Christmas Then, Christmas Now

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

May your Christmas Day be filled with much laughter.

Blessings to your house!


LOST! One Brain. Please return immediately

In the last 24 hours I have forgotten:
  • To take "package a" home from Riley's party -- Kendra brought it to me full of supplies for school today.
  • To eat lunch.
  • To give blood at the time I signed up for on Wednesday afternoon.
  • To go to my Open House for work.
  • To take "package a" to work today -- I did make it out to the garage with it, but set it down and had to come home for it during music.
Good thing I never gave blood, I guess. I think my brain needs all it can get!

Highlights of the last day before Christmas break

"Here's your Christmas gift, Mrs. Stirman!" #14 holds out his hand, and in his grimy palm is an UNWRAPPED Hershey's kiss. "Thank you SO much! I'll put it right here to save it" (until you're gone when I can throw it away).

"This is the best party ever!"

(stream of consciousness from #20 as he digs in the dirt at recess): "I lived in Amarillo, then Lubbock, then Abilene. We lived in a duplex, but our manager, or our landlord, he let us call him either one, had a nice house that he would let us buy and my mom really liked it and she said it was SO cute. You know how women like to have nice houses? Hey, do you know velociraptors? I LOVE those meat-eaters...." I'm not even kidding -- at this point I was laughing too hard to hear how we got to the big bang theory.

Updated later as I remembered: #17, giving me my gift and Kendra's to take to her. Kendra's is in some cheery color, while mine is a patchwork of several bright colors: "I picked this one for you because you're colorful." Me? Colorful? As in, Dr. Seuss illustration? Or as in, my language. Because I PROMISE I have never cursed in the classroom. Outloud.

My favorite part of the day:
"Bye!!!! I love you!! Have a great Christmas -- see you in 2 weeks!!!"


Shopping Conundrum

Dear Dayspring,

First, why, exactly, do you have a monopoly on the "inspirational greeting card" market? Isn't there anyone else out there who will print cards and put scripture on them?

Also, I am in search of a set of cards that you label "Encouragement" cards. A boxed set would be lovely. I try to send cards to different folks frequently. However, the majority of the recipients of my cards are not 96 year old women sitting in their rocker with an afghan tossed across their lap. Therefore, none of your current sets of boxed cards will do. Oh, of course, I do have the sailboat option, but the sentiment of those cards comes across as if I believe my recipient to be a quivering mass of sobs so defeated by life's circumstances that all I am able to do is send a Dayspring greeting card. Where, exactly, is the inspiration in THAT?

HELLO!! What a mighty God we serve! Remember? Faith is the victory! Remember? The God I worship is bigger than anything this life has to toss out. Can we not put just a HINT of that in some of those cards? Even a bright color, maybe?

Now, to Stephanie, my blog-reader-artist-extraordinaire-in-residence: perhaps you and I should design some inspiring inspirational cards and we could make encouragment cards that are actually encouraging. What do you think?


Random Tuesday Thinking

  • I haven't seen a church sign yet this season that says:
  • My 10 p.m. determination to go to early-morning exercise class seems to have vanished by 5 a.m.
  • At 7 a.m. I realized that if I were to get up and WEIGH at 5 a.m., I would probably find new resolve.
Heavy question for the day:
  • If common sense is in such short supply these days, shouldn't we re-name it?

First Third Grade, Then Law School

On the way to school this morning I told the kids it would probably be raining when school got out so they should get a ride home with the neighbor. (It's about 1/3 mile from home).

The blonde factor asked, "We can't walk in the rain?"

"No, you can't walk in the rain."

Knowing this would be tempting for bragging rights and, well, just to have an opportunity to be wet and smell like a wet dog, I talked to Riley.


(very thoughtful) "Yes?"

"Did you hear that? Do NOT walk home in the rain!"

(still thoughtful) "Yes."


"I'm struggling to find a loophole."


I Must Have Made the Appliance gods VERY Angry!!!!!!!!

Maybe it's because I always refuse to buy an extended warranty?

I finally got to the bottom of a mystery-sound and mystery-standing-puddle in my laundry room. Evidently, while my washing machine is filling (oops -- at first I typed "failing"; which is actually more accurate) it is also dripping a steady stream of water on the floor.

I am certainly no Maytag repair-guy, but I'm pretty sure that this is bad.

I think that on top of a newly installed microwave, one $85 plumbing repair and a different $85 dishwasher pseudo-repair, I may need to go washing machine shopping. I've looked around lately, and $85 isn't going to get it.

What do you suppose I did to make those appliance gods so angry?


Six Weird Things About Me

So Anne tagged me for some something about 6 weird things about me. I have seen this one around blog-land and everyone that plays along seems to have some sort of obsessive-compulsive behavior that they confess. Shannon has to make her items on the conveyor belt at the grocery store be parallel or perpendicular to the edge of the belt. Whatever. How does that work for a bag of apples? Boomama has to arrange the money in her wallet JUST SO before she puts it away. I can't stand to make people wait. Antique Mommy is a neat-freak and Antique Daddy is an obsessive wiper-downer. I do NOT have either of those genes or issues. Anne has fire-phobia. I almost get this one -- a house in my neighborhood burned to the ground when I was little and a dad and a kid were killed. It still freaks me out. But is my iron currently unplugged? Nope.

I think that brings me to my first oddity about me:
1) Neither me nor my immediate family can think of ANY obsessive-compulsive behavior I have. Y'all, I'm just too tired to align my groceries or unplug all of my appliances or count ceiling tiles (that's Troy's thing). And, I can leave a dirty dish right THERE until the cows come home and not even care. Truthfully, I won't even see it. People who must have everything in place at all times probably have far less cluttered lives than me, but I like to think I'm having more fun!
2) When I polled my family about what is weird about me, all they could come up with is that Riley pointed out that I tend to burst out into song at random times. This is true. If any situation reminds me of a song -- and most of them do -- I must break forth with it. It's not pleasing to the ear, but it's my song. Being a word person, I can also make up my own lyrics to go with almost any tune for almost any situation. I guess it's good to be known for something.
3) I will go to unbelievable lengths not to have to make telephone calls. I HATE making phone calls -- to ANYONE. I am always trying to second guess if I'm going to bother the other person or, if it's a business, if I'll be able to get through and/or get the help I need. I LOVE the whole blog/ email world. Hate telephones.
4) Even after my $85 day at the hair place, my hair has basically been the same since I was ... 16? 18? I'm thinkin'... Forever. Until yesterday, my hair was cut pretty much exactly like it was at my wedding 14 years ago. Of course, now I have all of these white, wiry hairs that work against my 'do, but that's why I spend $85 at the hair place -- to whip those babies back into place (and color).
5) Along those lines, I'm a fashion moron. This point was really hit home to me recently when Troy told me to take most of my first paycheck and buy myself some clothes for work. I decided that wherever they sell adult Garanimals -- I need to shop there. Maybe part of it has to do with the fact that I am ALWAYS self-conscious about the way clothes fit me and what my not-very-tall, way-too-curvy, sturdy-legged self can and can't wear, but I'm not too willing to go out on a limb with my clothes. And even if I were, I wouldn't know how to! But, not being a risk-taker with my clothes is no surprise since I've had my hair the same for 20 years. And, I'm really happiest in my work-out clothes. I know I don't LOOK best in them, but they are the most "me", I think.
6) This will crack most of you up, but I still consider myself a fairly shy person and am VERY uncomfortable in situations where I don't know many people. Truthfully, I would rather stand in front of them all and speak something I have prepared than have to mingle with them! However, I have learned through the years that most people are uncomfortable in new situations and my compassion for someone else being uncomfortable over-rides my own discomfort and I will try to strike up a conversation in such situations. But know that in my heart I am sitting by myself in the corner -- and really happier there!

There, that was relatively painless, and I guess I'm weirder than I first imagined. Now that the pump is primed, I may have to go for another 6. I forgot that I really hate to shop (probably related to #5) and am not all that crazy about chocolate -- but I could eat my weight in Hot Tamales (the candy, not the Mexican food). Yet my friends still talk to me. Amazing. Along with being a fashion moron, I can never fix my hair. Which is why the current hair will last only until it grows out because it actually requires "doing". I don't do. I wash and go. Always. Occasionally I even brush. Again, put me in workout clothes in a ponytail, and no one knows. Not only do I not know HOW to do my hair, I don't want to learn. That's why long hair for me -- short hair requires "styling" and "products". Long hair requires a brush and elastic.

If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged and tell us 6 weird things about you. If I know you personally, realize that I will probably feel the need to complete the list myself. And, since turnabout is fair play, feel free to add to my list about myself! Unless you are married to me, in which case you have way too much of an advantage. And way too much room for retaliation!


Financial Breakdown of my day

1 hour at grocery store = $120 = $120/hr.

2.5 hours at "hair place" (can't bring myself to say "beauty salon")
= $85 (at which point Troy is having a coronary since he has NO idea
what is different about my hair and he can't imagine spending
$85 for it to look the same-- he just paid $10 to get SCALPED)
= $34/hr.

1.5 hours at eye doctor = $100 = $67/hr.

I guess, all in all, the "hair place" is the better bargain for my time -- not to mention all of the calories I burned by my blood pressure being elevated and tapping my foot for the last hour wondering if I would make it to my next appointment of sitting for long periods of time.


Christmas Fun

What a day. Second grade. Field trip. ANGRY child. Christmas program. Phone in classroom ringing, ringing, ringing. Can't think straight. Dinner in oven. Basketball game -- blowout -- wahoo!! Dinner. Wrap gifts. Try to blog coherently. Fail miserably.

Funniest thing I saw today was about 75 10- and 11-year old kids in Texas singing Hannukah songs while wearing Santa hats. You just don't get that everywhere.


What Type of Weather Are You?

You Are Lightning

Beautiful yet dangerous
People will stop and watch you when you appear
Even though you're capable of random violence

You are best known for: your power

Your dominant state: performing

Okay, I really don't mean to be the "Blog of Quizzes" lately but this one was so far off it made me laught out loud. Beautiful yet dangerous -- just LAUGHING at both of those! Yep, people stop and watch when I appear (because I trip on my own shoelaces walking in the door) and I am known for my random violence (like terrorizing those bugs that are swarming my house). Best known for my power? Sure -- I can't get 22 2nd graders OR my dog to listen to me. My dominant state is performing? Absolutely... again, that's what I am KNOWN for! Too funny!

Don't worry, I will resume actual blogging soon. Upcoming features:
Troy Stirman: Three deer in one Saturday is evidently NOT enough!
Sarah: Has she lost that lovin' feelin'? (for the HOLIDAYS, gutter brain!)
Recap of the Jesus party
New sign spotted in my neighborhood: I'm GORGEOUS inside!


After 20 years, my GPA hasn't dropped too much!

You paid attention during 80% of high school!

68-84% Pretty good, you know that there are libraries and newspapers, and you remember what you've read. You were a child that wasn't left behind!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz


Tattling in 2nd Grade

"He keeps putting his breath in my nose!"

(playing rock-paper-scissors to determine who reads first in partner reading that they were supposed to start 5 minutes ago): "He keeps choosing scissors!!"

Life-and-death stuff here, folks.


'Tis the Season ... to be trashy?

You know, I thought Target had us all figured out -- slap a holiday design on an ultra-cheap t-shirt for our kids and we will snatch them up. They have even graduated to adult holiday t-shirts. However, I didn't want one that said "Naughty" or "Vixen" -- so I passed. Hey, cool, Academy has cheap holiday t-shirts. Hmmmm ... should I choose, "Sugar and Spice, Naughty, not Nice", "Santa, Jingle My Bells", or "Santa, I want it ALL"? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Christians are all in an uproar because people are saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" -- is anyone noticing that we are using Christ's birth as a vehicle for advertising our sluttiness? (Yes, I made up that word, and I'm standing by it!)


This is New...

Americans have long bought into the notion that if a little is good, then way too much is AWESOME. From Big Macs to overpriced coffee to inflatable holiday decorations, the phrase, "Less Is More" means nothing to the American Consumer. And American merchants know this all-too-well.

I wish I had been the first person to realize that you can take any icon of any holiday, enlarge it to 8 feet, make it out of nylon and inflate it, and Americans will buy it -- Santa, scarecrows, pumpkins, cupids, shamrocks, you name it.

I am no longer surprised at what all I see adorning people's yards. Amazed, maybe, but not surprised. Today, however, I was taken aback. So, aback, in fact that first I turned my car around to make sure I was seeing what I thought I saw. Then, continuing to be taken aback -- I went all the way "aback" to my house to get my camera so that you, too, could marvel at this holiday icon:

'Cause, you know, NOTHING says "Christmas Spirit" like the Christmas Seal.


Are You Gooder?

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz


Get OUT!

You have to register (free) for this, but how cool!
Remember this number: 888-Do-FRUCALL. Why? Because if you are in a store and you see something that you have the urge to buy, you can call this number and get the best prices from the online stores---instantly and free! You can even buy the product over the phone! All you need to do is type in the barcode of the item (or you can use the ISBN if it's a book) on your cell, and Upcfor_frucall presto! You will get the prices quotes you are looking for, right then and there. Here's the info page to tell you how it works: frucall.

Yeah, Denise, who doesn't need a cell phone NOW?


Fascinating Fitness Fact for Friday

Oprah had Dr. Oz on her show one day this week. As a faithful 4-times-a-year Oprah viewer, I have no idea how reliable Dr. Oz is, but he did have some good things to say. I watched a few minutes of it and they were talking about weight-loss and health. He said that a) the measurement of your waist is a far more critical number than the number that the scale says and b) if you are 50 years old and have a waist measurement of 40 (for females) or 45 (males) you have the same chances of surviving the next 5 years as if you have breast or prostate cancer. That's pretty serious, folks. He said an ideal waist size is half of your height, or smaller. For instance, I'm 63" tall. My ideal waist size is 31.5" or smaller.

Another most interesting fact -- for men, every 35 pounds lost adds one inch to his pen*s. He did say that "levels off" after a while, so don't let your man think that if he loses down to 75 pounds he would be most impressive. But something to consider.

I mention all of this to "advertise" for a regular "Cleft of the Rock" feature in 2007: Fitness Fridays!


Funny Closings on Snow Day

"Blah, Blah, Blah School District has a delayed opening at 10 a.m. Parents may drop off their children at the usual time." And hope and pray that at least a janitor is there to open the door since it's 22* and probably the teachers are still trying to dig out of their own driveway.

"Essential personnel report at 7:30. Non-essential personnel report at noon." Yeah, you just waltz on in at noon and head straight for the HR office to pick up your pink slip. "You know, we realized we could save a LOT of money since you aren't really essential. Your arrival at noon indicates that you agree, so there should be no lawsuit. Happy job hunting!"

"Upstanding University will only require students who live on campus to attend classes."
Um, and will they be taught by all of the teachers who live on campus? (This, of course, would never happen in this fine upper echelon of education known as Abilene, but is actually from my childhood in Louisiana -- makes more sense, doesn't it?)

9:00 A.M. Thursday


5:30 P.M. Wednesday

Say Again?

  • Commercial on the radio right now:

"There are only two ways to get out of debt: Someone dies and leaves you a lot of money, or you earn more."

I guess that whole "spend-less-than-you-make" plan is just an illusion.

  • Ad for a new movie:

"Telling the true story of Christmas. The Nativity. Rated PG."

The true story of Christmas needs parental guidance?

  • Speaker explaining his success:

"I had faith in God, and, more importantly, God had faith in me."

Really? Faith? Hebrews tells me, "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Doesn't God see it all? Is there need for Him to have faith? This one really makes me curious. I think I understand the sentiment behind what he was saying, but it seems to be a malapropism.


I'm Still Bitter

I admit it. After 13 years, I still remember one off-hand comment. I don't try to -- it's just still there. We had just moved into our HUGE 1200 sq. ft. duplex (huge compared to our 800 sq. ft. apartment). After a few days I spent an industrious evening after work unpacking all of the kitchen. On his way to bed, I gave Troy a tour of my newly organized kitchen, "This is where the spices are, here are the cups, etc." He stared at me (noticing NONE of my wondrous organization!) with a most bemused expression on his face and finally said, "I find this all very amusing from someone who uses the kitchen 3 times a month."

Ahem. I admit it was VERY close to being accurate, but it still irritated me. So, of course, I still remember it. God love Troy, by the next morning when I was STILL mad (I know, there's that whole "Don't let the sun set on your anger" thing -- I have the hardest time with that) he had NO recollection of any of that exchange so I'm sure that 13 years will have done nothing to improve his memory.

Why can't I let this go? Why is it still on my mind? I think about it at least once a week, like I did last night. I spent over 5 minutes in search of one particular dish to put dinner in (I could have given up and used a different one, but they are all in the fridge w/ Thanksgiving leftovers that I should be throwing out, I'm sure). With every cabinet door opened and cabinet searched I got more and more irritated -- thankfully, no one was home. But, my thought 13 years later in reply is, "I cook EVERY night now -- NOW can you pay attention to where to put my dishes/ utensils?" I've mentioned it takes me a solid hour to get dinner on the table and I'm not blaming that on all of my helpers, but I do spend at least 5 minutes every night searching for SOMETHING -- can opener, garlic press, measuring spoons or cups, whatever. Between the kids each unloading the dishwasher and Troy clearing the decks, things can be in any one of 6-8 places, and no one can ever remember what they did with it, or have never seen it or touched it.

So, I figure I have these options before me:
a) Ban anyone and everyone from "helping" (a.k.a. "hiding things") in my kitchen (this option will call to Troy's mind another family member having a foot-stomping, shrieking hissy, "Get out of MY kitchen!!!")
b) Train my family to actually put things where they go.
c) Give up and consider every night of cooking dinner a grand scavenger hunt.

It's gonna have to be c).

Product Reviews

*sigh* I fell prey. Saw a cool-looking remote car for one of the younger crowd on my list. The price wasn't too bad. I got it AND the batteries, because I am a considerate gift-giver that way. Before I wrapped it, I decided to try Shannon's trick and get all of the packaging, twist-ties, cellophane tape, etc., out of the way so that play could begin immediately upon opening! Lo and behold, no packaging -- only styrofoam keeping it in place! Cool! Well, while I'm in here, may as well put the batteries in -- they'll still be good in a few weeks, right. Well, no, because it is impossible to put the batteries in while the car is turned off, and if you turn it on to put the batteries in, it runs constantly causing little bitty tire burns on the battery installer (ask me how I know this!) *sigh* One more package re-packaged and headed back to Target. For the record, it was a Kool Toyz Truck and ATV set. (Kool Toyz is a Target brand of toys *this much is true* manufactured only at Christmastime to trap unsuspecting consumers).

On a better and more local note -- I won't even try to tell you the connection to these folks, but some out-of-towners were in town and we met them for lunch. They were wanting to go to Bangkok Thai restaurant. Bangkok Thai is the hotel restaurant to a less-than-desirable-looking hotel on S. 1st. I was VERY afraid and took Zantac in my purse and had a snack on the way there in case it was horrible. It was MOST excellent, reasonably priced, and I will probably return there someday -- in broad daylight, with either my husband or a large group of people. I recommend Bangkok Thai (one of the people at our table said that Noke's has closed?).

But not Kool Toyz.


Miscellaneous Ramblings

I have had this empty box-of-Blog-post pulled up since Thanksgiving evening, I think. I have LOTS to say, just don't want to stop here long enough to say it. I do, indeed, love BooMama pointing out that she doesn't "want to be so busy writing about her life that she forgets to live it." Indeed. A danger in blog-land, no doubt.

I missed posting a list of all the things I'm thankful for -- I certainly mentioned a few when discussing my "dingy car"! Here, in no certain order, are things I had opportunity to be thankful for this week:
  • Even though it was 3:45 on the day before Thanksgiving when I realized that my kitchen sink was beyond Drano's help, the plumbers were still able to come unclog my kitchen sink during regular business hours.
  • My sweet knight-in-shining-armor husband was home to encourage me to call the plumbers so that neither of us had to live with a gross kitchen sink for 48 hours.
  • A stress-free Thanksgiving! It was so glorious and wonderful and we ate too much and had a great time.
  • Friends that welcome me into their home -- actually, their in-law's home! -- for even MORE Thanksgiving food!
  • Family that will drive to see us and stuff themselves with us!
  • Lowe's had a replacement microwave for me in stock when mine died an unexpected and relatively violent death the day after Thanksgiving.
  • I have a fabulous job that is even more fabulous now that I have been away from it for 10 days -- and still get paid the same!!!!!!! -- that allows my savings account to have room in it to call the plumber AND buy a new microwave within 48 hours.
  • Again, my precious husband was here reminding me that in the overall scheme of things, a stopped up sink and busted microwave are pretty small potatoes. But stone cold potatoes. Because we have no microwave. (It's over-the-range -- and I'm waiting on someone to install it. Please no comments. I know that between the 2 college degrees in this house we could figure out how to do it -- but we don't want to. It's MUCH more fun to just gripe about how long it's taking for the installer-guy to get here.)
So, even amidst and amongst the irritations, we had some good times. We even have all of the "holiday lighting" up that we're going to put up -- I'm pretending that my neighbors think it's really cute and whimsical the way they turn all different directions instead of being a straight-line of holiday cheer.

So, I think I've mentioned that the microwave is out? In MY terms, that means no:
  • microwave popcorn (the saddest, by far, of all of the losses -- I really may have to go to a movie theater and buy myself some already popped!)
  • Lean Cuisines
  • microwave nachos
  • last-minute defrost.
Attention: Sunday night dinner at the Stirman house has been officially canceled until further notice. Sunday night is the cook's night off and the above list is generally dinner around here. Maybe we'll spring for a Little Caesar's $5 Hot 'n Ready!


Happily Ever After

I suppose that tradition/ bloggity etiquette/ political correctness dictate that I cite November 21, 1992 as the happiest day of my life and then revel in the romance and details of that day. The deal is, there are so many flash-bulbs of happiness since that day that, while my wedding day was beautiful, fun, and all I had hoped it would be, I won't claim it as the happiest day of my life.

A confession that will sound as if I am veering down another road entirely: I would love to tell you that the moment I laid eyes on either of my children I was so overwhelmed with gushy love for them that it leaked out of my every pore -- but that is simply not true. I loved them fiercely from conception, even to the point that I believed their alien-esque features on the ultrasound to be the most beautiful alien I had ever seen. But at the moment of their birth they were simply another human that I had never met before -- a human I would have knocked your block off if you had tried to injure or take, but a stranger to me nonetheless.

In trying to delicately say this to a young mother-to-be, I told someone that, for me, being the mother of a newborn was, in some ways like being a newlywed: "Remember the day you got married and how much you loved your husband and you thought you couldn't love him anymore, but as time goes by you just love him more and more? That's how motherhood has been for me." (and I still stand by that statement -- both from the marriage and motherhood perspectives) This got tremendous guffaws from the women around me (Troy, I'll have to tell you who they were -- you'll understand! :-), "Well, sure, maybe if you're married to Troy Stirman that's how you feel ... "

Well, I am, in fact, married to Troy Stirman and it IS how I feel. There have been so many moments in my life that I have prayed that the Lord would let me always remember that PRECISE moment of happiness -- and of course I can't remember a single one right now. My life has been so blessed on so many counts and I frequently look around and can't believe this life I'm living. It's a lot less fashionable and far more budget-conscious than I may have dreamed, and covered with far more dog hair and bits of grated cheese (do they throw it into the air? do they plant it on the dog's back so that she will shake it off? do they build tiny cities with it?) but it is far more full and wonderful than I could have dreamed.

Today we have been married 14 years. We have been to tiny Thanksgiving feasts with pilgrims in construction-paper hats on our anniversary. We have sat through basketball practices on our anniversary. We have almost forgotten our anniversary when it is on a full Sunday (we pass each other in the halls at church shouting, "Oh! I almost forgot! Happy Anniversary!) It's great to have a day to remember, a day to celebrate another year, a day to have an excuse to be mushy and, in the words of Marion Cunningham, be "frisky" in front of the kids. (that makes me laugh -- thinking of me as Marion Cunningham) But there are so many other days in this marriage that I am thankful for -- all 5,110 of them!

I would do every minute of it over again -- the good, the bad, and the horribly ugly -- with Troy Stirman by my side. I am blessed.


These people have an interesting outlook on life. (*WARNING* -- NOT a family-friendly link!)


It's Beginning to look a lot like ... a science experiment

What is your most detestable job around the house? I know you're thinking something involving the bathrooms, but I HATE to clean out the refrigerator. Which is evidenced by the fact that I hardly ever do it. Which makes it 12 times worse than it has to be. I realize this, but I hate it! Yesterday I did my pre-holiday, have-to-make-room-in-the-fridge purge and toss in the refrigerator.

Say it with me now: Ew.

I tried to detach from my task and look at it with scientific observation: I wonder what decomposed food turns into THAT? hmmmmm. And under the bottom crisper drawer was quite the walk down memory lane. There was evidence of the Great Blueberry Syrup debacle of Christmas '05, as well as multiple reminders of the days when we have had homemade ranch dressing. And stored it on the top shelf. In front of the milk. That a child tried to get out...

So, after cleaning out the refrigerator and taking stock of my pantry, I evidently need to find a recipe that uses a LOT of onions, sour cream, chili powder, and sugar-free strawberry-kiwi jell-o. Suggestions?


Here's the Deal

If you know me just a little bit, you know that I am not exactly a cell-phone afficionado. My family knows that if they ever do actually call it, the chances that I have it both a)with me and b) set where I can hear it ring are slim-to-none. I want it when I want it, but I don't need another instrument to answer others' demands of me -- email and home phone seem to work just fine, thankyouverymuch!

At any rate, I marvel at the people who live constantly with a phone stuck out of their head. Or the people who have paid for the clip for their ear so that the thing can actually be stuck to their head. Amazing.

Earlier this week I drove the kids to school on one of my days off -- I couldn't believe how many women were driving around at 8 in the morning on their cell phone. Then I went to the gym. No fewer than 3 women sitting in the parking lot on their cell phone.

So I begin to scroll through my mental rolodex of people I know that would enjoy talking to me at 8 in the morning. If the kids forget their lunch or an important paper, they may enjoy a brief little visit with me at 8 in the morning, but other than that, I come up completely empty of who may want to visit with me at 8 in the morning!

The 21st century is obviously not my century.


Tired Tuesday's Thoughts

  • What is with all of us having "low neuroticism"? That is the mamby-pambiest personality test I've ever seen because everyone I know ranks way up there on the neurotic scale, with me topping the charts!
  • You simply haven't lived until you have heard a rendition of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" performed solely with 5th grade percussion and vocals. That's all I have to say about that.
  • My internet was out for about 18 hours. I survived. Barely
  • Is Thanksgiving really next week? While I have been ticking off the days until a week off of school, I am now realizing I should probably be making a grocery list, etc. My main goal in life is to NEVER be in the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas -- and I usually am. At least once.
  • Thanksgiving next week means a birthday and anniversary betwixt and between. The birthday is one of the small people in the house. Which means a party. NOT my forte' as a mother. But it will be over -- but not soon enough.
  • Late. Tired. More captivating rambling later.

Personality Profile -- whatever.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.


You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is low.
You're a pretty conservative person, and you favor what's socially acceptable.
You think that change for novelty's sake is a very bad idea.
While some may see this as boring, many see you as dependable and wise.


Suggestions, please...

Roxanne recently mailed me -- did you catch that?? MAILED, not emailed -- she had to walk into a post office and everything!! -- a CD 'specially made for ME!

Side note -- Roxanne, that is such a you thing to do. I especially love that you did your "cutting and pasting" electronically, other than the cover! Now I have something I enjoy AND I don't have to dust it!!

Anyway -- I love it, as anyone would love something 'specially made for them! I don't get to listen to all of it very often, because the kids especially love 2 tracks on there (All In This Together and Trashing the Camp) and we listen to those over and over. Riley commented the other day that he wished "Why Should I Worry" from Oliver and Company were on there. Which of course made me think of how easy it would be to make a custom CD from purchased downloads 'specially for each of my kids and what a great gift that would be. The problem is that I don't know any fun songs!

Ashley made me a list of a few songs she would like on a CD -- most of them from "High School Musical" (which is GREAT with me!)

Do you have any suggestions of songs you would put on a CD for a 9 and 11 year old? What's fun? What makes everyone want to sing along? We want to turn our house into our own "Up With People!" :-)


Works For Me Wednesday

I have already replaced the latch on my 4 year old dishwasher once and I think soon it will need it again. Recently, as I was trying to hold my mouth just right to get it to close and praying I could get it closed just this one more time so that please, please, please I could make all of the dirty dishes turn into clean dishes, I remembered a very handy trick Roxanne passed along to me when her dishwasher was out of commission.

If you're anything like me, the dishwasher is, obviously, glorious for washing dishes, but it also very neatly holds the dirty dishes UNTIL it washes them. Here's the deal -- it can still hold dirty dishes when it's broken! Better yet -- it also holds CLEAN dishes while they dry!!! Can it get any better???? Well, yeah, it could actually NOT be broken and wash the dishes, but still!

So, the system goes like this: Start, before you do anything else in the world, by calling the appliance repair man, for the love of all that is clean and sanity-saving!! Then, while waiting the obligatory 4-6 days for his 12-hour window of when he will show up, store dirty dishes in the bottom of the dishwasher. If you ever get the urge to stand over a steamy sink-full of spaghetti-chunked soapy water, then place the clean dishes on the top rack to dry. When they drip on the bottom dishes, it's like a pre-rinse! If the dishes on the bottom begin to tower precariously and scrape the top rack -- it's time to stop waiting for an urge and just get busy washing.

Obviously, the best trick of all is for the dishwasher to actually work, but when it doesn't, this Works for Me!

For more Works for Me tips, check out Shannon's blog.


Thankful Dings

My car is paid for. Troy's truck is paid for. We have become gloriously accustomed to not having a car payment, and are willing to put up with some interesting quirks of the vehicles. The one where my car will start and then die is less amusing than some, but so far it's been fairly harmless.

Last week my car developed a new quirk. Some sort of sensor has been thrown and after you start the car and all of the other dinging, etc., has gone off it will start dinging. Loudly. Five sets of five dings, with about 15 seconds between sets. It originally didn't bother me too much, but started the day before we went to Dallas last week. We have since learned that sometimes after an hour or so the car will burst forth with another 25 dings, grieving that it has been running so long without dinging. Neither Troy nor I really enjoy repetitive loud noises, but Troy really did not enjoy the new quirk of the car. So I decided that it's all in your attitude about the dings. The dings are simply our car reminding us, "I have served you well for many years. Do NOT take me for granted. Just a reminder..."

Troy didn't really appreciate this new outlook, either. I decided that the dings could be my reminder to think of 5 things I'm thankful for. I shared this new philosophy and insight on the way to church Sunday morning, shouting my idea to the kids over the dinging and Troy's yelling at the dinging. I proceeded to list things I was thankful for as the car dinged away.

I have continued to be thankful as my car dings. On my errand day and I had opportunity to be ultra-thankful as I started and stopped the car at least 5 times, giving me no fewer than 25 opportunities to be thankful (and 125 dings in my ear, if you're doing the math). That was the day that I was the bug, though. Finally, later in the evening, REALLY not happy about getting back out of the house, we all piled into the car -- minus Troy, who had other obligations. As the car began dinging, Riley asked, "Mom, what are you thankful for?" I HAD come up with 25 things earlier in the day -- but I was completely out. I wanted to shout, "NOTHING!!! I am not thankful for one darn thing in this day!!!!" Realizing that wouldn't be a very good example, I simply said, "Riley, I've got nothing."

He launches in, "I'm thankful for a warm car!!" Bless his sweet little heart. Next ding was Ashley's turn, "I'm thankful I have Expedition 56 (new group at church for 5th and 6th graders." And away we went, thankful for our wonderful, blessed lives, in our blessing of a quirky vehicle reminding us to be thankful.

We continue to be thankful with our dings. Sometimes Riley is thankful that the dings are almost over -- and that's good enough for me. If my decrepit, quirky car can be the catalyst that leads all of us to walk through life looking at the tiniest of blessings as blessings (when I leave the gym I'm thankful for a healthy body, when I leave the grocery store I am thankful for financial blessings, when I leave work I am thankful the day is over! ;-) then I need to continue my faithful relationship with John, our good and faithful mechanic. I need to keep my dinging car around for a long time.


Sometimes You're the Windshield; Sometimes You're the Bug

Remember that song by Mary Chapin Carpenter? I've been thinking about it a lot lately -- just making an observation on the ups and downs we all go through. Why is it that somedays you can fight back and believe in who you are and what you can accomplish, and other days you just feel run over by it all and believe that you and the world in general would just be better off if you stayed in bed.

For me it doesn't seem to go away on a given day, either. If I wake up on top of the world, nothing deters me or knocks me down that day. If I wake up with the world on top of ME, then I don't ever seem to be able to make it back to the top. Why is that? Granted, I have reached a certain age and stage of life where I openly admit, "I'm GROUCHY today. I will try not to grouch at you but I suggest you get out of my way!" I don't mind admitting when I can't even try to be patient and/or nice!

Maybe I need one of these:

Okay, if not one of those, how 'bout one of these:

I leave you with a Riley-joke for the day, that seems somewhat fitting considering the topic:

What do you get when you cross a Hummer and a Volkswagen?


Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up and be the windshield!


Hollywood Tape!

Gals, here is what I have learned: we all NEED this stuff:

While my cleavage for the big event looked nothing like this lady's, I did hunt down and employ some Hollywood tape to avoid too much "gappage" up top. And, looking around, there were plenty of women who could have stood to hear all about Hollywood tape for various and sundry other reasons, as well. The best use for me was MY SHOES!! I had some really fancy-schmancy strappy shoes that were so cute and strappy that at any given moment one strap or all would just fall off of my foot causing me to walk right out of my shoe. So I stuck some tape to my foot and kept my shoes on all night!

I was afraid, of course, that after I peeled my dress and my shoes off of myself and tried to get the tape off, I would be left with some terribly attractive sticky residue that would collect lint for the next week -- not at all! Hollywood tape is the way to go!

If my job required me to be involved in other people's events and/or weddings at all, I would keep a package of this stuff in my purse at all times and completely be the hero to save the day. I'm just sayin'.

For those that have wondered: the deal was great and one of the most fun one of those Troy and I have gone to in the 5 years we've been doing this. I probably didn't see your mother/uncle/ cousin/ friend from church -- there were so many stinkin' people there I saw very few people there that I know were there! I was competely over-dressed for the occasion -- black-tie optional evidently means the men need to be miserable, but the ladies can wear their work pants with a cute top -- but I don't care, it was so fun. Amy Grant was incredibly gracious as an entertainer and shared the stage with 4 year old Rivers who absolutely stole the show. Troy and I got to sit at a table with some people our age and younger -- and that NEVER happens. All in all, it was great!

More later on the rest of the trip and coming soon: the evils of the "faux pillow-top mattress" in hotels! Deliver me!


Don't you wish ...?

Don't you wish you knew what she was thinking in his arms? Don't you wish you knew what he was whispering?

I'll never tell ...

Check out more fabulous pics that Tammy took here.

We're off for a few days -- since I will be with Troy and my parents will be with my children and my house, I don't mind telling the world wide web that my husband and I are going to a fancy-schmancy event AND having about 60 whole hours to ourselves (well, minus about 7 or 8 hours that prepping for the event and being at the event will include). You know we've been married a while when the first thing I pack is my flannel pajamas and house shoes -- I know I will FREEZE all night in this dress and will want to be warm and comfy AND be able to breathe upon my return to the hotel room!

Happy weekend to all!


Works For Me Wednesday

I have mentioned that I don't generally participate in Works For Me Wednesday, but lately I have realized that I do have precious few tricks up my sleeve to make life a little easier.

Little known fact about me: I was in ballet for YEARS. Recently on Gilmore Girls, Mrs. Patty was explaining how cut-throat ballerinas can be, "They're walking around on bloody ingrown toenails and they haven't eaten in four years." I ate just fine, thankyouverymuch, but I did suffer through horrible ingrown toenails once I started on toe shoes. I had forgotten the painless trick I learned to prevent it until recently when Riley had an ingrown toenail: Simply cut a notch, or 'v', in the middle of the problem toenail. As the toenail grows, it will pull out of the sides of the toe and grow to close up the 'v'. Obviously, if the toenail is already infected, other actions need to be taken.

Okay, I know this is a fairly gross first-time-out "Works for Me" and it may not even work for you -- but it did Work For Me!

Check in at Rocks In My Dryer for other "Works for Me Wednesday" posts.


Never Satisfied

I remember through pregnancy and with newborns, I just wanted my body back -- I wanted to eat what I wanted and have it not upset my stomach or anyone else's, I wanted to not have a small person attached to me internally OR externally, I wanted one decent night's sleep. I thought that's all I wanted.

As they got older, I still wanted my body back even though it wasn't quite so involved. I wanted to not be anyone's snotty tissue or napkin for food (which was always purely accidental -- they still don't use napkins, but at least prefer to wipe on their own clothes as opposed to mine). I wanted to walk through one store without being clammy-handed from trying to keep breakage to a minimum. When I wasn't clammy-handed, I had my arms full of toddler. I wanted to sit somewhere without being crawled over, crawled on, leaned on, sat on, or slept on. I thought that's all I wanted.

I'm sure there has been a middle ground, but now? I just want my STUFF back. I want the sweatshirt I let one child wear last week that is now lost in the bowels of elementary school. I want my carpet free of smooshed up hard, red candy. Just once I would like for the paper to be on the table in it's entirity, not missing the section with the comics (although I still really like that someone other than me will go out in any weather to get the paper!) I have a ridiculous expectation that when I buy a child a pair of shoes for church that for at least two weeks in a row, both of them will be able to be located. I would like a guest bathroom that doesn't have a floating, expandable brain floating in one of the sinks. For now, I think that's all I want -- my stuff back.

I'm sure in a few short years I will still want my stuff back, but it will be bigger stuff -- my car, my furniture that is slowly disappearing into a college apartment, my life-savings that is slowly disappearing into college tuition.

Then, I will want my heart back. Because eventually they will pack that up and move out with it, as well. And I will be left with my own body and all of my stuff (much worse for the wear, but it will be here). And I will want my heart back.


Sliced Bread does NOT even compare!!!

Seriously, you wouldn't believe what an issue the whole pencil thing is in 2nd grade. I love to tell my class that 2nd grade is the year to make mistakes and learn from them and that's why we have erasers, but the pencils! Neither Kendra nor I can stand the incessant "whirr/grind" of our electric pencil sharpener (especially since the kids just stand there and watch their pencil spin in circles and nothing gets sharpened) so we have a time to sharpen (8:00-8:15 or 3:00-3:15) and we have a "sharpened pencil bucket" for the kids to trade out pencils when theirs is broken. The perfect solution, right? Except out of 22 kids, at least 5 have a pencil obsession and spend what seems like HOURS standing at the "sharpened bucket" surveying each pencil point and rating it for sharpness and effectiveness. Then, the "sharpened bucket" becomes the 2nd grade equivalent of the office water cooler. Lots of deals and play dates have been made and broken at the sharpened bucket, I feel certain. And, of course, in every spelling test at least 5 pencil leads get broken necessitating a trade. It is just an ORDEAL and it really shouldn't be. It's a pencil, for crying out loud.

Yesterday, I was introduced to these:

Can you hear it?

"The Hallelujah Chorus" while the spotlight from the heavens shines on these "Never Need to be Sharpened Pencils"? I saw these back in August, but thought, "For almost $1/pencil, I don't mind walking to the sharpener!!" Oh, my sad little naive self!! Now I know, now I know the GLORY of the never-need-to-be-sharpened pencils!!! I, also, thought it was another mechanical pencil -- the click, click, SNAP(new, too long lead breaking) of a mechanical pencil.

No, these babies are LIQUID GRAPHITE!! Are you with me? They are ball-point pens with graphite as the ink. My first question is: Why didn't someone (like a 2nd grade teacher) think of this sooner???? (and, yes, to my standardized-test-grade-level teacher friends they are Number 2 lead!!!) I have now bought almost a class set (it IS the end of the month, you know) and every child in room 24 will have one (until they lose it or their neighbor steals it) and it will be a beautiful day. I shall flit about like Snow White while the butterflies arrange the sash of my dress as the children ever-so-dilligently work with their liquid graphite pencils while the birdies sing on the window sill. I can't wait.


Long Overdue

I am a fairly political person, but greatly avoid the topic here. I'm okay with our differences, but I'm not sure YOU'RE okay with our differences. And, I'm a pathetic person who really wants you to like me, so I avoid treading on controversial ground.

But there's one deal that evidently WILL NOT DIE that I have to address.

Does Freedom of Speech -- guaranteed by our constitution -- mean that I am free from the CONSEQUENCES of my speech?

Let's create a hypothetical situation: I, as a public school teacher in West Texas, publicly (in an editorial to the paper, let's say) make disparaging remarks about the entire race of Hispanics. Because of that, several things could happen:
  • LULAC would probably take some sort of legal action.
  • The parents of Hispanic children in my classroom would revolt and see to it that I lost my job.
  • Less "proper" things than legal proceedings may take place: threats of violence to me or my family, people in town that don't want me in their business, etc.
Has my freedom of speech been violated? NO.
Have I suffered the consequences of my speech? Absolutely -- and rightfully so.

Now let's imagine that I'm a more public figure, and depend on the sales of things I make for my livelihood. As such a figure, I make comments during a time of war about how embarrassed I am to be from the same place as the president while I'm on foreign soil. Several things might happen:
  • Groups of people refuse to buy the things I make.
  • Other groups of people refuse to showcase the things I make.
  • Some less "proper" shows of boycott take place, such as threats of violence.
Has my freedom of speech been violated? NO.
Have I suffered the consequences of my speech? Absolutely.

Freedom of speech means that the government cannot censor what you say or punish you for your speech. It doesn't mean that your speech won't have any consequences. That is the absolute beauty of our free market system. My dollars get to tell you if I like your product or not. And, if you choose to put yourself out there and attach your politics, morals, or kids' pictures to your product, I get to tell you if I like THOSE, as well. If I decide not to give you my dollars because I don't like something you've said, that isn't violating your free speech -- it's our market system at work! And it is glorious.

And, if the consequences of my speech cause me to lose much income -- as in losing my job -- if I'm REALLY smart, I will make a documentary whining about how my free speech was violated by people not buying my things so as to recoup that money. And all of the people who have bemoaned my injustice can go see it and support me!

Thank you for this little venue to get that off my chest. Feel free to disagree with me. And, if you choose to stop liking me for my political post, well, I guess I have suffered the consequences of my speech!


On My Mind

A week or two ago on my way to work I was quite heavy-hearted. I wasn't really dreading going to work, but it was that heavy feeling knowing that those 3 minutes were the last moments of silence, solitude, and introspection for the next 8-10 hours (reminder to self: If silence, solitude, and introspection are things you cherish, you may want to reconsider the whole teacher and/or motherhood thing.)

So I began praying for the Lord to change my heart and as I began, I said, "I know you led me to this job and it is what You would have me be doing right now." I really got stuck on that and almost had to stop the car so that I could fall to my knees in worship.

God, the Lord of creation, the Holy of Holies, the Savior of my soul, the God Who Sees Me, (and on and on) has something for me to do. That thought alone is almost unbearably overwhelming to me.

He hand-picked a task for me that Thursday -- that very mundane, nothing Thursday He wanted me to hug the most trying of the children, be firm with those that need it and be the embodiment of His Spirit by showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in room 24.

I thought of Him handing me this task and saying, "Sarah, here's what I have for you today." Who am I to grumble and complain about a task the Lord has handed me? I have tried to have that same mindset carry over to my home -- for that is the foremost task the Lord would have me do. And, yes, the awful and mundane are all part of that task that the Lord has for me.

I would love to tell you that my new attitude/ mindset made that day go extremely smoothly. There really is no such thing in room 24. There were tears, tummy aches, hurt feelings and frustrations -- for me as well as the students. But at my most frustrated, I could say to myself, "This is what the Lord would have you do today. Are you up to it?" Well, how can I NOT be?

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:23


Which Sports Car Are You?

I'm a Porsche 911!

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win. Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite,and you know it.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.


Or Just Maybe ...

Maybe there's a blog-vacuum of thought out there. I HATE being on a bandwagon of any sort, but I do take comfort that I'm not alone in this loss of bloggity material.

Check out Shannon.

Check out Supermom.

What happened to Elizabeth?

I vividly remember Vann saying, "Blogging is SO 2005!" Is the age of blogging over? Have we finally all said all we possibly have to say? Not that having nothing to say has ever kept me from saying anything.


Because I have Nothing Else to Do ...

Okay, I have plenty else I could be doing (laundry, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, planning) but nothing that I HAVE to do so here I sit. It's been a while, I know. Thing is, I'm out. Out of great blog material.

I KNOW!! I have 2 perfectly healthy, hilarious children AND teach 22 2nd graders full of stories themselves. But I've got nothing.

You know all there is to know about me, and then some, I'm sure.

If I were to tell you what is happening in my life, well, be sure to set an alarm somewhere in your house. It's not too captivating, I assure you.

Highlights for those of you that read this for family news:
  • ACU Homecoming is this weekend. Reunion year (15) for Troy and me. So we'll do carnival and chemistry circus (explosions! yay!) tonight, Riley will run the McMurry 5k tomorrow before the ACU parade, then homecoming chapel, then lunch, then football game. I may go to a wedding while the fam does football -- ACU is 5-0 so far!! Then the reunion dinner. We're gloriously un-obligated this weekend, so not spread as thin as usual.
  • In two weeks Troy and I have a "Black Tie" Dinner to go to. Je-hosaphat -- I FINALLY found a dress, but this is a very time-consuming affair to get so gussied. I am going to have Tammy take our pictures with me in my dress (I thought Troy would have his tux --he won't-- but we'll work around it). I'll tell you the story behind the dress when I can post a pic.
  • Kids especially trying right now (my own, not my class -- although they have their moments, as well!) I will try to continue to be their best advocate even as I post about how crazy they are driving me, so no specifics, but we are definitely in a phase of testing and trying independence and how much one can get away with.
One last funny story before I close my Blog of Nothing:

Earlier this week Riley was trying to read the menu I had written on our calendar for the week. Between the cursive and my messy handwriting, he turned "Crock Beef" into "Crock Barf". It was supposed to be a recipe I was going to try (I try to make every Thursday Crock-Pot night because I am so worn out by Thursday night) called Crock Beef and Pepper Stew. We joked about it all week, "Mark your calendars!! Crock Barf on Thursday!" "Don't eat a big lunch! Crock Barf is tonight!" Well, guess what -- it looked AWFUL. The recipe (for STEW, mind you) only called for 1/2 cup of liquid which was long gone after all day in the crock pot, so it was burned and dry. So, it was Little Caesar's $5 pizza for us and Crock Barf for Duchess, who thoroughly enjoyed it. We decided everyone wins with Crock Barf.


Today's Trivia

So last week in 2nd grade we were looking at our Weekly Readers and talking about the kids being out of school today (Monday, 10/9) for Columbus Day. At this point, I have no idea what Columbus Day actually commemorates. Anyone? Anyone? I didn't know if it was Columbus' birthday (like President's Day and MLK day) or when he first landed here, and somewhere in the fuzziness of my brain, I thought it may be when land was first spotted from one of the three ships.

Here is what I have found.

You may resume your usual blogging.


Weekend Reflection

I generally don't participate in much of Bloggityville's day-specific assignments. Menu-Plan Monday is a great idea, but I plan on Tuesdays so that I can shop on Wednesday. Tackle-It Tuesday? Also a great idea, but since Tuesday is a work day for me, all I am able to tackle is getting out the door in the morning and then dinner on the table at night. Wordless Wednesday OR Works-for-Me Wednesday ... we all remember how I did with my own Wordless Wednesday, and not much Works-for-Me, so I don't post. Thursday Thirteen? Again, a work day, and I would probably only find 13 things that irritate me by the time I got to post. And, Flashback Friday -- I'm just trying to make it on THIS Friday, I don't need to re-visit any other Fridays!

But I love what Judi at Mommy of Two is doing for the weekends: Weekend Reflection. And, darn, if I didn't just see this is for SATURDAYS, not Sundays. Okay, so I'm off to a bad start on the whole "Following Directions" thing. But the task is to: look back over the week and really think about what has happened in your lives. Then, list at least three things (more if you like) that were positive in your life that week.

I love that because my Saturdays I usually use for rest and catching up, then Sundays I am already working on the next week. I rarely stop and look back and see what has gone well for the previous week. With no further introduction:

** Troy was here all week. I know that seems like a little thing, but it makes the week so much nicer when he's not traveling. Sometimes it's the little errands -- "Can you pick up sour cream on your way home?" -- but mostly it's just that he's here.

** I have been fairly consistent in my Bible reading!! God really blessed me with His energy and discipline this week and I think I read every day (of course, I'm still behind, but no more behind than I was a week ago!!)

** It was a glorious "typical" week. We could eat dinner together in the evenings, spend time together, and be with each other. Very few evening obligations!

Feel free to play along, and catch others' weekend reflections at Mommy of Two.


Good Question!!

So, as you have noticed by my lack of blogging, my brain is very full of nothingness lately. So full of nothingness, in fact, that the nothingness spills over and turns into nothing being posted on this blog. No apologies, simple fact.

But, Mel at Unretouched Photo invited (crazily enough) her readers to ask her any question about herself they care to.

Um, no, I do not plan to do that here. Actually, you can always ask, but don't hold your breath waiting for much besides "None of your business!!!" But I noticed she got a fascinating question, then I noticed that it was one of my very own faithful readers, Ginger (Ginger used to be faithful when I actually posted thought-provoking posts or even funny posts -- by now I'm sure she has fallen asleep at her keyboard waiting for anything from me -- someone wake her up and tell her she has the imprint of the 'backspace' key on her cheek!)

So Ginger asked Mel: What Bible story disturbs/irks you the most, and why?

Isn't that a fascinating question that would prove great insight into the respondent? Mel's reply was:

Tough question . . . probably the story of Abraham and Isaac. I think I understand the point of the story, but it’s a difficult one for people unfamiliar with theology to comprehend. The story makes God look irrational and cruel, although I believe He is neither.

I chose a different story, but for the same reason: Job.

My "Sarah's paraphrase" of Job 1 and 2:

Job is faithful and loves God with everything he has. One day Satan is wandering the earth (and 1 Peter tells us he does that "looking for souls to devour"). God notices his wandering and says, "Have you considered my servant, Job?"

Let's stop right there. Are you kidding me? Lord, if I am faithful in all my life, please do not reward me by pointing me out to Satan!! Let's keep my faithfulness between You and me, how 'bout?

So Satan says, "Yeah, but he's only faithful because you've given him such a cushy life."

God responds (again, in Sarah's paraphrase), "Bring it on."

Yep, that one disturbs me the most. What about you?

What Bible story disturbs/irks you the most, and why?


Big News

Sadly, my husband and I get very excited over the littlest things. He shared with me something today that I was just about to post here. Then I noticed that his blog has been updated -- with the exact thing I was going to post. Truly, I am almost in tears this makes me so happy. Check it out -- and, for extra irritation, be sure and read his previous post (I said we get excited over the same things -- I didn't say we think alike!)


Did Jesus Contradict Himself?

Matthew 5:16: "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Matthew 6:1: "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

Is there a difference in "good deeds" and "acts of righteousness"? If so, is there a listing of which is which? Any of you out there with knowledge of the "original greek", feel free to tell me what's going on here!


Random Thoughts for Today

  • Teaching has greatly lowered my Diet Coke standards: three months ago I would REALLY rather not drink it from a can, and NEVER drink any Diet Coke that isn't ice cold. I catch myself guzzling warm Diet Coke from a can like a pathetic addict. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
  • Heard a most unfortunate pronunciation of "Shiite" today on the news. Let's be careful out there.
  • If the entirity of the grocery store where you shop is being re-stocked and re-arranged (like they seem to do every 3 months to keep you wandering the aisles looking for what you need), what are the odds that the one item on an aisle that you need is directly under the belly of a re-stocker? In my case, 100%.
  • My trip to the West Texas Fair and Rodeo 2 weeks ago gave me renewed commitment to do SOMETHING about childhood obesity. It absolutely breaks my heart. Now if I only knew what that something was ...
  • What's the deal with sizes? Who's regulating that, anyway? Kirstie Alley? She's always a size 10, no matter what she weighs? It is ridiculous!


Are You Impulsive?

You Are 32% Impulsive

You're a pretty stable and serious person. You don't take things lightly.
This doesn't mean you can't have fun - you just have fun responsibly.
You definitely have a spontaneous side, but you only let loose when it's appropriate.


"This is it! I have found it!"

Take one exhausted, hungry me.

Put me in a room where you promise that soon you will feed me to my heart's content -- as long as it is fried, laden with grease, or fried AND laden with grease. Fill the room to the ceiling with knick-knacks, gee-gaws, clothing and toys. If it isn't breakable, it makes noise. Add enough people to fill every available pathway, walkway, or breathing space. Mix in my own children to run past the breakable items on their way to make noise with the noise-making toys while complaining of how faint they are with their own hunger. Throw in other people's children to make noise with anything that my children aren't making noise with -- the pens with the cymbals on top, the toy accordion, or the "Chicken Dance" squawking chicken.

Welcome to my own personal hell. You may know it as "Cracker Barrel."


Lectureship 2006

Some pics from the week. They are in completely backwards order because I am too tired to fight with blogger about where my pictures land. Before our Coffee Group presentation we all had our toes done -- and got coffee cups on them. Some of them look more like coffee cups than others, but no one coveted. We're that way. I won't bore you OR quiz you to have you identify whose feet are whose, but I cracked myself up that -- even if I had not been present for that picture -- I think I would have been able to identify all of the feet. Denise, I guess introducing Tammy when it was Denise's day to be our hostess.
Denise, are you already driving? Where are you going? Was there a plane landing in Fulks Theatre?

WHO is that handsome HIP singer from Tuesday night?

I think I must be introducing someone.

Donna's talk was about her shoes -- she will be mortified to know she is on the WORLD wide web in a picture of them, but I think she's looking pretty happenin'!

Denise, just driving her own life. She's lost, but she's in control!

Listening to Tammy -- how do my nails look? :-)
I was "hostess for the day" this day. It's the closest I come to actually having coffee group at my house, is pretending that I do and pouring "coffee" (nasty ol' tap water, according to Denise) into our cute coffee cups.

I can't believe that Lectureship is over, and it was exhausting and SO much fun. I LOVE to encourage women -- one-on-one, in a small group, or large lecture situation -- to have an intimate relationship with our Lord and to remind them of how rich and full a life walking with Him is. I think it's just one example of His love and blessings that He is allowing me to do that while I spend time with godly women who encourage me. Sometimes I can't believe how blessed I am. Girls, I had a great time with you!


It's FRIDAY!!!

After this week, I have certainly earned a Friday. AND what a Friday it was!

Let's recap, shall we?
  • Field trip that included taking 20 2nd graders (2 were absent) ON A BUS to the local high school.
  • Field trip caused me to miss my conference time -- the only time in the day that I can potty and think.
  • 2 children were crying before we ever left that their stomach hurt and they were going to throw up.
  • Another child has some sort of bowel condition (you don't want details, I promise) and on occasion must go to the restroom every 47 seconds. Today was one of those occasions.
  • Grabbed (actually stole b/c I forgot to find someone to give my quarter to) a sack of PTA popcorn for my lunch so that I could go buy popsicles for science since I was on a field trip in my conference time. Had less time than usual for lunch b/c I had to go BACK to the classroom (feels like a half-mile!) to get a child who was doing who-knows-what but not coming with us to lunch.
  • Lunch at 3:30.
  • One child finally throwing up -- at least having the courtesy to be in the grass between our classroom and the playground.
  • A phone call from a parent (I have GOT to leave the classroom earlier!)
  • Numerous other excitements associated with teaching 2nd grade.
Don't you wish you could trade places with me?

My day also included The Moment. Returning from lunch, I told the kids they could spend a few moments coloring the paper the counselor left for them during their guidance lesson. As I finished speaking, a thought flashed across S's face. S has been a challenge for me -- she's a jack-in-the-box with no volume control (it's all "outside voice"), only hears directions that are given 7 inches from her face, and never puts her name on any work. But she's a cute doodle-bug and ANY thought or emotion that goes through her mind also goes across her face -- happy, sad, frustrated, or angry, it's all there. So a smile passes her face and her hand SHOOTS in the air. I call on her. "Yes?"
"I love you," was the reply -- ever-so-matter-of-fact.
I was so completely blown away that it wasn't until about an hour later that I realized: SHE RAISED HER HAND, TOO!!! Bless her punkin' heart!

Don't you wish you could trade places with me?

Well, ya' can't! I'm enjoying being me entirely too much! Happy weekend to all!


The Weather Today ....

The weather today is SOOOOOO awesome ...

(How awesome IS it? -- what is that from?)

I walked my dog and didn't even wear my heart rate monitor. Just lolly-gagged around praising the Lord for the weather!

I was trying to post more pics from lectureship today, but blogger ... 'nuff said.

My word for the week:


So as we (we, being Coffee Group) are preparing to talk at Fulks Theater, we have to turn off the "house lights" and dim the vomitory lights. That's what it says on the label. This has caused great curiosity among the coffee group, but mostly among me because I can't hear a word like that and NOT get to the bottom of it. says:
vom·i·to·ry (vŏm'ĭ-tôr'ē, -tōr'ē) pronunciation

Inducing vomiting; vomitive.

n., pl. -ries.
  1. Something that induces vomiting.
  2. An aperture through which matter is discharged.
  3. One of the tunnellike passages of an amphitheater or stadium between the seats and the outside wall or passageway.
I think definition number 2 is what makes definition 3 -- you and I are evidently "matter" discharged from an amphitheater or stadium when we leave via the vomitory.

Now you are enlightened, and probably a little grossed out.


Pics of the Day

I wanted to post some pics from Coffee Group today. First, however, I would like to mention that even when we are all 5 TRYING to have our picture made it is VERY difficult to get a good picture of five people. I submit this photo as evidence:

I LOVE this picture of Tammy -- she looks as enraptured and excited as she truly was today. I, on the other hand, look like I'm afraid her coffee cup is going to crawl away, or I may lay my head down and have a nap (this is one of the only pictures with my eyes open, so that must have been a danger).

I must be VERY captivating!

Donna welcomes the crowd, Denise wipes her brow!

I HATE this picture of me, (yes, Denise, with the flaming white-hot passion of 1,000 suns) BUT -- I HAD to let you all see that whether or not I had anything of value to say or not, my nails looked GREAT!

THIS is my favorite picture, because this is what it's all about -- lots and lots of laughter.


Happy Birthday to Me!

So, today I' m 37 and you know what? I think I like 37. I feel pretty good about life all the way around. Not bad. I think for my birthday you need to make a comment and tell me what you like to read most when you stop by "The Cleft of the Rock". I'm not saying it will have any effect on future blogging, but it's always good to know!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday the Coffee Group debuts at ACU lectureship. If you're around, come here us. I promise you a good time! We're at 9:45 in the Fulks Theater.

Just a personal note to some faithful readers/ prayer warriors: Many of you have mentioned that you have been praying for me, personally, as well as all of the Coffee Group as we speak this week. I really want to thank each of you for the prayers and encouraging words. God has given me a peace about this week. Continue to pray that He be glorified!
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