Friday, December 30, 2011

2011, you flew by so fast

January
I quit the church.  I quit the church lady bible study.  I wanted to quit my job.  Tried to get back into an exercise routine.  Started taking Tamoxifen and started blogging with the purpose of seeing my thoughts in black and white and seeing what I could do to become a happier girl.

February
I became introspective about my responsibility for my own happiness.  I decided to change negative thoughts into positive thoughts.  I had a confrontation with my boss about his responsibility to back me up in some of the decision making I needed to do to do my job, properly.  I struggled to adjust to the lousy side-effects of Tamoxifen.

March
I began a 40-day yoga exercise.  I discovered I'm not a huge fan of yoga at this point in my life.  I decided to forgive the church ladies.  I forgave them for me, not for them.  I later discovered, they weren't quite done with me.  Maybe I'll tell you about it some time.  My mother-in-law passed away.  I think this is when the year started getting super tough for our little family.

April
Silver prices soared to a long-time high price and I started selling silver.  I sold silver for my husband and for my father.  I made a few shekels and maxed myself out of my favorite hobby, eBay.  I got a handle on my job and became much more content at work, even though there were no raises for us again this year.  (5 years without a raise.  yuk)

May
Osama Bin Laden was eliminated.  I continued my struggle with the side-effects of Tamoxifen.  I struggled with the testing for possible uterine cancer.  I went on vacation to Daytona Beach.  I learned a lot about myself this month.  The biggest thing I learned was that I treat myself cheaply.  I decided to make a change in this regard.  I am important and deserve to be considered in all decisions I make.

June
I continued selling silver on eBay.  I became more accepting of myself and my body.  I accepted the hot flashes and night sweats.  This is my new normal.

July
I went to San Diego, CA for the 4th of July.  It was a great vacation.  I decided I want to move to San Diego when we retire.  It was HOT in the mid-Atlantic.  REALLY HOT.  I continued on my self-acceptance journey.  I, kinda, love this.

August
I froze peaches and made pickles.  Our family traveled to Indiana to lay my mother-in-law to rest.  Things didn't go smoothly with the siblings, but in the end, we came together and did the thing just right.  I finished the long ordeal of testing for uterine cancer and learned I was cancer-free.  :)  We suffered a tree through our roof and my son's car was crushed by a tree as a result of Hurricane Irene.  :(

September
I went to Reno, NV for the Tailhook convention.  We struggled with the insurance company and contractors to get our home and car repaired.  This took up most of the month.  Sorry.

October
We continued the house repair.  My job became extra challenging.  Mold caused two residence halls to be shut down and the college hired a cruise ship to house the students.  I learned more about maritime law and mold than I ever wanted to know.  My son totaled his car by hitting a telephone pole a mere two weeks after getting it back from being repaired from having a tree land on it.  But, grandma had left him a green mustang convertible and he wasn't injured too bad.  Lucky.

November
I started going to church again.  I got involved in a small group bible study.  I reconnected to my faith and I'm starting to trust church people again.  I've always trusted God, but his people make me nervous.  Most of the house repairs are complete.  Just one window replacement to go.   We went to Williamsburg, VA for Thanksgiving.  All three of us.   

December
I prepared for and celebrated CHRISTMAS.  I mean, if you are the mom of the house, what else do you have time to do?

It's good to see the highlights of the year on one page.  I see it's been almost a year since I've been with my parents, so I better schedule a trip to Illinois.  Yes, 2011, you were a challenging year.  I learned a lot about myself and my family.  I learned when the going gets tough, our family can handle it.  I'm very proud of us.  I think 2012 is going to be great.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Initiative

I know I've written about "eating the frog" and getting the tough stuff done first, but developing initiative is something I struggle to have as a quality in myself and to teach to my son.

I'm currently on my winter break from work.  I work at a state college.  The state gives the staff the week between Christmas and New Year off work.  I often use this time as an opportunity to get away and visit my parents.  This year, however, I decided to stay home and reclaim my guest room and get a few more chores done around the house.

When I say I want to reclaim my guest room, I mean, I want to get all my son's stuff out of the guest room.  When a tree fell on our house during Hurricane Irene, it fell on the part of the roof over my son's room.  At that moment I told my son to hurry and get all his stuff out of his room and put it in the guest room.  I told him the ceiling could collapse at any time and if he wanted to save his stuff he had to get it out of his room as quick as possible.  After shouting in his face to snap him out of the shock he seemed to be in, he did just as I asked.

In the meantime, the drywall on the ceiling has been repaired, and painted, and the carpet has been cleaned.  Now I have two rooms in utter chaos. 

I am trying to motivate my son to get his room back in order.  In the process, I'm encouraging him to cull his possessions.  He has a serious amount of stuff.  Most of his stuff involves electronics and games.  There are a lot of wires and controllers and STUFF.

My son does not have a lot of initiative.  It seems he is paralyzed by the job set before him.  I can understand this paralysis, to a certain extent.  I struggle with a lack of initiative when it comes to doing something new.  Something I have never done before.  I get scared.  Even though the project may not be difficult, I find myself struggling to take the first step.

Today I am encouraging (read, nagging) my son to clear my guest room of his STUFF.  I'm trying to help him by giving him one box of stuff at a time to sort through, and then decide whether to keep or toss or sell.  So far, today is going pretty well.  (and by well, I mean we are not screaming at each other and some progress is being made)

The new project I want to start is to begin selling stuff on facebook.  I've discovered an on-line yard sale group in my area.  There are over 4000 members in this group.  I joined the group.  Now I need to start taking pictures and start pricing.  If this goes well, I can be having a yard sale every day of the week.  I'll let you know how I do.

Ps.  Another project I want to accomplish today is to make pounds of meatballs.  I bought a BUNCH of loose sausage from a local pig farmer.  I love to make spaghetti and meatballs and Italian wedding soup.  I need to make a bunch of big and tiny meatballs.  It's a lot of fun.  :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The best Christmas, EVER!

Another Christmas has come and gone.  There is so much hype and anticipation leading up to this holiday of Holidays... and then it is over.  Good.  Christmas is over.  I can breath a sigh of relief and say I've completed another Christmas.  I remember way back in November I thought about doing Christmas differently this year.  I think I was fairly successful at accomplishing this goal.  I remember I didn't even feel like putting up the tree.  There is something about the unattainable joy of the holiday surrounded by a seemingly effortless abundance of Christmas accoutrement that I always find myself falling short.  You know what I'm talking about.  Right?

You see the Christmas movies with the mom coming out and carrying the golden brown turkey to the beautifully set table.  You see the platters of assorted Christmas cookies and the wasp-waisted mom in an starched and lacy apron.  You see the fire blazing in the fireplace and hear the Christmas music wafting throughout the house.  You see children smiling and playing with their toys.  You see adults smiling and engaged in conversations about happy Christmas memories or hopes and dreams for the future.

If you were at my house, very little of this was evident.  (we did have a fire in the fireplace.

I did Christmas differently this year.  I am pleased I was able to make this Christmas a real season of giving.  I'm happy my time spent shopping and wrapping were mostly for children I would never meet and they would never know who I am.  This was a very happy part of my Christmas.  The only drawback, if you can call it a drawback, was the fact this charitable part of my Christmas had to be accomplished so early in the season.  By Christmas Day, these actions were distant memories.  I thought we might spend time thinking and talking about the children on the receiving end of our Christmas, but we didn't.  What we did was open one or two gifts given to each other with love.  (and the underwear and socks I gave to my son.  these are not necessarily a love gift, but a gift of practicality.)

However, this Christmas was one of the best, at the Happy Girl house, EVER!

This year we had unexpected guests join us for Christmas dinner.  We had agreed to care for our neighbor's dog while they traveled for the holiday.  They called on the Friday before Christmas and informed us they had made a U-turn on their way to Ohio and were returning home.  Their son had started feeling ill.  My husband and I decided to invite them to join us for Christmas dinner.  He had purchased a HUGE beef rib roast.  It was so big.  Our neighbors were happy to be invited to join us for dinner and last minute plans were hatched.  (this may have been a happy accident or maybe... it was, meant to be.)

All I had to do was clean the kitchen, cook the meal, put away all the ornament boxes I had stashed in the dining room, set the table, dress and do my hair and give the impression this was all, effortless.

I wrestled the 12 lb. rib roast into the oven, smeared with a mustard and herb crust.  Chopped dozens of turnips, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips.  Braised piles of greens and make a peach pie.  I was sweating like a pig.

The special joy I received at this Christmas came in the form of my husband and my son.  I don't know if you remember my long ago post titled Procrastination.  In that post I had a list of "to do" items.  One item on the list, wash all the mildew off the front door of my house, had not been completed.  I asked my husband and son if this would be something they would do for me.  They would and they did.  I think this was the best thing they could have done for me.  It made me so happy.  I love the way my front door looks now.  This was such an act of love.  I am so grateful.  It made cooking the dinner and cleaning the house a joy.

So, even though no Christmas music was playing in my house.  Even though no children were smiling and playing with toys.  Even though there was no wasp-waisted mom bearing platters of assorted Christmas cookies.  No golden brown turkey on a grape garnished platter.  No family members dressed in Sunday best.

My Christmas found a table full of lively conversation with good neighbors, plates full of good food and glasses full of cheer.

It was, maybe, the best Christmas, EVER. 


Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I've learned from blogging

As I wrap up this first year of "blogging with a purpose" I'm taking a moment to reflect on this process.  What have I learned by blogging?

One thing I learned about myself is I can be disciplined.  I looked back at this year and I see I was pretty darn consistent.  My desire was to discipline myself to write a post four or five times each week.  I wanted to do it, and I did it.  This is very encouraging to me.  It shows me when I put my mind to do something, I can do it.

Another thing I learned about myself was my journey on Tamoxifen went better than I thought it would.  It was good to have a place to write down my feelings about how my body and my thought process was being effected by the drug.  I was told Tamoxifen can cause depression in some people.  I think seeing my feelings and complaints written down in black and white kept me from letting thoughts BLOW UP in my mind to a degree much greater than they actually are in reality.  I think the writing process allowed me to vent some feelings into the void and not sit and stew in them.  It also gave me a time-line to follow my progress on the drug.  I think this not only helped me, but it helped me relay my side effects to my doctor and, I feel, blogging improved the level of health care I received.

I discovered some very kind people out there in the blogosphere.  I have some very faithful readers and I've received much encouragement through their comments.  I've had family reading my blog and received a couple compliments.  (this is a bigger deal than you may think.  my family is not known for complimenting each other.  not the greatest way to interact, but this is the way we are.  I'm making efforts to change this in myself.)  I've met a couple bloggers in person through this process and my life is richer for it.  I've found blogs and bloggers through this experience that have taught me much.  I don't think I would have found their blogs had I not become a blogger myself.

I grew in my faith through bloggers I discovered through blogging.  It was good to find other bloggers with a strong faith.  Bloggers working through tough things that can happen any one of us as we walk this earth and reading about them leaning so hard on Jesus through it all.  They inspire me.  It was so good to find believers not looking for what they could "get" from a church (read; beg for money) and looking to "give" through church.  These bloggers gave me a sliver of hope for the church in the world today.

I've become a better writer through blogging.  The discipline of nearly daily writing changed the way I think about my writing.  I added more detail.  It forced me to look at the situations I was writing about from, not only my point of view, but the point of view of my reader and whether or not I was making myself clear in my writing.  Since I don't have images on my blog, I need to make my words tell the story.  I need to be descriptive.  I think it helped my proofreading, too.  If need be, I'm going to use this as a training exercise for my job.  :)

Writing this blog has been a very positive experience for me.  It's been wonderful to be open and "out there" with my feelings, the good feelings and the bad feelings.  Nothing good can come from hiding in your house and only sharing with sycophants and children.  I took the risk and shared my thoughts with ANYONE who chose to read my words.  I learned from both the criticism and the compliments, alike.  I can't think of anything I would have done differently or wish I wouldn't have written.  My only desires would be to learn to take better pictures, get more tech savvy and keep improving my writing skills.  These are all doable.  I am so looking forward to 2012.

My break, from work, begins tomorrow.  I, most likely, will not be posting until after the new year.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas tree haiku

Bare tree with baubles
Silver icicles drip down
Can you see the cross?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My top TEN blog posts of 2011

I'm distracted with the things the mom of the family is tasked with at Christmastime.  I'm sending out my Christmas cards (btw, if you'd like one sent to you through snail mail, just email your postal addy and I will be happy to send you one), baking cookies (yes, I did do some baking.  there was much cussing and unhappiness, but it got DONE), wrapping gifts (I have no idea why one must have ovaries to accomplish this task, but there you have it), and cleaning up the house as needed.  So...

I found a blog encouraging bloggers to post their 10 most popular blog posts of the year as a blog topic at the Holiday Season (aka as Christmas, but I have readers from all over the world and I don't want to alienate anyone).  The following are links to my most popular blog posts and I added the reason I think they were so popular.  Of course, I don't actually KNOW why, so the reason for the popularity will be merely conjecture on my part.  Please enjoy.

Three blogs I love
This is a blogging trick one can use when the blogger cannot come up with an interesting topic.  Instead, the blogger can choose other bloggers who write wonderful blogs and share them with the world.  I still like these bloggers very much.

I'm not a perfect person
I was searching my soul to discover the difference between being good and being perfect.  I don't want to be a perfect person.  I don't think the monster exists.

What is church
I hope this post was popular because of all the seekers out there in the world.  I know I was seeking a church and trying to figure out what church meant to me and whether I wanted it or not.  Maybe others were seeking as well.

56 similes found in the Post or hs student papers (or neither, but they're still hilarious)
A blog post picked up off the internet that made me laugh so hard I felt I needed to share the joy.

My great expectations
I think this is a popular post among high school students looking for a book report on the Dickens classic of the same name.  I hope they learn something about integrity when they find this post, but I'm thinking they just move on to the next.

15 Adult Truths
These truths were found on my Google+ feed.  It was actually 23 adult truths, but I thought these 15 were the funniest, so I posted them.  Hence, another time when I was stuck for a blog post and needed some help.  I'm glad so many people liked it.

Gratitude 101
I hope the reason for the popularity of this post is a desire for increased gratitude among people of the world.  Or maybe, it may be me riding the coat tails of the VERY POPULAR Ann Voskamp's blog.

Happy Birthday to my son
This one seems fairly obvious to me.  People are searching for birthday ideas and find my post by mistake.  I loved writing this post.  I hope, some day, my son decides to read my blog and finds this post.  It's the reason I have the list of my Top Posts on the blog.  It there just so he will see it some day.

I took an arrow in the chest
The guess for the reason of the popularity of this blog is, I believe, the image I used at the bottom of the post.  Evidently this must be some kind of Boy Scout badge.  I think I've disappointed a lot of scout leaders in their search for a badge.  I do like the post.  It was a turning point in my pursuit of my goal to learn to say nothing when there is nothing to be said to help a bad situation and speaking will only make it worse.

My MOST popular post - Stuff love
The only thing I can guess regarding the enormous popularity of this post is the possible link to porn and self love, aka as Junk love.  I don't think this many people are actually cleaning out their closets.  I see Self Storage facilities popping up everywhere I go.  People, in general, LOVE THEIR STUFF.
Oh. that may be the reason!  Maybe they didn't see I was using the Sarcasm font.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Words with friends

This is my new obsession.  It's kind of like Scrabble, but it's different in some essential ways.

It's my obsession because it's an app on my iPhone and I love playing with my phone.  Also, I'm good at it.  I'm good at it in a way I was never good at the regular Scrabble game.  I can beat my husband on this game almost every time we play.  Sadly, we sit next to each other on the couch and play Words with Friends while we watch tv.  Yep, even I think this is weird, but there you have it.

How is it different from Scrabble and why does this work better for me?  First, it has more Triple Word spaces.  Secondly, you can guess at words without being humiliated by your husband and mil.  "Of course YI isn't a word!"  (see, on WWF you can submit the word and the app will tell you it isn't a word and nobody needs to know the difference)  This allows for a LOT of guessing.  I'm super good at guessing, so this works for me.  Lastly, I play this game with my husband when he is super tired and not thinking on all cylinders.  I think this is key.

WWF is a fun game and a great way to waste time.  Just don't be like Alec Baldwin and get so into the game you can't be civil and get kicked off an airplane and make everyone wait and make the flight late because you think you are better than everyone else and then do a crappy apology on SNL that nobody believes anyway.

Happy Monday.  :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Eat the frog

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."  Mark Twain

This is my new credo.  Eat the frog.

To maximize my productivity at work and at home I do the most important, most challenging, hardest, most unliked task of my day first thing in the morning.  I look at it as a test for myself.  I don't even think about the challenge, I just dive in and get it done.  Yes, I'm a GTDer.  I find, even if I don't accomplish everything on my list of things to do, I still feel a great sense of accomplishment because I've completed a difficult and important task this day.  I've started doing this at work and it has made a huge difference.

I'd like to make a new year's resolution to exercise first thing in the morning and have that be a frog on my plate.  I know, I know...  I've said a lot about exercise and haven't followed through.  I think I'm in a big club on that point.  I've often had big plans for the new year and hope to turn over a new leaf.  I'm doing it again.  I'm not giving up on myself.  

I'm going to eat the frog.  Then then the rest of my day will be cake.  Right?

www.eatthatfrogmovie.com

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My small life

I've been reflecting on this year of blogging as 2011 is drawing to a close.  As I think about it, I realize, I live a pretty small life.  By this, I mean, I have pretty small wants and desires.  My dreams for my life are pretty small.  I don't think a small life is a bad thing.  In fact, I think if I were to choose the life I would have, I would choose this life I'm living with very few changes.

I know I've done a lot to make my life the small life it is.  I've decided I want to buy local foodstuffs for my family and shop in local stores.  We have a Walmart in our town.  In the 16 years of it's doors opening, I've entered this store less than a dozen times.  It's just not where I choose to shop.  There are a couple new chain department stores in my town and I haven't been in them yet.  Clothes shopping isn't my favorite diversion.  I buy all my produce at a local farm.  I buy my meat from local farmers.  I buy my eggs and cheese from local farmers.  This is a decision our family has made.

Because of the "buying local" food thing, I have to cook my meals at home.  Going out to a restaurant is a rare occurrence for my family.  It's not that we can't afford it.  It's that we choose to eat the food we have already purchased and eat at home.  I am so grateful for the internet and the various cooking blogs out there.  There are so many homesteading blogs with women choosing to can and preserve summer bounty.  I find so much inspiration out there in the blogosphere. 

I don't wear the most fashionable clothing.  This works out well for me, as I don't attend fancy parties and events.  If I do have to attend an event, I find something in my closet I have worn before and it gets another night out on the town.  I don't feel bad about this.  The reality of the situation is, the clothes I wear to work don't make me do a better job and the clothes I wear to a party don't make my personality any more sparkling than it already is.

I don't redecorate my house very often.  I'm satisfied with the furniture and decor I chose early in my marriage and have made it work for every house we have lived in throughout my husband's naval career and second career years.  It's so much fun to think back to the days when our kitchen table served as an end table and to remember the compliments we received on our various homes.

My husband wanted to expand my life this past year by traveling more.  We went on a lot of vacations this past year.  I have to say, it was a bit tough on me.  I'm not ungrateful.  I love travel and I had a great time on each trip.  Maybe if the hurricane hadn't broken my house I would have had an easier time being away from home.  I don't know.  I felt a bit disconnected and pushed for time to get my house fixed and back in order.  There are still quite a few things that need to be fixed and organized.  I'm looking forward to my Christmas break to get some jobs done around the house.  Maybe this means I'm a "homebody."  I don't know.

My hopes and dreams for my family are small, as well.  I want them to be happy.  I want them to be a contribution to society and to be generous to those in need.  I want my son to be able to live independently and to like his job.  I want to teach my son how to make his money work for him while he is working to earn his money. 

The most important people in my life are family.  I wish my mother lived closer to me, but she would probably want my father to come with her and I like him just where he is.  I have wonderful friends.  They are interesting and fun to hang around with.  My entertainment needs are small and my son has introduced me to Netflix streaming.  It's not great, but there is a TON of South Park on it.

My job is pretty small.  I'm a secretary.  And, I've recently discovered, through an "ALL STAFF" email from the president that I'm a non-essential employee.  It appears of the approximately 250 staff members where I work, only 18 of them were deemed essential and given raises.  Evidently, my boss is one of the essential employees.  Gee, I wonder if I helped him out at all?  I guess he did great all on his own.  *He's Awesome*  (sarcasm)

So, there you have it.  I love my life.  It's been fun to share a bit of it with my readers and even meeting a couple of you.  I'm looking forward to 2012.  I'm looking forward to sharing more of my life's journey with you and focusing on being happy on the journey.

kevinsmicrohomestead.wordpress.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Angels

I've been studying about angels lately.  Boy, what I don't know about angels could fill a book.  And, thankfully, there are books about angels.  Christmas certainly brings angels to mind.  We sing about them.  We top our trees with them.  We read the Christmas story and they're in it.  We see them on our creches.  Since I haven't finished the study, I won't be able to write a definitive blog post regarding angels, but maybe I'll whet your appetite.

This is what I have learned about angels, thus far.  First of all, angels are described in the Bible as masculine.  The best known angels have man's names; there is Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer.  Angels are supposed to be asexual.  There was one time, in Genesis, this rule was broken, but I haven't studied this part yet, so I won't comment any further on angel sex.  All the angels that exist have been created and they do not procreate.  There are a lot of angels.  The highest number in the Bible is 10,000, so the Bible says there are 10,000 times 10,000.  I believe this means there are a LOT of angels.  Angels are immortal.

There are no baby angels.  We do not turn into angels when we die and go to heaven.

Angels must be very fearsome to behold.  It seems every time an angel interacts with a human the angel must begin his message with "fear not."  After reading the complicated description of angels in the book of Ezekiel, I think angels must be AMAZING to look at.  Of course, angels can look just like human beings sometime.  We are told we can entertain angels and be unaware of it.  Abraham describes the angels that came to visit him and give him the news of the coming birth of his son Isaac as "men."  They ate.  They washed.  They rested.  They spoke his language.  The Ezekiel angels were called cherubim.  These angels are described as four-faced, six-winged, glowing, giant, floating, loud creatures.  They sounded frightening.

I think the art of the Renaissance period made us think of angels as feminine.

I think angels must be able to appear as they need to appear for the task they are sent to accomplish.  I think angels can be invisible, when needed, as well.

Angels do not understand our salvation.  This is a foreign concept to them.  On the other hand, angels rejoice when any of us accept the grace of Jesus Christ.  They rejoice as God rejoices.

Angels worship God.  Angels praise God.  They worship and praise unceasingly.  Angels obey God.  I haven't studied about the angels that didn't obey God, so I'm going to have to leave this for a later post, as well.

Finally, we are not to worship angels.  We are not to pray to angels.  Angels can carry our prayers to God as carrying incense in bowls of gold, but we don't pray TO them.

I hope this tiny post with the tiny bit of knowledge I've gleaned regarding angels has peaked your interest.  I'm looking forward to learning more about angels.  I'm going to keep the angel at the top of my Christmas tree, but I know she was made in the likeness of a woman only to make it easier for her to sit atop the tree.  

Angels don't look like this.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tamoxifen, the first year

It's my Tamoxifen anniversary.  Today I went up to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  Isn't that a mouthful.  It used to be Bethesda Naval Medical Center, but no more.  Walter Reed Army Hospital on Georgia Ave. is closed and has been completely integrated into the NEW Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.  Anyway, today was the day for my annual check-up.  I'm sure my older lady readers know what I am talking about.  Fun stuff.

One year on Tamoxifen down and four more to go.  Oh boy. 

To be completely honest, it's getting a little better.  The 9 p.m. hot flash has stopped being an every day occurrence and dwindled to about three times a week.  I still have the 7:30 a.m. hot flash every morning on my drive into work.  However, I do have the option of cranking the AC in the car to North Pole and it does help quite a bit.  Since it's December and the climate in my neck of the woods has become seasonal, I just open the window.  Sweet relief.

However, the night sweats have not diminished one little bit.  They are the bane of my existence.  There is nothing worse than finding your entire body on fire in the middle of the night, whipping off the covers to discover your body's fire department called in your sweat glands to work overtime.  Now you have a soaking wet nightie and frigid air and a wet spot on the bed that feels like ice.  Gee, I hope you don't have any trouble falling back to sleep after this episode.  You do?  Gee, that's a shame.  I had been taking benadryl and it had been helping, but my doctor told me benadryl reduces the effect Tamoxifen has on the estrogen receptors on breast cells.  And since the whole point of taking this medicine is for it to be effective, No More Benadryl.  Bummer.

I think my doc is going to look for something to help me sleep.  She seems to be acting like she cares about me a bit more lately.  Or, maybe the giant bags under my eyes have convinced her I'm sleep deprived.  Whichever, I'm going to get some help.

All in all, I'm finding my days on Tamoxifen going a bit better.  Oh, and I lost 5 lbs. without really trying.  This is always good.  So, only four more years on Tamoxifen... It looks worse when I see it written down like that.  :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas memory

Today I'm going to make an effort to retell a Christmas memory from my childhood.  As I've told you in my profile description, writing is not what I do.  Bear with me as a make an effort to tell a story and not make it sound as if Jack Webb forced it out of me.  :)

It was Christmas Eve in single family brick ranch style house in a southwestern suburb of Chicago, IL.  Christmas Eve was sort of a big deal in our family once we children grew old enough to stay up past 8:00 p.m. and interact with the adults in a polite and fairly interesting way.  In other words, the adults enjoyed our company and we no longer felt the need to be the center of attention in the room.  My mother would host a Christmas Eve cocktail party for our family and any neighbors lucky enough to be invited.  The party began when we returned home from our Christmas Eve church service.  This particular year I was 15 years old.  This would have made my younger twin brothers just ready to turn 14 on December 26th and my youngest brother on the brink of being 10 years old on December 27th.  Yep, Christmastime was a pretty festive time at my house.  We had Christmas dinner on Christmas Day.  Then TWO birthday cakes on December 26th.  Then ANOTHER birthday cake on December 27th.  There was no way anyone was going to be avoiding the Christmas calories at my house.  I digress.

On Christmas Eve my mother would host a Christmas Eve cocktail party with heavy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.  Even though cocktails were not on the menu for my brothers and me, we were served our soft drinks in cocktail glasses and allowed to feel very grown up.  My mother was a creature of habit.  We had spicy sausage meatballs in sweet and tangy sauce, little mini pizzas on party rye toast, pigs in blankets, candy cane cookies, cheese straws, and more.  It was a 1960's cocktail party in 1972.  It was perfect.  My mom worked all day to get ready for this holiday event.  I'm sure she even let me help her prepare, but I don't remember for sure.

We dressed in our Christmas finest for church back in those days.  My dress was a black bodice with red skirting.  I believe, the bodice was some type of polyester velvet.  I'm sure I looked beautiful.  At 15 I considered myself an adult, although no one else in my family did.  Off to church we went.  It was a happy time.  I remember, it began to snow as we returned home from church.  It was so exciting.  Christmas Eve, a party, snow... what more could be wished for.

As we tumble out of the Country Squire Ford station wagon and walked up the small stairway into the family room of our home.  Low and behold, there in our tiny family room, next to the fireplace, kneeling at the base of our Christmas tree, was SANTA!  Seriously, SANTA! 

Now, I didn't believe in Santa anymore, did I?  I mean, I was 15 years old.  Of course, I wasn't sure if my little brothers believed, so I wasn't going to say anything to burst their bubbles.  But, if there was no Santa, who was in my family room?  I mean, I was giving this guy a hard look up and down.  Anyway, it all happened so fast.  We walked into the room, Santa stood up quickly, he wished us a Merry Christmas and scooted out the door as quick as you can say, "Bob's your uncle" and was gone.  It was magical.  We saw the footprints in the ashes in the fireplace.  There were cookie crumbs and half a glass of milk on the counter.  And then the doorbell rang and the neighbors began to trickle in for the party.  I was still wide eyed with a combination of disbelief and wonder at the events that had just occurred before my very eyes.  My brothers were feeling the same thing.  But, who was that bearded man?  We couldn't figure it out.  This was my most memorable Christmas.  And it happened to me long after the magic of Christmas has left most homes.  I love my mom and dad for plotting and planning this wonderful Christmas experience for my brothers and me.  Such love.  So magical.  It was such a Merry Christmas.

wikipedia

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fear Not

I heard, somewhere, that the Bible says "Fear Not" or some form of don't be afraid 365 times.  I did some research, because this just sounded too cute to be true.  I'm sorry to burst anyone's bubble out there in the blogosphere (even you blogstalkers :)) but, it doesn't.

In the King James version there are 74 fear nots and 29 be not afraids.
In the New American Standard version there are 4 fear nots, 57 do not fears, and 46 do not be afraids. 

You can check all the other translations or versions or whatever you call them, for the stats in those.

Here is my point.  This week held a lot of drama in the Happy Girl family.  One of our family received a notice that one of our members was being sued for injury claims said to have been received in a car accident.  Another of our family was considering leaving their job due to differences of values in the company.  And, our BRAND NEW roof is leaking.  There are a couple other things that happened, too.

Even though there is not a Fear Not for every day of the week, I am not afraid.  Even if God told me only once, Fear Not, I'd believe him and not be afraid.  I have nothing to fear, for if God is for me, who can be against me.  NO ONE.  Not bosses that don't have your back.  Not insurance swindlers.  Not blogstalkers.  Not rain clouds and water.  There is not one person or thing I need to fear.

The shepherds were in the fields tending their flocks and the angel of the Lord appeared to them and said "Don't be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy...a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Are you a loser?

And now for something completely different.  I wasn't too surprised at my result in the loser test.  It may be due to my lack of tattoos and sexual piercings and my penchant for professional golf, but I don't know for sure.  Feel free to take a break from your holiday baking, shopping, cleaning, wrapping, or whatever else you're supposed to be doing and find out where you stand.  After all, it's good to have confirmation.  :)
 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Collin, he's 10 years old

I wasn't able to find an Angel Tree this year.  However, after talking to my study group, we decided to "adopt" two families for Christmas.  I was assigned Collin, he's 10 years old.  When these families are selected to be made available for Christmas "adoption" the children are asked to make a list of Christmas gifts they would like to receive.  To me, it sounds a lot like asking Santa for gifts, but instead of going in one ear and out the other, these kids will have a shot at actually getting the things they want for Christmas.  So, you can call me Santa, Collin.  It's crystal clear I have not been hanging around with many 10 year old boys lately.  I'd like to share Collin's list.  Any insight into what the heck some of these things are will be appreciated.

Pajama pants - size 10-12
Color Explosion 3D
Color Explosion Illusion
Color Explosion Glow Book
Color Explosion Glow Dome
Halo Character Masterchief
Connect 4 Sponge Bob
Sorry Spin
Sonic Book Volume 13
XBox 360 Disney Universe
XBox 360 Skylander
XBox 360 Spy Rose Adventure

Yikes!!!  I know what pajama pants are.  I'm fairly clear on Connect 4, however the Sponge Bob thing has me a bit baffled.  Everything else is a mystery to me.

I'm very happy to be able to adopt Collin this Christmas.  I hope he has a wonderful Christmas morning and feels the love.  I have to have the gifts purchased and wrapped by Monday, so there is that pressure (I'm going to AC for the weekend).  But, all in all, I'm loving it.  So far this Christmas is turning out to be one of the best, EVER.

My tree is up.  My house has lights on the outside.  I bought ingredients for one type of cookies, but I'll make four batches for gifts.  I'm anticipating the coming of my King.  Today I read about Jesus being the servant of all.  In Mark's gospel, Jesus took a child in his arms and told his disciples whoever received a child in his name would receive him, and the one who sent him.  Today, I will focus on being a servant.  The first person I will serve is Collin.  He's 10 years old.


Linked to Emily at Imperfect Prose.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm a winner

I am a winner in my life.  This year I have done a complete 180 in my attitude about my job.  This year I have become accepting of the next four years of my life on Tamoxifen and its side effects.  This year I have become focused on being positive in my life and being a positive influence on others.  This is why I am a winner.  Jim Tressel shared 10 tips for leading a successful life.  These tips can give you the encouragement and be a guide you need to become a winner in your own life. 
 
1.  Decide your purpose and set your goals
  • Success at any endeavor is not in the trappings of awards or trophies.  Success is found in the peace of mind attained by knowing you have done your very best to become the best you, you are capable of being.  Success is internal.
2.  Develop an attitude of gratitude
  • Count your blessings.  Stop whining about what you don't have and focus on what you have.  I've been continuing to add to my gratitude list and it really does make an impact on how I view myself.
3.  Create your own enthusiasm
  • We all know the law of inertia in physics.  A body in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.  Enthusiasm for yourself provides that forward motion.  Of course there is always the possibility of being acted on by an outside force, but when you provide your own enthusiasm, you provide your own forward motion.
4.  Discipline is a daily decision
  • Every day is a new day.  Every day you can decide to do what you need to do and do it for just that day.  No matter what the activity.  Whether your activity is exercise, or study, or smiling, or cleaning house, or whatever, decide you will do this activity each day and focus on each day as its own entity.
5.  Be your best where you are
  • Focus on the moment.  This breaks the daily decision of discipline into small increments.  Focus on the moment you find yourself and be your best.  Just for that moment.
6.  Pursue excellence
7.  Have faith and believe
  • Trust in something bigger than yourself.  Have a faith in a higher power.  Have a belief in your purpose.  Having a faith and believing in your purpose is not about what you can accomplish.  Faith is the foundation of who you are.  Belief is the outward expression of that faith by what you do.
8.  Learn from failure
  • Be persistent.  Don't give up.  Winners don't let failure stop them.  Winners learn from their failures and try again.  Quitters are never winners.
9.  Be prepared for adversity
  • Adversity is not a question of "if."  Adversity is a question of "when."  Adversity will come our way.  If our attitude is negative and we become defensive when faced with criticism, we will blame others and miss our opportunity to advance.  Embrace the obstacles on your path to success.
10.  Love
  • Love isn't about receiving pleasure from a person or pursuit.  Love is about how much we want to give to a person or a pursuit.  If we love something or someone, we want to give back.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday 160 - Making bread

Bad choices make great stories
Do they not?
Fodder & grist for the mill
Mixed with her tears
Baked with his ire
I will enjoy the fruits of my labor
With butter & jam

This is Monkey Man's last time hosting the Sunday 160.  I didn't post here very often, but I loved the challenge of the 160.  Fare thee well, Monkey Man.



Friday, December 2, 2011

56 similes found in in the Post or hs student papers (or neither, but they’re still hilarious)

I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing.  Especially to improve my poetry.  I think similes are so helpful in bringing words to life.  I found this HUGE list of similes and they are HILARIOUS.  It's hard to tell where this list originated.  Some say it was from a Washington Post contest.  Others avow the list is collected from high school English teachers.  Who cares?  They are funny.

Feel free to select your favorites in the comments.  :)

I hope your weekend is joyful and relaxing, like a stressful and sad work week isn't.
  1. Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
  2. He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.
  3. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
  4. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  5. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  6. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  7. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  8. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  9. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  10. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  11. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
  12. The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.
  13. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  14. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  15. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at asolar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  16. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
  17. Shots rang out, as shots are apt to do.
  18. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
  19. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  20. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  21. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
  22. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
  23. Even in his last years, Grand pappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
  24. He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose.
  25. She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.
  26. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
  27. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  28. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  29. “Oh, Jason, take me!” she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night.
  30. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
  31. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  32. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
  33. The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
  34. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
  35. Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”
  36. The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.
  37. The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.
  38. She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.
  39. Her pants fit her like a glove, well, maybe more like a mitten, actually.
  40. Fishing is like waiting for something that does not happen very often.
  41. They were as good friends as the people on “Friends.”
  42. Oooo, he smells bad, she thought, as bad as Calvin Klein’s Obsession would smell if it were called Enema and was made from spoiled Spamburgers instead of natural floral fragrances.
  43. The knife was as sharp as the one used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.
  44. He was as bald as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo.
  45. The sardines were packed as tight as the coach section of a 747.
  46. Her eyes were shining like two marbles that someone dropped in mucus and then held up to catch the light.
  47. The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas.
  48. I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either.
  49. She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can’t sing worth a damn.
  50. Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
  51. It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.
  52. Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake.
  53. You know how in “Rocky” he prepares for the fight by punching sides of raw beef? Well, yesterday it was as cold as that meat locker he was in.
  54. The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.
  55. Her lips were red and full, like tubes of blood drawn by an inattentive phlebotomist.
  56. The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    "I wish my husband didn't have to go to work. EVER"

    I recently saw a fb status saying "I wish my husband didn't have to go to work.  EVER."  The posting of this status was quickly followed by dozens of likes and dozens of comments stating how much these commenting wives wanted their husbands home with them all day.  How they LOVE to be together.  How they NEED to talk to them and be with them.  <3

    After a few minutes of laughing out loud, I took a breath and thought about the feelings and thoughts behind these "likes" and comments. 

    Did these women really want their husband home with them so they could spend all day together, doing things together?  Or, was it the desire for their husband to be home and to do their work FOR them?  These posting, liking, commenting women were all stay at home moms with small children.  These are women who had made a conscience choice to quit their jobs and stay home with their children.  Don't get me wrong, I think being a SAHM is a wonderful thing to do.  If your family can afford to do it or if you can adjust to living within the means of a one income family, I think it is the best thing you can do for your family.  I also think, having made this decision, being a SAHM is a job.  Part of the job is being the support the working spouse needs to continue to go back into the working world day after day.  It doesn't mean your spouse works for you.  What happened to the Proverbs 31 woman?

    I know my mom thought I had it easy while I was home with my child.  And, I did.  I had a washer and dryer in my house.  I had a dishwasher and a microwave oven.  I had a VHS with as many Disney tapes as any child could view.  I could afford to call long distance to my mom whenever I needed her.  Compared to the 1950's and 1960's when my mother was home with my brothers and me, you bet I had it easier.

    Now I'm looking at these women posting their status on facebook and having their status liked and commented on within a split second of posting.  Are they on facebook ALL THE TIME?  It makes me wonder.  Where is the time spent playing with children?  Where is the time spent reading to children?  Cooking for them?  Oh, and pouring a can of soup over rice isn't really cooking.  Washing their clothes?  Cleaning up after them?  How do they have time to be on facebook so much?  Btw, the status poster also commented that she and her husband emailed and called each other many times during the work day.  So,it seems, neither of them are putting in a full day of work.     

    I saw a magnet on my mom's refrigerator.  It said "Retirement, twice the husband, half the money."

    This ^ is my future.  I'm not saying I'm not looking forward to being retired.  'cause I am.  I'm not saying I'm not looking forward to being with my husband ALL DAY.  'cause I am.  I guess I'm saying, I may end up being on facebook a lot more.  ;)
     
       

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Participating in Advent

    Advent is the liturgical period preceding Christmas, beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.  The focus is the coming of Jesus at the Incarnation and observed by many Christians as a season of prayer, fasting and penitence.

    Participating in Advent is a wonderful way to put the focus on what Christmas really is all about.  Jesus was born to be a savior to the world.  God come to earth, incarnate.  Emmanuel.

    I've never really focused on Advent in a personal way.  Sure, I've seen the church pick a family to come up to the front during Sunday service and light a candle on the wreath and read a Bible verse and pray a prayer.  This is usually quite entertaining as the small child lighting the candle brings all the suspense and tension of a disaster movie and the verse and prayer is usually inaudible and guessing what is being said makes the imagination wander into areas best not brought into the sanctuary.  Advent always seemed, to me, to be made for children.  I've seen Advent calendars with little doors to open with candy treats inside.  It always looked like the countdown to Santa's arrival rather than the coming of the King.

    I've discovered Advent reminds us to focus on the second coming of our King and reminds us to keep Jesus at the center of our lives.  I know this is something I need to do.  I've found myself at the center of my life for far too long, lately.

    I've found an Advent app for my iPhone with a Bible study to guide me through Advent.  I hope to learn more about Advent.  I'd like to learn what the candles mean and why there is a pink candle.  I'd like to move Jesus into the center of my thoughts and my life and, certainly, my Christmas.  The first day begins with Simeon and Anna meeting the Holy family and witnessing a promise they each had waited every day to see fulfilled in their lifetimes.  I want my Advent season filled with the anticipation of the coming of Christ, at Christmas and at the second coming.  I hope to be able to share more of my discoveries with you as this ADVENTure in Advent unfolds.

    Happy Advent.  Oh come, Emmanuel.

    Linking with Em at Imperfect Prose.


    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Missional ideas for "stay at home" missionaries

    This Christmas season I've been making an effort to focus outside myself and my family and focus on being intentional in making Christmas meaningful this year.  Most of the effort I've put forward in this endeavor, thus far, has cost me money and very little time.  I did the shoebox Christmas gifts and the Soldiers' Angels Christmas cards.  These really didn't involve too much of my time.  Today I'm focusing on being a Stay At Home missionary.  This will involve more of my time than my money.  I think it's a good thing.  This is what I want to do to change the way I feel about my relationship with Jesus and the way I relate to people outside of a relationship with Jesus.  Below are eight things we can do to treat our home towns and neighborhoods like the mission field they are.  Of course, this isn't just a Christmas mission.  But isn't Christmastime a wonderful time to start?

    1.  Eat with people far from God.  People eat at least two times a day.  Try to find a person to share lunch with at least three times a week.

    2.  Walk, don't drive.  If you live in a walkable area, make a practice of getting out and walking around your neighborhood.

    3.  Be a regular.  Instead of hopping all over the city for gas, groceries, eating out, and coffee, go to the same places.

    4.  Hobby with others.  Pick a hobby you can share.  Get out and do something you enjoy with others.  Try a city league sport.

    5.  Talk to your co-workers.  How hard is that?  Take your breaks with intentionality.  Pick four co-workers and pray for them.  Just be nice.

    6.  Volunteer for secular charities.  What do you care about?  Get involved and do it with people far from God.

    7.  Participate in city events.  Don't just cocoon at home.  Go to fundraisers, festivals, clean-ups, summer shows, and concerts.

    8.  Serve your neighbors.  Help a neighbor by weeding, mowing, building a cabinet, fixing a car.  Do ANYTHING to show you care.

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

    And, we're off...

    I feel it in my bones.  The anticipation of completing my Christmas checklist on time and getting it done just right.  It's funny, I pretty sure no one else in my family is feeling this same anxiety.  Just me.

    I wonder how these traditions became ingrained in my head?  I have to have Christmas lights on the outside of the house, wreaths on all the windows, at least one decorated Christmas tree (but 2 or 3 trees would be better), decorate the house with assorted decorations and greenery, send out all the Christmas cards, bake the Christmas cookies, shop for the gifts, wrap the gifts, clean the house, invite friends to the house, make the Christmas dinner.  Did I miss anything?

    I'm torn between wanting to make Christmas memorable by doing the Christmas traditions and making Christmas meaningful by doing things for others in the name of Jesus.  In the end, I'm feeling as if I've added more to my Christmas busyness than I've taken away from it.

    I am a woman who is able to remove an article of clothing from her closet for each new article of clothing added to her closet.  I am a woman who is able to toss items left unused or unworn for one year, but, I can't seem to let go of any Christmas traditions.  I have friends who send New Year cards because doing Christmas cards is too time costly.  I know of people who do not put up a Christmas tree in their home or lights on their home, and yet, they still manage to call it Christmas.  I want to be one of those people.  How do they do it? 

    I've written on this blog about wanting Christmas to be different this year.  I'm still working on it.  Today I am mailing off my Soldier Angel Christmas cards.  Somehow, I cannot let these Soldier Angel cards replace the cards I send to friends and family, but in my heart I think this would be the most appropriate thing to do to minimize Christmas busyness.  We sent off our shoebox Christmas gifts, but this will not replace the gifts we give each other in our family.  Although, I think they should because this would minimize our Christmas spending. 

    Maybe the best idea for me would be to just do less.  This year I will give my son just one gift.  (not counting socks and underwear, because, well just because)  I'm hesitant to say I will give my husband only one gift, (mostly because he reads my blog and he may not be happy with this decision) but maybe just one gift would be OK this year.  As for me, I would like to receive the gift of an organized house this year.  Maybe this will help me have a more meaningful Christmas.

    I'm trying to think of my next meaningful Christmas giving.  I would like to find an Angel Tree in the area.  I've seen these before and I like the idea behind them.  This mission is to give Christmas gifts to the children in the area who have a mother or father in prison.  There used to be a department store in our area that always had one of these Angel Trees.  It was in a part of town I don't usually visit.  I liked it because you could go in the store, take some cards off the tree, shop for the gifts written on the cards while you were in the store and then leave them under the tree.  It felt really right and I didn't mind the fact that it promoted shopping in that particular store.  Too bad this store isn't open anymore.  I'm going to have to go hunting for one like it.  I'll let you know how this works out for me. 
     
    In the meantime, I will continue my attempts at minimizing my Christmas busyness and maximizing my Christmas purpose.  Wish me luck.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    #ThankGod

    I noticed that #ThankGod was trending on Twitter.  I thought I would take a few minutes to see what all the people thanking God were thanking God for.  I thought it would be fun.  I was surprised.  I was educated.  I am so happy there are so many people thanking God.

    *Evidently many people use God as an alarm clock.  This was news to me, but check out a few of the tweets I found.

    tpoydras_CBG 
    First and foremost, gotta thank the man up above for waking me up this morning....#ThankGod

    Smoke_FYT
    #ThankGod for waking me yo this morning
     
    LivingNDopeness 
    #ThankGod For waking me up this morning
     
    Nyiah5 
    #ThankGOD for wakin me n mine
     
    *And many people are grateful God makes the coffee.
     
    xobrandinicole 
    #ThankGod for Starbucks. I would be lost...well...more like asleep :)
     
    kaitlynlacass kaitlynbrielle
    Caramel latte # starbucksatschool #thankgod
     
    *There are a lot of folks grateful for their jobs.  And they should be grateful.  Thanks, Obama.  The unemployment rate is AWESOME.
     
    Buddy_Lee55 
    #ThankGod for a new job!!!
     
    QcKid4rmQueensz
    I'm blessed ..I have more than one job a roof over my head n food on the table #ThankGOD 
     
    PrinceMason 
    I #ThankGOD tht I still hav my Good Health, LiFe, Family, Job, Truck & Im still n my Right Mind*
     
    *Most of the tweeters are happy they have a break in classes, or they did well on a test, or they never have to take a particular course again.  As long as there are tests, there will always be prayer in school.  :) 
     
    caseykowal  
    3 classes to get through then i'm finally going home! #thankgod 
     
    Chance_Jones 
    Last day of school #thankgod 
     
    *Some people are grateful to God for the short work week.  And not everyone is grateful for their jobs. 
     
    sarahaadkins17  
    last day of the work week #thankgod #ihatemyjob 
     
    *There are plenty of people thanking God for all the physical blessings he as bestowed upon them. 
     
    ImFlyAF  
    I love my teeth. Pearly, straight & white. #thankgod
     
    _InfamousBunnii Hii 
    #ThankGod for the person That You made me.
     
    GoodPuh_See
    Your #tooshort to be my boyfriend. #ThankGod.
     
    *Some of the tweeters were paying attention in Sunday School.  They know God is about second chances and faith and hope. 
     
    wasupstew  
    #ThankGod for 2nd chances! Where sould i be w/o the Lord's grace?
     
    Mark_Ingram28 
    Another morning, Another opportunity #thankGod #Amen 
     
    HIGHDEFBeauty  
    #ThankGod for EVERYTHING! The good the bad and all in between! without the Lord I am an empty shell!
     
    BlakeWalker24 
    I #ThankGod that even though times are tough, he will make sure we get through them as long as our faith is strong.
     
    *Of course, there were many thanks to God for the really important things in life. 
     
    AntjHart  
    #ThankGod for candy and ice cream.
     
    AntjHart 
    #ThankGod for Netflix
     
    ihotunem  
    There's good network coverage here as well #ThankGod  
     
    demimcpherson  
    Moving back in with my mom. #thankgod
     
    dmalamud
    #thankgod I took a vacation day tomorrow
     
    *And a few of the tweeters thanked God for being God and doing what God does
     
    KnwItAll_Ash  
    #ThankGod For Loving Me!!!!
     

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Is it Thanksgiving or black Friday?

    I've never been a fan of the black Friday.  I don't like the crowds.  I don't like the pushing and shoving and waiting in line.  That being said, I've become a fan of the Thanksgiving midnight madness.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want to participate, I want to gawk.  I have had the pleasure of strolling through the mall or outlet mall parking area looking at the people in line around the block to get into a store to save an extra 10% on an item that probably won't be appreciated and will most likely will end up costing 25% more because of the finance charges of the credit card company.  It's a spectacle that amuses me and saddens me, simultaneously.  This Thanksgiving evening, most likely, I will go and watch.  I will think about the dinner I ate this day while I walk and fool myself into thinking I'm exercising.  I will see the people in their pajamas, participating in a promotional gimmick.  I will see children awake and up way past an acceptable bedtime and observe them being trained in overspending and developing an entitlement mentality.  There will be thousands upon thousands of people participating in the madness.

    My desire is to forgo the madness.  I don't want to be sucked into the whirlwind of the holiday frenzy.  I remember a day 21 years ago.  I lived in Monterey, CA.  It was during the Gulf War.  I felt so blessed.  My husband was in PG school and not stationed on a ship in the Gulf.  He was home with me and we were celebrating Christmas as a family.  We were sponsoring an Israeli  family.  The dad was in the Israeli Air Force and the mom was a stay at home mom, like me.  They had a little girl, I had a little boy.  One day we walked into town to walk the children and have time out of the house.  There were Christmas decorations all around and Christmas music playing.  The mom asked me a pointed question.  It was her first time in the U.S and she asked me, "Isn't Christmas a religious holiday?"  I looked around.  I couldn't see any evidence of a religious aspect to this holiday.  Here I was, an American Christian talking to a Israeli Jew and I couldn't explain the lack of religious identifiers anywhere around me.  And, this was 21 years ago.  And, this was in a country at war.  My Israeli friend was worried about SCUD missiles being rocketed into her country.  The fear of her friends and family being attacked with poison gas.  It made me a little sick to think I lived in a country where so many people weren't even thinking about the war and weren't thinking about the significance of the holiday they were celebrating.

    We are now 10 years past 9/11.  We have been attacked on our soil.  Our country is at war, again.  I believe we are even further into the abyss and even more intentional in our ignoring of the religious significance of the holiday we celebrate.  I'm afraid we, who believe, may be becoming quieter and quieter about our beliefs.  We don't want to upset anyone.  We want to be tolerant.  We want to blame the government and the banks for our greed and impatience.  We want what we want when we want it.  I want to stop this madness, at least I want to stop it in my house.

    What do I want for Christmas?  I want my house back together.  I want a closer relationship with my husband and son.  I want a closer walk with my Lord.  I wonder if these things can be wrapped and set under the tree?  I'm going to try.  I think my next Christmas project will be to send Christmas cards to wounded soldiers.

    If you would like to reach out to a wounded hero this Holiday Season, here is a great options that will ensure your card makes it to a wounded warrior who needs to know someone cares.  (IMPORTANT NOTE:  Please avoid sending anything with glitter--it tends to get everywhere, of course, even in wounds and bandages.):
    Send your cards to Soldiers' Angels.  They will be included in Holiday gifts for wounded warriors and hand-delivered at major military medical centers and VA facilities across the country:

    You only have a few days left for this Christmas.


    Soldiers' Angels
    Cards for the Wounded
    4408 N. PanAm Exprwy
    San Antonio, TX 78218