Friday, June 29, 2007
Roll out the Red Carpet
Awards are being given in Blogland, and somehow I am the recipient of T.W.O. It was a surprise, an honor, a pleasure to come home and find out three people gave me two awards. Knock me over with a wet noodle. Diane at Diane's Place honored me with the Reflection Award. She and I go back a long ways, as far as blogging goes, that being the beginning. I know genuine when I see it, and that she is. My sister Barb gave me the same award, and being the little sister, it's an honor to be given something like that by my 'big sister'. Heck, I used to be happy if she'd just let me move out of the closet and sleep in the bed.

Then Clemntine at What's Up Buttercup gave me the "Rockin' Girl Blogger" award. I am so NOT cool that it amazes me anyone would ever refer to me as "Rockin', although if you dig a bit deeper I think you'll see she gave it to me for being a goof. Still, I'll grab it and run.

I never seem to get these quite right, giving credits, doing links, etc. so I'll give it my best shot. I'm supposed to come up with five bloggers for the Reflection Award, and since it doesn't matter if they've already received it, here goes - Who Inspires Me?

#1 - Dianne, at Unfinished Work. She and I got to MIRL, then volunteer together at our church. The time we've spent together has been a blessing to me. She makes me want to think deeper, longer, and talk less. Her blog doesn't take comments, but if you want to be filled to the brim with food for thought, run over and read what this woman with a writer's heart has to say.

#2 - Erin, at Embracing My Cup. The last time I saw Erin she was wearing a Bridemaid's dress, in Sarah's wedding. She's grown up, into a lovely woman, mother of three, and I'm blessed to read whatever she has to share. Her youngest is still a newborn, and it's precious reading her perspective on the fleeting days with babies under foot.

#3 - Gwen, at Ivy Elizabeth. Her daughter, Ivey, was born just about when Addison was, with many challenges. I'm always encouraged by her faith, strength, transparency whenever I visit her blog. She's one whale of a mommy. Well worth the visit.

#4 - Susie, at Pink Carnation in Bloom, is around the age of my daughters. When I read her blog I'm always impressed at her desire to reflect Christ in her life, marriage, home. She's a real gem. I'd be crazy about her even if she didn't leave so many comments. She's adorable to boot.

#5 - Joan, at Chuckle in the Darkness. If I could meet Joan, I think I'd find her to be the most interesting friend. She works in non-profit, her life is very different than mine, and I like everything I read about her. She's who I'd want to be if I were single, and I'd really like to drive her car.

So who Rocks? Since I've received this, obviously the doors have been flung wide open. Still, here's my take on who is way cooler than I'll ever be:

#1 Michelle, at Between Diapers and Dishes. She lives in Mexico, ministering to the deaf, is about 12 months pregnant. We 'met' through a Beth Moore study last summer, and have stuck together. I'm always impressed at how 'out of the box' her life is.

#2 Toni at A Broad in Athens. I suspect Toni is one of those who was always cool without any effort, without even being aware it existed. Her writing is amazing, and although she doesn't post real often, when she does I savor every bit. She lives close to where I'm going to retire, so eventually she and I will have a margarita together, taking turns swatting the mosquitos.

#3 Beck, at Frog and Toad Are Friends. Marches to the beat of a different drum, which makes her all the more appealing. She's quirky, honest, real. My favorite kind of person.

#4 Mombo at He Thinks I'm funny. I've met her once, liked her immediately, wish I could meet with her weekly to fix all that ails me. She's genuine to the core, funny, smart. She's like the Energizer Rabbit - she just doesn't quit no matter how tough it gets.

#5 Sandra at Diary of a SAHM. This woman can cook! She's the homemaker extraordinaire, a military wife who makes a home out of wherever she lands. Right now she's in the middle of yet another move, so be sure to go say hello. Then copy one of her recipes. She also designs her own blog templates, and that impresses my socks off.

So there you have it - ten great ladies, well worth taking the time to meet. Take your shoes off, sit a spell. You'll be blessed as much as I have been.


  posted at 11:05 PM

Snips & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails
Smackdab in the middle of four brothers is a crazy place to land, as far as birth order goes. I'm one of six children, if you'd call us that, since 'the baby' will be 50 soon. Barb came first, then two boys, then I appeared, and two more boys. All within eight years. By the time my mom was 24 we'd all arrived on the scene. It's a wonder she's sane; any eccentricies she may have are well-deserved, and to be enjoyed fully!

Because of my upbringing I know how to play marbles, can yo-yo a bit although I never learned to 'walk the dog', can ride a skateboard, build a fort out of Christmas trees, and play knives in the front yard, if you're of the mind to do so. I learned to tie a tie, dissect a frog, run from barking dogs when we'd gone into a neighbor's field, and belch with the best of them. Unfortunately I was also tortured unmercifully as I grew up in the middle of all that testosterone! You don't even want to think of flicking me with water, or tickling me, or planting anything with long hairy legs in my hair. I go from tender to terrifying in about 30 seconds flat. Growing up amongst those boys was quite the education, scary at times, very protective at others. It was never dull.

Last week in Denver I visited all four of my brothers. It was the longest visit we've had in years, and I treasured the chance to catch up with each of them a bit. Having the luxury of time on my side, I managed to spend time with each one separately rather than having the usual family gathering that tends to sound and look something like Clampetts come to town, if we make the mistake of gathering all together in one place.

Gary is brother #2. He's the biggest, at 6'4' and well over 200 lbs. I used to be scared of him, and should have been. He was capable of just about anything. Then I grew to love him dearly, and we bonded for life. Seeing all the challenges he faces was hard; I wanted to somehow fix them all. Instead I just let him know how much I love him. We did exotic things like go to Dairy Queen for a blizzard, eat dinner out with his teenage son, and sit and tell old stories of our growing up together. I still have a tiny wooden mother cat and bowl that he sent me over 35 years ago. I've lost the kitten that went with the set. He'd forgotten sending it to me, but I've carried that tiny little keepsake all over the country with me, and cherish it.

Dwain - full of energy, noise, bad jokes, and stories of the dogs he loves like nobody's business - any room he enters is quickly filled with his presence, clear to the corners - trust me. Dwain is brother #3, younger than me, but I've never really thought of him that way. Maybe because he's bigger than me. Or louder. We got to visit for two hours over our favorite mexican food, where I told him I could sit through a total of six bad jokes. At the end of the evening, he'd only used three, and made sure I knew he'd saved three for next time, sort of like Cingular with rollovers. That's fair. Dwain has never, in my 26 years of living away from family, missed calling me on my birthday. Pretty impressive. He stayed in town to have dinner with me, knowing he'd have a two hour drive to work, over the mountains the next morning, with little sleep.

Derrell - the baby, #4. I commented that his blonde hair was darker now, and he explained it was semi-permanent dirt from his hardhat, worn daily on the worksite where he's an electrician. He's the smallest of the boys, and I told him he's still cute as heck. We spent some time at his apartment where he showed me his rock collection, letting me choose a few to take home. Our last evening was spent over KFC and scrabble, and he almost beat me. He wouldn't have liked it if I cheated and let him win. There's something deep inside me that feels oh so tender, hearing his soft voice, and seeing how hard he's trying to make something of a life that has been hard at times.

Jerry - #1, the oldest of the boys. I visited him at a military cemetery, the day before his 56th birthday. I'd only been there once before, at his funeral when the headstone wasn't in place yet. Mom and I agreed to go early in the day, then move on to more cheerful things, but it was important to both of us to visit. I showed Mom how to find the spot again, using landmarks, rather than counting white crosses. Seeing my maiden name on that cross, and the name of a brother, where it shouldn't have been felt foreign deep inside me. The sun was beating down hot, 101 degrees, so we didn't stay long, and I wonder that God didn't allow that on purpose. We needed to visit, but maybe not tarry too long. Doing the really hard things in life a little bit at a time is okay.

When I began having children, the first was a girl. And the second. And we were thrilled with them both, confident they were much like the children Garrison Keiller refers to - good lookin' and above-average intelligence. Still, this girl who grew up in the middle of a mess of boys - God knew I NEEDED a boy, so he finally gave me one, the last time around. Everyone should be blessed to have a brother, or raise a boy. It's well worth the work, and quite the ride. I'm thankful for the reminders last week of just how great men are. No matter the size or shape of the package, how loud he may get, a bit of off-color language, the dirt under his nails from hard work, or how different his life is from mine.

I think God must have had fun creating Adam.


  posted at 12:01 AM

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Perspective from my Pillow
For good or bad, when sleep won't come, I pray. I've found it's a sure-fire way to drop off. Any guilt this may create is rationalized away by thinking how pleasant I would find it to sit by my child's pillow, hearing a small voice share the cares of the day, then trail off as sleep took over. When my head's been on the pillow awhile, and thoughts are racing, prayer quiets me, almost without fail.

The last few nights I've found myself too weary to sleep. Adrenaline and long to-do lists tempted me to conjure up visions of wooly creatures jumping over fences. Instead I began to pray.

"God, please protect my mom as she drives home from work, and walks into her apartment. She's also waiting on word of a job opening; so is Leslie. Sarah is busy with the kids, Don is traveling tomorrow, and Leslie has the flu. Could you please protect the baby, Jeremy and the rest of us from this current bug?"

I realized, in the midst of these pillow prayers, that I felt a bit bad 'bothering' God with the little stuff. Would the same God who places angels all around us, provides all we need, mind circumventing a few germs?

Lying there, trying to slip into slumber for too few hours before the next day would begin, I had a revelation. God isn't big. God isn't small. He just IS. His being all-powerful gives him the power to handle everything in my life, big or small. It's no more difficult for him to prevent a war than it is to find me a parking space. He's not 'bothered' by my small requests any more than he is flustered by my larger ones.

He just is. All the power I need, for anything I need.

That thought was the last one on my mind as I slipped into slumber last night.


  posted at 8:03 AM

Sunday, June 24, 2007
Holy Moly!
Mom and I are back home, at her apartment. We made the trip out for the wedding, and lived to tell about it. I'll come back here, after I get home to Pennsylvania and share the fun/sweet/crazy photos I took, but for now just a few quick things.

Mom and I sang to Bruce Springsteen - Hungry Hearts - in the car, on the way there. Such fun I can't even describe it. There's nothing that bonds quite like two bad voices joined, traveling down the highway. We never got terribly lost, and found we make good travel partners. We spent part of the drive back planning out our next roadtrip.

I never cursed, the entire trip.

We probably both gained a bit of weight.

It was worth it.

The wedding was completely fun, beautiful, and I cried more times than I can tell you - all the good tears.

I danced with my sister, my mom and her best friend, Peggy. We looked ridiculous and had a blast. I had one glass of champagne and one glass of wine at the wedding. Some people, who will remain unnamed, had a bit more. Some needed more.

My sister and my mother both wore beige, and they both looked beautiful. I looked okay too.

A frog hopped in the grass, right in front of me, during the ceremony, and I literally prayed to God it would not touch me during the wedding vows. If I'd screamed as Mandy and Aaron promised their lives forever, my sister likely would never have forgiven me. If it touched me, I would have screamed.

Coming home, Mom and I stopped in Vail to have ice cream. We never found frozen anything, but had a blast anyway, watching kids splashing in the fountains. We stopped in Georgetown for ice cream, got stuck in the mother of all traffic jams coming home, and still I didn't curse. We were stuck so long it eventually was funny. Sort of.

Tonight we're having mexican food and margaritas at my all-time favorite mexican restaurant, in my old home town, with Mom and two of my sweet brothers. I can't wait, truly. Then Mom and I are coming home, putting on pjs and I have full intentions of whipping her soundly in Scrabble. We'll stay up too late, sleep in, and then fill our last day, tomorrow with everything we can.

So no photos yet, just a brief rundown of where we've been and what we've been up to. If there are any of you out there, able to do so, I highly recommend grabbing your sweet mother, throwing a suitcase in the car, and taking off on a roadtrip sometime soon. You'll be glad you did.

I'm soaking it up - storing it down deep. xoxoxo

PS - Definitely photos of Barb letting it all hang loose, soon as I get home. It was a Kodak moment!


  posted at 9:14 PM

Friday, June 22, 2007
Miles and Memories, Far and Wide
Timewarp - that's what the past six days since I left Pennsylvania, have felt like.

The visit began with a visit to my MIL's little apartment, where she lives in Assisted Living. Three very quick days there, with our daughter Leslie, who hadn't seen her grandmother in eight years. It was a sweet reunion, and a sad goodbye. Seeing my MIL melt into her son as they hugged goodbye makes a lump in my throat. Oh, that we would all say goodbye with the thought that we might not see each other again. We'd hug a little longer, a little closer, as they did.

After dropping Don and Leslie off at the Denver airport, I started out on my solo adventure. We've been coming to Colorado for 26 years, from all different parts of the country, but I've pretty much managed to push most of the driving off on Don. Leaving the airport, I headed out on 1-70 East, leaving civilization behind. Three hours later I arrived at my 82 year old father's little apartment where he moved last year. We talked til our throats were dry. Funny how a teenage girl grows up avoiding anything that resembles a conversation, then she drives across the country just to stay up late talking to him. I heard such stories of his younger years, courting my mother, raising our family. I went golfing with him one day of my visit, but I didn't play. I just watched. He's been playing golf for 30 years and I've never seen him swing a club. On the course we ran into four of his golf buddies, and it was sweet fun to watch them and listen to their conversations. He'd won $60 as a golfing prize, and spent the money to buy an inflatable bed, new 300 count sheets and a new pillow just to make a bed for my visit. I woke up my last morning there, to see him cooking me "big breakfast", edible love. Ham, grits, eggs, biscuits, and juice. I hugged him goodbye, climbed into my rental car, and headed out in search of I-70, this time going west.

As I drove my thoughts wandered between thinking of him, dwelling on the thought that my sister, Barb and I call him "Daddy". None of our brothers do, but we always have. I tried to store up the memory of how white his hair is, what little there is of it. How his eyebrows arch, and how dark his eyes are when he takes off his glasses. When you see each other once a year, you soak it in pretty deep, to pull it up later.

Driving across Kansas, and eastern Colorado, I passed antelope, farming equipment harvesting the wheat Daddy had told me was ready. I turned the radio on, hit "seek" and sang outloud to country music, stopping only for another tank of gas, a diet coke and a snickers. My feelings kept wandering between thoughts of growing up, new "pictures" of my father after our time together, what it felt like to drive down the highway all by myself, and the realization that I'd never felt so much like a country girl. Which I'm not. But it sure did feel like it as I sang with Lee Greenwood, Shania Twain, and others. There's nothing quite as much fun as singing outloud in the car when you're all by yourself!

Next stop, after I hit Denver, drove back past the airport, across downtown, was into the area my mother lives. Lanes of traffic were merging like crazy, and I'm proud to say I only made two wrong turns, in my mother's neighborhood. Then an evening with two of my brothers, who I haven't seen in two years. Just hearing their voices, watching them, seeing the years that are creeping onto their faces, one's put on weight, one's thin. We went out to dinner, but I was full just on the company around the table.

Later Mom and I stayed up way too late, talking the talk that you rarely have time for. I was thankful this morning that she likes to sleep in. Today was spent eating hamburgers that went down easy, but felt like bricks much of the day, then an hour or so at Barnes and Noble, in the writing section. Dinner with another brother and his son, taking photos to capture how much we've grown and changed. Driving back and forth across the town I'd grown up in, surprised at how much I recalled after all these years away.

So tomorrow Bev and Judy's Excellent Adventure begins in earnest. We head out on 1-70 West, this time heading to Mandy's wedding. I've never driven through the mountains with my mom, and expect it to be such fun. We can't wait to get there, and join Barb, Rob and the rest of the family.

If Mom falls asleep somewhere along the drive, I expect I'll turn the radio on again, and sing along, as thoughts of these days full of precious kodak moments rattle around my head.

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  posted at 12:28 AM

Thursday, June 14, 2007
A Whole New Thing, Sort Of....
It's in the process, and the process won't be fast, but I'm changing my blog. After being at it for 14 months, I'm ready to do a few things differently.

First, the name Blessed Beyond Measure became Scratchin' The Surface. When you pull up my blog you'll still see the same name, because I haven't emailed Susie at BlueBird Blogs, but I will. Being one to over-analyze most things in life, I thought about it long and hard. I AM Blessed Beyond Measure, but that doesn't really sum up my life all the time. Sometimes it's full, sometimes I'm sad, sometimes it's complicated and now and then painfully dull. The season I'm at now won't stay for long, so I needed something that would still apply a year or ten down the road, when I still plan to be blogging (I do!).

Scratchin' The Surface says to me that I'm lightly digging into different things. Whatever's on my mind, whatever's going on in life right now. I'm not planning to get real deep, at least not most of the time, and now and then I just feel a bit wild and crazy. So the new title fits me better. And when I'm feeling especially Blessed Beyond Measure I'll post about that too.

I'm still working on a quote, a color scheme, a photo for a new template. After reading posts by my sister, Barb and Laura at Organized Living I'm strongly considering dropping bloglines, and making the majority of my posts with comments disabled. After 14 months, I still love blogging, but the comments - whether it's the ones I receive and try to respond to, or the ones I'd like to leave but simply don't have time for - can make it a heavy chore. Blogging should not be a heavy chore.

So while the titles don't match, and I don't have a new dress on yet, I will. Sometime this summer. I'm leaving in the morning for 12 days of traveling to visit family. I don't plan to even check email, let alone blog. I'm planning to spend some of the time on the plane and in airports looking at fun quotes, photos, etc. Then I'll email Susie and see how long the line is to get one of her beautiful templates to match my new title. My web address is still the same - I'll be a grammy til my last breath, so that will stay the same.

Because half the fun is in the planning, then Scratchin' the Surface just a bit. Back in a bit! xoxoxo


  posted at 8:22 PM

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Second Annual Free Garage Sale
It's over! And we're relatively dejunked. I don't own a single appliance I don't use. No ugly towels, unused gifts, misshapen lamp shades. It's all history, abiding at someone else's house, or sitting on my driveway in an enormous pile, waiting for the truck to pick it up later today. And we had a blast! This is what it looked like pre-garage sale.

I'd say somewhere around 15-20 women showed up, carrying wonderful summer salads, trays of guacamole and chips, cookies as big as your face, and all their cast-offs. After a time of arranging their items, checking out what was being offered up to the first grab, then lots of fun chatter, we gathered in groups throughout the house and ate dinner together. We prayed, at the beginning of dinner, acknowledging that we live in a land of plenty, and thanked God that we could use some of our excess to bless others, whether it's girlfriends, or those who will take items from the Mission Store.

Dinner out of the way, we met again to cover the rules of the "sale". First grab gets it. The "safe zone" was the strip of grass up my driveway. Once something was dragged there, it could not be claimed by someone else. If someone took something you wanted, you could bargain and trade, but not steal. Everyone was strongly encouraged to take at least one item, and you were allowed to personally hawk your items, encouraging others to take them home. After about two hours of fun and laughter, a few women walked up the driveway with their one item, or their small box of new treasures. A few had to drive down their cars, and one woman filled the entire inside of her car and her trunk. She swears she was taking items for her newlywed daughter.

This is the inside of the garage and the spillover to the driveway and lawn.

A few photos of women with claimed treasures. For family in Texas who misses her, photo on the left - your sweet sister, finding items to decorate her new place here.

This is what the unclaimed pile looks like:

Of note, that bicycle is our son's. He stopped riding it 9 years ago, but was hanging on for memory's sake. He finally agreed we could pass it on to some other little boy. Fun memories we have of him on that bike, squealing through the streets with his buddies, Mark and Travis. The tires have a case of dry-rot, but I think there's still life in that bicycle for anyone 14 and under.

This is what my storage room and basement rec room look like, with the junk removed:

There's still plenty of stuff in here to sort through, but hopefully by the end of August it'll be done. It looks manageable now at least. I cut down my Christmas decor by half, my seasonal decor to a minimum. I'll now put one wreath on our front door, rather than another 10 or so on every single window. We kept the lights for the front porch, but I'm not convinced we'll put them up. They may be history too. I also took a handful of items to the Ebay place, and they expect we'll end up with about $200 from the sale of those items. I told the kids, any treasures we sell on Ebay - they can pocket the money. Leslie's Precious Places should bring around $50!

I've still got more sorting to do, and will likely have a good pile to take to the Mission by the end of summer. Then Leslie and I are going to redecorate the rec room, taking down all the sports memorabilia, packing away our son, Dan's treasures. We're planning to paint the bottom half of the wall a charcoal color, put a stripe in the middle, then repaint the upper half of the wall a light color. I'm then going to print family photos in sepia and black & white, and frame them in black or chocolate frames, and spend some time/money on making the rec room look like a nice place to hang out.

I only took three items from the sale. A sleep shirt from Victoria's Secret, donated by Susan; a pile of quilting fabric, source unknown, and I'm tickled to death that I got Mary Ann's 9x13 pampered chef baking dish. It's already nicely seasoned and saved me $35. Mary Ann is the one who took my Bread Machine.

So - phase #1 is finished. I'm off to Colorado later this week, for a family visit and a wedding, then I'll return home near the end of June. I expect no blogging for me the entire time, but I should have some great stories and photos to share when I finally make it back home.


  posted at 9:38 AM

Sunday, June 10, 2007
Deck Redecorating
Summer storms - here's what we came home to a few nights ago:

Here's our cleaned up version, til the tree people can get here. I'm so tickled that every single girlfriend I have will be coming to my house Tuesday evening, to have dinner on this lovely deck. New prayer - that nobody pokes their eye out on one of these limbs...

Who wouldn't want to spend $300-$400 to have this removed? Oh life, full of fun surprises.

  posted at 10:44 AM

Friday, June 08, 2007
Vows made and broken
For my 52nd birthday, we attended the wedding of a dear friend's only daughter. The bride is pretty special to me - I've known her since she was about 12. She looked radiant, barely able to keep her smile contained on her face. It's a day she's been planning since before I met her. Her mother is one of those friends most people never have, in the span of a lifetime. The kind of friend you could call in the middle of the night, and she'd be there in a minute; she tells me when I'm wrong, and loves me through it, and celebrates all my joys and sorrows with me. A real treasure. During the reception, over 300 people serenaded me with Happy Birthday, touching, considering all my friend had on her mind today and she somehow remembered. There was even a birthday candle at my plate, so I could make a wish. A great way to spend a birthday all around.

During the ceremony, I listened to the vows the couple had written. Some lines were repeated, some were said just by the bride or by the groom. One they each spoke - "I promise to always look out for your best interest, even at my own expense" struck me. I sat through the ceremony holding hands with my sweet husband of 26 years, thinking back to our own ceremony sans music or candles or an aisle or flowers, but the same stars in our eyes. We had a simple civil ceremony and I have no idea what words we spoke, but they likely weren't very flowery. I've often wondered if I actually vowed to "obey". I thought of how this young couple will try to live up to those words they spoke, and how many times they will fail. In spite of the promises they made tonight. I thought of how many times I've failed, sometimes knowingly and sometimes in ignorance, to look out for Don's best interests. Sometimes I've just been selfish, other times lazy, and most often - clueless. Clueless as to how much impact my actions have had on him, his self-esteem, his view of the world and his place in it, his trust of me or others, dreams he was brave enough to dream and I shot them down, or at the very least crushed them a bit.

The vows this young couple spoke tonight they meant in earnest. They'll try. They'll fail. Years down the road they will hopefully hold hands somewhere, listening to another couple make their pledges, while looking over their shoulders at the journey they've made together, and they'll see where they have failed each other. Weddings are wonderful, and I sometimes wish ours had held a bit more of the pomp and circumstance. But sitting there, holding hands with this man who has seen me fail more times than I can count, and loves me with a love the closest to that of Jesus of anyone on the face of this earth, who loves me knowing if I were to make that vow today I would not live up to it, and yet he still loves me with all he has - that was all the birthday gift a girl could hope for.

Being serenaded by 300 people, sipping wine and eating a lovely dinner, then dancing one slow dance with this man I love more every day - that was all just icing on the cake.

  posted at 10:54 PM

Thursday, June 07, 2007
Hallelujah, Hairdos and Havoc
Bless your hearts, any of you who truly bother to read what I'm putting out here lately. Seriously, I'm not sure I would. But banking on unconditional love, I'm here to give another update on our crazy life.

I do want to say it's feeling very serene in a crazy way. We're busy, but not frantic. The days are full, we fall asleep in seconds, but it's feeling like a good thing. In spite of the days being full, it feels right - like I'm doing what I should be doing. I start with devotions, spending time reading my Bible and then telling God we need His help like crazy for another day. I feel a little like Mary, doing aerobics.

So HALLELUJAH!!! Leslie and her little family are completely unpacked, and nestled into their place. Every box has been unloaded or sent to storage, there are window treatments up, walls are decorated, and she said today their place feels like home to her. We finished two days early, and celebrated with an impromptu trip to Target today. Man alive, does that feel good to have done!

My hair - let me warn you it's a photo I took of myself while looking in the bathroom mirror and I sort of look like I have three chins, and inch long hair, but honestly it turned out cute (the hair, not the photo). The new stylist put too much goo on it, and I like it a bit more spikey, but my natural wave should make it easy to fix and a cute result. It's my natural color - which is so long gone I don't really remember, but we're basing that on my eyebrow color. In spite of warning my husband, yesterday morning that I was "going for a big change", having longer blonde hair, he walked in last night, looked at me and said, "wow, that's different." You can tell the man's been married awhile - very non-committal comment.

Trust me, those lines under my eyes were well earned this past week. I've slept in two mornings, but it's going to take awhile to look bright-eyed and busy tailed. Anyone who reads this regularly knows you get the truth, nothin' but the truth, so help you God, so you get to see this less than fabulous photo of me. I do like that the lovely blemish on my chin isn't so glaring in the photo. How you can have a blemish with this little estrogen in your system is beyond me.... It may have something to do with going to bed without a shower after being sweaty all day.

Moving on to HAVOC the house truly looks a bit like a bomb went off, especially the basement. My husband is beginning to shake his head when he walks in from the garage. I keep promising him next Wednesday it'll all be good. That's the day the local mission truck comes to pick up the garage sale leftovers. Here's today's state of affairs:

The garage sale is coming along fabulously! I've run into a number of ladies lately who tell me they're planning on coming. I invited 57, so we'll see who shows up. This pile is just what Leslie and I have contributed, and honestly I havent even gotten good started. I'm planning to set aside all of Monday to drag out more stuff. Cleaning out my closet quickly, I grabbed 10 pairs of shoes, several scarves, and several purses. It amazes me how much "stuff" I had.

My quilting studio, as I've decided to call it, is coming along nicely. I bought a sewing table, a file cabinet, dragged in two bookcases for all my fabric, and took the armoire out of the rec room and it's going to hold all my sewing notions, books, patterns, etc. It looks a mess, but hopefully with a few hours of concentrated sorting I can make sense of it all. I think it'll be a great place to spend time this fall and winter, once life slows down a bit. I'm almost finished with Addison's quilt (on the ladder) and am sewing a quilt to donate to the pregnancy resource center.

Last, I bought a cabinent to hold all the cleaning supplies in the laundry room. Unlike my sister, Barb, who uses four, I have about 99, love them all, but don't necessarily want to see them all the time. Then I bought two of those plastic things that have drawers that pull out, and they'll hopefully hold all my scrapbook supplies, so I can start that again this fall also. I'm about 31 years behind. Again, a big sorting project that will have to wait til July at least.

How did I ever have time to work? How did I ever have time to run a bookstore? Heck, how did I ever have time to raise kids?

That's it for here - tomorrow's my birthday, I plan to spend it paying bills, then going to a wedding of a sweet girl I've known since she was in 6th grade. She was in my small group Bible study for years, and it's going to be a treat to watch her come down the aisle tomorrow.

Life's full, but it just doesn't get any better than it is right now. I'll be back in a few days to tell you how the garage sale went, right before I jump on a plane to leave the state for the rest of the month. Another wedding in the wings, and family to visit. What's not to love about summer?


  posted at 11:20 PM

Monday, June 04, 2007
Renewed Faith in Mankind

I should start by apologizing for being a miserable failure at blog-reading lately. If you lived with me, I could apologize for being the same at cleaning bathrooms, keeping up with paperwork, etc. My nose is above water, albeit it barely, but I think things are clearing a bit. Just over the horizon I think I see a break. I don't even have time to really post, let alone treat myself to reading blogs right now.

First - I have to say, Never Say Never. I HAD NEVER lost my debit card, just like I've never lost my keys, or cell phone, etc. Two days ago I filled my car with gas, and remember it cost $56.02 because I was hoping it'd be under $50 and it was not, something many of you can relate to. Then I ran to the driveup window of the pharmacy, and then Leslie and I were off to 10 or so garage sales to try to finish furnishing their new apartment. We paid cash for everything that day. The next day Don and I headed to Walmart, and after ringing up $180 worth of stuff, I went to pay with my debit card. I have a wallet that has little slits for each card, and they are always in the same spots. The blue debit card should have been two from the bottom, but the spot was empty. After emptying my purse three times, coming home and going through the laundry that was already washed, etc. I decided it was a first - I had truly lost my debit card. The only possible explanation was that I left it at the gas station, where you simply push in your card, take it out, and put it back in your wallet. I went online and saw no horrible charges for $5,000 cruises, etc. so I took a deep breath, phoned the gas station and sure enough, they said ONE debit card had been turned in that day. My debit card.

I left the card IN THE MACHINE, ready to use again. Instead of stealing my card, someone carried it into the store and left it there. Unbelievable. Thank you God for covering me.

Two weeks ago I could (and did) say I'd never wrecked our car. This week it's the debit card. Wonder what record will fall in the near future.

So update #2 on what we're up to around here. Leslie, Jeremy and baby Landon are getting more settled by the day. We've made huge strides, their place looks homey, and they are enjoying seeing wildlife right outside their door, and the cool temperatures here. We've got two more rooms to go, and should finish mid-week. I bought a carseat, big stroller, boppy, and new crib sheets at the garage sales this weekend, so we're pretty set up to have Landon hang out with us now and then. Having a carseat in our car looks strange. There were three to choose from, and I picked the one with the least drool on it.

The last free items I set by the curb (from my basement cleanout) were a table and four chairs. They lasted two hours, and two cars pulled up at the same time to grab them. The free garage sale is in full swing, with Leslie adding quite a bit to it. We have a cut crystal vase that likely cost over $100 in it, a stereo, television, the pile just gets bigger by the day. It should be great fun. I did grab my waffle iron out of the pile this past weekend for one last breakfast of Sunday waffles. I'm having a hard time letting it go.

My quilting/scrapbooking studio is looking great. With a new sewing station, and my cutting table out, I've actually done some quilting in the past few days down there. Don put up a nice blind over the window and it's looking much better. The basement overall looks worse, but I have confidence it will improve within the next month or so.

I'm cutting my hair off and coloring it brunette this Wednesday. There's nothing quite as fun as walking in the salon with one color and style and walking out feeling like someone gave you a whole new look. My hair has gotten so blonde, and this summer humidity is making it take on a life of it's own, so I've got a handful of short haircut photos to take to a new hairdresser. I voted for the Liza Minelli look but my daughter Sarah voted hard against it.

So nothing real big going on, just a lot of small stuff. We leave for Colorado in less than two weeks, this week the dog and I get groomed, three graduation parties, one wedding, finish getting Leslie and Jer set up, and continue to pile stuff to give away. Oh, my birthday is this Friday too - but we're honestly a bit too busy to do much about it. Don gave me a portable quilting machine several weeks ago for my gift, and once I get the two quilts I'm working on finished I'll post photos of them.

Reading - I'm in the middle of Peace Like a River - fabulous, fabulous. I wish I had time to just sit and read it all in one long stint. Next on the list is Wish You Well. That one may have to wait til I'm on the plane to Denver. Hope everyone out there is having a good beginning of summer.

  posted at 2:24 PM

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    About Me

    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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