Monday, November 29, 2010

Bob - The Tarantula

So, my daughter asked for a radio-controlled tarantula for her birthday.... and got it.

She named it Bob.

I love it.

And I love her....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Random Thoughts

Lots have things have been presented to me today.... at working, talking with friends...

There are pieces that I am sure fit together, but I'm not sure exactly how yet.

Little scenarios keep repeating in my head as I review the day.... Situations people have found themselves in, choices they have made...the consequences of those choices that they are living out.

Some situations I can relate to.... others are so far from what I consider "logical" or "reasonable", I wonder if what I have seen or been told really happened as such. And then I see ongoing choices and realize it's probably so.

Once again, I consider myself truly, truly blessed!

Thank You God for some perspective!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In The Hope for Balance...

I'm in the midst of a stretch at work...

It was a long and busy day.

In the hope for balance, I'm cutting this short...

May your day be blessed, as we transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.... seemingly overnight!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nine.... Unbelievable!

They're nine today.... my children.

It's hard to believe. Nine years ago, November 26th was the Monday after Thanksgiving. I got up early to head to the hospital for dawn. I didn't sleep a wink the night before... I knew it would be the last time I would feel them kick. I wondered what they'd look like, what their personalities would be... whether they would sleep at the same times.

It's gone quickly, and they grow fast!

I have enjoyed watching them grow. Enjoyed less them testing the waters to see exactly where the lines have been drawn. I know there is still more of that to go, as life moves forward.

They have been a gift to me. The greatest, most wonderful gift!

Thank You, God, for my children!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


So, I know that today should be about gratitude.... and hey, I LOVE gratitude! And in a way, it is....

I've nearly finished my Christmas shopping... there's one or two more things to pick up, and I still lack the preparations and mailings, but...still.... I'm grateful for that, but...

What I am really grateful for is God's active presence in my life...

While I was out shopping, I found this framed cross with some words behind it. I couldn't quite make it all out, but I really liked it. Couldn't find a price on it either... but nothing else around it was, I put it in my basket.

When I got home I figured out exactly what it said. Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

OH yes.... those are words I can use....

Wasn't QUITE sure where it would go... until I hung my curtains in my bedroom and found the nail hole.

OK, Lord.... I'll hang it there...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Tree of Memories...

Well it's that time of year....

Our Christmas Tree is up.... it's not decorated - yet - but it is standing and the lights are on. Every year, I am reminded of the traditions in my family growing up, and hope to be instilling some sense of that in my children. By my daughter's response, I assume that I am.

My plan was to put the tree up on Thanksgiving. I kinda have an issue about putting it up before then.... but...

My girl wanted to help me decorate it. Every year, we put up our tree - with Christmas Music playing (and me singing!).... that is something I carry forward with me from my youth. My extended family would sit and sing carols on Christmas Eve... I just sing when I'm decorating these days.

Once the tree is up and the lights are on, I start opening boxes of ornaments. There is quite an array by now. There are the home-made ones that the kids have created since pre-school. Each one hangs the ones bearing their names.

There are ornaments of each of their smiling faces one for every year since they were born, and an ornament that carries the picture from our Christmas Card for the past nearly 10 years. Also in the mix are ornaments I have collected through the years. I try to limit it to ONE that best describes the previous year, or one from a special trip that we have taken.

I have ornaments that were gifts from friends, and others that represent my hometown, and my years in North Carolina. As I take each one out, I remember the story, person, place or event that is attached to the ornament.

It's a fun time for me... It's an opportunity to walk through our years with grateful hearts as we celebrate and anticipate the coming of Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seeing Things Anew

Today was window installation day.

I had cleaned off the counter under the windows in the kitchen, taken everything off of the walls.... it looked like it did the day we moved in. Wow. (that's been a while!) It looked a little bare...

But WOW.... as the men put in window by window, I was amazed! The transformation was phenomenal! It inspired me.

I dusted every nook and cranny that I could get to. I wiped woodwork, and moved furniture around.

I picked out the dresser and headboard for my boy.... not that I am going to buy it... (yet....)

Having new windows to look through, put a new perspective on things....

Makes me excited for the next project...

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Coming Quickly...

I feel that way about so many things....

It's coming quickly....

The time for my windows to be installed (nope, not 100% ready!)

Time for birthdays and Christmas...

Along with the birthdays comes the reminder that my children are growing into young people that will soon need some greater insight into the ways of teens... including "the talk"... (not 100% ready for that one either!)

Thanksgiving is closest on the radar - but easiest in my grand scheme (show up to work on time with a couple of 2-liters. I can do that!!)

But, then again, there is Christmas and all that it entails. There is much about it that I love, even if it adds a few extra items to the To Do list.

It is coming quickly.... there is much to do.... I could easily get caught up in the rush of it....


Somehow, after my visit to Ohio, I am trying to take a few minutes every day to just sit and be still...sometimes alone, sometimes with my children, always with God...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em....

While perhaps not the best advice ever, especially if you're talking about standing tight with a conviction, I am surprised it took me so long to get to that place.

Perhaps it was because I WAS standing tight to a conviction: "You boys need to settle down and GO TO SLEEP!!"

We'd started the bedtime routine a little early - especially for "sleep over" standards - but I knew there were two that were likely going to opt to return home. May as well go ahead and get that done before their parents went to sleep. The movie had ended, and 9:30 seemed like a reasonable time to declare sleeping locations. Those two did elect to return to their parents, so I was left to corral 4 boys toward their sleeping bags.

An hour later, I wished them good night, and headed to bed myself. Honestly, I was thrilled... not bad AT ALL for a sleep over. They were chatting still, but the lights were out and they were in their own bedspaces. One had actually claimed the couch away from the others, since he was REALLY ready to sleep.

And that is where it all fell apart. Close to midnight, I heard them. They had moved from the playroom to my son's room - to play ONE LAST GAME of Beyblade. Trust me, I went back and forth between "This is a sleep over party, cut them some slack" and "GO TO SLEEP!!" I did ask them to turn down the volume of their voices so I could get back to sleep, and reminded them they needed to wind down, but didn't totally put the kabash on it.

They seemed to settle a bit. Until I heard them again - awakened nearly an hour later by peals of laughter and a "hey! don't pelt me with that". "GOOD NIGHT, BOYS!!" I called across the hall. They hushed.

Two AM, awakened by the sounds of running feet and less than muffled laughter, I thought I'd made myself clear when I stomped up the stairs, snapped off the TV and said "GO. TO. BED!!" I reminded my son and the other cub scout in the group that they would be exhausted during the Christmas parade the next day. I turned, leaving them with their blankets pulled up over their noses. I could NOT IMAGINE that this would not be the last time I had to do this. Seriously people!

I lay there for a while telling myself that "when *I* had a sleep over party, we stayed up ALLLLLL night...." (To which the angel on my other shoulder promptly reminded me that I had fallen asleep in the front row of a Christmas play I had gone to the next day with my girl scout troop.... snoring and drooling no less...) Oh yeah, and I was also thirteen!

But, the pièce de résistance occurred approximately 3:30 am, when I heard dishes clanking, followed by the unmistakable beeping of the microwave. I hollered to my son.... "WHAT are you doing?" His reply was that his friend was "starving". His "morning snack" was finished, but my son's was prepared to go INTO the microwave. "oh no...." He returned the Sloppy Joe sideshot thing to the freezer, as I'd instructed, and later informed me that they had decided to share the aforementioned previously prepared one.

I pretty much lost my mind by that point, and then wondered why I hadn't thought of this earlier. "If you can't beat 'em, Join 'em...."

I grabbed my pillow, pulled the blanket off of my daughters empty bed and climbed the stairs. As I walked into the playroom, I said "Move." to the kid closest to the door. There I lay my pillow, and then myself. As I pulled up my blanket, I said "next kid to talk gets relocated" - living room.... China.... didn't much matter to me at that point. All I could think about was how miserable the parade would be - a tired boy whining to a tired mom.... bad combo.

But, funny how it worked.... in less than seven minutes, they were snoring and *I* had relocated ... back to my bed.

AND, due to the Grace of God - nothing else could have ensured this! - there was no whining to a tired mom. (Now the mom DID gripe a bit, until she ran into a woman who assured me that I was 'making memories'.... oh yeah...)

One memory, I am writing into my 2011 planner. In November:

" ' Join them' ... sooner rather than later....."

Saturday, November 20, 2010


We have now officially celebrated my boy-child's birthday.

I can hardly believe he will be nine in just a few short days....

The time has flown, and find myself amazed, day by day, to see the young man that he is becoming.

I am also amazed at how insane a group of boys can be....

boy oh boy....

Friday, November 19, 2010


I have begun the transformation. It started at one end of the house, and has moved to the other....

The playroom was the next to be rearranged. The toys were sorted and thinned... Furniture has been rearranged, and the scatter rug has been rolled up.

The only kicker.... Now that it has been straightened and rearranged, it will be invaded by a group of 9 year old boys!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


It's getting close to time for the men to come and install my windows.

I am so excited..... on SOOOO many levels.

It will be a wonderful opportunity to really clean those areas.... I have to move all the beds, remove all the drapes and the mini-blinds. The torn screens will be hole-less and I am very curious to see how it effects my electric bill.

I will also decide if I will keep the furniture in the same configuration - primarily in my bedroom and my daughters. I have ideas that I would like to try....

I would actually like to do it soon.... but.... first, I have a birthday party to prepare for!

Though, I may... JUST MAY... move MY bed....

Right now....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grateful for MMA

Just gotta say, I'm grateful for my MMA.

I went from my teaching job toward the karate school in a fairly bad mood.... mostly because I had to kill some time, and wasn't able to be where I wanted to be... well, I could have, but not under circumstances that I cared to experience.

So, I tried to think of what needed to be done before the weekend, when my boy-child celebrates his birthday. Ah yes... paper products and goody bags. So I began that adventure.

As I did, I remembered my friend's recent prayer session that I got kicked out of. I laughed aloud, and began a similar session.

I had bought some chocolate to add to the goody bags, and began to crave a piece... which, of course you know leads to another....

I remembered the Mosaic song "Live in Victory" that I had interpreted over the weekend. Basically, it said that I could resist temptation if I ".... call on Christ who strengthens me...."

So I gave that a whirl.

I was still annoyed, though....

BUT... then there was MMA. Some aerobic exercise and a good dose of kicking later, I feel great.

Ready to sleep and then begin a new day.

Thank You, God for my MMA....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Real life has begun again. Responsibility has set in as well.
May I not forget what I witnessed on my trip. May I continue to trust that seeds have been planted.
May they continue to grow...
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Let the Processing Begin

Our trip has come to a close and we have returned home.... but not before being able to see some of the good works that He has begun. The stage that the construction team revised supported our friends, Mosaic, as they led the worship Sunday morning.

The music was powerful. We had talked about the events of the weekend the previous night. Throughout the worship service, we kept experiencing "God moments", when He would make his presence known.

As the band played Mighty to Save, I could see the slide show flashing through my head. People we had met, situations we had laughed over.... or cried over. The moments of prayer and of conviction.

Those tears that appear (that I'm so famous for!) came rolling down my cheeks.

As the songs continued, a lyric would pop up that perfectly fit a situation we had experienced, or connected the dots between them.

Over and over and over again, God showed up. On our hands, on our faces, in our hearts, and in our arms outstretched toward Him.

And now, I am home.

Let the processing begin....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Willing Hands and Willing Hearts

It was a wonderful day! The people had gathered for the interpreting workshop. We were there with willing hands and willing hearts, not one of us feeling worthy to be there.

I had stopped to consider the path that had taken me from my first experimentation with the language, to my moment sitting in the congregation, fascinated with the interpreter.

I felt something stir when they talked about needing help in the deaf ministry. I so couldn't do that... no way. But, a willing heart and willing hands soon had me in the midst if it.

As I stood and watched the crowd, and my friend spoke about signing in concepts, I watched the lightbulbs come on. I'd glance over to see a facial expression softened, or a tear fill an eye.

I started searching for Him. I knew He was there, I could feel it....I could see Him in my friend.

She was teaching about American Sign Language, but she was also speaking of Jesus - in her words and in her actions.

I began to look around the room again. I watched His hand touch person after person. I watched the seeds being planted.

I left with hopeful expectation. I look forward too seeing - perhaps one day - the fruit these seeds that He planted will bear.

I pray that they will be watered an continue to be cultivated. I pray the relationships and friendships that have begun will continue and flourish. I pray that encouragement continue to flow in both directions.

Willing hands and a willing heart is all we had to offer. He did the rest!

And, it was amazing to witness...
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ohio - day one

It was a sleepless first night. Well, I suppose I slept, but it was an alert sleep - one in which it seemed like one eye was aware of and narrating the events if the night.

We showered, shared a breakfast, and began on our way. Our deaf ministry team finished up th final touches for our workshop, which included preparing another fifteen goody bags. Our number of participants is reaching 30.

We're excited to see what God has planned, and we see that He has put and is putting us in situations where He can teach us and we can reach out to others.

For that, I am grateful.

I am also grateful for the laughter of our team, and our ability to press forward, even though it may not be the most comfortable situation.

I continue to learn.... I continue to be given perspective.

Be with us. Lead us, guide us, protect us.

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Friday, November 12, 2010


Well, we have arrived in Ohio....later in the evening than we expected, perhaps, but we are here.

God provides and delivers, I am once again reminded.

Lead, where you would have us walk...
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The. Last. Minute

That's how this trip will be.... down to the last minute, I will be preparing.

I have (mostly) packed - except for the things that I need in the morning. I have the list of things not to forget to bring... or do.

*run the dishwasher
*bring the trash to the curb
*fill the cat's feeder
*empty her litter box
*place a love-note in each of my kids bags for their sleep over

All of the electronics are charging or have been charged. There is room on the camera card.

I have vacuumed.

I have my bible, and my toothbrush. There are still a few things to pick up tomorrow before we go.

And as I check things off the to-do list, I thank God for this opportunity. I have no idea what waits on the other side of Kentucky. I just know I'm going.

Willing heart. Willing hands.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


We are preparing for a mission trip to Ohio. I am on the deaf ministry team that will be hosting a workshop while we are there.

It has been really interesting to watch God at work. The latest numbers indicate there may be close to 30 people there.

We have been preparing accordingly.

Though, I have this sense that I will be unprepared for the work that He will do while we are there, and the ripple effect that will follow.

I know God is at work and I am very excited to be a part of it.... very excited.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Engraved in the Palm of His Hand

It is funny how some things just "stick". I hear them and the mental image just lingers.

Beth Moore was talking about being "held in a tight fist of fear" - that fear that we just can't seem to wiggle our way out of. She then reminded us of Isaiah 49:16.

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me

She says that the "engraved" is an impression that is left from being held so tightly. I liked that thought. It has stuck with me - though right now, I don't particularly feel afraid. Perhaps it's the time for it to settle into my heart so that it pops out when I need it (God willing!)

And, that was - in my mind where I was going to end this post.....


I typed the words of the verse into Google and the second half of it popped up. "Your walls are continually before me". I thought, "oh, my...." My walls are continually before Him... In that moment, reading that, I took "the walls" to mean those things that I do and say that distance me from God and others.

I'll have to look at that....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Church Family

I am blessed to have a found a wonderful church family. I am reminded of that over and over again.

Sunday morning was a little hard for me in the mom-arena. My daughter had just returned the night before from a girl scout overnight. She was coming off of several late night/early morning days. I knew she was exhausted.... and not quite sure she was feeling well - though she said she was.

But she'd misplaced her mittens, and I wasn't willing to be any later to continue the search for them. This led to a bit of a meltdown on both of our parts.

I was dealing with the stress (as defined as "the basic confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's desire to choke the living daylights out of some jerk who desperately deserves it.") of parenting and setting limits with my daughter. As she sat nearby me - and later on my lap - I prayed over her, and prayed for me. She continued to press for what she wanted.

One of the vocalists had sat down beside me, as we shared lyrics pages. Not long after that, the bass player walked over and sat down on the interpreting box. With me sitting on the stage, my daughter was then situated in the middle of the line that could have been drawn between the adults.

As he sat down, I was reminded that I am not alone in this. I was very encouraged by the presence of these people who were at my side. Surrounding me and my daughter in the presence of God and His people.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Year in Review

I started my Christmas present project this weekend, mostly because I remembered it's now NOVEMBER, and if I don't order them now, they won't be ready to mail before Christmas! DOH!

This year has gone quickly. It's hard to believe. As I've been uploading pictures, I think, "wow... was it THIS YEAR that we had the "great snow" and were sledding down the roads in the subdivision!?"

I peruse the pictures and am amazed at how much my children have grown. I look back at our laughter and moments of simple pleasure.

I look back and see how much I have grown.

The official week of reflection hasn't started, but I've gotten a quick preview this weekend....

Thank You, God, for all the gifts you have brought to me this year - including the ones that may not have been wrapped as such when first presented...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Closer I Get....

It has been interesting to watch the past few months....

I have been reminded of some of the things I love deep down. I have been reminded that in my core, I am a Jeans and Boots kind of girl. I love being out of doors. I love working with my hands.

I am strong, courageous and tenderhearted.

And, as I take steps toward that which feels authentic, I learn that there is more within me. I find a sweater that I love, and a blouse that has more ruffle than I'd think of myself in. Yet, that too feels equally authentic.

It's as if, as the things that I know to be true come in to clearer focus, so does the periphery that I hadn't noticed before.

Thank You for showing me, reminding me, leading me and teaching me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

For the Beauty of the Earth

Sometimes, I forget how beautiful the earth is. And almost NEVER consider how beautiful it is INSIDE the earth. I had the opportunity to join a field trip and see exactly how beautiful it is.

We learned lots of interesting cave facts and some of the history of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky! It was fabulous!

It was also a long day.... many hours and miles of hiking, literally, a thousand steps.

I'm not even going to try to figure out how to merge the phone-uploaded pictures with the web-based text.

Thank You, God - for the beauty of the earth...

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where Your Road Leads....

Gears have shifted, and I'm now more focused on my upcoming mission trip.

Our deaf ministry team is coming together with a plan, and we'll see where He leads. All we know is "Ohio", "workshop", and "encouragement". We are praying to keep our eyes and our hearts open for the opportunities that He lays before us.

We are keeping the words of 1 Peter 4:7-11 in front of our eyes and on our hearts as well.

Prepare us.... prepare them.... and lead us to where we must be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Returning to My LIfe

My long stretch of work is completed... YES! I actually, now begin a long stretch of vacation - interrupted only by one Thanksgiving weekend of work (and may be one other day next week - depending on how traumatic next weekend is to Middle Tennessee).

So now.... I can return to my life.

I can get caught up on cleaning my house. I can walk my dog. I can find something to eat in my refrigerator.

And, in just a couple of days, I can get an extra hour of sleep.

Life is good....

Thank You, God!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pressing On

I remember running my first (and only!) half-marathon.

I trained for a long time. I had a love - hate relationship with it. I didn't always feel like doing it, but I always felt better after I was done. And physically, I felt the best I have in a long time.

Training became the priority - for that short bit of time. It wasn't something I could keep up long-term and still meet my other life obligations. Yes, I could run - or walk - nearly every day, but I couldn't carve out those ninety minute training runs anymore...

Work is like that. It's been the priority. It has had it's purpose and it's course is running to a close. (and WA-HOO! there is time off RIGHT around the corner....LOTS of it...)

I feel almost like I did when I saw the finish line....full of energy and ready to press on to completion. But, I don't have the same 100% collapse and do nothing plan following this marathon. There are still some to-do's and preparations, so my sprint to the end is not nearly as full-on!

But, Lord, am I ready.....


I have so much for which to be grateful....

So much....

Kids and I had a wonderful Halloween.... scoured the ENTIRE neighborhood. It's one of those markers of getting older.... no one even begged for me to carry them. :)

Work continues to provide perspective on the blessings that exist in my life - health, joy, family, connection, just to name a few.

My long stretch is coming to an end... Two more days, and then the gears shift. Perhaps not straight up "relaxing" and "nothing to do".... but at least an opportunity to do those things uninterrupted.

It's November... and that is when our celebrating begins: Two birthdays and Thanksgiving. (Which rolls right into grandma's visit, Christmas, and the New Year....)

But today... Today I will begin with gratitude.

Thank You, God...