Month: November 2009

  • Woo-HOO!

    Go, FROGGIES!!!

    A perfect regular season, and most likely headed for a BCS bowl! 

    Mercy Maud, but Don and Dad would have loved to have seen this. 

  • So what have you done for me lately?

    It struck me that this tends to be my attitude toward the LORD and His myriad blessings to me over my life.

    Yes, that was/is all very nice, but what about now?  You took away my husband and father, so what am I supposed to be grateful for?  They were here with me and now they're not.  ISTM You owe me.

    Ouch.  I hate it when I find that mind-and-heart-set lurking inside me.  May as well change my name to "Faithless Israel", considering how I can do a really spiffy imitation of it.  The LORD does great things for me, then I forget about them when something goes wrong, instead focusing on what I don't have that I want.  This is what Israel did over and over, of course.  Things go well, the people wander away from God, He simultaneously rebukes them and reminds them of His past blessings.

    Yeah, but what have You done for us lately?  Here we are, stuck in the desert and munching on manna.  We want water.  We want meat.  We want to go back to Egypt.  Whine, whine, whine.

    The LORD wants us to keep His past blessings in the front of our minds, whether it's parting the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross it safely, or providing manna, or giving us loving parents and a stable home, a wonderful marriage, living in a country not being bombed regularly, etc. etc. 

    Ingratitude is a basic element of our sin nature.  To concentrate on what we don't feel badly treated if a blessing given is afterward taken brood on what others have been given...all are outward symptoms of an ungrateful heart toward our Creator.

    This has been one of my spiritual endeavors, i.e. to have a heart of gratitude and praise toward the LORD, even when circumstances aren't what I'd choose.  How can I possibly justify being in any way ungrateful and discontented?  I met my beloved when we were both 17, and married shortly after we turned 20, then enjoyed 37 happy years together, and have six wonderful children as well as many precious grandchildren.  A marvelously devoted father and mother who spared no effort on their children's behalf.  Siblings.  Enough to eat, and clothes, and vacations, and college, and...and...and...

    Most important, naturally, has been the privilege of knowing Christ.  This is what David and Paul expressed so beautifully in the first's psalms and the latter's letters to regional churches and Timothy, that knowing the LORD is the most valuable blessing of all, trumping all others. So long as they had Him, they lacked nothing.

    Dear LORD, give me a heart like theirs, full of constant gratitude and praise. 

  • It's virtually impossible to have an elegant home with kids and cats.

    I've tried, and it simply doesn't work.  Kids and cats do not lend tone.  Facts are facts.

    Love my grandkids and love my cats, but they are a hindrance to refined, elegant entertaining. 

  • The first anniversary of my much-loved Don's death is rapidly approaching.

    A year ago this evening was when he drove home from the trade show in Corpus Christi, and was clearly no better.

    Nine days later the LORD gathered him to Himself.

    It's almost impossible to believe it's been almost a year.  It's also almost impossible to look back and see what a work the LORD has done in my life since then.

    Yesterday wrapped up the fall "semester" of Women in the Word at Christ Chapel, which had been on selected psalms.  One of the tasks - if one chose to do it - was to write a psalm of thanksgiving (we were studying Psalm 30).  This isn't posted to show off or anything (except in my fallenness, it probably is), but rather to let y'all know how I'm doing and how the LORD has been a source of strength and love, and has brought me through this tough time:

    LORD, Your promises are true and reliable.
    Though my foot slipped in the mire of grief,
    You held fast to me with Your right hand.
    When the center of my world was taken away,
    I found You lovingly catching and holding me.
    When wracked with despair and overcome with fear,
    Your drew me into Your Word, where I found solace.
    When bitterness and sorrow threatened to overwhelm me,
    You lifted my head, heart, and eyes to see You.
    Thank You for loving me enough to break my heart
    Then putting it back together again, stronger than before.

    Praise to You, Christ Jesus!  To You be all glory and honor, now and forever! 

  • What. A. Day.

    Nothing awful, mind....just frustrations, mostly brought on by the guy I got to install the carpet in the master b/r and the off-shoot room.  He was supposed to be here "early" this morning, and when he hadn't shown up at 10 I called him.  Oh yeah, he's coming, but he'd forgotten he needed to take his granddaughter to the doctor.

    Gee, nice of you to call me and let me know, bub.

    Finally it was time for me to leave for lunch and a meeting at the Woman's Club, and when I arrived home around 2, it was to find a small, beat-up SUV sitting in the shared driveway, with a man relaxing in the passenger seat, his right foot propped up on the open window.  

    Went inside to find Dmitry, Zhenya and Larry (Kenny's son) hard at work moving the furniture from the bedroom.  The installer came by himself, and apparently doesn't include moving furniture, at odds with the custom here (I'm aware installers in other areas of the country may not move furniture, but it's expected in the DFW area).  It's one thing to not bring a helper (though he certainly needed one and Larry and Kenny spent a fair amount of time helping him haul the rolls of pad and carpet around), but it's something else to sit on one's rear while the people in the customer's home work. 

    I was so mad I could have spit nails.  Stomped out to go to Lowe's to get the mineral spirits Kenny requested; was still on simmer when I got home. 

    Turns out he doesn't haul the old stuff away, either.  Or vacuum when he's finished.  His sole, lone saving grace is that he did a good job installing the carpet. 

    What would he have done had I been here alone?  Expect me to move furniture and carry rolls of carpet? 

    Then the pest went off and left a cordless drill here (presumably he lent it to facilitate the dismantling of Brianna's captain's bed), so will have to return for it next week.  Suffice it to say I shan't be requiring his services in future.

    The brake lights on Jessica's car weren't working (thanks to Zhenya for noticing!), so Larry looked and said one of them was the wrong size, and while it worked for a bit, eventually it'd shorted out, taking the other one with it.  He and Jessica headed to Pep Boys to get replacement bulbs, got back, and discovered one was cracked.  Back Larry went to the store.  Good news is that he did get them replaced and they work fine.  Having people around who know their way around automobiles is definitely handy. 

    On the plus side, the dining room paint came out nicely (same green as is in the living room), and Kenny and Larry stained the unfinished cabinets I'd bought to be hung in that room.  The plan is to have them above the new (to me) buffet.

    Not that I actually have the furniture I bought last Saturday, as it's been a busy week and I just today decided to break down and hire someone to move my stuff to Kirstin in Keller, then get the "new" furniture and bring it here.  Got someone from the classifieds, and hope it turns out better than the carpet installer I found on Craigslist.  Larry had rolled his eyes at me yesterday about it, and his dire predictions about hiring someone from Craigslist proved unfortunately accurate. 

    It's about to be DONE, though.  The house, that is.  There's still the ceiling in the hall that's badly waterstained, and a few odds and ends, but the big stuff is nearly finished.  Really.  I mean it this time.


  • The changes in wedding protocol over the past decade continues to astonish me.

    I've mentioned before the lack of sleeves on wedding dresses.  Strapless is ubiquitous.

    When growing up, the only black worn at a wedding was by men, in either suits or tuxedos.  No woman would dream of wearing black to a wedding, as it was a funeral color.

    Now, of course, black-and-white weddings are common, and the bridesmaids at the wedding I volunteered at today wore short, black, strapless gowns.

    As did a significant proportion of the female guests.  One after another they showed up in dresses similar to the bridesmaids.  Some of the dresses weren't black, naturally, but almost all were strapless and short.  The church tends to be chilly . . . how do they stand it?  Don't they freeze in the Fort Worth air-conditioning?

    Today brought an entirely new wrinkle:  the "first look" photo.  Teresa, the wedding director for this particular wedding, said it began to appear about six months ago.  The idea is that instead of the groom seeing his bride in her bridal raiment when she comes down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony, they first see each other a couple of hours prior to it....just them in the sanctuary along with the photographer.  I must say it makes it easier for everyone, as it puts an end to the whole "keep the bride away from the groom!" concern.  Most of the photographs of the bridal party were taken this afternoon before the wedding, cutting down on the number of pictures to be shot afterward. 

    Black dresses on attendants and guests, and now the bride and groom see each other well before the ceremony starts.  How things have changed! 

  • New carpet in the living room!

    It's a lovely green, nicely complementing the olive green walls.  I love it!  Bought it from Empire Today, and by golly I ordered it one afternoon and it was installed the next morning.

    The only purples they had were too pricey, though, so I've ordered that from Lowe's.  Okay, fine, I like purple, so shoot me.  That's what's going into the master bedroom and the new off-shoot room.  Light yellow walls and sort of a violet carpet.  I think it's going to be smashing.

    Kenny said he had a nightmare about it last night. 

    It took some doing - and a visit from AT&T Uverse - but the oversized TV has been moved from one side of the room to the other.  It was really always too large for that corner, but the big corner desk pretty much had to go where it did.

    So I gave Kirstin and Matt the huge corner desk set and am using the small one that had been in the dining room.  The recliners are now positioned on either side of the fireplace, the sofa is back on the long wall, and I really need to get another end table or two.  Still, I love the living room arrangement and the new carpet. 

    Today brought very exciting news:  Dmitry passed the Math TAKS test! 

    And he came within TWO points of passing the science TAKS.  The English results aren't in yet, but everyone is confidant he passed it, too.

    That would mean all he's lacking is his German class and the science TAKS to graduate. 

    The graduation stuff info is her in the chair with me and, by jingo, I'm going to be an optimist and place the order for the cap and gown and invitations.  Dmitry was first reluctant to think about going through the graduation ceremony, but when I pointed out how excited all his family would be -  not to mention his mother - he willingly agreed, going out to his car to fetch the info.

    [wistfully]  Of course, it's hard to think of Dmitry graduating without his father with me, but there it is.  Earlier this year I didn't want Dmitry to go through the ceremony, but through God's grace this has changed, and I'm back to looking forward to happy events such as this, Kirstin's new baby, etc.

    Oh, and did I mention that as an early Christmas gift (early, and pretty much THE Christmas gift, except for a trifle for the grandkids at Christmas itself) I'm taking all of us to Great Wolf Lodge for a night?    Yes, it's not cheap, but by the time I finish buying for six children, two in-laws, and eight grandchildren, I'd spend that much, so I decided to please them and myself (nowhere near as much to wrap....I hate wrapping) by doing this.  It'll be my first visit to GWL and I'm eagerly anticipating it.  Gonna take my swimsuit, too.  Lazy river, here I come!

    Speaking of Christmas, do you believe I saw a house a few blocks north of here with it's Christmas tree up already? 

  • Mercy Maud, I never posted any photos from Halloween itself.

    Well, "boo" to me.  The evening began with trick-or-treating in Elaine's neighborhood, where Brianna joined with her cousins and a couple of their friends to run madly from house to house, with Jessica following at a more sedate pace with Bridgette.  First, a picture of the four girls with Jessica looking on:

    Bridgette was a little hard to see, so here she is:

    One of the houses had a fenced back yard with a couple of rather largish, loud dogs.  Bridgette, of course, was delighted and rushed up to see them, with Jessica in hot pursuit:

    This shows Brianna and Margaret scurrying from one house to another:

    Mom was there, too, passing out candy that she'd brought, so Elaine's house was a double-dipper for trick-or-treaters!

    This year we had some trick-or-treaters, too, doubtless because of the decorations put up by Kenny's son, Larry:

    After the initial round, we came home to dinner, then Jessica and Brianna took off for some serious candy-gathering action;  here she is with her sugariferous loot:

    Plus she got the bear, and a couple of toothbrushes.    She's so funny....she makes a careful, written inventory of what she collected.  I've no idea why, but Jessica says she's done it for a while now.