Monday, November 30, 2009


It is funny, we all strive to raise children that grow into leaders. I remember being groomed and trained for leadership my whole school career. I was labeled a leader and great things were expected of me. It is only in the past, oh 5 years maybe, that I have realized the most essential element of leadership. Wanting what is best for all involved, even if that means I don't get my way. As a matter of fact, leaders seldom get their way. Why wasn't I trained about that?

Since serving on the PATCH board this year, I have really learned alot about serving/leading people on a corporate level. It is an education that is painful. Here are the highlights:
  • You really can't please everyone.
  • The blame game is alive and well.
  • There are no *perks*.
  • Some people are best ignored.
  • Some people enjoy keeping the sh*t pot stirred. (They are known as turds.)
  • There is that one person who could do everything so much better than anyone else...if they had the time. However, they have no time.
  • Enforcing rules delicately is an oxymoron.

I could go on and on, but I won't-it's depressing!!

Things I am thankful for:

  • Friends who encourage me to be the best me that I can.
  • There are still people who step up into leadership positions, knowing what they are in for.
  • To mentor and to have been mentored.
  • I am thankful for having a very sensitive nature coupled with brassy boldness even though it gets me into trouble daily.
  • The guidelines God gives us for dealing with conflict. How much easier the world would be if we all followed these guidelines!!

Matthew 18:15-17

15. If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or tax collector.

I wish I could say that I always follow these guidelines. I don't. But I try. After this learning season, I try even harder. Gossip kills but grace and compassion give new life, abundantly.

A Review: The Liturgical Year

The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life by Joan Chittister is the full name of this book. I was so excited to receive this book to review. I am fascinated with the Catholic religion. I love all the ceremony surrounding and including their regular worship. I believe that God is not only in the plain and mundane, but He should also be in high places. He should be revered, celebrated with a feast, celebrated with a fast. He should also be a part of the day to day. We are created in His image which means He will have as many facets as we do, as many different subtexts as our lives can hold.
However, this book did not meet my expectations. This book was more of a philosophy book. Instead of going into detail about the different customs in detail, she merely discusses each tradition. The book I was expecting has probably already been written...I'm checking into the footnoted sources.
Reading this book was a learning experience though, I loved her point that years are not ever alike, they are not merely a calendar function. The years we live are each unique from one another and shape us into the people God means for us to be. She also eludes to the fact that if we live each year liturgically, as Christ did, we will become more Christlike. The things done as rote do 'settle in' to our psyches and make us more like He was. I am a firm believer in this opinion. Habits may seem trite as first, but they do shape us. Most Christians go to church on Sunday. If they don't, it says more about church today than it does about rituals. I guarantee that if one has spent a lifetime attending church on Sunday, that person is thinking about God on Sunday. Maybe in a rebellious way, maybe in a worshipping way-but the habit has done what it was supposed to, created a remembrance.
I flirt with the idea of converting to Catholicism, just to learn the rituals, customs, etc. And so if I see someone from church in the liquor store, neither of us has to feel guilty about it.

If It's Not One Thing, It's Two!

While I was finishing up my shopping, Mount Washmore declared itself an independent nation. Mount Papers To Be Graded has also seceded from our peaceful union and declared war on my soul. There is nothing to be done but fight the good fight as their troops outnumber my troops exponentially. So there you go, accomplish one thing and seven other things revolt. I am woman hear me roar. (Woman's work is NEVER done!!)

I have now finished my month of teaching the 2 year olds-kindergarten at church. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, despite choosing a 5 Sunday month. It has been great working with children so far from my own developmentally. The only problem is that some of my crafts were a bit over their head. Two year olds cannot glue 100 construction paper squares into little squares on a paper. No, not even with help. Even if it gives them a visual for how old Abraham was when Isaac was born. It will take almost the entire class time to "help" them all finish.

All three of my children were delighted to help me prepare for my teaching endeavor and Kayla was my helper in the actual class. It allowed me to see what wonderful servants my children are growing into. I know I am way too hard on my kiddos. I can't help but constantly be in 'help them develop into a better person' critical mode instead of 'praise them for being great kids' mode. I really need to fix that about myself.

It has been a busy, fun holiday weekend. Erik's sister Marla and her family were in for Thanksgiving. There were also some extended family members present. We had a great meal and then traveled to my sister's to visit with my family. Baby Noah was completely done smiling by the time we got there. I held him anyway. I don't see him enough to be choosy about his moods. Saturday we savored every moment of the gorgeous weather to do some back yard work. I am now hobbled in my right knee again. Woo hoo. The good news is that our back yard looks good and part of our fence row is cleared out. Sort of. It will be an all-winter job to get it cleared.

Now, I must get off of here. There are 8000 other things that I are priorities over this and a kitty has decided to snuggle. It is hard to type with a kitty between me and the keyboard. Enjoy your brand new sparkly Monday.

Friday, November 27, 2009

'Tis The Season

Thanksgiving is now officially over, as is the crazy shopping day known as Black Friday. Since I have shopped on Black Friday in years gone by, I am allowed to criticize, right? It is the people who do it faithfully for years whose sanity I question. Although, I think the people you have with you make or break it. I had a blast last year with my sister Linda and her friend. I also ran into lots of folks I hadn't seen in years. I got a few bargains...but mostly I got alot of cheap crap that was marked down to a ridiculous cheap price. A few of my best bargains:
  • Phillippe Richards complete cookware set for $19.99. I noticed JC Penney had this one going again. I actually had to pay full price which was $59.99. The $40.00 rebate involved me mailing my receipt in within a few days of purchase and then my rebate card came in the mail around the first part of March. What a steal! It was cheap cookware than serves me well considering how hard I am on my cookware.
  • Hoodies for my girls from Wal-mart. Crap. total crap. They pilled the first time I washed them. One of them was black...aiy aiy aiy. They were instantly declared 'playclothes'.
  • PJ's from Walmart. Crap E. McCrap. Way too boxy to fit real bodies and very lousy material.
  • A running outfit that no one in the family could wear from...yep...Wal-mart. I can only guess what the quality was on this as it was a bargain never worn.
  • A digital camera from JC Penney for Lilly. We were never able to make it work. We tried and tried but it never did anything remotely resembling what it was supposed to do. AND...since it was well into January before we had the time to get around to fiddling with it, it was past the time frame for returning it.

So the lesson learned was to really think about what items my children and Christmas list folk would enjoy getting. I did not want to make out my list from Black Friday flyers because I honestly believe either the merchandise is sub-par or they only have one of whatever spectacular thing there is. I have done very well this year just shopping the pre-Thanksgiving sales and *SHUDDER*-regular priced items. I ordered a few things online and I am happy to say that I am finished with my shopping. Erik and I made one more run last Monday and we finished. I wouldn't trade finished at Thanksgiving for a whole set of Black Friday deals.

How about you? Black Friday fan or foe?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Thankful For...

a holiday that is all about treasuring your family. Thanksgiving is such an awesome day because it is just fellowship. It's all centered around a meal-but the focus is the people you share the meal with.

We'll be treasuring ours, hope you do the same.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It is a fresh new week and I am so glad. Last week was beyond emotionally draining. My friend, Tyanna, died in her sleep early Wednesday morning. That was a complete shock. Her funeral was on Saturday. Almost right on the heels of that funeral was a baby shower for my friend Beth's daughter Kirsten. As soon as I walked into the baby shower and saw everyone, I had to visit the restroom and get it together. It was just too much. Too much raw emotion all in one day. Too much loss. I know in my heart that it is better to move on to the next world with God. But I still selfishly want my peeps here with me. Especially peeps who are taken home too early in my humble opinion. AND, I should be happy for both of these ladies to not be hurting anymore-each in a different way. That is how I will comfort myself as I mourn the recent loss of Tyanna and the 5 year anniversary of Beth's murder.

I am happy for Kirsten who is going to name her Baby girl Georgia Beth after her momma. I am sad Beth isn't here for me to tease relentlessly about being a grandma. Kirsten is loved and well cared for. Her significant other, Justin is wonderful. They both have gorgeous dimpled smiles so there is no doubt this little girl will be a heart breaker!

New week, I embrace you! You took far too long to come around. I am glad I was able to rest up for you and will now enjoy you and be very thankful for the people who are still here with me even as I lament for these two ladies and many more.

Beth, Tyanna-you are peas in a pod. I know you are in heaven chatting about everything under the sun and making sure everyone else is comfortable. You are missed!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Life Is A Vapor

I began this week in a depressed state and so far I just keep going more and more downhill. My friend TyAnna died in her sleep early this week and I am still in a state of shock over it. Even though we have all known she had health issues for a long time, it just happened so suddenly. She leaves behind a daughter Shelbi, who is a friend to both of my girls, and a son Tyson who loves his momma more than anything. Her husband Brad has some seriously HUGE shoes to fill. Tyanna was the type of mom who was just the right balance of loving and expecting much from her kiddos. I've thought about her every day all day since I found out. I've prayed and worried about the family she leaves behind. I've imagined my own family in the same circumstances.

Today I took my friend Jane supper. She has cancer. Alot of it. She is the most amazing woman I have ever known. I cannot even imagine life without her. She is like a ray of sunshine every where she goes. I don't know anyone that does not love her. Even facing all that she is facing, she is STILL a ray of sunshine and a source of encouragement to all around her. I have been praying all day for her. God could heal her if he chooses to and I have been hoping to talk Him into it. Another friend and I are batting around a new ministry idea and we NEED Jane. Really God, you know we do. If she could share with other women some of the things she has shared with me, it would make them hold onto their marriages a little tighter.

We are just a vapor here on this earth. AND, I don't like it one little bit. Treasure your loved ones, people. We have no promise of tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I thought this week would begin with a confrontation involving my Little Lilly Loo Hoo. I did some fact checking with my friend Amanda just to make certain and discovered that Lilly's recollection of events was a lie. The details involved some change not making it into the offering plate. It was like a dagger in my heart but we WERE going to church to deal with it. However, it turns out Lilly lied about pocketing money so she would not get into trouble for her friend giving her money. I am so hoping this is a phase she is going through. It is just killing me. We have an episode nearly every day and have for a few weeks. I keep reminding myself that this too shall pass. And we are teaching, modeling, mentoring, lecturing, blah blah blah. Have I mentioned that dishonesty is my most hated personality trait? I start to smolder at the mere idea of a lie, much less an outright one. God is getting me through it when I do well...the rest of the time I am so ill-equipped. I am relieved not to add stealing to the lies. My head might have exploded.

Between that and two rounds of doctor appointments with Mom and Pete, I am beat. Plus it takes all I have to fight the daily hibernation urge that this weather pushes me into. MUST NOT HIBERNATE. MUST NOT. Kids need socialization. heehee.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bullets & Babbling

There is so much to little time to have your attention. Therefore, bullets are in order. Then an incredibly long post will seem short and sassy.

  • Days are slipping by so fast it is hard to catch them. I can't believe I haven't posted since Wednesday!! OY! Thursday Erika and I cleaned for Grandma. It was very obvious that many things had been neglected, but we covered alot of ground. It still took us only a few hours. She has a small house and leads a very simple life. However, she loves the knick-knacks, paddywhack. Erika spent about an hour dusting them all. She loved every second of it. Perhaps growing up in a home without set-arounds makes one love them all the more. It was a satisfying day. Erika has already spent her money. I had planned on making her save it, but I was pleased with her purchases. She bought gum, a Christmas present and put some money towards the 'adopted' son of the youth group. Color me pleased.

  • The idea that she would clean and I would supervise was quite hilarious and totally did not happen. It really sounded good though!

  • You know those days off I allowed us to take because we had not taken any?? That was not a good plan. Momma just cannot allow herself days off. It only makes her hunger for more more more.

  • I only have a few more presents to go before I am done shopping for Christmas. I am pretty sure I am so driven to finish this because A) I can and B) I am behind in almost every other area of my life. Yeah Christmas!! It will mess with my mind, make me feel productive again and there will be clean undies again in janjanmom-land. Tricking myself to get things accomplished since 1996. (first baby)

  • I am teaching toddlers this month at church for Sunday school and Bible hour. It is a hoot and a half. They just crack me up. Today, two of the boys were competing with one another. For what, I have no clue. It went like this:

"See my arm. I got hair growing on it. Let me see your arm."

"I got some hair on my arms too."

"Yeah, but mine goes up all the way to my shoulders."

Did I mention these boys are 5 years old? Too funny. I love preschool age. It makes me nostalgic but after a morning of them, I am ready to step right back up to where my kiddos are. Life is easier in most ways with older children.

  • I have had the strangest weekend. Hubby and I went out on a date Friday. We started our date by surprising a friend with a Friday the 13th birthday. Later, I tried a new drink, ate fried pickles, played darts, and learned exactly 3 dance steps (Learned may be overstating it, I am very uncoordinated. Some people just say that so they can wow you with how quickly they learn, I am absolutely just stating a fact.) Erik's mom grounded us for picking up the kids late. (not really) Yesterday, we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel, Christmas shopped, went to the birthday party of one of our favorite people, and then a friend and I went to a 'slumber' party. Today was church and cleaning the much disheveled house. I feel a bit like Sybil as I write all that.

  • Lilly's chorus group sang for a local telethon and Erik taped it for us to watch. It was awesome. She sang her little heart out and there were a couple of close-ups of her. I was a proud momma who may or may not have had watery eyes. She just loves to sing and it is fun to watch. I think there were some other kids up there with her...hee hee. They all did a great job.

  • Tomorrow is Monday and I am excited. I am so excited that I am going to plan for it tonight so that it is my best Monday ever. Hello clean slate, I LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Review: Jack Daniel's Cookbook

This book, Jack Daniel's Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook, sparked my interest. The reasons are two-fold. First reason: Jack Daniel's was the first alcoholic beverage I ever consumed. My older sister kept a bottle at her house. I would stay up late and drink a tiny bit with my Pepsi and feel very grown-up. It tasted HORRIBLE and still makes me a little sick to think about actually drinking it...but I like the way it smells and I love things cooked with it. Second reason: My sister-in-law made a bourbon cake that was great one year. It was not the kind where the alcohol 'cooks out' though, so I only had the tiniest piece. It was quite tasty though.

Anyway, seeing this cookbook made me think there might be other recipes that could be made with a little shot o' the whiskey. Someone is getting this as a Christmas gift and I hope that someone masters many of the recipes in it AND shares them abundantly with others.

You might think this cookbook would contain only recipes requiring a bit o' the sauce, but t'aint the truth. There are a good many recipes that don't have a lick of it. There are also stories and bits of history sprinkled throughout. My favorite recipe has to be possum and sweet taters. Not because I would EVER try it, but because it is funny to think that anyone would ever cook one of those hideous beasts up for a meal. I love cookbooks that serve a little something extra along with the recipes and this book does! A touch of the South, a little Jack and a lot of really good recipes for your next potluck.

I believe that when paired up with a bottle, it makes a very 'saucy' gift!


Christmas shopping is moving along swimmingly. Hubby has joined with me this year to conquer early and then really enjoy the festivities. My goal is to be finished by Thanksgiving and then even if I am tempted by those crazee sales, I won't want to trade my lovely wrapped present for a better deal. It has been fun. Erik and I have power shopped once as a couple, today with the whole family and twice I power shopped with Lilly. I have also been ordering a few things online. The bad news is, my knee that has been so well for so long that I forgot about it, is flaring up again. MAJOR bummer. Next chiro appt is not for a couple of weeks IF I can wait that long!!

I am hoping that the week of Thanksgiving is slow and steady. The weeks leading up to it have not been. AT ALL.

Other than just the news of life, there is not much going on. Tomorrow, the older girls begin a job cleaning for Erik's grandma. Even though I insisted that no pay be involved, there will be a slight fee paid to them and they will take turns doing it. I will instruct and they will do the work. We shall call it hands-on Home Ec. I hope it isn't as painful as I have played it out in my mind. Keep me in your prayers...I try so hard to be a patient momma!!

Friday, November 06, 2009

*#@$% Wordly Wise

I'm not talking about the fantastic vocabulary curriculum found here, but rather making wise word choices. Hubby and I avoid the 'potty' words. We have been known to let one slip out occasionally-but those incidents are quickly documented by three wide-eyed shocked faces and therefore do not happen often. I vehemently despise the OM* craze that seems to have taken over texting, Facebook, TV and pretty much the world. I am constantly lecturing my children about just how offensive this seemingly innocent phrase is. (I have been know to deliver this lecture to other children in my care as well!) I steer them away from all derivatives because it is just tooooooooooo easy for "oh my gosh" to become something else. We try to say, "snickerdoodle" or "fiddle-dee-dee", instead. (LOL, JK) (LMAO-okay that was really in poor taste!)

I am saying all of that to say this: Now we have a whole 'nother issue. Judgement. Superiority. Parenting problems are just a laugh a minute, aren't they? Sometimes I think I should have just been a dog trainer. I tell you the truth, I don't know what I am doing. I lack the SKILZ to cope most days. But I digress. I do not want my children using bad language. I also want them to wisely choose friends that do not use bad language either. HOWEVER, I do not want my children to write off teens who use bad language. WOW. Especially knowing full well that lots of teens use a poor vocabulary as a morsel of rebellion. I know I sure did. I felt so old and worldly having a potty mouth. I felt powerful using words that often shocked and offended and did not give a thought to what someone might think of me using them. Of course, this was a direct result of not having anyone 'looking out for me' either. Some of my friends did the same and we WERE good kids. (It was only after turning 16 that I begin to slide down the very slippery slope to self destructive behavior.) We even threw in the occasional foreign cuss word and for kicks-the infamous sign language wordy dirties. It is, in many ways, a rite of passage. Just like pimples and hormones, unfortunate vocabulary will rear its ugly head. So what is a poor momma to do? I don't want my kids to dismiss some lovely friendships on the basis of pottymouthitis. I also don't want them to pick up this dreadful disease that develops into a habit that could haunt us all for many years.

What has been your most effective tool?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Me, Me, Me...mememe and Mom

I gotta be me! Okay, Hula, you got me. I know full well that everyone else IS just as busy, just as pressed for time as me. However, in my little world where the EARTH does indeed revolve around me, I often forget about other people all together. I forget that there are three of you reading and saying, "Harrumph! She thinks she is busy, she otter step in my shoes for a week." Yeah, yeah, whatever. I sit corrected.

Today is my mom's birthday. We are celebrating with a chili supper. This is the south and we like to celebrate (and fund raise) with chili. I am trying to figure out how to work a big fire into the mix too, because chili +hot dogs +fire=smores/chocolate which when you shake it all down is fun, squared. Anyway, in other math, my mom is 66 today. It has been a good year. It kicks the previous year in the buttocks. Mom is almost unlimited in what she CAN do. She is somewhat limited by what she WILL do. Overall though, she can do almost anything she wants as long as it does not involve carrying anything. Grocery shopping and shopping in general require a pack mule. We daughters try to take turns with that. We all hate it when it is our turn(and this is much more about getting backed into a corner than taking turns) but we try to build a bridge and get over it. I am amazed at the resilience of the human body. Even a human body not in the best of health. God is amazing-He has built the best machine ever. I am thankful for being on this side of the amputation. I am thankful that my mom still has alot of good years left before she is totally reliant on help from us. I am thankful to again be back to focusing on raising my kids and occasionally helping out instead of vice versa. I am forevermore sympathetic to people in wheelchairs and their caregivers. I hate that it took this to wake me up already, but at least I woke up. I am also happy that MOST people are helpful when you are helping someone disabled.

So, I am celebrating today in a big way at home right now. I am thankful for a good prognosis for Mom. I am counting blessings all over the place. Tonight, when we make fun of Pam for holding grudges over socks, it will be bittersweet. Even more as I attempt to let go of any family grudges, I will try to focus on just enjoying the love and the relationships I am blessed to have. I am really beginning to truly love all of the dysfunction that is my family. Also, I am completely in awe of how my dysfunction fits in so perfectly.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Once upon a time, I used to post every day. That time has passed. Once upon a time I used to look forward to having teenagers becasue I could relate to them so much easier. Now I laugh myself silly at that whole concept...relating to teenagers. Laughing to keep from crying. Once upon a time, I looked forward to the day my kids would ALL be school-aged. It would be "MY" time. HAHAHAHAHAHA, my time-what is that anyway?

It started as one of those weeks and it just keeps being one of those weeks every week. I have now just decided it is one of those lives.

Time is not on my side, I don't care what Mick says.