Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Anyway, I'm taking a self-imposed break from blogging: you know, busy holidays, planning for a new year, and all that jazz. I may pop in from time to time, but there won't be any regular posting until 2009.
So, I hope all you bloggy readers and friends have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
First, thanks for your prayers for my return trip. They were absolutely answered, but that post will take a few minutes to write, so expect the rest of the story soon. :-)
Second, I tried really hard to give you guys a few little pre-scheduled somethings to read while I was away, even if it was mostly fluff. It would appear that it really is all about QUALITY, not QUANTITY, based on the comments (or lack thereof) and such. So, maybe I won't do that again!
Third, I am really tired, but at least wanted to pop in and say hello. I missed being here, but it was nice to have a breather, too.
And lastly, unless some of my fellow trainees from last week share their photos, you won't see anything really good from my trip. The combo of a camera that just stinks in the dark, bad weather and ME as a photographer is just a recipe for disaster! But I will share what I do have. Just don't laugh. (where I can hear you!)
Now, to catch up on all that stuff I missed this week....
Thursday, December 11, 2008
As I sit here in the hotel about to leave, I'm asking for traveling mercies for our class. There's some nasty weather here that's already causing airport delays, which is annoying in itself. However, we also have connecting flights that we may miss if we're delayed getting out of Newark. Please pray the the weather improves and the delays go away!!
1. Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags?
Who cares? My other family members do most of the wrapping :-)
2. Real tree or artificial?
Real. It smells so good (but makes such a mess!)
3. When do you put up the tree?
Whenever my husband says!
4. When do you take down the tree?
Usually between Christmas and New Year's. Or when all the needles have fallen off.
5. Do you like Egg Nog?
By the gallon!!
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Barbie Dream House (I'm with Annie/Lesli on this one!)
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, a beautiful one by Willow Tree.
8. Hardest person to buy for?
My parents. They have everything and want nothing.
9. Easiest person to buy for?
My kids. They have everything and want everything else.
10. Mail or email Christmas Cards?
Mail - if I remember before Christmas Eve! (This year, I'm even sending PHOTO cards - WOO HOO!)
11. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Home Alone, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Elf, A Christmas Story... (I could keep going - I love Christmas movies) :-)
12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Candy. Lots and lots of candy. I need more candy. Do you have any candy?
13. Clear lights or coloured?
Clear, although I thought the multi's were beautiful when I was a little girl.
14. Favorite Christmas Song?
Silent Night, While You Were Sleeping (by Casting Crowns), Away in a Manger (this could also be a long list)
15. Travel or stay home at Christmas?
Home, thank the Lord!
16. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer?
Absolutely! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (I have the mugs, remember?)
17. Angel or Star on the top of the tree?
A silver Martha Stewart K-Mart star that is too fancy for my tree. (Yes. I just said that K-Mart is too fancy.)
18. Open presents Christmas Eve or Morning?
Morning - but the kids have to wait until the coffee is ready :-) (Yes, we're evil parents. Mwuh-ha-ha-ha!!)
19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
How everyone has forgotten that it's all about Jesus. The outrageousness of all the shopping and STUFF. And that it's being advertised before Halloween now!
20. Which looks best, theme trees or homey trees?
I want a themed, Martha-Stewart-would-be-proud tree in our living room. Another homey tree with all the construction-paper ornaments in the family room. That's what I want, but not what I have. I just have the homey one.
21. Gingerbread or Sugar Cookies?
Sugar. Hands downs! They're almost as good as candy! (By the way - do you have any more candy?)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Every year, I scan the holiday displays looking for a good Christmas CD. I love Christmas music! Especially the classics (think about all the songs in the movie "Home Alone").
But, I don't often end up with very good Christmas music. I tried an MTV Christmas cassette (ahem) several years ago that had one or two good ones on it. There's a few ancient CD's lying around the house that are OK. I even have one that was just instrumental piano. (What was I thinking?)
This year, however, I picked a winner: Peace on Earth by Casting Crowns.
Oh my word! Just go buy it, and you'll see. It has classics like "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night," so you can't miss if you just want a great version of traditional Christmas songs.
But I have to say that I think my favorite is "While You Were Sleeping." The first time I heard last verse, (if you watch a YouTube video of it, it begins with "United States of America") I got all teary. It really touched my heart. That's what good music does!
So, if I ever give you a piece of advice, this is one to listen to: GO GET THIS CD!
You can even follow this link and buy it!
Any questions? :-)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Your Friendliness Score is 54 (Friendly)
No doubt about it, you are a good friend and a friend to many.
Even in other states!
You're one of the first people your friends call when they have news.
Or need to know how to get candle wax out of the carpet before your wife gets home.
You are quite popular, and your circle of friends is always growing.
And while you are always making new friends, you are careful not to leave your old friends behind.
True - I just got reunited with an old BFF!!
While you are a great friend, you're not perfect. Sometimes you slip a little.
Make sure to listen to your friends and make time for them. Occasionally they feel a little neglected. No they don't.
Monday, December 8, 2008
It's that time of year when many people begin to think about charitable contributions. Maybe you grabbed the name of a child or a family off of a Giving Tree at your church. Perhaps you donated canned goods through your child's school for a White Christmas drive. Or maybe your motives are more personal and you're giving in the name of tax deductions.
Whatever the reason, helping those in need is is a noble cause.
I'm asking you today to support a very noble cause: Compassion International.
Surprised? You shouldn't be. I blog about them fairly often and have a few of their widgets in my sidebar.
The difference is that my cause, while it will accept one-time donations to a number of funds, is really seeking people who are willing to make a long-term commitment. What they want is a person or a family who will commit to send $32 a month to sponsor a child in need.
That child will be sponsored by you and you alone. They will send you letters, and you can (and are encouraged to) write to them. Send photos, cards, paper gifts that will fit into a standard envelope. Make it a year-round involvement, instead of one that takes only a few dollars or moments of your time.
The investment you make means so much more than $32 to the child it's dedicated for. It means hope. Food. Medical care. Education. And most importantly, it begins to introduce them to Jesus.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child this Christmas, just leave a comment here with contact info or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a Sponsorship Packet. Receiving the packet does not obligate you to sponsor anyone. But I'll bet that once you see that precious face looking back at you from that packet, you'll think twice before saying no.
I'm asking that for the next few weeks you direct everyone you know to this blog post. Link to it. Email it to your friends. Forward it to folks at church. Do whatever you can to get the word out.
I want to see children sponsored as a result of this post. I want to know that I was able to use my words the better the life of a child, or two, or ten.
I thank you for your efforts in helping me spread the word, and the kids who get sponsored as a result do, too.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
LauraLee, please contact me with an email address so I can get your shipping information.
As a side note, I am leaving tomorrow on a business trip that will last through Thursday night. A friend/coworker will be accompanying me on our flights to and from New Jersey, limo rides (SQUEE!) and training sessions. I ask for your prayers for safe travel and good times!! (Especially for fun when we get to visit New York City for the first time on Wednesday!)
Don't hate me because I get an all expenses paid business trip. Sometimes I have to work Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas Day to make up for it!
Anyway, I have scheduled a few posts to
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I am the lady who was in line behind you. I can understand your frustration when you encounter an employee of an establishment who is unable to properly perform their job. I am trying not to be judgmental. Apparently you were travelers, and perhaps had endured a long, trying trip. Maybe you were tired. OBVIOUSLY you were grouchy.
Keep in mind: that cashier was probably hired as seasonal help and may never have processed a traveler's check before. Cut her some slack.
When she recognizes her limitations and calls the manager for assistance, don't stand there impatiently and proceed to tell her to treat it as cash. You do not work there, and probably don't know how she should process it through her register. Please wait quietly for the manager to arrive.
Don't instantly start screaming at the check-out manager when she appears, either. That simply puts her on the offensive and results in each of you becoming even more ugly and hateful. Use your inside voice.
Asking for the name of the store manager ONCE should be sufficient. You would have heard the cashier tell it to you if you had stopped yelling for a moment.
Demanding something to write on the from the very people you are screaming at was a bit comical, and I'm a little surprised that the poor girl complied with your demand.
Also, asking for the name of the corporate manager repeatedly, when you still haven't even spoken to the STORE manager is a bit much.
Please tell your girlfriend to be quiet and stop yelling at everyone as well. It isn't her transaction to be upset about.
And by all means, don't suddenly develop a conscience and try to be caring when all your hatefulness finally makes the poor cashier burst into tears. She doesn't want you to pet her shoulder and tell her it's not her fault. She knows that's not what you think, because you've been yelling at her for a solid ten minutes. You acted like it was all her fault. Just take your hypocrisy and go see the manager.
Shame on you. Shame on you both.
Oh, and for the record, I had to stifle a giggle when another cashier came over to soothe her comrade-in-arms and said, "Don't worry about them. God will take care of them because he's COMING BACK!"
And Merry Christmas.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Get yours here!
1. Snow in New York City next Wednesday would be wonderful.
2. I'm looking forward to my trip to New Jersey/New York next week - and the limo rides!
3. This trip is the best free training trip for work ever!
4. One of my favorite old tv shows is The Dukes of Hazzard (I thought Bo was, uh, cute.)
5. I'm done with people who are ugly to others :-(.
6. The most enjoyable thing around the holidays is looking at Christmas lights (well, one of many enjoyable things!).
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to checking out some new purchases, tomorrow my plans include being at home alone and scheduling blog posts for next week and Sunday, I want to pack for my trip!
Way to go, Michael!!!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Internet Cafe Devotions is celebrating the holidays, and this week's way to celebrate Christmas is with a giveaway carnival! Yay! Head on over to their site to see what kind of goodies are up for grabs.
So, what am I giving away? Well, look no further:
I made this snowflake purse with my own two little hands. Seriously! It's made out of a beautiful red wool, which I then embellished with a few snowflakes.
Oh, and then there's the verse of the back. (That's the best part!) There you'll see Isaiah 1:18: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
Pretty cool, huh?
Well, I think so, and I hope you do, too! One of you lucky blog-hoppers will win this little bag. (And it is petite - maybe six inches wide? Just right for keys, cell phone, a smallish wallet and lip gloss!)
All you have to do to enter the contest is leave me a comment telling me the best Christmas gift you ever received. That's it! (Not just a random comment. I want participation, people! :-))
Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win, though. I'd hate to have to give your prize to someone else! (Sorry, international visitors: this is open to United States residents only.)
Deadline to leave a comment is this Sunday, December 7th at 8pm EST. The Random Number Generator will pick a winner, which I will then announce. I believe that Internet Cafe Devotions will also post a list of all the winners.
So, be sure to enter while you're here, then head over to Internet Cafe Devotions and see what other goodies you can win!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Not all of us are blessed with canned-in-mama's-kitchen green beans. (YUM!) Canned-in-a-factory green beans just don't taste the same. At all.
Well, here's a little tip that my friend Melba shared with me a few years ago:
Use chicken broth or bouillon when you cook them. I was almost ashamed that I didn't know this already. It's so easy! And tasty? Yes, ma'am!
So try it out. Those picky little eaters in your house just might eat their beans!
That's what Works for Me today!
Just look at Dancer with her hoop earrings!
Is it just me, or does Vixen look a little matronly?
Don't let me feel silly here - do you have a favorite coffee mug? (By the way, I usually try to get the mug with Cupid on it. Because I'm a hopeless romantic and all.)
Anyway, Happy (almost) Wordless Wednesday!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
My living room is a cramped mess while we try to make room for our Christmas tree (which at the moment is propped up on the front porch):
This is the pile of hats, gloves, blankets and other items necessary for watching a college football playoff game when it's rainy and 45 degrees outside, which was conveniently dumped on the love seat:
And this is a combination of seven-year-old birthday presents and daddy's Bible study materials:
I am exhausted just LOOKING at this mess!
Anyone wanna clean my house? Anyone? Anyone? :-)
Friday, November 28, 2008
1. My stomach has recovered from yesterday's feast.
2. Dessert is what I ate the most of on Thursday.
3. The yard is completely buried in leaves.
4. Home is where I'd rather be at any given time.
5. The smell of apple cider reminds me of Fall.
6. Time off is what I need right now!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to maybe buying our Christmas tree, and wrapping Aaron's birthday presents, tomorrow my plans include making blueberry pancakes for the Birthday Boy, and working :-( and Sunday, I want to rest, but I will also still be working! :-(
Personally, I hate to shop. Even for myself. I really am a Reluctant Shopper! My money is just too hard to come by, and I hate to spend it.
What about you? What kind of shopper are you?
You Are a Reluctant Shopper
You really don't enjoy shopping. For you, it's just another chore.
You approach shopping systematically. You research what you're going to buy and come prepared with a list.
Of all the types, you are the most likely to not buy things you don't need.
You try to de-emphasize stuff in your life. You find shopping and buying things to be a rather empty experience.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Well, it's that time again: the days in between my husband's birthday and my middle child's birthday! (Oh, I kid. Sort of.)
Of course I mean Thanksgiving! Instead of the usual sappy Thanksgiving post (although those are great), I decided to be a little different this year. Here goes:
I am thankful that:
- I still wear the same size clothing as last year. (A smaller size would be fabulous, but I digress.)
- the election is finally over.
- I have a long time to build up retirement funds :-Z
foundmade the time to read "The Shack". (So should you - it's awesome!)
- my kids like my chocolate chip cookies and
beg mercilesslyask nicely for me to make them.
- I have a job, even if I do have to work an occasional holiday.
- I have Internet access. Without it, I'd have to find another way to
waste time play gamesemail people.
- I have actually started Christmas shopping, and it isn't even December yet!
- Mrs. Smith's pies are available in my local grocer's freezer.
- my husband didn't get lost somewhere in the National Forest delivering Thanksgiving meal goodies to a needy family (and he didn't even have his directions!)
- occasionally I get to sleep past 4:45 am.
- my house usually looks like bomb went off, because that means I have a house full of happy, healthy children (and one messy husband!)
- I have a husband, even if he is messy. :-)
- I have subscribers, followers and a few lurkers who actually read my bloggy randomness and keep coming back! (I just love bloggers.)
- I am the daughter of a great big God who loves me and blesses me so abundantly that I can make a silly thankfulness list and not even come close to scratching the surface of all my blessings.
I could go on and on, but I won't. Tomorrow is one of those days I get to sleep past 4:45 am and I don't want to negate it by staying up til 3 am blogging.
I'm sure you understand.
Happy Thanksgiving, you sweet blog readers and COMMENTERS (hint hint)!
When I stumble upon another recipe that makes my family say, "YUM!" I just have to share. Mommies of little children know how hard it can be to find a healthy meal that the kids actually like!
Enter this recipe: Rosemary Chicken with Vegetables.
Rosemary Chicken with Vegetables
Start to Finish: 30 minutes
- 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I accidentally grabbed chicken strips instead of chicken breasts, but it still worked fine. )
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning (pay attention: I overdid it just a tad!)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces spinach or plain linguine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium zucchini and or yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine or chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1. Sprinkle chicken with lemon-pepper seasoning. In a large skillet, cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning once. Transfer chicken to a platter; cover and keep warm. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm.
2. Add garlic to skillet; cook for 15 seconds. Add zucchini, apple juice, and rosemary. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, stir together wine or broth and cornstarch; add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in tomatoes. Serve vegetables and pasta with chicken. If desired, garnish with rosemary twigs.
Makes 4 servings.
This recipe works for me!
(See more Works for Me Wednesday's at Rocks In My Dryer!)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Happy Birthday, honey :-)
He wanted it low-key today, and that's what he got. I didn't tell anyone - even at church!! But don't ask me to tell you his age! I have to draw the line somewhere...
Friday, November 21, 2008
A Dusting of Snow + Ice beneath = Car Left in a Strangers Driveway
I made two attempts to get to work today. Really I did! My first attempt was solo, and the steep, uphill part of my driveway did me in. I had to back downhill and around two curves just to get back to my parking spot. And I almost didn't make it back!
Fast forward an hour. My husband had shoveled a path up the driveway, and thought that he could get me to the main road.
He got us turned completely sideways, so that our neighbors were blocked in as well. Two bags of ice-melt later (thanks, Mark!), and we finally got out of the driveway.
To find the main roads worse than the driveway. No sand/salt trucks or scrapers here! (I love living in the sticks!)
We ventured down the street to where we could see downhill to the four way intersection we go through to get to the main highways. We had a good vantage point from the top of the hill, and watched car after car slide sideways to the intersection, sit in motionless silence for a moment, and then continue on, only to get stuck in a curve at the foot of the hill. (Edited to add: turns out it became a 13-car pileup!)
We decided just to go back home. Because we didn't want to end up like this guy:
That was easier said than done. We couldn't get back up the slight incline we had just come down. We almost left our van in two different driveways, but didn't want to block someone else in. (like THEY could get out!) Didn't want to leave it on the side of the road for someone to slide into, either.
Fortunately, we were able to navigate it behind an RV, getting us out of the road, and not blocking anyone in.
But then we had to walk home. :-( In the snow and ice, in tennis shoes (I don't have any boots). With no gloves or hat, because they have mysteriously vanished. (Yes. I am totally prepared for winter - why do you ask??)
So, if you'll excuse me, now I'm going to find a nice hot cup of something to drink and thaw out. Because my ears and my feet are cold.
But, on the bright side, I get a free day of knitting, web surfing, and maybe a nap!!!!
Happy Snow Day!!!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (hiking)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (from the beach)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (I sponsor one through Compassion International)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (does a charicature count?)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square (maybe in a few weeks!)
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (I'm on Acts: up-to-date on my Bible-in-a-year plan!)
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (it's part of my job, in a way)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
If you do this on your blog be sure to let me know in the comments so I can visit!!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Today is the first installment of Celebrating the Holidays at the Cafe! The topic: Holiday Traditions & Ideas.
I almost hate writing this, but my family actually has very few traditions :-( Every year I have big dreams to remedy that, BUT....we end up with the same decorations and same way of doing things every year. So, here are some of the things that are consistent each holiday season...
1. We do have an amazing nativity scene made by Willow Tree that gets prominently displayed on our fireplace. It is so simplistic, yet so beautiful. You can see it here.
2. Somewhere along the way, we acquired a set of four coffee mugs with Santa's eight reindeer on them: two per cup. We love them. Let me repeat that: we love them! I can't tell you exactly what it is about them, but my husband and I both hate when January rolls around and we have to pack them away for another year. Those are absolutely a holiday favorite!
3. Cookies and milk for Santa. I know that Santa has taken the focus off of the reason for the season, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But, I also believe that some of the most magical memories of my childhood are from waking up at 4 am Christmas morning, and sneaking through the house to see if Santa really came. I don't see anything wrong with letting my children have that same experience, as long as I also teach them about Jesus.
So, every year we set out a special plate that my sister gave us, that is just for Santa's cookies and milk. And he eats them every year :-)
4. I'd like to say that riding around our town looking at Christmas lights is a tradition. I really would. I enjoy that a LOT. But the last few holidays, for one reason or another, we just haven't done it. Maybe I should just pick a day RIGHT NOW and set it aside as the 2008 Christmas Light Driving Tour. (Sounds all official, doesn't it?)
5. Getting together with my family. My in-laws (with the exception of my mother-in-law) live several hours away, and we just don't see them every Christmas. But my family all lives in the same area, so we meet at mom and dad's house for a few hours to exchange gifts. We used to draw names when our families started growing, but now we just buy gifts for our parents and any little ones in the family.
Mom usually cooks a huge meal for everyone, but since she's almost 80 we're thinking of scaling it back a little. Maybe just snacks?? That one's still up in the air...
6. Using the children's ornaments on the tree. (See what our tree usually looks like here.)
I have this vision every Christmas of the perfectly decorated Christmas tree, just like Martha would have in her home. And every Christmas I end up with a tree that I think needs more lights. And coordinating ornaments. It's a tree covered in construction paper wreaths that my kids made in kindergarten. And collectible ornaments that have been broken because the kids thought they were toys to be played with and got a bit too rough. And really cheesy fake-velvet bows. (WHY did I buy those again?? Had I been drinking too much eggnog?)
Don't get me wrong: some of those handmade ornaments are just precious. But some of them are just junk.
I want a pretty tree. Not a junky one. (Girls, can I please get a witness?) Maybe I should just have two trees???
7. Peppermint Pig. On New Year's Day, I always serve the traditional meal of pork, greens and black-eyed peas. (Yum!) And a few years ago, we were introduced to a new "dessert:" a peppermint pig. (Read about them here.)
Everyone takes a whack at the pig with the little hammer, and then everyone shares the broken pieces, hoping for a year of good fortune. The first two years we did this were some of the best years Jeff and I ever had. I know, the superstition stuff is hogwash (no pun intended), but it makes for a good story, especially if you give a pig as a gift to someone else!
So, considering that it's still November and my mind refuses to embrace that fact that Christmas is just a flip of the calendar page away, those are the Christmas "traditions" that come to mind right now. I'll probably think of more later. But for now, I hope you've enjoyed a little glimpse into Christmas at my house!!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
My four-year-old is LOVING learning his letters. His class in preschool works on a new one each week, and this week is the letter "K."
On the way home, I asked him to tell me some things that start with "K." he told me key, king, kangaroo - the usuals.
I added Kit-Kat and Kool-aid (can you tell that I have a sweet tooth?)
Then my baby shouts, "Ketchup!"
"That's right, sweetie! Ketchup starts with 'K'!"
Then I hear, "Mommy, what does honey mustard start with?"
He's so darned cute!! :-)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Recently I signed up to be a Book Review Blogger for Thomas Nelson Publishers. Within only a few days of signing up, I received my first book: Billy: The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham and the Test of Faith that Almost Changed Everything.
"Billy" is the story of a young Billy Graham, as told by his friend and colleague, Charles Templeton. I was interested in this book because Billy's family lives in my area, and I drive past his training center, The Cove, every day. I wanted to know more about what made this man become such an amazing evangelist.
The content of the story was interesting. I didn't know that Mr. Graham was a Fuller Brush salesman, or that baseball was his first love. I didn't know that he was a college president. I didn't know that he had a serious struggle with his faith.
Learning about the events that shaped Billy Graham's life, and seeing the obvious part God played in his success, just adds another layer that deepens my respect for Billy and his family.
However, that way that the authors chose to portray some of the events in Billy's life just seemed a bit flat to me. I don't normally read biographies, so perhaps I'm just used to the action in good fiction! But the struggles seemed resolved too quickly and easily. Almost glossed over. Those, to me, are the good parts that make a biography real. I would have liked them be a bit more detailed. The dialogue at times was a bit bland as well.
Keep in mind, though, that this book isn't written from Billy's perspective: this tale comes from the mind of a dying man with Alzheimer's. His perception of the events is bound to be less intriguing than Billy's own.
So, the story itself is great, and I would recommend the book. Just look past the writing in some parts and focus on what's being described instead of how it's being described!
Friday, November 14, 2008
2. When I fold laundry I can't help sniffing it occasionally.
3. My favorite thing to cook is any dessert.
4. Sleep is something I can't get enough of.
5. Sleeping past 4:45 am: that's the thing I love most about Saturdays!
6. People who don't like coffee always makes me think to myself, what the heck?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to maybe a football game, tomorrow my plans include cleaning, knitting and reading, and Sunday, I want to rest!!!!
Have a great weekend everyone!!!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
2. I never met a doughnut I didn't like. Especially Glazed Krispy Kreme.
3. I met
4. Doughnuts are GREAT fast food when you have no time to stop for lunch. :-D
5. Four Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts did not stop me from goin' all Charlie's Angels and climbing over the counter when I accidentally got locked in the check-in area of a clinic at the hospital. (Actually, I was probably on a sugar high at the time.) I'm sure the facility police are kickin' back with a cup o' joe and a Glazed Doughnut and having a great laugh with THAT piece of surveillance video :-)
6. Some of our vets were treated really, REALLY badly when they came home from various wars. Shameful. Just shameful. Hearing them tell their theories of why that happened is quite interesting.
7. I am honored to have the privilege of taking care of some of our nation's heroes every day!
8. I made it 34 years before ever setting foot inside a Chuck E. Cheese's. Today was the first.
9. My dog ate my
10. There are lots of opportunities to help someone. And I mean LOTS!
Was that Random enough?
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Have you heard about the four men who were bragging about how smart their dogs were?
One man was an engineer, the second man was an accountant, the third man was a chemist, and the fourth was a government worker.
To show off, the engineer called to his dog. "T-square, do your stuff." T-square trotted over to a desk, took out some paper and a pen, and promptly drew a circle, a square, and a triangle.
Everyone agreed that was pretty smart.
The accountant said his dog could do better. He called to his dog and said, "Spreadsheet, do your stuff." Spreadsheet went out into the kitchen and returned with a dozen cookies. He divided them into four equal piles of three cookies each.
Everyone agreed that was good.
The chemist said his dog could do better still. he called to his dog and said, "Measure, do your stuff." Measure got up, walked over to the fridge, took out a quart of milk, got a ten-ounce glass from the cupboard, and poured exactly eight ounces without spilling a drop.
Everyone agreed that was pretty impressive.
Then the three men turned to the government worker and said, "What can your dog do?"
The government worker called to his dog and said, "Coffee Break, do your stuff." Coffee Break jumped to his feet, ate the cookies, drank the milk, claimed he had injured his back while doing so, filed a grievance report for unsafe working conditions, put in for worker' compensation, and went home for the rest of the day on sick leave.
They all agreed that was brilliant! **********************************************************
Do you think the fourth dog was brilliant? Okay, maybe it was. However, it's unfortunate that we often adopt the same perspective...
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness...
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:3
This version came from Clean Joke of the Day
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I just wanted to let you in on a fun little thing happenin' around the ol' blogosphere: a new bunch of bloggers and a few regular Compassion International stars are at it again! Several of them are on an adventure (that I hope one day I can take!), journeying to the Dominican Republic. Each blogger is reporting their own experiences on their blogs, but if you follow this link you'll find a great page with links to them all.
Read these posts, guys. Let their words and images sink in. Get a glimpse onto the world of a Compassion child and the centers that reaches all those little lives. Better yet, sponsor one of them yourself! Just click the child sponsorship buttons from my sidebar.
Now get reading!!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
What a day!
Today is the day we were to find out of my daddy had cancer. This is the second time the doctors thought he had it. The first time, they were wrong.
I remember agonizing over the thought while we waited. It was horrible. I am a DADDY'S GIRL. Big time! The thought of my beloved daddy having multiple myeloma, an incurable bone marrow/leukemia-like disease, just broke me. I prayed, "God, I'm not strong enough to do this. YOU have to help me do this."
And then he didn't even have it!
Fast forward a year, and here we are again. The doctors are looking at the same terminal diagnosis. I have grieved. I have cried. I have tried hard not to worry, to believe that God is in control. But it's been like, "I believe - help my unbelief!"
I've been bracing myself all day, trying not to tear up at the thought a million times. I heard the song, "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?" and I got mad. I don't want to help anyone say goodbye!
Every time the phone rang this afternoon, my heart would drop to the floor. I was always expecting it to be my sister with the bad news. But it never was.
As the afternoon wore on, I remembered going through this last year. And it was like God said, "We've been here before. I saved your daddy then. Don't you remember? Do you believe I can do it again?" Bible verses began flooding my brain, comforting me with thoughts like "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move."
My thoughts went from, "God, please help me/us" to "God, I know you can heal him." My mood began to lift, and hope started to return.
When I got home, I still had no word and thought "No news is good news." Then I called my sister.
"Well? How did it go? I'm afraid to ask." I said.
"Take a deep breath......
He's OK. He has a monoclonal gammopathy, but it is the kind which doesn't affect him much and requires no treatment. It isn't cancer, and it isn't terminal.
I read other blogs and articles and hear interviews from all these people who have experienced miracles. Who have seen solid, concrete proof of answered prayer. I never really considered myself to be one of those people, but now, how can I not? Something made that doctor send my dad for TWENTY x-rays. Yes, I said 20! Something made that doctor begin to describe that disease in detail to my dad. Why would he do that if he didn't think he had it?
MY DAD DOESN'T HAVE IT.
I fasted for my daddy. I prayed for my daddy. And today, I stretched my faith a little for my daddy. And today my Heavenly Daddy saved my earthly one. Again.
And He left one cancer doctor scratching his head! :-)
Who says prayer doesn't work?! I thank you PROFUSELY for the prayers you offered on my dad's behalf! I'm sending you all a big virtual hug and kiss :-)
After yesterday's election, many of you probably think God isn't listening. Maybe you think He doesn't even exist. But I'm here to tell you RIGHT NOW that He does. But don't trust me. Trust Him!
Now if you'll excuse me: I'm so happy I FEEL LIKE DANCIN'!
Anyway, I did want to make a quick post: a prayer request. My daddy has an appointment today where we are NOT expecting good news. At all. So to say please pray for him and our whole family is an understatement.
Thanks everybody. There will be a real post soon. I promise!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
But since my family can't live on cakes and pies (Why, I ask you, why?), occasionally I have to cook. Real food.
So in one of my handy-dandy quick recipe books, I found a new one to try tonight. It's Peppered Pork Chops and Pilaf. (Say that three times fast!)
It starts with pork chops, covered in seasoned pepper, cooked in a skillet.
Remove them from the heat, and add a can of chicken broth, 3 cups of cut veggies (I used broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and onions),
and 2 cups of uncooked instant rice. Boil it, cover it, reduce heat and simmer 5-7 minutes. Add the pork chops back in and heat until warmed through. Garnish with roasted red peppers strips.
Dinner is served!
This was pretty tasty. My hubby loved it, and my "I'm-almost-a-vegetarian" middle child ate like he hadn't seen food in a week!
I have to say that my favorite part was the roasted red peppers. YUM-MY!! I didn't notice that they were roasted right away. But, since I play by the rules, I had to roast them. Thank the good Lord for the internet - I learned how to roast them! (And you can too - see this.)
OK, so maybe that doesn't look too appealing. But trust me when I say it was delicious!!
That's what Works for Me today!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Short. Courtney Cox wins!
I think I did, too. My new stylist, Cara, is precious and I totally want to hook her up with my brother. (Seriously. Any ideas how? He can't go in for a trim because he SHAVES HIS HEAD.)
Anyway, apparently this is a cut that you either love or you hate. I say that because today at work I either heard, "That looks so good on you!" or my new 'do went completely unnoticed. Go figure...
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Just in case I haven't mentioned it on my blog before, I hate politics. To the extent that I will leave the room if a discussion about it starts.
I personally believe that all the ads and stuff mean absolutely nothing. The ones saying "Vote for Me because..." are fluff. They say what we want to hear, so we'll elect them. Not that they can actually deliver what they promise, in most cases, without the backing of their Party, or the House, or Senate, or whoever else is involved.
Then there's the mudslinging, attack ads and smear campaigns. Taking snippets of past speeches and twisting them to fit their agenda. Pulling up old demons that have long been buried for the sole purpose of making the competition look bad.
How about just make yourself look better and leave it at that?
Ugh. I hate politics.
Then, how about we forget going after our competitor and go after their families instead? Yeah. That's SO much better.
I only bring all this up with the danger of starting a comments riot because I saw one of those attacks today. I was reading (for the first time) about Cindy McCain's past prescription drug addiction. So, it's over, it was years ago, it was a hard time for her and her family, so lets' just bring it back up and beat on her some more.
Usually, people like to hear about someone who is reformed.
Unless you're in the public eye. Then they seem to want you to fail!
Apparently, if your husband (or wife) is in line for a big political seat, you'd better not have any skeletons in your closet either, because they're gonna be pulled out, dusted off, and put on display.
I'm not endorsing any candidate here. I'm simply making a point. Luke 6:37 says, "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment." (The Message)
If you were the spouse of a political candidate, what skeletons would the press dig out of your closet?
Right. We won't talk about those here, will we?
John 8:7: "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone."
Don't the rest of you just want to write all the newspapers and TV stations and remind them about throwing that first stone?
Regardless of the ability of politicians to push my buttons, I have to extend the same grace to them (and the press) that my Lord gives me. They may aggravate me to no end, but at the end of the day, if I can't step back and drop my stone instead of throwing it, I am no better than them.
Behavior like that is part of what gives Christians a bad name.
How about in this election year, we become the real change? We as children of God showing the world what that really means: love, forgiveness, mercy, acceptance and, of course, grace.
That might actually make me like politics.
Friday, October 24, 2008
I cannot wait. It is way overdue.
Now, I have to decide just how to cut it. Look in my sidebar to see how it is now. (I'll wait.)
Then, vote between these two looks. Essentially, do I go short, or keep it long?
#1: The Courtney Cox look
#2: The Jessica Simpson (similar to what I have now)
My appointment is this afternoon. Vote, because I'm all democratic like that :-)
I'll have a big reveal, um, later :-)
Now GO VOTE!!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I found this recipe for Cheese-and-Cherry Danishes a few weeks ago and finally decided to try it out. While I was at it, I figured that I might as well make a double batch and take some to my coworkers.
I assure you: if you take platters full of these
you will instantly be everyone's BFF. Not only that, but you will receive heaps of compliments, which does wonders for your mood :-) Here's a sampling of what I heard:
I thought those came from the bakery.
Can I have that recipe?
And my own personal favorite:
What a woman! Wanna marry me?
If none of my tips have succeeded at getting you over The Grumps by now, then my work here is done. Hire a professional. And when you go, take a few homemade danishes with you.
You can thank me later.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
No, I'm good, really. I can handle it.
That's usually my mantra. But, it isn't always a good one to have. One day my boss offered to do something for me and, being the way that I am, I rebuffed her. "Beth, don't steal my joy. I want to do this for you."
Don't steal my joy.
I was taken aback by what she said, because I had simply never though of it that way. You know how we all get the "I-did-a-good-deed" high? Well, when you try to run the whole show, you take away someone else's opportunity to get that feeling.
While I've been working through The Grumps these past few weeks, her words have lingered in my mind.
So, while I'm Grumpy and don't really want help (or THINK I don't), I have let her help me with my workload. And you know what's happened?
I feel better because
#1: I let her feel helpful, which hopefully made her feel good.
#2: My load got lightened which was actually good for my mood (imagine that!).
#3: I had one less reason to complain about "having to do it all" when I got home.
You may not believe that letting someone come alongside you would do much to improve your attitude, but it really does. Her help gave me a bit of breathing room in an otherwise chaotic day. Deep down, I wanted the help. I just didn't want to ask for it. But it sure was nice when I got it!
What if no one is coming to your aide?
Psalm 118:7 says, "The LORD is with me; he is my helper." Even when you feel all alone in the world, God is there to help you, comfort you, encourage you...whatever your need, He can fill it.
Don't feel like you're imposing, either. He wants us to come to Him with our problems. Matthew 11:28-30 states that pretty clearly:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Oh, and when you let somebody chip in, don't forget to be thankful for the help :-)
I guess my Getting Over the Grumps Tip of the Day boils down to this:
Share the Load
Spread the Joy
and Lighten Up!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So what do I know about poverty?
I know that just because I have never lived through it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
I know that as one individual I am powerless to eradicate it.
But I also know that I, as one person, can make a difference for someone who is unfortunate enough to endure it every day.
I sponsor a child through Compassion International, a child focused, church based, Christ centered ministry releasing children from poverty.
There are over 2,000 references to children and poverty in the bible. (Read some of them yourself here.) As a Christian, I have no choice but to help those less fortunate. Compassion offers a real-life way for me to reach out to someone in need.
My sponsorship dollars help fund a community center where basic needs are met for many children in the community. "My" child is given nutritious meals that her family probably cannot afford. She is educated. And she is taught about the love of God.
I can give her financial gifts throughout the year for birthdays and holidays, which is spent on things that she needs. I can even give a Family Gift that everyone in her household can benefit from, and not only her.
Poverty is everywhere, whether you see it up close and personal daily or not. You can make a difference.
Use these links to learn more about poverty and Compassion International:
Blog Action Day home page
Compassion International child sponsorship page
Child Sponsorship explained
Compassion International videos on YouTube
Today is a great day to start making a difference, one child at a time...
It’s a funny thing, because just yesterday I thought “Maybe I should start a gratitude journal.” I knew that focusing on the good would help me get out of my mood.
So, what do I stumble across today? More links. (Apparently I’m all about the linky love this week!) I found 7 Secrets to a Happy Heart, at just the right time. Imagine that :-) (I love it when God answers prayers so clearly!)
There's also the perpetual thanks offered by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. Just scroll through her old posts or go to the Gratitude Community and read a little about her gratitude...
So, I’m sharing the links with you today, just in case you’re like me and need a few tricks to get over a case of The Grumps!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Could you please find a way to capture yesterday afternoon? You could probably find a way to make a scented candle that smells like fallen leaves and damp earth beside a lazy creek. But could you also figure out how to make me feel the warmth of the sun on my face, but at the same time feel the crispness of the breeze in my hair? Oh, and don't forget the "smoosh" sound of the overgrown grass beneath my feet. Throw in the "thud" the acorns make when they bounce through the branches and hit the ground, too. And somehow include some visuals like these:
I'll love you forever and buy your product by the truckload. Just let me know when my shipment is ready.
A Fall Fanatic
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The new dog itch just wasn't gone, so we started looking at the local shelters for a dog that would fit with our family. We found one that was gorgeous in her photo, and we just knew she was the one.
Her shelter was an hour away, so finally last Sunday we made the trip to see her. She was so NOT the one. She wouldn't look at us, come near us, or in any way acknowledge our presence. Not exactly the warm-fuzzy-licks-you-to-death kind of dog I was hoping for. And her photo? Well, whoever took that photo was a magician! She looked terribly unhealthy in real life. I hope she finds a good home. It just won't be ours.
So we're leaving and the ladies at the shelter are like, "You didn't find one?" We shook our heads. "Well, we have one more that just came in. Let me go get him."
When she came through the door, all I saw was a little black puppy face with big brown eyes and I think I audibly said, "AWWWWW!"
We played with him for a few minutes, and all of the boys loved him, too. It was unanimous. We'd FINALLY found our dog.
We had to wait for him to get "fixed", so we couldn't bring him home until Thursday. (Another hour-each-way ride!) Well, now he's here. The shelter called him Buddy, which several of us originally wanted to change. But it just kind of suits him, so Buddy it is.
He is precious. He took a nap in my lap while I did my Bible study. He loves to be held, and petted, and played with. Aaron is great with him. Eli is still a little timid, but we'll work on it. The house training has a loooong way to go, but we'll get that eventually, too.
He lays on your feet, your shoes, his toys, whatever is handy. And he has claimed the "dump everything" corner where we toss our shoes as his own. He is too funny! And sooooo cute. Wanna see him? OK. :-)
(He does not really have blue eyes. They are dark brown.)
BONUS: He licks :-)
Friday, October 10, 2008
And to be honest, I did log on to my retirement account to see how much damage has been done up to this point. Yep, there's some there. But, I decided that I wasn't going to check it any more. What will it accomplish? It won't restore the balance. It won't bring stability to the world economy. Heck, it won't even bring peace to my house!
Since so many are affected and alarmed by the current state of affairs, people everywhere are talking about it. Thankfully, what I'm seeing isn't alarming at all - it's comforting! God is speaking to Christians left and right about what's going on. If you need an word of encouragement about the future right now, then go check out these posts. They'll give you a nice perspective going in to the holiday weekend (Oh, sorry - it's a holiday weekend for me, working for the government :-))
"Oh, no! Here we go again..." at Laced with Grace
The Stability of Our Times" at The Preachers Wife
Hallelujah it's Friday :-)
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I work with a fellow who suffered through a divorce a few years ago, and still hasn’t quite recovered. I know that in the depths of his hearthe is full of sadness, anger and confusion. I try to keep that in mind most of the time, because, quite frankly, he’s just become an ugly person. Insulting words spew from his lips daily. Complaints, demands, and cries of injustice have all become an integral part of his vocabulary.
Knowing his story, I can see Matthew 12:34-35 lived out in his life: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (NIV) He’s miserable and ugly inside, and it shows.
Face to face with him this week, he unloaded a barrage of verbal abuse on me. I simply let him speak, at which point he asked me, “Don’t you have a comeback or something?” To which I replied, “I’m not stooping to that level.”
Which was true for about three seconds. He blurted out something else rude, and I retaliated. I dredged up a mistake from his past and threw it right in his face. I felt vindicated for a moment. I spent the day reflecting on how awful he has become. “Can you believe those things he said to me?” I justified my behavior by comparing it to his.
The next morning when I read Matthew 12:37 I stopped right in my tracks: “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (NIV)
I read it over and over, unable to get past it.
My mouth spoke hurtful words, just like his. I was just as guilty as he was. And that was not a fun truth to learn.
We choose our words. We have control over what we speak. Taming my tongue is one of my biggest struggles, but it is one battle that I can win! One way is to internalize God’s word so that when we find ourselves in a potentially nasty situation, we have the weapons we need to win.
I need to memorize that verse that jumped off the page at me. I need to be mindful that while I will be rewarded for the good words I use and the God messages that I share, I will also be condemned for the rotten ones that I use.
How are you doing with your words?
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Without further adieu: What Superlative Are You?
Edited to add: In case you can't see it, I Would Be Voted "Biggest Brain"
You Would Be Voted Biggest Brain
In school, you were very serious about getting good grades and studying.
You may have thought that no one noticed you, but people did know how smart you were.
You were often at the head of your class, and people respected your intelligence.
And it's likely that all your studying eventually did pay off!