Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Deal or No Deal?
I found my twin! We're pretty close in age, and one of us has a bit more money, one of us has a bit more hair, but still we may be twins separated at birth...

Howie Mandel was interviewed this past weekend in Parade magazine. Here's what he had to say about himself:

"I need to keep busy creatively. I need to be doing three things at once. When people say they know this great getaway by the sea where there's noone around, that's a nightmare to me. I need to be around people and noise. I have the attention span of a gnat. I have ADD, I've got OCD. In fact, I'd like to buy some vowels."

I mentioned a few posts ago that I'd just stepped down from heading up the ministry at our church that provides meals for those who are sick, have just had a baby, deaths, emergencies. It was a mess when I got it, and I whipped it into shape. Having the strong gift of Administration, I tend to attract messes. I made charts, lined up volunteers, made calls, and it was running smoothly. As soon as it started functioning well, I realized I was bored. I was on the phone, not with people. There was nothing else to fix. So I stepped down, and the perfect person stepped up. She doesn't care to fix things, just keep them going. Perfect.

Five minutes after I got home, I got a call from one of our pastors. Chapter 2 is our church's new bookstore, set to open ASAP. It's all of 500 sq. feet, the books are due to arrive any day, and it's a mess! Perfect for me. I love a mess. They asked me to manage it, spending 20 hours a week there. I get to find a group of volunteers to help man it, order books, arrange the shelves and walls to be inviting, choose music to play when people are wandering the aisles. I also get to deal with the finances, learn the cash register, learn a program or two on the computer to run the store. I get to encourage people who stop in, thinking they need a book, when they really need an ear.

When I was first asked, I hesitated. I felt tired and thought it was a good time for a break. What a blessing it is to have a husband who knows me better than I do myself. He's more objective. He told me, "you're not tired. You're frustrated. You need to be busy, need challenges, responsibility. You'll enjoy it. I'll help you. Do it."

So I asked, "will you be patient with me when I drive you crazy talking about it ad nauseum for the first two months, and are you willing to put up with the house being more messy, and how about having to take me out to eat more since I won't be home as much to cook? Will you also come into the store and help me shelve books, move boxes, etc. Will you put up with me when I get frustrated and need to vent? What about when I'm there, instead of here. Can you do all that?" He said "yes." He said, "If you're happy, I'm happy. Do it."

So Chapter 2 will hopefully open in two weeks or so. There are already a few people lined up to volunteer. The books are arriving. I'm diving into the mess tomorrow. Oh I can't wait!

Howie also said, "What I try to teach my kids is that life isn't about making money or getting famous. If you're doing something you look forward to and it's fun, then you've made it. I happen to be lucky that way. The things I look forward to and the things I do (for a living) are one and the same." Now that's some deal. I could not agree more.

I'm thankful for a husband who knows me, still loves me, and is willing to help me when I've taken on too much. The clincher of the deal? I get to bring home any book I want and "gently" read it, then return it. Knowing what I spend at Amazon for books, my husband may have had ulterior motives in agreeing to this deal. I won't be here, at Blessed Beyond Measure, quite as much, esp. for the months of November and December. I still lead a Bible study one morning a week, and have to speak to the MOPS in two weeks. Right now I'm in the middle of painting the living room, and the main bathroom is next. I want them done before the holidays when kids come home.

It's going to be really crazy around here for a couple of months, then just crazy. Apparently, that's the way I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh!

  posted at 7:51 AM

Saturday, October 28, 2006
Just a bunch of Daddys
With the opening of our new worship center, our church has ventured into hosting concerts. We skipped Big Daddy Weave. Being in our 50's, our kids advised us to also skip Kutless. When I heard Caedmon's Call was going to be there, it was an immediate yes. I love, love their music. Give me a male lead singer with a scratchy voice every time - Rod Stewart, Bob Seger, several come to mind.

The evening started with an opening act, an adorable couple - husband and wife team. Mandy Mann sang, really good vocals, while her sweet husband just sort of did his thing. They were very cute. At one point she wore butterfly wings and it reminded me of Addison, my little granddaughter who has a set of her own. Mandys were blue, Addison's are pink.

Mandy and her husband cleared the stage. With no buildup whatsoever, two guys with guitars came out and stood in front of the mikes. It took us all a bit to figure out it was them, Caedmon's Call, and you could tell it amused them to sense our confusion. After a few songs, they actually started to talk a bit, and that's when we found out the female vocal was home in Houston with her sick kids. The lead singer is the father to said sick kids, and he entertained us all with a few stories of vomit on his head, etc. They had Mandy fill in for her vocals, and she not only did a good job, she was adorable. She smiled the entire time.

It was an interesting evening. The music was professional, what we expected. They were just a bunch of guys. They shared their struggles, their stories, their hurt for the kids in India being oppressed. They had on mostly ratty jeans and t-shirts, and I suspect that's just what they were wearing all day. There was no funky hair, several didn't have any hair by choice. They were not the group on the cover of a CD, they just sang from their hearts.

Of particular note, Andy, the guy with about 5 different guitars, shared his story of coming back. He said he'd become so discouraged by dealing with Christians, he'd decided he wanted nothing to do with them. He'd just love God and leave it at that. After his trip to India, seeing a people who had nothing to lose, and only God to cling to, he came back restored. He's about to become a daddy for the second time, and asked us to hold our applause and buy his CD's instead, so he could buy diapers. I really enjoyed that comment - very real. Just a guy trying to buy diapers for his babies.

At the end of the evening, Andy would be going to our local coffee house, and for $5 you could come in, have coffee and listen to him on his acoustical guitar. The place only holds about 50 people, the building is well over 100 years old, and has fireplaces at each end of the main room. I know anyone who went there had their socks blessed off. It was hard to go home, and climb into bed instead of hanging out there too late.

The evening wasn't what I was expecting. It was more. Seeing this group who has sold many, many CD's, seeing them just as Daddy's trying to pay their bills, being away from their wives who were at home with sick kids, that ministered more to me than if there had been slick techno effects, or the usual stuff you expect at a concert. I came away refreshed, encouraged. If you can be very successful in the world's eyes, and still get lost here and there, worry about paying your bills, and hope people will applaud your efforts - that I can absolutely relate to.

I bought Andy's solo CD. I want to hear more about one sheep who was lost, and was found. I'm confident I'll get my money's worth.

  posted at 10:33 AM

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Solid Gold Astronaut...
Update: Sarah read this and immediately let me know I spelled NASA incorrectly; I'd gone with the island spelling, as in Bahamas. My apologies - I must have cruises on the brain.She did tell me she'd much rather be a Nassau (island) astronaut than a NASA one... (and yes Big Mama - she LOVED the photo. I believe her words were "that's it, we're breaking up!" )

"Has someone seen the life I planned?
It seems it's been misplaced
I've looked in every corner
It's lost without a trace..."
~ Beth Moore~
From the poem: "The Life I Planned "

When I was flying home from Colorado recently, a woman came down the aisle of the airplane. As she walked past the seat I was in, she stopped and gave me a long, hard look. She said, "Did you live in Ann Arbor?" I looked back at her, noticed her big smile, but answered her, "No, never lived there." She moved on past me.

I sat there thinking she was VERY familiar. A few minutes later, after the airplane was full, I turned around and she and I shouted together, "Carbondale! That's it, Carbondale!" As the entire plane applauded our apparent reuniting, we talked over everyone's head. "Stu, Robin?" "Bev, Don?" To the relief of our captive audience, we agreed I'd come back for a short visit after the plane was in the air.

Over two hours later, at the end of the flight, I had recalled much about Robin. She came out of the plane, and all 5'1" of her gave me a big hug. We had been good friends during the mid-80's, while we were both busy raising young children. She'd moved to Ann Arbor, and I'd moved several times. We'd lost touch. So to catch up on almost 20 years of happenings, her first question to me was this: "So did Sarah end up being a NASA astronaut or a Solid Gold dancer?" She went on to tell me that was Sarah's dilemma back then.

Reading this quote, I thought of the dreams and aspirations of my three children versus where they ended up. I thought specifically of Sarah, especially after the year she's been through.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Sarah, back in her "Solid-Gold" aspiration days...

The same little girl who dreamed of being an astronaut or a less than modest dancer; where did she end up? She is all grown up, the wife of a pastor. I would NEVER have guessed that for her! While Dan holds the honor of most spankings, Sarah wins hands-over-fists for time spent grounded, and allowance returned for backtalk. This daughter who had a lot of sassy fire in her - her children say "sir" and "ma'am". She is a stay at home mother of three small children. That's not so amazing. How much she enjoys it all is. I got through those years, I didn't relish them like I now wish I had. She is homeschooling her oldest, she who was always ready to go back to classes mid-July. With three children five and under, with a past year that included the birth of the daughter she was dreaming of and praying for; open-heart surgery for that little girl when she weighed in at barely 8 lbs, and many, many visits to hospitals and specialists, it has not only been quite a year, it's been quite a trip, this parenting so far.

I'm thankful God gets to be God. I'm thankful He has different plans for our lives than we do. I'm thankful he took this young girl, who was smart enough to be an astronaut, equipping her to teach her children. I'm thankful he made her girly enough to raise this precious little girl, covering her in as much pink as will fit on her body. I just can't wait to see the 'Solid-Gold' moves she'll be showing Addison a few years around the corner. Hmmmm, maybe when Addie is a pre-teen, a bit sassy, and starts making plans.

Stop by CWO to see other bloggers' takes on this quote.

  posted at 2:28 PM

Thursday, October 19, 2006
Family Cheering Section

This family is celebrating! Our son, Dan accepted a new job where he already worked. He's been promoted to assistant to the president of his college. He's losing the nice office he'd just recently gotten used to; he's gained the opportunity to learn from the best.

Starting this Friday, slacks, ties, blazer, shine those shoes. Just like that nice, deep voice says, "making progress every day" - it sure feels good to see your kids doing just that.

Congratulations Dan, we couldn't be more proud of you. Knock 'em dead!

  posted at 7:48 AM

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
"...who is beside you...."

"It doesn’t matter what is behind you as much as it matters who is beside you."
~ Ellen ~
"Laced with Grace"

When I was all of 10 or 11 years old, Maybelle Morris and I headed up the aisle of a little southern Baptist church, deep in southeast Texas. I’m pretty sure they were playing “Just As I Am.” I’m pretty sure because 99% of the time that was the song they played til somebody “came on down.” Later, at the age of 25, I more fully understood what I’d begun that day. At 25, I was divorced and remarried, the mother of two little girls. I’d lived enough life by then, made enough mistakes, done a bit of growing up. Quite a bit. At 25 I understood how important my decision to be a true Christ-follower was, and made it fully. I’ve stumbled, strayed, straggled behind at times, but I’ve never looked back. It was the best decision of my life. The most important one.

The second most important decision was to spend my life on earth with my husband. While some may find it irreverent, I’ve always called him “my second savior.” I always knew there was something different about him. He was soft-spoken, a good listener. He was not showy, a true gentleman. His respect for women was shown rather than spoken, as was much of what he believed. I respected him before I ever loved him. Then I loved him, with everything I had.

I’ve wondered, as life has carried us together for over 25 years, where I might have ended up, if not for him. He has loved me fully, respected me, treasured me. He has enjoyed me, challenged me, set me straight now and then. He has shared with me his dreams, his deepest fears, his joys, and everything in between during those years. Our time together has grown me into the woman I am now, and I do not believe I would be a shadow of who I am if not for his presence in my life.
He raised our first daughter as his own, although she came with me as part of the package. He loves her with as full a love a father can possibly have for a child. He slugged it out with me through the joys and challenges of raising a houseful of children, as they grew into teenagers. He put them through college, and gave his daughters away. He was the best man for our son, which speaks volumes to me. I watch him with our grandchildren, and see the full circle he’s come; a long journey from 25 years ago when he was thrown head-first into parenting. Baptism by fire it was!

As we begin to plan for retirement together, as I see that coal-black hair that has turned silver, crinkles around his eyes, and a bit of extra padding, it intensifies for me the love I feel for him. He has given me his best, all he has. When I look at him, I still see the oh-so-handsome man I fell head over heels in love with. What I treasure is knowing he had one journey on this earth, one mate to spend it with, and he chose me. That will always be the highest honor of my life. Irreverent or not, having “my second savior” beside me, that has made, still makes all the difference.

Stop by CWO to see other bloggers' takes on this quote.
PS. Happy Birthday, Susan. xoxoxo

  posted at 7:00 AM

Friday, October 13, 2006
An (Ahem...) Oh So Handsome Fish Story

Update: I started this post with a completely innocent title -

"Mr. Handsome and His Whopper."

It struck a fellow blogger as funny, and she sent me an email telling me so. I immediately ran in and changed it to something less suggestive, but left the blogger a comment so she would know I wasn't offended. That led to another comment. I decided I better phone my sweet husband and let him know I'd done a post about him that sounded very suggestive. I was afraid he'd be horrified. I told him, "I was just trying to be sweet, showing the boys the fish you caught, and now I've made you sound like some character out of a cheap p*orno movie." He, being a very normal male, thought it was hysterical and said it is obvious you can pretend to be anything on the internet. So, there you go - two titles, take your pick. If you're a male, I'm pretty sure which one will appeal to you. My intention was warm, fuzzy, but if you ROTFL instead, so be it.

I thought it comical to make this note, about this subject, in small print...

We're back from our trip out west, and I have a heartful of stories to share with all of you. Before I do that, I want to share this photo.

My husband, Don, went fishing in upper New York state a few weeks ago. He and a group of men from work have been treking up there for quite a few years to catch salmon. He decided, before he left for the trip, it would be his last time to go. He has a son and two son-in-laws he wants to start going bass fishing with instead. Down in Texas. About 1500 miles between the two fishing spots. Sarah and Leslie have already added 3 little boys to go on the trips eventually.

God was gracious enough to let him have the best trip yet. This salmon, weighing in at 30 lbs, was not only the biggest catch of the trip, it was his biggest fish ever. He's been fishing for a long time.

Our son, Dan, used his graphic degree to doctor up the photo some, switching from color to B&W, fixing edges, etc. He didn't add anything to the size of the fish, just the quality of the photo, then he framed it for his office. I will be enlarging it and framing it for our family room wall. I love the look on his face, that look of satisfaction. I don't wish I'd been on the boat. I have killer motion sickness. I do wish I could have seen, right then, how happy he was.

I thought my male readers (there are a few!) would enjoy seeing what we've been eating lately. We had a little bit of him last night, baked with onion, garlic, lemon juice, and topped with some pizza sauce and a dab of guacamole when he came out of the oven. We'll be eating salmon all through the winter, thanks to this guy and another one who weighed in at 29 lbs.

I feel better about it all since Don told me the fish are spawning and will die, even if they're not caught. The fish doesn't feel any better, but I do.

Likely not the most exciting post for many of you women out there, but I wanted to pay tribute to a husband who catches fish like this, and yet, realizes he needs to head south to fish with his boys. Pretty amazing man in my book. Nice that he's handsome as heck too.

  posted at 9:48 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

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