Monday, October 29, 2007

Invisible

One would think that a 30-something year old mother of four dying her hair a bizarre (but beautiful!) shade of purple would cause a huge stir no matter where she goes.

However, this is not the case.

Apparently, having purple hair creates a massive SEP field around me, rendering my new 'do virtually invisible. Last week at Bible study, one of the women there said that she just assumed that the lighting was bouncing off of my hair weird making it look that way. I visited my grandparents this weekend and they never fail to mention my hair (is it up, down, long, short, red, in a hat, etc.), but neither said anything when I showed up to their house with purple hair.

The only people right now who seem to be immune to this powerful field (mine runs without a battery, so I can only assume that it's terribly powerful) are very young children (four year olds notice it right away and are sure to comment to someone loudly enough that I know they saw it) and "scary" goth kids who tend to ask me who did it and, following that question, where I bought my supplies. Adults my age or older seem to be completely under it's effects.

Just information for you if you need to go into hiding. Become completely noticeable and you'll fade right away.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More fall stories

I was driving the kids to school this morning. It's a very dreary, rainy, cold fall day today. Everyone is kind of grumpy due to the weather and two late nights, so no one was saying much in the car.

As we got close to the school, we passed a local park, and there was a giant ??? tree that was just ablaze with color. Really gorgeous mix of red and orange and yellow. And because the tree was so large and the leaves were still on it, it was really just stunning. I pointed it out to the kids and said, "Isn't that just beautiful?"

James responded and said, "No, it's not beautiful."

I was just getting ready to be irritated, because darn it, it was too a beautiful tree and just because we're tired and grouchy doesn't mean we have to be contrary about everything, and then he said:

"It's beauti-FALL!"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kick-awesome website

A member over at TMB had a link in their sigline for PaperBackSwap.com. This is indeed, one of the coolest things I've seen!

Basically, you register, you post your unwanted/used books and then you mail them to people who want them. And when you have done that, you get a credit that you can use to order another book. So you can trade books with people for the cost of shipping it (and books tend to be on the cheap side to mail). I found it like an hour ago and I'm totally hooked! I'll let you know how it works for me once I've received/mailed a couple of books, but it looks pretty legit.

I don't think that's 50 words, but the coolness of this site beats my need to write that much!

Finally...

...a presidential candidate I can really get behind!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

(Sweet) Tea and Sympathy

Last night we went out to dinner with a good friend and his parents. We had a nice meal at Cracker Barrel while the kids were at AWANA club (they all have their vests/shirts now -- it's very exciting! And some day I'll get a vid of Bubba singing his Cubbie song and post it, 'cause that is freakin' adorable!). We haven't had a chance to visit with them in several months, so it was really nice to enjoy a meal together and just catch up.

This family has been through the wringer in the past year and a bit. We've known them for about 6-7 years now, and it's just been really difficult to see them beat up time and time again. We thought that they were finally in a place to receive healing, but unfortunately, they are just receiving more abuse. Our friend is at a point where he doesn't want to continue with ministry at all any more. One negative experience with God's people after another has left him feeling pretty barren.

While it was good to give him a place to vent, I'm left wondering how to help beyond that. When I myself have been burned time and again by church leadership and have seen good friends of mine go through the same thing, how can I tell him to get back up on that horse and try it again? This isn't even a matter of fool me once -- it's more like fool me half a dozen times! At some point when you've been burned over and over by the same group (Christians), how do you continue to put up with it? And how do you convince someone that it really is worth the fight, when most days you're not so sure that it is yourself?

when clouds veil sun
and disaster comes
o my soul
o my soul
when waters rise
and hope takes flight
o my soul
o my soul
o my soul

ever faithful ever true
you are known
you never let go

you never let go
you never let go
you never let go
you never let go
you never let go
you never let go

when clouds brought rain
and disaster came
o my soul
o my soul
when waters rose
and hope had flown
o my soul
o my soul
o my soul

ever faithful ever true
you are known you
never let go

o my soul overflows
o what love
o what love
o my soul fill with hope
perfect love
that never lets go

you never let go
you never let go
you never let go (repeat)

o what love
o what love
o what love (repeat)

joy and pain
and sun and rain
you're the same
o you never let go
joy and pain
and sun and rain
you're the same
o you never let go

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Morning cuppa' Joe

I love my morning cup(s) of coffee. It's so nice to sit at my computer desk, checking email from friends, reading my daily devotional, with some kind of music playing in the background, sipping on my cup of coffee.


Like many people, I first started drinking coffee in college. A great little coffee shop opened up not far from my dorm and groups of us from Swope would meet up there to study, do our class work, and just generally shoot the breeze. I started with that which was barely coffee -- a brilliant mocha lattee that just oozed with chocolate and deliciousness. Eventually I bought a little single coffee pot for my dorm room and would brew the cheap stuff there. One of my early Valentine's day gifts from Jason was a cappuccino machine (it has since been donated to a church youth group, when I realized that I'm never making myself cappuccino).

One of my weekly splurges at the grocery store is to buy flavored coffee creamer. Right now, my coffee is being flavored with International Delight's Chocolate Caramel (car-mel? cara-mel? How do you say it?). It's very nice, though I'm excited for the next bottle that's waiting in the fridge. It's holiday season (yeah, already!) and Coffeemate has out my absolute favorite flavored creamer -- Peppermint Mocha. Suh-weet!

In addition to coffee and creamer, I love coffee mugs. If you visit our house, the only way you'll have the same coffee mug that someone else has is if we're serving our coffee in disposable cups. Otherwise, you're getting a unique coffee mug. I've got some from back when I was in college, some ridiculously large ones, several from mother's day gifts from the kids, and even one from Initech.

What I really love about just about any hot beverage is that it forces me to sit down and savor something. Meals are frequently interrupted by needs to fill someone's plate, get another drink for someone, listening to the phone ring. Most of the rest of my day is spent doing something. And even if I'm just sitting at other times, I'm probably not really taking the time to enjoy something -- more likely I'm just vegging out, not participating. But shove a mug of coffee in my hands and I'm participating in something delicious and relaxing.

Savor something. Whatever you really enjoy, actually take a minute to experience it. Even if it's as simple as a cup of coffee.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day


Blogging is so interesting to me. Millions of people out there, writing for just a few people (at least, most of us!), but making a difference in those lives just the same.

Well, today is Blog Action Day. Basically, the goal is to have as many people as possible all writing about a single topic, the environment. So, in honor of the day, I'm going to repost my green bags from my crochet blog.

Our house is positively over-run by plastic grocery bags. I know that many countries have banned them altogether, and I believe they're about to be banned in San Fancisco, but they have a healthy hold around here. I know that our house probably acquires about 15 or so a week. Needless to say, the little plastic bag holder on our fridge gets full very quickly.

In an effort to avoid simply throwing them away (not with trash in them, but just pitching them straight into the garbage), I found a pattern to make totes out of plastic bags. I've made several, and people really seem to like them. They are incredibly sturdy and can also be used as a reusable grocery bag itself (always nice!).

If you know someone who crochets, give them your plastic bags. Let them make bags or mats or hats or something out of them. And do just a little something to help our environment!

Totally purple

So here's a pic of the finished product. It's now completely purple and looking pretty sweet. The second bleaching definitely frizzed up my hair a bit, so I'm going to need to get some more heavy duty conditioner to nurse it back a bit, but overall, I'm tremendously happy with the results. Woohoo!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Other colors

And at the behest of my friend Robin, I'm trying to repair my hair tonight and make the whole thing purple. I'm sitting here right now (6pm) with the lower half of my head being re-stripped. I'm hoping that since it didn't get much bleach last time, it won't be utterly destroyed by applying it again so soon. I guess if it does, I'll get a really short haircut tomorrow! The bonus is that it's just hair and it grows back.

Oh, and in the multiple outings with the hair, all comments to my face have been positive. My favorite was one of the little girls in Christopher's class this morning who yelled, "Your hair is blue!!! I love it!!!" Four year old little girls are the best people in the world! ;-D

9:22pm -- I've washed out all of the dye & the conditioner. It's looking a lot better this time. Now that everything is washed out, I can see a few places that I missed with the color, so I'll spruce that up tomorrow.

I ended up using two extra packets of bleach tonight, in addition to the one from Friday. I know my hair is thick, but jeez! I don't think I applied it that unevenly -- I think it's just too much hair! I'm glad that I grabbed two packets today.

I'll get some pics of the updated color tomorrow, but it looks way cooler now!

Colors

It's finally fall around here. After last weekend's insanely warm temps, we've got some more fall-like weather going on. It's feeling more crisp outside, I'm starting to look for indoor activities for the kids, we've turned on the gas burner a couple of times, and my slippers are getting a lot more wear than they have for the past few months (I love slippers and warm cozy socks, in case anyone ever wants to know what to give me for Christmas!).

Today, coming home from church, I got to see the beginnings of the changing of the leaves. This is one of my favorite parts about living where we do and what I would miss the most if we moved further south. Fall colors are just fantastic. I know spring is great with all of the flowers, but passing an entire hillside ablaze with reds and pinks and oranges and yellows and browns and greens and purples is just gorgeous. We live in a state that, while it's not our reputation, has some of the most overcast days in the country and no doubt, most of them are in the fall, but even so, we get some gorgeous color if we take a minute to look for it.

In the upcoming weeks, if you live somewhere that has an autumn where the leaves change, take a minute to soak in it. See how many different shades of colors you can see. Collect a couple of leaves with your kids and do rubbings or make one of those placemats with contact paper. Do something to celebrate the beauty of the season. The thank the One who made it so!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Discipleship


I got a lovely surprise a couple of days ago, when my friend Samurai gave me the Mathetes Award (created by Dan King of Management by God). The purpose of this blog award is to recognize blogs that disciple or encourage the reader. I really do appreciate that people take the time to read my blog, especially given that much of the time it's just a journal of what's going on with my little family. It really does mean a lot to me that my meanderings might actually be helpful to anyone!

One of the joys of this award is that it gives you an opportunity to pass on the recognition to five other people who have encouraged you through their blogs. So, in no particular order, here are five blogs that inspire me!

Warrior Mom: This woman is an absolute joy to read. Her deep passion for her family and her patients inspires me each day. While she faces some potentially discouraging things in her line of work and has some difficult challenges with her family, she does not whine or complain, but rather sees them as opportunities for growth and ministry. This post is a testament to her caring spirit.

The Bob Blog: The faith of this man has greatly inspired me. He has gone through some unimaginable horrors, and has come out of them with a spirit of forgiveness that shows the truest meaning of what it is to love our enemies. He also has a brilliant sense of humor (especially for a conservative! ;-D) and I am glad to know him both through his blog and in real life (even if it's just been over conversations about The Office & Transformers!).

chanchanchepon: This is a new addition to my blogroll, but it's quickly become one of my favorites. I've gone through and read most of the past posts, and I appreciate the opportunity to be refreshed each time I read one. Billy has a wonderful respect for the need to rest and observe, and in this busy life we lead, it's always good to be reminded to do just that. He also has some of the best pics. I always look forward to seeing what he's snapped most recently!

Sensuous Wife: A gorgeous writer, and about a topic that is all too often ignored. Our senses are one of the greatest gifts from God, and I appreciate so much reading and getting ideas from her on how each of these can be enjoyed.

In His Garden: While this blog isn't as "bloggy" as some of the others, this is definitely one of my favorites to read and re-read. Grace has painted a beautiful picture of her relationship with her Heavenly Father. It's a vivid and real walk of learning about grace, discipline and love. I would encourage anyone here to start at chapter one and read. You will not be disappointed.

We're only allowed to choose five, but please know that even if you weren't mentioned here, every blog that I link to is one that I read regularly and it's because they all have an impact on my life. Whether it's an opportunity to laugh, to think or to catch up, I appreciate what each of you have to offer! Be blessed and be a blessing!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Great Dyeing Adventure!

This is going to be an on-going blog today. So if you check before noon, be sure to stop back later today when it's completed.

I've wanted to color my hair a COLOR since who knows when. I've always found people with interesting hair colors to be absolutely fascinating. I know it's one of those faux "individualist" type things, in that a lot of people do it, so how individual can it really be, but still! I think it's absolutely brilliant and I've always wanted to do it.

Well, today I am! An online friend served as my expert advisor on what to buy and the best way to do it. Yesterday Bubba and I made a trip to Clarksburg to Sally Beauty Supplies and bought the lightener and the color. For my first attempt, I'm going to be using the Ultra Violet color of Manic Panic.

First I need to uncolor my hair. So I've put in the lightener/bleach. Here's a pic right after I put the lightener in. I could already see in the front where it was starting to lighten a good bit.

9:07AM -- Just did a check on the hair. I'm marginally stressed that my application of the lightener wasn't as even as I thought. I'm gonna' be pretty irrirated if the woman at Sally's gave me bad info yesterday!

10:07AM -- Bleach washed out. Not nearly as light as I wanted, but hoping that it will still work, especially after a haircut (TONIGHT!). I really hope that when it's done, it looks okay. This is pretty scary stuff already -- I don't need to look silly!

10:38AM -- I've got the purple color in my hair. The kids are definitely warming to the idea of mom having purple hair, and I think that even with the uneven bleaching, it should be okay. I'm going to leave it in for another hour or so and then we'll see! I can't believe I'm going to have Mu Phi hair! What have I done?!?

12:21PM -- Hair done! It's not quite what I envisioned, but I'm pretty happy with it. I can't believe I actually dyed my hair a funky color like purple! Holy cow!

Anyway, thanks for walking through this with me. It's been something else!

Do something fun for yourself this weekend. It doesn't have to be coloring your hair purple, but go ahead and do something a little out of the ordinary. Something that other people might look at you sideways for doing, but that you want to do and makes you happy.

And to any Mu Phi friends, Love and Violets forever, baby!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hot and Cold

It's been absolutely ridiculous around here, weather-wise. This weekend here in WV, I believe we neared the 90's (in October!!). We really took advantage of the gorgeous weather. Last Friday, we drove to Morgantown for the annual balloon festival light up night. There were about a dozen or so balloons there and every few minutes they would do a count-down and all of the balloons would shoot their burners. Very pretty (I took pics, but they didn't come out very well and probably wouldn't have done it justice anyway!). We did that right at dusk, then took the kids to Barnes & Noble for a little treat. We all love the bookstore, and had a good time sorting through the discount books for something new to read. I think Deborah got the best score with the first three Artemis Fowl books for five dollars.

After we visited Starbucks (kids got hot chocolate, us with caramel macchiatos!), we decided to head home, because it was getting late. But it was an absolutely gorgeous night with an incredibly clear sky, so we took a quick detour to Pricketts Fort state park and did some star gazing by the Mon. We still had a little light pollution, but nothing like we get here in town, so we were able to point out a couple of constellations. It was a pretty decent clearing, so we were able to see a lot of sky, which is always wonderful.

Saturday was not much of a family day, as I spent it at a craft fair. I hope to get pics of my table up at my craft blog sometime later today.

On Sunday, we spent the afternoon at the fair portion of the balloon festival. They had a few different shows and some other activities for the kids. After Jason's crazy few weeks, it was nice to have a good weekend as a family. I'm incredibly blessed to have such a fun, loving family. It's a joy to spend time with them, whether flipping through a new book, star gazing or watching a cheesy magician do his thing!

Of course, the unseasonable warmth has now left us, and today it's still not quite 50 degrees out. And as my fingers today were getting numb hanging and taking down laundry, I'm hoping that we'll be getting that second-hand clothes dryer soon! I don't know if I can stand hanging stuff in weather like this for long. It gets dry, but my frozen fingers do not appreciate the savings!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Come to the Table

Yesterday at church we celebrated the Lord's Supper together. This is one of my favorite things to do as a Body. There's nothing quite like remembering with fellow Christians why it is that we can have hope and joy.

When I was in junior high, we did a seder dinner one evening around Easter. Even though it was years ago (more than I'd like to admit, no doubt!), it made a deep impact on my life. The thing that strikes me the most about the passover dinner was the anticipation of being set free. That even though it was done before they were out of Egypt, the Hebrews were trusting God for their freedom. The celebration of the seder now is primarily a way to remember the move from slavery to freedom.

How appropriate for each of us when we partake of the Eucharist! We were slaves to sin. Slaves to our flesh. Slaves to our evil desires. Slaves to unforgiveness and hatred. And in the sacrifice of one perfect Lamb, we are set free.

Matthew 26:26While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and
broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
27Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying,
"Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured
out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will not drink of this
fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my
Father's kingdom."
30When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

50 Word Essays


After saying that I was all uninspired, my dear friend Teema told me that I need to go back to high school and to my sophomore year. (Yeah, it's all about you, baby!

While I have fond memories of high school, I remember my sophomore year with some extra clarity, and I think most of that is thanks to my excellent English teacher, Mr. Davies. A standing assignment for our class was to write five fifty word essays each week. They could be about anything and they didn't even have to be particularly good writing, there just had to five of them and they had to be at least fifty words long. Every Friday we would turn in our little notebooks, and then on Monday we'd start again. I wrote about band trips, FLEE ball, pep band, chemistry class, friends, crushes, bee stings, I don't even remember everything. And as fun as it was to do, what was even better was reading what Mr. Davies had to say about each of the stories. Because no matter what he had to do, every Monday in English class, we'd get our books back with comments on every essay and they were always entertaining. One of my original "public" blogs, I guess!

So, I promise (with my fingers crossed, 'cause I don't want anyone to actually hold me to this!) to at least try to punch out five fifty word essays per week. Even if they're stupid, mundane things, I will try to find something interesting enough about which to write a measly fifty words.

And in honor of this being my 200th blog posting, I'm going to do my first fifty words not as an essay, but as a list! So, behold, fifty things that make me happy (in no particular order!). I'm trying to make them a single word only.
1. Music
2. Marriage
3. Kids (mine!)
4. Parents
5. Siblings
6. (clean) Laundry
7. Hikes
8. Seinfeld
9. DC*B
10. Piano
11. Blogging
12. Friends
13. Memories
14. Bubbles
15. Games
16. Internets
17. TXT'ing
18. Pens
19. Balloons
20. (greeting) Cards
21. Thunderstorms
22. Coffee
23. Singing
24. iTunes
25. Stars
26. Mountains
27. IceCream (sorry, that's one word!)
28. Pizza
29. Pets
30. Sunrises
31. StrongBad
32. (phone) Calls
33. Crochet
34. Beading
35. Cheeseburgers
36. Movies
37. Books
38. Email
39. Haircolor
40. Birth
41. Pregnancy
42. Gen.Tso'sChicken
43. Sleep
44. Museums
45. Sex
46. PB&J
47. (concord) Grapes
48. Sandals
49. Communion (the Lord's Supper/Eucharist)
50. Salvation

Friday, October 05, 2007

Uninspired

Catching up with the blog, but only because I feel like I really need to, not because I have anything interesting to say. I've been trying to think of something to write about, but right now, I'm just bone dry. I'm trying to find something to inspire me to a really interesting, insightful or entertaining blog, but am coming up empty-handed.

Why is that? I'm surrounded by an amazing, wonderful world. I live in a house with four interesting little humans and one very interesting big human. I serve an immense, incomprehensible God. And I still feel so, "meh."

I think part of it is simply getting back into the swing of being a SAHM again. As much as I absolutely love being back at home with Bubba and the kids, it's very much the same thing every day. Pick up the living room, clean the kids' rooms, do the laundry, wash the dishes, mop the kitchen floor, cook supper. Minimal interaction with other people (especially with Jason's job being so busy right now). For all of the drudgery at work, I do miss the friendships I made there. Between the fascinating (and sometimes psychotic!) people I got to talk to on the phone and the people I'd sit with at work, I'm definitely going through some withdrawl from adult conversation.

Another part of it is being outside of the arts again. I so terribly miss doing music. It's wonderful to sing on a Sunday morning and getting to do it with a large crowd with a really stellar praise team is absolutely fantastic, but it definitely feels a lot less participatory than I'd like. I desperately want to find an outlet for playing, but right now, I'm just not sure what that will be. I'm hoping to attend the next Genesis meeting at church (next Wednesday) and see how I might fit in there. I swore when I went through the situation in February that I'd never let my creative self be hidden again, but opening up that yet again is still somewhat terrifying.

But a large part of this is simply that I'm not being intentional in my search for things about which to marvel. I allow myself to simply sit here and let the wonder that surrounds me to just bounce off of me without soaking in it. I veg out in front of the computer or work on a craft or do my housework, but I don't take the time to really enjoy any of it. Instead of being a participant in that, I feel like I'm just a spectator there as well.

So today I resolve to work to actively engage in the things I do. Not to merely do them because they have to be done, but to engage my senses and become a participant in my own life. And I welcome any ideas on how to better do that!
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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