Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Daniel Fast.

I'm getting ready to start The Daniel Fast tomorrow. We are doing it for New Beginnings, "corporately", as a ministry.
What exactly IS the Daniel Fast, you ask? This is a good description. As a matter of fact, I've been reading his's pretty good. Very informative. I think it will be good reference over the next couple of weeks.
I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous. I haven't fasted before. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that I really don't deprive myself of...well, of anything! If I want something, I eat it. Or drink it. Period. So, when I look at it that way, depriving myself sounds like a good idea. I am pretty spoiled...

On the Daniel Fast I can only eat vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruit and water. That's it. No meat. (We're having Asian pork chops tonight!) No dairy. (I had cottage cheese with lunch and milk with every meal. For some reason I think the dairy is going to be the hardest for me. I love dairy.) No soda. (I'm sipping a diet Coke right now.) No coffee. (THIS is going to be HARD.)
So...over the next 10-21 days I will be fasting and praying. My prayer is that God will show me what He wants me to share in Belgium. I also have a few creative ideas I believe He wants to use for Belgium, so I hope to get more clarity on that. But, of course, God's plans aren't always our plans. So I am open to whatever He wants to tell me...this is about Him. Not me.


I'm going to install this fence and hang this sign at the entrance of my kitchen.
That way I won't have to look at drips on the floor...crumbs on the counter...dishes in the my freshly cleaned kitchen!
Ah well...on the bright side? I'll be grateful that I have kids and a husband to feed...there's always a bright side. Right?
Today is Round Two. Blinds. And bedding. And some rest in between. It is Sunday, after all.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I survived.

The kitchen is C.L.E.A.N. And it feels sooooo good!
It took almost all day...that's how bad it was...!
The boys helped me too in other areas of the house. Seth did the walls, baseboards and trim in the hallway. Ian did doors, baseboards and trim in the living and dining area. Plus they did their rooms! They were so helpful. As a thank you I took them to Sonic for cherry limeade slushes...YUM! We got there during Happy Hour so they were half off...woohoo!
Chris had to work today...he had a deadline for a big job. So he got out of cleaning...but not out of work!
All in all...a very productive day. Thank goodness...'ve got some cleaning to do!

It's Saturday. And my kitchen is a MESS. It's not just a's plain ol' dirty. And I can't take it any MORE!
I am going to take everything off of the counters...fill the sink with hot soapy water...soak and scrub and shine...buff, scour and rinse. Today is the day...finally. I've been wanting to do it for a week but have just been so busy. it is.
OK...I'm goin' in! If you don't hear from me later today...send help.
What are YOU doing today? I hope it's a LOT more fun than scrubbing a kitchen!

Friday, January 29, 2010


Philippians 1:3-4

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy

I noticed the other day that there are quite a few more people who have clicked on the Follow button for Give a Girl a Fig...and I just wanted to say, "Hello...and welcome!". Thank you for taking the time to stop and visit awhile.

I also want to thank those of you who visit regularly...and who take the time to comment. I love comments! It's like one big conversation...and you all know how chatty I am!'s perfect for me! My only regret is that I can't respond to each and every comment. Blogger isn't set up in such a way that I can reply like I'd like to. I'm not sure's the one bummer with Blogger. (Or maybe I just haven't figured it out yet? Anyone know how I CAN respond to all comments? I'm all ears...)
Thank you...and please know that I appreciate you. I really do. For whatever reason, the knowledge that you come around now and then makes me feel good. Like an impromptu visit from a's always nice to share a moment or two. Too bad we couldn't enjoy a cup of tea together...with milk and honey, of course!
Anyway...I just want you to know that I see you. And I read every comment. And I am happy to receive them. And if you come here and haven't commented yet...please do. I'd love to "meet" you...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Beginnings: The Belgium Project.

Sorry to keep you in suspense! So here it is...the news: in October I was invited to be a part of a new ministry at my church, New Beginnings. My good friend, Irvina, who is an amazing singer, was asked by a pastor friend of hers to bring her ministry team to Belgium, to his church, to sing and speak and minister to them.
She and I happened to be talking on Facebook at the same time she was talking to him. She was so excited about it and said, "Hey! Maybe you could come, too!" "And do what?" I asked. (Because like I've mentioned before, I don't sing.) She said, "Girl, you need to speak." And I immediately replied, "Uh. NO. I don't think so. But you have a great time!"
Well, the more we talked about it, the more ideas that flowed. And I was more than willing to be a part of the behind-the-scenes stuff. I offered to help in whatever way I could. Here at home. But go? To Belgium? No.
And I'll tell you why I said no. I don't want to do something "in the name of God" unless GOD has asked me to DO it. I don't do things because my pastor asks...or because a friend asks...or because it could be a good opportunity...or a chance to see another country. If I do the name of the will be because HE has asked me to do it. It will be because HE has dropped it in my spirit and given me the desire of my heart to do whatever it is that needs doing. And honestly, while we were chatting online, I wasn't sure that it was a God thing...for me. I thought it was a God thing for her. I definitely thought it would be an amazing opportunity! Absolutely. But...maybe not for me. So I left it at that.
Or so I thought.
Over the next couple of days I couldn't think of anything else. So I just kept it in my heart and prayed about it...asking God for confirmation if I was, in fact, supposed to be a part of New Beginnings or not. And once the flood gates opened...the confirmations just kept pouring in.
Jeremiah 29:11...for I know the plans I have for you. Plans He had whispered to me over the course of this past year. Plans I didn't vocalize. Plans I shoved back into the box. Plans I didn't want to admit were being made. Plans for me to speak. In front of people. Uh, there's a reason that I BLOG. Because it's not in front of people. Are you hearing me? I am terrified to speak in front of people. It makes my stomach hurt. And it makes my hands makes my whole body shake...including my voice. Public speaking is not my thing. I got a C- in my speech class for crying out loud! Me? Speak? You must have the wrong girl, Lord.
But God continued...bringing to mind old journal entries where He'd told me I'd be speaking. Reminders of long ago prayers asking to use my creativity for His glory. Then a friend reminded me of some words she spoke to me at this past women's retreat in October..."God wants you to know this has all been year at this time you'll be doing something you never thought you'd do."
More and more scriptures began coming to the forefront of my mind...Isaiah 43...when you walk through the fires you will not be burned. Isaiah 61...He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
The more I thought about it...and the more I prayed...the more I knew that I was supposed to be a part of this ministry....regardless of my fears and insecurities. The bottom line's not about me. It's about others. It's about them. It's about you. It's about the homeless kid atthe grocery store. It's about setting myself aside and allowing God to use me and my experiences to proclaim freedom for captives. To release prisoners from darkness.
Once I got a grip on the fact that I was called to be a part of New Beginnings I began to pray about what God wanted me to share. What did He want me to speak about? The answer came clear as a bell when Irvina called me and said, "God revealed to me what you are to speak on. Depression." I knew she was right. I immediately began to cry.
Of course I would be asked to talk about depression. Why didn't I see that right from the start? Depression is something I've been dealing with for years. I can't pinpoint when it started. But I can pinpoint when it got it's worst. Let's just say it's been a battle for over 20 years. And...I'm still in it. The only difference now is that I have God to help me through it...I have biblical truths and weapons to help me fight the good fight.
Over the years I've come to the conclusion that depression is my "thorn". It's the thing in my life that keeps me grounded...that keeps me tethered to God...that keeps my face turned toward His day after day after day. If it weren't for Him, I don't know where I'd be. He has saved me...and kept me...and showed me how to be victorious. As I like to say, "God is my anti-depressant."
So...there you have it. On one big deal. On the other hand? A HUGE deal. I am amazed and terrified that God has chosen me to do share my story in hopes of helping others find freedom in God's amazing grace.
I have about 6 months to prepare. 6 months to make sure I've got my message straight...and 6 months to raise the funds to get my behind on a plane to Brussels, Belgium!
This brings up my next raising. I need to earn money for my flight to Europe. So over the next couple of months, among other fund raising ideas, I will be advertising items in my Etsy shop for sale...mainly notecards made with some of my own photos. And all proceeds will go to the ministry to help pay my way.
I pray that you will help me in my endeavors...that you will tell others of my goal and spread the word about my Etsy shop in hopes that many will support my goal and this ministry.
I also ask that you pray for me. Pray that I am courageous...and bold...and transparent...and clear and concise. Pray that I am organized. And efficient. Pray that I am protected...a lot of times when we do something for God, the enemy doesn't like it. At all. And he will do anything he can to distract weaken my stop me. So pray for protection...of my mind and my thoughts.
My mom sent me an email a while back that said something like..."Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says "Oh cr**...she's up!"
That's right. I don't want to worry about him. I want HIM to worry about ME.
Thank you in advance...for your prayers and for your support. I am grateful...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday in the Word.

Philippians 4:8
8Finally, 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. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I'm in deep thought today. Lots to say...but no words to say it. So many many things...words swirling around in this head of mine. But none of them aligned correctly to make an actual coherent sentence. I think I'm proving my point with this senseless chattering...
I think the main reason I am having trouble finding my words is because I have something big to share. But I'm still processing it the words haven't come together yet. And until I get it out other words will surface. Does that make sense?
And don't worry...I'm not sick...or pregnant. Not with a baby, at least.
It's a good thing. I just need to be thoughtful about it...and how I share it.
So...until then...I will do my best to think on the true and noble and right. I will set my thoughts on whatever is pure and lovely and admirable. If something is excellent or praiseworthy...I will think on those things. And if my thoughts are on none of those things? I will pray...and ask God to help me set my mind on whatever is good...whatever is of Him....and to let those other thoughts go. Because if it is not of is of no use to me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I love to eat healthy...

...most of the time!! And the other times? Well....I like to eat like THIS!
Pork a plastic roll...from I don't know where...oh wait, there it is, on the label...San Diego, CA.
Hmmm...not too bad. No. It's not the pig farmer down the lane. But...I don't think I have a pig farmer down the lane...I don't even live on a lane. So...San Diego it is.
And check this out....Grands biscuits...from a can...
...full of bad things that taste so good...
Aren't they cute on the baking sheet? They look innocent enough, don't they? So deceiving....

Yeah...I don't always do so well in the healthy food department. Every once in a while a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...and every once in a while, that means...she needs to make Biscuits and Gravy.

And while I'm at it...why not fry up a few eggs to go with it? Fresh, local eggs, baby...right from my own backyard. Does that level things out a bit? Kind of? A little? Are your arteries clogging just reading about it?
I have to was quite tasty. And I will also say that the sausage didn't provide much grease to turn into gravy. I was surprised. But then relieved. I basically made the gravy from brown bits on the bottom of the pan loosened up with a bit of water...then added the flour and the milk.
And just to round things out a bit...we had applesauce on the side. You know...for some green on the plate. Sort of. And we all know how well apple goes with pork...remember Peter Brady? Oh gosh...I can never say pork chops without adding "pork chops and applesauce" Peter Brady's engrained in my brain. Forever.
And the biscuits and gravy? Engrained on my thighs. Forever.

Monday, January 25, 2010


As you can see...I was almost up before the sun. I went into the kitchen to get my coffee and saw that the sky was a gorgeous pink and orange and violet...and with sleep still in my eyes, ran back to get my camera and capture the moment.
Unfortunately, I also got the top of our shed and every outbuilding of every neighbor as far as the eye can see. Ah....the loveliness of living 6 feet away from your neighbor. Oh how I wish to live in the country...with a window over my kitchen sink...preferably with a beautiful view... Someday...

So it's a good thing I took this picture...this is the only bit of sunshine we got in the last 3 days or so. This morning I woke up to the sound of rain...which actually made me feel happy. You know how I love the rain...and to hear tapping against the window? Perfect.

I have homework to do...I need to finish up my first chapter reading in preparation for tomorrow nights quiz. We have a quiz every week! Open book, though, so I think I'll be OK. It's a good thing I took only one class...the work load is pretty heavy, apparently. Well, according to two of the students I talked with at break. I didn't think it sounded like all that much...but they said it was. So...I took their word for it since it's my first term back. What do I know, right? Oh, and I have to do a Power Point presentation! I don't know HOW to do Power Point. Luckily, both of my son's they can show mom a thing or two. Too funny...I'm old.
On that note...I'm going to go finish up my reading. I need to be done tonight because I have many errands to run tomorrow. One of them being purchasing Scan tron sheets at the college book store. Scan trons? Really? Oh! That means I'll need a #2 pencil, too...oh dear. I can't forget that!
Whose idea was this, anyway....this whole going back to school thing?!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I am feeling a lot better today...thanks to staying in bed ALL.DAY.LONG yesterday.

{old photo of a calla lily}

There's definitely something to be said for rest...and I think Jesus said it best...

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ~Matthew 11:29.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


It's Saturday. And it's sunny outside. And SICK. I got it...the flu, that is. Not real bad...just enough to make me feel I'm floating. My head is full...and I've got a cough. None of it horrible...but just enough to slow me down...considerably.
Because I don't feel good...and because my house is a mess...and because I have so much to do and not a lick of energy to DO it...I thought I'd just share a mosaic of some of my Flickr favorites.
As I've mentioned before...the talent found on Flickr never ceases to amaze me. Beautiful photos...beautiful handmade items...beautiful children and everywhere you look! I can get lost on Flickr! And I have.
So...I suppose I'll go try and do something. And maybe eat some Vitamin C. And see why the dog won't quit barking.


Friday, January 22, 2010

the soup.

This is the soup I made yesterday. I used leftover roasted vegetables...tossed them in a pot, added chicken broth and water, a little extra salt, a little bit of thyme...and simmered to let the flavors marry. (Sometimes I like to pretend I'm a Food Network star...)
Once the flavors were well acquainted I took the mixture off the heat. Then I really got the relationship going with my immersion blender. I mashed up those veggies real good...until the soup became a nice creamy consistency. And then I cracked a bit more pepper on top...because I love pepper.
Then...I took pictures! Ahhh...the life of a blogger...fresh photos and cold soup! was OK. Yes...just OK.
The night before when I roasted all of those veggies I also roasted some garlic cloves. Which is good...I like roasted garlic. But I don't like a LOT of it...and it was just too much for that amount of vegetables. So it was just OK. Edible. But next time? Less garlic...if any at all.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

good eating. and a school report.

It's been a busy week. I've been running since... Gosh.
Hmmm...I can't remember when I wasn't running this past week or so!
All the more reason I needed to stay home this morning and take a breather. I work at two...but until then, I'm going slow. I'll peck away at some laundry...and I need to dust...but my main goal today was to just take it kind of slow.
I ate some oatmeal for breakfast...with dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. And of course, brown sugar and butter. So yummy...and so good for me. I always feel better instantly once I've eaten a bowl of oatmeal. I feel full...and satisfied. And healthy. There might be some argument about the butter...but..that's OK. At least it's not margarine.
Last night I made a good, healthy dinner. I made some chicken in my grill pan seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I roasted some potatoes, carrots and leeks mixed with olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and Kosher salt. Then to add some green to the mix I sauteed some broccoli with onion and chopped cabbage seasoned with sesame oil, salt, red pepper flakes, a splash of chicken broth and soy sauce. I sauteed in on high heat then turned the heat off and covered ti to steam for 5 minutes or so until the chicken finished cooking.
And I have to was a good dinner! The broccoli and cabbage mixture tasted like chow mein...which means now I have to try and figure out how to make it! I figure I can just do what I did then add some noodles...and voila...(or however you'd say that in Chinese...tsing tao? No...I think that might be beer, hmmmm)...chow mein! Maybe toss in a little leftover pork or chicken? The possibilities are endless! That could be another great way to use up some leftovers, too. I'm liking this train of thought...
Anyway...thinking ahead I made extra potatoes and carrots in preparation to make myself a yummy, warm and healthy soup for lunch today! I'm going to add the leftover vegetables...including a bit of leftover cabbage, chicken broth. I'll warm it through...then blend it with my immersion blender. Et...voila...roasted vegetable soup! Doesn't that sound good? I think so. But then again, I'm a soup kinda girl.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So...yeah....I went to my first day of COLLEGE ON TUESDAY. Oh my...all day I was anxious about it. But by the time I got going...and got on the military base where some of the classes are held...and into my classroom...I was fine. And ready.

I'm going to say the average age in the classroom is roughly...oh...35? That's about right. So I'm not TOO old to be there...although I am one of the more mature students. But that's OK...someone said 40 is the new I'll take it.
The instructor is very nice. And very young. She refused to tell us her age. I'm guessing 30-35. But she looks even younger. Either way...she's nice. And she's engaging. And interesting. Which will make this a whole lot easier to do. I can't think of anything worse than sitting in a classroom for 4 hours listening to a droning instructor. And yes, I said 4 hours. The classes are we meet once a week for four hours. And I have to say, it went by surprisingly fast.
I decided to start with one class at the recommendation of my mom. She thought it would be a good idea to start slow and get my feet wet before diving in. At first I was like, "No way mom! I'm GOING FOR IT! I'm DOING THIS! I'm running out of time. I'm no spring chicken! I have WORK to do! Time is short! Seize the moment!! Get out of my way!"
Or...something like that. (Right, mom?)
Anyway...once all was said and done...and I started actually planning my schedule, it just worked out best that I start with one class. Mother truly does know best...
I had a revelation at the beginning of the week during one of my hyperventilation sessions. I realized that the reason I was so nervous about going back to school is that, this time, I do not have the option to stop. I do not have the option to quit. It is just not in the cards this time around. I have started and stopped college more times than I care to admit. And every time, I had good intentions. And high hopes. But as soon as an obstacle got in the way...I yielded to it. And I stopped. This time? Obstacles must either be moved...or walked around. No stopping. Not this time.
So with this revelation I thought, "Holy cow. This is IT! I am really going to have to DO this. What was I thinking?!"
Not to mention....I've told EVERYONE I know that I am going back to school. And I've given everyone I know permission to hold me accountable. Seriously. What was I thinking?!
I'll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking that my track record for sticking with something is not the best record out there. And I was also thinking that I know myself...real well. And telling everyone and allowing people to hold me accountable was probably one of the smartest things I've done!
So...we're off. Or at least, I am. And I'm excited. Thank you for listening...and for encouraging me. And...if I start to slack...feel free to smack me upside my head!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday in the Word.

Isaiah 48:17-18
17 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

The above photos are of my wedding day. Well, except the baby photo, that's my sweet hubby on the day he was born. But the other photos? Our wedding day. You may notice that there are two little boys in tuxedos...two little boys that may look eerily like my own two boys. That's because they are my boys. Our boys. Chris and I had our kids before we were married. Yep, both of them. When we met we fell in love instantly. For real. Love at first sight. It was amazing, really. Something inside of me just knew that he was "the one". And as I would find out soon after we met, he felt the same way.

We were in love.

I didn't have a firm belief in marriage at that time. As a matter of fact, Chris and I had agreed that we didn't even WANT to get married. We figured it was "just a piece of paper"...a formality...and we didn't need it. We were fine just the way we were.

Or so we thought.
Well, about 5 or 6 years later, we found ourselves sitting in a small church downtown...not too far from the bar we'd met at that many years earlier. As we were sitting there the pastor began to give a sermon on the importance of marriage...and commitment...of doing things God's way...and not our own. By the time the sermon was over, Chris and I felt about an inch tall. We scurried out of church...and headed to the park to let the boys play a while. After that sermon...we needed a little fresh air!
As we're sitting there on the park bench watching the boys play, Chris turned to me and said, "We really need to make this right." I asked, "You mean...get married?"
And honestly, by this time, my heart had changed toward marriage. And I was open to it. I actually wanted it. But his feet were still a bit cold. So I didn't push it. I didn't have to. Because God did.
It was decided that day...then and there as the kids slid and swung and laughed and played...that we would get married. And we did.
It was a beautiful wedding...and one of the best days of my life. Of our lives...Chris would tell you the same thing! It was a great day. Our boys stood up for us. They were our "best men" and our ring bearers. It was a small wedding...just family and close friends....lots of kids. It was like a giant family gathering. It was really was. Simple. Beautiful. And perfect.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Are you wondering why have I chosen to tell you this story of my life? I guess I just want to share that it's never too late to do the right thing. It's never too late to turn things around. It's never too late to "let go and let God" as they say. God is good. He is the God of second chances...and third chances...and fourth chances...and 185th chances! He is so good. And He does know what's best for us. He really does. He has our best interest at heart, always. It's up to us to trust Him...and know that He knows what He is doing.
And if we live like we believe that...peace will flow like a river.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


It snowed! Can you believe it? It actually SNOWED!

What? What do you MEAN it's just hail?

It was piled in little piles on the side of the road. It was stuck to people's roof top's. It was stuck on cars. Kids were playing in it...and rolling it into balls and throwing it.

In my book...that is snow.

But then again, I was born and raised in Northern California.

What do I know about snow?

Oh was fun to pretend.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

School in T-minus 41 minutes...40, 39, 38...breathe, Michelle, breathe...there's no turning back now...

I'm already behind and the day hasn't even started yet...

I love three day weekends. But man, do they throw me off!
The kids are back in school...the house is quiet...and I am already running behind. I have to go to the office today...and to DMV...and then...later MY school. For the first time. In 12 years. Excuse me while I hyperventilate.
Until then, though...I still have mom and wife stuff to take care of. For today...I am wearing the wife and bookkeeper hat. After 3pm I'll put on the mom and housekeeper hat. And 5...I'll put on the student hat.
It's settled. I'm crazy. AND I'm late. Gotta run! I'll let you know how my first night back at college goes...breathe, Michelle, breathe....

Monday, January 18, 2010

through the rain...

It was late in the afternoon when I noticed this little bit of light streaming through the back door into the kitchen. The day was gray and gloomy and this moment was unexpected.
I loved how the light was highlighting some of my favorite things. I also loved how it reflected off of the "seeds" in the glass...casting shadows inside and almost looking like rain drops themselves.
It's still raining today. And I'm loving it.
I have to admit, though. I'm a bit down. Not because of the rain. Or the gray skies. Believe it or not, those things rejuvenate me...make me feel like I can breathe deep. Like I can rest.'s not the weather. I can't really pinpoint why I'm feeling melancholy. I don't think it's just one thing.
It's a combination of things...or at least that's the conclusion I'm coming to...
One of those things is that I'm starting school tomorrow night. And while this is a good thing...a very good's also very scary. It's the next two years of my life...on top of everything else. So...while it's good. VERY good. It's also just a bit overwhelming. And I am trying really hard to not get ahead of myself...I keep reminding myself of this. I have a feeling, if you've decided to join me on this journey, that you'll be hearing a lot about that...staying in the thing at a day at a moment at a's my struggle, always. But I've learned that getting ahead of myself causes anxiety...and paralysis. gets me nowhere.
The other thing weighing heavy on my mind is the death of my friend's husband last week. His service was on Saturday...and it was beautiful. Wow...what a celebration of his life. But the whole time, as I listened to people's stories about him (the ones they could tell in church, anyway!) and as I looked at all of the pictures of him living...the more I couldn't believe that he was gone. And the more I couldn't understand why God would take him. He was young. They had an amazing marriage...really. They were so in love...even after 10 years of marriage. If anything, they were MORE in love after all these years.
So...why? Why would God do that? Rhetorical, of course. boggles my mind. And is probably just one of those things that I won't ever get an answer know? Some things are only for God to know. They're none of our business. They're not for us to understand. Or agree with. That's why we're not God...and God is. I may think that a life was taken too soon...but God's time is different. And He took him at exactly the right time. Our days are numbered. And only God knows that number. It's up to us to just continue on this path...walking one step at a faith. And trust.
Hmm....some days it's harder than others, isn't it?
I mentioned that I sang in the choir this past weekend. We sang good songs...the first one was so FUN. And the second one was so moving. Beautiful. We sang the first one at the beginning of service. Then toward the end of service we got up and sang the second one. As I stood on the stage...and looked out onto the eyes found my friend. She came to church...and was sitting with her mother. And I could see...even in the dim lighting that her heart was broken...beyond broken. The sadness on her face was unbearable...and as our eyes met she gave me a little secret wave from her seat...and I waved back...and then right there on stage, I cried with her. I couldn't help myself.
I feel for her so much... I want to do something that will give her hope...peace...something...
But there's nothing that I can do...nothing any of us as her friends can do...other than be there for her. Love her. Call her. Pray for her. All we can do...those of us whose hearts are breaking for her, and there are to just be there...and walk with her...and hold her up when she can't do it on her own...and listen. Let her vent. And cry. And yell. And cuss. And love her through it...
Isaiah 43 says...2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Through. Not around. Not over. Not under. Through.
We don't get a special ticket to go another route. We aren't exempt from devastation. God's word tells us WHEN YOU GO fill in the blank. There will be trials. There will be heartache. And struggles. But His word also says that He will be with us during these times. He will be with us when the waters are threatening to drown us...or when the rivers are trying to sweep us away...or when the fire wants to consume us. And He will protect us. And comfort us. Through it all.
I don't understand it. I don't like it. But I do trust God...and I know my friend does, too. Even if at the moment she's not so sure that she does...
And I know that God has her in the palm of His hand...and is caring for her and loving her and carrying her through.
So...there you have it. The heaviness that is hovering around me. The heaviness that I need to pray through...and move through...anyway. Because life continues on...the world keeps spinning. The good mixes in with the bad...and it's up to us to try and see God in the midst of it all.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

another Saturday...

It's Saturday morning at 9am...and I'm up, showered and almost ready to go.
This morning I will attend the funeral service of a dear friend's husband. He died last week...unexpectedly. He was in his late 40's...too young.
Later, I will return home only to freshen up and turn right back around and head to church...where I will be singing in our CHOIR. Yes. You read that right. Me. Singing. In the choir.
What? What's that you say? You didn't know that I sang? about this?
I think I can. I wish I could. I actually sound really good when I'm in my car, by myself, with the music turned up really loud. So when our friend Jonathan comes to visit and directs this particular choir for special occasions at our church, like Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday...he has a way of making me almost believe that I can sing.
But I can't. And I actually think that I throw the people off who can carry a tune. But they're nice to me. And make me believe I'm a part of it all. Even though I probably shouldn't be. And they have to plug one ear when I'm next to them.
But I do it anyway. Because it's fun.
Wish me luck....mi, mi, mi, miiiiiii....
Oh, sorry. I'm just getting my warm-ups in....anyone have any tea with honey? I really need to loosen up my vocal chords....

Friday, January 15, 2010

a good mail day!

Last week I sold the last of my Mimi dolls on Etsy so I had a bit of money in my Paypal account...just sitting there. Which is fine, except, at the same time, one of my favorite artists, Cathy Cullis, began doing "daily drawings" and selling them in her Etsy shop.
Well, one day I ventured over to her shop and saw a print that I just fell in love with. And do you was in my price range?! I was SO excited. And I bought it...right then and there.
Every day I checked the mailbox...knowing full well that it would take a while since she'd be shipping from the UK. But still...I couldn't help myself!
Well, today was the day. I opened my mailbox to find the long awaited package...with Cathy Cullis as the return addressee. Woohoo!!
I carefully opened the package..with a steak knife. (I don't have a letter opener...!)
Inside were moo cards...copies of some of her other drawings...a photo of one of her little dolls that she makes...and of course, the piece de resistance...

...this. My print. Girl with tiny scissors in her hair. Oh my...don't you just love her? Oh...I do.

Can you see her tiny scissors?
Aren't they adorable?

I am so glad that I purchased her. There's something about buying art from the artist. Knowing that she made hand. That it was made in her home...maybe while dinner was cooking, you know? It wasn't made in a factory...along with a thousand others just like it. And I love that. It's like slow food...only with art.
Girl with tiny scissors in her hair. A little piece of original artwork...for me.
Thank you, Cathy...I love her! (Not that Ms. Cullis visits here...but just in case!)

feeding my body and my soul.

I stayed home for most of the day yesterday. I did laundry and straightened things up and read my bible and wrote in my journal. I've got some things coming up that require a bit more of me spiritually. Fasting is one of those things.
I've not fasted before. doing some research, I decided to start with The Daniel Fast. I decided to give it a practice run at lunch yesterday.
I started with the kale, garlic and leeks that were delivered in my CSA. Luckily D. over at this is my life made this same thing last week and shared it with I was inspired! Or else I wouldn't have known what to DO with kale! Hers looked so delicious and warm and healthy and good! So I had to give it a try. Admittedly, this was the first time I'd eaten it. And I will say...I'm sold. Kale is GOOD. And knowing how good it is FOR me made it all the more enjoyable.
Not only was it good. It was EASY. And fast. I had some leftover rice so I put it on a plate and warmed it up. In the meantime I turned on the saute pan to medium high and tossed in a little olive oil. I sliced a bit of leek and chopped about 4 leaves of kale. Once the oil was hot I tossed in the leek and then pressed a clove of garlic in with it...and sauteed. Once it was all soft and translucent I added in the kale and sauteed a minute or two. I then added a bit of chicken broth to steam it a little and to make a bit of a sauce. For good measure...I added a palm full of dried cranberries!
A minute or two was done.

And it was GOOD. Really, really good. I'm definitely adding this to my recipe file...and I'm definitely going to grow kale next winter! Remind me of this come October, would ya?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

gentle reminders...

It's already Thursday. It's already two weeks into the New Year. Time is flying...faster and faster and faster.
I feel like I've been so busy. Meetings two evenings this week already and a third tomorrow night. Appointments with guidance counselors and financial aide consultants. Running from here to there and back again. Busy. On the go. It's life...I get that. But sometimes...every once in a needs to stop. And be quiet. And be still. And slow. I need to be quiet. And still. And slow.
Reality is, yes, I have been busy. But not any more busy than I am normally. Such is the life of a mother and wife. Right? We're all busy.
I think what's different is that my mind has been more busy. Not more than yours...or yours...or yours. Just more busy than it usually is. I am thinking so much. Too much. The wheels are turning faster than they need to...working overtime trying keep up with my thoughts. Oh...the thoughts. Work school kids church friends family chickens garden clean money bills obligations expectations desires heartaches have-tos want-tos's never-ending.
But life goes on, right? So I go about my day...doing what I have to do. Moving along on auto-pilot. And all the while my mind is just swirling...and it's messy. Very, very messy. sooner am I allowing myself to spiral into a frenzy...very softly God whispers to me: my hope is in the Lord.
I'm rushing and worrying and fretting and spiraling. And in the midst of it all I hear it: my hope is in the Lord.
So I stop what I'm doing. And I go to my journal. And I write it down: my hope is in the Lord.
Then I decide to look it up: my hope is in the Lord. And this is what I find...
Psalm 146:5-6
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
The emphasis is mine. Because when I looked up the words that were whispered to me, not only did I find what I was looking for. I also found a reminder...a promise from the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
Faithful to take care of me.
Faithful to help me organize my days.
Faithful to guide my steps and direct my path.
I find a reminder that there is no reason to be overwhelmed and frantic. There's no need to spin in circles...because God is faithful and my hope is in Him. And if I can just remember that...and focus on that rather than the busy-ness of's all easier to handle. It's all the same stuff...all the same responsibilities and concerns. It's just that when I hope in the Lord...and remember that He is faithful to me always...I realize that He is right here with me. That I am not going this alone. That He cares about everything I care about...if it matters to me, it matters to Him. And He's there to walk through it all with me.
Wow...amazing when you really think on that. That the awesome God of everything takes the time to consider little, whiny, fretful me. And not only does He consider me...He loves me. And taps me on the shoulder...yet again...reminding me to slow wait up...and to walk WITH Him and not ahead of Him.
It makes me breathe a deep cleansing breath just thinking about it.
Slow down. Wait up. Your hope is in Me. And I am faithful...because I love you. -love, God.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday in the Word: Psalm 37:4-5

Psalm 37:4-5
4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this
This scripture is so appropriate for today. It was the daily scripture in my planner for today's date. It is so appropriate...and so true.
I do my best to delight myself in the Lord. I do my best to follow His listen carefully for His direction. I do my best to commit my ways to Him...and to trust in Him.
Over the course of about a year, God led me on a journey that showed me His will for my life. Or, what could also be called "the desires of MY heart". These are one in the same. They're one in the same IF we are walking out our faith with God's will in mind. As our hearts become more in line with His, we want to do what he wants us to do. It's amazing, really...
The scripture "the desires of your heart" is not referring to a mansion with beach front property...or a fur coat...or a diamond ring the size of Maui. When the psalmist talks of the desires of our hearts, he is talking about those desires that God places within us and that will become our desires as we walk with Him and desire, more and more, to do His will.
When I was a little girl and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer that I wanted to be either an artist or a teacher. Over the course of time I've come to realize that those desires we have when we're little quite often are the ones that we need to listen to. What did we say we wanted to be when we were young and naive and didn't know the meaning of "can't"? What did we want to be when the world was our oyster and anything was possible? For me? Easy. An artist or a teacher. And now I'm realizing that I will be fortunate enough to be both.
Over the course of this past year, God has led me on a journey that helped me realize what He wants me to do. And really, it's a gift. At the end of summer I was watching a speaker on GodTV. I have no idea what he was talking about or where he was from. All I know is he said something along the lines of, "When it's your time to die, make sure that's all you have left to do."
Gulp. Wow. I said it over and over again in my head. It was like a big smack on the forehead. And I instantly knew that if I were laying on my death bed and someone were to ask me if I had any regrets, I knew that not earning my bachelor's degree would be it. I would regret not doing it because it's so doable. I am capable. And it's something I've wanted for a long time.
Not long after I was talking to my son's principal. She asked why I wasn't teaching. I answered, "Because I don't have my degree." She asked why I didn't have my degree. I answered, "Because I haven't finished college." She asked why not. Then said, "You need to go to college and get your degree and your credential so that you can teach special ed. You would be a wonderful teacher."
Wow. WOW. You know what? You are RIGHT! I DO need to do that. And I need to do it SOON.
Right then and there a decision was made. I left the in my car...called Chris from my cell phone and said, "Honey. I'm going back to school." His reply? "Good for you, honey. I think that's a great idea!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So...there you have it. And all came full circle and is now official. I am officially enrolled at Brandman University pursuing a degree in Social Science. It will take me just under two years...possibly a year and a half if they change their course lengths in the near future. Either way...I'm doing it. I'm pursuing the desires of my heart. I'm trusting God to lead me where He wants me. And in the own dreams will come true, too. Who knew? God. That's Who.
Please keep me in your prayers. I am so excited and so terrified. I almost chickened out! I know I can do it...but there's a little part of me that doubts. I just have to keep reminding myself that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. It's going to be really good...really hard...and really worth it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

what're YOU lookin' at?

The Girls are a little sensitive lately. They're molting, you see. Molting is akin to "a bad hair day". And trust me...the girls are lookin' rough!

As you can see...while Sweetie tries to look all nonchalant about the feather loss...Betty is having a bit of an attitude. Number one...she looks funny. And aren't we all a bit self-conscious and cranky when we know our hair is funky? I mean, look at her feathers! They're hanging all over the place...nonexistent around the back of her neck...with each motion another feather drops off. And she's mad about it.
But don't let Sweetie fool you. She's every bit as self-conscious as Betty is. And wouldn't you be?!

And I will admit that I think that Sweetie looks even worse. But it may just be because she's so dang MEAN that it makes her ugly even when she's fluffy. Beauty is on the inside, Sweetie...think about it.
Sweetie. I really need to change her name. It should be...Meanie. Or Cranky. Or Come-any-closer-and-I'll-peck-you-HARD. Mean. She's mean I tell you.
So...between cold weather and feathers falling off everywhere, egg production is down. And I expected this thanks to LOTS of reading before bringing these wonderful, albeit a bit moody, creatures home. But even still, we're getting an egg a day.'s enough to eat now and then and make a batch of brownies or two!
And speaking of reading...kind of...I have been reading Made from Scratch. It's good. Well you're sitting at her kitchen table talking listening to her experiences. Her "voice" is engaging. I'm liking it. And would you believe I cried when she left the Queen Bee in the box it was shipped in? Oh my gosh...was I ever sad. Poor Queen. Seriously...I felt bad for hours. I still do. Thank goodness she wrote that...because seriously, that is something *I* would do. But now I know. Just in case, I , you know, get bees someday. (ahem) I will admit...the whole bear thing threw me. So...we'll see. Not sure I want to encourage bears to come anywhere near me or mine. You may remember from this post that bears are not my favorite animal. Especially not UP CLOSE bears.
Anyway...another day awaits. Yesterday turned out OK. I realized that I really didn't have anything pressing to take care I slowly pecked away at what I did need to get done. And it was fine. I realized that because I have a lot going on this year and it's all swirling around in my blockhead...I lumped it all into yesterday. I tend to do that. Think of everything at once and everything that I have to do then get so overwhelmed that I do nothing. Dr. Phil would ask, "So how's this workin' for ya?" And I have to doesn't work.
So once I got my whole year's schedule off of ONE day on the calendar, I did OK.
Now here we are at today...and starting all over. So far, so good.

Monday, January 11, 2010

scattered. and a revelation. and a poem.

Is there a limit as to how many times you can use the same blog post title? Is there a rule? Or a guideline? Would I be breaking good blogging etiquette if I use the same title more than once? More than twice? Once a week? Daily?

And honestly...I don't know if I've ever used the word "scattered" for a post title. Have I? I can't remember. That's just how scattered I am! Maybe I just need to make it a label....
And I'm just realizing that scattered is one of those words that if you say it over and over and over...or think it or type it in this begins to sound weird. Scattered...yes. That's me.
The picture above is of little vases that my boys made in 1st grade. They both had the same teacher. And they both did the same project...three years apart,of course. Seth made the tall, skinny one...a mini wine bottle. His teacher drank, apparently, because she was able to bring in enough of these bottles for the whole class. That certainly explains some things. Ahem.
Anyway...Ian made the shorter one. And I love them. Seriously. LOVE them. The boys, yes. But the vases, too. I will have them forever. And display them proudly.
The vases have nothing to do with whatever the heck I'm talking about today. I just love them. And I liked the photo. And since it makes me happy to look at them I thought it would be fitting to have a picture of goodness when talking about I don't even KNOW what!
So seeing as how this post is taking a nose-dive, I'm thinking bullet-points are in order. I just have too much on my mind today to make any sort of sense. I am in dire need of a list...lists help me sort things out. So here goes...
  • Call Chapman University. I need to meet with the counselor again to figure out what the heck I'm going to major in. When the heck I'm going to start. And how the heck I'm going to PAY for it!
  • Laundry. It taunts me. It mocks me. It must be dealt with....harshly.


  • Menu plan. I am inspired by my sweet friend, Nancy. Lately she's been sharing her menus and they sound so good and healthy...not to mention pretty simple and straight forward. My kind of meals! This is something I need to really zero in on. In less than a week, more than likely, I will be a college student. My boys will be busy with baseball practices and games (and school and homework!). And Chris will be coaching Ian's team. We will be one busy family. And we need to eat. We need to eat GOOD food....not fast food. So...I better get busy figuring out some good, healthy meals. Some quick...and some slow. Any recommendations for good, healthy crock pot meals? I'm all ears!
  • Bible study. My friend Janetta (Hi Janetta!) is going to be hosting a bible study in her home on Tuesday mornings titled Organic God. I'm really looking forward to this...and at the same time, wondering who the heck I think I am adding this to a schedule that is about to BURST! I'll have to pray about this one...not sure how much I'm capable of.
  • Clean. Dust and vacuum. And the kitchen needs a good deep-cleaning.

THINGS I NEED TO DO THAT ARE CLUTTERING MY MIND: These things need to be done at some point...but not right away. But they are there, nonetheless, cluttering up everything else! So I'm going to write them down...get them out of my head...and see if things don't clear up a bit. Obviously, it's not just the weather that's foggy around here.

  • Plan the garden. This needs to be done. And probably sorta soon if I want to order seeds. But FIRST I need to go through some seeds that my sweet friend Carolyn sent to me last year. I'll bet there's plenty of seeds to give me a great start...if not a complete garden!
  • Wake up earlier. I have not been getting up before everyone else for my quiet time. And I can feel it. It's why I'm so scattered. And disorganized. And frazzled. It's why I can't keep things straight. It's why I'm not sure what to do and where to start. So really...this one, "wake up earlier", needs to be FIRST on the list. If I wake up earlier and spend time with God praying and reading His word...all of these other things would fall into place much neater. And I would be much less scattered. (I'm hearing you, God...loud and clear.)

Interesting how just when I think I'm working things out...and getting things done...God steps in and reminds me what's really going on. Interesting how I think I'm writing a blog post...but really, God is using it to show me where I'm at spiritually, which leads to where I'm at emotionally. This list that I'm making is MY list. But have I stopped to ask if it's His list?

I tell you, this is my life story. The horse before the cart, if you will. I do it all the time. I am one of those that climbs up on the high dive and just runs to the end and leaps...and then realizes on my way down that I forgot to check and see if there's any water at the bottom to catch me!

So. After all of that....I think what I need to do is go open up my bible. And close my eyes. And ask God to start me off in the direction I need to go. I need to ask God to help me line out my bullet-points. What does HE want me to do first? Second? If at all?

Thanks for listening. You were just witness to how God and I work together. I do it my way. He sits and lets me. Then he taps me on the shoulder and politely asks me to "wait up". Then He points out that I'm still as scattered as when I started. And He's right. Always.

Sooo...I'm going to go have my long overdue quiet time. I'll let you know what I find out.

Until then...if you're even still here and haven't deleted any links that might have you end up here on this crazy, dangerous, convoluted, ridiculous blog of mine ever's a poem that was given to me at my first women's retreat. It still smacks me upside the head to this day.

Oh...and God? Thank you.

No Time To Pray

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
and heavier came each task,
"Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered.
He answered, "You didn't ask."
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled on gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me;
He said, "But you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence;
I used all my keys at the lock;
God gently and lovingly chided,
"My child you didn't knock."
I woke up early this morning,
and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

by Grace L. Naessens

Saturday, January 9, 2010

and now...

...will the real chicken...
At Christmas we decided to play a gift game for the adults. My Aunt Lisa drew a letter from a hat (or something) to decide what letter the gift would begin with. She drew the letter "T". So...each adult had to purchase a gift that began with "T" and cost no more than $10. I bought "tumblers"...even though it said "glasses" on the box. I may have pushed my luck a little...but, that's OK. We're a creative family and everyone understood my thinking! I think...
So the game got started...and each person chose a gift based on the number they drew. I drew number 12...which was a good number because by then the majority of the presents are opened and revealed and you know what you want to steal...or if you want to open a new package.
Well...I decided to steal...I mean, choose this chicken timer. How could I not? My sweet cousin Megan (hi Megan!)opened the present originally...and as soon as I saw it I gasped and she yelled, "NO! You're the only one I worried about for this gift!"
And she had every reason TO worry. I mean I'm going to choose truffles or tumblers or a toilet plunger over a chicken timer? No way.
Is it not the cutest thing ever? I love it. And it is so comfy and cozy in my kitchen.
What's funny is that I got the gift my aunt bought, Chris got the gift my uncle bought, my aunt got the gift Chris bought and my uncle got the gift I bought! Great minds, eh? I wonder what the letter is for next year? As fast as time is going...I'll know soon enough!

Friday, January 8, 2010

be still my heart...


...I need one of these.

You can see more here if you need one someday, too.

on my way...

My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. ~ Diane Arbus
I came back to clarify...some seem to think I'm going somewhere. And I am. But only metaphorically. There won't be any weekend getaways for a while. We have a business to focus on and finances to coddle.
No...I'm not going anywhere physically. But this quote made me think of my journey...and where I'm headed. And I'm still pumping myself up about school...trying to stay excited and positive. And not terrified and discouraged. If I think about it too much...the work load, the nights away from home, the papers, the senior project!...I tend to want to wimp out. So...instead I think of the goal. The end result. Keep my eye on the prize. And look forward to going somewhere I've never been...the college graduate club. I can't wait.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

good morning sunshine.

Our friends shared some of their beautiful and delicious mandarins with us over the weekend. Oh my...are they ever good. And beautiful, too! Look at that bright and cheery. It made me think about how good God give us this little burst of cheery, vibrant color in the middle of a gray and dreary winter.
Happiness is there...sometimes we just have to look a bit closer.
Or maybe even take a step back and look at a bigger picture.
So I'm still not signed up for school. But I did spend the better part of my day yesterday gathering transcripts and such so that the guidance counselor can put together a couple of different major scenarios for me. I'm either going to major in psychology...because it's what I started with years and years ago. science...which I focused on later in life when I returned to school 12 years ago. I'm OK with either. I don't even really care what I major in...I just want to be DONE and have a B.A. I asked the counselor to find the quickest way to the end messing classes I don't need...etc.
So...since the counselor is out of the office today...and I work tomorrow...we're going to meet again on Monday and get this ball rolling. Not how I imagined it...but that's OK. I'm thinking there's a lesson in perseverance in here I will persevere. And push toward what I want...and not be discouraged just because it's not going how I envisioned it. Hmm...might even be a lesson in patience, too, while we're at it.
As it appears right now, glancing at units taken and transcripts, I'm probably looking at about two years of school. That's taking two classes every 8-9 weeks. That doesn't include the credential program I'll have to take after I've earned my B.A. But I can do that while I work as a special education teacher on a Waiver. Our district does that. So that's good. The credential program is about another year of schooling. And...I may even be able to earn a Masters while I'm earning my credential. It's a few more classes...I can't remember what she said. But I remember thinking, "That's not that much more time to put it while I'm already at it."'s an option. Money will be a factor. So we'll see.
When I stop and think about it...this is a really big deal. Big. HUGE. This is the next two years or OUR lives...mine, my husband's, my children's...with me being gone two nights a week and working really hard to become a college graduate. After I was done running all over gathering paperwork (well, and making a quick little stop at TJ Maxx....hey, it was right there!) I called Chris and said, "Are you sure you're up for this?". He was like, "ME? Are YOU up for it?!" I told him he'd be having to do my homework so he better get ready. Not really. I said, this is a BIG deal. And we'll all be in it together. We'll all be affected.
But really...we'll be affected in a good way. This is going to be such a good thing. For me. I will finally have accomplished something I've wanted to accomplish for a long time. And I will finally have completed something, other than childbirth and only because I didn't have a choice! I will finally be a teacher...something I've wanted to be since I was a little girl.
Which reminds me...when I was younger I babysat all the time. And the summer between 8th and 9th grade I convinced my parent's to let me do something that I called Fun School in their garage. My mom and dad were so nice to let me do this. Mom parked her car out on the street. Dad helped me drag the picnic table and benches into the garage. I hung my poster board Fun School banner which instantly transformed the garage into a classroom. I invited all of the kids that I babysat for to come over Tuesdays and Thursdays for 2 hours in the morning. The moms loved it. They dropped the kids off...put a dollar or two in the coffee can and went off to run errands in peace. The kids and I would do crafts that I'd planned for in advance...we'd sing a game or two...then have a snack. And by the time we'd done all of this the mom's would begin arriving to pick up their kids. It was really of the mom's that I see on occasion still talks about it! Isn't that funny?
Anyway...those were fun times. And I envision being a teacher much the same way. Except for the money in the coffee can. And not in a garage! Well, and the fact that it takes a bit more than making a few phone calls and slapping a name on poster board.
Accomplishing this goal will also be such a good thing for my family. It will be good for Chris in that I will be able to help financially. Not only with a paycheck but also with really good benefits. It will be good for the boys because they will be able to see the value of a college education. And hopefully they will see that it is much more of a challenge to do it later in life and that doing it right out of high school will be the way to go. They will see that it pays off to work hard toward something. That goals can be accomplished. That it's never too late.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday in the Word: Joshua 1:8-9

Joshua 1:8-9
8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

I have an appointment in less than two hours with a counselor at Chapman University. I am going to talk to her about signing up to complete my bachelor's degree. I have all of my lower-division classes completed. Now I need to focus on my major...psychology. When I am done completing my major in...I'm guessing...two years or so...I will then pursue my teaching credential so I can teach special education at the elementary school level.

This all sounds great...looks good on paper, or, er um...the computer screen.

And it is great. Totally great. Exciting and amazing! And I am so blessed to live in a country where this is a possibility for me as a woman. I know this. But I also know that it is terrifying.

But. Yes, BUT. God tells me not to be terrified because He will be with me wherever I go. And I believe that this whole idea of me returning to college to get a degree and become a special ed teacher is of Him. I believe that He led through a year-long process to realize that I need to do this. That I am called to do this. That it is a part of His plan for me. So if He has planned it for me then He has laid out the path for me to follow it. And if He paved the path for me, then He is on it WITH me.

Therefore...I will not be afraid. I will not be discouraged. I will be strong. And courageous. I will walk confidently into the unknown knowing that He is with me and that He is clearing the path with each step of faith I take toward Him and His dreams for me. My dreams that He placed inside of me...the desires of my heart.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stack of library goodness.

I had placed a hold on Made from Scratch last week and on Sunday I received an email from the library that it was in. Have I ever mentioned how much I love the library's online hold option? Oh. I have? I'm sorry. I can't help it. I it!

Is it still a pile if I call it a "stack"?

I had to run a few errands on Sunday and decided to pop into the library real quick to grab my book. On my way to the Hold Shelf I passed by the New Arrivals. And as you can see, there were quite a few that caught my eye.

So far I've looked at:
  • The 5-Minute Face by Carmindy of What Not to Wear - not impressed. It would be nice if I had perfect, flawless skin and a party to attend every other night. But...I don't.
  • Material Obsession - VERY impressed. To the point of putting it on my Wishlist at Amazon. I need this book.The quilting instructions and supply lists are so clear and concise that I truly believe I could actually make one of these quilts. Because this point in my life...I seriously need something new to start. I really do. Especially after telling myself (and ALL of YOU) that I wasn't going to try anything new. And that I was going to focus on what I can do already and learn to do those things well. And of course, I'm also getting ready to start COLLEGE and really need to have some sort of large creative project going as a distraction. Or at least to start and not finish. Because what fun is life if it's not totally crazy and full of half-started projects? Right? However, in my defense, I do know how to sew. And so what if it's just straight lines? Because when it comes to the two main quilts I would like to try, straight lines are all I'm required to know. So, technically, I will be doing something I already know how to do AND improving on it. Right? Right? So really...I'm doing exactly what I said I was going to do. Come on...go with me here. Work with me, people.

Anyway...I haven't looked at any of the other books, yet. I've been too busy obsessing over easy quilt patterns and gorgeous fabrics. The book at the top, Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott is actually my book. I just put it at the top of the stack because I started reading it the other night. Anne Lamott is one of my favorite author's. I read Traveling Mercies years ago and it is one of my favorite books, ever. So when I saw a few other titles by Lamott at the used book store I snatched them up to read at a later date. And here we are, at "a later date".

Did you notice the two books on bees? I was giggling to myself on my way out of the library as I tried to balance my giant pile of library goodness, realizing that before I actually got The Girls, I would do the same thing with books about keeping chickens. Uh oh. I'm just sayin'....

Monday, January 4, 2010

closet shopper.

And I mean that literally. When I cleaned out my closet the other day, only to find several brand new items I'd purchased and stored away, it really felt like a bonus shopping trip! I quite literally, shopped my closet!
Among other things, I found these two framed rose pictures. Um...why did I not hang these up when I bought them? Seriously. I have no idea. Because I have to say, I'm really liking how they look hanging above my bed.
I wonder if I didn't hang them because the frames are a brushed silver and nothing else in my room is? Or maybe I thought they were too fancy for my ugly ol' room full of hodge-podge decor. Maybe I was concerned Chris would be opposed to all of the flowery goodness.
Or...maybe I was holding out for our dream house...and didn't want to waste pretty things on this house. I think that's probably more like it. I love to decorate. I love to nest. I love pretty things. I love to shop for household items...decorative items...lamps...towels and name it.
So I shop...and I find things that I love...and then I buy them because I have learned that when you shop discount stores like I do (Home Goods, Marshall's, Ross....), you have to grab it when you see it because if you try to go back for it? It's gone. So I buy it...whatever it, lamps, quilts, rugs. Then I bring it home and stuff it in the closet...storing it all away for that dream house. You know...the dream house that I still don't have? Yeah. That one.
Cleaning out the closet did more than just provide some much needed storage space. And it did more than prompt me to get rid of a pile of clothes I no longer wear. It encouraged me to dig out these pretty items and actually use them in this house. It encouraged me to turn this house into our dream house until the dream comes true. You know? Because really, what if we live in this house for the rest of our lives? Am I going to live temporarily and with ugly things forever just because we were never able to move? No. I'm not. I can't.
So. I'm hanging pictures. And using area rugs. And lamps. Including lava lamps. And I will continue to pretty up the place. And who knows...maybe just when I get it just like I want it...we'll finally get the opportunity to move to our next dream home!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Staying organized.

I wanted to share my new planner and daily notepad that I'm going to use this year to stay organized and on track.
It fits quite nicely atop my newly organized mail-center.
Here's the planner.
I purchased it on sale, PLUS with my employee discount, for around $5 at my job at the bookstore.

It's got a whole page per day with time slots every half hour from 7am until 8pm. I'm thinking those times are reasonable! It's got bible verses as well as a bit of a devotional for each day. That was one of the reasons I chose this particular planner.
The second main reason I chose this planner was because it has a "Budget" page at the beginning of each month.
I have to be honest...this is not something I was planning to do...a budget, that is. But I took this as a big hint that I needed to work on our budget. And this would be a great way to get started. Notice it's empty. Ahem. Not to's only the 3rd of the month! I figure this whole budget thing is going to take a while to figure out. I hope to have a better report in a month or two!
I also found this daily notepad at the dollar store right before Christmas. And I'm loving it!
It's got "to-do" slots...and little boxes to check off once it's been DONE.
It's got a daily quote...

A daily word and definition...
And a bit of trivia. Not pictured are the names of well-known people born on that particular day. Kinda fun!
So far I'm excited about getting organized. This planner and notepad set-up is not the exact idea I had in my mind when searching for the best way to stay organized. My creative side needed the planner to be aesthetically pleasing. My collector side needed it to have pockets and pouches. And my perfectionist side said, "none of these will do!". But I had to quiet her down because she tends to ruin everything. She gets in the way of getting something started...because if I can't do something perfectly, then she talks me out of doing anything at all. the end I was able to shut her up and get a start with something that is "better than nothing". She's not happy with me at the moment...but that's OK. She'll get over it...
In the meantime, I need to go fill in some time slots and write down due dates for my bills! This is going to be a good thing...