This is My "Real" Blog: January 2008

Angie's Blog!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

1:00 and all's well!

It's 1:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

I have taken a shower, dressed, and put on makeup (phew!)
I have run the dishes through the dishwasher.
I have stripped the bed, and the sheets are in the dryer.
I folded one load of laundry.
I have washed the bathroom rugs*
I have taken lunch to my sweet husband (and my boyfriend)**
I have picked up punch-out letters for Edison's science fair project
I have exchanged a pair of jeans that were too small for Edison
I have puchased the entire inventory of Walmart (sorta)***
I have made a homemade quesadilla with Weight Watchers cheese (tasty)
I have figured out what I'm making for dinner tonight

. . .and it's just 1:00.


*I have a friend that gets grossed out by bathmats that need to be washed. So, she just throws them out, and buys new ones. Not me -- I love the feel of a freshly-washed and dried bathmat. So soft and fluffy and warm (especially right out of the dryer)

**Mark, bless his heart, took Caroline to the bus this morning, and went straight to work from there. In his rush, he didn't grab a lunch. On my way to Walmart, I offered to bring him lunch. He had me bring in the chicken & noodles from last night (YUM -- but too much starch for me). I took both portions, and he said he'd share them with Chucklehead (one of his co-workers is my pretend boyfriend). Really, he "loves" on me everytime he sees me. He even tells me when I look hot. . .or maybe it's my earrings that look hot. Regardless, he's great for my ego. . .and he gives great hugs, too.

***Included in this marathon trip to Walmart are: Valentines & treats for Caroline's classes, a $5 pedometer (because Ann inspired me) a new walking video (may be a duplication of one I have), new flannel (baby prints) for burp cloths, new rotary cutter blades (mine are dull), and new socks for me. There was a lot more, but who gets excited about peanut butter and distilled water. . . . other than my favorite brother in law??

Happy Thursday, everyone!! I'm going to try and vaccuum the house and swish out a few toilets before it's time to go get Caroline.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How Bad Could It Be???

This morning, when I got in the van, I had our easy-listening radio station on. The first song on the radio was Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," which definitely falls on my all-time Top-100 song list. That was followed by "What a Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers. YUM. Next? Why Sir Elton John himself. . . "Your Song." When a day begins with those three songs, it can only herald a good day.

And, Paul, Michael, and Elton were right. Great day.

Survived (or endured) a 2-hour staff meeting. That's right. TWO HOURS. Of course, this is the last of the "no-Lead-Pastor" staff meetings. We'll see what the next couple of meetings hold.

Following work, I picked up Caroline from daycare. . . headed to the grocery store. . . .picked up Edison. . . the usual.

After getting dinner on the stove (see that, Tom? I said "DINNER") I sat down and did my final homework for this week's Bible Study. Really good study. But I had no idea what was coming. . .

That's right, you would have thought that Mrs. Moore designed tonight's study session just for me. You see, she talked about miracles---and whether or not they have ceased. My favorite statement of the evening: "Without faith--there is no hope." There was also lots of talk about new covenant and old covenant. The evening (for our group) culminated in my playing a song that my singing group has sung at church in previous months. I'm adding the words tonight, because I feel like the challenge is good for me to read, see, type, and soak myself in again and again.

I say on Sunday how much I want revival
But then on Monday, I can't even find my Bible
Where's the power -- the power of the cross in my life?
I'm sick of playing the game of religion
I'm tired of losing my reason for living
Where's the power -- the power of the cross in my life?
I'm not content just to walk through my life
Giving in to the lies--walking in compromises
Now, we cry out--as a generation that was lost
But now is found in the power of the cross
We believe in You
We believe in the power of Your Word and Its truth
We believe in You
So we lay down our cause that our cross might be found in You
I'm not satisfied, doing it my own way
I'm not satisfied to do church, and walk away
I'm not satisfied, there's no love in my life but You
I'm not satisfied, living in yesterday's hour
I'm not satisfied, to have the form, but not the power
I'm not satisfied, Lord, I am crucified in You

(It's a really awesome song) But it drove home to me that I want to have more than "the form." I want the power. I want His power. I want His victory. I think the ladies left tonight wanting the same things. At least I pray they did.

Really, all in all, it was a good day. I mean, when you start out with Paul, Michael, and Elton, you've really got a good thing going, don't you??

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This will be one of those posts that will leave you (hopefully not) scratching your heads. I just have lots of little random things to put in here. Bear with me, it will be kind of fun when it's all over. . .

I think in every little girl's life, she decides that wearing Daddy's clothes is a fun thing. Of course, Caroline doesn't limit herself to Daddy's clothes. She often parades around the house in just about anything when we're folding laundry. No one, and no article of clothing is safe. Use your imagination. Yep, we go there. But on this particular day, she decided Daddy's fleece jacket was exactly what she needed to wear.

I think it looks cute on her, don't you? I think Edison's closet will probably be her next stop.

Then there's the quilt project of which I have been typing. Here's the completed top and the border fabric I've chosen, but haven't yet attached:

I really am liking the coordination of the fabrics. Of course, you have to use your scraps. . (right Judy??). So, here's the candle mat. . .or hot pad. . . or mini table runner I made with scraps:

I really am a huge fan of the Log Cabin pattern.

After completing those projects, I decided to start another rag quilt (Mark and I each need one in the living room) with the homespun fabric I "found" in my stash. Here's the beginning of the process. . .cutting rectangles:

And, lest you wonder about said "stash" that was hidden away in Caroline's closet, here it is. Bear in mind, there are about four (4) more rubbermaid boxes of fabric in *my* closet. But, this is the bulk:

Other things that deserve a mention:
1) Mark and I went out to lunch today, to meet one of our dearest friends from Illinois, who was in town -- just passing through. David is the Director of the Archives and Special Collections at Wheaton College. He and his wife, Kelly, were some of our first neighbors in the condo we bought in Wheaton. . .back before Edison (just barely). David and one of the professors that I worked for at Wheaton, were coming back through Knoxville, having been at King College this weekend. It was a delight to have lunch with David and Jill, and reacquaint myself with old friends. (The caesar salad with grilled salmon wasn't too shabby, either!)
2) Tonight, at choir practice, I shared my current story with the choir. They are my family. They are a wonderful group of people who love me so very much. I am truly blessed. When I was done weeping my way through (but not as bad as it could have been) they gathered around me, and laid hands on me and prayed. It was so precious. So sweet. So in the presence.
On Sunday morning, the elders of our church are going to lay hands on me and pray for healing. I wrestled with whether or not to have them do this. . . part of me wants to maintain that I don't need healing if I believe God is going to carry me through this. But I was reminded by an old friend that until I reach heaven. . .I'm not whole. Until that time, asking for the elders to pray over me is a natural response to a situation like this.
3) Tonight, while I was getting ready for my two rehearsals, Mark fed the kids their supper. (sloppy joes & fries) While Caroline was waiting for her food, he said that she started spontaneously singing, "How Great is our God" by herself. Usually we sing this together -- and she fills in the words that I omit. Mark said the most precious part was when she sang the words, "Come on, sing with me. . ." I am so blessed by this little girl--I can't put it into words.
4) My homework has been such a blessing in the Beth Moore study. I have one more day -- and thankfully, tomorrow night is the next session. It has really been a spiritual boost for me. And, I truly do believe God is making a difference in the lives of all the women that are participating in this study. I know He's doing a number on me.
Well, that's about all for this sordid and random post. If you've made it this far, you deserve a prize. I have a table runner/candle mat/hot pad. . . no, wait! I really do want that to go with my wall quilt.
Never mind. . . . .

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

". . . wish it was Sunday. . . oh oh, 'cause that's my fun day. . . but it's just another manic Monday."

But no, it's not Sunday. It's Monday. State-of-the-Union Monday. And, although I have supported GW in the past. . . I'm not looking forward to this year's State of the Union address. In fact, my wonderful husband got me the DVD series for "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," for Christmas. I'm going to watch a couple episodes tonight, and blow off the State. . Union speech.

Now, back in our homeschool days. . . ? I'd keep Edison up, and make him watch it. We called it History. This year, it's in that twilight time just before his official bedtime, so I'm going to let him brush his teeth, and read the HP book he's currently reading, and call it a night.

Me? Other than watching Studio 60, I'm going to continue working on the quilt project I started last night. That's right -- I said I actually did some quilting last night!!

And no, it is NOT one of the aforementioned projects in a previous post. This is a wall quilt for my kitchen. There's a blank space behind the table (looking in from the living room) and it needs something. So, I've started a "sticks & stones" project with shades of blue and gold and tan. I got the stones blocks done last night. It will be 5 (squares) by 5 (squares). Each block is 6" - and then there'll be some sort of border. I really like it, so far. I like the gold fabric so much, I'm going to run on my lunch hour and pick up another yard at our local quilt shop (just around the corner from the church -- literally) for a table runner.

I went searching on the web for a picture of the sticks & stones pattern. What I found is that many, many quilts go by that name. Then, I found someone who is making the same quilt from the same pattern. Here's a picture that will give you some idea:

In my version, the red square in the middle of the "stone" blocks is actually dark blue, and the fabric around it is a light gold with a (very busy) black "stitching" pattern on it. Then, the "sticks" blocks are a tan strip, a medium blue patterned strip, and a dark blue gingham. I think it's going to go allright. This particular example is more of a "Log Cabin" feel, but I think it's going to be quite nice when she gets it done. (looking back at her blog, she posted this a year ago. . .unless she quilts like me, she's probably already finished it)

So, there it goes. I did a little quilting last night. I need to do some more.
I cooked a chicken for lunch yesterday -- made chicken salad and homemade chicken stock with the leftovers. (Look out, Becky Homecky!)
Tonight, I think it will be a basic dinner-- maybe hot dogs. How pathetic is that?
After dinner (Sorry Tom, I nearly typed supper!) it will be back to the sewing table.

Oh, and for those of you who have been wondering. . . .our church did indeed elect a new lead pastor yesterday. And we are GLAD. Very, very glad. He and his wife will arrive in town on Friday. He's preaching Sunday.

God is good.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Feels Like I'm Ditching Church

. . . but I'm not.

This morning, I had no responsibilities. Our College Ministry led our worship services, giving me some much-needed time to reflect. (. . . that wasn't the reason, just the providential result). Anyway, at 10:30, very odd to me, I left church after first service.

I admit it. . . I don't attend a Sunday School class. I can't. I have to be in both services every week. So, rather attend an SS class, and make a slight "spectacle" of myself, I grabbed Caroline out of her class, and headed for the van. (The van which my sweet husband went and got for me -- and brought to the front walk)

So, Caroline and I dropped by Food City for a few things, and headed home. It's 11:30 a.m., there's a chicken roasting in the oven, I've got clothes in the dryer, and Caroline is enjoying the Wiggles' Christmas DVD (yes, again) while I blog.

Church was wonderful this morning. I think it's so important to give these students a chance to do "big church" from time to time--and it's just as important for the 'big church people' to get a glimpse into how this generation is worshipping.

. . .ironically, they did ALL hymns this morning. It was so nice. It was so comforting to my soul. However, when they broke into "It is Well With my Soul," I totally lost it.

"When peace, like a river
Attendeth my way
When sorrows, like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot,
Thou has taught me to say. . .
It is well, it is well with my soul."

That, for those of you who don't know my family, is one of those songs that can send us all into various degrees of tears, as we remember times past where that song has meant so much to us in times of grieving and waiting on God. And this morning, it just reminded me that whatever happens, I'm going to praise Him.

Then, as if God was saying, "You haven't learned this enough, Angie," I was serenaded home to the song, "God Will Make a Way," which is a personal favorite of mine.

"God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my Guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strenght for each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way."

I think my favorite phrase in this song is, "He will be my Guide; hold me closely to His side. . ."

There's no place I'd rather be, than held closely to His side. Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad, (little tribute to Al Green there). . . I want to be by His side. Being held closer than I can describe.

So there it is. . .my Sunday morning reflections from the warmth of my home. Still feeling (some) like I'm skipping Church -- even though I was there, and was blessed so much I cried. Well, that's almost a given with me these days.

Have a blessed Sunday. . . .and I mean that! Oh, and one last thing. Beth (and Christy) this one's for you:


Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's Not the Same. . .But It will Have to Do

::hee hee:: Helen, this is another one of those vague blog titles. Have fun!!

This afternoon, to my delight, I am watching the Rolex 24 Race at Daytona Speedway. It combines some of the greatest drivers in the different racing leagues (?). NASCAR, IndyRacing, etc. (I don't know about V-8 from Australia. . . I'll have to keep watching to see)

Anyway, it's basically the official "onset" of the race season. And yes, it means that the Daytona 500 is just around the corner. .. or turn 1, as it were.

Our friends, the Hookers & Suiters are going to join us for a Daytona 500 "bash" at my mom and dad's house. They have a HUGE flat-screen, high-definition TV, so that will be a fun evening. Of course, we have to make it through the Super Bowl first. We don't have plans for that, necessarily, so I assume we'll watch that at home.

But, having racing going on the background is the next best thing to being in the midst of the NASCAR season. I've still got to adapt my way of thinking. . . Dale, Jr. and Jeff Gordon on the same team. . . ? That's going to take some time. I'm sure I'll make it, but it may take me a few weeks to get over the shock.

Of course, I'm still pulling for Richard Childress Racing's Jeff Burton -- number 31. I figure rooting for a car with the same number as my age is a good thing. (Don't be messing) Yes, I actually *do* like Bobby Labonte, who drives the 43 car for Petty Racing.

So, there you have it. . . my first NASCAR post for 2008. There will be more. Some of you will just have to wade through it and rest assured that they won't all be about NASCAR.

You'll notice the new signature at the bottom of my post. Yes, my wonderful friend Melany made me this -- and inserted it in. It's a good thing, because, even though I want to remember to put "simply believing" at the end of each post. . . I'm getting old. (31 is old, these days) And, I can't be expected to remember everything. She amazes me.

So, there it is. It's Saturday. It's above freezing here (finally) and later this evening, the fam is headed over to Mark's supervisor's house for dinner. We've never been to their house -- so I'm a bit nervous. Steve's most recent e-mail to Mark said that they were looking forward to the "whole gang" being there--so I guess they're ready for the arrival of Princess Caroline.

We'll see. Until then, I leave you to go crochet and watch Jimmie Johnson tear up the racetrack at Daytona. . . .

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another Day. . .Another Bracelet--EDITED!!!

That's right. Another blue bracelet courtesy of Ft. Sanders Regional Hospital in lovely downtown Knoxville, TN. I *still* maintain that God's giving me little bits of assurance through these bracelets.

So, all is well. Blood pressure was a bit up . . .but they asked if I was at all nervous. You think? I do know that I nearly froze to death. The P.A.T. (pre-admission testing) waiting room is broken in half by two sliding doors out to the parking garage/outside world. It is still far below freezing here -- so it was very, very cold as I waited to go back.

EKG is good. Bloodwork was a breeze. No chest x-ray needed. . . gosh, maybe it's because my "chest" has been photographed so many times. . . ? Anesthesia consult was fine. And, two hours later, I was on my way.

I did not get lost this afternoon. And, they even validated my parking. I know. . . it's good to be the patient, sometimes.

The only abnormality from my expectations was that the TV was set to ABC -- so I endured noise from All My Children, rather than Days of Our Lives. And, I did not take a sudoku book, but rather a new book I've started reading, "Abba's Child" by Brennan Manning. WOW. Deep stuff in this one. You'll start seeing quotes from it very, very soon. Good book.

So it's now Friday afternoon. It's cold. Caroline's just waking up from a nap. I'm getting out the PJ pants, my crocheting, and putting Max & Ruby on the TV, so that we can enjoy some lowkey snuggling this afternoon. She's still not feeling quite herself, and the benadryl she took before lunch is part of the "motivation" (cause) for her nap.

Have a wonderful, warm weekend. By the way, they're saying we're going to see snow in the morning--and hit 62 on Tuesday. No, I'm not kidding. I couldn't make this stuff up.

(here's the edited part. . .I forgot to add a signature!)

Simply Believing. . . .Angie


I know that at least two of my readers are from areas that are NORTH of here. . . even north of the border (and NO, I don't mean the Mason-Dixon line). But, may I just say that it is COLD here today? When Mark went to take Edison to school, it was around 14 degrees, with a windchill of a single-digit. (I didn't ask which one) So, for us transplanted southerners, it is cold outside.

I was so looking forward to a day at home with nothing to do - and no place to go. But let's be honest, that's not my life, is it? Nope.

So, at noon, I head downtown for my pre-surgical visit. I swear when I called yesterday to confirm the appointment, I recognized the voice of the woman I talked to from this summer's hernia adventure. It's entirely possible that the same sweet lady will be there to greet me when I get there. I think I took Sudoku puzzles with me in June. I will either take more Sudoki (plural spelling?) or some crocheting to do. I know there's a TV in the lobby. Last time, my appointment was at 3 p.m. -- so I got to watch Dr. Phil (joy). Today, I have to be there at 1 p.m., so I'm guessing that I'll be watching "Days of Our Lives" or some other mind-rotting soap opera. (See why I'm taking my sudoku with me?)

Of course, if this were a visit to Children's Hospital (soooooo glad it's not) the mind-rotting SpongeBob SquarePants would be on TV, so I guess I can stomach a few minutes of the feuding families of Salem. (Forgive me, Grandma Knowles used to watch Days when I was a kid)

There's really no other news. Caroline must be mourning the passing of the Christmas season, because the past two days, she has begged to watch the Wiggles Christmas DVD. And sadly, it's the original DVD, rather than the newer "Santa's Rockin'" DVD that we also own. On the newer one, John Fogerty makes an appearance, as does Barry Williams (swoon. . .Greg Brady). No, this DVD that we're currently watching was one of their very early productions. They all are about 7 years younger, and the musical quality is lacking. Oh well. . . .it's precious hearing "Away in a Manger" and "Wiggly Wiggly Christmas" while I type away. (Really, it is! No, I mean it!)

I'm trying to figure out what my next quilting/sewing project is going to be. I've got the materials to make myself another rag quilt -- that way we would have two in the living room. But, I'd like to make the curtains for my bedroom. I'd also like to start working on curtains for my soon-to-be painted sun room. You want to talk about a cold room? It's not insulated. Brrrrrrr!!

There's also a table runner for my new table on the horizon. As well as toilet tank runners for my bathrooms when they are done being painted. AND. . . I've gotten material to make Caroline about 5 or 6 dresses for this spring. So you see, I have plenty to do. . . .and I haven't even begun to talk about the 450 pictures I printed at Walgreens a couple weeks ago -- that need to go in scrapbooks.

So, in my "simplify" life, there's lots to do. Hopefully, keeping my hands, fingers, eyes, and ears busy will keep my mind in a good place.

One last thought (Gee, ever heard me say that before??):

I'm going to combine the idea of "I'm (still) Believing God" with my theme word for the year "Simplify" Here's what I've come up with -- and I hope to remember to close each blog entry with it. . .I think I like it:

Simply Believing. . . .

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Still Moving. . .and Still Believing

The process continues. And, as Beth and I decided last night. . . we don't want to go any further than "Plan C!"

Dr. McPersonality called this morning and talked to Mark. (I believe his scheduling nurse actually called) I have a pre-op appointment tomorrow afternoon (yikes - clear the schedules!!) and surgery is scheduled for February 6 - at 6:00 a.m. (I am not a morning person, by the way)

So, it's in order. It's getting done.

In other news. . . .I am an idiot when it comes to geographical location. I need a GPS so bad, I can taste it.

This morning, I attended a Special Events meeting with the City of Knoxville. We are in the (WAY) early stages of planning this year's Buddy Walk. And, as this year's coordinator, it is my responsibility to get all the necessary paperwork filled out, submitted, etc.

No problem. The e-mail said to go to the Knoxville Coliseum. Mark told me to go downtown and follow the signs. I sort of did that. Only, there are a lot of one-way streets in Knoxville, and suddenly I found myself on Interstate 40 - headed toward ASHEVILLE - and drove right past the coliseum.

I nearly cried. I panicked. I drove toward Asheville until I saw a sign that would let me turn around and go back toward Knoxville. I also saw signs that pointed me to the Coliseum. So, I proceeded -- running late -- but I eventually got to the front of the building. . . only it wasn't the front of the building, and the only road toward the parking garage was a one-way street (again) and of course, it was going the opposite direction.

So, I did a u-turn on Hall of Fame Drive, and turned and found the parking garage. By the time I pulled in, I nearly kissed the parking garage attendant full on the mouth because I had arrived at the right place, with four minutes to spare. I parked my car, ran down the steps (well, you know what I mean) and bolted for the front doors. . .which were locked.

I noticed two women walking toward another set of doors. . .the ticket doors. They were open. There was an elevator. And these two lovely women got on the elevator with me. They confirmed that not only was I going to the right place -- but they were two of the organizers, and if they were arriving when I was arriving, I wasn't late.

These two sweet women, and their supervisor, kept a close eye on me through the meeting -- they knew it was my first time -- and made sure that I talked to all the necessary people. When the meeting was over, they congratulated me on surviving it. (Hey, it made me smile)

Then it was back to my van. Found the van. Felt so much better. Got in the van. Started to drive out -- and realized that, to my knowledge, EVERY ENTRANCE/EXIT WAS GATED. I was stuck in the parking garage. I drove around, trying NOT to swear under my breath, and landed on the top of the flipping Coliseum Parking Garage, and couldn't get down.

I finally decided that the only way to get out of there was to do one of two things:

1) Call the police (how was I going to explain THIS?)
2) Drive back down - going against all the arrows.

Friends, there are NO exit arrows on this parking garage. I'm used to the Children's Hospital parking garage, and the Ft. Sanders parking garage -- they have CLEARLY MARKED exit signs (arrows, too). Not a one at the coliseum parking garage.

So, praying that there would be none of those grate things that puncture your tires if you go the wrong way, I went down the up ramps. Every single one I could find. . . until I saw the guard shack where I entered an hour and a half before. The sweet man wasn't in the shack -- and if there hadn't been an exit next to the entrance I would have taken the entrance. But, indeed, there was an exit. I took it. . .and promptly got turned around (yes, again) on one of the one-way streets in my attempt to leave downtown Knoxville as fast as possible.

Bottom line: I am a suburban/rural girl. These bright lights, neon, and flashing arrows amidst the tall buildings scare me. Yes, I grew up in the Chicago area. But my only ventures downtown were with family or field trips.

I thrive in suburbia. I live for carpool lanes. It's all about simplicity . . .and I learned how much I need simplicity today!

One last thing. . . or five, if you're counting. The Beth Moore study "Believing God" has a 5-part commitment/pledge that is a MAJOR part of the study. As I continue through the study, I want to impart some of what God is teaching me. So today, I want to share those five statements with you.

1) God is who He says He is
2) God can do what He says He can do
3) I am who God says I am
4) I can do all things through Christ
5) God's Word is alive and active in me

And finally. . . ."I'm Believing God!" Have a great Thursday!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gimme a "C!"

That's right. . . .we're up to plan "C" in this journey.

Mr. Personality, or rather "Doctor" Personality called a few minutes ago, and informed me that the pathologist is not able to give a 100% sure "all clear" sign until a more complete biopsy is done. That's right, I get to do this again. Only this time, it will be at the HOSPITAL. And, I believe Dr. Personality will be doing the procedure.

I have to be honest and admit that I am disappointed.
I have to be totally honest and admit that I am scared.
I have to be brutally honest and say that I feel a bit let down.

But, I have to be humbly honest and submit to whatever God is attempting to teach me through this. I heard a song the other day, and I liked it enough to try to find it for our worship team. The words are:

Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand
When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father You are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God
Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust
When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father You are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God
"Still" by Reuben Morgan (Hillsongs)

He is King over the flood. . . even though it feels like it's about to overtake me. I need to be still. I need to rest. I need to remember.

Thanks for listening. . .and all the prayers are pretty special, too!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We're RAINED In!

That's right. You are reading correctly. We are rained in today.

Early this morning, freezing rain started falling from the sky. Because the ground was so cold from the last couple of days, and the extremely low atmospheric temperature, schools are closed. Yes, my friends, we are having a "rain" day here.

So, both kids are home. Edison's school was on a 2-hour delay. However, when Mark set out to take him to school, traffic on the main road was blocked in both directions--due to multiple accidents. And, when I called the school to let them know that he'd be even later. . . I was informed that they'd closed for the day. Sigh.

Mark is currently at home, but I expect he will make his way into the office in an hour or so. Because he was out all day yesterday, there's stuff piling up that he needs to take care of.

I am working from home today. I have about 12 thank you cards to write, and I can do a lot of service planning from here -- as well as make CDs for choir and band members.

So, all is not lost. We are warm. We are dry. We are safe.

We are home.

Monday, January 21, 2008

God Has a Sense of Style. . . .

And man, oh man, I'm believing in a big way! God, in his INFINITE wisdom was truly with me every step of the way today. Right down to my ID bracelet. It's BLUE. For those of you who are wondering about the blue bracelet - I explained it in an earlier post. The right/left wrist thing. . . I have to check into that. I've heard that Beth Moore specifically said to wear it on my (our) right wrist(s).

But, just the fact that God cared about me in my scared state -- to make this crazy ID bracelet blue....just to remind me that He's faithful, and that I'm believing HIM. Well, that was just the icing on the cake.

I have just arrived home from "the procedure." This was probably one of the most humiliating procedures I have undergone in a long time. Basically, there's a hole in the middle of an exam table--and you place (drop) the suspicious body part that needs to be probed. Add hydraulics and a mammogram machine. You do the math, or the physics, as it were. There was anesthesia, so that helped.

20 minutes and who-knows-how-many-thousands-of-dollars later, I was sprung. I am "icing" the affected area, and am not allowed to pick up anything over five pounds until tomorrow.

So, my crocheting is light - and I'm going to try to make some headway with the latest project. I finished Edison's quilt last night. Call it nervous energy. It's not quite big enough for him -- he's growing quite quickly. But, for now, it will keep him warm while he's laying on his bed. One of these days, I'll make another one for him. Here's a picture . . .and after that, I'm headed to bed for a couple hours.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just 12 more hours. . . .

and it will be over. I'm not scared, really. Just ready to have it done.

Edison asked me what I was doing in the morning. I said "going to the doctor." A true statement. Too much information in this house leads to no sleep and lots of tears. (not necessarily in that order)

Church was the BOMB today!! One of our members is a student at Johnson Bible College. He was given an opportunity to preach this morning, and for his lack of practical experience, he knocked it out of the park!

Then, it was lunch (leftover pork tenderloin sandwiches) and I was off to a baby shower for my cousin, Natalie. I had never been to "that side of town" which sounds more ominous that it needs to be. We were nearly to Oak Ridge (Yes, the secret city) at this baby shower. We took a "straight route" on the way there, and the more "direct" (read: fast) route home.

Instead of going home, I went to party #2 - for our friend Brad's 50th birthday. His wife pulled off a big surprise. Everyone brought finger food rather than bring a present. I made one of my favorites. . . or should I say, "Mark pulled together" one of my favorites, and it was truly delicious. (No, not necessarily low in points, but really tasty) Here's the recipe:

Scrumptious Crab Appetizer

Soften one (1) block of cream cheese. Spread it in a thin layer on a fancy serving dish. Pour 1/2 bottle of cocktail sauce over the cream cheese. Top the cocktail sauce with one (1) can of lump crabmeat (drained).

Serve with "water" crackers. YUM.

Note: You can also use tiny shrimp for this. Imitation crabmeat will NOT suffice in this one. It has to be the real thing.

So, there you have it. Crab appetizers, a biopsy in the morning, and the Green Bay Packers are playing for the championship.

I'm off to put on PJs and slippers (it's COLD here) and get a little sewing done while I watch the game.

More tomorrow. . . . .

p.s. I wore my blue bracelet today. I wore it, like all my bracelets and/or watches on my left wrist. I was informed tonight--at the birthday party--that it's supposed to go on my right hand.

My bad. It's moved.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Living With Plan "B"

Two days ago, I posted about being happy and confident because Dr. Brinner was my hero! He's still a pretty hilarious doctor, but he's been outvoted.

I go Monday morning for a core biopsy. Sucks.

This morning, I was reminded of a scripture that was very significant to me in the months leading up to us getting pregnant with Caroline. Edison was 8 years old, and I had NO intention of that huge gap being between my kids. After sinking into (some form of) depression over not having any more kids, I got smacked between the eyes with this scripture from Habakkuk. (I know, I don't read that book very often, either!)

Habakkuk 3:17-18 says:

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior."

And when I remembered the joy and confidence that scripture gave me, I was reminded that God's word is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The scripture that gave me hope and contentment five years ago is the same scripture I'm clinging to (for dear life) today.

And, it really isn't that bleak. . . I still have some facts on my side:

1) Whatever this "thing" is. . .hasn't changed in six months
2) One radiologist thought it was nothing last summer
3) A surgeon I truly trust thinks it's nothing
4) My internist saw the results -- and sent me to a surgeon first
5) I am the daughter of a SURVIVOR, not a victim
6) I have a Savior who loves me -- and He's holding onto me.

So, even though we're opting for Plan "B" I feel like it will be allright. Really, I do.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Blue Bracelet

Our church began a Bible Study last night, based on Beth Moore's "Believing God." I am leading this group. I've mentioned this before. But, what I didn't talk about was the blue bracelet. Each participant is encouraged to make or come up with some sort of blue bracelet. I am not a huge fan of wearing bracelets and watches. But, for this, I am willing.

This is my bracelet. This is my arm wearing my bracelet.

The scripture reference for the bracelet comes from Numbers 15:37-39. Those verses are:

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.

This post has no other intrinsic value -- except to show my bracelet. (Jenni, Beth, Mary, Katherine, Melinda. . . what do you think?)

Have a great Thursday!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's Been a Mighty, Mite-y Good Day

(Yes, Helen. . I'm being cryptic again!)

I only have a few seconds until Law & Order:CI comes on. And it's followed by the original Law & Order -- so I'm psyched.

It was a good day.

Some of you know that I had to go for a surgical consultation with my favorite man in white today. Dr. Brinner, who did my hernia surgery in June, was to be consulted over a mammogram that I had last week. On this mammogram, there was a spot. This spot was there six months ago -- which is why I had the follow-up last week. However, this "spot" has not changed, grown, moved, or given anyone cause for alarm. Except for the doctor I saw last week who was, in Dr. Brinner's opinion. . . an overly zealous radiologist.

He then launched into a speech (laced with some "sailor" words) about how many doctors and practitioners over-test, and over-research to the point of bankrupting society, or some travesty like that. Hey, he was animated! Last summer, he barely grunted as he removed my staples. I was enraptured to have his attention for more than 30 seconds!

Dr. Brinner - who I trust implicitly - feels like no more testing is needed.

For good measure, I took my mom with me. . .as a breast cancer survivor, I wanted to be sure that SHE heard everything I was hearing. Plus, it was that added measure of security as I was being "examined." (ahem) The man didn't even buy me dinner!

So, I am a very grateful girl tonight. I hugged my kids a little bit tighter--and thanked God that, other than the unknown dangers that befall us everyday, I still have a long future ahead of me with these three people I love so much.

I am also grateful that Edison didn't fall prey to some nasty little creatures on his retreat over the weekend. One of the other middle school boys has been diagnosed with mites. He's itchy, rashy, and pretty miserable.

We've washed everything. And, we're thankful that we were not "bugged" by these "mitey" irritating little vermin.

So, it really IS a happy Wednesday!!

Got Spam?

I do.

Or, I did.

You now have to go through the word verification process to leave a comment. Please don't let that stop you. I love your comments. I live for them.

. . .well, that might be a broad overstatement.

Edison reads my blog from time to time. And although I want him to find a rewarding career, and the love of his lifetime (in time) . . .I really don't think finding them through a pop up on my blog is the way to go.

. . .Maybe I'm being overprotective.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Three Compliments and my Posse!

Today wound up being one of those days where -- even though I am so tired I can hardly see straight -- it was a good day.

Caroline had the day off (teacher institute day). I forgot she had the day off until yesterday morning, so we improvised. She and I ran errands today. We even stopped by and visited with her former physical therapist. It was such fun. We laughed, hugged, cried (a little) and let Ms. Jan see just how far Caroline has come in nearly a year. We didn't get to talk but about 10 minutes -- and she had an emergency to tend to. But, it was still so sweet.

We then went to LifeWay Christian Store and Cedar Springs Christian Store. (Errands for church. . .more info below). After that, we went to Chick Fil-A for lunch. I love this place. And, although I didn't get my favorite. . . their original (fried) chicken filet sandwich and waffle fries, I had the most delectable grilled chicken sandwich (no mayo) on a whole-grain bun. And, instead of waffle fries, I had the fruit cup.


Caroline didn't want to sit in a rolling high chair, so she sat in the regular chair next to me. Wow. She's really growing up fast. She had chicken nuggets and waffle fries. I know--big surprise. But, she drank her apple juice out of the juice box by herself (big deal here) and was just a wonderful shopping and lunch companion.

We had to go to LifeWay because we needed to pick up additional workbooks for the Beth Moore study, "Believing God," which I will lead at church tomorrow night. This ten-week series should be very interesting. I am looking forward to leading a Bible Study again. It's been a long time for me. I am also excited about participating -- and learning.

But the most exciting part for me. . .? My buddy Beth has formed an online group of people (many in her family) who are going to go through the study at the same time we are here in Tennessee. Beth, Katherine, Melinda, Jenni, Mary, and some other friends, are going to go through it with me. How cool is that?!?! I have a posse.

Okay. . .the other part of my cryptic title.....

It began at Praise Band practice tonight. One of my friends pulled me aside, and said, "Angie, you really look like you're losing weight." I was able to say that I was, and that I really don't know how much. . .but I was grateful that she noticed.

Then, at choir practice, another woman pulled me aside to say the same thing. I was really starting to feel good --- and more and more motivated.

But then, I got home. There are some blessings you just don't expect. I went into Edison's room to tell him "goodnight." I had to run to the grocery store after choir, and I got home just before lights had to be turned out for him.

I went to leave after giving him a kiss & hug. He stopped me, and asked me to come back in his room. Here's what I got:

E: Mom, can I ask you something? I mean, I don't want to be rude. . .

M: Sure, bud.

E: Are you, like, losing weight or something? Because you look better than you used to?

M: Yes, I am. I'm glad you noticed.

E: Well, it's REALLY different. I mean, please don't be offended.

. . .can you say extra allowance? (Well, no.) But, it did make my day. And I told him that he was the third person to say something to me.

My kid rocks.

She's in there singing. . .

Caroline is still in bed. We both slept in this morning. I let her stay in her crib with "Baby Sophie" until I got done with my shower. The house is safer when she's "contained" in her crib. (Caroline. . .not Baby Sophie)

Anyway, I let myself pop over here and check e-mail very quickly (7.68 minutes ago) and as I'm sitting here -- cruising for a minute -- I hear singing in the other room.

"Baby. . .baby . . baby. . . {something I can't understand} .. . .baby. .. baby. . .baby"

I love my life!

Monday, January 14, 2008

How I Cope. . . .

Earlier today, I was talking to my dad about weight loss. I have lost a considerable amount of weight since last May. I don't know how much, because I haven't stepped on a scale since (probably) October. I need to. I don't have one.

So, when people ask me how much weight I've lost, I give a "good faith estimate," but I'm really not sure.

But, as Dad and I talked today, I admitted that the bulk of my weight loss has not been due to any increased exercise on my part (to my shame). It has been the result of a pretty disciplined approach to food. I am counting Weight Watchers points.

Have I sacrificed some of the things I love? Shoot, yes. I haven't had pizza but one or two times -- where I've actually eaten pizza. I've had 1 piece when the family has had pizza. I've eaten Lean Cuisine pizza while the family ate "regular" pizza. And, I've eaten salad while the family has eaten pizza. But, for the most part, I have sacrificed pizza.

I haven't had a Big Mac in almost a year. I like Big Macs.

I haven't had chinese food in ages. I had some wonton soup and shrimp lo mein when I was sick. But, considering that was the only thing I ate that day, it balanced out.

I don't feel like I've deprived myself of much. That is partly because WW lets you count REAL food. They give you point values for takeout food. They give you point values for Starbucks, Sonic, Burger King, Quiznos, etc. And, if you're willing to "spend" the points on something extravagant, you can have just about anything.

Currently, I am allowed 34 points per day. (This could change once I find a scale and weigh myself) I am given 35 points per week to spend however I choose to. So far, I haven't taken advantage of those points. On rare occasions when I exercise, I can have extra points, too.

But, for some reason. . .this time. . .I have been very disciplined about counting points, not taking extras, or borrowing from tomorrow's points. Do I know why? Heavens, no. What I do know is this. . .if it weren't for 100-calorie packs of snacks, fresh fruit, Diet Coke and Yoplait Light (THICK) yogurt, I wouldn't make it.

Having a coping mechanism is a good thing. Mine are all on the "okay" list. . . and most are less than 4 points each. That's blog-worthy.

Look out. . .I'm back!

. . .digiscrapping. And, it feels so good. I promised Edison that I would use his "masterpiece" to do some scrapping. Christina Sturmaggio (Christy) has a new kit out this week. It was a pleasure to get my "chops" back on to do some digi-scrapping!
Have an awesome week, everyone!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I'm Old

It's official.

Edison survived his first Tennessee Christian Teen Convention. And, although he did not take a shower, we are glad to have him home.

. . .literally, you could "detect" him (smell) in the car. I'm amazed that it didn't wake Caroline from her nap. But, she is a pretty heavy sleeper.

Mark and I went up to Gatlinburg last night, and served on the prayer team for the evening sessions. This meant sitting in a booth, overlooking the convention center -- and praying for the kids, leaders, speakers, musicians, etc. Very neat experience. We were joined by some other friends from church. At the conclusion of the session, we rushed downstairs, and across the floor of the convention center to be "invitation counselors" and pray with kids who made decisions. That was cool, too.

The kids were very well behaved. There were over 2,000 of them in attendance. We got to see old friends, and keep an eye on Edison all at the same time.

However. . .and this is a BIG however. . . I am convinced that in a generation or two, every one of these kids (and their secular counterparts) will be deaf as doorknobs.

At one point, one of the bands started to play, and the windows that we were looking through literally shook from the sheer volume. Seriously. My son, and his entire generation will be deaf. They didn't have a mosh pit, but the kids rushed the stage and screamed like they were at a KISS concert . . . that's all I have to compare it with.

Remember, I'm old. But, there's more.

This morning, in church. . . .our new (well almost) pastor spoke again this week. And, as he was talking, he was trying to point out that we need to make ourselves available to the world around us. Just sitting in the pews (or chairs, in our case) and serving ourselves by worshipping and praying isn't going to do diddly for the world. He hearkened to JFK's infamous speech ". . .ask not what your country can do for you. . .ask what you can do for your country."

But, what Randy said was this:

"How many of you remember hearing and seeing this speech by JFK when it was delivered?"

Simple question. Simple answer. I wasn't born yet.

However, three different members of my worship team. . .my team. . . patted me on the shoulder--gesturing that I surely must remember said speech. Yeah, I guess I am old. . .but I am apparently not as old as my friends think I am.

. . .now, that's sad.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Boys and their Toys

I may try to sneak outside in a few minutes, and take a picture of Mark as he uses his Christmas present for the first time.

I got him a leaf blower. I know. That truly is the most romantic Christmas gift ever, right?

But, our new home is bordered along the back by a forest of trees. Literally. There's a grove of trees that sit up on a hill. These are OLD trees. Lots of BIG leaves.

What you see here is evidence of our 4 or 5 attempts at raking. The tree line is just behind a fence (someone else's property). The little dogwood tree in the foreground is ours. But before we raked, it was smothered in leaves. And, although my children have loved frollicking in these leaves. . . .the beautiful grass that lies beneath the carpet of dried leaves right now does NOT like the idea of rotting leaves stealing its life away. (I'm assuming the victim role of the dormant grass)

After Mark raked the side yard, he created a ridge of leaves running nearly the length of the side yard. This pile of leaves is about to be blown over the back fence . . . sending them "home" so to speak.

Mark decided that since today is a slightly sunny, and not too cold day (55 degrees) he would go out and play with the new Leaf Blower. I can hear it revving up in the front yard. Right now, there's a lot of "off" and then "rev" and then "on" and then "off" just left the front of the house, and he's making his way to the side yard. Progress. Pictures.

It's working. I can hear it humming out in front of the house right now.

I think I did good this year, huh?

Friday, January 11, 2008's Friday

. . .and I don't have a lot to show for the week. A minor interruption earlier in the week has kind of thrown off my schedule. But, I did finish the afghan last night. Yippee!

We also made an important transition this week. . . we're now a "debit card" family. I know, I know, many of you have worn out 3 or 4 debit cards since their inception. And the Aubrey's . . .well, we're just now getting our debit feet wet. . . so to speak.

Man, is it liberating! Now I don't have to do the old song & dance, "Do you have the checkbook?" with Mark -- before one of us goes off gallavanting. It's pretty cool. And yes, we should have done this years ago.

I've also been back on the Weight Watchers wagon since last week. I've written stuff down every day -- except one. (see first paragraph) And, I have to say that I haven't minded this renewed attempt at disciplined eating. Most evenings, I push away from the dinner table with at least 8 points to go before bed. Those points can be spent in a variety of ways:

WW Giant Fudge Ice Cream bars only have 1 point
Yoplait Light (thick & creamy) yogurt has 2 points
100-calorie bag snacks typically have 2-3 points
Navel oranges (the big ones) have 2 points
1/2 of a big bagel has 3 points

There's always something to find. But, I have to admit that my first choice is the first option I listed. Those giant ice cream bars certainly aren't the size of your head, for goodness sake. But, they are delicious.

I really do need to get somewhere and step on a scale. I have no idea where I am at this point. I do know that the last time I bought clothing, it was a size smaller. That's good. But I think having some sort of gauge (like a weekly weigh-in) would be helpful to this type-a personality who wants to know about successes.

Edison's going to TCTC (Tennessee Christian Teen Convention) this weekend. This will be his first time. He's very excited. Our group is leaving at noon today -- and he would be joining them in "ditching" school if it weren't for the Geography Bee that he's competing in this afternoon. There's a 2nd shift crew that's leaving after school, so he won't miss out on the fun!

I'm going to a crop tonight at my friend, Cindy's house. It's been a while since I've gone cropping. I miss it. I just printed 450 pictures at Walgreens this week. So, you needn't fear. . .I have plenty of material to work with!

Well, if I'm going to make this Friday even more produtive, I need to get going. I have to go to the bank and get spending money for Edison. I need to take his "stuff" to the church so it can go to the cabin ahead of him. I need to gather my scrapping stuff for tonight. I need to wash dishes. I need to fold clothes.

I need. . .I need. . .I need. . . . to simplify.

A special note. . . to my friend, Pat (Bits & Pieces). . .Mark did a special tribute on his blog to his grandmother who lives in NY. Click on his site (top of my list) you might recognize people and/or places!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hail to the Queen!

Yes, Nana & Papa, Edison is enjoying his new camera. Of course, many of the pictures are . . .well, how do I say it? Oh yeah:

"Man, I'm glad these are digital -- if I had to pay to print these out. . ."

But, she does make a cute little queen, doesn't she?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It's Like It was Meant to Be

This. . .

is what I found at Hobby Lobby today. It was on sale (half-price) and without even looking at the original price, I scooped it up, and took it home with me. Yes, I paid for it.

I don't know where it's going to "live" in the house. But for now, I'm very happy that it's here.

. . .it's like it was meant to be.

Oh yeah. . .I picked up some of that "Chocolate Amber" body wash, lotion, and body spray too. YUM!



That's what I'm doing today. Just breathing. It's been a couple of crazy days. But tonight, before going to bed, I'm just breathing in some calm, deep breaths.

I had a long talk with a friend tonight. She has taken her mom into her home. Her mom is suffering with Alzheimer's. This friend of mine is a single mom, who is trying her hardest to work a full-time job, raise a teenager, and care for her mother whose disease is getting worse.

I realized tonight, just how blessed I am. I realized that although I have a busy existence, my family is healthy. I realized that the roof over my head doesn't leak (at least I assume it doesn't) and that as I'm listening to the wind blowing outside (unseasonable stormy weather) the walls are secure.

My children are sleeping in warm beds. Mark is in the office, working on the computer. My van is parked in the garage. There is food in the pantry, and gas in the van, and money in my bank account.

I have nothing to complain about. I have no needs that God isn't meeting. There isn't anything that I've done that he cannot forgive. And, most of all, no matter where I am, or where I go, or what I do . . .He's right there with me. . .holding me up when I think I cannot go on.

We've all got someone in our life who is going through a season of suffering or hardship. Tonight, as I pray for my friend I am remembering the words to one of my favorite songs. And, today, I have decided that this is her anthem. She's living this out -- and I am proud of her.

"Blessed be Your name, when I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name"

Monday, January 07, 2008

Total Contradiction - EDITED

That's me. I contradict myself all the time. But, I think if you follow my logic on this one, you'll see that my heart was in the right place. My head. . . .? Well, that remains to be seen.

I have mentioned a time or two that my 2008 word is "Simplify." I want to simplify my life. This doesn't necessarily mean cutting things out, but rather choosing more carefully and thoughtfully -- the things with which I occupy my time.

However, I am one of those speak-first, contemplate-later kinds of people. Want a couple of examples:

1) At the end of November (long before I decided on my 2008 word, by the way) the role of "Buddy Walk Coordinator" was thrust upon me by this year's BW committee. I had been thinking (privately) that I was interested in taking on the role, but with some serious help from a few of my friends. It's how I get by. . . .

Anywhooo, I brought home the BW Bible, as we call it. I promptly put it on a shelf in my bedroom, because within 3 days of that meeting, I was up to my eyeballs in angel costumes, stuffed sheep, and other children's musical props. I was also planning a retirement reception and the list goes on and on. . .

Last night, while cleaning out my room (which still feels so good) I stumbled across the BW Bible, and a whole host of other DSAG stuff that needs to be sorted, purged, and cleansed from its foolishness. Seizing the opportunity to be organized and purposeful, I am going to read the BW Bible tonight, while the boys are watching the BCS Bowl game. I really don't care who wins (although I have a few opinions)

2) Beginning next Wednesday night, I am leading a Bible study at church on Wednesday evenings for ladies. That's right--I'm not just attending it, I'm the leader. Today, one of my friends e-mailed me to let me know she was signing up, and she called me "Wonder Woman." I deferred the title, because it belongs to my wonderful friend, Jeannette. But still. . . it cracked me up.

For the first time in about 3 years, I will not be working with children on Wednesday nights. Nor will I be responsible for a brief worship service. So, the freedom to lead a study--especially a video series by Beth Moore (one of my all-time favorites) is a joy. It's a privilege.

. . .and, it's going to require me to spend some time each day -- studying and reflecting.

And that's a part of this whole simplification process.

"But Angie," you may ask, "How in the world do you justify the Buddy Walk Coordinatorship with this simplification process as well?"

That one, I'm not sure about. But, I can tell you that the wonderful team that has worked on the BW in the past is still with me. And one of my friends (and co-conspirators) has agreed with me that we need to bring in some "new blood" to the mix. There are a handful of moms that really seem interested in getting "plugged in" to our group. This is an excellent way of doing that very thing. I am hopeful that being more involved in the actual planning of the event will make it less of a frenzy for me, but that's probably totally crazy talk on my part.

I am going to make a real effort to include some people from our church that have lovingly participated in the Buddy Walk each year. I'm going to try and get them to "step up" their involvement by volunteering the day of, rather than just walking around, and enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Buddy Walk. (And, they'll get a free T-shirt for doing so)

Yes, Steve & Bettie -- that means you, too. If you guys can go ahead and plan to be volunteers with us, you'll get free lodging AND free T-shirts. (yes, like the ones I gave you this Christmas. . .but these will be even better!)

Okay, so I think this post is done. I need to go check on Chatty Cathy, who is supposed to be taking a nap right now. (not so much) She's gone from talking a mile a minute, to being very quiet. That is either a really good sign (sleeping) or a really bad one (playing with biological output).

Either way, pray for me!!

**Edited to add: All was clear. She was just playing with her baby doll and talking. As soon as I walked into her room, she jumped up in bed and said, "I'm awake!!" Sigh.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The First Step. . .

For me, the first step in any serious undertaking is list-making. You can call it a "to-do" list. You can create it for your significant other, and call it a "Honey-do" list. You can scrawl it on the inside of your palm, the back of a bank envelope, or a dried out baby wipe. Or you can be a real "type-A" person like me and own 14 little purse-sized notebooks; each of which has at least 17 to-do lists contained within.

The type of list, and it's location matter not. For me, the most important step is that crucial first one. . . .making the list.

I sat down last night, in the mood to make my word for 2008 "Simplify" truly my own, and began making a list (or two, if I'm honest) of ways to complete projects.

You see--for me, one aspect of simplification is completion. It means finishing the squillion (I love that term, Melany) projects I have begun, but not complete. Some projects (scrapbooking -- both types) are on-going. I will never finish scrapbooking. It's all about preserving memories, and if each day is spent creating new ones--you can see the proverbial acid-free, lignin-free dog chasing its self-adhesive tail. (so to speak)

But, simplification also means de-complicating my life. Letting go of things that I no longer wish to finish. Quilt patterns that I know I will not create. Sampler patterns, scrapbook idea books, scrapbook supplies. . . anything that's not needed. . . needs to go to a new home

Simplification also means de-cluttering. The past 2 hours have been spent cleaning out and eliminating those 4 of 5 piles of "stuff" that got crammed into drawers on Friday evening - prior to our company coming for a visit. Much of this stuff has been set aside as memorabilia for the family scrapbook. Rather than keep moving it around, it has been put with the rest of the scrapbooking supplies out in the sun room. Sometime, later this week, I am going to categorize said memorabilia, and begin assimiliating it into books as I work on them.

Decluttering tonight also meant returning books, CDs, music, and files to my office that got brought home. There's a Kroger bag full of items that belong in my office. They're going back in the morning when I go to work.

See? It's really not that hard. And, there are other ways to bring about simplification in my life. In the coming days, weeks, and months, we will explore them together--if you stick around!

Future topics include:

Reducing frivolous choices
Time Management
Advance Planning
True separation of work & home

. . . this is gripping stuff, isn't it? Just wait. It's gonna get better.

Oh, and the afghan? No, I didn't finish it. But if you saw the mountain of refuse that has been relocated from my bedroom to parts unknown (the trash) you would understand why I haven't picked up the crochet hook tonight.

I did, however, upload over 400 pictures at Walgreens. Unfortunately, their $ .10 sale only can be used five (5) times. On the sixth go-round, I had to pay $ .15/print. It is still a significant savings. . . . of course, when I pick these pictures up tomorrow, I'll be bringing more "stuff" into the house. What was that about a dog and its tail?!?!

Have a great week!

p.s. Oh, and Steve . . . . you know, your comment on the last entry is probably (sorta) right. This new (potential) boss is much more techno-savvy than my former boss. (This one makes his own power point slides!!!) However, if he gets to this point, and gets to know me. . . he will figure out that I really prefer DIET COKE (catch that, everyone?) DIET COKE to Starbucks. (hee, hee)

Deal. . . or No Deal. . .?

Yes, we've taught our little "mynah bird" something new. The other night, when there was *nothing else* on TV, she and I watched an episode of "Deal or No Deal." I decided that was a prime time to teach Caroline a new trick.

She puts her two index fingers up to her mouth, and (with prompting) says, "Deal. . . or no deal?" That's right. We're teaching her the *important* virtues in life.

Okay -- and this is not just for Bethie -- but can you resist this face? I can't.

Let's see. . . in the rest of our world. . . the new (potential) pastor spoke in church this morning. He did a very commendable job (which sounds like a nice way of saying it was merely passable). WRONG. He did a *very* commendable job.

As one of the lucky individuals who gets to sit through both sermons, I was duly impressed that his message --although very similar -- was different each service. Same outline. Same scriptures. Same talking points. But, it was different. It reflected the crowd that was in the room. That always impresses me. So, we wait and see, but I am hopeful that I have met my new boss. And, I like him.

This weekend was kind of odd--and it's not over, yet. I got a few of the things done that I wanted to accomplish, but there are still things on the "to-do" list that I'd like to cross off before calling it a weekend. When I'm finished posting this, I intend to upload pictures to Walgreen's for printing. They're running a half-price special right now. . . I like sales. Have I ever mentioned that?

Other than that, I'm working on an afghan for my cousin's baby that is due the end of this month. I'm on the border -- so I'm nearly done. I've also got a holiday letter to write. This year, we're "kickin' it" like the Swithers family, and doing a New Year's letter. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that my last six weeks have been so crazy it was nearly impossible to squeeze in time to write Christmas letters. (Maybe next year)

So, other than trying to stay warm. . . it's not really cold here, but I'm chilly today. . .I'm going to try and get a few things done on this day of rest. I'm still trying to figure ways to incorporate my word for the year. . . SIMPLIFY. . . into my life. I've got a couple of ideas. But nothing definite, yet.

Have a wonderful Sunday! Enjoy a football game, if that's your thing. I keep switching back to it --just to see how the NY Giants are doing. The TN Titans are playing later on this afternoon, I believe. I'll keep an eye on that game--just to see. But, for some odd reason, this girl (like her son) is a Colts fan. I don't think I have a secret crush on Peyton Manning or anything. I just like the Colts.

See ya!!


Friday, January 04, 2008

As You Wish. . . .

If you read Beth's blog, she mentioned a couple of pictures that I sent to her hopes of cheering her up. Caroline got to wear her new Moose Socks today. I tried to get her to pose -- and decided it was more prudent to have a full-length picture first.

Now that we got her socks on her. . .she started saying, "Moose socks, mommy." and "Beth. . .Mary." (It comes out a lot like "Jeff--Mary" because of Uncle Jeff and Aunt Mary) But, I explained to her that Beth and Mary sent her the socks. . .at least that's who I remember was in the car with Beth when the aforementioned socks were sent from the Great White North. We love our moose socks. Makes us feel warm and comfy on a cold, chilly afternoon. (It was really close to 60 degrees. Shhhh!)

Mark and I got her to lift her pant legs up -- to show off her socks. She obliged. We took pictures. Surprised?

Now onto the big night. We survived. We realized, this afternoon, that we were hosting 17 people--rather than the 14 we had thought about last night. Truth be told, we forgot to include the guest of honor and his wife -- and then we learned today that their 21-year old daughter was coming with them. We just grabbed a few more folding chairs from church, and set out another card table. All was good.

People were supposed to arrive at 6 p.m. The first guests got to the house around 5:54. It was the new pastor candidate's family--and Mark who was just returning from taking the kids to the sitter's. Did I mention that the sitter's are the couple that bought our old house? We thought it might be a little bizarre for Caroline. But, according to Edison, she never noticed. She just knew she was going to Barry & Kathy's house.

So tonight, at 5:40, while I was frantically trying to get things straightened up -- in case people wanted tours of the house -- I had to start cramming things into closets and drawers. What I really need to do is purge the house of lots of junk. Getting the house to the state it is currently in will help in the process. However, there's a lot to get rid of!

So, while trying to get dressed, put on makeup, and stash the last of the crap, I ran through the house and took pictures. Here you go. I'll narrate you through.

In the midst of all our decorating, I took it upon myself to put new pictures in frames. Don't you do that too? Put new pictures out rather than cleaning the bathrooms? Actually, the bathrooms got clean. But, pictures were updated, as well.

I love this black & white version of Caroline in the leaves. . . in a autumn leaf frame Mark got me a few years back. I put it out in the living room. I'm very happy with it.

We actually LET people see our bedroom tonight. This is my comforter -- and you can see one of the samplers that got hung last night. I still need to make curtains. And, the material is nearby -- and I can easily find my sewing machine, so it might happen soon. Mark went ahead and hung the curtain rods. It's all up to me!

This is my dresser. . .and it goes without saying that it was NOT this clean earlier today. I like it -- and am really going to try to keep it this way. One other side-effect of the big "sweep" was moving all my scrapbooking stuff out to the sun room. The only problem is that our sunroom is not heated or air-conditioned. Mark bought me a small space heater and I'm going to do what I can to only work out there when its not so cold. But, it's nice to have things out of our room.

This is a view from our bedroom door. The glider rocker is in the corner where the scrapbooking stuff used to live. I'm eventually going to get an overstuffed chair (or recliner) to go in the corner. I'd love a place to sit and read. . . and the time to sit and read. I'm not giving up that dream!

The kitchen got overhauled, too. We spent a lot of time yesterday morning hanging my copper pieces in the kitchen. This is what the kitchen looked like -- in preparation for the "buffet-style" dinner tonight. Oh, by the way, it was pizza (brought by someone else). I just made appetizers and salad. Desserts were "imported," as well.

In this picture below, you can see my new blender right next to my Kitchen Aid mixer. I made a smoothie yesterday morning. Yum. Caroline does NOT like the sound of the blender, but hopefully, we'll get her used to it. She didn't used to like the blow dryer, and now going "whoosh whoosh" is one of the highlights of her day.

Over the windows are five of my favorite copper pieces. The table was turned the long way - and we added one of the leaves to the end closest to the camera. I really like the feel with the copper in the kitchen. It totally warms up the blue walls.
My old kitchen table is now in the entry way. Last night, we hung our family pictures -- and put some other family pictures on the table. I really like the look we've achieved here!

This is the "office" with the "kid's table" in it. Mark and I actually ate at the kid's table with our youth minister's wife. We had a very fun conversation -- talking movies -- and laughing.

We moved Edison's old toybox out of his room, and are using it as a blanket/game chest under the picture window in the office. It makes kind of a nice window seat. I'm really happy with the new look of things in the house. Can you tell, or what?

This is a view of the living room. As I look at it, I realize that there really aren't any true changes. But, it shows you the additional seating. So, when you come to town--we can seat you. No problem.

Oh, did I mention? Our youth minister was here for dinner tonight. In an effort to show his affection for Edison, he short-sheeted his bed. We promised him that we would capture it on film for him. I didn't put all the pictures on here. . . .just one. But, it was fun to surprise him. I'm amazed the camera did so well in the pitch dark of his room!

May all your sheets be long, and may your troubles be short. Thanks for making it through this novella post! You are good friends to put up with all this.


Boy, do I have a lot to show you. . . .

. . .but you're gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

Mark and I are preparing to host the church staff (14 in all) and our potential new pastor and his wife to our house tomorrow night for dinner & "get to know you" time.

Let's just say that we've had good intentions to get pictures, wreaths, etc. hung around the house since we moved in. Our intentions met reality today. Pictures, samplers, wreaths, and copper are all hung in the house. And, Mark did an awesome job translating my crazy ideas into arrangements that really look nice.

I will take pictures tomorrow. I promise.

Speaking of pictures. . . Edison finally got his new digital camera last night. He has been taking lots of pictures of Caroline. I think he's trying to get "artsy fartsy" pictures. Whenever he takes a picture that cuts her head off (ever so slightly) or if she's out of focus. . .he says (with all seriousness), "It's contemporary!"

He cracks me up.

He has actually taken a couple of pictures that are very nice. Once I figure out how to upload HIS camera's pictures, I promised him that I'd scrap one of the pictures he took of Caroline. See that, Christy??? I haven't forgotten how to scrap pictures!

Interesting things going on these days, eh? Iowa Caucuses. Very interesting. The new Celebrity Apprentice. Extremely interesting. I am sorry to admit that I watched tonight's episode--in between hanging pictures.

And, the funny thing we did today? I taught Caroline to say "Deal or No Deal" while touching her lips with her two fingers (just like Howie Mandel). Pretty cool.

Well, I'm exhausted. I get to clean the house tomorrow. Dust. Vacuum. Clean bathrooms. Straighten bookshelves.

You know the drill.

The promised pictures will arrive here on the blog tomorrow. See ya!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Oh Sweet Holy Moses. . . .

Did you see my new blog header? That's the amazing work of Melany. I am stunned beyond words. . . but I'll still manage to eke out a blog entry anyway. I'm funny like that.

I'm actually typing from my office. Yes, that's right--I am back to work. It's a slow-paced day. I just finished my Lean Cuisine Panini (Spinach, chicken & mushroom--YUM) and I'm sipping my Diet Coke.

I have thank you cards to write (LOTS) and a service to plan for the next couple of Sundays. But, for now, I'm enjoying some peace (almost everyone's at lunch) and quiet (just closed my door). I'm getting ready to put on some music.

I realized the other night (about 3 a.m.) that Easter is early this year (March). That means that whatever the choir and orchestra is going to do for Easter needs to be ordered SOON. (like last week) I'll get it done, and we'll be knee-deep in Easter preparations in no time.

And yes, Doug, that *does* fly in the face of simplifying my life. Some things cannot be avoided: death, taxes, Christmas, and Easter!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! If you're one of those late-night people, please join me in watching David Letterman as he comes back on the air tonight. Robin Williams will be his guest, so you can guarantee it's going to be a lot of fun!

See ya!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

We're Baaa-----ack! (Ack!)

Well, we survived the wild and wooly west side of K-town. And, coincidentally, we added to the state's sales tax income for the last couple of days of the year.

We shopped. Sweet Pea perfume, we shopped.

Target. (This place is heaven) I got a new blender. The kind that can handle ice cubes. I see smoothies in my future. . . and less trips to Starbucks for Edison because he can make his double-chocolate chip frappuccinos here at home. (If you spend a mere $ .50 on a frappuccino, and throw 30% of it away, it hurts less than when they cost $5) Seriously. Have you seen their prices? Oy.

I also found some clearance Christmas stuff (gift bags and stick-on tags) and ear buds for my MP3 player that don't hurt my ears. Sweet.

Then, it was off to Goody's, Joann's, Lowe's (Mark) and Best Buy (Mark), as well as Panera for bagels, Steak & Shake for lunch, and Olive Garden for supper. YUM.

This morning, before heading home, we made a stop at Bath & Body Works. I had a giftcard, and I was not afraid to use it. But, what happened in that store today was mind-boggling. I went in, expecting to buy some Warm Vanilla Sugar body wash, or some other fragrance like that. Instead, I found Savannah Bee Company's Mint Julep body wash . . . .at 75% off!!!!! They 're discontinuing carrying it. . . so I bought them out (3 bottles). I also found a new BBW fragrance I like . . .peony. It's light and fresh. Bought a big bottle of body wash ($4) and a small, travel-size one ($1). But that wasn't what did me in. . . .

I am so ashamed. . . on the way out of the store, Mark was sampling some of the fragrances on the wall. The new fragrances. .. full-priced ones. I had sampled the "Delicious Apple" and the "Brown Sugar Fig" and they were allright. But he said, "Here try this. It's Chocolate Amber." To which I said, "Ewwww. No way."

Then I smelled it. Sweet Holy Molasses Cookies. It smells like heaven. Actually, it's a little devilish. I put some of the lotion on my hands. And, if I didn't look like some idiot all the way home. . . I kept smelling my hands. Really, it smells that good.

So, on my next trip to Bath & Body Works, I will be getting the body wash, body spray and lotion. Seriously. I have kicked myself 18 times since we left the store because I didn't go back in and pull the checkbook out and make a purchase.

Next time you're in Bath & Body Works, give the old "Chocolate Amber" a try. I know it sounds weird. You won't smell like a Hershey bar. I swear. You won't smell like Amber. . .whatever amber smells like. They only reference to Amber I can remember--other than the chick who turned in Scott Peterson--is that amber was the substance in which trapped DNA matter allowed Mr. Freaky Doctor to recreate a T-Rex for Jurassic Park.

You won't smell like Jurassic Park. I promise. Seriously. I wouldn't lie about this.

Other Random Thoughts:

UT won the Outback Bowl. Whoo hoo. (There, I showed my true colors)

It's 2008. I have written two checks today, yeah, I did a little more shopping, and I didn't flub the year either time.

We watched three movies while away. They were interesting. One was good. The others were lesser degrees of good.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (good -- like fun date-movie good)
Little Miss Sunshine (I swear to frog, I thought it was supposed to be funny)
Talledega Nights (I was wrong. . .I thought this would be funny, too)

Actually, the gag reel/outtakes/extras on Talledega Nights was funnier than the whole movie. Especially the part where his two kids, "Walker" and "Texas Ranger" practice various forms of smack talk. (You have to have a strong stomach for language. . . and at that, from children) But, we laughed until we couldn't hear the TV.

All in all, it was a nice anniversary getaway. I brought along a little crocheting. Sudokus. A couple books (never opened them).

Oh, and I discovered a new flavor of Ben & Jerry's. . . Creme Brulee. Yeah, that was definitely a 2007 thing. I won't be having any more of that any time soon. It's back on the diet wagon tomorrow. And, to be honest, I'm kind of looking forward to it.

. . . .maybe it's because I was able to go to Goody's and buy a sweater. That may not mean a lot to most of you. . . but Goody's is a Kohls-like store where "bigger girls" can't find many clothes that fit them. I am proudly wearing an olive sweater, as I type, that I bought at Goody's yesterday afternoon. At this rate, I'll be shopping at Old Navy in six months or so.

. . .and that's a good goal.

Happy New Year, everyone. Thanks for reading, even when the posts are like this. . .long and mindless rambles. It really means something to have people tell me that they keep up on my family through the blog. (Julaine S. and Mike W.) I am blessed.

One last thought, and its irony is priceless.

Ali Edwards has a blog that I read religiously. The link is over on the right. I learned about her through Julie Brock (also linked on the right). Julie's mother-in-law Jane, is one of my favorite people (again, linked on the right). This conglomeration of people that you see listed are friends who I primarily met through blogging. Some are long-time friends, but most are blog/internet friends. Pretty cool.

Anyway, Ali issued a challenge to come up with a word for the year. Hers for 2008 is vitality. That's a good word. Not mine, however. My word for 2008 is simplify. Which, in and of itself is highly ironic--especially if you've stuck with me long enough to get to this point in the blog entry.

But, I do want to simplify. Sometimes simplifying means letting go of stuff. Unnecessary stuff. It means cleaning out. . . cleansing stuff. It means getting back to basics. It means uncomplicating my life.

So, for me. 2008. Simplify.

And, if I can talk to my buddy Melany (linked on right) about making me a blog header that reflects that. . . .well, that would just be the greatest gift of all.

Happy New Year!
Phew, I'm exhausted.