Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weather Forecasting

I love checking the weather on-line to see what might be coming our way.  As I view the satellite photos I marvel at how much we can see and predict - and how much we can't.  I reflect on the fact that even fifty years ago farmers and people who were close to the land knew what was coming because they understood the signs.  They watched the animals' behavior. They watched the clouds. They observed how water was moving. The felt in their very marrow the change in the atmospheric pressure that signaled a storm, and often how big a storm it would be.

I remember reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, The Long Winter.  Reading it as a child I completely missed the implication of the family huddled around the stove, doing nothing, having nothing to eat, trying to harvest enough snow to melt so they'd have a little water to drink.  Re-reading it as an adult I came to understand the true meaning of the word "stupid" and have tried very hard to not misuse it since then.  I thought about how Laura was only a little over four feet tall as an adult, and I wonder how much of that was due to the malnutrition and hardship of her early years.

Yesterday it snowed here.  It started around 8 in the morning and didn't let up until after nightfall.  It wasn't like our pre-Christmas blizzard storm, but it still left a significant amount of the white stuff on the trees and ground.  Much more than had been predicted initially.  We could tell it was coming by watching the birds at our feeders.  And in the midst of it, we could just look at them and know how cold it was.  They were all fluffed out -- they all looked like footballs with beaks except during the moments they were flying.  The minute they landed somewhere they fluffed back up.  There was a riot of robins huddled in and around our front porch snuggling into the mulch next to the house.  

All day long the chickadees, juncoes, sparrows, wrens, finches and downy woodpeckers darted back and forth from the feeders to wherever they were holed up.  My son's bike is near the feeders and lots of the smaller birds used it as a launching point.  They also loved my husband's car tires -- they'd fly in from the bushes, rest a minute on the tires under the overhang of the wheel well, and then launch over to the feeder.  

The photos aren't very good.  We didn't want to get close enough to disturb them -- they were doing all they could to just stay warm and fed.  But they do show the footballs!  

Late in the afternoon a gorgeous cardinal ventured to our suet feeder.  They're not perchers like the woodpeckers, so it is doubtful he got enough suet to make all that flapping to stay on there worth it!  A couple of times we saw a BIG woodpecker.  His problem was that he is so tall, even if he grasped the suet holder at the very bottom, his head stuck out above the top of it.  He had to bend and twist to try to get to the yummy stuff that was somewhere down around his belly level.

This was a gentle storm, and I'm grateful.  No power lines down, and during the day I baked cookies, worked out with the Wii Fit, did laundry, had a shower, read books, played on the short, all of the things that would not have even occurred to the poor Ingalls family as they braved the weather on the prairie, struggling to just survive.

So this morning as we head out to church, we will be grateful and praise the name of Him who provides all, abundantly and miraculously.  Amen.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Four Day Weekend

The kids are out today and and Monday.  When they were in private school and they only got one day at the end of the quarter I thought how wimpy the public school teachers were needing two.  Now I get it -- LOTS more kids, LOTS more hoops to jump through.  And now I love it because the kids get one day off to recover and the other to clean out the backpacks and notebooks and stuff in order to prepare for the next quarter.  Well, theoretically that's what they can/should do.  I'll let you know on Monday evening how that worked out.

So how am I doing on Thanks, Not Cranks?  Well, for a week I couldn't find the bracelet.  Not complainin', just sayin'.  And honestly, I completely forgot about looking for it.  I found it yesterday and didn't put it back on, but should have.  Today at the gym it was a zoo!  All these people who aren't normally home are home because of the school holiday and they were all at the gym!  So I could have used a reminder to be kind and gentle and p.a.t.i.e.n.t.  Whew!

I think this afternoon we'll make snow cookies since we're supposed to get some more tomorrow.  They're actually just cream cheese cut-out cookies like we make at Christmas, but we do snowflake shapes and cover them in white icing and sprinkles.  Will post photos!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Three Word Thursday

Quilly is back (yeah!) and her words are still quite challenging. Resurrecting old words is tough, but fun. Join us!

The words: scaevity, gnathonize, roblet

Kitchen Calamity

"What on earth were you thinking?" roared the Chef.

Selma lifted her hands in the universal helpless gesture. A large bandage on her right hand testified to her scaevity. "I just don't know how it happened," she began. "I was unloading the dishwasher and the knife began to fall and I didn't want it to cut through your new kitchen floor . . ." she trailed off, wide-eyed, as if for the first time fully comprehending the stupidity of saving a floor from a very sharp knife.

Chef Charles shook his head at her. "Selma, that's your problem in the kitchen. You just don't think. To be a successful chef you'll have to learn to think three or four steps ahead all the time. The knife shouldn't have been in the dishwasher in the first place. Last week you used it on raw meat and then went straight to vegetables. We had to throw all of them out. Two weeks ago you nearly severed your pinky finger while trying out new handgrips. If I remember correctly you were singing and dancing to an iPod while you were doing it!"

His demeanor softened as he noticed her eyes filling with tears. "You are incredibly creative at combining flavors and textures - one of the best I've ever met. I learn from you in that area," he said gently. She sniffed and replied, "don't gnathonize me. I know that my being here has been more trouble than it's worth to you."

Charles protested, "no, Selma, I truly do learn from you. But the greatest chefs can balance safety and productivity as well as hold the linear time-line in their head while they also execute the creations their minds have devised -- which is why they're really few and far between. I think you can do that. And once you get a following, you won't have to do as much of prep and clean-up, so you'll have far more time to enjoy the creative process. Those celebrity shows roblet people all the time, making them think that stardom is just around the corner without hard work."

"So, you're going to keep me on?" she asked. "Yes, but I'll have to find something else for you to do today with that wound. Even with a glove over it you'll still be awkward since it's your right hand. First, let's get the mess cleaned up from the floor and counter. Please get the mop." Selma went over to the closet and started to pull out a bucket. Out tumbled a body, with a very sharp knife sticking out of its back. Selma looked at Charles and said, "I did NOT do that!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haiku Wednesday

Haiku is not complicated, and yet it can be very deep. 5-7-5 seems simple. But...fortunately, Jenn at You know ... that Blog? is very kind to beginners, so join in each Wednesday for Silly Haiku.


When will I see change?
Compassionate Creator
Lord, I yield my heart.

Random Dozen

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee is asking DIFFICULT questions again! They're timely though, so if you feel like participating, head over to her blog, get the questions, answer them on your blog, and then link back to her. People will visit your answers and comment -- and you should visit theirs. It is especially important to make sure your link is good (voice of experience!)

Here we Go!

1. How good are you at delaying gratification? On a scale of 1-10, about a 5.
2. Maybe a marshmallow wouldn't be too difficult a temptation for you. What food (or anything else) would be most tempting? Bread, especially from Great Harvest Bread Company.
3. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being saintly) how patient are you? This is one area where God has REALLY worked on me, so I'm up to about a 4 now.
4. Have you ever waited for something in life only to be disappointed upon realization of the goal/object/etc.? Sure! There are Christmas gifts that stand out...even ones I thought I 'wanted'.
5. Are you a person who takes shortcuts? Depends on the subject. Driving, yes. Cooking, sometimes. Cleaning, as often as possible.
6. Which line is hardest to wait in? One in which other people are being unhappy.
7. Did you wait to discover the gender of your unborn child until its birth? Yes for the first, no for the second. We wanted to know the 2nd time whether we could give away the pink clothes.
8. Are you more patient with children or the elderly? Regrettably, children. It's not very God-honoring. Like I said, I'm up to a 4 now.
9. Did you ever sneak a peek at a present? Yes, and always bummed later. In fact, I thought one of the joys of being a grown-up was that I wouldn't have to wait for Christmas morning to open things, but I discovered opening things early just wasn't as fun.
10. What is the longest you've ever waited for anything? Still waiting.
11. Who has more patience, you or your significant other? Depends. He waits a LONG time to mention that he's been waiting a LONG time, whereas I just express it and move on. There is one thing I've been waiting on God to do for twenty years, but God is much more long-suffering than I.
12. Which of the following songs about waiting is your pick for the best? (OK, you may substitute another, if you like.) My favorite about waiting involves acknowledging that waiting is often part of the teaching God is doing. So, this would be my favorite. I love the illustration often used about how if one "helps" the butterfly emerge from the cocoon, the butterfly will be impaired. Sometimes the waiting and struggling is part of God's plan for the victory over self.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Susan at Stony River is at it again. She's given us a photo and a challenge. Write a complete thought or story in 140 characters or less. This one was a bit of a bear but it is always a nice struggle to engage in. Join us!

B: Quit griping about my clothes quantity, you have the cool skates and Coke!
L: Oh yeah? Want to trade for the posture bar?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Complaint or Statement of Fact?

I went to the car dealer today for an appointment for new brakes. (S of F)
The appointment was at 8:30. (S of F)
I was there at 8:30 (S of F)
They told me it would take until 11. (S of F)
At 11:00 I went down the hall to check. (S of F)
They said an hour more. (S of F)
At 12:00 I went down the hall to check. (S of F)
They said 1:00 and offered me a rental car but I declined. (S of F)
At 1:00 I went down the hall to check. (S of F)
They said they were out of the pads and had been waiting for them to be delivered from another dealership. (S of F)
I took the car. (S of F)

I got a lot done, including my Bible Study for the day and some necessary phone calls. (S of F)
Their customer internet was 'off' more than it was 'on'. (S of F)

I didn't rant, I didn't rave, I didn't COMPLAIN . . . but I did insist that they honor the 10% off coupon I'd left on my kitchen table. (S of F)

They did and they're paying for the rental car which is so cool because it has a GPS. I wonder where I can go that I've never been before to try it out and be back in time to pick up my car tomorrow by noon.

So honestly, for all the times in my HEAD that I complained today, I moved the bracelet a couple of times.

But the fact that I didn't drip venom on anyone else feels pretty good this evening. So I think it's working. (S of F)

Anyone want a bracelet?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sad But True

I'm on Day 2 of the "thank not crank" bracelet. I went to get my haircut this afternoon and told my stylist that I wanted something new. Then I told her about the bracelet and that I can't complain about it for 20 days, so she could do something radical!

She didn't go TOO radical, but it is definitely a different style and so far, I like it!

The Sad but True part is that as I sat in the chair I had NOTHING to talk to her about because I was trying to NOT complain about life. That reveals alot to me about what I usually talk about when I'm there. Yikes!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Random Dozen

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee offers us questions for the Random Dozen each Wednesday. So far, I haven't seen any for which I need to "take the fifth" (the right to not self-incriminate). I have had many for which I had to gulp and answer in order to step up to accountability!

Speaking of which, I received a "Thank Not Crank" bracelet today from Linda. THANK YOU! Am I brave enough to wear it beginning Wednesday this week? That is my longest day - it starts at 0515 and doesn't end until after 9 p.m. If there's ever a day in which I run short of thankfulness, it is Wednesday. So we'll see. The sooner I get started . . .

If you want to play along with Random Dozen, go to Linda's site, and copy the questions. Then answer them, and link back to her! It's that easy!

1. So I was thinking about how Jon Bon Jovi never seems to age much. His hair is smaller nowadays, but he still manages to look like a boy somehow. And then that made me think of the story of Dorian Gray. Question: If you physically lock in one age for yourself, which would you choose and why? I'm not sure. I'm happier with myself at this age than I was ten years ago, but a couple of years back I did a marathon so I looked and felt incredible, so maybe 45? I'm pretty happy with 48 too though.

2. What is the best dish that you cook or bake (your piece de resistance?) My kids would say my spaghetti sauce. I think it's the pumpkin cheesecake.

3. When you feel blue, what is one strategy you use to help yourself back to normal? Prayer, call a friend, listen to uplifting music (and sometimes that just happens to be rock-n-roll)
4. When was the last time you danced in public? Speaking of rock-n-roll, I danced with the kids a couple of years ago in the Christmas production at church. And I've been accused of not being able to stand still when we're singing in church - does that count?
5. Do you consider yourself a realist or dreamer? Yes.
6. As a parent, what is one thing that you have done well? Give my children a foundation in the Word of God, but allow them to walk their own journey of faith, not mine.
7. Which is your favorite character on the Andy Griffith show? I love Andy's kind wisdom, but I have great empathy with Barney. So . . . I guess . . . Gomer! Shazam!
8. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Honestly, about 9. I mean, I've never read a biography on him, but I do read the paper and listen to the news, so it is hard to imagine that I've missed anything crucial.
9. Have you never been mellow? Have you never tried … to find a comfort from in side you? (Sorry, Jorge was singing that song just now, and it just seemed to be perfect timing as I was creating this week’s questions.) REAL question: What is your #1 driving pet peeve? Clutter that has arisen from laziness.
10. Which color best represents your mood today? Care to elaborate? Sea Foam Green -- we had Leaders Council for Community Bible Study this morning and I'm just filled up with gratitude to the Lord.
11. If your spouse were an animal, which would he/she be? An eagle. Seriously, he would fly all day, soaring on lifties, diving down to grab a fish, trailing his talons through the water . . . yeah, definitely an eagle.
12. What activity takes up the bulk of your time on an average day?
Funny, there was a piece on time management in the Washington Post Magazine this weekend and I thought about this. The bulk of my time is spent in connection with food - thinking about it, planning for it, fixing it, serving it, cleaning it up. When you have teens at home, food is an ongoing issue as in "do we have enough?" And the answer to that question is, "we will have enough food for a teen male when the devil rides to work on a snow mobile." For further reference, go see Thom.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cursing the . . .

Well, I guess yesterday I was whining and complaining and cursing the darkness, and the light, and everything in between.

I have TERRIBLE distance vision. I had noticed I needed new lenses, especially at night. So I had an appointment, got the prescription and went to get it filled. At the same time, I'm getting to where I need reading glasses, so I got progressive lenses.

Although I can now read the tiny print in my Bible just fine, one of the affects of the progressives is that my peripheral vision is affected. Before where I could just slide my eyes right or left, now I have to move my whole head. Still doable though.

But last night we went out and . . . my ability to discern shapes and read signs is no better than it was with the old prescription. (My husband was driving!).

By the time we got home yesterday evening my eyes were exhausted. So I went to bed while everyone else watched a movie together. This was at 8:30 p.m!

This morning I wore my contacts to the gym -- I don't need to read anything and it makes it easier to exercise. So now my eyes are completely confused and my head hurts again.

BUT, I remembered a few minutes ago (when I was getting ready to gripe out loud again) that our pastor showed a film clip yesterday in honor of Sanctity of Life Sunday. It was of a young man, Patrick Henry Hughes, who defies the label "disabled." If you want to see a clip that will make you stop complaining for a few minutes, see this:

Microfiction Monday

On Mondays, Susan at Stony River gives us engaging photos or illustrations and then asks us to write a story . . . the trick is story has to be 140 characters or fewer. That includes spaces and punctuation. It is a challenge, but a fun one. And it's really easy to visit everyone else because what you need to read while there is short and sweet, and sometimes creepy!

Try it out! Take a look at this illustration and then write your own microfiction. You can post it on your blog, or in the comments to mine! Mine is below the picture.

"Check out these biceps! You should come with me to the gym!"

"I’ll reflect on that suggestion for a while."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Plates

Haven't done this for a while. Decipher these in the comments if you'd like...and if you can decipher them, let's all make guesses as to why that person picked that license plate. These are all Virginia Plates.








Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wii's Social Skills

More about this machine. Today when I started to work out with the Wii it asked me if I'd seen XXX (another player in my house) lately. There's no option for yes or no. It then went on to say, "have you noticed how XXX has been looking lately?" Then it gave me options indicating more or less fitness. So now it's not only rude to me it wants to GOSSIP! Fortunately, I laughed and pressed on.

It does raise a question or two though. These things were designed in Japan. Do they so misunderstand American culture that they don't understand how creepy that is? or they understand American culture enough that they realize we have no societal perception of what's appropriate behavior anymore? Hmmm....I need to think about that.

In the meantime, I'll be riding the island bike on the program. It is great! You just step on the Wii Fit alternating feet as if you're pedaling and chase down targets. It won't let you run over people but there are ramps and water and hills and dales. Lots of fun.

Wii Fit - just don't take it too seriously.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Buy Crayons for Valentine's Day

A friend of mine runs a non-profit and asked me to post this. She makes NO money from this (in fact her husband would say it EATS money), but her heart is to get school supplies to kids who need them. It's that simple.

You probably read the heading and said, "What?! Crayons for Valentine's Day?
Thanks, but no thanks!"

Well, wait a second. Hear us out.
We're not suggesting that you send your honey crayons. We're not that loopy.

What we are saying is take the $100 you would spend on a dozen roses and send crayons, paper, copies of Jane Eyre, whatever, to kids in your sweetheart's home state. Maybe even kids in the school your schnookums graduated from. When your darling sees how much joy you have spread in their name, you will get a reward. We practically guarantee it.

So, see what stuff the kids need for school, buy some and then sit back and wait for the love to wash over you.

It's as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Pick a classroom:
2. Buy some supplies
3. Put your sweetie's down as the Honoree

The love of your life will get thank you notes like these and love you even more for it:

Thank you for the rulers. Now we can measure all types of things like books and shoes. It just was a good idea."

Thank you so much for the notebook paper for our classroom! We are so thankful for your generous donation. This will be a great help to us as we are preparing for our state writing tests! Mrs. M's Class

Dear Sir and Lady, We are so happy for the supplies you sent us. We only had one pencil left in our writing center. Thank you.

Dearest Donor, On behalf of myself and my students, I can't begin to thank you enough for the wonderful surprise I received today. And, such great timing too! Today we actually ran out of the many pencils I had purchased for my students. I was sure that I had at least 30 at the beginning of this week alone. I can't wait to show my kids all of the goodies they've received and look forward to them sharing their thankfulness with you. Much thanks and appreciation for everything!! Have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday
season!! Ms. K

Dear person who gave us things. Thank you so much for the erasers, pencils, and markers. We really needed the pencils very bad.

Put a smile on someone's face today.

Supply Our Schools

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spiritual Emergency Kit

Have any of you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere? You know, that uncomfortable feeling that everyone knows the social secret and you don’t? Have you ever felt like a struggle you’re dealing with is so unique, or so terrible, that you shouldn’t share it because people wouldn’t like you anymore? That’s me.

In Genesis 2:18, before the fall, while the world was still perfect, God said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” What did he mean by that?

Most use of that passage focuses on the issue of marriage. But I think it also speaks to an issue that extends beyond the marriage relationship. I think God meant it for all of mankind. Adam did not look at all those animals paired off and ask God for anything – he did not ask for a being like himself. GOD knew that Adam needed to be with another of his kind. What had God placed in us that would only be satisfied by fellowship with another human?

H e knew that we would function better if we were together. Together we would encourage one another and would be his hands and feet to one another, would direct one another back to him – and because the world was still perfect, we would worship him together. So he created Eve. And all was perfect for a while. But then the Enemy crept in. And notice, he got them separate from one another, and then appealed to her pride. And instead of owning it, she immediately shared it with Adam. Thus, the man and the woman were banished from the garden for their

disobedience, and we began our struggle against the fellowship need God placed within each of us.

Our struggle against that fellowship need creates isolation.

Isolation is defined as:

  • a state of separation between persons or groups
  • a feeling of being disliked and alone

Some of its synonyms are: separation, loneliness, alienation, disaffection, estrangement

When we are isolated, it gives the enemy the opportunity to play the tape loop in our head that makes us doubt our worthiness before the Lord which makes us judgmental and critical.

Most of my life I’ve thought I was missing some essential secret that everyone else knew instinctively. From not being athletic, or witty or charming enough, along the way I learned that I always needed to be “better”. I was concerned with pleasing other people and trying to fit in, but no matter what I did, it was rarely the correct solution. That began to change in 1993 when I surrendered my life to Christ, but in truth, I struggle nearly every day with whether I’m measuring up to some standard that I don’t fully understand and I will probably always struggle with believing that I am “good enough”.

People would say, “but you know the Lord! How can you think that way?” Yes, I know the Lord, and I suspect that many of us who do know the Lord feel this way at least on occasion. We feel like we don’t belong. And we feel like we’re "bad" Christians for feeling this way. So no one ever talks about it.

So we draw away from one another. But Hebrews 10:24 says, Let us not give up meeting together. Why? Because when we are not in fellowship together, we are often in isolation.

And the enemy loves that.

There ARE times we should go away from one another. It just depends on what we’re listening to when we’re away.

When we go away to be with God, it’s completely different. I call it Be Still time.

Be Still time is drawing away from one another so we can be with the Lord. And that is often my error. When we parted for the break, or I part from my church fellowship, I often do not depart with a purpose. King David was often away from everyone. God didn’t always answer David right away. Psalms 10, 11, and 13 tell us that David was desperate to hear from the Lord. But David had enough humility and faith to engage in Be Still time, reminding himself of God’s character and promises, pouring his heart out before the Lord, asking the Lord to search him and convict him of his sin. And when David finally did put aside his own agenda, the Lord answered. Psalm 21 is a great example of that. Of course, the Lord had always been there – David just hadn’t been willing to listen.

Now I don’t want this to sound like another admonition that you should be doing more quiet time. That’s between you and the Lord. This is just a reminder that when you are away from fellowship with God’s people, have your purpose clear.

Our study of Elijah showed us that the point at which we are most vulnerable to the lies of Satan is when we are hungry, or tired, or feeling lonely. Hunger, fatigue or loneliness can be physical or spiritual. The physical is easy to fix – go eat, rest, or get around people. But if we don’t fix the underlying spiritual deprivations, those physical fixes won’t be a lasting balm for our wounds.

When Jesus went into the garden in Matthew 4:1, he went to pray and fast. And who showed up? That’s right, the enemy. Satan, in essence, challenged Jesus that He was not worthy of wearing His father’s mantle. And Jesus verbally and spiritually wrestled with him until Jesus won. There are a couple of important things I drew from this passage. First, Satan showed up when Jesus was physically hungry and tired and alone. Jesus was human so he suffered physically the way we suffer. But Jesus had been in prayer. So he was spiritually fed, alert, and aware of the presence of his Father. This enabled him to be fully ready to fight Satan. That leads to the second point I drew from this passage. Jesus used scripture to defeat Satan. If it’s good enough for Jesus . . . it should be good enough for me!

When we hear the tape loop in our head telling us we’re not worthy, what scripture should we use to defeat Satan’s lies? Here are some examples.

In 1 Cor 3:16, we are told that God's Spirit lives within us. And Romans 8:15 tells us that we did not receive a spirit that makes us a slave to fear, but we received the Spirit of sonship. He knew us before we were born (Ps 139:13-16 ). He loves us because we are his creation and if we are believers in Christ, he sees us perfected. So we need not buy into the lies. I want to challenge mature Christians, particularly, to ask the Lord to make you sensitive to women who are dealing with this feeling and ask the Lord how you can interact with them in a way that encourages and builds them up in their relationship with the Lord.

Now, because I am a very practical person, I am going to give you some very practical ways to battle these feelings of isolation.

In our household we have a big emergency kit in the kitchen. It has everything in it from sutures to a blanket designed for muffling fires. I think we need spiritual emergency kits and I’m going to help you start one.

If you'd like a spiritual emergency kit, click here. Once you're at my e-mail place, you can leave me your mailing address and I'll send you one. Promise! Or you can make your own.

The kit is an envelope, small enough to put into a purse and carry with you. One the outside, you write down the number or name of a friend or friends to call when you’re in spiritual need. First, talk to God, and then call this friend and ask her to pray for you. I know you can pre-program it in your phone, but I like the idea of writing it down. If you don’t know who that person is, ask God to show you. He will and it may surprise you whose name He places on your heart. There may be someone near you who has a gift of encouragement that you haven’t ever realized was there.

Second, I have placed three verses in each envelope. These are ones that God gave me in connection with this devotion. They are the foundation for your Spiritual 911 kit. These are verses that really build me up when I need to remember who I am in Christ and what price He was willing to pay for me. I challenge you that as you study His word, you will write down other verses that he gives YOU particularly, that you can use to encourage yourself. Put them in your envelope. Tuck them into a purse, a bag, the car -- to take with you. Modify it – in my home emergency kit we have epi-pens because of my son’s allergies. Your home emergency kit will be different. Similarly, your spiritual 911 kit will be different than mine too – as God speaks to you through different verses.

Third practical solution. JUST SHOW UP. When you feel least inclined to be in fellowship with God’s people, it’s the time you most need to be there. God’s word says in Matthew 18:20, where two or three come together in my name, there am I with you so if you just show up where His people are, you will find Him as well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random Dozen

Linda at 2nd Cup asks penetrating questions again... Join us!

1. When was the last time you craved a food--what was it, and did you crave? Popcorn. Last night. More of a yen than a craving.
2. M & M's or Skittles? M&M's. I hate how skittles get stuck in your teeth.
3. Have you ever read the Bible completely through? Yes, a friend and I one year did the chronological reading per day. It was hard, but doable.
4. How long does it take you to really wake up in the morning?Depends on how late the kids will be for school. Hah. No, usually about 10 minutes.
5. Have you ever been on a cruise?
If not, would you like to?No, and not interested.
6. Who is your favorite actress?Meryl Streep
7. ______ is something that I will just never understand. Atheism
8. How much of a technology junkie are you? About 30%. I love the convenience of the internet, but I don't text and I don't twitter and I rarely go on facebook because real life is quite time-filling enough!
9. Do you enjoy selecting greeting cards for people, or is it more of a cultural "have to" for you? I used to enjoy it until it started to cost an arm and a leg. Now I am very selective as to content and recipient!
10. When was the last time you got a new style/haircut? Uh-oh...I need a haircut right now. I guess you all will embolden me to try something new.
11. What do you enjoy shopping for most? Kitchen gadgets and pans, etc. The possibilities....
12. What's the last thing you think of before you leave the house? "Bye, Stevie" . . . that's the budgie.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two Steps Forward

Three Steps Back

I've been doing so well on watching the calorie intake, usually coming in under what was budgeted for the day.

But today, I thought we'd be having our Annual "Baked Potato Fest" after our Community Bible Study Leaders' Time, so I budgeted and planned for that in my count for the day. I even ran by the store this morning and picked up a cake of a kind I DON'T like (very selfish of me but stay tuned).

It turns out I had the day wrong. Still, since I had brought the cake, I sliced it and set it out and found it easy to resist (remember, I didn't like this flavor). The ladies who did indulge raved about it and asked which Giant Store I'd bought it at! So even though I thought I was being selfish by not bringing a "GOOD" flavor, it turned out to be a huge hit! There was only one slice left to send home with one of the moms who had a teen boy at home (it had nuts so it was a no-no for my teen son).

Then I stopped at my favorite place for a "small" lunch after CBS leaders group today. When I got home and looked at their website and saw what I had eaten, I realized that I can choose to have noodles with my spaghetti tonight if I'm also going to take time to exercise on the Wii, or I can just have sauce without noodles. It's homemade, so the sauce is good, but I think I'll do the Wii.

Note to self: Don't stop at Quiznos on the days you don't have time to do any devoted exercising!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Susan at Stony River hosts Microfiction Monday. View the photo, write a story -- in 140 characters or fewer. That includes spaces and punctuation. It's challenging, it's fun, and it's easy to read everyone else's because they're SHORT!


With apologies to Mark Twain.

“Huck, I’m tellin’ you my Aunt Polly’s on t’other side fixed on civilizin’ us!”

“Shucks, that ain’t no challenge, Tom! Ready? Dive!”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year's Goals - Humility

I was feeling pretty good -- I've been mindful of the quality and quantity of my calories this week, and have either been at the gym or doing the Wii Fit Plus each day. So this morning after I finished my Wii session I thought I'd be brave and weigh myself.

First it said, -2.2 lbs! I was pretty happy! Then it said, "the last time you weighed yourself was at 7:37 a.m. Your weight can fluctuate up to 2lbs throughout the day. To have a more accurate measurement, weigh yourself at the same time every day." It was 11 a.m.

So does this mean I only get credit for .2 or just that the Wii is an insufferably snarky machine? I mean really, does this thing know how HARD it is for humans to even stop playing Mario World and put in the Wii Fit disk?

Because I'm a regular gym rat every other day but not on weekends, and I work out hard when I'm there, I'm knowledgeable about what I NEED to do, just not disciplined about it. So the days I'm off from the gym, I do the Wii so I have the habit of exercise, even a bit, each day. The Wii does NOT give credit for you going to do other exercise that it can't measure so it makes comments about how long it's been since your last workout. Oh, and here's another thing. It says, when you're starting up, 'step on.' Then it either says, "great" or the machine equivalent of "ooph"... like "you've put too much weight on me." Fortunately, I have a sense of humor and just ignore it.

I do wish someone would develop a Wii Gospel Aerobics or Step program. THAT I could enjoy! Or if I could just put my own music into the step program that would be good.

Humility. Gotta work on humility.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Random Dozen

Well, starting the new year off with a caffeine jolt, Linda gives us some challenging questions this week! Wow! If you'd like to play, or even if you wouldn't like to play but don't want to be left out, go to Linda's blog, Second Cup of Coffee, to get the questions and the 'rules'...

1. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being a cranky-baby-hissy-fitter, how much of a complainer are you? Depends on when...there are cycles, you know. I think on average, I'm about a 5.

2. When someone else is talking, do you listen, or are you thinking about what you're going to say in response? Regrettably, I'm often thinking about my next line. Especially if it's funny...or they're having trouble getting to the point.

3. I just deleted 1062 messages from my email account. Do you have any plans for a clean sweep this month--of anything? Yesterday I put away all the folders that were sitting on top of, and around, the 'to be filed' basket . . . which had overflowed sometime back in August. Today there are already 4 out again. I quit.

And now, here are some brilliant questions from a gal named Angie at Angie's Ad Lib who graciously offered to let me borrow her brain. Please go over and see Angie because it was so nice of her to help me out. Thank you so much, Angie!

4. Tell us about your perfume. Was it a gift? What does it remind you of? Do you have a signature scent? Perfumes make my eyes water and give me a headache . . . so none for me thanks.

5. What is your best organizing tip for the new year?
Freecycle. If you get rid of it, you don't have to organize it.

6. What is your favorite comic strip? "Zits". I have teens. One is a boy. "Zits" is my life, only funnier. Although sometimes "Rhymes With Orange" makes me fall out of my chair laughing.

7. Do you sleep with a fluffy or flat pillow? Both. Fluffy so I can prop up while I read. Flat for when I'm ready to sleep so I don't get an achy neck.

8. What color is your kitchen? Why did you choose that color? It's a color called "Bone"... an off-white. Our house is surrounded by trees (see the header) so if I go any darker, the room is too dark. I am thinking of changing it so if anyone has any suggestions, I'm open. Not anything with pink though.

9. What’s the most interesting bumper sticker you’ve seen? The one that the woman at the library very carefully placed on her brand new car in January 2005. It said "John Kerry". Think about it. Everytime I remember it, I start smiling. If you don't get this, e-mail me and I'll explain.

10. Do you prefer an expensive writing tool or whatever is lying around? (Are you a Montblanc or a Papermate?) I'm picky, but not towards the expensive end, just the style. I like a fine point pen. If I had an expensive one someone around here would pick it up and walk off with it anyway.

11. What chore doesn’t feel like a chore – you just enjoy it (at least most of the time)? Cooking.

12. If your parents often repeated themselves, what is something one of them said more than once? Don't believe everything you read. My 21st century version of that for the kids is, "what's your source?" They tell me I sound like a lawyer. Well...yeah. Go figure.

Thanks Lid! By the way, I probably won't visit most of you until Thursday, but I will get there. Wednesday is just CRAZY for me and by the time I'm back home, the router is off. On purpose. Yeah, it applies to even me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Microfiction Monday

For Micro-fiction Monday Susan at Stony River challenges us to write a story, based on an illustration she provides, in 140 characters or fewer. That count includes spaces and punctuation! (Definitely makes that 2-spaces after a period convention go away!). Here is this week's illustration followed by my story (I did have to cheat and use "&" instead of "and" this week. I guess that makes me ineligible for the fabulous cash prizes Susan sends out. haven't received one yet? My bad).

Be sure to visit the others who play!

Put your left foot in and you shake it all about, & in this stupid dress I want to stomp & scream & shout, & that’s what it’s all about!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Setting Goals

Not resolutions, goals.

Our assistant pastor preached last week and asked a question that has been rattling around in my mind.

Six months from now (that day), when you look back to this date, what will you hope to have accomplished?

Yesterday my teen daughter and I talked about it. Six months from now, she'll be finished with the school year. What does she hope she will have accomplished? Getting her driver's license, getting good grades, successfully completing some big projects that are still ahead of her . . . it was a useful discussion because she's at that age where there are many "THINGS" to do.

For me, I'm still struggling. By June 27, 2010, what will I have accomplished? It seems, as I think about those things, that much of my accomplishment is just moving forward. So, I think I need to set some goals.

Goal Number 1 - Improve Health

  • Cut back on coffee to no more than 2 cups per day
  • Drink wine only when we are out for dinner
  • Be mindful in my gym time
  • Exercise more self-control in portion size as well as between meals snacks

Goal Number 2 - Improve Living Spaces

  • Create window treatments and shelves for the Family Room
  • Make Dining Room warmer & friendlier (Paint? Window Treatments?)
  • Make Living Room same

Goal Number 3 - Plan Meals Better

  • Plan Ahead
  • Use Crock Pot More

Okay, that's enough. Off to fix the black-eyed peas to celebrate New Year's.

Happy New Year Everyone!