Thursday, August 30, 2012

Today's Theory

{Insert sarcasm font/} 
After almost a decade of schooling Mr Music, I have finally figured it out. The only logical explanation is that he has some sort of force field which drastically increases the coefficient of friction between his pencil point and the paper, thus slowing down its progress across the page. Yeah, that must be it. 
{/sarcasm font off}

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Balls

Mr Music decided to do some cooking for me on my birthday but was trying to do it on the sly. He kept coming to me with innocuous questions, like, "What does granulated mean?" "How do you measure butter?" and "Do we have any crunchy peanut butter?" But my favorite was "Exactly what would a recipe mean if it said 'Chill'? Does that mean, me chill, or does it mean the food?"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pretty Sure She Learned This from The Princess Bride

Ya gotta love Miss Dog Lover. What she lacks in clarity on how language and the (much overrated) Real World work, she makes up for in intensity and effort. 

Case in point, the other day we were in the car on our way back from errands, when she starts talking about a papercut she picked up. She tends to go on and on obsess talk a lot about any injuries and what treatment may be required. I tell her we will wash the paper cut up and take a look when we get home. She makes a dramatic noise and tells me it really hurts. I tell her we will wash it up and take a look. Soon. She makes a dramatic noise and tells me she did not mean to get such a bad papercut. I tell her I will wash it up and put some triple antibiotic on it as soon as I get to the sink. 

And then she starts saying, "Lemon juice! Lemon juice is good for paper cuts, right? Do you have lemon juice? I will just rub some lemon juice on it and it will be all better, right?" while I am trying to break in and tell her, actually, no, lemon juice is not the way to go.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Don't Worry, I Didn't Buy It

Devastatingly Handsome took us to a big auction. No, scratch big. Bigger than big. Something like 1600+ vendors. (Although, to be honest, a lot of them looked like franchisees selling the same stuff as each other.)

But this one item, I just loved AND still had the maturity to leave right in the bin ~ are you feeling proud of me? This little pink monstrosity:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Review Time

This is an unusual post for me. I am reviewing a book just out. It is by Joshua Becker and is called Living With Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness. The author sought out some bloggers a few weeks ago to review this and post about it on release day, which is today.  :)

I have been reading his blog for a few months now and appreciate Becker’s call to reducing our possessions and earthly treasures in favor of something better. This new book of his is directed at Christian teens. I was hoping to read a clear call to treasure Christ above all, maybe something in the spirit of an updated version of the old  More With Less.

So. I read the book and took notes, I shall go through them in order.

I was glad to see in the title “an unexpected key to happiness” because it seems true in my experience that usually the places we look for happiness are not the places we find it. And I was pleased with a phrase in the dedication “written for an audience destined to find full life in Christ alone.” 

And then we hit the book itself, which is 104 small pages, plus some endnotes. Becker leads off with statistics about the way Americans live - loving our stuff and being in debt for it. He tells a lot of stories along the way and then ties them in to his points, and he is talking not only about rethinking our possessions, but also actions and words. He introduces the idea that we need someone in a father-like role to guide our spending, and suggests that Christ will take that on, working out of love for us. He makes a case to establish Christ’s authority in our lives. 

In chapter 2, Becker talks about what Jesus had to say about possessions and I liked his saying this is an “incredibly inconvenient teaching.” 

He goes on to explain his family’s choice of minimalism and how that has worked out for them.

Becker talks a lot about our heart and finding joy by letting go of possessions, and talks about how his ideas resonate within the heart. He then gives a long list of benefits of limiting your possessions - from very practical (can live in a smaller house) to rather abstract (fewer places for your heart to go), and finally rounds out the “heart section” by talking about the impact of these choices on our hearts - things like increased generosity.

He ends the book with a kind of challenge to take Christ literally in His words about poverty, forsaking treasure on earth, and sharing our possessions.


There is a lot here to like. And I do not feel I have much of a handle on how his target audience might process his words. But, the bottom line for me is rather ironic. I think Becker needed to minimize this book. I find it overworded and, dare I say, cluttered?

I hope that those who read it will keep the valuable parts, truly consider the words of Christ in a counter-cultural way, and get rid of the flotsam.

Thank you for the chance to review this book. I found it thought-provoking and challenging.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Imagine Taps Playing Softly in the Background

Our '96 Grand Voyager, Cocoa, was declared beyond resuscitation today by the mechanics, so we sold her for about what we spent on two new tires for her about a month ago and lost money due to the gas tank being almost full. It is a sad day but I understand her transmission will be transplanted into another car to relieve its suffering, and who knows, other parts may be salvageable as well.

We spent awhile at the dealership, making final arrangements, as it were, and I noticed that if anyone there was going 'round hungry, they were out of luck.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sixty-four Degrees

Really? This is the middle of August, in Pennsylvania, four in the afternoon, the time of year and of day I expect hazy, hot, and humid. Instead it feels pretty well into fall and is so dark the photosensitive window candles are on. It is not really raining but it is far from dry out there ~ kind of like a movie set  in eternal misty fog. The Siberian Husky dog days of summer. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


The other day I came across an article about the Pray-O-Mat. Sounds straight off of Veggie Tales, doesn't it? Remember the old Forgive-O-Matic?

I just keep thinking about it. Obviously the idea that you can buy favors is not a good one, nor is the thought that there are a variety of deities able to answer prayer.

But. I like the idea of having public reminders to pray. Of course there is the whole concern about praying on the street corners to be seen by men. Not good. 

I am also struck by the idea that you should pay for the privilege of praying. Our High Priest has already paid that cost, but maybe it is good to have a reminder that there WAS a cost. 

Anyhow. I think it will be quite awhile till we see one in my neighborhood, but it did get me thinking. The booth also reminds me of Clark Kent and so you gotta remember that you come away from prayer much changed from how you went in. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

God Does Not Use Qualifiers Like I Do

I've been doing a fair bit of memory work this summer. One of the passages I added to my scripture typer account is 2 Corinthians 9:8-15. I added it because when I read it recently, I was struck in several places with a really??? kind of noticing all the absolutes ~ the alls and the everys ~ no sometimeses or maybes ~ and nothing that applied this passage (as I had in the past) simply to financial support. No. This passage talks about every area of life at all time. I am pretty sure that covers even while teaching fractions and even when I am tired and even when too many things are coming at me and even when I disagree. It even uses that submission word and talks about it in context of bringing glory to Christ. So I thought I had better do what I can to get the whole idea of God's absolute provision for all my needs into my head:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.  By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.  Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Summer Adventure

Miss Pink has pretty much let me know I need more adventure in my life, so I want everyone to know I have taken that to heart and embraced adventure galore. Today I went to Wal*Mart. I usually park here:
but today, just to be adventurous, I parked in the next row over. You need to understand, my usual spot was available. I did this purely for the thrill of the thing. The new spot (btw, this is our car, Scarlett):
I thought that would be the end of the adventure and decided to photograph it for evidence. That turned out to be not the best idea. Mr Normal Customer, who was parking, became concerned at me taking photos in a public spot. He asked me what I thought I was doing, anyhow. So I explained about my blog, and about Miss Pink, and about seizing adventure by the horns. For some reason he seemed incredulous. 

If the FBI shows up to arrest me for terrorist behavior, I probably won't be blogging for awhile. But, that would be a whole new level of adventure, so it's all good.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Life in a Single Quote

Yesterday was hot and very very humid here, the kind of day when you just can't breathe. Evening service was in a small church without airco. Afterwards, I noticed Mr Young Smartdresser in his dress pants, black buttondown shirt, and grey vest. I asked him how he could handle it.

He shrugged and said, "I was in Iraq."

"True. I forgot. What is it there, like 108?"

He said more like somewhere between 110 and sometimes 130. Now I felt somewhat bad for even mentioning the heat and not feeling the need for mittens instead, but, instead of shutting up and thanking him for serving, I kept going, "What is that even like? Do you feel like you have a fever or what?"

His exact quote, "You just get used to not getting used to it."

I know exactly what he means.  :-P

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New View

I had the opportunity to view the world from a new vantage point for just about 24 hours. I had a little run in with chest pain and the doc decided this called for brief vacation from the bananalets whilst being under observation at the hospital. Everything came back good thus far :) and hence the random observations.

First: I am now convinced ER people can tell homeschoolers from non-homeschoolers. In our old town, way back when Miss Dog Lover was a tot, she took frequent visits to their nebulizer in the interest of keeping breathing. The triage nurse there asked me if I was a homeschooling mom. Yes, how did he know? He knew because, he said, I knew everything about my kids off the top of my head. And the triage nurse here asked me, too, though I had no kids whatsoever in tow. (I admit to doing a quick scan to make sure I was not wearing a denim jumper or lugging any textbooks.) How did she know, I asked? Well, she said, when she asked if I was short of breath, I said, maybe just a little when I am reading long chapters (we are on Lewis's Space Trilogy now). Isn't that sad? Reading aloud with your kids, one of the greatest joys, is maybe almost unique to homeschoolers? No wonder more people don't homeschool, they don't know what fun they're missing.

And second: My room was right outside the nurse's station and the floor was pretty quiet so I heard an awful lot of chit-chat between very nice, educated, mostly middle-aged women. And these women need Jesus. They were talking about drinking. And boyfriends. And what they would do for fun on the weekend. And how much reading Shades of Grey makes her happy. I am so often surrounded by Christian, churchified friends, that I really forget that perfectly nice, solid citizens around me, are starving for Christ. I am glad to have had a reminder and hope to figure out ways to remember that don't involve IVs.

In the meantime, please pray for Billy Jo, and Tammy, and Sue, and Casey, and Joyce, and Kiley, and my doctor. They took good care of me and I hope my Father will take care of them.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I decided to do a post about things to help me keep steady, things to encourage myself, things I can make happen for myself, at least most of the time. I had some suggestions, which are included, and will edit back to add helpful ideas from comments, or from my own observations.  :)

I noticed things from my own list fell into a few broad categories, so I am giving them an acronym: FOCUS - to remind me to keep my eye on the prize of becoming more Christlike. This list is personalized for me, and is just a memory-jogger, not in any special order.  I am putting the ones I consider dailies in bold. :)

F ~ fix my eyes on Christ
          do my memory work   
          do my devotions 
          remember God has things covered (preach to myself and put myself in the path of teaching)
          keep thankfulness journal
          ask for the Spirit's help
O ~ others need my love
          make a meal for someone
          send someone an encouraging email or note
          call someone I love
          invite someone over
          write a thank-you note

C ~ count on others
          look for the helpers
          keep a calendar of things I'm looking forward to
          ask for prayer
          hang pictures and set things out that remind me I'm loved
U ~ useful things cheer me up
          do a sewing or knitting project
          clean up something
          pick berries
          do a load of laundry
          pull weeds
          finish things on the to-do list and cross them off
          rearrange the furniture or decorate for a changing season

S ~ sensory care ~ things that just please me
          write a blog post  
          walk in the woods and observe nature (take the dog to put it in U)
          aim for 10,000 steps on my pedometer
          do a workout
          polish my toenails
          fix a new centerpiece
          walk in the rain
          keep list of gratitudes, good things, kindness, etc
          eat chocolate
          have a cup of chai
          play hymns or music I like
          wear a favorite piece of jewelry
          take a long hot shower
          do something creative - color or rubber stamp or craft
          go out for a treat