About Me

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I have been a stay at home mom since Oct 31st 2006. My children started school in 2008, so I decided it was time for me to go back, too. I have been a full time student for over two years now, and it seems like I am learning about more than just my schoolwork.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A hard Holiday

This December has been a time of loss. Two wonderful people who were part of my church went home to God. More wonderful community members suffered tragic and untimely deaths. All in the few weeks before Christmas. Losing someone at anytime during the year is hard, but Christmas is a time for family, celebration, love, and wonder; not a time to mourn.

I am blessed to have my children. At times when I am missing my Mom, when I don't feel like being in the Christmas spirit, I make myself go through the motions, for the little ones. It is very hard to sing carols, make cookies and decorate a tree without smiling at some point. For their sake (and as it turns out, mine) I play the music, bake the goodies, and unearth the decorations. Usually this gets me out of my funk and helps me remember the good times Mom and I had doing all of the things I now do with my kids.

Seeing the families struggle this month has brought many emotions to the surface. Emotions that I was doing a very good job of hiding. At the celebrations of life, I once again wondered how all these people could go on with life. Talking, sharing stories, laughing. Someone died! Someones heart stopped. Isn't the rest of the world supposed to stop too? How is it that I am still moving forward?

Again, I am blessed to have my children. It would have been very easy for me to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and cry my life away. But that is not what Mom wanted for me. That is not what I want for my children. That is not what anyone wants for their loved ones after they're gone. So, we get up, get dressed, eat something, and live our lives, a little emptier, a little dimmer, but we live.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Thanks to Him, we know our missing loved ones are living again. While we are stuck down here, hopefully gathering more recruits for that Heavenly army, the ones who have been drafted are up there getting ready. So while I can be sad for myself, I cannot be sad for the ones who have gone before me. And I will move on. I will get up, get dressed, and get moving. Along the way, my world will brighten and become fuller.

The memory of my loss will never fade, but neither will my memories of the happy times. I will pass on all I can to future generations. Stories of the love, the compassion, the faith, and the experiences I had with those I love that they do not know. That is why I am still here. That is why I am still moving forward.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Constant Prayer

I got my new book from booksneeze.com on Christmas Eve. Needless to say, it has taken me a while to read this one. But it was worth it.

In Constant Prayer is a look at the daily offices, or the practice of praying at set times during the day. Robert Benson's style of writing is refreshing and down to earth. His humor, while self-depreciating, is enough to make anyone laugh. His openness and honesty opens the reader to a unique perspective of prayer.

Along with a history of the Christian daily prayer, he offers a very convincing argument about the need for us 'modern' day Christians to carry on the traditions of our forefathers. Benson saves the best for last, throwing a bomb into the last chapter that makes the reader take a second glance, at the book, at themselves, and at the prayers.

At the back of the book are a few great resources. Benson gives us an example of a morning prayer, as well as a list of additional books and other readings that the audience may be interested in. The study guide included makes the book that much more personal, allowing the reader to gain insight into their own personal prayer life. Finally, a glossary offers assistance for some of the harder words that the audience may need help with.

Overall, I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars, lol. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their prayer life.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A New Semester

Registered for classes the other day. I may have overdone it. Fourteen credits this year. Photography--again, Math--again, English--again, and a couple of AIS classes--again. The new thing this year is my internship.

We have a couple of friends who have put their entire life savings on the line and opened a pet food/feed/hay store here in the White Mountains. With one employee, things are stressful and hectic to say the least. With my internship, I will be able to help them get caught up in the office, keep things organized, and just lend a helping hand when I can. This is a win-win for us--free labor for them, and school credits for me.

Now, all I have left to do is get my books, all $300 worth. At least I don't need a textbook for an internship.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Then Sings My Soul

I love music. Everything from jazz to country to hip hop. But what I listen to most is my Christian music. My cell phone is also a MP3 player, and it is full of Point of Grace, Caedmon's Call, Third Day, Tenth Avenue North, and many other wonderful contemporary Christian singers. It is also full of my favorite hymns, because even though I love the contemporary singers, these songs have been around for hundreds of years--there is a reason for that. They're very good. How Great Thou Art was my Mother's favorite hymn, and it is also one of mine. Be Not Afraid is a song I sing to the kids when they're having trouble falling asleep. There are many songs that are such wonderful, spirit filled songs, that the younger crowd forgets in favor of the more modern music.

This book, "Then Sings My Soul: Special Edition" breathes new life into the old favorites. With the song lyrics and notes on one page (I wish I could read music) and a brief history on the other, this book brings to life the authors of the lyrics, the composers of the tune, and the message behind the song. This book is an easy read, as each hymn has it's own little story to tell. Read about your favorite songs, learn about some 'new' ones, and find out about some of the most famous lyricist you've never heard of. Knowledge of the hymns will vary depending on your religion, and the region in which you live, but there are many songs that are known to all, such as the Star Spangled Banner, Amazing Grace, and Away in a Manger.

The only thing that gave me pause was a hymn written in 2005. Why is this song in here, among the other songs from the seventeen and eighteen hundreds? The history behind it is vague, instead of the story behind the song, the author gives the reader an anecdote and a mini-sermon, if you will. Closer inspection reveals the song to be written by the author himself, based on an earlier hymn written by a celebrated songwriter. While being the author of a book gives you special liberties, such as sneaking your own song into 150 (149) of the most loved and widely sung hymns, I don't think this was the book to do it in.

Other than that little hiccup, this book is wonderfully written and organized, the cover art is inspiring, and I will definitely recommend this book to all my music loving friends.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pillow Wars

I have a pillow. My Mom bought it for me when I was pregnant with my daughter. It's a body pillow. And it's 9 years old. Over the course of my married life, I have cuddled more with this bag o' fluff more than my husband (may have something to do with the period where he worked for the mine and was gone 4 days at a time.) It's lost its color, it's fluffiness, and it's pillowcase. But, after all these years, I have molded it to my body. It's perfect for me. I don't have to sit down and pound on it to get it just the way I want it, it already is. At night this faded blue, patched at least ten times, flattened out bed accessory becomes an extension of me.

For a while there, Mike would fight me for it. After the kids were in bed, it would be a race between the two of us to get to the bed first. As we'd race to the finish line, I would dive and cover my precious pillow. Imagine two toddlers fighting over a favorite toy. There would almost definitely be hair pulling and biting. Some nights he would win, and I would have to wait until he had drifted off into a deep sleep before I could steal it back. Other nights I would get to keep my beloved pillow, then I would wake up in the middle of the night to see him holding it tight, a small smile on his face. Sometimes the winner would be generous and share a part of it. I kept telling him to get his own, but he's just stubborn.

Finally, one day he found one. A nice big, fluffy, colorful, brand new pillow. Wait, why do I like this faded, flattened one?? A new battle ensued. But now he was the one telling me to get my own. More specifically, reminding me that I have my own. I shouldn't need his. Or should I? Then one night it got cold. My faded flannel pillow stays warm underneath the covers. His brand new cotton pillow case does not.

Ok, I don't need his after all. I have mine. But now he wants me to have his! I don't think so. So far, a sort of truce has stopped all the pillow fighting.

Now, instead of fighting each other for them, we have to fight the kids and the dogs for our favorite pillows. The dogs seem to have the same desire for body pillows as we do. Lay out all the pillows on our bed, and inevitably Marley or Darla picks the biggest ones to lay on (Maverick can't get up on the bed, and Daisy just doesn't care where she sits). And while the kids have FINALLY outgrown the sneak-into-mom-and-dads-bed-in-the-middle-of-the-night phase, there are a few instances where they wake up before we do and want to snuggle. Usually I get woken up when my pillow has been replaced by a little girl. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Holidays

I struggle with the commercialism of Jesus' birth. It has become so ingrained in our society that Christmas means shopping, eating, and office parties.

On one hand, I want to make December 25th all about my God, and his Son who came here to save me. On the other hand, I love the looks on my kids faces when they open that shiny, wrapped package and find something they've "ALWAYS wanted!!" It doesn't help that I am married to a man who grew up with an overloaded tree.

Not only do I have to worry about what to buy, when to buy it, and where to hide it, I also have to worry about what food we will eat, who is going to make this food, and when we are going to eat it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to cook and bake, and I will continue the traditions that my Mom passed on to me. But sometimes it is just overwhelming.

It's even more overwhelming with the end of my semester coming up. And registration for next semester starts in about a week. Shopping, gifts, food, and now homework.

Did I write this report well enough? Is this picture worthy of an "A"? Did I turn everything in? What am I taking next semester? When will the advisors be in? What was my grade on this test? Sometimes I want to beat my head against a wall.

These are all fears and worries at the back of my mind. Especially since I would really like to keep those magic numbers next to my name (4.0).

Regardless, I need to concentrate on what this season is about. Jesus is the reason for the season, and all those cliches. So, I need to get over myself, set out my Nativity scene, and enjoy the Christmas season.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Boy who Changed the World/The Butterfly Effect

I got a couple of e-book from booksneeze.com. I don't like e-books. I like to hold a book in my hand, I like to lay on the floor with a book in my hand, getting comfortable in whatever way possible. However, I was bound and determined to try something new.

Both books were written by Andy Andrews. One, The Boy Who Changed the World, is written for children, and the other one, The Butterfly Effect, is geared for the adult set.

Another thing these books have in common is the story. They both tell a type of  'six degrees of separation' story. The connections between Susan & Moses Carver, George Washington Carver, Henry Wallace, and Norman Borlaug are explained.

In The Butterfly Effect, another example is made of Joshua Chamberlain, who led the attack against the Rebels at Gettysburg. Historians argue that had this battle gone any other way, the USA would never have existed.

These stories are told to enlighten the readers of their impact on the world. How one little thing you do can affect millions of people. Even though I think these stories are meant to inspire the reader, I felt a little disappointed. These are stories of great, important people. These people did not start out that way, but in the annals of history the names Gettysburg and George Washington Carver are well known. It is very hard to relate yourself to a historical figure such as that.

Mr. Andrews is definitely not a children's author. The Boy Who Changed the World, while beautifully illustrated, is written in the typical repeating pattern that many children's books employ. However, this repeating pattern is monotonous and hard to follow. While the moral of the story is one every child should learn, not many kids would be willing to sit through this story, my kids included. I am not sure if I would recommend this book.

The Butterfly Effect is written as an inspirational gift book, with only a few sentences or phrases on each page. While this makes for easy reading--I finished this book in about 10 minutes--it reads more as a historical text than a quick, uplifting tale. However, I will recommend this book to people who like to read this type of thing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I know I have mentioned karaoke a few times, but I want to invite you in to our little world.

It used to be the first Saturday of every month, but we have decided to start doing it every Saturday.  So, every weekend, we get all the gear ready and head to the Lodge when Mike gets off of work. Since the Lodge is a private club, smoking is allowed in the bar, so I make sure to take eye drops. Even after all this time I am not used to the smoke. There's a playroom in the back that has a TV, toys, and books for the kids, so they always have something to do when they aren't singing.

I have horrible stage fright. Therefore, I run the equipment, change CDs, even get some homework done, while Mike does all the talking and buttering up the audience/performers, who are all like family. Every once in a while we have someone new, but normally we have the 'usual crowd'. In fact, the usual crowd is so usual, we just keep their song slips in a small box, in alphabetical order. This way, they don't have to search for their songs every time, and we save a LOT of paper.

There's a whole bunch of wonderful people who come sing to us. First, of course, is Mike, my lovely husband who can sing almost any Garth Brooks or George Strait song perfectly. You would swear you were listening to a CD instead of an 'amateur'. And I don't think I am being biased, I've heard others tell him that as well. Since he drives so much for work, he keeps a pad of paper and a pen in the van so he can write down any new songs he wants to sing. Emma sings her Taylor Swift and Martina McBride songs, and Robbie (tries to) sing "Life is A Highway."

We took over from another couple who had been doing it for years, and had finally gotten burned out. They still come and sing, they just don't want to stand up on stage anymore. But since the powers that be have decided to let us sing every week, we're going to take turns with them so we can get a Saturday free every now and then. They sing too, and boy, are they good. You'd swear Jason Aldean and Faith Hill were right in front of you. They have their own equipment at home, so they get to practice. When their kids come and visit, we get a whole family of great singers.

I don't drink, so I get to watch all the shenanigans going on. Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar"? Ok, we don't drink from Mason jars, and there are no hookers, but we get a lot of those characters. And since most of them are regulars, we get them every week.

The majority of our regulars can sing, but there are a few who really need singing lessons. You expect this with any karaoke night, and we all love, or at least, tolerate them. And surprisingly, it doesn't matter how drunk they are (or you are) they still sound the same. Most of them are good-natured, giving as good as they get with the jokes and ribbing.

We have the guy that sounds exactly like Elvis, the girl that sounds like Naomi Judd, and the gentleman that sings Amazing Grace, but only when he's had at least a 12 pack. We also have the drunk girls, who try with all their might to get the same guys to go home with them. Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results? And the teenagers that come with their parents (again, private club) who sing so softly Mike has to turn the mics up as loud as they go so we can catch the whispered words.

When someone new does come in, it's always an experience. Usually, they are not cowboys or rednecks, so they want to sing rock or pop. We do have some rock songs, but this being Show Low Elk's Lodge, most of the singers prefer country. Everyone is polite, clapping when it's over, but no one gets up to dance or sing along. Most of the people like that come once with a friend (if you aren't a member, you have to be signed in by someone who is) and we never see them again.

There is a tradition at the Elks Lodge--I believe at every Lodge around the world--that time stops at 11 pm, so we can remember and honor every Elk who has gone before us. To us members, it's just part of hanging out, but to guests it can be kind of a buzz kill. Regardless, at 11, the music stops, the hats come off, the laughter ceases, and even I join in to sing Auld Lang Syne and God Bless America. After our memorial, Mike starts the music back up and we usually end up shutting the bar down around 2. By then the kids have passed out in the play room, sometimes I even sneak back there and doze off.

We get everything cleaned up, load the kids in the car, and then I drive us home. And even though we don't get to bed until after 3 a.m., I am still up with the kids by 7, and I never miss a Sunday in church. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Heaven is For Real

My latest book from booksneeze.com. It literally took me less than 2 hours to read from cover to cover. (Which is why I am blowing my 'one blog per day' rule to post this one.)

This book is the story of a pastor and his family. More specifically, a pastor and his son. When his son was just shy of 4 years old, he had an emergency appendectomy. During his time under anesthesia, little Colton has a visit with God. Through conversations with Colton, his parents, and now us, learn more and more about Heaven, faith, and where we go when we die.

Even though it is in no way a definitive answer to what we will see when we get to Heaven, it is the incredible story of a little boy's glimpse into the hereafter. Many books have been written by people claiming to have visited the afterlife, but the matter-of-fact and straightforward way that a small, innocent child sees Heaven is something to marvel at.

As someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, seen the effects of debilitating, scary diseases, and has been witness to what a miscarriage can do to a woman and a family, I will definitely be passing this book around for all my friends and family to read.

In the two hours it took me to read this story, I cried, I laughed, I prayed, and I wondered. I hope other people get the same emotions reading this book that I did.

Weak Women

Growing up, I was surrounded by strong women. Strong in the Lord and strong willed, if not strong in body. Now that I know a few weak women, there are times when I feel myself being pulled into their lifestyle of depression, anger, and self pity.

I thought I was strong.

But I am only strong with God at my side. That's why the women I grew up with seemed so capable. They had God, right there with them. As I grew up, and left the 'rock' that I was under, I started learning that not everyone has the faith that I do. The faith that my Mom had, and that my sisters have. Mom and Dad made sure to surround themselves with wonderful, God-fearing, faith filled people. People that I grew up around. And people that I rebelled against. I was shaken for a bit. I doubted my faith for a season or two, but even though there was doubt, it was the size of a flea compared to my faith, and it was very easy for me to fall back into His arms.

It makes me sad, to see women-or men-who's faith is the size of a flea, with doubt filling their hearts. People who's lives could be so much better if they just let go of that doubt and restraint and just give it all to God. Life is hard. For everyone, believers or unbelievers, life can really throw you some lemons. And yes, you can make lemonade. But how sweet is your lemonade going to be? Will you be able to swallow it with a smile or a grimace?  You can squeeze as much juice out of those lemons as possible, but it's not going to taste good until you add sugar to it. My faith is my sugar.

I will never be a weak woman. Not with my Heavenly Father at my side. No matter how much someone tries to bring me down, no matter how many times my emotions are forced down, stepped on, or beaten up, I will get up. I will stand up tall and strong, and I will share my lemonade with the One who made the lemons and gives me the sugar.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I try to stay away from the scary and morbid costumes, but this year Emma decided she wanted to be a witch, and Robbie wanted to be a wizard. So I got some fabric and made a couple of robes. Emma's has pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns on it. Robbie's has stars and shooting stars on his. They each got a hat, and Mike is making Emma an 'authentic' broom. Rob has a wand, too.

I have kind of outgrown the costume thing, and I will never own or wear a seasonal t-shirt. Usually, I grab my big cape with the hood and wear a black dress. Call me what you want. I want to go as Pippy Longstocking this year, but I don't have my striped tights anymore. I may make myself a couple of cat ears...

Whatever we do, we have to make sure to dress warm. Which was not really a big deal when I was growing up in Phoenix. Now that we live somewhere where it freezes at night in October, my daughter cannot be a fairy without wearing long sleeves and pants underneath her skirt, and usually gloves and a hat...

Since their costumes this year consist of robes and hats, they can wear whatever they want underneath, be warm, and still look like what they are supposed to.

I think I decided to go ahead and make those cat ears for myself. So I am off to make them...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In A Rut

I've been blocked lately. Life has gotten to be a bit too hectic, and I am in a rut. To make it worse, all those wonderful old stories I was going to post... Yeah, they're on the desktop computer that is dead.

I keep starting all these new posts, and then I get discouraged, distracted, or disinterested and they go away. I think I need a change. No, I know I need a change.

So, to start off that change, I am going to rearrange the furniture in the living room. Except I need Mike's help to move some of the big stuff. And he's working. I will get it done though. I wish I could rearrange my room too, but there's only one wall that our monstrous Cali King bed will fit on. Blast windows, doors, and closets. They take up too much wall space. And Mike will NEVER give up his big bed.Time to get out of this rut I am in.

Big changes coming soon to our house.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An Early Christmas Present

My newest book from booksneeze.com is a children's Bible. More specifically, an International Children's Bible. This version has computer graphic illustrations, a dictionary and index, and maps.

Now, I can't read the whole thing. Well, I could, it would just take me a while. So I decided to pick one of my favorite stories to read and to scan through the other pages. I chose to read Esther. This version of the Bible is written for children ages 6-12. It is very easy to read, easy to understand. The end notes at the bottom are not numbered, as not to confuse the kids, but they are labeled to find them easily.

The illustrations and maps are modern, with computer graphic images of famous people and events in the Bible. The maps are brightly colored, and simple enough for children to understand and read. I am going to give this Bible to my son for Christmas, so I can't show it to him, but I am sure he will enjoy it. I will definitely be recommending this Bible to other parents.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dreams, Smart Chickens, and Hidden Nests

We've had a decrease in egg production lately, and decided to get rid of the older chickens. We kept the bantam hen, Oddball, and another hen, Wimpy from the old ones, and all of the younger ones.

Before we got rid of all the 'adults', I had a dream that they hadn't stopped laying, but they were hiding them from us to get baby chickens. In my dream, there was a kayak in the coop, (don't ask me why, I have weird dreams) and all the baby chicks were underneath it.

So anyway, I went to check on the remaining chickens this evening, and we couldn't find Oddball. Sometimes they worm their way under the coop, so I got Mike and his flashlight to see if she was under there. We found her, along with 21 eggs. At first we thought all the chickens had been laying under there, but we soon realized that they were all the same size and color, and smaller than the usual eggs we get. Oddball had been protecting her 'babies' by laying them under the coop.

My dream was right! Sort of. Very weird feeling. The bottom of the coop has been blocked off, so hopefully we won't have any more egg hunts.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Winning a HP Netbook

or at least trying to...

The financial aid department is conducting an essay contest for the students at my school. One essay from each campus will be picked, and that student will receive a new HP mini Netbook. I figured what the heck. Want to read my essay? It only took me about 30 minutes to write, so I'm not holding my breath or anything...

How the HP Netbook Mini
Will Help Advance My Studies at NPC
By Elizabeth Hudspeth
It is 6:30 a.m. I roll out of bed, get dressed and head for the kitchen. Breakfasts are made and devoured, lunches are made and packed. At 7:30 the kids and I head to the bus stop. Since it is two miles away, I make sure to leave with plenty of time to account for traffic or delays. Usually, though, we encounter no problems on the way. So I am stuck at the bus stop for at least 15 minutes with nothing to do but yell at the kids to stay out of the street, the mud, and the trees. After the bus collects them, I head out into the world.
We live out in White Mountain Lakes. It is very beautiful out there, however, getting into town is typically an all day event. When I have a class at the college, I plan any other errands that need to be run around my school schedule. Doctors appointments are made with my and the kids school schedules in mind. Girl Scouts events are planned when I know I will be in town. Grocery trips are well thought out and planned. With all this running around, it is inevitable that I will be waiting for something or someone for at least part of the day, just like I wait at the bus stop.
With my calculations, approximately an hour and 45 minutes of my time is wasted every day. During this time, I am away from home, away from a computer, and left with nothing to do. If I am lucky, the AIS lab at the White Mountain Campus might be open, allowing me some time with my school work. Other times, the computer lab at the public library may be open, but is usually full of other like-minded people trying to get some time in front of a computer. Having a laptop will allow me freedom to work on my classes wherever I am, whenever I am stuck with nothing to do, without having to worry about gaining access to a public computer.
All that freedom will allow more of my time to be spent at home with my family. Less of my time will be spent at the library or at school. Since I enrolled at Northland Pioneer College to get my Associates for Administrative Information Services, the majority of my classes are computer based labs. I also have had a few internet courses. Because of this, the majority of my homework is done on the computer. With a lap top, I could sit at the dining room table and work on my homework at the same time my children work on theirs.
I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to go back to school. I work very hard to show my friends and family how much this chance means to me. Without the Pell Grant I was given, without the support my teachers and the staff on campus have shown, and without the hope for the future that my kids have given me, I would not have made it this far. With the HP Netbook Mini, I hope to accomplish so much more.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Old Stuff

A while ago I wrote under a pen name. I will not give it to you, it was a way to anonymously get some stuff off my chest. I just found all my old writings saved on our computer. I think a couple of them are ready to have my name attached to them. So you will see some of my 'free-writing' pop up from time to time. Some of them are truths, some are fiction, some are fiction based on truth. I'll give you a short one for the time being.

Breakfast at my house
Every morning I wake up to the sounds of spoiled children dying of starvation. It does not matter how many times they went back for seconds, or thirds, or fourths, or fifths of dinner last night, in the 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, their bodies have digested all the food in their stomachs, and apparently all their body fat as well.
We have tried discussing the "There are starving children in China" thing, and they don't get it.
So, day after day, I roll my sleep deprived self out of bed, throw on a robe, (where the heck are my glasses?) and go pour a bowl of sugar laden dino puffs for my malnourished children. Half a bowl later, the remnants of some poor dino that's been puffed are in the trash, and my lovely daughter and son are bouncing off the walls. Luckily, I get to pass them off to their teachers during the week. Weekends are worse. There is no one to take them off my hands, and since we don't have the time-to-get-on-the-bus rush, they want me to cook. The house specialty is chocolate chip pancakes--I have the recipe memorized. Which wouldn't be all that bad, except for the maple flavored high fructose corn syrup and powdered sugar they insist on adding to the mess on their plates.
Anyone want a couple of kids for the weekend?

So there you have it. A small taste of my imagination. Except this one isn't very far from the truth.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

One Person

There are a lot of things that one person can do. Lives are changed every day by the actions of just one person.

Good things can happen. But bad things can happen as well. One person can bring about good things, and one person can ruin things for others. Stereotypes are based on the initial actions of one person, and grow because of another person's judgments on those events.

Who was the first person to say that all lawyers are slime? Who was the first person to say all Hippies are dirty, nasty people? Closer to my heart, who was the first person to say that only old ladies knit and crochet?  :-)

I realize the impact that one person can have on a community. Not just a general, 'might affect you' kind of thing, but a real, 'lives are being changed' because of this one person's actions. And in some situations, it saddens me. Thank God they are not all bad situations.

Now, I'm not entirely naive. I know there are bad things and bad people out in the world. But God has blessed me, and I lived/live a very sheltered, protected life. But just because your life sucks does not give you the right to ruin other peoples lives.

What kind of impression do you make? Do your actions ruin people, or do they build people up? Are you more likely to hurt someone's feelings, or are you a person who saves people? I hope I can be the type of person who helps build people up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One step forward, Two steps back.

This adage can apply to a lot of things. We got a new puppy, Daisy, who likes to chew things. Well, she likes to chew everything but her toys. Just when I think she's broken the habit, I end up chasing her around the back yard, trying to get my slipper back.

Grief is like that too. One minute, I'm doing ok, living my life, the next minute I hear a song, and I lose it. I know Mom's in a better place. I know she's up there playing cards, praising God, and sharing stories, but I am selfish. I want her to do those things with me. I just watched a movie called Dim Sum Funeral. It's about a Chinese family coming together when their mother dies. The grief that they struggled with I know all to well. And here comes a spoiler. The mom was playing a trick on the kids, she was still alive, she just wanted to bring them closer together. Not surprisingly, the children are upset, but eventually they come to realize why their mom did it. When their mom walked into the room, my first thought was how jealous I was. Why couldn't my Mom come back?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Christmas in September

I decided to go in a different direction when I chose my last book from booksneeze. I picked a children's book. I will admit, I picked it because the main character's name is Emma.

This picture book is about Emma, and her dog Shu-Shu, who get invited to a birthday party for the King. They bring gifts for the King, but on the way to the castle, they meet people who need the gifts. A cold and hungry child gets a cape and a cake and a small girl gets a teddy bear. When they get to the party, Emma notices that no one is giving a gift to the King. She asks Him why, and He tells her that she knows the true meaning of Christmas.

I read this book to my own Emma, and when I asked her what she liked about the book, she said everything. And that about says it all. The story is one that every child should learn and the artwork is beautiful. This is one of those books that, if I could ever make myself ruin a book, I would cut out the pages and frame them. I will definitely recommend this book to any parent looking to share the true meaning of Christmas to their children.

At the end of the book, it encourages you to go to www.TheKingsAdventure.com to learn different ways to help people in need. As of right now, the website is not ready, but I will keep checking back.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Outlive your Life

Yet again, it seems like God is trying to tell me something. It seems like every time I am struggling with an issue, resources are put in front of me to help me dig out of the hole I have put myself in. This time, it's a new book by Max Lucado, Outlive Your Life. 

This time, Mr. Lucado looks at the book of Acts and the actions of the disciples. He gives modern day insight to the works of these men, called by God to serve and share the word of God. Mr. Lucado also shows us that it is easy for the 'common' man to do uncommon things in the name of God. It's amazing what one person can do to change the lives of many.
As with many of his books, Outlive Your Life is a compilation of different stories, points, and anecdotes, divided into chapters. Max has a way of making the reader look into him-or herself to see the goodness within, and the potential each person has to make a difference. There is a connection that Max makes with each of his readers, that I have yet to see any other author create.
Keep your Bible handy, because there are plenty of references made. The Discussion and Action guide at the back of the book, prepared by David Drury gives even more insight and perspective into Mr. Lucado's stories.
If you are looking to make a change, give more of yourself, or share the Word of God with others, Outlive Your Life is a good place to start.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Be Not Afraid

There are a lot of things I am afraid of. Not the afraid-of-bees-kind of afraid, although they terrify me. More of the afraid-of-failure-kind. Today, I gave voice to my fears. That's really hard, when you do that. It's hard to look at yourself and say, "This is what I fear the most." But once you do, it's really liberating. Because once you know for sure what your afraid of, once you give voice to those fears, it's really easy to figure out a way to overcome them. You can't overcome something if you don't know what it is you need to overcome.

This is one of my Mom's favorite hymns. We sang it at her funeral. I sing it to the kids at night. It brings me comfort when I'm worried, peace when I'm fitful, and memories when I want to remember. It also reminds me that I am safe, no matter what my fears are. 

You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me, and
I will give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side, know that
I am with you through it all.
Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me, and
I will give you rest.

Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me, blessed, blessed are you!
Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me, and
I will give you rest. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I am not a dieter...

...so when I picked this book, Let's Do Lunch, from booksneeze.com, I was not at all sure what to expect.

Since I have never read a book like this before, I'm not sure what is "typical" for a diet/weight loss book. But if this is what they are all like, I will probably never read another one again. The introduction and first chapter read like a brochure. These chapters were all about why you should follow this plan and how wonderful it was, with a few success stories thrown in to butter you up. These success stories follow you throughout the entire book.

As a notoriously picky eater (just ask my family) the promises on the cover of this book  ("Eating all the CALORIES and CARBS you want to lose weight!" and "...common foods that are already in your house into your body in a way that causes it to shed its unwanted baggage.") looked good to me. Except, Mr. Wilson speaks of throwing food away. Food that was "already in his house." Another thing that bothered me was the authors stress that this was not a fruit diet. More appropriately, this is not a "fruit-only" diet. In the third paragraph of chapter 3, Mr. Wilson tells us, "You need to eat as much fresh fruit--especially the sweetest fruits--as you can possibly tolerate putting into your body each and every day..." Sounds like a fruit diet to me.

With any diet book, there will be some that the program works for, and some that it doesn't. I guess this is one book that will not work for me. I am sure there are others out there that it will work for, however. So I cannot say that I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone, just that I will stress the differences each individual has before telling someone to read it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Music plays a big part in my life. Those songwriters really know how to touch your heart, make you say "I know that feeling!"

I have playlists, cd's, mp3 files, and even cassette tapes with music that tells part of my story. Mixed tapes from my pre-pubescent childhood reflect my siblings and parents preferences. CDs from high school that my friends and I listened to constantly. Country songs I used to swear to hate that I've now grown to love, thanks to my lovely husband. Early Mommy music, full of Mary had a Little Lamb and the ABC's.

Notice how that whole paragraph is filled with other peoples choices. In almost all aspects of my life I find it easier to go along with others decisions. But finally, I feel like I have music that's all my own. It took a lot of growing up, a lot of "I don't care what others say about me", and a lot of reflection. Oh, I know I'm not the only one who likes this music, but it's my choice now, not anyone elses.

My cell phone is an mp3 player, saves me from having to carry around something else in my purse. The radio stations up here don't have a lot of variety, so I listen to my cell phone music driving around. I have the Windows Media Player open on my computer most of the time, playing my favorites while I work. Other times, my playlist.com account is open, belting out tunes. Sometimes it's really easy to get lost in a good song.

Of course, listening to that old music brings back plenty of memories. Testify to Love will always remind me of spending time with my sister, just like Kathy Troccoli will remind me of times spent with both sisters. Hymns remind me of my Mom, along with all the "Mom songs" out there-Thank You Mom by Good Charlotte, Sissy's Song by Alan Jackson. Whenever I hear How Great Thou Art I remember walking with my aunt behind my Mommy's casket at her funeral. The Twist reminds me of Daddy at my parents 25th Anniversary. The music I remember listening to with my brother is ZZTop. Stellar Kart, Overflow, Ever Stays Red, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Sanctus Real are all bands that my bestest friend and I LOVE, and most of them we've even seen in concert. Cowboy Take me Away is how I feel about Mike, and Hole in my Head is an anthem to old boyfriends that a friend and I share. Overflow's Cry on my Shoulder is the song I would sing to Emma if I couldn't find the words she needed to hear. Kenny G brings back special times, just like Jewel reminds me of driving around Phoenix with good friends. Marisy Dotes is a song that Mom sang to me, that I sing to my kids. And my children fall asleep to my--poorly sung--version of Amazing Grace.

Maybe that's why I like music so much, it helps remind me of times I may otherwise forget. Whatever the reason, music is part of who I am, my portal to another time and place. Pushing play brings peace to my world.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The start of another semester

School starts today. For me, I mean. The kids started last week. My actual classes don't start until Monday, but my internet class has started today. Have I mentioned before that I dislike internet courses? I really like having an instructor there face to face. I struggled with my last class. Unfortunately, this required class is only available via internet. I could have chosen a different class to take--this being a 'pick a 3 credit course from Arts & Humanities'--but I have roots in theater, and decided to get back into it. Except Intro to Theater is not the same intro as in high school.
This is more of a History of Theater. Which is not what I expected, but it sounds fun. So, I will try the internet class one more time. Who knows, it may grow on me.
I am also taking business math. Let me tell you how much that terrifies me. I am no good at math. AND I am so worried about losing my 4.0 over this stupid course, that as soon as I got my book, I started working on the exercises. The first chapter is basic addition and subtraction, and I'm already having problems with it. Of course, the problems I am struggling with use millions and billions, but it's still sad that I am having such a hard time. 
After school starts, girl scouts starts again. Emma is bridging to Brownies this weekend. I still have my uniform, so she's going to wear it. She's also going to have a new sash with some of my old patches on it. I decided to recycle and save some money. Although it didn't really matter, I had $10 worth of gift certificates for the girl scout shop. Instead of patches, however, I decided to buy her a cute pair of leggings that she can wear under some of her skirts.
The kids are outside playing right now, having gotten ready for school 40 minutes early. I think I'm going to go throw some balls with them.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Comedy of Errors

Yesterday, there was a hummingbird catch, tag, & release, along with lectures, displays, specialists, and a whole bunch of other stuff. We decided to go. Which was our mistake. It's about an hour drive to the reserve where the event was going on. My mother-in-law, the kids, and I got up early, and left for the wildlife preserve at 6:30 a.m. Forty-five minutes later, we cleared the open, empty range, and hit town limits. Coming down the hill, into town, the car decided to die on us. Still another 15+ miles from the event.

This has happened before, and usually the car needs to sit and rest a while before she decides to start up again. So we decided to sit where we were (at the entrance to an RV park) and wait it out. Except the car did not want to start. Well, it wanted to, but it didn't. With cars whizzing past us, (no one stopped until we had finished) Emma steered while the grown ups pushed, and we moved the car about 3/4 mile down the road to a gas station. Or, at least, what we thought was a gas station. The kids had to go to the bathroom, so we walked up to the doors to see nothing but a mop bucket in the building. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING...

After determining that my lovely husband could not come and rescue us right away, we decided to walk into town. Not entirely sure exactly how far it was, but it was at least a mile. My kids are not walkers. They are whiners.

McDonald's for lunch, the general store for time wasting, and Napa for the price of parts. Three hours later, we notice how dark the sky is getting, and head back to the car to wait for my knight-in-shining-Chevy to arrive with help.

On our way back, we discovered wild watermelon plants with baby watermelon growing on the side of the road. Deciding to kill more time, we found things we could use to dig up some smaller plants, and unearthed 3 small watermelon vines. The kids had fun digging for worms, getting muddy, and playing with roly-poly bugs. After this, we sat in the car as a monsoon storm rolled our way. Leaning the front seats all the way back, Emma and Rob gave Nancy and I 'makeovers', manicures, and massages.

Once the storm passed, the kids started getting antsy, so we let them run around the parking lot while the adults sat in the car, solving crossword puzzles and laughing at the other motorists who made the same mistake we did in assuming the gas station was operational. An hour before Mike got there, a police officer finally decides to show up and see if we need help. No, thank you...WHERE WERE YOU THIS MORNING??

I don't know if you've seen "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", but it's the original (1963) to the more recent (2001) adaptation, "Rat Race." Anyhow, there's a scene where actor Dick Shawn is in a hurry to save his 'Mama', played by Ethel Merman, from horrible circumstances. I had visions of my husband driving just like this to get to us.

As I was sharing this thought with my MIL, who shows up, but Mike himself! We got the car loaded on the trailer he brought, stopped to go to the bathroom one last time, and headed home. Twelve hours after we left that morning.

Thank God we were close enough to town to walk. If we had been even 2 miles back, there's no telling what would have happened. As it was, there was a reason we didn't make it to the hummingbird thing. Who knows what it was, but we still had fun.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Angels, Memories, and Technical Difficulties

Got a new book! I was getting burned out on the self-help/non-fiction, so I picked a fiction book this time. Hopefully, I can do it justice. The title is Angel Song, and it was written by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman.

I read the back of the book before I dove into it, and right away noticed a typographical error. Normally, I probably would not have minded, but it brings my Mom to mind. The main character's name is Ann, sometimes Annie, but on the back cover, her name is Anne. Same name, different spelling. Slightly irritating, but did not take away from the story.

The struggle Ann faces is one I am familiar with. I, too, have lost a loved one. Although there are different circumstances, the pain and anguish is very much the same. My connection to the main character was almost instant, and very personal.

This book brought back many memories for me. It helped me relive the good times, understand the bad ones a bit better, and love my life all the more for the family, faith, and stories I have to share.

This would have been posted sooner, but we had some issues with our internet and a storm that passed our way. But I'm back now, barring any unforeseen problems.

All in all, this was a very, very good read. The characters were believable and real. The imagery was vivid enough to put me in their homes, in their work, and with them emotionally. I love being able to close my eyes, see the characters and their surroundings, and immerse myself into their world. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Learning new things

When I first started teaching myself to knit and crochet, I was content with simple projects that were quick and easy. In fact, the first thing I made was a hat from a book of quick 2-8 hour projects. Of course, it took me about 2 weeks to finish it, but I did it!

Now that I have started going outside my comfort zone, working on projects that challenge me a bit, I have set my sights on some of the more advanced techniques. It feels very...stimulating, refreshing...I can't quite put it into words--when you master a new skill.

There is a special way to start some crochet projects called the Magic Circle. I tried to learn it a few months ago, with no luck. So I have a stack of projects/crafts that I would love to make, but cannot start. So today, I decided to try again. And now I cannot even fathom why I couldn't do it in the first place. All of a sudden it seems so easy to me.

Maybe now I can start some of those projects I have been wanting to. I am hoping that this sudden clarity works in other areas of my life as well. Who knows, this might start a whole new trend.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cast of Characters

I love Max Lucado. When we lived down in the Valley, I studied a few of his books with my church group. So when I saw this book, I had to have it.

More of the same thing:

On the cover, it says "From the writings of Max Lucado" If you have read any of his other works, do not be surprised to find yourself reading some familiar stories. As irritated as this made me--why should I take up space on my bookshelf for more of the same stories--the way they were combined and presented opened a whole new viewpoint. This was the only fault I found with this book.

As with his other books, the reflection and discussion questions gave me a lot of insight to myself. His easy to read, conversational style of writing makes for a quick read. Get ready to have your bible handy, cross references abound. Just as with his other writings, Mr. Lucado has this great ability to make the people in the bible as familiar to me as my next door neighbor. He also has a great sense of humor. I laughed, I cried, I love this book!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Best Friends, Great Books, and Good Yarn

Working on a couple of crochet/knit projects. Trying to use up the yarn I have, slowly but surely. Made a small frog for a friend (no, I am not keeping it for myself!) But I am working on a purse for me, and I have everything I need to make myself a pair of socks.

I also got my new book from booksneeze.com. Cast of Characters by Max Lucado. One of my favorite authors EVER! Still working on a couple of other novels and non fiction. I hate having more than one book going at a time, but it is nice to have a change of pace every now and then.

And for the best news ever!!!! D & A & B came to visit me!!! I havn't seen her in at least 3 years, and I hadn't ever seen the baby. Even though there isn't too much to do in our little hick town, it was great to spend time with them.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Hole in Our Gospel

My latest booksneeze.com acquisition is the book by Richard Stearns, entitled The Hole in Our Gospel. He is the president of World Vision U.S.
This issue is something I have struggled with. On one hand, the suffering of the poor people around the world is a heartbreaking and desperate situation, one that Mr. Stearns gives us insight to throughout this book. On a...political, or patriotic...note, I believe that our money and attention needs to be focused on the poor in our own country. The downtrodden outside our own door.
The biblical and moral teachings that the author touches on are very important in ones faith walk, and the way he intersperses those with the stories of families and people in other countries shows the reader where his or her faith walk should lead.
The problem with this book is that there are so many different needs and organizations in this world that it's hard for the average christian to help them all. It's very easy for the 'monetarily blessed' to pass around money to different non-profits. The people struggling to make ends meet, who still give 10% to their church, sometimes that 10% is all they can afford.
At times, this book seemed to be an advertising ploy to get the reader to donate to World Vision. If it weren't for the biblical teachings, I probably would not recommend this book to anyone. As it is, I say read it. If you feel compelled to give to a philanthropic organization, more power to you. If all you get out of it is a closer walk with God, than this book was worth it. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Plans

Never go quite as you want them to. But we are plugging along.

The kids had church camp to start off the month of June. That went better than expected. We got 12 new baby chickens, bringing our total to 50. Then we lost a couple, and now we're at 48.

After church camp, we did Girl Scout camp. Except I got sick the last day, so we missed the water fun. But the good news, I guess you could call it that, is that we finally got Emma into the eye doctor. She inherited the bad eyes that run in the family, all the way back to her great-grandparents. So we got to order her glasses.

The week after all this, we started VBS at our church. Now, our church home is small, compared to most. Beside my 2 lovely children, there are two others, and that's it for the youth program. Pastor had put up signs around our community, inviting children to come have fun for a week at VBS. Monday morning, it was just the 4 kids that are there every Sunday. But, with lots of prayer and perseverance, we have grown to 9 children. Which may seem small to most, but we did have one boy ask if he could come to church every Sunday. I would have to say that's a win.

Oh, yeah, and we got a goat...

Next week is the boy's birthday. I was going to have a big party, but with all that has been going on, I didn't get the invitations out, or anything planned, really. So we decided to have a couple of friends over, grill some burgers and chicken, and let the kids play on the PS3. Rob is getting a lot of games for his birthday.

I am currently trying to multitask, with helping out at VBS, reading my booksneeze.com book, another Jennifer Crusie book, and take care of the animals. So you should see my review of The Hole in Our Gospel soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Crazy Month!!

May was hectic to say the least. And it looks like June is not going to be any easier. My calendar is already booked, and it's only the 2nd. The good thing, though is that school is out for the summer. I passed all my classes, and held onto my 4.0!! YEAH! The kids both got promoted to the next grade--we all knew that was going to happen.

Some friends of ours have opened a feed store here in town, and I have been helping out over there a few times a week. Seems like it may turn into at least a part time job.

Mike and his Ritual team from the Elks Lodge went to the state competition. Mike brought home the Most Impressive trophy for his chair. Unfortunately, the team as a whole did not win, but they did pretty good. I was very proud of Mike for all his hard work practicing for the competition.

This past week was very stressful for me. I woke up Friday morning with a pain in my side, that felt suspiciously like a kidney infection. I've had lots of those in my life. I was just going to power through it, but ended up going to urgent care. After a 2 hour wait, the doctor there saw me for 2 minutes and said "go to the ER." So I went. And waited another 2 hours to be seen. Then I got drugs to numb the pain, and had test after test done.

So here I am, dying from what I know is a kidney infection, in pain, patiently waiting for some more pain medicine (if you can call crying in agony patiently waiting) when the doctor comes in and basically tells me there is nothing wrong with me. In a very rude tone. Then the nurse comes in with my discharge papers and a couple of pills. No water. Thanks, stinky people.

And of course, it is a 3 day weekend, so I have to wait until Tuesday to do anything. Finally get an appointment with a very cool urologist. All he did was look at my test results from the ER, and say, "You have a kidney infection." DUH!!

Now I have the antibiotics I need, and more answers that the ER was unable to give me. There's actually more on the urology visit, but I will save that for later because I am tired.

What a month. Let's not repeat.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Being a Tooth Fairy is Hard Work

The #1 reason to have a night light in the kids room? Because if there is no light, the tooth fairy cannot see where the tooth pillow is. Then when she does find it, she cannot get the button undone. Once the pocket has been opened-without any light-the tooth fairy is likely to DROP the tooth (luckily on her foot, so she found it by touch.)  After the tooth has been retrieved, the tooth fairy must then figure out how to get the dollar in the same little pocket that the tooth was in. All this must be accomplished without waking the sleeping children and blowing her cover. Being a tooth fairy is hard work...

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Thing that Sucks About Small Town Life

I love living here, don't get me wrong. This is a great place to raise kids, I have met some wonderful people, and I am at a school I love (literally, I'm writing this in the computer lab.)

There are some downsides to small town life, however. Take today for instance. I had to go to the doctors this morning and get some blood work done. After that, I have nothing to do until Rob gets out of school at 11:30.

In a big town, I could go to the mall, library, friends house, or even go home between errands. Out here, unfortunately, there is no mall. Strip malls and Walmart are the closest things to a mall that we have. And I do not feel up to walking around Walmart in the middle of their renovations. Looking for shoes for the kids last week was a nightmare.

I could go to the library, but I've pretty much devoured all the books that I am interested in over there, and the computer lab attendant is mean. I try to avoid it at all costs.

Since I could not eat before the phlebotonist had gotten her fill of my blood, the first item on my to do list was get food. I had heard good things about a local coffee shop, so I decided to stop there. I don't drink coffee, I'm an Italian soda and hot chocolate kind of girl. So I asked for an Italian cream soda with cherry. Like I always do when I am at a coffee shop. Oops, no cherry. Bummer. OK, plan B, hot chocolate.

Alright, I am kind of bummed that I could not get my lovely cherry drink, but the hot chocolate was yummy. As was the bagel sandwich I had. Now what? It's still to early for any of the shops to be open (another downside to small town life and mom and pop shops. they open when they want, close when they want, and it is suprising to see the times on the signs match the times they are actually there.)

So here I am at the college. Finishing the work I was supposed to finish tomorrow (yeah for finally being ahead!!) and waiting impatiently for 11:15 to roll around so I can grab the boy from school and take him to his first ever dentist appointment. Should be fun...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The day I received my new book from booksneeze, I received a couple of others that I had ordered. I faced a serious dilemma--read the new book and review it, read a book by my favorite author, or read a book that I love but never got to own (until now.) I tried to multitask, but with school, girl scouts, census stuff, crochet stuff, and everything else books got kind of put on hold. So I finally finished The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster.

Reading this book was like swallowing nasty medicine. I know it's good for me, it is beneficial, but boy, is it hard to take. There were so many contradictions, and side notes, and commentary, I scratched my head a lot, and did a lot of flipping pages. I think if you are looking for a different perspective on pilgrimage, this is a good book. If you are looking for a Christian take on what a spiritual journey really is, look somewhere else.

As a recommendation, I would rather let you borrow my copy than tell you to go out and buy your own.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A finished Mom project

When I received the rest of Mom's knitting and crochet stuff, I found a handwritten pattern for a rosary case. Once I got good at crochet, I decided to make one. Well, I made it, and it actually turned out looking good. I passed it on to my sister, but I am in the process of making a second one for the other sister.

I decided that I want to put this pattern out for everyone to see and use. I don't think Mom would mind. So below is the pattern. Enjoy!!

Rosary Case


size 2 or 3 crochet hook
crochet thread, whatever color desired
yarn needle
(if you want a liner, you need a small amount of satin or desired fabric and sewing thread in similar or complementary color and a sewing needle)


Chain 23.
Dc 3rd chain from hook. Twenty dc across. (21 total) Chain 3, turn.
Dc 20 across, 21 total.
Do this for 28 rows.
Row 29-chain 4, dc in 3rd space from hook. Dc across until 18 sp, skip sp 19 and 20, dc in last space.
Decrease this way until you reach 4 dc.
Chain 4 for button hole.
Break off.

At this point, if you want to sew a liner in, stitch fabric to the crocheted case.
Fold, join with slip stitch, single chain to edge.
Set the button where you want it, and stitch it in with yarn needle.

And that's it. It took me some frogging to figure out the decreases, but I finally got the hang of it. And I am a newbie when it comes to crocheting.

This can be used for jewelry, rings, change, anything small that you want a holder for.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stuff, Things, Material Possessions

I have noticed in myself lately, the desire to simplify. There are a number of different factors that have accounted for my wish to declutter and clean up my home, my life, and my to-do list.

My original plan was to fill up a large trash bag with things to get rid of, and haul it off to the thrift store. Then one bag became two, and there are some glass and breakable things in a box, to keep them from being destroyed. Every day I find something new to remove from its dusty, neglected resting place. There may be enough stuff when I am done to hold a yard sale big enough to finance a family vacation. Who knows?

My husband accuses me of being a pack rat, when in reality, he is the one with the problem. When we moved a year ago, my goal was to empty every single box, except, of course, the seasonal decorations that would drive me crazy if they were left up too long. Now I am proud to say that the only boxes I have in the shed are marked "Christmas", "Easter", and "Halloween".

But next to my 3 or 4 holiday boxes are a dozen more marked "Mike's Stuff", "Mike's Misc.", and the ones he marked himself, "Mike's s***". As I was going through our belongings, attempting to remove things I no longer wish to keep--old candles that have never been burned, movies that we watched once and have never looked at since--I kept finding things returned to their original spots. And I am the pack rat??

Some people may be surprised to see that one bag is full of frogs. Stuffed frogs to be exact. I think I have graduated from the adolescent desire to cuddle with a stuffed animal. I kept a few, such as the frog that started it all (thanks, CJ!) and the one that held the box with the ring the night Mike proposed and the one I bought in Italy, but quite a few are going to go to a new home. And my figurines are right on the shelf where they belong. Too many memories there to get rid of them.

My next project is my CDs. This huge tower with at least 100 discs that no one ever listens to, will most likely end up empty except for my Christmas and Christian music. Oh, and Emma's Taylor Swift karaoke CD. After that, I may move onto my books..."may" being the operative word, there.

Another thing I wish to empty is my dresser full of fabric. Projects are in the works for skirts for Emma and me, shirts for all of us, and various other things. Why have the fabric if it is not being used? On that same note, my yarn stash from Mom is slowly but surely being reduced.

My goal is to be done removing stuff by the end of the school year. With the yard sale I now plan to have, perhaps a trip somewhere fun will be in the works for the summer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break, and a New Book

It's spring break here at our home. Luckily, Emma waited to get sick until school was out.... Now we're fighting a fever and sore throat. Yeah!!

I got a new book from Booksneeze, too. This one is by Sheila Walsh. "Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God. Oh my. I must say, I cried through most of it. Her story, the events, and the bible stories she used, was just what I needed in my life right now. Any woman who has struggled with anything in their lives really needs to pick this one up.

I can't wait to see what book I get next!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Government work and Picture Taking

Don't know if I mentioned the fact that I was hired on to work the census. I went to the training for 4 days, and was thrown out into the world to fend for myself. They had told us that it was going to be at least 3 weeks of work. Well, I worked for 2 days. TWO DAYS!! So much for this wonderful pay check I thought was coming. Our "Assigned Area" (AA) took 12 people 6 days to complete. So here I am thinking that I am done, blessing/curse, and then I get a call. They want me to work in another AA. Good. More work means more money, and this AA is closer to home anyways. Good for me!!

I have yet to start my work for my photography classes. I finally got my color paper, but it came in 200+ foot rolls, and I need to get to school so I can spend 4 hours cutting it into manageable sheets of paper. I have taken 2 rolls of film though. For my advanced photography class, I have decided to do a study on hands. Working hands, idle hands, playing hands, etc. Should be interesting. Got pictures of the drive through worker at McD's, the kids, my husband, my MIL, my preacher, and his wife-the pianist. I want to take as many as I possibly can, though, so I still have another roll to go.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Finished Projects and New Ones

I finished the hat for Emma that I was knitting. She says it doesn't cover her ears, so it looks like I may have to make her another one. I haven't decided yet...

I also found a pattern for a crocheted bun cover, like the ones Mom used to have. That was pretty simple to make. I finished it in just a couple of days.

Another 'project' I have finished was the book that my sis-in-law wrote. I was hooked, and now I am waiting for her to finish the second book. If you are interested in the sci-fi/fantasy stuff, check it out! Support a newly published author!!

As for new projects, I finally got hired with the census bureau and started my training today. Looks like it's going to be a good way to make some money! I am a little concerned about my ability to balance work, school, church stuff, the kids, and the housework. Now I can add part-time employee to full time student and stay at home mom. Is it possible to have two full time jobs and one part time job? (8+8+4=20) I guess I don't get much sleep...

As of right now, it's only for about a month, so we'll see how I do, and if I can cut it. I think after this, though, I need to wait until I am either done with school, or the boy is in school full time...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This is the Week/Month of Illness

Luckily, it is not me, or my kids, mostly extended family, but it still sucks!! First my MIL, then my SIL, then my GIL (Grandma-in-law??) I would say that it must be the water, but none of them live in the same town, so that theory is blown out of the water.

On another note, we are becoming more and more hillbilly, if you can believe it! Currently under construction in the back yard is a 20 foot by 20 foot by 6 foot high....Chicken coop. Soon to house over 40 chickens and 3 turkeys. The gentleman who has them now is a customer of my husbands. Seeing as how he can make instant friends with just about anyone, it did not suprise me when he told me of the gentleman and his predicament, and his chickens.

Apparently, the client is an older gentleman with no children (no living children??), no wife (ex-wife, hasn't spoken to her in decades), and no family left. He's going in for surgery soon, and while he has friends who will come and check up on him, no one seems to be able to care for him and the poultry.

So, since we have always talked about having chickens, my lovely husband told him we'd buy his chickens. He gave us wood for building a coop, and instructions on how to build it, and we are almost done with it. Of course, our decision to use a broke down, empty trailer as a roost for them made our work a little easier.

It seems, with this news, that we will have fresh farm eggs for sale. At least a dozen a day. Too bad I don't like eggs!

PS. On a school related note, I sent in my FAFSA information, so I should hear from the school in the next week or two on how much I get for next semester. Fun Stuff!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tithing, Test Me in This

My review of Tithing: Test Me in This. This book was not what I expected at all. I wasn't sure what to expect, quite honestly. It blended nicely the use of Biblical text and real world situations to show tithing as more than an "old, outdated practice." Each chapter is written using it's subjects verbage and wording, which gives it a nice variety. My only problem is that chapter 7 is written in very technical terms, and for a non-business person, can be hard to understand. The ending left me a little confused, but other than that, it was a wonderful, well written book.

Booksneeze & my First Review

A few weeks ago I found a website called booksneeze.com. This is a program that bloggers can sign up for. You get to pick a book to read and review. Then, here's the best part, you get to keep the book you pick.
When I signed up, there was only one book available for review. A book on tithing. In fact, the title is Tithing. Since I have been struggling with this particular practice, I thought it appropriate that it would be the first book I read.
So I am going to review it, here and on christianbooks.com. Then I am going to get another book to read.

This is great!! Anything for a free book!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I think someone was playing a trick on me...

I started this project with some of Mom's old house dresses. Cut them into squares, and made little pillows for the grand kids. I got creative, and decided to put little pockets on them, so that each kid could have a picture of themselves with Grandma D.
So I need pictures now. I really wanted ones of just the grand kid that gets the pillow, and Grandma. We have so many pictures of ALL the grandchildren with Mom and Dad, I wanted it to be something special.
So I had my sister send me some pics of her kids and Mom. Problem is, she wrote on the back of them with permanent marker, then stuck them all together. So a couple of them have black writing on them.
My Monday night instructor is really good with Photoshop, so I asked him to show me what to do to remove the smudges from the photos. So we sit down at the computer tonight, and start scanning pictures. Except the scanner decided to be all crazy, and even though it did the work it was supposed to, it did not read the pictures. All that was coming up was a blank white screen.
We tried everything. Switching computers, restarting everything, unplugging things, and even uninstalling stuff. With no luck. So, no pictures tonight. Hopefully the computer will work on Wednesday night and I can at least get the stuff scanned into the computer!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kinda disappointed...

A new pizza place opened up near the kids bus stop. The week they opened, Mike had monday off, so we decided to check it out. With all the balloons and grand opening signs, we were suprised to see the closed sign on the door. Apparently they had thier grand opening that Sunday, but are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Not sure why the balloons and stuff were still up, but whatever....

So today, I decided to make pizza for lunch after church. As we drove past, I had a flash of inspiration, and we stopped in. The sign said open at noon, and it was 12:45. Now, I know that making pizza takes a while, so I was willing to hang out for an hour or so, until the owner said that the oven hadn't been turned on yet, and it may take up to 2 hours before the pizza was ready. WHAT? So we chose hot dogs for the kids, and I picked thier Sunday Special, a grilled chicken sandwich.

Got home, and the kids food was good apparently, because it was gone in less than 2 minutes. My sandwich, however, had almost no flavor. I had to fix it up with my own special ingredients. We'll have to try the pizza one day, hopefully it will be a better experience than the past two we have had.

On another note, I brought my camera with me to church today, and was able to take some pics. I hope they turn out ok!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

GAS= Gear Acquisition Syndrom

This horrible disease is common with most hobbies. Take up scrapbooking? You MUST have all the gadgets and doodads required to perfect your albums. How about painting? There are thousands of paintbrushes and canvases and paints out there, and you have to have them all!!

The problem with some of these hobbies is that they can be expensive. Take photography, for instance. Even if you are digital, well, especially if you are digital, prices for a camera can range from hundreds to thousands.

For us "analog" photographers, you really need to be in the right place at the right time in order to even discover the gear you prefer to use. I mean, I have been really lucky to get the items I have in my possession. I mean, look at what I have:

  1. Asahi Pentax K1000...............with 2 lenses, flash, and a decent case, acquired when my in-laws split.
  2. Kodak Retinette IA.................German engineered, hung in my parents closet for as long as I can remember. Unusable, shutter is stuck. VERY hard to find someone I would trust to repair it. Came with light meter, flash cube and fitted hard case.
  3. Canon AE-1...............................also with 2 lenses and a case with lots of storage. This is the one my instructor found for me. Battery issues-one battery lasts only one roll of film. Not very economical.
  4. Mamiya/Sekor 528TL............This one I was very lucky to get a deal on. Original price: $125. Markdown from great thrift store clerk: $25. Has 3 lenses (technically--don't ask...well, you can if you want), flash, and really bad case. Not sure how well it works yet, still have a roll of film in the back. Processing coming soon.
  5. Yashica FR II...........................My latest and greatest. Given to me by a friend who owns a self-storage facility. Left over from a renter, been sitting in a box for years. Comes with 3 lenses (more coming soon, I hear), flash bar, automatic winder, and really, really nice case.

To summarize, I have, in my possession: five cameras, five cases, four flashes, ten lenses (maybe more), automatic winder, and an external light meter (the other cameras have an internal one)

That isn't counting my 2 digital cameras-one of which the screen is broken, the cases for those, and the extra couple of useless camera bags that I have saved from destruction or the trash heap and cannot bring myself to get rid of.

And I am always on the lookout for more. And more, and more. I have a bad case of GAS... LOL!

PS- I did not take into account my darkroom items. Enlarger, frame, trays, chemicals and chemical containers, safety light, film canister, clock, lenses, and film holders. I still need a timer and tongs.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It really sucks when...

You are up to your elbows in soapy dishwater, and you look out the kitchen window, and you see two nice, BIG elk in your backyard. Then, all you can find is your digital camera, and you forget you are in your slippers, and you run out the door. Then your feet fall off, because you stepped in a nice pile of snow, and the elks kinda mosey off while you are hopping around cursing the snow, and the rain that started coming down.
Oh, then you get your snow boots on, and find the other camera, but then realize that you forgot your plastic to keep the camera safe and dry. So now, you're running in the snow and rain, with your cameras under your jacket, trying desperately to find these big, beautiful elk, just so you can take a picture, when you realize that they are gone. Gone. GONE. And you missed the shot...

Monday, January 25, 2010


As some of you may know, I love photography. A lot. So, I was messing around here on blogger--when I should have been doing homework--and looking at random blogs. While the photography ones interested me, it took forever for some of the pics to load. Which is a bummer, and why I don't post very many of my pics on here....Wait, have I posted any photos on here? I can't remember. How horrible.
See, my thinking is that if I get/am good enough, I could have an art show. But if all these pictures of mine are online for all to see, who's going to want to go to a gallery to see them? But then it's a kinda catch-22, because if I don't get my works out there, when someone sees "Photographs by Beth H." they're going to think "Who??" instead of "Oh, yeah! I've seen her work online!"
And that is my ultimate goal. While taking pics of kids and weddings is fun, it's work, not art. And I want to be an artist.
So I might decide to put one or two of my pictures on here eventually, but if you want to see how good I really am, you're going to have to wait for that gallery to find me and make me famous...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Something I want to do

Mom always said she wanted to volunteer in a hospital maternity ward, where she could cuddle newborns and give advice to new moms. The closest she ever got to that was working the front desk at a local hospital.
I want to start that. I want to do that. For Mom. Grandma D Ministries.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Snow Daze

Classic play on words. Been around forever. And I feel no shame at stealing it for my use. Except, it's not quite accurate, because while town has been overrun by the white fluffy stuff, our little home on the outskirts has become waterlogged. Nothin' but rain, rain, rain over here.
So it's very hard for me to fathom the reasoning behind the superintendent's desire to call a snow day. But my husband says it is definitely worse in town, so I will take his word for it. It would be kinda rude for me to assume that Mr. Superintendent has a desire to make me lose my mind.
Although I think that is what the kids are trying to do. We would be playing outside in the snow, IF THERE WAS SNOW!! We would be playing a game, if they decided to pick up the mess in their room, and we would be watching a movie, if they didn't get up and leave five minutes after I put it in.
On an up note, I joined a new website<<<<----- see the link on the side. Free books to review is always a good thing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yet Again I Shirk My Duties....

So much for getting on here more!
I was cruising Blogs today, and I had a thought... Does anyone really read me? I mean, read my blog? I have not told family I am on here, and only a few friends. So what can I do to get my name out there? How do I make myself appealing to the masses?
It is almost every person's desire to be known. To be recognised, famous, etc. Why should I be any different. I want that. I want my name to be written down in the history books. But more importantly, I want my Mom's life to be known. It's like that song, by Jamie O'Neal, Somebody's Hero. Neither Mom nor I will actually make it in the annals of Motherhood, except for our own children, but that would be a wonderful accomplishment.
I would love to tell Mom's story. Write it all down, what she went through, what she suffered, Who she worshiped, and what she gained happiness from. Would I be able to do her justice? And if I am going to start this journey, I need all the help I can get from Dad, the Aunties, and my Uncle. Would I be able to make something they approve of?
Can I get Mom's story told without deviating? Will my writings be fact or fiction? Can I keep my heart out of the way and tell everything as she would have wanted me to?
I worry that if I do start a project such as this, I will fail supremely. Already in my life, I have failed Mom. And although I sought her forgiveness, and it was freely given, my heart hurts for the fact that I could not prove myself worthy of that forgiveness before she left. My only comfort is that she is watching me now, and I like to think that she approves of my life right now.
I have so many unanswered questions in my life. So many things I don't know if I will ever figure them out. But I plug along, for the sake of my children, my family, and my sanity.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The New Year

Wow, we are dull. This was my New Years Eve night:

11:30 p.m.- We finished watching Inglorious Bastards **not my favorite, but OK** and I got in the shower.
11:50 p.m.- PJs on and in bed. "turn it to channel 5, hon, lets see what's on." Nothing, so he goes back to the demolition derby show.
11:58 p.m.- Demolition derby over, back to channel 5.
12:00 a.m.- "Happy New Year's Babe" kiss, kiss. Roll over... and he's snoring already....

I slowed down my drinking over the last year, for 2 reasons. One, drinking doesn't make me happy, it makes me tired. I would rather stay awake at a bar...And two, I avoid vomiting as much as I can in everyday life, why would I want to make myself so sick I can't avoid it??

So, I was sober, my husband had a beer or two, and that was the extent of our partying. Fun stuff.

And then, we both slept through the alarm this morning... Whoops! How lame are we??