Quick, before I get Sidetrack'd

Archive for March, 2007

In the middle of the night

Thoughtfully penned on March 30th, 2007 and generally concerning E, God's at Work in My Life, Motherhood

At 1:59 a.m. Matt and I were awakened by cries coming from Little’s room. I realize that in many households this is not unusual, but when it happens around here you can be pretty sure that there is a problem. Matt jumped out of bed, literally, and went to Little’s rescue. It seems that she had her leg stuck between the slats on her crib and when she moved the rest of her body that leg just wouldn’t come along like it should. Her Daddy gently freed her leg and then picked her up to comfort and reassure her.

She went back to sleep pretty quickly; it took me a while. When I’m having trouble going to sleep I often pray. As I lay there in the dark praying I thought about how our Father is always there; it doesn’t matter what time of day or night we call out, it doesn’t matter if we’ve just talked to Him or if it has been awhile, it doesn’t matter if it’s the time we usually talk to Him or if we’re calling out in fear, discomfort, pain, desperation. He is always there with open ears, open arms, an open heart. He is always there to pick us up, to comfort us, to reassure us.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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In the market for a vacuum?

Thoughtfully penned on March 30th, 2007 and generally concerning Blogging News, Housework, Sidetrack'd

I hear that Dyson vacuums are wonderful, and I have thought that it would be great to have such a hardworking vacuum. It does do all the work itself, right?

Anyway, Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom are giving all of us a chance to win the new Dyson Slim model. If you are interested, head on over to their place and check out the contest rules.

A few of my favorite things

Thoughtfully penned on March 29th, 2007 and generally concerning Friendship, Motherhood, Satisfaction, Sidetrack'd, Spring

I’ve been thinking lately about some of the things that I would consider my favorites. This is not a comprehensive list, but in the spirit of Spring, here ya go (in no particular order)…

1. The warm days of Spring
2. Tulips and daffodils
3. Fresh creamed corn with fresh tomatoes
4. Budding and blooming trees
5. Little cuddling up on my chest
6. Relaxing with Matt
7. Sitting on the seashore or in the mountains marveling at God’s handiwork
8. Laughing with Matt about silly things
9. A good movie
10. Being outside
11. Re-reading Sense & Sensibility for the upteenth time
12. A good book – the kind that absorbs me and I don’t want to put down
13. Talking to and laughing with girlfriends
14. Little’s grin and laugh

These are things that make me feel good, that relax me, that I could enjoy over and over and over again. These are things for which I thank God.

Goals? We don’t need no stinkin’ goals

Thoughtfully penned on March 27th, 2007 and generally concerning Goals, Legacy, Matt's Hard Earned Cash, Satisfaction

Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks, months, or years) where the same topic seems to come up over and over again in various forms and in various situations? I’m having one of those seasons, and the topic seems to be discipline and self-control.

It all started back at the first of the year when I was convicted of my need to set some goals. Let me make it perfectly clear that, although I wrote them out, I have lost site of said goals – as well as the paper on which they were written. Coincidence? I think not.

Over the last few months I’ve received gentle reminders, repeatedly, that I might need to buckle down in some areas. Over the last few weeks the nudges are getting a little less gentle. I did make an attempt with my spending hiatus, which has gone pretty well; but I really feel like I’m being called to look at and work on my self-control across many areas of my life, not just my discretionary spending.

So, I am going to make a new list of a few things that I would like to accomplish or get better about doing over the next few months. Hopefully, I can manage not to lose them this time!

I know God has something to teach me through this, or something he is calling me to do. As I strive to get better in these areas I will continue to pray through it and pray for strength and determination. Do you have any goals you are working toward? Is God calling you to greater things?

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Spring Reading Thing

Thoughtfully penned on March 23rd, 2007 and generally concerning Blogging News, Sidetrack'd, Spring

Yes, it is about books once again; as you know, I *heart* books. One of the things I enjoy about the mommy-blogging realm is that I can always find new book recommendations; my “to-read” list is longer now than it has ever been. And now, Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting a Spring Reading Thing. The challenge goes from March 21 through June 21 (thus, spring reading thing). To check out what others are reading and to get some book ideas for yourself click on the logo above.

I thought I would join in and set some reading goals for myself; I’ve chosen 4 non-fiction, 5 fiction, and 6 books of the Bible. I reserve the right to add to, change, or alter this list at any time and in anyway over the next 3 months.

The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer by Mark D. Roberts
1776 by David McCullough

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (re-read)

Bible Reading:
Proverbs (I’ve been reading Proverbs throughout March)
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians

To check out what others are reading and to get some book ideas for yourself click on the logo above.

A bit of randomness

Thoughtfully penned on March 23rd, 2007 and generally concerning E, Matt's Hard Earned Cash, Sidetrack'd

An update on my spending hiatus:

- I have not purchased anything for myself since March 1st. I have been tempted (and have a list of things I will get in April :-)), but have remained strong
- I broke down and purchased something for Little on Monday. I was in Children’s Place buying a birthday gift and got Little a pair of sunglasses (I had to in order to get the 2 for $5 deal; that’s a good reason, right?)
- I have not organized Little’s closet.
- I realize that I can go a few weeks without buying clothes or shoes.

A few odd details, none of which really warrant a post of their own, that someone (like a grandmother) might be interested in:

- Little has figured out how to “cruise” around her Leap Frog table – she can’t pull up to it yet, but is trying
- Little has started sitting herself up – time to lower the crib mattress as far as it will go
- Little got her leg stuck between the slats on her crib after the bumper pads were removed – those darn bumper pads; can’t live with them, can’t live without them
- Little thought it was hysterically funny this morning when I said the word “boo” – she sat in her highchair and cackled as long as I kept saying it – there is nothing quite like hearing a child laugh
- Little seems to have no interest in eating her cereal…or fruit (odd, huh?) – but she’ll scarf down some veggies
- Little still doesn’t have those crazy teeth we keep believing are soon to come

Some really cute things I’ve found recently that would make great gifts for a child:

- Cute ballet skirts at Katchy Kids
- Adorable beaded socks at The Sock Shop
- Chalk mats, art smocks, and cool hats at Aunt Art
- Neat plush toys at Monster Factory

Some thoughts on satisfaction

Thoughtfully penned on March 21st, 2007 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life, Satisfaction, The Glory of God

Note:There are the seeds of several posts sprouting in my mind right now. The hard part is getting them developed and written in a cohesive and comprehensible fashion. Hopefully this means I’ll be posting regularly the next few days, but that is always dependant on life with Little.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” ~ John Piper

This is currently my life quote. It spins through my head several times a day; especially if I see or hear the word glory or satisfaction. As I seek to glorify God in all things I realize that it is something best accomplished by satisfaction – being filled daily by the presence of God.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ speaks these words (Matthew 5:6 ESV):

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

I am currently involved in a Bible study called Living Your Life as a Beautiful Offering by Angela Thomas. In this week’s lesson (on Matthew 5:6), Angela defined righteousness as, “the right living that comes out of your desire for God.” Based on this definition, my desire for God leads directly to Him being glorified in my life. If my main God-given purpose in life is to glorify God, then this leads to a “life loop” – I hunger and thirst for righteousness; I am filled to satisfaction by Christ; God is glorified in my satisfaction; seeing God glorified increases my hunger and thirst for His righteousness. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing – changing diapers, talking to my neighbor, cleaning house – if my hunger and thirst are being filled by Christ then God is being glorified.

Satisfaction is being fully content. So, can we be truly satisfied here on earth? I think we have moments of satisfaction, full contentment, and then life happens. It is tough to be content when the baby is screaming and you can’t figure out why, when you are going through financial struggles, when you have to report daily to a job you hate. I am given hope though, in Phillipians 4:11 Paul says, “[F]or I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Full and eternal contentment will only be realized when I see Christ face-to-face, but while I’m here on earth I can make the choice every day to be content “in whatever situation I am.”

Contentment is not the natural state of my heart. I am constantly falling prey to the illusion of the American life that is based on materialism and consumerism (another post for another time). Contentment is a daily – even hourly – concious choice that has to be made, but if I can keep my eyes on Christ I can constantly and actively be filled to satisfaction.

“The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.” Proverbs 13:25

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More about the books

Thoughtfully penned on March 17th, 2007 and generally concerning Sidetrack'd

It hasn’t been a week very conducive to blogging (read: I couldn’t think of anything that seemed to be worth anyone’s time to read). Little and I made a trip to my parents’ house the first part of the week to visit with my brother, SIL, and nephews. We had lots of fun and enjoyed getting to spend time with my brother and his family; we don’t get to see them very often.

Anyway, since I don’t have much of interest to say right now, I will leave you with another meme about my Bookish tendencies (I’ve seen this one a few places including Rocks in My Dryer and Baseballs and Bows). I will be back next week and will, hopefully, have something worth saying.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback? trade paperback (paperbacks are much easier to read in bed)

Amazon or brick and mortar? usually bricks-and-mortar, I enjoy roaming the store with Matt; I use the library much more often than buying, though

Barnes & Noble or Borders? B&N because it is closer (Borders is about 30 minutes away); when we lived about equi-distant between them we visited both

Bookmark or dogear? bookmark (meaning whatever piece of paper, and occasionally a real bookmark, is at hand), dogeared books make me crazy

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random? not alphabetized, but not exactly random; our books are mostly grouped by genre (Christianity, literature, children’s, computing, etc.)

Keep, throw away, or sell? First, I must say that I can’t believe there are people out there who throw away perfectly good books. When we lived near a good used bookstore I would sell; mostly I try to only buy books that I would like to keep.

Keep dustjacket or toss it? Keep it – there is a reason that printers put dustjackets on books, the spine is usually too ugly to stand on our shelves.

Read with dustjacket or remove it? usually remove it, although occasionally I will leave it on to use as a bookmark

Short story or novel? I am all about novels

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)? If I read short stories they are usually collections

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Harry Potter, definitely. I tried to read the first Lemony Snicket book and just couldn’t get interested.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? I try to make it to a chapter break (or at least a logical break in the story), but sometimes I read until I can’t hold my eyes open anymore

“It was a dark and stormy night� or “Once upon a time�? Either as long as it is a good story with good character development

Buy or Borrow? Both – if it is a book I want to keep or I can get it for a good price I’ll buy, usually I borrow from the library or a friend

New or used? Used most of the time

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse? All of the above, but I prefer to read on recommendation

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Tidy ending

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading? Anytime I can reading, but almost always before I fall asleep at night

Stand-alone or series? A lot of times I enjoy series because there is more room for character development, but most of the books I read are stand-alone

Favorite series? Anne of Green Gables or Chronicles of Narnia

Favorite children’s books? “Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”, “Where the Wild Things Are” (I really like the illustrations), and “John, Paul, George, and Ben” (my newest fave)

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Wendell Berry’s Port William books

Favorite books read last year? Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (I read these about once a year), favorite new book was probably The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

Favorite books of all time? Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma (are you noticing a trend?), Little Women, Bible (of course) – there are many that I really, really like, but these are probably the faves

Least favorite book you finished last year? I try to forget the bad ones as quickly as possible

What are you reading right now? The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis, The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning (very, very slowly), and I just finished Cider House Rules by John Irving (re-read)

What are you reading next? I have a huge “to read” list right now, so I’ll just have to wait and see what the library has on the shelves

On friendship

Thoughtfully penned on March 9th, 2007 and generally concerning Friendship

I’m sure you have seen the e-mail forward that says friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I can name several people who have been in my life at one time or another that fall into the reason or season categories. There are only a very few people that I consider lifetime friends.

A lifetime friend is someone who is always there. You might lose contact for awhile, you might not see or talk to each other for several years, but when you do meet again your friendship picks right up where you left it. It is comfortable to reconnect with a lifetime friend; it is satisfying somewhere deep in your soul to have this person in your life again. These are the friends that you miss deeply when they aren’t actively a part of your life; the friends you dream about; the friends that pop into your thoughts when you least expect it.

My friend Pat is a lifetime friend. She and I have been friends since I was a child. This wasn’t your typical childhood friendship, though; Pat is about 20 years older than I am. She has pictures of me in Sunday School when I was 2 or 3 (she was my teacher), and she has pictures of me at the beach with her children when I was 15 or 16. She was one of the first people (besides my roommates) who knew I had kissed Matt, and she made our wedding cake 4 years later. I baby-sat her children and she was at my baby shower.

When I was about 10 years old I started spending a lot of time with Pat and her family. She had just had her first child and had recently moved into the house she and her husband were building. I remember being at her house before it had baseboards, interior doorknobs, or a porch. I remember both of her children as infants (they are in high school now, the oldest is a Senior – that makes me feel old!). I remember laughing together, singing together, watching movies together, cooking together, and eating together.

I was at her house at least 1 weekend per month for several years. In my Junior and Senior years of high school I spent less and less time with Pat; when I started college I only saw her for a few minutes here and there. After I got married and moved away we pretty much lost contact all together. Pat e-mailed me again not long before I found out I was pregnant with Little; I was so happy that I was able to share that time of my life with her.

Pat and I had a lot of fun over the years – more memories than I could ever record in one place (and more than anyone but me would care to read) – but she also taught me a lot about life and about loving God. Her house was a safe place for me to share all of those things that a young girl sometimes has trouble sharing; we talked about friends, about boys, about the past, and about the future. Over the years she showed me so much of her heart for God – both in conversation and in action; she’s had a true and lasting influence on my walk with Christ. I am blessed to call her friend.

I pray that my daughters will have friends like this; women who take interest in their lives and walk beside them through the rough years of middle school, high school, and beyond. I pray that I can be “Pat” to someone’s daughter.

I love you, Pat, and I will always cherish our friendship.

It’s all about the books

Thoughtfully penned on March 7th, 2007 and generally concerning Sidetrack'd

Many of you know that I am something of a voracious reader; my habit has been slowed a bit by Little’s arrival, but I still knock out a few books a month. So, I was surfing around the other day and came across the following book meme on Ice Cream Mama’s blog and thought I would see how I stack up against this list. I would enjoy hearing which ones you’ve read (and enjoyed or not) and any suggestions for books you think I might like.

Here are the rules:

Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read (bold and blue I’ve read multiple times)
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.

Here is the list:

1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2.Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3.To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10.A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12.Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel) started it but couldn’t get past the first few pages
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Biblehaven’t read it in entirety
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100.Ulysses (James Joyce)