Friday, June 30, 2006

7 Things About Meme ;)


* I am the shortest member of my family (5'2")
* I gained 60 pounds during my first pregnancy and lost it all within a year.
* I gained 40 pounds during my second pregnancy and lost 50 in 8 months.
* I have found 20 of them in the last two years.
* I am afflicted with a strange combination of OCD and ADD. ODD for short.
* I have been baptized twice (got it right the second time!)
* I have been married twice (got it right the second time!)


* The thought of never seeing my daughters again.
* Not knowing their whereabouts at any given time.
* The thought that something could happen to them and I'd have no way of knowing.
* The legacy of abuse/alcoholism/divorce being passed on to my children.
* My family's history of health problems
* Mammograms
* Dirty old men


* Point of Grace - all
* Chris Rice - Deep Enough to Dream album, Cartoons
* Peter Penrose - debut album
* Don Williams - all
* The Eagles - most
* Norah Jones - Come Away With Me (our song)
* Vince Gill - that voice!


* Rain
* Chocolate
* Coke - the real thing or C2
* Reading
* Singing
* Laughing
* Iced tea, unsweetened


* I love my husband *sigh* (said to him)
* I married a moron. (in answer to his question, "What's wrong with you?")
* Dude, where's your manners? (to Andrew)
* This is your mother, please call me back. (after the beep on the girls' cell phones)
* Dang. I'm late for work. (nearly every morning)
* I love you. (in every conversation with my husband and kids)
* Lord, forgive me... (daily)

Great. This is the hard part. Are there even 7 people who read my blog?

Diane (Praying for a prodigal)
Dawn (Call me Grandma Dawn)
Bernadette (Texas Gal)
Paulette (My Life Shifting)
Theresa (Bullfrogs & Butterflies)
Faith (Faithful Mommy)
Yellow Mama (One Step Up From Stupid)

Okay, ladies. Now it's your turn. Please let me know if you play along. (No pressure, of course.)

Thursday, June 29, 2006


We interrupt this program to bring you the most current news in the world of me, the blogger known as Brenda, which, coincidentally, is my name. I'll also answer to Brender, Mom, Mrs. Brenda, Aunt Brenda, Bren, honey-darlin'-sweetie pie or witchy-poo (depending upon which mood the hubster thinks I'm in, and he's entitled to his opinion even if he's wrong, so let's just leave it at that, shall we?) and/or hey beautiful. What? It could happen.

Tomorrow is the last day of our fiscal year at work, and they threw us a party this evening to celebrate. We left work early for the festivities, which included our own version of American Idol and a drawing for door prizes. Y'all, I won a door prize! I rarely win anything, but today I won a coffee table book donated by the Georgia Museum of Art. "California Impressionists" sounds impressive, no? I love my job.

So far, I've received no response to the email I sent to my home church regarding the questionable link on their website. I sent it to the pastor and the youth minister a week ago and a couple of days later to the church secretary. I even sent a second email suggesting another link they could use instead. Still haven't contacted the webmaster, which is probably what I should have done in the first place, and haven't decided yet if I will. I'm trying to figure out why it matters so much. I mean, I know why I care what they have on their website - because I'm still a member there. But why does it bother me that I've gotten no response? Carl suggests the possibility, regardless of the close relationship I had working with them for 5 years, that they haven't taken kindly to the idea of men being rebuked by a woman. Could be, I guess. I hope they didn't take the email to be rude. It's not the first email I've sent to the pastor. The last one was rather heartfelt, a note of appreciation and encouragement, following a service I attended in which his sermon ministered to me. No reply to that one either, but it didn't bother me like this does. Leaves me feeling kinda church-homeless.

Maybe they forgot to wind the internet. It is Hooterville, and high-speed access wasn't available when I was there. Oh well.

Thank you all for your prayers for my girls. Keep 'em coming if you would - we're not out of the dark yet. I don't speak with them daily, though I try. It's comforting that they are together, and I have informed them that I do not intend to let them be separated again. Yesterday, when I spoke to Sarah, I asked her once again to pray that God would give her a desire to grow in her faith and a willingness to trust Him in all things. She said she would. I'm praying that He'll strengthen the bond between them and prepare her to come with her sister for the school year. I would so rather have either or both of them resent me now for uprooting them than to have them resent me the rest of their lives for not seeing to it that they were firmly rooted in Christ. Whatever it takes, Lord. Whatever it takes.

Well, that about wraps it up. God bless you for stopping by. Hope your day is absotively, posilutely wondermous!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Poetry Thursday

A few years ago, I participated in an online poetry forum. Participants were challenged to write a poem a day for 30 days. I didn't make it 30 days, but I did make an effort. It's not as easy as one might think. I don't consider myself a poet, and I haven't tried since then to write anything new. Indeed, I am a rank amateur (rank meaning malodorous.) I offer, as proof, the following examples of my mad skillz:

Mother Goose Grows Up

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet
armed with a can of Raid.
She had no more fear when the spider came near,
so bravely she pointed and sprayed.

These days she sits around on her duff - it's
quite a bit larger now.
She consumed all the curds and whey (so I've heard)
then she went and devoured the cow.


Humpty Dumpty's only recourse
when Mrs. Dumpty filed for divorce
was to hire a lawyer
from King and Associates -
the best his money could buy.

She represented herself.

Humpty, a Wall Street broker,
really wanted to choke her
when she got it all
thanks to his lawyer,
who didn't even try.


Bo Peep has lost her lambs again:
she will not keep her eye on them
and leaves them alone for days.

A neighbor called Authorities,
reported her activities,
and the State took them away.


Yes, well, there you have it,folks. My contribution to "Poetry Thursday". Have a fantabulous day!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fifty Ways To Grieve Your Mother

I went to bed early last night and went right to sleep. Next thing I know it's midnight and I'm wide awake. With a song running through my head. A Simon and Garfunkel tune that keeps playing itself over and over, but the words are different. And it goes like this:

There must be fifty ways to grieve your mother
Fifty ways to grieve your mother

Just step on a crack, Jack
Wreck her new van, Stan
You don't need to share toys, Roy
Just go climb a tree
Learn how to cuss, Gus
You don't wanna discuss much
Just set the cat free, Lee
And eat all the cheese

Just start talkin' smack, Jack
Break a new dish, Trish
You don't have to be clean, Jean
Just try to be mean
Hop on the bed, Fred
You don't need to obey much
Just don't brush your teeth, Keith
And then you shall see

There must be fifty ways to grieve your mother
Fifty ways to grieve your mother. . .

Yeah. So anyway. How'd you sleep?

Treasure Tuesday

This is my treasure for today. Every morning, I have a new Bible verse waiting for me in my inbox. It never fails to give me a lift, and it's very encouraging when the Verse of the Day applies to my particular situation that day. It also keeps me in God's word daily. When I've let myself get too busy to go to the scriptures, they come to me! What it won't do is drag me out of bed an hour earlier for quiet time, but at least it does motivate me to pick up my Bible, or look up the verse online at Bible Gateway, and read it in context. It's a great memory verse tool as well.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Provided by Christ Notes

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Proverbs 16:25 (New International Version)

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You can find even more treasures at Faith's blog. Have a blessed day!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Have a Great Monday!

It's a gorgeous day here in Northeast Georgia. The gently falling rain is refreshing and very soothing. I love rain.

I hope all of you had a glorious weekend, and may your Monday be blessed!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dialogue With a One-Way Mirror in Victoria's Secret

As she disappears to the back of the store,
he beats a path to the coffee shop next door.

In the silence of the dressing room,
her reflection taunts her.

Can you imagine your dump-truck
butt in that tiny thing?

It is really cute, though.

I suppose you could enlist a personal trainer,
maybe get deal-a-meal. A bikini-wax is in order,
and you really should do something about those
spider veins: sclerotherapy or laser treatment?

Who am I kidding? I don't even
have the courage to try it on!

She leaves the swimsuit hanging and finds
her husband waiting, just as she had instructed.

He asks, "Did you find anything?"
She shakes her head.
"Nah, too expensive."

I wrote this last year in answer to a challenge to write a poem using the following words:
dump-truck, deal, courage, path, personal, instruction, silence, coffee, spider, wax

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What Would You Do?

What would you do if you found this link on your church's website?

I sent the pastors the following email with a request for a reply:

Hi! It's Brenda, your former financial secretary. Just wanted to let you know the website looks great, but you may want to take a closer look at the "Can I Know" link on the home page.

Look at the bulleted section right below the big "IF!" See it? Here's what it says:

*If Heaven is real and hell is real, (maybe they're not) but IF they are real, is it worth the chance that you might spend an Eternity in hell?
*If you could KNOW that you were going to Heaven would you want to?
*Is there someone you know or care about that you would not want to go to hell, IF hell IS real?

Now scroll down to the bottom of the page. See that? Written in red:

Hell may not be real....BUT IF IT IS!!!!!!!!!

This link is right on the FBC Hooterville home page, and it's the very first one! Who is this Don fellow? Do you know? Now I know that there's a disclaimer on his site near the top, but I don't see a disclaimer on your site anywhere, which makes it appear that pretty much you endorse his statements.

I believe this man misses the mark. He's got some of it right, except the fact of Hell. Minor detail? Heavens no!

Please remedy this as soon as possible.

Love in Christ,

Southern Baptists do believe Hell is real, don't they? (Well, I always did, cause when my daddy told my mama to go there, she always said "I'm in hell with YOU." But I digress.) I'm thinking maybe they just didn't read it thoroughly before linking to it. I noticed a lot of typos on the music minister's page, so it's likely (obvious) they didn't proof-read.

I wonder what would be the best way to encourage them to use spell-check. I wonder how many others notice things like that. Would you contact the webmaster? The secretary? Why do I care? Because there are a lot of people who would chalk it up to ignorance, and that would give them one more reason to reject the message.

To a lot of people Christian = Doofus. They think we have to turn off our brains to believe. I think we don't have to prove them right.

What say you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Halfway to 80

For those of you who don't know, my beloved and I met online. We didn't use a dating service or anything of that sort, because we weren't looking for potential mates. We crossed paths once in a chat room on MSN, then "met" again almost a year later in another MSN chat room for trivia buffs. We didn't know at the time that we had a mutual friend. Her name is Nikki, and she is a dear friend to both of us. We got to know one another pretty well while we were yukking it up in "To Quizinity and Beyond", and the three of us met in Memphis on one of her visits to the states. She's from Australia and had come to the US to meet a few of our trivia buddies, and she graciously accepted my invitation to stay with me for a week. Carl and I had just met in person that weekend, and Nikki arrived in Memphis the day he was leaving. The three of us had a grand old time that day sightseeing, snapping photos, and laughing nonstop. Nikki and I saw Carl off, then headed back to my apartment in Arkansas.

She was a wonderful houseguest. I couldn't take off work, so she was basically stranded in Hooterville until I got home each day. There is no fun to be had in Hooterville. In the evenings, we'd go to Little Rock or North Little Rock to find fun, and even that was a stretch. I grew up in Little Rock, but on the southwest side, sheltered, if you will, from all things cultural and cool. In other words, I was a dork. Okay, make that am, but... well, now you know why. Pretty much, we'd just go out to dinner and then for a walk. The highlight of her visit, I'm sure, was the night we went to Outback Steakhouse. Yes, I did take my vegan Aussie friend to Outback. Well, we were running out of options, and she hadn't been there before. And yes, she still laughs at me for that.

She is now happily married to one of our other trivia buddies and living in Washington state. They are the proud parents of one adorable little boy. We will get together again one of these days, this time on her turf, because obviously, I am the most-boring-ever hostess on the planet. Or at least on 2 continents.

We chat every now and then on MSN messenger, which is one of the ways that Carl and I stayed connected while we were dating. Yahoo! messenger is another. Sometimes we'd do both at the same time. We'd also talk on the phone while making faces at each other on our webcams. Barb asked me in her comment on this post about the webcam. Yes, I did get the webcam so that Carl and I could see each other. Because who wants to be seeing this or this
while typing sweet nothings to a computer? Really. And the cool thing is I'm not half bad looking in comparison. Although I do wonder about his affinity for little old ladies. Not that I'm worried. I'm already halfway there.

Group Project

I did promise to share about a project that our Baptist Women (younger generation WMU) group took part in, so here it is.

I suggested that we get together and have a "quilting bee" to teach our daughters to sew. Several of the ladies were hesitant because many of them didn't know how either, and only 3 of us had machines. But when I told them what I thought we should make, they all wanted to participate. I showed them the denim quilt I had made and told them how easy it was. All we needed was enough denim to make lap quilts for the seniors at the local retirement home. We asked all of our church members to donate old jeans, but only if they were unwearable. And boy did they ever. We had boxes and boxes full of worn out jeans, flannel shirts, and several old sheets. We were in business.

Everyone took home something to cut into squares, and we met together for two Saturdays to assemble them all. We had a fabulous time fellowshipping and working together to make those quilts. And y'all, I thought my quilt was cool. It was nothing like these. The ones we made were denim and flannel on one side and muslin or cotton blend on the other. Durable, but not too heavy. They were very nice.

The best part was delivering the quilts to the nursing home residents. The way their faces lit up when we presented their gifts was unforgettable.

It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ties That Bind

I tend to outgrow my jeans before they get too worn to wear, and I cling to them in hopes of one day being able to fit into them again. But this was not always the case. No, I actually did wear out several pair in the days before desk jobs and blogging. I became attached to them because they represented a time in my life when I was finally the size I wanted to be. I had worked hard to achieve that goal, and I maintained my weight for almost 15 years. Those were the days.

Anyway, I didn't want to just throw out my favorite jeans, so I made a quilt out of them. I cut them into 6-inch squares and laid the pieces on the floor in rows about the width of a twin mattress and columns the approximate length. I rearranged the squares until the color pattern suited me, then I stitched them all together using a 1/4" seam allowance. This would be the quilt top. Then I cut a sheet to the same size at the quilt top to use for backing. Denim is heavier than most quilting fabrics, so no batting was needed. I sewed top and back together (outsides facing in) around the edges, leaving an opening in one end for turning. After turning, I stitched the opening closed and continued the seam along all 4 edges to give it a uniform look and to prevent ravelling. The finishing touch was to take contrasting yarn and tie the quilt back to the quilt top at the corner of each piece. I had made my first. quilt. ever.

When we were dating, my husband wanted me to show him how to make one. We gathered up all his worn-out jeans to make a quilt for his son. We cut squares from the jeans and from an old sheet and alternated the blue and green squares. We backed it with a dark blue sheet and tied it with orange yarn.

I showed him how to use the machine so he could finish the project himself. He enjoyed it so much, he even made a binding for the finished quilt! (Don't you love a man who can sew? And quilt? I do!)

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about a ladies' group project I led.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Am I Crazy?

I have been struggling the past few weeks with something my mother and sister both said to me in response to my request for prayer over my younger daughter Sarah. We all agree that she needs her mother.

A bit of background:
She's 14 now, and last school year she lived with her dad 10 hours away from me and her older sister Lindsey. I had very little contact with her because he had had his phone disconnected before he came to get her. He asked if she could keep her cell phone, and assured me that I would hear from her regularly. I let her take the phone so that we could talk daily, but he would take it from her to keep her in line. When she did have it in her possession, she used it to call her friends and send text messages, doubling my bill. He would let her go out of town with friends on the weekends and keep the phone with him for his own use. When I called, he wouldn't answer, and I had no way of knowing where she was or with whom, or how she was doing.

Lindsey and I made trips as often as we could to visit, and their dad and I would trade kids for the weekend. The time I had with Sarah was difficult, to say the least. She had no respect for my authority, and discussions with her were usually one-sided. I tried to get her to talk with me, but she'd tune me out and shrug when I asked questions. I prayed for God to give me wisdom, to show me how to reach her, pleading with Him to restore our relationship.

On one visit, I took her to a bookstore to let her pick out a devotional that we could do together over the phone. She wasn't as excited as I was, but she was willing. As soon as we got back to the car, she wanted to get the devotional over with so she could play when we got back to Grandma's. I asked her if she'd ever heard the verse "Be still, and know that I am God." She wasn't sure, so I asked her if she had any idea what it meant. "Not really." said she, so I explained that we are so easily distracted by the things of the world, by our friends, by work or play that we forget to take time to listen to God. He wants us to spend time with Him in His word, in prayer, in our daily activities, and if we will be still long enough, He will reveal things to us that we might have missed otherwise.

Later that evening, as we were getting ready for bed, I told her that I wanted her to read the devotional, then we would discuss it. Snuggled up together, we opened the book to that day's passage, and she read "Be still, and know that I am God." I explained that God had just confirmed that we were doing the right thing.

We continued our devotions over the phone for about a week. Then her dad took the phone from her and told me how much she hates doing them, how I have sent more people to hell than the devil himself, and how he'll be waiting at the flaming gates when I arrive. I swear he was hissing when he spoke. He said he doesn't want me telling her how to pray because he told her she can pray for anything she wants. Not long after that, her phone quit working altogether.

Fast forward to Memorial Day Weekend. Lindsey had gone to spend the summer with her dad two weeks earlier, and both girls were to be at my mom's house that weekend so I could visit with them. My mom shared with me the uneasy feeling she got when he dropped them off at her house and told her (in front of them) "Sarah and I get along real well. I've got her. I know I can depend on her. Lindsey's not that easy. She brought a Georgia (UGA) blanket to put on her bed. I don't want it in my house." She said he was kinda laughing when he said that, but she wasn't sure he was joking.

My mom and I discussed the potential damage to Sarah that he could do with that kind of manipulation. Lindsey isn't immune to it, but she's more aware of it, and seems to be a little less affected by it. We again were in agreement that Sarah needs a healthier environment. Yes, we should pray about it. Yes, we need God to handle this. All agree.

So toward the end of our visit, before their dad came to pick them up, I wanted to pray a hedge of protection around my girls. I asked my mom if she would pray with us, and she looked at me funny. The girls and I went upstairs to pray together, and I prayed that God would keep them safe and guard their hearts and minds against evil. I prayed that He would filter everything they see and hear and allow only the truth to get through.

After they left, I told my mom why I had wanted her to pray with us. (Matthew 18: 19-20 says "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.") I didn't quote her the scripture, but I tried to explain it. She told me that I'm worrying about it too much, and that I should just pray for God's will to be done and forget it.

Later, I was talking with my sister about it, and asked her to pray for them as well. I told her that I'm praying specifically that the girls won't be separated again, and that they would return to me willingly, with a desire to be obedient to Him. She said, "Well, you should pray for God's will and leave it at that. That's what we did when we were trying to adopt Mary Ann. We prayed that she would be placed where it was His will for her to be, even if it wasn't with us."

Now here's what I'm wondering. Is there a doubt in their minds that my children should be with me? Do they not understand that this is not a custody battle between warring ex-spouses, but that the very souls of my children could be at stake? Their dad is not the enemy, but neither is he encouraging them to turn from the world and seek after righteousness.

Isn't praying according to scripture in essence praying for God's will to be done? I'm deeply troubled by their responses to my request. My desire is not to turn my children against their dad. My desire is to strengthen their foundation of faith, to give them guidance, to teach them by example how to fully rely on God. Is it crazy to think that if I pray specifically for these things then God would give me the desires of my heart?

I don't think so. What do you think?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day, Pops!

Pops is my dad. We girls always called him Daddy, then he became Pops after the first grandchild came along. My brother, who has chosen not to have children, still calls him Dad.

I've always admired my dad. He was never terribly affectionate, but he showed his love for us in other ways. He worked hard to provide for his family, and although he must have been very tired when he got home from work, he still found time to play with us. He would crack jokes at the dinner table that would send my younger sister and me into fits of giggles, which earned him a scolding from my mom and earned us a trip to our rooms until we could straighten up. Many times we'd come back to the table only to have to go right back to our rooms for cracking up as soon as we looked at each other again.

He took us to work with him to teach us the value of hard work. I was nine when I started working at his service station. I pumped gas, checked oil, and washed windshields. He taught me how to operate the cash register and how to make change for customers. When someone came in to ask for directions, I listened intently so that I would know how to help people get to where they were going. To this day, I've never been lost, and I have a keen sense of direction. I can even refold a map. I loved to watch him and my uncle work on cars, and I learned how to fix flat tires and how to balance them. At one time I thought I wanted to be a mechanic when I grew up.

He was a patient teacher, and he instilled in me a love for knowledge. He would challenge us with brain teasers, memorization, and math puzzles. He'd have us say the alphabet backwards just for fun. He stressed the importance of education and always encouraged us to read ahead in our textbooks and to work all the problems, not just the ones that had been assigned. He taught himself computer programming, and he taught me about binary numbers before I learned algebra. We had a home computer before home computers were cool. He was always reading and learning something new, and when he said "Come here, I want to show you something" we knew he was going to teach us what he'd learned.

He could fix just about anything, and I loved to watch him take things apart and put them back together. Sometimes he'd let me help. In many ways, my husband is a lot like him.

He has done a lot of things for me over the years, and in his own quiet way he has shown me that my well-being is still one of his greatest concerns. For this I am extremely grateful.

I love you, Daddy.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What fun we're having with this site. Oh yes we are. It started with Toni, and Barb joined in, then Diane got in the game, and I had to try it too. I mean, who wouldn't want to be mistaken for a celebrity? I have been told that I look like Lynda Carter, but I have my doubts. Partly because someone else told me I look just like my brother, and he doesn't look a thing like Wonder Woman. Not. Even. Close. It could be worse. And just to prove that point, I'll reveal some of the results I got.
This is a webcam capture from about 3 years ago.

They say I look like:
Laura Branigan, Enya, Rene Russo, Benjamin Netanyahu(hmmm), Uma Thurman, and Madeleine Stowe
in that order. Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. No way.

I submitted other photos and got even more interesting, and some depressing, results. Blogger won't let me upload any more right now, so I'll post the rest later.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Oh Snap!

Last night for dinner, we had pork roast, asparagus, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and garlic toast. (Somebody call Ripley's - the woman cooked a meal!) It was some good eatin', I tell ya. I can say that because the roast came from the Kroger Deli, the potatoes from a box, and the toast and asparagus from the freezer. Oh yeah, I got me some mad skillz in the kitchen. Fo' shizzle.

I fixed plates for the kids, and Andrew took one look at his, and said "Why would anyone think an 11-year-old boy likes asparagus?" This was a hypothetical question, apparently, because he ate it without complaining. That, or he was starving. You just don't know about those 11-yr-old boys.

Anyway, just for fun, I thought I'd revisit the Intriguing Question.

Several possible answers (wisecracks) come to mind:

a) I heard it tastes like boogers, and I wanted your opinion.

b) Well gee, son, I didn't think you'd like it; I was hoping it would kill you.

c) It's not asparagus. It's green stuff I found growing in the back of the fridge.

Now I want to know what your response (snappy comeback) might have been. Get your smarty-pants on, and play along!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Highlights from some of my favorite blogs.

1) Dawn's prodigal son came home, and there's a partay going on at Diane's.

2) Mandy's got wonderful news!

3) Barb has got some planning to do.

4) Toni is having an unusual identity crisis.

5) Diane is lauding the virtues of summer in Arkansas.

6) Yellow Mama is rejoicing that her daughter is coming home.

7) Lori's colorful post will make you laugh... and think.

8) Grafted Branch has a fabulous wardrobe idea.

9) Boomama ponders life's little lessons.

10) Bev is kicking clutter to the curb.

11) Lauren's Thursday 13 icon is adorable. You may want to check out her family-friendly blogroll while you're there.

12) Only one more day to answer the Question of the Week posed by Jules.

13) Antique Mommy is sure to make you smile.

There are so many good blogs out there that I can hardly keep up with them all. If you need me, I'll be catching up on my reading. Enjoy your evening!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Works for Me: Let Hubby Help

Last Friday after we got home from work, Hubs and I decided to do some last minute tidying before heading out to pick up the kids. I tackled the folding and putting away of the laundry while he ran circles around me doing his chores. He cleaned off the table, vacuumed the living room, fed and watered the dogs and cat, and took out the garbage. He's fast and efficient. He's so good, in fact, that I may never find anything he put away.

So, we're in the car on our way to get the kids. When I look over at him, he's laughing to himself. I ask what's so funny, and he runs down the list of tasks he accomplished while I folded laundry. Then he said "I was just thinking your next Works-for-Me post should be a picture of me!"

Excellent idea, don't you think?

Now hurry on over to Shannon's for more great tips!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Odds and Ends

I guess I'll start with the Ends.

Yesterday, I happened upon this website while I was catching up on news from Arkansas, and the war just got a lot closer to home. The young man mentioned in the forum was a member of my home church. I had known his mother only well enough to speak to her when I saw her, but my heart broke for her when I read the tragic news. Please pray for her. Her name is Linda.

My good friend and former neighbor, Doug, had been his 10th grade Sunday school teacher. He also recruited the young hero. I know he's taking it hard. Pray for him also.

The news shook the whole town, I imagine. Beebe has a population of about 5,000. First Baptist Church has an average attendance of 400-500. It must have been an amazing sight when more than 300 members of the Patriot Guard showed up to run interference for the family by blocking their view of the handful of protestors from Topeka, KS. Beebe's probably never seen anything like it.

Now on to the Odds.

How odd that a bunch of people who call themselves Christians would protest the funeral of anyone, much less a young man who died in service to our country. Could they be any more disrespectful? God does not hate people, He hates sin. ALL sin, including prejudice.

I will no longer be so quick to judge when I see a grungy dude on a motorcycle, and I will never look at a motorcycle gang the same way again.

Today's news?

A young woman I work with has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She's in her early 20's and has a 2-year-old son. Please pray for Jeniece.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

South Fork River Photos

These were taken at one of our local state parks. No idea who the child is, but I love this shot.

I'm giving credit to my beloved for both photos because we don't remember which of us actually took them. What matters more is
1) that we were together and 2) that I do share my toys.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Article That Changed My Life

I was married to an alcoholic for 14 years. I met him at work while trying to escape an abusive boyfriend-turned-stalker. He was 14 years older than I with a 9-yr-old daughter from a previous marriage. He had served in the Marines and in the Navy, forced to retire with a disability after a motorcycle accident cost him his left leg below the knee. His wife had run off with another man while he was in rehab, taking their daughter with her. He had been abused by his step-father and had learned to fight his way through life. What he lacked in stature, he made up for in brawn. He was fun-loving, kind, and devoted to his daughter.

We were attracted immediately and began spending as much time together as possible. After 4 months of dating, I moved in with him. I was throwing money away on rent since I spent more time at his house than at my apartment, and he wanted to protect me from stalker-boy. Five months later we were married.

I had many misconceptions about marriage, and we didn't see eye to eye on most issues. When I was growing up, my parents fought constantly, and I didn't want my marriage to be like that. The one thing I swore that I would never do is nag. I chose to be non-confrontational, and I refused to fight back.

I had no idea that I had married an alcoholic. I knew he drank, but he didn't drink every day, and neither of us had a problem with it. If he wanted to drink, I wasn't going to stop him from bringing it into the house. I had always thought that if my mother had allowed my dad to drink at home then he wouldn't have had to go out so often.

As the years wore on, it became a problem. When he realized that I wouldn't complain about his going out with the boys, he began to go more often. Eventually, he started forgetting to come home. He was behaving as if he were single while I was at home caring for our children. It never once crossed my mind that he might have been unfaithful. However, he accused me on several occasions of cheating on him, threatening to throw me out and never allowing me to see our children again.

I knew he would never hit me, but he knew how to scare me. I lived in fear of what he might do in a fit of rage, so I tried my best to meet his expectations. Somehow I always managed to say the wrong thing or do something to set him off, and he would launch into a tirade, throwing things and screaming at me. No one else knew, not even the kids. It was our dirty little secret, kept behind the closed door of our bedroom.

Then one night after an evening out with friends, we came home to find the house in the same condition in which we'd left it. The kids' rooms were messy, and he flew into a drunken rage, reducing them to tears. Who did he think was there to clean up while we were out? After he left the room, I instructed the kids to go get in the car. When he saw us walking out the door, he looked astonished and said simply, "You're leaving."

As I drove away, I realized I had no idea where to go. It was late, and I didn't want to go back to our friends' home as they were most likely in bed by then. I didn't want to get my parents involved because I didn't think they'd understand. I didn't know anyone who would understand. We went to Wal-Mart for some retail therapy.

A couple of hours later, I figured he had passed out and it was safe to return home. The garage was locked, as was the dead-bolt on the front door. My key wouldn't unlock it, so we came in through the back door into the living room. It was a disaster! Apparently, he had gone on a rampage. Furniture was overturned, picture frames were broken, and he had even gone into the girls' room and kicked their stuff around. They were confused and frightened by what they saw. Oddly enough, none of his things were damaged.

This was a turning point for me. I began seeking help. I found a website devoted to saving marriages and pored over article after article. One particular article opened my eyes to the reality that I had denied for so long. I had contributed to the problem by covering for and making excuses for him. I was only responsible for my actions and reactions. It was time to turn over to him the responsibility of his actions and reactions, to allow him to suffer the consequences of his decisions, to stop trying to rescue him from his own destructive behavior. As hard as I tried, I couldn't save him from himself, but I knew I had to protect myself and our kids.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Paper or Plastic?

I'm a pack-rat, no doubt about it, and my husband can't stand it. However, I try to save only items that are reusable, such as plastic shopping bags.

I use them to line small wastebaskets instead of buying the liners by the roll or box. This saves my family a lot of money because we make a lot of trash.

I also keep at least one in each vehicle, especially when traveling with the kids. In our van, I hang one between the driver and passenger seats - just slip a handle over each arm rest, and voila! instant trash receptacle.

When packing suitcases, I slip several in a side pocket to be used for dirty laundry, or muddy shoes, or wet swimsuits . . . you get the idea.

I keep them under the kitchen sink in a larger bag. When the bag is full, it's time to stop adding to the stash. Extras can be recycled. I have yet to deplete the stash, because each trip to the grocery store or Wal-Mart yields several new bags - free with every purchase.

I'm sure this isn't a novel idea, but it works for me!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Random thoughts...

I need a haircut. I like it short, and so does my husband. I'm a wash'n'go kinda girl. My daughters, on the other hand, had been begging me to let it grow out. They liked it better long. Back in March, we all went to get our hair did, and I had them choose the "right look" for me.

Surprisingly, they both agreed with my husband and selected a cute little do that was short but not too boyish. The one they decided on was not the one I ended up with. We had printed out pictures of the cuts we wanted and took them to Great Clips.

Both of them got pretty much what they wanted, but the lady who got ahold of me seemed more interested in talking my ear off than in getting my cut right. She glanced at the picture a time or two, all the while snipping away. Before she was done, I hated it.

I think when I said "I'd like it to look like this picture" she heard me say "I don't want it to look anything like this picture, and as a matter of fact, if you could make it look more like you took a weedeater to it, that'd be great." At least I didn't pay full price. I think I'd have cried if not for the coupon.

Babydaddy hated my hair short. He said I look too much like my brother. We do, in fact, look a lot alike, except that he's more than a foot taller than me, doesn't fill out double d cups, and wears a size 13 shoe. Yep, we're practically identical.

Then again, we all bear a strong family resemblance. Every friend or acquaintance of my parents I've ever met has commented that they knew right away who I belong to. That kinda makes it hard for me not to claim my relatives or for them not to claim me.

What if I bore that strong a resemblance to Christ? If people just knew right away "that there's a child of God, no doubt about it", wouldn't that be wonderful? I have to admit that too often it's not that obvious.

I am ever so thankful that He still claims me as His own, bad hair days and all.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Just for Clicks

The snapshots here, here, and here were taken in March of this year on our honeymoon/anniversary/business trip to San Francisco using my old Kodak VR35. We were very impressed with the photos, and Carl was sure the talent was mine, so he encouraged me to get a new (more expensive) camera and take up photography.

I loved the idea, especially since we both enjoy the outdoors. He loves flyfishing, and since I'd rather watch anyway, I can still accompany him and practice my new "hobby" as well.

I am less inclined to believe that I have any real talent behind a camera, because I prefer scenic photography, and it is our Father who created all things magnificent. I'm just here to appreciate the wonder of it all.

I suggested that Carl write poems to accompany the photos, but I think I'm enjoying more searching for scriptures to go along with them. I would love your input in this endeavor. If you have any suggestions for a scripture match to any of the photos posted, please leave a comment in the "responses" section of the respective post. Even if I've already selected a passage, you may have an even better suggestion. If so, I'd love to hear it.

This is not a contest, as I have no Fabulous Prizes to offer, unless my appreciation of your opinion counts for something. I do hope you'll play along just for clicks.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Move Over, Olan Mills

March 26, 2006

Lindsey (16), Sarah (14), and me, the brilliant idea thinker upper

Location: The State Botanical Garden of Georgia

The idea was to take the girls to a lovely setting to get some really great shots of them together. For some reason, they decided against smiling and opted for the "whose dumb idea was this in the first place?" look. Yep. That's my girls.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Psalm 19:14

May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen (Worst) Mother-of-the-Year Moments

In light of Toni's post, I thought I'd highlight some of my shining moments which didn't get me nominated for Mother of the Year.

1) My first shining moment ever was the time I sat 9-month-old Lindsey in a toddler chair to put her shoes on. As I turned and reached for the shoes, she leaned forward and bounced right out of the chair head first. She landed on the base of her walker and cut her bottom lip open. My mom and I rushed her to the emergency room where I had to hold her down while they gave her 3 stitches.

2) At a photography studio in the mall, I set Sarah's infant carseat/carrier on a chair while I registered the girls for their sitting. Somehow it slid off and landed upside down on the floor with her in it. A trip to the emergency room confirmed that she had not hit the floor on impact and was not injured. Good thing she was buckled in!

3) I once put two-year-old Lindsey outside when I couldn't get her to STOP! SCREAMING! The neighbors appreciated that, I'm sure. CPS never showed up.

4) The first time our pastor came to visit after we'd joined the church, I jokingly commented that we thought 4-yr-old Lindsey was possessed. He wasn't amused.

5) I wasn't diligent enough with the sunscreen on one all-day outing at the lake, and 3-yr-old Sarah's shoulder BLISTERED badly.

6) I got home one afternoon to find 5-year-old Lindsey in the backyard with the dog because she was locked out of the house and didn't have a key. I had lost track of time while shopping, and the bus beat me home. I was proud of her for thinking to hang out with the dog so he could keep her company. Smart kid.

7) I always took the girls Christmas shopping with me, and when they asked why I was putting the stuff they wanted from Santa in the buggy, I told them "I have to put it in lay-away so Santa can pick it up later."

8) I botched the Santa vs. Jesus explanation, too. Afterwards, 7-yr-old Sarah said, "So you're saying Santa Claus is dead?" (Way to go, Mom.)

9) They discovered that I had kept their baby teeth in a pouch in my jewelry box. I explained that the tooth fairy takes the tooth from under their pillow, leaves money, then puts the tooth under my pillow.

10) At the pool, in the deep end, where I was treading water, 9-yr-old Lindsey was perched on a floatie ring rippling the water with her fingertips. As soon as she said "Oh, this treading water... it's so hard!" the ring suddenly flipped over. I nearly drowned from laughing so hard at the sight of her stuck upside down in the floatie. Yes, I did help her out, but I was still laughing. Hard.

11) Sarah used to whine and tattle on Lindsey for picking on her. I finally told her "Knock her out. Betcha she'll leave you alone then."

12) I can't stand eyerolling. To express my disapproval of this infraction, I have said "You roll those eyes at me again, and you'll be picking eyeballs up off the floor." Yes, I am aware that they learned it from me.

13) On the way to school one day, Lindsey sassed me, and when I reached over to pop her in the mouth, I missed and bloodied her nose. (I really didn't hit her that hard, honest. It was the angle at which I made contact. And I did apologize. Profusely.)

Hey, the good news is that I had to think long and hard to come up with 13, so maybe I'm getting the hang of this parenting thing after all. I should have it down pat by the time they're grown and having kids of their own so I can tell 'em how to do it right!