Friday, August 29, 2008
Leah has beautiful twin girls, who are two years old. She is also babysitting a nice boy named Luke, who is also two years old. Then there is my Wendy, who is almost two years old.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
So, here goes:
Sunshine and rubber,
the scent of graphite and wood;
I am saddened when you snap.
My fingers remember your shape,
and the crunch of your paint makes me smile.
Do you need a good laugh today? Here's my favorite from the list:
Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like "Second Tall Man."
And a few other funny links for today:
Dave Barry - A journey into my colon -- and yours
Homeland Security Sign Parody
And lastly, a funny list that's made the e-mail circuit for years. I think I first read it in college, and it's still funny today:
FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.
PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.
BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.
PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.
CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you.
DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.
PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.
PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.
LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The not-quite-heroine in this story, Charity O'Connor, is what you might call a strong-willed woman. She knows what she wants, and she does whatever she can to get it. Like a vivacious Scarlett O'Hara scheming to snare Ashley Wilkes, Charity plots and deceives to try and win the heart of Mitch Dennehy.
Mitch, however, having seen Charity for all she is, beautiful, intelligent, and flawed, is beyond her charms...or is he?
To find out more about A Passion Redeemed, by Julie Lessman, visit the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Last week, James and I took our first real vacation - the only time we've taken a "vacation" and not spent the time visiting family or traveling back & forth for school. It was our 10th anniversary, so we wanted to have a great time; however, since we're in the middle of a Total Money Makeover and are still trying to pay off debt, we had to be careful with our plans.
Here's what we did:
1. Location: We found somewhere we wanted to go that was within a couple of hours. That means that our round trip cost us one tank of gas - not bad for vacation travel.
2. Accommodations: We splurged a bit on a hotel, and it was SO worth the money. It was very clean, our room was spacious and quiet, and the complimentary breakfast was great. (We definitely could have saved money by camping, but camping in the South in August = HOT. Not my idea of a good time.)
3. Activities: A few weeks leading up to our trip, I spent quite a bit of time researching area attractions, restaurants, ticket prices, etc. This enabled us to have a plan of attack, and we ended up pacing ourselves better and saving money with combo tickets.
4. Entertainment: In addition to the attractions we wanted to see, we also planned to go out to one movie. We also brought a couple of our Netflix DVDs to play on the laptop, and we rented two more movies from Blockbuster while we were gone. We also brought our Wii and hooked it up in the hotel; James and I love playing video games together. (I know, we're geeks.)
5. Food: Last but not least, the food. As I mentioned, our hotel had a great breakfast. Our room had a microwave & refrigerator, so we had one additional meal in our room every day. The daily food budget was $30, and by having a quick lunch or dinner in our room, we were able to eat out a couple of times at nicer places.
All in all, we had a great time. We did come in a bit over budget, but the tips I've shared definitely helped keep our costs as low as possible!
For more helpful tips, visit Works-For-Me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer!
Willow Madison sure knows how to make an entrance. She tries to begin a new life by moving to a far-away town to catch the eye of a wealthy bachelor, but it all goes wrong. As she comes into town, her horse bolts, triggering an explosion that ends up destroying the local sawmill - the town's only reliable source of income.
The townspeople on the whole are very forgiving and accepting of Willow - all except the owner and builder of the sawmill, Mr. Tucker Grey. Tucker is determined to make Willow pay for her mistake, and the conflict sets off even more sparks...
To find out more about Twice Loved, by Lori Copeland, visit the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Wendy also had a good time, spending the week with her grandparents. I'm sure we missed her more than she missed us! She enjoyed getting the mail with Grandpa every day, and she made Grandma watch Winnie the Pooh about 352 times.
Here are a few pictures from our trip:
Friday, August 15, 2008
Bear with me, and stay tuned for updates beginning August 23rd!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Little did we know that in throwing the two of them together, we were also throwing the two of us together - and a few months later he shocked me by asking me out. Instead of her. Really. Aren't I a good friend? (A story for another time - but I will say we're still best friends, and she's happily married and expecting her 2nd child!)
We dated seriously all that spring semester, and when summer began, I (tearfully) went home to Virginia, and he went home to Florida. Other than one week during the summer, we were apart for three months.
In the fall we were reunited again for about a week before I (tearfully) flew to London for the semester. I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay on campus with my safe little life, and be near James. He made me go - he lovingly encouraged me to leave him for three months...and it was the most important semester in my college years. (Another story for another time.)
There were many (tearful) trans-Atlantic phone conversations that semester. After a semester in London and a whirlwind tour western Europe, I flew back to campus, and James proposed the next morning, December 17th, 1997. (Yet another story for another time!)
Ten years ago today, we tied the knot. Our wedding was simple, and beautiful, and short. We were surrounded by our families & best friends, and even though police were called and we had a fire (no joke), it was a wonderful day. That's what the pictures tell me, anyway - it's all kind of a blur in my memory.
Since that day, I have grown to love James more and more with each passing year, with each crisis or new stage in our lives, and definitely as we have become parents. He has been by my side and pulled me through depression, anxiety attacks, vet school, poor health, deep discouragement, a very difficult pregnancy, and new parenthood.
He has been my partner in giggle fits, my competition in Mario Kart, my spider squasher, my high-things-reacher, my sounding board, and my resident engineer.
He challenges my thinking when I am too easy on myself. He challenges my priorities and focus. He is an honorable man after God's heart, and he thrives on helping people and showing love. He's a dedicated Daddy, and he holds Wendy's heart in his hands.
Our life may not look quite how we imagined ten years ago today, but I wouldn't trade any step of our journey - because every step has been with you.
I love you, my Squeak. Happy Anniversary!
Today she's going to play at Grandma & Grandpa's house, so that I can go to the grocery store without her spreading the plague.
Be back tomorrow with a real post.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I also miss sleeping. I'm sure we do the same thing when we're feverish, but she thrashes in her sleep, and keeps waking herself up by knocking into the sides of the crib. I know when I'm sick I have very strange, vivid dreams, so I guess that's probably part of what's bothering her.
On the plus side (not that I would ever want her to be sick, ever!) my living room and her room are much cleaner than normal.
I'm sure I'll get back to interesting blogging once she's better and I get some sleep.
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
That's (Not Exactly) Amore
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tracey Bateman published her first novel in 2000 and has been busy ever since. There are two other books in the Drama Queen Series, Catch A Rising Star (#1) and You Had Me At Goodbye (#2)
She learned to write by writing, and improved by listening to critique partners and editors. She has sold over 30 books in six years.
She became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the early months of its inception in 2000 and served as president for a year.
Tracey loves Sci-fi, Lifetime movies, and Days of Our Lives (this is out of a 21 year habit of watching, rather than enjoyment of current storylines.
She has been married to her husband Rusty for 18 years, has four kids, and lives in Lebanon, Missouri.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Laini Sullivan lands a job designing Nick Pantalone's coffee shop, there are two problems: one, Nick's nephew Joe hates all of her ideas and two, Laini has to admit he's right--she's a disaster at design. Still, she can't risk losing the job. To compromise, Joe brings in help on the project, while Laini continues to bake the goodies that keep his customers lining up.
Their relationship is moving along, so when new guy Officer Mark Hall implies that Joe's family is tied to the mob, Laini doesn't want to believe it. But things spin out of control when she meets the family, including "the uncles," who seem to confirm Mark's suspicions. To make things worse, Nana Pantalone makes it clear Laini isn't the kind of girl she has in mind for her grandson. Laini's not sure if she should give Joe the benefit of the doubt or just set her sites on Mark and fuhgetaboutit.
"Tracey draws us into the world of family and friendship with a few surprising twists along the way Bravo!"
~RACHEL HAUCK, author of Diva NashVegas and Sweet Caroline
If you would like to read the first chapter of That's (Not Exactly) Amore, go HERE
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
And by the way, my girl? When she gets feverish, she doesn't mess around - her temperatures go straight up to 104 F, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
She's spent the last 24 hours fussing, lethargic, and still. She hasn't eaten or even had much to drink. It peaked around 7 this morning, when she was burning up, shaking, and even ended up vomiting - on me, of course.
Then, suddenly around 9 a.m., God reached down and touched her little sizzling forehead, and the fever left. She was drenched in sweat but cool, and has been eating & drinking pretty much non-stop for the last hour.
It reminded me of that old song, Morning Has Broken, by Cat Stevens. It's such a peaceful, uplifting song, and it reminds me of how God acts in all our lives, to bring light to our own dark worlds.
Monday, August 11, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A full-time author, Lawana Blackwell's books include her beloved Gresham Chronicles and Tales of London series.
"I had told myself long ago that three books in a series are enough for my attention span, and so after The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark, I devoted myself to the trio of books in the Tales of London series, then wrote A Table By the Window, my contemporary novel. All along, I received letters from readers asking me to continue the Gresham series. Many, many wrote that the dairying village of Gresham and its people sent them back to a more peaceful time in the midst of their busy days.
"Prayerfully, I decided to return to Gresham, setting the story fifteen years after Julia Hollis and her children first left London for abandoned coaching inn which became Larkspur Inn. I believe readers would like to see how the children—Philip, Aleda and Grace, Elizabeth and Laurel—turn out as adults. But I like to inject fresh faces into every book, hence Jewel Libby and her daughter Becky find Gresham a haven from a bad man. Writing the book was like coming home, visiting old friends."
Blackwell lives in Louisiana with her husband, Buddy, a supervisor at an oil refinery. They are empty nesters who love to visit their three grown sons, Joseph, Matthew, and Andrew, and three lovely daughters-in-law, Kristine, Penny and Heather, granddaughter Madelyn, and grandson Chandler.
Her other interests include visiting her parents and siblings in Mississippi, vegetarian cooking, and naturally, reading.
ABOUT THE BOOK
To protect her precious daughter from the danger nipping at their heels, Jewel Libby must flee the only home she's ever known. Caring friends direct her to the vicarage in the peaceful dairy village of Gresham, but she arrives there to find Vicar Andrew Phelps and his wife immersed in troubles of their own.
The children of Vicar Andrew Phelps and Julia Hollis from the popular Gresham Chronicles series have grown up and are dealing with their own challenges. Philip Hollis, now a successful London surgeon, has a controlling wife who resents his close family ties.
Aleda Hollis lives in a cottage on the outskirts of Gresham, where she enjoys her privacy and a writing career. When Andrew becomes ill and in need of Philip's skills, and Aleda's quest for privacy unwittingly advances an evil man's schemes, it's Jewel Libby, a newcomer to Gresham, who becomes an unexpected support and source of strength to the family. An unlikely romance adds to the intrigue of this jewel in their midst.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Jewel of Gresham Green, go HERE
I really enjoyed this book. I hadn't heard of this series, but having read this story, I want to go find the other books in the series!
To market, to market to buy a fat pig...home again, home again, jiggity jig!
That nursery rhyme is in my head on a regular basis around here, due to a change in our vocabulary.
When we lived in Missouri, and were 5 minutes from just about any store you'd need, the vocabulary was different:
"I'm going to Target."
"I'm going over to Hy-Vee, need anything?"
"I'm going to go to the mall - I'll be back in an hour!"
Then we moved here. To a small town. To a tiny town. No longer could I get in the car, drive to Target, shop, and be home within half an hour. No longer could I go to the mall and be back in an hour - I can't even drive there & back in an hour, let alone do any shopping!
The new phrase that has entered our conversations is "go to town." I generally "go to town" once a week or so, and it usually eats up half a day. After all, if you're driving 40 minutes to get there, you want to make it worth while.
And so, on Friday, I asked my husband, "I'm going to town today; do you need anything?"
In my head, I was singing, "To market, to market, to buy a fat pig..."
Friday, August 8, 2008
I have recently had a realization.
I don't know how to make friends.
I'm good at making acquaintances - you know, folks you talk to at church, people you e-mail every so often, people you'd stop to talk to if you ran across them in Kroger. But real friends? The kind you can call any time and laugh with or cry with or go shoe-shopping with? Those are much harder to come by.
The best friends I've ever had (we're talking girl friends here) were my college roommates. We lived together for two years, before James and I got married, so we were bound to either love each other or hate each other. Those girls are still my friends; even though we're scattered across the globe, we've managed to get together twice in the last couple of years, and it's been awesome.
But I would really like to make some good friends here, since it seems this is where we're settling down. How do I go about making friends? I don't think I've ever really known how. We moved so much when I was growing up that I never really had friends. Boyfriends, sure, but no trusted girl friends.
I'm shy and quiet by nature. I feel like an awkward dunce in many social settings. When I'm thrown into a group of people, especially one in which friendships have already been long-established, I'm on the fringes, a fish out of water, a perpetual acquaintance.
Any ideas? How does a shy SAHM make real friends?
Thursday, August 7, 2008
This is her only nap yesterday:
Maybe next time she fights sleep I'll put her in the high chair with her crayons.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Davis Bunn is an internationally-acclaimed author who has sold more than six million books in fifteen languages. His audiences spans reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings.
Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include My Soul To Keep, and Full Circle . A sought-after lecturer in the art of writing, Bunn was named Novelist in Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University.
He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A loner, trying to forget. A community--and a woman--who need for him to remember...
Broken relationships and unfulfilled promises scatter themselves across Wayne's past like burned-out craters. His background in military special-ops is something he's trying to forget. But when he gets himself sweet-talked into helping a quirky group of seniors who've been scammed, he discovers it will take a lot more than muscle and nerve. Breach a conman's high-security estate to recover stolen money? No problem. Become part of community? Love again? Not on your life.
A lawyer with her own painful past is intrigued by Wayne and asks him to take on another unusual case--Tatanya's wealthy employer believes he's been visited by...an angel? Did a messenger from God in a pinstripe suit truly bring a divine warning, or is this merely another cruel hoax? Tatanya is willing to trust Wayne with her boss's life, but she's not sure she's ready to trust him with her own wounded heart.
With a financial analyst's skills and a warrior's tenacity, Wayne races to unmask dangerous forces hiding behind a corporate veil. But he will need all his resources--and then some--against an unseen enemy bent on destroying his fragile bid for a second chance at life...and love.
All he wanted was to put his past behind him. But now it's the only thing that will save them...
If you would like to read the first chapter of All Through The Night, go HERE
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
This is quite possibly one of the strangest things I've seen from the insect realm. I've seen tons of the little left behind exoskeletons, and several live cicadas, but this is the first time I ever saw one climbing out of his little too-tight exoskeleton. This guy was on the pine tree in James' grandparents' front yard the other night.
Reminds me of seventh grade, when skin-tight jeans were popular, and before anyone thought to put spandex in the denim.
1. We stayed with James' grandparents, who are lovely and funny and in their mid-80s. However, our room was right next to their room, so every toddler screech & squeal & scream made us cringe. Also - their guest bed is the most uncomfortable bed I've ever experienced. If there had been enough floorspace, I would've slept down there with Wendy, and I'm not even kidding.
2. This was our first trip with Wendy sans Pack N Play. I bought her a special sleeping bag (hot pink outside, lime green floral print inside), so that we could train her to use it as her travel bed. It didn't work very well. The only way we got her to sleep at all was to lay with her in the cramped floorspace and sing her to sleep. This took more than an hour for each nap & bedtime. That's a lot of Twinkle Twinkle and Trust & Obey.
3. Toddler-friendly food is hard to come by when you're traveling. How many chicken nuggets, slices of cheese, and bananas can a girlie eat without suffering dire digestive problems? Apparently about four days' worth. We were gone five days. You do the math. I'll plan ahead next time.
4. James' grandparents were born in 1923 and 1924, respectively, and have lived in the Deep South all their lives. Can you imagine the extent of the political-incorrect-ness of their conversations? Yeah. It started with Grandpa saying that Grandma had a "cripple tag" for parking in the "cripple spots" right up by the door of the restaurant. Hmm.
5. Wendy, who has a sweet temperament and is an easy-going girl, decided to cut three teeth at once during our trip. Instead of our happy, playful, silly girl, we got a stomping, flouncing, shrieking, fit-throwing, incredibly loud BRAT. It was like seeing myself at 13 in the body of my 22 month old daughter. She's always been a shrieker, but she really pulled out all the stops this weekend. I would never have thought such a tiny body could produce such a high, drawn-out, LOUD screech.
It was bad enough that a detached part of my mind thought, "This is probably how people can snap and beat their kids." Don't worry, I didn't, but I could totally see that kind of behavior pushing someone right over the edge...it was awful.
6. On the way home yesterday, we stopped at two different mechanics to have the van checked out, because we were afraid it was about to leave us on the side of the road in 100+ degree heat. Both mechanics said the starter was going bad, but that it would most likely make it home OK. And we offered up some serious prayers of thanks - we did indeed make it home.
7. James dropped Wendy and I off at Barnes & Noble in Montgomery, AL, to spend time there when he took the van to the second mechanic. Wendy was in her stroller, and as I was about to reach for the door of the store, I saw someone coming out, so I backed off. This young man pushed through the door, narrowly missing the stroller, without holding the door - he just let it slam behind him. I was sufficiently frazzled to meet rudeness with rudeness, so I called out, "Thanks for holding the door for us!" He didn't even turn around, and said, "You're welcome."
That young man may have been in his 20s and over six feet tall, but I imagine if his Momma knew that he had acted that way, she'd have a piece of his hide.
8. And now...we're home...and thus ends my venting. We will enjoy our two weeks at home, and then James and I will appreciate our anniversary vacation so much more - it won't be anything like this past weekend!
Chris Fabry has a variety of titles to his credit including At the Corner of Mundane and Grace, Spiritually Correct Bedtime Stories, Away with the Manger, The H.I.M. Book, and The 77 Habits of Highly Effective Christians. His latest work is a collaboration with Jerry B. Jenkins and Dr. Tim LaHaye.
Chris has recently completed the final book in the Left Behind The Kids series, available Fall 2004. Readers of all ages have followed the lives of Judd, Vicki, Lionel, and the others. Now read how their exciting stories culminate in book 40 of this beloved series. Dogwood is his first adult fiction.
Chris and his wife, Andrea, are the parents of nine children and make their home in Colorado. Chris has worked in Christian radio and now enjoys narrating audio books as well as writing. He believes his career as a husband and father is the real evidence of God's grace in his life.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and "do life" the best she can.
Will returns to Dogwood intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved--only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison. The secrets of Will and Karin's past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn't survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart.
The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Dogwood, go HERE
This book was really quite enjoyable. There are a few major twists in the plot, which makes for a great ending. The story is split between several different characters, which seems a little disjointed in the beginning, but flows better as the story progresses.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
I'll spare you all the gory details (for now, anyway) but this has NOT been our best trip. And the usual culprit wasn't at fault this time...
Instead, it was our sweet, adorable, easy-going baby girl. Who turned into a banshee. A whirlwind. A screaming meanie. Who never sleeps.
It really says something that the first trip we made down here with her, when she was a tiny 8 weeks old, went a lot better than this trip.
I am SO ready to go home!