31 January 2008

Thankful Thursday I

  • What I'm thankful for today:

    Christian radio--I've been listening all day and actually getting my chores done! (As opposed to having the TV on and getting nothing done.)
    Blogs by other women who struggle with chores. Not everyone is a Martha with a 1000+ page book about homekeeping!
    It's warm enough today to have the door open.
    I've got all the dishes done.
    I know I've got hope for eternity.
    My linguistics class is interesting but not easy. This will take work!
    Today's verse of the day:
    For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who
    call on you. --Psalm 68:5
    I got an email today from a good friend. I've missed her.
    I finally reconnected yesterday with an old college friend. I've missed her, too, and it was great to be able to talk like we used to!

Stinky Life

While link-surfing, I found this devotional website. Here's a good quote that hit me:

While it is true that we are dead to our old life, staying dead is another matter. Often, our dead flesh will raise its ugly head and try to influence our thoughts and actions. If we listen long enough to its demands, we suddenly find ourselves at the graveyard fervently digging up our old flesh, so that it can perform its sinful deeds.

Christians have a responsibility to put to death their old nature through daily surrender or else they cannot live a life pleasing to God. They will begin to think only of themselves again and ways to gratify their flesh. However, those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit will live a life of righteousness free from sin. Those who follow the Holy Spirit will not think about fulfilling the desires of the flesh. Their thoughts are occupied by God’s Word, His ways, and purposes.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” So, what dominates your thoughts?

If we only think of ourselves, what we want and our rights, then eventually we’ll find ourselves going down the wrong path, one that leads to a stinky life. On the other hand, thinking on things that are pure and worthy brings forth life that is pleasing to God and a witness to others.

If you are in Christ, then the flesh no longer dominates you...So stop visiting the graveyard. Instead be led by the Holy Spirit by dying daily to your old way of thinking and living. Then, the Spirit of God can create in you a pure life that releases a sweet, pleasing aroma.

Here is the link again for P roverbs 31 Ministries Daily Devotions.

This devotion also has an action plan:
Begin each day by surrendering to the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to guide your thoughts and actions and you will not give in to your own desires. When you fail, quickly confess it and surrender again. Soon Christ’s character will exude in your life while overcoming your own.

And it also has reflections, questions that focus and refine the thinking about the lesson in the devotion:

When you smell the stench of selfish flesh do you quickly confess it, turn from it, and begin living in the spirit again?

Is your life overall a pleasing aroma to God?

Do you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life even when it’s hard?

I'm not sharing this to beat any of you over the head. I'm sharing because it caught me by the sleeve and interrupted my selfish, foolish rhythm.

30 January 2008

Design-inspired links

Someday I'll post about more than just links. But for now: links.

This post about 7 Random Things is interesting.

I don't live near an IKEA or a Container Store. I'll have to browse here!

I might have to become a linens and textiles addict, in addition to fast becoming a dishes-and-tableware addict.

The next generation of chalkboard paint...dry-erase paint! (One of my dreams when I own a home is to do a whole wall of chalkboard.)

26 January 2008

Weekend Linktastic

This post about organizing is a great read, though long. I think I will be posting snippets of it here over the next few weeks. In fact, here are a few snippets:

(1) Does it work?-Story of a vice president who had piles all over his desk but "couldn’t find anything” if he cleared his desk; he said the method worked for him. However, one Saturday a month, he had to go to the office to organize all his papers, thus missing kids’ soccer games and family time. After having [a professional organizer] come in to help him get organized, he said she gave him back that Saturday every month.

(2) Do you like it?

(3) Does it work for others?-If you aren’t there, can others find it/use it?

(4) Can you “recover” quickly?-If you went unannounced to [this professional organizer]’s home, you’d think, “SHE is an organizer?!” But if you call her to say you’re coming, she can have everything put away in 15-20 minutes – where it belongs.

--3 Essential Components of ANY System: (1) Methodology (2) Mechanics (3) Maintenance

Here's a fun idea about cheering up someone's day/week/month.

Here is another post about organizing. And here's a little bit of it:

One of Elizabeth's ideas that I really liked was to walk through your entire home, room by room. Armed with a clipboard, you look around each room in a clockwise direction, writing down any area that irritates you. I tend to organize in a piece-meal fashion, so I like this intentional approach. Once you've gone through your entire house, you sit down and prioritize your projects. Love that!

While looking at that blog I found this post, which led to this post and this post. I'm inspired. Look for a One Little Word post soon!

While link-surfing, I found this blog. I think I will like it.

I joined Library Thing. Time alone will tell if I'll actually get to it! What with job hunting and housekeeping (which is a different animal than working and housekeeping)...not to mention my delightful but challenging Linguistics class...I'll be lucky if I get around to reading! When will I update my listing on Library Thing?? Oh well.

24 January 2008

Supportive Support Staff

Location: Birmingham
Reason: 'Support Staff' for Ian's teacher's conference (unexpected benefit of being unemployed...I have time to go to Bham for a couple days!)
Particular Tasks: Navigating around Birmingham, Unpacking Bags into the Motel Room, Driving, and so on and so forth...
What I Did This Morning: Drove Ian to the Hotel, Worked on a Sewing Project in our Motel Room
What I am Doing Right Now: Waiting for 4:15 When Ian and I will Go Back to the Motel

22 January 2008

That's What Makes it So Fun!

If there were an inherent, nonarbitrary connection between forms and meanings, with the meaning being determined by the form, then...cross-linguistic differences should not occur. There would be one universally correct form for each meaning, and every language would have no alternative but to connect that form and that meaning. You can see that if you were to follow this idea to its logical completion, there would now be only one universal and unified language, with no controversy over what a spoken word meant or how to express a certain meaning. It would all be automatic.
Georgios Tsedernalis and Wai Yi Peggy Wong, editors. Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics. 9th ed. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2004.

Thus it Concludes

I worked my last day yesterday. The atmosphere of the store has gone from 'kitchen high-end boutique' to 'garage sale.' It's a loss, and sad to see. Every time I go back, there is less merchandise, less furniture, less stuff. For a store, that's sad.

I don't think I'd care so much if it were a big giant corporate store. But it's locally owned, and these last couple weeks of closing, I've been working with the owner and getting to know her better. It's sad to see her store close like this.

Still no news on the new job front. Pray. Pray for just the right job for me! When this job came along, it was at just the right time and has turned out to be such a blessing to me. The people I've had a chance to work with have become friends that I enjoy being with. I have new respect for business owners who work so very hard--tomorrow's paycheck depends on today's labor, and they surely earn it! I've learned more self-confidence, diligence, and humility than I thought I could in 'just a cashier job.' I will miss it, but I'm looking for what is next.

17 January 2008

Overheard Link-a-Rama

Read this and this and this and this and this. And this, this, this, this, this, this, and this. You will laugh.

14 January 2008

Warms the Cockles of My Heart

“A potter begins by centering his clay on the wheel. When the wheel starts turning, he can’t just grab the clay. He must carefully but firmly keep the clay in the center of the wheel. He has to work it gently but deliberately, applying just enough pressure to shape it while constantly adding moisture. If he lets the clay get cold, it becomes stiff, resistant, and unworkable. If he neglects the clay and fails to add water, it will dry out and crack. If he stops the process and then starts again, he may force the clay off center, or he may mar it by putting his hands on it too quickly or aggressively. It takes time, but if the potter is patient, creative, and firm but gentle, there’s no limit to what he can create.”

This brief excerpt is drawn from Love That Lasts, written by Gary and Betsy Ricucci. Gary, who wrote these words, applies this metaphor to a husband learning to practice romance as an art. “I am to pursue my wife consistently, warmly, and affectionately, lavishing her with encouragement and affirmation.” What caught my attention as I read this section of the book was the lesson he seeks to teach through these words. While the lesson is meant primarily for husbands as they relate to their wives, there is such a strong parallel between the marriage relationship and the relationship of Christ to His people that I could not help but see a lesson for my relationship with the Savior. “Every wife is different, and so is every season of life.” We could as easily affirm that “every person is different, as is every season of life.” And here is the lesson: “But like the potter, we are committed to the process as well as to the outcome.” That little sentence stopped me in my tracks....

I thought about this for a while. And then I saw in myself and in my attitude towards my wife just a shadow, a fleeting glimpse, of the work of Christ. I love my wife dearly. I love Aileen so much that my heart aches for her sanctification. I love few things more than seeing my wife reading her Bible, teaching the children about God, and being with her in times of worship. I pray continually that God will continue to mold her into His image. And, if I look carefully, I can see times when I have provided the leadership to help move her (and myself, and our children) towards this goal. I can see where I have been committed to the process. And best of all, I can see the joy I have taken both in leading her through the process and in seeing the results of the process. In my relationship with Aileen I can see, as if in a dim, clouded mirror, a reflection of the work of Christ in my life.

from Discerning Reader's online review of Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace by Gary and Betsy Ricucci, which is a book that I now want.

And I'd like to say, as well, that these words make me love my husband more. I see my Ian in this reviewer's description of himself.

Seventeen More Puns

  1. I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.
  2. Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
  3. Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
  4. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.
  5. The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
  6. To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
  7. When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.
  8. A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
  9. A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.
  10. Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.
  11. We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.
  12. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles , U.C.L.A.
  13. The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.
  14. The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.
  15. The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
  16. If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.
  17. A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

12 January 2008

Another Bend in the Road

I received this email Thursday evening, the 10th of January.

Dear Valued Customers,

In an effort to keep as many of you informed as possible, this email is to let you know that, for reasons beyond our control, we must close our store at Hamilton Place at the end of January 2008.

Beginning Thursday January 10th, 2008 all merchandise will be 20% - 50% off the original retail price, gift cards will be honored and all sales are final. We accept Visa, Master Card and cash only. No other discounts or coupons will be applicable to this sale.

We still have a wide selection of merchandise so come in soon. This is your chance to get a great deal on the items you’ve always wanted.

Store hours are Monday-Saturday 10AM – 6PM and Sunday, 12PM - 6PM.

We want to offer our sincere thanks to all of you who have been loyal customers over the years. We hope you enjoyed shopping with us as much as we enjoyed serving you.


Mia Cucina Management and Employees

So it's back to the Job Hunt for me.

10 January 2008

Getting Organized for the New Year

I'm on a listserve for Marcia Ramsland, who wants to sell her organizing/decorating books. I'm sure the books are great; but most of the emails are nothing more than advertisements for her books. However, there are some great tips in her emails--and here's the list of Getting Organized for the New Year:

1. Time: Get a new 2008 calendar AND a place to daily write down a To Do list. Even if it's just a 3 x 5 card or a Post-It note, write down what you need to do the next day. You'll accomplish so much more writing things down and reading both [lists] all day.
2. Time: Plan tomorrow the night before. This mean confirm appointments so you're not waiting for someone that doesn't show up, lay out work to be done tomorrow, and clean up your desk from today to be ready to start fresh.
3. Time: Schedule no more than 3-4 nights out per week. You'll enjoy life more if you have some downtime.
4. Clutter: Keep a clear line of sight on every countertop. That means the front 2/3 of your kitchen counters and desk itself should be clear. The outer area has only things you [actually] use.
5. Clutter: Work to cleanup the most used room at home, i.e. the kitchen. Keep up on dishes and mail to relax when you are home.
6. Clutter: Put a "Giveaway Clothes bag" in your closet and donate it every other month. It's easier to give away regularly than to do a big cleanup.
7. Email: Set times to do email and don't let it run your life or become your To Do list! Twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon are adequate.
8. Email: Note the number of emails in your In-Box and cut it in half by setting up filters to send incoming emails to "Reading Folder", coupon folder, airline folder, etc. You'll be amazed how much "clutter" it cuts out of your In Box.
9. Paper: Clear your desk before you turn on your computer each morning. Better yet, clear it and list what needs to still be done before you leave it each night. You'll have a better start to your day.
10. Remember, one pile sitting out is the beginning of a complicated life. Put any pile on your desk or countertop away as soon as you spot it and keep your life simple! You'll love yourself for doing it.

Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro
PO Box 817
Colleyville, TX 76034
http://www.organizingpro.com/ - 'The Place to Go to Simplify Your Everyday Life!'


This picture makes me happy. from The Purl Bee.

09 January 2008

Repentance, Resolution, and Reconciliation

Jesus taught an important lesson about relationships. Essentially, what He said is that if any of us tries to improve a relationship by getting the other person to change (working hard to get the speck out of the other person’s eye), energies are being expended in the wrong direction. The place to begin is with our own failures (the plank or beam in one’s own eye).

Alone with God, simply ask, “Lord, what’s wrong with me? What are my faults? What are my sins?” Get your pencil and paper ready, for that is a prayer God will answer. Make a list of your sins.

Go back over the list and agree with God that these are wrong and, at the same time, thank Him for Christ’s death on the cross and therefore for forgiveness. Work through your list and accept God’s forgiveness for every past failure. God does not intend us to live under the emotional load of past failures. We can be forgiven....

Any time you become aware of friction or ill feelings in your relationships, the first question should be “Lord, what’s wrong with me?” As you see where you are wrong, confess it, accept God’s forgiveness, and ask His Spirit to control you. People do not “make us miserable.” We choose to be miserable. The immediate emotion that arises after the action of another person may be automatic and beyond your control, but what you do with that emotion is your decision. If you are willing to search your own heart and confess any wrong discovered, then you can feel at peace, even though you are not particularly happy with the situation at hand. You then can be a positive force for change, rather than compounding the problem with your attitude.

Gary Chapman. "Make it Personal: Improving the Common Denominator in All Your Relationships." The Five Love Languages.Com.

07 January 2008

Mementos from Our Christmas Vacation

Whew! We rolled into Chattanooga on Saturday evening after two days of car travel to get back. 'Home' is such an interesting and amorphous place, isn't it? Two weeks ago, I was so excited to go home, and now I am content to be home again.

Anyway, as I unpack and settle, let me share about some of the memories and mementos I collected over these last two weeks.

1. Receipts, receipts, receipts! Ian manages the money in our household, so he's got most of them. I personally don't have that many in my wallet right now--but there sure are a lot! Motel receipts (they left the light on for us!), gas receipts, and fast food receipts from the trip itself; day-after-Christmas Shopping With The Family receipts; and then of course there are the pharmacy receipts and the hospital receipt.

2. Medications. Traveling far away brings 'exotic' germs to my immune system. The body is not accustomed to the cold & flu germs I encounter so far away! Thus the pharmacy receipts...coldy, germy, ill. Ick. Still, better to be sick on vacation than sick at home! This cold in my throat (achy-sore) and my sinuses etc. (post-nasal drip and 'fullness of ears'). And then there are the eye drops. Yes, the evening before we left, I developed pinkeye. It went from nothing to a little itch to puffiness, weeping, and mucousy in just 6 hours!! I was afraid of losing my eye to an eye infection, so we went to the emergency room. At midnight. And all they could tell me was 'pinkeye.' The co-pay was high but at least they didn't charge us for the prescription eye drops. Sheesh.

3. New Gifts! I love to choose just the right gift and see the receiver open it up and light up. I also like to open gifts and see what ___ chose just for me. What a treat! I got a nice picture frame from my sister, a book from my sister and brother-in-law, movies from my inlaws (they're big movie people!), and much more...including shopping bucks for Traditional Boxing Day Shopping Excursion!

4. New Stuff! We give each other gift cards and money to spend on our traditional outing. We all (whoever is celebrating with us) pile into one car (we borrowed a 14-passenger van!), make several stops (everyone has to get out at every stop), make any necessary exchanges and desired purchases, have fast food lunch and a good Mexican restaurant dinner, and take snack bags along. (They are called Crab Bags, because we tend to get crabby when we're hungry!) We might shop in pairs, in groups, or as singles, but when we all get to our concluding destination (someone's home), we have "Show and Tell."

5. Sweaters. This year, we added 'Tacky Sweater Competition' to the Mexican Restaurant Dinner, so I have a pretty bad one. I also have a pretty chenille one I bought at Dick's Sporting Goods and a black cardigan I bought on clearance at Dillard's. Yay.

6. Most important: Memories. Mom always said, when we were growing up, whether we were on vacation, or doing family yard work, or going out for family dinner on someone's birthday, that "we're making a memory!" How can words describe the wealth of all my new memories: silly moments--Dad's ultra sneeze, Maija's sugar cookies, or the tacky sweaters; serious moments--the closeness, tenderness and intimacy of the "Messages of Love" on Christmas morning, or the toast that Mom and Dad, Dace, Ian and I had at midnight on January 2nd; sweet moments that I'll savor--seeing my sister in her own home and helping her host Christmas dinner, successful conversations with my family members--and all those everyday moments of dishwashing, driving around, chats and quiet moments, and traditions--Christmas Eve Gifts, Stove Top Stuffing, Shopping Day, Giuseppe's Pizza, New Year's Eve Ball Drop, and on and on and on.

What a blessed Christmas. Every year I say it's the best one--but this one truly is the very best!

01 January 2008

New Year's Eve 2007

We slept in because we arrived home late on the 30th. (Our plan had been to spend the night in the mountains on the 30th and go sledding the next day in Breckenridge. A big snowstorm with lots of wind blew in and all the roads were closed--so we just went home.)

We had breakfast/lunch. Then we met Matt and Maija downtown at Guiseppe's restaurant for some wonderful pizza. It's a tradition--whenever we're all together in Colorado Springs, we have to have pizza at Guiseppe's.

On to the movie theater, where we took in National Treasure. It was a good movie, fun and adventurous. Also, of note: the preview for Prince Caspian. Yes, sirree. May 16: the two of us will be there!

Then we split up: Ian, Tanta Dace and I home for naps; Mom and Dad and Matt and Maija to a couple parties their church friends are throwing.

Once we were all home again, we played a game together: Apples to Apples. It was fun.

We broke at 11:45 to pour champagne, put shoes on, and get ready for the countdown, the ball drop, and the toasting and the hugging. Then outside to see the fireworks on top of Pikes Peak, and back inside for photos.

Happy New Year to you all!