Thursday, December 31, 2009 1 comments

My New Favorites!

As you've read here before, I've started to work out which is great for me to be doing. At the same time, I've cut back on volume of food. I refuse to deprive myself - my mind would sabotage my body if I cut out chocolate completely. Or pizza! Now in the next phase of all this, I am trying my best to make the healthier choices; just like I make adjustments to cardio workouts to make it low impact so I still have knees, I am making those minor changes to be healthy. And I just have to share my newest fabulous find! THIN BUNS (which is what I'm shooting for myself in the process!)

Now, some of you know my appreciation of pizza. I can eat pizzas of all kinds each meal of the day- they're just so easy to do. I have a few gourmet recipes of my own: Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Pineapple Chicken, Alfredo, along with the basic Supreme and Pepperoni. I'll even doctor-up a half of a Totinos for a meal. So when I found these thin buns I wondered...could it be done well for mini pizzas? I just HAD to try.

They were delicious! A little ground turkey spiced with italian spices, pepperoni, onions and cheese made these delectable. Two were plenty for me for a meal, add a salad and I was good to go! I can't wait to try a breakfast version :-).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 2 comments

Another Trip To The Unemployment Office

I left at 5:30 this morning to head to the unemployment office for my review so I can continue to receive checks. It's standard procedure, required every six weeks so you just get prepared. You know when you go to stand in line with a hundred or so other people, especially at 6:30 a.m. (takes me an hour drive to get there), not everyone is going to care how they look.

Aside from the sad plight many are in as they lose their jobs, there's just something about the unemployment office atmosphere that apparently brings out the worst in too many people. The basics they should have learned in kindergarten no longer apply: form a line, don't cut in line, be nice, follow the rules, read the directions, etc. This morning's adventure brought a few smiles and plenty of head shakes for me. I didn't get any pictures unfortunately, so let me see if I can describe it.

Picture it. It's roughly 23 degrees and potential for rain, so slightly windy this morning at 5:30 as I leave the house, and colder in line with wind picking up a little extra bite from the Ohio River's vicinity. As I pull in at 6:45a there are at least 70 people in line ready for the doors to open at 7:30. Add it up, that's 45 minutes to wait outside. In the dark. In the cold. I always bring a book, and this morning I added marking-time in spot to keep the blood moving. A few people in front of me huddled to discuss favorite bar hangouts and ball games. The guy that got in line behind me with his breakfast complained that it was too cold, he should have just left like he did yesterday (WHY would you do that?). The lady behind him railed the government for screwing up her paperwork and she wasn't leaving today until she got everything that was owed to her. Hmmm...good luck with that.

The really nice people inside the office decided to at least open the lobby 15 minutes early to let us poor popsicles inside to thaw out. I thanked him a bunch. Then Sam, the security guy, goes through his regular speeches of in-line ettiquette and what to have in your hand ready to go. This is where the people-watching becomes prime! I look about 10 people ahead of me and the lady in front of me notices at the same time and remarks, "Why in the world would someone wear FLIP-FLOPS on a day like today?" Yes, flip-flops. Then as I look around I notice it - all the stereotypes: someone in pajama bottoms, ahh - there's the hair curlers sticking out from under a bandana'd head, oh lovely - the "wife-beater" under the unzipped-hood-up hoodie, wow would you look at that - the guy who's two sizes too big for his dirty shirt eating something that just adds to the stains, and let's not forget the one too close to me who "forgot" to take a shower. Oh, and the flip-flop girl, she's with her boyfriend and they have no problem showing their affection at the unemployment office at 7:15 in the morning. Yep, it's all here.

And side-by-side with all that are the ones you don't think about being unemployed: office workers, nurses, teachers, managers, business professionals, etc. Not that those aforementioned lovelies aren't of the more white-collar bunch, but when you see someone carrying a briefcase standing next to the shirt-too-small's a clearer indication of previous profession.

So I get my paperwork, fill it out (has to be filled-out before I can sign-in), sign-in to get called back and wait my turn. The beautiful lady calls a bunch back at once and we file into a conference room to await further instructions. She starts her regular routine and I notice right away she's all set for the mass of people for the day. "Put this form on top, make sure you have printed your name on it, if I don't have your name I can't enter your information." Three people reach for pencils to write their name. She continues on, and a few more have to reach for pencils to fill something in that they didn't "understand" to begin with. I just giggled to myself. Obviously it was just too early in the morning. She repeats, "make sure," a few more times and then we get to leave, handing her our papers as we walk out. The too-small-shirt guy was in front of me. When he handed her his papers, the wrong paper was on top. She was very dramatic in placing the correct paper on top before she allowed him to walk away from her. I just smiled and said Happy New Year! handed her my papers (with the correct one on top) and ran for it!

After the excitement of the unemployment office I needed a break, Hobby Lobby here I come! After that, Hanock Fabrics and off to find a couple small traditional gifts for friends (always 50% off AFTER Christmas which is also our tradition). And I can't wait to post some of the stuff I've been making with my sewing machine! I have an apron calling for me right now!
Monday, December 28, 2009 0 comments

Time for Everything

I have been known for many things, not the least of which has always been how busy I can be. Personally, I always thought I've been lazy because I can not get as much done as I would like. Nor have I climbed any sort of ladder of success that this world seems necessary to throw in my face daily. However, I'm still busy even though I am not currently checking into a 8-5-job.

A few weeks ago I sat myself down and did a serious evaluation of how I spend my time, and how I want to use it. Because it never ceases to amaze me that we are all given the same amount of minutes in a day, yet we all spend them differently. I am not Martha, Rachel or Oprah. I am not Peyton, Jr., or Tebo. I am not "the Don," "Mr. President," or even "Madam Secretary." I am not Angelina, Jennifer, or Miley. Yet, the media masses have put these people up as the poster-children of successful living. They seem to have "everything going for them." But I don't walk in their shoes...I have a hard enough time walking in my own. And honestly, in the end, we are all responsible for ourselves living on the time God gave us. So, back to my time management.

I discovered long ago that when I plan to do a project I will estimate a set amount of time that I think it will take for me to do. It took me longer than I care to admit to allow for interruptions. Even getting a drink refill, going to the bathroom, answering that phone call/email/text, or trying to the printer or internet to work takes up precious moments. You just never realize how long the necessaries take up in a day. And with me being such an organizing freak, I would get frustrated that my project would take hours longer than I anticipated (sometimes days). So armed with that knowledge and the desire to do more productive and meaningful things with my life, I set out to get a better grip on what God gave me to manage.

I want structure, but I need to have enough for flexibility. So how to do that? I broke my time into categories:
  • God time (He comes first)
  • People time (family, friends, group studies, etc....face-time)
  • Work for others
  • Workouts for me
  • Personal time: writing, projects, reading, music practice, etc.
  • House chores
  • Food prep/eat (takes more time than you consider)
  • Business planning

Of course, each category has a color! I try to touch on the main areas each day leaving some "white-space" for flexibility in case something goes haywire. This has been phase 1. Phase 2 will include getting some of those pro-bono projects off my calendar. Phase 3 will include making and meeting some goals. Each phase is smothered in prayer, because I certainly don't want to waste the time I'm given on things of no use. This all may seem fanatical to some of you; however, I am determined to work with God to make my life worthwhile. And He enjoys when I feel a sense of accomplishment and well-being. Time management goes a long way towards that.

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

For more thoughts on schedules, visit At The Well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 1 comments

Legend of the Candy Cane

I'm sure many of you have seen this before, but I found it and thought I would reprint it here...

Many years ago, a candymaker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy; white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; hard to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church; firmness to represent the promise of God.

The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd, with which he reached down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane — a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the true meaning is still there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Meaning of Mistletoe

I had a wonderful girl-day yesterday with a couple friends of mine. Fabulous lunch, movies, "shopping" and a nice treat at Olive Garden to finish off the night. As we were wrapping up to leave the restaurant I overhead the conversation behind me. It was kind of hard to miss because she was so excited reliving a moment to her friends - she just got engaged! He took her to Proof (nice fancy restuarant), and when they came out of the restaurant he had the white horse and buggy there ready to ride around the lit-up town. And as the buggy rounded the Christmas Tree "square," he bent on one knee and proposed - in the buggy with the Christmas tree and millions of other beautiful lights shining around them. It truly was a romantic moment, and even I was transported for the reliving of it.

So on my way home I put on my "Love Me" playlist...full of love songs. I hadn't played that in AWHILE! I usually just get really cynical, but this night I was full of hope for what being in love can be like. I hadn't had that feeling for a long time, and last night I think I was just in love with the idea of being in love. How can you not with songs like "A Kiss To Build A Dream On" sung by Louis Armstrong. I included it here for your enjoyment while you read on about the history of mistletoe, and I wish all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings for everybody during this holiday season! Yes, even in the midst of whatever drama may be going on, I encourage you to find those moments that warm your heart. Kisses y'all!

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Kissing under the mistletoe (found from this site):
Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. They probably originated from two beliefs. One belief was that it has power to bestow fertility. It was also believed that the dung from which the mistletoe would also possess "life-giving" power. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. Later, the eighteenth-century English credited with a certain magical appeal called a kissing ball. At Christmas time a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons, and ornaments, cannot refuse to be kissed. Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill. If the girl remained unkissed, she cannot expect not to marry the following year. In some parts of England the Christmas mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under it never marry. Whether we believe it or not, it always makes for fun and frolic at Christmas celebrations. Even if the pagan significance has been long forgotten, the custom of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many European countries as well as in Canada. Thus if a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe, it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as well as a prediction of happiness and long life. In France, the custom linked to mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day: "Au gui l'An neuf" (Mistletoe for the New Year). Today, kisses can be exchanged under the mistletoe any time during the holiday season.
Friday, December 18, 2009 5 comments

Friday Fragments!

} Last night we got a real treat...Chef Jerome! Oh man, our youth pastor is a culinary school graduate (he refuses to be called a chef), and he "whipped-up" a fantastic meal and dessert! HOMEMADE pasta. The freshly cut pasta was still drying on a string ran through their kitchen when we got there. I thought I had arrived in Italy. HOMEMADE Alfredo...yum, simply yum, with blackened grilled chicken. Delicious! Not to mention the special roasted red-pepper bread spread for the garlic bread. And salad, had to be good somewhere because the dessert - bananas flambe - just took up all the calories I had burned during my workout. The picture here (which is just one I found somewhere), doesn't do the live experience justice. As it's on fire, he adds cinnamon that makes sparks fly literally. It's just amazing and scrumptuous! I was honored to be treated to such a fine dining experience!

} I've made it a point to get more disciplined with my time these past couple of weeks. For anyone who knows me (and you'll see now), I'm a planner. I think I have finally devised a way to be structured with my time, but allow for interruptions/changes to flow. It may not look like it from the image here, but I really can go with the flow. The only thing that is non-negotiable, it that 7:00A time-slot...that's my morning meeting with God (or at least the first hour I get out of bed!).

} Christmas is upon us...already! I have not sent out the first Christmas card yet! And gift-giving will be at a minimum this year since I haven't had any sort of steady income. Only my mom gets the fancy gift, everyone else may get homemade goodies. I have to have some sort of excuse to eat sweets while working out every day!

} I did, however, get myself something for Christmas - a sewing machine. Nothing fancy, just has the basics, but it's a great start to mending stuff and getting creative. I already have a project getting started this weekend! Bill took one look at it and said I should change the name from 'brother' to Mystery Machine. Hmmm...maybe I should paint it green to match the flowers.

Love these Friday Fragments! For more - go see Mrs.4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time:
Mommy's Idea
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 2 comments

Life big comedy show

There will be a lot of things I will forget about my former boss, but his taglines will remain embedded in my memory forever. There's one that is so appropriate for this post, "I can't make 'em up, I just report 'em." This is something I just can't make up!

This past Saturday we had an auction for the New Albany Police Department - their regular impound auto auction. Over the years these auctions have become quite a success - events to look forward to - and Saturday was no exception, over $70,000 in sales! It sure helped to have a few garbage trucks in the mix. Yes, I said garbage trucks. Sometimes we auction-off the city's old equipment, and those items can make for entertaining banter. But this particular auction was special indeed.

For every NAPD auction there will be some personal property (stolen or left-behind) that gets sold. Just imagine the delight of the 100+ men in attendance when the backpack full of women's scanty-panties and see-through attire came up for bid. I flashed-back in time to another NAPD auction where a car brought an extra couple hundred dollars simply for the panties hanging from the rearview mirror. I was quickly brought back to the present when the next item for bid was the condem machine! Yes, I said condem machine. Oh, they could barely get through the bidding for all the laughing.

The time to sell the cars came next. Now, when there's men and cars - women barely exist. And during an auction, I'm the most important woman out there (aside from our cashier who takes the money!). It gets hard to squeeze my way through all the people to get to the next vehicle to take bids and write the tickets. I try to be polite, "excuse me, pardon me, excuse me..." But Saturday was classic. I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny, engage in conversation with me, or hit on me, but one guy (in his late 50s/early 60s) replied to my 'excuse me' with, "Why, did ya fart?" I had no time to stop "the look" I gave him.

If you did not laugh at any point through this post, we need to talk. If I add my hand and face motions to it, you get the full effect. This will be one of those moments I save for a speaking engagement somewhere. Or write a script for a show. Or just a book, even. Oh, the stories I could tell...

Monday, December 14, 2009 1 comments

What Christmas Is All About

Last night was the Christmas program at Greenville church. For a smaller church, there is an enormous amount of talent there. The kids did a program before the bigger "kids" ensemble (which sounded like angels!). For this program there were a lot of lines to memorize and a bunch of fantastic new songs all with some funky choreography. These little kids (1st-5th grades) were awesome. The proud faces on all the parents and grandparents and flashes from cameras really made it fun. And my biggest warm-and-fuzzy moment came when the kids did a song that included a recitative (talking during the music) of the same section in Luke that Linus does during the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I've included a media clip for your enjoyment.

And for the big kids guys were amazing! And I missed out big-time not being a part of it.

Friday, December 11, 2009 6 comments

Friday Fragments!

} All I can say is that it takes so little to amuse and annoy pets. A brown paper bag, some pipe cleaners and clear tape dispenser rolls are the bulk of the toys. They have a toy box, most of their toys end up under the stove or refrigerator, and so far the tree is still in-tact. How’s that possible? I put jingle bells on the tree as an alarm system for “mom” to come running and they know their day is going to turn bad quick if that happens. But my boy has this aversion for my new slip-ons. The leopard print must freak him out.

} I found out unofficially from a physical therapist friend of mine that I probably have plantar fasciitis in my feet. They’ve hurt off-and-on over the years, and I’ve just chalked it up to dress shoes too many days in a row. But that last warm gorgeous day we had a couple weeks ago I walked around the lake and I could barely make it back to the truck. I couldn’t step on them the next morning at all without screaming. And when your feet kill you your work-outs are limited. So my mom let me borrow her Total Gym. Now I’m back up to doing some Turbo Jam and Total Gym, and if I can make it, some time on the treadmill. I have discovered those long-lost muscles! I just HAVE to keep going with this! I have this dress I am very determined to get into soon.

} Which leads me to the downfall of any weight loss regiment…dessert. We had Mike & Amy over this week to wish them well on their Guatemala mission trip (they leave tomorrow!). Well, I like to try to be a good hostess and asked Amy what her favorite dessert was…pie & ice cream. So I found this easy & delicious recipe for Apple pie. But I don’t have a round pie pan, so I finagled the square 9in. I made a few adjustments to the recipe – you know, a little extra here, little dash of cinnamon for the crusts, and added a caramel icing glaze. And yes, I used fresh apples. So completely homemade. With a little vanilla ice cream (not homemade) on the side. It was delicious beyond words. But I only had one piece! I gave the rest away. I’m proud of me. Missing the pie, but proud.

} I am finally getting around to getting my office totally purged. With two of us using it space is at a minimum. One of my most procrastinated projects has been to get all my shredding done from purged files and receipts for the past “x” years. A total of three hours and four bags later I was caught up! Now for that stack of filing that’s been piling up for months.

} Because of other commitments on Wednesday evenings I wasn’t able to participate with Greenville church’s ensemble for the Christmas program. However, I am getting the opportunity to be a part of Northside’s Family Choir for a weekend of services. We had one practice so far, Titus is the leader. And he rocks! He has a way of getting us to “feel it.” One of our songs is “O Happy Day.” We’ll be sounding like Sister Act in no time! Totally different atmosphere from singing with a choir for The Messiah.

Love these Friday Fragments! For more - go see Mrs.4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time:
Mommy's Idea
Thursday, December 10, 2009 0 comments

Valley of Dry Bones

I've been going through a writing dry spell lately. I want to write, need to write, but have a hard time just starting it. I also have too much going on in my head to focus enough to write clear. So I am gathering tidbits already for a Friday Fragment. Maybe I can purge and refresh at that point. In the meantime...

My morning Bible time is currently spent in a chronological Bible. I love it. Reading the prophets' messages from the Lord then having it matched up with the events from Kings and Chronicles makes sense and the whole story comes together seamlessly. Well, this morning I got to read again one of my favorite prophet passages in Ezekiel 37...the valley of dry bones.

Remember "The Mummy movies" (with that adorable Brandon Frasier that certainly has permission to rescue me any day from impending doom...but I digress)? Throughout the whole movie, the mummy regenerates. The bones come together, then the muscles and ligaments, some skin, and it finishes up as a whole evil person that is bent on taking over the world. Well, in Ezekiel (during the exile period of Isreal's history), the Lord takes Ezekiel to this valley filled with nothing but very dry bones and asks him, "Son of man, can these bones live?" Now, if God asked me a question like that, I would try my best to not be disrespectful in my tone, but reply, "are you kidding me?" Ezekiel's answer, "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know." What a wise answer!

From there the Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, "Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! (notice the exclamation point) This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know I am the Lord."

So Ezekiel prophesies as he was commanded. And in his own words: "as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them."

Imagine that sight! Reliving those Mummy movie clips yet?

Then the Lord said to Ezekiel, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, "'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet - a vast army. Can you picture the impact of the wind from all four directions on those empty shells of bodies? There's no magical dust like in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast is turned back into the prince, but there is still that impact of life anew!

This is one of my favorite passages to read, for one because it's just beyond cool, and two, because it's proof for me that even if I perceive something to be dead and dried up (like my dreams in life), God can bring them back to life.

Grace & peace, y'all!

Friday, November 27, 2009 6 comments

Friday Fragments

} Thanksgiving day has come and gone - not much excitement this year since the family has gotten into an attitude of "Well, if she doesn't call me then I'm not calling her." So that left three of us to eat Thanksgiving day lunch together. It was nice, but a sad scene truth-be-told.

} The temperature DROPPED yesterday. It's getting into that season where it can look beautiful out, you get all excited to spend some time in it only to have your hopes dashed when you step out and get frost-bite. Time to adjust mentally to ice and snow temps! No walking around the lake for me.

} Took my truck to get looked at this week. He's leaking. Lots. But to his defense, he's got over 280,000 miles on him. It's the power steering pump, O2 sensor, and PCV valve. Basically $700 worth. The service people were almost beaming with pride, "Christy, this truck has been awesome for you! How many more miles do you think he can handle?" I think we're setting some records around there. And as long as the body holds up - he could have a future in truck pulls! (It's a real popular body style to get pimped-out for the truck pulls - he'd be in redneck heaven).

} I have now done something I can say I did at least once in my lief - I joined all the crazy people at 4 AM on Black Friday this morning. My mom wanted a camera and I wanted a sewing machine - so with my circulars in hand, off I went to Kohl's as my first destination. Unbelieveable is all I can say. I thought waiting in the unemployment line was long and arduous - it has nothing on the line I saw at 3:45 a.m.!!!! Not my thing really, so I passed on Kohl's. Then I just went all-out and went to Wal-Mart. KNOWING how crazy people are there. But one store didn't have any sewing machines and with the way they had "lines" set-up I couldn't figure out how to get back to even see the cameras. So I got my few grocery items and went on. I'm hungry at this point - try finding a McDonalds actually open at 4:30 a.m.! I managed to get to another Wal-Mart to get a camera for mom at a really reasonable price, but alas, sewing machines were already gone. Next year, I might get up early just to shop online and go right back to bed. But for now - I need a nap before the rest of the day happens!

Love these Friday Fragments! For more - go see Mrs.4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time:
Friday Fragments?

Monday, November 23, 2009 2 comments

Who Needs Romance?

We ALL need romance. But I think where things go wrong sometimes is that we look for that romance in the wrong places. I can remember from Waaaayy back being a 'romantic' at heart. You know, the knight in shining armor, holding out for a hero, and all that. Remember the movie, "Pretty Woman?" The ending where he realizes he LOVES her and comes for her? What girl didn't cry and want that to happen to her? But as I've grown up and gained life experience, I've discovered that stuff like that generally only happens in the movies or paperback (I've heard stories, but none of my own). And they always leave off what happens AFTER the rescue and roses.

As I was preparing this post this morning, the song "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian came on and these words stuck with me:

"To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
the world was younger than today

when dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me...

I am the ugly duckling...most days. And this my biggest vulnerable area.

Face it. We have been fed a line of crap from Hollywood about romance. Our perception of it has been tainted. We've been trained to view romance as actual love - and you deserve it if your beautiful, but if not you can be the quirky sidekick. And when we don't receive romance we equate it to not being loved. We place too much romantic expectation on someone else and when they fall short it breaks our hearts. We all need true love first, and romance is a natural by-product from that love that fuels the flame in a relationship.

I'm sure 99% of you are familiar with John 3:16, "For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall have everlasting life..." God loves us, no doubt about that. But does he romance us?

(Adapted from "Captivating.") God's version of flowers and chocolates and candlelight dinners comes in the form of sunsets and falling stars, moonlight on lakes and cricket symphonies; warm wind, swaying trees, lush gardens and fierce devotion. This romancing is immensely personal-as if scripted for your heart alone. We have missed many of his notes simple because we shut our hearts down in order to endure the pain of life. Open your heart again to hear His whispers and receive His kisses. "...He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

Have you ever noticed God's romancing of you? Have you ever stopped to truly smell the roses, or watch a sunset (or sunrise)? Ever watched puppies at play or butterflies floating in mid-air? Ever seen a spider's web glistening with morning dew or smelled the freshness of a crisp Autumn morning? What about your favorite song? Did it touch your heart this morning? Have you let the sun warm you outside-in? Or what about the ripples of water the geese make in a lake. God just gave you moments of romance. Take a moment to thank and praise Him for it and rejoice that the Creator of the universe knows how to love you like you want to be loved.
Friday, November 20, 2009 6 comments

Friday Fragments

} I worked out yesterday - for reals. The Turbo Jam lady told me I would be feeling it today, she was right. I was doing real good last week, I would walk the mile+ around the lake then come home and do 20 minute Turbo Jam workout. I actually love it. Then I just didn't do it for a few days - got lazy, busy, whatever. But yesterday jumped back on the wagon. Man, it was kicking my butt! But I did choose the more intense workout that time.

} I love my cats, don't get me wrong. But they are puke factories some days. I've researched and talked with other cat owners and the consensus is that when I cat does that, they're eating too fast. Kinda like a kid who stuffs himself with candy and food then gets on the wildest roller coaster he can find, then upchucks half-way through. I've tried various tricks: tennis ball in the food bowl - Maestro just grabs them, moves them out of the way, then starts playing with the ball, goes back to eat too much food, then throws up on the ball; giving them only a spoonful of food at a time - then they just gobble it up apparently thinking it will be their last meal ever then throw it back up; give them so much food it would take days to eat it all - they assume it's a feast, eat too know the rest. So I've looked at auto-feeders. BUT - I have two cats - they can share a split bowl, but not the "same" bowl. Siblings, go figure. So I got creative! I took a Parmesan cheese container - with the flip-top lid - and wired it to their bowl so it will feed into both sides of their bowls in a smaller amount than a store-bought feeder. It took the boy less than 5 seconds to figure out if he moved the food from the feeder more would appear! Guys. This is just day 1 - so hopefully this will work!

} I'm singing in choir again! For the past four years I have been joining with a couple friends from church in a choral group to sing Handel's Messiah. I love it! I sing alto in this one because the notes that the sopranos have to hit would shatter glass! But every time we get to the Hallelujah Chorus it's as if the angels themselves are joining in.

} Has anyone seen this show, Tabatha's Salon Takeover? Oh my, what a lady! She hardly ever smiles, but she knows her stuff and doesn't take crap off anyone. She'll come into a flailing salon - take it over for a week - and get it back to flourishing. She takes charge of every part of it: business management, employees, customer service, marketing, and finally design on studio itself - it gets a makeover. It's kind of like Super Nanny and Extreme Home Makeover rolled into one for beauty salons. Oh, the drama! I think I just had it on while getting ready to leave for somewhere, but I think I'd like to see one all the way through!

} Been getting a lot of good out of getting up early and starting my day in the Bible. I ask God to join me in it, to show me something new, and He never fails to be there and teach me. I highly encourage everyone else to do the same.

} I've been staying pretty busy since I lost my day job back in July. I've gained a new marketing client and doing all kinds of other things. I heard a segment on the radio this morning about being purposeful - that life is permeated with purpose (Ephesians 2:10). Which fills me with encouragement. I may be busy - but I know in these things I do it's filled with God's work, and He will provide what I need in the process of doing His work.

Love these Friday Fragments! For more - go see Mrs.4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time:
Friday Fragments?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 2 comments


Last night was one of my home Bible study groups - and I made dessert. I've decided making desserts is one of my cooking specialties - pizza's the other (I have a few FABulous gourmet pizzas that I SO enjoy).

These little button beauties pictured here were a hit, and has quickly risen to the one of my top slots on sugar highs. And it's so easy to make! I made these with a different flavor and added strawberries for the women's study one night. These are pinneapple-cheesecake-sugar cookies with blueberries on top. Yum!

And it's not cheesecake like you would think cheesecake. It's cheesecake flavored Jello pudding mix with crushed pinneapple and Cool Whip. LOW FAT!!!! The sugar cookies - not so much, but you can just eat the "icing" alone or on graham crakers even. But for this batch I found this fantastic recipe for sugar cookies on All so I made my own. And now I have extra cookies - the "icing" batch wasn't enough for all the cookies!

So, what to do to remedy this situation? I found a great caramel icing recipe and made my own caramel icing to go on top the rest of the cookies (if we want icing). But I've discovered this caramel icing would be delicious on top of an apple pie - with ice cream and caramel drizzle of course.

My belly already hurts from even thinking about all this sugar!


"Angel Lush" Icing

1 package of instant Jello Pudding (flavor of your choice, I've used vanilla, banana and cheesecake so far and they're all very good)
1 can crushed pinneapple - drained
1/2 small bowl of Cool Whip

~ Drain the can of pinneapple
~ Mix pudding mix and pinneapple together
~ Mix in cool whip until all blended together - refrigerate until ready to use.

I haven't tried to freeze it yet, but it should be freezable with the Cool Whip - make frozen "lush" cookies.

I've pulled out the Imperial Cookbook from 1892 - can't wait to try some of these antique treasures! Like homemade perfume and homemade sorbet, and even soap (had to include that one for Lynn!).


Tuesday, November 17, 2009 2 comments

Life big to-do list

Again, it's been awhile since I've last posted. There's just been so much going on!

  • The 175th (+1) celebration concert at church consumed me for about three weeks. But it was a success! I just hate that I didn't get any pictures, but there is video! As soon as I get a chance to work on that, I'll share some bits here.

  • The church youth's Amazing Race before that. That took some organizing time, but well worth it. The kids had a blast and the stories we got to hear at the end!

  • Auctions and all that entails.

  • Odd-jobs, and trying to drum-up business as well as cheering Bill on for a career-change.

  • Friends' and family drama.

  • Church goings-on.

  • Pro-bono wedding video and pictures to still be done.

  • Crocheting a baby blanket plus three other projects.

  • Reading about 5 books - combination of business and Christian, plus one biography on Eleanor of Aquitaine (ancient royal history).

  • Housecleaning - lots of purging going on with closets.

  • Bible study groups - I'm a part of one mixed group, one women's group, and I think we're going to another mixed group this week.

  • Personal God-time. I've made the change to starting my day with God. I sit at my kitchen table with all the windows around me and just ask God to teach me something new in His word, and He does! I get to watch the sun come up and just start the day right and that sticks with me for a long time through the day.

  • Support group night - can't really count it as Bible study, but it still amazes me how real people can be in there versus in church.

  • Got to have my facebook game-time.

  • Then there's eating, although I can play games on the computer while I eat, or read.

  • And finally - sleeping! During those weeks of working on the concert I didn't get much sleep, maybe 4 or 5 hours a night. I can proudly say I am making up for it now!

And through all that - which is nothing compared to anyone who has children - I am trying to be intentional with ministry. Basically, ministering to anyone who has a need, and that could be you. Bill and I have been given opportunities to just be servants wherever God places us, and that it simply awesome. Have you ever been in a place where you just feel blessings and "enlarging of territory" coming your way?

I'll be writing more soon enough. Thanks for visiting!

Grace & Peace to y'all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 1 comments

No Exceptions

I was waiting to get the gray taken out of my hair when I looked over at the magazine rack and saw this intriguing little book - The exception to the Ten Commandments. I was curious to see what someone thought would be an exception to the Ten Commandments and this is what I saw...

I laughed out loud!

Sunday, October 18, 2009 1 comments

God is Great, (Root) Beer is good, and People are Crazy...

That's how the lyrics go to the country song anyway. And you know what - it's true! I've seen it for myself today - all day long it seems like. The people who run stop signs to get in front of you (and you're the ONLY car coming), that's bad enough on the way to a church service. We went to church this morning already rebuking Satan for trying to get on our nerves.

Then at Tom's football game there was a domestic dispute going on behind us between a mom and the stepmom. Needless to say there were plenty of expletives being thrown around. The school-teacher-mom-of-a-Steeler in front of me turned on a dime and started yelling at the two of them to take that trash language off our field. Did they listen? Nope. They continued on for another few minutes till the husband finally got involved to take the stepmom home I guess.

The bummer of the day is that the Steelers lost their game to the Bears. BUT....I know see why parents can get so wrapped-up in these games. Those little guys look so professional at this point in the season. They've learned the form, rules, strategies, and teamwork - they look like they know what they're doing! And it gets exciting. They all did so well! There's always next year.

So then Bill and I go get the elements for him to make us some chili and head home. I still needed to go to my mom's to get good drinking water (I have the hardest water in the whole area so I don't drink the tap). On the way to mom's I pull up to this crazy sight: this mostly naked guy (had on his undies) in the middle of the road, his clothes scattered all over the road, yelling at the four fully clothed guys in the yard. He had a bloody nose and was completely oblivious to the truck coming at him (that'd be me). I pull up and roll down my window, one of the clothed guys comes over and I ask if it's okay to go around him and he asks me to call the police because the guy (no clothes, bloody nose, in the road), is threatening their lives. O...k....

After I refuse the naked guy's request for a "lift," I proceed to mom's and call the sheriff's office. I said, "I live 'out here' and there's this guy...," "And he's naked?" "I take it I'm not the first to call!" We laughed a bit and she assured me help was on the way. Crazy - and sad at the same time.

And do you see these pictures? This is my big ol' maple tree. It's an over-achiever this year!

Saturday, October 17, 2009 3 comments

Six Word Saturday

Freezing Butts On The Road Again...

It still surprises me how little time I have to blog since I've been "off-work." We've been running all over the place trying to get stuff done, and church-stuff, and of course, Tom's flag football practices & games.

Today started PLAYOFFS! No surprise - Tom's team, the Steelers, won! But we all were so unprepared for the weather! It was freezing - literally. I don't think any of us had enough layers on. It wouldn't have been quite so bad if it hadn't been for the wind. I'm just now thawing out hours later. But it was worth it! Tom's 8th birthday was yesterday, win today, another game tomorrow after church & a meeting. I'm confident they'll win tomorrow and that means the final game next week. And from now on I'm taking blankets, coats, heaters, mittens, whatever will keep me warm!

So I guess tomorrow's blog header might read: Butt thawed yesterday, freezing again today. Oh well, still worth it!
Friday, October 16, 2009 2 comments

Friday fragments

} So I'm late on writing's barely still Friday!

} My planner is back in order - I'm up to color-coding with seven, yes count 'em, 7 colors. A different color for different categories of course. Does that mean I'm busy - yep. Getting myself back to being the me I know me to be!
} Got confirmation for starting my own business this week - one job to submit a proposal for and another to give a scope of work. And this is from simple word-of-mouth. Always ready for more business! I'd love to do a video project for someone for Christmas - those are my favorites.

} One of my churches, Greenville Christian Church, is 176 years old this year. In 1983 some members created a time capsule which we will be opening Sunday night, November 8 in a big celebration concert. All kinds of stuff will be going on that night. And since the capsule was done in the 80's - it's only appropriate to have an 80s theme in there somewhere! Still got LOTS of work to do on this, but going through the history of this church is amazing. See these faces to the right? These kids would be our "seasoned saints" today. I just wish I had names to go with these faces!

} Ok, I couldn't resist joining in the book fun! I signed-up to be a reviewer like Rebecca and Joe! I started my first book today, Max Lucado's "Fearless." I need to come up with a rating system like Rebecca has - that's cool...

} I'm missed at my old job. My friend, Sheree, and I had lunch this week. She's such an encourager anyway, but she did make me feel better about my role at my previous workplace. Just felt a little lighter this week :-) .

Have a great weekend y'all! Try to stay dry!

Love these Friday Fragments! For more - go see Mrs.4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time: Friday Fragments?

Or even Sara's Friday Freewrite: is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 0 comments

Is it Prideful to Desire Greatness?

Is it Prideful to Desire Greatness?

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Monday, October 12, 2009 0 comments

Monday Madness!

I have to tell you, the more I get into doing this business plan, the more excited I get about starting a new business! I know it's going to be rough to start - all new businesses are - but still, the benefits of being on my own will be priceless.

This new business idea is kinda crazy, really. How do I target a network of specialists (handymen, house cleaners, strategic planners, video producers, bookkeepers, knitters, jewelry makers, organizers, etc., etc., etc.) to a specific target? I can't easily. So the business itself will be marketed in three parts: Home, Business, and Life.

Factotum by definition means "jack-of-all-trades," which is who I am personally. So why not build on that? With this kind of business, I will be able to connect people to others, which energizes me. Not only can it help meet needs, but make connections with those "specialists" that love what they do (and are good at it!) and build lasting relationships.

I'm still working out the business plan, but basically Factotum Home would provide services for your home inside & out like electrical, lighting design, general handyman, landscaping, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, yard work/clean-up, house cleaning with steam, and home organizing. Factotum Business can focus on your small business needs like secretarial, bookkeeping, copywriting, graphic design, marketing, event planning, and strategic planning to name a few. And Factotum Life is where it gets FUN! Do you want to learn how to crochet or knit? Need a video of home movies and pictures for a gift to others or yourself? Want to start scrapbooking but don't know where to begin? We have specialists that are willing to meet with you on a one-to-one basis to get you started or take you to the next level.

So that's the overall gist of it. And marketing? When someone comes to Factotum for housecleaning services and learns they can get a video done as well...well, then the concept is working.
Saturday, October 10, 2009 3 comments

Six Word Saturday

Losing Sight Because He's Too Focused

So I'm jumping on the Six Word Saturday bandwagon this week! I couldn't resist...

Do you see this handsome dog to the right? Well, I have a story to tell that I'm sure we can all relate to.

Needless to say, I woke up irritated this morning. I even started the day with reading the Bible, praying for peace...anything to help - and help did not seem to come. So I went ahead and started the rest of the day to get as much as possible done before leaving for Tom's football afternoon. I went to mom's early to pick-up a couple of elephant ears to bring in for the cold seasons. As I drove down her driveway, I see this sweet boy, Preacher, digging in the field - after a mole I'm sure. He's looks up, with his mud & dirt covered face that left no room for white fur anywhere, and acknowledges my arrival with a wagging of the tail and raised ears. But that acknowledgement would have to do since he was not leaving his digging - he might miss catching the mole!

After visiting and venting to mom about the world and its ways, we put the plants in the back of the truck and look up in the field where Preacher is still digging and has added howling to the activity. Apparently, he's not got the mole out of the 6 foot ditch he's dug. Then all of a sudden, this deer comes out of the treeline into Preacher's field. This beautiful young buck is just prancing across the field in his best "tra-la-la, la-la" impression. Does Preacher notice? Nope. He's way too focused and concerned about digging out the mole.

Needless to say, mom & I laughed so hard and my whole mood changed. I realized I had been too focused on what was irritating me. There's too much other great things going on that I miss out on because I get too focused on the negative. And you know what? The mole wasn't even still in there! The problem that I thought I was seeing had gone away - wasn't really there anymore. And I missed out on the great moments happening all around me.

Deep for a Saturday morning? Not near as deep as that hole Preacher is still digging!

Grace & peace to y'all!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 0 comments

Wooo-hooo! Ok, so for the first time in months I am honestly excited about something. This new business idea is starting to really fire me up.

I went with a friend to a Career Networking Event at Southeast Christian Church today. It was great and sad at the same time. There were over 200 people at this event. Which means, everyone that was there has either been laid-off/let-go, or is looking for a new job from their old one they have begun to hate. A statistic was given that over 80% of people work at jobs that do not utilize even a small portion of their talents (of which I was the poster-child!). And just as many work at jobs they hate just to earn money.

What would happen if people were able to enjoy their work and really feel like they are using their talents? How would you feel hiring someone for your project (household-inside or out-personal or small business), that truly loves what they do? Do you think their level of excellence would be higher? If you were hired to do a project that involves what you love to do - wouldn't you jump in with excitement?

"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?"-- Benjamin Franklin

I have so much to prepare for - off to work!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009 0 comments

Life is...full of decisions

So when you are faced with multiple windows - do you open one at a time or all at once? What kind of breeze do you get? What about the view? Do you close 'em the instant a storm hits? How do you know which window to open? What is the deciding factor?

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

That's what I'm doing right now. There's a lot of opportunities of projects to work on - I just don't know where to start sometimes! But one decision I've made lately is to start my own business. I have a business concept, name, and logo idea. I am continuing to work out the details, but we are ready to get started! Factotum (definiton is "jack of all trades") will be a business that is a network of independent contractors that can do just about anything you need done.

For example, I can do great video work. So if you wanted to turn your home movies into a professionally edited dvd, you could call Factotum and I would do the work. If you have cleaning needs (business or home) call Factotum and I have a contractor that can do it. If you need extra office work: bookkeeping, typing, presentation design, etc., call Factotum and we can get it done. And so on and so on. That's why I'm working out the details.

So please, spread the word and put this on your prayer lists! And I'll keep you posted!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 0 comments

Life is...Beautiful even when messy

Life is a lot of things, and I've been trying to back in the swing of things lately - like blogging. So when I walked in the house yesterday and saw this poor hosta I was thinking how time flies and the season is changing again already. But then I looked closer - this weather-beaten-ready-to-give-up-for-the-year hosta is blooming!

It amazed me. The whole rest of the plant is ready to die for winter, but it's giving it one last bloom for the year. It's blooming even though I think it's died. It's giving life when I percieve it to be dead. It's beautiful even though I thought the rest of it was ugly.

The placement of this bloom is not in an obvious spot - it was under a dead leaf on the backside of the plant. I had only caught a glimpse. I moved the dead part to see the full bloom.

Is any of this sounding familiar? Don't we feel that way sometimes - that we are dead, ready to give up for the winter, but there's this small glimpse of a bloom that "someone" sees (that would be God). And only God can move the dead parts so the full bloom can be seen. Don't be afraid to bloom, dear ones. God will help remove the dead parts so everyone can see the beauty!

...proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:2,3)
Saturday, September 26, 2009 0 comments

Friday Fragments - on Saturday

} So what if I haven't posted in awhile? I'm posting now.

} I FINALLY finished the book, "Follow the River," by James Alexander Thom. It's this amazing real-life story of Mary Ingles who was taken captive by Shawnee indians in 1755. Her whole life was destroyed - the whole community was killed, including her mother. She, her sons & sister-in-law, and one other man were taken across the teritory hundreds of miles from home. Pregnant on the journey, she had to give up her baby, see her boys and sister taken away, and herself given into slavery. She escapes with a fellow captive and makes her way back home with no shelter, loss of tools, loss of sanity in her fellow traveler, and no food in sight for weeks. This woman had such strength and determination. I could never have done what she did. Even George Washington admitted she was more courageous than he. I love history - especially when the stories are real - and I highly recommend this one!

} Last Friday, we had visitors. I had to call and tell that to Bill specifically since Tom is wanting a dog REAL bad out "in the country." This little fella just showed up. I knew he had to be the neighbor's, and sure enough, the "babysitter" showed up a few minutes later. (for more pics - go to Thru The Lens) His name is Pistol - and that's certainly what he is! I see him and Joy (the babysitter) exploring the field across the road. I wonder if I should warn the cows.

} So I've been unemployed for a couple of months now. And no unemployment checks. I would check and the system would say I have credits - but no checks. What? How does that work? And since you can't get a live person on the phone, I went down to the office. This was the scene at 7:30 in the morning! Needless to say, the wait is the hardest part. I took a book - and my crochet project. (Rebecca, admit it - you're proud!) The guy behind the counter scared me when he disappeared inthe back for a few minutes. But when he came back he told me I would have all my checks in a couple of days! Praise the Lord - and a big "I love you!" to that guy. And let me tell you, this place can give the people of WalMart a run for their money!

} Bill went with me to take the garbage and old nasty stuff to the dump last week. We're just enjoying the afternoon - windows down on the truck - gorgeous day really. Then all of a sudden - POW! I hear this huge POP sound, Bill yells and starts beating at his back, and I instinctly slow the truck down to help pull his shirt away from his back. Turns out, this evil not-so-little hornet hit his hand, made a "bee-line" down the back of his shirt and stung him square in the back. And he was just telling me about his one-and-only other nightmare experience of going to the dump when he was a teenager. I foresee never getting help going to the dump again.

} So why have I not been posting? Have I been real busy? No. Have I been going in another life direction? No. Have I gotten lazy? Ding-ding-ding! We have a winner! Side-effect of getting used to being at home and too much facebook-game time. Time to get out of that mode! I've been praying hard for direction. Should I go into full-time ministry? Should I go back to school? Should I start my own business? Should I work two jobs? So many options...just looking for a confirmation from God on a direction at this point.

Love these Friday Fragments! For more - go see Mrs.4444 @ Half-Past Kissin' Time: Friday Fragments?

Or even Sara's Friday Freewrite: is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Grace & Peace to you all!