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HOW-DY!!

Um. Hello.

My blog has been a little lackluster lately (loving the alliterations, aren’t you?!) I’m trying, people, honestly, I am. But since, I haven’t hit the world o’advertisers filling up my inbox to ask me to help them promote their wares, you’ll have to settle for my sometimes mediocre attempt at writing…to you!

It feels like when I was a little girl and asked for a pen pal and we exchanged letters maybe twice…and then, we didn’t. I think because at that age, your mind just wanders from experience to experience and after all, there is something a LITTLE creepy about writing to someone you’ve never met or known before, right?

So… hello… how do you do? Glad to meet your acquaintance.  Now then, I have no excuses because we officially know each other.
So the most interesting thing I can tell you about is SB’s arrival home at 3am this morning. Yes, that would be 3 AM!! Bless him, he got a little homesick while on a hunting trip and decided to come on to the house – 5 hours before reporting to work this morning!!

Oh. Yes. And how could I forget? He’s sick and brought his croupy self into our room last night, turned on the bathroom lights, and began pilfering through all the drawers and cabinets looking for the Chloraseptic spray.  And then woke me up even more by asking if I knew where it was.  So after I drug myself by the pajama bottoms out from under my warm down comforter, I walked in, opened the cabinet where we keep those things (it’s kinda like what most people refer to as a medicine cabinet, don’t ya know!) and he said, “Oh.”

After telling me at least 32 times how much his throat was hurting, we decided he should sleep in the guest bed which meant I had to remove several stacks of paperwork and boxes on top of the guest bed because you know, I like to organize myself in there.  It’s a really good thing we don’t have a flurry of “guests” who frequent the use of that room, because I don’t know what my paperwork would do on a regular basis if I had to give up the use of the bed for someone actually sleeping on it.  Oh – yes… here I am… I’m digressing.

So, at 3 this morning, all the lights were on. My husband was hacking in the bathroom whilst attempting to swallow the minty-fresh taste of Chloraseptic spray and get some sympathy from me while I shuffled down the hall to clean up the guest bed, so his hunting-come-lately self wouldn’t contaminate me while he snored for the next 3 hours.

It’s amazing I was able to fall back asleep. Don’t worry – the Sadie alarm went off at exactly 6:22 a.m. letting me know she’d had enough of the laundry room!

So how have you all been? I’ve missed you all greatly. Write back when you can. And tell me fun stuff and I might even write back and say things like, “Oh, thank you BFF” and “Lylas” and “BF4-ever”!

P.S. I hope you’re not as bored as I am with this post.

P.S.S. Ya’ll come back now, ya here?!

Last night I was standing in the kitchen preparing a yummy raspberry sauce to serve over the broiled duck I was cooking for SB and me.  The dogs were in the kitchen too – underfoot and hoping to get some morsel that might fall from the countertop.

As I was stirring the sauce, I heard this very loud and audible piece of glass break. I surmised that it had to be an ornament that had fallen from the tree.  It’s not unusual that we lose at least one ornament each year since we have terracota tile throughout most of our house.  If I had a dollar for every dish or glass or ornament we’ve dropped and broken on this floor, I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a job these days!

So I sauntered into the den, broom and dustpan in hand, to sweep up the lastest ornament fatality.  Alas, there was none. I crawled on my knees around the backside of the tree and there was nothing. Zilch. Nada.  “Hmmm,” I thought.  I made my way through the back of the house thinking something evidently had fallen from a shelf or from a chest, but I found nothing.  There are seemingly no windows broken and no new pieces of tile broken.  But I KNOW I heard breaking glass.

It puzzled me and still does this morning because there’s no evidence of glass anywhere in the house. And then it occurred to me.  This next part of the blog will require you to stay with me because I promise… I AM NOT CRAZY!!

Since we bought this house, I have determined that we have a ghost living here.  Until we bought this house eight years ago, I’d never had any encounters with ghosts and quite frankly thought people who spoke of them were a little of the dramatic, embellishing kind.  But I’ve experienced enough encounters in this house that would make a believer out of even the greatest of skeptics.  And they always happen when SB is not here.  Such was the case last night.

I’ve woken in the middle of the night to see dark auras standing next to our bed. I’ve witnessed those same time of movements outside my french doors. I’ve heard noises, people, more than just the regular “it’s just this worn out house” noises.  Things have been moved. Water has been turned on and left running.  It’s the stuff that you read about.  And I have to say, though these things have caused me to feel a little strange, I’ve never been scared.  And I hope that doesn’t change because I don’t like to be scared.  And I’ll have to inject here that SB thinks I’m crazy or that I’m making this stuff up because he hasn’t experienced it for himself.  But a woman knows, doesn’t she?!

But I’m left wondering things like:

Did I really hear that glass break?  I mean, I know I haven’t been fully in the Christmas mood lately, but really? A ghost of Christmas Present?

What is going on and who wants to remain in this house with us?

Is it really a ghost and what does he want?

And why are you choosing this time of year, Mr. Ghost of Christmas Present?

I’m all about closing chapters in one’s life, but shouldn’t that happen while living?  And I’ve already claimed there is no room for spirits – especially evil spirits – to dwell here in my home.  So this whole ordeal has gotten me to thinking about the spirits that try to finagle their way into our lives day in and day out.  They’re noisy, tempting, mysterious, elusive, and confusing.  But the fruits of the Spirit – the One true living Spirit – are love, joy, peace, patience, kindnes, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galations 5:22)

These are the what I pray for to exist in my life and in my home. These are the things that are worthy of breaking glass over -testifying it to the world through celebration.

“And this is how we know he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” 1 John 3:24

It’s Official

When I was in college, one of our sorority sisters announced one morning at breakfast that her mother had always told her, “One is not considered a grown up until she learns to drink coffee.”  Well, I made it through college and a good part of my early adult life without drinking or liking coffee.  That is until I discovered french vanilla and hazlenut and all the other wonderful flavors that make coffee a great warm drink, and I learned to LOVE coffee! Until.

I learned my brain gets addicted to caffeine.  Surely you all remember from an earlier post that I cannot drink coffee now. 

And now I’m faced with the question, “Am I really still a grown up?”  Crazy, I know.  But now I’ve realized that one is not really considered a grown up until she’s actually made a Thanksgiving dinner!

I’ve never had to do that before because we’ve always gone to relatives’ homes and taken a dish here or there. So I’ve never baked a turkey or made dressing!

But today… I’m officially a grown up in my own right.  I’m 39 years old and have reached that milestone!! Today I made dressing – it’s my mother-in-love’s recipe… very simple but very yummy and it reminds me of my grandmom’s dressing she used to make.

The twist here is I have 2 dogs that stay in the house with us and just a little while ago, I took them on their afternoon walk and Sadie had trapsed through a muddy ditch.  (I promise I’m getting back to the dressing) So when we got back to the house, I let Lily in and marched Sadie to the outside hose to wash off her paws.  It took all of 1.5 minutes!

I got back in the house and noticed “someone had been eating my porridge”!  Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I fried some bacon to sprinkle on top of green beans for tomorrow as well and it was cooling off next to the dressing.  When I realized a tongue had made its way into my dressing, I turned around and saw Lily just sitting there with her ears tucked back.  Poor thing. I couldn’t get mad at her, she just wanted a sample too.

But I thought I’d share the finished dish with you – complete with a tongue impression!

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Notice the crumbs off to the side.

I thought I was officially a grown up, but now I have to explain to my family how my dog ate the dressing! No extra credit for me!! 

But Happy Thanksgiving to ya’ll.  From my dressing to yours!

Smooth Moves

Don’t you just love it when the trendsetters and stylists of our times deem some piece of clothing or shoe or scarf or purse or jewelry the “it” thing?! It’s as if they themselves invented the style and by any stretch of the imagination, persuaded the rest of the worldly culture to “buy in” to it. 

I’m talking about the Audrey Hepburn style (which I completely adore) or the plaid jackets circa 1985 that have recently graced the covers of magazines.  Oh there are others…the platform shoe, the go-go boot, etc, etc…. what goes around, comes around, people, in terms of style and design and that includes undergarments.

I was introduced to the Spanx product line a couple of years ago.  And let me tell you, it is a miracle worker for smoothing out the bumps and lumps under dresses, pants, skirts, tops, just about anything you wear…. And ya’ll, I am a marketer and PR person by nature and practice, and I do love the name SPANX…but… it is afterall, a more modern name for “GIRDLE”.  That’s just the way it is.  We’re wearing them, ladies, like it or not!

So SPANX is to girdle as bra is to brassiere.  And I’ve had to explain to SB that what we wear on our legs nowadays are tights and leggings – NOT “leotards” – as he keeps repeating.  But this is also the man who once told me he worked in a cuticle (but meant cubicle). And he tells everyone we “courted” for four years before we married.  I wish he’d quit saying that because I think some people think I’m being sued!  Oh I am joking.

I love that about him.

And I love SPANX…er…the new girdle…it’s okay to be old-fashioned, just with a modern twist.

For quite some time I have been agonizing because I lost my Bible sometime in the Spring. I don’t know what day it happened because I had been using a smaller Bible for referencing some things and study. I don’t know why I was using that one at that time other than the fact that it is red and has a neat little magnetic closure and it fits in my purse or in the side of my 4Runner door for quick grabs!

But when I went to get my Bible – the one that has all the wonderful yellow highlights and underlined scriptures and notes in the margins from sermons or Bible studies – it was no where to be found. I looked everywhere – multiple times. I’ve asked people to look in their cars. I’ve prayed over it – lamenting about it. I’ve had other people praying about it.  SB kept telling me that I’d find it, but I feared it was gone forever. I feared I had left it in a hotel room during one of my training sessions where I was teaching.

Finally Big D (my father-in-love) declared I should have a Bible that had just “appeared” at their home and no one had ever claimed it.  Oh, it is a nice Bible. Thick, black, crisp pages – a clean slate, if you will.  But I longed for the pages of my Bible because I knew where every book was just by the feel of it. I yearned for some of my notes and to see the dried up daisy pressed between the pages of 2 Samuel. My junior high best friend had picked it for me from the “gardens” of Glorietta during our last youth summer trip before I moved away. I wanted the yellowed slip of paper that quoted 1 Thess. 5:11 that my 8th grade Sunday School teacher had prayed over that we would each have what the Lord wanted us know especially for our lives.

Week after week I was tormented about losing my Bible. How in the world does one lose a Bible?  Well, in my house, it’s pretty easy between all the hunting equipment and clothes (we could ALMOST run a Cabela’s outlet) and the room o’junk and clutter that belongs to me, sometimes things get sucked up in the oblivion we call home.  And I’ve had enough.

For several months, the Lord’s been moving in my heart and my mind that I’m being “called to order.” That has been involving almost every aspect of my life from quiet times, to workloads, to home organization, etc.  I used to be a lot more organized and orderly than I have exhibited in the past 2 years, but we won’t go there analyzing all the whys and why nots. 

Having order is quite biblical. From the beginning, God ordered the universe into motion and it was methodical and intentional. Through the pages of scripture, parable after parable and verse after verse, we see history and the perfect plan all ordered in perfect harmony. Jesus taught it and the scriptures played out just as he said.

So heading into 2009 and beyond, I spent my weekend tackling a huge organizational effort. I’ve decided to start cleaning out and getting rid of the junk and clutter in my home and in my life.  I cleaned out a mud room that had become like a landfill except without the stinky smells. I’ve made separate places for things to sell and things to donate. 

And as I was cleaning out, I bent down to pick up something that had fallen under my handy Container Store gift wrapping station and it was as if the heavens had opened up and all the voices of the angels in unison sang out, “HHHHHHAAAALLLL LE LUUUU JAHHHHHHHHH”!  There it was.  Somehow my precious Bible had gotten pushed or kicked under my gift wrapping station.  I picked it up and twirled through the laundry room and into the den. No one was home to see me, but I didn’t care. It was a moment of completion.

How appropriate to find it under the GIFT WRAPPING station (like a gift) AND after I made the decision to begin to bring order to my life.  God showed up and showed out in my life, and I just wanted you to know it too.  When we claim order in our life, we open ourselves to receive that which stands the tests of time.

I’m off to clean out some drawers – maybe I’ll find that $20 I know I didn’t lose!!!

Simple Abundance

It’s 2:45 a.m. and I’m awake – so very awake.  This happens frequently when SB is out of town and let’s just say I’ll be glad when he gets home so I can go back to nights of peaceful, easy feelings.  You know the kind of feelings like resting your head on a cool pillow.  Drifting off to sleep and you twitch a little bit but then go immediately into a deeper sleep.  Or waking up at 12:30 a.m., looking at the clock, thinking it must be time to get up soon and realizing you have several more hours of sleep. 

I long for those times again. But that’s not why I’m writing.

So I’ve been thinking HARD this week (scary, I know).  But I thought I’d wrap up the week with a few things that have impacted me in the last seven days – things I’m most thankful for.  Because it’s always better to dwell well in the spirit of blessings.

1.  The blessing of closed doors.  I’m waiting on a window to open now, which causes me to look Up.

2.  Discovering new music.

3.  Grand and Lori Belle and their words of encouragement.

4.  Finding out my book has touched another life.

5.  A Butterball turkey.

6. The wind.

7. Wet kisses and warm snuggles from Sadie and Lily.

8. Freedom.

9.  The Word of God and the Truth it brings.

10. My health.

11. A kind note.

12. The opportunity to lay low for awhile.

13. Sitting down at the piano and remembering what it’s like to play.

14. A Chai Tea Latte. (not sure if Chai tea is decaffeinated, so I have to drink these in moderation, but I’d recommend you RUN to your favorite coffee shop to try this).  It’s made my whole week.

So what are you most thankful for? It’s the simple things in life that matter most. So share if you wish. You might encourage someone else to focus on life through a telescope rather than a microscope.

I have been wrung out

Psalm 126 (The Message)

A Pilgrim Song

 1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion’s exiles.
   We laughed, we sang,
      we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
   We were the talk of the nations—
      “God was wonderful to them!”
   God was wonderful to us;
      we are one happy people.

 4-6 And now, God, do it again—
      bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
   So those who planted their crops in despair
      will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
   So those who went off with heavy hearts
      will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

In some of my posts I have written about and eluded to a season of life and learning I find myself in right now. It’s often been a time of trial and error, and dare I say trying to pry open doors that have been shut and sealed!  I know, I’m hard-headed and have to learn lessons – sometimes over and over before I really GET IT!Is it just me? I don’t think so. 

This morning I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine. It consisted of a sheet, a small blanket and a few odds and ends of whites. I know better because my washer has become a little less tolerant in its old age.  It doesn’t take much for it to get off balance and start that knocking and jumping and I’m forced to go leaping over furniture in .08 milliseconds to get to the thing and rearrange the wet and heavy items.  I usually stand over the machine for a minute to make sure I repositioned everything just so and that I won’t have to dig the washer out of the wall across the laundry room.  It’s a relief when the thing quits spinning and I can actually put them in the dryer! Whew – a workout of all work outs once it’s all said and done.

More than anything I want my life to purposeful and intentional. So it surprises me when I find myself being tempted off-course and I actually jump head first into the washing machine of life – as if by some miracle – when the cycle stops, I will be noticeably cleaner and brighter.  But lately, I’ve loaded my life with situations and people who don’t belong in this cycle with me.  And I’ve been whirled and twirled and turned upside down – knocked around too.

And I’m ready for the ride to stop. I’m tired of being wrung out by my hair. I want to be able to twirl around in the grace of God and sling all the mud off myself instead of being in the world’s washer. I want to pick my feet up out of the mudholes I walk into sometimes and be rinsed off by the softness of the waterhose and gently put myself in the sun Son to dry.  And I’ve learned to be cautious about ever proclaiming that “I want to be normal” because I truly know that in this life there is no normal.

As someone once told me, “normal” is just a setting on the dryer.