Monday, January 29, 2007


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 or for coupons. At, 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?


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.


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!


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!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hope you're in the mood for some light reading ...

I recently read a few great posts that I want to share with you. They encouraged, inspired & challenged me to change a few things about myself.

Paula's "Are You Ready to Change the World?"

Spiritual Oasis: "Be a Doer, Not a Stewer" on procrastination

Maria's "People Watching" on being a person easily recognized as a Christian

Keep up the great work, guys!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Questions You Were Dying To Hear Me Answer

So John tagged me for this meme. I don't know if that means that he likes me or he just doesn't want to bother any of the other bloggers he actually does like so he picked me instead. But I'll play along.

1. I’ve come to realize that my ex-(boyfriend) --- is a good person, just not my person.
2. I am listening to --- kid shows on TV.
3. I talk --- a lot.
4. I love --- easily.
5. My best friends --- are my family members.
6. I lost --- my wallet once.
7. I hate it when people --- are selfish.
8. Love is --- powerful.
9. Marriage is --- hard!
10. Somewhere, someone is thinking --- "I wish I could be like Lisa."
11. I’ll always be --- about 10-years-old at heart.
12. I have a crush on --- John (there, that'll show him to tag me).
13. The last time I cried was because --- a song at church really moved me.
14. My cell phone --- is nonexistent as long as Dan hates cell phones.
15. When I wake up in the morning --- I'm very, very angry.
16. Before I go to sleep at night --- I get in bed.
17. Right now I am thinking about --- how much John likes me & wishes he could be like me.
18. Babies are --- a thing of my past ... except my friends' babies who I can always give back when I'm done with them.
19. I get on MySpace --- when I want to feel 15 again (how often do YOU want to feel 15 again?).
20. Today I --- actually slept until 8.
21. Tonight I will --- probably check my email & blogs for the 8th time.
22. Tomorrow I will --- have more kids in my home than the Old Lady who lived in a shoe.
23. I really want --- world peace ... but peace & quiet in my house for about 15 minutes each day will do ... for now.

So I tag Bevin, Trey, and Marie. But, really, if any of you want to do it, go right on ahead!! And I encourage you to give yourself a good laugh today & not take any of the questions too seriously. :)

***Update: Bevin, Marie & Trey have all done their Questions, so go check them out! Thanks, you guys, for playing along! It made me smile to read your answers almost as much as it did to see that John tagged me. :) (Just ignore the title to Trey's post, he didn't really mean that)

His & Her Ice Cream Scoops

I don't know what it is about the big one, but Dan always reaches for that one so he can have huge slabs of ice cream in his bowl; whereas I prefer pretty little scoops. Even before I had my super-duper Pampered Chef scoop which uses the heat from your hand to warm up chemicals inside the scooper to slice through ice cream easily, I preferred a smaller, rounder scoop. I just don't get Dan's attraction to the slab-maker.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I have a closet by the front door (which is rarely used--the front door, that is), and when I get a pile going around the house & then I need to clean & don't have time to go through the pile (usually of papers), I put the pile in the front closet. So my closet is looking pretty horrid right now. I had intended to spend time on it today, but instead I cleaned the basement play room, did some laundry, dishes, straightened other areas of the house, cooked some meals, typed up the church bulletin, etc., and I did NOT get to the closet, which I didn't really want to get to anyway.

Dan gives me a hard time (& rightly so, though I don't want you to tell him I said that) about all the "catch-alls" I have going around the house. There are stacks of mail & school papers & other such things on the kitchen counter. There is a stack on our computer desk. There is another stack in our room. ETC. Why do I have to have a catch-all? Why can't I just get rid of stuff or file it right away so I don't have to have these piles all over the house?

And why can't I get to my front closet & clean it out so I don't have to worry about guests coming over & asking if they can put their coats in the coat closet?

Do you have a place like that in your house?

Friday, January 12, 2007

What's another word for "Boring"?

I'm going to commit what Emily would say is a "no-no" & ramble a bit (actually, knowing Emily as well as I do, she probably would not use that phrase).

I have been playing a Harry Potter computer game for the past week. My parents got me a set of HP computer games for Christmas (after I revealed in my
Weird post that I am an HP freak fan). The set includes a game for each of the first 3 movies and also a special Quidditch game. I have completed the first game (& so has Dan) & am now close to the end of the second. I'm not usually all that into computer games (that's Dan's territory), but when it gives me something to do while I await the fifth movie and seventh book, I'll take it. Even Jeremy & Nathan have given the games a shot, though they are a bit above their level. In my current game, I'm in the Chamber of Secrets, closing in on the bad guy. The music, the surroundings ... all of it have me so creeped out that I had to stop playing (which is why I'm blogging, of course). I will play some more tomorrow or another time when it's not so dark out.

I am also exploring programs that let me know when a blog I read has a new post and one that lets me know who has been reading my blog. I still have a lot to learn on those, but it is interesting to discover there is more to blogging than just writing posts every once in a while. Who knew? On the tracker program, I discovered that someone came over to my blog from a new friend, Colleen. She lives in my area & I found her blog & let her know, so she's been reading mine apparently. And she linked me today on her
Thursday Thirteen post. So, thanks, Colleen! I like Colleen's Thursday lists. I might just give it a shot one of these days. Looks fun.

I really thought my crossword post would be a big hit, but not that many of you seem interested. I guess I'll have to find other subjects to entertain you with. Did you not realize that I was being a bit silly? Maybe it didn't sound the way I thought it would. Sheesh, you're a tough crowd. At least my siblings, my minister & an old Harding buddy were somewhat interested. And Maria too: thanks & blessings to you. I don't know why you said my post spoke to you, but I appreciate it. Maybe for
Paula's sake I'll write a Sudoku post next, with step-by-step instructions for completing a puzzle. What do you think, Paula?

I'm having the
Mommy Gang over for lunch again tomorrow. Looking forward to that. We all are. It's fun to get together with a small group of friends that can all find some common ground: our kids. Who doesn't like to complain vent ask riveting questions about the things their children do every now & then?

We had snow the other day. Did it make its way up to NJ?? I keep reading comments on other blogs that
Brian has left about how disappointed he is that they haven't had snow yet. Apparently, they are pushing back a record each day that they don't have snow. Anyway, back to VA weather ... we had a dusting, not much at all. Nathan got to come home from school an hour early that day. Then, apparently where Dan teaches the roads were worse, covered with ice. The roads seemed fine here, so Dan didn't think anything of it, but when he got to school he was the only one there. He called & had me check to see if they were cancelled, which of course they were. He might usually be one of the first ones there, but the ONLY one there?? When Dan was on his way home I felt like a little kid who was just told his best friend is coming over. I was excited! Until I realized that he'd be spending most of the day working. :( We still got to spend more time together than usual.

So I've been blogging pretty much since June of last year (that feels so weird to say! "last year" when I'm talking about 2006). I did give it a try October 2005, but only posted once, so let's not count that. I have 94 posts ... yeah, you can expect a big celebration for the 100th post. We're having a party over at my place, so come on over (in other words ... stop by my blog & leave me a comment ... even if you never have before!). Yeah, I am so trying to get more of you to leave comments!! Seriously, a bunch of you have told me you read my blog. Why not just leave me a short comment once & say hi? You don't have to have a blog to do so.

If you're still waiting on a Christmas card from us ... well, just wait a little longer. The second batch of cards will be going out soon. What? Did you say it's the middle of January?? Hmmm ... maybe I'll just wait til next Christmas.

Hope you're having a good week & looking forward to the weekend! I'm going to leave you with Jeremy's idea of the purpose of a telephone pole: "A tall thing that holds wires for birdies to sit on."

Monday, January 08, 2007

My Sentiments Exactly

The crossword has been an integral part of our marriage. We can’t remember when exactly we started doing crosswords together, though we do remember doing them when we lived in Searcy (AR), so it’s been at least since the beginning of our marriage. However, at some point the crossword began to come between us and we haven’t done one together in a year and thirteen days ... give or take.

We still occasionally get each other crossword books for Christmas. They make a great stocking stuffer. Especially the one I found this year; a book called “Sit & Solve Crosswords,” which is in the shape of a toilet. You can guess where the author imagined you’d be sitting as you solved these puzzles. The introduction of this little book caught my attention:

Solving crosswords is, at heart, a private activity. Sometimes two people will solve a crossword together, but there is always negotiation involved: How to hold the clues so both solvers can read them. Who gets to hold the pencil. That sort of thing. It’s like sharing a sandwich without cutting it in half first–it can be done, but the people doing it had better like each other a lot.

So, given the essential solitary nature of crosswords, it only makes sense to combine solving them with ... another private activity. That’s where this book comes in. Why spend your time staring at a tile floor when you could be staring at a crossword grid? (Francis Heaney)

My sentiments exactly. I’m a multitasker in every way.

I truly thought the challenges Dan & I encountered while doing crossword puzzles were unique. I don’t know of anyone else who solves puzzles with another person. So I’ve never discussed with someone else the problems that can arise when you attempt to do it. (Have you ever tried it?) I was amazed when I read this introduction because it was like she’d been in our home watching us try to do puzzles together! Unless we were doing a puzzle when Dan was in the bath (I know, something you didn’t really want to know) in which case I’d obviously be holding the book & doing the writing and Dan wouldn’t even care if he couldn’t see the clues, there was always competition about whose turn it was to write the answers and therefore who’d get to hold the book.

Another challenge we’d encounter were the “rules.” Dan likes to do a crossword straight through the Across clues, then the Down clues; then, and only then, you can jump around from Across to Down and back. I, however, like to do an Across clue, then do the Down clues that will use the letters I just filled in. OR, if I’m stuck on an Across clue, I’d like to look at the Down clues to see if that will help me solve the Across clue I’m stuck on. Dan acts as if I’m cheating to use Down clues to help with the Across. I maintain, however, that a crossword can be done however the solver wants to do it; the only form of cheating is looking in the back of the book for the answers.

But that just goes back to Francis Heaney’s introduction. Doing crosswords truly is a private affair, best left to an individual. It doesn’t necessarily have to be relegated to the bathroom, but maybe trying to do it with a partner is expecting too much.

After all, you wouldn’t want a silly little crossword puzzle to come between you and a loved one.

(By the way, if you left a comment on my last post, be sure & check out the comments section again because I actually remembered to respond to each of you. God bless!)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Jeremy is 4!


Yesterday Jeremy turned the magical 4. No, wait a minute, 5 is magical. Never mind. But Jeremy is 4 so that means it is special!! He has grown SO MUCH in the last year. Despite his few speech impediments that, I think, make it seem like he's younger, he has a really great memory, and he's a really smart kid (I'm not biased or anything). He is super athletic and coordinated. Sometimes the moves he does make me think he should be a gymnast. One day at Nathan's soccer game he was asked to play with the kids because they were down a few players. Jeremy kept up with the team like he was their age.

Here are some pictures from our recent vacation. In the second picture, behind where Jeremy is standing, on the other side of that tunnel, is where Jeremy was standing in the first picture ... and where he jumped off several times! His feet were at a height that's at least as tall as I am (that's 5'7").


I was going to try to include a few memories from this past year that are special Jeremy-memories, but the post was getting too long. So I will just tell you a little about what Jeremy is like (as if I don't already talk about each of my kids enough so that you don't already know him). This is going to be pretty long anyway, though, & it's all right if you aren't interested in reading the whole thing. It's mostly just so my kids & I can look back in a few years & see how they've grown. But if you do decide to read the whole thing, I hope you enjoy it!

*I don't want anyone to misunderstand and think I'm playing favorites here, but by far Jeremy is the easiest of my children for me to get along with. I would venture a guess that it's because we have different personalities, whereas the other two are more similar to me, but since Dan has an easier time getting along with Jeremy too (& they have more similar personalities), then I am out of guesses. I suppose Jeremy is just one of those people that gets along with others. I don't know if the same is true for people outside of our family, but it seems like he really enjoys being with us & wants to get along with us. A year ago he was more shy and did not want to play with certain people that didn't get his or Nathan's stamp of approval. But he's come a long way in the past year. Even in the past few months, since Nathan has been off to school, he has grown and shown a lot more leadership.

*Jeremy also bit into the whole Santa and Mr. Elf thing this year & that was so much fun. He remembered each morning to look for Mr. Elf. He talked about Santa and what he was doing all the time.

*Jeremy does some funny things like points with his middle finger & mispronounces things which make me laugh a lot. He asked me yesterday why flowers don't have eyes. Having no idea where this was going I replied, "well, because God didn't make them with eyes." To which he replied, "But they have eyes on Dragon Tales!!" And then, "I guess God made those flowers with eyes." "Um, yeah, Jeremy, right on." (No, I'm just kidding, I didn't say that)

*The best memory I have is from last week at Disney World. Jeremy was so cool. He totally would have gone on Space Mountain if he were tall enough (I'm so glad he wasn't, though). He did barely make the cut-off for Thunder Mountain, & he loved that ride. He asked to go on it whenever we asked what ride he wanted to go on next. At one point, Dan & I thought he wanted to ride Dumbo, so we waited for half an hour for the dumb ride, where Dan & I took Jeremy & Derek on silly little elephants that crawled along at about 5 mph. When we got off & I asked him if he liked it, he said, "not really. That was boring." So I guess Dumbo was too tame for him. Dan & I are still arguing about which one of us misunderstood something Jeremy said & thought he wanted to ride Dumbo. Of course, from his trips to Storybook Land with Oma & Pop-Pop, I guess I should have known that the faster & harder & scarier the ride, the better it was viewed in Jeremy's eyes. Go figure!

*Something special about Jeremy is that he was born two weeks late, which put him two days ahead of his cousin Hannah, who was born about two weeks early. Also, the morning he was born, it was discovered that Dan's grandfather Pop Dreher had died in his sleep. Pop had just taken a trip down to see us (along with many other places in the country) the summer before, & it was wonderful to have that time with him. He was one of those people that said what was on his mind & didn't care what anyone thought. Sometimes it didn't come out right, but a lot of times he made you laugh a whole lot. I didn't have the opportunity to know Pop very well, but I do know that he had one special daughter (Dan's mom), and she wouldn't be the person she is today if it weren't for Pop. (Do I get brownie points for that?) I think it's pretty special that Jeremy was born that particular day (even if at the time I would have preferred a couple weeks earlier). He also shares a birthday month with other special relatives, such as my mom and grandfather, Grandy. While in Florida we celebrated both Jeremy's & my Grandy's (Jan. 3) birthdays. That was fun! I'm glad we got to do that together. And since I didn't get together a special post for Grandy this year (I'm just waiting for the big 8-0!!), here's a Happy Birthday to you, too, Grandy! We love you.

*Jeremy also loves to take pictures. All 3 of my kids like to use the camera, but Jeremy especially seems to have a passion for it. If I let him loose with the camera, he could be at it for hours. One day while I was on the computer blogging & checking email, he took pictures around the room for over an hour. It came out to be about 100 pictures, some of which I actually saved. :) Some, though, such as the pictures he took of Derek's diaper, got trashed. He took a few pictures recently of himself that I thought I'd share:


That second picture reminds me of when he was born. I jokingly said, "I'd better count all his toes to make sure he has 10," & I discovered his second & third toes are linked a little higher than most, almost like they're webbed. Of course, with that, we had all our relatives examining their toes more closely to see which of us gave Jeremy that gene! So that's just another little funny something about Jeremy.

And now I have a 2-yr-old, 4-yr-old, & almost-6-yr-old. There's something sweet about all those even numbers. :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Run, Scott, Run!

There is a show on PBS for kids called "Between the Lions" that I love. I think it is so funny. Granted, most of the humor is lost on preschool kids. The show has a series of segments that focus on teaching children how to read, or at least about the sounds that make up words. One segment is about Scott, Dot, and Chicken Jane. The segment is usually a variation of the three of them--a brother, sister, & their chicken--on a little trip. Scott & Dot are usually oblivious to some sort of imminent danger (like a bull about to charge), to which Chicken Jane tries to alert them. She squawks & jumps around & tries to get their attention. She resorts to scratching something in the dirt to the tune of "Run!" Sometimes she is writing "Scat," sometimes it is "Scoot." It goes along with whatever the theme sound is for the show. Today's word was "vamoose." So she is writing, Dot is reading it aloud, & she reads, "va- ... moose. Va-moose. Vamoose, Scott, Vamoose." They finally get it, "Oh, we need to vamoose," and so they do. Just in time to avoid the danger, they get out of the way. BUT, Chicken Jane is almost always left behind in the danger. So the theme song, "Look, look, see, see, coming down the lane. Here comes Scott, here comes Dot, here comes Chicken Jane," always shows poor little Chicken Jane with her arm in a sling and her leg in a cast. It is so hilarious.

That's it. You can draw your own analogies from that (I'm sure there are plenty). I just think it's funny. Are you Scott, Dot, or Chicken Jane in your own life?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Dear 2006,

It's been real, it's been fun ... AND it's been real fun.

Thank you, 2006, for all the great times you gave us. You took my family to Gatlinburg with the Leichner clan, where we had fun in the cabin, on the race track, at the golf course (mini-golf, that is), and with the Dukes of Hazzard gang.

You put us in a new house. You found Dan a new job. It was a big year for others that we're close to moving and getting new jobs too.

You introduced us to some new neighbors that seem to be able to tolerate us pretty well.

You took good friends of ours to Montana, where they can be closer to family and impact another campus ministry at the same time; and you helped our church family find a young, enthusiastic minister to replace the old one. We are looking forward to a good start with him in 2007.

You helped me find old friends and new in this cool medium we call blogging.

You drove us to NC and FL to visit our family members' new houses.

You sent my oldest baby on a big yellow bus for his first year of school. And you brought a few friends to come stay with us during the day this fall so we wouldn't miss Nathan as much.

You kept us company as Dan spent longer hours than ever at work.

You hung around as Dan & I filled our sixth year of marriage with fun times and good friends.

You stayed with Dan as he began his first year of teaching and helped him gain some confidence and control over his classroom.

You took four of us to New Jersey for a big Thanksgiving celebration with Leichner-Dreher family members we haven't seen in much too long.

You sent us on our "merry" way to Florida for a special Christmas celebration with the Blisses/Mohundros.

You took us to Disney World (oh, yeah).

You said "goodbye" last night with such grace we hardly realized you had passed (perhaps that was because we were already asleep).

You gave us many more memories than I could possibly list.

Today, I have been married to my husband for seven whole years. Who knows how much longer we have together. But as I was letting him beat me at our new air hockey game tonight, I decided that I WILL enjoy every minute of it. I will treasure the years we have, the days, the months. Every minute of it. I will make 2007 better than 2006. And 2008 better than 2007. And I will hold my babies close until they are young men who need a little distance. Then I will hold them close in my heart. And I will praise You throughout it all. Because 2006 didn't really give me anything, but it was You, Father, who gave us everything. And I will praise You forever and ever. You alone are worthy of our praise. Thank You, Lord.