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!