thursday thirteen

It is 2018. I have not done a Thursday Thirteen since 2012. I just reread some of my old ones and was impressed with how they allow a graceful catch up. So, in the spirit of catch up, here we go.

1. After coming back from Arkansas for an extended stay last year, I was hired as a business coordinator at my present job. I enjoyed the work and it looked like a promising move. While we were on holidays in April, everything changed. People were hired and fired with abandon, it seemed. I came back to work at what seemed like a different company. My whole job shifted enormously, and I was basically nothing more than a receptionist – an un-busy receptionist. I began to loathe the job because it was so boring. A few weeks ago, I was brought onto the sales team. I have a very small territory, but I’m enjoying it so far. I’ve always thought I couldn’t sell to save my life, but after six months of being bored silly, I welcomed the opportunity. I’m excited to see what the next bit of my professional journey looks like.

2. I’m back in university – online. I hope to finish in February 2020. It will be 32 years in the making.

3. We have an empty nest and I'm happy as can be about that. Deborah is kind of a come-and-go child. I don’t know how long it will last, but the nest has been empty for a year, with a bit of come and go going on.

4. Stephanie and John Mark are in the process of adopting three children. That will give them a total of eight children. Can you imagine being a family of 10? I actually cannot. But if there is a family that can pull this off, it's them. I’m so proud of who they are. I look forward to getting well acquainted with my new grandchildren.

5. Hannah and Darian welcomed a little boy into their family on July 20. Little Ambrose Basil shares a birthday with his aunt Rachael. He is the chunkiest bundle of love and so cute.

6. His big sister Holly turns two this month. I just realized I’ve not shared anything about her on this blog. I must do that!! She has absolutely stolen my heart and I adore her.

7. Gordon and I have started a Wednesday night tradition of going to Gibsons. When we decided to start formalizing date night, the only criteria was that it be in Gibsons so we’d have to go for a drive to get there, extending our time together. We’ve come to look forward to date night. I always order halibut and Gordon always orders bbq ribs. No, we aren’t creatures of habit, not at all. It’s like going to Cheers where everyone knows your name – but they don’t know our name, they just know what we’ll order. It’s fun!!

8. Rachael and Kyle are getting married in April of next year (2019). I’m proud of them. They have a chaste relationship, they didn’t even kiss until they were engaged. I’m so thankful for the work God has done in Rachael’s life. She’s done a complete 180 since her teenage years. I’m so grateful.

9. Teenage years - just typing that made a lump appear in my throat. Teenage years – will I ever be able to think about them without a lump instantly forming, without my gut suddenly feeling tense, without tearing up? One thing I know and know well, God makes good come out of everything. As Stephanie says, God makes all things right. I know my kids’ troubled years will reap a harvest of good, somehow. I’m anxious to see what it will be.

10. Jessica – she’s another one that I’ve not mentioned here. Jessica is a “chosen daughter”. I met her six months after we moved here. It didn’t take long to figure out that our basement suite was for her and she’s lived downstairs for over two years. She is just “part of the family” I figure she’ll always be – unless some fellow steals her from us. But that would be cool too. She is 42, but she seems lots younger. I’m glad she’s “ours”.

11.Lily Belle. Yet another huge part of my life that I’ve not mentioned. Lily is four and I couldn’t love her more if she were my blood grandchild. She came into our lives right after we moved here when Hannah started babysitting her. Hannah told me over the phone that I was going to adore Lily and she knew what she was talking about. Lily and I became close quickly. Now, as often as her family will share her, I’ll take her. I love, love, love Lily.

12. I know God probably brought us to BC for a myriad of reasons. But the two that I’m most thankful for are Jessica and Lily.

13. Deborah is still in BC, struggling quite a lot. We see her when she’s got nothing better to do. She has a love / hate relationship with us. Sometimes she loves us, sometimes she hates us. I’m thankful she’s still in touch. My greatest fear is totally losing her – literally not knowing where she is. I ask Sts. Monica and Rita, both mothers of wayward children, to pray for her with the same fervor they prayed for their own. And I ask for God’s great mercy upon her.

thursday thirteen

Sibs and daddy1
2009, Valerie, Michael, Diane, Daddy, Stacie

1. I did a very foolish thing by not refilling a prescription. I've been out of it for about a week and a half. Bad, bad idea. Evidently it helps keep me sane.

2. I'm extraordinarily cranky and edgy.

3. I would kind of like to stab a few people with a fork.

4. Some people simply need a high five. In the face. With a chair.

5. Need those pills. I will get myself fired without them.

6. Went to the pharmacy. Took three pills right there at the counter.

7. Should be able to control the spastic tongue soon.

8. Wish I got paid for the hours it felt I worked today.

9. Did I mention it was a hard day at work?

10. I'm known for my smile, kindness, patience, positivity and good cheer. Literally. I hear it all the time.

11. I bet they're wondering what got hold of me this week.

12. Can't decide if I was surrounded by a--holes or if I was one. I think a bit of both. I seriously regret being such a crank.

13. This evening I talked to Stacie for a long time. We laughed and I felt much much better. Nothing like good sister time. I sure love her. And Diane. And Michael and Lawana. I have great siblings.


thursday thirteen

Greetings from Alberta.

1. I am home again, having had a wonderful trip to Arkansas to see the southern family. Deborah went with me, her first trip to Arkansas since she was four. Her highlight was spending lots of time with her biggest sister Stephanie.

2. I saw my precious grandchildren. I didn't just "see" them, I babysat them while Stephanie and John Mark took a little vacation to Cancun. (Sucks to be them, eh?) Babysitting Roman and Avery was amazing. I got really familiar with and fell more deeply in love with them. It was truly awesome.

(Memaw, Deborah and me, 2000)

Scan20104 3. There were a couple of unexpected turns during my trip that left me feeling extraordinarily blessed. My grandmother, the last of my grandparents, got very ill and the family was "called in" thinking she was dying. Because of this, I got to see extended family I haven't seen in 20-25 years. Specifically, I was very happy to see my cousins Paula, Vicki and Lisa. It had been so long. Without Memaw's illness, I wouldn't have seen them. Seeing them was a definite highlight of the trip.

4. My Uncle Corkey, on the other side of the family, passed away. It was very sad to see my cousins suffering, but I was so very glad that I got to see them. I haven't seen them in 20-25 years either. Seeing these cousins was another highlight.

5. It was great getting to be with my dad at his brother's funeral. All Daddy's kids were there and that was very very special for him.

6. My grandmother is still in the dying process. Her family is with her right now, probably singing and reading the Bible to her as I type this. That's what they've been doing over the past couple of days. They've expected her to die for several days now. All her remaining kids are with her and a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren. I can't be there, but I'm so very very thankful I got my goodbyes in last week when I saw her. As I was leaving her bedside last week I told her I was going back to Canada and she responded with "When will you be back?" Then we exchanged I love yous. I'm so so thankful.

(Memaw last year when I was down there, 2009)

Memaw 7. To be honest, I assumed my last three trips to Arkansas were my last time to see Memaw. But this time, I'm relatively sure was indeed the final one. She is 94. Thankfully she's been lucid up to now.

8. Deborah, who hasn't seen Memaw since she was four, got to sit by her bedside too. A couple times Deborah was briefly all alone with Memaw. When I walked in Deborah was stroking Memaw's arm. I was touched by her tenderness and sweetness. I was also touched by Memaw's gentleness. I'm sure she didn't know Deborah from Adam, but she smiled lovingly as if to tell Deborah she was special.

9. My book, which was dedicated to my dad, was a big hit with him. I just realized I've not posted since holding the first copy of my book, don't count the cows. It's a lovely little book, I must say. Chock full of mistakes though, typographical, grammatical, layout, etc. 66 mistakes. Yep, I counted 'em. And that's just the ones I caught. Very, very hard on my anal retentive tendencies.

10. School's back in session and this mama is very, very happy about that.

11. My work is going well. My friend Shelly pointed out that I never mention my job. That's because I want to keep it. Have you read about the people who've lost jobs because of saying things on the web? I don't want to be in that number. However, I love my job and am thankful to have it.

12. The sky was spitting white stuff today. What's up with that? It's September.

13. Rachael's boyfriend was over last night. He went into her bedroom. I jumped up and went in there and said, "Excuse me Rachael, is there a boy in your bedroom?" They both turned toward me as Rachael said, "He's just looking at my cds." I said, "So it's true, there is a boy in your bedroom? I thought we had some sort of house rule about this." While she and I talked around Scott, he left her room. I felt powerful and smooth.

thursday thirteen

I love Thursday Thirteen. It's a great way to catch up.

1. I've been kind of sad/contemplative/nostalgic lately. I've been busy scanning pictures from the days before digital photos. I've got a lot done, but still have a ways to go. Anyway seeing all those pictures of my little people, . . .  Now they are so big. It's enough to make a mama weep. A couple are grown. A couple morphed into a different species. And one is still a child. In a way it seems like a few days ago that Stephanie was born and in other ways it seems like a totally different life. Time keeps going.

2. As I looked at all the photos, over and over I saw evidence of Debbie Tannehill. She gave us sooo many clothes for the girls and all three girls wore them. Thank you, Debbie. You are such a good friend.

3. Was reminded all over again how incredibly sweet my wee ones were.

4. Was reminded all over again how incredibly tiring Rachael was. She was a handful. I created a few "funnies" for the occasion.

5. Funny 1.

  R mischief

6. Funny 2.

  God have mercy

7. Funny 3.

  R 2000

8. I love the smells of the season. I sat in the back yard last night and got intoxicated by all the floral scents in the air. I am sure heaven will have those same scents.

9. Do you remember that I'm working on a book? (Actually it's three books.) I'm getting pretty close to having the first one finished. I'm excited about the potential.

10. Hannah was such a writer/card giver when she was wee. This week I thoroughly enjoyed reading through a bunch of her sweet greetings from years ago. She doesn't write me love letters anymore. I miss those, but am thankful for the ones she gave me when she still liked me. {Sigh, people warned me about this.}


12. In case you can't see it, it says, "You are the best perins in the world. I love you. Have a Heavenly Day." See why I'm nostalgic and blue?


13. Reading through Hannah's photo album reminded me of some of her quirky ways when she was little. And she had more than a couple quirky ways. I had totally forgotten one until I read it in her album. In 2000 we went to Colorado and met all my family for Thanksgiving. For many, it was the first time to meet my Canadian children. Hannah was four and Deborah was still nursing. Hannah was often invited into people's lap to get acquainted. Hannah's method of getting acquainted was asking, "Do you have milk in your breasts?" and/or "How come your breasts are so small?"

thursday thirteen

Curious cat

 Hello Fine Folks. I've been away. Not really away, just away. You know, here but not here. That's clear enough, eh?

So here's some random info about my being away.

1) Last week I was sicker than a dog. Remember when I was terrifically sick in February and nearly threw up my toenails? We'll I got that "bug" again. Nearly died, was sure it was the end. Even had the kids convinced my liver was shutting down. That was between heaves when I was trying to garner sympathy. I asked if my eyes looked yellow, because it looked like my skin was yellow to me, and Rachael answered that yes, my eyes looked yellow. To which I replied, "Figures. Now my liver is shutting down."

2. This time I had a huge mental breakthrough (you thought I was going to say breakdown, didn't you?) after I got well. I realized, and later confirmed, that this "bug" and the one in February was really a reaction to an antibiotic. Now before you think I'm slow for taking so long to figure that out, let me assure you it crossed my mind. Between heaves, I crawled to the trash can four times to read that list of possible side effects from the antibiotic I was on. Never once did it mention, "may lead to vomitting up one's soul". For that matter, it didn't even say vomiting was a possible side effect. So I dismissed the idea that the antibiotics and the sickness were connected.

3. When I got back to work a couple days later, I looked up when I took those sick days in February and then called the pharmacist to see when I was on those antibiotics last. BINGO! It all lined up. Now I know my body detests the little black and white capsule from hell. You can be darn sure I won't be taking them ever again. Thanks for letting me share that little horror in my life.


4. It's been my busy season at work. Last night was the big FEAST and I'm happy-to-giddy it's over. This is a picture of the big gala last night. It's a $100-a-plate-do, which I'd never attend if I wasn't an employee who actually works at the event. I'm so so so happy it's over. If you listen closely, no doubt, you'll hear me humming a happy tune.

5. Do you see the cat picture up above? I chose that cat specially for this little tidbit. Doesn't the cat look curious? I certainly think so and it reminds me of me and here's why:  You won't believe what/who I met last night. A real live dominatrix. She looked like Morticia Munster, only not nearly as pretty.

6. I'd heard of dominitrixes, but I'd never given their profession much thought, except thinking how dark it is. So last night after learning of this lady's profession, I swear I must have looked like that cat above. I caught myself staring at her with my mouth agape imagining her doing her thing. I just couldn't make the picture in my head work, which probably is a good thing, but that didn't stop me from trying.

7. Now I can't get that profession out of my head and am amazed (in the negative sense) that people actually do this kind of work and people actually pay to get beaten. As Hurley would so accurately say, "That's messed up."

8. And still after points 5,6,&7, I still can't shake it. I'm still looking a bit like that cat. Curious, alarmed, curious, aghast, curious, disturbed, curious, sickened... You get the idea.

9. Lucy is coming home for good. I'm happy to have my favorite mutt home. She'll bring all the fur needed to build a dog every other day. Yep, the shedding is the down-side, but I swear my Lucy has the best personality of any pooch anywhere. I can't wait to hear her groans of ecstasy as I rub behind her ears.

10. Seriously, can you believe people pay to get whipped?

11. I'm working on Baby Avery a quilt, a little quilt and an easy quilt, as far as quilts go. I'm hoping I get it done before I leave for Arkansas. It's 50-50; I may finish it, I may not.

12. My leave of absense at work starts October 1 and I head south to see the southern family on October 2. I'm so, so excited about it.

13. Get whipped and get sexual pleasure? That is so messed up. If there is anyone reading this that "gets" that, I don't even want to know.


thursday thirteen re avery and roman

 Avery claire2 1. I have a new grand-daughter and can hardly wait to meet her. Avery Claire was born on September 1 and weighed 8.4. She is beautiful and perfectly charming -- all babies related to me are.

2. I will be with Avery and Romie Boy all of October. Isn't that special? I can't wait to play I Spy, have a picnic, bake cookies and go for walks with Roman. We will have so much good bonding time, because that's what Beppies do.

3. I can't wait to hold Avery and sit with her in the porch swing. She'll be one month old and plenty old enough to think I'm the softest Beppie going.

4. Roman was traumatized (in Beppie's sense of the word) in a church nursery recently. Not his church's nursery, but another one. Now he's afraid of his old fun, familiar nursery.

5. I'd like to visit the nursery-worker that traumatized him and give her a piece of my mind. Because I'm mature and grandmotherly, I'd weigh my words really carefully. I'd say something like, "I'm Roman's Beppie," and then I'd kick her really hard in the shin.Stephanie and avery  

6. But I won't be visiting her. And she can keep the shin guards at home.

7. Every day I'm getting closer to finishing Roman's I-Spy-With-My-Little-Eye quilt. I have to say it's not very pretty, but I'm hoping it'll be very fun.

8. Hannah's bedroom is right next door to my sewing room. We meet in the sewing room nearly every night to play like we're playing with Roman.

I spy with my little eye a donkey dressed up all snazzy-like.

I spy with my little eye a monkey with an umbrella.

I spy with my little eye a puppy.

If everything goes according to plan, this quilt will be Roman's forever-attachment to Beppie and give him hours and hours of fun. Lordy, I hope. I'll be sorely disappointed if he's not interested in I Spy with My Little Eye.

9. But I would never kick him in the shins.

10. It's been a long time since I saw Roman. The last time I saw him he was in the "whazat?" stage. He's long past that, but in our minds he's still there. In mine and Hannah's evening I Spy game, we always point at something and whisper, "whazat?".

11. Roman is very loved.

12. He talks in his sleep. Isn't that cute?

13.  He loves Madagascar, the movie. He laughs in all the right spots. They went to the zoo on Sunday and instead of calling the zebra a zebra, he called him Marty.

I know I'm going past 13, but it's Roman...

Roman and jm 14. Often when I'm talking to Stephanie on the phone, I'll hear John Mark and Roman playing and laughing in the background. I love John Mark for that. I really, really love him for that.

15. Today at the hospital a nurse took Avery away to take her blood. Roman cried and said, "No, no!" to her.

16. The first time he saw Avery he touched and patted her and rubbed his chubby little fingers on her head and said, "tickle tickle."

17. That sweetness is almost too much for this Beppie to contain in her heart. It makes my eyes leak.

thursday thirteen

This is one of the ladies we work with at the Seniors' Home. When I get old I plan to wear a worn out cowboy hat and sit like this. 

Old lady  1. Rachael is at camp. That means two less eyes are rolling whenever I say something. I do miss the little dear though.

  2. As you may have guessed, while she's gone we're re-doing her room. Her room style is not in my zone so it's a tough project for me.

  3. I'll post pictures of her room as soon as it's finished.

  4. 90% of American currency has traces of cocaine. In some urban areas, 100% of the bills have traces of cocaine. That's this week's trivia for you.

5. That statistic only surprised me a little. At the prison when I was going through training I learned that I shouldn't freak out if my belongings show traces of cocaine. Evidently we come in contact with it more than we know.

6. Zany Hannah pulled another crazy imitation the other day. Out of nowhere she imitated how she thinks I would be if something happened to Gordon. With a whine and slurred speech, here's what she said (pretending to be me after Gordon's passing): Since Gordon's been gone it's just me and the pain killers. I'm telling you, this child is a little crazy.

7. I've decided to start making my way through the BBC's top 200 books. If you want to see the list, go here. Does anyone want to join me in this challenge? I've read about an eighth of them already and there are about 10 that I refuse to read. This week I started Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities.

8. Deborah and Hannah are both in love with their "new" bedrooms. I'm thrilled about that.

9. I've gotten up early the past two mornings to do a 9 kilometer bike ride. It's a good way to start the day, even if it is a relatively small ride (about 5 miles).

10. My tickets are purchased for my trip to Arkansas in October. I'm looking so forward to spending the month with Stephanie & John Mark, Christopher, Roman and Avery.

11. Hannah has been offered a horse. It will cost her about $40 a month. She loves horses and this is a remarkable opportunity for her. However $40 a month is no small thing for a (almost) 13-year-old. She's working the numbers every day trying to come up with a plan to make it work. If it works out, I'll let you know. It will be cool to have a horse in the family.

12. The girls are all riding 25 kilometers in Bike for God next Saturday. Bike for God supports Operation Christmas Child (the shoeboxes). Please consider supporting them.We gladly accept PayPal donations and my paypal account is my email address. Please give, even if it's only $5. Thank you.

13. Things are pretty busy around here. Thanks for being patient with me as I'm pretty well only posting Thursday Thirteens.

thursday thirteen - no prom with carl

    Little rascals11. I cannot believe summer is already in the back-stretch. School starts in a couple weeks and I'm kind of sad about that. I noticed this morning as I was leaving the house that my iris leaves are browning. I need many more hot hot days. I love the heat.

    2. Deborah is at camp. I haven't heard from the little doll. Obviously she's having a great time and not missing us. No surprise there.

    3. With Deborah away, we've been updating her room. The painting is done, but I'm struggling pulling together a "pow" affect. We may have to settle for it just looking fresher instead of being pow-wy. I've got another 24 hours to make it pow-wy, so maybe I'll pull it off. It's hard to tell right now.

4. I read an article recently about old-fashioned values. By this article's criteria I am stinkin' old-fashioned - I mean really old-fashioned. However I was not old-fashioned in the world wide web area. I twitter, facebook, blog, email, flickr and a few more things too. I'm old-fashioned and internet hip both. Evidently they aren't in the same package too often.

5. In the same article, two people were quoted as saying something to the effect of, "If I left them in my past, there's a reason. Why would I want to reconnect?" This of course was in response to Facebook's ability to reconnect folks. I found it sadly fascinating that these people don't seem to have "innocently drifted away" from folks from their past. It's not like we're all connecting to people we disliked in the past.

6. Nearly all of my cousins are on Facebook. That's kind of cool. I haven't seen them in years and years, but we are connected through Facebook. I like that.

Little rascals 7. When I was a teenager, a cousin (Paul), tried to set me up on a blind date with his friend Carl. The intention was for me to go to the prom with Carl to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. It sounded adventurous to me, so I agreed. As time progressed, but still way before the prom, I started putting pieces together about Carl. I learned his last name and instantly recalled him from first grade. Once in the line going to PE, Carl punched me with his fist in the stomach so hard it knocked the breath out of me. Once I learned this Carl and the blind date Carl were the same Carl, I thought something like, "When hell freezes over I'll go to the prom with that ugly twerp who punched me in the stomach."

8. I guess I didn't want to admit my weakness (I'd been punched) to my cousin, so instead I lied. I told Paul that something had come up. By golly, a girlfriend was getting married and I was a lucky bridesmaid and all us bridesmaids were going to Ft. Smith for dress fittings on the very day of the prom. Doesn't that just suck?

9. Just a couple weeks ago, Gordon and I were in the mall walking past a wedding store when I remembered this elaborate lie. I told Gordon about it and, as usual, he couldn't connect with my crazy female-ish dysfunction. He just stared at me in disconnect mode and then spoke profoundly, "That's lunacy."

10. So, back to the high school drama: I told Paul no-can-do on the prom thing and Carl himself started calling me asking for details about this wedding and dress fitting event. I knew enough about the mall in Ft Smith to know the name of a wedding store. I told him the name of the store. A while later he phoned back and told me the wedding store doesn't have reservations for us and that he knows I'm lying.

11. So you tell me, does Carl sound like someone you want to go to the prom with? Me neither. Firstly, he's never apologized for being a wretch of a first-grader. (Of course, I didn't actually give him the opportunity since I was never honest about my gross disinterest in him because of his hitting me in first grade.) Secondly, he checked up on me as if he had a right to demand that I go to the prom with him. Thirdly, the very thought of my firstly and secondly made me sick to my stomach. I wasn't going anywhere with him. Period. However, I never just stated the facts but stuck by my lie. Strange -- even I can't understand that.

12. So 25 years later, yesterday on Facebook, I wrote my cousin and told him this story explaining my lie. It felt good to come clean. Therefore, I have one more reason to like Facebook.

13. In the movie "Little Rascals" there is the cutest scene where Spanky is trying to get Darla to hate Alfalfa so they will break up and he can have his best friend Alfalfa back. Spanky, pretending to be Alfalfa, wrote Darla a letter: "Dear Darla, I hate your stinkin' guts. You make me want to vomit. You are the scum between my toes. Love, Alfalfa." That's the letter I'd send Carl if I could go back to first grade.

thursday thirteen

Gandv bike ride to lacombe 1.    These are some pictures from our long bike ride last week. Didn’t we pass some lovely terrain and homes?



2.       The picture of the girls in the canola wasn’t taken on the ride. I try to get an annual picture of them in a local canola field.




3.       Hannah Bear is at camp this week. This camp is nine days, several days longer than any she’s been to before. We went to see her last night. It was such a joy seeing her smiling, enthusiastic face.




Canola girls 09 4. 

      Did I mention that all three of the girls have jobs? Paper routes. We think it may be too much for Deborah. (She always has someone with her.) On paper delivery days she complains quite a lot. We think it’s too much responsibility for her. She’s got a couple chances left.




5.       While Hannah is at camp, Gordon is kindly painting her room “Citrus Punch”. It’s a bright bright yellow. I’m redecorating and am quite excited by the progress.




6.       I think Hannah will love her newly decorated digs. She’s a most gracious child in this way. I can almost guarantee you she’ll look at her room and then run  to hug me in appreciation. I can barely wait for that hug. J


Pretty house 1 7. 

    On the same day Hannah gets back from camp, Deborah heads off to camp. When Deborah gets home, Rachael heads to camp. For three weeks we’ll only have two girls in the house.




8.       I’m on an email list from a magazine that solicits articles from writers from all over North America. Monday there was a giant glitch in their system and everyone on the list started getting email intended for the magazine’s office. Tons of mail. It was bizarre and mildly irritating. Mildly irritating to me, really irritating for some. Imagine sitting in a business meeting and your Blackberry keeps buzzing you with new email and it’s all meant for someone else. Frustrated, you bang off an email demanding to be removed from the email list, only to realize after you hit “send” that your email is going to everyone on the list, including yourself, and not to the intended party. This happened over and over. It was a bit like email rage. Fortunately there were plenty of good-natured folks on the list. They made jokes about getting acquainted with each other. I got a huge kick out of a guy who responded to all these emails from people he doesn’t know with this email:  “This is a bit what the hey, but would you all like to come to my house on Friday for a pot-luck?” I’ll never meet this man, but I know I’d like him.


Pretty house 2 9. 

       There’s a survey circulating on Facebook about how many US states you’ve been in and how many you’ve lived in. From what people have sent me, it’s apparent that I’m well above average in the states I’ve been in and well below average in the states I’ve lived in. I’ve been in 47 states. I've only lived in Arkansas.


10.   Stephanie is just four weeks away from her due date. Lil’ Miss Avery should be arriving in early September. Of course Stephanie is hoping for something like mid-August.


Lovely farm 11. 

  Speaking of Stephanie, yesterday I saw some pictures of a kid who was into everything in a grocery store. It reminded me of the time Stephanie (probably 1 ½ -2 years old) pulled a glass jar of pickles from the bottom row of the pickle display pyramid. It was one of my prouder moments as a young mom. J



12.   80% of orange tabby cats are male. That’s my trivia flash of the day. I never knew…

I love alberta country 13. I love Alberta. These pictures, I hope, give you a taste of it.


thursday thirteen

Summer to do list I hope you've missed my Thursday Thirteens. My friend Shelly inquired about the lack of Thursday Thirteen posts. I was thrilled to learn someone actually missed those wonky Thursday posts. I usually think of 13 things to say around Friday night. Hence TT's recent infrequency.

13 things going on around here:

1. The prison journaling course is going very well. In some ways, better than I even hoped. One of the ladies that's been in the class since it started is getting discharged next week. Tomorrow instead of "class" we're having a party with pizza and ice cream cake. They, and I, are so excited. I got her a really nice journal for her going-away gift. I'm taking cards for every other lady to write prayers of blessings for her. I think she'll be pleased.

She's requested a continuing relationship while she's in the half-way house. The chaplain gave me the safety parameter's for executing that, (and was confident is was a safe investment), so maybe I will get to stay connected to her in a small way.

2. The ladies in the Healing Through Journaling course are so touched by the simplest gifts. In the beginning I bought everyone cheap journals from the dollar store. They acted like I'd spent buckoos on them. They were grateful. Then I passed out the pens (not from the dollar store) and they seemed almost giddy. One week I made each of them a bookmark of a famous piece from a famous journaler. Psalm 23, by David. Again, they acted like I'd done something pretty special. One evening I took each one a chocolate bar, which promptly got confiscated by the guards, but still they were grateful. It's nice to work with grateful girls. It's a quality I wasn't expecting to encounter. It's been a sweet experience. If you care to pray for C. who is being released, I'd be grateful.

3. Rachael had her 14th birthday party two weekends ago. That was a hoot, in a teenage sort of way.018

4. This Friday Deborah will have her 10th birthday party. The poor child, her birthday party always competes with her friends' families' holidays. Miss Socialite only has four friends coming to her party because the rest are out of town. I suggested putting it off, but because of our family holidays it couldn't happen till August if it didn't happen this weekend. Patience isn't my Deborah's strongest virtue, so the party is this weekend. The bright side for her is that I told her since I have to buy fewer eats for fewer friends I could afford another gift. She seemed okay with the trade-off. :-)

5. Rachael is working at two VBS's this week. One in the morning, one in the afternoon. It's cool seeing her busy at that.

6. I'm riding my bike lots and lots. I usually ride it to work 3 times a week and all around town too. Near the end of school, Rachael and Hannah went on field trips on buses. They passed me on my bike. Something about that struck Rachael as hysterical. She and her friend laughed till they cried. When she told me about it she laughed till her eyes watered yet again. I would have understood if she'd have been embarrassed, but she promised me she wasn't. She said there was just something about it that was soooo funny.

7. Another time she and her friends were walking to a friends' house. I rode past them on my way to pick up Deborah. I didn't even realize it was them until I was about 20 feet from them. Then I heard her whimper, "Mom?". I turned toward them and saw three perplexed girls looking at me and one of them saying, "Mom?". She looked like she was wondering if I was really her mom -- like it had been ages since she'd seen me. Once I noticed and acknowledged them they burst out laughing. Something about seeing me unexpectedly on my bike really cracks them up. Rachael told me if I'd forgo the helmet I wouldn't look quite so nerdy. I told her I was too smart for that.

8. Our family holidays got toned down this summer. We are going to Family Camp in a couple weeks. Meanwhile we've planned lots of little things to do locally to make our summer active and fun. The orange chart in the picture above is our summer to do list. Hannah refers to it like it's a Bible.

9. Gordon is doing well. He has some new toys that are keeping him entertained. If you want to hear him entertaining himself, call my house and listen to our voice mail message. Yep, he's having fun with his new toys.

021 10. With kids in the teenage years I am even more grateful for a wise husband. He balances me really well. Last Saturday morning we were having coffee outside. I had been in a snarly mood for about 48 hours and was keeping my dark thoughts to myself. He asked what my problem was and I replied, "Our kids are idiots!" He replied, "They could be worse idiots."

11. I've taken summer hours at work. I'm working four hours a day three days a week. It's great for the family and keeps me really in touch with the children. (Maybe I'll share some idiot stories soon.)

12. I think I've shared before that my job could end next March. Not sure, it could go either way. But I've been preparing for it, just in case. I've worked hard to grow my freelance business thinking I'd enjoy working from home should the job end. Interestingly, I'm changing my mind, I think, (I sound really convinced don't I?) about working from home. I get sleepy at home. I think I'm probably healthier having a job away from the house. I've already taken my "hire me" widgets off this site, if you haven't noticed, and that's the reasoning behind that. I might change my mind, but that's my thinking this week.

13. I had a computer crash. I lost all my emails and email addresses. And I lost lots of Word documents too, which isn't good if you're a writer. :-( If you sent me a letter and never got a response, please resend it. If you sent it a long time ago and I hadn't responded, I'm sorry. I don't have your address or your email anymore. Please write again. Thankfully my hubby is good at techie things and saved the day.

invisible beauty

My children are back in school and I am happy and gleeful. They are in new schools this year and so far it's been a wonderful experience. I drive them. I was spoiled as they have walked to school for the past three years. No more. I leave with them every morning at 8:15. But it's good for me. It jump starts my day and I've been very productive.

This morning I read a quote from Helen Keller. "The best, most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." It got me to thinking about the invisible great things in my life. Here's a list of invisible beautiful things in my life (in no particular order).

1. prayer; talking to God
2. sensing God's presence
3. love
4. commitment
5. discipline; self-control
6. knowing God is in control
7. joy
8. acceptance
9. peace
12.thankfulness; gratitude


winston churchill quotes

1. The more knowledge we possess of the opposite point of view the less puzzling it is to know what to do.

2. You cannot deal with the most serious things in the world unless you also understand the most amusing.

3. When the cliche' "familiarity breeds contempt" was used in an argument against him, he thundered, "I would like to remind you that without a degree of familiarity we could not breed anything."

4. Never good with math, he called it, "the dismal bog of sums." (I love that.) As the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he nearly brought financial disaster on England, making one bad decision after another. Out of that position he said, "Everyone said I was the worst Chancellor of the Exchequer that ever was and now I am inclined to agree with them."

5. We are worms but I intend to be a glowworm.

6. When corrected for using a preposition at the end of a sentence he said, "This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."

7. His nanny, whom he loved much, was very religious and trained him in Bible. In a math lesson he grew so frustrated that his recourse was to threaten to "bow down and worship graven images." (I think that is so clever and cute. Clearly his spunk and creativity was evident very early in life.)

8. Regarding a colleague, he quipped, "He is not in complete harmony with the normal."

9. Regarding a fellow Parliament member he said, "He has many good qualities, some of which lie hidden, and he has many bad qualities, all of which are in the shop window."

10. Following his humiliating defeat after the war, when asked to tour the country and let the people honor him he replied, "I refuse to be exhibited like a prize bull whose chief attraction is his past prowess."

11. After defeat, his wife consoled saying it was perhaps a blessing. He replied, "If it's a blessing, it is certainly very well disguised."

12. Nancy Astor and he had an ongoing strained relationship. Once she said, "If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee." Churchill responded, "Nancy, if I were your husband, I would drink it."

13. When asked if Niagara Falls looked the same as the last time he'd seen it, he was perturbed with the question and answered, "Well the principle seems the same. The water still keeps falling over."

heroes and mentors

My 20th Century Heroes and/or Mentors - A very diversified list. They are in no particular order.

1) Mother Teresa - what a selfless woman she was.
2) Coretta and Martin Luther King, Jr. - the personal sacrifice they gave for racial equality.
3) Rosa Parks. Would I have the guts to just say "no" like she did? Probably not. But I want to be that courageous. Without her, the Civil Rights movement in the US may not have materialized, at least not then.
4) Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain during WW2. He was a bold, persevering, compassionate leader. A leader less than he probably would have fallen to Hitler's advances. He had a brilliant wit and command of the English language that I greatly admire.
5) Julia Cameron - she, as far as I know, is not a believer (as I mean it), yet she mentored me in seeing God in creation, of living in the moment, of noticing the details around me. I'm much richer because of that heightened awareness.
6) Gary Larson, creator of the Far Side cartoon. Please don't think less of me for admiring his work so much. He is a brilliant student of humanity; this is clear in his cartoons. His observations are genius and acute. (And he's absolutely hilarious too.)
7) Norman Rockwell, artist. Oh, to capture the emotions he so successfully painted of mundane American life. He too was a magnificent student of humanity.
8) Gandhi - I don't know nearly as much about Gandhi as I'd like. But like Martin Luther King, I love his non-violent commitment to equality.
9) Mothers who delay personal gratification for the good of their children. I am a stay-at-home-mother-of-preschoolers proponent, big time.
10) Ann and Philip Hatley from my hometown. They live simple in a complex world. They were living simply before I knew the concept, continually going against the flow of a materialistic culture. I don't know if I could do it in Small Town USA where appearance is everything.
11) Gordon. He has taught me more good than any single person in the universe.
12) Catherine Marshall. She was a Christian inspirational writer who influenced me significantly in the mid-90's. Hannah's middle name is Kathleen. Kathleen is homage to Catherine Marshall.
13) Physically active people, those who jog, hike, mountain bike, etc for the pure pleasure of it. I want to be like them.

tv from my childhood

Television Shows from my childhood - shows we actually watched.

We had one channel, Channel 5 out of Ft. Smith. If the weather was just right, we might turn the antenna -- a big heavy antenna that stood beside the front porch -- toward Tulsa. If we were lucky we could pick up Channel 7. But Channel 7 didn't grace us often.

1. Petticoat Junction. I'd love to see this show today. It was about a lady who ran an inn and her three daughters. It had something to do with a train too. I can't remember too much, but I remember the train tooting at the beginning of the show and the steam rising.

2. Lawrence Welk. Saturday nights, 6:30. Stacie and I would dance to the big bands.

3. Gunsmoke. 4:00 pm. Only if Daddy wasn't around to forbid our watching TV. If he caught us watching TV during the day, he'd find work for us. Typically we kept one eye on the TV, the other looking out for Daddy. When we spotted him, the TV went off FAST and we quickly started peeling potatoes or something like that so we looked busy.

4. Billy Graham. He was never a regular program, as you know, but whenever he had a crusade and it was on Channel 5, we watched it. During Just As I Am at the end, I always got saved. What I mean is that I wasn't sure I was a Christian, so just to be safe, I always invited Him into my heart again, and again, and again. Billy Graham crusades scared me. They reminded me that I wasn't sure I was going to heaven.

5. Emergency. I'm not sure what they were saying, but "Rampirt" was what I thought they were saying. It was about Firemen and Paramedics. When they were working on a patient they always called Rampirt and reported the dilation of the eyes, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration. I felt I had the credentials of a doctor after watching Emergency.

6. HeeHaw. Yes, we were faithful HeeHaw watchers. "Where oh where are you tonight? Why did you leave me here all alone? I searched the world over and thought I'd found true love. But you found another and pluuutz, you were gone."

7. This wasn't a show, but a movie that was on TV. We never went to the theater for movies. That's what the Methodists and Catholics did, and we weren't like them, at all. We did watch movies on television. This particular movie gave me the scaredy-cat willies. If there is such a thing as opening oneself up to demons, I got one or two that night. After that movie, I was pretty sure no one could be trusted. No one. Anyway, the movie was called, Diane the Devil's Daughter. I didn't see it once, but twice. I'm sure I didn't understand it, but one thing I knew was that everyone turned on Diane. They turned on her in a really wicked way. Their eyes would spin real demon-ny like. Even Jesus in the stained glass window of the church had spinning, evil eyes. It was really quite a horrible movie for a little impressionable girl. I've wondered if my difficulty trusting others stemmed from that movie. It was critical to my emotional formation, I fear.

8. My Three Sons. I think we watched this after school when Daddy wasn't around.

9. Marcus Welby, MD. Another medical credential of mine.

10. WWF. World Wrestling Federation. This was NOT my choice. This came on on Saturday afternoons during the NBC's Wide World of Sports, I think. I hated the show. Michael was the wrestling buff. I cringed as he grinned evil grins while he watched it. It meant he was going to try those moves on me. And indeed he did. I knew lots of wrestling tricks. I don't mean to imply I could do them, rather I was on the receiving end of them.

11. Hogan's Heroes. Daddy would have had a conniption if he knew we watched these shows after school when there were potatoes to be peeled and fried. Seriously though, most of my TV exposure was sneaking it after school.

12. Brady Bunch. "Here's a story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls,..." I thought Greg was "hot" although I didn't know that expression back then. My girls use it now, so now I know that was what I thought of Greg. I thought that middle girl Jen was so petulant. I never liked her.

13. Andy Griffith. What a great show. I still love it. Gordon bought me some DVDs of it a few years ago. My girls even get a kick out of it. We have all kinds of Barney-isms around here, but not as many as my sister Diane.

Daddy was rigid about TV, especially watching it during the day. So to balance that perspective, I will share a memory that is sweet. Daddy had a rocker that was his and his alone. For all my growing-up years, it remained in the same spot. The rocker was replaced a few times with a new one, but it always went in the same spot. In the evening when we watched TV, I always sat on Daddy's left side with his arm wrapped around me. It was my TV-watching spot. I felt very secure and comfortable there. It's a special memory.

sounds great right now

Here are 13 things that sound wonderful to me.
1. a retreat by the ocean
2. a retreat in the mountains
3. a family holiday to Hawaii
4. having all the house projects completed
5. a nicely manicured backyard with no mosquitoes
6. soaking in the sun in that nicely manicured backyard with no mosquitoes, enjoying the singing of birds, the gurgling of the fountain, the scent of the lilacs. heavenly.
7. visiting Ireland with Stacie and Diane
8. holding my grandson Roman, inhaling his scent and listening to every grunt
9. a weekend in Jasper with Gordon
10. a date with Gordon to the Cheesecake Cafe
11. a granite counter top. way too extravagant for me, but lovely still
12. a visit from a relative
13. lots of hanging out time with Stephanie and Christopher.


more school memories

1) In third grade I sat close to the door. When the second graders would walk by and look in, I'd turn my text book to the glossary where the writing was small and difficult looking. I got a thrill out of making third grade look hard. I relished the idea of scaring them.

2) In first grade I couldn't find any panties one day so I raided Diane's drawer. Diane was 8 years older than me, and at that time, much bigger. Unfortunately I wore a dress the same day. During jump rope at recess, I jumped right out of Diane's panties.

3) One summer during hay season, Daddy did some work for a man (LD Kennerson?) and the man sent some fine gifts home to me. I got two beer steins, a liquor carafe, and a porcelain tea pot. I was thrilled and proudly displayed them for all to see. In sixth grade there was a school rummage sale. Someone brought a carafe and tea pot and everyone oohed and awed about them and I was positive mine were much nicer. I wanted everyone to see mine. The next day I brought all my goodies that I loved so much. I didn't take them for the sale, I took them to show off. In front of everyone, Mrs Cunningham thanked me for my stuff. I didn't have the fortitude to confess I didn't want to donate them. With terrible sadness and anxiety, I gave my beloved treasures to the rummage sale.

4) In 6th grade, I tried to follow the family tradition in sports. It was a nightmarish experience and still embarrasses me to think about. From whence my siblings got their athletic abilities I do not know. But I surely screwed up the family name with my antics - which were far from athletic heroics. Gawsh. It hurts to remember.

5) After resigning myself to not being sporty, I was asked to be team manager of the junior team. I thought it would be a cool way to get to go to all the games so I accepted. When I told Stacie, she blurted, "Valerie, you can't be the water boy!" Ashamed, I looked for an excuse to quit the job. I found one. Her name was Miss Kirby. I told her something like "you go or I go." She stayed, I went.

6) In 7th grade I took a young girl with horrible social, emotional, and mental delays under my wing. The intent was good, the result was pathetic. Becky had a pretty face, but she had many challenges. Strangely in 7th grade, my abilities to rehabilitate the less fortunate were limited. I put her in a pink dress and spiked heels. Becky could barely walk normal in sneakers. Poor, poor Becky. I wonder what came of her. A wave of sadness just washed over me. Seriously.

7) I got a boyfriend in seventh grade. His name was David. We sat and walked about three feet from each other. The whole school seemed to be holding its breath for us to hold hands, but that wasn't going to happen. No siree. Purity all the way for me.

8) Walked in a walk-a-thon with Odetta. Actually it was a bike, skate, walk-a-thon and it was 20 miles. Turned out Odetta and I were the only walkers and we got forgotten. We got back to the park about six hours after everyone else. For some reason we were expecting other thon-ers to be there. I guess they and the supervisors were resting in front of the TVs in their living rooms. There were no phones to call home. We sat on the ground, exhausted, waiting for some sort of deliverance. After a long wait, the sign-picker-upper guy came through. He was surprised to find us stragglers. You know what our question for the sign guy was? "Where do we take the money we raised for March of Dimes?" Talk about honesty. It never entered our minds to steal it. And certainly no one ever would have known -- given they didn't even know we existed. The sign-picker-upper told us we were supposed to turn our money into "Kay." With due exasperation, Odetta sighed, "Well just who and where is Kay?" Somehow, (maybe the sign guy called her?) Mama came to the McMillan Park to pick us up. Mama laughed all the way home at Odetta's tale of the day's events.

9) In 5th grade I went to Basketball Camp. Lord only knows why I did that. We ran this figure-8 drill ad nauseum. I couldn't get it. Simply couldn't. The coach yelled, "You there. You sit out. You're gonna hurt someone." Bastard.

10) In grade 4, I went behind the gym with Dan Murphy. He kissed me and I felt I'd been raped. I cried for years and prayed every night (for years) that God would forgive me and come into my heart again.

11) After my trauma behind the gym, I ran to the dressing room to see Stacie and confess my wrong-doing. She got in my face, shook her finger and said, (I promise this is what she said), "You stay away from that Dan Murphy. He's dangerous." Dan was in grade 5.

12) I know I'm confessing many strange emotional woes here, but here's another. Stacie loved and adored Mrs Frasier. When I got her in home-ec for the first time, the first class she asked us to tell about our hero or the person we respected most. Thinking it was the "right" thing to do for Stacie, I told the class that Stacie was the person I respected most. After class I hunted Stacie down to make sure I'd given an acceptable answer since we both wanted Mrs Frasier to like me. Stacie had a mild hissy fit and rebuked me promptly with, "Oh good grief Valerie. You were supposed to say Mama." I had an epiphany at that moment. I realized that I just didn't get it. I couldn't navigate the nuances of life with any degree of skill.

13) I had watched many girls sit out of PE for "physical reasons." I decided I should give it a try since I abhorred gym class. Miss Kirby got all nosy and wanted to know if it was that time of the month. I didn't talk about those sorts of things - ever. I answered no. She said, "Is it just before?" I said no. She said, "Is it just after?" and I said no. I never feigned sick to sit out of gym again. That personal inquisition cured me.



Quirky Things About This Family

1. Our dishwasher is our "recycling bin."

2. Gordon wanders around the house while he brushes his teeth. Always.

3. Rachael runs - always runs - to the bathroom during the night.

4. We have found many many "treasures" in other people's garbage. That bites to admit, but it's true. I personally stay out of others' garbage, but my kids and husband have brought home many cool things.

5. When the kids are whining, but she got to do it, that's not fair, I counter with, "That's because she's my favorite." It's wonderfully effective in making my kids smile and change the subject.

6. Hannah puts on her pajamas right after school even though she plans to play outside.

7. Deborah has a wart the size of Memphis on her knee. She cries at the mention of having it removed. Gordon calls the wart "Deborah's friend" because she cries at the idea of getting rid of it.

8. The girls and I speak for our dogs. When we are petting Lucy, Bear comes running, yelling, "Break it up, break it up."

9. We have a big water jug that we all drink out of. At meals, there's one jug on the table that the girls and I share. Gordon thinks he's too good for it. He uses a glass.

10. Deborah's best friend from next door uses the same jug. Yesterday she came upstairs and said, "Where's the water jug?" (Don't you know her parents would be thrilled to know this.)

11. The girls and I are pretty loosey goosey with our toothbrushes. We use whichever one is handiest. But we don't use Gordon's.


things i'd do differently

13 Things I’d Do Differently Given a Second Chance

1) I wouldn’t date in high school.

2) And I sure wouldn’t have sex in high school.

3) I would be nicer to my sister, Stacie, as a teenager.

4) As teenagers, Stacie and I would help each other have the good sense to do the things we should.

5) I would go straight to college from high school.

6) I would finish that degree.

7) I would go to East Texas University where I had a full scholarship for Business and Journalism.

8) Supposing all the above never took place, but still playing the game of Second Chance, I’d be a better wife to Kent. I didn’t realize how poor of a wife I was until I was married to Gordon. Age is wondrous at showing us our folly.

9) Once divorced though, I would never remarry and never date. (This is in no way about Gordon, rather a belief about divorce and remarriage that came post-remarriage for me.)

10) I wouldn’t work at CMA.

11) I would be humble and recognize my absolute need and dependence on God to sustain me.

12) I would eat lots of fruits and vegetables from the get-go.

13) I would learn compassion for the poor and the joy of living simply early in life.



I smiled when I read these funnies today. I hope you smile too.

1) As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I can get in touch with my inner sociopath.
2) I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.
3) In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.
4) My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of good judgment.
5) I honor my personality flaws, for without them I would have no personality at all.
6) I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper and complain.
7) All of me is beautiful and valuable, even the ugly, stupid, and disgusting parts.
8) I am at one with my duality.
9) Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with imaginary fears.
10) The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working.
11) Becoming aware of my character defects leads me to the next step -- blaming my parents.
12) I will find humor in my everyday life by looking for people I can laugh at.
13) To have a successful relationship I must learn to make it look like I'm giving as much as I'm getting.


Things I love about winter.

1) The snow illuminates the outdoors at night. I can see outside my window almost like a yard lamp is on. In the wee hours of the morning, I always notice how the light is reflected off the snow creating light for the middle-of-the-night bathroom visits .
2) I cook lots of soups, chilies, and homemade bread. They are easy, very hearty and so very soothing on a cold cold day.
3) Warm evening drinks
4) Christmas festivities
5) Reading on the sofa in the evening with a throw draped over me
6) Spending more time in the family room. In the winter I always spend more time in the cozy family room. I'm not drawn to it in the same way other times of the year.
7) My girls are Canadian indeed. My soul smiles as they build snow forts, ice skate, and whatever else they do outside. I'm a watch-from-the-window kind of mom.
8) I love the clean unpolluted untouched snow. Parks and yards (the ones without children and dogs) look so beautiful.
9) Spruce trees laden with snow
10) I sweat less.
11) Cleaning windows is so easy. Soups cooking produces a condensation on the windows and I wipe it off with a towel, and presto, the window is clean. So so easy. No excuse for a dirty window. 
12) Lucy loves to play in the snow.
13) Sweat suits! I love sweat suits.
14) I've only been privileged to see the Northern Lights a few times, but it's always been on winter nights. A beautiful experience.

you probably don't know...

Some things about me that you may not know (probably don't know) and that may raise lots of questions in your mind. I am a very nice person and my background isn't as shady as these things may suggest. Be amused.
-I've had seven surgeries. Not bad for a healthy person, eh?
-I had a warrant out for my arrest in Wyoming.
-I have been threatened with jail two times; once in my hometown, once in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
-I smuggled Bibles into Vietnam and China.
(Me in Vietnam, 1991)047_47
-Oh yeah, I was threatened with jail in China too. The officer was carrying an AK47. I got caught smuggling Bibles.
-I've thrown-up in many public places and not always in a bathroom.
-The muscle that controls throw-up doesn't work on me.
-The most scared I've ever been was when Stephanie nearly drown when she was four or five. I didn't sleep for two nights, reliving it and thinking "what if."
-I miscarried a baby at 12 weeks.
-US Customs always treats me like a criminal.
-I've been threatened with deportation by both my countries.
-I've been quoted in an porn magazine. My quote was not pornographic.

i love fall

Things I love about fall:

1) the colors
2) the smell of decomposing matter
3) crisp mornings
4) bringing out the flannel pajamas
5) back to school
6) apple pies
7) fresh vegetables
8) fall decor; pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn
9) the crunch of leaves
10) shorter days
11) candy corn
12) warmer clothes
13) the return of soups and chili

follow-up four

1. Hannah loved her mirror, hugged me, and thanked me just like I predicted she would.

2. Gordon and I had a wonderful conversation with the principal this morning. I've been basking in God's grace all day. It was phenomenal how well things went. I know the Holy Spirit was present.

3. Regarding the teacher who humiliated Rachael, she apologized to Rachael for her insensitivity and told Rachael she didn't mean to hurt her.

4. I will thank that teacher next week for talking to Rachael.

10 things

1. I joined a writers' group. I hope to have fun, fun, fun.

2. I made soap the other night. Note to self and anyone else who plans to make soap: There is a GREAT BIG difference between fluid ounces and ounces in weight. I had never thought of that, but now I KNOW in no uncertain terms.

3. I had a huge confrontation with a teacher at the kid's school. She rebuked my 11 year old for her panties showing on the swing. In front of Rachael's male teacher, she said to Rachael in her snarky sarcastic way that I'm all too familiar with, "Rachael, it's not like we want to see the pattern on your panties." Rachael was humiliated. My head about popped off in anger. That's because we have so much history with this woman. All I wanted from her was to recognize that it was inappropriate to shame Rachael like that. She didn't feel it was inappropriate. "You mean you want the whole school to see Rachael's panties?," she said. GGGGGRRRRRRRRRRR. I snapped. I haven't snapped like that in years.

4. Tomorrow I'm going to talk to the principal. Really this is just the straw that broke the camel's back. We've had soooo many episodes like this. I haven't disliked someone like I dislike her in years.

5. Praying hard regarding my attitude.

6. Deborah told me today that Matthew called her a "retart." (Retard)

7. Deborah also said, "Tyson hurt my feelings. He said someone in my family is fat." Hummm, who could he have meant? I thought it sweet that Deborah didn't want to come out and name names. She's sensitive that way.

8. Bear is weaseling his way into my heart. I haven't loved him like Frodo. Yesterday I accidentally shut the door on him (not too badly). He limped for a few minutes and I realized how much I loved him in those moments.

9. Gordon is good to me and he is wise. I could easily forget the principles that I'm fighting for regarding aforementioned teacher. He keeps bringing me back to that focus when I'm getting carried away on an emotional (ungodly) tangent.

10. I made Hannah a funky mirror tonight. I can hardly wait to hang it while she's at school tomorrow. She will be so pleased to find it. She'll run out of her room as soon as she sees it to hug me and say thanks.

a random 12

1. We're having a cool spell. It's dreary, gloomy, and many would say it's kind of nasty. I like it though. I like blue skies more, but I appreciate the variety. We might even have some spittin' snow soon. It won't stick around though. We will have a lovely fall.

2. I quit my wicker furniture job and now just work in the fabric store.

3. I like putting in my few hours each week, but my real enjoyment is at home. I am domestically inclined. I love it. 10 - 15 years ago I would have rolled my eyes in disbelief had someone told me there would come a day when I'd love this quiet peaceful life of serving my family.

4. I encountered some ghosts this week. I thought I'd been largely delivered from the sin of pride, but I am now fully aware that it is still very much an issue for me. Two times I found myself in the throes of a prideful fit. One "fit" God mercifully rescued me before I did too much damage, the other I had to eat a large helping of humble pie.

5. Humble pie is my least favorite pie.

6. My hubby is very patient and good to me. He has good reason to question my stability at times, but he keeps forgiving and loving me.

7. Rachael is running for Vice-President of student council.

8. Bear has started hiking his leg when he pees, but only under one condition: When Lucy pees, he hikes his leg and pees on Lucy's foot.

9. Hannah wants a ferret, but I have said no to any more pets. She's looking for a home for her hamster and she already gave away her fish. We still have one fish left and she eyes it every morning hoping it's dead. Poor fish. She thinks she'll get a ferret for Christmas if the rodents and fish are gone by then.

10. My social butterfly Deborah isn't having an easy time with friends this year. There are only five girls in her class. She is the proverbial fifth wheel. Her best friend is next door, but Kalyna doesn't go to Deborah's school.

11. We think we have found a new church. We've been there four times and are feeling pretty confident it's where we'll settle. Sunday school started back on Sunday (it wasn't on for the summer) and we were very pleased with the children's program.

12. I hate Halloween.