Friday, November 30, 2007

So I'm reading this book...

and I'm not going to tell you the title, because I love the book, but I can't unequivocally recommend it because the content isn't something I'd let my daughter read before adulthood--therefore I probably shouldn't read. (see, I"m not always promoting something.)

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

What Survivor and Blog Chaos Have in Common

Both are like having a front row seat to a train wreck.

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.

Particularly Nurse-Boy.

(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

Disputing Charges

Here's a shout out to Countrywide Visa who, after my initial fussing at them, dropped a couple charges that I am certain I'm mot responsible for.

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

Free Books! Free Books! La, la, la, la, la, la!

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 Ohio. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to understand the confusing world of the Englischers and embrace unfamiliar freedoms, but a deepening friendship with the handsome Martin Palmer renews her courage to face the future.

Meanwhile, Hannah’s absence and the distressing events that led to her disappearance create turmoil among her loved ones in Owl’s Perch, Pennsylvania. Her father stubbornly refuses to search for her or to acknowledge increasing signs of instability in daughter Sarah, who suffers secret guilt over her sister’s ruined reputation. Fiancé Paul Waddell is wracked with regret over his betrayal of Hannah’s trust and is concerned with her whereabouts. He befriends Hannah’s remaining allies—brother Luke, best friend Mary, and loyal Matthew Esh—trying to convince them to help search for his love.

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 Georgia with her husband and the youngest of their three sons.

I Have a Fan!

Last night it was grand central station around here. The phone seemed to be ringing off the hook. When an unfamiliar name showed up on caller ID we answered (against standard protocol) as it was local and we expected a local name we didn't recognize (long story).


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


my lines are really crazy in the next post, but as usual, blogger won't let me in to edit. So sorry.

Interview with Teena Stewart

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 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
with them.

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,,, 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

And, of course, you can buy the book right here:

Out of the Overflow of the Heart

The Mouth Speaks

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

Going Absent Again

My paternal grandfather isn't faring well so my sisters and I are leaving in the morning to go see him. I should be back by the beginning of next week.

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


I forgot to post that I have a book give-away for Splitting Harriet. But Blogger won't let me edit that in SO leave a comment here or on the actual post and I'll have a drawing sometime next week for the winner of a free copy of Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh! (woo-hoo!)

Splitting Harriet

Have you ever read Tamara Leigh? If you haven't (and you like chick-lit) you are totally missing out. I (quite a great length of time after it was released) finally got around to reading Stealing Adda a couple months ago and wondered why it took me so long. Tamara can spin a great tale.

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 Franklin, Tennessee, seven years ago. Once the proud owner of two tattoos and a nose ring, Harri is now addicted to Jelly Bellys in lieu of hangovers and Bible verses in lieu of foul language.

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

What Does Your Recycling Say About You?

Cage Free Brown Eggs
All Natural Yogurt
No Sugar Added Applesauce (no artificial sweeteners either)
100% Juice

and Lunchables.

Even healthy moms get desperate sometimes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Shadow of Treason

It's a Chaos week of books, I must say. I'm thrilled to report that A Shadow of Treason second in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series by Tricia Goyer is finally out! It was an agonizing few months, but I survived, much like I survived my 6 weeks without Pepsi (I did it!). Doable, but never quite not thinking about when it would end (the wait, not the book---or the Pepsi).

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.


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 Blog Rename

I'm considering a new name for my blog.

"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 Other Daughter

I'm going to jump on here early tonight (because tomorrow will be crazy hectic) to tell you a little bit about the book I read this week: The Other Daughter by Miralee Ferrell (available at your local bookstore).

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

Pre-Pregnancy Weight

It's a farce.

Just 'cause you're back to it, doesn't mean you're back to it.

As An Aside

Charming has been incredibly sweet, if not a little mischievous, today. I've done so much griping lately that I thought I should point out the good. There has been little good this week as he's been fussy, drippy and demanding ON TOP of waking me super early. But I can handle the early wakings when the baby is so stinking sweet.

Internal Radar

Okay, honestly. How do they know that it is morning at 6 AM when the sun isn't up and no one is stirring? How do they know? I understand that first day of the time change. Maybe even the second. But does the rest of my life include getting up with a child before the six o'clock hour? It isn't number of hours slept. I've put the kids to bed late and later to squelch this thing. Although frankly, today was ALMOST sleeping in compared to the rest of the week. Maybe there is still hope.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Best of Both Worlds

I've discovered another ugly thing about myself: I want the best of both worlds. I want to be the at home wife/mommy AND I want my husband to be attentive and helpful around the house as if I were a working wife/mother. (Read: He does 50% if not 73%)

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?

On Saturday

I'll tell you about The Other Daughter, the book I'm reading this week. Currently I'm at the part where they are dealing with the foster care system...whom I have a meeting with this afternoon. Yipes!

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


I now know how children intuitively know how to whine at just the right pitch.

"Char-mi-i-i-i-i-i-i-ing, reeeeeeeeeeeally? You haaaaaaaave to get up at fiiiiiiiiiive- fifteeeeeeeeeen?"

It's not intuitive at all.

Daddy I was wondering...

Do we have to watch the Chiefs again this week?

(Someone emailed this to Hubs who sent it to me. I don't know whose baby it is and I can't credit the idea.)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

On the Edge

Well, it's been about a week since my meltdown and public profession of same. As is usually the case in these matters, I immediately felt better and wondered why it was that I wrote on a public forum how crazy I was, but left it and went on with my life. Thinking I was all over the minuscule crisis. But I have to say that every time someone asks (really asks, not the flippant ask) how I am, I tear up anyway.

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.

Low Calorie Food

I was sitting here, studying my life saver tin (yes tin, I think they are trying to make it into the highly profitable mint market) when I ran across these phrases:

"Sugar Free"
"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

The Hunch Prooves Right

Just when you get mature enough to convince yourself that people don't really think the things you think they think about you, you find out that someone does.

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.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Be Still My Heart

Last night we had dinner with some wonderful companions. While the adults visited, the kids watched "Meet the Robinsons." All was lively and giggly in the living room, when suddenly we heard Eldest beginning to cry.

I haven't seen the movie, but apparently there is a scene where a mother gives her little boy to someone else, because she can't take care of him. Hubs went to Eldest and consoled him and we went back to our visit. Before long the movie was over and my Eldest came into the kitchen. I asked if he liked the movie (because he'd been giggling for over an hour). He said no and began to cry again. He referred to this scene.

I had to ask: was this crying because of his "other mother" or because he worried that I'd give him away? It was because of me.


I assured him that that would never happen and should something happen to both me and Hubs, the farthest he'd have to go is family. He calmed down and went off to play.

Here I am thinking that he misses the mother he never had and he has given that no thought. Or maybe his subconscious has and that is why it bothered him so much. But, call me selfish, I'm so glad he loves me enough to cry and relate to losing me.

I read a book once called "Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother" wherein she talks about the inward competition with the woman who is always at the back of your mind. And it is true. Even when you don't think you are competing, it is always a relief to know they love you more.

That is my transparent moment for the day.