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?
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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?
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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!
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