Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ring ... ring ... ring ...

Hi, you've reached Lisa's blog. I am currently unavailable, as I have decided to move to Wordpress. If you'd like to leave a message, click on the "snappy comebacks" button on the bottom of the page. If you'd like to find the real Outnumbered Lisa, check out my blog at outnumberedlisa.wordpress.com.

Thanks! And have a great day!

Monday, February 19, 2007

New Survey

Hey everyone! I decided to see how y'all like commenting on wordpress. Head on over there to answer my latest survey. Have a great day!!

A few things to let you know about ...

In honor of Presidents Day, take this quiz to see how much you know about the quirky habits of our Commanders-in-Chief. I did pretty poorly myself.

Paula is ready for us to take her survey on Christians and Depression. She is going to write an article for Christian Woman and wants to know how members of the church of Christ view depression. Paula writes:
I have developed a survey to gather additional information and hope that you can assist me by participating. This survey is completely anonymous and only takes a couple of minutes. There is no way anyone, including myself, will know who participated or have access to your e-mail address. Survey results will be posted at www.depressionsurvey.blogspot.com in April.
Go to this post and read the rest of her description, then click on the link to take the survey. It didn't take me very long, only a few minutes, and Paula would really appreciate having as many survey-takers as possible. Thanks!!

Trey Morgan
has been named Man of the Year in Childress, Texas. Apparently his town makes a big deal of choosing someone that has affected their community positively. Congratulations, Trey! (He's gonna be sooo embarrassed that I did that. :) )

Well, I'm about to take the plunge. I am going to be switching over to wordpress.com, I think, as soon as I figure out everything I want to about it. If you want to see what it looks like so far, you can go to lisaleichner.wordpress.com. I'll let you know when I make the official switch. I know it will be inconvenient to many of you who will have to edit your favorites lists and blogrolls. I'm sorry for that!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Read my lips, no new babies!! and Fun Stories from Amelia's

After my last post and the subsequent comments, I feel the need to emphasize that there are no plans for any more children in our future. I know that sometimes God has other plans for us and we are not totally in control, and that is fine. If He desires that we have another child, then so be it. If that happens, y'all need to remember that we are just as likely to have a BOY as we are to have a girl. So I want y'all to stop talking about pink yarn and baby sisters and the like. Okay?!

I must have misquoted Jeremy, as I was positive he was talking about a sister for the hermit crab. But I will check with him in the morning and get back to you. He has come a long way in his love for girls, but as far as I know, he (nor his brothers) have had many thoughts of actually having one in our immediately family. In fact, now that I think about it, that's kinda funny because you hear all the time about kids asking for baby brothers or sisters, but I've not heard my kids discussing that. I think that must mean that our family is perfect as is and the boys do not feel they are lacking for more siblings.

{{Update, Sunday afternoon: Jeremy said that it was a sister for the hermit crab that he was asking for. "Yes, I wanted a sister for the hermit crab, a friend for the hermit crab, and a cat." "Jeremy, is the cat for you or the hermit crab?" "For me." So, there you have it. He couldn't care less about having a baby sister, the kid just wants a cat and 2 more hermit crabs.}}

So that's enough talk of all the pink stuff, got it? I've got plenty of my own pink stuff to go 'round.

Now, here are a few funny stories from my last few nights at work (at least I think they're funny). Then I'm going to bed.

On Tuesday night my boss called and said not to bother coming in because freezing rain was beginning to fall, and he knew it'd be so slow that I wasn't needed (the other night-shift girl was already in, so it made sense for me to be the one to stay home). That was the second Tuesday in a row that I wasn't needed, as the previous one we had snow.

On Wednesday night some friends from church (2 couples that we're close to) told me that they had stopped in Amelia's the night before, hoping to see me. I felt really bad about that, but of course, there wasn't any way I should have assumed that someone I knew was going to stop in, nor would I have necessarily gone in anyway, just because I knew someone I knew was going to stop in. I guess I could have warned them, if I had known they were planning to go. Anyway ... they told me that they asked if I was working and their waitress, Angie, a quiet high school girl, said that I was no longer working there!!

The kicker is that my friends actually thought I had been fired!

Angie later told me that she headed away from the table after telling them that and realized who "Lisa" was, not the girl that was fired before I started working, so she ran back to tell them it was a mistake and that I was indeed still working there, but I just didn't come in that night.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty funny.

Last night, Angie told me that she really liked working with me and that she felt like we had been working together forever, rather than just a few weeks. I thought that was really sweet (especially coming from quiet Angie), but I teased her about saying that, since only a couple days before she had forgotten who I was!!

Tonight, Vicki & Mike stopped in with their kids, AND Bevin, Corey & Cooper stopped in too! It was a great night. I had so much fun, and I felt really good that friends had stopped in the restaurant to see me (though Vicki & Mike are fairly regular customers, this was the first time we'd been there at the same time). And I think my boss thought it was pretty cool that I was getting people into the restaurant. I really like working somewhere that gets rave reviews on their food. I've never had anyone complain about the food, and I personally think the food is wonderful too. It is a lot easier to work somewhere, and you can totally mean it when you say, "The food is great!"

Last night a classmate of Nathan's stopped in with his mom. They were just getting take-out, so they were sitting on a bench waiting for the food, and I was able to introduce myself & talk to them a bit. When John, who happens to be one of Nathan's favorite friends at school, said that he really likes our pizza, I said, "Oh, I do too. I grew up in NJ, and the pizza is just like what I used to have, so I love it." His mom's face lit up, and she said, "You grew up in NJ? So did I!!" And wouldn't ya know we grew up like 20 miles apart, in the same county I think. She grew up in Budd Lake & her husband lived in Hackettstown (that knowledge is really for my family who will know where those places are). And when I asked what brought her down here she said that her husband worked for a company called Hercules ten years ago, but after they had a huge explosion (an explosion which we were able to feel 15 miles away, by the way), he lost his job & they relocated down to these parts. And our sons, whose birthdays are THREE days apart, are in the same class at school. I'm telling you, this whole thing just smells of God's planning to me. I cannot wait to see how this unfolds!!

As if that wasn't enough, last night I got home from work, read Neva's post about an explosion at a plant near her home, and I go to leave a comment telling her I will also pray for the men who were injured and their families, and lo & behold, my Dad has left his very first comment on her blog, relating the story of the Hercules explosion that I had just talked about with the woman at the restaurant a few hours before. What is going on in this crazy world?!

Well, that's it for tonight. I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. I had actually planned to go straight to bed when I got home tonight, but Dan was watching a movie when I got in, so I decided to wait up with him ... except, where is Dan now? Oh yeah, he's gone to bed and I'm still here at the computer. Something's wrong with this picture. :)

I will tell you about the earlier part of my day in a later post (consider this my reminder), and some time I'd like to tell you about some of the people I work with, besides sweet, quiet Angie.

((P.S. for Tanya: tonight my boss saw that there was one more slice of pizza left -- the slices that they save for when someone orders just one slice -- and, assuming that I would want it, which of course I did! -- he asked me if I wanted anything on it. It took me less than a second to say, "Oooh, tomatoes!"))

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sorry for the frequent posting the past couple of days. I guess I've had a lot to talk about.

**NB, I'm sorry I didn't immediately realize who you were. Please try again. I am not trying to be intrusive, I would like to meet you. I was limiting myself to people I already knew when trying to come up with someone whose initials were "NB," ... and I can be an idiot sometimes. Maybe you'd prefer not to have an idiot for a friend, anyway, and I wouldn't blame you for that. :)

We were at the pet store today getting some supplies for our hermit crab, and Jeremy asked me repeatedly if we could get a pet for the hermit crab. I said at some point we could get another hermit crab to be its buddy, but it'd probably be a while.

A few minutes ago, Jeremy asked me, "Mommy, can we get a sister [for the hermit crab] and a friend for our hermit crab?"

Jeremy & Derek are now picking out names for our "new hermit crab." The names include "Peace" (which is what J really wanted to call our last one), "Kitty Cat," "Jeremy Christopher," and "Hemrit" (Yes, I spelled that right).

Don't miss the last few posts!
You'll be very sad if you do.

You asked, I deliver!

No, I'm not bringing over your pizza tonight (though Amelia's makes a mean NY-style pizza pie -- you'll have to stop in tonight to see me AND to get your own pizza). Trey Morgan recently asked about my kids. As I composed a l-o-n-g comment in response, I thought, "I haven't written very much about the kids lately!" So, here are some new things the kids are doing lately ... or the same old things but with a new twist. :)

Nathan
My almost-6-year-old wonder ... I was beginning to think he was making all his classmates mad as he had yet to be invited to a birthday party. But last week we received not one, but two, invitations to parties that are coming up soon, and, of course, Nathan's will be next weekend as well. It will be a busy time for Nathan's classmates and their families! I don't know if you ever let your kids invite their entire class to their parties, but we decided we'd limit it to 3, along with 3 church friends, and 2 cousins (unless our Memphis cousins want to "stop in"??). Then it became 4 school friends because Nathan had a hard time narrowing it down to 3. Then we got an invitation from a girl that Nathan did not choose as his top 4, so I'm thinking it might be 5. :)

Last week we received a letter saying that Nathan had been nominated by his teacher for the gifted program. We have some paperwork to fill out to give them "a picture" of what Nathan is like, and then there will be some sort of conference or meeting to determine whether or not he will enter the program. I am very pleased. Did I tell you about the first round of testing that his teacher told me about at our parent/teacher conference back in October? The testing was out of 104 points. They look for the kindergarten children to make 28 points in their first quarter of school. Nathan got 104! After that, I would have been pretty surprised if he wasn't invited to the gifted program. I realize this sounds like a lot of bragging ... and it is. Sorry. I can't help it. I'm very proud. If you can't brag on your kids, then what are you going to do?? I don't know if the other 2 kids will be invited to the gifted program, but I know they will be recognized in other ways for excellence, so I hope we are able to show our children how proud we are of them, no matter what their strengths are. I also hope we always remind there Where their gifts come from.

On another note, one of Nathan's weaknesses is his inability to stay focused in class. I realize that at this age, maybe you can't expect much, though I'm sure his teacher knows just how much she can expect and he doesn't quite meet up with that. So we are working on encouraging him to stay focused on his work. I warned him last week that I had talked with his teacher about sending home any work that he didn't get finished in class and if the teacher tells me that he should have been able to finish it, he will work on it as soon as he gets home before he gets to do anything else. He has yet to bring home any unfinished homework, so hopefully he got the message. I'm sure it will be forgotten soon, but I'm glad he's taking it seriously now.

Jeremy
I've told you before that Jeremy is my favorite easiest kid to get along with. And I don't know if it's him or both of us--you know, if he gets along easily with everyone, or if it's just the chemistry that he & I have. He rarely gets on my bad side. He has so much ZEST -- when he's excited about something, it shows. His voice changes, he talks more rapidly & less understandably, he uses his hands more, etc. He was a "follower-of-Nathan" until Nathan went to school. Then he became "the followed." Derek and all the other children we keep in our home look up to Jeremy and follow him around. The change amazes me. What I thought he lacked in leadership was really just lurking in the shadows until it was needed. When Jeremy accidentally (or otherwise) hurts someone, he immediately feels bad about it, he hugs & kisses the person and says repeatedly, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," until you finally say, "okay, Jeremy, it's okay."

Jeremy also has really bonded with my niece Hannah, who comes to stay with us each Tuesday & Thursday afternoon after preschool. They play very well together. He told her last week that she was his best friend. Considering his previous view on girls, he has come very far indeed! Today they were playing together and I heard the following conversation (Terri ought to get a kick out of this):

Hannah: "Let's play house, Jeremy!"
Jeremy: "No, I don't want to play that. Let's play bad guys!"
Hannah: "Umm, I don't think so." (She's sooo cute!!) "That's for boys. House is a game for girls."

How young they figure things out!! Ha!

Jeremy is sooooo athletic. I always wished I was athletic and I wasn't, so I am really excited about having an athletic child. Dan has been fairly athletic, but never really gifted in one sport especially, though he did get pretty good at volleyball. Anyway, the way Jeremy jumps and somersaults and jumps onto the couch with his hands into a headstand on the back of the couch (don't know if I described that well), he just seems so coordinated and graceful. I've told you all this before, I know. When I watched Jeremy play with Nathan's soccer team one night, and play just as well as the kids that were 2 years older, it made me so proud! :)

Jeremy also has a funny way of composing sentences. He might say something of the sort, "Are we going to the park today because I really like the park the park is my favorite so we should go." -or- "I like to play with trucks, so I wanted to go downstairs to play with them, but I just didn't!" Jeremy is the most polite of our children, the one most likely to remember his "please" and "thank you." He remembers to ask to be excused from the table before he gets up and he usually remembers to ask for something the right way, "Can I ... please?"

Derek
Have I told you that Derek's beginning potty-training? I don't know if this is just an experiment or if it is the real thing. I guess we'll know in a month or two. Maybe he just likes to be naked. :) Well, yes, we all know that, it was my Fatal Mistake. Seriously, you ought to check out that post if you haven't been reading since November. You'll be sooo glad you did. (Um, maybe I should warn you, though, that there might be a naked bottom in the post -- not mine, though!)

Derek is really charming, and that kinda worries me. You know the type of guy that babies like him turn into! So we'll be working on that. He is just so darn cute sometimes!! Here's a warning for those of you who might have children younger than 2. When they start turning on the charm, do your best to resist! Believe me, you'll thank me for it when they're older.

One thing about Derek is that you have to occasionally pull out some psychological tricks, especially when wanting him to get dressed or help you clean up. Telling him to do it is likely to get you a "no!" Occasionally it's good to go ahead and tell him (or ask him, if you prefer that terminology), take the "no!" then discipline him for that so that he understands who's the boss. :) But sometimes when you're not in the mood for a fight, starting out with different tactics are a bit easier on you. Asking him to be a big helper and give Mommy a hand is a great trick. He loves to be a helper. Act like you really need his help and he'll step up to the plate. With clothes, he almost always says he does not want to wear what you pick out for him. So, you need to pretend that you are going to wear the clothes instead and that Derek can't wear them ... works every time. I especially enjoy hamming it up and pretending to try to put his clothes on myself, which always gets a big smile.

Another warning for the young children ... try to instill the "please" and "thank you" as soon as they're learning to talk (or if you're using sign language, sooner!). And then, after you have it well-established, stay on top of it! We made the mistake, probably with all 3 of ours but maybe not as much with Jeremy, of not always correcting them if they forgot. So occasionally they'd forget to say it, we'd think, "well, they almost always say it, so I'm not going to bother with it this one time," but the next thing you know, you're having to start over practically from scratch because they get back out of the habit. So, start very early and then stay on top of it!

So, that's it. Hope you enjoyed the recap of how the kids are doing and growing!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Peanut Butter Poisoning


Just in case you were wondering ... my family is fine. I hope everyone else is too. :) There's been a recall of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter. I actually do have a can with a lot number on it that was recalled, but we haven't yet opened it. If my sister-in-law Terri hadn't called me today to let me know, however, I would have used it for lunches tomorrow.

I had to dig through the trash to find the lid of the last peanut butter jar, the one I used to make Dan's sandwich this morning. Sure 'nough ... it had the wrong number on it!! So, THAT's why I've been having stomach issues all week!! Yuck. Fortunately, miraculously, no one else seems to have been affected. Yay! (I know "yay" is traditionally spelled "yea" but I think that's changing. I like this new spelling better anyway. Since I don't plan to use the word for any formal writing assignments any time soon, I think I can spell it however I'd like)

So, if you live in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Tennessee, & you have a peanut butter lid with a long number beginning with 2111- ... don't eat it!! I also heard that you can take it back to Kroger, Wal-Mart or Food Lion for a refund.

I guess I'll be going to the store tonight for some Skippy. :)

Some Recent Updates & Goings-On

Thanks, Mom, for wishing me a Happy Half-Birthday yesterday. That is one reason Valentine's Day is special to me ... in fact, if I didn't have kids, I probably wouldn't bother with V-Day at all, but I always want to remember my Half-Birthday! I told the kids yesterday that it was my Half-Birthday; Derek said, "Happy Birthday!" and Jeremy said, "Is that why we're getting candy?"

On Tuesday night, we got some freezing rain. I'm not crazy about ice, especially on the roads or somewhere I need to walk, but I think it is so beautiful on the trees (and everything, really). Half-way through yesterday, the sun came out and the effect on the ice was so beautiful. Behind our house we have a row of trees, then the land drops down so there is nothing directly behind those trees--it's perfect for getting a prism-like effect in our backyard. Beautiful! I didn't get the camera out again after the sun came out (though I may have another chance today--with temperatures around 10 degrees, I don't think the ice is going to melt), but here are some pictures I took yesterday morning of our backyard. Just kidding, those pictures are NOT from our backyard. Aunt Dawn will recognize those pictures from an email she sent me with some really crazy shots of icicles in a city in Switzerland.

One of the little girls that I keep, who's a few months older than Derek, was talking to him the other day. He was kinda walking away from her and she was following, trying to get his attention. I think she tried just about everything, but the one thing that finally got his attention? "Happy Holidays, Derek!" He turned around & said, "Happy Holidays!" They went back & forth with this a few times when the little girl started breaking out the specific holidays to use ... "Happy Valentine's Day!" "Happy Easter!" "Merry Christmas!" etc. It was very cute.

I really like my jobs. It's great getting to stay home and keep kids. The restaurant is great. They're not well-known yet, so it doesn't get so busy that it's very stressful. My last restaurant job could be pretty stressful. My boss & his wife are great. What's funny is that at my old restaurant, I always felt so old working with all the college students there, even though I was only a few years older than they were. Well, now I work with all high school students! I feel like their mother! And they definitely do NOT think I am cool! HA! It's a bit of a challenge being friends with them, but they're all pretty nice kids and we get along.

Derek has been a singing maniac lately. He sings all the time. He even sings when he's praying! It's so adorable. He also makes up songs. If you ask him to sing a song about a particular person or subject, there are one of two variations he might sing for you. They both have a tune similar to the first line of "Pop Goes the Weasel" (Here we go 'round the mulberry bush). It's either "Thank you for my brothers" or "This is a song about Mommy." Very cute. He sang a few songs for some friends at church last night. I get such a kick out of it.

Well ... this has been a difficult week for me. This will be the second time in about 7 months that I have to say goodbye to good friends. Angela & Travis are moving to Florida. The good news is that I will be able to get together with them when I go down to see my folks. The bad news, obviously, is that I can't run 5 minutes down the road to have a chat with Angela or share coffee & dessert with them. Both being quite witty, Angela & Travis have provided me with many laughs over the past three years. They are also really caring people, who look out for others. They've taught me a lot about hospitality as they often have people in their home.

I thought moving away from New Jersey, to a fairly rural/suburban area of Southwest Virginia, I'd be in a place where people stayed forever. I didn't think I'd be dealing with saying goodbye to friends every year, such as I did when I was a youngster living outside of New York, where many of my friends' parents worked. But alas, I didn't take into account living near a college town (two, actually), that people would be in and out of this area just as much. They come for grad school, then move on, or move in & out for other reasons. I am very happy for Angela & Travis. Travis is starting his first job with an architecture firm, and they will be so close to Travis' parents, who are really awesome people. I am very happy for them being closer to family, especially now that they're expecting their first child. So much change for them! It seems like we have a tendency to take on a bunch of change all at once, rather than taking on our big life changes one step at a time.

Well, I don't want to end this on a sad note, even though most of you are probably bored with my ramblings and just wish I'd just quit going! Derek has started the process of potty-training. I am anxious to see where he will go with it. Nathan did not start until he was nearly 3 & we really encouraged him to try. Jeremy, on the other hand, saw his big brother using the big toilet & wanted to do it too. He was completely potty-trained by the time he was 2 & 1/2. In fact, Jeremy was able to go the entire night without using the bathroom before Nathan could make it all night! So far, Derek just likes to run around the house without a diaper on. He occasionally sits on his little potty, but has yet to do anything in it. Yesterday he went for more than 5 hours without a diaper and without "going," but he finally asked if I would put his diaper back on, I guess because he wasn't able to hold it any longer.

Some more Switzerland Icicle shots:

Pretty crazy, huh?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thirteen More Things I Love

(continued from February 1st, here)
1. Having a warm husband to keep my feet from freezing at night.
2. Hot chocolate.
3. Laughing.
4. Having so many boys in my family, even if I am "outnumbered." :)
5. Hot showers.
6. Blogging.
7. My feet in warm sand.
8. Singing along with four-part harmony.
9. Closing my eyes & just absorbing a beautifully sung song.
10. Shoveling for the neighbors.
11. Making spaghetti with the Hinckleys. (we're doing it again tomorrow night!)
12. Vacation, long or short.
13. Sleeping in.

What do you love?

You can make your own candy hearts too!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Some new blogs I've come across

Some of you may have noticed comments from some "new" people lately. So I want to introduce you to ...

Bill at the Spiritual Oasis, who coined the "Learning and Yearning" phrase above in my Blog subtitle. After I told you about a great post he wrote a month ago or so, he saw that people were going over to his blog from mine. I've enjoyed having him around ever since. :) If you're looking for more blogs to read that are written by Christians, check out his extensive blogroll. He does some exploring to find blogs that will encourage, uplift, inspire & challenge and is very willing to share his findings!

Two lovely women that Bill found before I did are Kathy & Neva. They are excellent writers that you will enjoy reading! (Neva was the inspiration for listing some of my "loves" in the subtitle.) To use Kathy's words, the three of us are scattered out through the generations, but I sense we are kindred spirits (despite the fact that they're from Texas).

Trey Morgan, a preacher from the huge state of Texas, has been a regular reader & commenter for the past couple of weeks. It is a bit confusing having another Trey around, but he's brought a lot of insight & good thoughts, so we'll keep him. :) Check out his blog Rediscovering Church, Rediscovering Jesus sometime; you'll be glad you did! (He's also the father of 4 boys, and you gotta love someone who can handle so many boys!)

Here are some other interesting blogs I know about that I haven't mentioned before.

Chris Gallagher's latest series of posts is on Disagreements. You'll find it very interesting! Gallagher is also indirectly the reason I began the whole new Blog title search. I won't get into how that all started, but it had to do with Galatians 6:9, which you'll see isn't even still up there! It has been moved to the left, and it was the inspiration for the "doing right, doing good" theme above.

Patrick Mead has recently begun a series on "Hidden People." It's fascinating!

If you are interested in what life is like in American Samoa, an old acquaintance of mine & Dan's from Harding lives there with his wife and three children. Philip Murphy is witty and fun to read.

[[If you try to keep up with a long list of blogs, and you go to each site every day checking for a new post, you ought to try something like Bloglines (a button in my sidebar will take you there) or Google Reader. They will alert you to a new post, so you don't have to check each one every day (or several times each day)!]]

Your help on choosing a new Blog title is very much appreciated!
Thanks to Brian for "the Y's have it" and his desire to mention gluing my fingers together in my Blog title. He's probably disappointed that I haven't changed my middle name to "Three-finger," but I don't suppose he can complain what with all the contributions he did have for the title. Thanks to "little" brother Trey for his Supermom contribution (I loved your alliteration, even though I only kept one of the S's!), and to Paula who may not have realized she gave me the idea for "sleeping in on Saturdays" (the train of thought was as follows: "lounging around with Lisa," hmmm ... lounging ... in PJs ... sleep ... sleeping in ... the only day I get to sleep in -- til 8:00 sometimes! -- is Saturday ... and there you have it). Certainly much thanks goes to Laura, who let me borrow her "creative bone" by donating a clever blog title. I love the simplicity of it--especially since I have a tendency to use too many words (among other things such as the parenthesis, quotation marks, ellipses, etc.). Shocking to learn that, isn't it?

Thanks also to those of you who voted, contributed other titles, offered jokes to keep us laughing, and keep me encouraged in so many other ways -- mainly that you keep reading this silly blog of mine! I can't believe that you're still here, but what a joy it is. Many of you also keep up ongoing email discussions with me, or let me keep pestering you with them, and those too encourage me in ways for which I can't begin to thank you. I'm still amazed by the added benefits I've received from blogging that I couldn't have anticipated when I began.

Grace and peace to you all,
-Lisa
(thanks to Paul for his inspiration from Philippians -- man, everyone's inspiring me these days!)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Have you gotten one of these?

I get emails all the time from various persons whose names I don't recognize, and in the subject of the email is a phrase that sounds like it would be from someone I know.

For example:
"I was supposed to see you that day, after school."
"Hey you"
"Thanks for the good time"
"Have you seen this?"

My initial thought is usually, "Huh? I know I don't know that person." Then, "Why would they use a subject like that?"

I know why they bother ... to get me to open the email. Do I do it? Yep--a little nervously for fear that I will be opening a virus, but my curiosity won't allow me to ignore an email since my forgetfulness makes it possible that I do actually know the person but don't remember the name and my polite-ness would hate to be rude and ignore an email from someone I might know. And, of course, the body of the email is about mortgage insurance or some kind of drugs (prescription, I think--I hope) or some other nonsense. Just the fact that the subject does not match up with the body is enough to make me think "SPAM."

I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that these people use a subject that will do exactly what it did: draw me in, make me curious enough to open it even though I don't recognize the name of the sender. They were counting on me being a sucker and I delivered. I don't think my email service would allow a virus to come through on the email itself and I would never open an attachment from someone I didn't know, so I think my computer will be safe from whatever virus they might be trying to send. I think for the most part these people are trying to sell me something, but they know that if the subject says, "Hey, we want to sell you something," I'm much less likely to read what they have to say.

How often does the Devil use these tactics in our lives? He's pretty sneaky, isn't he? He doesn't whisper in your ear, "Hey, I really want you to be unhappy in life and I want to separate you from the love of your Father, so why don't you deny Him for me?" He says, "You oughta try this [insert sin], it's going to make you feel sooo good." "C'mon, you know you're going to love it." He lures us away under false pretenses, convincing us that whatever sin it is we are tempted by will make us feel better than what our Father's love can do for us--fulfill us, refresh us, save us.

As Neva reminded me, our God provides us many things, and one of those things is a way out when we're tempted. "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

I couldn't wait ...

So what do you think?
(If you don't like it, I don't want to know.)

Scroll down, because I've made some other changes as well. Stay tuned for some more pictures! (My computer's too slow & I'm too impatient to do any more than that for now)

Friday, February 09, 2007

What do you think? Your thoughts matter here ...

I am narrowing down the Title search (not for my house, for the blog). And I'm beginning to see it was a mistake to ask for ideas for the title. Don't get me wrong--I needed ideas & in a way, I'm glad I asked. BUT, I realize now that in so doing, I will have to actually choose one of these titles. No, that doesn't bother me because I think the titles are bad. It will bother me to choose one and NOT choose the rest! I'm one of those people that doesn't like to offend anyone or hurt their feelings. I hate confrontation or conflict or disagreements of any type. That can be bad when something really does need to be said and I don't want to do it because it might hurt feelings. I am learning (perhaps a little late in life, but better late than never) how to be more honest and discuss openly the issues I have with others so that they do not become huge chasms between us, destroying our friendship.

But I digress ... choosing a title is going to be difficult. I think I will be ready to have the new one up by Monday. So, if you can handle the suspense over the weekend, this should give you something to look forward! If you want to vote, or submit an idea, there's still time. My procrastinating nature will probably prevent me from choosing one until Monday morning. (Don't forget that you can vote on others that were submitted in the comments section of my last post)

I'll give you a hint ... since the flavor of my blog is a bit silly and lighthearted, that's probably where I'm going to head with the title. Though sometimes I wish I were more serious ... well, you know me. It seems I just can't help it.

I just love posting those surveys. I am so excited that so many of you respond to them. Some of you totally surprise me--either with your specific answers or just the fact that you answered at all! Why do you think I enjoy those surveys so much? (I know, but I want to see if YOU know)

I want to congratulate my son Nathan. Last week his teacher started a reward system that allows the children who earn a certain number of points each week a treat on Friday. Last week Nathan had an ice cream. Today Nathan is going to school in pajamas; his reward was having Pajama Day. He is very excited about getting to wear his Cars pajamas to school. It was a tough decision which ones to wear, as he got a few new sets of PJs for Christmas & he loves them all. But Cars won out. So, way to go, Nathan! I'm so proud of my little man.

Our next door neighbor, Bill, has been caring for his wife for the past few years. She has Alzheimer's and she is very far progressed with the disease. The other day an ambulance pulled up to the house, in no hurry whatsoever. I feared the worst had happened. I took some dinner over to him that night. When I walked in, he introduced me to his niece. We made small talk & then I told Bill that I wanted to bring him over something to eat. Wanda said, "well, Bill, why don't you sit down and tell us what happened? Is she gone then?" And I was thinking, "WHAT?! She seems way too casual about it all. And blunt. Good grief!" Well ... I'm very happy to report that she has not passed away, but was rather taken to a nursing home. However, Bill is not happy about this. Though I can see that his family thinks it is a better situation because of how difficult it must be to care for someone like his wife, who seemingly has no idea that others are around, and no one's even sure if she is aware of Bill. Except Bill. He is confident she knows she's around, he is sure that Alma knows they sleep together at night. He thinks Alma tries to talk to him. I'm not saying I doubt Bill; he surely knows Alma better than anyone else in this world. But no one else is sure about that. The decision for Alma to go to a nursing home was not Bill's. He is very upset about it. Apparently Social Services decided the matter and went to court to have it ordered. So ... I ask you to pray for Bill, because he really misses his wife.

There's a guy from my church who writes for the Roanoke newspaper from time to time. I started asking him questions about how he got started, how someone would develop some credentials to hopefully lead to writing for a newspaper, etc. After a few email conversations, he said that he wanted to help me get an article in the paper. He has some suggestions for getting started. When I'm ready to write an article, he'll help me edit it, and he'll put in a word for me with his editor. He wants me to start by writing an essay (or more than one) to read on public radio. Now that I actually have this concrete step to take, I feel frozen! I can't think of a topic. I don't even know where to start. Do I write a devotional-type essay? Do I write an essay about raising kids? Do I write a human interest story?

What do you think I should write about? (There I go again, asking for ideas)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Renaming Lisa's Blog

I was hoping to come up with a title that went along with Galatians 6:9. I sorta liked what I came up with, but thought it could be worded more creatively. But none of you went along with that theme, so I'll have to go elsewhere. I'm actually going to put this to a vote (we do love democracy, do we not?). Here are some suggestions you all gave me, and then I went to the Sloganizer, recommended by Matt Dabbs in a recent post, to see what else I could come up with. Let me know which are your favorites!

1-- "Lisa's Life" (Dad)

2-- "Outnumbered" (Laura)

3-- "Surveys and Stories from a Semi-satirical Supermom" (Trey B)

4-- "The Blog of Life" (graciously given to me by the Blog Prophet)

5-- "Lounging around with Lisa" (Paula)

6-- "Lisa Lisa and the Strawberry Jam" (Brian)

7-- "Lisa 'Three Finger' Leichner" (seriously don't know why Brian thinks that'd be a good one)

8-- "Lisa, Boys, Chaos -- It's like Heaven!"
(this from the Sloganizer after putting in the key words: "Lisa, boys, chaos")

I'm actually torn between several of them, so I'll be interested to see where your votes go. I have to warn you, though, if you vote for #7 I will destroy this democracy & become a dictator.

I put all these titles in the Sloganizer & here's what it came back with:

1a -- "The American Way of Lisa's Life"

2a -- "Outnumbered, there's no better way"
(does anyone else have Trust & Obey stuck in their heads now?)

3a -- "The Power of Surveys and Stories from a Semi-satirical Supermom"
(kinda messes with the alliteration, doesn't it Trey B? I have to do the "B" now since I have 2 Treys)

4a -- "The Blog of Life lifestyle"
(isn't that a bit redundant?)

5a -- "Lounging around with Lisa - You see this name, you think dirty"
(I just don't know about that one!)

6a -- "Lisa Lisa and the Strawberry Jam is your safe place in an unsafe world!"
(this is too funny. I'm afraid to put in the next one)

7a -- "Call a friend, call Lisa three finger Leichner"

Oh man, that was too funny ... maybe it's just too late ... and that, Loni, is your answer to when do I find time to post: I don't sleep, I don't clean the house, and I don't even eat ... much.

Silly Questions & Probably Sillier Answers

I had so much fun with the last survey that I couldn't wait to do another one! Plus I wanted something fun to do while I'm stuck at home today (we got some snow last night & schools are cancelled). I'll keep it short again. (Same rules: 1--answer what you want to and 2--have fun!)

1. What is your favorite kind of sandwich? (the answer "whatever my wife is fixing" does not count)
2. What is your favorite item of clothing? (the answer "whatever my wife picks out for me" does not count)
3. What is the next date on the calendar that you are most looking forward to? (the answer "whatever my wife's favorite date is" does not count)
4. Have you ever glued your hand to something? (the answer "yes, when my wife made me" does not count)
5. Do you still have your wisdom teeth? (the answer "I did until my wife pulled them out" does not count)
6. Who was your favorite Bible class or school teacher? (the answer "my wife" does NOT count!!)
7. Bonus: Do you have a suggestion for a new Blog Title? I'm keeping the verse above but am unsure about what to make the title. (By the way, if anyone has me listed on their blogroll with "Adventures with My Guys" on it, by all means, just leave it that way. I'm still recording some of our adventures, so it still applies.)

My answers:
1. I love sandwiches! Even easy PB & J! My favorite, though, is a Monte Cristo sandwich, especially served with some strawberry or raspberry preserves.
2. My favorite item of clothing is a new long-sleeved Valentine shirt from Target. ... but ask me again in a few months & I'll have a different answer.
3. The next date I'm looking forward to is February 14. It's doubly fun for me: V-Day AND my half-birthday!! Woo hoo! I'm partying! (I'm also going to attempt spaghetti again for our church's Wednesday night supper, so it'll be quite the adventurous day)
4. I don't recall having ever glued my hand to something ... however, when using Krazy Glue, I inevitably manage to glue two fingers together.
5. I still have all my wisdom teeth. My wisdom teeth, however, are unusual in that I have only 3 & one of them is a baby-sized molar (I call it "my mini-molar").
6. My favorite teacher of all time (both school & Bible, as it happens) is Dr. Ross Cochran, from Harding. I had a lot of good Sunday school teachers, but my favorite is a tie between Mrs. Stockman & my mom. My favorite school teacher was either Mr. Cutler, in 4th grade, or Mr. Smith, my senior physics teacher. (So, apparently, you can choose as many "favorites" as you'd like)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Huh?

School was delayed for two hours today, due to "dangerously cold temperatures this morning."

Huh??

I mean, I'm not complaining or anything. I think it's a great way to get a small break but not have to miss a whole day, a day which we might have to make up later in the year.

But have you ever heard of such a thing? I guess there are kids that stand at the bus-stop for a while before the bus gets there, so it'd be good to not have them waiting out in temperatures below 15 degrees. We're kinda spoiled. Since Nathan's bus stops right outside our house, when it's really cold I let Nathan stand at the door until the bus pulls up & then run out. Our bus also passes our house twice, so if he missed it the first time, or if she didn't stop & wait for him, he could go out & catch it the second time around.

I don't recall ever having school days delayed for cold temperatures when I was a kid!! And I walked to school when I was in elementary school (not barefoot, but there was definitely a rather large hill to walk up on my way home)!

I was also glad for Dan that he got the chance to sleep in a little (though instead of sleeping in a long time, he got up still somewhat early to get some work done that he'd otherwise have to do after school). I sorta wonder if it's hard for teachers to plan a day that's shortened. Maybe it's harder to squeeze in all you have to do. Or maybe the children are extra rowdy from the excitement of having a shorter day, so it's harder to keep the class in control.


Another one:

I was noticing on the calendar that is in Nathan's folder that the teacher has on February 19, "School Closed for Virginia Heroes Day."

Huh??

I haven't looked into that, maybe some of you could help me out. When did President's Day get changed to Virginia Heroes Day?? I think the folks in New Jersey might think that's a bit strange, don't you? I'm kidding, of course!

But, seriously, what is this Virginia Heroes Day?


And, finally, I leave you with a very silly email my friend sent me this morning. Hope it's new to some of you ...

The Shoe Box
A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000. He asked her about the contents.

"When we were to be married," she said, "my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll."

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

"Honey," he said, "that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?"

"Oh," she said, "that's the money I made from selling the dolls."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Wrappin' it up

You guys are so great. It was such a treat to get online this morning and read all the new comments on my blog. How fun! If you haven't already done it, check out the comments for the last two posts; you will get a lot more from those than the original posts! I love the insights you shared on Clean House, Happy Heart. As Trey Morgan reminded me: it's important to remember that whereas we clean our own house, the "heart-cleaning" has to be done by God. Not only that, but Jen and Marcia pointed out that it's necessary to allow God to continually keep us clean. How do we do that? By allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. The Spirit reminds us what is necessary to keep our hearts clean. And the Spirit's dwelling keeps Satan out.

In Pop Quiz, Lisa-style, a lot of you shared some interesting tidbits about yourselves (some of which --ahem, Brian--we might have preferred not knowing). Some of you even alluded to some secrets from a past life that have me very curious indeed (what in the world Malia did that she won't "divulge," why in the world Bill has to carefully avoid revealing a secret identity). If you haven't already taken my little survey, it's pretty short (only 5 questions!) and you'll definitely get extra credit for creative answers (like these 3 stinkers).

Hope you're having a great day!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Clean House, Happy Heart

I love a clean house. The only problem is ... I'm lazy, I don't like to clean, I'd rather be doing ... anything else: reading, blogging, getting a cavity filled.

Oh, and then there's the Derek-factor (what my mother-in-law calls "putting fires out all day long"): in the same length of time I've spent cleaning a mess, the 2-year-old-tornado can make twice as much mess.

Since we've been in this new house, cleaning has been a bigger chore than ever. There are just so many rooms to keep up with! Of course, the size of our house does not explain why it seems the pile of dirty dishes has grown and why there are more piles of laundry lined up in the basement to be washed. But, nevertheless, the pile of dishes has grown, there is more laundry to clean, more dust has gathered, more beds have to be made (no, wait, that was the bad dream I had last night).

But we've also entertained more since being in this house. Our old little house was just not all that practical for having guests over. Yes, I let the size of the house embarrass me and keep me from having people over very often. But it really was difficult to have guests over when we didn't even have a table to offer. The 3-person rotation around the coffee table was a bit embarrassing. And larger groups just didn't fit. I mean, we had 4 people over once. They didn't seem too comfortable sitting on each other's laps, so we decided maybe we'd not have that many people over again.

We've had people over quite frequently since being in this house. Having more people over means the house has to be cleaned more often. Since I really enjoy having guests to entertain, I have not minded the extra cleaning involved with that. In fact, I am glad to have a reason to get the boys & Dan cleaning more often, because I really really do enjoy having a clean house.

As I was vacuuming this morning, getting ready to have the Mommy Gang over for lunch today, I was pondering the similarities between having a clean house and having a clean heart.

Having a clean house makes me feel good in so many ways. Not having a clean house makes me grumpy.
Having a clean house energizes me. Not having a clean house overwhelms me and makes me feel lazy.
Having a clean house allows me to relax. Not having a clean house makes me tense and easily upset.

What does having a clean heart mean? And what is the difference in our lives when our hearts are not clean?

When I was done vacuuming, I wrapped the cord up (are there any other tidy-cord-wrapping-obsessive people out there?) and started to roll the vacuum back to the hall closet. I noticed how the wheels left tracks on the carpet & how someone could see those tracks & assume I had vacuumed, even though I could leave those tracks without having vacuumed. Obviously, it would be a bit crazy to run the vacuum around the room without it turned on. You're putting some effort into making it look like it was vacuumed, why not have the vacuum on and actually pick up all that dirt so that the carpet will be clean? All anyone would have to do is get down a little closer to the carpet and see that it was not actually clean.

Still with me?

Why would we put some effort into cleaning ourselves of sin, but instead of staying clean we return again and again to the same old sins? Our hearts stay dirty because we just don't turn the vacuum on and truly rid our lives of those sins.

I can't think about a clean heart without this psalm running through my head:
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pop Quiz, Lisa-style

Okay y'all, if you've been around a while, you know the drill ... if not, here are the "rules": 1--Answer what you want to. 2--Have fun.
  1. What kind of toothpaste do you use?
  2. What's your favorite salad dressing?
  3. What's your favorite type of music?
  4. Have you ever been out in public in your pajamas (as an adult)?
  5. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?

So, that's it! Short & sweet, I kept it easy for you. I'll leave my answers as a comment for anyone that's curious.

Thirteen Things I Love

I doubt I'll remember to do a Thursday Thirteen post each week, but for this week, I wanted to do a post about some of the things I love. It is, after all, the month dedicated to love. There are MANY things I love, but here are some of the things that I was thinking about this week ...


  1. Finding the item I'm looking for at the store ... and being pleasantly surprised that it's marked down!
  2. Snow ... and a surprise day at home with the whole family.
  3. Warm weather.
  4. The sun.
  5. My husband ... of course.
  6. Holiday t-shirts at Target.
  7. Friends who seek you out so you can sit together (I'm talking about this girl!)
  8. Sleeping in til 8 (not today unfortunately, but maybe some other day).
  9. The song "The Joy of the Lord."
  10. Friends who will talk to you about something that's bothering them so there isn't anything hanging in the air between you.
  11. Jeremy's sweet cheek kisses & Eskimo kisses.
  12. When Nathan is really helpful around the house (there are advantages to 5-almost-6-year-olds after all).
  13. Derek's big hugs.

Wow, that list went too fast. I'll have to do another Love Post so I can share some more of the things I love. Hope you are counting your blessings today too!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Heaven

Thanks to those of you who chimed in on my "Question." I've been really interested to hear what others have to say about that. I think I have an uncharacteristic (for my age/generation) longing for heaven. I don't think that any other believer would deny that they look forward to heaven. But in others my age, I don't see the "I just can't wait!" feeling that I have. I readily admit, however, that I don't do the feeling justice; I don't always portray that feeling to others. What I see in others, & what they probably see in me--to my shame--is a love for this world. I see us holding on to what we have here. I see us not wanting to be separated from our loved ones (both saved & not saved), as if our lives aren't going to be infinitely better when we're there. I can understand us wanting and hoping that the Lord waits until everyone we love is also saved. After all, doesn't 2 Peter 3:9 tell us that even God Himself is patiently waiting to return so that as many are saved as possible? As a mother of young children, I absolutely and sincerely pray every day that the Lord will return before they get too old and the possibility of them falling away gets stronger. Perhaps that means I don't trust in myself enough to do a good job of raising them. Of course, when you see the children of strong Christians fall away, and you think, "wow, I would have never thought that so-&-so's kids would turn away," then it's harder to trust the job you would do yourself. But then, as a parent, your main focus on the earth is your children, so I suppose it makes sense that you would think of them first, and want Christ to return when the likelihood of them being saved is the best.

I still remember when my brother was younger (I'm thinking maybe around 5?), he was really bothered by the thought of eternity. I think he was even scared by it and had nightmares about it. I'm pretty sure he has gotten over that, at least the scared feeling he had, but it wasn't too long ago that I was talking with someone around my age who had similar feelings. She just wasn't sure she wanted to imagine what it would be like to live forever. The only comforting things I could offer her are that God has promised us that it will be better than we could possibly imagine. I could tell her what the Bible says about heaven, and we can believe that what the Bible says is what heaven will be. We have to stop thinking that the things that bother us here on earth will follow us to heaven. Even the things we love here on earth will not follow us to heaven, and we need to understand that it's okay. We're not going to need them, we're not even going to want them, or maybe God actually will have them there for us. To reassure my 4- & almost-6-yr-olds that it would be okay that their toys here would not be going to heaven with them, I told them that God would make sure that whatever toys they would want when they were in heaven would be there. Yeah, that was a little roundabout way to avoid saying outright, "Um, you might not have your toys in heaven."

I have just started studying more about heaven. I don't really know all that much of what the scripture says. Considering how much I look forward to it, that's probably not good. I do understand that in my most fantastic dreams I couldn't begin to imagine how wonderful it will be, and that is really exciting to me. When you were younger, and Christmas was about 20 days away, then 15 days away, closer, closer ... did you not pray or at least wish that Christmas would come sooner?? When your family was planning a trip to Disney World, did you not hope that you could wake up & find that the day of your departure had arrived?

WHY are we not wishing, praying, for Christ to come sooner??

*** Update*** I want to send you all over to Trey Morgan's post: 10 Top Reasons I'm Excited About Heaven. It's a great list, one that'll get you excited about being in heaven, if you need some extra enthusiasm. I think it's really funny that his introductory paragraph is a bit like my paragraph with Christmas. Thanks for giving me that link, Trey! I hadn't gotten back that far in your posts yet.

(Have to give 'im credit: The above picture was taken by my dad, shortly after moving to Florida. Isn't that beautiful??)

Schmorgasborg (did I spell that right?)

Okay y'all. If you live in the area & you want to check out Amelia's (especially on Tuesday, Friday or Saturday nights), you can go to valpak.com or hokiecash.com for coupons. At valpak.com, you have to put in the zip or city/state and then go to Dining, then to Amelia's. At Hokiecash, you go to Restaurants or Pizza & Subs, & then click on Amelia's. Hope to see you there! (Incidentally, if you didn't already know about these websites, & you live in the area, there are quite a few coupons you might want to check out. Though why you'd go somewhere other than Amelia's, I won't understand)

Because of my picture, I temporarily (for about 8 hours today) had "a twinkle in my eye & a smirk on my face" over there <------ next to my picture. Since I was asked (& I'll let the asker remain anonymous for now, at least until she comes out with any other wisecracks) if there was a reason for the twinkle & smirk (i.e., a baby on the way: "Should I be making you another blanket??" Ha!), I will be removing the twinkle & smirk comment. I will remove the actual twinkle & smirk (in other words, the picture) when I have another good one with which to replace it. The twinkle is really only on my glasses, and not actually in my eye, so the saying doesn't quite fit anyway. Yet another example of a silly idea gone bad.

Did anyone else notice the VT colors that inadvertently appeared on the lists to the left?

Paula is going to be conducting a survey about Christians and Depression. She would like to get as many people possible taking the survey, so if you're interested, go to her post here, where she describes her survey more and you can get her email address. Unless I'm wrong, I don't think she wants to only survey people who have suffered from depression, and she said the survey will be conducted online confidentially.

"Not everything that happens to us is for us." Bill pointed this out on his blog the other day. I love that! In fact, it makes me feel good to think about that. It helps my selfish side learn to think about why things might be happening that are not necessarily for me, but through me, for someone else.

It's one of the reasons I'm so excited about working for Amelia's. I mean, I'm not being totally selfless, as I do expect to make some money while I'm at it. But I did think about working there when I heard it was new and slow, and thinking I could help them out. And now it's my mission!

What ways have you found yourself being used by God in order to help someone else?

Question:

What do you think about praying these words?

"Please Lord, come quickly."

Anything wrong with that, or is it a good thing to pray?

As Preacherman would say, What do you think? Share your thoughts.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Restaurant, Same Great Taste

Well ... tonight was my first night at a new job. Remember I told you about Amelia's?? You'll have to re-read this post if you forget the background, but a teeny bit of the background is that the owners of this new restaurant are some people I used to work with at an Italian restaurant in Radford, next town south of us. We went to eat there (at Amelia's) back in December, I offered to work a few nights a week if they needed help, and then I didn't hear from them. This past week I stopped by to remind them that I'd like to work there if they need help & they said that they had tried calling recently but the line was busy (which happens all the time) & they hadn't called back yet. So they were glad I stopped in, yes they wanted me to work for them, when could I start?? Yay! Then the owner called last night & asked if I'd be able to work tonight because their girl that was going to be quitting soon decided that last night would be her last night & now they were going to be short tonight.

Remembering what it was like when I used to waitress, I usually come home late from my shift but am pretty wound up & not ready to get straight to bed. So ... I'll probably be blogging a lot after my shifts now. :) I ought to have some interesting stories to share occasionally.

The place is not nearly as busy as the old restaurant where I worked (yet), but since there were only 2 of us waiting tables tonight, I still did pretty well. The food is great, probably because Buddy (my boss) was one of the best cooks Sal's (the old place) had. They also have pretty much the same menu, and they use a lot of the same food suppliers. I was disappointed at first that they didn't have the same tiramisu, but the one customer I managed to bully into ordering dessert said the tiramisu was excellent, so I guess it'll be okay. And she wasn't even saying that because I was twisting her arm behind her back.

The other server that was working tonight was a nice kid, probably a good waiter. The two cooks and one dishwasher were all really nice. I'm not sure if one of the cooks speaks english (at least not much), but she smiled a lot. Buddy's mother helps out on the weekends, & she's really sweet. It's a really good restaurant, & I'm going to enjoy working there. If you live in my area, you should check it out!!

For some reason, I gave myself a mission: to help get the restaurant really busy. I don't know why I think I can do it, but I'm gonna try. At least I'll try & tell everyone I know that they should stop in sometime. I really like it. Aside from the mean customers we had tonight that complained about a large group of people with kids that ran all over the place and got on their nerves (in his words, "this isn't Chuck E. Cheese!"), I enjoyed all my tables. Buddy's grandparents were in with some of their friends, and his grandmother told me that I was really good and she was glad I was working there. And she tipped well. :)

I finally made the connection tonight ... Buddy's wife is Ame (which I had incorrectly spelled in my other post). Ame ... short for Amelia. And I was thinking they had just picked a pretty name for their restaurant. Duh.

They are also due to have a baby in April, and will need a babysitter beginning in August. Ame is a teacher and plans to return to work next year. They are interested in having me watch the baby. So, that will give me the choice to get out of waitressing come fall if I have a desire to do so. Or maybe I'll just cut back my hours to whenever I want to work. I won't need the money if I have another baby full-time. Anyway, it's nice to have options.

On another note ... anyone out there ever have hermit crabs? Any tips for me? And oh, did I mention I got Dan a hermit crab for Christmas? My plan was for him to take the hermit crab to his classroom, but I think after he noticed how Stinky Pete & I had bonded while I was keeping him in hiding before Christmas, he decided to keep him home. He does eventually want to get a tank with several hermit crabs in it, and then I'll probably have to say goodbye to Stinky Pete. But until then, I love my little hermit crab!! I mean, Dan's little hermit crab.

Are you wondering about Stinky Pete's name? We were all debating about what to name him. Several good names were thrown out. Nathan: "Herman." Jeremy: "Peace" (I really have no idea, so don't ask). Dan: Doozy. I thought maybe Jeremy meant "Pete," so I started calling him that. It's kinda stuck. Dan hasn't said whether or not it will officially remain his name, but since I'm the only one who talks to him anyway, I think it's going to stay "Pete;" but Dan & I occasionally throw in "Stinky." It was a character in Toy Story 2.

What do you all think of the new layout? I tried a different one yesterday, but something was off with it so I scrapped it. Started fresh. I like this better, but what do YOU think?? I was going for "colorful."

Friday, January 26, 2007

AAAGGGGHHHH! Pray for me!!

Pray for all of us! We have some sickies over here. I am about to throw up myself over how disgusting all this clean-up is. Okay, you don't wanna know all the details. But you missed me, huh? You wondered where I've been, right? Well, we had a great week, up until this morning, very early morning, when Derek started throwing up every 15 minutes or so. That lasted until about 7 when we finally slept until 8. But then the other boys were up (Dan was long gone by that point & I guess I was dead to the world when he left because he says he said goodbye & kissed me, but I do not remember). Nathan said he was not feeling well, so with Derek's eventful night, I didn't even think twice about having Nathan stay home from school, which turned out to be a good thing. Though they made it through most of the day without much ado, they have each begun again since being in bed tonight. So ... yeah ... we're in for another long night. Pray for us!

We did have a good week, as I said before. Especially Thursday. We had our adopted family over (2 families plus 4 college kids from church) and also our new campus minister for some yummy mexican & fun games. I just hope we didn't have a bug floating around our house that the rest of them picked up too!

I have lost track of how many times Derek & I have changed our clothes or how many times I've changed bedding. Believe it or not, Dan has Nathan sleeping on the kitchen floor right now. I think we should have put Derek there too while we were at it. He's the one who's more likely to not make it to "the yucky bowl."

I'm disappointed that we're not going to have our special get-together tomorrow night. I was planning on having Tanya & Jonathan & kids & Brian & Terri & kids over for dinner. Then I was going to surprise them with cake & ice cream & send them home with a nice little gift. It is Tanya's, Brian's & Terri's birthday week. But now I can't do it.

I'm sad.

Then again, I'm going to be a walking zombie tomorrow & won't possibly get everything done I'd want to get done before having company over anyway. So it's probably for the better. We have piles of disgusting laundry in the kitchen, spots on the futon that I can't get out (why, oh why, did I not put something down under us when we slept there last night?????), clean laundry that I managed to get done this morning is on the living room couch, throw-up rags & buckets strategically spaced throughout the house, etc.

And I might not ever be able to eat one of Bevin's Oreo balls again. Not that she's the one who made them last night, but they were her recipe that I made. But I probably won't be making them again. I saw a bit too much of them last night, if you catch my drift. Not feeling too fondly toward them right now.

Whoops, I gave you the details anyway. There goes half my readers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Six Word Story

Thanks, Dee, for tagging me! I was intrigued when I first saw this on Marie's blog. So here's my six word story:

"Do what I can, then relax."

I'm going to do the tagging a bit different. If you want to make up your own 6-word story, post it in the comments (follow Dee's & Marie's links to get an idea of others' stories). I'd love to read all your stories! Of course, if you want to post it on your blog as well, you should, and then tag others!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Observations of a Good Day

Today was a great day.

(***Though I may not publish this for a few days, I actually did write it on the 19th.***)

It was one of those days that everything just felt right. Fridays are often like that ... I don't necessarily have to get up early to be ready for children coming over because they're not coming over. (I do, though, have to be up early enough to get Nathan ready for school, which is still too early in my book) I can run a bunch of errands that I wasn't able to earlier in the week, & it can be a lot of fun to hang out with just my two younger guys, who are really great. We have a lot of fun.

Today the air was cool and even cooler when the biting wind blew ... and it blew hard! That's one of the things that'll get you (and your hair) around here--the wind. I guess 'cause of the mountains we're surrounded by -- though those of you out West would laugh at our description of mountains!

I let Nathan sleep in this morning and drove him into school instead of making him catch the bus. Then we drove over to the church building where we met Miss Carolyn, someone I am remiss in not having already discussed here, but I will save that for another day. Miss Carolyn played with the boys while I typed up the bulletin. I also got to spend a little time with our new campus minister, Seth, and I am excited about having him working with our congregation. After that we went to the post office (finally got the Bulls' Christmas letter in the mail!), the bank (with a stack of checks that had been waiting for a couple of weeks to be deposited!), then to Burger King. The boys, of course, were most excited about that! We ate and then played with several other children in the ball pit & the lone slide. I believe I've mentioned this particular BK in another post. Oh yes, here it is: this post and this post.

At BK, Derek dipped his tomatoes in ketchup ... Isn't that a bit redundant?

The tomatoes came from a sandwich that he said he wanted instead of the usual chicken nuggets. Just how much of the sandwich did he eat? The tomatoes and the chicken, of course.

I think I could have gotten him the chicken nuggets, given him the tomatoes that Jeremy took off of his chicken sandwich, and saved myself 39 cents.

In the car, after BK, Derek saw one of those short buses & shrieked, "Look! A baby bus!!"

I thought I'd have to pull over because Jeremy & I were laughing so hard.

Derek just loved that he made us laugh; never mind the fact that he had no idea why exactly we were laughing.

After BK, we went to Wal-Mart where several interesting things happened.

We ran into Mr. Lamb, a neighbor who I don't think recognized me, being that I was outside of the neighborhood; and we ran into Mrs. Bailey, another neighbor who I don't think recognized me, being that her husband, Mr. Bailey, wasn't there to remind her who I was.

The older man behind me in line was in one of those scooters that has a basket attached to the front. I didn't think it looked like he could reach to get his items out of the basket & onto the conveyor belt, so I offered to help him. Jeremy saw me & came over & helped too.

Now, if that example of Jeremy's doesn't make you want to do more for others, I don't know what will.

The man in the scooter kept telling Jeremy, "thank you, young man," and then he thanked me "very much," & I desperately tried to think of the words I wish now I had practiced to make an impression on him for God, and all that came out was, "It was truly my pleasure" with a big smile.

I'll probably never see him again and it makes me sad that I didn't say the right thing.

Upon paying the very nice cashier, and telling her to have a wonderful day (I really am trying to make a positive, Christian impact on others, y'all), I realized Jeremy was nowhere to be seen.

PANIC!!

Ever see a movie where someone is turning around in circles looking for something & the camera is circling that person at an even faster rate & you just feel the panic that's rising in the character's chest?

I totally felt like I was in a movie. I was just turning, turning, getting more & more panicked, until I started speaking Jeremy's name & then saying it louder & louder. Then I heard him, "Here I am." But I still didn't see him!

Laughter.

I looked down.

Jeremy was under the cart (or "buggy," as some would prefer)!

I nearly yanked him out until I remembered to calm down. Oh, wow.

At that point, I looked up and saw our neighbor, Mr. Bailey (see above). He said he recognized my voice calling out "Jeremy," so he came over to help me find him. We had a good laugh (...sorta...) and then caught up on how our Christmases went & trips we took afterwards. Mrs. Bailey came over & said, "Hi, Linda." Mr. Bailey said, "Lisa." Mrs. Bailey said, "Lisa. I don't know why Linda came out. We know so many Lindas." (Really, she is pretty cute. And I don't know her first name either)

Derek fell asleep on the way home. And then continued to sleep for a record 3 hours (seriously, the kid never sleeps more than an hour & a half at naptime--he's a bit like my Dad with his need to be up before the sun in the mornings & up well after normal people would like to be asleep at night--I'm only halfway like that). While he slept, Jeremy played outside for a while & I finally put up my bird feeder, which was a Christmas present from Terri, & a windchime that my Mom gave me (I had to get hooks from the store before I could do that). Then Jeremy went to bed, I finished putting away groceries, & then tackled the gnomes & fire salamanders in Harry Potter 3.

[In a slap-my-forehead, "Duh" moment, I just figured out why y'all are telling me so often I should write a book: because my posts are so stinkin' long, you feel like that's what you're reading anyway--might as well make it official, right?]

When Nathan came home from school, he sat in my lap & watched me play HP some more. We were going to go to my nephew's basketball game tonight, but Dan got home too late because I didn't tell him this morning that there was a game. So hopefully next week we'll go. We had a lot of leftovers in the fridge, so dinner was not too involved to prepare ... another blessing to add to the list.

All in all, it was a very good day. The kind of day that has you feeling everything's right with the world. The kind of day that has you smiling from ear to ear at every stranger you pass. The kind of day that has you whispering every 30 seconds, "Thank you, Lord; thank you so much."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Post # 100

I'm going to take this monumental moment to reflect on my purposes for blogging, and I'd love it if you want to share some of your thoughts & purposes as well. These are questions I've been very curious to hear others answer as well, so please speak up!

1. What was your initial reason for blogging?
My friend Tanya encouraged me often to start a blog because she thought I had funny stories to share about my kids, like the funny stories she shared about her own kids. My first post, in October 2005, which only received one comment--thanks, Dad--and has since been deleted (so don't go looking for it), was a recipe for Chocolate-Peanut Butter bars that I had just made and found to be really good. That obviously had nothing to do with my kids, and it was several months later (July 2006) that I finally posted a second time. At that point, it was my goal to tell funny kid-anecdotes and document some of their milestones. Still, my first few posts had more to do with the process of moving into our first home. But I finally got around to the kids, though not as many funny Jeremy stories as I thought I'd have (some day I'll remember to share with you the original Jeremy story that Tanya thinks is hilarious--it is, actually).
2. How has that purpose changed over time?
When I realized how exciting it was to have comments left on my blog, I tended to write more posts that would apply to others and draw comments (I know, I can be really self-centered--I'm working on it!). When I discovered devotional thoughts on other people's blogs, I thought, "I should do more of that," so occasionally I have a spiritual-application for you to enjoy (I'm also not very original). :o) Mainly, my blog has a lot to do with entertaining others. I've always known how much I enjoy being the center of attention, but I didn't realize my penchant for entertaining until recently. It doesn't help that many of you tell me you enjoy my stories & think I'm a good writer -- my ego enjoys that, but the part of me that knows I should exhibit a modicum of humility wishes the compliments would end!
3. Why do you read other people's blogs?
As with most people, I initially read only the blogs of people I knew. I already knew about Laura Bull's missionary-experience-blog, and when I began reading her blog regularly I discovered comments left by other old college friends that blogged. When my dad started posting regularly again in Florida, I discovered the blogs of other preachers and, through them, the blogs of other Christians that wrote posts centered on Scripture and devotional thoughts. I also found Malia, an old friend from several years ago at camp, through Tanya, who wasn't even a part of my life at the time I knew Malia, but is related to Malia through her husband (it IS a small world, after all). It wasn't long before I started exploring and reading about the lives of people I did not know. Through all these people, I have made several new blogging friends, most of whom I have never met in person, but whom I definitely look forward to meeting someday (if not here on earth, at the great "reunion" in heaven). This all has led to an extensive list of blogs I try to read regularly, and eventually to the point where I decided (just in the last day or so) that I need to not go looking for more blogs to read, but try & keep it limited to the blogs I already have bookmarked.
4. What type of blogs do you read, mostly?
I may start reading another blog because of an insightful comment the author left on another blog I read. Sometimes I stay with it, other times I find that we disagree on a few important-to-me things, so I don't keep up with it. A part of me wants to befriend people through blogging that are really different from me (& I do that to some extent), but another part does not like to do that. Here's why: say you have a real-life friend that you disagree with on a certain matter. You may be close enough to them that you can talk about your disagreements. It will probably not come between you (depending on the matter, I suppose), and you can talk about it reasonably with each other and agree to disagree. Maybe you can even influence each other for the better on matters about which you disagree. With blogging-friends, it's a little different. I'm not about to go to someone else's site, especially someone I don't know, and leave a comment on a post that I disagree about. I don't believe I have a right to do that. It's not the same as face-to-face evangelism or talking to your brother in love. It's public and not at all what Jesus had in mind when He was quoted in Matthew. But, it's also really difficult to continue reading strongly opinionated thoughts that contradict your beliefs when you can't say anything about it to try & teach the truth. Does that all make sense?
5. What other benefits have you gained from blogging?
*One thing, that amazes me a little, is I've learned a little about computer code for formatting websites & such. I don't remember much from my one basic computer science class in college, so I've had to learn quite a bit, which means knowing Malia has come in quite handy!
*I am also amazed by the hugeness of it all: people in Nashville, & the UK and Australia and Bolivia & other places so distant from me put their thoughts on their computer in their hometowns, and I, on the other side of the world, sit here at my computer in my hometown and read their thoughts. Amazingly, incredibly, we find each other & are impacted for the good by each other.
*I have learned a lot by reading other people's studies into the Scripture and their applications for life.
*We Mommies can share ideas about child-rearing; and, likewise, we can ask questions, post them on our blog, and have suggestions posted within minutes.

Of the Blogs I regularly read ...
7 are by family members (both Bliss-side & Leichner-side)
6 are by friends that currently live nearby or have recently moved away
11 are by old college friends or camp friends
1 is by someone I got to meet face-to-face after meeting in the blog world (Hi Emily!)
15 are by people I consider friends but have yet to meet face-to-face
8 are blogs I "stalk" (i.e., I don't leave comments & I think they are unaware I read them)

And several of you tell me that you read my blog occasionally, even though you don't regularly comment or have blogs of your own ... though I might talk you into it someday. :) I am so grateful when you tell me you read my blog and what it means to you. Thank you for that.

Happy Birthday, MOM!!

Today was going to be my first Thursday Thirteen. Not that I plan to do it every Thursday, but I had one all ready to go ... until it occurred to me the other day that today would be my Mom's birthday.

So I decided to try a Thursday Thirteen dedicated to Mom. So ... if I can do it ... here are Thirteen Things I Love About My Mom. (hang in there til next week and I'll give you another Thirteen List)

Thirteen Things I Love About My Mom:
1. She's pretty. I can remember thinking that as a young girl, & I think that even more so today. I hope I told her that when I was younger, because I know how special it makes me feel to hear it from my own kids. But if I didn't tell you then, Mom, I'm telling you now ... I think you're pretty!!
2. She's a great wife. She showed me a great example of following the lead of her husband, even when disagreeing; treating her husband like he's a king; loving him steadily & faithfully for almost 28 years, through good times and difficult times.
***UPDATE: Though I KNOW Mom & Dad were married in '76, when calculating I was using my birth year of '79 for some reason. Since my miscalculation makes it sound like I was born around the time of their wedding, I'd better correct that. They've been married almost 31 years. (Sorry, Mom; thanks for being a good sport)
3. She's a great mom. Despite living on a preacher's income in an expensive place to live (NJ), it was a priority for her to make it on that income so she could stay home with her children until they were all in school. She believed that was best for us, so we managed. And I believe the three of us are better for having her devoted teaching and training at such a young age.
4. She sings well. One thing I am really ashamed to admit ... when I was in middle school, I thought my friends' moms were cooler than my own. So like my 2 best friends' moms who sang alto, I decided to try alto so I'd be different than my own mom. I'm sure it had a little to do with competition (my mom could sing loud, & I knew I couldn't be heard over her if I sang the same part). But it was also part preteen-rebellion. Today, I would Love, Love, Love to be able to sing as well as my mom.
5. She is very crafty. She was always very creative when helping with our school projects (until she realized she was helping more than she should be; and, boy, did we miss her help!). She always had cool activities for her Bible classes and crafty projects for us kids to do. I also remember one snow day we had, we put some snow in the freezer & later added chocolate to it & had chocolate ice cream ... sorta. That doesn't really have anything to do with being crafty, but just something cool she did when we were home one day from school.
6. She paints really well. She started taking painting classes when I think I was still in high school. I love the stuff she paints nowadays. If you are the lucky recipient of one of her projects, you know it took some time to do it.
7. I love her handwriting. Surely she realized that I tried to copy her handwriting, because mine started to look just like hers, though not nearly as pretty and cool.
8. She passed on her love of chocolate. Some might think it's weird that I would list that as a thing I love about Mom. Here's the deal: I remember, when we lived in Randolph one time especially, one of us kids (I actually don't think it was me, though it could have been, but one of my sibs will probably remember) saying to Mom, "Hey, you smell like chocolate!" She had been sneaking chocolate, & we were onto her! Only later would we realize that she hid it so we wouldn't be able to pig out on her secret stash, but so she could have a (much-deserved) special treat on her own. The funniest part about that, is that lately I've realized I do the same thing. I have some hiding places around the house so Dan & I can have the chocolate, but not hear all day long, "Mommy, can I have some more candy?" Once my kids smell or hear about candy, there's no stopping the whining!! I imagine it was the same for my mom. The other day I almost got caught & was worried one of my kids would smell my breath. I can hear it now: "Hey, you smell like chocolate!"
9. She's not ashamed of her gray hair ... so neither am I! Yes, I have some gray hair (and I will KILL my sister for noticing & making a big deal about it!! and I could hit myself for telling my father-in-law!) but this post is not about me ... She has never colored her hair or hid the gray; her hair is so beautiful that it makes me hope mine looks good when I'm her age too. Thanks to Mom ... I'm not ashamed.
10. She knows good grammar & she ain't afraid to use it. I like the fact that I knowed proper ways of tawking & writin', thanks to the fact that my mom cared enough to not let me slack on my speech or writing habits. I may have a time or two thought she was a bit too stringent, but I appreciate it now for dern tootin'! (She also hated the word "darn") And, by the way, speaking of good writing ... Mom has a blog that you should check out if you haven't already. She isn't as obsessive about writing as often as I am, but when she writes it's either about her grandkids, or it's meaningful stuff that you will feel blessed to share in.
11. Mom is very organized. This may drive Dad nuts at times. It drove me nuts at times. Now? I Wish, Wish, Wish that I had picked up more of her organization skills for running a household.
12. Mom was able to accomplish a most difficult task: revealing to me her weaknesses and struggles while at the same time showing me a great example of how a Christian should lean on God to overcome those struggles. One example is in the way she would always pray when she slipped on something. She showed me with her words, that it's important to pray often about things that burden you, that you know you do wrong. She showed me the importance of accountability and confession.
13. Another difficult task accomplished: living with me through my teen years. Despite those difficult years, my Mom shows me no less love than she would if I had been a perfect daughter. I jipped her of having a good relationship with me when I was in high school & most of college, but (if I didn't know better) I'd think everything was always honky-dory, because she doesn't seem to hold it against me. I KNOW I don't deserve that!

That was a lot easier than I thought it would be!! I could go on & on, actually, but I said it was going to be thirteen things. I hope that didn't embarrass you too much, Mom. I may have revealed a weakness or two of yours, but I promise only half a dozen people actually read this anyway. I love you, Mom, and Happy Birthday! Yay! You're going to Disney- ... I mean, Epcot!

(A rare photo of my Mom -- which means I need to get on the ball & start taking more! -- with Dad at Disney World. Ignore the goofy-looking Dad; I think it was late & he was tired. Ha! Just teasin', Dad)

(By the way, this is Post # 99!! Get ready for the big 1-0-0! Woohoo!)