Tuesday, December 28, 2010


While in Arizona I learned I'm a life-long sufferer of FOMO.

Its a chronic condition that apparently runs in my family.

My cousin Katie is the one who informed me of this malady. Seems she has it too.

You can imagine how relieved I was to realize that my Fear Of Missing Out actually has a name.

If you have ever hung out with me you'll know that I am last one to leave a party. I'm the last one to sleep at a slumber party. Y'all know I will undoubtedly wait to the very last minute to go to the bathroom when in conversation, often hollering "Don't have any fun without me!" while I do the pee-pee dance to the restroom.

It's all because of FOMO...I cannot stand to miss out.

One thing I won't be missing in the next six weeks is Ambers Backpacking Through Joshua bible study.

If you haven't been a part of her online bible studies you should be suffering from FOMO...because you're seriously missing out.

Last year I had the privilege to study with Amber and through the book of Daniel. Unfortunately, due to overcommitting (a side effect of FOMO) I was unable to finish. But this semester I know my limits! This will likely be the only weekly study I'll participate in until summer.

So, wanna join? Come on you know you do....

Click here to sign up!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas from the La Vida Dulce Family to yours!

(May Santa be as sweet to you as he is to me!)

Luke 20:1-20

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Postcard Post: Tamale Tale

There's an urban legend around this kitchen that gets told every year.

Two-and-a-half(ish) decades ago it was tamale time and the Christmas hustle-bustle was in full swing as my family members rushed to different activities.

I was the last in the house as my dad was heading out the door and he turned to me and said, 'Take the masa and put it in the pan we cook tamales in.'

Easy enough.

If you aren't familiar with tamale cooking, you probably don't know that masa is ground corn which is mixed with a bit of shortening and spread over a corn husk, then you place a bit of chili meat in the masa and roll it up. The tamale is then steamed. Back in the day my dad would steam his tamales in a large stock pot.

So I took that stock pot and squished 25 pounds of masa into it, and closed the lid. Unfortunately, I did something I thought would help the process along: I put it on the stove and turned on the burner.

I then proceeded about my day, completely oblivious to smell of burning corn product in the kitchen.

My dad came home from his outing and found his tamale beginnings burnt beyond bail-out.

Apparently, what my dad meant was 'put the masa in the bowl we mix tamales in' , meaning the silver mixing bowl pictured above.

Its a lesson I likely never forget because every year, wether I'm here to help or not, I'll get a phone call or text that says: Tamale day! Wish you were here to burn the masa.

Today is the big day here in the house that is my home-away-from-home. We'll laugh and work and tell stories that are always told...maybe even make a few more memories for the years to come. Then we'll clean up with the delicious tamale aroma wafting from the steamer, and wait for the eating to begin.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Arizona "Postcard" Post

It's been nearly 32 hours since our arrival to the desert.

The picture above was in Memphis, TN...our flight was delayed but we were happy. We knew that warmer days were ahead.

So far I've enjoyed a long walk in the sunshine, ate my dads cooking, attended a cookie exchange and visited with my family (and those are just the highlights!)...already time is going too quickly.

Were having a blast! Wish you were here!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Giving Thanks for Snowflakes and Friends

I've a new obsession.


So I've made one... or twenty.

These babies aren't cold, don't melt, and feel like a present each time you open them.

If you google 'paper snowflake pattern' you'll find all sorts of ways to make a 4, 5, or six-pointed snowflake, and you too, will have snowflake neurosis  passion.

I'm so easily side-tracked, I didn't actually come here to talk about snowflakes...

I wanted to tell you something I've been thinking about lately...

Last year The Girl joined the Girl Scouts. The first half of the year she enjoyed all the things she learned at the meetings, but had trouble connecting with the other girls. By mid-February she was ready to quit.

I was beginning to wear thin of all the prodding I was having to do on meeting days, but I was also very worried about the spring camping trip...the one I would send The Girl to alone...y'all know that I was fretful. I was thinking about letting her quit just so I wouldn't have to face my own fears about letting her go.

I'm so glad I didn't allow her (or me!) to quit.

It was on that camping trip that she met The BBFF or British Best Friend Forever (her mother doesn't know I'm writing about her, so I'll keep her somewhat anon)

The BBFF and her family are living in America for an interim, and since last March these two have come to be great friends.

When these girls are together, they are truly connected at the hip.

The amazing part is that I've had the privilege to get to know The BBFF's mum, Alison, who has been willing to spend some time with me and has patiently put up with all my inquiry: What is Cricket? Where do you shop? Why is William the Prince of Wales when he lives in London? Do you eat peanut butter? Was it hard to learn to drive on the 'right' side of the road? What is Marmite? 

What she doesn't realize is that she is teaching me far more than answering the silly questions of an American coffee drinker. My tea-times with her have been so enjoyable and helped me to see that she and I have far more in-common than not. With each visit I've been given a glimpse of God's providence.

I could have quit Girls Scouts last year, when it might have been easier... but at the loss of many wonderful things, including a new friend. Not just for the girls, but for Alison and me.

Yesterday afternoon she stopped by with a gift: homemade lemon curd...what a treat!

I can't wait to make some proper scones...

This morning my heart is full of thanks: for tea-times, new friends, and reaping the benefits of lessons learned.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Dabbling, Dilly-Dallying, and Frittering the Hours Away

Aren't those word in the title nice?

I'd much rather use those words to describe what I'm doing today than use the dreaded "P" word.

No, I just won't use that word at all.

Its been a lovely, albeit chilly, day.

If all goes according to plan, 168 hours from this moment I will be arriving at the Phoenix airport.

To say I'm excited would be gross understatement.

I cannot wait.

Of course, I am making a list and checking it twice: Clean house, wash laundry, call house-sitter, and a bunch of other silly stuff that must be accomplished before one travels.

Yet, I have managed to wander about doing a lot of everything and accomplishing nothing. Frittering, if you will. So the list never grows shorter.

You see, my problem is that I am hindered by excitement. This week alone holds two Christmas parties, two fun "play dates" with my friends, two basketball games, three days of school, our family Christmas celebration, and some other stuff that I can't seem to remember right now. Then I'll hop on a plane and see more people I love, who live where the weather will be a toasty 78 degrees.

I plan to bring home a tan for New Years Eve.

Of course, I don't know what I'll do with it when I get back home (its kind of silly to have a tan in winter clothing), but at least I'll have one. It may be the cheapest souvenir I can find.

Anyway, I'm worse than a child. Wandering about wondering what to do next, without really finishing the task at hand.

I do hope I finish this post. ;)

This season just makes me happy. So I'm (obviously) not worried about getting everything done. I work better under pressure. (Or at least thats what I like to tell myself.)

Hmmm....now let's see.... should I make candy, or address Christmas cards, or wash laundry...or...Oh wait, this looks interesting...



Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Little Of This and That on a Saturday Morning

I love technology.

Last night The Girl had her BFF over to spend the night. There was giggling and whispers heard from across the hall.

At 11:30p I knocked on the door and told them I was going to bed. They were quietly tucked under piles of covers, watching the end of a movie. They planned to go to sleep when it was finished.

At midnight I was wide awake, reading a new blog I found:  Attic 24.

The laughter across the hall suddenly began to build. I wasn't slumbering, nor even close, but I was very cozy and warm...I didn't really want to get out of my bed to ask them to be quiet.

So I did the next best thing: I sent The Girl a text, reminding them that it was a bit late.

In about three minutes all was quiet, with an occasional stifled giggle. Which made me smile.

I thought myself very clever.

I asked them this morning if they got my text. They hadn't. They had quieted themselves on their own. Confessing that "after midnight you feel so crazy and wild! We were glad to go to sleep."

I hope she'll say that 10 years from now.

On a completely different note, have you noticed that the 80's are in full-swing fashion these days?

I've noticed the comeback of leg-warmers. I wore those back in the day... only I wore mine as an accessory to shirts with the shoulder parts cut out...I hope those don't come back.

I had nearly a full skein of yarn used for another project and thought I might make The Girl some leg-warmers for Christmas. Unfortunately, I got 9/10th's of the way finished and ran out of yarn...hmmm. I hope they still sell this stuff.

I also found a great pattern at tangled happy. The Girl Scouts pick secret sisters each year at Christmas. Our secret sister will receive this bag.

 It stitched easily and VERY quickly. I did it in 30 minutes, in the car, waiting for piano lessons to be over. So if your so inclined, or you need a quick gift idea, go hook this one up!

All right, the Gigglers are up and have asked for pancakes...an easy request that I am happy to oblige.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, December 03, 2010

The View From my Windows

Every morning he brings me coffee and opens the shades on our south facing windows.

I sip and see the sunrise waking up the trees.

By the time I need my second round, I slowly, tenderly, tip-toe downstairs, in hopes that I won't wake the dog, who'll need a pat, and want to go outside.

If I'm successful, and sneak back upstairs, she'll sleep and I won't have to open the door to the frigid morning...
...and then wait for her to come back.

On a winter weekend I might view the coziest sight of all...
Of all the things I love to see when I look out my window, this is the one I love the most...

We joke that he's the king of this castle, in his sherpa-lined flannel and red ball cap.

We joke, but its true.

As I care for the alligators that live in the mote the home and its inhabitants, he actually braves the cold (even for the dog) and surveys the land.

Yes, that is my favorite view of all...

Of course, I love it when the woodland creatures come out to play...

I took this video several weeks ago...you can hear me talk in my best Mutual of Omaha voice...which quickly gets set aside for all the excitement.

If you think I get excited about this "huge-little family", you should have seen me the day a mama deer was trying to graze while her twin fawns were trying to nurse...now that was an amazing view from my window.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

In the Nest

I'm feeling pensive today.

This always happens 
when I expose my heart,
as I did last night-- 
Awkwardly sharing
the deeper places 
that only the Lord
 and I 
can see. 

I didn't share much, 

but a swatch cut from the tapestry of life 
still sometimes stings... 

Though differently than it did before. 

Its hard, 
choosing vulnerability.

Hard to share the deeper things of life 
that have shaped me, 
held me, 
transformed me 
into who I am today. 

 I'm tempted 
to create a different image,
than the one 
cut for me.

Though I am unable to do it.

Time has taught me,
to share 
(when the time is right)
 the good
as well as the bad.

I doubt I will ever
do it gracefully...
but the privilege of


all things,
those we can see and understand,
and those we can't, 
can be..

Life is messy. 
Even ugly, 
sometimes I still want to run -- 
from places and names, 
times and troubles. 

from myself.

But Truth tells me,
I'm never alone.

(Neither are you.)

I am,

and was,

and always will be,




tucked in,


of the 



He will cover you with His feathers,
and under His wing you will find refuge,
His faithfulness will be your shield.
Psalm 91:4

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ahh! Monday!

It was a very thankful day.

The table was set. The company was awesome. The food, well, you know it was good.

I would tell you that I worked my fingers to the bone cooking up a storm on Thanksgiving...but the truth is I had a lot of help. I LOVE making Thanksgiving dinner, but having another cooker (as the kids like to say) was awesome.

My friend Becky and her sweet family came and spent the day with us.

After our delicious dinner the kids earned their dessert by pushing the baby around in a box.

Seriously, you've never seen three children, spanning more than a decade in age, have such a good time together playing with a box.

Yes, thanksgiving was good...and over all too soon.

I spent the rest of the weekend in my pajamas, either on the couch or in my office under piles of fabric and yarn.

I was lucky that Becky did my Black Friday shopping for me...she scored two pairs of $5 pajama's on sale at Old Navy for me. I may never wear real clothes again....

I managed to crank out nearly all the handmade gifts I wanted to make for my family and friends. I can only show you a few of them because the recipients read this blog...but I'll let you take a sneak peek at a few gifts:

I made another poncho just like the one I made for myself two weeks ago out of a new (to me) brand of yarn. It's called I Love This Yarn from Hobby Lobby, and I do... love that yarn. For an acrylic its so soft and luscious I could eat it. But since Thanksgiving is over I'm trying to cut back a little.

I also whipped out a couple of scarves:

The Taffy Pull....

and The Ruffly*...

Taffy and Ruffly... the names just make me happy. If you're interested, I found these patterns online and they are very beginner-friendly. You can click on the names above to go directly to the link...go on...I know you wanna try.

Then I finished up a little cloche hat and am currently working on a poncho for my niece Mia.

I have only a couple more gifts to make...

When I'm done, I may start blogging more...

(*) - when linking up to the scarf I realized its not called Ruffly but Curly-Swirly...I like Ruffly better so I'm not changing it. ;)

I'd love to know what you're making for Christmas this year...

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks: Another Birthday!

Today's is The Mister's birthday.

I was thinking about him this morning and it occurred to me how patient he is...

As you may know from past posts, I have a tendency toward impetuousness that's meant to get things done quickly, but ends up taking twice as long. You may remember my recent banking fiasco and my Pressure cooker catastrophe.

Let's just say that I average one "accident" a month...only this month I've already done two three.

The good news is that there is only seven days left in November!!!!

What did I do this time?

Well, I mixed up a bunch of deposits at the bank causing much confusion (but we've figured it out!).  I ruined yet another kitchen item on the stove top (always turn your burners off before placing your glass cake pan on the stove...glass, unevenly heated, has a tendency to explode) and I broke the garage door...but at least I didn't back my car into the side of the house. I already did that once. I try not to do the same stupid thing twice...unless it involves the stove top.

Yes, The Mister is long-suffering and patient, and when i do silly things he comes up behind me, sweeping the broken glass and patching the stucco.

He takes good care of me, and I try very hard to take good care of him....when I'm not making more work for him.

For his birthday I've planned a feast - his favorite lasagna meal. He doesn't like to be fussed over, but it is my privilege to do so.

I'm working real hard at being extra sweet too. Mostly because I still giggle a bit about that first year we were married and his birthday fell on Thanksgiving Day, and in all my "this-is-my-first-married-Thanksgiving-excitement, I sort of forgot...

I'll never forget again.

Speaking of keeping memories alive....I still sometimes wince when I remember that night, so long ago, when we were working together as newlyweds in the kitchen of that itty-bitty duplex on campus...when he was doing the dishes (by hand) and I was trying to multitask while making a pot of rice. I accidently burned his bare back with the scalding pot lid...

He'll never forget that, I'm sure.

Good times, good times...

Happy Birthday Mister,
Thank you for sharing life with me.
I'll do my best not to get into trouble this week...but after 17 years of dating and marriage I think you know how hard that will be...

your coffeegal

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks: Random Rambling

I love Thanksgiving week.

The hustle-bustle. The excitement.

I love the preparation and list making.

I love giving the kids a modified school schedule, requiring only History and Literature reading to be completed. Its a holiday hall-pass...for them....for me.

I'm looking forward to the games we'll play, the birthday we'll celebrate (The Mister is the man of the month) and the Turkey-Time Tolkien Trilogy Tradition.

(Say that three-times, fast.)

Yes, we'll start on Tuesday with The Lord of the Rings and watch a movie each night. However I'm not one to waste nine precious hours just sitting. While Frodo carries the ring to Mordor, I will be crocheting Christmas gifts and sipping coffee and tea.

(I guess now would be the time to tell you: I love alliteration.)

Speaking of crochet...

I finished my poncho project this weekend and to say I have poncho pride would be precise.

(Nothing says "pride" like posting pics with wet hair and no make-up)

Ok, I'll stop and move on now....

I'm thankful that in spite of the bloggers-block I am currently facing you continue to read! Thank you!

I hope to blog this week, but it might not happen since The Mister will be home and the festivities will be in full-swing.

I pray you have a blessed Thanksgiving...filled with all the things and people you love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Giving Thanks: Creativity

Good Wednesday morning!

Today I am giving thanks for so many things, but because my mind is a jumble of thoughts not quite ready to be spoken, I am going to give you something I have no problem talking about: cratfing.

Currently my WIP's include a bunch of stuff in the embroidery machine, most of which is "commissioned" work, so I won't show you in case it happens to be your Christmas gift (after all, I'm not entirely certain who reads this blog.)

Last week I finished this hat:

You can't see, but the white yarn has sparkles in it.

I had to mail this one out as soon as it was finished because The Girl was vying for possession.

Once I finished the hat, I had to get something else on the hook.

Had. To.

So I started a poncho for myself out of some yarn I had originally bought to make the princess wig. However, she had in mind that a princess would have wavy hair...so we switched to the yellow yarn pictured below.

That left me with two big skeins of yarn just waiting to be made into something fun.

Last night I decided this creamy colored yarn needed to be a poncho:
I have a tendency to give away the things I make, but this may just be a keeper....I'll let you know when its finished.

Let's switch topics, shall we? Moving on from crochet to sewing.....

Several years ago I found these really cute Turkey Place-mats for kids at Pottery Barn. I was really tempted to buy them but the price per mat was a little high for my taste. I knew that if I waited it out, some amazingly talented women would realize she could make them for less and then put a tutorial up online.

Good things come to those who wait.....

Last week I found this post in my Reader: Turkey Place-mats by She wears Flowers

I'm trying to make three mats(we will have an extra little-turkey in addition to my own at this years feast.)

The pattern is easy, but slow going...since I have Crafting ADD issues.

So that's what I am working on....I am thankful for creativity and (since I'm here) I am thankful for my office, a room that inspires me daily.

What are you working on?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giving Thanks: A Song

Today I am thankful for the words of a song:

my soul, be still,
 and do not fear
though winds of change may rage tomorrow.

God is at your side;
no longer dread
the fires of unexpected sorrow.

 you are my God,
and I will trust in you
and not be shaken.

Lord of peace,
renew a steadfast spirit within me.

my soul,
be still.

*words and music written by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townsend

Friday, November 12, 2010

Giving Thanks: Fall In North Carolina

I've got a full and fun day ahead of me so I thought I'd have a blogging breakfast this morning.

Before I give thanks about the fall let me first say I'm thankful for the Pumpkin Yeast Bread recipe I found yesterday. It makes excellent toast.

I've written this before (and said it in real-life a thousand times)...I love the fall.

I've always loved the fall season, but growing up in the desert I never really appreciated the spectacular show that comes on cue in places where the tree leaves really change. I didn't know that smells change too, and the "feeling" of fall isn't just a cool breeze and pumpkin bread.

Fall is the beautiful time when world around me begins to slow down and prepare for the winter that is to come.

So this morning I am thankful for the sights and smells, and lessons, that come with the changing of season.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Giving Thanks: For Something Totally Superfluous

I am not one who always follows the "gotta-have-it" crowds. I am many things, but I'm not a materialistic girl. I hope you'll indulge me in this completely materialistic post.

Today I'm giving thanks for something I do not need, did not deserve, and didn't think I would ever have: an iPad.

I knew this little machine would be fun, but its turned out to be a hard-working luxury item.

I have used it to teach my history class at co-op on Wednesday afternoon, showing pictures I swiped from the world wide web of ancient Egyptian art and how the Mayan built their huts out of lime and grasses.

I have used it to answer email, and as a GPS, and to keep me occupied in the doctors/dentist offices.

It's been a cookbook, a novel, a crochet pattern keeper.

This little computer has been a movie theater, a calendar, a bank (in the pic above I was moving some birthday cash I had been saving into my checking account. The CarpoolQueen snapped the photo.)

So today I am thankful for this crazy little gadget.

What item do you have, that you could live without, but are thankful you don't have to?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

10 on the 10th: Thanksgiving Style

I've missed participating in the Life at 7000 Feet: 10 on the 10th carnival for many months. This month I'm jumping in with Meredith and giving thanks ten times over.

1. I'm thankful that I'm sipping coffee with Peppermint Mocha Creamer...even though this goes against two creamer rules: the "only-drink-peppermint-in-December" rule; and the "would-be-better-if-it-was-fat-free" rule.  I'm living on the edge.

2. I'm thankful that The Mister didn't kill me yesterday when he found out I hadn't done the one-thing he asked me to do in mid-September and then reminded me to do sometime around my birthday, but let's not get into specifics ...the result was getting a cable bill with three months of charges on it.

3. I'm thankful that the nice cable man generously waived those expensive and ridiculous denied credit card fee's when I told him that his help would save a poor scatterbrained housewife from living in the proverbial dog house over night what had happened.

4. I am thankful that three months ago, when our credit card was breached, our bank found it quickly and took care of everything (including canceling the old number and issuing a new) so it would not happen again.

5. I am thankful none of our other bills are paid via credit card...otherwise we might not have had the electricity to participate in the 10 on the 10th.

(5.5- everyone in this household is thankful I don't do the billing around here.)

6. I am thankful that we will share our Thanksgiving meal with friends.

7. I am thankful that Becky is making the homemade stuffing this year...I am thankful that she didn't even bat an eyelash in horror when I told her I usually make Stove Top.

8. I am thankful for the season of fall in North Carolina.

9. I am thankful for the excitement of preparing to have an Arizona Christmas.

10. I am thankful for what I read this morning in Jer 31:3-4

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
   I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
I will build you up again,"

I'd love to know what you are thankful for today. And thanks, Meredith, for letting me play!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Giving Thanks: My Beloved

He's humble, and smart, and he doesn't like his photo posted on the blog.

So you've never seen his face.

He's a country boy, a hiking-man.

He thinks more, and talks less.

He loves books, and good movies, and eating food cooked at home.

He's generous...to me, to the kids, to others.

He makes me laugh.  A lot.

He holds me close, but he also sets me free.

He isn't perfect, but he's the better half.

He's my beloved, and I am his.

For The Mister I am thankful.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Thankful: Days 5-8

It's been five days...

After that last post I bet you thought I'd quit blogging too.

I haven't.

I just had a whirlwind weekend that was full and exciting.

But I cannot lie, there was a moment that left me feeling as if a thunder-head had come to rain on my parade.

I had to hold on tightly, lest the wind of fear blow my focus away, and remember the goodness all around me: exciting news from family; birthday celebrations; the tenderness and laughter and encouragement of good friends...

For all these things I am thankful.

So very thankful.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Giving Thanks: Choosing to Think

On this third day of gratitude, I am thankful I quit Twitter.

Although, if I'm honest, I sometimes miss it.

What? You didn't know I quit the Twitters?

It's OK. I didn't tell anyone, and even those close to me didn't realize it until weeks later. I just closed the account, and went about my life.

To be honest, I had struggled for a long time with Twitter, because it greatly impeded my thinking powers (not to mention sucked up time). I felt certain that thinking in 140 characters or less was draining my capacity to think deep thoughts, but I couldn't pin down a good excuse as to why that would be true. So I continued typing short sentences with bad txt tping...only I wsnt LOL'ing. U knw wht I mn?

As a result, all my thoughts were becoming shallow. I began to tweet mundane things that nobody wanted to know. My entire brain-power was about trying to quip one-liners...and y'all know I'm not that funny.

I read Jerusha Clark's book, Every Thought Captive: battling the toxic beliefs that separate us from the life we crave , and was smacked in the head with this quote from the first chapter*:

How we think determines our spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical health. Elizabeth George notes, "Like a virus, our thoughts have the ability to drain our energy and cripple our usefulness. Our thoughts can, however, also be a source of strength when we dwell on the powerful truths of Scripture."
I got the one-two punch when I read this:

Proverbs 4:23
Be very careful what you think, your thoughts run your life. 

Wow. And yeah...

Truth. Sometimes it comes gently. Sometimes it hits you on the nose.

I realized that Twitter (for me) wasn't just about what I was thinking, but how it made me think of myself and others....sometimes it made me feel prideful, "Wow, what I just tweeted about my pedi-cure was so clever!" and sometimes it made me feel insecure, "Why didn't anybody respond to that great tweet about clipping my toenails?"

I am very hyper-aware about hiding my needy-ness. Let's just be honest, I like to appear like I've got it under control so people will like me. Twitter fed into this already crazy-frenzy, mixed-up, Kellie the CoffeeGal thought life, and I didn't like the down-hill trend.

This quote, also from Chapter One* hit the nail on the head:
Many of our thoughts, unfortunately, are both negative and untrue. At different points in their lives, most women have believed poisonous lies such as these: I'm not good enough. What others believe about me defines who I am. I am the sum of my accomplishments and my relationships [and my tweets**]. We have all believed self-defeating falsities as well, lies that have hijacked and poisoned our minds.
I wish I could tell you that I am the woman who escaped this generalization, but I'm not. My lack of thinking deep and truthful thoughts was "draining my energy and crippling my usefulness," not only on Twitter, but on this blog, in my conversations with real-life people, and in my quiet-times in the morning. 

When my kids were babies a wise women in our church came to my home to speak to my mom's group. She said that when choosing activities for ourselves or our children, we should ask ourselves this question: Will this activity build us (as a family) up? Or tear us down? 

As a mom, friend, and wife my thought life is the doorway to everything I do. If it tears me down, the fall-out has the potential to pull all those things I endeavor to pursue down with it. Twitter wasn't building me up, it was robbing me of my thought life, but what's worse, it wasn't building anyone up in my circle of influence either. 

So, that's why I quit.

I am grateful, for authors like Jerusha Clark, and other writers who share God's wisdom in books that tell the Truth, though its sometimes hard to hear.

And I am grateful, though I do miss the camaraderie of my Tweeps, that I quit typing thinking in 140 characters or less.

* I'd like to give the page numbers, but I read this book electronically, and the pages are wonky.

** my words, added for emphasis.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Giving Thanks....

Do you remember when I made this banner a couple of years ago and I misspelled 'thanks'? There's a picture of it if you click here.

This month I hope to Give Thanks here on the blog.

I'll do two today (since my day got away from me yesterday).

1. I'm thankful for 7th Grade Algebra.

No really.

It is stretching my mind and building character within me; and its improving my relationship with my son. I am learning to be patient; learning that it's OK to teach from a place of weakness.

My son is learning to extend grace, and that even old moms should never stop striving to be teachable  (although that takes a GREAT DEAL of prayer to do so.)

2. I'm thankful for new friends.

It's been said that God brings people in your life for a reason, a season, and/or a lifetime.

From the soccer field, the co-op, the church, the bookstore, the Girl Scouts, the basketball court, the gym, and all places in between, I've had the pleasure to meet some amazing women. I don't know if these will be "seasonal" or "lifetime" friends, but I am grateful either way.

If the mood strikes, I would love to hear what you are thankful for as the month of November marches on.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 29, 2010

C is for Cookie Companion

Dear Friends and Readers,

It was my great intention to spend the morning wrapping up school, giving a lesson in Elbow-Grease Education (aka - helping mom deep clean the house) and then sitting down this afternoon to the task of blogging.

I did manage to finishe the first two, but just as I sat down to type the phone rang, and a sweet friend said, "Do you wanna come over for cookies?"


Of course I told her that as a very-serious-and-committed-blogger, I couldn't just drop writing on a whim and a cookie!


I couldn't turn down time with a friend! Especially a friend who is serving cookies.

So instead of jotting notes on the four or five posts that have been whirling in this crazy head of mine for about as many weeks, I am going choosing to break cookies with a friend and tell you that I hope to get back to a regular blogging schedule very, very soon.

Of course we are entering into cookie eating season....so it may be awhile.

While you are here, tell me what kind of cookie would drop everything for?

Happy Friday!

Kellie the Cookie Eater CoffeeGal

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Severe Allergic Reaction

Last week I was tested for allergies.

I've had chronic hives for many years, kept (somewhat) dormant by massive amounts of antihistamine.

I was instructed to stop all antihistamines for 5 full days before walking into the allergist's very clean office.

This was no small undertaking. On the fifth day- Testing Day - I was so itchy that I hadn't slept in days and my stomach was queasy for relief.

From my scalp to in-between my toes I was on fire with itchiness.

Of course when I walked into the office I hadn't ONE measly hive.

Luckily, in the course of the three-hour visit they did manage to make their mad appearance (scratch, scratch, scratch).

The doctor did warn me that hives are weird, often coming with no reason and leaving quite the same, but she hadn't seen them persist over the course of five years.

Upon examination, in which she also looked at my ears and throat, she noticed signs of post nasal drip accompanied with a slighty-stuffy nose. So she tested me for over 50 allergens that might cause hives and hay fever.

I had one of the most severe reactions she had ever seen....

Are you ready for it?

I am severely allergic to: nothing.

You may already know that the allergist pokes your skin (over and over) with allergens and the reaction is ranked from 1- not very allergic,  to 4 - so allergic it could endanger your life.

Every skin-poked reading was "negative," as in didn't react at all.

Except for dust, which she ranked as >1.

I think she "gave" Dust to me so I didn't feel bad for completely bombing her allergy test.

Because I had done copius amounts of itching-induced research  completed a Google search, I knew that the chances of pinpointing a chronic-hive allergen was probably going to be unlikely. I was just exceedingly glad I wasn't allergic to any of my favorite food groups: coffee, wheat, diary, or sugar.

So, for those who wanted to know...there you have it - I have a severe allergy to nothing...and a smidgeon to dust.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Joyful Noise: Family Style

There are two songs that will make me weepy every-single-time.

The Star Spangled Banner and Happy Birthday.

Why Happy Birthday?

I don't know.

Maybe its because birthdays (not just my own) are always filled with such hope: a new life, a new year, a new beginning.

Maybe its because birthdays remind me of the love I have for others - the love others have for me.

This year I did not cry. I laughed.

This year the serenade of Happy Birthday reminded me of the joy a family brings...we don't always sing on-key, but we love each other with all we have...I love them so.

PS: Ignore my scratching...it was Day Three without anti-histamines (more on that tomorrow)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Break: Its a Good Thing

Our stay-cation was eventful...

Full of laughter....

And very satisfying.

There were highlights: Getting a hug from the door-keeper (and complete stranger) at Sam's club; finally hanging curtains in our family room; and spending an entire week with my man.

There were low-lights: having a root canal and allergy testing that required four days without antihistamine.. which was much harder than I anticipated.

But... there were more highlights:

Spending time with friends over sushi and soup; helping a young nursing student by listening to the first sentence of her thesis statement (I sat down next to her on a couch at Barnes and Noble); rearranging three rooms in our house; sleeping in with The Mister, and of course... there was that thirty-eighth birthday thrown in there for good measure. I love me a good birthday.

I wish I could tell you each detail, but it isn't necessary. It was a good, good week...a gift in and of itself.

I woke up on my birthday singing Sandra McCracken's Grace Upon Grace, which was inspired by one of my favorite Prayer books, The Valley of Vision.

I am going to close this post with the prayer entitled Grace Active , it is the prayer of my 38th year...for I have received grace upon grace...


Grace Active


Thou hast opened a new and living way,
     by which a fallen creature can approach thee
     with acceptance.
Help me to contemplate
     the dignity of the Person,
     the perfectness of thy sacrifice,
     the effectiveness of thy intercession.
O what a blessedness accompanies devotion,
  when under the trials that weary me,
     the cares that corrode me,
     the fears that disturb me,
     the infirmities that oppress me,
  I can come to thee in my need
  and feel the peace beyond understanding!
The grace that restores is necessary to preserve,
  lead, guard, supply, help me.
And here thy saints encourage my hope;
  they were once poor and are now rich,
     bound and are now free,
     tried and now are victorious.
Every new duty calls for more grace than
  I now possess,
  but not more than is found in thee,
     the divine Treasury in whom all fullness dwells.
To thee I repair for grace upon grace,
  until every void made by sin be replenished
  and I am filled with all thy fullness.
May my desires be enlarged and hopes
  that I may honor thee by my entire
  and the greatness of my expectation.
Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all
    the smiles of prosperity, and the frowns of adversity,
    the losses of substance, the death of friends,
    the days of darkness, the changes of life,
    and the last great change of all.
May I find thy grace sufficient
      for all my needs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend to Felicitous Fall Fiesta

Usually when my weekends are jam-packed its bittersweet. I enjoy all the activity, but it makes the weekend go so quickly.

This weekend I went to the State Fair, celebrated the end of the first quarter of school, went to two soccer games, sang at church, ate supper at a Pig Pickin', went to a two-hour Zumba-thon to help raise money for a family in our community, and... this is just the short list.

It was a good weekend...a funnel-cake sort of weekend...one that is good to have once (or twice) a year.

In contrast to last week's busyness, this morning I'm slowly sipping coffee contentedly. The Mister is home, the kids are sleeping in and I am sitting on the front side of seven more days without school or work.

Love. That.

Of course, this week won't be all sunshine and roses...I have to have a root canal, the start of a crown and a three hour visit to the allergist for testing, but, I also have a birthday to celebrate...and y'all know how I love a birthday.

Much like this post, my week has no big agenda. I hope to get into my office and finish up a few projects that are half finished so I can start something else. What are you doing this week?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Things I Do to Make Things Better

The office was warm and inviting.

Soft lighting, soothing music.

It felt...expensive.

For those of you who are just checking in today, I had an Endodontist appointment to look over tooth #19. That's dental speak for the big molar on the bottom left that hurts when you eat.

The visit was short and I'll go back next week for the Big Drill.

The good news (cuz y'all know I like some Good News!) is that I don't have an infection, its merely a fractured tooth.

The bad news is that I still need a root canal.

But let's not talk of such things.

Let's talk about how to deal with stress, shall we?

For the sake of time, and because searching Common Ways People Deal With Stress on Google was depressing, I want to tell you how I handle stress.

On the other hand... let's keep things positive. I won't write about the ineffective ways I deal with stress such as worry, fret, over-exercise, hyperventilating, or (occasionally) crying like a baby when no one is around. I'll just assume you have your own variations on those themes.

Instead, I present Five Helpful (and highly effective) Therapies:

1. Medicinal Noodle Therapy -

Specifically Annie Chun noodle bowls (my faves are the Miso and Udon flavors). I have slurped a bowl every day for lunch more times than I am willing to admit this week.

2. Beneficial Baking -

Today's recipe of choice will be Pumpkin Bread and Peanut Butter cookies, both recipes from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. I've borrowed this book so many times from the library that I recognize my own splattered cookie-dough stains in the margins. I should just go get my own copy...especially since no one knows when the need for Beneficial Baking will strike.

3. Curative Cleaning -

This picture, is supposed to show countertop's that "shine like the top of the Chrysler building." Nothing will smooth down my rough edges quicker than a clean, orderly, shiny, kitchen counter top.

4. Re-wearing Remedy

In the picture above is the pair of jeans I have now worn for three days in-a-row. Why? Because jeans fresh out of the dryer are not as comforting as jeans that are soft and broken-in. I assure you, they still look and smell great.

5. The Couch and Cover Corrective with a heaping dose of  Sugar is the Solution 

Technically, these are two solutions that can be used as separate therapies, but they work so beautifully together that it seems counteractive to list them otherwise....

This is my spot on the couch with one of my beloved quilts (I have several and hope to collect more.) Have I mentioned I having a great fondness for quilts? They remind me of Psalm 139:5.

Bunny Trail: I want to tell you that my mother gave that quilt to me, but the truth is that it "accidentally" ended up in our suitcase a few years back...those darn kids. I'll have to talk to them about that.)

I enjoy wrapping up, quilted-burrito style, and eating whatever type of sugar is on the coffee table. The jar to the right is usually filled with peanut m&m's, but during seasonal times I try to mix it up.

Just in case we might run out of "sugar in its purest form", I do have a back-up plan: Sugar in its buttery-caramel form. Amazingly enough, its good for you. It says "made with REAL milk" right on the package. 

So there you have it, Five Helpful (and highly effective) Therapies for relieving stress.

I feel better already.