Thursday, August 31, 2006

"What's in a name?" Partie Deux (that's part two in French -- impressed?)

Several months ago, I posted about my blogging name "GiBee," because I was receiving so many questions on how to pronounce it and why I chose it ... see the Original Post here. It's really good (lol!) By the way, here is a quick explanation on the correct pronunciation of GiBee: The Gi part is pronounced just like the "Bee" part, but with a G instead of a B -- GeeBee (not "ih" like "instead" or "ick" -- because that would make it GihBee). Did any of that make sense? To find out why I didn't spell it like GeeBee, you'll have to read the Original What's in a Name post.

Today, however, I am feeling a bit inspired by several bloggers to step up to the plate and blog about why I named my blog Kisses of Sunshine. Barb over at A Chelsea Morning started this cool name game on her post The Name of your Game. You'll want to go by her blog and check out why she named her blog the way she did ... and while you're there, you might as well check out some of the other stories from other bloggers, too! So, since she's getting everyone on the band wagon (close to 100!), I thought I'd join, too! I think that makes me number 99... so if you haven't done this yet, get going and be number 100!

Well, I originally started blogging back in 2004. Actually, I think I started lurking back in the winter of 2003/2004, and finally "came out" with my own blog in July 2004. I didn't start off blogging daily, and at first, I think I may have been intimidated to share my faith too much, because the "network" of bloggers I was associated with (infertility) wasn't really open to that. But, my old blog (Infertile Meanderings) was all about our battle with infertility, along with other stuff thrown in. I'm pretty sure the name of my old blog is self explanatory.

Once our son was born, I really struggled with the name of my blog. While I was proud of my blog, it no longer fit my current circumstances. Also, I had just found some new Christian blogs that I was so excited about, and really wanted to be a part of the circle of Christian friends I had found. In fact, Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer and Lauren from Created for HIS Glory are the very first two Christian bloggers that I had stumbled across. I think I might have clicked on a comment that Shannon left on one of the blogs I was reading in the "infertility ring," and voila ... my life was forever changed. I think Momrn2 from My Quiet Corner and Carol from She Lives were next, and then Peach from Just Peachy and then ... the rest of you began appearing! Since then, I have come to admire, respect, and love dearly these women and their blogs. I feel like I'm part of their family, and would fly to great lengths to meet them.

Oh, wait ... I am ... Texas! Yay! Sorry ... another story, another time. Okay ... back to me.

So now I was faced with a new dilemma... What should I name my new blog? I really wanted a name that would highlight my new swirl of emotions that I was experiencing... so I prayed about it. And it finally came to me. Here is part of the post I wrote introducing my new blog and the scripture I use in my header:

"Today, I have finally chosen a new blog name to mark a new start in life. After fighting years of sorrow and pain that comes from infertility, God has blessed us with a beautiful baby boy. Our son is a miracle. A gift from God that warms my heart like kisses of sunshine.

Thank God for his promise that
"...weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5b --- I have found joy!

So today, I mark the beginning of a new life, and a new blog. As the song says ... I've traded my sorrows for the joy of the Lord. Yes, Lord, yes, Lord, yes, yes, Lord!"

So there you have it! The "why" behind the name of my blog.

Edited to add: I named my blog Kisses of Sunshine before knowing that Carol Kent had a series of books called Kisses of Sunshine (for moms, grandmothers, sisters, teachers, women) -- one of my blogger friends pointed that out to me... So, Carol Kent is making a lot of money on Kisses of Sunshine ... blah, blah, blah ... we all know where the real Kisses of Sunshine can be found, right?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wax on ... DON'T WAX OFF!

I realized after I posted this have never shared with you why I am so opposed to waxing. It's pretty simple, really ... it all started with ... my horrible waxing moment. Yes, I had a waxing moment. At home. You see, I would normally go to a salon to have a few stray hairs on my [ehem ... cough ... cough] chin waxed. Well, there was a time in my life where I was married, and attending college full time while working only part time, and our monthly income made it very difficult to afford a professional wax job! So, being the brilliant chick that I so obviously am ... I decided to wax my own darn chin! Heck -- if they can do it, well -- so can I! After all, I've seen them do it a thousand few times, so it can't be all that hard, can it?

So off I went ... to the local drug store ... to purchase some wax ... so I could torture groom myself. I took it home, microwaved it, and applied it to my skin. Since I didn't want to take too long doing this, I thought ... "self ... why don't you just apply all at one time the wax in all the places that need to be waxed and save yourself a lot of time?" So I did. And, I put the little fabric strips on top of all the wax. You know ... just to get ready... and save time.

I didn't realize that you had to apply the wax and then remove it immediately. I waited a SECOND longer (after applying wax all over the place) while trying to build my courage to rip off the fabric strip. And in that SECOND, the wax hardened. Okay -- maybe it was longer than one second ... count the time it took to apply all the wax, and the time to smooth all the fabric strips on top. Who really knows exactly how long it really took.

So, I thought I'd start with the first section that I waxed, and, after the courage-building-second, I ripped the strip of fabric. Oh, the PAIN! It -- and if the pain wasn't bad enough, there were STILL a few stray hairs there! The NERVE! My face was a very ugly shade of purpley-red. Yuck. And there were dots of blood everywhere. Nice.

Needless to say, I was NOT about to pull on any other strips of fabric randomly glued to my chin with wax. No. I.was.not. After all, I'm not an idiot [just shut it right now, lady]! So, my only other alternative? Patiently hold a hair dryer to my face while the wax re-softened, and apply warm (okay, HOT) compresses until the wax melted off. Furthermore, I had to pick off strings of sticky wax for a really long time. It was a late night.

So my feelings about waxing? NEVER AGAIN.

So you can formulate your own opinion about home-waxing, here is another crazy waxing story by MamaD (and really, I'm shocked that the pain hasn't changed her mind about waxing too). And then -- you've always got HolyMama's story about wanting an eyebrow wax and not having enough time for one. That's just weird. I wonder how she would feel if she waxed her own eyebrows? But, while you're there, can you give her some anniversary loving? Looks like she could use it!

Have a great day, and make a difference in someone's life today! Go ahead. I double-dawg dare ya!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

Many times, my own shock to a "Christian" displaying abrasive, or "vehement" treatment or correction "in the name of Christ" has left me feeling as if I was flattened by one of those paving rollers. You know what I'm talking about, right? Those big roller things that flatten out the asphalt...

Well, that feeling can really get me thinking about one small word ... "grace." While only 5 letters long, to me, this tiny word packs a walloping punch... and it sure does get the wheels in my tiny brain rolling! Here's some of what goes through my mind: Are we "entitled" to be abrasive or hard simply because we think we're "speaking the truth?" How does that play into how we should live our lives like Christ (as in "Christ-like" or "Christian")? And then ... what does grace look like? How do we act out grace? And, finally ... How would you or I feel if Christ spoke to us harshly? Even if He was "speaking truth into our life?" Would we be taken back by his harsh attitude? Or would we welcome it joyously (uhhh - I don't think I would!)?

I'll just tell you real quick my all-time, hands-down favorite Bible story -- it's when the Pharisees (trying to discredit Jesus) brought a woman to him that was charged with adultery. In those days, adultery was punishable by stoning, and the Pharisees were challenging Jesus to judge this woman. Now, I don't know about you, but my life mirrors this adulterous woman's. No, I'm not an adulterer ... but I am, however, a sinner, and there have been many times when I have sinned, and might have been "deserving" of being dragged in front of my church with the challenge of allowing them to judge me and then "stone me" for my offenses.

But praise God -- we serve a merciful God full of grace. His reply to the Pharisees was, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Can you imagine what must have gone through their minds? "Gee-whiz, Jesus ... did you have to go there?" And one by one, the men dropped their stones and left. And what did the Lord ask the woman? "Where are your accusers." She answered that there were none, and Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin."

To me, Christ displayed grace in action, rather than the "legalistic" approach that the Pharisees were wanting to take. And if my life is to be Christ-like, then, I too should offer the same to others.

So, basically, I'm opening the platform for what your thoughts are about grace. When should you offer grace? At what point is grace most difficult for you? Recognizing the need? Moving closer to someone who is needing grace? Extending the actual "act" of grace? Is it okay for us to judge who does or doesn't deserve grace? Or should we as Christians extend grace to all?

Keep it civil; keep it honest; keep it kind; keep it Biblical.

Monday, August 28, 2006

It was a Chaunda kind-of night! Sort of.

Trust me when I say ... this post is not for the shy, private people who hate talking potty talk. So, if you're one of those ... or a man ... move along now. Fair warning has been given.

As you might remember, Hunter has been sick for the last two-ish weeks (off and on). First, he had a cold. Then it turned into an ear/sinus infection. Along the way, we've had out-of-town guests, family, and friends visiting, too. Many of whom were a wee bit sick. But, through it all, I managed to stay healthy. Until Thursday, that is!

Some how, some way, I have managed to come down with a sinus infection, sore throat, cough... etc. Now, I'm not sure who I could have gotten it from, because I've been around so many people in the last few weeks (yeah... I'm that popular -- hah!), but I share this with you, simply to lay the foundation that I'm sick. With a cough. A WICKED cough.

So, having said that ... I'll share with you my main point. I went to a Chonda Pierce concert last night. That woman can make even the saddest, un-flapably-un-laughable person laugh like they've never laughed before. And if you're not careful, you might even pee your pants... She can also throw the gospel in nice and strong-like, and before you know it ... WAM! You're being ministered to without having expected it!

I really enjoyed the concert tremendously, but something happened to me last night that is rather ... umm ... embarassing. And since there are only two or three of you that read my blog, I thought I'd share it with you. Now, mind you -- while I was at the Chonda concert, my personal experience had nothing to do directly with Chonda -- so to say -- although, in some round-about way -- it's her fault. I'm sure of it.

So, there I am. Coughing. And laughing. And coughing fiercely. And laughing hysterically. When it happened. You see where I'm going with this, right? Don't make me have to spell it out for you.

For heaven's sakes ... Yes, ladies (and what ever brave man is still with me) I coughed so hard, I peed leaked ... ehem ... well, it wasn't pretty.

All I have to say is ... yes, I enjoyed Chaunda, and thank you Jesus for feminine products that leave you feeling fresh, if you know what I mean. It could have been disastrous.

Sometimes, the bad after-affects of pushing out an almost 9 pound baby can last a while, you know what I mean?

Soooooo -- who's sharing a bed with me in Texas this October? Anyone? Anyone?

I have a feeling this may be held over my head for a while!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Pizza Meme

I was tagged by Melissa at Breath of Life for this fun Pizza Box Meme. Of course, I don't understand why it's called a "Pizza Box" meme, but hey ... what else is new?

Okay -- fasten your seatbelts, 'cause here we go...

1) What was your favorite thing about being a kid? Picking strawberries, going to Cape Hatteras, Nags Head or Duck, snow, the neighborhood ice-cream truck, reading under my covers to the bright, bright light of my alarm clock, cooking or baking with my mom, youth group.

2) What was your favorite subject in school? In elementary school, art and music. In high school, English. In college, Biology.

3) Who was your best friend when you were 10? Lisa Terpack and Maria Betz.

4) If you could be any animal what would you be? DOH! I forgot to fill this in... Let's see... I like Lauren's answer very, very much, so I'm going to copy it ... word.for.word. -- and I quote ... "A kangaroo. They get to live in Australia, keep their kids in a pouch, hop everywhere and when someone ticks them off they can kick really, really hard."

5) What would you change about your school, occupation, life right now? I would be a stay-at-home mommy, and I'd be a really good one, because all SAH moms do is eat bon bons, watch the food network, and polish their nails, right?

6) What's your favorite color? Hmmm ... I can't narrow it down to just one. I'd have to go with Lime or Apple Green (well, green in general), Pink and Periwinkle.

7) What's your favorite type of crust and favorite topping on a pizza? I have two ... Thin and crispy white pizza (cheese and garlic only -- no tomatoes) or thin and crispy with ground beef, onions, fresh mushrooms, & sliced green olives (or black).

That's all? Man! That was short... and kinda fun remembering way back when!

Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie
Overwhelmed With Joy
Susie Pie
Susanne at Living to Tell The Story

Let me know if you've already been tagged...

Have a great weekend, share God's love and grace with someone, and see you all on Monday!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Well, it could be satan!

Many of you might recall that at one point in my blogging career, I shared with you that my husband simply loves the expression "cheeze-n-crackers!" -- Did I mention -- ad nauseam? As in --

me: "Honey, dinner will be ready in 15 minutes."
him: "cheeze-n-crackers!"

me: "Baby -- the trash has to go out tonight."
him: "cheeze-n-crackers!"

me: "hun, can you come here a sec?"
him: "cheeze-n-crackers!"

me: "I HATE cheeze-n-crackers! cheeze-n-crackerscheeze-n-crackerscheeze-n-crackerscheeze-n-crackerscheeze-n-crackers -- would you quit saying cheeze-n-crackers! You need a new line!"

Well, the other night, my wish was granted. He heard a commercial on the radio for Comcast (a local cable company) and he picked up a new saying he heard... thank goodness! Here it is, in case you want to use it with your kids or spouse. Just remember to throw in the "Mr. T" accent -- as in no r's are pronounced (if you don't know who Mr. T is -- then foghetaboutit).

New saying: "Stop your Jibber Jabber -- quit your Flibber Flabber."

Yeah. It's been used on me already, but it's pretty funny, and fun to say, and I find myself saying it too! Go ahead -- try it out -- let it roll from the tongue.
On another front: If you're hunting around for something that will really enhance your career, then you MUST go here: monk-e-mail -- Go ahead. Send your boss the "I QUIT!" email! You know you want to! FUU-NNNY!
Finally, I often find myself coming with-in inches, nay -- millimeters, of beating my husband senseless in the middle of the night. "Oh, GiBee -- not YOU!" YES. ME.

He snores. Need I say more? So, what usually happens is:

him: snoooore. snoooore. snooore.
me: tap. tap. tap.
him: snoooore. snoooore. snooore.
me: shake. shake. shake.
him: snoooore. snoooore. snooore.
me: shove. shove. shove.
him: "wha? huh? what!?"
me: "What do you think? You're snoring. Again."
him: "Oh. Okay. Sorry."
him: snoooore. snoooore. snooore.
me: sigh.

Every time, he asks me, "what? huh?" As if this time, it's gonna be something different. So, last night, here's what happened:

him: snoooore. snoooore. snooore.
me: tap. tap. tap.
him: snoooore. snoooore. snooore.
me: "Baby -- baby --"
him: "huh? what?"
me: "Baby, I'm trying to work with the FBI to save people. I have important things I need to do, but I can't because you're snoring to loud. So ... can you zip it?"
him: "huh?"
me: "I'm trying to dream, honey!"
him: "oh, sorry."
him: snoooore. snoooore. snooore.
me: shake. shake. shake.
him: "I can't be snoring. I just closed my eyes."
me: "Oh. Well, I guess it could be satan!"
him: "huh?"
me: "Baby -- your flibber has too much flabber in it. Can you quit it and turn over?"

Start vicious cycle all over again. I have important things to do in my dreams and of course, I need my beauty sleep! Gaah!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A bit of randomness ... making no sense at all

Randomness # 1: So a few weeks ago, I went to get a pedicure. And while the lady was working on my toes, she looked up and said, "You wanna wax brows?" Uh, NO, thank you ... And, all I could think of was... PAIN FACTOR, people ... PAIN. I've had other things waxed, and trust me ... I will not go there again! Then I got to thinking ... do I need an eyebrow wax? Am I looking particularly bushy? Do I have random strays that need taming? Why is this lady offering to wax my brows while trimming my toe nails? That's just gross! I guess she wanted to make an extra buck or two, but please! Find someone who enjoys pain, okay?

Randomness #2: The other day, I got an email from Oh, yes ... I got excited, because I thought I was actually getting a "one on one" email from a fellow blogger, which is quite silly, because her email resembles the one above by only THREE letters. Anyway, I didn't give it a second thought and just clicked right into it. Imagine my disappointment when I read this (typos and all):

When i was searching for a foreign partner i assured of your capability and reliability to champion this businees opportunity when i prayed to God or Allah about you. In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of $ 15 million U.S.A dollars ( fifteen million U.S.A dollars) . In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in (Monday 31st July 2000) in a plane crash.

The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclamed after five years, the money will be transfered into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner, and a Burkinabe cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner. We agree that 30 % of this money will be for you as foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, 10% will be set aside for expenses incured during the business and 60 % would be for me and my woman colleague.

POST SCRITUM: You have to keep everything secret as to enable the transfer to move very smoothly in to the account you will prove to the bank. As you finished reading this letter call me immediately so that we discuss very well over this business.

First of all ... I am not sure that I feel as honored as I should about being propositioned over email to be someone's "foreign partner." More kinky than I can handle!

Next, it is not very reassuring to see that I am being propositioned by someone with multiple personalities, who has a need to go to both God and Allah about me.

Even more disappointing, I see that I only get 30% of the $15 million, while he and his "woman colleague" get 60%... YOU AREN'T FOOLING ME, BUDDY! You're TWO TIMING me before I even agree to be your partner! The nerve. And ... I'll just bet it's with Lauren!

Finally -- "POST SCRITUM?" That sounds painful... but okay -- I'll keep it a secret... and worry not ... my personal account number is on its way to you, and look for my phone call so we can "discuss very well over this business."

Randomness #3: When I was pregnant last year, the bones in my feet hurt so bad I could barely walk. The doctor told me that they were actually growing. When the doctor told me that, I just looked at him and said, "you mean they're swollen, and they will go back down after the baby, right?" He said, "no, probably not." Nice. And ... they didn't. I have fairly narrow feet -- well, not narrow, but not WIDE either. Just normal, I guess. But yes, they are a whole size to a size-and-a-half loooonger. Harumph! I've had to get all new shoes for summer, and now, all new shoes for fall (oh, such a problem, huh!). So, having said all that, does this mean that with my next pregnancy (hopefully this fall/winter), my feet will grow even more? Because I can't handle much bigger feet! It's really throwing me off balance! I keep tripping over stuff and stubbing my toes! I should just get a pair of clown shoes and be done with it!

Randomness #4: I need another pedicure ... but keep putting it off because I'm afraid she'll point out everything I need waxed! And maybe, she might even make a comment about my clown feet! Ugh!

Tuesday Toss-up

I started not to post today, because I have so much catching up to do on all my dearly loved blogs, that the thought of coming up with a Tuesday Toss Up was much to much for my poor tired brain today. But, then I went to Callapidder Days to catch up with her, and Katrina had such an excellent discussion on prayer going, that I thought I'd bring it on over here!!!

Katrina's Bible class leader threw out some questions that I thought were quite thought provoking ... "How should we pray?" "Should we pray over lots of specifics?" "Is it okay to ask God for what we would like (such as physical healing, a new job, etc.)?" "Or should we just ask God for His will to be done and leave it at that?"

And, I can't help but laugh at her commentary, because oh, have I been there too! I have had the perfect answer on prayer, only to find out that I didn't really have it all figured out!

I have prayed for specifics before: "Lord, please bring the poop on..." "Lord, that's a little too much poop! Can you slow it down?" "Lord, please guide my car down this icy hill." "Lord, please fix that weird sound my car is making!" "Lord, please stretch this lasagna and bread to feed many more than it's intended to."

I know, they may sound like silly little prayers, but I honestly feel that nothing is too insignificant for us to pray about.

I've also prayed for what I want: "Lord, please give us a child." "Lord, help us find a home to buy." "Lord, please bless me with this job." "Lord, I would like a used white Expedition with leather interior, and everything automatic, and low, low mileage so I can drive the youth around."

Yeah. That last one sounds really selfish, but guess what? It was the first time I was ever so specific, and He answered this prayer with exactly what I asked for! And, as an added bonus, we purchased the car from a fine Christian family (that we didn't know before hand!) who took excellent care of the car. The Lord knows our heart's desires even before we voice them.

And then, there have been times (like now) when all I could do was/is ask for the Lord's will to be done, because I have too much emotion invested: "Lord, make our future housing situation clear and give me peace about it." "Lord, we're having our fifth fertility procedure. If it's your will for us to have a child, so be it. If not, give me peace and an attitude of acceptance." "Lord, you know what our financial needs are. If it's your will for me to stay home, please make a way."

Katrina ended her post with a beautiful prayer ... and she asked God to forgive her for being a spiritual snob, and for thinking she had prayer all figured out when she is still learning ... I love that. We all can be spiritual snobs at times, but she is so right. We are all still learning. Just when we think we have everything figured out, the Lord throws a kink in our plans to help us learn something new. Or maybe I throw a kink in God's plan that causes me to learn something new. Regardless ... we are constantly learning.

So, in the spirit of Tuesday Toss Up...
~What are your thoughts on prayer?
~And, what are some of the prayers you've thrown out to God ... silly ones, serious ones, big picture ones...
~Share them and your thoughts with us!
~Inquiring minds want to know!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Awesome weekend among friends!

There's a Gaither song that really sums up how I feel today ... "I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God, I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, for I'm part of the family, the Family of God."

This weekend, I had the extreme honor to meet Heather Smith and her family. She is such a grounded, creative, talented, and spiritually mature young lady. In fact, her entire family is! They are so warm and friendly, and I felt like I was a part of their family... in fact, I am a part of their family, because we are a family of God! It's funny, but I felt like I have known her (really, them) for an eternity!

Let me tell you a little bit about the Smith family: Heather, her sister and brother-in-law and kids stayed with us this weekend. The children were such a delight. Heather's little nephew has got the most tremendous, huge blue eyes... you could just melt in them. He is simply edible, if you know what I mean! Poor baby didn't feel well this weekend, because he had a sinus infection, but he and Hunter became buds! And Heather's niece is such a beautiful and smart little girl for 2-1/2 years old! She has got beautiful lightly-curly hair and a tremendous personality! She kept calling Hunter "Baby" with the most adorable southern accent! I thought that was really special, because that's how she lovingly referred to her baby doll, too ... "Baaay-by" (that spelling is for the southern effect!). Both children are simply adorable, and I'm pretty sure that they felt at home. Speaking of which, there is no better compliment to a homeowner than when their guests make themselves at home, and I was so pleased that they felt comfortable enough to kick their feet up, relax, and have a cold glass of SWEET tea (of course!) or Pepsi! It did my heart good!

Heather's sister is so sweet, and I felt like we hit it off from the very start. Having sons pretty much the same age was an added bonus for me, because I got to ask her a few questions about feedings, sleeping, teething, etc. It was so much fun having them in my home. Her husband is such a nice guy to, and very hands-on with the kids ... but don't let him know I said he's "nice" 'cause he has a police officer reputation to maintain... so, we'll just keep that between us, 'kay? Did I mention he's a lover of ice cream? Yeah. He won my husband, a fellow ice cream addict, over with that factoid!

Heather's parents were so down to earth and kind. I really enjoyed sitting back and watching the "kids" interact with the parents. They really have so much love and respect for their parents... And Heather's brother ... well, he has so much energy that it made my head spin!! I was most impressed when he told me he was going to get his doctorate and become a preacher. Not just a bachelor's degree, not a master's degree, but a doctorate. He seems to be a very determined young man! They also had a friend traveling with them that sings in their group, and she was so sweet. The kids simply adore her, and if I didn't know better, I would have thought she was a part of the family! And if I'm not mistaken, I think they all lovingly claim her as an "adopted daughter," so ... yup ... that makes her one of them!

Oh, I know ... you're all dying to know about Heather. I saved her for last. She is a remarkable young lady. I just kept watching her, thinking ... this woman is going to do great things in ministry. She's just getting started, but watch out world ... Heather's going to impact lives!! She will make quite a catch to the young man that wins her heart! She is so sincere, sweet, and funny, too! Just like her blog. I felt so proud to be able to tell people at my church that she is my friend!

The family sang so beautifully. I was so touched by many of the songs they sang, and quite impressed with the songs Heather wrote! Beautiful.

If your church is ever looking for a Gospel group to come perform, Heather's family is PERFECT. Yes, they were very professional, but the thing that stood out to me was that they are not about the performance. They are not about selling CDs and tapes. Rather, they are about sharing the message of salvation and encouragement.

I would love to stay and talk more about my new friends, but I just got a call from day-care telling me that Hunter has a temperature of 102 and a green snotty nose... I think he might have shared his new friend's sinus infection when they swapped pacifiers! How adorable is that! Well, okay -- not so adorable that he's sick, but cute that he has a new buddy, huh?

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's A Twenty-ouncer Morning!

Before you go filling my head with all your nice little comments on how I am NOT a moron ... you may want to read this:

I went to the gas station at lunch time to fill the gas tank up, which was below empty. I put that metal piece on the gas nozzle down so it would fill without me holding onto the handle, then I went into the gas station to get an energy drink. I looked at all the drinks, didn't like what I saw, started to walk out, when my eye caught a Ben and Jerry's ice cream bar. So I grabbed it, went to pay, and when I walked out of the store, I saw a fountain of gasoline spewing from my car's gas tank. And I do NOT mean a little trickle. It wadefinitelyly a fountain. The metal piece that holds the handle up didn't click off when the tank filled up.

So, basically, I paid for my 19 gallons of gas to fill a 15 gallon tank.


I got into my car, hung my head and placed my hand to my forehead (just in case the video cameras were capturing me -- the moron -- and nervously started the car. I was so scared it would blow up, that I prayed ... "Lord, if it's my time to go, and this van's gonna blow ... make it fast and painless. InJesusnameamen." (I found myself saying the same prayer at the stop light.)
So you see? I have once again proven beyond a measure of doubt that I am indeed a moron.

(And, NO! I did not tell the attendant what I did, and I did not request a refund. I just got the H-E-doublehockeysticks out of there!)

How embarrassing! And, for the record... I'll hurt you if you tell anyone what I did. Pinky promise you won't, 'kay?

Hey -- if someone goes to that very same gas station, drops a cigarette butt, and it blows them up, can I be arrested for homicide? Just wondering!

Back to your regularly scheduled program...

Yes, folks ... I've bumped up my usual 16-oz cup of Jo to 20-oz this morning. I'm hoping the extra 4-oz of caffeine will go a long way towards waking this moron up today!

Now, I'm pretty certain I know what's going through some of your minds...

Some of you might be thinking ... "4-0z? That's it? That's all? Psahw! Why bother?"

Other's might be thinking ... "Oh, GiBee, you are NOT a moron!" (Bless you)

And then, others might have thought... "Well, the first step to healing is admitting you have a problem... so now that you've admitted you're a moron, we can move on." (Clever. Where have you been all my life?)

And then, there are those who might be thinking ... "Yup. She called that right... she is a moron." (oh, aren't you funny!)

For those of you that have no thoughts at all, don't worry. Your secret is safe with me. I won't tell anyone.

So ... why am I limiting my self to an additional 4-oz of caffeine? Well, because while I want to wake up, I don't want to pee myself, and the bathroom is a long way off from my cube. Besides... I'll probably get a can of diet coke from the vending machine around 11-ish, adding another 12-oz of caffeine to my bladder.

And ... why am I a moron? Well... allow me to share. My son's 5th tooth finaly broke through this past Sunday (I think that's when it was)... And for the most part, he has been sleeping well through the night (except when sick)... Then ... last night during dinner, I got a good glimpse into his mouth and didn't see anything new popping through. But sure enough ... at 12:50 AM, the child woke up screaming like someone had cut his hand off. And he screamed for 2 and 1/2 hours straight. I gave him Tylenol. I rocked him. I soothed him. I sang to him. Finally ... out of desperation, my husband said, "should we try something on his gums?" And, being the all-knowing mother that I am (Ha!), I told him that I didn't think he was teething. But he insisted, so I told him to go and get the orajel AND Hyland's teething tablets.

Now, after almost three hours of solid screaming, a parent tends to worry as to what the cause is. He hasn't pooped in a full 24 hours, so maybe we inadvertently left a plug in his bum. But I really don't think that was the case. I had just changed his diaper, so it wasn't that. I had fed him a bottle, so he wasn't hungry. So, to appease my husband, I opened the bottle of Hylands poured out 4 or 5 tablets, and began feeding them to my screaming child. Then, I handed Hunter the closed Hylands bottle, got some orajel and slathered it in any which direction in his mouth. And wouldn't you know it ... as soon as that child got the Hylands bottle in his hand and started shaking those little tablets around he quieted down. And within 15 minutes he was back asleep.

Evidently, a tooth can hurt even though it hasn't bubbled the gum yet. And it can hurt a lot.

So, yes. I am a moron. You would have thought that teething would have crossed my mind FIRST. At 12:52 AM ... not 2:30 AM.

On another note ... is anyone planning on seeing Snakes On A Plane this weekend? I'm not big on scary movies or movies filled with suspense, but there is so much hype and talk about this movie that my curiosity is getting the better of me! Joel Siegel gave it a great review today on Good Morning America, and I could use a good scare. The only down side is that there is a lot of foul language in the movie. Maybe I'll wait for it to come out on DVD.

And to wrap things up into a nice big package ... Heather is coming to my house tomorrow ... nany nany boo boo! Not only do I get to meet her, but her whole family, too! They will be performing at our church on Sunday morning. Wooo Hooo!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What do YOU think?

Good Idea?

Bad Idea?

This morning, I saw a report on Good Morning America that left me thinking. No, it wasn't about world peace. It wasn't about JonBenet (who's death was only an "accident" -- he only meant to physically and sexually assault her -- not kill her, silly people! -- don't get me started). It wasn't about large companies announcing massive job cuts. It certainly wasn't about any political fall out a senator might be experiencing for purposefully saying racist comments to a reporter. No. Nothing heavy or serious like that.

It was of a report on Super-Supermarkets. It seems that grocery stores are investing in several new bits of technology to keep people in the stores longer (as if I want THAT!). Evidently, having fresh produce, nice and attractive meats, clean stores, and the new eateries just isn't good enough!

So, in the same good spirit that I present other things to you for your information, public safety, or simple enjoyment, I'll break down 3 of the latests scams ... I mean, bits of technology to hit the grocery stores.

Technology #1) Publix is testing out new Kid-friendly TV Karts! Seriously -- here is a statement I found somewhere on line: "Publix is testing a new weapon in taming the Terrible Twos and, surprise, it comes in the form of a television."

Yes, that is quite a surprise. As if the family can't get enough television at home, they are now bombarding us with it in the grocery store.

The carts themselves are kinda cute... they look like a race car in bright colors, but in the car compartment is a little TV screen on which the kids can watch "Barney," "The Wiggles," or "Bob the Builder," depending on which cart you choose. The show lasts for about 48 minutes. And no, it's not free. The special cart costs $1 to use, and Publix will get a cut of that money, and the makers of this cart claim that it can bring in an additional $100,000 in revenue to the store. YIKES! That's a lot of money! We can sponsor a lot of starving kids for $100,000. We can feed the poor in our own country. We can... we can ... well, I'm getting a bit sidetracked here. So, what do you think? Good? Bad? I'm undecided as to whether this is good or bad, because I don't have a two year old or a gaggle of kids to take to the grocery store... yet. But I'm leaning towards bad. The grocery store can actually be educational for kids. But I also see many parents in the grocery store that look like they could commit harry-karry at any given moment because their kids are going nuts in the store. So, go ahead ... state your honest opinion on this in the comments section.

Technology #2) Pay for groceries with your fingerprint. Yes. You read right. And folks ... while this may sound convenient, it's downright scary to me! It may not be terribly new, but stores (Thriftway, Kroger, WalMart, Costco, Albertsons, PIGGLY WIGGLY!, Cub Foods, Home Depot) in 44 states are rolling out this new biometric technology to allow people to pay for groceries using their fingerprint instead of a credit or debit card. Your fingerprint is tied to your credit or debit card, and you simply place your finger on a reader, it scans your print, and debits your account. No wallets necessary -- just bring your finger. I have three words for you. Six. Six. Six. Shivers! So, what do you think? Good? Bad? Once again ... state your honest opinion on this in the comments section.

Technology #3) RFID radio frequencies on barcodes in grocery stores. Huh? That's right ... Radio Frequency. You know how you have those bar codes printed on everything? Well, have you ever noticed that some of them are stuck on labels that are thicker, larger, and have radio frequencies on them ... usually electronics, cd's, dvd's -- you know -- expensive stuff they don't want shoplifted. The radio frequency transmits product-related information and does not require a line of sight (scanner) like barcode technology does.

Close your eyes with me, and envision the UPC-free supermarket: You fill your cart with everything on your grocery list. You then wheel your cart through what looks like a metal detector, and VOILA! Your bill is instantly calculated and displayed on a screen. You confirm the charges to your account, grab your receipt, and roll. Hey! You can even flip them your finger (see Technology #2 above).

So ... shoplifters? Pshaw! Fill your coats with rolls of salami, mounds of cheese, and bags of shrimp. Once you walk through that metal detector ... BAM. You will have purchased the item... not shoplifted it! So, again, I ask ... what do you think? Good? Bad? You know the drill ... state your honest opinion on this in the comments section.

I leave it in your hands, friends ... the fate of grocery shopping will never be the same once we vote ... Good or Bad?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Killer Pancakes, Dude!

First, let me start off by sharing that I spoke with not one, but TWO wonderful, Southern bloggers this past weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to post (read: brag) about it until now. Heather and Faith. They are both so sweet, and I could listen to their accents all day long! Heather is coming to stay with me on Saturday, because her family singing group is performing at our church! Can't wait. And we spent a few minutes chatting away. And, Faith and I spent about an hour and a half on the phone ... well past my bedtime ... chit chatting about the boys, her older kids, our hubbies, oh, and blogging safety. We won't get into that, though! They are both such delightful ladies, and if you get a chance, check out their blogs. You'll be hooked. I promise!

This morning, a co-worker sent me an email that was very interesting, and I wanted to share it with you. Normally, I don't forward emails on, because most of the time, they just aren't true. So I first went to Urban Legends just to check it out, and it turns out that this email is true.

Apparently, a person allergic to molds can suffer a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction to the molds that grow in old, expired pancake mix. There is a documented case in Charleston, South Carolina, of a 19-year-old college kid who died in such a manner.

So, I'm sure you're thinking ... "GiBee, I'm a pretty responsible adult. I think I'd notice!"

Yes, as an adult, we'd think to toss out an expired package. Yes, the pancakes on their own will taste funny, and as an adult, you may catch that. But if you've taught your children how to make pancakes on their own while you're catching a few extra zzzzz's, as many of my friends have, I'm pretty certain they will NOT think to check the expiration date of the package. Furthermore, if your child is hungry, and has loaded the pancakes with butter and syrup, or peanut butter, or any other condiment used on pancakes (but hopefully NOT ketchup -- Blech!!), chances are they will not question the actual taste of the pancake as being odd.

And, I think of myself as a responsible adult too (hey! Keep your comments to yourself!), but I also like to be thrifty. OKAY, okay ... lazy. And I wouldn't have even thought of checking the expiration date on a box of Bisquick, Aunt Jemima, Hungry Jack, or any other kind of pancake mix.

Plus, many of us tend to shop at Costco, Sams, etc. and load up on bulks... so you gotta wonder ... how fast would you go through all that pancake mix?! Also, the youth at our church frequently have pancake breakfasts for fund raisers, and I happen to know that the church's kitchen has a pantry chock full of bulk pancake mix ... which may or may not be expired!

Now, don't get panicked. There isn't anything necessarily toxic about pancake mix that has just passed its freshness date, and just because the product is old doesn't turn it into a poison. Only those who have allergies to mold are at risk, and even then, for the pancake mix to be toxic, it has to have mold spores, not just be old.

So, I encourage you, as I will myself, to go check out your pancake mixes and make sure they aren't expired!

P.S. -- Heather -- don't worry. I'll use a brand new box of Bisquick on the breakfast casserole I'm making for Sunday morning, 'kay?


Original email (a Dear Abby letter):


I recently made a batch of pancakes for my healthy 14-year-old son, using a mix that was in our pantry. He said that they tasted "funny," but ate them anyway. About 10 minutes later, he began having difficulty breathing and his lips began turning purple. I gave him his allergy pill, had him sit on the sofa and told him to relax. He was wheezing while inhaling and exhaling. My husband, a volunteer firefighter and EMT, heated up some water, and we had my son lean over the water so the steam could clear his chest and sinuses. Soon, his breathing became more regular and his lips returned to a more normal color. We checked the date on the box of pancake mix and, to my dismay, found it was very outdated. As a reference librarian at an academic institution, I have the ability to search through many research databases. I did just that, and found an article the next day that mentioned a 19-year-old male DYING after eating pancakes made with outdated mix. Apparently, the mold that forms in old pancake mix can be toxic! When we told our friends about my son's close call, we were surprised at the number of people who mentioned that they should check their own pancake mix since they don't use it often, or they had purchased it some time ago. With so many people shopping at warehouse-type stores and buying large sizes of pancake mix, I hope your readers will take the time to check the expiration date on their boxes. Also, beware of outdated cake, brownie and cookie mixes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

No, I'm not dead! But I feel like it!

So ... have you been wondering what I've been doing lately?

C'mon ... I know you have ...

Well ... allow me to share.

1) Internet at home was out for an entire week.

2) Wireless connection fried. Sob!

3) Hunter sick with virus ... not just one, but two.

4) Upset stomach, diareah, cough, sneeze, runny nose ... sounds like a commercial for ... well, a wacked out cough/cold/tummy thing. Ha! Four solid days. Nice.

5) Up all night with child screaming out of discomfort. Great!

6) Mom's swamped at work writing a twelve page Construction Economy Newsletter and issuing it. Blech.

7) Basically -- Mom and Dad are exhausted. No menu done. No groceries in house. Thank goodness we have bulk toilet paper.

Have a great evening ... see you on the flip side.

There is a flip side, right? Someone tell me there's a flip side.

Friday, August 11, 2006


What is excellence? Is it something that we strive for on a regular basis, or is it something we "stumble" upon through daily living? Honestly, I think it is something that as Christians, we are constantly striving for. Something we work hard for, and are proud of. And really, who doesn't want to be surrounded by excellence? In fact, scripture encourages us to surround ourselves with excellence, doesn't it?

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

So many times, I have come across either a blog, a post, or a particular "effort or instance" that has left me thinking ... "Wow! That was excellent! Others should know about this!" And sometimes, a simple comment in the comments section just isn't strong enough to express how impressed I am with either the blog or the particular post.

So, the wheels in my mind started turning (that can be a dangerous thing) ... and ... an idea was started. I thought to my self ... "Self, there should be an award for these instances of excellence. One that would encourage others, and motivate them. Sort of like ... an award for excellence, or something like that..." And then, the question of what excellence really means kept playing over in my head ...

Wow! So, I was on the right track ... COOL! And with that ... The Award of Excellence was born.

Now, I don't consider myself the "expert of excellence" ... but "where two or three bloggers are gathered ... there excellence shall be found" (sorry to take scripture and run with it!). So, I turn to you, my fellow bloggers, and invite you to participate by nominating blogs, posts, or efforts that you find to be EXCELLENT.

This is not a weekly, monthly or annual award. No. This is an award that will be given out whenever merited. Therefore, you can make nominations whenever you want! And, really ... the key about your participation is that 1) the award will be given out to a broader spectrum than the small circle of blogs (close to 80 now) that I read, 2) the award process will generate more traffic to the winners site, hence, sharing their excellence, and 3) the award will encourage on-going excellence.

So, if you should happen to stumble across a particular blog, post, or instance of excellence that is award worthy, please ... email me right away with the link to either the post, or the blog, and include a brief paragraph describing why you feel that person is worthy of receiving the Award of Excellence! I will then review the nomination, a final decision will be made by me, the person will be notified of their award via email, and they will receive the code for the button so that it may be proudly displayed on their blog (if they so choose).

So, without further delay, I will present the FIRST Award of Excellence winners:

1) Momrn2 from My Quiet Corner:

Sometimes, we are faced with emergencies in our life, and we are left wondering how to work through them. Well, recently, Momrn2's daughter was faced with a life-threatening emergency. Many people rallied around her in prayer, and she journaled regularly to keep us up to date on her daughter's progress. She also journaled about The Most Difficult Prayer that she and her husband have ever prayed. This post was probably one of the most difficult, but excellent posts I have read, and if you missed it, I highly encourage you to go back and read it. It will touch you deeply.

So Momrn2, because of your excellent journaling skills about your daughter, and because of your heart's desire to encourage other parents faced with similar difficulties, you are hereby presented with The Award of Excellence.

2) Lauren from Created For His Glory

In a world full of foul language, negativity, and strong content, sometimes, we just need one person to step up to the plate and say ... "Enough is enough!" And Lauren has done just that. She has single-handedly created and coordinated a blogroll specifically for Family-Friendly Blogs. At the time of this post, the blogroll has approximately 122 members, and continues to grow.

So Lauren, because of your desire to see Family-Friendly excellence maintained in the blogworld, and for the skills of excellence you have displayed in coordinating and maintaining the Family-Friendly Blogroll, you are hereby presented with The Award of Excellence.

3) BooMama from BooMama

It's amazing how friendships develop over the bloglines across the world, but sometimes, we just need to get to know one another on a more intimate level then simply leaving comments on each other's blogs ... and that can be accomplished generally by going to each other's homes for a cup of coffee, tea, or a diet coke, and some scrumptious dessert. But sometimes, that just isn't practical, or even possible, because you can't jump on a plane or train each time you want to have dessert with a friend that lives across country (or in another country), you know what I mean?!

Well, BooMama was approached by some fellow bloggers about hosting a simple but special Tour of Homes. After careful consideration, she agreed, thinking she might only have a handful of participants. Well, what started of as "simple" but "special" ended up being HUGE! In fact, it was bigger than any true southerner would care to imagine, because, low and behold, she had (and I'm sure she was SHOCKED) 241 people participating in the Tour of Homes!

So, BooMama, because of your excellent attitude towards something that started of small, and spiraled into epic proportions, and because of your excellent, and newly acquired Mr. Linky skills, and for your desire and willingness to enable other bloggers to foster new friendships despite experiencing a painful and low time in your own life, you are hereby presented with The Award of Excellence.

4) Faith from Faithful Mommy and Child of Mine -- The Adoption Blog

There are so many beautiful children in our country that are alone, hurting, and in need of a loving family, yet lost in the foster care system. Many of these beautiful children even have life-threatening medical needs, making it even more difficult to place them in an adopted home. On the other hand, there are many families whose arms and hearts are aching to adopt a child, but don't know where to start. Faith has opened her life, her heart, and her blog to us to share her experiences, her difficulties, and her joys. You can see many of her stories by clicking here, and recently, she has started a new blog that is geared just for adoption.

One story in particular, grabbed at my heart and made me want to open my home to as many children as I could, but I promise that if you begin reading either of Faith's blogs, and get to know the story about her little man, you will understand quickly why she is being given The Award of Excellence.

So Faith, for your excellence in bringing adoption to the forefront, and for your transparency and honesty on transracial adoptions, and for your excellence in guidance and wisdom for those interested in adoption, and for your willingness to begin a new blog where families that have adopted can share their personal stories and experiences, you are hereby presented with The Award of Excellence.

5) Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer

I have saved Shannon for last, because she has had a very special role in making the Award of Excellence even possible! She created the banner and the button for me. Shannon, a deeply southern and genteel woman, offered one day ... months ago to create a banner for me, because she wanted to practice using a new software. At the time, I didn't need one. But when this award started rolling around in my brain, I suddenly found a need for a banner. Oh, and did I mention a need for a button, too? Well, Shannon, who is always offering to help, rolled her sleeves up, and created a beautiful banner and button for me. And I must say, I am not always an easy person to work with, because I have SET ideas in my mind. But Shannon was a trooper. She took my scripture, and a request for something with a "Southern Living" elegance, and ran with it, creating a beautiful award that can be proudly displayed on many a blog!

So Shannon, because of your excellent and selfless attitude, and because of your excellent desire and willingness to help, and because of your eye for beauty and desire to share with others, you are hereby presented with The Award of Excellence.



If you come across a blog, a post, or an instance of excellence, please email me (see email link in my side bar) to nominate them for an award!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What's Behind Closed Door #1? An Expose on True Living

That's right, folks ... this is an expose (read: Ex-po-zay) on TRUE LIVING, because apparently, many of you did NOT believe me (read these comments) when I said I had a lot of disorganization, chaos, disarray ... whatever you may call it ... in my home. Well ... I've got it. Trust me.

Now, you showed me sympathy after this post, and it seemed as if you believed me, and offered me words of wisdom and even some consoling about my frustration with disorganization, but evidently, that ended after y'all went through the tour of my home, and it became quite clear to me from your comments that many of you were left scratching your heads and wondering about what "chaos" and "disorganization" I was talking about.

Well, of course, sillies! I only showed you the rooms we live in daily, and the ones I try to discipline myself to clean each night before I lay my head upon my pillow. After all ... did you really think I would show you the "yucky" rooms when there was a remote possibility (HA) that BooMama could possibly host more than the initial 20 people in her tour of homes (bwahahaha -- more like 241 people!)? I think NOT! That's worse than me sharing with you that I still wear my nursing bra (even though I could only nurse for 5 weeks, and Hunter is now 10 months old) because it's so darned comfortable! Good grief!

So ... in order to offer you proof of my disorganization, I am providing you with a home tour that no one wants. A special look behind SOME of my closed doors ... but not ALL of them (I do have my dignity!). And, just to refresh your memory, I had a get real post that showed my kitchen sink full of dishes, my family room a mess, etc. -- it's how we REALLY live, people!

Yes, folks ... this is an expose on TRUE LIVING at Casa GiBee. So ... prepare yourself for the horror. Send the children from the room. Shield your co-workers from the shock and revulsion. (And don't say I didn't warn you)

So, until I can come up with a better solution to keeping my house in order, I need to constantly remind myself of this: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you even if your home is a disorganized wreck of a pig sty." (1 Peter 5:6-7) [yeah, it's all there in the Bible ... you just need the housewife's edition of the Bible to get the pig sty part of the verse]

So without further to-do ... Here's What's Behind Closed Door #1, #2, and #3:

Door #1 -- Our Living Room: Note the coffee table that we moved out of the family room for Hunter's walking safety that is neatly straddled over part of the treadmill, which the remainder is neatly scattered around the rest of the living room:

Door #2 -- Our Den: Note all the papers scattered on the desk, the layer of protective dust, and the cluttered bookcases, and the stoic vacuum cleaner:

Door #3 -- The "Blue" Guest Bedroom: Note all the towels/laundry ... this is two loads of laundry, with a third in the dryer, a fourth in the washer, and a fifth waiting on the floor, ready to be tossed into the washer once it's empty:

Thank goodness my camera's batteries gave out at this point, because I wouldn't want to horrify you completely!

Well, that's MY real life. I encourage you to share pictures of YOUR real life, too! It's a very humbling and cleansing experience!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

Today's Tuesday Toss-up, interestingly enough, was dropped into my mind by a commercial I heard on the local Christian radio station. The commercial was for a book. And the toss-up is actually part of the title of the book. I have ordered the book, and am interested in starting to read it and see what it's all about, but I'm just as interested in hearing your reactions to the title, which in fact ... is a question.

A side note:

Now, I know many of you have strong opinions, so please ... share.

But I also know that many of you are intimidated to share your feelings because you're afraid of what people will say or think. Trust me when I say ... this is a NON-JUDGMENTAL ZONE. Your comments are safe. I will not judge you, and I'm pretty confident that no one else will either, so don't be afraid to comment!

I strongly feel that Tuesday Toss-up is a tool that can be used in understanding and even learning, as well as the maturing process that every Christian faces ... and learning how to share your beliefs (apologetics).

Apologetics is: the verbal defense; speech in defense a reasoned statement or argument; always being ready to make a defense.

Scripture backs this up: "...but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." (1 Peter 3:15)

So let us strive to share our comments with gentleness and reverence!


Okay ... Here's the title of the book: Out of Your Comfort Zone: Is Your God Too Nice?

Here's the basis: Many Christians worship a friendly, gift-giving God, one who never challenges or requires anything of them.

Here's the Tuesday Toss-up:

Is this the God we find in the Bible?
Do you think the images we have and share of God are too nice?
Have we "niced God up" so that others will be more willing to accept Him?

Go ahead ... comment away!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Menu Planning Monday

Well, I know it's after 1:00 EST, but better late than never, huh? I had such a busy weekend, but I know someone out there was praying for Hunter, because not only did he sleep through the night (since Thursday), but he also took a TWO HOUR NAP on Sunday afternoon, which, as many of you can understand, is the HARDEST day to stay on schedule. So during those two hours, I took one too. And so did my husband. I know, I know ... a 2-hour nap can really cramp your style -- but someone had to do it! And the family that sleeps together, stays together, you know what I mean? I woke up feeling sooo refreshed. Thank you for your prayers!

Last week, I mentioned on my Menu post that I was going to be cooking up some delish crock-pot chicken cacciatore for Sunday (yesterday). And that was still the plan yesterday morning, when I tossed everything into the crock-pot as we were running out the door for church. Now, normally, I would only use three chicken breasts ... one for me, two for hubby (he usually takes one for lunch). But when I opened the freezer, there were only 4 breasts left in the bag, so despite my husband's instance that it was too much food, I tossed ALL FOUR breasts into the crock pot. He asked me if I wanted to invite anyone over for dinner to share all this glorious chicken cacciatore, but I gave him a solid NO ... which is rarely a word used in my vocabulary. I figured I could freeze the leftovers! And, aside from having a lingering smell of garlic on my fingers and hands all morning (yes, I washed, but it wouldn't leave me!), I felt a sense of satisfaction knowing that I had chicken cacciatore for dinner that evening, and wouldn't have to do much more for the rest of the day.

But as we pulled into our driveway after church and lunch, a neighbor ran up to us to invite us for a cook out to celebrate another neighbor's birthday. Now, normally, I'd be all excited about being able to show off (I mean ... SHARE) my cooking talents with the neighbors. But, with a promising two hour nap and all ... well, they didn't get anything glorious ... instead ... they got ... YOU GUESSED IT ... chicken cacciatore over buttered garlicy egg noodles. I even shredded the chicken to feed the masses. All this to say ... It was a God thing that I cooked the 4 chicken breasts. Do you have any idea how much chicken 4 shredded breasts gives you? A TON, that's how much! I even brought some home that I'm eating for lunch right now as I type. Mmmmmm.

So, after having taken you on a couple rabbit trails, here's my menu for this week, brought to you courtesy of Laura and I'm an Organizing Junkie:

Monday: Baked spaghetti Pie, Sweet Pea Pods sauteed in garlic butter, bread

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken (I'll roast two at a time), Green Beans, Rice Pilaf, Garden Tomatoes sliced with a vinaigrette

Wednesday: Homemade Sloppy Joes (can you believe it! my gourmet husband chose this!), corn on the cob, corn cake, squash patties

Thursday: Chicken Tacos (made from leftover roasted chicken), refried black beans, corn salad

Friday: Ordering Out

Saturday: Creamy Chicken Pasta (made from leftover roasted chicken), homemade (YUM) Caesar salad

Sunday: Grilled steaks, rice, salad

Back-up-Meal: Grilled Shish Kabobs, Jasmine rice, grilled veggies

That's it!!! I made my menu and grocery list on Saturday morning, did my shopping Saturday evening, and everything is in the fridge, freezer, and pantry waiting to be made!

If YOU have a menu to share, pop on over to I'm An Organizing Junkie and enter your name and blog address in Mr. Linky! Laura's on vacation, but Mr. Linky is working hard to keep the Meme going!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Get the Jeans Out!

That's right, people ... get those jeans out! There's a "funnel system" coming through, and it's dropping our TRIPLE DIGIT temperatures down to a cool and frosty 97 degrees. Brrrrrr! Make sure you bundle up the kids before sending them out to play. You can never be too careful, so to avoid frost bite, make sure they have their warm mittens, hats, and boots on.

Seriously ... The heat is on!!! I don't ever remember summers being this hot, this humid, and this disgusting. Our air quality index has been code orange and red DAILY. What's up with that?!? If it's this hot now, how hot will it be when my son is in his teens? Twenties? Thirties? Will he have to wear special heat protective clothing? I mean ... how hot can it possibly get? We all need a break from the heat ... some fall temperatures would be nice right about now! I totally miss the feel of fall's frosty days, the smell of burning wood in the fireplaces, and the sound of leaves crunching under foot.

So, now I'm wondering what the winter will hold... The Old Farmer's Almanac says that temperatures will only be one degree below normal on average, with above average precipitation in most of the Mid-Atlantic Corridor, with snowfall being much greater just about everywhere. [I swear ... that's what it really says] The biggest snowfalls will be in early December and the second half of January with other snowy periods in late December and early February, with temperatures colder than normal in December and exceptionally cold in the second half of January.

Basically, I'll be snowed in and half-frozen from December through February. Sounds like there will be a rash of pregnancies popping this winter, with babies being born September through November 2007! All I know is ... I need to get a different heating system than Gas if I plan on making it through the winter with any money in my bank account, 'cause I sure can't handle an entire winter of $500/month gas bills -- just to heat the house! Insanity!

(Are you're interested in what your area's long range weather forecast is? Click here.)

So, here's a meme for you... did you notice that? I said ... "for you" -- as in -- I'm tagging ALL of you! You can answer the questions in my comments section!

1] What are your favorite seasons in order: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.
2] What are your favorite smells for each season: Fall -- burning leaves and wood; Winter -- the smell in the air right before a heavy snow; Spring -- freshly cut grass; Summer -- the smell of salty ocean air
3] What are your favorite foods for each season: Fall -- home made apple pie and apple sauce, anything pumpkin pie-bread-or cookies, spice or molasses cookies; Winter -- pot roast with carrots and potatoes, peppermint sugar cookies; Spring --asparagus, roasted baby new potatoes; Summer -- homemade peach ice cream, fresh sweet corn, fresh fruits, mangos
4] What are your favorite colors for each season: Fall -- burnt orange; Winter -- red and periwinkle blue; Spring -- granny-smith-apple-green (I'd love to do a kitchen in this color and white and black); Summer -- raspberry pink and lime green
5] What are your favorite activities for each season: Fall -- taking long walks; Winter -- sitting in front of a fireplace watching the snow fall; Spring -- taking a walk after a rain storm; Summer -- laying out on a beach where there is NO humidity and NO crowds.

Okay -- now it's your turn -- in the comment section ... have at it!

"For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest,
cold and heat, Summer and winter,
day and night will never stop."
Genesis 8:22 (The Message)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's Been A Long & Sad Struggle...

The past few months have been very difficult for me. In fact, I have dipped into a slight, MILD depression over this. I have found myself seeking, and searching. I have even gone on line and scoured the internet for answers.

But I have found nothing. No answers. No clues. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. Which, in turn, has sent me into a tailspin. A sense of panic has come over me and I can see the different stages of grief starting to set in. And the sadness I'm feeling ... it is so very deep. It will probably take me a long time to get over this or work through this stage in my life.

I don't know if you've ever felt this or gone through anything like this, but it's not fun. I mean ... how am I ever going to work through this issue? I probably should start seeing a counselor. Again. But, I doubt they will have any answers for me.

You see ... in all my life, I never ... ever ... thought I would have to find a new mascara. Ever. Max Factor 2000 Calories has been a staple in my makeup box for EVER. Now, Max has disappeared off the shelves, and is no where to be found, and I've searched all the stores in the entire city I live in! The internet has no news, and the store clerks are clueless.

Yes, it's been a long and sad struggle for me. I don't know if I'll ever reconcile myself to the fact that I actually have to find another mascara as good as this one, but I've already tried 6 or 7 different brands, but none lengthen and curl my eyelashes like my Max did.

And now, I have no choice, as my last tube of mascara has dried up. Hence, the sadness. The depression. The despair. And I AM desperate for more. I need my Max fix, and I need it now.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Menu and Grocery List Planning Made Quick & Easy

Before I even begin ... GUESS WHAT I GOT TO DO YESTERDAY??? I got to talk to TWO blog Divas on the telephone! Yes, two!!! Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer and Everyday Mommy! And they are both a hoot. Shannon is so gentle, so encouraging, and very soft spoken. Very. And Southern! My goodness, she's got a southern accent! I told her that her accent sounds the very same "live" as it does on her blog (hehehe). And Jules -- she is such a sweetie too. I think she spent two hours encouraging me, giving me awesome advice and making me laugh. And keeping me distracted while my husband ran from the back of the house to the front of the house (cutting through the kitchen) cooking on two different grills (poor guy). They both speak exactly like their blogs read, if that makes any sense whatsoever! I think I could have talked to both of them forever, but I had to cut Shannon off so I could get back to work, and I had to cut Jules off so I could sit down to dinner with my family! Okay ... enough bragging... on with the regularly scheduled program...

Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie has started a cool weekly meme called Menu Plan Monday. She was inspired by some comments left on one of her posts, as well as by a post she read at Everyday Mommy about Menu Planning. And really, who doesn't Everyday Mommy inspire? Anyway, I was inspired to, and thought I'd post some of my thoughts on menu planning and grocery shopping, as well as provide you with some helpful tips/links.

First of all, in retrospect, I can see how menu planning not only saves us money, but time, too. For many years, I have flown by the seat of my pants ... no menu planning ... no grocery list ... nothing, nada, zip, zilch. Well, I can honestly say that taking the 30 minutes or so to plan out a menu and create a grocery list really is much easier than racking my brain on what we're going to have for dinner, wandering through the grocery store trying to get ideas, making upteen million trips to the grocery store, and always forgetting that one crucial ingredient and having to go back to the grocery store again.

We still make extra trips to the grocery store to get perishable items that won't keep for long periods of time (like milk, bread, some delicate produce like salads, etc.), but it's been cut down to about 1 or 2 extra trips every two to three weeks, and our love/hate relationship (as in... I loved my husband to make a pit stop, he hated to make a pit stop) with the trips we would make to the grocery store has come to an end. Besides ... it's just too hard to go to the grocery store 4 times a week with an infant. Honestly, we're still working out the whole budget thing. Neither one of us sticks to a hard and steadfast budget, but we have an idea of how much we will spend at the grocery store, and we usually stick to that within $20-40 depending on the household cleaning items we need.

Lately, every Saturday morning, usually over breakfast, I sit at my kitchen table with my husband. We flip through our cook books and magazines and we pick what we want to eat for the week. I personally could eat things like hasbrown casserole, mac and cheese, and hot dogs and burgers until the cows come home. But my "oh, so refined, foo-foo-shi-shi husband" (bwahahahaha -- ehem) prefers freshly prepared, yummy gourmet food made from scratch. And, since we both love to cook, it's okay for us to slave in the kitchen for hours on end. At least until we have a housefull of kids! In any case, I always cut corners and create short cuts when cooking, so that even the most complex recipe turns out to be shorter and faster.

Now ... my husband refuses to go to the grocery store without a menu planned, a quick "inventory" of what we have, and a grocery list of what we need. And, since I refuse to go to the grocery store without him, I'm pretty much stuck to planning instead of flying by the seat of my pants. Which, by the way, I so love to do.

Anyway, I used to write the menu for the week on one piece of paper, and the grocery list on another... but now, I have created my own menu and grocery list that I absolutely love. It's so easy, and it's all on one page. An 8-1/2 x 11" page -- easy to read! I even took it to Kinkos and they copied it and "padded" it all up for me (if you provide your own copies, it's under $3)! Neato mosquito, that's what I say! I keep the pad by my cookbooks, and rip the paper off once my menu is planned and I'm ready to go to the grocery store. Once at the grocery store, I cross through everything. If I need a particular item, and it's not available at that grocery store, I'll know to pick it up at another time because it won't be crossed off. The paper goes back on the refrigerator as soon as we return from the grocery store. (I haven't figured out how to post a copy of it yet!)

Here are some of "our" (yeah, I gotta give the hubs props) quick tips:

1. Pick your meals for the entire week and write them down. Include the days you plan on eating out on your menu.
2. As you write down your meals, jot the name of the cook book or magazine along with the page number next to it so when it comes time to fix it, you're not "lost".
3. Do one day at a time. As you select the menu for the day in question, immediately write down everything you need to purchase for that complete meal, including side dishes (and dessert if you so desire).
4. Select an easy "extra meal" that you can fall on if you don't feel like eating or cooking whatever you might have chosen, or if things "change"... if you don't use this meal, you can put it on your menu for the following week.
5. Take a few minutes to do a mental inventory of whatever else you may need and add it to the grocery list immediately.
6. Go to the grocery store the same day you do your menu planning... otherwise ... it won't get done in time for your next meal!
7. Hang the menu/grocery list on your refrigerator.
8. Be flexible (days can change), but still hold fast to the menu.

If you don't have a budget planned, but you want one, then I'd suggest going through the menu-planning exercise for four weeks before setting a budget. Keep track of each week's grocery cost. Save the receipts. Once four weeks has passed, compare the receipts. Certain weeks will be heavier than others because you'll have household cleaning items or other miscellaneous items. Use these receipts to plan your budget.

Also, I try to get many of my non-perishables at Costco, like toilet paper (Kirklands brand is pretty good, and each roll comes individually wrapped - and it's soft, but not all linty), paper towels, diapers, wipes, etc.

Here are a few helpful links:

1) My Menu/Grocery Planner -- Email me at with "Menu/Grocery Planner" in the subject line, and I'll email you the PDF file.
2) Shannon's WFMW post on creating a grocery list (she does it by aisle at her grocery store)
3) Shannon's PDF link for her own grocery list (very cool -- but blogger won't let me post mine like this!)
4) Link to I'm an Organizing Junkie main page so you can check back each Monday for her Mr. Linky Links to other menu planners...
5) Link to Rocks In My Dryer main page so you can check back each Wednesday for other awesome tips (not kitchen inclusive)
6) Link to Everyday Mommy's Kitchen Tips

Finally, I try to be flexible. I know there are days when neither one of us are going to feel like cooking. So, we order pizza, and move the menu for that day to another day. Then, there are nights like last night, where the ribs take a wee bit longer (like 3 hours longer) to cook than you expected, so you need to jump to another night and eat something quick and easy (like grilled chicken Caesar salads). Of course, then your husband might be jumping from the back of the house where the charcoal grill is (ribs) to the front of the house to cook on the gas grill (chicken) at the same time (like mine did). That takes talent, folks!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tuesday Toss-up

Good morning! It's Tuesday, and time for another Tuesday Toss-up. What's a Toss-up? Well, it has been a long time since the last one (an entire month!) so here are the basics:

  • I toss-up a comment, quote, scripture, or article...
  • You comment to your heart's content (nicely, of course)
That's it! Easy-peasy! This morning, I'm tossing-up an awesome quote. I knew I had to use it the minute I saw it. Why, you might ask??? Well, because a lot of my blog friends, including myself, have been tried and tested this spring and summer -- a whole lot of changes and shaking going on -- and this quote just sprang out to me. I needed to read it. And, I think you'll enjoy thinking about it!

So take a few minutes to digest the quote, and then share some of your first thoughts or impressions on this quote in my comment section -- good, or bad, for or against, what it means to you, how it moves you, what it makes you think of -- you know -- that kind of stuff! (no googling allowed!) And trust me when I say ... you will NOT be graded on theology! Here it goes:

"The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life."
James L. Christensen

Just a reminder ... (and I'm quoting Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer) ..."Respectful, dissenting viewpoints are always welcome, but please, let's keep it civil." (although, I don't think this quote is potentially explosive, arguable, volatile or insulting in any way!)

Have a blessed day in the Lord, and don't forget to check back to read what others are saying!


Teaser: Coming this week to a blog near you...
"Menu and Grocery List Planning Made Quick & Easy!"
"What's Behind Closed Door #1? An Expose on True Living."
"It's Been A Long & Sad Struggle..."
"I Always Wanted To Be Homeless?! NOT!"
... and so much more! Stay Tuned!