power and such. And although not a word, I like to use ellipses....ya think?!?

What is your least favorite word? “irregardless” That’s not even a word. Regardless of what newcasters and pundits say--it just isn't.

What sound or noise do you love? My kids singing and playing. Great worship music. Especially my kids singing and playing great worship music. And the ocean. And birdies like Chuck.

What sound or noise do you hate? Dishes or cutlery being tossed into sinks, cabinets or the dishwasher less than gently. I always want to do it myself so that my dishes won’t get chipped, and then I feel like whoever is tossing is ticked off about something. And then I end up resenting doing the dishes.

What is your favorite curse word? I don't like curse words, so I don’t have a favorite, for sure. Even tho' I sometimes use them, I don't like them. I really like My ADHD Me’s new word, but I don’t know if it’s a curse word or not—“Bomb Diggety.” It’s really fun to say...

A song/band/type of music you'd risk wreck & injury to turn off when it comes on the radio? Gangsta' rap.

Best show on television? Ooo...hard to choose. Glad you didn’t say work of non-fiction. I like Heroes, and LOST. I kind of got into Saving Grace earlier this fall, but it’s a little dark—just incredibly well done. I watch way too much TV. I’ve spent 5 of the last 8 weeks pretty much tied down to the couch or bed. I think I want to swear it off. Except I don’t.

Favorite movie? Again...hard to choose. Love Braveheart. I just melt when he says, “Ah luv ya. Alwuss hev, alwuss will.” And I like Princess Bride, too. Newest finds: Fireproof and Iron Man…

Favorite room in your house? My living room. It’s red and has 2 big comfy dark red leather couches. Like my own little cave. I can snuggle up and watch a movie or TV with the fam or have a favorite girlfriend over for coffee and forbidden desserts…

Best concert? David Crowder, hands down. Just before Collision came out. Took eldest 2 kids and they were nearly on their faces worshipping. It was A. Maz. Ing.

Brass or strings? Strings. I’m a violin player—what did you expect? McYummy said today that I would probably be able to play again, eventually.

If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be? "Jesus Loves You (and I’m trying...)". My best friend actually has that one. PLUS, it has the bonuse of having both ellipses and parenthesis....yea!

The best part about being your age? Being comfortable with who and what I am. I can dress up in my Stacy and Clinton put together sleekness one day and the next be in my rattiest sweatshirt and have toilet paper stuck to my shoe and still not feel like I’m bipolar. I get to be me.

Favorite Girl Scout cookie? Samoas, aka Caramel deLights. I have been known to eat an entire box during one run through of The Notebook.

Poker or gin or bridge? Apples to Apples or Phase 10 (a new one I picked up at camp).

Shower or bath? Baths, when I have the time. With candles, bubbles, music and a good book.

Favorite pajamas? Men’s Aeropostale flannel bottoms and my softest sweatshirt on the planet in the winter. A soft, soft night shirt in the summer..

Nightmare job? Dumping airplane lavatories (potties). I really used to do that. And I delivered singing telegrams, too.

A talent you wish you had? Drawing or art. Ted and Tanner are A. Maz. Ing. Also, it would be nice to be a cleanie instead of a messie.

(Ted drew this, and the scan doesn't even begin to do it justice. My BFF's daughter)

Dream vacation? A warm beach. And 7 or 8 good books.

What's on your nightstand? Lamp, clock, tissues, water bottle, a stray ibuprofen, dust probably and probably 7-8 books.

3 weird things about you:

I don’t like gravy. At least cream gravy. That could be a blessing in disguise, I guess.

I anthromorphosize computers and calculators. I sometimes think that they think I’m stupid or lazy for not knowing the answer or for keeping on hitting “enter” when it didn’t work the last 12 times.

I feel like I need to give things a name, animate or inanimate. A few weeks ago on Grey’s Anatomy, Lexi named a bunch of pigs. I can totally identify with that.

Now, come on and play! This was kinda fun!

Friday, November 7, 2008


For the past several years, this is what I’ve spent almost every Sunday morning doing:

(yes..that is my wonderful son in the opening shot at 7 a.m. on a Sunday..and in the closing shots at around noon the same Sunday...I'm in there...look for white and black plaid shorts)

I belong to an incredible church family. Without SoulRio, my life would be much less full and much lonelier. I LOVE this church! We began attending 10 years ago when it was brand new and called Harvest Community Church and we met in a small community center in my neighborhood. We outgrew the community center and moved into a high school. We were there for a couple of years and then moved into a strip mall location for a few years. Our children’s area outgrew the strip mall and we went back to being portable…this time to a different high school. We have met in movie theaters, parks, even on the mesa once or twice. I’ve seen things wax and wane, grow and slow, and have never been more amazed about how much God is able to accomplish through His people. We have a wonderful parcel of land that God has provided for us to purchase and hope to build on it within the next couple of years. We’ve been at Cibola High for about 4 or 5 years now (being the secretary, you’d think I’d know, but…too lazy to look it up.)

And now...we’re going OFF ROAD again….by this, I mean we’re moving back into the strip mall location. We have lots of build-out to still finish before our grand opening on November 16. For all my loyal readers (all ones of you) who pray, I covet your prayers. We are running down to the wire on getting inspections and drywall and painting and a final certificate of occupancy. We have drywall to hang, texture to text, paint to paint, not to mention unload those trailers again and set up sound, lights, projectors, kid’s stuff, yada yada yada. I’m still not strong enough or steady enough to do a lot of it, which is totally frustrating to me. Yesterday in our Bible study, we talked about those sacrifices of praise we need to make. I love being in the thick of things. In charge, active and DOING. In all honesty, the sheer business of it makes me feel important. But this is a time that God has told me to be still; be quiet. Wait on Him. This is hard for me…really hard. And good for me to watch other people flourish and bloom and get as excited as I do about working for God. And to know that it WILL happen—with our without me. So…YAY! Go God! These are exciting times!
(p.s. I did get to pass fluorescent lightbulbs up to Ted last night while he stood on a ladder and installed them. And then I threw the old ones in the dumpster. So I am participating…however marginally. I'll hang on to that right now. And never cease to praise Him.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God Bless America

If you have already voted, thank you! If you haven't, please do! If you aren't going to...why NOT?!? It's both a privilege and a responsibility. Besides, you will be making history. Either you will be voting for the first female Vice President or the first African American President. That's a story that will bore your kids and grandkids, alike, but one that you can be proud of! NOW: Get out there and vote..... (and go Maverick!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fall Into Flavor Week 5 - ULTIMATE Grilled Cheese

I am a true afficiando of comfort food. Easy-peasy comfort food is the absolute best. I make award winning grilled cheese sandwiches. Sandwiches to make your son forget that he fell down on the way to school and tore his brand new jeans on his way to kindergarten. Sandwiches that celebrate staying up late with your daughter and her girlfriends to watch silly movies. Sandwiches to make you forget about your flat tire. In the rain. With a dead cell phone.
So...since this may be one of the last of this year's Fall Into Flavor's (check out more over at 2nd Cup), here it is:
For each sandwich:

2 slices of bread of your choice (Texas toast or sourdough is my favorite)
Butter (REAL butter) to spread on all 4 sides of the bread
2 slices gooey cheese of your choice (I like 1 slice American and 1 slice Havarti)

Butter all 4 sides of the bread.
Heat griddle or frying pan until a water droplet will dance on it.
Toss bread in pan and toast until lightly browned. Flip over one slice of bread and put the cheese on it. Place the 2nd slice of bread on top of the cheese (toasted side down) and flip it over to toast the only untoasted side when the first slice you flipped is nicely browned. (confusing to write out, easy to do once you see what’s going on in the pan). When it’s j-u-s-t r-i-g-h-t take it off and stand it on it’s crust on a plate for a moment or two, so that both sides stay perfectly crisp. Cut as desired. Serve with tomato soup or chocolate milk (daughter’s favorite) for dipping.
Remember your childhood and make grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner sometime this's got to be the ultimate comfort food.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

SOOC Saturday - Is it Plagiarism if I give Credit?

It's Straight Out Of Camera Saturday again. I did NOT take this photo. But it is one of my absolute favorites. Taken by the my daughter's BFF....Thanks SG (no names here). This shot is a few years old, but I will treasure it always. The composition isn't right and the lighting is wrong, the the subject(s)...ahh.....

OK, here's my confession: I don't have Photoshop. Everything I post is SOOC...oh, well.

Head over and check out Melody at Slurping Life for other great shots.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WFMW- Brown Sugar

Everybody's grandma probably told them about this, but I was surprised when a friend wasn't aware...
To keep brown sugar soft (i.e. eliminate the useless bricks after you stock up on it during holiday baking season) keep it in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid (like Tupperware) and put a slice of bread in along with it. I don't know why it works, but it does. The bread doesn't mold, but the sugar stays soft, scoopable and packable.
Head over to Rocks In My Dryer for more helpful hints from other busy folks....

Monday, October 27, 2008

In Memoriam

Our little hummingbird died this morning. When she woke up, she was perched on her little twig and eating well on her own. I moved her cage to a sunny window so she would be warm and when I went to check on her about an hour later, she had died.

Probably, whatever had delayed her here and kept her from flying south had made her sick in the first place. By trying to nurse her, I may have extended her life only to make her suffer longer. Possibly because I wasn’t able to offer her the right kind of protein, I hastened her death. We’ll never know, but what I do know is that I’m a better person for focusing on another creature’s troubles instead of my own. Therapy comes in all kinds of unexpected forms….

Saturday, October 25, 2008

SOOC Saturday - Hummer Update

SOOC stands for "Straight out of camera." No editing. Not only is this straight out of the camera with no editing, it's from my cell phone. Not bad for a techincally challenged individual such as myself. Note the man hands that I have, along with my really snazzy men's pj pants that are my Saturday uniform.

This is my little hummingbird. Yes, I know I said I'd call Wildlife Rescue. But yesterday he was doing SO well...loved to drink; bought him some nectar. The whole other plumbing (elimination) end of him was working too. Compared to this one's, Chuck left cow paddies. And I think he has a name now. I have been calling him Humpfrey. My kids are calling him Chuck II or Chuck Jr. You all know that I can't really have any kind of , well anything, thing around without naming him, right? His back is roughly the same color as Chuck I's. HOWEVER--I do believe that he is a she. So Chuck II could could be short for Charlene, right? According to a google of "what do wild hummingbirds eat" I need to find a supply of small insects for him for protein. The whole moistened dry cat food thing didn't work. Wonder if I could just mix some protein powder in his nectar. I know...I can hear you all telling me to call Wildlife Rescue. Can't I just put an old banana in the bottom of his cage to get some fruit fly action? Hmmm.....

This morning when I got up, he was not doing well. Not well at all. He had both little eyes squeezed tightly shut and he was all puffy feathered (see photo). Ted and I were sure he was on his way out. We even talked about how not feeding him and just letting him go might be the most humane thing to do. But I just couldn't. I don't think animals have souls like human beings and I don't believe that All Dogs Go to Heaven, but that seemed like a sad and lonely thing to do. I cuddled him in my hands for about an hour, and then Amy took over. Rather than feeding him every 20 minutes (tho' yesterday, he was flitting around the cage and getting his own nectar when ever he pleased), we put the syringe over his little beak every minute or two. Instead of gulp gulp gulp with the tongue as long as his whole body, he would flick it out just a tiny bit and sip. Then all at once, he seemed to wake up, did the gulpy-gulpy thing and opened one eye. We had to run a few errands so we put some cotton-poly batting and an old sock in a box in the bottom of his cage so he could keep warm and by the time we got home, both eyes were opened. He's hopping around a little now and back to big time gulpy-gulpy. Now, I know that My ADHD Me thinks we have covert agents lurking around and suspect she may be right, so I am throwing myself and my family on your mercy by asking you not to turn us in to the feds for harboring a hummer. The WLR clinic is open only minimal hours during the winter months and I haven't been able to drive there while they are open. Yeah, that's it...I still can't drive....(read that last part out loud with a John Lovitz accent).

Check out Melody's SOOC Mr. Linky and leave some chit-chats for the nice folks over there.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins

Ok...since so many of you read this blog (I know there are literally ones of you!!!cough cough) here is my first official meme: Friday Fill-Ins.

1. Follow the um…instructions on the box (EDIT: When you make HUMMINGBIRD nectar)…leader…Yellow Brick Road!
2. My little red bag is something I always take with me on vacation.
3. To achieve your goals, you must pray and seek direction. (EDIT: And probably call Wildlife Rescue)
4. I love having comments on my blog EDIT: And I have a HUMMINGBIRD in my kitchen)is something I'd like you to know about me.
5. I have an amazing family. (EDIT: A HUMMINGBIRD in my kitchen)
6. HopeEDIT: Hummingbird POO floats.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having dinner with girlfriends,EDIT:and feeding a HUMMINGBIRD tomorrow my plans include getting a flu shot, EDIT: and feeding a HUMMINGBIRDand Sunday, I want to get a nap in between church and youth group! (EDIT: Feed the bird....)

Tag—you’re it. I know that my loyal readership of 2.1 people will fill this out and link back. I love links back!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

His Eye is on the Sparrow

...and the hummingbirds, too.

I got home from my RioLink (cell group) tonight to find that Ted had rescued a tiny little hummingbird while doing a side job. [Sidenote: DRATS if my camera isn't dead and I can't find the usb charger or cable!!!!] I think it's a juvenile. But so tiny, it's hard to tell. And I think he (she?--pretty green back so I'm going with he) should've quit these parts for warmer climes by now--it was about 30 degrees F this morning. I have been home for about 2 hours and have fed it homemade 'nectar' about every 15 minutes...I just covered his little cage.

His cage used to belong to Chuck. Chuck was a lesser goldenrod that was a baby we rescued about 3 years ago at a backyard Bible Club/VBS. We named him Chuck because I was wearing Chuck Taylors when I nearly stepped on him. He was so pitiful looking and didn't even have pin feathers. We tried, and I mean tried hard, to put him back in his nest, but we just couldn't. The trees in the park were brand new, with a trunk about 1" in diameter and about 15' tall...and the nest was in the tip top of one of those trees. Even standing on each other's shoulders, we couldn't reach the nest. The kids begged, I told them he would die and I finally relented. Tanner put him in a little sauce pan with lots of cotton batting next to a lava lamp overnight, so excited as only a 9-year-old can be. When he was alive the next morning, I softened up dry cat food in water and stuffed it in his little gullet. His craw swelled up so much the first time, I thought I killed him. He began to get so excited every time I came near his cage, he would flutter and flap and "CHEEP." I was his momma bird, for sure. He imprinted on me. His feathers came in. He never really knew he was a bird. He also thought he was just as big as we were, even though he was only about 2" high with wingspan of about 5". We taught him to fly. While I worked, he would ride my hand while I worked the computer mouse or sit on my shoulder and play with my earrings and kiss me. He loved iced tea (it was kind of like birdy cocaine--he would sneak some out of Ted's afterwork glass every chance he got). And artichoke leaves (his back was the same color as a fresh one). And baths in an old peanut butter lid. After his bath he would be so wet, as would my counter and everything within a 3' radius, he couldn't even fly. When I would put him in his cage (he didn't really like his cage, but had to stay there when we couldn't pay attention to him or left the house) he would scold me for a little bit and then preen and talk to the pretty birdie in the mirror. When I would come back into the empty house after running errands, he would say "CHEEP" just once to let me know he was there and ready to come out and keep me company. Early in January after we found him (in June), the ceiling fan was We generally didn't have it on at all, and I don't know why it was on then. I snapped my fingers and told him "cage" and he flew up to the fan where he would perch when he didn't want to go to bed. Chuck was killed instantly. I was absolutely devastated. For days, everytime I came into the house alone, I would listen for the "CHEEP." I took to leaving music playing while I was gone so I wouldn't have to come home to a quiet house. Sometimes I still listen for him. And then, along came Claire....

All 0f my babies are no longer babies. I have an innate need to mother and nurture. And as much as my eye is on these tiny creatures of God, His is even ever more aware, ever more watchful. And he cares for me (and YOU!) infinitely more.

I don't think I'm ready to take on the care of another baby bird. Physically, it's too hard for me to even take proper care of my family yet. And from everything I've found on google, the little guy won't survive more than 72 hours on my homemade nectar. And even if he did, it's violating all kinds of federal and state wildlife ordinances to keep him. I'll call a wildlife rescue center tomorrow. But just for tonight, I have a new little charge to watch over. And marvel at the way that God has designed this tiny little thing, whose tongue is about the diameter of a piece of embroidery floss and whose feet are smaller than my shortest eyelashes. He is such a perfect little creature, such a beauty and joy. A love note to me from God. He never ceases to pursue me...


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Fall (pt 2)

En route to the hospital, I called Ted. He was confused, thinking I was at the other pastor’s house when I fell. I was probably a little snippy (don’t do too well with pain and all) and told him it didn’t matter where I was when it happened, but where I needed him to MEET me at. I don’t think I told him then we had been toilet papering. I still haven’t told my mil. If she reads this blog, sorry Bonnie! Yep, I was stoopid! After I had fallen, I knew my head and nose hurt and my arm…oh yeah baby, my arm hurt. Lots of road rash, too. When I got out of the jeep at the hospital, I was also made aware that my foot and ankle were broken. Ever try to walk with a broken foot and ankle? Not what I’d recommend. Did I mention this was a Sunday evening? And one of only 2 ER’s on our side of town? The waiting room, with seating for about 15, had about 25 people in it. The sweet little receptionist (read this with dripping sarcasm) tossed a clipboard underneath the bulletproof glass at me and told me to fill out the top form before she could talk to me. Then she growled at my by now somewhat shaken 17-year old son to “move that car—NOW!” I was left standing at the window. With a broken foot and ankle. And a broken right wrist. And she wouldn’t even talk to me until I filled out her little form. Standing. At. The. Window. Are you freakin’ KIDDING me?!? A nice lady there with her son, who I apparently scared to death, helped me sit down and held my clipboard until Tyler could come back in and fill out my form for me. After about 30 minutes in the waiting room they took me back to triage me. Offered me Vicodin, which I throw up…I opted for a big dose of Ibuprofen. And sent me back out to the waiting room (in a wheelchair this time) with a bag of ice. By then, the absurdity of it struck both Tyler and I. I was (at the time) 46 years old, and sitting in a hospital waiting room with multiple injuries sustained while toilet papering. Whether it was from release of tension or just plain silliness, we both just cracked up. By then, the whole waiting room wanted in on our little joke. Needless to say, I had one of the more interesting stories of the evening. By the time Ted and Pastor Dan arrived, the waiting room was our little stage and we were the entertainment for the evening. The rest of the evening was typical….I guess. My road rash was not treated (Ted picked gravel out of my knees the next day). They never looked in my ears or nose (diagnosed at Primary dr a few days later…she also suspected a minor concussion), and totally missed the ankle. I was booted and splinted and told to call a specialist the next day (Monday 9-15).
(EDIT: If you are a driver on a toilet paper party, it is NOT wise to leave your vehicle behind at the scene, especially if the owner of the house you are tp'ing would recognize your vehicle. When Tyler and Ted went over around 1 a.m. after leaving the hospital to retreive Tyler's truck it had every scrap of tp that had been used on the yard stuffed in and around his truck. In the wheel wells. In the grill. In the bed. Windshield wipers and antenna. In every nook and cranny. Oops.)
I had surgery on my wrist on September 25. They put in a plate, several screws and pegs and some wires. The wires will more than likely need to be removed in another surgery later on down the road. I have some really gruesome photos, but in the interest of lady-like appeal, will not be sharing them here. My nose is healing very nicely, black eye is completely gone. Unless you were really looking for it, I don’t think you could see a difference. There’s still a bump on my eyebrow….I am still wearing a walking boot. I began physical therapy for my wrist last week. If I tell you that my dr (who my best friend and I have dubbed McYummy—why are ortho docs always so darn good looking?) wrote out another Rx for Percocet for me to take on therapy days, it will tell you how fond I am of therapy. I do, however, really think my therapist is the bomb….I had a different wrist surgery back in January, and he thinks that based on how well I healed up from last time, I will eventually be able to play my violin again on the worship team. I still can’t drive because of the boot, so am at the mercy of whoever offers to take me anywhere.

Throughout this whole thing, God has above all taught me humility. I was always the one who provided the meals. The one who drove people to appointments. The self-sufficient one. Let me tell you: Not. Self. Sufficient. If God had not placed the wonderful people in my live that He did, I don’t know what we would’ve done the last month. Now that I am getting better, and am starting to see light at the end of this, the thing I am struggling with the most is a feeling of betrayal. My body totally betrayed me. And I was a little bit (ok, honestly, a LOT) angry that this had happened. I’m better there tho’….God is using this in so many ways….growing my kids, as a witness of what a real church family is to their friends, stretching people in ministries that I usually handle, stretching me in patience and in allowing people to bless ME. I am struggling also with fear. I grew up timid and physically afraid to try things. I freely admit to being a klutz. But because I wanted my kids to be fearless, I have prayed through lots of things and done things I never thought I would: Jumped off a cliff into a lake, white-water rafted, ropes challenge courses and zip lines. Things that required me to really push through and pray that fear down. Now, I am timid again. Much, much, much more than I ever was. I hesitate walking down a sloped driveway or theater aisle. Leaning out the car door to shut it is a little scary. A flight of stairs makes me tremble. I pray that as I heal, as my body becomes more balanced once again, that this fear will lessen. But until then, I know that God will never let me go. And however, and whatever I go through, He will be there. So that’s the story. Inquiring minds have been asking. And now you know….

p.s. This song has kept me going.....even if you hate clicking on video links, humor me and click on this one:

Proverbs 3
21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pride Goes Before a Fall (pt 1)

So here’s what really happened, and here’s my take on the whole thing:

One fine Sunday evening in September, our church youth group was meeting at the home of our pastor and his lovely wife. Most of the kids were taking advantage of the beautiful Indian Summer evening that we were having by swimming in the new pool. Our regular youth pastor was out of town, so I was kind of/sort of in charge of the group for the evening. One of the junior girls had prepared a great lesson the Beatitudes and we were having a fabulous time. The pastor’s wife had begun a toilet papering job at the home of the out of town youth pastor a couple of nights before, but because of time constraints and a supply shortage had run out of time. Because he was due back in town that evening, we really wanted to make sure he had the welcome he deserved and wanted to make sure he was in no doubt about how much we missed him. The lead pastor and I agreed to drive a group of kids over to “finish up the job,” so to speak. My oldest son drove over in his truck as well.

As a teenager, I was pretty much one of the queens of pranks. One time, in the 11th grade, we picked up a friend’s VW bug and lifted up on to her porch so that her family was unable to open her front door the next morning. I ‘kidnapped’ numerous friends, and was ‘kidnapped’ myself out of bed in the wee hours to be taken to breakfast and celebrate the day in my pjs. My record for tp-ing was a 16-roller for one house. Of course, it wasn’t the same if you bought the toilet paper; you had to steal it from Pizza Hut. My kids have heard these stories all their life and really wanted me to go along with the group to show them how it was done. So of course, being the cool mom that I am, I agreed. DISCLAIMER: We did NOT steal the toilet paper. It was bought and paid for by said pastor’s wife. She didn't come...sent her husband instead, just in case the police got called.

Essentially, I was really just along as a getaway driver. For the record: I had made one beautiful festoon over the garage lights and was NOT running, jumping, acting silly or otherwise doing something totally stupid. (I own that it was partially stupid. I was toilet papering, after all). I stepped back to observe the kid’s work and admire my own handiwork, and


I fell off the driveway. In all fairness, it was really a tricky thing. And in all honesty, I am a huge klutz. It was still daylight, but the sun was beginning to set. The driveway dropped off into a short retaining wall and then again to a run-off apron and on into a curb. Most driveways around here are either bordered by grass or gravel. The concrete here went on, and I think that out of the corner of my eye, I didn’t notice the drop and just assumed the driveway went on at the same level. It didn’t. I fell and fell hard. All the way down, I could hear many thoughts running through my head: “This can’t be good…uh oh…this will leave a mark…NOOOOOoooooo!” SNAP! Tyler heard the snap and thought I’d broken my sunglasses. Not so. It was my wrist. Or my nose. Or my ankle. Or my foot. But probably my wrist....however, you should SEE my glasses...they have some really impressive scratches on them.

Funnily enough, with at least a dozen people there, no one actually saw me fall. My daughter was even video-taping, and didn’t catch it. She did, however catch an audio clip of me saying, “I’m a little nauseous…” My son looked up at the snap and came running over. Pastor Dan did too. I kept insisting, “Give me a minute, I’ll be ok…” Again, not so. Dan told me my arm “didn’t look good--not good at all” and I should go to the ER. I should note here that Dan often seems to be present when people hurt themselves and probably has a handle on this. And also that he looked a little green around the gills at the sight of my arm and face. My arm was shaped roughly like a cross between a banana and a very large piece of rick-rack. It was decided that Tyler should take me over to the ER….so off we went....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall into Flavor, Week 3

Head on over to 2nd cup for some great recipes and discerning political banter. I can't wait to try out the Carrot Cake recipe....yum yum yum....

And here's my entry (I know, another soup-type thing--can we see a theme here?)

White Chile (8-10 servings)

6 c. chicken broth1 lb.

Great Northern beans (Clean and soak overnight, or use canned)

1 sm chopped onion

1 clove minced garlic

7 oz. diced green chiles

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp white pepper
Salt, to taste
4 c. chicken, dicedFlour tortillas

Combine all ingredients except tortillas. For canned beans, simmer approx 1 to 1 ½ hours. For dried, throw it all in a slow cooker and simmer all day. (best when cooked all day—flavors “meld”)

Put a flour tortilla in the bottom of a bowl and kind of cone-shape it so it follows the shape of the bowl. Fill with the white chile and then serve with desired garnishes. Easily adapted for a bigger crowd.

Use any of the following garnishes: shredded cheese (jack/cheddar), chopped green onions, chopped olives, chopped avocados, chopped tomatoes.
(I composed this in Word...don't know why it's doing the weird spacing stuff...)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Andy Warhol's Got Nuthin' On Me

So my 15 minutes of fame wasn’t nearly all that dangerous or exciting or even interesting, but I am never one to back down from a challenge, so here ya go, Lidna:

A long time ago in another life I worked for an airline. It was in the heady days shortly after deregulation and in all reality it was one of my childhood dreams to work for an airline. I really loved it, and the hubs started there about a year and a half after I did. We lived the life of Riley and traveled extensively and really had a ball until we had a Chapter 7 reorganization, and the “bonus” I had been paid as a supervisor turned into a “salary advance” that they pulled back out of my checks. I still enjoyed what I was doing and was well on my way up the ladder. I started out as a cross-utilized customer service rep, worked my way up to station trainer, supervisor and then an auditor. After 11 years of marriage (yes, I was married at age 4—how else could I have just celebrated my 28th anniversary in June?), we got pregnant on our first try. Apparently I was Fertile Myrtle, because Caleb followed Tyler exactly 24 months and one week later. After I had my boys, things totally refocused. I decided that being home with my baby boys and being the one who read Green Eggs and Ham to them until they had it memorized was way more important than dealing with disgruntled businessmen whose bags were delayed and drunken hookers who missed the last flight out to Las Vegas. So I quit after 10 years of working for them in 1993 and got pregnant again a week after I quit. And then got pregnant when Amy wasn’t quite a year old. And I have never regretted leaving. Ted still works there, although due to a merger, the airline has a different name. The company I started with was the surviving carrier and the holding corporation, but they took on the other carrier name for a more global appeal. I bet I could still push a plane back from the gate…and at one time I was a certified brake rider. I know that anyone who knows me now won’t believe it, because I was so obviously born without the backing up a vehicle gene, but when you push the plane, you are facing it, so it’s not technically backing up. I think I’m diverting from my original subject, but My ADHD Me will totally get on board (love the airline references, hee-hee) with me here and now maybe she won’t think I’m part of the vast conspiracy. So that’s the whole back story.

One drizzly and cold Saturday afternoon I was the Ground Security Coordinator on duty for our carrier. We got a phone call from our corporate dispatch telling us to expect a drop-in (unscheduled) flight because there was a suspected hijacking on board. This was WAY before 9-11…I think it was probably around 1985 or so. Because our carrier contracted out ground services for the plane that was flying over…oh, what the heck! America West (us) worked Midway Airlines (them) in certain cities where they didn’t have enough flights to make it worthwhile to staff a full crew. So we got picked to work the hijacking here, because Midway didn’t have a ground presence in ABQ. Some lady had apparently observed a man acting strangely on board the aircraft. She observed him “toying” what she thought was a weapon. She reported it to the crew, who felt it was a credible threat and wanted to land. I had to have my crew meet the plane and arranged for a bus to remote the 90 or so passengers to the room the FBI set up. Then, when the flight was cleared for departure, I had to re-route all the 90 or so passengers (minus the crazy lady) to their final destinations. And re-tag their bags. And be Midway’s spokesperson in ABQ. It ended up taking about 12 hours all in all. The passengers were pretty grumpy, but I would’ve been too. I asked if I could leave, and the FBI SAC told me that he couldn’t make me stay, but that if I left, they would bring me back in against my will. So being the quick study that I am, I stayed. I had a blurb on all the local news channels that was picked up by the CBS national news (it was a slow news day). My part was about 30 seconds. So that’s my claim to fame.
(p.s. The “weapon” was the man’s electric shaver that he decided to use in his seat rather than in the lav. The lady was a nutcase….)

The singing telegram thing will have to wait for another time….

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Into Flavor

Head on over to Linda's blog at 2nd Cup to check out all the yummy fall recipes for comfort food. I'm craving comfort right now. This recipe was originally from a Rachel Ray show, but a friend made it for our home church cell group and I was instantly hooked. Definitely not diet friendly, but incredibly yummy:

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Episode: Rachael Ray's Thanksgiving in 60

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 fresh bay leaf
2 ribs celery with greens, finely chopped (save time and purchase celery already washed, trimmed and cut into sticks, this makes chopping fast work)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste
6 cups chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can cooked pumpkin puree
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 crisp apple, such as McIntosh or Granny Smith, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add bay, celery, and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce, to taste, then cook flour a minute. Whisk in chicken stock and bring liquid to a bubble. Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate it into the broth. Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in cream and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
While soup cooks, assemble the relish: combine apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey and cinnamon.
Adjust seasonings in soup and relish and serve soup in shallow bowls with a few spoonfuls of relish.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Do not take a purse or bag or sandals (Luke 10:4)

Mostly I am a sunglasses girl....not about the shoes, usually, certainly not about the handbag. I watch Clinton and Stacy enough to know everything shouldn't be "matchy-matchy." I tend to buy a bag...always on clearance, always neutral, usually pretty casual...and use that one bag until it is literally falling apart. My current purse (bag) is a little Gypsy-Rose-ish/hippie. If I had the energy to photo it and upload the picture, I would. It's a tan/brown "pleather-like" material with a long shoulder strap. One big zipper compartment, shaped kind of like a bucket. It has some really cute daisies embroidered on it in a line down one side. I've been using it way too long. My daughter says to me, everytime we are somewhere and I am fishing for something, "Mo-om (2 syllables)--just get a new one!" When I had my accident and my best friend was at the hospital trying to locate my debit card and insurance card so that she could get my Rx, she couldn't believe it was the same one I'd taken with me on our girl's getaway to Las Vegas last December. Way too long, like I said. Everything I put in it migrates to the bottom and I can't ever seem to find what I need. It was a little embarassing to have her, who knows my deepest darkest secrets and loves me anyway, have to dig in it and maybe run into a quarter with gum stuck to it or something.

Sometimes, I feel like it's kind of like my heart when I get far from God. Looks pretty cool and hip from the outside, but the inside is a disaster. It's chaos with dirty receipts, mints that have fallen out of their tin, and several non-working pens. All of the promises the God has made are half-forgotten and have sunken to the bottom of this dirty pit. God has been urging me to clean up my heart lately. This is the first time in nearly a month that I have used my right hand to type. He has made me be still, broken me, for my own good. I am working on cleaning out all the dark corners of my heart. Anyway, do you carry a purse or a bag? Do you need to dump it out and start over fresh? Replace all those old receipts with God's always fresh promises for your life? Those are the things you can really redeem...or rather, they will redeem you. Let's all start new this fall...go ahead and clean out the junk. Maybe even splurge on a new purse...?


What Your Handbag Says About You

You tend to be relaxed throughout the day. You are naturally at peace.

You are a high maintenance person. You feel lost outside of your normal environment.

You are a very creative person. Your life tends to be a whirlwind, but you always seem to pull it together.

You are practical and down to earth. You tend to be a rather reserved and quiet person.

You are a very unique and special person. There's no one else who is anything like you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sorry that you can't see what I'm saying....

Since my accident and surgery I'm not allowed to shower without 'supervision' and I really didn't want to frighten anyone a la' a bad Rosie O'Donnell imitation, so I didn't participate this time. Besides, I'm just too vain until my black eye is completely gone. But DO go visit Linda...the musical extravaganza at the end is amazing!!! And there are great links posted there for the blog party....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This is WFMW for Shannon: I have a hard time “letting go” of clothing I should get rid of or no longer wear. To help identify what is no longer worn, about once every 6 months I turn all my hangers around backwards in my closet. As I wear things, I return the hangers to the ‘right’ way. At the end of the season anything still on a backwards hanger hasn’t been worn and it gets sent to Goodwill.

On another note I will be having wrist surgery this week. Please keep me in your prayers!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where I've Been...

I’m a Christian so I don’t do karma, but apparently I’ve sown and reaped a little.
While participating on the fringe of a tp’ing adventure Sunday at the home of the other youth leader I stepped off his driveway and fell…breaking my
1. Nose
2. Wrist (“shattered” and “looks like gravel” in there were 2 things I overheard the dr. say)
3. Foot
I also have lots of beautiful road rash. When I can type more with my left hand I’ll post more…but until then please keep me in your prayers. Sidebar: Tanner broke his thumb at school on Tuesday, too. And the big Glorieta retreat is this weekend. I’m trying to keep my sense of humor. This is funny, right?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I can't believe I'm admitting this...

...but you really can't have it all. And I believe that God designed it this way so that we would truly long for heaven where we really can "have it all." But as long as we are earth-bound, I don't think it's possible to have it all. (See Gen 3:18...note that the thistles and thorns are FOR us...I think this is so we won't get so attached to and fond of this world that we will ache for a better place).

I'm talking about Sarah Palin. She's 44. Wife, mother, apparent vp nominee, governor, pro-life advocate, huntress and fisherwoman, self-described hockey mom and former beauty pageant winner. She appears to have it all. But my heart is sore for her. She is a mom to 5 beautiful children. The youngest, just several months old, was born with Down's Syndrome. Apparently this was diagnosed in utero, and I am happy that she holds the view that all life is precious and did not elect to terminate her pregnancy. Google her name and one of the nastier rumors that pops up is that this son, Trig, is in reality not her son, but her grandson, born to her daughter Bristol, age 17. I'm not buying that. Oh, and by-the-way--Bristol is unmarried and pregnant. Her mother is a strong advocate of abstinence education. Liberal media and others are jumping up and down with glee, proclaiming that this is proof that abstinence education doesn't work. I am not going to criticize Governor Palin. She is receiving plenty of that without my $.02. I have teenagers. I have high expectations and hopes for them that they will not have premarital sex. I have no reason to believe that any of them will engage in this practice and all of them have committed to remaining pure and various purity conferences that they've been a part of. But beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know that I (me, Pam) can not control whether or not this happens. I also know that I am all up in my kids' business. And without the blessing of spending time--unhurried, big chunks of it, with no plans or demands--with my kids I would not be able to be "up in their business." Being able to be in touch with the intimate and intricate day-to-day details of my kids lives is what really makes my heart jump. What jazzes me and a big reason for living. I am a busy, busy person. Maybe too busy. I am pretty-much full time on staff at my church as a ministry assistant. I work closely with the administrative details as well as play a big part in the youth ministry. I am an independent notary signing agent, a job which requires me to be very flexible time-wise and put in long hours a couple of days a month. I do, however, have the advantage of deciding if I am becoming too bogged down with the notary gig--I can turn things down if my life is too hectic. I have the best of both worlds. But I do not have it all. Neither does Governor Palin. Would her family benefit from her being more available to them? I believe so. Absolutely. My children, family and home are my calling. My true mission field. The blessings I receive from my job with the church are innumerable. But they don't even begin to measure up with the mother-gig stuff. I don't pretend to know how much time she spends with her family, or how much her husband is able to be with them. But I suspect that time is limited, and precious. So my heart is sore for the Palin family. Now they are dealing with a teen pregnancy, which must be difficult all on its own, much less with the whole country watching. And another child born with disadvantages that are bound to impact his health. And they have 3 other kids. And their life is under a microscope right now. And momma is a busy woman. Maybe too busy. My head would explode. It comes down to this: we choose what we invest ourselves in, where we spend our time, how deep of an imprint we are leaving. I am reminded by this quote from C.S. Lewis:

"People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, 'If you keep a lot of rules I'll reward you, and if you don't I'll do the other thing.' I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. and taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into either a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other-creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures and with itself."

So I am choosing what part of all I want a part of. I don't want to start a war with ANYONE about their choices. I know that I am blessed to have had the choices I have and do have. Others may not have that kind of advantage. Please pray for me that I am choosing rightly. But my whole thing is, you really can't have it all. Choose wisely what part of all you want to take home with you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Goody Two Shoes

These are the shoes that I want to be; what I'd like people to think about me. The shoes I can wear for about 3 hours before I'm done:

And these are the shoes I usually am. Not that people would think badly, right? Practical, not too stylish, a little clunky and clumsy. But above all comfortable:

I'm glad I can be both pairs of shoes...

What do your shoes say about you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trendy Tuesday

Today, I'd like to introduce you to my beautiful green dining room wall:

Note that this is the sort of the Before/After of the TRUE Before/After shot. What I mean is, that shortly after this, Ted moved my dining hutch back into place, we put a dark bookshelf in for the kids' homework and books and it obviously hadn't been cleaned up yet. What I'm highlighting here is the trendy green's called "grapevine," and after holding up a real bunch of grapes next to the wall, it really is the color of a grapevine. The hallway wall that abuts is called "allium" and is a very pale green that looks grey-ish depending on how the light hits it. It's hard to see from this picture, but there used to be a wall that extended to the end of the hallway furdown that Ted removed. Ted is wonderful and can do simply anything. He moved light switches and put in all pretty new white baseboard throughout. [ SIDE STORY: I have to be quite careful about thinking out loud, because sometimes he moves on things before I really decide. I DO like that this wall is opens up the dining room and makes things so light and airy. But one time in an old house we lived in we had this really terrible free-standing wood stove that didn't work right and either the damper sucked all the hot air out of our room until the temp hovered around 50 degrees if the stove wasn't lit, or our living room was roughly the temperature of the sun if we had a fire going. I mentioned to Ted one afternoon that I wished they hadn't ever installed said wood stove. I then went to the back of the house to gather a load of laundry and he and the neighbor were carrying the stove out the door when I came back. So I really have to be careful what I say to him. ] Anyway, isn't my trendy, hip and new grapevine colored wall loverly?

Next, my Trendy Texaco Guest Bathroom:

Note the hip and trendy concrete floor that is right next to the tile, along with the ungainly and hugeish laundry tub that is now used for all morning ablutions (don't you just love that word?!?). The big old coffee mugs we use to store toothbrushes and the like adds some ambiance, however the pink towels that you see really belong in my the master bathroom. And I think the wrenches lying on the floor underneath the sink, along with the exposed plumbing, add an air of authenticity that you just don't see much anymore...

I'm thinking about issuing one of these as guests need to avail themselves of the facilities:

The point is..we have 6 people in this house and now have 2 fully functioning bathrooms. The vanity and sink are on order and we're looking forward to their installation. In the meantime, we're so grateful that we have a bathroom. And the laundry tub thing? It's working out great to bathe do you think we could start a trend here? Would this be YOUR guest bathroom?

(p.s. I'm taking votes for what color this room should be painted. We're going with a dark cherry vanity and [we think] an dark granite top with undermounted sink. The floor and wall tiles are stark white, as is the tub. More than likely the fixtures will be brushed nickel. No window, just a skylight. I'm leaning towards a very pale tourmaline wall with eggplant accents....or not.) Leave a comment and give me your best suggestions. And if you have a particular paint color, give me that brand and name/color code, please. I'll come up with some kind of a prize if yours is selected.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

God sent me a fax today

Those of you who have been around for a SoulRio retreat or two may recall my “retreat Book.” When retreat planning begins during the summer, I start a binder, complete with tabs. The binder has everything from copies of the contract, registration slips, rooming arrangements, phone logs and email copies to doodled notes that I make throughout. Things are color-coded and I have been compared, not always favorably with the Monica Bing character from Friends for my control freak-ishness.

(I know--I don't LOOK like her...I just act like a crazy/mad/control-freak who drives everyone around her insane)

In short, without “the Book,” I would be a little lost at best, panic-stricken at worst.

After the Leader Link meeting on Sunday (where I had the Book), I had to come home and rush to a closing. Ted and I went to dinner and had a relaxing evening. The Book never crossed my mind until around 9 that evening when I thought I might make some notes and send out a few emails. Hmm….no book. But I didn’t worry. And since it was Sunday evening, I probably should have been spending time with my family instead of the Book anyway…

Monday morning found me still looking for the Book. I looked everywhere. I sent a text to Tracy to see if I had perhaps left it at their house. I tore up everything. Interestingly enough, on Saturday I had completely cleaned my desk off, so it was quite obviously not there. We’re under construction still here, and I thought that it might have gotten stashed somewhere safe until I needed it. But for the life of me, I couldn’t find it. I looked on and off all day and late in the afternoon I began feeling the strong impression that this was an attack. Satan is feeling threatened by this retreat and was somehow hindering me from finding the Book. I sent out a prayer request to several dear friends explaining the situation and asking that they pray for me to locate it. I admit, I felt a little foolish, but it was such a strong impression from the Holy Spirit, I did it. I tried to assuage my anxiety by reminding myself that everything in the Book was re-creatable (well, almost everything—all the registration forms were in it and hadn’t been put in a spreadsheet yet). But deep inside, I was starting to feel a little anxious.

On Tuesday (this morning) I met my best friend to work out. She assured me that she would pray and that she knew I would find it. I agreed with her, but I have to admit that I clung to a nagging little doubt that maybe I had tossed it out in the garbage on Monday. I came home and looked again—to no avail. I sent out emails to Glorieta asking for copies of all the contracts and paperwork they had sent to me. I wrote up notes and worked on some of the nuts and bolts details. I got out a fresh binder and began to prepare to print fresh copies of everything to make a new Book, albeit one without all the notes I’d been taking for the past couple of months. But I didn’t make copies. Amy needed me to do something (her last day before school starts tomorrow). I went to my room to get ready to go and began to pray. I told God that I knew that he knew where the Book was. That I would love to find the Book. But I also told him that if this was a control issue, that if he needed me to take a new direction, different from my notes, that I would ditch the Book. I just asked him for peace and thanked him for being the all-time best event planner ever. I had barely finished praying when the office phone rang. I ran to get it, but missed it. It immediately rang again, and I recognized the fax tone this time. When I picked up the fax (a spam fax by the way, offering me 3 days in Orlando for $149), guess what was underneath the fax in the output tray?

God is so good. Isn’t it funny how when we finally acknowledge his sovereignty rather than ours, things just fall into place?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Visual DNA

Surprisingly accurate....what's yours like?
(p.s. They didn't have a coffee-type the Costco Mocha Latte Freeze. I like water, too, tho'...)

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p.s. If, as a mom, you have said things that you never thought would come out of your mouth, visit Michelle and see what other moms have said. And if you post one, linky-link back to me--I get a Namesake as a referral)