Wednesday, October 28, 2009


God is really working on me this week. On something I would have sworn I did NOT need to work on. I would have been wrong. It is funny all the innocent ways he has brought this to my attention...some reach all the way back to summer and then forge a little Hansel and Gretel crumb path to now.

My name is Janice and I am a grudge holder. I can't even believe it. We tease my sister, Pam, for bringing up certain sock incidents of long ago. We laugh and she laughs and we tell her she never really got over it. We all laugh until we cry big fat tears that just won't stop and it is lots of good fun that is funny. Then I adjust my self-righteous hat because I am not a grudge holder. Or at least, I never thought of myself as one. Forgive and move on has always been my motto. AND, on some level, this IS true. HOWEVER, on the most important level, it isn't the least little bit true.

I call my grudges "wisdom". I KNOW how so and so is because 6 years ago she did this and while I have forgiven her completely, I won't put myself in that position again! I haven't forgotten what happened-but I do forgive her. God's mercies are new every morning, my mercies? I am not sure I grant any. I have always thought I did but I am now positive that I have not. As I flip back through my grudge Rolodex, I realize it is brimming. If I pull out a grudge card on one of those people, the hurt is so fresh, it hurts me all over again. Heaven help us all if I have more than one grudge card on someone!! I relive the hurts. AND, I am cautious. I am different with that person. I am GUARDED. The sad thing is, I know I have hurt people-intentionally and unintentionally-all my life. I sure don't want to think of them being guarded with me over a mistake. I want them to extend mercy, realize I am a work in progress and carry on as though nothing ever happened-a clean slate.

I am thankful that this past Monday, one of my friends pointed this out to me. She did not realize just how strongly God would use her words. I needed someone to speak the truth to me so desperately. I am amazed that she did, it would have been so much easier to say, "Yep Janice, I can't believe so and so did that-what a horrible thing to do to you." I really wanted her to say that, to 'take my side'. Actually, I did not even care if she took 'my side' as long as the hurt was acknowledged. She just kept saying, "Why can't you just be free from it? Why do you allow the hurt to continue? Why can't YOU just move on as though it never happened REGARDLESS of what SHE does?"

Why, indeed. Why would I choose to pack around grudge luggage? I think for me it has been the power. I feel powerful and "better" to constantly have been a victim of someone. Especially if that whole jealousy flaw thing is worked into it. I am jealous of Goody Grudge. Goody Grudge is smarter than me and has more friends. I shall never forget all the mistakes Goody Grudge has made that hurt me. I will remember them often. I will meditate on them every time I am around Goody Grudge. I choose not to be friends with Goody Grudge. MY WISDOM thinks it is not wise.

PRAISE GOD. My shoulders feel 1000 times lighter. I am going to prayerfully allow God to remove my grudges. I don't think this will be a simple process, after all, I've been storing them up for years. Grudgectomies probably take a little time to fully 'heal'. Now, as I read through, "How to Love Someone You Can't Stand", it will be like reading it for the first time. AND MAYBE, just maybe, my list of those people I can't stand will not only be shorter...perhaps I can do away with the list altogether.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I do not like change. I like the idea of it but not the actuality. I prefer things to stay the way I like them/have gotten used to...maybe I could tweak a few things in the people around me-HA! Lately though, it has become so painful to stay the same, that I am forced to logically think through the areas in my life that need to be changed. I am keeping the serenity prayer handy and focusing on my own personal changes.

I have touched on them in a recent post. The first one is to be more mindful of how I treat others. I am going to dig out "How to Love Someone You Can't Stand" again. Some day, I might not have to read it anymore but for now, it is still a mainstay in my personal development. My specific goals right now are intentionally treating people with respect and appreciation. This is hardest here on the homefront. Especially since I have a GIANT CHIP on my shoulder that says, "I AM UNDER-APPRECIATED!" I have asked God to surgically remove it but you know He prefers the slow personal growth type approach. ARGH! The second is to treat myself better. Good food, rest, exercise, better priorities. Do not allow myself to be drawn into things that are not good for me. Cut back on TV watching. Allow myself the privilege of being appreciated when it does come in saying thank you when a compliment is extended.

I am lousy at change when it involves me changing. However, if you have some areas you need to tweak, call me-I'm excellent at those!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Dear Angy and Necia,

Thank you so much for organizing our SES reunion. Elementary school packs a wallop of wonderful memories for me. I know our group was small tonight, but it truly felt like family and I had so much fun. I eagerly anticipate the next time we can all get together.


Your School Chum

Dear Brian,

Making someone laugh while they are eating an ice cream cone should be against the law. The fact that I had my life flash before my eyes while waiting for the ice cream in my throat to melt justifies the law. I should know not to eat or drink while chatting with you. We are just too darn funny!



Dear Ryan's,

I haven't really liked you since that coupon incident of 2006. It was a bad experience to be sure. The only good thing I remember about it was that Patches was my waitress and we caught up with each other a bit.

Tonight was yet another night in a series of unfortunate dining events at your restaurant. Perhaps I set my standards too high, but I am always so disappointed with my meal at your dining establishment. I won't say I hate you, because that would be wrong. Instead I will say that I hate your ways (insert raucous laughter on this inside joke). By that, I mean that you make too many foods. I think your plan is that everyone will find something that they like. Instead, it just means that you make a whole bunch of stuff that REALLY does not taste good.(AND MY BILL WAS OVER $16 for TWO people and one of those was a kid's meal!!!!) It is now important to point out that I am not picky. I like almost all types of food. It's not me, it's you.

Next, how hard is it to keep your bathroom tidy? I eat out every chance I get and every bathroom I have ever been in at a restaurant has been tidy. There is usually even a nice air freshener that makes the place smell clean. Even roadside gas stations have you beat. The bathroom tonight was FILTHY. Even the sinks were, well GROSS. I was repulsed by the solids in the sink that I did recognize and also by the ones I did not. It is a sad day when one feels dirtier AFTER washing their hands. Thank goodness we had just loaded up on PPS hand sanitizer(holla-hula girl!) last Thursday.

So, Ryan's, it is over. I am afraid I cannot give you any more chances. However, if my SES chums decide to use your meeting room again, I will be there with bells on. I just won't eat, drink, or use your bathroom facilities.


Disgruntled Customer

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Observations

  • This morning, my van looked like it had dressed up for Halloween-as a pile of pine needles. We have two large pine trees in our front yard and they are seriously molting! I still remember our first fall here when we freaked out -we thought the trees were dying because we awoke one day to pine needle central. Now we enjoy our needling. It is fun to rake them up and play! Excellent kindling for fires, also. I just wonder what our vehicle driving down the road must look like to all you non-pine people, the only clear spot made by the wipers. Of course, once we get up to speed, we cause a nice pine-needley rain.

  • My father-in-law saved my butt with a butt tonight. I left the house this morning in a flurry of flurriness. We had yet another overly scheduled day in a series of overly scheduled days. Edgar Allen Poe plus science co-op plus somebody needing some fabric for a Halloween costume design. By the time piney van pointed back home, I realized two things: I had not put the roast in the crock pot. AND. Roast is very hard to cook quickly. Then hubby rang me to report that my father-in-law smoked us a pork butt. What a perfect day for God to bless us through him. YEAH!

  • My daughter loves to create things. With a sewing machine. (But CERTAINLY not limited to that.) I struggle with it because I cannot sew. Yet I am still sure she is doing it incorrectly. She is not following all the right instructions. She is not using a pattern. She has not completed a comprehensive sewing class. Sure, we have enrolled her in a few classes through the years, so I know she can work the sewing machine and I am happy to see her enjoy it. SOMEBODY(maybe it is me) just needs to loosen up a little and let someone else enjoy a hobby already.

  • I am not only a people pleaser, but I also like to organize people. I enjoy it when I am in control even if things don't always go exactly as planned. This is not always a good thing. Satan uses my GOD-given administrative gifts for evil if I allow it, as in- I am frequently frustrated with things I have no control over. This means my feelings are often hurt when I am not asked or invited to be involved with things. This means I feel shunned and rebellious when I am not in charge. This means I am often jealous of whoever is in charge. Sometimes this jealousy leads to maliciousness-mostly only inside my own brain, but occasionally free flowing. This is a serious problem that is eating away at my very soul. In my soul-searching inventory, it has top-billing. I don't like confessing it. However, as I have gotten older and wiser, one thing continues to ring true; by the time I am ready to confess a sin, everbody done knowed it.

  • I had an epiphany today. I have always fallen right smack in the middle between two crowds-fitting everywhere and nowhere. Friends with everyone and no one. I had thought that was just my lot in life until recently. It occurred to me in an almost mind-numbing way, that I am still trying to be a "cool" kid in most areas of my life. That I still seek desperately to be a "popular kid" despite being SURROUNDED with TRUE friends that LOVE ME and whom I dearly love. What kind of sickness causes a person to jeopardize fellowship with people who love me, want to help me be a better person, love my children, respect my parenting, respect my marriage and spouse for people who consistently offer me none of the above? I am a good friend who has many good friends. That is a blessing and ENOUGH already with trying to make the whole world like me!! Everyone isn't going to and it is REALLY OK. (Truly accepting that is the hard part.)

  • I am looking in the mirror and giving myself a Stuart Smalley(The only good thing Al Franken has ever done!) pep talk: I'm good enough, smart enough and doggone it, people like me.

  • Lastly, I have had me on a back-burner for so long, I have let the pot run dry. My character defects have about taken over our family and shipwrecked us all. When jumping in to save the world, one must first make sure to put on a life preserver.(Some self-esteem would be a nice place to start, heehee.) As I continue to declutter our "stuff ", I'm taking a little time to ask God to help me find myself again-in a positive way. I am asking Him to help me declutter some attitudinal crap.

Be patient, random observations usually lead to good stuff.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Unthinkable!!

I can hardly believe this. As I type, my hands tremble. It is almost impossible to wrap my brain around the idea. My husband bought...GENERIC TOILET PAPER. I blame myself. I could've gone in and got it myself, but my pampered behind rested in the van. I did send in my faithful assistant, Lilly, but it was no help. She warned Hubby in line that Mom gets Charmin Ultra and would not approve of DG's version of paper for the toilet. To no avail, DG brand was purchased.

The funny thing is, I can't really tell much difference. We may make the switch permanently because my butt must not be as sensitive as it used to be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Somebody Just Needs To...

fill up the glass already!! I can't say I am a glass half-full or glass half-empty person. I'm more of a just fill up the glass already person!! OR, I have also been known to be an, "I only wanted half a glass," person.
Lately though, I have become an even bigger cynic than I might have ever been. I am almost certain that things will not turn out well and I make all sorts of contigency statements.
"Oh well, it could've been worse!"
"We should just count our blessings."
"Well, I'm just glad ____ didn't happen!"
"Sometimes good people do bad things."
"Well, you know, we do live in a fallen world."
I am trying to be optimistic. I really am. I count my blessings so often that I have them in alphabetical order. It's just that lately, people seem to suck more than they ever have. Not all people mind you, most of those afore mentioned blessings are people. BAD people suck more than they ever have. They don't have any ethics at all. It used to be that even crooks had guidelines they crooked by. Did I mention our church was broken into? How bad does that suck? Not just our church, a whole lot of churches in our county. Even good people are crooked when it suits them. Not completely, mind you, my best example is in the field of construction. It used to be that bricklayers, cabinet makers, tilesetters, etc. were artisans. They were proud of their reputation and did what they could to do their best work ever. Have you had work done lately? This is not the case anymore. Some people still have "IT", but most do not. It truly pays to be a do-it-yourselfer.
I believe people are mostly good, just often misguided. I believe the balloon boy's parents really just want to be famous...the boy was safe, right? Are we so star struck? Yes, we really are. Studies show that our children would rather be famous than just about anything. It is hard for me to imagine, this desire to be famous. I have this deep burning desire to be anonymous. The closest I would want to be to famous is to be a famous is a different kind of fame. People aren't sure about your notoriety. I don't like being in pictures or videos. Once I made the cover of our local paper-shopping for ornaments the day after Christmas. I was furious. My prayer was that no one would know me. And yet, my husband loves to be 'famous'. We have quite a collection of papers and recordings of news, performances, etc. My kids love to be photographed! The other day at the library, someone wanted to photograph us utilizing the library. I signed the release and then bowed out "to sharpen my pencil".
I am trying so hard to 'see the bright side'. I guess some things are just embedded too deeply. I think I belong in the 'Not so sure club' that Ziggy is in.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I know we all get the same 24 hours as everyone else, but lately it seems like I have 32 hours worth of stuff to squeeze into 16 hours. I am looking forward to falling back just to get an extra hour. I bet I won't even notice it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Book Review: Called To Worship

When I first received this book, I thought to my self, "UH-OH!" This is not a book for Janice, this is more of a Mike or Terrell book! However, I trudged on through. AND, I discovered it was a perfect book for Janice. Especially right now, I am in a weird place with my faith/God relationship. I have been really disillusioned with the concept of church as a whole. Not my church in particular because I love it and think we are very unique in our family-ness.

However, in relation to witnessing to a world that doesn't know Christ, church seems to not be the best way of reaching out. Churches as a whole get a bad rap, in some ways, a much deserved rap. We are paying for the sins of ourselves and the sins of our fathers. Sins which include treating others as 'not quite as good as we are', making visitors feel unwelcome, keeping our own sins a secret while nailing other people to the wall over theirs and so many more. Mostly though, our biggest sin is making our churches collections of people 'just like us'.

This books strips away all of that and puts worship on a higher plane than just church. Worship is not just about God, it is why we are created. It is why everything was created. This book delves deeply into the scripture and tells us exactly why we are created. Exactly why we treasure nature and all that it entails. Why God created the way he did, the order, the fact that he rested and so much more. I am in awe. AND I was already in awe, now I am so much more so. God is such a relational God and I JUST MISS IT. And I pay for missing it. Not only will I be referring to this book for a long time, I will also be exploring other books written by Vernon Whaley. He seems to pull the things from scripture that I have been passing over. This is one time where a book came into my life at just the right time and I am grateful. If you are struggling with your faith/God relationship, I highly recommend this book.

Blog Behind!!

I am so far behind on all things bloggy!! I have written 973 posts in my head but have had no time to post them. This is a shame because that means 973 posts are constipating my brain and this isn't good for anyone. I will attempt today to let some of those crowded thoughts out!

  • My knee is so much better. I only limp when I have been sitting too long and it levels out as I walk. The chiropractor is really making huge strides in my well-being. I also made an appointment with a doctor that I go to church with. My big hope is that she will be able to level out some of my thyroid issues. Sadly that appt. is not until January. I decided NOT to rejoin Weight Watchers. The cost is prohibitive(the free month is only for online). I do plan to restart the program using all the literature I have from last time starting next Monday, October 19. I plan to begin a full exercise program that day as well. By full exercise program, I just mean exercising every day- walking or doing the new exercise tape I invested in. My goal is not weight loss-but feeling better. If my goal is weight loss, I know it won't motivate me(new clothes are expensive, yada yada yada), but feeling better will.
  • I cannot possibly relay just how much I love our library. We go there at least twice a week and the librarians are not just my friends but they are also friends with my children. They are so kind and helpful. What a blessing. Some of them in particular go above and beyond to be helpful and as a homeschooler(as in constantly needing to expand our classroom with resources), it just makes school so much easier! Someday, I am gonna make them some cookies or something.
  • We went to two different science presentations this week. They were both dealing with very similar science themes and so I think between the two, my kids learned alot. They will probably remember the concepts forever. I know they are ingrained on my brain and that is no small feat.
  • I find myself staring at my children lately wondering when they got so old. It just doesn't seem possible that they are growing up so quickly. Yet, I have a ringside seat and I have been watching the whole time. Time marches on.
  • Wayd is home now and I am sad to report that I have had zero time to help the family. I have made many meals for Aunt Pat while she had the other three boys. Now my time and energy are so depleted by other stuff going on that I feel terrible. My prayer is that the rest of the people in their life are giving them lots of attention this first week home and I can plug in next week.
  • It has been really cold and rainy the last few days and if we were not so overscheduled, I would totally want to hibernate. I should've been a bear. I think this is the time they get to eat like crazy and gain as much weight as possible to prepare for the long winter, right? I should have been a bear. Really.
  • School is slowly morphing into a schedule I can be proud of. The kids are getting more independent and I am holding their feet to the fire on staying caught up. Daily grades are recorded for this nine weeks and it is about time to do quarterly grades. It feels good to get (mostly) caught up.
  • I am almost done with our clothing exchange...the long process of getting fall/winter out and spring/summer put away. It takes me forever. I HATE it. It is the only drawback to life with four distinct seasons.

Oh my!! That is alot to get out of my brain. Now I can move on a bit. Hopefully I will be able to post again sooner and perhaps even more philosophically.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Good Things

I have many good things going on in my life right now and I thought it would be nice to share those for all the world to see.
  • Cousin Wayd is home now. BIG CHEERS!!! We are all so grateful. Keep him and his family in your prayers though. His brothers keep passing illnesses around. Wayd will have to be isolated from them and that will be TOUGH.
  • Erik is recording today with his newest band. I love this new band. I may even follow him around like a groupie again...or not.
  • Next week is crazy busy but like every other week we have, I am grateful to have activities that bond us as a family.
  • We had three out of five really good school days. I won't focus on the two that weren't as good.
  • My kids LOVE church. They love to go. They get angry when we miss. I remember hating church as a teen(so much I left my mom's church and went to a different one without her!), so I am very happy.
  • I have clean underwear just as I almost ran out!! I managed to do one important load of mount washmore!! I'll do more tonight.
  • There will be more work from home for me this week(hopefully) and I will get a paycheck again. I love getting a paycheck.

Okay, that is all I have for today. I am thankful we are all healthy and relatively happy. Have a great weekend, y'ALL.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Book Review: Perseverance

Perseverance True Voices of Cancer Survivors by Carolyn Rubenstein

When I received this book, all I could think about was how many cancer survivors I know. AND THEN, I realized these were all people who survived cancer as children and I thought WOW. I don't really know anyone who has gone through that. I then marveled at how much different that would be. I started reading the book and really wondered why God had brought this particular book into my life. It was encouraging for sure but I could not even think of anyone I could pass it along to.

The plot thickens a bit as my little cousin Wayd gets sick, is transported to Vanderbilt and is diagnosed with leukemia. OUCH. I preferred not knowing anyone. I will be passing along this encouraging book to his mom. I hope it will serve as a life preserver to her as they fight the good fight. Sometimes it just helps to know others have been where you are and they made it out to the other side.

I was mesmerized as I read through these stories. It was so amazing to see how strong these survivors are. How all of them had one thing in common...they were grateful cancer happened to them, despite all the pain, because it made them better people. It gave them a greater appreciation of life, people and a positive outlook on everything.

The author of this book allowed each survivor to pen their own story. She prefaces each story with how and when she met them and also why she is including their story. The rawness, the open honesty contained in these stories is a must read for anyone who has a cancer survivor in their life. I laughed, I cried, I experienced a roller-coaster of emotions. This is what life is about. There is nothing like flirting with death to make you lose all your pretense.

I highly recommend this book. It is a story of triumph. It is an example that attitude is everything. Health should not be taken for granted. Obstacles are meant to be overcome.

Keep the Kleenex box handy, especially if someone close to you is battling for his life.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Just One of Lilly's Best Days Ever!


Erika was studying her face in a mirror at Sam's today. However, it scared her a bit because turned out to be a trick Halloween mirror with a ghost that screamed, "Somebody, get me out of here!"

Priceless Sunday memories at Sam's.

And you thought it would be a serious post with that title, didn't ya?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

What is Tomorrow Anyway?

It certainly isn't 'tomorrow' like I promised. Sorry. Our life is jam-packed with field trips and sniffles. We are loving every minute of being on the run and taking all our spare time to get a little school in and rest up from what we think is allergies. We think allergies because the KY Goldenrod, our state flower, is in full bloom and really showing out.

So anyway, on Sunday, we participated in the Monarch butterfly tagging for the third year in a row. It was a blast. My friend Amanda and her children went with us. It was their first time. Being the organized thinker that I am, I made sure they were fully prepared and knew what to wear, NOT. However, it was still lots of fun and I don't think sandals really hold you back unless you let them.

Our group caught and tagged 19 butterflies before the 'grand finale'. What was the grand finale, you ask? Someone got stung by a bumble bee. Someone's mom requested she go on over to the LBL guy and get some bee sting ointment after inspecting the sting. Someone's mom then went on about catching butterflies with nary another thought about the sting. Someone's mom then heard this frantic cry,


I went running over and learned that Erika had passed out and thumped her head on the pavement. Then I got a little worried. I didn't know if this was an allergic reaction or another round of 'Erika does not drink enough!". Turns out it was the latter. The bee sting was not swelling and she came to and was completely normal. However, everyone all around was quite worried about what to do. To complicate matters, we were in LBL vans-not our vehicle. To complicate matters even more, both LBL vans were parked in a moist ditch. One van was able to back out and get out of the ditch, but the other van was hopelessly stuck. After waiting a bit, our guide decided it was best to get Erika back to the Nature Station and have the first responder look her over. Upon arriving there, we pushed a benadryl and a powerade on her and she was as good as new.

I now pack benadryl with me at all times and Erika packs a water bottle.

We decided since all was well, we should stick around for the owl program. How old is the barred owl? The question was answered that the owl was in its late twenties. Lilly's response?

"I just know that owl is gonna die really really soon." This was stated in the hyper excited way Lilly states most things.

My life is never boring. Never. Ever.