Monday, June 30, 2008

Great-Grandma Roberta

P1000954.JPG, originally uploaded by spiffy_guy.

Emmy gives her a hug. She's 81 years old, and is not sure who Emlyn is, but you can see she loved the hug.

She's had to move into an assisted living facility, and Grandma Linda is cleaning her house. Wish I could be up there to help. You all know I love me some organizing!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Denali meets Cousin Tristan

P1000962.JPG, originally uploaded by spiffy_guy.

Joel's cousin Tristan was also in Oklahoma with us. In fact all of Joel's mom's siblings and their children were in one town for the first time in a long long time, in honor of Joel's grandma's 80th birthday. It was a fun trip.

Mr. Turtle

P1000976.JPG, originally uploaded by spiffy_guy.

I don't know if I blogged about this last year, but this is a turtle we found walking across the road in Oklahoma. I grew up in the inner city, and now I live in suburbia, so turtle sightings were not a common occurrence in my life. Although the other day someone mentioned they saw one around town. Anyway we borrowed him for a few hours and said hello.

Grandma Linda was perfectly happy to hold him. I don't think I was.

Mike's House Part 2

P1000979.JPG, originally uploaded by spiffy_guy.

This is a large sculpture right by the road at Mike's house. My favorite part is the silhouette of the woman on the top right of the huge rock.

Uncle Mike

P1000989.JPG, originally uploaded by spiffy_guy.

Uncle Mike is Joel's mom's brother. He works on fishing boats in Alaska and has a home base in Oklahoma. His house in Oklahoma is decorated with all kinds of small sculptures and art that Mike has made, like this puffin rock. I wish I could convince him to give me (or sell me) some of his art because some of it is really remarkable.

I took lots of pictures of his property when we were up there last June. Most of the rock work in the pictures was done by him.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Book of Hours

I was out in the yard this afternoon and saw this beautiful dragonfly. It was huge. It's probably 4 inches wide; maybe 3. But its wings were black and then the edges, which look clear here, were blue/purple. So fun. Sorry I didn't get a better picture. I tried to give the plants some water so the dragonfly would stay around.

I read this fantastic book yesterday; it was so good that I wanted to highlight it on this blog rather than just posting it on my other blog. It's called The Book of Hours, by T. Davis Bunn, ISBN 0785268340.

The story was good- a man comes to a small English village to claim his inheritance and encounters a mystery and puzzle.

The concept talked about in the book was really intriguing to me. In medieval times parishioners were asked to pray hourly, so that God would be brought into what they were doing. But many average people did not know how to tell time. So church bells would ring on the hour to remind people to pray, and some people carried a little book called the Book of Hours to read a short prayer while the bells were ringing. Then they would go back into what they were doing.

Because the whole point of life is not to make every day like church, where we sit and listen to a sermon and sing; the whole point is to bring God into your everyday life. Bring Him into your cleaning, your working, your playing. Bring Him into the fun parts and the drudgery. That's how we have a relationship with God.

"We Christians are simply beggars who happen to know where other beggars might find bread."- from The Book of Hours, p. 309
I love this quote. I am far from perfect. I am far from all-knowing or all-powerful. But I know where to find the knowledge and the power. It's in Jesus Christ.

So I'm thinking about getting a chime set on my phone, to ring a short phrase at the top of every hour. Maybe it will help me bring God into my life.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Week of Cleaning

Some of you have asked why I'm doing so much cleaning.

First of all, my house was pretty messy a few days ago.

Second of all, I have guests coming and would like the house to be clean for them.

Thirdly, I have been trying to get to bed earlier and skipping nap time since my children don't seem to want to nap anymore. Well Emlyn hasn't for a long time but now Denali won't either.

So the last two or three days have been very productive. I have vacuumed every room and cleaned each room to its best. The papers are almost all sorted. I also have been keeping up with laundry and dishes........

Anyway I need to go sit down on the couch. This list is making me tired :)


I just found out why my dryer doesn't close really well. Evidently there was a piece of cardboard taped on at the latch for shipment purposes. I just took it off. How long have I had this thing and I didn't notice???

The Paper Monster's Gonna Get You!

Today I am concentrating on cleaning the office, dining room, and eventually, the kids' rooms.

Filing is monotonous and I don't like it.

I'm filling out passport applications for the kids. It's boring too!

I think I need to take a break and vacuum or something, to get my heart rate up.

What do you do with the last 10 pieces of paper to be filed, that just don't have a place?

What do you do with the little cards that businesses give you that you have to keep but don't want to?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Day Well Finished

It is 9:10 pm. According to my new experimental rules I have 20 minutes to decompress and read a book. Then I will turn off the sprinklers and go to bed. Today I cleaned the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and master bathroom.

See you all in the morning. At 7 am.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Box of Chocolate

211763101829, originally uploaded by spiffy_guy.

This is a very bad picture of the dessert I had on our anniversary at McCormick and Schmick's. It was mousse and fruit inside a bag made out of chocolate. I only bought it for the chocolate (and sorta the fruit) and the novelty of it. I actually scooped the mousse out onto my plate. The server was a little puzzled by that. It was so yummy.

Magnetism is not Magic?

174986165893, originally uploaded by spiffy_guy.

Joel took this photo on his phone to prove something to me. I am not really sure what, because everyone knows magnetism IS magic.

Story Time

Today I took my kids to church to facilitate story time.

We drove for 16 miles.

We were the only ones there.

So I faithfully read the story of creation and some other stories to my children. And sang a song.

Then we did a craft- making paper flowers.

Then we had a snack.

I worked on making the library more beautiful (the job never seems to end).

Then we came home 16 miles.

Yes, it was a little frustrating that we drove all that way. But I guarantee that if we had been at home there would not have been nearly as much family bonding time. So that's good.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Driving Away Distraction

Since I've been back from the mission trip, things and life and stuff have been distracting me. My house is, not surprisingly, pretty messy. There are things I'm supposed to be doing on the computer and the phone that I'm behind on (making appointments, registrations for women's retreat, etc). I need to go grocery shopping.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Why is it so easy to let all this stuff pull our eyes off the goal? Because guess what- the ultimate goal is not to have a crossed off list of stuff.

Tomorrow (today?) my goal is, and I'm stating it here for accountability, that I will read the Bible to the kids and engage them in meaningful discussion. Everything else that gets accomplished will be icing on the cake. But the meat will be God.

Anyone else want to join me in this challenge?

Oh, and the reason I seem to harp on this topic is because I seem to be prone to distraction myself...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Giving Away Books

The most fun part of the mission trip for me was the day when I got to give away books.

You see if it's up to me I would give away books every day, all day. Preferably they would be books catered to the child's interests and likes.

But it's not up to me. I only get to do it every once in a while.

So I bought about 65 used books at various Goodwills and Salvation Armies. I was picky and only chose a) non-Pokemon books and b) books that cost less than $1.

A lot of them were books from my growing up days, and probably had been published around that time too. But overall it was so refreshing to see these children's faces light up when I told them they would get a book for their very own.

I ended up with some extras. Not really sure how that happened, but I took the easy readers home for Emlyn and left the rest for the church to disperse as they chose.

All in all it was very exciting. I would have preferred to have lots of brand-new choices, but this was good enough.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mission Trip and Aprons

The first day I got to lend out my apron. The girl playing Mrs. Arable (farm wife in Charlotte's Web) was wearing an old timey dress but no apron. I went over to her and asked her if she'd like an apron.

So my apron starred in five minutes of Charlotte's Web. It was great.

Of course that meant it was in the wrong building for the whole trip, so I didn't get to use it in the church kitchen. But they had other (way less cool) aprons.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mission Trip

Well it turns out our good friend Tim is helping with a mission trip in Houston this next week. I didn't find out about it until yesterday, but it's so close to us, and the theme is reading, so I decided to pack up the kids and go help. The theme is Charlotte's Web, and I hope to be a help.

It will be interesting because I'm taking the kids, but I think it will work out.

I'm considering taking along about 50 chapter books so that we can give each kid a book. The thing is those can get pricey. If you have an interest in helping, and want to either donate some books or some money, let me know. I'll probably hit up Half Price Books and see what I can find for $1 each book.

I'm pretty excited! This sort of thing combines a lot of talents I have (teaching, reading, missions), and it's always great to visit with old friends.

I wish Joel could come but he's got a big release due on Wednesday. It will actually work well because then we'll be out of his hair while he's programming.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Plague

The summer heat and drought seems to have had a negative effect on the roly poly population at our house. There are about 75 dead roly polies on our front porch.

Too Many Winnings!

Or: How Sarah can turn even winning into a tragedy

So a couple months ago, in a time of stupidity, I cheated on a drawing. At church. I put my name on the list three times. Everyone saw me do it, and I thought that whoever cut up the paper would see my name three times and be all "Oh Sarah is so silly. Of course we won't put her name in three times."

But they didn't notice. And I won a book about women in the Bible. And I kept it. Guiltily.

And then the next time I entered a drawing, at a PTO meeting, I won. (I hadn't cheated that time)

And the next time at a PTO meeting, I won again! This time I said no thank you.

Thankfully Amy didn't put my name into the drawing for BloggedIn, because I probably would have won that.

And this is all strange because usually I never never win.

Then this week I found out that I won something through a radio station. A couple people nominated me for an award (thanks guys!) for my Good Works stuff. I got a gift certificate to a fondue restaurant, a 2 month certificate for an exercise joint, and some beautiful flowers. All for doing something that I would do no matter if no one noticed (although it sure is nice when people notice).

Oh, and I will be repaying the church with some gifts since I cheated so badly. There's a monthly opportunity for a drawing so I'll provide some stuff....

I was lamenting this to Amy, that it all started because I cheated and that I felt guilty and probably the universe was punishing me for cheating. So Amy suggested that I go buy a lotto ticket.

And I WON!


And then I spent the $1 on another ticket. And lost.

So I've officially broken the winning streak. Phew! That would just be terrible if I kept on winning all the time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Six Year Olds Converse

"Mommy, when do I get MY phone?"

"I'm sorry, what?"

"When do I get my phone? Julie* has one."

"You are not getting a phone until you are 10. Or 12. Or 16. I'm not sure yet. But it's a long long time from now."

"So, that's five years?"

"Actually, no. You will get a phone when you are 16."

You see, it's easier to bring the date closer than it is to push it farther out.

I think my new standard answer is just going to be 16. No matter the question. It's a lot easier than having to actually think first.

Those darn kids.

*Name changed to protect the "innocent"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fortune Cookie

This was my fortune the other day and I saved it because it's so accurate:

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

And here I thought my complete honesty and my complete inability to remember anything of importance were unrelated! Turns out they go together very nicely.

A long time ago my mom told me "I will always believe you. Now you always tell the truth."

And I took it to heart.

It has been hard, because when a dear friend asks me what I think about the shirt I wouldn't be caught dead in, I have to say something like "it's great, for YOU!" And when people get their hair cut and I don't really like it, I say "Oh, you got your hair cut!" And when people ask me if I got rid of insert name of gift here, I have to say "yes."

It's rough, people. Many times I just have to stand there with my lips pressed closed because I really really don't want to tell you the truth. And I really would like to cheat sometimes on board games, just for fun.

But I cheated recently. And I thought I would get caught. And I didn't get caught. And I won.

And now I feel horrible.

So not only am I incapable of lying, when I do try, it fails miserably.

And I can't remember anything either.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Stroll to the Sandwich Store

This evening Joel was working late and I was bored and not particularly enthusiastic about cooking. I decided to walk with the kids to a sandwich store near us. It's about a 20 minute walk when you go at the pace of a three year old.

Surprisingly it was not too hot; at the time we were walking a cooler front was blowing so it was only 85 or so instead of the 95 I was afraid of. So we wandered over to the restaurant, I got a free sandwich with my frequent buyer card, and then we wandered to the by-the-ounce frozen yogurt place. Then we wandered back home, and then it was bed time.

It was a lovely way to kill two hours, and the kids and I had a lot of fun. And it all cost under $10.

Ack! Tomatoes are Scary!

I really love tomatoes.

Thankfully this year my tomato plants survived and are producing. I get a handful of little tomatoes everyday and it's just lovely. Eating warm organic homegrown tomatoes off the vine is heaven I tell you.

Tim posted about his reaction to the tomato scare. I'm mostly just sad that I don't get to eat as many for a while, but not overly sad because I've got my garden.

And Greenling*.

(*Who has promised that they have talked to all of their suppliers and no contamination issues are present)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Laundry Mountain

Every Monday or Tuesday I conquer Laundry Mountain. I try to do laundry throughout the week, but I always make sure to catch up at the beginning of the week. This way Joel has lots of clean clothes for work and I can start the week fresh. Each week I do about 8-10 loads of laundry. That's a lot of laundry.

I really need to stop buying clothes. The problem is, as I was explaining to a friend today, is that I have never before had these three things in alignment: I can fit clothes in almost any store, I have at least some money to spend on clothes, and the styles are right up my alley.

It's bad for my budget and for my full closet. This weekend I went to the REI garage sale and got 10 items for $60, which is a great price for those of you who go to REI very often. Most items I got for about 90% off. That's a good thing.

Anyway, time to go do something with laundry.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Home-Made Sidewalk Paint

This morning I went to Parent Hacks and read about a home-made sidewalk paint. All you need is cornstarch, food coloring, and water. It looked so easy that I made it. And it was easy! And the kids loved it! I used 5 old plastic containers (margarine tubs and the like) and made five colors. We painted our front porch and had a great time. Then it was so stinking hot that we pulled out the hose and sprayed it off (and maybe sprayed ourselves at the same time).

Parent Hacks
quoted The Library Collective for the recipe. Go check it out.

Oh, and if you don't regularly read Parent Hacks, it's worth a read. Parents post their little tricks, like travel tips, pottying techniques, etc. It's pretty awesome.

Still Sitting in the Dark

Cat came over this morning and helped me clean before playgroup, and then despite the rain (thanks God!) we made the kids play outside. They had a great time, my house is clean, and now it's quiet time. So I'm back to sitting in the dark, trying to find something good on TV.


This morning I am hosting playgroup. It's going to be mostly outside, which is good because the inside of my house is pretty much a wreck.

The kids are still upstairs even though it's after 8 am- the lights are all off and the curtains are closed.

I'm tempted to go clean because I need to, but it's so quiet around here I may just go sit on the couch in the dark and stare into space.

Anyone with me?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Apron Wearing Evidence

Not only am I wearing an apron, I'm being sassy about it...

All right, Lori threw down the gauntlet.
I am disappointed that although you identify yourself as an apron wearer, I have never seen you in an apron. I think a posted picture is appropriate. Its not that I don't believe you, its just that I'm needing a visual. Lori

Therefore I am proving with this picture that I do, indeed, wear an apron. This is from March of last year, even before Amy was all "we should wear aprons all the time!"

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

About Me

I just wrote up a little article about myself. It's got links to things I have written in the past.

Go check it out if you'd like; I'm also going to put a link to it on the side here.

And while I was writing it, I came across this article that I wrote in January.

It's talking about the weights we carry that are of this world, and how we can try to shed those weights and replace them with God's love. His burden is light.

I was reminded of this similar topic earlier this week and hadn't had a chance to write about it yet. The clutter in my house is representative of the clutter in my brain. I am good about getting the physical clutter out of my house. Everyone knows I almost always have a box of giveaways in my car. And I'm good about putting decorative items in the empty spaces.

I'm also good about getting the yucky spiritual things out of my life. I avoid certain kinds of music, TV shows, movies, and internet sites. But I am not so good at filling those spaces with wholesomeness, especially where my kids are concerned. I give them a whole list of things they cannot do. But what do I fill it with? How can I teach them to be Christ-loving, Christ-centered, obedient children of God?

I make an effort with good songs and good TV shows and I try to give them a good example, but as far as I'm concerned there is always room for improvement. So tell me, what do you fill your spiritual cup with? What do you serve your children that is of God? Remind me what you do to show God to your children.

This is your brain on clutter.

This is your brain on God.

Which would you rather have?

How to be a Homemaker

Brandy at My 12 Hats asked: How does one be a professional homemaker? How does one succeed?

Amy answered. And she talked about bringing Jesus to your family and to your home. And that is absolutely correct. She's so good at reminding us of the ultimate goal.

However I have a little more to say about how to be Jesus in your family. This is how I read the signs of my own family to know whether I'm fulfilling the commitments to my family. So I commented on Brandy's post and then tried to explain a little more about how I do it.

I have struggled for six years to be the kind of homemaker Brandy was talking about-- home-cooked meals, happy children, and clean house all the time.

I have just recently accepted the fact that I can keep my house tolerably clean. But I am not going to put the time in to my house to have sparkling windows, dusted pictures, or clean baseboards. When my house is clean enough for my standards, that means I have more time to go to others' houses and visit, encourage, and minister to them.

Because I think that is where my talents lie.

Here are the conditions that need to be met in my house before I can go out to minister and visit with others.
Dishes in the kitchen
Laundry in the laundry room and done at least once a week
Trash in the trash can once a day
Papers in the office
Happy children and husband (as far as I can influence them to be happy)

The other thing I do as far as my children are concerned is when they get grouchy or whiny, or when they're over-tired, that means I need to stay home for the next few days and focus on them. More stories and hugs and talking. That sounds like it should be obvious but I firmly believe it is not obvious to some.

This is why I get to post to my blog from Amy's house. Because it's my ministry, you know?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Super Target

Every time we enter Super Target, which is about once every week to two weeks, my son asks to see the "Pretend HEB" that's inside Super Target. You know, where the food is? Where they try to get your food money instead of you spending it at HEB (a low-cost grocery store in our area)?

So next time you go to Super Target, give them a break and spend some money in their "Pretend HEB".