December 28, 2007

Friday Late Night Feast #173

Appetizer
Name 2 things you would like to accomplish in 2008.

I would like to:

1. Move the archives of my old blog over here.

2. Find balance and peace between being a working mom now and a homemaker.

Soup
With which cartoon character do you share personality traits?


How about a perfect balance of:
Hobbes, Winnie the Pooh, Blondy, Linus Van Pelt, Snoopy, Dennis the Menace and a smattering of the broad with the big club on BC.

Salad
What time of day (or night) were you born?


I don't know! I was just a baby!
I'm wondering what exactly you expect from this question.....

Main Course
Tell us something special about your hometown.


I grew up in Phoenix, AZ. The 60's in Phoenix were innocent (mostly) and very home towny. It is a different place today, being a sprawling metropolis now. Anyone you talk to who grew up in Phoenix in the 60's and 70's remember the common places, activities and local characters. Sure it was hot in the summer, but I don't remember it keeping us in watching tv either. It was all we knew.

Dessert
If you could receive a letter from anyone in the world, who would you want to get one from?


An apology from the man who robbed (invaded) our home last summer.

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night (last night)

I have a horrible headache.

I was up half the night (literally) with my DOG, who was having the screaming trots all night....every 2 hours. I made the mistake of ignoring her tapping on her crate the second time she wanted out because I thought she was taking advantage of my kindness. Boy was I sorry. She pooped all over her crate....I had 4 blankets in there because she just got groomed and was shivering. So at 3am I was doing laundry and trying to get the odor out of the air!

ish

She's fine today....even after leaving her in the house for 4 hours alone. So tonight she should be fine. I think she just got super stressed out from going to the groomer for the first time. They had to shave her because of several matted places. She looks rediculous!

Tonight Kelly and Cera came over for a girls' movie night. We watched Underdog (very cute!) and ate candy, Christmas goodies, pizza, hot cocoa and other stuff I think. Now I'm thoroughly exhaustified and ready for sleep, but my stomach is wondering what that was all about and is having trouble. I think it's in shock.

December 27, 2007

Productivity

Today's high in Phoenix was 53F. I wore one of my cool Eddie Bauer sweaters, leftover from living up north, and went out. Yes, it was very exciting after my lazy day yesterday. Maggie and I took Maisy to the groomer.....her first visit EVER. She was very nervous since the last time we took her somewhere in the car, it was to the place where they keep you in a cage until they put you to sleep and hurt your tummy really bad! Then we ran to Target and spent all of Maggie's $30 cash, plus a $25 gift card on clothing and shoes for her. I bought some essential toiletries and then got $20 worth of half priced Christmas decor. (two boxes of brown, antic-looking jingle bells for the tree....30 in all and 2 large glass 'cracker jars' to use as cookie jars. One has a snowman and the other a penguin, so I can use them all winter.)

We went back to pick up the new dog. She was a good girl, but had several matted places and had to be shaved.....ON the coldest day of the year so far. So she is quite humiliated and skinny....very skinny. I guess the trick to keeping bichons mat-free is daily brushing. ehn

Since the dog was shivering her timbers, I decided to try the heater once more. Click, it came on just fine and has heated us up to a toasty 67F. I'm so glad it came on. SO glad.... It went so well that I went out to check on the pool pump. When it is below 32F out, you're supposed to run the pump all night to keep it from freezing. There was success with the pump too, but i had to give the sweeper a few encouraging bumps with the pool pole to get it really moving and there was air in the pipes. eek That is not really bad (I think). It just makes very disturbing noises until it gets all the air out. *gurgle...POOF....gurgle gurgle...POOOOOF* I just checked it and it's running smoothly now. *whew*

So that was my day, after a bowl of soup and tidying the kitchen, we will be spending the rest of the evening on the couch with a movie and blankies!

PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for our group from the church who are on a mission trip to Mexico. They are doing a short Bible school for the kids there and they are sleeping in the church. It has no heat and the weather is a little more chilly there than Phoenix. Pray for warmth and effectiveness as they work with the children there.

Lazy

With Charles and my 2 teenagers on a mission trip this week, it's verrrrrrrrry quiet around here. Yesterday Maggie and I spent most of the day in our jammies, arguing over who had to run out to the curb to get the mail. (because we'd have to put on shoes)

Maggie lost.

We ate leftovers, watched movies and morning game shows (not making that mistake today) and I taught Maggie how to do the 'stem stitch' on the embroidery project she got for Christmas. She is now obsessed with it. I will take a picture of the finished project. It's a cute felt pillow.

Maisy spent a lot of time snuggling up to the side of my lap and being clingy in general. I think she is cold. I had to go and find her last night to put her in her kennel (bed). After calling her name several times, I found her hiding from me in Maggie's bed! It is very cold for Phoenix this week with a wind blowing too. I noticed this morning that our heater is not blowing. It rumbles, but it doesn't blow out the warm air.

Our pool sweeper does not look like it has moved since yesterday either.

I am no longer asking why things go wrong or break when the hubs is out of town, I just accept it as reality. *sigh*

I do have plans to leave my house today and go to the store though and tomorrow across town to have lunch with my sisters.

I'm enjoying the destressing process though.... emencely!

December 21, 2007

S'all good now



I forgot that I posted that last little blip. I was in the middle of baking, shopping, and a last minute rush to get ready for our last day of school, making sure I had my part of the teachers' snack day ready, as well as little token gifts (of peppermint biscotti) for my coworkers. In the middle of all of that, we had our Wednesday night activities of AWANA and prayer time with a friend. It was quite a day.

I'm much better now. Yesterday was our last day at work for Christmas break. Everyone at our school was throwing around MERRY CHRISTMAS's allllllll day long. No "Happy Holidays" in sight or sneers at the word Christmas. I think that is all PC hype! Most of the store clerks I've run across say "Have a merry Christmas!" too. I think a counter 'rebellion' is on. We can't be led along by the nose anymore by our weird PC propaganda.

And, as my dear husband said in his last sermon, that is not the point anyway. Most of our culture doesn't really observe a celebration centered around Christ's birth anyway. But here is an article from my friend e-mom's blog, Chrysalis, I've been meaning to link to ALL December on making more of the Christmas season. I especially appreciated the part of the article quoted from the Purpose Driven Christmas by Rick Warren. Great thoughts and ideas!

Only 4 days left until the great day of Celebration of the Incarnation, my friends! Put on the music, shop with love, bake with joy and Merry Christmas to you!

December 19, 2007

*pfft*

I"m so worn out I could melt into nothing and blow away.

Tomorrow is my last day of work for 2 weeks though,
so by Saturday, watch out!

December 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Hope



Romans 15:11-13 (NIV)
11And again, 
   "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, 
  
    and sing praises to him, all you peoples."
12And again, Isaiah says, 
 
  "The Root of Jesse will spring up, 
  
    one who will arise to rule over the nations; 

   the Gentiles will hope in him."


 13May the God of hope fill you
with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.



***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

December 17, 2007

Withdrawing...hang in there pws!

OK, readers, let me just say a few words to my fellow pastor's wives who have suddenly found themselves without their beloved forum.

JOANN BROKE IT!!!

heh....actually she was trying to do some holiday decorating on the forum and it did the error thingie. She is grieving about it, so no rubbing it in....even though she is responsible. ;) The web deacon is out of town for the week, so we will have to find out some other ways to keep in touch! If you want to send me your email addresses, send them to crickandchas@yahoo.com, I will set up a group email so you won't go into too much withdrawal. If you think you may be having symptoms, go this page to find out how to get some relief.

We will just support each other through this crisis....hang in there...eat some chocolate and enjoy your families. {{{group hugs}}}}

December 16, 2007

Goodnight, Leader of the Band

One of my favorite music artists died this morning after a battle with cancer.

I began listening to Dan Fogelberg's music when I was in high school and by my sophomore year in college, I had all of his albums. This is how I used to spend a few hours per week, lying on my bed in daydream land.I LOVED that song. It was just the right kind of music for when you felt angsty and moody. Always a little sentimental, it was a blend of folk, rock and jazz, always pure poetry.

He wrote this song about his father.



And this one about meeting an old girlfriend:



In 1999, he made a Christmas album...er, CD by then....and I read an article about it. He was asked in the interview if he still practiced his New Age beliefs because the album was very much about Jesus, and he said then that he had converted back to Christianity.

I am glad to know it.

December 13, 2007

Peppermint Biscotti


There is an internet cookie recipe exchange going on over at Walking Faithfully. Go on over to get some new recipes and add a link to one of your favorite cookie or candy recipes!



Peppermint Biscotti

1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups crushed peppermint candy canes - divided
(Some to add to dough and some to sprinkle on top)
Chocolate chips or candy bar

Preheat oven 325º
Cream butter and sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
Add the peppermint extract.
Add flour, baking powder and salt, add to wet mixture.
Beat til smooth.
Stir in 3/4 cup crushed candy canes.

On a floured counter, divide the dough in half.
Roll each half into a long roll.
(about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 10 inches long)
Set the rolls on a baking sheet at least 3 inches apart.
Bake in the top third of the oven for about 25 minutes.
(or until lightly browned on top)
Cool the rolls for 5 minutes.
Slice diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Lay slices flat on the baking sheet and return to the oven.
Bake for another 10 minutes.
Turn the slices over and bake another 10 minutes.
Cool on a rack.

Melt chocolate in small batches in microwave.
Pour some of the chocolate into a small ziplok bag.
Snip a tiny corner of the bag.
Drizzle melted chocolate from ziplok bag onto one side of cookie.
Cool and store in airtight container.

Enjoy these dipped in coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

December 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Nativity


This is an olive wood creche we bought on our trip to Israel in 2005.

This is the creche that Charles made for me our second Christmas together.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Galations 4:4-7 NLT


***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

December 11, 2007

What it's all about....






Charlie Brown: I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.

Linus Van Pelt: Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy's right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest.

(Silly Charlie Brown....he just needs to focus on the meaning of Christmas...)

Charlie Brown: [shouting in desperation] Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please.

[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'".

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie brown.



We all need a Linus in our lives about now.....=)

December 6, 2007

Reminder for moms at Christmas

For the sake of time and my family, I will just be posting some fun or devotional types of things I have collected on Christmas as I find them. With all the obligations and extra activities of the season, I want to share encouraging things, yet have the time to put more into our family life here.

This is an email from a friend. I received it two years ago, in December of 2005. She passed away just over a year ago, so this has even more meaning for me now. It is a dear reminder of how we can get sidetracked, sometimes by good things, and neglect the ones closest to us! I wish the author was listed, but on these email forwards, it usually is not. 1 Corinthians 13 has long been a chapter of the Word that I study and try to use often…..it is so basic…so fundamental in how we treat each other…….so read on this for a few minutes and then meditate on the real thing.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure!

December 4, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Christmastime 1983

Newly engaged, that is Charles and me. ;) (click to enlarge)



***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

December 3, 2007

Celebrate!

I have a few friends, who I greatly respect and honor their choices, who choose not to celebrate Christmas. You have probably heard some of the reasons, and to them it is very important. I in no way want to dishonor that, but I simply want to tell you about my journey in why we celebrate Christmas.

I thought this through a few years back because some friends and I were talking about how to make Christmas more of a celebration of the Incarnation than selfish gift craziness. So here are a few thoughts for you to ponder as we go through our traditional Christmas seasons.... It 'just so happened' that I had just done a study and research project on the Jewish feast days a few years ago, in order to teach the feast days to my kids while we were homeschooling. All their feast days reminded me of our own elaborate holiday celebrations. I realized that God LOVES a celebration.

He required celebrations!

Celebrating Christ every day is essential in our homes, but He Himself set aside these Jewish feasts to celebrate and remember important things in the Jewish heritage, setting up lavish traditions, foods, even decorations for some feasts, visual reminders....symbols..... for the Jewish people. These were also, we know now, to point to the Messiah, fulfilled in Christ. And what event is more cause for celebration than the very Incarnation? So now I have no reservations about putting up lights, decorating the house, sing carols about the blessed event, baking special treats, setting up the manger scene and wanting to surprise people with special gifts....like God did for us. What a surprise those shepherds got that night, hmmm?

I hope you are able to take the time to ponder God's great gift this year as you celebrate with your loved ones.

December 2, 2007

PW Tour of Homes



I learned how to put a slideshow together at Photobucket.com tonight. It only took me about 15 minutes to do! My PW (pastor's wives) friends and I are doing a tour of our homes decorated for Christmas for each other, so I thought I'd put this up here too.

Merry Christmas season to you!

Nativity Kitsch

Sara, at Going Jesus has some collections of really bad religious...uh, not art...what is the word? Well, she calls it kitsch. It's too funny not to share. This is her Calvalcade of Bad Nativities collection. The baking sets on page 2 caught me off guard and I almost had a coughing fit from laughing!

There is a collection of Scary Santas somewhere on the net too, that I will post later.

November 29, 2007

Relative morality....

Apparently justice is not blind....it can be slanted any which way you want it to be.

A Wisconsin man was arrested today, probably on charges of homicide....but they're not sure yet. He is accused of slipping his girlfriend the abortion pill twice, causing her to miscarry twice in the past year. And while I do believe that is murder, is it still murder to take the drug when you are the mother instead of the father?

Ah, the lines of misconstrued morality. It's all relative.....it all depends on if you are the correct parent I guess.

Sad.

I am sorry for the mother of the two lost children....and I am sorry for our culture that places such weirdly ruled value on those children.



p.s. Our mail was stolen yesterday and found in an abandoned house. The police brought it here to our house this morning. It's kind of strange, not knowing what was stolen, if anything.

November 28, 2007

Cone head

I put the cone collar on my dog tonight so we could go to church and she just stood there in her crate. Her head slowly went down until the wide part of the cone was on the floor. Then she just stood there like that. It was like a Mummenschanz performance. It looked so funny, but we didn't laugh out loud because she was so dejectified. So I dropped off the kids at church and came home to sit with the dog.

Pitiful...

November 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Gingerbread guys

This is a pic of some gingerbread guys my kids decorated a few years ago.

If you look closely you'll see pirates, Jamaican dancers, clown, santa, Nate Sallie in a tux, Spiderman, karate guy, creature from the black lagoon, naked guy (he must be from Gilmore Girls) and bikini girl. They had a blast doing this.



***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

Dog in Recovery

Maisy is doing just fine....although she looks miserable, poor kid. I picked her up at the mobile spay/neuter clinic, where they reported that she had been 'very sweet'. I'm glad she didn't turn into an 8 pound raving lunatic or something. heh

It is very sad though. She is all blank stare eyed, trembly bodied and quite indecisive about where she wants to lie down. She lies on the floor in a nest we made for 30 minutes, then stands up and sways back and forth while eying you to lift her onto the couch, where she stays for about 30 minutes, then wants her crate. She can't shake her fur out, so her face fur is all mushed down and makes her nose look very pointy, like some character out of Ratatouie. *shudder* Oh, and she will really be happy tonight, I'm sure, when we have to put the protective collar on her. oiy

So....thank you for worrying with me. You may now return to your regularly scheduled internet surfing.

November 26, 2007

Wishing it was Wednesday....

I have so much to write about from the past week, but very little time to myself lately, so it will have to wait. I will still try my best to post something each day, at least M-F, but I don't know how entertaining it will be....cuz I am tired! Now I have only one hour left of Monday, so I'd better get this post up!

The main thing on my mind tonight is that my little pup is going under the knife tomorrow morning. She's getting spayed. It is worrying me beyond reason. She knows something is up too....very intuitive. We all keep hugging her and tonight I was carrying her around and got out her leash and vaccination papers and she wanted down. She went straight to her crate for bed. I usually have to coerce her into it with a dog treat, but tonight she climbed in without even being told it was bed time, to escape some kind of doom it seemed. (and no treat because she couldn't eat tonight after 7pm, so that probably hurt her dog feelings)

I wish it was Wednesday tomorrow instead of Tuesday.....then it would be over.

November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

~Author Unknown




Thankfulness is not something God gives us.
It is not a spiritual gift and it is not a spiritual fruit. 
We can receive God's peace, joy and love,
but thankfulness is something that we give to God 
and to others.
It is a choice that we make. Let us thank Him today with songs of celebration, 
hearts of strong devotion and acts of admiration." 
[Roy Lessin]




Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.
They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes.
This is not coincidence. ~Erma Bombeck

November 20, 2007

A week of gratefulness

Let us remember that, as much has been given us,
much will be expected from us,
and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips,
and shows itself in deeds.
~Theodore Roosevelt


It's been an interesting week for me. One that made me thankful for a lot of things I take for granted.

On Friday night we went miniature golfing with Ed and Cheryl at Castles and Coasters. It was really fun to be out with them and feeling that bond of friendship. It seems like we are so busy with life these days that we don't really LIVE it.....we are just treading water and staying afloat. It makes me feel the void of friendship.

I am thankful to you Cheryl for calling us...even at the last minute...and reaching out with friendship. I need that!

In the small town we lived in before Phoenix, I would see friends every day! I would see them at the grocery store, stop cars in the middle of the road to do a quick convo until the next car came up behind us (and sometimes waving for them to just pass on by because we were enjoying talking), I saw people at the schools and waved at the youth (I used to work with youth at that church), I made connections when I stopped by the church *often* to see Charles or to drop something off and I often had friends who dropped by our house to say hi or to ask a question and we'd sit on the porch and talk and connect. I didn't realize how much I missed that.

I'm thankful for that time in my life.....it was good to experience how it can be.

My friend Kelly was asking me on Saturday if I felt like I had any real friends here. I felt an immediate welling behind my eyes and it surprised me. We both felt like life is just too busy and we are both too tired to make the effort. blah

I need to work on that and I need make an effort because God's given me some wonderful women here to connect with....if we'll just make a call. I did make it a point to walk over to, and hug the necks of some friends at church who I haven't been connected with lately. It is no one's fault (so no feeling guilty Patrice! lol). We all feel that void and we all feel the tug of the urgent needs of day to day life stealing away our energy. (Yay for Women's retreats! Maybe we should make it a month long this year)

I'm thankful for potential friendship and the picking right up where we left off factor.

Charles and I and Kelly went to visit a woman named Reilly on Saturday. She has been consistently going downhill with MS since the mid '80's. She became a Christian then too and even though she has been worn down to a tiny smidge of a woman, can no longer lift herself out of her bed or get out of her apartment very often, she is a shining light. She has a ministry right there in that apartment to her caregivers and neighbors. She is always on the phone to a neighbor or praying with her caregivers....about THEIR struggles, not her own....and she said some pretty profound spiritual things while we were there. I felt that welling up feeling several times while we were there and that is not really like me. It's either perimenopausal mood swings or God speaking to me. Yeah, well I do have mood swings!

It made me so thankful for this body, as much as I complain about being tired and worn out, it is a healthy body and I can walk, dance, take care of my own needs and even take care of others with it. What a blessing.

On Sunday we got to know a young woman who has come several times in the past 2 weeks. She is in her early thirties and is a single mom, raising four girls. The oldest is 12 and the youngest is 3! She is full of energy and of a desire to raise her daughters right and to please God. She sat with us at the evening church Thanksgiving dinner. Another single parent joined us....hi Bill! (he reads this sometimes...please notice the rss feeds I finally put up!) He is raising 2 boys and a daughter. Then I noticed several other single parents went breezing by me during the night and I suddenly realized how many there are and hard their job must be! But they take it in stride, they love their kids and seem to be doing a great job of it.

It made me so very thankful for having a husband to help me raise our kids.....and to be my partner in life as well. I"m sorry I take that for granted so often!

Last week, a friend's two teenaged daughters (who are Emma and Bethany's ages) were in a horrible accident on a major freeway in California. They are fine except for whiplash, after their tire blew out and their car went in to a spin with semi trucks behind and beside them. The truck beside them crushed the hood of their car while missing the passenger area.

I'm thankful for God's protection every day, especially over our children. I used to worry a lot more than I do these days about their safety. I pray for them but I also remind myself *often* that God is watching out for them. He's got plans for them and I trust Him. This doesn't mean bad things will never happen. It means I trust He won't let a random event ruin His plans for them.

Finally, today we had a lock down event at the school. There was a police chase through our neighborhood and the criminal crashed into another car and jumped out of his car and ran....towards our school playground. That is as much as was reported by an eye witness before he ran in to tell the school office to lock down. When he went back out, the police were taking photos of a sawed off shotgun in the front seat of the car.

I'm thankful that we continue to be crime free since last summer (when we had a little crime spree happening here) and for our home alarm system. And thankful that no one was hurt today. What we thought was a drill turned out to be something kind of scary.....like the world outside trying to creep in on a safe sanctuary.

I kind of feel like the person...whoever they were....who wrote the poem with the line, "I complained that I had no shoes until I saw a man with no feet." It is the things we take for granted each day that we need to be most grateful for.....

....because seeing the possible complications in life, makes you suddenly see with better vision.

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord."
[Psalm 92:1]

November 16, 2007

Friday's Feast #169

***Go to Friday's Feast to learn more or to do your own spread.***

Appetizer
What was your first “real” job?

In my junior year in high school I worked at THE MALL. I worked at a Waldenbooks bookstore. It was a good job except for the nazi boss I had. She would sneak in on Sundays to see if we were breaking the rules. No trust.....or much respect. I think I lasted 3 months there. My next job, at another mall, was a relief. I worked at Pixy Portrait Studio in JCPenneys and I got to take portraits of children. We only photographed children. Very fun people to work for and fun work....making kids smile. Perfect job for me. (I just had a revelation...or is that an epiphany?) hmmmmm

Soup
Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?

My sister's (and BIL's..lol) cabin, a secluded place in the woods. And it would be winter, during a snowstorm....or in summer during the monsoon season. Weather inspires me....as long as I am inside just looking at it.

Salad
Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…

......I feel like I"ve done the wrong thing or said something stupid. It could be any hour of the day. I do a lot of embarrassing things....and I have embarrassing children sometimes. (well I think that is paybacks for when I was a kid) I'm even somewhat embarrassed by this question.

Main Course
What values did your parents instill in you?

Compassion for the underdog, respect, honesty, love of God and home.



Dessert
Name 3 fads from your teenage years.


Oh my! The seventies were full of fads.

~Clackers....glass balls on the ends of a string with a metal washer in the middle of the string and you hold the washer and raise the thing up and down until the ends are 'clacking' away in a butterfly-ish pattern. You could get those pups going so fast that you couldn't see the balls anymore. They were banned at my school after several incidents of breakage and flying broken glass balls.

~Pogo sticks....I never could do it. It's one of my embarrassments.

~Clothing: track shoes, cut off jean shorts like Daisy Duke wears, bell bottomed hip huggers, smock blouses, peasant tops, tie dye anything, platform shoes (for guys or girls), Levi 501 button up jeans (I loved those), earth shoes, berets, bandanas, knee socks, maxi skirts, vests, gauzy shirts.

November 15, 2007

Thanking God....by name

Well....

...the turkey is bought.
...the dressing is made and in the freezer.
...I have studied the gravy making tips on allrecipes.com and in my November Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
...the ingredients for pies and appetizers are in the cupboards and fridge.
...the tiny pumpkins (white and orange) for the centerpiece are in the fridge and I'm hoping they stay fresh for one week.
...my head hurts and I want to go to sleep now, even though it is only 7:30pm.

Oh and here is a cute Thanksgiving story. Today my second graders were working on their rough draft of What I am Thankful For essay. One little boy, G, came over to me and proudly showed me his paper. It said,

"I am thankful for god because he is the ruler of the whole word!"

I wanted to jump up and down because he knows, with that childlike faith that there is a god and that is who we are thankful TO. But I contained myself and said, "Yes he is! But you need to add an 'l' to world and capitalize God's name when you write it." He took a step back to his desk, and then whirled around dramatically and said with a face full of wonder, "That's his NAME??"

heehee, I said, "Yes and you need to capitalize his name always." He looked very serious and said, "Okay, I will!"

This is the same boy I rushed to the nurse a few weeks ago, thinking (I can say it now) that he had that staph infection, MRSA. Thankfully (to God) it was reported back to us that it was not MRSA, but it was an infection and he had to use a prescription cream and oral antibiotics to get rid of it. *yikes* I"m so glad he is alright. He's a sweet kid....

....and he knows that God is the ruler of the whole world!

November 14, 2007

Don't believe everything you see...

Okay, from the comments I got on that WW post, I think I should explain the photo below! lol

If you notice, you cannot see the ends of the log Hannah is holding. That is because it is resting on some fallen trees. She is not lifting the log. She is just posing under it. ;)

Good one huh?

November 13, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Strength



Hannah helps Charles cut wood for winter heat, 2004.

Click to enlarge photo.

***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

Alice and The Rock

Phoenix has it's share of celebrities who live here. The people I know of have been Dick Van Dyke (a friend of mine went to high school with his daughter), Amanda Blake (Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke...I remember her on television talking about animal rights), Glen Campbell, Leslie Nielsen (who now does very silly commercials for a local bank), Charles Barkley, Loretta Young and Linda Ronstadt. But one of our most infamous natives, as well as a current resident, is rocker Alice Cooper. In the '70's my sister had a purse that was made by Alice Cooper's roomate. She dragged it everywhere....literally! It was a leather purse (with beads I think) with 3 foot leather fringing. heh She was a hippie.

In recent years though, you can find Alice on the news playing in golf tournaments, hosting musical talents in his Cooperstown nightclub/restaurant or giving soundbites for public service commercials. In one he is pulled over by a policeman in his golf cart and making excuses for not having current registration. (silly) Not quite what you'd expect from an old '70's rocker who was very blasphemous in his day? Ten or so years ago, he gave his life to Christ. Now, years later, he is established in our community as a good citizen, business man, charity sponsor, television spokesman and family man. One New Year's Day, our city was burying a time capsule...probably in the beginning of the year 2000, but I'm not sure....and one of the people who offered to put something significant in was Mr. Cooper. He held up a Bible and said that he hoped that in the future it would still be viewed as the most important book ever.

On Wikipedia, I found he is quoted:

**When asked by the British Sunday Times Magazine in 2001 how a rebellious shock-rocker could be a Christian, Alice is credited with providing this response "Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that's a tough call. That's real rebellion!"**

Lately though, I've been hearing about a project he is initiating at my former college. It's a performing arts center, not only for college students, but for youth in the neighboring areas. College students would help run it and be involved in loving kids and helping them to come to know Jesus. Here is a news article on it. Read up on it yourself. It is called The Rock. And this is a Christmas fundraiser for the event called Alice Pudding.

Such a unique history here in Phoenix....but cool, you have to admit.

November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day 2007

I was listening to a radio station this morning while doing an errand. A man had called in to answer an appeal for Veteran's Day stories. He said that he and his wife went out to a nice restaurant once a week for dinner and he felt compelled by God to honor a couple there. I came in late to the story, but he knew somehow that the man was a veteran. He called his waiter over and gave him the money to buy the couple's dinner anonymously. He then felt inspired to do this each week as they went on their date, asking the waiters there to find out which patrons that evening were veterans. It became such a habit that the restaurant manager talked to him one day, appreciating this gesture to honor vets and that he was going to start doing the same thing once in a while.

And now, watching the news on television, I am inspired to look for an online tribute to share here. Our veterans are our heroes, our freedom is their sacrifice. That is worthy of so much honor.....they have done so much, sacrificed years of their lives to defend our own country as well as coming to the aid of other countries. It is important to remember...

Here is an online memorial tribute.

November 8, 2007

Friday's Feast #168

Appetizer
Which snack do you like to get when you go to the movies?

Large diet soda, large bucket of popcorn. That's all I need baby....and some m&m's from my purse.

Soup
What year did you start using the internet?

1996. We got a connection for $26 per month for FIVE hours a month!!If you went over that, it charged outrageous fees per minute! I didn't find much use for the net. Then we got unlimited hours. And I was on a mission to find people to talk to.

In 1996 I was a stay home mom with tiny kids and no adult friendships to speak of....so that chat room was my connection for friendship. I made many friends there and still keep in touch with several. Anyone else remember the WBS (Webchat Broadcasting System?).

Related tidbit: On Saturday I am meeting up with 2 of the ladies I first met in a WBS Christian chatroom back in '96! I'm driving up to Laughlin, NV. One of them lived, at that time, about 45 minutes away from me in NJ. So I have met her many times. The other one is from Australia! She is coming for some medical tests and is doing a bit of touring around while she is in the States!

Salad
What is your first name in Pig Latin?

Istiechray...or I guess icklcray to you.

Main Course
Name something you are picky about.

I don't like it when people (you all know who you are) leave things all over the kitchen counters. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Dessert
Fill in the blanks: I ____ ____ yesterday and I ____ ____ today.

uhhhh....I am stumped...I never know the answers to these things! ;)

November 6, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Crazy Mai

Serious Maisy (who looks like she is about to make an announcement)


Crazy Maisy....this is the face we see when we come home after being gone for a few hours. Her nose scrinches up and she smiles like a maniac! (Maggie is helping to re-enact the smile)



***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

ugh



This gave me a chuckle on this local election day....thinking about another huge round of it for next year. Okay, now I'm not chuckling anymore. ugh

For more demotivator posters, go to despair.com.

November 5, 2007

Get a Rhythm

We just got back from our school district's high school marching band exhibition show. Lots of colorful uniforms, feathered hats, flaglines, shiny instruments and excited kids. We were sitting with friends from our church. We represented 3 different high schools, so it was fun watching each other's kids play.

Our Emma plays a snare drum in her band. She has been ratatat tatting her way onto the drumline for a year now and she is fun to watch. They are so professional and have such precision! I only worry about her back. Her drum is so heavy! It has 2 big hooks that hang on her shoulders, underneath her uniform and it weighs about 50 or more pounds. But there she is, keeping time, marching with precision and dancing too with a 50 pound drum hanging on her shoulders!

Here is a scene from one of her favorite movies for those of you who like drums.

November 2, 2007

Kitchen pics

This post is mainly for my pw friends. I keep talking about my kitchen, so they wanted photos!

This was our kitchen just before we moved in. There is a row of cabinets over the breakfast bar and a drop ceiling light panel. (some friends from church removed both of those on moving night!) Click pictures to see larger view.


Here it is with the cabinets gone, but the original wood grain cabinets.


And the picture I took today! White cabinets. I have always wanted a white kitchen! I may add a little color to the walls, but only in small areas like over the sink and behind the coffee maker on the left.


These are the samples we're choosing from for the new counters. I chose the middle to keep things simple.

Friday's Feast #167




***Go to Friday's Feast to learn more or to do your own spread.***

~~Kitchen post will be published later tonight!~~

Appetizer
How much money do you plan to spend this upcoming holiday season?
NOYB really ;)

Soup
What was the last television show you watched, and was it good?
I watched a show called Life the other night and I thought it was a very good show. It is a detective show. I've only seen it once, but it seems like a very thought-provoking, challenging show. It really drew me in. And the male main character is Damien Lewis, who has such similar looks as Freddie Highmore, the little boy who played Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and was in Finding Neverland) that I had to look it up to see if it was his son. It is not. But once I realized who he reminded me of, the similarities were freaky! Anyway, it's an interesting show.

I also made it a point to watch House this week. I am not really enjoying it as much this season with the reality show type of team selection, but it is hilarious at times. (if you can enjoy the dark sense of humor)

Salad
If you had to paint the walls of your living room tomorrow, what color would you choose?
I like the color it is. Two walls are chocolate brown and one is white-ish.

Main Course
Name something clever or practical you have thought of that should be invented, but hasn’t yet.
Self cleaning flooring. A system that comes across the floor (mainly the kitchen floor, possibly bathroom as well) with a sprinkler that squirts the cleaning stuff, then a scrubber that whirls around (scrubbing grout and tile all at once), then it would push all residue into drains under the cabinets and squeegeed off with another attachment. (the attachments would all be on a pole that rotates to each attachment)

As you can probably tell, I have given this idea considerable thought. ;)
I love clean floors.

Dessert
List 3 things you would like to receive as gifts this upcoming holiday season.

~Some new baking dishes (mine keep falling and breaking into millions of bits on our stone kitchen tile)
~Comfy furniture for our screened in porch in back. (not likely....just wishing here)
~World peace. ;) ....of course (but only after I get some comfy furniture in my back room)

I'm sorry...it must be the cold meds coursing through my system....or something.

November 1, 2007

November 1

.....and it is still warm enough during the day to run the air conditioning.

And that is all I"m saying about that....I don't want to be a whiiiiiiiiiiiner. It's just that I"m finding it hard to get into the holiday mood. By now my house usually smells of scented holiday candles, my husband would be having little evening fires in his chiminea, and we are listening to a lot of Christmas music.

It's just unusually warm this year, even for Phoenix. I sure hope the mood kicks in soon though. There is nothing better than a nice holiday season. We're having Thanksgiving at our house this year, along with relatives and maybe a few others. The mood should be settling in while I am busy planning a menu and trying to find a good tablecloth to use. I looked at Target today but all I found were some fall decorations for half price. =) You just can't argue with a 69 cent grapevine pumpkin.....or, apparently, a six dollar set of three nature thingie covered balls the size of grapefruits in a rustic wooden box. It looks nice on my living room shelf.

My puppy got shots today. She is feeling whimpy.

I woke up with a cold in my throat this morning. bleh

My kitchen cabinets are DONE and back on their hinges!!!!! I picked out the new countertops but they will be installed at a later date. I will ask Michelle to hassle me to get the before/after pics up by tomorrow.

I took a seven year old to the nurse's office first thing this morning with a potentially school shutting down germ. I will let you know if it really is....I'm kind of worried and am about 99% sure that it was indeed the bad germ. Pray for him please.

And there you go, Michelle.....my November 1 post. ;) I almost forgot!

October 31, 2007

Wordless Wednesday (Thursday Edition): Monstrous sunfower

Click for a larger picture.


***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

October 30, 2007

Eyes glazing over....

A new time waster!

But don't go if you're gonna yell at me....

Confirmation will cost you...

Twenty five dollars later, it is confirmed now. Maggie does NOT have strep throat. It is a virus and she just needs rest and liquids. Ugh, why don't I listen to myself!? I knew this....yet doubted.

I am home from work today with her though, so it's a little break for me too.

=)

October 29, 2007

Decisions decisions

Maggie is sick. She woke up with a sore, slightly swollen throat....so I sent her to school. Eh...might not have been the best idea. Today she came home with a note from the school that someone went home with strep throat today....someone who was in her vacinity because they said she has been exposed. So I'm keeping her home tomorrow and we'll probably have a trip to the doctor's office and wait for EVER in the waiting room. (I think they call us patients patience because of all the waiting we have to do....waiting in the waiting room, waiting in the cold exam room in the little paper thingie, waiting for the dr to come back after he leaves the room for a 'minute', waiting at the pharmacy.)

And Charles was almost gone tomorrow. I wonder if that is an acceptable sentence....but it's true. He got an email from the AZ disaster relief team the other day saying they were going on a relief mission to Ramona, CA to feed people displaced by the fires. He decided to pass this one up. Then today he got another email. They urgently need 10 more people to go with them TOMORROW morning to fulfill their team needs. So it sent him wondering, pacing, praying and discussing for about an hour. Then he decided not to go. He would have loved to help. He is a member of the team and is trained for it. But our church is having the biggest outreach event of the year on Wednesday night...our Rock the Block party. We feel like it is the right decision, but boy, that can throw you into stress mode for a while.

So quickly things can turn into a whirlwind of activity. Kinda makes you want to go hide under a rock....or something.

October 28, 2007

Things that go bump...or for a walk...in the night

Horrible night last night. Our 17 yr old came home around 10:30pm with a gaggle of youth after a softball game. They were going to watch a movie, she said. So I closed our door and fell sound asleep, nowing they were all home and safe. At about 1:30am I woke up to a bright light shining under my door, so I got up to tell the teens to go to sleep. Only....one of them wasn't there! Her friend, who was sleeping over was there and when I asked her where Bethany was, she said, "Oh she and T went for a walk."

Adreneline went squirting through my body....remember I had already been in a deep sleep.

A....WALK!? At 1:30 A. M.???? In PHOENIX? So I called Bethany's cell phone...it rang in her room...drat. I called T's cell phone...no answer. I went to put on my shoes so I could drive around the block and drag them home, but as I looked out the window, there they were across the street. I stepped out onto the porch and called them in. They had been talking seriously, so I didn't fuss at them then, I just told them they had scared me half to death! So they went to bed. And I went to spend another sleepless hour trying to calm down from the adreneline rush and fall asleep. It made it very VERY hard to keep my eyes open in church today.

This morning when I saw T at church, I made her promise.... no more midnight walks. Bethany I have not even seen yet today except from afar at church.

I also found out they had a guardian 'angel' watching them. A boy who was here watching the movie went to leave and saw the girls take off walking, so he stayed in his car and watched them, opening the door when cars passed by so they'd know someone was there, watching. He left after the girls came back in front of our house. I gave him a hug and thanked him this morning when I found out.

I do hope that life returns to almost simple when they are all past the teens. But I have 10 years til then.

October 27, 2007

As we go along our way.....

I didn't get to sleep in this morning. And after waking up to Bethany whispering in my ear that she was home at 1am, then trying to set the house alarm, only to hear it go off a few minutes later when I was in my bed again, I really wanted to sleep in! It's hard to go back to sleep after you set your home alarm off and have to dash in there to disarm it and then wonder why it went off in the first place! That all started out as one sentence, but I broke it up for you.

Sleeping in is good for the head, but getting up on a Saturday morning to go for a prayer walk is good for the soul. Our church is having the annual Rock the Block party on Wednesday night, the 31st, so we walked around the different neighborhoods in our area, putting doorhangers up about the party and praying silently as we passed each house. (Just rechecking, that is 2 sentences, which is good for me...I could give apostle Paul a close run for being the winner of run on sentence contest.) Ugh, editing takes the fun out of typing.

We walked and prayed and hung hangers for over an hour. We prayed as we walked toward houses. I would notice children's toys and pray for young families, see five cars parked around a home and pray for teens and older, grown children, all kinds of families. We passed a very elderly man, hunched over, thin and frail looking, cleaning out a flower bed! And we blessed him on our way, as we walked. I prayed as we would pass homes that seemed to be oppressive, either by outward signs or by just maybe a nudge from the Spirit, but I definitley prayed that God would weed this neighborhood of anyone who would cause harm or be an influence contrary to God.

And then I couldn't stop it. I guess it gets into your head and heart when you pray like that. So people passing by in cars on my way to pick up Maggie from a slumber party got blessed, people walking around at Sam's club got prayed for and I just in general noticed people a lot more.

I hope the trend continues within me....to notice...to bless and pray and 'weed'. It gives me chills to think of what could happen if we all pitched in and noticed....and lifted up those around us to the Father.

I recommend that you try it. ;)

ps, if you went on the prayer walk today (and read this of course....yes, I see you Cheryl, please share!) and have some snippets to share, leave it in the comments or let me know somehow!

pps: A friend sent me an email today about a new movie that is coming out in December. Please read this Snopes.com article about The Golden Compass. And make up your own informed mind on whether you'll take your family to support it. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the article about the author.

October 26, 2007

A fall day

Today I came home to bright white kitchen cabinets! A friend at church had them done for us for pastor appreciation month. I will soon have before and after pictures. For now the cabinet doors are not back on, but I got everything put back into the cupboards. It's a good feeling to have things in their place. My kitchen unloaded into the rest of the house was just strange.....and very unsettling. New laminate counters will follow soon....so stay tuned!

It is getting fallish in Phoenix. (since it is almost November.....we are fashionably late each year) There is a crisp feeling to the air and the mornings have been cool enough for a sweater. (although by about 10am, it is shed PDQ) There are pumpkins and scary things in neighborhood yards and a faint smell of woodsmoke was in the air tonight that made my part beaver type husband almost jump for joy. We have no woodstover here (of course, gee whiz, that would be crazy) But we do have an iron 'chiminea' out back that he loves to burn things in.

My puppy is very frisky in this weather. (it's either fall or paint fumes) She runs so fast it makes us laugh and squeal. She takes off at the least bit of encouragement. Maggie was waving pom poms at her in the backyard today and got Maisy running so fast around the yard that I had to make her stop and let the rediculous dog rest!

I've been trying to find my good recipe for pumpkin bread. I think I've found it, but I'll have to bake some to know for sure. There is a barrel of gingersnaps from Sam's Club in my pantry. And I bought half a peck of Granny Smith apples (instead of pickled peppers) to bake a pie sometime soon! And I found this recipe for Caramel Corn online today. What a horrible time of year to need to lose a few pounds that came back with us from Oklahoma! Drat! lol

We went to the high school football game tonight. Well....we went to half time. And that is enough of teenager in the city time for us! Emma was soooooooo cute in her uniform, playing in the marching band tonight. Seeing her out there, among all the tall boys on the drumline, she reminded me of when she was about 5 years old and so serious all the time. She was the funniest little child....always very serious, but she said THE funniest things....and then it hurt her feelings to be laughed at. OH the irony! Tonight she seemed to me about 5 years old again, so incredibly cute and dressed up, yet such a serious, concentrating face. She was the only snare drummer who was able to come to tonight's game, but she did a great job and held her own out there with the quads and the basses.

And that's all for tonight from down here in the warm, dry Valley of the Sun, where the kitchen paint is drying, the dogs are frisky, the kids are cute as can be and the breeze is feeling the slightest bit refreshing in a desert fall kind of way.

October 25, 2007

Chattering Cats

Twice in one evening. I'm running amuck and stuff!

I just checked out the recentness over at Cuteoverload.com though, and I had to post this video! I am a dog person. I have never had a cat for a pet. BUT....IF you could promise me that a cat I would own would be so cute as this, I might consider it.....maybe.



They must be related to R2D2 or something.

The Value of a Life

I have a blogging friend who has a habit of posting on her blog every weekday and somtimes, but not obligately on the weekends. Sometimes it is long, but rarely. Usually she is concise, hilarious and talks about ONE thing at a time.

I can't imagine that.

When I start typing, I usually set in for the long haul and write a novella length post. But anyone can change, right? Well anyone can try to change.

So I am hereby going to TRY to post something every weekday. It is super busy around here these days, so it should be easy enough to put a little blurb on here each evening. Anyway, I am not promising, but I will try.

On Monday, I was talking with a coworker about religion, politics and abortion....HA! All of this within 10 minutes. She is Catholic, but does not agree with their abortion beliefs. Still she is very conservative and only would agree that an abortion was a good choice if it were in the case of rape, incest, life threatening for the mother or if it was a very young child. I didn't have time to say much, just listened to her and tried to hear where she was coming from. Then it was time to clock back in and concentrate on second graders.

That night, my two teenagers informed me that Tuesday, the following day, was "A Day of Silence" silent protest of abortion in our country. They were silent all day, except when they forgot and accidentally blurted out something and except when my 17 year old had to go to work. My 15 year old even went to a band competition night and did not talk! They made homemade t-shirts with slogans on them like, "I am silent today for those whose voice will never be heard." And they wore them to school.

My 17 yr old's government teacher was impressed that she was involved in a political movement. Neither of them had any negative comments. But several people said it was a 'cool' thing to do. And it is. I'm very proud of them both.

We all have our opinions. I do not begrudge my coworker for having a different one than me. She is an intelligent young woman and I could see that she had given it a lot of thought. I also really feel for those women who have had abortions. It leaves deep emotional scars and we should never shame them. Of the women that I personally know who have gone through it, not one of them has come through it without scars, without a deep regret and sense of loss. It is not a simple solution for a temporary inconvenience.

May we never lose the right to have our voices heard....or our silence felt.

October 23, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Monstrous solutions?



I am all for alternative energy solutions...but do they have to hideously mar the landscape?? (click pic for larger view)

***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

October 19, 2007

Oklahoma, O. K.

We are home from our trip to Oklahoma. It's still there. =)

It was a good visit. Charles' mom is doing well, it was encouraging to see her. AND the two little nieces are now two years old! They are the cutest things, talking and checking us out at all times. I will have to tell their story sometime, they were both adopted at birth six weeks apart! Charles' sister Jan and husband Jeff are having a ball as parents. It reminded me how hard it is to be the parent of toddlers! Exhausting and absolutely fulfilling.

We saw old friends, who have been my husband's 'old friends' for as long as I've known him, so they are starting to feel like my old friends too. We ate out every day. My kids said at lunch today, "Did you start to feel like they were just trying to stuff us like little piggies? We never got hungry, we were eating again before we knew it!" The local Braum's was heavily patronized this past week. We did some work on my MIL's house. Charles and his brother and brother in law replace two huge, heavy glass panes in her back sun room and I made beef stew and chicken and noodles to put in her freezer for future meals. My children did some house cleaning for her, listened to stories of how she got to go to college and got married, then they spent her money at the mall.

One night we went out on the porch and watched a cold front come across the sky. The squall line crept closer, the lightning was far off and then closer and closer. Then we heard the wind a couple of blocks away and listened to it come through the trees, finally making it's way down the street and hit us with a wind that was 10 degrees cooler. There is nothing like that. I shivered and went in while the rain went from spitting from the sky to pouring and pounding the last of summer's flowers.

We slept a lot, ate a lot, played with babies a lot, visited a lot and did a little work. So why am I so tired!?

October 8, 2007

Cloud appreciation



A dragon!

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE the Cloud Appreciation Society webpage? I may join their society someday, but for now I just admire all of those sky photographers from afar. =) If you look through their gallery (click on each picture as it comes up and it switches to the next one), it appears that God is putting on an art walk in the sky everyday in some part of the world.

October 6, 2007

Movie Review: Miss Potter

My daughter Beth, brought home some movies last night and now I have a new one to add to my favorite movies list! Miss Potter is a high quality, beautiful movie with Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. She plays the quirky and loveable Beatrix Potter, struggling to get her children's books published and finding love for the first time at age 32.

You will love it. Rent it. Watch it.

Here's a preview:

October 2, 2007

The life and times of a crickl

I was tagged by Gill at Gill's Jottings for this meme. If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged and let me know if you did one!

1. What I was doing ten years ago: Ten years ago I had just had a baby (our last), just moved cross country from NJ to a small mountain town in northern AZ. I had a 10 year old and a 7 year old in public school and a 5 year old who I was homeschooing. I was trying to ease into it and loved it.



2. Five years ago: We lived in that same mountain town and were very happy homeschoolers with daughters who were 15, 12, 10 and 5. We were a little worse for the wear of several tragedies in our world and town. A year later we started to feel God's urging to move on, but we didn't know it would take 2 years for the process to happen. Charles was seeking God's will for future plans and I was avoiding the subject. I wasn't ready to move....but a year later God changed my heart totally.



3 One year ago:We had moved to metro Phoenix, AZ and bought our first home. Our 19 year old daughter had stayed in college in Flagstaff, 2 hours away. Our 14 and 16 year olds were active in school and church youth group. I was still homeschooling our youngest, who was 9. They were finally ready to say that they were glad we had moved and although it had been hard to give up life in Williams, that they could see God's hand in the move and in their lives because of it. Hannah worked at a coffee shop and a property management office and Bethany worked at Chic fil a at our local mall. I was still a stay at home mom. Charles was busy as a pastor of a medium sized urban church...so many opportunities, it's hard to focus on what specific thing God had led us here for. He had been on a mission trip to Texas to help hurricane Katrina victims and was gearing up to go on a mission trip to the Ukraine. We had also traveled to Israel a year before, the trip of a lifetime. We loved it.



4. Yesterday: (Monday) It as a very busy day, as I had begun working last April in our public schools. I am a teaching assistant now for 2 second grade classes and our youngest is going to a different public school (a 'traditional' school) 2 miles away. She is having a difficult time adjusting to the increased work load and strict demands of this school, but it is good for her, she needed some more discipline in her studies, and she enjoys the socializing above all! Beth is a senior, taking one class at the high school and next semester beginning college classes (she now works doing after school care at Maggie's school and loves it), Emma is a sophomore and made the drumline this year, playing snare. She just got her permit to learn to drive and her first cell phone. She is a texting magnificado! Last month she had almost 800 texts. (I'm sure you're very impressed) Hannah still lives in Flagstaff and works full time at the property management place, but may have lots of changes coming up soon. Charles is day by day catching a vision for this new church we are at now. It is such an established church, it was hard to see just what his vision should be, but God is revealing it gradually. He is now preparing to go on a mission trip next summer to Mozambique, Africa.



5. 5 snacks I enjoy: What a transition! lol From deep reminiscing to snacks! Okay, I love:
popcorn
gingersnaps
I'm trying to really enjoy fruit
cheese and crackers
dips of all kinds



6. 5 Things I would do if I suddenly had $100 million:
~I would faint!
~I would tithe on it somehow, or make it a special offering to help remodel our church.
~I would save a lot for our kids' schooling, weddings and pay off our home.
~I might find worthy causes to help like missions efforts and helping send people on mission trips to increase awareness and compassion for the world's needs. I would love to do that.
~I would buy a cabin in the mountains.....or an RV to do some traveling.



7. 5 locations I would like to run away to:
Is this a trick question? If I tell you, then you'll be able to find me. Pretty sneaky.
New England (It's Fall there), San Diego, Australia and New Zealand, western Canada, Montana.



8. 5 bad habits I have:
*staying up too late
*too much computer
*biting the side of my tongue...ouch (I've heard it's a stress reaction)
*saying my thoughts out loud...much of the time very lame, goofy thoughts.
*being grouchy around my home =(



9. 5 things I like doing:
*watching movies with my kids
*holding hands with my Charles
*traveling
*eating out
*raquetball



10. 5 TV shows I like:
~Cold Case
~HGtv decorating shows
~Gilmore Girls (I'm in denial that it's been cancel....Star's Hollow will go on)
~House
~Smallville


11. 5 things I hate doing:
*cleaning bathrroms
*running errands when it's hot
*ironing
*doctor visits (boooooo)
*dieting



12. 5 Biggest joys of the moment:
~I'm in my bed
~Tomorrow is a short day at work
~My pastor's wives friends online
~My puppy
~My wonderful family...I wish it could be that we'll live and be close always, but I am having to face reality that they are growing up and will be moving on wherever God leads them. It is a very assuring, joyful thing to know my husband will still be here with me, even as our children go off to seek their way.

September 30, 2007

...of ears, music, shoes and water...

We had a fun time going to dinner and a concert last night with friends....11 of us! After eating some southern cooking at Cracker Barrel (Charles was loving that), we went to the Glendale Arena (or whatever name it has this month) to see Casting Crowns and two opening acts, John Waller and Leeland. We were a little bit late. We came in almost at the end of John Waller's set, so we didn't really hear much of him. I have heard Leeland before, but really enjoyed the set they played last night...full of songs with a humble heart for God and compassion for a generation who needs Jesus.

I was really fascinated though, by the lead singer's shoes. Yeah, white dress shoes, just like these on this young man with red emo hair, tight jeans and a vest...yes, a plaid *I think* vest. All the time I was listening to this wonderful music, watching this energetic band, I kept thinking about the crazy shoes and vest. I'm so easily entertained, I know.

Another side note: During intermission, there was a video playing and it had a commercial for Steven Curtis Chapman's new CD. It looks like a good CD, but Steven needs to be told that his haircut should really match his age. Yep, he's got an emo doo, just like the guy from Leeland, only blonde of course. I don't know if he had white shoes. But it was just messed up.

And speaking of intermission...yes I was, pay attention....we walked up the stairs beside a young woman and her son, who looked to be 5 or 6 years old. It was still loud, so he was shouting, "Mom, what is inter....shun?" She said, "In ter mis sion, it means we're taking a break." And the last words I heard from the conversation were his excited voice, saying, "It means we're in eighth grade!?" "Nooooooo, a BREAK!" Ah, kids are hilarious.....he thought he got to skip all those grades! I giggled all the way to the restroom.

It was a good concert, lots of variety. CC had an artist who drew and painted on a black screen during two of the songs, and also a violin/electric guitar dual between a married couple in the group. Then toward the end, as Mark Hall introduced his group individually, they each played a little solo on their instruments....except the drummer. He played until we thought he was going to hemorrhage! Then he did a crazy dance going in circles at the end when the band was called up to do an enchore. So it was a fun time, and they had some powerful messages, including video and testimony of their Compassion International trip to India and Africa to raise awareness of the clean water problems and to promote sponsoring children in those places.

My only problem with these big concerts in large arenas is that the music is SO loud. There was a constant hisssssss in my ears and I actually felt pain on and off as the singer's pitches or different instruments played into the mix. I am so thankful for my hearing. I have grouchy half deaf people in my lineage and it is NO good to lose your good hearing too soon in life. In my opinion, this generation of young people right now who are listening to blairing ipods in the ears all the time or going to a lot of these concerts is going to get a huge wake up call when they are in their 40's and getting hearing aids. Hearing aids are never as good as the equipment God gave you in your ears. (ear bones) BE careful!

In fact, Mark Hill of Casting Crowns wrote a song off the concept of the children's song, Oh Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear, only it was not about your hearing. It was about how people do not stumble in huge ways all of a sudden. There is always a gradual series of compromises and 'oopsies' of lifestyle and heart.

On the way out to the car, someone asked Charles what he was doing and he told them he was resting his ear bones. EAR BONES. Of course, I knew what he was talking about, but it sounded so funny. He went on to explain what he meant anyway...y'know the three little bones that bang and vibrate, making sounds into intelligible stuff in your brain. The tiny stirrup is the only one I can remember. Tiny little pieces of our anatomy, yet so incredibly important to our lives. We use them constantly.

Next concert: earplugs.

September 27, 2007

Friday's Feast #162

***Go to Friday's Feast to learn more or to do your own spread.***


Appetizer
How are you today?

Wow, thanks for asking. I enjoyed the day after getting over a bad sinus headache this morning. (Sudafed and Advil)

Soup
Name 3 television shows you watch on a regular basis.

Design on a Dime, Cold Case, House, Wonder Years (reruns), and Smallville

Salad
What’s the scariest weather situation you’ve experienced?

We lived out in the country in Oklahoma when we were first married. My husband was a youth pastor at a small church and we lived beside it....in a mobile home.

I was always kind of terrified when there were thunderstorms during those 2 years, first of all, because a tornado had come through the field where our home was just a year before and totalled the parsonage (there was a new one built by this time and we lived next to it), but also just because we lived in a mobile home (aka 'tornado magnet'). I could barely sleep some nights, worrying about tornadoes. My husband, being from Oklahoma and being....a man....teased me and told me not to worry so much. So when I was awakened by my husband one night out of a dead sleep, telling me to get my shoes on and run next door, I instantly went into auto pilot and ran with flip flops on through a field of straw stubble, ruts and stickers. When we got to the parsonage, the pastor's wife was standing at the garage door waiting for us and we dashed inside. The weather passed quickly....no tornado in our field, but there was one close to our area. As we walked back to our home, my feet suddenly noticeably sore from running through rough straw and stickers earlier, I asked my husband what had happened before he woke me up. He said that he woke up to thunder crashing and saw our floor-length bedroom curtains flying up to the ceiling.

I didn't sleep well for days after that.

Main Course
If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be?

That would be wild! I'm thinking either a cozy old cabin, fire roaring in the fireplace, in Banff, Canada or in a small town inn in Scotland, with sheep and shepherds crossing cobblestone streets, thatched roofs and rolling hills and the sea off in the distance..

Dessert
What do you usually wear to sleep?

Pajamma pants and a tshirt....sometimes socks.

No fear, the flower is happy

My friend Joann made this comment about my new blog 'look':

"I really like the format and the color. But there's something about that flower having fallen down that makes me wonder about it."

It makes me wonder too, but I'm not losing sleep, Joann. *patpat* Hope you're okay now and have reasoned it out in your head. ;) I actually LOVE daisies....and love different perspectives in still-life photos....artsy I think is the word I want to use.

So don't worry. The daisy is not sad, neither is it discouraged or discarded as compost. It is simply a different perspective. Artsy. But I will probably change it as soon as I find something else that is more 'me'.

The one thing I do not like about this template is the 2 columns on the right. I wish it was only one column. But then such is life....eh?

September 26, 2007

Being shiny and salty

My husband wrote about See You At the Pole and about being a Light to the world today. Go over to Veritas to read it!

I have yet to hear my kids' reports on their pole gatherings, but I will post it later.

.....and have a nice day. =)

September 25, 2007

Round the Pole

Have you ever driven by a school around 7:30am on a Wednesday morning in September and seen a group of kids crowded around the flag pole? Did you know they were praying…..exercising their religious rights and praying for their school and classmates around the mainstay American symbol of freedom…their flagpole. Tomorrow is See You At the Pole 2008. Christian school kids in every city in the US are encouraged to get together to pray around their school's flagpole. It is an awesome thing to see, if you take the time to drive by your local school tomorrow around 7:30am. Last year, as a leader in our youth ministry, I decided to take pictures of the kids as they gathered around the poles at our high school and our middle/elementary school. I knew the kids from our youth group were planning to be there…but when I drove up to each of the schools, I saw a large crowd on each campus. Word had spread and there were a lot more people there than I thought there would be. Teens are eager for ways to show their faith. Unfortunately, there are always people who come out to heckle and protest each year at different schools.

See You At The Pole is not a new idea....it's been around for 16 years, since 1990. On September 15, 1999 our youth met for See You at the Pole....then that night on the news we heard about a church in Texas that a rally to celebrate their See You at the Pole day. There were teenagers there from all over that city. A mentally disturbed man came into that rally and shot 14 people, killing 7 of them, then killed himself...all of this in front of a huge crowd of teenagers. A friend I grew up with was the first one killed that night.

Read about how that church responded here. What Satan means for evil, God turns into a testimony for Himself. See You at the Pole is not a meaningless gesture to say, "We're here."
It is a powerful event, these kids are under attack every day, they are not "allowed" to share their faith or pray publicly at school. This event of gathering publicly to pray for their school and declare their religious freedom is not a popular thing from the enemy's viewpoint. We need to pray for these kids as they make a bold stand this tomorrow, for their protection and that they will hold strong to their faith when adversity comes, because it will.

And God will use it for good.

September 24, 2007

New look....annual reminder....

Obviously I am still experimenting on my 'look' here on Blogger. Any input would be appreciated! Eventually I hope to do something of my 'own' design with my own photographs for graphics, etc. Kim, I will be putting a very small version of Photoshop called Elements on my computer soon. Then when I have time, I will be asking your advice on stuff.

Anyone heard of or participating in your local See You At The Pole prayer meetings? This year's SYATP will be held on Wednesday, September 26, 2007! Even if your child hasn't heard of SYATP and wants to participate, they should go to their school on Wednesday at 7am to meet with whoever else comes to pray.

Pray for the kids who will be meeting on Wednesday morning. They are doing a brave thing and definitely making a difference by making their faith public and by asking God to work through them in their schools. Our church is having a prayer meeting for the kids and their schools tomorrow night at 7pm. I will post my annual tribute on Wednesday.

I will be going with my 10 year old to her school that morning. My husband will be going with our teens to their high school.

So the only thing left to ask is.....will they see YOU at the pole?

September 20, 2007

Friday's Feast #161

Appetizer
What is your favorite type of art?

Black and white photography.....or any kind of artsy photography. I love good contrasts.....and I love still life, but not so much the abstract.

Soup
When was the last time you got a free lunch (or breakfast or dinner)? Who paid for it?

Once a month a group of workers a the school where I work puts out a spread for the others. Today the 4th grade teachers and aids put on a very nice finger foods lunch. Cheese and crackers, fruit, veggies, cookies and some home made cupcakes that were so cool....chocolate ones loaded with cherries and lemon with lemon pie filling inside!

Salad
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how emotional are you?

I think I'm a 7....???

Main Course
Approximately how long do you spend each day responding to emails?

On emails, about 15 minutes....don't ask about the forum I go to though.....very time consuming.

Dessert
To what temperature do you usually set your home’s thermostat?

78 during the day and 75 at night.

September 19, 2007

Pirate Day

Something by Dave Barry for Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Aaaye! Give it a read and tell me what ye thinks. Now outta here ye scallawags!

Thanky KQ, lovely lass that ye arrrrrrrrrrrrre.....

September 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Our Hope



For our ladies' annual luncheon, I decorated this table with one of the themes of the luncheon: Hope. I tried to make it look like a little bit of Heaven. Impossible I know, but it was just symbolic. I was dissappointed that the dry ice fizzing over with fogginess didn't show up well in the pictures. There was a bowl on the other side of these candles, but you can't make it out. We had bone china with gold rims, gold flatware, lots of fluffy tulle with twinkle lights underneath, divinity fudge and a halo draped over each chair, to be worn by the attendees. It was really a lot of fun and it did turn my thoughts toward our future Hope of life with Christ in that intriguing place He called Paradise.

***To see more entries or to join in and do your own, go to Wordless Wednesday or 5 Minutes for Mom.***

September 17, 2007

Good news and bad news

Well my friend Kim has helped me get my old header back up on this new blog, but I've lost all my sidebar links and things. Pooh! It was my own fault. I hit a wrong button when I was transferring the html.

Hey, if I had done it the easy way, it just wouldn't be me. So I'll get those back up and running soon...I hope.

September 13, 2007

Feeling fragile

I've been in a sad frame of mind the past two days. There was a tragic accident that happened in the town we moved here from. It's a very small town, so things like this accident affect the whole town. My daughter was having a hard time understanding how events like this seem to happen more and hang over a small town's history in people's memory more than in a city.

I had to agree....in the 9 years that we lived there, we had a horrifying, tragic event happen every few years with the town's young people and some with adults. Every tragedy seems to affect the whole town. Yet I know that horrifying things happen in Phoenix every day, and I am not impacted by it at all, except for a fleeting thought and prayer. In a small town, you know everyone, or of them at least. You associate people by family names, what churches they go to, and places they've worked. I could not tell you the companies some of my closest friends work at here in the city.

So when I found out there had been an accident, I was immediately in a state of anxiety over who was killed, were they friends' children, did they go to our former church? I called the church secretary there and she read me the names. There were familiar family names, churches affected went through my mind as well as faces of young people we had known there. There was only one that I had known personally, a girl who had been in a Sunday school class I taught for middle school girls. Her grandmother is a friend of mine there and a fairly new Christian of a few years. I'm sure her heart and mind are just tortured over this. I can only pray for the peace of Christ to surround her and carry her through this.

My daughter told me that a friend of hers that worked at the Young LIfe camp just outside of town was the first one who came up on the scene, just after it happened. I can't imagine the horror that is stuck in her mind forever now.

So pray, if you could, for our former town, for the people affected by it closely, for the people who had to help at the scene and for the girl who survived it.

I can only sum this up in what my daughter Hannah said the other night, "Life is so fragile."

It can be gone in the blink of an eye....