Monday, October 30, 2006

Beautiful Day!

For the first time in several weeks, we had a beautiful day today --full of sunshine and warm air! After picking Olivia up from preschool, we continued our Monday tradition by stopping at the local mission store to look for treasures. We were excited to find some chenille and some pipe cleaners because last week I had promised Olivia that we would make a caterpillar out of a discarded egg carton and we needed the pipe cleaners for our art project.

After about 30 minutes of poking around the shelves and purchasing some stuff that we didn't need but couldn't live without....(ssshhhh...don't tell my dear husband that I bought some more YARN!...I NEED it for the lap robes I'm crocheting for the residents of the nursing home...and besides, it was WAY cheaper at the mission than it would be had I purchased it at StuffMart!...we packed our bags in the van and headed for home.

We decided to spend some time playing outside since it was such a beautiful, sun-shine-y day! Olivia discovered a wooly bear caterpillar.
Perfect! Later on we're making our own caterpillar --so this was a great find for today. Try as I would, I could NOT get Olivia to allow the fuzzy friend to crawl on her hand unless she was wearing a glove. Even after donning the glove, as soon as the fuzzy friend began to crawl around and explore...Olivia screamed and screeched and jumped and shook until the glove flew off and landed in the grass. Poor caterpillar went for the ride of his life! We retrieved our fuzzy friend and placed him in a bush so he could go find shelter before transforming into a tiger moth.

At this point, Olivia decided she was done with the nature lesson and she wanted to work on our art inside we went. Here she is --with her finished creepy crawler fuzzy friend. ...a great afternoon spent with my favorite little person in the world!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Stand Firm

This morning when I opened my Bible, the Lord led me to II Chronicles chapter 20.

A vast army was coming against King Jehoshaphat. All the peoples under the reign of this king were afraid and the king himself was very alarmed. They all gathered together and inquired of the Lord saying, "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you....But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir...See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us..." ...Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel and he said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "

No matter what battle you are facing today, the Lord wants you to know that you do not face the battle alone. In fact, you don't even have to fight the battle at all. All you must do is stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. His strength is made perfect in our weakness and soon we will be able to take from the ashes - and not necessarily rebuild from those ashes, but rather trade them in for beauty.

The Lord is the same - yesterday, today and forever - and what He did for King Jehoshaphat and the people of Israel, He will also do for you - if you stand firm and let Him do the fighting.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Impact of Sin

I have been spending the past few days trying to comfort my best friend. She recently discovered that her husband has been having conversations with other women online --in chat rooms -- involving pornography. She is devastated. She hurts to the point of feeling numb. And I know that just when she thinks she has cried all the tears she can cry, suddenly the river wells up within her again.

And I hurt right along with her. For the past few days, I have been going through the motions of putting on a happy face. Doing my best to smile and go along as if nothing is wrong. This has been especially difficult around our church family. Our church is a group of very loving people....and I can anticipate the hurt that they will feel if this offense is made known to them.

I care very much for her husband --and I too, feel betrayed to an extent --although obviously nowhere near to the extent that my friend feels.

Why is it that we have managed to treat sin in our lives so flippantly? I'm sure that her husband never in a million years thought that he could possibly be caught and just went on his merry way committing this sin over and over again with no fear of retribution. Perhaps with the attitude of "what she doesn't know won't hurt her."

Sin hurts. It hurts the sinner. And it hurts everyone around the sinner. It hurts family, friends, the church body. And most importantly --it grieves the heart of God.

There is no sin too great or too dramatic or drastic that is going to cause God to love us any less. He never quits loving us. We sin - He still loves us. Our responsibility as Christians is to be is my responsibility to say that I must forgive this person.

I have been praying continually that the Lord will heal this marriage...that my friend's husband will realize the impact that he has had on his wife--that he has broken her heart. I'm praying that he will repent of all his wrongdoing. Repent --turn away from --don't ever do it again --walk away and don't look back. I know it's possible. There is so much potential for this man to become the man of God that God intended. He has a good heart...just misdirected.

May I realize that each time I choose to make a wrong choice - to sin - that I will consider how it will affect not only me --but all those around me.

Lord, help me to be holy, as You are holy.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Feeling a little blue today, I took the "Blue Test"...
Here are my results:

Of all the shades of blue, I was said to be INDIGO - the most funky, unique, and independent.
Expressing myself and taking a leap of faith has always been easy for me --according to the "blue" test....

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Blessing of a Friend

One of God’s most precious gifts are the friends that He gives us. I have one friend in particular who recently came into my life at a time when I was feeling lonely - having not had a good friend since before I got married over five years ago. In fact, I had been praying that the Lord would introduce me to someone with whom I would feel comfortable enough to share my heart. Of course, my husband is first and foremost my best friend. But it’s nice to have a woman in your life to share all the “girl stuff” and emotions that are unique to us gals.

This person has reminded me to always look for the joy in this life, because she always has a smile on her face. No matter what she is facing, she finds a way to praise the Lord in the midst of the trial. She encourages me to seek and point out the positive in others. She listens with a loving ear, but is not willing to “sugar coat” any situation and will tell me exactly what it is I need to hear –not necessarily what I want to hear! As busy as her schedule is, she will take the time to spend a few minutes with me or talk on the telephone when she knows I need a shoulder on which to cry or a sounding board to vent my frustrations.

She loves the Lord with all of her heart and it is so very apparent in the way she lives her life. No compromising. She practices what she preaches. Her ministries are too numerous for me to list, because she truly has a servant’s heart and is eager to jump in and help wherever and whenever she’s needed. In fact, she goes above and beyond the call –making extra food for church dinners, insuring that the platform is neat and orderly and all of our praise team music is arranged and in order. She puts paperclips in our hymnals so that we don’t have to fumble for the page when leading worship. She sings like an angel with a song that comes straight from her heart - and worship flows from within her. The Lord has gifted her with an incredible talent for singing and playing the piano and she blesses everyone who hears her sing.

She has such a heart for children and her passion for caring for little ones with special needs far outweighs any that I’ve seen before in my life. Seeing her interact with special needs kids, showing so much melts my heart and brings tears to my eyes each time.

There are no words to describe how honored and blessed I am that the Lord has placed her in my life. She has uplifted me when I’ve needed a lift, she’s knocked me down a notch or two when I've needed knocked down. She has blessed me beyond measure with her ability to make me smile and encourage my spirit.

My prayer for her today is that the Lord will heap blessings upon her head and give back to her all that she gives to others. If you talk to Dawna today, wish her a Happy Birthday!

I love you my friend.

And finally, Dawna, you know you’re getting old when the candles on your birthday cake cost more than the cake! ( knew I couldn’t resist a wisecrack!) Happy Birthday!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Remembering Grandma Emma

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things was going to visit my Grandparents. Grandma Emma always had a plastic container of freshly baked brownies stored on the top of her metal kitchen cabinet. Rarely did I ever go to visit Grandma’s house and discover an empty brownie container. On those very rare occasions, Grandma would send me downstairs to the basement to sort through the big chest freezer and choose a frozen Sara Lee dessert. We didn’t have Sara Lee desserts in our freezer at our house. Probably because my Mother is a most excellent cook and made all of her desserts from scratch. It still was a special treat to eat a piece of frozen Sara Lee cake. The hardest part was waiting for it to thaw out enough so you could slice into it because back in those days, we didn’t have the convenience of a microwave oven.

Some other things I remember were the whole family gathered together with card tables set up in Grandma and Grandpa’s living room. All of my Dad’s aunts and uncles would congregate together and play cards. Usually Canasta or Gin Rummy. Grandma Emma and Grandpa Bill were Presbyterian so it was okay to have playing cards in their house. My other Grandma Amelia was Pentecostal and cards were nowhere to be found in her house. Grandma Emma taught me how to play Spite and Malice - a fun card game with two decks of cards - for two people. We would play together for hours. She also played endless games of Scrabble with me and almost always won, until I started to get older and smarter - then I would win a lot too. I learned some great Scrabble words from her - “FEZ” which is a hat, and “JO” which means ‘sweetheart’; two neat little words to have tucked into your brain when you’re looking for a space to play that ‘J’ square which is worth a whopping eight points. The ‘F’ is worth four points and the ‘Z’ is worth ten points. I was excited to be able to use my ‘Z’ for something other than “Zoo”. To this day, I love playing Canasta and when playing Scrabble, I almost always play the word, “Jo” and I always think of my Grandma.

My Grandpa Bill died when I was six so my memories of him are limited. But I can remember he would bounce me on his knee and call me his “Pumpkin”. He also had a rack of pipes and would sit in his big easy chair and smoke a pipe each night after dinner while wearing his slippers. I loved the smell of Grandpa’s pipes. Something else I remember is that Grandpa always seemed to be trimming the hedges which bordered their yard. He cut the cord several times and had to buy new hedge trimmers more than once. Grandpa also used to enjoy sitting on the green metal chairs in the backyard. Nearby they had a big patch of lily of the valley growing under the trees. Lily of the Valley is one of my favorite flowers because my Grandma told me that they were the birth flower for the month of May - which is when I was born.

Grandma LOVED to do needlework, especially knitting and crocheting. She always had a tote bag of yarn with her wherever she went and crocheted constantly. I have an entire collection of 10-inch dolls packed away in my Mom’s attic which Grandma crocheted all the tiny dresses and costumes using crochet cotton and a very small steel crochet hook. Grandma wanted to teach me to crochet, but I was never really interested until I went to college and watched my boss in the alumni office crocheting an afghan during lunch. I asked Bonnie to teach me and she did. Grandma was so excited that I learned to crochet and immediately began heaping books of patterns and boxes and bags full of yarn upon my head. It’s was sort of like “heaping burning coals upon” my head - only different. I have many, many plastic bins FULL of yarn in my garage. Some of it is yarn left over from the yarn that Grandma gave me. Most of it is what I bought for myself. All of it annoys the heck out of my husband who has had to move it several dozen times. (Although currently I’m crocheting lap robes along with some other ladies from church. We’re going to give them to the local nursing home residents for Christmas. Lately, it’s unusual to see me without a crochet hook and yarn in my possession. In fact, the other night when my friend, Jim walked into worship practice and saw me crocheting, he said to Dawna, “I knew she would be doing that.” My thought was - oh no, I’m becoming my Grandmother. I’ve already become my mother - so I guess this is the next stage in the progression.)

Shortly before my father died, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. After Dad’s death, she declined very quickly and was no longer able to crochet. . My uncle moved her shortly after Dad died to a nursing home on the other side of the state closer to him. He told us that it was because she was his mother and she was his responsibility. He didn’t want the burden of care to fall on my Mom. We enjoyed visiting Grandma often and we didn’t want him to move her –but he did. I only saw my Grandma once after she was moved so far away. She had trouble remembering all of her grandchildren and how we were all related. The last time that I saw her, she said that she thought I was the one who used to bring her ice cream. She had to be reminded that I was her eldest granddaughter.

One evening I got a call from my Mom saying that Uncle George had called to say that Grandma probably wouldn’t live through the night. As sad as I was, I was more concerned about the state of my Grandma’s heart. You see, for years, we had all shared with her about the love of Jesus. She would attend church but it was never really apparent whether or not she had made an actual commitment to the Lord. I remember on several occasions after sharing with her the things that God was doing in my life, she would smile at me and say, “Debbie, you would have made a great preacher’s wife.” For some reason, in her mind, if you were very spiritual-minded you must be in some kind of ministry. I stayed awake most of that night praying for my Grandma. I cried and pleaded with the Lord and asked Him if there was some way that He could allow her to be cognitive enough to understand and would He send someone, or even an angel to speak with her and pray with her so that she would know that she would spend eternity with Him. In the morning, my Mom called to say that Uncle George had called and Grandma had died.

I opened up my Bible to a random spot, looked down and read these words from Psalm 16.

“9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

I realize that these verses are speaking about the Lord, but at that moment in time, it was a confirmation to me from the Holy Spirit that Grandma was in Heaven and I will indeed see her again one day. She probably is crocheting afghans for the angels as we speak. And I know that at The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, some of Grandma’s brownies will be on the dessert menu.

Things I Will Never Do

There are things in this life that I probably will never do - just because it would go against every grain in me to do them. For example, what would happen if you popped a bag of microwave popcorn with "THIS SIDE UP" facing down? I'll never know --because I will never do that --it CLEARLY states on the bag that you should pop it in the correct popping position. What could possibly happen?...will the microwave suddenly implode? Will the popcorn bag get holes in it thereby causing the microwave to spew popcorn all about the inside? Would an alarm go off and a big red arrow appear in the sky flashing and pointing at you?! What's the big deal? (And by the way....why isn't popcorn considered a vegetable?!)

Here's something else you'll never catch me doing....driving across the parking lines in a parking lot. If it's during the day, I have to drive all the way to the END of the row before I turn. If it's NIGHTTIME...No road rules apply --I figure if it's dark, they won't see me.

And another thing...I will never drink milk - or any other beverage - from the carton. Unless, of course, it's an individual sized carton. To me...that would be the same as DOUBLE DIPPING --which is something else I'd NEVER DO (in a 'community' bowl). Now, if I have my own individual dipping 'station' then again --rules don't apply. I have been known, on occasion, to cheat and dip one end of the pretzel or chip, take a bite and then TURN the snack item around and dip the other end --as long as I can be sure that there is enough "clearance" and the freshly dipped part of the pretzel or chip will not in any way come in contact with the dip.

I will also never put the roll of toilet tissue on the holder the WRONG way. It is supposed to unroll from the top FRONT of the roll - not the BACK of the roll. If you don't believe me --just buy one of those brands that has the little roses or something embossed in the paper and see if you put it on the roll with the paper unrolling from the back that the whole design is UPSIDE DOWN! If your paper hangs the wrong direction --you must be communist or something. (This goes for my sister who doesn't escape my frustration just because she's a blood relative. Forgiveness doesn't apply to mismanaged toilet paper etiquette.)

Something else I just won't do is throw away a half-full 20 oz bottle of pop just because it's been sitting in my van for more than a week. You never know when I may have a DRY MOUTH EMERGENCY and need to take a swig of the pop - be it flat and fizz-less or not. Ideally, the leftover beverage of choice would be some non-carbonated drink and it would be any season other than summer so that the beverage remains cool or cold. (I recently cleaned out the van and found five half-empty 20 oz. bottles of drink. They are now neatly organized in a bag on the floor of the passenger side --just in case I need them in an emergency.)

Here's another one that I feel VERY strongly about: I WILL NOT share my WENDY'S FROSTY with ANYONE! We MUST all have our OWN! --or at the very least --pour some into an empty cup and share it that way. My husband will attest to this and would be more than willing to share with anyone who will listen about my selfishness when it comes to Wendy's Frosties.

Last, but not least....I cannot, will not, no way, no how, in any shape or form bite into a Tootsie Roll Pop until I've licked far enough to expose at least half of the tootsie roll center. That would just be wrong. (and UN-American.)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Miss Gilchrist - or, my obsession with glassware

I remember it as if it were yesterday. All the kids in the fourth grade lined up at the door of the classroom, held our partner's hand and began the grand tour of the 'big' sixth graders' glass display. In every hallway of Arthur McGill Elementary School were tables and tables of sparkling glass in every shape and size imaginable. There was pink depression glass and white milk glass and ruby red glass. There were twisted orange and green glass vases and hobnail glass shoes. There was stained glass and antique glass paperweights and hand blown glass figurines and "art" glass. All types. All sparkling. All fragile.

It was such an exciting time for me. I looked forward each year to viewing these massive displays presented by Miss Gilchrist's sixth grade. They got to study a whole unit on glass --spent weeks studying and preparing -- until the culmination of it all --the Glass Display!

I could not wait until I got to sixth grade so that I could study glass too! In the autumn of my sixth grade year - imagine my absolute joy when I learned that I had been assigned to Miss Gilchrist's homeroom! Now, not only would I study glass, but I would be able to be right there in the center of all the activity because I was at the "base camp"! I had already begun planning which pieces of glass I would bring in for the great Glass Display --choosing a purple vase - because EVERYONE knew that purple was Miss Gilchrist's favorite color! (I was hoping for extra bonus points!) It was with great anticipation that I awaited the announcement of when we would actually begin the glass unit. Miss Gilchrist said that we would have to wait until after the poetry memorization unit --just four more weeks!

Then one morning, I skipped into homeroom only to find that Miss Gilchrist had been replaced by some younger, long red-haired teacher named Mrs. Ayers. What was up with that? Where was our Miss Gilchrist, with her purple lilac earrings, her purple dress, her dark black hair, her beautiful smile which made her eyes twinkle and her sweet-smelling lilac perfume?! Mrs. Ayers did not have twinkling eyes, that was for sure. And she couldn't have possibly worn a purple dress because it would have clashed tremendously with her red hair.

Mrs. Ayers made the startling announcement that she was going to be our substitute teacher for at least the rest of the semester because Miss Gilchrist had taken a sabbatical for health reasons. OH NO! What does this mean? What about our glass unit? ...I'm sorry, but there will be no glass unit this year. I was devastated. I prayed every day for Miss Gilchrist to get better so she could come back and be our teacher and we could begin setting up our huge display of glass for all the school to see. I wanted so desperately to be a "hall monitor" - standing next to a table full of glassware, reminding the third graders to keep their grubby mitts off my purple vase. It would never happen. This dream would never be realized.

We never were actually informed of what exactly was wrong with Miss Gilchrist. She had been in the hospital for a very long time and we spent hours creating get well cards and sent her a big package filled with our cards, some lilac bath beads, a big, fluffy soft purple bathrobe and a pair of purple slippers. Sometime after Christmas, Miss Gilchrist eventually came back to school after her long illness. She still smiled a lot and still smelled like lilacs. But she said we couldn't possibly study the glass unit because there just wasn't enough time.

Not enough time. It wasn't fair. I had a purple vase to display! Over the years, I have managed to collect all kinds of glass. I have some milk glass, some hobnail Fenton glass, some depression glass, some carnival glass, a whole bunch of ruby red compotes, so many antique glass paperweights that I don't even know how many I own and dozens of other miscellaneous pieces that I know are valuable but have little knowledge of because, after all, I NEVER got to study the glass unit. My husband once had the audacity to suggest that I get rid of some of my glassware because it's "taking up too much space to store in the garage". WHAT was he thinking?!

I told him the story of Miss Gilchrist and how, because she fell ill, I never got to realize my dream. It was all her fault, after all, that I have this obsession with glass. It's her fault that I have a wooden crate of various colors and textures of glass for use in my stained glass projects. The crate is so heavy - it cannot be moved unless it is emptied. It's her fault that we're redoing a bay of our garage and converting it into a studio so that I can create, among other things, lots and lots of stained glass projects.

I still have my purple vase. It's packed away in a box, somewhere in the garage, right next to the box of antique glass paperweights which should be on display in my now empty, glass top, display-box coffee table. My friend Jim asked me the other night at LifeGroup why I didn't have anything on display in my coffee table. It made me think about Miss Gilchrist, with all her purple and her bright smile.

Tomorrow, I think I'll go unpack a box.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Letting Go

A view of Randy's hometown woodlands

Last evening, I was typing while my dear husband dictated his autobiography. (A requirement by the agency before we can become foster parents.) When Randy got to the place in his life where his Dad sold 346 acres of his farm, I cried right along with him as he retold the story:

"...The thing that changed my life the most out of any other event was the day our neighbor came to visit. He owned the adjacent farm and just happened to stop by at the one vulnerable time most perfect for his cause. My Dad, who was once again laid-off, although this was the final time he was laid-off, nonetheless was out of money so we sold off all but four acres, the house and the barn.

I spent the next thirty years angry and hurt in a delusional quest more subliminally driven than thought, but a quest nonetheless to 'buy back' the land I’d loved so dearly..."

Randy was a teen when this life-changing event occurred. No longer would he have the freedom to roam the land, or the space to raise his animals. But it was more than that --he had to let go of a dream that day. I know that in his heart, he would love to own the land that his father once owned.

After listening to my husband talk last night, I understand so much better why he spends hours on his John Deere tractor, digging holes and planting trees on our 14 acre property. I believe that a part of him, whether he would admit to it or not, is trying to recreate that woodland farm of his youth. In his mind he may be trying to go back to the simplier days before he was responsible for caring for a family and earning the money to pay the bills. When life was less complicated. When his biggest concern was perhaps whether he would have a good day selling eggs from his chickens, or if he would be able to put back together whatever small piece of machinery he had chosen to take apart.

We hold on to many things in life and as we get older, I think that the realization of all the "letting go" that we've had to do is more difficult than the actual "letting go" itself. You know that saying, "You don't know what you have until it's gone." May we appreciate and cherish each person, each home, each thing with which the Lord has blessed us. For we never know when someone will sell the farm.

In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction. - Lamentations 1:7

Post Script: There seems to be a similar theme running today:
Read Sara's Blog.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pause for Praise

photo copyright Deborah Erskine 2006

Seven times a day and all day long do I praise You because of Your righteous decrees. --Psalm 119:164

I have been reading a book which I have borrowed from my dear friend, Dawna. The book is by one of my favorite authors and teachers, Joyce Meyer.

In The Battle Belongs to the Lord, Joyce encourages us to take a praise pause. I don't think that there's anything that blesses the Lord more than when we stop right in the middle of whatever it is we're doing and worship Him. When pausing to praise, we remind ourselves that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), and express our total dependence upon the Lord. In turn, He blesses us. We are de-stressed and re-energized. Our focus changes from us to Him. As our perspective changes, often times He reveals to us another way of accomplishing our task which, in the end, is so much more efficient or beneficial.

Don't forget to praise Him today!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Five Things I've Always Wanted to Ask....

  • Would you be happier living in Europe or India or one of those countries where you wouldn't have to shave your underarms and legs every five minutes?

  • Have you ever picked your nose and wiped it somewhere other than a kleenex? (Or tissue for you 'purists' reading this post.)

  • Do have have a "secret stash" of junk food and snacks hidden in your house?

  • Do you take off your bra the second you walk in the door?

  • Do you get some kind of sick satisfaction out of popping zits?

    By the way....don't think for a moment that ANY of the above questions are asked based on personal experience or desire....However, remind me to tell you about the time, as a Fine Arts major in college (before I changed my major to Medical Technology as a Junior and had to start ALL OVER AGAIN because NOTHING transfers from Art to Med. Tech)....that I actually considered creating an "Art Happening" where one could walk into a room and the walls would all be completely covered in fake zits for you to pop).

    I'm going to end this post now before I chicken out and hit the "delete" key. I'm thinking that this is NOT the "insight into my life" that birminghamgirl wants to know when she asked us to tell a little more about ourselves....
  • Thursday, October 05, 2006

    Monkey Business

    Especially for Sara.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006


    Today was Olivia's first day of preschool.

    We woke up early, got dressed, took a couple of photos and dashed out the door. No time for breakfast. (Terrible, I know...but she won't eat first thing in the morning anyway...) She gets a snack mid-morning --she should be fine...

    Olivia was excited! Mommy was nervous.

    All the other children are "old pros" at this because school started two weeks ago. We only learned of this opportunity last Olivia got a late start.

    How would she do?

    Would she make new friends?

    Would she listen to her teachers, Miss Lydia and Mrs. Forbes?

    I walked into the Kids of the Kingdom Preschool held at the Presbyterian Church in town. All the other children were arriving --many dressed in their finest because today is school picture day.

    We hung her jacket on the hook, and then Miss Lydia takes Olivia's hand and leads her into one of the playrooms where she will place her backpack and commence playing for the first 30 minutes.

    Olivia marches right off with Miss Lydia while I stand there with this empty, gnawing feeling in the the pit of my stomach, realizing that my baby girl is growing up and is no longer a baby. For the first time in her life, I'm not going to be privy to everything Olivia does. I'm not going to be able to see how she conducts herself; if she plays 'fair' if the class bully pushes her on the ground, if she eats her snack, if she cooperates with her teachers, if she pays attention during story time, if she recites her Bible verse, if the other kids like her.

    I walked out the door of the church and did what I vowed I wasn't going to do - I started to get all choked up and teary eyed. (Those who know me and are reading this are saying, "surprise...surprise!...Deb's getting all emotional!)

    After I collected myself, I began my list of errands --to the post office to mail an eBay package, to the bank to deposit a check, to the mission thrift shop to see what kind of great bargains I can find, to the library to return some books....and the best part was I had my camera with me. I took some time in between all those stops to get some great "art" photographs of our town.

    The thrift shop was having an "everything you can fit in a bag is two bucks" sale. Yeah! I kept checking my watch every five minutes...oh no, no time to go to the to go get Olivia.

    I drove back to the church. No other parents were there. How odd. I sat there for a few minutes before I realized that preschool doesn't end at 11am but 11:30am...(duh)...okay - time for the library after all. I made one of the quickest "runs" through the library picking out several books for Olivia. Then I jumped back in the van and headed over to the church - again. Still no one in the parking lot....I sat there a few minutes and finally other parents began to show up.

    We walked in and stood in the foyer area and waited for the kids to be allowed to leave --one at a time. I did take note that most of the other Moms were VERY young and most of the Grandmothers were closer to my age! I was feeling a tad old!

    Finally, Olivia came bursting out of one of the rooms, backpack in hand. I gave her a hug and kiss, told her that I missed her and she said, "yeah, okay Mom, let's get going because I'm kinda hungry." When I opened the van door, there on her booster seat was a doll that I had managed to fit in my "everything I could fit in a bag for two bucks". Olivia was excited for about two seconds then said, "Mom, we really need to stop at McDonalds for a burger."

    On the drive to McDonalds, I asked her about her morning...wanting to know every detail. It was like "pulling teeth" trying to get information out of her.

    I’ve been asking her off and on all day....”Olivia, tell me about your day at preschool.” Her reply, “Mom, I just can’t really remember everything that I did and I really would just like to watch a video”, ...or “read a book”, ...or “have a snack”, ...or “work on an art project”.

    A little later my Mom called to find out how Olivia did at her first day of preschool. As soon as Olivia discovered who I was talking to, she grabbed the phone and said, “Grandma! I have to tell you all about school!”...

    Ugh. My baby is growing up.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Illustration Friday: Quiet

    A simple pencil sketch for this week's Illustration Friday theme: Quiet
    There's something quite peaceful about enjoying a cup of tea with lemon. Enjoy!


    If I suddenly became a millionaire (not that it's going to ever happen, but it's nice to dream), first --I would give a ton of money to the Lord. Then I'd probably tell my DH to buy the grass carp that he wants to buy for the pond so that they will eat down some of the weeds. (The fish cost around $700 --not a price we can afford today.) Then, of course, I'd pay all my debts and our families' debts. Then I might hire a landscaper to come and plant some really BIG, mature trees on our property in the space where there are no trees. And then I'd live off the rest of the money and relax and live life.

    I would not go out and buy a boat, a plane, a summer home or a cabin in the mountains. I might splurge for a new washer and dryer --and a new handle fixture thingy for the kitchen window which has been broken for almost a year now.

    The best thing I would be able to do --and would want to do would be to give back to the Lord and to help my relatives. The rest is gravy.

    I think by writing this little essay that I've proven to the Lord that by Him blessing me with scads of money, I would not turn into a money-hungry, greedy, beady-eyed weasel. Therefore, I think He should open up those windows of heaven and pour out that blessing - in the form of money, of course, What do you think?

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    take just a minute....

    For all of us who think we're too busy to take a moment for the Lord....listen to the song and take just one minute to be with Jesus.

    God bless you all!