Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Not Another Ordinary Day

November 22, 1987.

30 years ago today.

On this date…

 Dale Earnhardt won the 37th NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The Patriots shut out Indianapolis 24-0.

Jack Sikma (Milwaukee) ended his NBA free throw streak of 51 games.

Two Chicago television stations were hijacked by an unknown pirate dressed as Max Headroom.

Lots of other things happened, too.  Babies were born; people passed on.  It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so I’m sure people were traveling to see loved ones around the country.  Some went to the movies.  Some went shopping.  Some stayed at home and cleaned, cooked, read books, watched TV.

For most people, it was an ordinary day.

But not for me.

For me, it was a “come-to-Jesus” kind of day. 


November 22, 1987, was the day I was baptized into Christ.

I did not grow up going to church; it was not a regular “thing” for me.  Sure, I went if I had a sleepover with a friend who went, but I knew absolutely nothing about faith. 

I’m not going to go into details about the events leading up to my salvation; suffice it to say that I was rapidly spinning out of control as I feel deeper and deeper into my dark pit of despair.  I was deeply depressed, hopelessly lost, and felt completely empty.  I was a complete and utter disaster – a suicide waiting to happen, or a college-girl-statistic yet to be counted.  Things were so dark for me that I can’t tell you much about my week in Atlantic City that September, because it’s a literal black hole in my memory (nope, I didn’t do anything to get into trouble, because I was too young to drink or gamble – it’s just a blank spot, my “rock bottom,” if you will).  It was my semicolon.

I returned from Atlantic City broken and empty, needing to be filled with something, anything, other than the depression that was sucking me down like a mastodon in a tar pit.  Only then was I willing to go to church with a couple of friends, who had been trying to get me to go with them for several weeks.

Why was I so resistant?

Because I knew that “they” would see my sin.  “They” would know how unworthy I was.  “They” would judge me, and give me “that” look.  And no god in his right mind would want me.

But I was wrong.

I don’t remember the subject.  There had been a marrieds’ retreat, I think and a couple of people shared their experiences.  The Pastor (“Evangelist,” in the church I went to) shared a sermon, and I cried through the whole thing.  All of the years of anxiety, depression, desperation, loneliness – everything came pouring out of me that very morning, in that very pew.  Two girls came to talk to me, and I will forever be grateful to them for their acceptance, friendship and godly love. 

Wendy, Judy and I began to meet weekly to study the book of John, so that I could learn who this Jesus really is.  I learned that He is the Son of God – not just some “good” man who once lived on the earth.  I learned that he was obedient to his parents and that he loved to listen to and challenge the “teachers of the law” as a young boy.  I learned that he had a sense of humor.  I learned that he had great compassion for the “sinners,” but seriously challenged the “religious” people.  I learned that he made a choice that he didn’t have to make, for me and for you and for everyone else, all while knowing full well that many people would choose to reject his gift – because we’ve been given free will. 

He gave it all anyway.

We studied more when we were done with John.  They taught me about discipleship, what it means to follow Christ, and how we won’t be perfect, but we are expected to try to do the right thing (1 Pe 2:21, Eph 5:2, Mt 28:18-20). They taught me what sin is according to the Bible, and how it is what separated me from God (Gal 5:19-21, Ro 3:23, Isa 59:2, Eph 4:18).  They taught me about the cross – what crucifixion is, what Jesus experienced during crucifixion, and why His choice to stay on that cross, even though he had all the power of Heaven in His pinky finger, is such an incredibly powerful thing for us all, and how it is what makes forgiveness of my sins possible (Eph 2).  They taught me that, according to the Bible, I am washed clean by the blood that was shed on that cross (1 Jn 1:7). They taught me about grace, forgiveness, mercy, healing, and how very much God loves me (Ro 5:6-8, Col 3:12-17).  They taught me about baptism, and how I would be buried with Christ in the water, and raised to a new life in Him.  ( Mk 16:16, Ro 6:3-4, Eph 4:5, Col 2:12, 1 Pe 3:21)  I would be clean.

We cried, we prayed, we confessed sins, and through it all, I found hope.  Hope that I wasn’t trapped in that dark, murky pit of despair forever.  Hope that I was worth something.  Hope that I was loved more than I could ever understand, despite what a wretched, broken, imperfect person I was.

Hope that I would be okay.

I was baptized late on the night of November 22, 1987, and born into a new life.  I have never forgotten my confession of faith, “Jesus is Lord.” He is still the Lord of my life, and always will be.  I am clean.

I do not claim to be perfect; I never have.  I do not claim to know it all; I never will.  But I do claim Jesus as my Lord, and God as my ever-loving heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit as my guide and counselor.  Although I fall short often and make mistakes daily, I still try to live as He wants me to live.  Because He loved me first. 

For more information, download the YouVersion Bible app. It’s free. I’d encourage you to read the books of John, Acts, Romans, and Ephesians.  Seek the Truth.  Find a church.  Fellowship with others who believe, because it gives us strength and encourages us to remain faithful.  Reach out to your friends and neighbors, and share the Hope for which you live. 

You are loved more than you can ever understand.  Wholly.  Deeply.  Unconditionally. (Jn. 3:16)


Thursday, August 31, 2017

I'm Not the Only Platinum Blonde Around These Parts

This is a repost of a Facebook post I did on August 31, 2015.  Enjoy!

Quick lunch at a drive through today. Sat behind a car with a window sticker which read "I'm A Better Driver Than You." Didn't phase me until...
I pulled around the corner after ordering, and it's (sorta) at the window. About 5 feet out. Stopped catty-whompus. The driver -- out of the car, standing at the window with money in hand. "MmmHmm" I nodded, admitting that yes, indeed, she is a far superior driver (as I perfectly lined my SUV up with the window, and didn't have to reach far to pay. I'm a snob.)
I sat at the window in awe, though, as she pulled out into the street, and sat at the red light... LEFT OF THE DOUBLE YELLOW LINES. No joke. A car was waiting for her to move out of the way so that they could turn onto the street, but she wasn't having anything of it.
So, being the helpful person I am, I pulled up to the red light on her passenger side, and motioned for them (she had an adult passenger and a toddler in the car) to roll the window down, which she did. I let her know that she's on the wrong side of the road, to which her passenger said, "Yea, we figured that out," then sat there longer. Finally, her passenger told her she needed to move, and they backed up into the parking lot of the fast-food joint they just left.
Lessons I learned:
1) Don't believe every "braggart" bumper sticker you see. 
2) Always have your phone handy, ready with the "camera" active -- it would have been an AWESOME photo to have, with the sticker and all,..,.
At any rate, no one was injured, and I got a good chuckle out of the whole escapade...
#thethingsyouseeinGJ #nottheonlyplatinumblondemomaroundbutiwearitbetter 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Great Hard-Cooked Egg Experiment...

Part 2!

As I posted last week, I’m on a quest to find a way to hard-cook fresh eggs, of any size or color, which leaves them easy to peel and perfectly cooked.  I’m a bit OCD, and it drives me crazy that so much egg white comes off with the shell.  I miss the days of easy-to-peel hard-cooked eggs, and I’m beginning to think they are simply a figment of my imagination.

We have pet chickens, so farm-fresh eggs are fairly abundant.  Now, if you're like me, you are well-aware of the philosophy that fresh eggs won't work -- you have to boil older eggs to be able to cleanly peel them (while leaving the egg white intact).  I'm out to find a way to hard-cook my fresh eggs and have enough egg white (and sanity) intact to make beautiful deviled eggs.

Misty's PERFECT eggs! 

Boiling Water Method

This week, I tried a method recommended by my friend and fellow chicken-raiser & chicken-lover, Misty. She described her method to me, which I also found on several websites.  Basically, you bring the water to a boil before adding the eggs to the water, boil for 15 minutes, then immerse in an ice bath.  After the eggs are cool, crack all over and peel.  She posted a picture of her lovely eggs -- of which I'm quite jealous -- and I'm out to duplicate her results.

If you're looking for a website for the method, here are two:

As I did last week, I started with 9 super-fresh eggs, laid over the past two days.  I was using the perfectly-sized pan to cook dinner, so I used a larger pan than I normally would.  I put enough water in it to cover the eggs I would add, then put the pan on the stove and brought the water to a boil.  I added the eggs, and set the timer for 15 minutes.

I fished the eggs out of the hot water using a slotted spoon, and put them into an icewater bath.

Nine eggs, all different sizes.  Some small, medium and large (and all quite lovely, if I don't say so myself).

My Results
Egg #1: Perfect! (This egg had a small crack in the shell)
Egg #2: Also perfect!
Egg #3:  Another perfect egg!  Could it be?

Egg #4:  Rats! Well, you can't win them all, right?

Egg #5: I'm getting very hopeful right now!

Egg #6: I love these blue eggs!

Egg #7: There's a water droplet on my lens in for the first shot.
Egg #8: Seriously, only one bad one out of...
Egg #9: Well, TWO bad eggs out of 9.  Still, waaaaaay better than last week!

So, in a nutshell, out of nine eggs, only two came out questionable.  The first "error," was the fattest egg I boiled.  Maybe that had something to do with it, or maybe not.  As for the last one, I didn't crack the egg very well, and it may be why it didn't come off cleanly.  

The verdict?

I'll probably try this method again, but I might add a couple of minutes to the timer, because the smaller eggs all came out beautifully.  Perhaps the largest eggs needed a little more time? At any rate, they turned out better than my average, so it's at the top of my list...

... for now...  (maniacal laughter ensues...)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Great Hard-Cooked Egg Experiment….

Part 1

 So, I’m on a quest to find a way to hard-cook fresh eggs, of any size or color, which leaves them easy to peel and perfectly cooked.  I’m a bit OCD, and it drives me crazy that so much egg white comes off with the shell.  I miss the days of easy-to-peel hard-cooked eggs, and I’m beginning to think they are simply a figment of my imagination.

We have pet chickens, so farm-fresh eggs are fairly abundant.  Now, if you're like me, you are well-aware of the philosophy that fresh eggs won't work -- you have to boil older eggs to be able to cleanly peel them (while leaving the egg white intact).  I'm out to find a way to hard-cook my fresh eggs and have enough egg white (and sanity) intact to make beautiful deviled eggs. 

Steamed Method

According to this website, I should be able to cook my super-fresh eggs and they should peel well.  Please keep in mind that I'm at a relatively high altitude (4400 ft. above sea level), so that may (or may not) play into how they cook.  

I started with 9 freshly-laid eggs, laid over a 2-day period.  Those are some SERIOUSLY fresh eggs!

I used a medium-size pot, with a steamer “flower” in the bottom.  Unfortunately, I do not own a bamboo steamer, and I wanted to be sure the steam was fairly even around the eggs, so I chose to not use my double-boiler-style steam pot, which is pretty small.  

I chose to cook several eggs, to account for any variables within the eggs.  You'll notice the shells are different colors; this doesn't have any bearing on what the eggs taste like -- they just look pretty in the carton!  The eggs to vary slightly in size.

Following the instructions outlined on the website, I brought the water to a boil, rinsed each egg in warm water and added the eggs.  I put the lid on the pot, and then set the timer for 20 minutes. When it went off, the eggs went into the waiting ice water bath. It really only took a couple of minutes for them to cool off “until they are cool enough to peel.”

So, how did they turn out?

Egg #1:  Well, it could be better…. Kinda bummed at this point.

Egg #2: Wow! THAT came out PERFECT!!!

Egg #3: Ugh…

Egg #4:  It started out looking promising, but ended badly… VERY badly…

Egg #5:  Oh, my.... Disaster struck again!

Egg #6:  Not as bad as some, but still not perfect.

Egg #7: It looked so good to begin with.  The peel looked like it would just slip off…. Sadly, NOT…

Egg #8:  Hmmm… Not bad!

Egg #9:  Seriously?  Grrr!

So, did my farm-fresh eggs peel perfectly?


Monday, March 17, 2014

Mondays suck.

I know this well.  From experience.  Personal experience.

Last night, Brat2 told me how to wake her up.  "Just shake my arm and say 'BratGirl, wake up BratGirl!' and make me sit up."  I tried to tell her it wouldn't go well, but she disagreed. 

So, I tried it.  

It didn't go well.

I shook her arm, saying, "Braaaaaaaaaaat Giiiiiirrrrlll, wake uuuuuuup."  

She rolled over on her stomach.

About 5 minutes later, she yelled at me to leave her alone, saying "you're doing it wrong!"


After Hubby left to drive her to school, I tried to get in the shower (at about 7:30).  My cell phone rang.  It was Hubby. "I forgot I have an 8 am meeting, so you need to drive Brat1."  


I managed to get my shower in (no makeup), still get Brat3 on the bus at 8:12, AND get Brat1 to school (albeit 30 minutes late).

I got to work, clocked in at 9:02, and at 11:11 recieved a call to come get Brat2.  She threw up.  


Clocked out for 1 hour + 10 minutes.  Grabbed lunch on my way back.  Will probably end up staying late today.

I suppose, it could always be worse... :) 

Monday, November 18, 2013

"I promise, this will NEVER happen again!"

My little guy joined The Good News Club after school on Thursdays.  It's a Christian club that meets for an hour once a week.  Seems simple enough, right?  He stays after school, then I race out to pick him up after I get off work at 4:30.  No sweat!

The first week went off without a hitch.  5:00 rolls around, and *boom!* I'm there on time.  Huzzah!

The second week....?  Well, let's just say that my brain took a vacation at a most-inopportune time.  

5:10 p.m.  My cell phone rings.  I ask myself, "Whose number is that, do you suppose?" and decide to go ahead and press [send].  Good thing!  

The voice at the other end sweetly introduces herself, and that’s when my horror sets in.  “Oh, crap!” I mindlessly exclaim. (Never mind that she introduced herself as a pastor’s wife – oops!)  Apologizing, I explain to her where I am, and that it will take me at least 20 minutes to get to the school.  “No problem,” she says to the frantic mom on the phone. “But, would it be ok if I take him to my house to wait for you?”  Sure, she could be a psycho axe-murdering lady, but I’ll take my chances and hope that she doesn’t call Child Protective Services.  She explains where she lives (right next door to the church that her hubby pastors), and I rush to get him. 

It’s not the first time I’ve forgotten to pick up my son.  Poor kid; I’m sure he’s developing a major complex – one that will require YEARS of therapy to resolve!

Anyway, I get to her house, and he’s hanging out in the front yard, on the porch swing.  He’s not stressed out, and had a great time, both at the GNC and at her house.  She’s very sweet – albeit a tad bit introverted, so I’m certain I overwhelm her – and we chit chat for a while.  Needing to get home, I apologize for about the hundredth time, and swear it will never happen again….

Yea; right.

Two weeks ago, my son politely reminded me in the morning, before school, that he had the GNC that day.  So guess what?!!  I was there on time (actually, a few minutes early!)  My neighbor’s kids haven’t been picked up yet, and I don’t see the mom, so I try to call her to see if she wants me to bring them home.  (I’d been thinking we should car pool anyway, right?)  At any rate, the number I have for her is disconnected.  Her son seems disturbed to see me, and not her, so I promise that I will wait until she picks him up before I drive off.  Feeling very accomplished and responsible – adult, really! – I head home about 5 minutes later, when his mom shows up. 

That brings us to last week. 

My hubby and I both got off work early; one of our children had a couple of grades that had slipped into the “caution” zone, and we felt that it was very important that we take her to her Parent-Teacher conferences and meet with her teachers.  It was chaotic, because the conferences are held in the gym of her school; all of the teachers sit at tables, identified first by the subject they teach, then their last name.  We had already met with a couple of her teachers, but the teacher we most needed to meet with had (of course) the longest line.  As we’re heading to that line, my hubby’s phone rings.  It’s our oldest daughter, saying something unintelligible to my hubby.  Exasperated, he thrusts the phone at my head; “I can’t understand what she’s saying!”  As I put the phone to my ear, all I hear is “Good News Club!” and I’m certain the blood drained from my face. 

Ooops – I did it again!

What I haven’t mentioned here is that my cell phone battery died while I was at work.  I hadn’t bothered to charge it at home, and I didn’t have a charger at my office.  The only charger I had with me was the lighter-charger for my car.  Therefore, my cell phone was not on my person, but in my vehicle.  It’s rather hard to hear it ring from inside the gym….

My hubby, who probably wants to get out of meeting with the math teacher almost as much as he wants to win the lottery, insists on picking up our little guy, but “where do I go?” is his question.  As I’m trying to formulate directions in my head, my growing panic demands that I go to my car, because I know she will be calling me.  I just know it!  So I start barking orders at my hubby to stand in the line he most wants to avoid (“No, you stay there because I have to get my phone!”) so that I can go get my phone and rescue my “forgotten” son. 

As I turn on my headlights and navigate my car out of the congested parking lot onto the empty streets of my town, I am grateful that a) the roads are not nearly as busy as the school gym and parking lot, and b) that I remembered to charge my phone and turn it on!  At about that exact second, as if on cue, it rings.  Before she could even get more than her name out of her mouth, I prolifically apologize, confessing my horror and embarrassment, all at the same time!

I have to say, she truly is the sweetest thing ever, because she didn’t bat an eyelash about it, and almost more importantly, she didn’t laugh out loud when I sheepishly proclaimed,

“It won’t happen again.”

My son, on the other hand, sums it up the best: 

“I wasn’t really surprised, Mom.”

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pronunciation: /rɛˈluːʃ(ə)n/  Noun  1 a firm decision to do or not to do something

New year, new beginnings.

Every year, sometime around January 1st, I find myself mulling over a list of items I’d like to accomplish for the year.  My list is usually more detailed, but includes such things as Organize, Build, Clean, Diet, Exercise, Read, Learn, Create, Stop.  My intentions are good, and I might actually stick with it for a while, but usually by March or so, I lose interest – or worse, I forget.  EVERY year.  So, what’s to make 2013 any different?

Maybe I’ve been approaching it all wrong.  I tend to look at my list of resolutions as a whole, instead of focusing on one thing at a time.  Common sense even tells me that some of my resolutions will be easier to keep – or accomplish – than others, just as learning some skills are easier than others.  Take tying your shoes.  When I learned to tie my shoes, it was difficult at first, but I managed to get it done, and eventually, I could tie one shoe at a time with my eyes closed.  But, what if I tried to tie both shoes at the same time?  Would it have worked?  Probably not.  In fact, even with all of my shoe-tying experience, I don’t see how I could tie them both at once, unless I tied them together.  But then, what would be the point?

Henry Ford once said, “a weakness of all human beings is trying to do too many things at once.  That scatters effort and destroys direction.”  (I wonder what he would think of today’s mentality about multi-tasking….?)  I suppose he’s saying that focusing on one thing at a time isn’t a handicap – maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.   Single-tasking forces us to concentrate on one thing at a time, so that at least one thing gets done with our full attention.  What a novel idea!

I’m thinking that this year, I’ll focus on one thing at a time.  Maybe I’ll get to the end of 2013, look back, and say “Wow! I sure got a lot done!”  Then again, if I can’t prioritize my resolutions, I may look back and say “Darn! I should have put ‘stop procrastinating’ at the top.”