Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell, 2009

I'm ready for a new year. For our family, these past 12 months will unfortunately be remembered as a time of loss. To top it all off, last night we learned that hubby's sister has been diagnosed with MS. She is a pastor's wife (of a start-up church, no less) and they could really use our prayers right now. Those with MS also have a high risk of becoming depressed (an issue with pretty much any debilitating illness), and unfortunately many of the medications currently being used to treat MS further increase the risk. It's currently affecting one leg and her vision, and they're working to treat those symptoms, but she'll never be back to 100%. Please pray for wisdom for her and her husband as they decide which course of treatment to pursue as well as for the doctors, and that the entire family would find rest in our Lord.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
For his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD...
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men

Lamentations 3:21-26, 31-33

Some great thoughts - and a reminder that each and EVERY day is new - over at Praise & Coffee

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Almost there...

Can you believe tomorrow is Christmas? Today has been interesting... You see, it also happens to be my birthday. The big 3-5. For some reason this one felt like more of a milestone than 30 did. Not quite sure why - perhaps it's because I get to have my very first oh-so-fun-womanly-squash-me-all-flat test next month (just to establish a baseline), or maybe it's because if we were to have another baby I'd now be considered high risk (and no, I'm not hinting at ANYTHING with that statement!) Anyhoo, I'm definitely getting older!

So what did we do today? Well, I traditionally celebrate with lot of dairy product: spinach cheese pie for dinner, and then luscious coconut cheesecake rather than a plain ol' birthday cake. I popped the cheesecake in the oven this morning and hubby pulled it out while I was taking care of other stuff. Went about our day, and I made an early dinner so we could get to church for Christmas Eve service. Unfortunately, things didn't go quite according to plan. When I pulled the spinach cheese pie out of the oven, the center was still all runny and the crust wasn't even beginning to brown - and well, we just didn't have time to bake it any more. So it went into the fridge (we'll have it tomorrow instead) and we stopped cruised through McD's on the way to church. Definitely not the start of a new tradition! Had a very nice service, but as we were doing the last "candlelit" portion, my candle wouldn't stay lit... then as I was debating about getting another candle, our son laid down across the seats and announced that his stomach hurt. I touched his forehead, and he was waaay too hot. So we packed up and headed out, rather than standing around chatting as we normally would. Came home to enjoy my birthday "cake" - and as I cut into it, I knew we had a problem. Yep, it wasn't fully cooked either. Ate a bit of the edge, though, and it was quite tasty :)

So what's the point of this rambling account? Well, it simply didn't matter. I was surrounded by my family (and lots of friends at church, too) and was focusing on the miracle of Christmas rather than all the silly other stuff happening.

Because seriously, just think about it. God came to US. Chose to leave the glory of heaven and make his entrance here as a squalling infant in less than sanitary conditions. Walked among the fallen creation, teaching and offering an example, then making the ultimate sacrifice so that He could offer redemption to those who had repeatedly scorned Him. Wow.

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
- -
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
~Charles Wesley
May you have a blessed CHRISTmas - I pray that each of you truly understands what an amazing gift we've all received.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sharing Some Christmas Cheer

Caught this clip last night, as our little one was singing part of the song that her class performed on Sunday. We had read a book we'd gotten from the library (Little One, We Knew You'd Come) and she started singing as she was looking at the pictures. Of course when I got the camera out, she started playing shy (which is why you'll hear me humming a bit at the beginning)

Jesus was born on Christmas day
Mary laid him in the hay
So little boys and girls could pray
"Jesus, Jesus"
Baby Jesus, we love You!

On a side note, I know that we all already have a ton of things going on, but I thought there were some neat ideas HERE to celebrate Winter Solstice (which is Sunday). Don't know how much we'll manage to squeeze in, but we can definitely dine by candlelight!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December (so far!)

Bundled Up Dual Spinning Craft Time All Dressed Up Singing Cheesing It Up Onstage Tree Festive basket A bit of greenery Manger scene my FIL made Railing Decorated Windows Treats Good Smells A bit of snow Cardinal Tree close-up
So far we've bundled up for the holiday parade. spun like mad on the computer chair, done crafts at the Birthday Party for Jesus, posed in holiday finery, sung, decorated, baked a few things, made a pomander at MOPS, and admired the beauty of winter.
(You can click here to go to the photo group)

Monday, December 8, 2008


It's finally beginning to look a bit like Christmas around here! We purchased an artificial, pre-lit tree after Christmas last year, and while I must admit that I miss the pine scent, I did *NOT* miss the search for "the tree that looks OK but isn't ridiculously expensive," nor the quest to get it in the stand, immediately followed by the epic husband-wife "is it straight yet?" debate, nor the untangling of lights. And I definitely won't miss crawling underneath to add water (inevitably scratching my forehead and soaking the tree skirt in the process), or finding needles for the next 3 months. Yep, this is seeming like a pretty good idea. Now to get some ornaments on it!

On a side note, I'm finding I'm getting rather sentimental about things these days. It's our last Christmas in this house, so I want to decorate it up right. This will be our last cold winter for awhile... have I taken enough pictures of the kids with their red noses and stocking hats? Yesterday we had a potluck after church, and I couldn't help but look around and wonder if we'd be able to make it to another one. Those of you who've made major moves, can you tell me if this is normal?! I'm afraid that my poor husband may soon suffer permanent damage to his eye sockets, as my schmoopy statements of "This will be the last time that..." are often met with an eye roll :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Funny

A Politically Correct Christmas Story

And Joseph went up from Galilee to Bethlehem with Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child. And she brought forth a Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

And the angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds and said; "I bring you tidings of great joy. Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

"There's a problem with the angel," said a Pharisee, who happened to be strolling by. As he explained to Joseph, angels are widely regarded as religious symbols, and the stable was on public property, where such symbols were not allowed to land, or even hover.

"And I have to tell you, this whole thing looks to me very much like a Nativity scene," he said sadly. "That's a no-no, too."

Joseph had a bright idea "What if I put a couple of reindeer over there near the ox and the donkey?" he said, eager to avoid sectarian strife.

"That would definitely help, said the Pharisee, who knew as well as anyone that whenever a savior appeared, judges usually liked to be on the safe side and surround it with deer or woodland creatures of some sort.

"Just to clinch it, throw in a candy cane and a couple of elves and snowmen, too." he said. "No court can resist that!"

Mary asked, "What does my son's birth have to do with snowmen?"

"Snowpersons," cried a young woman, changing the subject before it veered dangerously toward religion.

Off to the side of the crowd, a Philistine was painting the Nativity scene.

Mary complained that she and Joseph looked too tattered and worn in the picture.

"Artistic license," he said. "I've got to show the plight of the haggard homeless in a greedy, uncaring society in winter," he quipped.

"We're not haggard or homeless, the inn was just full," said Mary.

"Whatever," said the painter.

Two women began to argue fiercely. One said she objected to Jesus' birth "Because it privileged motherhood." The other scoffed at virgin births, but said that if they encouraged more attention to diversity in family forms and the rights of single mothers, well, then, she was all for them.

"I'm not a single mother-" Mary started to say, but she was cut off by a third woman who insisted that swaddling clothes are a form of child abuse, since they restrict the natural movement of babies.

With the arrival of 10 child advocates, all trained to spot infant abuse and manger rash, Mary and Joseph were pushed to the edge of the crowd, where arguments were breaking out over how many reindeer (or what mix of reindeer and seasonal sprites) had to be installed to compensate for the infant's unfortunate religious character.

An older man bustled up, bowling over two merchants, who had been busy debating whether an elf is the same as a fairy and whether the elf/fairy should be shaking hands with Jesus in the crib or merely standing to the side, jumping around like a sports mascot.

"I'd hold off on the reindeer," the man said, explaining that the use of donkeys and oxen as picturesque backdrops for Nativity scenes carries the subliminal message of human dominance.

He passed out two leaflets, one denouncing manger births as invasions of animal space, the other arguing that stables are penned environments where animals are incarcerated against their will. He had no opinion about elves or candy canes.

Signs declaring "Free the Bethlehem 2" began to appear, referring to the obviously exploited ox and donkey. Someone said the halo on Jesus' head was elitist.

Mary was exasperated. "And what about you?" she said sharply to an elderly woman. "Are you here to attack the shepherds as prison guards for excluded species, maybe to complain that singing in Latin identifies us as Roman oppressors, or just to say that I should have skipped patriarchal religiosity and joined some dumb new-age goddess religion?"

"None of the above," said the woman, "I just wanted to tell you that the Magi are here."

Sure enough, the three wise men rode up. The crowd gasped!

"They're all male!"

And, "Not very multicultural!"

"Balthasar here is black," said one of the Magi.

"Yes, but how many of you are gay or disabled?" someone shouted.

A committee was quickly formed to find an impoverished lesbian wiseperson among the lame of Bethlehem.

A calm voice said, "Be of good cheer, Mary, you have done well and your son will change the world."

At last, a sane person, Mary thought. She turned to see a radiant and confident female face.

The woman spoke again, "There is one thing, though, Religious holidays are important, but can't we learn to celebrate them in ways that unite, not divide? For instance, instead of all this business about 'Gloria in excelsis Deo,' why not just 'Season's Greetings'?"

Mary said, "You mean my son has entered human history to deliver the message, 'Hello, it's winter?'"

"That's harsh, Mary," said the woman. "Remember, your son could make it big in mid-winter festivals, if he doesn't push the religious thing too far. Centuries from now, in nations yet unborn, people will give each other pricey gifts and have big office parties on his birthday. And that's not chopped liver!"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

To Santa or not to Santa, that is the question...

I stopped by the thrift store yesterday and scored a couple books and games. As I was checking out, the cashier leaned over the counter and asked A (our almost 4 YO daughter) whether she'd written a letter to Santa yet. I replied that we really don't "do" Santa at our house - the kids know who he is and that it's a fun thing that some people do over Christmas, but that he is not real. The poor lady looked a bit stunned by this statement, and I then said, "Yeah, we focus more on Jesus." Her response: "Well, that's not so bad."


I wasn't really sure how to repond to that one. I said something like, "We still exchange gifts and have a lot of fun together, but we want to focus on what's truly important." She just nodded, handed me my bag, and thanked me for stopping by.

So how do you handle stuff like this? Just let it go, or offer your opinion? I certainly am not trying to turn anyone into the Santa Police (we've also told our son that other kids do believe in Santa and that he shouldn't tell them differently - I really don't want one of his school friends coming in from recess crying from the revelation!) but I happen to feel pretty strongly about this issue. Some good thoughts here and here, plus here's a book we read each year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The holidays are upon us!

Can you believe it's December already?!? As always, there's a bunch of stuff happening at our house - and now it has a lovely holiday soundtrack :) Some random ramblings:
  • Our son was running a fever starting Saturday night, which meant that I missed church for the second week in a row. That stinks! It wasn't any better yesterday, so he missed his first day of school. He woke up fine this morning, and rather wired (which I'm attributing to all that rest yesterday), so I was quite happy to send him off this morning :)
  • I do love seeing homes decorated up with lights and such, but dislike those big inflatable thingees, particularly when people have multiples up. Blech. And on a side note, I also find it amusing when people have some huge Disney display in their yard, then a tiny little manger scene off in the corner. Not quite sure what message they're going for...
  • Oh, how I adore Christmas music. Casting Crowns and Sara Groves both released albums, and they both get an enthusiastic "thumbs up" from me!
  • Coffeemate Caramel Apple creamer is delish. It's out for a limited time, but someone told me that it can be frozen; I'm seriously thinking about stashing a bottle in the back of my freezer.
  • Our tree isn't up yet (pout, pout). The situation will be remedied by the end of the weekend.
  • We are done shopping for the kiddos. Hooray! I scored some fabulous deals on eBay back in October. I also found a special ornament for each of them - a little tradition we have that somehow reflects something about them from the past year, but I sometimes have a hard time finding something.
  • My hubby is wonderful. A few months ago, he told me that he wanted to get me an iPod for Christmas. And as part of my gift, he would get my huge music collection into iTunes. Now we're talking nearly 1,000 CDs here (yes, I know I have issues). Anyway, the CDs are nearly done, and the iPod should be delivered this week. I'm now working on putting the CDs in storage envelopes and organized in special storage boxes. Anyone need a few hundred jewel cases?

And finally, a praise/prayer request for our family. As many of you know, there was a good possibility that we were going to be relocating as part of my husband's job. Well, it's now official: we'll be moving to south Texas in '09. Don't know the exact timeline, but it will be by July (so we have some time to settle in before school starts). We'll be in the Brownsville area, and hubby will actually be working in Mexico several days a week. It will be blessing for us in many ways, but I also know the next several months will be stressful. The company will take care of the packing and moving, but first we need to get our house ready to go on the market (gulp!) And then there's simply the fact that I've never dealt with a "real" move before (went from my parent's house to college, then got married and lived in an apt for 11 months before moving into this house). Organization is not something that comes easily for me (stop laughing, will ya?!) but will need to hone those skills in the months ahead. So anyway, bottom line is that I'm asking that you'll pray that we use our time and resources wisely (deciding what's worth fixing around here, being able to let go of things that simply aren't worth moving, etc.) Will keep y'all* posted!

*See, I'm already getting ready! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Full of Thankfulness

Art Project courtesy of our son D

Can't believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving - our day is going to be relatively quiet, which I'm actually really looking forward to. We'll be getting together with some family on Saturday, and I know we'll have a ball.

In the meantime, though, I am trying to focus on having an attitude of gratitude... cuz seriously, we have soooooo much to be thankful for. A brief list:
- Our health. Something we take for granted, but such a huge thing. And we have access to doctors, pharmacies, etc. when needed.
- Food. In fact, we have this in abundance. How crazy is it that I'm actually paying an organization to help me lose weight?! Definitely not an issue in many parts of the world.
- A warm home. Bedrooms for everyone. Two bathrooms. Clean, running water anytime I want it. Appliances to help me carry out my duties. Wow.
- Our family. I have a wonderful husband who loves us all so much, and two children who constantly amaze and humble me.
- But most of all, our Savior. Where to even start? What an amazing thing to serve a loving, patient, merciful God.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Still here...

I know I haven't been posting much lately - not for lack of stuff to write about, but because my days have been rather full.

- Our son has early dismissal starting this past Thursday and running through Wednesday for teacher conferences. Already had ours, and I'm happy to report that he's doing well. Apparently he's not perfect, though (hee hee)
- I'm trying to be more intentional about calling/spending time with friends. This is particularly true for those from church - we often chat for just a couple minutes before or after service, but haven't had a real conversation for months.
- I went out to an informal crop on Friday night so had a few hours all to myself to play with paper. Bliss!
- We went to our township's holiday parade yesterday. It started off at our son's school, so we bundled up, made the five minute trek, then admired the marching bands, lost count of fire trucks, waved to Santa, and gathered candy off the ground (incidentally, about half of it was obvious Halloween leftovers, which totally cracked me up)
- We're all fighting off colds. I was feeling pretty decent until about 7 PM last night. I camped out on the sofa with a couple blankets and watched No Reservations (OK, but not as funny as I'd thought it would be). Still feeling pretty lousy this morning, so that's why I'm here typing rather than at church.
- Still doing WW - the pounds aren't exactly melting away, but I am noticing a difference in the way my clothes fit. Hallelujah!
- Still chipping away at all the "stuff" in the house. The sense of urgency has definitely increased as it now looks like we'll be putting our house on the market come spring. More on that later.
- On a more somber note, I had emailed a casual scrapper friend of mine and was wondering why she hadn't gotten back to me... I just learned that she had a stroke. Thankfully she seems to be recovering quickly, and has already been transferred from the hospital to a rehab facility. Still, it's definitely a reminder that we never know what the future may hold.

Finally, a verse that I refer to daily, but is taking on even more meaning now. These ten words pretty much cover it all:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

I love that it starts off by reminding us to take joy in the everlasting hope we have in Christ Jesus - it has absolutely nothing to do with circumstances. It doesn't matter what the balance in the bank account is, or who's been voted into office, or how well our spouses are treating us, or anything else. I'm so thankful for My Rock, My Redeemer. And it doesn't matter what we're going through, either - we are to hold fast and endure. And lastly, we can always turn to our closest friend, pouring out our heart and knowing He's never too busy to listen. Wow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Funny

Our son got his school photos back this week. I opened the envelope, eager to see his cute li'l grin. This is what I found. Oh. My.

How's that for a memento?!? My only hope is that he's gotten that one dreadful school picture out of the way so soon - mine happened in fifth grade (frizzy home perm, zits on the chin, ill-fitting dress in a color that made me look jaundiced, and a smile that would frighten zombies), but I digress...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Day After

First off, an update on the car: it has a new battery and everything is now shiny & happy once again. Hooray for handy hubbies! :)

And then we have the election results. Not quite so excited about that, but I'm still proud to be an American and will be praying faithfully for our leader. Sue shared some good thoughts over here.

And finally, words from a song I was listening to this morning (on this CD)

"You Are Still Holy"
(words and music by Rita Springer)

Holy, You are still holy
Even when darkness surrounds my life
Sovereign, You are still sovereign
Even when confusion has blinded my eyes

Lord, I don't deserve Your kind affection
When my unbelief has kept me from Your touch
I want my life to be a pure reflection
Of Your love

And so I come into Your chamber
And I dance at Your feet, Lord
You are my Saviour
And I'm at Your mercy
All that has been in my life
Up 'til now
It belongs to You
You are still holy

Holy, You are still holy
Even though I don't understand Your ways
Sovereign, You will be sovereign
Even when my circumstances don't change

Lord, I don't deserve your tender patience
When my unbelief has kept me from Your truth
I want my life to be a sweet devotion
To You

And so I come into Your chamber
And I dance at Your feet, Lord
You are my Saviour
And I'm at Your mercy
All that has been in my life
Up 'til now
It belongs to You
I belong to You...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So much for those plans...

Big day today - whatever the outcome, at least the political calls and mailings will end!

Anyway, I woke up feeling less than stellar... I've been fighting off a cold, and even though I went to bed early I still felt wiped out this morning. We had a full day planned: vote (as long as the line wasn't too long), MOPS, lunch with a friend, then home (or back to vote if I hadn't been able to do it in the morning). Our son was excited to join in the fun since he has no school today. I briefly debated staying home, but knew I'd regret it if I did.

The kids and I were in the car by 8:22. I put the key in the ignition - and NOTHING.


I called my friend to reschedule lunch (pushed to next Tues, when the kids are off school again for Veteran's Day), then called another friend to let her know I wouldn't be at MOPS. We took care of a few things here at home, then walked over to the school shortly after 11:00 so I could vote. I'm delighted to report that there was very little wait (and there was a long line this morning, at least according to the ladies working the registration table). So I did my civic duty, and we celebrated by stopping at 7-11 for slurpees.

So while things didn't go quite like I had planned, it was still a pretty good morning. I now need to finish putting away dishes (my kitchen was seriously in a deplorable condition), sort through a bit of paperwork. I'm guessing that our evening plans will now include purchasing a new car battery; we'll see what hubby discovers when he comes home from work. And through it all, I'm continuing to pray for our nation. Thought I'd share a blurb from a great email I received yesterday. Here are 10 things we can count on, regardless of the results of today's election:

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Recap

Our family really doesn't do a whole lot for Halloween - I really dislike all the "spooky" and frankly rather evil aspects of the holiday, but we do let the kids dress up and trick-or-treat on our street. This year we even decided that they should have new names for the day... so I hereby present "Sir Strongheart" and "Lady Lillianna"

Waiting for the parade to begin
Hamming it up, while waiting for big brother's school parade to start
School Parade
The knight was quite excited to take part in the festivities
I hereby dub thee...
What was in that candy?!
I would love to say they'd gotten into tainted candy at this point, but I'm afraid that's just pure goofball coming out!
Wielding the sword
Admiring her jewels

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sick Little Girl

Our whole family has had a minor cold for a week or so - but our daughter decided to kick things up a notch last night by puking. On me. Lovely.

It was a long, miserable night with very little actual sleep involved. Thankfully she seems much better now - still a slight fever (she told me that her hair was hot :) and very clingy, but that I can manage. Now I'm just praying that the rest of us can stay healthy!

(On a side note, the snow was all melted by dinnertime, and our son's field trip was postponed until tomorrow)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Our son has his first-ever field trip today. They're going to a farm in NJ, where they're scheduled to go on a hay ride, pick pumpkins, etc. The part that HE is most looking forward to is riding the school bus.

Sadly, today's weather is miserable. It's cold, wet, and windy. The high is 41, and it's actually snowing right now (although nothing is sticking).

Is it bad to admit that I'm now thankful I'm not one of the moms accompanying the class this time around? Here's hoping my turn will involve a nice, warm museum :)

(photo taken out the front door, then the door was rapidly closed to keep the cold out!)

1:00 Update - I am *NOT* dreaming of a white October... but here's a shot of the backyard

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Last Minute Funny

I just finished tucking our son into bed - as he's the oldest, he gets to stay up later than his sister. One reason we do this is so that we have a bit of time with each of them individually.

Tonight, I was reading him a story and he was playing with my hair. Nothing unusual there - he's always loved playing with my hair. As I neared the end of the story, though, I became aware that he wasn't just doing his normal thing, but was methodically working through, a section at a time. When I asked him what he was doing, he replied, "I'm looking for the white ones. I know you've got 'em!" (he stated this very emphatically, complete with hand motions for emphasis)

How lovely to have my aging process discussed as part of the bedtime routine! :)

And I've been meaning to share this one for a couple weeks now: if you *really* need a humor break, then click over here for some all-out belly laughs. She starts off by talking about a speaking engagement, and then shares little incident in which she was, well, humbled by her children. There are also some hysterical stories in the comments...
(BTW, if you have never been over to this blog before, then you need a find a hunk of time one day to read the incredible story. It's written by Angie Smith, wife to Selah member Todd Smith. They've endured some very difficult things this past year, and she shares the story with such honesty and amazing faith. Grab a box of tissues, and prepare to be blessed)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Checking In

I know I've been pretty quiet these past couple weeks - there's just been a lot happening. So hold on tight as I plow through the random bits!
  • This past Saturday was our annual Fall Fest. Hubby and I coordinate this event with one other couple, and it requires quite a bit of time. I'm happy to say that all went well, though. The guys cooked 212 pounds of pork over an open fire, and it was scrumptious. We came home with some leftovers, too, so we've been enjoying those this week.

  • I've been spending more time in the kitchen. I'd slipped into the habit of using prepackaged foods a bit too often, and it's better for us AND our budget for me to do get back to mostly "from scratch" meals. I made a yummy pancit with some leftover pork (didn't fry the noodles, though, and added even more veggies), and last night I made a big pot of black bean soup after dinner specifically so I could freeze individual portions to grab for a quick lunch. I've also discovered that mixed greens with a bit of red onion, half a mango, and light Italian dressing is really, really good (add a slab of multigrain crispbread, and I'm a happy camper!). Enough talk about food - I'm getting hungry! :)

  • Our church is doing a photo directory, so we headed up there for family pictures. I had carefully coordinated our outfits and had high hopes, but was really disappointed with the results (odd poses, crazy smiles from the kidlets, etc). After talking with some friends, though, I'm rather thankful that we didn't want to purchase any of the photos, as the prices were pretty steep.

  • Hubby flew out this morning for a business trip to Texas/Mexico. He'll only be gone 4 days this time, but that doesn't make me miss him any less!

  • Less than two weeks until the election... I'll be relieved that the campaigning portion is over, but regardless of who wins, I think our nation is going to be going through some really difficult things. I pray that those in leadership will be willing to make the difficult decisions - ones that may be unpopular, but will re-establish a firm foundation.

  • I'm teaching the 2/3 YO class this month, so have a few more preparations for the lesson. We're currently using the Faithweaver* curriculum, and I'm really liking it. I'm enjoying the adult classes (it's been neat to go back through the Old Testament stories that I haven't necessarily thought about in awhile and really dig in) and the children's curriculum is done well, too.

  • Fall has definitely arrived here in Pennsylvania! We had our first frost earlier this week, the leaves are covering the ground (really need to rake soon), and I've been drinking hot tea pretty much every evening. Oh, how I love this season!
Well, I think that about covers it all - for now, anyway :)

*The main Faithweaver site is down right now, but I thought this website explained the program really well

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday (Sorta) Funny

Yes, today's post has a story behind it.... I joined Weight Watchers this week. I had done WW about 7 years ago and lost a substantial amount, but after two babies and everything else I'm now at my highest weight ever. Not a nice truth to face, but I need to make changes and I'm not doing very well on my own. Not to mention the fact that it's not just a health issue, but a sin issue. So I'm starting down a long road - no diets, just making better choices that will make (and keep) me healthier. And I'm really looking forward to being able to say I'm a big loser! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I'm really not trying to scare anyone... but do you realize that Christmas is just 10 weeks away?! Earlier this year, I'd promised myself that I was going to be better organized so that we could have a more enjoyable holiday season. I know that it's going to be busy regardless of how prepared we are, but I don't want to be so rushed. The kids are old enough that they can help make simple gifts if I take the time to pull it together now. I want more time to reflect on the real gift of Christmas, rather than fighting through crowded stores to find the perfect gift or starting a batch of cookies at 11 PM...

Great post here about planning ahead, and there's even a six week plan here (kicking off Oct 26).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

He Keeps Me Singing

There's within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still
In all of life's ebb and flow

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest Name I know
Fills my every longing
Keeps me singing as I go

All my life was wrecked by sin and strife
Discord filled my heart with pain
Jesus swept across the broken strings
Stirred the slumbering chords again

Feasting on the riches of His grace
Resting 'neath His sheltering wing
Always looking on His smiling face
That is why I shout and sing

Though sometimes He leads through waters deep
Trials fall across the way
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep
See His footprints all the way

Soon He's coming back to welcome me,
Far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown,
I shall reign with Him on high.

(by Luther Bridgers)

Well, our plans for yesterday didn't quite work out. Our daughter was running a low fever and just generally mopey, so we stayed home. Since hubby had taken the day off, he hung out with the kiddos while I ran a couple errands by myself. As I was driving between stores, the CD was playing and the words "Fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go," seemed to bore into my heart. Have I been been willing to give Christ every longing, or I have I been holding onto them tightly and trying to fill them myself?

I came home and did a bit of research into the background of the hymn, and it's generally believed that Mr. Bridgers wrote this hymn shortly after the death of his wife and three sons in a fire. He was only 26 years old, and already experiencing great tragedy. Rather than succumbing to bitterness (which would have been so easy!) he chose to rest in His Savior, and even turned his pain into this encouraging, victorious song, much like It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford.

I'm not going to be able to keep singing unless I'm being filled... and that means allowing Him full access to all the cracks and crevices in my life. Then, and only then, can I know the peace and joy that allows me to not only get through life, but keep a song in my heart.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Catch-Up

Well, dinner last night was pretty good - a bit bland, though, so I'll definitely be adding more seasoning next time around (garlic, onion and sesame oil) I did forget to mention my other excitement of the day: my first call from the school nurse. Yep, I had to go pick D up since he'd complained to the teacher that his eyes were itchy. They were suspiciously red, but no major goo. Call to the pediatrician, then a trip to the pharmacy, and I now have the distinct pleasure of holding my kid down while I try to get two drops of medicine in each eye...

Went to the consignment sale this morning; the one I usually go to in the spring & fall merged with another one, so I was thinking it would be bigger and better. WRONG! It was cramped, poorly organized, and I was really disappointed in the selection. I was hoping to finish up Christmas shopping for the kids, but didn't find anything even remotely close to what I was looking for. I did manage to snag a couple long-sleeved dresses for A, but that was about it.

D is off on Monday for Columbus Day, so we're heading up to visit hubby's sister. They just happen to live about 2 blocks from The Crayola Factory, so we're planning to spend the afternoon there. I'm sure we'll have some pictures to share :)

Things are coming together for our church's Fall Fest next Saturday, but there are a number of things that can't be done until the day before. Just praying for sunshine and a good turnout!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Here's what we're having for dinner (based on this recipe). Now I just need to serve it, do dishes, fold laundry, finalize my shopping list for the consignment sale tomorrow, pull music for Sunday...

Think I'll just start with eating dinner :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sorry if we don't pick up...

...But we are definitely screening calls these days! Today, for instance, we received EIGHT political calls between 5:00 and 6:30. Seriously?!? And who on earth thinks that a pre-recorded mesage is going to influence anyone - I hang up the minute I hear that little click signaling the message is about to start.

And one last rant. I am truly thankful that my hubby has a job, but it happens to be union. And it really, really burns me up that our dollars are being spent on mailings and the aforementioned phone calls supporting Mr. O.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Home again, home again

Well, we're home from the Pumpkin Festival - a bit tired, but full of wonderful memories. Climbing hay bales, shooting apples out of giant slingshot, picking a pumpkin, riding a pony, listening to live music, eating funnel cake... Yep, all good! I'll have pictures to share tomorrow. I'm currently sipping a mug of hot cherry berry tea, listening to the hum of the washing machine. It's amazing how much dirt the kids were able to grind into the knees of their jeans!

And this cute little sign and pumpkin? Well, they were purchased at the gift shop this weekend. I'm not normally one for "country" type decor, but I really liked the sign, and the pumpkin was just too cute for words. They've found a new home atop our fish tank, so now I can say I've begun decorating for fall :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Heading Out...

Well, the bags are packed and we'll be heading out in a couple hours. We're going to a pumpkin festival at a friend's family farm, and I know we'll have a ball. This will be the first time the kids have stayed in a hotel, so they're quite excited :)

In other news, I ran errands yesterday, and made a stop at the local Salvation Army store. I really need a lightweight coat (mine has a broken zipper and a giant hole in the lining, so I think it's time for it to be retired!) and thought I'd see what I could find there. Well, God definitely took care of that need - I now own a beautiful, soft brown leather jacket for the same price as what a new fleece would have run at Wal-Mart! Also found a couple games for the kids, complete with all the pieces AND instructions. Yep, that stop was definitely worthwhile.

And finally, I received a call from my doctor's office. I had bloodwork done last week, and I'm happy to say that everything is fine. One funny issue, though - my good cholesterol is too high and my bad cholesterol is too low. Weird! I laughingly asked the nurse if that meant I should start eating more red meat and eggs, and she said that actually wasn't a bad idea (still need to watch fat levels, of course). Think I might try to start incorporating shrimp into our meals, too.

Before I head out, I just want to ask for prayer for some friends. The Cruzes are part of our church family, and their precious little girl came about 10 weeks early, so they could really use your prayers. She's still in the NICU and it will be some time before they can bring her home - not an easy thing for a mama...

Well, I'm signing off now. I know I'll have a ton of pictures to share next week, and probably some funny stories, too. D has school pictures on Monday, so here's hoping he can avoid any facial trauma!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Haven't fallen off the face of the earth, just really busy. We're going away this weekend, and there's quite a lot I was hoping to get done before we head off... And to make things even more interesting, we've been having issues with our modem staying connected for more than about ten minutes at a time. Oh well, that's one way to make sure I'm not wasting so much time online! :)

There was no school yesterday or today, so the kids and I have been having fun together. This afternoon, D decided to work on his letters. He brought me one of his notes so he could read it to me: "Mommy, I love you very much." Our little boy really is a sweetie! Oh, and you're also getting a peek at the floor with our new rug!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


It's a gray day, and there is much to be done. House is nearly back together after our flooring installation last weekend, but a few things still need to be moved back to their proper place. I'm looking around the house and it seems every corner needs attention - scrubbing, paint, decluttering - something!

My heart feels heavy - burdened for friends who are struggling, frustration with myself and my many shortcomings, full of questions and concerns about the future... Wishing I could DO more, KNOW more. But the fact remains that I am a fallen human, limited here on earth. Thankful that I can call upon My Creator, rest in the knowledge that He will take care of it all. Still, my heart is heavy.

Time for a little reminder:

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Philippians 4:4-8 (Amplified)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Off to the museum!

Would you and a friend like to visit a local museum for FREE on Saturday?!
Check out all the details here - search by state, then download your admission card.

Monday, September 22, 2008

So what did YOU do this weekend?

floor 1 floor 2 floor 3 floor 4

At around 9 AM Saturday morning, we decided we were going to go ahead and do the living room floor. It made for a long, dirty, crazy day, but it was definitely worth it. Will have "end" pictures to share soon...

New problem - our grubby walls (with cheapo flat paint) coordinated much better with the old brown carpet. Now if we could just agree on a paint color :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Finally Friday

Sorry, no funny business today! It's been a long week - I caught a cold, which left me feeling pretty lousy. I provided meals, but I can't say it was my best work - and as for other stuff, I've been minimally maintaining :) I did manage a grocery run yesterday to replenish the fridge, and I'm definitely feeling better this morning so need to do damage control around here.

D is wrapping up his third week of school today, and things continue to be bumpy. I really wish it were a half day program for his sake; he's having a hard time remembering all the rules, and is getting frustrated with stuff and not responding appropriately (i.e. shoving other kids when they bump into him). I know we're not exactly talking juvenile delinquent stuff here, but I know he can do better and we're still trying to figure out how to best handle it all. Oh, and he also came home with a rather interesting library book so I ended up having a chat with the librarian over that one. Oh, the joys.

We have a number of things happening this weekend. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice and cool, so I think we're going to spend some time in the yard pruning the jungle; I also think we'll be setting the fire pit up (since the pool is down) so we'll probably end up roasing marshmallows. We were also planning to pull up the carpet in the living room and start laying the new flooring, but not sure if that will happen since I'm so behind from this week. Guess we'll just wait and see...
Oh, and the picture? Well, those are the "fuzzy flowers" that A picked as we walked home. A nice little reminder that much of life depends on your perspective!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Loving Your Neighbor

We have an interesting neighborhood - no major issues, but we all have our own little quirks. Mrs. L lives on one side: she is 84 years old, and moved to the neighborhood when her children were teens. We occasionally chat over the fence, but honestly don't interact all that often. She's extremely hard of hearing, and even with her hearing aids she only seems to catch about half of what I say (meanwhile, I'm practically shouting). To make things even more interesting, she frankly is not a happy person and her language is rather salty.

I stopped to say hello this morning after taking D to school. Mrs. L told me that she'd just finished watching mass, which she does each morning at 9. I get a disapproving scowl from her when she asks if we're Catholic, and I reply no, that we attend another church (which we've talked about in the past). I start to say more, but she doesn't notice I'm speaking and moves on to the topic of my hair. She asks if it's naturally curly, and somehow that leads to the &*!@ price of perms these days. She asks if our boy likes school, and she tells me how her oldest son used to come home for lunch when he was in 1st grade, then cry when she made him go back to school in the afternoon. We talk about the weather, and she complains that the rain has made her grass grow and her %!?* grandson needs to come over and mow. She comments that hubby's car is gone, so he must be at work, which is a good thing since the $+#% bills keep coming, and our electric bill must be especially high since we run our air conditioner so much (huh?!?). By this time, A has grown restless and really wants to go home, so she begins pulling on my arm a bit. Mrs. L notices, and essentially dismisses me, but not before encouraging us to stop by more often.

So how do I respond to all this? How can I love my neighbor? I know she's lonely and want to reach out, but to be perfectly honest I don't want the kids hearing her language. I've taken her baked goods a couple times, and while she's not been rude, she didn't really seem to want them, either. How would Jesus handle a nearly deaf, crotchety person?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Autumn is coming!

These are just a few of the leaves that A and I picked up this morning after dropping D off at school. I love this season of transition, when the nights are refreshingly cool (and hot coffee tastes oh so good in the morning!) yet the afternoons are still delightfully warm. It won't be long before I pull out cuddly sweaters and cook up steaming pots of soup.

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. ~Stanley Horowitz

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More General Craziness

Our week is marching on. I managed to catch some sort of stomach bug, so yesterday wasn't particularly pleasant. I did make it to the PTO meeting - the first of the year, and I must admit I was surprised at the paltry turnout. There are tons of parents milling around outside, picking their kids up, but evidently they don't want to stick around for half an hour? It's a great opportunity to stay on top of school happenings, not to mention getting to know the teachers and principal. Anyway, I digress. I stayed home last night, though, so missed the women's meeting at church. Thankfully I'm feeling better today, just tired out.

And we'll now pause for a moment to rant about the people's lack of manners. I had posted 5 items on freecyle Monday afternoon, and all had been spoken for within an hour. Out of the 5 people, only *1* came to p/u the item as promised. What's up with that?!? What really got my blood boiling, though, was an incident this morning. After sending 2 additional emails to one of the no-shows, I left her a message this morning saying that I had contacted the next respondent to arrange for pick-up. Brief but civil note. Well, around lunchtime I went out to bring the trash cans back up to the house and noticed that the item was gone (the person was going to pick it up later this afternoon, but I'd left it out just so I wouldn't forget). Came in, checked email to find this message (as a reply to my message saying I was giving it to the next person): just got your message today on tues i coming to get it now be there in about 10 min i hope that is ok thank u so much. Uh, no, that wasn't OK! Whatever happened to common courtesy?!? If you say you're going to do something, then *do* it, or take the initiative to contact the person to let them know if there's a problem. Grrr.

OK, I feel slightly better now that that's off my chest. Off to make a couple pans of enchiladas - one for dinner tonight, and one to freeze for later.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Where is it all supposed to fit?

It was definitely an interesting weekend. I think last week took its toll on all of us - we were just tired out. Had two extra kids on Friday evening, so ours were excited and tired (not a combination I'd recommend). We survived, though, and decided that we really needed to get our son moved into his own room. Things aren't going to slow down anytime soon, so we just needed to bite the bullet and get it done. So out came everything in the guest room - and out, and out, and out... Wow, we had a lot of stuff in there! This style of house has very little storage, so we have to get creative and cram stuff where we can. Anyway, I now have a number of offerings on freecycle, plus a giant pile waiting for Purple Heart (p/u next Monday!)... but there's still more left over, and I need to figure out what to do with it all. Maybe I'll find some inspiration in a can of Diet Coke :) I had another little boy over here this morning, so I took a couple hours off to sit outside and just soak up the gorgeous weather, but now I have to tackle the piles (including the heap of dishes I ignored yesterday).

So what else is happening this week? Quite a lot actually! Hubby and I have date night this evening (I think it's going to be dinner and a trip to Home Depot - gotta keep the romance alive! :), tomorrow is a library program, first PTA meeting, and women's ministry gathering. Then I have an eye check-up, dental visit (I finally will have the final crown and be able to chew on the right side of my mouth again). Deadline for some design work is looming (not that I'm complaining about having to stamp). Oh, and we're planning to rip up the carpet in our living room this coming weekend so we can finally install the wood flooring. Perhaps that plan would work better if I didn't have junk scattered all over the living room!

OK, enough chatter and time to get productive ~

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Funny

Just a little silliness, courtesy of the kiddos. They really like the show Word Girl and A in particular likes to do the Captain Huggy Face dance (although her brother was more into it this time around, simply because he knew I was filming)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hanging In There

Well, the boy has been dropped off for his third day of school, and it seems we're all settling in. He's liking it so far, and has proudly reported that he's following all the rules. This week is kind of evaluation time and just establishing routine, but homework starts next week! On a side note, this school thing is having one side effect I did not anticipate: laundry! No, not our son's - mine. I can usually get two days out of my pants, but walking him back and forth to school makes me a sweaty mess. Yuck.

Little sister is doing better as well. On Tuesday, we ran errands. She needed the next size in socks and underwear, and I'd specifically postponed purchasing them. Nothing cheers up a 3 YO like Strawberry Shortcake undies :) A few tears yesterday after we dropped him off, but much better than Tuesday. And today? Well, she knows we're going to visit one of her friends (who is 27 days younger), so she practically ran home. Ah, the resiliency of youth...

And finally, I'm pleased to report that this banana bread recipe also works well for muffins. I used whole wheat flour, added an additional egg, and just a tad more applesause. Oh, and chocolate chips! She's obviously enjoying it, and D has one in his lunch.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

First day of school walking
classroom upset little sister
Can't believe my little boy is at Kindergarten right now! His teacher seems very good, and he's super excited, so what am I worried about? His little sister, though, is having a hard time of it. The pic above was taken as we were walking home - and she's pretty much been sniffling non-stop. Yeah, it's hard being without your buddy! We're off to run a couple errands now, though, so hopefully that will get her back on the right track.
(BTW, you can click on any of the pics for a larger view)