Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Birthday To Me!

What fun! There are web sites and you tube videos supporting us Leap Day Babies!! It's hilarious. Here are some interesting facts I found on one of these sites today...

Roughly 200,000 Americans are quadrennials

More than 2.1 million people throughout the world are quads

There is a 1 in 1,506 or 1,461 chance that a child will be born on Leap Day

I never knew. Tongue-in-cheek, I'm sure, "they" complain about discrimination. Not being able to vote or get a driver's license.

Not only have I never had these problems, I'm getting a free pizza from Papa John's today because it's my birthday.

I love my birthday. It seems like people remember it. Maybe not every year, but once every four years I get a lot of cards and often a party! Only two snail mail cards so far, but tons of e-cards. Sign of the times I guess. They're just as great.

On my off years, I get birthday wishes for two days because no one remembers if I celebrate February 28 or March 1. I do March 1, for the record.

When I was little, my daddy teased me mercilessly that I didn't have a birthday. But it is a treasured memory for me now.

In second grade the teacher asked us to write down our birthday, and I asked which one. She retorted rather snottily, "You only have one birthday." Which is technically true, but a little confusing for a seven-year-old, who had only celebrated one birthday on the actual birth day.

It seemed weird to me that I get so excited about this once every four year birthday celebration, but after watching some of the you tube videos, I see I'm not the only one!

Thanks, Mom. You did good.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

First Date

Seventeen years ago today I went on the first date with my now husband. We drove sixteen or more hours to Colorado to go snow skiing. We picked up one of his friends along the way. Thinking about it now, I guess it was a leap of faith for both of us. What if we'd hated each other? That would have been one really long date.

A mutual friend (Mom) had introduced us a couple of weeks earlier. But, we really didn't start talking until right before the date/trip. My mom had been friends with him for around six months, and I knew she liked him. When pressed if he was "...the one?", she had to say, "He might be."

He barely knew me, though maybe Mom filled him in a bit.

He was going to CO skiing with a friend anyway, so the idea was he needed my help with the driving since it was such a long trip. We cleared the air that neither of us thought anything inappropriate was going to occur.

We were both adults. In fact he a bachelor, and me a single mom of two boys.

I had a computer class at the college, so he picked me up around 9:00 p.m. on a Thursday, and we drove probably twelve hours before we picked up his friend.

So many things I loved about this date.

We had time to talk and talk. I asked him every question in the book, from what's your favorite toothpaste, and how do your parents resolve conflict, to what was your favorite Christmas gift?

It was my birthday (sort of), and an anniversary of my husband leaving me. This was God's restoration.

I'd never been skiing, and I was eager to find out how he would treat me. Much to my pleasure, he signed me up for lessons, helped me get my gear on, took me to the class. He met me for lunch and just took great care of me.

In the hotel room, he gave me the bed and slept on the floor.

The truck broke down on the way home. He had tools, but couldn't quite get it fixed (what a wizard he is at fixing everything). But we were close to his family, so they met us and helped us. I got to meet his family. They were so warm and loving. Dan's mom gave me a hug goodbye, and that touched my heart. I was so excited when the truck broke, because I wanted to see how he would handle it. He was so patient and calm.

At the end of that long, long date, he gave me a hug goodbye. What a gentleman!

He probably didn't realize how much of a test he was taking, but he passed with flying colors.

And he continues to amaze me. I am so blessed.

I Did it My Way

I feel almost flooded with new information about myself, and the things God wants to change in me. It is exciting to feel like He is preparing me for something challenging and big. It is odd that it's taken this long for me to realize these things about myself. It is scary to think that there's so much more wrong with me than I ever knew.

I'm still working on my tongue and hence my attitude. But I'm aghast at some of the things that flew out of that portal last night!

And yesterday, I had another startling revelation about myself. Not only am I a more critical person than I believed I was, I'm also controlling!

For those of you that have wrestled me over the remote, stop laughing. I knew I liked things my way. I knew I could be bossy. I attributed a lot of that to being the oldest child and being selfish and prideful. That I knew.

Wow. Controlling people can really annoy me. I guess that's the one finger pointed at you, three pointing back at me kind of thing.

But I'm willing to change. If I can just be the one to decide when, where and how much. Ha!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sergeant York

With Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan, this movie featuring World War One was a delight. Most of the movie tells about York's background before the war. He was a drinker and a fighter, then turned to Christ. He changes quite dramatically and is a conscientious objector to the war because he doesn't believe he can kill and follow God. He faces quite a dilemma of following God or honoring his country or reconciling how he can do both.

It lead to some good discussions with the kids. It also prompted me to look up how much of the movie was true.

Most of it was! Even the most difficult part to believe was true, which was his heroism in the war. I don't want to give it away, but it was pretty amazing.

The war scenes are hokey. Unfortunately, we've seen much more realistic death. But that nor the lack of color bothered us. If you watch it, let me know what you thought of the picture of his mother. We laughed pretty hard at that scene.

Nine year-old son, fourteen year-old daughter, Mom and Dad all give the movie five stars.

Friday, February 15, 2008

So Brad, is Sayid Still the Man?

You will be lost by this post if you're not a LOST fan. Which I am. Big time.

I had a dream last night that I figured out the whole space time continuum thing, but this morning it didn't make sense because the pilot wasn't wearing his wedding ring.

Sayid must have sold his soul.

Why????? (cried with anguish)

BTW, if you want to know all the theories and get screen caps, this site is awesome.

Valentine Blow-Out

Dr. Phil, Weight Watchers, Thin Within, Weigh Down, plus every nutritional article I've ever read are in my brain as I try to lose weight. But, I'm trying to combine my knowledge with following God's guidance. So I try to listen to Him and not be tied up with diet "rules".

I've come to have the same thing for breakfast every morning. At first I had a fruit and whole grain, plus a protein and milk. But I can hardly choke it down even though I stop eating by 7:00 the night before. So now I have an apple cut up into 3/4 of a serving of oatmeal and some hot tea.

I've been feeling pleased about my eating habits, but last night was a blow-out.

We had a romantic dinner at home with steak, baked potato, asparagus, and wine. Not too bad, I had a very small potato with low-fat sour cream and a small piece of steak. It was so good. I did have 2 1/2 glasses of wine. And then we had Moellieux au Chocolat, known in America as Oozing Chocolate Lava Cake. Ohhh, it was roll your eyes in the back of your head good. I don't have any ramekins, so I used a muffin tin and made six individual cakes instead of four. And it was so rich I didn't know if I could eat all of that one, but I did.

Then I prayed for the leftover two to be gone, because I just wanted to eat more and more. My husband and son polished those off, so yea!

And I woke up feeling lousy this morning. Do you think it was all the sugar?

That was fun last night, but my oatmeal tasted really good this morning.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who ARE You Talking To?

Last night, my nine year-old Chase climbed into bed with us after a nightmare. I could then no longer sleep. My husband Dan snuggled in close to Chase and said quietly, "I'm not done with you."

Chase raised concern, "What?!"

In another quiet (read sinister) voice Dan replied, "I'm not talking to you."

"Okay, you're totally scaring the daylights out of me," Chase panicked.

Amidst my outburst of laughter, I told Chase that his dad was talking in his sleep. Then we both laughed so hard.

I still didn't get any sleep.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Mother Teaching me to Do Without

Yesterday I posted about some things I do without. But it really got me to thinking about the things my mother did without when I was a child, and how much our society has changed.

1. I don't think we took the newspaper until I was at least 12. I could be wrong, but I remember reading my Aunt Diane's.

2. I never even heard of satellite until I was 15. When was it invented anyway? We had an old black and white television until I was 10 or 11.

3. I remember my mom having a Redbook subscription when I was in my early teens. She denies it, but I liked reading the, "Can this Marriage be Saved" column. She tore out the sex column so I couldn't read it.

4. When I was in elementary school, Mom & Diane would load us kids into the car and we'd go to the drive-in. We could bring our own popcorn & soda. I guess this was doing without going to the theater, but it was great fun.

5. We seldom ate out. But I don't know that many people did. I remember the first McDonald's came to town when I was 9 or 10. Our school class took a field trip there.

6. I don't remember having a phone until my brother was born. I was six. It was black, and we had a party line.

Then there are all the things I see as a necessity now. No washer until brother was born, and the dryer came later. No second car. Many trips to the grocery store and library with the wagon. No central air conditioning, except for a couple of years we lived in a townhome. Did we have any a/c before that? No dishwasher until I was around 16.

So many things that I never even knew we "needed". I'm a big believer in doing without. It's not always fun, but it builds an attitude of gratitude for the things we have.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Doing Without

Doing without seems like I phrase I heard a lot, spoken with respect, while I was growing. I never hear it anymore.

What I do hear is this catchy commercial, "I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now." And he buys a big screen T.V.

It's important to me to point out those type of commercials to the kids and to myself. It is such an easy mindset to slip into.

Instead, I will be glad for some of the things we have chosen to do without.
  1. Daily & weekend newspaper (we get a free paper Wed., Fri., and Sun.)
  2. Cable or Satellite
  3. Magazine subscriptions (though my kids have some given as gifts from grandparents)
  4. Video rentals (we use the library)
  5. Eating out (I can't say totally, but I try very hard to cook.)
  6. Cell phone (my husband needs one for work, but he's the only one with the cell.)

I must admit, the cell phone is the hardest one. I wonder if there are some things that I wouldn't even think of because we've gone without them for so long.

On the other hand, we may do with some things that you would always chose to do without.

Pinching Pennies

Every January, our Pastor encourages us to sign a commitment card that we're going to put God first in our finances. We already do, but we always fill out the card anyway, because he promises to pray for us.

A couple of years ago, I noticed that coincidentally the first few months of the year are always the most difficult for us.

Besides having just paid our personal and property taxes, we've always just finished Christmas, which usually entailed a long trek out of town. Add to that tag renewals in January, a life insurance payment, and car insurance due in February.

This year included some serious dental expenses for my youngest, and some serious car repairs for the old (but appreciated) van.

We're a frugal family. I love to read frugality blogs. I'm always trying to learn something new on trimming the expenses. There doesn't seem to be too many things left.

So, I've finally given up soda. For the most part.

I've tried in the past to limit myself to one a day, but inevitably would have a day when I drank five or six. Also, my youngest son has gotten into the bad habit of thinking he needs one soda a day. Call it old age, but I never would have allowed this with the older kids.

So, now he can only have one a week. And I can have one occasionally. In the past three weeks, I've probably had three. Diet Rite Cherry. Yum. My favorite.

I'm really doing fine without it. I figure we'll be saving around $150 a year. Every little bit helps.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Heart of The Matter

Giant cookies, home made breads, boxes of chocolates were all left over from Bible study on Wednesday. Last semester there wasn't enough food to go around! A lot of women must be dieting. I even heard someone say, "I wish there were vegetables."

It will be interesting to see how soon the snack table starts to clear off. Will it be by the end of February or hold out until April?

How many diets have I been on? Have you been on? Lifestyle changes. Better eating choices. It's now or never.

The willpower only lasts so long. Then gradually, or in one big bag of oreo crunching, the new me/you is out and the old me/you is baaaack!

Lasting change will never happen for me without the help of God. All the positive thinking. All the willpower. All the powders, pills, plans. It won't work.

The change I'm focusing on (dare I admit it?) is my tongue. The words that exit my mouth originated in my heart. So I'm trying to listen to the words before they have the chance to escape. Then I'm looking at my heart condition to see what those words really meant.

And this is really all related to food and lasting change. Yesterday I really struggled through wanting to indulge in some unhealthy food. What I really wanted was to indulge in some unhealthy speaking. That old criticism thing again. So if I had the tasty morsels of food, I could forgo the tasty morsels of slander.

Ah. Heart check time. I spent some time in prayer. Confessing, admitting my powerlessness, asking for strength. He delivered.

Help me, Lord. You alone know how wicked is my heart.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rewards and Consequences

I'm fairly obtuse. My poor sweet husband doesn't understand that I don't get "hints". When he said that he'd like to have his coat washed by Wednesday, I didn't put it together that he meant he'd like for me to wash it by Wednesday. He tries to be so sweet, but I don't do subtle.

In fact, in a lot of my prayers I ask God to hit me over the head with His answer, because I just don't get it.

This Fall a friend shared in Bible study how her daughter was ready for a big girl bike. Same daughter had a problem with being respectful. Mom had tried many negative consequences, but struck upon the idea of rewarding her daughter with a dollar in a jar towards the bike every time she voluntarily said things like, "Thank you, Mommy." It worked wonderfully.

I mentioned and have thought since wouldn't it be great if God gave us these negative consequences and positive attaboys for our choices?

A wise woman said, "He does in my life all the time."

I bet He does in mine, too. Again, I'm obtuse.

So I've been praying and asking God to show me the rewards and consequences of my choices.

I've been choosing to keep the dishes hand-washed and picked up better than when we still had use of the dishwasher. I'm seeing the positive cleaning spilling over to keeping other things picked up, too.

I'd love to hear some of your rewards and consequences!

Uncommonly Beautiful

This video features a friend of mine. She says it better than I ever could.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Still doing the dishes

A while back I posted on the Holy Spirit's constant answer to the question of what to do now as the dishes.

Since that time, my precious, spoils me, mother-in-law came for a visit. As long as I cooked, she did the dishes. Not only that, but cleaned the counters, table, sink. Two whole weeks I had the star treatment. And when she left I declared, "It will stay this way." Clean and picked up I mean.

But, it didn't.

I thought how wonderful of the Lord to send this angel to my house right after I grumbled about there always being dishes to do.

I thought this break was what I needed to get myself in a good habit.


So, the Lord is trying a new tactic.

For a while the handle on the dishwasher has not worked correctly. In fact, dear mother-in-law had to learn the secret of getting the door opened. My daughter had written an explanatory paper on how to get the door open.

Two days ago the handle finally broke. I managed to wrench the door open to get the clean dishes out, but dear hubby said we couldn't use it anymore until it got fixed.

The part is on back order and won't be in until the end of the month. So at least three more weeks of doing dishes by hand.

I can't help but remember when I started washing the Sunday afternoon dishes when I was eight or nine. It was either that or take a nap like my parents and little brother. So I washed and dreamed I was Cinderella (pre-Fairy Godmother).

My nine year-old son helped me dry the first load. And he washed part of a load tonight. He's enjoying it. My daughter has also cheerfully volunteered to help. And of course, dear hubby has pitched in, too. I didn't realize I was depriving them all.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Laughing Gas Honesty

Yesterday the dentist mentioned in front of my son that he liked to watch a certain program on TV.

To which Chase said, "That's a bad show"

Doctor: "Well, it's not a show for kids your age, right Mom?"

And he kind of gave me a look that suggested I was not monitoring my son.

So Chase asked, "Why would you watch that show?"

He pretended not to hear and went on to the procedure.

I actually enjoyed this exchange very much.