Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas conversation with my sister...

Kathy - "Do you want me to make some coffee?"

Me - "Uh, have you met me?!" (said sarcastically)

Kathy - "I don't know. Which personality am I talking to?"

Ahhh, the joys of family!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas so far....

The day before Christmas eve:
Jamison gets a fever of 103.7. Tests negative for strep and flu. The doctor says,"Rub him down with a cool cloth to keep the fever down. Use water not alcohol. Jamison says, "I don't drink alcohol!".
His fever broke shortly after.

Christmas eve -
The dog ran away for 3 hours! We ate lunch an hour late because we were looking for him. He came home on his own.

Christmas day..... Hopefully no drama! Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Prayer

I received this in an e-mail today. I know I needed to read it so I've decided to re-post.

Heavenly Father
, Help us remember that the jerk who
cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine
hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the
laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who
can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old
college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams
with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging
for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a
slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares .
Help us to remember that the old couple walking
annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are
savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back
last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together .
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the
gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that
love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are
close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to
forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Review: Primal

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the Great Commandment. Seems simple enough. So why have we made it so complicated?

In Primal, Mark Batterson takes us on a journey exploring each of these elements. He takes us back to the place where we first met God. The time when the things that break our hearts are the things that break the heart of God. It's time for the church to go back to the place where our faith was simple, and where our love for God and people burned passionately within us.

As with his previous books, I found myself reading a chapter then meditating and processing the truths found within. My heart was stirred. My passion for God and the things that He's passionate about reignited.

Primal means "of first importance." I think the New Year is about getting back to important things.
I want to invite you to be part of the primal movement. Would you consider making Primal the first book you read in 2010? You can get your copy here.

Christmas Card Etiquette 101!

Every year I send LOTS of Christmas cards. There are a couple of reasons for that:

1) Several years ago I went to church with a family that home schooled their 7 children. They used the Christmas cards people sent them and prayed for the people who sent them. I'm all about getting as much prayer as possible so I started sending them a card every year!

A couple of years later I realized that I was having to delete people off my list because of divorce, suicide, death...It made me sad and I was burdened. So, I started printing an extra copy of my list and praying for everyone who I sent cards to. (P.S. I wrote a blog on my myspace page explaining what I was doing. I told anyone that wanted to added to my list to send me their address. The invitation is now open to you dear readers).

2) I LOVE getting hand written letters in the mail! Letter writing is a lost art in this e-mail/social networking age. Just last month I received a handwritten letter from my pastor. It was really special to me that he took the time. I need to write more often.

3) The more cards I send the more I get. Christmas cards bring me joy...usually.

Today, I received one that did NOT bring joy! Thus, the title and purpose of this little post!

Every year I send a card to the lady that lived next door to me growing up. When I was young I spent a lot of days sitting on her porch, playing with her grandson, and learning (sort of) how to crochet. The older I got the more I really didn't want to go visit. She would always make negative comments about my weight ad generally annoying, nosy comments about my life.
Despite all that I always send her a Christmas card. A few years ago she moved to Florida to live in an assisted living home and be near her son. I got her new address and continue to send her cards. Just so she knows I'm thinking of her (and because I'm really that awesome...LOL). ANYWAY, I mailed her a week ago. I wrote a short paragraph wishing her a Merry Christmas ad letting her know I was thinking of her. I send about 100 cards now so I don't write long narratives. Today, I got a card from her. Inside was a post it note that read..."Why didn't you tell me what's going on in your life. Are there no prospects for you to get married anytime soon".
SERIOUSLY???!!! No Merry Christmas. Thanks for the card. Thinking of you. Still meddling and criticizing my life! GRRRRRRRRR!

I'm thinking she might be off the list next year! I have a year to pray about it (and for her).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I've been approved...again!

So, if you've been following this little blog here you are aware that I'm a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishers (who just happen to publish one of my favorite authors: Ted Dekker). Well, you also know that I LOVE Mark Batterson's blog and books. I read "Wild Goose Chase" roughly 5 times cover to cover. But I referred to it much more often than that (I actually had to put it away because I was reading it more than my bible!).

Anyway, the point of this post is to let you know that I've been approved by Mark Batterson's publisher to get an advanced copy of his new book "Primal". Ya'll I can't really explain to you how crazy excited I am about this! You see, Dekker is my favorite fiction author but Batterson is probably my favorite non-fiction author.

My review of "Primal" will be coming around December 15! Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday 101

Prepare the night before....

Make sure phone's are charged and laid out.
What's in the ziploc bag? - Coupons, list of coupons, list of what items were at what store, list of who to buy for.
Put cash and cards in a ziploc bag OR your handy dandy Vera Bradley card holder.
How to organize the coupon list.

The outfit: This is THE Black Friday vest. It has ZIPPER POCKETS! No purses. Put ziploc bag, phone and Vera card holder in pockets. It's close to you. You don't have to worry about anyone grabbing your purse.
Wearing a fleece vest is smart because the stores are often hot and crowded.
A scarf is good because it can be removed if it gets too hot.


Light weight jacket and scarf. Keeps you warm at 4 AM. Can be left in the car later.

Have coffee maker set.
Set out travel coffee mugs.

An oversized bag to help hold purchases. (Thanks to Miki for my early Christmas gift)

And finally - Having your own shopping cart is PRICELESS (can be purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond)! We've had to wait and fight for shopping carts to hold our stuff. Not anymore! It holds the items you want to buy as well as carrying bags of purchased items! You WANT to have one of these.

Be sure to take Starbuck's breaks!!!
A post from the trenches with iPhone pictures will hopefully come later this weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The schedule

Here's the schedule for Thanksgiving Day. We look at the cooking time for each casserole and work backwards from when we are eating lunch. This is how we do it.

7:00 Take casseroles out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
Get the paper and pull the sales papers out in a seperate stack.

9:00 - Bread and Tea

10:00 Corn Casserole and Broccoli Casserole

10:30 Sweet Potato Casserole and 3 cheese potatoes

11:15 Stuffing and Gravy

11:20 Swiss Bacon Dip

11:50 Cranberry Sauce

12:00 LUNCH

It's the day before Thanksgiving....

So here' s the update on the festivities:

Monday: Arrived at my sister's house. Made the Thanksgiving menu and grocery list. Went to Sam's and bought pizza for dinner. Sis and I bought new amazingly comfortable PJ's which we have been wearing as much as possible!

Tuesday: Grocery shopping. Massages. Lunch at Outback. Dropped my brother in laws Mustang off to get serviced (yep, I got to drive the Mustang!). Nap. Made dinner for the family (oven fried chicken, 4 cheese mac-n-cheese, squash).

Today's plan: Breakfast at Cracker Barrel (it's tradition). Pick up a few last minute grocery items. Mix the casseroles. Make a time line for tomorrow (we always work backward from when we want the food on the table. I'll share the list with you once we get it done.) Make a list of wrapping supplies we need to purchase. Pick up Jon's car and drop off my sister's car for oil change. Do last minute cleaning (because there are 2 kids and a husband who live here with my sister. What was once clean is now not so much!).

Oh yeah. Here's the menu:
Ribs, Nana's roast, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, 3 cheese mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, rolls, swiss bacon dip (for an appetizer), pumpkin toffee cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter ice cream pie...we're debating on dressing and gravy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's almost my favorite week of the year!

Thanksgiving week is by far my favorite week of the year! My sister and I have this Thanksgiving thing down to a science. Check out our schedule here.To view last years pics click here. I'm going to try to enlist my wonderful niece to document the week in pictures for the blog. Stay tuned....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Book Review: Green by Ted Dekker

Green is Ted Dekker's lastest addition to The Circle Series. It is "Book Zero:The Beginning and The End". We were introduced to Thomas of Hunter, the man who lives between two worlds, in Black, Red, and White. Thomas finds himself fighting evil in his darkest form. His son, Samuel, has turned his back on his father and gathers the dark forces to wage war. Thomas is heartbroken and desperate to find his way back to our reality to save them all.

This is most definitely the darkest of the The Circle novels. Just when you think Dekkers mind couldn't possibly take us in to lower depths of evil he does just that. This book is not for the faint of heart. Evil is ugly, dark, and dirty. Dekker doesn't gloss over that fact. He doesn't soften the edges of the darkness.

Dekker includes characters from the other circle books as well as from The Paradise Novels. But don't worry if you haven't read these other books. The reader is provided with enough of the character's story to understand their place. If you have read the other books then you simply know the characters back story. Think of it as watching the "True Hollywood Story" of a movie star. You can appreciate the star and understand their role without watching their biography.

I have to say that this is not my favorite book from Dekker. I usually read his books in a few days. It took me longer to read this one. There are parts that are riveting and fast paced. Other parts were slow and somewhat boring.However, once I got to the middle of the book I was hooked and enjoyed the story until the end. And the end does not disappoint!

You can order your copy of Green here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

1st grade quote of the day...

Student: "You have to be a parent to know where Santa lives."

Me: Yes, but teachers get his e-mail address so we don't have to know his home address.

Student: Oooohhhh!

In other news: Book review for "Green" by Ted Dekker coming soon! I'm determined to finish it this weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tales from 1st grade: Guess that word...continued

The day after I posted "guess that word" I had my students write a page for a class book. Our character word this week is "Thankfulness" and it's November. So, they were to complete the sentence, "I am thankful for....".

Well, imagine how hard it was for me to hold it together as I read this story over a students shoulder. I've learned not to jump to conclusions and ask the student to read their story to me.

This is the interpretation:
"I am thankful for this Earth and my parents and this school and all of my family."

So I used some "magic tape" (white out tape) to fix this innocent little blunder without the student even noticing. Now the class book is rated G!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tales from 1st grade: Guess that word

Spelling word: hen
1st grader definition: it's on the end of your arm (hand)

You might be an elementary school teacher if you have leaned to read the following without student interpretation: (taken from actual student writings)

pardey - party
druthr - brother (reversal of b/d is extremely common)
uthere - other
poot - put
kuzn - cousin
utey - auntie
i lik to pway wit mi fin - I like to play with my friend
the shaplen is wet os I shud weyt - The trampoline is wet so I should wait
awt - out
chakalid - chocolate

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's not that hard people....

Here are a few (should be) common sense rules for the work/break room...

1. If the copier jams while you are using it, DO NOT JUST WALK AWAY WITHOUT TELLING SOMEONE! If you can't find the paper jam don't leave it for the next person!

2. If you use the microwave, WIPE IT OUT! Also, please hit the "cancel" button if you remove your food before the end of the cook time. No need to leave it for the next person.

3. If you spill something on the table, CLEAN IT UP! This may require more than a quick swipe with a dry napkin.

That's my rant for the day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Silence is golden?

So, I'm quite frustrated right now and really need to vent. BUT if I vent about why I'm frustrated then I fear I will only dig a deeper hole, and then be even more frustrated! Confused yet? Yeah, me too!

All I'll say is usually my NOT keeping my big mouth shut gets me in trouble. So, with my current "modified voice rest" mandate from the doctor I've been much quieter than usual. Ok, maybe not MUCH quieter, but quieter nonetheless. I'm in a bit of trouble for being too quiet. Seems that gives a "I'm not on board with this" impression! I guess silence in NOT golden!

Is your sweet head spinning trying to make sense of this dear blog readers? Well, mine is too! Sorry to be so vague. Just had to vent without really venting!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great Quote

I just heard this quote from Mac Powell (lead singer of Third Day) :

"We've heard artists say, 'we're not here to entertain you we're just here to share Jesus with you'. Well, if we don't want to entertain people then there's no reason for us to play music in the first place. It's not the most important thing, but it is important to write music that's quality music that people want to hear..... That's one of many things. We want to share our faith through this music and share God's love that's been shared with us..."

I love the honesty in this! I assure the heart for God radiated from each band member throughout the interview I saw.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Aren't they adorable?

My first pair of crocs! I refused to choose comfort over style when crocs came on the scene. But this weekend I found these cute shoes and was pleasantly surprised they are crocs! Finally cute and comfortable!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Change the v to c

In first grade we do a lot of changing target sound (i.e. change the k in kid to h to make hid).

My very tired and overworked brain apparently has gone on auto pilot. While typing an e-mail I changed previous to precious! This changes the meaning quite significantly. Uuggghhhh!

Please excuse anything ridiculous I do in the next few weeks. I'm drowning in a sea of assessments, data, report cards, and conferences. I'm pretty sure I'm losing IQ points by the second!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You might be watching too much Food Network...

...when you dream about eating fresh smoked mozzarella! Especially when said dreamer has never actually had smoked mozzarella! However, fresh mozzarella (not smoked) will rock your world if you've never had it. But I digress.

And on second thought, you can never really watch too much Food Network.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tales from 1st Grade: Someone elses voice

The back story: I've been sick with a throat infection and upper respiratory problems. This causes my voice to be a little froggy at times.

Helping a student at his desk work on writing a story. While helping him the student beside him says, "What's wrong with your voice?"

Me: I'm sick. It makes my voice sound funny.

Student: You know the Elmo show?

Me: Yes.

Student: You sound like Elmo's friend. You know, the blue one!

Me: Grover?

Student: Yeah. You sound like Grover. One time I was sick and my mom waited a long time to take me to the doctor. When she finally took me I had someone else's voice!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Review: Kabul 24

On August 3, 2001 eight western Christian aid workers captured by the Taliban accused of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity (a crime punishable by death). This book recounts their 105 days of captivity and the sham trials they endured. It's a story of how God is working through us, for us, and around us. When it seemed they had been abandoned by all God showed his power and protection.

The workers: Heather Mercer, Dayna Curry, Peter Bunch, Silke Duerrkopf, Katrin Jelinek, Heather Mercer, Margrit Stebner, George Taubmann and Diana Thomas. Members of Shelter Now International (SNI).

This book is a story of courage, hope and unwavering faith in time of crisis. As I read the stories I found myself wondering if I would have what it takes to survive this kind of ordeal. Is my faith strong enough to cause to me rise up and stand firm in my beliefs? What would I have done?

I found myself wanting to read this book quickly as I clung to every page. What happens next? Yet, I felt like rushing to finish wouldn't do it justice. I needed to take time to empathize with what these workers faced. To find a way to connect with them and their experience. Maybe it's because my cousin knew Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry. She had worked with them as they all trained to be aid workers and spread the message of Jesus Christ. It could have been my cousin Julie that was captured. It could have been my family praying and wondering if we would ever see her again. I'm so glad I read this book and allowed it to put things in perspective. These people faced the possibility of death for sharing their faith. I live in a country where I can share my faith without the possibility of being imprisoned and facing the death penalty.

The Kabul 24 movie is available on DVD now. For more info. on the movie visit

You can purchase your copy here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

There Came a Mighty Flood

This is my sisters front yard! Her creek flooded her yard. The bridge on her driveway is damaged. However, her neighbors bridge is GONE! They had to knock down part of a fence between the yards so her neighbor could drive into their yard. Trees are down but not on the house. They have no water ,but they do have electricity. School is canceled for the next couple of days.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Exercise can be hazardous to your health...

I watched the annual video on how to administer an epi-pen injection for anaphylactic shock at school today. At the end of the video they list some causes of anaphylaxis. They include:
* Food
* Medications
* Insect venom
* Latex
* Exercise
Did you read the last one? EXERCISE!!!

There you have it. Exercise can be hazardous to your health. Keep that little tidbit of information stored in your memory bank for the next time you just aren't feeling up to the gym! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tales from 1st grade: Coffee

If you know anything about me you know I am a coffee lover. You probably also know that I'm not functional without it.

I have a coffee pot in my classroom. Inevitably the students will ask me about my coffee addiction and I will tell them, "I'm not nice without coffee".

Today was just "one of those days". It was rainy. I haven't been feeling too great. The students just could not sit still and were excessively talkative. So, I had one of those moments where I just stop teaching and let them know that the rules of the classroom still apply! After my little "get it together or lose some recess" speech one of my students raised her hand and asked, "Did you have your coffee today?"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Call it Out...

The following post is a re-post from Mark Batterson's blog. It's a really great post! I'm so grateful for the people who have "called it out" in my life. I wouldn't be doing the ministry I do if it wasn't for my pastor "calling it out". Thanks Rick!

Call it Out
by Mark Batterson @

When I was a sophomore in High School I took a speech class. I decided to seize the opportunity to share my faith. Looking back, that speech was my first sermon. But here's the thing: the idea of ministry had never crossed my mind. Not even on my radar screen.

Without me knowing it, my mom sent that speech to my grandma. And my grandma showed it to her Bible Study leader. And her Bible study leader, whose name I don't even know, said: "Has Mark ever thought about ministry?" And the answer was "no"! I hadn't thought about it. But that question planted a seed.

That man, whose name I don't even know, saw something in me. He spoke into my life and called something out of me. Honestly, that question was left unanswered for years. It lay dormant. But when you speak into someone's life and call something out of them, you never how or when or where God is going to use it.

We need to speak prophetically into each other's lives. We need to call things out--gifts, passions, goals, dreams, desires. Isn't that what Jesus was so good at? He saw the martyr in a denier named Peter. He called it out by calling him "the Rock."

Prophets call things out of the people. It's also called leadership. I'm thinking of this today because I read a manuscript an aspiring author sent to me and he definitely has the gift. I emailed him back and called it out. I want to call the best out of others the way Jesus did. That's leadership. That's discipleship.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review: Fearless

We live in a world full of fear. The media pumps fear into our homes during every news cast. We live in uncertain times. We go to our doctor to get medicine to reduce our anxiety, our fear. We can't sleep. We are constantly preparing for the worst. We've been satisfied to say, "That's just the way it is."

That is NOT the way it has to be.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

I am a huge fan of Max Lucado's books. If you look on my bookshelf you will find almost the complete selection of his works (children's books included). I have always loved his skillful writing style that brings bible stories to life and makes them relevant for today. His latest book does not disappoint.

In this book, he explores some of the things that we are living in fear of. He breaks down some common (and uncommon) fears and shares how we can have victory over them. Just being able to give the fear a name is part of the battle. You can't confront what you don't identify! Maybe you've been walking around with unexplained anxiety. You can't pin point what it is that you are afraid of but you know it's there. This book can help you identify, confront, and overcome the fears that have found residence in you.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"Fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our house, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people. The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become" (p.9)

I highly recommend this book! There is a discussion guide at the end of the book that lends itself to small group study.

You can order your copy here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tales from 1st grade: Allergic

During "share time" this week my class was talking about their favorite (and not so favorite) things to eat. One of my students is allergic to peanuts and was telling the class about how he can't eat anything with peanut butter. This led to everyone wanting to share what they are allergic to. Here's a recap of my favorite comment:

Student: I'm allergic to bees.

Me: I didn't know that. I'm so glad you told me.

Student: Yeah, one time I got stung by a bee and it hurt really bad. Now every time I see a bee I sneeze! That's because I'm allergic. You sneeze when you're allergic.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

One Glass or Two?

Directions on my antibiotic: Take with a full glass of water.
Inside the patient info. package: Drinking too much water will cause the medicine to dilute and not be as effective.

Directions on decongestant: Take with a full glass of water.

So, I've been trying to figure out if I should drink 1 full glass for each of these medications. OR, is 1 glass sufficient for both.

This is what consumes my thoughts every 12 hours when I'm faced with medications and water!

I switch between 1 glass and 2 every time I take it. That way I'm doing it right at least half the time!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Book Review: Let Go

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
That is the message that author and Women of Faith speaker, Sheila Walsh, shares in her new book : Let Go: live free of the burdens all women know.

This book takes the reader through a journey faith, grace and forgiveness that ultimately leads to true freedom in Christ. In the book, Walsh shares personal stories of how she has learned to "let go and let God".

The lessons in the book are overly profound. They are simple truths that all women need to know and live. Freedom comes in letting go of old hurts, past regrets, shame, and unforgiveness.

This book is an easy read. It doesn't overindulge in unnecessary ponderings. It would be a great resource for a women's small group study. Each chapter ends with questions that would be great for discussion. I would recommend this book to any woman that is living with the burdens of her past, and struggling to trust that God's love for her surpasses anything she has done.

You can order a copy here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I was reminded....

...of my favorite Darlene Zschech quote this week:

"We serve with excellence, because we know an excellent God, and to give Him anything but our best would be disgusting".

It's not about me or you. It's about Him. If everyone else is slacking in their service it's not an excuse for me to slack. I serve an excellent God. He deserves excellence at ALL times.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I've been approved!

I am now a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson Publishers! :)

My first book is on it's way! I can't wait to read it and tell you all about it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More tales from the 1st grade...

This is the conversation that took place in 1st grade today:

Me: "You're going to draw a picture of yourself. Before you draw think about color. Are people green?"

Students: "No."

Me: "No one here has blue hair do they?"

Students: (giggling) "No"

Me: "And no one has orange hair do they?"

Students: "You do Ms. Harrison"

Me: "It's not orange"

Student: "It's red and yellow"

Me: "Yes, and tomorrow it may be purple. My hair color is always subject to change"

... My hair will not be purple tomorrow. It will still be red and yellow (which does make orange, I know!). I love 1st grade!

Monday, August 3, 2009

How can you not be moved.....

The following post is from I recently began reading this blog after finding a link on Brandy's blog. Anyway, I am re-posting her actual post instead of just a link because I really want you to read it! (I'm guilty of not wanting to take the time to follow links to other blogs so I know you, dear reader, would be tempted to do the same). I read this post a few weeks ago and was literally moved to tears. Yes, I was in tears desperately praying for these children and their futures.

I’m writing this from the very back of the bus as we begin making our way back to our flats. We’ve just spent a good portion of our in Garbage City, a sentence that I can’t even begin to explain. In fact, I’m tempted to just close my laptop screen and give up on even trying to explain this day to you because I already know that none of my words or pictures will be good enough.

But I’m going to give it a try.

I almost didn’t come today. About a day and a half ago I was bitten by something (a spider, we think) and I haven’t felt that great ever since (we have a doctor who has put me on oral antibiotics as well as some topical medicine, so I‘m hoping it will get better soon). I considered staying back but, at the last minute, decided to go with the students because I knew that what they’d be seeing today would be things we’d be discussing in our classes (in case you’re coming in late, I’m teaching an Ethics course while on this trip).

Our bus couldn’t get up the road to the orphanage so we got off about half a mile away and began walking. This area is called Garbage City because it’s exactly that — an area completely full of garbage. One of our guides at the orphanage told me that some of the children we would be seeing were literally plucked from the piles of garbage. I thought that was an exaggeration. I mean, really, how could a child be left in a pile of garbage?

I was wrong.

Within about 45 seconds of being off the bus, Cate and I were both about to vomit simply from the smell. There were dead rats everywhere, children covered in waste. It was the true definition of a living nightmare.

When we finally got to the orphanage, they took us immediately to the babies. We walked into a room that is smaller than my bedroom back home where we found 27 babies laying on blankets on the floor. We had been told that touching the children was a decision that would be left up to each of us and I’m ashamed to tell you that, when I saw their conditions, I backed up against the wall almost as if I was trying to escape from what I was seeing. The last thing I wanted to do was pick up one of those babies.

After a few minutes of explaining how the babies are cared for, the tour continued and everyone headed to see another area of the facility that cares for the elderly.

Except for me.

I stayed because, as I was about to walk out of the room with the babies, one began reaching for me. She knew I saw her; I knew she knew I saw her. It’s one thing not to hold babies when they’re on the other side of the room from you.

It’s another thing when they’re reaching for your arms as you walk past them.

And so I picked up that baby and then another one and then one after that. I realized that I had something to give that the orphanage workers didn’t — time to hold babies. They were too busy doing everything else that comes along with babies — washing bottles, folding clean laundry, etc. I tried to help them with those tasks, but they motioned for me to go back to the babies, to spend what little time I had there holding them to my chest like a mother would. I was surrounded by women who don’t speak a word of English, so I tried to explain in broken Arab*c that I wasn’t sure what to do with a roomful of babies only to be met with blank stares.

And so I held and held and held, rocked and rocked and rocked. I held one baby at a time, then two in my arms with another trying to crawl up my leg. I used my shoulder and neck to hold bottles in their mouths and used my hips to bounce them until they giggled. I even changed diapers with only one hand, something I had previously thought was impossible.

You see, it turns out that we women are built with something inside of us that just seems to know what to do when crying babies lay at our feet. We instinctively know to reach down and pick them up. We just do not leave a baby laying on the ground, especially one without a mother.

Before long it was time to lay them down for a nap. I carried baby after baby to waiting cribs, finally ending with one whose deformities caused her legs to lay at angles that our bodies weren’t made to support. After settling her in for the nap, I went and found a translator and brought her and an orphanage worker back to the nursery with me.

“What’s wrong with her legs?” I asked as the translator quickly explained my question to the worker.

The orphanage worker explained through the translator that her legs had been like that since birth, a deformity that she was born with though no one knows a medical name for it. The worker went on to explain that they hoped to one day have her legs operated on so that she’d eventually be able to walk.

Being the Type A personality that I am, I questioned how soon they operation could happen, what they needed to make it happen. That’s what I do, you know. That’s what you do, too. We like to make things happen now.

They explained that they’re waiting because the child is expected to spend her entire life in the orphanage. I didn’t understand the reply at first and, to be honest, was a little upset. I mean, let’s get started on it now; let’s give her the best opportunity at a normal life as possible. The workers could see that I didn’t understand what they were trying to tell me, so they explained a little further. It only took a few more sentences from them for me to understand what they were trying to tell me.

They’re waiting because her “entire life” that she’ll spend at this orphanage isn’t expected to last very long.

They left me standing there by myself, maybe because they knew I wanted to be alone, maybe just because there were more bottles to be prepared. The baby woke up and began crying and I did too. Before long I was on my knees beside her crib, sobbing alone in a room full of babies in cribs. Some students from our group saw me through a window and came to where I was, trying to get me to leave but I pushed them away. I needed to be left on my knees, sobbing beside that crib.

I needed to think about how, when I had walked through the piles of garbage on my way to the orphanage, I had wanted to get back on my air conditioned tour bus.

I needed to regret the fact that I hadn’t wanted to pick up those babies because I didn’t want their dirt on my clean clothes, their sticky fingers in my hair.

And I needed to mourn the fact that the baby laying in the crib in front of me wouldn’t have the same outcome as a very similar baby who laid in a different crib 24 years ago with her own leg defects. You see, I had a vested interest in this particular baby because 24 years ago I was born with something wrong with both of my legs that required long operations and even longer time spent in casts in order to give me the ability to walk like a normal child. To this day I still have visible scars that run along the back of my ankles, something I was embarrassed about as a child because of how the other children would tease me about them. I hated those scars, the permanence of them.

And yet I would have done anything today to be able to give those scars to the baby laying in the crib in front of me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I couldn't decide...

...what to blog about. It was between:

* how there's really no need to click on any of the links under "friend's blogs" on my page because apparently most of my blogging friends do not really blog anymore! I've started reading friends of friends (who used to be active bloggers) blogs.

But I decided not to blog about that. So I thought about:

* how I got a phone call in the middle of my "getting ready" routine so I forgot I had only put deodorant under one arm but not the other. How I then ran a full load of clothes in the washer but forgot to put laundry detergent in so I had to re-wash them...although I did consider the fact that 2 shirts had stain remover on them when they went in so technically there was some sort of soap in there.

But I decided not to go that route either.

* Then one of my friend's told me she saw a really funny church sign the other day. So I was going to blog on that. But she couldn't remember what it said. We actually went driving by the church sporting the sign but alas they had changed it to something not so bad!

So I finally decided to blog about....

*all the things I was going to blog about but somehow didn't seem blog worthy.


* the craving I had for coffee ice cream which sent me to "The Marble Slab" ice cream place (where we went after searching for the above mentioned church sign). I got a cone of coffee ice cream with caramel and heath bar!!!!! HEAVENLY!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Now This....

is what I call a coffee mug! (I have no idea why that sentence is underlined. I can't make it go away! ) It holds 21.4 oz. of liquid heaven. Now I can drink fewer cups a day! :)

The Evolution of the coffee cup/mug.

It came in a set of 2, woohoo!!! Notice the lovely beveled edge for stacking the mugs. Also, notice the fabulous polka dots. Someone put some serious thought into this one! Go to Target and get yours now!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's Church Sign Wednesday....

Recently seen church signs:

"Casual Attire, Respectful Worship" - I'm not going to comment on this one b/c it would only get me in trouble.

"Did your sins make the list?" - I read this one while having a pretty serious conversation on my cell phone while driving. I literally laughed out loud leaving the person on the other end a bit perplexed at why I was being so manic. I then read the sign to her and asked if she knew what list they were talking about. Should I be worried? I don't know if my sins made the list...what list?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's your signature?

Here's a great post asking the question Do you sign off emails with a Christian closing?

Personally, I usually just write my name or sometimes just end it without a signature. However, I admit that when receiving an e-mail with a "christian" closing I do feel a little more pressure to respond with one of my own. (I couldn't have them thinking I'm not as spiritual as them!). .

My work e-mail is set up with my "signature": Name, title (best 1st grade teacher ever! LOL), phone number and e-mail.

So, what's your signature?

Friday, June 26, 2009

A change in the list

What list you ask? Well, the things I think my mate should have of course! Am I going to share that list with you today? NOPE! But don't feel rejected. It's nothing personal.

I will share one thing.
* Must love coffee - I figure as much as I love coffee it would be unbiblical for me to be unequally yoked with a non-coffee drinker.

However, a friend of mine was telling about her "new possibility" yesterday. As she went through a list of things about him to give me a picture of how they are equally yoked (so to speak) she said this profound statement:

"He likes the smell of coffee but not the taste. But that's okay. That means there's more for me!"


* Must love the smell of coffee

See that's better! Oh, and for those of you that think I'm still single because I'm too picky. You may be right. But I'm a daughter of the King and should be picky! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yummy Goodness!

I would like to introduce you to Broccolini. YUMM-O! It looks like baby broccoli but isn't. I love broccoli but broccolini has SO much flavor. It can be sauteed or (my personal favorite) roasted in the oven. If you haven't tried it you need to. I like it with olive oil and garlic. It's also really good with lemon pepper.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Receive

I listened to a message by Craig Groeschel this weekend. It was from the "One Prayer Series". It was entitled "God is Love". It's a great message. He talked about how it's easy to believe,"God is Love" or even "God loves you". But it's hard to believe that "God loves me".

While working on my song list for worship next week I came across this song that just really resonated with me. We sing a lot of songs about how we love God. But we don't sing a lot about His love for us. Maybe that's because we have a hard time believing "God loves me". No I'm not worthy. I'll never be worthy. But " it's not what I've done but what He's done for me."

Funny Church Signs

Oh yeah, someone made a video!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And you thought I was baseball illiterate...

Anyone that knows me well (or at all) knows I'm not a huge sports person. I do have more knowledge than I let on sometimes. It's WAY fun to mess with people during a game and ask about the the touchdown they just made in that baseball game... :)

Anyway, this story makes me feel like a sports genius!

Jamison (my nephew) needed a new bat. My sister took him to a sports shop in the mall. They were arguing about a particular bat. She didn't think it was a good one. He said it was because it was an Easton.....

SO, he decides to ask the girl that worked in the store if it was a good bat. He asks her. She replies, "What position is it for?"! SERIOUSLY? He cuts his eyes to my sister and refrains from any sarcastic comment (which is a miracle). He says, "to hit the ball".

THEN, she asks how old he is. He says 10. She proceeds to hold the bat up beside him to see how tall it is compared to him! (Even I know this is NOT how you choose a bat). She decides that it's a good height for him.

We decide to leave the mall and go to another sports equipment store that has employees that actually know what they are talking about!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

BOGO on Graves?!?

I saw this sign when I was walking in the graveyard near my house (yes I walk in the graveyard because it has a great hill that is good for my workout). I had to read it twice to be sure it really was offering buy 1 get 1 free grave! I guess I shouldn't be so disturbed by this, especially in this economy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Calling all Dekker fans...

This is Ted Dekker's new novel. Let me just say it's GREAT! I read the WHOLE thing last Saturday, start to finish. I couldn't put it down once I got into it. The first few chapters were not as riveting but once the groundwork was laid for the story it was almost impossible to put down. At 1 a.m. (when I finished the book after taking a break to go to Kendall's birthday party) I read the last little paragraph (which was a scripture that enlightened some events in the last chapter) and said aloud, "WOW". Seriously I thought it was that good. If you're not a Ted Dekker reader you could start with this one. It's not connected to his other series books so you won't be missing anything. I love his blog post about his inspiration for writing this. It was really an outlet for his grief as a father at the "loss" of his daughter for a season. I'm including the link. You should read it!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Swine Flu / Whine Flu!

A great clip from Pastor Ed Young.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Party Time

I spent part of my Spring Break helping my sister do the flowers for the Gala her school puts on every year. We worked late Thursday night to get it done so we could relax a little on Friday before the event. It was a lot of fun getting to work with her again. I used to work at the flower shop she owned when I was in college. Here are a few pics of us and the flowers.

My sister and her husband.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Culturally Relevant or Corny?

Church Sign advertising the new sermon series:

Wii Marriage: There's no Mii in Wii

Friday, February 20, 2009

Amazing Pro-life speech from 12 year old

Preteen pro-life speech goes viral
Pete Chagnon - OneNewsNow - 2/20/2009 6:15:00 AM

The mother of a 12-year-old girl whose pro-life speech has become a hit YouTube video says her daughter's passion for the unborn is genuine.

Lia Pro-liferLia is a preteen from Canada who decided to speak out against abortion in her school's speech contest, despite teachers and school officials who encouraged her to pick a different topic.

"What if I told you that right now someone was choosing if you were going to live or die? What if I told you that this choice wasn't based on what you could or couldn't do, what you had done in the past, or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you [that] you could nothing about it? Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation," she says in her speech.

Kimberly, Lia's mother, says Lia was told by school officials that if she chose the topic of abortion, she would not be allowed to participate in the speech contest. But both were surprised when Lia's pro-choice teacher had a change of heart.

"Her teacher was really impressed by this speech and perhaps moved by it, and therefore her teacher kind of was a real supporter of [Lia] winning for the class," Kimberly notes. "And she had to go through a couple of hoops and get clearance from a couple of other teachers before she could be declared winner of the class."

Another controversy erupted when the panel of judges had a supposed big disagreement and one stepped down. Initially Lia was disqualified, but later the panel declared her the winner. She was asked to take out this portion of her speech: "[F]etuses are definitely humans knit together in their mother's womb by their wonderful Creator who knows them all by name."

Kimberly says after Lia was told to remove that portion of her speech, she took time to think about her decision and ultimately decided to leave it in. Lia also competed in a regional speech competition but did not win. However, her speech has been viewed by over 200,000 people on YouTube.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Save the School Nurses

The state is proposing to cut the funds for school nurses in 2010. People, we NEED school nurses! As a teacher I already play the role of teacher, parent, doctor, and so many other things. Taking the school nurse adds only one more thing to my plate! Please help and follow the link to sign the petition to keep school nurses. Thanks!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

A New Cheesecake is in the Works

I went to lunch with a few of my friends this weekend. At the end of the meal we decided to share some cheesecake. If you've ever had cheesecake from The Last Resort you know it's good and really hard to choose a flavor. Well, I voted for the Butterfinger Cheesecake so we ordered it. And we were SO glad we did. People this cheesecake was AMAZING! I was savoring every bite and carefully detecting the ingredients it will take to recreate this masterpiece. I have a few ideas for recreating the recipe. I might need to go for a few more tastings just to be sure I get it right! :)
You can bet I will be adding this delicious cake to my list of cheesecake flavors!

Oh, if you didn't get to taste my Thin Mints Cheesecake last Girl Scout cookie season never fear. I have ordered an ample stock of Thin Mints for this season! :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More Church Signs!

"Sleeping in the Sanctuary"....This was in quotes on the sign. There was a scripture under it. I can't remember what it was. I went back the next day (after I stopped laughing) but they had changed it! If anyone knows a scripture for that let me know!

"Visitors Welcome
Members Expected"

Apparently attendance is down!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You go to what church?

Thanks to Miki for snapping this photo for me!

Thursday, January 1, 2009