Monday, December 31, 2012

ya gotta be kidding...

We bought a microwave today. Whohooo!
Until I got it home, out of the box and on the counter.
It's too big.  As in, I have NO room on my counter beside the stove. AT ALL.
So tomorrow morning it will go back in the box and will be exchanged for a smaller model.

I'm blessed to live in a country, where exchanges are possible.
I'm blessed to live somewhere where we have multiple choices in appliances.
I'm blessed to have a semi-open schedule tomorrow so it can be returned.
I'm blessed to have multiple things to cook with so it's a luxury item and not a necessity.

And yet I still hate returning and exchanging things.

2013...the year I WILL rejoice and be glad!

Friday, December 28, 2012

getting started

It's not a lot, but it is a start.
I made out a menu for next week.
Granted, it will be changed and modified as the week progresses.
But nevertheless, it is a menu.

And simmering in the crock pot now? Chicken chili. And since it's just two of us, that will last us through Sunday night.

So on the schedule for this next week:
  • finish a quilt top
  • put up Christmas decorations
  • get caught up on ironing
And the other things (taking relatives to the doctor, enjoying last days of Bobby's vacation time, making out a budget for next year, etc) are just normal routine housework items that don't make it on my "special schedule".

So that's a start...2013, here we come!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


One of the disadvantages to family living far away is that you seldom see them.
One of the advantages to family living far away is that when they do come to visit, everyone tries to spend as much time with them as they can, and it makes the holiday seem longer and bigger than it really is.

So this morning, I have one bag (reading stuff) left to unpack from our weekend trip to Alabama to see my family (I'll have to post pics later), I'm already on laundry load #3, and I've got some general housework (bills, sweeping, etc) to do before we rejoin the Bryan clan for another day of puzzle-working, game playing, chatting with the TN tribe who is "home" for two more days.

AND, today is my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Kudos to you Mom and Dad, for putting up with all of us, for loving each other through the hardships (cancer, auto-immune diseases, moving, ministry jobs, etc) and teaching us all that it's okay to laugh, to cry, and to admit you're wrong. Love you more than you'll ever know!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

more favorites

Last night we got home in time to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special, though I missed part of it because of laundry. :/  And then immediately afterwards NCIS: Los Angeles came on, which is one of the few shows I actually try to watch. One of the things I love about the internet is that if I miss a show (which is often), I can watch it online whenever I find the time.

I contemplated watching the Muppets Christmas program, which was also on last night, but since it was a 2 hr show that put it a little lower on my radar. The Muppets are always good for a few laughs, but it's just tradition and heart-warming to watch poor old Charlie Brown agonize over the commercialism of Christmas.

And it doesn't look like we'll see the story about Ralphie this year, either, which is another all time favorite.

What I do hope to see this holiday season is the movie Elf. I've never seen it, but one of my nieces constantly tweets phrases from the movie and even follows a character or something on Twitter. She normally has good tastes in movies, so hopefully we'll see it.

We did have tickets earlier in the month to see The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but I had to give mine to someone else thanks to the Shingles. That wasn't exactly how I envisioned that event panning out. It probably worked out for the best, as the group of three arrived to discover the ticket seller didn't pass on the information that there were 2 companion seats with a wheelchair seat because it was "open seating and didn't matter", so one person in the group had to sit somewhere else because the handicapped section is never open seating and all the spots were reserved. It's best I don't even go there today.

I keep thinking each year we'll find a Christmas movie that is a "must see" (we'll want to see it every year), but other than the ones above, that's yet to happen. And given how busy this month has been, I'm actually okay with that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

nothing new under the sun

When I was a kid, I always wondered about that verse in Ecclesiastes that says there's really nothing new on earth. Nothing new? Preposterous!

But now I'm old (according to my niece, but then she also told me in the same conversation I couldn't be married because I didn't look like a married woman should look...still puzzled on that one!) and I realize that history really and truly does have a way of repeating itself. If you need proof of that, just look at the world of fashion. (That's a semi-joke, by the way.)

Several months ago, a couple in our church took a sermon on the prophecies of Jesus and their fulfillment, and started writing them into readings, and slowly selecting songs to go with them. They had NO idea what was going to take place 2 days before this service was to be performed. One of the things I've always loved about the Christian faith and its Scriptures is that it doesn't gloss over the ugly of life and the consequences of sin. One of those prophecies, which the reading titled "Slaughter of the Innocent" dealt with Matthew 2:17:
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more."
That still gives me chills when I think about it. The horror of what Herod did, and unfortunately,  history tells us that wasn't his only acts of insanity.
This holiday season I know so many who are hurting and grieving. No one expects to lose their vibrant young adult son who was only sick for three days. A missionary wife dodn't expect to come home on furlough and find herself dealing with everything on her own because her husband took his life. A wife who expected to be grieving her father this Christmas but instead is grieving the loss of her husband, a young girl in her early 30s suddenly planning a funeral for her Dad instead of Christmas dinner, not to mention a nation thinking about 20 sets of parents doing the same for their children, and a score of siblings who would like nothing more for Christmas than to argue/play/sit with their brother or sister one more time.
And yet, what better time to be reminded of such sorrow than during Christmas. His name shall be called "Emmanuel, meaning God with us."
God with us. Not watching us suffer, ignoring our pain, pretending it doesn't exist. WITH us. Abiding with us, in us, through us, among us, one of us...going through our very pain with us every step of the way.
That's not a "happy holidays" sentiment. But it's a candle lit in the darkness sentiment. A flicker of light, of hope, giving a spark of warmth on a cold and dark night. And that's enough to make me smile and say "Merry Christmas" when inside I may not feel anything at all.
He is with me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday is coming

On days like today, I'm reminded of that old sermon "It May Be Friday, But Sunday is Coming."

18 years ago this week, my family had an experience that shook my very faith to its core. There's not a holiday season that goes by that I don't remember, don't hurt some inside, and re-ponder some of my old questions.

This weekend brought a lot of that all back.

I'll just say this:
I have a lot of mixed emotions on gun ownership.
I have a lot of mixed and heart-rending thoughts on mental illness.
I think it's time everyone took their heads out of the sand on both, specifically Christians.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2nd favorite

I love stockings.
Growing up, it was the first thing we did on Christmas morning. Stockings held the basics: toothbrush, toothpaste, hair accessories (for us girls), one tiny gift and then...CANDY!!! Always hershey kisses, years when finances were good we got peanut M&Ms as well, and peppermints. Mind you, I don't like mint (my parents used them as cough suppressents during church) so in my way of thinking the peppermints fell in the category of "necessities" along with the toothbrush and toothpaste, but since I've become an adult I've discovered that no one else thinks like that.
But I digress.

After I left college and headed overseas, my teaching teammates (and roommate) were horrified to discover that I didn't bring my childhood stocking for Christmas. I didn't tell them that my parents had six stockings and five of the six were identical. Dad wrote our names on masking tape and taped them on each year. So for my birthday that year, I got a stocking from my teammates. It had a bear on it.

When I got married, Bobby had two stockings. One from his childhood, and one from his early adult years. His first year out of college he taught and coached at Wake Christian Academy. His girls softball team gave him a stocking that read "coach" in glitter at the top. So I hung both of his and bought a small one at the dollar store and we had four stockings hanging from our bookcase (we don't have a mantle).

And this greatly bothers children, some more than others. I have not had a child yet come in, get a puzzled look on their face, and ask "Who will be here for Christmas?" or a question along that line. I know now what they are thinking, and I just smile and say "Just us."  Some of them then frown and silently ponder that, while others who are most greatly bothered by this will ask "Then why do you have four stockings?" Last year I got a little cheeky when asked that and replied, "Because we both have two feet!"  Bobby felt that wasn't a good answer, as the kids are probably thinking our stockings get filled, which they don't, and they might want/expect more than one stocking at home now.

A few years ago I saw these embroidered stockings in a store that I thought were beautiful. Every time I went in this store for something, I would walk by and look at them. Close to Christmas, I mentioned to him how much I liked them but didn't see a point in buying yet more stockings. He mentioned that two of ours were worn out (one had a hole) and we could replace them. I decided to wait until I got an extra coupon, knowing they might not have our initials then, but was very pleased to find out the next week they were on sale AND still had our initials. What I wanted, a sale price, and a coupon! Triple score!

I wonder sometimes what people would think if they came into our house and I had stockings everywhere. In another ten years when it's time to replace our tree, I might downsize it significantly, ignore convention and decorate each door frame in the house with a stocking or two. That would be so cool.

So if you come to my house one year and it's full of stockings, I'm not hoarding people or centipedes. I just like stockings. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

decorations, 3

If you have ultra-conservative views on the sanctity of Christmas or very stringent theology, you don't want to read this post. That's my one and only warning.
Today's decorations...the first of my nativity sets. :)
It's not actually the first nativity set I've ever owned, but it's the first one I've put out this year and it's VERY special to me. :)  (In case you've not been to my house or read Christmas posts from years gone by, I have quite a few nativity sets. They're one of my 2 favorite decorations.)
Someone very special gave this one to me a few years ago, even though he thinks such things are a bit sacrilegious.  My parents have a Native American nativity set that my brother gave them several years ago and it has a teepee for the stable. That bothered this person, and I horrified them even more by laughing and saying, "If I ever find one in bears, I'll be very tempted to buy it."  So imagine my surprise MANY years later when I received this. I've never seen another like it, and I think he spent quite a bit of time scouring the internet in search of it. Regardless, this set is my second favorite nativity set (but my favorite small set).


Tell me, what could be more precious than a bear nativity set?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

decorations, 2

 Several years ago my parents gave me a table set of blue candle holders with a matching fruit bowl. I used them for a little while, then they went in the China cabinet. While at JoAnns, I found these silver candles on clearance, and decided it would match the set perfectly. I already had the silver leaves from last year, but after fitting them in the bowl realized there wasn't enough. So I headed to Michael's, only to discover silver is not the "in" color this year and I was stuck with what I had.

So I added toile and hershey's kisses to cover up the empty spots. I told Bobby I  knew a silver table runner would match this and make it look more magazine-y, but my grandmother made this, and it seemed stupid to buy something I don't really need when I have something I already like. It's not often I take the tablecloth and pads off the dining room table anyway, so there's really no point in buying something extra. I think my grandmother would be proud.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas decorations

I've been taking my time putting things up this year, instead of trying to get everything done in 2-3 days.

Here's our first tree to go up:
the topper :)
the bottom; what the state knows/does best

What? You didn't know the red & white of Christmas represented the Crimson Tide?
Different team, I know. But the fierce competition wouldn't be there without the rival!

Yeah. Even if it's the "other" team, it's still from my home state!
I've seen a few ornaments that have the state bird, motto, etc, but they were super expensive. Spending a large amount of money on a glass ornament is crazy, especially when you consider the floors are hardwood and my hands are clumsy. Those aren't good combinations. But since it's a small tree, I don't need to add much more. :)

And this is tree #1.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

simply the best

The first year we were married my husband pleasantly surprised me. I know how much he hates to shop, and I know it's impossible forhim to wrap presents. I full expected a box to arrive from one of 2 places, and that would be Christmas. So imagine my surprise that first year when I got a phone call from my mother-in-law, asking if I had ordered anything from two places. It had Bobby's name on it, but her address. :) I told her I hadn't, but I'd check with him and see. Not sure if he forgot to tell her they were coming or in the busyness of life she forgot, but she wrapped my presents for him. Now THAT is a super nice Mom-in-law. And form my birthday, his best friend helped him out.

In less than 2 weeks, I will enter a new decade. There's a good possibility we will be out of town on that monumentous occasion, so yesterday I was very surprised when my mother-in-law showed up. Well, not so surprised that she came bringing some gifts, but with this:

 a birthday cake. A not just ANY birthday cake, but a home-made cake with her special icing.
Chocolate on chocolate: it doesn't get much better than this.

It's been a VERY long time since I've had a home-made birthday cake I haven't made myself. And the fact that a)my husband asked her to do this and b) she did it with a smile is incredibly awesome.

And no, neither one of them are available. I claimed them 13 years ago and have no plans of that changing. :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

small towns

Yesterday as we were attempting to create 2 sets on stage, our pastor walked in and said "You've got a lot done." I don't remember what my comment was, but I was feeling like the set was thrown together and a bit on the tacky side. He laughed a little and said, "Well, you know, it's Bethlehem. It's just a dirty little town."

I was shocked speechless. When I think of Bethlehem I think of white buildings stacked on a hillside. Maybe it's from seeing too many sanitized Christmas cards. Yet if you look online, the images aren't too far from what we see there. I'm sure back in the day there were very few pristine cities.

But then it got me to thinking about home and how people viewed the county where I grew up. There are some very nice homes, but often you can't see them for all the trees (though the tornadoes 2 years ago took care of a large chunk of that problem). But for the most part, the town is made up of very small and simple mill houses. Some have additions, whether nicely or crudely done. But still, it's my town. And yet, if someone from around here were to visit there, I don't think they'd be impressed.

I can't help but wonder how Jospeh felt about having to head back to Bethlehem. I'm sure it's not the homecoming he'd envisioned. Did he have any family left living there? Was he close to them? Or was it like the Chinese, who even though 3 generations may have lived elsewhere, that was still their "hometown" because that was where the family origins were? Had he ever been there? Did he spend holidays there as a child?

So while we're going to make a few adjustments and completions to the set today, Bethlehem on stage is going to be a simple, small town. And yes, I think a few adjustments are in order. The 2 yr old waiting on her Mom quickly picked up on my question "Does the inn look like a building or a tomb?" and repetitively replied "I like the tomb!" I told Bobby I'm sure she simply liked the sound of the word, but it didn't reassure me very much. So we'll probably modify that some this afternoon.

Onward, ho!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Last night was one of those crazy nights where we needed to head home as reasonably as possible, and it just didn't seem to be happening. The music men were going to clean off the stage for the play set-up, and I didn't stick around to see that it happened.
And so I dreamed about it last night.
Celia and I arrived on SATURDAY (which is the dress rehearsal, NOT our stage prop time), and found not only were the musical instruments off the stage, but the stage itself, the curtain, the overhead...all of it was GONE! Not moved, but gone. As in, there was a cement floor and unpainted grey cement walls. (Which everyone from our church knows the wall behind that curtain is painted and there's carpet under the staging that matches all the brown everywhere else!) All that was there was a metal pipe that had previously held the black curtains (as opposed to our nice little curtain rods). They had THOROUGHLY done their job. They even moved out the choir risers, so the kids were voluntarily stacking up chairs to stand on.
So while kids are pouring in wanting to practice and help, Celia and I take our time to discuss what prop goes where and whether or not to duct tape or crazy glue the wall backdrop to the cement walls.
I know the rest of the dream was just as crazy, though I don't remember all the details.

We attempt to set up in a few hours. I don't know what I'll find, but I KNOW our sound and music guys didn't empty the chair for us THAT much! :) But if they did and my dream comes true, I'll certainly take pictures. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012


They always tell you to exercise with a friend.
That has never appealed to me.
Until now.

This afternoon we were told that Bobby needed to do arm exercises (since he can't walk and we need to help the blood flow to the pressure sores he's been fighting since the beginning of Oct). Bear in mind he's had no exercises since I don't know when.

So tonight he said we needed to exercise. I pulled out my old arm weights, put them on him, and grabbed my dumbbells.

We laughed. We exercised. He quit and informed me I had to keep going. I have to admit to laughing at him, especially when he told me I may have to drive him to work tomorrow. I think this is delightful payback for those days when I started at the gym and could hardly move to do his exercises in the morning, much less get him dressed and transferred. And since I have been woefully inconsistent (ahem, okay. Basically not going) at the gym since October, this is good motivation for me to get back in the routine.

Soreville, here we come!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1

The Alabama tree is up. :)
It's not even 3' tall, goes up quickly and is VERY easy to decorate.
So easy, in fact, I wish (as I do almost every time this year) we did not have the 7' green monster we have. Whoever came up with the idea of creating Christmas trees taller than the average person needed their head examined. I can assure you, if I were into the real tree thing, I would NOT be buying a tree bigger than me.
So today is the day I'm putting our tree up. I'm 3/4 of the way through the lights and I'm already starting to get aggravated with the whole tree thing and how pointless it is when I decided it's time to take a break and do something relaxing for a few minutes.
I am taking a different approach this year. I'm actually leaving the dining room table OUT (as opposed to pushed against the wall to make room for the tree and still let Bobby have a path through the room) and it's already decorated. We may actually eat supper in there this month, just to make the time of putting the tree up worthwhile. Otherwise, the only time we'll be in there is when his great-nephews open their presents. Since Bobby can't open packages, I usually have his in a wrapped open box on the kitchen table Christmas morning, and I either bring mine to the table or we both go to the tree for a moment. Ten minutes of tree time for 3 hours of work. That's not a bargain in my book. One year I did put it up in the living room so I'd see it throughout the day, but Bobby prefers it in a place where it can be seen from the road.
I had a friend tell me once they didn't realize how much life a child or descendants added to their life until they became foster parents. He said they hadn't even put up a Christmas tree for several years until they got her. I can certainly understand both sentiments. As an adult, trees are simply time-consuming decorations. For a child, it's festive and magical. I would agree that having a child brings things to life, but I don't know I see the act of having a decorated, lighted tree as a sign of life.
Maybe it's just a bah-humbug attitude, but a part of me will be glad for the holidays to hurry up and end.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

character flaws

There's no such thing as perfect people.
There's no such thing as a perfect life.
So come as you are:
Broken and scarred,
Lift up your heart and be amazed,
and be changed,
By a perfect God.
Natalie Grant, Perfect People
Having five family units in one household over Thanksgiving brought about some interesting dynamics and interactions. Some still make me laugh. Others left me wondering if I were a parent, what kind of parent would I be?
The last two weeks as I've acted and interacted with people, I've been very aware of the shortcomings of both myself and others. I've had to go back and read I Corinthians 13 once or twice this week (thanks for that recommendation Sara Mincy!) to be reminded of just how radical God's love is (and how we're supposed to be emulating that love to others!).
As long as I live on this earth, I will always fight fears and disbelief. I will also struggle with certain issues. Some personality types will always clash with mine. I will mess up.
And that's okay.
Because at the end of each day, the one who made me, who knows my deepest thoughts, every time I sit down and every time I get up, still loves me with His perfect love. And for me, that fills in life's potholes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This weekend I was talking with my 8 year old niece. I don't remember the exact conversation, I just know that my response was "I'm blessed."
She tilted her head, looking at me with a skeptical look.
"I am. I am truly blessed."
She shrugged and gave me a wrueful grin.
"In a weird way," was her response.
"It may be weirdly blessed, but I'm still blessed." was all I was willing to concede.

And there are days (okay, sometimes HOURS and MINUTES) when I have to constantly remind myself of that.

So here's my weird blessing list for today:
  • Charleston "Charlie" James Blake, great-nephew #8 (he's actually the 5th nephew, but number 8 in line of the greats) arrived this morning. Both mother and baby are doing well.
  • My friend Jen Beatty was sent home from the hospital and contractions have ceased. All is well. (She's not due until the end of January, and has had some complications in the past.)
  • The kids' Christmas play at church is NOT this Sunday, as I had thought up until a week ago, so I have this week to peacefully prepare.
  • While it's not perfect, we do have access to good medical care in our country.
  • Mom has hopes of wearing a normal shoe within two months.
  • My husband loves me for who I am.
  • Bobby's upcoming retirement.
  • The gift of laughter.
  • The luxury of owning a sewing machine and the time to sew on it.
  • Friends who can discuss more than just their kids.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

just in case

Since my older sister and I both live far away from the rest of the family, we rotate which holidays we make the long trek home. For example, last year we did Christmas in AL, so this year it'll be Thanksgiving. So this next week my family will unite and celebrate the following events in the space of three days:
My Mom's 70th birthday (Nov 25)
My parents' 50th anniversary (which is Dec 27)
and the Iron Bowl (the Alabama/Auburn game, for my non-Bama readers)

One of the many crazy things I'm assembling to take with us: cookie cutters and decorating supplies.

the state of Alabama
a football helmet

The last year we were all together for Thanksgiving and the game, I brought these in (along with an elephant...ROLL TIDE!, a tiger paw, and a star).  As if these weren't enough, my nephew and middle niece decide to create scoreboards, along with their predicted scores for the outcome of the game. This year I'm cheating though, and am taking packaged sugar cookie mixes instead of us spending hours making them from scratch.

I already have two suitcases packed, as well as two small boxes, and am working on a third suitcase. The lingering question: will it all fit in the van along with all the stuff Bobby requires? Hopefully the answer to that tonight will be a resounding yes! While I like the thought of not having as far to travel this year (we're all meeting in the mountains as a gift to our parents for their 50th), it seems like we're having to pack and think through twice as much in order to "celebrate" every thing.

And with that, I need to get back to my checklists.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Psalm 103
emphasis and commentary mine

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The Lord (the Almighty, Creator God...all caps!)
performs righteous deedsAnd judgments for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,So far has He removed our transgressions from us.(and as the Chinese say, "East is East and West is West and never the two shall meet." Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;He is mindful that we are but dust.
  As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,And His sovereignty rules over all.
Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
Bless the Lord, all you works of His,In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


On Wednesday nights our church has been doing a study on the names of God and their meanings in the original Hebrew writings. I've missed a few weeks, but last night was very interesting (not to mention timely!)

Adonai - Lord and Master, plural form. Translated as Lord in English. In the Hebrew, this is the word used when referring to deity.
Adon - Lord and Master, singular form. Also translated as Lord in English. In the Hebrew, this is the word used when referring to humans.

Servanthood and slavery as so taboo and villified in our culture that I don't think we fully grasp the implications of this term people used in prayer to God. It certainly made the texts of Abram, Daniel, and others as they spoke to God take on a slightly different meaning. They had a recognition of their place in God's order that I think we Americans sometimes miss.

Last year for Christmas I gave Bobby a PBS DVD series called "Manor House".  Characters in Britain applied for the opportunity to train and live for 6 weeks in a historical British setting. In one of the episodes, the servant girls are struggling with their "station".  When any of the "masters" walked through, say the stairwell or hallway where they were working, they were to immediately stop, stand, turn their back and lower their head. In other words, attempt to become invisible. No one recognized their presence, commended them on their work, or acknowledged their existence in any way. The modern British girls struggled with such attitudes and pious authority. The theory of the time was that they had a job to do, no one should be praised for just doing their job, and the master was above his servants and therefore didn't have to talk to them. I know I would have struggled with that.

I couldn't help but think back to that scene during our lesson last night. I'm thankful that even though God is our Master, he both wants and encourages us to talk to him. But it also made me realize just how disrespectful our prayers can be when we only ply God with out childish requests and demands. We don't give him half the respect he truly deserves.

And my second favorite thing from last night? Adonai is plural. Their prayer (or the name called out to God) recognized all three parts of the Godhead. I'd be very curious to know whether or not this same word was also used to refer to other deities such as Baal or Dagan, or if its use was limited to Jehovah.

Creator, Almighty, Master. I'm looking forward to see what word we learn next!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Dongxi (pronounced dong - she) is the Chinese Mandarin word for "stuff".  I think it's one of my top five favorite Chinese words.

Sometimes I think I have entirely WAY too much.
As in, I'm prepping for a trip and am thinking I might not ever fit it all in the van.
Or I need to clean off the kitchen table and I'm wondering where everything came from.

But yet, we're also blessed with it as well.

A friend called me this morning. He was excited because his five hour chemo treatment (according to the receptionist) is actually a 2-3 hour treatment (according to the nurse who gives it). So after we got off the phone and I shot up a quick prayer, I immediately started thinking through all the things I would take to a long appointment like that. My ipad, a book, a sketch book, quilting squares a magazine, some water and gum. And the reality is, I'd be doing good if I used one of them. I guess I over-prepare, or overpack my dongxi. Always have.

Last night at the funeral home for Bobby's uncle, they had a table out of things the family associated with him: Bojangles, Snickers, the teddybear postman (he was a retired postal worker), a Duke cap, his Navy medals, along with a few other things. I asked Bobby on the way home what we would put out for him and he just shrugged. I thought of a few things, but probably not as many as he immediately listed for me.

Is that his way of politely saying I have and can be associated with too many things?

It's nice to be blessed. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


WHOHOOO! Yes. That was me. My underarm and chest are officially scab-covered, meaning I can leave the house! :)
On my errand list for today:
  • Food Lion
  • bank
  • dry cleaners
  • Agri-Supply
  • Target
then rush home and tackle housework and projects before starting supper so we can head to the funeral home later tonight.

And one really cool crazy thing? I can see orange leaves from the window by the front door. Yes, it is time for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

decisions, decisions

Next week we leave for Gatlinburg to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Iron Bowl, and my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. I'm not even sure how to begin packing for all of this. Here's what I do have:

  • food items for a turkey craft
  • puzzles
  • anniversary gift for my parents
  • and a growing list of food items to take with us/purchase when we get there
Holidays, here we come!

Friday, November 9, 2012

a funny wedding cake

We went to the State Fair last month, and this wedding cake just made me laugh. This is one of those things that I love but would make my mother shake her head and say, "Now, Monica..."
I love that God created us all with different viewpoints. :)

I can't find the close-up photo I took of the bride & groom, but they're to the right of the cake. Love the bananas, the monkeys playing patty-cake up front and the traditional see, speak, hear no evil monkeys. It's just a hoot!

colors of fall

 I didn't have time to grab my good camera as the sun was starting to set and I knew it get it quick or don't get it at all.  First time I've noticed the colors in the pond.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

be still...

I was a bit frantic before the election started trying to get life lined up and organized as I knew things weren't going to slow down anytime soon.

Or so I thought.

Last week during Early Voting I developed a sore under my arm. I thought it was from pulling ballots all day at the ballot table, so I put cream on it that night, and shrugged it off. Then I woke up during the night with the most horrible burning and itching imaginable. The next morning I had quite a bad rash. We thought it was an allergic reaction to something, and so the rest of the week I smothered it with antiobiotic ointment and anti-itch medicine and dealt with it. When I had twinges of pain, I thought it was just sore muscles.

Monday evening my arm was slightly swollen and very red in the lymph node area, and I knew that meant an infection. So Wednesday when the elections were over and it hadn't cleared up, I called the dr to make an appointment. I fully expected to get a steroid cream and be told it was either an infected mosquito bite or an allergic reaction.

I have shingles.


As in, the child who never ever ever got chicken pox and grew up before there was such a thing as vaccines for that, has shingles.

As in, quarrantine from kids, elderly, and pregnant ladies for 10-14 days or until this rash clears up. Did I mention I'm supposed to be in charge of the kid's play at church, and that is the first Sunday in December? So 2 of the next 3 weeks I'm not supposed to be around children (and the next Sunday we're in TN celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary).

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

And the saddest thing? I'm stuck at home but don't feel like quilting.

I guess when God said to "be still" he meant it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


After getting Bobby out the door this morning, I went back to bed and slept and slept and slept. If I didn't have an appointment soon, I think I could easily sleep the day and night away.

But I did want to quickly post some things I'm thankful for:

1) the election is over.
2) As a poll worker, I was VERY excited about the turnout and attitude at the polls on election day. Despite the huge turnout for early voting, election day was still very busy.
3) All but one of my precincts had a great day.
4) No "get to x precicnt immediately and if you can't diffuse the situation with an irate voter we're sending the police" phone calls this time.
5) Laughter.
6) Poll workers who don't get angry or pouty when you correct them, and who are correctly following procedures on follow up visits.
7) Sleep.
8) I'm not much of a fashion fan, but I've always appreciated how Michelle Obama dresses her girls in appropriate attire. I don't know whether or not they are designer duds, but they always look nice and normal, yet pretty. Unlike some previous first kids, they're not hiding behind the secret service holding up their garment bags because they're not appropriately dressed or washed for the day. Could be the age difference, but the girls dress like normal kids, except modestly. And that is refreshing.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Saturday evening at 5:45pm there was whooping and shouting and cheering and clapping at Wake Tech's Main Campus. What? You didn't hear us? It was the sound of relief and rejoicing as poll workers closed the door behind the last voter and took a few minutes to pause and laugh before starting the task of take-down and clean-up. There were many jokes of "we deserve a t-shirt that reads 'I survived the2012 Election' and I was very pleasantly surprised to look up at 6pm (I was on my knees pulling wrapped, unopened ballot packages from the cabinet) to find almost ALL of my fellow poll workers pitching in and helping the ballot table workers clean-up. And I think it's safe to say that TEAM was an accurate description for our site's pollworkers. For eleven days straight, strangers (or slight acquaintances) of different political parties and walks of life worked diligently to process the voters and ensure the process operated both accurately and quickly. It wasn't always easy. We had more than a few disgruntled voters and two irate political observers. During one of those rougher times, I sat down at lunch beside another worker. She was working the application (registration) table, and that morning they had encountered more than a few vocal voters (people who forget we're normal civilians and don't make the laws about voter id) and even had quite a few get a little ugly. She sighed, shook her head and said "Lord, let everything out of my mouth be pleasing to you" and then began to eat. It was so good to hear refreshing words in the midst of an emotionally charged situation.

I was reminded again this week of how perceptions aren't always truth, and how there can be more than one side to a story. I was energized by the smiles, enthusiasm and nervousness of first-time voters. You could recognize them right away. And I was thankful for the ones who waited in line for an hour just to stand in yet another line for the ballot table, and still approached us with a smile.

Democracy and freedom are precious. I would rather see someone vote the opposite way from me than not vote at all. It's a freedom no American should take lightly.

So if you haven't voted already, MAKE time to go vote tomorrow. Our democracy depends on it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

little big sighs :)

Today we had the cutest little Asian girl prancing around the ballot table while her Dad was patiently waiting. A worker decided to ask her a few questions to help keep her still, and here's there conversation:

Worker: What are you going to be for Halloween?
Child: in a whisper, Tinkerbell.
Worker: Tinkerbell?
Girls nods.
Worker: Not (and she names two other names I'd never heard of but which made the girl grin and shake her head no.)?
Girl: I've already told you. Tinkerbell.
Worker: Because she's pretty.
Girl: rolling her eyes and saying in an exasperated tone, Because she's GRE-en and has WIIings.

We were still laughing about that later. Green and Wings. What more could a girl want?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

a reminder

I've been reminded this week of our ladies' study from a few years ago where we focused on "whatever is true".  This last week I've been continously amazed at the number of people who hear or think something (about a wide variety of things) and decide it is true without investigating or thinking or studying the matter at all.

And of course, with election season upon us, I deal with people on a daily basis who like to rant and be heard. Thankfully of the 800+ voters we handled yesterday, there were only 2 or 3 that way. And when you stop and think about it, that's not too many.

What I am seeing more of, and has taken me by surprise, is helicopter Moms. It's not uncommon for a Mom to say "This is my child's first time to vote, and he's unsure or has some questions, etc"  But it is uncommon, and strange to me, that a parent will say "I can't....because I have to help my child vote." or "Can we share a voting booth? It's her first time."

It's not uncommon for a couple to share a booth, though usually when that happens it's because one of the two is depending on the other person to tell them what to do. I feel more comfortable about the family members who get booths near each other. They're close enough to help if asked, but not so close that one is dominating the other.

Thankfully most of today's younger generation is acting self-sufficient. Even if they come in with Mom or Dad they're not acting helpless. But yesterday I saw it more than I've seen in all the other elections combined, and it was scary. I understand now why colleges are so concerned, and it makes me more than tad concerned about the future of our nation.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

today's thankful list

  • chocolate chip cookies
  • Facebook
  • choir practice
  • laughter
  • freedom
  • a crazy dog
  • friends
  • the internet
  • my husband
  • running water
  • clean water
  • indoor plumbing
  • sunshine
  • vehicles
  • abundantly stocked grocery stores
  • hugs
  • smiles
  • the end of this round in the incubator
  • only 2 chicks

Monday, October 22, 2012

tick, tick, tick

There have been some nights when I absolutely could not sleep and I could actually hear the clock in our bedroom ticking out the seconds. THAT is annoying.

Thankfully, that was not the case this last week, nor do I expect it to be the case anytime during the next six weeks (unless I forget and drink caffeine after 4pm again).

Yesterday during the kids choir practice time, a child raised her hand and wanted to know why anyone would want to be a star. (The play is about a boy who wants to be a star in a play, and he ends up getting a role as understudy and at the last minute is in the play and actually points the way to the Star of Bethlehem). She only knew the term as in "twinkle, twinkle, little star". I'm not sure I adequately explained it to her. Yes, I am certainly used to working with older kids.

I feel unorganized this year. We chose this play because it could easily incroporate all age groups under 6th grade, should hopefully take less practice time, and yet I continue to feel uneasy. I think it's because there's just so much going on in our life right now, and knowing that I'm going to be gone the week prior to our last rehearsal only adds to that stress a little. But, like every year, it will happen. The younger kids will either gladly perform or hide; the older kids want to withdraw into themselves and are super worried about whether or not they'll look stupid. I can count on that. ;)

And in the midst of this craziness, I'm brought back to earth about what is really important.
Last Thursday Bobby's best friend (suppose I should say his best male friend) went in for a biopsy and tumor removal. They opened him up and closed him up. The surgeon doesn't recommend any treatment, but he'll still meet with an oncologist this week. Evidently they sometimes do some treatments to lesson the pain.

I know that none of us know when our last moments on earth will be. I can head to the kitchen now and drop dead of a heart attack, or head to the gym and die in a car crash. I could face an irate voter these next two weeks at work and get shot or stabbed. We never know. But there's something sinister about having the end of our your life mapped out, at being told a maximum amount of time that's left. It gives a new meaning to "the valley of the shadows".

And speaking of shadows, I need to get back to mapping out the stage for a quickly approaching play.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

my thankful list

I started to title this post my Monday thankful list, but then I realized today wasn't Monday. :/
But here we go:

1. anticipation of holidays & fellow family members (on both sides!) who like to work puzzles
2. cookies, specifically chocolate chip
3. sweet tea
4. a supportive husband
5. electricity
6. laying hens
7. friends who like to read
8. belonging to a church of compassionate people
9. being an American citizen where everyone has the right to an opinion
10. checklists

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

time warp

I have my Thanksgiving decorations out. :)
My husband was a bit disconcerted by that. I didn't tell him that I had briefly contemplated pulling out Christmas stuff so I won't be rushed later. But in my mind, I know once Tuesday of next week comes, I have no more free time before Thanksgiving. That scares me more than a little.
So my grandma's little ceramic turkey is on the dining room table, along with a fall flower arrangement.  I don't think I'm going to mess with a pumpkin this year (although I'm sure the dog would love it).

And today I remove the egg turner from the incubator and have the pleasure of cleaning up two bad eggs, one of which has cracked, while returning the others for three more days of resting in the heat before hatch time begins. Could someone please remind me why I didn't just toss them? I tell myself I'm not a hoarder, but I do hate for things to go to waste. We watched our first episode of Hoarders a few weeks ago and on one of the shows Bobby and I were both greatly disturbed at the amount of things placed in the trash (furniture and clothes) at one of the homes that could have been donated to a thrift store. It was so wasteful. The other home? No one would've wanted anything out of it.

Wants and needs - those topics seem to be coming up a lot lately. I'll have to save that for another day.

Happy early Thanksgiving. :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

not so simple

Someone in my family gave me a request for Christmas a while back that I thought would be very easy.  My family meets for Thanksgiving this year, so that means all my Christmas stuff for that side of the family needs to be completed by then (although I'm hoping we can take a trip in either right before or right after Christmas). So I thought I could go online, fill out all the information, upload a few photos, and boom! The personalized calendar is done.

But no. It can't be that simple. I'm missing a few photos, as well as a few birthdates since that person decided it wasn't enough to do our extended family, but aunts and uncles and all their descendants should be included as well. And of course, they have a list of all that stuff SOMEWHERE, but has no clue where.

This "easy" project has taken me all day and I'm still not finished. I have to remind myself that quilting takes weeks, if not months, so I should be enjoying this process. My brain's not buying it.
It is the thought that counts, right?

Friday, October 12, 2012

a classroom of 30

For 6th-8th grade, I was in a one room classroom at Victory Christian Academy. We called it "The Learning Center".  Using an ACE curriculum, 6th-12th grade used an old sanctuary of the church where we had desks with dividers along every wall and in the middle of the room. It was an interesting experience that came with many life lessons. I'm guessing we had 30 students in the whole room. Of course, being in middle school, we watched the high schoolers like crazy, and took note of everything they said and did.
One of the high school boys that all the girls were crazy about was very quiet. He interacted with everyone equally; he didn't treat us middle schoolers as stupid; he lived his faith. I had the utmost respect for him and hoped when I grew up I'd find someone similar to him to marry (and I did! :)

This week his 20 year old son Trent died. I've never met his wife Lorna, but they have been SO heavy on my heart ever since I heard the news. I find myself uttering prayers for them as I iron, while I cook, and even while I drive from one appointment to the next.

Twelve years ago the church I attended lost a young man the same age, also unexepectedly. The grief was horrendous, and our entire church body physically hurt. We hurt with the pain of saying goodbye to someone we all loved, we hurt for his parents who everyone loved as their own. We hurt watching them hurt, because there was absolutely nothing we could do to make them feel better. We could only take them to the Great Physician who in his time heals wounds. Times like this remind me that while I like to think of myself as a helper or fixer, I'm not. I can be the friend who helps carry the gurnery to the Almighty Doctor and waits, but I am not capable of healing.

We expect our grandparents and parents to receive the glorious room service call that their heavenly room is ready long before we do. And yet, it still hurts and our hearts have a void when they're gone. But when someone so young gets that call, it seems to tilt our whole world out of focus. Walking through death's shadow when it's a young person makes death seem more ominous and horrifying. Like Will, Trent would have been voting in his first presidential election ever. I know it seems odd to think of things like that, but I remember clearly Watson Hall telling everyone to go and vote as they left his house. Evidently that was one of the many things they had talked about in their last conversation with Will.

If you get a chance today, send up a prayer for Scott and Lorna Harbison and their remaining son and daughter, that they will feel the soothing from the Balm of Gilead and that their hearts will experience the Comforter in unimaginable ways.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

goose hunting

This past Saturday we took advantage of the wonderful weather and did a little yardwork, in between visits from great nephews. And I'm happy to report that A) I finished thinning out the irises by the back ramp and B) the older nephew seems to have lost interest in chasing my chickens. :)

The new game is "goose huntin'".

 Grab a toy gun.
 Aim at the geese on the other side of the pond. (and or course, you get them all)
 Move to another location, and hope younger brother doesn't throw his gun in the pond.
Isn't that what you do with stick things? Oh wait. This one clicks.
I like this game much better. And it's even okay if they decide to "shoot the fish" at feeding time. That game works even better, for when the fish take their food out of sight for moment, Trey really thinks he's succeeded. :)

Monday, October 8, 2012


What happens when you try to stay relatively dry while getting the dog in the car before you head to the vet:

Buster's appointment is now rescheduled for Thursday.
I guess I'll spend my afternoon sewing and cleaning after all.

a new normal

Tonight we meet with someone in hopes of providing some encouragement as they learn to deal with a new normal. Changes are hard to deal with, regardless of what area of your life they impact. The challenge for me is reminding myself that it really doesn't matter how my life compares to anyone else's situation. We deal with our life; we're happy. When we start throwing other people's view of normal into the mix, things get choppy.

And even in the disability world, normals vary from person to person. Sometimes I head to the forums to find out what others are doing or how they're handling certain problems, and I always come away shaking my head at some of the staunch opinions. For example: wheelchair cushions. These air/foam cushions are the first line of defense against pressure sores in the worst places, yet every person has a different need in a cushion because of body types, wheelchair use, and mobility amount. The other day I read at least two postings ranting against Roho cushions and how awful they were. Bobby has used a Roho cushion for 32 years with very good results. I don't know how many years he used the low profile cushion, but when he switched to this wheelchair it didn't work quite as well. The tech said that particular chair worked better with the high profile cushion, so we pulled out his old backup cushion, which was high profile, and the problems ceased. I might share with someone the pros and cons of the Roho cushions, but I can't ever imagine myself telling someone not to try a product just because it didn't work for us.

Emotions, public reactions to disabilities, accessibility issues - those things are going to be very similar regardless of the situation. But once you get past that point, everything really varies from individual to individual.

So here's to Monday- a celebration of life with all its ups and downs, and a grateful spirit that the highs and lows mean no one has a handle on what is "normal".

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

election crunches

It's here. Well, it will be here as of 9am tomorrow.
Election training.
Tomorrow is hurdle one.
Monday is hurdle two.
Tuesday is hurdle three.
Then I have 10 days to totally familiarize myself with the manuals.
On October 24, the insanity begins. 10am-8pm days (except for weekends which are slightly better) until November third when early voting ends.
November 4th I pick up supplies for the regular election.
November 5th I'm on call.
November 6th my phone starts chirping at 6am and I gladly turn the phone off and return it to the Board of Elections at 9pm.
Perhaps I'll have time in my ten days off to schedule several blogs to upload.
I'm sure I'll have tons of stories that I'll desperately want to tell you but can't, but know this:
Nothing aggravates me more than to hear someone criticize the Wake County Board of Elections. People who do show how little they actually know about what's involved and how much work takes place behind the scenes. They are fair; they work hard; they train us hard; they do a great job. I like to think we temporary employees do a decent job ourselves. This is my eighth year working with BOE, and I can honestly say the process only gets better. I don't know if I'll shoot for ten years or not. A part of me says this would be a great year to end on. The other part of me really likes the paycheck.
So whatever party you belong to, you have less than a month to research the candidates and make your voice heard. Voting is more than a right; it's a responsibility. And for us girls, it's one that many women were denied in our country for many years. Let's not insult the ones who went to jail just so our voices could be heard.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Yes, I know this is my second post for today. Yes, I can do that. :)

One of the crazy things about life with a disability is the difficulty in finding shoes. It throws a whole new kink in things.

I think I've shared in the past how I hated shoe-shopping as a child because stores never carried extra-wide widths, or they'd have two options out of the 30+ shoes in my size. But that is a blessing when I compare it to trying to find shoes for my husband.

When you sit in a wheelchair all day long, your feet swell. Yes, he does boost to shift his upper body and he can twist and turn in his seat, but his feet basically stay planted in the same spot (unless something bumps them or he uses his wheelchair feetplates as a bulldozer, which happens fairly often). And if your feet swell and your shoes are fitted, it not only cuts out the circulation in your feet but leaves horrid marks and sores. So shoes have to be soft and expandable. That's issue #1.

Side note: 32 years ago, at the time of Bobby's accident, Wallabee's were in style. And they worked PERFECT with issue number one . So he's continued to wear that style of shoe, even when it went out of style. A few years ago, those shoes came back in style, and one of his older nieces was shocked to find out they used to be in style, saying "I thought those were just handicapped people shoes." Yes dear, even Uncle Bobby can be fashionable sometimes.

Issue #2 is a bit harder to deal with: seams and inseams. Have you ever stopped to examine HOW your shoes are put together? Feet are one of the body parts that easily develop what is called a pressure sore. Pressure sores are any part of the body where there's not a lot of fat between the skin and bone (shoulder, elbow, wrist, tailbone, hip bone, ankle, heel, toes, and balls of feet) where an extended amount of unrelieved pressure can cause a sore (hence the name).  Seams in shoes tend to be very hard and create pressure on some of those sensitive spots.  Before we buy a pair of shoes, we have to check where the seams and inseams are to ensure there's nothing that could apply the slightest pressure on any of those spots.

Issue #3: stability.  Our muscles were meant to be used. Our bones were meant to be moved. Over time, if they're not moved, muscles atrophy and bones begin to shrink and condense. Hightops or anything that supports the ankle from flopping over or provides extra stability is high on our list.

Issue #4: size.  Ever tried putting a shoe on a toddler? Know how they scrunch their toes up? Try putting a shoe on an adult who is unable to hold their leg up, who has no control over their toes, and whose foot is sometimes swollen. Getting a size on that? Do you want the 6am size, the noon size, or the 9pm size? (or any variable in between?) And the heel of the shoe has to fit in the back of the wheelchair footplate. (Shoes are MUCH cheaper than new wheelchair parts.)

It was probably 8 years ago or more the last time I ordered Bobby a pair of shoes. It took four returns before we got all the issues squared away and found something we could use that had us both happy. Well, I was happy until last year when I broke my arm and ALL our help became very puzzled when I told them to get his "black" shoes. Turns out those shoes aren't black after all, and Bobby got a good laugh as he got to tell everyone about me being partially colorblind. He didn't realize I thought they were black for 6 years. Sigh... Anyway, I have since glued the soles back on those shoes, and they're starting to come lose again.

So we started the process of ordering a 8 EEE in something he can wear that looks appropriate for a law office or meeting at the legislature. We found two options. And I think we were both very happy with how it looked. Day problems until the end of the day. Day two...Sunday week ago, he had some problems but we couldn't tell if it was the shoes or something else.  Day three, Thursday, we tried them again. He came home with 2 pressure sores, one of them in a very bad spot. So Friday he worked from home, meaning he could go without a shoe on that foot, as well as Saturday, and Sunday, we pulled out his old hospital slippers (for once I'm thankful the man never throws anything out), and he went to church like this:

Old shoe on right, bandaged sock foot on left.
You can imagine my surprise when one of my good friends asked me "Why didn't y'all just get a wider shoe?"  We did, dearie. That's why he's in this shape now. Sigh. Some things can't be quickly explained.
But I'm happy to report the sore is slowly but nicely healing. Maybe by Sunday he can be back in his old shoe. Meanwhile, we've just laughed that a different young niece (or two) would be horrified if they lived nearby and saw him like this. But it would also be a good life lesson: looks are certainly not everything.


Egg production is one of those things you have no control over. One day your chickens lay 8 eggs; tomorrow it may be 4.  Though usually, when that happens, it means they are laying somewhere else. And we have searched for that elusive nest, and finally found it, but only because a hen emerged at the "wrong time." She wasn't too hapy to see me when she came out.

 And this is the view from standing up...just a few eggs.
 This was the view when I got down on my hands and a few more.
It was 21, to be exact. Green, blue, brown, cream... in other words...almost ALL of our birds have laid an egg there at some point in the last month.
They are now in an incubator. This was not a chore I anticpated on having this fall. Is it evil to hope none of them hatch?

Friday, September 28, 2012

You know you're from Alabama when...

You know you're from Alabama when...

a group of shopping girls becomes a football commercial

you can imagine high school classmates doing this to each other in 30 years

every other commercial on television involves football

every radio announcer says something about football on game day

if you go shopping on game day 90% of the people will be wearing their team's colors or shirt

you don't understand why people are surprised a girl will watch football

Roll Tide.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

leash training

Our dog has the capacity to drive me crazy.
I've been trying off and on to train him on a leash. (and yes, I hear all you dog whisperes out there...that's the problem. You're not being consistent.)
The biggest problem? Buster thinks EVERYTHING is a game.
Put the leash on him? No problem.
Start to walk?  Not so much a problem.
Keep walking? Then he throws himself up in the air, flips, grabs the leash with both front paws and WILL NOT LET GO. If I pull him up, he won't flip over, but just lets it hang himself. If I keep walking, he just lets me drag him on the ground. It's not fun. By the time we were finished last night my joints were KILLING me and I was so mad at both the dog and my husband that it wasn't even funny.
And we get to do it again today. I think I'd rather go to the dentist (which I also hate beyond measure).

breaking news

The reason for drop in egg production has been discovered. Pics to come Saturday. Pulling out the incubator - again!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Panera Bread

Back when I was a working girl, most of my colleagues went out to eat at least once a week. Many of them went out every single day. Two of the ladies were fast drivers, and their favorite thing to do was race to the next town of Cary so we could eat at Panera Bread. We would rush their, semi-slowly eat our food, then fly back and try not to laugh as someone got onto us for taking too long on our lunch break. (My justification note: she would go out with the pastors once a month and be gone 2 hours AND unlike the upper staff we had to clock in and out for lunch so we weren't shorting the church of their time and money as we would work 5-10 minutes later if needed to get all our time in). Granted, we didn't do that often, but still those are fun memories.

I was reminded of those days today as I got a survey in my inbox from Panera Bread. I'm not going to fill it out, as I couldn't tell you when the last time I ate there was. I love their food, but it's not something I get to have very often, and it's not something I would drive to Cary or Raleigh to eat by myself. And somehow I don't think it's the place Bobby would like to eat. He's more of a Toot-N-Tell or Carolina BBQ kind of guy.

And speaking of food, our microwave has died. It will run, but it won't heat or defrost anything. We've looked at a few, but I'm now seriously considering how important is it that we replace it. At the current moment using a scale of 1 being not at all and 10 being do it today, I'm a little over 5. I might not think it's such a big deal now, but by mid-October when I'm coming home late and needing to heat up leftovers for supper, I may really want that quick convenience the microwave offers. And I've had a microwave since I was in the 4th grade. It's hard to think of life without on, but we've done it for the last week now and been okay. It's really making me stop and think about how much I use it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

the hushed conversations

We normally think about conversations as things that happen over the phone, through e-mail, or in the hallway at church or the aisle near the Targer pharmacy or in passing at the gym. (Yeah, I do live a schedule life.) But lately I've been thinking a lot about the conversations we should be having, but don't. And I've come to the conclusion that it's because these topics are often hushed due to the emotional impact they have. So here's what my brain's been hopping around a lot the last few months.

  • The "even if...still" passages of the Bible. I don't think I've ever heard a sermon on these verses. Actually, now that I think about it, it would be a very short sermon, so maybe that's why. But in all honesty, why are we so scared to think about or discuss the phrases where ancient believers boldly asserted God could do the "impossible", but then went even further to say "but even if God doesn't do this, I'll still serve/worship/honor Him."?  I'm thinking of Job and the 3 Hebrews in the fiery furnace here. And I'm also thinking of the 6+ blogs I'm following of family & friends fighting serious illnesses and hardships. It scares me so much to read statements like "I WILL walk to my son's high school graduation. I have faith." (when her son is 5 and she has an illness that no one has yet survived).  So what happens when her faith doesn't give her what she wants? Does that make her faith any less real or valid? When my husband broke his neck 32 years ago, a well-meaning believer informed him they knew God would heal him because he lived a righteous life. (People and churches in the area were praying around the clock that first month for healing.) And when God chose not to heal him this side of heaven, that person cut off fellowship. Their theology wasn't compatible with day to day reality, so they simply tried to shut out reality. It scares me when believers confuse our relationship with God with our relationship with Santa Claus.
  • "I want my child to be in God's will, but..."  I have heard this SO much lately, where well-meaning believers pray that God will call their child to preach or to a life of full-time Christian service. I rank that right up there with these Dads who push their child in a sport because they desire for them to be in the NBA or major leagues. There's no encouragement for them to seek out their God-given talents, to develop into who GOD wants them to be. It's just the personal desires of the parents that they seek for their child. Maybe that's too harsh, but I do wonder would they be just as happy for their child if they came home and said "I want to be a plumber." Would they enourage them to be the godliest plumber in town? Perhaps my parents emphasized too much the passage that "whatever you do, do it all to God's glory" so much that I don't see more honor in one job than another. We're all laboring together for the same purpose, or at least we should be.
  • Marriage. As I watch my oldest niece struggle through the insane mating rituals of a conservative Christian college (at my graduation from same college, the administration from the college felt compelled to comment that our class was one of the unusual ones because half the class was neither engaged nor married), I want to know why we're not discussing healthy ways to truly get to know people, marriage statistics in the church (and how GLBT community is using those and plan to use those in the future as a way of saying churches don't adhere to biblical principles anyway so we can't exclude them on such grounds), and how to make a healthy marriage. How many young people would rush into an engagement or marriage if they were told that "Marriage is having a forever roommate."?  We talk about the awesomeness of marriage, but not it's heavy responsibilities. I fear we push/encourage marriage before young people are truly ready. Case in point: Why do we ask a young man if he's bought a ring yet for his longtime girlfriend before he's even held a steady job longer than 4 months? How is that encouraging a healthy marriage?
And I'll get off my soapbox for now. But those are the things I ponder, and only occasionally hear another believer quietly mention. And then I know I'm not alone in all my crazy ponderings.