Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This is a test. This is only a test.

I'd like to start blogging more and Facebooking less. So if you are reading this, please do me a favor. I've updated my blog look a bit and made a couple of changes. Will you take a moment and become a "follower" of Living the Dream?  I'd appreciate it very much!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Me and My Big, Fat Pulps

So what were you doing two days ago around 2:30 p.m.? I decided it might be fun to have a root canal. Well, not exactly fun. And technically, I didn't decide. Well, technically, I did, but I had little choice. I had a tooth that was bothering me a month ago, and bothering turned to pain and pain turned to waking me up in the night wishing I had a bottle of Vicodin and a sledgehammer. I found a lovely dentist who would see me the next day, and she took a lovely x-ray, and then we both took a lovely walk to see the man next door to her who just happened to be an endodontist. It was lovely.
Not really. It was weird. And uncomfortable. I am very, very glad he was there, and had an opening for me at that precise moment. But was it weird that there were just two people in the office? And that the receptionist also doubled as his assistant? And wasn't even an RDA? And was just then trying to get into a community college to take some dental-type classes? Perhaps. Yes. Definitely. And believe me, there were parts of me that screamed, "Get OUT!", like those Vader-like, disembodied voices one hears in spooky old houses in horror films. Part of me wanted to run. I was already thisclose to screaming from the pain alone. Now I had the mental aspect to worry about.
I began to notice little things that concerned me. I might have been their first patient of the day. I was definitely their only patient in the afternoon. The office was quiet as a tomb. Where was the hustle and bustle of your normal dental office? I realize endodontics (root canal stuff) is different than plain-ol' dentistry, but one? Yeep. I was weighing the fact that both dentists had told me there was a good chance I'd end up in my local ER over the weekend (a weekend packed full of many plans, mind you) against the fact that something inside kept telling me, "There's a weirdness about this office. Find another one."
What to do, what to do...
I can tell you what I would have done a couple years ago. I would have said, "Ya know--I need to come back another time. I need to ... think about this a little...". Weak, I know. Then I would have found a more modern, lively office, one in which I felt more confidence in the dentist. I would have wished hard, and prayed in my own little way that God help me find a good endodontist and that my tooth would not get worse over the weekend and that I could find someone who could fit me in their schedule asap. I would have relied on my own judgement alone to fix this problem. But it's not a couple of years ago and now I have something even better than blind faith and straws at which to grasp.
I have God.
And He didn't let me down.
 Looking at my x-rays, having two dentists point out where the cavity was (about a hair's breadth from the nerve of my tooth), I now understood why I was in so much throbbing pain. While there was no telling when the cavity would reach that nerve, I didn't want to know what level of pain I could withstand when it did. I was already being wakened up from sleep in agony. So I said yes to the root canal. (Catchy new name for a reality show?) But I did so with a caveat. I nervously needed to visit the ladies room several times before the procedure. Each time I went into that ladies room, I asked God if this was the right thing to do. I prayed to Him to help me make this fast decision. I also prayed that if this was the right thing to do, that He guide the dentist's hands surely and that the sweet little non-RDA guy really know his stuff also. Hey--I was praying to God. No business too big or too small for Him. And while this was probably not on your mind at 2:45 last Thursday, it was most definitely taking up an incredibly unbalanced amount of my grey matter.
What to do, what to do...
I decided to go ahead and do it.
And then the real fun began.
I had to be numbed FOUR times. I'm blaming that on age. Or the dentist.
Or on air molecules.
I had to listen to them say things like, "Wow, she really does have a narrow palette!" and "Watch the way I do this, she won't even flinch!" and other things I never thought I'd have to listen to while I was nearly flat on my back with 3 different hands in my rubber-dammed mouth. While the dentist did say, "Sorry--we're sort of making fun here; I hope you don't think it's at your expense!", I couldn't even retort with my usual snarkiness: "Why, no. I'm the only patient in the office. I'm numb from my eye to my neck. I have a super-cute and not-at-all-annoying rubber dam in my mouth and a trendy spit-sucker hanging down my throat. I'm basically as undignified as a person can get this side of a torpedo-style crotch-kiss by a large unruly dog. Why on earth would I think that you're having a moment at my expense? Carry on!"
But something told me it was OK to stay. Or perhaps it was the fact that something didn't tell me to leave. I petitioned God for an answer. I believe that He gave me one. This is not blind faith. Blind faith would have been me fleeing the office on my own "gut feeling". While gut feelings are a good thing to listen to in the face of immediate danger, this was a situation in which I had some time and lots of inclination to ask the One who knows every hair on my head (and yours) for His opinion. I knew what I felt. Time to let God give me His wisdom.
And the answer I got was, "Stay."
No, not in words, and not in some untrustworthy bosom-burning sensation, either. Just a blanket calmness that this was indeed the right place to be. A calmness that could be trusted because there was no way, absolutely none, that it came from me.
So I stayed. And although there were several other things that made me nervous ("Seriously? No water in that little holder thingy to squirt my mouth with? There's NO ONE in the office and YOU DIDN'T CHECK THE LITTLE WATER TANKS?"), I could rest easy in the fact that, although I didn't necessarily want to be in this chair at 3:00 on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, I truly didn't have something better to do. This needed to be done and God guided me to the right place at the right time. (Interesting rabbit-trail: the regular dentist was not my first choice. I called another dentist and was disconnected twice and on the third call, received the recording that "this number is no longer in service and there is no new number". I checked the number on my phone screen against the number flashing at me from my computer screen. Same. Again, I believe God's hand guided me to the right people. I may not understand it, but then again--I don't have to. End rabbit-trail.)
I did like some things about this endodontist. He was very personable and talked to me a lot before the procedure. He didn't feel I needed antibiotics (no infection) and that was great, since I usually have to fight with a doctor to not take them. And he finally explained to me why my teeth are so incredibly sensitive: "You have the biggest pulps I've ever seen on someone your age!" (I really, really hate when sentences are ended with, "...for your age", by the way.) Apparently, as we get older, certain parts in our teeth "shrink" and get thin and less sensitive. Mine are not. Dr. Dentist said he has never seen pulps as big as mine except on teenagers. Teen. Agers. All I could think was, "Great. I'm aging all over the place, but I've got the tooth pulps of a 15-year old?".
He was honest about the pain medications he could prescribe me, and in the end, I didn't get any. The cool thing: I didn't need any. Not one little Tylenol. Not one teeny little Advil. Nothing. Aside from an almost unmentionably small little bit of gum soreness, felt only when I brushed my teeth, there was absolutely no discomfort at all after the numbness wore off.
This is amazing.
A root canal is a fairly traumatizing procedure for a mouth to undergo. Not only is there the actual procedure, but just having your mouth cranked open for over an hour gives many people a jaw-ache that lasts a week.
I got nothing.
With all my TMJ problems, and my tooth issues, and my big, fat, gargantuan pulps, I got no side effects at all.
Thank You, Father, for modern dentistry. Thank You for the doctors you put in my path last Thursday.
Thank you, Father, for answering my prayer.

"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer."  Psalm 4:1

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tehuya or Bust!

We're on a family vacay right now, in the state of Washington. I've taken approximately 4 kajillion photos already, and we have yet to attend the wedding or visit the relatives for whom we've driven nearly 1,000 miles. My daughter just informed me that we didn't bring the cord / cable that allows us to upload all those fabulous photos, so it will be another couple weeks until you get to see them. I'm so sorry. I know how much this means to you. (Waits till perplexed look disappears from your face.)
When I can post the photos, you'll see them. At least some of them. Maybe half a kajillion, commonly known as a "bunch." Take care--I'll blog as soon as I can! Right now, it's time to get dressed and go watch two people swear to love and cherish one another for a lifetime. :-)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Losing Your Marbles

This really moved me. It's never too late to start living right!

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm so confuuuuuused = /

I've actually witnessed two people go onto my blog and still no comments! After I pretty much begged y'all!
What the wha...?
Well. OK. Fine. Perhaps there's some sort of lesson here for me.
New post coming soon, no comments necessary! (See? I don't mind if you don't comment! Ha, ha! Doesn't bother me a bit, no siree. I'll just keep on bloggin'!)
Later, I'll post some good websites to check out. Here's one now:
Yes, I know I've posted it before, but they're the funniest site around. You should go there now and have a good chuckle. Just remember to check back with me later ;-)
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven ... a time to embrace and a time to refrain." Ecclesiastes 3:1 and part of 3:5. (See, I'm embracing the fact that I have no commenters, and refraining from begging you to comment, lol.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

HEY! I'm talkin' a YOU!

It has come to my attention that there are several--and by several I mean perhaps a half-dozen--people out there (this would be you) who read my blog yet do not comment. This makes me really, really sad, complete with frowny-face. Come on. I comment on YOUR blog, don't I? (I don't? Well, I keep meaning to. And someday, I will. But right now, it's all about my blog. And your lack of commenting on it.) This is exactly the problem I had on Facebook, till I borrowed some of my buddy's Chatty-Cathy FB Friends and took care o' that little sitchy-ation (Hi, ZZ!). People: do you know how very discouraging it is for me to post something and see no return for my efforts? I'm not doing this for myself, folks! (Cue voice-cracking.) I'm not simply venting! I want to read your comments! I'm all about the instant gratification (or at the very least, eventual gratification) of virtual friendships!
OK. 'Nuff said. If there is a reason you're not commenting, please contact me at and let me know what the heck is going wrong on my blog that is preventing you from actually posting those sought-after, lengthy and interesting comments ;-]
"The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly." Proverbs 15:2 (Just a little something to remember when you comment  ;-)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Prayer: Scary or Doable?

I listened to a pastor giving a sermon on the radio the other day ( and really liked what he was saying. I scrambled to grab a pen and paper (and this happens so often I really should keep some supplies by the radio, but keep deluding myself into thinking I'll just remember what I hear). Here's a quote I managed to get down before I had to remove the muffins from the oven, along with the gist of what he was recommending:

"Prayer is as easy as picking up the phone and as terrifying as finding out
God is on the other end."

Well. No pressure, right? I mean, no worries about whether I'm doing it "right" or not quite getting the whole prayer-thing. Heh-heh. Nope, I'm not at all concerned ... heh-heh. Not. At. All.
Fortunately, he went on to clarify a bit. He gave this acronym for using with the Lord's Prayer. I liked it, so I thought I would share:
C - Concentrate. (Our Father, Who art in Heaven,) Emphasis on Father. Abba. Not "master" or "friend", although God is certainly that as well. Father is to be used only when addressing God in one of His trinitarial forms, not when addressing men here on earth (save your own actual father, whom most people call Daddy or Papa {or Pa, if you're last name happens to be Ingalls}).
H - Hallowed. (Hallowed be Thy name.) Hallowed = Holy, separate from all other names.
R - Ruler. (Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.) God rules. Period.
I - "I need". (Give us this day our daily bread,) Pray only for what you need today. Food, shelter, clothes, healing, forgiveness, etc. Remember the Israelites and how they were provided for for FORTY years? Their clothes and shoes didn't wear out through decades of walking. They were provided adequate food and water and everything essential for life. Praying for what you need today--not tomorrow--shows faith and trust in God's providence for you.
S - Sin. (Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.) Sin--That word. That Christian word. The word no one wants to mention or hear. Sigh. Well, there it is. No one is sinless. Not you, not me. For "Kingdom Kids"--God's children, saved Christians--God forgives sin. For those who have rejected God, forgiveness isn't possible and neither is Heaven. It's pretty simple, but so many of us fight that, like a child fighting a parent. Forgive us as we forgive others--does that sound reasonable to you? Once I learned that I would be forgiven as I have forgiven others, it made it a whole lot easier to forgive others! I surely wouldn't want God to forgive me in the pathetically inadequate way I forgive my offenders. You reap what you sow, in other words. You want to be forgiven? Turn your life, heart and soul over right now for Christ to manage. He'll know what to do with you ;)
T - Temptation. ("Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.") Lord, protect me from the "traps" of this world. Keep me away from the wrong crowd, and lead me not into worldly things that will mean nothing to me .5 seconds after I die. Guide my feet away from situations You know I won't be able to handle.
There you have it. A nice little acronym, spelling the precious name of CHRIST. Hope it helps you the next time you talk to God. Be blessed!
"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."  Matthew 6:7-8

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Would a Loving God Let THAT Happen?

Why does God let bad things happen to anyone? This is a question that many non-believers ask. I asked this question myself and never seemed to get a satisfactory answer. I'm going to jump out in faith here and hope to answer this in a way that even I can understand :) and in the way that finally made it clear to me, before I came to Christ:
When God created the world and all that was in it, it was perfect. Humans then proceeded to mess it up and bring all kinds of problems into this paradise.
God doesn't make someone get cancer. Or get killed by a drunk driver. Or make someone's house burn down.  But sometimes God does allow those things to happen. The Bible says He has a plan that we may not understand this side of Heaven. (Now THAT is difficult for we humans to swallow, isn't it?) So God has this plan, and He knows that whatever He allows to happen to us, His creations or His children (Christians--yes, even Christians have problems), is for good--in the long run. We, on the other hand, are like foot-stomping, tantrumming 2-year olds who demand to know why bad things happen to us, and want to know RIGHT NOW! And if we don't get a satisfactory answer, we reject the very Creator who created us. The question we should be asking is, "Why NOT?". Have you been completely faithful to God? I know I've broken all the commandments (more on that in another post) and I'm betting you have, also. (ADD Moment: I know you're wondering about the "murder" one and feeling pretty smug that you haven't murdered anyone lately, so you're off the hook, right? Read Matthew 5:21-22. I'll wait. OK, for those of you who don't own a Bible, here it is: Jesus said, "You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder...But I say if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgement! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of Hell'."  Whoa. I know I've done that and I'm betting you have, too.)  Back to the original question--Think of it this way: Have you let your child play at the park, ever? Even if there were a danger that he would trip and fall and possibly injure himself? Of course you have. And when he stumbles and falls--after your repeated warnings to not climb on the nearby rocks--you hold out your arms when he comes running to you, crying and with bloody knees. You hold out your arms because that's what a loving parent does. You comfort your child and murmur to him, and discipline him only after his tears have abided. Yes, he knows you told him not to climb on those rocks, but he really, really wanted to! And now he sees the result of that bad decision and will hopefully remember who advised him not to climb in the first place. In the same way, God is standing near us with open arms. He has told us how to live (in the Bible) and what not to do (also in the Bible). He's made it so clear even I can understand it. Yet for thousands of years, we continue to mess up, like that little rock-climbing child. Still, God's arms continue to be open to us. Will you run to Him when you blow it, make excuses for yourself, or drown your sorrows another way? I've tried all of these and I can assure you that Jesus is way better than a glass of Bailey's, and Bailey's is downright delicious, isn't it? :)
If we're honest with ourselves, we as humans have brought much suffering upon ourveryownselves. There is enough food on earth to feed everyone; so why hasn't that been done? Who built cities near active volcanoes or in seaports known for their hurricanes? Who is responsible when an innocent child is born with AIDS? It ain't God. Now think about this: if God ended all suffering, He would have to put an end to any act that causes any suffering. In other words, He'd have to end the lives of those who cause suffering: adulterers, those having any kind of sex outside of male-female marriage, anyone who's told a lie, anyone who's hated, anyone who's committed a crime, etc. At this point, it's not looking good for any of us, is it? I myself got a traffic ticket just last week. I'm a criminal, technically. I know I can go to traffic school and get if fixed up to satisfy human standards, but I still caused suffering, didn't I? (Yes, I did. Trust me.) We're all part of the "fallen world" in which humankind now lives, and that includes suffering. Wow. What a concept. And to think I'm a part of that--isn't it our very human nature to think of ourselves as only "good", or "human", and "still learning" and all that? Well, we are still learning, and we are human, and we have also caused a lot of suffering. Every. Single. One of us. You included. Me included. Instead of blaming God for humankind's suffering, I'm going to thank Him that He hasn't, in His mercy, wiped all of us off the earth. He certainly has the power to, yet He chooses to grant us mercy and extend compassion in all our failings. Thank you, Father. We certainly don't deserve it. But I'm glad you love us enough to believe we're worth it.
"You intended it for harm, but God intended it for good..." Genesis 50:20
(For more information about questions you may have, check out One-Minute Answers to Skeptics  by Charlie H. Campbell and Hard Questions about Christianity, Made Easy by Mark Water, which helped me with this post. Both are available from your local Christian bookstore, or my home library, along with about a dozen other "fast answers to tricky questions" books you may borrow :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Made. My. Day. AGAIN. Grocery bag, coffee AND purse. This takes real talent. And mad driving skills.
Made. My. Day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Funny and true :)

From my buddy Eric:

"Some say there is no difference between "complete" and "finished", but there is.

When you marry the right person, you are "complete".

When you marry the wrong person, you are "finished."

This made my day! Thanks, Eric :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Father's Day Idea

My online buddy Bethany posted this a while back and I loved it:

(Look for "100 Things Challenge" post)

You'll have fun searching around on her site, trust me. She's a fabulous lady. Now, I encourage you all to do the same--let's make it a fabulous gift for your husband (or father) for Father's Day! Can you think of 100 or even 50 positive things to write about your husband? Can you get your kids on board and have them write their own list? Imagine what a keepsake this would be for their dad, your husband. Check out this letter from another site:

(Look for "I am thankful" post)

Have fun with this and link your blog so we can see your lists! Check back soon and see mine ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hate Crimes and "Happenings"

"...a tragedy that happened..."
That is how President Obama dispassionately referred to the killing of two of our servicemen and the critical injuring of two others the other day in Germany. Scene: They are not in a war zone. They are in Germany. The bus they're standing near is labeled "United States" military. There is absolutely no doubt that this is a Greyhound or Trailways bus station. Shooting innocent people is horrendous enough, but this perpetrator was going for our military, America's protection force. He open fired, shouting, "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great"). So we're not talking about someone who is depressed or insane generally speaking. The perpetrator had gotten himself all jacked up on anti-American websites and with anti-American propoganda, the same way a drug addict gets all jacked up on meth before going on a rampage. He shot people on purpose, with the intent to kill as many as he could. In other words, this was not "a tragedy that happened" the same way that an earthquake is a "tragedy that happpens." It was a premeditated, well thought-out plan to assassinate many of our servicemen. The only reason more weren't killed was that the gun jammed and the servicemen who hadn't been killed were able to subdue this maniac. When our president spoke of this "tragedy", he did so while telling us about the sacrifices our soldiers make "in the line of duty". Huh? These guys were waiting for a bus. They were TARGETED for slaughter, taken completely unaware. This is not falling "in the line of duty." This is murder, this is a hate crime, this is bloodlust and Obama was afraid to say that. After all, that would be rushing to judgement, judgement against another race and religion.
Hmmm...let's think about judgement a little. I seem to remember a certain American citizen being called "stupid" a while back, a policeman in fact, when he personally judged a situation. I recall that our president wasn't at all hesitant to judge then, when he was judging an American that he personally thought was out of line.
My husband and I learned the other day that saying, "That's gay" in a sarcastic tone can get a schoolkid suspended. Many kids probably don't even know this, and while I don't want to condone offensive statements, I think many of us have completely lost our common sense. I remember when the word gay meant happy and carefree. Now, saying, "That's gay" is a hate crime, but shooting people is not.
God help us all.
Our president commented that this barbaric act toward American military who are not engaged in battle and are completely off guard is something that "happened" and we should remember how awful war is and keep our fallen heroes in our thoughts. Yes, it is and yes we should. But there is a clear distinction here that Obama fails to make. While touting his personal opinion of war, he neglects to give weight to the real hate crimes that are being committed every day against Americans.
And it's not by 3rd graders saying something is gay.
"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Romans 13:1

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

PRIDE Classes

My husband and I are taking our County's version of classes for Fostering and / or Adopting children. They're called PRIDE Classes. PRIDE stands for Parents Refusing Idiotic Demands, Etc. Just kidding! It stands for Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education. Which is almost as bad ;) So far, we've done 3 classes + the required Introduction. Total is 8 classes + Introduction. Four down, five to go. It's interesting stuff, but we've been through this several years ago when we thought we would adopt. We then changed our minds, so we're back again :) The classes are both heart-wrenching and ... tedious. Tedious because when one adopts from their county, it's a governmental, bureaucratic adventure. And rearing children really shouldn't have anything to do with government. Or bureaucracy. But adopting them in this fashion does, and there's no getting around it, so here we are! Fortunately, we know several families who've both fostered and adopted through this route and are giving us wise counsel.
I'll keep you posted on how this develops.
"...I tell you the truth; whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

Some favorite sites

Not much time to blog today, buuuut...have you seen this site? It's one of the funniest in blogland if you ask me. And you did ask me, right? Right?!
Go to the page titled "Conversation Starters" on February 15, and be prepared to laugh. Then check out all the other hysterically funny posts, often followed by beautiful cakes. Have coffee and snacks nearby, since you won't want to leave your computer for some time, but don't drink and scroll, since there is the ever-present and very real danger of snorting your latte on the keyboard.
"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." Proverbs 12:25

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quotes I Like

Most are ... trite, if we're being honest. Many are just plain "Duh!". But sometimes even one of the "Duh!" ones resonates with where you are that particular day.
Or even that particular moment.
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity
in every difficulty." Winston Churchill
Yes, I know. Sometimes a difficulty is ... just a difficulty. Sometimes there is no "silver lining" to an illness or a death or a really rotten situation. But often we can look back, sometimes years later, and see that what happened was actually for good. Perhaps we didn't like it at the time, or didn't understand it at the time, or still don't understand it. But in the end, it was for good. I don't claim to be 100% optimist, but I'm certainly trying to be less pessimist.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..." Genesis 50:20

Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Review--"Take Your Best Shot"

I read 112 pages of this 212 page book in one shot. That wasn't exactly my best shot, as I actually wanted to read more, to completely finish the book in one go. But it was late and I'm not a night-owl.
The book's author, Austin Gutwein, is a teenager who started a ministry for AIDS orphans while he was a child. He has raised over $1,000,000.00 in relief funds and started an organization called Hoops for Hope (, AND built a school and medical clinic in Zambia. His is an amazing story of how a (then) 9-year old boy was touched by another 9-year old child halfway around the world. He had a heart-change-moment and was moved in a way that many adults have become desensitized to. He encourages us to ask other young children what they want to do with their lives and listen: many of them want to "save the world" in one way or another. He is actually, really, truly doing it. And it started out very, very small. With no intention to do more than a one-time "basketball-a-thon" -type event, he and his family were as surprised as anyone to watch as God revealed His larger plan. His challenge to us: to do something bigger than yourself.
There are many inspirational stories out there. Many books, many videos, many local heroes. But this boy has touched my heart in a really different way. The book does read as though it is written to teenagers, with the occasional yet ever-present "hip" wording. Nothing at all innappropriate, just "young", which is part of it's appeal to teens and older kids. While you may or may not find it endearing, it does not detract from the book's message at all. My classic-book-loving teenage daughter found it too annoying to read all the way through. But I couldn't help noticing that shortly after she read part of the book, she started her own small charity at church. Teenagers and young people are so much more capable than we give them credit for. Austin highlights that in his book, with the Introduction telling us that "The world expects so little out of us right now, it's almost ridiculous...if we don't do drugs, don't drop out of school, don't have sex and don't get arrested, that's "success". That's crazy! Who set the bar so low for teenagers?".
You simply gotta love a book that starts out with that in it's Introduction. Especially when it's written by a teenager. I can't wait to finish it.
"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
1 Timothy 4:12

Our weekend, and Valentiine's Day

Had the best weekend! Here are some highlights:
We had a friend and his daughter over on Saturday (Hi, Dan! Hi, Sydney!). We all had breakfast at a local restaurant, then watched some Chinese New Year celebrations in the parking lot. We live in a very diverse area, and our neighborhood consists primarily of mixed Asian and east Indian folks. So we see a lot of cultural celebrations. After we watched the dragons we came back here and my husband and his friend began working on their project while his daughter and my little one played. All day. Which is so, so great for Regan, since she doesn't often get to do that. She was really happy to have a mate to hang out with for the entire day! The next day, Sunday, we all went to church, had a great time and had some friends from church over afterward. (Hi, Jules!) Then we watched 2 church-friends afterward, while their parents had an appointment. The family (whom I'll call the Kurtz family, because that is their name), ended up staying for a meal and lots of fellowshipping, discussion and fun. All 3 kids played really fabulously together. OK. Not exactly well at first, but what can you expect when a 6-year old girl tries to ... instruct a 4-year old boy in how best to play "Pretty Pretty Princess"? Or gets upset at him because he isn't playing "The Nativity Scene" to her standards? Aaahhh, my dear little movie-director does have her bar set high. Once I explained why her friends were really here, things lightened up and they all had much more fun. Then something really great happened. My wee one has had her front tooth loose--no, wait--dangling, more like, for over a week. That thing was just hanging there. Parents, you may have a child who just will not, no matter how hard you try, pull a tooth or let someone else help it along. This tooth was amazing. It could go in any direction: front, back, either side, you name it. It flapped in the breeze when Regan talked, and actually vibrated when she "poofed" her breath out. It was beyond loose, but she wouldn't let anyone touch it. So many people at church yesterday were just itching to yank that thing! One trusted friend even got Regan to wrap her hair around the tooth, but she got wise to his plan before he could implement it (Hi, Mr. Johnny!). She was missing meals, and actually losing weight from not eating. Well. I couldn't have this, now, could I? Thinking...thinking...nope. I got nothing. I had decided to pull it out when she was sleeping, when our visiting friend had a brilliant idea: he asked Regan to wiggle it, to hold it really tight, and then he smacked her in the arm really fast (and as gently as possible). OUT! came the tooth! Sounds more violent in print, but I was about to go all Tiger-Mama on her anyway, so this was actually more gentle than that. A bit of blood (OK, 15 minutes worth) and a cold washcloth, and she never shed a tear or was upset. She was asked repeatedly if she was glad the tooth was out and she always said, "Yes!". She is the type of child to get upset at anything she deems inappropriate, so we all wondered for a while how she would react, but she was never anything but glad.
Sad--last night she asked me again if the tooth fairy was real. I asked her what she thought. She said, "I think when I'm asleep, you come and put something under my pillow." I asked her if she really, really wanted to know the absolute truth. She said yes. I said, "You know you cannot 'undo' the answer--once you know it, that's that." (Which is pretty much giving away the answer, isn't it?) But she said she really wanted to know the truth, then said she was hoping it was me, since that would show her how much I love her. (And I'm thinking, seriously? I cook, clean, homeschool you--for pete's sake, I birthed all 11-pounds of you sans epidural, and a Reece's under the pillow is your yardstick for judging my love for you?) Wow. I couldn't hold back the truth now, could I? She took it just fine, but I'm a little sad. I didn't expect her to learn the truth of such things while still so young (she's also asked about Santa and the Easter Bunny, whom she believes is a total farce, since bunnies do NOT deliver eggs, I have been informed). I guess it's all in how the kid handles it, right? If they are completely OK with the truth, then who has the problem? It's obviously me, but I'll just journal about it in her book and she can read all about her silly mama's emotional notions when she's an adult.
The kids all decorated cookies for Valentine's Day yesterday as well. When my oldest and I got home from the evening service at church, we saw that our little one had made us personalized cookies: One had an "M" on it, for mommy, and the other an "A" for Addie. There was pink icing, swirls of color, and a generous (but tasteful) sprinkling of little pink and red hearts, pearly white bally-things and red and pink sprinkles. Along with two notes: Dear Mommy--eat this, it's a cookie. Love, Regan. And another one for her sister. So. Sweet. I am so blessed to have these sweet, sweet kids in my life. And their friends. And our friends. And good conversation, and those pink and red hard-as-rock cookie decorations that nearly chip your teeth and then get stuck between them, and my husband, and Valentine's Day, even if it is a made-up Hallmark holiday. We can celebrate it because we live in the greatest nation on the planet and we are all blessed and fortunate to have it so.
Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours. Enjoy!
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Life Without Facebook, Day 1

Like the dramatics? No, I won't be chronicling my life day-by-day apres Facebook. Just thought I'd tell you what we did and how I did it all without benefit of regularly checking for a red icon or feeling the need to post to 200 people that I've "Just had a latte and boy, was it tasty!". We had the best day, my kids and I! Not perfect, but really, really good.
We got some homeschooling done, some deep cleaning (and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day in the deeply-cleaned room, it was so nice). I made something different for lunch (following) and then the highlight: we all sat around on couches and chairs, with blankies over ourselves, drinking hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows in it, while I read from The Magician's Nephew for nearly 2 hours. That. was. fabulous. Just fabulous.
Here's what we did for lunch: We took some crescent roll stuff from a can (Trader Joe's, with no icky ingredients or hydrogenation) and broke all the little dough-things into triangles. I sauteed up some onions and mushrooms, put in a little spaghetti sauce, and put a spoonful of this mixture on each triangle. Then we put on a little grated mozzarella and a little parmesan and sealed up the little dough-things. Some were not pretty (OK, I admit I'm overly generous with the mixture, making the triangles impossible to seal. I'm not a big fan of dough by itself.) Baked at 350 till they were golden and dived in. Nom-nom. What a fun experiment! I was going for sort of a "calzone" thing, and although it wasn't perfect, everyone loved it and I didn't have to make pizza dough :)
I also tried something new for dinner, although with less success. Ever had polenta? I don't think I have, and it looked so good in the store, and then a couple days ago, I saw them make it on a tv show. Well. Gotta try. Bought some pre-made, in a little chub. So cute. Slice, oil pan, cook 4-5 minutes on each side till golden brown. Unfortunately, no matter what I did I couldn't get this stuff to brown up. I have that problem sometimes, like with hash browns. So the fault might be mine. I then covered them with more of the sauce-mixture I had at lunch. It was supposed to be delicious. It looked fabulous, like something from Food Network. But the taste just wasn't right. Something was missing, I don't know what. I think the only way I'll try these little store-bought chub polentas again is if I bake them and serve them topped with butter and salt as the meal's starch. Serving it alongside buttered carrots was probably not the wisest move either, since neither of my kids like buttered carrots. I know, I know--WHAT?! It's true. And they're both my biological kids. Huh. Go figure.
Followed up with bathing my wee one, reading in bed to her (Betsy, Tacy and Tib) and getting to bed early, just the way I like it. I'm currently reading some extreme mind-candy, a book series that makes me laugh, although painfully. I'm embarrassed to tell you the title. (It's the Shopaholic series, by Sophie Kinsella. I'm on the latest one, Mini-Shopaholic, about her spoiled rotten 2 year old. It is a hoot, let me tell you.) It's OK. I just finished a bunch of classics and was in danger of adding "dear" to the end of everyone's name and taking up needlepoint, so a current no-brainer novel is just what I need.
Today we're breakfasting (see, classic-novel influence, right there) with a friend of ours and his daughter, whom we are meeting for the first time. I hope everyone gets along well. If not, we can always go out for a carriage ride.
"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Goodbye, Facebook

I just de-activated my Facebook account.
I can't believe it. I love, love, love Facebook. But I also hate it. Hate, hate hate. I love it because it's fun. And I hate it because it's fun, and takes me away from things I should be doing.
And, it's not that fun.
This doesn't make much sense, I know. Especially if you don't have a Facebook account. I can sit in front of a cake, and eat one piece (OK, maybe 2). I can sit in front of a bottle of Bailey's and have one drink (OK, maybe 2). But put me in front of my Facebook page and I will find stuff to do. I tried hiding 75% of my friends. That didn't work. I have too many. I tried going on only at "certain times" of the day. Turns out I'm not as disciplined as I thought, or as disciplined as I expect my kids to be. Ouch. There is a bible verse that says "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (Matthew 7:21) And lately, the computer, which is upstairs and in a separate room from the rest of the house (ironically, to keep temptation at bay), has been my "treasure". Not literally. I could easily live without it--after all, I did for the first 35 years of my life. But like microwave ovens, cell phones and sliced bread, we do become accustomed to things, don't we? And then we wonder how on earth we ever lived without them.
It's time to go a bit "Little House on the Prairie" around here.
And I'm sure I'll be just fine.
I never considered myself an "addictive personality". I can take things or leave them. Sure, I go through stages, cravings, fleshly "lusts", if you will (potato chips, chocolate, whatever). That's normal, right? Everyone does that. But when I start sniping at my kids to "just give me a few minutes alone, will you?" then something. is. wrong. Yes, mommies need time to themselves. No, mommies do not need time to themselves so they can stalk on Facebook. We just don't.
No matter how you justify it.
We. Just. Don't.
Good Grief, how much time did this woman spend on Facebook? you're wondering. Surprisingly, just about 30 minutes / day. Some days, maybe 45. Not much, right? So what's the problem? Well, the problem is that I was thinking about it just a leetle too mucho. Always checking for that little red icon in the corner alerting me that someone might have "liked" or commented on one of my status updates. (Status updates? Sounds so incredibly ... weird. And not a little self-absorbed, if we're being honest here. Which I am.)
Truth is, we would all be just fine without Facebook. Kudos to it's inventor, whose name I don't remember. I know he's making a bazillion dollars off of it and I'm all for free enterprise. Wish I'd thought of it myself. But I can do what is now being called, "Face Time" just as easily. Well, not as easily. But as happily. I would rather have friends over than to "chat" with them. Unfortunately, we've turned into such a tap-foot-in-frustrated-impatience-while-waiting-in-front-of-the-microwave type of society, I don't know if most folks will find the time to squeeze in a visit between classes / extra-curricular activities / enrichment opportunities. Not that there's anything wrong necessarily with those. Or Facebook, for that matter. But there is something wrong with substituting any or all of those for an actual sit-down with a cuppa and a good buddy. Letting the kids play together--unencumbered by adult structuring. You know--an actual visit. Who does that these days? Who has time, you ask? Well, I do. I have more time now because I won't be spending 45 minutes of my day with a technology that really, truly, in the end, doesn't matter.
My God matters. My family matters. My LIFE matters.
Facebook? Not so much.
While I realize the following verse is not written about Facebook, it is fitting:
"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other." (Matthew 7:24)