Friday, January 30, 2009

Goodbye Just For Now

A friend recently passed away, and the event of her passing really caused me to think deeply about a lot of things. I guess that's pretty common when someone you know leaves this life for the next one.

In the case of my friend, she was quite elderly and over the last 30 years or so, had developed one painful medical condition after another. Over time, she adapted and adjusted to the intense physical pain she was in but just getting up every day was often a literal physical battle for her. Quite crippled up from arthritis and various other problems, she'd also developed an intestinal disorder that left her with surgeries and eventually a colostomy bag. She never did fully recover from the last surgery and often commented that she was dizzy and felt "out of sorts" most of the time. On more than one occaision she mentioned that she was truly ready to be done with this life and go home to the Lord, were it not for her dedication to her husband and her family. She was a good wife, and even in her tremendous physical pain would often be found in the kitchen making a meal for her elderly husband who was as devoted to her and their family as she was to him. She was always tired, but never too tired to look after her loved ones.

I wondered the other day, after I heard that she had finally passed from this life, how incredible it must have been for her to wake up in the next life, completely pain free. She had learned to live with pain, and pain medication for so long, it had been ages since she really knew what a pain free life was like. Not only did she wake up last week pain free, but she woke up medication free, and cares of this world, free. She was of course a believer, and when she left this world and all it's troubles, she entered into Heaven for all eternity. Of course I wont know until it's my turn, but I just wonder what that experience is like to realize for the very first time that the battle is over, the race is done, that you are absent from the body and present with the Lord. Forever!

It's a truly bittersweet thing when a saint is called home. You miss them because they are a part of your life that has been removed, but you truly do rejoice for them because their painful time here is now over forever. I'll miss her phone calls, and I'll miss hearing her telling me about her family's joys and trials. But I'll remember all the great conversations we had, the way she doted over my kids and how she loved to discuss the Bible. She struggled with a lot of things, but she held on tight to her faith and she was a great example to me in many ways, of someone who keeps looking up and keeps on persevering no matter how hard life becomes. The tears I cry for her now are purely selfish tears, and I know she'd understand that.

Goodbye for now dear Geordie, you fought the good fight, you ran the race set before you, and may you now truly rest in His peace, for all eternity. I'll see you again some day, when He calls me home.



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Pragmatism: making excuses or valid arguments?

I wonder...

What if your pastor showed up to church this Sunday in a dress? What if, there were a good majority of men in your church that struggled with wearing dresses? What if... after seeing your pastor in a dress it caused them to realize that the struggle is truly understood by the pastor and they felt understood and truly ministered to by the pastor's example.

Is it more important that the dress-wearing pastor truly minister to his congregation in whatever way it takes to get their attention - or - is it more important that he model the Biblical character qualifications of a pastor?

In other words, in the way churches operate these days, do the ends justify the means, regardless if those means are against what the Scripture defines? I know the question seems rather obvious, but is it?



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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kids and Technology

Last night I watched a piece on the news about some concerned group from somewhere, funded by someone (you can tell I payed really close attention, right?) doing a study on kids and cellphones. Well I didn't pay attention to who did the study, but the results were not at all surprising.

The study basically put 10-12 year old kids in a virutal reality situation and had them talking on their cell phones at the same time as crossing a busy street. As it turns out, the kids yammering away on the phones were 47 times more likely to get hit by a car, because they didn't look before crossing or didn't pay attention while crossing. Okay now moms and dads, how many of us are actually surprised?

According to the study, of equally grave concern is kids in the same age group with iPod buds stuck in their ears and texting while walking.

My question is this:

Did anyone with 1/2 an ounce of common sense really need a study to tell us that when kids are distracted by all this electronic gadgetry, that they're going to be putting themselves in danger by not paying attention to their current surroundings?

My second question is this:

Why as parents, are we turning our kids into iPodTextCell heads, by giving them all these gadgets and gizmos?

My third question is this:

Who in the world are our kids talking to/texting with constantly, that is SO important, that they MUST be available all day long, wherever they go? Are they special consultants for a time sensitive govermental agency project? Are they living double lives and hiding the fact that they are ER trauma unit specialists, and therefore must be on call 24/7? Nope, neither of the above. You know who they're talking to/texting with? Friends who want to talk about some boy, or girl, or band, or where you're all going Friday night. Friends who are gossiping about the latest controversy at school. Dreadfully important stuff you know, stuff that cannot wait to be discussed. (Serious and/or important calls are of course exempt, but lets be real, these are kids, they're talking about what kids talk about and those serious/important calls are in the monumental MINORITY and we all know it).

I'm not against techno toys, really I'm not. I just think it's seriously creepy that we as parents are constantly plugged in, and now we're plugging in our kids too. There is something just so wrong with this. Maybe that's why someone figured the study needed to be done, since so many parents are supplying their kids with electronic distractions. Maybe next they can fund a study for why parents feel so compelled to do this.


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Monday, January 26, 2009

There Must be Some Misunderstanding

When children are small, maybe around the age of 18 months or so, they begin to develop a rather intricate skill of language. Being new to this skill, they'll often mispronounce a word that they heard correctly, or mis-hear a word and repeat what they think they heard.

In my family, we have this sort of unwritten rule, that essentially says we never miss an opportunity to make fun of one another (never in a malicious way), and repeat this activity, often. People just say funny things, and very short people are certainly no exception. This language skill that kids mess up from the beginning, is a great source of material for this activity. Here are some of the words/phrases my kids have said over the years:

Ambliance = ambulance
dine-dines = dinosaurs
gee-moon = game room
chick-a-bob = great job
up day-buse = upstairs
down day-buse = downstairs
motorwood = chainsaw

I've come to realize that most of the time what happens is, kids simply repeat what they thought they heard, and unless corrected they'll just keep saying the word the wrong way. My son Samuel once heard something associated with tractor drivers, and because he was the only one who heard the correct word, to this very day no one in this house knows why he used to call tractor drivers Gom-buh-doles. We've tried to slueth that one out, but we're just stumped. We may never figure it out, so we've pretty much concluded that all tractor drivers are named Gom-buh-doles. In fact, we'll often use a "baby word" in place of the real word since some of them are just too funny. Like lilla-loon. Surely you know what a lilla-loon is, everyone has one in their home. Most people call theirs the living room, but when Ruth informed us it was lilla-loon, we stood corrected. Go ahead and say it outloud, it's a really fun word to say. (you said it outloud, didn't you!?)

Misunderstandings like this, when they're innocent and often comical, are pretty fun. Of course we all know however that miscommunication can at times be horribly devastating and not at all funny. From the professional world, in medical settings, and indeed even in our theology, it's critical that misunderstandings do not take place.

What's so curious, is just how easy it is to find yourself smack in the middle of a misunderstanding. Just recently I discovered one of my most popular t-shirt designs for sale on a site I'd never heard of before. I did a little digging via google, and found that same t-shirt design for sale at amazon, and I have never listed my designs there. Needless to say I was more than a little concerned. Partly because it was obvious someone was selling my design, and partly because the actual design was a retired one, having been replaced with a updated version just recently. I was rather upset, and the more digging I did the more evidence came forward that it was quite clear someone was unlawfully selling my old design, without my permission. On one of the sites it took a great deal of digging through layers of pages to finally get to the "complaint" section and when I finally got there, found something even more curious.

It turned out, that the seller of this design was a website that seemed familiar to me, for some reason. Since all the sites that were listing this shirt lead back to the same seller, I clicked on the last site's contact info. What I discovered was that this is a site where you, the owner of a t-shirt design, can submit your work to this site and they'll market it for you. I thought to myself "did I ever register at this site?" I clicked the login button and entered the login info I use for graphic design (assuming that might be the login info I would have used) and voila, it logged me in. Sure enough, nearly 4 years ago I registered THAT design at that site, and they'd been promoting it for me all this time. I had to laugh, since it turns out I was all prepared to accuse myself of stealing my own design. I would have demanded that the book be thrown at me too, for being so quick to assume! It was an honest mistake I suppose, but boy I would have felt incredible silly had I actually filed all the forms to complain about someone selling my design without permission, just to find out the guilty party was me all along.

In reality there is no way to completely avoid misunderstandings, but there are ways to lessen the occurance of them if we're less eager to assume, and more mindful of giving the benefit of the doubt. This is not something I've ever been very good at, but the latest little jump to conclusions episode in my life really gave me pause for thought on why assuming is not the smartest thing one can do.



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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dirty Little Secrets

We've all got them. Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say we've all got stuff in our lives we're not proud of. This stuff might not exactly be "dirty" or secret, but it's stuff we just don't go around speaking freely about. Instead, it's stuff that we much prefer to keep between ourselves and the Lord.

Last night I watched a scene in a movie where the bad guys were chasing the good guys. The bad guys were these uber-depraved, foul-mouthed blood-thirsty anarchists, and the good guys were on a mission to save the world from such types. Well, the good guys got away and the leader of the bad guys was SO angry he screamed this awful, angry scream and turned to his right and drove his fist into the face of the fellow-bad guy-anarchist standing next to him. It wasn't at all funny, but I laughed.

I guess it was the semi-nervous chuckle of "hey, that seems way too familiar for comfort". Not that I've ever done such a thing, but I sure have been angry enough in my life to want to hit someone like that. I'm pretty sure that crosses the line of anger and falls right into the blind abyss of unrestrained rage - but yes - I'm familiar with it. I suppose a lot of people are.

I think the only reason I'm comfortable admitting that is because I haven't actually driven someone in that moment of rage, like that guy in the movie. Had I done it, I'd probably not want anyone to know about it because it's pretty hard-core stuff. The only reason I mention this particular sinful attitude at all, is because the scene in the movie made me really think about how we can probably all relate to really ugly thoughts or behaviors that we probably don't want anyone to know about.

So then I read something today that really stood out to me, and without going into particulars it was a news blip about a well-known, professing Christian that has been exposed as (gasp!) a sinful man. I know, we're all shocked and surprised since we all know real Christians are perfect and never sin. I wish the professing Christian in this news blip had been sorrowful over his sinful conduct, but instead he was just sorry he got caught (embarassed his family and church/ministry), and is now very busy making all kinds of excuses for it. I suppose that's a good example of the difference between horizontal repentance and vertical repentance.

This got me to wondering, as Christians, what kind of attitude should we have toward fellow professing Christians when they behave this way? Should we blog about them and call them all kinds of condescending, insulting things? Should we just keep our opinions to ourselves and make it a matter of prayer? Should we comment publicly but in a way that simply makes it crystal clear that such conduct is not pleasing toward God, and not genuine Biblical Christianity at all? Well, I have my opinion and other folks have theirs, I know that much. I know some folks that never publicly comment on things like this. I've also seen great examples of both blogging and trashing, and blogging and Biblically correcting without the trashing. Frankly, I don't see it showing forth much grace when I see Christians tear another Christian apart publicly, and yet I do see that more frequently than I see the other. I've even been guilty of doing it myself, much to my own shame. Still, every single time I see it, WITHOUT fail I think "what if that was me?" What if, for the sake of argument, the Christian blogger Carla did something really awful and the media got hold of it. What if it were just bad enough that even by the anti-God culture we live in, it was rotten enough to make headline news? Lets also say, just for the sake of argument, I was very repentant and truly sorry for what I'd done, and even gave a public statement saying as much (instead of excuses).

I honestly have to wonder, which Christian bloggers would show me grace and support. Which ones would contact me privately and pray for me, and with me? Which ones would de-link me in a heartbeat then proceed to tear me up on their blogs? Which ones might blog about me and my sin and blog with facts, with grace and yet with truth? For the record, I haven't done anything worthy of headline news (eating the giant Cadbury bar doesn't count, it just means I'm a chocoholic), but I honestly have to wonder how I'd be treated by the online Christian community, if I were the one in the headlines instead of some other professing Christian. It's pure speculation since we really can't predict how folks will act, but I have to admit, there are some blogs out there that would scare me, if it were ME in the news.

Now this is just a thought, and folks are sure free to blog however they choose to, but maybe the next time a professing Christian does something awful, before blogging about it you might want to ask yourself what Matthew 7:12 means where it says "treat people the same way you want them to treat you". I was reading some of the notes for this verse in my e-bible program and I really liked what this one says from Barnes NT Commentary:

"This command has been usually called the Saviour’s golden rule, a name given to it on account of its great value. All that you expect or desire of others in similar circumstances, do to them. Act not from selfishness or injustice, but put yourself in the place of the other, and ask what you would expect of him then. This would make you impartial, and candid, and just. It would destroy avarice, envy, treachery, unkindness, slander, theft, adultery, and murder. It has been well said, that this law is what the balance-wheel is to machinery. It would prevent all irregularity of movement in the moral world, as that does in a steam-engine. It is easily applied, its justice is seen by all men, and all must acknowledge its force and value."


This is an area that I've become more and more sensitive to over the last few years, and I suppose it's the reason it stands out so boldly to me, when I see folks falling off the "golden rule" bus. This is not to point fingers at anyone or say I'm better than anyone else, but it is to say that we have a standard set forth in Scripture and we'd all do well to aim harder for that standard.



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Sporked

What I've been up to in my spare time this past few days:



Famous Quotes... SPORKED!

Spork t-shirts for all ages! If you have a famous quote you'd dearly love to see SPORKED, let us know and we'll add it to the catalog.


Why, you might ask? For no other reason than, it's been fun. Funny thing is, the more people I told I was doing this, the more famous quotes came rolling in that were just begging to be sporked. I have most of them uploaded now, but there are several more coming. Likely, even more after that. :-)


(thanks to fellow #pros channel rats gracey, katybo, TFan and mutato for their slightly demented and yet highly entertaining sense of humor)



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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thank you for being who you are

It's odd, but it seems that the busier I am the more things I think about to sit and write about. Of course, I don't really have the time right now to do that. When I do have the time to sit for a few minutes lately, I seem to begin the fine art of second-guessing myself and end up deleting most of what I do write. I'm not really sure what to call it, but it seems these days I just feel like a seriously square peg in a world of round holes. Over the last year or so some of the things that once held my devoted interest now simply bore me, and other things that I really didn't give much thought to are the things I think about a lot. It wasn't something I set out to change, or gave any amount of thought to at all, it just gradually happened. Maybe that doesn't make a bit of sense to anyone reading, or maybe it does.

In any event, a few thoughts:

I do want to say thank you today, to my friend and noted apologist James White. First, I'm honored to call him friend at all. I remember the first time I heard of him, then saw his picture and read his bio (and this was 11 years ago) I thought he was a hard-core, dead-serious brainiac Calvinist. Truth be told, he kinda scared me too. Someone that smart can make you feel pretty stupid, without even really trying. Yet, getting to know him over the years and having the pleasure of meeting him face to face a couple of times has been a real blessing.

He did something yesterday that completely surprised me, when he posted a link to my store, and my REPENT design, specifically. Here is a brother who is completely engulfed in preparing his heart and mind for a God-honoring debate just hours away, with Prof. Bart Ehrman, and he takes the time out to blog a link to my store. He didn't have to do that, and he certainly didn't have to do it yesterday of all days, but he did. That was a pretty gracious thing for him to do, and I sure do appreciate it. I was blessed to sit in on live updates of the debate as it was taking place (by fellow #prosapologian channel rats who were there) and all reports are - the debate went VERY well. I'm very much looking forward to buying this dvd when it becomes available.

Another true friend I want to thank today, is a lady I call Rozie. She's the kind of friend that really listens when you talk, truly encourages you in the right way, and never tells you what you want to hear but what you need to hear. She's been a great source of wisdom and blessing over the last couple of years in my life, but in the last few weeks especially as I (and my family) go through all sorts of difficult stuff. If I could clone Rozie and give one of her to every person who needs a genuine friend, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Last but in no way least, a Happy Birthday wish to both my mommy, who is THE coolest mom in the universe, and to my oldest daughter Caryn, who makes me laugh AND drives me a little nutty once in a while. I think it's our kids jobs to drive us just a little nutty. Mom's birthday was yesterday and Caryn's birthday is today. No Caryn, I did NOT get you a puppy, and yes mom, you and grandma split that cake in half and have at it! You know, my life would not be what it is if these 2 very special ladies were not in it, and I am blessed to be related to them both.



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Sunday, January 18, 2009

God Bless Us with Repentance

I don't read a lot of blogs these days, but on the ones I have read, I've noticed the topic being the upcoming inaugural prayers where Obama will be sworn in as the US president. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what should be said, and what should not be said. Along with those opinions, are all kinds of reasons for why this and why not that.

God Bless America with soul shaking, tear producing, behavior altering REPENTANCEWell, I'm not a pastor so I don't preach. I'm also not invited to give an inaugural prayer. I can however say that I know a very outspoken and very well spoken brother that once said something so simple and yet so obviously profound, that it stuck with me. It was so good, I turned it into a t-shirt graphic. You know, there are just all kinds of vulgar, obscene, trashy graphics & logos on t-shirts, I figure why not make an effort to counter the balance with things that give God honor and glory.

I can pretty much guarantee that no one reading this blog is going to be offering a prayer that the entire world will hear, but in lieu of that, if you agree with this statement, you can wear it, share it, and help promote it. Sure to be a conversation starter no matter where you live, and it's definitely the message America needs to be hearing RIGHT NOW.



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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Big Weariness, Big Blessings

UPDATE BELOW

2009 is already shaping up to be a year of uber-gackiness. Not even a week into the new year and Kevin begins to suffer with what we later find out (after a trip to the ER) to be appendicitis. After an emergency surgery and him out of commission until February 9th, I am completely and thoroughly overwelmed with being SuperMom, quite literally.

We were supposed to have daughter #5's birthday last week but due to Kev's situation we put it off a week to give him more time to rest. We'd planned for her birthday for today then, and I wake up to a dead fridge. No running motor, thawing food in the freezer, the whole deal. So, I check the budget, find some grocery money and run off to the closest used appliance place and find one for sale. It's working, it's in pretty good condition so I buy it and come home make a call to my pastor to pick it up for me and bring it out. I may be SuperMom but even she can't single-handedly stick a fridge in a Chevy Cavalier's trunk.

Pastor and another dear brother from the church bring the fridge out, I put it where I want it for now and suddenly hear something I shouldn't be hearing. A humming, and an oddly familiar humming. I think to myself "you have GOT to be kidding me" as I open the door to the dead fridge to find the light on, and the motor running just fine. Not having a clue why it raised itself from the dead, I figure there is still clearly something wrong with it and I'm glad we have the new (used) fridge to keep the food. Did I say keep the food? Silly me. Silly, silly me.

The new (used, and all sales are final, thank you very much) fridge has been plugged in and running for roughly 8 hours now and yet, it doesn't work. The ice cream from Rachel's birthday was now Cream Soup, inside the freezer of the new (used) fridge. It worked just fine at the store, as the styrofoam cup in the freezer was filled with ice that wasn't at all melty, but I guess once it crossed the threshold of my doorway, it decided it wasn't going to work anymore. I know absolutely nothing about these things, so I'm hoping it will just take some time to regulate itself and maybe by morning it will work. If not, I now have 2 refridgerators that do not work, and a cooler full of food sitting the garage where it's so cold even I'd be frozen if I were out there. I can honestly say that today was the first time in 44 years I have ever cried over a broken appliance. It sounds silly, but it's true.

On the good news front (praise God for such blessings!), we were gifted yesterday with a new heater which we desperately needed, and 2 new snow shovels which we also desperately needed. For those who've been asking about Kev's recovery, he's doing pretty well but still can't get around too good and tires very easily. Nary a word from insurance so we're just trusting in the Lord for provision there. I'll be completely honest and say, it's really hard.

So just a little while ago I saw something on my friend Ann's blog and it brought me a great hope, a great encouragement and new tears to my eyes. Bittersweet tears I guess, partly from sheer exhaustion ( I actually excused myself from the party today and passed out for an hour upstairs - something I never do, but being SuperMom is starting to get really old), partly from weariness of life's struggles, partly from sweet brothers and sisters in the Lord who have already pitched in to help us and bless us. We're snowed in again and while I'm so incredibly tired of shovelling and missing church every week and seeing the look of disappointment on the kids faces when they realize we can't get out in time for church, this video on Ann's blog truly lifted my spirits. I hope it does the very same for you, no matter what your present circumstances.





UPDATE:

Well, just to update on the Great Fridge Disaster of 2009 (all life events should have titles, and theme music if possible)...

The used fridge I just bought was damaged in transit and lost it's ability to work properly OR be fixed. Appliance Repair Guy (which is actually Dryer Guy from a few years ago if anyone remembers him) said "it's garbage".

The other fridge is apparently fixable but requires a new thermostat and some digging around to find out where the leak is coming from. Appliance Repair Guy (henceforth known as ARG) rigged the old thermostat to work for now, and will call in the morning for a new one, but he has no idea how soon it will arrive or IF the rigged thermostat job will hold until it does arrive. It seems that someone decided to set the freezer temp to it's coldest position, which eventually caused it to freeze in place, and in turn messed up the thermostat, somehow. I don't know a thing about fridges and thermostats but we did indeed have a little talk with kids who like to mess with things. Ahem.

Now here's the greatest news of all: my church not only sprung for ARG to come and fix our fridge (if indeed it's fixable), but they're REPLACING the used one we just bought with another one (from a place with a warranty) AND they covered the cost of the one we just bought that died in transit, in the form of grocery store gift cards! Okay now I'm crying as I type this because kind, generous, gracious people make me cry. By the end of the week it's entirely possible I will have TWO working fridges, instead of two broken ones. It couldn't have happened at a worse time, with Kev off work for another three weeks, but we have been so blessed by our church that I'm deeply grateful. It's funny too because I keep telling Kev I'd like to have another fridge/freezer for when the grocery store has big sales, but I really never thought we'd get around to getting one for the next year or so.

What's more (yes, there's more!) is a dear sweet friend who also contributed to the relief effort has been a tremendous source of encouragement to me every single day, regardless of her very busy schedule. She just reminded me today that the Lord did not lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into dangerous territory just to say "okay I got you out, you figure the rest out on your own and I'll be over here". Of course I know He didn't leave them, but being reminded that He never leaves us without direction and hope is exactly the reminder that I've needed the last few days. It's funny, she could have said "Carla, shut up and stop whining" but she hasn't. Not once. She's been a cheerleader and a voice of hope and I appreciate her more today than I did before. Fine, now I'm crying again.

God is good. Even when life really stinks.


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Huh?

This playing nurse stuff really makes you busy, and VERY tired. Yesterday I snoozed away until someone finally came and woke me up at 9:45am. That just does NOT happen in my world, but it happened yesterday. Apparently, I was tired.

I have a minute today and I have some things on my mind that just really make me go "huh!?"

For example:

Strawberry scented underarm deodorant. Okay. I get the whole deodorant thing, I think we all do. But, STRAWBERRY? Come on, who really wants to walk around smelling like a strawberry? Baby powder, sport fresh, those I get. But the day I go around smelling like a mobile fruit salad, is the day I want to be locked in a safe room where I can't hurt anyone, or myself.

Booty calls. Do you know what those are? I didn't, so I had to ask. In fact, I had never even heard of one until a beer commericial on during a hockey game mentioned how manly and how truly Canadian you are (or something like that) if you passed one up, for hockey. Suffice it to say a booty call is when a young lady comes calling on a young man. You can figure out the rest. Yes like millions of other folks, I get my social/cultural education from Canadian beer commercials. I guess it would help if I hung around people who spoke that way, but I don't. Nor do I care to.

Yeah, those are the kinds of things that make me go "huh!?" Life is full of those, some are more serious than others but rarely does a day go by when I don't shake my head at something I hear or see.

Another one of those, is whats called hyper-connectivity. This is when you are plugged in 24/7, literally. Either your cell, blackberry, iPod, desktop, laptop, gaming console or all/one of the above, at ALL times. Sure we all love technology and sure it's quite handy and helpful, but good day in the morning Margaret, whatever happened to serious quiet time with just you and the Lord? You and your thoughts? You and nature? It's apparently gone the way of the cassette tape & VHS. I wonder what folks would do (the folks who are tech-junkies, I mean) if suddenly there was some kind of a electronic kaplooey (the technical term for what happens when electronic communications devices all go dead, like in an episode of 24 when terrorists gain control of the uber-chip that runs the American communications infrastructure... or something similiar) and none of those toys worked for a while? Honestly, I think they've become so dependant on them that they might not have a clue how to spend their day without them. Something is just very wrong with this when human beings become so reliant on metal and plastic and computer chips and parts.

I'm going birthday shopping this morning for my 10 year old, and I am not taking a cell phone, or any other device to contact anyone, or be contacted. I'm probably not even going to turn on the radio in the car. If that sounds creepy to someone, maybe that's the first sign you've turned into a tech-droid, and it's time to unplug for a while?

Could be.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Very Best Posts I've Ever Written

Over the last few days as I've been busy doing things around here, I've written what are probably some of my best blog posts, ever. It's true. Except, they're all still in my head and not actually here on the blog.

As I was shoveling the foot of snow in the driveway today, feeling a rip of pain up my back with every lift of the shovel, I wrote a really great blog post about how procrastination is truly a sinful thing, and how there are always some types of consequences to our sinful conduct. Had I not chosen to refuse to shovel yesterday, I would have only had half of the amount to shovel today, and would have likely never had those thoughts about procrastination and the consequences of sin.

In a similar way yesterday, as I was making phone calls and trying to get insurance papers all squared away, I wrote a fantastic piece on how one should conduct themselves if they happen to be in a customer service/receptionist type of a job. In that post, I confess that I did focus quite heavily on how NOT to conduct yourself, since I'd just dealt (twice) with a lady who was in desperate need of a serious attitude adjustment, or early retirement. I realize we all have bad hair days and might come off a little snarkified, but this lady was uber-snarked and only made my own bad hair day even worse. Not a good impression to leave, if you're in a position to deal with the public.

While doing some other things today I penned another fantastic post about charity, pride, knowing when to accept your limitations and knowing when to accept help. It was a great post full of realistic advice that everyone should take.

The other great post I wrote was about our culture and how only in our day, could a young woman sell her virginity for a cool 3+ million dollars and be quite proud of it. Only in our day would it be considered socially acceptable for a young woman to do this, and whats more than that, would it be considered a "cool" thing to do and something (no question about it kids, you mark my words) other girls are going to begin doing. All it takes, is zero amount of valuing your personal purity, an internet connection to any auction site, and the fortitude to go through with it, once your "one-nighter" pays up.

Interestingly enough, once I was done with that great powerhouse of a post, I wrote a scathing bit on how equally bizarre it is that in our day, one of the most popular young preachers is (in part) popular because he appears to have a rather disturbing pre-occupation with sex, and speaking quite openly about it on a very regular basis. Is there a connection somehow? Yep, I think there is, I just haven't figured out which came first, or if both attitudes are simply a product of the general degradation of our culture.

Yep, I've been busier lately than I've been in years, but I've found time to write some of the best blog posts you'll ever see from me. They're just still in my head.



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Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lord, Please Send More Fluffy Puffy

Canadian Winter

All it takes is that headline to conjure up all kinds of ideas for most folks. If you're Canadian you already know exactly what Canadian winter is, and if you're in a border state in the US you know what it means too. Interestingly enough, the further you get from the border in the states, the less most Americans know about Canada or anything that pertains to Canada (I didn't make that up, there are stats to prove it). Like weather. Yes, it's true that there are Americans that actually believe Canada has snow all year long, and yes there are Americans that also react with surprise when they hear it can get upwards of 90 degrees for days on end, in the summer. I guess they just assume Canada is another planet and/or never bothered to look at a map to see where we really are. In any case, back to Canadian winter and more specifically, snow.

If you're in a location that doesn't get a lot of snow, you probably don't realize that there are several different kinds of snow. You've probably never given it much thought because it's not something that you've ever had to deal with. So, while I don't pretend to be a meteorologist and while my terms may vary somewhat from theirs, lets go over some of the different kinds of snow, and/or freezing precip that falls from the sky.

Regular snow. Regular snow is just that, nothing exciting or particularly eventful about it. It's not windy, it's not 800 below, it's just snowing. Depending on how cold it is, this has the potential to be pretty good snowman/snowball snow.

Flurries. These are flakes that when they grow up, they'll be regular snow. Depending on how long it is flurrying, it can accumulate like regular snow.

Wet snow. This is the stuff that falls when it's either just at the freezing temp, or just below. Usually the flakes are huge, they pile up fast, they leave a layer of slush everywhere first before the accumulation starts, and it's the WORST kind of snow to shovel because its very heavy. Even a small amount of it is hard to shovel, as it accumulates quick on the shovel. This is not good snowman snow but it's really good snowball snow, if your goal is to really hurt someone with a snowball. It packs really hard, almost like a rock. This is also known as Sloppy Nasty snow.

Fluffy Puffy snow. This is hands down, the best snow of all snow. I don't know what the temp has to be to get fluffy snow, but this is the kind that is so light and powdery, it's truly the consistancy of powdered sugar (or as Canadians call it, icing sugar). It wont pack for snowballs but it's so light when you shovel it, you could almost push the shovel with one finger. At night, Fluffy Puffy snow is the kind that sparkles when the light hits it.

Stupid Ugly Snow. This is the kind of snow that's coming down so hard you can't see in front of your face, and/or accompanied by strong winds that will drive the snow into hard, high snowbanks. We have a lot of this kind of snow where we live. Kev decided to call it this when he said one day if you go out in it, you're just stupid, and if you get stuck in it or you have to shovel it, it just gets real ugly real fast. Hence, Stupid Ugly Snow. Also known as blizzards, whiteouts, snowbursts, and/or snowsqualls.

Snow Pellets. I don't know why they're called pellets since they don't look like pellets, but that's what its called. This is the kind of snow that looks like God opened a giant bean bag chair and dumped all the wee little styrofoam balls onto the earth. I call it Barbie Snowballs, since if you put one in a barbie doll's hand, that's about how big each "pellet" is. This kind of snow doesn't tend to accumulate much it just blows around all over the place.

Freezing rain. Now while this technically isn't snow at all, it should be. It's cold enough to snow, but this is precip with a serious attitude problem and refuses to turn into snow. Instead, it falls like rain but it instantly coats everything in a layer of ice. Trees, cars, buildings, pets... you name it, if it's outside it will be coated in ice. You simply cannot drive in this, and anyone who tries is either insane, or otherwise seriously mental.

This is especially dangerous if it's also accompanied by gusty winds. In the last few years we've had this kind of weather fairly often and it quickly brings down trees & power lines. I found this picture on google images by searching for freezing rain pics, and it's a very accurate image of what it looks like.

I thought of all of this the other morning when I was shoveling the driveway before leaving to head into town. I woke up later than I planned and I was trying to hurry so I was quite pleased to learn when I went outside, that the Lord had sent the Fluffy Puffy kind of snow, overnight. Shoveling was a breeze, literally, and I was done in no time.

If you're going to live where it snows a lot in the winter, if you don't have a snowblower, be glad when the Lord sends the Puffy stuff. The closer the end of winter comes, the sooner we'll be having freezing rain and massive flooding when the snow begins to melt too quickly. Fluffy Puffy stuff is a little blessing in the misery of Canadian winter.


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The Incredible Mind God Gave Us

A strange thing happened to me the other day. I'm not even sure what you'd call it, but it's one of those memories/feelings/de ja vue kind of things. It's not so much as a memory as it is a feeling, almost borderlining on a de ja vue. Does that make absolutely no sense whatsoever? I'm sure there's a pyschological term for it, but it's the kind of experience where a certain odor, or sound or visual can suddenly trigger an overwhelming feeling you once had, that you had long forgotten. Feelings such as that magical anticipation young children experience on Christmas morning, or maybe your first day of school, or the day you were married.

A lot of people can remember that they felt a certain way on important days, but most of us forget what that feeling actually felt like. It's not an ongoing experience but a fleeting sort of excitement so once it's gone and the moment is over, it's over. Maybe I'm the only person on the planet that this happens to (although I doubt it), but from time to time I will smell an odor (lilacs = childhood in gma's backyard) or hear a song (Summer Breeze = playing in the pear tree as a kid), or notice the lighting in the winter sky and for just a second, or maybe even a split second, I'm sort of transported to a different place, a different time, and a different feeling.

That's the best way I know how to explain it. In any event, I was driving into town the other day and something about the way the sun was filtering through the clouds in the cold winter sky instantly transported me back to a most pivotal day in my life, in the late winter of 1997. This was during the most painful and difficult time in my life, but something happened that winter day that changed everything. Just like the other day, it happened when I was driving somewhere to run an errand of some sort. I had been widowed about 18 months prior to this, and during that 18 months made some of the worst mistakes and horrendous decisions I've ever made in my life. To this day I don't remember much of that time, and I don't want to remember. The parts I do remember I've often wished I could forget, only because it was such a painful time. In any event, on that day I was going somewhere and feeling (I'm sure) like I always felt. Hopeless, sad, discouraged and desperately invisible. Feeling like that had been a daily thing for a long time already, but suddenly without any kind of effort on my part to cheer myself up or anything like that, this feeling came over me that indeed must have come from the Lord Himself. The best way to describe it I suppose is to say that it was a feeling of genuine hope. Suddenly, I felt like there might truly be a light at the end of the dark, lonely tunnel, and I had never felt this way before. Suddenly, I felt like my desperate grieving was coming to an end, when I had never felt that before either. Suddenly, I felt eager about life and this sort of flash of anticipation to see where life would take me, when I had definitely never felt that before either. It all happened so fast, that it was probably less than a few seconds but in those few seconds my countenance completely changed and I felt a solid and a very real hope. I started to cry, but it wasn't tears of shame, or grief, or pain or sorrow that fell down my face. They were tears of gratitude and thankfulness that the hardest part of my life was about to be behind me. I have no idea how I knew that, but I did and sure enough, it turned out exactly like that.

While I was driving a few days ago, and suddenly re-lived this feeling, it almost made me cry again. I can't explain how this works, and I wont even speculate on why or how it happens, I just know that it does, often, and that when it does it makes me consider how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. The mind is a fascinating place, and even though we are a fallen people with corrupt emotions and all of that, there is certainly plenty of evidence in these kinds of unusual experiences that the human race is a most complex and amazing creation. I only wonder if some day in Glory, we'll understand just how complex we truly are, and what these kinds of experiences really are.


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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Prayers for Kev (Updated)

UPDATE(S) BELOW

Sunday morning Kev and I got up, got the kids and ourselves ready for church, and 30 minutes before it was time to leave, we were both hit with a wickedly painful stomach thing. We both recovered later in the day, but then Kev's came back yesterday at work. He didn't sleep much at all last night, and was up most of the night with all the yucky symptoms the ER doctor will ask you about when assessing you.

So, since he can't drive, school is cancelled for the day and we're going on a field trip to the ER to have him seen, and hopefully diagnosed with a relatively harmless diagnosis, treated and sent home to rest and recover. That's our prayer, anyway. Would you please join us in prayer for him, along with my mom who's in surgery today?

UPDATE:

This is more or less the email I sent to friends/family just a little bit ago:

Kev's been feeling awful for days, we both had bad stomach aches Sunday and missed church but he was feeling better to go back to work yesterday. He came home last night doubled over in pain and spent the night throwing up and unable to sleep. This morning I insisted he go to ER and after some convincing on my part, he gave in.

After waiting forever (or 4 hours) he was seen, poked, prodded, questioned and taken down for an ultrasound. Doctor's suspicions and ultrasound results confirmed he has an inflamed appendix so they started him on IV antibiotics and called in the surgeon. Surgery is scheduled for 7pm tonight. Apparently we got him there not a moment too soon, but I have no idea what that really means since I don't know what happens for sure when your appendix bursts, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to know. I know he's in the best place he could be right now, and in God's hands. He's never had surgery before, never even had an IV before, so he was a little creeped out, to say the least. We did pray before I left to pick up the kids at Jessica's, but I felt horrible leaving him there. :-(

I'm at home with the kids now, and his sister and mom are coming up from London to be there with him before/after surgery.

I know I forgot something but for now, I think that's all I know. Please pray for him, his surgeon, and me and the kids. They're fine but I think I need to cry now.

UPDATE #2

Kev was taken in for surgery at 6:45. The kids and I prayed at 7:30 that it would go well, that Kev would be both comforted and comfortable and feel nothing, that it would be both uneventful and successful. Just a few minutes after we prayed the phone rang and it was Kev's sister telling us surgery was over, it was successful, uneventful and he was doing quite well in recovery. Needless to say there was much rejoicing and sighing in relief.

I just spoke to him on the phone, and I asked how he was feeling and he slurred his giggling response and said "I'm doin' stuff without even doin' stuff!" Apparently the pain medication is working just fine. He's excited that our pastor is bringing some books for him tomorrow, and his favorite coffee.

Praise the Lord, it all went very well. He should be home in 2-3 days and then it's just a matter of rest and recovery. Thank you all so much for your prayers, calls, emails, and expressions of compassion. He will be blessed to read them all when he gets home (and the drugs wear off).

UPDATE #3

I meant to update when I got home from the hospital last night but I had so much to do, then one thing led to the other and I just forgot. In any case, Kev had a bit of discomfort coming off the strong pain med and switching over to the not-so-strong stuff, at first. Eventually the new meds did kick in and he felt pretty good, all things considered. He's been surprised to have so many visitors and phone calls, and I hope that keeps up :-) it's cheering him up quite a bit. We still don't know when he's going to be able to come home or how long he's going to be off work, but I suspect we'll know more about that today. Thank you all so much for your continued thoughts and prayers and asking about him (and us).

Today, the kids and I are going to move the couch he always sits on. It's pretty "cushy" and for a non-post-operative person it's just fine to sit on. For someone with a healing abdominal incision however, it will be impossible for him to sit there, so it has to go. It should be fun to rearrange furniture and make him a new place to sit and rest while he's recovering.

The weather has been tricky for me the last couple of days, and since I cannot drive in the snow and ice we've been having to be very strategic about when we go into the hospital and how long we stay. We have heavy snow in the forecast today as well, so we'll be playing it by ear (and weather updates) as to when we can get into town. I'll update again later today when I know more.

UPDATE #4

Time seems to be getting away from me quite a bit lately, and I suppose that explains the lack of updates here on my two prayer requests for my mom and Kevin.

Mom first:

My mom's eye procedure was a success, and after 4 days of being face down during recovery she seems to be doing okay - although being face down for 4 days has been rather miserable. Thank you all so much for your prayers and thoughts about my dear mom.

Kev:

Kev was released from the hospital yesterday morning, and we spent the day fussing over him, feeding him pizza and then having movie night. He's moving really slow, learning how to cough or laugh without hurting himself (which isn't easy) and really glad to be home, on solid foods and in his own familiar surroundings. For those who've been asking about me, yes, I'm very tired, and very busy. It's just the way it goes, and will continue to go for a good month or more, until he's cleared to get back to his normal routine, and work.


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Thursday, January 8, 2009

School of Life

So, formal school lessons have taken a back seat this week due to Kev's emergency surgery and all the trips back and forth to the hospital. When we're not at the hospital, I'm at home doing the work of two people and that includes all the snow shovelling, fire-building, laundry, dishes, and all the regular household stuff. The kids have been helping as much as they can but they're pretty short and can only do so much. Needless to say, I'm pretty tired. And sore. Such is life.

Even though formal, sit-down lessons have taken a back seat this week, we've had plenty of learning experiences and lessons in various fields. In no particular order:

Elevator Etiquette

Yes we live in the country and yes the kids are homeschooled so no, they don't spend a whole lot of time in elevators. Neither did I when I was a kid, and I lived in town and went to a public school. Today in "school" the kids learned how to NEVER enter an elevator, and they had a very rude example to learn from. I guess I just assumed it was common knowledge that everyone understood you always allow the people ON the elevator to get off, before you try to get on. There is a 30something year old man in town who apparently never learned this, and shoved his way into the elevator as soon as the doors opened and we all attempted to get off. We had a little chat about this as we walked away.

Dementia Class

Kev is (was) sharing a room with 2 other men, until last night. One of the men is suffering from some form of dementia and last night he sort of lost it and created quite a commotion. Kev was telling us about it today and telling us some of the things the man said to him and the other man. The older man called in the nurse to tell on Kevin regarding all the awful things he was doing, and how the room was contaminated and there were little green things everywhere. The way Kevin was telling the story was sort of humorous but we had to remind the kids that this poor old man was suffering and he didn't realize what he was saying. As Kevin was telling us about it, the older man was taken into a room across the hall and I overheard the nurse assuring him that the men in the room (Kevin and the other man) had showered and been de-contaminated and everything was fine now. Kev only wishes he could have showered.

Yesterday while Kev was having some tests done I was waiting for him and there was an older lady (at least 90, maybe older) sitting in the hallway strapped into what looked like a large highchair. I don't know what her medical condition was but she was crying and holding a stuffed kitten and kept saying "I just want to go home!" then shaking the tray holding her in the chair. Clearly this lady was also suffering from some kind of dementia and she looked like a 2 year old in a 90 year old body. It made me cry. It made me think of how odd it seems sometimes that while God designed our minds and bodies to adapt and adjust and recover from all kinds of things, we are at the same time incredibly frail creations that can crack and break so easily. Sometimes we just don't bounce back.

With the older lady I was reminded of the time I spent working in the retirement home years ago. She was alone in the ER, no family, no friends, no one except the ER staff trying to comfort her as she waited for her ride to wherever she was going when she left there. Like the vast majority of the wonderful old folks in the retirement home, her family was no where to be seen. In a few cases the reasons were legit for the families to be absent, but in most cases it was simply a matter of abandonment. I can't remember how many times I wanted to cry at work and how many nights I did cry at home, thinking about how so many people with so much to offer could just be discarded by the very people they gave life to.

Organ Functions and the Way God Made Us

We had a really good talk (all of us) at the hospital today about what your appendix is, what it does, and how you can get along just fine without one. It was a good discussion in that we don't want the kids to grow up with the common idea that many people have about it just being one of those organs that we don't need. Being created by a perfect Creator, do we really want to assume He didn't have a purpose for the appendix? I thought this was a pretty good article on this subject.

First Hand Exposure to the Emergency Medical Profession

Of all the youngest 4 kids, only two of them have ever been in the ER as patients. Rachel about a year ago with an ear infection, and Samuel four years ago when he burnt his foot in a bonfire. Rachel was too sick to care about paying attention and Samuel was in too much pain to care (and too young), or even remember much about it. This week however they had a really good opportunity to see all kinds of people in action, taking care of other people, and how they do it. They've asked a million questions. "What does triage mean?", "what does that wall pump do?", "what is the iv for?", "why is papa's tummy bright orange?". I'm glad they ask these questions and I'm glad I know how to answer them. What's more, I'm really glad they've been able to see so many people dedicating their lives to helping other people. All the nurses, doctors, and various medical staff coming and going from room to room, helping people walk down the hall, pushing people in their wheelchairs or beds, and just serving others in so many different ways. I've always been incredibly impressed with those in the medical profession, and I'm really grateful that the kids have been exposed to it this week the way they have been. It's been a very good learning experience for them.

This has been a hard week in a lot of ways for all of us (Kev more than anyone) but there have been hidden blessings all over the place too. God is indeed very good.


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Lets Go Shopping

Sometimes I link here to my store's weekly e-flyer, and sometimes I don't. It goes out every Friday morning to the nearly 600 email subscribers (thank you for subscribing, if you're one of them) and I also post it at the store, for those who like to read it on the web. This week I thought I'd just go ahead and post it here at my blog as well, for one simple reason. Okay scratch that, for 2 reasons.

Reason number one is, Kev says I have to sell lots and lots of t-shirts now since he'll be off work for (likely) the next six weeks and on short term disability pay. So, if you need a cool new t-shirt, mug, zip hoody or know anyone with a birthday coming up, I sure hope you do consider shopping at Reflections Apparel.

The second reason is, I just had so much fun creating this ad last night. Yes, we are 24 fans and make no apologies for it. Kev will be home from the hospital just in time to catch the season premier of the new season of 24 (this coming Sunday night!), which has been off the air for FAR too long. It's a great show where good guys win and bad guys go to jail (or sometimes blow up, but this can be an occupational hazard when you're a bad guy). So, if you're a 24 fan too, or know someone who is... check out this week's e-flyer:


Reflections


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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Prayers for My Mom

UPDATED BELOW

I got an email message from both my sister and my mom Monday night, about my mom's pending eye surgery tomorrow. While my mom detailed the surgery and recovery procedures, my sister decided to shock me by telling me our mom's eye was popping out. I have no idea where she gets her smarty-pants sense of humor. My mom turning into Popeye, literally, is SO not funny.

I will spare you the really really really gross details, but the surgery is scheduled for Tuesday morning with a 4 day post-op recovery requiring my mom to remain face down in a special chair. Ugh, poor mom :-( I sure wish I could be there to help her, but my sister will be there so I feel better about that. Even if she does have a very twisted sense of humor and thinks Mom turning into Popeye is funny.

I appreciate in advance, your prayers for my mom during this time.

UPDATE:

With all the business of Kev being admitted to the hospital himself yesterday, I never had a chance to update this post.

I spoke to my sister about 10 pm last night, and she told me that mom's surgery went well, and that she's at home already (outpatient surgery) and resting in her new face-down-for-four-days chair/table/apparatus thingy. Apparently, keeping yourself in this position for 4 days is the hardest part, so your continued prayers for her would sure be appreciated.


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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Red Letter What?

Telling someone you're a Calvinist is frequently met with a couple of different reactions. Either folks look at you like you have 11 heads and wonder what in the world you're talking about, or they can't understand why you can't just be a good Christian and stop following after the teachings of man. It's a rather bizarre idea that people have, of what Calvinism actually is. What's equally bizarre, is that I know believers that actually have to (or feel like they have to) keep their theology rather low key even in their own families or churches, because they don't want to cause a stir among certain folks.

Yesterday my friend Steve blogged that he'd like to be known as a Red Letter Calvinist, and gave 5 solid and clear reasons why. I'm happy to stand with him on those reasons. Last week, another friend videoblogged his response to a letter his ministry received, and in that video response, pointed out the very clear and distinct contrast between a purely man-centered doctrine, and a God-centered one. I would encourage you to read Steve's post, and listen to what James has to say as well.






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Saturday, January 3, 2009

That Was Then

I was talking with a long distance family member on New Year's Day, and the subject of "when we were young" came up. Specifically, in regards to the ways younger people often celebrate New Year's Eve. When I was younger (much younger) New Year's Eve was celebrated for many years by going to the Comedy Underground in Seattle and catching the New Year's Eve show. Due to the fact that I was unsaved, and this was in every way a very worldly form of entertainment, I'm sure the comics were rather vulgar, although I really don't remember that part since it was part & parcel of that kind of life anyway. What I do remember is laughing until my face hurt, all night long. I truly enjoy clever comedy and this was always a great way to spend New Year's Eve. One night though, something changed.

Every year after the show was over, the group of us would walk from the club back to the ferry dock and catch the boat to go home. The year that things changed, was the year we were walking through waterfront Seattle at around 2 in the morning and I noticed how embarassing it was to be part of the crowd I was with. They were my friends, but they'd also been partaking of the vine, so to speak, and they were just being absolutely stupid. I'm pretty sure I told them so, too. They were loud, they were obnoxious and they acted as if they were the only people on the the planet that mattered. That behavior was suddenly very obvious to me and that was the year everything changed, and the Comedy Club plans for New Year's Eve came to an end. It wasn't long after that, that the Holy Spirit got hold of my heart and everything else changed as well, by God's unspeakable grace.

I'm pretty sure it's a different age for everyone, but there seems to come a time in life when you hit the magical age where you suddenly realize what did/enjoyed/thought "when you were young" no longer applies or works for you anymore. I think for me the magical age for some of these things is 44. At 24 I could have easily shovelled the driveway really quick before I went out to run errands, and it wouldn't have bothered me in the least. At 44 however, it's a different story. Several days ago I had to do this before I left to get groceries, and before I even finished shovelling I knew I was in trouble. I felt the telltale twinge in the center of my back that says "you are SO going to regret this later, you old goat!". Sure enough, I'm still regretting it, as my back sends that shooting/stabbing pain in every direction if I turn certain ways. I'm pretty sure that this will pass in a few days, but it's just another sign that I'm at "that age". Another sign that tells me that I'm at that age, was the mistake of having Kev's world famous chili, plus hot salsa dip & tortilla chips on Thursday, then spicy Italian sausage pizza on Friday. My tummy has informed me in NO uncertain terms that those days are definitely over, much to my great sadness.

It's a strange time in life. While some of these things bother me a little bit (I love spicey Italian, whatever will I do!?), there's also an odd comfort, acceptance and a rather hard to explain eagerness as I look forward to getting older. No, I am not one of those women who freak out over getting old, and that's just more proof that I'm a very strange person. I do however refuse to give up wearing t-shirts and jeans, or sweatshirts and comfy fleece pants, even if I can't eat hot & spicey stuff or shovel the driveway like a 20something year old.



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Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year - A New Venture

When I was a little girl, one of the things that always made Christmas special to me was my mom's dedication to her traditions. She didn't have a lot of them, and she wasn't necessarily pushy about those traditions, it was just the little things she did every year that made it such a wonderful time. One of those things that she did every year, was fill our candy ribbons and have them hanging by December 15th. They were very simple ribbons that held 10 candies, with a jingle bell at the bottom. On the very top were each of our names, my sister, my brother and mine. Directly under that, was a little poem:

December 15th till Christmas is the longest time of the year.
Seems as tho ole Santa Claus never will appear.
How many days to go? It's mighty hard to count!
So this little candy ribbon will tell you the amount.
Untie a candy every night, when the sandman casts his spell,
and Christmas eve will be here, by the time you reach the bell!

Yep, I typed all that from memory. It's easy to do when you grew up saying it every year, for 10 nights in a row, with your brother and sister. When we were little, mom would read it with us, and when we got older she'd insist we read it outloud together before we could untie one of our candies. Years later when I grew up and had kids of my own, mom made brand new candy ribbons for them, and I fell right in line with mom's tradition and insisted they read it outloud also. :-) Moms get to do stuff like that. When I had more kids than I had ribbons, I had to make new ones for them, and I changed the poem just slightly to replace Santa Claus with Christmas Eve. We don't do the "Santa" thing, so the change just made sense.

While lots of folks have all kinds of nifty little ways to pass the days at Christmastime, most everyone who's ever seen our candy ribbons hanging in our home during the holiday season comments that they've never seen anything like these before. I never realized how uncommon these particular things are, until I googled it last year about this time. I've seen a few of them online, but none that look like these.

Christmas Candy RibbonI got to thinking about it, and how the tradition holds such a warm spot for me in Christmas Memory Lane. After talking it over with my mom, I decided that I'd like to make these available to other families who might like to start their own fond family tradition this way. Well, I did a lot of talking about it and thinking about it but I never actually did anything about it all year long. This year when my own kids recited the poem each night, I found some motivation to actually do something about my idea.

You can find these cute little ribbons right here at Starla's Handcrafted. This new venture is named after both my mom and myself, a combination of our names :-) So far I only have the one color on display, but will be adding red, blue and maybe other colors as well. Deep purple has been suggested, but I'm open to various colors and thankfully the fabric store has every color under the rainbow. I love making these, and I only hope they bring other families as much fun as they brought to mine as a little girl, and bring to my own kids every year. It's a small thing, but it's the small things that make for dearly treasured childhood memories. I do hope these are enjoyed as much as I am enjoying making them. If you like these little items, please do consider telling your friends and sharing the link?

Oh, and Happy New Year everyone!




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