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 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 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 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.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Tale of Tuesday

It was a typical Tuesday.

Get up. Drink coffee. Get dressed. More coffee. Find something to eat for breakfast. Don't chew on the left side.

You know, typical.

I have a long and expensive dental history that goes as far back as I can remember.

As a matter of fact I have vivid memories of being at the dentist,gas mask on my face, which I am certain didn't make one iota of difference on my nerves.

I once felt that same way as an adult for a "minor" procedure in the doctors office that required a little blue pill called Valium. Supposedly it would render me "careless" and I would "probably dose off " while being poked and prodded and generally made to feel awful.

It didn't work.

Other than a Michael Jackson cocktail, there is no chemical match for my nerves.

I blame my mother.

Back in the day the only cure for my dental nerves was bribery.

My mom, being a wise mother-of-three was not above a little gift to make the visit worth while.

Neither was I.

I do believe I received many a fine pair of shoes and several milkshakes on the promise of good behavior at the dentist.

Yesterday I went to the dentist on account of the inability to chew on the left side. I felt certain that I could do this indefinitely as long as it prolonged a deposit to the dentist's vacation fund  a two-hour stay in the torture dental chair.

Seriously I waited as long as I could, but after three weeks I started to have vivid dreams at night that my teeth were falling out, and as it turns out I actually like to eat...and the left side of my palate wants part of the action too.

So I made the call yesterday afternoon in hopes that they were booked-up until next spring.

Go figure, they "have time to see you today!"


Let me grab my husband's wallet.

My dentist is a nice woman, and her office staff is great; but their cozy office decorations, flat screen TV's and professional manner cannot keep me from fear.

Its not dental work I'm scared's the bill.

No, that's not entirely's the fact that at nearly 38 years old I don't have my mother to sweeten the Novocain-injected deal. Where's the promise of new sandals at the end of the visit? I wanted to treat myself to a Starbucks (a venti non-fat Cinnamon Dolce latte is comfort food to me) but who can afford a five dollar coffee when you are about to spend twelve hundred smack-a-roos?

Yes, $1200.

As it turns out, I need a crown. But before I can get the crown I need a root canal. Which means I have to see a specialist. Tomorrow.

I wish I could tell you that I have never done this before but the truth is, I've read this chapter before.

The good news is that my long-suffering husband didn't even bat an eye as I gave him the itemized financial statement. He just looked at me sweetly as I broke the news, as if he had already surrendered to life-long financial support of my chompers. For richer or poorer, in root canals and fillings.

He's a good man...(and he's got perfect teeth.)

It was a typical Tuesday....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Grumbler or Lamenter

I've always been an optimist.

But lately....

I've found my heart being pulled by cynicism in times when contentment should reign.

I don't want to be a grumbler...but often when I experience a single hardship or inconvenience, or my life feels less than easy, I'm quick to grumble.

I do not want to allow grumbling to become a part of who I am. 


Because life can be genuinely hard. It's messy. In this world we will have trouble.

David, Job and Jeremiah saw trouble in their day.  What did they do?

They lamented.

I've been reading Helpful Truths in Past Places by Mark Deckard. He gives a great comparison between the Grumbler and the Lamenter that I thought I would share with you. 

I pray that on that day when real trouble comes I'm practiced in art of lamenting; That I wouldn't allow grumbling to be the catalyst which allows my suffering to be wasted. Grumbles are just empty words on the wind, but when I come to the Giver of all good things with my laments, I allow room for growth and strength, to the Glory of God. 

Happy Monday....

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Semi-wordless Wednesday:Compulsive Crochet

It all started eight days ago when I picked up the Crochet Today special issue at ACMoore.

I finished the Snowfall Cowl (page 15) within three hours... unfortunately those were the hours I was supposed to be sleeping.

I'm not sure I understand the cowl. Do you? I mean, it feels like the sweater part is missing....

Then I decided to try the Colorful Cushion on pg. 66. I plan to use the BeaUtiful monogram I made last year (for no apparent reason) on the back.

This weekend I realized I wouldn't be complete until the Raspberry Beret (pg. 23) was brought to life (plus my Friday night movie buddy was at Girls Scout camp.

(Not to brag or anything, but I had two WHOLE evenings to myself this weekend.

Chick flicks, crochet and Chardonnay...could it get much better? If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend it.)

Only, I wasn't too keen on how the beret looked on me.

It was sort of a cross between those hats you see people wear in hospitals and a deflated mushroom.

But it looked great on a certain 10 year old, who is already lobbying for me to give the beret to her...

How could I say no?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Fruit of Facing Fear

Three days ago I did something I never thought I'd do -  I faced my fears and jumped off a 40ft platform-- and lived to tell about it.

Yes. Yes, I did.

I climbed up (with the help of a belayed harness) a forty-foot tree to a 3x3ft platform. Then, the guy you see at the bottom left of the photo (his name is Will), unhooked me from the belay and hooked me to the zipline while I hugged the tree as if my life depended on it.

If I'm honest, I will tell you that I was exceptionally scared. Will, sensing my fear, encouraged me with a few soft-spoken words and pointers on how this would all work out, but I was concentrating on not looking down, and telling my body that there was no need for panic...

Then, when the time was right, I sat down on the edge and dropped to a 530 foot zip across a lake.

It was fun.

I bet you didn't know I was afraid of heights and ziplines?

I'm not.

This is not why I am writing today, but it has everything to do with it...

You may remember  this post: Choosing Courage.  It was a poem I wrote 5 months ago as I processed my fear over sending my daughter to camp with her Girl Scout troop.

Last Friday, as I helped The Girl pack her bags for another weekend at that same camp, again with her troop, I was awesomely aware of how Peace had taken residence in my heart. I wasn't fretful. I wasn't worried. I wasn't full of irrational fear.

Since the camp center was only about 35 minutes from my house, I had volunteered to come help supervise the activities on Saturday afternoon, which included zip-lining. I wasn't prepared for the fear that would creep into my being as I climbed that stately tree.

Not just good-old-fashioned-keep-you-out-of-trouble-fear. It was heart-racing-deep-breathing-want-to-run-away-irrational fear.

I nearly chickened out, but I knew that fourteen little girls, including the one I love the most, were watching. Waiting.

But I did it.

And you know what?

I did it again.

What those little girls didn't know is that that second jump from the platform (for me) wasn't just a climb and a ride; it was a multi-colored picture in this chapter of the story of my life. One that I'm finding very difficult to put into the right words...One that is maybe, just meant for me.

The second time, although filled with heart racing excitement, was absent of fear. Without fear, I could see the full picture; I could taste the sweet fruit of facing my fear.

Fear is such a thief. It robs joy and keeps us stuck.

But, facing your fear, and being privileged to experience a life worth living, in all its wind-blown and exhilarating glory...That is wonderful.

2 Tim 1:7