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

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.

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

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
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!"


The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back
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!"


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."


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?"


A Sunday school teacher said to her children, " We have been
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,


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!"


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
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.


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 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
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,"
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.