Well... I've started the Living Beyond yourself Bible study by Beth Moore, and frankly... I have nothing to say.
NOTHING TO SAY QUIETLY, THAT IS!!! Cause, I am the poster child for EXCLAMATION LIVING!!! I so love this expression that Beth Moore used... and I think you'll find a whole lotta women that agree with my sentiments! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;-)
You see, in my relationship with my husband, we have always said (and even laugh about it) that I am the GAS, and HE is the BRAKES ... which just proves that I have always been an exclamation... In fact, so is he ... but that's another story for another time.
So... First, I just have to share how I have struggled. I did not realize how difficult it would be to work full time (40 hours a week), be a full time wife, a full time mom, and care for a house (as in clean it), wash dishes after dinner, blog, pay bills, keep the check book from bouncing (as in not spending money) AND do a Bible study each night.
But out of all of those things, being a full time wife and mom is the most rewarding for me (okay... blogging is too) but NONE of this would be possible with out Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Comforter, my Strength, and the EXCLAMATION in my life. None of it. So, the Bible study is THE MOST important TOOL in my life -- and I'm so excited about it that I can't keep my mouth shut about it. Surprise, huh? Yeah, well ... my mom (who is doing a different Beth Moore study) is probably sick and tired of hearing me talk about it. And my in-laws. And definitely my husband. I was even talking about it at church on Wednesday. Basically... you just can't shut me up about it. Yet another surprise, huh?
First, what I want to do is to share with you five of Beth Moore's quotes from the intro segment of the videos...
1) "GOD IS STILL HAPPENING!" (Amen, Hallelujah ... and Praise the Lord for that!)
2) "When you learn to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, you will be walking in Power."
3) "We have a NOW God! You don't have to wait to become spiritually mature before God can work in your life... We are constantly placed in positions of where we are in immediate need, and we can go to God and tell him "Oh, God -- I need it NOW!" And an outpouring of God comes over us that not only makes us ultimately different, but immediately different! "
4) "God can change our moods! We don't have to be ugly or in a bad mood. God can change that!"
5) "Every time you throw your hands up and say... "You can't" ... Oh YES you can! With the infiltrating power of the Holy Spirit ... YOU CAN! And THAT'S when you know ... GOD IS GOD."
I also want to share some points I've learned ... (only 9, because I have yet to do tonight's study... and will do it after I'm done with this post) --
1) The filling and subsequent gifts of the Spirit won't just change my life... It will CHANGE MY DAY!
2) As women ... we are very influential ... and therefore, must be very careful with this "skill."
3) One of the clearest proofs of God's power is the evidence of a transformed life... MY transformed life.
4) Few things on earth cause as much unhappiness as trying to win the approval and affirmation of people.
5) I am normal... Really, I am ... because everyday, even the disciples fought temptation -- and sometimes lost. Even after they were filled with the Holy Spirit. But, they were never beyond confrontation and accountability.
6) I must (owww -- this one hurts...) abandon my own will and my own agenda so that God's will won't be thwarted in me.
7) Intense times of alone-time with God are required!
8) The greatest risk we'll ever run into is growing casual with the basic precepts of "so great a Salvation." (Trust me, I have been there!)
9) God's specialty is making impossibilities possible (Oh YEAH ... As I said to Janice in an email earlier... God is so good... he's the best thing in the whole world ... better than chocolate, and that says a lot!!!! He answers prayers, and performs modern day miracles. He is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow... and having [and holding] my son and having frozen embryos reminds me of that constantly ... daily.) And by the way... I am Beth Moore's precious friend ... uuuhhuuuhhh ... she said so in the second (or third) to last paragraph on page 22 ... OH OKAY ... YOU'RE her "precious friend" too -- Wa, wa, wa.... Man... MUST you BURST my bubble like that ALL THE TIME? Ha! Just kidding.
Now, I must close, because there are a gazillion other women commenting about this week's study, and I don't want to steal ALL their thunder.... but before I go... I will leave you with this one last quote... My FAVORITE quote of all times by Beth Moore, because, honey... it's me! Uhhh Huuuuhhh!!!
"You can still like lipstick and like the Word"
Well, Praise God for that!!!
Have a blessed weekend in the Lord, and please... click on some links to the left and see what God's doing in some of the other women's lives!
[Note from the editor: I have tried, and tried to make the linking and banner codes work... but frustratingly enough... I have no idea what I'm doing... And I keep getting a lot of gray spaces AND it messed up my entire template. Sorry for any technical inconveniences this may cause.]
Friday, March 31, 2006
Well... I've started the Living Beyond yourself Bible study by Beth Moore, and frankly... I have nothing to say.
So... yesterday was just so much fun and excitement... I decided to wake up and try it again. So -- I'm going to bare my soul to y'all... since there aren't that many of you, and since this is way, WAY private, and since no one ever lurkes out there.... and yes... this is another long blog, so if you just want the recipes (and you don't care one iyota about me *sob*) then just scroll towards the bottom... Okay ... fasten your seat belts, 'cause here we go.
I truly believe I am a beautiful woman ... inside and out. And, I believe this, because my husband said so. And my man NEVER lies ... never. Honesty is his ONLY policy, whether you like it or not. So, beautiful I am. But... I could stand to loose a few pounds. Maybe more than a few. Daggone it... must you look at me that way? OKAY. I need to loose about 5,000 pounds. There. Are you happy now? Sheesh.
But loosing weight has never been easy for me. NEVER. I struggle with PCOS, which totally has my hormones in an uproar. In fact, my OBGYN (men are now running from my blog screaming in protest -- look how funny they look!) said that I probably would NOT loose weight even if I sewed my mouth shut. Gee, thanks. But... he would know. He's the specialist.
Ironically, I weigh less now than I did before I got pregnant. About 25 pounds less. But sadly, my body has changed so much after having the baby, that my clothing fits ... well ... Weirdly. Everything shifted. I hate that! Now, (thanks, God) I have a low and loose belly. Yuck! I would be in a size smaller were it not for that belly!
So ... I have made a small goal for my self. I will try to loose 15 pounds (without using the rotovirus diet method). I'm not setting a time frame for myself, because I just don't loose weight like normal people do. But, I WILL work diligently at it. I'm praying that the Lord will provide me with the strength I need, the will power I need, and a desire -- nay -- uncontrollable craving for salads and not chocolate.
It will make me feel better about myself. I have found that in order for me to loose weight, I need to treat myself like a diabetic (I was during pregnancy, and am borderline insulin resistant now). I can eat carbs, but they need to be minimal, and complex. So, goodbye my dear Dove bars. I may visit with you every now and then, but not regularly. I'll miss you. And, honestly? I'm getting tired of scrambled eggs, (or eggs fixed anyway) for breakfast. I have a girlfriend with a cute figure... really cute, even though she thinks her hiney is too big (she's probably a size 4 soaking ringing wet)... she eats scrambled egg whites and Special K cereal for breakfast. Maybe I should try that? Except it MUST be Special K with Strawberries. Totally addicted to that.
Moving on... I had another strange and mind boggling conversation with yet another weirdo colleague of mine... and I use the term weirdo loosely (Lord... forgive me ... but ... You know!). He came into my cube this morning and saw pictures of my son and said (I kid you not, this is really how the conversation went) ...
Him: "Boy, babies are something else. They're just living outside of their mother when they are born."
Me: "uh... yeah ... they are living outside of their mothers, and they are something else" (read: where in the world did THAT come from... and YOU are 'something else')
Him: "Yeah, I guess you want more, huh."
Me: "Yes, but seeing that I'm close to 40, we'll probably only have one more" (Read: Phew ... a normal comment.)
Him: "Well, you had him when you were 38, right?"
Me: "Yes, and I'll be 39 in November."
Him: "Well, babies born to older moms mature physically much faster than normal babies."
Me: "What?" (Read: Lord, get him out of my cube. End this conversation. Please, HOLY SPIRIT, I'm BEGGING you)
Him: "Yes, and babies born to older dads are more smart than normal babies."
Me: "Wow. Never knew that. So, you don't have any kids, right?" (Read: So, you think my child is ab-normal and he will develop like, oh, I don't know... King Kong? Fortunately he'll be as smart as Albert Einstein -- and you're what.... 100 years old? [my favorite old age])
Him: "No, no kids of my own, but I have nieces. My sister didn't even know she was pregnant, and one day, called in sick to work, and by noon time, called back to say she had two babies."
Me: "Really? How odd" (Read: Really odd. Just like you. What a surprise. Lord... have you forgotten about me?)
At this point, we were interrupted. WHEW. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! He DID remember about little ol' me.
Finally... Since I'm allowing you this peek through the windows to my soul... I thought you should know... I have always, since birth -- hated -- HATED broccoli. The very smell of it steaming on the stove makes me gag. Literally. Yeah, I know... you're all staring at the screen in shock saying, "no, GiBee, NOT YOU! You, who loves to cook, You who loves food of all kinds!" Yeah, me. And then ... I became pregnant. And changed my mind about broccoli. A little. How odd (not that I got pregnant, well -- that was odd too -- well, not exactly odd, but -- well, never mind).
While pregnant, I discovered a keen desire to find at least one way I can prepare broccoli and "stomach" it so that my son would not grow up hating broccoli. And ya know what? I hit on a winner. Two, in fact... and I'm gonna share the recipes with you today for the Friday Food Fun. Aren't you excited? Yup. Thought so. So, if you came here looking for a goodie to make for your small group, or a way to fix your chocolate craving ... sorry. But -- hey -- at least your heart will sigh easier today! And... both recipes are sinfully easy! I promise. Gourmet, tasty and easy.
Oven Roasted Broccoli
Broccoli Crowns split apart (as much as you need for your family)
Crushed FRESH garlic
Coarse-Ground Sea Salt (McCormicks has those grinder things... but it doesn't have to be sea salt)
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. In a bohonkus (that means very, VERY big -- thank you Jeana) bowl, place your split broccoli crowns. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Add crushed garlic, and toss all around so all the florettes are coated with the olive oil and have pieces of garlic all around them. Arrange the broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up). Liberally sprinkle with cracked sea salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake until you can slide a knife through easily... about 25-30 minutes. Don't over bake into mushy broccoli. The broccoli will be a bright green with little browned pieces of garlic and broccoli, and will have a mild, almost nutty and delish flavor.
Broccoli Slaw (for all you gourmet lovers)
Slaw Ingredients (If you are picky about fruit or nuts in your food, then don't try this recipe, because it will just ruin it if you take those two elements out)
1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw (I use Foxy Organic brand -- in produce section -- duh!)
2 chopped scallions/spring onions/green onions (which ever way you call it - all the same to me)
1/2 large, firm apple, peeled and chopped (I love Braeburns or Cameos in this recipe)
Hand full of Dried Cranberries (or cherries, or rasins like the gold ones)
Hand full of chopped Pecans (or you can use sunflowers or any other nut you love)
Slaw Dressing (VERY subjective -- according to taste -- if you have a slaw dressing recipe you love, just use that -- also, I don't usually measure my ingredients, so I'm going from memory here!)
1 cup mayonnaise (or more, depending on how thick you like it)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (more or less, depending on how tart you like it)
3 (or so) tablespoons sugar (I use either straight Splenda or the Splenda/Sugar mix for baking)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (or grated onion, or no onion if you don't like it)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix well. This can be refrigerated until ready to use.
Toss all ingredients together, including the slaw dressing. Cover tightly, because it WILL stink up your refrigerator. Let chill for a while before serving. Enjoy!
So, if you try any of these recipes... let me know how you liked them, 'Kay???
Have a blessed weekend in the Lord. Don't forget to magnify Him and worship Him with all your heart, might, strength, and mind during your church service... you will be so blessed!
I will post again later this evening, or tomorrow morning about the Beth Moore Living Beyond Yourself Bible Study that 27 of us (give or take) are doing... WOOT!
[does anyone know why my delete button isn't working? 'cause I sure can't figure it out]
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Yeah ... well ... just so y'all don't think I walk on water or anything... I thought I'd share.
But first, I must let EVERYONE know that all the teasing, moaning, and complaining about Lauren was all TONGUE IN CHEEK, people! I love her dearly, and I feel like I may have gone a wee bit too far... Sorry, Lauren! I really am. MWAH! (See? Maybe I do walk on water... NOT!)
So example number one: Private Road Rage. I'm certain we ALL know what I'm talking about. Oh, you can pretend you don't, but you.are.NOT.fooling.me. WHY is it you're not fooling me, because I'm doing a Beth Moore Bible Study, and the SPIRIT IS TALKING TO ME RIGHT NOW ... telling me that I'm not the only one with Private Road Rage. Here's what happened. I'm driving along, minding my own business, and OH! I stop at a red light. I know, I know... you're all wondering, "well, that's not so strange... most people stop at red lights." Well, you're wrong. People over the age of 100 DO NOT stop at red lights, and feel that you shouldn't either, because I guess you're holding them up, so they honk, honk, honk, and HONK their horn at you until the light turns green. So, you inch up into the intersection (making a left turn, people), wait for the on-coming traffic to come on, and the 100 year old man starts laying on his horn like there is no tomorrow, and FRANKLY... if he doesn't SHUT IT, there MAY.NOT.BE.A.TOMORROW in his very near future. So, being the Godly Christian woman I am, and seeing that I am filled up and down with the Holy Ghost, I practice SELF CONTROL. Remember how to do that in sign language... okay... do it real quick as a reminder. So, with the infinite self control that I now posses, I slllooooooowwwwllllly (very slowly) creep through the intersection. Not because I HAVE to, but, well ... because he has TICKED ME OFF and I WANT TO, OKAY? Yeah, well, my zippy 100 year old driver tears off around me like a bat out of.... sorry. Self control. Self control. Then, as I'm turning right into the shopping mall that has a drive-thru Starbucks (my next stop), a car from on-coming traffic feels like it wants to come-on and tried to cut me off with a left turn ... into MY turn and then when he couldn't, stopped in the middle of the intersection as close as he could (yeah, a HE) and tried to pressure me to hurry up. Uh, I don't think so! Rome wasn't created in a day, so you'll have to wait your turn, buddy! This Godly woman's got the right of way, and if you think my left hand turn to get here was painfully slow... WATCH THIS.
Now see? That's PRIVATE ROAD RAGE. I am displaying a Godly face and a serene smile as the 100 year old driver rips past me, and I'm nodding kindly with a smile on my face to the person trying to cut me off, but inside... I'm privately raging and displaying it with MANNERS, people. They don't need to know that I'm purposely driving extra-snail-paced-slow on purpose to annoy them!
Next - we have a luncheon today for a man that has been with this company for 30 years. I don't know this man from Adam, but free food? Sure. I'm there. And it was good, too... but what is it with people? I mean... you see a bowl for the potato salad, and you see a bowl for the ice. Now, WHAT WOULD POSSES YOU to place the potato salad SPOON in the ice bowl? Did you think we needed an extra helping of onions with our ice and soda? Did you? It was most likely a man. See? I think evil thoughts. Yeah, well, God forgive me anyhow, because I know that any man reading this, which would mean you have to DELURK, would agree with the stereotype that men don't care what stuff tastes like individually because it's all going down to the same place anyhow. So, whoever it was... thanks for ruining my SO-DA.
And, speaking of lunch at work ... you know what? I just don't care HOW bloated you're feeling... there really is NO PLACE in the work force to be sharing GAS with your co-workers. Especially if you're over 40. Shame on you. You should know better. And saying "excuse me" after each and every stinking time is not gonna cut it. So -- STOP IT! NOW!
And finally, as one last example that God isn't finished with me yet ... just in case there was any doubt about that ... When I went out to get into my car this afternoon so I could get my Cafe Mocha at Starbucks, I got out into the parking lot and couldn't find my car. Now, I know I was very late to work today, because they had an entire street blocked off for a bad accident, so I didn't park where I usually park, but how could my car just disappear? So, I started to walk the parking lot... and let me just say... I don't drive a cute little bug like you'd find over at Queen Beth's House... No. I drive a big ol' honking (and if I could remember the word I learned at Jeana's I'd use it now) Expedition... White. Not easy to miss. So, I finally got to the back few rows of our parking lot, and low and behold... there it is. Right behind that Humvee-3. So apparently, they pay SOMEONE that doesn't have a reserved parking spot enough money to get one of those "look at me" cars. And... it's taller than mine. Who would have thought? Aaaaand ... just so you know... they come equipped with BARCODED vehicle identification numbers. Now, that's just too scary and BIG-GOVERNMENT-like (look at me ... pretending to look like I know what that means!) Well ... I guess your money has to go towards SOMETHING new and different and unique, doesn't it?
So see? [OH MAN! That's just gross... I just sipped up a piece of onion in my soda. Apparently, using the ice scoop doesn't guarantee you won't get pieces of onion in your ice. That's just nasty!]
Anyway -- so see? God's FAR from finished with me yet!
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Sigh. Sigh. SIGH (in case you didn't hear it the first two times)... Can I just say that really, when it comes to computers, I'm so illiterate. I'm actually quite proud of my self for figuring out this whole blog thing. And while I'm over here in my own little world, blogging about IMPORTANT stuff such as WORSHIP, and I'm trying to figure out how in the world smart people like Lauren and Carol and Shannon and Faith and... and... and so many others ... (except ME of course) KNOW how to do stuff (like LINK A STINKING SONG ONTO YOUR BLOG)... I go and get hit with a virus. Not just any virus... an Indie Virus. THANKS.A.TON.LAUREN! (she says through clenched teeth)
Okay ... Lauren has seen fit to hit me with a virus ... so, I'm copying and pasting this paragraph out of her blog, because I'm told to do so, and at least I can follow directions, even if I can't "understand it all" ...
Pearsonified has started a small, casual social experiment, it’s called “The Indie Virus.” Here’s how Pearsonified describes this experiment:
The experiment, henceforth referred to as “The Indie Virus,” has two goals:
* To bring exposure to lesser known blogs (especially those outside of Technorati’s top 100)
* To explore the metrics behind a viral linking campaign launched by the “little guys” (less popular blogs)
Uhhh ... what is a trackback? Did I do it right?
And... my TRUE feelings about all this has been posted in a comment over at Carol's site. 'Nuff complaining...
Now, I'm going to infect none other than...MomRN2 with My Quiet Corner (because I have a feeling she's as clueless as me, and if I can't laugh at myself, I'll laugh with someone else!), and Faith at Faithful Mommy, because evidently ... she got a little to flippant over at Lauren's blog when she said that she "feels there are some viruses worth getting and she hopes it works," so she can find out first hand... and Kris with Flip Flops, because I love, love, love her blog template (have I mentioned my problem with Jealousy before?) ... and Heather at The Roller Coaster Ride of My Life because she's so adorable, and KPJara at Can You Hear Me Now because I'm just feeling plain evil right now.
So, there you go, people... virus passed on. And, I hope I did it right. And I haven't run spell check, because frankly, I just don't care right now. I'm too annoyed. LAUREN. Nanny, nanny, boo-boo.
First of all... thank you all for participating in yesterday's Toss-up... I love the fact that we all span the globe, (well, at least we span AMERICA) and represent all sorts of ages, some single, some married, some with kids, others without, and hopefully ... some grandmas! Each person feels passion about their thoughts on worship... and so we should.
This will be a long post, because how can you do a short one when you have to cover hymns and praise songs ... but I hope you stick with me, 'cause there's some good stuff in here... So, here we go...
Praise God ... I know I've said this before, but music really does speak to me. I love vertical praise -- a conversation through music straight from me to God -- up and down. I may not have written the words to the songs I sing, but they speak exactly what is on my heart and on my mind. I also love hymns that are horizontal praise -- songs that speak of what others have experienced and have been through... LIFE.
Hymns have a timeless quality about it. And like trees, their roots are deep, and strong, and have long out lived many people through many centuries! They reach deep into our hearts and provide us with the comforting "shade of knowledge" that others have been there, and have come out victorious... so we can too! Hymns have a longer life span than praise songs, and usually sing about our experiences and are filled with wondrous testimonies and encouragement that we take out to each other -- side to side -- me to you -- or, in this case, the writer of the hymn to me or you -- (hence, horizontal praise). They are generally written from particularly dramatic experiences by great and mighty people who have gone on before us, and had nothing other than their faith in Christ to lean on! And, as Shannon pointed out... they offer us a "powerful legacy of faith."
Shannon -- did you know that "the single most powerful hymn of the Protestant Reformation Movement was Luther's "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," based on Psalm 46. This hymn became the battle cry of the people, a great source of strength and inspiration even for those who were martyred for their convictions. Its majestic and thunderous proclamation of our faith is a singing symbol of the reformation." It's true... you can find this quote here, as well as stories to many other great hymns... like these:
I Love To Tell The Story and Tell Me The Old, Old Story - a young woman became very ill at 30, and while she was healing, she wrote a poem that contains the words to these songs.
I Need The Every Hour -- was written by a man that was walking in a crowded street when a little child put her hand in his and said "take me across the street to the other side." He was honored that the child trusted him so much, and wrote this song encouraging us to put our hand in the hand of Christ and trust Him.
The Doxology -- Known by every English speaking Protestant, has done more to teach the doctrine of the trinity than all the theology books ever written!
Great Is Thy Faithfulness - This hymn was written by a man that was born in a log cabin in Kentucky after his morning by morning realization of God's personal faithfulness.
His Eye Is On The Sparrow - I love this song. It was written by a woman who went to visit a depressed friend. She told her about how the Lord protected her during a long illness, and her depressed friend said, "You know I shouldn't worry, should I? We are promised in the Bible that God watches over the little sparrows." And with that, the woman went home and wrote this song!
It Is Well With My Soul - This is one of my absolute favorite hymns and stories - A man wanted to take his family on a vacation to Europe... he sent his family on ahead of him, planning to join them soon. Half way across the Atlantic, the ship was struck by an English vessel, and it sank in 12 minutes. All FOUR of his daughters were among the people who drowned. His wife was one of the few who survived. This man stood on the deck of the ship taking him to join his grieving wife, and passed the place where his daughters had drowned -- He received comfort from God that enabled him to write the words of this hymn. Huh. Not sure if I could have found the comfort I needed to write a song about it, let alone, share it with anyone!!!
The Family of God - And finally ... as my last example, I'll share the one hymn that my church used to NEED to sing... over, and over, and over, and over, ad nauseum ... (oops... did I say that outloud?) -- it is written by the Gaithers -- this is an example of what at the time was considered contemporary music, and is now considered a classic hymn! Go figure!! The story behind this song, is really a testimony to modern day goings-on ... they knew a family who had a daughter that was getting ready to go through heart surgery. The father was working extra time in the garage that he employed him, to make up for lost time. He was working with combustible material, and there was an explosion. He managed to crash through the doors before the building went up in flames. He was severely burned, and not expected to survive. Here's what I'm sure you will find familiar... The whole church began to pray. The church building was kept open over night. People streamed in to pray for this young father. Then, the next morning, Easter morning, the doctors announced that he had passed the critical time period, and he was given a chance to live. The congregation rejoiced, and worshiped God in song... the church members pledged themselves to help with what would like ahead of them... help with the children, meals, trips to the hospitals, blood transfussions, money, and so much more support... On their way home from church that morning, the Gaithers were so overcome by what the church had been through, and they realized that they would do it for them, too... (Sound familiar? Yup, my church would do it for me, too!) Why? Because we're a Family of God. And that day, they sat down to write this song. (Note: So, really, I'm not sick and tired of the meaning of the song at all... I never will be. I'm just a little tired that we used to sing it all.the.time.)
Now... A praise song employs current modern-day language. They usually have words that invoke deep meditation... from our hearts and minds directly to God -- one on one -- up and down -- from me to God (hence, vertical worship). When I sing a praise song during worship, I can feel the beauty of the words, like flowers... the colors envelope me with joy and provoke a deeper meditation between me and my savior. Praise songs speak of what I'm feeling in the here and now. Hymns do too, but for some reason, praise songs take me up another level. Generally, praise songs are scripture put to music... for example, the Psalms. And praise songs are expressions of praise that come from my lips to be heard by and to honor God only.
While hymns cause me to reflect deeply, praise songs cause me to express freely. Both are needed in my time of worship. Both have their place, their role, and both complement each other so beautifully... just like flowers complement trees, and trees shade flowers. Praise songs allow me to thank God, praise God, honor God. Hymns cause me to think about God, think about my salvation, think about how I received my salvation.
We sang such an awesome song for worship this past Sunday ... so awesome, I want to share it with you today, because it is a perfect example of what I'm talking about... the words became MY words... and I found myself thanking God directly for all he has done for me... seen and un-seen. Maybe you recognize it? If so, sing along with me (nice and loud). The song really touched me, and I hope you enjoy the words, because I have no idea how to link you to the actual song... go to Lauren for that, because she is ultra techy and savy (and I'm ultra tech-norant as in - ignorant to technical stuff). But, you can go here for a quick clip here (it's song #3).
Thank You Lord (Performed by Don Moen, Words and Music by Paul Baloche and Don Moen)
I come before You today, and there's just one thing that I want to say: Thank You Lord, Thank You Lord, For all You've given to me, For all the blessings that I cannot see, Thank You Lord, Thank You Lord ...
With a grateful heart, With a song of praise, With an outstretched arm, I will bless Your name -- Thank You Lord, I just want to thank You Lord -- Thank You Lord, I just want to thank You Lord, Thank You Lord.
For all You've done in my life, You took my darkness and gave me Your light, Thank You Lord, Thank You Lord, You took my sin and my shame, You took my sickness and heal all my pain, Thank You Lord, Thank You Lord --
With a grateful heart, With a song of praise, With an outstretched arm, I will bless Your name -- Thank You Lord, I just want to thank You Lord -- Thank You Lord, I just want to thank You Lord, Thank You Lord.
Now, as if this isn't long enough... I just wanted to share a couple other comments with you that really struck a chord in me...
Stacey said: "It seems praise songs get real popular for a while and then kind of fade away but old hymns can and will be sung for many years to come."
Kris said: "Hymns go deep - like the root of a tree and they stay around forever. Praise songs - they are short, sweet, and beautiful like flowers, but they come and go often."
Yup -- you are both right... because the words we use to praise change frequently, but the experience that one shares through a hymn never changes!
Peach said... "like trees and flowers, hymns and praise songs must co-exist. It's not that the tree alone is not beautiful and useful, for it provides shade and its own special kind of beauty. The flowers alone are also beautiful, refreshing and add color unlike the tree. Yet, my picture of worship is far more complete with the blending of both in my life." Oh, yes, Peach ... you are so right. I need a good blending of both in my life too.
Addie said: "... both awaken my heart to praise the God who created the mightiest of trees and the most delicate of flowers" Yes -- both hymns and choruses awaken my heart too!
Finally... Heth said: "I love when God moves on my heart and I am brought to tears while worshiping Him."
Okay -- that's all... I promise... I won't talk any more about worship. Thanks for sticking with me for this entire .... looooong.... and very wordy blog.
Love ya all!
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Tuesday's Toss-up is here, and it's YOUR turn to comment on my blog!!! I love praise & worship -- so dear to me -- and I'm pretty sure near and dear to many of you... so, here is a quote I found on two different kinds of praise and worship music...
Read the quote, process it a bit, and comment on what crosses your heart and mind about this comment... and whatever else you want to share about praise and worship. Don't worry about length... it can be short & sweet, or long and detailed... just GO FOR IT!!
Monday, March 27, 2006
Can I just say ... I am so impressed with Kim's sculpting ability (you know... KPJara from Can You Hear Me Now?). She is a bit more critical on herself... and I guess we all go there on occasion ... but really now... this is just awesome!
Take a few minutes and look at this magnificent sculpture she has created called, Worship Guy -- it really ROCKS! (Did you notice that??? SHE CREATED THE SCULPTURE... From her own hands)
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
Now go... go, go, go!
1.) Monday, Monday ... la, la, lalalala... Well, you get the picture... I'm soooo happy, happy, HAPPY to be back at work. I always thought I would want to be a stay at home mom, and honestly, maybe being a part-time stay at home mom might not be too bad... but a FULL TIME stay at home mom? No way. Uh Uh. Not in a million years. How do you ladies do it??? Seriously? This is what a typical day for me was like...
7:15 - wake up with baby - feed baby, hold baby, play with baby, change baby (not exactly in that order...)
9:15 - put baby down for nap, jump in shower, dry hair, put on velour lounge pants and skanky top, throw a load of wash in washer.
10:45 - get baby from crib, change baby, hold baby, play with baby, feed baby, play some more with baby.
12:30 - put baby down for nap, fix lunch, transfer clothes into dryer and add another load in washer. Sit down for one minute to eat lunch.
2:00 - get baby from crib, change baby, hold baby, play with baby, feed baby, play some more with baby.
3:30 - Dad comes home ... yeah! Adult time!!!
3:45 - Dad lays down for a nap... what's up with that? Mom wants a nap too! But son doesn't want a nap... he wants to be held, and wants to play, and wants mom to pay attention to him... now!!! Transfer clothes from dryer onto guest bed. Transfer clothes from washer into dryer and add another load of clothes in washer. FOLD clothes on bed? Who has time for that???
5:30 - Try to feed son solids for dinner. Dad wakes up and wants to know what's for dinner. DINNER? I had to fix DINNER TOO? Yeah, right, buster... you better be kidding, cause mom's not a happy girl right now, and if Mom's not happy, NOBODY's happy.
5:35 - Dad scrambles to find something to fix for dinner while mom tries to navigate spoon full of sweet potatoes into screaming baby's mouth...
6:15 - Try to eat my own dinner that Dad made (not sure what it is) while baby demands attention.
7:00 - Give baby a bath. Dad helps with this and it goes very smoothly. Thank you, Dad!
7:45 - feed baby last bottle, put oragel on gums, feed Hyland Homeopathic teething tablets to baby, give baby motrin, and now fight against a temper tantrum that the six month old is holding the entire home hostage with, because his gums hurt, and he doesn't know how to deal with the pain.
8:00 - go back downstairs with unhappy and crying baby and wait for him to cry himself to sleep.
8:30 - take half-dead tired baby back up to crib and hope for best. Shhh ... close door ... sneak out... turn monitor on... listen, listen, breath, sigh. All is well. Baby asleep. Remove makeup, brush teeth, take 5,000 vitamins and miscellaneous pills, read book for 10 minutes and turn light off by 9:30.
Turn light back on... get clothing out of dryer and add to pile on guest bed, transfer now stinky clothes out of washer and into dryer... creep back into bed, turn light off, go to sleep.
2.) Now... it seems that when I work a full time job, I have more TIME to do the things I need to do than when I'm home all day long. Why is that? Is it because I can multi-task? Is it because I'm more organized? Is it because I know I have a small window to get stuff done in, and I just DO IT? Good grief --- I felt like I didn't get ANYTHING done the entire day I was home. And to top it all off, my good, quiet, loving, easy natured baby has changed into a screaming, temper tantrum throwing, body-bucking wild child... Maybe it's because he's getting about 3 or 4 teeth on the bottom, and a couple on top ... all at the same time ... and he's just in pain overload ... but let me just say that Mom is NOT amused by this turn of events. At all. And... it better be temporary, 'cause temper tantrums won't fly in my house!
3.) For those that are interested ... the Baby Safe Feeders (I had the name wrong) can be found at Baby-Outfitters.com for $13.50 -- they are so easy to use... much easier than the one made by Sassy. The original Baby Safe Feeder was invented by a father who almost lost his child to a choking incident. Very scary, indeed! In fact, I tried giving Hunter one of those melt-away things Gerber makes --- and guess what? They don't really melt away. FREAKED ME OUT. Guess I need to wait on that for a while!
4.) Finally ... I really did have a good weekend, but I'm looking forward to digging in to all of your wonderful, wonderful blogs... so if you see comments from me, like ... "I love you!" or... "You're so awesome!" or... "I missed you a ton!" -- don't think I've flipped my noodle... I just missed you all sooooo much and I'm so happy to be back... at work... where I can give you my undivided attention for a couple hours each day.
And... don't forget to dust off your thinking caps for Tueday's Toss-up ... I've got a good one planned! It's 4 words I'll ask you to comment on, and it's an awesome subject ... Well, at least it's a subject I absolutely love... Worship! Have a blessed day in the Lord!
Friday, March 24, 2006
Juicy Purple Grapes
With a Safe Infant Feeder?
About 20 minutes of perfect peace and quiet as your teething infant sucks every last bit of juice and pulp out of the grapes...
Leaving... nothing but slick, slippery, slimy skins!
(can not be made as a molded salad -- make in dish you will be serving it in)
2 pkgs. (3 oz. each) grape jello
2 cups boiling water
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 large container Cool Whip, thawed
In a 9x13-inch pan, mix the jello and boiling water until dissolved. Add undrained pineapple and blueberry pie filling. Stir and let set in the refrigerator. Mix Cool Whip and softened cream cheese. Spread on top of the set jello mixture. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Chill in the refrigerator. This is a great potluck dish. It can be served as a salad or dessert.
One thing I'm really missing ... free time. It has been non-stop baby time, and I haven't been able to keep up with my beloved blogs. I can't wait until I can go to work on Monday, and have a whole entire hour at lunch and some quiet time before I start working to catch up with all the blogs (oodles and oodles of them) that I have bookmarked on my computer at work. If you haven't seen me commenting on your blog, it's not 'cause I don't love you... it's 'cause I've been preoccupied wiping up vomit, poop, and slimy grape skins!!! But -- thank you all for all your comments, love, and support that you have left me.
Hope you all have an awesome weekend, and if I have a free moment or two, I'll pop by your blog and say HI!
Thursday, March 23, 2006
...Or however you write it...
It's just been one of those days... at home ... again. So, if I'm in the poor house next week, you'll know why ... Rotovirus. That's why. I may be starting a pay-pal account for donations. Or, just send canned goods or Aldi gift cards.
Actually, I think Hunter is teething in a major, MAJOR way. There are bumps all over his lower gums and he has been crying.his.head.off (read: I'm loosing my mind). My heart really goes out to the moms who have colicky (sp?) babies that cry and cry and CRY. I really am ever so thankful that I have such a great baby. I can deal with the occasional times when he becomes a nuclear bomb in a matter of minutes.
Do any of you remember that commercial that aired maybe about a year ago, and showcased a crazy family (kids jumping around) with a mom sitting on the couch talking about Netflix (or some on-line DVD rental place) ... the kids are screaming and jumping and running behind her, and she calmly speaks on, when the phone rings... and the husband, whom you don't see, shouts out something like ... "Honey..." (implying that she needs to get the phone) and she screams "MOMMY'S DOING A COMMERCIAL!" Yeah, well... that's what today felt like. Ten loads of laundry, dirty dishes, rumpled bed, screaming baby, and husband coming home from work, showering and laying down to take a nap... "MOMMY'S DOING LIFE!" UGH.
The play pen sheet did not fit. I'm pretty sure that if I had the stinking mattress here, I'd be able to make it the right size, but... given that I don't, and really, I have no patience after today to pursue MAKING anything... I went to Mr. Google-arama and found a 40x40 fitted sheet at Great Baby Products and ordered two. Whew... with that behind me, I feel 100% better. It was worth the $12 bucks for expedited delivery.
Now ... just in case anyone was wondering ... I have nothing spiritual to share, nothing inspirational, funny, or deeply philosophical for the day, or even the week. In fact, I don't even know how to spell philosophical. But, I finally got Hunter to fall asleep and I'm enjoying a cold glass of milk and a few Oreos as I catch up on my blog, your blogs, and listen to Casting Crown's NEW CD (WOOT!). So far, it's excellent!!! I do, however, want to share with you that I tried Lauren's Chicken with Chilaquiles and Salsa Verde and it was pretty good!!! It sort of reminded me of an un-formed tamale. So the next recipe I try will be her Santa Fe Casserole, which based on the picture, looks like a winner, too.
Good grief... Hunter is moving around and yelping in his sleep. Well, not really yelping just making tiny grunting noises of complaint.
DOH! Spoke too soon. Now he's crying. And it's only been 20 minutes. Maybe I won't be able to catch up on all your blogs after all! Sorry!
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Just because I own an awesome sewing machine, it does NOT mean I can sew. And, even though I have managed a few straight-lined stitches to make a few window treatments ... I still can't sew. So when my daycare provider approached me several weeks ago (notice I said several weeks ago) and asked if I could make a sheet for her 40 x 40 playpen, I should have known better... but what pops out of my mouth? "Yes, I can give it a try!"
What was I thinking? Just because I love her, and all ... doesn't mean I can help out here! Any way, she told me several weeks ago that she needed it by tomorrow -- TOMORROW -- because she's renewing her license, and needed to cover the custom mattress she has for this particular 40 x 40 playpen... the one my son sleeps on. Oh, so just rub it in, why don't you? Of course, I'll help!
So, that was supposed to be my project for this weekend -- my only FREE weekend in the past month. But, well ... you know what happened, and my plans to create a lovely mattress cover soon vanished. So, last night, I ran to the fabric store. I purchased three cute patterned fabrics, one quilted fabric, and a length of waterproof fabric. Now -- remember what I said earlier -- just 'cause you have a sewing machine, doesn't mean you can sew. Right? Well, just because you can go to the fabric shop, pick out lovely fabrics, elastic, and make it home in one piece still does not mean you can sew.
And, when you sit down at the sewing machine at 8:30 p.m. trying to "whip out a small 42 x 42 sheet in no time" ... you can pretty much expect time to slow to the speed of a 300 year old sea turtle.
I think I go on line and see if I can't find one that I can just purchase for her, daggon it!
Sooooo -- as I was busily trying to "create" last night, I had asked my husband to care for OUR son. Not mine, OURS. He was holding him, when Hunter got fussy, and I said, "honey, why don't you talk to him! He likes that!" Yeah, well ... here are a couple of little conversations I overheard (which may lead me to a SILENCE RULE):
1) "Son, the square root of 144 is 12, because you can multiply 12 times 12 and get 144. Now, if you plant the square root of 144 in your garden, you won't get anything. Unless you water it. Then, you'll get wet numbers. And if you fertilize them, you'll get wet and stinky numbers." (my comment from the other room: Honey, what in the world are you talking about? Never mind... you're talking. That's all that matters.)
2) "Hey, let's look out front and see if Mr. Gary and Mr. Mike are in their driveways talking. We can throw sticks at them and then run in and hide in the house -- uh, never mind. Forget you heard that. Mom would be mad if she knew I was teaching you something bad." (my comment from the other room: Uh, YA THINK? Why don't you go give him a bath?)
3) At this point, I have no idea what he was talking about with our son, because I only heard his voice, and no particular words, but when I went up and asked him what he was saying to Hunter in the bathroom, he said, "Uh, GUY things... can't share them with you... sheesh, what do you think ... that I'm going to tell you ALL our secrets?" (my comment: Yeah, buster, you keep thinking that, but my son will run to me and spill ALL your secrets when he gets older... guaranteed. Especially Christmas and Birthday gifts! Just remember that!)
See? It's not only children that make no sense at all. It's men, too!
Confession time again: I did NOT go in to work today. I know I said I was going to, but Hunter is still sick, I was nauseated, and so was my husband. So, I had to call my boss tonight and tell him I won't be in tomorrow, either... AGAIN. But, I missed him at work, so I tried him at home, and his wife said he wasn't home yet ... Hmmm ... HIS WIFE! Yeeeesss ... the wheels in my brain go round and round. Round and round, Round and Round... So I filled HER in on everything. She knew exactly what I was dealing with. She told me her sister just had that with her niece three weeks ago, and she would explain in detail to her husband so he would understand.
Wasn't that nice of her?
Wasn't that manipulative of me?
Beats getting fired for missing 5 or 6 days of work in a row!
Okay -- gotta go lay down. Have a great evening.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Revised this post to add: I have read all your comments over the past few days, but have only commented on my last post answering all your questions (I think) and thanking you. Can we start fresh from here on out? I'm so totally behind, I'm feeling left out! Thanks!
I have to say ... I JUST LOVE YOU ALL SO ... SO ... MUCH! Sigh. I have the bestest friends in the whole wide world. You're all mine -- and -- I'M NOT SHARING WITH ANYONE! (hee hee hee!) I can see I have some new friends to introduce myself to, and to go and read their blogs... which I'll do this week. THANKS for delurking during this tough time for me! And Carol, trust me when I say, I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOU OR YOUR FAMILY -- not one second, friend!
And, thank you all for your well wishes, your prayers, your encouragement, and your humor. I love humor... even when the situation doesn't call for humor. In fact... sometimes... in can get me in trouble (no, really?). Actually, it can get my dear sister in law in mooooore trouble, because she has one of those..."girl -- you just crack me UP!" sense of humor ... or better yet ... "SHUT IT NOW! You're KILLING me!" sense of humor. Timing is everything, though... and sometimes... we both lack it.
In fact, sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me when I reflect on some of the thoughts that ramble through my head... and randomly pop out of my mouth. But I'm sure that more than one of you can relate. Otherwise, you wouldn't be my bestest friends.
So ... I just need to get this weekend off my chest... so, if you don't care to discuss death, rotovirus, or other stuff like that with a twisted sense of humor, then again, I must say -- move along and check back tomorrow.
First of all ... about my husband's Aunt and Uncle who lost their son... they have mourned deeply the sudden loss of their son. It has broken my heart, and I love them dearly, so, please... don't think I'm being disrespectful to them at all ... because I'd never say this to them just you, because -- we're close like that... any way... despite the fact that your child is gone ... and despite the fact that you'll never see him again on earth looking the way he did before he took his life ... you really have to wonder what people are thinking when they make rash decisions... like ... WHAT WERE THEY THINKING WHEN THEY MADE THE VIEWING (of a suicide victim with a shotgun wound to the head) AN OPEN CASKET?!?!? I mean, seriously! I love them, really I do, but at this point, I really think that was a decision made in grief, and should have been questioned seriously by their Pastor, or someone! People! It's NOT HIM anymore. Why hang on to every last piece of flesh... literally! (And let me say, that the mortician, or seamstress, or whoever did a great job with what they had to work with, and with what little time they had -- bravo to them! Even though I could have done.with.out.)
Okay ... enough insensitivity. It was a tough weekend. My in-laws dropped my son off on their way to church Sunday, then they went to the 2-4 viewing, came back to our house, and watched our son while we went to the 6-8 viewing. Let me just say that this is one of the BIGGEST funerals, if not THE biggest funeral, I've ever been to. There was a two hour waiting line wrapped around the outside of the funeral home to get in to pay respects. Then... the funeral was so packed that there were people overflowing into other rooms, and standing four and five people deep. It was estimated that between 500 - 800 people came to the viewing, and as many as 500 to the funeral. Wow. I was blown away, as were the parents, wife and sisters.
I totally lost it when they played the song "I Can Only Imagine" -- and the song it self was almost overpowered by the amount of people in the funeral that were singing and worshiping along with it. Including all of the family. It was tough. Also, I have never seen so many police cars zooming around, closing off main roads, off ramps, exits and highways to allow the processional to continue un-interrupted. One of our cousin's sisters is married to a sheriff, so ... yea to him. He did a great job getting his friends to help out.
For some reason, we had agreed to ride to the funeral and then to our relatives home after the funeral with our in-laws. Usually, we go on our own, especially with an infant... but... well ... I don't know what happened this time. And it all worked out pretty well... until about 2:30 -- when we were on our way home. And... my very loving and good hearted mother-in-law began to not feel good... and got worse, and worse, and worse... and we had to stop for a bathroom break... and then I fished out of my diaper bag a gallon-sized zip loc bag for her... just in case... and sure enough... she got sick and threw up right as we pulled up to our driveway -- she hardly got the door open, and she was very sick -- so sick that her false teeth came out. Top and bottom. Man, I hate it when that happens! And all this happened ON OUR WAY HOME, and not during the funeral, or the gathering afterwards, or while she was lovingly caring for my son! God is so good when it comes to timing. See? Even HE has a sense of humor! Of course, my husband and I feel horrible that we exposed our in-laws sick to this mess. But then again, my husband did have to hose the driveway off, and he did run in and get her a wet towel to wipe her forehead with, and I did send them home with a glass of ice water, a whole bottle of gingerale and my prescription anti-nausea pills (shhh... don't let any one know I'm sharing) that my doctor prescribed while I was on my death bed (umm... my mother-in-law went and picked them up for me) so... maybe we're even? Uh, no... I doubt we'll ever be even for all their gracious and self-less help they give us. I just hope we didn't get re-exposed. I can't handle getting that sick again... even if my jeans fit better because of it.
Ummm ... did I mention there were a gazillion people at the funeral home? Yeah... well, maybe we exposed more than a few people other than my in-laws to this rotovirus! Whaaaat?!? You do what you gotta do for the sake of family. They don't have to know where it came from! (insert evil laugh) (now take evil laugh out, because it scared me).
Okay ... I'm off to get into bed. I have to get up and go to work tomorrow. Yuck. But ... I will be able to read all your blogs during my free time! Yea!!! I don't care what you say ... That's going to be a Kiss of Sunshine right there!
Tomorrow, I may skip Tuesday's Toss-up, because I have other things I want to post about... we'll see. But for now -- Nighty Night.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Ah, yes... the one word that should strike fear in the hearts of any parent.
First of all, I must confess. In the last 3 days, I haven't gone to any other blog but my own. But -- I have read all your wonderful and encouraging comments and perfect scriptures. I feel as if these past few days would have been impossible without your prayers, support and thoughts. I truly felt them. And Lauren ... any time you want to come and clean up vomit ... that's fine by me!
Okay, let us begin with Dr. Googles definition of Rotovirus... Rotovirus (or Rotavirus) is a common viral infection among young children. It is the most common cause of diarrhea in U.S. children and is a leading cause of death among children in developing countries. The virus works by attacking the lining of the small intestine, causing often copious loss of fluids and electrolytes. The virus is spread through oral contact to fecal material, and is common in child care environments.
Well now, all I have to say is... Praise God we do NOT live in a developing country. So, for your educational reading, I'll fill you in on some key things you should know about Rotovirus.
***Warning... what I'm about to write is NOT pretty. If you are weak of heart, or mainly... stomach, or you detest bathroom talk... then move on to the next blog, and I'll catch you tomorrow, 'kay?***
1. Rotovirus is bad. Bad, bad, bad. It doesn't care if you are 5 months old, or 38 years old... it WANTS TO CONSUME you.
2. Rotovirus, in my humble opinion, was born in the fiery pits. It should stay there.
3. Wednesday at just before (or right at) midnight, my innocent, sweet, 5 month old baby turned into a puking, pooping machine. Not pleasant. Especially when it's explosive in nature. He still has diarrhea, but no more vomiting. We are trying to keep him very, VERY hydrated. Especially after our own experience (oh, yes -- it just gets better).
4. If you receive a call three days after your child begins getting sick (Saturday) saying that your child was exposed to another child that has been diagnosed with Rotovirus, and your child is displaying the very same symptoms, chances are... they have it.
5. If your child spends no less than 5 minutes vomiting and pooping all over you, you can expect to get it too. Especially if your child toots while you are cleaning his hiney and sprays you in the face with diarrhea. Nice. Really nice. Expect to be sick as a dog within 2 days.
6. I went to bed on Friday at 11:45 p.m. Yeah... me. And by 2 am, I was seeking God's face in earnest. Folks, I can honestly say that I thought I was going to DIE, and I must have called on God to remove this from me more times than I have in my entire life. And... who knew that adults could have projectile vomit (as well as other things) too?
7. Warning: Should you get this lovely virus... be sure to have an empty trash bag in the bathroom -- just in case you have both diarrhea and vomiting at the same time. (I warned you about the bathroom talk, didn't I?)
8. Both parents will come down with same virus within 4 hours of each other, rendering them totally helpless. Totally. Praise God for grandparents that can come and take infant home with them for his first night away from home because parents can barely care for each other, let alone baby. (SOB!)
9. You WILL become dehydrated. FAST. You will become weak, light headed, and sick, sick, sick. In fact, husband probably should have gone to hospital, but wife was too light headed and out of breath and energy to see it at the time. (Scary when you think about this a day later!)
10. Rotovirus - one way to loose 10 pounds in an 18 hour period. Not good -- but I'm not complaining. It's not like I'm ready to melt away to nothingness any time soon!
Now -- I must go lay down and rest. It's surprising how weak one feels after about 12 hours of sleep in an 18 hour period! I'm not even sure if we'll make it to any of the viewings today. And just for the record ... I have a totally new level of respect for parents that have dealt with this nastiness and have lived to tell about it. You guys rock!
Thanks for all your prayers. I know they have made all the difference. I'll touch base with y'all in the next couple of days.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Thank you all for your amazing words, your love, hugs, and support. I have shared them all with my husband, and he was truly touched. It's amazing the community that we have developed, isn't it?
As with all deaths, they are so hard to process, and difficult to understand. The blood just drains from our hearts -- but a suicide is so much more difficult to grasp. It feels like the tears come in waves, and the questions follow closely. Why? Why? Why? Our cousin had been struggling with depression for a couple years now. He was always reaching for the "shock factor" -- what can I do that will shock everyone -- His life was a spinning wheel with no grounding. For a while, he worked in the same office with my husband, and my dear husband wanted so badly to reach out to him and be a role model to him, but his cousin abruptly quit the job he had held for 15 years. That alone should have been a warning, but it went un-heeded. We all question what we could have done, but really, there was nothing other than pray for him, and he had many MANY people doing just that.
In the end, he cut his life short at the age of 28, leaving behind a young wife, and three children. It's very sad, and difficult to process. But, slowly, hearts will heal. There will always be a rift, but hearts will heal.
The viewings are on Sunday (closed casket), and the funeral on Monday. Please, continue to remember us.
Finally, as usual, I will post a Friday Food Fun post ... it's a twist to a comfort food, and I will probably be baking it this weekend for family members... I hope you enjoy it.
Side note -- I noticed that I forgot to add the glaze recipe for the chocolate cherry bundt cake (last Friday). I'm so sorry for that... it's what MAKES THE CAKE... I noticed this, because it's the same glaze I use on this bread, and I wanted to cut and past it in... but it wasn't there! So, please amend your recipes to include the glaze below...
Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup chocolate chips
Fudgy Chocolate Glazy-Frosting (you will not use all the glaze)
6 oz chocolate chips
about 2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp butter
About 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Cream together margarine and sugars. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and banana. Add flour and soda. Stir in chips and nuts. Bake in greased loaf pan for 50 minutes in 350-degree oven. Allow to sit in loaf pan for a few minutes (10) and then remove from pan onto a cooling rack.
After bread has cooled, drizzle with the glaze. I usually place a large spoon into the glaze, and then hold it over the bread and zig-zag it across the top of the bread. You won't want to glaze it too thickly.
Another thing I will do is double the recipe, and bake it in a bundt pan, pop it out of the pan, cool it, and glaze it as above. If you're in a hurry, and don't want to make it from scratch, or don't have ripe bananas on hand, just use one or two boxed bread mixes and add the chocolate to the batter. Bake as directed.
The chocolate in the recipe transforms this regular, everyday comfort food to a special, sweet snack or dessert. I promise your friends won't soon forget this!
I pray you all have a blessed weekend. Please know that I will hold all your words and scriptures close to my heart.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Thank you for your outpouring of love and prayers. This has been such a difficult evening. I always wondered what went on past 9:30 p.m. -- now I know. The trash man picks trash up at 1:30 in the morning. That's just not right. Fortunately, while my spirit is wounded, it appears that I still have a small sense of humor, and I'm finding a lot of humor in these poor waste management people running around in the middle of the night dumping our trash, while we should presumably be curled up fast asleep in a warm bed.
We received "the call" around 5 pm yesterday from another cousin. Evidently, our cousing shot himself at 11:00 am, and was found by a postman. We knew immediately that we had to be by the side of our mourning Aunt and Uncle, and our cousins two sisters and their husbands, along with our other Aunts and Uncles and gaggle of cousins.
My husband asked me not to go to far from him, because he just didn't know how to handle this. Or rather, how he would handle himself. I assured him I would not leave his side. Little did I know that my heart would be ripped in two. I assumed that my husband meant that he didn't know what to say to our grieving family. I was wrong. We arrived at their home, walked in, hugged some relatives, and I went into the other room to hug our Aunt. I stepped away for a minute to see who had or son, only to hear someone heaving gut wrenching sobs. I was startled. I turned around, and saw my husband in his Aunt's arms. Sobbing from the bottom of his soul. I can honestly say that my husband is a man of God. He knows in whom his salvation lays. He is strong. He is faithful. And, he has shed a few tears in his life. But in all my life, and I've known him for over 22 years, which is more than half of my life, I have NEVER known my husband to cry as he did last night. It just broke me.
And if things weren't already bad... they got worse. For us. We left there around 9:30, because we had to get Hunter into bed. And then, we both dropped into bed, totally emotionally spent... For some reason, I woke up at midnight. I didn't hear any sounds coming from the monitor. The house was quiet. But I decided to get up and check on Hunter. I passed my hand across his forehead, and felt something caked to his face. Then I felt his cheek. It was wet and gooey. I felt his bed ... wet, too. He had, at some time during the night, thrown up... many times. He was covered in vomit. I called for my husband to help me, and I laid him down on the changing table to put new jammies on him, when he threw UP again. Straight up. And trust me when I say... what goes up must come down. All over his face. So, I sat him up, and tried to clean his face with my hands, and he threw up again. All over me. And his changing table.
Needless to say, this was not what we needed tonight. But, since the stomach virus did not consult me first before attacking my child, we did what any other half asleep (read dead on their feet) parents would do in the middle of the night. We give him a bath. We ripped the bed apart (thank goodness for double layering sheets and waterproof crib pads). We filled an extra large capacity washer with blankets, sheets, wedge covers and parts, clothing, and towels. And collapse yet again in bed. Only this time, I couldn't sleep.
My mind and heart were just too consumed with grief, my hands full with a sick child, I'm feeling a wee bit nauseas my self, and I'm heavy hearted for my husband, bless his heart.
The only thing that comes to my mind, other than streams of prayers, are lyrics to a song ... I really connect to music. Especially scripture to music. And, it's one of my husband's favorite worship songs... In Your Presence, O God -- Words and Music by Lynn DeShazo, performed by Travis Cottrell on the Unashamed Love Worship CD. I'm not sure how to link you to a full sample you can listen to, but if you're interested, you can find a partial sample here at Christianbook.com -- just click on song number 9.
In Your presence, that's where I am strong; In Your presence, O Lord my God. In Your presence, that's where I belong. Seeking Your face; touching Your grace; in the cleft of the Rock; in Your presence O God.
I want to go where the rivers can not overflow me, where my feet are on the rock;
I want to hide where the blazing fire can not burn me, in Your presence O God.
I want to hide where the flood of evil can not reach me, where I'm covered by the blood;
I want to be where the schemes of darkness can not touch me, In Your presence O God.
You are my firm foundation, I trust in You all day long. I am Your child and Your servant,
and You are my strength and my song, You're my song --
Seeking Your face, touching Your grace. In the cleft of the Rock -- In Your presence O God.
Hallelujah. It is truly in Him -- in His presence -- that we find our strength. Thank you all for your continued prayers. They matter. A lot.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Folks, I really need prayers for my family right now. I can't even believe I'm typing these words... But, my husband's first cousin just shot himself and killed himself. We are in such a state of shock. I can't even express in words how despondent I'm feeling for our family right now.
He was raised in a Christian family. He walked away from the Lord when he got older. I pray that in his last moments, he cried out to the Lord.
Praise God we serve a just, loving and forgiving God who judges accordingly.
Thanks for your prayers.
First off, I need to take care of some quick business... I want to welcome some new visitors to Kisses of Sunshine that joined in yesterday: Shalee from Shalee's Thoughts, Heather from Heather's Roller Coaster Ride, and Anne Glamore from Tales From My Tiny Kingdom. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you come out of lurkdome frequently!!!
Next, I wanted to share a new phenomenon about the blog world... you develop friendships ... you learn to care about each other... and you worry about them when "stuff" is going on... like the tornadoes, the fires, etc. So -- Shalee -- thanks for checking in. It's good to know you and your family are safe and just fine!
Now ... it's myyyyyy turn!!! Wow! Again, I am truly amazed at all the wonderful comments. I love having Tuesday be "your day" -- it really adds so much to MY day! I check back regularly during the day to see all the new comments, and trust me when I say, it is TOUGH for me to keep my mouth shut and my fingers still ... but there is truth and power in the verse that says ... "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10a) in more ways than one ... yes, it is important for us to be still and know that He is God... but it is also important to be still and listen to what others have to say because then, when we listen, we realize that He is God and it becomes even more alive! I sure hope that made some sense, because in my small brain, it did ...
So ... FIRST OF ALL ... I totally need to clarify that the author of this quote is Jim Elliott... not Bill Elliott. I'm not sure what happened to my fingers as I was typing... lets just call it a Brain Toot. But I think it's hilarious that Momma M thought of Bill Gates... how appropriate! I wonder how easy it would be for him to give everything away? It seems like the more we have, the more it hurts, doesn't it?
Quote: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
The first thing that went through my mind was a post that Shannon, from Rocks in My Dryer put up a while ago... She was talking about being addicted to convenience (in other words... all our "stuff"), and about keeping her eye on the prize, and she shared this scripture... "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24) -- Ain't that the truth?
Think about it. Let's say you wrote down all the things you have that you rely on... computer, dishwasher, hair dryer, car, washer & dryer, etc. Then, try folding up that piece of paper as small as you can, and try threading it through the eye of a needle. I don't know about you, but if you were to look at my list, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to thread it through even a tapestry needle, which has a pretty big eye!
These are all earthly things ... and honey ... trust me when I say ... you will NOT be taking them with you when it comes time to meet your maker! So, why do we hold on so tightly to them? Okay ... so maybe you're not going to give away your computer, your dishwasher, coffee maker, etc. But the point really is ... are we willing to give up our earthly possessions for our heavenly rewards? Are we willing to help others with our money, our time, and other things we hold on to so dearly? I would like to say that yes -- I am willing. But the fleshy part of me will whine and complain the entire time. How spiritual is that? Sorry... but it's the truth. I'm human. And I'm being honest here.
But ... I know first hand that the blessing you get in return for the less selfish act of giving of your self, your money, and your possessions, is far greater than the actual "thing" you were holding on to. After all ... God is the one who gave me everything I have in the first place! And as Sarah Grace pointed out ... this man ... Jim Elliot ... gave away a whole lot more than his earthly possessions. He gave away his life. Man! That's a brave person, right there, folks. That's a person secure in his relationship with Christ! I think I would be cowering, crying, and fleeing. I'm much more comfortable giving my jacket to a homeless person (than my life), because it's "safe."
A few months ago, I read a story about a woman named Carol Kane. She founded The Mustard Seed Furniture Bank in Florida back in 1984 out of her garage. She financed everything herself, and she and her family did all the work. Her dream was to help one homeless family per month that was starting over again and needed furniture. Then, a couple years later, several things happened. She moved into a warehouse, and a few weeks later, her husband was laid off from his job. He told her that the only way they would be able to continue this ministry was if they sold their home. And without a moment's hesitation, she did just that. Sold her own home so that she could help others. Huh. I'm not sure I could be so generous! But, her ministry has been so blessed. It has grown beyond what her wildest imagination of this minstry could have been. And the thing that struck me the most was... she was willing to become homeless herself, and give up everything she had to help other people. To me... she is a living example of holding her hands open to receive what God wanted to give her, and she also held them open to give back to others.
And just for the record... I absolutely LOVE what Peaches said... and I had never thought of it that way... It deserves repeating because it's another way to look at that quote: "...I also think it applies in how I treat my children. If I give of my time, effort and energy -- pouring my life into theirs-- I am essentially multiplying my life and sending them out to tell others about the Lord, too. The end result is eternal. "
I guess that the mom in me really relates to that. It's a win/win situation, really... and it's teaching your children to give of themselves!
Thank you all for participating in Tuesday Toss-up. As usual -- y'all just blew me away! And HolyMama -- I hear ya! Sometimes I have to read, re-read, and re-read stuff again just to find the true meaning, and that's what's so great about Tuesday's Toss-up -- we get many viewpoints that help explain something that might be tough to understand.
I know this was a long post, and I thank you for reading through all my ramblings. Have a great and joyous day in the Lord... and give away something of yourself!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Here we are again ... it's finally Tuesday .... Today... it's your turn to post on my blog! It's your opportunity to express yourselves freely (g-rated, please) on the quote I'm posting below ...
But first ... if you live in an area that has been devastated by a tornado (Indiana, Missouri, etc.) or a fire (Texas) ... Please drop me a comment letting me know you're okay! Okay ... here we go...
Directions: Each Tuesday, I will post a scripture, quote, or thought. Most likely, it will be of a spiritual nature. You, in turn, will read it, and pop over to the comments and post the first thought or emotion (feeling) that comes to your mind after you read it. No googling allowed. No search engines, no concordances, nothing, nada, zip... Just you, your brain, and your heart. (Don't worry ... This one is an easy one!)
So... Let's Do It!
Monday, March 13, 2006
Good day, friends! I trust you all had a lovely weekend...
First of all, I'd like to start of my Monday Musings by saying... Carol I'm thinking about you, praying for you, and sending love your way!
Now... on to less serious things...
1) Is it me, or are college grads getting younger and younger? Okay, maybe I'm getting older and older, but ... it doesn't matter how young or old they are ... didn't any of there mothers ever teach them about potty etiquette? As in ... wash your hands after you go potty? Ugh.
2) While we're on the subject of college grads... I think it's quite humorous watching the grooming habits they have. The go to the bathroom, then come out and stare at themselves in the full length mirror we have in the ladies room, flatten out their shirt (oh, because there are oh so many bulges poking out of your size 2 shirt), turn around and stare at the back side, while flattening that out too, turn back around, tuck hair behind ear, fluff back out and re-tuck hair, check makeup, stare at themselves for another minute, turn around and walk out. Notice: no hand washing. None. Zippo. Bleh! And, what's up with stiletto heels in the workplace? I thought that was strictly for street corners and pick-up bars! I can't even stand in them, let alone spend an entire day running from building to building. I'm also lucky if I glance at myself in the mirror while I'm washing my hands to make sure my skirt isn't tucked up in my underwear. Real lucky.
3) I had some fasting blood work done on Saturday morning (before the whole zoo fiasco). And let me just say... I'm scared to death that my sugar levels are high. I've been so thirsty lately and craving sweets. That tells me something is amiss. Also, I'm sure my cholesterol is going to be high after all the chocolate I've indulged in over the past... week. You would think I'd learn my lesson. So... out of guilt, I've decided to start eating salads for lunch again. AND NO MORE CHOCOLATE.
4) I love my husband. He's so kind and generous and self less. He gets up with me every night to heat a bottle for our son... even though he's waking up a half hour later. I know I've bragged about him before, but I just wanted to brag again. Love him.
5) My son is simply adorable. He wore his first pair of saddle shoes to church yesterday, and it made my heart melt. I wish my husband would let me post pictures of him, but ... you know ... an ax murderer might stalk me and ... well, he's very protective. Have I mentioned just how much Law and Order SVU this man watches? Need I say more?
6) If you're looking for a way to make a day in the life of your child extra special... then go visit Shannon's blog for an extra crafty idea... She makes pillow cases (very easy to do) for her kids for each holiday! I'm so glad she shared this idea--she's so crafty! I can't wait until my son is old enough to enjoy this ... thanks Shannon! Your kids will always remember the extra lovin you put into the special pillowcases!
7) I had asked y'all to pray for a young couple who just had their first baby three weeks ago. Things are going better, but it's still tough for them. The baby seems to be a fussy baby, and it's hard on the mom, if you know what I mean!!! Please continue to pray for DadJ, MomL, and BabyC.
8) Did anyone happen to catch Extreme Makeover Home Edition last night? It was a two hour special, and one of my readers ... can't for the life of me find her blog -- DRAT! ... blogged that she thought they were going to be doing a home makeover on a family in Ochelata, Oklahoma who had lost their father -- he was a Pastor in her town, who passed away, leaving his wife and 5 kids homeless (the White Family)... Well guess what? They did! It was a great show... Here's the highlights... The father was a pastor at Bluestem Baptist Church; he had a heart attack on the morning of their 19th wedding anniversary (heart breaking); the church allowed them to stay in the parsonage until they found a new pastor; the church then had fund raisers to help her out; she purchased a piece of land, and an old double-wide trailer that served at one time as an office; they had no stove, no heat, no shower, no hot water, no locks on the doors, and the home was in tremendous disrepair.
Instead of rebuilding the double-wide, they built them a totally new and drop dead gorgeous home, and renovated the old trailer which she wanted to give to yet another family in OK that was going through a tough time in their life. The church members made beautiful quilts for all the kids with their dad's clothing so they could wrap themselves up in "their father's love" (this is why I loved Shannon's post on pillow cases so much). It was such a touching story for a well deserving family. I hope you had an opportunity to see it. It brought tears to my eyes to see them helping a pastor's family, and it also made me laugh at how uncomfortable the Home Makover crew felt with the family's "faith" and things of "their faith" -- they never referred to them as Christians, or believers. They even looked like they felt awkward in the church when they went and surprised the family, and one of them kept saying, "I'm so nervous" and Ty turned around and said... "that's because you're in a church!" I also couldn't help but think of all my new blogging buddies in OK. I think I must have said to my husband ... "did you know I have some friends in OK" about five thousand times until he finally told me to shut it. Any way, the working crew and a local choir all sang OKLAHOMA ... and it was totally cool! Does everyone in OK know all the words to that song?
Well, that's about all the time I have right now... don't forget to visit tomorrow for Tuesday's Toss-Up! Until then, enjoy your day, and share God's love with someone!
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I have two words for you ... two ...
Ti --- erd
Okay... maybe it's really only one word, but when you pronounce it the way I'm feeling ... then it's two words.
So ... tell me something ... what do you get when you take a grandma with two knee replacements, two teenagers, one toddler, three infants, 4 sets of parents (as in ... 8 more people), and four strollers ... toss them into the metro train, walk them up hill all day long, in one very large and hilly zoo?
You get ... Ti --- erd
See? I knew you'd understand. A whole day at the zoo, on an absolutely gorgeous eighty degree day in March with a gaggle of people. That's fun, right there! Yeah, right! Well, it's fun, but you really don't get what you ask for. Apparently, March is still considered WINTER in these parts. Even if you do have a freaky eighty degree day. Therefore, animals are housed inside, ponds and lakes are empty, and lines are plentiful at one National Zoo.
So what did we see? Well ... a lot of pregnant women, a lot of women trying to get pregnant (why do women that weigh 5,000 pounds wear thongs?), one very short giraffe, one small elephant, on very big hippo, a cheetah, a few monkeys, and a mule. Not just any mule... a brown mule. Aha! See, they are very very rare in these here parts! (Not!)
So, after waiting 45 minutes in a line that moved a nano-inch just so I could get a pretzel and soda (I had a fasting blood test that morning, and hadn't eaten ... and it was 3:00!), changing a poopy diaper in a stroller, trying to feed a screaming and hungry child his formula that is ice cold, then changing to solids... because it's easier ... we finally decided to hike back up hill and go get dinner at Famous Daves BBQ. All fifteen of us. On a Saturday night. With three highchairs, one booster seat, four cranky children, two hungry youth, one sore grandma, and eight ti---erd adults.
So, you'd think that after such a full and eventful day, we'd head back home to sleep ... but noooooo ... we're not that bright on the east coast. We all gathered at someone's home and chatted until Midnight.
Aaaahhh Haaaahhh! Now I know what y'all do up so late on a Saturday evening!
And Sunday school was not attended by this one, very tired mom. Although, one very important lesson was learned ... five-month olds don't give a flying hoo-haa about a zoo, an animal, any stinking lines, hills, metro trains, or fellowship. They only want to eat, sleep, poop and pee. And blow raspberries at everyone walking by. Because that's the cool thing to do at five months old.
How was your Weekend???
Friday, March 10, 2006
Oh, what a beautiful day! The sun is shining, and it's going to get up to 70 degrees! What a beautiful gift from God. A little teaser for spring. Fortunately, this has been a fairly mild winter, but I think I've been slammed with spring fever! The birds are chirping and making their nests in our vents ... AGAIN ... the rabbits are out in full force frolicking around and pooping all over our yard ... it really makes my little dog curious, all these new animally smells around her, and she looses track of time and instead of taking 5-10 minutes to do her business, it takes her 20-25! I, personally, think she's got A.D.D., but who knows? Other animals traipsing through "her" yard can be somewhat of a bother to her. Oh, and some of those little bulby flower thingies are starting to pop up!!! What's not to love?!? Yes, my friends... Spring Is In The Air!
On another note, I heard this song on the way in to work, and I love it soooo much. I just wanted to share it with you... and ask that you take it as a personal challenge for this weekend.
Lifesong (by Casting Crowns)
Empty hands held high. Such small sacrifice. If not joined with my life, I sing in vain tonight. May the words I say, and the things I do, make my lifesong sing, bring a smile to You ...
Let my lifesong sing to You; Let my lifesong sing to You; I wanna sign Your name at the end of this day, knowing that my heart was true; Let my lifesong sing to You.
Lord I give my life, a living sacrifice, to reach a world in need, to be Your hands and feet. So may the words I say, and the things I do, make my lifesong sing, bring a smile to You
Let my lifesong sing to You; Let my lifesong sing to You; I wanna sign Your name at the end of this day, knowing that my heart was true; Let my lifesong sing to You.
Now, after yesterday's very un-wise choice of snacks on my behalf, I almost hesitate to publish this recipe ... but it is so lip-smackingly, chocolate-satisfyingly deeee-lish! I just have to share it with you. The cake is so easy to make, and the frosting even easier, but once the cake is put together, it is so pretty, that it will become a favorite for pot-lucks, house-warming gifts, Christmas gifts, etc. For example ... This past Christmas, I went to the dollar store, purchased some pretty glass plates (and some of the ingredients, too), and made this yummy cake as Christmas presents for my Pastor and his family, and some of our closer neighbors. Also, a friend of mine just bought a new home, and moved into it last week. I'm planning on getting one of those cool plates they sell at Target and giving her the plate and cake as a housewarming gift. How cool is it that you not only get a cake, but a cake plate, too?
Any way ... a couple of notes first... If you're not quite a cherry lover, don't worry. You can use raspberry or strawberry pie filling instead, but I promise ... you don't even notice the flavor of the cherries in the cake. Also, you really need to use the almond extract, and not substitute it with vanilla extract, although if there are allergy related issues, I'm sure vanilla would work just fine. So .... with out further delay ... here is Friday's Food Fun ...
Chocolate-Cherry Bundt Cake
1 pkg Devil's Food cake mix (the pudding-in-the-mix kind)
Ingredients (eggs, water) needed for the cake mix (less the oil)
1 large can (16oz.) cherry pie filling
1/2 t Almond extract
Make the cake mix according to package directions, except omit the oil. Beat for two minutes. Add the cherry filling and almond extract. Beat for a few seconds to blend and to break up the cherries a bit. Pour cake mix into a greased and floured bundt pan (or rectangle pan) and bake according to the package directions.
Maraschino Cherries (large sized)
Milk Chocolate Bar
Remove about 8 cherries from the jar and place them on a paper towel to remove the extra juices.
Slightly melt chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring to complete the melting process. Partially dip each of the cherries in the milk chocolate so that the top part of the cherry is still showing through. Place the cherries evenly around the cake.
Dip a knife in the remaining chocolate and splatter/drizzle a thin line of milk chocolate around the top of the frosted and decorated cake. This is not a necessary step, but will provide a semi-professional and contrasting finishing-effect on the cake.
If I didn't loose you at the mention of Friday's Food Fun, and you try this recipe out, let me know how you liked it and how it turned out for you! I'll try to get a picture of it at some point so you can see what my finished product looked like.
Don't forget ... May the words you say, and the things you do, make you lifesong sing, bring a smile to God!