This is My "Real" Blog: January 2010

Angie's Blog!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fourteen days, baby. . . .

You probably think I'm talking about Valentine's Day, right?


It's fourteen days. . . a mere 336 hours (or so) until the Daytona 500, babies!!!

We will attend a Super Bowl party. In fact, we're having some friends over next week for the game. We'll play some games (I think) . . . one couple STRONGLY roots for Indianapolis. So, I'm not sure we'll be doing a whole lot of anything but watching football. And, I'm good with that.

But on the 14th, my family will gather -- we may have homemade pizza. . . or chili. There will be chips, dip, lots of diet Coke of Dr. Pepper. Heck, there might even been cookies.

As soon as we get home from church, the adventure will begin. We'll watch all the pre-race coverage. . . the interviews, and films about what the teams have been doing in the (brief) off-season. We'll watch the pre-race concert, listen to the National Anthem being sung, and we'll wait for those four words that I love to hear every Sunday (and occasional Saturdays) during race season:

"Gentlemen, start your engines!"

And a new season. . . coupled with a new chance to watch him. . .

(sigh) . . . will be upon us.

Until then, do your best to bide the time. Sign Valentine cards with your kids, hang pretty pink & red hearts in your windows, celebrate any snowfalls that might come your way.

But on February 14 -- buckle your seat belts! It's gonna be a great race season.

(Can you believe I devoted an entire post to NASCAR?!)

If you can't. . .you haven't been reading my blog long enough!

Friday, January 29, 2010

It Has Begun. . . .

What the weather personnel in E. Tennessee are calling the "worst storm since 1996" has begun. Schools were closed in anticipation of record snowfalls today. Both kids could have probably gone to school safely -- but they've enjoyed a snow day with no snow.

Caroline has croup. So, even if we get blanketed with the much anticipated 5-9 inches they've predicted, she won't be playing in the snow.

Since getting her home from the doctor, I've made a beef stew, set out dinner rolls to rise, baked brownies, two loaves of banana bread, and started some chicken with vegetables for some homemade chicken noodle soup.

Oh? Did I fail to mention - she gave me a cold.

So, while we "hunker down, and pray that everyone gets to and from their respective places, we'll enjoy some family time.

My wonderful husband bought me shelves for my laundry room last night. I'm finally going to have a PANTRY!!!! The little two-shelf cabinet my dad made me a few years ago just doesn't cut it anymore. That cabinet will become storage for either my fancy glass bowls and whatnot, or that ever-growing pile of rubbermaid containers and lids.

Final note -- Until today, when they canceled school - Caroline had an awesome week of potty-visits at school. She came home in the same pants she wore to school every day. We've not completely crossed over into the Land of No Pull-Ups, yet. But, I swear we can see the city gates! :) God is good.

I'm sure that I'll post some of our Winter Wonderland pictures - if this storm actually develops. We'll see. Until then, I'm going to continue enjoying unlimited "pajama time" and a little chance to catch up on some reading, crocheting, and some sewing I've set aside. I may even pull out some scrapbook materials, and try to start that hobby back up after what feels like a three-year hiatus.

Stay warm!
Stay safe!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Exceedingly more than we ask or imagine. . . .

I'm having an Ephesians 3:20 day. And there's just 15 minutes left of it.

For a Tuesday, it was actually kind of normal. . . busy, but I got through it. I had to make a frantic dash across town for a meeting. . . and a quick trip by Mark's office to get some cash before the meeting. (Lunch had to be purchased, and I was broke!)

Anyway, got through the meeting. . . all went well. Dashed to the grocery store and made it home with two minutes to spare (literally!) before Caroline's bus pulled up. When she got off the bus, she said two things:

"Hey, it's snowing!"


"I stayed dry today!"

Both statements were true. It was "spitting" snow -- nothing to be concerned about -- and she had, indeed, kept her Minnie Mouse undies dry all day. We're two for two -- and I'm over the moon excited.

Looking over her report card, which came home today -- I was ecstatic. The reports just keep getting better and better!

After picking up Edison from football -- and immediately sending him into the shower. (ick) I started working on dinner. I was going to make spaghetti -- but decided that a spaghetti casserole - I made up the recipe - was in order.

It was good. I mean really, really good.

After dinner, Caroline did her homework and Edison finished his, as well. After a huge giggle-fest with Mark while got her ready for bed, she went immediately to sleep.

You'd think those were the highlights of my day. Not even close.

Around 9:45, the phone rang. Part of me worried that it was the school system calling to tell us that Caroline wouldn't have school tomorrow. I could have handled a delay, but thankfully I was wrong.

It was my friend Joni. I wrote about Joni a few weeks ago - after her husband passed away very suddenly. Earlier today, she posted her first blog entry since Boyd passed away. I left her a lengthy comment -- I know, hard to imagine, eh? After my comment, she wanted to call and talk to me.

Have you ever heard about going to a funeral and the family ends up being the ones comforting the people that came to the funeral to comfort the family?

Well, that's how it was talking to Joni tonight. We laughed, reminisced about former blog entries, craft projects, and shared stories of our holidays. She talked about her two beautiful daughters, and how they'd been a huge support and joy to her as she walked through those first couple of weeks.

We talked about Caroline. I told her about the huge strides she's been making the past couple of weeks -- and I told her about Caroline's report card, which came home today. (Did I mention that was excellent, by the way??)

And, we shared words of encouragement to each other. I did my best to encourage her that life would return to an "adjusted normal," and that she would enjoy the beauty of spring when it finally comes to her corner of the world (Wisconsin). It's cold up there these days.

We coined a new phrase while we talked -- and because I know she's eventually going to read this post, I know I can share that term with you. We talked about "emotional vertigo" which she said pretty succinctly describes her during the past three weeks.

We talked about scrapbooking -- a passion we both share. We talked about the value of chronicling the stories of our lives -- and how both of her daughters pulled out her collection of mini-scrapbooks as they reminisced about Boyd.

It was an amazing conversation. It was over too soon -- and yet, we tempted fate by stretching the power of her "bars" on her phone. They miraculously lasted longer than they should have. I told her it was God.

Joni, it was wonderful to talk to you. Let's do it again, very soon.

Then, tonight - while perusing Facebook - I got an update on Beth through one of her wonderful daughters. It appears that the tumor is shrinking. . . and their next steps (which include chemo and radiation) are positive ones (as bizarre as that might sound).

Here's a portion of Beth's email. . . I wanted to share this joy with you, because so many of you have said that you're praying for her.

Beth's email:

Quite simply, there is a big development. The doctors have decided to continue with more chemotherapy. This is good news because initially the first two cycles of chemo were a trial ... to see if this cancer would respond. Dr M. believes the tumor has responded well enough not only to do additional chemotherapy, but also to add radiation to the treatment plan. This is an important development because the doctors had been "saving" radiation to use after surgery. Now they are adding radiation to the chemotherapy as the two (radiation and chemotherapy) make each other more effective.

Dr M. examined me this morning. This decision is not based on an MRI, but as mentioned in the last email, the excruciating pain went away when we began chemo last time, my speech has improved and the terrible congestion has vanished. There will be an MRI, possibly in the first half of February, which will give us a more definitive indication of progress.

Additionally, Dr M's team is working on moving both the 3rd and 4th cycle of chemotherapy to Thunder Bay along with the radiation. Dr M will retain oversight of my case; a decision that gives me much peace of mind and comfort. We will be utilizing tele-health video conferences.

Tonight, finds us elated and filled with gratitude for God's mercies. We are also thankful for the many people who are praying (around the world, including some people we have never met.)

. . . and that's where I came up with my blog title.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Someone pointed out earlier this week the use of the words, "immeasurably more" and "all we ask OR imagine. . . " This is big, my friends. Big!

Monday, January 25, 2010

All (night) DAY Long!

I love this Joe Walsh song. I love Joe Walsh. I even have a picture of him on my wall in my office. Come to think about it - there are no pictures of Mark in my office. Just my kids and my prized autographed picture of Joe Walsh.

Hmm. That could start rumors. Oh well. I'll risk it.

Why the Joe Walsh ditty on the blog - instead of sitting and watching "Big Bang Theory" with my husband (whose picture really doesn't appear in my office) Mark?

Well, I want to brag a little. This girl. . .


wore her big girl underwear to school today -- and not only stayed dry all day -- she stayed dry until bedtime!!! That's right -- we've gone well over 36 hours (had a little accident at church yesterday) without any "spills" of the biological kind! We are in celebration mode, my friends.

So, sing along with me (and Joe). . . .'All day long. . . all day long. . . .all day long. . .she stayed dry all day long!"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting Called Out vs. Getting Preached About

Growing up in church, as I did, there were moments that made my mother want to kill my sister and me. Talking during church -- especially in those back three-four rows where the teenagers always sat. Piano side -- near that back entrance -- so you *could* sneak out, if you so desired. Many did -- some got caught.

Growing up at Park Forest South Christian Church - now Deer Creek Christian Church - I don't remember Earl (our minister) calling anyone out for talking or misbehaving. But, there was always that thought that he might say something if we got really obnoxious.

Then, there was. . . the look. My mom could, actually she still can, give a look that strikes fear into everyone. A few years ago, I realized that I use the look -- my choir members have assured me that I've got it. When they miss an entrance -- I give them the look. When someone else misses a cue -- I'm told -- I give the look. And, when my kid is acting up in church, I can assure you, I use the look.

But the look is one thing. Being called out is another.

When we came to Seymour Heights, there was talk of my former boss "calling people out" during a service. That's the stuff of legends, my friends. Being told to be quiet during church?!?! Holy cow -- that would do me in. And trust me - if I ever would have gotten called out during church, I would have done myself a multitude of favors by just running away during the invitation hymn -- because life at home would have been a veritable hell on earth had I actually gone home after such an event. In fact, the hair on the back of my neck is standing at full attention as I type -- just thinking about the trouble I would have seen. . . .

So today - I was reminded of the idea of being "called out" in church. But, thankfully, it was Mark that got the attention this time -- and not me.

Mark and our preacher have been emailing this past week about one of the points in last week's message. It was a sermon on materialism. It was a good sermon. It was a long sermon.

But, the point was that we need to "admire, rather than acquire" to help us deal with materialism. Mark thought this was a good point -- and used it in a blog entry. Then, he emailed my boss about the entry (no doubt providing a link) and lo and behold. . . .it got mentioned during church today. Randy shared that Mark - although interested in the $200 baseball card - is content to admire, rather than acquire. (Can I get an amen!?)

Following church today? People asked Mark about his blog. People asked for the address of the blog. People asked Mark what card he was looking for. People called our house wanting to talk to him about baseball cards.


I blog, too, ya know?! I write about stuff with more eternal values than baseball cards?!?!? And he gets the mention in church? Totally unfair.

Actually -- as much as I enjoy blogging it kind of freaks me out when people tell me they've read or seen something in the blog. I often will go back through old entries -- making sure that I've not written anything that would be a major embarrassment to me, my family, my employer. . .you get the picture.

I am bold enough to put my blog address on my facebook profile. . . and the email template I use for all my church emails has a little icon with my blog header *(and an embedded link) so I'm putting myself out there. Anything I say or do really *can* be held against me.

. . . but hopefully, it won't get talked about from the stage in big church.

That would be just too, too much!

Friday, January 22, 2010

So Much for my Big Scoop

. . . no, I didn't have a kitchen incident involving the loss of an ice cream scoop.

I did, however, read someone's facebook status, and interpret something that was TOTALLY off-base. I did a little fact-checking, and my mind was immediately put at ease.

But, communication can be tricky like that. Very often, our interpretation of someone's cryptic words, or "tweets" as it were (Twitter users) can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, or worse.

I'm glad that what I read was a misinterpretation on my part. It would have meant that a good friend was moving away from me. (Ironically, we've joked about them moving away before) But all of a sudden, the joke didn't seem funny. At all. And, what I thought was a "big scoop," turned out to be someone else's information - not mine.

I'm glad I was wrong.

For the record: those are five words you will rarely (if ever) hear me say!

Have an awesome weekend!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Making Progress

I worked a little on my quilt yesterday. Sadly, though, I had to spend time pulling out seams that had been sewn in wrong. . . .on sixty blocks. That sucks.

But, they're done -- and the next bits of sewing on each block is nearly done. My next steps will include:

1) snipping the corners off of each block
2) laying out the 81 blocks in a pleasing pattern
3) joining said blocks into rows
4) joining said rows into a quilt
5) snipping little snips into all the "ragged" edges (roughly 324 edges)
6) washing the quilt
7) drying it in my dryer
8) sending in an excavation crew to clean out the lint from the trap

So, we're probably talking 3 or 4 more days. But, if I get real industrious tomorrow, it might get finished this weekend.

After that, I have three (at least) quilt tops that I'd like to get sandwiched and quilted. One is just a simple wall hanging or table runner . . .in other words, small. The other is a lap-size quilt and I'm honestly not sure how I'm going to quilt it. It has some major flaws in it (MAJOR) so I'm half-tempted to put it away, and start on something new.

As always, I promise to keep you posted.

Potty Update. . . . you know this stuff grips you all!!!

Caroline has had some awesome days this week. She and I went shopping today, and she stayed dry while we were gone -- and went potty as soon as we got home and went to the bathroom. I'm just about ready to test the waters (so to speak) and send her to school in her big girl undies. We actually use the other word -- the "p" word around the house -- (big girl p***ies) but I don't want creepy people on my blog because they saw that word. HA!

She also had the end-of-semester "exams" where she had to identify her letters, and her sight words. Have I mentioned??? The girl is READING!!! I'm truly amazed at what she's doing, and am so excited to see how the next couple of years unfold in her life.

. . . so grateful for this little girl. Can't even describe it!

So, I guess that's about it. Edison just learned that his class trip got changed from the State Capital to Florida (including Universal Studios Adventure Park). He's not too upset - let me tell you. Of course, the freshmen are traveling with the sophomores. And, from what I can tell, the freshmen are fine -- the sophomores, not so much. (go figure)

Oh. . . and he's busily studying for his driver's permit. I expect we'll take him to take the test and get his permit sometime after the first of the month. (at which point, I will begin ingesting some sort of controlled substance) Too soon. Waaaaaaaay too soon!!

Okay - one last story. And, of course, I don't have any details. But, I have to file this under, "Things that I'm Glad Happened to Someone Else - Big time!" Mark is attending a men's conference at another church today. The conference began at 1 p.m. (seemed odd to start so late) and he won't get home until 11 p.m. I really encouraged him to go - because a lot of new guys from church were going -- and I want him to get a chance to meet some of them.

So. . .they left. About 3 o'clock (while Caroline & I drove home from Hobby Lobby) Mark called to let me know how it's been going so far. The headliner guy - a former Mob dude - didn't show up. You know me:

Angie: "Didn't show? What - is he in jail?"
Mark: "Well, uh, er, yes. He was getting off the plane, and was taken into custody last night."
Angie: "Whoa. Oops."

So. . . I'm sure there's a story -- and I probably shouldn't find this as mildly amusing as I do. But, I do. Talk about a "whoops" moment!

Sure glad that's not me. . . .! Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Need to Sew. . . .

. . .is outweighing the need to blog. ('Tis true)

So, when I've gotten a good amount of "miles" on my machine, I'll come back over (across the room) and blog.

Until then. . . be blessed.

And yes - BOTH my children are in school today. The sun is shining. It's a beautiful day!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baby Girl's Got Game - Edited

What? You don't believe me? Check it out. . . .

This is Caroline bowling on our new Wii. She's a crack up. Especially when she "picks up a spare," which she learned from her grandpa. Say what you will, but the Wii has made all of us more active and more competitive with each other.

We've had a pretty uneventful weekend. Edison enjoyed TCTC (Tennessee Christian Teen Convention) this weekend, and has slept most of the afternoon. We suspect he didn't get nearly as much sleep as he should have gotten while away. Go figure.

Caroline has yet another "inclement weather" day tomorrow. Roads around here are clear (well, the main roads are) but there are side roads and mountain roads that cause the county school system to shut down. They have lots of snow days built into the schedule. Edison gets snow days too, from time to time -- but not nearly as often as Caroline does.

He had one on Friday, actually -- which helped him finalize all the last-minute details he needed to complete before TCTC.

In other news, but still weather-related news - we canceled one of our church services this morning. We have two services - one at 9 a.m., and one at 10:30 a.m. We figured that we'd give the sun a little time to work on the icy spots by keeping people home an extra hour and a half. Of course, that's always a risk -- how do you make sure everyone knows? What about Sunday School? And various other questions. . . .

We dealt with them by email, website, and local TV stations -- and for the record, only had six (6) people show up that didn't know we'd canceled the early service. For a church of (roughly) 400 people, that's not too shabby. We'll see what happens the next time. . . .

There really isn't much more to say, so I think I'll close this exciting (ha!) blog post. Beth came through the first week of chemo treatment. I encourage you to keep up with her through this process. God is going to do something spectacular, and I want YOU to be able to see it firsthand.

I haven't heard anything more from my friend Joni - but that's to be expected in situations like hers. I still marvel at the depth of relationships when comment interests and beliefs are part of the equation.

So, with an evening of Sunday night programming in front of me (Hello? Law & Order:CI Marathon on Bravo - every Sunday night!!) I leave you to go stir a batch of caramel corn (last stirring -- almost time to enjoy!) and wish you a blessed week full of love, joy, peace, and laughter.

Edited to add:

I have been meaning to confess this for a long time. . . . .I have a new addiction. And although I know admitting is the first step -- I have no intention of letting go of this addiction. I just want to share it with you - and maybe you'll get "hooked," too.

Have you ever had this???

This is red pepper jelly on top of cream cheese. In this case, you see it on English Muffins - which I, sadly, haven't tried yet.

I have, however, eaten this DIVINE concoction with Wheat Thins (both regular and reduced-fat). And, my friends, I am hooked. It is lovely, delicious, tangy, sweet, a little spicy -- and just plain good.

(Note to self: buy english muffins at the store this week)

I haven't scoured the shelves of Kroger or Food City (my local venues) for red pepper jelly, yet. A friend gave me some for Christmas - after she and I got hooked on the stuff by yet another friend. (I love these girls, really -- I can be myself with them) But, I have seen it at a little gift shop in town.

I kinda have designs on making some homemade pepper jelly -- I've made boysenberry, blackberry, cranberry/apple, and apple butter. Surely I can make red pepper jelly. As always, I will keep you posted.

But I knew I had something special to share -- and that was it. Enjoy!!!

Caramel Corn is cooling -- and sooooooo tasty. See ya!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

But the Words Got in the Way

Don't you hate that. . . when you feel like you need to say something but the words just won't come out? I remember the words to an old Carpenter's song (Yes, I am that old!)

". . .we tried to talk it over but the words got in the way."
(Masquerade, circa 1970?)

I have a lot that I feel like I want to say -- but there are so many, and yet not enough words to say what's on my mind and in my heart.

Two posts ago, I told you about my new blog. (This will actually be the first of two new blogs -- stay tuned) And, I mentioned that I use the sidebar on this blog (names listed) to visit other friends' blogs. I started the Becky Homecky blog so that I wouldn't have a list of 2,000 quilt, scrapbooking, and cooking blogs to visit -- by launching from this blog. It's all about the integrity of the "sitemeter" count.

Anywhoo - I have been using my list on the right hand column to check blogs for the past couple of years. I don't have them "ranked" in any specific order -- other than having Mark's two blogs at the top, because he's well. . . .you know.

I used to have them grouped by categories (in my mind it made sense) and there's a bit of a grouping now -- but I'll never explain my reasons. You'd really think I was crazy. Nevertheless, I spent a little time this morning -- while staying home for Caroline's second consecutive snow day (do NOT get me started. . . ) reading some of these blogs I love so much.

Hoping for an update, I popped over to my friend Joni's blog. Upon arriving there, I learned that her beloved husband, Boyd, passed away very suddenly at home on Monday evening. And my heart broke.

They hadn't been married very many years -- but they lived a lifetime of love together. They loved to watch PBS movies & TV series. Boyd loved to bake -- he was especially good at baking bread. And, she would often tell me about his adventures making french bread -- something I've always wanted to learn, but was too afraid to try.

Boyd had been battling some illnesses recently, but he and Joni continued to celebrate every day -- and she was scrapbooking the memories with great stories including ones about her two beautiful daughters, her cat named Gabby, and of course, her beloved Boyd.

So, I reflected. I wrote her a comment on her blog -- and sent an email because I wanted to say more than just a passing comment on her blog. I tried to express what was in my heart.

". . . but the words got in the way."

Then, I went to Facebook to get an update about Beth. After reading on her blog about how these first day(s) of chemo were taking their toll on her body, I changed my facebook status to read:

"Angie (Knowles) Aubrey is praying for friends today -- for Beth who made it through her first day of chemo. . . and for Joni, whose sweet husband very suddenly passed away two nights ago. God is good. . . .all the time."

And oh baby, I wanted to say more:

". . . but the words got in the way."

About an hour later, I went back to Joni's blog -- out of curiosity -- to see if a mutual blog friend had left a comment yet. When I got there, I read this message -- from Beth to Joni -- and they've never met:

Joni this is Angie's friend, Beth. I am so sorry... i am praying for you and your family, I am feeling a loss for you and so your sense must be huge. Dear Woman with so much wit and warmth may God be so very present to you with the marvelous roots of his love evident as you discover how high how wide how deep how long they really are... much love"

Again. . . they have never met -- but they've each met me. And I wanted to try to express to you how much this series of events meant to me. And, though it may not seem like it:

". . . the words got in the way."

Today, I pray for you -- no matter what the situation you might be facing -- I pray for clear vision, gentle words, and a kind spirit in which to express those words.

Tonight, as I go to sleep, I will be praying prayers of comfort and sympathy for my precious friend, Joni. I will ask God to comfort her in supernatural ways -- and to bring peace and joy to her heart and mind in the coming days and weeks. I'm also praying that God would be BIG, HUGE, and gracious to Beth as her body is under attack.

Here's how Beth described it:

". . .right now, unseen to you, to me…RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE, coursing through my body is a killer army of drugs hunting down cancerous cells as it surges along… taking down in “friendly fire” my white blood cells, my hair follicles, etc as it advances."

So, I'm praying prayers of protection for her hair follicles and for her white blood cells. (Don't usually see those things listed on a church prayer list, do you?) I'm praying that these killer drugs will do what they were designed to do -- kill the cancer cells. I'm praying for strength for her weary body, restoration for her soul, protection for her family (8 hours away while she's in treatment), and complete healing from this vile disease.

And just in case you are worried that I won't be able to get those words out, take heart:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:26-28

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Again, with the daily posts?!?

Please, please, please don't get too excited. This blogging-every-day-thing is not going to be a sustainable pattern. Trust me. I wouldn't lie to you.

It is, however, time for me to announce. . . drum roll, please. . . . .I need to announce some big, big news. . . . no, I'm not that. (Can't even bring myself to type the word) That would be monumental. Seriously. Talk about defying science. No -- it's nothing that earth-shattering.

I launched another blog.

Now, you may ask yourself: "Why, on God's green earth, would someone who struggles with weekly - sometimes monthly blog posts begin another blog?!"

Here's why: I like reading blogs. I like reading quilting blogs. I like reading cooking blogs. I really like reading scrapbooking blogs. And, rather than run a list a mile long on the sidebar of this blog, and have to navigate in and out of here each day (like I do to read the blogs you see listed) I have created (with Mark's help) a blog that I can visit to see updated blogs about quilting, cooking, and scrapbooking (eventually).

Seriously, my sitemeter numbers are seriously jacked up because I "launch" to other blogs from my very own blog every day -- sometimes two and three times a day. I really don't care about numbers of hits on my blog, but this will help keep traffic to a minimum on this blog.

Right now, the new blog "Angie's Becky Homecky" only has about 18 quilt blogs and one cooking blog on it. (No, I didn't name it. Mark did. But I like it) I intend to increase the cooking & scrapping blogs. . . but not tonight.

So, if you're interested, I will post there from time to time -- but VERY rarely. You are welcome to follow it, or link to it. I've put a link on the right side of this blog, too. Please don't get too excited--other than the fact that it actually works -- it's not very exciting.

But, I thought you would like to know!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Yeah, yeah, I know. . . .

two posts in a row.

This is a horrible precedent to set. Oh well. . .it's all about determination, right?

Before I head to bed on this cold (albeit not as cold as the midwest) January evening, I thought I'd share some of the fun & frivolity of our last couple weeks. There was much fun. There was much frivolity. And, then there was. . . the other stuff.

The Fun
Our Christmas plans were a bit more "traditional" this year - as Mark's family was not with us over the Thanksgiving holiday. The last 4 or 5 years, they have been with us, and we've celebrated time together -- including opening presents -- in November, rather than December.

But this year, we pretty much kept the present-opening to one day -- December 25. Can you imagine?!

Prior to the "Big Day," Caroline had been bringing home various drawings and pictures -- letters to Santa, even -- describing what she wanted for Christmas. The main thing that kept coming up:

a drum

That's right -- she wanted a drum. And, eventually she added a "motorcycle" to the ever-growing list. But, I was stuck on the crazy drum.

I even went so far as to write a small article for our church's "newsletter-ish" publication. For December, each staff person wrote a brief Christmas greeting for the entire church. Mine had something to do with the fact that Caroline's wish list had changed/altered itself over the course of time. And, if memory serves, I made it very clear that I was not going to get her a drum.

I'm surprised no one called DCS. I got threats, sideways glances, and disapproving looks from members of my worship team -- because the girl needed drums. Now, please note: she never said drums she just said a singular "drum."

So, a day or two prior to Christmas, while out running some other Christmas-ish errands, Mark picked up a drum on behalf of Santa. And, when she came out to the tree on Christmas morning - she was quite delighted.

Of course, in the meantime, other presents (puzzles, a doctor kit, a baby doll, etc.) have taken her attention away from the drum. But every once in a while, she'll pull it out and start tapping away.

I'm glad that we were able to grant that wish for her -- there's something about fulfilling the wishes or desires of another person -- and watching the delight and wonder in their face as they realize a dream has suddenly come true.

The Frivolity
One of Edison's wishes came true in that we got a Wii for Christmas (Thanks, Nana & Papa!). We are now the proud owners of a Wii, Wii Fit Plus, and four controllers with rechargeable bases. The kids have really had fun with it . . . .all four kids. Just tonight, Edison and I played his new game "Wii Sports Resort" which has archery, bowling, table tennis, canoeing, and various sky games on it.

We rocked at table tennis. I beat him at the 3-point challenge in basketball. He didn't like losing. . . especially to his mom. But, the crazy thing has us playing, laughing, and exercising together -- and that's the whole point.

The Foibles
This year, we were concerned about the rampant nature of the flu -- the H1N1, to be specific. To date, neither of the kids have had their H1N1 shots, but we've managed to dodge it. Caroline, however, got sick (stomach bug) on Saturday night, December 26. She (and of course, Mark) was up pretty much all night - throwing up. Mark, thankfully, didn't get anything from her -- but Grandma, who had spent the morning playing with Caroline -- wasn't quite so lucky.

After the initial 6 hours of sickness -- and the tired that accompanied it, both Mom & Caroline bounced back to normal. (Or so we thought. . . .)

On Monday morning, I noticed that Caroline's hands were purple. So were her lips. Rewind five years -- she had open heart surgery because of congestive heart failure due to a Ventricular Septal Defect. Cue ominous music. Cue panicking mom. Cue call to doctor.

Load up car and go to the cardiologist.

The pediatrician's office said that they would be more inclined for the heart doctor to see her -- so off we went! Our regular doctor was on vacation, but his associate is wonderful. After an EKG, echocardiogram, and full inspection by the doctor, we were told that she was probably dehydrated. He said that typically when a body becomes dehydrated the body acts like it's in frostbite-mode. The blood circulates away from the extremities -- and goes to vital organs.

In other words: Give her some juice, and she'll be fine. And, she was.

It amazed me how quickly I gave into fear. I knew in my mind and heart that her heart was okay -- but there was that one voice -- ringing in my ears. And, in my most frightened moments, that was the voice to which I listened. O, to have listened to that still, small Voice telling me that she was in His hands -- and that I didn't need to worry. Because, that still, small Voice was right -- she was, and is fine!

The Other Stuff
Over the last year or so, Edison has begun playing bass more seriously -- with the church's youth band, with his school's worship band (chapel), and more recently with the choir at his school. He's pretty good -- and I take no credit for his ability or skills. He is primarily self-taught -- and he had a good little teacher.

So, when I started making plans for this year's Christmas Eve services, I was planning on Mark playing during the early (6 p.m.) service, but thought it might be nice to add Edison to the "band" for the 11:30 service. Edison agreed to play - and after a pretty laid-back rehearsal, he did an awesome job.

Fast-forward to last Sunday, as I'm driving to church - realizing that I have NO band to speak of, and just lost my bass player to Caroline's stomach bug - I turned to Edison, as we drove to church. "So. . . .do you want to play bass with me this morning?" I told him the songs - which he knew most of them - and agreed.

We got to church, set things up, and began practicing. He did GREAT! I was, and am, so very proud of him. I purposely didn't make a big deal out of it -- announcing it to the congregation -- because I didn't want to appear too proud. (But, baby I was!) It helped that one of our good friends came up to me (in Edison's presence) after service and commented that he was so glad I'd gotten rid of that "other" bass player and replaced him with Edison.

(I think that comment, alone, made Edison's day -- I know it made mine!)

So, there you have some of the fun, frivolity, foibles, and other stuff that made up our Christmas. It wasn't Norman Rockwell -- but then again, what is?!?!

And seriously. . . like the old song says, "Baby, baby, don't get hooked on me. . ." because my blog-writing stamina may not hold out for more than 3 posts per week.

You can't say I didn't warn you!

Friday, January 01, 2010

I am Determined

Two years ago, I chose a word that would be my word for 2008. That word was "Simplify" and I loved it so much, I used it again in 2009. Silly me. . . .but you can't blame me. I'm devoted.

This year - although I'm hanging onto "Simplify" as my sub-title, I have chosen the word "Determined" as my one little word for this year.

Why determined? Oh, there are lots of reasons. Some are more frivolous than others, I suppose.

I am determined:

*to make some necessary health changes this year
*to get organized
*to make better use of my free time (reflected in both previous statements)
*to READ (books)
*to quilt
*to take pictures. . .and then scrapbook them
*to decrease my caffeine intake
*to increase my water intake
*to read my Bible
*to finish projects that need to be completed
*to blog more frequently - but not obsessively

And now here's where the rubber meets the road. . . so to speak

I am determined to be strong - even when the world and other forces want to take away my joy.

I am determined to be bold and full of faith - even when science and the media shout other messages in my direction.

I am determined to see my faith come to fruition - and I fully intend to see a miracle or two. (Maybe more. . . .)

Whether you have chosen a "one little word" for your year, or not, you can always choose one. I encourage you to do it--and if you're looking for one, "Simplify" is up for grabs.

Happy New Year!!

p.s. Thanks, Laura. That was just the kick-in-the-pants I needed.