Friday, July 31, 2009

The Fuss Keeper

Between the funeral, a wedding tomorrow, and a broken-down car, it’s an understatement to say that emotions are running pretty high. We were headed home after the graveside service and a futile attempt to get the car to start, and Jeff & I started arguing about what we were going to do to get the car fixed. (It was nowhere near the high intensity that our fights can get, but we were both definitely tense.) Braeden looked from one of us to the other, then suddenly threw his arms out to the sides to grab our attention.

“Mommy, Daddy. You just better quit arguing right now! That’s not good.” Of course, it put the damper on our anger right away, and we apologized to him and to each other. Then he said, “I’m good at stopping arguments. I’m the Fuss Keeper. I make you quit fussing.” We laughed a little, and agreed, then he said “I don’t like it when you fuss. I just want you to listen to God."

That brought me to tears all over again!

Saying Good-Bye

Today we buried Hannah Newton - one of the spunkiest, sweetest kids I've ever known. Dear one, I hope you are enjoying heaven, and I hope you also know that the rest of us can't wait to meet you there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Wedding & a Funeral

What a strange week this is turning out to be. Tonight I go first to the visitation at the funeral home, and then to a bachelorette party for one of my other "kids." Tomorrow afternoon is the funeral, and then wedding preparations start. I offered to help, since the funeral and wedding are at church, and they will be really crunched for time to get everything decorated.

The mix of emotions could prove to be disastrous... please keep all of us - the preacher who has to shift gears so quickly, the youth group who just lost one of their leaders, and all the rest of us who love both these girls and will be torn between being heartbroken for one and joyful for the other.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Please Pray

One of "our kids," a girl in the youth group at church, was killed last night in a car accident. She had just graduated high school and was about to go to college.

Please keep the Newton family in your prayers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Conversation about the Future

(The following discussion occurred this evening, and I was typing as fast as I possibly could, which is pretty dang fast, so I got most of it word-for-word.)

"Mommy, when I'm an adult, I'm going to have a daughter."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah. I'm going to have lots of kids. A daughter and a son. Guess what?"


"They're going to live with you!"

(smothering a laugh) "Is that so? Where will you live?"

"Oh, I'll live with you, too. I'm gonna be kind to them. You and Daddy are going to be kind to them, too."

Jeff pipes in with "Tell Mommy what their names will be."

"Atomica. That's a boy's name. And Sassafras - that's the girl's name. When we live here, we're going to have a big family, and you will have three babies then! You can name their last names. You have to choose before they come. They will be upset if you don't."

"Why don't we make their last name McCain?"

"Oh, yeah. Good idea."

"What job are you going to have?"

"What job? Oh, I'm going to work Dad's job, too, okay? He makes pizza, so I'm going to do his job, too." (nodding vehemently)

"That's not his only job. He makes sick people feel better, too."

"Oh, yeah. I'll have to go to school, too, when I'm a grown-up so I can learn that."

"What kinds of things will you teach your kids?"

(pausing to think about it) "How to learn to color and write. I'm going to teach them to draw pictures, and uh, I'm going to teach them to be good friends - yeah, that, too!"

"Will you take them to church?"

"Yeah, I will."

"What if they misbehave?"

"If they misbehave, I'll put them in their beds and tell them to think about it and do what your father says. I'm going to be their father, and I'm going to be good. They won't get what they want always. Not everybody always gets what they want. I'll say no, but if I get more money, then they can get a toy - but it can't be expensive. It can be a little toy, though, okay?"

"Will you have a wife?"

"I will."

"Who will it be?"

"It will be... I suppose... the kid's mom."

(smothering a laugh... again) "That's true. Who do you think their mom will be?"

"The same name yours is, okay?"

"So you're going to marry somebody with my name?"

"Yeah. I will. And don't forget, you have to bring me those flowers before the wedding. They're for the wife, okay? Then I'm going to get the flowers for the wife, and you can help me. You know what? I think I want to have a different name, okay? Like, uh, Daddy? That would be better. When I'm a grown-up, that will be my new name. I'll still have my old name, too."

"What will be the best part about being grown-up?"

"Um, being a daddy. Yeah, that will be the best!"

(Jeff came back in the room about this time.)

"I'm going to be just like you, Daddy."

(Jeff melts.... completely)

"Dad, you can help me take control of the kids, you know? Yeah, you could. If they don't like the food that they eat, we're going to give them anyway, cause it's good food. That way they will grow legs and arms (giving thumbs up sign), and so they have to have healthy food. They have to eat their food right instead of slobbering all over the place - that way they'll have legs. You can help me control them."

*sigh* I love my little boy!

The Problem with Marion County Schools

I just read an article in the local paper that said two of our county schools (a middle & a high school) have just been removed from the High Priority list for No Child Left Behind. One of the other high schools is still on the list - incidentally, it is the school Bebo would attend if we are still here.

Now I understand that you have to take NCLB with a grain of salt, but it is still a measure of how well the schools are doing - and it only serves to confirm my very strong feelings that I will not, under any circumstances, put Bebo in the public school system here past elementary. He deserves better than that. If it means I have to home school him, so be it. If it means we spend every penny we have putting him in private schools, so be it.

I'm pleased with the elementary school to this point, and since Jeff & I are in school ourselves, it makes sense to leave him where he is. But after the fourth grade, he is going to school somewhere else.

End of discussion.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Moving

Well, at least Braeden thinks we should. Today he told us, "I want to move to a bigger town. This one is too small. Let's move somewhere big . . . like New Mexico."

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Cards

This first one probably is better suited for a wedding, but it was easy enough to crank out a mass amount, so I'm not going to worry about it. I used a Cuttlebug folder, Offray ribbon, and a Stampin' Up sentiment.

I LOVE this one - one 12x12 piece of American Craft paper and half a sheet of cardstock got me a dozen cards. I also used Stampin' Up punches and stamps.

Thanks for checking them out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lingerie Shower Card

Tee-hee. This was more fun than it ought to be! I lifted the idea from a card I saw on 2peas. I have to say that I almost quit before I finished it - the card just looked goofy until I added the trim. (And I can't tell you how tempted I was to add nipples! LOL)

Now if I can just find lingerie that cute for the shower!

Supplies: Paper - Basic Grey Two Scoops; Trim - Modern Romance & Offray; Gold vellum & kraft cardstock; Cuttlebug Textile embossing folder
If you would like the pattern, I'll be happy to email it to you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It meant I had to clean up my scraproom (gasp!) but I finally started working on my last big batch of cards for church. With school coming up, I'm going to need the extra time, and besides that - I'm just ready for a break. I've been making the cards for five years or so, I guess, and it's time to let it go. I've run out of adhesive and will have to make a Wal-Mart run before I can finish assembling, (and let me tell you - making a dozen or so cards at once and putting them together assembly-line style is the way to go!) but here are the "prototype" cards, anyway. Keep in mind that the church cards can't be dimensional because people write all over the insides, so I can never get as creative with them as I'd like.

Actually, this is a birthday card I made for Dad - not a church card at all. (American Crafts, Stampin' Up, Cuttlebug, Offray)

A simple anniversary card. (Stampin' Up, Offray)

Sympathy card (Cuttlebug, Rubber Stampede)

Birthday Card (Stampin' Up)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just a Little Post

Yippiee!!! I'm going to see Harry Potter this weekend. Money has been tight since the hospital cut back everyone's hours, so I figured I'd have to wait until it came out on DVD to see it. But then Domino's called and asked Jeff to pick up a few weekend shifts, so I'm going to get to go after all! Even better is that I get to hang out with my HP buddy. :)

Tonight is the gospel meeting again ... sigh. We didn't go last night. I can't honestly say I've been crazy about the speaker so far. He seems to prefer soapboxes, and I just don't get into that. I guess I'll drag Braeden tonight since Jeff is working.

This crazy comfortable July weather has me itching to be outside. Last night we went to the park, which I was surprised to find we had all to ourselves. I took the camera just for fun, and scrapped the pics. Jeff says I should've called the page "Midsummer Day's Dream," but I informed him that we were there at sundown, so Midsummer Night sufficed quite nicely. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another Page!

I am doing my best to catch up on a little scrapping... I still have to wrap up B's album in the next couple of weeks (ACK! We meet his teacher August 3 and first day of class is August 10 - gotta get moving on that kindergarten book!) But I also wanted to jump into a few challenges that I've missed the last several months, so this page is for a challenge at 2peas to adapt a template or quickpage to suit your needs.

Guess I should take more pictures... I'm running out of stuff to scrap!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Miscellany

Our ladies' day went fairly well - we didn't have a huge crowd, but there were several churches represented, and honestly, there were a lot more people there than I expected there to be. Perhaps the more interesting part (at least to me) is that I have an idea for a topic should I ever get the chance to speak! I figure that if God wants me to to do it, he'll provide the opportunity, and I had better get ready, just in case. :) My topic of choice is Mary and Martha - but you should probably know that I have a rather different perspective on it than most. I've already started digging in and making notes.

This morning I'm blogging instead of getting ready for church. Bad girl! Not really, though - my class last week was a complete no-show, and I got up a little early anyway since Jeff worked last night and came in about 7:00 this morning. It's nice to feel relaxed instead of rushed.

I'll leave you with the first scrapbook page I did on my laptop - it didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped (problems with the EHD), but it still looks fine. I even did it without a mouse! Yay me!

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Little Scrappin'

I had planned on scrapbooking all summer long, but either I haven't had the time, or the mojo has been completely absent. Today I saw an ad on Yahoo! that sparked my interest, so I threw together a layout in under 15 minutes! Love it when that happens! LOL

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Poppy Seed Daze

So let me tell you about the stupid thing I did...

I had to schedule that physical & drug screen as part of my enrollment tasks for school, and when I called to make the appointment, I expected that it would be sometime next week before I could go in. Surprisingly, they had a spot open for me the next day. About three hours before the appointment, I realized that I had made a serious goof - I ate poppy seed chicken the day before! In a panic, I started looking up stuff on the internet, and sure enough, it is no urban legend - poppy seeds can and do cause people to fail drug screens all the time.


Luckily, my doctor's office does the drug screens in-house, so the results are almost instant. After a bit of discussion, we decided to postpone it until the first of next week, lest it look like I am on opiates and get kicked out of school before I even start!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Conundrum

I really enjoy teaching Bible classes. Once upon a time I thought I would like to be a school teacher, but after substitute teaching for half a year, I quickly decided it was not for me.

But Bible class is different. I love the richness of the Bible - some of the stories practically jump off the pages at me, as they speak to whatever need I have at the moment. I've been fortunate enough to have a bit of exposure to great teaching - from my Bible classes at Harding to some of the great speakers I've heard over the years to the men and women I listen to on the radio. My favorites were the ones who could take those characters and stories out off the pages and put them squarely in front of me. They knew how to explain seemingly obscure or confusing passages in light of the historical context, often giving it entirely new meaning.

And it is in that vein that something has been niggling at me... annoying, like a chigger burrowing for shelter under your skin.

I want to speak - publicly. I want to do a ladies' day, or women's retreat, or - dare I suggest it? - even a radio program. I want to teach, and something in me actually believes I might be good at it.

Where this idea came from, I'm not really sure. I don't even know if I could do it right, but I want to try - or at least have a chance to. And therein lies the problem - or at least part of it. I am not married to a preacher. In all my life, I don't think I've ever heard a female speaker who wasn't the spouse of a pulpiteer. How does one with no real ties to the Spiritual Leaders of the Congregation get such an opportunity?

The other problem is my age. At 32, I'm just old enough for the teens to think I'm farting dust and young enough for the older ladies to scoff and call me a child. What could I possibly offer to either group?

And yet... I want to try. I suppose I've had a couple of opportunities, but they both came in another lifetime, when Jeff & I were still in youth ministry. One was a complete disaster - they asked me to do a talk on marriage, and I had barely been married a year! There was not a single woman in the room who'd been married less than ten years at that point. The other didn't amount to much; I was simply giving a demonstration of how you could tie scrapbooking into your faith.

Well, I'm older and wiser, and though I think I could handle that marriage talk a little better now, I still wouldn't want to give it. Crazy as it sounds, I want to do expository preaching! (Can a woman really preach? Perhaps I should term it "expository speaking.") I want to dig into a story and make it dance right out of the pages. I want to see the proverbial light bulbs flickering on because people finally get something they never quite understood before.

I had one of those moments with my 3rd & 4th graders Wednesday. I was teaching the story of Saul's death, and they were absolutely riveted. It was such a joy - they were hanging on every word I said, and reacting so strongly to the messages involved. That's what I want.

Admittedly, I'm struggling with the whole idea. Besides the obvious problem of there simply being no opportunity, I'm trying to make sure my motives are in the right place. I don't want to do it for the recognition - at least I don't think so. I'm digging deep down to try and make sure that isn't the case.

All I want is to try. Give me once chance to see if I can do it. If I'm terrible, then it's no loss (except perhaps for the people I bored to tears). Somehow, I don't think I would make a complete disaster of it, though.

I just want to try.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Church Fire

The congregation I went to when I was in high school burned early this morning. It was an old building, and they believe it to be a total loss. I wouldn't have expected to feel so sad about it - I haven't been there in about 15 years - but I just want to cry when I think of all the memories tied to it.

Please pray for the Central Church of Christ.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Transforming the Kid's Room

I suppose by now it's no secret that my little family is obsessed with Transformers. We've watched the cartoons, seen the movie, and ran around the house playing Autobot and Decepticon.

Yes - even I, the boring old mom, love the Transformers.

However, there was a slight problem with the last movie. The language was awful. It was totally uncalled-for, completely unnecessary to the plot, and the thing that made me maddest was that for a movie marketed to KIDS, it was just way too adult. Jeff & I debated for a long time whether to take Braeden to see it (I am so thankful that we saw it first). Finally we decided that we will buy it on DVD and watch it at home with him. We know we can't shield him from such things forever, and I would much rather him hear it in a controlled environment that lets us explain what a word means and why it is a bad thing to say.

For obvious reasons, Bebo was terribly disappointed that he wouldn't get to see the movie in the theaters. But he's a good kid, and when we explained about the language problem, he wasn't quite so upset.

Enter my friend Elle.

A couple of Sundays ago, she emailed me about a special sale for Transformers wall clings. Well, I took one look and knew that it would more than make up for not seeing the movie, so I placed the order. Besides, we've lived here for four months and haven't got a single thing on his bedroom walls! I finally got them up today, and I can't wait for my little man to get home tomorrow (he's been at Mom's all week) so he can see them. I'm pretty sure he'll be ecstatic.

Heck - even I think they're cool!

Optimus Prime


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Under Attack

Lately I've been going through a spiritual bootcamp of sorts. It's hard to explain; suffice it to say that I have been challenged on a new level. I have learned things about myself and about God that have left me reeling.

And it's been utterly . . . I don't even know the word to use. Frightening? Shocking? Eye-opening? Words fail me this time.

This challenge has come from a couple of sources. Someone on the Weight Watchers website mentioned a free online Bible study for people trying to lose weight. It's called Setting Captives Free, and I was skeptical, but thought it would be worth a try. The basic premise is that most of us try to use food to fill our souls, when Jesus is the only one who can do that. The lessons focus on teaching us how to feast on the Lord and not medicate with food. Deep down I knew that, but putting it into practice is not a simple matter.

The other piece is the CD set Mom gave me - the first sermons in a series about Revelation. I love their church - it is alive in a way that mine is not. When I visit, I always leave feeling uplifted and convicted. As I listened to a talk about the church in Ephesus (they are the ones that Jesus said had wonderful deeds, but had lost their love for Him), Greg asked if we had lost our first love - could we remember what it was like when we first became Christians? The fire, the insatiable desire for more of God's word, the longing for others to know him as we did?

And then it hit me, squarely in the chest, with all the force of a blast of dynamite.

I have never felt that fire.

Tears just poured down my face at the realization. After twenty years of calling myself a Christian, my heart did not show it. I hadn't lost my first love - I'd hardly ever had it to begin with! Yes, I have worked for the Lord - I've done everything from mission trips to teaching classes to writing VBS skits - but my heart was never in the place it should have been. I could sing "Light the Fire" all day long and never really, truly, deep-down-in-my-gut mean it.

Suddenly I understood wholly the concept of feasting on Jesus, and why I was grasping the idea but not the execution. It was almost too much to think about - I just sat there, dazed and in awe.

Earlier in the day, as I was working on the day's lesson for SCF, it began with a note that when we stop using food to medicate, it can actually be painful. As we lean more on God, the numbness that food provided leaves us vulnerable to past hurts. It dawned on me that Satan might also use this time to attack, before we become so strong that a spiritual battle is more than he can win.

You see, lately I have been unable to sleep at night. I lay in bed, and my mind is a whirling vortex of disconnected thoughts and memories. Sunday night I was exhausted, but it was 3am before I finally drifted off, only to have to awaken less than three hours later. I have tried praying. I've tried reciting scripture. I've tried reading my Bible - but none of it worked. I couldn't stay focused on any of it. The insane, incoherent, stray thoughts overpowered all my attempts to simply be still.

When I am tired, I am spiritually weak. It is hardest for me to resist overeating when fatigue clouds my head - I get drive-through because it is less work, and I munch on anything and everything, hoping for a little burst of energy. I walk around in an exhausted daze, and if the thought of God even flits across my mind, it's something of a minor miracle.

I think I am under spiritual attack.

I am drawing near to God in a way I never have before. Those nagging missing pieces of the spiritual puzzle have suddenly appeared on the table, and as I fit each one into place, the picture is becoming clearer - and yet I have this vague feeling that someone is trying to sneak out the newly-found pieces when I am concentrating on the right spot for the one I have in my hand.

It sounds silly to say this out loud, but I think Satan is keeping me awake at night to keep me tired, because he knows that is when I will be the most vulnerable. I can only take that to mean that he must think I am becoming a threat - and that, I suppose, is a good thing.

If you are not a beliver in God, you probably have written me off as crazy at this point. But if you are - then would you say a prayer for me? This journey is a strange and confusing one, and I need strength to make my way to wherever it is God is trying to lead me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's Independence Day!

My birthday is on July 4th. When I was a kid, I was truly convinced the fireworks were just for me, though I wondered how everyone in the whole country could know it was my birthday. It is by default, I suppose, that I am a patriotic person. I love my country, I salute the stars & stripes, I support our military - I am proud to be American, and I am proud to be free.

And in that spirit of freedom, I have declared my own Independence Day - independence from myself, that is. My weight has gotten me down for far too long. Today I am joining Curves. I've been back on Weight Watchers for a couple of weeks now.

It is time to be free from the one thing that really holds me down. Wish me luck - this road is not an easy one, and it's one that has caused me to stumble more times than I can count. By the grace of God, I believe I can accomplish it. (But I still appreciate all the prayer I can get!)

Let freedom ring!