Thursday, November 29, 2007

Celebrating $2.82 a Gallon Gas

I'm not actually celebrating the price of a gallon of gas being so high. I was on empty on a day I had to drive all over, which is pretty much every day. So, I had to stop and fill up. Sometimes I only get $5 or $10 worth because I'm hoping the price will drop. But gas was $2.82, and it had been that for quite some time, so I risked getting the full tank.

Next day...$2.98! A .17 jump!

What does it say about me that buying gasoline feels like playing the stock market?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Parents, Teenagers, Friends?

I read an interesting post titled High Hopes over at Rocks In My Dryer, yesterday. It was about Miley Cyrus who plays Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, which we don't get but can see the Saturday morning version.

She and her dad, Billy Ray, were interviewed, and he said something about wanting to be her best friend. The post was positive about Miley's character with the hopes that she's able to retain it. The interesting part was a deep concern about her father wanting to be her friend. That lead to many posts agreeing, some vehemently, that parenting and friendship never mix.

I understand the sentiment. We've all seen parents trying to be "friends" that let their kids run down the path of destruction.

Maybe the problem is what one calls a friend.

My daughter is awesome. I'm so proud that she thinks of me as her mom and her friend. We have shopping "dates" where we eat pretzel bites and drink smoothies when we need a break. We talk about friends, music, movies, boys, and cars (more about that later). She trusts me, and I love that she feels like I'm on her side. But I'm still the mom. I still have to say, "Go to bed. Do your school work. Be nice to your brother."

As much as some are scared by parents who want to be friends with their children, I am scared by those who think parenting and friendship are mutually exclusive. I think there's room for both. What do you think?

Monday, November 26, 2007

You Want Me to What?

One great thing over the Thanksgiving week was my dear husband being off of work. He is such a great help, and he kept the dishes going. Which was pretty tricky considering the timing of eleven or so people trying to take showers.

Trying to walk by the Spirit all day makes me stop, a lot, and ask,"So what should I do now?". It feels like the answer is always, "Unload the dishwasher". Which leads to many questions. Who loaded it to begin with? How can four people make so many dirty dishes? And didn't I just do this?

I've realized that I dislike intensely unloading the dishwasher. So this week of Dan serving his family was especially appreciated by me. Any time in the future he wants to serve this way will be appreciated by the kids, because I've decided they need to learn to use the same cup more than once a sip. Translation: Dishwasher duty.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fun & Games

With family all together, it's time to play games! We all love games, and it's a good break from all the movie watching. Last night my family caved in and finally played my favorite game with me-Boggle. I could barely get to sleep last night after all the excitement. Just as I was drifting off, it occured to me that Boggle might be on software. And it is! So hey, hey all friends and family members, here is what I would like for Christmas.

Boggle/Upwords/Hangman/Word Hunter Collection

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful Today

Thanksgiving holds so many happy memories for me. Only one or two sad ones. It's always been a big deal to get together for that day in our family. So much so that the oldest boys' dad and I worked it out so that even after the divorce, I would have them with me over every Thanksgiving. Where we get together and who actually comes has changed many times over the years. But today, I woke up with all four of my children under the same roof. God helped me stay on top of getting the house and food almost done. I couldn't have done it without the great help of my great husband and Rachel and Chase. It is a very good day. I am very thankful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Making Your Vote "Count"

It seems like many people I know either don't vote or when they do, feel like they're voting for the lesser of two evils. A few years ago, I personally came to the conclusion that I needed to vote my conscience and trust that God would deliver the leaders He chose. This year so many of the "Religious-Right" are really torn about which way to go. Well, there is a candidate who I've never felt better about. And that is Congressman Ron Paul.

What do you think?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lesson in Forgiveness

There's probably a lot I learned about forgiveness as a child from my mother, but another lesson has been on my mind.

I thought I was over it. That I wasn't really hurt. Then finally confessed some bitter feelings to a friend the other day. About someone else. To be honest, she isn't the only one I've "confessed to". I woke from a dream that really expressed how I was feeling, but ended in the other person being humiliated and me laughing about it. Wow. I felt terrible and let my friend know how sorry I was that I had involved her in my anger.

Something I thought I had forgotten came flooding back to me. In high school, a friend and I had a falling out that ended up involving quite a few people. It culminated in a diminished Prom for several. I was very angry and woke from a dream one morning. This friend had been physically hurt in the dream, and though it wasn't at my hands, I knew I was directing the dream.

That's the first time I remember consciously realizing how unforgiveness can really hurt ourselves. I forgave her, apologized for my transgressions, tried to make restitution, and lost a friend anyway.

So, I keep taking my feelings to the Lord. I know I'm taking things personally that have nothing to do with me. Sometimes I have feelings that my mind can't talk me out of. But God can and will, and I'll keep asking Him to do so.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


This is an awesome video, but comes with a warning. There are some graphic scenes from The Passion of the Christ (Widescreen Edition) and you will need to watch with a tissue.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bring a Great Dish to your Gathering

Once upon a time, I was a single mom with a very limited budget. I attended a small church that had potluck gatherings, which I loved. It was so great to eat from a variety of terrific dishes that I didn't have to prepare. Plus, my two young boys got fed. Not that I didn't feed them, but one mom and two small children can't eat a whole casserole. Anyway, I found a dish that I could make that was easy, inexpensive, yet really enjoyed. That dish is Deviled Eggs. Ironic, huh? The recipe is stolen right out of the New Cook Book, 75th Anniversary Limited Edition So many people just add mayonnaise, but be brave, try the recipe. It's really good.

Something else that has simplified my life is having one or two recipes that I'm "known" for, like my mother who is known for her pecan pie, and my brother who is known for his fudge. It came about quite accidentally that a friend of mine was involved in several of the same events as I was. When it came time for me to bring a dish, she would always request my Oriental Cabbage Salad. After a while it dawned on me that I could take this dish everywhere. It was always popular and easy for me. I don't have to think long and hard about what I'll bring, and I remember the ingredients so it's pretty easy for me at the grocery store, too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Putting on the Armor

Praying the armor of God is something that has helped me tremendously deal with difficult circumstances. Most particularly when I've had advanced warning. But I wanted to share how I've been gearing up in my battle with the flesh and my weight. Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV

I took liberties to pray them out of order, but this is what I have done.
  1. To be strong in the Lord, I ask Him to fill me with the Holy Spirit, because I do not have the power to do this on my own.
  2. Since I have the helmet of salvation I know that I have access to the mind of Christ. I also ask to take every thought captive.
  3. The belt of Truth is Jesus. I ask that I hear the truth from Him about my habits, eating choices, etc.
  4. The breastplate of righteousness reminds me that I am totally accepted by God. No matter how I do today, He will not love less.
  5. I pray for my feet to be quick to tell others about Jesus, but also to be quick to talk about what he's doing in my life, and to be a peacemaker.
  6. The shield of faith is my protection against the fiery arrows of satan. I pray that I will remember to have faith that all things are possible with Christ when satan tells me I will fail again.
  7. I ask for the Holy Spririt to bring scripture to my memory throughout the day to keep me standing strong against the lies that will be thrown at me.
  8. And finally, I ask God to help me remember to pray at all times.

Was this concrete enough?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Spirit Guided Weight Loss?

Two days ago I weighed myself. It was bad. Very bad. But not as bad as I was expecting. For the past two or three years I've seem to hit a plateau. On the way up that is. The scary thing could be that we're heading into the eating season.

So, part of this spirit walk with God includes the trial with my weight . I'm trying to put concrete examples to how this is working for me.

Today has been a good day. I prayed upon rising. I read Daniel 1, after hearing it suggested on the radio program that woke me. Part of the prayer was putting on the armor of God. I reminded myself that the flesh is an enemy. I asked God to show me what and when to eat. Then I tried not to make any eating plans.

I read about Daniel purposing in his heart to not eat the choice food and wine of the king. He challenged the guard to let him and his buddies eat only vegetables and water for ten days. At the end of the ten days, they looked healthier than all the other young men. So they were allowed to eat this way for three years. The young men grew greatly in knowledge and understanding during that time.

Of the many lessons that could be gleaned from this story, I was struck by the fly-in-your face opposition to what is considered sound nutritional science. I don't know why that surprises me. God is the creator of our bodies, our digestive system, and the food items we put into it. It's not a new concept, but I felt I'd gotten more encouragement to walk by the Spirit and not by flesh.

Then the daily Bible verse I receive in my email was, "The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. " Galatians 6:8 (New International Version)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Journey of a Lifetime

Isn't it amazing how you can read or hear just the right thing at the right time. That's how I felt when I read this post about the Way to Weigh Less on Wonder Women a few days ago. It hit me right where I'm at in my journey of learning to walk with the Spirit and deny the flesh.

It's such an ethereal concept that I'm hoping to flesh (excuse the pun) out for some future posts. Some areas of my life are really plugged into the Holy Spirit and his leading. But some have been miserable failures.

I was having a great conversation about this (especially in regards to weight) earlier this evening with two beautiful, wonderful women. We all agreed that living our lives isn't about following a chart, be it chores, eating, whatever, but instead following God's leading. How do we apply that practically in our lives?

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ten Trials That I Might Not Count as Joy, but for Which I am Thankful

James 1: 2 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,"

I've waited all week for the last day of the ten things I'm grateful for challenge. I knew what I wanted to list, but I wanted to make certain that I was honestly grateful. I've put it off for as long as I can, so here goes.

The trial with my weight. This reminds me that I keep needing to choose to live according to the Holy Spirit and not my flesh.

The trial with staying organized and on top of things. This keeps me humble.

The trial of leaving friends and of them leaving me. Without the void, I wouldn't have had room in my heart for women I'm so privileged to call friends.

The trial of losing loved ones. I am looking more and more forward to Heaven, where there will be such an awesome reunion.

The trial of not having near as much control over pain in my kids' lives as I would like. What joy to see how God loves them so much more than I do. He's allowed growth opportunities in their lives that I never would have. Yea, God.

The trial of a family member that's removed us all from her life. I have unshattered faith that one day we'll have a great reconciliation. It's the hope of unseen things.

The trial of seeing my brother so unjustly hurt. Where sin abounds, grace abounds that much more.

The trial of being abandoned. Nothing else has hurt so much or brought me so close to the throne of God and His ever-lasting mercy and grace.

The trial of my will. It is always in the way. It reminds me how much patience God has with me.

The trial of thinking I have to live up to certain standards. It keeps me chasing grace.

What about you? Leave a comment with a trial you're learning to count as joy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ten Things I Use Every Day that Honestly, I Don't Take for Granted

My Shower I love my shower, and I thank God for it almost every day. It's best when no one flushes.

Contact lenses I had to wait until I was 16 to get them. Now I need to look into bifocal contacts. They really do make them!

The Van It's old, and people actually make fun of it. But it's paid for, and prayed over a lot.

VCR So, I really want a DVR, but this is still so nice. Now Dan can watch "Heroes" tonight.

Tylenol Unfortunately, my legs ache every night, but this works like a charm so I can sleep.

Electricity We're so fortunate to hardly ever have our power go out, while nearby has lost power for days, several times this year!

Furnace/Air Conditioner We've had to call the service man on both this year. Might have to get a new A/C next summer. The times they weren't working makes us really appreciate them.

My new fridge! It filters the water, which now tastes so great, and makes ice. We danced in front of it for many days after we first got it.

Kitchen floor I waited for so many years for this. It really is great. No more holes. No more excuses not to mop, but that's another post.

Internet Of course there are problems with it, but just this week we were able to find out where to go next in Banjo Kazooie, find Hawk Nelson socks, see what a 14 year-old's blood pressure should be, see exactly where Dan hunted, and check the TV Guide.

I know some people long for the "good old days", but we often say around here that we're glad to be living during this time. Thank you, God, for sharing your creativity with us mere men.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ten Reminders of God in Nature for Which I'm Thankful

I love nature. Most of it. I don't like bugs. I don't like to get dirt under my fingernails. I don't like to sweat. You've probably figured out by now that I'm not much of a gardener. But I love beautiful. And nature is beautiful. These ten sights make me sigh with praises to our heavenly Father.

A clear blue sky. I especially love the look in late summer and early fall, in the southeast sky, in an afternoon. Not that I'm picky.

A field of sunflowers. Have you noticed their "faces" following the sun? It's so neat to see them all standing and facing the same way.

Autumn leaves. Finally our leaves have changed colors. What a great delight!

A rainbow. Too obvious, but I'm a sucker for one every time.

God clouds. These are rain clouds that the sun is shining through just the edges, or streaming sunlight through holes. There are glowing qualities to these that make me feel like a little bit of God's glory is shining for us.

Sunsets. I'm up when the sun is rising, but civilization is in the way. But sunsets are seen when we're out and about. Crayon makers have nothing on these colors.

Dark blue sky, clear Moon, and Venus. Most mornings I see this when I walk out the door to meet my walking buddy. I always take a few seconds to appreciate the simple beauty.

Lightning. It's beautiful to watch, but I must say I enjoy it most from a great distance.


An ocean of lightning bugs. One night Jeff (ds) and I were driving in the country and saw the most amazing sight. Millions of lightning bugs! Because we were going so fast, their lights seemed to blaze. I can't even describe it, but it was very moving.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ten Gifts That I've Loved

These are all things that were given to me and my family out of generosity. None of the items were "typical" presents as in birthday or Christmas. They are just items that, "Hey, I'm not using this any more, and I wondered if you could?" I believe they were given from the hand of God through the hands of His people. Thank you.

  • Kitchen table and chairs
  • Leather coat for me
  • Ar moire used for much needed coat closet
  • Very large freezer
  • Dresser that's being used a china hutch
  • Swimming pool
  • Patio chairs
  • Merry-go-round & (scare you to death) tall slide
  • Clothes for Chase including snow suits, coats, shoes, cleats, pajamas...
  • School Books

Mom Sense

I wanted to share with you one of my all time favorite videos.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ten Great Things about my Kids!

This is an exciting topic. I could take one a day, but in order to keep embarassment to a minimum, I'll lump them all in the same day.

Here we are in Nebraska about three years ago.

1. All my kids love the Lord.

2. I see them making wise decisions.

3. They are all intelligent.

4. Each of them is creative.

5. They are so funny.

6. They are respectful.

7. And honest.

8. And loving.

9. Each one from age nine to twenty-two, put God first.

10 . And I have to admit, they are all great-looking!

Thank you, Lord.

Here we are with Brad's fiance, Stefanie, at
Brad's college graduation this May.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ten Things About my Husband for which I am Thankful

I thank God for my husband because...

1. He loves me unconditionally

2. He makes me laugh

3. He listens to me without trying to fix me

4. He loves God first

5. I catch him reading his Bible

6. He is a wonderful father

7. He prays before making decisions

8. He accepts me for who I am

9. And doesn't try to change me

10. He is trustworthy

Another day that I could go on and on. I don't really know if these are the top ten, just the first ten that popped into my mind. Again today, I am reminded that I am very blessed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ten Faraway Friends for Whom I am Thankful

Our women's bible study leader has challenged us to write ten things we're grateful for each day for seven days. No repeats. So today in honor of my friend Katara (it's her birthday), I will list ten friends I have been blessed with that I have loved and have loved me. Unfortunately, I don't live near these friends, and even though I think about them very often, I don't pick up the phone, or type the email nearly as often as I should. But when we get together, all the time apart seems minimal, and it seems like we pick right back up where we left off. Truthfully, it was hard to keep it at ten. How blessed I am.
So grateful for...
Sherry you saved my life in 10th grade by becoming my life-long friend
Ann you not only loved me, but my kids, too
Annette 12 years is too long for us to not be in touch
Jody you will never know how much your friendship helped me
Dawnelle a true friend that stood by me
Renee how hard it was to move away from you
Robi proof that a great friend can be made in a short time
Barb building into your life was a lifeline for me
Karen your fingerprints are all over my life
and of course, Katara. Happy, happy birthday my dear, sweet friend.

Allure of the Lesser, Choosing the Better Part 2

My dh (Dan) offered to do something with our son Chase, that he had been longing to do. Go to Game Stop and look at all the tantalizing video games. How fun! Only it wasn't. Nine year-olds don't understand the concept of window shopping. Do any of us really? Four dollars to his name wasn't enough for any game. It took a few chats to foster the idea of gratitude that his dad chose to do something with him (that Chase desired), instead of being angry that he couldn't buy anything.

After some of my time on the computer, the electricity went out! I laughed and said okay, God. I get it. My kudos to the people who had to suffer the power outage because of me. Ha! I got into my bible study and enjoyed it very much.

We both chose the lesser. Then got second chances. And faced disappointments of not enough money or electrical power. One had the chance to learn gratitude and attitude. One showed the appreciation of discipline. It doesn't always work out this way, but that was a good day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Allure of the Lesser, Choosing the Better, Part 1

On Saturday, my son Chase stayed home with his dad, while I went to a women's conference and ran the bookstore, and Rachel went to Bible Quizzing. Dan (dh) offered to shoot baskets, shoot BB guns, shoot bow and arrows, clean a rifle to get ready for hunting, and on and on. Chase, however, preferred to watch a tape of cartoons from that morning. We all hear how kids don't want more things, they want more of us! And I think it's true. But the allure of the cartoons won out over the better time spent with his dad.

And then I had part of a beautiful Sunday afternoon to myself. I could have gone with Dan & the kids, but there were too many things to be done, I protested. The day was warm and sunny and beautiful. I was behind in the bible study that I'm so enjoying. I had a friend waiting for me to email her some more specifics of a conversation we were having that she was benefiting from. I had a friend in need that had left a message for me to please call. I felt a sense of urgency to get some clutter cleared out and given away before holiday visitors. But I stayed on my computer and played a meaningless game.

God was calling me to so much better. I would have enjoyed it more. But the allure of the easy kept me preoccupied with the lesser.