Friday, January 11
Hey y'all...come on over for a visit!

  Into the pensieve on Friday, January 11, 2008
  Your thoughts, please (1)

Wednesday, November 21
It might sound hokey, but...
Revised: Please CLICK HERE (my current blog) for more about this wonderful tradition :).

...we began a new Thanksgiving tradition this year. And although it wasn't quite what I had planned for it to be, it turned out just fine.

We have a "Thankful Box". In it, over the course of the previous year (I bought it last December), we were supposed to write things for which we were thankful. I instructed our children to write a little note whenever they felt thankful for something--a good grade on a test, something related to sports, not getting in trouble for something they should have (sneaky, aren't I?), whatever a kid is thankful for. Tad and I were supposed to write "thankful notes", too. Then, at Thanksgiving, we'd have a great unveiling (unboxing??) and read all the gems stored over the past year.

Well, if I'm anything, it is definitely the Queen of Good Intentions. It's good to be "queen" of something, right?

Although I'd nag about mention it from time to time, I did little to encourage the children to record how thankful they were, and I certainly didn't model it for them. This being said, they ARE grateful children--at least in their early training, I was intentional about cultivating an attitude of thankfulness towards others. Pretty much, if anyone does ANYTHING for them, they'll say "thank you" without being prompted. See? THAT'S something I should've recorded, that's something for which I am VERY thankful. I'm not proud of this, but if I do something special for a child (heck, an adult!) who's not my own, I notice it if they don't acknowledge it; I don't hold it against them, it doesn't make me mad, and I never do anything in order to be thanked, I'm just saying gratefulness is a lovely character trait, and I notice it when it is--and isn't--present.

One September night before dinner, I plopped the Thankful Box in the center of the table. Their ticket to leave the table was to write a least by Thanksgiving (in my idyllic-albeit-delusional world, sitting around our Norman Rockwell-painting-worthy table) we'd have ONE thankful memory to share. They obliged me. Everyone wrote something, folded it, and stuck it in the box.

Fast forward to the week of Thanksgiving. By now, the only person excited about the box was Thomas. Apparently, filled with gratitude at some point, he stuffed the box FULL of his thoughts, and he wanted everyone to know how superior he is to us that he's the best brown-noser in the family HE took my challenge seriously . The rest of us, well...we knew it was a bust.

But, manipulator fixer that I am, I was gonna redeem that little red treasure box, by golly, if it stinkin' killed me! So, when my brother, sister and her family arrived, I explained writing a "thankful note" would be their ticket into Thanksgiving Dinner. They were happy to cooperate, probably because they really were thankful we weren't swarming their homes and requiring them to cook a 14-course meal.

I began to sense momentum. There were now players for my little contrived game. And as I cooked and cooked and cooked, they wrote and wrote and wrote. My heart swelled like the Grinch's at Christmas.

After lunch, it was T I M E. We began by reading a poem I wrote last year, written from the Thankful Box's point of view, explaining its raison d'être . My brother-in-law thought it was trite--everyone needs someone like this around to keep you grounded. As the boxed was passed around the table again and again and again, we took turns reading and guessing who had said it. Evidently, everyone's a comedian or a philosopher in my family, or "wannabes" of either or both. We laughed...a, regardless of what anyone thought about this revamp of counting your blessings, in spite of the mocking and ridicule I endured, even the most cynical in my family would have to agree it was worth it in the end.

Do you have to guess who that would be?

Just now, I went downstairs, opened the box and re-read every note. Wow. In the quiet of this moment, I realized what I intended for "fun", an exercise in frivolity and flippancy, actually means something. Whether warming my heart or tickling my funny bone, these words just became precious to me. At the time, by God, I was just going to make "something" happen. And it did. Only two weeks AFTER the fact.

The following will probably bore you out of your gourd, but I gotta write some of these down...(say it with me) I won't forget.

I am thankful for...

(Outta the mouths of babes, remembering that little things matter, too)
toothpaste and toothbrushes
pens and pencils
my bed!
music (multiple entries)
a warm house
a house that blocks out cold (these two remind me not everyone has this :( )
yummy food

(Cleanliness is next to godliness? Again, those little things...I'm seeing a pattern here)
running water

Letting me play basketball when I'm no good
Adults who really listen to you
The ability to walk, talk, smell, breathe, hear, taste, feel
Life "now", life "later
That Pop hasn't died yet :/ :-( :-)
Encouraging words (I didn't write this one, but I could have ;) )
that I have multiple things for which to be thankful

(Just plain bizarre or getting REALLY real)
Regular bowel movements
All my fingers
my golf clubs

(Common and "expected" responses)
A supportive family
a good family (suck ups)
Loving parents, brother and sister--that was Stephen's one and only...he missed the flurry of activity of everyone else, although I have no idea how; he was self conscious he only had one, but dang it was sweet, it was his "ONE" from September.
the love from my family
opportunity to make happy memories with family
Aussie and Callie
crazy cousins
good health
beautiful weather

(A few more from my kids)
FALL! (How can you say this after the "leaf" comments??)
great teachers
my school (again, suck-ups...your teachers won't be reading this!)

(On a spiritual note)
God's gracoiusness
a loving God
wonder and beauty of Creation
to love and be loved -- guess this one could be categorized in a few places...
for letting me run a 60-yard TD (for Thomas, this WAS spiritual!)

(No doubt who these two came from ;) )
VERY thankful my kids "get" my sense of humor and they have a GREAT one themselves :D
love hearing R, T & S helping each other with homework ... playing and laughing together ... and just talking

(This was originally posted 12/06.)

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  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, November 21, 2007
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Sunday, April 1
Do you really want to see this????????


You didn't believe me for a second, did you?

(Wanna know what I'm talking about? Visit my other blog by clicking this link!)

  Into the pensieve on Sunday, April 01, 2007
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Sunday, March 11
For those who missed this the last time it went around... about sharing your thoughts with us now?

I was originally tagged by Chris (aka Desert Pastor), and now consider this YOUR tag!

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading others share their thoughts on this meme, and when I saw the Carnival theme, I thought I'd bring it out again since there are so many NEW bloggers added to the blogroll since last summer.

Don't get overwhelmed (I dragged my feet on it because it's so difficult to choose "one" for each category; my answers vary depending on my mood, circumstances or day of the week. Evidently these are my choices for "this" moment in time (except "this" moment in time was August, lol, my answers would differ slightly if I was doing this now) :). (I've read the "rules" of this can't reference the Bible as a choice....). Just share whatever comes to mind when you read the category.

Let me know in comments if you did it and I'll pay you a visit :). Thanks!!

1. One book that changed your life: The Dick and Jane series, the late 60s years. It's where it all started, I suppose.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once twice: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.
(Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I LOVE this book, it's worthy of an annual read.)

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson. I'm stuck on a desert island? I need something to make me laugh! Brilliantly written, it wasn't the most expensive book to make the New York Times best-seller list because of its singular appeal to children, I can promise you that.

4. One book that made you laugh: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, Ann B. Ross.
I chose this one because it's probably not as well known as others I could've mentioned. A fun ride with a Southern lady who's always sure to tell you what she thinks. Her eighth in the series is forthcoming, I've snorted out loud at some point in every one of 'em.

Honorable mention. At least pick up and read Jerry Seinfeld's Halloween sometime this fall when you're tooling around your favorite bookstore. Oh, my, it's funny! He takes those of us "mid-lifers" right back to how Halloween was when we were kids--James Bennett's illustrations capture the essence of this less-than-10-minute read.

5. One book Two books that made you cry: Father Joe, Tony Hendra. A beautiful telling of one whose life made a difference in each of those with whom he came into contact. The tears caught me off guard, I knew before I started how the book would end.

A MUST-READ for everyone who knows anyone suffering from Alzheimer's, Lewy Bodies Disease or any form of dementia! Read this for the introduction, then A Partial View to see and hear Henderson's inside perspective. It broke my heart.

6. One book you wish had been written: The Photographic Journal, from Genesis to Jude. I'd love to see the faces and places of those about whom I've spent a lifetime of hearing, and as an adult, studying and building a relationship.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Night, by Elie Wiesel. Because it NEVER should have happened. A haunting and affecting perspective of one who survived the brutality and indignity of the Holocaust.

8. One book you’re currently reading: One? about Jesus Mean and Wild, Mark Galli. (When I missed the online reader-responsive interview over at Paradoxology, my heels cooled on finishing this one (not that it's not GOOD, I've just got others going, too ;) ).

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: As the Crow Flies, Jeffrey Archer

Postscript~ This is an interesting summary of stats taken from a survey of bloggers who had participated in this meme a few weeks ago (no idea where things stand now). I picked it up from Carrie.

Also, who am I tagging? Blogging Chicks and anyone else who's a bibliophile :).

Wow, I just looked over my list and it's hard to believe I didn't include something, anything, from John Piper or C.S. Lewis, two who have inspired, challenged and provoked me. Speaking of provocation, I gotta add Brian McLaren, too. He, like few others, has challenged and provoked me to know God more intimately, beyond the confines of traditional Christianity. Oh, yeah, Donald Miller deserves a mention, and NOT for "Blue Like Jazz". The opening pages of "Searching for God Knows What", a lesser known work of his, had me blowing snot in Barnes and Noble (yep, I bought it). Nope, it's not comedy, but if you know Miller, you know his humor.

PostPOSTscript ~ I PROMISE, my LAST comments on this (sheesh! It's not supposed to be an editorial!). All I wanna say is my husband will attest to the fact I . CANNOT . MAKE . A . CHOICE! :D Note: originally posted 8/22/06

  Into the pensieve on Sunday, March 11, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (23)

Blogging Chicks Carnival Time

It's all things books, so I decided to re-post the book meme from August; what goes around, comes around :).

Check out the Blogging Chicks for the rest of these bookish posts!

  Into the pensieve on Sunday, March 11, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (0)

Tuesday, January 23
For Michelle and Chaz...
** BIG sigh ** my little non-bloggity friends.

To access my new blog, click this link: PENSIEVE

That's all there is to save it to your "favorites" or bookmark it or whatever you have to do to find me the next time........:/.

Love y'all/mean it/even when I mock you;).

  Into the pensieve on Tuesday, January 23, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (0)

Monday, January 22
A room with a view
Hey Blogger bloggers! Looking for my "Front Door" shots? They're over at my TypePad Blog, so I hope you'll click the link and knock real loud!

(FYI, I still use my Blogger log-in when posting to blogs on Blogger...because I LIKE posting with my foot avatar...SOME THINGS are just hard to let go!)

  Into the pensieve on Monday, January 22, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (0)

Monday, January 15
Have you not noticed that I haven't updated "here" in over a week?? Of course there are multiple reasons for that (the past week of TypePad posts explain....:/), but for those of you who check in on Pensieve, it's PAST time to update your Bloglines or bookmarks or whatever reader you use with my new TypePad website, Pensieve. The site is still under THAT will be a s l o w work in progress, I'd rather write than play techie. But I do miss my custom template, so expect some design changes, not nearly as fast as I'd like 'em. That's where I'll be writing from now on (until in about a year, I probably decide to try the newest "latest and greatest").

I'm kind of bummed about losing my stellar rating in Technorati....I remember when I was one in about 2 million, and then that went down to somewhere in the 5,000s....and, hmmmmm, I guess I need to let Michele over at Blogging Chicks know I've moved.

For those of you who recently "googled" or "yahooed" or "dogpiled" or whatever-searched me and found me using keywords like "caramel machiatto breve calories, cute coffee mug, Dunkin' Donuts, words of encouragement, becoming a minimalist, uvula stuck to your tonsils (thanks, Susan), really disgusting things, Le Cruset, when the cat's away the mice will play, ladybug infestation, unzipped pants, pretty feet, polished toenails, sweet hot mama, pink leopard suitcases, Robin likes to dance, alligators in Kiawah, mintless toothpaste, alanis morissette, Jackie Kennedy, lyrics for Casting Crowns, Eleventyseven or Underoath songs, snorting from laughing so hard, disinfect your kitchen drawer after a mouse, death is not the worst thing, best piecrust, tiny shower remodels, barbie tampons (?????), what fun gag gift can be made from Maxi-Pads, or the meaning of PENSIEVE", you may or may not find what you're looking for here or at the new place. But you sure made me smile trying with keywords like those (I wish I would've saved ALL the bizarre searches over the past eight months or so...bloggers are FREAKS!).

Soooo, theorhetically, this is my "last" Blogger post, but I'm not deleting the site. 1) I still haven't been able to transfer my old posts, and 2) I don't want someone else to capture the URL! and 3) I'm still partial to Susie's design :).

Ciao for now, see you over at TypePad!

  Into the pensieve on Monday, January 15, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (6)

Monday, January 8
Mixed up?
Don't be.

If you had read this little dittie, you would know I'm posting over at TypePad for now, and it will feel a LOT more permanent once I figure out how to move at least part of my Blogger design and become proficient at TypeLists and all the JUNK they say makes life easier (but for me, it does little more than make me feel like an OLD DAWG). I STILL haven't been able to transport my Blogger archives...but then again, I haven't fooled with THAT in weeks!

I have to mention my trusty Sunbeam, pictured above. She's been my faithful friend for over 19 years. I'm afraid she's about at the end of her small appliance life, the beaters no longer remain locked when mixing batter. I wonder how many extra pounds she is responsible for on me...on Tad? Cookie dough was mixed so much easier with her...pound cakes, a breeze...and oh, my, word, I could not have made an angel food cake without her! She's been as sweet as pie.

I've thought about replacing her with a Kitchenaid Mixer--the array of color is yumma-wonderfully-Easter-egg-a-licious!! Doesn't it just make you wanna put on an apron, coif your hair and call yourself Betty Crocker? A mixer with style AND substance BEGS to be bought! In spite of the fact it weighs in at 28 pounds, which if you think about it, is a good thing since you'd get a work out every time you use it (unless you leave it out on your counter as "kitchen art", a culinary sculpture I guess).

But...BUT...somehow that seems downright disloyal. Kind of like plopping down the big bucks to replace your slobbering-but-faithful mutt with some highbrow Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or Welsh Corgi pup or something.

So I'll probably just get another Sunbeam, and if it lasts for 19 years...WAIT A SECOND, HOLD THE PRESSES!!! lawd chile, I'll be in my 60s! And since my brain can't even wrap itself around THAT thought, I think I'll stop writing RIGHT.HERE!

  Into the pensieve on Monday, January 08, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (16)

Friday, January 5
Because I said so, that's why!
Whatever you do, do not, I repeat more loudly and emphatically, DO NOT click this link!

It is what I look like when I KEEP the first resolution on my New Year's list (and no, no matter how bad you want to see them, posting Marnie's nekkid pics did not even make my list this year...I respect her...I do not want to violate her privacy). My own personal nekkid pics are a different story, however, and if you click that link, I'm afraid there is a public display of sorts awaiting.

I know, I know, I'm rather pedestrian...New Year's resolutions are soooo beneath bloggers, you've told me so again and again and again (while simultaneously telling me about your goals...and hopes...and dreams for the new year). Of course, I say that with all affection.

You have been warned. It's not pretty.

Or maybe...just maybe, it is ;).

UPDATE: I changed my mind. Click the link. I'm a woman and it's my ever-lovin' prerogative to change my mind. Because I said so.

  Into the pensieve on Friday, January 05, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (16)

Wednesday, January 3
Free to a good home

This is what TAD has been up to on his days off. Cleaning out our attic space. I think he actually enjoyed himself.

In this pile of STUFF, there is both a printer that we don't use because the toner cartridges are $100 and a printer we don't use simply because we don't like it; computers that have been upgraded (but still kinda sorta work) and their big ol' honking monitors; a fish tank that needs to be cleaned, but Stephen was given a new one, so who needs the hassle?; a NEW-but-slightly-used toaster oven that was given to us, but we don't have the counter space, so we're getting rid of it; a mini food processor (I have its big brother, so again, it's superfluous); a tv that works but we don't use because it pre-dates remotes; a tv that doesn't work; a broken VCR; a marginal coffee maker...

Is it any wonder that good stewardship of resources is on my brain?! More on that when I don't have a headache. I gotta check out that free-cycle thingy I think Erin told me about....

One thing I know...........we have too much crap. I'm becoming a minimalist in my old middle age :/.

  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, January 03, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (32)

Monday, January 1
It's a new day.

A new year.

Anything is possible.

I begin 2007 the way I begin every new year--with open arms, expectant, eager to celebrate both the ordinary and the spectacular. Savoring simplicity, delighting in the ones I love and who love me. Amazed by g r a c e, grateful for my wealth--and that it's not measured in dollars and cents, but by people, relationships, that matter. Imagining what lies ahead, knowing all will not be "good", which is okay, because that's life, and I'm thankful for it. Hopeful for continued transformation...a life of balance and generosity and compassion and love, that sounds pretty good to me.

I wish you so much more than happiness in the New Year--I wish you contentment and joy and peace and laughter, to me as vital as oxygen.

As an afterthought, this familiar prayer of St. Francis expresses beautifully the essence of what I was trying to convey, only much more eloquently and succinctly:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Let it be.

  Into the pensieve on Monday, January 01, 2007
  Your thoughts, please (27)

Friday, December 29
Gimme a break.......
Well, it's more like I'm giving YOU a break :).

Instead of writing anything new (since obviously my last few posts have been explosively riveting and randomly engaging), I think any time spent blogging will be used to read and comment y'all (leave a comment here with a link back to ya, and if I haven't read you before, why, I think I'll include visiting new peeps in this little exercise). With kids buzzing around and squillions of things to do, coupled with the blogosphere operating at a snail's pace, I think this idea is simply marvey :).

The one thing that I'd ask of you (newbies AND not-so-newbies) before I go, is to please stop by Kelly's place, tell her I sent you and leave a comment. Her corporate sponsor is contributing $1 per comment to St. Jude's Hospital up to $500. She has until Saturday night to make this goal. If you have a blog of your own, it would be nice if you linked back to her as well. Thanks to those of you who have already visited and to those of you who will; you can comment both today and tomorrow.

UPDATE: Kelly got her 500+ comments, St. Jude's got $500...sounds like everyone's a winner to me :). Thanks to those of you who popped over there from here. I think this might just be the most clever way I've ever seen ANYONE pimp their blog!

  Into the pensieve on Friday, December 29, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (25)

Thursday, December 28
Nothing odd about these...well, maybe...
More fun with Blogthings :)
Your New Year's Resolutions

1) Get a pet pony

2) Eat more cheese

3) Travel to Holland

4) Study rare insects

5) Get in shape with dodgeball

What Should Your New Year's Resolution Be?

Don't many resolutions have to do with "getting, eating (or NOT eating), traveling, studying and more getting"? I'm just sayin :/.... I'm posting these pretend ones because I don't wanna be accountable I'm too shy to post my real ones ;).

Y e a s h y...THAT thought is enough reason to put a smile on MY face!

HT: Pamela

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, December 28, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (14)

Wednesday, December 27
Holiday Randomries
Note: If you don't read anything else in this post, please read #6, you'll be extending a "random act of kindness" and helping others in the process :).

[1] 60 seconds in the car with our family:

Thom: "Does anyone have any sodium chloride?" (this, after driving through McDonalds for a nutritious french fry snack--of course, with diet Coke)

Rach: "Are you learning about that in school?"

Thom: "Nope, 'Jimmy Neutron'." (Educational tv at its finest :/)

Steph: "Know why I don't like eating at O'Charley's anymore?"

(No one answers because they're all talking at once, I'm reaching for the laptop to transcribe this conversation since they've had me giggling for a while now).

Steph (undaunted, in spite of the fact no one responds): "Because ever since I found a bug in my roll there, it grosses me out." (Who knows why in the world he thought of that at this moment--it happened THREE years ago!)

Rach: "What does 'mooch' mean?"

Me: "Bummin' something off of somebody else." (DON'T YOU KNOW THIS WORD???!)

Thom: "Oh, I thought it meant you eat somebody's food without them knowing about it." (weelll, that would kind of make you a thief!)

Me: "Why are you asking?"

Rach (reading off the McDonald's bag): "No dog of your own? Go 'head and mooch. Ask a friend if you could help walk her pooch." (no wonder she was confused, psycho-trite poetry at its finest...I should apply for a job)

[2] This was my favorite Christmas gift (from my husband:) ). I will drink hot beverages while reading good books and if anyone disturbs me, I will not raise my eyes from the page, but shall instead, raise my mug to speak for me.

[3] For our Christmas dinner with Tad's family, we had a smörgåsbord of Italian dishes (no, they aren't Italian). At my sister's, we enjoyed a standing rib roast, potatoes, salad and the like. While everything was delicious, and truly, I was thankful for both, I missed turkey and/or ham, dressing, cranberry sauce, etc., I guess what I consider a more traditional holiday meal. When we got home, I bought both a dead bird and a dead pig while they were dirt-cheap-loss-leaders, and we'll be feasting soon. Funny how I usually prepare either of these only around a holiday....

[4] Meet Hailey and Roxie, Tad's brother's & our S-I-L's "girls". We enjoyed a Christmas visit with them, too. They greeted us with happy snorts and fluids flying from mouth and nose. Janice (their mom) is the youngest "sister" on Tad's side of the family--we have tons o' fun when we're together.

This is from a package of cocktail napkins someone gave her. I've seen it before, but it cracks me up every time! Mary Phillips never fails to get a grin, she has a delightfully acerbic tongue.

[5] Today my husband renewed his driver's license. What would ordinarily be a mundane task, instead, carried great significance. "Why?" you ask...because we've lived in Tennefreakinsee THREE and a half years!! He still had a SC license. Until today. I think that means we might be here a while after all.

And so the last "tie that binds" is neatly clipped.....

[6] PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Go visit Kelly at Pass the Torch. Then, PRETTY-PLEASE comment! For every comment she receives (one per blogger), she's donating $1 to St. Jude Medical Research Hospital (up to $500). CAN YOU IMAGINE 500 comments? Not me, flea! Sooo, no matter "what" kind of reader you are, a regular or someone who hits the Blogger nav bar, please visit Kelly and let her know you popped over from PENSIEVE. Thanks mes amies!

  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (13)

Mama's Packin' Heat
While back in the Carolinas for a family Christmas gathering, I tried something I've never done before...and I'm afraid I liked it just a little too much! I shot skeet. Although not very good at it--I hit about 20%--it sure was fun. Cocked and loaded, from shotguns we progressed to pistols, and my itchy sure and steady trigger finger got to know a .22, a .38 and a .45--nice to meet cha! The .45 knocked me backwards.
Just l o o k at that gleam in my eye (well, there IS one behind my sunglasses) as I was getting used to the feel of the .22 and .38 (I think). Why did everyone run for cover when they saw a gun in my hands?

My form was ridiculous. There I was thinking how cool I was, and then I saw these pictures. Something tells me that assuming a stance with feet shoulder length apart with a swayback arch isn't exactly good form. Then again, who's gonna tell a woman with a loaded gun she doesn't "look quite right"? (hehe)

I had recycling on the brain, our targets were water-filled 2-liter bottles. On the ground. That part didn't thrill me, but since there were cows in the pasture...high dollar registered cattle--I didn't balk. For some reason, my hit ratio improved with a stationery target.

Later that day my shoulder was sore and it slowly dawned on me: I was bruised from the shotgun kicking back. That just made my day. It was kind of a pathetic "badge of honor", a cheap thrill, for a middle-aged mom.

My appetite has been whetted...I'm ready to play again....anyone game??

  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (9)

Sunday, December 24
For God so loved the world....
He gave....

May you delight in the beauty, generosity and expectancy of Christmas throughout this season.

Merry Christmas, friends :).

  Into the pensieve on Sunday, December 24, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (9)

Saturday, December 23
Happy Festivus!
(Note: I wrote this post early this week because I knew my weekend was going to spin about 1,000 rpm.....and it is ;)....PLUS, what I didn't know, I am VERY computer impaired, and pretty doggone thankful I wrote this post in advance, because it's a very important one and I probably wouldn't have been able to link everything I wanted and post pictures otherwise.

In follow-up to yesterday's post, I have a million replies, just not able to think anything though right now :)...still, thank each of you for your kind words, thoughts and prayers. Figured I should post this...disclaimer??? explanation??? so y'all wouldn't think I was totally manic and bi-polar....I prefer to call it...hmmmm...ah, yes, as my husband says..."I'm a complicated woman." Gotta run, this borrowed computer has to go back to its rightful owner. Toodles!)

All you wanted to know and then some, right here :) Festivus is my favorite fake holiday of them all!

Get your own Festivus Pole here.

You can order Festivus Wine here.

Ah, yes, capitalism at its best--only in America can you make money off a show about nothing!

  Into the pensieve on Saturday, December 23, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (6)

Friday, December 22
Before I begin writing, you have the courtesy of a warning. There are squillions of warm and fuzzy, festive and funny, light and nostalgic, spiritual and thought-provoking blog posts waiting to be read. This is not one of them. This is one of those times I long for a real pensieve, so I could empty my mind...and heart...of heavy thoughts; not to forget them, just to store them away for a time when there weren't so many of them.

For over a week, I've been painfully reminded that Christmas is not a happy time for many people. Perhaps in their own childhood, there was abuse or neglect, or maybe it was a simple case of parents so caught up in the trappings of the season, it held no meaning or circumstance apart from excessive materialism, which ultimiately breeds discontent. For others, perhaps loss of a loved one leaves them feeling lonely and in grief. There are a million scenarios with just as many sad circumstances, and several of these have hit very close to home.

My former pastor lost his wife this Spring to leukemia. She was also a good friend to me. Married for over 30 years, she LOVED Christmas, her home was decorated from roof to, I imagine, basement. Think Griswolds, lol. There wasn't a room in their house that didn't have some kind of Christmas icon, a gazillion Santa Clauses, which I always thought funny. She hosted parties for anyone and everyone because that fed her soul; and a tradition for me and my children was to visit them each season, mainly to look at her Christmas village. Because they had pastored for years, they had many friends in many places; everyone knew Anne loved Christmas, and whenever they were looking for a gift to give her, they'd choose a piece of this village for her. Her family must've done the same. It was the most extensive city I've ever seen before, she had more pieces than most stores who sell the stuff--MOVING pieces, too. Carousels and ice skating rinks and I think Santa with a sleigh flying around. My kids loved it, and their Christmas train, too. This will be Shelton's (and their adult children and grandchildren) first Christmas without her. He's been on my mind a lot. They were more than pastor and wife to our family, they invited us into their lives.

Then, there's Sandy and Alice. Their husbands left them last week. LAST WEEK! :( These are not close friends of mine, but they are in my "sphere" and they are friends. Between the two of them, they have six children. In one case, it's been coming for a long time; but in the other, total shock (at least publically). My heart BREAKS for these women who are dying on the inside, who don't want this to be happening, who are helpless to stop it. I'm sure they are shell-shocked and going through the motions for the sake of their children. Their children...their babies...who most certainly are not having a "merry Christmas" and will possibly be over-indulged with "things" to compensate for this loss of daddy. Maybe not, but I could see it. How could these husbands--FATHERS--leave their families NOW? Whatever happened last weekend, didn't just happen then, why couldn't they suck it up for the sake of their kids? It infuriates me and grieves me.

Similarly, we received a Christmas card from one of my dearest friends this week. It was she and her two children. Her divorce is in the final stages, and the absence of her husband in the picture was a visual reminder that her marriage is almost dead. I know my friend, I KNOW what she was thinking when that photograph was taken; I can imagine what was going through her children's minds. Their eyes bespoke sadness, I wonder if anyone else sees that.

Then there's my friend, Teresa. I've written about her before, one of my earliest posts. I wish I could say I've spent more time with her the past year than I have; it's easy not to make time for her. Recently, she's been back in the hospital, twice in the past three weeks. They're poor. They're renting a home and have the bare essentials. We've been in touch lately because I can't bear the thought of her daughter not having gifts for Christmas (she's 14). What Teresa wants to get for her daughter is not excessive; it's not socks and underwear, but it's not too far removed from that. The Christmas money she had was stolen when she was admitted to the hospital last week. Barely able to speak, she called me, frantic. That part can be fixed; what can't be is Teresa's health. She's been given--her "best" case scenario--a two-year life sentence. While she was in the hospital this time, I asked her if they had a Christmas tree. Again, I'm looking at what we have, and I'm reminded of what they don't. Her reply? She had splurged on a $29 pre-lit tree (a 60% off bargain), and she was pleased--"We've come a long way from last year, last year we didn't even have one" (they were in a motel at the time). When I asked her what we could do for her, she just asked for my friendship, she needed a friend to help encourage her when she was down; she's also trying to stop smoking and asked me to hold her accountable. She's held onto that because it's the one thing in her life she can control, it's her way of "giving the finger" to her plight. I'd probably smoke, too, if I was her.

These are some of the biggies, there are other "lesser" things going on around me, lesser only in comparison, not because they aren't significant.

I'm a positive person, always looking for the good in people and circumstance. It's my modus operandi. I believe Romans 8:28 with all my heart. I believe there's an ebb and flow to life described beautifully and familiarly in Ecclesiastes 3.

But this week, I started "sinking". I figured it was due from the weight of the above, but then it occurred to me it was more than that. One year ago today, while I was visiting my father in the hospital, the doctor unexpectedly told us he was in his dying hours...that "this" was it...that he wouldn't make it to Christmas. Daddy was in good physical health, but having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's summer before last, his mental health was not good. That being said, he was fully functioning, even driving (yikes!), prior to the hospital ER giving him a dose of seroquel that his body had an adverse reaction to, leading to a chain of events that almost killed him. It appears he actually has Lewy Bodies Disease, the second most common form of dementia behind Alzheimers, but an important distinction because of the patient's likely adverse reaction to "typical" drugs used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimers.

We reeled under the news of my father's impending death, it was a shock. My sister and brother drove to meet me and his wife at the hospital, and we all had the opportunity to tell him "good-bye". Looking back, I can't help but smile, I swear we looked like a bad made-for-tv-movie, each one of us telling him the cliche things you're supposed to tell someone in these circumstances, for us, they fit (and of course, it was very personal). As the night progressed, Daddy began to improve. By improve, I mean gaining consciousness and talking out of his mind, trying desperately to carry on conversation with us, but making no sense, eventually entertaining us with his insanity and inappropriateness. We cried oceans that day; first from grief, eventually, from hilarity. A surreal day from start to finish.

That was a year ago today. He didn't die, not physically, anyway. But that would have been a much kinder fate than the year we all have endured. He has had to have 24-hour care for a year. For ten months, we had caregivers with him and his wife in their home, with my siblings and I helping as often as we could. As I've written before, I thought it a rather noble and romantic notion for parent and child to reverse roles until I lived it, but there is nothing romantic about a daughter caring for her father. I hope with all my heart he isn't aware of the indiginities he's had to suffer; at times he expressed embarrassment, but you never know how much he understands.

It has become to much for him to remain at home, even with 24-hour care. For the past two months he's been in a specialized senior mental health facility, for the purpose of regulating his behavior with meds so he would be stable enough for nursing home admittance. I can barely type that, hate doesn't begin to express how I feel about this, despising him having to do this. He would hate this. It's a horrible end of life. The mercy for him...and us...would have been for him to have died a year ago today. Death is not the worst thing that can happen sometimes.

Last night I received a despondent call from sister, then later his wife. It seems the facility wants him out TODAY and they've given us no notice. They're saying they found a place that will take him, but it's over five hours from his family, eight from me. All of a sudden everything is in fast gear and feels like it's spinning out of control and I can't do a thing about it. Their social worker told us he had been declined over a dozen times due to his behavior (he's agitated and acts out at times) or lack of beds, but his wife discovered at least two places had either not processed his paperwork, or didn't have it at all (she called to inquire herself). So either this social worker isn't doing her job or she's lying. I wish I knew the whole story, something is not adding up. In spite of a post I wrote a long, long time ago, there remains no good answer for his situation.

There are positives, at least he can afford to pay for his healthcare, something most people, I imagine, in his circumstances are not able to do. I've tried to seek God through the circumstance; I've prayed that as I come into contact with people that I wouldn't normally apart from Daddy's illness, I would reflect Christ in how I respond to them (sometimes that means I might be the only "Jesus" they ever see...). I've prayed God would continue to shape and transform ME through these crappy circumstances....

Anyway, I was already sinking before I got those calls.... I've found it "better" to be concerned about others, than to slow down and think about myself, but it catches up eventually I suppose. I've been in one of my insomnia phases, that's gotta be a contributer to my altered state of mind, too--every night for maybe a week I wake up at 3 and can't fall back asleep.... I envy those who sleep all night, lol, one of those things I've come to appreciate in my 40s, that I never knew you SHOULD appreciate...:).

It's early...still dark outside. And raining, I do love a good rain, but this morning it personifies my spirit.

Stephen will be up soon, and we're off to see Santa, creepy or not. It'll do me good, that kid is STILL so excited in spite of his new-found knowledge this year. I don't get it, but I love it.

If you read this far, and honestly, I can't imagine anyone doing so, I'm fine...I'll be fine. I don't sink long and writing it has already made me feel better. If you are a person of faith, I would appreciate your prayers for Shelton...and Sandy...and Alice...and Teresa...and their families. And, oh, yeah...for me. :)

  Into the pensieve on Friday, December 22, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (20)

Thursday, December 21
Borrowed Time
As a Christmas procrastinator extraordinaire, I am most thankful for little-girl-Robin, who wrote today's post over three decades ago. She must have known that in the future, I would put off whatever I could until the last minute, and then cram as much in as possible in a single day. I wish I had found her buried treasure in college; it might've helped me out a time or two when I was on a deadline.

This is vintage me: I waited until this week to photograph my children for a picture to send out with Christmas cards (which one of y'all had hers addressed in freakin' NOVEMBER and was worried about sending them out too soon?? smack, smack! ;) ). Murphey's Law is raging in these parts...BOTH our digital cameras are on the blitz :( (I really NEEDED to win Ree's little competition) and although I tried to take pictures, Rachel AND Thomas are sick, add in two sick cameras, and I got nothin'. Nada. Blurry, red-eyed nightmares, kids AND photographs themselves (lol). Soooo, I scrolled through some beach pictures and chose one where they're all genuinely happy, even though it's not what I'd really like to send out (you know, the "perfect" perfectly-staged fake-smile-so-mom-will-hurry-up-when-they're-annoying-the-snot- outta- each-other-between-clicks shot). I had copies made today, the cards hopefully will go out BEFORE Christmas, but most won't likely make it until after. Have I mentioned I haven't even begun addressing them?

You might ask, "Why bother?". Tad did. This is one of those things I'm SURE drive him crazy about me (it drives ME crazy about me!). But....I LOVE to receive cards from old friends, especially those who live out of town--it's our way of seeing their children grow up. A lot changes in a year. And I really don't care if they arrive in December or in time for Groundhog Day.

So, once I post, you'll know what I'm up to--some of which I bet y'all are up to, some of which you've already done...wrapping presents, cooking goodies, completing Christmas cards and maybe cleaning (ha! now THAT'S likely...about as much as a white Christmas in the Tennefreakinsee Valley!).

So, without further pontification about the minutia of my life, here are a few excerpts from my little book. Obviously, we were to write stories with a moral; just as obvious, I didn't mind plagiarizing. These might be funny only to me, but if you're looking for at least a smile (as you remember your own elementary creative writing assignments), I hope you find one.

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, December 21, 2006
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Wednesday, December 20
I paid dearly for this picture...
...Thomas cried for the hour following his visit to Santa's lap, totally traumatized by the fat scary man with white hair, long beard, and strange clothes. Although Thomas WAS a character from the womb-to-this-day, he did not LIKE characters of any sort. At Chuck E Cheese, he closed his eyes when Chuck E appeared; Thomas very much believed "If I can't see you, you don't exist". At amusement parks, if strolling characters came within 20 feet invaded his "personal bubble", he clung to me like white on rice, closed his eyes and wailed like a banshee. So, it only makes sense he'd react to Santa Claus the same way, right?

So, keenly aware of his aversion to pretend people or beasts, why would I put this poor child through this ordeal?

Because I'm a mother, that's why, and we have certain photo opportunities. And because at this same age, Rachel cried at the sight of Santa and I didn't MAKE HER SUCK IT UP have her picture taken with him that year--to this day, I regret it. I wasn't about to let another Santa photo opp pass me by, regardless of the consequence. I'm sure Santa was thrilled, of course I had to snap several pictures.

This remains one of my favorite pictures of them...just look at the expression on Rachel's face, lol. Wonder what she was thinking?

Here's another favorite Christmas photo. Rachel's lips are pursed and juicy because she was kissing the angels in her arms. Rachel got away with murder when she was little, her way around "not" touching breakable things was to kiss them. Who could say "no" when she'd toddle-speak, "But I juss wanna tiss dem"?? Those are very nice Lee Middleton dolls...I bought the girl angel before Rachel was born, the companion boy version after. I've never played with or collected dolls (I loved stuffed animals as a child, not dollies, except for the Barbie phase....), but when I saw that doll, I had to have it. HAD TO! $130 later, it was mine, and I still can't believe I plunked down that chunk of change for a doll......not just once, but TWICE!

Anyway, that's beside the point, lol. I captured that look in between kisses, she always handled special things with tenderness and affection....because she wanted to make daggum sure she'd get to "tiss" the next pretty thing she wanted to get her chubby little girl hands on. I don't think I ever said "no" and remarkably, she never broke a thing.

  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, December 20, 2006
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Tuesday, December 19
I wasn't exactly the REAL Mary, Mother of God....
....but I got to play her in my preschool nursery program. It's interesting to me now that I wasn't cast as an angel; even at the tender age of four, I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. They sang "Silent Night"...I was silent.

I had forgotten about this, but when I got bogged down with my doing anything...EVERYTHING BUT cleaning, I found this clipping. And it brought back some of my earliest childhood memories. I REMEMBER throwing hay at "Joseph". The short wise man to my right was my high school sweetie. We didn't realize we had known each other as preschoolers when we began dating in high school, I'm not sure at what point we discovered we were destined for each other from our earliest years. Which reminds me, we were supposed to get married September 17, 1985. It was on a Tuesday, but I didn't care, I chose it because I "liked" the date....whatever THAT means. Sounds "so high school".

Wanna hear something really....odd? As much as it touches my heart to see this, in spite of the fact my heart EXPLODED when my own daughter was cast to play Mary a few years ago, I think these re-enactments profane the truth. They sanitize it and make it a "cute", one-dimensional event, rather than the amazing, painful, smelly, uncertain, bloody, lonely, time-defining, incomparable, life-giving MIRACLE it was.

And still is.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. The Gospel of Luke 2:4~20

  Into the pensieve on Tuesday, December 19, 2006
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This TICKS ME OFF >:-(
Of all the posts I've written, I cannot believe these "comments" were left at this one :(! It INFURIATES me that I HAVE to re-enable word verification. Hate is not within me, but if it was, vermin like these people who troll blogs (or create bots to do their dirty work for them) and comment TRASH would be at the top of my list. They are among the lowest of life forms, barely above men who abuse their wives and children, and pedophiles.

Just in case any additional pondscum find their way to my blog, I've broken all the links.

101 free s$x positions

an$l g$rl le$b$an s$x

as$an g$rls get f$#%ed

Bjorn Steinhauer

This....grieves me.

  Into the pensieve on Tuesday, December 19, 2006
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Monday, December 18
Ripple effect
I've written several posts in the past about how our actions affect others, the power of influence, sometimes, when we don't even know it. Here's a quickie, that if it motivates one person to do something differently, I would be thrilled. If two people respond, well then, I'll turn a cartwheel. Three? I'll make something very chocolicious! AND SHARE :).

For her birthday, Karmyn asked her readers to extend a random act of kindness to others. Recently, Mary/Mert did something for me, in spite of the fact she's recovering from surgery and she's had sick babies:(. She designed a blinkie for me and Swampwitch for our recycling challenge, aka S.P.E.A.R. 2007. Lookie here:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Isn't it the dandiest? If you're taking part in our challenge, please feel free to pick it up to bling your sidebar with a little green :). (Email me if cutting and pasting doesn't work...). And for heaven's sake, whether or not you're "participating", Just do SOMETHING!! One thing is better than NOTHING, right? Baby steps, not giant leaps (for us recycling newbies). We're not trying to solve world's more like feeding your neighbor.

And your actions WILL affect others, maybe ever-so-slightly, but at least positively.

THANKS TO MERT for her generosity of time...SHE ROCKS!

  Into the pensieve on Monday, December 18, 2006
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Sunday, December 17
If I ask you V E R Y nicely, would you please....
...please, pretty-please "please", with chocolate and whipped cream and cherries and what-ever-cranks- your-motor PLEASE click over to Karmyn's and tell her "Happy Not-40th Birthday"? And then give her the present she asks for?
"For my Birthday Present, I am asking EVERYONE to please go out and perform a Random Act of Kindness....Even if that means giving your extra change to the Salvation Army Bucket - DO IT! Then tell me what you did. That would mean a lot to me."
Seems like lots of people would receive a present if you do what she asks :).

Then, pop over to the Blogging Chicks Carnival at OwlHaven, click and leave the girls a comment.

Merci, mes amies!

  Into the pensieve on Sunday, December 17, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (5)

Saturday, December 16
Due to technical difficulties...
...I have suspended WV for the time being. Commenting is difficult enough these days. I'm taking a queue from Susan and I guess if spammers or freaky people start posting, it'll be re-enabled. Blogger is TICKING me off because it keeps saying my Beta is "ready" for me, but when I tried to switch, it won't let me, I'm guessing because of my fabulouso design :/.

I've gotta do something...soon. It's not fun when blogging becomes a hassle.

And, thanks to Pam for emailing to tell me she TRIED to comment, and to Pamela who put into practice, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try....again."

Miss y'all. Mean it. ;)

  Into the pensieve on Saturday, December 16, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (10)

Friday, December 15
Cinquain (well, sorta)
Although this does not follow the syllabic "formula" for cinquain, it does follow the general form:

First Line: (2 syllables) One word, giving title
Second Line: (4 syllables) Two words, describing title
Third Line: (6 syllables) Three words, expressing action
Fourth Line: (8 syllables) Four words, expressing a feeling
Fifth Line: (2 syllables) Another word for the title.

What intrigues me is my choice of subject as a fourth grader--all four represent sources of inspiration for me now: creation, people, creatures & beasts, spirituality.

The "Karen" mentioned in the second poem was a student teacher; she was the "brain" behind this writing project. I had a crush on her, I still remember how SWEET she was, and for the longest time, I wanted to be a teacher so I could be like her. Gosh, I wish I knew where she was so I could thank her for this book of mine.

Next up, we'll look at some stories with morals.

  Into the pensieve on Friday, December 15, 2006
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Thursday, December 14
Ooo La La! It's Quiz Time!
When we go to France and eat in little bistros, and sample local wines, this is what you must call me. I will answer.

Your French Name is:

Audrey Charette
What's Your French Name?

~ Merci :)

You are
What Rejected Crayon Are You?

Under the category of ENTIRELY TMI, this is so freaking true it's not even funny. Except, to me, it was hilarious! The only question asked is what color underwear you're wearing.

Someone at Blogthings is three shades of messed up. Maybe I'll apply for a job ;).

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, December 14, 2006
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Treasure Hunt
While I was sucking time looking for some very important pictures when I was supposed to be cleaning and decorating my house, these are some gems I mined, priceless treasures from my youth.

Fine Art: A lovely yarn-moulded, tin foil relief

I am rather certain I got the picture of this bird off some kind of "ladies product", but for the life of me, I can't remember what now. It was not Dove soap, it was something more personal, like maxi pads or birth control or something. I remember hoping no one would recognize where I got it.

This is one of my FAVORITE childhood pictures...most of them aren't nearly this stinkin' adorable, and because this one is, I'm not at all above stating the obvious. That cutie-patootie could have sold doll babies or Easy Bakes or something. This is when chubby really IS cute.

Ahhh, but chock FULL of blog fodder. Apparently, I was quite "touched" gifted as a precocious nine-year-old. Too bad the original cover art disintegrated. I'm sure it was spectacular judging from what lies beneath.

Stay tuned...reading this stuff, I realize my drama-queeness-exhibitionism came very early in life. My mama was sick...I was a middle child. I had to do something for attention. Reading it again, I laughed until I cried. Love it when that happens.

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, December 14, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (11)

Wednesday, December 13
I am gonna be so busted for writing this post...!
My husband has commented to my blog a total of two times --anonymously-- since I gave him "permission" to read it, which was over six months AFTER I began writing. Until that time, I wrote in complete obscurity. I always wrote as if I were being read, but no one had my URL (except for Blogger bloggers who hit the scroll when I updated, clearly, an accident). I think I lurked around the blogosphere, lacking confidence to throw in my two cents anywhere, but honestly, it's hard to remember now. The first comment I ever received was from an Irish blogger, which I thought was pretty cool. Still do.

I know he reads me and he's tried to post a few more times, but that pesky word verification sends him back into hiding, scampering for cover. Word verifications can be vewry scawry for blogger neophytes that way. I've removed it a few times, but every time I do THAT, vewry scawry comments find their way to the ol' Pensieve, so, I'd rather do without a few comments then invite spammers.

The other thing I know about my husband is he bores easily when it comes to reading. If he sees a long post, he moves along. So, you see? I'm trying to make this post long before I get to the point of it, in the hopes that he'll stop before he finds out what I've been up to since he's been gone. Conniving, aren't I?

#1) I stay up waaaaay too late. This makes perfect sense: I'll be so dead-dog- tired when finally snuggling under the covers, when the robbers and axe murderers break in, I'll be house-ransacked, broke and dead before I know what hit me. Relatively painless. That is, if they get past our trained pet rottweiller, MaimMe, video surveillance, and the .45 parked by my bed. Did I mention before kids I worked as a police officer and was repeatedly recognized for my razor-sharp reflexes and shooting skill? Nothing left of the bullseye when my smokin' pistol twirled back into its holster.

#2) I seem to blog more...writing, not reading. Must be tied to #1 somehow.

#3) I create MORE work by cleaning my house. In all things related to weather, it's the "calm before the storm"; in all things related to my housekeeping skills--which are quite the opposite of my firearm skills--it's the "storm before the calm". It gets worse before it gets better. Don't believe me? Take a look.

These are most of the bags and boxes our Christmas decorations are stored in. This is what you might call a "staging" area. In about an hour, all of this junk will be tucked away in the attic, and Tad will never know it sat here for two days. It doesn't bother me a bit, nor the children, but the cat is getting kind of twitchy. She naps on this sofa. But don't tell Tad. (She's was behind the big red bag on the right when I snapped this shot.)Our upstairs is not decorated, except for Stephen's room...he has a two-foot Christmas tree and various Christmas statues. I love this about him.

Next, this basket of laundry has sat here since Monday as well. Apparently we have enough clean underwear and towels without putting it away. That will be done after the above-mentioned boxes are in the attic. The way I see it, at least the laundry is FOLDED! At least it hasn't sat in the dryer--or heaven forbid, the washer, cultivating a nice mildew crop!

I saved the best/worst for last--a picture of pictures. THIS is where I got bogged down. THIS little exercise sucked more time than me blogging.


Whew! Give the girl some more COFFEE! She's twitchier than the cat!!

I did not find the pictures; if/when I do, they will be blogged, and as you know, linked back to this post. I hope I can find them, although it's probably "better" in my memory than it is in actuality. Whatever, it'll make some fun stories to write. The John-Lennon-look-alike pic perhaps less so than the painted-up-hussy one.

The GOOD thing, for me, is I found some fabuloso material for future posts. In fact, I'm gonna go take care of those boxes and laundry, and possibly write some more today.

Because, tonight Tad comes home. And I'll get back to "normal". And not blog binge...or stay up so late...or "clean" like a tornado;) (for you, Pete)(CLARIFICATION: I am NOT cleaning for Willowtree, the reference to "cleaning like a tornado" was a nod to an earlier rant post of his this week!!!!). I'll stop being so self absorbed in writing and actually read some! (And for the record, I haven't been able to post comments to Beta bloggers--not for lack of trying and then trying again--so I finally gave up reading anybody! Too durn frustrating.)

If I'm lucky, Tad glazed over after reading the first two paragraphs and he'll never know that a train's been through our house :).

  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, December 13, 2006
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Jammin' to Jesus, Disco and The Killers
I constantly channel surf the radio in my car. Why listen to commercials or crapola, when 12 pre-sets and six CDs eagerly await their turn with a press of a button? Goodness knows, I'm lyrics impaired--outside of "The Alphabet Song" and "Happy Birthday", I'm sure to butcher the words to just about every song I know. This is why I bow to Cheeky's prowess. That girl knows the word to every song written since 1970- something. Or at least she sounds like she does, the way she shucks & jives all the time (ha!). The ability to Google lyrics is something I should record in our Thankful Box. Then, again, what I usually come up with is much more imaginative :).

This morning I was hip-hoppin' with Toby Mac in "Made to Love", spinning from "Night Fever" with the Bee Gees, and head-banging with "Mr. Brightside".

And I still contend I am the most sane insane person you will ever meet. I just have eclectic music tastes.

  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, December 13, 2006
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Tuesday, December 12
Providence and Irony
Tad made a quick trip to GOD'S COUNTRY South Carolina this week, and we contemplated my tagging along. His days would be occupied with work, and I would've been cut loose to visit family, lunch with friends, Christmas shop, and basically be released from the demands of home, freed from the bondage of what "needed" to get done. Nights would be ours;).

Historically, childcare has been an issue, we have no family nearby. Perhaps one of the things for which we are most thankful are a few friends here who gladly care for our children, allowing us occasional getaways. We love our babies, but we love our time away. Personally, I think it allows us to love our babies even better (not "more", just better).

At the last minute, we decided for me to stay home. There's work still to be completed on the bathroom renovation (did you forget about it? How could I?? I'm still living out of an overnight bag!), I have some fun things planned later in the week, we're hosting a Christmas party Saturday night, and I STILL have to finish putting out our Christmas decorations. I'm as slow as a snail when it comes to this, I decorate like I clean: start. stop. here. ADHA child when it comes to matters of housekeeping and decorating (and probably a host of other things "to do").

Tad had been gone less than four hours when the first "crisis" occurred, and I could not have been more thankful for remaining home. There have been two so far, and I'm praying there's not a third.

This goes with "Providence" in the post title. Once I began writing, this got so long, I needed a break. I'll come back later to write the "Irony" part... for now, read this and weep, I am.

[1] Shortly after we arrived home from school yesterday, Thomas rushed into the house with a panicked look on his face. "Mom! Help! Stephen just asked if Santa Claus was real!"

This is when I despise the "honesty police" that lives within me; when asked a direct question, I'll give you a direct answer, and it might not be the one you want to hear--I sooo wish I could just give you the one you want to hear sometimes. But if I think you "look fat in those pants" or your haircut looks ridiculous, or I don't wanna eat at the restaurant you suggested, you'll know it. Don't ask if you don't wanna hear Robin's version of the truth. I'm kind in response, I try to spin it nicely, but if you listen, you'll hear what I'm saying. I've been accused of being brutal (which, to me, is both a curse and a compliment).

So, my advice to Thomas was to throw the question back to Stephen, to ask him what HE thought. Thomas had already done that. I told him if Stephen persisted, to encourage him to ask me or Tad and we'd handle it.

Sometimes Thomas' sweetness balms my soul. He was aching for Stephen himself, realizing that his little brother was "growing up", and even he wanted him to still believe in Santa Claus. "I just feel so bad for him, I don't want him to know," and he meant it. I asked Thomas if Stephen mentioned kids talking about it at school, but he said Stephen had simply concluded "there was no way Santa could live forever...." I don't know why I thought Thomas might be waiting for opportunity to bust Stephen's bubble about this, I guess as one of four siblings, I know kids can be cruel for sport. I had a great friendship with my siblings, but when I was that age, I messed with their minds when given the chance.

Thomas returned to shooting hoops, and not two minutes later, Stephen was in the house. He looked like he had seen a ghost. "Mom, I have kind of a random question. Is Santa Clause...." before he could finish his sentence, as he saw the solemness of my expression, he knew the answer before I could respond. He collapsed into my lap, unable to hold back his tears, my mommy-heart crying in silent unison. I was rendered speechless...every thought I had was trite, cliché, pointless. The only comfort I could give was to smother him in my arms and let him cry...let him be a little boy who mourned this coming-of-age child who, out of everyone in our family, most delighted in the MAGIC of Christmas...HE was the first to retrieve his ornaments from the attic, HE was the one who helped me unpack our decorations, HE is the one who dug through another storage area to pull out our collection of Christmas books, HE prided in arranging our crèches, HE's the one who waters the tree...are you getting a picture of why this breaks my heart? This MATTERED to him. He's nine, which is kind of old to still believe (especially with an older brother and sister), yet he wasn't embarrassed or self conscious to ask when we were going to visit Santa.

I wasn't about to pontificate "the true meaning of Christmas" to him, or stress the spiritual dimensions of the holiday. To me, that would be cruel...manipulative...a guilt inducer for something for which he had no reason to feel guilty. He knows all that, he didn't need a reminder.

I imagine there will be those who google how to respond to this question. Sadly, no pearls of wisdom from me, no wise and masterfully articulated, "Yes,Virginia,there is a Santa Claus". Just the freedom for him to cry it out while he came to terms with the truth, in the safety and security of an embrace that quietly--but most assuredly--ministered "love". I am beyond thankful I was home to field this question.

Which, even Stephen knows, matters more than Santa.

After he said his prayers and I kissed him good night last night, as I was leaving his room, he asked, "Can we still go see Santa Claus?" You betcha:)!

If you're visiting from a Jenny's "Naked & Free" post, I'd love to hear your thoughts, too. And thanks for letting me "get naked" with you....

  Into the pensieve on Tuesday, December 12, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (21)

Me Talk Dirty One Day
Okay, okay, my apologies to David Sedaris...although I've never read him, I like the title of that book, and from reviews I HAVE read, I'd probably enjoy it. With all Swampy's inferences to "trash talkin'", it's the phrase that kept running through my mind for a post title for my next entry in our recycling series. So, there ya go, it's how I think.

Through a blogger chain of events, we've begun SPEAR 2007, a challenge to begin recylcing in our own homes, with an invitation for YOU to join us. Thanks for your feedback so far; it's encouraging to hear your thoughts.

Beginning can be daunting. I've begun researching information and statistics related to recycling, and you can imagine the zillions and zillions of sites out there! Too much to process, too much to read. It's best to remember Rome wasn't built in a day. We're having to establish NEW habits, and rather than trying to "build a city", we're simply "redecorating a home".

I thought it interesting that at EXATLY the same time Swampwitch and I were exchanging thoughts about this challenge, I noticed a recycle logo on a Target bag. These are simple tips for reusing grocery bags, the type suggestion that will keep this challenge manageable. They're all common sense, but sometimes it helps to have it s-p-e-l-l-e-d out for ya. If you aren't already doing these, why not put some of these into practice today?
1) Tiny trashcan liner
2) Doggy duty
3) Water balloon (yikes!)
4) Roadtrip Rubbish (might I add barf bag??)
5) Soggy laundry
6) Ice pack for head lump
7) Toiletry Tote (who needs a cute little Vera Bradley or Kate Spade case for such?)
8) Kitty litter liner
9) Tomorrow's lunchbag
10) Care package padding (I know, I know, it's not the same as Marnie's air-filled bags...!)

  Into the pensieve on Tuesday, December 12, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (8)

I've always thought I had LOTS of personality (very self-aware, you know), but never realized I had LOTS of personalitIES--of all the hilarious ways people managed to google and find my blog, this one takes the cake, it's even better than "pink leopard suitcases" or "what do bloody boogers mean?":

December 12th 200609:44:26 personalities cybil&btnG=Search

I don't need to read blogs. I don't need to write posts. For entertainment, I just need to read my stat checker!

Do I really sound like three shades of crazy when I write???? Wait...don't answer that! But do tell me your wackiest referral :).

P.S. Great...just GREAT! Now, I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Look at this one (YIKES!)...and the search brought them HERE???

December 12th 200610:27:39 are the words to the lymerick%2C There once was a man from Nantucket%3F&FORM=MSNH

For the record, the post they hit was one of the most fun ones I've ever enjoyed, and no, no mention of the man from Nantucket. Check it out here--you will NOT want to skip the comments:)!

Man, I need to walk away from the light.......!

  Into the pensieve on Tuesday, December 12, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (9)

Monday, December 11
It's Not Easy Being Green
It's not about Kermit the Frog.
And it's not about Kermit the Frog hawking Ford Escape Hybrids (although the latter is closer than the former).

A few weeks ago, I wrote one of those Five Things You Probably Don't Know About Me posts. In it, I confessed with my tail between my legs admitted to not being a re-cycler and feeling guilty about it. We don't have curbside pick-up, anything we did would require effort, and although I'm not proud to admit it, the path of least resistance won out. We've done nothing...outside of me helping each one of my children construct some type of re-cycling class project over the past five years, which produced more mother-guilt, and I think, did more harm than good.

What do I mean by this? Lip service...hypocrisy...not reinforcing at home what was taught in the classroom. In matters of faith, this breeds a false and shallow religion which serves neither God nor man. In matters of life, this breeds a dangerous sort of duplicity, expousing a set of values where there's no substance or action to support them. If I agree with or believe what's being taught in the classroom, it's my role as a parent to reinforce it, to support it; I guess if I don't agree with it, to explain an alternate point of view and why I think differently. As my older children have entered middle school, I've encouraged their freedom to challenge and question subjective material; not to accept opinion as fact. It's family lore that my grandfather used to say "Don't believe anything you read or hear and only half of what you see" and my children are beginning to understand what I (he) mean by that.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the beauty of creation...the better I understand my role in its stewardship...the more clearly I see the ripple effect of my actions, not just relative to environment, but also to people. For the next 4-8 years, my best opportunity for changing the world is through my influence on my own children. If I "change" them, I'm changing the world. And I think this change begins with ME.

In the comments section of my "Five Things..." post, Swampwitch had this to say:

"I don't recycle either and I have great guilt about that. I think that will be my new project for 2007. If you'll do it, I'll do it... a challenge?"

And that's where change began with me. A fellow blogger throws down the gauntlet, and all of a sudden I'm "in" (but NOT like Flynn...or Flint;) ). And so begins SPEAR 2007--Swampy's and Pensieve's Excellent Adventure in Recycling.

Doing anything with the illustrious Swampwitch will be an adventure...just learning to translate her globberisms has been daunting. Here's her first post about our challenge; be sure to read this to get a better idea of who I'm in cahoots with! She's a hoot!

We're starting SPEAR 2007 early, because heaven forbid if it was a New Year's Resolution--THOSE are made to be BROKEN! Our goal is longer-term, lifestyle change, to become more aware of our action AND inaction, and to understand how both affect others. If you're already "green", thanks for doing your part to take care of Planet Earth. Share your tips and ideas (here and at Swampy's). Encourage us. Hold us accountable, and if necessary, smack us around;) If you've not yet hopped on the bandwagon, there's plenty of room to join us! Recycling is kind of like dieting or exercise--much more fun with a friend :).

So what are you waiting for? Prizes will be awarded. And there will be LOTS of winners :D.

  Into the pensieve on Monday, December 11, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (13)

Please click the red's my current blogging spot!

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Married to my college sweet-heart :)...three GREAT kids I'm not selling to the circus today...I LOVE to laugh (& smile often) to read & cook, hate to shop (unless the store is very small and doesn't leave me dazed and confused). I'm scared of flying so although I'd like to travel more, I don't.

I've been pleasantly surprised to find life in my 40s to be an amazing time of transformation & discovery--of self, others, creation and the Creator.

Here's a partial explanation for my Blog title. I think it'd be cool if they really existed.

A Pensieve is a stone basin.... [One] can extract his or her own memories and place them in the Pensieve, especially to relieve the mind when it becomes too flooded with information. Anyone can examine the memories in the Pensieve, which also allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in the memories stored within...

A Pensieve first appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...

For the complete explanation, see
my 2/17/06 post.

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