Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This Thing Called a Blog
And then I lived for a week with some of my readers.
One should not blog about ones blog fodder when the blog fodder reads the blog. Unless one had very complementary things to say at which time said fodder still sometimes misinterprets good things as bad things. So.....
I'm trying to come up with something new besides:
A person just doesn't realize the degree of filth that s/he is living in until s/he lives in immaculate conditions for a week.
Which gives nice goal setting opportunities.
But also creates overwhelming panic (especially by husbands).
Because it is impossible to sanitize an entire house in a day.
Especially when children are home from school.
And all of the blog fodder hasn't yet checked out.
(And very nice blog fodder it is.)
Got dishes to do....
Happy New Year's Eve to ya!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight (and weenie goals for January)
Every woman longs for change in some area of her life. Unfortunately, fear, fatigue, adversity, heartbreak, past failures, and even the choices of other people get in the way and make lasting change seem out of reach. Having been there herself, Karen Linamen knows exactly how to take readers from where they are to where they want to be.
In Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight, she examines 52 powerful actions readers can apply to any change they long to embrace. Her insights apply to career, finances, personal health and fitness, relationships, faith—in fact, every facet of a woman’s life.
Blending laugh-out-loud humor and sage advice, Linamen shows readers the link between dissatisfaction and transformation, how to remodel habits, the little-known truth about procrastination, how to generate the energy they need to pursue the life they desire, how to benefit from options and resources they never dreamed they had, and much, much more!
Karen Linamen is a popular speaker and the celebrated author of ten books for women, including Due to Rising Energy Costs the Light at the End of the Tunnel Has Been Turned Off and Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt. She has been featured on more than one hundred radio programs, including FamilyLife Today. Publishers Weekly describes her as “funny, forthright and unforgettable.” Linamen lives with her family in
1. eat oatmeal every morning before 9. (I've fallen out of the breakfast habit)
2. only two Pepsis a day. (hey, that's huge for me)
3. exercise three times a week (does playing tennis on the Wii count if it makes me sore?)
4. organize one room (hopefully if I do one, I'll do four)
that's it. that's all. press go.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The Queen of Sleepy Eye by Patti Hill
Here's back cover copy:
It's the summer of 1975, and sensible seventeen-year-old Amy Monteiro longs for the freedom of college life in California. But when her mom's beloved 1958 Pontiac Bonneville Sports Coupe surrenders to a mortally wounded transmission in Colorado, it doesn't take long for Amy to realize that her insufferable, tiara-toting mom, Francie--former queen of the Sleepy Eye Corn Festival--is out of money and in no hurry to let go of her daughter.
In a time of great change, and in this small Colorado town, Amy will find herself caught up in the struggle between the past and present, young and old, geeks and jocks, hippies and the establshment, even life and death. And during this one unforgettable summer, both mother and daughter will grow up.
I know, I know, the 70s, but trust me, it is soooooo good.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Houston, we have a problem.
Frodo, who for months has wanted the American Girl Coconut dog (and accessories) for Christmas for SIX MONTHS no matter what else mom suggested..........
wants BOLT. Only BOLT. Nothing but BOLT will do. Coconut who?
Hubs and I counted presents and dollars spent and decided we could spring for one more gift for Frodo expecting a $10 stuffed animal. Yes, I had to go to the mall AGAIN. The WEEK BEFORE Christmas. But I could do it for my child's brilliant smile on Christmas day. Disney Store here I come.
There were exactly three BOLTs in the Disney store. All HUGE and $40.
One, I'm categorically opposed to large stuffed animals. Two, forty bucks? For a stuffed animal? A huge one at that? Is it inlaid with gold? You can get diamonds for that. (Champagne ones, even.)
OK, call me crazy, but if you are going to put out a movie a month before Christmas, will you not stock your store with all the applicable action figures so as to make a pant load of money? Is every child that sees the movie NOT going to want something?
And if that isn't bad enough, they are a monopoly until the gravy train runs out. So it isnt like you can stop off at Wal-Mart and grab a mini-bolt. Oh, no. You gotta shell out the $40 for the ginormous stuffed BOLT.
I did walk away. Even though he told his entire kindergarten he was getting BOLT.
(Still haven't decided if we take back three or four of his presents and let him have BOLT. Only BOLT. How much do you think he really cares? Of course it will probably be sold out by tomorrow, anyway.)
Living Rich for Less
You really can be rich in every way, every day.
So you want to own the home you love, make memories on wonderful vacations with family or friends, finance college educations, and help others too?
You can—starting here and now.
With lively humor, proven know-how, and practical principles for financial health, Living Rich for Less helps you stretch your dollars to realize the lifestyle of your dreams. Ellie Kay’s entertaining and enlightening examples show you simple steps to save, spend, and give smart, and her three main principles are undergirded by dozens of effective rules and hundreds of Cha-Ching Factor™ tips that keep or put money in your pocket.
Ellie knows what it’s like to be financially-strapped or struggling, wanting to be the Joneses but feeling as poor in spirit as in pocketbook. She went, within two and a half years, from being a new wife and mom with $40,000 in consumer debt and seven children (and college educations) to support, to being completely debt-free and within fifteen years able to pay cash for eleven different cars, give away three of those cars, buy two five-bedroom houses (moving from one to the other) and nicely furnish each, take wonderful vacations, dress her family in fine fashion; and support more than thirty non-profit organizations in more than a dozen different countries, giving away more than $100,000.
Isn’t that the kind of transformation to a rich life that you want?
Living Rich for Less helps anyone get there in our taxed-out, maxed-out times. Because financial security doesn’t mean just genuine prosperity, but being able to live luxuriously, give generously, and care for yourself as well as the others around you.
Why keep up with the Joneses when you can be them
"Married & Available" Discreet services for online dating for married people.
My apologies, friends. I would never advocate that. I'll lose the ads, asap.
Oh My Goodness, I have no words.
Lyrics to New, Original Songs on "All I Really Want for Christmas" Well, I don't know if you remember me or not
by Steven Curtis Chapman (2005 Sparrow Records, EMI CMG)
I'm one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old, green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me, I was standing off alone
I didn't come and talk to you 'cause that's never worked before
And you'll probably never see this letter, anyway
But just in case there's something you can do to help me out
I'll ask you one more time
All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win
There's so much I could ask for, but there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family
Well, I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it's really true about that list you have
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I'm really trying hard not to be bad
But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I've heard, it sounds like the greatest gift on earth
Would be a mom
All I want for Christmas is someone who'll be here
To sing me happy birthday for the next 100 years
And It's okay if they're not perfect or even if they're a little broken
That's alright, 'Cause so am I
Well, I guess I should go, it's almost time for bed
Maybe next time I write you I'll be at home
`Cause all I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I'll never be alone, someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for, well, there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
And they are all eight and under.
I keep looking at the clock thinking dang, they aren't home yet?
Nope, neither would I be.
Time suck, I tell ya.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
call me strange
I think it made it not taste all that great and I ate far less than usual.
Well, that or I'm just balmin' cold.
Each to his own.
Snow Days (that should have been) Musings
The buses are conspicuously absent from running, I noticed. Probably because they wouldn't make it up our hill.
The postman will walk his route past my house today. His powerful little truck can't make it up the hill in snow either.
I hope we can get back to the school to get the kids home later.
Hub's won't go in to the office.
Maybe we can get some "Christmas Gift Decisions" done.
Which is why he doesn't work from home much.
I'm glad I don't live any farther north.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
We Always Knew She was Royalty
"Excuse me, is this the palace of King Herod?"
"We don't think so."
"Sure thing, King."
"Excuse me. We have come to worship the newborn king."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Lying on Sunday by Sharon K. Souza
AN INTERVIEW WITH SHARON K. SOUZA
Author of Lying on Sunday
1. In your previous novel, Every Good & Perfect Gift, you address the tough issues of infertility and catastrophic illness. Again, in Lying on Sunday, you've tackled a tough subject, that being infidelity. Why do you choose such tough topics?
I like to write stories that speak to women on deep and personal levels. None of us gets through this life without being affected in some form by sadness, loss, a sense of failure over one issue or another, and having been failed. I think when we know we're not the only one going through these types of situation--and it's so easy to feel that you are alone--it gives us hope that we really can come through, not necessarily unscathed, but certainly stronger and more equipped to help others.
2. Do heavy topics equal a heavy reading experience?
Definitely not. I firmly believe that pleasure reading should first and foremost be entertaining. Time is a precious commodity. I hope that readers who choose to spend some of their precious hours in the pages of my books will thoroughly enjoy the experience.
So even though I tackle tough subjects, I infuse enough humor to keep those subjects from becoming an albatross around the reader's neck. Conversely, I love to read for pleasure, but I want to take something away from the experience.
3. What would you have readers take away from Lying on Sunday?
In one day, Abbie Torrington has the underpinnings of her world knocked out from under her. Everything she thinks she knows about her marriage turns out to be false. It leaves her reeling in the aftermath. Years ago, while dealing with health issues in my own life, a close friend gave me a Precious Moments figurine entitled "Light at the End of the Tunnel." In Lying on Sunday I want to show that even with issues as devastating as betrayal there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and for me that Light, of course, is Jesus.
4. Lying on Sunday deals with the betrayal of infidelity, but are there other forms of betrayal that the book might speak to?
Types of betrayal obviously vary, but the end results can be equally devastating. Any time a trust is broken between people in relationship, someone is going to be hurt. We can either allow those hurts to hinder us, or we can allow the Lord to use them as lessons to make us better and stronger. That brings to mind the old adage "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." Well, through her own devastating experience Abbie becomes a stronger, more independent person than she knew she could be.
5. Once again you've written a story with a strong and vital friendship that's central to the story. Was that coincidence or by design?
Absolutely by design. I'm all about relationships and so are my characters. Having gone through a period in my early adulthood without a close friend, I know how important friends are in our lives. In fact, I've recently reconnected with two friends from high school, one I hadn't seen in 25 years, and the other in over 30 years. But relationships between women, while vital, can be very complex. That's certainly true for Abbie. Besides her close friendship with Shawlie Bryson, she has a close relationship with one daughter and a challenging relationship with the other, mostly because of the very different emotional place these girls are in while dealing with the death of their father. Not only that, but Abbie has a strained relationship with her own mother for reasons she eventually discovers. I'm certain that women of each one of these generations will relate to one or the other of these characters, especially the woman caught in the middle, where she's both the daughter and the mother.
6. Truth is a theme you deal with extensively in Lying on Sunday. In a book that deals with betrayal, wouldn't forgiveness be a more fitting theme?
I believe forgiveness is the key to getting beyond the kind of hurt Abbie experiences - which doesn't necessarily equate to restored relationship. (In Abbie's case, of course, that's impossible anyway.) But the discovery of truth is a huge first step in the process. In any difficult situation we can choose to ignore the facts and try to keep life on an even keel. But there inevitably comes a day of reckoning. For Abbie to arrive at the desired destination, there are some unpleasant truths she must acknowledge and deal with. She's dogged by a scripture from John 8:32 that says the truth will set you free. Only she can decide whether or not she'll let it.
7. What is the most satisfying thing that comes out of your writing?
I love hearing from readers, especially those I don't know, who say my stories have touched them in one way or another, and most importantly, have helped them see more clearly how good and loving our Lord is.
8. What are you working on now, and does it continue in the style of Lying on Sunday and Every Good & Perfect Gift?
My work in progress, Unraveled, is another contemporary novel about a young woman who gives a year of her life to help teach children in Moldova, a small country in eastern Europe. While there she experiences a crisis of fath (the story ultimately deals with human trafficking). And yes, it continues in the style of my previous novels.
9. Is there anything you'd like to add?
Naturally I love to hear from readers. You can email me through my website: http://www.sharonksouza.com. If you're in a book club and choose to read any of my books I'll send a complimentary book to the person who contacts me on behalf of their group. Then, after you read the book I'd love to participate in your group discussion, either by phone or in person if you're close enough for me to drive to.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Eldest woke with a headache. I called in sick to CBS where I was supposed to "volunteer" to help with kids. When Eldest found out he couldn't watch TV all day, he was miraculously healed. I called back and went in to "volunteer." The school called soon to send Eldest home with a headache and "fever" (of 99.5). He spent the day in bed. And then watched TV. Complained of his head all day. As a person that has migraines, I want them to be able to have headaches without a fever and stay home from school, but don't know how to screen out the fakeouts. Except to not let them out of bed when they stay home sick. But my point here is that it's a good thing that Hubs worked from home today because I wasn't home today to pick up the apparently sick child.
I have finished writing and editing my article and it is now in the hands of my crit parnters. I must send it in this week. I can't sleep until it is in. I don't know why I get so excited to be assigned these things. They make me cranky.
I quit teaching science at my kids' school two weeks ago. Well, I quit two weeks before Thanksgiving, but I've not taught for the last two weeks. I can't tell you how much I enjoy Wednesdays now. I even did some crazy cleaning. Clothes sorting. Now if I could just convince myself to dust.
I think I will go have some Cherry Vanilla Blue Bell to celebrate being nearly done with my article.
Just in time for the next round of assignments.
Monday, December 08, 2008
When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall
It's been a long time coming (August 2006 via November 2007) but Hannah has her resolution!
Ah, Cindy Woodsmall is some kind of author.
After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her
Having fled in disgrace two years earlier, she finally has found a satisfying role in the Englischer world, as well as love with Martin Palmer, a man with whom she can safely entrust her heart. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl’s Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her reopens old wounds.
As Hannah is thrown together with former fiancé Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah’s mental health, unexpected truths surface about the events during Hannah’s absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain Life—and perhaps to her first love?
This intriguing final novel in the Sisters of the Quilt series is richly textured with authentic details drawn from the author’s real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families.
Cindy Woodsmall is a best-selling author, who has garnered strong praise for the first two novels in the Sisters of the Quilt series. When the Heart Cries was a finalist for the ECPA Novel of the Year in 2007 and received the Reviewer’s Choice Award from the Road to Romance website. When the Morning Comes was named among the Best Books of 2007 for Crossings Book Club. Cindy lives in
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Why is that again?
Dinner banquet where all available babysitters are working the banquet?
They have radar, I tell ya.
Neither Urban Nor Rural
I couldn't help but crack up tonight when, after a dinner banquet and during our entertainment portion of the night, our grouping had no idea what to do.
Let me set the stage.
A decidedly un-white group of young adults came in to sing for us slash lead us in worship. First we all sit and watch, then the leader type guy says "sing with me" and we all stand (because that's what we do when we sing) and then he goes on to another song that no one knows and no one knows if they can sit or stand. And a couple songs later I sit, together with a few other people.
This is when I admit to my MIL that cantatas can't be all bad. At least the program and leader tells you when to sit and stand and when to sing along and when to just listen.
I'm good with "worship" and I'm good with "performance." When I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do? Not so much. I'm so busy trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do with my feet, mouth, and hands that the holy portion of the evening is lost on me.
Tell me I'm not the only one.
But let me say that there was some harmony on Breathe that set my spine a-tingling. Like eight part harmony. Don't hear that often.
Not even in the Mennonite church.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Because Sometimes You Have to be THAT Guy
No, really, pulling out the food and the shelves and scrubbing the shelves down.
I couldn't decide whether to be hurt and offended or just thankful. I chose thankful and guilt ridden. With the "Gee, hon, I know it is bad. I'm sorry."
I just keep putting crap like that off. Particularly when I am busy scraping the yogurt off the table with a putty knife and pulling Charming off six foot ladders and pianos. And cooking for Eldest who has a hollow leg. And promising Princess that we will, indeed, do a craft together, SOON. And peeling apples for Frodo. And the dishes and the laundry and even sneaking a shower in every three or four days, selfish woman that I am.
I know fridges need to be cleaned. As do showers, which I noticed last evening while actually participating in the cleansing activity that takes place for others there, but rarely me unless it is my arm washing some child's hair.
I always feel guilty when it comes to Saturday and Hubs discovers that homes that are clean (read: picked up, not scrubbed) when he walks in the door on Friday night are COMPLETELY TRASHED by Saturday at 8:30 AM. AND he has to STAY HOME in it instead of heading off to work while the house miraculously cleans itself.
Me, I've gotten rather used to living in squalor. I enjoy it.
Oh, right. This isn't the parallel universe.
So, on Saturdays by noon, he's usually using phrases like "I can't live like this" "we have to get rid of stuff" and "I can't take this mess!" And instead of picking up the crap all over the floor he grabs a rag and starts deep cleaning.
And the guilt monster eats me alive.
See, I don't deep clean unless things are picked up.
And things are never picked up. Not completely. Well, not when I don't have a meal to prepare or clean up after.
He skips the pick up (smart guy) and CLEANS. And as I know that is my job, I get guilty. And say so.
So what he told me today when I referenced the guilt?
"I was thinking about those Helzberg Diamonds commercials and how I'm not THAT GUY. But since I can't afford to go to Helzberg's I should try to be THAT GUY instead." (He stayed home from a KU basketball game to go to the Christmas thing with me and the kids and cleaned my fridge.)
Come on, say it with me....
A very wise woman told me today (after I told this story) that a very wise woman once told her: don't be offended when he does something around the house. Just be thankful he did it and try to let the why rest.
(That's for those of us who assume he only cleans something because he doesn't think you do a good enough job yourself and not just because he loves you and it trying to help. That isn't for those of you who keep an immaculate house. You can just skip this paragraph and go re-read my failures in the first few paragraphs and feel better about yourself.)
Incidentally, it isn't that he can't afford ANYTHING at Helzberg's, it's that what he can't afford is what he wants to buy. Which is currently working for me. Don't pop my bubble.
Princess and Santa
My kids don't do Santa. Though Frodo did ask if he got to sit "on Fake Santa's lap."
So there the kids were, probably wondering what is wrong with their mother that she wants to take their pictures sitting on Fake Santa's lap, trying to tell if Fake Santa knew there wasn't really a Santa Claus still living (they know all about St. Nicholas), and trying to come up with something they wanted for Christmas.
Santa finally told Frodo that there would be legos under the tree with Santa's name on it.
Thoughtful of him.
Frodo, thinks he's getting legos now. From Fake Santa. Whom he presumes knows where we live. Kinda like that cashier last year that asked if he could come to Frodo's birthday party (he was joking around) and Frodo really thought he'd be there and that I needed to buy pistachio ice cream for the guy who specifically asked for it.
Maybe I should have named this post "Frodo and Santa."
Anyway, all the kids talked to Santa, because they wanted the candy sticks he was handing out, ending with Princess. When he asked what she wanted, she answered, "I don't know." He guessed for a while and she solemnly shook her head no each time. Santa's helper got into the game. She volunteered "Barbie." Princess shook her head. "Do you like Hannah Montanna?" Violent head shake. The helper looked at me quizically.
What can I say? We aren't the norm at our house.
Makes it kinda hard to shop considering everything for girls (toothbrushes and panties and such) have either Dora, Disney Princesses, and Hanna Montanna on them. Or Bratz. Which she calls, "those foolish girls." Growing too old for Dora. Tolerates the princesses though the toothbrushes look posessed. Would wonder WHAT on EARTH I was thinking if I bought her the others.
I think I finally just bought her the green crayola toothbrush for her stocking.
She's a hard nut to crack, that one. She doesn't like what other little girls like. She likes "olden days" and reading books about other cultures. I like that about her, but it makes giving difficult.
Especially for Santa.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Miss Fortune by Sara Mills
They call her the P.I. Princess.
It's 1947 and Allie Fortune is the only female (and perhaps the best) private investigator in New York City.
But she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own--her finace disappeared in the war and Allie is haunted more by the unknown than by finding out the worst.
Her work is a welcome distraction, and she's just been hired by a client who isn't telling the whole truth. Mary Gordon's claims of innocence don't fit with her ransacked apartment, being shot at, and the two Soviet agents hot on her trail.
Meanwhile the FBI is working the case because a legendary and mysterious treasure has gone missing...again. The only catch for Allie is her new "partner" Jack, an attractive, single agent who knows how to make her smile.
As Allie and Jack chase after the gold, they must contend with the Soviets who also want the priceless treasure back--after all they stole it fair and square. (From back cover copy.)
This book was delicious. I stepped out of mysteries for a long time(I don't like to dream suspense), but I'm a returned fan. This book had it all. A past to deal with, bad guys that are really bad, the hint of romance...good stuff. But to tell you much more would be full of spoilers.
I will tell you this: I will never understand women who seem to have no need for personal safety. And Allie is one of those women. But I suppose women who cower at home don't make good P.I. heroines, do they? They make pretty good readers, though.
Write on, Sara. I can't wait for Miss Match.
They Should Call it the Terrible 20 Months
Marker lids prove no match for someone 20 months old.
That is my Lindt Dark Chocolate Toffee Interlude bar he snagged off my kitchen counter.
No comment necessary.
There's Charming standing on the windowsill and yes, that is a plate of muffins he's eaten all the tops off of.
Yes, that's Charming on top of the piano. No, I didn't help him up there.
He was standing on the keys, looking at the fish, next thing I know, he's on top.
He dumped a while bottle of fish food in the bowl, too, if you care. He was considerate enough to screw the lid back on after he emptied the bottle.
Oh, my, how I l-o-o-o-o-o-v-e toddlers.
It's a good thing he's so cute.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Kohl's is really staring to (bleep) me off.
So I get this email today, with this ring on it.
It's my style. Kinda antique-y. More than Hubs and I usually spend, but I gave it a long think. Should I, or shouldn't I, forward the email on to the man of the year?
I decided to go check out this ring for myself. See if you can buy it in my size. See if I like it from another angle.
I link through. It isn't there. I search around for a while. It isn't there. I call Hubs for another reason. Mention it. He looks. It's on the front page of their web site. HE can't find it, cyber genius that he is.
Half an hour later, I find it: no longer available.
I'm sure they had one. Maybe even ten for sale. And I know that all the stores do it. Offer something up that people can't resist in the hopes that they'll stay and find something else once the three they have in stock are gone.
But on top of the phantom red dress?
I'm getting a little peeved.
Frodo pipes up from the back, "Huh uh, no it's not. The most wonderful time of the year is summer!"
Hear, hear, little boy. Hear hear.