Saturday, February 27, 2010

Catching Up

Wednesday, a new computer was delivered to our church by none other than Wyatt himself. Wyatt is the one responsible for all the creative headers you see on Sarah's site and has also been the most incredibly patient “computer question answer-er” for me through the years.


When it came time for the church to order a computer for the sound room, Steve highly recommended Wyatt and his company to the board who was making the decision. I must say that it's not not every day that the head of the computer company himself arrives to install a computer! (How often has Bill Gates ever installed a computer for someone?)



I’ve spent quite a bit of time over at the church since Wednesday’s installation, working on learning the new computer; I’ll spend much of today over there, as well, just trying to get everything figured out so all the media applications are up and running in time for service tomorrow. In this picture, we had to drag the 12-year old computer out again to look up a list we needed. I felt like quite the tech guru, with computers on all sides of me!


In other news, I mentioned yesterday that that Steve and I had our monthly lunch gathering with four other pastor couples in the area. The first month that we all met (at our house) everyone else—all nine of them, including my husband—wore dress pants or at least cotton, Docker-style pants. I was the only one to wear jeans.

When we met for lunch again this past week, I wore dress pants and everyone else—all nine of them, including my husband—wore jeans.


Did I not get the memo? Was there a memo even sent? Have I found my new calling as a reverse style setter?


I think that for next month’s gathering, I will have a pair of pants custom made. One leg will be made from a dressy material and the other leg will be made from a jean material. (With my luck, everyone will show up at the lunch in formal wear.)

And speaking of clothes, I have a clothing-based annoyance I would love to share with you. And that annoyance is this I am not at ALL happy with whichever persnickety person in Paris it was who arbitrarily decided that skinny, peg legged pants should come back in style.

Not happy, at all.

I have finally found MY pant wearing style and it is boot cut (or other wider legged) styles of pants. And do you know why? Because a wider look at the bottom of the pant leg does wonders for balancing out the wider, er, bottom, in the middle part of my body! (Did you get all that?)

Do these Parisian People, these Hoity Toity Setters of Styles not realize that for me to put on a pair of skinny jeans would be one of the worst fashion faux paus ever imaginable? I don’t care if skinny jeans are stylish and I don’t care if I’m frightfully out of style for the next fifteen minutes. (Or forever however long this current “style” lasts.)

I’m going to cling with great devotion to my wider legged jeans and take solace in the fact that, even if I’m unfashionable, at least my bountiful bottom will be somewhat balanced out by the bountiful wideness of the pant opening at the bottom of my leg.

And that’s all I’m sayin’ about THAT.

In a few days, I’ll have the final edition of “Snowy Goes to College” posted. But for right now, here are a couple pictures of our college graduate the night after the last class. Doesn’t he look a lot smarter?



And now, a few words from the Comments Section.

Q. “Random” asked, “Is Snowy better behaved now than before he went to obedience school?

A. I don’t think it’s so much that he’s better behaved (because he’s never been terribly misbehaved); it’s more that we’ve learned to provide a little more structure for him and have learned some helpful commands to make it easier to “communicate” with our fluffy friend.

Q. Random also asked, “Will Sarah ever speak to the boy at school again?”

A. Yes, Sarah still likes talking to this fella; she just didn’t answer the phone when he called because I think she just got overwhelmed with nervousness. He actually wanted to invite her to his house for supper but we “encouraged” her to decline. She does like the thought of having friends who are boys although she can’t date until she’s at least sixteen. And since any boy who she does date will have to come to our house first for dinner and for lengthy interrogations, er, interviews, by her dad and me—well, she’ll be having boys who are just friends for a long time to come.

Q. And one more from Random, “What did you speak about to fifty young ladies?”

A. I spoke on “1.4 Million Peas” and “SLFFP.” (You had to be there.)

Q. Melinda Marie asked, “What program do you use to get the rounded pictures on your photos?”

A. When I update my blog, a lot of times I use a free download called, “Live Writer.” It’s a cool program that allows me to work on my blog when I’m not online. I can work for a while, save it and then come back and work some more. It also allows me to get all my pictures inserted and laid out correctly so that when I’m finally ready to publish, everything is completely ready to go.

Anyway, Live Writer offers the option of having pictures with rounded corners.

Q. Sue asked what “decorative” syrup I used in the brownie picture I posted a couple days ago.

A. Sue, it was chocolate syrup (Hershey) and caramel syrup all “smooshed” together. And it was yummy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Schedules . . . .

Wednesday we had a new computer installed in the church which I need to quasi-master before Sunday morning, since it will be handling all the on-screen announcements and lyrics that I take care of of every week.

Yesterday, we had our monthly lunch with four other pastor couples in the area. Always fun. Always yummy.

Last night was Snowy's last day of college and he's an official college graduate. More about that later.

Also, last night the boy from school who asked for Sarah's number called her. She didn't answer.

Tonight I am speaking to fifty girls between 2nd and 8th grade so I'm finishing up studying and preparing for that.

Bottom line is that this blog entry will have to be short and (hopefully) sweet.

More later . . . .

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snowy Goes To College (Part 4)

(Note: Since Snowy has been to college for six weeks now, he wanted to try writing this edition all by himself.)

Last Thursday night, I gathered my family into the car and we headed out for my weekly college class.


I always stay very busy on the trip to school, protecting The Fam from any bad guys lurking in the vicinity and also, admiring the view. I just love being an Outer Banks dog. (Even though I’m afraid of the water. Um. Please forget I said that.)



When we got to the college, Sarah and I did a little browsing before class started.IMG_1498

I didn’t see anything I couldn’t live without until I spotted this sign. That sign was so me. I asked my Parental Units to buy it and put it on the back of the van next to Nathan’s Southeastern University sticker. For some reason, they refrained. Sigh. I guess they just don’t want to appear to be too boastful about my superior intellect.


Well, as we all know, all good things must come to an end and much sooner than I hoped for, it was time to stop shopping and time to start college-ing. I was the first student to enter the training room and I be-bopped in there like I was king of the world. (Which, as far as I know, I am.)

And then, I saw this. The Big Dude. The Big Bad Dude. All alone in the room. Without its owner. (Who is also my college teacher.) Just staring at me. Just waiting for me. Just licking its chops at the thought of me as a tasty pre-dinner snack.


I started experiencing a little, “Let’s run away from this bad dude” anxiety.


“Sister? Um, hello, Sister? Isn’t it about time for us to go home now? Please?”



Um. I know I’m a macho doggie and everything, but would you just protect me from that Big Bad Dude? (And I can’t believe I am asking a girl to protect me. A girl of all people!)


Oh good. There’s the teacher. Let me have a word with him.

“Excuse me, Mr.Teacher. Could we have a 'Teeny Dog is Afraid of the Very Large Dog' conference? Could I possibly Clep out of this course? Please? Or could you maybe ask the Big Dude to remove his Dude-ness to another room? Or something? Pretty please? I’m feeling intimidated, here.”


Um, wait! No! That isn’t what I had in mind. Not at all! You misunderstood me! You misunderstood me totally and irrefutably! I meant for you to take the Big Dude to another room. I do not recall asking you to take me closer to the Big Dude. Hello? Are you even listening to me down here?IMG_1529

Um. Wait. What is this I see as I approach the Big Dude? Do I see . . . can it be . . . do I see a flash of . . . um . . . pink?


No! It can’t be! It can’t possibly be! I have spent the last six weeks being freaked out by a girl! A GIRL? How utterly humiliating is that?


I have been calling a girl a Big Dude? How could I not have known? Oh, I am so embarrassed. Utterly downcast and disheartened. I wonder what the guys will have to say about this! Snowy is afraid of a girl! With pink toe-nails! Na-na-na-na-na. Oh, my life is so over.


But wait. It’s time to get a grip. It's time to focus. It’s time to settle down. I’ve got college to do. I am a college-going machine. I am definitely Harvard material. I am intelligent. I am sometimes even brilliant. I must listen to what the teacher is saying. I must put aside my public humiliation and concentrate my intellectual prowess on tonight’s lesson.


Now, I’m not meaning to brag or anything, but I do believe that I am the most gifted, the most focused student in the room. I mean, look at this dog! Does she look focused? Does she look brilliant? I think not.


However, I do have to admit that even while lolling around, she is still following our Official Dog College Rule of having at least two paws on the rug at all times, until asked to move. Good “paw placing," girlfriend!

And speaking of girlfriends, it greatly saddens me to have to report to you that Maggie (whom I was trying to court so that I could marry into her restaurant-owning, food-producing clan), was absent from this week's class. How in the world am I supposed to court a gal who doesn’t even have the courtesy to show up and be courted? Women!

Oh, wait a minute. Wait just one minute. Does it look to you like Gabby (and Sable, of the pink painted nails) are both looking me over? Look at the lovelorn look on Gabby’s face. What do you think it means? Where is Dear Abby when you need her? Abby, hello? Should I forget about Maggie and start working on Gabby? Do you think I should just forego initiating a relationship with Sable (of the pink painted nails) since I’ve spent the last six weeks being terrified of her? Do you think that sort of psychological barrier could stand in the way of a healthy relationship? Abby? Are you there? I’m feelin’ a little confused over here!


Wait a minute. The teacher is saying something. He is saying that I can’t spend the whole class period lookin’ at the ladies. It’s time to actually do something. Like actually learn.

How quaint is that?

Hold on ladies, I’ll be right back. I’ve got important work to do. And remember, the more college education I get, the better I’ll be able to provide for whichever one of you lucky girls I decide to choose.

Let’s get to work, Sister!




In this picture, I’m standing up very tall so that I can hear my teacher better. (And also, so that I can show off my amazing fluffy physique to the ladies!)


Um. Something tells me that THIS lady is not going to be too impressed with a physique consisting primarily of fluffiness. Would it be too forward of me to say that she is buff? Well, then I’ll say it. She is buff! (And incredibly well trained. And brilliant. And obedient. Really, a lot like me. Well, except for the pink toenails. Which I am quite sure she had done just for me.)


Please take note of the fact once again that whatever I do, wherever I go, Gabby can’t tear her eyes away from me. I’ve always affected women like that. I just can’t help it. It’s the fluffiness that draws them.


Hold on just a minute. Who gave the secret signal that it’s “meet and greet” time? I don’t believe I got that memo.


I’m not saying I’m shy or anything, but peering out from behind Sarah’s legs seems to be a really good place to be. There are just way too many women in this room.


Okay. Hold on. Wait just a doggone minute! What’s going on here? I can’t really say that I’m down with this sort of canine behavior. I think I’d better blow this joint before one of those ladies heads in my direction! Whoa. I just don’t think we know each other well enough for this sort of conversation. I am so. Out. Of Here.



The End.


The question was asked in the Comments Section if the metal piece on Steve's office wall was purchased at Big Lots. Actually, we got that at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Dog And A Prayer

I’m thankful to say that I’m feeling much better today--on all levels. 

I’ve got a jam packed day ahead of me so I can’t write anything real lengthy, but I did want to give a brief report on Snowy and also share a couple pictures.

I think I said yesterday that Snowy had a urinary tract infection; it’s actually a bladder infection.  (He also has a kidney stone but they said it wasn’t in a place that is worrisome.  Whatever that means.) 

He was given a shot and then sent home with ten nasty pills to take every day for ten days; we were also advised to change his dog food to something that was specifically formulated for dogs with kidney stone/urinary issues.

But the bottom line is that our expensive, happy doggie is going to be fine.  Hallelujah!

And it’s a really good thing that he is going to be fine, because this particular dog has a very busy and demanding schedule.  This morning, for instance, he had to get all geared up for his usual doggie duty of escorting Sarah to school.  He takes that job very seriously and is very intent on scoping out any boys in her vicinity when she gets out of the van.  He then bares his teeth in a fierce and ferocious manner in order to convince said boys that Sarah is his property and should not be messed with.  And believe me, when a six pound ball of white fluff bares its teeth, it is a highly intimidating (not to mention slightly humorous) sight.

But before all the escorting/teeth baring can take place, Snowy has to cool his heels momentarily while his escortee is prayed for by the (other) Top Dog of the house.  Can’t you just see the patient look on his face as he waits for his Big Moment?

IMG_1627 IMG_1623

All I’ve got to say is that Sarah is one blessed young lady to be cared for by two fellows as fine as Snowy and Steve.  They make a great “Taking Care of Sarah Team.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Good News!

We just heard back from the vet and Snowy--thankfully--just has a bladder infection! No sign of kidney stones. I never thought I'd be grateful for a bladder infection.)

He'll be on medication for a while and that should clear everything up.

Happy, happy day!

The Sniffling Blogger

I just took Snowy for an unplanned visit to the vet because he’s been having some worrisome symptoms that haven’t been getting better.  I told the doctor about his kidney stone surgery and also told her about a few of the recent symptoms he’s been having.

She listened carefully and then said, “Hmmm.  Those could be signs of a urinary tract infection or they could be signs of a kidney stone.  When a a dog has had a kidney stone in the past, he is much more likely to develop one again.”

Well, don’t you know that my (already melancholy) heart just sank all the lower.  We cannot possibly go through again (emotionally or financially) what we experienced with Snowy last November when he had his major surgery and almost died.  It’s beyond my comprehension to even consider traveling that traumatic road again.

Anyway, I’ve left the vet’s office for now; she’s going to keep Snowy for a few hours to do some more tests. She will also call the hospital that did his earlier surgery to get some input from them.

That is not really what I needed today.  I got teary-eyed on the way home, having to drive sans the enthusiastic and loyal company my of my favorite Little Puff Ball.

And then when I got home, there was a long and very sweet letter from my mom waiting for me.  In the course of the letter she wrote, “Our van finally sold today.  Dad and I sure spent many happy hours together in it.”

Well, that made me cry all over again as I thought of the two of them making literally hundreds of trips to area rest homes over the years.  They did 4-8 services a week--every single week.

I can just picture them now, pulling up to yet another home, opening the back of the van, unloading dad’s guitar, the mics, the  music stand, getting ready (despite their own many physical challenges) to minister to people who were lonely and in need of encouragement.

Here are Nathan and Sarah, getting the privilege of watching their grandparents do what they did best—encourage other people.  It was the last Christmas my dad would be alive.





I’m so thankful that they passed down the musical/encouraging gene to me.  And seeing the pictures side by side of mom playing the piano and me playing piano reminds me of the way I came to love that instrument.  When I was very small, Mom would put me on her lap and let my hands “ride” on her hands while she played.  What a blessing it is to have music (and my parent’s love) woven into the fabric of my earliest memories.

And now--I’m off to cry some more.


The Sniffling Blogger

My Unwriting. Ruth’s Writing.

The ickiness continues. And the more I search my brain for words to write, the emptier my brain becomes.

Yuck. Or should I say, Ick? Or should I say, “Take two brownies and call me in the morning?” Yes, THAT is the solution!

So since I am in a sort of unwritable frame of mind today, and since my sister, Ruth (whose writing I featured here a couple weeks ago) has many things to share, I will feature another one of her pieces for your enjoyment.

Thanks, Ruth, for letting me share your beautiful gift for words and for giving me time to wallow in my ickiness. (wallow, wallow)

What you are about to read is something that Ruth wrote after her family lost their house in a fire. If you’ve ever been through that tragedy, or know someone who has, her writing will especially resonate with you. But even if you haven’t been through it, the way she sums up her story will be an encouragement and inspiration to us all.


I attended a violent funeral today.

A ghostly, gray pallor hovered over the incredible scene I encountered as I hastily pulled up to the site. Jumping from the car, I could barely comprehend how this could be happening. Impossible, unthinkable and unbelievable.

My hand covered my mouth in shock and horror, my mind went numb. Dazed I stood alone before the savage sight of my dear old home attacked and disfigured by a monstrous, awful

In my absence, death had invaded my private domain, a torrent of merciless heat and flames had surged through the house, eating it alive--relishing the dusty wood flavor and licking its greedy lips for more and more. There had been no time to say goodbye, no way to know or even think... death simply struck... without warning.

The house had given no signals or symptoms that it was close to its demise or that this was to be its last day on earth, sheltering and standing watch over me, so humbly and patiently, year after year. The familiar front porch had always been ready and waiting, like a comfortable lap, eager to provide rest and retreat

Our home was rather old, one hundred years or so, with a definite limp in his left hip and with the westward wall always leaning a tad too far off course--at least on the imaginary plumb line in my mind's eye.

If I had known he would be leaving today, I would have slowed down on the way out that morning. I would have run a slow hand along the back door frame as I hurried out, pausing to look back over my shoulder at the cozy, quiet rooms. I would have glanced up at the straight roof peak so tall against the misty, spring sky. But I did not. I just rushed on my way through the day.

He fell ill today, violently and severe. A sinister plague leapt upon him, hanging in the air with a gloomy aura of lurking catastrophe. When I came home,I saw the vicious smoke gathering strength and venom, biting and tearing, leaping triumphantly out the upper windows. My heart beat wildly while I stood helpless, watching the struggle rage on--the haughty inferno swaggering in, taking total control of my crippled abode.

As my home continued to burn, I walked to a young apple tree at the edge of the yard, fastening my eyes and soul on the horrible spectacle before me. Leaning a shoulder into the tree’s slim trunk, I tilted my head on the rough bark and stood, mesmerized. This was it. It was over. Hopeless. No possible way to rescue or bring sustenance back to the fire-battered boards, so black and fragile, bare to the bone before me, struggling to stay upright.

Finally, tottering on its decrepit stonewalls, the house shuddered and collapsed. Bravely it died, that much I sensed. Its time of service was done. It was okay, I told him. Go on to your well-earned rest, give up all the ghosts of your long, faithful past. I will miss the quiet, precious haven you provided but a puppy going to his beloved master... the simple image soothed my weary mind.

The tears came easily, flowing constantly. I turned away from the trucks, sirens, shouting men and clung to my little apple tree. Soon I felt big arms come around me, encircling the solid trunk in the shared embrace. Without turning, I knew the source of solace offered --my husband. We had not yet spoken, just looked at our dying house and each other.

Grief met in the smoky air between us, but the firm sapling held us up, entered our tight circle of love and pain, hovered over us like a protective umbrella. Later on, moving a little closer, I stand right up before the front steps, looking down into the bleak, ugly hole and seeing the two iron hand rails flanking the only remnant left of the huge body of our dear home. They seem like solemn tombstones, quietly grand and still simple, somehow poetic to my soul.

It is very sad to see a house die... your house... your shelter from the storms of life. I feel a little bareheaded, a bit vulnerable, while a blank gaping hole looms where something solid and real should be standing. My shocked emotions tell me this isn't right, cannot happen, but it did and there is no bringing it back.

And yet, as I gaze across to the hills, so sweet with fresh, green light emerging in every nook and cranny, I know that there is a future and a hope. Always, hope prevails in this life, soothing the pains and troubles that heave up in our pathway, attempting to destroy and bring us low in despair.

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; he that keepeth thee will not slumber." (Psalm l2l

The ancient phrase leaps into my mind and causes hope to return--for life, for family, for springtime. It is washing through me in tidal waves of abundant peace.

I have a sure foundation, a rock in the storm. I will not falter for I am held in the arms of the Almighty.

Life is here. Now.

By: Ruth Rehberg April 30, 2004

Monday, February 22, 2010

Still A Little Icky. A Few Questions and Answers

Since I’m still not feeling the greatest (my sore throat from last week is now accompanied by a low grade fever and a strong desire to lie on the bed and groan pitifully) I shall use today’s post to just answer a few questions/comments that have come in. That way, my brain won’t have to work quite as hard at thinking up original thoughts. At this point in my day, original (or even coherent) thoughts are in short supply! (Doesn’t that just make you want to read further?)
Before going any further however, I would like to say thanks to those of you so graciously responded to my “Icky Day” post from Saturday. After I posted I told Sarah, “Well, I probably need to prepare myself for someone to write in and give me a stern reprimand for whining when there are so many people who have it so much worse than I do.”
But there was nary a reprimand to be seen, stern or otherwise! Instead, I got sweet, compassionate comments like the one below:
Dear Becky,
Thanks for sharing your day, as it is. It's post like these that really make your blog so genuine and comforting to read. For those of us also having icky days, it validates that indeed it is okay to have one. There's not something wrong with us, our spouses, our children, our lives etc. Icky days are normal. They happen. Life happens.
Thank you for your honesty. Wishing you a less icky day tomorrow. :)

- -Rhea

On that same note, after I had hit the “publish” button on that post, I went downstairs to work—in a decidedly desultory fashion--on dinner. Sarah came into the kitchen a few minutes later and said, “Mom, I just read your post. I didn’t know you were having such a hard day!”
And then we looked at each other and just burst out laughing at the absurdity of Sarah finding out her mom was having a bad day by reading her blog! Gotta love technology!
If you’ll remember, in that particular post, I referred to my strong urge to consume dozens of brownies in an attempt to assuage my ickiness. Well, since I’m always working on trying to find different ways to serve dessert to guests in an attractive manner, I experimented with a few “presentation ideas” using my own brownie plate as the guinea pig. (If a plate can, indeed, be a guinea pig.) Don’t these pictures make you want to just drop everything you’re doing and dig in?
IMG_1613 IMG_1611

And since we’re on the subject of kitchens, here is a little note Sarah left for me after she had done the dishes. It was stuck to a casserole dish that seemed to have attained a permanent residue of baked on-ness. I just love how Sarah’s propensity for using big words shines here--she had no idea if “interminably” was even the correct choice for this note, but it sure made me smile!
And speaking of Sarah, she is going to whip up dinner for me tonight since I don’t feel well (have I mentioned the general feeling of ickiness?). AND I also have to get geared up to to join our worship team at the Methodist Church in two hours to provide the music for their revival meeting. So having my own live-in cook is lovely!

And now a few questions, answers and comments . . .

Alicia said, “Becky, I LOVE that lamp in Steve's office that looks like a candle. Can you tell me where you found it?” ( A couple other people also mentioned that candle.)
Alicia, it looks like a candle, because it IS a candle! (smile) We got it at a store called Big Lots; it’s kind of an overstock, bargain, clearance kind of place. I think they have locations all over the country and let me tell you, it’s such a great place to shop. (The red chairs in Steve’s office came from Big Lots, too.)

Buff said, “I’m curious to know if you are having the lumps on your thyroid biopsied.”
I had wondered about that too, but my doctor hasn’t mentioned it. I did some research on “Dr. Google” and discovered that very rarely are those sorts of lumps cancerous. Now I suppose if my blood work comes back this week with all sorts of odd results, things might change but for now at least, there’s been no talk of a biopsy.

“A Mom's Serious Blunder” said, “I just wanted to let you know we took Tucker to his first dog obedience class—and you were the inspiration for taking him!”
Go, Tucker!! Snowy will be so proud to know that his college-going example is having such a good influence on his web buddies!
And while we’re on that subject, here’s a little message Snowy asked me to share with our Smithellaneous friends. We saw this bumper sticker in the store that sponsors his obedience lessons and got a great laugh out of it.

And finally--
Lisa said, Thank you for your posts - I am a faithful reader and you have such a love of our Heavenly Father and such a way with words! I am asking for a request - will you please pray for my 15 year old son, Michael. He is battling spiritually and I know the only thing we can do is call out to Jesus for him. Thank you.”
Lisa, I prayed for Michael this morning and I know that other people who read this blog will pray too. Thanks for sharing your request.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I've written a lot of songs in my life and I've also heard a few songs along the way that I WISH I had written. This is one of those songs. If you're going through a rough time right now, I posted this song especially for you.

(Click on title to play song.)

by Chad Cates, Tony Wood

The cruelest world, the coldest heart
The deepest wound, the endless dark
The lonely ache, the burning tears
The bitter nights, the wasted years
Life breaks and falls apart,
But we know these are

Places where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every lie that gave up hope
We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be

Places where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But you never know the miracle
The Father has in store
Just watch and see
It will not be
Just watch and see
It will not be