Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Grrowl

You save and save and save those shoe boxes thinking they'll come in handy. Then one day you're scouring the house because you've finally found the perfect use for them, and you remember that you threw them away last month. >:-(

From The Jar... #12

I guess this is sort of my own version of a meme. (see previous post) It's fun to read all your responses too, so thanks to all of you who play! :)

And the jar says...


Tell about your favorite aunt.


Hmmm... that's a tough one. I don't think I can just pick one. How 'bout I tell some of my favorite things about several of my aunts?

Mom's side:

Jann- She is the sweetest thing on the planet! I love to be around her. She's one of those people who just make you feel good.

Devan- Words cannot describe how much I love her. She has been my confidant and safe place for over two years now. I always felt a special connection with her, but she has lived in Houston my whole life so we didn't exactly spend a lot of time together. Over the last two years she and I have developed a VERY special relationship, indeed. If you're reading this, Devan, THANK YOU. You'll never know or understand fully the impact you've had upon my life and my husband's and childrens' lives. Future generations will be thanking you.

Bronwyn- She's the aunt on my mom's side I spent the most time with growing up. She only lived three hours away, as opposed to my other aunts, who lived in Texas (or Colorado, later). Her kids are all the same ages as my family and we all grew up very close. Bronwyn is the fun, cool one who you want to go shopping with. She's the devil on our shoulder on shopping trips! She's very encouraging when she thinks something looks cute on you. She is famous around our house for her fabulous cooking. All my aunts are incredible cooks, but Bronwyn seems to enjoy it the most and makes all kinds of yummy creative things. Mac has talked about her turkey soup for years now.

Tana- She is "the voice". All my aunts are beautiful singers, but Tana is the grand-champion of them all. She sang with all kinds of bands in her early days and she's opera-trained and has done many professional operas in the US and Europe. If I could choose anyone in the whole world to have my voice sound like, it would be her. She has a sweet quality to her voice that makes you want to weep. She also has all the power that comes with opera training. It's an amazing mix. Someday I will try to get a recording of her and my grandma singing together on here so you can all hear that sweet quality! :) I went and spent three or so weeks in Colorado with Tana and her husband and 1 year old daughter when I was 15. That time is a treasure in my memory. We created a special bond too.


Dad's side:
(I guess I'm writing about all my aunts instead of several... how can I leave one out when they are all so fantastic)

My dad has only brothers, so my aunts are by marriage, but they are as good as blood. We have such a blessed family full of so much love and mutual affection! I am so lucky!

Kathy- She is so sweet and gentle by nature, but she's got some kick! She is a computer programmer. I hardly recall ever seeing her angry. She reminds me a lot of my Grandma Carol that way. She is the most amazing, supportive mother I've ever encountered. Her kids are amazing and I know a lot of that has to do with she and Jim's supportive, loving, God-centered environment they created in their home.

Chris- This lady is a firecracker! She's hilarious! She says the funniest things and has a lot of fun teasing my uncle Mark (who is the biggest tease on the planet). She is a nurse at a school. She is an incredible hostess (reminds me of my Grandma Carol, again) who always makes you feel right at home and comfortable. She also has all boys and she is a take-no-crap kindof mom, which is perfect for the give-lots-of-crap, teasing boys she has. They are great kids too. (Kids... the youngest one is like twenty or something! He just got married.) Chris is so full of faith in Christ and love of God. She has a fierce love of her family and I admire her a lot.



I look up to all these great ladies. They are all so amazing and I have so much fun being around them. I only wish I could be around them more. How lucky am I to have such fine people in my life! (That includes you, too!)

:)


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Manic Monday Explained

Seems like there's a bit of confusion for my readers as to what Manic Monday is. I shall explain in a far too lengthy post, but I was very confused once too...

I started reading my friend Maggie's blog last fall and she played Manic Monday. I didn't understand it at the time and I sent her an email asking her what it was. After that I started playing myself and it's been super fun.

So... here's how it works. Mag's friend Morgen is the one who started the 'meme'. "What's a meme?" you might ask? (I know because I asked the question myself.) I found this explanation on a website:

In science, a Meme (pronounced to rhyme with “theme”) is a self-propagating unit of thought that is spread from one host to another. Richard Dawkins invented the term as a kind of idea-gene. Like genes, as Memes spread they mutate or die. Only the fittest Memes survive.

For bloggers Memes have become synonymous with internet quizzes, surveys, and novelties that people link to and pass around on their blogs, forums and via email....

...Why Meme?

Memes are interesting content when done right, and can give you an insight into others personalities and histories that you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. But it’s mostly about links. The initiator gets a ton of links (all participants link back to the person who started the Meme) and everyone else gets some amount of link love too. You link to the next in the chain (”tag” them) and they link back when they complete what they have to do to participate.

I don't usually do the "Linkies". I did at first, but hardly anyone knew how to play so I've been leaving them off. Check out Mo's Storm post for an example of linkies. Anyway...

Morgen, better known as Mo, picks a word and you write whatever you want that includes that word. Whatever comes to mind. Anyone who wants to play can let Mo know by leaving a link on his blog or just play quietly like I do oft times. Make sense? :)


Just a little thanks to Mo for doing the meme. It's very fun and I look forward to it every week! :)


Monday, July 28, 2008

Manic Monday: Storm

I love X-men. I used to try to wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch the cartoon when I was a kid. I love the movies as an adult. While Storm is not my favorite character on the movies, she was absolutely my favorite in the cartoon. How cool did she look when her eyes turned all white? And with that came lightning or wind, rain or snow, tornadoes or hurricanes. She was the coolest. I distinctly remember playing X-men as a child. I was always controlling the weather because I was Storm. I was sure that my eyes turned white, giving those I was playing with warning that the weather was about to turn nasty. (Of course, they never did notice that part... I always had to inform them that my eyes had just turned white and that now their hair is standing on end because of the lightning that was gathering around us...) I loved being Storm.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's A Sickness...

I'm pretty sure that my thirst for purchasing original artwork is unquenchable. Or maybe I'm just new at it so it's very exciting? Either way, I bought another today at our little sidewalk art show. I don't have it yet or I would take a picture for you all to see. I left it there so they could put a wire hangy thing on the back of it. I am so excited about it! It is a really beautiful oil painting of an owl. Remember... one of my favorite animals? This will be the first oil painting to hang in my home. I'm kindof a watercolor girl, but this owl called to me and I had to have it! ("Who?" it called. Ha ha!! I know, I know... I'm a nerd. I just can't help it sometimes!)

I also got lucky enough to get a freebie charcoal/chalk portrait of my Ella. It's awesome and I already framed it and have it hanging on my wall! She was so serious while she sat there to be sketched. I will take a picture of that too.

Just FYI, the artist that did both the owl and the sketch of Ella also happens to be the teacher at The Creative Institute that I raved about in a recent post. He's a very talented individual. I saw the owl picture while I was in class. I've been thinking about it ever since and when I saw it today at the art show I REALLY wanted it. I asked the price and it was actually very reasonable! I couldn't resist! So, I now have two John P. Hart originals! I'm thrilled!

Zoom

I'm sitting here at my little sister's house and we are about to go to the sidewalk art show by the river. This is one of my favorite events of the summer. I don't know that I can explain why. I think it's the dream of being able to buy original art.

A few summers ago I did buy one. It was a local artist (as many of them are) who grew up in the same area as my husband. She had watercolors for sale, and I happen to recognize one of them as a store in a little town close to where Dustin grew up. I asked her if it was the store I recognized and she said yes. As I looked around closer I realized that I recognized many of the paintings from spots around Dustin's valley.

We happened to have some extra money at the time and I indulged. I bought a painting of an old house called the "Reams Mansion". This was a place that Dustin had taken me past many times. He told me stories of how it was supposedly haunted and they used to take dates there and sneak into it and scare themselves. I bought it and saved it until Dustin's birthday came around and gave it to him. He was very impressed and surprised.

I love to look and it and remember that I bought an original piece of art....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hair History

My blogging friend, Maggie, did a post remembering funny hairstyles from her youth. She asked at the end, "What crazy hair styles did you have?". I had so much fun answering her query, that I had to do a post myself so I could hear all about your goofy childhood hair days!

She talked about how she tried, for a little while, the bangs that stick straight up. Here was my comment on her blog:

I can totally see the straight-up bangs. We had a name for girls who held on to those big bangs years after they were out of style... Boof Bangers.

While they were in style, however, I tried my darndest, but I never could achieve the up-bang thing. I have very straight, fine hair. I have a fair amount of hair, but it doesn't hold curl well at all. (I never did try to use a whole bottle of hairspray in a week though. Maybe I would've had more success with that tactic!)

I remember a few attempts at perms. My hair would take the perm on the underlayers but the top wouldn't. So I would have this lovely flat to partly wavy hair on top and under would be crazy tight curls. It sucked to be me in the perm days.

In high school I was a granola who wore hiking boots and patagonia shirts all the time. I parted my long straight hair in the middle or pulled it up into a pony tail or two braids on the sides.

Now I mostly keep it short. I just got it cut on Monday and it is REALLY short. I think it's about the same length as my husband's hair!

Fun post. I might just copy you and post this comment of mine on my blog so I can hear all about my friends' hair history.

So, now I ask all of you.... What crazy hair styles did you have? ;)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From The Jar... #11

What is your principle occupation and what circumstances led to it?


I am a mom. That is my principle occupation. It all started when I met this cute guy named Dustin... Naw. Just kiddin'! I don't think any of you really want to know the circumstances that led to being a mom.

If your principle occupation is the same as mine and you still want something to write about, tell about your husbands occupation or your secondary occupations (see below).

I have a few other things that I do... chocolate dipped treats, property management (aka- landlord). They are certainly not my principle occupation but they do bring in some income (sometimes, anyway!). We got into property management because of a house that fell into our lap that had an incredibly cheap mortgage. We knew we could rent it and cashflow on it, so we bought another house to live in and rented that one. Then we thought, "Why not buy a duplex?" So we did. When we have good renters it's the best job in the world! When we don't, it is one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Chocolate dipping is a longish story. When I was in high school my next door neighbor had a little business where she sold chocolate dipped pretzels, apples, etc. My friends and I worked for her. It was a great little after school job. When my parents moved to Idaho my mom started doing it too. She did it for around ten years and got tired of it. By then she had a "fan base" so to speak and she didn't feel like she could just walk away from it. So, she offered it to me. I took it and have been doing it for almost four years myself. And, as I said in a previous post, I am now building a website for it, so maybe I can generate some more business. *insert mental image of me chewing my fingernails in nervousness here*

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Compassion Speaks

I am compassion. I only know love. It wells up from my toes and gurgles out of the top of my head as a mountain spring unending.

I light upon her and she radiates with my glow. She glimpses dark eyes on people who close their door to me and it wounds her... makes her protect me, caress me, shield me. She thinks she knows. She doesn't realize that I envelope them too. I hold their dark eyes, even when contempt seeps out of them, spreading like a slow leak. It doesn't matter. Compassion rocks anyone who hurts in the cradle of her arms.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Personality Test

This is a personality test that Ginny and Kristin took. Ginny thought it was very accurate, Kristin... not at all. For me, I thought there were some things that were fairly accurate and others not at all. What do you think? Is it me? (I left a few italicized, blue comments of what I thought of their version of me...) If you want to try it go here and let me know so I can look at your results on your blog! :)


You are exceptional and unique. Your quest in life is to identify exactly who you are and why you’re here. What’s important to you is the journey of self discovery, determining who you are today is not the same as who you’ll be tomorrow.


You resist being categorized and are quick to question any social standard that you sense someone imposing on you. Stereotypical gender roles always interest you and, in your mind, connect to issues that most other people would never even consider related.
(Uhh... what? Maybe yes on the resistance to being categorized, but I'm not even sure what they mean on the whole gender roles thing...)

You can “connect” with any individual person and practically read their mind, but you have a natural tendency to match your actions to the expectations you read from their mind and yearn for company that lets you truly, naturally be yourself. You struggle between letting yourself naturally match the sentiment of the group (which feels like putting on a fa├žade) or letting your individuality shine, which may allow people to see how different you are.


You are particularly accepting of other people and have a special talent for seeing people’s true selves instinctively. It takes time for you to trust your gut instinct about people because even you don’t believe that someone could be so right about another person’s nature so quickly. This intuitive sense about what people are thinking (which is actually your hyper-attention to nonverbal cues) is your special talent. You may think it is available to everyone and that others just ignore it, but in truth others could never develop the skill to the level which comes naturally to you.


To you everything happens on a personal level. Your friends come to you for advice because they know that you’ll love them for who they are and put yourself in their shoes to look at the world. Your advice, although varied in delivery, usually boils down to “be true to yourself” and “listen to your heart.” You are also an excellent confidant because things told to you never return to anyone through the grapevine. You exude this quality so strongly that even strangers will sometimes spontaneously begin confiding their deepest secrets in you.

(I have definitely had several "strangers", after talking for a few minutes, confide crazy things to me. Interesting...)


Despite all of that, you are not much of a talker. In fact, words sometimes trip you up because you prefer nonverbal communication. Unfortunately, most of the world is not as attuned to nonverbal communication the way you are, so your opinion can get overshadowed if a more outspoken person is part of the decision.

(What!? I never shut up! Although that overshadowed part is accurate.)


You focus more on nurturing other’s self esteem than any other type. As a result of this naturally caring nature your close friends often turn to you for moral support.


You are by far the most talented of all types at reading nonverbal cues. In your admirable attempts to convey a message diplomatically, those who aren't sensitive to inflection, tone, insinuations or body language sometimes simply do not get your message because they only receive the verbal half of what you said.


In the same way that you're the best at reading nonverbal cues, you're also the best at sending them. When you speak they miss the nonverbal half of your message, then they speak and transmit twice the message (verbal + nonverbal) which often gives away more than they intended but is sometimes carelessly inaccurate since they don’t send nonverbal cues as well as you do. When you're tempted to assign bias based on someone’s tone or other nonverbal cues it is wise to have them restate what they said and see if ignoring the careless, unintentional nonverbal half of their message lets the true meaning through.

(Ummmm, whatever with that one!)

If you have children your focus is making sure that your child has a strong self-image and high self-esteem. More than other parents it is important for you to be friends with your children.


You are more philosophical than most and passionately think about ethics and justice more than other types. It is when ethical issues come up in conversation that you most strongly sense that you are fundamentally different from other people. You become visually emotionally focused when these issues arise, while others easily laugh them off and switch topics to something trivial. To you, it seems that everyone should be passionate about ending racism, sexism and other social ills.


You go by the book and are suspicious of anyone suggesting that rules or laws should be ignored. You think constantly about improving laws, and see that at a major avenue for advancing social change because you see legislation and rule creation as the consensus opinion of the group working together. For you the focus is seeing everyone working together in harmony.

(Ummm... not so much. I like harmony, but I'm not very by the book in most situations. And that whole law thing... not so much!)


You are a healer and probably give great massages and know what foods will make people happy again. You prefer to surround yourself with direct, honest, authentic people who let you reinvent yourself every time you meet. You want nothing more than for there to be peace and harmony in the world, and your actions clearly reflect that vision.

(I've been told that I do give a good massage!)

You are more strongly moved by poetry and artistic expression than any other type. You are interested in the finer points of different artistic mediums, having many complete and incomplete poems and stories in your head if not on paper.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm SO Excited! (And I Just Can't Hide It!)

As my friend put it- The universe has given me a piece of candy!! I have had the opportunity to take a web design class at The Creative Institute. This is an INCREDIBLE place that just opened up a few weeks ago, and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone interested in having fun while learning some valuable tools in the digital media world. They offer classes to kids and adults. They have a small business program too. I can't speak highly enough of the instructor (who also happens to be my good friend's husband). He is so very knowledgeable and talented and is an EXCELLENT teacher to boot!

Here's a mini list of some of the things they offer:
Computer Arts Business Seminars
Brochure Design
Presentation Techniques
Web Marketing
Media Relations
Digital Media for Moms and Adults
Web Design
Photoshop Techniques

In classes for moms they offer childcare for little ones for a small fee. Isn't that awesome?

Anyway, I have gone to the class for three days now. I have learned so much in a mere 7 1/2 hours! Last night as I was leaving I felt like I was going to bust out of my skin! I NEEDED this class, and I had no idea. I feel invigorated and excited at the creative outlet that my eyes have been opened to! I am lovin' it! And, in case you were wondering what kind of website I am designing... I'm designing a site for my pretzels that I make! I am having so much fun doing it too! I can't wait to be able to post it on here and let you all go and check out my pretzel website! :) YAY!

So... if it's been a while since you've bounced off the wall with excitement or exuded creativity like a pheromone, may I recommend registering for a class that peaks your interest at The Creative Institute? You will not regret it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Mac!

(Just pretend I published this on Tuesday, July 15th! I actually started it that day, but didn't have time to finish it ON his actual birthday!)

McKinley Eirik was born eight years ago yesterday (July 15th)! Do you know how old that makes me feel? In some ways it seems like he was just a little boy last week and in other ways it feels like he's been here my whole life. I love him so much!

So, here's a little tribute in pictures to the kid with the sweetest, biggest, most intense heart on the planet.


Newborn Mac. He was intense even as a newborn.


He has always had such stunning eyes! He was about three months old here.



The Cutie Pie at about 5 months old.


This is mom and Mac when he was about 13 months old. He used to be quite blond!


Two years old wearing grandpa's hat!



Two and a half years old. He fixed the dinosaurs so the little ones overpowered the big one. Mac knew the principle of strength in numbers at a young age!



Mac, at three years old, found my mascara and thought it was war paint or something... I tried to be mad, but he was just so darned cute! (this kid's gonna break hearts with those beautiful eyes!!!)


Three years old.


Four years old with Daddy's motorcycle goggles on his head!


Coppin' a little attitude at five years old.


Six years old.


One of MANY self-portraits Mac took! (seven years old)


Last week at his early birthday celebration! What a goofball!


I love you, Mac. I am so glad you chose to be in our family! You are so strong and so tender all at the same time. I love the inquisitive mind you have. I love your sweetness and I love your tenacity. You are amazing and you will do incredible things in this world. I am so proud to be your mother and I pray that I can do the job to the level that you deserve. You're awesome, buddy!
Love, Mom



From The Jar... #10

Bless you, jar. Today I am in such a hurry and have no time for a lengthy jar post and guess what! The jar gave me such an easy one.

And the jar says...


What was the first piece of furniture that you bought?


The first piece of actual furniture was a couch from the D.I. thrift store. It was awfully ugly... country style, blue with a ruffle on the bottom and such. But it was very comfortable and we loved it in our early married years. I guess we also bought our table but that was with money from people at our wedding so it didn't really feel like we bought it, we just picked it! :)

The first real, new and expensive thing we bought was a new mattress. This was early in our marriage too and it has been the best mattress!

We have only bought one more thing new and that is our entertainment center. It's pine with iron pulls and hinges. I like it.

The end.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What's up?

So, I've had several questions about the "poignancy" of my last several posts. Just thought I'd address that. At least a little bit.

There is a story that I want to tell. So, over the last week, I've found myself looking at the story in everything I feel or see or hear. I've been trying to learn how to tell a story. I guess this started in January, really. Every book I've read since then I've been analyzing how to write a story. So... the bits I've been posting are stories about things I've been experiencing or feeling or felt previously. I'm just telling stories. There are other aspects to it, for sure, but that's all I'm telling for now. For the rest, you'll just have to wait for my finished product! ;)

Manic Monday: Bug

I glance up at the tell-tale squeak from the spring on the screen door. A glimpse of his hair tells me he went for a ride on his bike. That perfect wind-blown puff is not achieved any other way. I know if I was a little closer I would be able to see traces of bugs on his face or neck. Or perhaps nestled in that pompadour hairdo. His eyes shine as they always do after a ride. After more than eleven years of knowing him, ten of those as his wife, this boyish love of speed on a motorcycle has not waned.

"How are you?" he asks.

"I'm good." I smile back even though I don't feel like it. "How was your bike ride?"

"Good!" he nearly giggles.

He's closer to me now, and I can smell the exhaust on his clothing. I used to hate that smell. His delight threatens to sweep me out of my black mood as the smell of motorcycle plucks, from the stash in my mind, a memory of a time when the weight on our shoulders was not so elephantine...



We drove by that lot a dozen times before he ever said it. "I think I'm gonna offer that guy a hundred bucks for that bike."

"Ummm... okay. Are you sure?" I felt panicky. We had only been married a month and I was nineteen years old. A hundred dollars for a bike that hasn't run for who knows how many years? A hundred dollars felt like a thousand to me. I knew he could get it running though. He proved that with those crappy dirt bikes Josh gave my dad while we were engaged. "Well, if you're sure it's worth it... I guess so," I said skeptically.

My worries were unfounded in the end. In fact, I was grateful for that bike. Hot summer nights found us riding down Main Street on our way to a movie, or to the ice cream shop, or to nowhere-in-particular. Stoplights brought awareness of the asphalt under our feet, still blazing with the heat of the sun, long since set. Those nowhere-in-particular rides left me shivering as we passed fields of alfalfa or wheat with their rainbird sprinklers dropping the temperature but still greeting us with their friendly chatter. Arms wrapped around him and breathing in the scent of him, I would kiss his neck or his earlobes to annoy him. Any other time, annoy would not be the word of choice for that action, but, at sixty miles per hour, a kiss that was even the slightest bit wet made for a cold neck or earlobe and he would growl at me to stop. Laughter would inevitably bubble up from my throat at his hollow threats. Any cares we might have had were whipped away by the wind, leaving us alone in our sixty mile-per-hour world.

"Hey," he says snapping me back to the present moment. "You okay?"

"Yeah," I sigh. I wish I could stay in that memory forever. But my power is not in memories, it is in this moment. I am here, now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Euphoria of Responsibility

A beginning tonight. A sweet, gentle beginning.

Hold my hand, she says.

Every step of the way, I promise her.

I don't think I can do this, she trembles.

You, too, were born for this, I whisper from my heart. That is why you feel the spark. I know because I felt the same and still do. No matter how many times I've tried and failed to walk away.

Joy, friendship, learning, knowledge, power, passion, progress, discipline, love, laughter... a list unending... that is what begins this night for you, my friend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From The Jar... #9

It's been ar crazy busy day and I'm not in the mood for a hard jar post, and of course, I picked one... And the jar says....


What are you most precious values?

In no particular order...

Peace. I am a peacemaker. I can be a fighter, but I mostly just want everyone to get along.

Cleanliness and order. I didn't say I had all these values, but they are the most precious. I want things to be clean and orderly and I tend to beat myself up because I don't always know how to have this.

Communication. I hate when people don't communicate. I hate when people keep things to themselves that should be spoken. It leaks out all over the place anyway. I can feel it and it's not authentic and honest when it's just swallowed. (I'm talking about myself here too...)

Progress and Personal Growth. I really value continuous improvement and the pursuit of excellence.

Patriotism. I found out this last fourth of July that I am a patriot. I knew it before, but it was an intense experience this time.

Discipline. Again, I don't have a ton of this, but it is a precious value to me and I am working toward having more of it in my life.

Faith. What more can I say. The lifeblood of the universe...

Family. This is what it's all about in my world. (and I've said it before... friends are the family we choose! In this life, that is!)

Freedom. This is becoming more and more precious to me as it is regarded less and less in our country.

Goodness, Wholesomeness. I believe these are becoming an endangered species in our media today. That's why I mostly don't participate in our media today.

Gratitude. I know the value of this. I don't give it enough. I strive to do better.

Hard Work. I don't think I do enough of this either, but it is a precious thing wherein countless lessons can be learned.

Honor, Honesty and Integrity. Enough said.

Knowledge and Leadership. It's what we take with us.

Love. No explanation needed.

Loyalty. I can't stand betrayal. Even in a movie. It's painful for me to watch movies where one gives up loyalty and betrays.

Punctuality. Another one I value but kinda suck at in my life.

Service. It just makes you feel good.

Simplicity. I don't always have this either but it's the ideal for me.

Choice. Our greatest gift.

Trust. I love to trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt. That's why being a landlord is a hard thing for me, unless I have people like two of my renters right now.

Truth. I love to find truth from many different angles. It's very satisfying.



There you go!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Manic Monday: Stripe

"Earning your stripes," he said. He's never indulged my whining which is why I've constantly ached for his approval. "That's what you get if you're willing to put in the work. Experience. When you have that under your belt, you will have something totally unique to offer those you encounter. People who wrestle with your same demons will come to you for help. But you can't get to that point without a little elbow grease and a lot of courage."

His words are water on my parched heart and it swells in reaction. You know you can do it! You know you have it in you! My little pep talk in my mind falters as memory of past failures creep across the optimism, like clouds over the sun. I violently shove those dark thoughts away. 'My past IS NOT my future!' If the voice in one's head could spit with the force of the words it thinks, mine would've done just that.

Belief in myself was never my strongest quality, but I am a human being, not a snail on the bottom of the ocean. I was born for this. I came to this planet with a gift called choice. I choose now. I choose today.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wow!

I am floored. Human beings' capacity for talent is as varied and endless as the human beings that possess these talents. This is something my brother sent to me. It is a little long, so if you don't have 18 minutes to spare, take a few minutes from the start and watch the flutebox guy. Then move to 4:18 (minutes on the bar below) and watch Beardyman for a few minutes. Then skip ahead to 13:30 and watch them together. Have something ready to catch your jaw as it falls to the floor! (and I hope your computer has a big booming sound system with lots of bass for maximum appreciation!)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

4th of july
I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of our nation's independence. I hope you all get a chance to reflect on what this means to you personally.

We have, where I live, an AMAZING fireworks display. The company that puts it on claims that it's the largest fireworks show west of the Mississippi river. We always go to that. The crowds are insane and it takes forever to get home, but it is worth it to be right under it all.

We always go to our smallish parade. My kids love that. Mac's birthday is on the 15th, so he has always called this his parade. We have some sort of barbecue, usually at my mom's but this year will be at my sister Lacy's. (She lives right by the fireworks launch site) Anyway, it's always a fun day for my family.

What are you doing to celebrate? Do you have traditions for this day?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Manic Monday: Pride

I know it's not Monday, but I got home from my trip on Monday at about 11:00 pm and I'd been driving the whole day. I just didn't feel like posting right then. Then other things came up and I never got around to it. Thursday sounded like a good day for Manic Monday! Enjoy...



Pride

One of the pride, swarthy in color, commands prey to run when her stomach rumbles.




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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ella Says the Darndest Things, Episode 3

My Ella is the sweetest, cutest thing. I so love her.

Ella loves to sing. (I wonder where she got that from?) Last school year (Kindergarten) she learned the song "I've Been Working on the Railroad". She and Rohan have been singing this song into our big box fan making their voices wobble. Actually it's EXTRA wobbly because last night the fan fell and broke a blade off which makes it uneven in it's "beat". Anyway, back on track...

We all know the words to this song...

I've been workin' on the railroad all the live long day.
I've been workin' on the railroad just to pass the time away...

Then it goes off into the part about Dinah blowing her horn and Ella sings the following part like this:

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah.
Someone's in the kitchen I knoooowww-
Someone's in the kitchen with Diiiinaaahhhhh
Strummin' on the Ole' Man Joe.

Just in case anyone doesn't know the real words, it's "strummin' on the ole' banjo.

She just plain cracks me up!

From The Jar... #8

And the jar says....


What is your child-rearing philosophy?


What the hey? I don't know that I have a specific "philosophy". I just go by my heart. I try to follow the golden rule... treat my kids how I want to be treated. It works some of the time. Apparently I want someone to fly off the handle at me now and then, cuz I certainly treat my kids that way at times. I am not much of a spanker. Occasionally I have tried it but, more often than not, it just doesn't work. Especially with Mac. He just gets worse if spanking is involved. The best method with him is to set up "the deal"... let him know his boundaries and if he crosses them, be calm but ruthless in f0llow through on what you said would happen. Even if he is screaming and yelling, remaining calm and steady works so much better with him. That being said, it is probably the single hardest thing I've EVER done. Nothing tries me like this process. Knowing that that is how he responds best and remaining calm through all the crap he hurls at me... it's one of my supreme lessons and Mac is such a fantastic teacher for me.

Ella... I don't know if I've yet figured out what her best method is. Kindness for sure. She does not do well with any unkindness. With her, distractions work well... if I can turn a fight into some sort of game, she often forgets it immediately. Like if she doesn't want to leave somewhere, I tell her we'll race to the car and she takes off and ends up laughing.

Rohan... he's responds well to kindness too. Who doesn't, I guess. I have to be very careful with him because he's the youngest. I find myself letting him get away with things that would never fly with his older siblings. I have to watch out for that.

Anyway, I think the best thing is love and kindness. I try to remember the golden rule and remember that they are children. I have a huge responsibility and I feel the weight of that everyday.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Alien Abduction

A road trip to Phoenix makes me believe in alien life. I'm pretty sure there's some strange transporter that zaps you to another planet when you come down out of the mountains at Flagstaff. It's my favorite explanation for the strange world we dropped into... gigantic seguro cacti dotting the landscape, reaching skyward with their strange alien arms.

I have proof, you see. This is me screaming and cowering under the said abductors....

We actually figured out that these were just sentinels standing ready for when the real aliens came back. Once we figured that out, my mom and I were able to relax... even standing in the shadow of the alien guardians.

I even got brave enough to poke a little fun at this one... (No pun intended. Honest!)


These things are just SO big! I had no idea how tall they were. I've seen many pictures of these weird things, but seeing them in person was just plain crazy. OK, it creeped me out, to be totally honest.

Prickly pear dotted the landscape too. There were very large specimens of these too, but I didn't bother to get a better shot. One poke in the finger was enough!

I came to the conclusion that it's a crazy, crazy world out there with some strange, strange things to see. I'm grateful that I could get a glimpse of some of the weirdness this last weekend.