Do you read the local paper?

WKTnewlogoI am not a fan of most print newspapers. In my metro area, there is only one big newspaper, so if you don’t like the editorial bias, there are no real alternatives. I find that I can search multiple news outlets via the internet and provide a balance in the editorial biases more easily.

BUT…I always read the Webster-Kirkwood Journal. It may not be a terribly balanced piece of journalism, but it does represent the community where I grew up and currently live. And that means I have a stake in the news stories and the letters to the editor, and the complaints about dogs barking or the people who took the newspaper to locations far and wide and submitted their photos for their day of fame. And I also always read the obituaries…As I get older, there is a greater chance of seeing the name of a familiar person there.

I like to follow the news from the local school districts, the local politics and get a peek into who’s who and what’s what. I can even read the local police reports from the communities (that can generate a few chuckles depending on who writes the reports and how bored they were at the time…)

But honestly, there can be an awful lot of humor if you still have a sense of humor…

The top headline in this week’s paper,  including a large color photograph, was “Rallying To Protect Kids From Gun Violence.” The article highlighted the efforts of the Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice and their upcoming event at a local sculpture park over Mother’s Day weekend.

The issue of illegal gun ownership and use continues to be a problem, no matter which side of the gun debate you stand on. Honestly, with the exception of criminals who possess illegally obtained guns, I think most people don’t take issue with the need to remove guns from the criminals…

But I found an almost hysterical irony as I read through the paper when another  story focused on the Kirkwood Theatre Guild’s summer musical featuring the musical arrangements of a former classmate of mine: John McDaniel. That wasn’t the irony. The irony was in the name of the musical:

“Annie Get Your Gun.”

Seriously. I did not make this up. I am not that funny on my own.

http://www.websterkirkwoodtimes.com/Articles-Features-i-2013-05-03-186346.114137-Rallying-To-Protect-Kids-From-Gun-Violence.html

http://www.websterkirkwoodtimes.com/Articles-Features-i-2013-05-03-186364.114137-Annie-Get-Your-Gun.html

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It’s All About the Attitude

I am finding myself too often consumed by the daily distractions of my life to sit and ruminate on something, much less write about it. I thought about taking a hiatus from my blog just because I cannot keep up with my personal expectations for myself.

Do any of you suffer from that? Are you constantly failing in your own opinion of yourself? Well, I often suffer from that virus.

So I told Superman that maybe I would not write for awhile. He, of course, was all about encouraging me to not give up on writing completely but just give myself the right to not post every. single. day.

Those of you who have faithfully been following me know that I am not keeping up with my original goal. I just can’t.

So I thought, why not write just once a week? He said not to commit to that often or limit myself too much either. He is a smart man. I am blessed to have him for my confidant and best friend.

When you care for children all day and have grandchildren living with you, there isn’t a lot of time to just BE. That time to have peace and quiet and do the things that only you can do. And so often that makes me feel like a failure.

I don’t have the same energy I had when I was raising my own children. There is a very strong argument that could be made regarding having your children while you are still young and fit enough to run and play.

But I still play. And never could really run…asthma went undiagnosed for too many years and I always had so much pain in my chest when I did try to run. Anyway, I digress.

I like to be silly with my little friends. We dance to silly songs and run in circles and play follow the leader. Doesn’t that sound all nice and rosy?

But as is the case so often with humans, there are times when little people get selfish or temperamental and need a little course correction. An attitude adjustment.

I try to make the corrections relevant and easy to understand. Apparently, that can be annoying.

Curly Top used to be this angelic child. Sweet and innocent and compliant. Whoever stole that from her, please return it. Immediately.

This week, on two subsequent days, that little Diva shared her attitude with me. I feel called to share it with all of you. Just a wee bit of insight into the developing personality of my only granddaughter.

That child who is so sweet can really spark a fire with her little mouth and attitudes.

She was sitting on the couch being annoying. Not really being naughty, just whiny and complaining and uncooperative. I suggested that maybe she needed a nap.

And without dropping a beat, she said, “I don’t think so!” With all the attitude you can imagine. Her mother and I looked at each other and it made us raise our eyebrows.

The following day, she and the other cherubs were running back and forth through the house, stopping and starting at the front door. (Apparently there is a code that determines who gets to be in which spot at the front door. And the spot by the door knob is prime real estate.)

Curly Top believed that prime real estate was her designated space. And pushed the others out of it. Hmmm, that seemed to be a great opportunity to discuss kind treatment and gentle hands and nice words.

“Curly Top, you need to gentle with your hands and say kind words to your friends. It isn’t nice to be selfish and mean to your friends,” I said, looking her in the eyes.

No response. She turned her face away. I turned her face back to look at me and held her chin in my hand.

“Do you understand?” I asked.

“Okay!” she replied, with a great deal of sass and completely devoid of sincerity.

I tried again.

“Say it with a nice voice,” I said, still holding onto her chin.

“Okay!” she growled, still with a great bit of sass, but less vehemence.

A third time. “You need to have a gentle mouth. Say it with a nice voice,” I said as I continued to look her in the eyes and hold onto her chin.

“Okay,” she responded. It wasn’t very sweet, but the sass at least seemed to be gone.

I turned from her and as I walked away, she muttered, “Finally!” with the sassiness of a thirteen year old. I couldn’t believe it.

She sounded just like a certain child of mine did…it brought back a lot of memories.

But that child, who can be so full of joy and laughter, is a little sinner, just like me. And her stinky attitude is exactly like mine when my attitude needs some readjusting.

I find that when my attitude stinks, it is because I am just not thinking about the things I should be thinking about. There are so many things that generate a right attitude, it shouldn’t be that difficult to have the right attitude, but we allow things to sour us.

That is when it feels like God takes hold of my chin, looks me in the eyes, and says to me:

Philippians 4:8

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—
if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

If I am dwelling on the truth, the honorable, the just and pure…If I am thinking about the lovely and those things that deserve commendation…If I make certain that there is moral excellence and praiseworthiness, won’t I have a right attitude?

I find that as I get older, I just don’t have time to dwell on the negative. I can’t afford the cost. I fail. I fall short.

But God daily pours out His love, His grace, His mercies over me. No matter how I fall short, He is there, faithfully forgiving me and demonstrating to me, over and over and over, how much He really loves me.

Even if I don’t write in my blog every day.

Philippians 2

So if there is any encouragement in Christ,
any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit,
any affection and sympathy, complete my joy
by being of the same mind, having the same love,
being in full accord and of one mind.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but
in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 
Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others.

Have this mind yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men. 
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.  

Therefore God has highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Do you need to adjust your attitude? Where do your thoughts dwell?

Can I Give You My Number?

I have three very beautiful kids. They are gorgeous. And that isn’t just me talking. OK, right now it is, but I am not the only one who says it.

my sweet daughter and her baby

my sweet daughter and her baby

My oldest child…isn’t she beautiful? Holding Little Boy Blue, my sweet little love with the blonde hair and big blue peepers! She brings happiness and comfort in her own special way to everyone around her, whether it is her pediatric patients or her friends and family…and let’s just say she has a great big joy that emanates from her, no matter who you are.

Then there is my second child…

Andrew, Stephanie and Paul at Paul's high school graduation, May 25, 2012

Andrew, Stephanie and Paul at Paul’s high school graduation, May 25, 2012

She is striking…and let me tell you it is awful going to Wal-Mart or Target with her…strangers whistling at her…men who just don’t know how to behave when they are confronted by her beauty…Some of them get an instant education from her on the appropriate way to voice their appreciation…let’s just say that she is able to make herself clearly understood. And if her children are with her…watch what you say and how you say it! Just because she is only 4′ 11″ on her tallest day…she is one tough cookie.

IMG_1450

Lastly, there is mi hijo…my only son…the one everyone loves, whose nickname is Paulie…as if he were an Italian…ha ha! He always has a smile on his face, knows no strangers, he loves his niece and nephews and is fiercely protective. He has threatened to “deal with” more than one guy who got out of line with his sister…and he is just a teddy bear.

But, to be honest, daughter number two gets a lot more time in my life because she still lives with us…and so do her kiddos, remember? Froglegs, Dancing Eyes and Curly Top? They are instant inspiration.

Today she had a new experience…and the cashier at a local Panera is probably still wiping egg off his face. She went through a drive through, but had forgotten her Panera card at home. When she arrived at the window, she asked the cashier (young male) if he could take her number…He said sure, and hurried off to get a piece of paper…

I am imagining his heart just racing…so excited, the improbability of it all…

That poor guy…he misunderstood and thought she was giving him her TELEPHONE NUMBER! Can you imagine how he felt when he realized she was using her frequent buyer number???

I am still just shaking my head…

Birthdays and Anniversaries and Special Days…

February 9th…

Not a national holiday.

Not a religious holiday.

Not my birthday. But it IS my nephew’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Sean!!!

Not my wedding anniversary. BUT…it is the first anniversary of MY BLOG!

But those, as special as they are, do not come close to my number one reason for loving this day.

February 9th is a special day because…

Still so happy together

Still so happy together

On February 9, 1979, my now-husband of almost 33 years promised to marry me with a little ring from Woolworth…symbolic and pure…and its worth was not borne in the cost of the ring, but rather in the cost of that promise.

Little did he know what all that promise would bring to his life…a mixture of great joy and great sorrow…trips to unexpected places…laughter and tears…a life of changes for a man who liked things to stay the same.

With that promise two lives began a lifetime of change as we have been woven together into something we never could have even imagined. Neither one of us really resembles the people we were at that time–not physically nor in any other way.

Gone is his afro–and pic. Streaks of gray are now faintly visible. Gone is the mustache (he kept THAT for a lot of years!) and wide leather watch band that he custom made for himself.

Gone are the crazy clothing combinations (well…that may be an exaggeration since just yesterday he dressed as if he were color-blind…). His ginormous glasses are a bit more contemporary these days.

As for me…let’s just say that I am a more well-rounded individual. In more ways than one. 😉

Just yesterday, Curly Top assured me in her tender, special way–“I am the Curly Top, Nana. You have gray hair.” Ahhhh…the honesty.

But the things that I loved about him so many years ago, I still love today. He is FAITHFUL. He is FORGIVING. His love is UNCONDITIONAL (and believe me, I have tested that one more than once). His smile is still always on his face.

Those things matter so much to me. My love for him is based on things that endure and grow, not on things that disappear or fluctuate. Each and every day I know he will remain true to me because he continues to remain true to His Savior and Lord.

Family members still laugh at all of our “special anniversaries”…the first meal…the first, second or third ring…first kiss…we have a lot of special days. And I hope we never forget any of them. They are mile markers of the love that has grown and mellowed. It is a love that endures.

I think it is very important to celebrate the big moments, days and years. Every single day should be worthy of celebrating another day of life. So often we squander the opportunities to celebrate those little things and we take for granted those little, seemingly insignificant details that make up our daily lives. They need to be celebrated, too.

We forget the miracle of every. single. breath.

So join me today…celebrate the most wonderful gift. Life. Abundant life.

2 Corinthians 9:8

 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

1 Timothy 6:17

 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God,who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Ephesians 2:1-10

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

A little bit of this and that…

I have been MIA for a few weeks now. Illness and other things just seem to come between me and my computer…

Like Froglegs and Mario…

Like Dancing Eyes and Luigi…

Like Curly Top and ABCMouse…

And a bunch of other interruptions….

BUT, although I have not been writing over the last few weeks, I HAVE been busy…

Taking my first ride in an ambulance…yeah, I am ok, but it was scary for awhile. Nothing like respiratory problems in the middle of cold and flu season in a house full of germ magnets and spewers! I am researching my own bubble suit as a preventive measure…

(You know, it is a good thing to be friendly to the EMTs and paramedics…they stick you with needles in the back of a moving ambulance and you really want them to do it right the first time…thankfully, my guy did a great job on the first try…)

After several doses of steroids and other medicine, I am now back on my feet, and not coughing like I swallowed a fur ball.

Once I started feeling better, I began working on some very special projects around the house that have been taking shape in my brain for…oh, a few years. (My daughter is glad to see some of the fabric leaving my storage and becoming something else)…it’s kind of like a wedding…something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…I will be sharing pictures over the next few blog posts.

And I have been reading…catching up on the flight out of Egypt by the children of Israel in Exodus…I have a number of thoughts percolating in my brain that have not quite taken shape yet, but a few verses in particular have really caught my attention:

Exodus 36:1-2

“Bezalel, Oholiab, and all the skilled people are to work based on everything the Lord has commanded. The Lord has given them wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work of constructing the sanctuary.”

So Moses summoned Bezalel, Oholiab, and every skilled person in whose heart the Lord had placed wisdom, everyone whose heart moved him, to come to the work and do it.

These were craftsmen, highly skilled in their trade. But more importantly, they were filled with God’s wisdom and understanding. The construction of the tabernacle required more than just skill. It required the correct heart-itude…

It is a wonderful thing to be skilled to do something special. But that really isn’t enough, is it? God wants more from us than just our abilities. He wants those whose hearts have been moved and who have come to do the work HE has laid out…

I am continuing to think about these verses and will spend a little more time fleshing out my thoughts and before sharing them with you. I know there is a big lesson for me and I don’t want to take a short cut…

Adjusting your focus

nathan and meI am married to a wonderful man. He has stuck by my side for almost 33 years, and that is a long time by any standards. Especially since he knows all about me and STILL sticks by my side.

BUT…he is a good source of blog material…and since he has such a great sense of humor, this is going to be ALL ABOUT HIM…

Superman is about 6′ 4″ tall…he seems to have an aversion to that height and tries to knock off a half inch but, I happen to know how tall he really is…;)

He is also only about 185 pounds…pretty thin. See what I mean?

He got a bit concerned about his weight a few months ago because he had inched up on the scale. I think, if we are being honest, his WEIGHT really wasn’t the issue. (He is going to LOVE all the word plays in this blog!!!)

The issue was that he has had angioplasty and a stint, so maintaining a HEALTHY HEART is really far more important than his added pounds, which I think only made him look a little healthier. I just don’t think I should be able to count his ribs through his shirts, do you?

So, my sweet man started working out on the treadmill. Faithfully. And he arranged to listen to the Bible online while he worked out…exercising his faith, his heart and his multi-tasking skills all at the same time. (Multi-tasking is not one of his strengths, unfortunately.)

He was so proud of his progress when he reached that 185 pound mark. And he clearly was feeling a lot more energetic, so that was a good reason to continue his commitment to the contraption in the basement.

But as is so often the case, things happen. And one night, Superman got on the treadmill…wearing the same shirt in the photo above…He started walking, and realized he was getting too warm…So he decided to take off the shirt.

Fine. No problem. As long as you STOP THE TREADMILL AND GET OFF THE THING FIRST! He didn’t want to break his stride…right. Mr. I Can’t Multitask

The next minute we here a loud noise and a bang. I should mention that when a TALL person is on a treadmill, it makes them CLOSER TO THE CEILING. And my husband has unbelievably LONG ARMS. I thought he had reached up through the ceiling and created a shortcut to the basement.

Nope. His shirt had gotten stuck on his head, and he got a little mixed up and kicked a hole in the wall as he stumbled around on the still running treadmill. Aren’t there safety rules about this sort of thing???

Lest I leave you wondering, he was fine. No injuries. That, in itself, is a miracle. You see, he also has a foot full of hardware from a serious fall involving a ladder, a tree and a chainsaw…just imagine the worst and you will be pretty close.

But he was fine. And it got him thinking (maybe he should have done that before attempting his failed attempt). And he realized that there was a really great application that could be applied to the spiritual race we are running.

Runners who get ready for a race have to prepare for it. They train their bodies, increasing their stamina. They wear appropriate clothing that will not interfere with their run. Can you imagine running a race wearing a ball gown and high heels? Or showing up to a marathon wearing a tux? That would be crazy.

How fast do you think you would run if you were carrying all your garbage along with you? At my house, that would be a full can of recycling and a full can of regular trash. I can’t pull both of them up the driveway together, so the idea of RUNNING with that strapped onto my back is just impossible.

But that is exactly what we do in our spiritual walk if we do not prepare for the race. We must shed those things that tangle us and distract us. We must deal with the traps that defeat us. Any sin that is taking hold in our lives must be confessed for what it is.

And our focus needs to be on the right thing.

If a runner looks down while racing instead of ahead, he will fall and he will fail. If a runner looks ahead to the goal, that is where he should finish!

Although none of my football teams won over the weekend, I must say that each team had the same goal–getting that football in the end zone as often as possible. They wanted to WIN. They fought to WIN.

The prize for our race is being with the Lord Jesus in glory, hearing the words, “Well done” and receiving the reward for faithfulness in the race. And because of how gracious our God is, it is never too late to refocus and make the necessary corrections so that we can finish our race well!

Do you need to adjust your focus? Are you tangled up in the tentacles of sin? It isn’t too late. Refocus…run!

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

And the nominees are…

blog of year award

It’s that time of year, you know? Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Tony…and Blog of the Year awards!

Unlike some awards, the Blog of 2012 award is not accompanied by musicians or orchestras or TV broadcasts filled with lots of commercials.

No, these Blog awards are much more special. They focus on the written word…or word pictures…

If you are a blogger, you probably truly appreciate just being nominated…I know I sure do! There is something special about being recognized by fellow bloggers, most of whom you don’t probably even know!

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:
1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.
2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award –http://https://momtoldmetowriteabook.wordpress.com/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…
(Thank you so much, Lori! http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/)
7. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

Drum Roll, Please:

I nominate the following blogs for this award:

http://chicenvelopements.wordpress.com/ (aka The Renegade Seamstress)
This blog is down to earth, totally creative and makes me think I can do all the same renovations with thrift store clothing. Looking awesome on the cheap gets high marks for innovative approaches to sewing!

http://www.thistlewoodfarms.com/
I feel like Karianne is my long lost sister. She writes and creates from a very warm and tender place in her heart. Humor is woven liberally throughout each and every post, and dollops of highly creative and doable decor ideas abound with amazing photographs.

http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/
This blog is probably the one that has generated more tears of joy for me. Not only are the posts REAL and UPLIFTING, but they truly motivate a lot of soul-searching. Make sure you follow this one…Family, God, Adoption, Photography, Faith at Work…

http://revelationsinwriting.wordpress.com/
For daily inspiration and encouraging words…

http://ladydeidre.com/
A kindred spirit who takes you to new heights…

There are so many wonderful bloggers who share their thoughts and ideas so freely, it is not possible to include everyone, but check out my blog roll for additional blogs to inspire you!