Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You Deserve to Know

I copied this directly, I am only reporting what I read.

"Boogers are mucus (myoo-kuss). Mucus is the thin, slippery material that is found inside your nose. Many people call mucus snot. Your nose makes nearly a cupful of snot every day. Snot is produced by the mucous membranes in the nose, which it moistens and protects.

When you inhale air through your nose, it contains lots of tiny particles, like dust, dirt, germs, and pollen. If these particles made it all the way to the lungs, the lungs could get damaged and it would be difficult to breathe. Snot works by trapping the particles and keeping them in the nose.

After these particles get stuck inside the nose, the mucus surrounds them along with some of the tiny hairs inside the nose called cilia. The mucus dries around the particles. When the particles and dried-out mucus clump together, you're left with a booger!

Boogers can be squishy and slimy or tough and crumbly. In fact, boogers are a sign that your nose is working properly."

I hope you enjoyed the reading.


Granny's Last Words

I just posted the last words of some famous people. I found them very interesting. The exercise reminded me of some last words that were very special to me.

My granny died of breast cancer in 1985. The cancer had been untreated for years and her breast were huge and hard as rocks. They were so huge with tumors that they had split open. Her neck was swollen too as the tumors had spread into her throat. She was in horrible pain.

She lived in a nursing home and I saw her every day for the last couple months of her life. Stephanie was a newborn and was always with me when I'd go see Granny. Granny loved to see Stephanie and called her "my baby."

As Granny deteriorated, we knew it was just days or maybe hours till she died. She was mostly unconscious for the last week or two. As she was laying there, mostly asleep but occasionally groaning in pain, I asked God to let her know we were there. She lay there, seemingly oblivious that we were there. But I continued to ask God to let her know we were.

Stephanie was a great baby and I have no recollection of her crying when we visited Granny. But one day as I was sitting near Granny's bed, Stephanie began to fuss a bit. As I was undoing my blouse to nurse her, Granny opened her eyes and said, "I hear my baby."

Within hours the nurses said she was in a coma and wouldn't be waking up again. She died a few days later.

Her last words, "I hear my baby," were the answer to my prayer that she'd know we were there. She knew.

Another special memory.

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Last Words

This is the last of earth! I am content.
~~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848

See in what peace a Christian can die.
~~ Joseph Addison, writer, d. June 17, 1719

Is it not meningitis?
~~ Louisa M. Alcott, writer, d. 1888

Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy.
Spoken to her husband of 9 months, Rev. Arthur Nicholls.
~~ Charlotte Bronte, writer, d. March 31, 1855

I'm bored with it all.
Before slipping into a coma. He died 9 days later.
~~ Winston Churchill, statesman, d. January 24, 1965

Now, oh Lord, set Thy servant free.
~~ Nicholaus Copernicus, astronomer, d 1543

Trust in God and you need not fear.
~~ Jonathan Edwards, theologian, d. 1758

Never heed! The Lord's power is over all weakness and death.
~~ George Fox, founder of the Quakers, d. 1691

Come my little one, and give me your hand.
Spoken to his daughter, Ottilie.
~~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer, d. March 22, 1832

I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.
~~ Thomas Hobbes, writer, d. 1679

Farewell, my children, forever. I am going to your father.
~~ Marie Antoinette, queen of France, d. 1793

My soul I resign to God, my body to the earth, my worldly goods to my next of kin.
~~ Michaelangelo, artist, d. 1564

Lord help my poor soul.
~~ Edgar Allan Poe, writer, d. October 7, 1849

I love you Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.
Spoken to his wife.
~~ James K. Polk, US President, d. 1849

Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms.
~~ Alexander Pope, writer, d. May 30, 1744

It matters little how the head lies, so the heart be right.
~~ Walter Raleigh, professor, d. 1618

Lord open the eyes of the King of England.
~~ William Tyndale, reformer and scholar, d. 1536

Life, life! Death, death! How curious it is!
~~ Daniel Webster,statesman, d. 1852

Go away. I'm all right.
~~ H. G. Wells, novelist, d. 1946

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
~~ Oscar Wilde, writer, d. November 30, 1900

The machinery is just worn out. I am ready.
~~ Woodrow Wilson, US President, d. 1924


Tuesday, May 29, 2007


You remember how much I like trivia? Well these are some of the latest things I've learned. I hope they're all true as I hate it when someone (Stacie) corrects me.

Honey is the only food that does not spoil. Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs has been tasted by archaeologists and found edible.

Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature.

Ohio is the only US state without a rectangular flag. Ohio's flag is a pennant.

Swans are the only birds with penises.

Teeth are the only parts of the human body that can't repair themselves.

The first graves in Arlington National Cemetery were dug by James Parks, a former Arlington Estate slave. He is the only person buried in Arlington National Cemetery who was also born on the property.

The only active diamond mine in the United States is in Arkansas.

The only river that flows both north and south of the equator is the Congo. It crosses the equator twice.

The only wood used by famed London cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale was mahogany.

According to the Kinsey Institute, the biggest erect penis on record measures 13 inches. The smallest tops off at 1 3/4 inches.

An average person uses the bathroom 6 times per day.

In 1945 a computer at Harvard malfunctioned and Grace Hopper, who was working on the computer, investigated, found a moth in one of the circuits and removed it. Ever since, when something goes wrong with a computer, it is said to have a bug in it.

Midgets and dwarfs almost always have normal-sized children, even if both parents are midgets or dwarfs.

Offered a new pen to write with, 97% of all people will write their own name.

Do those things interest anyone else?

Perhaps tomorrow I'll share the "last words" of some famous people. I read some and found them quite interesting.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Synapses Gone Bad

My girls are regular get-abouts this time of year. Rachael and Hannah are at outdoor school about 2 hours from home. They left Sunday and will return on Wednesday evening.

Deborah is in a little earthly heaven -- the only child. Treats, treats, treats. Fun, fun, fun.

My garage sale went okay. I made $200 which isn't so bad considering I didn't have a lot of stuff. Friday night it was getting embarrassing since I had so few things left. I never opened on Saturday, instead chose to make a drop at Goodwill. That was a huge relief.

Saturday night I met a girl and soon learned she writes too. I'm always excited to meet folk who share that passion. She was equally as excited. "What kind of writing do you do? Do you do western?"

I've never written anything western, (unless of course my story about Herbie's cows counts, which I'm sure it doesn't). I said dumbly, "you mean like cowboys and shoot-em-up-westerns?" to which she responded hesitantly, "well there are different kinds."

She started telling me about saddle, bridles, and stirrups. I got even more puzzled thinking she was talking code which made me wonder if she was asking if I wrote explicit sex stuff.

Gordon always points out that certain synapses in my brain don't fire and at that particular moment, something was definitely not firing. I began to deduce that she was taking some kind of writing course and there was new terminology that I had yet to be exposed to.

I didn't want to appear stupid (too late) and knew it was imperative that I shut down the conversation. Embarrassed, I said, "I don't really know what you're talking about, but I love to write."

Fortunately she was easy to manipulate toward a new subject. About 10 minutes later, that retarded synapse fired. While she was mid-sentence, I blurted, "Oh my gosh, I just figured it out. You were talking about RIDING and I was talking about WRITING."

Pretty slow on the draw there, eh?


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sleep Walkers

Early in the morning I'll be waking the kids and sending them off to Sports' Day. They will be heading out of town with their school for a long day of fun and competition. To prepare, they went to bed early, around 7:00 actually.

Around 10:00 this evening, Hannah came to me all sleepy-eyed and said, "Mom, shouldn't we be leaving now?"

Hannah has a sleep walking history. I've gone downstairs to fetch her as she wandered around looking for the school library, I've got her out of the refrigerator when she was looking for her book report. I've found her in the potato bin looking for her spacer (dental appliance).

Now when she's walking in her sleep, I go to her and explain that she's walking in her sleep. It's really cute because she argues with me, "No Mom, my book report is right behind the mayonnaise." She'll say all kind of things that don't make a lot of sense. I'll try to reason with her and lead her back to bed.

Well tonight when she came to tell me it was time to leave I gently said, "Hannah you've only been in bed a couple hours. It's a long time till we need to leave."

She argued, "No Mom, we're supposed to be there early."

"Hannah, you're asleep. You're walking in your sleep. I'll get you to school on time. But right now you need to go back to bed," I coaxed.

"Mom, the clock said it time to leave."

"Hannah, you're walking and talking in your sleep," I answered.

She grabbed my hands and said, "No Mom, I'm awake. I am not asleep."

I finally convinced her and got her tucked back into bed without further arguing.

Poor child, she comes by it honestly. I've done a bit of walking and talking in my sleep, but not nearly as much as Gordon. He's a regular. He has improved over the years, but he still talks a lot in his sleep.

When we first got married, I wondered if I'd ever have another decent night's sleep. He talked, prayed, sang, preached, even did marriage counselling all while I laid beside him either giggling or wishing he'd shut-up.

We had overnight guest once and in the morning they asked if we always talked all night. They didn't know it was all one-sided. They heard Gordon and assumed I was in the conversation, but I wasn't.

One night he sat up in bed and said, "Ladies and Gentleman, from Charlotte North Carolina, introducing the Greeeen Woman." Go figure. I howled.

Another time he was dreaming that the girl down the hall was being robbed. He went to the door in his underwear. I asked where he was going all dressed up and he said, "Jeanine is in trouble. I need to help her get away."

There was a spell where he'd get up in the middle of the night and go set the table. We'd get up in the morning to a table set for four.

My most recent funny story,... He jerked out of bed, stood up, and started directing traffic yelling and going through all the motions. I was really amused. I said, "Gordon?"

He turned toward me with both hands raised, as in "stop your car," and said, "It's okay Honey, I'm dreaming."

"Well if your know you're dreaming why don't you stop?" I asked.

He said, "Just let me get this bus and that last car through."

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anniversary Celebration

A humble cake. My decorating skills have not improved, but my family is so so accepting of my challenges. It was delicious despite its appearance.
14 red roses for 14 years of marriage.

We had a wonderful anniversary celebration - the five of us. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

On special occasions we have cheap wine that's barely alcoholic. Last night was Deborah's first time to have some (that I can remember). She downed her small portion then did a quick perusal of the table. She said, "If anyone doesn't want their wine, I'll take it." It was quite cute.

Hannah made a brief power-point presentation for us. She captured some special events in our lives. She put a lot of work into it and it was so sweet. Kids these days, eh?

And for the record: I received an email from an easy-going friend who's married to an easy-going man. She informed me that yes, it is possible to have a good marriage without all the struggles we've had. She says they've never had any serious problems (aside from the shock of a baby that cried for his first year) and they've been happily married for 20 years. (For those who are prone to skepticism, I know her and I believe her.)

Frankly I'm kind of jealous. Remember the story I've told before about someone asking us to describe our early marriage. I hesitated wondering just how I could accurately describe the horror without sounding like we hated each other. While I was trying to articulate my answer, Gordon began to quote the Larry Norman song about the last days: "Life was filled with guns and wars and everyone got trampled on the floor..." It was hilarious. I thought it described our early marriage amazingly well. :-)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Happy Anniversary to me

Today, May 22, in our 14th anniversary. It's been 14 years of work, compromise, shattered dreams, growing deeper, maturing, and living out convictions. It's been 14 years of repeatedly getting back on track with God and each other after doing it my way; laughing again after days of sadness and bitterness.

It seems we spend our lives dreaming of blissful marriages that work really well without requiring us to work. But reality is that a good marriage is work. (I've wondered if a married couple of super easy-going personalities have to work as hard. Anyone out there super easy-going and have a marriage that doesn't require lots of work? I'd seriously like to know. It seems altogether possible, but it's sure not my reality, nor have I observed it in other couples.)

I recently watched a number of Friends episodes. One of the things I liked about it was the opening song.

"No one told you life was gonna be this way.
The job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A.
Seems you're always stuck in second gear,
When it hasn't been your day, your month, even your year.

"But I'll be there for you,
When the rain starts to pour.
I'll be there for you,
Just like I've been there before.
I'll be there for you,
Cause you're there for me too."

That song describes my marriage. When the job, the money, the kids, the body, the emotions -- when they're in a sad state, the commitment continues because, well, there's commitment.

To be truthful, this hasn't been our year. It's been a tough year. I read some statistics that said that years 13-15 are high divorce rate years. Nothing particularly bad has happened to us rather a complacency and lethargy has descended and it seems especially hard to engage and correct the "stinkin' thinkin'". But the commitment part is there -- commitment to each other, commitment to God, commitment to honoring the vows, commitment to the kids.

No matter how I'm feeling, I've always got plenty of things to be thankful for in my marriage, in my husband.

Gordon is a very committed husband. I do not worry about where he is and what he's doing. I trust him to be faithful.

Gordon is committed to his family. He loves us, wants to be with us, likes to hang out with us. He is super involved in the kids' lives. I have friends who make all the kid-related decisions. Gordon isn't like that at all. He is very involved. Gordon is more committed to Friday Family Night than I am. Plenty of times I want to postpone, but he's right there with the kids nagging me to get with the program. I never need to nag him that way. Not a great picture, but it captures his involvement in our family.

Gordon is a hard worker. He makes many personal sacrifices for the good of our family. Recently I was reminded of a terribly difficult time for us financially. Once when car insurance renewal time came up, we didn't have the money. We parked the car and didn't use it for a few months. Gordon took the bus to work in the afternoon, but at 2:00am when he got off work, the buses were no longer running. He walked the 5 miles home. He did this for several weeks and never complained.

Gordon is consistent. He is always the same person, private and public. First thing every morning he goes to his office for his quiet time with God. Always. With him focused on keeping that area of his life in good shape, we all benefit.

Gordon gives me lots of reasons to respect him. He loves his mother, honors her, respects her. I so respect that about him. He is a wonderful friend. His friends count on him and he is always a good friend. He has a good reputation at his work. He's known for his integrity.

And finally, he's never left. I've given him plenty of reasons to, but he kept on keeping on.

Yes, marriage is hard work. But I'm so very thankful for my marriage and my husband.

Happy 14th Anniversary Gordon. I love you.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Brownie Camp

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My sweet little Deborah is away for the weekend. Yes, my socialite is at Brownie Camp. I miss her. She was so excited; she was packed a week ahead of departure and everyday she'd tell me how many days to go. Precious.

The above picture was snapped right before she left. In my mild melancholy of missing her, I looked through some photos. I found this one from a few years ago. I can't believe how my "baby" is growing. I bought her clothes recently and it was a bittersweet time realizing how big she is.
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She comes home tomorrow. I can't wait to hear all about Brownie Camp and hold my little Brownie in my arms.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen More

More memories from school:

1) In third grade I sat close to the door. When the second graders would walk by and look in, I'd turn my text book to the glossary where the writing was small and difficult looking. I got a thrill out of making third grade look hard. I relished the idea of scaring them.

2) In second grade I couldn't find any panties one day so I raided Diane's drawer for a pair. Diane was 8 years older than me, and at that time, she was much bigger. Unfortunately I wore a dress the same day.. During jump rope at recess, I jumped right out of Diane's panties. Gina Dowdy was turning the rope. She went double laughing as I went double trying to put the panties back on.

3) One summer during hay season, Daddy did some work for a man (LD Kesterson?) and the man sent some fine gifts home to me. I got 2 beer steins, a liquor carafe, and a porcelain tea pot. I was thrilled and proudly displayed them for all to see. In sixth grade there was a school rummage sale. Someone brought a carafe and tea pot and everyone oohed and awwhed about them and I was positive mine were much nicer. I wanted everyone to see mine. So the next day I brought all my goodies that I loved so much. I didn't take them for the sale, I took them to show off. In front of everyone, Mrs Cunningham thanked me for my stuff. I didn't have the fortitude needed to confess I didn't want to donate them. With terrible sadness and anxiety, I gave my beloved treasures to the rummage sale.

4) In 6th grade, I tried to follow the family tradition in sports. It was a nightmarish experience and still embarrasses me to think about. From whence my siblings got their athletic abilities I do not know. But I surely screwed up the family name with my antics - which were far from athletic heroics. Gawsh. It hurts to remember.

5) After resigning myself to not being sporty, I was asked to be team manager of the junior team. I thought it would be a cool way to get to go to all the games so I accepted. When I told Stacie, she blurted, "Valerie, you can't be the water boy!" Ashamed, I looked for an excuse to quit the job. I found one. Her name was Miss Kirby. I told her something like "you go or I go." She stayed, I went.

6) In 7th grade I took a young girl with horrible social, emotional, and mental delays under my wing. The intent was good, the result was pathetic. Becky had a pretty face, but she had many challenges. Strangely in 7th grade, my abilities to rehabilitate the less fortunate were limited. I put her in a pink dress and spiked heels. Becky barely could walk normal in sneakers. Poor poor Becky. I wonder what came of her. A wave of sadness just washed over me. Seriously.

7) I got a boyfriend in seventh grade. His name was David. We sat and walked about 3 feet from each other. The whole school seemed to be holding its breath for us to hold hands, but that wasn't going to happen. No siree. Purity all the way for me. I don't think we ever did hold hands. If we did I don't remember.

8) Walked in a walk-a-thon with Odetta. Actually it was a bike, skate, walk-a-thon and it was 20 miles. Turned out Odetta and I were the only walkers and we got totally forgotten about. We made it back to the park about 14 hours after everyone else. For some reason we were expecting other thon-ers to be there. They and the supervisors were resting in front of the tv in their living rooms. There were no phones to call home. We sat on the ground, exhausted, waiting for some sort of deliverance. After a long wait, the sign-picker-upper came through. He was surprised to find us stragglers. You know what our question for the sign guy was? "Where do we take the money we raised for March of Dimes?" Talk about honesty. It never entered our minds to steal it. And certainly no one ever would have known -- given they didn't even know we existed. The sign-picker-upper told us we turned our money into "Kay." With due exasperation, Odetta sighed, "Well just who and where is Kay?" Somehow, (maybe the sign guy called her?) Mama came to the McMillan Park to pick us up. Mama laughed all the way home at Odetta's tale of the day's events.

9) In 5th grade I went to Basketball Camp. Lord only knows why I did that. We ran this figure 8 drill, ad nauseum. I couldn't get it. Simply couldn't. The coach yelled, "You there. You sit out. You're gonna hurt someone." Bastard.

10) In grade 4, I went behind the gym with Dan Murphy. He kissed me and I felt I'd been raped. I cried for years and prayed every night (for years) that God would forgive me and come into my heart again.

11) After my trauma behind the gym, I ran to the dressing room to see Stacie and confess my wrong-doing. She got in my face and said, (I promise this is what she said), "You stay away from that Dan Murphy. He's dangerous."

12)I know I'm confessing many strange emotional woes here, but here's another. Stacie loved and adored Mrs Frashuir. When I got her in home-ec for the first time, the first class she asked us to tell about our hero or the person we respected most. Thinking it was the "right" thing to do for Stacie, I told the class that Stacie was the person I respected most. After class I hunted Stacie down to make sure I'd given an acceptable answer since we both wanted Mrs Frasiur to like me. Stacie had a mild hissy fit and rebuked me promptly with, "Oh good grief Valerie. You were supposed to say Mama." I had an epiphany at that moment. I realized that I just didn't get it. I couldn't navigate the nuances of life with any degree of skill.

13)I had watched many girls sit out of PE for "physical reasons." I decided I should give it a try since I abhorred gym class. Miss Kirby got all nosey and wanted to know if it was that time of the month. I didn't talk about those sorts of things - ever. I answered no. She said, "Is it just before?" I said no. She said, "Is it just after?" and I said no. I never feigned sick to sit out of gym again. That personal inquisition cured me.

You know something that would make me very happy? It would be so cool if you all left comments and wrote 13 of your school memories. It's really kind of fun remembering those horrible horrible days of youth.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen School Memories

1) In the first grade a couple kids were chosen each day to take the erasers outside to clean them. The first time I was chosen, I didn't know there was an eraser- cleaning-slab-of-concrete that I was supposed to use. I used the side of the building. Unbeknownst to me, the school superintendent, Mr Shinn, was sitting up on the hill watching me. The next day, Mrs Wallace asked the kids who did the erasers the day before to stand. I stood and promptly got chastised for beating the building with the erasers.

2) In second grade I turned in my timed achievement test (a big deal) but inadvertently I hadn't completed one of the pages. Poor Mrs Strothers about had a stroke. She called me to her desk and asked what the hell was the matter with me. Actually she said it a little different than that, but the idea was the same. I felt like a super loser - the kid who skipped a page on a timed test.

3) Finally succeeded in something in third grade. I scored the highest on a test. My reward was a red piece of gum. It was called a hot dog because it was cinnamon and shaped like a hot dog. I popped it in my mouth. Within minutes, Mrs Jones called me to the front of the class and asked what the hell I was doing chewing gum in class. She said it a little different than that, but the idea was the same.I thought since it was a reward, I got to chew it then. She made me spit it in the garbage.

4) I really liked Mrs Jones. I cried the last day of school because I was going to miss her.

5) Mrs Barrow (grade 4) had us lay our heads on our desks for a rest after lunch recess. When we "woke up" (yeah, right), she read us a Bible story. (I hear public schools are different these days).

6) In fifth grade I learned I was the toughest kid in the class and started beating up boys. I also learned I was really good at football. I was always the first one picked.

7) In grade six, we had to do a skit in front of the whole school. I remember nothing but getting the hiccups during my moment to speak and then I started laughing and hiccuping. I tried really hard to get my words out, but either a hiccup or a laugh came. Mrs Cunningham wasn't impressed.

8) In sixth grade, Mama made me quit playing football and beating up boys. It was downhill from there. I never excelled again.

9) Mr Anglin scared the bajeezies out of me. He was my homeroom teacher. During study hall, 5 or 6 of us got to be lunchroom helpers. We had so much fun.

10) Grade 8 was a year of transition. I changed schools. Shelly became my best friend.

11) Had loads of fun with Shelly. She was the redeeming quality of school. School was such a torture.

12) Hated a teacher. (It's wrong to hate. Therefore I don't claim to hate her anymore. What a self-righteous winch she was. I can still see her pursed lips and condescending... Oops, got carried away there. Yes, hating someone is wrong.)

13) In 11th grade, Shelly and I got a paddling. Is that embarrassing, or what? I think it was for talking in assembly, but I'm not sure. It actually really hurt. I took it like a man - would rather die than let on that it hurt. Shelly, more honest and noble than me, took her 3 licks then said, "Ouch, that hurt," to the teacher.

PS Back in those days, paddlings were commonplace (for someone like me). I can't remember details, but I think I got a paddling in every grade except 7 (Mr Anglin would have been giving it, so I walked the line big time in grade 7), grades 9,10,and 12. When I was a kid, this fact was my badge of honor. I was too stubborn and proud for my own good -- from a very early age.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Childhood Memory

With the death of someone I went to church with as a child, I've been thinking about those days of long ago, especially those I grew up with. Today I thought of something that will make my family shudder to know about. It actually makes me shudder, but in a goofy, silly, "I can't believe I did that" sort of way.

I had a friend (let's call her L) and I spent as much time with her as I possibly could. Her family lived in town, had bicycles, had a corner store to ride the bikes to for candy, and ate peanut butter/jelly sandwiches or bologna/cheese sandwiches for lunch. My family had/did none of those things, so I was always delighted to spend time at L's house.

L was worldly wise. She knew way more than I. She must have had a "bad" friend at school, because her family was nearly as straight-laced as mine, so I have no reason to think she came up with some of her antics in her family.

She knew dirty words and didn't hesitate to use them occasionally. When I was around 9, we were swimming at Lake Wilhelmina and L came up to me and said, "Get out of the water. Someone shit in it." I was mildly horrified by her language.

Another time at my house, she and my brother got into an argument about something. Instead of arguing like I was accustomed to, she boldly said, "Why don't you pull down your pants and fight right." I wonder if she was repeating a phrase she'd heard or if she understood what she was saying. I didn't really get it then, or now. But I knew it was dirty.

She claimed to have walked in on the couple next door "in the act". She detailed blow by blow (oops, didn't mean that) everything she'd seen. She knew more than a second's worth of walking in on, so she must have embellished or been watching through the window.

All of that to say, L introduced this innocent to the wilder side of life. What I recalled today was her daring me to do something "nasty". (Perhaps I was 5 or 6, I really don't know). She led me and her brother to the master bathroom and we both pulled down our shorts. Neither of us had a clue what we were supposed to do. He laid face down on the floor and I bit his butt really hard one time. That was the end of it. I didn't get what the big deal was. It seemed to me that sex was pretty meaningless. After all, under L's tutelage, I thought sex was biting someone's butt.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Kudos to the Momma Tiger

In a zoo in California, a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Because of complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and died shortly after birth. After recovering from the delivery, the mother tiger started to decline in health. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve.

Checking with many other zoos across the country, no tiger cubs of the right age were found to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only orphans that could be found quickly were a litter of weaner pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger.

Momma Tiger is the proud mother of these little piglets.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Churchy Chuckle

For those who don't read the comments, I'm posting my Aunt Jill's comment on Taking the Ball by the Horns. It's too funny.

She wrote:

"This story reminds me of an embarrassing moment for Paul's nephew. He was preaching on how bad habits can become like a ball and chain. During the altar call he said, "Why not just come and bring your balls to the altar?" You can imagine what that did to the invitation. That comment beat him to town. He stopped at a convenience store immediately after church and heard all about it from guys who hadn't been in church."

I love churchy chuckles. (Actually in this case, I think it was a churchy belly-laugh).

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Happy Birthday to May

Today, May 12, is my mother-in-law's birthday. We don't get to celebrate it with her, as she's in the Netherlands visiting her siblings and other family. I miss her and am thankful to have arrived at this place. When Gordon and I married, and even years into our marriage, I felt little affinity with May. She was my polar opposite and all the qualities I was struggling so hard to accept in my new husband, May seemed to possess in even more concentrated doses.

I wasn't a nice daughter-in-law. I was moody, impatient, petulant, and angry. I was guarded, self-protective, and secretive. May had more reason than anyone to retaliate, poison others against me, "get in her son's ear" against me. She didn't do any of those things. She loved me in spite of me. She gave kindness to me when I was terribly undeserving of it. She overlooked dozens and dozens of offenses and kept sowing love into my life.

I am thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit in her life, as I have been a primary beneficiary. May is forgiving and has consistently shown love and nothing less to this girl who brought so much baggage into the family.

When my father-in-law died in 2002, I felt I'd lost the only Dykstra family member I could identify with. He was the only one I was comfortable with and frankly, I couldn't imagine my life in the family without him to neutralize and mellow things for me. But through that loss, God opened my eyes to see May for who she is rather than who I thought she was. I've enjoyed the journey. One of the great ironies of it all is seeing similarities in us. Who I thought was a polar opposite wasn't that different from me after all.

I respect May for many things. I respect her for the grace she showed me and continues to show me on a regular basis.

Her walk with God is intimate, personal, and powerful. She prays, reads her Bible, and consistently seeks hard after God. I hope when I'm her age, I'll be like her, still seeking God with all I am.

I respect and love May for being the mother of the most wonderful man I know. Gordon is a man of character and integrity and I know May is largely responsible for that.

Maybe, way over in Holland, May will read this. May, happy birthday. I love you very much and we miss you enormously - especially on Saturday evenings.

Happy happy Birthday.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

13 Quirky Things About This Family

1. Our dishwasher is our "recycling bin."

2. Gordon couldn't stay in the bathroom to brush his teeth to save his life. He wanders around the house while he brushes.

3. Rachael runs - always runs - to the bathroom during the night.

4. We have found many many "treasures" among other people's garbage. That bites to admit, but it's true. I personally stay out of others' garbage, but my kids and husband have brought home many cool things.

5. When the kids are whining, but she got to do it, that's not fair, I counter with, "that's because she's my favorite." I know, it sounds sadistic, but it's wonderfully effective in making my kids smile and change the subject.

6. Hannah puts on her pajamas right after school even though she plans to play outside. No doubt the neighbors think we're strange to allow that.

7. Deborah has a wart the size of Memphis on her knee. She cries at the mention of having it removed. Gordon calls the wart "Deborah's friend" because she cries at the idea of getting rid of it.

8. The girls and I speak for our dogs. When we are petting Lucy, Bear comes running yelling, "Break it up."

9. We have more dressers and desks than anyone I know. I'm having a garage sale in a few weeks to get rid of some.

10. My garage sale proceeds will go to sewing classes.

11. We have a big water jug that we all drink out of. At meals, there's one jug on the table that the girls and I share. Gordon thinks he's too good for it. He uses a glass.

12. Deborah's best friend from next door uses the same jug. Yesterday she came upstairs and said, "Where's the water jug?" (Don't you know her parents would be thrilled to know this.)

13. The girls and I are pretty loosy goosy with our toothbrushes. We use whichever one is handiest. But we don't use Gordon's.

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A Handsome Man

I thought I'd share some pictures of my handsome son. He's my only son and that makes him very very special - and did I mention handsome?

These are some of his senior pictures, taken by my niece Mindi. I wish you could see them all. They are great! But these are my favorites.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007


OK, here's the deal. As many of you know, I don't have tv. So logically, I don't watch tv. But Tonya went and messed me up. She taught me about and now I can watch tv without having tv. So I watched Friends for the first time ever and really enjoyed it for a while. I laughed lots.

As I watched, I was reminded why I don't have tv and I recommitted not to get tv. A person's values cannot remain intact watching so much compromising stuff. So I've had to back off Friends.

However, upon Stacie's suggestion, I watched "House," - a totally amazing medical show - and now every night after the kids are in bed, Gordon and I sit in front of the computer watching House. We are really bonding. Why don't I hear people talking about House? I think it's super and I don't feel compromised watching it.

So Tonya, many thanks for leading me to tvlink. Gordon and I are loving House.


Christopher's Prom

Christopher and Whitney sittin' in a tree.....

Aren't they gorgeous?


A Package

Recently I've been doing "investigative work" on the Internet to be prepared to delicately defend my position on a sensitive subject to my darling husband. Said subject, to date has been of no interest to him. So, I've been doing my own research in hopes of presenting a viable position.

After a few days' work, I requested a "package" of information from a person at the other end of my investigative work. I was quickly rebuffed and told a package would contain no additional information.

Rather than divulge family secrets, I thanked the man for his time and sulked to my sister who is always available to listen to me.

She patiently let me finish my pouty outburst then countered, "I cannot believe you requested A PACKAGE. That is so late '80's."

Slightly embarrassed, I defended myself with the reasons I'd done such an ancient thing as request "a package."

"Well it's not like Gordon's going to sit down and look through a whole website. I need a package to leave laying around."

As if on cue, we both started mock conversations with Gordon where we exaggerated and put ridiculous emphasis on "package."

Pretending I just checked the mail, I said, "Oh look Gordon, A PACKAGE."

Speaking slowly and sounding a bit like Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy, Stacie said, "Gordon, look what came in the post today: A PACKAGE."

"Gordon, who do you suppose sent us A PACKAGE?", I said.

My disappointment over knowing I wasn't getting A PACKAGE wasn't totally alleviated, but after laughing at our PACKAGE dialogue, it didn't seem quite as important.


Taking the Bull by the Horns

As I've told before, I easily and regularly mix metaphors and cliches. Today I said one and Gordon's come-back really tickled me.

He and I were talking about how he'd reached a solution to a work problem. I responded with, "So you decided to take the ball by the horns?"

He replied, "Actually, I'm pretty committed to keeping my hands off horny balls."

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Thursday, May 03, 2007


A blonde female was in trouble and decided to kidnap a child and hold him for ransom. She went to the park and grabbed a young child, hid behind a tree and wrote a note.

"I am a blonde female in trouble and I need help. I am sorry, but I have no other options. I have kidnapped your child and am holding him for ransom. Please put $10,000 dollars in a brown paper bag and drop it behind the large oak tree in the middle of the park by 5:00 tomorrow morning." She then pinned the note to the child and sent him back to his mother.

The next morning she went the oak tree and found a brown paper bag, with the money, and the following note. "Here is your money. I can't believe one blonde would to this to another."


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Barbara Walters in Kabul

Barbara Walters of 20/20 did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked 5 paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands. From Miss Walter's vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even further back behind their husbands and are happy to maintain the old custom.

Miss Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, "Why do you now seem happy with the old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?"

The woman looked Miss Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation,
said, "Land Mines."

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