Monday, December 28, 2009

The Big Visit

Once or twice a year my dad comes to Tennessee to visit my sister and me, and our families. We used to go see him twice a year, as children, but now he comes here.

I remember when we were little, and we knew we were leaving the next day to visit him, that we couldn't sleep because we were so excited.

Well, things haven't changed much over time. Whenever he is coming, we get all excited and the preparations begin.

Projects that we have been putting off seem suddenly imperative to finish. Houses are deep cleaned. Menus are prepared. Itineraries are formed. We don't want to waste a minute of the precious time he is here to visit.

So today, while I was painting the inside of my kitchen cabinet a lovely shade of chocolate, (my imperative project du jour) it suddenly struck me.

What am I doing to prepare for the inevitable coming of Jesus?

Am I like the five brides who trim their lamps and fill them with oil?

Or am I like the other five brides who squander the time away, waiting until the last minute to take care of business, until the bridegroom comes and they aren't ready?

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried , they all slumbered and slept . 6 And at midnight there was a cry made , Behold , the bridegroom cometh ; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose , and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out . 9 But the wise answered , saying , Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell , and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy , the bridegroom came ; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut . 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying , Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said , Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh .


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wallpapergate: The Cover-up

I have a goal in mind, but I don't know how realistic it is. I have already bumped a large part of the plan until after Dad's visit.
I'm getting a new kitchen for Christmas.
Well, I'm not getting new appliances, countertops, a sink, or cabinets, but I am getting a new floor and paint on the walls and existing cabinets. Plus I got new hardware for the cabinets.
I was going to try to have it all finished by next weekend, but I've been working part time with my Mom, who flips houses. I have been painting gallons upon gallons.
Now it's time to tackle my own home.
Yay me!
So I am removing the old wallpaper, which is hideous, of course. When I have it all off, I will paint the cabinets, then the walls. I wanted to have the floor down, but that's a bit ambitious, even for me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Impending Doom of Retirement

You know that grass over there on the other side of the fence?
The pretty, green, plush, wind-blown grass?

I hear it all the time. "My husband just comes home from work and camps out in front of the TV every night and weekend. If only he would get up and help around the house. Why do I have to do everything around here!!!"

Well, as one of those wives whose husband gets off his rear end and helps out, it ain't all it's cracked up to be. Suddenly there's another person under my feet, who actually is doing things. When I ask for something to be done, it actually gets done. Rooms are magically clean without me lifting a finger in them, but then he wants to take a picture of the room and hang it up, so we all have a visual of what we may aspire to, if we so wished. It appears that his college courses in efficiency and process management just may trickle into our home, so I have to think of something clever.

Honey, could you please just run out an pick me up a few things?

Nah, I'm thankful for the help. He's even assisting with the candy making.

And when I came home last night from work, the carport and the shop were neat and tidy.

I can't wait until he's home all the time!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Good times

Hailey is getting out the ingredients.
Tonight it begins.
The Great Cookie Bake '09.
Actually, there will be cookies and candies, but who's judging? We're making pineapple cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies (with peanut butter this time), mounds bars, peppermint patties, orange creams, strawberry creams, coconut creams, fudge, peppermint fudge, and gumdrop fudge.
Two of my nieces will be joining the fun in the morning.
Memories will be made.
Sugar comas will be induced.
Bring it on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Clever Disguise

I don't think anyone will ever guess my secret. Of course, now I am revealing it, but if I weren't revealing it, no one would ever guess it, that's for sure!
I'm sure we all have them: those tiny details about ourselves which we hide under clothing, make-up, the cover of night, etc.

No one would ever know by looking at me that I have red blotchy skin, which I cleverly cover with fabulous foundation.

No one would ever know that I am a closet control freak, but I panic under pressure to run the show.

No one would guess that I am feeding my family a vegetable tonight for dinner which is brilliantly masquerading as a pasta.

At least I hope they don't!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Frantic furballs fearlessly face fourteen fuzzy foragers

As of right now, there are no less than fourteen squirrels creeping about my back lawn, doing whatever it is that squirrels do this time of year.

I have two very indignant Yorkies who feel it is their obligation to run these tiny furry beasts off.

I had to call them in and close the doggie door, so they would stop barking and ruining my relationship with the neighborhood.

This did NOT stop the barking.

Pass the cotton balls, please.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Unexpected blessings

It was shaping up to be a pretty crappy day, and I was really bummed. Nobody should have a yucky Thanksgiving Day.

Nothing terrible or tragic, mind you, just that dinner was moved to Saturday, and that meant Thursday would just be another day.

So, at the suggestion of my sister, I made a big breakfast, planned to put up the Christmas tree, and then go see a movie in the afternoon. But, then I decided to buy a new tree the next day, so after the decorations came down from the attic, we were left trying to figure out what to do for the next few hours.

Then it happened.

The phone rang.

It was the family we adopted where we used to live. You know, the one two doors down...

"Dinner's at 5. You're coming over, right?"

No expectation to bring anything, although we brought a pie and some drinks...

We went after the movie.

I can't ever remember a family gathering that I enjoyed more. Sitting around, laughing together, talking, taking pictures, laughing some more, seeing my husband fit in like one of the kids, just having a good time...

I'm so thankful!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life lessons

From the gas station:

The sign says NO SMOKING! We can see and smell the smoke wafting from your palm where you nestle a cigarette inside your curled fingers. And we DON'T WANT TO DIE IN A GASOLINE FIRE because you refused to obey the rules.

If you had to wait in line before you even got to the pump, and the line continues to pile up behind you, HANG UP YOUR PHONE WHEN YOU ACTUALLY GET TO THE PUMP. We don't really want to continue waiting in line for you to even BEGIN to pump gas!

From the lawn mower:

Sometimes God does something to get your attention just to say, "You don't belong here! Go someplace else!" It would be wise to listen. And during the instructions, if the message comes in the form of a rock hurled at your leg at mach 1, don't scream. Just turn around quickly and exit. Be thankful it wasn't your child that was hit. Or your face.



They're not exactly from outer space, but we definitely have visitors.
And not the invited kind, either.
Although I am intrigued by them when they visit my husband's workshop, I am NOT, I repeat NOT as casual about when they visit MY workshop. As in kitchen, folks.
Yesterday we found, er, evidence of their presence in the silverware drawers.
I didn't waste any time picking up some wack-em-dead traps. As my sister recently discovered, it is much more humane, and even a little satisfying, to kill them quickly instead of torturing the little boogers. They like peanut butter, so it makes a great bait.
I got home, set the traps carefully in drawers I knew they had recently visited, and before I was even in bed, I had caught two.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Passing seasons

Sometimes God has a really great sense of humor.
And timing.
Sometimes He strikes a longing in your heart that can't be naturally filled.
Just so you'll go looking for a supernatural filling.

It makes me wonder what He's trying to say to me.

Once upon a time we decided what would be best for our family, and made decisions that impacted the rest of our lives. We believed that we were doing the right thing. We have believed it for years. Suddenly and recently I'm not so sure. Suddenly and recently, I wish we had chosen differently. But what's done is done, right?

But that doesn't stop the longing. Knowing that it's too late doesn't stop me from praying for a miracle.

Meanwhile, He has been reminding me that there is a season for everything. So what season am I enjoying today?

I am teaching a fourth and a sixth grader.

I am struggling with a pre-teen daughter who is feeling unexpected bouts of moody rage.

I am studying about purity, in preparation for teaching my budding pre-teens God's plan for their lives.

I am being reminded to fall on my face before the Lord when I don't know what to do.

I am spending time praying for friends and family in their daily stuff.

I am learning to be thankful for this season, and not long for one that may be in the past for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Are we there yet?

What is it these days with the propoganda all over TV? I can barely watch anything anymore without homosexuality being thrown in my face. It seems like I get into a show and then they introduce a lesbian couple.
But I just realized that it isn't any different than any other sexual immorality to God.
This must be what our parents felt like as television was taken over with "free love."
We have been so inundated with sexual images that we aren't shocked anymore. At this rate, my kids will be as used to seeing homosexuality as I am used to seeing every other kind of immorality.
Time to chuck the TV, move to the mountains, and start the llama herd.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Let me just brag for a minute on my darling daughter, will you?
She's not a great test taker.
There have been many pre-test meltdowns in our classroom.
Today was not any different.
But she wants something from me, so she stifled it, for once.
And she scored a 99%!!!

Now I will brag on myself momentarily.
Caleb's grandmother signed him up in the Lego Brickmaster Club early this year.
He watches the mailbox like a hawk, because he gets packages every other month.
He hasn't received one in quite some time.
I emailed them yesterday to ask what was up, and this morning they apologized, fixed his messed up membership, shipped the mailings he has missed, and extended his membership for
Five extra mailings!!! (That's ten extra months!!)


Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009


Where can you go to eyeball an emu?

Where can you gaze at a zebra?

Where can you speak to a spider monkey?

Where can you observe an ostrich?

Where can you consort with a camel?

Where can you gratify a giraffe's appetite?

Where can you wander with wildebeests?

Where can you be dazzled by deer?

Where can you look at a llama?

Why, Tennessee Safari Park, of course!


Monday, October 5, 2009

You may call me Nancy Drew

Kroger or Wal-Mart?
I couldn't decide which one to visit for a little alone time after a particularly grumpy day. I approached the stop sign where I needed to decide to turn or go straight, depending upon the destination. I crept up slowly behind the trailer-pulling pick up truck already sitting at the intersection.
"What is that odd shape on the trailer?" I wondered.
That's when I recognized it. It was a piece of playground equipment like some I had seen before. There was another large piece in the back of the truck, as well as two volley ball net poles on the trailer.
"What if that isn't just like the school's waiting-to-be-installed playground equipment."
"What if it IS the school's waiting-to-be-installed playground equipment."
The truck turned the direction toward Wal-Mart, so my dilemma was solved. I needed to know if my spidey sense was correct. I kept behind the truck until it came to a traffic light in town, prepared to snap a photo with my handy-dandy camera phone, when I saw it clearly by the glow of a street light. In bold black letters on the belly of the moulded plastic hippo was the name of the school. My suspicions were confirmed.
"Why is playground equipment being moved at 8:00 at night?"
So I called hubby and had him notify the police.
But somehow, giving them the make, model and tag number of the truck didn't seem like enough. I decided to follow the truck to see where it went.
So I did.
But when it turned down a dark, one-way country lane with nowhere to turn around, I decided my adventure was over. I went back into town to report the wherabouts of the truck to the police.
I hope I have helped the school in a possible recovery of their equipment. I hope that I didn't misinterpret what I saw. I hope no one comes to snuff out the witness.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Great Scott!

The hot tub has pooped out on us for the time being. Seems that you actually have to take care of these things once in a while. Okay, so it's the pump motor, and I can't really do anything to it, so upkeep on it isn't my spiritual gift. I just have to make sure the water's not nasty, and it's warm when it's needed.
Thankfully, I have a pretty handy hubby, and he took it apart to see what was up. Apparently there's a part in it that fires up like the starter on a florescent light bulb that makes the light turn on. It's called the capacitor.


Our flux capacitor is fried.

I don't think a giant bolt of lightning would be a great idea to power up the hot tub.

Do you?


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Autumn breeze

Oh, the sounds of living in the woods! It has been so beautiful this week that I have left the windows open, morning and night. I LOVE living in the forest! The birds, the trees, the crickets, the frogs, the barking neighbor's dogs..... Okay, so not-so-much loving the barking dogs.
I found some gorgeous mums at the local nursery to plant in the concrete planters that I was given. I don't have a green thumb AT ALL, but you just can't go wrong on a good mum. I think I'm gonna go get a couple more today and plant them in the brick pillars out front.
The smell of burning leaves wafts through the house occasionally. Fresh, clean air is filling every corner, and the coolness has me wearing fuzzy slippers again.
Oh, fall! Beautiful autumn that changes leaves from monochromatic to an artist's palette! Only God could have created such a wonderful season!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hello again

Yes, I know.
I have been gone for a while. It's hard to find time to blog when I'm busy facebooking, exercising, counting calories, facebooking, teaching, swim practice driving, etc.
Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be reading Shawn's current textbook.
Oh, and planning our vacation to Disney in a few months. This time we let the kids in on the plans. I just bought Hailey a Tinkerbell costume off eBay that she can wear while we're there. Yes, she still likes to play dress up. I'm going to try to snag her another Giselle wedding dress tomorrow. She absolutely loved the one she just outgrew. In fact, I've had to tell her she can't wear it anymore.
We are planning to camp at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort. We love camping, and wish we could go more often than we have recently. So I'm really looking forward to it. The dogs even get to go!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I don't know why he picked that day to bother me, but I was sick up to "here" with door-to-door solicitation, and I was having none of it.
"Hi, My name is (insert forgotten name, because I didn't really give a flip at the moment), and I'm selling meat."
"I'm not interested. Please leave."
"Don't you like great steaks?"
"No, we don't eat red meat. Good-bye."
(totally a lie, and I'm going to roast in hell for it)
"What about chicken? I have a great deal on chicken that I'm sure you will enjoy."
"I'm really not interested, now please go away."
Sounding a little desperate, now, "You mean you don't like good deals?"
"No, I despise good deals, and I'm not interested in the least in what you have to offer. Now really, I'm going inside, and you need to go."
**As I turn to go inside, the passenger in the mini-van hops out, and I assume he is going to try to convince me. I throw up my hand in a "stop" motion, effectively halting him in his tracks**
"I was just wondering if (insert another forgotten, incorrect name) still lives over there." **indicating my next door neighbor, who I happen to know has lived there since the neighborhood has been built
"I have no idea." **I go inside, and they finally leave.

Cut to last night, when I saw a news clip of a woman who had been scammed by a door-to-door meat salesman. They showed his picture.

I knew it!!!


Monday, September 7, 2009


I knew I shouldn't do it. Shawn even questioned my decision. But I let both of our Yorkies outside in the front with me while I pulled weeds out of the flower bed. I was keeping an eye on them (mostly).

They were running around chasing butterflies and hummingbirds and having a jolly time. But after a while, I got distracted and didn't notice that Zaccheus was no longer near me.

I looked up just in time to see Cricket jump to full alert and run around the house. That's when I registered what I was hearing. I could hear a small dog screaming for it's life, and Zacchie was no where to be seen.

By the time I got around to the back, my husband was in a full out run towards the heart-stopping sound. Then the sound stopped. The silence was worse that the screaming, because then we couldn't find where it had come from, and Zacchie didn't answer when we called. Not even a jingle of his collar.

Frantic now, Shawn jumped the fence into the neighbor's wooded back yard, and went around calling his name, begging him to answer.

No sound.

I ran around the back of their fence all the way around the block to check the next couple of neighbors away. They have many big dogs, and I just knew that if Zaccheus had gotten close enough to their teeth, they would have pulled him into the fence and eaten him alive.

Still no sign of him.

Crying now, and desperate to hear his voice, even if it was a wimper, I stopped to listen carefully. Cricket had come with me, and she gave no sign of recognition.

I walked the rest of the way home, occasionally calling out his name. By the time I got back round to our house, I knew it. Zacchie was gone. To neighbor dogs or a passing hawk, I didn't know, but gone just the same.

Cricket was waiting by the door for me to let her in, panting, and in need of a drink. I opened the door and was met by a beautiful sight.


Safe and sound, waiting for me to play with him.


Sunday, September 6, 2009


Once upon a time a young girl went camping with her parents, and while they were camping, they journeyed to a beautiful spring with an old fashioned mill. While the girl was enjoying the sight of this mill from the shade of a giant tree, her mother suggested that it would be the perfect place to get the first kiss from that perfect "someone."

The girl tucked that information away in her heart to think about at a later time.

By and by, the girl began taking night classes at the local community college, and there she met a nice boy who, by chance, was taking some of the same classes.

They attended a school function, where they realized they each enjoyed the company of the other. They began studying together, and the boy even went to church with the girl.

Somewhere along the way, the girl shared the story about the beautiful mill, and her mother's suggestion, and the boy tucked that information away into his heart to think about at a later time, for himself.

Days grew to weeks, which became months, and the boy and girl realized that their love for each other was great enough to consider marriage.

The boy had a great adventure planned for himself and the girl he loved. He had never forgotten the story he had heard from her about the beautiful mill and her mother's suggestion.

He took her there one day. They had a picnic right under the tree near the spring, in view of the old mill. And then, with purpose and determination, he leaned in and kissed the girl he loved so much.

Many years, marriage, cats, dogs, fish, and two children later, the boy, now grown into a man, took his love back to the mill. The tree was still there. The spring was still flowing with cold, clear water. The children recognized the mill from a painting of it that hangs over their fireplace.

He kissed her once more under the shadow of the tree. And she knew her mother was still right, even after all these years.

It was still the perfect place to be kissed by that perfect someone.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Adventures in Crockpot-Land

I'm not what you'd call adventurous in the food department. I know what I like wherever I go, and I usually order the same thing. The only way I'll get something different is if YOU order it, I try it, and I like it enough to remember to get it the next time.
While I was in Iowa, my cousin's wife cooked up some enchiladas that I bravely tried. They were very, very good. In fact, they were so good, I friended her on facebook to request the recipe. It took her a while to get back to me with it, and after getting a bit impatient, I found a recipe online for crockpot enchilada casserole that sounded do-able. Since I was really wanting to try it, I stopped at the grocery store for just what I needed. Ground turkey substituted for the ground beef, a can of Rotel tomatoes and chilis substituted for the can of green chilis, everything else was fine. I made up the mixture, layered it as directed, turned on the crockpot, and anticipated a wonderful dinner for the evening.
Meanwhile, as the crockpot simmered, I baby-sat a very good friend's four children, and enjoyed an adventurous day, filled with running through the neighbor's sprinkler without permission, disposing of a dead racoon, cleaning up vomit from the little one who started running a pretty high fever while I had no children's Tylenol to give.
Yep, fun was had by all. At least we had donut holes for breakfast.
Then, after all the excitement died down, I took Hailey to swim practice, where she didn't fail to impress me with her stamina and determination. (Proud momma here!)
I was still very much looking forward to a wonderful meal when I got back home.
After swim team, I hopped over to the in-law's rental place, where Shawn was mowing the grass, so it was almost 8:00 by the time I got home for dinner.
I lifted the lid from the pot, and saw that it was actually beyond done. It didn't look very good, but it smelled okay. I fixed Hailey and myself a portion, trying not to think about how it looked a little like the mess I'd cleaned up after my little friend.
And then I managed to get down a bowl of it, all while trying not to think of how the texture felt like the mess I'd cleaned up after my little friend.
And now it sits heavily in my stomach, and it makes me feel like I could make a mess very much like the one I cleaned up after my little friend.
I don't think I'll be making THAT again.
Fortunately, my cousin-in-law emailed me her recipe today.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lego Obi Wan Kenobi cake

I made Caleb a cake for his birthday party.

I posted this on facebook already, so you may have seen it.

Before I made it, I mentioned that I was going to go jedi on a cake and try to make lego Obi Wan Kenobi.

There were a couple "May the force be with you" comments, but my friend Jeff quoted Yoda. "Do or do not. There is no try."
Be amazed. Be very amazed.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Diane = pumpkin

Last night I went to our homeschool meeting without my sister.
It was really hard not being together. We have been on this journey for the past four years, and we've both been each other's side-kick in the dynamic of our group.
She meets needs that I sometimes don't even really articulate, like finding us seats where I won't be in the middle and feel claustrophobic. It's not like I can't find my own seat, but it's really nice not to have to explain that, "no, I can't sit next to you because then I will be smooshed for the entire evening because I'm really self-conscious of the fact that I'm large and take up more space than I should, but thanks for asking." (I have a thing about sitting on the end of the row, because of that.)
It feels like I'm setting out on this journey of homeschooling all over again. So now I have to figure out how I fit into the group without my fellow groupie. Due to the fact that I'm really cutting back on my extra stuff since Shawn is back in school, I have resigned from the group board, and am unsure of my place anymore. Chris and I did all the volunteer things together. We organized the year end event and brought the snacks to the October meeting. We were both on the board together...
But I dragged my sad hiney to the meeting last night anyway. And by the time I left, I knew where I would be serving. I will be helping a dear friend with the girls cooking club. I'm really glad I get to work with her, because I love her, and she is fun to be with. She's about the only one to be able to get away with saying to me what she said last night, in front of a room full of people and have it not hurt my feelings.
"I would LOVE to have you work with me in the cooking club! Did you know you look like a pumpkin?"
( I was wearing a rather bright orange shirt with a bright green tank layered under it.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Double digits

It doesn't seem like it has been ten years, but it has.
Ten years and eight months ago, I was lying on the bathroom floor bawling because I was going to have another baby. These were not happy tears. Oh, no! These were panic tears. Hailey was only six months old, at the time, and she was.... high maintinence. I thought God must have been out of his ever lovin' mind, because if a positive pregnancy test was his idea of a joke, then I clearly didn't get the punch line.

I was scared.

Three and a half weeks later, I had a change of heart in the form of cramps and bleeding. I knew I was miscarrying, since miscarriage rates run high in my family. But when I saw his tiny heart beating on that ultrasound that day, I decided I wanted this child. I still had a bad attitude about the timing, but I didn't want to lose him. By then, I had decided that he was a boy, and settled on his name. (good thing he wasn't a girl! I don't know any female Calebs.)

The rest of the pregnancy went smoothly. Mostly, I was busy with my baby girl, and the time flew.

At my last doctor's appointment, when he scheduled me to be induced the next Tuesday, I didn't pay any attention to the date. I was just so over being pregnant. But later, when I called my sister to tell her, I realized that my son would be born on her son's tenth birthday.

Ten years ago today, I went to the hospital and met my son. It wasn't until I saw his face that I fell in love with him.

He is my delight. He is my heart. He is a pain in the hiney, and I will never be the same.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The reason I think your job is stupid is because...

I would NEVER say anything like that to someone!
I would never say to a sanitation worker, "The only problem I have with garbage collection is that you stink at the end of the day."
I would never say to a banker, "The only problem I have with banking is that you have to lock all that lovely money back in the vault at the end of the day, and can't take any of it home."
I would never say to a postmaster, "The only problem I have with sorting mail is that you have to remember all the zip codes."
I would never say to the cashier at Wal-Mart, "The only problem I have with checking out people is having to stand here and interact politely to people you don't know, who might even be rude to you."
WHY would people feel the need to say, as soon as they hear you mention that you homeschool, "The only problem I have with homeschooling is ________?"
Everyone has their own opinion of homeschooling. Folks who don't personally know homeschooling families even have their opinion. It's all based on what they suppose homeschoolers do with their school time. What? Do they think we don't actually HAVE school? Do they think we hole up here in our quiet country home, never go anywhere except church, never interact with non-homeschoolers, and become completely socially inept? I'd put my children up against your average fourth and sixth graders any day of the week. Are they perfect? Heavens no! Are they always obedient? Uh, again, no. Do they sometimes drive me crazy? If today was any indication, heck, yeah! But for the most part, they are polite, well-mannered, pleasant children.
I would never, ever presume to tell any parent that I have a problem with them sending their children to public or private school. Every family should do what works for their own family, and not act like it's a personal affront if someone does differently.
Okay, done with my rant for the day.
Carry on.