Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's a ......???



A group of first graders decided that for this year's pageant they would produce their very own Christmas program. They produced their own updated nativity story. All the major characters were there...Joseph, the shepherds, the angels, the wise men from afar...but where was Mary?

Shortly after the production began, there was heard some moaning and groaning coming from behind the bales of straw...Mary was in labor!

A first grader doctor with a white coat and black bag was ushered onto the stage and then disappeared with Joseph behind the bales of straw. After a few moments, the doctor emerged from behind the bales of straw with a jubilant smile on his face and holding a baby in his arms. With great drama in his presence, he solemnly announced in a loud voice, to the audience: "It's a GOD!"

Who says kids don't get the true meaning of Christmas???

Story taken from Mini Moments for Christmas by Robert Strand Copyright 1996

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Invisible Mom

A friend e-mailed the following to me. Thanks, Melissa...this is great!

Invisible Mother.....



It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone (or even on the toilet) and ask to be taken somewhere.
Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm busy?' Obviously, not.
No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible. The invisible Mom . Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a taxi to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone! One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England .
Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.
I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .
I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work.
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.







A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.
It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.
It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4:00 in the morning and bakes homemade pies. Then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.
And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Great Job, MOM!






Hope this encourages you when the going gets tough as it sometimes does. We never know what our finished products will turn out to be because of our perseverance.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

For My Dear Friend Linda


In Nathan's memory...may God continue to heal the pain, dear friend.

PRAISE YOU IN THIS STORM (performed by Casting Crowns)

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as You mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will life my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Saturday, October 11, 2008

MUST-SEE MOVIE!

fireproofbanner

To view the trailer, click here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Found on the Internet

While perusing websites that show how to type business letters (honing up on skills for my new job!), I found this on www.write101.com/W.Tips35.htm.

Enjoy! (True or not, it's humorous!)
______________________
Smithsonian Institute
The story behind the letter below is that there is an eccentric in Newport, Rhode Island named Scott Williams, who digs things out of his backyard and sends them to the Smithsonian Institute, labelling them with scientific names and insisting that they are actual archaeological finds.

Here's what is purported to be the actual response from the Smithsonian Institution. Bear this in mind next time you think you are challenged in your duty to respond to a difficult situation in writing.
*******************************
Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078

Dear Mr. Williams:

Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labelled "93211-D,layer seven, next to the clothesline post...Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago. Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll,of the variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be "Malibu Barbie."

It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen, which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:

1. The material is moulded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilised bone.

2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimetres, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-homonids.

3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.

This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it.Without going into too much detail, let us say that:

A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.

B. Clams don't have teeth.

It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results.

Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name Australopithecus spiff-arino. Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be Latin.

However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly.

You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your Newport back yard.

We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ionsin a structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.

Yours in Science,
Harvey Rowe, Chief Curator-Antiquities

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School


The boys are off to another year of school...wow. Isn't this supposed to get easier??? We home schooled for 5 years, before deciding to put them into our parish school last year. That was tough, but I survived. I thought it would be a breeze to let them go this year, having gone through this adjustment a year ago. How wrong I was! I'm fighting tears today, friends!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Love That Corn-on-the-Cob!

A new pic of the great nephew to share!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In My Yard

We saw one of these a couple of days ago...

That's a groundhog...or woodchuck, if you prefer. He was just out in the backyard have a late morning snack!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Maxine Says: Color Is Good!


Yesterday I went to the doctor for my yearly physical.
My blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was high,
I'd gained some weight, and I didn't feel so hot.
My doctor said eating right doesn't have to be complicated
and it would solve my physical problems.
He said just think in colors.
Fill your plate with bright colors. greens, yellows, reds, etc.
I went right home and ate an entire bowl of:


And sure enough, I felt better immediately.
I never knew eating right could be so easy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Four Worms and a Lesson







A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.

Four worms were placed into four separate jars.
The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.
The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.
The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup .
The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.
At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:

The first worm in alcohol - Dead.

The second worm in cigarette smoke - Dead

Third worm in chocolate syrup - Dead

Fourth worm in good clean soil - Alive.

So the Minister asked the congregation -
What can you learn from this demonstration?

Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said,

'As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!'
That pretty much ended the service --
********************************
An interesting theory, anyway! :o)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Chapman Family Tragedy


This article is from Christianity Today's website. Let us all join in prayer for this family.

STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN LOSES YOUNGEST DAUGHTER IN DRIVEWAY ACCIDENT
by Anne Thomas, Friday, May 23, 2008

Christians the world over have been expressing their sympathy for Grammy Award-winning singer Steven Curtis Chapman after his 5-year-old daughter was killed in an accident on the family’s driveway on Wednesday.

Maria Sue Chapman was the youngest of three Chinese girls adopted by Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, after a visit to China awoke in them a deep love for the country and its people. She was hit by a car driven by one of her brothers on the driveway of the family home in Franklin Tennessee in what local authorities have described as a “tragic accident”.

The Chapmans have three biological children, two teenage sons Will Franklin and Caleb, and 21-year-old daughter Emily.

Brian DeVos, manager of Michigan operations for Bethany Christian Services and a family friend of the Chapmans, was quoted by Michigan News as saying, "They are loving and wonderful parents and a great family - they must be devastated. He's (Steven Curtis Chapman) been such an advocate for adoption - I know their commitment to kids."

Chapman and his wife have helped families adopt children through their charity Shaohannah’s Hope.

Chapman’s manager, Jim Houser, wrote in a message on the Shaohannah’s Hope website, “Your prayers are needed for all in the Chapman family. This is a family who has so generously loved and given to so many.

“Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman's completion of high school.

“Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago.

“These words are unthinkable to type. And yet we trust in a God who was not surprised by this and because of Jesus I am certain through faith in Him we will see Maria again.”

Local Christian music radio station WJQK-FM said it had opened up its phone lines and that people were calling in to pray on air for Maria and the family.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Everyday Remedies


I get some really interesting things in my e-mail inbox. This was a gem!


1. AVOID CUTTING YOURSELF WHEN SLICING VEGETABLES BY GETTING SOMEONEELSE TO HOLD THE VEGETABLES WHILE YOU CHOP.


2. AVOID ARGUMENTS WITH THE FEMALES ABOUT LIFTING THE TOILET SEAT BY USING THE SINK. (Okay, so that one was a bit gross! No...a LOT gross!)


3. FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE SUFFERERS ~ SIMPLY CUT YOURSELF AND BLEED FOR A FEW MINUTES, THUS REDUCING THE PRESSURE ON YOUR VEINS. REMEMBER TO USE A TIMER.


4. A MOUSE TRAP PLACED ON TOP OF YOUR ALARM CLOCK WILL PREVENT YOU FROM ROLLING OVER AND GOING BACK TO SLEEP AFTER YOU HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON.


5. IF YOU HAVE A BAD COUGH, TAKE A LARGE DOSE OF LAXATIVES. THEN YOU'LL BE AFRAID TO COUGH.


6. YOU ONLY NEED TWO TOOLS IN LIFE - WD-40 AND DUCT TAPE. IF IT DOESN'T MOVE AND SHOULD, USE THE WD-40. IF IT SHOULDN'T MOVE AND DOES, USE THE DUCT TAPE.


7. IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.


DAILY THOUGHT: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES - NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS. (Wow! That's mean!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Via My E-Mail...


The New Survivor Series???


Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.


Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.


There is no fast food.


Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money.


In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.


Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time.


Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.


He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.


He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.


Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.


The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.


The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.


During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.


They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.


They will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.


A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.


The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.


If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right To be called Mother!


After you get done laughing, link this to as many females as you think will get a kick out of it and as many men as you think can handle it.


Just don't send it back to me.... I'm going to bed!

________________________


As a post script...please, men, take no offense. I am quite well aware of the fact that there are many tasks that men tackle each and every day, and throughout the year, that I would have no knowledge, strength, or stomach to handle. I am thankful for my husband.


Still, you have to admit, this one was pretty funny, right????

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Have to See It to Believe It

A friend sent me the link to this video clip. The young man featured in the clip has autism, but has a great gift: a photographic memory beyond anything I have ever seen in my life. And artistic skills you will not believe!

Check it out here: The "Camera" Mind

.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From Reader's Digest...

I happened to see this in the April issue of RD the other day. Just had to share it.
________________________

Every new senior class at our school brings with it a new senior prank. Recently, a group of students let three pigs loose inside the school. They were labeled Pig #1, Pig #2, and Pig #4. School officials quickly rounded up the three pigs but spent the rest of the day looking for Pig #3.
~Nicole Nietzel, Franklin, Massachusetts


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Greensburg in the News Again


As the one-year anniversary of the tornado approaches, Greensburg, KS, is once again in the news. The CBS Early Show is broadcasting from there all week long. The focus is mostly on how the town is rebuilding "green" (read: environmentally friendly). In fact, some of the guidelines that have been set down for their funding include requirements for just that.

But in between all the "how to build green" stories are stories of people who are rebuilding their lives. People who are strong and tenacious. Some of those people I've known all my life. If you see the "beautiful people" photos they cycle through, you'll see the face of one woman with dark hair and glasses. I know her as Sister Helwig. She was my Sunday school teacher when I was very young. You see, I grew up on a farm about 15-20 miles from Greensburg.

I shopped at the grocery store that is now a shell. I took piano lessons from two women whose homes were destroyed. (In one photo, I could see through the roof--which no longer existed--to the upstairs bedroom where I took guitar lessons from my piano teacher's daughter. This mother and daughter also happen to be the aunt and cousin of one of my brothers-in-law.) I went to 4-H fairs at the community building that is gone. I frequently walked on Main Street, and I sat through several bake sales and sat on several parade floats on that same street. (Anyone who is familiar with the Memorial Day weekend parade, art festival, etc. can relate!) I attended services and was married in a church building that is now marked only by an empty basement. (The new church building that was built in recent years was also destroyed, but they are rebuilding.)

As I watch the Early Show, I see the faces of school students who are the children and grandchildren of people I've known, well, since I can remember. I see the residents, and recognize familiar faces among them. I attended school in nearby Mullinville, but Greensburg is the hub of the community. It is so strange to see empy lots and rubble in the place of what "once was".

If you'd like to see photos, updates, or find out how you can help, the Early Show website has all that information. Also, my other blog, Thoughts Along the Journey, has links in the sidebar.

Thank you, Early Show, for keeping Greensburg in the news. They are rebuilding, but there's still a lot of work to do...


.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Banana Test



A friend sent this test to me. I thought some of my readers might enjoy the challenge.

There is a very, very tall coconut tree and there are 4 animals,
a Lion, a Chimpanzee, a Giraffe, and a Squirrel, who pass by.


They decide to compete to see who is the fastest to get a banana off the tree. Who do you guess will win?


Your answer will reflect your personality.


So think carefully . . .

Try and answer within 30 seconds

Got your answer?

Now scroll down to see the analysis.


If your answer is:

Lion = you're dull.

Chimpanzee = you're slow.

Giraffe = you're not all there.

Squirrel = you're just hopeless.


A COCONUT TREE DOESN'T HAVE BANANAS!!

Obviously you're stressed and overworked.

You should take some time off and relax!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For All My Home Schooling Friends

A home school mom forwarded this to me. If you click on the title, it's a link to the original blog post. Very cute! Good job, Zak!





The Home School Kids Who Can't Do Anything (To the tune of "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything)
by Zak G.


We are the homeschool kids who can’t do anything
We just stay at home and do our work
And if you ask us to do anything
We’ll just tell you
We can’t do anything.

Well, I can’t pass notes in math class
and I’ve never bought my school lunch
and I’ve never had my homework eaten by the family dog
and I’ve never had a hall pass
and I’ve never owned a locker
and I’ve never had detention after school.


We are the homeschool kids who can’t do anything
We just stay at home and do our work
And if you ask us to do anything
We’ll just tell you
We can’t do anything.

Well, I’ve never been suspended
and I’ve never missed the school bus
and I’ve never got a fat lip from the bully in the hall
and I’ve never seen the school nurse
and I’ve never slapped erasers
and I’ve never had detention after school.


We are the homeschool kids who can’t do anything
We just stay at home and do our work
And if you ask us to do anything
We’ll just tell you
We can’t do anything.

Well, I’ve never changed for P.E.
and I’ve never had a swirlie
and I’ve never had a teacher that I didn’t like at all
and I’ve never had supply lists
and I’ve never answered roll call
and I’ve never had detention after school.


We are the homeschool kids who can’t do anything
We just stay at home and do our work
And if you ask us to do anything
We’ll just tell you
We can’t do anything.

But we’ve often taken field trips
and we go to school in pjs
and we often do our work while sitting on our favorite couch
and we finish school by lunchtime
and we find our books on ebay
and we don’t have any homework after school!

Friday, April 11, 2008

President Bush to Visit Greensburg Again


President Bush will be giving the commencement address at the graduation ceremony in Greensburg, KS, this year. The last time he visited the town was the week following the tornado. To read more about it, see the Hutch News article.

Monday, April 7, 2008

At Last, a New Picture!


Just got this new pic of my favorite great nephew today. (There's another one on my other blog.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Break


Did you know that Cancun is now considered passe'???


The spring break hot spot is now Greensburg, Kansas!


Check it out here.

AFLAC Scam :o)

Watch out for this scam. Police say that the gang usually is comprised of four members, one adult and three younger ones. While the three younger ones, all appearing sweet and innocent, divert their 'mark' (or intended target) with a show of friendliness , the fourth -- the eldest -- sneaks in from behind the person's back to expertly rifle through his or her pockets and purses or bags for any valuables being carried.

The picture below captured on a surveillance camera shows the gang in operation.




Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday




"...He said, 'It is finished'; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

John 19:30b

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Winter Bugs

Sorry I haven't been about much the past few days. Some "bug" has had me down for the count. I'll be back when I get the best of it!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Time Has Arrived!!!

Laura Spradlin, who began "Rebuilding Greensburg--Block by Block" all those months ago, has set the official delivery date of the afghans. To refresh your memory, she contacted me soon after the Greensburg, KS, tornado to let me know of her project to collect afghan squares and make afghans to give to the victims of the tornado. She ended up getting way more than she had ever dreamed or imagined, and from all over the world!

For the official information on the "where" and "when" of it all, see her "Sugar Bunny Boulevard" blog.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ah, Snow Days!


I am enjoying the quiet of my house today. It is peaceful here, with only the occasional buzzing of the dryer to remind me there are tasks to be done. I have a hot cup of tea awaiting me (if I remember to take the mug out of the microwave!). Why such bliss??? I have just survived two snow days!

You may wonder why it is such a big deal, since I used to home school my kids. We were together 24-7 in those days. But I did enjoy my occasional jaunts to Wal-Mart or a quiet space at a bookstore when my husband would let me just get out of the house on my own. Still, it was part of our routine, and it was fine.


Now that my kids have been in school since August, though, I really do notice the difference when they're both home all day. A couple of weeks ago, "Clyde" was sick for the entire week of school. When he went back to school after Presidents' Day, the house seemed almost tomb-like. This week, they were both home on Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the snow accumulations. I loved having them here. But I do have to admit that having the house to myself all day is really a nice thing, too! Especially since they really couldn't go out yesterday, because it was just too cold.

When I thought of sending the kids to school, I thought my entire existence would be about loneliness and too much quiet. Was I wrong! I found that a mom really does need some solitude once in awhile. However, I do admit there are days when I really miss having them here. But when I think about the benefits for them, it all equals out.

Still, I do love the occasional snow day!


___________________________________
By the way, if you want to share a great book about snowflakes and snowflake photography with your kids, check out the book Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. There is also a Snowflake Bentley website.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Let's Chat


I haven't just "chatted" with my readers for awhile. So, pull up a chair and a hot cup of coffee, and we'll get started!

Speaking of coffee...I'm not a big coffee drinker. I like the occasional "cup of joe." I really, really like a good Caramel Machiatto (sp?) at Starbucks. But, alas, I have to have decaf. Caffeine does bad things to my system, and my sleep. My in-laws gave me a new coffee maker for my birthday. My wonderful hubby bought me a chocolate truffle coffee, which I am enjoying immensely. I did find this interesting article on the health benefits on coffee, for those of you who just have to have that first cup of coffee to get your day going.

Last week was a looong week. I know they all have seven days. But last week's seven days felt a bit more like seventeen or more. The week began with Harry's birthday. But then the kids both got sick. A trip to the dr., and we thought we were good to go. Harry actually missed only one day of school. Clyde, on the other hand, just couldn't get rid of the fever. By Thursday, we knew he needed something different. The dr. had to go with a different antibiotic. Finally, on Friday, he was starting to perk up a little. I just hate it when my kids are sick, though. Listening to them cough those horrible, hacking coughs just breaks my heart. I was happy to be able to send them back to school today, knowing they were both feeling much, much better. (They had Presidents' Day off yesterday, too.)

It is cold in our part of the country. Last week, the kids had a day off school because the windchill was -15 to -20, depending on how hard the wind was gusting at the particular moment. We've had more snow over the past couple of weeks, too. It certainly feels like winter! I'm not a big winter person. I think snow is pretty, and I know it's necessary for putting nutrients into the soil, protecting crops, etc. But I sure hate the cold winds. I love spring, summer, and fall. I miss being able to go out and take a walk without losing the feeling in my fingers, toes, nose, ears, etc.!

As I mentioned before, Lent has begun. If any of you have any great ideas for some meatless dishes, please pass them along! We try not to eat too much fish, as we get tired of it rather quickly. Other than that, I just try to find things that taste okay if the meat is omitted. My family is pretty much a "meat and potatoes" crew, so that doesn't help.

I am contemplating trying to make an afghan. I am not good at just sitting and doing handwork. I like to be up and about, getting things done. (Okay, I realize sitting at the computer is an exception to that rule. But crocheting really does bore me. I get too fidgety.) We'll see if I actually follow through. Once the wamer weather starts, I know I won't have any interest in staying inside the house to crochet. I'll want to be out planting flowers, taking a walk, or just enjoying listening to the birds.

Well, I guess that's enough rambling for now. I just thought an original post now and then would be nice, rather than always posting funny/interesting/thought-provoking items I have received via e-mail.

Have a great week!

P.S. Is anyone else having trouble with Blogger's spellcheck? I can't get it to work at all.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Plug for the Diva

Mair, over at Ragamuffin Diva, is going to be doing a book signing in Michigan on February 20, at this bookstore:

Barnes and Noble Booksellers
Fairlane Green
3120 Fairlane Dr.
Allen Park, MI 48101
(313)271-0688

So for any of my readers who are interested, more information can be found at the link above, or you can call the bookstore. If you go, be sure to tell her a big "HI!!!" from Joni!!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I know we've all received these in e-mails. I hadn't read all of them before, though. Worth a good Friday laugh, for sure.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

STORY OF ELIJAH
The Sunday school teacher was carefully explaining the story of Elijah
the Prophet and the false prophets of Baal. She explained how Elijah
built the altar, put wood upon it, cut the steer in pieces, and laid it upon
the altar. And then, Elijah commanded the people of God to fill
four
barrels of water and pour it over the altar He had them do this

four times.

"Now, said the teacher, "can anyone in the class tell me why
the Lord
would have Elijah pour water over the steer on the altar?"


A little girl in the back of the room started waving her hand, "I know!
I know!" she said, "To make the gravy!"

________________________
LOT'S WIFE

The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back
and
turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, "My Mummy
looked back once, while she was driving," he announced triumphantly,
"and she turned into a telephone pole!"

_________________
GOOD SAMARITAN

A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good
Samaritan, in which a man was beaten, robbed and left for dead. She
described the situation in vivid detail so her students would catch the drama.
Then, she asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the
roadside, all
wounded and bleeding, what would you do?"
A thoughtful
little girl broke the hushed silence, "I think I'd throw up."

________________
DID NOAH FISH?

A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think
Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?"
"No," replied David. "How could he, with just two worms?"

________________
HIGHER POWER

A Sunday school teacher said to her children, " We have been
learning
how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times.
But, there is a
higher power. Can anybody tell me what it is?"
One child blurted out,
"Aces!"

____________________
MOSES &THE RED SEA

Nine-year-old Joey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in
Sunday school.
"Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses
behind enemy
lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of
Egypt . When
he got to the
Red Sea , he had his army build a pontoon bridge and
all the people walked across safely. Then, he radioed
headquarters for
reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the
bridge and all the
Israelites were saved."
"Now, Joey, is that really
what your teacher taught you?"
his mother asked.
"Well, no, Mom. But,
if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never
believe it!"

____________________
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class
memorize one of
the most quoted passages in the Bible: Psalm 23.
She gave the
youngsters a month to learn the verse. Little Rick
was excited about
the task -- but, he just couldn't remember the Psalm.
After much
practice, he could barely get past the first line.
On the day that the
kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front
of the congregation,
Ricky was so nervous.

When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly,

"The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know."

___________________
Church Smiles

There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible
to
her brother in another part of the country.
"Is there anything breakable
in here?" asked the postal clerk.
"Only the Ten Commandments," answered
the lady.

_____________________
AMISH BUMPER STICKER

While driving in Pennsylvania , a family caught up to
an Amish
carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously
had a sense of humor,
because attached to the back
of the carriage was a hand-printed sign...


"Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass.
Caution: Do not step
in exhaust.''

____________________
SUNDAY SCHOOL MESSAGE

Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter
what the
lesson was about.
The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get
your quilt."
Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day,
the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that
morning's
Sunday school lesson was about.
He said "Be not afraid, thy Comforter
is coming."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Short Hiatus

Sorry I haven't been around this week. Sick kiddos...

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Nice Cup of Tea



Someone e-mailed this little story to me. Quite cute!

One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me and my brother who is four years older than I am. I was maybe one and a half years old and had just recovered from an accident in which my arm had been broken among other injuries.

Someone had given me a little 'tea set' as a get-well gift and it was one of my favorite toys. Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news and my brother was playing nearby in the living room when I brought Daddy a little cup of 'tea,' which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home.

My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was 'just the cutest thing!' My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I came down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy. She watched him drink it up, then said, 'Did it ever occur to you that the only place that baby can reach to get water is the toilet?'

Saturday, February 9, 2008

What's a Mom to Do?


I'm feeling very old just now. My oldest son, "Harry," is turning 12 tomorrow.

That may not sound so bad to those of you who have teens or grown children. Keep in mind, though, that I had been married for over 6 1/2 years before Harry came along. And now he will be 12. Where does the time go???

Anyway, I love you bunches, son. I am so thankful to God for you. You are an amazing blessing to your dad and me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

To All My Christian Sisters...


A special friend e-mailed this poem to me. Enjoy!
(As an additional note...a reader named Jan let me know that Mayou Angelou did not write the poem I had first posted. It was written by Ms. Wimmer, and some of the lines had been changed. I have re-printed it with the correct words here, and credit is given to the true author! Thanks, Jan!)

WHEN I SAY, "I AM A CHRISTIAN"
When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Some "Fat Tuesday" History

Pictured above is a paczki (pron. "poonch-key"), a wonderful Polish treat often eaten on Fat Tuesday. I had a chocolate mousse filled one this morning, and it was YUMMY! To learn more about paczki, see this website.

Now for a little history:


Mardi Gras, literally "Fat Tuesday," has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the "last hurrah" before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That's why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of streetsweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.



What is less known about Mardi Gras is its relation to the Christmas season, through the ordinary-time interlude known in many Catholic cultures as Carnival. (Ordinary time, in the Christian calendar, refers to the normal "ordering" of time outside of the Advent/Christmas or Lent/Easter seasons.





Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning "farewell to the flesh." Like many Catholic holidays and seasonal celebrations, it likely has its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons. Some believe the festival represented the few days added to the lunar calendar to make it coincide with the solar calendar; since these days were outside the calendar, rules and customs were not obeyed. Others see it as a late-winter celebration designed to welcome the coming spring. As early as the middle of the second century, the Romans observed a Fast of 40 Days, which was preceded by a brief season of feasting, costumes and merrymaking.





The Carnival season kicks off with the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, Three Kings' Day and, in the Eastern churches, Theophany. Epiphany, which falls on January 6, 12 days after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. In cultures that celebrate Carnival, Epiphany kicks off a series of parties leading up to Mardi Gras.



Epiphany is also traditionally when celebrants serve King's Cake, a custom that began in France in the 12th century. Legend has it that the cakes were made in a circle to represent the circular routes that the Wise Men took to find Jesus, in order to confuse King Herod and foil his plans of killing the Christ Child. In the early days, a coin or bean was hidden inside the cake, and whoever found the item was said to have good luck in the coming year. In Louisiana, bakers now put a small baby, representing the Christ Child, in the cake; the recipient is then expected to host the next King Cake party.



There are well-known season-long Carnival celebrations in Europe and Latin America, including Nice, France; Cologne, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The best-known celebration in the U.S. is in New Orleans and the French-Catholic communities of the Gulf Coast. Mardi Gras came to the New World in 1699, when a French explorer arrived at the Mississippi River, about 60 miles south of present day New Orleans. He named the spot Point du Mardi Gras because he knew the holiday was being celebrated in his native country that day.



Eventually the French in New Orleans celebrated Mardi Gras with masked balls and parties, until the Spanish government took over in the mid-1700s and banned the celebrations. The ban continued even after the U.S. government acquired the land but the celebrations resumed in 1827. The official colors of Mardi Gras, with their roots in Catholicism, were chosen 10 years later: purple, a symbol of justice; green, representing faith; and gold, to signify power.



Mardi Gras literally means "Fat Tuesday" in French. The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of Carnival. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from "to shrive," or hear confessions), Pancake Tuesday and fetter Dienstag. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Politics as Usual

I received this in an e-mail, and had to share it! Along that same line, check this out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Must-See Movie


If you're tired of going to "kid friendly" movies, only to find the movie isn't really that "kid friendly"....in the words of Bob the Tomato: "Have we got a show for you!"

I took the kiddos to see the newest Veggie flick yesterday. There are only a limited number of theaters showing it. We had to squeeze in a matinee, and were fortunate to see the last showing of it. What a treat!

There is plenty of pirate action, adventure, damsel in distress, etc. Many life lessons. And, of course, the usual Veggie humor we have all come to know and love.

The best lesson of the movie is that the "king" gives us everything we need for the adventure. The characters never used the word "God" or quoted Scripture. But the message was clear: God gives us all everything we need for this adventure we call life.

Nary an objectionable element. Zilch. Nothing. Nada. All good, clean fun. The pirates even drink root beer! The swashbuckling is tame and silly. The monsters, well, let's just say they aren't always all they appear to be.

Definitely a thumbs-up from this movie goer!

My only regret? Our popcorn was gone before the movie even began!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Quick Monday Note

It is cold, cold, cold in our part of the country! When the windchill is below zero, that is time for me to be inside, for sure. I have a cold, too, so a warm, fuzzy blanket and a cup of hot chocolate are just the ticket!

I wanted to share the latest family news. I'm going to be an aunt again! Our sister-in-law is expecting baby #3 in late August. Hurray!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

No big post here...just congratulating myself on surviving another year! :o)

Check my other blog for today's post.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Indian Winter



IT WAS ALREADY LATE FALL AND THE INDIANS ON A REMOTE RESERVATION IN SOUTH DAKOTA ASKED THEIR NEW CHIEF IF THE COMING WINTER WAS GOING TO BE COLD OR MILD.


SINCE HE WAS A CHIEF IN A MODERN SOCIETY HE HAD NEVER BEEN TAUGHT THE OLD SECRETS. WHEN HE LOOKED AT THE SKY HE COULDN'T TELL WHAT THE WINTER WAS GOING TO BE LIKE. NEVERTHELESS, TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE, HE TOLD HIS TRIBE THAT THE WINTER WAS INDEED GOING TO BE COLD AND THAT THE MEMBERS OF THE VILLAGE SHOULD COLLECT FIREWOOD TO BE PREPARED.


BUT BEING A PRACTICAL LEADER, AFTER SEVERAL DAYS HE GOT AN IDEA. HE WENT TO THE PHONE BOOTH, CALLED THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND ASKED, "IS THE COMING WINTER GOING TO BE COLD?"


"IT LOOKS LIKE THIS WINTER IS GOING TO BE QUITE COLD," THE METEOROLOGIST AT THE WEATHER SERVICE RESPONDED.


SO THE CHIEF WENT BACK TO HIS PEOPLE AND TOLD THEM TO COLLECT EVEN MORE FIREWOOD IN ORDER T O BE PREPARED.


A WEEK LATER HE CALLED THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AGAIN. "DOES IT STILL LOOK LIKE IT IS GOING TO BE A VERY COLD WINTER?"


"YES," THE MAN AT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AGAIN REPLIED, "IT'S GOING TO BE A VERY COLD WINTER."


THE CHIEF AGAIN WENT BACK TO HIS PEOPLE AND ORDERED THEM TO COLLECT EVERY SCRAP OF FIREWOOD THEY COULD FIND.


TWO WEEKS LATER THE CHIEF CALLED THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AGAIN. "ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT THE WINTER IS GOING TO BE VERY COLD?"


"ABSOLUTELY," THE MAN REPLIED. "IT'S LOOKING MORE AND MORE LIKE IT IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE COLDEST WINTERS WE'VE EVER SEEN."


"HOW CAN YOU BE SO SURE?" THE CHIEF ASKED.


THE WEATHERMAN REPLIED, "THE INDIANS ARE COLLECTING FIREWOOD LIKE CRAZY."

Friday, January 4, 2008

Healthy New Year, Part 5


Office Equipment

Office phones typically have more than 25,000 germs per square inch. Your desk, your keyboard, and your mouse aren't that much cleaner. (As she typed on her keyboard and cringed...) Phones, including cell phones, get coated with germs from your mouth and hands.

Ways to reduce the risk:

--Cleaning your desk, phone, and keyboard with a disinfecting wipe once in the middle of the day can rid yourself of 99.99% of the bacteria and viruses.

And one last tip I came up with on my own....

There are times when an individual must sit on a public toilet seat, no matter how much it grosses us out. Carry a small, purse-sized bottled of hand sanitizer in your purse. Place a generous amount of sanitizer on the toilet seat, then wipe it clean with toilet tissue. The alcohol in the sanitizer will kill lots of those "nasties" before you place your derriere in harm's way!

Anyone else have any healthy hints???

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Commercial Break


I'm taking a short break in my "healthy habits" series to let you know about a really cute website. The name of it is, "Being Five." The blogger runs his own little comic strips on it. This is one you can share with your kids, too. Definitely a good one to add as a link.

Check it out here.

Healthy New Year, Part 4


Your handbag

Recent studies found that most women's purses have tens of thousands of bacteria on the bottom. A few handbags were overrun with millions of bacteria. Germs causing eye infections and skin infections were found on women's handbags.

Ways to reduce the risk:

--Instead of slinging your purse on the floor, hang it on a hook whenever possible--especially in public bathrooms.

--Don't place your bag on the kitchen counter. (I would add the dining room table to this, too!)

--Stick with leather or vinyl purses, which are typically cleaner than cloth.

And tomorrow...last (but certainly not least)...office equipment.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Healthy New Year, Part 3


The Bathtub

A recent study found staphylococcus bacteria, a common cause of serious skin infections, in 26% of bathtubs tested, as compared with just 6% of garbage cans. Bathtubs had more than 100,000 bacteria per square inch. You're washing germs and viruses off your body. Since the tub is a fairly moist environment, it's an ideal place for bacteria to grow.

Ways to reduce the risk:

--Once a week, apply a disinfecting cleaner to the tub and actually scrub the tub.

--Then you need to wash the germs down the drain with water and dry the tub with a clean towel. If you leave the tub wet, germs are more likely to survive.

--If someone who has a skin infection uses the tub, scrub it afterward with a solution of 2 tablespoons bleach in one quart of water.

Next installment: Your handbag!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Healthy New Year, Part 2


Second set of health tips...

Wet Laundry

Any time you transfer underwear from the washer to the dryer, you may be getting E. coli on your hands. One dirty undergarment in the washer can spread to the whole load and the machine.

Ways to reduce the risk:

-Run washing machines at 150 degrees (you can check the temperature of your washing machine water with a candy thermometer--before adding the clothes!) and wash whites with bleach (not the color-safe type; it doesn't pack the same punch), which can kill 99.9% of germs.

-Transfer wet laundry to the dryer quickly so germs don't multiply.

-Wash underwear separately (there's about a gram of feces in every pair of dirty underwear) and dry them for a minimum of 45 minutes.

-Wash your hands thoroughly after handling dirty laundry.

Tune in next time for...the bathtub! :o)