Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Praying that God will bless you this New Year and bring you ever closer to Him.

And, to steal a page from My ADHD Me, today we're gonna have a special visitor!





Now, isn't this about the cutest thing you've EVER seen?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Final Random Dozen of 2009



I really wasn't planning on doing this, but the bloodshot eyes in the post below started to creep me out a little. Join Lidna over at 2nd Cup for the 2009 final edition of Random Dozen

1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends?
No. Well, yes. Are they older than 12? Because the whole backwash thing totally gags me. Ted used to take a ½ gallon of milk to work to use throughout the week for cereal and the like. People kept drinking it from the communal refrigerator, even tho’ it was clearly labeled “Ted.” Once, during a station meeting held in the break room, he took it out, took a big swig of it, swished it around and spit it back in the container. Then he said, “By the way, this is MY milk!” No one ever drank his milk again. He is a legend at the ABQ Airport…(sorry, probably not something you wanted to read with your morning coffee).

2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)
I’ve learned (finally) that when I submit and am willing when God chooses to stretch me, I am much more abundantly blessed by him. And also, that once you get in the habit of praying with someone on a regular basis, you quickly become addicted.

3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?
Usually on the 1st or 2nd. This year, they are already down, because we’ve decided to finish off part of the garage for a boys’ bedroom and we needed to git 'er dun.

4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:
Get all of my Notary Signing Agent bookkeeping done. It’s not possible, but you did say “wish.”

5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?
As long as it isn’t windy, I don’t mind it. I have lots of warm clothes. It seldom gets below 10 degrees here.

6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?
Yes. Yes, I have.

7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
Ted is working at 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day, so I’ll probably be in bed by 10 p.m. or so. Or my BFF will call me and we’ll play board games and eat skeevy junk food and watch movies with all the kids.

8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?
My two oldest sons have birthdays. We’re partnering with Crown Financial at church to do a big workshop. I will be able to meet with my women’s Bible study group again…

9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)
A farcical dramedy?

10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.
As long as you don’t ask about facebook…and do you mean reading or writing? And how legalistic can I get with one question?

11. Who runs your household?
We iz a team. There is no “I” in team. I’m the idea girl (usually), Ted is the implementation boy...

12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.
Whirled peas. Hmm…it’s my 30th wedding anniversary year. Maybe a cruise?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lock 'N Load


This weekend (Sunday night, to be exact) I won’t be gett
ing much sleep.

I am chaperoning at a Youth Christmas Lock-In. For the uninitiated, this is a night of torture fun and games that generally begins about 9 p.m. and ends the next morning at 8 a.m. Once they arrive, they won’t be allowed to leave until the next morning. Hence, the “Lock In.” We’ll begin with some icebreaker games, have devotional and worship time, a white elephant exchange, more games, watch a movie or three…interspersed with eating, laughing and general good times. And, OHHH! This is the exciting part! My friends will bring us Chicken Minis from Chick-fil-A in the morning for breakfast. That alone, may be what keeps me going for the whole eleven hours. I’m afraid to fall asleep, for what the little darlings, grades 6 through 12, might do to me….

So…what’s the most unusual white elephant gift you’ve given or received? And any suggestions for some fun games? My daughter is in charge of that and we’re always looking for more. Two hours of games is a long, long, long long time…especially when it happens at 2 a.m.

Say a prayer for me. Maybe tie a rope around my middle so you can pull me out if I die in there…..and I’ll check back in post-lock in with some photos and a recap.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

RD, #...15? 16?


When will the extravaganza end? Never, I hope! Lidna at 2nd Cup is hosting another edition of Random Dozen. Join in and link up!

1. Which physical trait do you now accept--maybe not love, but accept--and no longer feel extremely self-conscious about?

I have a lazy eye…my kids tease me and tell me they can’t tell who I’m yelling at, and often times I catch people peeking over their shoulders to see who I am talking too. Nevermind, I’m still self-conscious.

2. This week Meredith Baxter Birney, best known as the mom on the favorite 80s sitcom "Family Ties" came out of the closet, which led me to formulate this question: Who do you think is/was the best TV mom?
I liked Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin from One Day at a Time) and Claire Huxtable (Felicia Rashad from the Cosby Show). They were both pretty unflappable. I long to be unflappable. I'm pretty much a fish on a dock, though.

3. Do you speak any foreign languages? Are there any you'd like to learn?
I am quite fluent in pig latin, thank you very much.

4. Who is your personal hero?
My mom and my Aunt Edna…but they were heroines…were we gender-limiting this?

5. What is one holiday food that you find extremely difficult to resist over- indulging in?
Toffee bars...evil. Butter, saltines, eagle brand milk, brown sugar and chocolate chips.

6. Tell me about a Christmas decoration that has special meaning or sentimental value.
I have a handmade bird’s nest on a spring-type clothespin that my mom made when she was little. I also have a little silver spray painted walnut my dad made when he was a boy scout. My tree is NOT a matchy-match tree. My daughter told a friend the other day that our tree looked like Santa threw up. Each year I get the kids an ornament that reflects something about their year. Then when they leave the house and have their own tree, they will have some ornaments to start with. No, my tree is still not up. Don’t judge me.

7. How do you feel about snow?
It’s pretty. It’s white. It’s a pain to drive on. I love the way the earth is quiet when it’s early in the morning after a fresh blanket of it. I live in the high desert of NM, so while we see some, we aren't like many of you. Generally when it snows here, it hangs around only for a day or so, with a few exceptions.

8. On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night? Not that I'm jealous of any number over three or anything.
I think I average around five hours of sleep a night. I am constantly tired.

9. Tell me about your first crush.
Ralph Roybal. We were four years old. He passed away when I was pregnant with Tanner, 14 years ago this month.

10. You're stuck in a room for 2 hours with only a chalkboard and chalk. What will you write/draw?
Flowers? Can I just take a nap? See # 8.

11. Do you dress for the current temp or for the day's forecast?
Kind of both…and the sweaters go on and off…

12. Favorite Christmas movie is?
I love Elf. And there used to be an old made-for-television version of The Littlest Angel. It makes me cry every time.


Come Play!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The things we remember...

Isn’t it funny how something are etched so deeply in our minds and hearts, that we remember every single detail, while others, even though they may have impacted our lives just as much, leave us with only a blurred memory?

The birth of your firstborn…weights and lengths of all your children….remembered or blurry?
The date of your first date…know it by heart, or are you a little fuzzy?
The day you decided to make Jesus the leader and forgiver of your life….Crystal clear or misty?

I often wonder what crystallizes certain moments, while others dissolve like so much sugar in a tall glass of ice tea…the tea is different--irrevocably changed, but for the life of me, I can’t see the little pile of sugar that was dumped in. At least for me, there seems to be no rhyme or reason. I vividly remember a time when my sister and I irritated our mom by our incessant bickering so much, we earned the spankings of our lives. I may have been four years old. But I don’t remember the details of my wedding reception…just that we were late getting there because of interminable family photos after the ceremony.


I don’t remember many of the details of my mom’s funeral. I wore a green suit and embarrassed myself by telling a man old enough to be my father that as a young girl I had a crush on him (I was only 18 at the time—still a young girl). But as if it were yesterday, I remember hearing about John Lennon’s death. He died on December 8, 1980. Twenty-nine years ago exactly. Exactly four days after my mother’s death. I remember the next day watching raindrops slip down my windowpane. And the anger—no, the rage—I felt because the entire world stopped and paid homage to a man who claimed to be more popular than Jesus, yet the passing of my dear, sweet, humble mom was a mere blip in just a few lives. And how I felt she was much more worthy of recognition than someone so base and conceited…

This year, 29 years after my mom died, was the first year I woke up on December 4 and didn’t immediately remember it was the anniversary of her death. I did remember later on in the day while writing the date over and over in a closing. But I wasn’t as sad as I have been in the past. I’m certainly no busier than I have been these past three decades. Somehow, I feel lighter this Christmas season. More purposeful. And desperate to share the love and hope that Christ affords me with the world.

Now, if I could just get the decorations put up….

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On the agenda today....




The other day I did a closing that was strangely disturbing.
Everything was a disconnect. At several junctures during the evening, I looked around to see if maybe there was a hidden camera, a la’ Candid Camera or Punk’d. The disconnect happened because there were too many agendas. And all of them were mixed. Although I can’t really explain how it was so odd and disturbing, the factors added up to make a totally dissatisfactory evening.

My agenda was simple: get the papers witnessed and signed properly, and go home. The widow, age 83, who was the borrower had several agendas, and sub-agendas. She is a beautiful lady—an artist, a pianist. Two of her adult sons were there. Her agenda was to complete the loan signing so she could get out from under crushing monthly financial obligations. She was also flirtatious and coquettish with her sons. She was striving for their attention—for their adoration and approval. And yet, while longing for that approval (I could tell she hadn’t made many decisions on her own), she was apprehensive and wanted reassurance that she was doing the right thing. She was refinancing her home of nearly 50 years. A home that had been free and clear, but was now going to be heavily mortgaged. At age 83, there is little chance she’ll pay down much of the principal, and her children will be left with both the home and the debt. Her sons, to be really frank, were just plain weird. The kind of weird that usually comes with genius. There is a fine line between genius and disturbed. And believe me, this line was pretty blurry. They did not want the house to be mortgaged. They wanted to be able to inherit it free and clear. That was a pretty big agenda. The interest rate was high. It was an unusual loan, with unusual circumstances. They were also clearly fond of their mother and did not want her to be taken advantage of. Another agenda. Because of all this, we ended up calling the loan officer, the loan officer’s boss and title. They had agendas too. There was only one day left in the month in which to close and still have the loan fund in that month. Big commission. Big agenda. In just looking over that paragraph, I see about 10 different agendas. The signing took almost three hours (I usually average 45 minutes). I ran the battery completely down on my phone and felt like I was re-selling the loan to the borrower. And the sweet borrower? She called me five or six times since after that evening. Should she rescind? How does that work? Where is her check?. Will they pay off her other obligations directly? Some I couldn’t answer, some I wouldn’t. The loan should have funded on Monday. I hope it did.

So, now that you’re bored with all the background, here’s my point: God has an Agenda. Capital “A” agenda. We are here at His pleasure, to accomplish His purposes, for His Glory. While I can seek to be in His will and accomplish His Agenda, sometimes the parts of that I see are obscured. I am looking at it through translucent glass, not transparent. I get a glimpse, but the picture isn’t clear. So I go busily about trying to accomplish my own many agendas. Lower case “a.” Sometimes, my agendas align perfectly with God’s. Sometimes, even though I am doing all the right things for the right reasons, it’s a disconnect. It’s out of sync with what God has planned. His Agenda is always, always, a better plan than mine. But I get so caught up in the little details of my little “a” agenda and seeing them fulfilled, I lose sight of the Agenda. That He is God. He will have His Glory. His ways are not my ways. And sometimes, my agenda is selfish. I want to be in control. Because that’s what it usually boils down to for me. Control. Whose is it? Do I loose my hands so that not only do I let go of what I want, but so that they are open to receive blessing? Or do I clench tightly, because it’s mine? My agenda. My plan. My way.

So, what’s on your agenda today?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random Dozen, #14


Lidna over at 2nd Cup has been hosting this meme for 14 weeks. I haven't done all 14, and actually have been told by a friend that she quit reading my blog when I WAS doing them....but that being said....welcome back!

1. Which Wizard of Oz character are you most like?
I’m thinking Toto, because I can get all yappy when I'm excited and Toto was a Silky Terrier, just like Claire. And having 4 kids, high excitement can also lead to leakage (sorry--probably too much information) like many small dogs. However, my husband and kids might say on occasion the Wicked Witch….


2. When you're deciding what you're going to wear each morning, which item do you select first? Why?
Top or blouse…make-up considerations. I don’t matchy- match, but I wear warm with warm, cool with cool..

3. What kind of animal do you think the world could live without?
Do cockroaches count as an animal? I hate snakes, but know we’d be overrun with rodents without them. I figure that God, in His wisdom, created each with a purpose, and even if they annoy or creep me out, they are here for a reason.

4. How many Christmas trees are in your home?
One inside. I have 3 little alpine trees for the front porch tho’. And I did the decorate FAIL last weekend and still have to do that at home. Work (church), however, looks loverly.


5. Would you prefer to be emotionless if it mean you didn't have to feel a heartbreak?
No. Actually, once upon a time I was over-prescribed meds for depression and this happened to me. It was abysmally empty. Stoicism is highly overrated.

6. Do you ever experience holiday let-down or depression?
Yes. My mom died between Christmas and Thanksgiving, and I fight that every year.

7. Do you like Michael Jackson's music?
Not so much to listen to, but break it out at a wedding reception and I’m dancing to Thriller with all the rest of the losers happy and fun-loving guests.

8. Why is it that we never judge people who have their teeth fixed for cosmetic reasons, but every other cosmetic procedure has a stigma?
Because we can justify it that if you have orthodontia to fix your teeth, it was really because they were so crooked you couldn’t chew properly. And more people are afraid of dentists than they are of cosmetic surgeons, so the facing the fear of the dentist cancels out the vanity. Sometimes I wish I could get a little tuck here and a little plump there, but...dang! That stuff is expensive!

9. Enjoy horseback riding?
Yes. First job was mucking out stalls at the local racetrack. Didn’t ride any of them, but the proximity assuaged my 13-year-old horse madness some.

10. Shoes--practical or stylish?
Practical for everyday, stylish for special occasions, and both when manageable! Since the unfortunate tp'ing debacle, stylish is tricky still—foot and ankle are still weak and cause pain.

11. What was the name of your first pet? Feel free to post a pic.
Peppy, short for Pepito. A little Chihuahua that my parents got when I was six months old. He died when I was away at camp at the age of 16. At least, that was their story. Typically, I hate Chihuahuas…

"Pam and Peppy, circa 1963"

but Peppy was my constant companion and I loved him beyond reason. I was devastated when I came home to find him gone.


12. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done?

I’m undecided on that. I am toying with the idea of practicing the ideas here….

Head on over to Linda's and link up!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all a joyous Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tweet and ReTweet and other Status Updates...



I have not jumped on the bandwagon and joined Twitter. Although I think their little blue bird is completely adorable, I just can't allow myself to do it. Frankly, I’m a little bit afraid. Facebook is kind of like crack to me, and I really don’t think I could fit another aspect of social networking into my day. Something would have to give, and with the very real fear that it might be eating chocolate or personal hygiene, I’ve decided NOT to tweet.

That being said, I have something to say about all the status updates. Recently, a ‘friend’ (really more of an acquaintance, but a very nice lady nonetheless, and while I can befriend someone on fb, I can’t ‘be-acquaintance’ anyone) challenged me to post a status update each day during the month of November that begins, “Today I am thankful for…” I don’t know really how many days I’ve been at it, but probably four or five. I challenged other friends, and have enjoyed reading the heartfelt and the humorous. My sister-in-law posted that she was thankful that she could play Farmville with the ones she loves. I commented after her that I was thankful that those who love me would overlook the fact that I don’t play Farmville. Some status updates, however, are pointless. Boring, even. I choose to waste the time and read them, but for the life of my, don’t want to or even know why. I know that my friends go to WalMart. I know that they fix dinner. I know that ‘homework is poop’ (this from a middle schooler in my youth group). But I don’t need a minute-by-minute, play-by-play of their days. I think this is probably one of the reasons I’ve avoided Twitter. It would just suck me into to doing the same thing. I am not criticizing them…I just know that I would be oh, so much more painfully pointless than all of these. It's all very inane and maybe even the devil's workshop is an empty status box....

What struck me yesterday was thinking about praying without ceasing. I try to do that throughout my day. Not a formal prayer, necessarily, but a ‘thank you,’ and ‘I love you,’ a ‘HELP!’ from time to time. Kind of like tweets to God. But God knows beforehand what my tweet-like prayers would be. I just wonder, though: We choose what we share on facebook or Twitter. But I don’t think I’ve seen many status updates that talk about being rude to the clerk at the bank, or not saying anything when you receive too much change, or using language and gestures not appropriate to a woman of God while driving in traffic, or thinking to yourself that your friend is just too high maintenance and lying about being busy when she needs a shoulder. God, however, knows about those unshared thoughts. Those tweets that go untweeted. I want to live my life so that I would remember that God is following my tweets and status updates. And so that I would not be ashamed to have Him read them. As I go through the mundane tasks of my day, God knows what I’m doing. He is in the details, after all. But I want to make those details count. When I make a choice, I think I will try to ask myself, “Would I want God to read my status update about this?”

Just something to think about.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

RD 12



Yes, someday I will write an actual post, with actual content. But until then, play along with Lidna at 2nd Cup with this fun meme....

1. What was the last song you listened to?
How to Save a Life by the Fray

2. Have you ever had “buyer’s remorse” over anything?
Many times...most often over 'bargain clothing' that turns out to be not such a bargain when it requires complicated underwear, alterations or it just plain doesn't fit.

3. What is something in your life that you are thankful for now that you didn’t think you would be at the time of the event? (Something that seemed ill-timed, inconvenient or hurtful which turned out to be a good thing)
When I first saw the house I now live in, I really didn't like it very much. It was about 25 miles from work and had been left vacant for several months. Now the area around it has grown, and I probably wouldn't have met most of my close friends if I lived in another area. Plus, I love my home!


4. Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade every year? If so, do you have a favorite float or balloon?

I don't watch the whole thing, but I really love Snoopy.

5. Share a quote, scripture, poem or lyric which has been an inspiration to you lately.
This has been more of a challenge to me than an inspiration. It is John Piper from God is the Gospel: "The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?" I am just finishing up leading a study called Crazy Love. It is an outstanding book. Unless you are satisfied with being a good Christian and love things comfortable and have a good family, good life, good job and all is good....very challenging!

6. This is meant to be a fun question, and this is a G-rated blog, but please share a “guilty pleasure,” something that you enjoy that’s probably not the most edifying, time-worthy or healthy thing you could be indulging in. Did I mention this blog is rated G?
Useless tv shows: Grey's Anatomy, Trauma...and Limon' Potato Chips. Preferably together...sigh..

7. What Thanksgiving food are you looking forward to?
Um...mashed potatoes? Which I make pretty frequently anyway....not a huge turkey girl.

8. What is your favorite book to read to children, or what was your favorite childhood book?
Goodnight Moon to read. Bunny Blue was my favorite as a child.

9. Do you collect anything? (Feel free to post a photo.)
I used to collect teapots and charms for my charm bracelet. Now I pretty much collect dust.

10. Gift bags or wrapping paper?
I feel like bags are more environmentally friendly, but love the way a prettily wrapped gift looks. And not that I'm lazy or anything, but bags are so much easier. Ok, yes...I am lazy.

11. Share an after-school memory from when you were younger. What was your routine like on an average day?
Hmmm...in elementary school, I would come home and get a snack of a sugar sandwich (thanks for pre-diabetes mom--a slice of white break slathered with margarine and sprinkled with white sugar and folded over on itself..mmmm)) and Gilligan's Island on tv...

12. True story: Once, in a job interview, I was asked this question and told there would be no clarifying; I simply had to answer the question: “When you’re fishing, do you feel for the fish?” So what about you? Do you feel for the fish??
Um. I'm not sure what this means? Fish feel slimy? Or do I feel sorry for them? I feel kind of sorry for the worms...ok, I guess I'm clarifying...

Now let's get crazy and link up!<

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Random Dozen # 10


Linda, over at 2nd Cup of Coffee, has the 10th edition of Random Dozen. Come play!

1. It's early morning, about 2:00AM, and you're driving home. You come to a red light and sit there. There is no one in sight for miles around. Do you wait it out or run the light?
Probably run it…unless there were one of those pesky red light cameras.
2. If you had the chance to re-do the last 24 hours, would you change anything?
I probably should’ve gone to bed earlier. Otherwise, it was a pretty productive day.
3. When you reply to someone's comment on your blog, do you reply in your comments or go to her blog and comment? (Or email her)
It depends on how personal the comment was. I’ve been known to do all of the above. I always try to visit the other blog, anyway…and sometimes with Mary from Monkeys are Funny, we have a regular dialog in the comments. p.s. What about him? What if it's a man?
4. Your favorite Disney movie is:
Live action? The Parent Trap (old one with Hayley Mills). Animated? The musicals (sorry, Linda). Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin. But I also loved the Incredibles and Monsters, Inc. So hard to choose. Hardest question, so far.
5. Do you recycle?
I recycle the stuff they pick up (aluminum, plastic and cardboard. I don’t get a daily paper and my trash collectors don’t do glass)
6. Games of strategy or games of chance?
Strategy. I have to confess, that I am addicted to the hidden object games online. You can download them for a free one-hour trial from Comcast and I usually do at least one every week or so.
7. Do you have any recurring dreams?
I sometimes dream I am still working at the airline and I am trying to issue a ticket for someone, but I can’t remember the right sequences or codes to punch in.
8. What did you learn from your first real job?
I learned that no matter how much manure you have to shovel, it’s all about the attitude (I mucked out horse stalls at a local racetrack)
9. Do you buy or borrow most books?
Buy them…mostly used.

10. What fashion trend of the past did you say you'd never wear again but did?
Flared/bell bottom jeans. I thought I couldn't do it once peg-leg 501's came out. But now, I have one vow I'm pretty sure I won't be breaking. I promise to never wear high-waisted jeans again (remember Ditto's? Saddle-back Ditto's?

11. When do you start Christmas shopping?
I try to pick up little special things throughout the year, but sadly, not until after Thanksgiving do I really hit it.
12. Have you ever been so happy that you literally jumped up and down for a few seconds? If so, what was the occasion?
I’m a pretty enthusiastic person and I do this pretty regularly. So regularly, in fact, that I can’t remember when the last time I did it, because it happens all to frequently. Maybe I should tone it down. I think I jumped up and down at the retreat last weekend. More than once. But especially when I got off the swing…it was the BOMBDIGGETY!





No post your own and run on over to Lidna’s for some link love….

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Ninth Edition...Random Dozen


Honestly, I told myself I wouldn't be blogging this week. It's the last week before the big huge retreat that gives me tics in my eye and ulcers and not enought sleep. But behind me, if you were here, you could hear my trusty Canon ImageRunner cranking out multiple copies of two different booklets, along with their covers. I figure there's at least 30 minutes left on this print job. They will all be stapled tomorrow and loaded up, with the help of a very nice lady. SO...Lidna at 2nd cup of Coffee is doing the Random Dozen blog again, and for what it's worth, here's my take:

1. Tell me something about your favorite teacher.Her name was Betty Askew. She was my 6th grade teacher and she convinced me that I was more capable than I ever believed. Her husband was on a tour of duty in Vietnam and she had the most adorable little 2-year-old boy.

2. Tell me about one pivotal moment in your life.
When my mom died, I was 18. I was 31 when I lost my dad. It was pivotal when I realized that no matter how old you are when your parents die, you feel orphaned.

3. About favorite colors--a lot of people will ask you what it is, but I want to know why it is. What feeling or memory does it evoke?
I have lots of favorites…right now I’m into muted, yet jeweled reds and purples. They make me feel like I’m eating something decadently rich.

4. What's a sure sign that you're getting older?
I think I’m getting arthritis in my hands and wrists…sigh….not good for a typist, someone who signs their name a lot, or a violinist. Maybe it’s just overuse.

5. Please don't sermonize, but Halloween--is it a yes or no for you?
No for the gore and horror, but I love to dress up. Sometimes I think that as Christians, we do a disservice when we disregard, or don’t acknowledge, the evil spirits and principalities that rule this world, but not our home. (stepping down from soap box now)

6. What's your favorite musical?
The Sound of Music.

7. Are you more of a city mouse or country mouse?
Can I be a suburban mouse? I like to be within 30 minutes of eggs that don't have to be gathered and washed and cows that don't have to be milked or butchered, but could be happy for extended periods away from big crowds. But like the country mouse, it’s exciting—nice to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there…

8. Did you know that it is possible, for a small fee, to name a real star after someone? (It's true! Google it!) If someone were to name a star for you, would you appreciate it for its whimsy and romance, or would you say, "Are you kidding me? For $19.95 we could have gone to the movie and actually bought popcorn."

Sadly, I’m all about the practical. Seriously—could you provide meals for the homeless or shoes for a shoeless child for my $19.95? And if not, could you grab me a Starbucks giftcard?

This question comes from Paula at His Ways Are Not Our Ways.
9. What's the craziest thing you've ever been doing and texted during it? I only thought of this b/c I was about to try to text during my walking video but I didn't.

Paula, you do know that this blog is rated G, right?
Um. Wrestling in a Sumo suit? Had to send a picture message. And yes, I won. I am one aggressive momma when put on the offensive side of things…
**DISCLAIMER/EDIT: I wasn't texting during the actual wrestling match. But I had to send a picture of it to Ted...let me assure you, he was SOOOOOOOOO proud. And no, the picture is no longer in my phone.

10. "It's not a party unless _______."
The O’Bryans and the Hoyles have law enforcement involved. And only the O’Bryans and Hoyles will understand this….

11. When you're stuck in traffic or a waiting room, what do you do to pass the time? PS: There are no magazines available.
Nap or text, if there isn’t reading material. But I usually bring whatever book I’m studying or some paperwork if I expect to be delayed somewhere. I’m assuming that I’m stuck in traffic, but not driving myself here. Listen to music if I’m driving, I guess. Or skeevy talk radio trying to get an updated traffic report.

12. If you weren't yourself, would you be friends with you?
Yes. Yes, I would. I love to laugh and I’m generally a pretty funny person.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Random # 8



Lidna over at 2nd Cup of Coffee is continuing her fun Random Dozen meme this week. Pop on over and link up at her place.

1. Candy corn: Your thoughts?
Eh…it’s ok. Not my favorite Halloween candy. Good for making fake vampire teeth when you stick them over your own teeth. When I do eat them, which is a seldom occurrence, I have to bite off each color successively from the pointy part first. I think I am now officially weird. And oh-so-OCD.

2. Briefly, what was the first conversation you ever had with your spouse? (or best friend, if you're not married.) (Or someone significant, like your librarian.)
I was walking into concert choir room and he said, “You have great lips!” I don’t remember how I replied.

3. Could you ever become a vegetarian?
If I had access to Dion’s Santorini pizza, probably.

4. Have you ever dressed up your pet in a costume?
Claire has a coat that looks like a Santa outfit. Tyler bought it for her last year for Christmas, oddly enough. She really loves it. We ask her if she wants to put her Christmas dress on and she gets the elation thing. She loves being warm. Likes all her coats (yes, she has more than one), but her Christmas dress is the favorite. It looks a little weird on St. Patrick's day, though.

(I realize she doesn't look elated here. But she is. Really.)


5. Name something about childhood that you miss (like Clark Bars, Teaberry Gum, Malibu Barbie, cracking fake eggs on people's heads with your fist and "It's the Great Pumpkin" airing only once a year).
Taco flavored Doritos (NOT Nacho cheese)

6. Have you ever won a trophy? If not, what do you deserve a trophy for?
I won Student of the Year in the 9th grade. But they didn’t give me a trophy. I deserve a trophy for putting on the best church retreats, evah!

7. When do you think is the appropriate time to begin playing Christmas music each year?
After Thanksgiving. Unless it’s Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer or the Dogs barking Jingle Bells. That would be never. Thankyouverymuch.


8. What's your favorite board game?

Apples to Apples. Also love Phase 10 (card game, not board). My daughter loves loves loves to play games. She badgers us and organizes it and we never regret it.

9. How do you feel about surprises (receiving, not giving)?
Gifts? Yes. Parties? No. I like mostly little surprises, not big ones. And they have to be the good kind. Unpleasant of any kind—nu uh.

10. Is it easy for you to say, "I'm sorry?"
Yes. And often times I apologize for things that I shouldn’t or have no responsibility for.

11. What is your favorite candle scent?
Yankee Candle Clean Cotton. Not a huge fan of the vanillas, pumpkin spice, cookie dough or other 'cooking smells' type. That being said, a friend gave me a soy Applewood candle for my birthday that smells heavenly.

12. October is traditionally "open house" time in public schools. If you had a literal open house in your home (like a reception) what light snacks would you serve visitors and what would you show them (as in art projects, graded papers) that would uniquely represent you.
Homemade jalapeno poppers. Works for both. I’m spicy on the outside and even a little salty, and on the inside I have a surprisingly sweet creamy center.

After the world's best retreat this year (happening Oct 30-Nov 1), I'll be reupping 2 Truths and a Lie. Is it wrong that I'm such a good liar?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Contemplating....

This has been a strangely contemplative week.

I’ve been contemplating the fact that I’m one year older as of Friday. Older doesn’t really freak me out. Hating the wrinkles, but loving the confidence I have now. But now I’m just 4 years younger than my mom was when she died. Does that mean I’m within 4 years of being as wise as she was?

I’ve been contemplating something that the son of a friend said about eternity. On Monday, I had the opportunity to share the gospel with an 84-year-old woman. She was a pretty little thing, and smoked like a chimney. Her voice sounded exactly like Roz from Monsters, Inc.

Exactly. She asked me, with a little bit of wonder in her voice, if I knew that the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. And that they (the Jews) don’t believe that Jesus is coming back. She had just come across those facts in the last day or so. Wow. Talk about an open door. Not sure if maybe, being 84, she may have known those salient facts last week and then forgot them. But wow. This is the Holy Spirit. This is the Holy Spirit saying “You asked for an opportunity—here ya go!” My friend’s son had this very poignant point: “I don’t think whoever said 'ignorance is bliss' had eternity in mind... “

And I’ve been contemplating choices made and consequences that come from those choices. I recently had the opportunity to go to the childhood home of my very best childhood friend. Her sister still lives in the home. And nothing has been changed. The wallpaper, paint and furnishings were the same. The plant room? The same. The old Chevy in the garage? The same. It was like opening a door and walking into 1974. Surreal. In those days, even though I was going to church, I was walking far from God. My friend was too. We made poor choices. We were in trouble, together and apart, but mostly together, quite often. Last year I broke my body in an unfortunate toilet papering incident at youth group. When we were 13, I broke her arm when the shopping cart she was in and I was pushing flipped over and she tumbled out. If I believed in Karma, there it was. When her parents went to the Holy Land for 6 weeks when we were high school sophomores, she lived with my family. I went on vacation with her family every summer. And then for some reason we drifted apart. I found this week that my friend, because of consequences of her bad choices, has lost her husband, has herself had a stroke, has lost any remaining trust of her family and is broke, broken and all alone. God pursued me and I was captured up in His love, His grace and His mercy. Somehow, she got away. Why? We both knew the Truth. She was a pastor’s daughter…her dad performed my marriage ceremony. Why? I know it’s all about choices. All about consequences. But…why? Why her and not me? My heart aches for her. I know that God is still pursuing her. To what lengths will she run so that He can prove His capacity for love and forgiveness to her? And why was she/is she so driven to run?

And I’ve been contemplating how incredibly blessed I am. How much God loves me. How much I am loved by my husband and family. And how can I show some of that love in return.

So…what are you contemplating these days?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2 Truths # 2 Reveal

Well...here you go. See how well you did:

Brushes with Celebrity
1. I once sat next to Grant Goodeve (the oldest--and best looking--son on 8 is Enough) and his wife on a flight. Bad thunderstorm, she was hysterical. I thought I’d have to slap her a la’ Airplane.

2. I was an extra in Convoy. They didn’t pay us, but gave us hotdogs, beer and coke. It was really, really hot. I was about 5 yards from Ali McGraw and Kris Kristofferson. The scene was at the end of the movie when they rolled into town in their big convoy. You can’t see me in the crowd. But I was there.

3. Sandra Bullock commuted to Albuquerque while making a move back in the early 90’s. She was a regular on our red-eye flight and once brought me cookies that she had baked. My husband still thinks she is really h-o-t-t. I still think Kris Kristofferson is, but the man can’t even speak on key. Brilliant lyricist tho’…
# 3 is the lie. This is one of those half-truths. Do ya'll remember The Facts of Life, with Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett)? Well, SHE was a regular on one of our flights for a period of time and SHE brought me cookies. Probably more believable than Sandra Bullock, huh? Yep, Mrs. Garrett brought me cookies. I heart Mrs. Garrett.



Toddler Follies
1. My youngest son once cleaned the toilet with his sister’s toothbrush. When I explained to him that he was using the wrong tool and showed him the toilet brush, he complied. He then used about ½ a bottle of shampoo to clean the toilet with. It took about 5 flushes for the bubbles to go away, but the toilet was real shiny, boss.

2. My oldest son did not have many temper tantrums. But when he did, woo-boy! Once at Wal-Mart he actually laid down in the crosswalk of the parking lot, kicking and screaming and refusing to move. At the time, I had 3 children. Amy was only about 6 weeks old, Caleb wasn’t quite 2 and Tyler was 4. I was afraid to spank him when we got back to our van, because we were trying to sell it at the time and had our phone number plastered all over it. We had to run a couple more errands and when we got home, he asked if he was still getting a spanking. I had calmed down and forgotten. But he reminded me….

3. My middle son painted himself and his sister with Desitin one day. Then they had a baby powder party in the bedroom. Then they cried and cried and cried after I found them. Can you guess why? If you know of a way to remove zinc from carpet, you could probably be rich. I ended up tearing the carpet out and putting in tile…turned it into a play room.
Again, # 3 is the lie. I saw a picture of this once and it cracked me up. And it totally could've happened. Sigh.

Sporty Spice
1. I was on the gymnastics team in high school. I wasn’t very good, and I wasn’t very dedicated. I was also very tall. About the only thing I excelled on was uneven bars. I quit when they told me I had to cut my fake nails off. In 1978 it cost $20 to get fake nails put on. In 2009, it costs $19.95 for a new set of acrylics. I made $2.65 an hour at Montgomery Ward back then. I wasn’t cutting those nails off for anything.

2. I was a monster roller skater. I could disco, shoot the duck and jump down flights of stairs. I started out with the kind that clipped on to your shoes and you had to use a key to tighten/adjust them. I was the first kid on my block to get “shoe” skates. I once broke my mom’s clothesline off at ground level by grabbing in as I did a “slingshot” around it to the “dark side of the moon.”

3. In the 9th grade I was on my church’s basketball team. I was worse than awful. I made one basket the whole season. It was for the other team. Pitiful. Shameful. Not to mention the spindly white legs that went up to my neck, but at the time were oh, so unattractive. I can’t even imagine what got into me to consider it.
#1 is the lie. Seriously, y'all? Me? On a gymnastics team? I did have a set of fake nails in the 70's. I did pay the equivalent of a king's ransom for them. And when ANOTHER girl in my gymnastics class (for credit...only got a good grade because I dressed out every day) fell and popped off one of her fake nails and blood spurted rather impressively across the gym, I was persuaded to scale them back a bit. # 3 totally happened. And I can still skate. I got skillz.

IF I can come up with more stuff, I'll do this meme again...I know I have lots of stuff to lie about, but the reason I don't lie in real life is that my memory just isn't that good. Oh, well. Thanks for playing!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2 Truths and a Lie, 2nd Edition

Ok…time for the second edition….these are harder to come up with than I originally thought. Please play along, post your own and then come back and link up. It’s kind of like that old TV game show To Tell the Truth….

Brushes with Celebrity
1. I once sat next to Grant Goodeve (the oldest--and best looking--son on 8 is Enough) and his wife on a flight. Bad thunderstorm, she was hysterical. I thought I’d have to slap her a la’ Airplane.

2. I was an extra in Convoy. They didn’t pay us, but gave us hotdogs, beer and coke. It was really, really hot. I was about 5 yards from Ali McGraw and Kris Kristofferson. The scene was at the end of the movie when they rolled into town in their big convoy. You can’t see me in the crowd. But I was there.

3. Sandra Bullock commuted to Albuquerque while making a move back in the early 90’s. She was a regular on our red-eye flight and once brought me cookies that she had baked. My husband still thinks she is really h-o-t-t. I still think Kris Kristofferson is, but the man can’t even speak on key. Brilliant lyricist tho’…

Toddler Follies
1. My youngest son once cleaned the toilet with his sister’s toothbrush. When I explained to him that he was using the wrong tool and showed him the toilet brush, he complied. He then used about ½ a bottle of shampoo to clean the toilet with. It took about 5 flushes for the bubbles to go away, but the toilet was real shiny, boss.

2. My oldest son did not have many temper tantrums. But when he did, woo-boy! Once at Wal-Mart he actually laid down in the crosswalk of the parking lot, kicking and screaming and refusing to move. At the time, I had 3 children. Amy was only about 6 weeks old, Caleb wasn’t quite 2 and Tyler was 4. I was afraid to spank him when we got back to our van, because we were trying to sell it at the time and had our phone number plastered all over it. We had to run a couple more errands and when we got home, he asked if he was still getting a spanking. I had calmed down and forgotten. But he reminded me….

3. My middle son painted himself and his sister with Desitin one day. Then they had a baby powder party in the bedroom. Then they cried and cried and cried after I found them. Can you guess why? If you know of a way to remove zinc from carpet, you could probably be rich. I ended up tearing the carpet out and putting in tile…turned it into a play room.

Sporty Spice
1. I was on the gymnastics team in high school. I wasn’t very good, and I wasn’t very dedicated. I was also very tall. About the only thing I excelled on was uneven bars. I quit when they told me I had to cut my fake nails off. In 1978 it cost $20 to get fake nails put on. In 2009, it costs $19.95 for a new set of acrylics. I made $2.65 an hour at Montgomery Ward back then. I wasn’t cutting those nails off for anything.

2. I was a monster roller skater. I could disco, shoot the duck and jump down flights of stairs. I started out with the kind that clipped on to your shoes and you had to use a key to tighten/adjust them. I was the first kid on my block to get “shoe” skates. I once broke my mom’s clothesline off at ground level by grabbing in as I did a “slingshot” around it to the “dark side of the moon.”

3. In the 9th grade I was on my church’s basketball team. I was worse than awful. I made one basket the whole season. It was for the other team. Pitiful. Shameful. Not to mention the spindly white legs that went up to my neck, but at the time were oh, so unattractive. I can’t even imagine what got into me to consider it.


NOW! Your turn. Invent your own, or just guess these. Post on your own blog and link back up. Answers for these will be up on Tuesday. Have fun!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Random Dozen October 7



Time for this week's edition of Random Dozen. I just argued with myself over the placement of that apostrophe. It's way too early for this. Anyway, play along and head on over to 2nd cup and link up. (wow--that rhymes)

1. On an average, how often do you splurge and buy something for yourself? Maybe a couple of times a year. But the thing is, it usually has to be on clearance, and then additional savings off. Last week I gained huge ground and bought a top that was just on sale, not clearance. I don’t have this problem when I buy things for others, just myself.

2. Are you more like Hall or Oates? Just kidding. Real question: What is the last creative project you began/finished? Feel free to post a pic of it. Creative? Like in crafts? Pshaw. I wrote a pretty good article for our church website. Does that count?

3. OK, Goldie Locks, do you consider your house too big, too little or juuuust right? I love my house. But it has 6 people and 3 bedrooms and 1600 sq feet. In the grand scheme of things, I am not complaining. I have more than 90% of the world. But the boys are stacked up like cordwood and for their sake, I wish it were a little bigger.

4. What is your favorite outdoor chore? Planting in the spring—loving the anticipation of what’s to come. Cleaning up beds and containers in the fall—huge sense of instant gratification. Least favorite? Weeding poky weeds or picking up dog flops.

5. If you knew that cigarette smoking was not bad for your health but would be a weight loss tool, would you use it? Why or why not? No No. No. Even if it weren’t bad for me—it stinks. It makes you look old before your time. Turns your teeth and fingers yellow. And not the pretty sunshiny kind. It stains your clothing and burns holes in your carseats. When you kiss someone, they might mistake that for licking an ashtray. It’s just flat out nasty habit. I’d rather be fat. (p.s. both my mom and dad died from health issues directly tied to smoking. I am a rabid anti-smoker. Hate. It.)

6. On a road trip, would you rather drive or ride? Ride. Not a big fan of the driving. But I do like shotgun. Backseats tend to make me queasy. And I love my "Hang-on-to-this-ineffective-handle-above-the-doorjamb-because-it will-save-me handle." We all know how much control you have over the vehicle hanging on to that.

7. What do you consider a trivial pursuit? Farmville. Mafia Wars.

8. This weekend, we downloaded the movie "Duplicity" with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Within 5 minutes, I was bored and annoyed, but I kept watching 5-10 minutes at a time hoping it would get better between small chores. I finally gave up and Jorge watched it alone, and then regretted wasting that time because he disliked it intensely, too. So ... how long do you watch a movie or read a book before giving up on it? Usually about 15-30 minutes. I’m embarrassed to say I watched ALL of “Open Water.” That has to be the among the worst movies ever.


9. Is there a song that you really love but are embarrassed to admit because it's not cool or it's racy or because it's by Hall and Oates? Pretty much every single song on The Best of Bread, Side A. Also, "Could it be Magic," by Barry Manilow…

10. On a scale of 1-10 (10 = extremely) how spontaneous are you? It depends. I like to think I’m an 8. But I’m pretty much rigid. I want my lists and my color coded binders. Probably a 3-4. Although, especially lately, I have had a hard time committing to people/things. I want my free time to be…free.

11. Are you a food and/or beverage snob? Not really. I like cheese that comes out of a can, hot dogs and willingly and enthusiastically buy processed stuff. And I don’t care for wine all that much. WAIT! I can’t stand powdered creamer in my coffee. Prefer half-n-half. Milk is #2 and those fake liquid creamers a distant 3rd.

12. Who/What are you trying to control in your life? (I hear people gulping and see them sweating in anticipation of how to answer this one.) I am ashamed that I try to control oh, so much of what God has handled. My kids. Ladies’ Bible study. Where should I exercise more control: watching what I eat and finances (things that affect only ME!)
Stand by for next week's version of "2 Truths and a Lie." It's sure to be a hit.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Truth Time


The big reveal…..Ok. I’m coming clean. Here are the answers…

Animal Planet (Please don’t tell P.E.T.A!)
1. Finding a dead gerbil (mummified) in the air conditioning/heater system in our Jeep. No wonder it always smelled funny when we turned it on.
2. Finding half (top half) of our hamster, Cinnamon on the living room rug. The cat ate the bottom half.
3. Starting the car one cold winter morning and hearing a terrible racket. Opening the hood and finding a bull snake curled around the engine. In pieces.
# 3 is the lie. However, Ted’s cousin used to live with us when going through a tough time. He started his truck one morning and found a cat had decided that under the hood next to the warm engine was a nice place to nap. Quite a disturbing noise. We had to pull the kitty’s claws out of the fan belt to disengage her. The cat survived, but always walked with her head listing to the right after that…. I broke down and looked in the trash at the poor, unfortunate victim in #1. I threw up a little in my mouth. And decided that after all the work and frustration the little rat caused Ted, he is not a poor unfortunate victim!

Emergency Room for Dummies
1. Breaking my pinkie when I get stuck going down a slide with my nephew in my lap. I weighed about 97 lbs at the time and was scary-skinny.
2. Breaking my whole body falling off a driveway while toilet papering.
3. Having my son Tanner break his thumb 3 days later at school. His teacher didn’t believe him, and thinking he was disrespectful, she made him stand by his desk for the entire class period.
#1 is the lie. I know that Lidna was hoping that #3 would be. We didn’t get along well with the teacher in # 3, and after this incident, even less. Irony? She was the health teacher.

Take this job and…well you get the idea
1. Delivering singing telegrams as a part-time job in college.
2. Getting stuck in the belly of a C-130 airplane I was ‘investigating’ (read: poking around, unauthorized).
3. Going to a loan closing in someone’s house where they kept live goats. I guess it’s better than dead goats. They informed me their goats sleep in the bed with them. That’s just…wrong on so many levels.
#2 was the lie. Actually, only a half lie. I got stuck in the service elevator of an L-1011. The elevators are built to send up ONE flight attendant or ONE service cart up and down to the galley. There were two of us in there. Kind of standing like spoons in a drawer. I don’t do well in small spaces. Especially that small with someone other than Ted. We were stuck inside for about 45 minutes. I still get sweaty/queasy thinking about it. The goat thing in #3? Yep, it happenned. And they said they slept in bed with them. ICK!

Thanks for playing! If my pea brain can come up with more, maybe we can do this again.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two Truths and a Lie


Have all of you played that icebreaker game called Two Truths and a Lie? You put on a name tag and list 2 things that are true about yourself and one that is a lie. People try to guess which is which and in talking, they get to know you better. This is a game-meme thing kind of like that. Post some sets of 3…2 truths and a lie. And then come back here and do some linkage love. Here are mine:

Animal Planet (Please don’t tell P.E.T.A!)
1. Finding a dead gerbil (mummified) in the air conditioning/heater system in our Jeep. No wonder it always smelled funny when we turned it on.
2. Finding half (top half) of our hamster, Cinnamon on the living room rug. The cat ate the bottom half.
3. Starting the car one cold winter morning and hearing a terrible racket. Opening the hood and finding a bull snake curled around the engine. In pieces.

Emergency Room for Dummies
1. Breaking my pinkie when I get stuck going down a slide with my nephew in my lap. I weighed about 97 lbs at the time and was scary-skinny.
2. Breaking my whole body falling off a driveway while toilet papering.
3. Having my son Tanner break his thumb 3 days later at school. His teacher didn’t believe him, and thinking he was disrespectful, she made him stand by his desk for the entire class period.

Take this job and…well you get the idea
1. Delivering singing telegrams as a part-time job in college.
2. Getting stuck in the belly of a C-130 airplane I was ‘investigating’ (read: poking around, unauthorized).
3. Going to a loan closing in someone’s house where they kept live goats. I guess it’s better than dead goats. They informed me their goats sleep in the bed with them. That’s just…wrong on so many levels.

Tomorrow, I’ll come back with the big “reveal.” You can find out which ones are true and which ones aren’t. Let’s play!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mom's Birthday

Today is the anniversary of my mom’s birth. If she were still alive, she would’ve been 80 years old today. She died at the age of 52, when I was 19 years old. I got married about six months before her death. I look at her two sisters: one lived to 90 and the other is still going strong at 91. Yet, her brother died at a young age, too. I don’t remember how old he was—just that I was in elementary school. Her own mom died as a result of complications from childbirth when my mom was only three weeks old. She had a hard scrabble life, but if there was a word to describe her, I would say sturdy. Steadfast. Ok, two words. She was forced to grow up long before her time, and I don’t think she got to experience much joy as a child. My mom abused her poor little body and it just plain wore out and couldn’t go on any more. I have very few of the bad habits she had, and I try to take care of myself. The closer my own age gets to 52, the more I realize how much of a vapor our lives really are. I want to be there for my grandkids. And to be able to be active and healthy for them. She never held one of my children. That’s hard.

In her younger days, my mother was a beautiful woman. She was one of the first two women to graduate with a degree in pharmacology from the University of New Mexico. Because my sister was born mere months after she graduated, she never got to pursue a career as a pharmacist. I don’t know if she regretted that. She seldom, if ever, complained.



She was ill for several years before she died. She was put on oxygen for 24 hours a day when I was a junior in high school. The ravages of heavy smoking and other abuses stole much of her physical beauty, but she kept her wicked sense of humor. She joked quite often about reincarnation and who or what she’d like to come back as. One of my biggest regrets is that I do not know where my mom stood with the Lord. I am totally unsure of that. And that is so, so painful. She attended church regularly and was a deaconess, but I don’t know what her heart state was. We didn’t talk about Jesus and things of God naturally in my family when I was growing up. We went to a progressive church, where we relied heavily on pre-destination and thought that ‘fundamentalists’ were just a little bit inferior to us, and that all those stories in the Bible were possibly allegories. I don’t think I fully believed that just being good and going to church wouldn’t save you at that time in my life. And, if I were being totally honest, I don’t know if I was afraid of what her answer might have been. I hope to see her in heaven. If good works could get a person there, she’s in. But I know that it’s not good works. We’re covered by the grace of God. God knows what was going on in my mom’s heart. If I can communicate one thing, and one thing only, it’s this: share-tell-ask. Ok, that’s three things. Be the gospel to someone who won’t read it. Share it with someone who you think will never listen to or hear you. You have never ever looked into the eyes of someone that Jesus didn’t die for. Have those painful conversations. They are so important.

Whew! This post went somewhere I never intended for it to. I have a friend who recently lost several people close to her, and that’s left me pondering mortality and eternity.

So, Happy Birthday Momma! I love you!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Will you still need me?


Linda, over at 2nd cup, has her Random Dozen theme meme up again. It's all about Jr. High. Or middle school. I guess it depends on your time era or your part of the country as to what you might call it. Personally, I went to Jr. High in 7th, 8th and 9th grades. Only went to high school for 3 years. I was the last 9th grade class in Jr. High. Then, in all their wisdom, Albuquerque Public schools went to middle school--6th, 7th and 8th grades. Folks: 6th graders don't belong with 8th graders. And 9th graders don't belong with 12th graders. But I digress.
Here we go.....

1. Please share one middle school memory. It can be good, bad, ugly, funny. Pictures or words, I don't care, just share.
Um, at the 9th grade dance I was walking in and it was REALLY REALLY windy. This was my outfit: (Yes, I wanted to be at the dance. No, I did NOT want my mother to take my picture)


My skirt blew up. OVER my head. And completely blinded me. I looked like someone who had a blanket party thrown just for them. There was this really weird, really mature but extra short and very hirsute guy outside the building there that reminded me a lot of a monkey. This kid was probably 14 and had been shaving since age 10. He was the only one there and he saw it happen. He just leered. I totally felt violated. To this day thinking about it still makes me feel all skeevy.



2. What's your favorite Beatles song?
I love me some Beatles. Lots of Beatles. Have the whole collection on my iPod. Lately, let me think...ok!
Um…to sing? "When I’m 64."



3. If I asked you to describe your most comfortable outfit, what would it be?
To wear out, would be my new dress I got at Kohl’s over the weekend. It’s a jersey striped dress with empire waist and cap sleeves (vertical, abstract-y stripes). Feels like pj’s. It was on clearance for $15 and then I had the 30% off coupon. Ka-ching! Inside it would be jammie pants with a tank top.

4. Would you rather host a party or be a guest?
A guest, but very happy to help. My house is little and overcrowded…Unless I could host it somewhere else....

5. Do you think we will move completely from traditional books to digital ones, and if we do, are you OK with that?
Oh, I hope not! I can’t imagine reading until I fall asleep with a Kindle. And what about the smell of a book? And then, what if my batteries run down in the middle? And reading in the tub? No, give me my trashy paperback dime store novels or give me…hardback at least?

6. Do you learn best by reading, listening or experiencing?
Experiencing…or watching. If someone shows me how, I can usually get the hang of it.

7. If you are (or when you were) single, what is the kiss of death for you concerning the opposite sex? (That is, what is one trait or behavior or habit or anything at all that immediately turns you off from considering that person a potential match for you?)
Being unkind to anyone who is not in a position to be unkind back (restaurant server, small kid, furry animal….) That and/or picking his nose and flicking it....ewwww!

8. Snacks. Salty or sweet?
Yes. Salty and then chocolate. I think that salty may be my trigger food that makes me crave chocolate….

9. Look around you in a four foot radius. What object is around you that you didn't realize was there or forgot was there? How long has it been there?
This kind of strange looking blue stuffed shelf sitter dog with a green nose and wobbly neck on a spring. There's a patch on it's belly that says "Too blessed to be stressed." Amy bought it for me about 4 years ago at the retreat.

10. What is your favorite Tom Cruise movie?
Far and Away. Director’s cut. "Pretend you love me." "I pretend I love you." "I pretend I love you, too."

11. You buy a bottle of shampoo and discover that you don't like what it does to your hair at all. What do you do with that full bottle?
FlyLady would put it in her toilet brush bowl and keep her bowl shiny. Me…use it on Claire or give it to my kids. I have 4 kids. SOMEONE is bound to be ok with it.

12. Your favorite Fall comfort food? (Last week it was beverage.)
Cream of Potato Soup. With bacon. And a grilled cheese alongside it.

p.s. Linda is going through a very hard season right now. Please lift her in your prayers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's All About the Shoes, Baby....




Missy, over at It's Almost Naptime is hosting a fun meme called Friday Favorites.

This week, it's shoes...Your favorite shoes you own, and the shoes you WISHED you owned!! I did a similar post back in the day, but this one seems like a kick! (Pun intended).

Because I'm trying to post more, I seem to be doing more memes. I think this is because my creative juices are dry. But ANYWAY.....

These are my very own favorite shoes that I own. I love them SOooooooooo much that I bought them last June to wear to my bff's daughter's wedding on October 3. And I haven't bought the dress yet! Yea..I know. That's kind of backwards thinking, but that's how I roll. Anyway (drumroll, please....):

Note the pretty gold band around the toe and the super sexy side vamp. Yes, patent leather slingbacks. Clinton and Stacy would be proud. Now I just have to go find a dress that goes with them. Good thing my Kohl's coupon came....30% baby!!!

As to shoes I WANT to own...I've been in the market for a new pair of black ankle boots. I live in jeans and black or grey slacks in the winter for both jobs. My current boots are at least 5 years old. Still way cool. Added bonus is that they are wearable since "the fall." I have a hard time still with my ankle/foot. Both were broken then. Happily, I found these:

Even more happily, they are at Altrec, one of my FAVORITE sites! I'm not too sure about the brownish sole, but they look way comfortable, and stylish, too! And at only $99.95, I can probably buy them for myself for my birthday next month.

Anyway, pop over to Missy's, show us your kicks and participate in linky love!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Donut holes are smaller than they acutally appear...

Conversely, however, just looking at this picture seems to make my hindquarters expand...sigh.



Lidna, over at 2nd Cup, has a fun meme that I've now actually particpated in for 2 weeks running. I KNOW. So copy, paste and post and pop on over and visit Lid and get in on the linkage love with Mr. Linky.

1. Which is worse: a long, boring meeting or standing in a return/exchange line after Christmas?
Standing in line. Inevitably, I’m next to someone with a suspiciously tubercular cough and within eardrum splitting distance of someone with a toddler who is either a) singing Dora the Explorer or Manny the Handyman or b) pitching a temper tantrum where pea soup comes out or his/her mouth as the head spins around.

2. Except for maybe Rosie O'Donnell or Ann Coulter, nobody likes confrontation, yet we all have to deal with it. When you feel cornered and defensive, do you "bite back" or become passive aggressive?
If I am personally cornered, passive/aggressive. When I see someone/thing else under attack, especially someone who may not be in a position to defend themselves (i.e. the little elderly widow the other day that was told by the DirectTV installer that there was an ‘installation fee’ and to make the check out to him personally), I go on the attack. I can be a real momma bear.

3. Do you know anything about your genealogical background? (What country, culture, ties to prominent historical figures, or other stuff.)
I had an aunt who traced my dad’s side back to the 1700’s in Scotland. Grandma on dad’s side was a cousin of Robert E. Lee, so I’m something like a 16th cousin a dozen or so times removed. On mom’s side, no claim to fame, but I am 1/8 Arapahoe Indian and my granddad was in the Oklahoma Land Rush.

4. What is the quickest way a person can endear him/herself to you?
Mentor, compliment or brag on my kids--especially to someone else, but within my earshot. Be kind to anyone, especially people who aren’t in a position to return the kindness.

5. Cake, pie, cookies, or ice cream? (Note there is no "all of the above" option. You must choose one. Feel free to elaborate on flavor or memories tied to this dessert.) If you'd like, you can share a recipe, but you certainly don't have to.
Hmm…probably cake. Chocolate with chocolate icing. In a bowl with milk poured over it. I know it sounds kind of gross, but that’s how I roll.

6. Females: Do you regularly change your handbag to coordinate with your outfit
?
No. I tend to use a ‘statement bag’ (thank you Clinton and Stacy) and change it with the seasons. Recently decided I am done with cheap handbags and purses. I’m too old and rather than looking cute and hip, they just look cheap. If I am going somewhere formal (wedding, for instance), I do use an evening bag, or something that coordinates.

7. Are you task-oriented or relationship-oriented?
Mostly task oriented. I LOVE being around people, but when I am given a task, I really enjoy the sense of accomplishment I feel when I think I’ve done especially well. I don’t really need anyone to tell me I’ve done well, not that the odd accolade is unwelcome. I find that the control-freak in me appreciates the control I have in a task over the chaos that some relationships have. And even if Excel makes me want to tear my hair out, it’s never pouted or called me a name or gossiped about me.

8. IHOP, Bob Evans or Cracker Barrel?
Cracker Barrel. IHOP’s season fries rock, tho’. Don’t have a Bob Evans and not sure what it is.

9. Have you ever left a movie in progress in a theater? Why?
Twice. When I was a little bitty girl (maybe 3-4—I’d have to check the release date) I got very sick during the 10 Commandments, with Charlton Heston. Threw up pretty much everywhere. My dad actually sat through the end of the movie with my sister while Mom and I waited in the (COLD-wintertime) car. And the first time I saw Mad Max, even tho’ I hearted Mel Gibson, I had to leave when it was implied that severe cruelty would be inflicted on a child. I can’t do movies where kids are threatened and/or hurt. Totally agreeing with Lidna about Slumdog...


10. What is one area of life in which you would like to develop more discipline or organization?

My desk. Sigh.

11. Was middle school fun or painful?
It was mostly fun. I was a top dawg in middle school. My parents hadn’t yet become ill, my sister had moved away from home (we never got along), and I was a straight-A and popular student. I pretty much loved it, but having reached my full height at age 12, was uncomfortable dancing with boys who were eye-level with my non-existent bust line during the mandatory square-dancing. Come to think of it, PE in general was painful. Especially those awful, horrible blue romper things on which we had to embroider our name using white thread.

12. What is your favorite Fall beverage?
Not necessarily restricted to Fall, but I love a good cup of coffee. With Pumpkin Spice flavoring in the fall, I guess.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What were you doing...

We all remember.

Everyone who was living in the United States on September 11, 2001 more than likely remembers exactly what they were doing when they heard the awful news that our country was under attack. The very date evokes a memory in most people's lives. The events of the day don't even have to be recounted; the date itself reminds us all of where we were and what our initial feelings were.

I was in my laundry room, attempting to find 4 pairs of matching socks for my kids to wear to school. It was an ordinary Tuesday. Ted, working at the airport, called and told me that he believed we were at war. Situated near, and sharing runways with, one of our key defense bases, the airport was under incredible tension. Within 2 hours, the tarmac was covered with planes that were landed immediately, in an effort to forestall any further attacks. I turned on the television and watched an airplane hit the second tower. Ted asked me to get as much cash out of the bank as I could. He wanted me to make sure we had ample food and drinking water. I wasn't to send my kids to school. I was chilled. I was shattered. And I knew that we, as a nation, would be forever changed. I did all the things that Ted asked. And then came home and went to bed. And waited for my husband. And wept for those whose waiting would never end.

Life goes on. God remains sovereign. The earth continues to spin at some 67,000 miles per hour. But for that brief moment, time stood still for us all.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Random Dozen 9.9.09



Lidna, over at 2nd Cup, is hosting a fun meme. Please join in!

1. What is something that you have changed your mind about either recently or over a number of years? Hmm…tattoos. I don’t think they are nearly as creepy as I used to. Secretly, I kind of admire them, but would be afraid to get one.

2. Choose either subject, but does your a) church b) job feel more like a dental chair experience or an easy chair (recliner) experience? Hmm…I work at my church. Neither one really describes it. Maybe more like a controlled cyclone? Controlled most of the time, anyway.

3. Kisses or hugs? I actually typed "huts," which might have been a more interesting question. Usually hugs. Have an old friend (male) ALWAYS greets me with a kiss. Never fails to creepy me out a little.

4. What do you think is the biggest threat to families today? The acceptance of disrespect towards parents, dads in particular. Man-bashing has become a part of most sitcoms. When we don’t respect the authority that God placed in our homes, everything disintegrates. There has to be one head.

5. A day after you grocery shop, you open a perishable item that is horribly spoiled. Do you take your receipt back to the store to be reimbursed or just throw it away and forget about it? Depends on how much it cost. A $.99 head of lettuce? No. $8 roast? Yes.

6. What personality trait (feel free to address good or bad or both) do you notice yourself adopting from your parents? My dad had little to no patience with little kids. I fight that in myself the older I get. I also have this sour puss thing I get from him. Not easy to disguise when I’m disgusted with something.

7. How many slices of bread do you leave in the bottom of the bag when you throw it away? Two? Three? Just the heel? None? (I really want to know if you eat the heel.) I’ve been known to make a pbj turning the heel inside out, if I’m desperate. But usually, they get tossed out. (both heels)

8. What mispronunciation or usage error really irritates you? When someone says, “I could care less.” This indicates the person has SOME degree of concern. What they really mean to say is, “I couldn’t care less.”

9. In honor of the uniqueness of today's date, what does the numeral 9 mean to you? (Any special life moments attached to the 9th? Are you the 9th kid in your family? Can you count by 9s really fast? etc.) My dad (a banker) taught me that if I list 0-9 vertically in ascending order in one column and then descending in another column, I would end up with multiples of 9 through the number 10. It helped me teach the times tables to my kids:

0-9:
1-8 (x2)
2-7 (x3)
3-6 (x4) etc….
4-5
5-4
6-3
7-2
8-1
9-0

10. Does the general color palette in your closet match the colors you chose to decorate your home with? Yes mostly…strong colors, heavy on earthy tones.

11. When you're hanging out with friends in the kitchen, do you automatically ask to help, or do you sit there and chat until the host asks if you'd like to help? I'm not implying that the 2nd choice stems from rudeness or laziness, just not a first-response like it is for some people. I always help. I feel awkward if someone else is doing something and I’m not. Martha-Martha-Martha!

12. Let's end on a pleasant note: What do you enjoy about September the most? My daughter’s and husband’s birthdays, the smell of green chile roasting. Not having to wear a coat, but not sweating too much!Thanks for participating!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's a girl thing....

I secretly love that my daughter borrows my scarves and jewelry and perfume and shoes and belts. Admittedly, I resent a little bit that she does all this with infinitely more style and grace than I have. And she rejects much of my clothing and accessories. She is smarter than me, more athletic than me, more driven than me and pretty much what I wanted to be when I was a teenager. Sometimes, I feel like it’s just the two of us protecting femininity in a sea of testosterone. She’s also one tough cookie and, according to her brother “slaps harder than most men hit.” Not that she would ever slap her brothers…
We’ve discovered the secret to making mornings bearable. Like me, she is an unrepentant night owl. Owls are her favorite animal, by the way. She is grumpy in the mornings and can have an ugly temper. We’re all careful not to ask her too many questions; in general we stay out of her way in the mornings. But, if I wake her with a glass of orange juice, her blood sugar equalizes and she’s at least bearable. This year, she has to leave for high school before 7 a.m. Before 6:30 a.m. on the days she has Senate. That’s a tough time for anyone, much less someone who didn’t crack an eyelid before 9 a.m. for most of the summer.
She loves Jesus, her daddy and her brothers and me. She is a brilliant student, but shyer and more modest than she needs to be.
Fifteen years ago today, she came into the world with lots of silvery blonde curls and a family that treasures her. She’s my only girl and a big piece of my heart…

Happy Birthday Amy! I love you!!!!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Pt. Duex, or...how it kinda gets worse...

Tuesday went downhill.....you can read about Sunday and Monday here.

To continue with the saga of my week, we’ll roll right into Tuesday morning. It was one of the saddest things I’ve had to deal with in a very long time.

Tuesday 9:45 a.m. After arriving back at the stinky sewage building at 7 a.m. for staff meeting, I ran home to grab some breakfast, paperwork and checks. I needed to meet the restoration company back at the building. On the drive back, a dog—a pretty, yellow, playful Labrador-cross dog--dashed out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, but there was nothing I could do. The owner was right there, leash in hand. He’d been running with Bruno in the field and was preparing to put Bruno back on the leash when the dog ran across 4 lanes of fairly busy traffic to greet some women with kids and jogging strollers. Then as Bruno dashed back to his owner and there was an awful, horrible thud. The dog was thrown against the curb, broken and bleeding. The kids were there watching. Terrified. So were their moms. The owner was horrified. I was trembling like a leaf. The owner tried to reassure me that it wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could've done to avoid the dog. We bundled him into the back of my new biggerredtruck and drove him home so his owner could take him to the vet. I gave the owner my contact information and asked him to let me know. Just before I pulled away, the owner and I looked intensely into each others eyes. We were both tearing up. We just gave each other a quick, hard hug and I told him I would be praying for them. It was, weirdly, a really holy moment. I don’t think I will ever forget it. It was one of the most intense looks I've ever shared with another person. And there was so much said, without a word being spoken…Bruno died in the back seat of his owner’s car on the way to the vet. So, so sad. The owner wrote me a kind and gracious email, thanking me for my compassion and help. And was “glad to meet another Christian.” I don’t know if I was babbling, or if he picked up on it with about 40 pounds of church bulletins flying around the car since I slammed on the brakes. Heart-wrenching, anyway. And my two younger kids go to school with his kids. I just feel such grief for them.

Wednesday 2 p.m. Black toner out of the copy machine monster. I have a BIG, muy importante' mailer to get out. It should’ve gone out Tuesday. Toner delivery guy is out sick today. Copy leasing place is about 25 miles one way from my house. I picked up 2 black, a magenta and a cyan. Good thing. An hour and a half later, after getting home from rush hour, I ran out of cyan as I was finishing up, around 7 p.m. Stress, stress, stress....and Caleb needed music printed for Youth Band practice. But in the meantime….

Wednesday 4:45 p.m. Tyler calls me…his brand new (to him) car was broken into. They stole his nice backpack, a NintendoDS + games, iPod, work uniform, $$$hure headphones and lots of other stuff…to the tune of about $900. Called insurance. Since it was personal property, we will have to file under our homeowner’s insurance. I’ve been insured with “Province Ranch” since 1975, when I got my first license. According to my agent, we have had 4 claims since 1994. One a shed fire in 1988, one the big dining room roof collapse last year. One lightening strike about 5 years ago…I don’t remember the other one…? If we file for this there is “a 90% chance that they will drop our policy.” Ninety. Percent. They will drop us?!? After almost 35 years. I’ve called another company for a quote to move everything over. I think that loyalty should count for something. And on top of homeowner's, we insure 5...yes, FIVE, vehicles with them and I carry my bond with them as well. We shall see what we shall see….


But, through all this, I’ve been able to see it for what it is: an attack from the enemy. I won’t even dignify enemy with a capital letter. I've seen examples of God's protection and providence. I’ve had amazing prayer support from friends and the opportunity to reach out and show compassion and joy and the love of Jesus to quite a few people. And have even stepped out of my comfort zone to do it. I am a warrior princess, a daughter of the King and MY God will prevail! Even though the devil may have meant this for evil, God is able to take it and turn it to good. God is truly good. All the time. He is good.

So, that’s it so far. I am trying hard, very hard to remember the words in James 1:2-3. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

In the meantime, please keep me and mine in your prayers. Pray for our protection, pray for our hearts to be guarded and pray for peace, that passes all understanding. I believe sometimes when you are under attack like this, it means that you’re doing something right…something that has captured Satan’s attention. He is subtle and insidious. He may not choose to destroy with a huge catastrophe, but rather throw darts and arrows until we’re so distracted that we take our eyes off Jesus, and falter. Or fall. Or just give up. I will persevere. God will prevail. And the Hee-Haw gang may write another verse to their song.