Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pay It Forward

It has been WAY TOO LONG since I have taken time to post anything here. I still check in on my favorite blogs (you can bet that if you've commented here or seen a comment from me I've lurked on your blog for the last few months). I'd say I was sorry for not posting more and for neglecting the blogging world without so much as a "see ya later", but that would not be completely honest. I've been crazy busy finishing my last semester of classes and even though I've done well, other things have taken priority to posting.

My marriage has taken some pretty big hits and I have a difficult time being positive. So rather than pretending to be up beat and joyously looking for God's hand and searching for "His plan" in all this. I've been silent. Who knows maybe I've been away for too long and no one even looks here any more. I can't say I'd blame anyone. C'est La Vie!

So what has brought me back to post, you may ask. The answer to that question is - Lizzy, at http://icecreamdiary.blogspot.com/ She has been the catalyst to my resurrection. Several weeks ago she named me as a recipient of her "pay it forward". A couple of days ago I received her gift in the mail. See the beautiful earrings and necklace? Isn't she just wonderful?

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you my fellow Ice Cream obsesser. I love them!


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Since she chose me for this gift I've tried to think of something I could pass on to someone else. I think the general idea is to "Make" something. I used to be pretty creative but those creative juices have not been flowing very well. And I've got a couple of vague ideas. I'll put them to work this week and see if I can make something that I wouldn't be embarrased to pass on. Wish me luck.

P.S. If anyone is still out there after my extended absence, let me know. 'Cause I'll soon have three gifts to pass on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prop 8

Today while checking my e-mail I received these wonderful words. I have copied and pasted its content below. I stand on the side of what is right, moral and with that which is in line with the true nature of joy and happiness. To me it is obvious "whose plan" is being followed.


Subj: Prop 8 in California

I thought this needed to be read by everyone.
Prop 8 is the Amendment to protect marriage in California. The Mormons (LDS) were targeted because of their stand as a Church and as members of the LDS Church. The Temples in California were defaced by vulgar sayings painted on the property. Mormon Members trying to go into the Temple, were yelled at with quite allot of vulgarity, their cars hit and threats on their lives. The homes and property of those with a signs of support of Prop. 8 in their yard were vandalized. Emails were sent out by the opponents of Prop. 8 with a list of Mormons who had sent at least $1000.00 to help with the campaign to keep marriage between a man and a woman. The emails requested any dirt that could be found on the donors on this list returned to the opponents so they could use it to smear the reputations of that person. This is indeed a set back to religious freedom in America.
I thank John Schroder for his comments and hope we can all stand beside and support those who stand up against evil, regardless of their religion or skin color.
Dena

You might enjoy this article by John Schroeder who is a well known Evangelical writer and blogger. He writes his feelings in this article (from his Article 6 Blog) on the Mormons, Prop 8.
What A Long Strange Trip It's Been Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:09 am, November 6th 2008

Proposition 8 is now a part of the California constitution! That is probably the best news from an otherwise difficult election for conservatives and Republicans. In very large part, we Evangelicals must thank our Mormon cousins for that fact. They, along with our Catholic brethren, were better organized than us and that provided a base fromwhich we could ALL work together to get this job done. What more, as we have chronicled here, Mormons took the brunt of the abuse, derision, and even threats of physical harm that came with this effort.And like us, they have given thanks to the Almighty that is ultimately in control, even if their understanding of that Almighty is a bit different than ours. I cannot help but wonder how much more thankful we ALL might be today if we had been more willing to embrace these religious cousins a few months ago - but alas, politics is always about governing today and looking forward to the next election.
Said John Mark Reynolds: In the battle for the family, however, traditional Christians have no better friends than the Mormon faithful. It would be wrong if that support were taken for granted. We are intolerant of the false attacks on Mormon faith and family. We stand with our Mormon friends in their right to express their views on the public square. We celebrate the areas,such as family values, where we agree. A heart felt thank you may not win points from other friends who demand one hundred percent agreement from their allies, but it is thedecent and proper thing to do. Thank you to our Mormon friends and allies!Hard to do better than that. The "Ruth Youth" ministry proclaimed yesterday "International Mormon Appreciation Day." Very appropriate, yet still inadequate.In addition to our thanks, Mormons deserve our protection. They have been oppressed in ways during the Prop 8 campaign that this nation has not seen since the 1960's and the civil rights movement. The rhetoric has been deplorable, but moreover. we have seen instances of vandalism, property destruction, and some leaders in the fight currently findthemselves with armed protection because of the threats made against them and their families. Our nation will not and cannot tolerate this sort of behavior - it is incumbent on all of us to stand against it, and the best way to do that is to stand between the Mormons and the forces that would perpetrate such evil.Now I am sure the Mormons can, and probably want, to take care of themselves, but as a Christian, it is my duty to protect the innocent and free the oppressed. To turn a blind eye in this circumstance is not only ungracious, it is simply unChristian.Make all the theological distinctions you want, but in the political arena we are yoked with the Mormons (he said borrowing some religious imagery) and it is darn well time we started acting like it. Absolutely, positively thank the Mormons - but don't stop there. Stand up and be counted against the evil that has been perpetrated towards them in this campaign. As Christians we can do no less.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nick

This is our dog, Nick.
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I was thinking this morning. I'm really glad to have a dog, especially this one. He's a really great dog. He obeys better than my kids do. He knows his place in the family -dead last- and he's great with that. I don't have to cook for him (which I hate). I don't have to drive him around or ferry his friends to and from footballs games, practices, etc. I've never had to wait up at night for him to come home. He doesn't mind being chained up in the back yard, in fact he sits there nicely waiting for you to fasten the chain to his collar. He barks only when he's excited and never talks back. When he wants something he'll put his head on my lap and then lead me to the back door or his food dish. His needs are clear, simple and easy to accommodate. When I come home he greets me with enthusiasm and excitement. Some days he's the most friendly face I see. When I talk he listens and doesn't tell me what to do. He trusts that I can take care of things.

So what if he stinks a bit (sometimes a lot). So what if there is dog hair ALL OVER the floor, the couch, the chair, clogging the vacuum, etc. So what if his food attracts ants. So what if there is dog slobber on my back door. So what if he won't leave Charissa's dog, Ginger, alone (he's a boy dog, she's a girl dog, it's what dogs do). So what.


I like my dog. But EVEN BETTER he likes me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Pictures

Autumn is my favorite season. I've used fall colors to decorate my house (mostly). I decided a couple of years ago that for my lil'darlin's yearly photos I'd take them myself with the Autumn leaves as a background. Well, I done did it this evening. I think they are awesome!




Sugar


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Sunshine


Sweetheart


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Superstar

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Smile Award - FINALLY!

About two months ago I was given a smile award by my blogger hero, Becky, at abbastories. I was, and still am, code illiterate. This blogging stuff is fun and the more I do it the more I become aware that the links, and cropping, and code, and formats and etc, etc. is way more than I know or want to take the time to learn. So in August when she gave me the award I thanked her and said that when I figured out how to link I would post the award and follow the rules. Well, I still don't know if I've figured it out but I'm gonna make an attempt at it. So here goes!





The Smile Award Rules:

1. You must link back to the award's creator. (I'm not sure how to do this so here's the link - I think?)
2. Post these rules.
3. Choose 5 people to pass this award along to.
4. Fit the award recipient characteristics posted by the award's creator.
5. Post the recipient characteristics.
6. Create a post sharing your win with others.
7. Thank your giver.

The Smile Award Recipient Characteristics:

1. Must be known for a cheerful attitude
2. Must love one another
3. Must make mistakes
4. Must learn from others
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world
6. Must love life
7. Must love kids

I lovingly bestow this award on the following qualified recipients:

1. Kristen at Just Breathe
2. Angie at Leaping thru Life
3. Lisa at A Backstage Pass
4. The Narrator at Stories For Us
5. Tammy at Time Flies

Thank you, my blogisphere friends, for bringing smiles to me! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Questions from my Cousin

Some time ago a cousin of mine posed a very good question. Because her blog is private, only open to those she invites, I have (with her permission) posted some of it here. I invite you to ponder her point, see what you think and respond.

Here are her words:
Think of any family that has all of their children grown up for the most part. Is it me, or does practically any family you think of have at least one child who has strayed or who is struggling in some way? Why is that? Especially when you're talking about some of the strongest families in your church growing up, or family members (close or extended) that you love dearly, that all have some of the most awesome parents ever. Despite parents providing a perfect loving home, centered around Christ, they still always seem to lose at least one child in some way. Sometimes this loss is just temporary and the child overcomes their struggles and comes back. But this seems to be very rare.

It makes me a little disheartened as I'm trying to raise my young family. Sometimes I look at my children and actually have the thought come to my mind, "Which one of these sweet spirits is going to go astray?" "Which one of these sweet spirits is going to cause me heartache beyond compare?" Because it seems like the odds are against me - that no matter how well I try and raise them, the fact remains that they have their own agency. Yet we have been promised such things as, "Teach a child in the way they should go and they will not depart from it" and other promises such as how children who have gone astray will come back to parents who have lived righteously, etc. But how can they make such promises when all the families I think about, usually aren't getting those "promised blessings"? I mean even look at the scriptures. All of those families always had children go astray as well: Abraham and Ishmael, Adam had Cain, etc - but there's very few stories where the "lost" children come back - and these are prophets we're talking about! In general, the parents die believing their children are "lost". Then my mind goes to Heavenly Father - even he "lost" many children. Is that why we must all suffer the same type of pain and anguish - is that part of our "growing" process here on Earth to help make us more Christ-like?

I'm really quite disturbed by it all. I'm not going to lie. The thought of any of my children going off into evil or destructive paths breaks my heart already. The thought alone brings tears to my eyes and makes me feel like there is no way I can endure such heartache later on in my life. I would really like some insight and advice about this topic. My heart is quite troubled whenever I think about this subject and my heart breaks for all those mothers out there who are dealing with this issue. Every time I hear of someone else I know who has "left the fold" so to speak, my heart sinks. Not that I'm totally living the way I should and feel like I'm better than anyone else, Quite the contrary. But just watching the heartache it causes those families, just tears me up inside. Is there no way of caging up my children and keeping them close by me forever? Maybe the compounds in Texas have the right idea (minus the abuse and polygamy)!


This was my comment back to her, but I anxiously await to see yours as well.
This is definitely a topic that hits way too close to my heart. Also, I've really liked reading what everyone else has said. I have a couple of things to add:
First, We kept our first estate, chose Father's plan. That plan, whose central elements are agency and the atonement of Jesus Christ, is simple in that respect. However, I think, that His plan is far more complex and individual to each of His children. I think that His plan includes distinct plans for us, individually. He has and does prepare the path for every person to come unto Him. That is why the atonement is universal and personal at the same time.

The second thing I have to add is that we were never intended to get through our second estate without coming to completely rely on Heavenly Father. I know that as I have struggled with those who have "fallen" I have come to see my own weaknesses, the places that I thought I was enough without Him and the ways I have come to rely more and more on my Savior and my Father. I think that the anguish of seeing those we love "fall" is part of the plan that shows us (those who think we are not "fallen") how much we truly need the atonement and our complete dependence upon God.

Lastly, I am constantly reminding myself that it was His plan I chose and still choose, NOT my plan. I often try to think that my plan and His plan are the same. Thankfully, they are NOT.

I would love to see your thoughts....Please share!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Unfinished Paper

I have become VERY lax at posting things regularlly...sorry...I'm crazy busy with school stuff. Actually I have a paper due in a few hours. I don't want to do it, I'm feeling a bit discouraged, and instead of finishing it I'm posting here....

This paper (I'm supposed to be finishing) is comparing curriculum guides from the school district's standards with the state standards and national standards for science. I chose 5th grade. The crazy thing is that I'm comparing a 7 page document (district science standards), a 5 page document (state science standards) and a 265 page book (national science standards). I just don't want to do it. It makes me aware of the immense expectations, and I don't know how reality, resources, time, and large class size can make possible.

Too much the focus for education (because of NCLB) has become reading and math skills. The pressure and consequences have caused many schools to neglect science education or to give it only a few minutes each week. How can I give my students all that I know they need and deserve?

My instructor has shown us teaching methods and tools (kits) that incorporate science into other content areas. These kits have been shown to give depth in science understanding and also to increase student achievement in math, reading and literary arts. BUT, the local school districts, which used to use them, have abandoned them for the sales pitch of a text book.

What the heck? How can anyone REALLY teach science from a BOOK?

So anyway...my paper is going to be late....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Cool Mom Moment

Last night my girls and I made a necessary trip to Target. SUNSHINE was way past due needing a new bra or two, SUGAR needed long pants (minus torn knees) and SWEETHEART was hunting for PJ's. While they waited for me to finish some homework before we went, SUNSHINE laid down and had to be woken up to go. She was groggy and moody as we all got into the car. SUGAR (10 yrs old) was hyped up and excited. The contrast between their two moods collided like big horn sheep biding for superiority. Neither backed down and each was pushing the other's buttons relentlessly. The drive to Target was not fun. Trying to play referee and drive was unsuccessful. I resorted to repeatedly calling back, "Be nice!" "Be nice!", "Girls! That's enough, please, be kind."

When we got to the store the two older girls took off in one direction and SUGAR and I beelined for the girls section. We crossed paths several times at the dressing rooms. At one point as we were all leaving the dressing area back for another attempt at new sizes and styles I heard, just behind me, SUNSHINE say, "I'm sorry for being such a jerk." Then SUGAR responded, "It's OK I was being pretty annoying." In shock and disbelief I looked back to see them walking each with their arms around the other. It was about all I could do to keep walking and not burst with pride and announce to the whole store what an amazing thing had just occurred. Each girl accepted her part of the earlier head butting, apologized and forgave.

OH WOW!

I got a glimpse of how God must feel when we make amends to each other bringing us closer to Him and removing barriers that draw us, His children, to one another.

VERY, Very, very cool mom moment!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

SUPERSTAR's First Official Date

Last night was one of those very cool mom moments.

A few weeks ago SUPERSTAR announced that he intended to go to his school's homecoming dance. He told me who he wanted to ask. I'd not heard him mention her name before and wondered, of the other girls I'd heard him talk about, why this one. So I asked a few questions; "Is she nice? Is she cute? Is she smart? Is she fun? Does she play sports?(important to him) To each of these questions he answered affirmatively.

He toyed with several different ideas to use to ask her to the dance. You know, all the creative silly things teens do. I offered up my own suggestions-to which his response was a polite "you're so lame" (not really but he didn't like my suggestions). He found several ideas on the web. As DARLING HUSBAND and I were looking over his shoulder I saw one that was SO DANG cute and romantic. He was ready to dismiss it out of hand until DAD suggested that his MOM knew a bit about what girls like.

The idea involved going to her house, leaving a note on the door step and a trail of rose petals leading around to the side of the house. The note would tell her to follow the trail of petals. SUPERSTAR would be standing around the corner of the house with a dozen roses and would ask her to go to homecoming with him.

I have rose bushes in my yard that are about ready to be put to bed for the season so he stripped all the petal from them for the trail of petals, bought the other roses. As he was getting ready to go over he called to make sure she was home. She was celebrating her birthday with some girlfriends at a restaurant. So he decided to take the roses to the restaurant and have them delivered by the waiter with a poem asking her to the dance instead. There was much excited screaming and commotion when the waiter delivered the flowers AND more commotion, screamin, and hugging when SUPERSTAR walked to the table after the delivery.

I got to meet her a few days later. Because she attends another high school SUPERSTAR had to take a form for her high school administrator to sign indicating that she was eligible to attend the school dances. She was everything he'd told me she was, cute, nice, fun, sporty, smart. I had to admit that I was impressed.

'Cause SUPERSTAR won't have his driver license until January (if he finishes his eagle by then) I got to drive him to go pick her up, take pictures, drop them off with the group and pick them up after the dance. What a great opportunity to watch my son play gentleman. So Cool!


Here's a picture of the group they went with.

Here's the limo they got to ride in to PF Changs and the Dance. I couldn't get the whole thing in one shot (holy moly)
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Here's the two of them....Isn't she just the cutest thing?

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VERY, Very, very cool mom moment!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Seasons Continued

Imagine that I've handed you a flat board. Grab it with both hands and hold it up in front of you (so the flat part is exactly vertical (up and down)). Now I've got a big fire hose and I'm about to spray that board. Ready? SPRAY!!!!!

What is your experience? Are you feeling the pressure of the water against that board? Are you able to resist the intense force that is now bearing down on you? How's that feeling?

OK the water is off now. You can recover and grab a towel to dry yourself a bit, if you want.

Round two. Hold that board again but this time tilt it up just a bit. Ready?

SPRAY!!!!

How is this time different from last time? Are you feeling the SAME pressure against the board? Is it easier to resist the force? What has happened to the intensity?

OK water off. Use the towel again if you need to.


Round three. Yes, you have to do it again. This time tilt the board even more, almost horizontal but not quite. Ready?

SPRAY!!!!

Now how is it to hold on the that board? What's the pressure intensity this time? How much easier is it to resist the force?

OK water off. No, you don't have to do it anymore. You can go change into dry clothes if you want to. I'll wait here till you get back. No really, take your time. I'm not going anywhere.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

I see you did your hair too. Looking good!
Glad your back.


So if your experience with the board was what I anticipated it would be you'll have noticed that when the water came at the board straight on, the pressure and intensity was HUGE. The more you tilted the board, the less direct and greater the angle that the water hit the board, the less pressure and intensity you felt. Right? Right!


The same is true of the suns rays. If those rays hit the surface of the earth directly (straight on), the intensity of the suns rays will be great. If those rays hit the surface of the earth at a less direct angel the intensity of the suns rays will seem to be less powerful.


The more direct the sun's rays hit the earth the hotter that area of the earth will get - Summer.
The less direct the sun's rays hit the the earth the cooler (less heat) that area of the earth will get - Winter.


The earth takes 365 days to orbit the sun. Because of the tilt of the earth's axis, half of that 365 days the northern hemisphere will be tilted toward the sun and will experience more intense sun rays and it will be summer. The southern hemisphere will be tilted away from the sun. The angel the sun's rays hit the southern hemisphere will be more pronounced and therefore less intense causing less heat and winter weather.


The other half of the 365 days the southern hemisphere will be tilted toward the sun and will experience more intense sun rays and more heat. It will be summer there while the northern hemisphere being tilted away will have less intense sun rays, less heat and winter.


It is the intensity of the sun's rays as a result of the angle they hit the earth and not the distance those rays travel that causes the wonderful seasons we experience.


Didn't God design a wonderful planet for his children. Truly God designed so that men (and women) might have joy, even in the changing of the seasons.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seasons

Several Harvard Graduates had the misconception that the seasons were caused by the distance the earth is from the sun.

This misconception can occur as a result of several things. Let me just suggest two.
1)Some text books show pictures of the earth's orbit in drawings like the one below. Pictures like this are showing a three dimensional orbit in two dimensions. Students look at pictures like this and assume that when the earth is at either end of the picture it means that the earth is further from the sun and colder as opposed to when the earth is in the more center points of the picture when they assume the earth is closer to the sun and therefor warmer.


A better and more accurate picture of the orbit of the earth would be this one.
Students are told that the earth's orbit is elliptical (which is true) but in reality the earth's orbit is so close to circular, with the sun so close to center that there is not enough difference in distance from the sun to cause the regular temperature variations from summer to winter.

2) As second misconception occurs when the teacher explains that seasons are a result of the tilt in the earths axis. (Which is true but not in the way students assume) Teachers explain that the area of the earth that is tilted toward the sun is warmer and the area tilted away from the sun is cooler. True, but this leaves students again thinking about distance in this way: Tilted toward the sun is closer and warmer, tilted away is further and colder. (Wrong!) I've already explained that the earth in its rotation around the sun does not get close enough or far away enough to cause seasons so it is not reasonable to believe that the minor difference in distance from north pole to south pole would cause the temperature variations of the seasons.

So what is it? You ask....

Because this is my favorite I'm going to let you think about it for a bit.

You only have to wait till tomorrow. Then I'll post what I hope will clarify God's wonderful design for the beauty of seasonal differences.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Phases of the Moon

Several Harvard graduates had the misconception that the phases of the moon are caused by the Earth's shadow. If this is what you may have thought let me give you some information that will allow you to say proudly, "I am smarter than a Harvard graduate!"

When the Earth's shadow is cast upon the moon it is called a Lunar Eclipse. In order for a lunar eclipse to occur the Earth, Sun and Moon must line up. The Sun, Moon and Earth have to line up in the same plane. Because the Moon's orbit is inclined 5 degrees to the Earth's, it spends most of its time below or above the plane of the Earth. Lunar eclipses do not occur that frequently. Lunar eclipses come in clusters. There can be two or three during a period of a year or a year and a half, followed by a lull of two or three years before another round begins. The phases of the moon are pretty regular and we get the length of our months as a result of this cycle. So we can see that many more moon cycles occur than do eclipses.

The phases of the moon are a result of the direction of the sun in relation to the view we (on the earth) have of the moon.

Consider an artist (Earth) sketching a ball (moon). If the light source (sun) is directly behind the artist (Earth), the entire surface of the ball (moon) will be drawn in light tones.




If the light source (sun) is to the right of the ball (moon) the right half of the ball (moon) will be shaded in light tones and the left half of the ball (moon) will be shaded in darker tones.


If the light (sun) is slightly to the right and behind the ball (moon) only a very small crescent of the ball (moon) will appear light and the rest will be shaded dark.
If the light (sun) is directly behind the ball (moon) the surface facing the artist (Earth) will be dark.

The same applies if the sun is to the left of the moon.

It takes the moon about thirty days to orbit the Earth (i.e. one month). As the moon orbits the earth the sun shines on the moon from different angles. The sun shines on the surface of the moon that faces it. On the earth we only see that portion shine that is in our direct view. Sometimes that is the entire lit surface (Full Moon) and sometimes only part of the lit surface (Half, crescent new, etc.)

I hope that clarifies your understanding of the phases of the moon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Battery, Bulb, Wire

Here is the first answer to the questions below.


YES, it is possible to light a bulb with a battery and a wire.


Several of the Harvard Graduates attempted to light the bulb by holding one end of the wire to the battery and the other end to the bulb.


This does NOT result in lighting the bulb.


In order to cause the electricity from the battery to light the bulb you must close the circuit. You must create a loop from one end of the source (battery) to the other end of the source. This will allow the electricity from the battery to flow through the wire. When you then make contact with the bulb to the wire it will light.




Ta DA!

I'll post answers to the other two questions soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do You Know?

I'm back in school getting a second degree. My first degree was in Social Work and now I'm studying Elementary Education. (I'm 'bout dying to teach 4th-7th grade) Next semester I begin the student teaching aspect of this degree but right now I am SOOO wanting to be done. I'm in classes with lots of young people and I feel REALLY OLD! But I so want to teach that I'm willing to be the "old fart" woman who throws off the curve in these college classes. Oh well, too bad for them. They have skinny, cute little bodies I don't feel so bad exercising my mighty brain in their presence.

In my science methods class we've been talking about misconceptions that students bring with them and some of the things, as a teacher, we can do to present good information.

We watched a film of Harvard Graduates (in their caps and gowns on graduation day). The film crew stopped several students and asked them these questions. Many of them responded with incorrect answers.

So I'm going to ask you a some of the questions. I'll post the answers in a few days.

1. When you look at the moon, why do you sometimes see a crescent, half, or full moon? What causes the moon to change phases?



2. Why do we have seasons? (winter, summer, spring, fall)

3. Can you light a bulb with a battery and a wire? How?

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Secret Garden/Lot

I've been attending classes at the local university. I don't know what parking is like for most colleges or universities but here it is down-right ridiculous. If you don't purchase an outrageously priced parking pass you must arrive before 6:00am to find an available side street on which to park. 6:00am does not work for me in any way shape or form. I'm truly not a morning person. To touch the 5:00am hour signals the beginning of a no-good, rotten day. So I avoid any possibility of being awake at such an ungodly hour. Parking on the street is out.

The second possibility is to pay (every ding-dong day) for a meter or for garage parking. $2 per hour. Again not for me. That adds up to a ridiculous sum at the end of each year. More than the ridiculously priced parking pass.

The third possibility is to pay for a reserved spot. These spots are pretty dang close to everything but are three times the price of the ridiculously priced pass I end up purchasing. Therefore, I consider them ultra-ridiculously priced. NO Thank you!

The pass I opt for is a general parking permit. Still boucoup bucks but it allows me to sleep though the 5:00am hour and to better enjoy my days. The problem with this pass, as I have found through the semesters at school, is that nearly every other student thinks along the same lines that I do. Hence, everyone and their dog has a general parking pass and there are about 2 parking spaces for every 10,000 students. Also the general lots are "miles" from anywhere. (Not really miles but you get the idea)
In semesters past I have circled and circled the lots waiting with the other 10,000 student cars for someone to pull out of a space, then scramble around to it only to be foiled by a preppy 20 something, skinny butt, freshman whose tanned legs are just stepping out of the car which has pulled into the space I have been hovering over. DRAT!

This semester I have located a "secret" general permit lot. It is never full. Hardly even 1/3 full at any time. It is actually closer to the campus than most general lots. It has remained a "secret" because it is across TWO very crazy, busy roads. I suspect most students don't consider it because they assume they'll have to "Jay Walk" and risk their necks daily to cross those roads or walk, and walk and walk to cross at the crazy busy intersections.

BUT guess what I've discovered? There is a wonderful tunnel, next to the river that goes UNDER these roads.

This is what I walk by every day.




Instead of this.



LUCKY ME!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I've not posted much in the last few weeks and I thought I'd just offer a bit of an explination (breif, shallow and little info as possible).

Life has its way of knocking us around a bit. I'm getting my share of knocks.

In the last couple of weeks my marriage has gotten its share of hits. We are working through several legal issues that he's created and he's dealing with the consequenses. Which really means that we all deal with the consequenses. In a hearing not long ago the prosecuting attorney made some very cruel, exaggerated and misleading statements to the judge about me in an effort to inflict additional penalties on my husband. (I guesss that as far as she's concerned the fact that I didn't leave him when he broke the law is justification to think that I am as guilty as he is and should be publicly humiliated and suffer for his crimes as well) Hindsight is 20/20 but I wish I'd have stood - stood in a show of defiance.

We've discovered that a good friend who works for us has been stealing from our company. We are uncertain how much he has taken but that is also heart wrenching.

Last week I started classes at the local university (12 credits)

It's all a bit overwhelming.

My blog friend Becky receintly created a post where she ended with the quote "God doesn't put you in the wrong place to serve Him." So I press forward doing what I believe He expects from me and serving where I am put.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Top 100 Books

I stole this from another blog but I thought it was interesting. I've read about 20 of these books. I guess I need to read a bit more. I was surprised that Uncle Tom's Cabin was not on the list but that Harry Potter was. Strange! I'm bit embarrassed that I've not heard many of these titles. I've got to get out more.

How well read are you?

The National Endowment for the arts estimates that the average adult has read only 6 of the top 100 books..

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Star the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen*
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien*
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte*
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling *
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte*
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell *
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens*
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien*
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy*
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky*
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck*
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis*
34 Emma - Jane Austen*
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen*
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis*
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini-ick ick ick!
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown*
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen*
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas*
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray*
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens*
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas*
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl*
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mack Truck Part II

I thought I'd give you and update on my neighbor from the previous Mack Truck post.

All is very good. He had his kidney removed. Spent a few days in the hospital but was walking around by the second day. When my husband and I checked in on him at the hospital we had such a great time with him and his wife- the nurses had to come shut the door to his room because we were laughing and disturbing other patients.

He has a terrific scar along his right side. It almost looks like they nearly sawed him in half, like the magic trick where the magician cuts a woman in two. I told him he didn't really fit the profile of a magician's assistant. He's much too hairy.

All the post operative scans have shown no indication that cancer spread to any other part of his body. There were a couple of spots on his ribs that lit up in one scan but the doctor said they could be old football injuries. They'll keep and eye on them, do more scans in a few months to check. But, all looks great.

About a week after the surgery he got pneumonia 'cause apparently he wasn't breathing deep enough. But that's clearing up with antibiotics and one of those plastic breathing toys they give you in the hospital after surgery. You know the one's they buy for 80 cents but charge you $80. Yep, those.

I must say that I've seen the two of them several times and have witnessed more tenderness and intimate glances at each other than I'd ever seen before. One of the regrets that my dear neighbor shared with me in our first conversation about her husband's cancer was the regret that their marriage was not close and that they were still married more out of habit than love or the desire to be together. I can only guess, but I suspect that the jolt of something so potentially life changing could have brought them a greater appreciation of the life they have. I think for my friend the opportunity to care for her husband and for him to be vulnerable with her brought clarity.

God's Plan for his children is amazing!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bill Day

Paid bills today...ugh!

Want to gorge on cookies- glad I don't have any chocolate chips.

One good thing - my gas tank is full. Yippi!

sigh....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mountain Biking

For his birthday, SUPERSTAR asked if he could invite a bunch of friends to our cabin to go mountain biking. At first I thought, "Sure it's his 16th birthday, that'll be fun." and began reserving the cabin, planning the menu and calling about lift passes, etc. However, the more I planned and thought the more I was freaking out. "Holy Moly! A bunch of teen aged, crazy, dare devil boys on bikes on a steep mountain that scares me when it's covered with soft, fluffy, powerdy snow." I didn't really expect any of them to be timid or even careful. I "tested the waters" to see how SUPERSTAR would respond if I changed my mind and backed out. No good. I had all the parents sign a waiver/liability release form and held my breath.

It turned out to be a lot of fun. I must say that spending time with my son's friends was a great privilege. We had seven boys come (including SUPERSTAR). They all have very different personalities but all are accommodating to each other, have fun with each other, are respectful, gracious and kept us cracking up the whole time.

Here are some pictures of the boys in the "jump park" just down the road from our cabin. I did not go up on the lift-so you don't get any pictures of the BIG hill-you'll just have to imagine that part.





There were several bumps, bruises, limping and blood. The first day several boys returned to the cabin with skinned knees and elbows. I should have bought stock in Band-Aid with the number of boys needing minor first aid.



That night DARLING HUSBAND and I were chatting in the living room, the boys playing X-Box downstairs. While were sitting there the boys all come up wearing bathrobes telling us they wanted to go swimming at the lodge. I whipped out the camera. They were so funny posing and acting so "manly". They said they were starting the "hairy chest man club" I didn't see a single hair on any chest but you can see how they hammed it up. They swam for a while and then could not be persuaded to avoid the weight room. Obviously!






The second day they rode the lift up the mountain. On the first trip down one boy falls and bangs is forearm. The other boys tell me the blood was pulsing from his arm and the bone was visible (later found out it wasn't bone but some kind of layer around the muscles). They tore his shirt and wrapped it until they could get down to the first aid station at the resort. DARLING HUSBAND was there as he was being bandaged up. The medic cleaned and covered it but said he would need to go the the hospital in town to have it stitched up. SUPER'S FRIEND was not happy about this. He said, "Can't you just wrap it up good enough so I can keep riding. I'll get stitches when I get home." Ah, NO. DARLING HUSBAND took him and another friend (limper) to the emergency center. Eleven stitches later they were on their way back home.



Being there with the rest of the boys I was ready to get going. I figured the longer we stayed the greater the chance of another injury happening and I was running out of Band Aids. Yikes!



We left about 2 hours earlier than planned. I know, I'm "such a girl."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I gather that my last post was a bit too much. Sorry. Here's a bit of "randomness" and pictures. I know how much everyone loves pictures. So, a little to read and something to look at.


Me and Darling Husband. He's got such a great smile! Yes, I actually do have a face.



My Darling, Cute, Crazy Kids with Grandma and Grandpa.





SUPERSTAR and DARLING HUSBAND with the "Air in the Tires" driving lesson.











My sister asked me to get out my camera and snap pictrues of my kids for her. This collage is the result of my attempt to snap random pictures. SUGAR was not very cooperative.



Look what was in my backyard. Well, I snapped the pictures from my backyard, anyway.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Uncle Tom's Cabin

I've been reading Uncle Tom's Cabin. It is an amazing book. As I've read I've intentionally avoiding reading reviews or critiques of it becasue I want to form my own ideas about the story before I am influenced by scholars.

Holy Cow it's a great book! I'm about 2/3 through it. I find that even though it deals with the issue of slavery it is universally applicable. As I've read and questioned in my mind the author's motivation, I wonder if she is simply decrying the wrongs of slavery or if she intends a higher more universal message. As I read the book I find that it is a study of the human nature to rationalize immoral behavior. In the story there are many characters; slaves, slave holders, and non-slave holders who have varied rationalizations for thier own acts, beliefs and prejudices.

I see a current issue in a similar strain. I think in many ways the treatment of those who break the law to be immoral. For example: those with wealth expereince a very different judicial system than those without wealth, we penialize instead of rehabilitate, and create lables and burdens that last a lifetime, to name only a few. There are a variety of rationalizations we use in order to do this. I don't see this any different than the issue of slavery. I believe it is a continued way to dehumanize an individual.

There is and must be a better way. But first I think we need to stop seeing people in a hierarchy where any one of us is better than the other, or that any one of us is worse than another. -But for the grace of God, go I-

I wonder, have you read Uncle Tom's Cabin?
What are your imprssions?
Is there another book you've read with a similar theme?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Return to the Sugar World

I mentioned in an earlier post that I gave up sugar and sodas for 30 days. Even though I am a bit heavier (ya who am I kidding?) than I should be, my motivation was not to lose weight. Which, BTW, I did lose 7 lbs.

These nasty little sugary snacks and my beloved Dr Pepper had become a terrible curse. I found myself eating this crap when I was sad, lonely, tired, bored, etc. They were a substitute for joy, companionship, energy, excitement, etc. They were my drug. One author, I can't remember who and just now don't really care enough to find out, said that for an addict the feelings produced by a drug is a synthetic substitute for the feeling of spirituality that those prone to addiction crave. This spiritual craving, longing for what he calls reunion with deity, is more intense for those who experience addiction. I have no idea if this is true but it has been my experience that there are fake substitutes for every good feeling we experience. The good, I believe, originated with God. The bad is a cleverly disguised, sorry a-- imitation that, I would suggest, originated with that which is in total opposition to God. Yep, you guessed it, 'ol mr nasty himself.

Now I'm not suggesting that Dr Pepper is evil or that my beloved Chocolate Chip Cookies are the devil's recipe. Heaven's that would be blasphemy 'cause I gotta say- they are GOOOOOOOD. And remember all good things come from God. But 'ol mr nasty can take those GOOOOOD things and twist them, manipulate then, taint them and voila-deception, fake crap.

SOOOO, (yep, I'm starting a sentence with the word 'so'. JJWT's little miss bimbo can poke fun at me yet again) I gave up the sugar and soda to break a pattern, to form new habits, replace the 'fake crap' with some gen-U-wine 'real' good stuff.

Was it easy? Oh, heck no! I wanted the 'stuff' bad. It was during SUPERSTAR'S birthday and a trip to the cabin. Both of which I was required to make cakes and cinnamon rolls. Chocolate Chip Cookies were made almost weekly. Of which I partook of NONE. (I did lick frosting from the cinnamon rolls from my finger once, but that was an accident. Heck can you really call that a slip? I didn't think so either.)

I was so looking forward to my sugar fix today. I had threatened to eat a whole pan of CCC's myself . I ate the first cookie. It was ok -not great, not what I was expecting, not what I remembered. I took another cookie and didn't finish it. I didn't NEED it and certainly wasn't enjoying it.

The taste of my Dr Pepper was 'blah'. However, I have come to see there is something very different about my body's reaction to the Dr Pepper that certainly didn't happen with the cookies. Oh man, oh man alive! Oh baby- it made me feel like I was "In LOVE". Oh... my heart beat faster, my breathing was uneven, I wanted to pull my head back and smile with that crazy, oblivious, puppy dog, glazed over look. Yep, I was "high" on the Dr.

I still will get sad, lonely, tired, bored, etc. But now I have some experience (a little brief but still...) at sitting with the feelings, recognizing them for what they are and making an attempt to create joy, companionship, energy, excitement and/or offer up a prayer of gratitude. I certainly will not numb them with mr nasty's fake-crap. I can drink a Dr Pepper or eat a cookie for the mere enjoyment, not because I NEED them.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Which Disney Princess are You?

I saw this test on a wild and crazy, sarcastic blog. It's one that makes me laugh.
Anyway, I took the test and am pleased to learn that I'm a "savage". No really, I love the description for my princess. I think it fits.


I Am Pocahantas!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Free-spirited and wise. You have a strong passionate spirit that touches and changes all who know you. The wisdom and common sense that you have is really what guides you through life. Even so, you also have a very playful side that loves adventure and excitement.


Which Disney Princess Are You?

Click the link above. Try it out.

I'd love to see which princess each of you are. Post it on your blog and leave me a comment with your blog address. Those of you who don't have blog, take the test and leave me a comment telling me which princess you are.

I can't wait.

I'm so excited!

I love princesses!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Mack Truck

Oh whoa!
I just had the most heart wrenching conversation with my wonderful neighbor. She had just returned from the doctor's office where she learned that her husband has cancer. He has a mass the size of a softball in his liver. As we cried and hugged together, she shared with me all the fears and regrets that have hit her, blindsided her, like a Mack Truck.

This journey through life is brutal at times. It is not always easy to recognize where God's hand is or how God's plan can bring us through the pain of mortality. One thing I know for sure is that we are not expected to get through this life without coming to completely rely on Jesus Christ. Another thing I know and accept is that God has planned for the brutality and pain. He sees with a much broader and eternal perspective than we can. His plan is much bigger than this life.

Mostly I listened to her, provided Kleenex, offered short, kind words and lots of hugs. I am certain there will be more talks like this to come. Mostly I want to be open to be an expression of God's love for her and her family in whatever why He could direct me. Her daughter will be spending the night tonight with SUGAR in hopes that she and her husband can have time to draw strength from each other.

I think uncertainty is one of the tools the adversary uses to make us miserable (like unto himself). The only suggestion I felt impressed to share with her was to live in the moment. Avoid playing the "What If Game" or to play the "Worst Case Scenarios" over and over in her head or even to allow past regrets to fester. Life is in the present moments and when we obsess and worry about a future we don't yet know, it is stealing the joy and life from the present moments we do know.

Your prayers in behalf of her family are welcome as well as neighborly advise for me.

Another Tag

Here's another TAG
YOU'RE IT!

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Yep, I named myself - first off Fall is my favorite season -love it. Second I needed to come up with another word that worked well with Fall and that I could find a picture of (you know, for my profile). Hum, I'd taken two years of French in high school (which was of little use when I visited Paris last summer). Thankfully Twenty years later I can still remember the french word for flower, Fleur. I could find an orangish flower. There is is FallFleur!

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
I can't remember but, I think I'm due. Oh ya, Tuesday last week, marriage is hard sometimes.


3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING
No, but, at least I can write in a straight line


4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Swiss cheese - I know it's not meat. But the way I figure is that any sandwich with any kind of meat is made better with swiss cheese


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
I have four kids. My oldest turns 16 tomorrow. EEEK!


6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
That's a tough one. I hope I would be friends with me but, I think it is difficult to be my friend because I don't let people get close. I think that most times I come off as cold and distant, a bit prickly. I probably would seek an easier target to be friends with.


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM?
Sometimes, but I try not to (unsuccessfully)


8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
yes


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
No I'm not big on the height thing. I like roller coasters and snowboarding. That's enough of a 'dropping' thrill for me.


10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
I've always liked Fruity Pebbles but I don't buy it. That tiny box is only good for one meal and then it's gone. Not really worth the high price. I really haven't eaten cereal for a while. I'm on an oatmeal kick right now. I love it with fruit or pecans and brown sugar.


11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
This an interesting questions. I was always told to untie my shoes so that they wouldn't wear out as fast. You know the hard rub on the back of the shoe if you don't untie. It's just second nature to untie when I remove my shoes.
My kids on the other hand drive me nuts 'cause none of them untie. I've threatened to stop buying shoes for them but since I'm a BIG pushover it does no good.
My son rarely ties his shoes at all (only to exercise) they just flop around on his foot like big ol cloppers.


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
No, not physically, not really emotionally but, I like to think that I am spiritually strong.


13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Anything Chocolate. But I LOVE Leatherby's hot fudge sundaes with Toasted Almond ice cream with a side of sliced bananas. It is to die for.


14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
This is pretty sad and I am ashamed to admit, but, I first notice their body shape. I hate that I do this. I wish I first noticed their eyes, their mood, their spirit. I have and am working to change this but old habits die hard and some of those snap judgments totally condem me.


15. FAVORITE COLOR?
I love the cheeriness of Yellow.


16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
What I notice first about others....

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
I miss my grandma. She died when I was 13 which was way too soon. She was an amazing woman who lived her life with enthusiasm and joy. I think when I get to the other side she'll be the one I'm most excited to see (probably even before my husband and kids).


18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Black yoga pants (not that I do yoga, they're comfortable and stylish). Shoes - black slides


19. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Subway sandwich (chicken breast something or other) a bag of ruffles potato chips and a bottle of water.
We took a youth trip and stopped at the park for dinner. Subway was on the menu.


20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Not a single thing. I am up early but no one else in the house is awake. The house is completely still. I guess I can sort of hear the water falling into the pond by my front door.


21. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Sunny Yellow


22. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Henri Bendel -Lavender Leaves. The problem is that they don't make this fragrance anymore and I have to pay big bucks on ebay to get it.
I also relish the way my kids smell after softball/baseball - it's a sweet mixture of heat, dirt, leather and grass.


23. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
DARLING HUSBAND,He's been really sick the last few days (actually about a week) He asked me to bring him something to eat that might settle his stomach.


24. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Oh ya, I'm so glad she thought of me. (see the friend statement above)


25. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
I love watching my kids play baseball and softball. It's the best!


26. HAIR COLOR?
Wella brand - Dark brown. It covers the grey nicely and doesn't fade red.


27. EYE COLOR?
Honey brown. If you look closely you'll see that I have two small holes in my iris that make it look like I have black spots. Pretty Cool I think!


28. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Nope, never needed contacts or glasses. I've got pretty good eyesight. I am the only one of my siblings who doesn't need corrective lenses. My husband has even better eyesight than me. BUT, my kids on the other hand did not inherit the good eyes of their parents. They all are 'blind' without contacts.


29. FAVORITE FOOD?
Chocolate Chip Cookies (my recipe) fresh from the oven. Oh how I long for those cookies. On the 23rd for June I set goal to abstain from sweets and sodas for 30 days. I have seven more days and you can bet that on July 24th I'll be eating a whole pan of those babies myself.


30. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Definitely 'happy endings'. I hate, Hate, HATE scary movies. I hate, Hate, HATE being scared and most especially the evil that is put into those nasty, scary movies.


31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Theater -Wall-E - terrible, terrible movie. I kept waiting for the Pixar magic to click in but the further along the movie went the more frustrated I got. Do we really need to be told one more time that, as a species, man is a stupid, lazy, sheep-like, planet wasting scum bag and that the only life form that could possibly survive man's destruction is a cockroach? I think NOT.

DVD - I loved watching Dan in Real Life. cute, Cute, CUTE movie. I loved the line 'YOU ARE A MUUURDEER OF LOVE!' Classic!


32. PLACE YOU MOST WANT TO VISIT?
Nauvoo. period.


33. FAVORITE SEASON ?
Fall - I love the coolness in the air, the smell of burning leaves and the brilliant colors. Hands down -fall is the greatest season.


34. HUGS OR KISSES?
Hugs - there's nothing like a warm, gentle hug to lift you up.


35. FAVORITE DESSERT?
see above - favorite ice cream and favorite food.


36. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Uncle Tom's Cabin. Just started it last night. I think it's gonna be a heavy one. Not just because it has 640 pages

37. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Don't have a mouse pad


38. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT?
Did not watch TV last night. We are smack in the middle of a month without TV. Hence Uncle Tom's Cabin


39. FAVORITE SOUND?
The crack of the bat off of one of my kids hits!


40. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Hum - I'm not sure what to say on this one 'cause I don't really prefer one over the other.
I like some of each and just as much don't like some. So I don't really fit into either stereotype


41. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
England and France


42. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I can make the worlds best chocolate chip cookie


Life should not be a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely in
an attractive and well preserved body, but
rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used
up, totally worn out, and screaming
'Woo Hoo -- What A Ride!'

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

One of the books that has been a hit this week was "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. I began reading it and made a few comments about how much I was enjoying it. I read a quote from the book to anyone who would listen. Pretty soon SWEETHEART and SUNSHINE were scrambling over each other to read the story. Whenever one would put it down the other was there to swoop in and bury her own nose into the book.

It was originally published in Brazil in Portuguese. It has now been translated into fifty-six languages and sold more than twenty million copies. "The Alchemist" is a magical parable like story about discovering our own personal calling and the path God leads us on toward the realization of that great treasure. If there was ever a book (scripture excluded) that relates more to the theme and intention of this blog it would be this one.

As the main character discovers his "personal legend" and makes the journey toward it he faces the same kind of obstacles that we all face in pursuit of God's will: those both real and imagined. As the story concludes it becomes apparent that not only is there a treasure to be sought but that the journey in seeking it is a treasure itself and perhaps even more important or just as important as the treasure being sought.

I would like to share the quote I read that began my daughters' interest in the story. At this point in the story the main character Santiago has become aware of this "personal legend" (a treasure) and begun the journey to retrieve it. He has sold all that has to begin this journey and a thief has taken everything. Santiago has spent the night depressed and lost of hope with no money and nowhere to go.

    As he mused about these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief or as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.
    "I'm an adventurer, looking for treasure," he said to himself.
I wonder, is there a time in your own life that you had to reframe it, like Santiago? How did it change you from thinking of yourself as the poor victim of a thief to an adventurer in quest of treasure?

One of Mine:
I was a college freshman, living in the dorms, far away from home. I was discouraged. I'd not performed well on a recent test, my roommate was deliriously "in love", I'd not had a date for a while (sad, I know), it would be about a week before I was going to get any money, I was broke and had a pile of laundry I could not afford to clean. I had gone for a walk by myself and was complaining to God about my troubles as I walked. I felt lonely and was sure that no one cared. I told God all of this. As I walked through a park I sat under the shade of a large tree. Something shiny caught my eye (probably reflected in the tears). There on the ground were several quarters and a sliver token for a free ice cream sundae from Dairy Queen. I heard/felt My Father (My God) say, "I am here for you. You are not alone. I care." As it turned out there were EXACTLY the number of quarters necessary to clean my dirty laundry. I still have the ice cream token as a reminder that God hears prayers, (even the silly frivolous prayer of a college freshman) and that He cares about my heart aches (both big and small). I can handle anything with Him beside me.


God is my strength and my refuge (and my ice cream sundae). Psalms 46:1

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We're Reading!

We went to the library in the "BIG CITY" yesterday. We've come away with many books, some really great ones, I think/hope.

Started with Patrick McManus "The Good Samaritan Strikes Again". I read the first two chapters this morning as everyone was finishing breakfast. This author is quite the character. He has such a great wit (and a bit of sarcasm) which makes his story both entertaining and insightful. We're not quite sure how the story will progress at this point but we are all anxious to find out and enjoy his wit in the process.

I'm in the middle of the first book in the Atrimus Fowl series. There's a lot going on in the story and it is entertaining to read. I'm sure this will become a valuable resource for me in my Middle School classroom (when I finish my degree this year).

Side Note: I've registered for classes this fall
and have three semesters left before I can
begin my "true calling" as a teacher.


SUNSHINE had a difficult time finding something she's not already read. We asked the librarian for a book list for middle schoolers. He handed her a copy of the most recent award winners. She's read every one of them. She balked at the list of "classics" he suggested. I talked her into reading "Olive's Ocean". It's different than the fantasy books she's used to reading but, I think it's sublime. I hope she likes it.
SUGAR got a few "Geronimo Stilton" books, a "My Weird School" book and a "Magic Tree House" book. She's liken the series.
SWEETHEART checked out some mysteries by Mary Higgins Clark.
SUPERSTAR refused to come. "I hate reading." Which I'm hoping to exert greater influence these next few weeks.
I'll be reading "The Christ Commission" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" when I finish with Atrimus.
Darling Husband seems to have adopted SUPERSTAR'S approach. Whadda ya do?

We looked for "Molly Moon" , "Charlie Bone" and the "Stonewycke" series but without luck. Those books must be pretty popular 'cause there wasn't a single one not already checked out.

One other thing that I thought about was some great poetry. Last night I read Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" to the kids. We talked about both the literal and figurative meanings and some of the imagery he uses.

Tonight I think we'll read Carol Lynn Pearson's poem

On Nest Building
Mud is not bad for nest building.
Mud and sticks
And a fallen feather or two will do
And require no reaching.
I could rest there, with my tiny ones,
Sound for the season, at least.

But--
If I may fly awhile--
If I may cut through a sunset going out
And a rainbow coming back,
Color upon color sealed in my eyes--
If I may have the unboundaried skies
For my study,
Clouds, cities, rivers for my rooms--
If I may search the centuries
For melody and meaning--


If I may try for the sun--
I shall come back
bearing such beauties
Gleaned from God's and Man's very best.
I shall come filled.
And, then--
Oh, the nest that I can build!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day One (two, actually)

It's been really quiet around here. I mentioned that last week in church we were challenged to keep the TV and video games off for a month. This challenge started yesterday. Sunday was not a big deal, we don't generally watch much TV on Sundays so it wasn't missed yesterday. BUT...today has been quite a bit different. Everyone seems to wander around -sort of in a stupor - waiting for something to happen that could spark interest somewhere. My kids are not complaining or asking to turn on the TV (which I find remarkable) but, the reading hasn't caught on in the same quantity as TV watching does.

This morning when I got up SUNSHINE AND SUGAR were playing Settlers of Catan (usually SUGAR is the first up to turn on the TV). TV off.

When everyone was up we had a bit of a family conference. Together we talked about a schedule for family reading and what book we'll start with, scripture reading as a family and as individuals etc. But I must say...it is very quiet without the TV.

SUNSHINE wanted to read the new book by Rick Riordan (4th in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) "The Battle of the Labyrinth". When we went to the library (the small, small town library close by) we had a rather fruitless search for specific books. I think it's been raided by the many other people who have taken on this challenge. Anyway, "The Battle of the Labyrinth" had something like 350 holds placed on it. So this afternoon I took her to Barnes and Noble (she had a gift card left from Christmas). She's been reading it all afternoon and is about half finished. She may just read 500,000 pages herself.

I began read Artimus Fowl to SUGAR, we're on chapter 4. I had no idea Artimus was a bad guy, crazy, I thought with a name like Artimus he'd be a mentor good-guy type. Oh well.

We read Ruth from the New Testament after dinnner together.

Tomorrow we go into the "BIG CITY" to visit the library there. Hopefully we'll have more success.