You really can find it on ebay!

Ebay. Anyone know what that term means?

I've been doing some work on my closet lately at the prodding of the impending cruise to Mexico. My closet--it's a sad state of affairs these days...and certainly not filled with a cruise-worthy assortment of items.

More like a mommy assortment.

Jeans and casual pants. A few capris. Sweatshirts for warmth on park days. Shrits made to be left untucked and layered. Nothing that needs ironing or hand-washing. Tennis shoes, slides, casual leather pair of black leather heels that Ihaven't even put on since before G was born--meaning they probably don't even fit anymore.

My closet screams "Mommy" at the top of it's lungs!

I have only a few fashion rules:
1--no shirts without collars
2--no belts
3--no horizontal lines
4--white socks only go with jeans and tennis shoes
5--no shirts with writing or designs on the chest
6--no sandals

Beyond that I'm all Mommy.

So, imagine my delight/surprise/horror when I read that each evening of our cruise is semi-formal dining. Not black tie but almost. The men are to wear suits with ties. (Did I mention that this is what Joal wears every day?)

Four nights of elegant evening wear to be packed in my suitcase...hmm. This is going to require some creativity on all levels--creative planning, creative shopping and of course, creative packing.

I don't want to sink hundreds of dollars into this...obviously it'll proabably be a while before I need them again. (My current avarage is a formal event every 13 years...LOL!)

So, all that to say, I've been browsing around ebay for nice outfits. I've had a little luck but not much. I have discovered something else tho--you can really find anything on ebay. Some stuff looks better left unfound--I think. It's difficult to shop online for clothing--you can't touch it or try it on. There's the risk and of course, shipping. I went to a couple of department stores over the weekend and found a few possibilities. Planning to go back next weekend.

Honestly. If we weren't going with Joal's colleagues, I wouldn't bother so much, but we are and I want to step it up.

I wish I knew how to sew with fabric instead of paper.


Is Homeschooling Selfish?

I should probably stick with emailing friends and my three favorite scrapbook websites and never surf past them, because--it never fails--when I venture to a new place (or several) I get involved in way too much new information. :)

So, today, without warning, a socio-political blog that I have just started to follow (and choose not to link to at this time) blasts out an opinion on homeschooling, calling it strange and of all things, selfish.


Strangeness doesn't bother me.
Strangeness is subjective.
Anyone and everyone can be strange at times and it's not a permanant condition.

But selfish??

The poster called homeschooling selfish because it takes good parents and good students out of the public school system. Selfish because it prevents children from developing independently of their parents ideals. Selfish because it shields children from learning to interact with those who are different from themselves in terms of religion, race, family structure, language and socio-economic status.


Of course, those of you who know me even a little bit know how much I wanted to rail against these skewed ideas. The term "go off" applies.

But I couldn't.

There is, afterall, only one answer to such thoughtlessness.

"Call me after you actually have children."



The journaling challenge for the week at 2Peas is to write about Unconditional Love, in the light of the upcoming Valentines holiday. I am hesitant to write about it because it bares something about me. Valentines is my least favorite holiday.

Unconditional love. I've always thought of this a one of humanity's "trick questions". Afterall, we all want to enjoy the wonder of being loved unconditionally but are we ourselves up to the challenge that it is to actually love someone else unconditionally? It's monumentally easier to accept than it is to give.

The term "unconditional" obviously means without conditions.
Without boundaries.
Without limits.

I'm not sure unconditional love is humanly possible.

I love my children with all my heart and their father even more than that. Loving him is the hardest, most wonderful thing I get to do. Sometimes it's a chore. Sometimes it's a delight. (I'm sure he would say the same thing about me.) It's always a choice.

However, do I love him without conditions, without boundaries, without limits?

In a romanticized way, perhaps. I love him like I have never loved another human being on this planet. I would do things for him that no one else can or dares to ask of me.

However, realisticaly, I don't think it's possible to say that my love for him is completely unconditional. Way out in the far recesses of possibility, there could conceivably exist conditions in which I would no longer love him, based on his actions or choices. Not likely to occur--but conceivable.

Unconditional. No. Because there are remote conditions that would shred my heart and my love for that man.

I believe the human spirit is capable of great love and even greater forgiveness, the lengths of which most people never come to understand. I believe forgiveness is a gift from God, on much the same level as miracles but in my own power, I don't think a completely unconditional love is possible.

I look at my youngest son and I see a baby boy that I love so deeply. The lengths to which I would go (as his mother) to keep him safe and to insure a wonderful chance at life for him are immeasurable. There just aren't words to define the possibilities. So while he is an innocent, perhaps his mother's love approaches unconditional, but love changes. Will I still feel that same way when he is 30 and no longer an innocent in need of protection. I don't know. I've never been the mother of a 30 year old man.

I do know this: God's love for us is unconditional. He gave his perfectly innocent son to demonstrate His perfectly unconditional love of us. Shortcomings, failures, brokeness and all. The ways of God are not the ways of man. Hence the chasim of need we all feel.

So, now you know.


Freedom from religion?

Deep question--at least for me. Tell me what you think.

Is there such a thing as "the right to freedom from religion"?
Is it a realistic expectation?
Is it, indeed, a right?
Do people have the right to live in a United States that is completely free from religion, religious overtones, and religious influence?

What brought this on, you ask?

A couple of the online home school groups that I am part of are exploring their own eclecticism and trying to arrive at that seemingly unavailable place called "happy medium" for everyone. It's not working out so well, frankly.

There are those in one group who do not believe in any religion and do not want any references made to faith, religion, beliefs, etc to be part of the group discussions. They are living a religion-free life and want the group to be religion-free as well. It's as if any reference to anything religious is offensive. While I do respect the right of a person to choose not to believe in a religion, I don't think this is a very realistic expectation to place on a group that is comprised of home schoolers of all types. It seems similar to being offended by the very existance of a church building on the corner. Does the fact that you find something "offensive" negate it's right to be? Hardly.

I find certain foods I don't eat them.
I find certain music I don't listen to it.
I find certain clothing choices I don't wear them.
Movies--don't buy a ticket.
Books--don't read.
I find rudeness I try not to be rude.
I find immodesty I try to avoid places where it is prevalent.

These are things I would not tolerate in myself, for myself or my children, but that is where my "rights" stop. I don't impose my food choices on every other Publix patron. That's laughable. I don't expect Publix to alter their fruit selection to exclude blueberries just because I don't like them, even to the point of detesting them. Seriously, I hate fresh blueberries. They give me unexplainable creeps...but I walk right by them every time I visit. As an adult, I understand that my "rights" do not outweigh the rights of others. I do not expect to live in a completely offense-free zone. I find that extremely unrealistic.

Honestly, I think the expectation that one can live a life that is completely free of anything religious is absurd. You have the right to govern yourself--your choices,where you go, what you do, your children, etc. However, you do not have the right to expect to live in a completely non-offensive world. I say if something somewhere isn't offending you, you need to check your pulse. We each make our own choices. If you don't want religion, don't participate in it, but don't expect everyone else to alter their existance for your sensitivities.

I will not be one of those moms...

I will not be one of those moms who blogs endlessly about the pottie training stages of her child.
I will not.
It's my least favorite stage.

Suffice it to say that there are few things cuter than a little boy in tiny new cammo underware.

I promise.
That's all I'll say about that.
And there will be no photos posted.

Happy Wednesday!!


Tharrrr She Blows!!!

OK...all my little rantings have been left un-vented for a solid month so rather than subject you to 620 pages of all the gory gripes, I'm going to bullet point them and get them done briefly.

  • What is with people who do their paperwork in the ATM line? I waited in line for 8 minutes behind a red Ranger today who was obviously filling in his slips, talking on the phone and slurping a drink. How rude. It's common sense. If you have paperwork to do, pull out, do it and get back in line. Don't hold up the line. The world does not revolve around you.

  • The Postal Service "inhales rapidly". Yes. USPS is on my black list. The last week of December it took 14 days for Joal's paperwork to get to the office in Dallas for processing. The tracking number on the *Priority Mail* with alleged delivery confirmation was completely useless. It never got entered. Joal spent two hours at the PO with a person trying to find out what happened to the package and all they could tell him was that they couldn't find it and "that's what you get for $4." Did I mention that his entire paycheck for the week is dependant upon the contents of this envelope and it's timely arrival in Dallas? So they told him it was lost. We prepared to survive without his paycheck. Then ding ding--the envelope shows up in Dallas. As luck would have it, it was only one day too late to be processed and included in the stats for December 05. Because of the stats, the lack of that weeks work counting in December will cost us about $800. He did get the paycheck (which I am grateful for) but the points associated with the sales will be applied to January 06--a new quarter. The missing points put him in a lower bonus bracket for the fourth quarter of 05. The good news is that FedEx has a new client. I'm thinking of sending the USPS a bill.

  • I live on the quietest street in America. It's really really quiet. Really. Quiet. And oddly, dark. We have exterior lighting across the front and back of our house. Every night we turn on all the exterior lights and leave them on all night. I have never liked a dark house and I don't intend to live in one. So, yes, we light up the night. Our neighbors, however, don't. Some don't even have their porch light turned on at night. I totally don't get that. I'm thinking of renting Joal out as a light-installer. Maybe they just don't know how.

  • There's no Michaels sale paper this week. Bummer dude.

  • I made a mistake today. I went to the Club Scrap website "just to look" and now I have a list of stuff I allegedly "need" to acquire.

  • What is up with the Metro Nashville School Board and parents? The MNPS has been having all kinds of issues--issues that parents should have cared about enough to make some noise about but they haven't. Oh wait. Check that. Parents have neglected to make themselves heard on many other key issues ...Until the school board decided to consider adopting a "balanced calendar" for the 07-08 school year. And then here come the irate parents. One would think the school board was a team of Dr Evils sent to clone and dominate the world. One parent in The Tennessean was upset because the so called balanced school year calendar would have a negative impact on her family vacation plans. Come on. If you already have set-in-stone vacation plans for the summer of 2008, chances are your kid needs to be in school a little more to get away from you. If you disagree with the consideration of a balanced year--fine. But as a parent--please act civiliy and use your manners. Is that too much to ask?

  • My last issue of contension is with the Tennessee Legislature. Our Governor has called them into a special session to consider "Ethics Legislation". That is--their job is to come up with more substantial rules by which they will be governed as a body. Puh lease. That's the equivalent of letting Julian plan what we are going to eat for dinner or when he is going to bathee. What's that saying that was popular in the 80s? "You can't legislate morality?" Well, guess what? Apparently legislators are exempt from things like ethics and morality. I love our form of representation of the people, for the people and by the people...but in this case, the people doing the representing have apparently lost their ability to govern themselves. Members of the legislature are in all sorts of legal trouble, including federal charges, but their peers in the club can't even bring themselves to establish new rules of conduct. What ever happened to the concept of civil service? Ask not what your country can do for you...etc.

Ahh. I feel better now.


Please Let Me Be the One

I almost never use a white background but this one just seemed right. I love the Basic Grey (or is it Gray--I can't remember) Fusion line...I've used it on a ton of projects lately. Great stuff.

While I was away, I noticed that Family Circle did a feature on scrapbooking with Jenni Bowlin and Melissa Inman. How cool is that? It was even mentioned on the cover. I was a little disappointed in the content for beginners--there wasn't much in the way of how to start, where to get more info and even less about who Jenni and Melissa are or why they scrap...but the layouts were awesome and photographed really well. Six scrapbook pages--one of them shown on an entire page of the magazine. Scrap mags could do to take another look at that concept.

Pretty dang cool!


Music to Walk With

I'm loading walking music onto the mp3 player--high octane, rockin' songs that are easy to walk to with lots of energy. So far, here's the list:

Danger Zone
Only in America
You Give Love a Bad Name
Livin' on a Prayer

Suggestions? What would you add to your own walking track?

Will I Ever Catch Up??

The euphoric giddiness is wearing off somewhat, my backside is stuck to this chair and my eyes are bulging out of my head...but I am happy as a clam! Who knew that 17" of light could be so wonderful?

So many things to catch up on...

First of all, Heather's home from Africa and I simply can not wait to meet her newest son on Monday. What an amazing adventure! Well, she might not be to the point that she can call it amazing and awesome had some pretty deep caverns from what I have heard...but it's done and she's home and I cry every time I think about it. There is no sweeter picture of all that love is or can be than this. You can read her father's blog and see photos at this locale. Be sure to grab a tissue first.

Speaking of God-authored stories...are you going to see End of the Spear? I am hoping to go this weekend. I desperately want to see it but I am a little worried about the accuracy of the portrayals. This is one story that absolutely must be told right. If it's would be so wrong. I am hoping I'll be able to read some reviews before I see it, so I'll be prepared.

During college, I read Elisabeth Elliot's book, Through the Gates of Splendour. The account of that journey changed me.


It was the first time I ever deeply realized how little my faith has cost me. I live in the United States and in the South where faith is often presumed. I was raised in a family that was deeply impacted by Chritianity--was early and still is. I move in circles of people who are of a similar faith as myself (most of the time). I am severely comfortable. That realization troubled me then (in college) and it still does from time to time. This story means a great deal to me. Hence, the desire to see it told correctly.

In other news, Joal is number 5 in his company's sales force for the year 2005! and that makes it official. We are definately going on the cruise to Mexico in February!! I'm so proud of him. He works smart, hard, efficiently, with integrity and he's always looking for ways to improve. I love that about him. (That's #5 out of about 650.) Mexico...counting the days.

I've been reading so many things lately (during the computer meltdown)...I think the library ladies know my name now, I've been in there so much in the past few weeks. It's been a good change-up to get back to reading. I'm going to keep that up. I accidentally (or providentially perhaps) ran across a book that every parent should read...oh wait. Not every parent. Only those who have at one point or another raised a loud voice to their perfect angel. Or really wanted to. LOL! I, of course, have never yelled at my children...(insert gagging and coughing noise here.)

Seriously, even if you aren't a chronic screamer, this book is insightful and a worthy read.

Oh yeah and it meets my #1 basic criteria for an acceptable parenting book--the author is actually a parent.

Scream-free Parenting by Hal Edward Runkel

Last note: I know I need a new banner. Soon, I promise.


Glorious Gateway

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

The Dell Deal I wanted was no longer available but Gateway stepped up and in conjunction with my sweet DH, made my computer dreams reality.

Feels so fine to be online at home again! I feel connected and so styling!

More later.


Don't Hate Me

Real quick.
Not much time here at the library.
Yes, I am still alive.
And computer-free.
Yes, I am going crazy.
I truly had no idea I was so dependent.
It's a machine.
But it might as well be my right hand.
I'm lost without it.

Don't give up.
Shouldn't be too much longer.
Likely by Feb 1.
Thank heavens for bonus checks and husband who is a stellar sales manager.
Dude, I'm getting a Dell.

A new Dell.
With every stinking bell and whistle imaginable.

If the withdrawal symptoms don't consume me first.

On the other hand, I have managed to make some pages and cards...more in the last few weeks than all year long.

Can you say silver lining?