Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pray For Israel

I had a sweet little post ready for this evening but the Lord has another use for this space. There is much to distract us this evening, from the celebration of opportunities to the mourning of those lost. This is not what heaven is looking upon as God surveys the earth. His eyes are on his chosen.

Pray for Israel tonight.

Joshua 10:13-14 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here Is The Church

Church has changed for me. Or I have changed for church. I love church like I always have but it is much less a central part of my life than it once was. I don't feel guilty about that. But I do worry sometimes that I should feel guilty. We used to spend a lot of time physically at church. Teaching Sunday School, youth, volunteering. There early and staying late, we had our own keys to come and go. I organized the Christian Education department for years. The Mr. was the Music Director. When we weren't at church, we were with our church family or on the phone with them or planning an event.

When I became a nurse, by necessity I had to readjust the position of church in my life. I was working weekends for the first time ever. It was really hard to suddenly not be attending every weekend. Around the same time we started attending a new church. Maybe that was part of the "problem." Less opportunity to attend and not knowing anybody. Truthfully, I was not sad to have this change. Church had worn me out. Our new church did not have the traditional Sunday evening and Wednesday night services and I was glad. They had life groups, encouraging us to gather in homes to study and fellowship. We tried life groups. I believe we tried life groups five times and led about half of them. I don't like life groups. We forced ourselves to submit to the Metro's philosophy for a few years before we decided, no more life groups for us.
After thirty seven years of salvation and church attendance, I have no choice but to pursue God more for myself and stop depending on the church. The sermons rarely reveal a new truth to me. Yes, for a long time I did exactly what you are thinking I should do. I taught. And I loved it. But that season came and went too.
There are a lot of things about The Church I could criticize but that's not really the issue here. I am not less churchy because of bitterness or disappointment. The maturity gained from thirty seven years has already taken me through that phase and out the other side. On the other side is tremendous peace. Peace that the words or decisions of the Church People no longer keep me up at night. Peace that I can usually forgive in real time, as the offense happens. A result of those thirty seven years. Peace that I can know what things are my responsibility and what things are not, and to mind my own business. Peace that teaching can happen in a million different ways that are informal and title-free. Peace that learning can happen when I'm driving to work with the radio off and God has replaced a guy behind a lectern.
I have peace that in all of those church relationships that used to be held together with constant contact, we have come full circle. We see each other rarely and keep tabs on one another constantly. We love eternally. We do not hold each other's feet to the flames for blunders but hold each other's lives to the throne for anointing. Now that I have internal permission to find my own way, I have learned to love and be loved in freedom.
Today when people ask where I go to church, I say Metrosouth. Because that is the building that houses The Church. But in truth, I go to church continually. After all these years, the sermons that no longer challenge have been replaced by sermons preached in blizzarding skies and tangible joy that overtakes me when I quiet myself before my King. I am changed by the sermons that ring from memories of provision that have redefined memories of hardship. I am lifted up by sermons whispered from old ladies in the hospital who grab my hand in their gnarled fingers and say, "You have a blessed day Baby."
And what of worship? Mmm. Worship has worn so many robes in my life. The worship of a little girl who doesn't comprehend the miracle of salvation but acknowledges God out of obedience. The worship of a teenager trying to channel the angst and drama of her emotions into a power to touch God. The worship of a desperate young mom begging God to look in her direction. The worship of an adult grateful for safe passage thus far. Today I wear the worship of a woman continually astonished at the discovery of God in life. No longer do I journey to church to find him and try to store up enough to last until the next time. Worship has replaced the list of fears I used to share in prayer. It has become the larger part of my relationship with God, outbalancing the begging for help. I have become a woman who repents by worship, petitions by worship, asks by worship, loves by worship. I have found that fear cannot remain in the presence of my worship and so...I worship.
I don't sit in church as often as I used to. I hold no title. I am unofficial in every sense. Those who attend the same building as I might tell you that I am drifting. That I am a pew warmer. Although without my bottom in the pew, I doubt I could even claim that. Sometimes the enemy tells me that church has died for me. That is a lie. What has happened is that church has enlarged for me. Like a marriage that has stood the test of time, the bride sees her husband's love in the snow he clears, the wrinkles that have appeared in the years he has stood by her, the gentle kiss in passing. I am no longer a newlywed who is in need of reassurance. I know who I am in Christ. Who I am in The Church matters very little.
This church of mine no longer has walls or official times. The worship, learning, fellowship and service are continuous and without schedule. This church meets in India sometimes or Nothern Idaho or Pennsylvania; that's right. Some days this blog is my church. My church does not have choir robes, its members wander in wearing hospital gowns, jeans, pajamas and often a Scarf. My church does not have a song service because it sings constantly although not always out loud and not always in words. My church has no by-laws, only honest self-examination and grace spoken here. My church family is huge and includes Christian men and women who honor me with their wisdom and mentorship, friends who meet me for coffee and admit that they sometimes can't stand The Church. My church family are gays, childhood friends, atheists, old people, little kids, schizophrenics, drug addicts, missionaries, prostitutes, back-sliders, seekers and deniers. When you remove the walls, anybody can walk in to your church.
I love church. The Church and my church. I don't know how long this season will last for me. It is a glorious freedom to find that I am the church after all and also a grave responsibility to see to it that this doesn't become laziness. After all, no one is keeping track of the books in this church.
This is Sunday morning and I am attending church. Right now. I'm wearing a sweat shirt and pajama pants. It is snowing like crazy outside and the temperature is freezing. My kids are healthy and safe and warm and asleep. My husband is at Metrosouth playing bass. And I got out of bed,made a pot of coffee and went to church. I am in Christ, I am in church.
More than ever in my life, I am in church.

Ephesians 1:21-23Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Written 12/21/08

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sit Down And Brace Yourself

Islands in the stream, that is what we are. No, we don't drink. Yes, we probably should.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ecclesiastes 4: 10-12 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Next Season...Winter

1. Help Jay move.

2. Finally move all of our stuff into the new old house.

3. Start saving for the kitchen/family room make-over.

4. Get back into eating healthy.

5. Exercise? Sure, why not put it on the list!

6. Organize our home office.

7. Lock the Mr. out of our home office so it can be organized.

8. Learn to use my new camera properly instead of on a wing & a prayer.

9. Get a family portrait done, whether informally or at Sears we really need an update.

10. Enjoy every day for what it offers instead of concentrating on what it lacks.
Pic: Greenfield Village near our home.
UPDATE: Dean's mom is doing much better today, has been taken off of the BiPap and hopes to be discharged tomorrow. Thank you all for your prayers and love!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dean's Mom

Dean's mom lives in Alabama and his sister called to say that yesterday she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She was having difficulty breathing and felt like she was having a heart attack. Her lungs have filled with fluid and she has been placed on a BiPap. She's struggling against it and the doctors have informed her that the next step is to put her on a ventilator. Please pray for her healing and recovery. Dean's dad is 81 and Dean's sister lives near them. We are waiting for updates to decide if we need to head to Alabama. Thanks in advance for your prayers, her name is Marthena (Marty.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas To Me

For all of my life Jesus has been the center of Christmas. With lean or prosperous times the truth of His miraculous birth has been the constant. There has never seemed to be a contradiction between the humble stable birth of my King and the extravagance of the season. Can we really celebrate elaborately enough to convey this event? After all, as I heard on the History Channel this week; the world celebrates the birth of Christ continually despite itself. The very clock upon which our calendar is based began to tick at his birth. I have never had to stop and remind myself of the reason we celebrate. It is all of a piece for me.

What has changed is that my spirit has expanded to embrace a miracle greater than a virgin birth or a star to announce the arrival of Messiah. At one time, this is where the inconsistency laid. I knew He came as a baby to save us from our sins and that compels us to commemorate, remember, celebrate and acknowledge him. Christmas always been for you Jesus. Because of you Jesus. Unto you Jesus. It is different now.

Christmas is for me. Quietly and slowly over those years that began at his first cry of mortal life, I stopped being caught up in the fact of his birth for my salvation. I am much more enamored by a different idea these days...his birth because of his love for me. This Jesus who looked at the star of his creation and chose to be clothed in the very flesh he wraps us in. To hear of love and to suddenly be taken by it like a wave crashing over you are two very different things. It changes the tasks of the season from preparation to celebration. Not for one or two days, for every moment of being reminded; he loves me. Like Holy Communion each ornament hung, each gift wrapped and cookie baked and "Merry Christmas!" offered is a matter of 'this do in remembrance of me.' To remember love.

For God so loved the world that he trusted us enough to hand frail and foolish human beings a vulnerable baby boy saying, "I know you will do the right thing." For God so loved the world that he allowed a wicked and cruel humanity to torture and kill a young man who was doing nothing more than representing his father saying, "I know you will see the truth one day." For God so loved the world that he welcomed home this child he had offered to us but held the curtain around the throne room open for a fearful and distrusting humanity to slowly realize our terrible mistake saying, "I welcome you in to my embrace when you're ready."

The salvation gained through the birth of the Christ child is one part peaceful knowledge of my future and one part admission that I cannot begin to grasp my own redemption from this side of the veil. But being loved this much with a love that does not wait for the final judgement day to be fully expressed has changed Christmas for me. The weight of the world would crush me if I thought it would only be lifted when I die. I do not have enough faith for that kind of salvation. I am not saved by a promise of heaven only. I am daily saved by love.

Christmas is for me now. A celebration of all that I have gained through the love of God. I have gained many things in my life that will remain for my children and grandchildren to sort through. These are not the evidence of being loved. The life within me that cries out with joy, "My God and My Savior!" is the reason for the season.

These chains are gone, I've been set free. The chains of rejection and fear; chains of not belonging and not deserving; chains of wondering if life will ever taste good to me. These chains are gone.

The calendar that marks the days and years of the world tells my story. When Jesus drew his first mortal breath, the chains that held my life locked within itself fell away. Christmas means I have been in love for 2,009 years.

Merry Christmas to me.
Pic: Dayboyz, Jay & Mac. "Twinkle & The All Star Angel Band" 1991

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Time For Christmas Eve

I'm not one usually given to longing for the past. I look at the pictures and remember the times as a blessing with which I was honored. I'm fine with moving forward. But this morning I awoke at a little before 7:00 a.m. thinking of my Grandma Tookie (Trent.) She was the Christmas Eve Queen. Every year of my childhood the evening of December 24 was spent at the home of my dad's parents. Call it the vantage point of a child but I have yet to experience a Christmas Eve to compare to those days. And this morning, I miss my Grandma. This is her first Christmas Eve in heaven.

I can't recreate her Christmas Eves because she served heaping platters of delicious cold cuts and fresh bakery breads with cheese to make the most marvelous sandwiches. Jay can't eat bread so we've established the Mexican Christmas Eve here. For the Mr. and Daboyz it's a tradition they treasure but for's just a notch below what Christmas Eve used to be.

This is my forty first year of awakening on Christmas Eve morning thinking of the Trents; Grandma, Grandpa and Kathy. This day always held the promise that a few blocks away the most magical moment of the year was taking shape. Christmas music would be playing on records from the huge stereo (remember the floor models with the lids you'd lift?) Alvin & The Chipmunks...Christmas Christmas time is here! Time for joy and time for cheer! I first heard Jingle Bell Rock on Christmas Eve when we walked in and Kathy had it playing. The news would be on the television as they tracked Santa's flight around the world. Often some wonderful old movie would be put on; A Christmas Carol, It's A Wonderful Life, White Christmas... Grandma and Grandpa Trent seemed as enamored as I was, always commenting that the old movie we watched was a "good one" and "my favorite" no matter which it was. Always savoring the pilaf and salad as though they were some rare delicacy we couldn't have any other day of the year. My grandma was always decked out in a sparkly sweater and giant jewelry that she chose just for us like she was entertaining at the White House. My grandpa always hugged me too hard and kissed me on top of the head even if I had just spent eighteen hours in sponge rollers and he was flattening my holiday hair.

I think I started missing those days a long time ago, when my grandma started saying someone else could host Christmas Eve if they wanted. When I got married and had to haul kids to in-laws and my Christmas Eves could not be for William Street alone. I don't know what year she stopped sitting on the floor with the "kids." My Grandma Tookie got old, she walked more slowly and was more easily tired. Her hands shook as she ate her dinner. But she still arrived in sparkling sweaters and giant jewelry and her voice was just as strong, "Merry Christmas my Number One!" (that was for my husband, I am the wife of my grandma's number one.)

I'm not sorry Grandma's in heaven this year. My tears dried up quickly and the spirit of joy she radiated has replaced my moment of sadness. But oh, if only someday my grandchild attaches the memory of me to such a deep sense of magic and wonder at Christmas time...

Merry Christmas Grandma & Grandpa.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Baking

Every last little gift is now purchased and wrapped waiting for Christmas. On to Tuesday, baking! I have the supplies all organized on my butcher block table and will be pulling out the old antique mixing bowls shortly. Mac, his friend Lexi and maybe my niece Sarah (if she'd answer the telephone!) are my elves. We are trying lots of new stuff this year so it'll be a fabulous success or we'll have lots of globby piles of failure for the trash can. As always, the challenge is de-glutenizing Christmas for Jay. We've become pretty good at making everything gluten-free but new recipes are always approached with crossed fingers. Since his diagnosis with Celiac five years ago, we've moved from making a few specific items for him to changing the entire menu to gluten-free. So say a prayer for us and I'll share our progress! On the menu...

Cocoa crackle cookies, lemon bars, magic cookie bars, walnut balls, buckeyes for the cookie table. Mexican wedding cake for our traditional Mexican Christmas Eve dessert. For Christmas day at my mom's; corn casserole, cherry orange jello with a cream cheese layer and apple celery bleu cheese slaw. The only familiar face on the list is the Mexican wedding cake! Oh, and we bought butterscotch chips and then realized they contain gluten so we'll whip up one batch of butterscotch chip cookies with good old fashioned wheat flour.

Off I go to set up the kitchen before my elves arrive!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Vacation

Saving up days, planning ahead and a little scheduling magic with the wonderful people I work with has resulted in a wonderful days off over the Christmas week. After working on Friday the 19th I am off until Saturday the 27th! In the old days we were all home for this week; the kids on Christmas break and myself working for the school coupled with the Mr.'s winter shut-down. It's been about five years since we've enjoyed this time together. Jay lives on his own and works this week, but three out of four ain't bad! I've done some scheduling to make the most of my time balancing plenty of relaxation and fun with doing the things I'll regret leaving undone. I'll shop, bake, cook and watch old movies. On Sunday morning I did some housework and I finished the week's laundry. On Sunday afternoon we all sat around with cook books on our laps choosing the Christmas goodies we wanted. It reminded me of books I've read about people at the turn of the century and before looking through seed catalogs on snowy days planning their Spring gardens.

With the list of baked goods we will make a grocery list. I also have a list of Christmas gifts still not purchased. It seems natural then that Monday will be list day. I'll get up early to do my shopping and hope to be home not too late. I'll make jambalaya for dinner and wrap my gifts. Then I'll set up the kitchen for Tuesday's plan...baking.

I know the week will fly by (doesn't it always work that way with time off?) Come Saturday the 27th, I hope to be rested, celebrated and baked to perfection.

December 21, 2008

Job 37:16-18 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind? Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?

Saturday, December 20, 2008


1. I'm an excellent snow driver.

2. Being inside seeing the snow outside is one of the most poignantly blessed feelings of my life.

3. The Christmas lights are extra pretty.

4. I don't feel lazy about watching movies all day.

5. At night if you are very quiet, you can hear the snow falling.

6. The sun is extra bright.

7. I have a garage for my truck, no more cleaning off my car in the morning.

8. Snow crunching underfoot sounds like Christmas.

9. You need cookies for energy to keep you warm.

10. It's excellent napping weather.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Smashing Good Time

You are all silly and very wrong. Yesterday at 7:10 a.m. I had my first ever mammogram. My doctor called with the results last evening, all is well! At least for a person whose breasts unfurl like an aisle runner when released from captivity.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Wanna guess what I'm doing at 7:10 a.m.?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dear Jesus, I am very sorry I made fun of the Mr. Please fix my garage door.

Sigh. So when last we met I was awaiting the hospital maintenance guy to rescue me. Actually, two of them drove from Ferndale so that A. I could come to work and B. to save me a repair bill. They drive up and immediately say that my door is indeed all the way open. I say no, it's not. There's no way my truck will clear it. They did not argue.

Then after some assessment and discussion they explain to me what has happened. The rope thingy that hangs down (see picture) got slammed in my door and when I backed out, I pulled on it. This apparently disengages the automatic door to make it manual. This I did not know. So when the CEO of the hospital (did I mention this part?) was trying to talk me through the situation I was re-engaging the automatic door. So why did not the door opener work? Because I had parked my truck half in and half out of the garage when the door came slamming down on me and I was blocking the electric eye beam thingy! Since the door thought there was something in the way (like a Ford F-150 supercab 4x4) it would not move!

They maintenance guys told me to pull forward, I did. The maintenance guys clicked the door opener, and it worked. The maintenance guy #1 (heretofore called the nice maintenance guy) was very sweetly telling me what had happened without making me feel overly ridiculous. Maintenance guy #2(heretofore called mean maintenance guy) was taking our picture with his digital camera.

If you think that's as absurd as the story gets, I called my mom 2 hours after alerting her to my situation to tell her I'm on my way to work and she says, "Boy, you've been trapped in the garage all this time?"

No! I was not trapped in the garage but if my mother thought I was, why did she not come by to help me or at least slide a Dunkin' Donuts under the door!

The lesson is even the mean maintenance guy is more concerned for my welfare than some people who shall remain nameless!

Meanwhile, everywhere I walk at the hospital people are shaking their heads and laughing at me. I think the maintenance guys might've told on me.
OH! and by the way, the nursing staff called my cell phone mid drama to ask me if Ethel and I were stomping grapes and the Social Work Director called to ask if I had any Vitameatavegamin left for Christmas gifts!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mr. Can You Hear Me?

After a much needed quiet Sunday following shopping on Saturday, there is nothing much exciting to report so I will reach into the archives to share this story of the Mr. circa 2 weeks ago.

The Mr. was working on our bathroom and having various lumbers and such to cut and paint and perhaps even spackle (!) he decided to work in the garage. Being that it was freezing to a million pieces in the garage, he decided to plug in the space heater. Being that he wanted to see what he was doing in great detail, he decided to plug in the utility lights. Being that he didn't want the wind blowing in he decided to close the garage door. Being that he didn't want thieves to break in and steal our lawnmower he had already nailed the side door shut. Being that he wanted Donny to be able to come and go as he pleased he left the garage door about two feet open.

Being that he is the Mr., the circuit blew and he was trapped in the cold dark garage. Being that he is more than two feet in circumference, he couldn't get out.

He's still in there.
KARMA UPDATE: It is Monday morning and I am trapped in my garage. Apparently the MR. escaped because he's not in there any longer. Actually, my truck is trapped in my garage. I apparently caught the hanging down rope thingy in my door and then when I tried to back out the door came down on the back of my truck. Now it's stuck. I have dislodged the hanging down rope thingy and hit the button several times but it won't go up. I tried to force it manually without success as well. The light on the door opener did flash on and off a few times but I think that might be a bad sign. So my truck is trapped and I had to limbo out of the garage since the door is trapped at the half way down position. I am sure there is a manual over ride on the sucker but doggone if I can find it. I had to actually share this story with my boss to explain why I'm not there yet. AND I look very cute this morning wearing new Mary Jane clogs so it's a shame I'm spending the morning wrestling with my garage. HELP!
UPDATE UPDATE: The maintenance guys are on their way here from work having attempted to talk me through pulling on some thingy to disengage some other thingy and it didn't work. And they are bringing a camera.

December 14, 2008

Matthew 2:1,2Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Wisdoms

1. Don't get your panties in a twist about Santa vs. Jesus. They both think you need to lighten up.

2. Eat a freakin' cookie. Diet on January 2.

3. There is no such thing as too many lights on a Christmas tree.

4. Buy new pajama pants. Wear them to Christmas dinner.

5. Grown-ups need stockings too. Ahem!

6. Commemorative anythings will not increase in value.

7. Never "skip it this year." Traditions die quickly.

8. Christmas carols sung the old-fashioned way are far superior to new and improved versions.

9. People who do not watch Christmas specials will not go to heaven.

10. Kielbasa trays are fabulous.

Friday, December 12, 2008


The Mr. has been pestering me for two weeks so I guess I'll break down and go Christmas shopping this weekend. No, I have not started shopping yet. I really don't love Christmas shopping. Especially when it starts to become the purchasing of items for the momentary satisfaction of a pile of boxes to unwrap but really represents the waste of money. I can't even come up with three things I want for Christmas and frankly, can't come up with three things to buy the Mr. or daboyz! So why do we need to go looking for Christmas gifts? For heaven's sake, I got a house this year!

I do need to pick up some gifts for certain individuals but my style is to make my list, hit the stores quickly and get out. If I have to wander the aisles looking for something, anything to buy; I'm outta there. Mid summer I'm always ready to do my shopping and the Mr. pretty much refuses. Mid December he's ready to do the shopping and I don't want any part of it. But Christmas is going to be here and as I said, there are a few items I do need to take care of. So when he comes home tonight and again says, "We need to go Christmas shopping!" I will embrace the spirit of the season and reply,


And may all your Christmases be white.
P.S. Sta'; never buy the optional books.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hello. Good night.

Just a short & sweet hello good night! I am on the last leg of 60 hours of either being physically at work or on over night call so I'm pretty tired. It's not that I'm up all night so much as that I have to do staffing and check with the hospital periodically so I'm not really sleeping well either. Wednesdays are always my long days at the hospital anyway so until tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.; I'm "working."

Thanks to all of you who prayed for Rob and Amy. He's home recovering now and we ask for your ongoing prayers.

As for me, I'm gonna iron some work clothes for tomorrow and give the units a call.

Sleep tight.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Please join my family as we pray for my brother-in-law Rob. Rob went for a work physical and the E.K.G. revealed that he had had two heart attacks. He was hospitalized this morning for a cath and diagnosed with two blockages, one 90% and the other 100%.

Rob was transferred via ambulance to Henry Ford Main in downtown Detroit for more specialized care where he is now undergoing angioplasty. If this is unsuccessful he may face cardiac bypass surgery. Rob is 43 years old. Please pray for Rob, his medical team, my sister Amy and his mom especially.

Father, we come to you in the powerful name of your Son Jesus Christ. We stand against this attack on Rob's body and speak healing and strength into his heart. Let your great wisdom as the Creator of Rob's body now be bestowed upon his doctors as they treat him and give them victory. Restore Rob's body to complete function and allow the blood to flow at 100% through all of his vessels. Remove any pain or anxiety he is experiencing and let him only experience great peace and an overwhelming sense of your love and goodness toward him. We give you thanks and praise now for your perfect will and work. We worship you in faith and await the evidence of your miracle. Amen.
UPDATE: Rob's doctor discovered three blockages all of which were successfully stented. Bypass surgery will not be necessary. He is in recovery and my mom & sister are waiting to see him. It appears he had one heart attack in July and another about six weeks ago. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to lift him up.

Living In It

Today is crunch day. The Mr.'s last day off and I'm off too having worked the weekend. The Sweet Pea Bathroom (now that the paint has dried it's not very zucchini) is in the home stretch. This is where one must push the Mr. or he decides to take a break and by that I mean indefinitely. I got home last night and refinished the vanity, doors and drawer fronts. Second coat on the vanity this morning and the doors and drawer fronts are in progress now. Medicine cabinet, over-the-john cabinet and new light fixture are hung as is the drop ceiling moulding. The Mr. will install the new floor today if I am successful in my "gentle" encouragement. Then the final touches; towel & tissue racks, curtain and a good final scrub down. We don't shower in this bathroom so I am not hanging a shower curtain right now. It's a small room and I like the open tub with it's bright white tiles to show. This is the fun stuff for me, seeing it all come together. I will keep my eye out for towels, a bath mat and one small piece of art for the wall. Crisp sweet pea green, white and black. Truly beautiful for a bathroom that has been three vegetables and one holiday since Wednesday.

That's the way I tend to decorate. My mom has been asking me for over a year what my decorating plans were and I've had several generations of color chips lying around before the final paint went on the wall. Oh, and one gallon that went into the basement closet (tomato red.)

The two bedrooms were a quick decision but since then I've just kept saying, "I have to live in it." The living room went from peach to gold. The bathroom went from gray to blue to tomato to sweet pea green. The alcove from terra cotta to buttery yellow. What remains is the family room/kitchen. That started in a linen beige and spent some time in a deep gold. For a few months it's been pale green. Of course, this is all in my head. It will stay as it is until spring time because we are out of money and that is going to be the $$ redo. We want to install hardwood floors and it's a fairly large space.

The only change we've made in there is replacing my gramma's formal chandeliers with pendant lights and the shades we chose are combinations of coppers and golds and bronzes. So today the plan for the family room/kitchen is to paint the walls a warm beige and the soffets (how do you spell that?) above the cabinets a burnt deep orange. We will repaint the kitchen cabinet fronts black and then attempt some fancy paint/stain combo to do the doors and drawer fronts in beige with a black stain over. The floors will be a distressed hickory finish. I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it! There's some saving to be done until this all comes to be and who knows if my plans are final or if there will be another set of paint samples on the counter.

How do you decorate? Do you have a plan that you start and end with? An idea from five years ago that you still dream about? Does your style change with the trends or are you consistent in your taste? Have you redecorated and now can't stand it but you are tolerating it?

My gramma was elegant and understated for her entire life. The walls were white or beige. Now I think of my house in terms of a candy shop or a treasure chest filled with deep warm tones. I didn't know that was where we'd end up but here we are. In a few years I might change to all cool tones. What fun that will be to cover up our walls!

One thing I know, my gramma would not like what's happening to her house!

Then again, maybe she'd see the joy in our hearts and like it more than I realize.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


1 Chronicles 29:1 Then King David said to the whole assembly: "My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God. 2 With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God—gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble—all of these in large quantities. 3 Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple...

Saturday, December 06, 2008


1. Golden C. S. Lewis Room.

2. Buttery alcove.

3. Grass green bathroom.

4. Pistachio bedroom.

5. Taupe guest room.

6. Copper & blue Christmas tree.

7. Red, silver and gold Christmas tree.

8. Evergreen wreath.

9. White snow.

10. Black coffee.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Spackle Debacle

Will someone please explain to me why the Mr. has stripped wallpaper, will refinish the vanity, paint and install a new floor but he refuses to spackle the holes in the wall?
Update: The Tomato Bath has become The Zucchini Bath. The first swipe of tomato red caused the Mr. to become very quiet and even I to pause and consider that perhaps one should not choose paint at the zenith of PMS. The good news is the stem green color is BOO-TEE-FULL so onward we go. The Mr. keeps saying, "I love it!" and I must agree. And while he was at practice Mac spackled all the offending holes his dad was hanging on to. Coat one is done as as it dries the Mr. is hanging our new light fixture. So; can I interest in you a gallon of tomato red paint?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Tomato Bath

Now that the C.S. Lewis room is complete except for a few details, mirror over the sofa and Grandmother's clock in the corner; it's on to the next project...the bathroom. Hence today's picture. Yes, the inspiration for my bathroom is a tomato.

In fact, paint number one is called "Tomato!" What could be better? The bathroom is your typical small bungalow bath, nothing spectacular which is why we figure it'll be a quick and easy redo which it surely will not be. Already it's a hot mess and that's just with the wallpaper stripped. So here's the plan for the Tomato Bath.

Tomato red paint on the bottom half and for the top half; tomato stem green. It's gonna be great and being that it's Christmas I have subliminally convinced the Mr. to trust me. Once Christmas is over he will think it looks too Christmasy but I'll have the Tomato Bath and it'll be too late.

So having seen my parents extreme success in refinishing the vanity in House #2 we have taken their lead and will refinish our vanity in Espresso. We've already picked up the medicine cabinet and over the john cabinet to match. The bronzy light fixture will be replaced with a brushed nickel fixture with very farmy tulip shades. The ceiling will be bright white and we are "dropping" the ceiling by continuing the white down the wall a few inches and putting up a white moulding. The tomato bottom and stem top of the wall will be divided with a white moulding as well. The tub tile is white already. Brushed nickel fixtures and new hardware on the revamped vanity.

The floor is where we are at a deadlock. It has to be replaced. This is, as I said, a tiny bungalow bathroom. Maybe four by seven and that's including the vanity and toilet. The Mr. is not Mr. Home Improvement; he is Mr. let's go out to dinner and a movie. He's actually quite good at this stuff but he hates it and so drags it out forever and spends more time driving around getting and returning supplies than installing them. Seriously, he literally spend all day Tuesday by his own account driving all over town pricing things so that on Friday he will go and buy them. Seriously, eight hours.

Back to the Tomato Bath floor. It has to be an easy and quick install or it will never be complete and one cannot live with an incomplete bathroom, tomato, cucumber or otherwise. We considered the relatively easy to install "floating" laminate floors. I found a bleached white wood that I loved and as you may have figured out my favorite style is farm house. He hated it. We have hardwood in the rest of the house so he feels we cannot have wood in the bathroom. He does not have any votes because of his Panera decorating scheme but I'm trying to run a gentle dictatorship. Then the Home Depot guy convinces him that the fastest and easiest floor would be ceramic tile. Come to the ceramic tile class on Saturday and all you'll need is the tile, tile saw, nippers, supplies and the Home Depot guy himself. Unfortunately that last item comes with a high price tag. I love the Mr. but I know this cannot turn out well. Plus he might try to sneak in some egg plant colored tile ala Panera and this is the Tomato Bath, not the egg plant bath. He will also, I promise you, decide that fancy tiles with inlaid cherubs or some such thing is the way to go "while we're at it." We just cannot go down this road. We are still recovering from the C.S. Lewis room trauma..."I can't picture it. I just can't picture it. I don't think it is going to work. I can't picture it." And so forth.

I am saying that if he is absolutely against the bleached white wood (fool), we need to install a simple white vinyl floor. I know it's not exactly en vogue at the moment but it will look crisp and fresh and in this tiny room with a kicky little rug to accent it it will work out just fine. And it will have the highest probability of being finished before I'm in an assisted living center.

So please, help a sister out. Remember the days of the dishwasher? It worked. You can even cast your own vote, white bleached wood laminate or white vinyl. Just put some pressure on the guy. I am not posting this on the prayer blog; yet. But that doesn't mean you can't pray.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Just A Schmear

Oh yeah, we're going there.

Being approximately six years behind schedule, I did it. I went for the TOTAL physical. My labs were all good. And THE test came back perfect, no problems. Hallelujah, thank you Jesus and God bless all the orphans in Africa. I have a mammogram (first ever) in three weeks. Will post a picture of a waffle iron to share that experience.

But, get this, I got a UTI! I have always prided myself on my urinary health. I am not entirely convinced it's a for-real one but my doctor showed me the leukocytes and trace blood in the urinalysis so I'll take her word for it. I am symptom free although now that she has told me there's something cooking down there, I swear to you I am having some vague pain. Anyway, on the Cipro I go which is good as it is the only effective antibiotic for anthrax so I feel extra protected.

Anyway, to any gentlemen unfortunate enough to stumble upon this blog, I apologize. Just be happy I couldn't find the picture of my sister and I (fully clothed) in the stirrups at the hospital. I think we made my mom a Christmas ornament out of that one.

And in general, Margie; you may now get off my back for three years!

P.S. I intentionally told Margie I was in need of a check-up knowing she'd ride me until I gave up and had the thing to make her go away. That's love.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Perfect Christmas

What do you need for the perfect Christmas? I know; peace on earth, your health...I know. But of those things that can be done, baked, bought, decorated and wrapped; what do you need? This might sound silly but for the last week, I've been giving careful thought to what makes Christmas perfect for me. And of course, it has nothing to do with the perfect gift.

I like a Christmas tree with too many lights. If I had to choose, I'd have a less-than-perfect sentimental tree over a perfectly themed department store tree. I need a wreath on my door. I need Christmas music although NOT before Thanksgiving. I need Christmas movies. I need baked goodies and pasta salad made with cheese tortellini and pilaf. I need things that either remind me of my childhood or the actual objects from the old days like the elf that hung on my grandma's chandelier and the angel tree topper that reflects wings on the ceiling. I wouldn't mind golden sparkly bells that play Jingle Bells when you pull the chord.

I need my shopping done pretty soon and the gifts wrapped and under the tree for a few weeks.

Hmm. That's all I can think of for now. But I'm determined to know what makes Christmas Christmasy and not wake up on January first and think, "I wish I would've remembered..."

I know these are not the important things. But sometimes if you decorate your life with the unimportant, the serious stuff takes on a softer glow. So what's your perfect Christmas made of?

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Years & years ago we had a children's cantata at our church, "Twinkle & The All Star Angel Band.' If you ask me, it was the best Christmas program before or since. It was a silly little musical with funny songs and a bright stage built to look like heaven by my dad and Trish's Tomer. Both of Daboyz were in it, Jay was Joseph. Mac was a very bad angel whom Kellerbell held for the entire two hours just to keep him from ruining Christmas and potentially being beaten by his mother right there in front of the Baby Jesus and everyone. The main line of the chorus was "sparkle, glimmer, glisten, shimmer; sparkle and glow." Quite a mouth full for twenty or so Sunday Schoolers under the age of ten. And yes, the Baby Jesus was a Cabbage Patch doll.

My kids were raised within the loving walls of Woodhaven Worship Center where we went to church from 1990 until 2002. We left when the Lord called us and with gratitude in our hearts for this church family who remain family in our hearts. This was a place where the pastor kissed the tops of daboyz heads and once skipped preaching on a Wednesday night when he heard that Dean & I were fighting and on the verge of splitting. He showed up on our doorstep to hold us together.

It was a place where the Mr. played bass and I taught Sunday School and we had friends who would walk on broken glass for us. Where the pastor's sons loved like their mom and dad and still come up and kiss me on the cheek.

Woodhaven Worship Center was where we were all raising our kids together and sometimes raising each others kids when babysitting or being chased out of the bathroom during altar call was needed. We saw some marriages that were examples of fifty years of devotion and some that didn't make it. And quite of few of us were on the list of those who gave up...almost.

Our boys sat on the front pew when I played piano and their dad played bass and learned to tell by the look in my eye when they were about two seconds from being hauled up on the stage to sit on the piano bench next to me. They also fell asleep in the back pews when the Sunday evenings were long. They were baptized together with some of their friends by that pastor who kissed the tops of their heads.

Whenever Christmas time rolls around I worry that we have lost the wonder of it all. Do churches still give out brown paper bags with a candy bar and an orange? Woodhaven did. Our present church doesn't. Do little kids sit with mom and dad in a sparkling sanctuary wearing their Christmas clothes singing hymns the old-fashioned way? Is the Christmas story read from the Gospel of Luke still enough on Christmas Sunday morning to fill us with enough joy for another year?

This year I looked through the old pictures again searching for Christmas photographs and remembering the times that flew by. They were not all happy moments. But somehow we knew how to push it all into the distance, beyond January second, so that bright lights and Silent Night on the organ and candy in a brown paper bag again had the power to lift us toward hope and peace. And I realized that there is only as much of this magic as I insist upon. Shall I hang Christmas stockings for my grown-up sons? Shall I bake decadent fattening treats? Shall I put up too many decorations that will be a major pain to take down in a few weeks? Yes. Yes, I will do this and more. I will listen to Christmas music and watch sappy movies. I will make too much food and enough appetizers to serve as our meal. I will keep the magic and the wonder in my home and in my heart because now I know that someone all those years ago was creating the magic for me. It is only me that can let it slip away.

In this picture is my son Jay on the left and Katie Ann on the right. Katie Ann was a little older than my boys and had a little brother Johnny who was a little younger. So if you see pictures from Woodhaven Worship Center of dayboyz as kids, you'll likely see Katie in the background. I suspect her mom's pictures have Jay and Mac in the background.

I chased Katie out of the bathroom during altar call and she was in my Sunday School class. Once at an all-nighter for the youth she hurt her toe and Shellie and I told her to walk it off. The next morning she showed up on crutches with a broken toe. Oops.

Katie Ann went to be with Jesus a few years ago after an accident on her four-wheeler. When I run across these old pictures I forget for a moment that she's gone. When I see a crowd of these now grown-up Woodhaven kids together I look for her until I remember. While my heart breaks for her mom and dad, I know this...she had the wonder of Christmas. I know because I was there watching her sit on the back pew, legs swinging too short to touch the ground, in her Christmas dress opening her brown paper bag and eating the orange inside. I was there when she became one of the big kids carrying around the little ones. I was there when she fell in love and graduated high school. I was there at her funeral where she was surrounded with all of us who had shared her and were saying good-bye too soon.

Jesus is the reason for the season. And we are the expression of the miracle of salvation, born as Emanuel. So I will hang on for another season and maybe someday my grandchildren will find the wonder of sparkling lights and old fashioned hymns. And maybe in it all they will find the celebration of life. Because life is this moment, this day, this Christmas. With my grandparents and Katie gone, it is up to me to celebrate enough for us all until we finally meet again to lift our voices to the Son of God.

Until then...sparkle, glimmer, glisten, shimmer; sparkle and glow.
Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

1. Been sick for over a week and spent the last three days just resting.

2. And doing some slow decorating for Christmas.

3. The Mr.'s sick too but doesn't seem to get as worn out, just coughs a lot.

4. If you gotta be on the couch sick, what a great weekend for Christmas movies!

5. I DVR'd 'White Christmas' for this afternoon,

6. 'The Bishop's Wife' is on later this evening.

7. Snow's coming for the Monday morning commute, of course!

8. Made a pot of soup that is warming right now.

9. My C.S. Lewis room is fabulous, now I need a camera that works.

10.Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Now I'm gonna go rest...some more.
Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have quite a cold and working tomorrow so I wish you all a joyful Thanksgiving this evening! As for me, I am ironing my turkey lurkey scrub shirt, making some goodies for the staff, taking a long hot shower and probably hitting the bed early.

No complaints about working the holiday, I am thankful for my job...

And all of you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yet Another Example of How I Married the Wrong Guy or PICK UP YOUR POP CANS!

A while ago Mrs. Mac did a homemaking survey asking us about our housekeeping habits. I wrote a blog in response and didn't like it when I was done so into the drafts it goes. And so too might this one! But if anyone has nothing better to do I'll share a little bit about my homemaking habits, good and bad.

I work full time outside of our home and unfortunately I am not blessed with a hyper-metabolism. In other words, when I get home I am more or less wrung out. If I make dinner and load the dishwasher I'm having a good day. And so in general my housekeeping duties by default end up on a weekend schedule. I know it would make more sense to do a little each evening and have the weekend free but I am forty one years old and haven't done it yet so I am guessing this is how it's gonna be 'round here for the next forty one years.

I do all of the laundry each Saturday morning. It's usually around seven loads. I get up pretty early even on my days off so I start the first load while everyone else is still asleep. I have a first floor laundry so that helps. Again, it should also enable me to throw loads in all week but I don't do it.

On Friday evenings I do strip our bed and put on clean linens, I throw the sheets into the washer on Friday night so I'm a step ahead in that department. I used to change the sheets on Saturday mornings but the Mr. sleeps in so I was frustrated and having that chore hanging over my head. I wash socks and undies first because it's my least favorite and I want to get it over with, towels last because they are easiest to fold and put away. How's that for useless detail?

I dust and vacuum as well on Saturday, I dust the entire house, then sweep the hardwood rooms, then vacuum last as opposed to a room at a time. I am likely to clean the bathroom on Thursday nights so I guess I kind of lied earlier. The Mr. has practice on that night so I've nothing better to do and it relieves me of this least favorite item on Saturday. The Mr. usually grocery shops on Saturday morning. While he's gone I finish up my housework list so that when he comes home I'm pretty much done and we go out to lunch and enjoy our Saturday afternoon.

I straighten the house each evening because I absolutely hate awakening to an unkempt house. This is my pet peeve, going to bed in an orderly house and waking up to pop cans on the coffee table, cereal bowls in the sink. Although I know there is no intent in it, it still makes me feel disrespected.

And here is where I feel very sorry for myself for a moment or two. My homemaking standards are much higher than the Mr.'s and by that I mean, he has no standards whatsoever. He would be perfectly content and never complain if the laundry was never caught up and he was forced to wash pants, underwear, socks and a shirt each night for the next day. He is not impressed that his sock drawer is always full of neatly rolled and bleached socks. He is not impressed that I weed out the socks with holes when I launder them, he'd wear them with holes. He'd go to K-Mart and buy a new bag of socks if he ran out because they were all dirty and never think twice.

He could care less about clean sheets and a neatly made bed. Dust is invisible to him and floors only need attention if company is coming over, and that just means a quick once over not anything involving a mop or a bucket of water. Similarly, he'd just as soon circle the house on Saturday morning on the way to Kroger putting pop cans into a giant garbage bag after a week's accumulation as opposed to the nightly pick-up. Bathroom cleaning? Huh?

He no longer generates a particularly horrific mess as somewhere around year ten he grew weary of my alternating screaming and crying. To his credit he does make something of an effort not to live like this is a frat house. Anymore.

Probably because I'm used to it and he helps when I ask him to; I don't mind doing the majority of the chores. He does the groceries which I don't like to shop for. He cooks about half the time and loads the dishwasher.

But you will never hear the guy tell you what a nice home I keep because he doesn't notice and doesn't care. And yes, that bothers me. It has taken a long time for it not to bother me tremendously because keeping my home is something I do not only for me but I like to consider it a gift to my family. Unfortunately this particular gift doesn't impress the recipient. I suppose that means I do keep my home for me. I no longer ask him how the house looks begging for a compliment and I have learned to sit back in a neat living room and just enjoy a cup of tea. Knowing how much more difficult it could be, I'm grateful that he isn't actively working against me (anymore!) But still...

Coming soon; I keep a my car clean, his is a pig sty. Wanna guess what happens when he uses my car?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Economic Ignorance Part Two

I understand completely if you'd rather not answer this question, but have you spent money because of low self-esteem? By that I mean, I have spent money I literally didn't have because I felt otherwise I appeared "less than." Keeping up with the Joneses anyone?

I am embarrassed to tell you that when I decide what to wear to work, I will think about what I wore to the last such meeting so I don't wear the same outfit. I guess because I am afraid that someone might think I don't have a lot of clothes. The thoughts started with me when I was searching for paper to make a grocery list. I found a print-out of directions to somewhere from a few weeks ago and flipped that paper over for my list. Somehow that made me think about how much paper I could recycle for this kind of thing that gets pitched. And somehow that made me think of how much money people spend on scratch paper. Why in the world is there an industry for scratch pads? Because someone decided that if you flip over used paper to use again you can't afford more paper? I don't know. It sounds crazy but then again, consider the source.

That impulse spending is just about gone for me now. But boy, did I blow through the money in the old days for the benefit of people who I doubt very much noticed or cared if my home decor was three years behind what HGTV identified as the latest.

Is this about being frugal? I guess so but not entirely. It's also about the impact of other people on us and what we have culturally placed value on. The frugal person has strict limits on their spending period. Although that is admirable it's not really what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about spending money with careful thought but also based on really knowing what I want and being comfortable with myself even if someone else might notice that I have had the same curtains for twenty years.

Really, although I started out calling this a matter of low self esteem it's also a matter of extreme self-centeredness. This idea that other people have nothing better to do than to measure my worth as I am so very fascinating. As though someone who saw me at a meeting two months ago made a mental note of the sweater I wore and is just waiting to see what I'll have on this time. It a way that satan focuses us in on ourselves. With vanity or self-loathing, we still put God in our peripheral vision while we concentrate on the person in the mirror.

Is this another lesson America needs to learn? Have we nationally done this silly thing, spend money for the sake of an image? Do we need to look prosperous no matter what the cost?

Will we starve inside of our mansions?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Today's Special

The other day I received an e mail warning about purchasing gift cards from businesses that were shutting down or closing locations (thanks Donna.) As usual the length of the list made me worried about our economy, job loss and what it might all mean on a large scale. Then I had another thought. I am largely ignorant about the economy beyond our paychecks vs. our bills. I don't follow the stock market and other than "up" means good and "down" means bad I can't follow a discussion about Wall Street to save my life. The Big Three are begging for a bail out. This is also a bad sign.

Nonetheless my tiny pea brain can't help but wonder if a few of the five Home Depots within a fifteen minute drive my house needs to close down. Ditto for the Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aids that occupy three of the four corners of some intersections.

Wal-Marts? Four locally.

The auto industry? How many lease cars are on the road? I take the blame for two of them. I say blame because every three years I turn in a vehicle I've invested thousands of dollars in for another one to do the same thing. Where do these return leases go? Onto the used car lot. I don't know for sure, but I wonder if the auto industry has been over-producing and with so many people turning over their cars every few years we are now in a vehicle glut? Money shortage yes, shortage of cars? Uh, no.

My theory based on ignorance is that we have over-built this country. One is good, two is better, five is fantastic. So companies built brand new mega centers investing millions of dollars, how many years to make a return on that to stave off bankruptcy? Why couldn't we drive fifteen minutes instead of five to buy a light bulb? Seriously. One store gets all the business vs. five stores (brand new buildings) share that same demographic. Am I missing something?

Target? Three within ten miles.

Krogers? Two ACROSS THE STREET from each other.

Mom & Pop stores; whazat?

I am living in a house formerly occupied by two people with a fifteen year old Oldsmobile in the garage. Enough clothing to fit into one small closet. Two people who passed with a bank account and no mortgage.

These two people went to Aco or Forest City for home repair and improvement. That was it. For years, that was it. K-Mart on Van Born was the discount department store. Hudson's at the mall (nee' Marshall Fields, nee' Macy's) for finer items.

Oh, they lived well. They had second vacation homes, good linens on their beds and leather shoes in their closets. They had quality china in the cupboards and Christmas gifts under their tree. They did not have to decide which Walgreen's to shop at. They bought their prescriptions and shampoo and dish soap at the K-Mart on Van Born. The one that was there when I was a toddler. The one that is still there trying to hold on against the three Targets in whose shadow it sits.

I remember years ago when there was a store in the mall called The Coffee Beanery. This was my first experience with "fancy" coffee. I'd get a Carmel cappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top. Mmmmm, luxury. I wouldn't get one every time I went to the mall. Maybe once every three or four months. Kathy and I would Christmas shop together, go to the Senate Coney Island for dinner (I can't count the number of coneys around here, it's higher than my brain goes.) After some mall shopping when we were ready for a break we'd go to the Coffee Beanery. What a treat! The Beanery is gone.

But there are six Starbuck's between my house and the mall now. And when Starbuck's starts shutting down locations, we'll call it a sign of the Apocalypse. Lift up your head, your redemption draweth nigh!

I don't think a shake-up will hurt us one bit. I think what used to be special, extraordinary,'s now commonplace.

$5 for a cup of coffee every day. Nothing special. Target shopping to spend as much as we want because it's so cheap, nothing special. Walgreen's at 9:00 p.m. because I just decided to change my hair color and another trip at 10:00 p.m. because it was the wrong color. $30 later, nothing special.

I used to sit at those tiny tables at the Coffee Beanery savoring that incredibly delicious cappuccino because it was worth savoring. Now I put my $5 coffee in the cup holder of my new lease vehicle and throw away half of it when it gets cold. Ten minutes is too far to drive for a gallon of paint, I'll hit the store that is seven minutes away. And there's a good chance I'll spend more for that gallon of paint since the competitor was three minutes farther away. Convenience is what it's all about. Nothing special.

I don't know what it all means in the grand formula of world economy. I just know that if you build a tower of blocks too high with too many blocks it will fall.

I think we are hanging at the end of a golden noose. It's the weight against the rope that kills you.

Nothing special.

November 23, 2008

Psalm 50:2 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


1. Pictures of my little boys.

2. My name said by someone who loves me.

3. My husband's voice.

4. Snow.

5. Donny.

6. Tears meant for God.

7. The Old Testament.

8. Christmas.

9. A freshly made bed.

10. Coffee in a clear cup.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Greetings From The C.S. Lewis Room

Today I wore a gold sweater to work. This is not an actual painting of me but I believe I was the butt model. I bought my gold sweater at Old Navy and I am enjoying it quite alot and so I am planning on picking up another gold sweater in a different color. P.S. I am a brunette now so I'm experimenting with which colors go with my hair. We went out for a steak dinner (just the Mr. & me, Friday is date night.) We almost have our living room put back together. Need new drapes, haven't found any that call my name yet. It turned out really pretty I must say. I am looking forward to a cup of coffee in my new living room tomorrow. By the way, it's actually my C.S. Lewis room. I put both of my Christmas trees back and they look even better in the C.S. Lewis room.
Next, the bathroom!

Meanwhile I'm tired and on call until 8:00 tomorrow morning and the rest of this house has to be put into some kind of non-chaotic order for maximum Saturday morning enjoyment so I'm off to straighten, change sheets and take a shower.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


"Commitment actually is surrender-total, absolute, unconditional, irreversible surrender." BillyGraham

I ran across this quote in the daily devotional calendar I keep on my desk at work and it resonated with me. It reminded me of how God considers me his bride and that the marriage relationship we know on earth was meant to teach us about that relationship we have with God. The same ideas will make both successful. And in the case of this statement I think that this is the best definition of commitment I've ever heard. Apply this approach to whatever you are attempting and I believe you will succeed whether it's school, weight loss or your relationships.

What it really says is that there is no Plan B and no consideration for what to do if this doesn't work out. Whatever I have committed myself to will be the work of my life regardless of it I live to see its fulfillment. Like Moses who never saw the Promised Land but followed God for forty years in pursuit of it. Commitment.

Commitment says I will dig in to this thing with blinders on. Commitment can only happen with the courage of faith to fuel it. "I can't do this anymore" has nothing to do with what Christ can do. In fact, "I can't do this anymore" is usually when the divine finally finds room to show itself. Commitment saying "I can't do this anymore" is immediately following by doing it some more. Getting back a bad test grade, telling yourself you're done as you take notes for today's homework. Commitment.

Looking at your kid and seeing no hope and praying anyway. Tithing 10% the same week your electricity is scheduled for shut-off. Pigging out for lunch but getting it together for dinner.

Commitment is indeed absolute surrender to the thing to which I have dedicated myself. Anything with an exit door is not a commitment. There is nothing about happiness or peace or time limitations in this statement.

It reflects the vow of Christ as my husband; it is absolute. My sin and selfishness cannot reverse it. Although I break my promises, he remains committed. He gives himself no option of "I can't do this anymore." In fact, he takes that which I cannot do and does it for both of us. Loves enough, is good enough, extends enough grace and mercy to count for himself and for me. Jesus is committed to me.

Perhaps if I lived in more total and absolute surrender I would begin to understand his love for me and become a woman with enough love, grace and mercy to count for myself and someone else. Just a thought.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today I will share with you a helpful household hint that I suspect I am the only one who did not know.

You can bake bacon.

I enjoy bacon ever so much but I rarely make it because it is a splattery hot miserable situation. So the other day I read the bacon package and it said I could bake the bacon, which I did. And it was delicious and easy and I sustained no facial grease burns. So for your bacon pleasure, I give you the recipe for baked bacon.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the bacon on a shallow cookie sheet or some such thing.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until it is to your crispiness preference.

Eat bacon.

You're welcome.

Monday, November 17, 2008

American Idols

Several years ago, while visiting my husband's parents in Alabama we took a side trip to the childhood home of Helen Keller. It was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. Despite being the only one of the group even mildly interested in this historic place, I took my time to linger at each door way, to touch the stair rails and to walk back to THE water pump...and then circled back a second and third time. As the Mr. and Daboyz wandered around I put my hand on the old pump handle and cried.

I have this list of dream vacation destinations and not one of them

involves a beach or resort hotel. Helen Keller's home was on that list. As is Rocky

Ridge Farm, the adult home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. If I have to, I'll

wait for Kelly's Madison to grow up and go with me! And I promise you this, I'll cry there too.

Helen Keller and Laura Ingalls Wilder were my two childhood idols. I couldn't read enough about them and my fascination hasn't waned. As an adult, Laura's later writings about her adult life became available and I read them with just as much pleasure as I had in the fourth grade when Mrs. Weinlander introduced me to my heroin by reading the Little House series to our class. Now with the internet, I can actually see pictures of these women that I had never seen before and there is even more to read about them than the sparse stories in children's books.

I didn't want to be Helen Keller for obvious reasons and I didn't want to be Annie Sullivan either. They were both blind, Helen couldn't hear or speak and Annie devoted her entire life to Helen. I wasn't so charitable as I have visions of devoting myself to such selflessness.

I have had moments to this day of wanting to be Laura. I'm sure the hard work that I think I understand is still underestimated by me but she learned and accomplished so much in just living every day in her home with her family and doing it right. Those are accomplishments we don't honor anymore.

What did I see in these little girls who became women written in history? Adventurous spirits, courage, honor. Obstacles that other people forced them to face that became the foundations of extraordinary lives. Laura didn't like sweeping and sewing and being the eyes of her sister Mary. But there was no other option because her parents insisted without promises of rewards that she live by their standards. Her books, published when she was 65 years old, reflect not only the pioneer hardships she endured but the absolute certainty that she was loved.

Helen Keller was a beast when she met Annie Sullivan. Everyone has at least seen the movies of little girl Helen running around the dining room grabbing food from every plate and hitting anyone who got in her way. She didn't want to accomplish the extraordinary either. She too, was forced to live by the standards set before her, standards that seemed cruel to expect of her. Helen Keller was an accomplished college graduate when, in adulthood, she spoke of love poured out into her in equal measure with expectation.

I'm not ready to say that there are no more heroes and heroines growing up in American homes. My fear is that we look around and label the wrong accomplishments as heroic.

My greater fear is that the generation who produced heroes with equal parts love and expectation is growing smaller and weaker.

Heroes must be formed before than can be honored.

Rather than seeking the attention of being a hero; let me learn to demand standards and pour love into the lives around me.

The heroes will arise.

2 Samuel:34-36 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.

Pics: Above left-Helen Keller & Annie Sullivan. Above right-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008

Job 37: 22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Time To Paint

1. Already getting a late start, the Mr. forced me to sleep in.

2. What a mess this makes in the rest of the house!

3. He always underestimates how long this stuff will take.

4. He was already grouching at me last night.

5. Behr has this cool computer program at Home Depot where you scan in your colors and it shows a room done that way.

6. It may have been ill advised to put up two Christmas trees before we painted.

7. I'm hungry.

8. We may have to tie Donny's tail around one of his back legs.

9. I have a sinus headache.

UPDATE ON ALEXA (MARTY & STACY'S DAUGHTER):She will probably spend one more night in Children's Hospital for observation. Dad says she is doing ok, asks us to keep praying. She had a reaction to strep + the first round of antibiotics that causes what looks like bad bruising in her lower extremities. They are watching for kidney or intestinal problems before they send her home. Pray for mom and dad, I'm sure they are worn out and worried. And on their behalf, thank you for praying!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


John 12:31-33 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Today I repent and confess in front of you. I confess that I read a blog with a prayer request and thought to myself how sad the person's situation was and then moved on to the next blog. I confess that I have more often than I care to admit, presumed someone else was praying or that God already knew and had it under control.

So I repent, I apologize, I ask to be forgiven and I determine to not be this person. I repent not because I don't want to go to hell or miss the rapture (both of which are true) but because I know my heart grieves God. And this is my greatest regret.

Today I thank God that when I clicked away from that blog he bothered yet again to get in my way and demand my attention. I realized in that moment that I have come to accept things as being an expression of a fallen world and that I shrug too much off. The Holy Spirit revealed to me this morning that if God were lifted up in my life, if he occupied the place I claim that he does, his very position would cause my turning to him with everything. I would have realized before today that this woman who needs a miracle in her body is not that much different from me. I need a miracle in my body to breathe, to pump blood through my arteries, to think and move and type blogs. But I don't consider these things miracles. Like the sadness of the fallen world; the abilities of my body have become givens instead of miracles. Everything is a result of God's hand sweeping over the earth to provide the next breath and to turn us toward the sun. How then, dare I give up on miraculous healings and happenings when my very life is a miracle.

When Jesus talked about being lifted up, I so often think of this as a kind of being exalted in worship. It's like a flashlight's beam pulled away and therefore casting a wider light. But read that verse. He was talking about being lifted up on a cross, bloody and beaten.

He was lifted up by men who forgot they needed his miracles for the strength they were using to torture him. I'm no better, I use the strength of his miracles to ignore him. I use his miracle of my mind to convince myself that someone else is praying or that this fallen world is what it is and prayer can't help. I use his miracles to grieve him.

Jesus said before he died that being lifted up on a cross was what would draw men to him. Through blood and pain we would realize, he loves us. If we don't huddle close to together to hide within the shadow of the cross, we miss yet another miracle...hope.

The world is fallen and that is why people are sick, babies are starving and wars are so numerous we can't keep track of them. God will reach the end of his tolerance and judgement will come. The pain will stop then, for those who remember the miracle of him being lifted up.

Forgive me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ronald Reagan, 10-27-1964

I am going to talk of controversial things. I make no apology for this.
It's time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, "We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government."
This idea? that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the issue of this election:Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectualelite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream-the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits."
The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that,it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.
Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, "What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power." But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function,government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.
Yet any time you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate. They tell us we're always "against," never "for" anything.
We are for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we have accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem. However, we are against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments....
We are for aiding our allies by sharing our material blessings with nations which share our fundamental beliefs, but we are against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism,all over the world.
We need true tax reform that will at least make a start toward I restoring for our children the American Dream that wealth is denied to no one, that each individual has the right to fly as high as his strength and ability will take him.... But we can not have such reform while our tax policy is engineered by people who view the tax as a means of achieving changes in our social structure....
Have we the courage and the will to face up to the immorality and discrimination of the progressive tax, and demand a return to traditional proportionate taxation? . . . Today in our country the tax collector's share is 37 cents of -very dollar earned. Freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp.
Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware,and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor's fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can't socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last.
If all of this seems like a great deal of trouble, think what's at stake. We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. There can be no security any where in the free world if there is no fiscal and economic stability within the United States. Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation.
They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation.When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits-not animals." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail,at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.