30 October 2008

Unbelievable Gas

I'm just shaking my head!!
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28 October 2008

What's For Dinner - Italian Wedding Soup

Several people have asked for the recipe of Italian Wedding Soup. I have adapted it some from the Taste of Home cookbook. It is so yummy. It'll be perfect to have for dinner tonight to warm our tummies before an evening by the fireplace watching the Great Pumpkin!
Here is the recipe:

Italian Wedding Soup
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
2-3 cans chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups frozen or fresh chopped spinach
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 box small pasta - shells, bowties
Mix together the beef, turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and seasonings. Form 1" meatballs and brown in frying pan. In Dutch oven saute onion and minced garlic cloves in olive oil. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, kidney beans and cooked meatballs and bring to a boil. Add spinach and return to boil, then add noodles. Cook until noodles are cooked to desired texture.
Serve with crusty dinner rolls.

In Case You Missed This Last Fall...

A recipe Pumpkin Dip. This is some seriously dangerous stuff. Coming from someone who spent the first 25+ years of my life loathing the orange gourd and everyone who tried to cram its pie down my throat - this is really saying something. This dip is amazing - and served with Ginger Snaps is second to none! It is THE BEST fall treat!

26 October 2008

Living on Love, Buying on Time

...without somebody nothing ain't worth a dime. Classic country anyone? Well, this song kinda struck a chord with what has been on my mind since last night. Travis and I took the kids to the haunted house and then out for ice cream. Since the girls had their boyfriends around, everyone wanted to linger so the big guy and I decided to peruse Gander Mountain and Best Buy. We are not shoppers and last night we remembered why. With our limited, now reduced to one income household, we don't have two nickels to rub together after we pay the bills, and to be quite honest that paying the bills part is skating on thin ice at this point as well. We pipe dreamed about getting the kids each a laptop, looked at the Nikon D80 that I've been drooling over and price checked the PS3 that Kullen is chomping at the bit over and wondered how other people do it. Not that we don't understand that our income is much more limited that that of many of our peers, but still with such prices we wondered how people afforded to have so much - 2 or 3 game systems, laptops for every member of the family, surround sound, satellite radio, cable television. (Believe me, we are by no stretch of the imagination deprived.) Suddenly I had a revelation. Most of those people that have all these "things" are buying them on credit. The toys they play with aren't even owned outright. Frustratingly, we also realized that this culture of credit has driven up the prices to the point that cash paying customers such as ourselves are paying way more than we would have otherwise.
A very similar thing is happening not only in our nation, but in the world economy and I realize, it's all going down the crapper.
How's that for your daily ray of Susie Sunshine?!?
Seriously, without credit card debt, owning both of our vehicles outright and only our mortgage, utilities and medical expenses after insurance I realize that no matter how bad our 'credit' rating is, we are far better off than a lot of people. We'll likely at least die debt free. How many Americans can say that?

25 October 2008

Who Do You Follow?

I was wondering this the other day - before I wrote that last post about the "Family First" (tongue in cheek) motto. When I say following, I don't mean the blogs that you follow such as the little faces that appear in the widget on the sidebar to the right. When I say who do you follow I mean, what sources of information, advice, wisdom, etc. do you allow to have an influence over your thoughts and actions?
I have so much to say here regarding things that I have been holding back for the last couple of years, and I hope that I can bring it out in a way that is coherent. Why did I hold back, you ask? Because my blog was being monitored. My association with my former employer allowed them to put themselves in a position of "authority" over me. Why did I allow it? Pure and simple - our family needed the income. But, what boggles the mind are the masses that have allowed this same entity to have authority over them. It is so subtle that people hardly realize that it is happening. They buy what they are told to buy. They boycott what they are told to boycott. People don't want to think for themselves - they want a trusted source to do the footwork for them.
Drink the grape kool-aid. Just drink it. Don't ask any questions.
I am sure that sounds a bit extreme. After all nobody has tried to kill anybody.
But here is the thing - these people don't care about your family. I know they didn't care about mine. What they care about is bringing in money for their own family, and they want to keep you close because they know where you are there your wallet will be also. They are marketing to you using your identity as a Christian and homeschooler to pick your pocket.
I am tired of those that use Christianity as a marketing tool.
I am sick of others judging my relationship with Christ based on their man-made standard.
I am concerned that there are so many who are willing to follow these people who will set themselves up as authorities in your life - telling you what to read, what to do, when to do it, and to follow them.
Be exceedingly careful who you follow.

21 October 2008

You Can Dress Them Up .....

But you can't take them out!!
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Facebook is the New Myspace

And no, Kameron you may not comment on this post! :)
I have never really loved Myspace - although I've had one for a couple of years. I find it a little too chaotic. Sometimes the pages don't load, you can't find anybody because people don't use their real names, and when they do, they usually put a bracket or some swirly thing in front of it so you can't search for them. I have kept it primarily to stay in touch with some of the most awesomest youth that I had the chance to minister to and hang out with, and some of my cooler, hipper friends.
But then I discovered Facebook. I can use it on my cell phone. It is cleaner and easier to fluidly navigate. It doesn't have the half-dressed, scantily clad ads all over it either. I am downright addicted to it - and so many people I know from high school, WV, TX and all over are on it. I just wanted to let you know that if you are on Facebook, let's be friends. You can find me listed as Julie Forsythe, or Julie Main Forsythe since I put my maiden name in there so old friends can find me.
Hope to see some of you there!

20 October 2008


I am not sure where to start. I had a doctor's appointment today to discuss the results of the tests I had back before the hurricane. The nurse had briefly given me the details on the phone, but today I was able to discuss this with the doctor, ask questions, and get a better idea of what's going on inside. (Gentlemen feel free to look away at this point.....)
It appears that my uterus is enlarged, and the lining (endometrium) that they like to have at less than 1 cm. is almost 2 cm. This is either a precancerous condition that would require a hysterectomy, or cancerous. The doctor said we will "cross that bridge when we get there". Mentally, I've been running across it all day like it was on fire! They are scheduling me for a D&C sometime in November. I am not looking forward to that.
I think I must have a really, really good doctor though because there is no way anyone would come just for his bedside manner. First, as soon as I entered the doorway of his office, no hello, howdy-do or anything - he immediately lurched into uterus education. Wow. Secondly, when I told him I had never been put to sleep before, which I will need to have done for the D&C and biopsy, he said, "Scares the h*ll out of you, huh?" Yessir, it does scare the h*ll out of me but you're not supposed to say that!

Brought to You By the Number 1

Yesterday at my old home church in WV one of my dearest friends was asked to preach/teach on a Sunday when the pastor would be out of town. I got to listen to it this morning and I was so proud of him. Dwayne is one of the most awesome guys you will ever have a chance to meet. In person he doesn't mince words, but he is also compassionate. We knew of each other in high school, but we really became friends years ago when I was a fairly new believer and we were in a book discussion group together. In his own off the cuff way, he challenged so many things that I believed or thought in a way that would sometimes make me angry but always left me thinking -valuable things that have stayed with me until this day. A few years ago he met his lovely wife Shasta - and I don't think anyone but the Lord could have picked a more perfect soul mate for Dwayne. She is cute and spunky and smart and all the things you know his companion would have to be. Our church family has known hard knocks. That is why this sermon is so profound to me. About 3 years ago - there was a major rift. It was painful, like losing an arm and a leg. Healing has continued to be a long arduous process for many of us. Being back home several weeks ago, I got to experience what he is talking about in this sermon - Christ is central and the rest is peripheral. I can tell you that Dwayne is one of the few who can truly preach this particular sermon - he has walked it out. He never chose sides, but he also never beat around the bush or withheld his thoughts in order to say what someone wanted to hear. You can always trust such a friend. I hope you'll enjoy this sermon clip as much as I did. Keep showing them Jesus, Dwayne!

There seems to be a teensy problem with playback. After a couple of minutes it abruptly stops - to remedy this, just restart it and move the play bar at the bottom of the video over to where it left off, and start it back up. There isn't any buffering if you have high speed internet.

18 October 2008

Is This Feminism?

I have described a slight shift that I've had in my thinking of late about male and female roles. After hardly blogging for a while, being rudely awaken at 6 am on a Saturday morning and now being unable to go back to sleep has me feeling a bit thoughtful, and edgy.
The roles that I took on as a homemaker, wife and mother were things that I enjoyed. The duties that I carried out on a daily basis were important to me, not because someone said I had to do them, but because it was my heart's desire to make a nice home for my family. However, none of this negates the fact that it takes a whole family living in a home to work together to make it all run smoothly.
This morning, before work my husband woke me up and asked me if I knew where there were any clean towels in the house. I started running through all of the things in my mind that I knew we had washed over the last several days and my mind eventually made it to the towel hamper. Sure enough, I had washed a load of towels last night, but they never made it to the dryer. He starts to mumble under his breath while walking in and out of our bedroom throwing lights on in both bathrooms about how our daughter should have gotten the towels washed. While it is a job I ask the girls to do to help around the house, he was home with them yesterday all day long while I was out running errands such as picking up medicine for my son who spent the previous night in the ER with a severe asthma attack and grocery shopping. He was home with the girls all day. They watched movies together, the girls took walks around the neighborhood, painted, did some drawing, read books, etc. I got home and both sinks were full of dishes, and of course nobody thought to do the things necessary to keep the household running smoothly. Did Dad remind them? No. Did he wake up the daughter who is responsible for the towels to ask her if there were any clean? No.
As the complaining and grumbling went on, I asked him if he was trying to pick a fight. Seems just two days ago when I got home from driving for 3 days, there wasn't a clean towel in the house. I mean it - not one hand towel, washcloth, or any of the 30 large towels, including every beach towel that we own in the entire house. Thankfully we had all taken showers in the hotel that morning, and I had the time to wash a load of towels before we would need them again.
Did the grouchy towel-less husband move the towels from the washer to the dryer this morning in an effort to assist with the household needs? No. I could possibly conjure up some sympathy that he had to drip-dry after his shower if I worked really hard at it but I don't have the energy. I am exhausted from this life. I don't know how to engage a partnership for these duties, but I know that I am wearing out. I am tired. I think it's my turn to have a wife. I want somebody to take care of everything and a job that I clock in and out of for 8 hours a day. Does that make me a feminist? I don't know - but it is what it is.

16 October 2008

I Don't Wanna Be Normal

This was a daily quote on my iGoogle page -
Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.
- Ellen Goodman

I don't want to be normal. Good thing!

14 October 2008

Good Friends Meet

I got to meet my buddy Stephanie and her awesome family tonight! It was so great. Her house felt like the home of an old friend. Dinner waiting for us when we got there, and sitting down to eat together seemed as natural as you could imagine. How nice to have a home cooked dinner in the midst of a very long road trip.
At the suggestion of her husband, we got a motel nearby. I was so tired when I got behind the wheel that I knew I wasn't going to be able to drive very far!
I am posting this picture in protest for all of our RCU friends. My four chins and greasy road-trip hair are not flattering at all - but for better or worse - this picture with my dear friend that is now not only an online friend but a friend IRL (in real life)! I just hope that we get to visit again very soon!
Love ya Stephanie - you are even more awesome (and cute!) than I could have expected!

13 October 2008

Almost to Stephanie's

Maybe 3 hours! Woo hoo!
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Graham, NC

48 miles
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I Could Just Barf

If you are still reading - what could have drawn you in?
I am excited this morning because I am going to meet the wonderful beautiful lovely Stephanie and her fabuloso family. We have both waited a long time for this day. We connect - ya know what I mean? That excitement has my stomach doing somersaults.
I am also filled with dread - I am not sure what awaits me. I don't want to go back to Texas. I have some people I would love to see, but I can't think of it as "home". Being away has made me realize how much I belong elsewhere. I would rather turn my car north and head back to WV.
Anyway - all of this does not sit well in my digestive regions if you know what I mean.

12 October 2008

Parade of What?

I had the best time yesterday. We went out in the afternoon to a Parade of Homes in the Raleigh area. My sister-in-law who is working toward her business degree had a real estate project to do, and thought it would be a fun way to do it looking at brand new several million dollar homes. One of them was 3 million to be exact. Yes, they were beautiful. Yes, they had luxuries I could not even imagine, including a built-in cappuccino machine, special wine storage, etc. But all I kept thinking was how hard it would be to clean the whole place,and how difficult it would be to be so spread out for my family. It would be great fun for entertaining - and yet with the whole bubble bursting economy we are learning the dangers of being "house poor". I think I'm with Queen Victoria on this one - things do taste better in small houses. Just as my friends said on my post with the picture of my dad's motor home that we have been staying in, life is so much simpler with less. How to get there is a different story. . .
The fun wasn't the houses -it was my brother passing gas then leaving a room, my sister accidentally turning up a whole house sound system up too loud, and laughing ourselves silly at the littlest things - especially the hoity-toity crowd commenting that the rooms, all of which were suites with their own walk-in closets and full baths, were too small, etc. Wow. We really rednecked it up!
After the tour of homes we went to look at some that were on the list in the downtown area, and ended up in a pretty bad neighborhood. My sister was in the car with me holding her cell phone out the car window to get the GPS to recognize where we were and give us some better directions. My brother, following us from behind and knowing the neighborhood was populated by gang members was saying things like "don't turn right, don't turn right" and of course the GPS would tell us to turn right. We laughed our heads off later. Thankfully, Laurie and I did not realize that we were in any danger at the time.
At the end of the evening we all got together had dinner at CiCi's pizza. The waitress remarked that we were a large family. We are. We tend to cause a lot of chaos and take up a lot of room, but one thing that is for certain, nobody in the whole place is ever having as much fun as we do when we get together!

10 October 2008

Ready to be Angry?

I talked to a friend from Texas the other evening and she told me some disturbing news. It appears that insurance companies are giving folks whose homes were damaged due to the storm surge some trouble because the homes were damaged directly by the hurricane. Common sense says that without a hurricane there is no storm surge - but it seems like another ways for insurance companies to split hairs to keep from paying people. It makes me so angry!

FREE Falling

FREE being the operative word. I just quit my job! I am a bit freaked out and exhilarated about the opportunity for change. I don't know whether to shout for joy or curl up into a ball! Whatever happens - I know Who holds my future in His hands!

My New Tattoo

Last night I found myself in a tattoo parlor with my extended family. My dad asked if I had ever thought about getting one - and I had. He said to pick one out! There were tons of things to choose from but nothing that was really "me", so the lady and I went to a computer and picked out something that I really liked, she made a stencil and 15 minutes later I had this beauty. It was so fun. My dad paid for it - and it was kind of a bonding experience with my family who are tattoo lovers. I am pretty happy with it - it is simple and stylish. I was kind of proud of myself. I woke up this morning thinking, "Did I really get a tattoo last night??" Sure enough - I did. I don't regret it at all.

09 October 2008

No to the Status Quo

I have noticed lately I have an aversion. Perhaps it has always been there, but lately I have become overwhelmingly conscious of it. The aversion is the male supremacy of our society in general. I am not sure what opened my eyes to this when it seems perhaps I have been half-asleep for so many years, but I can hardly stand it. My sister had a guest come over for dinner the other night, and while it was the right thing to do to serve dinner to that guest, since it was a man, something inside me wanted to scream, "let him get his own plate!".
This being said, I have served my husband many dinners, drinks, laid out his towel in the bathroom for his shower, and any number of other things. I have done these out of the love in my heart for him, and not out of some primitive idea that I owe him these things. But I have noticed more and more lately that men often sit back in silent expectation, as if they deserve to be served. Women tend to fall into the natural role of serving and our society has this unspoken structure that prevails to the point that I have noticed I do it without even a second thought. It is interesting that I find myself in this position when my mom wasn't the subservient kind of woman. She expected to be waited on and served. Nor was my dad a model of this kind of man that sits back and waits for women to do certain things. He has always jumped in and done what needed to be done, be it laundry, dishes, etc.
As a woman, I have been pushed out of intelligent conversation with men. I have watched other women serve food and drinks to the men in a gathering while the women, who are also guests are to serve themselves. I have seen boy children given preference and allowed to leave the dinner table and run and play while the daughters must stay and assist with clean up or are expected to help with the smaller children. I could go on and on with paragraph after paragraph of such examples.
I have been noticing that this doesn't just happen in marriage but in male and female interaction across the board. I am not sure I'm able to fully articulate why this is bothering me so much recently. I know that I feel the same way when a man holds the door for me, as if he is in some way indicating that I deserve preference because I'm a woman. I appreciate the gentlemanly gesture, while at the same time I know that this comes from the same mindset. I know that I am overthinking it all a bit, and hope that one day I don't have some mental fracture that causes me to jump behind the door and refuse to walk through it just because a man is holding it.
Even the Bible and Christian culture tend to follow the Jewish patriarchal model and show preference for the most part to men. Jesus however never modeled this. He said that the greatest in the kingdom must be the servant of all. He did not indicate a gender prerequisite, therefore making this premise applicable to everyone. We must all serve one another. When the world around us elevates men and diminishes women, Jesus spoke to both equally.
I am just feeling a little tired and frustrated with the status quo. Can anybody feel me?

08 October 2008

Home Sweet Home Away From Home

Until Monday . . .
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07 October 2008

Real LOL

In case you don't know what Flair is - it is a little button with quotes, pictures, icons from your favorite movie or band, kind of like the ones I used to wear covering my denim jacket in high school and they are part of an application on Facebook. Today I saw one that said "Fact: 90% of people who type LOL are not in fact, laughing out loud." How true is that?
I told my friend Tina not long ago that I wanted to hear and share real laughter - not just read LOL referring to the predominance of my cyber-life. This week I have spent quite a bit of time laughing with my family. We have told jokes, kicked back, laughed about old times and made some terrifically awesome new memories. I wish I had more time in West Virginia to stay with my friends - but I am so unbelievably grateful that I have had this chance to get to know my family and be crazy about them all over again! We played Apples to Apples tonight - and in the middle of all the laughing we are creating inside jokes that we'll tell for years to come, pick on each other, and roll on the floor laughing together. I don't think about the "c" word, biopsies, financial strains or anything else. All my burdens are lifted in the fun and companionship of their love.

06 October 2008

Still Not Home

I am staying in NC another week with my family. Travis is working 7 days a week and won't miss me much. It is also hard to leave knowing that it was 2 1/2 years since my last visit. It is also difficult to leave knowing that I have to head south instead of back to my beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I really really really can't stand the idea of it. I don't hate Texas - it just isn't my home. One bright spot is that I get to meet Stephanie on the way - and that helps a lot.
I am connecting with my family and having the absolute best time that I have had in a long while. It is terrific. We played the.most.fun game of Apples to Apples with Laurie and Chris last night. I have attended ballgames and cheerleading competitions, cookouts, and all sorts of other things. To me, right now, it really doesn't matter as long as we get to be together.
In other news, concerned about taking another week to head home and not getting back to the doctor about my test results from a month ago, I was finally able to get a nurse to review them with me over the phone somewhat. I have to have a D & C when I get back, and they need a biopsy. Would anyone like to stand in for me? Yeah, I thought not. So still no really conclusive answers - just a suggestion at a different type of cancer than I originally thought. More waiting. I am not a patient person.
I guess I'll head home next week - whatever that means.

02 October 2008

Never Too Old for the Playground

The week was so long that by the end of it I was petering out. My friend Tina says that I was making some "out of character" Freudian-slip type errors - losing my debit card, my keys. She is right - this is very unlike me. We had a couple of kids that had attached themselves to us and didn't want to let go - and no money to do anything so we decided to head for a couple of hours that we had to kill to the local playground. As you can see here, they had no difficulty remembering how to play! I just love this picture - it is one of my all-time favorites. Happy times. Good friends.

01 October 2008

Take a Breath

We packed a year and a half of visiting into a week. It was mayhem. I didn't even want to sleep. It was terrible - and there was this foreboding that hung over every moment - the knowledge that we wouldn't be staying and the sense of not wanting to go that made it all so bittersweet. Again we fell back in with some as if we had never left. With others it was sort of a "getting to know you" period all over again. For the most part, it was just home. The beauty of the hills and river of my mountain home. I miss it so terribly. I loved the leaves falling as you drove by, the crispness of the morning and evening air. It was almost too much to take in, and yet I wanted to take it all in so long and deep that I could be away for a while again and not feel it lacking. We all know that this is not possible.
We had parties, cook-outs, late night card games, pranking, walks, and endless moments of laughter. There are so many pictures here. I need some time to process it all. I am enjoying this week with my family again before making that endless trek back to Texas. A journey you don't want to make feels twice as long.