Wednesday, January 31, 2007

queen of sheba

(every now and then i hear that someone unexpected - a friend from church, a relative, etc - has read my blog...which i always celebrate a little bit to myself. but it is also knowing that it could happen that keeps me from venting too much keeps me in check, as it were. because the one day i "let loose" will be the day that my pastor stumbles upon this blog, or my mother, and then where would i be? so if it seems a little 'pollyanna' around here, well, it's all for you, people. and thank you for it, because otherwise this could easily end up full of posts i would regret having written in the "heat of the moment". so mom, if you're reading this, welcome here!)

i had the best surprise last night!! i had arranged with my friend, jaya, that after our small group she would stay a bit late and teach me how to tie a sari. she is indian, and whenever she breaks out her traditional clothes for church, she looks so beautiful!! i wasn't sure if a white girl could pull it off, but i really wanted to try! so, she did - really, it's much more of a "fold and tuck" proposition than a "tying" one. i felt like royalty - you can't help but feel graceful and tall and beautiful, i tell you! and then, jaya told me that I COULD KEEP IT!!! I HAVE MY VERY OWN BEAUTIFUL SARI! look look! (pardon my unpardonable hair - i hate my hair - and my pink slipper socks, they don't really "go"). isn't it amazing!? this is the "im having dinner with the embassador, dah-ling" style, and then there is a way with more of it folded over the shoulder that keeps it out of the way of your arm more. hooray, jaya! thanks!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


you know "those days"? ever had 3 or 4 in a row?

Monday, January 29, 2007


STEP #1 - Send via "Registered Mail" the extention forms and accompanying fees - payable to "The Department of Homeland Security" - DONE! Go with God, USCIS forms, go with God.

Friday, January 26, 2007

strange but true...

i recently recieved samples of a product line called DHC - skincare based on the benefits of the olive. now, having skin prone to break out, i have always shied away from using oil based products on my skin...and here is a product where the cleanser is basically olive oil and rosemary oil, and the moisturizer is literally only highly processed olive oil. but, what the heck - i'm a sucker for new products, and i was fascinated to think that this would actually clean and clear my skin. so, i waited for a monday (so if i broke out, i would have a week before church!), and cut open the corners of my samples. and OH MY GOSH! i think i love this stuff!! it is amazing - the oil cleanser, which you rub over dry skin with dry fingers, removes all my makeup and leaves my skin so soft, and despite pure olive oil on my face, i wake up not greasy at all, with clearer skin every morning! i have used it 4 nights in row so far, and i am going to use up the samples...but i am seriously considering ordering this! (it comes from japan, and you have to order it online) i think i will miss it when it's gone! how weird is that?!?!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

on my mind

man - this visa thing - i am trying to be brave, you know? i have my paperwork all filled out, and curtis should have his finished today...then off it goes into the hands of people who probably don't really care too much. it is very strange to live as an 'alien' in a foreign country. we look the same, and (mostly) sound the same, but we don't belong here. we are outsiders. we have to ask permission to live the life here that we want to live, and that is a little bit disconcerting, if i'm being honest. because this is where we want to build our life, our church and grow up our The Girls. i am reading a great book where the author talks about the fear of loss...and i am definitely working through that. i have to remind myself that what is true is that our life here comes from the hand of God, who has 'made the boundary lines fall for me in pleasant places' (psalm 16:6). it is more than i ever dreamed for myself. and God is sovereign over the 'kings of the earth' (many, many psalms) and there is nothing on earth that is beyond his control. so i am practicing the discipline of fortitude...courage based on the grace and power of God. this is not "airy fairy" faith...this is practical, "rubber meets the road", muscular faith! at the end of the day, i have committed my life to serving God and following his voice. and like curtis says, the worst case senario is that we would serve him in another place, which is no desperate thing. but God knows my heart - our hearts - and that we want to stay here. so ... i am praying, and i am excersising my faith.

Dear Jesus, go before us and make a way. Thank you for all the times you have done that before, and thank you for doing it again. Amen.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

blue jobs

tomorrow is the Big Day... the day we start our immigration visa renewal. keep your fingers crossed, pray, etc etc etc. i know that it's just a matter of paperwork and fees, since we are law-abiding residents who pay our taxes, keep the speed limit and have american children, but it's a process that i don't love and causes me no end of stress. thank goodness for husbands. this is definately a blue job!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

snow day!

we woke up this morning to the wonder of children who don't live in a snowy climate...."IT'S SNOWING! IT'S SNOWING!" it is amazing to their young eyes! having grown up in western canada, it's slightly less amazing to me...but they have a point. this is our first time in 3 years here that this much snow (and by that, i mean a whole inch) has accumulated! and this being the carolina's, not calgary, they cancelled school the girls are having their first 'snow day' this year. hooray! the irony of this is that in our prior life, they would have trudged to school in up to 2 feet of snow - school only gets cancelled if it's too cold for the buses to run (like, -40F), and they wouldn't think that an inch of snow was special. but here it is special. here it's like something magical and mysterious ... heavy and wet and sticky. i have to say, there's nothing more disappointing than going out to make a snowman and having the snow be too cold and dry to be sticky (you think i'm lying, but it happens all the time). this is great snowman snow! so they are out in their jeans and one-size-fits-all mitts, fall jackets and sneakers, building a snowman - pink cheeked and cheerful - until they get too cold and come in...depositing a pile of wet and dirty clothes at the door. it's the price you pay for a snow day...not bad, i guess, weighed against the wonder in their eyes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

virtue of the day

i am reading a really great book about the classic virtues, and today i am thinking about "detachment". here are some random thoughts from the book, "The Glorious Pursuit", by Gary Thomas.

"if you undertake a devout life, you must not only cease to sin, but also cleanse your heart from all affections to sin...souls that are recovered from the state of sin, and still retain these without relish, sleep without rest, laugh without joy and drag themselves along rather than walk. they do good, but with such a spiritual heaviness that it takes away all the grace from their good exercises." - fracis de sales

"detachment is different than surrender...surrender is an act of will, choosing to accept what we find ourselves in and looking for Gods good purpose in it. detachment means we stop finding our meaning and security in people, things, positions, money and power so they no longer lure us into actions we know are unwise or unprofitable. in Matt 6:33 (seek first his kingdom...) Jesus is saying that the focus and passionate attachment of the believer will seem radically at odds with those of the world. detachment is the attitude that helps us cooperate with God's work as he shapes our desires, so we come to rest in the knowlege that what is truly valuable to the soul can only be given by God himself. .... Modern evangelicalism can become so focused on stopping a sinful behavior that we can lose the practical nature of virtue. we want to stop sinning without examining and freeing ourselves from the root desires that are disordered. to be free from sin, we need to look a the internal cause rather than just focus on the action. ... if the heart is bent by an appetite that leads to sin, all the external discipline agreed upon in moments of strength will wilt in the heat of desire. john of the cross explains, 'we are not discussing the mere lack of things; this lack will not divest the soul if it craves for all these objects. we are dealing with the denudation of the souls appetites and gratifications. this is what leaves it free and empty of all things, even though it possesses them. .... detachment means that you relinquish every demand you place on things and other created beings - even legitimate ones. demands are nothing more than spiritual chains. ... detachment is about far more than merely abstaining from sin. it's practice begins with the delight of our soul, Jesus Christ. He detached himself from heaven to become a man. he det. himself from his family to begin his ministry. he det. himself from people's favor to become their savior. he det. himself from life on earth to die for our sins. he det. himself from spiritually experiencing his father's presence so he could become sin for us. everything that matters most, Christ gave up. and he is the model for how we live our faith." - excerpted randomly from 'the glorious pursuit" by gary thomas, chapter 7.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

the inevitable...

it has finally happened. tragedy has struck. after the long months of thanksgiving, christmas and new years festivites, i opened my cupboard today to fetch my mid-afternoon smidge of chocolate goodness, and the cupboard was BARE! i threw open the door to the fridge, hoping for a butter tart, or perhaps a bit of caramilk bar hiding behind the butter, but NOTHING! how can this have happened? i wound up eating chocolate chips from my freezer out of a wine glass. ... how the mighty have fallen...

on second thought...

(brrr! it is cold this morning!)

not much new to tell, but...

  • holidae came up on the couch with me last night and slept on my lap while i watched tv...hooray!
  • 'grey's anatomy' is finally new again tonight!
  • i am getting a haircut tomorrow

wow. that's the sum total of my life today. you know, this may be the first day in months when i've felt this low's lovely, now that i reflect on it! it's a long, hot shave-your-legs shower, a good book and cup of tea morning. there are not many of those in anybody's life...let alone mine. i think i will take advantage of it. adios!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

a famous poet!


i know you have all heard me talk about my lovely brother, jordan. he of the crazy animal stories, girlfriends and writing..."uncle new zealand", "uncle vinny", "j.vo"...he is one of my favorite people God put on this earth. and last night, i found out that his book of poetry, 'death by love at first sight', has been picked up by a publisher! a real, honest to goodness publisher! it is going to be at barnes and noble, people!! it's going to be on amazon! he is about to sign a contract for royalties and he is going to be in the library of congress! we have teased him in the last year for being 'the voice of his generation', but look! he is! i have an unpublished and notated manuscript from when he first put it together...and soon i will have the book, too! how cool is that? (i'm sorry - i realize this is a lot of exclaimation marks for this early in the morning...) so, i will let you know when it comes out, and i expect you to all go out and buy a copy! :) it is a very, very good book! (i previously posted one of his poems from the book on this blog, it's in the 'may' section of my archives, if you want to go back and read it...)

congratulations, j. vincent elliott! bully for you!

Monday, January 08, 2007

consistently inconsistent!

ok, ok...i know! i've been a bad blogger! but it's been busy around here!

1. welcome, holidae! yes, it's official..."holidae" is our new family member. she has proven to be as sweet here as she was in the shelter's visiting room, and surprisingly unflappable with satchmo, our other cat. he tries to play with her, and she just ignores him. she was on my lap (purring!) when he ran up to the chair and batted her on the head - twice! - and she didn't even blink. good job, holidae!

2. curtis spoke last week at a national conference, and rocked! go, curtis! way to build up some personal 'cred' with the big wigs at the national office!

3. we had a "personal information infiltration" crisis and had to put a fraud alert on our credit through one of those national credit bureau (sp?) companies. needless to say, i'm still not totally at ease with all of that!

4. it was hard getting back to "real" life after the holidays, don't you think? crazy! back to making lunches, supervising homework, reasonable bedtimes, making dinner, et al. plus, i have to get on the ball again with my writing and teaching. but that means i have to re-engage in studying, so that i have something to say! eek!

5. my 'peeps' and i have to plan a retreat for may - not impossible, but we have been a wee bit slack, and now we have to get going! :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


ack! i have been waiting since THURSDAY for the shelter to call that i can bring her home! i called them over the weekend, and apparently their vet was out of town for christmas/new years, and since they won't release her without a vet check.... sigh... i have had to work on my patience!! while at church on sunday, i was talking about my naming dilema to a lovely woman who suggested a whole different approach! she suggested we name her 'holiday' - both after billie, and because we adopted her over the holidays (even if we didn't get to bring her home over them!!) curtis has put his foot down that i cannot name her 'pumpkin'...he refuses to let that word pass his lips - what a show of machismo! - and so i suddenly find myself leaning toward 'holiday', even though it's not a name of my choosing. i hate to ride the coattails of someone else's creativity, but ... if the name fits...

Monday, January 01, 2007

happy new year!

ok - it is january 1, 2007...and the 3 ornamental cherry trees on my street are blooming. yup, you read right...there are three pink trees in my neighborhood. it's a far cry from 2 feet of snow and freezing wind! so happy new year, indeed!