Saturday, September 29, 2007

Love List

"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

Taking a cue from Meg, I am creating a "love list," that is, a list of things I love, or at least that I think are pleasant. It was difficult to do at first-- I guess I'm not feeling especially nice or optimistic, or loving. Maybe I need to do this more often!

So here goes: I love...

...crunchy leaves in fall
...the smell of line-dried clothes
...the smell of buttered popcorn
...kisses from my husband
...hugs from my kids
...the sound and smell of rain
...watching a mama cat care for her kittens
...pancakes on campouts
...a clean bathroom
...not having a headache
...a good night's sleep where you feel like you were far, far away and now it's good to be back
...rope lights on the back porch at night
...chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven
...eating Dove chocolate
...eating Dove chocolate ve-ry slo-ow-ly
...a stimulating conversation
...people who make me laugh
...hearing my own opinion expressed by someone else who said it better than I could
...getting real mail, as in, packages and letters, versus bills and junk mail
...getting real emails, as in, real messages from real people, versus forwards and junk mail
...memories of my kids when they were little wedding ring
...the way my husband feels when I hug him when he's wearing his fuzzy warm vest
...being outside on a beautiful day
...wearing good, comfortable shoes
...compliments on my clothes that makes me feel melancholy in a happy sort of way
...a good story
...a cold shower when I'm hot and sweaty

There, I did it! Thirty-- THIRTY!-- things I love. I'm feeling a little better already.

What a Wonderful, Diverse World

I think I have whiplash.

Last week I went through my enormous list of bookmarked blogs and divvied them up. I made six folders, labeled with the days of the week, and arbitrarily put blogs into them. So now I have my Monday blogs, and my Tuesday blogs, and my Wednesday blogs.... Today is Saturday, and I just read through my Saturday blogs and discovered a diverse miscellany of human experience. Of course I have read these blogs before; and they passed my criteria of blogs worth re-visiting, but I hadn't read them in juxtapostion. And, as I said, I think I have whiplash. Take a look:

Tea and Cookies has a couple of mouth-watering posts about donut peaches, and a green fast food chain called "Burgerville."

Owl Haven is written by a mom of I-forget-how-many-kids (a bunch), and her newest posts are about the great deals she got yard-saling.

WhyMommy, at Toddler Planet, is celebrating life with her two young children. After being diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in June, she wasn't sure she even be here by now-- but she is!

Learning Curves is written by a college calculus teacher. She writes usually about the ups and downs of classes and students and lessons, which I find fascinating. But one of her posts this week was about how she hates children and can't understand why anyone would give birth. She herself has had her tubes tied to avoid that unthinkable possibility for herself.

Marsha, at Family Adventures, is asking about genes vs. upbringing in the lives of adoptive children.

See what I mean?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thirteen Videos/DVD's Our Family Likes to Watch - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Here is a list of videos and DVD's we own and love to watch. When winter closes in, I'm sure we'll be digging some of these out to view again.

1. Hoodwinked. Creative re-telling of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, with lots of great lines that have become part of our family conversation. "Can I have coffee??"

2. Robots. Fun story, great graphics. (Okay, we don't actually own this one, but we sure helped our friends get their money's worth out of their copy.)

3. Fly Away Home. This one has a lot of "real" to it. Real geese, real hang gliding. Based on a true story about guiding a flock of geese to their wintering grounds.

4. Veggie Tales. Nearly all of them. The first time we had one home to watch, years ago, we all watched it together, and I remember saying to myself, "Anything that makes the fourteen-year-old and the four-year-old both laugh has got to be good."

5. 3-2-1 Penguins. From the makers of Veggie Tales. Just a lot of silly stuff with a good message.

6. Instructional video for the Robland X-31. I know-- we are weird. This is a crack-up, even to me. We don't even own a Robland X-31. It's a huge many-tools-in-one gadget for a woodworking shop. I don't remember how we got the video-- I think maybe Hubby was dreaming and somehow got the video to better dream-- but we love watching the guy on the video demonstrate how the machine works, and especially we love listening to his wonderful Swedish accent: "Now we're getting really tricky."

7. On Any Sunday. A film from the 70's about the world of motorcycling-- racing, trials, motocross, just dinking around. I don't know if this movie had anything to do with it, but not only do we have a motorcycle for every male in this family, we also have a couple of our guys enamored with the 70's.

8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We don't have this one anymore, because when MB3 was little he was having way too much fun memorizing and using the names and insults in it. (Remember the song about the grinch?) Maybe now that he's 16 we can watch it again!

9. Toy Story. This one has a lot of insults and fighting in it, so we had to put a limit on how often it could be watched. See number 8. But it has a great ending.

10. Moody Science videos. For years we watched these over and over. Now I think we have them all memorized so nobody watches them anymore. The lonely videos are sitting there waiting for the grandkids-- assuming there is such a thing as a video player by then!

11. Mark Lowry, Remotely Controlled. Mark Lowry is a Christian comedian/singer. In this video he spoofs the world of television. It's a crackup to see the audience singing along with his medley of old TV theme songs (like, The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Isle, Flintstones.) Even I knew most of those songs. Isn't that pathetic? We also like his video "Mark Lowry Goes to Hollywood." A lot of his stuff is very funny.

12. Michael Palin travel videos. We have "Around the World in Eighty Days," "Pole to Pole," and "Full Circle." We not only like going where he goes, but we like listening to his British accent. (We love listening to people talk who have accents. We're funny that way. In fact, once I was attending a large conference with afternoon "breakout" sessions, and I had to choose which session to attend. At first I was stymied by all the choices, but I could only choose one. When I had it narrowed down to three or four, I chose the one being taught by a lady from New Zealand-- just so I could listen to her accent! You can laugh...)

13. Victor Borge's Birthday Gala. Mr. Borge is pretty old in this video (it was his 80th birthday) but still funny and talented.

Last weekend some friends came over and brought the movie Monsters, Inc to watch with us. We loved it! Now I want to own it...

What are your favorite things to watch?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Well, we don't bungee jump either...

When Hubby and I were first married we decided that one thing we would not buy for ourselves was a television. Since then we have been a TV-free home, with only one exception, and that was the day of 9-11, when we bungled together an aluminum foil antennae for our cheap all-in-one video player/TV. Once the crisis was over, we threw away our fancy antennae and went back to life as usual, watching an occasional video.

We have always tended to be on the cutting edge of backwater fads. We were one of the first families in our area to homeschool, and definitely the first family to homeschool completely from Day One to Year 13. And we were also one of the first around to completely forgo the doubtful pleasures of television. People at church-- our only social outlet at the time-- would ask,

"Hey, did you see (fill in the blank TV show) this week?"

I'd say, "No, we didn't."

And in answer to their blank stares I'd add, "We don't have a TV."

They usually looked at me as if I had said, "We don't have indoor plumbing."


Admittedly, this was before the whole evangelical campaign about limiting television viewing because of all the evidence that too much TV was bad for kids, and for grownups, and for families, and for intelligence. But really...why the shock? I used to say, "Well, we don't bowl either. So?"

(We have actually gone bowling occasionally since then; thus, the substitution of "bungee jumping" in my title.)

People are no longer shocked that we have no television. Instead, they are more likely to congratulate us for our commitment and values, which I think is almost funny. We're not doing anything different now than we were then, but then we were weird and now we're not.

So anyway, today I read this post, about the author's choices of which television programs she wants to watch in the new fall lineup, and she asked what our choices were, and if we don't have a list, what are we going to do instead?

That, I thought, is an interesting question. Since we're not watching TV, what ARE we doing?

I know we're spending one night a week at worship team practice, and maybe another night or two at some other outside activity; and sometimes we have company. But I think she means, "How are you spending your free evenings at home?"

Well, I could make us look good and say we spend our evenings reading classic books, sometimes aloud, and playing board games. But it wouldn't be true. I would also love to say we spend time in our garden, or taking walks, or playing frisbee in the yard, but that wouldn't be true either. We HAVE done all those things, at one time or another in our years of being a family.

But the season of life we're in right now looks much different. We are now in "The Computer Age." On many evenings at our house you will see six people on computers doing various things:

-playing Age of Empires, or Need for Speed
-reading forums
-browsing ebay
-coding, as in, designing websites for pay
-watching interesting stuff on YouTube
-catching up on MySpace
-chatting with friends
-checking email
-reading book reviews and excerpts on Amazon

And we're usually running back and forth to see what each other is doing: How's your game? Are you winning? Hey, come watch this cool video clip! Look at this awesome widget for sale. Let me read you a funny joke someone sent me. Hey, Mom, check your email; I just sent you a link.

{Pause for laughter-- we're communicating via email ACROSS THE HOUSE....! Oh the joys of technology......!}

Oh, and often someone is going "AARGH!" because they're a)losing a game, or b) having troubles with their computer, or c) getting frustrated over coding difficulties, or d) impatient with how slow a YouTube video is loading.

And now as I sit here on this particular night, I look around to see how accurate my list is at this moment. Right now I see:

-Person #1: playing Age of Empires
-Person #2: blogging
-Person #3: shopping online
-Person #4: working on his train set (hey! a non-computer activity!)
-Person #5: making a list of essential gear for a campout (another non-computer activity!)
-Person #6: discussing person #5's list. (cool! real conversation!)

Wow. Three out of six doing something NOT on the computer. I may have to be careful. The Age of Bungee Jumping could possibly be just around the corner.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Payback Time

This morning, hovering between sleeping and waking, I had some odd thoughts.

For some reason I found myself remembering the Bible story of the children of Israel when they were slaves in Egypt. When God gave Moses instructions about their escape, one of the things he told them was this:

"21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.” (from Exodus 3, NKJV)

Now why in the world would God tell them something like this? Basically, he told them to take things that didn't belong to them. It wasn't exactly stealing, I guess, since they asked first, but still. Isn't that bad for God's reputation? He's telling them to take stuff!

Plus, it just seems like an audacious thing to do: As you run away from your slave masters, ask them for their clothes and their jewelry to take with you.

So as I lay there in bed thinking about this, I asked God, "Why would you tell the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians?"

And almost before I finished asking the question, the thought popped into my brain,

"It was their wages."

If you look at it that way, I guess, yeah. It was the paycheck for 400 years of forced labor.

What do you think?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Today's Horoscope/Test/Autograph

Okay, pendulum swing from yesterday. Yesterday I was on a rant. Today, I'm feeling more lighthearted. It's a new day, and since my rant I found a lot of lovely people blogging. The world looks like a much better place.

A while back I spent an evening with my daughter taking crazy online tests, hoping to find out something nice about myself I didn't know.

The tests are a little bit like yearbook autographs. You hand your book around for people to sign, hoping now you'll find out what everyone thinks of you, and instead you get something that sounds like a newspaper horoscope. "Your (sic) bright and cheerful. Good luck in all your future endeavors."

However, out of all the dumb tests I took, three actually came pretty close, so I copied the results into my blog Notebook, in case they might come in handy some day.

So. Following are my three best test results.

You Have A Type B+ Personality

You're a pro at going with the flow
You love to kick back and take in everything life has to offer
A total joy to be around, people crave your stability.

While you're totally laid back, you can have bouts of hyperactivity.
Get into a project you love, and you won't stop until it's done
You're passionate - just selective about your passions

The most accurate thing about this one is the last sentence: "You're passionate - just selective about your passion." I seriously only have so much energy to go around, so I pick and choose what I want to go whole hog after. Oh, and the part about being laid back and then hyperactive? I told someone recently that I cycle between being WonderWoman and a chia pet.

Brainy Kid

In high school, you were acing AP classes or hanging out in the computer lab.

You may have been a bit of a geek back then, but now you're a total success!

Actually, while I did ace my one AP class, I never hung out in the computer lab. In my day it was all 1's and 0's, or something, and I could never figure out what was going on. One of my friends was way more geeky, and went from being a straight-A computer student, to being the best computer student in the whole school, to being a student assistant in the computer classes, and eventually ended up as a computer programmer in the army. Now THAT'S a brainy kid!

What Your Pizza Reveals

People may tell you that you have a small appetite... but you aren't under eating. You just aren't a pig.

You consider pizza to be bread... very good bread. You fit in best in the Midwest part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are dependable, loyal, and conservative with your choices.

You are a flavorful and bold person. You should consider traveling to Spain.

The stereotype that best fits you is redneck. Your friends secretly agree.

I've saved the best for last. This is absolutely me. Except, I don't think I'm a redneck. I live in Nebraska; it's not far enough south. And, I've never once considered traveling to Spain. Italy, yes. Spain, never. I don't know why.

So there you are. If my yearbook were here, you could copy everyone else's entry and write "To the nicest girl in class. I never really got to know you. Stay sweet."

Oh wait-- now you do know me a little. I'm the brainy girl with a B+ personality who eats pizza.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What the.....?! #$*&!!

Okay, now I'm mad.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time in the blogging world. I enjoy wandering around visiting people. If I find someone that strikes a spark with me, I bookmark their blog so I can return to it and see what else they have to say.

But there are so many people blogging, and I have only so much time, so I can't let my list get too long. Even with constant weeding, I have upwards of seventy blogs I read! That's at least ten every single day, and what with catching up on everything they've written, and following links from their pages to other interesting pages, and following links from THOSE PAGES..... well, that makes a considerable time investment.

So I have set some guidelines; a sort of rule-of-thumb, for blogs I bookmark.

1) Is the blogger interesting?
2) Does he or she have a way with words?
3) Are they nice?
4) Are they able to communicate without overuse of foul language?

I follow those almost unconsciously, and pretty much in that order.

It's strange, but many of the interesting blogs seem to be written by people who have no descriptive words at their disposal other than f***, or s***, or c***, or a**, all sorts of other words that thirty years ago were considered "bad" words. "Nice" people didn't talk like that.

Now, I realize times have changed. Language is always pushing the envelope, and bad words slowly get absorbed into the mainstream, and then we have to find new, shocking, offensive words to express our distaste for something. One example is the word "screw." When I was a teenager, that was as bad of a word as the f-word. And now everyone I know uses it, including my pastor, as in "Boy, I sure screwed that up." Another word I absolutely hate is "suck." That was another terrible word that showed up on bathroom stalls. It was the ultimate insult to tell someone they "sucked." But now my teenage boys use it all the time to say things like, "This amp sucks; we need a better one."

That being said, I still dislike reading too much bad language. I can handle, even though I don't especially like it, an occasional foul word used appropriately, for emphasis. After all, sometimes a person has to say SOMETHING. On the other hand, I know what f*** means, and I don't appreciate having that image conjured up for me in every sentence I read. It's like force-feeding me pornography. I also know what s*** and c*** is, and I get really tired of having my nose rubbed in it every other word. Maybe I have too good of an imagination, but the world gets really ugly when you constantly have porn and poo flashed in your face.

Okay. So. Why am I mad? Yesterday I'm reading blogs. Some interesting, some not interesting. Some clean, some not clean. I run across a guy's blog. He's interesting, he's funny, he enjoys being a dad; I enjoy reading his stuff. He uses the f-word a LOT, but I decide I can put up with that because I'm enjoying what he has to say. He seems nice. I continue on, reading post after post, and then, it happens. He writes a series of "memos to the world at large." Here's the memo that bothered me:

Occasionally I have heard mention of my site as being inappropriate due to my casual use of profanity. Several readers have even e-mailed me and accused me of contributing to the coarsening of the English language. To those critics, I would respond that my discourse merely exemplifies the vaunted precedent of valorizing the oral vernacular. I would further add that language is a living tissue, which must occasionally suffer the rupture of subversion in order to convalesce with more structural stability. So to those prurient guardians of the linguistic gates who are offended by my occasional use of the F-bomb? Well, you know what you can do with yourselves.

Well, as a matter of fact I do know.

I was doing my best to overlook something that was offensive to me, for the sake of the man and what he had to say. It's his blog, and he can cuss if he wants to....

However, beside the fact that his use of big words does not really say anything-- "oral vernacular" is not the point-- now I know what he thinks of people like me: I'm a "prurient guardian of the linguistic gates" who is "offended" by his "occasional use of the F-bomb"! And "you know what you can do with yourselves"! (By the way, I think he needs to re-read the definition of "occasional"....)

Yes, I know exactly what I can do-- delete you from my list.

Too bad. He seemed nice; just don't cross him.

Sadly, he's not alone. There are many others like that. They are nice until disagreed with and then-- HooBoy! You'd better duck. Fast.

And that's what makes me mad. I know they don't mean ME, personally. After all, they don't even know me, right? But if they did know me, they'd find out quickly which of their pigeon holes I fit into, and then they WOULD insult me personally.

And what makes me madder: If my friend of the "f-bomb" would read this, he would probably flame me, and somehow this would be all my fault for being offended and insulted. After all, that's just the way the world is, and the way he is, so GET USED TO IT! Well, I'm trying. But you're not making it any easier.

And what makes me even madder is that it's considered good to be bad, and bad to be good. The more foul your language and the more crass your conversation, the better you are: You're up-to-date, tolerant, realistic, and politically correct. However, if you dislike foul language and try to focus on positive things, you're a namby-pamby, prude who is hopelessly out of touch. *scream!* *tear hair!*

And another thing!-- no one apologizes for bad language any more. It's up to each of us to "get over it." (On second thought, someone did apologize to me, sort of, not too long ago. After unleashing a long string of obscenities, he said, "Pardon my french," to which I replied, "I'm sorry, we don't speak french here.")

I try not to show my age or my prudish-ness and I try to give people grace. However, it's a big world, and there are lots of people in it, and I reserve the right to delete from my list the blogs of foul-mouthed, offensive people-- no matter how interesting-- and keep looking till I find nice, interesting, clean-mouthed people who write well, and don't insult me.

There. I'm still mad, but I'll get over it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thirteen Illnesses or Injuries I've Had, and Why I Remember Them

Thirteen Things about mom huebert

I've been thinking a lot about being sick, since pretty much all I've done for three days is cough, and try to get just the absolute minimum done around here-- like feed the starving wolves my family-- and I got to reminiscing about other times in my life when I've been sick.

1. Chicken Pox. I was in kindergarten. I remember seeing a lot of red bumps on my tummy when I dressed myself for school, but didn't think much of it. That night as my mom was helping me get ready for bed, she said, "What's this?" I told her that had been there a while already. She sort of freaked out....

2. Mumps. I was in second grade. I remember having a very sore throat. I stayed in bed for days, playing a block game. (The commercials for it had a guy saying "Soma Do, Soma Don't") I got pretty good at it. My dad brought me a plastic flower arrangement which I treasured for years, since it was so unlike him to be thoughtful like that. My teacher brought me a book-- Magic Elizabeth, which remains one of my favorites from childhood.

3. A Bad Cold. I was in junior high. Somebody should have sent me home. In class after class I blew my nose constantly, ending each period with a desk piled high with snotty kleenexes. I shudder now, wondering how many people I infected!

4. A Case of Flu. I was in junior high again. I remember feeling tired and nauseous, and putting my head down on the desk in Spanish class. The teacher asked me if I were sick, or just tired. In a misguided attempt to be brave, or something, I told her I was just tired. She said nothing more, but I don't know why I didn't tell her the truth so she could have helped me.

5. Another Case of Flu. I was in high school. It was Friday, and the day of my big Chemistry test. I felt bad all day. I didn't stay home because I thought I'd feel better once I was up and about, and also, I knew I had a test to take. By the time Chemistry class rolled around-- I think it was my second-to-last of the day-- I was miserable. I could hardly hold my head up, fighting fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and nausea. However, I somehow felt is was my sacred duty to nobly carry on. I remember riding the bus home, and having to sit in the back, which was extremely jouncy, and fighting the urge to vomit the entire journey. When I finally reached home I walked in the door and burst into tears. Unexpectedly, my parents immediately began scolding and yelling: "What's wrong with you? Why do you act that way? If you feel that bad why don't you just go to bed?" Gee, thanks. Later, when they figured out I was sick, they were nice to me, even making a special trip to the store to buy me 7-Up. I spent the next twenty-four hours in bed, doing what you do when you have the flu, and was fine by the time school started again on Monday. When my test came back, I had flunked. I talked to the teacher and told him how sick I had been the day of the test, and asked if I could re-take it, but he showed no mercy. He said I should have told him how sick I was BEFORE I took the test. I'm sure he thought I was just making excuses. Oh well. But I learned that, contrary to what I must have always thought, nobody was paying me to be a martyr.

6. Yet Another Case of Flu. I was in high school, a year after the last bout. I felt so-so in the morning, and as the day went on I felt worse and worse. I remembered what I'd learned the year before and called my mom at home, telling her I needed to go home. It sent her into a tailspin, as I knew it would, but I kept insisting, and finally she arranged to go shopping with a friend (my mom didn't, and still doesn't, know how to drive) and pick me up on the way. I laid in the back seat of the car during their excursion. This is memorable, because it's the first time I decided for myself that I was sick, and took steps to help myself.

7. An Injury. I was in high school. One day walking home from the school bus stop, I saw a group of boys playing. When they saw me they started yelling at me and throwing things at me. One of the things they threw was a glass bottle that smashed on the sidewalk just behind me. A piece of glass flew up and cut my right ankle and nipped the tendon. I limped, crying, to the neighbor's house, who was a nurse and she helped me to the emergency room. I ended up on crutches for several weeks. On the positive side, I got to ride the school elevator instead of taking the stairs, which was sort of nice in our three-story building. It was about five years before that ankle stopped twinging.

8. A Minor Injury. One year in my teens I was helping at a camp. The first evening there I stepped up on the edge of a bottom bunk to help a girl with something on the top bunk. When I stepped back down, I came down with all my weight on someone's suitcase latch and ripped my foot open. I think I only remember this because of the special treatment I got. For the rest of the week I had to go to the dining hall after lights out and soak my foot in epsom salts, and while I sat there, one of the camp directors sat with me chatting companionably and offering mild comments of wisdom. At that insecure time of my life, I really appreciated the care and attention.

9. Laryngitis. This was ongoing. That is, I seemed to lose my voice every winter for a while. I remember my choir director at church being very frustrated with me, when I had to bow out of a solo part in a special program for the second or third year in a row because of it. Believe me, I was frustrated too! Especially when everyone began to accuse me of having a psychosomatic illness; you know, making it up, or getting sick out of nervousness, or just trying to get attention. (In later years, I decided that I had been over-working my voice at rehearsals, and when I came down with the inevitable winter virus, it attacked my weakest point-- my voice.)

10. Ear Infection. I was in high school. I don't know how long my ears had been hurting, but I remember coming home from school one day and fainting on the porch. And then sitting, hurting, unable to stop the tears running down my face. The doctor put me on Tylenol with codeine. That's when I discovered I don't do well on narcotics. I didn't sleep well, and had delusions most of the night about things like dying before morning, that my mom was really an alien in disguise; you know, fun stuff like that. (P.S. I've never taken codeine since. Would you?)

11. Bad Cough. Once, when our kids were young (I think we had only two then), I came down with whatever cold/respiratory thing was going around, and it turned into a constant hacking cough. I would have what I've heard termed "paroxysms" of coughing for minutes on end, with little break between, till I was afraid I'd pass out from lack of oxygen. This went on for several days. I couldn't do anything, literally, except cough. Miserable. I remember Hubby doing his best to cover for me. The kids tell me they had pancakes for three days straight! They still remember!

12. Bad Flu. Later on, I came down with some sort of influenza that made me so weak that not only was I unable to get out of bed, I couldn't lift a spoon to feed myself. In fact, I was too weak to chew. I still remember Hubby trying hard to feed me. He was sweet. I think that illness did something to my heart, because since then if I get sick with any kind of flu my heart pounds strangely and goes off beat.

13. Family Flu. This happened when our children were very young. We had three then, meaning DrummerDude would have been just a toddler. The entire family came down with that season's flu fad. All five of us camped out on the living room floor for the duration. Hubby and I took turns crawling around with-- for lack of a better term-- a puke bowl, for whoever needed it; that is, when we didn't need it ourselves. I remember thinking about one of the "Little House" books, where the whole Ingalls family comes down with something (was it malaria?), along with the whole settlement. I wondered what would happen to us if Hubby or I became even more incapacitated than we already were. Who would take care of the one-year-old, the five-year-old, and the seven-year-old? Who would take care of US? Fortunately, as you see, we all survived.

There are my most memorable memories of being sick.

(If my mother were here, most likely she would say, "Don't you remember such-and-such a time, when you were sick with such-and-such?!" Well, no, I guess I don't. That would be one of HER most memorable memories of when I was sick. )

Looking it all over I come to this conclusion: Only thirteen memorable sicknesses over a lifetime of forty-some years is not bad. There were many more illnesses that were not memorable, and that's a blessing too. They are hardly even a blip in my history. If you're going to be sick, that's the way, huh?

I also noticed that my worst most memorable sicknesses are in the fairly distant past. For example, the most recent one, number 12, happened about fourteen years ago. There were other times, like when I lost my voice for a week, and the kids learned to respond to a whisper the same as to a stern voice. (Too bad that didn't continue after I got well!) But I don't really remember the illness itself. So I can be thankful I haven't been sick very badly, or very often, and not recently.

All that to say, in reference to how I feel today: "This too shall pass"; and I probably won't even remember it later!

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Monday, September 17, 2007

My toes, my tail, my nose.....!

We have an old cassette tape that is a recorded copy of a record of the sound track from an ancient Disney version of 101 Dalmatians. (sort of like a friend of a friend....) In that story the parent dogs are rescuing all the little children dogs. The youngest one is called Roly, and as they are traveling at night, marching miles through the cold and snow, he is complaining and whining. He says, "My toes are froze, and my tail is froze, and my nose is froze." That has become a family byword. Whenever Hubby or I find ourselves complaining too long about some whiney little thing, we finish up with Roly's complaint, as in, "I'm tired, I didn't sleep well last night, I ache, I'm coughing and sneezing, my head feels like concrete... and my toes are froze and my tail is froze...." And then we laugh a little and pat each other on the shoulder sympathetically.

So that's where I am today. We had a busy weekend, fighting a cold all the while. You remember, the one we brought home after our cold rainy weekend at the lake last weekend? Hubby and I had been volunteered by Hubby's father to work at our small town's historical festival on Saturday, baking bread in the outdoor brick oven. We know a lot about baking bread, but very little about baking in an outdoor brick oven, so it was a challenge. And, as it happened, Sunday was also an interesting day.

Our Saturday and Sunday looked like this:

[Friday night-- Wake often during the night, coughing and choking from severe post-nasal drip and sore throat.]

7:00am-- Start a batch of bread; then shower and dress, grudgingly putting on a reasonably old-fashioned white blouse that I dislike as a concession to the last-minute request to dress historically.

8:00am-- Help Hubby load trailer with everything needed to mix and bake several batches of bread, forgetting the measuring spoons and cups and the timer.

9:30am-- Arrive late at event with bread loaves nearly over-risen and discover the oven is not hot enough yet.

10:00-- Cough and shiver in the howling gale under threatening skies. Go home for hooded sweatshirt to cover up authentic dress and keep head warm in order to prevent imminent onset of bronchitis. Which, by the way, improved the day immensely. Also pick up forgotten items.

10:30-3:00-- Make, bake, and sell 18 loaves of bread, make one batch of biscuits, cover for mother-in-law at her waffle booth while she goes home for more ingredients. Eat one biscuit and call it dinner. Talk to people, visit other booths, try to explain how the brick oven works from my scanty store of knowledge. Clean up and pack up. Receive unexpected thanks and compliments and even a little money-- enough to cover the cost of ingredients for the day.

3:00 till bedtime-- Put away everything we got out this morning. Make a batch of bread for the family at home, and grin wryly at the irony. Bake a batch of cookies. Make family fend for themselves for supper. Eat sandwich LovelyDaughter graciously made for me. Sit limply. Get into fascinating conversation with the family and stay up till midnight. Sigh deeply and go to bed stressed and overtired.

Midnight till morning-- Dream too much. Wake occasionally to cough.

6:40am-- Wake to alarm. Hit snooze.

7:25-- Jump up in a panic to shower. Wake kids. Hubby having a hard time moving, because a head cold has invaded overnight. Get dressed.

8:05-- Wake family, AGAIN. Start to panic, AGAIN. We have to leave by 8:15 to arrive at worship team practice on time. It starts at 9:00. It's a forty minute drive.

8:30-- Sit everyone down for breakfast. One child still in shower.

8:50-- Run around frantically looking for worship leader's phone number. Fail to find it. Call someone else and ask them to pass along the message that we will be 40-45 minutes late.

8:55-- Pile everyone in van with instruments (my violin, GuitarGeek's two guitars, DrummerDude's drumsticks, Hubby's bass-- oops, LovelyDaughter can't find her tin whistles. Fortunately, they're optional.) Grab bread and cookies and thermos of water for later.

9:00-- Leave. Finally.

9:35-- Arrive at church. Quickly set up for practice. Have whirlwind run-through. Thankfully, no one is upset at us.

10:00-- Time for church to start. Pastor still not back from first service, which is held in another building.

10:10-- Church starts. We're on!

11:30-- Hubby goes to van to lie down with his head cold.

12:15-- Church over, late, as usual.

12:30-- Wake Hubby. Go buy lunchmeat and chips and fruit.

1:30-- Spread out picnic for family at the empty church.

2:00-- Everyone scatters to find a place to rest. Good luck, since this church has no pews- only stacking chairs. Try to lie down, and find it impossible since gunk tickles my throat irresistibly as soon as I become horizontal.

3:00-- Join worship team in loading church bus with music gear. (We have a large worship team with enough people to have two complete teams that trade off Sundays. For this excursion the team includes the worship leader/keyboard player, another lead singer/guitar player, a backup singer, our family, another guitar player, a saxophone player, and the guy in charge of the visuals. Also along for the trip are quite a few people from church, including the pastor. In fact, the bus is full and someone drives another vehicle for the overflow.)

3:30-- Church bus leaves. We head for a small town that is about 90 minutes away to join them for a worship service.

5:00-- Arrive at destination. Unload bus. Set up gear and instruments. Do sound check and short run-through of a few songs.

6:00-- Service begins. Worship team leads worship for two hours. LovelyDaughter is loaned a whistle by the sax player who happens to have one in the right key, and gets to play after all.

7:00-- Go ask bus driver to let me in to the bus to get Hubby's long-sleeved shirt. He's suffering from chills and sneezing, but continues valiantly playing bass.

8:00-- Meeting ends with prayer, scripture, and celebration. It was great. Join congregation at the sandwich table. Yay! Dinner was a long time ago. After eating, load bus.

9:00-- Bus leaves.

10:30-- Bus arrives at home church parking lot. Unload gear. Re-load into van. Drive home. Discuss meeting and everyone's cold symptoms all the way home. Hand out ibuprofen, and liquid B vitamins and vitamin C to all comers, including myself. (I came prepared...)

11:15-- Arrive at home. Unload van. Hand out more cold symptom relievers.

12:00-- Go to bed.

Monday morning (today):
8:05-- Wake up. Discover that yesterday I was only pretending to be sick. Today I am SICK.

9:40 till ?-- Yuck. Ugh. Cough, cough, choke. sneeze. blow nose. don't stand up too fast. try to blink stickiness out of eyes. Take note of Niagara Falls in throat and sore muscles all over and headache and sinus ache.

Oh and did I mention that my toes are froze and my tail is froze and my nose is froze?

Ah well, just pat me on the shoulder and nod and smile sympathetically and I'll be all right soon.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Forty Waffles A Day?!! -- Part 3 (Conclusion)

Here are a few photo highlights of our weekend at the lake.

Cedar Point, where we camped:

The beach where we walked:

The wind-whipped waves:

The gulls and pelicans liked the beach --

and as we approached the whole flock lifted into the air:

It was rather spectacular.

LovelyDaughter left her mark:

Our boys are not rebellious, but they do like being treated as if they have brains and common sense. So when we drove up to the river side of the dam --

and we saw this sign,

the following interchange occurred:

DrummerDude: That is an awesome sign. I love that sign.

GuitarGeek: I am about to riskily proceed.

MB3: Sweeeet! Let's go!

(And they did.)

That strikes me as a great outlook on life.

And that also sums up why-- in spite of wind, rain, clouds, and cold-- our weekend was not a waste. We were riskily proceeding with life, and it was sweeeet.

After all, I've never known a waffle that wasn't.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thirteen Wedding Gifts I Still Use-- After 25 Years!

Writing last Thursday about our 25th anniversary trip got me to thinking about our wedding all those years ago, and then reminiscing about the gifts we received, and then wondering how many things I am still using now were our wedding gifts. First I started looking around the house, trying to remember where and when I got things. But I found my memory wasn't as crisp as I thought, so I decided to get out the wedding book and read my gift list.

Boy, did we get tons of kitchen stuff. My kitchen was stocked to overflowing with more brand-new gadgets than we could use, while Hubby's shop had one set of vise-grips and a sabre saw. Admittedly, we had a lot of fun frequenting estate auctions to remedy that; but even now when we find ourselves needing to buy a wedding gift we try to get something that's not for the kitchen.

So here's what I found that we still actually use. I find it hard to believe that this stuff is all 25 years old! Is it antique already? Or just vintage?

1. Two bath towels, smaller now. (They're Hubby's, and he won't give them up.)

2. A decorative plate that says "silver anniversary" in German. Yes, really. I had it stored away till last October, when I got it out and said, "We made it to the plate!" I considered that plate to be quite a vote of confidence. Apparently one person was sure we'd still be married in twenty-five years.

3. At least one cookie sheet; I'm not sure how many that I now have are still from our wedding gifts. Someone at that time noised it abroad that I wanted to do a lot of baking when we married, so I got lots of bread pans and cookie sheets.

4. A cross-stitched plaque with our names and the date of our wedding on it. I guess I'm not "using" it, but it's put away in a safe place.

5. A kitchen scale. (really? I've had that thing that long?)

6. A large stainless steel bowl. (Wow, I didn't realize that bowl was that old, either) And a whole set of smaller nested ones.

7. Two down pillows, filled with down plucked from hand-raised fowl. (ducks? geese? we can't remember.)

8. A set of Tupperware canisters, showing their age. Actually, these were from my bridal shower, but I think it counts pretty much the same. It was a Tupperware shower, and I think I got one of everything in the Tupperware catalog. Actually, quite a few of those things have survived, but I use the canisters several times a day.

9. An electric griddle. Also from a bridal shower. It's still usable, in spite of its broken foot.

10. A set of steak knives. I use these now more than I did back then since we never used to eat meat any more expensive upscale than hamburger.

11. One drinking glass, out of a set of six. Too bad-- they were pretty, with a snowflake design. Plus, most of a different set of glassware, but I try not to remember they were a wedding gift, because the friends who gave them to us are divorced now.

12. A hand-painted ceramic snack set: 6 coffee cups, six dessert bowls, and six snack plates (the kind with an indentation for the bowl.) They're all still here because they are too nice to use....

And finally,

13. The love of my husband. As we were looking through the wedding book, LovelyDaughter saw a picture of Hubby and me posing after the wedding. We were standing face to face, holding hands, but I had turned my head to smile at the camera, while Hubby was still smiling at me. LovelyDaughter said, "Dad still looks at you just like that! All the time!"

So many of our gifts did not stand the test of time, so I'm amazed how many I still have. In another twenty-five years most of the things on this list will have expired-- except for one, and I'll let you guess which one.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Forty Waffles A Day?!! -- Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our "How waffle!" trip. I left off last time with the rain pouring down all night.

In the morning it was time to assess our options. We decided to collect everyone from their soggy tents (some were soggy on the inside as well) and go find some breakfast. We finally found a little hometown cafe in the second nearest town, and settled in for biscuits and gravy, chicken fried breakfast steak, hash browns, etc., while watching "The Price Is Right" on the cafe television-- while the rain sheeted down outside.

After breakfast we found a little grocery store and bought large clear trash bags to use for emergency ponchos, and to carry home all our sopping gear. We also bought candy-- quite a bit of candy. Amazing how that brightens up a grey day...

By then the rain had actually stopped, but it was, once again, a cold windy day. We found that the bag ponchos worked very well as wind-breakers-- wish we'd thought of it yesterday. Note: pack plastic bags in camping stuff for future emergencies.

We spent the rest of our time there bird-watching by lake. We found a spot high up where there must have been an updraft. We were out of the worst of the wind, and the gulls and pelicans flew up in clouds overhead. We even saw what we think was an immature bald eagle.

Eventually, we were all chilled and we were ready to drive home. At least the van was warm.

Really, it wasn't a bad trip. We had an adventure, and adventures make good storytelling on down the road: "Remember that time we nearly froze and it rained all night? And how cute and fashionable you looked in your trash bag...?"

The worst part was once we were home. 1) The weather turned absolutely, gorgeously beautiful. Aack! I could just picture myself at the lake (moan). 2) We learned that the night it rained the area where we camped had the coldest temperatures in the entire state. Gee, thanks a lot.

Well, that just means we have an excuse to try again. Too bad. *wink*

Coming up on Friday: The third and final installment of "Forty Waffles A Day?!!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Forty Waffles A Day?!!-- Part 1

The title of this post --"Forty Waffles A Day?!!"-- is an allusion to a poem we read years ago about a girl who ate too much. The punch line of the poem was this: "Forty waffles a day? What would you say? HOW WAFFLE!" In some ways that describes our weekend-- How waffle!

We planned our trip to the lake carefully to coincide with the week after Labor Day, to avoid the crowds. So far, so good. Then we checked the weather forecast: sunny, highs in the 80s. Check. Perfect for hanging out near the water.

It took us a little longer to get packed up than we planned, but at last we were off, our trailer loaded with two dirt bikes, six inflatable tubes, sleeping bags, tents, and enough food for more than two days.

First setback: We arrived well after dark. Trying to pick a campsite and set up tents in the dark adventure. At least we had remembered to pack the lantern and a flashlight. (notice I said, a flashlight....)

Second setback: The wind had picked up mightily, and felt like a howling hurricane in the dark.

Third setback: The temperature had dropped like a safe in a cartoon and we were all shivering.

However, we set our shoulders to the wheel, literally, and unloaded the bikes out of the trailer so Hubby and I could set up our bed in there. It works great, and we love our little camping cabin, once the bikes are out of it. The boys set up their tents in the shelter of the trailer and a large cedar tree, and LovelyDaughter threw her lot in with us in the trailer.

The night's sleep was reasonable; however, MuscularBoy2 (aka, DrummerDude) had a racking cough in the morning. His sleeping bag was not quite warm enough for the unexpected gale.

Breakfast was great. We made pancakes over the campfire, and fried up pre-baked potatoes and bacon. (By the way, the potato thing was a new idea for us, and may I say it worked deliciously.)

After the cleanup we had to face the fact that the day was very windy and cold, and the sky was overcast with wads and wads of grey quilt batting. None of us had really come prepared for cool weather. After all, for the last two months we have been sweating and panting in 90-100 degree weather (with heat index of 107-110). I had a light zip sweatshirt which I had brought for evenings by the campfire. LovelyDaughter had a sweatshirt and stocking cap-- good for her! Hubby had one sweatshirt; DrummerDude had one long-sleeved shirt; MuscularBoy1(aka, GuitarGeek) had a sweatshirt and a fleece vest; MuscularBoy3 had a t-shirt. In print, it looks like we were pretty well set, but please believe me: we were not. We were all freezing! Hubby and MB3 took turns with Hubby's sweatshirt, and we all just tried to keep moving.

Eventually, late afternoon, the wind died down to a pretty good breeze, the air warmed up just a tad, and we had a pretty good time hiking around the lake and clambering on the sandy cliffs, and riding dirt bike. The boys moved their tents to the edge of the drop off to have a great view of the lake when they woke up.

For supper we each made our own foil dinners and ate by lantern light. We headed off to bed with high hopes for the next day. We figured the cold front had come through and tomorrow would be sunny and nice.

Then, just as we were dropping off to sleep we heard a strange popcorn sound on the roof of the trailer, which escalated into an all night downpour.

Tune in tomorrow for part 2.

We're Back

We're home, and a little worse for the wear. Three of the six of us have nasty colds. Full story at ten, or when I figure out how to get pictures off of LovelyDaughter's camera and into my laptop.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

We're Off!-- like a herd of turtles...

We, meaning Hubby and I and our three muscular boys and our lovely daughter, are off for a camping trip. We had hoped to leave noon-ish today, but it's more like supper-ish. At any rate, as I said, we are off, and we'll be back late Monday. So I'll probably be back here Tuesday. See you then!

So-- Are We?

Last night I got out the wedding book. It's a fairly small, all-one-scrapbook type book, called "Our Wedding Memories," with labeled pages for notes and pictures ("How We Met" "Our Wedding Photos" "Anniversaries").

I hardly ever look at it because I'm embarrassed of me at 19. I don't know why exactly. My hair is funny, I still have baby fat, I look too much like THAT side of the family. Pictures of me from about age 27 and up I like much better. It's not just my opinion either. The rest of the family agrees with me. Strange.

I also get embarrassed being forced to remember the wedding. I did so many things wrong. Well, I think I did. After all, I was 19, I knew nothing about weddings besides what I had seen at weddings I'd attended, or been gift carrier or candle-lighter for. I had very little help, so I basically pulled the whole thing off myself. I still cringe when I remember. But Hubby put it in perspective for me last night, and I think I'll remember this. He said, "You were 19! You pulled off the wedding single-handedly! I'm proud of you!" That changes things.

Anyway, as I was saying, I got out the wedding book, looking for my wedding gift list (more about that on next week's Thursday Thirteen. Stay tuned.) and stayed to look at pictures. The main thing I noticed in those photos, besides how skinny he was, was that Hubby's hair was darker, and there was more of it. Lower on the forehead, heavier on the head. I kept saying how DARK his hair looked then, compared to the salt and pepper version he has now. And then LovelyDaughter mentioned that my hair is a lot lighter now too. That's to be expected I suppose. Everyone knows that brown gets lighter in hue when you mix it with grey silver.

So that brings me to the Question of the Day: Does this mean we're getting light-headed in our middle-age?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thirteen Dreams That Came True On Our 25th Anniversary Trip

Last October Hubby and I reached a milestone: our 25th wedding anniversary. We didn't celebrate then, since two of our sons were sick, recovering from mono, and our daughter was on a missions trip. Besides, we'd had a hard summer, and hadn't really planned anything. But late winter, when the sons were better, and the daughter was home from Thailand, we started getting ideas. To make a very long story fairly short, we decided to buy a car on ebay, fly to Las Vegas to pick it up, drive it to Phoenix to spend a week, and then drive home. In the process, we got to do a lot of things that I had always wanted to do, and a few things I would have always wanted to do if I had known how much fun they'd be.

1. I got to fly. (from Omaha to Las Vegas) It just felt so grown-up and sophisticated (yes, at my age) to do the whole airport thing. Waiting in the airport, changing planes in Phoenix, getting off the plane, finding our luggage, etc., etc. By the way, the Las Vegas airport is like the Disney Land of airports. You get off the plane and run catch a cute trolley ride to the baggage claim area. There were even moving sidewalks! Or was that the Phoenix airport? (sorry the picture is sideways.)

2. We rode in a taxi from the airport to our hotel. (I know-- what's the big deal? But I thought it was cool...) We ended up standing in line at a taxi stand for over an hour at eleven o'clock at night at the Las Vegas airport. At first I was upset at the delay. But then I decided it was part of the adventure-- standing outside in balmy weather, with a hundred other people, in the glow of the lights of the city, watching the incredible efficiency and precision of the taxi force-- ten at a time-- coming in, picking up fares, taking off. Later I asked our taxi driver how many taxis serviced the airport, and he thought a thousand. Four thousand in the entire city. Our home town boasts a population of 1000.

3. We bought a cute little convertible. Our dream car. (If your husband asks you, it's a BMW Z3 automanual with the 3.0 engine, electric everything, including the soft top, and it makes 0-60 in 4.6 seconds. Read it and drool.)

4. We got to see the Grand Canyon. It wasn't the rush I thought it would be. It's so huge that I couldn't really take it in. (The Black Canyon was more breath-taking, probably because its grandeur was unexpected.) What was really interesting was seeing all the people. I guess the Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, along with the Great Wall of China and Disney World. We hardly heard any English being spoken. If you want to see the world, just stand next to the Grand Canyon and the world will come to you.

5. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast-- for five whole nights! (Bedlam B&B in Fountain Hills, AZ. Great place, lovely hosts. If you go, say hi to Pam and Tom for me.)

6. We attended a wonderful conference with great worship music and exciting speakers, at a really fancy, impressive resort. (at least, I thought it was impressive.)

7. I sat in a hot tub OUTSIDE (in a beautiful yard on a gorgeous Arizona evening in May.)

8. We drove through the mountains in a convertible with the top down. Also, at night under the stars- with the top down, of course.

9. On our way home from Arizona to Nebraska, we stayed in a hotel EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. This is notable, because normally, we are camping people. We love to travel in our full-size van with a mattress on the floor. Or take a tent. Or sleep in our trailer. So staying in hotels was very luxurious (and expensive-- we probably won't do it again; that is, stay EVERY SINGLE NIGHT in a hotel.) We also stayed at a campground/resort that had scope for imagination. I loved playing house in our tiny cabin overlooking the river. I'd love to go back, and take the whole family, but it's a 12-hour drive from here. Aargh.

10. This was not exactly a dream come true, but it was cool nonetheless: we took pictures and emailed them home to our kids, and got to audio chat with them via internet. Pretty heady stuff, technologically speaking. Five years ago, our family had nothing, technologically speaking: no computers, no cell phone, no digital camera, no internet (what was that?)-- not even a tv. We still don't have a tv, but we have everything else; and not just one computer, but six!

11. We got to drive old Route 66. Which would have meant nothing to me if one of our sons had not received the movie "Cars" last Christmas. But since he did, and we watched it, it seemed, somehow, warm and fuzzy to actually drive that highway.

Okay. I can't think of any more. How about two dreams that DIDN'T come true on our trip:

12. We didn't order room service. I wanted to, very much, one day, when we had a lazy morning and it was raining gently outside the balcony. It would have felt so-- so rich and decadent. But they wanted to charge us how much?! to bring it to us, when we could just walk downstairs to the restaurant ourselves. Petty money interests deflated this dream. We didn't feel that rich and decadent.

13. We didn't lose our luggage. Okay, nobody dreams this, except maybe as a nightmare. So it's a good thing it didn't happen, even though there was a tense half hour or so where we thought it had.

All in all it was a great trip, and I'm looking forward to the next 25 years.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Recipe-- must try

I haven't posted a new recipe for a while, and I tried a new one yesterday that turned out great. It's called


and it goes like this:

1 beautiful day
6 family members (including three teenage boys)
1 family friend
3 motorcycles (dirt bikes)
6 float tubes
7 popsicles
1 package of Oreos

Combine all ingredients in a van-and-trailer combo for 40 minutes. Spread out over four miles of Platte river and sand bars for four hours. Sprinkle liberally with sand. Pierce with mosquitoes. Top with campfire-smoked hot dogs and s'mores. Let rest 40 minutes and roll gently into bed for another 8-12 hours.

You really should try it. I can recommend it.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Busy weekend

This is the second weekend in a row we have had overnight guests. I'm handling it much better this weekend, on my way out of insanity, than I did last weekend on my way in. I felt so much better that I spent all day Saturday cleaning. I just went after the things that were bugging me: cobwebs around the windows, dirty curtains, dirty laundry, dust, etc.

And I'm glad I did, because Sunday evening, in addition to our house guest already here, we had a some acquaintances--a family with four children-- stop in unexpectedly. I was in the middle of fixing supper, and I started making quick mental adjustments to the menu, wondering if I could make it stretch. However, they had already eaten, so we just visited for a little while before they had to leave. And while we were talking, another friend stopped by. We told him to come on in, find a chair; and he and our original guest amused themselves till the other visitors left. Then we put another plate on the table, re-warmed the supper and made a party out of it.

Then this morning my mother-in-law stopped by, and for once the house was clean....Yes!

I keep thinking that God is good to me. I love guests, but if I had had all this company last week, I think I would have gone over the edge. Instead, as if they had been warned, they all waited till now when I'm feeling just fine, and loving to see people. I think I can trust God to watch over me and care for me.