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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Extremely not a-MUSE-d

As much I tell you all about my crazy life, one thing I have not mentioned is that for the past week, I've had almost a continual migraine. It comes and goes, and for the first part of the week, until a snafu between the doctor and the pharmacy was cleared up, I had no meds. Well, I finally have meds and I'm taking the highest dose I've ever needed. The headache goes for a while, but it ends up coming back in full force several hours later. Well, here I am, full force headache, and highly medicated. Wahoo me.

However, an interesting thing has been happening in the midst of my headaches. The muse is speaking. Which is really interesting, because ever since God and I had our little obedience discussion several months ago, the muse pretty well stopped. I just could not be creative, and I was stuck in edit mode. Well, I'm still in edit mode, and I have about 3 complete manuscripts that I've never submitted. I wrote them during the "I don't know which direction to go" phase, so they've sat. Now that I've decided to join ACFW and enter two of them into a contest, the floodgates have opened. The third book, which I had no idea was going to be inspirational, has finally come to me as an inspirational. Or at least how to rewrite it into one.

Last night, I got a perfect scene, but I was so focused on fighting the headache, I didn't write it all down, and I've lost most of it. Tonight, despite the fact that it's nearly 4 am, I'm up and writing it. Interestingly enough, my headache is starting to fade. But maybe the drugs are finally kicking in.

Is it possible to explain to the muse AKA GOD that while I appreciate the fact that I'm being allowed to write again, that I am a mother of small children who try to blow up my house if I'm not supervising them, these wee hours are not really great for keeping my children alive? Or me for that matter. So we either need to fix the timing of these fabulous revelations (for which I am grateful) or fix my need for sleep. Either works, really.

And so... back on the table are:
-The AIDS book

Oh, and I think I have a real theme to tie The Book together. I'm smoking now... if I could only get some sleep.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Plotting the new year...

I'm chowing down on chocolate cake. Why? Because I can. And because I have just over 24 hours until I have to think about actually being good and pretending that I care about the usual resolution garbage that I need to get serious about losing the weight that I gained when I was supposed to be losing weight. HA!

And because I refuse to do one of those stupid year end summary lists or year beginning "these are the resolutions I'm making even though we all know I won't do it" lists, here's the list I AM making...

Pending That Man's approval, I'm attending four conferences this year-five if I can figure out a way to go to ICRS again. Since it's far away and at this point not a career maker (except for the fun and research of course), I dunno if I can justify. Plus, I'm jumping from 2-3 to 4. Can I handle so much having to not be a hermit in one year?

Anyway, here's my list. Do plan on attending... I'll be there with bells on so long as That Man agrees and we find people to watch the creatures.
1. Romancing the Rockies-Denver May 11-12
2. Colorado Christian Writers Conference-Estes Park May 16-19
3. RWA National-Dallas July 11-14
4. ACFW-Dallas September 20-23

Hmmm... ICRS is July 8-12 in Atlanta... do I want to go to Atlanta again? And, can I do two right on top of each other? Of course, I *AM* doing Dallas twice. There's obviously something wrong with me.

Now to make rooming arrangements. I kinda sorta volunteered to help with Romancing the Rockies, so I think I may stay at the hotel, which is fairly cheap, but I still should probably find a roomie. Or, I could talk the hubby into coming out for a night and... Nah! Married people don't do that. ;)

Estes Park... well, I kinda sorta told That Man last year that he and the kids could come this year because he was jealous that I got to go. So I suppose I need to offer to him first, but if not, I'll do some searching.

Dallas #1-My bestest and most favorite roomie HATES Dallas and refuses to come. Dana, Beloved, what will I do without you and our personal assistant? Jo! Stat! Call our PA and tell her I NEED her. But for now, I am roommateless. That Man, by the way, has said he will not be in attendance because Dallas is no fun.

Dallas #2-I might have a roomie for this one. Possibly. I was chatting with friends about it and they told me to be roomies with a friend of ours (because *THEY* have "special" arrangements :P ). So I have in my head that I'm rooming with this person, except now I don't know if I talked to that person about being roomies. Ah, the drama!

Of course I'm also DYING to go to Mt. Hermon, however, I know it's not in the budget, and that's the worst possible time to get time off from the job. But I'd get a whole bunch of days with my beloved Camy . But, if all goes according to plan, I'd at least be able to see her in Dallas.

Finally, rounding out my travel plans for the year, are my plans to do another retreat with the girls. At least one. Plus, I NEED to go back to the Hop at least once, because I've decided that it is going to be my place of annual pilgrimage. Not only is it a great place of worship, but there's this AWESOME Mexican place that Pammer and her hubby took me to and I MUST go back. Add in the places I mentally want to visit, huh, I should write them down to make them real goals, eh? Okay, fine, here it is:
1. See my dad.
2. Go back to the Hop.
3. Visit Joni.
4. Visit Tess.
5. Another retreat with the girls.
6. Another Todd concert (which I hope to be in conjunction with the retreat).

I think this means I really need to start doing something productive so I have the moolah this is going to take. Actually, it's more the bottom list that I need to budget for, since the top list is pretty well already budgeted, well except for ACFW. Oooh, I'd better start watching airfare for Dallas.

Anybody want to buy a book so I can afford my travel habit? Large contracts welcome!

Friday, December 29, 2006

No Joy in this Day

I woke up with a brilliant story idea after going to bed tonight, and logged on to find that Saddam Hussein has been hanged. Ding Dong Saddam is Dead.

So why am I not celebrating?

I guess, because after everything, it's a bit anti-climactic, isn't it? I am pleased to see that the process of justice and law has been followed, and that despite the protestations of our old friend, Moammar al-Ghaddafi about it not being a fair trial, the blood of innocents has been avenged. Huh. Wonder why we never went after him, anyway. Am I the only one who remembers terrifying lectures about how evil Ghaddafi was and how he was going to destroy the world if we didn't stop him?

He's still alive, defending the current scourge of the universe. Well, the previous one, I suppose, since Saddam's dead now. And what about our old and also dying friend, Fidel Castro? He didn't take over the world, either. I wonder, are we just paranoid about everyone else taking over the world?

I suppose this should be a lesson to other would-be megalomaniacs-you're either going to die, or fail miserably in your attempt at world domination. You'd think they'd have learned their lessons from Hitler. Of course, no one ever said megalomaniacs were the smartest in the bunch.

I just wonder, and maybe I'm being crazy in an icky John Lennon sort of way, what are we accomplishing? Have we made the world a better place? Sure, a few million folks are going to be resting easier tonight knowing that a horrible criminal is dead, but what happens when the next maniac wakes up with yet another brilliant plan to try and take over the world? Do we kill him, too? Or do we pray we'll get lucky, and like our old friends Ghaddafi and Castro, they'll fade off into the sunset, spouting off their evil garbage, but contained in the damage they do?

I remember being afraid of nuclear war, and studying what to do in case of fallout. We don't terrorize our schoolchildren with those stories and drills anymore, but now our kids are afraid of terrorists who come out of nowhere, paralyzed in the fear that there is nothing they can do but pray the government catches them before they launch their evil plans. I don't want my kids to have to grow up that way.

Usually, I start my rants with an end in mind... some hope of how we can deal with whatever I'm ranting about and how we can make it a positive. I'm not feeling so positive tonight. Saddam is dead, yes, but so what? Where's Usama? Where's the nukes that North Korea has? In fact, where are all the "missing" nukes from the former Soviet Union?

Scary times, my friends. Scary times. The more we try to make peace, the more it ends up looking a lot like war. Of course, I'm sure some woman back in Old Testament times probably sat up late at night, unable to sleep, thinking the same things. Thus far, the world hasn't ended. I wonder how much of this idiocy God is going to take before He finally says, you guys are all morons. KABOOM! Let's start over.

Except our God isn't like that, is He? He's a loving God who sent His only Son to die for us so that we might have life. Pretty humbling, given the lousy way we've been paying him back. I don't know what to teach my children, so that they might learn a different way of living, but I pray that as God shows me His love, my children will see, and they will be unafraid of the insanity of man, but trusting in Him.

Maybe I won't even get to finish this post. Maybe some pyschopath will launch a nuke right now. Or maybe not. Maybe someone, centuries from now, will read this and say, that lady was such a worrywart!

Dunno. There's one less psychopath roaming the earth tonight, and for that, I suppose we should be thankful. Ding Dong Saddam is Dead.

Mourning lost crassness...

Since I'm entering this thing in a contest, I decided that I might as well edit the whole thing, and since I can't sleep, because I got a great idea as to something I can do to rev it up, I'm editing.

I know, I'm a sick, sick woman.

But here I am, listening to Joy Whitlock , who is fabulous, by the way, EDITING. It's a semi surreal event, as I'm realizing a few things about my writing. Number one, I don't suck as bad as I thought. I came upon this one section, where I've put in parenthesis the following: "Yes, I know this sucks, but I'm stuck, so I'm writing it anyway. Will delete later." It's actually not half bad.

However, I make a lot of hillarious and sick jokes that I have to obliterate. *sigh* I spent a lot of time laughing my butt off at my clever use of words. Sadly, there's no room for innuendo. I must consult with my CPs as to whether or not I have to take out the fact that until he meets my heroine and has his universe blown up, he's a womanizer. Have I sighed yet?

Which is semi-okay, because I've strengthened her position by making this a faith journey for her (which UGH UGH UGH I have to find a place for), and interestingly enough, her faith struggle is serving as a ... um shoot... I don't remember the word, it's on the tip of my tongue, and it's 2:30 a.m., so I'm not even going to try. Tomorrow when I wake up, I'm going to remember it and be really irritated with myself for not remembering. Anyway, it's incredibly brilliant, at least to my sleep deprived and snow-soggy mind.

I also realized a huge logical issue that I need to fix somehow. Because my hero's too smart to not make the connection that I don't want him to make for at least another 4 or 5 chapters.

Okay, so I'm on chapter 9. It's good, but my logical flow is off. I see where I messed it up, though, so it's fixable. I am *SO* not tired, but I really gotta get to bed.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Make it STOP!!!

Yes, we are getting more snow. Much more snow. We NEVER get this much snow. Did I mention it's not supposed to stop snowing until late Saturday night/early Sunday morning? We're going to have a few breaks, but now much. Here's to another two feet!

I am going crazy from sitting here for a week with kiddos running around like maniacs because it's too cold for them to go out. The stores are already running out of supplies, like bread and chocolate cake.

So I'm working on my entries, good little girl that I am. They're out for crits, so hopefully, I'll have good news. If not, it's not like I can go anywhere, so plenty of time to work. If I'm not killing my children.

Insane in the membrane...

Tonight I taught my last class!!! Wahoo!!! I also got my work schedule for the next month, and I'm quite pleased. I initially said I wanted to work less hours, and then changed my mind and said I'd work whatever. Well, I got less hours. Only 16 hours a week, which is insanely small. But good, because I think it was God's way of prompting me back to where I belong. Love it when that happens.

Anyway, I've been thinking I need to test these "moving to inspy" books in the contest circuit, since I have no clue what I'm doing, except that the whole world seems to think they're inspy when I hadn't intended them to be. So I asked my new crit group (inspy folk) about contests, and they didn't have any suggestions. But THEN... I got an email about a contest deadline being extended for a contest that needs inspy submissions. So I'm entering them both in a contest and I have less than a week to get ready.

Yes, I am a nutcase. Even worse, I am attempting to write loglines for these silly books, and I wonder whatever possessed me to do such a stupid thing. And then, there's the one book, that the problems the whole universe had with it would be fixed if I just make her motivation be that she's a Christian, that as I look at it, I think, what on earth is her spiritual arc? Maybe I should be asking what in heaven, eh?

God, you put me on this path... HELP!!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ahhhh... the mother ship...

I've finally realized what's been missing in my life lately. It's been a while since I've communed with the mother ship. This evening, I made an executive decision that I needed to head out and rejuvenate. Besides, I've been messing around with not writing so much lately that I need to get back in the game. The cool thing about the mother ship is that I'm forced to work.

And, in this wretched book that I'm converting from mainstream to inspirational, I've been needing to rewrite a chapter and I'm just not feeling it. I LIKE that he's crass. But, alas, I have to remove it. I finally broke down and restarted it. So fine, I got rid of him being crass. Now, he's being a sap. ICK. But I wrote 12 pages, so I am tres happy. And I have a much better sense of HER growth arc, which previously, the story was mostly about HIS growth arc.

I have to say, though, it felt so good to finally write. Not just edit, which has been my commitment of late. Well, forever it seems like. I ought to update my word meters, but I forget how. LOL. The funny thing is, those stories... I haven't touched them in MONTHS. I've been so focused on figuring this "What does God want me to do" question, that all the other stuff has been secondary.

Of course, I still wonder if I'm being productive at all, since when God spoke to me about my writing all those months ago, He made it quite clear that I was supposed to be writing The Book. Except I just have nothing for it... so what am I supposed to do? I keep getting all of these unrelated ideas that I have written what I had, but then... nothing. I can't decide if this is just an exercise in obedience or if there really is a book out there that I'm supposed to be writing. ACK!! I'm insane!!

See the thing about deciding once and for all that you really are going to listen to God is that suddenly what you would think would be the right thing to do is no longer the right thing to do, and so your whole life feels like it's in this bizarre holding pattern. Ugh. But it also feels good.

And so, as I got to fill my senses with the bookstore, I began to feel my sense of purpose again. It felt good. And, as I browsed the shelves when I took a little break, I could actually see *MY* books there. It felt good. In a recent discussion on the ACFW loop, folks discussed what fame and fortune as writers looked like, and the thought that hit me about all of that was a saying a friend of mine told me-that fame and fortune makes a person more of what they already are. Not that I write for those things. But I know the ministry God has for me, and I'm realizing that I'm still becoming the person He needs me to be in order to handle it all. So it was cool to realize, as I inhaled the marvelous scent of books, that this is where I belong, what I was created to be doing, and that I really am on the right path.

I don't know what or where your mother ship is, but I highly encourage you, as you start thinking about what you're going to do with this coming year, to spend some time there, filling up your tank, chatting with God, and enjoying the sense of being who God created you to be.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Gifts of the season

One of the things I think most interesting about the Christmas season is how we tend to be encouraged to be more generous, and how, for most of us, we do tend to give more. I started to really think about it the other night when my daughter and I stopped for drinks at a coffee place we like to frequent. The barista was a guy who always seems to be working when we're there, and so I thought, you know, he's been really good to me whenever I come, so I should give him an extra tip, a little thank you at the holiday time. So I did. I gave him a tip that was ridiculously high for what I ordered.

I realized that I tend to do that at the holidays-I end up giving people more money, bigger tips, better gifts, more blessings, than I would at other times of the year. And even though it's a good thing that I choose to bless people at this time of year, why don't we do it the rest of the year? Why, when we go to restaurants or the coffee shop, we'll give a tip that consists of the change left over from our orders, or whatever percentage seems appropriate to what we'd ordered? But over the holidays, we'll add an extra dollar or two, or whatever else we happen to have that we think will bless others. Why don't we do that every time we go out?

Why, during the rest of the year, are we so caught up in our lives that we don't remember to do those things? Each year, at Thanksgiving, I get a thing from our local rescue mission saying that it costs $1.84 to feed one person Thanksgiving dinner. And then I get another one at Christmas. Why don't we get those every month? Are people only hungry at Thanksgiving and Christmas?

I know I've talked about this before, but I wonder, what sort of difference would we make in this world if each of us who was able would help out someone who needed it. There are fewer hungry people in this country than there are who are not. One dollar and eighty four cents. That's all it would take to feed another human being in our country. I suspect, if we chose to feed someone not in our country, it would take even less.

What does it take to have more compassion on others? Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the fact that people are charitable, even if it takes a commercial holiday to make us give to others. But is it really a credit to us, a credit to the man whose birth we're supposed to be celebrating, if we're only charitable at a time when it's more noticeable? Even the Pharisees would do that. Even those who do not know Christ would do that.

My hope, in the coming year, that we would not only give the obligatory gifts, but ones that would make a difference at times when others may have forgotten. Gifts that are "just because". Maybe even a few gifts that aren't so easy to give. That take more than just handing someone our spare change.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The dogs and the bees...

I took the kiddos and the dog for haircuts today. On the way home, I had quite the conversation with the six year old about the dog.

"Mom, why don't we find a wife for Grant?"
"Um, because he doesn't need one, and I don't need to take care of another dog?"
"But he's lonely, and everyone needs to have someone to love."
"He has us."
"Mom, he's a grown dog now, and it's time he got married and became a father."
"I hate to break it to you, but he can't ever be a father, so it would be mean to find him a wife."
"No, he can be a father, if you found him a wife. You've got to have a wife before you become a father."

Long sigh... I know I'm going to have to tell her that the dog was neutered. AKA he will never become a father. Plus, dog mating and human mating are nothing alike. Do NOT want to have this conversation with her..

"Honey, when Grant was a baby, he had an operation that made it so he can't have babies."
"Well, of course he can't have babies, he's a BOY."
"I know, but boys play a part in giving babies to the moms."
Now it's her turn to give the long exasperated sigh. "Yes, I know. The boy has to help the mom take care of the babies."
"And the dog had an operation that makes it so he can't help the mom take care of the babies." (Yes, I know... total cop out. But give me a break!)
"Why would you do something like that to him? He's probably really sad that he can't ever be a dad."
"Because boy dogs who can't be dads are nicer." And I was not going to explain that boy dogs will give babies to any girl dog in their path. Thus far, she is convinced that there can be no babies without marriage, and we're not going to change that impression.

She remained silent for a while, and then she said, "Mom, that's really not fair that you didn't give him a choice. What if he wanted to be a dad?"
"Honey, I don't think dogs think about it the way we do."
"Well, when I grow up, I'm going to get a black dog like ours, and a girl dog for him to marry. And they're going to get married and have lots of babies."
Ah, defiance already...
"That's fine. Just remember that dog babies need lots of care and there's a whole bunch all at once, so you'll need to learn how to take care of them before you start doing that."
"Like what?"
"Special food."
"I'll just get them some milk from the fridge."
"Puppies can't drink the same milk we do."
"Oh, human food makes them sick? How do dogs throw up?"
"The same way we do."
"But they go outside to do it, right?"
"Sadly, no. Your dad and I have had to clean up lots of the dog's throw up before."
"Well, I can buy them special food."
"And you'll have to teach them to go outside to go potty and clean up their messes."
"I can do that."

I don't say anything, because she's very definitely set her mind to the fact that she's going to have dogs and let them get married and have babies. As long as it's not in MY house, I don't care.

She's quiet for a while, obviously pondering the whole dog business.
"You know, Mom, you're lucky that you have me. Because next time you get a dog, you'll know better than to make it so it can't get married and have babies. That's just not right."

My daughter-moral defender of the dog's right to reproduce...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fun in the Snow!

So here we are-post Blizzard. The 7th biggest snowstorm in recorded history for us. Aren't you excited? We woke to no power. That was very exciting. Fortunately, we do have a wood stove for extra heat. :) I wasn't brave enough to use it to heat my tea water, so instead I braved our gas stove with a match. The Resident said it would serve me right if I died by blowing up our house. She is not funny. It would serve *her* right if I murdered her in her bed, since she's sleeping right now. However, she hasn't allowed me to take out a life insurance policy on her yet, so I guess she's safe for now.

And, because That Man is of course, A MAN, and as a A MAN, has to do MANLY things, he dug us out, and had to take his Explorer exploring. He took the kiddos to his dad's (who lives about two miles away) and they spent some quality family bonding time while I napped by the fire in the dark. Bliss, I tell you, bliss. I was reminded of a comment I made when my dear friend Margaret was snowed in at her place that it would be nice to be snowed in, sans children. Well, I got a couple of hours at least. Of course, they returned home, boisterous, as children who actually like the icky white stuff are prone to be, and they woke me from my wonderful nap. They also disturbed my poor, sweet, innocent, smelly dog, whose grooming appointment had to be postponed due to the snow. As you can see in the picture below, he's looking at the icky white stuff with great distrust. If he could speak human, he'd be gnashing his teeth saying, "God, WHY?!?"

The kiddos (and Man) indulged in one of our fine blizzard traditions-the jaunt out to the hot tub. I was too comfy in my sweats to join them, but I'll probably head out there tomorrow. There is nothing like a nice soak in steaming waters with snow floating all around you. And it's pretty funny to be able to say, "Yeah, I spent the blizzard out in the hot tub." Good times, I tell you, good times. Of course, now I have to head out in the morning to finish all the things I was supposed to do over the past two days in getting ready for Christmas. ICK, ICK, and more ICK. That Man has even convinced me to take the Explorer out on my jaunts. Believe it or not, I've never driven a four wheel drive vehicle in four wheel drive before. He says it does it automatically, so I should be fine. If not, he is *soooooo* getting a snowball down his pants.


For those dreaming of a white Christmas, here it is... the great blizzard of 2006. Two days before Christmas break, and they're both snow days. Everything is closed. That Man came home early from work and won't be working tomorrow. He tried going Christmas shopping, but all the stores were closed. Last minute shoppers are in deep... snow!

Instead, That Man shoveled the driveway. I'd already paid some enterprising neighbor kids to do it for ten bucks, so this is pass number two. He did it again after his shopping attempt, and now... you can't tell anyone even touched it. I did mention we're at two feet and counting, right? We have a fenced in garden area out back, and you can barely see the top of the fence. I'll take more pics in the morning. The thing I hate about snow is that the moonlight reflects off of it, making it bright outside and it's hard to sleep. I wanted chinese take out for dinner tonight, but they were closed. ICK.

I will say, though, it's pretty cool looking. And I really don't have to be anywhere in particular, so that whole chorus to "Let it Snow" is appropriate. The snowdrift on my roof looks super cool. I took a couple of pictures of it because I liked it so much. Then it got too heavy and fell down. :) I tried checking our weather info to see how much snow our area has exactly, but they don't list that. Just projected totals, which I think we've surpassed. Interestingly enough, we typically only have a 10-35 percent chance of having a white Christmas. Given the forecast, I'm betting we'll at least have snow on the ground this year. Maybe I should buy the kids sleds. If, of course, I find a store open. Although, that would mean *I* would have to take them sledding, and frankly, I'm allergic to both cold and snow. Which is why I love where I live... note percentages above. For previous Christmases, we've bought the kiddos bikes, which they were able to ride and enjoy without jackets.

So tomorrow, we'll begin digging out. It's not supposed to stop snowing until the afternoon, which should be interesting. However we need to keep digging, because the snow is deeper than my dog is tall, and the poor little guy does need to go potty. I'm hoping to get a picture of him getting stuck in the snow in the morning. Hahaha. I'm so mean. ;)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

2006 Holiday MeMe

This is to prove I DO read my beloved Rae's blog...

Welcome to the 2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends! You know the drill. Highlight, copy, paste and change my answers to your answers. Enjoy!! Everyone has time for a few moments of fun! Don’t be a scrooge!!! I’m tagging ALL of you.

Your Name:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Hot Chocolate

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

It depends on how exhausted Santa is.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Colored on tree. Too lazy to do the house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?


5. When do you put your decorations up?

When the nagging of the kids coincides with That Man and I both having time off.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Anything I didn't have to cook.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
I got a monkey one year as an early gift, but in the mess of the house, it got lost. However, Christmas morning, it was sitting in the chair, waiting for me with all of my presents.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
When I was a pre-teen, my mom sat me down and lectured me because my Grandma was having Santa for the kids and she didn't want me to spoil it.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?


10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

With all sorts of fun ornaments. It's a hodge podge, and I love it.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?

Despise it.

12. Can you ice skate?
Not without injuring myself.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

My Dad got me Scarlett one year. It had just come out, and was hardcover-I'd been hoping that she'd get her HEA, and so when I heard there was a sequel, I HAD to have it. Everyone thought it was a dumb thing to want, but because it was important to me, my Dad got it for me.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

There's this guy-His name is Jesus.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

Potica. :)

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Making new ones with the kids each year.

17. What tops your tree?

It used to be an angel, but this year, I bought this gorgeous cross. Except I'm too short to put it up there, so it's on top of the entertainment center until I can get That Man to get it up there.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?

Giving. It's so much fun when you find the perfect gift that will make a person light up. B really wants this particular game and is just DYING for it. I am so excited to see her reaction to getting it.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song
This is all I have to Give by Todd Agnew (sung by Vince Lichlyter)

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?

In hot chocolate? Super Yum!! The traditional ones-yum. The new fancy flavor ones-yuck.

Your turn!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Missing the hop

There was something amazing and soothing about being in the hop. I miss the worship and hearing the songs. They have a live web feed that I tried to subscribe to, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work. :( Ah well, I probably don't need another thing to use for procrastination, right?

So today, I got back into the swing of my life. The house, that was livable when I left, was trashed. The kids crawled up my rectum and remained there for the rest of the day. I taught my last session of this particular class (YIPPEEEEEEEEEEE!!!) and I'm done with teaching until next week. But that class should be really easy. Except that the prep for it is going to be a pain. ICK.

I'm watching a freaky show right now about some dude who's got two wives and is trying to add a third to the family. The thing that scares me is that he's a counselor with a PhD. I just have the icky chills over it. Someone's got some serious mental wackedoutedness. And the really scary thing is-I'd love to write a book about it.

However, this is not an invitation to That Man to bring in another wife. I'm already grossed out that he has an ex-wife, and I can't imagine having to share. Seriously-how do those women sleep at night knowing their husband is in the next room sleeping with someone else? No way could I handle having him with another woman. (And totally ICK, BTW, at having another MAN here. Can you imagine the horror of having ANOTHER one to deal with?)

Which reminds me-I came home from class tonight, opened the door, and my house smelled like Man Butt. I yell up the stairs to ask if it's him, and he answers back in that sheepish way of his, "I've got really bad gas." Ya think?

Welcome home to me. Please, let me go back to the hop soon.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sleeping with Strangers...

So this trip has been pretty exciting thus far. Our plane had issues with the generator, so we ended up being parked at the gate for an hour while they fixed it. The good news-I got caught up on some reading. :) The bad news, I'm out of books to read for the trip home.

Anyway, I FINALLY got into Wichita, and I realized something-I'd never met the person picking me up. We connected via cell, found each other, and I got the good news that I would be sleeping with this stranger for the weekend. Fortunately, the stranger and I get on quite well; the stranger gave me a bridal bracelet, and we made the floor vibrate. We're totally having fun. :)

Okay, I'll fess up-the stranger is my friend Shirley, who I have known for a while online, and she is one of the dearest women I've ever met. Definitely glad I didn't have to wait until heaven to meet her.

Sooo... the concert. Since I was late getting in, we had just enough time to scarf down some dinner that her kiddos were kind enough to order for us and get to the concert just as Nate Sallie was opening things up.

Blah blah blah... concert... concert... concert... Todd.

Actually, the non Todd part of the concert was great. Awesome, even. I really can't describe it. They had a couple of places where everyone on the tour was on stage, and it was amazing. I will never again look at the Little Drummer Boy the same.

Had the intermission, and then Todd got on stage. Have you guys bought his Christmas album yet? Seriously, folks, it is the best Christmas album. EVER. Go buy it. And tell your friends to buy it. If you don't, I'll invoke my mafia connections and affinity for blowing stuff up. ;)

The coolest thing about the concert was how Todd explained the story behind the story. Each song is from the perspective from each of the members of the nativity story. You can get some of it via podcast on iTunes, but it's a million times better. The tour continues through Tuesday, so go if you can. Of course, Todd was in his usual form, and WHOA! The way God works through him totally blows me away. The best part-which we have been quoting and doing to each other (the girls I'm with)-is the angel part. He does this angels conversing with God bit. And his God voice... you have to experience it. I can't describe it. Anyway, all weekend, for everything, we keep asking each other, "is it time yet?", and then we put up the pretend microphone, and say, "No."

Afterwards, I had the chance to talk to Joy Whitlock, an incredible new Christian artist who does a song on the Christmas album and sang at the concert. You also need to check her out because she's got an amazing heart for God and is about one of the sweetest people I've met.

We all hung out and got a chance to chat for a while before heading out in our caravan. And OH MY GOSH! I now have proof positive that Todd and I really were twins separated at birth (well, if we'd been born the same year). To protect the innocent, I won't tell you what it was, but oh MAN! We are *SO* related!

Shirley and I headed to KC, I chatted her ear off to keep her awake, and because I was sooooo excited to finally meet her. Got to the apartment, fell into bed, woke up (naturally-what is up with that? We didn't get to bed until 4) at 8, and were up and running for the day.

Today, we had a gal from IHOP come teach for a while, then we did lunch, toured "The Hop" as we affectionately call it, and then the gal came back and prayed over us. It was a weird, incredible experience. I'm still processing.

Then, Shirley did a seder dinner so we all knew what one was like, which was a pretty incredible deal. She gave us all bracelets for being the Brides of Christ, which was awesome. She led worship and the rest of the girls and I laid on the floor doing some creative interpretive dancing, which made the floor vibrate. Actually, I think it was more that we were rolling on the floor from laughing so hard.

Did I mention I'm totally in love with these women?

I think the thing that sucks about having so many wonderful friends in so many wonderful places is that we can't do this stuff very often. I hate not being able to see them regularly and just share life in person. Because it's really hard to make the floor vibrate via the internet.

However, I'm also very blessed because it does mean that when I travel, I get to see people I know and love. Like tomorrow, Pammer is going to meet me "at the Hop" and we're going to service together with her family. How freaking awesome is that? To have friends all over the place that you can pop in, share a little Jesus love, and head out.

The heading out sucks, though.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

OH! I almost forgot!!

Just a small update on my rant/weird way God is messing with my head.

Remember the lady I ranted about who can't seem to be courteous in dropping off her child? Well, I volunteered in B's school today, and of course, the kid was in one of the groups I worked with. She said to me, "you come here a lot." Uh, yeah. Duh. It's my kid. Of course I go there a lot. I smiled and told her I'm on the schedule to come regularly. "Why?" "Because I want to help in your class." "That's weird." "Why is that weird?" At which point, the teacher's aide interrupted and said, "It's not weird, it's wonderful." The kid shook her head and said, "No, it's weird. But I like having you." She smiled and finished working on her project.

And then I noticed the other teacher taking out the homework folders and sorting them. First, I was appalled that these folders, which get sent home every week and are supposed to be worked on nightly, were only returned by 3 out of the nearly 30 students. This little girl-she wasn't one of the ones who turned hers in.

As I worked with the kids, I realized she was in the "slow group"-the kids who just don't seem to "get it" quite yet. I listened as she chattered away about a lot of things, but mostly, I realized that this little girl is starving for attention. And I began thinking about the mom, who I just want to kill on a good day, is probably really stressed about whatever it is going on in her life, and it's so overwhelming that she can't take the time to properly park to drop off her child, or help her child with her homework, or participate in her child's school. I started to feel bad for the mom, because she's got this little girl, who is really cute, really sweet, and mom is too stressed out to realize it. Or maybe mom does realize it, but she's got so much on her plate that she doesn't think she can do anything about it. Or maybe the kid is such a handful that she is going insane.

Either way, it doesn't really matter. I felt a lot of compassion for this woman that I only knew as the rude lady in the Subaru. I felt a lot of compassion for this little girl (who is still a little on the irritating side). And I realized that the last thing either of them need is some angry woman who wants to blow them up but really has nothing so pressing to do that waiting while they stop in the middle of the street is going to end the world. Crazy of me, I know, but I wondered what kindness the woman is missing in her life, and if in some way, I could show some of it to her and ease whatever load she's bearing.

Life was so much more fun when I wanted to blow everything up. ;)

Excitement on the horizon

I'm watching my beloved Joyce Meyer, doing laundry, and trying to pack. Yep, I'm off tomorrow on a fun and exciting journey-a first for me.

I'm flying to Wichita to see Todd Agnew in concert. I've never flown somewhere specifically to go to a concert. There, I'm meeting up with some friends I've met on his message boards, having dinner, going to the concert, and then driving to Kansas City for a weekend retreat at the International House of Prayer. THEN, on Sunday, I get to meet up with Pammer at the service. Wahoo!! Plus, it's very near my best friend from childhood's last known address, so I'm hoping to find a local phone book to look her up and find her again. I miss my Melly!

So it really is a multipurpose trip, and when I initially heard about it, I didn't realize it included going to the concert. But since it does... I chose a flight arrangement that would get me there. :) Which I suppose means I'm not exactly flying specifically for a concert, because I wouldn't be doing it without the retreat, but well, I'm counting it anyway. :)

And yes, I am bringing my Mistress, and yes, I will have some internet access (had to check, you know. Plus, I do have a job to do that doesn't go away just because I do), and yes, I am bringing my camera and the thingy to download the pictures, so if all goes well, you may be treated to some fun pics at some point in the weekend. Or not. LOL

Okay, Joyce is over, I heard the washer finish the spin cycle, so I'd better get motoring...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Roaches and other offensive creatures

As my regular blog readers know, I love Joyce Meyer. I've been watching her series on Managing Your Emotions . Today absolutely killed me.

See, I talk about praying for my enemies. I try so hard to try to make an effort to be loving toward those who aren't loving toward me. As I've mentioned, I regularly deal with a number of people who, for lack of better description, make my life miserable. I realized how much of it is me allowing them to make my life miserable. They probably neither know nor care that I spend hours obssessing over every slight, intentional and unintentional. And even though I try to turn the other cheek, I spend a lot of time being angry at them.

So there's my favorite roach people I like to gripe about. I seriously do everything I can to be kind to them, even though they treat me like a bug under their shoe (hence the name roach people). But there's still so much anger in my heart still. On one hand, I felt justified by the idea that you can be angry, but in your anger, you shouldn't sin. Because I'm not sinning. I'm just mad.

But a couple of gems smacked me right between the eyes and I've realized just how badly I need to re-adjust my thinking and my emotions. For whatever reason, I decided to go to the Greek on Matthew 5:22. Saying "Raca" to someone? Um, that's the modern day version of all my ranting about the idiots I have to deal with and calling them idiots. But before that, Joyce talked about the verses in 2 Timothy 2:23-24. The not resentful part really got me. And as I thought about it, I realized how resentful I am.

I resent the roaches in my life, the ones I constantly rant about being such idiots, who have no kindness or show any Christian love. I puff myself up because I at least can show them kindness and offer them love. But in remaining resentful, in ranting about what idiots they are, I have negated all of it.

I am a roach.

I have spoken so much in the pain and hurt and emotion of being mistreated by roaches. I have a friend who despises the roaches, not because she's met them, but because I've ranted about the roaches for so long, and how despite everything I've tried to do, they're still roaches. And because of the offense they've given me, she's angry on my behalf. A sign of true friendship, to be sure, but a sign that I am not nearly as mature of a Christian as I'd like to think I am.

It's one thing to pray for our enemies, but as Joyce pointed out in reference to Matthew 5:44, to bless someone means not to speak ill of them, to speak well of them. Can I truly pray for someone I speak ill of? I don't speak ill of them to their faces and certainly not to anyone I think might know them. But I rant day and night about what the roaches have said and done this time. And then I say, "but Lord, bless them."

I am a two-faced roach.

When we pray for our enemies, it's not just a matter of saying, "Lord, I lift this person up to you, or Lord, fix this situation, or Lord, bless this person." No. Somewhere in there, I also need the prayer, of "Lord, clean out all the bad feelings I have towards this person, and help me keep my big fat mouth shut."

Suddenly, I've realized, it's not enough to simply pray for my enemies. It's a good first step. But there's a greater depth involved than just passing on requests that the Lord already knows. It means that I must truly let go of the offense, and replace the resentment with the Lord. Sadly, I think it also means I'm going to have to work on removing some of my favorite words from my vocabulary.

It's a good thing I love a God that's stronger than my roachiest of roachness.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And then I have to watch Joyce Meyer

Most of you know by now that I adore Joyce Meyer. You can add her to my "beloved" list. *sticks tongue out at That Man* Anyway, it's my habit that instead of watching the negative news, I watch Joyce (and the program before her). Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't, because now that we have cable, we have about a million channels and I never remember which is which.

But, because I'm TRYING to make this spiritual life of mine more of a priority, I'm trying to treat her show like I treat my beloved Veronica. *gasp* So it's something I try to do daily, and end up doing a few times a week. So I'm watching tonight's show. It's on managing your emotions.

Aka Danica shouldn't let her homicidal tendencies rule her universe. Crap. Well, actually, I can FEEL homicidal, I just shouldn't BE homicidal. What fun is that?

It made me realize that as much as I want to kill all the idiots in the universe, especially those I ranted about yesterday, it's not exactly what Jesus would do. As Joyce so helpfully pointed out, we can't control the idiots (well, she didn't use the word idiots), but we can control ourselves. We can control how we react. It doesn't mean we can't be angry, we just can't act on our anger. She gave scripture on this one, and I can't remember it. Maybe I'll hunt it up tomorrow.

The other cool thing I got out of it--No, wait, it's not cool. It's not homicide. *shaking head* One of the guys she had on the show talked about his experience counseling people on their marriage. He said that when they said "I don't have those feelings of love anymore," that it was a good thing. Because you're supposed to ACT in love, and the feelings will follow. I've always said that love is like gas. The feeling will eventually pass. But I've heard it said so many times, in so many ways, that love is a verb, and you shouldn't treat it like a mere emotion. Huh. So maybe I should start doing that in other areas of emotional upheaval in my life.

I learned a long time ago that the twitterpated feeling of being married and in love gets old rather quickly. But I love my husband more today than I did when I married him because the love we share now is not based on that. It's based on a lot of things-like commitment, respect, trust, holiness, acting in a way that demonstrates love, rather than some wacked out hormonal thing. Which is probably good, considering we all now know that my hormones are totally messed up. The thing is, I love my husband, even though I threaten to kill him regularly.

Which makes me realize that as emotional as I am, maybe I don't let them rule my life as much as I think. After all, if I did that, That Man would be dead, the world would be completely flattened, and I'd be sucking my thumb on the last remaining non glowing tropical island all by my little self. ICK.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Things that irritate me

1. This stupid lady at my daughter's school. She drives like a maniac, cutting everyone off to get there, and then, rather than parking like a civilized person to let her daughter out, stops in the middle of the street, gets out, goes around the car to the other side to let the kid out, give kid hugs and kisses, gets back in car, adjusts whatever she needs to adjust that takes a hundred million freaking minutes, and then, despite the fact that the lovely folks living across the street had signs posted for the first few weeks of school NOT to turn around in their driveways, she flips a U, realizes she can't make it (and we're four months into school so you'd think she'd have figured it out by now), and turns around in the neighbor's driveway, preventing everyone else from going anywhere until she gets her business done. For the record, her daughter is one of the dumbest kids in the class, so she apparently comes by stupidity honestly. (Actually, she's a very cute and sweet kid. I just want to kill her mother, who does this EVERY day.)

2. My bank. We have a couple of banks, but this one has a lot of our business since they handle our home loans. Not only do they have horrible customer service, idiotic banking policies that make my life difficult, but they seem to think it's fun to randomly change where the night deposit box is located. Not fun when all you want to do is get your money deposited so you don't bounce a check, and you can't find the place to put it.

3. Buying pants. My recent weight gain has made me finally admit that I need new pants. I only have a couple pair I can wear. Sooo... I visited my favorite thrift store and tried on 20 pairs of pants. 3 fit. Did I mention they were all the same size? And yet, I couldn't even get half of them fastened. Do you have any idea how depressing that is?

4. People who think they can parent your kids for you. I realize people are thinking that they're being nice and helpful. But you know, don't freaking come up to me with your "advice" when I'm disciplining my child in the grocery store. YES, you moron, I KNOW it's dangerous for my child to stand up in the shopping cart. Which is what I was explaining to the little terrorist when you decided to stick your big fat nose in and tell me all about it. Maybe "Don't do that" works with your kids, but don't assume that's what mine need. And no, I didn't spank her. You, however, need more than a spanking. Flogging would do nicely, I think.

5. Going to the grocery store. Yes, I just ranted about people who want to "help" with your kids. But that needs its own category. I'm talking in general about the whole finding a parking spot, patiently waiting for pedestrians to pass, carting kid inside, finding the car cart for kid, trying to remember what you're supposed to buy in addition to the "helpful" suggestions kid makes (you know, like lobster and broccoli), maneuvering around the old ladies who think the trip to the grocery store is their own personal social hour, reaching your favorite items that can only be found on the very top shelf, standing in line for eighty years while overtired and overstimulated kid is screaming, getting dirty looks from people who can't understand what it's like to have a two year old, dealing with the sour attitude of the clerk who is terribly inconvenienced by the fact that the strip on the store's discount card doesn't work in the reader, having to explain to the bagger that there still needs to be room for the child in the cart AFTER groceries are loaded, avoiding being run over in the parking lot by drivers who think that stop signs in parking lots are optional, getting kid in car without too much kicking and screaming, loading groceries, getting back OUT of said parking lot, and FINALLY getting home only to realize that you forgot to buy pull ups, which was one of the things you desperately needed.

Welcome to a typical day in my life. Is it any wonder I'm homicidal?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Crazy Days are Here again...

Well, I made my goal of having The Room ready by Tuesday. Wahoo. It's done. Bathroom-cleaned. Working on laundry for the fam. Have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Today, we drove to get That Man's Christmas statue-it's an hour and a half drive, each way. But it's a family tradition, so *shrugs*. We had fun.

Apparently, I'm the teacher extraordinaire, because more of the other folks are observing me and taking note. And they keep telling me how great I am. Which is flattering, but I feel like such a doofus, and like I know absolutely nothing. So it's crazy to have all these people telling me how great I am and wanting to learn from me. These are the people *I* want to learn from, so it's really a wild situation. It also means I'm being asked to do more and I keep saying I want to do less. UGH.

Tonight in our Bible study, one of the gals was talking about a speaker she'd heard at a conference recently. One of the comments really got to me-that the sign of a mature Christian is suffering. Well, crap. It's so funny, as much as I think I'm all about Christ, I am STILL afraid of suffering. "I'll do anything for you, Lord, but please, don't make me do that suffering thing." And then she went on to say that sometimes we take the whole suffering thing too literally. Whatever we are going through that's hard could be considered as suffering.

It's been the three roughest years of my life. I keep asking God, "When is it going to get easier?" And here it is, in some ways getting easier, and yet, it's also getting harder. Figuring out priorities, dealing with challenges that attempt to take away things that are important to me. Yeah, I know, it seems pretty lame. Everyone keeps saying I have every right to be tired, stressed, blah blah blah, but I still look at it all as nothing. Maybe I need to stop downgrading it and accept that this is where I'm at.

In some ways, I am getting better, and certainly I've seen a lot of great things in three years, a lot of miracles, and God doing some incredible things. But wow... it's also really sucked. Am I maturing as a Christian? Heck if I know. I feel like every time I think I'm taking a step forward, I realize just how far behind I am.

My challenge for the rest of the week: find someone to watch the kiddos while I'm away since That Man will be working, buy some new pants that fit, balance the old checkbook, go grocery shopping, pick up our newest family member from the airport, get the house cleaned, prep a couple more classes, and probably a few other things that I can't remember. Ugh. Can I be a shallow Christian and consider this suffering?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Check the girls!!

Men, I apologize, but you may not enjoy this post, since it may be TMI, but it's one of those need to post things.

Lady friends o'mine (and men, you can ask your wives), when was the last time you did a breast self examination? If you haven't done one in the last month, DO IT. It should be a monthly deal. If you're not sure how to do it, click here .

I wasn't going to go into detail on my "female" problems, but basically, I was having severe breast pain. The doctor examined me and found several large lumps, which he further examined and determined they were cysts, and now we're at the diagnosis of my low progesterone, and you know the rest of the story.

Then today, I got an email from one of my critique partners. She had a weird mammogram, and she ended up being diagnosed with breast cancer this week.

Sobering news. Especially because I realized, as I felt for myself the extent of my cysts, I hadn't done a monthly self exam in MONTHS. I can't believe I had these things growing in my breasts and didn't realize it. If they had been cancer, my treatment would be delayed (and chances of survival decreased) because I hadn't been alert about my body.

So I encourage you-do your self exam. If you're at the point in life where you should be getting mammograms, do that as well. And for the men, if you're still with me, and if you're married, I know you're playing with your wife's um, equipment. Or at least you should be. ;) Anyway, while you're enjoying yourself, get to know them, and if you notice any changes or lumps, talk to her about it. You may end up being her hero in more ways than one. :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A little research and a good night's sleep

Makes it all better. :)

The reason I went to the doctor yesterday and found out about my weight gain is I was having "woman troubles". Don't want to scare the guys too much, so I'll try not to give too much detail. :) Anyway, the reason I was having the symptoms I was having is that I don't have enough progesterone. As That Man said about it, I'm not hormonal because I don't have any! So HA!

I was given the option of going back on birth control or letting it run its course, which will mean certain body parts will hurt until my body figures out what it's doing. However, I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE birth control pills. You think I'm a freak now-you seriously don't want to be around me when I'm on those things. Soo, I took door number two.

I decided to Google my diagnosis (I bet doctors hate we do that!) and there's a whole bunch of stuff out there. Including self diagnosis quizzes. It scares me how many things I have going on with my body that are related to a progesterone deficiency. INCLUDING: unexplained weight gain or inability to lose weight. I'm not a big fat cow because I'm a big fat cow. My lack of hormones made me that way! Score one for the home team. :) Seriously, though, I realized that there's a real explanation for a lot of sudden and weird changes in my health-even in things that I just figured "that's how I am."

Which led me to deciding to take action to fix it (without the evil pill). However, there are so many wackos out there, and most of the resources end with the whole "buy my product" routine, I didn't know who to trust. And so... I used my secret weapon. I used to work with a nutritionist who just happens to also hate the evil pill, and I knew she'd have a solution for me. I called her and she put me in touch with a very nice lady on the east coast who deals in all natural remedies (and will ONLY sell to licensed medical professionals) who confirmed my doctor's diagnosis and friend's diagnosis (which matches what I found online), soooo I'm meeting with my friend on Friday to get me some stuff to make it better.

I know, you were all soooo interested in my health. But it has an important lesson. And there usually is one in all of my long stories. The amazing thing about living in the information age is that we can get all sorts of information. But as thinking adults, we also need to find ways of measuring that information and test it. I absolutely bought my doctor's diagnosis. But I'm not a "wait and see" kind of girl. My doctor, even though he is one of the best doctors in town, and I absolutely love him, is not as into the natural/holistic medicine as I am. I recognize this and do research on my own for what I want. But NOTICE-I didn't go off half baked and take the advice of all the quacks out there who think they know about my condition. Anyone can post anything they want on the Internet and call themselves an expert. For all you people know (except for the ones who've met me in person), I could be a teenager, a bald octogenerian, or *gasp* some random celebrity. I'm not. But how would you know? So don't believe all the crap people write, especially when it comes to your health. I read up, checked with someone I know is an expert, who had me confirm with an expert, and NOW I'm taking action.

Soooo... I'm much happier now. I'm also pretty excited, because a lot of the problems I've been having are things that are fixable. Things like my migraines-soon to be gone. They began when I started having these symptoms, and wouldn't ya know-migraines can also be the result of lack of progesterone. One little hormone-lotsa stuff fixed. :) I might even stop wanting to blow up the universe. But I wouldn't count on it. Blowing stuff up is cool.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Please Kill Me


I mean it.

I forgot to tape Veronica.

And I had a doctor's appointment today. My weightloss plan-I gained ten pounds. Now I need to lose fifteen. How... how... how... can one trying to lose weight, do all the right things, and GAIN ten pounds?

So here I am, depressed beyond all get out, and I can't even gorge on chocolate!!!

Which is why I think it would be best if someone just killed me. Plus, if I'm murdered, That Man and Those Kids will get a lot of money!

(Though if I am murdered, I would definitely consider That Man a suspect)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ah, the good ole days

Well, potica making was a success. We made 4 poticas, which ended up being 15 loaves. When I get the pictures from my FIL, I'll share. It was totally cool. I loved being a part of it and getting a taste of That Man's heritage. And tasty it was. :)

It definitely made me want to do some digging into my own family history, which is going to be hard, since my relatives are all clams.

Finishing up some work now and I have Cheaper by the Dozen on. The original version, TYVM. I can't think of a single classic movie where the remake has been better. It's tempting to stay up and watch The King and I, because not only do I ADORE anything Rodgers and Hammerstein, but Yul Brynner is AWESOME. I think he's why I have secret fantasies about my hubby with a shaved head. :)

However, I do own the movie, so I suppose I can watch it at my leisure. I also own the remake which completely SUCKS. :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Well, it's been a doozy of a couple few days. I ended up with the nasty stomach virus my children had, which has not been fun. Fortunately, I was better this morning, and got to go teach the first session of my latest class. Unfortunately, it decided to snow-again. We still haven't gotten rid of the snow from the last storm, so I was much displeased. That Man, smart as he is, was indignant on my behalf that it would snow without asking my permission. ;)

Class was fine, I felt like a total dork teaching, and didn't realize until halfway through that the district manager was listening in. Eeek! However, at the end of class we talked and she said she thought I did great. As in, if it was in her budget, she'd hire me to do nothing but teach full time. YIKES! And, I get to teach another training class that I wasn't planning on. Ain't I just popular? I just want to know-if I'm so great, why do I think I'm making a fool out of myself up there?

I came home, made this fabulous "nacho surprise" thing for dinner. AKA throw a bunch of stuff on tortilla chips, top with cheese and melt under the broiler because I haven't done grocery shopping.

Then, I decided to embark on a project that HAS to get done. We have a friend moving in with us coming up in less than ten days, which means I have to get the spare room cleaned out. Which means consolidating and sorting kid junk, finding storage for said kid junk, etc. I'm quite pleased with the results. The room will be ready as soon as I finish sorting baby clothes and put them in the attic. Well, and then I should probably clean it. :)

Part of this process also involves cleaning my office. In the shifting process, I had to move my book boxes from The Room into my office. Which means moving out the last remnants of kid stuff and *gasp* sorting my own stuff. See, I have a thing about filing. Necessary evil, but I hate doing it. So I wait until I HAVE to do it. AKA tax time. So I might actually get it all done here in the next few days and when tax time comes, I might actually have an easier time of it.

Nah... my mess is always the least of the worries. The worst part is That Man's stuff and his business nightmare. One of these days, I'll take a picture of it in all of its glory and you can see what a disaster it is. But who knows, maybe all of my hard work will inspire him and he'll want to have his desk area look like mine and he'll get it done too.

OH! And I sorted through Christmas presents today. I almost have all of my shopping done. The presents are all neatly organized into recipient, so all I have to do is wrap and put under tree. Note to self: buy wrapping paper. :)

Tomorrow, I'm off to participate in one of That Man's family traditions-making potica (it's spelled a million different ways, but you can click hereto see what I'm talking about. I've always wanted to learn, so I'm excited that Teri is having everyone over to learn how to do it. I'm told to be prepared to get really flour-y and that it's going to take all day. Fun, fun, fun.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Once Again, Blowing Stuff Up

Yeah, I know, my friends at Homeland Security are loving this. I'm going to tell you a secret about myself. My daughter likes to play on Neopets. Except, as I'd like to remind any men who think they'd like to marry her, she has expensive taste. And, because she is only 6, she sucks at all the games at which you earn the points to buy the expensive little "things". So, being the indulgent parent, I play the games, earn the points, and she spends them. I'm telling you, marrying her off is going to be SUCH a chore.

Anyway, when I'm frustrated with something, I log in to her account, and I blow things up. She gets points, I release stress. Well, I've been blowing stuff up all night. See, when I started this Nano book, I had no idea how challenging it was going to be to me spiritually. I've written books before, but this is the first one, other than the one I'm editing to include more spiritual tones, that is overtly a spiritual book. Well, there was also the one... but we won't go there, okay? And, as much as I'd like to proudly have the "I did the Nano thing" banner again this year, it's not going to happen.

Along the journey, I realized that there is something more important than my goals. EEK! I'm growing. This is hard for a goal-driven person like me. To have to step back and say, the goal isn't important. Because even though I initially said that was the goal, the important thing became God saying, "Hey, there's something important I need to teach you here." I have less than 24 hours left in the challenge, and only 24,000 words written out of 50,000. You do the math. Yes, I've had 20K days (that nearly killed me, and I did NOTHING but write), but I'm not going to do it. I'm not even going to try.

I'm dancing around these chapters right now, because while this book is a definite parallel of the Hosea story, I've taken enough artistic license and deviated from the Bible that there's some differences. Maybe enough that only people who I tell it's a Hosea book will see it for what it is. I don't know. What I do know is that here I am, in a room full of drug dealers, and there's this one-Tony. He's trying to save Gomer from the drug lord and bring her back to Hosea. He's so honorable, he's so amazing, and yet, I have to kill him. There's this part of me that wants Tony and Gomer to end up together, because he's such an amazing man and he loves her so much. And yet, he has to bring Gomer and Hosea back together.

I've written the book out of order, because I was so excited to blow things up. The big explosion? Tony dies in it. Yeah, I know, I ruined the book. It's only halfway. :) But somehow, I have to get Tony and the drug lord to the building before it blows up. AND, I have to make Gomer willing to go with Hosea after it happens. She doesn't have to love him at this point, but she has to go.

In this struggle, I'm learning something about God. He doesn't want these bad things to happen to us. He doesn't want us to get blown up. But like Tony, we have choices. He's made the conscious decision to be where he is at. He's chosen to seek his own form of vengeance rather than trusting in the Lord, and even though he is a wonderful loving man who has good intentions, he's still going to have to live the consequences of his actions. Which is a lot like how we are in our relationships with God. Our intentions are good, but sometimes we're not exactly doing what He wants us to be doing. And sometimes that means suffering negative consquences. The good news is that in the end, we're going to end up in Paradise with God. But the journey itself-it's not going to be perfect or easy.

So what on earth does this have to do with blowing stuff up? I'm sort of in a holding pattern right now, because as I started thinking about what this book meant to me, God did one of his famous taps on my shoulder and now I'm supposed to be reading commentaries about Hosea. As if. Yes, I'm going to do it. And no, I'm not procrastinating. I am researching, so if you want to share any suggestions, please do so. Believe it or not, blowing stuff up helps me think. So I'm off in Neopia, blowing up bad guys, earning points for my kiddo, and by the end of this stage in the journey, I expect she'll be a fully spoiled Neopian Millionaire.

And no, my beloved Tori, I have not forgotten about our beloved Veronica (or Jericho, another shared passion). I am just so freaking homicidal over both shows that I have no comments that I won't get arrested over, so I'll wait until I'm calm and have viewed them again. *batting eyelashes*

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Taking Courage

God is so not funny most of the time. Seriously. I was debating about church tonight, That Man was working again, and it had started to snow. But I just felt this God tug at my heart that I needed to go. So okay, fine. I packed up the kiddos and braved the snow to head to church. The roads weren't bad, so I was pretty happy. I get to church, no big deal.

And the topic was the Serenity prayer, and they were going to be talking about courage and wisdom. Okay. Fine. Nothing I really needed, but I'll bite. Now, I have to be nice in saying this, because I found out that people from my church read my blog, but I also have to be honest. It was *SO* not what I was hoping for. A couple bits of Bible nuggets, but mostly their personal stories. Blech. I've been needing to dig in the Word, so it just wasn't soul filling. However, I always do get good things out of anything, so I did pick up a couple things.

Finally, the guest speaker, Bob Krulish, says something that made God do His fun little, "HEY DUMMY" prod. Bob was talking about his battle with colon cancer and how when he got the news, he asked God if he should be worried, God said no, and because of the things God had already brought him through, he trusted God and didn't worry. Huh. Okay, Lord, what exactly does this have to do with me?

Well, we got out of church, and the little snow had turned into a lot of snow. As I wiped the snow off my car, I noticed police cars with lights on heading in the exact direction I have to go. Lovely.

See, I have this huge fear: driving in snow. I lay the blame solely on my parents, who spent my entire childhood groaning about how it was sooo dangerous to drive on the snow. Before I ever took the wheel, I was terrified of driving in snow. So here I am, a neurotic adult who's afraid to drive in snow. It's seriously so bad that I will do anything to avoid driving in it. If I have to go to work in snow, I make That Man drive me. I literally shake in fear when I'm behind the wheel in snow-white knuckled and the whole bit.

So while they didn't share a whole lot of Bible verses on courage, I had a few of my own in my arsenal. After all, I did make my daughter memorize Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." As I think I mentioned before, I was motivated solely in my desire to memorize it myself. And it served me well, as I drove home.

The Lord was with me. He's with me wherever I go. I just need the prod to remember it. During my careful maneuvers, I said this verse over and over, remembering what Bob had said-God has saved me from a number of hard times. And when He said He was with me, I had no choice but to believe Him. He's been faithful to me and He has NEVER broken a promise to me.

See, the point of my going to church tonight was not that I needed to hear the message so much as I needed to encounter God in the tangible way of driving through the snow and ice without the fear that consumes me. Oh, don't get me wrong. I was still afraid. God doesn't take the fear away. But He does give courage. If you are willing to take it. Because the funny thing about taking courage is that you have to act. You have to move. God will move with you.

It took 40 minutes to make a 15 minute trip. But we made it safely and without incident. God kept us safe, despite bad roads, that as the news reported later, was the cause of several bad accidents.

The most humbling part of it all is that the final song we sang (one of my favorites), Pledge, went through my head, especially the chorus, which says:
Forgive me now
I don't know how
To love You like I should
I pledge my vow to learn somehow
To love You like I should

I don't know how to love God the way I should. I wish I did. But nights like tonight, when I take a little more courage, and trust Him even in a silly thing like driving in the snow, I learn just a little more about the incredible God I call my own.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Joy of my Life

Yes, it's another kiddo post. Actually, it's a random post. I had a better, funnier, title for it, but last time I had a fiendishly clever title, my boss found it, didn't appreciate it, and I had to delete. So pretend I had a fiendishly clever title, and it'll make my day.

We were in the grocery store, and the kiddos had been good, plus candy bars were on sale for twenty five cents. I bought the baby some Skittles. The older child yelled loudly, "Look, Mom! S&M's!" At which point, both girls started babbling about S&M excitedly. Everyone in the checkout lane began to stare at us. I just had to smile and nod and keep saying, "Yes, those are called SKITTLES." So the kids started arguing with me that it was really called S&M. After all, my six year old IS learning to read, so she KNOWS that it starts with an "S" and they're shaped like M&Ms, so they HAVE to be S&Ms, right?

Birth control... I highly recommend using it.

Actually, as much as I say that, I do have to say the kiddos are the joy of my life. Even though they are downstairs screaming and That Man is working late again, I wouldn't trade them for anything. I spent the afternoon in B's class, helping out, and it was loads of fun. For a second I thought I might enjoy being a kindergarten teacher, and then I realized it was the cold medicine talking.

Yes, I am still sick.

I spent the night of my previous blog up all night with a puking baby. Didn't get much sleep. No sleep + developing cold = full blown cold nightmare. My friend Julie called today, and I recognized the croak in her voice. She told me that it was week two for her. I can't afford to be sick right now. This class session ends Thursday, and I start a new, accelerated session on Saturday.

And because I just can't get enough insanity in my life, I bit the bullet and joined ACFW today. I even chatted with my buddies who've been twisting my arm about it and they're searching for CPs for me. Apparently, I need to adjust this cold medication.

But hey, the kiddos have stopped screaming,so that means they've either stopped fighting or they've finally succeeded in killing each other. I was hoping for the house blowing up since it's currently trashed, but since I'm still sitting here in my bed praying for death, their evil plot didn't work. Ah well, it would be a trifle inconvenient right now to be homeless, so I suppose it's probably a good thing they didn't blow up the house. (And for all you worrywarts, NO, they do not have access to explosives or anything capable of making a fire. There's a reason we don't have knobs on the stove. However, they are smart enough to figure out a way of doing it without the necessary implements).

Okay, they've been quiet for ten minutes. Must go check. Oh wait. Never mind. Here they come. Brace yourselves.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Now it's vomit

I wish I were kidding. I say that a lot, sadly. For those of you without children, you might add this to reasons why birth control is a really good option.

That Man's family comes from a mountain town about an hour and a half away. It's a beautiful place, although it has the distinction of often being the coldest place in the continental U.S. Which is why my dream is to have a SUMMER home there. We spent one snowy Thanksgiving there and froze our butts off. However, it is gorgeous, so it was with mixed feelings that I got in the car to make the trek.

Anyway, we headed out, and it was a gorgeous day. I brought The Mistress to try to get some writing done. At this rate, it'll take a miracle to make the Nano goal. However, I'm coming down with a cold, so after hitting page 100 (sigh), I took a nap. Which, as we got ready to turn off the highway to head up the pass was rudely interrupted by a child blowing chunks.


I woke up to little pieces of vomit flying past me. We pulled over and cleaned up best we could. However, we still had a half hour drive to the nearest town. We drove, in the stench of vomit, until we got to town, which fortunately, has a Family Dollar store. She'd puked all over the new clothes I'd bought her, plus her coat. So I bought her more new clothes.

We headed off to the church, and it's one of those old, historic churches. I think, but not 100%, I remember being told it was the first Catholic church in town. Maybe the first church period. Anyway, they don't have a restroom, it's so old. Fortunately, the priest was in residence, so we went next door to the rectory and I was able to get her cleaned up and changed there.

The funeral was good, I assume. The baby threw a fit in the very beginning, so I took her outside. I was sad to miss most of it, but I did hear a very nice portion of a tribute to Zay that was very sweet. It made me wish I'd known her when she was young, rather than as a dying old woman. Even though I do have some wonderful memories of her.

Then, we buried her, and it was a beautiful day. It had snowed the night before, but it was so warm and nice we didn't even need coats. It was cool-she was buried with her husband, and their plot was with their lifelong best friends who'd also been their next door neighbors. They even have one headstone for the four of them. After that, we visited the family plot and paid our respects to That Man's grandmother and great grandparents. It's weird to do that, because I really appreciate the grave sites and family memorials. And yet, as I explained to my daughter when we discussed whether or not she'd view Zay's body, it's just a body. She's gone up to heaven.

Anyway... afterwards, we went to a friend's home for a meal, and sick kiddo started feeling bad again, so she just laid in a chair. However, after we'd eaten a bit (she didn't have anything to eat), That Man came to get me-she'd gone outside and thrown up again. At least she didn't do it in a house full of mourners.

So, we quickly packed up and headed out. Kiddos fell asleep right away. I thought, cool, I can sleep too.

Guess what woke me up?

Fortunately, this time, we had the trash can right there for her to throw up in. But I'll tell you, that sound and smell of puke will keep a body wide awake.

We got home, kiddo now feels great. I, however, am feeling like crap. No puke so far, but I definitely feel like I was hit by a freight train. Things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving-that we took That Man's car AND he's got an all leather interior. Much easier to clean up. :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day (and crap!)

Yeah, still on that train.

Went to bed last night to find that my bedroom smelled of man butt. It's pretty funny, because we ended up doing the "chase the man around the room with air freshener" game. Actually, once I got him out of the room, I used the can on his side of the bed. Yes, single gals, this is what you get to look forward to in marriage-man butt.

So this morning, I woke up, got ready for the big Turkey event, and headed over to my FIL's for the big family event. Okay, I don't have a clever way to say it, but basically, the crap was that I found out DH's great aunt passed away last night. Zay has been really sick for a while, and we knew it was going to happen soon-we intentionally planned on having this huge Thanksgiving because we were pretty sure it would be Zay's last. I realize it's semi selfish, but I'm so disappointed that our chance to say goodbye never happened. It really was her time to go and her suffering is over now.

It makes me realize that we never know how long any of us are going to have-and I know that while I didn't get a chance to say goodbye, I didn't have to see her at a point when she probably wouldn't have recognized us anyway. And I'll get the chance to see her again. It'll be neat-because she'll have the presence of mind to finally tell the stories of growing up in the mining towns and all the cool historical stuff I always wanted to know. But who knows, maybe we won't want to talk about that stuff at all, we'll just be chillin with the big dude instead.

Okay, being depressing now... off to go play around with Google.

Finding the Missing Poopy

Some days are just well... crappy. And, as I've blogged about before, mine tend to be literal.

I woke up this morning to, "Mommy! Poopy!" I let the critter out of her cage to find her stark naked, except for a princess tiara (on backwards) and her socks-one pink, one purple. I REALLY wanted to take a picture for my blog, but I was afraid I'd get in trouble for kiddie um, bad stuff that I won't say so the pervs don't get me when googling. She was very cute. However, her "poopy" comment meant one thing. The little turkey had gone poopy, and since her diaper was MIA, I had to dig through the pit known as her room to find it.

At which point, I step into a puddle of what can only be pee. Ah, I love this mommy business. I search for diaper and find it-completely dry. So I begin looking for the rest of her bowel functions. I tear apart the room, and don't find it. I give up because I want to clean up the puddle o' pee before the dog finds it and decides to add to it.

That mission accomplished, the little monster decides she needs to eat. I don't know why they made feeding children part of parenting. Geez! I mean, if I stopped feeding them, they'd stop going to the bathroom. ;) Anyway, kiddo gets fed and we head downstairs. She's going through a nonstop eating phase, so after she ate her yogurt, my yogurt, my pastry, an orange, my banana, she stood in the living room, happily chomping on HER banana, smiling, she starts to pee in the middle of the family room. I try to coax her into stopping and going to the toilet, but no. God help you if you bother this child while eating. You'd think I was trying to kill her rather than keep her from peeing on my carpet.

Sooo... yet again I get to clean up pee before the dog smells it and decides to re-mark his territory. I get THAT cleaned up, and realize that with all the errands I have to run, I have to get running before it gets too late. I take kiddos upstairs to find their shoes and socks. What do I smell by the sock drawer, but poop. Is it the missing poopy? I start digging (their room is a total mess-stuffed animals and blankets everywhere-they're playing some weird game with them), hoping the poop isn't on something important. I can't find it. B walks in and says, "Ew, Mom, it stinks like poop in here." I had to bite back what my mom used to tell me, even though it was probably fitting for the situation. "No s**t Sherlock." Literally.

I made her help me look, and despite our best efforts, we could not find the poop anywhere. And then, it stopped stinking, so I thought, well, maybe the baby has gas. Sometimes she farts and thinks she's got poop. We packed up ourselves, ran our errands, put the baby down for a nap, and when I got her up, I smelled it again. BAD. I looked around. No poop. She was dry, and yes, I sniffed to see if she had gas. Negative.

We went shopping, came home, and I sit down at the computer to get a little work done. HA! The dog curls up beside me, falls asleep, and just when I least expect it, he lets one rip. Yep, it's the dog. The nasty poop smell we've been blaming on the baby and trying to track all day-Wasn't her. The ugly black thing sitting next to me is the culprit. He follows me around all day, and of course, I never thought to sniff HIS butt. I mean, come on!

At this point, I'm going to assume that the missing poopy that woke me up this morning was, in fact gas. However, don't be surprised if weeks from now, I'm cleaning their room, and in some random and bizarre place, I find the missing poopy. Because you see, crap happens. And when you combine my luck with a dog and a potty training child, it happens a lot more often, and in a lot of really strange places.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

You Scoundrel!!

Yes, I am ranting at the Veronica Mars writers. Okay, let me back up.

First, up until the final scene of the show, it was the BEST this season. Best, I tell you, best. Was very happy with the tender moment between Veronica and Logan and that they were finally getting back on track. But those stupid, rotten, monstrous writers can't even have them happy for an episode. The last scene... I wanted to cry. I felt so bad for Logan. You could see his heart breaking.

It's funny, I began watching the show becasue I liked her so much. At this point, I'm liking her less because she's still the same person she was when I first started watching the show. She's still funny, still smart, still kick-butt. But we keep dealing with the same emotional mess over and over. Don't get me wrong, I love getting emotionally messy. But as a writer, I'm also a fixer. And I want to see things fixed. Or at least on the path to healing. Midway through the third season, and I'm not seeing it.

I know what she's been through, and maybe that's why I'm so mad. Doesn't she deserve a break? A chance at happiness? Why is she still sabotaging herself?

Who knows, maybe all these questions will feed nicely into the next episode, which appears to have some dire circumstances for Veronica, and it'll be the wakeup call for her to grow.

I was much pleased to see in the preview that we'll be seeing Mac, although sad that someone's going to die. I bet it's her, since we haven't seen her since early in the season. :( I like Mac.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Eating the elephant one bite at a time

Which is exactly how you write a book. Even if it's that foul tasting Nano elephant. There ain't enough ketchup in the world to make it taste good.

I'm bummed because I'm pretty far from the goal at this point. Only 17K words. But you know, it's 17K more than I had at the beginning of the month. And I still have time. It's not over until the fat lady sings.

So how do you face such a grotesque challenge of writing an impossible number of words? One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One page at a time. And even when you're dead tired, and it's super late, and you really don't want to write, you open up that document and put down a word. Then two. Then three. Before you know it, you have a whole sentence. And then a paragraph. And then a page. Which is how I got in five pages.

The good news is my class took their final tonight. The bad news is it's going to be a pain to grade it all. The other good news is that I don't have to teach again for another ten days. The final ten days of the challenge. :) I'm not cooking Thanksgiving, I have no pressing engagements, so I might maybe be able to actually *gasp* have some time to myself.

Which is probably just an invitation for the universe to explode, but until it does, I'm going to live in blissful anticipation of having a few moments that others don't have a claim on. And maybe kill a few drug dealers. Tee Hee.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Killing people is such HARD work

I am still working on the suckage referred to as my Nano book. I should change my word counters on the blog, since they're way outdated, but I don't remember how. And I'm too lazy to figure it out. I did head out to the Mother Ship last night and got about ten pages written. I'd have done more, except I ran into a guy from college who I usually run into, say hi, and that's that, but last night, he decided he needed to take a trip down memory lane. Ah well, such is life. It's ten more pages than what I had before.

Trying to get some done tonight, and I'm starting to get irritated because I'm ready to just blow up the bad guys already. The one bad guy just makes my skin crawl. I've also realized just how much I need to research. OH! I just realized who would know the answers to my questions. I love having smart writer friends who don't think I'm weird when I ask my questions. Anyway, I always thought that killing off a few bad guys would be really easy. Um, not so much. Because you have to make sure the readers are okay with them dying, and that all the other characters are sympathetic, and blah blah blah.

I'm also irritated because once again, my CPs thought my hero was um, yucky. How is it that I can think this man is soooo freaking awesome and hot and tormented and sensitive and all things a hero in the making should be and they think he's a total loser? Am I just attracted to losers? And I'm sorta scared, because as I write this Nano book, with a heroine who, by today's standards, is a loser, I worry-do I have a hope of bringing out all the things I love about her on to the page so that my readers fall in love with her and want her to win just as badly as I do?

I was talking to Joni about it today, and she got excited because she could tell how passionate I am about this story and how much the Lord is revealing to me. As I told her, I'm not so sure about the market for this book. Do you know how much it sucks to be familiar with the market, to know what's selling, and to realize that the book you're writing does not fit into that category at the moment? But I just feel like God is taking me on this crazy journey for a reason and there's something He wants to reveal to me through this story.

Is it weird that I talk about God working through me on a book and yet I also am killing people in the same book? More to the point, I'm blowing them up. I honestly thought I was only a chapter away. But nooooo.... all the other stuff has to get dealt with before we can blow them up. I still have to figure out how to get all the baddies in there at once. And I don't want to kill off Tony, but I think I have to. It's nice to have a martyr in an allegorical book, doncha think?

Crazy Crazy Days...

So I was originally going to blog about the fact that I've had a couple of meltdowns this week due to all the stress in my life. But you've probably figured that out, eh?

However, our friend who's dealing with a rough divorce is in town, and somehow he's ended up staying with us. Which is fine, I'm glad we're able to provide for his need right now. In talking with him, though, I find I keep repeating the same message-the one I've been having to remember for myself with my family and other things. But I'm going to save that message for the enemy prayer blog, which I'll hopefully do tonight.

Then, I got an email from a friend asking me if an offer to stay with us I'd made was still open. I called her and we talked-so come next month, we've got a houseguest for an unspecified amount of time.

It's a crazy thing-on one hand, it's completely not in my personality to allow anyone withing my sacred fortress. However, God has been leading us in this direction for a while. One of the things I've always felt convicted on is that if we have the ability to meet a person's need, we need to do so. It's a conviction that has grown stronger over time. Then, when my brain got totally messed up because of reading The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and I'd thought that it would be cool to live in community with others. We have friends who open their spare bedrooms to people who need a place to stay. We've always said we'd like to do something like that but never knew of anyone who needed it.

So here is is... our chance to live the faith we've said we wanted to live. All this time, I've felt like I've been waiting for God to jump up and say, "okay, here it is..." Well, it's happening.

The friend visiting now, he's looking for guidance-on being a husband, a father, a Christian. Are we living our lives in such a way that the things we're telling him, teaching him, come to life? Or are we just the hypocrites he's seen in so many others who've disappointed him?

The trouble with saying you believe something is that at some point, you'll be expected to live it. The trouble with a lot of people who claim to have faith is that they never take that actual step of living it. I finally picked up the new Jars of Clay CD, Good Monsters, today, and I think the most interesting thing about it (besides the fact that *gasp* I'm blogging about music other than Todd's) is that one of the main themes of most of the songs, at least in my opinion, is living out your faith in an authentic way-living what you believe.

Am I succeeding? Not so much as I like. Even though I feel like I'm able to act in ways that express my faith, I still am shamed by how little I live what I believe. When we went out with our friend last night, another friend, joined us. Truth be told, the guy is a former friend who stole a lot of money from That Man. What surprised me was how much compassion That Man and his other friend had for this guy. The money that was stolen really hit That Man hard at the time. Honestly, I'd forgotten this guy existed. And yet, the way he was welcomed back into the fold surprised me. I realized that there is still a lot of places in my heart needing to be swept out.

Ultimately, the biggest challenge that comes with living out your faith is that it reveals places where your faith needs to be strengthened. It's crazy-my life is crazy enough as it is. And yet, the craziness excites me. I long for that closeness with God, that further refining of my sinful nature into a more holy creation.