Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breakfast, Please

Our dogs have a morning routine.  When Chad gets up in the morning, he takes them out to do their business.  By the time they come back in, I'm making Chad's lunch, and I get some doggie help.  You know, in case some of those nasty crumbs fall to the floor or something, I have a furry cleanup crew.

After Chad and Megan get out the door for work and school, the dogs all put themselves back to bed.  It's really pretty funny to watch them wander to their favorite napping spots around the house as soon as the door closes.  They go snooze for another couple of hours, then they will start getting up and asking for breakfast.  Jack is usually the first one, then the rest follow.  His method of asking is to come find me wherever I am, sit in front of me, and grunt.  Not whine, not bark, not growl.  Grunt.  He sounds like a disgruntled old man, and it cracks me up every time!

Yesterday, I was at the computer blogging away, when Jack decided it was time for breakfast.  Jack grunted.  I continued to type.  Jack grunted more loudly.  I said, "Just a minute, buddy, I'm almost done."  Jack didn't feel like waiting, so he grunted, then reached up with a paw and tapped my elbow.  By now, Pip has joined in the breakfast request club, and is sitting beside me doing her squeaky version of begging.  Now I'm giggling as I continue to type.  Finally, Jack decided he needed to take drastic action.  With much bumping and thumping, he shoved his way under the computer desk, which was not easy; he's a big guy.  He then managed to wiggle his head in between my knees, looked up at me, and grunted.  Loudly! 

"Helloooooooo! Starving dog here!"

So glad the camera was right next to me on the desk!  After my fit of giggles, I put poor Jack out of his misery and fed the dogs their breakfast.  Funny, after he gets his food, I never hear a thank you...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Hymn With My Father

I always have music running through my mind.  It can be anything from bad 80's music (yes, just because it's bad, that doesn't stop my brain from playing it over and over and over...), to something more recent and harder rock, to hymns.  It's pure torture if it happens to be a country song.  Not a fan of country music, unless it's George Strait, but that's another story.  Sometimes it's just a snippet of a song if that's all I know of it, sometimes it's only a verse or maybe just the chorus, but there is always something running through the soundtrack of my mind.  This morning, it was the hymn "I Surrender All".

Written in 1896, this is a hymn that I have heard and sung many times through the years.  I only know the first verse and chorus by heart, for the rest, I would need a hymnal, or in this case, Google.  Anyway, this was running through my head this morning.  I wasn't singing or even humming out loud, but as I listened to it in my mind for who knows how long, it hit me that my dad was singing harmony!

So, I listened more closely.  Yep, definitely Dad.  Countless times I had been next to him in church as we sang this hymn, and he would always sing the harmony part.  There have been other times since my dad died that I have "heard" him singing something, but for some reason, it really hit me today. Usually it happens in church with a familiar hymn or praise song, and I will stop singing myself and just listen to Dad.  He was a much better singer anyway, and I'd rather hear him than me any day.  Today, I decided to experiment a little.  If I quietly hummed, could I still hear him singing his part?  Yes!  If I upped the volume on my humming could I still hear him?  Yes!  If I sang out loud, could I still hear him?  Yes!  It is no small thing for me to hear him singing harmony, when this is something I cannot do myself.  I've always wanted to be able to harmonize, but it is not a talent I was given.

None of this is really earth-shattering, but when I stop to think about it, it blows my mind!  How awesome is our God as creator, that this soft, squishy stuff, so fragile that it is encased in our skulls for protection, can be so powerful as to allow me to share a hymn with my father over seven years after his death, and I can really hear his voice?

Amazing!  And I am so very thankful for this gift.

I Surrender All

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain:  I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my bless├Ęd Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Was That REALLY Thanksgiving? -or- We Are a Bunch of Rebels!

Here is it, Black Friday, and I still can't wrap my head around the fact that yesterday was Thanksgiving.  According to my internal "seasonal clock", it should still be summer.  Alas, it seems my internal clock needs reset!  So, even though we had lots of food, company, and wished each other "Happy Thanksgiving", I guess my brain was still in denial.  Like we were just pretending it was Thanksgiving!  Silly, I know.

I actually had an extremely fun day, even if my brain didn't believe it could actually be time for this holiday.  It was the first time in years, probably since I was a kid, that I was experiencing genuine glee over Thanksgiving!  I was feeling rebellious, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!  You see, after having the traditional Thanksgiving feast each year for my entire life, I experienced what I think is a stroke of genius last week while I was in the grocery store.  Some people think I'm just totally crazy, but I'm going to stick with genius!

Chad was with me as I was shopping in the gluten free section of the store, and had picked up several items, when I happened to spot the gluten free lasagna noodles.  Instantly, I had this thought:  If I were smart, I'd skip all the turkey and paraphernalia that goes with the traditional turkey dinner, and just make lasagna.  I admit, for a split second there, I felt resentment that I couldn't actually do this.  Then, in the next split second, the idea tumbled right out of my mouth before I could stop it.  Instead of the look of horror I'd expected to see on Chad's face (he loves turkey, and especially turkey sandwiches with the leftovers), he had a look of excitement, and said we should do it!  I said, nah, I've already got the turkey, and he reminded me that it was in the freezer, so we could have it another time.  Obviously, Chad is a genius, too!

And so, I had hope that maybe my crazy idea (NO! Stroke of genius!!), could actually happen.  I bought the gluten free lasagna noodles, just in case I'd actually be needing them. 

I asked my mom, my daughter, and our friend that was coming to our house for Thanksgiving what they thought of the idea.  What do you know, they were excited about having Thanksgiving lasagna, too!  So, the rebellion was born!  We would have lasagna, fresh bread (bread machines are the BEST), and pie for dessert.  It was my pleasure to keep at least one part of the tradition alive.  Plus, who doesn't like pie? 

A few days before Thanksgiving, Chad talked to his parents about their plans for the holiday.  He told his dad what we were doing, and he thought that sounded like a good idea.  Since they were not planning to celebrate Thanksgiving until Friday with Chad's sister and her family, we invited them to come on over.  So they made the hour-long drive, and joined our merry band of rebels!

We had lots of food, good conversation, and at the end of the day, I think it was the most relaxed Thanksgiving we've ever had.  There sure was a lot less cooking and stewing, and therefore much less cleanup.  I loved not having a huge cooking mess, and that I didn't have to be a prisoner in the kitchen for hours.  Lasagna requires a pot for the sauce (and when you get it started, it takes care of itself while it simmers), A pot to boil the noodles, and the pan to put it all together.  That's it, easy peasy lemon squeezy!  We let Marie Calendar make 2 of our pies (aren't frozen pies just the best?), Mom and Megan made a couple of pumpkin pies with ready made crust, and I made a small gluten free cherry crisp.  The entire dinner was simple, easy and very yummy!

I think I will have to be a rebel for every holiday meal!  Christmas and New Year's are coming...

How was your Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

As my family gathers together to celebrate Thanksgiving today, a hymn keeps running through my thoughts, so I decided to share the words.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart
Words and Music by Henry Smith

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks unto the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich”
Because of what the Lord has done for us

Give thanks

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free Kindle Book Review: Cicada Song

I love my Kindle!  Even more, I love that there are so many books that I can read for free on it.  Amazon has a great selection of free books for Kindle, and my local library now has books that you can check out for computers and electronic devices, Kindle included.  No trip to the library necessary, and never an overdue fine!  I am in book heaven, people!

Since I get so many of the free books, I thought maybe I'd share the ones I liked from time to time.  Today I'm going to tell you about Cicada Song by Bradford Combs.  You can find it on Amazon.  This story is full of mystery and suspense, with secrets and romance tossed in.  This story has many twists and turns in it, and will keep you guessing about what really happened to the central characters seven years prior.

Set in the small town of Anderson in 2004, the story takes place during Cicada Song, a local week-long festival to celebrate the emergence of the cicadas every 17 years.  Ellis is an author invited to attend the festival, and he gets deeply involved in the mystery that surrounds what happened to four very close friends in 1997, and how it has changed their lives.  They are:  Sara, Jacob, Stan, and Phil.

Sara and Jacob, engaged to be married.  Shortly thereafter, tragedy struck.

Stan, Jacob's best friend, also very close to Sara.

Phil, troubled as a kid, redeemed as a teen, is now the town drunk.

And, Ellis has a few issues of his own.

Going between the current 2004 and what happened in 1997, the story unfolds in such a way that you're never quite sure how it's all going to come together.  I really enjoyed this book, and hope you will too!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012 Veteran's Day Concert

Last night we attended the 2012 Veteran's Day Concert at the high school.  Veterans from the local VFW presented the colors, which is always touching. Several of the local youth choirs and chorales sang, and the high school band played, my daughter, Megan, included.  It was all patriotic music, and nicely done. 

I didn't take any pictures this year, but I did take a short video with my cell phone while the band was playing the US Air Force song, "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder".  I chose that particular song because my husband, Chad, is an Air Force veteran, but the band played the songs of all the branches of service. It's tradition to have the veterans present stand to be recognized as their service branch's song is played, and there were many scattered throughout the audience. 

Turns out the sound from cell phone videos is pretty horrid.  In reality, the band sounded wonderful.  Don't feel bad about not listening if you don't want to; the video will serve as a memory for me, which is what I intended.

After the concert, the colors were retired.  We ended the evening by visiting with a family we know that has three sons currently on active duty in the military.  Two are in the Navy, one is in the Army, and he's about to deploy to the Middle East.  Their youngest son, a high school senior, is interested in the Air Force. So, he and Chad talked for quite awhile about that. If he does enter the Air Force, that will be four out of five sons in this family to be serving our country, all at the same time, representing three branches of service. That is both touching and amazing. 

God bless all of our troops, both past and present.  I am so thankful for their service, and their sacrifices!

Monday, November 12, 2012

More Confessions

My cousins are doing confessions on their blogs today. So, I might as well join them with some of my own.  Maria started it on her blog, Little Things are Big.  Sue, Maria's mom, continued with her own confessions on her blog, Only the Manager.  Click the links and check them out!

Ok, my confessions:

  • Unlike my dear cousins, I am not all that pedi-dexterous, but I produced a child that is very talented in this area.  She has very long toes and can use them almost as well as her fingers; her big toes are as long as thumbs. My confession here is that my daughter's toes gross me out!  She knows this and tortures me on a regular basis with her monkey feet!
  • Like Sue, I rather like red hair. Well, certain shades of red hair. I would try red hair on myself, but Chad insists that I don't.  I do want to stay married, so no experimental red for me!
  • I could happily stay in my jammies until noon every day if I could get away with it.  Beyond noon doesn't work for me, though, because then I just feel like I should be sick or something.
  • I absolutely despise cleaning the bathroom.  I don't know why that is worse than any other household chore, but for me, it is.  Alas, I do a ton of bathroom cleaning, as we have an evening cleaning job three nights per week at a business.  We have divided up the job between us, and my part is to clean the three bathrooms! ACK!
  • I have tried, and tried, and tried over the years to like sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.  But, gag! I can't even stand the smell of these "goodies".  My husband and daughter love pumpkin pie, so for years I still made it for them.  Now, I'm so glad that my mom bakes the pies for all of the holiday meals, so I don't have to get near the stuff!

  • I discovered a couple of years ago that every so often I like a really good, super cheesy...Christian romance novel!  I prefer action/adventure/suspense/mysteries usually.  I discovered that our local library has a TON of the Christian romances for when I'm needing to read something gooey.
  • I love, love, LOVE smarties candy! And red tootsie pops! Yep, red only, please!
  • I would laugh hysterically, tears streaming down my face, hardly able to breathe, nearly to the point of wetting my pants, by watching our dog chase a laser light around the house!  Making her crash into the sofa cushions, beak first, so viciously that we could hear her teeth snapping, was the BEST (cushions were nice and soft, we didn't want her to get hurt)!  And shining the light into the kitchen, so she'd lose traction and scramble like Scooby-Doo on the slick floor!!!  Her mission was to destroy that little red light, and she would tear after it for hours!  Sadly, she's over 17-years-old now, and no longer chases the light, probably because she can't really see it.
  • I like to eavesdrop on my daughter while she sings in the shower.  Our bathroom is directly above hers, and the sound comes through the heat vent perfectly.  What???  Don't glare at my blog like that!  It's the only way I'll EVER hear her sing!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Downtown Disney

My husband, Chad, has been in Santa Ana, California this week for some work training.  Yesterday, after class wrapped up, he went with a group of his fellow trainees to Downtown Disney.  He sent some fun photos via text (aren't cell phones with cameras handy?), and I could tell the Lego store was his favorite.



More Legos!

Wow, I can't imagine how long it took to make those huge displays out of Legos!

I have no idea what's in this building, but it looks fun on the outside!

Hahaha, I love this!

I'm glad he's having some fun along with the training!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank You, Dad

Feeling lost and afraid after an evening of watching election results, I found myself needing my dad.  He was the wisest man I personally have ever known. I needed to do what I have done all of my life when I was upset or worried, or just wanting to vent.  I needed to be able to talk to him, share my fears with him, and seek guidance.  But, my dad left this earth over seven years ago. 

Instinct, I think, led me to his Bible.  It is worn out, falling to pieces, and is full of sticky notes and stuff written in the margins.  I use his Bible often, but tonight I didn't necessarily want to read scripture, as much as I wanted to hear from my dad.  So I went straight for the sticky notes.  I intended to pretty much go through the whole Bible and read all of his notes, and there are A LOT of them, but I didn't get beyond the front cover.  He has a bunch of notes there, all stuck together and piled on top of each other.  But I found exactly what I needed on the bright orange sticky note, right on top of all the others.

I love my dad, and I love my Father God!  They both left this message for me; the exact one I needed to receive at the very moment I received it.

James 4:7-8a

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.

1 John 4:1 & 4

1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

I have read these verses before, but they didn't have quite the same meaning for me as they did this time.  Perhaps nobody else will understand just how differently the message hit me, and that's OK, because I totally get what God was telling me through a note my father left in the front cover of his Bible years ago. 

Thank you, Dad; I'm sure you had no idea what all of your personal notes to yourself would mean to me after you were gone, or how much of a help they would be for me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Terrified Hope

Election Day 2012 has finally arrived.  After two years of listening to the campaigning, I think the nation is weary.  I know I am.  So, it is with both hope and fear that I go and place my vote today.  I hope that America as we have known it will not be systematically destroyed, and at the same time I'm terrified that the tide will not turn for our country.  I am not just afraid for this nation as a whole, I am afraid for what the consequences of choices made today could mean for my family.  So I am praying for every voter, praying that God would be with the United States of America, and for protection for the nation, my family, and my friends, no matter how the election turns out.  I have voted many times since I became eligible at the age of 18, but no election has ever been this scary for me before.  I believe everything is on the line this time.  Please, Lord, show Barack Hussein Obama II the door.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Flying Off Into the Sunrise

Hahaha, like the title?  Instead of the cowboy riding off into the sunset, Chad flew off to California this morning, actually long before sunrise.  His flight left at 5:20 a.m., so the first leg of his trip was in the dark.  But while he was awaiting takeoff for the second (of three) leg of the journey, he caught a gorgeous sunrise in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

As I write this, Chad is in the air, on the way to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.  He's going to Santa Ana for some work training, and has been instructed to "travel safe and sanitary".

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Silly Jack!

This is what I found when I got home from church today.  As I cracked up, I somehow managed to get my cell phone out and take a picture without disturbing him.

He was very courteous and let me go get my good camera to snap the next picture. He even posed. Sort of.

Silly Jack!  He usually snoozes on the sofa or love seat.  I guess today he felt like having a new napping experience and squeezed onto the smallest piece of furniture available to him.  Yes, there were sort of loud sucking and popping sounds that accompanied his efforts to get out of the chair...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Squirrels at Dawn

At 7:25 this morning, dawn had broken, but the sun had not yet risen.  The moon and a few stars were still shining brightly in the western sky, and there were three young squirrels playing in the cottonwood tree.  Not yet adults, but not babies either, they were very frisky as they used the bare branches for their jungle gym.  I was lucky to get a picture of one of them; they are quick!

Are you like these young squirrels and eagerly greet the new day full of energy?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1st Sunrise

We had a beautiful and intense sunrise this morning that was quite the welcome for a new month.  I can hardly believe it is November 1st already!  Even with the window blinds closed, there was an orange glow inside the house.  So, I did what any normal person would do...grabbed my camera and went out on the deck in my jammies to snap some pictures!  If any of the neighbors were looking out, surely they were enraptured with the sky and not looking at me anyway, right? Of course the colors are always more impressive than what the camera can capture, but they do still serve as a reminder of how intense the sky was on the beginning of this lovely day.

These first two photos are facing east.

These last two are facing west.  The clouds were almost cotton candy pink.