Monday, August 31, 2009

Movie Monday -The Duck Song

In our house, all you have to do is ask, "Got any grapes?!" and Olivia cracks up!! When we want to turn a frown upside down...."Olivia, ya got any grapes?"


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book Review

I picked up a book yesterday at Ollie's Bargain Outlet....a great place to shop for great deals...unfortunately there is not an OBO anywhere near my home and the only time I go there is the rare occasion when I accompany Brillo Man to the Butler VA...anyway, I digress (what else is new?)

The book: The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.

I have copied the following reviews from Amazon - mostly because there is SO much that I could write about this book - I'm wanting to highlight paragraphs on every page - and I couldn't possibly decide which quote is the best or the most fitting way to describe how life-changing this book could be to us Christians if we would just stop and do what the author suggests. He urges us to be truly Christ followers.

I'm halfway through with the book and don't want to put it down --so now I'm going back to reading.... My advice - read the book! Here's the review:

From Publishers Weekly:
*Starred Review* If there is such a thing as a disarming radical, 30-year-old Claiborne is it. A former Tennessee Methodist and born-again, high school prom king, Claiborne is now a founding member of one of a growing number of radical faith communities. His is called the Simple Way, located in a destitute neighborhood of Philadelphia. It is a house of young believers, some single, some married, who live among the poor and homeless. They call themselves "ordinary radicals" because they attempt to live like Christ and the earliest converts to Christianity, ignoring social status and unencumbered by material comforts. Claiborne's chatty and compelling narrative is magnetic—his stories (from galvanizing a student movement that saved a group of homeless families from eviction to reaching Mother Teresa herself from a dorm phone at 2 a.m.) draw the reader in with humor and intimacy, only to turn the most common ways of practicing religion upside down. He somehow skewers the insulation of suburban living and the hypocrisy of wealthy churches without any self-righteous finger pointing. "The world," he says, "cannot afford the American dream." Claiborne's conviction, personal experience and description of others like him are a clarion call to rethink the meaning of church, conversion and Christianity; no reader will go away unshaken.

From Booklist:
*Starred Review* From dressing the wounds of lepers in Calcutta to living among the homeless in Philadelphia to visiting families in Iraq, social activist Claiborne strives to live an authentic Christian life. In his view, he is a radical in the truest sense of the word, returning to the roots of Christianity by living as Jesus did and doing "small things with great love." A partner-founder of the Philadelphia-based faith community Simple Way, he presents an evangelical Christianity gentler and more inclusive than is usually seen, especially in the mass media. He describes Simple Way as a new culture that relies on radical interdependence and consists of grassroots organizations, intentional communities, and hospitality houses. Although the book isn't an autobiography, in it Claiborne reports much about his life: growing up in the Bible Belt, becoming a Jesus freak, moving to Philadelphia despite his family's misgivings, and helping the homeless there. Then he boldly requested an internship with Mother Teresa in Calcutta. She simply responded, "Come." Besides illuminating his own faith journey, Claiborne is insightful on the huge U.S. cultural and economic divide: the problem isn't that wealthy Christians don't care about the poor, he says, it's that they simply don't know the poor. A moving, often humorous account of a life of faith lived to the fullest.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Entertainment

Olivia entered the room dressed in Brillo Man's clothes, plopped herself into the recliner chair and proceeded to mimmick Brillo Man.

"Olivia, it's my turn to watch the TV, please hand me the remote."
"Olivia, I'm going to go lay down."
"Olivia, you can't have another fudgesicle."
Then she stood up and her pants fell down..."Oh, oh, I'm losing my pants!" (That was something she planned! - Brillo Man is always losing his pants!!)

It was hysterical!

It wasn't quite as funny however, when she reappeared ten minutes later dressed in MY clothes and proceeded to do the same thing!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Pastor Jeff Stockford of Calvary Assembly of God in Orlando- affectionately known to me as "PJ": - my former worship pastor - I was so privileged to sing with him on his team when he was the associate pastor and worship pastor at CrossWay Church in Cranberry Township, PA.....I love this man - a forever friend!

You can hear more at his website.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Self Portrait

My dear friend, Carol says this:

"It's very intense looking.
Reminds me of Andy Warhol."

I think she may have a point.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Something New from something old...

The other day, I learned something new. I'm currently reading Curing MS: How Science is Solving the Mysteries of Multiple Sclerosis and just when I thought that I couldn't learn anything more about the disease that plagues my body, I read that 90% of the people with MS who have Relapsing-Remitting MS will develop Secondary-Progressive MS. This "shift" in the disease process usually occurs by the time the patient has lived with the diagnosis 25-30 years. Guess what? I have had MS at least since age 26. (Probably sooner as there are some things that happened prior to age 26 that I can look back upon and say, "yeah, that was probably MS...") I've been "officially" diagnosed since age 30. Today I'm 49. So it's at least 23 years that I've been dealing with this illness. And today I'm living right smack dap in the middle of an exacerbation which began back in March and has continued...steadily worsening over the weeks to the point where I had to quit working on July 15th.

Have I "crossed over" from relapsing remitting to secondary progressive? I hope not. It is possible? Yes. In fact, It's highly probable. Will things get worse before they get better? Don't know. Will the current drug therapy and physical therapy do anything to help my current physical situation? Don't know that either.

Here's one thing I do know without a doubt: God is still on the throne. Sure, there are moments when I am so stinkin' frustrated that I can't do the things I want to do...when my body won't move the way I tell it to move...when my legs don't work and I can't walk...or I take a step and fall down because they quit working altogether. But I still know: God is on the throne. Whenever I am trying to form a sentence in my brain and can't find the words to speak it from my lips...when I don't have the strength to open the gallon of milk...when my mood swings so far to the other side that I find myself screaming at my daughter or nagging my husband for no good reason...when I can't sleep even though I'm completely exhausted...when I pick up my cup to take a drink and completely miss my mouth...(Yes, Sara, I know how that happens!)...when all of that...and a million other annoying things occur...I still know: God is on the throne.

I can choose to wallow in self pity. Or I can choose to take joy in the fact that when everyone else looks up in the sky and sees one hot air balloon flying by...I am blessed to see two - because maybe that day, I have double vision. A blessing? Perhaps not. But it's all in how I perceive things to be.

God is still on the throne. Whether or not He chooses to heal me, or whether or not he allows this disease to go from relapsing-remitting to seconday-progressive...He is still on the throne.

And THAT is what I know!

...I saw the LORD sitting on his throne
with all the host of heaven standing around him
on his right and on his left.
-I Kings 22:19b

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aerobics!!! Yeah!!

Conversation in our home:

Deb: "Olivia, please push that folding chair over here so I can do my exercises that I'm supposed to be doing for Physical Therapy homework."

(Deb sits down on the couch, extends her leg and places her foot on the chair in front of her.)

Brillo Man: "Is that an exercise?"

Deb: "Yeah, can't you tell I'm burning calories?"

Brillo Man: (walking away...)"Yeah, I see that. I'm going to get an ice cream sandwich out of the freezer. Anybody want anything?"

Olivia and Deb (in unison): "I want a fudgesicle!"

Now...before you laugh...believe it or not...when I sat down with my foot on the chair, I actually WAS doing my PT homework! Because of the increased spasticity in my legs, I am unable to straighten my legs completely. In fact, it's impossible - and very painful when I try. So...I'm supposed to sit with my feet elevated and allow the force of gravity to help straighten my legs. Burning calories. Hardly. Critical to my rehabilitation for MS. Yes. So there!

And yes, that's me in the photo. yeah. right. ...although that IS the current color of my toenail polish and I DO own a laptop...

Monday, August 17, 2009


Olivia and I spent some time yesterday creating miniature Chinese Lanterns. She got a pattern for one in a McDonald's Happy Meal and that reminded her that she had watched a show on Noggin which talked about thing led to another and we were coloring, cutting and taping! At one point, she tired of coloring and we cut some pages from a magazine. We strung them up to surprise Brillo Man...I think Olivia thinks we're having some kind of festival...she sure is excited about her lanterns!

Promise you won't notice that the exercise bicycle in the background is being used to hold a beach towel and a grocery bag of cans of black olives from the store!!! (ahem.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Day of Fun and Frolic

Today we spent some time searching for caches in the woods. The first cache led us to an old foundation of a building which we learned housed POWS during WWII. Very interesting history...just a few miles from where we live! It took us longer than it should have due to some downed trees over which we had to maneuver! And Bentley's lease kept getting caught on every stray bramble and branch.

Bentley went along with us because the second cache for which we searched was a cache for DOGS ONLY! He had to be there - and we needed photographic evidence that he was there in order for us to get credit for the find. After 1/2 mile hike along the trail, Team WEPAdillo prevailed and it was Olivia who first spied the cache! Bentley was excited to trade a tennis ball for a rubber chew toy.
After a much-needed rest sitting on an old log - we began our 1/2 mile hike back to the van. ugh.

Needless to say it was very slow going for me with my two legs not working well. Good thing I had my hiking shoes and my two hiking sticks for support! But I took my time and rested a lot along the way. I'm proud to say that after much time had passed I finally finished! Yahoo! Honestly, I can say that there's NO way I would have gone on a one mile hike through the woods today had it not been for geocaching. It motivates me to get out there and move - which is a good thing!

After our caching adventure, we headed for the nearest shoreline: Beach #2 at Shenango Lake. Olivia donned her suit and jumped right in the water. I stayed back in the van to rest some more after our long hike. Brillo Man and Bentley took off to supervise Olivia. After my rest, I walked down to the water and there was Brillo Man - lying in the water - in his clothes! I didn't bring our suits --should have! He didn't care - he was cooling off anyway! Too bad I didn't bring the camera with me for that shot!

Dinner was Dairy Queen - popcorn shrimp, onion rings, cole slaw and a Girl Scout Thin Mint Blizzard. (I get an "A" for nutruition! ahem. --after all, there were vegetables in the cole slaw!!)

I am now officially exhausted and should sleep well tonight!

Friday, August 07, 2009


Olivia and I made a batch of these toffee bars for tomorrow's family reunion up at Presque Isle on Lake Erie.

...Should be a fun day - the weather looks like it may actually cooperate for a change!

The treats turned out delicious - here's the recipe:

Toffee Nut Bars

2 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 salt
2/3 c (1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly firm)
2 c lightly packed very fresh light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1 c plus 2 T chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a jelly roll pan.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Mix butter on medium speed until lightened in color. Add the brown sugar about 1/4 at a time and beat well until light in color, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, then the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just to incorporate.

Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Spread the mixture into the jelly roll pan, sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 T of walnuts.

Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the sides are lightly browned. DO NOT OVERBAKE. A toothpick inserted in the center should still show signs of moistness. Place on a cooling rack for 1 hour, then cut into squares.

This chocolate bar cookie has a wonderful caramel flavor --yet there's not an ounce of caramel anywhere. Very Tasty!!