Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dave Ramsey Class

We just started a 13-week class at my church called Financial Peace University, by Dave Ramsey. It's been eye-opening, even in the first week. I can't wait to see how God is going to use this class to completely change us. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this later, but here's a lighthearted look at some "common sense" advice:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Things I've not done in the past week because there was something mysteriously wrong with my computer keyboard in that the spacebar randomly didn't work:

1. Update my blog (for MovieQuote Monday, to tell you all about my trip...I'll do both, I promise!)
2. Write my support letter for my Haiti trip
3. E-mail anyone with more than a 2-sentence thought.
4. Do any of the forty-gajillion "25 Random Things About Me" on Facebook that I've been tagged for

My first thought on "why this won't work" was "perhaps the keyboard is dusty". So Jon cleaned it out.
Second, "perhaps it needs new batteries". This was a less-than-satisfactory explanation, however, because I wasn't being given any warning message from the computer that the wireless keyboard's "batteries are in a critical state" (Digression: seriously? A critical state)
Anyway, for some reason, I latched onto this explanation for my faulty spacebar. I kept meaning to buy some batteries, because Jon told me we didn't have any AA batteries. (Note to self: Why didn't you just check?) Finally, today, I did check. And by "check", I don't mean dig through half-a-dozen random huge boxes, I mean "open drawer and look in giant Ziploc bag where I keep batteries neatly coralled together". Sure enough, Energizers aplenty. So I replaced the batteries. Hmmm, still not it.
I happened to look up from my seat at the computer and notice that the receiver (that gets the signal from the wireless keyboard and mouse) was just SLIGHTLY crooked. Oh, well, yeah, that's because it's NOT PLUGGED IN ALL THE WAY.
Sigh. I'm so useless sometimes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Movie Quote Mondays

"Sounds like somebody has a case of the Mondays!"

Bonus: "(gong sound) What's happening, hot stuff?"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Coming to get His bride

This morning in church, at the end of the service, I had a word from God that I believe He instructed me to share. This doesn't happen that often to me, and when it does, I feel so nervous I think I'm going to throw up. Today's was so clear, so vivid, that I knew I had to obey.
The song we were planning to end the service was "So You Would Come". Part of the text says,

"Come to the Father/ though your gift is small
Broken hearts, broken lives/ He will take them all
The power of the word, the power of His blood
Everything was done so you would come."

The message came to me full-blown and clear. Yesterday was Jenny's wedding. When she came into the church, she walked alone. Most women are walked down the aisle by their daddies, or maybe their moms or grandmas or brothers if their dad is not around. Jenny, as some of you may know, had a pretty un-traditional childhood, and didn't have a very strong Daddy figure to rely on. (This, by the way, is so foreign to me - thankfully - that it was hard to get my head around. I have the best Daddy in the world.) So, in any case, Jenny walked halfway down the aisle on her own, and then Josh (her new husband) met her and brought her the rest of the way to the altar.
So the message God gave me: Sometimes in our lives, their are people around us that are strong enough to carry us to the foot of the cross when we are broken. They'll ignore our mess, see our need for a Savior, and just bring us there. But sometimes, people don't have anyone like that. They are, in the truest sense of the word, alone. It's at times like this that Jesus comes to us and carries us to the foot of the cross. He walks down the aisle to where we are and carries His Bride home. There's nothing we can do to earn this blessing. There's nothing so bad that we've done that could make Him NOT pursue us. All we have to do is accept it with thanksgiving. (Pretty easy, huh?)
Anyway...I had to share. It was one of the most powerful words God's ever given me, and I'm thankful He used such a visual picture of the redemption He shows us. If you haven't read or studied the book of Hosea in the Old Testament, it's pretty incredible. Another recommended read, which is an allegorical novel of the book of Hosea is Redeeming Love.
Thanks for letting me share with you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy anniversary to me! and other random thoughts.

Random Thought #1. I TOTALLY ought to be in bed. Everyone else in my family is crashed out. I was up until 4 AM last night, sewing accessories for Jenny's wedding tomorrow.
Random Thought #2. Today is my TENTH wedding anniversary! One of my most treasured memories of my wedding day was my dad waking me up at about 7 AM (even though I had stayed up waaayyyy too late talking and giggling with my cousin Johanna) to show me a double rainbow in the just-clearing sky. It was so special, and such a great visual reminder of all the promises our Father makes and fulfills in our life.
Random Thought #3. My niece, Evie Grace, is about the cutest thing EVER. She's smart. Like, scary, RainMan kind of smart. (Just kidding! Kind of...) She's also a terrific mimic. For instance, a few days ago, she heard her mother exclaim, "Piece of crap!" I now ask her to say that at every available opportunity. It's truly hilarious and I hereby vow to capture it on video tomorrow at some point.
Random Thought #4. It's really, truly, honestly probably NOT a good idea for me and my two sisters to stand next to one another during solemn occasions. The wedding rehearsal today (while it ran smoothly, thanks largely to Mama Candy) was an example of these. We just could NOT hold it together. We probably behaved pretty badly, but I don't care. We won't do it during the actual ceremony. Probably.
Random Thought #5. Kids are just funny. Yesterday, my sister Gwenn was washing Abbie's hair after a practice run of her wedding up-do. Abbie was very well-behaved while all this was going on, and Gwenn said to her, "Abbie, I really appreciate your good behavior. You are SO obedient! Who taught you to be so obedient?" Abbie said, "I don't know...." Gwenn asked, "Well, was it your Mommy?" "No...." "Was it your Daddy?" "No...." "Well, who was it, then?"
Abbie replied, "I think it was God.....wasn't that nice of Him?"
Indeed. I was thinking a little more deeply about that, and realized how true it really is. It's like if I demanded/expected obedience from my kids, but did not teach them any tools to help them do so. I'd always be disappointed in them, and they'd always be frustrated with me because I would be asking them something they literally couldn't do. God expects obedience from us, sure. But He always gives us the tools we need to do it. (Whether we use them is up to us, much like it is with parents and kids.) But God has given us everything we need to do what He asks of us. His joy is ME! He loves to "rejoice over me with singing".
*sigh* God is so cool.
Good night, sleep tight. I'm taking my tired-but-not-sleepy-and-wishing-I-had-an-Ambien-or-something-stronger-than-Tylenol-PM self to bed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How long would you wait?

On hold? For something you really needed to find out? (I'm on hold with the unemployment office in Raleigh.)
When I was initially connected, I was warned, "Some customers may experience a wait of up to twenty minutes." OK, that would suck, but I really need to get this information.
It's now been at LEAST 45 minutes. I know they're still connected, because about every minute or so, I get the "All agents are still busy assisting other callers...please remain on the line and the next available agent will assist you" message.
But what if they're all out to lunch? Calling in gay? Having a contest to see who can keep their red light blinking longest?
GAH. I hate waiting. (Oooh, that's a bonus movie quote. But the clip is not the quote. But it's from the same movie.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sleep talking (or, why night shifts are mildly amusing)

Jon's work shift rotates monthly. For the month of January, he's on overnight shifts. (Overnight shifts make our family's life about 900% less pleasant than day shifts, but that's another post.) For the first few shifts on, it takes a LOT out of Jon to get acclimated. When he comes home at 6:30ish AM, he pretty much goes right to bed, stumbles out once or twice to grab a bite to eat, mutter hello, possibly yell at us for being too noisy, and then returns to bed. He gets up in time to shower and go back. After a few days, it evens out, but during those first few shifts, he's pretty much working, sleeping, or deliriously tired all the time.
Today was one of those days. He got home at 6:30, stayed up long enough to get Abbie up for preschool and give her breakfast, then went to bed. He asked me to please wake him up at 9:00 to call his sergeant and find out if he had a class this afternoon. (He's off tonight and tomorrow night and needed to make plans to help out a friend of ours.) I went in and woke him at 9:00, went in again at 9:15 and found his phone for him, went in again and reminded him at 9:30. The 9:30 conversation went a little like this:

Me: Honey, you need to call James. Do you still have your phone?
Jon: (rummaging around through the bedcovers) It's here somewhere.
Me: (handing him the phone) Here it is, it's right here.
Jon: (looking at the phone, using a tone that suggests I may possibly be mentally deficient) THAT is a PHONE. I'm looking for the OTHER thing.
Me: (confused) What other thing?
Jon: (still in that tone that sends me 0-60 on the anger scale in .4 seconds) The long, skinny tube thing.
Me: Honey, I think you're still sleeping.
Me: (now trying not to laugh) Why would you have aluminum foil in our bed?
Jon: It's the THING! That is the PHONE! The TUBE, for making contact....just get out. Stop it.
Me: Honey, I'm just trying to help you; do you need your phone? (Keep in mind that he is eyes-wide-open looking at me, insisting he is awake this whole time.)
Jon: Just get out. I know you're trying not to laugh. Just leave.
Me: OK. Do you want me to call James for you?
Jon: You can't get him without the tube.
Me: ooooook.

I left, still a bit annoyed that he was talking so mean. But mostly laughing because it was a funny exchange. I DID call James, got the information he needed, then went back in a few minutes later. I gently woke him up and said, "Sweetie, I talked to James; your class is cancelled for this afternoon. Do you want me to call Neil and find out what time you guys need to go?" He said no, called Neil and made the arrangements, then, just before he rolled over and went back to sleep, said, "Do you need anything else from me?"
I said, "Well, can we talk about the tube of aluminum foil?"
He thought about it for about 2 seconds, then started laughing, covered his head, and said, "No. No, we cannot."

I left him alone after that. I'm still giggling out loud thinking about it, though.

I am a superhero! I always knew it!

For Christmas this year, I bought all my nieces and nephews playsilks from The ColorFarm. I love playsilks; they're great imagination playthings. My kids use them for capes, dresses, forts, "shepherd hats", and (my own personal favorite), invisibility cloaks. So anyway, I bought them for Nia, Nico, Josiah and Evie as well. Gwenn called me the other day and related this story:
Her kids were playing with their silks and wanted to play "superhero". So they were wearing them as capes when Gwenn realizes that her kids do not actually know any superheroes (at least not "traditional" ones, i.e, Batman, Supergirl), because she overhears Nia say, "I am going to be Superhero Auntie Gretchen. You (to Nico) are Superhero Uncle Jon. And Josiah can be Superhero Micah."
Gosh. I think my family is the cast of the Incredibles!

Movie Quote Monday.

"All homosexual men have track lighting. And all homosexual men are named Mark, Rick, or Steve."

Bonus quote: "Is this a habit of yours? Falling off of things?" "Well, usually, there's someone there to catch me."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Mom, I can't watch this part."

"It's too scary. I think I'll have night-mirrors."
So says Abbie. I asked her no less than three times, just so she'd repeat it because it's so darn cute.
"You'll what?"
"I'll have night-mirrors."
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you...what?"
"I'll have NIGHT-MIRRORS!"
(me laughing almost aloud) "You'll have WHAT?"
"Oh. Did you finish your pizza?"
"Not yet."
"Do you think Strom is in there eating it?"
(That's pronounced "crust-is", for those of you not in the know.)

My son is a mess

Micah has been testing the limits, as it were, lately. My best example of this is New Year's Eve. He was sitting (wiggling, actually) on my lap while we (the grownups) were playing Catchphrase. (That's a link to the second edition if anyone wants to buy me a "prize". Mom.) I was tickling him along the edge of the back of his sweatpants (teasing him that I was going to get his butt). He said, "MOOOOM! STOOOOOP!" I reached for him one more time, and he swiveled around and pinched me.
On the nipple.
It was hard to know if I should laugh (which I did), yell at him (which I kinda did, except I was laughing too hard), or let it go (which I ultimately did, after admonishing him that "That's not always going to be funny.")

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A new leaf.

New Year's resolutions...I definitely have a love-hate relationship with that concept. I love to make them, and almost never keep them. I think it's because I feel like if I'm making a "resolution" it needs to be BIG. And then the first time I backslide, I don't just fall off the wagon, I jump off it with both feet and go screaming in the opposite direction.
However. I am starting 2009 weighing more than I EVER have. In my life. Including during all three pregnancies. So, something's gotta give. I am Biggest Loser material, and I'm setting a terrible example for my children.
I'd like to say I'm going to stop biting my nails and become more organized as well, but I don't think I can set myself up for that kind of failure, know what I mean? I'm going to TRY to do those things, but I AM going to lose this weight. I have to.