Saturday, February 20, 2010

Is Icky Okay?

Is it okay to be tired and crabby and overwhelmed sometimes?


Oh goody.

Because I am. All of those things.

I have a sore throat. I have a "too busy" week coming up in which I have over committed myself on several fronts. My sciatic nerve hurts. A lot. I'm craving carbs. I've eaten three brownies already. I spent too much time on a print project for the church today and overwhelmed myself. Snowy is busily barking in a frenzied manner at every squirrel that so much as burps within a five mile radius. He is making my nerves go kapooy. I have nothing too terribly splendiferous to wear to church tomorrow so I will wear something I have already worn 1.5 bazillion times. Because nothing else fits. Because somewhere along the way I gained a couple extra pounds. And our "Buy The Slightly Larger Becky Charming New Outfits" Fund is, well, non existent. I'm having a bad hair day. I didn't exercise today so the brownies are, even as we speak, forming themselves into large blobs on my already blobby hips. I feel lonely and discombobulated. I feel stressed. I feel tired. I feel . . . icky.

Is icky okay?

I fully realize that this is the point in my post where you are no doubt hoping that I will rummage through my bag of tricks, locate my Happy Pollyanna Hat, don it with a flourish, and then start listing all the things that I have to be thankful for.

And I do have a million things to be thankful for. I know that. But right this very minute is not the time for me to list them. Because that would get in the way of my icky pity party.

And sometimes a girl just needs an icky pity party in order to feel better.

Now you may be asking, "What does one serve at an icky pity party?'

Brownies, of course. Lots and lots and lots and lots of brownies.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Creativity and Tree Gnawing

We’re heading out in a few minutes (with a few leaders from our church) to an all day conference on Church Creativity; it’s being being held at the church where the cfhusband is the music pastor. Should be an informative, interesting, enlightening and yes, even creative time!

While I’m gone, you can click on over to Sarah's Spot to see what alarming (to me, at least) thing happened to her at school yesterday.

And you can rest your gaze on a few pictures.

The first few are some more I’ve taken of Steve’s office. It continues to be a work in progress, but it’s coming right along. It finally hit Steve a couple weeks ago that the look he was subconsciously trying to create in his office was that of a recording studio. We’ve spent hundreds of hundreds of hours in recording studios and we have such great memories of the unique vibe inherent in those places—they always made us feel like we were in a warm, creative cocoon. And so here is Steve’s studio, er, office.

IMG_1394 IMG_1388 IMG_1392

And since I’m busy posting miscellaneous pictures, here’s one of Steve’s parents on Valentine’s Day. Those two have been sweet on each other for a lot of years!

k and v v day

(And I’d also like to post an invisible “heart picture” of my mom and dad, in order to honor the many years of marriage and love they shared before Dad passed away last August.)

Lastly, I know I haven’t posted a lot of pictures of Nathan lately, mainly because he’s in Florida and I’m in North Carolina. But we devious and scheming mothers have our ways of finding photos of our beloved, wandering-off-to-college offspring.

And so here are two “stolen-from-Facebook” pictures.

Nathan with Meagan’s dad, “Pastor Frank.” (Which is what Nathan calls him.)

nate and frank

And here is Nathan again. Doing something. In the woods. Don’t even ask.

nate tree

You know what? Maybe it’s better that he is 650 miles away. Maybe it’s better that, as new pastors at a new church, we don’t have our son here with us all the time. I just really don’t know how that kind of behavior would go over in these here parts.

But oh well. I know he’s in college. I know he’s trying to “find himself.” I know he’s trying on a lot of different hats in order to better figure out who he really is.

Nathan son, if you’re reading this, I hope that this whole unfortunate tree-gnawing incident will somehow take you to a place of deeper understanding of your psyche and the depths of the complexities of the nuances of the motivations of the feelings inside you. I hope that once you have gotten in touch with your inner beaver that you can move on to live a whole, healthy and productive life. (That does not involve the gnawing of trees.)



Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Doctor’s Visit and A Link to Click

Do you see the blog header below? Do you see the lovely lady in the picture? That, my friends, is the wonderful Sheri Hawley whom I have been nagging for at least seventy-two years to start a blog.

And just recently, Sheri did finally start a blog! It is updated frequently and it is a perfect showcase for her excellent writing skills, her great sense of humor and her patented gift for discovering the divine in the stuff of every day life.

And on top of all of that? She and her husband are dear friends of ours AND she is the mom of Nathan’s girlfriend, Meagan.

Plus, she and I have more in common than, I think, any other two people on the planet. Here is our list of “common-ness.”

1. We are both daughters of Assemblies of God pastors

2. We are both married to Assemblies of God pastors

3. We both have sisters who are married to Assemblies of God pastors.

4. She and I are both credentialed ministers ourselves and speakers in our own right.

5. We both spent years on the road, living full time in RV’s, home schooling our children, doing concerts and revival services in churches around the country, singing with our families and recording CD’s. (And we both had dogs on the road, in our already cramped RV’s)

6. Her three daughters attended Southeastern University in Florida where Nathan now attends.

7. My son really (really, really) likes her daughter.

8. And now, we are both bloggers!

So. Make me happy and stop by her blog. Make me even happier and leave a comment! And make even happier than happy and bookmark her blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

(click on photo to get to Sheri's blog)

sheri blog

In other news, I just back from my annual physical. It’s always a challenge, finding new medical care in a new town, getting records all sent to the right place and starting a whole new list (inside my kitchen cupboard) of doctors names and contact info.

I am delighted with the doctor I found; she’s in her late thirties, is very easy to talk to, a good listener, and gave the impression of having all the time in the world to listen to my laundry list of little ol’ concerns and ailments. (And you know, the older we get, the longer that little ol’ laundry list gets.)

I found out that my blood pressure is 105/50. I asked her if that was too low (I was a bit alarmed by it) and she said that no, it was great. And my cholesterol (at least from last year’s exam) is also low. I guess that means that I’ll go on downstairs and eat a dozen eggs—just because I can! (Ick. A dozen eggs? What was I thinking? A dozen donuts? That’s more like it.)

In the blood work department, one nurse made two attempts to get blood; the first vein blew and the second one decided to give up the ghost after contributing a measly three drops.

And so, a second nurse arrived.

Her first attempt at getting blood produced a tube full of absolutely nothing. On the fourth try of the morning, she and I both experienced a momentary burst of joyous exultation when that red stuff finally started flowing. I left the office spotting four lovely Band-Aids—and we all know that taking the Band-Aids off hurts way more than getting the actual stick!

I’m being sent for (yet another) diagnostic mammogram in two weeks because, of course, the doctor felt “strange things” during the exam. Sigh. She also said, “Has anyone ever told you have lumps on your thyroid gland?”

Um. No. But that’s something that I really don’t feel like pondering.

May I just say that I am ever so happy to have yet another annual physical behind me? I am happy to be home, with a little extra time to write this quick post and to also read Sheri's latest post. (And yes, that was a reminder. Just in case you needed it.)

Okay. That’s it! I’m done! Off to have lunch with my very own personal hubby. O happy day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recipe Day! (Gourmet Casserole)

This is a great casserole for when you want a change of pace from the "cream of chicken soup" line up that a lot of casseroles call for. (And that I actually use on a fairly frequent basis.)

You could substitute any meat for the ham; actually, sometimes I just dice up whatever sandwich meat I have on hand and use that. A couple times I've made it with ham AND chicken (because that's what kind of sandwich meat I had) and it turned out great. I suppose even browned hamburger or ground turkey would work too, although I've never tried them!

Gourmet Casserole

1 C milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened (A few seconds in the microwave will do it--just be sure to take it out of the wrapper first!)
1/2 t. salt (plain salt, garlic salt, onion salt, or Lowry's seasoned salt all work)
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 C cooked, cut up ham (or any other meat)
1/2 C celery, chopped (I never have it, so I never use it)
1/4 C green pepper (never have it, never use it, and I don't like it--much to Steve's dismay)
4 oz noodles

1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
2. While they're cooking, mix milk, cream cheese, salt, garlic powder and 1/4 C Parmesan cheese.
3. Drain noodles and toss with ham, celery and green pepper in a casserole dish (the size that's a bit smaller than the 9x13--don't know the exact measurements.)
5. Pour milk/cream cheese mixture over. Stir to moisten the noodles.
6. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese

Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

You can top it with a little cheddar cheese and paprika for color after baking. Or you could crush some Ritz crackers, mix with a little melted butter and sprinkle that over the top. Or if you want to be really adventurous, do ALL of the above--crackers, cheddar, paprika. Yummy and lovely!

If you make it, let me know how it goes, and whether or not you did any variations. (I love me some variations!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snowy Goes To College (Part 3)

Thursday’s class starts out quite well. Snowy is lying on his official mat, just emanating wondrous waves of his fervent longing to learn and obey. (Yeah, right.)
And just so you know? He’s also lying there so quietly because he is busy gazing at the loveliness of Maggie, the girl next door. You see, Maggie’s master owns a local restaurant. And Snowy has hatched a plot to woo Maggie and then marry Maggie so that he will be in the enviable position of inheriting a restaurant. That serves steak. And chicken. And seafood. And stuff.
So. We’ll see how that works for him.

Snowy, however, is not so girl crazy that he is unable to concentrate on the important task at hand. When the teacher starts talking, he immediately puts away all his plans for Maggie-wooing and focuses his considerable and powerful intellect on what his instructor is saying.

Because Snowy is all about learning. He is all about soaking up knowledge.

As usual, Snowy is accompanied to class by his own personal sister, the fabulous Princess Groovy Chick. Unfortunately, it seems as though PGC has developed a slightly annoying habit of guffawing heartily every time Snowy does something goofy or wrong at college. (Which averages about once every twelve seconds.) Snowy would like Sarah to know that it’s just a bit hard on his teeny doggie self esteem when his very own mistress laughs so hard at his expense; however, he is a tough dog and he can handle it. He can handle anything. He. Is. Macho. Doggie.

Um. Wait a moment. Let’s rethink that last statement for a moment. You know, that statement about being so tough? Because as the class proceeds, Snowy finds himself in a rather sobering position. A mere three feet away from his small, fluffy person lies a large pit bull who is staring right at him. Maybe now would be a good time to breathe just a quick word of prayer. (Being a pastor’s dog does have some benefits now and then.)

Whew! It looks like that prayer came none too soon. It appears as though the Moment of Truth has arrived. The Canine College Classroom Showdown.

What will happen next? Who will come out of the showdown standing tall? Who will leave with his tail between his legs? The suspense builds. Snowy prays harder.

And then feeling that the time for prayer has gone and the time for action has arrived, Snowy asks his sister, “Um, Sis, can we, um, please just go home right now? I’m feeling a bit outgunned here.”

The mean ol’ sister of Snowy not only doesn’t take him home, she actually has the gall, the temerity, the nerve to take him even closer to The Big Dude. The Big Black Tough Strong Intimidating (did I mention big?) Dude. Snowy feels a flutter of fear in his fear-fluttering area. Will he get out of this college class alive? Only time will tell.

He appeals again . . .

. . and again to his sister for mercy. For clemency. For a free ticket out of that awful place. Sister stands firm. The Big Dude continues to watch.

Finally, when the suspense has risen to unbearable levels, the college teacher takes over for a while. Snowy immediately displays his stunning grasp on his ability to disobey each command to the letter. He is very gifted in the area of disobedience.

At long last, Snowy is handed back to Sarah. He immediately feels much more secure when he realizes that his intrepid mistress is standing between him and The Big Dude.

He gazes at her adoringly. He sends loving, grateful doggie thoughts in her direction.

And then. It happens.
Snowy realizes that it is not enough just to express his gratitude in thoughts alone. He decides in his bitty little brain that surviving another college class and staring down a Big Dude calls for more than just thankful thoughts.
It calls for action
It calls for dance!
Snowy decides that now would be a good time to show off a few of his groovy steps to his college cronies. (Especially the female who is part of the fine and upstanding restaurant-owning family.)


And so Snowy shakes a leg. He cuts a rug. He boogies down.

Snowy ends his dazzling dance display with his favorite step. He calls it the “Kick the left leg out and shake your rear” step. How could Maggie resist? How could the Big Dude not be impressed? Snowy rises to the top of his class with this amazing display of canine classiness and poochie panache.


Snowy decides he likes college after all. College is fun! College is educational!
Snowy might always be the small man on campus, but his charm, obedience skills and dance moves will ensure that he will never lack for friends.
In fact, Snowy just can’t help but smile up at his sister and say, “Isn’t this fun?”
The End.


From the Comments Section . . .
And here are a few questions from several weeks ago that I forgot all about. Sorry about that! The 47-year old brain is kickin’ in again!

Q. Did Nathan have the opportunity to travel by camel when he was in Israel?

A. Guerrina, I wouldn’t say he exactly traveled by camel any great distance, but he did get to ride a camel for a little ways. He thought it was pretty fun!

Q. Sometimes when I read your stuff or my stuff I think to myself that someone should come quick(ly) and hide our keyboards. I mean, we have way too much fun! I know I crack myself up all the time. Do you find yourself as funny as I do? Come on, you do find yourself amusing. Right? --Sue G.

A. Sue, I definitely find YOU to be amusing! And I sort of find myself to be amusing but I’m not always sure if everyone else who reads my amusing-ness "gets it.” I guess, if nothing else, at least I entertain myself!_

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Talking Wheelchair Ramp

Over the years, organized religion hasn’t always gotten the best rap. In fact, if you were to think for about thirty seconds, you would probably be able to list at least ten negative news stories you’ve heard having to do with a preacher, a denomination, a church, a Sunday school teacher, or a TV evangelist.

I know all the stories; in fact, I probably know more about the ins and outs of church life than most people do. You see, not too many days after my boisterous arrival into this world, I was taken to church. I snoozed on the front pew. I hung out in the church nursery. I toddled along church aisles. I made friends with other church kids. I sat entranced in front of a flannel graph and learned about Noah and the ark. I was an angel in the church Christmas program.

I learned the delicate art of cutting a tough piece of ham at church dinners using nothing but a flimsy plastic fork. I learned to play hymns on the piano long before I learned to play anything else.

And as a lifelong, card-carrying member of the Pastor’s Daughter/Pastor’s Wife Society, I’ve even cleaned a few churches in my life. More than once.

In short, I’ve seen the inside and outside of church life; I’ve seen its upsides and its downsides. In fact, I might even consider myself to be something of a Church Culture Pro. (For whatever that’s worth.)

And because I love the church, and because I love the faithful and flawed people who make up the church, it always makes me sad when the latest church scandal is being bandied about on CNN. It makes me sad when just a handful of mistake-making church folks get all the press. All the camera coverage. All the newsprint. All the publicity.

But you know what? I don’t believe I recall seeing any CNN camera crews show up in Manteo two weeks ago when a local wheelchair ramp preached a quiet but poignant sermon. And since the camera crews were not in evidence, I decided to drive over to the site and cover the story myself. Because I think it’s about time that a church event that shows the goodness of peoples’ hearts (instead of the ugliness) receives a bit of press.

And so from my small corner of the world, I now present to you the Talking Wheelchair Ramp.

Its story is simply this:

Inside this house, live a woman and her husband. The woman is a traveling nurse for the country and one day, in the course of her work, she tripped down some steps and broke not one, but both of her feet.

She was taken to the hospital. She had casts put on her feet. She was taken home.

This lady and her husband didn’t have a wheelchair to get her through five weeks of immobility. And even if they somehow did manage to obtain a wheelchair, they would still have no way of getting it in and out of the house. There didn’t seem to be a solution that wasn’t going to cost them a large amount of money. And the fact of the matter is that they just weren’t certain what they were going to do.

But then, a few things started to happen.

On the day after the accident, a person from their church called and said he was bringing over a wheelchair.

A couple more days later, some men from that same church showed up—unasked and uninvited—and started building a wheelchair ramp.

People from the church starting showing up with meals. And offers of practical help.

And suddenly, several neighbors, who didn’t have a habit of going to church, starting asking the couple what was going on at their house.

The couple said, “Well, this is just all the stuff our church is doing to take care of us.”

Those neighbors ended up seeing a sermon right outside their windows. They saw that more often than not, the church does get it right. They heard the message of the wheelchair ramp and because of that message, they may have made a few opinion adjustments about the money grubbing preachers and unethical churches that they had seen splashed across their TV screens.

It doesn’t matter that the people who extended these kindnesses attend our church. It only matters that they were reflecting the character of the One whose name they carry.

Because “Christian” basically means, Little Christ.

And I like to think that if Jesus had been visiting Manteo this past month, he would have been happy to see people from the church still preaching His message—a powerful message without words.

And even though CNN didn’t show up?

The message is still being heard.

Sunday, February 14, 2010












and Snowy


and all


the crazy








(Thanks to Mrs.. Pam who sent the pink ears for Snowy to wear. And the chocolate for us to eat!)