Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Sure Indicator It's Time for Glasses

So last weekend, when we were on Tybee Island, we were taking a leisurely afternoon stroll on the beach, and S. and I happened to notice some pelicans flying ahead, pretty high up. We made some sort of benign comment about them which Hubster and J. (who were further up on the beach) did not hear.
Then all of a sudden my husband excitedly proclaimed, "Hey guys, look at that - those fighter jets are flying maneuvers over the beach!" He really truly thought the pelicans were fighter jets. (Hunter AAF is nearby, so it's feasible.... but these were clearly pelicans.)

The kids and I will never let him live this down of course.... and he will be seeing the ophthamologist very soon.

A Fine Feathered Visitor at Nuestra Casa

This beautiful little creature has come to visit my backyard fairly regularly over the past week or so. Isn't he (she?) gorgeous? Look at those colors! Absolute magnificence.

(Still amazing to me how people believe that THIS creature, that a human, that a leopard, that a giraffe, that a dolphin, and that ALL living creatures just happened to evolve from a Big Bang... and that no Creative Designer was involved).

Here's a great quote to muse:
"The probability of life originating from an accident is comparable to the probability of an unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop."
-Professor Edwin Conklin, Princeton University

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Really Mean, Really Fat Lady and How My Waitress Wound Up Getting a 40% Tip

Hubster and I always tip really well. I guess it's because we've both done "time" in the restaurant business. (In fact, we met one another at a rib restaurant we both worked at - I was 17, and he was 20.)

Anyway, so tonight we took the kids and went out to a local BBQ restaurant for dinner.
Our waitress was a very shy and sweet little thing and it became obvious very quickly that she was also hearing-impaired. So, we (and everyone else in her section) were very patient with her because it took her a little more time than the average waitress. However, she was extremely sweet, very accommodating, and ultimately, a very good waitress.

Well, this hugely obese woman sitting behind us (with her unruly obese children) was downright abusive to our waitress. So much so that everyone in our section of the restaurant was staring at her. This woman was raising her voice and berating the waitress for every little thing.... it was awful. And then, right before the b*tch left, she asked to speak to the manager. She told the manager what a lousy job the waitress had done, etc.

Absolutely made my blood boil. (I just HATE it when people are mean. HATE it.)

So, long story short, I told our waitress that I had waited tables as well back in the day and to just "let it roll off your back". I also made it a point to tell the manager that our waitress did a good job and that other woman was really abusive and out of line.

And then we left our sweet, hearing-impaired waitress a 40% tip.

Chuck Norris Pastors

I love Brian Jones. He wrote the most amazing, wonderful HONEST book about being a believer and struggling with doubts called Second Guessing God. Just loved the book.

He's smart, funny and so real.... reminds me a lot of Kevin, the pastor at my church, 12 Stone.

Anyway, Brian has a blog which I read which is great - this particular post had me laughing out loud. It's called "Chuck Norris Pastors".

Check it out.

Today's Musing (and Art)

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Search Has Begun

Mid-June.... just two weeks away now.
This is when we've decided to add the next member to our family.
Although we haven't selected her yet, we know she is going to be female and we know she's going to have beautiful mocha-colored fur.
And we also know she'll probably look something like one of these....

All the dogs we've had since the kids have been born have been rescues or otherwise adult dogs and our kids have never had the "puppy experience". They really want a puppy, and we really want them to have one (and yes, we really want one too... just LOOK at those faces!).

Hubster and I had a pure-bred Labrador Retriever when we were newlyweds (and we had her for just shy of 12 wonderful years), so we're well-versed in that breed's Awe-Inspiring Destructive Capabilities. They are fantastic family dogs though. Loyal, smart, and sweet.

I'm starting to get really excited. :-)

And I think our sweet Ruby will LOVE to have a Canine Companion to cavort with. It will surely bring out her "inner puppy" as well.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Love Dave Ramsey

I'm a Dave Ramsey addict. This drives my husband nuts, but I really could care less. :-)

I'm the "financial nerd" in the family; my husband is the "free spirit" when it comes to spending (and while we're on this subject, why is it ALWAYS the woman who gets the rap for being the one who is the Impulse Buyer....??? In every couple I know it's the wife who has to REIN IN her husband's spending mania....)

Anyway, if you don't know who Dave Ramsey is, he's a Personal Finance Guru (Hubster would say NERD) who has written a couple of books (the best being Total Money Makeover) and also has a radio program which teaches people how to get out of debt, live on what you make, and get off the charge and spend, over-consumption cycle that has trapped so many American families.

We have been following his plan for awhile now, and by the end of this year should be completely debt free (with the exception of our house). And, while a lot of our friends are "moving up" into larger more posh and expensive houses, I'm really excited about the (attainable) goal of having our house paid off within the next 5 years or so.

Just think how free your life would be if you didn't have any payments? Imagine for a second:
  • No car payments
  • No credit card payments
  • No student loan payments
  • No mortgage payment

I don't know about you, but I could live on next to nothing if it weren't for all those stupid payments. I'm really looking forward to having those creditors out of my life!

If you're interested in finding out about Dave, here's a link to his website. (I think his website is a bit "cluttered"... so if you'd rather take a look at his book, Total Money Makeover is wonderful... has a lot of case studies in there of people who were upside down in debt and who are now 100% debt free.... and his formula for getting out of debt and building wealth, step by step.)

The Beauty of Georgia O'Keeffe

I just love Georgia O'Keeffe's works.

To me, they represent pure, RAW (yes, that's for YOU, D'Arcy) beauty.... color, sunshine, nature, creation, etc.

I have my computer desktop configured so I get a different O'Keeffe image that pops up every morning when I turn on my computer. It's a good way to start my workday.

The Perils of Sunbathing in Your Backyard

So my friend Chrissy sent me an email that she was chilling out, sunbathing in her backyard (which is in a normal suburban neighborhood, just like mine - houses ALL AROUND) and all of a sudden she heard a 'little something' in the grass and looked over and saw THIS 4 foot long snake slithering towards her.

She had the presence of mind to run inside and grab her camera.

I on the other hand would have shrieked like a child, passed out, and the snake would have taken the opportunity to constrict and then eat me and slither off into the woods, and then my friends would all say "Whatever happened to HWHL? She never calls anymore....."

To say I'm not crazy about snakes is an understatement, which my husband finds humorous, considering he had 2 pet pythons when we first started dating (which, I might add, did not come with him when we got married....)
I really can't imagine being all warm and relaxed in the sun and looking over and seeing a SERPENT just mere feet away. No thanks.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

80's Rehash (a/k/a More Really Big Hair)

Ready to laugh?? :-)
Found this picture in the archives too and couldn't pass this one up.
Yes, this would be my college graduation - Spring 1990.

Just LOOK at the hair on me and Hubster (although he wasn't Hubster then, he was simply still "Boyfriend With Potential").

I wonder how much hair mousse we went through in those days??

I can almost hear the 80's music playing in the background..... actually if you really listen, you just might be able to hear it too..... ;-)

Long Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away

...being duly inspired by my dear friend Suz, I dug up this Very Old picture of us, circa 1986/1987. If memory serves, this was taken at a New Years Eve party, and I was 19 and Hubster (who, obviously, was just Boyfriend then) was 22. Just LOOK at the big hair. (Birds and/or small woodland creatures could have been nesting in my hair and I would have never have known.)
(But then again, it was the 80's. Hair like this was 'par for the course'.)

Ah, young love. Look how blissfully unaware we were of life's harsh realities. LOL.

It's truly amazing how quickly time flies by.....

Monday, May 26, 2008

The "Beach Buzz" Has Ended (bummer...)

Alas, alack..... back to reality.

However, we had a GREAT 3 day weekend at the EVER-eclectic and ALWAYS fun Tybee Island. Pictures to follow.... tomorrow.

I have to vent a moment about my sweet Hubster though, and take a non-scientific poll from my female readers out there.

Question 1: Does your husband/boyfriend have to "break his best time" in getting to the beach/vacation destination? (And if so, what the heck is this about?) The kids and I are advised to "use the bathroom one more time" before departure, and he scowls if we bring bottled water into the car with us (because, of course, it will lead to the inevitable bathroom break, thus ruining his 'best time').

Question 2: Rather than set the cruise control at a "reasonable speed", does your husband/broyfriend insist on driving very fast and says 'I'll just keep an eye out for State Troopers'? (I'm honestly amazed he hasn't gotten a speeding ticket in several years.....)

Question 3: This actually ties back in to question #1, but Hubster insists on departing Atlanta at night, when there is less traffic. He is extremely methodical about this. We stop at the same gas station on the way out - he fills up, goes inside and buys two Red Bulls, drinks them immediately, and we're OFF (breaking the Land-Speed record, remember?) Once the Red Bulls kick in, he wants to listen to "speed metal" on his satellite radio. (Metallica and Motorhead just really aren't my cup of tea.... LOL.)

So, girls ... is this 'par for the course' for your men-folk out there, or is my husband simply one of nature's anomalies?

(Dare I even ask.....???)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Beach Bound

We are beach bound for the long weekend.
Heading to the beautiful Georgia Coast..... can't wait.

Sunrises, long walks, afternoon naps, hunting for shells, etc......

Thursday, May 22, 2008

16 Years Ago Today.....

...Hubster and I were married. :-)
'Can't believe 16 years have passed since we said our vows.

And the best part? He's still my very best friend, and still makes me laugh harder than anyone else I know. :-)

What $45 Million Will Buy You in Atlanta...

I just really don't 'get' this.
I wouldn't live in a place like this, even if I DID have the money.
Totally pretentious and over the top.

PS: Just found out that 2 (yes TWO) people live in this monstrosity. Not only that, but the couple who lives here made their fortune in Multi-Level Marketing. (When you Google the name of their organization, the word "SCAM" frequently comes up..... I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on that..... ).

Guaranteed Cure for a Rough Day

Whenever I'm stressed, or having a rough day, or just need a little break, I go visit:

....where cuteness abounds....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

School's Out For Summer

Today was the last day of school for mis hijos... can you believe it?!
Seems awfully early but today was it. We just got back from the "End of School" neighborhood pool party - they had a DJ, pizza, games, cake, etc. The kids were WILD. Some of the parents were, too.

And now my daughter has SOMEHOW finagled her way into having FIVE of her wild little friends over to spend the night. Yes, on a Wednesday night. Yes, my husband and I both have to work tomorrow. (What was I thinking??)

And YES, tonight is the finale of "American Idol" so there will be MUCH squealing and drama in my home.

However, it will be fun.

I love the energy that kids bring when a whole herd of them is over at the house. Reminds me of when I was their age, and didn't have a care in the world. Right now they're painting each other's nails and discussing David Archuleta's "cuteness"... and Hubster is downstairs making hotdogs, hamburgers and home-made mac & cheese. :-)

Overheard in the Backseat

Actual comments my children have made this week, while in the car, when they thought I wasn't listening....

1. My 10 yr old daughter to my 12 yr old son ... "Obama has almost enough delicates to beat Hillary." (My son didn't respond. I'm sure he was beyond puzzled. I was giggling quietly in the front seat while driving.)

2. My son to my daughter - they were both complaining about how I (the Mean Mom) won't let them listen to rap because of the bad GRAMMAR. !?! (I soon realized where this thought came from... I had previously explained to them that I'm not crazy about the language that most rappers use.) Somehow they thought I meant grammar. (Yes, that's me..... when I hear Jay-Z start off a rhyme with a grammatical error, it just makes me see RED. )

So silly, those kids. :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Play That Funky Music, White Girl

Had to change up the tunes, folks..... gotta get out of this pensive MOOD I'm in!!

So.....turn up your speakers, strap on your roller skates, and enjoy! :-)


My kids are growing up too fast.... this Fall they'll be going into 6th and 5th grade. They're so independent, which in a lot of ways is wonderful but in a lot of ways is a little bittersweet, because they need me less and less.

I realize that in not much time at all they'll both be grown, gone and living their own lives. Feeling very pensive this morning.... can you tell? :-)

Luckily, my kids have always been best friends. They were born so close together and have always been each other's favorite playmate. I hope that closeness continues into their adult years.

Below are two photos - one was taken on Mother's Day of this year..... and then the second was taken about 9 years ago (J would have been about 3, and S would have been about 18 month).

It literally feels like about 6 months time has passed between these two photos.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How to Live Like You Are Dying

Author, leadership guru, and motivational speaker Dr. John Maxwell came to speak at our church yesterday. I almost played hookie because I thought: 1) it's going to be absolutely PACKED (and it was).... 2) I've never read any of this guy's books.... 3) wouldn't it just be nice to sleep in and have Hubster cook a big breakfast?

But, my conscience told me to get my lazy self up and go, and I'm really glad I did. The message was incredibly powerful. It was, basically, about approaching the rest of your life as though you were dying (which, of course, we all ARE.... although we seldom look at it that way).

Think about it though. Each of us have a finite amount of time on the planet. For instance, I'm 40 years old and in very good health. I may very well live to be 100. Or, I could get hit by a bus and be dead tomorrow.

Am I living my life as though each day were a gift? Am I loving fully? Am I repairing those relationships that have been strained? (And really, while we're on that subject.... does it matter WHOSE fault it was in the first place.....? Really???)

I would challenge you, gentle reader, to approach the rest of your life with the attitude that every day should COUNT. Life is fleeting and precious. Don't let it pass by while you're busy making other plans.

Here's a link to the message Dr. Maxwell gave if you want to listen to it online. It was absolutely wonderful.

Insomnia, Meet Nyquil

Insomnia used to plague me when my kids were really young. I guess I got so used to being up a lot with them when they were babies (especially since my son had asthma) that I never really let myself fall into a deep sleep. (That 'mommy radar' is always ON.)

Insomnia is now a rarity for me, thankfully, however it hit me full on last night. I just could not fall asleep... no matter what. After much tossing and turning I went downstairs, read, then watched bad B movies on cable, then re-arranged the 'junk' drawer in the kitchen, then went down to the basement and sorted out what was "garage sale-able".... but nothing worked. It was close to 2 AM and I was Wide Awake.

I finally took some Nyquil in a desperate attempt to DRUG myself to sleep. It worked and I finally dozed off around 2:30 AM.

When my alarm went off this morning at 6:30 I literally had a hard time standing up. (Note to self: best NOT to drug yourself to sleep if you only have 4 hours in which to sleep....)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Juno" a movie review

Finally got around to watching "Juno" this weekend.

Great movie. Really funny, really sweet, really quirky.

Ellen Page nailed the title role - quite a talented young lady, she is.

I give it 2 thumbs up.

Friday, May 16, 2008

How Well Do YOU Know Your 80's Music??

You'll just have to take this little test and find out, now won't you?
Turn up your speakers and have fun! :-)

Snow Dusted Peaks, Yosemite National Park

WOW. No need to really write much about THIS, is there?
I think WOW sums it up quite nicely.

(And to think God gave us this planet's amazing natural wonders for our enjoyment.....)
As nature photographer John MacMurray says.... 'nature's outrageously unnecessary beauty points directly to a benevolent Creator...'


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Beauty of the Dandelion (a borrowed blog)

I am going to "borrow" part of this post today from Ann Voskamp whose blog, A Holy Experience, is one of my very favorites. How this woman (who describes herself as a 'simple farmer's wife and mother of 6') has such profound wisdom within her is amazing.... reading her blog is like sampling a really really rich and wonderful dessert. You can only take a little bite at a time, savor it, digest it, and then come back the next day for another little bite. Her writing is THAT good and that special.

Anyway, below is a selected "bit" from her posting today on Dandelions. (Personally, I love dandelions and always have.... I think they're beautiful.) If you'd like to check out Ann's blog, I can guarantee it will be well worth your time. The link is below, and there is also a link to it on my blog, on the sidebar, under "Blogs I Like to Muse".


Wishing flowers. Not weeds. But globes of prayer seeds to be caught up in the Spirit, carried where He blows.
Not weeds at all. For isn’t a weed only a weed if we don’t want it there?
I think about my life with its patches of tangle that I deem weeds. The messes I determine need eradication. Staining bunches of life I don’t want to touch, that I think best suits a garbage can.
Maybe I’m wrong.
True, I don’t want some of those tangles there: strong-willed children, chronic pain, lean finances. So I christen them weeds. But maybe God planted each here.

If God allowed it into my life, isn’t it intended for good? To mold this life to be more like His. When I scorn, begrudge, the dandelions in my life, I miss the beauty in what I may have not planned for my life. But God did.
With God, there are no weeds, only gardens.

He redeems the weeds that took root in the Garden of Eden with the surrender of the Garden of Gethsemane. Though anguished to the point of pores oozing droplets of salty blood, Jesus took the cup. Gethsemane’s Garden pierced. But for our salvation.
God’s the redemptive Gardener, taking the dastardly meant for evil and using it for good. Petals intended for loveliness.

- Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience

Who's David Archuleta?

My 10 year old daughter is positively GIDDY over this young man.
I guess if I were 10 I probably would be too. He's cute, very wholesome, not at all self-absorbed, and has a fabulous voice.

I have no doubt he's going to win the finale of American Idol next week. He is a marketer's DREAM.... I can already see the plastic figurines in the Happy Meal boxes at McDonald's; the ABC After School Movie starring him, and of course, the tour (sponsored by Bubblicious) that "sweeps the nation". Yes, I can hear the squealing little girls already. (And I've experienced this firsthand; I took my daughter to the Jonas Brothers concert.... I thought my eardrums were going to rupture from the squealing....)

But, truthfully, I would rather have her pining over this wholesome young man than listening to so much of the junk that's on the radio right now.

I may have to let Nick Jonas know that his formerly much-loved poster will soon become "garage sale material" though..... alas.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why I Am A Christian*

*Even though I Don't Believe in Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy

Below is a link to a great article I found online while surfing. (Can you hear the Beach Boys tune in the background? "Little surfer, little surfer girl...." sorry, couldn't resist.)

Anyway, this article is really quite good. It's written by James Choi who is a Professor of Finance at Yale. It's well-written, intelligent, articulate, and definitely worth reading.

Fotos de la Dia de la Madre

J giving S a piggyback ride.
S. literally "squeezing" a smile out of her big brother. :-)
HappyWife.... HappyHusband (???)
(He was cranky because the seafood place he wanted to take me to had a 2+ hour wait for a table..... at 3 in the afternoon.... so we went to eat elsewhere.

Me and my Mom.

The kids and my Mom.

Ah..... Technology. The Bliss, the AGONY.

Technology is wonderful, WHEN IT WORKS.

Over the past week, I've had a computer technician install a new hard drive in my Dell computer which is only 3 months old and which has had problem after problem since I received it in February (I have a sneaking suspicion this computer either fell off the truck in shipment, or perhaps fell down a flight of stairs at the Dell factory.... ). Either way, I believe I'm stuck with a lemon, however Dell paid for the new hard drive, so we'll see.....

And then today I've been on the phone with the Earthlink help desk twice (and it's only 10 AM) because my email has suddenly stopped working. This is a BIG problem for me, considering about 75% of my work communications are done via email.

And guess what. The Earthlink tech guys were stumped (this is always a bit troubling.... )

Times like this I really miss the "old" workplace that I entered when I first got out of college in 1990.... email didn't exist; faxes were a rarity; no one had cell phones; and people still took "paper messages" if you weren't at your desk.

Don't get me wrong - I love what I do for a living and I love the freedom that technology "buys" me, but I definitely can relate to the cartoon above....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Most Humbling Experience...

So, I go out this morning to buy toothpaste, paper towels, light bulbs and bananas at my local Big Box store (you know the one.... the REALLY big store that I have "mixed feelings" about shopping at.... but really, where else CAN you buy toothpaste, paper towels, light bulbs, and bananas all in one fell swoop?). Anyway, I digress.

So, I'm walking towards the register with my armfull of Stuff and out of the corner of my eye I spy bathing suits. Not just normal bathing suits, but surprisingly cute bathing suits. So, I amble over to take a look. It just so happens they have my size. I check out the price. Quite reasonable. So, I look around and find a place to "hide" my toothpaste, paper towels, light bulbs and bananas (because you never know who might MAKE OFF with such a bounteous treasure...) and I go and try on a selection of about 6 of these surprisingly cute bathing suits.

In the dressing room was where "how I look in my imagination" met "how I look in reality". Apparently in my imagination I'm still the svelte, really cute young thing I was in my mid 20's. In reality I'm a 40 year old woman who has given birth twice, who rarely exercises and who eats, more or less, whatever the heck I want.

To say I was "humbled" in the dressing room is an understatement. (I'm laughing as I type this, was definitely a humorous moment.)

Did I really think I was going to be transformed into Salma Hayek once I put on these swimsuits? I guess I was hoping that would happen, but it didn't. However, eventually I did find one I really liked. And, even though I wasn't magically transformed into a smokin' hot babe, I do look reasonably good in it.

All in all, a good outing (and a Major Reality Check) at my local Big Box superstore. :-)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Today's Thoughts to Muse Upon....

"Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something."
-H. Jackson Brown Jr.

"The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you."
-John E. Southard.

Sunflower, by Georgia O'Keeffe

I've decided to re-do my children's playroom over the Summer. They are old enough now (10 and 12) where they really don't even use the playroom anymore, so I'm going to turn it into a library/parlor (read: a room for ME to read, relax, escape the TV/videogames, etc.).
I've decided very little about what color scheme or decor I want. However, I have decided that I'm going to have THIS print as the focal point.

I just love Georgia O'Keeffe, and this is my favorite piece of hers.
It's lovely and tranquil, isn't it?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Parenting "How To" Guide

Once again 12Stone's senior pastor Kevin Myers gave an incredible message today.
This one (most likely since it was on Mothers Day) was about Parenting. I've been a mom for over 12 years now, but this was easily the best message on parenting I've ever heard. Right on the money, with lots of very sound, practical advice.

You can listen to the message free online. Here's a link to the 12Stone message page.... just click on the message from 5/11/08 entitled "Parenting" and you can listen to it on your computer, or you can burn a copy onto CD. All free.

Or, if you're not interested in listening to the spoken message, but want the written "cliff notes", here you go:

Enjoy. And Happy Mother's Day! :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beautiful "Bella", A Movie Review

Before I even begin this movie review, let me encourage you to go see "Bella" at your first opportunity.... no, let me take that back. Let me encourage you to go out and BUY this wonderful little independent movie. Yes, it's THAT good.

There's not a whole lot I can tell you about this movie without spoiling it for you, but let me just say it revolves around the lives of two main characters - Jose, who is a chef at a restaurant in NY (and who has a 'secret past'), and Nina, who is a waitress at the same restaurant. The plot of the movie takes place over the course of one day in the lives of these two, and is about how their lives become inextricably woven together.

And, it's about the power of redemptive love.
It's a beautiful movie. And it will stay with you.

Friday, May 9, 2008

An Open Question for my Fellow Bloggers

Yes, this is a legitimate question, and not an effort to be witty or droll on my part.

I have hardwood floors in my foyer and, up until this morning, had a house plant happily living in the corner of the foyer. Unbeknownst to me, the pottery my plant was in had a tiny little leak in it, so I've had a small amount of standing water on my hardwoods for a few weeks now. It hasn't affected a huge area... maybe about an inch wide by about 3 inches long. But, as you can imagine, it's discolored and the wood is kind of peeling and 'not looking happy'.

Any ideas on how I can remedy this? (Or even if I CAN remedy this?)
Or should I just put something creatively (and permanently) over the offending area.....?
Thanks in advance.

-Baffled in the 'Burbs

Thank You For The Informative Email

Got this one yesterday from a friend who has had it with all the 'helpful' informational emails out there. Thought it was hysterical. :-)

I just want to thank all of you for your educational emails over the past year. Thanks to you, I no longer open a public bathroom door without using a paper towel. I can't use the remote in a hotel room because I don't know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels. I can't sit down on the hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed. I can't enjoy lemon slices in my tea or on my seafood anymore because lemon peels have been found to contain all kinds of nasty germs including feces. I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the
number one pass-time while driving alone is picking your nose (although cell phone usage may be taking the number one spot). Eating a Little Debbie sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans-fats I have consumed over the years. I can't touch any woman's purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public bathroom. Yuck! I must send my special thanks to whoever sent me the one about poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing. Also, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason. I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time. I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program. I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish. I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers. I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day. Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward a n email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes. Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains. I no longer can buy gasoline without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas. I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr Pepper since the people who make these products are atheist s who refuse to put 'Under God' on their cans. I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer. And thanks for letting me know I can't boil a cup of water in the microwaveanymore because it will blow up in my face...disfiguring me for life. I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS. I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me. I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise. I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army. I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica , Uganda & Singapore and Uzbekistan. I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe. Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt. And thanks to your great advice, I can't ever pick up $5 dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg. I can no longer drive my car because I can't buy gas from certain gas companies! If you don't send this e-mail to at least 154,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician...Have a wonderful day... Oh, and by the way..... a German scientist from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse. (Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late. )

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I've Calmed Down A Bit Now....

Wow. I sure was riled up earlier, wasn't I?

Still am... just not quite so "over the top".

I remember feeling this same way when it became clear how many HIV positive babies there were in Romania, languishing, alone and forgotten in orphanages, back in the 90's.

Absolutely broke my heart.

I wish there weren't so much sadness and suffering in our world.
But unfortunately there is. We live on a broken, messed up planet.
It's certainly not the way God intended it to be, is it?

Evil Exists in the Burmese Ruling Party

Like everyone else in the world, I'm absolutely shocked, horrified, and filled with anger at the Burmese government for their complete and utter disregard for their own people.

The tragedy that is unfolding before us now will go down in history as being almost as bad (if not equal to) the tsunami from December of 2005. The difference with the tsunami is that the rulers of the devastated countries realized the 'window' in which they had to act to help their people was very limited and that time was of the essence.
We're looking at a completely different situation in Burma. For a ruling party to not inform their people that a catastrophic storm was bearing down upon them, when they had a full 48 hours notice, is unfathomable.

And then, when the worst happened, and they're looking at mass casualties and hundreds of thousands of people homeless, with no food and no clean water, and then to REFUSE aid from the international community?
It's beyond unethical; it's beyond immoral. It's evil.

So, we watch and we read the news, horrified, as 100,000+ people will slowly succumb to starvation and waterborne illnesses in the aftermath of this storm. And the Burmese junta will keep their steely grip on power, despite the bodies piling up around them.
Surely, there's a very hot corner of hell for the ruling generals of Burma.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Eduardo Verastegui

I saw this guy being interviewed on the Today show yesterday and, I admit, his looks stopped me in my tracks. And then I listened to what he had to say. He is a Spanish actor and was talking about how he used to be extremely self-absorbed, superficial and self-indulgent, but made a big change in his life, and now only does projects that matter, and projects that he feels will make a positive difference in the world. He said it's 'wonderful to wake up and realize that you're fighting for something you feel passionately about'.

He also talked about the deep power of prayer, and the power of his own mother's prayers for him in his life (which, being a Mom, really touched my heart).

Anyway, if you recognize him, that's because he's the star of the movie "Bella", which I've heard wonderful things about but have yet to see (but will be seeing soon).

I went to You Tube this morning and found the attached clip on him. Once you get past the first minute (1:06, to be exact) of squealing fan "stuff", and get down to him talking, it's really quite moving. He is way more than just eye candy, and is very clearly a man of faith (which is so refreshing - and rare - in Hollywood).

Enjoy the video, and let's all go see "Bella", and support an actor who wants to make a difference in our world.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Husband's Cookies

My husband is making his "world famous" cookies tonight. He always makes these after everyone is asleep so we (the kids and I) don't creep into the kitchen and sneak some of the dough.

Let me tell you: these cookies are absolutely incredible. (My husband is an amazing cook, and an amazing baker, and he came up with this recipe himself... it's a Top Secret. Many have begged for it over the years but he never tells. Even I, the Loyal Wife, don't exactly know what goes into them... I have a general idea, but couldn't tell you exactly.)

So anyway, he's downstairs making the cookies. Soon, he'll take a little break and go out on the back deck with the dog. Then, I will be sneaking down for a stealthy spoonful of dough (he thinks I'm asleep.... ).

It will be our little secret. Shhh..... :-)

Early Morning Peace

Found this photo on my hard drive... it's a couple of years old now (pre-drought....).
I took this shot at sunrise, up on Lake Hartwell, which is on the GA/SC border. It was a really beautiful, really still morning; the sun was just coming up and there was no one out yet.... just me and some early morning ducks and geese.
I love early mornings. It's the best "God time" for me. The day is fresh, full of promise.... stretched out in front of me like a plain white canvas. Brand new and totally up to ME what I'm going to do with it.
And it's nice to start it with the Creator of all things....

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Poetic Thought from Ms. Browning

Earth's crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cleaning Out Spiritual Cobwebs

Tonight we had what we call "The Well" at my church. It's our once-a-quarter, Friday night service. We call it "The Well" because we go especially deep on these nights.... the service usually lasts two hours (sometimes even longer) and it's marked by lots of singing (our band totally rocks), lots of very deep prayer, communion, baptism, and very intimate spiritual time with the Father.

Fellow believers "get it" when I tell them about it, but whenever I explain to a non-believer that I'll be spending 2, possibly 3 hours in church on a Friday night (and I'm excited about it), they look at me as though I've lost my mind. That's OK though.

Anyway, tonight we focused in on Colossians 3:3, which says: "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God". Very powerful verse. We also had several new believers (since Easter) who were ready to be baptized, and we talked about the symbolism of baptism.... symbolic of Christ's burial and resurrection.

And, the most beautiful part of all (at least to me), when God looks at each one of us, as a believer, he sees not the individual, but he sees his perfect, sinless son Jesus. And we become joint heirs with Jesus in God's eyes. (Romans 8:16) What an incredible gift.

Once again, my 'spiritual amnesia' was swept out along with the cobwebs in my soul, and I felt tears of thankfulness and joy roll down my cheeks.

I don't think we humans can ever fully comprehend how much God loves us, but I'm glad we get to grasp at least a glimpse of it.

Chick Fil A Cures Everything

I feel so much better.

A crispy, hot Chick Fil A sandwich for lunch along with a large sweet tea (with extra lemon)..... and all is once again right with the world.

Boy, I'm a fickle creature. :-)

Paying Bills

Why is paying bills so emotionally draining? Why do I feel so "flush with cash" when I start, and then when I'm done, I have a splitting headache and feel like this poor woman? Maybe it has something to do with my gasoline bill, which was $684 for this month. Yes, that was for ONE month. EGAD.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Today's Humorous Photo

Sometimes, when everything seems to be going wrong, we need to look to our friend the beaver and say.....

Go ahead and SMILE.... you know it's funny. :-)