Friday, May 30, 2008

Another "a-ha!" moment

The kids and I are driving to Illinois tomorrow to spend the week with my parents, so yesterday I had to take the Explorer in for service. We didn't want to sit in the shop for a few hours, so we walked to Chik-Fil-A. Once it was ready, the kids and I had to walk from Chik-Fil-A back to Firestone to get the car. I was holding Ethan's hand, but Natalie kept jogging ahead of us. I told her to stay with us since there were no sidewalks and cars were coming, but she continued to stay several paces ahead, all the while looking back to see if we were still behind her.

I finally said, "Natalie, you can't follow me from in front. You don't know where we are going!" As soon as the words were out of my mouth, the spiritual implications hit me. I almost stopped dead in my tracks. Had we not been about to cross a busy street, I would have.

How often do I run ahead of God in my life and then look back to see if He's coming? I wish the answer was "never."

Have you had any "a-ha!" moments lately?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Joining Up and Mentioning It

Something Mr. Rogers said in the video I posted yesterday (and read in a book this week as well) really whomped me over the head.

"Anything mentionable is manageable."

I'm guessing we all have some things that we keep in the unmentionable category. Do we keep ourselves from moving forward in those areas simply by not allowing them to be mentioned? I know it is often deeper and more complicated than that, but it makes me wonder. Last night I realized that I have not allowed my frustrations with weight/exercise to be mentionable. There have been exceptions - I haven't totally kept it to myself. There are a few people I commiserate with, but I think I've kept it private so that if I fail, no one has to know. Unfortunately, there's some twisted logic there because I'd say it's obvious to anyone who sees me that there is not a lot of success happening in the weight/exercise department!

I have struggled with the idea of writing this post because it's scary to be honest sometimes - especially when people who you know in real life read your blog. (For example, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Brandi "Fitness" Wilson starts to ask how the exercise is going once she reads this.) But it's time to make changes and Carlos (who I do not know personally) helped nudge me in the right direction. He posted this a few days ago and I intend to join up. I don't see myself running a marathon anytime soon - or anytime at all, more likely - but I can start moving.

So there you have it. I'm overweight and totally not fit and I am going on record today to say that I'm going to do something about it. I'm not exactly sure what, but it will probably involve the treadmill and not very much chocolate. In making this mentionable, I am also inviting you to mention it ask me how it's going, to offer suggestions and whatnot. It's OK to talk about it.

Woah. Now I think I need to go take some deep breaths and repeat the mantra, "it's OK to talk about's OK to talk about it..."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Critical Moment

In 1969, President Richard Nixon had proposed significant cuts to funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. On May 1, 1969, the amazing Fred Rogers went before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications to ask them to reconsider. I have watched this clip several times and without fail, it leaves me a bit teary-eyed as I sit in admiration of Mr. Rogers and all that he stood for. He never wavered in his convictions. I am so thankful that he didn't.

*This post is part of the Watercooler Wednesday blog carnival.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Proof That I Did Stuff This Weekend

We did not have the traditional Memorial Day at my house this weekend. No grilling (need more gas for the grill), no picnics, no get-togethers. We did, however, watch some videos and work in the yard.

I planted this pot of annuals, plus another one just like it:
I split up some Black-eyed Susan clumps and moved this guy (Painted Fern):
Then I weeded, dug up the 4 clumps of dead Purple Fountain Grass from last year and planted a few annuals. I would have labeled the annuals, but I don't remember what they are called:

I did do a bit of knitting while we watched movies. The Bee Fields shawl still looks like a lacy blob:
And I finished an RPM sock:
I decided to get all wild and crazy and do a different toe this time, so instead of the usual decrease/grafting, I did a short-row toe and used a 3-needle bind off, which I liked very much.
I'll start the mate of this sock later today. Greg is off to the LIGHTFAIR trade show in Las Vegas today and won't be home until Friday, so I should have plenty of knitting time.

How was your weekend?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I'm Pondering This

Food for thought, on this lovely Sunday afternoon...

"I'm a doctor, Polly, not a theologian, and lots of Christian dogma seems to me no more than barnacles encrusting a great rock. I don't think that God demanded that Jesus shed blood unwillingly. With anguish, yes, but with love. Whatever we give, we have to give out of love. That, I believe, is the nature of God."

-Dr. Colubra in "An Acceptable Time" by Madeleine L'Engle

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Choose

It's Friday and I got nuthin'. I stayed up too late reading last night and I am bleary-eyed this morning.

I don't get many commenters around here, but today, the first person who comments gets to pick a topic and we'll go from there.

Fire away!

*I'm replying to questions/topics in the comments section, rather than do a whole new post.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


My husband made the bed today.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


A few weeks ago, I subscribed to National Geographic. I grew up looking at the magazines and regardless of the general theme of the issue, I could always find something fascinating in those glossy pages. After I filled out the subscription form, I looked online to see what the current NG issue had to offer and was taken aback by what I saw.


Huh? Yes, Nudibranchs. Mollusks, sometimes known as sea slugs. Their name means "naked gill." They live in saltwater, have a life-span of about one year and are toxic. Some Nudibranchs have their own toxins and others acquire them from what they eat. Interesting, but these facts are not what amaze me about Nudibranchs. These little fellas happen to be some of the most creative-looking creatures I have seen.
See what I mean? (This photograph and a few others, by David Doubilet, are offered by National Geographic as free computer wallpaper.)

Whether or not you care about random little sea creatures, I want to encourage you to go look at the pictures of the Nudibranchs on the National Geographic site. They are all so different and beautiful in their own ways.

I think you'll be amazed!

*This post is part of the Watercooler Wednesday blog carnival.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Let's Hear It For the Boy

I'd like to dedicate today's entry to all the men. I was going to say menfolk, but that's a little too...I don't know what. I'm always intrigued by the veritable treasure-trove of knowledge found in WikiHow articles and I thought this one could be helpful. You case you men ever want to branch out a bit.

How to Apply Makeup as a Man

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

More and more men today are not shy about being fashionable, styling their hair, whitening their teeth, or even wearing makeup. Many male celebrities, actors, and models sit in a makeup chair before making a public appearance. It's no surprise that with modern society's emphasis on youth, perfection, and physical attraction, women aren't the only ones who want to accentuate their best facial features and hide blemishes and scars.


  1. Exfoliate. Before applying makeup, wash your face using an exfoliator and warm water. Rub your face gently in a circular motion to remove dead skin cells. Rinse with warm water and pat (don't rub) dry with a towel.
  2. Apply Toner. Apply toner to a cosmetic pad and pat it lightly into your skin. Toner is meant to restore the skin to its natural pH level and remove any remaining dirt or dry skin cells.
  3. Moisturize. Apply moisturizer with a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to your face and neck. Allow the moisturizer to absorb into your skin before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Apply Concealer. Mix a little bit of concealer on the back of your hand with a fine make-up brush. Pick up a very small amount of concealer on the end of the brush - you can always go back for more if you need to - and dab it on the center of a blemish. Move to the outer edge with a gentle circular motion, then blend the concealer into the skin.
  5. Powder your Nose. Dip the tip of a powder brush in powder and dust it lightly over your forehead and face. Apply a little more pressure when you go over your upper cheekbones, to add definition.
  6. Wear Lip Balm. Choose a clear or neutral-colored lip balm that you can use throughout the day. Not only will it give your lips a smooth appearance, but it will also prevent them from getting chapped.
  7. Remove makeup daily. Leaving makeup on overnight is not good for your skin. At the end of the day, wash your face again to remove makeup. Finish by using moisturizer. Use a richer moisturizer at night if you have dry skin.
  • Get a concealer that is the same shade as your skin tone. If you're shopping, try it at the base of your face to see how it compares to your skin tone. It's best to judge a concealer in actual daylight, because florescent lights won't allow for an accurate match.
  • Don't touch your face during the day, as it will rub off the makeup and also increase your likelihood of acne.
  • If possible, get a very close shave, then allow your skin to rest about 20 minutes before continuing with the rest of your routine.
  • If you have oily skin consider using a shine control hydrating lotion.
  • To add a touch of color try using a bronzer over your cheekbones, nose, forehead and chin. This is not uncommon among men and it is applied with a brush. You can find bronzers made exclusively for men (packaging is somewhat different) but don't be afraid to try the many options made available to women. The counter and packaging may be different but women have more options with color and finish.
  • The brushes that come with most bronzers are made of cheep plastic or it comes with a puff sponge and can't apply powders evenly. Consider going to a make up counter and buying a powder brush. These are very large brushes with soft hairs.
  • Remember to use a moisturizer with a sunscreen on your face everyday, year round. NOT Handlotion or body cream. Find something made for faces (less heavy oils and fragrance to irritate your skin) that has an SPF of at least 15.
  • To add extra definition to your eyes, have unruly eyebrows waxed or plucked by a professional. There are supposed to be two eyebrows and you should never let your eyebrows grow too long. Trim!
  • The older you are or the dryer your skin may require you to step to a heavier moisturizing cream. Some creams also have agents to help with wrinkles, reddening or other skin woes. Go to a makeup counter in the mall or a free standing store. You'll find it takes less time to speak to a consultant than it does to read misleading labels in a drug store.
  • To avoid the crowds, visit these stores or counters weekday mornings when they are less busy. Men frequent these counters quite often so you shouldn't be shy. Many brands (Clinique, Merle Norman, etc.) even offer men's skin care lines. You can even take a few minutes and let them help you apply the skin care to make sure you are doing it right. If you want to add color, try a few bronzers and let them help you get that concealer.
  • You may need to adjust your concealer for winter and summer depending on how much sun you have. Don't be afraid to have seasonal products and go a few shades darker in the summer after you've had some sun.
  • Try for a range of mineral makeup specifically designed for men. Mineral makeup is good for your skin, contains spf protection & is virtually undetectable, it is great if you have problems like acne or rosecea.


  • Do not exfoliate immediately after shaving. Doing so will irritate your skin.
  • If cotton sticks to beard while using toner, put toner in a plastic spray bottle and mist it on to your face. Store it in the fridge for a cool sensation.
  • Don't try to conceal a spot that is open, weeping or bleeding. Makeup won't do a very good job and may only make it look (and feel) worse. Wait until it's closed before you apply makeup on top of it.

Things You'll Need

  • Exfoliator
  • Toner
  • Moisturizer
  • Cosmetic Pads (100% cotton)
  • Concealer or foundation
  • A fine make-up brush
  • Matte powder
  • Lip balm

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Apply Makeup as a Man. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

A Moment of Understanding

In the past two weeks I have read the Madeleine L'Engle classics, A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I had never read them before and really didn't know what to expect. Now I am eager to read them again! I read them quickly, but had to pause a few times to let things sink in. One of those was sort of a light-bulb moment for me.

This exchange occurs between two of the main characters in A Wind in the Door. Meg is a very awkward high-school student - unattractive, extremely smart and people make no bones about thinking she is strange. Mr. Jenkins is the local school principal - very unlikeable, does not like those who are different and has a constant battle of the wills with Meg.
"Meg felt a flash of intuition as sharp and brilliant as the cherubim's flame; like flame, it burned. 'Oh, Mr. Jenkins, don't you see? Every time I was in your office, being awful and hating you, I was really hating myself more than you.' ... Mr. Jenkins responded in a strange voice she had never heard from him before, completely unlike his usual, nasal, shrill asperity. 'We both do, don't we, Margaret? When I thought your parents were looking down on me, I was really looking down on myself. But I don't see any other way to look at myself.' "
I don't think I've heard anyone put it quite that way before, but I think it's true that some of the negative opinions we think others have of us are simply the negative opinions that we have of ourselves. Now I am trying to stop and ask myself, "Do I have any valid indication that this person thinks ______ about me? Or is that what I assume they must think because deep down, it's what I think of myself?"

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gettin' Your Groove On

I was thinking the other day about great songs...specifically those that make you sing along even if you're in the middle of a store when you hear them and there are other people around. And then there are those that seem to make your body move, whether you want to or not.

I immediately thought of this short scene from The Full Monty...the guys are in line at the unemployment office and are powerless to resist when a particular song comes on:

There are a lot of songs that compel me to sing along whenever I hear them, but I have to say that Hot Stuff and I Will Survive are right up there at the top of the list.

What makes you get your groove on, regardless of where you are?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Age-Old Battle


Bear with me. I'm feeling random today so you get donuts. Well, you don't "get" donuts...though if I could bring each of you your donut of choice today, I would. It's a rainy day here in Nashville and a donut sounds awfully good right now.

Me? I'm a Dunkin' Donuts fan. I did not grow up in the South, so I was not exposed to Krispy Kreme until I moved here. Does Krispy Kreme totally rock the hot glazed donut? YES. (sorry, had to wipe some's like a Pavlovian response.) Oh, and their Pumpkin Spice donut holes in the fall are very tasty. But here's the thing. If I want a donut with icing on it, it should not be a glazed donut. It should be a cake donut. Preferably with sprinkles on it. And Dunkin' Donuts does the cake donut thing very well. Iced (with sprinkles) or powdered. Those are my choices.

Bear claws? Ick. Jelly donuts? Squishy and revolting. Creme-filled? Too much like pudding, again, ick. Eclairs? Nope.

What say you? DD or KK? Favorite type of donut? And spelling, donut? or doughnut?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A New Spin On A Classic

Randy Elrod has this very cool thing going on called Watercooler Wednesday. Essentially it's a blog carnival about things that make your life more creative. (Click here to learn more about it and how to participate.) Since I'm changing things up a little with the ol' blog, I thought I'd start participating. Here goes...

If you have any memory of the '80's and it's music, you are bound to remember this classic from A-ha:

Remember? Great song...the hair...the awesomeness of the video (perhaps more creative than the average music video being done today, despite the classic '80's melodrama)...the overall Norwegian-ness. Good times, 1985, good times.

So fast forward to last week. I was poking around YouTube for the Take On Me video and happened to look at the "Related Videos" in the sidebar, where I stumbled upon this (fast-forward and start it at the 1:30 mark):

Ukulele? playing Take On Me? Odd, yes. What struck me, though, is that the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra would even think to tackle anything other than traditional ukulele music, let alone an '80's classic. Did you notice the crowd's response as soon as they heard the first few notes? Not only did they respond - they participated wholeheartedly. There was creativity and community that night in Wellington.

How often do I try to tackle something outside my comfort zone of skills, giftings and abilities? Not nearly as often as I should. How do I respond to others' attempts at creativity and thinking outside the box? Do I turn my nose up if it's different or am I willing to give it a chance? I would do well to remember that creativity does not have to equal perfection.

How about you?


I have proof today that there has been some creativity going on this week. Not a lot...but some.

Last night I finished up the bee hive portion of the Bee Fields shawl. I'd show you the whole thing so far, but lace-in-progress just looks like a here's a close-up. For those who are not knitters, you need to know that when this is finished, it will be washed and blocked (stretched tight and pinned out) - and that is when the magic happens and you can finally see the lace patterns.
This morning I decided to knit up a tiny little swatch with the little bit of yarn I plied a week or so ago. This is on sz 1.5 or 2 needles - I can't remember which:
I did get a little crazy and actually got some scrapbooking stuff out. The page is...meh. I'm rusty. It's fine.
The picture is of me, Christmas 1976 - so I was 3. Clearly, I was all about the Hot Cycle and fuzzy slippers.
Natalie has been a 6-year-old drawing machine lately. We're going through paper like crazy, but she loves it and it keeps her entertained for hours, so who am I to complain? I came in to my desk to find that she had taped this up by my computer yesterday:
It's Pal - Arthur's dog in the Marc Brown "Arthur" stories and show.

I can't wait for tomorrow's entry! I'm doing something new and it's gonna be good...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Today's Plan B

I had plans today. Nothing major...just do some school with Natalie, go to the library, do some laundry and house stuff. I didn't have to be anywhere; I just had things I wanted to do. Greg had a meeting that I didn't know about, which is really no big deal since he spends most of the day in his basement office anyway. He left and I helped the kids get dressed so we could head to the library.

A few minutes later Greg called. Enter Plan B. When he got in his truck, he noticed this on the Explorer:
Hm. It wasn't like that when we came home from church yesterday. We don't know what happened, but there was a definitely entry spot here:
And a chunk had fallen out on the opposite side:
Thankfully, we have full glass coverage with no deductible on our auto insurance. Definitely a bright side. I called our insurance agent, who called the glass company, who called me back right away and the glass man came and replaced the window this afternoon.

Of course, all of this meant that I couldn't use the car until the glass man left, so Plan B also included the bonus of spending the day outside on a lovely day! Yes, we could have stayed in and done school and laundry (and the huge pile of laundry still sitting here indicates that perhaps I should have), but I figured that we might as well spend a much time outside as we can since it will soon be too hot, humid and mosquito-ridden for me to want to do so.

So our Plan B included a little bit of this:
Followed by playing "construction site" in the dirt (no pics of that) - and then lunch outside in the shade:
The kids happily entertained themselves and I sat out on the deck and worked on my Bible study lesson. Now my arms are a nice shade of red. I even grilled myself a hot dog for lunch. As frustrated as I was early this morning, I can see now that I really needed Plan B. Mentally and emotionally, I needed a day to just be.

And besides, how can you stay grumpy about Plan B when you look up from your reading and see this?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Natalie's 1st Craft Tutorial

Since I haven't done any knitting or spinning this week, I thought I'd let Natalie step up to the plate and try out her crafty skillz today...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just Another Day At My House

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Look! He sings & dances!

That is supposed to distract my fellow knitters from noticing that I still have no knitting to show you today. I'm almost finished with the bee hive section of the Bee Fields shawl, but it really doesn't look any different than the picture I shared a few days ago.

P.S. Thanks to those who responded to yesterday's post...I know I'm not alone in those thoughts, but it's nice to hear it sometimes.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Cool Kids, or Where Do I Fit In?

I've never been one of the cool kids. And now in my 30's, I still want to be one. Jenni's post today got me thinking about this (so blame her for the contemplative, Debbie Downer post).

I have a sister, but we are almost 10 years apart, so according to the birth order people, I'm more of an only child. Because my sister was almost 10 years older than I was, I spent a lot of time around older people. It wasn't until college that I really had friends my own age. Adding to the problem, I started kindergarten when I was 4, so in school I was always the youngest.

I was always heavily involved in music as a kid, so I did have that common ground with a few people. Then again, I was fairly advanced in music for my age, so at age 12 I started playing piano/keyboard for the high school show choir. Yeah, a very shy 12 year old with very exuberant 15-18 year olds. Awkward.

In college I finally felt fairly comfortable with who I was. I was with other people who were also pursuing music degrees and had spent much of their lives practicing like I did. They got me. Suddenly, in my senior year of college, my whole life path seemed to change and I no longer had a burning desire to go straight to grad school - which of course caused several people in my little world (friends and faculty) to a) wonder what on earth had happened to me, and b) treat me a bit differently. Not in an overt way, but I felt it.

I got married and came to Nashville and have always felt that it's a bit odd that I'm a musician, but I've never tried to pursue playing professionally here. I have felt snubbed by a few classical music professionals here and yet I can't sit around and banter about touring stories or "you won't believe the dive I played in..." stories with other musicians either.

Like I said in my last entry, I played on the worship team at church on Sunday and at one point, I turned to the only other female on the team and said, "I'm SO not hip enough to be up here." Don't get me wrong...I really love my church and am so glad to be there - but I look around and all the cool kids are all fit and hip and trendy and I'm just...not. I know we all have our issues and that being fit, hip and trendy does not necessarily mean you are healthy, happy and emotionally stable. But it's so easy to assume, isn't it?

When I was 3 or 4, I used to tell my mom, "I like me! Do you like you?" I wish I had more of that mentality now. It just concerns me a little that at 34 I still want to be one of the cool kids. Will I still feel that way at 44? At 64? Yikes!

So what misconceptions do you struggle with? Are you one of the cool kids? Or do you want to be one, too? (note to any cool kids out there...we shall refrain from throwing things at you, for the sake of unity.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sore Fingers

So I played violin at church yesterday and today my fingers are a little bit sore. This would not be the case if I played every day, or even a few times a week. The truth is, I really only play my violin a few times prior to whenever I'm scheduled to play at church. I would like to play more often and have started going through my stack of violin stuff. It all comes back to my fingers pretty quickly - it's a matter of just doing it.

After playing yesterday, I was asked by more than one person, "How long have you been playing?" The answer is a little scary to me.

Thirty years.

3-0. GAH!!! When did that happen?? I started violin when I was 4 years old. Now I feel old. I was reminded of this little photographic gem, though. It was taken during a recital when I was 6:
I love playing at church, though, so the whole sore finger thing is totally worth it. And lest you think that what we're doing there is solemn, classical or boring...check this out. This was one of our special numbers from a few months ago.

Bear With Me

Bear with me as I indulge my whims and play around with different looks for the blog...eventually I'll settle on something!

A Long-Awaited Event Finally Happens

For some mysterious reason, Natalie and Ethan decided they would like to go bowling for their birthdays this year. I don't know why the idea of bowling was so appealing to them, but it was. Greg has been putting them off ever since (their birthdays are late January/early February), but he finally caved last week. He was in Indianapolis last week at WFX, where he taught a few sessions, did some demos and held a marathon three-and-a-half hour Q&A session - so when he came home we decided to surprise the kids with bowling.

They had no idea what we were doing and I wish I could have gotten a picture of their faces when they realized where we were. It was priceless! We picked a great time to go (Friday afternoon), too. There were a few lanes in use, so it was very relaxed and not as distracting for the kids.

We played three games and the kids loved it. Ethan did about as well as I did (bear in mind that I am a horrible bowler and also haven't bowled in at least 15 years). I also think bumpers should be allowed for all novice bowlers, regardless of age. I shudder to think of how low my score would have been without them.

Have you done anything fun lately?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Now I'm Just Curious

So my cool pastor has a blog. Take a look at his picture and you'll see what I mean. See? Cool. Plus, I suspect he's even more into his hair product than I am - which, my friends, is extremely impressive. Pete, care to share your favorite product with the world? I'm very curious.

Anyway, in his blog entry today, he asked his readers to go out on a limb and reveal their guilty pleasures. There was a wide variety of of my favorites being Jarrod's (our worship leader), who confessed to the TV show "Boy Meets World." I can't say too much because I've watched my fair share of that show myself. I went with Hulu and watching Bear Grylls, but technically, I don't consider Bear Grylls a guilty pleasure. It's a full-fledged pleasure.

Then I felt a little guilty about not taking it to the Boy Meets World level, so I had to go back and post again.

It's Peter Benchley's "Creature."

I am absolutely powerless to resist. If it is on TV, I will watch it. Come on - it's Craig T. Nelson and a shark/man. I'm supposed to resist that?? While I'm being honest, I'll also admit to a strong fondness for '70's disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno.

How about you? Care to share your guilty (or full-fledged) pleasure?