Monday, December 31, 2007
Well, I was going to pop on at 8 o'clock and say how peaceful it was around here. The middle blondies were both so miserable, they practically fell into bed (with not a little guilt on my part). The youngest blondie had been asleep for over an hour.
How things change.
Does anyone have any suggestions what one should do about a child who refuses to sleep without a nipple in his mouth? If I would go up there right now and let him "eat," he would go right to sleep.
Until I put him down.
At which point he would begin to scream again.
I am tired of being a chew toy and a pacifier and I am extraordinarily tired of being the only solution to this child's woes.
So there I was debating whether I should watch the chick flick I rented for myself or just go to bed and try to forget this new years eve (and hopefully recover a bit from this dang respiratory infection), but my question has been answered.
Because I just don't sleep well while being a stand in paci.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
But, even if you don't like the guy, you've got to agree with me that the following borders on the ridiculous. Since when is it illegal to "appeal to the religious vote?" Are we religious people not allowed to vote? Is Barak Obama not appealing to the religious vote? Pretty sure I've read about his religious beliefs in Time or Newsweek or something--back when my dad thought he'd run for president and I'd never heard of him.
So all I'm saying is this: if it offends people that Huck professes Jesus Christ... Deal. If it offends enough people, he won't be president. If more people want to vote for him because he does...deal. THAT'S WHY WE LIVE IN AMERICA. The power of the vote. Call it a democracy, call it a republic, but remember that if the majority (of the electorate) votes the guy in, HE'S PRESIDENT, whether the minority likes it or not. Frankly Hillary Clinton offends me. But if she makes president...I'll have to deal. I'll whine, but I'll deal. It comes with the privilege of living here.
Anyway, you should watch the videos. They are interesting. Especially Merideth getting all het up about ole Mike "appealing" to the "religious" vote. (At least someone I can get behind is.) Oh, and the "cross" in the background? If they didn't do it on purpose (as they claim) God must be chuckling in Heaven. It is PER-FECT.
The latest effort to spread the idea that religion has no place in the public square comes as a response to a TV spot produced by presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
I urge you to watch the two video clips I have placed in this e-mail. First, is the ad by former Governor Huckabee wishing people a Merry Christmas. Click here to watch the 30-second ad.
Next, is a clip from the Today Show (Dec. 18), hosted by Meredith Vieira, on which Governor Huckabee was a guest. Vieira opens the interview talking about how some say the ad is sending an overt religious appeal to voters.
Some have become so openly hostile to the Christian faith that they are upset when a candidate simply wishes viewers Merry Christmas and mentions that --after all-- Christmas is the day Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.
The governor is accused of putting a cross in the background of his ad. The 'cross' they find offensive is nothing more than a bookcase. The critics say also the three lights stand for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! What is disappointing is that the media grabs such a concoction and makes big news out of this ad.
To me, these accusations are utterly silly, and biased. Watch the clip from the Today Show. There are those who feel that nothing religious, especially wishing people Merry Christmas, should be made by anyone seeking public office. That is the attitude of those who want to drive religion from the public square.
If you have smallish children you know that tag isn't about tag so much as it is about base. They dash from one base to another and hope against hope they don't get tagged by IT.
My kids have a new system of base. Base is a color. Hopefully not chartreuse. They did this so that there is a base in every room if they look hard enough.
Last week, base was brown.
They dashed from the couch, to the book cases, to the table while Eldest, who was IT, tried to tag them. (Yet, for some reason, they all missed the fact that all of my flooring is brown. I didn't point it out.)
All of a sudden I hear hysterical giggling. I walked around the corner to discover Eldest, standing with his arms splayed, unable to tag Princess and Frodo, who had each placed a hand upon his arms.
Not only was he IT, he was base.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Beth lives among the Old Order Mennonites, and though she shares their Christian faith, she doesn’t share their lifestyle. While, yes, she feels that God brought her to
Seems he surrendered his own battle a couple days ago.
But I contend that:
1. Charming was playing with the Q-tips and leaving them on the floor would (hopefully) prevent him from dumping out 25 more later in the day/week.
2. When the baby makes a mess, it is ANYONE's job to pick up after him, not just the mom's.
Which, therefore, negates the battle on principle alone. On the other hand, if one leaves his wife for a few days to go to San Francisco, one should, on principle, unpack his own bag. Especially if he is going to want those clothes clean eventually. And I'm not talking with a 24 hour notice, because, as most wives know, we rarely get 24 hours notice. We usually get about 3.2 minutes notice that they need something to be wearable. And not just something, but the linen, tan, cuffed pants.
Now if said husband were to take the wife along on his business trips to exotic locations where she just happens to have an old roommate living...I'm just saying, the battle would have been moot.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Gives a whole new meaning to "take, eat, this is my body (broken for you)."
And since Hubs has been home from San Francisco for nigh on two weeks and he has yet to make a move to unpack his suitcase, and because I'm tired of tripping over it and moving it back and forth across the room to get it out of my way, and since he doesn't seem to miss anything that is stashed inside it anyway...
...I'm surrendering the battle and unpacking the thing.
I have four or five shirts, all in the same color family, that I wear until they are gone, then fret that I have "nothing" to wear until they are clean again.
Dusty Red. Or maybe Dusty Maroon. Of the Rose family. Everything from a kind of baby pink (my least favorite) to full on red (though I don't have much full on red).
Is it because I've decided the pinks go with everything? I don't know.
When I turned 30 I "discovered my inner pink." Until then I knew I was a girl, I liked men (well, my man), but wasn't much of a girlie girl. I didn't "get" shoes. I didn't "get" chocolate. Never had a pedicure (still haven't, but intend to "someday"). Didn't have "girlfriends" (working on that, but it is hard to establish girlfriends when you've never been a very good one because you used to never trust women). Wore mostly Hubs clothes and tennis shoes. So....
I awakened there at the end of my 20s realizing that I kinda liked shoes (make that LOVE in the love-inanimate-objects-kinda-way) and skirts and pretty jewelry and girlfriends and PINK.
Rather, dusty rose.
I find it humorous that I wore blue for 29.5 years and now I wear the same five pink shirts over and over again.
(Of course, I'm wearing blue stripes and running shoes today, Go Figure.)
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I went to bed almost proud. How messed up is that?
I awakened angry. Who needs toast at 6am? And is it necessary to bang the pans so loudly? And then I dreamed that I went into the kitchen to yell at the boys and made both Eldest and Dimples cry.
I was glad that it was a dream. No matter how annoyed I was at the dark toast making.
At least they made their own toast.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I'm wondering if the ice storm hit one of those supernatural realms.
I knew when we adopted Eldest we would get a lot of questions, so they don't usually offend me. I'd rather answer the questions than allow people to continue on in their incorrect assumptions...just not in front of him. However, this is an interesting article (make sure you follow the link for the long version) worthy of a read.
MY ADOPTED CHILD CAN HEAR YOU
Adoptive parents speak out: Before curiosity gets the best of you - take a breath and think about what you're saying.
(Los Angeles – December 14, 2007) - International adoption has gotten a lot of attention recently with Brad and Angelina regularly expanding their family, and Madonna getting the government go-ahead this week to adopt her son David from Malawi. An article in this week's Newsweek sheds light on the difficulties, sadness, and potential devastation behind international adoption. But the challenges outlined in the article aren't the norm for most adoptive parents. Sometimes, the biggest obstacle is not the adoption itself, but the comments and questions tossed out at parents while they're in the grocery store, at the dry cleaner, or in line at Starbucks. As it takes a village to raise a child, it's the (perhaps unwitting) village idiot who feels compelled to ask stupid questions, not even considering the damage their words can do to an innocent child.
One of our own Mom•Logic Moms is in the process of adopting a baby girl and has already endured the "You're so nice to adopt a kid who's unwanted" and "That's much easier than giving birth" comments. She's now preparing herself for some of the outrageous questions that fellow adoptive parents have been asked by "curious" onlookers. Click on link below to view the entire story.
Web link: http://www.momlogic.com/2007/12/dont_be_ignorant_in_progress.php
MomLogic.com is an online community "for thinking moms who don't have time to think." In addition to posting topical, entertaining and relevant stories, the site features breaking news and how it affects the lives of mothers and their families in an ever-changing world. MomLogic.com is produced by Telepictures Productions, an industry-leading producer of syndicated programming and winner of 49 Daytime Emmy Awards. Sabrina Weill (formerly of “Seventeen”) is editor-in-chief.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The crashing limbs of the old and dying trees aren't.
The ice encrusted trees three days later with the sun shining through creating sparkles are gorgeous.
But driving under them is treacherous.
Thankfully the four foot shard of ice crashed down just in front of us.
I am convinced that the melting ice (aka raining ice chunks) is more dangerous to drive in than the original ice storm.
I have succeeded in finding a Christmas gift for Princess. Actually, three.
Never underestimate the power of Toys r US. The empty aisle. Yes, they have one. I don't know why no one else seemed to think these were perfect for their children, but they were just what I was looking for.
Thanks to Kelli we have a fashion plate designer, thanks to Liz and Andrea a jewelry making kit, and thanks to Moi, a bedazzler. Because she likes her bedazzles. I didn't go with the doll house because I would like to do the wooden kit that can become an heirloom and, well, that doesn't give us something to play with on Christmas day (I wouldn't get it together by then and couldn't see buying the house and all the furnishings on this years budget).
So, while the shopping wasn't all that great (too many people have been iced in for too long and were rushing the stores today) I was positively bubbling when I got home. I got GOOD STUFF and didn't spend a fortune.
I came home and cleaned house, did some laundry, washed the dishes, vacuumed, played with Frodo and listened to some endless stories without losing it. I am convinced that the burden of coming up with a good Christmas present for my kids was totally overwhelming me. I feel so light and free and CERTAIN that Christmas morning for us (which will be December 22) will be good. It's a great feeling.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
How I have been so fortunate to have four children and not experience it until now, I do not know. It probably says something as to the width of my shoulders and how much God thinks I can handle.
So help me, I'm sure he was right.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Oddly enough my basement flooded.
I ask you, how can the water freeze on individual blades of grass and yet seep into the basement?
No, I do NOT want a scientific answer. Basement seepage is only allowed in the Spring and then only in other people's basements.
Charming was up four times in the night.
I dreamed that Hubs and I had this massive fight back in our hometown in front of a lot of people.
And we were stuck in the house together all day. Do you know how hard it is to forgive that man for things he does in my dreams? He hates it when I snarl at him in the morning, "You'll never believe what you said to me last night!"
But the reason I'm really not rested is because I have no Christmas present for Princess. Zip, zilch, nada. Every idea I come up with, Hubs nixes or someone else already got. I am fresh out. I lay awake last night obsessing about it. I've searched web sites for hours. I've stood at stores and stared at shelves. I'm at a total loss.
Six year old female. Should be easy right? Not. She is one unique (and awesome) chick and she deserves one unique (and awesome) gift. Just one. That's all I'm really after. She will get her socks and toothbrush and chapstick and candy in her stocking. Her robe. Her Chuck-e-cheese gift card (that when put together with her brothers' will just cover our trip over during the holiday week). But not something she would really love and play with on "Christmas" day. (Which for us is December 22 or so.)
Ideas? And don't give me the obvious stuff. She doesn't need clothes. She doesn't need another Barbie. She doesn't want more Polly pockets. I'm talking something for the smart, creative, imaginative type who is still all girl.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
That's how I feel about it today.
It being all of it, everything. I'm done with it. I'm temped to drop out of life, home school and tell the world to BACK OFF.
It goes a little something like this:
See, we have school. But on top of school, we have to read aloud with the kids at home. But it isn't enough for us to read, the kids now have to read to us. (there are good reasons here, they need to learn fluency in reading, I get that) And if they read their goal, they get a pizza. If they read beyond their goal, they get an additional prize from the prize box (that I stock so I don't see the big deal). But if they go above their goal, their goal is increased. Both kids went above their goals, I have to listen to an extra couple hundred minuted of "C-A-T, C-AT, cat, R-A-N, R-AN, ran..." Kill me now. Apparently the extra face to face time is good for the kids.
They come home from church with worksheets for the family. If the family does the work sheets, the kids get a prize the next Sunday. Growing in faith together.
They come home from basketball with homework. Not how to dribble homework, but memory verses (yes, it is Christian basketball). If they memorize their verses they get a star to put on their uniforms. Spending time together without the competitive atmosphere.
And let us not lessen the importance of the family meal which, if we don't want our daughter to end up pregnant out of wedlock and our boys to not be in prison, we must have everyday. And the family devotions and prayer time together because Joe Schmo said we should do it whether we like it or not because it teaches our children discipline in faith matters (I'm all for writing it on our doorposts and walls and talking about it when we sit down and when we stand up, I'm not a fan of getting out the ole King James and torturing them through the phonebook that is Numbers). And making sure Dad reads out loud to them to demonstrate that men read, too.
When is enough enough? Why does the world get to dictate what my family does together? We are do busy DOING that we don't have a chance to BE. What if what we like to do together is read chapter books (the parents who are fluent readers)? Or go bowling? Or build something out of tree limbs? Or go to the park. Or play hide and seek?
We have no time to do such things because people are imposing family togetherness upon us in contrived ways and rewarding the kids for us falling into line. No hours left in the day because we are do busy DOING. And if we don't DO the kids suffer because they are embarrassed that they didn't do and sad that they didn't get. And I know that some of that is life (I've read Coloring Outside the Lines), but I want to help them out on the things they really care about. and they are young enough that they really care about achieving whatever goal was set forth.
But Mama is tired. Tired of shoving all the requirements into the fraction of the day I get with my kids and tired of feeling like a drill sergeant. I'm beginning to be one of THOSE parents who lets it go and my kids aren't getting the pizzas and stars and power bucks because sometimes kids just need to go outside and play in the snow.
Which brings me to a thought I had this evening. Washing machines. Good, or bad?
See, I ran around the house this evening filling and starting all of my machines. Boy isn't it great that we have these machines to do our work for us? Well, yeah, unless you think about the fact that when we handwashed, we didn't have so many dishes or clothes and neither did anyone else and it was perfectly normal to wear the same thing all the time. And we wouldn't have closets full of clothes because who would want to wash so many? So we wouldn't spend so much on clothes. So we wouldn't have to work so many hours a week to pay for so many clothes.
Yes, the grinch has invaded my home. I do apparently think I need to go back in time. Except I'm pretty sure my nose would prefer to stay right here. Not a fan of the BO.
Friday, December 07, 2007
A (slightly used) copy of The Other Daughter: Theresa
When the Morning Comes: Pat
I will try to email you today, but if you've blocked yourself from spammers, you'll need to email me and let me know your address. My email is in my profile.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The long story goes something like this:
I was just marveling last night about how ungrateful I am. God has given me this wonderful gift of the ability to bear and bring forth extraordinarily healthy babies. And what I am really drawn to do is adopt.
It is like having straight hair in a world of curly haired people who want your straight hair, but you just wish you had a little body in yours.
I would know about that, too.
I used to think that all I wanted out of life was to be able to be pregnant, and stay pregnant, just once. And after I adopted Eldest, I was thoroughly convinced that pregnancy wasn't necessary to unconditionally adore a small person.
Then God healed me.
I was watching a show I shouldn't have been watching last night when one of the characters said something like, "She was adopted and she deserves to have someone in her life that looks just like her." This is in reference to why a woman should be able to have a biological baby even if the husband can't produce the necessary requirement for her to do so.
I've never been all that caught up in my genetics. Maybe it is because my children don't look like me; they look like Hubs. But I get frustrated nearly every time that someone exclaims, "He looks just like you! (Or Just like his daddy!)" I know it is meant to be a complement, but can they not see my other son, right there, that also wants to be like Daddy? And aside from that, how many more of those people do we need in the world? Have another one, just like the other one?
If that is what people want to do, more power to them, but my idea of a family being carbon copies went out the window many a year ago. It frustrates me to no end that most of us look alike. Even though I think ALL my children are incredibly wonderful.
How selfish is that?
(I've been through infertility and I know someone is hacked off at me right now. I would apologize except perspectives change with life circumstances.)
So last night I was on this website. I watched their videos and cried and cried. I want so badly to provide a home for some of those children.
Here's my dilemma. God is the author and creator of life. He doesn't create life without a purpose. So, is it wrong to prevent pregnancy in order to care for the children already in this world? Because essentially I'm telling God that I know better. Or is this one of those situations like skin diseases of the Old Testament that God put me in the world at such a time as this so that I could prevent? I am so confused.
I don't want to open a whole can or worms with a controversial issue. This is just where my mind is right now and I'm trying to sort it out. Biblical directive to "Be fruitful and multiply" vs. "Pure and undefiled religion is this: to care for the orphan..."
Because I'm telling you, with today's laws and my ability to handle stress, both ain't gonna simultaneously happen.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I didn't want to try the McDonald's Iced Vanilla Coffee, but when I got to southwest Kansas where there was no Starbucks, I was rather glad I had tried it and that it was available. And only a buck fifty.
And when my morning coffee date with a friend was canceled due to a vomiting Princess, and I pulled into Sonic for a Route 44 Sprite for her highness, and I noticed that Sonic had some fru-fru version of coffee on their menu now, I splurged. It was more like a Jamocha Shake from Arby's (a pleasure all of its own). But at $2.50, still half of a Mocha Frap. And they brought it to my van full of sick kid.
As more and more cheap versions of my addiction jump into the fray, I just wanted to take a moment and rejoice.
Is it a venti Mocha Frappuccino? No. But I'm also guessing these don't have 750 calories, either. And even if they do, they are a fraction of the cost.
I'm not saying Ciao to Starbucks, but McDonald's drive through is starting to look a bit better than it did back when they only carried Coke.
Of course, Great Value French roast with a smidge (okay, a full, overflowing tablespoon) of Coffeemate Creme Brulee creamer is nothing to sneeze at. (At a mere $0.15 a cup, I can have three.)
Monday, December 03, 2007
Just because the pants are "long enough" isn't reason to keep them, if you need a wide angle lens to capture the front and hind view. (I'm sure it is the print and style of the trousers, and not the 3-4 pounds lost that look like 15 gained).
Nor do we need to keep the basketball shoes purchased for Princess without her there that she thinks she will outgrow "soon" (which I translate into "I like the fact that I got new shoes, Mom, and I'll wear them, but they are a tad tight, and I'll get new ones when they are too tight to cram my pigs into, right") but is happy to wear. (And happier still that I picked up a second pair in a larger size that look more boyish, but are light, easy to run in and far more comfortable on the pigs.)
And since I was in the store anyway, and Frodo wanted to look at shoes for some reason, I stopped by the clearance racks in a size 8.5.
Oh. My. Stars.
How do you say no?
I would linky up, but they don't even have them on their web site. But suffice it to say, the money I gained on the returns, the store got right back.
But I would rather have my navy blue pumps (that sounds so boring, trust me, they are awesome), my black peek toe sandals, my ivory wedges, and my Cinderella shoes, than those wide angle trousers any day.
Did I just post on my blog that I spent $50 on shoes?
So why don't my jeans fit?
Sunday, December 02, 2007
The library had Tae-Bo Gold. For old people. It says so on the cover.
Since I know that Tae-Bo kicks my butt, I thought the old people version might be a bit better for me. I am 32 after all.
I did less than 30 minutes of the video. Probably ten of what I did was stretching and warm up. Charming woke up or I would have probably given it an eager go at finishing because, you know, the 85 year old woman on there was still going.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I don't know what flomax does, but I'd better not take it.
I have heard very little of this game, as I don't care, but I heard that. It reverberated through the room.
Of course Jimmy, being a boy, and being a genius, continues his dangerous ways.
I can't remember the scene, but Jimmy does something dangerous. Jimmy's dad looks at Jimmy's mom and says to her, "You've gotta admit, that was pretty cool."
A guy who gave his name and I don't remember it at all, but I think it might have been Phil, from a conservative group like the Family Research Council, but again I don't remember so it may have been George from Conservatives R Us, called because he liked my article. From Philadelphia, PA. Unless it was Pittsburgh, PA. (I was distracted, I expected a telemarketer.)
You've gotta admit, that is pretty cool.
When I wrote the article, Hubs told me it was my most powerful yet. I wasn't so sure. But I'm starting to believe it. Not that that says much, considering I'm not even up to 10 yet.
An interesting thing about this piece is that I submitted it about two days before my computer crashed so I don't even have a copy. I haven't read it in months. I don't even really remember what it said. And I haven't received my copies yet, because they printed it in the mid-life and beyond magazine and they send me parents. And people are commenting on it when they call and I don't remember it well enough to respond. Except I lived it and probably was feeling positive about being married to an entrepreneur on the day I wrote it.
But people calling expect me to be a grandmother, so I'm curious whether I sound like I've lived most of a life. (Though I will be the first to say that this life I lead sometimes feels like I put in double. Especially when we can go multiple months without a paycheck.)
Any-hoo. I now have 5 fans.
Friday, November 30, 2007
But I she so much puts into words what I feel these days. I tell ya.
And I started a new novel for NaNoWriMo before all the Grandpa stuff went down. I wrote a total of 1700 words this month. I remember when I used to do that in a single day. Actually, I think I did most of that in a single day. However, I have decided the best books are written over a great length of time and I'm now striving for greatness, not just publication.
My first paragraph is phenomenal, I have to say. Watch out Harper Lee.
No comment on what follows. ;)
Thursday, November 29, 2007
You hear thing that people spout off and don't really mean.
At least that they don't want you to know that they mean.
Or they mean at the time, but don't mean overall.
Or they hope you think they don't mean, but they really do.
If you know Chaos-Jamie in person, you get to see how she acts vs what she really thinks. It's like those manipulative people who lie to everyone and you never know what they're gonna do. Not that Chaos Jamie lies, intentionally, but I know she fakes it sometimes.
Random people refer to themselves in the third person.
We have fans.
(By the way, when you know me in person, and you say you saw my ramblings in magazines, I never know if it is a compliment or if it is one of those "Oh, you cut your hair....")
Let it be known that I have received complimentary phone calls from FOUR people (not just one). Two were strangers, one was Nurse Boy and one was Grandma Gussie.
Everyone else says, "I saw your article...." AKA "Did you cut your hair?"
Okay, not everyone. 'Nuff of that.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Two back to back gas fillings on the same statement (same station, same day, full tank amounts) are a bit suspicious.
And for what it is worth, choose to get the receipt if you pay at the pump. I usually choose not to have it print a receipt, but after today, I hesitate to pay at the pump at all. Which is funny considering that this is one huge reason I have a credit card and that I refuse to buy gas unless I can pay at the pump.
Anyway, a couple of someones, somewhere, waked away with a free tank of gas. How they did it, I do not know. But I'm happy to report that their gas is NOT on me.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
You may remember this when I spazzed about getting to review a certain book. (My review is here.) Fewer of you will remember this post I made about the first book. (After all, it was post 24 or so in my blogdom for the ages.) Oh, this book left me gasping. My sister in law nearly threw it at me after she finished because the second wouldn't come out for a year! (I think she said something like "you better tell me the sequel is out...) But now it is!
Regardless, I am CERTAIN that you want a free copy of said books. Folks, this is an awesome series! Below you can read a bit about the second book in the series, When the Morning Comes. Heck, below that you can buy it. Meanwhile, leave a comment and I'll see who I can hook up with a copy! (Yes, I know I keep promising books. I really do have winners. They know who they are and I assure you they got what I promised. Come on, take a chance. You aren't losing anything but the lurk factor. I allow anonymous comments, you just have to leave enough info that I know who you are.)
Her relationship with former fiancé Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her home in hopes of finding refuge with another Amish outcast, her shunned Aunt Zabeth in
Meanwhile, Hannah’s absence and the distressing events that led to her disappearance create turmoil among her loved ones in Owl’s Perch,
Rich with authentic details of Amish community and powerful in its theme of hope beyond measure, When the Morning Comes succeeds as a compelling follow-up to Cindy Woodsmall’s best-selling debut novel, When the Heart the Cries.
Cindy Woodsmall is an author, wife, and mother of three sons. Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim, including a Reviewer’s Choice Award from the Road to Romance website, and became a CBA bestseller. Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Cindy lives in
All that to say that there was a woman on the other end who was reading along in her December issue of Focus on the Family magazine and came to a line about "the single most expensive county in the state" and she thought, I know a bit about that! when she came to the signature line and saw that we lived in the same county. So she called to say she liked my article.
I have a fan! I have a fan! (Or I have someone who wanted to commiserate, LOL!)
After, lessee, seven, eight, articles, I've had two non-acquaintance phone calls. Hubs thinks it is time to get an unlisted phone number.
I'll assume he's joking.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Getting a small group off the ground is a difficult practice. I should know. After our successful group "birthed" many years ago, we two couples floundered (many others came and went) around for something like three years before we regained a successful group. (And now, when we are way past time to birth again...the memories are too strong to go for it!) So....when I had the opportunity too see about this new book: Successful Small Groups from Concept to Practice by Teena Stewart, I jumped on it.
Here's what Teena has to say about her book:
Why would a church need this book?
Some churches already have small groups in place, but most could benefit from more
coaching tips in order to improve how their groups are managed. Many want to know how to launch more groups but aren’t necessarily aware of what they are doing well and what needs to improve.
Other churches may have only one or two Bible studies and they desperately want to
provide more but they just don’t know how. Sometimes churches are unaware they need
small groups. My hope is that this book makes leaders more aware how important they
are. Small groups are an indicator of a church’s health. Groups act as a sort of surrogate
family and way for Christians to support each other. But they also provide a means of
growing more leads and equipping people for ministry plus providing a strong Biblical
How does this book differ from, say, a book that tells how to lead a Bible study?
It’s much more comprehensive. A book on how to lead a Bible study would focus
more on the ins and out of the lesson, how to teach scripture, the materials. That’s all
very important. But it might not address additional information that will help their groups
stay healthy and develop leaders. Groups that focus on Bible study alone, often miss
areas where they could be supporting members and helping them grow. The subjects I
cover concentrate on helping groups stay well-rounded.
Why did you write this book? What do you hope readers will take away from it?
I’ve been in church ministry for years and have worked shoulder to shoulder with my
husband, Jeff, who is an ordained minister. We’ve lead a number of small groups and I
have done several on my own. It has been a sort of learn-as-you-go process. And, like
many leaders, we’ve made mistakes. I think people often write books as a way to
encourage other leaders and equip them and that is why I wrote this one.
God has made me an equipper and so it’s only natural that I want to help people succeed
and grow to maturity. As a matter of fact, I write a regular equipping column through
http://www.Ministryinmotion.net called Purpose-filled Ministry.
But, to get back to the book, the book starts out talking about how parents share info and
give advice to their kids because they want to spare the hurts of making costly mistakes. I
went through the same thing while working on this book. If I can help leaders get there
sooner and avoid certain pitfalls, if I can help equip them so that they equip other leaders
and develop more groups, then together we can bring more people into God’s kingdom
and that’s what it’s really all about.
I’ve heard people say that this book is very different from other books they’ve
read on small groups. What sets it apart?
Sometimes I think I should have been born in Missouri, the “show me” state. I’m a very
visual person. I learn by seeing. I have graphic art training along with writing training. So
I tend to gravitate toward showing people how something is done so that they don’t have
to reinvent the wheel when trying to learn something new. I haven’t seen any small
groups books that include the visual examples I have. I’ve included flyers based on real
materials small groups I know of have used to state their purpose and core values and to
promote their groups. I’ve included samples of group names to show the importance of
having a good group name and stress the creative factor. I also have forms and
questionnaires that help people determine where they and their groups are at and what
work areas they might have.
It’s all very practical and can be adapted to suit their needs. It’s not meant to be a onesize-
fits all, but it does help give them the visuals and really reduces the amount of work
they have to do.
What are three benefits of participating in a small group.
Well, there are a lot more than three but some of the key ones are that we are not
designed to try to make it through life on our own. We need some sort of support
network. Though we may attend church, most of us at a Sunday service don’t really have
time to connect and share our deep needs. So small groups provide that caring
They also provide a training ground for people to learn God’s Word. We might think that
people really know their Bibles, especially if they attend church, but the truth is, people
are less and less familiar with scripture. So small groups provide a great learning
environment where they can study together, ask questions, even tough questions and go
out into their every day lives with some Biblical foundations to use as guidelines for
raising families, responding to work situations and interacting with other people.
Finally, small groups provide a safe environment where people can share needs and hurts
and pray for each other. Again, there just isn’t time at a weekend service. People barely
connect. And the larger the congregation, the more isolated they will feel, so small groups are crucial for providing that sense of belonging. If people feel they belong and they matter, they will be more likely to linger and make the church their home for the long-haul. It’s usually the people who aren’t connect who become what I call members who are missing in action, who come for a while and then disappear.
What advice would you give a church that is seeking to launch small groups or
may have a small group program that is struggling?
If you don’t already have small groups, it’s really important to get your core leadership to understand and buy into the concept. Launching groups without preparing the soil will make it more difficult your small group program to be successful. I’m not saying it won’t be, but having your core leadership behind you is crucial. People need to see the benefits of the groups and you have to get everyone on the same page. It needs to be a campaign. I cover this in the book.
If a church already has groups but they only have a few and those are struggling, again, it
is probably because the congregation doesn’t understand the value of them. Before
people will commit to something like a small group they have to see successes and what
is in it for them. Having existing group members share some of their stories and how
their groups have helped and impacted their lives is a great way to spur interest. I can’t go
into all the details of how right now, but I cover it well in my book.
Your book contains examples of successes and struggles from real life groups.
Can you talk a little about those?
Some of it is taken from my own person experience with groups and others examples are
from groups from a variety of churches. The challenges a group faces depends on that
particular group. Every group is different. But there are still some things the crop up that
many groups have to deal with. I have examples of some of these common things. Such
as how groups have had to multiply after growing to large, stories of how groups have
decided when to close down, discussions about problem group members, samples of what
affinity groups are. (Those are groups that are specifically tied into a topics, such as
recovery groups, craft groups, sports groups, etc.
Your book includes a trouble shooting section. Why did you feel that was
As much as we want to believe that all groups are healthy, sometimes they aren’t or
sometimes they might experience turmoil due to problems a specific group member has.
Sometimes it is caused by needy group members who dominate a group. They can suck
other group members dry to the point that the group members may even dread going. Or
some members may talk too much. The more members you have, the more the chatty
group members eat into the time that other might want to share.
There are a lot of other examples of group challenges that I cover. I suggest ways to deal
Was there anything new you learned while writing this book?
Yes. I would have to say I have. I used enter into leading a group asking what I could
give back to members. But now I have to say that I see that it is often reversed. Over the
past few years I have benefited from group members who have blessed me and taught
me, even though I was the group facilitator. So, it’s important to remember that just
because we might be in a leadership position, there is still plenty we can learn from our
members who pour out their care and their wisdom on us. It can truly be a surprise
blessing and it can be humbling.
What experience do you have as a small group leader?
Let’s see. I have helped lead a young-marrieds group when we were newlyweds, a
parenting teens group, several couples group. I helped multiply a couple’s group and
launch a new group from that group when one group got too big. And, more recently, I
have facilitated a women’s group. It was my first time doing a women’s group and I
absolutely love the dynamics. We are very close. I have also worked along-side my
husband, Jeff who served in a discipleship pastor role, developing groups as well as
group leader workshops.
You and your husband have recently left traditional church ministry to start a new ministry that might involve small groups. Can you talk a little about that?
Sure. Over the past few years we’ve noticed how people gravitate to coffee shops and
we wondered what the big deal was. Why would someone pay four bucks for a cup of
coffee. But then we began to see that it wasn’t so much the coffee as it was the relaxed
and intimate environment. People feel comfortable in coffee shops and you see them
gathered informally in small groups. God kept speaking to us telling us that it is often
easier to connect with people in the market place—such as coffee shops—than to try to
bring them to church. Churches are knocking themselves out trying to come up with new
ways to get people into their buildings. We felt that maybe it was time to shift and try to
make the coffee shop the venue. So we’ve done something crazy.
We put our house on the market and sold it in order to start a coffee shop in Hickory, NC
where we hope to connect with unchurched people and use it as a hub for launching small
groups. We’ll also be using music for outreach as well. Again, it’s about the small,
intimate environment where people feel safe to connect. We want to reach the people
who would not come to church and we don’t expect them to come to church.
We are having to raise our support for the ministry aspect and to have a place to live
because we don’t have enough after selling our house for both. Crazy. I know.
Where is Successful Small Groups: From Concept to Practice available to
Local Christian bookstores such as, amazon.com, christianbook.com,
beaconhillsbooks.com or call Beacon Hill Press (816) 753-407.
Where can people learn more about your ministry, including your coffee shop
Thanks for asking. They can go to http://www.ministryinmotion.net/teena_stewart.html
And, of course, you can buy the book right here:
Or so the saying goes.
I had the great privileged to be with my grandfather in some of his most coherent final moments. He was in great pain and considerable discomfort and yet nearly all that passed his lips was complimentary and kind. His granddaughters were told how lovely they were (particularly the blue eyes). His nurses were all "kind" and "caring." His doctor was "a good man." His great-grandson was a treasure (even when he kicked Grandpa in his hurting gut). He talked about how lucky he was and how lucky my dad is. He talked about how special times were with us growing up.
In my memory, my grandfather was never particularly sentimental. He didn't express love so much, except upon departure (and that only in our later years, I think). He wasn't touchy feely. But in his last days, you've never seen a kinder, more gentle man. I am so blessed to have been a part of it.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This is sad. I am very fortunate to have not lost grandparents yet. I fear that trend is changing.
You could be praying. That the time together is good. That the travel is safe. That I make it back by Sunday morning for my presentation. That when he decides to check out is is quick and painless and not prolonged and agonizing. That we will let him go.
Oh, growing up is not the fun I thought it would be.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So instead of waiting around this time, I jumped right on reading Splitting Harriet when it is hot off the presses.
Oh, my good heavens, the prologue sucked me in like little has in a long time. And then I followed through by reading the whole book in a weekend. Gimme more Tamara Leigh!
Here's a bit about it.
Preacher’s kid and prodigal Harriet Bisset returned to her church and her family in
The good news is that she has everything under control: a part-time position as director of women’s ministry, a church family that adores her, a rent-free home in a senior mobile home park, and the possibility of owning the café where she waitresses. Nothing could tempt Harri to return to her old ways. Nothing but a 1298 cc, liquid-cooled, sixteen-valve, in-line four-cylinder motorcycle—and the church consultant riding it.
Reformed rebel Maddox McCray’s arrival at First Grace spells C-H-A-N-G-E for the dying church. And it just might mean change for Harri when Maddox sets out to convince her that even Christians are allowed to have fun.
The story of a prodigal daughter’s transformation, Splitting Harriet reminds readers of God’s delight in forgiving, loving, and enjoying the ride.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Anyway, I know I blogged on the first book, A Valley of Betrayal, but I can't find it in my archives. However, if you've been around that long, you'll know I l-o-v-e-d the first and am loving the second. (I recommend you pick up both, if you haven't read either. Don't settle for only book two, huh?) If for no other reason, than to know way more about the Spanish Civil war than nearly everyone you know (and for me, so far, anyone I know). This is such a great series.
Right now I'm wondering if ANYONE is who they claim to be. Thus the "treason" in the title.
Here's a bit more about it from Tricia.
Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.
Q:A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?
A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.
Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?
A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.
I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.
Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?
A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.
Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?
A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!
Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?
A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!
Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?
A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.
I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!
Jamie here: Well, I, for one, also loved Gen NeXt Parenting, so I'll have to check out the marriage version!
Okay, you can read the first chapter of A Shadow of Treason here. Then race on over to amazon and buy it here. But you might also want the first one, so here. Then pop on over here to visit Tricia and tell her I sent ya. She's got some fun blogs, too.
"A Prison Without Walls--yet another journey through post-partum depression."
I know I'm whiny and cranky and frustrating. I should be thankful and happy and content. But knowing and doing ain't happening. I can't decide if I should fake my way though the blog days or be gut honest and lose what little audience I have. What I do know it that I'm becoming so resentful and ugly that I feel like I'm turning absolutely black inside. I know this is a problem. I know that what I need to do is get out and go to bible study and meet with women mentors. The problem is that I am absolutely chained to my home. You can't see the chains, but they are there. And if I leave I still have to take them with me and I'm even more frustrated that if I never left at all.
And this was a good day.
Friday, November 09, 2007
The premise of the book intrigued me: When Susanne opened the door on her birthday she didn't find glad tidings, she found a teenager claiming that her mama was dead and Susanne's husband was her father. First, the girl would have had to be conceived during their engagement and second, Susanne thought she was her husband's first and only. What great havoc follows.
Just based on my own life, this premise gave me chills. Ewww. What would I do if this happened to me? (First I'd throw him off a bridge and if that didn't work I might feed him seafood every meal for a month. (Yes, Hubs knows my standard answer is: cheat on me and I will throw you off a bridge. He also knows the Christian answer which is you can stay and prove you've changed, but you are sleeping in the basement. Bridge first, basement second. I don't know why we talked about this. I think it was before we were married. K, 'nuff about me.)) Interestingly enough, Miralee has something of a history of just this thing. Here's what she has to say.
Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, The Other Daughter! I know you're excited, and we're all excited for you. As a reader, I'm fascinated by the primary topic in your book - that of an unknown daughter showing up on the doorstep, and the unavoidable upheaval in the lives of those people her appearance impacts. What prompted you to write about this type of circumstance?
Thanks and yes, I'm very excited. A friend suggested that my first book be based on something true from my life, if possible, as I'd have an easier time fleshing it out. I began to brainstorm a few 'what ifs' from our marriage. What if the 18 yr. old girl who'd written my husband a letter claiming to be his daughter, had been a young teen without a mother instead, and we had to raise her? What if her conception had happened while he and I were dating, rather than prior to our meeting, as was the case? What if I were NOT a Christian and he was, and I struggled with Christianity and his faith? Hmmm....well, that's exactly what it took to ignite the story within and it grew from there and became, The Other Daughter. And to answer anyone panting to know, LOL---yes...the 18 yr old girl WAS his daughter from his 'Before Christ' days and yes, we keep in touch and have a solid relationship with her and her family.
Can you imagine? NO BRIDGE! Isn't she sweet? (Though technically he didn't cheat, so who knows what she is really capable of? LOL!)
If you'd like to read the opening scene of The Other Daughter you can do so here. And tell her I sent ya. OH! And if you leave a comment on this post, your name will be thrown in a hat where one lucky person will receive a copy absolutely free.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
I used to know better. I never expected him to do laundry or cook or do dishes. That was my share and bringing home the bacon was his. But somewhere along the line I began to get more than a little edgy when he sat down at night and I continued to work. I still do, don't get me wrong. The 24 hour job versus the eight hour job doesn't seem like the nicest ratio. But assuming the life and death part of my job gets done, I can still go over and visit with a friend in the afternoon and leave my house to rot. (He can too, but to a much lesser degree.) And much of the time if I would pick up rather than BLOG (for instance) I wouldn't have so much to do in the evenings. Then again, without someone to hold the baby, I can get almost nothing done. Which leads me back to my original statement.
Yes, I can justify why he should help more AND I know that I'm asking a lot from a man who does an awful lot for the other five of us (four who are freeloaders).
None of that made a bit of sense, did it?
But just in case you are interested in reading about The Other Daughter before this weekend, you can see what other people think by following some of these links this week.
6th Betsy St. Amant---Betsy Ann's Blog
7th Megan DiMaria---A Prisoner of Hope
8th Christa Allan---CBAllan WordPress
9th Susan Marlow---Suzy Scribbles---Homeschool Blogger
11th Cindy Bauer----Christian Fiction Author & Speaker
12th Angie Breidenbach---God Uses Broken Vessels
13th Patricia Carroll---Patricia PacJac Carroll
14th Toni V. Lee---Spreading Truth Through Fiction
15th Camille Eide---Faith Inspiring Fiction
16th Lisa Jordan---Musings
Monday, November 05, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
It is probably sleep deprivation. I don't know. It may be Pepsi deprivation (Six. More. Days!). Maybe it is just that I don't feel like (and now visualize a big censor pen marking through everything else I wrote because this is just something that I can't pretend I don't know a dozen people who could possibly read this and I just can't make it make sense and I don't want to have to explain it.)
Anyhoo, my day to day is better. Just don't ask how I am. My tear ducts are over active for some reason.
"Not a low calorie food"
Where did said calories come from if not sugar, I asked. Curious, I flipped the tin over to see what exactly was in these fruit tarts Lifesavers. A lot of man made chemicals that will probably be blamed for killing us soon. You know, same stuff that's in most "food" these days. But it also said this serving size:1 (teeny lifesaver) calories:<5.
I can only assume they would consider that "not a low calorie food" because it is not a food at all.
Friday, November 02, 2007
They mean well, I know. They only want the best for my kids. But, you see, so do I.
Here's the thing. I fall into the old school philosophy of parenting. Let them fail. I know it is a hard concept for us GenXers and beyond, but kids need to fail. If you never fail as a kid when the failures, though hard, aren't life threatening, how can we expect them to handle it when they fail at something in college or in the workplace? "Mom, can you come talk to my prof for me? I failed an exam and it is totally unfair!" "did you study?" "Well, no, there was this party, but the test was a lot harder than I expected!"
So, call me a freak, I let my daughter go to school in dress shoes all week because she misplaced her tennis shoes. I've made shoes easy in my home. Just inside the door we have a shoe rack. If, when they take off their shoes they put them in the shoe rack, they would know where they are. When they don't find their shoes there, they act all innocent like someone moved them. It is ridiculous. It is also a battle I'm tired of fighting so if they can't find their shoes, they have to go out in whatever shoes they can find. Dress shoes, sandals in the winter (with socks), whatever.
So yesterday, one of Princess's teachers pulled me aside and encouraged me to get Princess some real shoes so that she doesn't slip around at recess. I told her that she had some. She looked at me confused. I said that she'd misplaced them and we were learning a lesson. Teacher looked peeved, said, "Well..." but let it go.
This is the second time she's jumped on the "Jamie, you aren't parenting Princess correctly" bandwagon. She thinks that Princess is being neglected. I know that Princess thinks she is being neglected, but what child doesn't? She gets just as many hugs, just as many kudos, she is just as welcome in our bed for snuggles come sunrise, she has just as many clothes (actually many, many more), she is fed just as well, and complimented just as much. She just wants more. (I need to read the five love languages for kids book because her love tank seems like a bottomless pit.)
I know that I'm not giving my kids all that they need right now. I don't have all I need right now so I have not enough to give. But I'm trying and the comments from someone who thinks she knows us and our situation, but really only sees my kids four hours a week and never sees us as a family needs to step off.
Princess has TWO pair of tennis shoes. If she has misplaced both of them, this is my fault how? Am I really supposed to go out and buy her a third pair? You have got to be kidding me. And do I really seem like the type of person who has hours in my day to comb the house to find a pair of shoes? If they aren't where they are supposed to be it is not my problem. (BTW, yesterday I found both pair. One was in the toy box, one was single shoe by the door, second shoe at the bottom of the stairs.)
But apparently it is. What gets me about this is that this is a person from a generation I would expect to applaud that type of parenting.
I try to keep their failures little and manageable. If they refuse to study for their spelling tests, I let them get their b's. If they refuse to wear a jacket I send them out cold (though I have stashed a jacket in their lockers so that when they decide they are cold, they can put one on). If they lollygag in the mornings they get to school late. These are things they need to learn to be responsible for.
Unfortunately no one parents like this anymore. Or so I'm led to believe.
And in case anyone is interested, this book is where I got a lot of my philosophy. Or it confirmed a lot of my philosophy. Not all of it, because it is totally secular, but it is still excellent.