Tuesday, October 31, 2006



Halloween, continued

It's the Leichner Zoo!

Two truck stories

I'm tellin' ya, I would have enjoyed being a preacher, but my dad gave me the wrong chromosome.

Today Derek, Jeremy, Chelsea & I drove over to Dan's school to visit him & his class & show off our cute costumes. I will post more about Halloween & the fun (WARM) days we've been having later. While we were driving on the interstate, two interesting things happened that both involved trucks, & each time I thought, "I think I'll blog on that."

When I'm driving I try to be aware of other drivers. I am largely influenced by my dad & my husband in this respect. I have learned a lot from them when it comes to driving, and I'm grateful for that as I am not a particularly aware person, if you know what I mean (in other words, complete airhead!!). I was passing a few trucks when I noticed a truck coming up pretty quick behind me. I don't drive terribly fast (I promise), but with my roots being in NJ I am usually one of the faster drivers on the road while in Virginia (& that's because everyone else drives slow, not that I drive fast). But I digress . . . So this truck is coming up behind me, which I thought was interesting, but we were on the down slope. I thought about moving over to the right lane to let him get by but we just started on a hill up & I thought that he'd probably slow down quickly as those big trucks usually do. But, sure enough, he didn't slow down. So I found a place to move over into the right lane & let him by. As he passed by I realized why he was going so fast--no trailer on him! So my thought was, "I guess he's enjoying being without all that extra weight & taking advantage of being able to drive faster." My next immediate thought was, "Isn't it great to feel so light? You just move right along!"

How many times does our day drag on because of all the burdensome things we have to do? How often do we feel weighed down by the stresses of our lives, & we even feel we are moving in slow motion? How, then, does it feel to be free of our burdens & move quickly with grace and joy instead? Does your heart literally feel lighter when you've unloaded a burden in prayer? Do you feel grateful that your heavenly Father is willing to take on your sorrows and help you get through them? Do you express your gratitude with joy?

I was feeling pretty light-hearted today and have been for a while. I have reached a point in my relationship with God that I feel confident He will take care of me. I feel confident relinquishing control to Him and letting Him guide me as He sees fit. I'm not perfect--I don't always remember to not worry about something I've already prayed about. But I know the comfort, joy, & grace that comes when I do truly hand a problem over to God.

My second story is just a sweet little story. The boys like to try to get trucks to honk at them as we drive past them. Jeremy was trying this today on our way home from Dan's school, but I really didn't think the truckdrivers would be able to see him, as he was sitting in the middle of the backseat. I was wrong, though! One truck driver in a blue truck saw him & honked back. Not only that, but after we passed him, he pulled over into our lane behind us, & so I waved to thank him for honking for Jeremy. And he waved back! Pretty cool, but that's not all! A few minutes later, we pulled off the interstate at our exit. As we did this, the same truckdriver passed us & honked again! Jeremy was pretty excited, but I don't think he was as excited as I was. I don't know why it tickled me so, but I just like thinking about the connection strangers can have with each other. I don't really know if that truckdriver remembered a few hours later the cute little boy in the red Camry that he honked at, but I remember him & his big blue truck! It made my day. And thanks to blogging, I'll remember him for a long time. :)

Why not seek out a stranger today or tomorrow that you can bless?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Prayers Requested

Let me tell you about a friend of mine named Lisa. (No, not me)

Lisa Carr lived in Bluefield, Virginia, until about a year ago when her family moved to Searcy, Arkansas, so her husband could take a position with African Christian Hospitals. In Bluefield they were about an hour away from our church's location; but Lisa, her husband Tom, & their children Betsy, Jamie & Mary, worshiped with us in Blacksburg. (They have an older son, Jesse, who was at Harding.) They are amazing people, incredible really. She & Tom taught our young marrieds class for a little while, & I loved the insights they shared. I never traveled the hour to Lisa's house, but when I saw her each Sunday, I immediately felt at home. I don't know if it's a special bond just she & I shared, or if everyone Lisa comes into contact with goes away feeling the same way I did. She manages to avoid chit-chat & get deep into conversation, even when you only have a few minutes to talk. When you're talking with her, you feel like her eyes are able to see deep into your soul & know if you're dealing with hurt or pain.

After Derek was born nearly 2 years ago, Lisa & her family somehow adopted Derek to "their pew" almost every Sunday. If you think that this was mostly Lisa's idea, however, you'd be wrong. The entire family, a family that by all appearances gets along really well with each other, fought over who got to hold Derek. He was almost always asleep when they (very reluctantly) returned him to me after services. Lisa, Mary & Betsy, even Tom, shared stories about the cute things he did while they had him.

When they were going to be moving back to Searcy, our congregation held a farewell potluck for their family. I had printed & framed a poem that was special because of how it reminded me of them & the friendship we shared. I tried to share a few words about the Carrs at the potluck, talking about how difficult it was to see them go but how wonderful the reunion in heaven would be. I was barely holding it together when I glanced at Lisa & her red, teary eyes, and then I lost it & couldn't say anymore. Thankfully Tom took over & shared his own farewell words to the congregation.

Well, I love sharing memories about people that are special to me. I love sharing a little of them & my love for them with the people who read this blog. But that's not the only reason I'm telling you about Lisa. I am asking for prayers for her because she has just been diagnosed with cancer. You know, you hear about people like Lisa being afflicted with cancer & you want to question why in the world it has to be them, what good could it possibly do for them to suffer from a disease or maybe worse, dying from a disease. And yet, people like Lisa are the most equipped to handle the pain and suffering, the questioning that inevitably pops up. She doesn't want to leave her children, her husband, her friends. Yet she is so confident that should the worst happen, she WILL be graced by their presence once more, and this time for eternity.

We are praying for healing. We are asking that God will heal this woman of her cancer. So if you would join me in that prayer, I would be really grateful, & Lisa will be very blessed. She starts chemotherapy tomorrow. She thought she would be starting it next week & was surprised when she realized it was this week, so she is not quite mentally prepared for it. If you would, please pray for her to get through tomorrow, and then that the rest of the treatments will produce results.

Thank you all!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Did you know...

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds?

Imagine a goldfish marriage...

Mrs. GF: Honey, will you take out the trash?
Mr. GF: Of course, dear.

3 seconds later.

Mrs. GF:
Honey, will you take out the trash?
Mr. GF: Of course, dear.

What other funny scenarios can you imagine??

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Blogs

Hi y'all, just wanted to let you know about some new blogs that are out there. (Remember, they're new, so there's not much on them yet, but they're going to be good!)

Thinking on These Things, by my Mom

Riner Leichners by my sister-in-law Terri

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Survey Says...

Molly's the winner!! And here's what you've won . . .

Congratulations, Molly!! And thank you, to Molly, and all the many others who played my little survey game, especially those that don't particularly like answering survey questions and those that continued to buzz in after the 7th comment. If you were one of the early "surveyees," go back & see what others wrote after you!

Here's a little bonus for Molly, and the rest of you that are interested in useless trivia about candy bars. When I looked up some websites to find a picture of a NutRageous bar (which is Molly's favorite in case you didn't figure out why I posted a picture of it), I also came across a bunch of trivia about the NutRageous bar, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups & peanuts, plus I added a few additional comments. Have fun!

*Reese's NutRageous bar was introduced in January 1994 (that's younger than I am!).
*The NutRageous bar's original name in test markets was "Acclaim," but most consumers disliked this name and said it made them think of the car by the same name. When presented with the name "NutRageous," the test market consumers immediately loved it. (Incidentally, the name "Camry" was also in the mix, but consumers were not interested in a candy bar imported all the way from Japan)
*A NutRageous bar was reportedly eaten in "The Nap" episode of Seinfeld (I can't believe I don't remember what episode that is! I thought I saw all the reruns three times!).
*Spanish explorers discovered peanuts in Peru in the 16th century (before this discovery, a sandwich favorite was cocoa butter & jelly).
*Rumor has it that Taylor and Zachary Hanson are huge fans of NutRageous Bars (as if anyone remembers who the Hansons are).
*Peanuts aren't a nut, they're a legume (oh, that's why they're called, peanuts).
*A third of the world's peanuts come from India (huh, a third of my honors classmates in high school were also from India. No joke! I'm not making fun, they were my favorite classmates).
*Peanut butter was developed in 1890 by a St. Louis physician seeking a nutritious, easily digested, high-protein food for elderly patients (I guess he found it?).
*Mr. Reese was not only involved with candy. He is also known for the Reese automobile, a 3-wheeled, gasoline engined vehicle that was built in Plymouth, PA, in 1899. Only one such vehicle remains intact. Mr. Reese also built Reese and Shawnee bicycles. (have you ever noticed the ridges around a peanut butter cup? That's how the wheels on his vehicles were made as well, perhaps a clue as to why they are not still intact)
*Reese's makes enough peanut butter cups in one year to feed one cup to every person in the US, Japan, Europe, Australia, China, Africa, and India (I'm sorry, India, I ate your peanut butter cups last year).

Monday, October 23, 2006

What kind of bug is this?


Can anyone tell me what kind of bug this is? Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mommy Gang

We are the Mommy Gang! From left to right: Lisa, Jeremy & Derek, April with Melody, Sara with Carley, & Bevin with tiny baby Cooper!
I jokingly called us the "mommy gang" in an email to April, & she really likes that title for our little club. Today was the first "meeting," & we had so much fun! I was so excited about having everyone over that I couldn't even wait more than an hour to get on & blog about it.

When I first started going to church in Blacksburg, it was so wonderful for me to have a few friends who were a little older & had older children but also children close in age to mine. (And, by the way, Tanya, I did not really feel like they were older!!) We got together frequently, kept each other's kids occasionally, & loved every second of it! I cherished the feeling of security that came with having friends who'd "been there, done that," & when my younger or same-age friends here started having children, I thought, "I want to be that for them too!" So we got together, had lunch, played with our kids, talked a lot about nursing! ... & then made sure we got pictures!!

Baby Cooper (born August 22)

Melody kissing Carley (who turned 1 today!)

Carley making Derek giggle

Thanks for all the fun, guys! I can't wait to do it again!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom L.!

My mother-in-law is having a special birthday today. I don't know if she'll mind if I tell you what her age is now, though. (It ends with a "0".) Her birthday is not special because of what age she's turning. Her birthday is special because she's a special person. I'd like to share a little of how she has blessed me in the past seven years.

My first special memory of being with Dan's mom is from Dan's graduation. His whole family drove out to Harding. It was fun to be part of the family, even though we had only been engaged for about a week. I enjoyed being part of the easy banter, the childish behavior of "the boys," who were now all grown men, and the way Dan's mom was forever rolling her eyes at them but really laughing inside (I can easily see that being me in twenty years--but that thought makes me cry!). I remember Dan's graduation party a little while later when Dan's mom so thoughtfully included not just me, but my family too. And I met much of Dan's family for the first time that afternoon, thinking this will be a nice family to be a part of!

Another special memory is from Christmas 1999. Dan & I were going to be married in one week!! Mom always goes ALL out for Christmas--there are tons of presents under the tree for everyone. I was not expecting to be included so fully in their family Christmas before I was officially part of the family. I was quite surprised, though! On Christmas Eve, I was invited to go along to get their Christmas tree (I don't remember for sure, but Dan says he wasn't there that year). It's tradition every year to go get the tree on Christmas Eve. I believe this tradition comes from Mom's parents. And now we do it too! On my part, it was under protest for the first year or two, but I now fully embrace this special tradition.

It's incredible that I don't remember Dan not being there, because I can actually remember other specific things about that day. What I was wearing, for example (and, for the record, I don't remember what I wore yesterday). Riding over in Terri's blazer. Having a disgusting potty discussion courtesy of Brian. Playing with my sweet little niece Arden. I remember everyone teasing Dan's mom about having to find the perfect tree (that, incidentally, is not unique to Dan's family--I think every family must tease the Mom about her search for the perfect tree since we did it too). And then I remember that we did not, actually, find the perfect tree but a rather UGLY one! What do you expect when you wait til Christmas Eve to get a tree, right?! Of course, since Dan's mom brings out about a thousand ornaments that you're supposed to cram on the tree, it doesn't entirely matter what the tree looks like bare. On Christmas Day, Mom had quite a few presents for me in the mix, & I felt so special!

Most of the other memories I have that include Mom are spread throughout the past seven years. Mom & Dad always made a point to come down each time we had a new baby. They come down frequently throughout the year so their grandkids don't forget them (they don't seem to care whether or not Dan & I would forget them, though!).

My favorite thing about my mother-in-law, AKA Mom, is that we have a great relationship. I am not really good about calling people on the phone or keeping in touch with them, but Mom is. And she calls pretty often. We used to talk just about every Monday afternoon. And we can talk for hours! I guess we're catching up on the 20 years of my life that we didn't know each other. Plus we have a lot in common--namely the three sons we each have--there are always lots of stories to share!

So, Sandra Lynn Leichner, AKA Sandie, AKA Mom, AKA Oma . . .

Happy 60th Birthday!!

Oops, I let the cat out of the bag. (It's okay, Mom, no one will believe me.)

I love this picture from soon after Jeremy & Hannah's births--Mom is so happy! There's nowhere she'd rather be than with her grandkids.

Mom & Dad on one of many vacations they take together.

Sorry the picture is dark & hard to see everyone. This was our last trip to Gatlinburg with the whole Leichner clan. I know Mom is so proud of her family!

Special story written by Mom L.

I know I've given you a lot to read about today, but I have this story that Mom wrote that I think is really sweet. She wrote it about a memory she has of another special woman she knew over 50 years ago. I've been saving it so I can share it with others on my blog, & I think her birthday is a good day to do it. So without further ado . . .

When I was six years old, my best friend was a red-haired, freckle-faced tomboy named Penny. One August afternoon, as we were trying to decide whether to roller-skate or play hopscotch, we were greeted by Mrs. Clarke. She lived across the street from us and had been my father's Sunday School teacher when he was a child. Sometimes she'd make me giggle with her memories of his not-so-reverent antics.

She was an ample woman and wore her grey hair in an old-fashioned bun. She had rosy cheeks and her eyes twinkled behind wire-rimmed glasses. Her voice was rich and deep and she spoke with an endearing lisp.

She leaned heavily on her cane asking if we would help her. She explained that she had not been playing her piano and thought if we would accompany her with our singing it would help her practice. She said she had gotten "rusty." I didn't notice any rust, but got my Mom's "okay" and we followed Mrs. Clarke.

Her parlor was filled with beautiful over-stuffed and dark carved wood furniture generously topped with lots of lace doilies. Penny and I perched ourselves on either side of this great lady seated on the polished piano bench. She took a book with gold letters on its cover and began to leaf through the pages. When she found just the right one, she smiled. Propping the book on a little ledge, she began to play. The music was beautiful and I marveled as her plump fingers danced lightly across the yellowed keyboard.

Suddenly she stopped and asked why we weren't singing along. Embarrassed I confessed that we couldn't read many words beyond those found in our First Grade Primer. Nodding knowingly and without a hint of amusement Mrs. Clarke set out to tackle the problem. Word by word, with much patience, she taught us to memorize the words of the entire song. Once or twice she offered us her delicious lemonade. When we could recite all the words, she felt we were ready to actually sing them.

Mrs. Clarke played the introduction then nodded her head. Penny and I belted out the words we'd learned with such enthusiasm many in the neighborhood must have heard us.

How wonderful I thought it sounded--our high-pitched six-year-old voices and the magic sound coming from Mrs. Clarke's piano!

When the song was over we looked to her for approval. She broke into a broad grin and said, "That was truly lovely." Penny and I looked at each other and we couldn't help grinning too!

And so it was I learned "What A Friend We Have In Jesus."

As the summer wore on we learned other hymns, drank more lemonade, and enjoyed the companionship of our dear Mrs. Clarke. But to this day when I sing "What A Friend We Have In Jesus," part of me becomes six years old again."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Can I Please Melt Some Towels?

I know, strange post title. Jeremy just asked me, "Can I please melt some towels?" and I was trying REALLY REALLY hard to figure out what in the world he was talking about. I finally realized that his "t" in "towels" was a "k" sound, as he cannot pronounce "k" sounds, but instead they come out as "t"s. I still, though, didn't understand what he was asking: "Melt some cows?"

"No," Jeremy says, "melt some tows."

"I don't really understand what you're asking, Jeremy; can you say it again?"

"Can I please melt some tows?"

"Jeremy, are you saying, 'cows'?"


"Okay, so you want to melt some cows?"

"No, can I please melt some tows." (what a polite little boy, he really did say "please" every time!)

"Oh, oh, I gotcha, you want to MILK some COWS!!!"


I couldn't really answer him through my laughter. But really, do you see a cow around here, Jeremy??

You have so much to read from me today! What fun! Hope you're not as cold & rainy as we are!! (It's that stinky fall again!)

Thanks for playing!

I am very happy to see 9 comments on my last post (even though 2 are mine & one was an extra one of Molly's from some phantom blog name). But I know there are more of you out there!! We just need one more to be a winner!! Who was holding out for #7?? Go to my last post if you'd like to participate in a fun little game.

Seriously, I really appreciated all of you playing, especially those of you that don't normally respond to these surveys. (When I've gotten emails in the past like this, I have answered about half of them--sometimes they are too long!) Next time I will try to think of more clever answers, although I'm not very clever, so it might take a while. I'm open to suggestions. I have also seen movie trivia questions on other blogs, but I don't remember quotes from movies very well, so I wouldn't even be able to come up with good questions. We'll see.

Hope you're having a good week so far!

Monday, October 16, 2006

I do not like questions that begin with

"What's your favorite . . . ?" i.e., "What's your favorite food?" "What's your favorite movie?" Some people might be able to answer those questions definitively, but not me! I have a hard time picking a favorite anything. I might be able to answer generally, "I really like action films that have romance in them," or "I like Italian food . . . and Mexican . . . and just about everything my Mom cooked when I was growing up."

Having said that, I love to hear what other people's answers are to those questions. I like to know what your favorite candy bar is so that when I want to send you something special, I can pick it up & you know that I know something about you, & that makes you feel good. I like to know that we like the same kind of movies, or that you & I would both cry while reading the same book.

I have noticed on other people's blogs that sometimes they post polls/surveys. They have a list of questions that you post a comment to answer. I have a lot of fun seeing what others say to those, so I'm going to try it. I'm going to feel real idiotic, though, if NO ONE responds. Will you do me a favor? I promise to keep it short & light (no deep questions) if you will please please please respond!! I actually have a goal to make this the most-responded-to post yet (I think that means I need 7 comments). The lucky #7 commenter will win a prize! (I'm not telling what the prize is yet) I'm actually going to help y'all out by posting my answers as the first comment (so, see? We only need 6 more! But if you happen to be the 8th commenter, don't hesitate to buzz in too!)

Okay, here's the survey (thanks in advance for your participation!!):

1. What type of movie do you most enjoy watching?
2. What is the last song you remember listening to?
3. What one thing most drives you absolutely crazy??
4. If your house was on fire, what 3 things would you NEED to bring with you? (for our purposes, children, pets, & spouses do not have to be included)
5. What's your middle name?
6. What's your favorite candy bar? :)

Bonus question to answer if you want to: What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Only 6 questions (plus an optional one)--that's not so bad! You can do it!

What would you do?

There is a cat door in the door that leads down to our basement. And actually, the door has gotten knocked off, but there is still a hole there. I find it a bit annoying. What can I do with it? Do you have any clever ideas??

(Remember, you can leave a comment even if you're not a blogger, just use "Other")

By the way, after Dee's comment, I realized that I wasn't very clear. Yes, this is a door inside our house. It's not a matter of cold air coming in the house or anything like that. But it's just an ugly hole in the bottom of a door that is seen inside our house. One idea I had was to take a picture of the kids, blow it up & have them peeking out through the hole. Just not sure how best to do that. But I also thought there might be a better idea.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Special Aunts

I wanted to say a special "Hello" to some of our aunts--Aunt Nancy, Aunt Dawn, & Auntie An--who have told me they read this blog (you know, y'all can leave comments without being bloggers!! :). It is really nice to know that you like to keep up with our family and that you get to see the pictures I try to post regularly of the kids. Each of you have meant a lot to me. Whether I've known you my entire life or just for my married life, I am so glad to have you in my family!

Dan & I both grew up pronouncing the word "aunt" as "ant," but down here, in Virginia, most people say "awnt." I've heard it so much that it almost sounds funny to say "ant" now. I wonder if my kids will keep "ant" or start using "awnt." Will we have "Awnt Terri, Awnt Paige & Awnt Loni," or will they be "ants"? Well, whatever they're called, I'm as glad to have them in my kids' lives as I am to have my own aunts. We are so blessed with family!

Hope everyone's having a great week! I'll write more later...if I have anything profound to say, which I suppose isn't likely to happen. :P

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Many Sides of Jeremy

 The thing about Jeremy is that he either refuses to smile for the camera, or he gets into it & HAS to make a very silly face--it's always one way or the other--but both of them are HIS way. You have to decide whether or not it's worth it to fight about it. Usually, it's not. :)

 When we went to the ballpit, Jeremy was a brilliant older brother. He made Derek laugh, helped him into areas that were hard for him to get to, threw balls to him, etc. He kept hiding under the balls (with the colors of his clothes, he really blended in), & then played peek-a-boo with Derek. So sweet! I love it!

 The kids all love to take pictures with the camera, but Jeremy especially. At our last soccer game, all of us bundled up & trying to stay warm, I asked Jeremy to sit in my lap to keep me warm. He agreed, under the condition that I would let him take a picture. I said, "Deal," he hopped up into my lap, & proceeded to take a picture of us together--problem was it was still zoomed in from me taking a pic of Nathan on the field. Whoops!

  This was one of those times that I was lucky enough to get a semi-smile from Jeremy. I love the many "faces" of Jeremy--he looks so different in every picture I take of him. He has many facets of his personality too; like feeling lucky about getting the smile in this picture, sometimes you feel really lucky to see one of those special hidden corners of his heart. His true personality only comes out when he's in a really comfortable place, with family or close friends. Most of the time he seems reserved and shy; with family he is a crazy loon who can be really funny and also really caring. My favorite part about the kids' bedtime is getting a silly kiss from Jeremy--he has to kiss you at least 3 times on the cheek, & the whole thing is really quite goopy. Rather than get offended about you wiping it off, he'll tease you! What a character.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Adventures in the Life of Derek

 Yes, I took pictures of my son's first major injury. I don't think the pictures do it justice, though. Today his eye is more swollen & bruised. We were all getting ready for church yesterday morning, when Dan brings a crying Derek to me in the bathroom where I was drying my hair.
 Apparently (no one knows for sure because Derek was by himself), Derek fell onto our coffeetable--no sharp corners or anything, just rounded edges, but he insists that's where he got hurt. Needless to say, we missed Bible class, & there was quite a ruckus around Derek with everyone at church asking what happened to his eye.

  I took the two younger boys to BK the other day for lunch & then spent a while playing in the ballpit. There are 2 BKs in our town, & the other one has a nicer, larger playground, but this one has a ballpit & we don't go to this one very often. I don't think Derek's been here yet, so it was a special treat.
Derek is amazingly strong. He can pull himself up onto things without having anything for him to push his legs on. He climbs onto Jeremy's dresser & then pulls himself up onto the top bunkbed. It is crazy!

Derek really enjoys drinking his milk after his cereal, like his big brothers do. Since this is the most enthusiasm I ever get from them for drinking milk, I don't discourage it!
Hope you had fun exploring the fun of an almost-2-year-old! Stay tuned for similar posts about my other two. :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Biscuit Finds a Friend

Can I just brag about my oldest son real quick?? He read a book all by himself last night without any help, and I'm so proud! Here's what he read:

Woof! Woof!
What has Biscuit found?
Is it a ball?
Is it a bone?
It is a little duck.
The little duck is lost.
Woof! Woof!
We will bring the little duck back to the pond.
Woof! Woof!
Here, little duck.
Here is the pond.
Here are your mother and your father.
Here are your brothers and your sisters.
The ducks say thank you.
Thank you for finding the little duck.
The little duck wants to play.
Woof! (there are pictures of the duck & dog playing)
Biscuit fell into the pond!
Silly Biscuit.
You are all wet!
Oh no, Biscuit.
Not a big shake!
Time to go home, Biscuit.
Quack! Quack!
Say good-bye, Biscuit.
Woof! Woof!
Good-bye, little duck.
Biscuit has found a new friend.

So, pretty impressive, huh?
Reading the book again this morning to Derek, Nathan informed him that one "Woof" means "no," and two "woofs" mean "yes." Cute.

By the way, yes, I changed the appearance of my blog. I downloaded Blogger Beta, & felt like exploring the differences. I was able to easily change the color/font scheme after choosing a template. I will probably do this a lot. My dad asked me about it & said that it reminded him of how my mom likes to rearrange rooms sometimes. I like to do that too. I like change. I like to mow the lawn a little differently each time. I like to occasionally rearrange a room, or even a small corner of the room like my desk (this bothers Dan because he arranges room from the get-go with much planning & thoughts of efficiency, so changing it would question his judgment for the best arrangement for the room). I like to put clothes in different places each time I change the seasonal clothes out. I think "change" is the reason I like to buy new clothes, too (unless it's just that I like to spend money & get new things). So, yeah, you can expect my blog appearance to change occasionally.

Hope that doesn't bother you. :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In God's presence

(If you haven't read my other post from this morning, "beautiful moments," this is a follow-up to that, so check it out first)

It is so amazing how your Bible study can tie in to your life at that moment in a way you've never related to before. I read a blog this morning posted by Patrick Mead that discussed the "present" of God's presence. Tonight in Bible class we studied James 4:1-12. We discussed "the battle within," which can occur because you want things you can't have and you get angry when you don't get the things you ask God for. We followed this with much discussion about how to be so in sync with God (to be righteous--i.e., have a right relationship with God), that you are at peace within, you want what God wants. We talked about those moments when you are at peace, despite all that is going on around you, & how you can prolong that peace. How can we remember this passage ALL the time, even when things are spinning out of control around us? It took me back to earlier this morning when I was walking in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I literally FELT the presence of God in a way that I, unfortunately, don't feel often enough. I was there for a good part of the day, but at some point I drifted. The cause of the "separation," if you will, was obviously not God. It was me. At some point I began to let stresses get to me, and pull me away from that peace.

What do you do to keep yourself in God's presence?

(By the way, amazingly another connection to this thought was in Jen Gorham's blog this very day, "Discovering God in the waiting"). When you have something on the brain, you are bound to find it everywhere! Feel free to check out her blog, which is linked in the sidebar)

beautiful moments

Sometimes you feel God's presence as sure as if He was walking right beside you with His arm around your shoulders.

Sometimes my days are so long and lonesome and emotional that I go to bed weary and worn out. I usually, however, wake up happy (within an hour, at least) and am glad to start another day. I didn't have anyone to babysit today, and no other pressing appointments except to get to the store to do my October grocery shopping.

Walking from the car to the front of the store, Derek in my arms, Jeremy's hand in mine, I felt such an overwhelming sense of happiness, like there was nowhere I'd rather be at that moment. I was so grateful to be there with my two younger children and my God right beside me.

What a joyful moment, right there in the middle of Wal-Mart's parking lot! I love moments like that which can set the tone for the rest of the day. What a gift from God!

I kissed my little Derek on the head, squeezed my grown-up Jeremy's hand and prepared to face the day. It shouldn't be too hard since it is absolutely beautiful out (it's more like summer than fall, after all).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Here's to my girlfriends!

"I am only as strong as the caffeine I drink, the hair spray I use and the girlfriends I have."

I got the cutest email from my college roommate today that featured this quote & others. The email was about celebrating girlfriends. I am so blessed with the many friends God has given me during the various phases of my life. Even in my loneliest moments I knew that if I needed to I could call on one of them to help lift me up and give me the words of wisdom I needed to hear. I recently discovered several old college friends (I say "old" as if we've been out of school for decades!) through blogging. My roommate & I don't keep in touch very well, but she always forwards these cute emails & we email each other updates occasionally. Two other friends that were in my wedding also keep in sporadic touch (I really have more to do with the sporadic than they do) via the web. Another friend from college days & my wedding, who's still in NJ, is really good about checking up on me. I love my sis-in-laws, and I'm so proud to call them family! I have a really great sister, who is my best friend. And in the past few years I have developed several close relationships with beautiful women of God right here in my community. I am blessed in friendship, indeed!

"I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!"

Of course, I have wonderful friendships with two women that may not necessarily consider our primary relationship that of friendship, but they are truly dear friends of mine that I would not want to live without--they are the friends I have in my mom & my mom-in-law. What better sermon do you get than that of a life lived walking in the steps of our Lord?

To my dear girlfriends I say:
"To the world you might be one person,
But to one person you just might be the world."

I'm declaring this Friendship Day (I think October was declared Friendship Month by the Winnie-the-Pooh calender I had in high school). Happy Friendship Day, my friends!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Welcome, Fall

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Are we never satisfied with what we have?
That was my mom’s question after I blogged about autumn when she commented that she, being in FL, is now missing the autumn.

I know that most of you may not read this as often as I add new blogs (& I admit that I can be a bit ridiculous at times, writing every day or even more than once a day). So to refresh your memory or just let you know about a blog I posted on Sept. 21, I wrote about how much I dislike the fall. Now, I don’t know why my feelings about autumn & winter have changed, but this is the first year I can remember complaining so much about the seasons changing (maybe it’s just that I have this new medium with which to complain!). In the past, I have appreciated the change to fall, looking forward to beautifully changing leaves & dressing the kids up for Halloween, apple cider & pumpkin-decorating, Christmastime & snow. To be sure, I have definitely always enjoyed spring & summer more than the colder seasons. But I enjoyed the other changes & even appreciated the fact that the colder seasons help me look forward to & appreciate the warmer seasons all the more. Maybe I am experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (see Patrick Mead’s blog about SAD, if you’re curious about it); or maybe I am just in a low cycle of my life; or maybe, now more than ever, I am really not enjoying being cold all the time (and I am, cold all the time). But my friend Jen Gorham’s comments made me rethink my feelings on autumn & seasons changing. Jen grew up in Florida, went to Harding with me, and has now lived in Chicago for a little while. So, she’s experienced various climates. She is also a very wise person. :) What she had to share is something I might have thought about before, but could never have put it so eloquently. So I’m just going to quote what she had to say about the seasons.

“Okay so I realize that people have really different perspectives on things because after 5 years of living in Chicagoland I LOVE the winter trees. The rhythm of the seasons is so beautiful to me, and the crisp edges of being able to see the tree in its nakedness is something incredible in my eyes. They are stark, they are dark, they have nothing to hide. It makes spring so amazingly wonderful when it comes! But those stark trees remind me that I have lots of things in my life to shed, and that there are seasons in life where God calls me to a new level of “nakedness” with him and others. And that there is nothing to fear, as spring comes with regularity. There has never been a year when winter is the only season we have. Amazing his faithfulness through this rhythm. Anyway, I know that they are ugly, but maybe this gives another perspective!”

It does give another perspective. Thanks, Jen!

By the way, I still think I’d rather live somewhere warm all the time. After all, God didn’t make the entire world to experience the seasonal changes we have in this part of the world, so surely He doesn’t mind that some people would prefer to be in warmer climates. But I can appreciate the seasons while I’m here . . . which will probably be a long, long time! I'll just appreciate the cooler weather better when I have a nice cup of hot apple cider to keep me warm. Mmmm.