Friday, January 30, 2009

I have nothing to say!

And the title says it all, folks. I have tried three times to do a blog today, but what's in my head is not easily translating itself to the written word. I can only assume that there's not enough in my head to make up a blog entry. That's a little depressing. Anyway, since I can't come up with enough of anything to say, I give up. Have a great weekend and I'll be back on Monday!

And yes, I guess this is the electronic equivalent of being speechless. Mark the date because this does not happen to me often.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Things About Me

I was tagged by a fellow blogger and now I'm supposed to list 25 things about me that you don't know. I hate this kind of stuff. Oh, wait! Can that be the first thing? I should probably at least explain myself. I don't know that I have 25 things that people don't know about me. And I'm not real comfortable sharing personal things about myself--especially on the world wide web. Oh, I guess that could be the second thing, couldn't it! Maybe this will be easier than I thought. Okay, here goes.

3. I am very sarcastic. (But you all knew that, didn't you?)
4. When I'm stressed, my sarcasm goes into warp drive.
5. I hate most sci-fi stuff. I watched the first three Star Wars movies because I hated not knowing what everyone else was talking about. I've never seen the last three.
6. In spite of my #5, I am becoming hooked on Stargate SG-1. My kids are fans and we have several seasons on DVD. I can't seem to stop watching!
7. I have a problem with self-control. (#6 gave that away, didn't it?)
8. I am the third of six children. I have two older sisters and three younger brothers.
9. I believe very strongly that one of my greatest purposes in life is to raise my children to be all they can be for Jesus.
10. I believe my husband is a great man, and sometimes I'm amazed that he actually chose me to be his wife.
11. I do not like getting emotional in public. Mostly because I'm afraid I won't be able to control my tears and I will dissolve into a blithering idiot.
12. I actually did dissolve into a blithering idiot at my high school graduation. Which is why #11 is on this list!
13. I'm very afraid of not living up to my potential.
14. I'm not sure what my potential is.
15. I did not get the domestic gene, but sometimes I do a good job of pretending I have one.
16. I own a gun (more than one, actually) and I know how to use it.
17. I'm one of those weird people that actually likes speaking in public.
18. I have about five or six good offertories that I can play on the piano.
19. Our church pianist has been gone for two weeks. If she doesn't come back soon, I'm going to have to start repeating some of those offertories!
20. I am a suspense writer. Because of that I have contemplated many different ways to kill people.
21. I am a very poor judge of time. I never think something's going to take as long as it does.
22. I love almond joys, peanut M&M's and Snickers bars.
23. I absolutely love a cute pair of shoes. I put fashion over comfort when it comes to footwear.
24. I love being a pastor's wife.
25. I like bright colors.

Okay, there you have it. Now you know more about me than you ever wanted to. I guess I'll be as brave as Pilar was. If you've got some insights about me that you want to share (good or bad), feel free to leave a comment. but don't be surprised if I plot how to kill you off in my next book!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Matthew and Stephanie Update

I've had several people ask about Matt and Steph lately, so I thought I'd give ya'll an update as to where they're at and what they're doing. Matthew finished up his freshman year at Shawnee Baptist College last spring. He's been here at home ever since, trying to save money to go back to school. The job market has been very sluggish, and he's been working whatever part time jobs he can get his hands on. He's working about 30 hours per week right now, and he still has some to pay on last year's bill. He's getting there slowly, but surely. He is looking at taking some correspondence this semester, and then in the fall he'd like to start his sophomore year at Landmark Baptist College in Haines City, Florida. This college is a little over an hour south of us, and he would be able to come home on weekends. I really like that idea.
Along with his security job (working nights) Matt took some NRA courses to qualify him as an NRA instructor. He can now teach classes in basic firearm safety, as well as classes for those that want to apply for a concealed carry permit.
In the meantime, Matt has been singing in the choir, and working with the teens in our church, especially with their outings and teen soul-winning on Saturdays. He also started a junior church program at our church, and he preaches there on Sundays.
Stephanie finished high school a semester early, and so she started her freshman year this January at Shawnee Baptist College. Her major is Christian Education, and she is doing well as she adjusts to college life. She is taking eighteen credit hours this semester and is also working thirty hours a week for the telemarketing company on campus. She's been there about three weeks now, and she sounds really tired when we talk to her on the phone.
On the personal side of things, neither one of them are in a serious dating relationship at the moment. Although they both enjoy time with the opposite sex, they have a long way to go with finishing their education before they get serious.
I'm proud of both Matt and Steph (as well as the rest of our kids)and I'm eager to see what God does in their lives in the future. Please continue to pray for them. At that late teen/early adult stage there are so many decisions to make that will affect the rest of their lives. Pray for God's wisdom and discernment and that they will both continue to follow His will in their lives.
Thanks for asking about them. I never tire of talking about my kids!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Wisdom of the Ages

I've always been one to listen to advice. When I was a teenager, I actually believed that my parents did know more than me. Just the fact that they had lived twice as long as I had seemed to argue in favor of them having more wisdom and experience than I did.
I still assume most people know more than I do. I guess I kind of figure that, if I've heard about it, then everyone else on the planet must already know it. Except in one area: I still think I know more than my kids do. Too bad they don't always agree with me! Yesterday I didn't know noodles. Seriously. My son and I had a discussion involving Ramen noodles. And no matter what I said, he had an answer. It wasn't always the right answer, but it was delivered with such conviction and just a hint of superiority.
It all started because a couple in the church wanted to take me and my husband out for dinner. I went to the store and bought frozen pizzas for the boys, so I could fix them a quick supper before we left. I knew Matt was working that night, so I bought three pizzas, which I thought would feed four boys. (Just barely, but that's another post!) After I got home, I realized that Matt would still be there for supper because he didn't go into work until later. He was disappointed because I only bought three pizzas, and insisted that wouldn't be enough for all of them. I suggested that he go to the store and pick up another one (or two), but he said he would eat ramen noodles instead. I stopped him as he headed down the stairs.
"The box of ramen noodles I bought today is for your sister at college."
"You should just send her a Walmart gift card and save the postage." The wisdom of one year at college and nineteen years of life.
"I have other things I need to send her as well, so I'm sending the noodles to her."
"It's silly to waste the postage when there's a Walmart just down the street from the school." Did I mention the other things I needed to send? Oh. He just wasn't listening.
"Stephanie doesn't have a car, Matt. And the girls have to be in at least groups of three if they're going off campus. And they have to get off-campus passes signed too."
Matt had a car at school. Actually, he had my car at school. And he worked off-campus. Stopping to pick something up or running errands was no big deal to him.
"Stephanie doesn't need a car, Mom." Now his tone was patronizing. Someday he will learn that doesn't help his argument. "The Walmart is in walking distance."
The part about the off-campus passes and having to go in groups of three apparently had no merit. Not to mention it's still winter up in Indiana. Or the fact that, whatever she buys, she has to carry back with her while she walks back to the dorm. There was no sense in arguing with someone that knows so much anyway.
"Look, if you want ramen noodles, open the box and take a packet. I was going to take the packets out of the box anyway, to save space in shipping."
"That's okay," he said as he walked away. "There's a whole other box of noodles in the pantry."
Wait. He wasn't even arguing for something to eat? That whole conversation was simply to impart his vast wisdom to my stupid little head?
I know that someday he will realize how much more his parents know than he does. But by that time, he'll be trying to convince his teenager of his own wisdom.
I'll be tempted to side with the teenager!

Friday, January 23, 2009

How Do I Count My Pennies?

The economy is in rough shape. And experts tell us it's going to get worse instead of better. Right now everyone is looking for ways to save money. Everyone is tightening their belts. Everyone is pinching their pennies. (Got a cliche you want to add?)
What kind of things do you do to save money? Are you feeling the pinch? Or has it not really hit you yet?
In our house, we've been feeling a pinch for the last year and a half. That's when my husband closed his painting business and we moved to Florida, where he began pastoring a small church. We watched our savings dwindle down month by month as we sorted through the bills, choosing between the must-haves, the would-really-like-its and the can't-afford-its.
Some of the cuts didn't hurt so much. I dropped a couple of magazine subscriptions. I don't go shopping as much. we cut off our cable. We went to only cell phones. (I hate not having a house phone.)
Our grocery bill got readjusted. More of our meals contain ground beef (how do I love thee, let me count the ways) and chicken. We don't eat out as much. We stopped ordering pizza once a week and now save it for special occasions. I buy some more generic stuff.
But that is a fine line for me. There are some brands that I will not compromise on. There are some areas where I won't sacrifice quality to save thirty cents on the generic brand. Laundry soap is one of those items. Tide works for us. It cleans well. No one is allergic to it. It's not overly-perfumy. I won't go generic. I also use Dawn dishwashing soap. I will not settle for anything else.
I am more flexible on some other household cleaners. I have my favorite brands of bathroom cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners, but I will compromise for a cheaper price. I also buy generic flour and sugar, but my husband will not compromise on his coffee. That's fine with me. I buy big bags of individually frozen chicken breasts. I could save a couple of dollars by buying the store brand, but I stick with Tysons because they have no added hormones.
We haven't set timers on the kids' showers yet, but we do watch how long they're in there. And I've become a fanatic about turning off lights. I like our home well-lit, but I've even been willing to keep it a little darker than I like for the purpose of saving a little. I also keep our home a degree or two warmer than I want in order to save on air conditioning bills. (Heating bills are no big deal. We might use the furnace one week out of the year!)
Here's where saving really hurt: I carried the same purse for an entire year. I know, hard to believe. I like to change with the seasons. I get bored with the same old thing. But I bought a purse in December of '07 and carried it for an entire year. It was starting to fall apart, so I did finally get a new one this week. Talk about saving!!
So what's important to you? Where have you cut back and where will you spend the money because it's worth it to you? If you have a few suggestions for saving, I'm all ears.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

The opening line of Snoopy's Great American Novel is a classic. He then goes on to list every cliched trouble that could ever happen: a door slammed. A shot rang out. The maid screamed. A pirate ship appeared on the horizon. His opening line foreshadows all the terrible things that are about to take place.

Tuesday it was a dark and stormy night.

It didn't matter that it was daylight. It didn't matter that the sky was blue, or the air cold. It was a dark and stormy night. As the 44th President of the United States was sworn into office, the world watched with fascination and approval that bordered on mass hysteria. It was a dark and stormy night, and I shivered as I watched a ceremony that must have made Satan dance with glee. I am very much afraid we are getting a small glimpse of what it will be like after the rapture. When those who trusted in Christ as their Saviour are taken home, and the rest of the world falls at the feet of the antichrist.
No one seems to care that this man's stated beliefs are the most radical and liberal of any who have ever held this office.
No one even seems to care that the man has less experience than any other world leader on the face of the planet.
Supposedly Fidel Castro himself has broken the silence of near death to praise Barack Obama. That in itself should give warning!

And yet on Tuesday I heard reporters and newsmakers--even conservative ones--declare that they would "put aside their differences" and celebrate the day when history was being made. That would be when our country elected the first black man as a leader. Yes, I realize it's not politically correct to call him that; although I'm not sure why since we are often referred to as "white". But it doesn't matter. Just because history is being made doesn't mean it's good history. I did not vote against this man because of his color, and I wouldn't vote for anyone else because of their skin color. That has absolutely nothing to do with a person's qualifications for leading the country. And quite frankly, I resent the fact that people make so much of his skin color. We cannot truly ever become colorblind; we cannot completely become a society where skin color does not matter as long as we take such pains to point out how far someone has come either because of or in spite of the color of their skin. The very people who insist that skin color shouldn't matter are the ones trumpeting the man's skin color and linking it to his success. Some people demand freedom from chains, while draping themselves in those same chains in order to show how disadvantaged they are. I think this is a case of not being able to have your cake and eat it too.
But that little rant was beside the point. The point was, people all praised Tuesday as a day history was made. In the first place, every Presidential inauguration makes history. Name one that hasn't. In the second place, making history isn't always such a good thing. The Titanic made history, but no one praised it's sinking for that reason. Hitler made history, but I don't think anyone praises his decisions because of that.
Let's get a little focus here, people. The man who is now our country's President is not a god. He is a human. He cannot save us from the harsh realities of terrorism and recession. He cannot usher in a utopian existence for all of us. He is, however, capable of plunging our nation deeper into war. He is capable of extending and even worsening the recession that is not, at this point, the worst since the Great Depression. (Anyone remember the 70's and Jimmy Carter's presidency? You might want to study up on it. That was also history. And we look like we may be doomed to repeat it.) Our current President has offered solutions that have failed before. He has no new programs for easing our struggles through life.
Tuesday it was a dark and stormy night. And I don't think this storm is going away anytime soon.
BUT WAIT! Let's not end on doom and gloom. In spite of what's ahead--and it's going to get rough, people--we need to remember Who is on the throne. God is still in control. He still loves and cares for us. We may be getting a taste of what we deserve, we may be getting everything we asked for, but Romans 8:28 is still true in the lives of those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.
So what am I going to do? I'm going to tighten my belt. I'm going to keep in touch with my representatives in Congress and the Senators from my state. And I'm going to pray. I'm going to pray for our nation. I'm going to pray for our President. And I'm going to pray for Christians in our land to grow a backbone once again and start standing up for what is right. I'm going to pray that in January of 2012, we have an end to our dark and stormy night.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

I was not very good at the whole growing up thing. The teenage years in particular were painful to me. I had no self-confidence (I only developed a personality after I turned thirty-five) and I agonized all the time. What if people don't like me? What if everyone thinks I'm weird and no one tells me? What if I do something stupid? Actually, that last one was a valid concern--I did something stupid frequently.
I've been thinking about this recently as I watch my children grow up. At times it's very hard to watch them go through things that, while they'll seem small later, are looming very large in their life at the time.
Not too long ago Nicky, my nine-year-old, came to me after church one Sunday night.
"Mom, can we talk privately?" His face was mournfully long.
"Sure, what's up?"
"Have you ever lost a friend?" There was so much pain in his expression I wanted to cry.
"What happened?"
The story was long and convuluted, but it boiled down to simple things. Nicky and Josh were playing together after church. There was a little girl visiting the services that night and she was playing too. Whatever they were playing, Nicky was in charge and Josh and the little girl were vying for the position of second in command. The little girl insisted ladies first. Josh insisted friendship should triumph. Harsh words were exchanged by all and Nicky ended up punching Josh for the honor of the girl.
I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. I gave Nicky a hug and explained that, whatever else was said, Nicky was wrong to hit Josh and he would need to apologize.
"I tried to," Nicky protested. "I said, 'look, we were both wrong.'"
After explaining that he could only apologize for his own actions and not Josh's, I told him if Josh was still mad when he saw him on Wednesday night he could apologize again--the right way.
Years of experience taught me that it was likely both boys would even forget they had a fight before they saw each other Wednesday. Childhood friendships ebb and flow like the tide. But that didn't help his hurting little heart right then.
Sure enough, after Wednesday night prayer meeting I asked Nicky how things went with Josh. I had to jog Nicky's memory a little before he even remembered their disagreement.
"Oh, that. He's not mad anymore."
Why is it that, when we're children, we can forgive and forget so easily, but once we've reached the "maturity" of adulthood, we hold onto things. We nutured our anger and bitterness. We actually mean it when we say, "I'll never speak to her again!" This is growing up? Come to think of it, maybe we'd feel better and get over things more quickly if we just punched each other and then mutually apologized.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Longest Ten Minutes of My LIfe

Yes, I DID IT!!! Last night I colored my hair. And I have to tell you, I would have chickened out again if it weren't for the fact that I knew I had to electronically face all of you today. : ) Thanks for the encouragement. Or the nagging. Or badgering. Or ... seriously, thanks for listening to me whine and cower. I appreciate it.
I washed and dried my hair before I started--to get rid of all the "styling product build-up". I aso got a good look at my grays and realized something had to be done. I was amazed at how quickly I got the color on. Then I set the timer for ten minutes--and paced as random thoughts dashed through my head.
This stuff stinks.
My scalp is burning.
Maybe I just combed too hard.
I'm starting to itch.
Are my lips swelling?
Why do the gloves I'm using look purple?
I agonized over every possible thing that could go wrong. That took 2 minutes. Eight to go. *Sigh*
After the timer went off, I rinsed and styled my hair and studied my reflection in the mirror.

It's really not that different in color, which is a good thing. I told you I'd rather lighten gradually. I do see some minor flaws. My gray at the temples is kind of a lighter brown. It's not really noticeable unless you're studying it, but I think next time I could leave the color on for five minutes more. I'm not sure how evenly I distributed the color, but since it's so close to what I already had, I don't think it's noticeable. The ultimate test came when my husband came home.

He didn't notice a thing. Good. Like I said, gradual is the key. I don't want any sudden changes.

I'd post a picture, but I didn't have anyone at home last night to take one. Anyway, it looks pretty much just like it did. I just won't be using a coloring shampoo and conditioner this morning. That's pretty nice.

BTW, I did notice one thing. My hair seemed to have more--volume when I styled it. If 80's hair comes back in, I'm so ready. In the meantime I stuck a headband in it to tame it down for a while, which worked really well.

So that's it. Still me. Just with different maintenance. I can live with this. I might even do it again in 6 weeks.

Thanks for holding my hand.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do My Lips Look Swollen To You?

I'm a coward. I freely admit it. I chickened out. Friday afternoon I pulled the box of hair color out of the closet and opened it. I studied all the things inside, comparing them with the list of what's supposed to be inside to make sure it's all there. I read all the directions, including the ones in Spanish. (I don't read Spanish.) I read how to do the skin test. You're supposed to mix a small amount of the color with the color activating solution and then smear it on the inside of your elbow--and not wash it for 48 hours. Right. Ewww. Plus, I was afraid I would mix too much and not have enough for the actual coloring event.
Then the directions told me to do the strand test. Snip a piece of hair from where you have to most gray and put it in the color solution to see how long you need to leave it in your hair. Makes sense except that most of my gray is at my temples and around my face at the hairline. I'm not snipping something from there.
The directions also said not to save the color solution in the bottle with the cap on because it could explode. THAT was reassuring! Visions of my head spontaneously combusting ...
But the real problem boiled down to this: if I messed it up somehow or had some sort of reaction, I wasn't sure I could get it fixed Saturday. Sunday is supposed to be the Lord's Day. It's not supposed to be about the new color (purple or otherwise) in the hair of the pastor's wife. Nor is it supposed to be about her (hopefully not) flaming tresses. Or her grotesquely swollen lips.
But I have determined that I AM doing this tonight. I cannot allow fear to rule my life. I have to embrace the adventure. I'm boldly going where I've never gone before! Plus, I'm about out of coloring conditioner. It's either use the box or go much more gray. That's a worse option than purple!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hair coloring Update

I went back to my closet and looked at the box again. And now I seriously think my lips are starting to swell.

Do I Have the Guts?

It's sitting there in the closet. Mocking. Daring. Threatening. I bought the box earlier this week and stuck it up on the shelf in the closet. I walk by the closet door and stare in longingly. Do I dare? Have I really got the guts to try coloring my hair? At home? By myself?!?
Just buying the box was daunting. There is an entire aisle filled with hair coloring brands. I looked hopefully through the displays, trying to find the color my hair used to be. A dark-brown-but-definitely-not-black shade. None of the brands offered that. How many different shades of brown can there be? Dark brown, brown, ash brown, maple, hazelnut. And if that's not enough choices, they also throw each shade in with a "light" or "medium" offering. Medium ash brown, light maple brown.
It did not help that I had four boys with me, ages 9-14. They alternated between being bored and pulling out some really odd-looking colors obviously not found in nature.
Some of the boxes have color charts on the sides or back. The "if your hair is this color, this box will make it this color". Only some of the before and after shots looked no different from each other. One brand showed the before shot in a blurry haze and the after shot in clear, crisp tones. I get it--your product will make my hair more vibrant--but the color charts should be for helping the uninitiated. They shouldn't be part of the advertising.
I spied one box that said 100% gray coverage. That sounds good. But then I noticed they all said that. Is it possible that all of those brands are that effective? I finally took a breath and focused on my goals. I want my gray hair hidden. And I want my hair to go back to the dark brown shade it used to be--instead of the black that the coloring shampoo has made it. And I don't want a drastic change. After looking at all the shades of brown, I realized that I really want to do this a step at a time. I might have to got through several cycles of coloring over the next few months to get my hair shade back to where I want it to be. So I chose a brown a little darker than what I want, but definitely lighter than what I have.
And now we're home. And I'm plagued with doubts. What if I don't get my hair colored evenly? How do I get all the hair covered in the back? I'd hate to finish the job only to see I have a darker stripe down the back of my head where I missed a chunk of my hair. And what if it drips down my face? Will I have a dark streak on my forehead for the next 4-6 weeks? What if it doesn't do a good job of covering the gray? Or worse case scenario: what if my hair turns some weird shade of dark purple?
Okay, now I have a a new worst case scenario. On the box it says to test a small area to see if you're allergic. What if I have purple hair and huge, swollen lips? What if my husband comes home and finds me dead on the bathroom floor with strange purple hair? My obituary would read, "She died of vanity." (Come on, you knew this would end up with somebody dying, didn't you? After all, I am a suspense writer!)
Most of the guys in my house will be gone this evening, making it a perfect time to try out this project without interruption or commentary. Except I don't have that 48 hour window to see if I'm allergic to it. (I don't actually have any allergies, but that's not the point. Do I really want to find out too late that hair color is the exception to the allergy rule?)
I want to do this, but I'm just scared out of my wits. I never get things right on the first try. How public do I want to be with failure? If any of you have experience in home hair coloring, I'd like to hear it--the good and the bad. Then tune back in here Monday to see if I had the guts to take the plunge.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christmas Decoration Etiquette

Okay, is there anyone out there besides me that still has their Christmas decorations up? I love my Christmas decorations, I think our tree is gorgeous, but hello! It's mid-January already! I wanted to take them down between Christmas and New Years, but I didn't get a chance. For one thing, I was packing my daughter's stuff for college, and there just seems like something's wrong to take the decorations down before New Years. Like you're a little Scrooge or something. It feels like you just went through the motions on all the Christmas stuff, and now you need to sweep it out and move on with the next year, for pete's sake.
Our decorations are usually up for almost the entire month of December. My kids push for putting up the tree earlier every year, but I absolutely refuse to put it up until Thanksgiving is over. Then we usually put it up that weekend, or the first week of December. That's not so bad. Perfectly acceptable.
But now I still have icicle lights hanging from my roof. I don't turn them on anymore--why advertise how behind we are? But they're there. Some friends of ours have a neighbor who leaves his stuff up until February. And he still turns on his lights every night! One year my sister left her stuff up until Easter. She claimed no time. I'm not leaving mine up that long.
My problem is, I ran out of time. I left January 3rd, and was gone for over a week. I didn't have a chance to take them down and quite frankly, I didn't want to assign the job to the boys while I was gone either. I knew I'd never find my decorations next year if I did that, and what I did find would never look the same.
So I got back this past Saturday night. We had church Sunday, plus missionaries to feed for lunch and a fellowship after the evening service. Monday it was back to homeschooling and work, a quick trip to the grocery store and then our monthly Ladies' Bible study. My husband invited all the men over to the house while we were meeting elsewhere. I felt horrible that the decorations were still up, but then I realized that most of the men probably wouldn't notice anyway.
Last night I finally had a chance to catch my breath. I started taking the decorations down, but I fell asleep on the couch. So now I have half-taken-down decorations and a family room full of Christmas totes. Maybe I can get the rest down this afternoon before supper and prayer meeting. I'm really getting worried about this--Easter is looming ever closer!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

High Maintenance Babe

So here's confession number 2 for 2009: I'm high maintenance. This is so embarrassing to even admit because I've always prided myself on being easy-going. I remember once hearing a woman laughing as she said she'd never ask a guy advice because he uses the same soap on his face that he uses on his hands. I laughed, but secretly wondered because I used the same soap on my face and my hands. Now I look back and wonder when that stopped.
I should have realized about a year and a half ago. My husband and I had to fly to Florida for a weekend. I knew airline restrictions said you had to carry liquids in small amounts, so I put all my soaps, cleaners, moisturizers, etc. in small travel-size bottles. I just didn't realize you could only have one quart-size ziploc bag. I had five. That's right--five. The eyes of the security people bulged when I whipped out all five bags.
I guess it only really becomes obvious when I travel. As I mentioned yesterday, I am traveling this week. I don't travel light-especially when I'm not flying. It just seems like it takes a long time to get the whole package together. You'd think for that amount of time, I'd have a better end product. Sigh.
So you all have read already about the coloring shampoo and conditioner. There's also the body soap and the facial cleaner. There's the hair gel and the curl spray and the hairspray. There's two different facial moisturizers, plus body lotion and hand lotion. Where did all these things come from?
I've finally decided that all this comes with age. It not only takes longer to make me look good, but it takes more products. As I've told my husband, I can't look this good for free.
But it does seem like I could get a better return for my investment.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Little Healthy Competition

First off, I have to apologize for posting so late today. I'm traveling this week. I will be posting every day, but I've no idea when. So keep checking back--you'll hear from me eventually.
Okay, first confession for 2009: I am a little bit competitive. Okay, I'm very competitive. I mean, I knew this on some sort of subconscious level. I knew that if I was losing at tennis (hi, Theresa!) I got a little cranky. I tried to conceal it beneath some biting wit, but both of us know it ticks me off when I lose. I don't get ticked at Theresa; just at myself.
I also hate playing any game with my husband that I can't win. But see, that's not competition; that's self-preservation. He can get a little smug when he wins. Which tends to frustrate me. Which tends to mess with my mind. Which tends to make me lose more.
I've noticed that my boys have inherited that smugness. It's a fragile balance between putting them in their place and not completely crushing their male ego. I haven't found that balance yet.
But back to my faults: my competitive nature came to a forefront several times during the holiday season, much to my chagrin. In the first situation, we had an ornament exchange at our ladies' Christmas party. If you've ever played White Elephant Gift Exchange, Dirty Santa, etc., it's along the same lines. When your number is called, you get to pick a present from under the tree to unwrap, or you can take someone else' present that they've already unwrapped. It's a basic fact that if everyone plays nice, it's not much of a game. The first ten people or so played nice. As the hostess and the pastor's wife, I felt it was my duty to stir this up into a real game. Plus, one of the ornaments was a cute purse that doubled as a music box. I love purses. I love music boxes. I wanted that ornament. So I took it. The problem was, I took it from a shy teenager. I think she really wanted it too. My action stirred some other people to play the game, and it became fun, but still I basically felt like I had taken candy from a baby. After the game was over, I quietly offered the ornament back to the teenager, but she said she was fine with the one she had. So I hung the ornament on my tree. But I felt guilty every time I looked at it.
New Years Eve we had a service at our church, and then we played games in the Fellowship Hall until midnight. Someone asked if I wanted to play Yahtzee Free 4 All. I'd never played before, but it was a game for six players and it sounded like fun. So I joined it. The object here was a combination of cards and chips and rolling your dice. You could take other people's point cards sometimes and since I play to win, I took full advantage of that fact. I didn't even realize how often I did that until it was pointed out to me. It was pointed out by a quiet lady that hasn't been going to our church very long. Apparently I had taken quite a few of her cards without even realizing it. She had quiet wry humor that my card stealing drew out, so maybe it was a good thing.
When that game was finished, (I didn't win) I moved on to Dutch Blitz with three other ladies. As soon as we sat down, they all started talking about the fact that I was the player they all had to watch. They didn't even know how to play the game; where did they get the idea that I was dangerous? Truthfully, not too many people beat me at that game. In fact, I was losing for the longest time that night, but then I kicked into high gear and passed the front runner for a surprise win in the last few minutes of the game. Boy, it felt good!
After that game was over, I noticed some people getting out Scattergories. That's one of my favorite games, so I asked if I could play. Once again there were comments about stacking the deck and sweeping the game. We didn't finish that one before midnight and I don't think anyone kept score, so I don't know who won.
I should point out that in none of these games did I cheat or attempt to sabotage anyone else. I simply enjoy winning. I only gloated moderately when I did. LOL And I only pouted a little when I lost. Am I the only one that takes games a little seriously? Am I the only one that hates to lose?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Things I Learned in 2008

For a new twist on an old tradition, I decided not to list my resolutions here. I have made some, but I don't feel like sharing. : ) I did look back at my blog from last year at this time because I wanted to see what resolutions I had made then. Lo and behold! I didn't share them with you last year either. Something about that making me more accountable or something ... ? One of the reasons I looked for last year's resolutions was because I wanted to see how many I kept. How many actual changes did I accomplish in my life? Do you keep your list of resolutions? It makes sense, doesn't it? How do you know what worked if you don't keep your eyes on the goals you set?
So I decided to think back over my resolutions and see which ones worked for me. First off, I purposed to read the Bible through last year. I make that resolution every year and I did it. I actually finished about two weeks into December. (It's unusual for me to be that early!) This year, partly inspired by my husband, I purposed to read the Bible through twice. It's tough, but I am determined to make it.
Secondly, I did not lose all the weight I wanted to lose. Big surprise, huh? I did lose some, but that was not through any diet. Our family went through an extremely tense and stressful time, and I lost weight that way. I don't recommend it as a dieting alternative. This year I'm purposing to lose it the right way--through diet and exercise. Again, I'm inspired by my hubby. He's in better shape than I am, but he's got some room to work and he's determined to do it. I can't have him leaving me behind in that area, can I?
Thirdly, I purposed to grow closer to the Lord. I do think I'm closer to Him this year than I was last year at this time. But once again, it was not an easy journey.
One of my goals for this year is to actively pursue publication of my writing. I've come close, but so far no contract. In addition to getting published, I want to schedule my time in such a way that I am writing new material on a regular basis. I have to have something to offer when that publisher finally says, "I like it! What else have you got?"
So what about you? Did you hit any of your targets from last year? Do you even remember what goals you set? What about this year--what resolutions have you made? I shared mine--it's only fair that you share yours. : ) Accountability can be a good thing!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Well I'm certainly not starting the New Year out right, am I? But I couldn't let the first day of 2009 go by without at least a short post. We had a fantastic New Year's Eve at our church. A great service with lots of favorites, mixed with testimonies and praises. Then a wonderful sermon that God used to remind me that nothing is impossible with Him. Having faced some huge hurdles in 2008, and knowing there are more ahead this year ... well, I definitely needed that reminder. Then the service ended with us all standing and joining hands around the auditorium while several of the men prayed.
After the service we all trooped to the fellowship hall for food and games, which we played until just before midnight. Then we spent time in prayer as the old year ended and the new year began. Can't think of a more perfect way to spend it!
Happy New Year, friends.
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