Wednesday, December 31, 2008

nappy new year?

this new year's eve, we canceled all our plans, rsvp'd "no" to several things, and are staying in. we have no plans to watch the ball drop, no plans to overindulge in the champagne, and no shame in saying so! new years eve is the most overrated "holiday' - mark said "it stops being fun when you're 23". i've had a few fun nye's over the years, for sure, but sometimes i'm just barely holding on til midnight. not this year. this year, my night is my own. maybe we'll watch a dvd, maybe we'll crack open the wine i've been aging this past year. maybe we won't.

one way or another, i hope you have a happy new year's eve - and much more importantly, i hope the upcoming year holds gifts for you that you wouldn't hope to imagine.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

i may be premature...

... but if you don't start thinking about these things early enough, they pass you by!

february 25th is the first day of lent this year. "lent!?" says you? "lent." says i. the traditional christian practice of giving up something in an effort to prepare yourself for the celebration of easter... and to reorder your life a bit more thoughtfully toward God. i always encourage my friends to practice lent with me - tho most don't. (no guilt intended!) :) i am undaunted, though! i will particiapte in lent again this year - i always find it so fruitful, and so healing for my heart. so maybe this will be the year you do it, too? if you feel the need to make space in your life for Jesus, lent is the way to go, i'm telling you. and it's always surprising to me how God shows up when i take the time to show up, you know?

here are a couple of things i'm thinking about for lent 2009....
  • giving up, or wildly restricting, the internet. i did this last year, and loved it, but my laptop has spent the last year sucking me back in!
  • fiction - like the internet, i lose a lot of time here!
  • tv - this one may be too hard, but i'm considering it! ('house', i love you!)
think about it... maybe lent this year?

Monday, December 29, 2008

my life back.... and vincent....and weather

my parents left this morning in a flurry of bags & bickering... (smile)... and much to my great delight, they spent a good while yesterday while i was out cleaning with The Girls, so i don't have to 'un-company' the house! how glorious! instead, i will have to try to get my life back - by which i primarily mean get to the gym and find a way to unspoil The Girls, who have spent the last week learning (from mimi & papa) that the world revolves around them! could be a long road...

one of the highlites of my past week was my brother, vincent. you all know how much i love him. we shouted, played, danced, went to a hockey game, stayed up too late (for me... barely evening for him!), watched 'flight of the conchords' and just hung out. he makes my heart happy.

lastly, for my canadian friends & readers, yesterday i went to bed with flip flops at my front door, and all the windows open. you can't beat that... really.

Friday, December 26, 2008

the calm after the storm

happy christmas!

we had a great christmas day! presents! joy! family! everyone too tired! too much food! friends! loud, raucous games! wine! fancy beer! did i mention TOO MUCH FOOD!??!

but i discovered this year the single hour of christmas i hate. they say everyone hates something about christmas, and here is my 'thing'. the hour after everything is opened and there is mad chaos. every kid asking to "open this!" "how does that work?" "where is my..." and my favorite..."MOOOOM!!!". add to this the mess (mess is not my friend) and the hurry to start the stuffing/turkey/quiche/pancakes/whatever, and it is chaos overload for me. i totally cratored yesterday in the madness! yikes!

but today is the calm after the storm. ahhhh. everything is figured out, everyone is happy in their pj's, food is 'help yourself to the myriad of leftovers at any time' and life is slooooowwww. some would say that the day after christmas is a letdown, but i think it's just about right.

as long as your not trying to get to the mall...

Monday, December 22, 2008

christmas

i wish i had something profound to say about christmas - something that would stir the embers of your heart, something that would help make an old story new again. the truth is, though, that all i have are half finished sentences and unformed ideas... so i offer you the best thing i've read in a long time. cynthia's post on mary...worth the minute to read it.

".... Breath of Heaven, hold me together..."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

footies for grown-ups!

every time a grown-up sees my girls in their footies they say, "i wish i had footies!" and so here is my festive public service for you all!

footies for grown ups!

merry christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

merry christmas!

only FIVE sleeps! FIVE! FESTIVE JOY IS ALL AROUND!

i hope you have a wonder-filled, peace-filled, joy-filled christmas.

love love love

Friday, December 19, 2008

a perfect morning... almost

eating breakfast with meg this morning, we saw 2 deer stroll through the woods behind our house... beautiful. add to that, it's the last day of school this year, it's friday, it's going to be a balmy 65 F and it only SIX sleeps til christmas, and you've pretty much got yourself a perfect day!

if only i didn't have to go to the gym.... :)

merry christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

josh makes a good point...

i, too, have been unusually excited about christmas this year! for some reason, tho i'm not as externally festive as i've been in the past - fewer decorations, less holiday paraphernalia - i am feeling more anticipation than usual. maybe it's because i missed out on a lot of "christmas" last year while i was in portland, but this christmas feels new to me. certainly, a big factor is that this will be the first christmas eve that curtis will be home when the girls are getting ready for bed and opening their teaser christmas eve gift. i have always done this myself, and then usually sat alone for an hour or more waiting for him to be done work, just shrugging it off as "the way it is". but knowing that he will be here, and we will all be together, increases my joy exponentially. i am feeling warm and fuzzy, just sitting here thinking about it. a pastor's family shouldn't have to miss out on the best moments for christmas - it just makes you hate christmas a little bit. and year by year it becomes less special and less wondrous... but not this year. this year christmas eve has been transformed from a work night into a real night of peace on earth and joy to my world.

because the things that make it holy are not just the babe in the straw, a star and shepherds, but the present and real Jesus, weaving in a dance amid my daughters laughter and curtis' and my love for each other, and God's joy witnessing all of it. the baby doesn't make a difference if he didn't grow to be a man, and the man changes nothing if he didn't sacrifice his life for us, and his sacrifice is meaningless unless he really was resurrected - only the present and real, resurrected Jesus gives the baby of the manger the power to change everything.

oh, holy night....

EIGHT SLEEPS TIL CHRISTMAS


that is all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

tuesday morning adventures! OR "why curtis is a better human being than me"

the necessary preface to this little story is two-fold. a) i am not a morning person - understatement of the year! and b) i got 4 non-consecutive hours of sleep last night.

curtis left to take kyra to school around 7:15. at 7:17 my phone rings and he has a flat. luckily he's still in the neighborhood, so will i come get kyra so he can put on his spare? my head pounding, i throw on a hat and some jeans, and race to the truck with meg... and while pulling out of the garage hit the bushes and scrape the entire side of the truck. clearly i should not drive whilst still asleep. i find kyra, race her to school (jury's out on whether she made it to class before the tardy bell, but there was hope!), and get another call from curtis saying that his tire iron broke, and i need to pick him up and bring him home to get his tools. so meg and i go get him, he gets his tools (including a hammer?!) and take him back to his car, where we wait to make sure nothing else goes awry. all is well, and meg and i return home to finish getting her ready for school.

why is it that, at the end of all this, i am left feeling like mine was the lousy morning? i wasn't the one who got up early - curtis was, and does everyday with kyra! i wasn't the one whose car got a flat. so i had to get up 10 min before my alarm went off - big deal! curtis, when i picked him up to get his tools, still had a smile on his face! i was faced this morning with how selfish i am - like screwtape's letter to wormwood, i think i "own" my time, am entitled to it, when i neither create it, nor can i add to it! (c.s. lewis - 'the screwtape letters')

so a shout out to curtis! a great husband & father, and a man who didn't lose his victory on a crazy morning! you go, big boy! i love you... and even tho you are lucky to have me, i am lucky to have you, too! ;)

Monday, December 15, 2008

monday updates....

more gratitude!

my class was canceled and i went to coffee with a friend instead! hooray!

then i saw a yellow bellied sap sucker on my bird feeder! they are rare around here, so hooray!

thanks, God!

attitude of gratitude

monday morning - the last week of school. *ahhhhhh*

i wouldn't tell my kids, but i don't like school either! i don't like the tired rush of the morning, the endless lunches, the mountainous middle school homework.... i can't wait for christmas break!

here's what makes this monday morning a 'good' morning. let's start with the most important thing. coffee. God bless, retroactively, the aztecs or myans or whomever it was that saw this green bean and though, "hmmm. lets put it in the fire, grind it up and soak it in water. i bet it's miraculous!" also, it's already 56 F outside, headed to 68 F! woot! in our former hometown, the temp this morning is -18 F, but with the windchill it feels like -34 F! (and people wonder why i don't long to move back home!?!?) also, i am going to the gym and have a fun class this morning with some great women who make me happy - it makes the gym managable on a monday morning. i was given flowers last week by a family friend, and they are still blooming and beautiful. and my husband told me yesterday that he loves my cat because he loves me. awww!

really, i have a lot to be thankful for. and it's a good way to start the week, remembering.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

anticipation

well, we are only 12 days from christmas. my girls started opening their 12 days of christmas gifts my mom helped them choose out for each other, and in the midst of the whooping, curtis rolled over in bed and looked at me with one eye open and said, "the christmas delight is here." i had to laugh!

the next 12 days are the best days of the year... the anticipation, the pie, the little gifts and christmas tree lights... i love them. there is nothing more exciting than what could be.

i hope i have time to enjoy the anticipation for the next week and a half... i hope you do! i hope for us all a few quiet nights with people we love, lit by tea lights and christmas trees. i hope for us all festive drinks in "high-heeled" glasses, cosy fireplaces, and the anticipation not only of the gifts that are wrapped and taped under the tree, but the anticipation of Who will be...

Friday, December 12, 2008

13 sleeps

only 13 sleeps til christmas!

my very favorite part of christmas is christmas eve, after The Girls go to bed, and i load up the tree and fill the stockings. it's the coolest thing about being The Mom. i sit on the floor, infront of the tree, and can't keep from grinning. though the trinkets and baubles underneath it are rarely expensive or spectacular, they are always opened with insane joy and wonder. but for me, christmas eve, late late, my joy is in the anticipation... it's in being the giver of that joy. i love it. i love to sit in the dim quiet and play in my minds eye the giddiness of the morning. it's hard to go to bed - the excitement of christmas morning is almost more than i can bear.

what's your favorite?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

reflection on pop culture

last night i watched 'secret millionaire' - a show that takes millionaires and sets them down in the midst of urban poverty to meet the people and see what life is like without the cushion of their money, and ends with the millionaire giving away "at least $100 000 of their own money". it was actually quite beautiful. the couple last night was sent to watts - one of the scariest neighborhoods in la. but the perspective shown of the community the rich couple moved into was not "woe is them" but rather one of a community that has pockets of folks that really look out for one another, because they have to. people who know each others names and stories. at the end the man gave $50 000 to 3 community run projects - one for at risk youth, one for women who lost family members to violence and one for women who are returning to life after prison. no doubt those gifts will go a long way to extend the reach and the ability of the organizations to help their community. and watching the emotion of both the giver and the recipient was moving. but in the end, the rich couple returns to their mansion, and the poor families are left in watts. and i was left wondering what the impact of this will be 3 months or 5 years from now. i wonder if the man in the mansion will slowly forget, sleeing with his guilt assauged - or was he truly transformed, and will be living with an eye toward how he can use his money to help?

i was left wishing i had the money to do something grand like that... but then i was reminded that writing a check is the easiest part. what would really be something would be if that rich couple went back every week to volunteer for one of those groups, or just to have dinner with friends they made there. and that's where we - the nonmillionairres of the world - have so much to give. our time, our attention, our listening, our labour, our love... if you've got money to spare, giving it is the easy part. giving yourself, on the other hand, that's a whole new ball game.

and the longer i thought about it, i had to admit that i exempt myself from various opportunities to "help" because i can't write the check. but i could offer something more valuable than money. myself.

i recommend 'secret millionaire' actually. i liked it. but don't get hung up on the money. at the risk of sounding cliche, "what the world needs now... is love... sweet love..."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

must....breathe....


i am being gassed to death by my cat. she looks so innocent, but she is foul. i will miss you all... *gasp*

Monday, December 08, 2008

an ode to my daughters

Slender and agile
The long fingers (with chipped purple polish only on the thumbs)
Carefully lay the blade alongside my own thumb (free of polish of any kind).

Satisfied
She pushes my hands together
With instructions to blow hard into the small crevasse.

Imagine my shock when, after being defeated by grass my whole life,
The jarring scream of an eagle
(Or blasting honk of a crow?)
Pierces our front porch!

Again and again
I blow hard into the small crevasse
While my daughter dances with bright eyes around my chair exclaiming
“‘I told you, you could do it!”

Three brown eyed girls
Transform
Hooting and chirping merrily in the sunshine
Luring neighborhood birds into response
Smiling at each other widely
From beneath our thumbs

Which look like they are up our noses.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

the man i love

so last night we were at a district christmas banquet. there's so much i could tell you, but i will keep it to one story. :)

there is a part of the evening where introductions are made and thanks is given, and after each name there is applause. about 15 - 20 applauses. and right before they started, my husband turns to me and says, "i'm going to be the last clapper". he grinned. he is a loud clapper. so i leaned over and told jarred & crystal (friends at our table) the news...

sure enough, at the end of the first couple of claps, curtis is the last, loud, lone clapper. and crystal, jarred and i are in tears, we are laughing so hard. because we are in a room whose constituents are largely older & conservative. curtis has the most benign look on his face - mild mannered & gently smiling. but at the end of each round of applause, his giant hands ring out their last claps. soon, the table next to us, which must have had a few rablerousers at it, noticed what was going on, and extended their clapping quite significantly, causing curtis to have clap later and later, all the way into the next introduction once or twice! by now, crystal and i are cramping up from laughing so hard, and curtis just keeps clapping... oh my gosh. i nearly died!

and that is just one more reason i love my husband. :) well done, my dear.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

i remember now


in all the "ho ho ho" and "35% off" and "what on earth will i get my sister's husband?" it's easy to forget.

God came down. who was Big became small. who was Strong became weak. who was Everything became nothing.

"... the greatest love that anyone could ever know..."

"... my soul felt it's worth..."

"... silent night... holy night..."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

a first time for everything

merry christmas! :) only 22 sleeps - are you ready?? i am not! we do not even have our trees up! *gasp*! this is the longest we've ever waited to put them up, tho it's more about not having time to think about it more than anything else! sheesh. maybe i should get on the ball and do it today... ungh... am i a grinch? oh no!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the bird debacle, part III

oh. my. gosh.

we got home from thanksgiving, and inigo's feathers were back, so i put them back in the same cage. i should have known. after a bit of getting reacquainted, fezzik went off on him!! he chased him from top to bottom, side to side, knocking inigo off perches, off the walls of the cage, biting him in mid-air, and the coup de grace ... grabbing him by his head feathers, knocking him off the perch, and hanging him over the edge like bruce willis would hang a bad guy off a building!! STUPID BIRDS! needless to say, i separated them - again - and now am negotiating a bird trade with my mother (she of the 7 birds). have i mentioned before that these birds are more trouble than they're worth??

on a lighter note, we're home. suitcases are unpacked, groceries are got, laundry is done, the sun is shining and my house is quiet this afternoon (now that the birds are separated). the drive home was long, and at one point we were driving through bona fide snow - the kind you would see in a christmas movie - but there was no traffic and we were grateful for that! makes me glad we took the girls out of school for a travel day!

i hope you all had a very thankful thanksgiving! now... only 23 sleeps til christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

update

i really did a great job today... rocked the flock!

and if you ask nicely, i might email you the link....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

and now....

tomorrow i am speaking (twice) at my dad's church here in KY. i am looking forward to it, mostly, tho i've never really done this in front of my parents before. at least i am mostly just telling my story, and it's hard to get your own story wrong! :) and as a bonus, i have some new clothes to wear, thanks to black friday sales. :)

it's been a shockingly restful week here - usually time races so fast that we feel panicked at trying to relax before we have to go home. but this time, days have passed at a leisurely pace, full of naps and happiness. everyone is feeling it... it's been so, so nice. i am grateful for it.

all in all, lots to be thankful for. i hope you are having a thank - full weekend, too.


Monday, November 24, 2008

happy thanksgiving ... or

... as we like to say around here, 'happy birthday to me!' yes, it is my birthday on the actual turkey day this year. so think of me while you give thanks. ha!

peace out - talk to you after the holidays!

Friday, November 21, 2008

for cynthia

here we are, me and cyn, back in the day!

hmmm. maybe i should have put on makeup before i took my own picture? ah, well. raw and real, right?! this is me today - after a long friday that included the gym, the store, lunch with a friend and various and sundry running around. and we are having company for dinner tonight...

this is my house - view from the street. we rake a lot of leaves in the fall...

this is because i told you i'd be honest, cyn. but in my defense, i find homes in the south severely lacking in closet space. this is the Closet of Shame.

brace yourself.

heaven help me!

this my vanity - i am a big fan of the bracelet, as you can tell! i couldn't bring myself to photograph my closet... sorry. :)

this is my bathroom window - love the pink! love curtis for letting me paint our bathroom pink! the little teacup on the floor is the only receptacle our cat, satchmo, will drink out of. he's weird.

this is my bed! and i really do try to keep it made - honest! hey - i showed you the Closet of Shame! why would i lie about my bed??

these are my girls! they come in two brown haired, brown eyed styles. bendy...

and not bendy.

but both styles come with mess. this is the Playroom of Shame. i usually just shut the door and walk away.

this is meg's room. she's the bendy one.

this is kyra's room. she is the no-so-bendy one.

this is the view from my deck. here is where we see the deer, foxes, snakes, black widows, praying mantis', etc. we love the yard!

this is curtis' workspace (but my computer desktop paper, with the little rat... cute, huh?) it looks over the yard. and it's always chaotic. *sigh* it wouldn't but me so much if it weren't in the living room...

ooo - the dining room! i love the dining room. usually it's pristine, but we are collecting up odds and ends to take to KY for thanksgiving. so far this is kid craft stuff, presents for my dad, and some vino.

my kitchen table - roses and fruit. notice i have abandoned the fruit bowl once and for all. i just put the fruit in the middle of the table - it leads to a far smaller accumulation of crap! :)

stupid birds. fezzik is in the blue cage on top of the fridge, next to where the real cage hangs, while we wait for inigo's feathers (and self-esteem) to come back. *sigh*

this is satchmo - usually he is bounding around like he's on crack, but i happened to catch him coming out of a sunny nap in meg's room. dozy kitty.

this is my front hall. it makes me happy. i love scarves. scarves and bracelets.

pig of happiness! best book ever!



here is my chair. my chair and holly's chair. this is where the magic happens. i sit in this chair, with holly all tucked in beside me, and write this blog (i am here right now, and she is all furry and purring - it's a good life!), send emails, surf the web, read (note the books under the little table - they are my "on the go" books) and generally chill.

there you have it! i forgot to take a picture of my built in bookshelves upstairs, but i'm too lazy (and holly is too cozy beside me) to get up and fix that. so you'll have to use your imagination! :) i hope you enjoyed the tour! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

thank you

you people have restored my faith in humanity! :)

keep an eye out - if you've been following these comments at all, Cynthia, my best friend in high school, has asked for pictures of my life. ergo, i planning a photo essay of my house/life - real & raw! no cleaning! (well, maybe just my bathroom) no editing! no pictures of someone else's house! because when the people speak, i listen! ask and you shall receive! :)

have i mentioned lately that my birthday is a week from today! woot!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

oh, dear.

where have all the commentors gone? i've tried birds, politics, making fun of myself, serious posts... *sigh*. i guess it's the price i pay for reading all of your blogs without commenting. karma. (blogma?)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a rare political statement

politics is sticky in america, and it's odd to be an "alien" at this time of year. this is the first year i've ever followed american politics at all, and if nothing else, it's been interesting!

i watched obama interviewed on cbs on sunday night - and i found myself (again) impressed. he was clearly intelligent and well reasoned, and not leaping from grandiosity to grandiosity. instead, he seemed to have a sober assesment of the long climb ahead of him - and the country - and a solid committment to continue putting one foot in front of the other. i have to agree with jon stewart - when obama speaks, i get the sense that he is who he says he is. i get a sense that he is more than just a talking head.

my enjoyment of the interview went to a whole new level when michelle joined the conversation. watching them i couldn't help but notice the way she called him on his crap - like trying to wax eloquent about doing dishes. she wouldn't let him get away with it. and that's good - because i think a wife who will call her husband on the small things will call him on the big things, too - help him stay true to himself. this is the sort of conversation curtis and i would have - a couple who love each other, and know each other. once again the sense that they are not fabricating a marriage for the public, but rather are people who are working to keep their marriage together, who have genuine love for each other and for their daughters. the idea of having that kind of first family makes my heart happy. i hope that they can find ways to protect and sustain that.

i was excited, listening to him. hopeful. (how cliche!) i hope he's the man who he says he is. i hope that he finds wise counsellors and has the humility to listen to them. i didn't agree with either candidate on every issue, but i am optimistic that obama could lead well, and we could see positive change for once in a long while.

Friday, November 14, 2008

don't judge me!

woot!

i got a cd in the mail today that i totally i forgot i ordered - preordered, actually - on amazon! mmmm. little davy archuleta... remember him? from american idol? the little boy with the sweet disposition and the golden pipes? color me a dork, but yes, i voted for him. :) and now i own his debut album. so there.

now if you'll excuse me, i have to go listen to it....

woot!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the debacle, part III

well, we had to separate the birds. no matter how hard we tried, fezzik kept plucking inigo. resources online said to separate them until the feathers grow back, so we did. this time, no birds escaped - thanks to my 8yr old who suggested we use the goldfish net to catch one of them. worked like a charm! where was she last week when i put them in the new cage!?!?

we have the cages side by side - since finches are social birds - and they fly up to the bars and look at one another, in a way i can only describe as "longingly". so i felt bad when inigo was getting plucked, and now i feel bad that they're lonely. i'm damned if i do, and damned if i don't. *sigh*

whose idea were these birds, anyway?

Monday, November 10, 2008

oh, dear.


so... classes at my gym are free for members. and today i took my first class - a "zumba" class. this is basically aerobics disguised as latin dance - not a bad idea, actually. but... i have TRAGIC white girl rhythm! i am a walking example of every cliche involving "white people can't dance"! ack! but i am not a quitter! i am going to go back to zumba next week, and the week after that, and the week after that, so help me! i will get my salsa on if it KILLS ME. or makes everyone else fall down laughing....

this time i really mean it!

last night curtis and i had a fantastic time with some great people - josh & mamie. we've known them for 4 years, and moved in the same social circle, but never really spent a lot of time together. when we did, tho, we always left saying, "we should get together sometime!" the last time we said that, it took nearly 2 years to happen! then this fall, we realized that we have to be so intentional about our time, our actions & our plans! "we should..." has turned into "are you free this weekend" - because if we don't do it "on purpose" time slips by.

it reminds me of something i read by francois fenelon. he was speaking specifically to the spiritual life, but it is true for all manner of life - marriage, parenting, frienship, work, success, finances, etc. "you already know a great deal more than you practice. you do not need the aquirement of fresh knowlege half so much as to put into practice that which you already posess."

gulp.

and guess what? "putting into practice" takes intention - takes living "on purpose". trying to be intentional has already given us the gift of a deeper friendship with wonderful people... i wonder what other gifts of life are waiting to be discovered by living my life on purpose?

Friday, November 07, 2008

the bird debacle continues!

oh. my. gosh.

so.... inigo finally started to grow back some of his feathers, (leaving him looking very bed-headed all the time), but we decided to go forward with the larger cage, thinking it can only help if they are happier. so today, i set up the new cage and proceeded to experiment with ways to transfer the birds from the little one to the big one in the least stressful way for all those involved. eventually this approach led to inigo's escape!! so here is this small, already stressed grey bird, flapping like mad through our entire main floor, suprisingly low to the ground, being lunged at by cats, (both had good chances), and me, hurling towels toward it like a maniac...cursing the whole time! i caught him when he flew behind our media computer and got a bit stuck inbetween the cables. thank goodness! so i finally get him into the bigger cage with fezzik.... who starts immediately plucking him again!! ACK!

so i am hoping that it's a reaction to the momentary stress, not a return to the long term plucking... or so help me...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

quote of the day..

"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
— Albert Camus

the story of my life!

he he!



make your own at www.myheritage.com! woot!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

well done!


i spent much of the last two days at a retreat center in the sticks - taking some personal time to reconnect my heart to God's heart. the things that came out of that aren't really fodder for public consumption, but i wanted to say a couple things. first, if you can get away for a day, do it. i strongly recommend this center too - inexpensive, beautiful facilities, and a glorious natural setting. secondly, there is nothing, and i mean nothing, in the whole world as beautiful as a forest in the fall. walking along the creek, surrounded by nothing but trees in their full cloak of vibrant colors is absolutely breath-taking.

i think it's because a fall forest is a whole human experience. the smell is intoxicating - there were moments i had to stop and just breathe. it's interesting at this time of year, as leaves fall & die, the forest smells so alive... it smells like life. the crunch of my feet was the sound of being 9 again, walking to school in early october. the splashing of the creek over rocks, the songbirds music, the sudden crack of a branch - woven together they are nature's symphony. the fresh scrubbed air that you can almost taste, the feel of the knotted walking stick in my hand, the aching beauty everywhere you look... my whole being vibrated with "well done, God. you do good work!"

Sunday, November 02, 2008

he ain't heavy...


i couldn't make it through life with you! i hope you all know who you are - but if you're not sure whether or not you are on that list, feel free to assume you are! :) big love from me to you.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

victory!



we won! we won! we won the camp out pumpkin carving contest! take a look at our creation! mwaaa-ha-ha-ha!

Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween!

this year, breaking with tradition, curtis and i are letting our kids trick or treat & spend the night with friends, and we are going to a halloween camp out! sounds fun, right? but let's review:
  • i hate cold, and our overnight low is 36
  • i hate camping
sounds dire! but on the other hand:
  • it is backyard camping, and there will be indoor bathrooms
  • it is backyard camping with some of the greatest people we know
  • i am promised there will be a large firepit, meat on sticks, and kahlua for my hot chocolate
with enough kahlua, anything is possible! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

sorry it took so long!

man, a week can fly by, huh? here are some more good gifting ideas...

  1. www.ulta.com - ecotools... bamboo handles and hemp fibers, these are great makeup brushes! for the diva on you list... :)
  2. www.joshjakus.com - recycled placemats with built in napkin rings... very fun!
  3. www.worldvision.com - give some ducks or a goat, clean water or pay for the education of an aids orphan, teach a woman a trade or buy a share in a whole farm! i say this every year, but this is the best way to give!!
  4. www.btcelements.com - very cool organic and recyled gifts - including fruit bowls made from potato chip bags collected from the streets of nepal!
  5. www.amazon.com - 'worldchanging' is a book that covers nearly every environmental base, offering tips on how to go green, as well as teaching about the newest eco-technology!
  6. www.ecoist.com - how cool are these??!? genuine vinyl records, repurposed as coasters! (and cruise the site for more cool things!)
  7. www.rainbowgifts-usa.com - ha! elephant poop! who knew??

Monday, October 27, 2008

the bird debacle

i know you remember the bird debacle - The Girls traipsing home from 3 weeks at mimi's with a cage & 2 zebra finches. they were a surprisingly pleasant addition to the household, until a couple weeks ago, when fezzik (of 'the princess bride' frame) began plucking the feathers from inigo "you-killed-my-father"'s head! poor inigo! he is almost totally bald! and let me tell you - a bald finch is not a pretty sight. the back of his head looks not unlike lord voldemort. *sigh*

so i did a little research... and it's either:
  • a cage too small
  • stress - from any number of mysterious sources
  • territorial
  • sexual frustration (we do not have a mating pair, only 2 boys)
  • boredom
  • over-stimulation
we are going to try to address these issues, even though some of them contradict each other! starting with a bigger cage & more cat-prevention. i will let you know how it goes.

poor inigo...

ps.... over on breezy's blog, re: politics, religion & race ... "I despise when people throw around what's "Christian" and what is "not Christian"...honestly I think it makes me look like I fall into their ignorant group because I am a Christian...but I'll tell you this, I'm not one of THEM." i couldn't agree more.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

a week to make a difference!

in the upcoming spirit of christmas, for the next week i will posting lists of unique, eco-friendly, fair-trade or sustainable gift ideas! woot! check them out - i promise something for everyone, and something for every budget! it's my christmas present to you! :)

  1. www.suubiafrica.org - 100% hand-rolled paper, made in uganda, these pieces provide consistent income for ugandan families. styles for men & women!
  2. www.uncommongoods.com - there's a lot to choose from here, but these are reclaimed tin ceiling tiles made into gorgeous photo frames. this is a fun site to cruise!
  3. www.wishingfish.com - another site that offers so much! but this 'apple-tree-to-be' kit is fabulous!
  4. the ethical travel guide - with the big idea that tourism should always benefit local people, this guide has resources for 60+ destinations.
  5. www.lumens.com - an 80 page sketchbook that has 4x6 cutouts in the center to accomodate pictures! for the artist you love...
  6. www.thegreenloop.com - a watch made from recycled footballs! go team!
  7. www.sourcingmap.com - a very cool wooden LED alarm clock! i have no idea how it works, really, but it is very interesting!
  8. www.simpleshoes.com - (thanks, mamie, for the idea!) these are eco-friendly & vegan shoes - super cute, super friendly for the world! made from a variety of materials, ranging from recycled inner tubes, bike tires and milk bottles, to felts, organic cotton & coconut!
that's all for now... more to come!

Friday, October 24, 2008

chaos theory


"Whatever You're doing inside of me/It feels like chaos but I try to believe"

Monday, October 20, 2008

i don't mean to be vague, but...

reading a new book ... thinking about some things... trying to grow up a little... trying to forgive...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

early voting

Curtis and I are in the interesting position of following the election very closely, but not having a say! How frustrating! :) But even tho we don't, you do. And no matter what happens, November 4th will be one of the most influential days in recent history. This will mean that on that day the polls will be flooded with voters.

However, did you know that in North Carolina we can start voting on October 16th (today) through November 1st at one-stop early voting?

There are several advantages to voting early:
* It will only take ~5-10 minutes of your time compared to what will certainly be hours in line on November 4th.
* If you have not yet registered to vote, you can do so during one-stop-early voting by showing a valid id with current name and address.
* You will help alleviate lines on Nov 4th which may, ultimately, dissuade voters from casting their ballot.
* Most importantly, your vote will count the same as voting on November 4th.

During one-stop-early voting, unlike on November 4th, you will not vote at your specified precinct, rather you can vote at several locations scattered throughout your county. Below, I have provided these locations as well as the times for Orange county and Durham county citizens. You can also go to: http://www.sboe.state.nc.us/content.aspx?id=17 for sites and times for other NC counties.

Another helpful web resource provided by NC board of elections allows you to see if you are correctly registered: http://www.sboe.state.nc.us/VoterLookup.aspx?arrivedFrom=VoterInformation&Reason=noURLReferrence

Orange County
Orange County Public Library Conference Room
300 W. Tryon St., Hillsborough
Oct. 16-Nov. 1
Mon. - Fri. (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Sat., Oct 18 & 25 (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Sat., Nov. 1 (9:00am - 1:00pm)

Northern Human Services Center
5800 NC HWY 86 N., Hillsborough
Oct. 16-Nov. 1
Mon. - Fri. (12:00pm - 7:00pm)
Sat., Nov. 1 (9:00am - 1:00pm)


Robert & Pearl Seymour Center
2551 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill
Oct. 16-Nov. 1
Mon. - Fri. (12:00pm - 7:00pm)
Sat., Nov. 1 (9:00am - 1:00pm)


Morehead Planetarium
250 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
Oct. 16-Nov. 1
Mon. - Fri. (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Sat., Oct 18 & 25 (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Sat., Nov. 1 (9:00am - 1:00pm)


Carrboro Town Hall
301 W. Main St., Carrboro
Oct. 16-Nov. 1
Mon. - Fri. (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Sat., Oct 18 & 25 (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Sat., Nov. 1 (9:00am - 1:00pm)


Durham
All sites have the same schedule:
Oct. 16-Nov. 1
Mon. - Fri. Oct. 16-Oct 29 (9:00am - 5:30pm)
Oct. 30-Oct. 31 (9:00am -7:00pm)
Sat., Oct. 18 (9:00am - 5:30pm)
Sun., Oct. 19 (12:00pm - 3:00pm)
Sat., Oct. 25 (9:00am - 5:30pm)
Sun., Oct. 26 (12:00pm - 5:30pm)
Sat., Nov. 1 (9:00am - 1:00pm)

706 West Corporation St.
Durham, NC 27701

North Regional Library
221 Milton Rd., Durham

NCCU Campus: Parish Center Meeting Room
1400 S. Alston Ave., Durham

East Regional Library
211 Lick Creek Ln., Durham

Forest View Elementary School
3007 Mt. Sinai Rd., Durham

Southwest Elementary School
2320 Cook Rd., Durham

Duke University Campus: Old Trinity Room, West Union
114 Chapel Dr., Durham

Cast your vote on my behalf! :)

progress


i have graduated! no longer am i merely a lowly elementary school Field Trip Mom! now i am "we-need-3-dozen-cookies-for-the-bake-sale-and-can-you-come-sell-them-at-our-volleyball-game-after-school-today" Mom!

woot! woot?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ahhhhh

i can't believe what happened tonight.

there was no pressure. no homework. no crying. no stress. no panic.

just swinging in the hammock. and reading. and bathing. and brownie making. and laughing.

a long-needed deep breath in the mulder household. i am grateful.

Monday, October 13, 2008

fresh starts

so.... fresh starts.

as i mentioned, i started going to the gym. i have my goals, and a plan to reach them - but it's going to require some intentional energy and time!

it occurs to me that i have been a lot more intentional about creating a plan to get into my favorite jeans than i have been about creating a plan to get my heart into a good place - and when i'm thinking straight i know that my heart is what matters, not my pant size. i need to have intentional energy and time to make my inner life as beautiful as i'd like my outer life to be. and so i have a goal:

"(You) will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land." (isaiah 32:2)

that is who i want to be... for curtis, for The Girls, for my friends and peeps... and with a little grace i might just get there...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ban "mandatory"


this is the story of my life!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

i wanna be like...


well, it's thursday and nothing exciting or noteworthy is going on over here in my world. no good books, no new ideas, no major traumas (thank goodness!) and no major victories. but...

... i did join a gym. and have been going for a week now. and i am clearly on my way to be buff like 'tomb raider' angie! ha! (but with posh spice's hair, obviously...)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

how fantastic is this?!?!


we just signed our family up for the terracycle inc drink pouch brigade! Every year BILLIONS of drink pouches end up in dumpsters and landfills across America. TerraCycle, Capri Sun and Honest Kids are working together to put an end to this awful loss of resources. As an eco-friendly innovator, TerraCycle is going to convert the used drink pouches into unique fashion bags, tote bags, and pencil cases for kids and adults!

TerraCycle will mail out 4 prepaid collection bags to your address. Once a collection bag is filled at least 100 drink pouches you just seal and drop off the filled bag at a UPS drop off location near you. The Capri Sun & Honest Kids Drink Pouch Brigade™ program allows almost any organization or individual to save drink pouches from taking up space in our landfills. Capri Sun and Honest Tea will donate $.02 per Capri Sun, Kool Aid and Honest Kids drink pouches and $.01 per other drink pouch you collect to the charity of your choice. If you don't have a charity currently in mind, you may choose from a list of existing charities! There are no signup fees whatsoever. and you can also do it with cookie packages! and wine corks!


so sign up! spread the word! eat more oreo's & chips ahoy! switch to capri sun, kool aid or honest kids in your lunch box! at the very least, bring your drink pouches to us, and let us recycle them for you! let's save the world one thirst quenching beverage at a time! :)

lewis... again

it is important to realize that there is some really fatal flaw in you: something which gives the others just that same feeling of despair which their flaws give you. ... (we ought to) abstain from thinking about other people's faults... and think of one's own faults instead. ... of all the awkward people in your house or job there is only one whom you can improve very much. that is the practical end at which to begin. and really, we'd better. the job has to be tackled someday: and every day we put it off will make it harder to begin.

that clive staples. he didn't mince words, did he?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

lust


say what you will about vicky beckham... how much do i love her hair! i think i could rock that hair, what do you think!!?

Friday, October 03, 2008

friday time waster

because, let's face it, who wants to be productive on a friday??

www.stumbleupon.com - see where the web can take you! :)

happy friday!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

things of beauty

isn't fall beautiful? i mean, we aren't into the glorious leaves yet, but the air... the open window air. it's gorgeous. i can tell it's fall here when the light changes... it takes on a different quality and lights the rooms of my home with rays that skim rather than shine... everyone snuggles down into the blankets at night, pulling them up over ears and noses while the chill air creeps in through the open windows and you wake up to cold toes and the smell of coffee and leaves.

not everyone has the luxury of a warm bed, though. maybe we all ought to think about getting a couple of these blankets and keeping them in our backseats - then we'd have something to give the man on the corner, holding a sign & asking for mercy. i think that would make God smile... and that is a beautiful thing, too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

truth in strange places

last night my daughter, age 10 1/2, went to the silver ring thing - a faith based abstinence 'rally' (for lack of a better term). not everyone who reads this blog is a fan of such things, i assume, but say what you will - she's my daughter, it's our faith, and her choice. in addition to the fact that we live in an age of rampant std's and overt sexuality that leads to a lot of pain and brokenness. i've seen it first hand in my friends & in my family. but this isn't a post about abstinence. (and i feel the need to add we did not take her last night in lieu of teaching & talking to her ourselves.)

this is a post about the trauma of being a parent and watching your little girl grow up. watching her slowly morphing into a young woman ... it started with deodorant, then The Talk (you should have seen the look on her face!) :), and we all know where it will end. she will be a grown up. where is the time going?

my brother just had twin girls 6 weeks ago, and already they are different - more alert, chubbier, more responsive... they are growing up to.

cherish your time, spend it wisely - it is more limited & more valuable than any dollar you have (or do not have!) we can't earn more - when it's gone, it's gone. be intentional. as much as i am loathe to admit it, like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives...

Friday, September 26, 2008

sad, but true...

but all the knowing & love in the world won't mean a thing if you don't believe it or believe you deserve it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

thought for the day

"so many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it. love is just the skin of knowing."

this is why i love The Girls more as they grow & i get to see more of who they are as individuals. this is why marriage can get richer every year as we learn to know the deepest inner parts of our spouse. this is why long friendships are so sweet, and why, for many of us, sometimes we just want to go home, back to where we are known.

the trouble is, being known or allowing ourselves to become known, is a scary thing. it involves walking around a little bit naked - in the heart department! :) but there is nothing better than the security of being loved by someone who really knows you... lumps and all... and still wants to be around you. i would dare to say it's completely worth the risk...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

middle school, part II

it's so true, isn't it? middle school pretty much sucked for everyone. i, myself, had the worst year of my life by far in middle school...and curtis and i have lived through some pretty difficult times. thanks for all your comments & encouragements - it's good for me to remember that middle school will not be her whole life when i want to storm the castle, as it were, and do smack mouthy kids around! as mark would say, "that's not very christian of you...." :)

it's very, very important to me not to unconsciously teach her to compromise her beliefs in order to gain friends, so we have decided that she should write a persuasive letter to her principal, explaining why her school needs a comprehensive recycling program, using the school's own value system as her argument. i am going to help champion her cause for bigger change than just a few students here and there... it gives us both something productive to do other than just focus on the negative things. she is really excited about the possibilities, saying, "this will be the first thing i do to change the world". it was so good to see her reemerge ...

we will survive middle school. people do. but i didn't think it would be this hard. i read somewhere once that to be a parent is to live with an open wound... and i was reminded again this month how true that is...

Monday, September 22, 2008

i hate middle school

i hate that kyra falls asleep with tears on her lashes. i hate the overly bright eyes and wobbling smile when i drop her off. i hate that kids tease her for wanting to recycle. i hate that she feels overwhelmed with her scary law class. i hate that anyone would look at her and not see the beautiful spirit she has, her incredible passion and joyful heart, and love them and her. i hate that. and i hate that i can't rescue her from it. i hate that most of all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

passions

kyra is a passionate girl. i often find her digging through the kitchen garbage can, pulling out reciepts and other very small scraps of paper to recycle. she was upset to the point of tears - yes, tears - last week over all the empty pop bottles in the trash cans at her school, due to lack of recycling containers. every time i make a move toward the garbage, she leaps up from her chair and offers to put whatever i am holding in the recycling - even if it's not recycling. :)

then, stepping off the bus today, kyra was toting not only her book bag & two large, unwieldy textbooks, but also a plastic grocery bag full to the brim. what was surprising about this was that the grocery bag was not part of her ensemble when she left this morning. upon asking her, she grinned widely and said that the box that took up most of the space held the recycling she had collected from the classroom and brought home to put in our container, and the remainder was candy wrappers & trash she had prevented from being thrown out the bus window as litter on the ride home by her peers.

and that i just one more reason why i love my daughter. she is going to change the world... she already is.

confession 147

you know what i really don't like about being a mom?

homework. i really don't like homework time.

at all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

c'est la vie

(which means, "that's life", in french, for you americans... ) :)

meg and i have a new, 3 day old routine in the mornings: we walk to school. i drop her off, and then march home the long way to get my exercise out of the way for the day. this morning as we set out i noted the grey sky and cool breeze, but figured i had 45 minutes to do my loop before i got rained out. yeah. only, not.

i had just reached the farthest point from my house when the sky opened up. fortunately for me, the original torrent slowed to a mere downpour after the first 5 minutes. now, don't get me wrong here. this is not a post about how miserable it is to get caught in a cold rain. as long as there's no chance of me getting hit by lightening, i quite like to be out in the rain. i spent most of my childhood soaked through, playing in the streams formed in gutters & potholes...it brings back happy memories. but this is a post about getting caught in the rain, while my neighbors all drive past me to their respective jobs, in a white t-shirt and accompanying white cotton undergarment.

sigh. what can you do but keep your head down and keep walking... with an occasional wave. and hope no one is looking too closely.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

lars and the real girl


last night we had a surprise night off - no kids - so we went to dinner and came home to watch a dvd that had been languishing on our countertop... 'lars & the real girl'. i had heard good things, but a love story between a man and a sex doll? so we put it in, and as it turns out, it was one of the most beautiful & well crafted movies we've ever seen. we laughed out loud, and we both cried at various times - it was an astonishment, like stumbling across a treasure in the most unlikely place. it has even made it to the list movies we want to buy - a very, very short list.

so add to your queue & move it up to the top, or if you're still old school, go rent it at blockbuster... you will be surprised, i promise. i think we'll watch it again before mailing it back...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

i haven't laughed this hard in weeks....


i just found out the dead sea scrolls are on display in raleigh... (most of you may already know this, but i've been out of circulation for a while!) i totally want to go see them! how fascinating!

after dinner tonight, i was sharing this exciting news with curtis while walking away from him to put something away. what i said was, "hey, curtis, guess what? the dead sea scrolls are on display in raleigh." what meg, who was doing her homework in the kitchen, heard was, "hey, curtis, guess what? the dead sea squirrels are on display in raleigh." it ellicted shocked exclaimations of, "WHAT DEAD SEA SQUIRRELS??!!" kyra quickly joined in... "there are dead sea
squirrels?!?"


admittedly, we've had several dead, waterlogged squirrels in our families history... not so much a lot of ancient scriptures inscribed on parchment...