Monday, August 31, 2009

My Guilty Little Pleasure

I confess that I am enjoying guilty pleasure with the new torture devices that now reside in my basement.

(shaddup you dirty little minds)

Hubs and I are now the proud (or rather blushing with shame) owners of a Bowflex and a Bowflex treadclimber.

For as long as I have known my husband, he has wanted a Bowflex. And late at night when I happen across the infomercials, I have wanted a treadclimber. And Saturday, I happened across a garage sale where the guy offered me a deal I couldn't refuse on the pair of them.

Guilt because you KNOW you don't use exercise equipment, or most people don't after the third week of January. Pleasure because for the next three weeks I can delude myself into believing that this WILL make a difference in my fitness level this winter. And every time I descend the stairs (and I've done that muchly today as I did laundry loads innumberable) I see them and grin.

I feel so smart. It's the gatherer in me. Look what I found for you, dear!

As I type, my hunny is going through his workout and if HE feels better, it was worth it. And I promised myself that I wouldn't go through another winter without a treadmill so now I have no excuses.

So there you have my guilty little secret. Here's to wishful thinking.

I pray I'm not going to feel like an idiot in February when clothes are hanging off of it and I can't pay someone to take the eyesores away.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

So much to say

and yet, when I have so much to say, I can't think of anything to say, because I can't boil it down to a little blog blat.

I'm frantically sweeping up dust that just resettles as soon as I've cleaned it off a surface.

I'm washing sheets and blankets and pillows.

All of my machines are running (this is a good thing considering I wasn't sure I'd be able to get them going tonight due to exhaustion).

The work will never end.

Charming hasn't been.

The Tiny Tyrant strikes again.

Which, I suppose means he's been acting healthy.

This is a good thing.

I'm checking things off my to-do list.

I'm adding them faster than I'm checking them off.

But I PROMISE I will try to be interesting here again really soon.

I may even post photos.

Sweet Waters by Julie Carobini

My blog pal, Julie Carobini, can always be counted on for a good "beach read" so you can imagine my puzzlement when her latest book started in....Missouri? (And what's with that, anyway, Jules? At least spring for Kansas if you're gonna go for land-locked hick-chick, huh? Wait, never mind.)

Thankfully, by chapter four we were winging our way to the ocean. Otter Bay, CA, in fact. Not that I have a CLUE where that is in the whole scheme of CA (guessing north of LA and south of Oregon), but now I want to visit. So for all you land locked souls, and those just hankering for some beach, here's a great little read for ya.

(back cover copy)
What happens when the fairy tale turns out to be a soap opera?

Tara Sweet is nothing if not sensible. Usually. But her engagement is off, and her mother--yes, mother--is newly married and gallivanting around Europe. It's time for a change. So she convinces her sisters to honor their father's final wish and rediscover the fairy-tale life they knew in Otter Bay, California. But Tara discovers fairy tales are fragile--and truth is often one ugly layer after another of secrets, accusation, rumor, and a past an entire church wants to forget.

Firefighter Josh Adams knows all about battling personal demons. He's been doing so ever since a woman nearly died in his arms. Actually, long before...

As the turbulence in their lives grows, Tara and Josh find themselves at odds with their families, their faith, the townspeople of Otter Bay--and each other. Only in facing the lies from the past can they find the truth.

And only in finding the truth can they be set free.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The following is from a press release, but if you know me personally, you know my passion for the orphan. I hope you find the following worthy of your read time. -Chaos

The new movie Orphan takes a look at a family adopting a little girl from Russia who is not what she seems. While the movie attempts to entertain the masses with horror, around the world, orphans are facing horrendous conditions unlike anything Hollywood could produce. Tom Davis, CEO and President of Children’s HopeChest, is passionately working to alert the public about the real plight of orphans around the world.

Two weeks ago, Orphan, or as the Washington Post referred to it, a "depraved, worthless piece of filth...a high-gloss horror show about a well-meaning couple who bring home a 9-year-old girl to join their family, only to discover, way too late, that she's a homicidal psychopath" was released in theaters. The widespread criticism of Orphan is showing up in both the mainstream media (New York Times, New York Times 2) and also in Christian news sources as well. (See Orphans Deserve Better)

TDavis photo for email.JPGChildren’s HopeChest CEO Tom Davis says, “The true horror, as pointed out by the Orphans Deserve Better site, is not the Hollywood over-hyped stereotype of an adoption gone homicidally off the rails. There's ample evidence on both sides of the older orphan adoption discussion, and I think all would agree that this movie doesn't help the 150 million children without families. That's the real horror. If you want a good horror story about orphans, I've got plenty that will turn your stomach and wrench your heart. Imagine, for a moment, the impact that the film's producers could have had by investing the film's budget in cleaning up some of the real horrors facing orphaned kids today.”

Children’s HopeChest was founded in 1994 by helping orphans in Russia. After the fall of communism, nothing was being done to help the millions of children who were institutionalized by the state. Most of the children were kicked out at fifteen or sixteen and they didn’t have the ability to survive. In fact, 70% of the girls ended up in prostitution. The idea of Hopechest is to help these kinds of kids have the chance at the kind of life a family kid would have. “We help to meet the same needs for orphans that you and I would meet for our own children - food and clothing, but also loving relationships, medical care, and perhaps most important, an education. We also specialize in helping kids make the transition out of orphanages and into young adulthood,” states Davis.

The United Nations estimates the world orphan population to be over 143 million children. Poverty, war, disease, and AIDS are the primary enemies of children across the globe, leaving those who are robbed of their parents at-risk for criminal behavior, prostitution, drug abuse, alcoholism, and suicide. Davis offers readers a sweeping narrative that explores these most critical social concerns in his debut novel. Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World (June 2009/David C Cook) delves into the lives of a photojournalist struggling to redeem his past and an African orphan fighting for survival. Davis’ book is based real situations he has witnessed while working with orphans in Africa.

Scared bk cover for email.JPGIn Scared, Davis, also the author of Red Letters and Fields of the Fatherless, weaves a beautiful story of redemption that takes place in a world far away from our own. Readers will discover, along with Stuart, that, “Sorrow is a part of life, but our tears can leave us with clearer sight, if we look to God.” True “fiction with a conscience,” Davis’ novel is the first in a planned series of three. Narrated in the first person by both Stuart and Adanna, Scared offers a unique perspective on the tragedies taking place in Africa today and encourages readers to step out and help the “least of these.”

In coordination with the release of his book, Davis and Children’s HopeChest have developed the Scared $1 Million Education Fund and Writing Contest. The contest was launched June and is open to high-school aged orphans who are presently connected with HopeChest carepoints in Swaziland. Entries will be received in three categories: short story, poetry, and personal essay/memoir. The grand prize for each category is a university scholarship, and runner-up submissions will receive other prizes appropriate to their culture and need.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

House Renovation

eeeeGAD, we're over budget on the house reno.

Note to self: Self, don't fool yourself into believing that you've bought the expensive part when you've brought home the tile. Oh, no. Your expense is in all the little crap under the tile and between the tile and the hands laying the tile and those little plastic gizzies that space the tile and the rotten floorboards that should have been under the tile, but are now replaced with shiny new boards and oh, mercy, we haven't even seen the labor bill yet.

I keep telling myself that cleaning smutz out of every nook and crannie and off every flat surface will be worth it, but I'm starting to second guess myself.

The best laid plans and all that.

And all you relative that are reading this and reporting back to the men? Don't. A woman needs to have a meltdown every now and then without getting caught.

Speaking of relatives, you know you are comfortable with a person when you do your whole pretty prep for church with him laying tile 18 inches away. I guess that comes with sharing a bathroom for a MONTH. I have to triple check that no one is in the room with me when I'm changing anymore because there is always someone coming in or out and I've plumb tuned it out.

And, dang it, I just brewed a pot of coffee that I meant to push the button on in the AM.

I'm tired.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What is This?

If I could find the cords to hook my camera to my computer, we'd play the What Is It? Game.

I don't.

Suffice it to say, you don't want to know what is in the trap beneath your bathroom sink. There may be hair, there may be sand, there may be rocks and seashells, there is probably muck and mold. But did you know there could also be a sucker stick? Did you know the pipe could be so full you don't know how water can get through? Did you know it could be so full as to make the pipe rigid enough to snap in two?

Betcha didn't know that.

Or maybe you did....Dad.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So Typical

First off, let me say that officially, Charming isn't malnourished. Oh, no, he had a virus in his brain. (applause)

Because that sounds, oh, so much better...

He is, however, getting better and mommy isn't spending her time freaking out.

But anyway, last night he came clunking into our room saying (sniffle, sniffle, snort) "Mommy?" And I, being unselfish and giving (ha!) pulled him into my bed hoping that he'd snuggle in and go back to sleep (which he did).

I woke this morning hanging off my side of the bed, sat up and looked to Hubs who was hanging off HIS side of the bed, and there was Charming, completely sprawled out perpendicular between the two of us.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The 40 Minute Bible Study

I have trouble with regularly scheduled Bible studies. I find myself cramming in all the homework 20 minutes before the study and not giving it the time it deserves. I thought this was an interesting solution. Your Bible study group can go through it (for the first time) together. From what I can tell, you don't even need to bring your Bible (though I recommend in general reading scripture from the source, due to that nasty habit people have of paraphrasing something to suit their purposes, and though I trust Kay Arthur to use real scripture, one should always be careful). I did my study in the Burger King playplace. It's pretty handy and manageable. FYI, I did Living Victoriously in Difficult Times. If you are in a study in which people have a tendency to come unprepared, this might be just the thing.

The 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can use personally or for small-group discussion. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. There are 16 titles in the series, with topics ranging from fasting and forgiveness to prayer and worship. With no homework required, everyone in the group can work through the lesson together at the same time. Let these respected Bible teachers lead you in a study that will transform your thinking—and your life.

Titles Include:

•The Essentials of Effective Prayer •Being a Disciple: Counting the Cost

•Building a Marriage That Really Works •Discovering What the Future Holds

•Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past •Having a Real Relationship with God

•How Do You Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk? •Living a Life of Real Worship

•How to Make Choices You Won’t Regret •Living Victoriously in Difficult Times

•Money & Possessions: The Quest for Contentment •Rising to the Call of Leadership

•How Do You Know God’s Your Father? •Key Principles of Biblical Fasting

•A Man’s Strategy for Conquering Temptation •What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

Kay Arthur, executive vice president and cofounder of Precept Ministries International has worked with her teaching staff to create the powerful 40-Minute Bible Studies series. Kay is known around the world as a Bible teacher, author, conference speaker, and host of national radio and television programs.

The Friends We Keep

During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

• Why do we long so for women friends?
• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
• How do I foster friendship?
• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.

Sarah Zacharias Davis is a senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University, having joined the university after working as vice president of marketing and development for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and in strategic marketing for CNN. The daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, Davis is the author of the critically-acclaimed Confessions from an Honest Wife and Transparent: Getting Honest About Who We are and Who We Want to Be. She graduated from Covenant College with a degree in education and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


My little son is struggling this week. He looks like I feel right after I've been in labor for 25 hours and given birth. His hands tremble. He stumbles when he walks. He crawls up stairs that he used to smoothly climb. But he hasn't given birth. He hasn't even had a fever. He did have chicken pox. And immunizations. And it could be totally unrelated. Or not. I don't know. And I don't know if I'm overreacting and will feel foolish in a few days, but I'm scared.

But while tooling around on the internet while waiting for the neurologist to call me back to set the appointment, I found a page that described pretty well what I'm seeing in my baby boy. And one of the common causes? Prolonged breast feeding.

Who knew that could hurt your child?

I'm pretty sure I'd rather face malnutrition in my skinny, breast-fed-for-more-than-two-years, baby boy than any of the other scenarios that my mind has conjured up, but......THE GUILT.

So tonight, if you will, say a prayer for my Charming. Hopefully a B12 shot will do the trick. Straight up healing will do also.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

TV News

In an interesting turn of events this morning, we had a power outage.

It takes quite a storm to out our power, considering the lines are buried.

When the power came on, our TV that has been on it's last legs for the entire summer (see previous post that I am too lazy to link to regarding Charming Windexing the TV to death and the resulting disagreement about what type of TV to replace it with--the free one in the basement that Hubs refuses to carry up or a brand spankin' new one from the local mega mart and not a small one, either, oh, no.) decided to work.

So, the interesting turn of events was not the power outage, it was that a power surge fixed the broken TV.

Never in a million years.

So, anyway, I'm off to the beach while my husband stays home and works his butt off. I'll catch you on the flip side.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Hope of Refuge

I have to admit, over and over, I'm a sucker for Amish fiction (though I have found an author I avoid like the plague (and I won't name names in a public forum (though I'm happy to tell you if you ask me straight up))). But, as I've said before, somewhere on this blog I'm certain, ain't nobody writes Amish fiction like Cindy Woodsmall. (Currently reading Shiloh and I find myself using really poor grammar for hours after I read to the kids. IT'S FABULOUS!)

Just when you think you have Amish fiction pegged, pick up some Cindy. She'll throw you for a loop....right after she sucks you in. Her latest book, The Hope of Refuge, is no formulaic Amish novel. (Nor are any of the others I've read.) Good readin'.

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?


New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall is on tour, and she may be coming to a city near you! Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Cindy and have her sign her newest title The Hope of Refuge at one of the following events.

Tuesday, August 11 7 – 8:30pm

Barnes & Noble

5141 Peachtree Parkway, The Forum
Norcross, Georgia 30092
(770) 209-4244

Wednesday, August 12 7 – 8pm

Barnes & Noble Opry Mills

515 Opry Mills Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37214

(615) 514-5000

Thursday, August 13 6 – 8pm

Barnes & Noble

2540 Futura Pkwy. #135
Plainfield, Indiana 46168
(317) 838-7941

Friday, August 14 6 – 8pm

Barnes & Noble

1550 West 75th
Downers Grove, Illinois 60516
(630) 663-0181

Saturday, August 15 1 – 3pm

Baker Books

2768 East Paris Ave SE
Grand Rapids
, Michigan 49546-6139

(616) 957-3110

Sunday, August 16 2 – 4pm

Barnes & Noble Booksellers

3700 Rivertown Parkway Ste. 2058
Grandville, Michigan 49418

(616) 531-1825

Monday, August 17 7 – 8:00pm

Barnes & Noble Booksellers

1739 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43212

(614) 298-9516

Tuesday, August 18 7– 8:30pm

Joseph Beth Booksellers

2705 E. Carson Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203

(412) 381-3600

Wednesday, August 19 6 – 8pm

Hackman’s Bible Book Store

1341 Mickley Road
Whitehall, Pennsylvania 18052-4610

(610) 264-8600

Thursday, August 20 1 – 3pm

Rachel’s Country Store (Amish dry goods store)

6352 McClays Mill Road
Newburg, Pennsylvania 17240
(717) 530-9452

Can’t make the tour? You can still follow Cindy’s adventures on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. See you there!

Apples and Trees

Princess just asked me, "Mom, could I have some Bubblicious Assorted?" Not gum, mind you, Bubblicious Assorted.

I still remember telling my mother that my favorite pop was "Nesbits." Not orange, which is what I meant. No, Nesbits, which I thought was the brand name (my mother corrected me. the word was in cursive. I still don't remember what it is. I always called it Nesbits).

I still remember telling my friend I would wear my "Connies" tomorrow. (Translation, white flats, Connie brand). She was wearing her huaraches.

It isn't like I was driving my Maserati and letting people know. I was drinking pop, wearing cheap shoes.

On the other hand, a coke isn't a coke unless it is a Pepsi.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I Had a Funny Post

But I took pity on my husband who was apparently bothered by his mother and my father reading it.

Trust me, he's witty.
Oh, Eldest can so much relate to this.