Monday, December 17, 2007

Back from the Great Abyss!!

Well, it's been a while since I've posted to this blog. I don't know why I tend not to write here - is it because I don't have much to say? Anyone who knows me in real life knows that can't possibly be true - I've always got something to say, whether it make sense or not.

I haven't even done my Christmas cards yet and I have a lot to say to many people.

Let's just say that God has been watching out for me and my family these past two months. God is good; I can't even begin to explain that.

After I get a phone call in a day or two, I will post the details here. But I am here! LOL

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cause and Cost

Sin:

It doesn’t matter what caused it; what matters is what it cost.

I could list forever the reasons why I have chosen certain behaviors that I KNOW are wrong, but in the end - I’m just trying to justify myself.

Justification comes only through Christ’s blood - and that was a high price to pay for my stupid choices.

God forgive me when I disregard Your sacrifice.

Not the cause: the cost.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Exercise, Poetry, and Potpourri!

Exercising is not one of my favorite things to do. If I have a goal in mind or a reason for walking, then it’s not so much a problem. But to walk for walking sake… ehhh, I can do without it.

The other day I was doing some geocaching and discovered a new trail in town that I didn’t know was there. It meanders through the place where the Third Battle of Winchester occurred during the Civil War. I am looking forward to going back there with some water and good walking shoes.

My eating habits have changed for the better, I think. I am trying to keep more in mind that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I’m not sure He wants to live in a home built from Twinkies! LOL

The verse that has really stuck with me as been the one that says: “You were bought with a price [the blood of Jesus]: therefore honor God with your body.” I really want to do that and I’m working on it!

Something else exciting in the works: I have purchased “The Writer’s Market” for 2008 and really want to start working on some writing to submit. I have a novel in the works that is historical fiction. The story line is centered on my family, specifically my Quaker ancestors who lived and fought during the Civil War.

I also have a student at school who is quite a poet, and she and I are going to work together to find someplace to submit her poetry.

I’m taking part of my planning period at school to post this, so I better finish up before the English class comes in. God bless!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Comfort and Loss

Today was a funeral for a parent volunteer from our school. This lady was a fixture around the place - helping out in her child’s classroom. She was also our first-call substitute and often worked in my classroom. She was a very pleasant woman and a doting mother.

On Easter Sunday of this year, she had a seizure. Since that time, she had ups and downs of recovery, with the doctors never putting their finger on exactly what was wrong. Swelling on her brain and strain on her heart finally took her.

I didn’t go to the funeral home nor to the funeral. Funerals are tricky things; sometimes they are a celebration of life, and sometimes they are a mournful time of loss.

My own mother died when I was 8 years old. 34 years later and I still tear up thinking about her and that loss - how I never had her around for my wedding, for the birth of my children. I did have a stepmother and I love her - but it just wasn’t the same.

I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I went out to the grave site and poured out my news. It made me feel a little better - but the tears still flowed.

Since I heard about the parent’s death, I have had a hard time talking about it. Her child is only a little older than I was when my mother died. I didn’t want to go to the funeral because I knew I would be too focused on my own loss - and too teary-eyed to be any good.

In a couple of weeks, I will talk to the child’s family about the things that would have helped me if they had been done - a memory book from other people about my mother. Permission to keep something and to have something tangible to touch to know that it was once in my mother’s hands. I hope that I can be of some help to this child.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:4, “He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.”

I’d like to think that good has come from my loss - that God has worked things out so that I can support this child. I still don’t understand why God intervenes in some cases and not in other, but that’s where faith comes in. I’m still kind of mad at Him, but - He’s big enough. He can take it.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Deaf Convention

The National Christian Convention of the Deaf was a great time! I had the privilege of attending this conference with a young lady from my church who is learning sign language. It is quite an experience to be in a room of so many deaf people and be in the hearing minority! I had a couple of headaches over the weekend from the eyestrain! But it was incredible to communicate with new and old friends. Seeing several friends from Cincinnati brought me back to when I was just learning sign language. The journey that God has brought me on has been incredible, and I can't wait to go to next year's conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

One of the best things about the conference was the decision of two deaf men to be baptized and become Christians! How cool!

Another best thing was spending time with Shelina and her daughter. They graciously opened their home to my friend and me. It was great sitting up and talking late like we used to do in college together. I miss spending time with Shelina, so it was cool to see her, Sushi, and the quilts live!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Memories

Today our staff went out for lunch together at a local buffet. On our way out the door, there were two young ladies walking out ahead of us. By the way one was walking, I thought she looked familiar. It was a girl I had taught the first year I moved to Virginia.

Ever try to reminisce with a non-verbal person? It was interesting, but great to see her. The young lady who was with her shared some of how my former student was doing and then we parted ways.

It has been 12 years since I met this young lady. Where has the time gone? She didn't seem to remember me - but who knows what went on inside her head?

It makes me wonder - what kind of impact have I had on my students, on the people around me? I'm getting ready to begin the school year next Wednesday. I pray that this year I can impact the students I come in contact with - that they will see they have value and can achieve the goals they set before them.

And I pray that my young friend is finding fulfillment in what she is doing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Music

High School Musical II just finished here. J., the youngest, really enjoyed it. He is a big music fan. I love music as well. I'm sure I would survive if I lost my voice, but I just love to sing!

I'm excited because on Sunday, I get to sing with the praise team at church again. You all should come and listen in!

Friday, August 10, 2007

News Flash!! Most Food Products do not have Feet in their finished state!!

I went out to the traditional Friday evening campfire program at the scout camp. J. hadn't missed me at all, but it was nice to see him! He seems to have grown and matured alot.

So, we had pizza there and I ate two pieces. I also had a piece of watermelon. When I got J. two cookies and gave them to him, I had a revelation:

None of that food walked to me - I had to get up and get it myself. No chocolate chip cookie or brownie with white icing is going to walk up to me, put a gun to my head, and say, "Eat me, or else!"

Nope, if I want that food, I have to go after it. And I don't want it. I'm done with pursuing food.

What Defines You?

Today, I was thinking as I was channeling surfing and came upon one of those "reality" talk shows (think Maury or Jerry Springer.) And I stated to think - what would be my focus if I ever went on one of those? Or if anyone ever asked me, "So, tell me about Carol." Where would I start? I mean, we all wear different hats - that's what makes life interesting.

So, who am I? I'm a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a daughter-in-law, an aunt, a friend, a school teacher, an interpreter. I'm a lot of different things, but none of those things define me. The one that may come closest to defining me is a Christian. I've been a Christian now for almost 30 years. So much of my life has been shaped by my relationship with God - whether I was running away from Him or running to Him.

Here's what I DON'T want to define my life - FOOD and my relationship to it. I'm sure there are many people who see food as fuel to do the tasks of life. They enjoy what's offered but food is not a controlling factor in their lives. I think when I get to that point - when following GOD'S plan for my life becomes more important than anything else - then ... Well, actually I don't think I'll ever get there. This life is a journey, but that is the goal I want to walk toward. Every step I take I want to be in the direction of pleasing God by honoring Him with my choices of thought and behavior.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Falling Behind - Again

You think I'd be more faithful to posting to this thing - as much as I'm on the computer.

Updates: the other guy's insurance company took responsibility for the accident and totaled the van. They sent us a check to pay for the van and this coming weekend one of R.'s coworkers will fix it for around $300. So we got a little bit of a financial windfall there, which always comes in handy.

I've been having fun with the sculpey clay, but haven't taken any pictures yet.

I've been doing ok with not eating after dinner, but the exercising has kind of fallen away. Today was really hot, but when things cool off, I'll get back to walking. Today I had a migraine for the first time in a long time, but I might have forgotten to take my blood pressure medicine this morning. The headache has dissipated now.

J. is away at boy scout camp this week, so it is quiet around the house. I miss him. D. is out doing something somewhere - LOL! At least when he takes his bike, I know he isn't riding with someone else!

Shelina in her blog the other day talked about visiting Serpentine Mound in Ohio. That brought back memories of a sixth grade field trip to celebrate the end of the school year and moving on the junior high. We kids kind of had the run of the area after lunch and I remember wandering off into the woods and meeting a boy from another school who was there on a field trip as well. His name was Paul Gibson and I fell head over heels in love with him in that short afternoon. We shared a few stolen kisses and that summer I carved our initials into a picnic table in Mount Echo Park. Those initials were still there after about 15 years, visible under several layers of paint. I never heard from him again. Wonder where he is now...?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Clay Play

The other day I went to Ben Franklin's and bought some Sculpey clay. Tonight the boys and I sat down together and made some stuff. It's baking now, so when it's all done I plan on taking some pictures. If I can get the printer to recognize my camera card, I'll post some here.

No close encounters of the vehicular kind lately and no news from the insurance company. Oh well...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Wow

I don't know what else to entitle this entry. Tonight I picked up D and his friend from a youth center in downtown at 10:00. The boys had a good time and we were talking about scouts and swimming plans as I drove the friend home.

He lives off Route 50 east of town, so it's a little ways out. Here Route 50 is a divided highway, with a grassy wide median and two lanes in both directions.

While I was in the process of passing a pick-up towing a horse trailer, I look ahead of me and see headlights - headlights in my lane - coming straight for us. We were maybe five car lengths apart. Not much time to react at all, but I moved over to the right. I wasn't really sure the pick-up wouldn't be hit, but it was still a better option than the head-on into the car headed right for us. I didn't hit the pick-up, and the wrong-way car began to go into the grassy median when he was about two car lengths away. In my rearview mirror, I could see him go into the next paved shortcut to the other side.

Wow - that was something else. I'm still a little shaky and it's been about 30 minutes. The boys and I joked and talked about it - but when we pulled into the friend's driveway, D prayed and thanked God for sparing us.


I don't even know what else to say. But there you are.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Secret

I'm gonna let you all in on a secret: I need to lose weight! LOL - I know that those of you who know me know that, and those who don't know me personally - you've probably already figured it out.

Anyway - that's not really the secret. The secret is my goal: my husband and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary in December of this year. It is my goal to get back into my wedding dress.

Now, I'm not going to tell you how much I weigh and how much I have to lose - why? Well, just because. But I will say this: it's going to take exercising three times a week and eating right. Not rocket science - I just need to rebuild habits I put to the wayside about a year and a half ago.

Tonight after church, I found an accountability partner. We are going to set goals - not weight goals - but behavior goals. My goals this week are to exercise three times (at least 30 minutes each) and to not eat after dinner. I know I can do it if I set my mind to it and with God's help.

Tomorrow I will work on insurance stuff. What fun!

Hope you had a great Sunday!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Almost Heaven, West Virginia...

Well, West Virginia is not very far away from us, but my mother-in-law and I are traveling to Clarksburg, West Virginia, which is about five hours away. We are leaving tomorrow morning for a baby shower on Saturday. My mother-in-law's niece is having twin girls.

I hope to do some geocaching while I'm gone. I'm basically going because she does not like to drive long distances like that. So we'll do a little road trip and have a good time.

I took my van in to the insurance adjuster for the OTHER guy. Apparently, there is some dispute over the accident so they were not ready to accept liability in the accident. The guy pulled out in front of me, for goodness' sake! I think the problem stems from the deputy who is a part-time guy. I don't think he ticketed the other driver. We may have to fight to get the van fixed. What fun!

Hope your weekend is going to be filled with great things!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Continued...

Well, I wasn't here on Monday, but now I'm ready for the rest of the story. Hope you are!

The day after I prayed about not using my signing skills, I was talking to the first grade teacher. She knew I knew sign language. I had even taught a class at school. So she stops me in the hall and says (now, remember: this is the very next day!): "We have a deaf couple that want to come to church this Sunday (Mother's Day.) Can you interpret?"

Now, my mind went through quickly all the reasons why this was NOT a good idea: it had been a long time since I interpreted, I wanted to start small, I can't remember much - I've never even met them! But those were quick thoughts. I wasn't stupid (and I'm mostly not now.) When God plops an answered prayer right down in front of you, you're not supposed to pass it up.

And so, I went. Yes, my skills were rusty, and I had to do a lot of fingerspelling. But the couple was very patient, their little baby was as cute as a button, and after service, the woman asked me, "Are you going to be here every Sunday?"

Well, what do you say? I was actively involved in my own church in my hometown. This church was in West Virginia, 20 miles north. My family was involved at the other church; what was I to say?

So, of course I said yes. After a year of attending the worship service at the church in Winchester, I would hop into the car and drive 30 minutes to interpret at the service in the church in West Virginia (Cedar Grove.) After about a year of that, our family decided that God wanted us all to be an active part of Cedar Grove, and that's where we've been for five years. We've watched the little boy grow up, saw the addition of another member to their family. I still mess up and they are still so patient with me.

Sooooooo, what was it that goes around and comes around?

On Sunday, I stood in the hallway outside the auditorium. To my left, I see a 17 year old girl, with two college sign language classes, talking to the mom. Next to them stood the preacher's wife, talking to the dad.

I am so in awe of God that He would let me be a part of this circle. Hands are reaching out in love to share the gospel of Jesus and to share the hearts of the people. That's what it's all about.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What Goes Around, Comes Around

It's story time, friends, so sit back and enjoy a walk down Momma Marauder's memory lane.

Sign language was always interesting to me. During my junior high and high school years, I volunteered at a day camp for kids with developmental disabilities. We used sign with some of the kids and I learned the basics: yes, no, sit, stand and the ever-important bathroom sign.

Later on, when I was in college, a fellow from the local Bible College came to our church. He started a Signing Choir, where we used taped music (that's like CD's today, kids!) and did sign language to the lyrics. We signed at our church and some local churches in Cincinnati. We even traveled some - with one trip to Michigan and a short excursion into Canada so we could call ourselves an "international" signing choir.

We had a lot of fun and learned a lot of sign language back then. The choir had been established for about 6 months when a family in our church found out their toddler son (I think he was two at the time) was profoundly deaf. How cool is it that God had put the ministry of the signing choir in place before the need was there? This little boy and his family were surrounding by hearing and deaf people who knew or were learning sign language.

The church went on to establish a strong deaf ministry and now there is a deaf church that meets separately in the same building. The family went on to be highly involved in ministry with the deaf. Here is a link to their website: http://www.deafinstitute.org.

The church is where I interpreted for the first time (4s and 5s Sunday School class) and learned so much from deaf individuals and hearing as well. They were patient with my mistakes and helped me develop a life-long skill that I can use to serve God.

Fast forward many years: I had used my sign language skills very seldom in the ensuing years. I taught school and was busy with family and church activities.

When we moved to Virginia, I used sign language with one of my students, but it was very basic. I felt what skills I had were fading. Then I moved to my current school, Mountain View Christian Academy. Here, I met a teacher whose husband preached in a church in neighboring West Virginia.

One evening during my prayer time, I asked God to show me what He would have me do with the sign language - give it up, use it to honor Him in service somehow. I didn't know what to do. But He did. :)

This post is getting long, so I will finish the story tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Solo Geocaching Excursion

Well, after yesterday, I decided I wanted to go out and do something fun. So geocaching it was. I made my list of 9 caches I wanted to go and find. And off I went.

Now, if you don't know about geocaching, you can go to the website and read about it. But I thought I'd list some benefits of geocaching here:

Benefits:
- free sweat, no membership fee required!
- wild raspberries, all you care to eat!
- strange looks as you crawl under the bench
- learning about small towns and seeing places you've never seen before

Downside:
- ticks (I only found one little fellow this time)
- poison ivy (made sure I wiped off with hand sanitizer this time. The rash that is mostly on my left arm is healing up now)
- gas (no, not from lunch)
- getting lost (okay, I only had to wander five minutes to find my way out of the woods)

Usually, geocaching is a family affair for us, but this was a solo day for me. I found three out of the nine I looked for - it would have been more if I had more eyes with me. But it was fun to get out and enjoy the weather. Boy, was it hot! But I got my exercise!

My shoulder is feeling fine today from the accident. I guess I will get in touch with the claims adjuster on Monday to see what they're going to do about the van. We just had liability insurance, but the other guy should pay for our van.

J is camping again tonight with the scouts and it's kind of quiet here. My mother in law has already washed the dishes, so I think I'll watch some TV.

I might be singing with the praise team in church tomorrow. I love to sing. We are going to teach the congregation how to sign one of the praise songs, so that when our deaf couple come back from vacation next week, they will see the entire church signing with them on one song. How cool is that?

Hope you all have a great evening!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Third Time's a Charm

Three blog posts in one day? Oh well, that's okay.

Well, today was interesting. The morning was filled with a run to the dump and waiting for the cable guy. After Larry the cable guy came (just kidding - his name wasn't Larry - but you knew that,) I went to the doctor's. Ohhh, what fun! After being told once again to get my blood sugar down and exercise more, they sucked my blood out! The nerve of them people!

Then it was off to school for a little bit. I graded a test and wrote some emails. I was killing time because I needed to take the youngest to his scout master's house for a camping trip, and I didn't want to go all the way home.

We stopped on the way at a gas station for a snack and then began the short trip to the scout master's house.

(Here's the part where it gets scary - you may want to close your eyes.)


(Are they open yet? - Good!)

So, I'm driving along minding my own business and this guy in an SUV pulls out of a McDonald's parking lot in front of me. I managed to hit my brakes and turn a little to the right, or I would have been head-on into his driver's side doors. As it was, the left front end of my car smashed into his.

But, we were all wearing seat belts and no one was hurt (although my right shoulder is a little sore.) I don't even know if the other guy got ticketed, but I sure hope he did - it wasn't my fault. In fact, the first thing he said when he got out of his car was "I'm sorry." Hey, accidents happen - I was cool, calm, and collected. But I sure hope his insurance company is going to pay the cost of fixing the van. The left front fender is dented up and I lost the headlight and turn signal.

But I am very grateful. Again, no one was hurt and it could have been so much more worse. Both vehicles were able to be driven away, and any crash you can walk away from is a good one, right?

So - how was YOUR Friday the 13th??

Correction

It has been brought to my attention that I forgot some celebrities I had crushes on. Here is the edited list:

Five
Celebrity Crushes:

1. T_T!
2. T_T!
3. T_T!
4. T_T!
5. Torry

Pilfered Content

Okay, I'm not really pilfering the content of someone else's blog, but I saw this "meme" on Mrs. Goodneedle's blog, and I thought I'd give it a try.


FIVE THINGS:
I wish to do before I die:
1. Visit Hawaii and see the ocean from the sandy beach.
2. Write a children's story and have it published.
3. See my two children settled into satisfying careers.
4. Travel across American and see its beauty.
5. Visit Europe.

FIVE THINGS
I can do:
1. Crochet.
2. Communicate in American Sign Language.
3. Sing.
4. Teach.
5. Pray.

FIVE THINGS
I can't do:
1. (Yet) - stay organized.
2. Speak unkindly about another person (at least not without feeling guilty.)
3. Eat peas and liver.
4. Stop singing.
5. Forget all the wonderful things God has done in my life.

FIVE THINGS
that attract me to the opposite sex:

1. Smiles.
2. Honesty.
3. Commitment to God.
4. Patience.
5. Being married to him! (LOL)

FIVE
Celebrity Crushes:

Can't really think of any off hand.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer Time and the Living is Easy?

Well, it's been an interesting time after getting back from Kansas. My mother-in-law has moved in so we're trying to consolidate two households into one. And it doesn't help that my house was a mess before! LOL It's coming together slowly.

I am doing my first tutoring of the summer tomorrow. It's actually for no pay because I donated five tutoring sessions to our school auction. But it should be fun. She's coming to the house - a rising second grader.

Did I write about my poison ivy yesterday? When we went caching in Kansas (or in Oklahoma) I must have finally succumbed to the poison ivy curse. I talked to my sister tonight, and she and her husband have it, too. I'm going to email my cousin and see if she's suffering as well. Oh well, the price you pay when you go play in the woods.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Back from Kansas

Well, I'm back from Kansas and I'm going to try to get back to blogging! The trip to Kansas was a good one; I had a good time with my cousin who turned 50 while I was there. We did some geocaching and watched "Evan Almighty" in the theater. That was a great movie! Hope you all get a chance to watch it. We all need to be building our ARKs.

My mother-in-law is all moved in and has washed dishes twice today and made dinner. I'm about to get spoiled again, I think. She really is a nice woman, and I think she likes having her own space downstairs (living/bedroom combo.)

While in Kansas, my cousin taught me a new crochet square, so I'm working on a blanket for my husband's birthday (shhhhhhh... it's a surprise!) It is a square that looks like weaving. I will take a picture of it sometime and post it.

It is SOOOO nice not to be teaching summer school. I am going to be tutoring some this summer, but it's nice not to have the daily commitment.

Sorry there is nothing spectacular in this post, but at least I'm back in the swing of things. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Back from the Black Hole

Hello there, friends. This will be a stream-of-consciousness post because it has been so long since I've posted.

Today was the last day of school. We teachers have two more work days to finish up grades and such. I am looking forward to no more school

I am not going to take my two-week trip to Kansas because gas is out of this world! But I am going to fly out for a week and I'm looking forward to spending time with my uncle and my cousin! My sister and brother-in-law are also coming out, so we'll have a good time. My cousin is celebrating her 50th birthday on July 1st, so I need to get a present together for her. She is the one who taught me to crochet, so I may make her something crochet-y.

D, my oldest, just finished his junior year in high school. He is right now in Baltimore, getting some sleep I hope. Tomorrow, he undergoes physical testing for the Marine's delayed-entry program. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he will be sworn in tomorrow afternoon. It's what he wants to do and I am proud, sad, and terrified - all at the same time. He will spend his senior year getting ready for boot camp.

The mother-in-law is going to move in, so R has been working on the basement, getting it ready for her. She will probably move in in mid-July.

J is looking forward to scout camp this summer and possibly church camp.

The brownies in the oven smell good.

It's getting late and I should be in bed.

I can't believe Sushi is graduating! It seems like just yesterday she was a little thing. Where has the time gone!?

If you are inclined to pray, please pray for my friend's daughter, Lydia. She is four years old and had her thumb ripped off by a compressor. They were not able to reattach the thumb, and are hoping to save the joint. She told her mommy, "I'm sorry, mommy, I don't think I can do this..." :(

Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Long Lost Love

Well, you know you love me!

Life has been busy around the Morgan household. The sad news - we're now on dial-up again. So I have to wait til later at night if I want to tie up the phone line. The good news - less time on line and more time to do what actually needs to be done.

The bad news - the basement was a mess. The good news - we've cleaned alot out because the mother-in-law was going to move in. The bad news - she may not be moving in now so no wonderful homecooked meals when I get home. The good news - she'll get to stay in her little house in the country with her flowers and deer.

The bad news - I didn't take a picture of the blue jean quilt that turned out so cute. The good news - it raised $210 at the auction. The bad news - I didn't really make it myself.

Okay, the bad news/good news thing is getting a little old. I did ask for a volunteer at school to sew the jean squares together and the mother of one of my students agreed to. She actually said she made a lot of blue jean quilts, so she volunteered to put the whole thing together.

I think I will do one of those circle jean quilts starting this summer - since we found the sewing machine while we were cleaning the basement. I think the power cord is gone - but we can get a new one I'm sure.

There are only 10 more days left of school - that's hard to believe. This is the first year I am not going to be teaching summer school. I'm going to line up some tutoring jobs.

I am also going to take a two-week road trip by myself. I'm going to visit my cousin in Kansas for her 50th birthday. I will be swinging south into Tennessee and going out that way. It should be a blast. I think I will really enjoy the solitude.

Well, I think that's the big news for now. D., the oldest son, has a job now and likes it. I bought a new litter box tonight for the cats.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Blue Jean Quilt

Here I am, with a post about the quilt - and I didn't even take a picture of it yet! I will edit this tomorrow night and stick a picture in.

Each student decorated his own square with sharpies (I know, I know - not the best!) We asked them to use words (nice words!) to describe what The Learning Center meant to them. Most of them drew little pictures too. It is so cool to see the little ones and the big ones working on this.

Let me explain a bit about The Learning Center. We have a room in the modular unit where my assistant and I work with small groups of kids on weak areas. I also teach a small math class (10 kids.) We have small groups for math, language arts, history, and then some independent study kids who work on Greek and Latin. Some come in for study hall and some little ones for reading practice. We never really stopped to think about how many kids we served. When all was said and done, 40 kids filled in squares on our quilt. Then my assistant and I made one each. We are amazed that we worked with that many kids in one day! (Okay, three only come once a week.)

So, I'll post a picture tomorrow. Have a great night!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Live and Learn

I have been pretty good on the "honoring God with my food choices" bit. But tonight, our Bible study group went to Ruby Tuesday's. Now, compared to how much food I'm USED to eating, I didn't have so much tonight - a burger, fries and one full plate from the salad bar. But I KNEW I wasn't that hungry (I had already snacked at home) and NOW I'm feeling miserable. Not emotionally - I just have that icky "my stomach is way too full" feeling.

So, I should have listened to my body and only ate what I needed. Live and learn I suppose. My blood sugar will probably be high in the morning too, because I didn't go out and walk that starch off.

Tomorrow's a new day and I will remember the lesson of the evening. Live and learn.

I'm going to try sharpies on the blue jean quilt. I know they're not the best choice - but we're watching the money and fabric paints are out of the question right now. I guess I could check and find my Michael's coupon... I'll try that tomorrow.

(P.S... No one tell those blue jean quilters how much extra cutting I did on those jeans - I cut the legs apart so each pair resulted in four pieces. I did not think very hard about that - but I did cut very hard! Oh well - I'll know for next time... Live and learn!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Blue Jean Blues

I'm planning on getting my students at school to make a blue jean quilt for our school auction. I got some used jeans and they've been sitting and waiting for me. Tonight, I started taking them apart. Cutting jeans is hard work!

My co-worker has volunteered to do the sewing, so what's next is finding what to decorate the squares with. Anyone have a great idea of what kind of fabric marker/fabric paint to use on the blue jeans?

R. has fixed the brake line on his car! Whoooo hoooo! We had several days this past week that we had to wake up at 5:00 AM to get to school. Back to a normal schedule next week.

Well, almost normal. This coming week is Apple Blossom Festival here in Winchester, Virginia. When our family moved here 13 years ago, things were a lot slower and I remember calling my sister and saying, "Wow, there are traffic jams in Winchester!" Well, things have grown and there are often traffic jams on the Winchester streets.

But Apple Blossom is a fun time - pageantry and parades and a queen and a princess. Here's a link if you're curious. Apple Blossom Website

The boys like to do the Fireman's Parade, complete with fireworks after it. And we often do the carnival. One of the best things? Friday is considered a holiday and all the school systems are off. Yeah for us!

Tomorrow, we're having a picnic at church and a bluegrass concert. I'm looking forward to that!

Hope you're having a great day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Anyone want to do my midterm grades for me? I hate paperwork.

Things around here have been very busy. Now that the van is working, R.'s little car's brake line went out. He will probably finish fixing it this week - but it's a pain with one vehicle. But at least we have it! :)

I need to get to cutting out squares for our blue jean quilt we're going to make for our school auction. The kids are going to decorate their own squares and then we'll sew them together. I think it will be nice.

Off to dream land!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Deceased and Heaven

On March 17 of last year, my father died. Now, my dad was a funny guy and was very friendly. But he was an alcoholic with many terrible things that happened in his life (his mother died when he was three years old; MY mother - his wife - died and left him with three children under the age of 13.) There are more that I could list for you. And he would list them - often - because he was so angry at God for causing these bad things to happen to him. When I shared with him the Bible's teaching - that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him - he didn't want to hear it. Life was unfair and that's just the way it was.

My father heard what was in the Bible; he liked to "argue" religion at times. If he was sober, they were interesting conversations. But Dad wanted no part of a personal relationship with God, with Jesus Christ. He pushed God away.

He pushed God away, as far as I know, until it was too late. My Dad died in a nursing home of a heart attack. And my heart was grieved - is grieved. Now, I don't know what happened on his death bed and I am not God - but as far as I knew my father rejected God up until the moment he died.

Christianity - the Bible - teaches that's the end. There are no more chances. Jesus in Luke 16 tells what happened to two people who died, one who went to heaven and one who went to hell (a waiting place before the final judgement.) You can read the account here. There was no waiting, no prayers that could help you move from one place to another; your choices in life become your destiny in death. And we all have that choice. That free-will thing God created us with.

And so, I grieved my father's death. I mourned that, as far as I know, I will never see him again. I still sorrow over his death - but I could not make him choose when he was alive and nothing I can do now can help him.

Contrast that to a funeral I attended a couple of years ago for a friend of mine. Mike was a fantastic father, excellent musician and had a deep, abiding love for God and his work. His relationship with Christ was strong, and even as he battled throat cancer, he praised God for giving him more days with his precious children, four boys. At his funeral, there were tears for his family and tears that we would not have him here with us - but it was a joyous celebration because he died a Christian. We couldn't pray him into a place - he made his choices here on this earth and there was nothing we could do to change that.

I believe in Heaven - I believe in the Bible and the Bible definitely states there is a heaven - and a hell. The book of Revelation describes heaven for us. It also describes things that have happened, are happening now, or will happen in the future. Some people shy away from Revelation because it is heavy in symbolism. But you can see from the earlier passage I cited that the Bible teaches there is a heaven.

I think many people don't know what they believe - and I am learning more as I study the Bible and understand more.

I will leave you with this passage describing heaven after the final judgment. I have highlighted my favorite passage. It always brings a smile to my face.

Revelation 21:3 - 8

3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

I hope that I have chosen my words carefully - I wanted to share my passion about my relationship with my Creator. Questions and discussions are good for building bridges and developing dialogue. Violence and anger are too often the response when religion is involved. I've shared my heart - anyone else?

Relationship - vs. Religion

Wow, over in Shelina's post of Sunday, she asks some intriguing questions. She probably thinks I already answered them - LOL! But I was never one to keep quiet... (was I as talkative in college, Shelina?)

Anyway, I have taken the liberty of copying some parts of Shelina's post to help in people understanding my comments. My passion is my relationship with God. I dislike at times calling it a religion, because sometimes that word brings to mind meaningless rituals, devoid of deep meaning and relationship. Through the Old and New Testament, I am given a glimpse into the nature of the Creator of the world and of mankind. Believing the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, I trust its truths that are presented.

When I became a Christian at the age of 13, I began an intimate relationship with God because His Holy Spirit is now dwelling in me (Acts 2:38.) That relationship has been what has sustained me through the hard times and the good times in life.

At times, that relationship became a "religion;" I went to church because it was the right thing to do - even when the passion waned. Faith in God cannot be based solely on feeling; faith is not feeling - it is fact. If I did not believe the Bible to be true, then my relationship with God is built on a lie and - to me - it becomes useless. In times of doubt and uncertainty, I KNOW that God is there, even when I can't feel Him.

Okay, so obviously I'm passionate about my relationship with God :) .

And trying to convert someone? Well, if you knew for a fact that a bridge down the road from you had collapsed, leaving a horrific drop-off into a raging river - wouldn't you do everything in your power to stop the traffic from traveling down that road? You'd barricade the road, or stand waving your arms, screaming, "Stop!! The bridge is out! If you go down this road, you are going to DIE!"

That's why believers try to "convert" - it's why we share our faith. If we stood by silent (as I have done at times,) we see people heading for disaster - when perhaps we could have made a difference.


Alright - I wonder if these blogs have a word limit? Next topic: the deceased...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Moment of Silence Pondered

Shelina commented on my earlier post about the moment of silence for the Virginia Tech tragedy and asked a question. I believe the question has several parts, so I guess that's the way to respond.

As to the particular time, in my opinion, that is exactly what you said - to publicly show unity and concern. I'm sure many have been praying and remembering those involved since the news broke. But a pause in the day puts a unified feeling on it.

And why pray together? Well, the New Testament does tell us that the early church gathered together in prayer. Also, Jesus said, "Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Now, we can pray alone; but praying together I don't think it's like voting, but it does unite the hearts of the people together.

Now, I can't answer for all the people who bowed their heads to pray today. But the prayers that my students and I lifted up were for the family and those left behind. The New Testament says in Hebrews 9:27, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

There may be some "Christian" sects who teach there is a waiting period where people need prayers, but I cannot see support for that in the New Testament. Those who passed away cannot be helped by our prayers.

This is a teaching that varies among many religions. Some of you reading this may wonder if Shelina and I have had these religious discussions all throughout our friendship. We really haven't. I was too chicken to bring it up! LOL I've also grown more in my understanding of the Scriptures and maybe can answer a little better.

I appreciate the comments. Religion cannot be a mindless response to something; even in the New Testament we are called to study to show ourselves approved. Blind faith is a weakened dam wall, waiting to break under pressure.

Moment of Silence

Today, the citizens of Virginia and others around the world gathered for a moment of silence for the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings.

I am so thankful that I work in a place where I could gather with my students and pray - and not be silent.

May we all not be silent as we see people around us drowing in a sea of despair. May we all reach out and support those around us.

God help us all.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Peter and the Storm

This is something I wrote up to share with my fellow staff members at our school on Wednesday. Perhaps it will be of interest to you all... :) I think the principles could apply to any relationship. Thanks for reading.


Matthew 14:22 - 32
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.


What did Peter do? Well, certainly something we might classify as crazy! The storm was raging, but maybe he wanted to show off a little bit. He certainly was an impulsive risk-taker.

What did Jesus do? He invited Peter out on the water - KNOWING FULL WELL PETER WAS GOING TO SINK! And yet, Jesus came alongside Peter right when he was sinking. He reached out His hand and held on. Jesus held Peter up as the storm still raged. And in those moments - 5 seconds, 5 minutes? - we don’t know - I imagine Peter and Jesus, face to face, looking each other in the eye. And then, in loving tenderness, Jesus teaches and rebukes Peter. In private. In the midst of the storm. Jesus was there - for Peter. Holding him up - out of the waves, out of the danger.

We need to hold our kids up. Not only the ones on solid ground, but the ones who are slipping, the ones who are sinking! Too many of them have heard the waves continue to lash out, “Failure, Loser! Look around! You’ll never make it through!”

We were put in this school, in this ministry for a reason. We are called to reach and to hold onto the ones in the storm.

We cannot let the busyness of our day - the storms that are present all around us - we cannot let those things stop us from reaching out to those kids who so desperately need us!

You know the kids - the ones who are always firing off at the mouth, the ones you can’t ignore in the hallways or in the cafeteria. The ones that are hollering out, “Look at me!”

Look at them, please - through the eyes of Jesus. Hold onto them as they reach out for help. Don’t let them go - don’t let them down.

With Christ there is always hope. The young men and women who walk through our halls have potential in Christ that only He knows.


For just a moment, think of two men as they walked the roads of Jerusalem around the time Jesus was crucified. Two men who had rejected their relationship with the Savior. Do you know the two men? Yes, Peter and Judas.

Matthew 26:69-75
Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said.

But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth."
He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!"

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away."

Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"

Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Peter “the Rock”? Perhaps Peter was even then laughing in shame at the nickname. The Rock crumbled when push came to shove.

And Judas? Well, Judas had made a deal. But when he realized how much he had messed up, how much he had given up by accepting blood money, Judas went to someone for help.

Matthew 27:1-4

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.

"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."

"What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."

"What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."

The Pharisees mocked him and turned him away. Judas saw no hope.

When Peter messed up, what did he do? Well, we know he wept in shame - and we know he went back to fishing. But I’m sure the words of Christ echoed hope in Peter’s heart: “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” And WHEN you have turned back - not IF. Those words of Jesus were meant to encourage Peter - to remind him that all was not lost.

But - what about Judas? The one with no hope? No support?

Matthew 27:4-5
"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."

"What is that to us?" the chief priests and the elders replied. "That's your responsibility."

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Our kids are going to fail. WE are going to fail. But we have a choice to make: are we going to be the scoffers - the nay Sayers “Hey, that’s your responsibility!” Or “What else can you expect out of that kid?

Judas and Peter - both failures in their own eyes. But Peter allowed the echoes of hope to carry him through the dark times.

Judas asked for help - no one listened or cared. I wonder how different the outcome would have been if the chief priests had taken the money back or offered some morsel of hope to this desperate man? We will never know.

We have people in our lives who are asking for help, for hope. We have a choice to make: are we going to provide the voice of TRUTH - the truth of God’s word - that God loves and cares deeply for His children - all of His children. The TRUTH that, in Christ, there is forgiveness, there is grace, and there is hope.

Guard your words and guard your hearts. For the words we speak TO each other, the words we speak ABOUT each other - they are heard - they have power. And we can be the voice of despair or the voice of TRUTH.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Temple

Today's sermon at church was so powerful. The preacher compared the earthly temple that Solomon built for God in the Old Testament, to the temple we have now. The temple of the Holy Spirit is each Christian (Acts 2:38.) God Himself makes His dwelling in us.

Now, I'm not convinced that sermon was written and designed just with me in mind, but it sure felt like it! I have been feeling the effects of not honoring God's presence in my body. This temple - my body - is a dwelling place for Him! How can I bring Him glory from a life that is not honoring Him?

Now, I know - I'm not a "bad" person. Do lots of good things for lots of people. Nice girl. But, the truth is - I've been in rebellion in this area of my life. And I am reaping the natural consequences of those choices now.

I am not going to go on a "diet" or "exercise program": I am going to choose to honor God with my choices (including what I eat, drink, and how much I move around!)

It's going to take prayer - something I avoid at times. I need to cultivate that relationship with God.

Well, thanks for listening/reading. Verses below for your reading pleasure.


1 Kings 8:27 "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, 'My Name shall be there,' so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.


1 Corinthians 3:16Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Taking Care of Yourself

Well, here is the afore-promised health report. R. got his biopsy report back and it is NOT cancer. So that is a praise! Even though prostate cancer is one of the most treatable cancers in the world – it’s still cancer. Not a pretty word. So I am thankful to God that this passed us by. And yet, still I wonder – why NOT us?

There’s a verse in Psalms (I think) that says “My ways are not your ways, neither are My thoughts your thoughts. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are My ways than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

It is so hard to understand at times why young children suffer from cancer, why people are in accidents and lose their lives at an early age – and yet – for this time – our family has been spared this cancer scare.

Then there are MY health problems – which basically boil down to this: I have not taken care of my physical body the way I should have. I have eaten what I wanted when I wanted and have not exercised any where near enough. The stress test I took two weeks ago showed my heart has evidence of high blood pressure that has probably been going on for the past five years or more.

So now, I am going to start on high blood pressure medicine – which is in addition to the glucophage (for the Type II diabetes) and the whatever it is (for the high cholesterol.)

I feel like I’m this 70 year old woman!

But, the good news is, the doctor says my heart doesn’t show signs of blowing up any time soon, and I just need to work through the pounding heart and the hard breathing when I exercise. In other words, huff and puff until I lose enough weight so I’m NOT huffing and puffing any more.

So – my new self challenge. 30 minutes of exercise every day. It can be 1 x 30 (one session,) 2 x 15, or even at this point 3 x 10. I am committed to do this because I cannot stand the way I feel and I know that God wants us to take care of our bodies. I want to be around to see grandchildren (when I let my kids get married – in about 20 years or so.) I want to walk up a hill to look for a geocache without stopping three times! (Although I did find it – no matter how much huffing and puffing I had to do!)

Summer is coming so this will be easier for me. I am a person who thrives on routine – so I am to get this down before the school year is over.

Ahhhh, so much writing. Are your eyes bugging out yet? Thanks for listening to me rant and rave!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Religion is a sensitive topic to many adults. Wars are fought daily over who is right and who is wrong. We see on TV the consequences of disagreement every day.

But, in the playground of innocent children, such a topic is not so unusual.

This time of year, many churches hold Easter egg hunts, to draw in the little ones and provide some enjoyment for local families. My sister and her husband are neighborhood aunt/uncle (she would kick me if I said grandma/grandpa,) and take several neighborhood kids on outings.

Right before Easter this year, three kids were piled in the back of the Element. J., the oldest at 10, was clearly in control of the conversation. The five-year-old in the middle listened closely to the following exchange.

J., who attends the local Catholic church with his family, leaned over and looked at T., the seven-year old clutching the Easter basket.

"So, T. Are you Catholic?"

The folks in the car grew quiet and my sister eyed the situation in the rear view mirror. Wondering where this conversation might go. Wondering if the neighborhood peace would continue.

As T. thought about the question, her bright eyes shone. "No. I'm not Catholic. I think I'm public."

There are so many ways that conversation could have gone. My sister stifled her giggles. Children are so honest, so open, so willing to suspend the expected to answer the truth.

For a little bit, the car was silent, then the kids began to giggle again.

So, what are you?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Vessel For God

Lord, I know You made me -
Your hands designed my frame.
Before I even drew one breath,
O Lord, You knew my name.

With loving hands, You framed me -
with patience and with tears,
as I walk the road before me -
through the days and through the years.

May I bring You joy and pleasure -
May my life become a song.
Within my heart a treasure -
Your presence all day long.

Let me be a vessel for Your use.
Lord, cleanse me from within.
Fill my heart with Your Word
Each day as I begin.

May my heart be filled with wonder
as I look up to Your throne.
With my sisters there beside me,
I know I'm not alone.

Lord, I know You hear me
When I bow my head to pray.
I lift my hands up to You -
May I never be ashamed.

Before I speak a single word,
You know my thoughts and needs.
Help me, Lord, to listen
and follow where You lead.

May I bring You joy and pleasure -
May my life become a song.
Within my heart a treasure -
Your presence all day long.

Ponderings

You know, I am very thankful for ibuprofen - LOL! Medication can be very helpful...

Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday. Every day, I know we should celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. But it's nice to have one day set aside. We are doing a cantata (music) at our church tomorrow. I'm excited because I actually get to sing during this one and two of the girls in the congregation are going to be signing the words.

Sometimes I forget how important SINGING is to me. I love music and I love to sing. Earlier this week, I wrote a song for our Ladies' Bible Study. I used to write a lot of songs when I was feeling down or depressed. I need to write them all the time. Of course, it doesn't help much that the only instrument I can play with any amount of talent is the tape recorder. LOL

I was going to write more medical stuff, but - eh - I'll tell ya when it's important.

Shelina, I think I'm going to put that quilt together this week during Easter Break. I'll let you know how it goes.

Have a wonderful evening, all my adoring fans!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Vans and Doritos

During the winter months, my van has had a hard time starting off and on. The starter sounded like it didn't want to wake up - just like me most mornings. I kind of knew it was a matter of time, but it seems the motto around here "Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?"

So, we left school today and the van did NOT want to start. I tried and tried and it would not turn over. So I called R on the ham radio and asked him to pick us up. In the meantime, I had already prayed, "Lord, I know we should have already taken care of this. But it sure would be nice to get thiis thing started so R can work on it at home." So BEFORE R actually got out the door, the van FINALLY turned over.

The kids in the little kids playground and their teachers all gave me a hand! But hey - I give the hand to God! Whooooo hooooo. So R and D are outside working on the van right now and it looks like the starter just needs a little TLC. :)

And then, there are the Doritos (insert little trademark symbol here, if you feel so led...)

Money is always tight around the Marauder household. Not one of our strong points. Anyway, I asked R the other day how much I had to spend in groceries and he told me. So I was making the plans and this morning, D was complaining because we were out of chips. Now - chips are not a necessity, right? I have been praying that God will help us make wise decisions and - let's face it - flat out help us. :)

Today at the end of my tutoring session, the mom came in with a plastic grocery sack full of individual packs of Doritos. Probably around 30 of them. Isn't God good? :)

Hope you're having a great day!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

stress - STRESS - STRESS!!!!!

Do you ever feel stressed? LOL - I know you do. I took a stress test a week and a half ago. I haven't heard the results yet - I guess they can't find the stress!

I have been short of breath lately when walking on any kind of incline and my heart beats like a maniac. I'm waiting to hear the results of the test but I suspect the results will consist of the following:

- when you weigh as much as two normal adults, your heart IS going to pound like that!
- stress is something you can do something about, so get to it!

I need to get back to a regular exercise routine and certainly better eating habits! I've started on glucophage to help maintain my blood sugar levels so we'll see how it goes.

The only person who is at fault for all of ths - ME. I know this. And it's time to change.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Thoughts

We had a good Bible study tonight - it was nice to get away and sit down without feeling blah too much and talk with adults.

So much to do around the house...

So much to do at school...

I think I want to go to bed...

Sorry. Not a thrilling entry. I'll do better later!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Oh, yeah - the blog

Sorry I haven't been around much. This week was not a good one - had some, um, medical issues that have worn me out. But the medicine the doc put me on has finally started kicking in, so I'm feeling better.

See y'all soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Running out of steam...

Ok, I did two rotations of cleaning, but I am getting tired and I'm in pain (for other unmentionable reasons.) So, I'm calling it quits for now and going to take a rest.

My alma mater (and Shelina's) is playing OSU today in the NCAA. We'll have to see how they do...

As promised, some pictures...

Our neighbor's house: (because the front of ours is surrounded by junk)




My killer kitty: what a funny pic!



An over-all view of the promised quilt top:



Closer:




Still closer: (this pic doesn't show the hand sewing that I did to attach each leaf to the muslin top - it took a long time but was fun)




Okey dokey, I think that's it for now. Going to take a nap...

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHTS!

Well, actually it's Saturday day, but I remember the song from a long time ago.

It is 9:15 AM on Saturday morning. I have spent one hour cleaning (1/2 hr. downstairs, 1/2 hr. upstairs) and 1/2 hr. on school work. I am now on my 1/2 hr. break. This is my plan for the rest of the day. I want to make some headway in this place!

We had a surprise snowfall yesterday. About five inches of snow is on the ground now, but it's melting quickly so that's good. It is beautiful to look at. On my next 1/2 hr. break, I will take a picture and post it. I know you are so excited about that.

I also found my quilt top that I started 13 years ago. I will post a picture of it as well. Because I have used it as a tablecloth, it has some spots on it, but I could add some more leaves. But then there's that whole adding-a-backing and quilting it. Did I mentioned I don't have a sewing maching? Unless it's downstairs in that mess. I used to have one...

Until next time...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Howdy

Boy, I don't hang out here often, do I? Things have been busy and spending too much time on this computer is part of the problem. I do, however, need to make posting more a part of my routine. It's like therapy - but cheaper!

Our ladies' Bible study book is focusing on cleansing this week. I have a lot of cleansing to do - inside and out. Inside and outside my house. Inside and outside myself. But cleansing takes time. I plan on trying to do some house cleaning Saturday and I think I can make it some soul-searching time too. Me and God got some talking to do.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Shrimp and Stuff

We had our annual "shrimp feed" for our ham radio club tonight. About 33 people showed up and we ate lots of food. As I sat and talked with the couple sitting across from me, with J sitting next to me poking me, I realized how old I was feeling in the crowd. Everyone else was older, except for one member. R and I are the youngest around mostly and J. was the youngest there tonight at age 11. I gotta find some young folks to hang out with!

Which brings me to tomorrow. We have signing choir after church tomorrow, and it is basically a group of teenaged girls learning sign language through worship songs. So they keep me feeling young.

I am looking forward to the warm up so we can get out and go geocaching! I miss tromping through the woods.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Random Thoughts

I haven't posted much this week - it's been busy.

I have a lot of jeans now for my quilt project. I am going to take Mrs. Goodneedle's and Shelina's word for it and not try to hand quilt a jean quilt. I think we're just going to do a personalized jean blanket and have it sewn on a machine for us. We'll see how it goes! We will probably use puffy paints for the kids to decorate their own block. With my luck, I'll hate to part with the quilt and end up buying it back myself at the auction!

We're doing D.'s bday party tomorrow - swimming and male overnight at a hotel. I'll bring J home with me. I decided that it was DAD's turn to do the overnighter thing this year. Although the 3:00 AM Denny's run was kind of fun.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Is anyone else...

tired? I know I am. Of course, it's 10:21 PM and I should be in bed, so I only have myself to blame.

Shelina made a post about her blue jean quilt and she has inspired me. I think the kids who come to my classroom at school are going to work on one for the school auction in May. Handmade items always go well, and when they're made by the kids - that's even better! I think I will have them bring in old clothes that mean something to them and we'll add them to the quilt. Here are directions for the quilt: Denim Circles. I am not a quilter, but we can do some hand quilting on this and I may be able to get some parent helpers.

One way I got some old blue jeans is through freecycle. This is a great way to get rid of your own clutter and perhaps get things you need.

Church was really good today. The sermon was about trials and temptations and how they grow our faith - IF we let them.

Tomorrow, I am going to be at school all day but not in my classroom. I will actually get to do some observations and maybe help some kids out and teachers.

Well, I think I'm rambling so I better get to bed before I forget to put the links in. Good night!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

sometimes...

Sometimes don't you wish...
  • you could do EVERYTHING YOUR WAY and it turn out just fine?
  • you could stay at home all day and crochet/quilt/whatever and not feel guilty about it?
  • you could forgive AND forget all the bad things people have done to you?
  • you could forgive AND forget all the bad things YOU'VE done?
  • you could eat a gallon of ice cream and not gain an ounce?
  • Florida wasn't so far away and Hawaii was in your back yard?
  • everyone would do things the right way (YOUR WAY)?
Sometimes I do...

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Seventeen Years Ago...

Where were you seventeen years ago? I know where I was - laying in a hospital in Cincinnati waiting for D to be born (of course, we didn't know he was a he at that time - we wanted a surprise.)

I had already been in the hospital for two days - being two weeks overdue. Pitocin was experimental then, and they tried it. Nothing doing, no how. He was comfy and hanging out in the womb. Finally after two days of monitoring and trying, they decided to stop and scheduled a C-Section for the morning of March 2nd. When they decided that, they unplugged all the machines that were monitoring the baby - the heart monitor, the contractions. No more beeps and blips. Everything fell silent and R went home for the night.

I remember how absolutely quiet it was and I called the nurse three times during the night: "Are you sure he's okay? I haven't felt him moving." She reassured me for a bit and then went off.

I had gotten used to hearing his heartbeat. Used to him being close and knowing he was okay. He certainly wasn't going any where soon.

How times have changed! Although D stays at home most days, he is in his own world - as it should be for 17 year olds. I just sometimes miss those moments - feeling the flutter as he kicked against my bladder, hearing that heartbeat. Sometimes I get teary-eyed. And then that huge 17-year-old will come and sit next to me, put his head on my shoulder, and say, "I love you, Mom." And I remember. And I am so thankful for this boy.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Well, that leftover bag of Valentine's chocolate...

may just be the thing that hindered me last night from following my new efforts in eating. Well, it's gone now - so no worries there! LOL

I have a new eating rule for myself - no eating after everyone has gone to bed. Seems simple, huh? Well, we'll see how it goes. It will work if I make it work.

I am really enjoying this new Bible study book from Donna Partow. Tonight's lesson was about quarreling with our Maker - trying to do things our own way. The big thing I took away from the lesson was that staying close to God is the easiest way to be shaped into what He wants me to be.

I took a walk last night before dinner - it was cool enough for a jacket. It was a nice short walk and I walked at the bottom of our steps and listened to the run-off stream flowing over rocks. It was a nice sound. I'll take a picture sometime and post it. It only flows strong after rain or snow is melting.

I could walk tonight but it's dark out. I had a cup of tea while I did my devotions and I am filled up - inside my tummy and in my heart.

Are you filled tonight?

Monday, February 26, 2007

What hinders you?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entagles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the auther and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12: 1, 2

This was one of the verses that our preacher used in his sermon yesterday. His emphasis was that not everything that hinders us from fully serving God is wrong - it just hinders us from fully serving. So then, I had to ask myself: what hinders me from doing what God wants me to do? I made a list!
  • lack of energy
  • lack of enthusiasm
  • laziness
  • too much time on the computer
  • too much time on the computer
  • too much... (okay, you get the idea)
When I look at the time I spend on the computer, I mostly spend it in a forum related to one of my hobbies - geocaching. I enjoy commenting and posting and interacting with other people. It's because I am so motivated by other people's approval. WANTING OTHER PEOPLE'S APPROVAL is standing in the way of doing what I need to do.

The lack of energy, enthusiasm and general laziness can be traced easily to two things: not eating right and not getting enough exercise. I have ignored my Type 2 Diabetes now for over a year - and it's showing in more ways than one.

So, I need to throw off the things that are hindering me and throw off the sin that entangles me. It's time to take some action steps:
  1. less time on the computer - I really think the blogging thing is good for me. I will limit my visit to the forum to ONE time a day.
  2. eating better - I went and bought some veggies today and I'm going to start eating by the quarters on my plate (I'm sure there's a better label for it:) one-fourth of the plate protein, one-fourth starch, and two-fourths (yes, one-half for you mathematicians) vegetables.
  3. exercising - uggggggggg - I think I'm going to make myself start walking at school again, a couple of times around the gym. I need to do this. At home, I need to walk up and down the streets here, once around to begin with.
Well, that's my plan. If I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and remember that following Him is a joy, I will want to honor Him by taking care of myself.

So, what hinders you?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fluffy Flakes


We woke this morning to very fluffy snow falling from the sky.

After debating for about a half an hour, we decided to go to church. The drive was a little troublesome on the snow/slush covered roads, but we made it. We had a total of 6 inches. There may be a little more moving in this evening. This was a wet gloppy snow, good for snowballs that we threw at each other after getting home from church.

No church this evening, so we're hanging here at home.

How was your day?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday Night

Wow - what a weekend! We had an overnighter at the church Friday night - Saturday morning. We had 13 kids from kindergarten to fifth grade. We had a good time and five of them even stayed up all night. I napped for about two hours while sitting with the group of kids who fell asleep during Veggie Tale's "Jonah."

And today, I went to school and watched while one of my students was baptized. It has been such a blessing to watch this 14 year old girl learn more about Jesus and decide to give her life to Him! I will enjoy watching her grow. I was 13 years old when I was baptized. I remember the joy of knowing my sins were forgiven. It's hard, sometimes, to recapture that joy. But I'm working on it.

For my thousands of fans out there who don't know - I teach at a private Christian school that is actually a ministry of a church here in town. So school is church and church is school and it all gets confusing at times! LOL

We actually attend a church in West Virginia (about a 25 minute drive north from here.) We started going up there because I interpret on Sunday mornings.

I gave the scarf I made to my friend at church. She really liked it. I also made this pink hat last week. I gave it to one of my students at school. She liked it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sad

On the way home from church tonight, I hit a kitty. I tried to find the owner, but no one knew. I got a box and put him in it to move him to the side of the road.

I am sad. :(

Monday, February 19, 2007

Friendships

For the past year, I have been struggling with my relationship health. You know how it is - we all have our roles in life: mother, wife, coworker, teacher. I tend to want to make others happy and fix problems. And that, as most of us know, can wear you down and break your spirit.

I had a good friend here in the town in Virginia when I moved here 13 years ago. Through circumstances beyond my control, I lost that friendship about 7 years ago. Recently, I’ve found myself wondering why I haven’t let anyone get close, why I didn’t have any friends nearby. It’s not that I’ve been doubting: “Why doesn’t anyone like me?” It’s been more of, “Why am I not willing to put the time aside to develop a friendship?”

I am sitting in tears typing this because my friend Shelina has taken me back to a time when that’s what it was about - spending time together and enjoying each other. Why do we let life dictate so much of who we are and what we do?

I am so thankful for my renewed relationship with Shelina and her gracious words that have touched my heart. To steal a line from Star Trek and address it to Shelina: “I have been and always shall be your friend.” Thank you for your friendship.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

So, it was Shelina who got me into this blogging thing and she's always showing her works in progress and her finished stuff (I love the Valentine quilt.)

Well, I liked the pretty colors on these quilting sites I've seen - BUT - I'm not a quilter. I crochet. So I went out and bought pretty yarn. Thanks for enticing me to spend money, people!

I wish I knew better how to line up the pictures in the blogs, but I will put some pictures in to show what I bought yesterday. (P.S. I learned how - more or less.)

I bought this LionBrand homespun yarn, a beautiful aqua and a purpley/maroon color. I'm going to make a couple of scarves out of it, I think. Pictured are the skeins of yarn and one scarf in progress.




The other yarn is a fun one I bought. I didn't know why I bought it, I just did. (There's the label now - it is Fancy Fur by Lion Brand.) Any way, I started playing with it and a big crochet hook (naw - I don't know what size - it's big, okay?) Well, it wanted to be a scarf too, so I made it and I love it! I'm going to give it to one of the teenagers at church who has been helping me interpret some songs on Sunday mornings.





And so, since I had the camera, a picture of Morris. He's a fun cat.




Saturday, February 17, 2007

Driving Lessons for Whom?

Okay, it was time to take D out on the road to get a little feel for driving on snow and ice. Our driveway and road are gravel so he drove out on them, practicing braking and feeling what happens when the tires start spinning. Going very slow, did fine.

The main roads are clear so the trip to the gas station to pick up a newspaper and diet Coke went fine. On the way back, I made D drive down a side road to get some more practice on the snowy roads. Then he pulled into a driveway to turn around.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Bet he got stuck in the driveway. I bet even Carol tried to get it out and it wouldn't come because it was stuck, spinning..."

Oh, come on! Do you think I would let something like that happen?

Okay, it did. So here I am blocking SOMEONE ELSE'S driveway and can't get out.

Friendly mail carrier with chains to lay on the ground and a push by the man in the driveway helped us get out. By this time, I was in the driver's seat and no one knew it had been D driving.
And D - to his credit - did not once say, loudly, "Gee, MOM! Thanks a lot for the driving lesson. This lesson was how to get stuck in the snow. When's the lesson on how to get out - next week?"

He said he thought it but didn't say it. The kid's learning some self control. LOL

Interesting little trip.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Quiet of the Evening

Okay, it's not really quiet around here. But J is studying Bible Bowl, R is working on tax papers, and D is chatting to a GIRL on the phone. (Yes, a girl - don't panic.)

I got most of the stuff done today for a creative writing festival at school. I HATE taking care of something new - there's always something you forget to do or somehow you mess up. Oh well, it will be better next year if they let me do it again!

Most everyone around here in the city has broken out of the ice. Some people have taken chainsaws and pick axes to their ice blocks. I was very thankful to have R around to do the dirty work for me! :)

Our kid overnighter at the church had to be rescheduled. The parking lot was still covered with ice. Our theme was "Beach Blast," so it would have been fun in all this winter weather. We might do it next weekend.

Not much else to say today. I'm going to look to see if I can find some bulk eyelash yarn on the internet. I love the scarves that I can make from that. It doesn't take long to crochet them.

I wish it were warmer or at least not so much snow. I wanted to go geocaching this weekend. Oh well!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day


We awoke this morning to ice on the snow, but thankfully not on the trees. My hubby printed out a card for me on the computer and a banner. I'm baking cakes and brownies right now to keep the males happy for the rest of the day. I even made pancakes this morning. Wow.

As I'm posting this blog, I'm talking to my sister on yahoo messenger. She just shared some pictures with me. I think this one is cute. The little girl is my sister's neighborhood buddy who came on our New Year's vacation with us at Burr Oak State Park in Ohio. The other kid is my J, who is ABSOLUTELY thrilled with decorating cupcakes with the youngster! LOL

My hubby has now broke his car free from the ice and snow. Life is getting back to normal (whatever that is.)

Hope you all are staying safe and warm!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Snowy Day

Well, we had today off of school and we all sat around the house and pretty much did nothing all day. The boys tried to go sledding this morning with dad, but they were the first ones in the park and the snow wasn't packed down yet.

Tonight and tomorrow is supposed to bring freezing rain and ice - so hopefully we don't lose our power.

We played "Imaginiff" tonight - a fun family game.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day - I plan on baking some brownies and cakes for everyone. We'll have to see if we can get off to church or not tomorrow evening.

They've already called school off for tomorrow. So I guess we'll be sleeping in. R took two vacation days, so he'll be here tomorrow with us too.

Sooooooo, how was your day?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Waiting...

Waiting for the phone call to cancel school. It probably won't come until tomorrow morning. We are supposed to get a nice wintry mix of snow/sleet/freezing rain/ice starting somtime around 1:00 AM. Meanwhile, I'm catching up on some reading here online, and posting - of course.

Tonight was our ladies' Bible study. We go to Books a Million and invade their coffee shop for an hour (or hour and a half.) We are doing a study on "Becoming a Vessel God can Use." Tonight we did the week one study and the thing that struck me most was "not doing great things for God" but letting God use you to do great things. The first way we are using our own vision and strength to accomplish what WE THINK God wants us to do. The second way, we are open to HIS leading and limited by nothing - with His power behind us.

Ephesians 3:20, 21
"Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to HIS POWER that is at work IN US, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!"

I really am enjoying our discussions!

On a fun note, I bought some eyelash yarn and made a little scarf for my coworker's little girl. I really should have taken a picture of it. It was lilac and very pretty. She came over to show it to me before they left for home. She gave me some of her colored school pictures to thank me. So cute!

Well, that should keep you satisfied until tomorrow.

Later!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Prejudice, Christianity, Muslims, and other isms...

I read tonight a post that my friend Shelina made over in her blog Shelina's Creations.

Her topic was community and how Muslims are percieved in the United States and around the world. It made for very interesting reading and reflection.

I am a teacher in a private Christian school. I am a baptized, born-again Christian who many people would label as a "fundamentalist." I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and I believe that Jesus is the only way to God.

NOW, DON'T SHUT ME DOWN!! READ A LITTLE FURTHER...

As I said, I am a Christian teacher. I am amazed to hear the prejudicial comments that come out of some of my students' mouths when we discuss other religions and ethnic groups. Oh, it is never: "Hey, let's go kill the ____, they're all stupid!" No, the comments are much more subtle than that: remarks about "the Mexicans" (immigrants to our area who have come to pick apples and often stay on and have developed a strong community in town,) or "the Muslims - they're all wacko!"

My students seemed surprised when I share with them that one of my best friends is Muslim. It is then that some of the most important lessons of the Bible and the constitution are learned (I'm teaching American history this year.)

I may not agree with someone's religious beliefs and, because I believe Jesus is the only way to heaven, I can mourn because I feel their souls may be lost. That, however, does not give me the right to condemn, ridicule or harass a certain group of people, be they Muslims, Buddhists or other religions. Christianity is not necessarily a religion of "tolerance" (in other words - I have to ACCEPT everything you believe) but it is, at the heart a religion of love.

How can we reach out to people if we paint them with the brushstrokes of prejudice and write them off before we even build relationships? How can you label a group of people as one certain way? I know - it's done all the time. It doesn't make it right.

I make sure my students understand that much evil has been done in the name of "Christianity" as well - people often use the name of Jesus as a shield for bigotry and hatred. This is not the way of Christ.

And - hello, kids!! We live in America! People DO have the right to their religion - including the public school children who may bow their heads and pray. I am glad I work in a place where I won't get into trouble when I lead my class in prayer or pray with a student who is hurting or in trouble. But BECAUSE WE LIVE IN AMERICA, we have those rights.

Yes, I know, there is a fine line between rights and caution. But if we can become a community and understand who it is standing on the sidewalk, who it is over the fence in the next yard, when we are no longer afraid to reach out a hand of fellowship to our neighbors - then we will have defeated the terrorists who would like nothing more to see an America divided.