Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thank God...I Made It Through the Day!

It would have been so great if I had written an inspiring post about new beginnings and goals for the next year.  But I didn't.  I spent the entire last day of 2008 in my bathroom thanking God for my vast supply of Charmin and asking sweet baby Jesus to just take me on home to glory.  I realize that this is highly personal information but I have always been just a shade too transparent so I figure why stop now??  Needless to say I didn't get a post up for today until it was almost tomorrow.  Chances are I will be lucky to get my Friday Jumbles posted on time.  Perhaps by then I will be feeling all inspirational...we'll see.  But do have a lovely New Years Day tomorrow and enjoy some blackeyed peas, which has always been a strange tradition in my opinion.  I will be ringing in the new year eating plain toast and gingerale.  Happy New Year, dear bloggy friends!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dude, You Threw Off My Groove!

I don't know what is going on, but something has definitely thrown off my groove.  You know that feeling you get when you can't quite find normal you and some other foreign, grumpy, out-of-sorts you has taken up residence in your body?  I know, I know...I am weird.  But I am okay with my weirdness.  Part of it is all of the change that has been taking place in my own life and that will just take time to sort itself out.  The great thing about emotions is that they are much like clouds and they just don't hang around for very long.  What do you usually do when you don't feel quite right?


Monday, December 29, 2008

Love It, Love It, Love It!!

Well, I do hope you people had a great Christmas.  Ours was wonderful!  Christmas Eve was spent in Waycross with all of the inlaws and, my goodness, there are bunches of us now.  We packed in one house and ate a buffet of smoked, grilled or fried meat with all of the trimmings and a table absolutely full of sinful desserts.  We did our gift exchange which has come to look something like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as we conduct our "Dirty Santa".  Then we headed back to Columbus, arriving home around 12:30 AM.  We spent the entire day on Christmas in our pajamas, napping, eating recreationally (nutrition had nothing to do with it) and playing with our boys.  Our boys saved their money and secretly bought Eddie and me the second season of Psych (best show ever!) which they taped to the bottom of a giant RC truck of theirs and wrapped in an unrecognizable mass of Christmas paper to throw us off.  Awesome!  For the last three years they have been using their money to get us a surprise gift and it gives us such a kick to see them get so excited over giving. I know I have said it before...I love Christmas!  


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I am taking the rest of this week to spend time with the family.  I will be back here next week so I will  see you on Monday.  Have a Cool Yule!  


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chocolate, Rudolph and Memories of Yesterday

I spent last night making Oreo truffles (cream cheesy goodness wrapped in dark chocolate...pure heaven!) and then I sat by the fire with my little boy in my lap watching Rudolph.  I have always had a love affair with all things Christmas and I cannot help but feel a bit nostalgic watching the same Christmas specials with my kids that I used to watch as a little girl.  I also find that at this time of year I miss my mother so much I can hardly breathe at times.  And now that she is gone, I no longer have that link to my grandmother who was my anchor growing up, helping me to find my way when everything around me was chaos.  But no matter how messy life was in my family, they always put aside what didn't matter to focus on what did at Christmas and I loved every day leading up to the moment when we could rush into the living room and see what Santa left by the fireplace for us.  And we all laughed and gave and ate and we had peace on earth even if only for a season.   Now that I am grown, peace is a way of life for my own little family and the moments of chaos are few and far between.  But still I love every moment leading up to Christmas day and I try to savor every moment with my children during these times that will all too soon be warm memories.  I pray that your time this week in celebration of the birth of our Savior will be filled with warmth and peace and nostalgia and great joy.  Merry Christmas to you all!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deep, Dark Secrets

We harbor in our family a deep, dark secret. Only one person outside of our family knows it. Until now. If any of you have ever wondered why our family has never given you Christmas cookies, I submit the following picture as evidence. Not one of the five of us can make a pretty Christmas cookie. As you can see below, it us not just the decorating skills that we all lack. We are not even good at cutting out the bloomin' things. In the earlier years, when our boys were very small, we would make the dough from scratch and spend hours icing them and still they looked like what you see below. I then began buying sugar cookie dough in rolls because, really, once three boys cover them in two inches of cream cheese frosting and an inch of colored sugar, they all taste the same. We soon learned that the word "nonpareils" is french for "are you crazy thinking that vacuum is going to suck all those up??" And truthfully, we all stand around the counter like starving buzzards on road kill, slathering the first few in frosting and shoving them down our throats before we even begin the "decorating" process. Our latest challenge has been explaining why it is in bad taste to use the frosting to make the Christmas angels anatomically correct. Well, it is out now. It feels good to confess. Feels even better to eat those Christmas matter how ugly they are!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Twenty-Four Hours In The Pit of Despair

Have you ever allowed yourself to mentally descend to the lowest place possible?  Have you ever given in to despairing thoughts and let all of the hope that usually wraps up your every day just go right down the toilet?  The past twenty-four hours have been that for me.  I don't even understand quite how it happens and so yesterday afternoon, when I found myself alone for a few hours, I gave myself a good talking to and reminded my heart that God WILL do what He said He would do. Regardless of how circumstances appear, He hasn't brought me to this place in my life to leave me and forsake me or the dreams that He has promised would come to pass.  If you are struggling with hopelessness or despair, I pray that you would find courage and hope in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and  hope."  I send this encouragement out to you, not from a high and lofty place of having it all together, but rather from the dusty road of pain and doubt and learning to live in the moment.  I am really glad that I am not all alone on this you, my bloggy friends!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Well, bloggy friends, my jumbled thoughts this week are coming to you all from another state...the great state of Georgia. This could mean that they will be 76% more southern or 53% more backward. Either way you still have to love me!

--I met one of my new neighbors this week. She is 95 years old and comes from the state of Nebraska. Apparently she has found that southerners do not live up to the friendly reputation that they have somehow garnered over the years. I helped change her mindset when my dog helped himself to a sniff of her dog and I struck up a convo with her. She was great. I love older people!!

--I have a good friend who tells me that people I meet in public places would not tell me their whole life story while checking my groceries if I would just not make eye contact with them. I wondered if this might be true as I stood at the checkout counter at PetSmart this week and learned all about the clerks mother and her Yorkies "that she got for free because no one wanted them and how could anyone ever not want a Yorkie and wouldn't everyone want to have one if they didn't have to pay so gosh-awful much for them!"

-- I have decided that eye contact is my gift to mankind as some people seldom get to experience that type of engagement with another human being. I am just going to have to start allowing for more time when I run errands. It's either that or I start wearing dark glasses and pretend to have a disturbing tic.

--I went to see Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens this week and for my eyes it was magical. For my butt it was less than magical as I was seated in the back of a pickup with my sons and my sister-in-law. If you get the chance, go see it, but I highly recommend riding in a car.

--Confession: I got a speeding ticket on the way to Columbus the day we were moving. In my defense, I was trying to catch up to the moving truck that Eddie was driving which was way ahead of me as I had to go back to Lake City to get something important that we left. Funny, the state trooper that pulled me over did not seem one bit enchanted by me and he did not even try to tell me his life story. Bet I get coal in my stocking next week as I have been so very naughty!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Router Shmouter!

Well, bloggy friends, it seems that our wireless router has breathed its last and so we are all sharing one computer that is connected to the web as of today at our house.  Please remember that I have two teenagers, so this means I take a number and get in line. The Knology guys showed up yesterday to connect us to the lovely web and you could hear Taps playing in the background as the news came forth from the lips of the service dude.  I hope to be back on schedule with my ground-breaking, life-changing blog posts tomorrow.  Do come back here again and have a lovely Thursday!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Got Nothing

I tried three times to write this post, saying things that mean pretty much nothing to me. I got nothing. Nothing at all in me right now. I am utterly and totally exhausted, but every stinkin’ box in this house is unpacked and there is a very pretty Christmas tree twinkling in my living room. I may be wiped out but I am awfully happy to be where I am. Hope you are happy to be where you are. Have a lovely week!


Monday, December 15, 2008

What Does Your Headline Say??

Seth Godin had a wonderful blog on Friday about headlines. (I know, when did I have time to read a blog on Friday?  I squeezed in a few important ones.)  And it made me think about what my own "headline" reads.  What message do I advertise to others when they encounter me, especially those who do not already know me.  What one sentence does my life scream to others as representative of me?  I don't mean this to sound narcissistic, but we do make a lasting first impression on those around us and it is worth a few moments of my time to consider what headline screams at others from the front page of my life.  Does it say something positive that would make others want to read further?  Is there depth and substance and something other than self?  Is the fragrance of God wafting from the front pages of my life enough that the casual passer-by is compelled to take a closer look?  Just some questions to consider.  Have a lovely Monday!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Today is the last day I will live in Lake City. What a great 4 1/2 years this has been. I heart all of my special friends here. (sigh)

--In case you think you have "heard everything", have I got a tidbit for you! I read a news article this week about a girl in China who lost her hearing after her boyfriend kissed her "passionately", evidently reducing the pressure in her mouth. I am just sorry, but this doesn't belong in the American Journal of belongs in a Hoover owners manual. This man obviously does not know how to kiss and she should break up with him immediately.

--I ate a chicken dinner from KFC the other night since all of the pots and pans were encased in cardboard. I was reminded three hours later why I don't eat at KFC.

--Fav quote of the week: "Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time." Dave Barry

--The depth of wisdom that flows from the pen of Dave Barry cannot be overstated. If you need a pick-me-up, read one of his books and laugh yourself happy.

--It is always a good idea to pay off your debts in one place before moving on to the next. Yesterday I went to the library and paid my debt of $1.20 for my overdue books and I left there feeling both cleansed and oddly liberated.

--And finally, just to make you feel better about yourself, I thought I would tell everyone that I washed five loads of clothes with fabric softener this week. The large jug of Gain detergent I had just bought turned out to be a large jug of Gain fabric softener. I cannot believe it took me FIVE loads to realize that there was no "suds action" in the washer. So, while our clothes were not clean, they were exceptionally soft because, of course, I put different fabric softener in the fabric softener dispenser thingy. I am truly a wonder to behold.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good to Great-Gretzky Style

It is my sincere desire to be a woman upon whom God can depend to be "tuned in" to what He is saying and where He is heading.  In Genesis 41, Joseph was listening to God and perceiving what He was saying to His people at that time.  His keen perception of God's plan for upcoming events informed the leadership of a nation and people were spared from starvation.  

Jesus was the greatest perceiver of the heart of God (since He was pretty tight in the Trinity) and in John chapter 6  He "perceives that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king so He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone."   His actions were determined by the way in which God led Him, knowing, at least in part, what was just up ahead.  

It is those times in my life when I feel hopelessly out of step with where He is headed that I feel the most frustration.  I know the Word says that we see in part and know in part (1 Cor 13) but there are clear Biblical examples of those who were great players because they were playing where the puck was going to be.  I want to live as Joseph lived- listening, believing and speaking boldly, anticipating where God is going to be and thus making a difference to a generation.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beat the Clock

So, my inbox has over 250 emails in it, most of them unread, my fingernails and toenails are hideously neglected, my eyebrows look like azaleas, I don't remember when I last read a page in the book beside my bed and I even posted a video of a dancing dog on my blog yesterday since 

I have precious little time to write this week.  This is major.  Yes, I am in the throws of packing my entire home in a week as we prepare for our upcoming move and I have to say that I do not really enjoy this part of "the big adventure."  I am not one for playing the whole beat the clock thing...I like to have time to work my plan and preferably not at Christmas when I usually have my tree up the day after Thanksgiving. But all things considered, life is really good and His blessings overwhelm me.  So maybe, just maybe before I ring in the New Year, I will be able to properly groom myself, read a few pages in a book and see lights twinkling on my Christmas tree.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And I Was Proud That My Dog Can Poop Outside and Sit On Command...


Monday, December 8, 2008

Savor Every Moment

My oldest son turned sixteen yesterday and, for some reason, I find it hard.  It is a wonder to watch him grow up and become a man, but I just wish that could happen and I could still keep my little boy who used to dress up in funny costumes and wallpaper my everyday life with his wild imagination.  I can remember lifting him out of the tub and wrapping him in a hooded towel and then watching as he would tear down the hallway, laughing wildly as I would chase him to his room and dress him in his footed pajamas.  He always smelled so good at night all curled up next to me on the couch and I would pray that those days would never end.  This week I get to take him to get his driver's license and then watch him as he tears down our street, laughing wildly at all that life has to offer, but this time I don't get to run after him.  You don't think about such things when you are changing diapers and wiping spit-up off of your shoes.  It is always a good idea to savor every remember the smell of their hair after a bath and their breath after they have eaten Play Doh.   My baby is nine and he still likes to cuddle on the couch with me at night after his bath and so I am still soaking it up.  If you have the chance, I hope you are, too.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--I had my sister cut my hair in some cute, fringey bangs this past week. I also bought some new rather large, roundish sunglasses (snapped my old ones right in half) and my oldest son was good enough to tell me that I look like Willy Wonka. As in Johnny Depp. This earned him a dirty look and he so deserved it.

--Rental property (which is temporary) = large cockroaches (which are eternal). We did find the exception, but I will still be calling an exterminator. The exterminator is my friend.

--Did you know that if you add coffee to your ginormous cup of hot chocolate at 10:30 at night, you will get LOTS of reading done after midnight?

--My oldest son turns sixteen this weekend. I told him yesterday at lunch that it seems like just last week that he was dancing around in a onesie while watching Barney. I told him I would give him ten bucks if he would do it again. He said no....something about me needing therapy. I don't know what he meant by that. Sheesh.

--I helped my sister-in-law put up her retro, shiny, silver Christmas tree the other night. We found these great silver ornaments that looked liked mini disco balls and when the lights hit it with all those little disco orbs, it looks like Santa Claus meets Caesars Palace. So fun!

--Fav quote of the week: "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world." George Washington Carver

--And finally, a confession. I was in bed one evening this week seriously pondering the idea of plugging up my leaf blower really late one night and blowing all of our leaves into my neighbors' yards while they sleep. Is that wrong?


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Contagious Generosity

Tim Sanders blog yesterday on giving was inspiring.  I have always enjoyed his teaching on the abundance mentality versus the scarcity mentality.  You can read more about this in his book, Love Is the Killer App...a truly worthwhile read on business but its lessons go far beyond the business world.

Anyway, my husband and I have always enjoyed giving to others, most especially secret giving.  I really should have been Santa Claus for the big kick I get out of giving.  We heard a teaching on giving many years ago that taught us to sow into fields where we ourselves have need.  When we were striving to pay off student loans and our little amount was not enough, we would sow what we had into someone else who was struggling to do the same.  "If it's not enough to meet the need, consider it seed."  Great axiom to live by.

As I talked yesterday about running from the "doom and gloom" discouragement that is all around us, I can think of no better way to dispel such a cloud than by contagious generosity.  Give money to someone who needs it, speak life to someone who is down to their last hope, offer practical service to a person who has nowhere to turn for the meeting of a need.  Contagious generosity.  It works.  And the residue of hope it leaves in your own life is beautiful indeed.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crash & Burn? I Don't Think So!!

I have taken a leave of absence from my favorite news channel.  Or any news channel for that matter.  I have had it with all of the doom and gloom.  I have never been a "stick your head in the sand" kind of girl.  I want to know what is going on and stay informed about what is happening in the world around me, but as of late I am on sabbatical from negative hype and this whole "crash and burn" mentality that is the national media.  

I am in the middle of major life, church, home...heck we are even changing states. We have chosen the seemingly worst time to change careers, try several new ventures, sell a home and move to a new place.  The media would love us to believe that we should all hunker down and freeze everything.  Just hang on until the better times come.  Bull stuff!!  The people that are succeeding in their businesses right now are the ones who are approaching their clients with a positive attitude, encouraging them in their ventures and helping them believe that all is not bleak.  The economy is a cycle and this is just part of it.  The ups and downs, the ebb and flow...these are systems that are not new and what is currently down WILL go back up.  We have to choose to live, grow, take chances and explore new territory regardless of what we see around us.  Walt Disney created a whole magical world by believing in what he couldn't see with his eyes.  And we can do the same if we will dare to be positive and choose to believe.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Should It Stay Or Should It Go???

I am moving soon.  To a much smaller abode.  As we await the sale of our spacious home in Florida we will be living in a cozy (and by cozy I mean really small) rental in Georgia and so now comes the task of deciding what to take and what to leave.  The thing about stuff is that we get so attached to some stuff and other stuff we don't even realize we have until we open a cabinet or move something out of the way and discover some useless pile of junk that we have had for who knows how long.  "Whose idea was it to buy this??" "What possessed me to keep that??"  "What IS this thing, anyway?"

I am considering throwing out much of what we don't find necessary to take with us.  But some things that I will leave here for now, like my grandmother's jello molds and my mother's high school annuals, well, those are keepers.  Call me sentimental...I totally am.  Those jello molds and annuals and old black and white photos, even the big jar of buttons from so many outfits my grandmother wore, are my connection to something that has become intangible.  They help me to touch what no longer is and therefore feed my soul.  The broken food processor, the now-out-of- style Birkenstocks and the snaggle-toothed rake?  Yardsale fodder.  But all those yesterdays wrapped up in the playing cards that my grandmother used for her "Wednesday Afternoon Bridge Club that met on Fridays" and that still smell like her?  Yeah, I will be keeping those. 


Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Reflections (or Why Family Holidays Should Only Happen Twice Yearly)

I have decided that, since my sister insists on being too busy to read my blog, I am going to do a little tell-all about my Thanksgiving experience.  It doesn't pay to be nonsupportive in my family (insert evil, maniacal laughter here). 

Upon arrival at my sister's home, we were greeted in the driveway by my sister who SWORE that whatever my oldest nephew had was NOT contagious although the doctor at the Acme Medical Clinic could not exactly say what the mysterious illness was nor could he explain why he had been sick for two weeks running.  This announcement was intended to be comforting.  FAIL!!

I awakened the first morning at my sister's house to the sound of my ten-year-old nephew catching what I understand to be "mole crickets" in the den where my husband and I were sleeping on air mattresses.  While these crickets are the size of moles, they actually resemble frogs with spider legs.  If you know me even a little, you understand how DEEPLY disturbing I found this.  I do NOT do critters of any kind, especially those that can HOP onto me while I sleep.  Fortunately he flushed the offenders down the toilet and I chose to believe that they were sojourners who had no kin in the nearby area.

I discovered while helping to prepare the Thanksgiving feast that, if you do NOT place the huge mixing bowl full of sweet potatoes and other gooey ingredients completely on the counter rather than partially on the counter, when you mix the said potato concoction, it will spill down the front of your shirt, your pants, and penetrate the tiny holes in the mesh of your running shoes.  It is also a difficult substance to clean off of the newly painted kitchen cabinets and the din of laughter from every member of your family does not help this process.  It's okay though, because I laughed until I nearly wet my already potatoey pants.

To further leave my mark on my extended family, I accidentally dropped my sister's blender on the floor which caused the pantry door to snap backwards and knock a picture off of the wall which then landed on top of my brother-in-law's head.  I found it fortunate that stitches were not required and that he didn't hate me for the fits of my laughter that inevitably follow any of my "unfortunate accidents", as they have come to be called.

Our visit was capped off by a knee-slapping funny display from my nephew with the strange and dreaded disease who was taking certain behavior-altering medications.  Apparently he recently entered the front office of his high school (where my sister also works) and renamed the school secretary Fonda Peters.  This was shared with a house full of Thanksgiving guests and then followed up with drunken hugs for everyone at which time he discovered that his tongue felt strange.Thankfully my sister told him to pull his shirt down and go back to bed.  I plan to find out what medication he was taking and never give it to my own children.

I really do love my extended family and I was deeply grateful that our messy celebration took place in her house this year.  Next year I will wear a rubber suit while preparing the sweet potato souffle` and I will make sure we are all properly innoculated before going to her house.  Hope your Turkey Day was just as memorable!!