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Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Around

Everything's OK, just trying to catch back up after our WDW trip and Christmas. I'm posting a few pictures, then I'll be back here after New Year's; gotta work out and hang out with the fam while the Music Man is home.

This is the Chubby Cheeked Monster on Cinderella's Golden Carousel, he LOVED it again.


Here's the Princess on same carousel.


Princess dancing on the "pixie dust" LED lights in the ground at Epcot after our Princess Storybook Dinner.


The babes after getting their faces painted.


Isn't she sweet?


Flirting with the locals:


Me and my firstborn who wanted food more than she wanted me to take this picture (we were at a buffet).


The Castle at night, so beautiful.


The Music Man was trying to eat, so please ignore the look on his face. Concentrate instead on the beautiful thing in his lap. :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mirror, Mirror

I was talking to my friend Susan the other day, and she said something that stuck with me. I thought I'd share it here in hopes that we'd all try and see ourselves a little differently.

When Susan worked in the corporate world, she'd go to the gym on her lunch hour every day. She worked really hard at the gym but never seemed to get the "perfect body" she wanted. One day, she was on the stairclimber and saw a woman out of the corner of her eye. She thought to herself, "Man, if I could just look like her...".

And to her surprise, she was looking...

wait for it...

In a mirror.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Menu

Just in case you really wanted to know what I'm serving for Christmas this year, I just finalized the menu:

turkey (from Honey Baked, I can't lie, and won't have time to cook one myself)
roasted green beans
mashed rutabaga
stuffing with lots of sage
mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes (WITHOUT the sweet junk, tyvm)
yeast rolls
sweet potato pie
canned cranberry slop (for my Music-in-law, he loves that)

Hopefully I have time to make all of that, but that's the plan! :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Picture Tag

Gwyn tagged "anyone who actually reads her blog", and that's me!

The object of the picture tag is to:

1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer
2) Select the 4th picture in the folder
3) Explain the picture
4) Tag 4 people to do the same

NO CHEATING! (cropping, editing, etc).


This is the cake I made for the Firecracker Princess' third birthday. I didn't like it, but she did! Appropriate since we're leaving for WDW in, oh, an hour!

I'm beat and headed out the door, so I'm taking a page from Gwyn and making people who read this play along, too! I'll be checking when I get back!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shallow Hal Or...

Shallow Heather?

Last night I went to Pilates Reformer again. I'll miss my usual Monday class next week, so I wanted to pick one up and have been dying to try a class I haven't been able to make because of Elijah House. After it was over, I talked with Pam (my instructor, if you don't remember me mentioning her) for a few minutes and she said something about me getting "tiny". Indulge me a brief aside and let me tell you that Pam is about 5'8" and maybe a size 2. Maybe. She's just about physically perfect, as you'd expect someone with a career in fitness to be.

Anyhow, she sorta went on and I said, "stop" once, and then a second time, slightly more agitated. And being who she is, she didn't stop. Goes on to tell me that she means it, but I just wasn't able to take that in. All this lead me to an agitated evening with the Music Man and asking some questions he didn't have the right answers for.

So I ask, when do I stop being the token fat girl? When people look at me, do they think, "Man, THAT girl needs to drop some weight"? Are they grossed out? If people see me eating an ice cream cone, do they fight the urge to tell me I don't need that, or do they just judge silently? Do they look at the roll around my waist that just won't go away, no matter how many hours I spend in the gym? Sigh.

Just as I was about to hit publish, the Chubby Cheeked Monster turned to me (and away from Little Einsteins) just to say, "You look beautiful". God through the CCM, I wonder?

How sweet of him, and of Him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Marvelous Light

Next time my heart bleeds for my kids and I think it's ok to have the CCM sleep with us, remind me that a few minutes later the Firecracker Princess will come in, curious as to why he's no longer screaming. And she will cry and be allowed to come into our bed. Then an hour later, the Look Alike will be ready for her first nursing of the night, and be welcomed into her usual spot. And five people will occupy a king-sized bed, and the adults will not sleep.

I've committed to memorizing scripture, as I've noticed that sometimes a verse will just spring up inside of me lately. My friend Jennifer and I have also decided to get this Bible and read through in a year, as I sooo need that accountability. If you want to join us, let me know!

But somewhere in that non-sleeping time, the Lord revealed some things to me. I keep wondering why I don't feel as bad as I think I ought to about the baby, especially as I've prayed for godly sorrow. I feel like the Lord showed me that he (my son) and I are both His now, and brought to mind 1 Corinthians 15:55: "O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?"

And then for the rest of the night I sang "Marvelous Light".



I once was fatherless,
a stranger with no hope;
Your kindness wakened me,
Awakened me, from my sleep

Your love it beckons deeply,
a call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take your life.

Sin has lost it's power,
death has lost it's sting.
From the grave you've risen
VICTORIOUSLY!

Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way

My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I'm free. now I'm free!

Lift my hands and spin around,
See the light that i have found.
Oh the marvelous light
Marvelous light
Lift my hands and spin
See the light within...

He also showed me that I wouldn't be able to grieve someone's else lost child if the feelings weren't there in me. I get the sense that I'm not ready to deal with their full weight just yet, but get glimpses of them in hearing someone else's story. There's a principle in Elijah House called "ripeness", and while I've moved from hard to softer, I'm still not spotted, 'ya know?

So today I thank the Lord for what He has done. For removing the sting for death, for taking away the power of the grave. For the gift of grace, the depth of which I will never truly know in this life. Humbly, gratefully, prayerfully.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What Is Going ON Around Here?

So as another small break from my emotional drama, I realized the other day that between us, the Music Man and I have been pulled over FIVE TIMES in the last ten weeks. Isn't that crazy?

The first time for each of us was when we were waiting on a license plate for the Olds. Georgia doesn't have registered temporary tags like Ohio, so that counted for two. He got pulled over on the way to Ohio in Tenn for speeding. We had just gotten on a detour, and he didn't realize the speed limit decreased from 70 to 55. The detour was literally less than 2 miles long. The officer saw we all had our seatbelts on and the kids were buckled in safely, warned us that the limit was 55 for quite a few more miles, and let us go.

I told you all about the school zone thing, and I'm going to court for that on January 14th. I've noticed several more things since then, like the fact that, because of construction, the flashing sign is almost totally obscured, and in front of it, it says school zone AHEAD. Nowhere does it say "school zone" when you turn left. I'm totally awaiting my day in court.

This last one made me mad, though. On Saturday, I was headed to the gym. I started turning left through the intersection, and the light changed to yellow just as I began through. I noticed the officer as I drove by (about 1/4 mile from the turn), but thought nothing of it. He got behind me and turned on his lights, and I was perplexed. When he came to the window, he asked me why I ran the red light. "I didn't", I said, "I just saw it turn yellow out of my peripheral vision". "Whatever", he says, "give me your license". Comes back a minute later (after seeing my unblemished driving record, I'm sure) and says, "I'll take your word for it this time".

Seriously? Because I didn't do anything wrong, and you couldn't prove that I had even if I did. What's up with that?!

Music Man says the police departments are short on funds and need to give more tickets. Figure that's partly true, and the guy was bored. But really, no reason to harass someone like me, wearing a seat belt, going under the speed limit, when there are real crimes to look after. Sigh.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm OK, Really

Since it's been asked here lately, yes, I'm OK. For the most part. Some amazing people in my life are walking me through the jagged glass under my feet. The work is hard, but as a friend said on Wednesday, once I do this work and let it hurt, God will never make me go back there with the same sharp sting. I have to cling to that promise these days just to make it through.

But on Friday I leave for WDW again, and I thank the Lord for this trip. Its juxtaposition to my current emotional state makes it that much sweeter.

And just because I love snacks, this popcorn is helping right now. Really.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dare to Dream

Since one of my friends (mwah) told me to stop worrying her with my blog, I thought I'd take a break from the heavy emotional work and post this today. I thought it was hilarious. Did I mention we're 8 days out from out next trip? I cannot WAIT!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My History X

*Warning: Today's post is me telling my history pertinent to the abortion, including the event. I won't be offended if you choose not to read, though it's not at all graphic.

I've never shared the whole abortion story with anyone, and probably not even with myself. This will probably be long, but there is power in speaking the truth, freeing power.

My mother had me when she was 17. She married my father a couple of weeks before my birth, and I knew, for as long as I can remember, that I was unwanted. My parents divorced, and my mom met my stepfather, who waited until I was 15 or so to start calling me a slut, but started in on my weight, laziness, and imperfection by age 6 or so. I was very proud that I'd waited for sex until I'd graduated high school, I'd secretly always judged my mom for being a teen mother.

My own father was out of the picture totally by age 12 or so, and I'd hear from him only every few months before that. I needed to be loved so, so desperately. Because I grew up in an irregligious household, I had no idea where to find that God-sized love. I'm the classic example of being sent to church with family (in this case, my grandparents), but seeing nothing in the home and therefore not internalizing it at all.

By His grace, I met the Music Man again when I was 19. When I was 17, he was a camp counselor and I was a camper, but now we were both counselors. We knew right away that we would marry, and became sexually active almost immediately. I knew I was pregnant before I tested, as all women do I think. I gave no other option even a moment's consideration, literally. I wouldn't be my mother (insert rage) and couldn't bear the shame. I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood almost immediately.

The counselor told me about the procedure a few days later as I stared at the floor, trying not to puke on her shoes. The Music Man drove up from school in South Caroline to take me the next day. There were protesters with picket signs, so volunteers came out to get us from the cars.

There were 15 of us that morning, and the wait was long. I rose, shakily, several times to be sick in the bathroom. I was dead last that day, and remember wondering why. I was so unsteady because of the Valium that the Music Man had to walk me up the steps when it was finally my turn. I requested that he be allowed to be with me during the "procedure", and he held my hand. The pain wasn't terrible, but highly uncomfortable. It was over quickly and they gave me a snack and a comfortable chair fro the post-op wait. They do that in case you hemorrhage, apparently they only want the intended one to die in their facility.

I felt immediately better, 100% normal, really, so much so that we went out to lunch on the way home. The Music Man told his parents that the money he spent on the abortion was a deposit for an engagement ring. Instead, it was a different kind of ring, one that twisted and bound and constricted, a ring of secrecy and lies.

I remember one of the protesters shouting, "My friend had an abortion ten years ago and still cries about it every day". I almost shouted back, "Your friend needs therapy", but there was no way to know going in just how wrong I was. She just needed Jesus, and hopefully has Him now (along with a godly counselor).

I realized for the first time as I write this that my baby boy was relying on me, being nourished already by my body. He was about half an inch long, and weighed about 1 gram. Can you imagine how impossibly small that is? His little form was already complete within itself, just required time. When I think of him, I like to think that he would've played soccer, that he'd be good at geography like his dad and would love words like his mom. I don't know that I'll ever get to hold him, even on the other side of the grave. I wonder if he'd have dimples like the others. If he'd be bold or shy, funny or serious. How I wonder.

How I wonder.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blank Slate

You know the psychological concept of tabula rasa? Yeah, I think it's crap. We're all born with a personality, there's nothing blank about the look in my children's eyes even immediately after birth.

But the point of the title was this that I feel like God gave me a couple of days off. I thought, silly me, that I was done dealing with the abortion for now. Silly, silly me. He just gave me a couple of days to rest, and then threw me right back into it last night. Right before bed. Imagine how I slept after that, sigh.

Newish Friend shared more in depth about how abortion touched her life, and it is really affecting me right now. Y'all, I am undone. This isn't something I've ever talked about, and it keeps getting harder. God has me coming to the end of myself, I can feel it. I want to be able to let it go and give it up to Him, but I can't seem to get there.

I just want to cry. Or sleep. Or be alone. Probably all of the above. I just want a rest, a real rest.

Matt 11: 28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." The Message

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Throwing It All Away

I know I haven't talked much here about my eating disorder days. Partly because it was so long ago, and partly because it's something that so many people have written about so much more eloquently than I ever could. But something is shifting is me, the pieces are clicking back into an old puzzle, an ugly, dark, familiar and comfortable matrix.

Wednesday night I had Elijah House, the topic was burden bearing. I wasn't sure I was a burden bearer, but I would be according to their standards. I was running late since it takes over an hour to get to church in traffic. I stopped by McD's. Sad I know, but it's on the same side of the street at church and it's easy enough to get in and out, takes less than five minutes. Anyhow, so after I ate that "food" I really felt like I wanted to throw it up. Like really, get out of my seat, go to the bathroom and purge.

I haven't felt that way in years. In fact, I'm not sure I ever actually longed for it, just felt resigned to do it.

I never considered myself to be a particularly emotional eater, but now that I'm moderately healthy, I'm noticing that pattern. It's been six and a half years since my last actual relapse (since right before I got married). I think back on the physical pain (can we say swollen glands and bad skin), the mental drama, the isolation and constant justification, and wonder why I'd ever want to go back there. I don't have a good answer for that, but I don't know that I'd survive it if I went back there again.

Things are heavy right now. I'm having a hard time holding on to my joy. This doesn't "look" like depression because I'm still slapping makeup on my mug and going to the gym, but I'm a straight up mess inside.

But on the other side, my youngest started to cruise. Sweet thing. Her middle name is Jubilee, and she is such a joy. Amazing.

So Far Behind

It is said that God will only allow stuff to bubble to the surface in His own time, and for that I am grateful. So you know that I'm dealing with the whole abortion thing, thanks in part to the conversation I had with Newish Friend.

Yesterday I re-read Tilly, and realized some things that I never considered before.

First, I never even considered that we could have cared for that baby. It literally never crossed my mind. Second, I had never asked the Music Man's forgiveness for what I had done. Last night, we talked and I asked his forgiveness, and he asked mine for being complicit in it (ie. agreeing, paying, etc.).

But there is deeper shame than just the act (not that it wasn't bad enough). First, we went RIGHT back to the behavior that got us into the situation in the first place. Like the next day. Sigh. Can we say infection? Idiocy? Took me a while to realize that I was really just looking for a connection and sought it in the only way I knew.

Then (sigh, this one's hard), when I figured out that we were expecting the Firecracker Princess, MM suggested that if I didn't want to deal with pregnancy, we could abort her, too. Looking at my daughter's face, I can't imagine life without her. More than aborting my son, whom I do not yet know, considering aborting the wonderful child I see every day breaks my heart. I hope she never knows, that there's never an occasion to tell her that it was an idea, however fleeting.

Now, I must say that the consideration lasted less then ten minutes. I was telling my friend Nikia about it, and she said, "That's just selfish, it's ridiculous to consider it". And she was right. I went back to the MM and said that we were married, we owned a home, and although we were young, I'd be 25 and he 27 by the time she came. There was no real reason not to have her. I'm so glad I did.

I also realized that the abortion was the start of our most serious problems. I stopped trusting him then, because he showed me that he wouldn't stand up for our family, wouldn't protect me and our children. It also opened the door for some other unholy things to enter his life, which I haven't asked permission to share.

So today, I am thankful for confession and reconciliation. I am thankful that, for the first time in our marriage, we can find holy ground.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stand in the Rain, Stand Your Ground

“We are everywhere. We are everyone. We are dying to be accepted among you. We are angry young women. We are devastated by this". --Sydna Masse

I am angry. I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to say this, and am not terribly comfortable doing so now, but it demands to be said.

After my abortion, two of my friends abandoned me. Now, I admit that part of the reason was that I'd lied to one of them and said that I didn't tell the other about my pregnancy, that should be said. Two friends who professed to be believers stopped talking to me altogether. One of them let me know that she couldn't be in relationship with me until I got my act together. Wow.

Can you tell me how I was supposed to get my act together? Really? Because I just killed my kid, was terrified that my parents would find out, and knew that I didn't have anywhere to go in three months when my sophomore year of college was over. I had only my relationship with my then-boyfriend (now husband), and it was less than seven months old.

You were my family. You two were the only ones I had. So I'm sorry that I lied, but I think we all know that wasn't the reason you left me. I have never felt so isolated, so hated. I don't know what I would've done in your place, but it seems like you just wanted a reason to discard me, and you did.

I'm not asking you to be sorry, I just needed to say it, to own it, to take it to the cross.


That is all.

*I should say that these are people who I am still in relationship with. One of them previewed this blog before posting, and she and I talked. Forgiveness was accepted, and I feel good about that conversation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Through the Wardrobe, on Toward Grace

"Aslan is on the move--perhaps has already landed."

I can feel it, and I can almost see it.

For some time now I've known that the day of reckoning was coming. I've been so afraid of the rod that I've run and run, but how can you run from the God who is everywhere?

The Look Alike woke up at 3:45 am to nurse, and I was awake for the next hour just replaying some events of my day. There's a person in my life who is a newish friend, but we have been though some similar experiences. God seems to always bring "dive deep" people into my life. I don't so much do superficial relationships, and it can take me a while to feel people out. Anyhow, so after doing the dance and figuring out that this person is someone I can trust, I shared my experience with abortion. I hate to say that in passive voice, it sounds like I don't own it.

I shared with her several weeks ago that I had had an abortion. The response I got was a knowing one, one that wasn't ready to reveal. And I understand, really I do. It's tough to admit in Christian circles, because you run the risk of being marked. My pastor says, "the body is designed for a massive grace response to brokenness", and he's right. But we know that not everything goes as designed, and the enemy does what he can to convince us that it's not safe to be known.

After spending time with my family last week, Newish Friend told me that she was praying for me and was stirred to pray several times, even in the middle of the night. I am so thankful for that faithfulness. Add a check to the "trustworthy" column.

Anyhow, last night Newish Friend told me about the circumstances of how abortion touched her own life. I didn't have the words to say what I wanted to, and it's partly because so much of the incident is unresolved for me. I remember very little, it's all clouded by regret and Valium and guilt over the immediate relief and return to normalcy.

So in the middle of the night, apparently the only time I'm available for God to speak to, He spoke. I thought that I'd had an abortion to avoid being like my mother. She was 17 when I was born, and things were tough. But last night, the Lord told me that I wasn't avoiding being like her, I was avoiding my son being the child I was. I was a sensitive, needy kid. Too smart, too clingy, too shy.

I have never felt wanted a day in my life. You'd be amazed at how many ways that feeling of being unwanted manifests in everyday life. You know that because no one wanted you, you should make yourself as small and unnoticed as possible. You should not need. Even if you do, no one will come for you. You should not stand up for yourself, why bother when you're worthless? You apologize for the very act of breathing.

So it makes sense that I would want to spare my unplanned child that. It may sound like I'm letting myself off easy. Believe me, that's not the case.

But where do you run with that heartbreak? Where can you go that you'll be loved and accepted even after you admit that you're a murderer? Where is a safe place?

Is He safe? "Course he isn't safe. But he's good."

Amen. So today, I choose to run into the arms of love. I choose to stand as best I can, broken and limping. I choose to mourn my son, the one who died at my own hand. I choose to release him into his Father's loving arms, and I decide to bring my husband into my grief, what should be our shared grief.

I choose to release my need to please, to always earn love or some semblance thereof. I choose to recognize that this will take a long, long time to move through, and acknowledge that others may get tired of hearing about it.

More to come.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Made it!

Well, I made it. I posted every day for the month of November, and I'm a little surprised. ElleBee would say that she's not surprised since I almost always finish what I start, but I won't say that it's been easy!

So since tomorrow is December 1, I'll share a little about how our December looks.

This Friday I have MOPS in the morning. Sigh, I don't like MOPS and don't plan to go back after this month. Actually, if I hadn't signed up to bring treats, I wouldn't even go this month. Friday evening we have parents' night out, and the Music Man and I are going to dinner without the kids. Woohoo!

Next Friday, we have the Church-wide Christmas dinner.

December 18 is the Rowell's Christmas party, then on the 19th we leave for WDW. We come home on Christas Eve day, and you know what happens after that!

Because I'm not super social, this schedule, along with our regular obligations and small group, etc, makes me crings a little. Here's hoping it's peaceful!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We're Home!

After a long trip, 17 hours in the car, and far too much food, we are home. I plan to sleep as much as humanly possible before I have to drag my bum out of the house for church. Then I have to work (sigh) before I crawl back into my bed. I'm not sure we'll ever eat again. That is all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Friday!

And thus gift exchanging in my family. Since I only make it to Ohio once a year, my family exchanges gifts the day after Thanksgiving. I'm sorta excited, though I had a really hard time finding things this year. Do you have a gift style? I love to give the perfect gift, and I work hard at it. But when it comes to receiving gifts, the things I really want are thins I would like to have but don't want to buy for myself I'm practical to the core, midwestern and pragmatic. This year my wish list includes a couple of CDs, a mandoline (to use with my dehydrator), and a fire safe. Clearly there's no whimsy here!

So what kind of receiver are you?

Have a great day, hope no one got hurt shopping out there!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since I turned 29 on my birthday, I figured I'd list 29 things I'm thankful for this year!

1. My baby girl turned four, and she's sweet and smart and wonderful.
2. My precious son turned two, and he's hilarious and adorable.
3. The Look Alike arrived safe and sound and is just a great little thing.
4. The Music Man is working hard to make me feel loved and our marriage is starting to grow new shoots in the dead places.
5. I've lost almost 80 lbs since the Look Alike was born, and I'm getting close to my final goal.
6. We still have our jobs and can pay our bills.
7. We got to take the kids to WDW for the Princess' birthday and had a good time.
8. We have plans to go back a couple more times in the next year, and will have an even better time!
9. I've learned so much about nutrition and feel like we're really on our way to optimum health.
10. My friends, who have stuck with me, even when I suggest drinking pureed spinach and beets!
11. That they admit to liking them (most of the time)!
12. This blog, where I've met so many new friends and been exposed to so many new thoughts.
13. That the Lord has given me a few special people who are changing the way I see Him and everyone around me due to their diligence, love, and desire to re-parent me.
14. Discovering a passion in exercise and a desire to teach Pilates to others.
15. Learning how to eat good, nutritious food cheaply so that we can be better stewards.
16. Staying with my great aunt and uncle when we visit Ohio. It's quiet and Kay is the one in the family who keeps the history and pictures going.
17. I'm taking the Music Man away for his birthday (God willing) in February, and have built in some surprises.
18. Due West UMC's Recreation ministry, where I get to work out and people who love children fawn over mine while I do. For free. How great is that?
19. Tenth Avenue North's music. They're really getting me through some heavy stuff right now!
20. Feeling freer and freer to worship at my church. We have some seriously, um, overt people, and that's always intimidating, but I'm getting there!
21. My friend Mitzi, who I never get to be with these days, but when we're together we just seem to pick right back up.
22. To go along with Mitz above, I'm so thankful for friends who have been in the faith for a long time, whose spirits are quiet and know stuff I don't and don't act like I'm dumb for it.
23. My Pilates instructor, Pam. I just think she's fantastic and is encouraging me to get certified to teach myself.
24. We have a house that is warm and comfortable, when others have nothing.
25. We have two vehicles so that I can get out of the house with the kids, woohoo!
26. I was able to buy extra grain in April, thereby avoiding buying it now that I'm runing low, and paying 25% more.
27. Our cats, they make the house feel warm and loving.
28. We get to stay with family in Ohio instead of at a hotel, which saves us a good amount of money (that we can then spend at WDW next month, yay)!
29. I'm thankful that I get to live another day to praise Jesus!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today is the Day!

We're leaving for Ohio around 7 am and will return home Saturday night (note: if you are a robber, not only do we have an alarm system, but the police are driving by twice a day and we've booby trapped the place, so don't try it)! I'm cranking out some work before we hit the road. I'll still be posting but won't respond much until we get home. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stores Closing after Christmas

I saw this list submitted by a Hillbilly Housewife reader, and I thought it was good to know! So here's my PSA for the day:

Heads up that if you tend to give gift cards around the holidays, you need to be careful that the cards will be honored after the holidays. Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as ‘Bankruptcy Planning”. Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.

*Also, any cards you may have now and been saving them you may want to cash them in soon.

Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherine’s to close 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down specialty stores
J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just a Question

So I know this is probably a very, very, veerrrryyyy basic question, but I can't seem to find an answer that suits me and satisfies my "what ifs".

We say God is just, right? Now, I'm sure He is because He says He is and all. But how do we figure that God is just when some are saved? I mean, sure I get why some are damned and all since we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so why are some saved? Because if you pick some and not others, is that just? Do I just have the wrong definition of the word?

My brain is addled, and now I must work a bit then sleep. That is all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost Didn't Make It

I know it's only 9:35, but it's past my bedtime. I'm broke down tired. This weekend was crazy, and I really just need a nap (and I still need to work before bed). Forgive me for not having anything interesting to say today. There are lots of things swirling around in my heart, things I can't give voice to just yet. I hope to get some clarity after I get home from Ohio before getting lost in the bustle of Christmas. Until next time...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Heart the Kroger Manager's Special

There's this phenomenon at Kroger, it's called the manager's special. Basically it's just how they mark down aging fresh foods, but since I don't spend time in the rest of the store, save a brief foray into canned goods once in a while, 95% of my time is in the produce section.

Today I needed to use a coupon for yogurt that expires before we get home from Ohio. I was able to get:

Gallons of Horizon organic milk for $2.79 and $3.29
Organic, free range eggs for $1.59/dz
fresh pico de gallo $1.49
egg roll wraps $.99
12 oz of some fancy Swiss-made brie $5.29
italian salad blend $1.79

Now I know that might not sound great, until I tell you that those gallons of milk were $6.49. The eggs are $4.59, the pico is $3.99, the wraps are $2.00, the cheese was $20 ($26.90/lb, can you BELIEVE that), the salad $3.69. All told I saved over $40 on just those things. My freezer is stocked with milk, I'll freeze the eggs in ice cube trays, and we'll have salad for dinner tonight. Woohoo!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Post That Leads to Nowhere

La la, hmmm hmmm hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

What,you expected me to post today?

Huh?

Oh, that's right, I signed up for this NaBloPoMo thing. Nevermind all of the drama of yesterday, or did you not read that? Or worse yet, you DID read it but still expect me to post today. Or you DID read it and you're ovewhelmingly proud of me for actually doing what I said I'd do on Halloween. Yeah, ok. That makes it better.

So today my new dehydrator came. I have several things in the works; dehydrated almonds, fruit leather, collard green chips, and banana chips. I'll post recipes on the stuff that works later. The stuff that doesn't, eh, we won't worry about.

My laptop is being ridiculous, saying it doesn't want to connect to the internet so at present I'm chained to my desk. I should be working, cooking, or wrapping gifts, but here I am.

OK I really have to work now. But hopefully I'll have something interesting to share tomorrow!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Turkey-Induced Panic Attack

I'm generally fairly easy going. I don't get ruffled terribly easily. I did have a brief freak out earlier in the week because I thought my gifts weren't going to arrive on time for Christmas at Thanksgiving with the fam, but thankfully God intervened and the stuff is supposed to arrive TODAY, when Amazon.com told me it was to ship today and arrive between 11/28 and 12/4.

Since we typically make the trip to Ohio only once per year, we do Christmas with them the day after Thanksgiving. It's lots of fun I think, but it does require some preparation. My folks are sorta fly by the seat of your pants people, and I'm (emphatically) not. I'm a planner through and through, so the fact that I don't have gifts ready and wrapped already, leaving in 6 days, gives me a sick feeling in my gut. Just like prepping for WDW last month, I'm on the verge of a panic attack getting stuff ready.

I like to think it's because no one can do the stuff I need to do, but is that really true? I mean, the Music Man is totally capable of packing for the kids if I don't care what they look like. Since I do, the packing and planning outfits for four of us is up to me. Add to that needing warmer clothes than we generally wear, and there's a little shopping to add to the mix. Pack coats, wrap gifts, diapers for two, everything you'd need for 2 8-hour car rides in a span of 4 days plus packing Christmas gifts for 8 people and shoving all of it into our Hyundai Sonata, well, it's daunting.

Plus I need to find a way to fit in 20 hours of work in the next 6 days (not terrible, but not preferred). Sigh. Off to work or cook or SOMETHING. I think a list is in order!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm A Little Worried

About my boy. My son is my only boy so far, and the kid is home with me and his two sisters all day. This manifests in lots of different ways, mostly that he pushes a stroller around the house instead of trucks (which he has, just doesn't play with) and playing dress up with plastic heels and pink purses. And the occasional tiara, sigh.

But today, things came to a head. I was working, sitting on the sofa. My son was pushing the baby doll around in the stroller, said, "she's sad". Aww, he has empathy, he's picking up his baby to comfort her. But what does he do?

HE PICKS UP THE BABY, LIFTS HIS SHIRT, AND STARTS TO BREASTFEED HER.

Sigh. The boy needs a brother, pronto. In the meantime, I'll be tuning in to more Handy Manny and Bob the Builder, as well as butching up his wardrobe. It's all jeans and camouflage from now on! OK maybe not totally, but we'll for sure focus on more boy stuff.

Now about that baby brother, I'm hoping to eek another seven or eight months out of this break, but we'll see. You never know when a baby is coming when you're me, it's like a grand game surprise where someone scares the crap out of you for a minute, until you're flooded with joy at seeing them again!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Had an Idea

So there's nothing really much fun about my Honoring Hunger blog. I mean really, do you think it's fun to look at what I eat each day?

My friend Nikki (aka Nicole, whatever you want to call her) and I have totally different lives. I've been married for six years, she's single. I have three kids, she doesn't yet. I stay home, she works. I'm a homebody, she's social. I've never been out of the country, she's a globe-trotter in her career with USA Judo. She lives in Colorado, I live in Georgia. And while you know how I eat, she grabs whatever she can and never met a green vegetable she'd be willing to put in her mouth. Did I mention that she's a salt fiend?

At the end of the day though, we both want to drop 20to 25 lbs. We both do the gym thing. So we're introducing our new bloggy collaboration. It'll include our food and exercise journals, yes. But you'll also get to see our interaction. She can critique my freakish food forays. I can judge her lack of plant food. It should be a wild ride, so come join us here!

Monday, November 17, 2008

100 Calorie Insanity

Earlier this week, I noticed that Twinkies come in 100 calorie packs. TWINKIES! Now, I understand that the premise of these snacks is portion control and not health, but really, isn't that taking things just a wee bit far?

To add to my grumblings, the Oreo Thin Crisps? Those things taste nothing like real Oreos. Fat, sugar, hydrogenated oils, all included, but not the essence of Oreo.

So imagine my chagrin when the Orville Reddenbacher rice cakes jumped on the band wagon. I was incensed that they would insult my snack IQ too, but since Walmart.com was mailing free samples, well, I couldn't resist. I'm not sure if it's his midwesternness or his fluffy corn, but I've always trusted the man, and now his incredible popping corn since his passing. Weird, I know.

My mailbox was stuffed with the sample, cheddar cheese flavor. After lunch and getting the kids down, I ripped into the (large) bag. First, the bag is about twice as big as a normal 100 calorie pack bag. Once I got it open, I realized that the rice cakes aren't cakes at all, but rather wafers stamped so that the sides rise up (like a hollowed out Reese' Cup, I suppose). I didn't count, but I'd say there were at least a dozen pieces, and about 3/4 of the way through I felt satisfied with the size of the snack. They were quite salty, but the taste wasn't bad at all, really.

All told, I'd be more inlined to eat these particular 100 calorie packs than others, and I'd definitely try the caramel variety. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I. Am. Tired.

Remember that big fight that the Music Man and I had last week (and have had at least a dozen times in the last three years)? That fight, it is exhausting, and wrenching, and causes me to lose sleep.

Well, there's a flip side to getting what you want.

Because I told him that I don't feel loved or valued or safe in the contxt of this particular fight, we've been working hard on trying to make time for each other. This includes doing stuff you don't want to do. Do you see where this is going?

Yep. James Bond. 007.

I am not a fan of gratuitous violence, casual sex, or stomach-knotting plot twists. I don't so much like games of chance or alcohol, and so really, there's not much for me to look at in those movies. I was going to surprise the Music Man with a trip to the theater all by himself this weekend, but when I asked him whether or not he was excited for Quantum of Solace, he said no. Wha-huh? This is the man who read all of the Ian Fleming novels. He owns all but the last three movies for himself. What's going on here? Then he said that he'd never seen Casino Royale. Ah, that explains it. See, somewhere in the midst of having babies, a movie came out that we didn't see.

So what did I think to do? Well, in an effort to bless my husband, I went to Blockbuster on Friday. I didn't expect the movie to actually BE there on the day another was released. When I got up to my turn, the checker guy looked up, really surprised. He said at least two people had asked for the 1 copy the computer showed that had, and they hadn't been able to find it. Isn't God good? Apparently he really wanted me to bless my husband!

So last night at 9:30 he decides he wants to watch it. That's late for me, folks. I like to be asleep before 10 since I get up at 6 to work. Anyhow, so round at 11:45, the flick was over. And really, it wasn't bad. Less sex, not a ton of killing, relatively tasteful for a movie about a guy whose only job is whacking people. And who doesn't love Judy Dench?

So there's my review of Casino Royale. Not terrible.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Came, I Saw, I Returned Home With Tired Feet

Today I went Christmas shopping. I'm not sure if it's because it was the first really cold day we've had, or because people are realizing that it's less than two weeks until Thanksgiving, but the stores were PACKED. Funny thing happened, too. I saw one of my step instructors from the gym at NY and Company. OK, that's not terribly funny. But then I went to Linens 'n Things and saw my OTHER step teacher there. Isn't that strange?!

So I was able to check a scant few things off of my list. And I have a beef. I went to Walmart, Target, F.Y.E. and Borders and couldn't find the newest Veggie Tales movie for Connor's party tomorrow. They had Lord of the Beans. They had Gideon. They had some other one with a long title (can you tell we haven't watched Veggie Tales in our house?), but none of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Since Connor is into Peter Pan and pirates these days, and because I was exhausted and the Peter Pan book was w-a-y too long to expect any parent to read, I got him a pirate book with reusable stickers and some Color Wonder stuff (funny enough, I think I got Cole the EXACT same stuff for his birthday last year. Oh well, it all draws the same).

Anyhow, it looks like I'll be cozying up with a cup of hot tea and amazon.com tonight to finish up!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Who Is Sick of Hearing From Me?

*Raises hand*

Oh, wait...

I'm almost halfway through NaBloPoMo, and I'm surprised to say that I haven't missed a day so far. But since I know it's totally easy to get sick of someone, I thought I'd post links to a few of my favorite blogs, just so you can drop in on my friends:

ElleBee My bestest non-bloggy friend, who prompted me to do this in the first place (yes, you can blame her for it)!

Cynthia is a new friend from greensmoothiegirl.com, we share the same political leanings it seems. She also is a mother to NINE kids (I'm so amazed, even if that could be me someday)!

Michelle is a doll and a half. And though I missed the bloggy get together for Elijah House, I know she'll forgive me some day. :)

Tara writes about food (which I love) her daughter (who is adorable) and keeping her home (which I'd like to do better).

And of course Rae, who thinks and shares and believes the most impossibly beautiful things, even living amongst the poor and least of these half a world away.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keyword Searches That Led You Here

I said I'd do them, and I really, really love reading the searches that brought you to this page. Here are the most recent!

meinthemadness
You like me, you really like me!

bethea@myhealthwealthandhappiness.com
I don't know how many searches I've gotten for this, but as you can see by its position, it's the second most searched keyword on this blog. I imagine most of those people don't stick around long!

bibbidi bobbidi boutique certificate
The FP got a certificate after her visit. The whole experience was so sweet!

i love my ups man
You and me both, sister. You and me both.

hooked on green smoothies

Better than crack, and you get to keep all your teeth.

sheer peach organza vs nars orgasm
I like both, but the Nars really is just about perfect. Really. However, I tend to use the sheer peach organza because it works better on me.

words to the carol 'i wonder as i wander'

Not really a carol, but here you go:
1. I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on'ry people like you and like I...
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

2. When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God's heaven a star's light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

3. If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heav'n for to sing,
He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King.
about bethea@myhealthwealthandhappiness.com

old navy size 4 what's real size
Who really knows. I'm a size bigger there than just about anywhere else.

myhealthwealthandhappiness.com

Please, PLEASE get over Bethea and her "health, wealth, and happiness"

raw bread recipe

That is Essene bread, here's a link to a recipe:
http://www.recipezaar.com/Essene-Bread-Raw-Sprouted-Bread-324437

i heart your blog award
Leave me a comment, I might pass it on to you, too!

zucchini bread glycemic index
Far too many variables to say, but using whole wheat flour and agave nectar to sweeten will help quite a bit. So will nuts.

green smoothies for 6 month old

No reason not to, so long as you've tested the individual foods for allergens

zappos for zumba

I'm using the Nike Musique IV, and they're working well. I slid in a pair of insoles because they're not at all cushy.

good evening makeup
Here you go.

make up mistakes lip gloss
This one.

first haircut
The CCM just had has at the Harmony Barber Shop at the Magic Kingdom. It was sweet, he got a certificate, was covered in stickers, and got a free pair of ears. Will hope to o it again for the Look Alike.

nike musique iv & kickboxing

See above.

28.8% body fat
Within the recommended range for a woman my age, but I'd like to get down around 20%

body fat percent navy

It appears that the Navy requires a weight range, not a body fat range. Hmm.

green smoothie regular blender
It can be done, just go slow and don't use frozen fruit!

cynical Christian
I stopped reading this blog in about September, but if you're looking for it,here it is: thecynicalchristian

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stolen from Michelle...

...over at Life With Three. What can I say, it's NaBloPoMo!

WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE: I don't actually know. Heather was an awfully popular name from the mid 70's to early 80's.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED:
Sunday night.

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING:
No.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT:
Roast beef, it's about the only thing I've been able to find without nitrites, which give me migraines.

DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Three -- the Firecracker Princess (4), the Chubby Cheeked Monster (2), and the Look Alike (8 mos)

IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Eh, most of the time, until I get all righteous and clingy and depressive.

DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Who me?

DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS:
No.

WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Eh, probably not these days. It's a calculated risk, and I wouldn't care to do it enough that it balances with the risk that my kids would lose their mom.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Publix brand frosted shredded wheat. Try it, you'll see why. It's not scratchy, more like wheat Chex with a little sweetness.

DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Not usually.

DO YOU THINK YOU'RE STRONG?
Yep, physically and emotionally. Getting there spiritually.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Hmm, probably Cherry Garcia.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
I don't really know, I'm sort of a total package gal.

RED OR PINK?
Pink. Red is too wild for me.

WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
My judgmental nature.

WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Black yoga pants (size MEDIUM), no shoes. Earlier I was wearing my Nike Musique IV's with these pants.

WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
cake. And that could always be an answer around here, I heart cake.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Tinker Bell the Movie, and the CCM talking to a cat.

IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Cerulean Love the explanation the page gives of "cerulean people".

FAVORITE SMELLS?
my children's hair, baking bread, mulled cider, and cake. Did I mention cake?

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
the Music Man

FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH?
baseball

HAIR COLOR:
Natural? Brown. Purchased? Auburn with blonde highlights.

EYE COLOR:
hazel

DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
No

FAVORITE FOOD?
Cake? It's up there, at least. And of course green smoothie!

SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy endings, I don't find scary movies to be at all edifying or beneficial to me.

LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Tinker Bell the Movie. Before that, I watched Sleeping Beauty. All Disney all the time in this house!

SUMMER OR WINTER?
Summer, if I can't choose fall.

HUGS OR KISSES?
hugs

FAVORITE DESSERT?
You know this one, right? Cake!

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
The Sleeping Beauty stories out there

WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
I don't have a mouse pad.

WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LATE LAST NIGHT?
Last night I went to bed after DWTS

FAVORITE SOUND?
the cello

ROLLING STONES OR THE BEATLES?
Beatles

WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
physically? Utah. Spiritually? I've been some pretty far places spiritually that weren't home.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Dayton, OH

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It is So. Not. My. Day

The Music Man and I had our single argument again this weekend, and it caused some sleepless nights. We hashed it out and finally got somewhere on this banging-head-against-wall perennial fight, and that was good, but apparently when my head hit the pillow, my good vibes ended.

Got up this morning as usual to work, and that was fine. Left about 5 minutes late to go to Zumba, but was making ok time when I got pulled over. Now, let me explain how this went. I was on a local road called Stilesboro. Before the red light, there's a school zone sign, and it was flashing. I got into the left turning lane, and turned onto Due West Rd. About 1/2 mile down Due West, I got pulled over for 43 in a 45 because I was in a school zone. Huh?! You mean the sign ON THE OTHER ROAD?

In his "generosity", the officer knocked it down to 39 so I wouldn't get points on my license. Uh huh. So I plan to fight it when my court date finally rolls around in mid-January. The Music Man said he'd take the day off of work for it, woohoo! Fight the power!

Then we got home and the kids were watching Sleeping Beauty before nap. The Chubby Cheeked Monster has been sensitive lately, but today it all came to a head. He and the Firecracker Princess were sitting on the sofa when she started bawling. I couldn't figure it out until I looked at him and he was holding a fistful of her hair. I was sitting right next to them, she didn't provoke him at all. Then he let one of the cats into the garage. Then he kicked the baby in the gut and her little head hit the floor. THAT was the last straw. He got yet another spanking and got put down for nap without lunch. It was ugly.

But you want to know a lovely thing that happened last night? I went shopping after my Reformer class because I needed a pair of jeans for our trip to Ohio for Thanksgiving. Only one pair of jeans fit, but NY and Company carries active wear again. I bought two pairs of pants, size MEDIUM. Medium!! Angels sang (at least in the fitting room). Woohoo!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm A Mess!

*CCM hit "publish", sigh.

Here's a melange of stuff I haven't kept up with since things are busy around here! First, my check-in, a week past due.


June 2, 2008:
181 lbs
39.3% body fat

July 2, 2008:
170.8 lbs.
35.3% body fat

August 2, 2008
160.0 lbs
32.0% body fat

September 2, 2008
151.4 lbs
30.0% body fat

October 2, 2008
146.8 lbs.
30.0% body fat

November 10, 2008
143.8 lbs
28.8% body fat

I don't think that's terrible for a month where I a) went on vacation and gained 2 lbs and b)lost about 15 hours of gym time due to Elijah House and Saturday soccer games, as well as sick kids causing us to skip workout at Due West.

Second, I got the Nintendo DS. I'd been meaning to get one for about a year, then saw a really good deal on walmart. com (I believe they still have it, 2 games, the system, and an accessory pack for $149). That Brain Age game is killing me! It says my brain is 49!! Part of it is the voice and number recognition is good but not great, and still mistakes some of my numbers, I guess lefties write funny? Otherwise, I realize that I actually LIKE sudoku. Who knew?

Finally, I'm still in the weeds for my brothers for Christmas. Ben says all he wants are pictures, and I'm happy to provide that, but I'd like to do more than give him a bunch of snapshots. Any ideas? Patrick, well, he's a big brute of a college football player, and so I got him a couple of Under Armour shirts and a subscription to ESPN the magazine. Arg!

Stay tunes, later this week I plan to do a keyword search piece. I LOVE it when people do those!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More Disney pictures!

CCM meeting Peter Pan. Not a great picture, but the story is hilarious to me. So he gets up there to meet Peter, and the Cast Member says to him, "Hey buddy, you got boogers?". For some reason that struck me as a hilarious thing to say to a kid. But then again, if I were a guy who is 5 feet tall and weighed about 100 lbs with red hair, eh, I'd take my jabs where I could get them.


The Look Alike at the Luau. I just thought this picture was sweet.


CCM did NOT want me to take his picture with the Pluto face. I asked them to do Pluto b/c he was wearing a Pluto outfit which he LOVES, second only to the Mouse himself.


Sleeping Beauty face paint, who is by far her favorite, even though she was wearing a Cinderella shirt.



The Look Alike was fascinated by the costumed characters, she would kiss them and just stare. So sweet.


Cutting a rug during the dance time with JoJo and Goliath.


This was the scene we came "home" to at the hotel room, Mousekeeping decorated Mickey and minnie, then made a water slide for doggie (and boy could he use a dip, he's filthy) and a towel snail. It was sweet, and the kids LOVED it!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

*I really did write this yesterday, but due to internet connection drama, it didn't post until today!

Well, at least in stores. Today I went into Hallmark to buy a wedding card and little gift for my Pilates instructor (because she's just a doll). What did I see? A HUGE BANNER that said "Santa today, 10 am to 2 pm". Apparently people want to get their kids' pictures taken with santa on November 8. Niiiiice.

But I admit, it was nice to go in there, hear Bing Crosby sing songs and wander among the red and green merchanside. Between shopping and seeing all the decorations, putting on Christmas albums, and putting cinnamon sticks and orange peels on the stove, I get all in the sprit once advent starts.

What do you do to get in the spirit?

Friday, November 7, 2008

What I've Learned From Jules

I am a Christian. I believe in the Nicene Creed, that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, came to earth and lived a sinless life, died on a cross for my sins, and rose on the third day. I believe that he ascended into heaven, where he sits at the right hand of the Father. I believe that He wants to have a personal relationship with me.

I know that there are degrees of Christianity. There are "name-claimers", there are "cultural Christians" (especially here in the South and in small communities, mostly rural, dotted along our maps). There are Catholic Christians (gasp). There are Methodists, Baptists, and Seventh-Day Adventists. There are the non-denominationals, and there are Vineyard people like me. People walk in varying degrees of Truth.

But what did I learn from the controversy of yesterday's exchange with Jules? I learned that no one can judge me. Well, they can, but they are in sin and won't be forgiven by the Father until they repent. Yikes! I learned that not all Christians need to like me! And I learned afresh that God really, really hates it when we try to be righteous judges, usurping His role.

I've learned that I don't WANT her to like me. If I'm lumped in with the peace-loving, grace-extending, love-giving "hippie, crunchy, latte-sipping, Volvo driving" Christians, so be it. I thought my tribe could be the Christian community, but apparently that was naive of me. I've learned that I was wrong to seek approval from men, when the ONe whose approval I seek is hidden and secret within me.

Today I'll leave you with Donald Miller's Blog about why he voted for Obama. It's good (as is all of his stuff that I've read).

May grace abound in all of us, and may our hearts be clear of judgment!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Am I Wrong?!

Here was the conversation I had tonight on blog comments. I don't know if I was wrong, I don't think I was. The last comment will be a rebuttal that I didn't post on her site because I didn't want to engage in anymore foolishness. My part is bolded, and starting with her comment that incited the conversation:


“Now in the last seven years we have had the highest corporate profit ever in American history. Highest corporate profit! We’ve had the highest productivity! The American worker has produced more per person at any time, but it hasn’t been shared, and that’s the problem because we have been guided by a republican administration who believes in this simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth.” – Jim Moran, Congress-VA Democrat

If you voted for Obama…you’re a moran moron.


Just remember Proverbs 21:1. And please don’t call me a moron. I’m actually pretty intelligent, God-fearing and involved in my evangelical church. And I would hate for you to be judged for your judgment here.

Maybe instead of calling names, you’d like to hit your knees. Here are some suggestions as to how to pray for him:
http://fireinmybones.com/



Heather:

I’m very familiar with Proverbs 21. How about you read 1 Samuel, chapter 8.

jules



I don’t find it to be at all applicable, since the people asked for a king instead of going to God. Those people HAD the Lord as a King, but looked aside. Moreover, the prayers of a righteous man were heard by the Lord, and though we don’t know what exactly Samuel prayed, it’s clear that he was all kinds of mad. Isn’t the prophecy of Samuel what we’ve reaped since the time if Saul’s kingdom? And indeed before that, since the fall, just not in organized fashion? I don’t believe that we’d have freedom from that even if we didn’t have a “king” in this country because of the generational precedent set into motion by the Israelites.

I hope you repent of your name-calling, although I want you to know that I personally forgive you for it. It’s no fun being on the wrong side of God, I’ve been there.



And, that’s where you are right now, Heather.



How do you figure? I prayed and prayed about this choice. I wonder, humbly, how you see fit to judge me. Discerning is one thing. Rebuking is one thing, within the context of a relationship. You’re calling millions and millions of people, some your brothers and sisters in Christ, morons. I say again, I forgive you. I forgive you what appears to be hardness of heart. I forgive you what appears to be your lack of belief that God is indeed sovereign. I forgive you your rage and hatred, however it comes. I hope that you’re able to meet with Him and get some resolution. If you’re really this upset, I hope you’re able to pour your heart out to the Lord and allow Him to be the balm of Gilead. We’re called to joy, and all I hear in your words is grief. The Lord will never turn against a broken and contrite heart.

Father God, It’s clear that Jules is hurting right now. I ask that you would send Your Holy Spirit to ring her peace in this circumstance. I ask that you would make her soft and moldable as she seeks to stand firm for Your ways. I ask that she allow Your gospel to be the offensive thing, Lord, not she herself. I don’t know if she seeks to offend Lord, or if her cannot see her folly. Father, I ask that she not be a stumbling block for others in her vitriol, but that somehow, some way, you would make light out of darkness. I ask you to sweep out any place that has sown hatred and anger Lord, so that she doesn’t not have to reap what she has sown with her words. Your Word says that what is in the heart pours from the lips, so please change her heart. Have mercy on her, have mercy on me, have mercy on us all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



If you can cast your ballot for a man who openly and proudly contends and defends the practice of slaughtering unborn children while still in their mother’s womb, you are not my sister in Christ.

The blood of those innocents is on your hands, Heather.



You know what, the blood of those innocents IS on my hands. Would you like to know why? Because I had an abortion. Yep, that’s right. I’m a baby killer, a murderer. I was in college, and I did not know the Lord. So throw your stone. Go ahead, I can take it.

Do you think that I haven’t cried oceans of tears for the child I murdered? Do you think that I haven’t looked into the eyes of my living children and wondered what my son would’ve been like? Do YOU think you know ANYTHING about making that choice? Because I’ve made it. And I’ve made the wrong one. And I live with it every. single. God-included day of my LIFE. When my youngest cries to nurse, do you think my breasts don’t long to nurse the one I sent to the grave? When my oldest dances, do you THINK I don’t wish I could have seen my boy off to his first day of school? When my son slings his arm around my neck, do you THINK I don’t weep for the chance to hold him, tell him that I was wrong, and to please, please, for the love of God Almighty, forgive me?

Oh wait, that’s right. Jesus, the perfect One, the holy One, is my pardon. You? You’re a sad and angry woman who I pray will one day learn about grace. The grace of the ONLY perfect one. The only one whose ballot matters.

In disagreements, we “leave a grace space for your former enemy to become your present friend”. I will leave you a grace space. And again I forgive you.



So…let me see if I follow your logic…

You chose to slaughter your unborn child, but have since received the gift of grace which comes from the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Though forgiven, you live with the natural consequences of your sin each day. It is an unrelenting, never diminishing pain which words cannot convey. It is a torture that few can understand and from which you will be freed only when you enter glory.

So, naturally you voted for a man who staunchly defends the right of women to do the same.



I’m not pro-choice. I just happen to prioritize other issues more highly. Social programs, helping the poor and downtrodden. God is a God of life, but life for all. I also think there are much better ways to combat abortion rather than legislatively. Women will still abort even if it’s illegal. And they to will die from botched ones, from sepsis and bleeding out, therefore having no chance at redemption.

I don’t think that people who haven’t faced the choice have any idea what it’s like. An opinion, sure. But an uninformed one. And that’s ok, I prefer that people wouldn’t be in the situation I was in. Make no mistake, unless you’ve been in my shoes, you do not understand. I pray that no one in your family ever finds him or herself with that same blood on his or her hands. In a choice between bad and worse, I’m not a single issue voter. I prayerfully made my choice. I stand by my choice before the Lord with fear and trembling. Because unlike you, I acknowledge that I might’ve chosen incorrectly (in this and many, many other areas), and ask the Lord to make beauty of my mess.



“God is a God of life, but life for all.”

Except for the lives of 48,589,993 babies who’ve been slaughtered since 1973. Thanks to the mess made by loving, non-judgmental, graceful, moral, pious and ultra-forgiving “Christians” like you.



Whoa nelly. So this clearly got ugly, though I tried to be calm, rational, and loving in everything I said. But on my way to Elijah House tonight, I crafted a response I didn't intend to send her, but just to get it out of my body. Here it is:

Thank you! I wondered why I was so invested in you seeing me as a believer, as a sister. Then I realized that your words were those of the enemy. The one who came to steal my joy and destroy my witness. I realized that you were just the devil's mouthpiece, taunting and jeering and seeking to disqualify me. My unforgiveness of self didn't allow the blood of Christ to do its work in my heart.

I don't have to defend myself. I am indefensible. I thank God that, in Christ, I have my shelter, my strong tower. "He who is forgiven much loves much". Like Christ, I'm being persecuted by the religious when I stand holy and blameless before Him. I hope that you've done at least one thing in your life for which you've received deep, deep grace-unmerited favor. Otherwise, you see no need for a Savior and are an idolater, making a god of your own "holiness". The Word says that our righteousness is as filthy rags to the Lord. I wish you grace that your heart knows. I wish you humility, as I don't wish your pride to cause you to fall. I don't desire you to commit the sin of judgment on my behalf, so I bow out. I will pray for your healing, and also for the absoluteness of God's laws to be manifest and visible in your life.

I wanted someone to say, "Oh heather, you're right, she's just mean". Partly because, well, I like being right. Partly because I wonder, am I trampling on grace? Am I outside of the will of God by voting my conscience and not how the religious right would have me vote? Wait, did I just fall victim to voter intimidation after the fact?! Spiritual abuse. THAT is the mark of the enemy. The enemy will use anything, anything, to render us ineffective. Infighting, backbiting, it's all ugly. It's all unholy.

The blood of the only innocent that's on my hands is the one of my own son. I don't choose anyone else's abortion, and each woman who has made that choice will have to give an account for it. If I boast, I boast in Christ. If the Son has set me free, I am free, indeed. Thank you Jesus, For removing my sin as far as the east is from the west. May I, may we all, live in a manner befitting that call.

OK, so I'm not posting the link to her blog to continue the drama, but because she has a copyright on her blog, and I want to do things by the rules. So if you actually want to read this mess, here's Jules

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Check it out!

This a bloggy giveaway too cute not to share! Here's the link to these gorgeous clutches, go check them out.

Confession: I (Sorta) Rocked the Vote

So we all know that I'm a Democrat. Open curtains, there's no surprise there. But yesterday I almost didn't vote. Wanna know why?

Because it's a ten minute drive in the opposite direction of where I was going (oral surgeon) and I didn't want to wait. Seriously. Pathetic.

Let me tell you about voting yesterday. I drove up in my car. I walked inside, filled out a two-line form verifying my identity. Was the first person in line to show my ID and get a card for the machine. Walked straight to one, put in all my votes, reviewed them, and cast my ballot. Got a sticker and a bottle of water. Drove to TJ Maxx and went shopping. In thirty minutes, I saw my oral surgeon, drove ten minutes to my polling place, then went shopping.

I wasn't intimidated. I wasn't beaten bloody, almost to death. I wasn't put into an asylum for thinking it should be my right to speak my peace. No one told me I was at the wrong place, causing me to walk nine miles in the other direction, only to be told the original station was my place to vote. Suffering? I know nothing of it.

And I stand ashamed of myself, for taking for granted the immense right that was won on the backs, bruised and nearly broken, of men and women before me just a few generations.

When I was at TJ Maxx buying some new workout gear, the older woman who was the fitting room attendant, after noting my "I'm a Georgia voter" sticker, said, "Well, do you think we'll have a black president or a white president tonight?". As I tried to conceal my shock, I simply said, "Well, we'll see"! As I was walking into the room, she called after me, "I didn't vote, so whatever happens, you can't blame me"!

Sigh. But for the grace of God, there go I.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Few Pictures

I've been a total slacker with the pictures from our Disney trip, and this post will be in a few parts so as to not overload, well, anyone. Let's get started!

First, a picture the Music Man took of the CCM outside Mickey's house.


Next, him getting his first haircut. The ears are embroidered with "First haircut", appropriately.


When the FP was little, we took her to WDW for her first birthday, and I have a picture almost identical to this, with her on my hip in front of that particular pumpkin.


The Look alike happy in her stroller.


The Princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. This was precious time with my baby.


The CCM after having his face painted a la Goofy.


The princess even more dolled up!



That's enough for today, but I'll work on more soon!

Monday, November 3, 2008

'Tis the Season

Yesterday I was able to knock out a good deal of my Christmas shopping by doing my mom, stepdad, and getting one more thing for my sister. Now I just need one thing for each of the girls and boys, which isn't terrible. I don't THINK they read my blog, but you never know, so I won't spill. However, I'm stuck on my brothers. I got Patrick two Under Armour shirts and a subscription to ESPN the magazine, and Benjamin only wanted pictures of the fam. I can handle that, but I'd like to also get him something else. Not sure what to do, and I've still got to find something for each of my sisters.

That's all fine and good, but I forgot how greedy I seem to get! I've been wanting a Nintendo DS for about a year, and I got a sale email from the Evil Empire the other day. Wouldn't you know that I told the Music Man that I wanted it, he agreed, and I bought it plus another game! Sigh. I'll have to be a little more careful next time I go shopping!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Again?!

Last year at this time, I was finished Christmas shopping. I thought it would be blissful, but really it was tragic. I didn't have anything to DO for the rest of the season. This year I haven't even started, but at least I have some shopping to treat myself with.

But I'm sorta stuck. I have siblings, my parents, and my in-laws to buy for. My brothers are 21 and 20, and my sisters are 14. Could it BE a little harder?! So I'd love some ideas. Share if you have some ideas, I'm in the weeds!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

National Blog Posting Month

ElleBee roped me into this, so I figured I'd give it a shot. So today is the start of NaBloPoMo, and I'll give it a go. Do they not realize that November is like the busiest month of the year? It's worse than Christmas around here, what with all the shopping, the preparation, the Thanksgiving travel. Never one to shy away from a challenge, here I am, posting for 30 days in a row. Hope you don't get too sick of me!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to the Firecracker Princess!



My baby was four yesterday. Four years ago, I gave birth in a drug-induced hazy calm, just hours after the Red Sox won their first world series. I had just finished the requirements for my bachelor's degree (online), and it was conferred Oct. 27. I was so, so desperate to have the baby born already. I'd stopped working on Oct. 2, and was just laying around on the sofa like a bloated whale.

That child changed my life. My first born baby, whose smell I breathed in endlessly. My baby whose head fit perfectly in my cupped hand. The girl whose sunny smiles pushed me through a post-partum depression. The baby that lazed with me in bed, sleeping sometimes until noon and watching tv before a nap. The little girl that didn't move into her own bed until she was 18 months old, when I tiptoed into her room several times a night to check her breathing, not sure how she could survive sleeping without me by her side as I clearly could not sleep without her to snuggle.

My precious baby who loved her little brother as soon as he was born, fawning over him, protecting him. Who walked late and talked early and is really, truly beloved for her sweetness and sunny disposition. Who I sometimes think will kill me with the iron strength of her will, who often makes me want to just stand down in my weariness. Who calls me "momma", when her brother calls me "mommy".

The girl who wants to read NOW and loves Sleeping Beauty, and who believes that she is beautiful and that the whole world loves her. I hope she never loses those things. Happy birthday Princess. I am so grateful to the King for you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Look

As a former makeup artist, I really enjoy a new look now and again. I've never gotten around to having one of you snazzy designers make me a new header, alas. Enter ElleBee.

You see, I'm not at all artistic. At all. As ElleBee once said, "Your creativity stops at your wrists". Yeah. But the problem with liking pretty things and not being able to make them happen is that it's frustratingly the same, or expensive to change. Enter scrapblog.com. She figured out that it makes lovely headers, how great is that? So ye olde blogg may look a little schizo over the next couple of days and weeks while I give ElleBee free reign to change my look. She's dangerous with a password, I'm telling you. :)

Anyhow, feel free to admire her handiwork, then head on over to make yourself some scrapping pages!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stop the Madness

Just for another two weeks. If I get ONE MORE email talking about baby-eating Democrats, I will scream. Many of these come from my family, admittedly, but I also get them from my church friends (no surprise there). And. If I get ONE MORE email talking about hate-mongering Republicans, I will scream. Most of these come from my friends who are atheists, which totally amuses me.

Your email about Obama supporting stem-cell research isn't going to make me smack my forehead and vote for McCain (or McSame, as a billboard somewhere in northern Florida on I-75 states). I'll point you toward McCain's infidelity and lies and ask you to reconsider. Your email about McCain's extremism on just about everything isn't going to make me run toward the Obama, either.

I am a Democrat, not a fear monger, a hate monger. I hope to be a Jesus monger, who would ask you to just really consider what you're sending. And to please skip me on that forward.

Christmas Gift for Mom?

Do you ever wonder what to get your mom for Christmas (or your mother-in-law)? Every single year I try and try, but I have the hardest time trying to figure it out. Last year, we got Music-in-law this necklace at LifetimeMothers.com. What I particularly like about it is the fact that we aren't likely don't having children, so you just add the stones $2 at a time. This is also great for moms like me who want something to celebrate their mom status, but again, aren't done. I can just add a little gem each time we get another gem in our lives, isn't that great! They have lots of options, and the price is good, so go check them out if you're stumped!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ecobrain Books

About two weeks ago (!), I won a contest over at Tara's place. Then a week ago, I got the link from Ecobrain to read one of their ebooks for free, called Radical Simplicity. Incidentally, when I signed up I got a $5 credit, so you may as well just mosey on over there and get one for yourself!

Ecobrain is a cool concept for those enviornmentally minded readers among us.

I've just started reading Radical Simplicity, but wow, the story is amazing. I hope to read the rest of it by the end of the month (always do better with a goal!), but I'm struck by how close this is to the heart of God. Sharing resources. Blessed are the poor, and all that. I sincerely hope (and pray for conviction about) all of our stuff, and getting rid of it. I'd like to be radically simple. Radically obedient. Radically present.

So thanks, Tara! This was my first blog contest win, and it might just change my life!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Food for thought (not for eating)

Sometimes I look at myself and think I haven't lost all that much weight, think that I don't look very different than I did right after my Look Alike was born. But then I compare these two photos and shut my mouth (at least for a while). My, what seven months can do!



Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Few Pictures While I'm Gone

Cupcakes for a friend's daughter's birthday, that's an "S" with sanding sugar and a white chocolate heart.


My Monster, isn't he adorable?!


A HUGE challah, that's a jelly roll pan! I think it was the best bread I've ever made!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I love my UPS man

Not in a whole smoochy affair sort of way (though really, he is adorable), but he's just great. Yesterday I got a new pair of shoes from Zappos for Zumba and kickboxing. They're the Nike Musique III because shoes with high tread were killing my knees with all of those pivots. He and I talked for a minute, and he told me that he has two sons and they're trying for another because he wants a little princess. Hello adorable!

In the conversation, I mentioned that my kids were napping. I didn't tell him that I tend to answer the door so that he doesn't ring the bell. Today when he brought my Crocs for vacation, he just knocked. How sweet is THAT?

He is so getting a gift this Christmas. For sure.

And here's just a little plug for Zappos.com. I ordered the above shoes on Friday night, and got them on Monday. Woohoo! And shipping was free! Double woohoo!