Making a list. . .

Tomorrow is December first, Thanksgiving is over, so of course the kids have started on their Christmas lists. (I have told them in the past that any changes and/or additions to the list after December 1 are not guaranteed to make it to Santa's mailbox! Santa REALLY hates last-minute shopping!) A few nights ago the kids were working on their lists.

They have decided to go with Sears' holiday slogan: "Dream Big". They made 2 lists: a "wish list" (which they are well aware probably won't happen) and what Dr. Phil would call a "get-real" list.

Ashley's wish list:
swimming pool (I'll back her up on asking for this!)
baby brother

Riley's wish list:
TV for my room (they are aware that I believe that brain cells can be sucked out by watching TV in the living room just as well as in their own bedroom)
peace in all the world
more pumpkin pie (how sad is that! :-)

When I noticed that their "get-real" list was going on and on and on, I reminded them, "You're only going to get 3 gifts, you know."

Ashley was apalled and outraged, "WHAT?!?! Only _3_ gifts, that's not fair!!"

"Jesus only got 3 for Christmas -- do you think you deserve any better than Jesus?"

Hating my logic, she continued, "No, but that's not fair! Just 3?"

"Are you telling me you're any better than Jesus?"

Riley hasn't looked up from his list and continues to scribble away while he joins the conversation: "I'll take the gold, Mom."


A Day of Thanks. . .

I'm a mess. Let me tell you now, I'm a mess.

I groggily stumbled from bed this morning at 5:45. I always try REAL hard not to check the computer before I start my Bible study, but I just think maybe the world is scheduled to stop turning and my email to warn me came in the night. My email from the church prayer list said that Canon Perkins, a 20-month-old punkin' waiting for a liver transplant, was in surgery (Monday night)!! Hooray!! He has flown to Houston TWICE in the last 4 weeks only to have to return to Lubbock (Amarillo?) first because the liver was too big, and again because he had an ear infection. I linked to Canon's website for an update and read Chandra's (mom's) journal. It was an unbelievable way to start my Bible study time. A must read.

So I read and prayed -- especially for Anne and Nathaniel and baby. More than anything, I wanted Anne and Nathaniel to be at peace.

At about 7:30a.m., my mom called. Dad had been at his usual Tuesday morning elder's meeting. One of the elders was one of my teachers and class sponsors in high school. His wife called in the middle of the meeting to say that their daughter's car had been found in College Station (where she is in school at A&M) with blood in it, and they couldn't find the daughter. Can you even imagine? For the next 3 hours I realized I have seen entirely too much TV -- Law and Order and CSI -- because there was no way I could make this come out okay in my head.

As details filtered to me (and still I have precious little) I learned her car was found behind her work with 2 doors open and blood in it at 4 this morning.

Finally, at about 10:30, I heard that she had been found and was okay. I still don't know anything, and her condition ranges from "injured, but being treated" to "totally fine". I don't know, but I was a wreck. But ready to praise!!

Work was a day of false starts and changed plans, and now the server at work is totally down. So I guess I'm off the hook for working tonight!

This is what my poor dad did this morning after learning of the girl's disappearance:
"I then departed for Monroe Surgical to have an ultrasound to follow
the progress of an aortic aneurysm (sp?) which I didn't even remember I had.
After a longer-than-usual examination the tech went to review past films, and
brought back the senior tech for a re-do. They couldn't see the problem. They
caught the radiologist who ordered a "spiral" CT scan, which also apparently
showed nothing. So, I guess I've been miraculously healed of something I didn't
even remember having!"

So, another praise -- and we didn't even know to be praying!! (do you LOVE a man who can forget he has an aortic aneurism? :-) I DO! ) After that and hearing that she was okay, he said he was wiped out emotionally, as you can imagine! He decided to read my blog for a little inspiration and/or humor. Bless him. Read what I wrote about Anne and Nathaniel. He's probably on Valium by now.

I finally got home and paced and waited until we got this word from Anne:

"Thanks to all of you for your prayers for us! We know God has been
listening.The appointment today went incredibly well, and I am carrying a
healthy baby BOY!
God is so Good!Please continue to pray as we await April and our son's entry into this world! "

She also helped me with details of her story by correcting that the fertility treatments were intrauterine inseminations instead of invitro. I will thank the Good Lord that I don't know the difference between the two and hopefully will never have to spell either again! :-)

Now I am off to carry my praises into the cold Abilene air while Riley complains how cold it is to watch the Christmas parade (we always had Saturday morning parades growing up -- can I get an "amen" for one of those PLEASE!!)

This morning, after I had heard word of Canon's successful surgery and a possible disappearance, I could only turn to song. I had to sing my heart out:

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Oh, There's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to stay
Blessed be your name


Prayers for Anne

Many of you have seen my friend Anne comment on this blog. What a precious woman. Anne is a soprano with the voice of an angel, and the faith to go with it. I don't know how old she is -- 22? 23? 17? -- but far too young to have been through what she has been through. One of the things I love most about Anne is that she loves to laugh. She even lets me try to make her laugh when it's entirely inappropriate to be laughing -- mainly because I don't know what else to say.

Since I've only known Anne for a few years, there are parts of her story that I don't have down in concrete. I know that before her first anniversary of marriage, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I kind of want to capitalize those two words -- Ovarian Cancer -- for the enormous impact they can have in a life. Doctors removed the cancerous ovary and told Anne and Nathaniel, "If you two are planning on having children, you had better do it now so that we can get the rest of the reproductive organs out of there before more cancer develops."

With one ovary, "hurry up and have kids" is easier said than done! (Anne, when you said it was okay for me to tell your story, I hope that included going into detail about the quantity of your internal organs! :-) Anne and Nathaniel went through fertility treatments and -- this is where I'm fuzzy on the story -- I believe their precious little Natalie is the result of in vitro fertilization. Hoping to have one more child they spent 2004 back and forth to Temple to Scott and White for more fertility treatment and several in vitro attempts. Finally, they were at their financial and emotional end and tried in vitro one last time.

Lo and behold!! Anne was pregnant!! We all rejoiced and were so excited for that tiny little baby to make it here. That tiny little baby didn't make it very long and Anne and Nathaniel lost the baby they named Hope one year ago tomorrow, November 29, 2004. It was a very sad holiday season for them, but the light of their faith continued to shine even on the hardest days. In January Anne whispered a secret to me: she was pregnant -- and only by she and Nathaniel and the Good Lord!! She asked me to pray, and pray I did. But I knew this was their miracle baby. They were so due for this miracle baby.

As winter gave way to spring, we all breathed a little easier that Anne continued to feel well and the baby seemed to be growing and thriving. Okay, Anne maybe didn't feel well, but definitely pregnant. Phil tried not to take it personally when she left church during one of his sermons to go throw up. One evening we were together and Anne was so excited that the next week was the ultrasound and they would finally be able to decide a name when they found out if baby was a boy or girl.

The ultrasound showed the most shattering news of all. I've never heard exactly what the "fluke of nature" was -- kink in the umbilibcal cord, cord around the neck, I'm not sure -- but it showed that the baby didn't make it . May 19, 2005, after laboring for 4 days, Anne delivered precious Carson who would never draw breath here, but join Hope in heaven.

It was too much -- for all of us. I was so proud of Anne and Nathaniel as they allowed others to minister to them in the only ways we know how. I was so proud of Anne and Nathaniel as they continued to grieve and tried so hard not to ask "why" nor demand compensation. I'm still so proud of Anne and Nathaniel.

Anne is pregnant again. We are all thrilled and scared to death for her. So far, so good, if you count throwing up on a regular basis "so good". Anne does. She's well past the first trimester. Tomorrow, on the anniversary of losing baby Hope, Anne will have an ultrasound. An ultrasound that I pray with all of my heart shows a pumping heart, a fully formed brain, and all of the fingers and toes we could hope for.

If you have made it this far in this entry, please just stop and say a brief prayer -- mainly for peace for Anne and Nathaniel as they approach such a scary time and place. And pray for this baby that I can't wait to kiss on his head! :-) If you are so inclined, leave a prayer or message of encouragement to Anne in the comments.

Personal message to Anne -- you have been my hero through all of this. I am so thankful for you and your faith. As I write about and consider the reality of the next 24 hours for you, I pray for peace for you -- but doubt I will be able to sleep myself! I love you dearly and long for good news with you.

Quote for the Day

When you have nothing left but God, then for the first time you become aware that God is enough.

-- Maude Royden


Sweet Sunday

I know, I haven't really told you about our Thanksgiving. I stood in my kitchen all day Wednesday, most of Thursday, and Troy's dad, brother, and nephew all came in on Thursday morning. The meal was finished in about 45 minutes -- isn't that sad? :-) But I was thankful that we all were here and was happy to have family here.

Today was such a precious day to me. Mainly because it was a Sunday with nothing in it besides church and family time. I wish they all could be like that! This morning's worship service was GREAT. We breezed in just as we were starting and I was still standing there holding my purse, Bible, and a fistful of bulletins when we started singing one of my all-time favorites: "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less". I just had to stand there with all my gear in hand and sing my little heart out. I did get tickled when we got to "Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne." I was thinking that when I am dressed in His righteousness alone I will not have to worry about how tight my clothes are the Sunday after Thanksgiving -- and Hallelujah!

We also sang "In Christ Alone" -- and I made it through without falling apart laughing only by staring a hole in the pew in front of me. Still a gorgeous song!

Jack needed to sit with us. Crazy morning at his house, for whatever reason, and so his mom told him he got to choose where to sit in church. He chose with Riley Stirman -- or, Jack may say it a little more closely to "Wiley Sthtuhman". So there he sat between me and Riley, with his ever-precious bald chemo head. I literally had to hold my hands together to keep from rubbing on it. It just has the same amount of little fuzz as a tiny baby.

No question, my favorite part of the whole day was standing next to Jack as we all -- precious Jack included -- sang "God has smiled on me". Can you even keep from bawling at the thought of a bald-from-chemo 6 year old singing that? He has indeed smiled on all of us, Jack, and thank you for being a walking, talking, singing testimonial of that!

"God has smiled on me
He has set me free
God has smiled on me
He's been good to me!!!"


Calvin for the Day

Don't you wish there was a free website with Calvin and Hobbes archives? Google will find some for you -- but none of the ones I came across exist anymore. Darn copyright laws!


Quote for the Day

True thanksgiving means that we need to thank God for what He has done for us, and not to tell Him what we have done for Him.
-- George R. Hendrick

May your Thanksgiving day be full of good food, great blessings in the way of family and friends, and a grateful heart.


Some Pics

A bit late, but as promised, some pics of some of the last few weeks and exciting occurences. Riley's birthday was Friday and, I think I've mentioned here, he was going to babysitting co-op for his birthday while Troy and I had our anniversary date night. Until we learned there wasn't any babysitting co-op! Ooops! So, instead, we had Abbie and Kenny over to watch movies and have giant birthday cookie. Notice my pajama-clad arm slicing the cookie -- can't beat a date night in your PJ's!

And, Abbie is just a cutey-tootey and wanted us to take her picture. How could we resist? Santa should know she REALLY liked Ashley's "click-it" purse. . .

And from Halloween -- you just gotta have a 10 foot Frankenstein, right? Ashley wanted to be Troy Aikman, but settled for Jacob Green (a 7th-grader at our church) who happens to play on the Cowboys this year. Riley's wizard outfit is a re-run of last year. I hate that the wizard face scares a lot of kids (I make Riley take his hat off and show them that HE isn't scary) because Riley loves this costume so very much. I lifted his hat for one kid and said, "See, this isn't a scary face?" The kid pointed at Riley's belly and screamed, "But THAT one is!!!!" Good point!

He's just too cute to be scary, isn't he?

I was actually barefoot as the little farm-girl waiting for my handsome cowboy. He's pretty cute, too, huh?

Just to make you laugh. . . is this a hoot?
Stumbled across Elizabeth's blog. The caption for this picture is "When Professional Photographs Go Very Wrong". And do you love the little guy with his face stretched to the back of his head still smiling? Love it! Happy pre-Thanksgiving -- I'm heading to make a pecan pie!


What a Week!

Glorious weather on our Saturday here. Kids are outside playing. Soon I would like to blog about my anniversary date-night that turned into Riley's pseudo-birthday party. We made some great lemonade out of lemons and Riley professed it to be the best birthday ever. Oh, and like all bloggers, I will have to write a tribute to my baby boy that is not a baby any longer. Favorite quote of the day: "I can carry both of these things of milk, Mom. (grunting with the strain of the 2 gallons of milk) I'm a MAN, now! I'm 8 years old!"

Look for my thoughts on James 4 on heartlight this week. That verse really struck me yesterday when I typed it out. God has spoken to me in powerful ways this week and I am praying to be on my knees and listening carefully. I find myself still haunted and convicted by my visits with kids on Tuesday. And I can't say enough of a "Thank you" to Kendra, Lois, Roxanne, and Pat, my blog-commentors-in-the-trenches as public school teachers. Thank you for reminding us that those kids are there. Thank you for being Jesus to them.

As I have pondered that, I find myself very impatient with how I generally am: too near sighted and caught up in my own community to have any idea those people even live within 5 miles of me. I think of how many times I have thought and/or heard: "Everyone I know in Abilene goes to church." Well, that just tells me now that my world is entirely too small. I pray for open eyes and direction that I may get out of my tiny little world and see God's people that are hurting and hopeless all around me.

Saw the following this week on Brandon Scott Thomas' blog. It fit with my week and stepped on my toes all at the same time:

Preston Shipp re-wrote the lyrics to Days of Elijah. It's tongue in cheek and a little sarcastic, but sometimes sarcasm is a good thing. It's a mirror in some ways. I thought this was great...

These are the Days of Indulgence
Of selfishness, apathy, and greed
And these are the days of indifference
Ignoring the millions in need

And though these are days of prosperity
We have more than we'll ever need
Still children in Africa and downtown are hungry
If we love Jesus, His sheep we must feed

Behold He comes
Homeless like before
Eating with addicts
Hanging out with whores
Give away your stuff
It's the year of Jubilee
If we die to ourselves
Salvation comes

These are the days of great comfort
And living in rich neighborhoods
We kneel to the idols placed before us
Like any American would

And though Jesus warned us of riches
We don't think He meant what he said
So rich people put fish on the backs of their cars
But He had no place to lay His head

(Repeat chorus)
I drove up in my Lexus (x 4)
There's no car like my Bimmer (x 4)
There's no watch like my Rolex (x 4)
I hope it tells time in heaven (x 4)

Love that! Love it! Everyone have a fabulous weekend getting your car repaired (sounds like there's a lot of that going around!) and playing outside!

Special thanks to Joe Hays (Baby Ira's dad) for showing us great parenting skills on his blog this week.


Theme Verse for the Week

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

James 4:13-17


Happy Thursday. . .

Just wondering -- did ANYONE have a good Thursday? My day has been a bit of a mess that has included doctor's offices, waiting rooms, x-rays, car battery cables, jumper cables, topped off with some quality bonding with tomorrow-turning-8-years-old Riley by pushing our Expedition. Nothing major (that I know of -- yet) just lots of annoyances. And everyone that I encountered -- people I knew at the doctor's office, friends bringing me jumper cables or mini-muffin pans -- was having, at best, an annoying day.

Someone PLEASE write in and tell me about your wonderful Thursday full of seeing God in every corner.

I actually enjoyed pieces of my day -- and will enjoy it the most when Troy throws in the towel with the car repair and just comes and sits with me.

Little details if I made you curious:

Ashley fell off her bike last week (darn shoelaces!) and hurt her arm. Last night she mentioned her arm hurt when she brushed her teeth! Buckle fracture, wearing a splint for almost 2 weeks, good as new.

Car -- probably the alternator (if you don't know what that is, just go light 5 $100 bills on fire. That should get you close).

Mini-muffins -- making "thank yous" from Big Brothers Big Sisters for schools to deliver (I guess in my horse and buggy) tomorrow. Does anyone have a recipe for zuchini bread close to Hickory Street Cafe's? My muffins are good, but they're not Hickory Street's!

Everybody have a GREAT Friday!!



Live and Live Well

If you blog-surf (no, I don't have time to, but I do it anyway!) you may have already seen this. I came across it -- NO idea where -- last week and have thought about it once a day (at least) since then. Many of you have heard of the death of Kyle Lake, baptist preacher in Waco, who was electrocuted while baptizing a young lady. For the record -- the last "blog rumor" I have read about is that he was, in fact, using a cordless, battery-operated microphone, but the pump to the baptistry was faulty and as he reached for the metal microphone pole the circuit was complete and that is the shock that killed him. I have read several things about him that make me wonder why in the world a life so passionate for lost souls would be cut so short. I simply must trust God that His will be done.

About a week ago I came across the last sermon he wrote. I don't know if he ever got an opportunity to speak it. But it speaks volumes now:

LIVE. And Live Well.

BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply.

Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.

On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.

If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.

Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.

If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.

Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.

If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.

If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well.

At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke.

And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven.

And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship.

Taste every ounce of Life.



Your definition of "normal". . .

My job requires me to interview kids. It's one of the most fun parts of my job -- usually. Kids are a hoot, as you might imagine, and I have fun interviewing them. Today was awful, though. Seemingly straightforward questions illuminated the hell that is these children's lives. "Who lives in your house right now? What would you wish for if you had 3 wishes? Has an adult ever hurt you?" Should be simple questions.

Today "Antonio" broke my heart. A 4th grader too old for his grade, he was so precious and soft spoken. When I asked why he wanted a big brother he said because his own big brother had passed away. Later he explained that his brother (18 at the time) went to go see his uncle, who was drunk. Uncle shot and killed him. It gets better. Antonio lives with other family members because dad lives in Mexico and mom is waiting to go to jail (or in jail -- I couldn't tell). Child Protective Services have removed him and his twin brother -- but couldn't keep them together. There are tons -- 6 or 7 -- of other kids, none living in the same town. 2 siblings currently in jail. And the reality is that Antonio will be there himself unless he finds his own way out of this hell. This is normal for him. Pray for the high school kid that will mentor him.

I love and hate the 3 wishes question: If you could have 3 wishes what would you wish for. I think I need to ask my kids that once a year. It's a cute indicator of their view of life -- and of how materialistic we all can be.

Antonio wanted his brother to come back to life and to be able to see his sister again (in prison in some far-away town, he wasn't even sure where). I was fighting back the tears and anger too much to remember the third wish.

Some of the answers that I remember (from various kids):
  • That mom and dad would get back together
  • That I could get my dog back (mom and dad recently divorced, and little girl couldn't keep her dogs in her new living arrangement)
  • That my mom would find someone who would be nice to her
  • That we didn't move around so much

It's hard for me not to be angry at parents. If people refuse to get their life together, please don't bring other little bodies into your life. I pray to let go of that frustration and anger and be thankful for people that volunteer through our program to hopefully show these kids a different way.

I haven't even mentioned Jamie, whose mom won't really spend time with her, and mom's boyfriend is waiting trial for sexually abusing Jamie. Jamie's dad is in jail. And Ray, whose dad is also in prison, and because he leaves his home campus to go to the gifted program, he is not eligible for my program. (he can get a lunch buddy or something else, but not be in my program) Don't let me forget Amy, who can't even answer, "Is that real mom and real dad that you live with?" because her "first dad" (who I believe to be real dad) told her she couldn't possibly be his kid, then David, her "second dad" was real nice to her. She has no idea who her father is.

I know this post isn't as funny as I like to be, but sometimes things just aren't funny. Kids that think that any of these situations is "normal" is heartbreaking. Our agency's "theme story" (I guess is a good thing to call it) is the story of the boy throwing the starfish back into the ocean. You can only make a difference to one at a time. If you take an hour long lunch once a week, you could very easily be a lunch buddy. Maybe you could change a kid's view of "normal" to actual normal.


Must be Monday

If a 6-pound bucket of Oxi-Clean spills into a laundry basket full of clean clothes, are they still clean? If not, should I add detergent when I wash them?


Just Wondering. . .

Does anyone else find it very sad that this is a common phrase:

"This isn't some preacher story -- it's REALLY true!"



Please grab a child between the ages of 6 and 10. I need their help in communicating with my own children. Okay, I have figured out that the phrases "Go put this in your room", "Put this in your backpack", "Get this off of the counter", and "Put this where it belongs" all translate into "Please lay this down on the nearest flat surface, preferably the kitchen counter." Which words do I use that will translate into "Go put this in your room", "Put this in your backpack", "Get this off of the counter", and "Put this where it belongs"?


This week

Thank you for humoring me to tell me who all is out there and reading. My site counter tells me that I also have occasional readers in Singapore, United Arab Emarates, and the United Kingdom. I would love to know the story behind those readers, but the mystery continues. And don't worry, Donna, Laura, or Karen. I'll never "out" that you're a reader -- your secret is safe with me. Obviously it goes completely against my nature not to have SOMETHING to say on every subject, so I won't say that I understand you.

When you're weary. . .
The next time I am telling you I just don't feel right, and crying that I'm SO tired all the time I don't know how I will make it, and tell you that I am considering seeing a doctor because something MUST be wrong with me -- please phone my home every evening about 6 and tell me to take my iron pill. You'll have to do that for 5 days minimum before I feel like a human again. No, I have no chronic medical malady that requires me to take iron. Doctors say that I am "borderline anemic, but it's nothing to worry about." Well, it's nothing to worry about only if you don't need to be alert, nice, or functioning past 6 p.m., or getting anything accomplished prior to 6 p.m. I love my iron pills so very much and am so thankful for them. Just had a MAJOR 3-day slump until I could get them kicked back in this week.

What do you think it means when all of the knives and spoons are in the dishwasher, but relatively little else? Too many sandwiches and bowls of cereal this week? Truly, a conundrum for the ages -- like the perpetually un-matched socks coming out of the dryer.

This is my kind-of Friday. The kids are off school tomorrow, so I'm off, as well. We are off of school to honor precious men and women who have served our country. If I were a good mom, I would take my kids to the Veteran's Day parade, then to the ceremony full of teachable moments for my kids. I really don't see that happening. I really NEED to get some work done from home (work work, not house work). I really don't see that happening, either. I've got plans to get into the kitchen for some of my holiday cooking!! Memory of those days when we have the WHOLE day to get things done makes me think I should probably have low expectations in that area, as well.

We kicked off our three-day weekend with a bang. Riley heads to the car pronouncing "I BEAT you!!" (to Ashley -- ran more laps than her today). When he saw the crumpled look on her face, he continues, "Well, you told me to beat you (she did) and I DID!" Face continues to crumple and the tears come with the shouting, "Well, you're annoying me!" Riley returns, "Well, you're annoying ME!" So I shout over both of them, "You're both annoying ME so no talking when we get in the car."

Good times.


Who are you and why are you here?

You know me. I don't shop at Wal-Mart, I'm a ridiculous sap when it comes to my husband and children, I occasionally go for a run, and occasionally get in unbelievably grouchy moods that cause me to proclaim all the ways that I don't like you.

But who are you? You've been peeking in and reading all about me, but never comment. Okay -- 4 or 5 of you comment. I average over 40 hits a day on my blog. I don't know your name or email address, sometimes I can tell your city. Leave a comment, tell me where you live and how you found The Cleft of the Rock. And, weigh in if you like -- why do you read? What do you want to hear about? What brings you back (if you come back)? It's your turn. Let me hear from you.

Yes, I am talking to YOU!


Grocery Shopping

Because I am not willing to give up my daily workouts or my Saturday morning sleeping in with my new(ish) job, I have been forced to do my weekly grocery shopping on Saturday afternoons. It is SO ameteur hour at the grocery store. And why is it necessary for the entire family to be there? I'm thinking that if 3 adults and 5 children are gathered in, around, and under a basket, 7 people could go home and de-clutter the aisle where I'm just trying to buy some onion powder.

A few weeks ago I didn't think I could face it, so I clipped my MP3 player onto my waistband (thank you, Mike Stirman, for that most wonderful birthday gift!) and listened to my own happy little music while I shopped. Truly a God-send. I don't have to hear children screaming, nor parents making AWFUL threats to screaming children. Yes, that does make me one of those obnoxious people oblivious to their surroundings, probably standing in the middle of the aisle reading the nutritional information on new low-sugar instant oatmeal as you try to maneuver your cart around me -- but I am far kinder to my family on my return.

Today I was lost in my own little musical world and noticed what eclectic mix of things people buy at grocery stores now. While I've mentioned (SEVERAL times, I know) that I don't shop at Wal-Mart, my own H-E-B grocery store is as large as most regular Wal-Marts, and offer as many services and sundries. What caught my eye first was the lady with the quilt, adult diapers, and bottle of wine. Okay, maybe that's a bad example since with enough wine you really may need the adult diapers especially if you have that new quilt. Then there was the family with the dryer sheets, kitty litter box, and charcoal. I can't quite think of any scenario that would involve all 3 of those -- and I wouldn't even want to consider the smell!

All in all, it was a relatively painless shopping experience. I have started gathering a few things for my Thanksgiving dinner! I can't wait! Next weekend I'll probably start cooking and freezing.


Chances are. . .

I probably don't like you today. You're either too cheerful or too grouchy. I think you're either too self-centered or too nosy. You were driving too fast or too slow. You don't do your share or you make the rest of us look bad. You either refused to talk to me or you interrupted my solitude. You add to the mess or you criticize my housekeeping skills by helping me clean.

Chances are, I don't like you today. Don't take it personally -- I don't like myself too much today, either. But today is almost over (GLORY!) Tomorrow morning I will thank God for the promise of a new day, the coolness of a new season, and the never-ending well of His grace and mercy.

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions
never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22,23


Another quote:

"I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. "

"It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. "
--Anne Frank

I think of this quote from time to time. The last part of the last one: "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." I generally think of it for the reason that I am thinking of it this morning. Someone disappointed me. My heart breaks for another heart that is breaking, and several lives that may never be the same again. I'm kicking myself for believing in Someone.

Then I think of these words. Childish wonder and optimism -- from a child who saw and experienced unspeakable horrors.

And then I think of these words:
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you
will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

So, in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

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