Friday, February 29, 2008

Shyness, VBS and the will of God

I have to do something that I don't want to do. I've laughed about it, poked fun about it, complained about it to various people that I know. I'm not sure that they know how much I really don't want to do it, though. See, here's the deal. I am basically a shy person. (I know, everyone who knows me would dispute this but the reason they don't think I'm shy is because they know me. Or, more accurately, I know them.) I hate to speak publicly. Ick. With a capital I. However, we are doing a Vacation Bible School workshop at the local christian book store where I work. I don't mind organizing these events. They can be fun. (If it tells you anything, inventory is my favorite time of the year.) This year, though, we are having trouble finding presenters.

So, I am going to present the Group VBS information.

Four times.

In front of a bunch (anywhere from 5 to 100) of people I do not know. (Although truthfully, after almost 20 years here, I suspect I will know some of them.)

I have been reading Chuck Swindoll's Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication lately and some of the things that he has been talking about are really speaking to me. One thing that he talks about is how God stretches us and grows us so that we will be ready to do the job that He set before us. He then goes on to say, "So when the call comes, his only response is a quiet and reluctant, "I'm here." Believe it or not, that's all God wanted to hear. It's still true today. That's all He wants to hear from you when He speaks."

So I have to wonder if this is God having me do this.

To stretch and grow my speaking skills.

Of course, I don't want to think that it really might be. Because if it is a God thing, His will, then I have to obey.

Without the grumbling or whining.

The silver lining to this whole VBS thing though just may be the same as what happened to Moses when he turned to check out the burning bush. As Chuck puts it, "Moses did just that, (referring to his checking out the burning bush) and when he did, he came face to face with his destiny." Not that my destiny is necessarily tied up with Group VBS. But just maybe my destiny is tied up with small steps of obedience to my Lord.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

somebody should have shot that silly groundhog!

Because if the groundhog doesn't come out of the ground, then we can't have more winter, can we?

On a strange note, apparently yesterday was National Spay Day. Hmmm....I'm kind of sorry I didn't know that yesterday. I'm not sure how I would have celebrated but I'm sure I could have come up with something.

As you can see from the picture, it snowed again yesterday. This is normally the frog that sits in the front yard. Today he is pretending to be the abominable snowfrog. We like to encourage imagination around our house. I am pretending to be getting ready for work. But I don't think I'm fooling anyone!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I will lift my eyes...

This has to be my favorite song right now. If only I can remember to do this all the time....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wonder Woman?

I may have found a new career.

Our furnace stopped working properly this afternoon. The pilot light wouldn't stay lit. After I did all I could, (which consisted of taking the cover off, looking inside, and saying, "hmmm...the pilot light doesn't appear to be lit.") I called the furnace repair people. Bless their little hearts. I got an immediate call back (hurray!) and was told that since today was a Sunday, overtime rates applied and that he had two other calls before me. So, in desperation, I asked if there was anything I could try. Well, guess what?

There was. And I did.

And by the time Mr. Furnace Repairman called back to check on me, I had fixed the furnace. I sure did! (And I thought it was so nice of Mr. Furnace Repairman to call back and check on me. I thanked him profusely for his money saving advice. And simple instructions.) Apparently there's this little rod thing in the furnace thing that senses whether or not heat is really needed. This little rod thing gets black really easily and when it's black and not shiny silver, it won't let the pilot light thing light and stay on. Who knew? So all I had to do was get the screws off the front of the furnace with a 5/16 nutjob (honest to pete, that's what he called it. I always thought a nutjob was a crazy person.), remove the little rod thing on the far left (not the one with the two white wires and the little plug...those break really easily) and scrub on the rod part with steel wool until it is shiny and new looking again. Then you just put it all together again and flip the switch and voila! The pilot light thing lights up and you have heat! And no overtime charges!

To celebrate my mechanical prowess, I fixed chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter syrup. Since this is one of the childrens favorite dishes, I am being lauded as cook extraordinaire as well. It doesn't get any better than this! (she says as she's looking around for the other shoe to drop....)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

How do you know?

I have a question for you.

Let me give you a couple of situations first. Then I'll pose my question. And I really would like to know what you think. Because I continue to struggle with this. And I am getting nowhere.

Situation A: I have this relative. Let's refer to this relative as X. X is currently on his third marriage. X also has a history of unfaithfulness...lots of affairs. X used to be a minister but decided that he didn't believe in God anymore. Mainly because God wouldn't approve of his chosen lifestyle. X has a son who was encouraged to lie to X's wife so that she wouldn't find out about his affairs. X's son has made comments like, "what's the big deal? It's just adultery." Although X is a close relation, we do not have a relationship with him anymore.

Situation B: Cinderella had a classmate who was an exchange student. Let's refer to the exchange student as Z. Cinderella and Z were close and had lots of fun together. Z returned to her native land and she and Cinderella kept in touch for awhile. Then Cinderella's letter's went unanswered. In the meantime, Z's host parents got divorced. Papa host parent was a minister, but left the ministry. Cinderella was very good friends with host boy. Host boy went crazy around this time, got kicked out of school, never graduated, never went to college, was thrown out of his house and bounced from job to job. This made Cinderella very sad. Yesterday, Cinderella discovered that Papa host parent followed Z to her native land, proposed marriage and married Z. Over a year ago. Cinderella is upset, shocked and overwhelmed by the "ick" factor. She wants to talk to Z but doesn't want to talk to/about Papa host parent.

So here's my burning question. The one that I struggle with all the time. How do you have a relationship with someone without giving the appearance that you are condoning what they have done. In the case of X, I am angry. I loved X's second wife like a sister. I hate what he has done. And continues to do. He sets a poor example for my children. I don't want them to grow up thinking that it is okay to live their life this way. And I know that his choices have affected his children. And yet I know that God wants me to forgive him. And I know my responsibility is to reflect Christ's love so that maybe someday he will find his way back to God. I am angry over the choices that Z and papa host parent made. I realize that their poor choices will continue to reverberate for generations to come. And yet, I know that God offers forgiveness if only they ask. On the other hand, I don't want my children to think that this is an acceptable way to live their life either.

So how do you do it? How do you love the person but not the choice. Especially when their choice makes them the person that they are? Any thoughts?

Friday, February 22, 2008

The floor has landed.

Yes, it's true. We have our wood floors. I am so excited! They look wonderful. And everything is dusted and put in it's rightful place. (It was a family affair. How fun!) The only drawback seems to be the dogs response to them. They don't quite know what to think. The tappity tap tap of their toenails on the wood seems to freak them out.

In a HUGE way.

They're practically dancing across the floor. And they haven't figured out how to get traction to jump on things. Which isn't a bad thing. Elwood has it the worst. He is afraid of everything and all these strange sounds coming from his foot area is scaring him to death. He keeps leaping and running and that sound keeps following his feet wherever he goes. (He's been a wonderful source of entertainment but I hope this passes soon.)

I will have to post some pictures as soon as I get a chance. I'll try to capture "dog" expressions too.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


We have it. An ice storm snuck into town this morning. (Actually, it didn't sneak in. It arrived with much fanfare, early school dismisals, bank closings, mall closings, and so forth.) Cinderella and I were at the salon when it arrived. She decided that it was time for a hair color change. After three or four years of black hair, she wanted something lighter. Which involved hours of bleaching and coloring and high lighting and low lighting. And me getting my nails done. (I'm not sure how that fits in, but that's the excuse I used.)

We made it home safely (thank goodness!) but that wasn't the end of the story.
We were supposed to have wood floors put in today. In the living room and hallway. So, in preparation for this, all the furniture was distributed throughout the house and the old carpet was ripped up. Then the phone rings. "We're sorry but this unexpected ice storm will delay the installation of the flooring. Because we can't run our electrical sawing things outside during an ice storm." Sigh. So I am currently sitting next to our entertainment center, which is resting on it's side in front of the refrigerator. Perhaps the floor people will come tomorrow. Or perhaps we will all go on a diet. Or live off our fat stores. Or go out to eat. Hey, that's not a bad idea. Except we can't go anywhere because we are iced in. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's finally here!

Many years ago, there was a childrens CD called "Songs from the Beginners Bible." Jodi Benson, who played the Little Mermaid, sang the songs and since Cinderella was a big LM fan, I bought it for her. Each song is about a bible story. I fell in love with one of the songs and had it sung for The Boy's baby dedication. It is called "Here in My Heart" and it is Mary singing to baby Jesus. So, for the final entry in Jona-palooza 2008, here are the words to the song, dedicated to my "baby." (and pardon this mama's tears.)

I don't want to kiss you good night
I'll just keep on holding you tight
'Cause baby I know
You'll change and you'll grow
You'll get bigger with each morning light
I know that the sky's full of stars
And dreams call your name from afar
I'm anxious to see
All you're gonna be
But I'm sure gonna miss who you are
But I'll keep you right here in my heart
And I'll memorize each little part
'Cause one day you'll go
And I'll miss you so
But I'll keep you right here in my heart
Each tooth that you'll gain or you'll lose
And each time you'll need bigger shoes
Each step that you take
Will be further away
But to stop you is not what I'd choose
These fingers that curl round my hand
Must do things that no others can
I know you're not mine
But God's own design
And I want you to follow his plan
But I'll keep you right here in my heart
And I'll memorize each little part
'Cause one day you'll go
And I'll miss you so
But I'll keep you right here in my heart.

Monday, February 18, 2008


One of my favorite shows is Extreme Makeover: Home edition. I like it because there's no violence, language, or inappropriate content. I also like the fact that it shows how community pulls together to help a family in need. (That sounds like a commercial, doesn't it?) Well, last night's episode took place in the city where we live. (Not so very far from our house actually.) We watched some of the goings on while abc was here filming and it was all very exciting. We've driven by the house and marveled at the beauty of it and were amazed that they were able to pull it all off. (Narrow road, other houses and so forth.) Nothing, however, compared with watching the show last night. Even though the house was beautiful and the family vacation was outstanding, nothing could compare with Patrick Henry Hughes. I honestly thought this was the most inspirational episode of the series. If you get the chance, check this article out and see what I mean. And maybe the next time I see someone who doesn't quite measure up to my way of thinking, I'll try to see things Patrick's way.

What's this I see?

I found this in my yard this morning. Could it be that spring is just around the corner? I'm not too sure. This was one weak looking little crocus. But at least it's a small taste of spring in a very cold world. I'm sure the tulips and hibiscus aren't too far behind.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Scripture

I praise the Lord because he advises me.
Even at night, I feel his leading.
I keep the Lord before me always.
Because he is close by my side,
I will not be hurt.
So I rejoice and am glad.
Even my body has hope,
Psalm 16:7-9 NCV


We have survived.

Forty slices of pizza, one sheet cake, two tubs of ice cream, six bags of chips, an order of cheese bread, two pounds of peanut m&m's, three dozen donuts, and three dozen donut holes later. I am amazed at how much sixteen year old boys can eat.

Anyway, The Boy is sleeping it off and we are trying to restore order to the rest of the house. And dh seems to have picked up the only version of the flu that had not yet infiltrated our house. It's a good thing that I bought a new "industrial" sized can of lysol. I am so ready for spring! Or the end of cold and flu season. Or both.

Only three more days left in Jona-palooza. The festivities are beginning to wind down. Actually, the only other planned event is on the actual day of his birth, which would be Wednesday. I know, you are thinking, "hasn't that boy had his birthday yet?!?" I told you, he believes that it should be a week long celebration and somehow he has convinced us of the same thing. Oh well, life will get back to normal soon. No, wait, The Boy will be getting his permit and learning how to drive. Sigh. I think I will have to find a new normal.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pass the tylenol please...

We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you an update on day three of Jona-palooza. This evening we will be hosting various and assorted members of the "nerd herd". We will be serving copious amounts of junk food to enhance this gathering. I am sure we will also be playing non-stop video games and jamming to ear-splitting tunes that make absolutely no sense to this mother. So I will be locked in a little corner of my mind, remembering my little boy and thinking that he and his friends need to shave. Sigh. I can't decide which birthdays are harder, mine or my childrens.

I love these pictures. I love the fact that Merlin (Basset #1) looks like he could come through the window and eat that cake. (He's actually standing on top of his doghouse.) The other picture is The Boy holding a four foot long Orca that dh and I just had to bring home from Hawaii. We had to buy a separate duffel bag for it but The Boy loved it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

We were so young. And thin. And clueless. Twenty-one years later, well, we aren't as young or as thin but I suspect we are still somewhat clueless sometimes. I think Alan Jackson says it best:

Remember when we vowed the vows
and walked the walk
Gave our hearts, made the start, it was hard
We lived and learned, life threw curves
There was joy, there was hurt
Remember when

Remember when the sound of little feetwas the music
We danced to week to week
Brought back the love, we found trust
Vowed we'd never give it up
Remember when

Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now lookn' back it's just a steppin' stone
To where we are,
Where we've been
Said we'd do it all againRemember when
Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won't be sad, we'll be glad
For all the life we've had
And we'll remember when

Happy Anniversary Joshua! I love you...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I can't believe it's that time again.

It's time for our annual Jona-palooza! For years, The Boy's school has taken a three or four day winter break around the time of his birthday. When he was smaller, he just assumed that since he was out of school during these days, that he should celebrate his birthday multiple times. (The fact that we had separate parties for both sets of grandparents and one for his friends probably helped reinforce this concept.) So here we are again. It's winter break and time to celebrate The Boy's birthday. Even though I am not ready. Because he will be 16 this year. And I have no idea where the time has gone. So, to ease myself into this painful time, I have decided to post pictures of him as a small child over the next few days. I'm sure I will have things non-child related to talk about as well, but please permit this mother's indulgence as she deals with the passage of time. Hey, I could be posting pictures of my wrinkles, varicose veins or white (platinum blonde) hair.

Farmer Boy

Look at those curls!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

a touch of irony or a touch of the flu?

Life is funny. And God has a sense of humor.

I normally close the book store where I work on Monday nights. Yesterday I woke up to the news that we were expecting a winter storm, complete with ice and snow. All starting around five and continuing into the night. Driving in snow and ice is not my favorite thing to do. I have done it before so I know it's not my favorite thing. Anyhow, I started praying for safety and a delay to the storm and all the other things that I pray for when snow is involved. Well, my prayer was answered. In a round about way. And certainly not how I asked for it. Less than an hour later, I found myself "hug the toilet" sick. Bleck. So I did not go to work. And it did snow. And ice. I felt guilty for causing someone else to work my shift. And I prayed for them as well. Hopefully, they did not get "hug the toilet" sick too.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

From Irritated Young Man to Mr. Smooth

Am I glad that's over. In all honesty, it was fun. Except when The Boy got home from getting his haircut, he wasn't happy. It was a wee bit shorter than he likes. Actually, I think he would prefer to never get his haircut but school rules (and his parents) keep that from happening. Anyway, once he got dressed, I made him pose for the obligatory picture. He still was not happy.

He is normally a happy kid so he headed off to the game and had a good time (although he was hot in his suit) and then headed to the dance with his two dates. Yes, I said two. He had the priviledge to escort two lovely young ladies to the homecoming dance. He's such a charmer. (snicker, snicker) Anyhow, later that evening, I snuck up to the country club with a friend so we could spy on him. (what a mom!) We had the opportunity to observe him in action for a bit. And it gave us a giggle. After we were discovered, I made him pose for more pictures. That's what a mom is for.

Aren't they just too cute?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Homecoming-or the end of strange clothing

Spirit week is over. It ended today with 20's day. The Boy went dressed as a Whitefield student. Imaginative, huh. I think we got tired of trying to find alternatives to the school uniform. Tonight is homecoming. The Boy will be going. He has two lovely "dates" to the dance afterwards. They are friends from the "nerd herd" (as they refer to themselves). He is the only guy in his group to be brave enough (or goofy enought) to go to the dance. And honestly, he's not that thrilled about it but Lady G. is a good friend to him so I guess he's doing it for her sake. But it means dressing up, getting a haircut (which he was due one anyway. I saw demerits in his future if he didn't get one soon!), corsages, fancy food, and dancing. Not to mention he has to go to the game dressed up in a suit. So far he's been a good sport though. I am planning on dropping by the dance later this evening to take pictures and embarrass him. Because that's what moms do. (I won't be going to check on him. Nope. Even if it is my baby's first big dance. I won't cry. I won't sob, clutch him to my chest and cry,"my baby!" No siree. ) I'll try to post some pictures later.

crazy days or is it daze?

This has been the craziest week. I thought about blogging last night but apparently I was feeling grumpy because the only things I wanted to comment about were complaints. And I am trying to move away from that. Complaining. Because I do that more than I should. (Just ask God. We had a conversation about that this morning in the car. I was trying to pray and kept stopping to fuss at the drivers around me. Who obviously had no driving skills. Then I had to repent. And drive another 50 yards and start all over again.) So I am going to be thankful instead. Patty has this really cool thing called God Stop Friday. I can't figure out how to add the icon to my blog yet but I can still tell you how God has worked in my life this week.

We survived the storms. If you know anything about my family, storms are big things for us. Both my children deal with acute anxiety when tornadoes threaten and it is difficult for them to deal with any type of storm. I really dreaded Tuesday evening because dh was almost certain we were going to end up in our "storm cellar" (the downstairs bath). Sure enough, at 12:25 am, the sirens went off and downstairs we went, waking both children and moving them and the dogs and cat to the bath. Even though they were upset, Cinderella and the boy handled the excitement well. (Maybe they were too sleepy to get upset.) We had heavy rain and wind and loud outdoor sounds but no damage. We were blessed. So many are dealing with the loss of property or loss of life and our prayers go out to them.

I mentioned earlier this week that God spoke to me through Annette, Patty, and Amanda. He also used a post by Lysa to touch my heart. I am so grateful for this blogging community. It allows me to make new (smarter) friends (who have more spiritual depth). They are a blessing to me as well.

My prayer for this upcoming week is that I will look more for the blessings of God and He will get to listen to less of my complaints. I'll let you know how it works out. (And aren't I glad that God is ever so patient with me!)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's National Slow Cooker Day!

No, it's really not. But it sounds like a wonderful way to introduce a slow cooker recipe. We have recently been struck by brilliance at our house. Why not fix a slow cooker meal on Wednesday night? There's a shortage of time on Wednesday because of church activities so it would make sense to try and simplify our dinner plans. My preference would be to eat out every Wednesday night (no dirty dishes!) but that is not always financially practical. Thus, the flash of brilliance. (I realize that a lot of other families have discovered the same thing. Perhaps we're not so much brilliant as we are slow. Hence the slow cooker. Tee hee. MJ will appreciate that pun.)

Anyhow, I digress. We tried this recipe last Wednesday and it was a winner. So without further ado, I give you:

Slow Cooker Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 package (8 ounces) no cook lasagna noodles
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt and oregano; mix well. In the interest of saving time, because I have no time in the mornings, we prepared the meat mixture the night before and refrigerated it.

Spread a fourth of the meat sauce in an ungreased 5 qt. slow cooker. Arrange a third of the noodles over the sauce (break the noodles if necessary.) Combine the cheeses; spoon a third of the mixture over noodles. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat sauce. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender. I came home at lunch and put this together and it was ready to eat by six.

This recipe was brought to you by Taste of Home Slow Cooker Classics.

Rah Rah!

It’s spirit week this week in our part of the world. In case you’ve forgotten, or if your part of the world doesn’t participate in this oddity, spirit week is the week prior to homecoming. Students use this week to dress up in odd costumes to promote school spirit or, in our case, get out of wearing the dreaded school uniform for a week. And we are a family all about school spirit. Or at least about getting out of wearing the dreaded uniform. The Boy came out of his room this morning and asked what he could wear for today’s festivities. It seems that today is Circus day! Please keep in mind that he is asking at 7:10 and I am leaving in 20 minutes for work and he and his father are leaving in 30 minutes. His father’s immediate response was, “Well, since we don’t have an elephant costume, I have no idea.”

Note to all parents of small children who may have an upcoming spirit week in their future. Plan ahead. Make sure you have an elephant costume on hand for those occasions where you need to dress up for circus day.

Never let it be said that we are not creative people though. Cinderella and dh came up with the idea of him being a popcorn vendor. So The Boy went to school today in jeans and a t-shirt, with the cardboard carton from a case of water bottles strapped around his neck, filled with popcorn containers and leftover granola bars that no one in our house would eat. I suspect that the carton and it’s contents will soon be abandoned and he will be content just to roam the halls in “normal teenage boy” attire. And don't forget, one other plus to spirit week is a pep rally every day. That means an hour less of class work each day. Every 15 year old's dream.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Annie's eyes-Updated

I am currently reading through the Bible chronologically this year. Those who know me know that this can be a challenge for me because I tend to get distracted and miss my Word from the Lord. However, this week Annette has offered the most wonderful, thought provoking recap of last weeks reading. Honestly, if you want a fresh look at the Word, take a moment and read what she has written. I hope it blesses and challenges you as it did me.
As I continued reading through my regular blogs, I discovered that Patty at Girlfriends in God
had written a wonderful recap of the week as well. Her comments on Genesis 50:19 and Exodus 1:20 really spoke to me. Then I found a very convicting post on reading my bible daily over at oh Amanda. Do you think God is trying to get my attention?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Scripture

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Saturday, February 2, 2008

ah, sweet misery

It's day forty-seven of "the cold from down under". Really, it's not. It's more like day seven. However, after four days without sleep, I have now fallen into the "I've slept for three days straight" phase. I suspect that I was so much more entertaining the first four days. Everything around the house has suffered the last three days. I looked at the kitchen counter this morning and thought "it looks normal around here again." Gone are the days when I was home 24/7 and the house was reasonably clean. So I am trying to muster up the energy to clean something. Maybe myself? The Boy has a sweet sixteen party to go to tonight and I need to go in and socialize for a moment or two. I suspect he would prefer that I be reasonably clean when I do so. Probably more than he would prefer a clean counter. Dh has offered to go to the grocery for me and perhaps Cinderella will offer to do some laundry. And I can go back to bed. And try to sleep this cold away.