Monday, January 31, 2011

Living Life, Fully In The Moment

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by doug88888 via Flickr"]Laughing girl[/caption]

We all struggle in this life.

I, along with you, want to live life fully...but, I confess I don't know how on most days. I am a failed perfectionist. I like my life to be ordered and understandable. How many opportunities have I missed because they didn't fit in my schedule? I hadn't penned them in my Daytimer? I was too busy to slow down, and with that I missed some of God's most extraordinary moments for me. Although my life here on earth will never be perfect, and even though I mess up on a daily basis, God remains gracious. He gives me more opportunities to slow down and communicate with Him. More than I deserve.

Sometimes the day to day living gets in my way. My eyes are too eagerly set on my plans for tomorrow, to stop and enjoy the exquisiteness of today. I often times forget that I am but a pilgrim on this journey. This place is not my home. I was created for something so much more. God knows this. He reminds me of it, if I will only take the time to stop and really see...... to see His moments.

As much as I enjoy the beauty of this world, I am aware that this world is just a shadow of what is to come. In my quieter times, this thought crosses my mind. My breath catches in my throat and my eyes tear up as I contemplate what that truly means.

How many of us dare to live fully? I'm not talking about risk taking, or defying rules. I'm talking about slowing down enough to savor the wonderful gifts that God chooses to give us. To fully appreciate the joy of each day, regardless of the weather, how much money is in the bank, or whether or not  everything is checked off on the to do list. When was it that we fell asleep at the wheel?

Do you understand that life is really not about those  lists of things? Do you really? If you are like me, you say you do, but so many times I know I don't truly comprehend the depth of it. So many times I rush head long into the day, never looking back, and then before I know it, it is time to go to bed. Where was the enjoyment? The abundance? The moments?  Oh, they were there. I was just blind to them.

When I think about makes me cry. How many years have I wasted in my rush to the finish line? How much of  what God  offers, have I chosen to ignore?


Dare to Live Fully

Open your eyes to ordinary amazing grace. Life is sometimes dark, gritty, and tough, so how in the world do you find joy? How do you live really, fully alive? How do you see what God is providing right here? How do you find God?


The In Courage group is starting a book club. I think I'm going to join because I need the challenge. The dare. To live a full life. Will you join me?

Help! I'm Stuck In Frozen Foods

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]A young girl and her mother shop for chicken e...[/caption]

So, as I mentioned in yesterday's blog post...I got up early and went to the grocery store(s). WalMart at 8:15 in the morning usually is not so busy. Today it WAS! Every body and their brother was schlepping up and down the aisles picking out "stuck in a snowstorm" food. It also did not help my plight any that whoever wasn't shopping for snow food was shopping for Super Bowl food. Get out of my way Super Bowl people!  Put down those chips and cheese dip. I'm on a mission.

I wrestled somebody's grandma to the ground for the last bottle of salsa. Okay, so that is a lie. I didn't really do that. I wouldn't wrestle a grandma for salsa. Ice cream maybe, but not salsa. I have my priorities.

In all seriousness, there were a lot of senior individuals out and about today. I felt sorry for them. They probably believed their early morning shopping routine was being over taken by storm shoppers...and they would be right.

I moved on to the next store. I got there 15 min. after it opened. By the time I got ready to check out, the line was all the way back to the freezer aisle! For the love of Pete! Storm shoppers are a hardy bunch. We are not deterred by long lines! We settled in for the long haul. I was enjoying the sweet scene in front of me. A little boy (about 3 or 4 yrs. old) was shopping with his aunt. I know this because he called her aunt several times. (Call me super sleuth)  He was telling her various stories about  his parents. (one of them had to be this woman's brother or sister) It was a lovely story about how the little boy's mom liked Chinese food and the little boy liked Chinese (the jury is still out on whether Daddy liked it). He asked his aunt if she'd buy him Chinese? She said, "why don't we let mommy and daddy buy that?"  He said okay. "Mommy gets Chinese a lot, because she can't cook it." I smiled. The little guy smiled back. He reminded me of my son when he was 4 years old. He liked to tell stories too. Not about Chinese food, but you get the gist.

The line went quickly. I smiled at the cashier gentleman. I told him that he was very quick with check out and I appreciated that he was smiling and in a good mood even though he was swamped. He laughed. He said, "I expected that we'd we busy, just not this early!"

I got everything stashed and packed in the mini van. I did not drop cans rolled under the van. Not that, that happens to me. Purely, hypothetical. On the way home I did hear a loud crash and looked to see that a sack of soups fell off the seat and rolled around on the floor near the van's side door. I'm so lucky. Now when I open the van door, all the cans will roll out into the driveway. Sigh. I don't get paid enough for this wife/mom gig. Just sayin'.

The weather people are calling for a monster storm. Snow. Sleet. Freezing Rain. High winds. Some states. even getting tornadoes. Just watch. All this shopping and standing in line and we, here in rural Ohio, probably will end up with an inch of snow. That would be my luck. Whatever. At least I have enough hot chocolate and chips to last the family and me until 2012.

Oh, and by the way, I also have sweet smelling candles to burn...just in case the electricity goes out. (due to ice) We might all be sitting in the dark but, at least it will smell good. Then again apple, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice scented candles might make us hungry. That's where the excessive amounts of chips and salsa comes in. A mom always plans ahead.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Just Give Me Chips And Salsa

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Example of an American grocery store aisle.[/caption]

I am having a massive brain drain today. I didn't get much sleep last night and have been busy at church, all day. What happened to the times when I could stay up late at night and actually function the next day? Long gone, let me tell you.

Currently, I am not able to put two coherent sentences together, and yet here I sit on my bed just typing away!  I've written a couple of sentences and had about 50 typos. I went back and read what I had typed and thought to myself, "What is this? A foreign language?" So, in case I miss any of my typos please overlook them. It's difficult to type when one's eyes are beginning to cross and focusing becomes near impossible.

So, here in Ohio we are to be getting a big snow/ice/sleet storm this Tuesday and Wednesday. I've been keeping track of it, considering I am a weather geek and all. This means only one thing.

I MUST GO TO THE GROCERY STORE. I needed to go anyway but have been sort of putting it off.  Now, faced with a HUMONGOUS winter storm and possible stir craziness from being stuck inside for days at a time, I MUST  go shopping  tomorrow. Me and everyone else on God's green earth. I hate shopping anyway...much less when every Tom, Dick, and Harry is out buying bread and milk. That has always cracked me up. People hear a storm is coming and run to get milk, bread and eggs. If one is stuck inside, how much can be made with milk, bread, and eggs? I on the other hand get REAL survival food. Hot chocolate mix, baking goods, and pizza. I mean come on, that is so much better if you've got nothing better to do than sit around and look outside the window at the blizzard. By the way, if the electricity goes out, one can still eat chips and salsa by candlelight. Just sayin'.



Saturday, January 29, 2011

The World Is Going Loco!

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by guillermogg via Flickr"]Drug War from my window[/caption]

This morning I read a sad story about a mother in depression. Her husband is deployed....she shot her 2 teenage children and was going to then kill herself. Two teenagers dead, a mother in prison. A military man coming home to a family that no longer exists. Heartbreaking.

There are law enforcement officers being intentionally shot practically every day this past week.  What about the guy in Detroit who just walked in the police station and started shooting? Men and women who choose to put themselves in dangers way, on the front lines of all the serve and protect us. Who protects them?

A bank robber in Maryland, using an innocent bystander as a human shield. She didn't wake up that morning knowing that she could possibly be killed by some madman.

The Mexican drug cartel, shooting and killing a missionary, as she and her husband ran for the border. Turns out the drug runners wanted the couples new truck. To the cartel a person's life is of no value.

Multiple people killed in Egypt as the protests continues. A country in chaos.

Our world has gone insane. I know there have always been crazy, clinically depressed, or suicidal people among us. When people aren't thinking straight they do unbelievable things. Those are just a few circumstances, but it seems like there is more and more rampant evil running among us.

Doesn't it seem like the world is running at full tilt, straight to utter chaos? Straight to it's total demise?

I turn on the news anymore and I want to cry. It makes me want to pull my family close to me and slam the front door shut...keep the world at bay. It is a scary place out there. I know one shouldn't stay focused on all that.....but, pretending it doesn't exist isn't the answer either.

Sorry, that this post is depressing...but, sometimes that is just the way it is.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Blam Baby! You're Caught.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by cote via Flickr"]Mouse Trap, the game[/caption]

The end of the mouse story....for now.

This is how the whole macabre scene went down.

Nikki saw her opportunity and pounced. She got the mouse in her mouth and carried it off to the front foyer. I watched. She was looking for someplace to drop it. The mouse was still alive. She pawed it and got it in her mouth again. The mouse ended up getting loose. At this point I had the broom in hand. The mouse ran behind the bag of dog food. I swatted it out the other side where Nikki was waiting. The mouse saw Nikki and did a 360 in the middle of the floor. My daughter and son came running when they heard their mother scream. We cornered the mouse, but for having nearly lost his life with Nikki, he was still very quick.

At this point the mouse was scared out of his wits and came charging (can a mouse charge?) right at me. I let out an ear piercing scream and gave him the smack down with the kitchen broom. It temporarily stunned him, but before any of us could do anything, he shook it off and ran into the dining room behind the piano. Oh great! We scooted the piano out and he ran into the half bath, under the sink.

At this point my daughter checked out the bathroom and spotted him behind the trash can. He then ran under the sink cabinet and my son and daughter cornered him under there. Billy the Exterminator would be so proud. I'm so glad we home school so my kiddos could learn strategy this morning. How to trap a mouse under the bathroom sink 101. After about 10 minutes of manipulating the glue and spring traps and waiting him out...the mouse tried to make a dash, only to be caught fast in the glue.

Daughter took the mouse and trap outside to let him loose in the wild----away from the house! He probably had a nervous breakdown and will most assuredly have a limp, but at least he is outside. He has a second chance...or third? ......or fourth? at life. He better take it and run far, far away. Next time he might not be so lucky! If I had my way he would be in mouse heaven right now. Just sayin'.

It's Behind The Refrigerator!

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by Jo and Paul's pics via Flickr"]RSPCA cat & mouse[/caption]

The saga continues...

I came out to the kitchen this morning, flipped on the lights and turned the coffee pot on. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the "dark shadow" zip behind the refrigerator. As I came around the corner of the cabinets I saw Nikki sitting there like a statue. Her eyes glued to the small area around the fridge. She heard it too. She wanted it. She licked her chops.

I hear it moving around behind the refrigerator. It has to come out eventually. Nikki will be waiting. Hopefully. I hope she doesn't give up when we let the dog out (in 10 min.) to use the bathroom. Lonnie is always so energetic in the morning, he might distract Nikki from her job.

Have I mentioned that I hate mice? Seriously.

What if that varmint had run across my foot when I opened the refrigerator door this morning? I would have had a screaming heart attack. The family would have shot out of bed sure that the world was coming to an end....and for me if would have. I would have been laying dead as a doornail on the kitchen floor.

Nikki repositioned...the mouse is now behind the freezer. (We have separate standing refrigerator/freezer) I can hear the little sucker. I think he is watching me type through the vent in the bottom of the freezer, under the door. I thought I heard a snicker.

He's probably scared. Poor little field mouse can't find his way out of this crazy house, big cat waiting on him to make the wrong move, owner of house threatening him bodily harm and laughing manically. Whatever. This war is still on...'cause I'm still thinking about how much mouse poop is probably behind my fridge. Stupid, mouse.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

There Is Always Quiet Before The Storm...

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Laboratory mouse[/caption]

It is Thursday evening, 7:3o EST, at my house......and it is DEATHLY QUIET.

I am not used to this. I can't even really enjoy the quiet because I am so unnerved by it. My family has trained me that if it is this quiet, something must be going on. It makes me wonder. I have various scenarios playing in my mind right now. Scary ones.

I just heard scratching.

It's just me and the mice in the attic. I DO hear the furry little vermin up there. As for my other mouse on the loose in the house. Still haven't found him. He could be anywhere. Our house is like mouse heaven for hiding places. There is no telling where he is at...or if his near death experience in Joe's mouth the other day caused him to run for the hills. I hope he doesn't come back with a bunch of his extended family. Just sayin'.


Lonnie, The Wonder Dog

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Morton does not like his Elizabethan collar at...[/caption]

I mentioned before that my son got a new dog.  His name is Lonnie. He is a terrier mix extraordinaire. In the past two weeks that we've had him, he has become a part of the family. Perky ears, big brown eyes, and a bundle of energy.

Yesterday he had "the procedure" done. He jumped in the van yesterday morning, a little apprehensive as to where we were going while it was still dark outside. Once we got there, we waited in the front lobby. Lonnie was such a good boy. He didn't even bark when led away by one of the workers. Sigh.I know he is just a dog, and he doesn't have human feelings in the same way that we do...but, still. I comforted myself with the thought that Lonnie doesn't need to be a daddy, so I was doing the right thing. He would be fine. He would love us again, after this was all over with.

Last night, it was time for pickup at 7pm. All the dog owners that had their "babies" get the procedure were waiting in line at the big glass windows. One lady commented that it was like watching people at the hospital, looking at all the babies in the nursery. Our babies were a bit furrier, but sweet none the less. Lonnie was one of the first ones brought in. He was quiet. Probably still a little groggy. Once out of the carrier he perked up and was ready to move!

Then it started. Lonnie licked his stitches. "Lonnie, don't lick. Lonnie, please don't lick. Lonnie, stop it!"  Lonnie, being a dog, did not listen very well. The urge to lick was just too great. He wanted to do the right thing, but he just couldn't. He looked at me with the big brown eyes.

One of the ladies told us that since Lonnie was a small dog we could just use a plastic milk jug as an E collar. So...... that was what we were forced to do. Lonnie gave us no choice. I washed the jug, cut the bottom off, and cut a hole for his head. I taped up any rough edges and slid the collar over Lonnie's head. He was not thrilled. He tried to get it off. He was frustrated and banging his head around because his vision was partially obstructed. He looked up at me with the big brown eyes. "Why are you forcing me to wear the cone of shame? Haven't I been a good dog? Don't I show you love? How could you humiliate me like this?"  I tried to explain. I pet his back. I rubbed his head. He just didn't understand.

Lonnie is currently laying on the floor next to "his boy" who pets him periodically while doing his school work. He looks pitiful.

I told him this was not for forever. He turned his head the other way, with the cone on it, as if to say...."You are dead to me."  I left the room dejected.

Lonnie just strolled into the kitchen where I'm sitting at the breakfast bar. I felt some plastic brush up against my leg. I looked down. Big brown eyes were staring at me. "Pet me?" My heart melted. I think he is willing to be friends again.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Laugh Out Loud

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Laugh[/caption]

I don't know about you, but sometimes life gets me down. I don't like to be in this place. It's no place to stay, that's for sure.

I think what I need is a dose of fun. A shot of joy. A little humor mixed with my morning coffee.

I watched a video that a friend posted on Face Book. The gist was this: social scientists made climbing the stairs fun by making the stairs into a huge piano keyboard. Every time someone touched a step, music happened. People started using the stairs because it was now fun!  Who knew? They sort of had a "fun theory" about it.

So, I'm thinking about that. A fun theory. Neat concept. I know life can't always be fun. That's not realistic, but I do think most of  us spend far to much time on the other end of the scale. Tense and stressed out. Sound familiar to anyone? Life has enough hardships, deadlines, frustrations, and irritations. There is always plenty to worry about. Many times I find myself concentrating on the negative and forget that I need to take time to laugh. Even scripture tells us that laughing is important.

Proverbs 15:13

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.           

Proverbs 17:22

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

So, with these reminders I  have my own fun theory. I need to laugh more. Laugh out loud. Laugh until my sides ache. I need to giggle uncontrollably. I need to he haw until my eyes start to water. Laughter might not change my circumstances, but it might just change me. My attitude could be helped with a daily dose of laughter. Not fake laughter either. Not polite laughter. REAL laughter. The kind that can't be contained.

So, today I start project LAUGH OUT LOUD. Want to join me?


Survival Of The Fittest--Part 2

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Mice with different coat colors.[/caption]

The mouse is winning. After Sunday night's glimpse of the mouse in my bedroom and then seeing it zip through the dining room yesterday morning, I didn't see it at all. Mice are stealthy like that. They make a brief appearance than they are gone...until they show up again and scare the bejeebies out of you!

Last night around10:30, my daughter made an appearance at the bedroom door. " I saw the mouse. "Where was it?  " It was in Joe's mouth." (Joe is our 13 year old, indoor, 'fraidy cat) Joe? She proceeded to tell us that she was on her computer and not paying attention to Joe, when he walked up to her. She was startled when she saw a tail hanging out of his mouth. The fact that she was startled, startled Joe who promptly dropped the mouse, which unfortunately happened to still be alive. The mouse beat a hasty retreat, thanking God for second chances, as he ran for his life under the bed. Joe took off after him. My daughter claimed she did not know the current location of the mouse. At this point I must say, I am highly impressed with Joe. He might be elderly, and afraid of his own shadow, but he still has some gumption left in him.

Last night I heard a mouse in the kitchen ceiling. Probably the same one I heard in the the ceiling of the pantry. I started to talk to the rogue mouse somewhere above my head. "Listen up fur ball, this is not a mouse house. Get out, or all bets are off. You think you are so smart, but I've got news for you...YOU ARE A MOUSE. Your brain is a lot smaller than mine. I will outwit you. I will get you. By the way, you better not be pooping all over my family's stuff in the attic."

I've never had this kind of problem before (multiple mice).  My family and I lived in an old farmhouse until I was 5 years old. I do remember that we had caught a mouse in the kitchen and I cried because the mouse had died. As a preschooler I didn't understand the joy of catching a rodent. We moved to a rancher that my parents had built, out in the woods. No mice. Not once in the 14 years I lived there. The reason was we had snakes. Lots of snakes. Snakes eat mice. Now, I don't know that I was thrilled with snakes either...but, they did take care of the mice or any other rodents near our house. The snakes were outside in the wild, by the way. We didn't have snakes inside. If that had been the case, my mom would have died of a heart attack a long time ago.

My late husband and I rented a house in the city. It was a beautiful, older stone house. One Saturday afternoon I was on the phone when I saw a furry flash across the kitchen floor. I didn't want to scream into the phone so I climbed on the dining room chair to finish my conversation, all the while dancing around and flailing my arms at my husband while pointing at the kitchen. He probably was wondering why he had chosen to marry a woman that was obviously insane.  As soon as I got off the phone, I told him that we had a mouse. He did not seem as upset as I was. Men. Puh-leeze. They don't appear as alarmed about filthy, stinkin' rodents as I am. What's with that?

The house that I lived in in Knoxville, TN. only had one mouse incident. A field mouse got in under the garage door. I laid traps in the garage. It was a veritable landmine. I caught him on a glue trap. He was teeny tiny. I didn't want to touch him so I picked the entire trap up and tossed it in the woods. Now, I lived in the city. The only mouse inside was that one. I did have a RAT problem outside. The rats were huge, and much scarier than mice. These rats would eat my dog's food. This just goes to prove that Walmart dogfood will bulk up rats. Big time. They'd stand on their hind legs and stare at me as if to say, "Where's the chow, lady?". I ended up poisoning those suckers. (away from the dog or food rest assured)

So, this puts me back to our new house here in Ohio. Yes, we live in a farm field. Yes, I realize that there are field mice. I just didn't expect the influx from outside. I am a grown woman. I should not be bothered by a mouse the size of my little finger...BUT, I am. This is a battle I intend to win.

Let the games begin.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Simply NOT Acceptable

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) in the Nether...[/caption]

Last night I was in bed, all propped up with pillows, snuggled in my super soft blanket, hubby by my side.  I was checking out something on my lap top with one eye while I watched TV with the other. (it's  a gift) Then I saw IT. Well, I thought I saw it. Okay, I sort of saw it, out of the corner of my eye. A small, black mouse. I thought it might be my imagination, or a shadow. I tried to make myself feel better, but it didn't work. I had hubby turn down the TV volume so I could listen. I have super bat-like hearing. The slightest squeak, rustle, or gnawing and I would hear it. I'm freaky that way. A slight rub on the side of one of my baskets.....a black flash scooted in front of the french doors. AAaaggggh!

Hubby set a trap, and placed it near the wall on my side of bedroom. My first thought was, what if I have to get up to pee in the middle of the night and forget the trap is there and snap my toe off? Stinkin' rodent, putting me through this turmoil, and right before bed!!!! I finally got to sleep worrying that this mouse would wait until I'm sound asleep and then gnaw my face off. I have a vivid imagination.

This morning I carefully got up (it was still dark outside) and assessed the situation with the light from my cell phone. (didn't want to turn the light on and bother hubby) I did not see a dead mouse. Ugh. I tiptoed around ( I have no idea why...I didn't want to disturb the renegade mouse??!!) .

I made my way out to the dining room and kitchen. As I flipped on the light I saw our cat, Nikki, laying on the rug in front of the fire place. Just then---flash---the black shadow ran behind some pictures that I have leaning against the wall. I picked Nikki up and threw her at the pictures. Bless her heart she had no idea what was going on. She had her back to the whole mouse situation and didn't see it and now her owner is throwing her and telling her to "sic it".  Poor girl. She'll need pet therapy.

Then it was 8 am and time to let the dog out. My son's new little dog is part Fox Terrier/Schipperke. Both these  types of dogs have hunting small animals in their blood. Their ancestors are fox, squirrel,  and rat killers. A small field mouse should be a piece of cake. Alas, he was more worried in going to the bathroom than catching a sly field mouse.He and I are going to have a talk.

Now as I sit here typing, I notice Nikki stalking around the living room. I think she is on the scent. She is intently watching....something. If Lonnie, the wonder dog, sees the mouse it will be toast. He already nearly destroyed the cat's stuffed gerbil toy. Wahahaha!  House pets, unite!

If this situation is an example of how the rest of the day is going to go, well than I am in trouble.

Lonnie, Nikki, and I are going on a mouse hunt.

It is totally unacceptable to me to have even one lone mouse in the house. I cannot deal with it. Dirty, disgusting, nasty varmint.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

They Are Precious In His Sight

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]A homeless man in Paris[/caption]

The homeless man on the street---the one holding the sign that says he will work for food..... He does need food. Everyone needs to eat. To survive. Even more than food he  needs to know Jesus. Not a pious "Jesus" that throws him some crumbs. Not a "Jesus" that tells him to move off the corner because he's making the street look dirty. Not a "Jesus" that looks the other way, because the homeless guy makes him uncomfortable. This man hurts physically from lack of shelter and food. He hurts spiritually because he wonders if this is all there is for him? All he deserves?  He needs to meet the REAL Jesus.

The business man in the expensive Italian suit needs Jesus too. He needs the "Jesus" that will accept him. The "Jesus" that knows he's not perfect but loves him anyway. He needs the "Jesus" that doesn't expect him to work so hard for things...that life becomes meaningless. This man is handsome, and intelligent. He smiles...but, inside he is unsure. Balancing precariously on the line between great and never good enough. He's afraid he is going to lose his balance. Afraid that this is all there is in life. He longs for more than the flashy car and the empty apartment. This man needs to meet the REAL Jesus.

The married couple that believe that this life is all there is. They are not sure if there really is a Jesus. And if there is, they aren't sure they need him. They are self sufficient. Life is fun.....until it isn't. Until something happens. Then they wonder....what about this Jesus? Is he real? And does he care? And if he does, why? They are scared to face this unknown. They think maybe if they fill their lives with stuff, they can forget the doubts that creep into their thoughts when the music has stopped...and it is quiet.  They need to meet the REAL Jesus.

The woman that stares at her reflection in the mirror with self-loathing. She realizes that she will never be tall, and slender and have perfect skin. Her reality is what she looks at in the mirror every day. She pinches and pokes at her flesh with merciless fingers. She longs for beauty, but sees none of it in herself. Sometimes she wants to die. It would be easier that way. She doesn't understand that she is beautiful in Jesus' eyes. She needs to know the REAL Jesus.

The young man that is the star athlete. The one all the colleges want. The pride of his hometown. He has the world before him, and yet he is unsure and scared. When one is put on a pedestal it is so easy to fall. He worries that people will find out that he isn't perfect.  This boy needs to know the REAL Jesus.

The world is full of people that need to know the real Jesus. The young child, the rebellious teen, the scholar, the athlete, the mom, the dad, the business man, the young woman, the homeless, the prostitute, the dancer, the computer geek, the friend, and even the enemy. They all need Him.

The REAL Jesus is not the church building, though the church is made of people that should be the body of Christ. The REAL Jesus isn't the pastor, minister, priest, or elder, though this person should have the mind and heart of Christ.  The REAL Jesus isn't a charity or mission, though these groups should be the hands and feet of Christ. Since we live in an imperfect world...sometimes these groups, buildings, people are mistaken for Jesus.

The REAL Jesus is so much more than that. He is the Anointed One, Son of God, King of the Ages, Light of the World, Lord, Sure Foundation, The Most Holy, Wonderful Counselor, the Ransom for All Men.....and Salvation for mankind.

Jesus came that we might have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10) He and he alone is the One that sees us as we really are. We are all imperfect. We fail. We are fake. We lie. We regret. We say things we shouldn't and don't say things we should. The conversations that we have with ourselves are things we wouldn't dare share with another. As much as we might long to do the right thing, we are pulled into doing the very things that make us want to kick ourselves.

That is why Jesus came.

Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Really, Real Housewives

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Image by bbcworldservice via Flickr"]The Real Housewives of New York City[/caption]

I had a blogging buddy recently post about the show, Real Housewives. She can't stand it. The other day, I saw some favorite news anchors talking about Kelsey Grammer's "real housewife" and the couple's imminent divorce. Now, that's some reality for ya. I've only caught the show when surfing the cable channels. If this insane display is reality than I must be living in la-la land...and quite happy to be there!

Here is my take on REAL housewives. I have some life experience in this department.  This could get gritty, but if you are interested in REALLY, REAL housewives than buckle up and hang on tight. Here goes...


1. Love their husbands...they don't just use their husbands. They care about what he thinks, how he feels. They see each other on a regular basis because they LIKE each other. This doesn't happen on reality TV.

2. They get up with their sick children. Hold puke buckets. Or hold their hair while they throw up in the toilet. They clean up the vomit that doesn't make it to the toilet. They rock their children. They hold their hands. They rub their backs. They sit with them. They sing to them. They pray for them. They love them.

3. Have jobs that are never done. Some wives work outside the home. Some don't. Both are valid. I have yet to meet a housewife or mom that sits by the pool on a daily basis, sipping drinks with umbrellas in them while making calls to her manicurist or pet groomer.

4. Wear jeans or khakis on most days. Yoga or sweat pants are also an option. Most don't shop at fru-fru boutiques, or spend $5,000 on a dress just to go out to lunch with their peeps.Most women aren't runway models, and even if they were, hopefully they'd have enough common sense to realize that they'd be just as pretty in jeans and a T-shirt.

5. Are so busy that they can't remember their own names, much less schedule "girl time" at a swanky restaurant, where they've have to drop a grand for food that would barely feed a mouse.  Then while eating, talking about each other and talking behind the back of whoever isn't at the lunch. Really, real housewives have their family and friends backs 'cause that's how we roll.

6. Don't have "procedures" done to their bodies. Most, are just stuck with whatever God gave 'em. Stomach a little flabby after having babies? Buy a workout video at WalMart. Getting some gray hair? Have it dyed---salon, or at home. Whichever works. Crows feet? Dab on extra eye creme. Need whiter teeth? Change toothpaste.  It's called the real world.

7. Live out of their mini van. This is obvious from the empty coffee cups, stale french fries in the back seat cushions, and soccer shoes that slide around on the floor. Really, real housewives don't have chauffeurs, they ARE the chauffeurs.

8. Cook meals for the family...and not just for show. Real home made food. That tastes good. Foods whose names can be pronounced correctly, even if one isn't French.

9. Go grocery shopping. Do price comparisons. Buy store brands. Aren't afraid of discount stores.

10. Will never know fame or fortune...and they are okay with that. They are smart enough to know that the most important things in life can't be bought...not even if one is a reality TV star.

Moving Furniture And Other Big Stuff

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]sofa club[/caption]

I am a recovering furniture mover. I used to constantly change my furniture set up. I'd get tired of the couch being in front of the window, so I'd move it to the wall. The chair didn't look good in the corner anymore so I'd set it over next to the end table. It was an illness of which I could find no cure.

My late husband drove a truck. The hours for a truck driver are bizarre...sometimes he would get in, in the middle of the night. I'd be awakened by a bang and a thump and a few mutterings under his breath. Opps. I guess he didn't see that I moved the recliner over to the other side of the room. He never knew what to expect from me.You'd think he would have learned to flip on the lights to check out the layout of the room before preceding into the house.

The past several years I haven't had the opportunity to move furniture on a near monthly basis. Before we moved, the old house was stacked with boxes. No space to move anything. Once we moved to the new house and unpacked everything, rearranging furniture seemed a chore. The couch has stayed in the same place for the past year and a half. It makes me nervous. Sigh.I've worked more on accessories. Easier to move. Less back strain.

Last night I got a little twitch while looking at my library/office. I'm thinking that I want to move the sofa and desk and scoot a few book shelves around. This could be dangerous. It is driving me nutty. I'm not going to be satisfied until I do something. Anything. I'm becoming desperate.

Why must furniture moving be my addiction? I'm going to end up with a hernia and sore muscles.

Is there such a thing as furniture intervention?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Little Red Car That Could...

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Datsun B210[/caption]

My first car was a 1978, two door, candy apple red, Datsun B210. I got the car in 1989. It was the summer before my senior year in college. I needed a car to complete my student teaching. ( I did my student teaching at a local high school about 2o minutes away from my college.) My uncle snagged me a good deal on the car. (thanks Uncle John!)  That little red car could get me where I needed. I loved it!

Long story short...the car never let me down, plus it got great gas mileage. After graduation (in Tennessee) I went back to my home state of Maryland. I had intended to go back there to live and work. Well, life has a way of putting a wrench in one's plans. So, that following September I was headed back to Tennessee for my first teaching gig. I had packed up all my earthly possessions in the little red car that could, and hit the road. Did I mention that my aunts and uncle also came with me? I don't really remember but, I think I had stuff in their car too. I was a young 20 something....I probably had a lot of junk to tote around.

As we were heading west on Interstate 40, coming into Knoxville, happened. I had the lead in the little red car. My relatives were following behind me in the traffic. I was behind a flat bed semi. The guy had his load tarped. For whatever reason the tarp came loose, and flew through the air and landed squarely on my little car. The car was entirely covered by the tarp. Yes, you read correctly. I was going at least 55-60 miles an hour to keep up with traffic and now I was literally driving blind. Not many people have been in this situation, and let me tell you, it is not the sort of thing one learns in drivers ed. With my heart pounding in my ears, I took my foot off the accelerator, and I moved my car to the right, listening for the slight crunch of loose gravel on the shoulder of the road. When I thought I could hear the gravel on both front tires, I slowed down and stopped.

My family had witnessed the whole thing. The truck driver probably had no idea that his tarp had come loose and could very well have killed me. My heart beat went back to normal, I could breathe again, and I realized beyond a shadow of doubt that God's hand was on me that day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Everyone Has One...

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Many dry cleaners place cleaned clothes inside...[/caption]

Everyone has one. A story, that is.

I've mentioned before that I enjoy a good story. Most people I encounter believe they don't have anything interesting to say. That's just not true. Don't argue with me about this. I'm right.

"Mom, I need to get a part time job. So does Betsy. We're thinking we could work together."

With that said, my friend, Betsy and I got a job, after school at a local laundry/dry cleaners. Our boss was named Bucky. Yes, you read that correctly. Betsy and I were assigned to the business shirts. We were 16 and 17, respectively. We still babysat on the side, but we were now working women. We had jobs. We treated stains on men's business shirts! The prestige of it all. Those thoughts lasted all of about 2 seconds. Then reality set in. Stinky, stained reality.

A laundry/dry cleaners is not a glamorous place behind the scenes. Just sayin'. In case you thought it was or anything. I felt the need to set you straight. On a positive note, if you want to lose weight, work at a dry cleaners. With all the steam and pressing going on, it get's hot in the back, like a sauna. Of course, all the weight loss is from sweating out all your bodily fluids. No kidding.

Betsy and I worked for about 3 hours each afternoon of the school week.  By the end of our 3 hours we were a little "loopy" from the solution used to get the stains out of the shirts. Even though the place was ventilated, I'm sure we lost some brain cells during our 6 month stint there. I remember thinking a few choice words to the business men that sent their shirts in to be cleaned with ink stains on them. Stop putting leaky pens in your shirt pockets!!! Don't you know how stubborn those stains are?!

The first thing we were told on the job was to put anything we found in shirt pockets in a little bag that would be returned to the gentlemen when they picked up their shirts. You know, pens, receipts, packs of gum, money...the usual pocket stuff.

One day, I was working, minding my own business, when I came across a business shirt that was different. The front pocket was full.....of stuff. Let me just say this. I was embarrassed. My face was turning pink. Um....this was not a pen and some gum. I will leave it to your imagination. Let's just say that it would put Victoria's Secret to shame.

I had to ask my boss what to do? Do I put the hotel receipt and um...stuff in a little white bag and return it? Boss said, "No. Definitely not."  To which I, in all my young innocence said, " But, his wife might want this back."  Boss said, " maybe it's not his wife's."  Then it hit me what he was saying. Oh, good grief!

For cryin' out loud! Who needed Days Of Our Lives, when I had the "privilege" of working at the laundry? Seriously. Who knew?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eating Lunch At The U.N.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Amish schoolchildren[/caption]

My elementary school lunch table consisted of kids, my friends, with last names like Polignone, Kavalish, Slobodnik, Modi, and Jurf. Italians and Poles, Hungarians and Indians,  those of us with European ancestry and Kuwaitis. We all sat together. We were friends.

I got to thinking about this the other day. I've had the privilege over the years to get to know a lot of people from diverse backgrounds, races, and religions. It's been pretty interesting.

When I was in elementary school, my best friend had the last name, Modi. She was Indian. (Eastern Indian as opposed to Native American) I remember as a young child going to visit at her house. We played ping pong down in the basement. Her mother wore the most beautiful saris. I remember thinking how I liked the bright colors. I also found the "red dot" on her forehead to be interesting. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized it was a bindi that she had on her skin, and it was red because she was married.

Throughout my school years I continued to have friendships with kids who didn't all look like me.....

When I got to college I met up with Sofia. A hall mate from Memphis, Tennessee. Now, I have to paint you a picture of this girl. She had skin the color of dark chocolate and a smile that she flashed at everyone she met. She had a crazy personality that invited everyone in for a visit. One morning I met up with Sofia in the bathroom. (oh, the joys of community bathrooms in college dorms) She was griping about her "nappy hair". Now, me being the inquisitive person that I am said to her, " What exactly does that mean when someone says their hair is nappy? Just curious." In a flash she grabbed my hand and shoved it in her hair. She said, "You feel that? My hair is all kinked up next to my scalp, and it's straighter on the ends. THAT IS SOME NAPPY HAIR, GIRL!"  She gave me my hand back, and my lesson on black hair was done for the day. She smiled at me. I laughed.

I taught with a black woman who was happily married to a white, Jewish man. She told me they married in the 1970's, in the south. It wasn't accepted by a lot of people, but they didn't look to others for approval. She converted to Judaism.  Her in-laws survived the concentration camps of WW II. I saw pictures of them in a traveling Holocaust museum that my kids and I visited.  I had a new understanding.

When my husband, kids and I moved to Ohio we befriended some of the Amish that helped to build our house. My husband and I have formed as especially close friendship with one young couple. I enjoy visiting their home, where no matter what the young woman is doing (besides maintaining the home, they have 4 children, 4 years and under) she always makes time to talk to me. She told me early on that she had questions about the "Englishers" and if I answered her questions she would gladly answer mine about the Amish. As much as the English are different from the Amish, there are so many things we have in common. I know that her life is not filled with the same conveniences as mine, but I certainly can appreciate the simplicity and strong ties that are found in the Amish community.

People.... interesting and diverse. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to get to know all types of people. I'm glad I was brought up to believe that all people are special because God created them and that I shouldn't let differences scare me. My life is better because of it.