Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mr. Rogers´ Neighborhood

I picked up "I´m Proud of You" by Tim Madigan off our Barnes and Nobles $1 rack. It´s a short, sweet memoir of the author´s relationship with Fred Rogers. It´s 196 pages on the amazing value of unconditional love and friendship. I wanted to share a quote from Mr. Rogers (he credits it as being an Arabian proverb) that he included in one of his letters to T. Madigan:

A friend is one to whom one may pour
Out all the contents of one´s heart,
Chaff and grain together,
Knowing that the gentlest of hands
Will take and sift it,
Keep what is worth keeping and,
With a breath of kindness,
Blow the rest away.

Call your best friend today. Wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and share this thought. Oh, to be such a friend! And with family gatherings coming up tomorrow, oh, to be such a family member!

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear friends. I´m "graceful" (as Kathryn calls it) for you!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Wee Bit of Literature (pronounced as in the Old World)

Sometimes I get in a poetry mood. Those days, strange little musty books from the library get stacked on the back of the toilet, on the bedside table, here and there. Sometimes it´s old Spanish, sometimes Wordsworth, Kipling, or Milton. Anyways I discovered one fascinating piece this week and rediscovered my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE fall poem. I´m afraid that this will only highlight my strange and eclectic preferences. Oh, well. I yam what I yam.

The first, I´ll just stick an excerpt in here for Julia (Nathan said you´d appreciate this, Juwah ;o) Anyways, it just goes to show not all parenting hundreds of years ago was worthy of imitation. And the end is the tailor does indeed come, and well, you know... And no, I haven´t resorted to this tale for Alex ;o)


From the German of Heinrich Hoffmann
One day, mamma said: "Conrad dear,
I must go out and leave you here.
But mind now, Conrad, what I say,
Don´t suck your thumb while I´m away.

The great tall tailor always comes
To little boys that suck their thumbs;
And ere they dream what he´s about,
He takes his great sharp scissors out
And cuts their thumbs clean off, - and then,
You know, they never grow again...

Now that you´re all grossed out by my macabre finding, here´s my FAVORITE FALL POEM. It seems I memorized a bit of this in junior high. Love the language of "thisun."

by James Whitcomb Riley
WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best, 5
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here— 10
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock— 15
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill; 20
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps 25
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me— 30
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


As one should not shop while hungry, one should not post blogs while tired and weary. At least that seems like common sense at the moment. However, I´m so at the verge of hilarious tears of weariness that I feel the creative juices flowing in spite of myself. I´m once again feeling the pull between my dreams and expectations and what is reality.

I have this vision of bedtime- that is, the children´s bedtime. You know, the warm glow of lamplight, the softly read bedtime story, the sweet kisses and recitation of memory verses. Of pajamas that smell of Snuggle and hair that smells like Johnson´s and Johnson´s. Children that sweetly gaze into my eyes, and say, "Good night, Mother Dear. Thank you for all you´ve done today!" OK, so the last part is COMPLETE fantasy.

When I was a kid, bedtime was mainly sneaking a final read of my favorite book, and since I slept with a kid sister who was much younger, I generally fell asleep with a human octopus wrapped around my body. My daddy did sometimes do something special- he would tuck me in- literally. It was just a joke, and when he left, I looked like a quilt-clad mummy. Once in a while, bedtime was spiced up by a brother who had snuck into the room to leap upon me from a dark closet or from under the bed. So my fantasy definitely doesn´t come from past experience.

When Kathryn was just a baby, I bought an oil lamp. Yes, people- an OIL lamp, thinking what a nice tradition it would be to always read bedtime stories by an oil lamp. I received funny looks from family members who saw me reading bedtime stories to my 4 week old. Somewhere along pregnancy week 32 with Alex, I realized my peaceful dreamlike bedtime ritual was probably about to disappear. The oil lamp stunk, the book fell apart.

Reality looks something like this: have children clean their rooms (this means Kathryn throws everything on top of her bed and we sort it, and Alex comes in after every toy he puts away, yelling "I did it!"), if they haven´t already had a bath due to playing in mud, a nasty blowout diaper, or a mishap with a marker, they get one. Oh, yes, then we simply must have a bedtime snack. Many times, Mr. Tumnus (how I am changed to a goat-man, I´m not sure, but I´ve perfected the tippy-toe walk while delivering milk and muffins to the table) has tea with sardines with Edmund and Lucy. And then we brush teeth, say our verses (maybe 3 out of 7 nights :( ), pray away the bad dreams, read a story, deliver that tiny sip of water, get kid out of bed for last minute peepee, spank other child for sneaking out of bed, turn on sleepytime CD (which is SUPPOSED to hypnotize children within 30 seconds max), leave the room, come back after shrieks of terror to shut the closet door, deliver favorite stuffed animal that has crept into the kitchen, and you get the idea.

And then I´m so, so tired. Truth be told, I long for a simple, hygienic, cozy, loving bedtime routine. Maybe, just maybe, if I´m lucky, I´ll hear a little 2 year old voice piping out of a darkened room: "Night, night, mommy. No mon-ters?"

Monday, November 02, 2009

Praying to be Faithful at the Edge

Thy Brother´s Blood - A Vision for Souls
by: Amy Carmichael

The tom-toms thumped straight on all night, and the darkness shuddered ‘round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:

That I stood on a grassy precipice, and at my feet at crevice broke down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving in single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding onto her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step…it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, they cry as they went over! Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; and all made straight for the crevice’s edge. They were shrieks as they suddenly knew in themselves that they were falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered with a wonder that was simple agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not, I was glued to the ground. And I could not call; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come.

Then I saw that along the edge there were guards set at intervals. But the intervals were too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned towards the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. “Why should you get all excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven’t finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish,” they said, “to leave us to finish the work alone.”

There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more guards out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no guards set for miles and miles of the edge.

One girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called, and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for a while; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called — but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, the two little hands still holding right to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; they gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was; the cry of the blood.

Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord. And he said, “What hast though done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.”

The ton-toms still beat heavily, and darkness still shuddered and shivered about me. I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shrieks of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.

What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it? — God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!

Amy Carmichael, Thy Brother’s Blood Crieth:
(India: The Dohnavur Fellowship).
Obtained from an article from Bethany Fellowship, Inc.
Minneapolis, MN.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Symbols of Suffering, Marks of Grace and a Book Review

Melodie Sankey recently posted this picture on her Facebook. The chunk of asphalt that very nearly robbed her of her husband, Marc. I´m pretty sure that Marc´s blood is visible in this picture- it takes my breath away. I´ve heard a lot of talk and thought a lot of thoughts about the great and mysterious theology of suffering in the last week since the accident. These are familiar thoughts for me. I´ve been in my own valley of questions. With my own trauma- one that seems a bit like a friendly toasting-marshmallow flame against his roaring bonfire (although on principle I refuse to compare trials with others- as each is specifically our own). My symbol of suffering is below:

I´m hearing the same questions I asked myself five years ago. At the risk of sounding heretical, I didn´t like God very much after my little experience. Oh, I knew He was all-powerful, sovereign. That wasn´t very soothing at the moment. I just wanted to know if He was good. I wouldn´t feed one of my children to dogs, or allow a rock to crush their forehead. I read a lot of Job, since I related to the feeling of meaningless, senseless suffering. I was afraid to pray to this Person I thought I knew, so I read instead. After living in Job for those pain-filled weeks, I stumbled across a secondary resource: When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty by Joni Eareckson Tada. I don´t know about you, but "Just trust the Lord" sounds different coming from a person who hasn´t been in pain. Joni speaks the truth of God from a living hell (in my opinion). Let me say in all caps: GET THIS BOOK IF YOU WANT TO ENCOUNTER A LIFE-CHANGING THEOLOGY OF SUFFERING!!!! If you don´t want to pay the two bucks for a used version on Amazon, check it out at your library.

I don´t want to risk being the blade that opens the can of worms, so I´m not going to go into my personal theology of suffering overmuch. I would like to share two thoughts, though. The first is that after Job and Joni´s book, I walked away (literally) from my own experience with a motto for life: "There are no lapses in the goodness of God." I know this heart, soul and mind. Really know it. Number two is from Romans 12:1. You know, the whole "presenting your body a living sacrifice" passage. How many, many times have we heard that in a sermon on consecration, sanctification? I´ve presented myself for His service, "anything you want, I´ll do, Father." I´m sure many of you have been at that same altar in your life. But what about our actual body? Can we come to the point of presenting our physical body, with all its sensitive nerve endings, its potential for suffering and pain, and say, "Here, do with it as it glorifies You most"? That´s a scary place to be when you´re Marc Sankey. Or when you´re anyone else.

I´ve come to see my skirt, tucked away in storage, as a mark of grace. I´m certain that with time, that piece of asphalt will similarly transformed. I´d like to share some lyrics with you from Point of Grace:

I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
Then I could just pretend
I never knew the me back then

I used to pray that You would take this shame away
Hide all the evidence of who I've been
But it's the memory of
The place You brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I'm free

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
I don't take pride in what I bring
But I'll build an altar with
The rubble that You've found me in
And every stone will sing
Of what You can redeem

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Don't let me forget
Everything You've done for me
Don't let me forget
The beauty in the suffering

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar.

And the chorus I sang to myself over and over by Al Denson:
If you need a pillow for your sorrow
If you need a blanket for your soul
If you need a place your broken heart can be made whole
He'll be your strength to face tomorrow
And when the night seems dark and cold
Fall into the arms that won't let go
Fall in to the arms that won't let go

Monday, October 26, 2009

Alex´s Dedication and Fall Time

I can feel the bloggin´ bug beginning to bite again. Ah, Facebook is fine, with little snippets of life from a few hundred friends each week, but it´s such quick fix. I kind of seeing blogging as the front porch sitting of the internet. Time to think, to write, to pass around the photo album, to indulge in some cyber-coffee.

I thought I´d start off with a few pictures from the last roll of film that came through. Alex and his cousin Stephen were dedicated together by Rev. Darrell Stetler in September at the Burlington Bible Methodist Church. Bro. Stetler did such a good presentation, even including a charge to the older siblings, which I thought was neat. It was once again a time for remembering why it is we do what we do, for lifting the eyes above loads of laundry and piles of leaves to those sweet children in our lives. To the eternality of their souls. Speaking of which, Kathryn informed me and her daddy that she asked Jesus to live in her heart. This was the last week of September. She´s not a public performer, so true to her nature, this is something she did privately, without even us. But upon questioning and observing, we feel that she is indeed growing in grace. So exciting!

And it´s FALL. F-A-L-L, Fall! as Buzby (Alex´s favorite Hermie character) would say (in his best Elvis voice). I am so loving it! For all you flavored coffee drinkers out there, you HAVE to try the new seasonal liquid Coffeemate Caramel Apple flavor. Yummy!!! Make sure you have a slice of carrot cake or a pumpkin muffin to go with it. More pictures below...


Ah-ha! Happiness is getting your blog a new look! Now I feel motivated to actually post something on it again. Pictures coming later on today! And now all of you can choose to be subjected to my electic musical tastes. I picked a playlist that makes me smile. Hope it brings some cheer to your day.

Love to all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Playing with layouts... pardon the mess...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

O, Love That Will Not Let Me Go

Yes, I´m still planning to finish the series on self-control. Life has been a wee bit insane of late, so I´d just like to share the hymn that´s been on my mind this week with a bit of background I found. If your hymn knowledge is a bit scarce, look it up on Youtube. I found a nice Glad-style acapella arrangement on the first hit.

George Matheson published the words to this in Jan. 1882 in the Church of Scotland´s magazine Life and Work. He said of this poem, "My hymn was com­posed in the manse of In­ne­lan [Ar­gyle­shire, Scot­land] on the ev­en­ing of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s mar­ri­age, and the rest of the fam­i­ly were stay­ing over­night in Glas­gow. Some­thing hap­pened to me, which was known only to my­self, and which caused me the most se­vere men­tal suf­fer­ing. The hymn was the fruit of that suf­fer­ing. It was the quick­est bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the im­press­ion of hav­ing it dic­tat­ed to me by some in­ward voice ra­ther than of work­ing it out my­self. I am quite sure that the whole work was com­plet­ed in five min­utes, and equal­ly sure that it ne­ver re­ceived at my hands any re­touch­ing or cor­rect­ion. I have no na­tur­al gift of rhy­thm. All the other vers­es I have ever writ­ten are man­u­fact­ured ar­ti­cles; this came like a day­spring from on high." (info courtesy on

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Self-Control, Part III

So. Is it something I work out in myself or is it something I sit back and watch as God produces in me? Nathan says the Christian life is like being a branch grafted onto a vine (Jesus Christ). At the juncture of the two, there is a "valve." As we obey the Spirit and His Word, the valve stays open, allowing Christ´s life and power to flow through us producing the fruit of the Spirit. Disobedience begins closing the valve, and continued disobedience can actually kill us spiritually, as we starve ourselves of His life and power. Philip used the word "synergy" when I talked with him about this. It is us actively taking steps to be self-controlled, while we depend on the Holy Spirit´s power in us to accomplish what we could not otherwise. That dependence is KEY! Philippians 4:13. I can do all things THROUGH HIM who gives me strength.

My personal opinion is that we can ´fertilize´ ground we´re growing in, or fill it with toxins. In other words, we can take steps to make obedience easier or massively difficult. If I have a problem with my tongue, I can make my life more difficult by staying on the phone all day. If I have a problem with food, I can make myself miserable by having stuff in the house I KNOW I shouldn´t eat (which will call my name LOUDLY all day long). Perhaps, there is ignorance involved. Mindless, head-long rushing into self-indulgence or sin. In that case, the Bible encourages that we seek wisdom and understanding. Learn about nutrition, exercise, time management. There are websites such as the FlyLady that can give all sorts of good tips on housecleaning. Doing common sense things to slow us down and cause us to think before we act can create a healthier environment in which our Spirit-filled ´branch´ can thrive.

Proverbs 25:28 says that a man (woman) without self-control is like a city with broken down walls. Poor Nehemiah, upon inspecting the broken-down walls of the city, encountered so much rubble his horse couldn´t even walk through. I´m trying to think of this issue in this light: My lack of self-control leaves me vulnerable to attacks from the Enemy. Satan will take full advantage of my lack of defense. Next post, I want to look at the GOALS of self-control. What are they? Any thoughts?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Self-Control Part II

There seem to be two types of self-control: involvement and abstention. That is, there are things that we are to discipline ourselves TO DO. And there are things that we are to discipline ourselves NOT TO DO. Colloquially, it seems common to speak of self-discipline in the positive sense, and self-control in the negative sense. We discipline ourselves to exercise, to prayer, etc. We control ourselves to keep from overeating, being lazy, etc. I´ve been focusing on the abstention side of self-control with my personal study: How do I keep from doing what I know I shouldn´t? How important is it anyway? Paul certainly thought the topic was important. In Acts 24:25, when he stood before Felix, it joined righteousness and judgment as a topic of choice.

Many people and cultures over the years have made honest attempts at self-restraint. The Stoics celebrated the mastery of the body. Some religions attempt to suppress and even destroy desire. The military prides itself in creating men and women of discipline and order. At some level, this is possible. But what about "taking captive every thought" as 2 Corinthians 10:5? For Christians, is self-control different?

Check out this quote from
"Does Scripture give us any direction concerning self-discipline? The word "self-discipline" isn’t even found in the King James Version of the Bible. However, I wonder if another word for self-discipline in a Christian’s life might not be "obedience." Consider this. If I choose not to get up in the morning when I know I should get up, that is in reality disobedience to the Lord Jesus, Who is the director of my life.

I usually view this type of choice with seemingly minor implications—sleep in or get up—as a decision that, as an adult, I am free to independently make. While I might not be pleased with the outcome when I miss out on my morning time with the Lord Jesus, don’t get my exercise in, and start school late because I didn’t get up, I will simply sigh, blame it on a lack of self-discipline, and plan to do better tomorrow. Telling myself that I struggle with self-discipline sounds much better than to say that I am disobedient to the Lord Jesus.

The Spirit has a way of prompting, nudging, and not allowing us to be content in a life void of self-discipline and obedience. For the mom who struggles with self-discipline, it becomes a choice in her life. Will she follow the dictates of her flesh, or will she follow the promptings of the Spirit? Will she be obedient or disobedient? We can be sure that it is the Spirit Who puts the need and desire in her heart to read the Bible and pray. This probably requires her to obediently get out of bed in the morning when the alarm clock goes off so that she doesn’t miss her personal time alone with Jesus. I believe if we evaluate most, if not all, of the areas requiring self-discipline in our lives, we would agree that they are the promptings and directings of the Spirit, and they require our obedience."

Ouch!!!!!! Truthfully, I have a LOVE-HATE relationship with that quote. I recoil at the personal responsibility. Maybe you do, too. The truth is if we know to do the right thing, and we don´t do it, it IS sin. Because of that, I believe is truly impossible to have this higher level of self-control apart from a relationship with Christ. I´d like to suggest that perhaps we should be striving for living a Spirit-controlled life rather than a Self-controlled one. So. Is is a fruit of the Spirit, something produced in us automatically as we live in obedience to Christ (Gal. 5)? Why are we told to put it on, then (2 Peter 1:6). Where´s the balance?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Self-Control Part I

The school bus is barreling by the house at 6:58 this fall. All the sales at the store are for school supplies, and I’m back into private tutoring for the first time in years. I suppose it’s a habit from being in school from age 5 to 22, plus teaching some after that. That is, every fall, I suddenly feel like delving into academic subjects, buying glue sticks and scissors, even organizing my life down to the bathroom drawers. All that to explain why the sudden diversion from months of newsiness to an “academic” series.
This is the promised blog on Self-Control. I did this study for my own profit; maybe it will be useful to someone else. Of course, it is by no means comprehensive, but I found it challenged my assumptions and even my lifestyle.
All my life, I’ve “struggled with self-discipline.” My three top defeaters have been words, laziness, and food. My words have consistently gotten me into trouble. And although I have tried to be sensitive to any promptings to apologize, it irritates me every time that HERE WE GO AGAIN – AWKWARD! Laziness. Maybe it follows all non-work-aholics around; I don’t know. But I’d sure like to be sleeping right now. Yes, I do have a genetically lower serotonin level than some, which means I CANNOT pull an all-nighter, and I’m not functional on 6 hours of sleep or less. I wish I was. I still lean toward laziness. I’ve been able to hide some of this “struggle” pretty well. Especially with food. I have had so much pride and fear of others seeing me as out of control, that I would balance any, shall we say, “indiscretions” with extra exercise. Alex is two, and I’m still trying to pull off those last few pounds.
As you can see from the above confession, I have good motivation toward the study of self-discipline/self-control. I’m going to pass along some of the thoughts I’ve had in the last few weeks over a few separate blogs. Here are a few questions I’ve been looking into:
1. What is self-control?
2. How important is self-control? (Considering it’s a rather quiet topic in the Church)
3. How different is a biblical self-control from the world’s view of self-control?
4. Where’s the balance between it being a fruit of the Spirit produced in us and being commanded to “put it on”?
5. What is the goal of self-control? (This hit home for me. What are my motives in being self-controlled? Pride? Others’ opinions? Hmmm…)

*Great Quotes* (There’s a bunch of these, so I’ll include one with each post.)
“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.” ~Harry S. Truman

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Velveteen Rabbit and other things...

Kathryn cried over the new Velveteen Rabbit film tonight. Her first time to truly connect emotionally with a character, as far as I know. I said, "Are you crying?" She said, "No... (pause)... tears are just coming out of my eyes." She didn´t seem to know she was. Her very good daddy said, "That´s good, Kathryn." I know some people who would have laughed at a child´s sensitivity in that moment. It reminded me of the value of a good father.

On other things, she came to me yesterday and exclaimed, "Did you know Curiosity killed his cat!?! Isn´t that terrible?! He killed his cat!!!" Every day she makes me smile.

Alex is going through another seriously defiant stage. He´s not belligerent (thank you, Lord), but still disobedient. Sigh... so I feel I´m on him constantly. Tomorrow, I making a mental note to myself to remember to smile at him and give him lots of love and affection. I don´t know about you other parents, but it´s hard to feel warm and fuzzy toward a child who´s under your continuous discipline.

I´m working on a blog on the topic of self-discipline. Any random thoughts you have may help. Right now, I´m searching Scripture and good books, trying to teach myself some things on the topic. It´s not a very popular theme for Christian discussion, but I´m finding it more and more a major issue in the Christian walk. Speaking of which, I need to get offline and go to bed. So I will. Night, all.

Friday, August 07, 2009

What We've Been Up To

Well, we're in the last gasp of summer. Of course, like all of you, we've been pretty busy. Nathan's been running the Basic Seminar by Gothard at our church on Sunday nights on top of his regular work week. This is my first time through the sessions. I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Like 99.9% of speakers, he has some faulty info, but not everyone can be Nathan! ;o) (Ugh... that sounded totally cheesy... picture big AND toothy grin). In an attempt to tighten his end of the budget, Nathan's been suffering through Lean Cuisine lunches. I think he may end up voting for a sack lunch every other day or something. He's also looking forward to the soon-coming cessation of yard work. Bermuda grass LOVES Alabama summers, and as long as we get a little rain, grows like mad. He has been enjoying's demotivators. One of my favorites: BLOGGING: Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few. Hee,hee!

Kathryn is in full swing, as usual. She spends her days as a great indoorswoman (must take after her daddy). She's enjoying her daddy's old Nature Corner episodes, informing me that she wishes Vida the cat was diurnal, and that there are many species of potato chips. She does Dr. Gramme proud. Character-wise, I'm excited that she seems to be glaring at people less (she calls it shyness, but agh!) and has decided that heaven by death is not a good deal. She wants to be 'caught up in the air.' I happen to agree.

Alex is officially two. Pictures haven't happened yet, as he celebrated this milestone with 5 stitches to the forehead. Yep, full-scale, wonder boy destructo machine. Yesterday, some surreptitious red-ants scaled the outside of his jeans and headed in under his shirt. I couldn't find the Calamine, then remembered that he'd recently dumped the whole bottle into my carpet. Cortaid to the rescue. His favorite phrase is, "Mudder? You happy? (Yes, Alex, are you happy?) Yeth!" 5 seconds later: "Mudder? You happy?... and so on" He has adopted his first stuffed animal, a rabbit. Or as he calls it: "my waddit." Actually it was Kathryn's Easter rabbit from my Grammy, so it has a pink bow. But he has personalized it by systematically pulling out all its tail fuzz.

I'm about to begin teaching 4 homeschool girls Spanish I. I taught the same BJU curriculum at Tuscaloosa Christian 5 years ago, but I'm having to revamp everything for a totally different format. I've decided to teach completely in Spanish, something I was too chicken to do last time. The immersion is such a helpful, if intimidating, experience. It requires me to think a lot more about how I'm going to say things. Come to think about it, maybe that's a good thing ;o)

The next section is only for those attempting to save money...

The last few weeks, I've been working hard to plug money leaks around here, doing research, etc. I thought I'd pass on a few things I found in case you are interested. To give credit where it's due, let me applaud my sister-in-law, Marianne (the Queen of Frugality) for giving me some great tips. Her blog occasionally showcases her savings, so keep your eyes open. She recommended Aldi Grocery Stores. I was a bit skeptical, but I've tried cheeses, juice, milk, cereals etc. They were all TOP QUALITY. And where else are you finding milk for $1.50 a gallon?! A few websites that I heartily endorse: (gives great tips by store for saving megabucks, especially at CVS; my only ugh has been their 3 Day Sale starts on Sunday, leaving us Sabbath observers looking at empty shelves Monday morning. I'm going to revamp my strategy and work with their other sales) (free signup, legit site with millions! of books available; in short, you post any book (think kids' textbooks, or anything!) and other members request it. You have up to 8 days? to mail it at your expense via media mail (about 2.50 per book); now you can pick anyone else's book free. It's genius, really. You can actually exchange a child's Golden Book for an expensive textbook. I consider my account to be a 'book budget' of sorts) (free signup, also legit. This is a search engine. I must admit it doesn't return the best results all the time, but you can work with it. Just for searching through it, you get points. In about 3 weeks of regular web use, I earned enough points to trade for a $25 gift certificate. Starbucks, Target, Amazon cards are also available)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Went to the zoo yesterday. Kathryn and Alex darted from cage to cage, peering in at strange creatures snoozing, picking fleas, swimming, slithering. We passed through the social animals exhibit, where primates of all types climbed and swung from vine to rope to tree. Then there it was, the glass-enclosed display of skulls, from the tiniest what-ever-it-was up through the chimp, gorilla, and finally us, the HOMO-SAPIENS. Kathryn asked what it was, and I said, "just some old bones" and kept walking. In many of the exhibits, the animals were fighting. Struggling for the highest position on the rock, the best feeding spot, pulling ears, biting, yanking tails. Now THAT looked a bit human, I have to say. The only true commonalities between the two sides of the glass were a common creator and a common fall. In fact, the very fact that there are cages and trenches and walls signifies the fallen nature of creation. Can you imagine a zoo on the new earth? Where all things live harmoniously? Don´t worry, all you moms out there... I didn´t moan and groan through the zoo sharing the theology of the fall with everyone within 500 feet, ruining the day for everyone. I oohed and aahed over how beautiful and unique God had made these animals, and my kids enjoyed it thoroughly. But what I have to say to you adults out there is ´go to the zoo.´ We believe in the imminent return of Christ, don´t we? This may be your last chance to see the fall in the animal kingdom, you never know. Of course, you could just wait for the ´social animals´in the backseat to fight over the fries. As for me, I´m looking forward to the New Jerusalem Zoo.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

When You Marry Him...
(an anonymous poem from WAY BACK WHEN that I found framed in the Bed & Breakfast) It was sampler style and too memorable to pass up...

When you marry him, love him.
After you marry him, study him.
If he is secretive, trust him.
If he is sad, cheer him.
When he is talkative, listen to him.
When he is quarrelsome, ignore him.
If he is jealous, cure him.
If he cares naught for pleasure, coax him.
If he favors society, accompany him.
When he deserves it, kiss him.
Let him think how well you understand him,
But never let him know that you manage him.

I found the complement online after returning home:

When you marry her, love her.
After you marry her, study her.
When she is blue, cheer her.
When she is talkative, by all means listen to her.
If she dresses well, compliment her.
When she is cross, humor her.
When she does you a favor, kiss her.
If she is jealous, cure her.
If she is lonely, comfort her.
When she looks pretty, tell her so.
Let her feel how well you understand her,
But never let her know she isn´t boss.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just us!

Nathan and I went away for a mini-vacation at the beginning of this week. It was fabulous! We found a Bed and Breakfast in Columbus, MS. We´ve been to one before down at the Gulf, so we were prepared for the whole gourmet breakfast with strangers thingie. The first morning, however, we were the only guests. We had Monte Cristo sandwiches (Texas toast piled high with salami and cheeses, dipped in egg, grilled, and then dusted with powdered sugar) and fruit parfaits. The next morning was Bananas Foster over French toast (sliced bananas served with a brown sugar and butter sauce). Ooohhh... now I´m getting hungry just thinking about it. While I´m on a roll, let me describe the meal I got at Harvey´s Monday night: a fabulously loaded potato soup followed by a Tuscan Chicken Sandwich (ciabatta bread topped with basil pesto mayonnaise, mixed greens, sun-dried tomatoes, seasoned grilled chicken, marinated artichoke hearts, and melted provolone). Heaven! And then we snuck out for Wendy´s Frosties. OK, so I´ve been eating salads since I got back ;o)

Since I wandered from my original thought and fell into a soup bowl, let me back up... Shadowlawn Bed and Breakfast, owned by antique connoisseurs and fabulous Christian hosts, Nono and Burnette Avakian, was a beautiful, refreshing place to spend a few days. Our only disappointment was that we didn´t get to stay longer and that we couldn´t bring home their cocker spaniel, Caesar. Their house was filled with scriptures posted on the walls, and breakfast was accompanied by quiet hymns playing in the background. The home itself was a beautiful Antebellum mansion used as a Civil War hospital during the war. (It was explained to us that since Columbus, MS was used as a hospital town for both sides, it escaped the ransacking and burning).

We also visited the Waverly Mansion and the Tennessee Williams birthplace (it was the welcoming center).

All in all, we had an uber-fabulous time!!!! Can´t wait for our next get-away!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I can't believe this recipe!!!

Searching (which is a fabulous resource of recipes!), I found a peanut butter cookie that I was sure was a mistake. However, I needed a peanut butter cookie, so I gave it a try. It has NO FLOUR! How weird is that?! But they were very tasty. Click here to give it a try.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Bookmark the above URL if you love good material! This is an unashamed plug for my husband's work. He has begun the website to provide discipleship material to be copied and distributed freely. All the articles were personally developed by him to be used in his new converts' classes over the years. As someone who watches these lessons being developed, I think they're fabulous. Nathan spends many, many hours a week after work developing what he thinks is worthy of his 'precious Christian babies.' He is currently beginning a 4 month hiatus to introduce his class to Gothard and the Institute of Basic Life Principles. During this time, he'll be working on new material for upcoming lessons. Feel free to contact him with comments and suggestions for new material. As a side note, if you enjoyed studying under any of the Browns in the past, you'll find these articles a pleasure to review.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Dawson & Decor

My younger brother, Ethan, and wife Jerri, stopped by to show off their new baby, Dawson and to rid me of my last few baby items (don't worry, we're officially done). Anyways, here is a picture of my newest cutie-pie nephew and his lovely mother...

I also created a mantel display for the upcoming season. In the frugality of this time-period, may I say I spent $2 on shells from Dollar Tree, $3 on the two prints from the local thrift store (changed the frame on the larger), paid $3 for the empty wreath at Michaels, and shopped the house for the candlestick and vintage milk bottle and sand. The fishnet I splurged, paying $10 at Michael's (which could have been half that if I'd remembered my coupon- urgh!). So a total of less than $20 to make me smile the whole season through. Here you go...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream (the operative word here being perchance)

At 2:30 a.m. this morning, my alarm went off. I take Kathryn to the potty (her body doesn't wake her up, so I do). At 3:00 a.m., I woke up because Alex was sitting on my head.

In college, I never pulled an all-nighter. I had no desire to torture my body in such an insane way. I love my sleep. In the last 5 years, I have had very few uninterrupted nights. All you mommies out there: remember the overactive bladder? The pelvic pain? The kicks that began at 4:30? Then you graduate to sitz baths and nighttime feedings and unexplained crying marathons. Otherwise known as the haze. With one child you seem to finally achieve nighttime sleeping health. Enter child #2. If one cries, the other wakes up. That includes all thunderstorms, strange noises, unexpected poo diapers (or wet diapers or disintegrating diapers). Then it's potty training, bad dreams, allergy coughing fits, and the hamster rattling too loudly on his wheel (Nathan put him in the bath between the kids rooms~ go figure ;o)

So I'm going to bed. I think I'd like just a few hours of intense silence and friendly dark and good dreams. And NO head-sitting!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quote from Holly Elliff (transcript of Revive Our Hearts, April 15th):
(I really relate to the cute munchkin, flying monkey part ;o)

"Do you remember the moment in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy peeked through the door of her transported farmhouse? Do you remember that moment? Where it was black and white and all of a sudden Dorothy kind of opened the door and it was suddenly beautiful and in color. Do you remember that in the movie?

She was in a place she had never been before. Some of us when we entered motherhood, suddenly we’re in a place we had never been before. I was one of those women. Let me tell you some parallels I see between my life as a mom and the Wizard of Oz.

First of all, most of what Dorothy encountered was unknown. She didn’t know it was coming. She was constantly surrounded by either really cute munchkins or really nasty flying monkeys. Nothing around her was what she expected. Her journey got more and more surprising the longer she went. Her task was something she could not do alone.

Her companions sometimes appeared—now let me just tell you that this is not male bashing because my husband added this line. Her companions sometimes appeared to be brainless, heartless, or courageously challenged. There is an enemy who tries to keep her from accomplishing her task, and there are moments when going back to Kansas sounded really good. But when she needs it, someone wiser than she is always shows up."

End of quote. I would add that I go from feeling like a pretty pink fairy that can do amazing things to being an evil wicked witch that would fall completely apart if someone spills ANOTHER glass of water! Life is funny!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Backlog of Pictures, Part III (and the week of agh!)

This is how our week began. Alex decided to answer the call of the sirens and stick two of his fingers into the sucking-in-part of a moving treadmill. Tie me to the mast, tie me to the mast, folks!!!! Ah, well. No broken bones, just missing a good chunk of flesh of two fingers, one of which he wraps around his thumb for sucking. Hence the huge bandage which makes it appear that the injury is life-threatening. And which also lasted 30 minutes? after we got home from the clinic before it got yanked off.

Then I, mommy, me came down with a stomach virus midweek. OK, there just isn't a pretty way of describing dry heaves and lots of lysol-use, so moving right along. There is something criminal about mothers being able to get sick. Along with the (temporary) extra set of arms I believe mothers should grow when their milk comes in, should come an impervious immune system and extra doses of toddler-proof energy.

Then Kathryn begins coughing for 1 hour, then 2 hours in the middle of the night. Alex is at this point running a fever and beginning diarrhea. Pediatrician says she is having pollen allergies and he's headed downhill with the virus I had, goody, goody! But fingers are not infected. That's good, that's good.

Now, all good stories and weeks must have an icing to the cake, right? Oh, yes. Enter Martha Stewart and Good Things from Tag Sales and Flea Markets. That's right. My reading material has gone downhill, I know.

It wasn't particularly interesting, so I stuck it back in the drop box at our tiny hometown library. I receive a CALL, you know, THE CALL, from the head librarian~ the one that says the book is damaged, pages are missing, you have to pay, etc. I explained (confused) that my children had not had access to the book. Oh, they knew that. I, mommy, me! had cut (with scissors) 16 pages out of this fascinating book. Here enter deep sighs, rolled eyes, drooping shoulders~ whatever~ it's my word against theirs, right? Better is a good name than great riches, and so on. So I go to Amazon and order a new one, expedite ship it, only to find out it's only available in softcover and I, mommy, me! had defaced a hardcover. I'm supposed to talk to the chief interrogator on Monday. I, being gracious as always (OK, so inwardly I'm gnashing my teeth), ask if they really believe I would STEAL 16 pages out of their book, and then LIE about my grand theft. They do. Alrighty then. I've been accused of worse, I suppose. There was the time I was accused of shoplifting a garden hose.

Catharsis done. By the way, I didn't do it.
Backlog of Pictures, Part II

Alrighty then, moving right along to more recent events. My mom came to visit! Oh, this was fun! She came and in true Nana-ness, made cookies, in MY house. OK, these were peanut butter cookies extraordinaire!!! The kids were thrilled she was here.

And since we were sick over Kathryn's fourth birthday and our 8th anniversary, there aren't any pictures from that :(

But then we've got Easter! Kathryn was thrilled with her chocolate bunny and the whole egg-dipping process. I made her dress, which she actually liked~ amazing! (she's a bit contrary ~like me, I'm afraid ~ and tends to dislike what I make a big deal over) We had a wonderful!!! service at church celebrating the best time of the year and the most important event in history- the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Alex was more interested in showing the neighbor dogs his eggs. For those of you who know my dog-fear-thingie, I just want to say "Why me?" in a high-pitched voice (as in, why do I ALWAYS have fierce-looking dogs next door who bark at me every time I go outside- sigh...)

Back-log of Pictures (be warned!)

The kids and I went to Cincinnati a few weeks back to do a little relaxing. Unfortunately, Nathan didn't get the time off, so I bravely took off on my own. OK, so I'm insane. But it was a nice change of pace (after and before the 10 hours on the road each way with two aliens in carseats!)
Alex napping on his Aunt "Sessy" Chelsea, who attends GBS

Took the kids to a neat place called the Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum. OK, RANDOM FACT ABOUT ME~ I love old cemeteries. Not the little flat markers in the ground that just have DOB and DOD, but the REAL cemeteries, alive with obelisks, real epitaphs, beautiful plants... I share my love of browsing through them with my mother-in-law. Actually, the woods behind our house supposedly contain a Civil-War era slave cemetery, which I have yet to explore- added to goals for 2009.

Here's Kathryn on a neat bridge at the arboretum.

Playing games with an attentive Gramme.

Alex taking over the girls' dorm ;)

I've been accused of having an heroine (as opposed to heroin) complex. You know, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, save the world one pitiful person at a time, strong-willed, control freak... the connotations are both positive and negative. So I took a picture of this statue so Nathan will know what I want when I move on to glory. Seems fitting somehow :o) :o) :o) Heehee... If you don't understand this, don't worry- it's my strange sense of humor...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Books are like people:
fascinating, inspiring, thought-provoking,
some laugh,
some meditate,
others ache with old age, but still have wisdom;
some are disease-ridden,
some deceitful;
but others are a delight to behold,
and many travel to foreign lands;
some cry, some teach, others are lots of fun.
they are excellent companions,
and all have individuality-
Books are friends.
What person has too many friends?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Chip Ingram speaking on Adversity, 4/2/09

And I quote, "I am absolutely convinced that everything that will be necessary for me to go through this in a way that honors God and gives me what I need is 100% available to me at this moment. That’s my eager focus and expectation. My hope is not based on temporal circumstances changing. My hope is based on a hope that cannot change. And my hope and certainty is that a sovereign, good God, using the prayers of people and the power of His Spirit will give me all that I need so that in the window of time when I’m at the spiritual free-throw line and the entire stadium of eternity is filled, I will have sufficient courage to do exactly what You want me to do."

Perspective is EVERYTHING. How thoroughly such a belief is entrenched in our minds and hearts will make THE DIFFERENCE in whether or not our response to adversity is God-glorifying. Man, I LOVE this quote!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Kathryn's 4!

To my sweet, crazy, imaginative little gal who alternately likes to play Sleeping Beauty and Lucy Pevinsey~ Happy Birthday! We plan to celebrate this Saturday; pics will be posted this w/e. In the meantime, here are a few shots from the last few years...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No Comments, Just Chuckles

I saw a man wearing this shirt today at Wal-Mart, and considering my CHM heritage, it amused me greatly. I think I'll wear one to church camp this year ;o)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Changing of the Seasons, Pie-Style

We've begun a tradition at our house called the changing of the seasons. Next Friday, I'll prepare a Winter/Spring celebration with foods and decor traditionally associated with both. I love variety, and have marked for years the changing in my mind. Something about moving on, putting the past behind, preparing for the beauty of something new...

In commemoration of this special event at our house, I'm posting two of my most-beloved pie recipes. I must say the Apple Pie is one that has been tweaked and combined and altered to fit our tastes and its crust is Taste of Home's traditional crust recipe. The Strawberry Pie is from a July/August '03 issue of Quick Cooking and I will be posting it later in the week.

*One sentimental note about the following recipe: If you make it to heaven before I do, tell Greg Makcen that yes, his pie is coming. It's the last thing I promised him before he passed away. Friends "awaiting" always make heaven sweeter.

Charity's Apple Pie

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. Crisco
8-10 Tbsp. ice water

(I place my flour/salt mixture in the bowl and put it along with my pastry cutter in the freezer to chill it before making this. I store my Crisco in the frig, so that's happily cold, too). In a large bowl, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until crumbly. Gradually add water, mixing with a fork until a ball forms. Halve mixture, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface to form two pie crusts. Run a spatula underneath to release any sticking, and fold in half and then again. Center in pie pan and unfold. Add filling. Dot with butter. Place other pie crust on top and seal edges. Brush top with 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbsp. water. Place on baking sheet to prevent spills.

5-6 large Red Delicious Apples
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Peel, slice and core apples. Toss with lemon juice. Combine other ingredients and then add to the apples. Toss gently. Cover with wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (This is called macerating- allow excess juices to settle). Place apples into crust with a slotted spoon. Some people like super-runny, messy, sweet pies. You can skip the macerating if you do.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, turn down to 350 and continue cooking for 45 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Memory of the Brent Bigger Family

I would like to post a song in light of the terrible heartache carried by the Brent Bigger family and friends. I picked up this CD and was planning to mail it to Brent this week, as it seemed created specifically to comfort the brokenhearted. Unfortunately I learned of his passing around the same time. (There is a video with the music, but I find it especially powerful without the visual distraction) May God continue to hold their families close. In Brokenness You Shine
* I can't get the link to work. Please go to and search the title. I DID get it posted to Facebook successfully.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Our Love Story...

Knowingly blending Facebook and Blogger is probably a blogging no-no, but here goes. Mary Ellen tagged me on Facebook to find out more about my married life.

"I was tagged and thought this one was fun - it's about you and your spouse, not just you. Come on, play along - inquiring minds want to know! ;-) DON'T FORGET TO TAG ME SO I CAN READ YOURS IF YOU DO IT!!

♥ What are your middle names?
Mine is Yvonne, his is SOMETHING starting with E. My mom named me "Love Archer~ think Cupid" and I was born one week after Valentine's (I think this was coincidental). I don't have permission to share his, but it's a family name.

♥ How long have you been together?
We started dating when in Summer of 1996, when I was 15 and he was 21. And you are hereby all sworn to secrecy not to ever tell my daughter that ;o) We dated for two years, then we broke up for over a year, and then we got back together again. We married in the spring of 2001. Coming up on 8 years!

♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating?
I met him at the Pell City Youth Camp in 1993, where he was my "counselor." I had a big crush on him that lasted exactly two weeks after I got home. My parents had been students of his parents at Hobe Sound. My dad flunked his dad's Greek class. So they knew my family better than I realized.

♥ Who asked who out?
Because I was so young, his mom actually called my parents to see if we could begin talking on the phone. Then he called my dad, then me. That was after the background check which revealed that none of my relatives were Nazi war-criminals and that I had never smoked pot.

♥ How old are each of you?
I'm almost 28. He's 34.

♥ Whose siblings do/did you see the most?
In the dating days, he saw mine. Mostly because I was too young to drive ;o) He sat around and told us dramatic ghost stories. I would leave the room every time it got good, because it freaked me out to see my crush contort his face and scream like a wildcat when the "blood came out from under the closet door." I was sooo gullible back then. You should have seen me the time we were walking on one of those country roads and crossed a little old bridge. He leaned over the rail and softly said, "This reminds me of one of my previous girlfriends..." and then lunged at me. I about wet myself.
Now, we're pretty isolated where we live. We see his brother and family a couple times a year, and mine about the same.

♥ Do you have any children together?
Kathryn (age almost 4) and Alex (18 mos)

♥ What about pets?
Vida (the male cat with the female name that Kathryn named before you could see that he was male that we bought to kill the voles that were eating the roots of our shrubs, causing them to fall over- how's that for a run-on?)
& Squeak V~ our hamster

♥ Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
I'd have to say physical difficulty and church problems top the list. Especially if they're combined~ agh!

♥ Did you go to the same school?
We both attended HSBC for one year, just not at the same time.

♥ Are you from the same home town?
Nope. I'm from the sticks of NE Alabama, and he grew up in S. Florida.

♥ Who is the smartest?
I'm not sure. I'd say that we are "intellectually compatible."

♥ Who is the most sensitive?
Probably me. OK, definitely me. I actually have "Feelers"~ they are fuzzy fragile little extensions of myself that stick out around me in several directions. Occasionally, I'll say, "Oh, Nathan~ you just yanked a feeler out!" Humor helps a marriage.

♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Did you know that at Logan's from 4-6 on weekdays, you can get two entrees for 12 bucks? Sometimes, we go to Mexican instead, where I impress the world with my Spanish while Nathan stares blank stares at the waiters (just kidding~ he understands more than he realizes, I think)

♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Dare I say it? Las Vegas! Yep, his company sent him there a few years ago for a computer conference. Try wearing a tag under YOUR neck for a week that says "WONDERWARE" Oh, the humiliation... WHO in their right mind would name a software company THAT? Did I mention the porn conference going on the same hotel. Vegas is a flashy, worldly, sinful place full of impressive hotels. Blech! We both got so sick of it that we rented a car one night and drove across the desert to the Grand Canyon to watch the sunset. The desert night sky is unbelievable.

♥ Who has the worst temper?
Me, of course. He's a slow one.

♥ Who does the cooking?
Me, and I love it (most of the time)

♥ Who is more social?
I'm definitely the less shy, but he is a fabulous public speaker. And we BOTH love having people over for food and games.

♥ Who is the neat-freak?
I thought I was neat until I married him. He's amazing.

♥ Who is the more stubborn?
Heehee... can you guess?

♥ Who hogs the bed?
Kathryn. Nathan and I have a DMZ between us that only gets violated for hugs and when Kathryn squishes me into it. (She's very, very quiet, so I never hear her get in).

♥ Who wakes up earlier?
Me, when I'm on schedule. I like to be up by 5:30, him by 6:00. But we both like to sleep in on the w/e.

♥ Where was your first date?
A Ryan's steakhouse.

♥ Who has the bigger family?
Mine. I'm one of 5.

♥ Do you get flowers often?
When I ask for them.

♥ How do you spend the holidays?
Mostly with his folks.

♥ Who is more jealous?
I don't think either of us is really a jealous type. Hey, don't you even THINK about looking at my man ;o)

♥ How long did it take to get serious?
After the break-up, we knew we'd only get back together if we were to be married. I'd call that pretty serious.

♥ Who eats more?
Pleading the 5th

♥ Who does/did the laundry?
Me, unless I ask for help.

♥ Who’s better with the computer?
Definitely, indubitably him. He loves to program, and I'm still scared of Excel.

♥ Who drives when you are together?
He does mostly, but he doesn't mind a female chauffeur either.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Waiting for Spring

OK, I'm officially antsy, blue, ready for spring. I'm sick of dead grass, bare trees, bored kids. This week I saw a forsythia bush, some daffodils and a redbud tree all tentatively in bloom. So!!!! It's coming!!!! I came home and literally took a peek at my daffodil bulbs to make sure evil voles hadn't chewed them to bits. Thankfully, under their blanket of mulch, I found some green shoots headed for the light.

I feel like my brain's turned to winter mush, with no blog-worthy thoughts sprouting at all. So I'll just give you all a general idea of what's been happening here...

1. Kathryn has finally broken through her psych-block with doing 'No. 2' on the potty! Woohoo! Success~ finally. Let's see. She's only 3 years 10 months old~ agh... I must admit to underhanded devious techniques. Thank you to my dear sister-in-law Marianne for giving me the perfect peer pressure. "Kathryn, your cousin Daniel, you know the little baby one, the one that's a whole YEAR younger than YOU, is going poo on the potty~ like no big deal. He's really proud of being such a big boy." I'm sure (nope, I'm 100% positive!) that's not the best method, but I tried all the others and they failed, so there! She also has proclaimed her need to find a godly man to marry, so all you mommies out there~ please do a good job :o) In quiet moments, she asks me to play Mario on Nintendo 64 so she can sit in my lap and hug me as I fall over cliff after cliff (Hate that ice world!). The dramatic shrieking we do together is soooo bonding ;o)

2. Nathan got his annual review today at the office. He says he thinks maybe glimmers of his greatness are being seen ;o) (I put that in there for Tara and Julia and a few others, you know who you are).

3. Alex is hurtling himself down the stairs. Bummer. I didn't teach him in hopes of only worrying about one floor. Nope~ he's off and running. Tomorrow is his 18 mos. appt. That means shots. He continues to be a happy chappy, although he has officially begun full-blown obedience training/testing. If any of you get a phone call from a person breathing hard and drooling into the phone, don't worry- it's just him with his favorite off-limits item.

4. More later this week on Valentine's. T-T-F-N. If you know what that means, you've been reading too much Pooh and Tigger with your kids, like me...

Friday, January 23, 2009


...someone I don't know ;o) However, I found this person's blog some time ago, and find myself going back and back for more. Her decor is such an inspiration to me, not to mention the lovely music playing in the background. Maybe some of you will enjoy her, too...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

25 Things....

I've been tagged a few times, so here's 25 things ~ randomish about me...

1. I grew up as one of five kids.
2. My parents are both dark-haired, dark-eyed. Go figure. 3 of us kids are blond.
3. I've had a crush on Nathan since I was 12.
4. When I was a kid, I was scared of bathtub drains (some kid in FL told me he flushed an alligator egg, and I thought its offspring might pop through the hole)
5. My mother has 37 first cousins, my grandmother had 57, I have only 10. We must be dwindling.
6. I love apple and peanut butter sandwiches.
7. I also love buttercream frosting on saltines.
8. I taught myself to read at 3 while listening to a Richard Scarry children's dictionary tape set; I don't remember not being able to read.
9. Because I could read, I was required to go to 1st grade reading in kindergarten, 2nd grade reading in 1st grade. When we moved, I had to repeat 5th grade reading because the new school wouldn't allow me to do that anymore.
10. I am terrified of snakes.
11. I spent most of my summer days as a kid with purple fingers, from shelling purple hull peas.
12. My favorite childhood books were Little House on the Prairie.
13. I remember my first exposure to foreign language: some Asians at Rock City on the swinging bridge; I was captivated!
14. I have a B.A. in Spanish with a minor in linguistics.
15. Our wedding date was the same as my grandparents, Joyce and Ponder Frederick.
16. My mom's dad died the week of my wedding.
17. Nathan and I are on our fifth golden Syrian hamster, Squeak V.
18. Living with Nathan IS like living with a great Bible commentary set, and a lot more exciting ;o)
19. Kathryn is as strong-willed as I am, which I hear is pretty scary ;o)
20. I love all crooners from the 40's.
21. I love to bake all kinds of goodies; just made some homemade Almond Joy bars this week.
22. If I were rich, I would always have fresh flowers in my house.
23. When I die, I want to be buried (just checking if you're still here ;o)
24. (running out of thoughts....) My normal wake-up time is 5:30 a.m. ugh....
25. Nathan is the only man I ever kissed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

Remember those puzzles we stared at as kids? The ones where you compared two pictures to find all the incongruities between them? Even when they weren't easy to spot, you could just FEEL something wasn't quite right.

I had that feeling all day today. I watched all the inauguration festivities online with Kathryn. I saw Aretha Franklin belt away in her big bow hat, Bush blinking back what looked like tears as he entered his plane, Rick Warren pray in the name of Jesus, President Obama and First Lady Michelle waving cheerily at the thousands upon thousands of people. So I thought I'd share some thoughts with whomever reads my ramblings...

1. I really want to like this guy. I mean, it's such a pain disliking someone so affable with such a classy, elegant wife at his side. He has great oratory and a nice smile. And a horrid voting record and self-proclaimed ideals that devalue others. So as nice as he looks, actions speak louder than words. I think those of us who embrace Christian values may have a real legal fight on our hands.

2. So I turned to Christian radio instead of secular media for a more 'biblical' view of the events. What do I hear over and over? How we are to pray for those in authority regardless of how we feel about their policies (I agree, of course!) and how this is such a momentous occasion for African-American citizens, specifically Christians. This is another place where I get the feeling that the cat's tail is off to the wrong side or the tree is missing a branch. If I was a black Bible-believing Christian, I would be very bothered right now. As exciting as it may be to have a fellow African-American in office, it is more disturbing that the evangelical black church is obviously not basing its societal views on the Word of God. I say this because so many of them voted for a man who stands opposed to Christian values. Any child of God should first be loyal to the Word, not to his cultural group or even his family.

3. Have I come to any conclusions after my ramblings? Obama's election is obviously historic. I will respect him as President for he occupies a position that is to be respected. I believe God has raised him up for this time in our history. (To clarify, He has allowed both good and evil men to come to power throughout history. Some to expedite His judgment to bring those He loves to repentance and some to continue leading a godly people in a godly direction) Back to Mr. President. I will pray for him faithfully. That being said, I think today has re-emphasized some of the concerns I have for the African-American side of the Body. If we as a Body don't respect the Word of the Head, Jesus Christ, how can we ever be effective to minister to a lost world? And if we are to judge (discern true and false) fellow Christians by their fruits, there may be some rotten fruit on the vine...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Goodbye, Mr. Bush

The morning after President Bush was elected, I walked into class at the university. The professor was morose, proclaiming that this morning she had "awoken to a Republican nightmare." Much has happened since that day. I think 9/11 qualifies as nightmare-status. There have been tough things to face. Time will tell. It will vindicate correct decisions, and expose unwise moves. I must say I'm sorrowful to see this last day waning. Not just because we're saying goodbye to a man of integrity, but also because the godly values he has promoted are being threatened by a storm greater than we've ever seen.

Shall we pray?

Friday, January 09, 2009


This old picture of Kathryn is a great visual aid to describe how I feel about right now. I just think a picture of her with hair askew and eyes wide is more attractive than myself in the same pose (maybe I'll try it sometime and see what you think).

I must join my friend Mary Ellen in saying our New Year has so far been full of puke and general yuckiness. Nathan and I contracted an oh-so-evil stomach virus last weekend. Sunday night found us lying upon our bed, alternately begging God for mercy and moaning in pain. We also learned a crucial truth to be filed away for future reference as parents: after each parent visits the bathroom for nastiness "of both kinds" 15-20 times, there is no energy left to care for children. There wasn't exactly a queue of people lined up to volunteer for obvious reasons. Thus we learned truth number two: the only angels available and willing to visit your bedside and spirit your children away in the middle of the night WILL be the cleanest people you know. You WILL lay upon your bed wishing you knew exactly where your baby's clean socks are and that you had done supper dishes BEFORE retiring. You will picture them stumbling over toys, blocks, etc. as they scrounge up diapers and changes of clothing. Ahh~ the humiliation. Maybe I'll stop taking such advantage of Sunday being such a 'day of rest'~ my rest seems to mean the house's complete destruction.

That is the nicest, cleanest way of describing the horrors that befell our master suite. Let's not mention that I've now replaced the a/c vent next to the toilet and dumped baking soda down the ductwork (how did THAT happen? Note: if I don't know, it wasn't me ~ hee,hee!) I've also chloroxed everything that wasn't lysoled, and plan to scrub the vinyl with an (old) toothbrush. Laundry has been shouted and removed of stains and odors and I now think we're almost ready for a new year...

Oh, well, so much for my plans to come back from my hiatus with a perky, happy, happy, joy, joy blog for you dear readers. Drink lots of fluids and type away, fellow bloggers.