Sunday, November 29, 2009

Marriage Monday

This month's Marriage Monday Theme is "He Speaks: A Revealing Interview With My Husband." So here goes:

Q. What is your favorite holiday and why?
A. Christmas. I've always liked Christmas, it's always been a special holiday with lots of family time. My favorite quote happens to be about Christmas, "One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day, don't clean it up too quickly." Andy Rooney

Q. What is your favorite Christmas memory?
A. I don't know, I've had so many of them. Most recently, I really enjoyed going shopping on Black Friday with our daughter (note - they got up at 3:30 a.m. to go to Wal-mart). But growing up, I loved our special Christmas eve tradition of visiting with my Aunt Delores and my grandmother over pizza.

Q. What would your ideal Christmas look like?
A. I would love to have an old fashioned Christmas, kind of like the meals and parlor games they had in A Christmas Carol, or a special family Christmas at a cabin in the woods. Snow would be optional, but family and fun would be the most important.

Q. I know you enjoy shopping for gifts, who do you most enjoy buying for and why?
A. The kids, because I get to play with some of the stuff they get. Just kidding. I have so much fun watching them open their gifts on Christmas morning.

Q. What are your favorite ways to keep the true meaning of Christmas at the center of the season?
A. We have always made sure that the kids have known that Christ's birth is the real reason we celebrate Christmas. In addition to participating in our church's Christmas activities, we light Advent candles, our Nativity set is the center piece of our decorating and I love reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke every Christmas eve.

Q. So, what are you going to get me for Christmas? I know the Black Friday shopping trip was supposed to be a covert operation, were you shopping for me?
A. Nice try.

For anyone who does not know my husband, let me fill you all in. My husband is Mr. Christmas. He starts listening to Christmas music on November 1 and is plotting how to decorate the house months ahead of time. Tree hunting is serious business, we spend a lot of time hiking around the tree farm looking for the perfect Christmas tree - and it has to be big! He has amassed quite a collection of nutcrackers, too. Christmas with him is an adventure!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Count Your Blessings

1. I am thankful for my husband, who is pure awesomeness in human form.

2. I am thankful for my daughter, who is growing up so quickly.

3. I am thankful for my son, who makes me laugh so often.

4. I am thankful for my parents, who gave me a loving home to grow up in.

5. I am thankful for my church, for its demonstration of Christian love.

6. I am thankful for my quirky pets, they keep us entertained.

7. I am thankful for my country, and the freedoms we too often take for granted.

8. I am thankful even for the everyday chores that I gripe about sometimes.

9. I am thankful for my house, it was an answer to prayer.

10. I am thankful for each and every person who reads my blog!

Most of all, I am thankful to God for providing everything on the list above and so much more!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Big Brave Dogs

Brace yourself, folks! Here is a terror filled tale of bedtime gone horribly wrong.
It starts out innocently enough. Every evening, the routine is the same.
Bedtime, pups!
(glowing green laser eyes optional with every greyhound adoption!)
Runner, why did you stop? Why are you trying to run back downstairs?
Midnite, why do you look so scared? Is there something up there?
Beware! What is lurking at the top of the steps is not for the faint of heart. Please move small children away from your monitor before scrolling down the page.




Two dogs, one weighing in at 53 pounds and the other weighing in at 70 pounds, terrified of the cat they have co-habitated with for three years. She lies in wait for them every night, reveling in their terror. Hey- its a hobby.
They do eventually run the gauntlet and get to their bed, but it is a nightly challenge.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Shred a Paycheck

Ten years ago, I was the very tired mother of a darling, rambunctious one year old boy and a beautiful three year old spitfire. I was working full time in a chaotic, county funded mental health clinic. 'Nuff said.
One bright sunny September day, all was right with the world. Birds were singing, the sky was clear, it was payday and my husband and I were going to be leaving for a child free weekend at a bed and breakfast - oh the joy! Alas, as soon as I stepped over the office threshold that day, everything went awry. The appointments ran late, patients were perturbed, the payroll did not come when expected, the computers revolted and calamity was waiting around every corner. The paychecks were finally delivered by late afternoon - much to everyone's relief. Especially mine. Soon, blessedly, it was the end of the day. Now, just to be clear, part of my job was to collect every bit of paper with any of our clients' personal information - however small- and shred it before leaving the office. It. Was. Mandatory. Absolutely. Mandatory. So, I scurried frantically, gathering up anything I could find for the daily shredding. Mission accomplished, I went back to my desk to straighten it up. My pay check was not on my desk where I had left it. I looked under the desk. I looked under the calendar on my desk. I looked in my trash can. I looked in my purse. I looked under my keyboard. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. When it finally dawned on me what might have happened - I thought I might be sick. Sure enough, rummaging through the paper strips in the shredder revealed some short pink strips and tell-tale clear plastic from the window on the envelope. I sat with them in my hands and cried. I felt so very stupid. I did call the payroll office and pled my case. Once the HR representative stopped laughing, she came up with a solution to replace my check. It seemed downright tragic at the time, but laughable now.
That weekend away turned out to be wonderful, even with it's less than fun beginning! I resolved to be more careful in the future - a resolution I've broken many times in the past decade (as recently as last evening, as a matter of fact).
(I accidentally wore my shirt inside out and backwards to youth group last evening. But it was under a cardigan - if that makes it any better)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Of Ax Heads and Work Stress

I try to leave work completely out of this blog. I prefer to make this a place of faith, family and laughter - a sanctuary, if you will. But realistically, I spend 40 hours a week there, and it is bound to creep in here and there. Sometimes the stress becomes overwhelming and clings to me no matter where I go or who I am with.
So, I wanted to share an account from the Bible, that has meant a lot to me over the past several weeks. I first heard this story as a young teenager, and I have to admit, I didn't see what the big deal was at the time.
2 Kings 6
1 And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us.
2 Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.”
So he answered, “Go.”
3 Then one said, “Please consent to go with your servants.”
And he answered, “I will go.”
4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees.
5 But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed.”
6 So the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float.
7 Therefore he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
Here, we have some men, working at a menial task - pretty much every day stuff. They needed to expand their living quarters, and with Elisha's blessing they set out to cut down some trees. Everything was fine until an ax head fell into the water - and sunk along with the heart of the man who borrowed it. We hear him cry, "Alas, master! For it was borrowed." How many times have you felt just like that? A deadline gets missed. The car gets into a fender bender. A check gets accidentally put through the shredder ( a story for another day, perhaps). Our hearts cry, "Nooooooooo. Please noooooooo." or "Please don't let this be happening." That awful feeling of panic sets in.
What do we see happening next? Elisha scolding the man for being irresponsible? Elisha shrugging his shoulders and saying "Deal with it."? No. He asks, "Where did it fall?" He cared. God cared. God cared about that man's anguish over the lost ax head. He caused it to float so that it could be retrieved easily. Problem solved. God cares about us when the deadline gets missed, the car gets a dent and when we do something careless like shred our paycheck. We have a great big God, big enough to care about the minute details of our lives.
And aren't we lucky that He does?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Photos

To give credit where credit is due, all of these photographs were taken by my 13 year old daughter, as was the one that appears behind the title of my blog.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lock-In Time (and Links, too)

Ever wonder why kids think sleep deprivation is fun? If you suggest staying up until 2 a.m. to the average adult, the response is probably going to be phrased in whimpers and whining. Make the same suggestion to a room full of pre-teens and teenagers and the enthusiasm will be deafening - so get ready, get set, get some sleep - its lock-in time!
This weekend was our youth group's girls' lock-in, and this year we invited moms, too. So much fun! Friday evening kicked off with games and a tea party, followed by devotional time and t-shirt design. Karaoke was a blast, and I'm sure everyone can see who my daughter inherited her musical gifts from. And it was most assuredly not me. Hey, the Bible says we should make a joyful noise, not necessarily a melodic one. Our devotional time was based on the book Lies Young Women Believe, and we so enjoyed our precious time with each other as we studied the word.
The evening finished out with a viewing of One Night With The King, which is a terrific telling of the story of Esther. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you haven't seen it yet - it is well worth it!
We did sleep a little.
Just a bit.
And when it was over, I went home and took a nap.
But it was so, so, so worth it. I am truly blessed to get to spend time with such awesome kids!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Love Letter to Scott

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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Dear Scott,

When I first met you, I knew we would be married one day. I loved your curly blond hair and your big blue eyes. I especially loved the fact that you shared your scissors with me during craft time. Granted, it was kindergarten, but you were a gentleman through and through even then. We spent so many happy hours together playing on the playground, riding the bus and going to each others' houses that the teacher had to separate us so that we would pay attention (and not kiss and hug). You were my constant friend. I was so sad when we were separated in middle school. I missed you. When high school came and we were able to spend time together again, I rejoiced that we were able to pick up our friendship just as if it had never been interrupted. How many times did we laugh until we cried around the lunch table or on the long bus ride home? How many times did we commiserate about tests, teen angst and teachers? Posing for pictures with you at graduation was so bittersweet. I thought that was the end. A new beginning, but the end of our friendship as I knew it. Good thing for me that God's planning is so much better than my own.
One conversation changed everything for me. When that friend spilled the beans that I liked you, I don't think she ever had a clue about the chain of events she set into motion. First one date, then ten, each one better than the last. Before we knew it, we were married. It wasn't always easy. It wasn't always fun. But you were there and that was enough. I will never, ever, ever forget you holding our daughter in your arms for the longest time, even while the nurse was waiting to take her to the nursery, talking to her, telling her over and over again that you were her daddy and that you loved her. You then took the time to write me the most beautiful thank you card ever. When our son was born, you did it all over again.
I love you so much, both the man you've become and the friend you've remained. Thank you for your loving and giving nature, your patience (with me, especially) and your wonderful sense of humor. Thank you for still being able make me laugh until I can't breath. I love you!