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Archive for December, 2007

Merry Christmas! We safely arrived in the Pennsylvania Wilds on the 22nd. We did the 20 or so hours in two days and had a “Hotel Adventure” in Richmond Indiana. (Hotel Adventure is the term we use to keep Sadie from realizing that two days in the car can sometimes be like the seventh level of Hell, but hey–give the kid something to look forward to…) We did have fun at the hotel–swam in the pool, spent too much time in the jacuzzi (ahhh, boiling hot water on stiff travel joints…I’m grateful for the little things.)

 What has also been fun on this trip is that I get to sleep with Sadie. Her bed at home is up against the wall, so now I am the wall. At one point last night, her whole body was sideways with her feet on my leg. We were like a big ‘T’. Mostly she puts her back to me and snuggles up close, and I am in cuddle heaven. Then in the morning she pats me gently and pets me like a puppy. Then she leans over and kisses me while stroking my cheek, and even though it’s FREAKING six o clock in the morning, how could I resist such sweetness?? It’s my own fault for not going to bed till after midnight.

How can I sleep when I get to talk to my sisters and my mom and dad and we all sit around the table for hours and pass around the cookie tray and laugh and tell stories on each other? Also, my sister has brought a new boyfriend home, so we are systematically trying to freak him out and pretend we are all crazy.  But he has passed the audition. We love him.

As has been the Christmas custom in my family for as many years as I can remember, we always have to wait and wait for my dad before we can open presents. (Hence my blogging now. We’re waiting….) In the past we have had to wait first for him to wake up, then he has to go to the bathroom, then he has to get his coffee, then he has to smoke a cigarette, then he gets more coffee, then he goes to the bathroom again, then he has to shave, then more coffee… Well, today, my dad is doing a church service at our local prison, and we can’t start until he gets back.

I want to open presents now!

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All Hail the New Laptop

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Merry Christmas to me! After pining for five years for a new laptop (my old one was the 1997 Toshiba on the right–weighed like 60 lbs…) I have a new Gateway. We got this super secret in-store sale email from WalMart (don’t even know how we got on that mailing list…) but it said that the very next day, they were selling 5 Gateway Notebooks for–here’s the miracle–$398.00. Dan, the love of my life, went to WalMart at 7:15 to get in line for the 8:00am sale. I love him sooo much. He HATES standing in lines for sales. You know, the whole pushing and shoving and Oklahoma Land Rush thing that happens at Christmas time. But he knew HOW MUCH I wanted a laptop. And HOW LONG I’d been wanting one. (Of course, he was probably just sick of me talking about it…)

He called me at 7:45 and said “I’m second in line…you’re getting a laptop!!”

Now all my dreams will come true.

(p.s We win for Ugliest Couch Ever. It is super comfy though…)

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We took Sadie to a martial arts studio to see if she might be interested in their “Little Ninjas” class. She had already decided that gymnastics was not for her, so we’ve been scoping out our other options. The studio let her go to one class for free, and Dan and I got to sit on the bleachers and watch. Aside from all of the weapons we saw prominently displayed, oh, and then the studio’s oath on a big poster encircled with snakes, and then all of the 5 year old automaton voices yelling ‘yes sir!’ at random intervals, we thought the night went pretty well.

We were strangers in a strange land, I must say. There is a whole culture, an entire lifestyle, that we are totally not familiar with. I think what they are doing with kids is great–teaching them respect and discipline and self confidence and all, but the machismo was a little too much. Of course, this is an award winning gym, and they’ve been on ESPN and all but I don’t think we’re quite ready for it. I asked Sadie if it would be ok if we looked into other martial arts studios, since we wouldn’t be going back to that particular one.

She teared up right away and said, “Will I still get to wear a uniform?” Apparently, that was her favorite part of the experience. For her, it was all about the fashion.

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My Back Field

I just love the view out of my dining room windows. (See new header picture.) There’s this great field just over the fence that is all disheveled and overgrown and tangled. I expect to find Brear Rabbit hunkered down in a brier patch back there somewhere. Horses come right up to our back fence and we pet them and feed them carrots and apples. As Anne Shirley would say, “There is so much scope for the imagination here.” (loosely paraphrased).

I am aware of the disparity between how I feel about my house on a any certain day, but then I look out into my back yard, I love my space. I feel blessed and grateful. As a gal from the of snow-belt in Western Pennsylvania, I feel the same amazement every winter here in Arkansas when it’s still 60 degrees at the end of November.

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I just have to say, going to work is the highlight of my 8 to 3 day. I love the people I work with, and feel so a part of the team. Maybe I’d complain more if I had to work more than 10 hours a week, but I don’t know. I’m still having trouble disciplining the rest of my time. Sometimes I want more hours at work just because I don’t know what to do with myself the rest of the day until I pick up Sadie. Wait, let me rephrase that. I know what needs to be done–and what I SHOULD be doing (housework, etc.) But I don’t know how to manage the time enough so that I can get what I have to get done, then go on to other, more interesting things. So instead of digging in and doing the yucky stuff first, I drag around the burden of it all day and enjoy nothing.  How pathetic is that?

Like right now, I’m not at home. I left work, and came over to the university library because I don’t want to go home. I’ve got to stop running away from unpleasantness. It’s not like I’m really free of it just because I’m not there. Why don’t I just put a cement block in my purse. That would be easier to carry. For some reason, talking about the issue over and over and over and over seems to be easier than just doing something about my poor time management. It is totally annoying. I am sick of the words right now, in fact. So for everyone’s sake, I’ll stop.

In other news,  Sadie’s favorite answer to any question we ask her is “Blee, Blah.” Or sometimes there is a variation: “Blee, Blee, Blah, Blah, Blah.” Secret code for I’m stubborn as a mule and I don’t feel like answering that question.

I’ve actually found this technique quite useful myself. For example when Dan asked me what I did with the chicken grease that had partially congealed in the bottom of the crock pot, instead of saying “I dumped it down the drain,” I said “Blee, Blah.”

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I found a quote in Reader’s Digest (one of the many that I filched from the free table at the library…) that I loved so much I ripped it out of the book:

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

What makes it so poignant to me is who said it: Jim Carrey.

I erroneously think that something outside myself, some accomplishment or accolade or new house or a trip to Europe (etc.) will make me feel fulfilled. I get antsy at the life and means that God has given me–as if I’ve received the short end of the stick, or He’s looked at me, sniffed, then decided to give the cool stuff to more interesting people.

How is that Jim Carrey, who may or may not have a relationship with the Living God, knows this, while I, who have known God lo these many years, still paddle around in the quagmire of discontent and comparison?

I used to tell  people that by accepting Jesus as Savior, that hole in their heart would finally be filled.  You know, the God-shaped vacuum and all that. But here I am, a Believer, and I see in my own life that Jesus hasn’t done what I said he was supposed to do. My hole is still there. And He hasn’t magically come in and filled the space. It’s rather disappointing, actually.

But here is what I think I’ve been missing: the fact that God has given us the gift of choosing Him. Not just once for salvation, and then it is over and done with. But a daily choosing. An every-moment kind of choosing. A decision that I can make to a) compare myself to the rest of the world, and believe the lie that this or that will make me happy; or b) decide to trust in the Big Plan of God and see everything that I have or that I am or that I have experienced is exactly right, because the God of the Universe knows me intimately and loves me and wants the very best for me.

I still believe that Jesus is the answer. But the means in which He works that fulfilment into me is more like the process of making bread (all the kneading and rising and time and waiting and then punching it down and kneading some more…)–and way less like putting a quarter into a gumball machine and out pops instant happiness.

I’m just so thankful for the patience of God–who hears my ungrateful complaining, sees my childish behavior, and yet still, quietly, leads me back to His bigger truth. He reminds me again of His grace, and shows me His love.

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