Saturday, December 27, 2008

some random ironies

El pointed out recently that a friend of hers had sent an email with the subject


She emailed her friend back and asked her if she found the whole thing ironic. Her friend asked what 'ironic' means. Sigh.

I have a "Piece of Flair" on Facebook that makes me smile. It says

The opposite of wrinkly.

I don't iron. Steve does. Sometimes.

I recently wrote that I don't like sharing.
"My" computer broke a few days ago.
I got a printer/scanner for Christmas.
The irony of these events does not escape me.

Christmasy Gratefuls

This week I'm grateful:

#1 & 2.

76. A fuzzy robe of my own.

77. More unexpected surprises.

78. Snuggling.

79. Christmas songs that mean something.

80. Christmas songs that make me laugh.

81. The end of Christmas song season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Assorted Gratefuls

This week I'm grateful:

#1, 2, 5.

71. Unexpected yummy stuff. Much of it pepperminty.

72. Hugs. Even though I'm not so huggy.

73. Trees coldly encased in ice. A morning of rain couldn't melt it, but a few seconds of sunlight transformed them into sparkling, dripping, heart warming tear jerkers.

74. Mo got to sing here for this.

75. I got to sing in church between a man from Nigeria and a woman from Peru. Heavenly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Haiku Evening

El, while watching "Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too" inspires haiku:

"Oh, he's so kee-yute!
I want my very own Pooh!"
Pooh jokes never fail.

I sit here writing inspired haiku and white noise slowly breaks my concentration. I head for the bathroom to jiggle the handle.

Handle needs jiggled!
Hey! That isn't the toilet.
The water runs hot.

All today's after school activities were canceled, due to the weather. In my opinion, the weather was highly overrated.

There's a plow out there.
The snow isn't piling up.
Optimism plows?

Today I got the news that I need progressive lenses. There's progress!

The eye doctor said
I have good eyes for one who
does not see so good

El waits for the computer. As Pooh says, "I mutht be going now!" Let me know if I need to edit.

At age forty three
Sharing should come easier
For me it doesn't

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Peppermint Gratefuls

This week I'm grateful:

#1 & 2.

63. Wavy chips and french onion dip. Actually any dip. By the spoonful. Who needs chips?

64. Dressy jeans.

65. Watching my daughters being generous and thoughtful.

66. Unsolicited back scratches. Or back rubs. As I type.

67. Really good swiss cheese. Thank you, Kim.

68. Paper passed via snail mail. A name bestowed. Thank you Cam, I Am.

69. Restaurant gift cards. Thank you, soccer team.

70. Charlie Brown Christmas music. Live. The reflection of the piano player's hands in the shiny black.

71. Peppermint: Celestial Seasonings Peppermint tea, Brach's Peppermint Christmas Nougats, Spangler's candy canes, Turkey Hill Peppermint Stick ice cream. And the peppermint rounds available year round with your restaurant bill.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

sit down, little girl

Steve flipped on the light as he burst into our room, and I woke up. He seldom sleeps through the night, but this night he had. An email came as we slept. Would the first pastor to read it please contact her? Her husband just died.

Steve called.

They wanted some time to rest, so we went to them later.

My friend went to bed as a wife on Friday night. When she heard him fall early Saturday morning, she was most likely already a widow. The EMT's assured her and her grown son that it was probably that fast. They did everything right. They did all they could. They knew he was gone, but there was time for goodbye between the leaving of the emergency vehicles and the coming of the...what do they use? I didn't ask. It's not mine to know. I don't want to know.

Several years ago, I was halfheartedly looking for a job. I needed to make some money but I also needed flexible working hours since the girls were still young. Our friends told me that they were looking for someone to take over a portion of his job as the librarian of a theological library. He was also an Army Reserves chaplain, and was going to Iraq in a few weeks. Would I be interested in applying? I was. I got the job. He gave me a crash course in cataloging books, showed me all the resources that were available, and told me he trusted me. He, the librarian with two masters degrees and two doctorates trusted no-library-experience-included me. His one year deployment turned into more than a year. Shortly after he returned, he went away to language school. A few months later, he went back to Iraq for another year. When the budget and the powers that be determined that the library could get along without me, he was my advocate. My one year temporary job lasted four years.

The seminary that we worked for does not have a permanent location. This is by design. There are four small learning centers with four small libraries located in churches in four states. I didn't work in a library very often. I worked most of my hours for the library in my friends' basement. She worked for the library too, and she was married to the librarian. She already worked a few hours a week, but she increased her hours and took over most of the other aspects of his job while he was gone. They gave me the key to their house, I memorized the security code, and spent the next four years coming and going as my schedule dictated. It was a strange and wonderful arrangement.

Our first day working together, she invited me to sit down with her so we could pray and be reminded from scripture how to treat one another. We friends, co-workers, sisters in Christ sat down at the feet of The Master before we went to work. Mary, then Martha.

My friend says that it was a blessing to have me come into her home so often while he was gone. I brought in the newspaper and I dragged the trash bins to the garage. We tried to have lunch together on my workdays. Me, leaning on the counter beside the stove, she at the computer or doing dishes. She quickly became at ease with me there so she no longer worried about being dressed first thing in the morning or whether the dishes were all done. Her kids were grown and gone, her husband was in Iraq. She worked at home. She deserved to wear her bathrobe all day if she wanted to. Did she? Her secret's safe with me. She is a hugger, and I tried to be generous with mine. It was a pleasure to her that I would come in, unannounced, as family.

I also saw their real life, their real marriage, as family. Their marriage was a marvel. They truly did love, honor and respect each other. They worked on their rough edges together. I never heard a harsh word spoken between them. When they disagreed, it was done most agreeably. Affectionate? Playful? Definitely. Committed? Fully. That's what I saw. I'm not the only witness.

Listen and learn, little sister.

Sometimes the phone rang for her, the shepherd, the teacher. She tended her flock of young moms while he tended his portion of a multi-national coalition. His flock of many creeds and colors. Sometimes I worried that the phone or a knock on the door would bring bad tidings. I prayed it wouldn't, but I tried to be prepared in case it did. How do you bring comfort to a comforter? I stopped holding my breath when he returned. I wasn't prepared for this punch in the gut.

It's been a year since I gave my key back. The security code is still filed away in my brain. I remember where to find the light switches, forks, and the spare toilet paper.

We came, at the agreed time, as family who knocks first. She sat on the couch. I sat at her feet.

I watched, I listened, I learned. Peace that transcends all understanding. More than could be asked or imagined. The heart of the wise in the house of mourning. Eyes fixed on the unseen eternal.

Then I answered the door and the phone. I took notes. I wrote emails on her behalf. I washed dishes. I told the neighbor and I hugged her and her smoke smelling robe tight because that's what my friends would have done. I tried to pray. Not having words, I trusted the Spirit to intercede.

All the while learning that this little girl still has a lot of learning to do.

Mary, then Martha.

Mary, while Martha.

Sit down, little girl.

Sad gratefuls

This week I'm grateful:

#1, 2, 5.

59. We were available.

60. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

61. We have true friends.

62. Steve whisked me away yesterday and took care of the details.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Almost Flew

I needed to see this today. Did you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Gratefuls

Today I'm grateful for:

1. My spiritual journey.

2. My family. Steve, El, Mo.

52. Cranberries. Sauce 'em, juice 'em, bake 'em in a bread. Cranberries are inspired.

53. An oven with three racks.

54. My dog's habit of running to the back door when he starts making the barfing noise, and his perfect record of managing to get outside before he barfs.

55. Collaboration. Today this applies to both barfing logstics and cooking.

56. Dutch Blitz games where the winning is distributed equally among players.

57. Celebrations with my favorite people.

58. The beginning of a long weekend.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dyslexic Grateful

This week I'm grateful for:

#1, 2, 5.

51. This incredible post written by my husband. I hope that it will help many.

Friday, November 21, 2008

nose to the bowl

Right now I thoroughly understand my dog.

Each and every day, round about 4:30, Caspian takes to the kitchen rug. If we're in the living room, he stares at us. If we're in the kitchen, he stares at his bowl. Occasionally, he gets up and sniffs something, then flumps with a 'hmmff' a couple of inches closer to the bowl. On 'Every Sandwich For Himself' days like today when there is no schedule for dinner, this ritual ends with his nose up against the bowl. His 'hmmff' becomes a throaty 'harrrru' and finally one of The People notices that Caspian is hungry.

I've had one of those stare at the bowl kind of days. Weeks. Couple of weeks. I flump and I 'hmmff'. I keep checking the bowl, licking the edges, testing the bottom. Inching ever closer. Looking for a meal, but I'd settle for an apple core. I'd settle for discarded chicken chunks from the soup. I'd settle for anything, just to take the edge off my hunger.

This is me. Nose to the bowl.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


You amaze me, you two.
You didn't make call backs and it's ok.
You didn't do well on a test but you stayed for help.
You tell us of your day over applesauce and noodles and spanish rice as requested.
You forgive enjoy that dinner is reduced to sugar and starch in this busy week.

You talk of a friend with OCD.
You wait while she touches corners and
You are safe enough to touch and
You allow her to brush germs off herself onto your sleeves.
I burst with admiration and a beautiful something with wings.

I say tomorrow is report card day.
You say you're a B student.
I say B's are good.
I, by some miracle, don't say I know you could both get all A's. If.
You would hear disrespect or condemnation in encouragement intended, when really, B's are good. Like I said.
You can go wherever you want on B's. Maybe even C's.
You can go wherever you want, because we believe you can.
You ask us what kind of students we were.
You ask if we felt pressure to get A's.
We didn't. We hope you don't.

You each read a whole book in the last 24 hours.
I think you might learn more of value in books than you learn in hallways packed with Hardtails and Uggs.
You have teachers with SMARTBoards but they still get disrespect.
You hate the facebook groups that abuse the socially awkward.
You're comfortable in your jeans and your cheap knock off fuggs from Target and
You seem to be more comfortable in your own skin every day.

We have our heads in books and computers.
You say you need to cuddle.
I push the keyboard away and turn to have you melt in my lap.
Your feet reach mine and they cover and they warm.
I wrap my arms around your waist while you rest your arms on mine.
We lean back in a shared sigh and I bury my face in your hair and nuzzle your neck.
I breathe deep, and memorize this current You.

You head off for a shower, semi-grumbling about who took too long this morning.
You say goodnight with a kiss, a back scratch, two pats.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

one hundred

This is my one hundredth post!

I could write a list of a hundred somethings, but that sounds like too much work.

I could do a giveaway, but that sounds like too much hassle.

I could get introspective, but I just did that.

Since my little blog was named with Google's help (#2 is now #1 by the way), here are my most commonly hit posts and their Google search phrases. Many thanks to Google Analytics for storing the search phrases that have resulted in a hit to my blog. I doubt if any of these Googlers have returned.

blogger reply to comment noreply
can you reply to a noreply-comment
from:( or to:(, how to reply
how to directly reply to comments in blogger
noreply blog
noreply email from blogger
que es
what does mean?

Many more variations on the theme brings bloggers with thwarted email replies here. They would be happier if you would edit your profile to include your email address. Me too.

breaking dawn
breaking dawn blogging rant
breaking dawn cliff notes
breaking dawn facebook status
breaking dawn- summary in chronological order
cliff notes for breaking dawn
dawnbreak theme help
"stupid conversations"

I wrote about the Twilight series three times. Here, then here, then here. Alas, Cliff's Notes, chronologies, and summaries of thousands of pages of vampire love
are not provided in my insightful analysis.

my throat hurts
i throat hurts?
my thorat hurts when i talk
my throat hurt me
my throat hurts what can it be?
not talking hurt the throat
sore throat from not talking
sore throat that hurt when talking
talking hurts
throat hurting after not talking
throat hurts summer

Ow. Sore throats send people here. No cures can be found, just observations about El and a lady who taught me a lot about life.

and my personal favorites...

raw hot dogs worms
"you'll get worms"
are raw potatoes worms
can i get worms from cookie dough
can one get worms by eating oatmeal
can u get worms from eating raw hot dogs?
can you get worms from cookie dough?
can you get worms from eating boogers
can you get worms from eating raw cookie dough
can you get worms from eating raw potatoes
can you get worms from raw hamburger
cookie dough and worms
did i get worms?
do banana trees cause worms in dogs
do eating boogers cause worms
eating boogers causes worms
how did i get worms
if you eat a lot of candy can you get worms?
pics of worms from eating boogers
raw cookie dough and worms
toenails worms
what food causes you to get worms?
what is a tapeworms favorite food
worms and bleach and hotdogs
worms from raw hot dogs
worms in raw hamburger
worms in toenails

These frightening phrases direct Scoleciphobics
here. I hope they get a good laugh, because they aren't getting any useful information. Or pics. Excuse me for a moment, I have a sudden urge to peel off my socks and check my toenails.


It's taken two days to do this.

I should have done one hundred giveaways.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Concise Gratefuls

This week I'm grateful for:

#1, 2, 5.

48. A gift.

49. Employment.

50. Invitations.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lessons at the "house of cookie tossing"

My friend Laura sent me an email earlier this week. Lessons at the "house of cookie tossing" was the subject. I told her tonight that I was going to steal it for my blog. She didn't object.

Laura and I each have a daughter who plays the oboe. The oboe teacher comes to our house for lessons on a sort of weekly basis, and sometimes Laura and her daughter come over so her daughter can have a lesson after El. Tuesday was supposed to be lesson day, but thanks to Mo we became the "house of cookie tossing" instead. Lessons were canceled by the email with the fabulous subject line that I just can't let fade into cyber oblivion. Apparently, no one wanted to enter the "house of cookie tossing". I wouldn't have entered either, but I live here. I had to.

Having fully explained the title, it's time to move on to the non-oboe related lessons learned this week by those of us (or maybe just me) here at the "house of cookie tossing".

1. If you don't eat breakfast you might get a sugar low after church at, say, 12:19. You might embarrass yourself and your family by your irrational behavior. Just eat something, and avoid that whole scene.

2. If you volunteer to be one of the 'pasta moms' for your daughter's school chorus trip fundraiser, make sure the pasta arrives when no one is "tossing cookies" and rendered unavailable to help sort and repackage 4500 dollars worth of 'fun pasta'. Also make sure that a few more adults than two and a few more teenagers than one will be doing the job.

3. If, while cleaning the back yard poop, you happen to step in poop, and if you leave your shoes on the back step to dry off, take care of them before it rains. The poop will be washed off nicely by the rain, but your favorite clunky Land's End shoes that you have had for like five years, that you paid too much for, that have held up to everything, will get ruined. You will have to replace them, and it takes forever to get shoes broken in on account of that bone that sticks out on the back of your foot. Blisters will be involved. You will have added guilt because some people in this world don't even have shoes, and your ruined ones would be a blessing to them.

4. If you must eat the leftover Halloween candy, do not crunch on the DumDum pops with your 10 year old crown. You know, the one on the left. In the back. That one. You will break your crown. You will have to get a new one. This is not pleasant.

5. If you do break your crown, and the office person comes to tell you after you are all numbed up that it's going to cost $616, ask if they will honor the $100 coupon they sent you a couple of weeks ago, even though you can't find it. Then ask if they can please check on the insurance on more time because you think that you may have some coverage, not none. Then when they tell you you are correct and it will be $308 instead, wipe the drool off your chin, swallow all of your pride and ask in a small sweet voice, would they still honor the coupon you can't find? Then when they say yes, but there is still the $50 deductible to pay and the crown you thought would cost you $616 is really gonna cost $258, write a check and get out of there before someone changes their mind.

6. Never crunch a DumDum with your crown. The DumDum will win.

7. A peppermint chocolate chip shake from Chick-Fil-A is quite nice after hanging your mouth open for a couple of hours at the dentist.

Well, that's all the lessons we have for you today here at the "house of cookie tossing". Here's to no more cookies being tossed, and to lessons not having to be relearned.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let your fingers do the walking...

Because over 300 million children worldwide have never owned a pair of shoes

Because disaster strikes

Because some have to carry water for miles -- barefoot

Because people are working in landfills without proper protection for their feet

Because there are many, many more reasons

The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge

Your $5 donation buys 2 pairs of shoes.

For someone.


Walk on.


I first heard about this at Anne Jackson's blog.


FYI - from the press release for this campaign:

After 50,000 pairs have been donated, one person (with a guest of their choosing) will be selected at random to deliver the shoes they purchased to someone in need on one of Soles4Souls' trips to Mexico!

Nashville-based Soles4Souls™ facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Since its inception, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 3.5 million pairs (or one pair every 23 seconds) to people in 61 countries, including Honduras, Romania, Thailand, and the Sudan. The charity has been featured on CNN Headline News, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, ABC News, FOX, CBS, and hundreds of regional outlets around North America. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS; donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit for more information.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

#96 (I think) In Which I Wrestle with The Blog Beast

I begin with an apology. There are so many sentences that begin with the word "I" here that I can hardly stand it. I can't think of any other way to do this. I gotta get this out. Grammar Police, stand down. Or maybe, just leave before it really gets ugly. This is between me, my little blog, and The Blog Beast.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I was nearing the often celebrated 100th blog post.

I paused, because.

I've been trying to work through what my little blog is, where it's going, and what it's going to be whenever it grows up.

My little blog began as a way to keep a journal (after many starts and quits of hand writing journals over the years), as a memory book (to document our existence and to keep any family and friends who care to venture here up to date, as well as a place to remember things I should have written in my unwritten journals), and to keep myself accountable (my neglected and also unwritten to do list).

For the most part, I feel like I've done that. I've journaled. It's stretched me. I've chronicled and I've remembered. That's stretched me too. I've done a little 'to do-ing'. Not as much as I intended, but some stretching happened there too.

There have been some surprises along the way, though.

Steve has had his blog since 2004. His has been a solitary experience: it's personal, reflective, and challenging. It gets a lot of hits, but he doesn't get feedback.

I expected the same of mine. Not the hits part, the solitary part. I didn't know about the community aspect of blogging until I started looking at blogs to see what others were doing with theirs. In my search, I found an online community, put the button on my sidebar, and joined in on the daily commenting. I learned quickly that I couldn't keep a daily commitment. I tried weekly, but that didn't work either. I took the button off and crept away quietly. I have no problem with the community. I made some great bloggy friends through it; it is fantastic. I subscribed to lots of blogs through the daily featured blogs, and I still read some of them. It just wasn't right for me to try to keep up. That was my first skirmish with The Blog Beast. I won by retreat.

Another surprise has been the discovery of how much I enjoy and feel energized by the creative process. I've learned so much. There's so much more for me to learn. It's fun! (Blog Beast pops her head up about now and grins.) Wow, I can sure lose track of time doing this. (I whack her on the head like I'm playing that game at Chuck E. Cheese) I know that I'd better manage the time I give to my little blog.

So, here is what I've decided. This is where me and my little blog are headed.

My spare time is divided by many things. Reading and writing doesn't get all of it.

If you've subscribed to my blog, but you don't really have time to read, go ahead and unsubscribe. Use your time more wisely. I've been cutting my subscriptions over the last couple of weeks. It feels good. Try it.

If you read my blog, please don't feel obliged to comment. Just do it if you want to. I like it when you comment, but it's ok with me if you only do it once a week or once in a while or even never if that's what's best. If you've ever commented here, chances are I probably read your blog too. I've already started cutting back on how much commenting I do. It feels good. Try it.

Me and my little blog. Together, we pinned and then chased off The Blog Beast. But I know she'll probably be back. Is she after you?

Clean Sheet Gratefuls

This week I'm grateful for:

#1, 2, 5.

43. Her courage - talking about it.

44. Gut jarring, eye watering, gotta run to the bathroom now laughter.

45. Girls washing their own sheets and making their own beds.

46. Sleeping between cool, clean, fresh smelling sheets until my eyes are ready to open.

47. New mercies every morning.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lilac Season

I took some pictures at THE game on Saturday. These are the best ones. Well, they're the best ones where I could crop identifying faces of anyone besides my child.

El is really physical when she plays. Actually, she's physical all the time. She has no respect for the personal space bubble. It's a good skill to have in soccer.

When we got home, I showed her this picture. I knew what she would see.

Not herself having just won the ball. Not the fall colors.

She noticed the hot guys practicing on the other field.

I see my girl fighting for 'her' ball. The hot guys do make a good counterpoint though. And just look at those trees!

This one is my favorite. She's blocking out. Ready to explode.

Later she scored the tying goal. That's my lilac!

WordFUL Wednesday

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sugar Abundance Gratefuls

This week I'm grateful for:

#1, 2, 5.

37. Affirmation for daughter who took charge of an aspect of her education.

38. Doctor, medicine, and feeling better.

39. Surprise snow. Big, wet plops of snow on my 'sick day'.

40. Our home getting fuller as the night went on.

41. Giggles and roaring lion signaling the beginning of a movie downstairs.

42. Hot apple cider with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. All senses satisfied.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I was the 80's - and the late 70's

I think this was 1979. I loved that shirt. I wore it out. It was TERRY CLOTH. We must have run out of chairs for the big crowd, so I was sitting on one of our many lawn chairs. Our basement was covered in wood paneling. (This is my friend Karen's dad in the picture. He died last summer. I remember him like this.)

The reason I wanted you to see this picture:

We had a JUKEBOX. See it with the oddly placed pink balloons? Our jukebox was the 14th one down on the page of the link, if you want to check it out. I loved the jukebox. I remember when my dad bought it. My brother and I went along with him to pick it up. My mom had a fit when we brought it home. It was so dirty, she wouldn't allow it in the house. It sat in the garage and I helped clean it with a toothbrush. Did you see all the grill work on the front? That's how I'm so sure which one we had. I remember.

We saved one of the records that came with it, and as far as I know, that record stayed in the jukebox until the day it was sold to it's next owner. Enjoy with me...stick around for the end.

I got a couple of slots to myself. I remember listening to Blondie's Heart of Glass and some Loverboy too. It was fun to hang out with my friends and listen to my records with that thumpin' jukebox bass.

The jukebox taught me to love the Moody Blues' Nights in White Satin, The Beatles' Twist and Shout, and Willie Nelson singing Blue Skies. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I spent many nights playing with candles, eating peanuts while my parents played cards with their friends, and letting the lyrics take me places.

But I never could like that song Forever in Blue Jeans. Neil Diamond freaked me out.

This was probably still 1979. Happy Birthday to me! Do you love the hair and the orange chairs? Apparently the person with the camera didn't like the cake.

This was before braces. I had a parking space between my two front teeth. I'm surprised there are pictures of me smiling then.

That's probably the best tan I ever had, because my friends and I had summer jobs DETASSELING. The hardest job you'll ever love. Too bad I don't have the picture of me and my friends in our TUBE TOPS and shorts carrying our coolers. We were a sight.

1982. Pretty sure I couldn't stuff myself into one of those anymore. I still have this shirt. That makes Steve sad. I'm kind of a saver.

Yep, I had a MULLET. But just for a few minutes. Rodney Reindeer is falling off our shoulders. I still have a couple of those. Did I mention that I'm a saver?

One of my favorite pictures of me. I was celebrating the end of the 80's.


hosted by Where Are My Angels

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...huh?

Poor pumpkin.

Poor mums.

Poor plastic squirrel.

I had planned to just put this photo up today.
The girls carved pumpkins with friends a couple of weeks ago.
The pumpkins are already caving in on themselves.
They're moldy.
Yesterday there was a nasty swarm of bugs inside and out.
I think the bugs are gone now.

I guess the girls didn't carve too soon.

But I do think the snow came a wee bit early.

WordFUL Wednesday

Calling myself out

I cut the plastic with a squeeze of kitchen scissors and released them to glide through the wrapping. I peeled it from the frozen block and I wondered why the block reminded me of me. I dared myself to touch the raw, knowing I would keep my fingers to the outside as I plunked it in. Too many warnings have given me fear of the raw. Even the frozen raw. I washed my hands and any possibly contaminated area and grinned at my educated superstition.

Thought about touching it and licking my fingers anyway. Didn't.

I used the lid to balance the block just so in order to make it fit in the crock pot just right. I considered what heavy thing could be safely balanced on top of it all so that the lid would keep the heat in and keep the block balanced until it softened. I decided to trust the lid and the heat to do their own work in their own time.

I won't touch the frozen raw, but the touching of the half done doesn't bother me. I'll pull the bag of neck and liver and heart out when there are still ice crystals hidden in the cavity. The outside will be someplace between soft and safe. Somehow, that makes the raw inside less dangerous.

I'll pretend I'm going to leave the bag in there and taste those things my dad called gizzards later. Won't do it, though. I cast those unknowns aside. I throw them away, untasted.

No one here eats neck or liver or heart. We prefer the predictable, mild white in the first meal. Then temper the wild flavor of the dark, hiding it in soup or casserole.

Relaxed, warm, juicy, nourishing, tasty, satisfying.


I dare myself to embrace the frozen, the raw, that's been hidden in the dark places.

I will me to explore the unfinished. To just try it.

I wonder, when will I be done?

Do I want to be done?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Overflow Gratefuls

This week I'm grateful for:

#1, 2, 5.

32. Possibilities.

33. Cam, I Am's talk about jars yesterday.

34. Tonight my jar overflowed with me; not what should overflow. Lessons swiftly and firmly learned.

35. The well is always open.

36. Strangely dim moments when the purple words overtake the others.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Words & Music: Hel­en H. Lem­mel, 1922
in­spired by the Gos­pel tract Fo­cussed, by Lil­i­as Trot­ter

Monday, October 20, 2008


She sat in the kitchen at my mother's Singer and made me into a time traveler.

"Grandma had the perfect color for my dress."

This thread my mother chose so many years ago for this day. Not knowing that she would miss out on hearing her hum at the Singer as she finished it. Unknowing, giving so it would be possible. She became part of it.

That winding through time of cotton polyester blend, and chromosomes stretching through me. Stretching through time from long forgotten ones through my almost forgotten grandfather, through my mother and me to her.

The blue of the thread. The blue of the eyes. The Creator's Masterpiece.


I'm trying to write something but it's going to take a while because it's one of those tin cans that shoots pressurized confetti everywhere when the birthday kid opens it. It's making a big mess and it's not done exploding.

Is this a gift or a gag?

I'm avoiding the the mess.

Here are some pictures from my cell phone.

It's unreadable, I know, but here's the story. El and I were leaving the grocery store this afternoon. She laughed because the pumpkins had stickers labeling them as, well, pumpkins. I was glad to solve that mystery. I sent her back with my phone to take a picture while I drove up to fetch her in the getaway car.

El left me a note on the car this morning. She likes creative writing.

Steve was going to wear these shoes couple of weeks ago. Good thing he noticed them before he left.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Right now gratefuls

This week I'm grateful for:

#1, 2, 5.

26. Almost full moon, wispy cloud, cold wind.

27. Teapots who whistle.

28. Synchronized breathing.

29. Daughters who go out of their way to say goodbye.

30. Daughters' friends who call me mom and let me call them sweety.

31. Right now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


My mid-life crisis was a time of awakening. A rebirth.

It was painful and lonely. It was scary. It was real. It was dark.

Then it was of all colors. Sweetness and salt. Shouting and song.

An eternity. A moment.

The fruit of those hard
--dare I say--
was an absolute conviction that I am completely accepted.

By God, by Steve, by those I love.

By Me.

Cracks and holes and peeling paint.

Glimpses of sky.


All of me. All accepted. All good.


PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Do something

I saw that this event was coming earlier this week, but I forgot about it until I read this.

I wondered if I have done anything about poverty this year. I almost didn't write, but decided that it was too important to ignore.

I got a Compassion widget for my sidebar and wrote about Albertina and Jithin. What I haven't told you is we got an amazing letter from him a few weeks ago. He wrote it in English. I'm even more excited that we asked for an older child, because it was incredible to read his heart as he wrote it, not as translated. It's not much, but we're fighting poverty by helping Jithin go to school.
Margaret too. She is El's Compassion child in Kenya.

I wrote this. I hope you'll listen to the song I referenced.

I walked for moms and learned that I can help change lives. Michele spoke at our church. I highly recommend her as a speaker and Sisters in Service as an option to help fight poverty.

One more thing. I told a friend of mine I would help her to find blankets to give to the homeless. She goes with her family into Philadelphia once a month to give food, socks and blankets to people. They have built relationships over time, and they are trusted. If you are one of my local lurkers (I know you're here, I just don't know who you are!), see if you have any blankets that you can part with. You can put them in the grocery cart by the church kitchen. Or you can hand them to me and I'll know that you read this.

Have I done anything about poverty this year? Not much. But if a few do a little, a lot will get done.

Do something.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Embrace your local mid-life crisis

Growth outside.

Green thrives inside.

Shimmer, rare vessel.

Shadows reveal dark equal.

Bare limbs eagerly reaching.

Blown glass waves cautious greeting.

Grey frame sluffs paint exposed.

Guards space within, between two windows.

WordFUL Wednesday

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nostalgic Pause

Happy Birthday, Paddington!

When my girls were about this age...

they loved this bear...

Yep, that was during the Big 'Ol Frog Era.

The Gene Kelly version of Singing in the Rain was on recently. Mo told me that she didn't know there was any version besides the Paddington version.

Since it is Paddington's birthday and the Paddington video is long gone, we had to watch on YouTube.

I asked, "So what do you think of Paddington now?"

"I love Paddington!" El said with a bit of a catch in her voice.

I feel a bit teary just now.

"What about you, Mo?"

"He still sort of freaks me out."

I never knew.

Sometime soon, pause to be nostalgic. Write about it and sign Mr. Linky so I can walk down memory lane with you.

Pause to...

The current Pause to... is Nostalgic Pause.

Read on to find out what Pausing is all about.

I love words. I'm a word collector. Sometimes I look up words in the dictionary just for the fun of it. I'm weird that way.

From time to time, I'm going to ask you to Pause -- be sure to look at the noun and verb entries -- with me and consider a particular word. I'll leave a link with the word so you can consider all the definitions and write about how it applies to you. You can write something new, you can rewrite (reduce, reuse, recycle) something old and make it fresh, or you can link something you've already written that applies to the word. Add pictures or video if you want to.

Mostly, I hope you'll have as much fun pausing and writing about the word as everyone else will have reading what you have to say.

Once you've posted your Pause, copy the direct link to that post and paste it into Mr. Linky. Be sure to leave a comment. You can link your post to my blog with this button

by copying what is in this box

and pasting it in your post or in your sidebar.

The real reason for doing this is...

I think I have a crush on Mr. Linky.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Double Stuff

Cam, I Am and I went out for lunch yesterday. It was yummy. After that, we went to the Liberry. Then we had ice cream. It was a Double Stuff Oreo kind of afternoon. Lunch and ice cream were the chocolate cookie outside, but the double filling came in the middle. Half of the creamy center was our conversation. It was ours. It was good. The other half of the creamy middle was a conversation at the Liberry.

Cam, I Am held up a book in the new releases section and said she had been thinking about reading it. The other lady that was there with us said that she had read the book. She spoke highly of the characters, the protagonist, and the plot. I studied her as she talked. Cam, I am says she was prim and proper. She was. Hair fresh from the salon. Nicely made up, wearing a sweet pink sweater, khaki pants and a sparkly necklace. Obama 08 pin on her left side, book folded in left arm, and cane in right hand. She was precious. A perfect pink picture. I interrupted their chatting with a question. Was she a writer or a teacher? Neither one. Just a reader. I asked what's next, pointing to the book she held. Sly smile. Title offered.

A Woman's Guide to Urinary Incontinence.

A woman who reads for pleasure and knowledge, I said. I hoped the earth would swallow me whole. I am so blogging this, I said. She, being pretty and pink and sharper than me left a pearl of wisdom. You know those Kegels? I tell my 50 year old daughter to start now.

Can a girl giggle and Kegel at the same time?

More gratefuls

This week I'm grateful for:

#1, 2.

22. Lunch and much more with my friend.

23. A houseful of giggling girls and the smell of baked goods.

24. Minimal mess and minimal leftovers left by said gigglers.

25. Light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soccer Rainbow

El has been playing soccer eight years.

Eight years? Where has the time gone?

She started playing in Kindergarten. She was on the Purple team. Their assigned nickname was the Dandelions.

The Purple Dandelions.

The goalies picked a lot of grass. They chased butterflies. The dad behind the goal told them the ball was coming.

They did some cartwheels and somersaults. Sometimes they kicked the ball.

The Purple Dandelions and their opponents bunched and traveled the field as a bouquet. Purple and Yellow, or Orange, or Red.

Once, Coach Brian asked who was tired and needed a sub. El raised her hand.

She had just.

Sideline bunching was exhausting too.

So many seasons. So many colors.

Purple, Orange, Teal, Orange again, Red, Yellow, Maroon, Maroon again, Dark Blue, Light Blue and now...Lilac.



It's WordFUL Wednesday.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tag is exhausting

I was tagged by Melanie at Straight to Your Hart. Her list is much more interesting than mine!

RULES, because you know these tags always have rules . . .

1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay, here are 7 facts about myself:

1. I count things without knowing I am counting. This useless talent applies to monotonous or repetitive sounds only. For example, when someone’s car alarm goes off, I always know how many times it beeped when it quits. I don’t count intentionally, I just know how many there were when whatever it was ends. Sneezes, cycles of a siren as it nears and passes by, dryer and kitchen timer beeps get counted. Also, I unconsciously count how many seconds silences or long noises last. Time between lightning and thunder, or Emergency Broadcast System tones come to mind. Fortunately, I get to forget the number of counted things once I acknowledge said number. I usually keep the number to myself.

2. My favorite candy is Skittles. Original Skittles. I sort my skittles and eat one color at a time. I usually begin with orange or give them to El. Orange is my least favorite flavor. Green and red go somewhere in the middle. I usually end with yellow or purple. Sometimes I give the purple to Mo because they are her favorite. It depends on how good I am at sharing my candy that day.

3. Once I stole a piece of candy. Remember those old Brach’s Pick a Mix bins? I put one piece in my right coat pocket. My mom asked me if I had taken something. I lied. The candy sat in that pocket until the next year as a daily reminder of my sin. I’m pretty sure she knew it was there. She let me live with it. I haven’t enjoyed butterscotch since.

4. In a related incident, one year I opened all my Christmas presents to see what I was getting. The presents were all under the tree about a week before the big day, and I carefully lifted the tape from the edges to peek inside. Then I pushed the tape firmly back into place. It was horrible to know what was in every package. No surprises. A couple of years later when I confessed, my mom told me that she had known. She figured it out when the tape wasn’t sticking on one side of all my packages. She also figured out that she could add nothing to the lesson I learned. She was a wise woman. To this day, I will delay opening a present as long as possible.

5. If I have several things to do, I always want to do the worst one first. This is a problem at work when I am learning something new. It would make more sense to ease my way into the harder task, but I just can’t do the easiest thing first. I like to do the easiest thing last.

6. I don’t fit the typical female stereotypes. I often have fewer words to say than Steve does. I throw out answers to problems when he just wants a sympathetic ear. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but once got I last place in ‘Who’s the Most Romantic’ at a lingerie party. The fact that I even went to a lingerie party is shocking to me. But it was a bunch of married Christian women, so it was sort of tasteful. I believe I collected two points of a possible twenty five, and my prize was a pink feather boa. I forgot to take it home. The upside to this is if Steve participated in the ‘Who’s the Most Romantic’ competition he would win. He’d get the twenty three points that I didn’t.

7. I highly recommend that you get to know what makes you, well, you. One way to do that is by taking Gallup’s Strengths Finder test online and reading the accompanying book. If you buy the book, you get a code to take the test. I know I sound like a commercial, but this tool has been eye-opening and communication inspiring for our family. We even had our kids take the adult test. Now there is a test especially for youth. One of my strengths is INCLUDER, which means that I am going to break the rules of this Tag Game, and declare ALL PLAY. If you read this far, TAG, YOU’RE IT! Grab the button and the rules, and paste them into your post. Let me know if you do, and I’ll link back to you here.

I'm exhausted.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friends and gratefuls

This week I was grateful for:


17. My mom. I've been remembering her a lot lately. Her birthday is tomorrow, but we won't celebrate with her. I won't see her, call her, buy her a present, or send her a card. In January, it will be 10 years since she died.

18. Seasons. Varying definitions.

19. Youth leaders who love and encourage my kids and spend time with them.

20. Women who love me, encourage me, and spend time with me.

21. Steve's Thursday morning men, and some other guys too. Yep, they love him, encourage him, and spend time with him.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wrightstown Farmer's Market

I went to the Wrightstown Farmer's Market a couple of weeks ago.

Exciting things were happening.

I watched the lady from Kaleidoscope Farm being interviewed for Jim Coleman's Healthy Flavors. I also bought some heavenly Honeycrisp apples there.

I got some bread from Great Harvest Bread. I bought the last loaf of the kind I wanted, so he gave me the other half of the sample loaf. Thanks!

Community Baptist Church has a garden. What a great idea!

I was introduced to purple hull peas.

And butter beans.

I stayed a long time at Lillies and Lavender. The owner's son and his friend were nice enough to let me take lots of pictures.

I love cosmos. They are so bright and cheery.

I also bought a bunch of basil, so I could make my favorite sandwich for lunch. Tomato, basil and mozzarella. Terrific!

I gave half the basil bunch to my neighbor and put the rest in water. It has sprouted roots, so now I am going to put my basil in dirt to see if it will grow.

Hope you enjoyed my trip to the Farmer's Market.

In looking for links for this post, I found a local blogger who had already visited and written about the Farmer's Market. Maybe My Garden Travels and I will cross paths someday.

Thanks for visiting my photo story, and be sure to go read other stories at:

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek