Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Duck, Duck, Goose!

I might be over the whole goose-smacking incident.

Because aren't these just the cutest things you've ever seen?

With their momma...

And the irony of this sign is not lost on me, having seen it completely iced over just a few months ago.

Here's the proud daddy keeping watch.

gosling: noun
1 a young goose
2 a foolish or callow person

I was snapping pictures of definition number 1, while people driving by and the parental geese thought they were looking at definition number 2, or at least a crazy person.

But those geese needed redemption after my last encounter, and their cute little peeps were just the way.

Notice that spring is springing in the background!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Memory Monday — Deuteronomy 6:4-8 (Phylacteries)

I seem to be going for the every other week theme right now. Not necessarily a good thing.

From memory:

Deuteronomy 6:4-8
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

This was supposed to include verse 9, but when I sat down to type it out I went blank. Not quite completely. I knew the verse had to do with doorposts (it was doorframes) and gates, but the actual verse was completely gone from my mind. So I get to do it again next week with verse 9.

Verse 8 got me thinking a little bit, because I always focused on verse 9, the one I couldn't remember, and the commandments of the Lord being there as you walk out to remind you before you face the world. But binding them on your forehead — exactly how was that supposed to work?

First I used John MacArthur's Bible Commentary (the one for the entire Bible) and looked up these verses. He said that that the Israelites were to continually meditate on and be led by God's commandments, but that later in Jewish history that this phrase was mistakenly taken literally and that the people tied phylacteries to their hands and foreheads with leather straps. These phylacteries are little boxes containing these verses, and are also called tefillin, or putting on teffillin (thanks, Wikipedia).

When I looked up phylacteries on the internet and found some information on various sites, including Wikipedia, there were a few pictures, which was really what I was interested in. Because I'm curious that way and wanted to know what it looked like to wear it on your forehead. Here are what the phylacteries look like

and here is what they look like being worn, on the forehead and on the arm.

There were rules and such about wearing them, and I'm also curious enough to find it interesting to read about that stuff. If you are, you can just google phylacteries.

For more Memory Monday stuff, join Joanne at The Simple Wife.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday — April 27th

I'm not even putting fish on my menu again, because I don't think it's ever going to get made. Ever! I mean, what's it been? Five weeks? That's all I'm going to say about that.

This week Hubby is out of town. He won't be back until late Friday night, which means he'll only be here for what I cook on Saturday. When he was out of town a couple of weeks ago I didn't menu plan, and boy, was that a mistake. We were in a dither.

So this time I'm planning, and I'm planning simple. Because it makes the kids happy, it makes me happy, and we have baseball practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night. Assuming we have no snow.

Okay, seriously I don't think we'll get anymore snow, but maybe rain. Oh, and at the same time as Wednesday ball practice, church. Figure that one out and I'll fix you dinner, too.

Monday — Clean out the fridge and pantry night. Wow, two weeks in a row. This is kind of fun.


Wednesday — Baked Potatoes.

ThursdayChicken Spaghetti.

Friday — Leftovers.

Saturday — Homemade Hamburgers. Made by Hubby, so I hope he reads this while he's gone.

Sunday — Eat out since we ate in all week!

Go visit Laura, The Organizing Junkie, for more great menu ideas and recipes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Tribute to a Special Lady

I fully intended to put this at the end of my post about my grandpa, but it just got too long. I didn't want to take away from that post, but I also didn't want anyone to possibly miss out on this story either, so I split them up. They were related in that my grandpa served in WWII and was part of the Dachau liberation, and this story has to do with the Holocaust, particularly in Poland.

Now I've taught my kids a lot of history from this time period, and in doing so I learned more than I ever did in school myself. It's difficult for me not to tear up whenever I am teaching this subject, but my kids already know I can be a crier. But it just breaks my heart, and I don't really mince too many words when I tell my kids about it, because I don't want them to look past the importance of that time and the sacrifices that so many people made.

As long as I can remember knowing about the Holocaust, I also remember Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom. When I was 13 years old (and I know that because I associate things, and I was wearing my full leg splint following my knee surgery from chipping my bone), my church showed The Hiding Place one night in the sanctuary. We sat on the right side, and if you walked straight out the door and a few steps forward you would go into the library. Eventually that night I had to leave the santuary and go sit in the library, because I simply couldn't handle the movie. It was just too sad and crushing and emotional for me, and to this day I have movie clips stuck in my head from 30 years ago.

I have no doubt that there were many, many people who were heroes during that time who were lost with little or no recognition. Would we have known as much about Corrie Ten Boom if she hadn't survived? Probably not. But what a witness she was all those years after the war, too.

That said, Hubby sent me a news clip a few weeks ago. I've been hanging on to it, like I said planning to associate it with the post about my grandpa, but not being able to work it in yesterday. I don't for a minute want to miss sharing it with you, because this story is about an amazing lady and what she did during the Holocaust in Poland, specifically in the Warsaw Ghetto.

I continue to be amazed by The Greatest Generation that stood for right in the face of wrong no matter what the cost.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Tribute to a Special Man

Today would be my maternal grandfather's 96th birthday if he was still living. He passed away one day after his 91st birthday in 2004. He had been in the hospital a week and passed peacefully.

My husband and my grandfather were very close. They had sports in common, and they had U.S. Army service in common. My grandfather was drafted and served in World War II. Hubby had him pin on his Captains bars when he was promoted, and Grandpa would come to any event that was pre-planned when we lived in Missouri (it was within driving distance).

Hubby went to Kuwait in August of 2003, and he had come home for his R&R at the end of March, 2004. My right arm paralyzed completely and suddenly around the end of February (yes, I know the exact date!), and he was going through the process of trying to stay stateside for my medical situation. My mom had already spent four complete weeks with me and the kids to help.

Hubby's command in Kuwait released him, and his branch reassigned him in St. Louis (just on the other side of the Mississippi river from where we lived in Illinois), and he did not have to return. I tell you all this because of the comment my uncle made at my grandfather's funeral. It was kind of a light bulb moment for all of us.

"If Kayren's arm hadn't been paralyzed, you wouldn't have been here for Grandpa's funeral."

Now I don't think God struck me or anything, but I think he waited to heal me.

I was close to my grandpa, too. My mother and I lived with my grandparent's until I was almost three (my father divorced my mother immediately upon returning from Viet Nam). I also inherited his knack for accounting and being really particular about it, his enjoyment of stamp collecting, and his love of ice cream. I would travel with my grandparent's in the summer to visit my great-grandparents about three hours away in Monett, Missouri, and one night while we were there my grandpa and I would walk up to the Dairy Queen a few streets over and up, get a treat, and eat it as we walked back to the house.

My grandpa lived in the middle of the dust bowl in Kansas, through the Depression, and signed up for the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). He ended up over in the Northwest part of the United States. Here he is at Ruffneck Peak, El. 9419, Ft. Stanley, Idaho, Aug. 22, 1936.

The man labeled all his pictures, with details. If it weren't for him, our family would not have the photos it does. Here are some more pictures from when he was with the CCC.

There are a few pictures of his friends with a fish along with this one, and it looks an awful lot like the same fish. I don't really know, but I'm suspicious. It's something like a 13 lb. salmon. I've already put the picture away so I can't read those details on the back again and didn't write them down the first time.

When his time was up he was to be sent back to Kansas where they originally picked him up on the train, but he had someone give him a fake letter that he had a job in San Francisco, because he wanted to go to California. He got there, but he wasn't able to get a job, and his youngest brother Claude worked it out so that he could come back to Kansas, work at the diner where he did, and go to school at Parsons Business College. Grandpa had just enough money for a share-the-ride program to get back, and Parsons Business College is where he met my Grandma.

My grandma always told me two things that other people told her: that she shouldn't marry Grandpa because he was too short, and that she shouldn't marry Grandpa because it would make him more likely to be drafted.

Well, he was drafted, but I don't know that it had anything to do with being married.

Grandma was expecting my mom when Grandpa left for Europe. Once she had my mom, he got a telegram, but all it said was that mom and baby were fine. It didn't tell him if he had a son or a daughter. It was a week or two before he was able to find out. When you watch 'Saving Private Ryan' you see how it was probably difficult for notice to get around.

When I was growing up Grandma always ironed Grandpa's underwear and white undershirts. I asked her once why she did it. She told me that she always said that if Grandpa came home from the war, that she would always iron his underwear and undershirts. Good thing she didn't use starch, I guess.

While Grandpa was over in Europe, he 'ran into' his brother-in-law, my Grandma's brother Bill. Here they are in Obermoos, Austria.

When Grandpa came back from the war, he went to work for the Corps of Engineers in Mountain Home, Arkansas, that was responsible for building both of the dams. He worked for them until he retired, and then he stayed busy being the Financial Secretary at church. He'd been doing it anyway in his non-work hours, but he couldn't just sit at home once he retired.

When my grandparents were getting ready to go on a European tour tracing the route Grandpa's unit took in WWII (along with the rest of his group), the church took up donations for a money tree. I still remember to this day the story he told in church that night when they presented the tree. He had recently been counting money and envelopes, and he was a meticulous man, but he was $50 short. He couldn't find it anywhere, and this was well before the days of the counting committees you see now. Well, he put in his own money to make up the difference, but he didn't tell anyone, not even Grandma. The money tree had well more than $50 on it.

Grandpa loved the Razorbacks. He got us season tickets to the football games in Fayetteville one year for Christmas when we lived close enough to go with him. Here are Hubby and Grandpa back in the late 80's/early 90's.

I remember whenever I traveled with my Grandpa anywhere that we always had to stop at the post office. If it was a new place we were traveling, we would 'look for the flag.' Obviously that works in small towns the best, but all post offices fly the U.S. flag, and everyone doesn't, so it's an easy marker.

Because if you're not a stamp collector you probably don't know that if you live somewhere different you might have different plate numbers that print on your stamps, or on your coils, or on your booklets. All kinds of stuff that can be different just because it's in a different place, and sometimes Grandpa would drive a few towns over just to check for different numbers. Sometimes they'd let him look without buying if they were the same.

So when they built a new post office in my home town, guess who got to be the very first person to make a purchase? Yep, Grandpa. 85 years old and wearing a Looney Tunes tie.

On the off chance this caption can't be read once I post, it says, "Everett Wheeler, an 85-year-old Mountain Home stamp collector who's been collecting for 53 years, was the first person to buy stamps at the new Mountain Home Post Office Monday morning."

Pretty cool, huh?

Well, because you are probably tired of me going on and on about my Grandpa, I guess I can wrap this up. I'm obviously a little partial to my Grandpa, but I truly think this generation was the greatest, just like Tom Brokaw's book says.

Oh, Caboose's middle name is Everett after my grandfather. This is a picture of my grandpa in December, 2001,

and here is Caboose at that same time climbing up in Grandpa's chair.

Apparently he was unknowingly preparing for the day when Chatty's children will be taking care of him so he doesn't have to go to the nursing home, not planning to marry and have his own children and all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

There's a First Time for Everything

I got tagged and now I'm it. Run for cover, people.

I've never been tagged before. I tell you the excitement runs deep. It's the little things, because after doing 3rd grade math for the fourth time in my life (the girls count as one time, I suppose), it really doesn't take too much to excite me.

I was tagged for the '8 Things' tag, if it has a name. If it doesn't, I guess I just named it. Bobbi at Blogging Along tagged me. Thanks, Bobbi!

Here's how 8 THINGS works:

  1. Mention the person that tagged you.
  2. Complete the lists of 8's.
  3. Tag 8 of your wonderful bloggy friends.
  4. Go tell them you tagged them!


  1. Spring finally springing forth, especially now that we're officially Michiganders.
  2. Summer...since we moved to Michigan towards the end of that season I can't wait to see what it's really like, and probably unlike every hot, humid summer I've ever lived my entire life.
  3. Fall, because I'll be ready for it and it's one of my favorite seasons.
  4. Winter, because I love that season, I'm going to get my Christmas tree up in a timely manner this year, and I'm going with the theme now.
  5. Getting my scrapbooking caught up, or close to it...but is that possible?
  6. Birding in Ohio in May.
  7. Hockey playoffs, even though St. Louis is out, Detroit is still in.
  8. Baseball season, because it's just the best.


  1. Laundry, which could fill up all eight lines, but I won't.
  2. Read blogs, but didn't do a post of my own.
  3. Planned Friday's blog post, which is going to be special.
  4. Did school with my kids.
  5. Read some of my devotional (Mocha on the Mount), my Bible, and some non-fiction.
  6. Ate dinner with Hubby and the boys (the girls were at the youth pastor's house).
  7. Were voted in with my family as official church members.
  8. Watched it rain.


  1. Find one special true girlfriend for life, the kind you can trust with any secret and know it won't go anywhere.
  2. Sing.
  3. Knit.
  4. Crochet without help.
  5. Enjoy reading non-fiction more.
  6. Yell less.
  7. Enjoy fixing dinner.
  8. Meet my favorite bloggy friends.


  1. Clean House
  2. American Idol
  3. Matlock
  4. Murder, She Wrote
  5. Deadliest Catch
  6. Property Virgins
  7. Get It Sold
  8. House Hunters


  1. Betsy @ My Five Men
  2. Demara @ Yokoso
  3. Lora @ My Blessed Life
  4. Bonnie @ Simple Beauty
  5. Heather @ Kicking It In Crazyville
  6. Reese @ Kicking It In Crazyville
  7. Rochelle @ Learning to Trust
  8. Jill @ Controlling My Chaos

Now I'm off to tell everyone they've been tagged. Let me know if you decide to play along.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why the Groom Shouldn't be in Charge of the Wedding Cake

Of course, this is my personal opinion.

I wonder how many points they got for the first two cakes though?

If Caboose was ever going to get married and leave home, I would need to warn his future bride, because this monster truck cake might be too good for him to pass up. Plus he has quite the sense of humor and would think it would be funny.

Fourth Times a Charm...

I've been wanting to use the random number generator, and even though there were only five comments, I decided I'd use it. Would have been more fun with say 100, or even 15, but I did it anyway.

And the winner of 'How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I'm Surrounded by Loose Cannons?' is...

Commenter #3, the author, Kathi Macias. So I'm thinking she already has enough copies of her book. So after I found a camera and got a picture without the flash, I tried it again.

Seems like it was determined to give Kathi her book! So I tried again after another photo.

I was starting to think it either wasn't so random or this was why it works much better if you have 100, or 15. I did it again.

Yay! Commenter #1, Stephanie at My Answered Prayer. Click on my profile and email me with your address and I'll get it right out to you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday — April 20th-April 26th

Well, first things first. If you're looking for the giveaway, you could go to the home page and scroll down through a few days or just click here and it will take you straight to the specific post. You have to comment by Tuesday, April 21st at noon EST to be eligible.

Now for the menu...last week Hubby was out of town and I didn't post my menu. That's because I had no plan. Made the week a little tricky to say the least. So now I'm definitely seeing the benefit of planning my meals even if Hubby is gone.

Monday — Clean out the fridge and pantry night. We haven't done this for a few weeks, so it's time again.

TuesdayTacos, using homemade taco seasoning with no msg. This is probably my kids' favorite all-time meal.

WednesdayTaco Salad. I always make extra taco meat to plan for taco salad the following night.

Thursday — Spaghetti. We have a ball practice, Bible study, and one vehicle. We need something easy.

Friday — Maybe that fish I've been talking about for roughly four weeks. One of these days... If not, it will probably be breakfast for dinner.

Saturday — Depending on how Friday pans out, it will be breakfast for dinner (Farmer's Breakfast, pancakes), or baked potatoes.

Sunday — Eat out since we ate in all week! I finally saw a Pizza Hut, so I think maybe we'll go there. There aren't many around here.

Like always, you can find tons of great menu and recipe ideas if you go visit the Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Headline: Wife Cleaning Papers out of File Cabinet Remembers When Soldier Husband Was Almost Detained by Hostile Middle Easterners

We have had a metal four-drawer filing cabinet for close to 10 years. It is currently stationed in the garage, right beside the door leading into the house.

I'm changing my filing system, and without going into that right now, let's just suffice to say that I'm going through every piece of paper in those four drawers. And they were full.

Some of it has been dreadful, and some of it has been kind of fun. I was reminded of the story from June of 1991 when Hubby left for Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, and he had a tiny little detour along the way. He did not go with a unit and flew commercial with no passport and only orders.

I am going to reprint his 'Memorandum For Record' that he had to submit once he arrived six days after leaving the United States. I am going to take some liberties since the original memorandum was typed in all caps. Blogger won't let me do tabs either, even in edit html, so please forgive the timetable spacing.

Subject: 1LT Cross Travel to Saudi Arabia

The following is the itinerary that I followed in getting into Saudi Arabia:

DEP Rolla, MO 0830 13 JUN ‘91
ARR STL, MO 1030
DEP STL, MO 1345
ARR NY(JFK) 1725
DEP NY(JFK) 2100(Delays)
ARR London 0800 14 JUN ‘91
DEP London 1525(Delays)
ARR Dhahran 0130 15 JUN ‘91
Remarks: When I arrived at Dhahran the Saudi officials would not admit me into the country because I didn't have a passport. When I left Ft. Leonard Wood I was told I would be admitted on my orders and my ID card. The Saudi officials would not permit me to place any calls to American military officials. I gave them the numbers that I had, they told me they called the airbase and they told them to send me back to London and contact the embassy. The Saudi officials told me I had to pay for my ticket back to London. I made an effort not to pay but they started yelling and telling me I had to make a decision then. I finally gave them my mastercard to cover the trip, after they asked for my wallet and I refused. I couldn't get a receipt because they rushed me to the plane and brought my card back to me on the plane.

DEP Dhahran 0230
ARR London 0730
Remarks: When I arrived in London I informed the immigration authorities at the airport of my situation and they contacted the U.S. Embassy for me. The embassy was closed for the weekend so they reserved a room in the Mostyn Hotel for me Saturday and Sunday nights. I caught a bus from the airport (Heathrow) to the hotel (downtown). I had to pay for the bus ticket, hotel, and all meals. On Monday I went to the embassy and LTC Murphy, the Assistant Attache, arranged for me to go to Mildenhall to catch a MAC flight.

DEP London 1300 17 JUN ‘91
ARR RAF Mildenhall 1830
Remarks: When I arrived at RAF Mildenhall I went to billeting and they informed me there were no rooms. They called a bed and breakfast for me. The cost for the room was $24, and they gave me no receipt.

DEP RAF Mildenhall 0830 18 JUN ‘91
ARR Rhien Main AFB 1100
Remarks: When I arrived at Rhein Main I went to the Army liaison and he booked on the flight to Dhahran the next morning. I went to billeting and got a room for $10.

DEP Rhien Main AFB 0745 19 JUN ‘91
ARR Dhahran 1900

Six days and it should have been two!

I still remember when Hubby called me from London and I had been expecting to hear from him already from Saudi Arabia. (Remember that this was well before email and cheap cell phone plans, and he didn't get any morale calls, so we had to pay something like $10 a minute if we talked on the phone from Saudi.) Obviously he had no chance to call before he left Saudi, but he said when he finally called that he was basically told that he would, "go to London or go to New York, and you will go now." One of the flight attendants felt sorry for him when he got right back on the plane he had just flown all the way over on from London, so she moved him up to first class after they took off.

Going through some of our old papers has been interesting if nothing else. I've been able to either throw away or shred a lot, refile and consolidate others, and I still have a few more funny things I found to share another day!

And Hubby also wonders why I don't want to take a mission trip out of the country.

Ya Hafta Be Frum The South make fun of people from the South...

...or possibly to get this Ray Stevens' song.

You have heard of Ray Stevens?

We love to make fun of our own.

The animation is priceless, too.

And because you are probably dying to know, Hubby's uncle has an outhouse. It is at his cabin and not his house he lives in, but most of the family went to this cabin to spend Christmas a few years ago.

I'm from Arkansas, too, but I just don't get that.

It's a two-seater. They are using some of the pulled-up wooden floor from my in-law's house to line the walls.

It's gonna be a fancy outhouse. It just might raise the property taxes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ken Lee

This is our first year to watch American Idol. I'm glad to say that my kids and I have similar favorites and non-favorites.

None of us get that Adam dude. Personally, he's a little one-dimensional.

About a year ago when we still lived in Virginia, Hubby had a video clip forwarded to him from the Bulgarian version of American Idol. I had to go over to youtube to find it to embed here, but it's absolutely hilarious.

Makes Adam not look quite so bad.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How Can I Run A Tight Ship When I'm Surrounded By Loose Cannons?

You remember in my alphabet meme when I mentioned that my worst habit was probably procrastination.

Let's just call it a gift and be done with it, shall we?

I've had 15 days to post about this blog tour, but I've just finished reading the book. It's non-fiction, so it got put off until the last minute. Non-fiction equals procrastination.

But you know read a lot like a fiction book would. It was an easy, fun, humor-filled book and still filled with insight and encouragement. I read it in a day.

I'm going to give my copy away to one of my commenters, random selection of course. I also get to send in the number of commentors I have to the publicist, because the blog tour host that has the most gets to select one of their commentors to win a gift basket of 10 books put together by the author, Kathi Macias (fiction and non-fiction by various authors).


About the Book:

(Homeland, CA) - For all the Christian women in the world who dread reading Proverbs 31 and wonder who on earth could ever live up to that woman - this book is for you. Between dirty diapers, complaining children, housework, husbands and a multitude of other attention-grabbing detours women face, award-winning author and speaker, Kathi Macias finds a way to encourage and biblically instruct women of all ages and phases. Women everywhere are the glue that holds their families together. Keeping everything under control challenges even the most organized household CEO. Kathi uses humor, God's Word, as well as practical insight and instruction to lovingly encourage women to grow in this progression of grace.

Readers will find How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I'm Surrounded by Loose Cannons?: Proverbs 31 Discoveries for Yielding to the Master of the Seas, filled with scriptural explanations and journaling pages to process and write their personal feelings and prayers. With sections of the book focused on each step of the learning process to guide our ships to safe harbor, readers will be happily surprised to find the funny without the fluff. Kathi's words are the "spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down." Her vulnerable approach facilitates the teachings of Proverbs 31, making it easier for women to swallow. The truth of the scriptures is very much alive and well throughout the pages, yet the ease and charm of the author's words entice readers to press forward and embrace the plan for God's woman today.

About the Author:

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 26 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women's clubs and retreats, and writers' conferences. She recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi "Easy Writer" Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend free time riding their Harley.

"Will the Real Superwoman Please Stand Up?" (an excerpt from How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I'm Surrounded by Loose Cannons?)

I've always been a control freak who wanted everything to run smoothly--perfectly, actually. No bumps or surprises, just--well, a "tight ship," as they say. And somewhere along the line I got the idea that I could make that happen--if I just tried hard enough. I think it may have started when I first saw Superman on our family's black and white TV and wondered, Is there a Superwoman somewhere? When I put that question to the adults in my life, they smiled and patted me on the head and said, "I don't think so, dear." So I decided to sign up for the job--a reasonable if somewhat naïve aspiration for a six-year-old, not so reasonable and way beyond naïve at twenty-six. Two decades after the birth of my Superwoman dream, I was still running as fast as I could and getting nowhere. My twenty-year-old dream was going down for the count, and I was nearly at the point of throwing in the towel--and then I met Jesus.

What a difference! Now I could latch on to verses like "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and "All things should be done decently and in order"--biblical affirmations of my desire to do things right, to do things efficiently and effectively, to do things with power and authority. Finally I was invincible--in Jesus, of course. Now all I needed was a godly role model and I'd be on my way.

I began my search in earnest, reading through the Scriptures until I came to Proverbs 31. Eureka! There, at last, was the epitome of the Superwoman I'd been hoping to become since I was six years old. The perfect woman--perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect housekeeper, perfect entrepreneur--all rolled into one! Not only did her husband and children praise her, but God must have approved of her as well or He certainly wouldn't have included her as an example in the Bible. My dream was alive and well once again! At last I would be able to "get it all together," to win instead of fail, to run a tight ship, and to keep things under control. Life was good, and the future looked bright.There was only one problem. I hadn't figured on all the loose cannons rolling around the deck of my not-so-tight ship...

Blog Tour Interview:

I understand you sometimes refer to this book as "discipleship with a grin." What do you mean by that, and why did you choose a humor format for a discipleship book?

Actually, I chose a discipleship theme for a humor title. As much as I hate to admit it, the title came to me one day and I knew I had to do something with it--just too good to pass up! So the more I thought/prayed about it, the more I realized it described my life, both naturally and spiritually. I began to try to lay out my spiritual growth via humorous life stories, and found they produced a natural pattern. From there I developed the five stages of spiritual growth into five sections for the book, and I was off and running! Besides, I learned from a friend/mentor years ago that you can "shove a lot of truth down people's throat when their mouth is open laughing," so I figured, why not???

What are some of the funniest "loose cannons" stories included in your book?

One of my favorites is the story of my very first women's retreat as a brand new Christian back in the "Jesus freak" days of baptisms at the beach and praise-ins at the park. I shared a room with three ladies I had never met, one of whom ended up being my "bunk mate." She snored, she was quite a bit overweight (taking up much more than her side of the bed!), and she "leaked" because she was still weaning her youngest child. You'll have to read the story to see how that experience taught me a lot about "spiritual face plants."

Another favorite story is about the time I took my three sons (two pre-teens and one elementary school age at the time) to the community swimming pool. The older boys decided to use their younger brother as a human beach ball, and when they ignored my cries from the side of the pool to stop, I actually had the nerve to jump into the water and swim right up to them and order them to stop. Their level of humiliation at being seen in the pool with their mother was as close to social suicide as it gets. But we all survived and learned a lot in the process.

Your book is divided into five sections. Can you briefly explain what they are and what they have to do with discipleship and humor?

As I mentioned earlier, the five sections correspond with what I consider the five stages of spiritual growth: crawling (infants or "rugrats") on our knees; walking (toddlers who are still a bit shaky but exploring and learning); running (stronger, more mature believers who are beginning to make a difference in their world); flying or soaring (eagles with a solid foundation and maturity to share with others); resting (back on our knees and realizing that place of utter dependence on Him is really the best place to be after all). The discipleship correlation is, I believe, evident in these stages; the humor comes in simply because I'm one of those slow learners who needs God to "hit me upside the head" at times, and I haven't been bashful about explaining those times in the book.

What advice can you give to the young mom out there who is juggling two kids, a fulltime job outside the home, a husband, housework, pets and church?

Life happens in seasons! You CAN'T be all things to all people at all times. It simply doesn't work. And if you don't believe it, read about my many crash-and-burn episodes as I tried! The Proverbs 31 woman is a composite picture of many women from different walks and stages of life; when we get a grip on that, it releases us to enjoy the season we're in right now, even as we prepare for the next one.

How did raising your own children help prepare you for the parenting side of the proverbial woman? Any tips you'd like to share?

Relax and enjoy them! Yes, even the rugrats and teenagers, because "this too shall pass." There were times I thought I'd go bald from pulling out my own hair over the frustrations and failures of that season of my life, but now it's my grandchildren who are passing through those rugrat-to-teen stages, and hey, I still have my hair! You'll make it--and so will your kids--in spite of your frustrations and failures. And yes, I know there are too many of those to mention (or admit to). I'm the queen of mom-failures, and yet my kids never cease to bless me with words of love and praise. Do I deserve it? Probably not. But I love every minute of it!

Do you have a favorite part of the book or a favorite chapter?

Several, in fact, but one in particular: Chapter 26, "Back Home Again," contains the story of my precious father, a man who lived for 88 years denying God's existence and then finally turning to him in his last week of life. It's one of the more serious stories in the book, but even that one ends on a humorous note.

If the Proverbs 31 woman is alive today, what does she look like?

She looks like me--and you--and every woman whose heart longs to please God and to raise her children according to the Scriptures, even though she knows she's doing well just to make sure they all have their sack lunches before they leave for school in the morning. She's thin, overweight, short, tall, black, white, brown, red, yellow, and polka dot when she catches her kids' chicken pox. And she's absolutely beautiful!!!

Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?

I want them to learn to relax and laugh and enjoy this voyage called "life," and to trust the Captain of our souls to take us home safely when our trip is over, rather than struggling to "man the oars" ourselves.

What makes your book different than other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?

There are countless books written for "control freak" women who want to do it all and be it all--perfectly and completely at all times. This one, however, is not only written with a humorous tone, but it also takes the reader through what I call the five steps of spiritual growth: crawling, walking, running, flying--and back on our knees, totally dependent once again. I do this by exposing many of the sometimes humorous--and sometimes not so humorous--events in my own life as I progressed through the five stages.

Are there any authors that either influenced you personally or influenced your style of writing? Who are they and how did they influence you?

Brennan Manning, Henri J. M. Nouwen, and Max Lucado have to be right at the top of my favorite nonfiction authors list, simply because they call me back to the heart of worship, to a fresh appreciation of grace and a clarion call to rely totally upon God and not myself. I need those reminders on a regular basis. In addition, I love their writing styles. Their words "sing," and it is my goal to do the same with the words I write.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?

Okay, now I have to 'fess up to how nearly one-dimensional I am. If I'm not writing, I'm...well, reading someone else's writing. That's at the top of my "what I like to do" list. However, I also spend time riding on the back of my husband's 2003 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle. He's been riding HD's since 1970 and says he will never outgrow that youthful passion. On the road we are known as "Big Al" and "Easy Writer..."

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Alternate Uses

You know my fetish for these cheap inexpensive plastic bookends from Ikea.

Did you also know that fetish is only spelled with one 't' and not two?

I found out when I was teaching some Chinese teenagers ESL a couple of summers ago. One of the boys had gone shopping and bought shoes, we found out he had a shoe fetish, and they all brought out their little English-to-Chinese translator dictionaries. I spelled the word (I'm actually a very good speller), with two t's of course following our short sound rule and doubling the consonant, and they couldn't get it to come up. I pulled out my little Webster's I was carrying along with me, and low and behold it had one 't'. I would assume not doubling the consonant must have to do with the word root.

Well, the point of this post is to show you one of the other uses I found for these little bookends.

These are cd storage boxes that sit by our computer, of course also purchased at Ikea. This box has a hodge-podge of computer game directions, the second discs that aren't needed except for installation, etc. It's basically things that aren't accessed much, but it's also a box that isn't full and every thing was going all tippy. So I grabbed one of my plastic bookends, since I bought three thousand extra, and tried it. I was afraid it would be too tall, but it wasn't, and it worked fantastic!

I have them in several of the cd storage boxes and they work like a dream.

You should move by an Ikea just to buy these.

Wordless Wednesday — Valentine's Version of the Ring Pop

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