Saturday, April 29, 2006

International Night

After math game night, I was very leery about taking the girls to International Night at Kt's school. The truth is, had I not invited one of Kt's friends to spend the night and her mother not promised to take a friend's child to it, I would not have gone!! This is T's thing and he was a bit annoyed that he had to miss it for a bunch of other commitments he made. To make matters even worse, the mom of Kt's friend ended up not having to go, but didn't tell me until yesterday morning, when both my girls already knew about it and were very excited to go!!

Enough about logistics. We went, and it was fun. It's quite impressive to be at a suburban school with so much diversity. There were parents presenting culture and food from 12 different countries - Sweden, Ukraine, England, Greece, Israel(actually a no show - maybe due to the Sabbath?), Egypt, Turkey, India, Thailand, South Korea, Italy and Japan. All the food that I tried was excellent and the girls really enjoyed getting their passport stickers and collecting their globe bubbles at the end.

One of the interesting things that didn't really hit me until the drive home was just how important religion is in many of these other cultures. You always hear about it and see evidence of it, but in talking to one presenter, I began to see how religion was a way of life, it defined her world and culture and I began to see more clearly how in America, that is rarely the case. In our country, it's all about separation of church and state which also permeates our culture. If I were to present my "culture" at this event last night and even utter the word Christian, there would be a price to pay I'm quite certain!!

Last night, I sensed a desire in many of the presenters to share a pride they had in their roots, in their home countries. I never did ask any of them how and why they ended up here, but you could see the love for their homes all over their faces as they shared. What a wonderful opportunity to make the world look a little bigger for these elementary school students. I'd have to agree with T in saying that it is likely the best event they do at Kt's school. I'm very glad I went!

Thursday, April 27, 2006


The house is very quiet. T took Kt to gymnastics and Em is at her friend's house having a pizza party dinner. I'm home alone - well, with our dog who is sleeping soundly. I SHOULD go for a walk, but once again, I'm not feeling so well. Hopefully, it will pass - achy, nauseous, and no, I'm not pregnant (haha!).

I hardly know what to do with myself right now. I could start with all that laundry, or even clean up the kids toys a bit. I could grab a bite to eat - something light - or even clean a couple of our bathrooms. Instead, I'm sitting here, enjoying some peace and quiet and blogging! It's nice, but I'm feeling utterly unproductive!!

In Bible study this morning, the question arose about God's compassion for us and have we noticed Him being compassionate in any specific ways toward us. It was a hard question, because I happen to think God has compassion on us constantly!! He puts up with a lot, and most of the time, we don't even bother to recognize it. His compassion for us could be stamped on both our hands and we would think it was a freckle (I only say that because I am covered with them!). Shame on us.

As an example of this compassion, there was a reference to Exodus (34:1-7) when Moses had to return to get the second tablets with God's law.

1And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.

2And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.

3And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.

4And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.

5And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

6And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

I think we were supposed to focus on the last couple of verses, describing the character of God by God Himself, but I thought the example given before it struck me, because never before had I read it in search of a glimpse of compassion. When have I, as a parent, invested blood, sweat and tears into something for one of my children that, at the first sign of anything gone awry they recklessly destroyed in anger? I'm not thinking of anything off the top of my head at the moment - I have two girls, 5 and 8 years, so it may be coming! - but if that were to happen, would I just say to her, "OK. Just go get me some more of that broken stuff and let's do this again." Um, no. And I refuse to fess up to the picture that pops into my head of what this situation might look like. I actually think God gives an example here of what He then claims about Himself, "merciful and gracious" and what my Bible says, "slow to anger." I can't think of anyone who would have more reason to be angry with mankind than God.

So, in my few moments of quiet tonight, I'm going to take the time to thank God, who compassionately loves me for reasons I cannot comprehend, for being so unbelievably generous with me despite my failure to ever recognize it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I checked my Bloglines today and noticed that a bunch of pictures were loaded up on the Cameroon Adventure blog. It was fun checking them out and thinking that that's where T will be this summer. Doesn't look so bad!! (haha) Wow - Santa even goes to Cameroon! Truthfully, the pictures are fun, amazing and represent life somewhere else that really doesn't seem so different, until you get there.

I am very excited about this trip and secretly, I think I wish I was going along. I would love to take Kt there, but I know it's just not the right time for Em to go. There is still alot of planning to go into this trip, so please remember to pray if you get a chance that God will guide the planners, prepare the hearts of those going and those receiving and that His glory is visible in every step of the preparation, travel and trip. Pray, also, the for the thousands of families who very bravely choose to live outside the US in His name.

Joy for the Journey

I have a few minutes so I thought I would give a brief synopsis of the women's retreat I went on this past weekend. Our pastor's wife and the wife of a Search Ministries church member were our speakers. They did a wonderful job!

Friday night, we talked about the needs of women (and people, but mostly for women!) and how those needs are "met" by the world and by God. The needs were Security(being loved and accepted), Significance (identity/worth) and Satisfaction (competence/fulfillment). The world tell us to find our security in people, significance in possessions and satisfaction in position. God provides for us Security in the father as He adopted us, Significance in His Son, as we are co-heirs with him and are priceless and Satisfaction in the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Spirit. It's all about service to others.

Probably my favorite quote from that evening was from Albert Sweitzer, who said, "If you own something that you cannot give away, you don't own it, it owns you!"

The basic idea was that where you fall on that chart, under God or the world, determines how joyful or joyless you are in life. Our small group discussion was great - talking about joy robbers in our life and sources of joy. We also spent some time talking about how self-absorption can rob us of the opportunity to find joy in serving others, something our pastor has touched on recently.

The Saturday sessions focused on Forgiveness as being a key to unlock joy in our lives - forgiving God for things we blame on Him, forgiving ourselves for things we regret and forgiving others of things they have committed against us. The idea here - we, and we alone, hold the key to our own joy. It's a choice for us and we cannot expect someone else to be responsible for our joylessness. Our pastor's wife shared a devastating situation where her loss was a result of someone else's wrongful decision. A friend of hers gave her a plaque that read, "God is too good to be unkind and too wise to make mistakes."

Later that night, the session was on the freedom found in joy, and finding joy in relationships and circumstances. Two ideas from this session: 1) we do not have the key to someone else's joy, we can only be responsible to people, not for people, and 2) at any point in life our two options are a) An attitude of gratitude, and posture of grace and a commitment to joy OR b) gloom. If we view our situations as tools that God uses to strip us of our trust in ourselves and to turn our trust towards Him, we will see our circumstance from His perspective.

That evening, in our small group session, we read James 1:2 about when various trials come your way. I have read this verse so many times, but one woman there had brought The New Living Bible and her verse read like this: "Whenever troubles come your way, let it be an opportunity for joy." I think that stopped us dead in our tracks - just a new way to think about that verse. The other tool we talked about was SWAP - or Stop Worrying and Pray. My friend preferred to call it SWAPS - stop worrying and pray stupid! We had a little laugh about that one.

Our final day, we focused on where our focus should be in order to attain this joy that we all desire. The first focus was Philippians 4:8 - Three Pale Wasps (I'm not sure this was all that useful to me, I prefer to recall this verse with the Steve Green Hide 'em In Your Heart song!). We should focus on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, admirable, lovely, excellent, and worthy of praise. The second focus is heaven, which gives us new perspectives on money and aging! Lastly, our focus needs to be on People Who Need the Lord. The eternal condition of other people is more important that..... fill in the blank.

It really was a great weekend. I think the session on forgiveness really hit home for me more than any other. Forgiveness is a huge issue for me because I don't know that I ever really learned how to do it or accept it. I think it takes a great amount of humility to ask for forgiveness and I don't think we see enough of it these days. I do think that it is key to experiencing joy. It is also not easy!!

Wishing you all a large dose of joy for your day!

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Short and Skinny...

I am short, far from skinny, but I'm really talking about today! I know I said I was saving all my afternoons for me... We went to the farm today, which was an absolutely perfect day. I'll give it a 9, would have been a 10 if there was a beach in the vacinity and I was there! The farm was fun. Then, my preschool mom friend from previous posts asked me to come over to her house this afternoon to help her plan her Disney trip. They leave Sunday. Against my better judgement, I went. So... no grocery store or laundry or housecleaning! Between 9 am and 10 pm today, I was in my house for 3 1/2 hours. And now, I need to go to bed. As I've been saying, I'll post more on my day later! (Later is becoming later, and later and farther away!)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I'm Back!!

I am finally home! And much to my surprise, I did have fun this weekend. Of course, anytime an introvert (like myself!) has to spend almost 60 hours with 300 other women, it can be terribly exhausting. I feel a little bit like I just ran a marathon, although I've never done that so I'm not really sure if this is how I would feel. I am tired, my body aches and I just want to sleep in my own bed!

Unfortunately, I have a full week ahead. Tomorrow - field trip to the farm, Tuesday - childcare for Connections, Wednesday - tutoring at Kt's school, Thurs - Bible Study and Friday T is staying home and wants to go look at more economical cars. I am purposely not committing to anything in the afternoons because my house is a disaster area, I have not been to the grocery store in three weeks, I have laundry coming out of my ears - again! and I just need some time without anything. Swamped is just the tip of the iceberg for me.

Our weekend was entitled "Joy for the Journey" and it was really awesome. I will write more about it later (I know I've said this several times about several things) and will be trying to apply some of what I've learned this week. Hopefully, it will work because with a week like this, I imagine the joy could easily be sucked right out of me!

Before I forget, someone tagged me again (I think? can't remember!). I'm supposed to tell six weird things about me. I believe I already did this in another post, but only five things. So, I'm going to look for that post and here is my sixth thing to add:

6. I have blonde hair and brown eyes. In Jr. High, during a Social Studies unit on the Colonial Period, another student reported that a characteristic of witches during that time period was that some had blonde hair with brown eyes instead of blue. Needless to say, that one followed me for a long time!! Don't worry, though, because I haven't cast a single spell (that actually worked!)!!

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Peanut Fever

This morning I got an email from the children's ministry assistant at our church. I volunteered yesterday from their lengthy list of needs to provide 6 dozen peanut butter cookies for a Volunteer Brunch they are putting together in May. I have to admit, in this peanut allergy ruled world, I was a little surprised to see that on their list, but I was also relieved! I mean, a brunch for adults who would know better what not to eat should be safe, correct??

I am not complaining about the whole "peanut free" policy that a lot of schools are adopting. I think if my children had a possibly fatal peanut allergy I'd feel more at peace were they to be at a peanut free school. The reality is, however, that the more we shelter kids from things like this the less educated they are about making safe decisions. I never send peanut products in my children's lunch boxes (our school is not peanut free - YET) because they have friends who have peanut allergies. They sit next to each other and I've chosen not to be the culprit in any fatal reaction other children might have. I have taught my own daughter to be aware of foods with peanuts and not to offer them to her friends that she knows are allergic. I carefully choose any special treats I send in with this in mind, as well.

Where I draw the line, however, is where parents take this "peanut free" stuff to the extreme. Absolutely NO FOOD WHATSOEVER, anywhere, anyplace because they cannot control it. That kind of restriction is something I see as unhealthy for everyone. Slowly, it seems that we are becoming more and more governed by a few anxiety ridden parents, and the "peanut free" push is being exhibited in other forms, disguised so these parents and children do not feel like the "bad guys" all the time.

My mom, who is a second grade teacher, thought she had forgotten to have her parents sign up for the Spring Party they have every year. Instead, she found an old memo sent out by the PTA stating that they made a decision that the children at their school are too overweight and that there should not be any more parties. WHAT??? One party every couple of months is causing a weight problem??? How about sitting at a desk for hours on end? Doesn't that have negative effects on the weight of children? Or what about the junk parents send in lunches? Are we going to dictate what you can send in your child's lunchbox based on caloric intake? This kind of insanity must end! Let's not hide behind lame excuses - just admit that there are a few parents who fear for the life of their children where peanuts are concerned. And rightly so!

My sister-in-law had a friend growing up who was allergic to peanuts. I'm sure we all did, and never growing up did I ever hear of a peanut free school! Her friend went off to college and ate a brownie that had walnuts on top of it. She remembered to scrape all the nuts off the top but did not think about the oil left behind. Unfortunately, she did not make it to the hospital in time and did not have an epi-pen with her - something she was never taught to do anyway. Her life was snuffed by lack of judgement and being faced with decisions that were previously only made by mom. I don't think it's necessary to scare kids out of their wits, but I think some education on the fatal effects of certain allergies AND some lifestyle training for kids with these allergies is a great idea!

Here's an excerpt from the latest PTA Newsletter from my daughter's school. The PTA president had this to say:

Current studies indicate that by 2010 nearly half the children in North and South American will be overweight... I can obviously monitor what they eat at home, but what happens when they are at school? They are offered birthday snacks, candy, and pizza in addition to the lunches they bring from home or purchase at school.... Parents of children with food allergies also have concerns.... The students who suffer from food allergies are often unable to eat the treats that are offered to them. As a result, these students may feel left out when others bring in food to share that they cannot eat.... When your child has a birthday, consider sending in a present for the classroom in lieu of cupcakes, cookies, and goody bags filled with candy.
This is only a small portion of her letter, but I think you get the point. No more parties - that's the bottom line. The "no fun, no party" atmosphere is taking over everywhere in schools. It's an epidemic. And it all centers around peanut allergies.

I don't know that anyone has ever noticed, but kids have all kinds of allergies. My daughter is allergic to mold, mildew, dust, pollen, animals... Other children have diabetes, are hypoglycemic, latex allergies. Should we instate a no animal field trips, no vaccuuming or cleaning, no flowers or balloons in the building, no outdoor activities in fall and spring policy at the school? Will this effect the science curriculum? I don't know. I would assume so. Instead, we just teach our children what to avoid, how to live with their condition and life goes on.

My daughter, who has some serious asthma, was permitted by me "with caution" to participate in a program by the fire department where they filled a room with smoke and taught the children what to do and how to get out. I recognized there was some risk to her, that she would likely need her inhaler. However, I also felt it was important that she learn what to do should she ever find herself in that situation. A fire starts whether you have asthma or not, so why not find out what that feels like and what to do. Peanuts will be everywhere in the world - no one is going to stop growing, baking with or serving peanuts because your child is allergic to them. It's just unrealistic to think that you can change the world based on your child's needs. It's not going to happen.

So, the email I got today said something like this: We have decided not to offer any peanut-based products. Is there another kind of cookie you can make? My answer: Well, not really. I only make peanut butter and chocolate chip, which they don't need. But thanks for feeding the blog story that's been rolling around in my head for months. It's the perfect time to pound it out, while I'm wondering why adults can't figure out what they can and cannot eat at an adult volunteer brunch...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Melting Pot

So, I took my mom to the Melting Pot tonight - a great fondue place. It's a little pricey, but fun! The food was excellent, it was a nice evening out for us both. Today would have been my parent's 38th wedding anniversary, so it was nice to recognize that with her.

I was a bit annoyed, however, with the Melting Pot tonight. My mom had gotten a little card the last time she visited for a free chocolate fondue. The card read that you could get dessert with a "combination meal or dinner for two." That's exactly how it reads - nothing in capital letters suggesting there might be something by this title on the menu. We ordered cheese fondue, salad, chicken for each of us and then asked for that dessert. No - our waiter said it was only included is you choose the "Big Night Out" or "Signature Dinner for Two" on the menu. Now, that annoyed me. If that's what it means, then that is what it should say - am I wrong??

To me, this has scam written all over it! The card was given out as a Thank You for dining on an evening when The Melting Pot was having a fund raiser for St. Jude. A portion of each bill went to St. Jude's and patron's for that evening were each given a card. I believe this whole thing was a bit misleading, but whatever!! We skipped dessert and I think I'll pass on The Melting Pot for a while. Just left a bad taste in my mouth!

Tomorrow I'm off for this women's retreat. My bad attitude has not been curbed in any way. I think I'm just tired from all this traveling, doctor appointments, being sick... I need some time at home but instead I'm heading off again. I am so looking forward to next week - so far, it's looking nice and boring... Oh, except for the last farm field trip (yeah!) on Monday, babysitting for Connections on Tuesday morning (how did I get roped into that??), and whatever else someone convinces me to do! Does it ever end...??

I also have to send my mom home on the train tomorrow. I hate doing that. I really do wish that she lived here, but she dislikes it here as much as I do. That is a pipe dream! And T has to work this weekend - making it even more of a pain that I am going away. Not only is it costing me $200 for this retreat plus gas money, we have to pay a babysitter to do something I should be home to do! UGH! It's no wonder I haven't been on a retreat in 10 years. Everyone is in a bad mood about it!

I guess I need to go to bed!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Yes, I am finally back from my blogcation!! Savannah was fun, other than Em and T getting sick with a fever and cold. We fit in some beach time, some Sky time and lots of visiting. I didn't do nearly enough Savannah shopping, but plenty of outlet shopping along the route. I am a bit on the tired side.

Tomorrow I spend a day with my mom. It would have been her 38th wedding anniversary, so we are heading to the Melting Pot tomorrow evening to commemorate this important day! Of course, after we spend all morning at the mall! hehe Then on Friday, I send her home and head off to the women's retreat. I am actually wishing that I was not going on this - next year, I will be more careful about saying yes to something before checking on the dates!! I usually never make plans during one of my mom's vacations. I need a small attitude adjustment before I head out on this very expensive weekend!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. I will try to post some pictures and write a bit more. It's always an adventure spending time with my sister - she and I are so different! Her little sweetie is so adorable. So many stories about her....

Thursday, April 13, 2006


If this service should ever go out of business, I will not be one bit surprised! My mom's train is close to 3 hours late!!! She'd be an hour away if she'd driven, instead she is still sitting in the train station in Bridgeport. Waiting.

Of course, this means that instead of leaving MD around 9:30 as planned, we'll be pulling out of BWI around midnight. Not happy campers around here! It will take us 3-4 hours to get to our hotel. All this to avoid getting up and leaving at 5 am. I liked plan A better. I even said last night before we made those hotel reservations, "But what if the train is late?"

I'm already whooped from packing all day. I packed for me, the girls, the crib we are taking down, all the Easter stuff, the snack food, got gas.... of course, it's a thankless job. Everyone is stomping around whining! The house is still a mess. T told me last night that there is a meeting here Monday night after he gets home from the airport. Why here, you ask? Don't know, but they are going to have to live with the mess! No one bothered to clean it up while alone here for 5 days and the girls have been busy outside all day. Some people think that slavery was abolished, but I think it's still alive and well in this house!

This will be an adventure. Easter in Savannah. The car ride in itself will be something to talk about. I hope everyone has an awesome Easter. I will try to post but with dial up, well, I'm not sure how much I'll be allowed to be on!

UPDATE: Back to original plan. Picking up my mom sometime around MIDNIGHT, no thanks to Amtrak!, then leaving around 5 am. I better go get some sleep!

A Little Fun, A Lot of Work!

We are starting our day with a trip to the Pottery Stop - actually, that's not what it's called, but right now I cannot remember what it is called! I'll tell you later! Oh, wait, it's the Studio at Fulton! Wow, I feel old all of a sudden! Anyway, our friend who owns the place has a job for me and the girls are tagging along for fun. After that, we may pick up a few more things for our trip. Then it's home to pack. That's where the work comes in.

We also need to clean up a bit here, as T is planning to have a meeting here the night he returns from Savannah. And here I was, thinking I could just leave the house anyway I wanted!!

Our plan is to pick up my mom tonight and then head south, arriving somewhere in NC for a quick respit, then back in the car in the morning. This way we can stop along the way for some, you guessed it, shopping! Yeah! This is my last day with high speed internet for a week - not sure how I will survive without it. I've done it before, though, so I'm sure I can do it again. *cough, cough* Will be looking for that Panera somewhere on Abercorn!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My Nothing Day!

Well, I did very little today - I guess that's not so bad considering all the days before and after today are filled to the max with stuff!

In the middle of the day, while I was working on some calligraphy, T finished up a call and started laughing. It was the laugh he does when he's just waiting for someone to ask, "What's so funny?" I don't usually fall for that one... Anyway, after he finally found me, he pointed me to this joke. Funny one, Jeremy!

Now, bath for girls, then some hot chocolate! Then bed! Yeah! Maybe I'll get something done later...

A Post About Nothing

I really have nothing much to write. I'm home, getting ready to go on another trip. This time to Savannah for Easter with my sister and her family. We still aren't sure if we are going to pick up my mom at BWI tomorrow evening and leave from there, or bring her here, get up at 5am and drive... Still up in the air. That's kind of the way we do things here...

Today was supposed to be my nice, quiet day alone. T decided to work from home so we could take the car in to get the tire changed. So, my whole day changed and now I just cannot decide what to do. I haven't even taken a shower yet - yuck - because in my originally scheduled day it was Curves, then shower, then accomplish everything. Now, I'm stuck. Lots to do but so interrupted I can't seem to get anything done. That's why I'm blogging!

Am I ever going to have a whole day alone in my house? I'm not really sure... It just doesn't seem to be in the cards for me. Tonight, T will pick up the girls and I'll be having to entertain them, follow them around cleaning up after them all while I pack the car for this trip. Never a quiet moment in this house!

Well, off to try to do something!?!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Safe and Sound!

We made it back, the girls and I. Sometimes I think it's actually easier to travel during times when you would least expect it. Last Friday afternoon, we made it in record time. Today, a Tuesday morning/afternoon, the traffic was terrible! There's nothing more insulting that rolling out of the Delaware Memorial Bridge toll in traffic, looking up at the message board for any hint of why you've just spent the last 30 minutes going 2 miles and reading "Check Your Speed"! Need I say more?

We are happy to be home, but I need to go pack the girls up and drive them down to T at work for a night with granny and grandpa. They are both so tired I don't think they want to go - so sad! I'm sure once they get there they will be happy, but right now they are both beat. As a matter of fact, so am I!

The girls had a long discussion in the car about Jesus after Em finally figured out that Jesus actually live on Earth. It's funny the things that completely slip by them. Kt mentioned that Good Friday was when Jesus died on the cross, Easter was when he was resurrected from the dead and it just hit her - he actually lived on earth! Kind of funny. It was a great conversation until all that traffic! Sometimes I wonder what is going on in their heads.

Well, off to pack and plan something fun tonight for T and I. Dinner somewhere, then relax probably. Tomorrow I have a day to myself - that is a rare thing. I have a list that is rather lengthy of things I'd like to do. We'll just have to put them all on a wheel and give it a spin because I MIGHT get one or two of them done!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Home Sweet Home!

We made it, the girls and I, up to Connecticut yesterday. It's cold, rainy and comfy cozy!! After going to the Circle Diner last night for dinner, we settled in last night just hanging out with Mom, doing a puzzle and watching TV. Just like home! Haha!

Today we all slept in, then got up and had blueberry muffins. Yum! We actually buy these blueberry muffins from Kroeger whenever we are down south. It was my mom's last box, but since we are leaving Friday for Savannah, we decided to go ahead and finish them up. We'll stock up next time! Bakery Style - the best!

We went to the Ice Age 2 today - it was awesome! One of the best sequel movies I've seen. I could easily see them continuing this story!! The girls loved it. Em said the water was a little scary, Kt couldn't even get the words out to tell us what she liked the best. Apparently, she liked it all! We will definitely buy this one - go see it if you can!

For dinner we went to a place I've been craving for a while. I used to go all the time when I was a teenager, but in Connecticut there's a pizza place on every block! This one, Brick Oven pizza, is by far my favorite. Tonight was no exception. It was fun to go back to an old favorite and the girls really enjoyed seeing them make the pizzas and cook by an open fire in a brick oven - what a treat!

A funny thing happened at the movie. Connecticut has entered a phase of "trekkiness" with these wireless phone gadgets - hands free. My brother and his wife got them a couple months ago, and my mom is always talking about how dorky they look. She's right! Connecticut passed a hands-free driving law (HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS FOR EVERY STATE!) and wireless phone makers are taking this one by the reigns and making it work for them. All these people with these funky ear things every shade of every color imaginable! What you don't see in the outdoors was glaringly apparent in the movie theater - they blink!! It was annoying, hysterical, infuriating and hilarious! Well, the man sitting next to me only agreed with the first and third of my assessments, and actually asked a man sitting in front of my mom to remove his. I thought we were going to have a showdown right there in Ice Age 2, in front of all those little kiddies!

Really, Connectikittens, they are just downright geeky! If you think you look cool wearing them, think again! Behind the wheel, OK, out in public, eyesore! I feel like I've landed on another planet with all these droids walking around with these contraptions on their ears - flashing no less! HELP!

Anyway, back to reality. The girls are playing happily in a tub of water - claw foot, to be exact, in this century old home. We are looking forward to shopping, eating out and hanging out for the next couple of days - all the things my mom doesn't like to do alone! Happy Palm Sunday tomorrow!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Baptists Gone Bad!

I'm sorry, but this just gets me! What are these people thinking??? I'm almost speechless! I'm ashamed to say that I grew up Baptist after reading stories like this.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Math Night"

I just got back from a "Math Game Night" at Kt's school. It was insane!! Disorganized, not enough games for the number of kids who showed up, teacher's who had to stay all night (I hope they paid them!) and were trying to scream out instructions over all the pandemonium.... I wish I had thought enough to take some Advil before I ventured over there!

Now, when they sent the notes home, the one thing they failed to mention was that this was actually a sales ploy! They had 1/4 of the gym set up to sell all the games the kids were playing and the rest of the gym had the sample games. People were buying up these completely overpriced games like crazy!! I have no idea how this was all organized or how they got the teachers to stay but I was a little turned off by the whole thing. Next year, I'll let T go!!

Depression Compounded by Culture

This morning my small women's Bible study came here for our Beth Moore study. This weeks lesson was on goodness, and I don't remember hearing this particular tape last year. She had some wonderful points in her session, but the things that stood out to me most were the ideas that the increasing incidence of depression in our generation seems to be a direct result of our self-absorbed culture and that the practice of goodness, or acts of benevolence, can counteract that spiral into depression. It made a lot of sense to me.

T and I have had many conversations about how these days it seems like every woman I know has at some point either needed antidepressants or considered asking for them. Depression seems to plague our generation and I'm afraid we are passing it along to our children in record breaking numbers!! Why is this? Did depression exist like this when we were growing up? According to my mother it did not. But consider these things. When I was growing up, moms stayed home. I know about three moms in my neighborhood with kids in school who stay home. And of those moms who stay home, their days are filled with activity!! Going to the gym, taking kids to gymnastics, the library, ballet, out to lunch, the zoo, etc. It's rare that we are all home on the same day at the same time. When I was growing up, it just wasn't like that! Moms could call the other moms during the day, have real conversations with them, lay out in the sun together while we all ran around in the sprinklers, or had tea parties or just played together! Some like Utopia, but I guess not to our generation of moms!

Consider this: one point that Beth made was that we live in a generation of wealth, prosperity, where everyone has their own stuff. We grew up in a generation of sharing - bedrooms, clothes, toys, and any new things were age appropriate. Do we teach our children to give and share or do they have to have their own stuff, do we perpetuate the "mine" generation? This Christmas, T and I had to decide what to give the girls for birthdays, Christmas and also from his parents. We tried something new, mostly because I remembered as a child getting gifts that were for all the kids. We bought them the Leapfrog Explorer's Globe, and they LOVE to play it together. It's a challenge and a reminder to me to be deliberate about making my girls share things. They don't always need their own.

Our generation is relationally challenged, probably by the advent of cable TV and the internet. We feel "connected" to the world by these things, but it does not require anything from us. We are not "pouring ourselves out" for anything or anyone, and that's what God had intended for us. He blessed us with all His good creation so that we could glorify Him with it. Are we answering that call?

The last point that struck me from Beth's lesson was that recovery, while it is necessary, is not an end. It should be the beginning of our outpouring of ourselves. In AA, once you have made it through the program they require you to invest in someone else's recovery. It is this act of goodness that brings us out of our self-absorption. If you don't believe it, maybe you should try it!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What Will They Think of Next?

It just drives the world crazy, trying to come up with explanations for Jesus' miracles. Does it baffle them? Do they want to come up as many reasons as possible not to have to admit that He is God? That walking on water was easy for Him?

I would love to see an average, normal person "walk on pieces of ice" out to a boat - like that wouldn't be extraordinary in itself??

Better Day

Other than busting my thumb this morning, it's been a bit of a better day. I have avoided most contact with all scary people to avoid having a stroke! It is bitterly cold and windy out for April. That is not good. But very sunny - that is wonderful! I want to wear tank tops and shorts, not sweaters and jeans!!!

This was my last picture from Friday's walk. I didn't find any pink cherry blossom trees to take pictures of - they are so beautiful, though! After the storms Monday night and the wind yesterday and today, I don't know what will be left!!

Now, all that's left is every shade of green imaginable - life again!! I love Spring!

Random Fact about Today

Well, it's already passed, but here's an interesting tidbit:

On Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be: 01:02:03 04/05/06

that won't happen again for a thousand years...

Where were you? I was on the computer, didn't even notice... but how cool is that??

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blogosphere Lounge?

Here's a fun article about blogging teachers - and I thought I would have to make my blog disappear if I decided to become a teacher! (Well, OK, maybe that would be a good idea, especially after the post before this one! oops!)

Personality Issues

I'm being confronted with some serious personality issues today. It's making for a very frustrating, annoying and upsetting day for me. I am impatient, controlling, judgmental, ungrateful, and many other terrible things. Wouldn't you like to meet me?? I could go on, but I'd hate to fess up to how I really feel today!

(maybe it's that amoxicillin? doubtful!)

A Walk Through Spring

Before my last Friday was interrupted with a fun surprise, I was out walking enjoying beautiful weather and the first sights of spring in my neighborhood. As promised, here's a peak into what I saw... a camera phone tour! I was listening to a few of my favorite songs, including Indescribable by Chris Tomlin. I love listening to that song in the morning, when I need a small reminder of the vastness of God's creation - it's not just what I see, what's right in front of me, it's so much larger than that!

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and
You know them by name.

You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,

Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and
You know them by name

You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,

Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim

You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

I really enjoyed my walk, even though there is evidence everywhere of the source of my sinus infection! Soon after this song, I was interrupted by Christina Aguilera's Come on Over. Reminder to self: reload my MP3 music, take off T's junk... He's the worst offender - never reloading my music when he borrows my MP3!! And that is my only condition!

My Father Would Be Proud!

I'm sure you would never think this what it is! Em has decided that she LOVES chocolate milk!! This happens to be one of the loves of my father. My girls have a limited list of things they enjoy drinking. Kt drank only milk for years and because of this, I was hesistant to introduce flavored milk. When she was very young, guess who did that for me? Today, she likes only water and an occasional chocolate milk.

Em has been a bit more varied about what she will drink, which made our Disney trips much more bearable. She will drink water, orange juice (her father's fetish) and occasionally milk or another type of juice. She has never liked flavored milk of any kind. A few months ago her sister finally convinced her that chocolate milkshakes (at Friendly's) were not so terrible. This past weekend, she asked for a chocolate milk to try, yesterday she made me buy chocolate milk at the grocery store and by today it is half gone!! Of course, this will be a treat, not a regular item in our refrigerator!

As for soda pop, neither of my children like it. I've always found this quite odd, as we used to love it when I was growing up! I remember one time when having ice cream at a restaurant, Kt, at the age of 3, grabbed for my Sprite thinking it was her water. After taking a sip, with a mouth full of ice cream, she instantly put on that yucky face, mouth wide open with foaming ice cream just pouring out of it. It was a site for sore eyes!!! But for the mess we had to clean up, we were in stitches. That child hasn't touched soda since and her little sister has followed in her footsteps.

As for my dad, he would have happily indulged in some good chocolate milk with his girls. He might have even added some chocolate dunked Entenmann's donuts! After their little chocolate picnic, I'm quite certain he would have passed those sugared up children back to me or their father - until they were ready to cuddle up to him and watch some TV. Ah, so predictable, each of them. Yes, he would have been very proud and excited about Em's newfound love!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Springtime Blues!

Well, just as I suspected, I have another sinus/upper respiratory infection. More amoxicillin. Hopefully, this constant headache that I've had for a week will finally dissipate! I still love spring, though!! Yeah, spring!!

Severe Weather??

All day I keep hearing about these severe storms coming our way. I thought they were on their way when I was heading out to my dr appointment, in some pretty windy rain. But no, when I came home the sun was just starting to peak out of those clouds. Now, it's beautiful, warm, sunny and only 6 PM. So, I checked to find out what is up. Severe storms from 6:45 - 7:30. Hmmm... I see sun!! This will be interesting!

Sadly, if these storms do come, all those cherry blossoms will become a carpet of white mush!

UPDATE: "big storms" = no class! Actually, I skipped my class party due to weather predictions: big winds, tornadoes, hail, tornadoes, heavy rain, gusty winds, tornadoes.... and partly due to my new sinus/upper respiratory infection. Fortunately, no big storms. At least no bigger than we've seen before. A big to-do about nothing, but that's OK with me! Just typical DC weather overprediction!

Carnival and Cameroon

When I was a child, we frequently attended the Assumption Fair, a small annual carnival in the parking lot of the Assumption Catholic Church. We looked forward to this yearly event and "anyone who was anyone" attended. I warmly recall the combined aromas of pizza, hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy, the wonderful black velvet poster prizes, and most of all the cages!! We loved that ride. Lock yourself in this metal cage, put on the unraveling cloth seatbelt and you are on your way - upside down, spinning around and around all the while trying to avoid the vomit that is spraying all around you from everyone else who is getting sick on this ride.... OK - enough... You get the picture!!

We never missed a fair that I can recall and our parents even let us walk there with our friends. It was an absolute must for anyone growing up in our part of town. More than the rides and the games, though, were the friends we hung out with there. That made it all the more fun!

Even with my fond memories of that carnival, I still shudder every time I drive by one. Just today, on my way home from Curves, I saw the one they set up down the way from us. We have never taken the girls there because those rides look so unsafe to me. Not to mention the money it costs to go on them! It's highway robbery!! All that junk food! Now, I'm wondering why my parents let us go!

I guess there is a point as a parent where you have to decide to let your children go. Maybe it's just to a Carnival, or maybe it's to someplace like Cameroon. Our every instinct tells us it's not safe, it may not even be healthy but it might be fun, they might learn something about life, about friends, about culture. We use our best judgment, we gather advice from friends, seek wise counsel. In the end, sometimes we just have to trust that it's all in God's hands - whatever the outcome.

It's a big decision for a parent, and I'm not going to make a judgment of a parent based on whether or not they allow their child to go to Africa, because the truth is I have no idea what I would decide for my children either. I'd like to say that I would gladly let them go knowing it would be an incredible experience for them. Then, I look at the Carnival and think, "What? Am I crazy???"

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Em's Version of the Metro Rules

Yesterday, we went to the Verizon Center to see the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey circus. It was great fun, especially remembering all my trips to the circus when I was younger. It's a little different these days. After the circus we had a quick dinner at the Spy Museum Cafe, then headed home on the Metro. Em was cracking us up the whole time - especially when she "read" the sign about what NOT to do on the metro. It all started when she began to mimic the "Doors are closing" announcement and noticed the sign saying "No Bike in Center Doors." She announced to us that she saw someone with a bike on the metro, so we explained it was OK, just not in the middle door. This sign then caught her eye, and she proceeded to tell us:
"And don't stand holding the doors open, don't 100 people try to get on at the same time and don't lean on the sides while reading a book."

We were in hysterics at this point, partly due to our exhaustion. When the train came out of the underground and we saw the jet streams in the sunset, she excitedly yelled, "Shooting stars!!" By this time, she had everyone laughing. I think we might have a future circus clown on our hands!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Nothing Like Good Financial Planning

My father, while he didn't have much, meticulously planned his retirement or early death. His family had an unfortunate history of early death. That was not his first choice (who's is it?) but he planned for it just the same. The result? My mom is well taken care of. She is not living in the lap of luxury, so to speak, but he arranged his retirement in such a way the she benefits from it in his death as they would have had he been alive. That plus insurance money and she becomes no burden to us - that's why we (all three of her children) get to fight over who gets to have her!! Of course, we'd fight over her no matter what!

You can pray for her good friend, though, whose husband, after years of illness passed away a couple weeks ago. He did not leave a will, he did not adjust his retirement to benefit her, I do not think he had a life insurance policy... She cannot afford the $10,000 in property tax and will have to sell her house, she will have to rely on her own retirement from her few years of teaching, she was basically left with nothing.

One of the greatest gifts you can leave your children is to plan for yourself!! I can honestly tell you that I am so thankful that my dad planned the way he did, saved the way he did and raised us the way he did. We didn't have cable TV until I went to college, we ate generic brand food (my dad did ALL the grocery shopping, went to three different stores each week using the specials he found in all the circulars), our big night out for dinner was McDonald's - and we shared french fries, when I worked three jobs each summer to help pay my half of college, he would sit reading the newspaper "help wanted" ads trying to help me find more work!! But, off I went to my small, private Christian college in my Volkswagon Cabriolet that my dad knew was my dream car. He showed me how to make things happen even on the smallest of salaries.

Today, there isn't one out of the three of his children who wouldn't sacrifice to take care of my mother. I really mean that, too. I think we are all amazed at how well my dad did plan for her, in case she were left "alone." It wasn't just financially, it was leaving us all with a sense of loving responsibility, a sense of respect for our elders and the remembrance of how we were sacrificially cared for by him. My dad never owned a sports car (well, OK, maybe that stripped down mustang!), never made it a habit to buy nice things, never bought that boat he dreamed about or bought the house on a lake that he always wanted. Yet, I don't remember him ever being unhappy with his life nor would I ever think any of those material things would have been on his list of regrets. His regrets most likely were that he didn't travel more with my mom, didn't buy her the house of her dreams, that he didn't live long enough to enjoy all his grandchildren.

I guess when you grow up watching someone labor in love to provide for his family and share with you all his grandiose plans for his financial future, you actually learn more than just how to manage your money. You learn that it's OK to admit to your children that you don't have enough money for certain things, that life can be fun without many of those things and that taking care of your family is more important than any of those things. It grieves me that his friend of my mom not only is being left with nothing, but that her three children do not feel it is their responsibility to help her. That is just pitiful.

Plan for every possibility, even the ones you don't think can happen, and teach your children the value in taking care of people, not things!