Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vamos a la Playa!


Hubster and I leave tomorrow for a 3 day weekend at the beach with 2 other couples.
Greatly looking forward to an "adult" getaway.... no kids.... no dogs.... no responsibilities.

Wishing all my Blogistani friends (to borrow clever, and much-missed KBL's jargon) a wonderful and relaxing weekend full of peace, laughter, and joy. :-)

Later, y'all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Practical Steps To A Better Life...

Below has been plagiarized shamelessly from the beautiful, funny, intelligent and always entertaining SmileyGirl... (make sure you check out her blog - she is one of my very faves!)

This is really some spectacular advice.... everything is very "common-sensical"... but will definitey help to alleviate those nasty stressors that chip away daily at our sanity level.
Feel free to pass along and share.

Peace and blessings to ALL Y'ALL (as we say here in the South....) :-)

  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day, and while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate antidepressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.
  3. Each day, pray and make time to exercise.
  4. Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  5. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less foods that are manufactured in plants.
  6. Drink green tea and plenty of water. . .eat broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
  7. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  8. Clear your clutter from your house, car, desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
  9. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  10. Realize that life is a school and you are here to LEARN. Problemsare simply part of the curriculum that appear and then fade away like algebra class .......but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  11. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a layman and dinner like a beggar.
  12. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  13. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  15. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  16. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
  17. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  18. Ladies - Go on and burn those 'special' scented candles, use the 600 thread count sheets, the good china and wear fancy clothes now. Stop waiting for a special occasion. Every day is special. And you don't know how long life will last.
  19. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  20. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
  21. Forgive everyone for everything. Don't hold a grudge.
  22. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  23. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time!
  24. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  25. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch with them.
  26. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  27. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. God provides, remember?
  28. The best is yet to come.
  29. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  30. Do the right thing!
  31. Call your family often.
  32. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: 'I am thankful for __________.'Today I accomplished _________. Count your blessings.
  33. Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a 'fast pass'. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Everything Will be OK


Just wanted to reassure everyone ...... that everything will be OK.
So, worry not. Take no thought for the morrow.

Everything will work out.
I feel it in my bones.

If you're feeling pessimistic today, feel free to borrow some of my optimism, because I have enough for EVERYONE. :-)

So quit scowling at your computer. Relax that face.
C'mon. Smile a bit....
There. That's better.
Take a deep breath. Let it out.
You're already a little more relaxed now, aren't you?

Good.

Remember, that glass that you're convinced is empty....?
It's not. It's really half full....even if it only has a couple of drops in it.
It's all in how you look at it.

Here are some videos that might help you change how you view things.... they helped me.

Today's Trip to the Veterinarian



VET: Mrs. A., these vaccinations will probably make Diva very lethargic the rest of the day.

ME: Really?! (trying to conceal my joy...) Can I get that in writing?!
And yes, as you can see, pupster has been napping a good bit of the afternoon. I have enjoyed the quiet immensely.... :-)

Funny Para-Military Photo


This photo really tickled me.
Quite possibly because I am the daughter of a career military man (my Dad is a retired Colonel).
Regardless, I borrowed the photo from the Facebook page of a young man I know who is a Marine serving active duty in Iraq. (Obvioiusly, you have to keep your sense of humor to preserve your sanity....)
By the way, thank you, L. for your service to our country.
Hope this photo makes you smile as well. :-)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Doggie Davenport, or Canine Couch?







Can't decide what to call this bed now.....

These photos were taken yesterday in our guest room (a/k/a my home office.... where I do my work, and also type all my blogs... and sip cocktails, and think profound thoughts...)
;-)

Anyway. This bed used to be our guest bed.... but, as you can see, it has been seized by the dogs for a "higher purpose". And I doubt any humans will ever want to sleep on it again.

Seriously, though, it has been years since anyone ever slept here anyway.... the mattress was a garage sale purchase, years ago, and cleverly covered by a pretty quilt.... yet the mattress was so lumpy and so springy that it made for a HORRIBLE night's sleep.
So, as far as I'm concerned, the pups can have at it.

So, blogger buddies, what is the general concensus for a new name for this piece of furniture?
Shall we call it.....


  • Doggie Davenport?


  • Canine Couch?


  • Labrador Lounge?

Inside An Oven, I Am...

The heat wave continues. Today was 93, high humidity, Code Orange smog alert (blech), gray haze, no breeze, just all around GROSS weather.

The weather has won. I am zapped.
I have so little energy, so little motivation, so little joie de vivre, etc.

I'm sure my husband is thinking "Where is that funny little woman I married?"
However, he's zapped too. His job requires him to be out in the heat..... (Whatever does Hubster do, you ask.....? Here's a hint: he wears cute brown shorts and drives a big brown truck.....)

Anyway, we're both OVER Summer.
Bring on Autumn!!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Some GREAT BIG Quotes for the Day

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. - Abraham Lincoln

It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly. - Isaac Asimov

Never, never, never give up. - Winston Churchill

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In Praise of Sabbaticals

Brian Jones, writer of Second Guessing God (one of my all time favorite books on the "individual faith journey") and also one of my favorite bloggers) is taking a bit of a sabbatical from his blog. Although I was sad to read this, I certainly understand and respect his motivations. I dropped him a little note to wish him well during his "rejuvenation" time.

It got me to thinking about sabbaticals.

We Americans don't really value sabbaticals, do we? (Other than those who work in the world of academia....) As a culture, we tend to just go-go-go... bigger, better, faster, more-more-more. Never stop, never come up for air, and God help you if you take a full week off for vacation and don't check email and voicemail every day.

Call me nuts, but I don't think that's the way God intends us humans to live. I really think he wired us to enjoy our lives, enjoy our surroundings, take time to interact with HIM and with one another, on an "un-shallow" level.

I wonder how we can get our culture to change this, and recognize the value of time off, for a mentally healthy (and emotionally re-charged) population?

Thoughts?

Have YOU heard of a Sugar Glider?

S and her 2 BFF's are downstairs with a "Sugar Glider" which is the latest pet for the 2 BFF's.
(Some background: the 2 BFF's - sisters, and adorable kids - are from a large family - they also have 5 cats, 4 dogs, birds, snakes, bearded dragons, etc. Needless to say, this family enjoys a "variety of life" at their house.) :-)

So, anyway, this little creature is visiting my house - it's really a cute little thing. The girls told me it was a marsupial. (I love that word.)

I was positive the dogs were going to take ANY opportunity to EAT the sugar glider, so I put them in the backyard while the girls were playing with it.

The sugar glider fits neatly into the palm of my hand.
Not sure what you feed it though..... Purina Sugar Glider Chow?

I'm curious: has anyone in the blogosphere had any experience with these little creatures?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch, 1960 - 2008

Many of you know who Randy Pausch is. For those of you who don't, Google him. Or go to YouTube and watch his video. It's pretty cool.
In September of 2006 Randy was dealt the "death-blow" (ie: diagnosis of terminal cancer, with very little time to live), so he decided to do just that: LIVE.

Randy died today. At home. Surrounded by his family. He outlived all medical predictions.
I hope the end was peaceful for him, and pain-free.

Here are some really cool thoughts that Randy left us with:

-Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I'm going to keep having fun every day because there's no other way to play it.

-Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

-No one is pure evil. Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you.

-Brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop people who don't want it badly enough.

-It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the dreams will come to you.

-We can't change the cards we're dealt, just how we play the hand.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cheerleading 101

My sweet, adorable, smart and hilariously funny 10 year old daughter started Cheerleading tonight.

For those of you who are uninitiated, Cheerleading is always capitalized in the South. And it is a Very Big Deal here.

I remember growing up thinking the cheerleaders at my high school were, quite possibly, the most vapid and vacuous young women on the planet. And because of that, I swore if I EVER had daughters of my own, I would raise them to be independent thinkers, free spirits, and NEVER the type to rely on a man to get what they need/want out of life. So, as you might imagine, I have had VERY mixed feelings about allowing my daughter to participate in Cheerleading.

S first asked me if she could cheer back in kindergarten. She has begged me every year between then and now. (S is now getting ready to start 5th grade.) So that makes FIVE full years of me saying "NO" (sound like a broken record?)

Finally, I thought "Gee. Maybe I should let this wonderful kid of mine at least TRY it. After all, she gets good grades, she is kind, she is funny, she is smart, she is respectful, she is everything I always wanted in a daughter. Maybe I should lighten up just a tad." :-)

So, grudgingly (and wincingly, if that's a word), I signed her up, paid the several hundred dollars it costs to do Cheerleading (yes, it's an absolute racket... you have to pay an EXORBITANT amount for the uniforms, shoes, "all important cheer-bag", etc., etc., etc.)

However, tonight, at the "try-outs" (which is really just the panel of judges finding out what your daughter can do - ie: can she do a cartwheel, can she do a split, etc.) S was blissfully happy. BEAMING, she was.

So, I quit wincing. I quit scowling. I even made friends with some of the overly-tanned, bleach blonde mommies who (very clearly) were cheerleaders in their younger years. I'm going to give this a Fair Shot, and quit being so close-minded.

But I am going to make sure S keeps it all in perspective. (She will. She's a smart kid.)
I'll kick her tiny little behind if she doesn't. :-)

Blogger Bullies

What's with the "Anonymous" comments out there? I rarely get them, but one of my favorite blogs (http://www.brianjones.com/) gets a heck of a lot of them.

And have you noticed that it's always the 'mean-spirited' folks who leave the anonymous comments. I just don't GET that.

It's that same mentality that enjoyed being the tattle-tale in elementary school.... or perhaps the one who was the mean kid who threw rocks on the playground, while well-hidden.

(Actually, it also kind of reminds me of a very nervous dog I used to have who, when a worker used to come to the house, would run and hide behind the hydrangea bush in the backyard, but stick her head out and bark like she was going to rip him to shreds. Except she wasn't mean.... just nervous.)

So..... why be anonymous? If you really believe what you say, and say what you believe, then stand behind it.

I love Brian Jones writing. I'm a big fan - I don't always agree with him but I'm always willing to say so outright, rather than hide in the shadows and throw rocks.

Puppy Lullabye

One of the cutest things I've ever seen. :-)


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Game On" or "Game Over"?


Statistics show that the human death rate is 100%!
Every person who is born on this planet will, at some point, die. There is no Eli Manning coming in with "hail Mary" pass that will put the game into overtime. Nope. When your time is up, it's up.

Actually, this is going to be an UPLIFTING post... I promise! So keep reading!

In my small group we have been reading/studying/discussing a fabulous book called One Month To Live: 30 Days to a No-Regrets Life. Last night we finished the book. The last two chapters were very powerful. I would recommend this book without hestitation to anyone, be they a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, an atheist (but really... are there REALLY any true atheists out there? and if so.... they need to go visit Michele's amazing photoblog and then check back with me...).

Anyway, back to my POINT. :-)

The point is, embracing our mortality can liberate us to live as fully and intentionally as possible "in the now"! (See Ecclesiastes 7:4)

Remember that God is very clear that you are on this planet for a reason (Jeremiah 29:11), and He has a distinct purpose and plan for your life. Another very clear point.... one day you will stop breathing, but you will NOT stop living. Your soul will live forever in eternity! (Wow!)

I would encourage you today to think about the two things that will stand the test of time. It's not the cute new sandals that you bought, or your beautiful home, or your convertible. No, those will all eventually turn to dust (or rust). The only TWO things that will stand the test of time, are the Word of God and people. Period. That's it.

So it might make sense to re-focus our time, efforts and energy away from temporal things and towards your relationships. Both with your Creator (however you happen to understand him) and with the people around you.

A parting thought, and a parting passage of scripture:

* No matter how long we live, it will be like only a few seconds in the grand scope of eternity.

*"It is a wonderful thing to be alive! If a person lives to be very old, let him rejoice in every day of life, but let him also remember that eternity is far longer, and that everything down here is futile in comparison." Ecclesiastes 11:7 - 8

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cute Cat Cartoon

Plagiarizing from the Always-Entertaining Smileygirl.... these kitty videos are so adorable (and oh-so-true if you've ever had a cat....)

Kind of like the moment in Shrek 2 when Puss-In-Boots is coughing up the hairball.... you could quickly tell the people in the theater who were "cat people" by how hard they were laughing (was that not THE most realistic animation of a hairball "experience"???)

Anyway, cute cartoon below. Enjoy.

Is it Autumn Yet???



Today it was 97 degrees here. High humidity - no rain. Code Orange smog alert.
Yesterday it was 96 degrees here. High humidity - no rain. Code Red smog alert.

I love Summer.... I love shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, the fact that we can go swimming until 9 PM at the neighborhood pool, but damn. Enough already. Uncle.

I'm ready for a crisp cool morning. (Doesn't that stream look refreshing?) I want to be able to put flannel sheets on the beds, and when I wake up, be excited about a hot cup of coffee (versus a cold bottle of Mountain Dew!)

It doesn't begin to cool off in Atlanta until late September/early October (sometimes even later).... so we're looking at a good two more months of this heat!

I'll just gaze at this picture when I need a break... . :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Herman Cain, One of My Heroes

I love Herman Cain.
He's on the radio here in Atlanta (WSB, AM 750), and may be in other markets as well.

He's a businessman, leadership speaker, and just an all-around Smart Guy.
And he has COMMON SENSE solutions to the vast majority of issues that are plaguing our country!!

I really wish he would run for President. I would vote for him in about a millisecond.
Here's his website, if you want to check him out.
(Lots of good motivational stuff on there too..... )

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cure For a Grouchy Husband?


Hubster is in a funk.... And no, not funky like my Playlist.... (THAT would be a FUN kind of funk.)
Although the above is not a photo of him, he definitely has that same "vibe" going on....

Hubster is about to turn 45 next month and I think he's going through middle-age funk.
He has always been VERY young at heart and I think he's finally realizing that YES, he really IS middle aged now. And it's just not sitting well.

Any suggestions on how to get a soon-to-be 45 year old, frowning husband out of his funk?
And get him to see the joy and beauty in life?

(I realize, of course, the "obvious" suggestion that will spring to mind, but I'm looking for something a little more deep and contemplative please.....) :-)

Thanks, blogger buddies.... :-)

The Way Life Should Be Lived!

Saw this video on Carin's blog (which, by the way is wonderful.... definitely check it out if you haven't yet..... she takes beautiful pictures and writes really wonderful, heartfelt thoughts!).

ANYWAY. I loved, LOVED this video. Matt "gets it". This is the way life should be lived. With joy - and love for your fellow human.

(Make sure you have the volume turned up, and you do have to click PLAY.... it won't start automatically....)

Enjoy! And go out and DANCE today! :-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Smart Cars - Yea or Nay?

Have you guys seen these cars zooming around your cities/towns?
I saw one today on I-85, which is one of Atlanta's major freeways.

People drive like maniacs all throughout Atlanta, but especially on the freeways, including I-85. (It's a joke that 85 is the name of the freeway, and also the average speed..... this is actually true.) Atlanta drivers are also notoriously aggressive.

And, like most other places in America, a lot of people who live here still have big pick-up trucks and big SUV's that they bought back when gas was $1 or $1.50 a gallon. (My husband drives a big SUV - which gets 16 miles to the gallon!!! - we bought it when gas was selling for $1.40 a gallon..... of course we had NO CLUE what we'd be paying for gas now. Our monthly gas bill, for 2 vehicles, is now larger than our monthly car payment for his SUV. Insane.)

My point is.... although I really LIKE the idea of these Smart Cars, I just don't think I'd feel very safe in one. It kind of looks like a Kroger shopping cart, covered with plastic. Just not a lot between you and the outside world..... basically a small step up, safety-wise, from a motorcycle.

What do y'all think? Would you be willing to drive one in the city you live in? Including on the freeway? Would you feel safe?

A New Discovery!

Our 10 week old Chocolate Lab puppy, Diva, has discovered yet something else she can play with in the house.... BEHOLD..... :-)
(btw... that's my son whistling in the background.... he was making cinnamon toast... and was whistling a Happy Tune since food was involved....) :-)


video

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stressed About Money? Need Financial Peace?

This is an excellent video teaching clip from Kevin Myers at 12Stone, talking about how to make sense of your finances (ie: how to get out of debt, save, and get some sanity back into your financial life).

It's a 10 minute lesson, very well done, and based on the "original formula" (ie sound scriptural doctrine on finances).

For those who are Dave Ramsey fans, you'll see a lot of parallels in this teaching, and in what Dave teaches.

The timing of this particular teaching segment could NOT be more appropriate (at least in my life.... and probably for many of you) than right now.

Hope you get as much from it as I did. :-)

4 Corniest Puns of All Time

Y'all ready for this?
Are you SURE???
OK.... don't say you weren't warned..... ;-)
_________________________________
1. Two vultures board an airplane, each carrying two dead raccoons. The flight attendant looks at them and says, "I'm sorry, gentlemen, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

2. Two boll weevils grew up in Alabama. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind in the cotton fields and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, became known as the lesser of two weevils.

3. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocaine during a root canal? He wanted to transcend dental medication.

4. Mathatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail, and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...... (are you ready for this? this one is a REAL doozy.....)
A super callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

And there you have it, folks. :-)

My Son's Latest Fascination...... Robert Wadlow


Yes, you read that right.
My 12 year old son has become completely, utterly and totally fixated upon..... Robert Wadlow (world's tallest man).

I remember being momentarily transfixed by Wadlow, but J is REALLY curious about "everything Wadlow". He googles him and looks at pictures, and reads every article he can find about him. He even asked me if he could get a poster of him to put in his room (along with the SpiderMan posters). I told him there are no Robert Wadlow posters, because there is no market for them. J thinks Wadlow is THE most fascinating person of the 20th century.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that my husband is 6'6" and J will probably be quite tall as well. I don't know. But whatever it is, he's definitely fascinated.

Doggie Destruction..... It Was Bound to Happen



As you can see, Diva is preferring furniture to her chew toys. She has made some surprising progress with one of our breakfast room chairs, as well as one of the legs of the coffee table in the den.

Despite the fact that we crate her while we're asleep (and when we're out) she still manages to sneak a few "quiet moments" during the day to chew (and destroy) things. That wood must feel SO good to those Puppy Jaws!

She ALSO got ahold of my glasses yesterday (luckily I have two pair) and completely destroyed them. They literally look like they went through the garbage disposal. :-(
That was my fault though - I left them on the table, on top of a magazine. I'm sure they called out to her.... "chew me.... chew me... chew me"

And for those of you who are going to suggest spraying Bitter Apple spray on furniture....?
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. It slowed her down for maybe about an hour.... then apparently she decided she liked the taste. (Flavor enhancer, perhaps...?)

Like I've said before, it's a Good Thing this puppy is so darn cute!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Dog..... Houdini...


We have re-named our puppy. Her new name is now "Houdini".
Be sure to check out The Diva Diaries for her latest escapades.... :-)
(Don't let that innocent, cute exterior fool you.... she is the Tasmanian Devil of Destruction, this dog....)

So..... What DO You Do?

Blogger-Buddies,
I'm curious.... what is it that you do?
Yes, I know, in our heart-of-hearts, we're all writers, photographers, painters, artists, etc. (I think blogging really attracts those of us who are 'right-brain-dominant'...)

However, what do you do that makes you MONEY? And, do you like it?
Also, what is your dream job? (ie if you won the lotto tonight and could do something that you LOVED, regardless of how much money it made you, what would it be?)

I will start:

I'm a recruiter (that's the polite way of saying "headhunter"). :-) I recruit in the field of my specialty (Commercial Property & Casualty Insurance). I love my job when I'm making money (since it's 100% commission!) and I also love it when I help someone land a great job. I also like the fact that I work for myself. I don't love my job when I put a lot of work into something and it falls apart (this has happened a lot this Summer). But, that's part of the job.
If I won the lotto, I would probably become an elementary school librarian.... I love to read, and I love little kids and their love of learning (and the fact that they're not yet JADED!)

OK, now your turn - tell me what you do currently - and what you'd LOVE to do! :-)

You Made My Day!


Suz, My Very Funny Friend since high school has bestowed upon me the "You Make My Day" award!
Thanks Suz!

I'd like to pass this award along to......

Dawn at Beyond Grace (who sent me the SWEETEST email - which REALLY made my day!)

D'Arcy at Abstraction who always makes my day!

Michele The Amazing whose photos of the Canadian Rockies blow me away! and make my day!!

... and to ALL my blog-o-licious buddies out there.... because all of you brighten up my day, each and every day!

So here's a big collective THANK YOU from me to you!
You guys ROCK! :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Breaking News: The TOOTH Report


OK, for all of you who are waiting with baited breath for the TOOTH REPORT, here it is:
After 2 xrays, and multiple other tests, my dentist (who is quite cute) was completely baffled. No cavity, no abcess, no crack, and no sign of trauma. The tooth was very clearly sensitive to pressure and cold, however the "root cause" (bad pun - sorry) remains undetermined.

My dentist did "reduce my bite" with some little weird drill-type machine. He then sent me home, told me to take Ibuprofen as needed for pain and call him if it still was hurting at the end of the week.

And, actually it already feels better.

Weird, huh?

However, I am just THRILLED that I didn't have to have a root canal. That was my Big Fear.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blog-O-Licious

OK, guys and girls, I've ALMOST gotten my blog roll back up to speed.
If I FORGOT to add someone, please don't go away with hurt feelings... I promise I will add everyone back just as soon as I can!

And remember, YOU are Blog-O-Licious!
:-)

Mr. Bear Likes To Read

This posting courtesy of my 10 year old daughter S and her 12 year old brother J. :-)

The Foreclosure House

The foreclosure house across the street is REALLY looking abandoned now.
The people who lived there have been gone for about 6 weeks so the yard is really, really overgrown; there are flyers sticking out of the mailbox; yellowed newspapers on the driveway, and the whole place just has the "look" of an abandoned house.

It's the first thing I see every morning when I step out on my front porch. It's really a bummer. There's no for sale sign yet. I guess, because there are so many foreclosures now, that it takes a while to work through the system... I'm sure eventually there will be a for sale sign, and then hopefully someone will buy it before long. Until then, it looks quite pitiful. :-(

The whole thing kind of underscores the "crappy economy" we're all dealing with right now. (I still can't believe Senator Phil Gramm said America is full of whiners and we're in a 'mental recession'. Could he be more out of touch?!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

OH NO!!!!! SAY IT AIN'T SO!!!

Apparently, when I updated the color scheme on my blog (do y'all like it? I needed something new and "fresh"...), I somehow (don't ask me how) wound up deleting my entire blogroll.

I have no clue how I did this, but they're ALL gone, and now I have to re-create it.

So, just want to let you guys know I'm not SNUBBING anyone..... and I really will re-create it.... just as SOON as my tooth will stop throbbing long enough for me to concentrate and re-type everything.

I'm calling my dentist first thing tomorrow morning. I think this tooth pain is indicative either of an abcess (sp?) or perhaps a precursor to a root canal, or something else Really Bad.... tooth pain that increases geometrically like this that makes it hard to concentrate (and easy to snap at those I love) is NOT a good thing. :-(

In fact, I'm getting ready to drug myself and go to bed. (One of the great things about pain-killers + sleep = IT DOESN'T HURT WHEN YOU'RE UNCONSCIOUS!!!)

The Brangelina Babies Have Arrived


For those of you who are living under a rock and have not yet heard, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's twins were born last night in France ..... one boy (Knox Leon) and one girl (Vivienne Marcheline). Both babies are healthy and each weigh right around 5 lbs.

This clocks Brangelina in as a modern day Brady Bunch with 3 boys and 3 girls.

I wonder if they'll have more kids? I'm betting on..... YES.

I'm not quite sure why I find Brangelina so fascinating, but I really do.
For one, I think it's very cool that they adopt kids from all over the world, and I also think it's cool that they give so much money to charity and work so publicly with social issues.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Think Bella is Rubbing Off On Me

OK, yesterday I was concerned about my coughing.... today I have developed a toothache.

What is UP?!

And it's not one of my molars either... it's my little "vampire tooth" (as my kids say....) You know, the sharp pointy one that's like 2 or 3 back from your front teeth? Why in the world would THAT tooth hurt?

But it REALLY hurts!

Maybe it will keep me from being such a glutton this weekend.

That would be a good thing, esp since Hubster has decided to make a home-made Cherry Cobbler.... (I could be in big trouble.... his desserts are da bomb. I see myself easily eating that DESPITE the tooth pain...)

One of the Prettiest Things I've Ever Seen

Once again, I'm in awe of Michele's lens, and (more specifically) God's amazing creation.
(Thanks for sharing with us, Michele!!)

http://chunkymountains.blogspot.com/2008/07/painted-tongue.html

Friday, July 11, 2008

Do I Have Asthma? Or Is My Cough Due to a Surplus of Dog Fur?


Does anyone know if you can develop asthma in midlife?
I have had this weird, dry (slightly wheezy) cough all Summer.... I feel perfectly fine but have this weird cough. It's not all the time, but occasionally...

My Mom has asthma as does my son. I'm thinking maybe I'm developing it too.
Or maybe it's just the huge amount of animal fur in my house? (despite the constant vaccuuming....)

Anyway, whatdya think? Especially those of you with medical training - let me know! (Bella, my darling nurse friend - whatdya say? Boquinha - ask that doctor husband of yours if this is possible?)

I really hate to go to the doctor for something so trivial, especially since I feel fine.

Let's take a general concensus diagnosis here and I'll go with that, ok? :-)
(Next best thing to self-diagnosing via Web MD....) :-)

One Worn-Out Little Puppy!

UPDATE: Our poor baby Chocolate Lab has little blisters on her hind paws.... we noticed this when we took her out to poo and she was walking "oh so tenderly" through the grass.... (normally she just plows right through "DAMN THE TORPEDOES"...)

Hubster feels quite guilty but who knew that Jaws With Paws was such a delicate little violet... (I'm sure she'll be fine by tomorrow.)

_____________________________________

Little Diva was EXHAUSTED after her long morning walk with Hubster today. (She was trying to keep up with Ruby, who was trying to keep AHEAD AND AWAY from Diva...)

Diva came home and immediately passed out, on her back, on the couch. The video tells the humorous tale.... :-)

video

The Unintended HUMOR Benefits of SiteMeter


I can't thank Smileygirl enough for turning me on to Sitemeter! I now feel like Inspector Clouseau with a big magnifying glass (and goofy hat), lurking behind the scenes to see who is visiting my blog. Turns out LOTS of people, from all over, are visiting my blog (which is great - the more the merrier!).

With Sitemeter, I can also find out what people are searching on to wind up landing on my blog.... The most humorous example I have found is a recent visitor from the United Arab Emirates who was searching on the phrase "Wild Party Wife" and was directed to my blog, and in particular, my posting on Diva's Wild Party at 3 AM. (and my vivid description of scooping up puppy poop at 3 AM while my husband snored loudly on the couch...) I'm sure my UAE visitor was WOEFULLY disappointed, as that was undoubtedly NOT what he wanted to see when he typed "Wild Party Wife" into Google. :-)

So sorry fella. ;-)

The Problem With Oil Speculation

Part of the issue with the insane run-up in gas prices has to do with the speculators.
Think about it.... they are basically "gaming the system" and then, ultimately reaping the profits of their own speculation. (And who's keeping them in check? At this point.... absolutely no one.)

I stumbled upon a very interesting post over at Don's Mind - definitely worth a read, if you're interested and concerned about energy costs (as we all are....)

(Unfortunately our elected leaders have taken the Ostrich Approach to this problem.... however, if you're interested in contacting them, here is a link with all the information to reach members of Congress.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yummy Yum Yum

Now, before you read the below recipe, realize that I don't cook. Hubster does 99% of the cooking in our house - he's a fabulous cook and he knows it. I am an admittedly very mediocre cook (see #9 on 40 Tidbits About Me....)

However, I found the BEST (read: Tasty & Easy) recipe in a cookbook and thought "I could probably pull this off without too much effort". It was fabulous. My kids said "Mom, this is great!" (with genuine shock in their eyes). Even Hubster (who is VERY skeptical when I cook) was impressed.

So, without further ado, here it is (I tweaked it a little bit):

Steak Pizzaole Over Linguine
1 - 1 1/2 lb steak (cut it into pieces - I used Kroger FlatIron steak - nice and tender.)
Olive Oil
2 tsp dried red chili flakes (the kind you sprinkle on pizza)
1 small onion, chopped up
2 really big (or 4 regular sized) cloves of garlic, minced
1 small bell pepper (any color), sliced up
1 small package pepperoni (slices)
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup dry red wine
salt to taste
linguine
parmigiano-reggiano cheese
crusty french bread
________________________________
OK, in a big frying pan put in some olive oil and brown the cut up steak 3 minutes on each side, then remove the steak and set on a plate. Drain off all the steak juice from the pan. Put a little more olive oil in the pan, then add the garlic (I like lots of garlic), the chopped onion, the sliced bell pepper, the pepperoni, and the chili flakes. Sautee until the onion and garlic start to become a little translucent (2 - 3 minutes), but make sure you don't burn the garlic. Then add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt (if needed) and the wine. Stir gently and work everything together. Then put the pieces of steak back into the tomato sauce mixture, turn the heat down and let it all simmer for 10 minutes or so, while your linguine is cooking.

Serve like it's spaghetti - linguine first, then steak/tomato sauce mixture on top. Sprinkle parmigiano-reggiano cheese (the GOOD stuff, not the kind in the green can!!) on top.
Serve with crusty french bread and a crisy salad and voila!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hamster Thrown From Remote-Control Monster Truck*

Hamster Thrown From Remote-Control Monster Truck
MILTON, MA—
Tragedy was narrowly averted in the Bourke household Monday, when Harry, the family's pet hamster, was violently thrown from the 4" by 4" payload of a toy Ford F-350 monster truck.

The site of the accident that nearly claimed the life of Bourke family pet Harry (inset). According to reports, the toy vehicle was racing through a living-room obstacle course—which included a coffee-table-coaster slalom, a cardboard ramp, and a Dixie-cup pyramid—when it swerved out of control and crashed into a Lincoln Log structure, sending the hamster flying through the monster truck's driver-side window and knocking over three nearby Fisher-Price Little People.

The scene quickly devolved into pandemonium, with the launched hamster tumbling humorously in mid-air several times before landing at the foot of the sofa and fleeing in shock.
A frantic, living-room-wide search for Harry ensued and, after extensive search efforts behind the sofa, under the recliner, and behind the bookcase, the hamster was found between the vertical blinds and the sliding glass door, shaken but alive.

As of press time, Harry was resting in his cage, his condition described as "skittish but stable."
"This is a tremendous shock," said Bourke next-door neighbor Paula Gates upon learning of the mishap. "Harry is well-liked by all the neighborhood children, and for his life to be jeopardized in this manner is terribly upsetting."

Parental investigators have determined that the toy's two operators, whose names are being withheld due to their ages, successfully navigated the monster truck through the obstacle course numerous times before adding the hamster in an attempt to increase the activity's entertainment value. If found guilty, the boys, 7 and 9, could be sentenced to an evening in their rooms and fines of up to two weeks' allowance.

The accident's cause has been the subject of much debate. While many blame the toy's manufacturer, Playcorp Unlimited, for making a substandard product, others say the monster truck's operators are at fault. Angry at the operators, an unnamed Bourke parent is pressing for a strict ban on the use of family pets in play activities, with a penalty of three days without PlayStation for those found guilty.

Playcorp spokesperson Paul Ionesco expressed "deep dismay" over the crash.
"This is a flagrant and obvious misuse of our product," Ionesco said. "No Playcorp product is intended for the transportation of live cargo, no matter how cute and humorous the spectacle of a little hamster driving along in his little truck may be."

Monday's crash marks the fourth time that Harry, 1, has found himself involved in dangerous play. In October 2000, Harry was placed on the back of family dog Raggles, who ran through several rooms within the house before being stopped by mother Lorraine Bourke. On Feb. 20, he was strapped to an army-man parachute and dropped from a second-story window. Three days later, the hamster was placed inside his glow-in-the-dark run-about ball and pushed down a flight of stairs. Both acts occurred with no parents in the vicinity and were never brought to trial.

(*Story reprinted from the (formerly) humorous (but now fairly LAME) online "news" source The Onion)

That Wild Little Diva-Dog is SO worn out....

She is passed out under the kitchen table as I type this. I just tried to gently shake her awake to go out and pee, but she is 'dead to the world' as they say.

S. had 2 little rambunctious girlfriends over from 4 - 8 this afternoon, and these 3 girls EACH had more energy than Diva, but BOY did that puppy give her ALL to try to keep up with them. They had her running up and down the stairs, playing fetch in the backyard, running in and out of the kiddie pool (which now has several Puppy Puncture marks...) and attacking an old Barney & Baby Bop stuffed animal set.

And now Diva is all tuckered out. (To be honest, I'm enjoying the peace....)

I told Hubster we should probably take her for an evening walk around 10:30 to make SURE she stays worn out for the whole night.

Diva is literally growing by the day (visibly) at this point. Every morning she looks just a bit bigger to me. Chloe (our dear departed Black Lab, who we had from 1993 to 2005) was a Big Girl, weighing in at 90 lbs.... Diva may not be quite that big (Chloe was an exceptionally large female), but I think she'll probably be around 75 or 80 lbs.

I'll put some new pictures up her blog soon.

But tonight, I'm looking forward to at least 6 or 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep - hooray!!

Is it Just Me, or is Suze Orman Mean?


I'm watching Oprah, and Suze Orman is being really mean to Oprah's guests. The topic today is debt, and these couples have been brave enough to come on national TV and admit they're in debt (one couple is $300,000 in debt - student loans and credit cards combined!) and Suze is raking them over the coals!

I'm all about getting out of debt, but I much prefer the Dave Ramsey approach. At least Dave treats folks with dignity and respect and educates them, rather than berates and belittles them.

Suze Orman is just plain mean. (Maybe she's related to Laura Schlessinger....)

Last Night's Bizarre Dream

(Clearly I spend too much time reading blogs.... )
Here is a brief synopsis of last night's dream:

Hubster and I were out on the West Coast (this must be from the fact that I was telling Sugar that I've never really explored the West Coast, but one day, I will!). Anyway, we decided to stop in and see Smileygirl, Wrigs and Chumley. While we were there, we fell in love with her house, which is for sale. (See her really funny post about the perils of showing your house after a night of hard partying.) Smiley and her husband made us an incredible offer we couldn't refuse on the house - AND Smiley told me she would throw in her "prize possession", which was her hot pink Toyota Land Cruiser.
Hubster and I looked at each other like "This is quite a deal. We need to ACT NOW!"

Then I woke up.
Any dream interpreters out there??

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Holy Cow!

S and I took Diva to the vet today for her first "official" visit.
We have had this little puppy for 2 weeks and in that time her weight has increased from 10 lbs. to 13.9 lbs!

That's a 39% weight increase in TWO weeks! Can you imagine if your weight increased 39% in two weeks???? Holy guacamole.

The vet gave her some shots and told me that the vaccinations might make her lethargic for the remainder of the day (I asked if he could guarantee that, and he looked at me funny....). :-)
He also said Diva has some sort of intestinal parasite (I forget which one) which is common. He gave her the medication to de-worm her and announced that we would see some "worms that resemble spaghetti" in her poo over the next few days.

Boy oh boy. How THRILLED I am by that development. (Let's hope THAT pile of poo happens outdoors.)

I'm happy though, that we have a healthy pupster. :-)

Musings from a (Semi) Stay At Home Mom

This is my first Summer (ever) as a SAHM.
I guess that's probably a revelation to some.

Last August, when I got laid off from my job, and started my own business, my kids had just gone back to school. Prior to that, I've always worked in Corporate America.

So, this Summer is a "first" of sorts. The first Summer that the kids didn't go to Day Camp (where they had Really Fun Activities scheduled every single day) and the first Summer that I've had to juggle being a working entrepreneur with the demands of having a 12 year old and a 10 year old at home.

And, to be candid, it has been HARD. Really hard.

There have been pros, of course: the kids get to sleep in every morning, and they get to watch cartoons and eat cereal while wearing their PJ's. (They love this.) Also, I am right here in case they need me for Extremely Urgent Things ("Can you please make blueberry muffins?"). And, the pros on MY side of the coin: I love having more time with them - that has been wonderful. I love the fact that if they feel "puny" (as we say in the South) I don't have to worry about taking a day off work.... I can easily work and take care of a sick child. Also, from a financial perspective, I'm not dropping $1,500 a month on Day Camp over the Summer.

But the BIG con is this: they get BORED. Really bored. They're so used to having fun daily activities, that they wind up wandering into my office, usually around 11 AM or so and saying "Mom, we're bored." (I remember doing this as a kid.... and eventually, this led to my love of reading, creative writing, and the development of my imagination.) So, I guess it's not all bad. BUT I do have some Mommy Guilt about not "entertaining" them (is that silly of me?) To say I have NOT been productive in my business this Summer would be an understatement (but really, so what.... I can get back on track once they're back in school...)

So, here's my question: How do other full-time-working-while-at-home Moms juggle all this? Or is this just The Way It Is? (ie: Barely Restrained Chaos and Bored Kids...)

One really good thing.... they will be VERY ready to go back to school. And school starts early here in GA. Our local school system goes back on August 11th! (Am I a bad mom for looking forward to having a bit of "freedom" again once they are back in school?)

Some Thoughts From "The Shack"



"It is not the nature of Love to force a relationship, but it is the nature of Love to open the way. Love that is forced is no Love at all."

"Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors."

From the book The Shack by William P. Young

Monday, July 7, 2008

"I'd Like To Thank the BlogCademy..."

Guess what? I got an award.... how bout that?
The Arte y Pico award (I have no clue what this means.... my "spanglish" is not quite that evolved...)

Anyway, sweet Bella bestowed this beautiful award upon me.
And, now I get to SHARE THE LOVE and pass it along to a handful of Blogger Buddies.
Here are the guidelines for this award...

1) Pick five blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
3) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award which is here: Arte y Pico.

I'm awarding the Arte y Pico to the following blogs:

1. Beautiful D'Arcy who has become my Fast Friend.... she has such a full, happy, rich view of the world. I love reading her blog and I love her friendship!
2. Gustav from Australia who writes the most amazing, thought-provoking posts.
3. Robb (and Tara!) from New Zealand. I must say, I never knew anything about NZ before I started reading Robb's blog and now I'm transfixed by its beauty.
4. Laurie from SD. Laurie is MAGICAL with her camera.... who knew that such amazing beauty could be found in South Dakota??!! (Certainly not me!)
5. Karen from Seattle for her open and beautiful spirit. I think everyone who visits Karen's blog is deeply moved and touched by her spirit and her strength.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hooray for Rafael Nadal - Job Well Done!!


Did you guys SEE the match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at Wimbledon today? Was it not one of THE most amazing Wimbledon's men's championship matches EVER?

I'm not even a huge tennis buff, but Hubster, my Mom and I were totally glued to the TV. It was very intense. The match shattered all Wimbledon records for the longest men's championship match in history - 4:48 I believe was the final time (plus, it had at least 2 rain delays and by the time the awards ceremony took place, the sun had all but gone down).

When it was done, both Nadal and Federer were exhausted and completely spent.

At the awards ceremony, Rafa was his characteristic humble, understated and adorable self (yes, I have a little crush). He almost looked like a little boy clutching that Wimbledon Championship Cup.... but the most heart-warming moment of all came, right after he won, when he jumped up into the stand to hug and kiss his Mother. (I looked over at my own mom, and she and I both had tears in our eyes... it was really such a sweet, endearing moment.)

WAY TO GO, RAFA!!! WELL DESERVED!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Breathtaking Visuals (Rocky Mountains, B.C.)

Stumbled upon this AMAZING photo-blog (once again, I'm astounded by the people I'm "meeting" in the blogosphere!!) and I was blown away by these photos!

Just looking at these I feel so serene and peaceful.

What a magnificent creation God blessed us with..... I'm constantly in awe when I see photos of places such as this!

(Thank you, Michele!) :-)

Need Some Giggles?


I think we should ALL strive to use the world Hullabaloo more in everday conversation!
(I just love this "lost in translation" stuff.... it always really tickles me!) :-)
For more funny "lost in translation" stuff (and other humorous stuff) be sure to check out FailBlog (big shout out to the lovely and radiant Karen for posting the link on her blog!)

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Sing-Along for the 4th of July!!

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
I thought I'd put up a CLASSIC "Schoolhouse Rock" video from the 70's.
Do y'all remember this one? :-)
I can STILL sing the preamble to the Constitution, thanks to this video that aired during Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid!

C'mon now... click on the below and SING ALONG (I know you want to!)
:-)

And have a WONDERFUL, safe 4th of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mr. Bear's BlogLand Screen Debut

My daughter, S., is a HUGE ham. She loves to perform, be goofy and make people laugh. (I have NO IDEA where she got this from..... wink wink.) :-)

Anyway, tonight after dinner, she said "Mom, I want you to put a video of me doing Mr. Bear's voice on your blog". (Mr. Bear is the "most treasured" stuffed animal in our house.)

Below is the video.
Enjoy.

video

Atlanta's Drought Crisis

This is Lake Lanier. This used to be a "boater's paradise". As you can see, due to the drought, there isn't a whole lot of boating going on now. Lake Lanier is also Atlanta's main supply of drinking water. The metro Atlanta area has a population of 5 million + people, and it's growing every day.

The lake has never been this low. Ever.

I have lived in Atlanta for many years, and have seen many droughts, but never anything of this magnitude. To say it's bad is an understatement.

Our local and state are busy bickering and pointing fingers about it and they aren't taking any real conservation measures to conserve and use wisely what we do have.
(Sonny Perdue, WAKE UP please!)

Fickle is the Heart of a 10 Year old Girl

UPDATE: When I picked up S around lunchtime from the slumber party she was at, I said "Honey, I noticed your Hannah Montana poster has been defaced. "
Sly smile from S. She then replied "Yes, because she's a fake. And anyway, I like Selena Gomez now. And I found out Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus are enemies in Real Life."
I look over. "Oh, you found that out, did you? Where did you find that out?"
S replied, with complete seriousness: "It was in 'Tiger Beat' ."
Well, then. Case clearly settled.
__________________________________
Hannah Montana used to be my daughter's HERO, however this morning I walked into S's room to find this lovely "modification" to one of her HM posters on the wall.
Judging by the green face, horns, black lips, and bear sticker on the nose, I guess it's safe to assume she's over her HM phase now....?

93 Degrees Today and Guess What.....

One of our A/C units has died.
Egad.

Luckily, it's the downstairs unit.
Upstairs is nice and cool.
Downstairs is warm, sticky and smells like a dog. :-)

BUT, believe it or not, the A/C service I called can come out TODAY!
Woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reality Check (a/k/a When God Kicks Your @ss)

Another challenging day today. I'm doing better with the battle against Negative Thinking, but it's a constant struggle. As I mentioned, this mental battle I'm dealing with is caused 99% by some financial issues that we're going through right now.

I realize (in my head) that these issues are temporary, however when you're paying your bills and you simply don't have money to cover everything you need to cover, it causes STRESS. And INDIGESTION. And you wind up YELLING at your spouse because they forgot to buy EVOO at the grocery store. (Yes, I did this tonight.)

Anyway, so I went to the gym this evening, because we all know that exercise makes you feel SO much better, not just physically, but mentally. And, on my way there (still frowning and feeling very "poor-little-me"), I heard on the radio a horrible story about a little girl who was kidnapped and most likely sexually assaulted by her uncle. (Her uncle!) Unimaginable. The next story was about hostages that were freed today in Colombia, and who had been held by FARQ (a Colombian terrorist group) for YEARS, in the jungle. (Can you imagine? Living as a hostage for YEARS? In the jungle? No, me neither.)

Then my cell phone rang - it was a former co-worker, calling to let me know that someone we knew at the company we used to work for was just diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. The man who received this diagnosis is in his mid 40's, the prime of his life, has a wife, 2 young children, etc. His prognosis is very poor as the cancer is already well advanced. He had almost no warning symptoms.

So, when I pulled into the gym, I parked my car, closed my eyes, and thanked God for all the blessings I DO have, and asked his forgiveness for my being such a whiner. And, almost immediately, I felt that wonderful soothing balm cover my spirit.... very difficult to describe.... Paul described it best in Philippians 4:7 as the "...peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension...."

I still have the same issues; nothing has changed.
Just now I have some much needed perspective.

Money-Saving Tips

Blogosphere Buddies,
Does the cost of gas make you see RED? (It does me!)
Are you fed up with the skyrocketing cost of groceries? (Me too!)
Feel somewhat depressed by the relentless Bad News on the TV? Feel let down by our national leaders, who are taking the collective Ostrich Approach to dealing with problem??

Well, I think, rather than suffer in silence, we should share "frugal tips" with one another.... and help each other get through this recession/crappy economy. WHAT SAY YOU?
Do I hear a big Hoorah??

Since I'm self-employed, I am ALWAYS trying to minimize my expenses (and maximize my income, which is a little more challenging). My goal is to be able to live a Beautiful Frugal life, in a paid-for house, with NO debt whatsoever, by the time my kids enter college. I can visualize it, but sometimes the mountains standing in the way seem pretty high.

So, here are my tips for today:

1. Shop at Aldi. Do you have an Aldi near you? If so, shop there. Aldi is a German-based grocery chain. They have 1 brand of each kind of food that they carry. You have to bag your own groceries, and they only take cash or debit cards, but you'll save a ton of money. And you'll be very pleased with the quality; they have a "double money back guarantee". I just got a gallon of milk there for $2.49. Cereal (Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, etc) are $1.69. A can of beef ravioli is .69. I find that when I shop there, compared to Kroger or Publix, I save about 25% - 30% off my grocery bill.

2. Brew your coffee at home. Yes, I know this is a tough thought. (By the way - Aldi has their own brand of coffee, but I'm a Maxwell House girl.... bit of a snob on that...) I love my Starbucks. And I will still buy it - as a treat - but not everyday anymore. It's just too expensive.

3. Keep a one month record of everything you buy. Everything. From a 25 cent pack of gum, to your Chick-Fil-A for lunch, to your mortgage, your car payment, EVERYTHING. Write it ALL down. Then, at the end of the month, transfer it to a spreadsheet (or Quicken, if you want to be fancy). Prepare to be shocked. (If you're like ME, you spend a TON on little things, here and there. ) So easy to do.

4. Give. Even if you can't afford to give financially, give of your time. Giving fills up your soul. Really.

OK, that's it from my corner of the universe..... what are your tips?

Orange Sky (for D'Arcy)

After reading my post on the Golden Georgia Sky, D'Arcy commented that I should check out the song "Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch.
I did, and I thought it was beautiful.

So, here it is for all to listen to. Thanks for the suggestion, D'Arce. :-)

My Sense of Smell is No Longer Offended....

So, last night, I was meeting with my small group, and we were meeting at Ginger's house.

It was a beautiful warm and breezy evening in Atlanta and Ginger has a lovely screened in porch which overlooks her lovely backyard, so that's where we decided to have our meeting.
We were all talking, sharing our week, our challenges, our triumphs, the ways we see God at work around us, and all of a sudden, one of Ginger's 3 dogs (who had been playing quietly in the far recesses of her backyard) came up, squatted right next to the porch, and took a huge, steaming dump right there.

A little bit of a buzzkill as far as the "mood" was concerned.

What struck me as so funny is all the women in my group acted like they were suffocating from the smell and, to be honest, I barely even noticed.

Clearly I've been dealing with Lots Of Poo lately.....

Scrappy Doo?!


We have given Diva a 2nd nickname - Scrappy Doo.

She has this little walk and when her ears are very perky, she looks JUST like Scrappy Doo.
(And she's got the attitude..... definitely.)

Once I get an appropriate photo (read: if I can get her to HOLD STILL long enough) , I'll do a "separated-at-birth" posting, and you will see!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

General Positive vs. General Negative


OK, the below is a wee bit hokey, and not terribly well written, but I like the premise behind it. And, and since I'm personally dealing with a struggle against Negative Thinking lately, I thought it was rather ironic that an acquaintance (someone I barely know) included me on her distribution list for the email that contained this little message...

So read, take what makes sense to you, and discard the rest.

Monday Morning with the Generals
You have two powerful generals who are ready to carry out your every command. One is General Negative and the other is General Positive; they reside in your subconscious.
Each morning after reading the paper and hearing the news you get a briefing from each General. In your role as commander-in-chief you are in charge of your conscious mind. You “think it” and one of your great generals in command of your subconscious mind will obey. Which shall it be? What kind of day do I want? If you think negative thoughts, General Negative will respond. But if you think positive thoughts, General Positive will take over. You decide to act in a courageous manner; you declare war on all negative thoughts, including those people who want to say and act negative in your presence. This decision will cost you the favor of General Negative and all his followers. You are now in a war, General Negative has responded by declaring war on General Positive and it is going to be a protracted war; it may be a war that will last your entire life. They are both great commanders and both have huge armies with good support back home. Neither of these generals has ever lost a war. General Negative will not surrender quietly; you must keep your line of positive thoughts flowing to General Positive constantly if you want to be a positive, optimistic person.

Isn’t this the way it is in real life? The positive thoughts are always battling the negative thoughts for space on our ‘bus’? Some people win this battle easily; they act out the part played by the positive thinkers of the world. They maintain a positive mental attitude, they appear happy, upbeat and successful, a person everyone loves being around; they are like honey attracting bees; people are attracted to them.You don’t have to go far to find cynics and negative people commanded by General Negative; they surround us every day. He is the whining neighbor; she is the clock watcher I work with. They are the ones who are skeptical; they doubt everything; they are ones who say it won’t work; it can’t be done. “We tried that before,” is their personal mission statement. They never try anything new or different. Why should they, they know every thing; they know it won’t work. Having a negative mental attitude is unhealthy; it is destructive and it ruins people’s lives. “Life is cruel and not fair”; they lament and like the old song, “I get the neck of the chicken and the rumble seat ride.” General Negative has a great advertising and public relations department; he owns the news. A newspaper reporter recently commentedwhen questioned why all the newspapers were so full of bad stuff. “If it isn’t bad it really isn’t news,” was his answer. This is a good reason not to read the morning paper unless you want to start your day with a negative attitude.“Never think of failing,” for if you do your General Negative will command your subconscious. The subconscious mind is a slave to our conscious mind and willingly obeys its every command. Say the words, “This is a lousy day,” and behold you will have one. Say the words, “I feel great,” and if you are not very convincing say them again and again until you believe them. And now you are ready for a great day because you have planted a positive idea into your subconscious. General Positive will take it from there.