Friday, December 19, 2008

HOW I SPENT MY SNOW DAY


OK, our snowfall wasn't quite as bad as this picture, but I think we did get at least 2 feet. I haven't heard an official report.
-
I had a scheduled day off, so I decided yesterday that I wasn't going outside at all today if I could help it. I woke up about 6:30, looked out to see our neighborhood under about 6 inches of snow. I took a shower and then lazed around until it was time to get my mom out of bed. I have to admit that my bed remains unmade.
-
After getting my mom up, I played around on the computer until my daughter got up. We hung out for awhile while I did a few loads of laundry. I did a bit of cleaning, made my mom's lunch and was all set for a nap when the neighbor kids came over to clear the walks. Of course I hired them! I even let the boy next door move my SUV so I didn't have to put a coat and boots on. I made them some hot chocolate, fixed a couple of hats and mittens for the little ones. Boy, I realized how much I miss tying on a scarf or buttoning up a coat for my little girl....I must be getting ready for the grandparent stage. :-) (Yikes, she is too young, I will just enjoy all of your grandkids!!)
-
After sending them on their way with some Christmas candy, I took a nap. Wrapped up in my warm, yummy new blanket gifted me by a special friend.
-
After I woke up, more putzing around, put my mom to bed. Then we wrapped presents. It is almost midnight and I just finished the Christmas cards.
-
What a slow, cozy, lazy, lovely snow day!!!
-
Image taken from here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

THROWING IN THE TOWEL


Yesterday, I decided. I am done. I am throwing in the towel. I am not going to be able to get everything done that I had hoped to get done for Christmas. I quit. NO, I am not quitting Christmas...just accepting the fact that I can't get everything done. So, I am choosing to enjoy the rest of the season, the people I love, celebrating the birth of my Savior, Jesus. I can buy the cookies that I won't find time to make. I can enjoy the neighbors outdoor lights. The sparkle and magic of the decorations I have put up will take the focus off the dust bunnies under this or that.
I feel better already!

Friday, December 05, 2008

ON WHY THE PRESIDENT ELECT SHOULD CHANGE HIS NAME

The other day, I went to say the President-Elect's name and I said, "Oback" instead of Barack. My daughter laughed and told me she had mistakenly said "Barama" a few days earlier. We put the two together and now wish we wouldn't have. We are constantly misspeaking and saying "Oback Barama" instead of Barack Obama.
I think he should just make it easier on me and change his name to Bob. I don't think I could mess up Bob Obama.

Monday, December 01, 2008

CYBER FRIENDS

I have had people tell me they don't believe that cyber friendships are really real. That the internet is one more way for us to "disconnect" from real people.
I have found just the opposite to be true. When I started to blog, one of my friends told me there was a blog I had to read. That I would really connect to the writer. I did. Through her blog, I have connected to some of her friends and family. I have met people I would not have met otherwise. A young woman from another country that I now call "dear niece". The brilliant student and the inventor/writer who make me think outside of the box. The poet. The artist. The mom I hardly knew and the mom I knew B.B. (before babies). Some of my cyber friends I have never met and may never have the chance to meet. Some I have met but don't see often.
This I know, I have come to care about my cyber friends deeply. I laugh with you. I worry about you when you don't show up for awhile. I pray when you or someone you love is sick, or laid off, or marching off to war, or hurting, or scared. I learn from your wisdom. I rejoice in your victories and joys.
Recently, God brought another new cyber friend into my life. I connected with my friend. She has a heart that loves others and just wants to serve. She is the kind of person who, as Oswald Chambers puts it, "produces a longing after God in other lives..." I began to care about her and her family. She began to care for me and my daughter. Besides blogging, we began to email. She has become a blessing in my life and I am thankful for our growing friendship.
If cyber friendships are not real, then I ask you...why did my heart break for my friend when I received her email saying that her beloved husband died? We both know that he is not broken, or weeping...but is rejoicing in the presence of his Savior. I have been praying for days for my friend. That her heart would be comforted. That she would be surrounded by people who love her and her children. That there would be shoulders to hold her up and shoulders to cry on. That there would be those to share memories with, faith with.
Those of you who call me friend, whether you know me in person or not, would you please join me in praying for my new friend and her children? I know I can count each of you!
.


Friday, November 21, 2008

ANOTHER DARN GOOD READ

.



I learned about this blog from my friend, Mike. This post on prayer was very poignant.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A DARN GOOD READ


From one of my favorite blogs...enjoy and be challenged!
Image taken from here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

THE DATING GAME

I feel like I am a contestant on The Dating Game. Not in the way you probably think. We are currently without a home church. And we have been visiting. And visiting. With no clear direction as to where to settle. And I am tired of playing the field. I want to settle down.
I knew God was directing me when we became part of a church plant a couple years back. I remember exactly what I was doing and thinking when God said, "Go."
Now, I feel like I am taking a stab in the dark. Like I am guessing. And that's why I feel like a contestant on the The Dating Game. I feel like I am asking all these questions, but "don't know" more than I "do know" about the places we have visited. I feel the need to pick, to choose and then to live with my decision, even though there could be something better. But maybe not. Maybe whatever I pick is the best from God's viewpoint. But what to pick? Have I missed something? Somewhere I haven't been yet?
What I really want is an angel to appear, or a pillar of smoke or fire to follow...something that lets me know exactly where God wants my daughter and I to plug in. I keep asking Him, but I get nothing. Yet, I do believe He wants us to plug in. I think it is something my daughter really needs right now.
We have lots of friends. We know how to follow God. We are very welcome at places we have been and places we have visited. So it's not about belonging, or being part of the Body of Christ, or finding purpose, or loving His church.
And yet it is.
I guess we just want a place we can call our own.
.
Image taken from here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

LOVE IS........

.....WEARING A MISMATCHED PAIR OF KNEE HIGH STOCKINGS SO YOUR DAUGHTER CAN WEAR YOUR GOOD PAIR WHEN SHE GOES OUT JOB HUNTING!

Friday, November 07, 2008

CHRISTMAS AT HOME DEPOT!


The word "Christmas" now appears on the Home Depot website! And the angelic chorus lifted their voices and sang, "Hallelujah!" Actually, if you are so inclined, please let Home Depot know that we appreciate the change!
.
Image taken from here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

SOMETHING TO PONDER

I came across this post on one of my favorite blogs. This gave me some things to think about.
.
.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

MY 18 YEAR OLD IS 14 YEARS OLD!!

Yesterday my 18 year old turned 14 years old. You see, when she was just 4, Jesus gave me the privilege and honor to pray with her as she was born into His family. Since her 3rd spiritual birthday, I have written her a letter and asked other Christ followers who were leaders or close to her to write her a letter as well. I have put them in a book. My friend, Sandy, made a cover for it and entitled it "Rachel's Journey". The past couple of years, I didn't write her a letter. I wish I had. But I am sharing this year's letter with you. If you think of it, please pray for my girl and her "journey"!!

November 4, 2008

Hello My Darling Daughter!

I bet you thought I would forget and neglect your spiritual birthday for another year. When was the last time I wrote you a letter to commemorate it? 2004? 2005? I don’t even remember. I am sorry. But today, I remembered that 14 years ago, Jesus touched your heart and soul, with the truth of His redemption. He breathed into you His very breath of life and said, “Come. Follow Me.”

You have changed so much over the past few years. Instead of a child, I have before me a young woman, who is still my baby. I remember the day that I was talking to God about you and He told me that He has adventures for you that I will not be invited to join. I could almost see a picture of me taking your hand from mine and joining it to His. I didn’t feel sad. I knew you would be safe, because He is trustworthy.

I think that is what I hope and pray for you the most right now…that God’s character becomes known to you. That it becomes a foundation for your relationship with Him. You see, I know that there will be times you face doubt, or hardship, or confusion. And it is at those times that you need to rely on what you know about God’s character and not what things look like or feel like around you. Your eyes will need to remain steady on Him to survive those times. The mother side of me wants to make it easy. The Jesus Follower side of me knows it will not be, but also knows how precious all this will become to you.

I believe God has moved me from my position of leading you, to one of walking alongside you. Rachel, there have already been times that you have led me, corrected me, supported me, times you have been the one pointing to our Savior and saying, “Look, there is where your promise and hope lies!”

Don’t be afraid of wrestling through the things of your faith. That wrestling is necessary. It won’t last forever. And you will develop spiritual muscles and a depth to your relationship with Jesus that is worth more than anything you will ever know or want!

I love you more each year. You are the best part of my life!

Mom

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

ELECTION DAY MUSINGS


I got up at 4 a.m. this morning, so I could vote before it was time to get my mom up. My plan was to arrive at my precinct sometime before 6:30 a.m. I figured it would be crazy busy after that. I was right. I ended up being voter number 27, I think and was out of there by 7:25, home within 10 minutes. My mom never even realized I had left. And now, I can relax the rest of the day, knowing I don't have to face a 2 hour wait to vote later.
.
While I was in line, I struck up a conversation with the woman in front of me. We chit chatted about the early hour, the lack of caffeine. We guesstimated about the time we thought it would take us to vote, and would we make it to work without being late. At one point, she began to tell me about her children and their thoughts on the election. I was so sad to learn that her children came home saying that they and their peers don't think a black person can get elected in this country, and if he does, he will be shot and killed. This woman was black. I am not. As a mom, I cannot imagine how I would feel if my children felt that someone of their race would be killed if elected, just because of his skin color. Sigh, we still have a long way to go don't we?
.
A local bakery is giving out two free muffins if you come in wearing your "I voted" sticker. I promised a co-worker one of the muffins. He didn't think I was serious, so his muffin was a nice surprise.
.
I had a nice surprise this morning myself. After I left the bakery, I had to stop at the bank. I knew I was early but they are pretty close to each other. I pulled up to the drive through window. The teller and I have shared a number of conversations about our kids. Both of us have kids that want to travel internationally. Anyhow, when I pulled up she said, "I am sorry, but did you realize we don't open for another 15 minutes?" "Yes, I know," I answered. "I was in the neighborhood so I figured I would just wait." "You know, let me just go ahead and take care of you," she said. How nice was that? So, even with voting and running 2 errands, I got to work by 9:10!
.
OK, I have to admit that I was a bit of a pot-stirrer this morning. At the bakery, they had Obama and McCain cookies. My co-workers are predominantly Obama supporters. So I bought out every single McCain cookie to take in to them. You can imagine the comments, but they did get eaten!
.
You know, even though the TV and radio announcers were joking that this election would be called by 8:05 a.m. there is one thing that is really certain. Whoever gets elected is going to need all of our prayers, every day. He has a tough job ahead of him!
image taken from here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MY KIND OF SEASON

I love Autumn. I love the "Indian Summer" days early in the season that are sandwiched between cooler weather. I love the way that one tree will burst forth with color against a sea of green, surprising you and calling to her sisters, "Autumn has come!" And the slow following of those sisters, one by one, turning in their green for yellow, red, brown, and orange vestments.
.
I love the smell in the air, the crispness, the earthiness. I love the sound of crackling leaves. I love the swirl of the wind accompanied by dancing leaves that later turn to gusts and gales, sweeping it's dancers into a frenzy of motion.
.
I love the warmth of the sun against the briskness of atmosphere. I love the rain, sometimes gentle, sometimes fierce and biting. I love the first frosts that paint the landscape with magic.
.
I love Autumn. I am so glad God thought of it!
.
Image taken from here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

E-NUFF IS E-NUFF!



I don't go crazy when someone wishes me Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I recognize that there are other people celebrating other holidays around my Christmas. Perhaps it is just the craziness I see increasing around the whole God and Christmas and tolerance for everyone but those who share my faith. Like the political commercials and mailings that we are all getting so weary of.....I have had E-NUFF! I am tired of it. That prompted me to send the following email to the chairman of Home Depot:
.
"Dear Chairman Blake:
.
Before you read the rest of this, I want you to know that last year, I spent probably $3000 - $5000 on home remodeling projects at Home Depot.
.
I just learned that Home Depot will join the ranks of stores deleting "Christmas" from their advertising. That makes me so sad. There is nothing wrong w/ the word Christmas.
.
I mean seriously, the calendar says "Christmas" not "Holiday" on December 25th. The government recognizes "Christmas" as a legal and paid holiday. How confusing would it be for employers to say that "New Year's, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Holiday" are paid holidays?
.
While I respect your right to determine your advertising policies, I will exercise mine to select the companies and vendors I will make my purchases from. And yes, I will choose those who aren't afraid of Christmas.
.
So, Home Depot. It was good doing business with you this last year. And since we will probably be parting ways, let me take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!"

.
Maybe I will really get radical and refuse to purchase any of my holiday gifts or holiday decorations from stores that are not selling Christmas gifts.
.
Hmmmmmm, Rachel, it could be a pretty lean year for you, girl. Sigh............
.
POSTNOTE: I KNOW, I KNOW...CHRISTMAS ISN'T JUST ABOUT THE GIFT GIVING...I AM JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT!!!!!
.
Image taken from here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

SOOO TIRED!

I hardly got any sleep last night. The sound of my mom choking woke me up. I rushed to her room and said, "Mom, were you choking or coughing? Are you OK?" "Coffee? I don't have any coffee."
.
A couple of hours later, this loud buzzing noise took me to my mom's room again. I couldn't figure it out, but it stopped when I got there. I have no clue what it was. But she was OK.
.
A couple of hours after that, my mom screamed, loudly. I ran to her room. "What's wrong?" "My cat!" "What happened? Did your cat bite you?" "No, I rolled over on my cat." Now, my mom is very immobile once she is in bed. Two people have difficulty rolling her onto her side, so there is no way she could have rolled over onto her cat. She was probably dreaming. "Go back to sleep, Mom. Your cat is OK."
.
A bit later....whistling. She whistles for her cat when she is in bed. Over and over. And over. And over. I got up and went to her room. "Mom, no whistling today. We need to get some sleep and have to be up in an hour. Your cat is OK. She is right under your bed."
.
We have a caregiver come in twice a week to give her a shower. We have been discussing bed baths because some days my mom is pretty shaky. She fell two weeks ago transferring while getting a shower. I listened from my room as I got ready for work. The caregiver had to repeat instructions constantly while my mom transferred from the wheelchair to the shower chair. "Ahh," I thought. "This isn't a good sign."
.
My mom has been more confused and forgetful. A few weeks ago, she asked me what 30 plus 20 was because she couldn't remember. When we got home from our recent weekend trip, she asked if we were moving back in. Later she asked if Rachel was my daughter. I told her she was. "So, then I am her grandmother?" "Yes." "Does she know I am?" "Yes."
.
In some ways, this development makes it easier to care for my mom. I think because I have very few expectations. My mom's health has been declining for over 20 years. Our responsibility for her care has increased with each year. Before that, my parents' divorce zapped alot of her parenting energy. In many ways, our roles were reversed long before her health problems. And somewhere in the mix, I was just a kid who wanted my mom to be my mom. And she wasn't. It wasn't all her fault. In her sudden vault into single motherhood, I am sure she did her best, but in her efforts to be a provider, we lost our mom and our friend. I think...no, if I am to be honest...I did resent that loss and the responsibilities for her care. So, in a strange way, knowing that she "can't" be the mom I wanted or needed, has made my load lighter.
.
My reverie was interruped by the care giver. "Good job! You did awesome! You trusted me and look how easy things went. You got right up off that shower chair. You really made my day!"
.
While my daughter and I are dragging today after a nearly sleepless night, my mom had a good day with her shower. I smiled. "Thanks, Lord," I whispered, kissed my daughter good-bye and went to work.



Friday, October 24, 2008

WHO THE HECK IS GOSH?

Last night I had the television on in the background while I was doing some things on the computer. A new series, Life on Mars, came on. I was half listening until I heard a familiar tune being sung by one of the characters.
.
"Rise and shine and give Gosh the glory, glory...." sang a young woman.
.
I stopped to pay better attention. Yep, there it was..."Rise and shine and give Gosh the glory..." I was offended. This was one of the stupidest things I have ever seen anyone do to avoid using the word "God". Listen, I don't expect non-Christians to love my God. I don't expect non-Christians to act like Christians. I don't expect non-Christians to embrace Godly characteristics and values, but COME ON! "....give Gosh the glory?" Why couldn't they have sung "Rise and shine and give ME the glory, glory..." or "Rise and shine and give LIFE the glory, glory..." THOSE would at least have made some kind of sense.
.
What's next? Gosh Bless America? Gosh bless you? In Gosh we trust?
.
It leaves me wondering.....WHO THE HECK IS GOSH AND WHY DOES GOSH DESERVE ANY GLORY??????

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FORGOT ONE PHOTO


I forgot to include this photo of a bridge that Rachel took while we were camping.

Monday, October 20, 2008

MY LIFE OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS

I took Rachel to her first book signing a few weeks back. The author was Brian "Head" Welch, formerly of Korn. He was a phenomenal speaker-had the capacity to make a person feel like he was speaking one-on-one while he kept the whole crowd engaged. Buy his book. It is a remarkable story of a life transformed. Buy his CD for your kids. They will love it!
Our company had an open house at our new facilities in Grand Rapids. The building looked great. We got to meet some interesting people and wonderful customers. And a co-worker and I got lost in Lansing for about an hour on the way home. The state police were routing people off the e-way and since it was dark and late anyways...we got lost. But with the help of our dispatch staff, we were able to find our way home. The very next day, Rachel and I left for a camping trip in Indiana.

My friend, Sandy, drove her class A RV by herself for the first time. She also parked it. Didn't she do a fantastic job backing it into the camp site?
This photo and the following photo's were taken by Rachel.

Since I was so tired from the previous couple of weeks, preparing for the open house, I decided we weren't staying in a tent. Instead, Rachel and I stayed at the Potawotami Inn. It was great!

We sat around the campfire, laughing and talking. We went on a hayride, the kids went on pony rides, we celebrated a couple of birthdays. This is an annual trip and I always look forward to it.

This is one of my favorite shots...looking up the trunk of a tree.
.
Somewhere in these past weeks, the following Quote of the Day happened:
"She marches to the drum of a different beat!"
.
This past week, I participated in the launch of Time Out at Richland Bible Church. It is a group for single moms. The women from this church just showered so much love on the women who came.
.
This past weekend my friends' daughter got married. It was in the outdoor chapel at Sherman Lakes YMCA open air chapel. The wedding was fun, the setting perfect. I have never seen a bride and groom enjoy their wedding as much as this couple. This was also Rachel's first time being a bridesmaid. It was a simply wonderful weekend...filled with family, with love, and community.
.
So, I am back at work today. I think life is returning to normal and I will be around much more often. I will spend the rest of the week getting caught up on YOUR lives and happenings!!





Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CAN MAN LIVE WITHOUT GOD?


I was up on and off all night, my mind just swarming with thoughts. I started reading this book by Ravi Zacharias. It is based on lectures he gave at Harvard and Ohio State. I am just a few pages into the book, but when I put it down last night I tried to imagine what this world would be like without God.
My first thought was...how would I feel if I lost God? I thought about the many years I spent childless, wanting a child. Now that I actually know my daughter, I cannot imagine life without her. When I transposed those thoughts into what it would be like to have known God and then to lose Him, my first thought was....GRIEF.
All night long, I kept thinking of aspects of a life without God. How would my personal life be different? What would it be like to live in a world that was not created by God? Would it be as beautiful? Would the sun still warm us? Would colors be vibrant?
What would it be like to interact with other humans without a moral code? I am not talking about a list of do's or don'ts...but a universal moral code? What would commerce be like? What would I place my hope in? What would drive me?
I remember having a sort of spiritual awareness even as a young child. I was raised with religion, so it was not a thing unfamiliar. But the first memory I had of something personal between me and God was as a young child. I said something to the girl next door about Noah's Ark. She had never heard of Noah's Ark. I was surprised and I began to tell her about Noah and God and the animals. I told her story after story. And while I was talking...I felt something. I didn't know what it was but it was deep within the very center of me. An awakening, or stirring, or knowledge...a definate feeling. As an adult, I believe that was the Holy Spirit. Maybe a prompt, or a nod, or a smile. I don't know which. But it was very real, sort of like the butterflies or warm feeling you get when you look at someone you love.
As the night progressed, I came to realize that I think most people are not athiests. To be an athiest, one must strongly deny the existance of God, of a spirituality even outside of Christendom. I think the majority of people espouse the existance of God, but live without Him. I think this realization surprised me. I don't know. Perhaps I never pondered it quite fully before.
You know what surprised me even more? Me! As much as I think I am a Christ follower, I was confronted with how much of my life I live without God! I am wondering how my life will look different when I live more with God than without Him?!

Friday, September 19, 2008

LOVELY DAY AT THE ZOO

I took the day off the Friday after Labor Day so my daughter and I could go to the Detroit Zoo. It was perfect day and we had a blast. She brought her camera. Here are a couple of our favorites!
Actually, this bear was way in the distance and she used her zoom. Worked pretty good.

Because there were not many people at the zoo, many of the animals were paying closer attention to the humans than normal. It was a bit disconcerting to have this tiger tracking us!

This is one of my fav photos. Looks like a two-headed Rhino! I have an affinity for Rhinos anyways!


This was my daughter's favorite photo. This was taken in the Butterfly House.



Sunday, August 31, 2008

PROCRASTINATION CON-VO-SAY-SHUN

My Daughter: "I will do it tomorrow."
.
Me: "Today is yesterday's tomorrow!"
.
My Daughter: "I never said I would do anything tomorrow yesterday!"
.
Me: "........" (I mean, how can you argue with that?)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

MY MIRACLES

Yesterday, as I was leaving for work, my daughter asked me to pray for her drive to and from work. She just had a nervous feeling. Of course I prayed. She called me when she got to work and we both went on about our day. Later that afternoon, I was on my way back to the office from a meeting over an hour away. I was turning onto the street my office is on when my cell phone went off. It was my daughter. Her brakes had failed but she was ok. I dropped my co-worker off and raced to meet up with her on the side street she had managed to pull off on.
Much of her drive involves a 50 mph highway. There is a stretch of expressway that she takes and then has a quick traffic light as soon as she exits. When we stopped to think about what she could have faced if the brakes had failed along her route, we were both a bit shaken.
I was able to drive her car home, she wasn't too far. She followed behind in mine. Her Uncle Darryl came to her rescue and fixed her car for her. Turns out one of the brake lines had worn against her shocks, suddenly draining the brake fluid.
Thank You, Lord, for my daughter's safety. Thank You for a brother that is always there when we need him. Thank You that the 3rd place I tried, had the parts we needed to repair her car. Thank You that my work day was suddenly changed, bringing me close to home when I was needed. Thank You for Your care and presence when we know we are in need, and for those times we don't even have a clue. Thank You for being the Rock that I run to, the Shelter that I hide in.
.
Hear my cry, O God,listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah
Psalm 61:1-4
.
Image taken from here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

GRASS HOUSE


I was visiting LLL's blog the other day and I ended up on one of her friend's blogs. He was talking about working on a tree house. I just saw a documentary on a couple that built this incredible tree house, complete with flat panel TV's and a number of other modern conveniences. It was very beautiful.
Anyhow, this got me to thinking about this grass house I saw once. My daughter and I were camping with about 7 other families in Northern Michigan. On one of the roads we frequented we saw this grass house. It was similar to the picture I have posted in that there was a doorway. And a window or two. But this house was more of a rounded mound with long grass on top and a couple of lawn chairs. We kind of laughed about it because it was so unusual and of course, those two lawn chairs.....
We decided to get a closer look and pulled onto the side street. I don't know what came over me but I just had to see the inside. I told my friends that I was going to see if the owner would let me in. Against their protests, I jumped out of the car, my young daughter following behind, and went up and knocked on the door. A man answered the door, his German Shepherd right beside him. I brashly asked if we could see inside his house. Surprisingly, he opened the door and let us in. I only was nervous for a few seconds when I noticed the shot gun leaning against the door jam. Or when the German Shepherd came to investigate.
You guys, I wish I had had a camera. Inside this funny mound of grass covered dirt was a beautiful house. Turning right from a very small vestibule area was this huuuuggggeee room with a domed ceiling. To the right was the most gigantic, fabulous stone fireplace that you could ever imagine. Circling to the left, we could see into the dining and kitchen areas. Left of that were the leather bound chairs and couch. The owner was gracious enough to answer my many questions. It turns out that this was the second grass house that he had built. The insulation aspects were what led him to build a grass house. He was congenial and kind, hosting these inquisitive strangers.
I thanked him for his time and returned to my waiting friends...the looks on their faces said it all. "We can't take her anywhere!" LOL But this is one time that I was glad my curiosity overtook my common sense. I will never forget this tiny adventure!
Here is a link to a tree house in progress: http://whateverisnew.blogspot.com/
Image taken from here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

FORBIDDEN FRUIT


Sunday I was going through mail and I came across two letters that I had set aside to make a decision on. The letters were identical, except one was addressed to me and one addressed to my ex-husband. They were from an insurance company. I had opened mine and it was a letter saying they had refund money on a policy from 2003 and if I didn't respond, that money would go into the governments "unclaimed money" account or wherever it is they keep it.

I had put the letters aside because I needed time to think. The last time I had been insured by that company was when I was married. At some point, I learned that my ex had canceled the insurance on my vehicle without me knowledge, even though he was supposed to be to paying all bills. I don't remember the details, I just remember that this particular company refused to insure me despite my clean driving record, and refused to given me any additional information because the policy had been originally taken out by my ex. I was still legally his wife, but that didn't matter. I also remember scrambling to find insurance on a Saturday. I don't remember how many calls I made, but I finally found an office that was open. I am still with that insurer, out of loyalty, because he kept his office open on Saturday and was there in my moment of crisis.

My ex was just like that. I could tell you story after story. He is still like that. I ask him for very little help with my daughter because he usually says no. The latest was regarding her health insurance. I emailed him and asked him to keep her policy current until I could make other arrangements. I said that I would reimburse him for it. He responded by saying that she (our daughter) was young and healthy and there were more important things like school, and vehicle repairs to spend money on. He added that if she was injured in a car accident, her car insurance would cover any medical bills. And, if I insisted on getting her health insurance, I could feel free to contact the carrier directly, their information was on her card. And I am not making this up. This is almost verbatim.

Enough about him, back to me. I needed to think about those two letters because I figured I had several options. 1)I could forward his letter to him so he could claim the money. 2) I could claim the money myself and he would never be the wiser. 3) I could tear up my letter and throw his away, or better yet, return it to the sender. We have been divorced for over 5 years and I am certainly not responsible for him getting this letter. In fact, I don't believe he deserves that money. And if I claimed it, I could give that money to my daughter or apply it toward her dental or eye appointment...or any other number of things that she needs...not wants...but needs. You can probably imagine where my thought process went.

So there I was on Sunday night. I decided to make a decision. I decided that I would claim the money and somehow use it for my daughter. I filled out my name on the form. I signed it. Right below my signature I had to fill in another blank indicating why I had the right to this money. Was I the owner? The spouse? At first, I decided to leave that blank. After all, there was a date four months after my divorce was final. I didn't know what that date indicated...the date they stopped trying to refund the money? The date the policy was cancelled? I couldn't say owner because I didn't know which vehicle this policy/refund was for...his or mine. I couldn't say spouse because I would have been divorced by that month. I contemplated saying ex-spouse but then I figured I wouldn't get the refund for sure.

I finally decided that I would fill that blank in as "Owner". I wrote the words, sealed the enveloped and put it in a pile of other letters and bills to be mailed, satisfied that I would be getting some unexpected money in a few weeks.

And then I thought of that date...four months after my marriage was decreed invalid and I was no longer legally entitled to anything owned by my ex-husband. I picked up my envelope, crying out of anger and frustration and resentment and need and a myriad of other emotions. I ripped it in half...again and again...until there were only small shreds of paper left.

And I picked up his envelope...the one that I knew would give him an unexpected blessing and I wrote a note on the back explaining that I had received the exact same letter but that I thought this belonged to him. His name was the only salutation. The initial of my first name was the only closing regard. And I folded his envelope and put it into another. Writing his address clearly and placing two stamps on it to make sure there would be no insufficient postage problems. And I placed it in the pile of letters and bills that I would drop at the post office the next morning.

And I did this for one reason. Not because my ex is most likely entitled to this money and I am not. Not because I love my ex, because I do not. Not because I am a good, honest person, although I try to be. Not because of karma. Not because I expect to be rewarded for doing the right thing. Not because I am a Christian. Not because I thought it might be sin. Not because I am afraid God wouldn't forgive me. Not because I am strong enough to resist temptation, I often fail.

I almost took a bite of that forbidden fruit. I could taste it. I wanted it. The only reason I didn't was because I love God...I really do love Him. I love Him more than I want that money. More than I want revenge or justice. And when I thought of Him, my hand reached out and put the fruit back on the tree.
Image taken from here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE

We went to a wedding last night. It was fun! Besides celebrating the launch into a new phase of life, there are always the mutual friends you get a chance to catch up on life with as well. Our table laughed the whole night. It pretty much started when I was trying to smell a candle, and didn't realize that hot wax was dripping all over my blouse. On my way back from the Ladies Room, the table next to us told me that I had toilet paper stuck on my shoe. I guess the look on my face was pretty good, because then their whole table was laughing. Ah, it is my gift to spread joy...tee hee.
.
My favorite moment of the evening was watching another couple, part of the bridal party. The wife, one of my "kids" is ready to have her second child any moment. She was hoping to make it through last night before going into labor. Her and her husband stood up with other people, but at one point, her husband walked over to tenderly help her down a couple of steps. His touch was so gentle and loving. Just what a wife wants, someone strong to watch over her and take care of her. I wished I could capture that moment for them forever...something for them to look back on when times are tough, or dirty clothes left on the floor irritate, the checkbook doesn't balance....or they are sitting on the porch on warm evening just looking at the stars.
.
Earlier in the day I was thinking about a line that is rarely heard in wedding ceremonies now-a-days....that moment when the minister asks the crowd if anyone knows of any reason the bride and groom should not be joined in holy matrimony. You know the line...."Speak now, or forever hold your peace." How did that start to be a part of the commitment ceremony? Has anyone ever stood up and responded to that? The only example I can think of is from fiction, when Jane Eyre was going to marry Mr. Rochester, who happened to still be married. I seriously cannot imagine how one would handle that moment. I mean, what would you do? Stop the wedding and get marital counseling? Say, "You know, you are right. The sames things have been bothering me for a while now?" It would be rather awkward to greet that person after you went ahead and they came through your receiving line. Maybe that is why there are so many groomsmen....crowd control. :-)

.
Image taken from here.

Friday, August 08, 2008

HOLY SNACKS, BATMAN!

A woman apparently came across this Cheeto in her bag of snacks and a local radio station posted it under the heading "Cheesus".
.
Is it bad that I laughed?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY


"He can't contest it. He's not an interesting party!"
-Said by a very interesting person!
.
Image taken from here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

PARTY ON, GARTH!


Wow, did I have a wonderful weekend. Friday, I had dinner with a friend from high school. She also stood up in my wedding. We had a number of years to catch up on. It was wonderful to hear about her family and the many ways God has blessed her.
.
Saturday, we began repainting Rachel's room. Off to Lowe's to pick out paint. The young kid at the paint counter told me I made his day. That was because I enlisted him to assist in pranking my daughter. I got him to put a horrible color on the paint can lid when he was done mixing the right color. It only took her a few minutes to figure out that mom was up to her shenanigans again. But it was fun. We painted the rest of the day, picked out a new lamp, new curtains, and a few other odds and ends. Her room is looking pretty good!
.
Sunday was the cherry on top of this delightful weekend. My friends Manly and Juney and I attended a service at Evangel Ministries. What a great time!! This church loves Jesus. And loves whoever walks in their doors. It was a total party....celebrating, dancing, learning, giving and receiving. I haven't had this much fun in a long time.
.
I walked in to work this morning and one of my co-workers said "You must have had a good weekend. You look rested." I would say it was peace and joy more than rest!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Many years ago, I wrote a personal mission statement. I came across it recently and I may have thrown it out because when I looked for it this morning, I couldn't find it. You see, so much has changed and I thought parts of it no longer applied.
But yesterday, a couple of things inspired me to revisit the idea of a personal mission statement. I read this-
.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7
.
I have been waiting to exit this "exile" I have found myself in. Being rescued....that is what I have been focusing on. Returning to independence, my own home, financial security, a community. I have spent the last few years looking down the road, wondering and waiting for whatever it was that would take me to a new place, a place that would feel like freedom or home or something other than were I was.
.
Yesterday, we were returning from somewhere, and the little girl across the street...I don't even know her name...said hello. I didn't hear her and walked into the house. My daughter said, "Mom, that little girl said hello to you." I felt bad that I had inadvertently ignored that sweet little soul. That and the scripture I read yesterday are speaking to me. I need to look around me with fresh eyes. I believe that God is sovereign and there are so many turns in which He could have changed my present. But He didn't. I must conclude that I am right where He wants me. Not just where I live, but other areas of my life. What has been fuzzy, clouded by self-pity, is becoming more clear. I have been railing against the bars and chains, and have wasted much. Time and resources.
.
I think that living, really living, in exile is better than being stagnant. I need to start living.
.
P.S. My new mission statement is in progress to be shared later.
Image taken from here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

THE FUEL CRISIS


With fuel prices being so high, my daughter and I decided to walk to the local pharmacy so I could pick up a few things for my mom. We talked about this and that. We walked around the store looking at make-up and this and that. We bought a "green" bag to carry our purchases home in.

.

Time wise...it took us just over an hour. I don't know what we saved in gas. I don't know how many calories we burned. I just know......

.

...it was good. It was very good!

.

Image taken from here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

THE SOLOIST


I was at a gathering a couple weeks back and the topic of conversation turned to mental illness. The young man I was conversing with asked if I had ever read "The Soloist" by Steve Lopez. I hadn't but the conversation was intriguing. My daughter and I happened to visit a our friend's bookstore right after that conversation and she spotted the book. I picked it up and started to read it while she browsed other shelves. I could not put it down.
.
You will read about the power of music and the power of friendship in this book. It made me want to do a better job being a friend and a better job of making myself and my resources available to others.
.
I highly recommend this book. If you want to know more, you can read about it here, the same place I got the image from.

Monday, July 28, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRIET POTTER!


Today is Beatrix Potter's birthday. My post's title says Harriet Potter. That will make my daughter laugh. I often confuse words and names, making for some confusing and humorous moments. As was the time when I brought home a movie about "Harriet Potter" for Rachel to watch once when she was sick. Worse, we had already watched the movie but I forgot!
.
We love Beatrix Potter's work. My brother gave my daughter 2 boxed sets of her books when she was very young. Later, my mom gave her a set of tapes...the books brought to life! The artwork was captivating. The stories charming. She read these books over and over. She was transported to a world of wonder. We have these treasures boxed and set aside with her most cherished items from her youth.
.
So thank you, "Harriet" Beatrix Potter. You have brought countless hours of joy and fertilized the fields of imagination in numerous young minds. God definitely gifted you with creativity. Rachel and I are glad you were born!
.

Friday, July 25, 2008

UPDATES


My daughter has returned from the far corners of the world...well, from Kansas. It is funny, but somehow that week she changed and returned to me more of an adult than she was before. She was able to visit some museums and had a replica of King Richard, the Lion-Hearted's sword shipped home. I must admit, it is beautiful. And further proof that my daughter marches to the beat of her own drummer. No clothes, no shoes, no jewelry, no typical 18 year old purchases while out of town...but a sword. I have always enjoyed that about her.
.
I have to find a new time to blog. I used to take my lunches to catch up and post. But I rarely take a lunch at work now. I haven't had any further issues with my gall bladder. I am working really hard at eating and exercise...just trying to keep as healthy as possible.
.
My mom hasn't had any further issues that could have put her in the hospital. However, she continues to become more disoriented. I am really working with her diet as well, hoping that will give her the best opportunity for staying at her home. Yesterday she asked me if I knew who all the people were in the photographs that I had in her living room. They are all pictures of family, her parents, her children, her grandchildren. Sigh. I have a degree in Gerontology and had worked for 20 plus years in long term care, so I know what to do and what to expect. But, it doesn't lessen the sadness that I feel for her. The good news is, she is still very much aware and connected to her cat. So when I hear her talking to her cat every morning, I remain convinced, that despite all her other issues, I have made the best choices for her. She is happy to be in her own home. With her cat.
.
I want to end with a Quote of the Day that I didn't get to post yet:
.
"Did you say ASPERGAS?"
.
Image taken from here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER REVISTED

The graduation party was incredible! After it was all over, Rachel and I prayed together and just thanked God for the many loving people has brought into our lives. We felt surrounded by God's love. My family and closest friends helped with the food and my moment of panic when the circuits kept blowing and we couldn't get the food warmed. I think my eyes glazed over and when I came to...the food was ready! (Did I mention that they also cleaned up afterward?) Also, there was no brawling. My husband's mother, who has barely been able to stand being in the same vicinity as me, actually talked to me and gave me a number of hugs! God is truly good.

The morning after, I took my daughter to meet her dad for their trip to the airport. She will return from Kansas next Tuesday. Tomorrow is her 18th birthday and I still feel sad that we will be apart. I have sent her a couple of cards and have a present for her to open hidden in her luggage.

Last Thursday, my mom had some health problems. Thought we would end up in the ER. We still may.

Monday, I think I had a gall bladder attack.

So, mostly good stuff....and a bit of the difficult.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER


I am finishing up a few things before I am off from work the rest of the week. Saturday, we will celebrate my daughter's graduation from high school. A number of broken relationships will be reunited there. Either God will be glorified in all of these lives....or it will be a glorious brawl! I will let you know what happens.

.
On Sunday, my daughter will leave with her dad to visit his home in Kansas. I already miss her. I already worry that he will take good care of her. I know this will be a good thing for her relationship with him, that she is growing up and will have plenty of adventures of her own...but the mom in me is still strong. As she learns independence, I will learn to let go.

.
She will turn 18 while she is away. I have never been apart from her on her birthday. I won't like that. Neither will she. We are truly best friends. For that, I am very grateful.
Image taken from here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY


Question: Do you want to go to the store?
.
Answer: "Heave 'er up an' away we'll go!"
.
Image taken from here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

TODAY IS NOT MONDAY....


For some reason, I keep thinking it is Monday...or maybe it just feels like a Monday. My brain knows it is Wednesday. Yesterday, one of the new drivers I was training kept thinking it was Monday. Maybe I caught something from him? LOL
Image taken from here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

WAS THAT WHIZZER WHIZZING BY?


My neighbors have a white dog named Whizzer. Yeah, I don't think he got that name for being fast. They have asked several times(and I don't believe they were kidding) if we were perhaps looking for a dog. One day I saw Whizzer running down the street and was able to entice him to me with some very splendid dog treats. When I returned him, his owners clipped him to a leash INSIDE the house. I thought this very strange until I heard stories about their "wireless" fence and many other failed attempts to keep Whizzer in his own yard.
A week or so later, as I stood over a counter preparing some things for my mom's daily rituals, I saw a very tired, white dog hurrying home in the early morning hours. Was it? Why yes, it was Whizzer. That was the first of many mornings I have watched Whizzer returning from his canine adventures, tongue lolling to the side, laboured breathing...but definitely a look of smug satisfaction on his whiskered face.
This makes me laugh. I look for Whizzer every morning now, hoping to witness this triumphant truant returning in all his glorious splendor. I don't know why this makes me feel happy....but it does.
Image taken from here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

CONFESSION


Sooooooo....I mentioned my co-worker, Jill in my last post. And how she was touching the lives of others. I was telling my daughter about her. And I said, "Man, I want to be a part of God's story like that." Several weeks ago, I shared with a group of friends that I felt like I didn't want "it to be over" when it came to ministry and ministering. That I have this deep longing to be doing something but I just don't see or know what that is. In the past I very much felt God's focus and direction and call.
And yesterday I was mulling this all over. And two things God said to me:
1. He has placed me in a position to serve. But it is one I don't like. That of taking care of my mother. Our roles basically reversed when I was around 12 years old. I became the caretaker. She was broken in spirit by her divorce. And later, broken in body and resigned to a wheelchair. I take care of her most private of personal needs. I have been doing this for so long and I frequently resent it. Oh, sometimes I see the picture clearly. I see all this as an answer to her prayers. I see it as a way to minster in a Mother Theresa-esque way. Caring for the sick. But honestly, most of the time I see it as a burden and I dream of the days I can escape. And I often minster in the most joyless manner. I am not telling this so you can feel sorry for me. I am asking for your prayers so I can be strong in what I have been called to and strong enough to repent of the resentment and bitterness that I give way to. Really, I don't want advice....I just need your prayers.
2. He has put opportunities in my path...but I have stopped watching for them...missing them completely. And He brought opportunity after opportunity to my mind. Ahhh, how could I have walked right by that one? This one, it didn't even register. Yesterday I was determined to be very deliberate about watching. And there they came, opportunities that I could act on. Not for a pat on the back. Not to be busy. But how can I explain....just to be a part of Jesus and His work on this earth...it is fulfilling, it is holy, it is an honor that I don't deserve but again, one I am thankful for. Again, please pray for me. That I can pause from my self-focus to see others...to answer the call when my Lord sends it out.
I have been the pontificator. I have been the theorizer too self-absorbed to be moved to action. My heart has been filled with self-pity. That is NOT what I want to offer to a holy God.
image taken from here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WHAT IMPRESSES ME.....

1. True Leaders....because it is a mighty thing to have people want to follow you.
2. Peace Makers....it is an easier road to sow conflict. A much harder way to delicately navigate conflict with wisdom and righteousness.
3. My co-worker, Jill. She does not pontificate. She does not theorize. She just washed 14 loads of laundry for someone who did not have a washer. She has made countless blankets for the poor. She bought a suit for a child who was graduating at the top of his class but did not own a suit. She delivered several dressers to families nearby after brokering them from a storage facility for a very reasonable price. All this in the name of Jesus and within the last two weeks.
4. Artists and writers and musicians. Because they capture what beats in our hearts but often finds no adequate way of expression.
5. The Generous....who have unwrapped their fingers from self and material gain and in turn, have met the real needs of others.
6. Seekers....who do not boast of knowing all truth...but commit to the journey of discovery beyond themselves, and in their journey, teach others.
7. The Simple....who often in their simplicity, live profoundly.
8. Old People who still hold hands and old women who still blush at a compliment from their aged lovers.
9. Creation....the vastness, the diversity, the expression and the unexplainable....more than enough to ponder and wonder about for a life time and forever.
10. The Creator...who is and was and is to come.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I PEED MY PANTS YESTERDAY.....



....well, I almost did. My daughter and I were going through her memory box picking out pictures and awards to display for her graduation party. We read some of the stories she wrote in 1st grade. Oh my, oh my. We had a hysterically good time.

She has truly been a gift to me...a gift from God. Filling my life with laughter, with joy, and with love!

picture taken from here.

Monday, June 09, 2008

THE RANDOM AND THE NOT SO RANDOM

1. Last week, I had two training classes going...one here at my office in Detroit and the other in Grand Rapids. I enjoyed the Grand Rapids group the most...we fit in quite a few laughs. But I have to admit that I am exhausted. Mentally.
2. This post, Tappers, is quite intriguing. I have come back to it over and over. "Starting today, I want to remember that everyone else isn’t hearing the tune. Today I want to be a more understanding tapper." I have been applying this to so many areas of my life. Like looking through a new pair of glasses, yes? Seeing things differently is causing me to live differently.
3. Yesterday, my daughter and I watched The Great Debaters. She commented that this took place "not that long ago". My mom was 7 years old. White, and living in the "North". I wonder if my grandparents listened to these debates? I wonder what they would have thought? I never heard any racial or ethnic slurs or jokes or plain ol' offhand comments from them or my mom. I hope my family would have been among those who gave a standing ovation. Needless to say, it is now my turn to make sure the "applause" continues to echo.
4. While watching the movie together, my daughter made some slight gesture...just a slight pat on the arm...but it left me with this HUGE impression of how much she loves me. Have I told you that she is graduating from high school and turns 18 in a couple of weeks? While she will always be my baby, and has grown into my best friend...I will miss the girl she has been. A part of me is feeling quite melancholy about the whole thing.
5. At the end of working around the yard and house on Saturday, a friend and I lit a fire in my backyard fire pit. When the flames ignited, it was that kind of whooshing fire, that grows big quite quickly and burns quite hot. As we sat there in the quiet of the early evening, the sky still blue, the birds still chirping away, that kind of whooshing fire swept over me. Right in the center of the stillness and quiet, my heart was taken away by thoughts of the greatness of God, and the loving burn of His presence. My friend talked on, but I was very still. I just wanted to be. Quiet. With Him.
6. Later, I went to poke at the fire with my fire stick. One must have a good fire stick when tending a fire. I guard mine well. I sat back down quite hard in my lawn chair, and continued to go back, back back...until I stopped quite suddenly with my feet up in the air and my back against the cold earth. Ouch! It hurt but I had to laugh at what I must have looked like, and it was quite a few minutes before I could find a way to get myself out of that chair. It is times like these that remind me not to take myself too seriously.

Enough, I need to get back to work. My desk is a site...all kinds of projects sitting there waiting for my attention. I really hope your Monday is a good one!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

NICELY DONE H!


My "adopted" son, Jon w/ no H, posted an excellent series on the life and times of Indiana Jones.
You will want to read it!
Nicely done, Jon!!
Image taken from Jon's blog. I have no idea where he got it from.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


This story never gets old for me. I have read or heard it retold dozens of times. And it still has the same impact for me. That of horror and wonder. And hope.


Horror because I see myself in the characters. The Accusers-How quick I am to point the finger. How self righteous I often am. How smug. How unloving. How superior. The Missing Partner-How easy it is for me to think I am hiding my sins. Noone will ever know. The Bystanders-Ah, the grisly fascination of watching someone else's train wreck. How often I have waited to see punishment meted out. Or the cowardice of standing by those times when I, also, own the guilt. The Woman-Me. I see me. I see me.


Wonder because of Jesus. He is so smart. And unpredictable. You can't back Him into a corner. You can't mold Him into your own expectation of Messiah God. You can't trip Him up. What DID He write in the sand? After all these years, He is still so approachable and yet such a mystery.


And Hope. I can drop those stones I have picked up. My death sentence has been purchased. My slate swept clean...time and time again. And I can be changed. And those eyes...His eyes...can see me as pure, and clean, and lovely!
Image taken from here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

AN OVERVIEW

(Image taken by me...not as technologically creative as Richard.)

Since I last posted in February:

1. I bought myself several books to read. One I read in 2 days...It was the Pride and Prejudice story from Mr. Darcy's viewpoint. The last three chapters were missing. It took me about 3 weeks to get a corrected version. I tried to get help from one sales clerk. Clearly, being of the male orientation, he did not fully appreciate my delimma. In fact, he thought it was rather humorous. The sales clerk that waited on me when I received my corrected version laughed as well. Because I found a chair and read the rest of the book before leaving the store. Another book, Born on a Blue Day , was fascinating and intriguing. And humbling. It gave me a glimpse of the vast greatness of Creator God. I am so simple. He is so amazing.

2. I implemented some new training techniques at work. They have worked out amazingly well. We also identified a whole new slew of trainers within our organization resulting in a much improved orientation for newbees. And little time for me...lol.

3. We have felt God moving us....well, I hope it is God because I have credited it to Him...for moving us from our faith community. We have visited a number of churches and communities and as of yet, have not gotten the nod, spiritually speaking, on settling in anywhere. I am parched for a Christian community of my own. I feel so welcomed at a number of places...but like I said...we are waiting for the nod. I hope it comes soon. If not, I hope I am patient.

4. I sprained my ankle in January. It has just now started to feel better.

5. I turned 50 last month. I am not sure how I feel about this, or even how it happened. I still feel like a kid. Well, most days that is (please see #4). I tried to play it down and warned my family that there would be NO "over the hill" parties. My office was lovingly decorated, tho (thanks Amy, Madison, and Tyler!)

6. I have missed reading blogs and writing posts. It is interesting how cathartic this can be and how connected I feel to people, some of whom I have never met.