Saturday, December 31, 2005

Anyone see a Chevy Tahoe?

Well, it's almost 1 in the morning and we just got home from WalMart. We didn't plan to be out this late, but unfortunately plans go out the window when someone STEALS YOUR CAR!!!! Yes, the Tahoe disappeared from WalMart's parking lot while we were looking for Draino.

Not only was our car stolen, but Jim's backpack which is basically his office in a bag is missing along with all his keys, his planner, and a journal that he had been keeping for the boys. The journal also had some songs he had written or was in the process of writing.

The Tahoe was paid for so we only had liability insurance. I don't know what we will do now.. but I know God will provide.

I am just happy we are all safe. We were in WalMart when a man walked up to us and said "Excuse Me" He seemed a bit grumpy and I thought maybe the boys were annoying him.. they were in his way as he tried to pass. A few minutes later, the boys wanted to go look at video games and Jim was still searching the tools aisle so he said he would meet us there. On the way we stopped at the excercise section. That same man soon walked past me again only this time he was followed by another man with a bandana wrapped around his head. I thought I saw the first man motion towards me and the boys as if pointing me out to his friend. Then he left and his friend stayed there.. I was a little uncomfortable with that so the boys and I headed for the video games.. but soon bandana man was there too. In fact, for quite a while he seemed to be just no more than a couple of aisles away. I would not let the boys out of my sight and was really freaked out about what kind of scam was being pulled on us. I decided to head back to Jim and I never saw bandana man again. But Jim and I were both feeling a little weirded out. We shopped a bit more and then went to check out. Jim and Dillon went to get the car and Cody stayed with me. It wasn't long before Dillon came running back in saying the car was gone. I figured they were trying to tease us but when I saw the look on Jim's face, I knew it was true. Our car had been stolen.

The police came to the store and I filled out a report letting them know about the two men. The only thing I can figure is they must have seen us come in, and one went to steal the car while the other watched us to make sure we were not leaving.. but even that doesn't make much sense.... Nothing makes any sense! Why in the world would someone do that to another person.

Jim's brother came to pick up up from the store and brought us home. The police stayed and talked to the manager of WalMart and we should have video footage tomorrow that will at least tell us who did it.. but the truth of the matter is the car is probably in pieces now in some chop shop. The police then came to the house where we had a lot of fun going through all my piles to find the title to the car. If I wasn't so angry I would have been embarrased by my home. It was a mess.

After the police left, Jim got angry. He announced that he was going into the garage and that he just might cuss. Dillon told him to go ahead and promised he wouldn't listen. Then Dillon had a better thought. He asked his daddy to read him something instead of going into the garage. And then Dillon handed Jim the Bible. Jim read us all the 23rd Psalm. Dillon went to sleep tonight clutching the Bible. Cody went to sleep imagining what he would do if he ever found the guys who took the car. I was suprised that my mild mannered, good natured guy had so much passion in him. In fact, tonight the roles were reversed. Dillon was the thoughtful one and Cody was the angry one.

Me.. I just feel like my stomach might explode any second. Those acid machines are working over time. Jim is having chest pains but tells me not to worry. Too late.

I am so thankful we are all safe.. Things can be replaced. I'm honestly not worried about the car. But I worry about my boys.. they lost a little bit of innocence tonight. They lost a little bit of security. This should never have happened. And I keep thinking that I could have done something different. When those men first started acting suspicious, I should have gone to Jim and told him what had happened.. but I doubted myself. I thought perhaps I was imagining things or becoming a worry wart like my mother. You can be sure I will trust myself from now on!

I think the adrenalin is wearing off now and I might be able to go to sleep. Say a prayer when you think of us.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

In Which I Slap Myself in the Face

Literally, I slapped myself in the face tonight. And it still stings.

It started with dinner at an Italian restaurant which was perfect if for no other reason than I was able to eat tiramisu surrounded by great friends. The food was fantastic, and the conversation was even better. The only thing that could top it was a dollar movie. After a lengthy discussion, all 8 of us decided we couldn't decide on a movie, so we divided up and saw two different films. One group, who were in a particularly randy mood saw Wedding Crashers. The other group, my group, went to see Flight Plan.

Now I really enjoyed Flight Plan despite some bad reviews I had read. In all fairness, those reviewers did not see the film with the same people I saw it with. I really rather enjoyed myself, but I'm afraid those sitting near us might not say the same. I am sure that Flight Plan was never meant to the be the comedy that we made it. That's not to say we didn't enjoy the suspense factor. In fact, because the suspense was so intense, during one crucial scene, when the bad guy was about to get beaned with a fire extinguisher of gargantuan proportion, I quickly covered my eyes..Not only did I cover my eyes quickly, but also with great velocity! Being slapped can be a humiliating experience, but it in no way compares to the humiliation you feel when you slap yourself. I guess that's a testament to how I felt about tonight.. from dinner, to friends, to a high suspense film... It was simply face slapping good!

This particular blog post was brought to you by the words blog, handcuffs and duct tape and by the letter "P" but you'll have to ask Melissa about that.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I'm a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due..... which is why this article affected me so.

Basically, Tilda Swinton who plays the White Witch in the soon to be released The Chronicles of Narnia, is claiming that she decided to make the White Witch, umm, white. She says that she thought it better to play her as white (aryan, in her words) instead of the typical dark skinned ghoul one thinks of when they think of a witch. That's all well and good, Ms. Swinton.. but I'm wondering if you might have been inspired by the fact that she is, in fact, called THE WHITE WITCH. Or maybe every other actress who has portrayed the White Witch has played her as well, white for lack of a better word...

Here is the way CS Lewis described her in Chapter 3 of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe:

"...She also was covered in white fur up to her throat... Her face was white - not merely pale, but white like snow or paper or icing-sugar, except for her very red mouth. It was a beautiful face in other respects, but proud and cold and stern."

Perhaps the problem here is that Tilda Swinton has never read CS Lewis...

I'm stepping off my soap box now... because after all, tis the season for love and cheer and good will towards all men and women! Even Tom Cruise and Tilda Swinton!

And by the way, I absolutely cannot wait to see The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I am so moved by the commercials that I tear up.... What will happen in the theater!??


We interrupt the silence of this blog to step on the old soap box and rant...

It seems that Tom Cruise has bought an ultrasound machine for his betrothed who is also with child. I'm wondering how often he plans to look at the little bambino.. (and I wonder how much water Miss Katie is going to have to drink daily to fill her bladder up for a better view!) Hey, I'm as sentimental as the next gal.. really! I have my ultrasound pictures framed of my two babies and I've watched the video over and over... but I've also spent nights walking the floors with them as the suffered through ear infection after ear infection. Studies now suggest that those ultrasounds may not be as harmless as we once thought, and there is some evidence that links repeated ultrasounds to repeated ear infections.

We once thought X-rays were harmless. There was even a time when one would have their feet x-rayed when they tried on a new pair of shoes to make sure all the bones fit well in the shoe... that was until Madame Curie died of x-ray induced leukemia and we had to rethink the safety of that machine.

Sure both x-rays and ultrasounds have immense benefits that can outweigh the risks... but I don't think is in any way smart to subject tiny developing tissues to ultrasonic soundwaves just so Tom and Katie can have a look whenever the mood strikes them.

But then again, I don't know the entire history of psychology... but Tom does! Ask Matt Lauer!

Monday, November 07, 2005


Ok, I've won a few things in my life... mostly raffle type contests BUT up until a week ago I had only won one thing based on talent. In 5th grade, I won my elementary schools poetry contest and it started me on a path of seeking glory and adoration that continue to this day.

Last week, I won something else. I entered the MomWriters Halloween writing contest and I won.... Ok, I won third place but out of 24 entries voted on by other writers... that's not too shabby!

So without further droning... here is the third place winner! Enjoy!

The Halloween Dreading

This was her favorite time of year. Between the colors and thesmells, there was nothing about this season she didn't adore… exceptfor this day. She hated this day and she hated what she knew she would become.

"I'll just be strong", she thought as she put the finishing touches on her daughter's ghost costume but she knew she didn't really have any control. Her hands shook so, the eye holes in the sheet didn't lineup and she had to cut more. "Well, she could always be a slice of swiss cheese", she sighed as she held the costume up to the light. "Maybe she won't want to go tonight… maybe we can pretend it isn't Halloween."

But it was Halloween and the little girl was excited to be ghost, regardless of how many eyes it had. As she watched her daughter tripping down the sidewalk, she prayed that things would be different this night. She simply couldn't bear to hurt that little girl.

The moon, which started out so large and pale, had risen further in the sky, becoming smaller and brighter. She didn't want to go home because she knew that was where it would happen, but she also knew they couldn't stay out all night long.

The walk home was excruciating. Her mouth was dry, her stomach was in knots and she was both sweaty and cold. She tried to think of a wayto avoid what she knew was unavoidable. She looked at her little girl, who was twisting her neck to see out of the askew eye holes, and prayed that this curse would not pass on.

A tooth brushing, a face washing and a few Eskimo kisses later, her daughter was tucked safely in bed.

"I'll just go to bed too! It can't happen tonight! It won't happen tonight!", but she could already feel it starting. She shut her bedroom door locking herself in… She crawled into bed and pulled the covers up over her head. The full moon, now high in the sky, was shining through the window as if it were a spotlight illuminating the terror that would soon unfold. She fought it until she could fight no more... then, with one swift move she jumped from her bed and began her rampage. Soon the once quiet home was filled with sounds of gnashing teeth, ripping, and moaning. Once she started, she couldn't stop herself until moon beams gave way to sun beams.

She heard a soft tapping at the door but before she could run and hide, in walked the little girl screaming at the sight of her mother surrounded by candy wrappers and an empty orange pumpkin shaped bucket. Terrified and ashamed, she held up the one piece of candy that survived the night's annihilation. "At least I saved you a gummybear this year!"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I Married MacGyver

And by that, I don't mean I married Richard Dean Anderson. (Although I loved the episode of Fact of Life where he was married to Tootie's aunt....) No, when I say I married MacGyver, I mean the man can do wonders with simple household objects. If the car is broken down, requiring a new part, forget about it. There will be no trips to Auto Zone.. not when he has a rubber band, a piece of chewing gum and an old pair of pantyhose available. While some men prefer duct tape, he swears by super glue and has some available for whatever the crisis might call for. Is it metal? He has the glue! Plastic? He's got the right glue for that one too! There is not one emergency gluing situation he is not prepared for! And don't think that because he isn't using OEM replacement parts, his work is less than quality. No, to be sure.. it's often better than brand new! BUT, it takes more time to do things his way. About 17 times more time. But it's cheaper so who's counting!

While I love him and wouldn't trade him for anything, this can be just a tad bit nerve-wracking! I am reminded of an important day about 5 years ago. In our homeschool we were studying the Middle Ages. We had such fun with the unit and were going to end on a grand school with a large medieval feast. We had studied with a couple of other families so we all divided up the tasks to make sure that the Feast came off without a hitch! My family would be responsible for the large u-shaped table common to celebration feasts of the Middle Ages. I figure this would be easy... plywood and saw horses.

Nope, not even close!

We got to the park early to greet the re-enactors. We had spinners and jousters. We had court jesters and jugglers. We had ladies and lords. And we had my dear hubby, working hard with power tools in the middle of it all, creating a grand u-shaped table that was quite possibly more sturdy than anything Henry VIII ever ate from. Luckily, by the time the re-enactors had re-enacted, and just before everyone was ready to go home, the table was finally ready to display the medieval foods, including a lovely pig's head carved from a block of chopped ham.

Now, I could go one of two ways here... I could be frustrated that the table was not ready on time or I could be thankful that I have a husband who cared enough to build the very best. I choose to be thankful... while no longer volunteering him for any build out on our field trips from now on.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


One of my friends asked how our school year was going. This was my answer to her...

I had grand visions for this school year which have not panned out due to health issues and other stresses. But that’s OK.. After 8 years of homeschooling I have learned to be about as relaxed as one could be without actually being asleep…..( if only I could sleep I might not be dealing with the aforementions health issues!) I have learned to not fret about grade level.. I am more concerned about Cody level and Dillon level. If they are working hard and progressing, I can’t ask anything more. I have learned not to fret about missing anything. I know that learning takes place 24/7.. (yes, even while we sleep we can learn.. The Bible says Young men will dream dreams… I wish I could dream dreams.. sleep deprivation hurts…) There is not a magic window where we have to cram everything we can down their throats or else it will be lost forever never to be learned. No, in some ways, I feel as if my job is done… Our home has an atmosphere that has instilled an excitement for learning and with that, nothing can be missed. If they run into something they don’t know, they know how to find out more. If they don’t run into it, it was never worth fretting over. Now, all I have to do is continue to expose them to new and wonderful things and see what happens. It’s like fireworks. Some things might be duds… but something might spark a brilliant explosion full of color! The chemistry just has to be right.

My relaxed ways have really paid off this year. Dillon, who has had such a hard time learning to read, suddenly blossomed. I cannot take any credit for it other than not making a big deal about his not being on grade level. Suddenly, he just began to read. I wish I could say it was because we finally started a new program, or we stopped using that curriculum.. No, he just got ready and he did it. And he owns it. It’s his accomplishment, not mine. He is so proud he reads everything he can. When we go out, he reads every sign along the way. And it is beautiful music to drive to. Dillon is also making headway with his speech. He started a pretty intensive speech therapy regimen through Children’s Medical Center. He loves it and looks forward to it every week.

Cody.. what can I say about Cody. He is doing well in school, but still frustrates me quite a bit because he ssems to get so easily distracted. His math papers are 25% answers, 75% doodles. But, the thing is.. with the doodles he gets his answers right. Without the doodles, he can’t answer one question. So it's a case of the right brain working to wake the left brain up to get going. I guess it’s not really distraction after all. This is something we might have to work on soon. I’m not sure his boss in the future will appreciate little doodled robots all over his reports… unless of course.. he designs robots for a living! Right now, he is busy trying to figure out how to make New Orleans a floating city. He is quite concerned that history will repeat itself if they just fix the levees and let everyone come back home. He has an idea that if the water level rises, so should the city. It’s been very interesting to hear his ideas on the subject. Some are quite cartoonish but others could actually be viable with a little tweaking.

Well, that's a little bit about our year so far… It’s kind of fun to go back and re-read and see what has gone right. Some days my mindset is stuck on what’s going wrong.. but the truth is, it’s not really going wrong.. it’s just a part of the journey!

Friday, September 02, 2005


I complained that I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet.

~Irish Proverb

What a lousy week… It was the kind of week where the simple act of waking up was a cardio workout. As soon as my feet hit the floor I remembered what bills were due and how there was no way to pay them. My heart would race, I would break out in a sweat and I would begin to feel breathless and lightheaded. As good as any workout.. except I don’t know how many calories I actually burned.

It came down to priorities…. Which bill was attached to the biggest threat? If I didn’t pay the electric bill, we would lose our electricity… not too pleasant with 98% humidity at 90 degrees. If I didn’t’ pay the cable bill we would lose cable, internet AND telephone… I don’t think so. This triple threat would knock out our home business and any chance at all to get enough money to ever get anything turned on again. If I didn’t make the final payment in our mortgage repayment plan we would lose the house to foreclosure. Not an option. Of course there was the credit card. It had actually already been paid by a check by phone three months ago. Three payments had been scheduled to come out each month and this was the final month. I called the company and told them I had no choice but to stop payment on the check. I was threatened with a $25 service charge. I am pretty sure I said something like “bring it on” and left for the bank to sign the stop payment papers.

I figured everything out, and miraculously enough, just enough money trickled in to pay all the bills.. well, except for the credit card. I lamented and complained my way through the week and then, like being whacked with a sledgehammer, I was hit with a brand new perspective.

Just a few states away, tens of thousands of people lost their electricity, businesses, and homes. They were not able to call anyone and plead for an extension. Daddy’s have lost children, children have lost Mommy’s, Husbands have lost wives. There is not one story that has come from the South that doesn’t tear at the heart.

It seems like just a few days ago my world was falling in… I thought I was about to lose everything. The truth is, I have never REALLY experienced loss. I type this while tucked into bed with my 9 year old lying next to me reading a book. He can’t sleep. Neither can I. He suggests I count sheep. I think I’m just going to count my blessings.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I don't procrastinate... but I plan to in the future.

Ok, I might have a smidge of procrastination problem. You might notice that I registered this blog in February of 2003, and yet my first post was just 3 days ago.. TWO AND ONE HALF YEARS LATER!!!!!... I don't mean to procrastinate...but it seems to be the only thing I do in a timely manner.

Recently on one of my loops, everyone was talking about their office space. I took a good look at the corner I call an office and cringed just a bit. It was a mess. Actually, that's too generous. It had a nice base layer of mess, topped with many piles of chaos. It's not a pleasant place to be, and yet I seem to spend a huge percentage of the day there.. never really accomplishing anything. In addition to my procrastinating talents, I'm also an avid excuse maker. It is not long before I decide the reason for my office junk pile is that I never actually unpacked from our recent move. And when I say "recent" I mean over a year ago. In fact, this might not be so much procrastination as preparation. In the 13 years Jim and I have been married, we have moved 8 times. I figure another move is just around the corner and I will be ready for it.

Well, I don't know if tonight was a battle with procrastination or just an innate inability to be that prepared... whatever the reason, I finally unpacked my office. I sorted, filed, tossed, rearranged until I found that my chair could actually roll across the floor. I knew it had wheels, but I was hopelessly pile locked until tonight.

I'm thrilled. My space is well, spacious.. and I'm pretty sure I can still find things tomorrow. Unfortunately, with all the de-piling, it appears I destroyed the hidey hole of a mouse. He crawled through the office after all was said and filed, searching earnestly. If I could speak squeak, I'm sure he was saying, "I know the pile was here when I left... and me, without pile insurance!!!"

Here's the thing.. I'm not sure I want an office mate, so I suppose I will put out a mousetrap... but maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Although I registered this blog long ago, I have fought the blog. I have wrestled with feelings of inadequacy and wondered why anyone would care to read what I have to say. These thoughts are all the more suprising when one considers that I call myself a writer. Now, I know that there are topics on which I have volumes to write... marriage, parenting, homeschooling, and dream chasing, but what do I really have to say in a blog. Does anyone really want to read about my day to day life and what challenges I face. Everyone has their own life and their own challenges to deal with....but maybe they want to escape theirs by reading about mine.

I don't know what direction this blog will take. It's too soon to tell. Honestly, I will be pleased if I post again before I forget the URL!

I'm not going to write about what I did today nor will I bore you with the details of my latest trip to the grocery store. Actually, for this first post, I would like to share something I wrote after my uncle's funeral last December. This was inspired by the actual events leading up to and during the funeral. It was so precious that my aunt asked me to put it on paper. It is true what the song by Jars of Clay says...

"I will sing of your mercy
that leads me from
valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy"

by Melanie Walenciak for the family of Charles Wehnes

It’s been said that God is in the details.

It was a just a tiny little detail but it was important to Sydney. She needed a very special teddy bear for her PePaw and it needed to have wings like an angel. Sydney knew exactly what the bear should look like and she knew she would have to build it herself.

Her PePaw was a man driven by details. From the best lanes and shortcuts to drive to the perfect way to wind an extension cord, his head was full of details. But in the end, only one detail mattered…and he had to find a way to share it with his family.

He tried telling them, but his voice was too weak to express the passion and strength of it. It’s not as if they didn’t know. It was obvious and he had said it countless times before but it was the most important detail of all and he wanted to make sure they would never forget it. The cancer had stolen his strength but not his resolve. As his voice faded away, he would mouth the words or use his hands to make sure they understood. He knew that if they could understand the depth of this one detail, they would find comfort. They would never feel alone, even though he had to leave.

Now that he was gone there were more details than ever, and Sydney knew that above all else, her PePaw needed that bear. Her persistence paid off and on the day of the funeral, the precious winged bear lay on the pillow next to him.

It was a beautiful day and many came to honor the great man with the huge heart. It felt like he was watching, saddened by the pain his leaving had caused, but so proud of the strength his family displayed. He wanted more than ever to make sure they really understood the most important detail of his life.

Soon the time had come to close the casket. This painful goodbye which seemed so one-sided was becoming all too real. They knew this was the last time they would see him in this life and they were not ready for this moment to be over. Clutching one another for support, they walked away unable to control the tears.

But just as the casket closed, the little angel bear began to speak. It seems Sydney had given this bear more than wings. She had also given him a voice. “I LOVE YOU!” shouted the bear. “I LOVE YOU!”

For a split second sorrow turned to joy, and sounds of laughter could be heard. It was his favorite sound.

“I think they understand now!” he said and ran into the embrace of the Father… the One who is in the details