Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Today is my mom's ?? birthday!! Hooray! (I'm not stupid enough to post which one it is! but it's also not a terribly high number either!)

Every year, nations around the world celebrate her birthday in high style, with fireworks displays, countdowns, parties and of course the Big Apple ball drop.

While I'm sure it's been fun to have a New Year's Eve birthday, it doesn't leave much for a kid who always has to share a birthday with a familiar holiday. In fact, my mother recalls several years when her birthday was forgotten by her own parents! Imagine that! We try our best not to repeat the sins of her parents, but this is one of those years we just aren't together to celebrate.

So, just so I'm not forgetting, here's her story:

My mom was born the last of three children to first generation Christians - at least in that family! Her parents met in DC, married in a small wedding in Annapolis at the Capital, and became Christians after their first two children were born. My grandmother never drove, was always sick and sent her first two children off to boarding school (Hampton DeBois), so my mom barely knew them as she was 8 years younger (yes, the mistake!).

My mom had rheumatic fever when she was in second grade and spent an entire year at home in bed. She recalls watching all the kids play each day outside her bedroom window, having blood drawn frequently at the doctor and having a home tutor. To this day she attributes that year to her being extremely shy, scared of doctors and I think it led to her being the most gentle spirited teacher I've ever met! I wish my girls could have her as a teacher!

When my mom went off to high school, she warned her parents that if they sent her away to boarding school like her brother and sister, she'd be home within a week - kicked out!! They heeded her warning and did not send her away. Instead, she was indentured to her mother, who would make her take her to the grocery store every day! so that she could meander up and down every single aisle to pick out the 8 or 9 items she chose for that particular day. I'm so glad my mother learned to drive!

My mom attended the King's College in Briarcliff Manor where she met the love of her life, David Miles. They were engaged in Times Square and life was a dream. That all ended abruptly when Dave was killed in a head on collision with a drunken driver one Thanksgiving vacation. As devastating as that was for her, I have always pondered the idea that I would not exist had he never died - such a strange thought!

My mom later was pursued by my dad, the organist at Kings, a student who came with little money but lots of brains to college from Illinois. He drove a car that could not go in reverse, paid for college with help from his grandmother, who agreed to match whatever he made at McDonald's or housesitting to help pay for school and who majored in history. He wanted to marry her, but not before trying to get his M. Div. at Moody. My mom, in the same stubborn manner in which she threatened her parents, gave my dad an ultimatum: Either forget about being a pastor or find another bride! She was a smart woman, because my dad chose her and became a phenomenal teacher. Pastor material - I'm doubting his calling in that area!

Being raised by my mom was fun. She was dedicated to us (and he friends on the phone!) and loved doing crafts, like Shrinky Dinks, she loved taking us to the beach and even let us help her hang out the laundry! I know, it sounds sort of boring, but she created a world where life was fun, she taught us to make fun out of nothing (we had practically nothing - since my dad was a teacher in CT and she stayed home!) and how to appreciate all that we had. She instilled in us a love for God, forced us to listen to Evie Turnquist every Sunday morning (John Denver during the week!) and read Bible stories to us all the time. She taught Sunday school, Pioneer Girls and supported my dad in all he did - except for that wrestling he always watched!

I am so thankful that I still have my mom around. I don't ever want her to be alone and she reminds me that she is never alone, because God is always with her. I still wish I could live closer, of course, then we'd spend all our time together and never get anything done!! She really is my best friend and I hope she has another wonderful year for us all to enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Mommy!
I Love You!

(Picture - that's my mom and me at Johnny Rockets in LA, taken by Em)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy 9th Birthday, Kt!!

Today my little girl is 9. She is having the time of her life in the shower right now - LOL! It's gorgeous here at the beach, albeit a little wet. For breakfast, her father went in search of pancakes and was fortunate to find that Hardees was willing to give him their leftover as we all slept in a bit.

I really cannot believe how big Kt is, how mature, how smart, how sweet (most of the time!) and how fast she is growing up. Her grasp of the world she lives in is getting so big, so deep and her love for all that God is is profound. I never really knew that God created us to grow up so that we could teach our older counterparts more about Him through our development. Kt has forced me to see things about God that I either passed by or had forgotten. I'm completely indebted to her!

I'm so sad to see her grow up because I love little kids, but I guess the inevitable must happen. She is so excited to be old enough to do.... well, her list is so long! This Birthday and Christmas will be full of technological gadgets we wouldn't have dreamed of giving her a couple years ago, some hopefully she'll become more responsible with her age (don't worry, I'm not holding my breath on that one!). If anything, she will at least be a little closer to making her own decisions about her place in this world and what she wants to do about that!

Happy Birthday, Ktbug!

(sorry about the camera phone photos - not so clear today! 1) the girls enjoying birthday breakfast, 2) the view from our deck - we're at the beach!!)

Like Mother, Like Daughter!

As some of you might remember, I came to Savannah a few short weeks ago for the birth of my nephew. The unfortunate part of that trip: the discovery while at the airport that I did, indeed, have strep throat!! Well, this morning, at 6 am on the day we were heading, once again, to Savannah, Kt came in to tell us she could hardly talk or swallow. I knew right away what that was!

12 1/2 long hours later, here we are in Savannah. Kt has her chewable amoxicillen, we are staying in the most gorgeous beach house on loan to us by an extremely generous family and it's wired!! Three years ago when we stayed here for Christmas, T and my brother spent hours on dial up - LOL! My brother will be so thrilled when they arrive tomorrow!

Since Kt is not well, we'll be hanging around here for a bit tomorrow, her 9th birthday! I cannot believe she is 9 already. Next year it will be a whole decade of life for her - I'm just not ready for that! She chose to drive all the way through and not be driving on her birthday. We had reserved a room at one of the few hotels along this southern route to have an indoor pool just in case she opted for that. Instead she saved us the dough so here we are. I guess I ought to go to bed so we can start off our trip on the right foot - the non-sleepy, time to have fun one!!

Tomorrow, for Kt's birthday, we are having lasagne at my sister's, and brownies for birthday dessert. If the weather holds out, we might even have a little beach time! What a fun birthday!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Overwhelmed and Venting...

So, I don't like to do this, but I will. This has been a horrendous week, and it's only Wednesday! At this point, I cannot wait for Christmas to come. I feel like I'm walking around in a fog and I really don't know what to do next.... so I'm blogging!

We started the week with a day at the girl's school, so of course, by today, when I even spent another morning there, I feel lousy. Sore throat, runny nose, achy.... you name it, I feel it. It's not as bad as last year, when I'm pretty sure I had the flu the week before Christmas. But this definitely has the potential...

Monday afternoon I went to the mall (yup, mistake #100), to get some gift certificates. I ran into another 3rd grade mom who asked me how Kt's book report project was coming along. What? That was the question that ran through my head. Book report??? I knew she had to read James and the Giant Peach for a "book club," because she was sick two days last week and I had to run out to Borders to buy her that book. But a project??? Due Thursday??? Problem!

So, I finally made it through the line at the mall, out of the parking lot and home to meet the girls get off the bus. Kt was happy as ever, until I asked about her "little project" which she seemed to think was "no big deal". Of course, she'd left the assignment sheet in her school folder and would have to bring it home Tuesday, but she promised it was no big deal and she was practically finished with the book. Since she had an afterschool piano lesson, we were stuck at home unable to return to school to get more information.

I then moved on to checking their folders, where I found Em's interim report. I won't go into a lot of detail, but it was not pretty. After a few days of emails, questions, behavior charts.... I'm still completely perplexed. What was documented as an academic issue of immense proportions has somehow resolved itself with almost no effort in one day. I have some concerns, but the jury is still out on that one. Of course, the toll it took on my blood pressure is irreversible!

Tuesday rolls around. I had Christmas cards to mail, Sunday School stuff to pick up, cookies to deliver that I'd stayed up late Monday baking, a luncheon to attend and of course I am wrapping, laundering, packing (trying to, anyway) and cleaning.... It's cyclical, exhausting.... On top of that, I had to bake for the teachers because, let's face it, I do that every year and I can't really deviate from that - correct? Kt brought home her book report assignment and got to work on that. I finally sent her to bed at 10 pm after an evening of tons of homework, Thank You cards from her birthday and doing her hair for her school birthday today. We then had a college student visit from 10-1.... while I made fudge, that today I'm thinking I need to throw away. It's as hard as a rock... what a waste.

This morning, up early and all morning at Em's school, then on to tutoring, where I find that not only is the elementary school dumping on loads of homework this week, but the high school is as well. I thought we could forgo the tutoring tomorrow, but low and behold we have a paper to write. Crazy. What has gotten into the minds of these teachers???????

So, I finally get home, completely exhausted, feeling lousy, my house is an utter disaster area, I'm still doing laundry, have packed next to nothing, still have presents to wrap, cookies to bake, fudge to remake, and I'm sick. Kt brings me her "practically finished" book so I can read her the last 30 pages or 11 chapters!!!!!! to her out loud - I have almost no voice now. Em is screaming to go to the Festival of Lights, T HAS to meet with someone tonight. He's told me several times who he's meeting but not once why, tonight, when we have all this stuff happening.... makes no sense to me, but he's gone. The girls were both up until 10, Kt's project not done. I sent her to bed wailing. Unfinished project, unstudied for test - YES, the possessed third grade teachers have made these children the week before Christmas break do a major project and take assessments all in the same day. It's just completely insane!

So, why you ask, am I even considering making cookies for these crazy people? Well, considering is a good word, because right now it's just not happening. Something must give, and it's going to be the baking. I've paid my dues, done my time, suffered enough grief at the hands of these teachers during the busiest week of the year. They will just have to live with their gift certificates. Someday, they can thank me for keeping them 1 pound thinner this Christmas. I have packing, laundry, wrapping and most importantly recovery to take care of tonight. Merry Christmas, teachers - or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate this year - just not in school!! Maybe next year you can have a little mercy on your students and their parents for the holiday season!

Friday, December 15, 2006


T and I just received a really nice (and I mean REALLY NICE!) surprise gift today. Attached to the gift was a really nice (and I mean EVEN NICER THAN THE GIFT!) note. Gifts really speak to me, not because I love to get things, but I like being acknowledged for things. For me, the consummate people pleaser, it's the approval of someone that I appreciate. This person could have give me a package of OREOs and that note and I would have been just as appreciative. The fact that they gave us something really nice (it was awesome!) makes me feel a little embarrassed. But I'll get over it!;-)

So, since it's the season for giving, remember this: a gift can go a long way when accompanied by the right words!! A really good gift, well it still needs the right words.

We spend a lot of time at Christmas trying to come up with fun, good, useful gifts, but how often do we think to add something from our hearts to them? I don't want to get caught up in just giving a great gift. I want to give something that says "I know you!" and then I want to add a little something on top - a note, a video clip, an old picture - you know, something embarrassing, so that person will know that this gift was heartfelt.

This great gift today, we'll use it up, it will be gone, but we'll keep the card, because it reminds us that something we do is important to others. Something we do matters, is recognized and appreciated. We've always felt that way, but it's nice to hear it from someone else. Truth be told, I'd happily received 10 more cards like that in place of the great gift - but we'll take the gift, too, because we're so, well, you know, (do I have to say it??) - um, selfish, in a nice sort of way! (LOL - there's no nice way to be selfish! but I like to pretend!!)

Have a happy heartfelt gift-giving season!!

9,000th Blog Visitor!

I had my 9,000th blog visitor early this morning (I was asleep!) from New Delhi, India! Wow! I can assure, I have no idea who this person is! I just think it's absolutely incredible that we can have visitors from so far away - such a huge audience for such a tiny voice!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Well, I just have to warn all you folks out there who might be expecting something fun like last year's Christmas letter.... it's just not happening! I finished this year's, and it's just a boring old Top Ten list. I mean, those creative juices just weren't flowing. Not to mention, we never did get a Christmas picture. There hasn't been a day all month that we are all well at the same time! So we did one of those photo cards that looks like a collage.... still waiting to get them in the mail. The biggest question of all: will we even get these suckers out before Christmas??? Some stamps might help! I wonder if there will be any Christmassy ones left. For those highly motivated, over-achievers of you out there who have already sent your cards (the pile here is growing daily) kudos to you. Of course, I say that with a smirk on my face!

So, what do you think the #1 highlight of our year was?? Anybody willing to take a stab at that one?

Some Call Me Butterfingers...

but here's the real truth!

Your Elf Name Is...

Minty Sticky Fingers

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


This one is so dead on, it's scary! Wait until T sees this one!!
You Are a Boston Creme Donut

You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.

Hmmm.. somethings missing on this list!

Your Career Type: Investigative

You are precise, scientific, and intellectual.
Your talents lie in understanding and solving math and science problems.

You would make an excellent:

Architect - Biologist - Chemist
Dentist - Electrical Technician - Mathematician
Medical Technician - Meteorologist - Pharmacist
Physician - Surveyor - Veterinarian

The worst career options for your are enterprising careers, like lawyer or real estate agent.

Homeschooling.... again!

It's all T's fault. He sent me a link yesterday to an article entitled "Why I Do Not Homeschool". The first part was pretty good, but today's was really a reflection of how we feel, T and I, about our decision to send our children to public school. It was nice to have someone else eloquently express what I feel has been our gut feeling all along. Of course, I couldn't keep my mouth shut, either. I had to comment a bit... trying not to get into a bitter battle!

The truth is, I just really feel like it's a matter of conviction and world mission view. God clearly speaks to some differently than others, creates children so uniquely and places them with parents who can provide for them in ways only they can! I wish this subject was not so divisive when it comes to relationships. It shouldn't be that way. I hate that Satan has used this arena to get a stronghold on the church today - it's something we should never have allowed!!

In saying all this, I don't want to dissuade people from homeschooling, private schooling or public schooling. I do want us to stop judging each other for decisions we make for our children based on our individual convictions. In each area, different efforts need to be addressed in raising up our children in the way they should go. May God be the one to point these out to us in a loving, encouraging way!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bedtime Stories

Well, I just finished putting the girls to bed. Kt has a cold/fever, so she'll be home tomorrow. She went right in to bed. Em is wired. If she were a coffee drinker, I'd say she'd had too much caffeine! While putting her to bed, she counted up to 100 for me, something she's never done for me. I was impressed! She then went on to talk about school. She told me about her hearing and vision screening as if it was the highlight of her day. She then made me guess what she made in art out of clay giving me only the first sound, then again for what she made out of the extra clay!

Then, I asked if she'd gotten in trouble lately. She has been too loud a couple of times during reading group and had to return to her desk. She very sheepishly looked away, then covered her face. I asked what happened and she said, (with a huge smile/smirk on her face), "Well, I had to go to the PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE!!" I had to dig a little deeper for this one, only to find that she and the one boy we hear LOTS of stories about were running in the hall. I asked her why, and she replied that he had to go to the bathroom very badly, so he ran and she followed. They DO have to stay with their partner. A boy partner to go to the bathroom with?? Hmmm... Sometimes I feel like I'm not getting the whole story, or am I? Anyway, I was not impressed with this one! Thank goodness she's at least learning her numbers!


This is a little freaky, because I used to have a Volkswagon Cabriolet (just remembering that after my last post!).

Your Summer Ride is a Beetle Convertible

Fun, funky, and a little bit euro.
You love your summers to be full of style and sun!


Yesterday, as I was pulling into my neighborhood our neighbor's teenage son, in his Volvo, waved to me. Later I was stopped at a red light next to two teenagers in their Acura Integra. A BMW driven by a cute little girl cut me off as I drove around town in my 1999 Toyota Sienna we bought used because, well, that was what we could afford! What are these kids going to do when they graduate college and realize all they can afford with their first job is a used Ford Fiesta???

Monday, December 11, 2006


I just read/watched this incident that happened yesterday in Scotland. Crazy! If this started happening in America (maybe it does??) I wonder if we'd be ready?? At the moment, at our church everything is so scripted, I don't think they could handle an unplanned event like this!! from a cult movement. Hmmm.... something to think about, and I'm completely impressed with how this was handled and how prepared they were - good work!


After Kt's slumber party was over and all the girls had gone home to get some sleep, we took to the girls to our local pottery place, The Studio at Fulton, to get a picture with "Santa". Em confessed to me before we went that she was a little nervous. She asked me if it was the real Santa and I told her it was likely one of his "helpers". "One of his elves?" she inquired. I agreed, that was likely. She then said, "So, this is not the one who goes to the mall?"

I had to laugh. She is so different from Kt. Em is definitely a analytical thinker, but her focus is very different from Kt. Where Kt will question what she believes, Em only questions about what she believes. When Kt was in kindergarten, her teacher was furious with me because she overheard a conversation where she presumed Kt had broken the news to her class that Santa was not real. In discussing this with Kt that very same day, it turns out she was thinking aloud, wondering if anyone in the class had ever wondered if it was possible for one man to fly around the world in one night to bring toys to every child in every country of the earth. It was not a statement, it was a question. She wasn't getting the right answer from adults, so she turned to her peers! LOL

Em, on the other hand, believes in Santa (for now). Her questions revolve around not if he's real but every last detail of his life. What does he feed his reindeer? Do they get cold on the North Pole? Does Santa actually make any of the gifts? or does he just buy them when he gets here? She was totally OK with Santa sending gifts here early so we can take them down to Savannah. She figured as long as he gets the here on time, it really doesn't matter how!! She loves that Santa shops on Amazon.....

Wait a minute!! On first glance, Em seems a simplistic, average five year old kindergartener, but when I probe a bit deeper I find an amazingly keen and deceptive young con-artist!! This is a child who will go along with any story just to make the parents happy, but deep down, she knows the truth. She has done this before, not interested in upsetting the status quo. If we all believe in Santa, she must as well. Truth be told, she's knows something's up!!

So there we are, at the The Studio, and Santa is none other than the pastor that married T and I. Bringing our children to him was fun, and he soon realized that one of our little children was completely intrigued by him. She stood next to him for a picture, studied his beard and glasses, giggled at his funny jokes and loved hanging out with him. While we painted our ceramic ornaments, I asked the girls what they told Santa they wanted for Christmas. Em looked right at me, shrugged her shoulders and said, "He didn't even ask!!!" Uh oh, a Santa who didn't care what you wanted?? I thought for sure she would finally fess up, but instead she said.... well, nothing!

Sometimes, it's the silence that reveals the most. In fact, not only didn't she anything, but she never brought it up again. And Kt? Well, we have never really confirmed or denied the truth about Santa, but we have always instilled in her the "idea" of Santa, and the giving of good gifts. We have always recognized that the giver of the greatest gift is God Himself, the greatest gift, His Son and the reason why we celebrate Christmas. During this season, being a "Santa" is practicing what was taught to us on that first Christmas and remembering that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

On the way out of the pottery shop, I told Kt who Santa was and she laughed, loved being in on a little secret. At this point, I think it would have ruined the whole experience for Em, but soon she will be in on our little secrets. I can tell it won't be long now. I mean, if Santa shops on Amazon, who needs elves, right?

Thursday, December 07, 2006


The snowflakes are not coming down - yet! I don't see any snow, but I hear the wind howling and boy is it freezing. It feels like total hibernation weather to me. That's exactly what I feel like doing. In fact, I missed getting the girls from the bus today because I fell asleep! I just was not created for cold weather. I wonder often what kind of a person I would be in a warmer climate, because this cold just doesn't feel like it suits me very well.

Tomorrow is Kt's slumber party. I cannot believe she will be 9 in just a couple weeks. I'm totally unprepared for this party. Thank goodness the older they get, the less they even want your involvement! Kt has planned this party, all I've done is the shopping. She basically told me what she wanted and how it's going to go down. Kind of nice for me. I'm thinking I might even get some sleep this time around! Now, if we could just get the wind to quiet down we'd be all set!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This IS our Final Answer!

We finally made a decision.... we booked one night at the Animal Kingdom resort, two Disney days. We opted to do something memorable that we would never do for a whole week. We are getting a savannah room, where you wake up to giraffe's and other wild animals munching outside your window in the morning. I think the girls will love it. This also give us more time with our Florida friends. We'll do the Animal Kingdom, then the Magic Kingdom. Since they both close early in winter, we'll have some free time in the evening. I'm excited.

So, has anyone ever stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge?? Any tips, advice, bewares??? The girls have always loved the Animal Kingdom. Em used to call it the Aminal Tintom, which we all thought was hysterical. One Christmastime, we visited K & M and they had some leftover Disney hopper passes. Since we were only spending one day and the passes were free, we let the girls choose where they wanted to go. On the way, they both agreed the Animal Kingdom. We went there first with plans to head over to the Magic Kingdom for dinner. Wouldn't you know, they closed MGM, the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom at 11 am, all filled to capacity!! Fortunately, we had reservations for dinner! Christmastime at Disney is beautiful and terribly crowded!

At this point, with this cold, I cannot wait for warmer weather!

Snowflakes will Come Down

Em, our 5 year old weatherwoman, announced over and over this morning that on Thursday, the snowflakes will come down. At first, I didn't think this was weather related, instead I was trying to figure out where we had put up some snowflakes. Then I realized she was listening, as usual, to the traffic and weather report. Snow. I'm just not ready for it! But then again, I'm never ready for snow. On top of that, I've finally come down with the cold that's been in our house. I'm really beginning to miss summer!

This is one way God works...

This February we have plane tickets to travel to Orlando for a conference that T wants to attend. The girls and I love to tag along, visit the mouse and hang out with our friends, K & M. Planning this trip has been a little crazy, but really I'm thinking more and more that I'd really like to hang out with K & M, meet some friends I only know through T or through blogging and maybe do less Orlando touristy things. We'll see.

Our friends, K & M, have lived in Orlando for several years now. I first met K through a letter I received from Gordon College, introducing me to my very first roommate, other than my sister, that is! I went off to Gordon, excited to finally be living in a Christian community after enduring (happily!) 13 years of public school. Gordon was new, exciting, fun and K was the complete opposite of me. Poor her!

I knew right away that she was going to have a big adjustment with me in her room. When I arrived, she was already moved in, bed made, notebooks all organized, clothes folded neatly, everything had a place, nothing more than what was necessary for comfort. She was from NJ, and promptly greeted me with her NJ drawl, mawl accent. I think she might have even been playing Bruce Springstein or something - or was it Bon Jovi?? I really can't remember, but I do remember thinking, "Wow. Totally not what I expected!"

Truth be told, we were excited to be rooming together. We'd even met once before heading up to Gordon. My boyfriend at the time had driven me down to the Patterson suburb to meet her and her family. I just wasn't sure she was ready for me. I'm not really that organized, I actually function better in an "organized mess" - that's putting it mildly. I don't really have a special place for everything, but I know where everything is when it's not where it's supposed to be! I didn't exactly think to bring a laundry basket along - I just figured I'd keep my dirty clothes where I always found them - on the floor or in a huge pile at the foot of my bed (I'm short!). I brought along with me every modern convenience allowed plus some. My style was cluttered, homey and not at all sparse, that word just wasn't in my college dictionary!

And so we began our two years as roomies. We had some incredible adventures, lived through some crazy practical jokes, studied together, did Boston together, got cranky at each other and put up with each other. Our third year at Gordon, K moved off campus with a friend and left me behind. She then went off to the U.K., where she went to school and met M. When she returned, I knew something was different. She'd had crushes, boyfriends, but this one was different. And then, he came here. And I was not ready for him!

By this time, K and I were living in the same apartment building on campus, but with different roommates in different rooms. M decided to spend a semester at Gordon so we all had a chance to meet him. He wasn't the first British person I'd met, but he was the first one I knew well. My first impressions were that he was friendly, very outgoing, a bit different than I would have expected for K, but very authentic and genuine. I loaned him my car a few times (I must have been nuts! I'd forgotten they drive on the other side of the road over there!), spent some time with them and really enjoyed getting to know him. Then off he went, back to the U.K. K followed him! Sort of...

After those two got married, T and I copied them and then took our first real adventure together. We went on vacation to England and ended up at the K&M flat. It was super fun and T really enjoyed our stay with them. We did a lot of sightseeing and even visited M's classroom, where he taught elementary school. We did a little cross-cultural lesson with the kids there, introducing T first, without him speaking, and me later as his wife. T always loves that the kids assumed that the wife of this Chinese man must work at McDonalds!

After our time in England, I was happy T had met K & M, but I'm not sure he was able to really get to know them. They later moved to NJ, where we had a few opportunities to connect with them. Nothing was really in depth, but we genuinely tried to connect. It must have been a yearning from within, because T kept telling me he liked M.

When I was pregnant with Kt, I dragged T up to Boston to meet a small group of friends K and I hung out with at Gordon. Most of them were from Gordon, except for T and M. I know T felt a little uncomfortable, and the only reason he agreed to go was because M would be there. On our last morning at the King's Grant hotel, M whipped out his cards and started doing a little magic. That was it - T was hooked. He was utterly amazed and adopted this passion from what he saw. I honestly think the God used a deck of cards to create a permanent connection between two really passionate men, and cemented that bond with a passion for the lost.

After that weekend, T shared with me that out of everyone on that weekend, he felt like M was the only one he really related to. I could see that as well! LOL I'm always teasing T that he never likes any of my friends! It's totally true, except where K & M are concerned. From that point on, those two have been amazingly connected. They email, call each other, discuss ministry, passion, life and anything else that comes to mind. Never once have they lived close enough to be physically together for more than a few days or a week, but that has not stopped them from pursuing each other passionately.

K and I joke with each other that we never realized when God put us together as college roommates He really meant to bring these two men of ours together. He is so direct, yet so indirect in His ways. All four of us have been blessed by our relationships in a way that only God could craft or design. He is the passion that connects us and it's amazing to see where He might take us all.

So, we're off to the land of the mouse, but really the home of our good friends, who God has chosen to interweave into our lives in a way only He can. I like a plan, it doesn't have to organized and neat, but I like some semblance of a plan. Maybe God has something else in mind, because my plan isn't working so well. But that's typical. It's just one of many ways God works in us.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Not the snowman, just the weather!! It is soooooo cold, I'm starting to think that Global Warming is a total farce! Where is it when you need it? On top of it being the coldest day of the year so far, I woke up with Em and T's cold. I'm pretty miserable, but it's better than the strep throat of a month ago! I guess I better go get some hot chocolate with marshmallows ready for those girls when they get home!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

High School Musical

I took the girls today to see a high school production of High School Musical. The tickets were a bit pricey for a high school production, but they were far more reasonable than the actual Disney production, which were $100 for floor seats and $85 for a seat in the stands at a huge civic center!!

This particular production was apparently one of 7 high schools chosen by Disney to pilot their script in high schools. I had no idea... In a short video presentation before the start, they introduced the director, who has put together other Disney shows. I guess I was expecting some totally spectacular show after that little video, but it was, indeed, a high school musical! The kids all loved it just as well.

Speaking of Disney, our Florida Disney plans are a mess for February, partly due to the fact that we are so indecisive but also due to the fact the Disney World is nearly sold out for the first week in February. Supposedly, that's "value season", but it's turning out to be a headache instead! Maybe we should just hang out with our friends and forget the mouse!

Friday, December 01, 2006


So, somehow my post about our weekend retreat ended up being sent via some NJ Homeschool based YahooGroup to all it's members. I have no idea what they are saying about me because the group is "exclusive" in nature, meaning you must live in NJ and homeschool to be a member. It's supposedly a Christian group with a statement of beliefs and also guidelines on resolving conflict. I'll assume those guidelines, including no flaming, apply only within their group, not with anyone outside the group. I wonder how much flaming goes on within the group? Hmmm..... interesting. But, I'll never know because I don't homeschool, but more importantly, I don't live in NJ! Hi, homeschoolers from NJ! It's the most visitors I've ever had on this blog! LOL

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Take a Minute....

and visit with our friends in Cameroon. This family was host to T and his team this past summer. They just put up some awesome safari pictures!! While you are visiting with them, say a prayer for the work they are doing there with Cameroonian students - it's phenomenal, and they are amazing at what they've been called to do!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Creative Christmas Letter"

Unfortunately, I don't have a creative brain cell for this year's letter (yet), but I've had several people search these same three words and for whatever reason, my blog keeps popping up. The sad thing is that when they click on the link, it gives them all of December in reverse.... so that letter from last year that they are hunting for?? They never find it!!

I'm not going to reprint it here, but I'll give you the link to it, so if you find this post, just click here! It was a very fun letter. Now how in the world am I going to top that one??? (insert frightened face here!)

Paralyzed by Seclusion

So, a couple weekends ago T had the opportunity to speak on a Navigator retreat for high school students. It was fun, the girls and I went along, did lots of swimming and froze our bottoms off at the cold beach. We had just finished an exhausting week with T's dad having surgery, finding out our little puppy has a fatal kidney disease and changing all our Thanksgiving plans. A weekend away was refreshing and much needed.

T spoke on a Faith to Follow, and included ideas about our place in the world, fulfilling our purpose and reaching the lost. It was fun to sit in on a couple of his talks, even if I had to make word searches for Em or watch the cutest little 5-month old boy while his mommy took a little break. The group of students was small and made up of mostly Christian, many homeschooled, teenagers. They were a nice group and a couple of them actually talked to me!! (I'm really very scary, so I was surprised! LOL)

Toward the end of his last talk on reaching the lost, there was a rumbling in the room. One of the leaders hinted to T that the students might need a few ideas on how to. In one of the most eye-opening and frightening moments in all our ministry to teens, it occurred to me that these homeschooled kids were not connecting at all to what T was saying. As he continued to talk about reaching the nations, being the voice of God to the unreached, hands began to go up. The first girl said exactly this, "But I am homeschooled." That was it. It wasn't a question, it was a statement and I was completely floored!!

In that second, I realized that these kids, about half of them, were all going to make the same statement. It sounded to me like, "You don't make any sense to me. This is irrelevant. I have no connection with the world." Another asked, "What am I supposed to do to reach the lost?" I couldn't resist, call it the scary, insensitive side of me, but I had to say, "Get a job!!!" I thought T would kick me out!! Seriously, though, I am not under the impression that these homeschooled kids never come face to face with a non-believer. They have neighbors, friends on sports teams, they babysit, go to birthday parties, and I bet they even have other homeschooled friends who are not Christians. I guess what shocked me was their apathy about answering the call of Christ to reach the world for Him. Their situation, being homeschooled, was like a crutch that could get them out of actually participating in mission.

Not being the biggest fan of homeschooling, I have to say I was insensed by this attitude. A whole weekend of material that they were basically calling irrelevant to them because they are sheltered in a home environment that does not allow them to participate in the work of the church. I realize this does not encompass all homeschooled kids or situations, but even more shocking was the general consensus among the half of those kids that this was the case. Not even one of them had a good idea or example to share of how they were able to be used by God in a life. It was so sad, and if you are a homeschooling parent, I would urge you to seek experiences for your children to be in the real world.

While driving home, I shared my shock with T, who shared a lot of the same sentiments I did. I had to admit that they reminded me of the time in my own life when I felt completely surrounded on all sides by only believers. It was almost suffocating! I had to make a conscious decision to reach out beyond that community into the world we are all called to be part of, to make an impact on. I hope I never again sound like those kids on that day, dumbfounded that anyone might suggest I should leave my nice, cushy suburban life and seek the real world. God didn't create me to stay inside, He's calling me out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Catching Up.... again!

I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since I've posted anything! In that time we've gone to the beach, cleaned our house (by far the most time consuming task!), bought two turkeys - long story!, hosted Thanksgiving with my family - which was awesome!, and finally things are back to "normal". The girls are off at school and I'm sorting through what I need to do today.

I've had many thoughts about things I want to post, but they are all still milling around in my head. Eventually, I'll post them one by one. For now, I'll stick with the one that has been on my mind for the whole 2 weeks and still on my mind now. Report cards!

The day we left for the beach, the girls received their report cards. Kt was quite pleased with herself, having earned straight A's and 1s for effort. She also managed, for the first time, to get Above Grade Level in reading and in math. The crazy thing about this is that this is the first year when school has seemed effortless to her, at least to me. She is entirely independent and I rarely even know what she is studying in school. Her teachers love her, as was quite evident at her conference. I'm happy I don't have to worry about her....

Onto child number two! Up to this point, kindergarten has been a breeze, other than being totally exhausted when she gets home from a full day. Em has on occassion mentioned being a little noisy in class, but I hadn't given it much thought. Her teacher has always mentioned how sweet she is and most of her work is pretty average. Her report card, however, painted a very different picture for me, of course possibly because it was in such stark contrast to her sisters!! What stood out the most to me were all the 2s for effort. While Kt hasn't always been at the top of her class in skill, she has always been a people pleaser, so I don't think we've ever seen a 2 in anything but handwriting. Em, on the other hand, had 2s everywhere on her report card.

Really from the beginning of her life, I've always recognized that we will have to learn what makes Em tick. T and I, both being first children, and Kt as well, none of us understand a second child. She's the only morning person in our house, discipline of any kind does not really faze her, she seems hard-headed but the truth is that she has the softest heart around. While I would have loved to keep her home another year, she absolutely refused to learn anything from me, so sending her to school to learn was imperative! The trick now will be getting her to actually show some interest.

At her conference, her teacher displayed some questionable work, all of which was very typical Em. Pilgrims with pink scribbled hair, Venn diagrams that she'd clearly made mistakes on so had given up and her flashcards?? Well, she knows a few of them, like "a", "I", and "one", although any word with an "O" in it is "one"! Last night, she knew which cards her best friend knows, but couldn't tell me what word was on them. The whole time complaining that she didn't want to do anymore. What could I say? Em was so excited about kindergarten until I told her she would be required to color. After that, she completely lost interest!!

The good news in all this, she didn't get any Needs Improvement or 3's for effort. At least we are getting somewhere. She is just a breed of child I am struggling to work with. T and I learned an important lesson about not comparing our children and keeping report cards under wraps. I'm certainly glad we never instituted the "pay you for good grades" reward!! So with all that hanging over our heads, we bound into the second quarter!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Our Crazy LIves

I'm taking a short break from life to update everyone on our current crises! T's dad had a successful surgery to remove colon cancer. He is hospitalized and we are not sure when he will be released. We just took our little 5 month old puppy to have a sonogram. She has one partially functioning kidney and one non-functional kidney in failure. She has anywhere from 2 months to 2 years of life - we don't have any idea which it will be. We do know that she is a spunky little puppy, but we still have a rabies shot to get through and we have not even spoken of getting her spayed....

On top of these two things, I'm pulling the last few things together for my maiden voyage as Girl Scout Daisy Troop leader - just one of those things I should have never agreed to! We are also trying to get to the beach this weekend. T is speaking on a retreat and we are currently planning to take the whole family. Our plans then took us to CT next week for Thanksgiving, but we are having to change our thinking on that a bit, based on the dog. Looks like we may be having Thanksgiving here now. I guess I'll have to go buy a turkey!

If you think about it, pray for us. T is in a brain freeze type condition - can't really think, make decisions, too many things overloading his mind. Em has one thing on her mind - Phoebe! Kt has been quiet, but that speaks volumes. I am completely overwhelmed. We were all very excited to go away for Thanksgiving, so changing gears and possibly staying home is only adding to the feeling of gloom and doom.

On a lighter note, my cousin from Newport Beach, CA is visiting us tonight - she is always a ray of sunshine and glimmering light for us. I'm hoping she can restore a little fun in our house for the evening. We are all looking forward to seeing her and hanging out with her for a bit.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Why God is Not Mystical

Mysticism (ancient Greek mysticon = secret) is meditation, prayer, or theology focused on the direct experience of union with divinity, God, or Ultimate Reality; or the belief that such experience is a genuine and important source of knowledge. In the context of epistemology, it can refer to using any kind of non-rational means — such as feeling or faith — in attempt to arrive at any kind of knowledge or belief.

The debate is ongoing, encompasses many facets of Christian and non-Christian life and has riveted people of all ages, races and religions. Who is God? Does He exist? Is He real? I can only speak from the standpoint of an adult raised in a Christian family, alumnus of a Christian college and an active church going believer in Christ. Within my circle, the belief in God is quite real, and His existence is non-negotiable. That is something we, in my group of similar believers, all agree upon. The question about who He is and how He reveals Himself is completely different.

This question has long been debated around me about how God reveals Himself to His created beings. I read in the Bible of visions, dreams and even physical visitations by Christ himself. God's voice was audible, powerful and undeniable. When people encountered God, in the Old and New Testaments alike, there was no mistaking who He was. God was real, tangible, spiritual and mystical. He existed (and I believe He still does today) in a realm that is totally accessible to those who believe.

So, (once you are finished shaking your head!), why isn't God revealing Himself to us in America today in this same way? Where has He gone? Many would say that God is revealing Himself to us in "relevant" ways, that are consistent with our time in history and our culture. Others might suggest that He no longer chooses to reveal Himself to us for reasons unknown, or for having no reason to at all. Still others will not only choose to suggest that God has changed his mode of communication, but that former methods, such as the ability to communicate His message through speaking in tongues or prophecy, are an ancient, no longer necessary form of communication. Out of all of these various explanations for God's supposed lack of revelation to our generation have never really resonated with me. I still have this tug in my heart to hear God audibly, to make a connection with him that's is in some way mystical, spiritual and relevant to me in my time and circumstance.

In processing this idea, the thought occurred to me that God never changes, He is always the same. We change, we adapt, we see the world differently today than people during Biblical times. But what is it about us that causes us to skeptically denounce God as being mystical? Is it a fear of occult mysticism? Possibly the suggestion that we might actually be involved in something other than Godly activity? Or is it much deeper than that. Have we completely lost our ability to connect with the divine in an experiential way because our minds are clouded with our world, our comforts, our safe reality.

I really don't believe that God is not mystical, but I really believe that we are not mystical. I have heard of Godly mystical experiences of people in other cultures. Visions, dreams, an audible whisper, and audible thunder that is unmistakably that of God. He still speaks, He continually connects, He still appears but we just are not in tune to His message. Could we be a generation of deaf, dumb and blind believers? I think that might be a distinct possibility, and it's moving me to fear for us.

I hope that each believer wants a "direct experience of unity with divinity" that we can interpret as "a genuine and important source of knowledge" in our faith journey. God desperately pursues us, He wants to connect with us and if we are receptive, I think He might choose to be "mystical" with us, but we are the ones who must choose to be the mystic.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blogger/Mozilla Issue

I have this strange issue and since my computer guru is out practicing his retreat speaking I can't ask him. He upgraded my Mozilla and now I can't get Blogger to do a spell check. It does everything else for me, but not that. I apologize if my spelling is much worse than usual, but my ABC check button is non-functional!

I'm a Pepper!!

My uncle would be so proud!! He's quite the Dr. Pepper collector, but the truth is, I'm posting this for my husband, who tonight accused me having little content in my blog other than "those silly quizzes"!! Whateva!! Some people like to have a little fun now and then, Mr. Serious. Besides, you're the one who made me blog!
You Are Dr. Pepper

You're very unique and funky, yet you still have a bit of traditionalism to you.
People who like you think they have great taste... and they usually do.

Your best soda match: Root Beer

Stay away from: 7 Up

The Warmth of a Church

I was awakened this morning by my 5 year old homebody, sneaking into my room to announce that today would feel like Christmas. That is what she heard on her radio, so she was just wondering, would we be going to church today?? She didn't like my answer, which was "Of course we are!" She then left to get dressed, returning in a halter top! I sent her back for more clothes, as today would feel like Christmas, and around here we wear more than that on Christmas.

Sure enough, today was quite chilly compared to the past week in the 70's. It was a bit of a shock to the system. It reminded me of going to church as a child in Connecticut. Our little Baptist church was within walking distance, just one house away! We would bundle up in the winter, walk a short distance and right into the first door we came to, which led into the Parish Hall. I loved that room. It's where we had our children's program, where we had all our pot luck dinners, parties, Pioneer Girls and even where my parents had their wedding reception. What I really loved, though, was that in the winter, when you would open the doors to that room, a big gush of that oil heated air would rush out towards you. It always felt so good!

Even better than the gush of warmth were the warm hugs, smiles, the laughter and joy that I found in that small church. I have wonderful memories of that church while growing up and there is always a part of me that wishes for that same experience for my own children. But as we got ready to head to church, my thought was on whether or not I would feel warmth in our huge church. Sometimes it is difficult to heat a building that size, but that doesn't always bother me. My children - do they feel warmth at church?

As we arrived today, we jumped out of our car and were greeted by a man with a huge umbrella who helped us in, then met by 4 smiling faces at the door. I didn't know any of those people, neither did my children. We found a few familiar faces inside as we rushed to get to class on time. That's really where the warmth began. We dropped the girls off and went into worship. It occurred to me as I sang that so much of the warmth I felt as a child was a result of my parents and the relationships they had built at our church. They were well liked, honest, faithful, funny and dedicated to the work of God. So the real question is, are we creating a warm environment for our children at our church?

This idea really extends beyond church, to our lives, our neighbors, and our communities we are part of. We are never going to find a place that has warmth if we aren't generating some of it ourselves. I'm so thankful that my parents did that for me and I'm hopeful that I can recreate that for my own children. Maybe someday they will be able to say that they remember their church as a warm place because of the people they met there, the friends we all made and the love we shared for the world.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Girl's Night

I have my girls and our little neighbors from across the street over. We had McDonald's and are now watching the end of High School Musical, although you would think it was Elementary School Musical. The girls know all the songs, and their ages? From 3-9!! And the conversation? All about Troy and Gabrielle.

The truth is, it's a really good movie for kids. There are a few things we have to address, such as lying to our parents, what "detention" is and practical jokes. The general message in the movie, though, is a good one. You should pursue things you love despite what others think of you. It's important for kids to learn that we all need to stop putting so much weight on what others think of us! Of course, this important lesson is at the pinnacle of high school life, where social pressures often dictate what kids choose to do.

Well, off to watch the end of this cute movie with these sweet little girls!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Some sad news...

Today we received a phone call from the pool manager where we swim over the summer. She also purchased a puppy from the same litter as our little Phoebe. She was calling to let us know that her puppy has a genetic condition. He has abnormal kidneys that are unable to process and eliminate toxins. This condition will likely be fatal.

Ever since we brought Phoebe home, I have noticed a few things I think that are strange. First, she drinks tons of water. In fact, she now sits in front of the water dispenser on the freezer door and lifts her paw for ice water. Second, when she has accidents in the kitchen, I've noticed her urine is hardly yellow at all. It looks complete diluted and has little or no odor. Finally, since we've gotten her, she's had three days where she has vomitted all day. The first two days we attributed to her eating dead leaves and mushrooms. The third day, however, it was a frothy, foamy vomit, unlike the previous days. This last day is much like what was described to me in this phone call.

I'm very worried that our little puppy may also have this kidney disorder. I have read that sometimes it's not as severe, and dogs will live quite long with it. I'm not very optimistic, however. We will have to take her next week for a sonogram to see if she does, indeed, have this condition.

If our little puppy isn't going to be around much longer, Em will be the most devastated. She is the reason I even broke down and agreed to another puppy, as she lives and breathes her doggies. We have not told her anything and are waiting until we find out for sure. Please pray with us that our puppy is OK and that if not, Em will be brave enough to handle what we will likely have to do. Phoebe is a sweet puppy, very cuddly, obedient and a great best friend for a little girl.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No More Dirty Dancing!

He's a little less Patrick today!!

Blog Quiz Gone Wild!!

I'm not so sure about this one!?!
You Are Animal

A complete lunatic, you're operating on 100% animal instincts.
You thrive on uncontrolled energy, and you're downright scary.
But you sure can beat a good drum.
"Kill! Kill!"

About that strep throat...

Em's teacher was leaving at noon today for the doctor. She's had a sore throat, not feeling so well, it's a good thing I caught her aid this morning and told her what I came home with last week! Time to purchase some Lysol and Purell for that classroom!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


T created this facebook account for me and when I have a few minutes here or there, I browse through the funny groups. I just joined a group tonight entitled, "I judge you when you use poor grammar" - of course, I won't link them up with my blog! (for shame!)

This picture was in that group - it's so funny! I'm sure there are more!!

I'm Water

At least that's what it says! LOL

Your Element Is Water

A bit of a contradiction, you can seem both lighthearted and serious.
That's because you're good at going with the flow - but you also are deep.

Highly intuitive, you tune in to people's emotions and moods easily.
You are able to tap into deep emotional connections and connect with others.

You prefer a smooth, harmonious life - but you can navigate your way around waves.
You have a knack for getting people to get along and making life a little more peaceful.

My Biggest Fear

Given the recent, as in yesterday, shift in our government from overly republican to overly democrat, what's my biggest fear?? It's not stem cell research, although that weighs heavily on my heart, nor is it gay marriage, because while I'm against gay "marriage", I'm not entirely square on my position where reasoning for it is concerned (health/death benefits). It's not even abortion, although I'm staunchly pro-life and I recognize that a woman's choice is at the top of the Democratic ticket.

What I worry about most in the wake of this shift in power is protecting our country in the war on terror. I'm not convinced that Democrats are willing to step out into the world as a country ready to defend itself. Their outspoken stance on pulling out of Iraq immediately frightens me, and I'm surprised it doesn't frighten more people. I fully support fighting the war on terror in the terrorist's countries and not on American soil - but that just doesn't seem important to some Americans.

I am sooo hoping I am wrong about this, but it worries me. Bringing all our soldiers home, being totally self-absorbed and refusing to admit that our enemy is formidable, just hoping for this chance to pounce on our shores gives me reason to shudder. I'm feeling a bit like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day - Maybe I should move to Australia!!!

What Do You Think?

My sister will kill me, but ever since I posted that picture of my new nephew, I keep thinking he looks like Patrick Swayze! It's a good thing they change so much in the first few weeks!! LOL

doctor woes

I need to head to bed.... so I'll try to make this brief.... then tomorrow I will share my airline travel woes!!

Last week I was feeling rather ill. After spending all Halloween morning at Em's school, I never fully recovered! I had fevers, a terrible sore throat and wasn't eating or sleeping. With a looming trip to Savannah planned for Friday evening, I decided to break down and drag myself to the doctor, something I only do if absolutely necessary. I was pretty sure I had either strep throat or I was dying!

The Columbia Medical Plan nurse practitioner and her John's Hopkins intern both agreed - I had something viral, no antibiotics necessary, it would go away on it's own. But, because I had bothered to stop in, they would do a "rapid" strep test anyway. "Rapid" is a HUGE exaggeration. While just across the way, in pediatrics, they actually have the capability of letting their patients know in 5 minutes if they have strep, the family practice people apparently are unable to acquire this ability. Instead, they send your test over to LabCorp, in the same building, who then sends your test out for the "rapid" strep test. Now, is this not the MOST RIDICULOUS thing you've ever heard of????

So, I left my "rapid" strep test in the hands of those trusty, slow lab workers and headed home with the instruction to call mid-morning for my results, especially since they knew I was leaving at 2 pm for the airport. At 10:50 am I placed a call to my doctor's office and was rudely received by the receptionist. She first informed me that I was not allowed to call for test results, that the office would call me. After I told her I'd been instructed to call by the nurse practitioner because I was traveling, she then proceeded to tell me, "MA'AM, if you had strep throat, you would have gotten a call before 10:50. There's NO WAY in the WORLD you have strep throat!!!" So, I hung up, feverishly packed my bags, my Robitussin, my antihistimines, and my Advil - lots of that - and went off to the airport.

Delta happens to be the carrier for the US Military, so on my flight down to Atlanta were 10 US Army doctors, just returning from Afghanistan. I was having a nice conversation with one who was stationed in Hawaii when I was rudely interrupted by T, who asked me, "Where are you?" LOL - he had just dropped me where I was about 20 minutes earlier. What do you mean, where am I?? Then he said, "The doctor's office just called.... you have strep throat!"

At that point, it didn't matter that I had a fever, or that I could hardly swallow, or even that I was sitting across from an Army doctor, the evil side of me kicked in. "WHAT????" Yup, that's what I said. And the rest, well, sorry if you were on either of my flights, or if I saw you when I stopped at McDonald's to eat so that I could keep my sister's kitchen clean - I mean, she was having a baby! I called that doctor's office and gave them a piece of my 100 degree mind! While the nurse was quite apologetic, the receptionist screamed at me again that my husband had already called to take care of everything - some customer service training in her future perhaps??

Off I went to Savannah, only to listen to my sister complain about how all doctors these days are so quick to prescribe antibiotics.... blah, blah, blah.... I then reminded her that mine wasn't, and that shut her up, because when I got there Friday night these were her exact words: Didn't that doctor know you were coming here to take care of your 2 year old niece while your sister had a baby??? And she still didn't give you antibiotics???? End of conversation, miss probiotics!

Anyway.... after 4 days of antibiotics, I'm finally home. Tired from my flight, but happy to home and healthy instead of sick. This is not the first time I've had a similar problem with my doctor... maybe it should be the last time, though!

Monday, November 06, 2006

And then there were two....

Welcome, baby Brendan Charles!
November 6, 2006
7:39 am
9 lbs. 8 oz.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
21 3/4 inches
Mom is doing much better, much lighter! and baby is doing well. He is the absolute sweetest baby, I mean toddler!!
Big sister, Skyler, is also doing well. Missing her mommy (like my own girls are), but very excited to be a big sister! I'm heading home tomorrow - will miss my little sweeties!! I LOVE being Aunt De!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

After a long day of parties, parades and pumpkins, I am finally taking time to wish you all a Happy Halloween! I know this is one of those "controversial" holidays, but I'm happy to say that we've reclaimed it as a fun, friendly, giving holiday - so pooh to those who ever desired it to be evil!!

This year I had a Queen Amidala and Sleeping Beauty. They were gorgeous, had a blast and Em probably had more fun passing out candy than she did trick-or-treating. That is so typical for her. After she helped me with a second batch of costume laden guests, we closed the door and she turned to me and screamed with glee!! I had to laugh. After our last batch, she ran over to T, hugged him and said, "I'm SO IN LOVE!" There's a little spark of joy each and every time she gives something away - the gift of giving that one has!

I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween as we did. Until next year - "TRICK OR TREAT!"

Monday, October 30, 2006

8,000th visitor!!

I had my 8,000th visitor tonight, the night of mischief!! I had to check and make sure it wasn't my lovely husband - AGAIN!! It wasn't. And the winner is..... my lovely friend from San Marcos!! Woot, woot!! Let's hear it for the Lone Star state!


We were trying to get our pumpkins finished tonight, way behind schedule as usual! As I was cutting out the bat mouth Kt asked for, the doorbell rang. How typical!! 7:30 pm, who would be coming to our door? Em ran to see and came back... it was no one! I looked at Kt and we both said, "GHOSTED!!" She ran back out and found a bag of goodies with the ghost sign and a note.

Each year since we've been here our neighborhood has done Ghosting. This year it freaked Em out because her older sister and a friend convinced her there was a ghost in our basement. They got in a HUGE amount of trouble for this, but Em is still pretty creeped by anything ghostlike. Since she didn't quite understand that a real ghost did not leave this bag of treats for her, we quickly returned the ghosting favor.

So, in the middle of carving pumpkins, we stopped, got all the Halloween candy that was "hidden" in the front coat closet out. We put together two ghost bags of our own, copied the ghost and ghosting directions and the girls quickly "ghosted" two of our neighbors. It was fun for them, and a great alternative to mischief night (a wonderfully fun even from my past!).

I still need to finish those pumpkins!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

If We are the Body....

If you ever want a new perspective on ANYTHING, just ask your 5 year old!! Tonight, Em was telling me how much she missed her "old church", meaning our old building. She says it was wider and she got to sing with her class in front of church. Yup, no singing in front of church in our new building!! Then she told me that someday she wants to go to a "real" church. So, I asked her what a real church is, and she replied, "You know, real churches look like castles!!" She is so fairy tale!

Anyway, I told her that Jesus tell us the church is like a body and it's made up of people, not a building. I explained to her that each believer is like a different part of a body and bodies are made up of working parts that contribute to it's purpose, like hands and feet. Those were my only two examples.

Now, I don't know about you all, but when I think of the body functioning together, I am thinking about arms, legs, hands, feet, a heart. Em starts listing things, beginning with a voice, so others can hear. She moves on to eyes, so they can see the world. Then, they have to have a stomach for all they eat and finally, they must have hair so they look good!! Wow, such a different idea than what I was thinking, but she certainly made me think.

There are so many functions of Christ's body here on earth, and each of them are so vitally important. What seems important to me may not be what others see as important, so I'm glad I listened to her and didn't jump in to correct her. She still wants to sing in front of the church, still wants a building like a castle and really digs the wideness of her old building (I'm still trying to figure that one out!). I never thought of Christ's body having hair, but there are times when I feel like we could represent ourselves to the world in a much better light than we do. As a matter of fact, some Christians are downright embarrassing to the church - they must have big hair or something!!

Ending on that note about how we look, a neighbor sent this to me tonight - it's great!! Check it out!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Bill O'Reilly on Oprah

I'm watching Bill O'Reilly on Oprah - I never watch Oprah. I used to watch her years ago, when her stories were much more light hearted. Nowadays, I haven't liked her show much. It's not something I want my children watching so she's out! But today, I just couldn't resist.

T came down and was watching a bit with me. I've never read any of O'Reilly's books. I stopped watching his show because he's a little rude to his guests. I agree with a lot of what he says, not all of it, but a lot of it. We were impressed with how well-spoken and well read he is. It's no wonder he's so popular and can easily insight left wingers. Talk about a formidable opponent!!

After some reflection: I guess a day of thought is always good! Not to mention an evening of reading other blogs about this show - he he. Someone suggested plants in the audience - I hadn't thought about that, but I could see that possibility. Another thought - I guess if Oprah wants to increase her number of male audience members exponentially, she ought to have Bill on more often!

After all the bickering about SP's and T-fighters (?) was said and done, all the debate about Iraq, the ACLU and gay marriage were done, the bottom line seemed to be this: In America today, there is a lack of understanding of our world. We are filled with misinformation from media and have formed disconnected views on various issues that are inconsistent with what we really and truly believe in our hearts. For as long as we form judgements based on what we are fed instead of the facts, we are putting our country on the verge of mental breakdown! OK - that's the dramatic version...

I've never read any of Mr. O'Reilly's books, but this one, The Culture War, sounds like his most interesting one to date. I might actually have a go at this one. Whether someone is a traditionalist or secular progressive, I think this book might be worth the read, because the point is that unless we learn to get along, nothing will be accomplished in this country. We can sit around an argue about rights and freedoms until we are blue in the face, but what will that do if we can't find a solution? I believe that it is good to debate these issues, but both sides need to listen. I'm pretty sure Bill O'Reilly isn't ready to listen to his opposing side, unless they are well-read, informed of the facts and not media driven. And he's got a point there!

If Oprah airs another segment on Bill O'Reilly, I'd watch it again. It was intriguing and was filled with food for thought. Most of the audience contributers were well-spoken and made for some great debate. I hope she actually invites them back as well!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Moment

I heard a song today in the car that brought back some memories, made me think, I had "a moment"! Last August, I went up to Hartford with my mom and sister-in-law for the Women of Faith conference and we really had a blast! We started our weekend at the Yankee Candle flagship store, had a great lunch then checked into our hotel. The room we ended up with was more like an apartment!! There was a kitchen, living room, dining room, plenty of space in between and two bedrooms with their own bathrooms!! We felt like we'd definitely hit the jackpot!

To top it off, we were one block from the convention center, so we had a short walk over to the conference. Because of this, and the quick dinner we had grabbed, we arrived early. Not knowing what to do, we decided to head down to the floor level where WOF had set up their store. When we got to the end of the escalator, a man in a bright yellow T-shirt came up to me and said, "Do you know who Avalon is??" I said, "Yes, I believe I have one of their albums." He then said, "Would you like to meet them?" My first thought was, "And I didn't bring my camera - not even my camera phone!!"

After a bit of manuevering to get my mom and sister-in-law in as well, we ended up waiting in this little room with some "winners" who had called in to an online radio station (?) for a chance to meet Avalon. I had not called in, but they had extra CD's (free!), and I was early so I "won"! After waiting quite some time, the two men from Avalon showed up, looking a little haggered. One of the women was on maternity leave, the other was almost 8 month pregnant. What she was doing flying up from Nashville to sing is beyond me - I mean, that's dedication!! To make matters worse, they described what their day had been like. At the airport at 4:30 am, only to find out their flight had been cancelled. They had to rebook everything, finally arrived in Hartford at 4:30... then soundchecks, showers, changing.... need I say more??

During the concert that night, they made NOT ONE mention of the hoops they had to jump through to get to that show. I was a little surprised, I mean, if it had been me, I'd be playing the "you all are so lucky we love you so much to have gotten our butts here today!" routine! Nope, not one word. And they sounded amazing, especially considering they were one member short, filled in with one of the WoF worship singers (Jennifer Thigpen). One of the songs they sung was Everything to Me. I loved it when I heard it live, but today, in the car, this whole story came rushing back to me. And the song made more sense to me. And so does Avalon.

Everything to me
He's more than a story
more than words on a page of history
He's the air that I breath
The water I thirst for
And the ground beneath my feet
He's everything,
everything to me
There are a lot more words to the song, but these are the ones that keep flashing through my mind today. "He's more than a story - more than words on a page of history". And it's more than the actual tune, which I also love. Is Jesus everything to me?

Would I travel, almost 8 months pregnant, all day. leaving my little girl back home, to tell a group of women that Jesus is everything to me?

There are a lot of things in my life that are crowding my "everything" right now. Most of them I won't get into, but many of them are just temporal, stress-filled busyness and the truth is that I don't want them to be my everything. I don't want to be about all the stuff in my life. I want my everything to be Jesus, for Him to be what I'm all about. That's kind of hard for me, but it's really what I want.

And looking back over my
life at the end
I'll go to meet you saying you've

I am completely aware, although extremely forgetful, of the fact that life on earth is temporary. There is an end, and what will I say when I meet Him? There was a time, shamefully, when I would have said, "Where's my daddy!??" Not angrily, but I missed my dad so much that I really just wanted to be with him. But for real, I think I do want to be able to say to Him, "You have been everything to me!" I want to say that and mean it, that simple. Not, "You have been everything to me, along with my family, my friends, my volunteering, my work...." I want it to be just that simple - He's everything.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

OK, this one's funny!!

What kind of American English....

Your Linguistic Profile:
40% General American English
30% Yankee
20% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

My Mood

This one was a little strange... that's all I have to say!

Your Mood Ring is Light Purple


A world where ...

When I saw the headline for this article, I totally laughed out loud!! Montana Principal Suspended for Giving Student a Wedgie
I mean, it's funny! Then again, it isn't. There is such a fine line between having fun and going just a little too far. But I give this principal credit. When the school system decided to reprimand him, embarrassed, he considered resigning. I'm sure that wouldn't have helped him professionally, but it's the principle (no pun intended - LOL). Instead, he decided that "I want to live in a world where we don't have to hide when we screw up."

In many ways, I'm a little like this principal. I hate it when I'm wrong and the last thing I want to do is admit it, especially in front of children and parents who look up to me. Even worse is when I feel like the punishment doesn't fit the "crime". I think this principal has taken a bad situation and turned it into a great learning tool for the students and parents, a lesson on life. I like that he has chosen not to claim that he did nothing wrong or even that he is being mistreated or harshly judged. Instead, he's admitting that his embarrassment over a bad circumstance is no reason to hide.

In many ways, this story brings us all back to the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve finally realized that they did something wrong. Their first reaction was to hide, but as they learned and we need to understand daily, we can never hide from God. And His grace is more than sufficient for our screw ups!! In this case, the humility of one will likely prove to be the strongest action in the whole laughable incident.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Am I Logical?

Well, I can't say as I'm very surprised. I love logic, practicality, preciseness.... just not in housekeeping!

You Are Incredibly Logical

Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic
You think rationally, clearly, and quickly.
A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!

My Latin American Country

Since T keeps talking about international travel, I figured I ought to find out where I belong. Here's the answer (I'm sure he won't like the reason!):

You Should Visit Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect place for you to get in touch with your inner beach bum.
Relax on the beach, go for a bit of surfing, or try to communicate with the monkeys in the jungle!

Tag Ban?

I cannot believe a school would ban tag, let alone dodgeball! I'm not even sure what to say about it. It's not like kids HAVE to play tag outside or dodgeball. They've eliminated tag because it's too dangerous... like swinging on monkey bars, jumping rope or playing hopscotch involve no danger whatsover? What will it be next?

Here's the real clincher: dodgeball was eliminated because it was "exclusionary". I guess kids these days should never have to feel like they are "out," instead they can only have games where everyone wins and no one loses. Because really, that's how real life is, correct?

Personally, as a kid at recess I pretty much tried everything. I played kickball, I played on the monkey bars, we did double dutch jumprope, 4 square, tag and hopscotch. I don't ever remember being traumatized by being excluded from a game. In fact, since my parents never signed me up for any competitive sports the ones I played at recess were my only experience with winning and losing games. It was great for me, and it taught me that some kids are better at some things than I was, but that there were other things, like academics, that I was better at. I learned that you can't always be the winner and sometimes, you're the biggest loser. I also learned that accidents happen, and our parents understood this as well. An accident is an accident, and when something is deliberate, then you eliminate the problem, not the entire game!

The more we eliminate from school, the less we will gain. No more birthdays, no more parties, no more tag or dodgeball.... Before you know it, there will be no more art - it's too creative, no more music - bad for their hearing, no more P.E. - too many lawsuits and losers, no more computer lab - bad for their vision, no more math - some kids feel bad when they can't do it, no more reading - it gives kids too many bad ideas and no more teachers - they use too much red ink. You think I'm being silly? Well, who ever thought tag would be banned?


For anyone who doesn't know, FIOS is the new fiber to the premises thing that Verizon is offering. We've been hearing about it for a while and it's finally in our neighborhood - almost!! Circulating around our county are horror stories about the "installation" of these fiber lines and now, well, we can just add to them!

About 6-8 weeks ago, every got a little note on their door from Verizon informing us that they would be digging in our neighborhood. We'd assumed as much as Miss Utility had already tagged our lawns, clearly marking where electric, gas and phone lines were. The little note said they would be coming very soon and that anyone with an electric fence should clearly mark it, which is what all our neighbors did. Then, we waited.... and waited..... and waited..... No one came.

Finally, 3 1/2 weeks ago, after lawns had been mowed, markers removed and spray paint disappeared, at around 7:30 am the trucks rolled in and diggers started digging. Up first, our neighbors electric dog fence. It's a good thing no one got electrocuted! They worked well into the evening, and it was impossible for anyone in our neighborhood to warn them or communicate with them because every last one of them spoke only Spanish!! And the Verizon foreman who dropped them all off here?? Nowhere to be seen!

The ended that one day of digging by running off with my neighbor's phone line cut. On top of it, the operator she called refused to believe it was cut by her own company because the FIOS guys didn't call it in - duh, how can they? They don't speak any English! So she had to wait an entire week before they sent someone out to fix it. The Verizon repair man said obviously it was cut and he spends most of his time following the FIOS guys around!!

Well, for over a week he hadn't seen hide nor hare of these dayworkers, until yesterday. I had hoped they were done, but no. Even after the new electrical, gas and phone line marking were once again erased did they start digging again around to our house. Monday and Tuesday and checked our phone all day long to make sure they hadn't cut the line. I was prepared to run out and tell them, "Mi telefono esta messed up!" I wasn't really sure what I'd say, but I figured they'd have to understand me - LOL. What really happened, though, was just something I wasn't prepared for at all.

While getting ready to go work teaching 3's at a Mother's Day Out program, Em with a fever staying home with T and Kt just gathering things for school, the doorbell rang. I had just made lunches, thankfully, and was pouring milk into my cereal when I hear a man telling T to get everyone dressed quickly, grab all our important belongings and head up the street. The FIOS guys hit a gas line and this time, luckily for us, they reported it! Because we just had our gas line hooked up to our home two years ago, we had to get out immediately and no one in our court was allowed to start their car!

So, up the street we went, Kt with her school gear was able to hop on the bus. There was a huge firetruck blocking our street with cones and several firemen at the end of our court with gas spewing out of this pipe. While we stood up there waiting for BGE to arrive, another ladder truck showed up. This was a two alarm deal! Hmmm.... I was scrambling to get a hold of school to tell them I wouldn't make it on time, Em was in her pajamas with a fever (luckily it was a balmy 70 degrees today!), T, well, he was just standing around. Everyone else was allowed back in their non-gas hook up houses.

After BGE arrived, they finally gave me a minute to run in the house, grab what I needed and start my car. It was slightly nerve wracking, but I wanted out! As I drove away, I was wondering what Em and T would do all day! Luckily, they were allowed back in about 1 hour after the whole thing started. What a mess.

T told me this morning that the fireman explained that the workers were using the wrong tool, a shovel, to dig. Had they been using the correct tool, an air knife, it would not have punctured the gas line. For that error, the man with the shovel get two days off with no pay. That really infuriated me!! Verizon goes and picks up non-English speaking dayworkers, probably with no work papers, sends them into neighborhoods with shovels, tells them to dig and then the "jefes" leave. They hit a gas pipe because they were doing their job in an unmarked area and THEY get two days off without pay?? Seems to me like the "jefe" should be taking a little siesta!! What a joke!

I'd say in this matter, shame on Verizon. I've heard the horror stories, but now I've lived them, on our tiny court with 8 houses. We've had the electric fence ripped up (and when they returned, they dug it up AGAIN!), a phone line cut and not reported and a gas line busted. Will any of us ever get an apology? Doubtful.... and to make matters worse, they are not even done yet!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Facing the Giants

I was scrolling through the headlines in the Washington Post online and the title "God Was their Co-producer" stood out to me. My first thought was, "Co-producer? What kind of crap is that??" Then I read about this film that a church in Georgia felt led to make that made 2 million dollars in it's opening weekend in very tiny venues. I want to see this movie!! It's supposed to be a true to the Gospels high school football story.

It's times like these when I really dislike where I live. I live in this liberal bubble of Washington, where conservative, God and Christian are as dirty as they come. Just let me see this movie - you don't have to go!! I promise!

Why is Bono telling the church about poverty?

Here are some great notes from a speech Tony Campolo gave at Grove City by a favorite student of ours!=-) Thanks, LB!

And the answer to that question: The church is walking around with it's eyes closed spending money on stained glass windows.

It's totally true, and so is everything else she has shared. I encourage you to check it out, and hopefully more....

Monday, October 09, 2006


It's been a while since I blogged. I was going to do something like "A Week in the Life of a 'Stay-at-home Mom'" last week, but I was way too tired! I was so busy last week that I barely had time to breath. This week seems like it's starting out to be completely opposite.

Here is a short list of what I've been up to: tutoring 3x a week, Bible Study - Beth Moore's The Patriarchs, party room mom, Daisy troop leader - if that ever gets off the ground, 4th/5th grade administrative assistant at church - copy, cut and distribute supplies for 240 students each Sunday, and teaching a 3's class for a Mother's Day Out program. On top of that, I have to remember piano lessons on Monday, Brownies every other Wednesday and gymnastics on Thursday. T and I have Bible study small group every other Monday night. It's a lot, but seriously, other people do WAY more than I do, and I just don't see how they manage it all. What if I had more kids?

I came across this wonderful, short article about how unstructured playtime is so valuable to kids and they need more of it. I totally believe this, and while the weather is still nice, I love sending my kids out to play after school. My own kids don't get home until 4 PM, so an hour or two before dinner I think should really be unstructured. I think recess while in school is extremely important, which is why I'm not embarrassed to complain about our school's very shabby and undersized playground. The inner-city school with no library that I student taught in had a playground three times the size of our school's!! It's just unbelievable to me!

Well, enough! I'm off to Curves, then grocery shopping, then cleaning my house because Bible study is here tonight, then tutoring if my student doesn't cancel on me again. For some reason, he's too tired on Mondays to meet, or was it he was too "soar" - yeah, that was the text message I received. On a Monday, when he had three regular classes and a P.E. class. How do you teach an 18 year old that school isn't supposed to be easy and you really have to put some effort into it, even when you are only taking 1/2 a load of classes??? Reminds self - never let my kids go for the easy way out, it's just not worth it! It leads to very bad habits that are nearly impossible to break.