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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Guinea Pigs – They’re Like Hamsters on Steroids

gp2         gp1

The story I’m about to tell you is true. Because there’s NO WAY I could make this up… If I were lying, the pigs would “squeal.”

I spent some quality time with the pigs this morning. No, not my children – our two female guinea pigs. They were stinking up the joint, you know? And, truthfully, it was my fault … I forgot to clean the cage at the seven-day mark. Heaven Forbid!

I know when they need their shavings changed and when they are out of water or food – because they are LOUD!

{REALLY LOUD like a HOUSE-ALARM-LOUD!}

They know when the kids come in the door in the afternoon, and they squeal for their food. Over the years our dogs or puppies quickly learned the sound of the afternoon school bus and started wagging their tales and waiting by the door .. but I never expected the pigs to be so, um, boisterous? The minute the back door opens our “HOUSE ALARMS” go off… the squealing commences.

Flashback to Fall 2011 – we picked out 2 male guinea pigs and a big cage and all the trimmings for these interesting creatures. A friend of ours had a pair and we all enjoyed holding them and seeing how cute and calm they were. I had hamsters as a child and they tended to bite or die quickly. Later, we had mice and they were fun. And reproductive – oops! But, I had never held a guinea pig and I tried it and I loved it. They are similar to a small cat … sort of …

Their babies are even cuter. Yes, their BABIES! Scooter was a male and Logan turned out to be a female. I would just like to interject this was not entirely Pet Smart’s fault. They have a strong “male-only” policy. Meaning, they support responsible breeding habits. They also have a return policy … for reason’s such as this. Scooter was returned.

We noticed Logan’s belly dragging and sure enough, she eventually had babies. May I mention here that these babies can be held as soon as you dare? They were soooo cute. Pet Smart also fosters and adopts such little accidents should they occur. So, we now have Momma Logan and her female offspring Claira. The three boys – Lassie, Elvis and Scooter Jr. went to new homes.

This story really was supposed to be about shoveling the stinky manure of life. But as my mind traveled down this story line, I realized…even the stink in our life can be funny.

Our everyday, routine lives are made up of diaper duty, pet clean-up, outside yard work, inside housework and all sorts of rotten chores that either smell funny or require crawling into someplace dark… like under-the-house dark. But, they have to be done.

And if we are truthful here… the real messiness of life, like our sins, can get cleaned up too. Ultimately God is responsible for the BIG washing, but we have a part too – in the routine maintenance.  Daily maintenance of reading the Word, Prayer, and acting in obedience are good for that… and the more frequently we act on those chores, the easier it is to avoid major clean-ups.

The pigs are good “reminders” to me to clean their cage… Now, if I could get the shower walls to remind me to scrub them too, we’d be all caught up!

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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Sunday Morning – Showing up

sonrise

I wake up each day

Expecting a miracle

I drag through each day

Just to get to the end

So I can go to sleep

And dream again

And wake again

And expect again

Many people show up on Sunday for choir, Sunday School, or just the church service with one purpose – to just make it through or to just do what’s expected.

With a smiling face – real or otherwise

With a desire to learn the songs, the scripture, or the lesson.

Regardless of why, they DO come … together, alone, happy, desperate, worried, or tethered by invisible chains that hold them back and hold them down.

They need their music, they need their worship, they need their Jesus, they need their miracle. 

I am never alone in this struggle for a miracle …  In the waiting and the expecting …

Many will kneel at the altar or in their pews, or secretly in their hearts – and they will pray for their miracle.

They’ll pray for God to hear them, to help them, or to heal them.

We will all desire the Redemption, the Restoration, and the Rejuvenation that only a Mighty God can bring.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.

Then you will call upon me

and come and pray to me,

and I will listen to you.

You will seek me and find me

when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

His plans, for his miracles, may be an unfathomable mystery for all of us …

But if we call upon Him,

And pray to Him,

He will listen…

Seek Him everyday – not just on Sunday – with all of your heart … and you will find Him …

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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Writer, Revised

writing with a pen

{I love to write}

 I discovered this WAY beyond my school years. I attempted journaling and some free-floating penning exercises about 11 years ago. I have even received a book on journal writing and a pen and a look from my sweet Christian sister that said – “Write.” She knew me inside-out after 3 years of living overseas as military spouses.  She knew it was something I needed to do, even if it was only for me to be able to “hear” myself amongst the noise and chaos of my life.

I dove headlong into books during our time in Germany. I read so much, that I started going through the Fiction section alphabetically and reading everything they had by each author. Truly, this voracious reading was something new to me.  I started to find a few authors that would eventually reflect so many similarities in my own life that I felt like they wrote like I spoke.  Maybe their characters thought or acted just like me.  Maybe the setting was familiar.  “I know these places, I’ve lived here, These are my people.”  It never occurred to me to write.  For myself, or for others.

This week, I felt disappointment and defeat in writing. On paper, on a computer or on a blog.  I felt I had no purpose or something like that …  I was inching towards this pit somewhere in January, but I stepped fully into the earthen darkness of it this week.  I could smell the dirt and I didn’t like it.

Last Fall, I was encouraged to write and to use a blog and join in with the Five Minute Friday community. I started doing that very thing, right here, last September. I felt freedom. It felt like someone untied the tethers of a hot air balloon and I was ascending quickly to join in on a journey that so many have chosen before me.  It was kind of a rush, actually.

The first time I hit “Publish” I realized that I had longed for the words in my mind to tumble off my tongue and make their way onto paper. I long to finish, click publish, and let go of something that is meant for someone else. A gift.

Writing has become a satisfaction that I can only compare to quilting.  It can be like a finishing a quilt – I love it – I want to speed up time to the point where I get to toss it over a bed, hang it on a wall, or give it to a friend.

Words, stories and writing are different from quilting though – they need a little more patience. A little more nit-picking – but I’m still just as anxious to share them.

I write because {I} love to write.

I want life to be all straight and aligned and logical, but it’s not.

I’d like this love of writing to be a banner of confidence in myself, but it’s not.

I’m not all straight and logical anymore.  My life is messy, funny, painful, hap-hazard, and ALL OVER THE PLACE.  I’m just figuring that out and trying to embrace that – or claw my fingernails in and hold on for the ride.

I occasionally make sense of life – but most days I’m clueless and left amazed by the sheer chaos that I have been oblivious to for so long.

I WANT to live without SpellCheck.

I WANT to spill my guts out on the page.

I WANT someone to “get it” and feel less alone because I’ve spit out a life issue and shared my heart …

I WANT someone to hear …   {You Are Not Alone}

I’m a Writer, revised – Changed, amended, shifting, adjusting and perhaps edited and/or strengthened.

For {God’s} glory and because {I} love to write.

**Many thanks to my encourager who sent me in the direction of this site and if you have any desire to write, or need some purpose or redirection in your writing, I suggest you read the E-book “The Writer’s Manifesto”  http://goinswriter.com/writers-manifesto/

*Call it a ladder for climbing out of the pit …

*Call it a hand reaching in to pull you out …

*Or maybe, it’s the newly painted trail marker that makes it clear how to get on a better path – For being a writer, or whatever else God is directing you to be… 

trail marker

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Life, in general, Writing

 

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Five Minute Friday – What Mom Did

moms geranium

What Mom Did

She struggled.  She made do.  She died way before any of us were prepared for her to go.  She spent most of her adult life existing between the pain in her body and the frustration of a so-so marriage.  She seemed weak, frail, and resigned to this life as it was given to her.

But, when I needed her, she was strong.

I was 17 when I started getting sick – the beginning of my Senior year in high school.  I was in pain, and losing my ability to walk well, losing the sense of hunger, having double vision and I spent almost the whole night crying because I couldn’t sleep.

At 17, my Mom slept in my bed with me because she didn’t know how else to comfort her child … It was just what I needed.

She mysteriously kept her own worry and her back-wrenching pain at bay while I was subjected to many tests.  Some were administered in a clinic, others in an overnight stay at a hospital.  Four months later they knew it was not Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, or Polio. It was an uncommon viral illness called Guillain-Barré Syndrome – and it would just Go Away …

She sighed heavily the day the doctor called and cried tears of joy as she hugged me. She sighed relief for us all.

She had watched me shrink, watched my clothes droop, watched my muscles disappear in clumps, and managed to keep her cool.

Today, as I remember this one small moment in our life together, my heart swells at the thought of her unselfish love.

The lesson is not lost on this body filled with pain.  She was a rock.  May I be the same for those that I hold dearly.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Five Minute Friday Flash Mob

 

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The Cupboard, The Freezer, and The Taxes

Help

My cupboard and I had a slight disagreement this morning. Apparently it didn’t want to be the freezer. See, I wanted to grab food to microwave for lunch, but the dish cupboard refused to yield anything food-like … cold or otherwise. I believe it may have been smirking at me behind my back too as I made an about-face and headed to the white “thingy” that contains cold and frozen stuff. Food namely – and thankfully no ice build-up like the old days.

I go to this white box many times a day to drink refreshing, cold, filtered water from its dispenser. I also occasionally visit it for frozen foods to toss out on the counter to defrost for dinner – usually. The other side is helpful for keeping my yogurt cold and all the eggs and cheese and juices. Somehow, I know where and when to put these items when I come home from the grocery store, but retrieving something from here has become an issue.

I do, on occasion, attempt to grab the handle of the frig when looking for a pencil…or my glasses. I don’t actually have to open it though to know I’m in the wrong place. Apparently I had it scarred into my head at a very young age – “Don’t stand there with the refrigerator door open all day” – so I don’t open it.

I appear confused more than usual today as I’m trying to track down paperwork from the entire YEAR to get ready for doing the tax forms. I feel like a complete failure today as a perfectionist.

There, I said it. I’m a failure.

My paperwork has been gathering in piles and wouldn’t you know… I need it now. Because if I wait any longer, I’m going to lose whatever is left of my sanity.  I’m also, at this moment, running some laundry, dictating housecleaning instructions and I’m nutrionally deprived and over-stimulated with caffeine!

I’m 46 years old and I need help. There, I said it, I’m 46.

On a positive note …
I did eat lunch
I have an “organized” mess – meaning it’s all in one room
I acquired something resembling a laugh out of the situation
I hired an adult child to write a sticky for me with blogs notes on it
Oh, and I told her thank you and that her handwriting is improving

I have been reading a book about brains and memory that is quite interesting.  I highly reccommend it because it’s written in layman’s terms by some really fun and nerdy people – complete with a Ph.D. at the end of their names.  It’s called “Welcome To Your Brain.”  Subtitled appropriately “Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.”  Now, I haven’t read ALL of it, but it’s written in an excellent format that you can just pick it up and continue whenever it’s convenient.  It’s good enough too, that you can re-read the parts over again if you forgot what the blazes you read last!

Well, I’m done playing on the blog for the day… I believe I’m going to rediscover my pile of papers and take the family out for a movie.  Thankfully, I know where my car keys are AND I remember how to drive … Whew!

{Really cool book – Non Fiction}

welcome to your brain

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Life, in general, Random Silliness

 

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Five Minute Friday – Beloved

beloved

Welcome!  Today is Five Minute Friday.  A fun little community of bloggers that “wing it” for Five Minutes with a one-word prompt.  Then, we link up at:

http://lisajobaker.com/

We’re kind of a “writing flashmob.”  Unscripted, unedited (usually) and just real… Read, enjoy, join us!

Beloved:  {dearly loved or dear to the heart…precious, loved, favored, cherished, special}

How beloved are you?  How beloved do you consider your children, your husband, your family members?

How precious is that person that just cut you off in traffic?  Yes, see, sometimes we’re thinking some people are more precious or beloved than others!  Sometimes it’s really easy to forget that you and all the other humans on this planet are loved by God {equally}.

He considers each person special, in equal amounts… and THAT is something that I, as a human, cannot fathom.  I’m too quick to judge, not loving as He first loved us.  I probably even love one of my kids more than the other. {GASP}  But, at least I change favorites each day.

We can have beloved, favorite skinny jeans, boots, socks, purses, or cars… But, we’re talking about humans – flawed and marred, scarred and hurting – and we don’t get to be choosy with whom we are to love.

God loved us.

He sent His son to die for us.

We are to love ourselves and our neighbor and our enemies.

That… That is enough to keep us on our toes and busy, busy, busy for a lifetime!

I need to unbury my grudges …

Purge my self-loathing …

Quit thinking poorly of others …

Give it up to my Almighty God …

And {LEAVE} it with Him.

He’s got some big shoulders,

Some seriously outstretched arms,

Bountiful Grace,

and Forgiveness for me and all who want it.

{Treat yourself as beloved by God}

I am just a sinner,

Saved by Grace,

Loved enough to be set Free,

Given Courage

and Strength

and Perserverance

To wake up tomorrow and try to Love all over again.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Five Minute Friday Flash Mob

 

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I have loved you…

heart shaped hands

The summer we began dating for the second time – I didn’t see any one else but you in my future. I was accused of being young and naive. Somewhere out there in the world, I was told, there were so many opportunities waiting for me. I’m not sure I saw what these “wise” people could see in my future.

I saw a blank sheet.  I saw only you.

I have loved you since I was a teenager when they whispered “She’s too young.”

I loved you when we were happy, and somewhat oblivious

I loved you when we embraced parenthood…three times and they were all girls

I loved you when you were gone overseas…no matter how many times you had to go

And I loved you when we made horrible mistakes, faced pain, anger, and uncertainty

And today, I love you more

Today, I can’t imagine a tomorrow without you.

For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health

Happy Valentine’s Day

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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Icy Morning

icy morning sky

I wake to a bone-chilling cold in the house and out the window is a sky that is so grey that it just seems dull. I open the front door to let in the early morning light and for the cats to look out and ponder their hunting ability as the birds begin to arrive in the grass.

Slowly I wake as I sip the coffee that soothes my throat and clears my head. I’m still in the unbreakable cycle of being caffeine-deprived and lacking in prayer.  Out of my peripheral vision I catch a glimpse of some unusual colors emerging within the spindly, bare trees across the field.  The field grass and leftover soybean stalks stretch out across the road from my yard and lead up to the small rise of a hill and that is where I see the horizon of the Southern sky.

I  see the brownish grass and above that the horizontal slivers of blue, tan and pink.  The icy morning air and the beginnings of sunlight make a splendid magenta against the dark tree silhouettes.  It’s nothing short of spectacular and the vividness of it completely escapes my Nikon.  You just can’t capture it, you have to see it for yourself.  I’m reminded that if I don’t praise the LORD, the stones will cry out. (Luke 19:40)  Creation is praising God in full color.  This includes the cows in the field as they mill around munching grass – as cows do best – and those birds digging for worms near my porch.

Most mornings in my house are filled with noise…and it begins before six a.m. with an alarm clock. I promptly hit the snooze button and receive an automatic 9 minutes extra – of what I don’t know. But this alarm is not a praise to the Creator of the universe. My wide-open eyes – or slightly puffy and partially closed ones – are the beginnings of my praise. My mind and attitude are usually present for this version of morning praise as well. Hopefully they’re all working together, but at age 46, I don’t remember which comes first. Sometimes my mind is running wild before the alarm OR the opening of the eyes.

But if anything, I have observed this – I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) – but I’m at my best when I’m asleep!

So, my physical being may be a praise offering to the Creator, but the thoughts, attitudes, and even the coffee deprivation are not. I know this because I’m feeling frustrated with my lack of peace in my mornings since schedules started to change and I can no longer have a Bible open in front of me to go along with my coffee. It’s just too noisy – there are just too many people walking around, eating and making lunches at this hour.  Before I know it, I’ve had my breakfast and hit the shower.  Then I dig into the chores of the day.

So, what’s a body to do?

This is where sticky notes or index cards usually come in handy. I’m participating in a year-long scripture memorization team effort.  (http://blog.lproof.org/)  That’s one card that could be propped up on my nightstand table. How about something motivational too? Like one of my favorite go-to verses – 

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things

Whatever is “praiseworthy” sticks in my mind.

How about a little happy dance that I woke to a new day with new opportunities?

How about a little praise for being trusted to raise those kids that are going about their day … with all their noise?

How about a little praise for that gorgeous ground out there that will soon turn green and yield some beautiful colors?

How about a little praise for that roof over my head, the food in my cupboards, and an opportunity to serve a mighty God?

Then, I’ll praise him for that coffee, cause I love that he made that too!

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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There are days…

There are days when it’s just too hard…

to walk to the cross,

to hit my knees,

to watch my tongue,

to hold back the tears,

to not cry out in pain.

 

There are some days it’s just too hard…

to lay it down and not pick it back up,

to carry all the burdens you think you can bear,

until you feel crushed under the enormity of it all.

 

Then, there is this day…

when you simply sit in your pew,

teetering on the edge of the seat

avoiding the altar,

and she comes from behind, sits with you and takes your hand.

 

A fervent prayer is uttered insistently from her mouth.

Barely audible but with distinct words to our Father.

She pleads on my behalf and then she slips out and away…

without a hug or a need to be acknowledged.

 

This day …

in a large room…

she somehow knows how heavy my shoulders have become

and responds to His nudge and she is obedient to pray…

For me, with me, and in His love she helps me to bear my silence.

 

God will bless her for her obedience.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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Strangers or Friends?

friends

It’s February and love is in the air, and on the store shelves too!  As usual, we see candy and flowers at this time of the year and retailers try their best to sell us something to help us prepare for Valentine’s Day.  Since my children are older, there is no longer a need for boxes of paper valentines for their classmates, but usually they like to receive something a little chocolatey.  Last year I even sprang for a little stuffed bear in a mug WITH chocolate.

Regardless of a somewhat “retail” holiday on the 14th, many times love is attributed to the entire month of February.  Which is where my “drafts” pile comes in … I have been writing about all sorts of relationships in my life and I thought February would be a good time to flush a few of them out and share them.  Good stories, special friends, excellent memories…

In our everyday life, among the other fellow humans of the world, in what way do we fall together? As Strangers or Friends? And what is the difference?

~A stranger is defined as someone with whom you are unacquainted~

~A friend, on the other hand, is someone attached to you by affection or esteem~

As I think through my list of friends I can clearly recall, for the most part, the “how and where” we met. Others have landed on my list without any recollection whatsoever as to how we found each other.  I am utterly fascinated how you can be so close to a person for years and never remember how you were first introduced!

I know, that over the spanse of time, we are found to be closer in our friendship through the sharing of our life stories.  The good, the bad, and – you know – the ugly.  Many times there are major simularities about parts of our lives that seem to draw us to each other.  Where we’re from, who we know, etc.  And there’s nothing like a little common ground to get your feet wet with the building of a long-lasting relationship.

When I was growing up in my small town, these life stories and sometimes the everyday problems, were discussed over morning coffee and Entenmann’s coffee cake at a kitchen table with your favorite neighbor.  I know, we live in different times.  Instant messages, email, social media, and texts with friends across the miles are all that we have sometimes.

{It seems the longer we live together on this earth, the farther apart we get}

It can be close to impossible to find someone to talk to when needed.  And that is only if we dare and are brave enough to reach out at all!  Sadly, as time passes, sometimes friends slip into the stranger category as they grow apart or move away.  Not everyone is meant to be by your side forever.

I’ve spent a great deal of effort trying to keep in touch with my friends. My collection is quite extensive. Some are from childhood, others from high school, then many came from our years spent in the military. Most of these friends are still living right where I found them and others are scattered to the four winds. They represent, to me, diversity.

Somehow they have all crossed my path. A God-ordained gravity rooted us together for a season in our lives … and definitely for a reason.  Sometimes I long for the past – the long stretches of time where we were closely interwoven in each other’s lives.  It’s not just that I miss them, but I also miss that time in my life.  The struggles and joys we shared as giggling girlfriends, spouses, parents, or Americans living on foreign soil – for any one of these settings we were woven together so tightly that you couldn’t tell where one family started and another family ended.  Just a continuous string of people sharing a time and a space in life that was meant just for us.

Togetherness.  Close-knit.  Harmonious.  Friends.  Family.

Friends are an important part of life.  As our bonds as friends strengthen, we also strengthen as an individuals.  We were never meant to live life all on our own.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their work;

if one falls down

his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls

and has no one to help him up!

May you be blessed with many friends and may you continue to collect new ones that encourage you to grow as an individual.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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