If you don't have a gasoline shortage like we do in Atlanta, be thankful!! :-)
Fistfights are breaking out at gas pumps.... most stations don't even HAVE gas (those that do have lines that stretch around the block... people sometimes wait over an hour to fill up) and today a local police jurisdiction busted two low-lifes for siphoning gasoline from a daycare van. (Now that is LOW....)
One of our fellow bloggers needs prayers, my friends....
Michele from Rocky Mountain Retreat Photographysuffered two grand mal seizures and is in ICU. She was alone when she had the seizures and when she was found she was unconscious.
Michele is a gifted photographer and also an amazing woman.... I've gotten to know her and she has an incredible well of strength that I find so inspirational and moving. She's wonderful, and I'm heartbroken that she's in the hospital.
Please pray for her, and for her husband Marcel, as they go through this difficult time.
Have you guys noticed that we're SURROUNDED by bad news lately? It seems to be pressing in on all sides, doesn't it?
I tried escaping it by crawling into bed and pulling my flannel sheets up over my head. It was nice for about 5 minutes and then I remembered I was a "grown up" and needed to come out of hiding and deal with LIFE. (Darn.)
So, to follow that, here are some great quotes to keep us all optimistic during this difficult time:
Today was The Day: I had the meeting with the batallion of teachers at J's school today.
And it went..... GREAT!
The teachers thanked me for being a "proactive Mom" and for really caring about my son (it didn't dawn on me that there are parents who truly don't care, and who truly don't want to be bothered..... but that's for another post, and another day. )
Each of the 5 teachers present (the Art teacher couldn't come) told me, quite clearly...
"J is a GOOD KID. Lots of kids just starting 6th grade are going through these 'adjustment woes', and it's reflected in their grades. The majority of these problems are due to poor study skills, lack of organization, and being overwhelmed due to the massive transition from elementary school to middle school." (Those weren't the exact words of course, but that's the gist of the meeting....)
We came up with several specifics to help him (which I won't detail here), but suffice it to say, we worked together as a TEAM and I feel MUCH better. Everyone is VERY positive about J., and about his ability to succeed.
I left the meeting feeling even more positive than I did when I went in (which was already pretty positive.)
I was ready to jump up, click my heels together, go into the cafeteria and order a round of Chocolate Milk for everyone! :-)
These are wonderful principles, wouldn't you agree? Did you know these are the "cornerstones" of the Libertarian party?
I'm giving serious thought to casting my vote - as a PROTEST vote - for the Libertarian candidate.
(Yes, I've already been told... it would be a "wasted vote"... blah, blah, blah....)
And yes, if you're curious, I DO have that scene from "Borat" playing in my head with Bob Barr sampling the "breastmilk cheese" that Borat brought him from his homeland... (if you haven't seen the movie, this won't make any sense.... )
But seriously. I'm about OVER the two main parties. And OVER the spin, and the HYPE. Both parties are so BUSY pursuing power (and being courted by lobbyists) that they have forgotten that they are public servants.
This country's political system needs a major overhaul.
I'm thinking of having my own Boston Tea Party, by voting Libertarian. Check it out. I like what they stand for.
1. The economy IS going to improve, sooner rather than later. I really have no doubt about this.
2. Don't stress about your 401K balance, and your investments. Do you know how much the stock market has returned, on average, if you average every year since the inception of the stock market (in the late 1800's) to now? 11%. There's nowhere else that you'll get those kind of returns. So, just quit looking at your 401K statements, and keep quietly making your contributions and wait it out. It will turn around. It ALWAYS does. (No sense joining Brian Williams and the other nightly news anchors as they recruit members into the "Chicken Little" club.)
3. Despite the looks on the faces of every national news anchor in the country, the sky is NOT falling. Armageddon has NOT arrived. The end of the world is NOT here. Turn off your TV. Read a book. DON'T watch the national news. (If you must watch TV, watch a Seinfeld re-run.... ) (Remember the motto of the national news:"If it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead." They're really a bunch of Drama Queens...)
4. SOON we'll have a new president. Fresh starts = FRESH HOPE = FRESH OPTIMISM.
On a personal level, for those of you who have been following my Tribulations this week... Here are the things that God has pointed out to me and things that have happened since Monday:
1. God has pointed out to me - VERY clearly that our children have a good home life - 2 loving parents and a stable home to come home to every day. Two parents who love each other and are commited to one another and to doing "whatever it takes" to make our family WORK. God has "nudged" me over the past couple days to not be so dismissive of this fact any realize this is a BIG deal. Not every child has this and I am very respectful of that and of the power it has in the life of a child, and in the security in brings them. So I am focusing in on that, and making sure that the security and the comforts of home always remain intact for them.
2. The upcoming meeting with J's teachers is tentatively scheduled for Friday. It's tough to get everyone able to meet at one time, but his case worker is working hard to make it happen. I told her I appreciate her efforts. I will be advocating (firmly, and PERSISTENTLY) for my child at this meeting. I am already armed (with ideas and suggestions ... (not weapons) :-)
3. God has given me amazing peace, since Monday night. I really truly am no longer worried about this issue. (Thank you friends, both local and far away, for your prayers.) God is very much in charge. Have you seen the bumper stickers that say "God is my co-pilot"? Well, God is not my co-pilot. He is the ONLY pilot in the cockpit. I'm back in the back, sipping ginger ale and eating the complimentary pretzels, while he's up front, flying the plane. :-)
I try to keep my blog very light (after all, I'm HAPPY Wife, not Anxiety-Ridden Wife...) but today was a tough day.
You guys know I don't blog a whole lot about my kids, and that is on purpose. I feel they're definitely entitled to a certain measure of privacy and one day they might be like "Mom - I can't believe you told the whole WORLD about such-and-such!" So, the things I share about them here are few and far between, and usually fairly innocuous.
BUT today was tough.
J, my wonderful firstborn son, who has had SO many struggles in his life that he has overcome (most of which I have not shared - nor will I do so) came home today with his first progress report from middle school. It was awful. I knew how bad it was going to be by the way he was walking home from the bus stop.... head down, looking..... DEFEATED.
And it was BAD. 1 D and 4 F's. BAD. Now if my son were the class clown, or goofed off, or didn't try, it would be one thing. But none of those are true. He comes home and works on homework for 2 and sometimes 3 hours a night. (In6thfrikking grade.... WHY someone even NEEDS to work that hard in 6th grade is beyond me....)
(I'm upset, if you have't already sensed it.)
I just shook my head in stunned silence as I was reading his progress report. I was speechless. J didn't say a word, and went upstairs. After I talked to Hubster about it (who was equally stunned), I went to find J. He was in his room, crying. (He never cries.) Of course, that made ME cry.
I've asked the school for a meeting, as soon as possible, to see what the options are. (Clearly, I need to stop the 'bleeding'... after all, he's trying as hard as he can, and it's just not enough... what in the world can be more depressing than that to a kid?!)
That's right. Hubster and I saw Dave Ramsey, LIVE, here in Atlanta.
I've been a Dave Ramsey fan for YEARS, so my expectations were high.
And guess what.
He blew me away. He was hilarious! Relevant! Hilarious! With a teacher's heart! And sound, financial planning wisdom! And did I mention how hilarious he was? (As in "Oh-my-gosh-I-may-actually-wet-my-pants" hilarious?)
Seriously, folks. If you have an opportunity to see this man and if you have ANY interest in ever becoming financially independent (or even if you DON'T, and just want to see someone who is practically a STAND UP COMEDIAN), it's well worth your time and money.
The event lasted 5 hours and it flew by. I was never bored or antsy (never!) and it was only $32 per ticket. That translates into a little over $6 per hour for sound financial advice AND comedy. (Where the heck else are you going to get that kind of deal?)
If I weren't already married, I would have proposed to Dave Ramsey. :-)
UPDATE: We're going with gray (Michele, I didn't even think about how the color setup would affect you... I'm sorry. I will remove the black background and the white wording. )
Suz - where do I get the cute wallpaper - can I get purple and green polka dots? I think I'm getting giddy. Time for this girl to go to bed. ___________________
I don't know.... what do y'all think? I'm taking a poll... Which looks better? Or should I get some of that cute wallpaper stuff that Suz has? (Suz is the interior decorator. In real-life AND in blog-life, too....)
No, not THAT Ike (although I've heard he was pretty mean, too....)
I meant THISIke... this picture (from CNN) was taken sometime earlier today (Friday). This looks like it used to be a house. I think by now it's 'splinters and sticks'....
This hurricane isn't even expected to make landfall in Texas until the middle of the night tonight, and they just said on the news that they're already having to rescue people from rooftops (I guess these would be the crazy folks who decided to have "hurricane parties" and not evacuate...)
Let's all pray for the safety of our brothers and sisters in the path of this storm. I really hope I'm wrong, but this storm looks like it has Big Teeth.
This is a real picture... it's not retouched. It's from a NASA website that has absolutely amazing photos.
My second choice of a photo from this site to post for today was of an eclipse over the Great Wall of China. Another really cool photo. (Click on the link above - go to Archives, and it was on 8/31/08...)
I'm in daily awe of God's amazing creation.
Just think: He created all THIS and yet, the Word tells us that each hair upon our head is numbered.... how's THAT for mind-boggling?
I've plagiarzied the below SHAMELESSLY from Bella, who plagiarized from someone else.... but this is all VERY true.... )
Women's Accessories for Football Game: NORTH: Chap Stick in back pocket and a $20 bill in the front pocket. SOUTH: Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks,waterproof mascara,and a fifth of bourbon.Money not necessary - that's what dates are for........*wink*
Stadium Size: NORTH: College football stadiums hold 20,000 people. SOUTH: High school football stadiums hold 20,000 people.
Fathers: NORTH: Expect their daughters to understand Sylvia Plath. SOUTH: Expect their daughters to understand pass interference.
Campus Decor: NORTH: Statues of founding fathers. SOUTH: Statues of Heisman trophy winners.
Homecoming Queen: NORTH: Also a physics major. SOUTH: Also Miss America .
Football Tickets: NORTH: 5 days before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus. SOUTH: 5 months before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus, make a large financial contribution and put name on a waiting list for tickets.
Friday Classes After a Thursday Night Game: NORTH: Students and teachers not sure they're going to the game, because they have classes on Friday. SOUTH: Teachers cancel Friday classes because they don't want to see the few hung over students that might actually make it to class.
Parking: NORTH: An hour before game time, the University opens the campus for game parking. SOUTH: RVs sporting their school flags begin arriving on Wednesday for the weekend festivities. The really faithful arrive on Tuesday.
Game Day: NORTH: A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV. SOUTH: Every student wakes up, has a beer for breakfast, and rushes over to where ESPN is broadcasting 'Game Day Live' to get on camera and wave to the idiots up north who wonder why 'Game Day Live' is never Broadcast from their campus.
Tailgating: NORTH: Raw meat on a grill, beer with lime in it, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down. SOUTH: 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance from the Dave Matthews Band...who comes over during breaks and asks for a hit off bottle of bourbon.
Getting to the Stadium: NORTH: You ask 'Where's the stadium?' When you find it, you walk right in. SOUTH: When you're near it, you'll hear it. On game day it is the state's third largest city.
Concessions: NORTH: Drinks served in a paper cup, filled to the top with soda. SOUTH: Drinks served in a plastic cup, with the home team's mascot on it, filled less than half way with soda, to ensure enough room for bourbon.
When National Anthem is played: NORTH: Stands are less than half full, and less than half of them stand up. SOUTH: 100,000 fans, all standing, sing along in perfect four-part harmony.
The Smell in the Air after the First Score: NORTH: Nothing changes. SOUTH: Fireworks, Gunpowder (from the cannon in the end zone),with a touch of bourbon.
Commentary (Male): NORTH: 'Nice play.' SOUTH: 'Dammit, you slow sum'bitch - tackle him and break his legs!'
Commentary (Female): NORTH: 'My, this certainly is a violent sport.' SOUTH: 'Dammit, you slow sum'bitch - tackle him and break his legs.'
Announcers: NORTH: Announcer is neutral and paid. SOUTH: Announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he is so proud of his team.
After the Game: NORTH: The stadium is empty way before the game ends. SOUTH: Another rack of ribs goes on the smoker, while somebody goes to the nearest package store for more bourbon, and planning begins for next week's game.
Nothing else in the universe comes even halfway close to the glories of Southern football!
Hubster asked me, a couple of weeks ago, what I wanted for my birthday. (I really have everything I want....)
But because we're still NOT the best with spending WISELY (and avoiding DEBT), I told him I wanted the two of us to attend Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" seminar when it comes to Atlanta.... and he AGREED! (I almost fainted when he said YES...)
So, we're going. This Saturday. ALL DAY. And I'm really excited! (I'll be the one down front getting Dave to sign my book, and maybe even swooning, like little girls at a Jonas Brother concert....)
I have been looking for a cute dark red leather handbag for aeons now. AEONS. Do you know how MUCH major retailers WANT for cute dark red leather handbags?? It's ridiculous... Do you know how much even normally REASONABLE stores (ie Marshalls, Ross, etc.) want for cute dark red leather handbags?? Again, ridiculous.
So, imagine my ABSOLUTE and utter delight (DELIGHT, I say!) when I found this little barely used GEM at my local Goodwill store today.
Want to know the price?
Two dollars and sixty cents. YES! Can you believe it?!
I can't even get LUNCH for $2.60 and I get this very cute (designer name) handbag, which was EXACTLY what I was looking for.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9
To put the above in perspective, consider the following: astronomers have discovered that there are galaxies 12.3 billion light-years away from Earth. Consider further the fact that light traveling at 186,000 miles per second only takes 8 minutes to travel the 93 million miles between the sun and planet Earth. (Therefore sunlight is only eight minutes old when it reaches us.)
However, light from the furthest galaxy that we know of takes 12.3 billion years to get here. (My little mind can't quite wrap itself around that; can yours?)
And yet GOD, the Author of it ALL, says that is the distance between His thoughts and our thoughts.
So, the next time you have big question marks about our God .... and just can't quite fathom His greatness, just let it go! Realize that our human brains simply cannot comprehend God!
This is where faith comes in...
And here's something that will make you smile: the next time you feel your human problems are far too big to even pray about, remind yourself that that God's greatness, magnificence and power surpasses your wildness imagination by at least 12.3 billion light years.
I hope you can click on this photo and make it bigger... there's some good detail to it that doesn't show up in the "small" version.
Here's what I remember most about taking it..... it was Fall (last year) and very chilly out. The water was a very dark gray ("gunmetal gray" I call it...) and the sand was cold on my toes, and very very soft. Almost like sugar. It felt fabulous.
The morning was so lovely and tranquil. The definition of PEACE.
Not a human soul on the beach, except me. The BEST time to have communion (and no, I'm not talking about bread and wine...) with my Maker.
I loved it.
Thank you, God, for the magnificent creation you gave us.
(And I'm sorry we frequently trash the beautiful world you gave us....)
Isn't this a beautiful bird? We have noticed this lovely creature in our backyard for several weeks now. He sits up in the trees, and sometimes, on the fence (we have a 6 foot high wooden fence). He's absolutely magnificent. And then when he does a low flyover of the backyard, we kind of just hold our breath and watch him... he is glorious.
So, fast forward just a bit. We've noticed, over the past couple of weeks, that the bird "traffic" at our bird feeder has dwindled to practically nothing. (I know... you guys are already putting 2 and 2 together... )
Anyway, Hubster assumed the birdseed he bought was inferior, so he went to some high-falutin' birdwatcher store and came home with this ridiculously overpriced stuff (that has dried CRANBERRIES in it, among other things), and fills up the feeder, and then (because he's such a softie), sprinkles some on the ground for the chipmunks, squirrels, and other woodland creatures that come out from the woods to dine.
Still, not much traffic. QUITE the mystery.
So, the other day we come out on the porch JUST IN TIME to see our (un)friendly neighborhood hawk come THIS close to taking out a dove (a DOVE!) who was naively dining at the bird feeder.
Hmmm. I believe the mystery is solved folks. (Nancy Drew has arrived.)
But I also feel really sad. I wonder how many cute little chipmunks have met a violent death in the talons and beak of our backyard hawk.
As Hubster wisely surmised: "That hawk wasn't just hanging out on the fence... He was READING THE MENU!"
One of my favorite blogs - "Sushi & Pizza" - had THE funniest post I've read in a long, long, LONG time. So funny in fact, that I printed it off and brought a copy downstairs to my husband to read (since he is GLUED to the U.S. Open....).
He and I both thought it was absolutely hysterical. (And could see a similar situation unfolding at our local Baskin Robbins...)
(In fact, Suz, you and I BOTH have experience with this.... remember? Your first job was at Baskin Robbins and mine was at Dairy Queen.... ah, those were the days. Minimum wage "slave labor" jobs when we were both naive 15 year olds and didn't know our rights!)
So, without further ado, I give you, ladies and gentleman, the incredible written humor of "Boquinha"....
Now that the "blush" is off of the nomination of Sarah Palin, I must say that I'm concerned over something. And no, it's not that her teenage daughter is pregnant. "Oops" situations happen. They happen ALL the time.
What bothers me (a lot), is that Ms. Palin knew that her pregnant daughter would basically be dropped into a tank of hungry piranhas (ie: the media). Yes, we all "know" that the family of those running for office SHOULD BE off-limits, but in reality, they're not. Bristol Palin's pregnancy is ALL the media is talking about.
Being pregnant and hormonal is tough enough when you're happy about it, and in a committed, healthy relationship, but when you're a 17 year old kid? Holy cow, I can't imagine how stressful that must be.....! And then to have your Mom allow you to become fodder for the national media (and American water-cooler talk)? Sheesh.....
I gotta tell you, I've been thinking about this a lot, and the more I think about it, the more sad it makes me. I just don't think I would have made that decision. In fact, I know I wouldn't have. When McCain's people came a-callin', I would have respectfully declined their offer, due to "family issues", and then shut the door.
Done. Period. Over.
(And this doesn't even take into account the fact that she also has a 5 month old with special needs..... that's a whole separate issue.)
I'm truly not casting stones at Sarah Palin. Obviously she's accomplished quite a bit in her life. I'm extremely impressed by her tenacity, independence, and (obvious) tremendous drive and ability to succeed, but I'm very concerned that she's putting her career aspirations above the well-being of her family.
Labor Day is the 'unofficial' last hurrah of Summer... it's always slightly bittersweet.
Don't get me wrong - I love Fall - LOVE it!
But there's something a tiny bit sad about seeing the flowers fold up, take down their tents and go away for awhile. Of course, they'll be back next Spring.
So, thank you Summer for a lovely, hot, lazy few months. Sno-cones and pool parties and sleepovers and beach trips and shorts and flip flops and long, lazy days with lots of sun.
It's been fun.
Now bring on Autumn - let's have some crisp cool nights, and days with brilliant blue skies. Let's have some Fall football games; some bonfires; flannel sheets on the beds. Let's find our our jacket and reach into the pocket and find a $5 bill ( love it when that happens!) Let's eat some spicy hot chili on a cold night and let's have some hot coffee to warm us up on those chilly mornings.
Got an email from my business partner over the weekend that one of our delinquent clients has remitted the past due amount that they owe us ($10,000). Now we only have 3 more delinquent client who need to PAY UP.
Collections are one of the ickiest parts of being self employed. But, because we work on 100% commission, and we "eat what we kill", we have to deal with it. (But it's also a fine line..... the industry segment we work in is fairly small....and everyone knows everyone...., so you have to deal with collections very gingerly and carefully.... because we rely on a lot of repeat business, generated by our reputation, and by word of mouth.).
However, the fact remains: even after this recent payment, we are still owed $25,000 in delinquent fees. Nothing to sneeze at.
It got me to thinking about MONEY and how - when you have enough of it, life seems very rosy, but when you are short of it, it can really cause some stress. Like, a lot.
Isn't it interesting that money - which is so intangible and really worthless (other than the worth we humans ASSIGN to it) can lead to such stress and aggravation?
Happy Wife Happy Life (HWHL)is happily married to The Tall Cool One (a/k/a "Hubster"). We have been married since 1992 and have 2 wonderful kids. We lead a quiet, unassuming life and enjoy cooking, laughing, movies, music and each other.