Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Acquiring of books

Well, after such an exhaustive list of book recs, :) i decided to take a break :) and let you know about some really neat places to get such books..... at a fraction of the price you'd pay brand-new.

First up: This is a sort of book club. When you join, you automatically are given a credit or two, to have fun with until someone requests one of your books. This is a really good way to get rid of books that you enjoyed, but don't really want to keep. You post these books and then when someone requests one of them, you mail it to them, and when they receive it, they mark it as "received" and you are given a credit. You can use that credit to choose any book on the website and they will mail it to you. The only expense involved is postage, and the gas to the post office. I've done a good bit of sending and receiving, and the only problem I've had was a book getting lost in the mail, meaning I never got the credit even though I paid to send it.

A few other cheap used book websites: They have a really good variety of books and the best part is the free shipping. I often get books for $3.50 or less making it a really good deal. Oh, and you can do a wish list as well. Post what books you'd like to get and they let you know when they become available. is another good place to find books with free shipping as well. They also have a bargain bin and sometimes have sales within the bargain bin making the books really cheap.

This next thing is not really book-related but I thought I'd tell y'all about swagbucks, if you have not already been enlightened. Swagbucks is a program that gives you "bucks" for searching the web. You download the swagbucks toolbar and use it to search for whatever you usually do with your google toolbar. And it will randomly give you bucks that you can redeem as gift cards,etc. For example, just the other day I searched for a restaurant menu in my swagbucks toolbar and I won 23 bucks. Now, you don't win every time you search, and if you do goofy searches constantly in hopes of winning, they can detect it and shut you down. You also receive one swagbuck a day for using the toolbar. You can also win swagbucks by voting in their daily polls, completing some surveys, etc. And the best thing about it is there are no strings attached. No junk emails or spam messages. I like to use my swagbucks to redeem amazon gift cards. 450 sb gives you a $5 gift card. So far, I've gotten more than $30 in giftcards.... all from searching. Getting paid to do what I usually do online isn't such a bad idea in my book! If you want to get started, here is my referral link. It will also help me out :)

If y'all know of more great places online to get books, drop a line in the comment section whereby we may all benefit and our lives may theretofore be enriched.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


"It is virtually impossible to be in a bad mood when surrounded by flowers." I said that to Kelly and the others when we were at Callaway Gardens on Saturday. She said that we should have flowers in every room in the house. She might've not meant it that way.

 When you have a dear friend who volunteers at the aforementioned Gardens and can get you in for free, you go. And let your soul feast on soul-cheesecake, ie-flowers. When I come away from there I dream of being a botanist or a landscaper or a flowerbed engineer or designer or whatever those folks call themselves. I'm playing around with  getting a greenhouse this winter and seeing what all I can grow.

The mum balls were breathtaking...........

And don't even get me started on container gardens.


Have you ever seen cascading mums? We got to meet the lady who painstakingly tied each mum stem down to train them for the cascading effect.


And now that I've sufficiently persuaded you of my love for flowers, shall we move on to other things?

Such as........ flower bouquets?

Just kidding.

I had plans of doing some fairly regular book reviews on here but obviously it didn't last long.

I hope to do a random assortment so today we have....
A cookbook!
This cookbooks is more than just recipes.... it has lots of interesting tidbits about the origins of foods, the different ways they are prepared depending on which state you live in, etc. It also contains a few digs at the North, but it is, after all, a southern cookbook. 
That's my thumb in the corner. Hopefully it's a green thumb cause did I tell you that I love flowers?

 This makes me an awful southerner, but I must confess that I really don't like cornbread. Or gravy. Just say it a couple of times..... gravy, gravy, gravy. It even sounds blah. I don't dislike the flavor of gravies, I dislike the lack of flavor. It is monotonous. Dull. A dipperful of gravy over a pile of mashed potatoes does not automatically make it better, just as writing "lol" after a sentence doesn't automatically  make it funny.

I have no clue how I got so far off track. 

Anyway, if you get a chance, at least look through this huge cookbook. It has all the good southern-style recipes that have lived through the years, plus it has more elegant, gourmet recipes. Which include ingredients I can't pronounce. The beautiful, full color pictures are a feast for the eyes as well. 

And lastly, a recipe from the cookbook that I want to try:

Layered Cornbread and Turkey Salad

(I don't like cornbread by itself. It makes a mean salad, though.)

1 (15)oz bottle roasted garlic dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1 1/2 cups chopped smoked turkey
8 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 (12 oz.)jar roasted bell peppers, drained and chopped
2 cups crumbled cornbread
8 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
5 green onions chopped
Stir together dressing and buttermilk, blending well.
Layer a 3 qt glass bowl with half each of lettuce and next six ingredients; top with half of dressing. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients and dressing. Cover and chill 2 hours.

'till next time,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And I remember....

Well, they say the third time is a charm so maybe you will see this post tonight :) I sat down and attempted to write it at least twice but nothing came so here i am today and it will come. It must, because today is a day to remember.
My mind has been thousands of miles away today, re-visiting a land and a time that my family holds dear. Today three years ago we left Liberia and came home to the States. I think back to that day and can remember with a lot less pain then I could have two years ago. I was not prepared for the depth of emotion that I felt as we said goodbye to the people and the land that we had come to love with all of our hearts. I can still so vividly remember the heart-tearing sobs, the unreal feelings of this-is-the-last-time for so many things, the last clasp of Vashti's arms as she hung onto my neck, the sight of all of our friends waving goodbye through the glass doors and the pulling up of the jet wheels as we left Liberian soil. 
And today, three years later, I look back and remember. And miss so many things:

The children, who loved us in spite of, or maybe because of, our white skin. They have the warmest of hearts and are so friendly and fun. There were always neighbor children around always up to making pizza or playing lappa. They crept right into my heart and will always have that spot. I miss them so much.....

The ocean, ever changing and always beautiful. We had a  healthy respect for it after a few close calls. We lived only a few blocks from the ocean and could hear the waves crashing on the beach on especially quiet nights.

It feels a bit irreverent to mention our monkeys after the children and ocean. However, they were a very entertaining part of our lives and kept life interesting at all times. Let's just say our dog was kinda boring after we got home :) Stinker's (the biggest monkey) grand finale after we left and gave her to someone else, was her debut into a pot of pepper soup, after she bit the children too many times. I'm sure she died fighting. That's just the kind of monkey she was. We got Sassy, the smallest monkey, as a traumatized, wee little thing. She wouldn't sleep unless someone was holding her, we had to blow her food when it was too hot, and she pretty much lived it up until one night she squeaked one too many times, and had to go out and live with Stinker. Stinker willingly and capably adopted her as her own and they spent many happy hours together, playing and helping each other get out of the pen.

We were blessed to work alongside a lot of wonderful people during our four years there. Together we battled homesickness, loneliness, malaria and all those overwhelming feelings of trying to understand a new culture. We became family to each other when we had to miss out on weddings and special events that are part of family life, and holidays when family gets together. 
There is still a special bond there between us and we can do and say things that no one else gets. Our reunions would be fairly entertaining for non-Liberians :) 

This group is the same group as the picture above. A few spouses and children can change a lot :) We had a little Liberia missionary reunion back in July and talked and ate and reminisced all things Liberian.
It's a little sad, but the memories are already starting to fade. We have to scratch our heads a little harder when we try to remember names. Our Liberian English is so rusty it's embarrassing to talk it. 
Basically, we have slipped back into North American life. And while we do look back with the most awesome of memories of our Liberia stint, we know that we were called back home too, and are happy to be back. Sure, it still does ache inside sometimes to remember all of "our"children, that we loved on and had in our house and yard so much of the time, to remember the richness of the culture, to remember the fun times we had with our high-energy, interactive monkeys, to remember the chocolate-skinned fingers tentatively feeling our hair and exclaiming over how soft and straight it is, to remember the acceptance and love of even the neediest of the people...... the list could go on but I'll stop.
We came back richer people than when we left. I'm not talking monetary riches either. The Liberian people taught and gave us so many things, and parts of our hearts will always be there.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wherein she has an adventure...

Hey y'all!
Life has been very, very busy. I've been hither and yon and back a few times and have had such a nice time doing it all :) A couple of weeks ago I flew out to Arkansas to be with my friends out there for a very short (48 hour) weekend. I basically always fly Airtran (go Airtran!), cause it's the cheapest way to go. Kelly and Ruth Anne got me to the airport nice and early which I was all over. The last time K and I flew to Ohio, we got to our gate just as the plane was backing up :( It was due to a combination of not allowing enough time and the picker-upper guy who was supposed to pick us up 5 minutes after we parked the car at Park-N-Go, showed up 22 minutes later. Oh, and it was July 4th weekend which meant that flights were packed and even overbooked. We had to change our destination and ended up at our friends' house at 1:30 in the morning. So I was all good with being in Atlanta in good time. I really do love the Atlanta airport. I've been through there so many times i feel right at home and know exactly which train to get on, cause you have to get on the train to get to pretty much any gate. (I'm not sure why y'all need to know all this. Consider this a tutorial on how to do the Atlanta airport).

Ok, so to make a short story very long, everything was on time for my flight to Branson. I boarded, said "hi" to the little old lady beside me, picked up the In-flight magazine, perused it (just felt like using that word :) and then waited, and waited. Finally a flight attendant showed up, and said, "Victoria _______?" I indicated that she was indeed talking to the right person, and then she handed me a new boarding pass and asked if the little old lady and I would mind moving because they were trying to accommodate a family with children. Would I? Not if the new assigned seat was 2A. The little old lady looked at me and said, "What are we doing?" I grinned kinda cheesy like and said, "they're moving us north." I happily got my carry-on down from the overhead bin and headed north. I'm one of those stingy flyers who will do everything not to check in luggage which means I often probably have the heaviest bags on the plane. I always appreciate when a gentleman notices that as well and offers to put them up or take them down for me. I'm never quite sure if they are looking out for me or themselves but that's all okay. I have this phobia of losing control and having it whank some nice old man on his shiny bald head. ( I coined the word, "whank" myself. It means to fall and hit with a resounding, will hear-it-the-rest-of-your-life, sounding thud.)

So I settled into my new seat and tried not to look as excited as I felt. You know, the cool, done this lots of times before, old hat kinda look. It is so roomy up there! I just wanted to stretch my toes and move around just because i could. All my fellow first-classers had already gotten their pre-flight beverages so i tried not to be too miffed that I missed out. It wasn't their fault or anything.

Well, we took off  and I decided that first class passengers get tilted back in their seats further because they are up front. That was my only rational thought on the flight. I spent the rest of the time trying to keep my eyes to the right size. They just kept wanting to get bigger. Because, for one thing, they brought us beverages on trays. We got beverages.... the ordinary people behind us were served drinks.  The trays were little and black and plastic, but every so much more elite than just being handed a glass from a flight attendants' hand.

Oh, and here is where I faced the moral dilemma. How much does an upgraded passenger impose on the good graces of the crew when he or she really paid for drinks, not beverages? Ok, so I wasn't going to ask for a bottle of the most expensive wine. I am a Christian and a teetotaler and all that so I'm good without the wine. But chocolate milk now...... that's where I started to waver. Yes? No? Should I? Should I not? The ordinary people behind me had to pay two bucks for a small bottle of chocolate milk but it was mine for the having. I broke down and nonchalantly asked for a bottle and they brought it, no problem. Even served it on a little black tray.  And then they brought the snacks out. (in a  pretty wooden basket). We had a choice of several elite things such as some kind of gourmet cookie and TGI Friday potato skins. I again, nonchalantly picked out a bag of potato skins, had moment of silence for the pretzel-eating folks behind us, and enjoyed my high class snack of potato skins and chocolate milk. Oh, and then the nice flight attendant came through and asked if we needed anything else. I asked for a glass of water. I needed it, I promise. I have no idea where you'd get the idea that I'd ask for it just because I could. Duh!

The landing was uneventful and I was the first person off the plane! Wit whew for writtendownbig! I love the Branson airport. It's the only privately owned airport in the States and it's decorated like a Bass Pro Shop. Everything is rustic and there are animal heads mounted all around and there's lots of greenery. It has all of two gates I think and the whole terminal area is about the size of a fairly big house. Coming from Atlanta to Branson is quite a study in contrasts.

So that's the story of how I got to Branson. 98% being true and 2% being writers privilege :) What I did in Arkansas is a whole other story. But relax. I'm not going to write it here. It included lots of good times and chats with friends and my first and second graders and family. I taught school out there two years ago and i have so many good memories of my time there. Culturally, it's a bit different than central GA :) You can still buy snuff at Wal-Mart if that tells you anything :)

So that's the story of my first business upgrade..... and I could have enjoyed another first on my way back. It was my first opportunity for being bumped but I felt like getting home and crawling into bed.

Stay tuned for another book review soon.....

P.S. I didn't take the pictures in this post. Just didn't want y'all thinking I was capable of such art.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy

I love to read. In fact, I often read a chapter or two (or 7) of a new or favorite book before going to sleep at night. I read a large variety of books and I admit to even enjoying childrens' books :) You should pick up or borrow the Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. It is a charming re-telling of the old favorite and I like it better. It is colorful and has lots of great pictures.

I've decided to start doing reviews on the books I love best. Today's book is :

The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy by Penelope Wilcock.

 I find it a little hard to describe what I love about it. It's a book that takes me to places and times I have never been in and will never go. It's a story about quietness and a monastery and prayers and love and forgiveness and fighting personal battles. It's not your average, easy reading book. It is out far enough of my world that it's fascinating, yet not too far that I'm bored and overwhelmed. It somehow strikes a chord somewhere deep in me that not many other books do.

Living away from society and being shut away from the greater world doesn't take care of man's problems. The men in this story facing their problems and facing themselves is a large part of what the book is all about.

Do pick it up and read it. It may be dry as cornbread to you, and if it is, I am very sorry. Then would be a good time to pick up the three little wolves book. :)

And I realize that several months and posts ago, i asked you (whoever is reading this), what your favorite books and authors are. But I'd love to hear again, especially if you are new to this blog.

 I'll try to keep going on this book review thing and eventually I'd like to have a special section for recommended reading (using suggestions from y'all).

So, what's on your bedside stand?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Calling~ His Pleasure

Do you ever wonder if God gets any pleasure from what you feel He has called you to do? Do you ever feel like it's pointless and wonder what's the use? I've been doing a lot of thinking about callings and our wills and decisions.

A very dear friend/cousin is needing to decide which fork in the road to take as it relates to vocation. All her options are wonderful, fulfilling and kingdom building. And yet she has to decide which one to do. I remember the feeling of uncertainty. It seems like surely God must have an opinion about what He wants you to do but you feel no clear leading one way or the other. It's like you are whirling around God's roundabout, the choices veering off like the spokes of a wheel. And not only are you flying around trying to get some sort of direction, but the people behind you are honking their horns, impatiently waiting for you to decide which road to take.

Why is it so hard to decide God's will? Why doesn't he put your name and an arrow at one of the roads?
And then there are those who seem to easily understand the specifics and the reasons of His calling. He calls them to something that He made them good at doing. I think of Eric Lidell, the man who could run like the wind.

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." Eric Lidell
We sometimes struggle with the mundane-ness of our callings. I don't feel His pleasure every time I arrange juicy red tomatoes on top of a bed of lettuce, put the bread on top, and finish a sandwich. There's no sort of spiritual thrill there. There is, however, an inside-my-heart sort of feeling that I am doing what He wants me to do right now. There are times when I look out and think of what all I could be doing. Bigger things. More thrilling things. Things that I feel would surely pleasure Him more. 

But you know, if I can't even happily put a sandwich together, wish someone a blessed day, smile at the grumpy and listen to the hurting, right in our own store I'm not sure how I'd do in the jungles of Ecuador. For, after all, "she does most in God's great world, who does her best in her own little world."

I highly recommend the book, The Grand Weaver, by Ravi Zacharias. He says,
The doctor reveres the patient for the same reason the ball player takes care of his physique. The particulars of their call differ because the site of their sancturary differs. But the privilege of individual access to God-anytime, anywhere-remains the same. That is what makes their calling equally sacred.
I like that. We each have a sanctuary. The place where we are in active service for God. Mine happens to be a deli/specialty food store. It's ordinary, glitter-free, and simple, but it's there I can worship. Because He has called me to be there.

And maybe someday I can be big enough to say:
I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me to serve people. And when I prepare pasta salad, I feel His pleasure.


Cheers and thanks to my dear friend Julia for transforming my blog! My siblings and I were over at her family's house for a few hours on Saturday and we had such a good time together. I wanted some tips on the technicalities that exist in blogger and she helped me out and more! She whipped that header together in practically no time and I love how it turned out.

We always enjoy being with them because we share a lot of the same values and love the same Lord. Oh, and they live only a few miles from us too. Double plus! Her brothers have a really neat duct tape weapon business and can make all kinds of swords, shields, etc with what i always thought of as ordinary duct tape.

More posts coming up. Gotta do this new makeover justice!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Half a Century of Love and the Celebration Thereof

Ok, so it's really embarrassing how long it's been since I posted. There have been lots of thoughts twirling through my head but if I would have written everything down it would've been a virtual thought casserole. I keep up with a lot of blogs and there's really a lot of neat stuff out there. I enjoy all the clever DIY projects but I'm really not that creative. I did blog about a sonic drink holder that I converted into a.....ummmm......well something. You can read it here .

I know each blogger has a different style and mine is more along the inspiration/humor line.  I probably err on the side of not enough pictures so here's a post with pictures. Because I really do like people. Especially the people pictured in this picture post. Amazing alliteration abounding here. :)

So anyway, where was I? I was trying to get to my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary and I'm not sure how i was getting there. (for one thing I'm hearing 5 family members yelling out numbers from all areas of the living room as they try to calculate the cost of of a cabin for a few days.) Doesn't do much for me when I'm trying to concentrate, I'm tellin' ya.

So yeah, my grandparents have reached the golden year of their marriage. Amazing and wonderful and blessed are three words that come to mind. They are really special to me and all of us grandchildren because they have invested so much in us. Grandpa usually did his little grandpa thing when we'd come to visit. He'd get us to gather all the stuffed animals and then he'd position one or two on each fan blade. We all huddled underneath with eyes as big as saucers as he'd turn the fan on and watch them get slung off. (this all happened when we were young, please understand.) Grandma would let us comb out her hair and then put it back in a bun.

Grandpas are just plumb special!

So, the family got together for the weekend and we celebrated! Kens came from Arkansas and Davids came from Florida. And we keenly missed Jason and Melody and their family in the faraway Australia place. It just didn't seem complete without them.

Saturday was spent getting ready for the Sunday open house. Some of them worked on food stuff, we girls decorated and pulled displays together, the boys moved tables and chairs, and this young man:

just sat there, decorative-like being adorable and smiley. We love this newest member of the family pretty much :)

After all the work of scooping the melons out, this was documented.

A very special and key point of the decor' was this pencil sketched drawing of Grandpas done by my 16 year old cousin, Janae, from Australia. Her sister, Carolyn, has a few pictures on her blog as well. Carolyn is my cousin too, being Janae's sister and all. You really should hop over and check out her blog. This drawing is amazing and especially coming from someone with just a knack and no special training or anything.
Melanie, another cousin, put this display together with some of Grandpas' memorabilia. The blue thing you see on the right is a sample of Grandma's wedding dress 50 years ago. An interesting thing about their wedding is they had a double wedding with her sister Vernie and her husband Mahlon.

Back in the early 70's I think, my grandparents and some other families from their church sponsored a few Laotian refugees families' move to the States. The families here were responsible for them after they arrived here. They are all scattered now but we keep in contact and get together with them occasionally. Boonchahn, Chahn, Kahmpooey and Sahmpoo with a few of their children came down for the event. I'm positive that's not the way to spell their names but it's exactly how they sound so there! And they brought with them *gasp* some of their delectable cabbage rolls and sticky rice and suh-lod (salad). There are moments when I can't understand why I'm not Laotian.

America is just so boring. Other people/food groups have all the fun. If I could be who I'd want to be (food wise) this would be me: 30% Italian, 30% Mexican, 20% Laotian, 10% Chinese, 5% Liberian, 3% American, and 2% Oreos and milk.

That's how much I love oreos and milk.

So baaaaaaack to the open house....

During the open house there were speeches by the children. Jason's was recorded in Australia and played via projector, which was next best to him being there,I guess. We grandchildren sang a few songs, one being a song that grandpa wrote, and then the whole family sang our favorite "Jesus Lover of My Soul". The formal part was wrapped up with a speech by the celebrated couple themselves.

Another family member that we missed and remembered was my Uncle Jim, who, at age 23, died suddenly of a heart condition while enjoying recess with his students. His wife of 3 months, Lois moved in with grandpas for a year or so, and while there started courting Gary, one of Jim's good friends. Gary and Lois and their 7 children came for this. They  seem like part of the family. I guess when you share somebody you love, and walk the valley together after he dies, it strengthens, not weakens, family ties. I love how she calls my Grandpas mom and dad. Somehow she makes Jim seem a little more real. Because I was just a year old when he died, I have no memories of him. And yet I miss him. I wonder if he'd still be the fun of the family, the one with all the original jokes, the one who cared and loved his nephew and neices.
So yes, the open house/celebration was enjoyable and we wish for grandpas many more happy years together.
In between all the activities of the weekend, we enjoyed just relaxing at Grandpas.

My youngest uncle David and his wife Toni, with Kenneth giving a back rub.
We enjoyed lots of good food...

And just enjoyed being together. Isn't that what families are for?

Well,  tis very late and i should run off to bed. I had all this and more written before but then I closed it for a bit and lost pretty much everything. Blogger isn't exactly once saved always saved I guess.

I do want to write more. I'd like to start using writing as a discipline which will be very good for me.

I suppose to be professional I should do or host a giveway. Except I haven't anything really fun or extra to give away. Except for some socks. Those are extra, not fun. And everything fun that i possess is not extra. Which = giveaway.

I told you I was tired......

Oh, and btw, I have had several page views from cool places like Germany and Poland and Thailand. Do let me know who you are and what you eat and I might replace my Oreos and milk percentage with some of your local cuisine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beautiful Lines~

To live content with small means;
To seek elegance rather than luxury;
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy not rich;
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly;
to listen to stars and birds, to sage and babes,
with open heart;
to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
await occasion, hurry never;
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

-William Henry Channing

\Anita gave this verse to her girls in the Christian Womanhood class one year. It's been in my Bible ever since, because I like it so much. In a beautiful way, it portrays what a good, happy life should be.

I'm still pondering on it though, and wrestling with the line: elegance versus luxury and wealth versus riches. The contrasts seem so similar and I don't grasp fully what it's supposed to mean.

Channing uses his words carefully and beautifully.

To let the spiritual,unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.


I try so hard unbidden and unconscious, and wish for the mountaintop experiences grow up through the common

That's just plain 'ole everyday life. No mountaintops there. Nothing sparkly or rose tinted.

Just the hum-drum of life. But it can be beautiful. And that makes me happy inside.


Monday, March 21, 2011

I Think We've Grown Up

For the first time in all my life (23 whole years as of today), I finished a monopoly game. I had never finished a monopoly game before with my siblings. See, we always felt so sorry for each other whenever any of us were approaching debt so we'd just forgive each other and keep going. It always ended up like the 4 blondes at the four way stop. So when the properties were all bought, we figured it was a good time to end the game.
That was back in the days when we'd sneak our hundred dollar bills  into our laps when nobody was watching to give the impression that we had less money. Then, when we needed to purchase something big we'd smugly pull it out and everybody would wonderingly gasp, "She was hiding money!"

or something like that.

You would have thought that we'd cease to be surprised with time but we weren't exactly 500 watt when it came to bright.

That was also in the era of Lots Of One Dollar Bills = cool. 40 one dollar bills makes a bigger stack than two $20's. I think our thoughts of ourselves were fairly high with this intelligence.

So last night we pulled out Monopoly and played a brutal game. There was no forgiveness anywhere. I really smoked them..... and then too eagerly challenged them to a game tonight. Yep, that's why i'm on this blog while they are exchanging rents in increments of hundreds. 

It's sorta sad that we grow up..... but at least our games aren't never ending anymore.

The end.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Things That Made Me Happy Today

~--~ the tulip trees, adorned with frilly pink and white blooms

~--~ the newly bloomed daffodils, nodding and agreeable in the sunshine

~--~ the green grass, emerging from brown nothingness

(ie. all things bright and colorful)

~--~ the roundabout between here and Montezuma. One important fact you should know about me is that I destest four way stops. I think thoughts in Portugese when I come to any of them. And I don't even know Portugese. It's always a thing of who's there first and what if I got there only .00000008th of a second before the other car? I know there's a rule to go by in such a situation but it always evades me at that point. So, yeah, roundabouts are just great. I think warm thoughts in English whenever I wheel around one of them.

~--~ the grins I weasled out of my young cousin, Jeremy, who I babysat today. When one chirps in baby talk and whistles and coos and in all ways looks ridiculous, it is nice when they do condescend to grin at you.

~--~ the fact that I didn't have to change a messy diaper. I got a sniff of something suspicious, and girded up the loins of my inexperience and reluctance, but thankfully it was just  a *false alarm*. I was more hating it for his sake, see? :) I'm known for putting on diapers backwards and completely forgetting the protective rubber pants. I'm doing good to remember that they do sometimes need to be changed.

~--~ our big, airy bedroom in all it's blue and whiteness. Freshly cleaned up. That sentence was really the main point.

~--~ our creative old dog burying a piece of red velvet cake out by the fence. Well, it didn't exactly make me happy, more cracked me up.

~--~making taco rice that we are going to eat tomorrow. I. love. taco. rice.

~--~ the fact that nobody wrecked into Kelly on her way to the airport this morning, and that her plane didn't hit a bird and that she didn't get lost in the peanut sized Branson airport which has two gates and one baggage belt thingie. And that she's having fun with Melanie and Kenneth and Justin even though I really want to be there.

~--~ listening to my old Calvary Bible School 2008 chorus recording and remembering how it was to be 19 and at CBS. As all recordings from that dear place, the value is primarily in the fondness of memories, not the recording quality. Those were good times and good peoples.

~--~ the fact that the previously mentioned recording did not pick up the snorts and coughs of laughter coming from the back row of the soprano section. I can't remember what was provoking the laughter of me and two girlfriends but I do remember trying to pull ourselves together and stop. Because, after all, giggling on recordings is unheard of.

The last song we sang was "Homeward Bound" and today I couldn't help thinking of Casey, one of the guys there that term, who was taken Home two weeks ago by "the rough, restless tide". He had done a year or so of voluntary service at a nursing home and was in Puerto Rico on a mission trip. Minutes after taking a group picture on a cliff by the ocean, he stumbled on some shaky ground, and plummeted 70+ feet to the ocean below and after swimming awhile and fighting for survival, he finally drowned. It all seems too horrible for words, so freak and bizarre, so unnecessary. And yet we choose to believe God didn't make a mistake.

And since random is the theme of this post, I'll  wrap it up with an informative piece about the difference between the North and South. It's not original with me but I did find it highly humorous.

The difference between the North and the South - at last, clearly explained...

The North has Bloomingdale's , the South has Dollar General .

The North has coffee houses, the South has Waffle Houses ..

The North has dating services, the South has family reunions.

The North has switchblade knives; the South has .45's

The North has double last names; the South has double first names.

The North has Indy car races; The South has stock car races .

North has Cream of Wheat , the South has grits.

The North has green salads, the South has collard greens ...

The North has lobsters, the South has crawfish .

The North has the rust belt; the South has the Bible Belt .. 


In the South : --If you run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in a four-wheel drive pickup truck with a tow chain will be along shortly. Don't try to help them, just stay out of their way.
This is what they live for.

Don't be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store.... Do not buy food at this store.

Remember, 'Y'all' is singular, 'all y'all' is plural, and 'all y'all's' is plural possessive

Get used to hearing 'You ain't from round here, are ya?'

Save all manner of bacon grease. You will be instructed later on how to use it.

Don't be worried at not understanding what people are saying. They can't understand you either.. The first Southern statement to creep into a transplanted Northerner's vocabulary is the adjective 'big'ol,' truckor 'big'ol' boy. Most Northerners begin their
Southern-influenced dialect this way. All of them are in denial about it.

The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper 

Be advised that 'He needed killin..' is a valid defense here.

If you hear a Southerner exclaim, 'Hey, y'all watch this,' you should stay out of the way. These are likely to be the last words he'll ever say.

If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the smallest accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store... It doesn't matter whether you need anything or not. You just have to go there.

Do not be surprised to find that 10-year olds own their own shotguns, they are proficient marksmen, and their mammas taught them how to aim.

In the South, we have found that the best way to grow a lush green lawn is to pour gravel on it and call it a driveway.
AND REMEMBER: If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we ain't gonna call 'em biscuits. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thinkings from a dentist's chair

Sitting in a dentist's chair with enough Novacaine in your mouth to make it feel like you're harboring an elephant gives you lots of thinking time.I had a few teeth that needed filllings and two that needed extracting, per my orthodontist's orders. I blithely thought, "why not take care of everything at once." To do that, howsoever, they had to numb every bit of my mouth except for the floor. It's an incredibly odd feeling, that of having ownership of lips and a tongue, but not being able to feel them. What's worse, they asked me to stick out my tongue so I stuck out what I thought was my tongue, hoping devoutly it wasn't my tonsils or small intestine.
And you know, nothing really hurts after the initial pricking and pinching off the big, bad needle. It's just a whir of pulling and noises and lights and tools that bump and grind and an occasional, "You okay down there, honey?" ( he's allowed to say that, because this is the south and he's over 50 :) You really want to get honeyed and sweethearted, and dolled and stuff, just try standing behind a cash register and help a couple hundred of people a day.
The dentist left for a little after the fillings were done and I was done fighting unfair battles with forces not to be reckoned with so I said to the nurse, "ahhhhh eeeeeee eeeeeee ewwwwwww ohhhhhhh ewwwwww uhhhhhhh ahhhhhhh ewwwww." She looked at me sympathetically, remarking on how long I'd been on the chair and kindly showed me the bathroom. I'm in awe of her foreign language expertise.
But back to the thinking.....I was trying to imagine a numb life. A life without pain. Or suffering. Or hardship. There are times I foolishly think I could really enjoy that. It would be nice not to feel the heartbreaking pain of the death of a dear friend.To not have a heart bleeding for abused children and the pain they go through. To not have to worry and wonder over children in Liberia who are for various reasons, involved in witchcraft and things you and I have never gone through. Can you imagine life without all that?
But imagine also a life without joy. For without pain, one can not experience joy. You can't experience the good in the absence of the bad because there would be nothing to define goodness and badness. Lasagna wouldn't taste nearly as delicious if I wouldn't have baked oatmeal to compare it to. (now you know my feelings on both food items :)
  Imagine a life without smiles, for smiles are a result of joy and happiness. A life without laughter and kindness and thanksgiving.
I tried to find the story of the People in the land of the Middle. It's an interesting and soul searching read about a land devoid of emotion. It was never hot nor cold. The people were neither happy nor sad. Theirs was a life without color, without tears, and without smiles. I find it fascinating and disturbing all at once. Give me a life with tears and heartbreaks and questions.....because then I can know happiness, comfort and healing.
There's all kinds of emotional novacaine out there to rob you of feeling. Lies. Society is out to numb you of certain things to get you to experience others. I think of the many innocent young children all over Africa who are brain-washed, given a gun and told to kill. And they do, without emotion.
This is not a post about letting your feelings dominate you and celebrating them to the extent of not living in reality. This is just a post of thanksgiving to the One who gave me the capacity to feel love and pain. To laugh and cry. And to live with meaning.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The miracle of life

A letter to Jeremy
Welcome to the world, Jeremy, and more specifically, welcome to our world! It's nothing short of a miracle, how such a little bundle can bring such great happiness. How such a little bundle can turn a household upside-down, can keep a grown woman up most of a night, and can have cousins fighting to hold it. All this to say, you are a pretty special bundle.
You came to your family, and to us in a very special way. God, the Creator/Weaver, pulled the strings and wove together a very beautiful design that led to your arrival. You were prayed for and cried for. Your brothers wanted another sibling very badly. Your mom wanted another armful of babyness to hold. And your dad wanted another son to trail him on the farm. And then God answered prayers, and sent you.
You were surrounded by love since your birth. The people who took care of you before you became part of your forever family loved you very much. Love surrounded you and will surround you through your life.
You will learn all kinds of things in the next couple years. You will learn about colors.....white is for cows, your dad will teach you. Green and yellow are for tractors and equipment. Black and blue is for tussling and playing with your energetic brothers. And red, for a whole lot of love.

You have grandpas who will give you gator rides and teach you about golf. Your grandmas will fix all kinds of good things to eat and give you horseback rides. And your cousins.... well, we won't even start on that. Because they've already spoiled you. You whimper a little, and they all come running to see what you need. We will cuddle you when you are little, read books to you when you get older,teach you to read when you turn 2, and discuss and debate with you when you grow up. Yours will be quite the life, I can already tell.
You came to us in a unique way and because of unique circumstances. As you grow older, you may hear you are inferior becauses of it. That's not true! We are made in His likeness and He never sends Himself down in inferior or second-best packages. Adoption is a beautiful metaphor of the Christian life. We have all been adopted.
 You are neither more special, nor less special because of this. You are exactly how God wanted you to be, a sweet little 8 lb bundle that could win a yelling contest, no problem.
We love you Jeremy.....welcome to our world!