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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thoughts on Grace

I have a hard time with grace. I'm often caught up with the idea of justice. Bad people deserve bad things. Good people deserve good things. Which makes sense in our world, but not in the Biblical world view. Loving your neighbor, forgiving people who do wrong to you, and all that jazz. It sounds great, in theory. And you know, I'd love for people to do that for me. I get frustrated because I don't see it practiced enough in the world.

Yesterday, I was at the grocery store, minding my own business. Then, WHAM! A lady backs into me. Actually, it wasn't so much as a wham, but a tap. I was shocked, and for an instant, kind of mad. But then, I saw the look on her face, as she realized what she'd done. The woman was mortified. And something about it made me think that she might have even been a bit devastated. In that instant, I wondered how I'd feel in her shoes. I'd have been terrified, both of dealing with an irate person I'd just hit, and of the expense of repairing damage. Especially because we really can't afford to deal with something like that.

We got out of our cars, and she kept apologizing, almost on the verge of tears. I told her it was no big deal. The part of the car she'd hit was one that was already damaged. It would have been easy to say, sure, give me your insurance info, and we'll get it all taken care of. I have no way of telling what she did, and what damage was preexisting. Probably the insurance company would have taken care of most of it, if not all of it. I realized, though, what she needed at that moment was a little bit of grace. To hear me say, "It's okay," and move on. I didn't accept her insurance info, nor did I accept her name and contact info. I didn't want it. I wanted her to go home with the knowledge that there is some grace left in the world. I wanted her to sleep soundly, without having to worry if her insurance rates would go up. I wanted her to know that not everyone is looking to scam someone else.

That particular damaged door has always had a little quirk in terms of not closing properly. It's now much worse. Will I have to get it fixed now, after all these years of dealing with the quirk and keeping it duct taped? Probably. Will it cost me money that I really didn't want to spend? Probably. But the weird thing is, I'm okay with it. Because I keep seeing the look on the woman's face as she realized that I honestly and truly did not want to go after her, and it's simply priceless. If I'd gotten her information, my door might be on its way to getting fixed, but I'm not sure I'd have any peace about it.

On the drive home, I kept thinking about grace. Actually, I haven't stopped. Because as much as I get frustrated on the lack of grace in my life, I realize that I have been given the greatest gift of grace of all: salvation. But more importantly, I realized that the things I'd like to receive ought to be things I'm good at giving away. I decided that I need to give more grace, even when it hurts. Starting small,of course, but I have to start.

Today, it was dealing with some people I don't really get along with, but rather than dismissing them as I usually do, I approached them at their level, on things they could understand and relate to, and showed them kindness that I knew they didn't deserve but thought maybe it would make them feel good. That probably doesn't make much sense, but I don't want them to someday come across my blog and think, wow, she really can't stand me. It's just that I can't relate to these people, and they've hurt me in the past. But I thought, the whole point of grace is showing love to your enemies, especially when they don't deserve it. So I built them up, and in two separate and random encounters, I got back tiny pieces of my soul. I don't know if I'll ever have a really good relationship with either of these people. Frankly, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stand up and say I like these people. But I hope I can get to a place where I get good at showing love to them.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

You can all be sick now

I got EVEN MORE done today!!

B had a soccer game today, which was fun. Then, we went to lunch at Mickey D's with my FIL. By midday, I'd given up hope that after my super productive day yesterday that I'd accomplish anything useful. I shouldn't say that. It's never a waste of time to spend quality family time. Which we've had a lot of lately. Yay us!

However, with everything that needs to get done on the house to put it up for sale, I'm feeling a bit under pressure. Our goal was May 1st, and there's no way we'll make it. Mid-May, hopefully. I'd just really like to be settled in something new before school starts.

After Mickey D's, we visited a couple of open houses. I was pleasantly surprised by what's out there. It's starting to seem more reasonable, as well as more real, that we could possibly have a new home. Also, as much work as I thought we needed to do, one of the houses we visited was nowhere near as nice as ours. I still think we need to do the work, but I'm not feeling as hopeless as I had.

We returned home, I did all my online work, and then went to the store. Lots of fun, I know. No great sense of accomplishment yet.

Then, we had dinner. I know, everyone is so impressed with what an interesting day I had. However, after dinner, we got to work. I cleared out the area where I've got my grape vines as well as the raspberry patch. That Man and I both have the scratches to prove it. My flowerbeds are ready to be tilled so I can replant and put in some new mulch. So YAY! We got a lot done.

When it got dark, I read the crits on my proposal, and I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't say it sucked. Well, actually, one of them did use the word, "sucked," as in I got her sucked into the story. Wahoo! I love it when people say that.

I also realized something interesting. One of my CPs is this bizarre grammar Nazi who points out all this bizarre grammar crap that I disagree with. Well, just in case she was right, I looked it up. Just so you know, she was right. But this is where the something interesting comes in. I use all the British usage and grammar rules. As a kid, I had a hard time spelling certain words because I always wanted to spell them the British way. It took a lot of training to do it the American way. It's weird, because I never went to a British school, or have a background that would suggest that I'd be inclined to British usage. And then it hit me... almsot all the books I read during my formative years were all published in Britain. They are still my "comfort" books. So now I have to re-train myself on something I thought I had down cold. Well, I do. If I were in Britain. Ugh. Thank God for "find and replace."

So I fixed all that, and I am pleased to say that my proposal is complete and sent. Yet another great accomplishment.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring, other than I have to bake a cake. I've been wanting to bake one, tomorrow just gives me an excuse to do so. :) As for other things, well, we'll see what hurts. My rear end is killing me from the bike ride, and given all the laboring I did this evening, I may hurt too much tomorrow to do much else.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Feeling pretty accomplished

Today got off to a rocky start. AKA everyone and her sister thought I shouldn't be allowed to sleep in. I even had a shouting match with God to let Him know that I needed to sleep in. I didn't exactly sleep, but I wasn't awake either, so I'm not sure who won.

However, I got up, checked the boards, fixed a broken thread, and got more of my ducks in a row. Yay me. Then, I wrote a long, inspiring email to a friend who's selling her house with all the things I'm learning about selling mine. Sadly, she's just selling the land, not the house.

Because I was being such an inspirational friend, I decided to practice what I'd preached, and started cleaning my own pit. I spent THREE hours on one room. It's so purtyful, though. I even steam cleaned the couch. Yes, I am sick. Very sick. Of the mess! Actually, I did the couch because the little lady dumped strawberry syrup all over it while I was in the shower.

To get the troops to cooperate, I put the baby down for a nap and told my older daughter that if she helped me, we'd have family time tonight and go for a bike ride to McDonald's. Well, she held up her end of the bargain. She even washed windows for me. They're streaky, but she's so proud-she went on and on about how happy Daddy was going to be to see what a good job we did. The second he arrived home, she pounced on him to show off what we'd done.

After dinner, as promised, we took the kiddos for a bike ride to McDonald's. About a 1/4 of the way there, I wanted to die. Note to anyone dumb enough to bribe their kids: make sure it's not an activity that'll kill you. The first bike ride of the season should not be several miles long and forcing you to scale The Hill of Doom.

When we got 1/3 of the way there (remember, we still have to ride back), That Man offered for us to just ride to the nearby gas station and get a treat there. But see, I promised them ice cream at McDonald's. Maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal to anyone else, but having lived a lot of my life with broken promises, I just can't do that to my kids unless I have no other option. I decided to tough it out. We stopped by my FIL's house (halfway to McDonald's) for a visit, and arrived at McDonald's. I think I lost the feeling in my butt around that time.

The fortunate thing about our timing is that they're closing this McDonald's May 1st for renovations, so if I'd told them that we'd do it another time, they'd have been really disappointed. We got our ice cream, and the kiddos gobbled it up. For the ride back, That Man took pity on me and put the baby's trailer on his bike. Which already had B's bike attached to it.

This is what I hate about being married to a jock. For those of you who don't know, he used to play soccer at a pro level. He can lay around on his butt for months and then get out there and do something, and you'd never know he'd been laying around on his butt. I'm dying, and he's like, I'll tow both kiddos and sets of equipment. Worse, he was racing circles around me. You could tell he was dying at how slow I was going. He had to keep waiting for me to catch up.

I got most of the way up The Hill of Doom and then had to walk the rest of it. But I did more than I thought I could, so I'm still proud of myself. And even though he makes me sick, I'm pretty glad I married a guy who is in good enough shape to carry the load.

When I got home, I felt pretty good. Okay, I felt like I was going to die. My legs hurt. My butt hurts. My lower back hurts from the cleaning I did earlier. My hands hurt from the little squeezy thing on the steam cleaner. But let me tell you! I have a spotless room in my house. AND I rode SEVEN miles! Wahoo Me!!

Now, I'm off to take a bath and pray that my CPs get back to me with their thoughts on the proposal due TOMORROW!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6: Thirteen Good things about today

Thirteen Good Things about Today

1. I did not kill my children, nor did the sitter kill them.
2. I did not kill That Man. In fact, he and I went on an impromptu date.
3. At said date, we ran into some old friends and ended up having a very nice dinner.
4. Finally, after many recommendations from friends, we ate at Pei Wei.
5. I wrote.
6. My proposal is almost done.
7. I also went to work and got a lot done there.
8. I ran all the errands I needed done, including a few I'd been procrastinating.
9. The kiddos and I had Sonic for lunch.
10. The school sent a note home saying the kiddos wouldn't have any homework for the rest of the year. (Although I do wonder... what then, is the point of the next month of school?)
11. Hubby's paycheck was more than I'd expected.
12. Our Verizon bill was less than I'd expected.
13. I finally found a sitter for Monday.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Snoring through church

The "little lady" was on a roll again today.

I got out of the shower this morning, and she sat on my bed, watching me. "Mom," she said in a very serious and urgent tone. "Yes?" "Since I'm a little lady now, I need to get big milks like yours." Yes, in our house, they're called milks. I breastfed each girl for two years, so all they know is the function. I smiled and told her that when she got bigger, she'd get some milks, omitting the part that mine really weren't all that big, and given our genetics, hers probably won't be either. We'll save that particular diasappointment for puberty. Of course, that answer didn't satisfy her, and she informed me, "I going to get milks now, because I'm a little lady now." Great logic. We'll see how that goes for her.

After I took her sister to school, I had to stop by the office to do a quick thing with one client that should have taken 20 minutes. Several hours later, we raced off to big sister's school conferences. However, while we were at mommy's work, my little lady made sure everyone in the office knew she was a little lady. She paraded around the office with her Starbucks. (YES! I bribe my child with Starbucks. It's incentive to be good while I have to work, and YES! It works. And no, for all you worrywarts, she does not get coffee. We do vanilla steamers.) Occasionally, I bribed her with chocolate. And animal crackers. Which sort of worked. For the first hour.

Hour number two, she discovered the vacant office. Which was good, because she wanted to play ring around the rosy in the middle of the area where we had clients. Not good. My boss, who is a grandma, and thought my terrorist was well-behaved, said it was just fine for her to play in the vacant office. The little lady thought she was da bomb. She spun around in the chair, tried to call Timbuktu (I ended up unplugging the phone), and even informed me that "I'm busy, you no turb me," as she slammed the door in my face.

Hour number three, vacant office had lost its charm, so the admin gave her a whole box of papers that needed to go into the shredder box. For thirty minutes, she sat there, putting papers into the box. The little lady strutted around the office like she was the Big Kahuna. And no one, I mean no one, had better try putting anything in the shredder box. That was HER job. However, she grew bored, and I spent the last half hour (trying to clean up a return that someone else did that desperately needed fixing) finding ways to keep her semi occupied.

We escaped the office with sanity semi-intact and no dead bodies in our wake. I put her in the car seat, and she very smugly informed me that she had the keys to the office. Which meant she stole someone's keys out of their desk. D'oh! I returned the keys, and one of my coworkers chased me down, informing me I had a phone call. It was hubby. I informed him that I was racing out of the office to pick up older child because she had school conferences and I begged him to meet us there.

Fortunately, he did, and I arrived at the school with two minutes to spare. As big sister showed us all she was learning, little lady also had to show us her skills. She can count, read, and disrupt the universe without breaking a sweat. Not bad for a girl who will be three in just over two weeks.

After the conference, we decided that big sister, who had been working very hard, had achieved one of the goals we'd set together, which meant going to buy her prize-a movie she'd asked for months ago. Store #1 did not have it. So we decided to grab some dinner before heading to church. Little lady ate half of Daddy's dinner, a portion of Mommy's dinner, and a portion of big sister's dinner. Granted, we didn't order her a dinner of her own, but she usually doesn't eat like that. Apparently, being the executive little lady makes a girl hungry.

We decided that after dinner, we had time to stop at store #2 before church. As we pulled into the parking lot, little lady fell asleep. Little lady had missed her nap. I found the movie, we arrived at church on time, and little lady remained asleep. Daddy stayed in the car with her for a while, and when worship started, he came in, a sleeping little lady in his arms. Halfway through, I convinced him I needed a turn to hold her. Yes, we fight over who gets her when she's sleeping. She's so calm and peaceful. As opposed to when she's awake and terrozing the planet. Then, we fight over who HAS to have her.

I sat there, worshipping God, a beautiful little lady in my arms. In the midst of a very lovely Crowder song, little lady lets a big old snore rip. She spent the rest of worship snoring. When it was over, she jerked awake and was ready to go play with her friends. I got back to my seat, and Dave started talking about beauty. I leaned over and whispered to my husband that the worship experience I'd just had was pretty darn beautiful. I know it sounds strange, but I am crazy in love with the sound of my little lady's snores. Sometimes at night, I sneak into her room just to listen to her snore.

Maybe it's because we have days like this-where she is so incredibly adorable, and yet so incredibly high maintenance and I alternate between wanting to hug her and wanting kill her-that I have to take time out to appreciate the incredible creature God lent me. Or maybe not. But I love the satisfaction of knowing that she can fill her days with so much activity that at the end of the day, she will collapse into our arms, and blissfully snore. Some people might think it's disrespectful to snore through church. But in our family, there is no more beautiful sound.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My inspiration

It's been a busy crazy day. Huh. Sounds like every day in my life.

Items of note: I was accepted into the writing clinic I was freaking out about last week. Sadly, this means I now have four days to get my project ready. So why am I blogging about it rather than doing it? Because silly person that I am, I can't find the link to the really good nonfiction proposal site. Tomorrow, though, I'm going to spend some quality time at my beloved Starbucks, drinking tea, and getting down to business.

I admit, though, there's still some fear. I've been looking at other proposal sites (but not the good one!) and I'm feeling intimidated. Who am I to write a book about God? What do I have to say that will make any difference? Am I really a good writer? I sit here and doubt myself, and then I think about my girls.

Today, the baby decided she was a "little lady". She pranced around, sporting a mesh pink bathing suit cover up (backwards), a pair of light blue shorts, and pigtails. Carrying her little purse (I was too scared to see what was inside), she spun and danced. If you asked her why, she said, "because I'm a little lady." I don't know where she got the idea about being a little lady, but it was obvious that she delighted in being one.

I thought I'd play along, so I called both girls my little ladies. Immediately, B straightened and said, "oh, no, Mom, I'm not a lady. I'm just a kid." The little one smiled, slurped her soup, and said, "well, I'm a little lady."

All day long, everything was about being a little lady. What amazed me was that the child I most often refer to as a terrorist did, in fact, act like a little lady.

I spend a lot of time just watching my girls. Maybe that's why I never seem to get anything done. I'm so fascinated by these creatures. They began as microscopic cells in my body. And every day, they transform into something else. I love to see where their little minds take them.

Who gives my daughter the right to say that she's a little lady? Who gives her the right to think that she is a beautiful, special creature? On the days she decides to be a kitten and make me her owner, how is it that she could possibly think that she could be one?

It's the same voice that tells me I must write. The creative part of our Creator reflected in us that whispers of all the magic we can make. As children, we can be or do whatever we can imagine. Anyone can be a little lady. Or a kitten. Or a stripey. Or a dragon. And even a writer.

Yet as adults, we've been told all the practical reasons why we can't be those things. And for some reason, we believe it. We forget that we were created in the image of God, our Creator. It's natural to want to create. It's natural to follow in His footsteps. So why do we believe the lies that say we can't?

From the time we begin to create, we're told all the reasons why we can't. Why it won't work. How it's a silly idea. My youngest daughter thinks she's a little lady. Tomorrow, she might decide to be a cat. Or a puppy. Her sister is going to be a cowgirl horse rider, although she won't turn down the opportunity to be a dragon rider. I've never seen a dragon myself, but I hope she does.

I'll be spending the next few days working my tail off to make my proposal shine. Not so much because I want to do the work, but because I want my little lady and my cowgirl to grow up believing that it's okay to follow in the footsteps of their Father. I want them to see that even when it seems difficult, they should press on. I don't want them to be too afraid to chase their dreams.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Even though it's not Thursday Thirteen, I feel compelled to make a list

Things I learned today:

1. My daughter is horribly addicted to her computer. Her best friend called to ask her over for a party and my daughter said no because she wanted to play her new game. We are now tightly monitoring her computer time.
2. Why people get divorced over moving/remodeling. Today's endeavor in getting our house ready to sell has highlighted our rather drastic personality differences (like he has absolutely no sense of putting logical order to things). If he survives the process of gettting a new house, I will probably never be mad enough to kill him.
3. That if I let the discouragement over my writing get to me, I will spend the rest of my life kicking myself for being a useless slug.
4. My daughter is turning into a good little soccer player. And she's FAST! (Definitely takes after Daddy there)
5. People miss me when they haven't seen me for several months, even people I don't generally think of as someone who would care.
6. The new cure-all for me is steam infused with cinnamon, thyme, and cloves. It got rid of my horrible chest cold, and since I'm out of allergy medicine (because the little terrorist dumped it all out the other day), I thought I'd try it. It works!
7. My youngest daughter is not as much of a monster when big sister is not around egging her on. When she's not destroying the universe, she's also a very kind and compassionate child who's going to make a really good mom someday. (At least if the way she plays with her babies is any indication)
8. My dog appreciates being prayed for. However, it did not make my husband break out in hysterical laughter as I thought it would.
9. I have at least twenty boxes of books, and three large bookcases to still box up.
10. I learned some really scary things about something I'm not ready to talk about yet, but when I am, well... just be prepared.
11. I watched a rather interesting television show on Jonestown and learned a lot about the events and cult mentality that I'd never seen before.
12. I also watched a program on sex during the Civil War. (Civil War nerd, tyvm) The most interesting fact was that at one point in the war, over 40% of the soldiers had a venereal disease. This problem was solved in Nashville by legalizing prostitution and forcing them to be licensed and treated for disease.
13. That if I don't kill That Man, the reality of actually being able to sell our house and move into a new house is actually much closer than it's ever been. We looked at a perfect house today, and B was a little disappointed that we weren't moving right in.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #5: Thirteen Highlights/Lowlights of the tax season

Thirteen Things about Highlights/Lowlights of the Tax Season

1. This is the first year no one has proposed to me. Maybe my age is finally catching up with me.
2. I did not hit most of my numbers from last year, although I did increase one set significantly enough that the rest won't matter. I hope.
3. I became "The Online Supervisor" which supposedly gave me power, but mostly got me a lot of ribbing and no increase in pay.
4. I coined the term, "Illiterate Slugs", as a reference to my minions who could not read their own online contract, forcing me to print and read it to them.
5. I gathered a number of funny new tax office stories for a book I'd like to call Tales from the Tax Office. Sadly, only people who've worked as a tax preparer would understand it. Everyone else would be insulted. Yet another book I won't sell.
6. I was kidnapped and taken to Happy Hour, then forced to return to work.
7. I learned that my children can survive on cereal and milk alone.
8. I also learned that I really do have physical limits and if I'm not careful, I could do some serious damage.
9. I reconnected with some awesome friends.
10. For the second year in a row, I had clients puking at my desk.
11. Best idiot customer call: "Can you tell me my AGI from last year?" "Did we do your taxes?" "No, I did them myself, but you should be able to look it up on your computer."
12. I mastered the look of terror that has people scrambling to get out of my way.
13. I managed to find time to play hooky and hang out with That Man.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ransomed Dreams by Amy Wallace

Yet again, I'm part of a blog tour, which means folks have probably read dozens of interviews with Amy and read summaries of her book. So here you are...

I really liked question 3: When you read Jeremiah 31:3 about God's everlasting love, what does that stir up in you? If we lived like we believed this verse, how would our actions show it?

For me, this is such an important verse, because so many times, it's easy to question God's love. Certainly, I saw the characters in this story growing through that question. In the questions they asked, it ultimately boiled down to: Does God love ME? While the primary questions revolved around why God allowed things to happen, in my opinion, asking that question often means, "if God loves me, this bad thing would not have happened." So in watching the characters dealing with that question, it really brought out the sense that yes, God loves you always, no matter what. I think if we all truly lived and believed this verse, we wouldn't as much about the whys.

If we understood the depth of God's love, the everlasting quality, it would be a lot easier to live in confidence, without fear. That's why it's so important, as the characters in this book learned, that you have to go to God's word and see what He has to say. Check your reality with the truth of God.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It is FINISHED!!!!

Yes, my beloveds, I am speaking of tax season!!!

Okay, so technically, it's not until tomorrow, but tomorrow, I am off to spend the day with Tess and Mo, then we're going to a Todd concert. Wahoo us! I'm so excited!!! So sadly, I will not be at work. *inserts evil laugh*

I definitely had a good end to the season. I think I'll end up with a nice bonus. :)

I think I'll go pass out now.


One of my favorite tshirts is a Joy Whitlock shirt that has FAKE written across it (in honor of her fabulous album). Tonight I feel like I need to wear that shirt.

I'm trying to put together a workshop application and as I try to put together clever words to convince the people that yes, I really do belong in the workshop, all I can think of is how fake it is. How fake I am.

Wahoo. I want to write and do all this great stuff, blah blah blah. I'm so freaking great. Blah blah blah. Doncha just love me?

Here's what I should be saying: Hi, I'm a messed up mess of a person who harbors delusions that I could actually be a writer, and I'm thinking I'd like to attend your workshop to find out. However, I'm quite scared that if I do attend your workshop, you'll expose me for the fraud I am, or at least send me off home to find something more meaningful to do, like scrub my kitchen floor.

Nah. I just sent off my chirpy, "I'm so great," garbage, and I'm putting it in God's hands. If this is what He wants for me, it'll happen. Otherwise, I'm holing myself up in my room and doing whatever I want. HA! I whined as I also stressed and quickly got my Genesis entry sent off tonight. Yep. It's all about tonight. Did I mention today was also our home group's seder (delayed, but still good)? Why does my universe all have to collide on April 15th?

I started a really whiney email to my crit group, but decided I sounded way too depressed and figured that if people read it, they'd be watching a little too closely for comfort. The truth is, I'm tired of working hard to fit into all these silly little molds. And I'm tired of failing. God didn't create me only to have turn contortionist and become something I'm not. Or maybe I've just been in my heroine's POV too long. Nah.

Mostly I think I'm back in the weird place I always end up at. I've spent my whole life wondering where I belong, and just when I think I've comfortably found that place, I'm reminded that it's not the place at all. So here I am. Back to the point where I'm starting to realize that the place I thought I belonged is not the place I belong. Which makes me wonder what the whole point of this exercise is.

The reality is that this is not my reality. To close the seder, I read Revelation 21:1-4 and talked about how, even though we have our Messiah, there is still a home, a promised land, we are longing for. A reunion with our Creator and our Savior. I seek, but I do not find, because it is not for me to have in this lifetime.

I live in this state of longing, and it seems so far from ever being fulfilled. Am I fake, or am I delusional, in all these attempts of finding satisfaction where there will not be any?

Okay, I just spent another paragraph doing a rather fine job of whining some more. I rather excel at whining. But I deleted it and spared you all. Wahoo me. I guess, even as real as I try to be in my blog, I'm still a pretty big fake.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #4: Thirteen Reasons why I need my own bathroom

Thirteen Things about why I need my own bathroom

1. So I know where my toothbrush has been (today it was coated with antibacterial soap-not tasty)
2. I'm the only member of my household who doesn't miss the toilet
3. I'm the only member of my household who values a ring-free tub
4. Because I don't want to see everyone else's dirty underwear on the floor
5. So my children stop passing out feminine hygiene products as party favors
6. To prevent my children and dog from spreading used feminine hygiene products around my house
7. So I can lock myself in there without fear of small child wetting herself
8. Because I don't enjoy inhaling the noxious odors emitted by the rest of the family
9. So I can FINALLY be assured of always having toilet paper
10. To keep my nice bath salts sacred and not used on My Little Ponies
11. To keep slimy kid stuff off my towel
12. So I don't have to clean out the army of toys to have room for me
13. Because all the weird and unrecognizable stuff in the communal bathroom completely grosses me out!

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

So many reasons for homicide, so little time...

One of my funny quirks is that big things don't make me homicidal. It's the little things. Like when the whole house is a disaster and That Man can't put his dish in the dishwasher. Or the ear-piercing shriek the littlest one lets out after she's completely destroyed everything else. I don't get mad at all the big stuff. However, when the straw that breaks homicidal me's back hits... watch out.

The other day, I got a letter from the utility company that we were behind on our bill and that our power would be shut off if I didn't pay by today. Because I haven't felt well, I didn't deal with it until yesterday. I was a bit confused, because I thought we were paid up. However, we also got a past due notice on the cable and phone. Again, a bit confusing. I had my monthly cry fest over how much our bills are and how little we have to pay them. I was sure I paid them.

But yesterday, I called the utility company. And spoke with a very condescending young man who gladly took my check over the phone and then offered to put me in touch with their payment plan people so that people like me aren't so strained by their bills. Oddly enough, over the summer, I signed up for an energy conservation program that was supposed to LOWER my bills over the winter. In case your utility company offers the same, I'd like to point out that my bills are the highest they've ever been. I think I've been had. After I got off the phone, I had a good cry because I don't understand where our money is going. And I really didn't need some condescending jerk telling me the value of paying my bills.

Well, today, I sat down to balance our account so I can figure out where the money to pay the cable is coming from, plus making sure I have enough to cover the mortgage check, plus cover a couple other bills due now. Imagine my surprise to see that my payment to the utility company cleared my account DAYS ago. AKA Before they sent their "we're shutting off your power" letter. AKA Before Jerkface so condescendingly made sure I knew I was a deadbeat. IT'S BEEN PAID. So I thought, maybe someone stole my bills out of the mailbox, erased the name and cashed them. Fortunately, my bank lets me view cleared checks online. Guess who endorsed the check? The utility company.

I suppose the good news is that I'm now AHEAD on those bills. The bad news is that I used money intended for other bills that are actually due now to pay for what I thought was a past due bill. You know, so they wouldn't shut my power off.

As for the cable company, I'm ignoring their nasty letter. I have that cleared check as well. I tried to go online and do an account online thing, but they don't recognize my password or password hint. Apparently, I don't know my mother's maiden name. Color me stupid, deadbeat that I am.

And to think, I was going to blog about the idiot lady at the haircut place who gave my daughter a horrifically bad hair cut (the day before picture day) and now I've got to figure out a way to make her crooked and too-short bangs look somewhat presentable.

I think it's really good that God didn't give me any smiting powers. I'd do an awful lot of damage.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I have only one thing to say

I FINALLY have my website up. It's not complete, but at least I have something other than the "under construction" sign. You can check it out at www.danicafavorite.com

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #3

Thirteen Things about why I love That Man

1. My death threats don't scare him
2. I have life insurance on him (but not enough!)
3. He thinks that last statement is funny
4. He adores me
5. He thinks I'm beautiful
6. He's a great dad
7. He's got cute buns (and don't you DARE look at them! They're mine, all mine!)
8. He supports all of my dreams
9. He loves me unconditionally
10. He balances me
11. He's the father of the LiLi
12. He's a man of God
13. His dreams inspire me

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Latest in the Health Saga

Okay, so FINALLY, I met with my doctor.

My ultrasound showed a blockage in my gallbladder. The duct is completely blocked with an immovable object. Right now, there are two possible explanations: One, I have a gallstone lodged that needs to pass. Two, I have a polyp blocking it. If it's a stone, we can leave it alone. If it's a polyp, I need to have my gallbladder removed.

He did another blood test today to see if my bilirubin levels have increased since the last test. If so, he's going to fast track me to see a specialist to have a procedure done to find out what the blockage is. It's a VERY invasive procedure, involving anesthesia and getting scoped down the esophagus. YUCK! If my bilirubin levels are the same or have gone down, I still am going to see the specialist, but we'll have more time to get this to resolve on its own.

I've been on a detox diet for the past couple of weeks and am coming off that with fewer symptoms, so that's good news. I'm going to my chiropractor tomorrow and the last time I was in, he did some acupressure that really helped, so I'm hoping that maybe he'll have some other suggestions. He's also got a nutritionist in his office who's looking up some other things I can do. The hope is that this is a stone, and we can get it to pass. That way, I don't need the procedure OR surgery.

I am feeling better, not completely, but definitely enough that unless I get worse, I'm going to do everything I can to avoid surgery. Most people just have it removed, but I'm of the opinion that it's there for a reason, so taking it out is a last resort.

Anyway, that's where I'm at. Thanks for your prayers.

And GROSS! I'm turning into the little old lady who goes on in detail about her health stuff. Someone just shoot me.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

What's really important

Right after I posted on Friday, my husband called and said I needed to call my dad-it was important. Which had me scared, because my dad has never called and left that message. So I called him. It turns out my grandma is in the hospital. I called her, and we talked for a while. Mostly, I apologized for not being in better touch. I love her so much, but in the busyness of life, I get caught up and forget.

It was funny, though, because she asked me if I was happy. And I told her yes, I have a good life, a good husband, a beautiful family. But she said, no, that wasn't what I asked. I want to know if you're happy. Because that is all that is important to me. I'm an old woman, the remaining hopes and dreams I have are for my family. That they'll be happy.

It touched me on so many levels. When I talked to my dad, he said that when she gets out of the hospital and is safe to travel, he's flying her to see him. I told him that I want to come too. It's funny, I keep saying I want to go visit her, but then I think about the expense: airfare for everyone, hotel, car rental, and I decide we can't afford it. And then I was reminded of the fact that I spend hundreds of dollars on writing conferences.

Do I really value my grandma? As much as I value my writing? I keep saying that I'm doing it for her, because she's the one who always encouraged me with books. But will my selling a book matter to her if she's stone cold in the grave without knowing how much I love her? So I made the commitment to hubby: as soon as Dad gets her out to see him, we're going out there.

Take the time to look at the things you say are important to you-do your actions, and where you spend your money, reflect it?

Trusting in the Sovereignty of the Lord

I've been dealing with a bit of a personal struggle over the past few weeks. And no, I'm not ready to share the details. So let's set this up in a very basic way, and even if you think you know what I'm talking about, you probably don't, so please don't bug me with your guesses. I'll tell the full story when I'm ready. Anyway, the message that has kept coming to me over and over these past weeks is that I need to trust in the Sovereignty of the Lord.

God and I have been wrestling over a particular desire I have for my life for at least a year now. I've had it dangled in my face, taken away, and even once, been given the opportunity to have it, but God said, "not yet." So I didn't take it. Over the past couple of months, everything has been falling into place and I truly feel like He's saying, "GO!"

But I haven't gotten the thing I desire yet.

Every day, I sit in this state of "now? is it now yet?" and not knowing. The one thing God keeps whispering in my ear is that I need to trust in His Sovereignty. Which I understand. And I do trust Him. And I do trust that He's got something great planned. But the waiting sucks.

I think about Abraham, and I wonder, when God promised him a son, how long did it take before he started asking, "now? is it now yet?" and not knowing. I wonder how long the Israelites sat in Egypt, calling out to God, "now? is it now yet?" and not knowing. I don't imagine that any of them ever imagined that God's timetable would be as long as it was. God didn't exactly say, on this date, I will fulfill my promises. Even with the return of Christ, as we all ask, "now? is it now yet?", Scripture tells us that only the Father knows.

But we still ask. We still impatiently wait and wonder. I admit, there are days when I'm a bit depressed that "now" hasn't happened yet. I long for it so badly, and it's still not here. It occurred to me, though, that while longing itself isn't such a terrible thing, we can waste an awful lot of time focused on it. When we focus on the longing, we try to circumvent God's plan by using a slave girl to get the promised son. And even though God will still use our reliance on ourselves to fulfill His purposes, I wonder how much we steal from the joy of getting "the thing" by doing it our way.

There are so many ways I could easily manipulate the situation to my advantage right now. At times, it's tempting. But then this voice whispers in my ear, reminding me to trust in God's Sovereignty. He's not a God who can be manipulated. He has a plan, and I have to trust in it, even if I don't know all the hows and whys and whens. I could live with the first two. But the last is a killer. Especially for a semi-tamed control freak who hates surprises.

Trust in the Sovereignty of the Lord.

How crazy that we even think that it would be otherwise. But we do, don't we?

And yes, I know I'm rambling. You haven't gotten one of these posts from me in a while. I can't help it. It's one a.m., I'm sick, and for the life of me, I can't sleep. I'm dealing with high levels of stress and exhaustion, and the one thing I need, I can't have. But even that, He will use for His purpose.

Whatever you may be waiting on, it's coming. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not for ten years. Maybe not for a hundred. Maybe not for a thousand. Maybe not for ten thousand.

He is a faithful God who keeps His promises. Just because it doesn't happen on your timeline doesn't mean it won't happen. He is, after all, a Sovereign God.