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.

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.