Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Creativity In Licensing

First, I'd like to say it is WAY TOO QUIET with Thom on
vacation. But fortunately, he checked in today and scored 100%!

Quilly scored high too - but just like she's the Ace at puns,
Thom is the license plate King.

Be inspired


Love/Live to Party

Hey y'all

Articulate (a speech therapist?)

Second to None/No One

(A Cadillac Escalade)
Tender Loving Care for Kids

Friday, October 30, 2009


This summer when I was doing some work outside I noticed how grimy and icky our decorative shutters were. Some had been drilled by insects (on vinyl, no kidding!), some appeared to have permanent spider webs, others looked like they were peeling! So I measured carefully, and then got on line to order more.

They arrived the day before we left for our Canadian trip, so we put them in the shed. You know what they say - out of sight, out of mind??? Well, now the seasons have changed so we finally got around to doing it. This week WE (read: my dear, long-suffering husband) did so. In between rain showers. They look great, and I'd put up a photo but they are exactly the same as the ones we had before, and from the street, they won't look much different. So look at the profile photo and you'll get the idea.

Now, having done that, I'm late in the game for this, but I want to post some photos of "looking out my windows." This was a meme started by kcinnnova. The funny thing is that when I started looking out her windows I realized I was looking out mine! I don't know exactly where she lives, but I guarantee it's within 30 minutes of my house (notwithstanding traffic)! It truly is a small world.

The first picture is looking out my kitchen picture window up the driveway toward the cul-de-sac. We have wide eaves so we hang the suet in closer and the squirrels, so far, can't reach it. Further out on the wimpy dogwood tree is a regular bird feeder that they habitually raid. My sister sent me the windchimes from Florida. We grew up with them overseas.

The second photo is looking out the living room picture window to the back yard. My husband built the play house for the kids years ago. It has secret panels and doors inside for them to put treasures in. It also withstood Hurricane Isabel just fine. When he builds something, it lasts...forever... As you can tell, at the moment this area is an 'encampment.' Someday we'll do more to landscape the backyard, but our son will only be a boy once and I didn't want him to have to worry about knocking over the 'nice' plants. Besides, the deer will just eat them anyway.

The third photo is looking out the side of the house toward our deck. Straight past the deck is a path down to the area pathway system that runs through the stream valley. Right now they're working on stream restoration so it's pretty noisy and not at all pretty but they're using pretty cool machines so it is interesting.

The final photo is grainy because I took it at 6:45 this morning. A little neighbor who lives under the basketball hoop. He loves to come out and scavenge whatever the birds and squirrels knock down from the feeders. We've even seen chipmunks climb trees to get to the feeders, and wedge themselves into the chickadee sized holes. They drink from the water that collects in that little divot on the base of the goal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Three Word Thursday

Quilly is at it again! Handing out old words and challenging us to use them creatively! Well, everyone wanted Adam to be part of the problem, so here it is!

Adam sat at the lunch table and stared at the sandwich Mrs. Carmody had packed for him. As usual, the peanut butter was so spiscious that he knew it would dwarf the taste of the jelly. He decided to pitch it and go get something from the vending machine. Pulling money out of his pocket that he had liberated from the teacher’s purse, he realized that he could suffarcinate on carbs and sugar. He eagerly searched the choices behind the glass only to find that nothing looked the least bit appealing. Some do-gooders had gotten to this machine and required them to offer healthy stuff. Adam’s tristifical response to this final insult caused heads to turn as he flung himself down on the floor howling. When Adam felt adult hands pulling him to his feet, he snapped. He wrenched himself free, took off running down the hall, went out the front door, and disappeared through the back yards across from the school.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random Dozen

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee asks, and we answer, provocative questions. It's fun, so join us! Go to her blog to the get the questions, copy them into your blog, answer them, post, and then link back to her and visit others. Simple.

1. Tell me something about your favorite teacher.
I've had many wonderful teachers, but the best was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Murray. My mom says whenever she came into the class for anything, I was sitting in Mrs. Murray's lap reading stories with her. I don't know what the other kids did but they must have hated me!
2. Tell me about one pivotal moment in your life.
When I was pregnant with my 2nd child the doctor's office told me the child was positive for Downs Syndrome and that I needed genetic counseling. I immediately called a friend who I didn't know very well, but whose name and number were the only things I could think of. That friend calmed me and said, let's pray about this right now. I had never prayed on the phone with someone -- thinking that was something 'super-Christians' did and I was just an 'ordinary' Christian. It changed my life, and now when I hear that note of urgency in a friend's voice on the phone, I offer prayer as if it were a cup of coffee. What a powerful way to serve the Lord. (And by the way, the baby was fine!)
3. About favorite colors--a lot of people will ask you what it is, but I want to know why it is. What feeling or memory does it evoke? Blue. It looks good on me, I have blue eyes. Blue skies, blue is cool and soothing. I really like yellow because of the bright, happy aura it projects, but it's not my favorite.
4. What's a sure sign that you're getting older? My mother's voice is coming out of my mouth more and more.
5. Please don't sermonize, but Halloween--is it a yes or no for you? Yes, but not the creepy stuff. I don't concede one single day to the Enemy.
6. What's your favorite musical? Fiddler on the Roof
7. Are you more of a city mouse or country mouse? Country -- although suburbs would be more appropriate
8. Did you know that it is possible, for a small fee, to name a real star after someone? (It's true! Google it!) If someone were to name a star for you, would you appreciate it for its whimsy and romance, or would you say, "Are you kidding me? For $19.95 we could have gone to the movie and actually bought popcorn." We did this for my brother in law years ago....but for me, I don't know. God already knows the stars by name, so I don't figure I need to improve on that.
This question comes from Paula at His Ways Are Not Our Ways.
9. What's the craziest thing you've ever been doing and texted during it? I only thought of this b/c I was about to try to text during my walking video but I didn't. I don't text.

10. "It's not a party unless _______." they serve chocolate.
11. When you're stuck in traffic or a waiting room, what do you do to pass the time? PS: There are no magazines available. Play games on my iTouch.
12. If you weren't yourself, would you be friends with you? Not sure. If I wasn't myself I'd probably be somebody really cool and self-assured and I'd think that I was a bit of a geek.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reformation Sunday

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. In doing so, he broke faith with the church he loved and longed to serve, but which had moved far from where it had been left by Christ.

Our church celebrated this Sunday by remembering the courage it took to stand up to the church authorities of the day. To his end, Luther grieved for the church in which he had been raised.

Our pastor preached today on Psalm 73. It seems an odd choice at first -- an Old Testament psalm speaking to the Reformation? Yet it was meaningful and a clear message for us in our time.

In this psalm Asaph cries out to God asking why the wicked prosper. He admits to God that he himself has almost slipped into sin, abandoning faith, when it seems that there is no gain or profit or even joy in believing in and following God. And yet, he is profoundly grateful that God has shown him a glimpse of the final destiny of those people whose prosperity he envied. Their temporal, or earthly, outcome may look really juicy, but they will spent eternity separate from God.

A true believer in Christ does not wish that fate on anyone. We know the joy and love and complete acceptance that flows from a personal intimate relationship with Jesus. And we grieve that our prosperous neighbors, some of whom are REALLY NICE people, but without Christ, are condemned.

Lord, please give me an urgency in my soul to minister to and share your word of Truth with my neighbors, friends and family members who do not have personal relationships with you. Bind me from using your Truth in a way that does not glorify you, but instead allow me to use it to wrap them in love and kindness. Amen

Scenic Sunday

These two are under sunny skies today, taken from the
canoe by my almost-13 year old son...when he wasn't
chasing geese. Sigh.

The absolute perfect weekend for scenery. This was
under gray skies yesterday in
NORTHERN VIRGINIA, USA (just outside Washington, D.C.)

Go see other beautiful scenes at Scenic Sunday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Done Fell!

I just wanted to give you a look at the leaves before they were all gone. It's been a brief color season because of the intense rain we've had. But today was just sunny enough to take photos.

This is our house and you can see why I talk
about being 'in the woods'...
The white roof is eco-friendly because
it is so reflective, but I'm still
getting used to it myself.
And while the leaves are very pretty now,
I find them less pretty when we're raking them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

And the Teen Said...

we were commiserating over the words that some idiot posted for the Wordzzle this week.

Teen: those are hard.

Me: yeah. What was I thinking?

Teen: Abstemious? You gave her abstemious?

Me: I like words with multiple syllables.

Teen: Me too.

Me: You are your mother's child.

Teen: Who else's child would I be?

ZING! 2 points to the teen!

p.s. That's her with Lucky Lindy. There IS a connection...

Short Friday Observations

On Wednesday we answered a question on the Random Dozen about when Christmas Music should start playing. I (and most people) said the day after Thanksgiving, or that weekend.

Today I was in the car. Note that today's date is October 23, 2009. I switched on the radio to listen to one of the teachers I most enjoy listening to on Christian radio -- R.C. Sproul's "Renewing Your Mind."

And was very unhappy. Today they started the broadcast of the Christmas story, "The Word Became Flesh."

So I went back to rock and roll. Sigh.


My daughter participates in a film contest each summer run by our public library system. Monday night they reviewed the films and announced the overall winner. We weren't able to attend because she was sick, so today we viewed the winning film on Youtube. It's awful. This has nothing to do with my daughter's film. This has to do with the library system rewarding truly tasteless cinema with an award that will encourage other kids to sink down rather than reach up with their film making.

Don't believe me? Go see it for yourself.

I'm not posting my daughter's because this isn't a comparison or a sour grapes thing -- but a "what the heck were they thinking?" thing. Ick.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Visual Idiom -- Get It?

This is an expression I used to hear, but don't hear much anymore.
On the other hand, I think the practice is far more common than anyone
wants to admit -- especially on Wall Street!

Quilly got it!

Three Word Thursday

It's Quilly Time again! Step up to the challenge and help us rescue obscure, dying words! This week's are maleolent, xenization, and pigritude. Play along by writing a story or an installment of a's fun! Thanks again Quilly!

Alice stared with dismay at the piles of paper on her desk. She had only been gone a week from the office, but there was at least three weeks worth of work piled there. Petitions, pleas, motions, and decrees were staring at her, challenging her to get past her pigritude and enter into a state of productivity. Guiltily, she realized that if she didn’t do so, other people whose income depended on her generating income would also be adversely affected. She sighed and started working through the first pile.

Four billable hours later, Alice stretched and realized she was hungry. A search in the office refrigerator revealed only a maleolent container of dubious origin. Making a face she quickly dropped it into the trash bin and grabbed a chewy bar from the basket on the counter. On her way back to her office, she stopped to chat with her legal assistant, Kat. This sparkly young lady, freshly graduated from college, had been Alice’s first legal client. Alice remembered that serving as Kat’s guardian ad litem had been a thrill and a challenge. Fortunately, the willful young Kat had turned into a determined young Kat on a very different path.

“So Kat,” began Alice. “If you’re a 9 year old boy and you don’t know who to trust, what do you do?” She had filled Kat in on the details of Adam’s case earlier just in case the Bar Ethics committee came looking for Alice at the behest of Adam’s father. The young lady’s smile faded, and she began slowly. “Well . . . you may not want to hear this Alice, but I think the boy is a danger to himself and others. With what he’s been through, it would be completely normal for him to be abnormal, if you know what I mean. Kids who are abused often hide within themselves. What’s left for outsiders to deal with is often a mask – and kids are smart. They know which mask to use with each adult they encounter. You said he took to Luke like a house afire, but took all afternoon to trust you. He could be engaging in a kind of xenization within the world he finds himself, but adapting quickly. That kind of adaptation is highly unstable.” She paused, “I should know. I did it myself.”

“But you never hurt anyone,” Alice countered. “No…but do you remember that I cut all the stuffed animals in the house to ribbons when I was placed with that one family?”Kat asked. “Yes, and boy did it take some fast talking with the judge for me to keep you out of the looney bin!” Alice agreed. “Well, the father in that family reminded me of my abuser. I just had a feeling about it and was terrified. That was the only way I had figured out to get out of the situation. Now think about Adam. He was in the woods with his mom, who he feels a need to save, and here comes Luke who wants to save him by taking him away from his mom. He didn’t have any scissors or stuffed animals. He had to stop Luke in whatever way he could.”

The girl paused, then continued. “Alice, I think he could be a danger to the Carmody family. There may be some part of what his dad is saying that is true – Adam is sick and needs some help. Even if he's the one who has created the situation, he may be right about its effect in Adam. And, one thing you have taught me Alice is that just because you don't like Trent Tradoch doesn't mean he is the one who abused Adam.”

“Thanks, Kat,” Alice replied. “I needed your perspective. I think I need to make some phone calls."

"Alice, one more thing?" inquired Kat. Alice nodded for her to go ahead. "Is Luke still on the "Do Not Accept Calls" List?" Alice laughed and said, "I guess not. We have a lot to talk about." Kat's sunny smile broke back out, "then do you want to know that he has called seven time this morning? And the last time he said he'd be coming over with lunch at 11:30?"

Kat thought she heard Alice humming as she went back to her office.


Last Friday I was reviewing part of my Bible Study lesson. It suggested that we make a list of all the people we come into contact with each day, and pray that our interactions with them would be as befits someone who says they live to serve the Lord. That I morning I prayed specifically about my going to the gym later, as that is the arena where I am surrounded by the largest number of people who I don't know their 'religious' views. I prayed that I would model Christ in a way that pleases Him.

Well, I blew it. There was a guy who was being a real equipment hog -- setting up the machine, pushing a few reps, and then walking away for 10-15 minutes. I needed the bench he was using, and knew I could wheel it to where I needed it and get it back in time. As I was wheeling it away, he came running back and confronted me. Instead of doing what I had PRAYED SPECIFICALLY TO DO, I snapped at him and was not very nice. No cusswords, just not very nice and surrendered the bench in a less than conciliatory attitude.

I went over to another area and started working on the next set of muscles. As I started some reps I heard the Lord's voice in my head saying, "Go apologize." I mentally replied, "he was the jerk. I am not going to apologize." Again I heard, "Go apologize." I replied, "I'm not ready." Again, "Go apologize." So I sighed and mentally said, "okay, after I finish this set." "No. Go do it right now." I spent the next three minutes continuing the set and mentally rationalizing that it didn't make sense to stop in the middle of a set to go do it, but that I would when I was finished.

I finished the set and went to find him. He was gone. He had left the gym. And I felt awful -- not awful for his sake, but that I had not been immediately obedient. That apology was hanging over me all weekend. I planned on Monday to go apologize but my daughter was sick so we spent the morning at the doctor. So the apology hung over me another two days. I knew that on Wednesday he wouldn't be there because I work out in the afternoon after CBS, and I'd always seen him in the morning. If I'd only done it when God told me to, I'd be at peace!

But, on Wednesday afternoon, God was gracious. As I was working out and in the middle of a set, the guy walked in and started working across the room. I immediately stopped what I was doing (MID-SET!) and went over and apologized for my anger. His reaction: "Sure, no problem." That was it. Done. And I was immediately at peace.

I felt better because I had finally done what God had told me to do. Did it change the guy's behavior? No. Did he in any way acknowledge he was part of it? No. But did I learn a lesson about immediate obedience? Absolutely yes!

One of the interesting things in this learning process was that the day of the confrontation, another guy saw it. He's one of my 'gym buds' that I usually chat with somewhere during the workout. He called me over after the confrontation and told me, "he always does that. You should tell the managers." I was still frustrated and told him that I had specifically prayed about my attitude at the gym today and look what happened. I told my friend, "I need to apologize, but I'll do it in a few minutes." He just shook his head at my folly. On Monday when another gym-bud called to ask why I hadn't been there that morning, I told her about the incident. She said, "he's not allowed to do that! You should have talked to a manager!" I explained the whole apology thing to her and she said, "You have nothing to apologize for!"

You would think that those things would have made me feel better. They were truly concerned about me, and they were on my side, but they didn't get the point of who God is and why I needed to apologize. They were very well-meaning, but completely wrong. And it is my responsibility to know the difference between Godly and un-Godly counsel.

So, lessons learned:
1. Praying specifically will give me opportunities to blow it if I'm not God-aware!
2. When God says apologize, do it immediately
3. When my friends say, "don't worry about it," they're wrong.
4. If I'm willing to apologize to a stranger, I need to be willing to do it with my husband.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Random Dozen

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee has provided some more brain-taxing questions. Don't hurt yourself, but come play along!

1. Candy corn: Your thoughts? It wouldn't seem like Halloween without it around, but the taste has either radically altered since I was a child or it just never was very good and I didn't realize it in the excitement of the season.

2. Briefly, what was the first conversation you ever had with your spouse? (or best friend, if you're not married.) (Or someone significant, like your librarian.)
I thought my spouse was interested in my friend I ran around with so I didn't talk to him. His first memorable question to me was, "do you want to dance?" I was astonished because she was a former model - why on earth would he be asking ME to dance?

3. Could you ever become a vegetarian? Only if medical reasons required it.

4. Have you ever dressed up your pet in a costume? Our pet is a budgie (parakeet). Trust me, it wouldn't be worth the blood drawn in the attempt.

5. Name something about childhood that you miss (like Clark Bars, Teaberry Gum, Malibu Barbie, cracking fake eggs on people's heads with your fist and "It's the Great Pumpkin" airing only once a year).
My grandfather.

6. Have you ever won a trophy? If not, what do you deserve a trophy for? Yes, but for totally stupid stuff -- bowling league when I was a kid.

7. When do you think is the appropriate time to begin playing Christmas music each year? The day after Thanksgiving.

8. What's your favorite board game? Mastermind.

9. How do you feel about surprises (receiving, not giving)? Queasy, seriously. I like to say I'm spontaneous and flexible, but I really would rather be in control. Surprises are very disconcerting to people who like to be in control.

10. Is it easy for you to say, "I'm sorry?" To say it is much easier than owning it. Still working on that part.

11. What is your favorite candle scent? Something that evokes Christmas -- bayberry or cinnamon?

12. October is traditionally "open house" time in public schools. If you had a literal open house in your home (like a reception) what light snacks would you serve visitors and what would you show them (as in art projects, graded papers) that would uniquely represent you? We have an open house (in effect) every other Friday night when we host/lead a Homebuilders study in our home. After doing this for several years, I have long since stopped obsessing about presentation. I just plump a few pillows, arrange the chairs, and whip up some brownies or fruit and my husband makes coffee...somewhere along the way I realized I was focusing on the external (will they like me?) and not on the eternal (the lesson). I'm much happier now. So I guess the answer is that I hope what would uniquely represent me is me being welcoming.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Microfiction Monday

Boy, if you need to learn brevity in your writing as I do, this is a challenge for you! Susan at Stony River inaugurated a new game today. I love a challenge, especially if Thom is playing. Here's what Susan writes about it:

About Microfiction Monday

Microfiction means the shortest of short stories. Think Aesop's fables, comic strips, or even jokes: they're complete stories that can be told in under a minute. For this game, the limit is a tweetable 140 characters or fewer.

Every Sunday evening I'll post my own 'microfiction' inspired by a photo or illustration. If you'd like to join me, just use that week's picture for your own 140-story, and let your imagination go wild. If that degree of brevity scares you, feel free to use my own microfiction of the week as your first line instead, and spin something longer.

You can leave your story in the comments
here, or post on your own blog and leave your link in these comments instead: I'll switch to Mr. Linky if we get a few folks playing along. (Southlakesmom note: PLAY EVERYONE! WE LOVE MR. LINKY)

Here's mine (Southlakesmom) with apologies to Dorothy Sayers:

“Peter, do you think she minds me driving?” He replied, “ Harriet, you are the only woman in my life besides Mrs. Merdle.” The car purred.


Guess Again!

More license plates! Some of these aren't so much to 'guess' but to share with you my amusement at the creativity (and boldness) some people display!

PRTYGL partygirl

DRMBOAT dreamboat

GA PEICH georgia peach

CELRDR cellar door

INTNS intense or in tennis?

HKYWGN hockey wagon or hooky wagon for homeschoolers?

MKWAVZ make waves

GR82DIV great to dive


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Night Fever

I'm riffing from Thom and doing the Sunday Stealing meme. I just can't countenance Stealing though, so I'll have to just borrow it long enough to personalize it. If you want more details, you'll need to go see Thom.

Sunday Stealing: The ABC's of Meme

A- Advocate for: Truth

B- Best Feature: Moments of Humility

C- Could do without: TV, Pop Culture, Politics

D- Dreams and desires: Dream and desire is to live honestly and in Truth

E- Essential items: my family

F- Favorite past time: writing

G- Good at: cooking, writing, getting teenagers out of bed in time for the bus

H- Have never tried: skydiving

I- If I had a million dollars: I'd divide it between some missionaries we support, wounded warriors, and Crystal Peaks Ranch

J- Junkie for: chocolate

K- Kindred spirit: my friend, K.H.

L- Little known fact: I was born with reverse club feet.

M- Memorable moment: the first time I held my first child in my arms

N- Never again will I: say never again

O- Occasional indulgence: chocolate, red wine

P- Profession: lawyer, mom (no one pays me for being a mom but the rewards are infinitely better)

Q- Quote: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
- spoken by Atticus Finch, by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

R- Reason to smile: my God, my family

S- Sorry about: the ways in which I disappoint the one who created me

T- Things you are worrying about right now: I don't worry.

U- Uninterested in: pop culture, TV

V- Very scared of: nothing. See "T"

W- Worst habits: judgmentalism, intransigence

Y- Yummiest dessert: Quick After Battle Triple Chocolate Cake

X- X marks my ideal vacation spot: Germany

Z- Zodiac sign: Libra

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Perspectives

I love the internet most of the time. One can experience the entire range of emotions without leaving a comfy chair or even changing out of pajamas!

One of the neatest thing about it are the interactive websites and blogs where community begins to form. One of those is freecycle. I know I've written about it before -- from the perspective of cleaning out my house. But I recently learned from a freecycle "friend" how the items she is accumulating are being used. I posted an offer of a small Ikea lamp that was brand new in the box. She responded asking for it for an immigrant family she was helping to resettle. Intrigued, I asked if there was anything else we could provide in addition to the light. She e-mailed me a short description of what they need (linens) and this story. I've x-d some things to protect the family:

The dad in this family was assisted in escaping from the conflict in ***** by some people in an NGO. One of these folks gave the dad a slip of paper with the name and address of our church and told him that we would help him if he could get to us.

He was given a one-way ticket to JFK and $450 in cash. He went to the taxi line, showed them his paper and finally got one of the drivers to bring him to *****, leaving him with about $25 (good thing ***** isn't in California.) We have NO IDEA who sent him to us, or why, but we now just assume it's a God thing.

Dad was granted asylum. After that, he worked, put himself through school and petitioned to bring his wife and two children here. Now, four years later, they are reunited.

We have learned a lot from this experience, including that God doesn't just want us to work for others when we decide it's convenient, or when those in need are particularly appealing, or schooled in gratitude. This has been a very difficult lesson for some of us. It has been an informal sort of project at the church. We passed ***** around a lot during the 2 years it took him to get asylum.

I wonder whether I would have the staying power to hang in there when, as my friend says, those in need aren't particularly appealing or schooled in gratitude. I'm afraid, when I look back at how I've helped others, it has often been with a box-checking attitude. There was joy in the doing, but I was always relieved when it was 'finished.'

Lord, forgive me for the times you've sent me one of your lambs and I've not found it convenient to help in the way you've shown me to do. You know my heart and I sincerely apologize for the yuck you see there. Help me to do better. Amen

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Go look for yourself

A young mom friend of mine has a blog. She is really funny. In my house, I think I'm funny and occasionally the people who live with me agree (mostly they just go along with it because I cook the food and bake cookies). But Glennon is REALLY FUNNY, and so beautifully transparent and loves the Lord...

So if you're looking for a good laugh out loud, check her out:

And if you become one of her followers I won't be jealous. As long as you're not someone in my family in which case no more cookies for YOU!

Three Word Thursday

Quilly gives us words that are in danger of extinction. And each Thursday we try to make sense of them. I can see why some of them are in danger of extinction! They should be! Nevertheless, this week I've tried to do my best with tenellous, utible, and nubivagant. Join us! By the way, if you're having trouble picking up the thread of the story (I've skipped it a couple of weeks), go here first.

Alice and her dad crept up to the campsite where Adam had called from. They didn’t know what the boy’s words had meant. Alice hoped against hope that Adam was innocent in all this but she was beginning to wonder.

Peering through the foliage, an awful sight greeted them. Luke was sprawled face down on the ground with a huge wound at the back of his skull. From where they were, Alice and Sam could not discern whether Luke was breathing. There was no sign of Adam.

Before Sam could stop her, Alice rushed into the clearing. She kneeled down beside Luke and checked for breath. It was shallow but steady. She checked his pulse and was reassured that he was indeed, stable. The wound was messy but apparently his hard headedness had other benefits than just driving her crazy. Alice arose and looked around.

From behind a fat pine tree, Adam stepped out. He was covered with blood. “Adam, are you okay?” Alice asked. The boy nodded an affirmative. Looking off to his left he said to someone else, “it’s okay. It’s Alice. We can trust her.” A woman emerged from the woods to stand beside Adam. “Alice, I’m sorry but Luke tried to tie her up. I had to hurt him to stop him from hurting my mother.” Adam’s voice was trembling.

Alice spoke to the woman. “I’m trying to help your son. This isn’t the way to go about it.”

The woman replied in a flat voice, “there’s no hope. His father will get him back because he has all the money. He always wins.” She sat down suddenly and buried her head in her arms. Adam dropped down and put his arms around her.

Alice approached them cautiously but steadily. She sat down across from the pair. “Adam, you have to help me here. You’re the key to getting your mother some help and keeping you safe. You’re old enough now to say what has happened and who has done it. I made arrangements for you to go someplace safe, and I’m sure your mother can come with you.” Alice wondered where she had been all this time, but now was not the time to ask.

The woman shook her head “no” and appeared to shrink within herself. “I’m not going back. If I do, it will hurt Adam.” She turned to her son, “Adam, you need to go with this lady and make a new life for yourself. If your dad can get to me, he will control you. I will never be far away, and if you really need to see me, I’ll arrange it. But I have to stay away from you in order to protect you.”

To Alice she said, “in the safe deposit box at Merchant’s Trust, Number 237, is a medical file. It shows all of the abuses Adam has suffered at the hands of his father over the years. Adam knows where the key is hidden.”

Alice asked, “why haven’t you come forward before? Why can’t you come forward now? We have laws that protect women and children from abuse!”

The woman shook her head. She turned to Adam and with a tenellous gesture, smoothed the hair on the back of his head. “I have to go Adam. She needs to call for some help for that man.” And with that statement, she began walking back into the woods.

Three days later Alice was in a courtroom as a witness. She listened as Adam’s father, Trent Tradoch, talked about the boy’s mental instability. “He wanders nubivagantly, occasionally talking to himself, and occasionally causing himself injury. That’s all those injuries are – nothing more. As for this story about his mother, it’s all a fairy tale. She has never been interested in him. My son is seriously ill, and no one but me knows how to deal with him.” The man sounded as if his heart was breaking, but Alice didn’t know what to think.

The District Attorney asked for more time for the court to assess Adam and the judge granted it. In the meantime, Adam was to stay in protective custody with Ben Carmody’s family.

That evening, back at the farm, Alice and Luke sat on the front step watching the sun set and talking about Adam. The bandage on Luke's head was a reminder to Alice that this was more than just an interesting story. It was real and had happened in her life. “The trouble is, I don’t know what to believe,” Alice said. Luke agreed, “yeah, until the rock hit my head I thought he was just a young kid needing help. Now I wonder whether there’s something more going on with him. Alice, why didn’t the DA introduce those medical records we found in the safety deposit box?”

She shook her head, “I don’t know. For some reason he thinks they’re not utible in court. There’s more to this than either one of us can fathom.”

Luke smiled at her, “well, at least it got us talking again, and you don’t seem very mad at me anymore.”

Alice smiled back, “Luke, I’m going to have a hard time trusting you after what you’ve put me through, but seeing you lying on the ground like that, and thinking you were dead…” her voice trailed off.

Luke whispered, “you wanted to come and give me mouth to mouth, right?”

Alice snorted, “no, more like CPR so I could pound on your chest and call it medical attention!”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Worth Knowing

I go to Community Bible Study at Christian Fellowship Church in Ashburn, Virginia every Wednesday. It's not my home church, but my home church isn't big enough to host a CBS class. CFC is a BBIIGG church. They have a coffee shop and lunch counter, play area inside, and a bookstore. It's also a very generous church. They bend over backwards and turn inside out to accommodate our class meeting there. They are incredibly faithful stewards with what God has given them.

Today I stopped into the bookstore, The Faithful Source, because my son needs a new Bible. He left his somewhere and it disappeared. We just pray that whoever ended up with really needed one!

At any rate, I found what I wanted and started to pay for it. I got him an "Air Force" Bible (if you know my son, you know why). I commented to the lady that he will love it. She pointed out that they have some $5 service member's Bibles that you can purchase, personalize, and bring back to CFC and they will ship them to the troops serving overseas.
What a cool idea this is! My almost 13 year old son can personalize a Bible on the first few pages by writing an encouraging letter to someone he's never met -- and then we don't have to pay for shipping?

We've participated in a lot of "get stuff for the soldiers" drives. I've even taken the 30 boxes to the post office and paid for the postage. When our troops first went into Iraq and Afghanistan and didn't have any PX facilities, that stuff was essential.

But this is life changing. A blanket or some socks will make a soldier feel better for the moment. The Gospel will change their eternal destinies.

I encourage you to ask your Christian book store whether they're doing something like this. And if not, would they like to participate?


Randomly Answering the Dozen

Lidna, over at 2nd Cup of Coffee, asks a Random Dozen questions each Wednesday. You can answer in as much detail as you want . . . or not! Thanks Lidna!

1. I've always wondered why we were taught both printing and cursive. Do you prefer to print or write cursive? (Keyboard is not a choice.) I do a mixture of both. If I'm writing to my grandmother, my best cursive. If I'm leaving a note that has to be clearly understood, I print. Anywhere in between, I do sort of a "cursint". It's legible and quick.

2. Are you a dreamer or a realist? Yes. Dreamer for my kids, realist for me.

3. Billy Joel or Elton John? Billy Joel, definitely. Elton John is just creepy. Talented, but creepy.

4. What is the scariest movie you've ever seen? Not limited to horror flicks but also includes ones where the tension or suspense is killer, for example, Flightplan (2005): A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet the child vanishes and nobody admits she was ever on that plan. I don't watch these movies. My empathy threshold is too low.
I mean really, I used to cry when the commercial came on at Christmas where the college kid came home at night and started the Maxwell House perking and the little brother came down and said, "Joey's home!" or whatever. You think I can sit through a whole movie where a kid is endangered?

5. Now what is the scariest real-life moment you've had? Child's cord wrapped around her neck during birth, and 30 second emergency C-section.

6. What word do you misspell without fail? I rarely misspell words. I mistype words, but not misspell. It's a gift. Or a curse. Depends on your point of view. The curse is that texting abbreviations really bug me. Or misspellings on blogs or websites. If they're my friends and trying to sell something, I have to point it out to them. I call it courtesy. They probably call it Anal-retentive.

7. Name something you like to do but are not really talented or good at. Being a sensible human being I tend to AVOID things that make me look stupid (like things I'm not talented or good at), but I do work out. And I know I look stupid doing so.

8. Do you get your emotional/mental batteries recharged by being around people or by having alone time? Yes. Depends on the people.

9. Have you ever been on TV? Well, I've sat on one that was on the floor. The really big old-fashioned kind with a CRT so there was enough width to sit.

10. Apple or pumpkin pie? (Don't be greedy.) Pumpkin. All the way. Every day. Any time.

11. How many magazine subscriptions do you have? Ummm, I think 4. And they are all gifts from others! When my kids were little and I read Family Fun magazine I realized that most magazines were designed to make me dissatisfied with my life…and I stopped getting them.

12. What lesson do you have to keep re-learning? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight. I can memorize it, I can quote it, but can I do it for more than 2 minutes at a time? Sheesh. I'm a slow learner.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Backing Up

I have a confession to make. I have some weird little idiosyncrasies associated with driving.

One has to do with the seat belt warning noise. I grew up in the pre-required seat belt era, and we slid all over the seats as our family station wagon trekked across country from military assignment to military assignment. By the time I learned to drive most cars had buzzers that told us to "BUCKLE UP." The buzzers were obnoxious and I wanted to be a good little 'rules compliant' driver so I clicked every time. When my kids came along, the warning tones were less obnoxious, but I was so habituated to it that I just did it automatically and made them do so as well. And if I left it off for a moment so I could finish doing something with one hand and drive with the other, I didn't get very far down the street before a child yelled, "Mom! Seat belt!"

But there is one time when, no matter how polite the warning tone is, I refuse to buckle. That is when I am backing out of my driveway. I live in the bottom of a slight hollow and the driveway rises to the street. The street is a cul-de-sac and we're in the base of it, so the small children in my neighborhood go running across there without a lot of situational awareness.

I get in, use my left foot pushing against the floorboard to hike me up a little in my seat. I swivel my body around to the right and put my right arm on the passenger seat. Then I swivel my body further so I can turn my head around and see up the drive. I imagine I'm like an owl swiveling its neck around to see what is behind it. Then I put my right foot on the gas and head up the drive.

And that stupid little dinger goes on and on. Because the car is a hybrid the noise is disproportionately loud. It rings incessantly, ranting at me, "YOU HAVEN'T BUCKLED UP YET!"

So today I did something dumb. I stopped, and automatically reached over and turned the radio button down. To stifle the noise. It didn't work. What was I thinking?


Saturday, October 10, 2009

More Imaginative Plates









Feel free to post your guesses! I don't think I'll ever run out of vanity plates here in the D.C. area!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Unfortunate Selection

Let me say right up front that I DO NOT dislike this President. I AM NOT an Obama-hater. In fact, I pray for all our leaders regularly -- for their health, welfare, and that they will use Godly wisdom to lead our country.

That said, even he must have wondered what on earth the Nobel Prize committee was thinking. He was nominated for the prize when he had been in office less than TWO WEEKS! And even now, less than a year in, he hasn't had TIME to do anything that significantly impacts the cause of world peace. This isn't his fault -- these are grave questions of policy that require time to understand, and then to make decisions upon.

The Nobel Prizes are always politically charged. If you listen to people in the world of the sciences, you hear many accusations of political motivation and favoritism being slung about. I don't know enough about those fields to comment knowledgeably about them. But anytime a bunch of money and prestige is at stake, there will be political maneuvering going on behind the scenes.

Perhaps the Nobel Committees make these selections on purpose hoping to EFFECT a change rather than reward a factual event. With the best intentions, they try to move forward agendas they favor rather than review what has actually occurred.

If that is the case, then regarding our President, they decided that the cause of world peace had been advanced based on campaign promises they heard from him. When he was nominated for the prize, that's all they had to work with. Perhaps they give credit for the additional time he has served in office up to the day they decided to award the prize. And the actual things he has done to merit that are . . . ?

So, I see this as one of two possibilities:

1. The Nobel Committee believes that it is okay to award the prize to someone who hasn't accomplished anything yet but with hope that the person can fulfill promises made during a political campaign. OR, and more sinister

2. The Nobel Committee is trying to direct the U.S.'s National and International policy by hamstringing the President with this award so everyone can be aghast when the responsibilities of his position require him to make choices that do not reflect the Nobel agenda.

Lord, give our President and his advisers Godly wisdom as they move forward in the tasks they must deal with today. Order their day with YOUR agenda and protect their hearts from manipulation by the enemy. We know from Scripture that true peace will not come to the world until your Son returns, so we ask that He return quickly. Amen


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Three Word Thursday

I think one of Quilly's missions in life is to help us overcome writer's block. Unfortunately, the words in Three Word Thursday do not always contribute to a cure. Obsolete, discarded, and unloved words find their way into her meme and challenge us to think beyond the obvious. Well, I'm not sure I was able to succeed in that this week, but I have given it a valiant try. If you read this and think you can do better, you probably can, so please do! Join us! And leave comments!

p.s. I really struggled with misqueme -- I couldn't decide whether it was a noun or a verb. Quilly used it as a noun which 'sounds' right to me, but when I googled it, others used it as a verb. Oh well. Maybe that's why it's obsolete.

Muriel awoke feeling vaguely out of sorts with the world. Wondering whether she should indulge the mood or shake it off, she pulled herself out of the warm cocoon of covers and plodded to the kitchen. Her brain screamed, “COFFEE!” but the carafe was empty. “Oh, the pain of having to make my own coffee and then wait for it to perk,” she grumbled.

The coffee maker began its comforting hum of noises that indicated the precious brew was on its way, so she turned her attention to the newspaper headlines. It was all bad news, gloom and doom. She flipped the paper over to read the headlines beneath the fold. They weren’t quite as lurid, but they were still far from anything that would inspire a person to go out and face the day.

Muriel sighed and pulled the Food section out. At this she brightened. The first page story was about a new confectioner’s opening up in her area. She wondered whether this tragematopolist would carry her favorite German goodies, Kinder Eggs. Muriel loved how the thin layer of absolutely delicious chocolate concealed a capsule in which a small toy was secreted. One of her favorite tricks was to remove the toy, seal the capsule, and poke it into the pot of a giant plant at the mall. She imagined the finder of the capsule as different people. Its vacivity disappointed a small child, annoyed a gardener, or even threw a Secret Service agent into full-alarm mode if the First Family was shopping nearby. These scenarios led to endless imaginative plays in her mind, none of which ever seemed worthy to set down in her writing.

Muriel was shaken out of her reverie when the coffee pot beeped, and armed with a fresh cup, she began her day in earnest. Seated in front of her computer screen, she was once again confronted by her stalled story. When she had last left it, the heroine had misquemed the sheriff, the boy was still in danger and the hero was hurt. The dogs were clearly the solution to the problem but how could she work them in?