Monday, March 30, 2009

We will be back after this short break

Hi all. I don't want you to think that I have deserted you but I may be a tad scarce on the blogging scene in the next week or so. I am going to have some surgery and may not be feeling up to putting thoughts to internet paper for a few days. We will see how I feel.

Surgery you say!!! Say it isn't the lobotomy your family has been threatening you with, or perhaps a total brain transplant. No, nothing so drastic. I am having some "retooling" you might say. In the interest of trying to be an open book I will even tell you what I am having done and how I am feeling about it.

So Deb, what are you having done?

Well, at the ripe old age of 49 I am having........a hysterectomy. Come on now, be honest, that ISN"T what you thought I was going to say was it. You thought that I was going to tell you that I was going to have a face lift or some other cosmetic procedure. Something more in line with "Dr. 90210". Be honest you know you thought that. Nope, I am having the old "baby bundler" removed and lest you think this is a time for sadness let me tell you that I am rather overjoyed. Now that all the male readers have left the room lets talk.

Having a hysterectomy is somewhat controversial in some circles. Believe me, when I started to do some online research I came across some websites that are hysterical in the negative on the subject. Some lovely online sites, which I will not pass on to you, will tell you that you will not be a "woman" when you are done with this, that it is just one more way for doctor's to make money, that in most every case it is unnecessary or unnatural or un something. After reading through some of that garbage I understand why "hysterectomy" and "hysterical" come from the same root word. Get a grip people! It isn't like I woke up one day, went to the doctor and fell under the evil "Hysterectomy spell". This has been a long time coming, and lest you say, "It is just your doctor influencing you. He just doesn't understand." I might point out that my doctor is a WOMAN and is at least 10 years younger than I am.

I don't want anyone to think that this decision was made lightly, even though I am trying to find the humor in it. No one wakes up one day and says, "Hey, I think I would like to sign up for major abdominal surgery today. I don't have anything else on the schedule!" No, these things are a long time in coming and a fair amount of thinking and praying goes into them, at least it did for me. When those "womanly issues" begin to affect your every day life then it is time to employ modern medicine and science to do something about them.

Most of the time, as the surgery has come ever closer, I have not been nervous about the whole thing. I understand all the different things that are going to happen and what I am going to have to do. I have had a C-section so I have some notion of how this will feel. But I have to say that every once in a while I just get the old panicky feeling. I really don't love general anesthesia, not because I have trouble handling it but because it is just a disorienting feeling to go to sleep so suddenly and wake up so suddenly with that "gap" of time in there. Just strange. But, I know that this is what needs to happen and the Lord walks with me in all these things so the panicky feeling passes.

At any rate, tomorrow my doctor (who I just love) will help me to finally get a handle on some things that have begun to sap my strength and make my daily life a tad difficult. I am grateful for her knowledge, for a wealth of good hospitals and for a country that does not have Nationalized Health Care (at least not yet). I just had to get that in.

I will let you know how things go.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dinner Traditions

What is your "dinner tradition?" That may sound like a funny question to ask but I think that it is a valid one. Do you sit down to dinner as a family every night or almost every night? Do you just eat "catch as catch can" or get fast food? What do you do?

I started thinking about this quite some time ago after hearing several radio commentators talking about recent studies on the family dinner tradition and the effects that it has on our children. That got me thinking, yes I know that is a scary and dangerous thought but sometimes the little grey cells must be taken out and exercised. A study done in 2004 that was published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (if you have trouble sleeping this should help) found that frequent family meals seemed to be associated with a lower risk of drinking, marijuana use and smoking as well as less depressive episodes and thoughts of suicide. And to top it all off these kids seemed to get better grades. Who would have thunk it! Other studies indicate that adolescent girls who eat dinner regularly with their families have less incidents of eating disorders, children have expanded vocabularies and more diverse views of the world at large. Eating as a family seems to increase children's intake of those things that we know are good for them, things like fruits, veggies, grains, dairy. All those dumb things on that food pyramid that you learned about it school but didn't really pay attention to. Also, eating at a table, at home as a family reduces the amount of saturated fats, sugars, salt and soda that kids take in.

It seems funny to me that we have to have studies done (ones that I am sure have been funded by us the over burdened tax payer) to tell us what has always been obvious to me. I have a feeling that a lot of studies are like that, telling us things that we can readily figure out if we use our common sense. At any rate, it has always seemed to me that sitting down at the dinner table with your children is a good thing. It is one of those "d'oh!" kind of things.

We have always made dinner a priority in our family, even before we had children....I am not sure I remember back that far but I know that even when hubby and I were first married we sat down to dinner no matter what time he got home. When our daughters came along we just continued on with this. We sit down to dinner between 6:30p and 6:45p, the girls know this, the hubby knows this, that is how I plan this. It is what it is.

I can't say that sitting down to dinner together has always been an uplifting experience. When they were little it was more about just getting them to eat what was on their plates. I am not a short order cook and if you didn't like what was for dinner your options were 1. eat what was there, 2. go to bed with nothing to eat until the next day. It is funny how much better the meal looks when you know that you have to wait until morning otherwise. When the girls were teenagers it wasn't that they didn't like what was being served, the tension was more because they were......teenagers, and girls to boot. There were plenty of meals where it wasn't so much a dinner as a meeting between warring factions intent upon distruction. Ah good times, blood shed, verbal abuse. Does great things for the appetite.

But now, when we sit down to dinner together it is really a great experience for the most part. When all the girls are home we often linger, chatting and joking (and the occasional yelling). My daughters have strongly held opinions on things and this is the time when we get to know what those opinions are. But this phase of our dinner tradition wouldn't be possible if we hadn't set up the tradition when they were little. Sure it would have been easier to just feed them early and put them to bed rather than waiting for Dan. It would have been easier to manage things when they were in high school and going every which way just to let them eat when they wanted. But we sit down to dinner together and it has made all the difference.

P.S. We ALSO sit down to breakfast every day. We are really a strange, throw back, Leave it to Beaver sort of family. Fear us.

Friday, March 27, 2009

7 quick Takes (Vol 16)

It's Friday, it's Friday! I still have a boat load of things to do today but there is always time for 7 Quick Takes. Remember to click on the picture above to see what everyone else is doing. And now, without further ado or dithering.........

Do you listen to the conversations around you when you are sitting someplace, like say the doctor's office or the hospital. I do and I can tell you I hear some really strange conversations. I was waiting to take some pre-op testing this week and the two people sitting next to me were talking about a third friend who had recently died and how they would like to "go" like this person did. Then there was the comprehensive conversation that I was caught in the middle of in the doctor's office this afternoon. I happen to be sitting between two women who were both enormously pregnant and were discussing due dates (that is normal) and how the one woman was still able to get her feet into her high heeled boots and then they moved on to how they were both on their second marriages and these were the first children of their second husbands and...... well you get the picture. I just sat and knitted and smiled. I didn't think it was the time or place to pipe up in the conversation, "That's really nice! I am having a total hysterectomy on Tuesday." That might be a conversation stopper don't you think.

I am having a hysterectomy on Tuesday. Just thought that I would throw that little tid bit of info out there into the blogosphere. There will be a longer post on this come Monday but I just thought I would share the joy now. Who knew that you could be so excited about major abdominal surgery.

The deer triplets that we have hanging around in our woods have been "kicked out of the nest" by momma. They are two years old and that is about right for this next stage in their lives but they just look so forlorn that I felt bad for them today.....for about 5 seconds. Momma deer must be getting ready to have another litter and the older ones need to be out on their own. We have a ton of deer in our woods, I may have mentioned my dislike for those rats with hooves, but we have one female in particular who seems to have the ability to always have twins or triplets. We have lived in this house for 9 years and in that time I believe she has had at least two sets of triplets and the rest of the time I see her with twin fawns. Is one baby at a time not enough for her? Must she be the "octomom" of the deer world? Sigh.

Does anyone you know "twitter"? OK, I don't want to offend anyone who loves Twitter and getting and following "tweets" but I just have to say this. Most of the time I don't even want to know what I am doing moment by moment so why would anyone else want to know this. Yes, I know that blogging in and of itself is rather narcissistic, I mean really who cares what I think about oh say the AIG bonuses (they should have been PAID those retention bonuses) or what I am doing with my reading time (not reading nearly as much as I would like). But the minute by minute sort of thing that is Twitter is just too much for me. I just don't have the time or energy to think about it. What do you think?

This is currently one of my favorite blogs, Barak Obama's Teleprompter's Blog. I don't know who writes this thing but it really is funny.

I think perhaps I should explain this post from Monday.
Why am I holding this strange and rather awful wall hanging? And why would my mother care that I have found where she hid it and have returned it to her? Well you see......around 10 years ago at one of our family White Elephant gift exchanges this was the gift that was contributed by my Aunt Sue. She had reluctantly brought it back from the Philippines (it being a last minute gift given to them as they were about to get on the plane) and was grateful to be able to pawn it off, I mean give it away to one of us. My Aunt Kathy was the lucky recipient and she decided that instead of actually taking it home she would hide it at my mother's house. Nice. My mother discovered it eventually and decided that she should bring it out to me and hide it in MY house. I eventually found it, after she informed me that I actually had it, and hid it in her house. You see how this nefarious pattern was established. So now she has it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I am going to have to take at least 6 weeks off from any working out at Curves and I am none too happy about it. The doctor says that 6 weeks must be taken off to make sure everything is healed up after the surgery, that is just the way it is. I can walk when I feel up to it which is good but it isn't the workout that I get at Curves. The hubby and I were laughing about this last night because two years ago the thought of me being upset about not being able to work out would just not have been something that came out of my mouth. I didn't work out then, I didn't think it was necessary, I was under the delusion that I wasn't THAT overweight and that I was maintaining. I was VERY wrong.

I have to give credit to my oldest daughter for getting me off my big, fat bahookie and going to Curves. She had joined in NYC and urged me to do the same. Thanks Ashley!! Over the past two years my weight loss hasn't been tremendous, only about 15 pounds, but I have lost inches and gained strength and a desire to work out days a week. I will take it.

By for now. I MAY be here next week depending on how I feel come Friday.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cartoon of the Day

I think this cartoon pretty much says it all. I absolutely love the art of John Cox who used to produce a daily cartoon with Allen Forkum under the name "Cox and Forkum.

Monday, March 23, 2009

So You Thought You Could Hide It!

Hello Mom.......hello Jean......... knocking on the screen. Do you see what I have in my hands?

Clever hiding place my dear mother but not clever enough. It is back where it RIGHTFULLY belongs......with you.


P.S. Thanks for the great time this weekend. We had a blast.

Friday, March 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 15) The Family Addition

Well, here I am again. Where did the time go? Since we have last been together I spent 30 lovely hours in the hospital...but that is for another post. I think today I am inspired to do a "target specific" post, you might like to call it "7 Quick Takes: The Family Addition". Remember to click on the picture above to see what everyone else is doing.

I love my family. Of course, I mean that I love my immediate family, the hubbie and the progeny. But I also love my extended family (both born and in-law but this is just about the family I was born into). We have so much fun together when we are together. This weekend we will ALL be together and with all the kids and spouses and a boyfriend or two I think that makes about 23 of us. We are a raucous crowd.

Our getting together this weekend is two fold (besides the fact that we just all like a party!).
We are getting together to celebrate Grandma Amsler's 97th birthday. Yes, you read that correctly. On March 26th Grandma will hit 97 years of age. If not for Grandma then there would not be any of the rest of us so I think that is cause to celebrate don't you? Grandma is the greatest.

Our other reason for getting together is the annual "White Elephant Gift Exchange" or you might call it the annual "Moving of junk from one family member to another" party. You never know what lovely and utterly unuseful thing you might get.
One year the favorite gift was a set of pink flamingoes. Those were actually rather popular and were stolen numerous times. My cousin Tim was desolate when his brother Jon stole them from him. Of course, Jon's wife Kathy was overjoyed when my daughter Ashley stole them from Jon. Who knows where they are now. The real trick is to not come back to Ohio with anything that we might have gotten from the gift exchange.

I am looking forward to meeting my cousin Doug's new wife Dana. Loads of the family went to the wedding but I was unable to attend. This should be fun.

Several years ago my brother and I, along with our spouses, decided that we just didn't need any more "stuff" and that from that point on we would not be giving gifts to each other or to our respective children (who also had too much stuff).
We make a concerted effort to spend time with each other, which in the end is the best gift that we can give to each other. So, I will chat with my brother and my sis-in-law. And that will be wonderful.

Laughter is always the best medicine and this will be a party with a ton of laughter. We are a family that likes to laugh and a lot of us have what you might call "non-dainty" laughter. We just let loose and it really feels good. My Aunt Kathy has a laugh that just takes over her entire body. It is great.

I love spending time with my mom and dad who are awesome! They will host the party, my mom will do all the prep work we will reap the benefits.
So from our family to yours, spend some time together, laugh together, have a little food and perhaps a good glass of wine. It is well worth the time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I am a healthy eater, I just want to say that right off the bat. I eat oatmeal at least three mornings a week, I love fruits and veggies, I don't drink fruit juice, I do most of our cooking from scratch, I can even make all our bread if need be. I am healthy. I work out 5 days a week, I like to sweat.....

But sometimes, just occasionally, not very often, maybe 3 times a year......I just have to this, this luscious thing, this jewel of perfection, the perfect combination of fat, salt and empty calories. A Mcdonald's Cheeseburger.

I pull up into the the drive through lane. I wait patiently for the voice of the underpaid foreign worker or pimply faced teenager or "older adult" to come through the speaker and ask what they can get for me. There is that moment of pregnant pause, that marshalling of my reserves as my inner healthy nut screams, "NO, NO, NO DON'T DO IT!! We have healthy choices at home. There is spinach for salad all ready for you. Or you can have those lovely HEALTHY left overs from last night!" I pause briefly to slam my inner door on my inner health nut. I turn to my left and I say those magic words.........."Yes, I would like a Cheeseburger, medium fries and a small Coke please." Notice that I don't say DIET Coke because that stuff is disgusting and I hear it is bad for you. No, if I am going to do this then I am going for the whole enchalada, the mother load....a REGULAR Coke.

I drive around and pay for my meal and then pull up to "Window Number 2" and wait. I can smell the goodness within, the anticipation builds......schwoosh, the sliding window opens and a bag appears and then the cup, slightly moist with condensation and a straw stuck to it's side. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, smell the grease........and the salt......and the other unknown ingredients. I pull away from the window because heaven forbid you hold up the line while you open the bag to make sure that they got that complicated order right. Just as an aside isn't it amazing how often they get a simple order like this wrong. Who trains these people, the Government? I digress.

It is that first bite, that first mouthful of wonderful goodness, that rush of poisonous chemicals shooting into my brain. Ahhhhhhhhhh. The sweet joys of fast food.

I will eat better tomorrow, I promise. I will make right choices. But for today......on to my cheeseburger and fries.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where IS She?

Sorry all, I am sure you are wondering where I am. I am here but I had a short stay in the local hospital over the weekend. Nothing major but I am a shade wiped out. I will be back in a day or two and perhaps I will tell you about it......

Friday, March 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 14)

Oh how time flies, especially when you have a house full of Spring Break enjoying college students. I almost forgot that it was Friday and that I needed to do a Quick Takes. Just click on the picture above to go on over to Conversion Diary to see what is happening with everyone else. And now, without further ado, here are my Quick Takes for the week.

Did you realize that this past Monday was the 50th anniversary of the introduction of......Barbie!!! I still have all of my old Barbies, along with the whole wardrobe that my grandmother made for them, stored in a small trunk which sits in my dining room. I don't open the trunk very often but when I do I am just overwhelmed with nostalgia. I used to spend hours setting up my "Barbie House" which resided in the bottom of my closet. Changing Barbie's outfits and doing all sorts of stuff. Now let's be honest here, Ken was a whimp you know that he was. See, in my house Ken had to compete with G.I.Joe and there really was no comparison. I mean Joe had all those plastic muscles and movable joints. So what if Ken had the Corvette, Joe could put his arm around Barbie. Hmmmmmmmm, enough said on that one.

Just as an aside, my daughters also played with Barbies but for some reason they always seemed to be naked (sorry) and Ken always seemed to be missing a leg. Many a Ken was repaired with duck tape.

Do you have trouble accepting help from others? I certainly do. I am having surgery at the end of the month and that will mean I am off my feet, out of commission for several weeks and I am going to need help. My mom and dad is going to come out (thanks Mimi and Papa!) and friends are already lining up to make us meals but I have such a hard time accepting any of it. I don't like to ask for help. I am already praying harder for this aspect of the surgery than for the surgery itself. Funny. This will probably flesh out to a longer post when I have thought/prayed/studied a bit further.

You know, another irritating aspect of having surgery is that I have to take probably six weeks off from working out. Even writing that sentence out makes me laugh and shake my head. Two years ago it would have been like speaking a forgein language to say that I work out 5 days a week and that to have to be prevented from vigorous workouts for 6 weeks would really make me crazy. Ah how times have changed. I am hoping that the doctor will give me permission to walk gently on the treadmill once I am felling better. Hope, Hope, Hope.

It is hard to believe that Wednesday was my middle daughter's 21st birthday. How can it been that I now have 2 children 21 years old or older. It is amazing how the time flies. My hubby has been spending time on his video project which is taking all the many hours of video that he took when the girls were growing up and putting editing clips into a series of "Best of...." videos. These have been such a blast to watch as he has produced them. We all have our favorite moments and can quote them by heart.

You know what one of the best things is about having older children coupled with a family tradition of always eating dinner together....the dinner/after dinner table conversations. They are excellent!! I have to say that some years when the girls were in high school, that these might have included grunts and yelling and other "unpleasantness". Not always great I can tell you. But now, they get along fairly well (most of the time) and they are all adults with their own thoughts and feelings about things and we have great conversations and loads of laughter. I try to just soak in these times because they are few and far between and getting more scarce. The oldest graduates come May and the middle one will be in Africa for 4 months come fall so.......

It would seem that we have a large orange cat residing, at times at least, under our small barn in the back. I am not sure where he/she has come from but we started see it within the last week or so. Our neighborhood is not one that is particularly safe for outside cats unless they are very resilient. There are many things that will "get" them - hawks, coyotes, racoons, owls. I am hoping that it stays around and takes care of my chipmunk/mouse issues. We live in the woods, there are mice, I hate mice. The cat can hang around as long as he isn't hunting the birds that come to the feeders. Of course he is on his own as far as food is concerned because I am not putting food out for him. If you feed an outdoor wild cat they become your cat. No more cats for me for a time, even if they live outdoors.

I told my oldest, the cartoonist, that I would make a mention of her blog. So Ash here it is. Everyone go over HERE and see what my oldest progeny is doing. She is very talented and we aren't sure where she got it.

See you next week.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Your Humor for the Day

Many years ago in a Christian bookstore far, far away......

OK so that sounds suspiciously like something from a movie, so shoot me. Actually it was many years ago we were browsing in the local Christian book store, a typical Saturday pastime. We meandered to the back of the store where the kids department was and there on the TV was this odd video. There were strange looking vegetables singing about Daniel and the Lion's Den. What was this thing that almost immediately had the girls mesmerized? Why, it was "Veggie Tales". Who couldn't love a video that had Spring Onions (King Darius' advisors) singing about how they had to get rid of Daniel. We.Were.Hooked. We walked out of the store that day with the two videos that were available and we practically wore those things out.

So to provide a little humor for your day, here are my favorite "Silly Songs With Larry" (the singing cucumber).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Shack

The Shack
William P. Young

Knitting Sticks: 1 (and if I had a zero category that is what it would be listed as)

Well, what to say about this book. First of all, if you loved this book and think that it speaks Christian truth the you might want to stop and go no further. Especially if you are a friend, I don't want to offend you but I can tell you right now that I am not going to write a favorable review of this book and that is an understatement. So just be warned.

I tried to come to this book without any preconceived notions of what I was going to find. It was on loan from a friend who had raved about it, a Christian friend whose opinion I value. She loves this book so much that she has her own copy and then went out and bought several other copies that she could lend to friends. Several people had sent me reviews and commentaries on the book but I hadn't read any of them, I just put them away for later. I did know that people seemed to hold extreme views on the book, either loved it or hated it. Obviously people loved it because at the time that I am writing this review "The Shack" has just entered it's 41st week on the NY Times Bestseller list (not a recommendation in my mind but whatever). Thank goodness I didn't actually pay for the book.

Perhaps it is best to start with a bit of background. There are spoilers coming up so if you are thinking to read the book (please DON'T) then you might want to skip this. The book deals with Mackenzie "Mack" Allen Phillips, the brutal death of his young daughter, his relationship (or lack thereof) with God and a weekend spent in the shack where is daughter died, having been invited there by God who sent him a short note in his mail box. There he meets the Trinity -God represented by an African-American woman, Jesus as a Middle eastern man and the Holy Spirit as an Asian woman. I tried to overlook the physical descriptions, I do think that we cannot view God as a white man or as a black man or Indian or anything like that but to have God speaking in ghetto vernacular or what I think of as "slave speak" is just beyond even my formidable imagination. And if that were the only thing wrong with the book I would be happy!

In this book God is too personal and not all powerful. Yes, God is a personal god who walks beside us and loves us but he doesn't cook us greens and then tell us to be careful how much of those we eat so that we don't get "the trots". That was just a ridiculous passage. The book focuses on God's love and nothing else, falling into the "God is love" trap and ignoring all the other, equally important aspects of his nature, aspects that are EQUAL in His nature. To have "love" be dominant is to put things out of balance and put God in an imbalance and therefor not perfect. Yes God is a god of love but he is also a god of justice and mercy and wrath and healing and so many other things. To say he is just a god of love is to diminish who and what he is.

Mr. Young portrays a God who is personal but all too human. If god were as he is portrayed them we would have NO awe of him. That which is treated so familiarly is that for which you loose awe. If we have no awe of God then we have no respect for him, for who he is and for what he has done for us.

Jesus, portrayed in the book as a middle eastern fellow who likes to work with wood (cough, cough), who tells Mack that he is "perfectly human" because he chooses to live that way. God also tells Mack that He never left Jesus on the cross, that regardless of what Jesus "felt" that God never left him. Hmmmmmm. Now, you can tell me if MY theology is wrong but Jesus and God are one, God cannot dwell with sin, Jesus BECAME the sin of the world in order to save us, God could not be there when Jesus WAS sin. God did leave. Look at Matthew 27:46 and Psalms 22:1.

God tells Mack that Jesus healed people "as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone." Hmmmmm again. I might point Mr. Young to Philippians 2:15 and remind him that Jesus is both FULLY GOD and FULLY MAN. Not one or the other but both.

I know that some of you may have read the book, loved the book and are going, "But Deb, it is such a good story. I cried and cried at the caring and forgiveness and love that I found there." Yes, I will agree that you will find those things there. But I think you also need to remember that to base what you think about a book on emotions is a dangerous thing, especially a book like "The Shack" which is dealing with serious matters. Emotions can deceive, you can be overwhelmed by the emotions elicited from the book and fail to give a thorough look at what is being said on a deeper and more theological level. But you are still taking in what the book said, you are still reading and not giving clear thought to these ideas that are just not biblical or theologically sound.

I do have to be honest and tell you that there were some things that I did agree with, only a few mind you but there were some. I would agree that God is a relational god, that He is not to be found in buildings and institutions but in a personal relationship with Him. But what we know about God is what He reveals to us through His scripture and not what we conjure up about him.

OK, I could go on and on believe me. I have PAGES of notes but I think I had better stop. If I had my "drothers" I would tell people not to bother reading this piece of theologically twisted drivel. If you have to read it, read it with your Bible right next to you because you are going to be going, "But wait! that isn't what the scripture says!". And that, in the end, is the most important thing.

Friday, March 6, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Vol 13)

Whoopee!!! It is Friday again and time for another series of pithy quick takes. Man, I need to get out more. Just click on the picture above to go on over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else is up to.
OK all, I am going to brag on my oldest daughter who is a cartoonist. She is finishing up her senior year at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and is very talented. You can go here to see her latest work which are illustrations for a story in Slate which is an "online" magazine. Just a warning in advance. Do I have your attention now. The first illustration has nudity. It was at the request of the author of the article so she did her best with it. I wouldn't want anyone to go over there and get an eye full of something and be surprised. Ah the talents that art students develop. Someday perhaps I will write about the first time that she had to do a sketch of an, "actual, real, live, NUDE person Mom! He just came in, put down his latte and dropped trou!". That thought still makes me laugh.

Hurrah!! As of Sunday night I will have all of my girls home for an entire week. That means increased noise, ten thousand used cups scattered around the house, snacks on the shelves that we never buy any other time (poor Beth), tons of laughter, perhaps some yelling, bickering about the use of the car, discussions around the dinner table, did I mention the noise level.......and I will love the whole week. It isn't all that often that they are all home at the same time and this may be the last time for a while. The oldest will be graduating from college in a few months and will then be out on her own (not that she isn't now because she is). The middle progeny will most likely be doing work/study in Africa in the fall so we won't see her until after Christmas. So I am going to make the most of the time, just sitting back and soaking in all the sounds and laughter.
Of course, there are plenty of times when this picture is more representative of what is going on when everyone is home but..........

Do you plan out your weeks menu in advance? You would think, when the girls were younger (read 3 kids under the age of 5) that I would have spent more time doing this. I mean, it might have been helpful during those years when I was barely keeping my head above water most days. You know the old adage about the duck swimming peacefully on the surface of the water but paddling furiously underneath. Well, I didn't plan meals ahead when the girls were little. I didn't plan meals ahead when the girls were older and I was working outside the home. I must have been nuts not to do this simple thing. NUTS I tell you. Well, with age comes wisdom (maybe) and for the last few months I have been spending a little time at the beginning of each week planning what I am going to make for dinner. My word, what a wonderful concept. I just look at my day planner in the morning and see what I am supposed to make. No more standing in the middle of the kitchen at 4:30 or 5p, scratching my head and wondering what I am going to make and if we can have pancakes again tonight.

There is an added benefit to this planning. I am actually managing to get through some of the recipes that I keep ripping out of magazines and sticking in my "to try" recipe file. Do you have one of those files? I love mine. I open it with anticipation, wondering what I might want to make, thinking about how a recipe might taste, wondering if I might want to change something. Oh the anticipation just gives me shivers. The thing that you do have to remember if you keep one of these kinds of files is that you actually have to go through it every once in a while and either make some of the recipes or throw some out. I started collecting recipes in the 1970's and just kept on collecting and collecting and never discarding. Several years ago, when I was cleaning out one of my file cabinets I came across this file. After having a big hearty laugh at some of the recipes and the ingredients there in, I threw most of them out. It was sad but it had to be done. Now, I try to make sure that a recipe doesn't stay too long in the file. I make them, judge whether they are worthy to make again and then either put them in my permanent recipe box or pitch them out.

I sent off two more pairs of socks for Socks for Soldiers this week. Of course, I don't have a picture of said socks because I forgot to take one and didn't realize it until the box was all packed up. I just wasn't going to undue that packing job just to take a picture. So, no picture.

I found this group in July when I just did an off hand Yahoo search for groups that knit socks. I wasn't looking to specifically knit socks for soldiers I was just looking for a group that knit socks. WOW did I find a great group of knitters. They are a dedicated, funny, helpful, marvelous group and I have been so blessed to be able to participate. If you want to know more, if you want to knit socks for soldiers who really appreciate them, if you are looking for some place to plug in and say thank you then we are the group. You can find out more here and here. I can't express to you how much pleasure that it gives me to knit these socks. I have a chance to pray for the soldier that they will go to as well as his family. I don't know the soldier's name but that really doesn't matter because God does.

I am not very good at long term goal setting. I can get a lot of things done if I have a list. But the long term goal thing is somehow lost on me. There is something that I am thinking about doing, it would entail lots of work and a long term commitment to something and I just don't know if I can accomplish it. I don't want to say what it is because if I say then I am kind of committing myself and heaven forbid if I do that. My hubbie is really good at long term goal setting, I just wish I was.

In the past I think the problem with my long term goal setting was that I tried to bite off the whole thing in one mouthful. That is a bad idea for me because then I lose steam, lose interest and wander away to do something else. Think Prissie in Gone With the Wind, wandering along talking to herself about what she is supposed to accomplish but in the end throwing up her hands and declaring that, "I don't know nothin' about how to accomplish that long term goal."

Perhaps when setting the steps toward long term goals my mantra will be "I'm baby steppin', I doing the work!". Those of you who know your Bill Murray movies will get the reference to one of my favorites, What About Bob.

I have been keeping up (sort of) with my "read through the Bible in a year" plan. I say sort of because there are days that I miss so it will be more like a year and a half before I am done. But I have to say that I am really enjoying this so far. Remember the old goal setting thing from #5? Well, this is one of those long term goals that I have always said I would do and perhaps once or twice made a stab at but never completed. It is only March and there is still a ton of time in the year to go but I have some hope.

When I embarked on this reading plan I decided that I wouldn't do anything other than just read the word of God this year. Just enjoy the Bible, not using my usual raft of commentaries and other study materials. Just read and allow the Lord to show me what he wants me to see and learn. It has been a liberating experience in a way. Just me and my Bible. Of course, when I get to Leviticus then I might be singing a different tune.

And on the whole goal setting note, I will leave you with a quote that I found yesterday that I think expresses some of what it takes to meet long term goals. This fellow was an athlete, a soldier but not necessarily a nice guy.

Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon and night. But the body is never tired if the mind in not tired.
Gen. George S. Patton

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

If Not Now, When?

I haven't done a book review in some time I realized. It isn't that I haven't read any books lately it is just that I haven't bombarded you with reviews.

If Not Now, When?
Colonel Jack Jacobs (retired) and Douglas Century
Knitting Sticks: an enthusiastic 5

Well, if you have been keeping up with my occasional book reviews then you know that I don't often award a book 5 Knitting Sticks. This book however gets that from me.

"If Not Now, When?" is a memoir of a sort. OK, it is a memoir but a really funny and thought provoking one. Col. Jacobs had me laughing out loud more than once I can tell you.

Jack Jacobs is a short, skinny Jewish kid from New York who joined the army, VOLUNTARILY, during the Vietnam war and ended up staying in the army for 20 years. He is, by his own admission, irreverent, cavalier and sarcastic. Just the kind of person that should write a memoir. Oh, did I mention that in 1969 he was awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty". Just a minor thing really and that is actually the way the he treats it. Col. Jacobs says it best in this way, "...every action that is cited for it's extraordinary heroism is merely a proxy for all those forever lost in the midst of the battlefield. Medals won by the living are testaments to the beloved fallen."

What can you say about a man who wasn't sure why they wanted to give him the MOH and then finagled his way back to combat in Vietnam several years after being the recipient. The Army REALLY doesn't like to have their Medal of Honor recipients return to combat but he managed it.

This book had me frequently in stitches and often times reading passages aloud so that I could think through them with more clarity. His views on the current conflict in Iraq are spot on but ones that I won't go into here. You just have to read the book and judge for yourself.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Strange things are happeneing.

OK, this is just a test post. For some reason when I posted this morning all the posts that are on the "front page" of the blog suddenly disappeared. I am not sure what has happened as the actual post can be accessed through the archive. Lets see if this shows up

Well, now everything is back. It must be the internet griplettes (inside joke, ask my husband).

Monday Morning Humor

Here is your Monday morning humor. Monday just seems to be a day when we all need a humor boost.