29 February 2008

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

The title to this post could be one of those six word memoirs in itself - because in my experience we can learn so much from children. I was so sad when I read the memoir at the beginning of the video by Hemingway when asked to sum up his life story in six words - For Sale: Baby Shoes, Hardly Worn.
Man, don't I get that!
But a short while ago, while taking my girls to ballroom dancing, I was passing a table full of elementary school aged children putting together a puzzle, and a little boy said this:
You gotta just let go sometimes!
I think I found a new one. I am hearing six word snippets everywhere - but this one was especially profound!

Six Word Memoir

I saw this at Sarah's blog - I loved it. Be sure to share yours here in the comments section - I can't wait to read them.


Be sure to share yours. I have a couple that I like - tell me which you like best:

Living lavishly beyond my broken heart.

I’ll live better than anyone thought.



Shrunken Faith

I am experiencing a brokenness. There are a lot of metaphors for the feelings. I feel like I am beneath the water that is covered with a surface of ice I cannot penetrate. Sugar melting in the rain. Riding a merry-go round that is spinning 100 miles per hour and comes to a sudden stop. The movie "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" has new meaning, as I know what it is like to feel so very small, and God so big that I cannot discern His voice from all of the noise.
I am struggling with being told to honor that which is dishonorable. I am aching from the Bible, the source of comfort and healing having been wielded as a weapon against me as a person, instead of the real enemy at work ripping and tearing flesh and blood apart. Are children who were not brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord exempt or is God also a participant in this cruel torture?
I feel cryptic, like the poem I wrote last night is the only way I can communicate right now, to protect the innocent; to protect myself from feeling it all too deeply.

28 February 2008

A Kingdom Most Pathetic

No more words

No more

They hurt

And wound

And cut

And twist

I cannot think

My mind goes blank

How can it be

That I who stood

And watched you drive away for good

Be the culprit

The perpetrator

Of this great drama

That plays out between us

I want to slam on the brakes

Make it stop

Spin the world back to the day I was his princess

Wearing the paper crown

And fuzzy bathrobe

Smiling through fever

Because he thought I was beautiful

And now the king of my heart

Is dethroned

I can’t love anymore

Someone who loves with words

Yet in deed most unloving

An empty kingdom does not a princess make

And it is I who sit on a throne most pathetic

Wishing for butterflies

And bubble gum

Long rides gazing up at stars through the windows in the back of a Pinto

With the one

Who doesn’t remember that once, I held his heart.

And the Winner Is.....

I feel that this year's Quirky Quote Contest was a bit anti-climatic. I am not sure why - there were great quotes -but not a whole lot of votes. At any rate, y'all let that stinker, Karen steal the prize again with this terrific quote:
“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” - Martin Luther
Congratulations Karen! I know it is late and I hope you didn't think I'd forgotten! Your Amazon certificate is on its way!

Happy Birthday To Me


I am thinking I don't have the flu - but a really bad cold. I actually feel better this morning than last night - but still icky. Before going to bed last night, I was on my Google homepage, and saw a picture pop up of myself as a wee one! It was a preview to the most excellent birthday blog tribute that I have ever received by my soulmate, Idgyernielouiseethel. It would be the delight of my life to one day stand in front of the Eiffel Tower and make those faces with her! Geesh - we are a mess together.
The birthday morning started when I came out my bedroom door to a world full of curled ribbon streamers. birthday cards, lit candles, a ready coffee pot and all kinds of other things my offspring know make me exceedingly delighted. They really are the most awesome kids.
Then rounds of phone calls started, and emails. It is truly great to be loved.
I have some birthday thoughts - things that are on my mind, and things that are important to articulate if for no one else but myself today, but I am not sure my congested head can make sense of any of it, so I will try back later. For the record, I am 38. I don't mind - I'm healthier and happier now with my life than ever before, and although I may trade that for just a moment to revisit my youthful body and the energy of my younger years, I would not for a second trade away what I know deep within myself to be true and real and the grounding I have found in the love of the Lord, that has only come with these passing years.
Happy Birthday to me!

27 February 2008

The "F" Word

Flu -
I might have it.
My head is swimmy. My eyes are watering. My body aches. My throat is gravelly. My ears are burning.

I think one of my cyber friends sent it to me .....you know who you are.

Last Day to Vote

Today is the last day to vote for the Quirky Quote Contest - see the poll on the left sidebar. I am sorry that I haven't publicized this very well - it seems even all of our contestants haven't voted yet! I have been sick for a couple of days now and hoping I can keep snot from running down my face long enough to get this note up here!
PLEASE vote - and tell others.
Happy quote voting!

26 February 2008

The BEST Gooey-ist Whole Wheat Brownies on Earth

I know - the title sounds like an oxy-moron but I had these brownies at a friend's house on Sunday, and they are sooooo good. She was kind enough to share the recipe. Since they're made with whole wheat you don't feel bad about feeding them to your family. I also learned a lot about flour - this particular one is made with "white whole wheat" which my friend grinds from hard white winter wheat, but I found in a high-end grocery store. I am getting quite an education.
Here's the recipe:

2 sticks butter
3/4 cup cocoa
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

This is all the recipe that I got. I melted the butter in a saucepan while I mixed all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then I added the eggs and butter to the dry ingredients and mixed. Then you spread the batter in a 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Since there were no directions I checked it about every 10.
Enjoy - they are terrific with a cold glass of milk! YUM.

25 February 2008

No News is Good News, Literally

I don't read the news very much. I will watch it about once a week or so with my husband when he is home on the weekends over a cup of coffee. All of us know that it would be more appropriately entitled "the Bad News" said with a smile by plastic Ken and Barbie wannabes. I think if you had someone like Mama from Mama's Family (a/k/a Vicki Lawrence - not to steal any of Keet's Carol Burnett thunder) delivering the news it would be as you expected, but we have the beautiful people telling us that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and smiling at us through perfect teeth, just to make you wonder if your feelings of doom and gloom are accurate.

I read this horrific story on my Google homepage this morning about a woman who died on a flight from Haiti because the two oxygen tanks that they brought to her were empty. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you instructed that in the event of an emergency the little face masks will drop from above your seat and administer oxygen to every passenger on the plane??? Why could they not get oxygen to this woman? The worst part to me is that the flight attendant denied her oxygen twice before even attempting to help this obviously very ill woman. All of this comes from living in a world where everything anyone says is suspect, and the human element is removed. We don't have compassion for one another. My compassion is affected when I watch horror story after horror story on the evening news, which is why this post will end as it started with…I don't read the news very much.

24 February 2008

It Was Nice

Today was an average day. This afternoon I had to take Kendra to a rehearsal. I took along the bodice of the dress I have been working on so I could work on some hand-stitching. Kaitlyn and Kullen hung out with some of the other kids, siblings and friends of the four main characters who were rehearsing. The home we were in is a large family of five kids - all who are teenagers or in their early 20s. It was so nice. They reminded me in a lot of ways of our dear friends the Pierces, and made me homesick for them and happy at the same time that maybe there is room for another such lovable family in our lives and hearts.
The weather was perfect - almost reaching 80. When I walked outside the sunshine felt so good, and the sunlight and temperatures combined to really burn off any residual winter chill.
It was a nice day.

Prayer Request - My Friend Melody and Her Sister

I have a non-blogging friend, Melody who I met almost a year ago now. She had just moved here from Houston, and the two of us found compatibility in our mutual experiences of how difficult it was for us to sort of find our niche here. Melody and I have become really good friends, although she is one of the busiest moms and grandmas that I know. She is a precious lady. Not long ago, her sister, Lana started to be pretty sick. She was in congestive heart failure. About a week ago they had to transport Lana from a hospital in Louisiana to a special hospital in Houston where she has been in ICU ever since. Melody called me on Friday and said that all of Lana's organs are failing - including her liver and kidneys. She is also on a ventilator. They have asked the family to make a decision to remove her from some of this support by the end of the weekend. I have not talked to her to know what they have decided. I know this is a heart-wrenching thing for any family to endure. Please pray for my friend and her family.
Thanks in advance.

23 February 2008

A Full Plate

Right now my bed is piled a mile high with laundry. I put it there so that I will have to deal with it before bed - but at the moment I am contemplating throwing it to the floor. I know that my busy-ness has become a repetitive theme of late - but man! I have been sewing most of the day and still not halfway through with one dress. My neighbor Debra came over and helped me get started because no matter how many times I read the pattern, I was feeling a bit dyslexic about it. You know how they say two heads are better than one - if you figure me into that right now you might only actually have one including Debra. I have been sewing and cooking and stressing about the reading I am supposed to be doing but am not. I feel so overwhelmed. I have got to figure out how on earth I am going to get everything done. I keep thinking "just do the next thing" but I don't know what to do next. Yikes. Somebody come to Texas, make me some coffee and stay up all night with me while I sew. I was thinking earlier, as I often do when I'm stressed, what is the fewest hours of sleep I can get and still function, which is always extremely healthy. Oh and my sweetheart just called on his way home to remind me I am supposed to cut his hair TONIGHT. Oh yeah, that. Did I also mention that it is the most horrible week of the month? Yep - that too. I need some chocolate and some wine right now!

Quirky Quotes 2008 in Their Entirety

Here are all quotes in their entirety. Please use the poll in the left sidebar to place your votes. There is one vote per IP address. Voting ends on February 27, 2008 at 11:59 pm. If you have any questions, please contact me at julientexas AT sbcglobal DOT net.

#1 - "To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while." - Josh Billings

#2 - “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess” - Martin Luther

#3 - "You can drown in the shallowness of your own heart" - Dr. Flint McGlaughlin

#4 - "He who has no sense of self-importance cannot be offended or defeated." - W. Phillip Keller

#5 - "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

#6 - "God answers all our prayers, but sometimes the best answer is 'no'." - The Family Circus

#7 - Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.

#8 - "Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength."

#9 - Once when John Holt (the father of unschooling) was speaking to a school audience, describing his views on their structured curriculum, a student asked him, "But surely there must be something important enough that everyone should learn it?” He thought for a moment and replied, “To learn to say ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I don’t know’, and ‘I was wrong’. “

#10 – “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to be ruled over by him, nor out of his foot to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected and near his heart to be beloved.” - Matthew Henry

#11 – “Not all who wander are lost.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

#12 – “The pessimist is the man who believes things couldn’t possibly be worse, to which the optimist replies, ‘Oh yes they could.’” -Vladmir Bukovsky

#13 – “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” - Martin Luther

#14 – “Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.” -Lin Yutang

#15 – “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go. My own wisdom, and that about me seemed insufficient for the day.” -Abraham Lincoln

#16 – “Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.” - J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

#17 – “Every happening, great or small, is a parable by which God speaks to us. The art of life is to get the message.” - The Ultimate Gift

#18 – “Those who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.” - Benjamin Franklin

#19 – “Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers; they want you to believe theirs.” - Socrates, Peaceful Warrior

#20 – “If God loved you as much as you love Him, where would you be?”

#21 – “Some people are so open-minded their brains fall out.” - Rick Warren

#22 – “Common sense is wisdom with its sleeves rolled up.” - Kyle Farnsworth

#23 – “We cannot choose whom we will love if we claim to be Christians.” - Anonymous

#24 – “Live in such a way that those who know you but don’t know God will come to know God because they know you.” - Anonymous

#25 – “I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I could remember any of the damn things.” - Dorothy Parker

#26 – “You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you.” - Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice

#27 – “Love is many things. It’s varied. One thing it is not and can never be is unsure.” Maya Angelou in Madea’s Family Reunion

#28 – “Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.” - Gerald R. Ford

#29 – “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” - Ruth Beechick

#30 – “Just be.” –friend from college, Stephanie DuBois

#31 – “They need love the most who deserve it the least.” - Mama Evans

#32 – “The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher.” - Elbert Hubbard

#33 – “My mother said I drove her crazy. I did not drive my mother crazy. I flew here there. It was faster.” - Robin Tyler

#34 – “If we took long enough and hard enough…we will begin to see the connections that bind us together, and when we recognize those connections, we will begin to change the world.” - Muriel Rykeyser

#35 – “I’ve always been skeptical of those television healers who are bald. I mean, if I had that gift, that would be the first thing I’d fix.” - Tony Campolo

#36 – “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” - C.S. Lewis

22 February 2008

A Trip Around the Blogsphere

I haven't been blogging much - I have been busy with sewing, cleaning, reading, planning for the 6th & 7th grade literature class, shuttling kids to and fro and any number of great things. None of them are the things that I most want to do - although they are pretty important to me. I am feeling depleted because I want to write - but don't really have two brain cells that I can claim for my own. So, I thought I would point you to a couple of blog posts that I have read recently that have had me thinking of things I might write *sigh* if only I had the time

Kate blogs about some missionaries from Korea staying in the "Green House" (where they so kindly let us stay when we come for a visit), and their fascination with homeschooling.

Keet blogs, "I Killed Jane Austen" and found myself

Stephanie blogs about freedom - I know it's a shock, but we'll all recover!

These blogs stood out to me today and grabbed my attention. I will blog about such things later. When you visit my friends, tell them I sent you, with a little linky lovin'!

21 February 2008

One Day Left to Enter the Quirky Quote Contest

Quote contest mini

Just a heads up for those of you who are planning on entering the Quirky Quote Contest - tomorrow is the last day to enter!!! Don't miss out on the fun!
You can click on the button here to go directly to the entry form.

Ballroom Dancing - Take 1


This week started a session of ballroom dancing lessons being offered by the grandparents of one of the graduating seniors at co-op. What would normally be about $300 per couple is a HUGE gift, as the price is FREE. The instructors are in their 80s and started out at a Fred Astaire school in the 40s. It was pretty awesome. The girls were both blessed to be asked to partner with two of the nicest boys who just so happen to be brothers. Here is a little rough video peek into the first session. Kaitlyn is wearing the white dress over black leggings and is seen with her partner, David mostly in the foreground. Kendra is wearing jeans and has her hair up. She and her partner, Daniel wearing black are seen only in the background. The boys parents are seen weaving in and out and helping both couples. It was neat, and after being so nervous I thought she was going to hurl, Kaitlyn decided she liked it and can't wait to go back on Friday.

20 February 2008

Miss My Blog

It has been an eventful few days that have kept me from blogging. I have been taking care of emergencies, putting out fires, spending some much needed time with hubby, and trying to keep all the balls I'm juggling in the air.
Just wanted to say hey, and that I am missing the blog.
When I stop spinning, I will focus my thoughts enough to write something worth reading.
Hope you all are well.

18 February 2008

One of Those Days!

This morning was a bit chaotic. Nobody wanted to wake up, and we had a short time to get out the door for co-op. I had a zit on my nose which I thought was the worst of my problems for the day - but I was wrong. Travis was home and he was being his usual high-maintenance self, and being at work so much had him wanting to have conversations with everybody about everything. We finally got out of the house ten minutes late, went half a block until I realized something was seriously wrong. I had a completely flat tire. Arrrgh. I have an appointment to go on Tuesday morning and get a new one - but a lot of good that is doing me. We called the tire place who came out with a new tire and mounted it to the tune of $125.
Finally an hour and a half later, we were on our way to co-op. When we got there, we hurriedly gathered our belongings, I did something very uncharacteristic by putting my purse on the backseat as I talked to my oldest daughter who was not being very agreeable. I shut the door, and two seconds later I realized that my purse with my keys and my phone were still inside the car.
I was thinking about going home and getting back in bed. Two teenage boys came to my rescue around lunchtime! Phew - it really has been one of those days. Right now we're at Barnes & Noble drinking lattes (I am - they're drinking smoothies!) and then we're headed to dinner at Jason's. We're not home yet!!!

A Monday Morning Rant About Freedom

Last night the kids and I watched the movie "Martian Child". It was the story of an eccentric little boy in the foster care system who thought he was from Mars. It was a very neat story, and I won't share it all, but one quote - the moment the adoptive father, who is a writer gets how the boy feels all the time when his publisher tells him, "Why can't you be who we want you to be!?" This left me thinking.....
People are so intimidated by freedom, especially when you give it to your kids. So many people don't want children to have a say on anything in their lives. It seems the whole world is convinced that when left to themselves, they will all go down the wrong path. I have to assert that isn't so. In fact, I've seen far too many kids sprung from the restrictions of their parents home, and do more damage in the first year or two away from that rule oriented, authoritarian environment than they could've done in all the other years collectively. It seems to me, if they understood that this life was their own, and not something they were being forced to live to the standards and approval of others aside from God, would they not perhaps being given this freedom, guard that life, and care about their future all the more? Then, even if they make mistakes or do things we don't wish them to do, they can claim them as their own and not look at them as "disappointing the folks".
I know I have a long way to go here, and it isn't as if there aren't things, boundaries of mutual respect, and safety issues in our home, there are. Just yesterday one of my kids walked to a restaurant on the highway to get some change without letting me know - and I went ballistic, because it scared me. I am not saying"it's all good" or being morally relative. I am saying that kids need some breathing room. Don't set them up with so many rules that they are destined to mess up.
Why does allowing children freedom upset some people so much? I can't tell you how many times at a church potluck I've had people come to tell me that my middle daughter was only having dessert, or any of a number of other things that are trivial to me when it comes to raising my kids. I want them to be honest, loving, kind, compassionate - eating cake and playing with sticks are areas where we throw caution to the wind.
Childhood is only once people. Let your children out of the cage.

17 February 2008

Not on a Diet

I should be doing a few other things, but I just have to blog while I have that first cup of coffee this morning. It's too good of a revelation not to share. I have lost 10 pounds. If you want to be technical 9.8 pounds - but I feel comfortable rounding to 10. I got on the scale this morning and it confirms what I have always believed - that you don't have to diet to lose weight. Diet, as in seriously restrict your food intake till you're starving all the time.
I did the Weigh Down Workshop years ago with my friend Carol, and we both lost a lot of weight. We also learned a lot of scripture. There was a big hoopla in the Christian community when the founder was outed as a Unitarian - which I didn't bother me nearly as much as her hair! More recently I had started to participate in a similarly Bible based weight loss program online that I failed at rather quickly. I learned something from both of these studies that I have applied with success this week - that God designed our bodies to work a certain way. He created our bodies to function properly under certain conditions. The problem for me was that these programs also required a great deal of Bible study.
Whoa - before anyone gets offended or feels I just made some sort of shocking revelation about an aversion to the Bible, please understand - I love the Bible. But, I personally refuse to use it as some magic formula to get me from point A to point B as far as my weight loss. I just can't do it. I personally don't like it when someone seeks to get close to me with ulterior motivation, and I personally can't imagine God does either. This is not to diminish in any way the successes that others have had - but for me, I know that all the scripture memorization and Bible study had an ulterior motive. Which is why when it ended, I gained all the weight back, and failed. The Bible study was a stumbling block for me - a program of guilt and obligation - when I didn't get to it or stay consistent with it, how I ate and the numbers on the scales reflected it.
But recently I have been thinking so much about what we are supposed to eat and not eat. I have also pondered the all things in moderation - meaning that nothing need be eliminated but put in its proper place. I have had the hunger pangs of an empty stomach. I have experienced the joy of eating cake again, and still been dropping pounds here and there. When I realize that my body is working the way it was designed, I am worshipful towards a Creator who made me this way.
No secret formulas. No guilt and obligation. Just me and God. He is teaching me all about His marvelous creation of the human body - my own.

16 February 2008

A Religious Experience

Yep, clean sheets.
I really should wash them more often!

Just Call Me Dorothy or Ms. Pac Man

Tonight the weather is freaky again. There have been tornado cells all around, and as I told my friend Tina I am sitting inside a window under a big tree wearing a hat of foil. How's that for taking chances? I am not cut out for this kind of weather. Give me ice, snow, blizzards - I can take it - but tornadoes - no no no!
I have been pretty busy the last couple of days. I took Kullen to the movies yesterday and we got there about an hour early so we hung out in the arcade. I got totally hooked on Ms. Pac Man - and played it over and over again. I did give the kid a turn or two. We also played air hockey and a Star Trek game where we shot at Cyborgs. You can't have much more fun than that with a 10 year old boy. We liked the Ms. Pac Man thing so much that we stopped at Walmart on the way home and bought one of those little joystick games you can hook up to your TV and played practically all night last night.
I am missing my girls who traveled out of state with a friend. It's always weird when they aren't home - I feel so unsettled.
G'nite from Texas. *click* *click* there's no place like home..... there's no place like home.......

15 February 2008

Quirky Quote Contest 2008

It is that time again for the Quirky Quote Contest - 2008 Edition. It was almost a year ago when we had our last one. This year's prize is a $15 Amazon gift card. The rules are pretty much the same:
  1. Post your favorite quote to your blog by midnight on Friday, February 22nd, in an entry entitled "Quirky Quote Contest Entry" and link to it using "Mr. Linky" below.
    Your quote may be from anywhere - a song, movie, book, famous speech. The quote can be political, religious, politically incorrect, and otherwise controversial - but please keep it family friendly. (Hey - my kids and friends kids occasionally read this blog! They are usually bored to tears - but sometimes they read and even comment!) The quotes do not have to be quirky as the contest name suggests.
  2. PLEASE READ OTHER ENTRIES PRIOR TO SUBMISSION - the second submission of same quote will not be eligible.
  3. I will host a voting time from February 23rd - 27th – so come back and vote for your favorite quotes.
  4. Post on your blog and put up a button if you like about the “contest” and tell others to come and enter - Here is the link to grab a button or banner on Flickr. If you need help with this, please let me know.
  5. You may enter this contest twice - every other contest says only once, but why be like the rest! So a two quote limit for you - but please post them as separate entries for my sake!
  6. Contest winner will be announced on Thursday, February 28th - which is also my birthday! I decided it would be pretty cool to give a prize on my birthday.
Voting will be a little different this time around - as the poll I am using will restrict one vote for every IP address. So, be thoughtful and careful when voting time comes around. Our winner last year was Karen who received a template tweaking that is still looking good.

The quotes do not have to originate with you. Please be sure to attribute them correctly. Here is an awesome quote, appropriately about love, since yesterday was Valentine's Day, to get you started:
Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained. -C.S. Lewis

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at julientexas AT sbcglobal DOT net.
I also cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for you to link to your actual post where your quote is, and not just your blog in general. It is very difficult to weed through a lot of other posts to find your entries. It will make my job easier, and get your entry more recognition as other contestants follow the links to survey the competition!

Have fun! Now let the quoting begin!


14 February 2008

Dear Kullen

Here is my entry for the CONTEST at Emily's blog.

Dear Kullen,

I have been thinking about writing this letter for several days now, but haven't quite had the words to capture my thoughts. Today, while in line at the grocery store behind an elderly man, I was inspired. I was thinking that once, like you, he probably had a mother who adored him. He looked a little lonely, disoriented, hard of hearing. He was fumbling in his pockets for the correct change, and attempting to strike up conversation with the cashier, who seemed less than interested. His boyhood days are long gone, but the things his mother taught him are likely still a big part of his life. It made me think of the things I want to teach you, and hope that you will keep with you until you are old.

  • Look people in the eye when you speak to them, it is the best sign of a clear conscience
  • Tucking your shirt in and combing your hair are important to make a good impression, if that is your goal, but people who matter will care more about your character and your heart than what you look like on the outside – pursue relationships with those people
  • Ask questions and never accept someone else's interpretation of things. Be willing to ask the really hard questions, and never be too proud to say, I don't know.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself. One of life's greatest challenges is not taking yourself too seriously.
  • Be gracious and forgiving with others. It is the best gift you can ever give them.
  • Don't waste your life in the pursuit of money or material gain. These things are empty. If you want true happiness, that can only be found in following the road that God has laid out for you. He is the best guide for navigating this path.
  • Although perfect peace may never be attained in this world, never fail to do your part in pursuing it. Even when it's hard, and even when you're tired, never give up on doing good.
  • Don't live to work, work to live.
  • Love deeply, and don't wear your heart on your sleeve. Being vulnerable enough to give your heart fully to someone else involves risk, everything worthwhile usually does.

Always remember that you are special to me. I will always love you. There is nothing that you could ever do to lose that love. Being your mom has taught me so many valuable lessons about life. It is a wild ride, and I am so glad we are in it together.

I love you with all my heart.

Mom

Our Valentine's Day in Pictures

I realized recently that I can be a bit of a Scrooge about holidays since I think they are overly commercialized - a fact proven by the way that the Valentine's aisles were cleared out and Saint Patrick's Day which is in a few weeks that has little market-ability was skipped right over in lieu of Easter stuff. I was thinking about it this past week and decided to spend the day showering my kids with love. They woke up this morning to "I Love You" spelled out on in candy hearts on the island. I had made their favorite chocolate chip pancakes and warm syrup - so we got them all sugared up. They ate and listened to Natalie Cole. It was a fun morning.
Later, I made this incredible cake that I had once at my friend, Kathie's house four years or so ago, and have thought about it all this time. There are a lot of steps - but it is SO worth it. Kendra said she wants it for her "wedding cake". I also made heart shaped pizzas so the day wasn't totally sugar. It has been a nice day. I know it sounds like it was all about the food, but we spent the whole day loving on each other. That truly was, in spite of all the sugar, the sweetest part.

Flaming Hoops

Note to self: change ringer on your cell phone alarm clock so that it is distinctive from husband's special ring tone
My husband tried several times to call this morning on his way to work to tell me he loved me and wish me a Happy Valentine's day. He said he was sorry he forgot to leave a note. I reminded him that there were no more flaming hoops to jump through here - but evidently I was wrong. You have to call two or three times and have your wife continue to hang up on you thinking you're the alarm clock and she's hitting the snooze button.

13 February 2008

Valentines Schmalentines - Take Two

Okay so let me first wish all my cyber-friends a happy Valentine's Day. I have already posted my mushy-gushy thoughts about the holiday here last year, so I won't belabor the issue. I did make this little token of my affection for my husband for a little "newsletter" we did at our co-op where people could buy ads to send to their loved ones. I thought I would share it here to let you know I am as sentimental as the next girl. I showed it to him today and he loved it.

Better than that, my husband had half of a day off because he had to go to the doctor for blood work, and he called me on his way there and asked if he could take me out to eat this afternoon since he wouldn't see me on Valentine's Day. I am telling you the God's honest truth, when it really really mattered to me, when I braced myself for utter disappointment and had anxiety over whether or not he would remember - he could let the day come and go with nary a word. The fact that he cared and wanted to do something special with me was terrific. We went to the new restaurant in town where Kendra works for a nice lunch. We asked for her to be our waitress, and so they sat us in the only table available - a table for six - at lunchtime - in a crowded restaurant. We felt selfish, so we told the hostess she could sit the older couple that we had been chatting with at our table, if they wanted. They did and it was awesome. We enjoyed the company and conversation immensely. It was a very nice time. I am learning that letting go is so much better, cause the truth is I can't make it happen my way anyway!

Billy Jean Ain't No Teenage Queen Anymore


In the spirit of random information that my friend Joanne has been sharing with us of late, I came across this unbelievable piece of information today.
You won't believe it!
Drumroll please......Michael Jackson will be FIFTY years old in August.
Is that unbelievable or what?
I Googled it to see if it was true - and we all know Google never lies.
*snort*

No Exceptions

A comment my friend Kate left on my post about Christian Women has left me thinking this morning. She said the perfect Christian women need to be covered with mercy and grace as well, and that the need for control comes from a fear long ago of not having any. It was so right. The struggle comes in that hard saying of Jesus to love your enemies.

I really stink at that.

People have told me that I was good at that, but I am not. I learned performance behavior. Pretending you were a part of a family you weren't, dealing with a mentally ill mother, and acting like everything was okay when it was not. That has spilled over into how I deal with other people. When I try to love difficult people, it is generally in my own strength.

A few times I have had the Lord infuse me with a supernatural love that could only come from Him for people who were unlovable. I am sure He has done the same for others to allow them to love me.

It is so hard to love people who hurt your feelings, make you feel "less than", or seem to be irritated by your very existence. But I don't believe we get an exception with them.

Thanks Kate for the reminder.

In the Closet

Yesterday I spent half an hour with two of my kids in the closet. Why you ask? Hmm…well when I got up in the morning, the temperatures were in the 70s and the sky was clear. A short while later, out of nowhere they sky went completely black. In case I never mentioned it before, this part of the country has storms like you would not believe. It is intensified by the fact that we have an old house with older windows that just rattle with every rumble. This storm was right on top of us with lightning and thunder coming simultaneously. At one point there was a bolt that struck right outside Kendra's bedroom window where Kaitlyn was on the computer, and hit our air conditioner. Yikes! Right after that, golf ball sized hail came. Hail is an indicator for tornadoes. We scrambled around and gathered up all the animals, and brought them all inside. The thunder wasn't in a clap – it was a long rumble and each one seemed to last longer than the first, and everything got really weird outside – so I yelled for the two kids who were home to get in the closet. I took the laptop in there with me and checked out the Doppler radar – and sure enough, we were under a tornado warning until 4 pm. It was only noon. It was one of the longest afternoons of my life. We were spared but my nerves were shot. I am not cut out to live in this climate. The day before it had been sunny and beautiful, and this came out of nowhere. That is the hardest part – the unexpectedness.

12 February 2008

"Christian Women" and CHRISTIAN Women

The topic of "Christian Women" has been a recurrent theme of late on the blogs that I frequent, or stalk as that might be. I comment often, but sometimes what I read just makes me think and I have to ruminate on it a little while.
First, my thoughts on the subject are that this is a category which is not all inclusive. There are "Christian Women" and there are Christian women. What I refer to here is the women who come to church on Sunday morning, and although they are the mother of toddlers, every hair is in place, perfect Mary-Kay make-up, and their clothes aren't mussed. In their homes, their furniture looks rarely sat upon, and we know that nobody walked on the carpet, at least not wearing shoes. Every duck is in a row. Their bills are paid on time, their cars never smell of french-fries, and their fingernails are always well manicured.
At first glance you might be envious. You might even wish you were her. But as you get a little closer, you realize that you must be cautious. This is a desperate person, and if you do anything human that might interfere with her precise system of control, her acute maintenance of her surroundings, her sense of order, be it emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually, she.will.tear.you.up.
And let's face it, getting your life tangled up with other people is messy. People do things you don't expect, say things you aren't sure how to react to, their children are allowed to do things that shock you, and people they love die, their husbands leave them, their children are sick at totally inconvenient times. Sometimes based on where they have come from in life they have a completely different perspective, one that isn't all neat and tidy, and does not fit in a nice little box, easily opened and examined at your convenience. I have found more times than not, it is totally worth the messy tangle it requires to get to know them a little better. Cover the situation with compassion and grace, extend with open arms the love they deserve, right where they are, without trying to change them.
Years ago at a homeschool mom's meeting, I sat in a circle with a mixture of familiar "Christian Women" and Christian women and a new lady. We were planning activities for our kiddies for the month of October and the conversation turned as it always inevitably does to the evils of Halloween. The new lady spoke up enthusiastically, and said, "I love Halloween. I like to dress up as death."
Good thing, I thought cause you just put a few nails in your coffin with this crowd.
I liked her instantly.

10 February 2008

Compassionate Kids – A Reply to Sara

I have been really excited to be turned on to some terrific blogs through the Emerging Women blog. It is so fantastic – the theology, the struggles, the encouragement, the freedom to explore faith, "tip sacred cows", and the amazing sisterhood that is found there has been a real joy lately.

One of my favorite new blogs from this blog ring is The Carnival In My Head. Perky author, Cathy posted about When One of Us Hurts, We all Hurt. She shared her thoughts about the book A Thousand Splendid Suns and how it explores the plight of Afghani women. She said how she was so overwhelmed at times she had to put the book down, and it made me sad. Sad because I realized how desensitized I have become to the overwhelming sadness, pain and sorrow in the world. I shared how as a child my parents assured me that there wasn't anything that I alone could do to help when I was moved to agonizing tears over hungry children in the world. In the conversation that followed, another commenter asked me how I thought as parents we could nurture this heart of compassion, this connectivity to the human experience the world over, and this inability to shrug at injustice and suffering in the world. (She may have just said "what's a mom to do?" but this is what I read between the lines.) What follows is what started out as a 'reply comment' that turned into a post of its own.

I think that it comes down to respectful parenting - which to me is conjoined to our family breaking out of the traditional church which not only de-values women but also children. When my kids are upset, I don't minimize it anymore. I don't rub it off. We feel it together. We hurt, we pray, we cry. My oldest was about 11 when our church was taking a group on a mission trip to an area in Mexico suppressed by extreme poverty. Because she knew that she could not go, she decided to do what she could. She saved her allowance and money she found here and there, and took it to the guy who was leading the trip - a very activist, compassionate type - and handed him this baggie of change, and asked him to do something nice for the children when he went to Mexico. It was THE delight of her life when he came back and showed her pictures of the children eating ice cream that SHE bought. It didn't save the world - but it made the lives of some children better even if for only five minutes. I think if we could focus more there – something small we can do, we are so less likely to be overwhelmed.

If we let our children's hearts of compassion be engaged, and step out of the way I think we can harness the power that will change the world five minutes at a time. This doesn't mean we have to foot the bill behind every idea they have - but support it, help them, give them opportunities to earn money or help them find resources.

Letting your children grow into compassionate, aware, human beings that care about others and the world around them is a risk. Sometimes it means that people will take advantage of their caring hearts. Sometimes they will be used for their generous natures. Sometimes they will be vulnerable to others. You can't teach discernment, but you can model it if you choose to live out loud outside of your own head and let them know why you are doing something or not doing it. And sometimes, we will model it wrong, but as a parent I have chosen to let my kids learn from my mistakes – and boy is there ample opportunity for that. Just yesterday I was in the mall with my daughters and I said, "I have a hard time enjoying the mall when I know there are people in the world that don't have anything to eat today." Yep, I am a real party pooper that way. But, in typical teenage girl fashion, the gushed that they loved the mall. They're allowed. I didn't shame them for it though I secretly felt the urge to regurgitate that I birthed these often superficial beings. I just let them be who they are – and hope that I can learn from them, and they can learn from me. As a wise sage once said, "we're all in this together". Or maybe that was High School Musical. Dang! Sound theology is everywhere.

Hairy Subject

I have been letting my hair grow for a while now. Basically what that means is I have a lot of hair and I don't really know what to do with it much of the time. About week ago I decided that I wasn't 16 (major revelation) and that I did not have the right kind of face to wear my hair without bangs. So, I snipped them, and have been ever so happy that I did. I also realized that I hate my hair permed. In the east Texas humidity what it means is that I have long strands of fuzz going down my back. Thanks to some terrific hair products, I can blow dry and smooth my hair out and I almost have the hair I like - although admittedly much of the time at home it is in one of those clips the size of the jaws of life or a ponytail. I am not sure that the long hair would be do-able in Texas with the heat we have here. We already had the AC on in the car yesterday and you can smell the ocean! For better or worse here is a picture -my kids hate it cause I'm not smiling, but I was trying to take it of myself - ergo the remote!
I just want to say that I took these pictures yesterday morning, so I am not snagging Kate's hair posting idea! ha ha Her haircut is so awesome!

09 February 2008

The Power of "Because I Said So"

Today I got to thinking about how far from my childhood I have come as a parent. My parents liked to use - if not the words - at least the "Because I said so" mentality. You were a child. You were to be seen and not heard.
But the other day, I asked one of my kids to do something, and they did what they "thought" I wanted instead, and I actually heard myself say, "Don't think, just do what I say." *gasp*
This is absolutely the opposite of what I want my children to do.
I always want them to think.
I never want them to do something just because someone says so without evaluating it - not with anal intensity, but with common sense, practicality, wisdom.
I couldn't believe I said it - but I heard myself and made a speedy correction.
The thing is that in a relationship of mutual respect and trust, cooperation comes more readily. It has taken me a long time to learn this. It has been a trip to learn that I don't have to control my kids or exert authority over them because I have the power to do so. This is the kind of parent that God is with me - He allows natural consequences of my actions, but He never exerts the power that is His just because He can.
I do not always do this well -often reverting to the natural hard-wiring. Today we were in the car and I asked Kaitlyn to squirt some hand-sanitizer in her brother's hand. Instead she gave it to him. I had a list of reasons why I wanted her to do it the way I said it - it wouldn't get put away, it gets laid on the floor, stepped on, and squirted across the carpet, it won't be where it should be when we need it again, etc. I just didn't want to take the time to tell her all of them. I got aggravated with her when she did it "her" way instead of mine, instead of letting her know why it was important to do it the way I requested. The thing is - if one of my friends were in the car, and did just the same thing, I would take the time to explain it to them. Why do my kids deserve any less? What do I teach them when I get aggravated and irritated and expect blind obedience instead of sharing with them why it matters to me that it is done a certain way.
This is just one example - maybe some of you are thinking - so what about the dang hand sanitizer. This is just the most recent example I have - work with me!

Some Thoughts on Cleaning

I know - I know - insane, but I used the quiet time alone this morning to deep clean both of our bathrooms without interruption. It is still only 9:30 so I have some down time before going to get the kids - except there is this nagging task my husband keeps reminding me of which is to go get the oil changed in my car - ugh - so I might go and do that. I was going to look for a Jiffy Lube next to Starbucks and take a good book. That'd be R&R - or not for a squirrelly person like me who has to look up everytime they call out an order to see who got what - and then spend 10 minutes regretting the drink it took me 20 minutes to decide on. I'm a lost cause.
Can I recommend never, ever again cleaning your bathroom mirror? I have decided that the dust and toothpaste splatter are there for a reason. I think it was divine inspiration that created such things. The haze on the mirror acts as one of those filters like they use at Olan Mills that softens and smooths fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes. I got the first good look at myself in six months a while. Not pretty.
Take it from me - for someone that is slightly nutty like myself - having time to clean the bathroom without a million interruptions which come usually about the time you have your head half-way down the toilet bowl or are perched precariously on the edge of the tub trying to keep your butt and boobs balanced - was a real luxury. I also got to catch up on some God Journey podcasts. Good stuff.

08 February 2008

Enjoy it For Now

The girls went to a high school Valentine's party at a friend's house tonight, and the girls are staying to sleep over. Kullen is also friends with the brother, and was invited to come, hang out, and spend the night there. (He was totally jazzed about this!) The girls were dressing up - and they looked so beautiful I just had to take some pictures. I'm sharing a couple, but you can see them all here.
It has been so quiet here tonight. I did have some quiet time alone snuggling with Travis until he passed out from the long day at work.
I have really enjoyed the quiet time to myself - but at the same time I miss the kids. I hate going to sleep without them in the house. I know the day will come when all too soon, they won't be coming home to sleep - and I do not look forward to that day.
When I saw them tonight, all dressed up it just took my breath away. My baby girls are growing up so fast, and so is my little boy. I wish I knew how to always be present in these days - to truly enjoy every moment. It seems to elude me.
Right now they're probably listening to loud music, laughing with friends and creating memories and new inside jokes, eating junk food and drinking soda. Kullen just called to tell me goodnight - but he didn't seem very interested. For the first time ever, it seemed he thought I hugged him too long before I left him at the party.
Oh well, I won't dwell on this right now. I'll drink my hot tea, read a book, and go to bed knowing that I will wake up to a nice, quiet house tomorrow morning! For now, I will enjoy it!

07 February 2008

Tony Campolo - Don't Miss the Point

I got this link of an interview with Tony Campolo today on a yahoo group that I frequent. It was great. One of my favorite sermons ever was the time my pastor impersonated Tony doing one of the sermon's that he is most famous for called "It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming".
In the discussion that followed the sharing of this link, my friend Jenny said she loves it when Tony shares this with groups:

"there are [some number] of children starving in this world today, and most of you don't give a sh*t ... and what's even worse, most of you are more concerned right now about the fact that I just said sh*t than that I just said there are children starving."

Sometimes we just miss the whole point.

06 February 2008

Let's Go To the Mall - You Know They Have it All

If you are even a semi-regular reader to this blog, you may have caught wind of the fact that I would rather have a root-canal without anesthesia, give birth to a 34 pound baby au naturale, or a number of other torturous things than go to the mall. I don't like shopping in general, but the thought of going to the mall gives me hives. So, it is no small thing when my daughters ask me to get in the car and schlepp them 40 miles down the road to the crack cocaine experience of shopping. The only consolation prize, and the only way I can even manage to go most of the time is if I get to hang out in the bookstore. Tonight I was smart, thinking "I'll bring my laptop and catch up on some blogging." I have been SO busy the last few days that I have had blog posts rattling around in my brain and no opportunity to outlet them. Now most of them are gone like dissolving clouds and flying pink elephants. (Did you catch another drug reference? Yikes.) I get to the bookstore cafe, grab my caramel macchiato, browse a few books and sit down with my laptop to blog and I realize I have WAY too many distractions to really blog my deep thoughts here. It is like taking a child to a candy store - the kind where they make the candy there and you can smell chocolate, fudge, butterscotch, and caramel - and telling that child NOT to think about candy. I adore books, there is amazing music playing, and I am pumping an intense dosage of caffeine - so I am WAY overstimulated in every possible way.
So, I have two books that I am torn between - Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren and The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus that was recommended by Gayle. Leaning heavily towards the Brian McLaren since I've wanted to read him for a long time - I just wish it was paperback. Helpful book lady informed me not until October - well I can't wait that long.

05 February 2008

A Cat's Life

Wouldn't it be great to have a cat's life? Except maybe for the having to clean your fur with your tongue and having dogs chase you up trees, it'd be pretty awesome. I think house cats pretty much have it made. Right now we have too many to have them inside - but it is so much fun to watch them hunt, play, fight. We looked outside the other day and saw two of them on the roof of our neighbor's house.
The weather was so nice today that I kept finding excuses to get up from work and stretch my legs, and then I would find myself wandering outside. My wrap-around porch has become the den of kitties! Kullen was so excited when he saw three of the kittens asleep together in this pot he screamed for me to come and see. Aren't they just precious. Our little gray tabby girl, "the huntress" had to get in on the act.

04 February 2008

Could've Been Much Worse

I was really tired this evening. On my way home from the long day of co-op I kept noticing that my car was handling strangely. It felt like my tires might be low. I made a mental note to self, tell Travis about the tires, whenever I actually get to see him again.
Low and behold Travis was home and awake when I got here. We were talking about a funeral that a lot of people we know had gone to of a teenage girl that pulled out of a gas station parking lot and was plowed into by a truck, losing her life. I also informed Travis of two fatalities in the accident that kept him from getting home on Saturday night. These two things reminded me about my tires.
Travis said he'd "check them later". I said I would check the tire pressure before taking Kendra to work in the morning - which made him decide to go out and check them right away. He came back in to get me and had me put my hand along the inside edge of my driver's rear tire - you could put your hand INSIDE the large gap in the tire and feel a bunch of steel wires sticking through.
He asked me how fast I had been going. I said "oh 70 - 75". He just walked away from me shaking his head saying, "oh my God".
I was bummed about the prospect of having to buy a tire - but I guess it could've been much much worse.

03 February 2008

Hey Anonymous - Cease and Desist Would Ya?

Through site feed, we can trace the trail of where you've been. Why do you find it necessary to visit the blogs of unschoolers just to ridicule and criticize what you do not understand?
If you feel it necessary to tout the benefits of public school, and the beauty and pleasure that it brings into your life, please feel free to go to Blogger and get your very own blog. Heck, I'll even visit, and if I comment, I promise to at least be signed in so that you'll know I stand behind what I say, and if you so choose, you can respond.
I am okay with a different perspective, and while I may not find your viewpoint to be agreeable, I would defend your right to your own opinion and the freedom to choose a life that suits you and your family - and if you value freedom and liberty - you should defend my rights equally.
This is a personal blog - where I write about my family, myself, my beliefs, my passions. It is horrifying to me that some children spend 12 years of their lives in the public school institution, becoming government cogs, and mindless drones regurgitating often incorrect factoids, and never truly developing critical thinking skills, the ability to talk to adults and socialize with people of all ages, or following their passions and developing personal greatness instead of being bent towards mediocrity. But hey that's just me.
Please don't visit my blog - or the blogs of my friends unless you want to participate in a discussion. That would involve not hiding behind anonymous comments. It borders on stalking and harassment.

Gotta Have Comfort Food - Chicken and Dumplings

My husband has been working so hard, that I have been trying very hard to make him some good, nourishing, stick to your ribs dinners. Comfort food. Mmmm. I decided to take a chance and make Chicken and Dumplings - the chance part because the last time I made them for him he really didn't like them. This is a big deal around here - because that man eats pretty much anything that isn't seafood and isn't extremely spicy. I think the dumpling failure was that the dumplings were the drop kind, and ended up being a bit like soggy bread. (I didn't like them either!) So I tried the roll out kind. It were awesome awesome awesome. (That's three awesomes - did you count them?) He isn't home for dinner yet - but I just know he's gonna love it.
I also assessed the cost of this recipe - $4 for a whole chicken, $.99 for celery (bought at a local market - probably found cheaper elsewhere), and $.35 for an onion. The dumpling ingredients were staples that are already on hand - maybe another $1-2 worth. So at most this meal cost $8 and it will feed our family of 5 at least twice. So, this also qualifies in my book as a frugal meal. I will likely link to this for a frugal recipe swap sometime in the near future.
Here is the recipe I used:

FAVORITE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

Chicken Preparation:

1 4 lb broiler or roasting chicken

2 quarts water or chicken broth

1 onion, whole

1 bay leaf (optional)

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

pinch of black pepper

2-3 stalks celery, whole, plus leaves

Wash chicken, inside and out. Place in a large enough pot to cover with about 2 quarts of water or chicken broth. Add celery, a bay leaf (optional), parsley, pepper, onion and garlic. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat immediately to low; simmer for 60-90 minutes until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken from the broth and set on a dish to cool. Continue to simmer the broth over low heat while preparing the dumplings. When chicken becomes cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces, removing bones and skin. Set de-boned chicken aside.


Dumplings:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons cold butter

1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 tsp. vinegar in a cup of milk)

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening using a pastry blender or a large fork (pastry makers mix in the shortening using their hands - if you want to try, dip your hands in ice cold water for a minute, then dry your hands first; it's important not to melt the butter!) Add cold buttermilk, a few spoons at a time, mixing the dough from the outside in with fork until a dough forms (do not overmix - about 2 minutes total). Roll dough out on a work surface which has been lightly sprinkled with with flour to prevent sticking. Roll dough out thinly, about 1/8" thick, then slice into strips, each about 2 inches in length. Gently drop the dumplings into the simmering chicken broth. Stir them gently to prevent sticking. Add chicken, pepper and butter and simmer for another 10 minutes or so before serving.


02 February 2008

The Time Has Come, the blogger said, to Talk of Many Things, of Politics and Biases - of Liberty and Kings

I am on all kinds of yahoo groups. You know, the kind where people often say what they would never say to you face to face. Oh yeah, I am also on some that rock, and where I know I am among friends. Today on one of the less friendly groups that I stay plugged into because of geography, someone stepped on my toes BIGtime.
I think the anonymity of the cyber community can be a place of tremendous fellowship and support. Say if you live in a po-dunk-town in rural Texas somewhere, you can still find friends who share your convictions about education, marriage, politics, faith, etc. Other times you are affirmed in your assertion that some people should have an island.
In community with other Christians, lots of assumptions are made. Recently I have had people assume I am affiliated with a specific political party, endorse a specific candidate, or am passionate about specific issues. In what should be a vibrant, kaleidoscope community of faith, followers of Christ,we have allowed everything to fade to gray, (pardon the screen writing terminology - it is my current passion) and expect some sort of homogenized, Stepford believer to surface eventually from the seed of each new convert.
I spent a lot of years expecting all Christians to look the same, talk the same, be passionate about the same things. I spent a lot of time drawing lines in the sand separating the "us" from the "them". It took a lot of gentle care from the Father, removing the sand from my eyes one grain at a time to reveal the circle that God has always been trying to draw around all of us, if only we were willing to stay inside.
Don't make assumptions. Not just with politics, but in all areas of life. My thoughts do not threaten your thoughts, as yours do not threaten mine.
Assumptions are dangerous things.

Just for fun, can anybody tell me where the context of the title for this post comes from? Hint: think walrus!

Signature of Divine *Yahweh*

I LOVE this song - and this video could not be improved upon. I haven't heard a "Christian" song in a long time that got me like this one.

Doesn't it just make you want to sing.....Yahweh, Yahweh, great is Your glory..You go before me...

Movie and Popcorn

When Travis was laid off in November - one of the first things I did was cancel our Netflix membership - but since it is like a cult that you can never leave, we didn't actually cancel it - we just put our account on hold. Don't get me wrong, I like Netflix -but why do they get so insecure when you need a "relationship break" like a clingy boyfriend??? But now we have a new love - called Redbox. It isn't as awesome as Netflix (yep, I'll throw them some love) in that you can find anything you want to watch at Netflix, and you actually have to leave your house to pick up your flicks, but hey, if you're poor and you have a debit card - a $1 movie rental is right up your alley.
When I went grocery shopping this morning, I picked us up a movie to watch tonight. I think everybody will be happy - especially Kullen who has declared a moratorium on "love" movies. Check out this trailer for "The Invasion" - Travis would love it because it is all his favorite things - suspense, aliens and conspiracy!! (sadly, he probably won't be able to watch it with us!)

I think a big old batch of homemade microwave popcorn will be just the thing.

I Don't Know HOW He Does It

This morning, I woke up and saw that Travis was gone - again. After working 12 hour days all week, he is also going to work today and tomorrow and never miss a beat before starting over again on Monday. After all the layoffs through Thanksgiving and Christmastime, he is glad to have the work to help us catch up. I did the math the other day - he will be working an 84 HOUR work week. He leaves between 5:30 - 6 in the morning and gets home around 9 at night. He is so tired. I am practically putting food in his hands as he passes by on his way to bed. I have been packing him some extra good lunches, making sure he has an extra sandwich and snacks for the long day, keeping on top of his laundry and laying out clothes and a clean towel for his shower, as well as making sure that the coffee pot is set to go so he has fresh, hot coffee in the morning. This morning I woke to a note that said, "Thanks for taking such good care of me while I am working these long hours. I couldn't do it without you." A little appreciation goes a long way - I love that guy.

Prayer Request - the McKenzies

If mainly for our entertainment, these blogs can indeed have a higher purpose at least some of the time as I have seen this past week. As an update, the prayer request earlier this week for my friend's mom is being answered in a big way.
This morning I saw on my friend Kate's blog this request for her daughter and family. Please check out the link, and pray specifically. I don't want to attempt to articulate their needs better than she did.
Lord, please.

01 February 2008

Thrifty Recipe Swap - Snack Edition - Granola

I am loving the thrifty recipe exchange hosted at The Grocery Cart Challenge. Gayle is a genius! This week there is a "frugal snack" theme. I can't wait to share my favorite granola recipe with you - but first I have to point you to her terrific recipe for homemade microwave popcorn that all three of my children are raving about. Not only is it frugal - but it is healthy. I got freaked out a few months ago when I read a report about workers in the microwave popcorn plants getting cancer from breathing in the powder used as butter flavoring. My kids love the real butter and how it is spread evenly over ALL of the popcorn! Good job Gayle! That recipe is a definite keeper!
Here's my recipe:
Homemade Maple Granola
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. maple extract or Mapline
1/2 cup dried fruit (optional)
1/2 cup nuts or seeds (optional)
Melt butter, sugar and water. Let simmer 2-3 minutes. Add salt, oats and cinnamon and maple extract. Remov from pot and stir. Spread in a thin even layer over a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

I like to double this recipe - and we like our granola VERY dry and not sticky so I probably bake mine for twice as long. I also might try this in the crock pot as I have seen several crock-pot granola recipes. The expense is in the nuts - but you can use leftovers from other recipes, and throw in other fun things like M&Ms or chocolate chips. Dried cranberries are especially good with the maple flavor.

Me on NG

Kullen showed me this awesome site called MagMyPic
- and he helped me choose a picture for my magazine cover.

This was pretty fun! Except lordy lordy - I just realized that my blogging audience had to see a picture of me TWICE in one day. Sorry about that folks, your vision should return to normal shortly!!

Sell Yourself!

Now those of you whose minds went directly to the gutter, shame on you! I don't mean that! I went to meet with the General Manager of the local newspaper today about possibly doing some outsourced work for them. Late yesterday evening when I was just about to leave to go and meet Kendra for dinner, he emailed me an application. This was not just any application - it has an essay question. He also asked me to sketch and advertisement selling me. As my friend Keet would say, "sweet Jesus in the morning". I had to be creative with very little time. Fortunately I work well under pressure, and took the assignment to the next level and did my black & white advertisement digitally! I just thought I'd share - and see what my voyeuristic friends think of this little ad about me - does it ring true? Did I get even close?
This was a very difficult task! What would you say about yourself?

Decadent Dinner Date with Daughter

How is that for the most times anyone has used the letter D in a title? It was a most fabulous evening, and I don't regret one second that I have no clue what happened on LOST. My date with my daughter at the new restaurant where she works was fantabulous - and did I mention FREE? For such a small town this restaurant is really going to make an impression. All the teenagers want to work there, so they had their pick of the cream of the crop. Tonight they had a "mock opening" where the day-shift served the night-shift and then vice-versa. Each person could bring one guest and so my lovely daughter asked me. The best part was that it was all totally free. Nada dinero! We had appetizers, drinks, dinner (thank GOD I got a salad) and dessert - this sinfully delicious thing above is called a Texas Brownie - yep - much bigger than your average brownie, and beautiful too. The restaurant is brand-spanking new and it had the Texas atmosphere going on. I think about that line from the Titanic movie about eating off of dishes that have never been eaten on. You could still smell a slight hint of freshly cut wood. The atmosphere was all Texas too - using wood, stone, and galvanized metal even as the table top. A very fun night. I ate too much - but it was worth it. Here is my date to the left in her uniform. Ain't she cute? If you happen to have her as a waitress, make sure to tip her good - she's saving for college!