Thursday, December 28, 2006

cast your vote!




everyone, this is my new cat...new cat, this is everyone! let's make friends!
i went to the animal protection society of durham this morning, filled out my form and gave my deposit on this beautiful girl. she is a year old, spade and declawed, and when you hold your hand out to her, or call her, she leans in and comes to you and purrs with her mouth open while she drools! it's a beautiful thing! she will be our second cat, and i have high hopes that satchmo will come to love her...he gets along quite well with my mom's cat, walter, so that is in our favor. but this brings me to today's vote! kitty needs a name...
the shelter gave her a name, but she's only had it couple of weeks, so i am giving her a new one, but i am torn! naming is one of the most fun, (and difficult!), things for me. i wanted to name her "pumpkin", but curtis is leaning toward 'billie' - after billie holliday, to go with satchmo (louis armstrong). then we'd have two classic jazz musician names...and i get it, they go together, but she is a very sweet and lovable girl, and i feel like 'pumpkin' is so totally appropriate! i know, i know, it's not rocket science, but still! i care! so i am taking a vote... 'pumkin' or 'billie'? your vote counts! although, i'll be honest, i retain veto power! :) ha!
i hope you all had a lovely christmas - bring on the new year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

4 more sleeps!


hooray! only 4 more sleeps til christmas!

now that i am a grown up and a mother, the reasons i love christmas eve have changed. as a child, it was waking up to piles of wrapped gifts and festivity...as a mom, it is equally magical to be the one hauling down bags of brightly colored boxes from various closets, arranging them under the tree so that the really good ones are at the back, and everyone's names are evenly distributed. i really feel like santa - it's quite glorious! i like to sit a look at the wealth of trinkets and baubles (and the few really good things), and the lumpy stockings filled to bursting...it makes me realize again how rich my life is, even during the months when bills pile up. it makes me realize that there are a lot of different names under my tree - a family full of love who love to be together. it makes me thankful. so, thank you God for all of this - all you've done for us. for the birth of your Son all those years ago...even though i don't always live out of it, that birth changed my life. thank you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

peace on earth

ok - i know not posting but once every 10 days isn't going to earn faithful visits to the porch here, but i was waiting to see if anyone would comment on my last post...i so enjoyed writing it! *sigh* oh, well.

merry christmas!! only 5 more sleeps to go! i had a small gathering of my intimate friends last night...we had chocolate fondue fountain (mmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!), gifts and many nice things said about each of us. they are my peeps and i love them. that's what i wish for this christmas...that you will find yourself surrounded by the people you love - who know you and like you anyways - and that this year will bring strength to all of those relationships.

and peace on earth. i hope you see Jesus this christmas....love rae

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the real deal, at last!

i know, i know...i've been lazy lately. i haven't really posted, and i'm sorry! if it makes you feel better, i haven't exactly been lounging around on my couch watching tv. although, that is exactly what i did this morning!! for the first morning in at least 20, i was un-booked. i didn't have anyone with any expectations of me - no appointments, meetings, children, urgent groceries, overdue library books - my gifts are mostly bought, (and there is a plan for the remainder!) and my day stretches ahead of me in glorious freedom! so yes! i sat on my butt and watched 'bones' which i dvr'd last night since we were out (again). and it was lovely! and i was just now cleaning off and dusting the computer desk when i felt the non-blogging guilt, and so here i am! hooray, me!

first, a muscial recommendation! i have a new favorite band - leeland - and i think you will like them too! the lead singer and writer is a BOY CHILD who looks about 11, although they say he is 18. yeah, right. (of course, it could be i'm just getting old) 'the sound of melodies' and 'carried to the table' are two of the best tracks, but it is a really well rounded cd! from sort of alt-pop stuff, to retro/bright 70's sound, to beautiful ballads...and very lyrically thoughtful. i give them two thumbs way up! they were grammy nominated this year for best pop/contemporary gospel album, and i hope they win! go, leeland!

now - Christmas recommendations. i recently gave some festive thought to Jesus. we are all about the gifts of the magi and little drummer boy, and what will you give Jesus this year, but i've been thinking about what would Jesus want me to give to my family and friends this year? reflecting on the story of the 'water into wine' story in the bible, here are some of my conclusions. Jesus would want me to honor my family (like he honor's his mom by turning water into wine as she asked, even though he said it wasn't his time), to be someone who adds life to the party (like he did by extending the celebration with more wine - you go, Jesus!) and to help other people shine (the groom, not Jesus, got the credit for the wine). so, i am going to be a life bringing, respect giving, glory sharing party animal! (and i may bring wine wherever i go, too!) if i can do it, you can do it to! let's get our Christmas on!

randomly, a cleaning recommendation. i was dusting and polishing this morning, and accidentally got some pledge on the hardwood floor along my stair railing. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! that spot on the floor is SOOOOO SLIPPERY! barefoot or sockfooted, it is ridiculous! keep the pledge off the floor people!

there. i feel better. phew! a real post!



Monday, December 11, 2006

wouldn't it be nice



it really is a cat's life... don't you wish this was the sum of your life today?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

bigger & better




hooray! i figured out how to make it bigger! see - i am in that picture!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

hooray, girls!

these are my 'peeps'. (can white girls have peeps?) these are the women in my life who i cry with, celebrate with, share purses with...they are fierce, funny, amazing, generous, refreshing and fabulous girls! who knew i'd end up with such friends? this picture is from my birthday last weekend...we went to dinner and stayed overnight in the city - thanks, heather! - eating cookies in our pj's, drinking 'fat bastard' chardonnay and watching chick flicks ordered from pay-per-view. i have only brothers, and i got married so young that i missed that kind of girl thing, and now that i've had a taste of it...man! so this is what sisterhood is! hooray for girls!
(uncle new zealand - i don't know if you can tell, but i am wearing the necklace and top you gave me for my birthday! i was hot!)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

pre-coffee me

i have a hard time with thundering elephants in the morning. it is 7:41am, i am only on my first cup of coffee, and i swear my dishes are rattling from the enthusiasm for life being expressed by The Girls upstairs. i could, technically, ask them to stop, but it would probably be a life squashing converstation, so instead, i am hiding down here, typing this. and trying to finish my coffee before i have to make sandwiches for lunches.

truth be told, i have a well deserved reputation for not being a morning person. i mean, i can fake it if i absolutely have to, but in general, it's not a pretty sight. it's like thinking through molasses (a flawed description, but none the less...) - and i swear coffee doesn't kick in as hard as it used to. i saw MRI examples in national geographic once of the brain of a coffee drinker in the morning vs. the brain of a non-coffee drinker...and the non-coffee drinker had at least 60% more of their brain being used in the morning!! of course, we catch up once the caffeine dilutes our blood, but it was very interesting!

and now there are all sorts of studies on the good effects of coffee! hooray! rich in antioxidants, lowers cholesterol, increases good hormones... so really, i don't have an addiction. i am a health nut! who knew?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm back!

welcome home, me!

well, i am officially ... thirty-one! *gasp* how did that happen?? i don't feel thirty-one...i hardly feel like a grownup! but i guess i am. how strange. i was very well feted by my family, and still have festivities to look forward to! my peeps and i are spending the night at a hotel in the big city and going to dinner (and dancing!) together...a sleepover for big girls! hooray! i even have a new dress to wear...mmm...i am going to be so pretty! :) ha!

so, what's new with you? are you counting sleeps til Christmas? have you put up your tree? did you have a good thanksgiving? i don't know about where you are, but we are basking in 70 degree sunshine here in the "first in flight" state - lovely! it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit when you are mowing the lawn instead of shoveling snow! but then my m-i-l told me that it's COLD with a foot of snow up north, and i figure i can fake the warm, cozy hot chocolate feeling while i listen to 'a charlie brown Christmas'! it's definitely a price i'm willing to pay!

*sigh* it's nice to be back...merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

my goodness!

i heard the wind, the shearing rain that came down all night (it kept waking me up)...but then i read that we had (and by "we" i mean the state of NC) killer tornados last night! yikes! i should be more respectful of the weather, i guess!

only 11 sleeps til my birthday! and i am feeling c-u-t-e today, so maybe today will be a good day! i'm off to the shops, as they say across the pond! toodles!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

nada

good morning - i will be spotty in my posting til after thanksgiving... enjoy your turkey and remember to be thankful!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

vocabularily lessons

(oooo - new blog options! how fun!)

do you know what a 'fulcrum' is? i am sitting at the top of one. it could go either way. scary.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

the mouth of babes

my daughters were playing outside today when surveyors came through the woods behind the house. meg came inside and upstairs into the room i was painting and tearfully asked if they were measuring the forest to build houses. sadly, they are, and i told her so. her tears increased as she looked up at me with her huge, brown eyes and said, "but all the deer will die and we won't see them anymore." i couldn't agree more, meg...it's heinous. man doing his best to rape nature and stuff as much of himself into the landscape as he possibly can. it made me cry. no one had to tell her what would happen. she just knew. and it broke her little heart. i wish there were more meg's in the world.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

don't forget

only 20 sleeps til my birthday!

welcome home!

it feels like ages since i wrote anything, but i don't think it really has been. on a whim - or sent by God may be the more accurate description - i drove out to KY friday morning as a surprise to see my mom. i just knew she needed me... and she did. when i walked in (throwing open the door and saying, "can i use your bathroom?" at the suggestion of meg). shs said, 'of course' and looked very confused. then it dawned on her who i was, and she burst into tears! she said she hadn't known how she was going to get through her weekend, and there i was! so we spent the weekend together without any expections and at our own pace, and it really was a)relaxing, b)fun and c)a God thing. so many little things conspired together to go right that it was really astonishing as we noted each one and all the happy ripple effects of them. and then i drove home monday early. much thanks to curtis for giving me the freedom to go...he is a good boy!

i think it may finally be Fall. rainy, chilly, and the most telling sign of all, 50 dead squirrels along the side of the road. there are always plenty in the gutter, but this is nuts! (no pun intended) i don't know if the young ones come out to play in the fall, or if the cold makes them stupid, but i am dodging them left and right these days. (living and dead - i hate to add insult to injury, or death, as the case may be.) i don't mind fall at all, if i don't have to go out. but today was groceries in a downpour. sigh. as short as my hair is, even it is rebelling in the humidity! maybe i will cheer myself up by lighting a fire tonight..mmm, cozy!

i hope you are all snug and warm today!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

to my Canadian friends

to my friends and family living in Canada, a few images of November down here...





the most wonderful time of the year



go rachel! it's your birth-month! go, go, go rachel! it's your birth-month! have a par-tay! go rachel!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Oct. 30th, in NC

welcome to the end of october in north carolina! the high today is 76, with a high tomorrow (for halloween trick or treating) a balmy 71! the sun is shining, and The Girls are playing outside in their bare feet. tomorrow night, "cleopatra" will have bare shoulders, and the "princess" will be able to twirl (in whatever dress i cobble together) and show off her finery... this is still very novel to me! i am used to dressing them up in variations of the princess/ballerina theme, only to cover the whole get up with snow pants, boots, coat, scarf, mittens and sometimes a toque (look it up), leaving only the glittering, overly made up faces of my little candy-hungry darlings exposed. in our previous experience, the question "what are you supposed to be?" was genuine...no one could tell underneath snowsuits and the rest of the winter defenses. halloween candy was never restricted by having visited all the houses, or having it get too late. it was determined by how much cold we could stand. one particularily cold year, we were done after about 6 houses. needless to say, this is infinately preferrable!

so, tomorrow night, i am going to wear my wedding dress. instant costume! it's not like i'm saving it for anything special, really. it's been in my closet in a clear plastic drycleaning bag for 12 years. not even a zip up one...but the kind you get men's shirts back in. i usually dress up as a man, it amuses people,

but this year, i am going to get my "pretty" on, dangit! although i'm pretty sure i lost my veil... maybe i will wear a princess tiara, too!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

the list....

here's a little something i saw at the mall that intrigued me... i wouldn't be opposed to it for the upcoming festivities! Click Here!

do you believe?

it is sunday morning - the sun is shining and i am about to hop in the shower for church. but i don't really want to. there already is curtis - who is really, really sick, leading worship and being brave. and there's nothing i can do to help him. and i have and am praying that it will 'break', but so far nothing. last night he slept in the guestroom, and he left before i got up, and i am worried to see what state he is in. how's that for lack of faith? i guess you could say, in the words of my friend lu, 'i'm having trouble scraping up a mustard seed'. sigh. poor boy. maybe i'll get there and it will be a miracle. do you believe?

Friday, October 27, 2006

the plague

it is friday - i roll out of bed to be greeted with the words, 'i am really, really sure i have strep throat' from my husband. we are supposed to be having dinner tonight...i made a pie! so he is going to the "minute clinic" at cvs this morning. sigh. i really hope he just has a horrible sore throat. isn't that horrible of me?

but on the plus-side, he came home from rehersal last night with these:



not only did he bring me flowers, but they are my favorite kind! starburst lillies! hooray, curtis! you have to know that i can count on my fingers the number of times in 12 years of marriage that he's brought home flowers... so this is a big deal! he recently wrote out a 'life list', and among the items were 'become a jogger' and 'become a master gifter of my wife'. now, in the last 3 weeks, he's bought new shoes, found running buddies, and been out even alone on cold mornings to run. but gifts? nada. i was beginning to feel forgotten... but look! flowers! and they were even wrapped with ribbon and bright tissue paper...so pretty! he definately gets a cosmic gold star for that!

happy friday!
(only 31 sleeps til my birthday!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

reflections on blogging

blogging is weird.

the blogger traipses down a gossamer line between private and public, and it is, at times, unsettling. i opened my profile recently to look at it, since it's been months since i started this, and i didn't even remember what i put in it. and over in the left corner is a tiny line of text that says, "profile views - 129". ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY NINE. there are really only 8 or 9 people who ever leave me comments, but 129 people have looked at my profile. what the heck!? i was going to add some stuff, feeling pretty confident that i was isolated among friends i know and love here in the "blogosphere", only to find that i am not! and so, i definately did not add new stuff to my profile. if i am going to err, i'd rather err on the private sign of the gossamer line!

oh, and i finally figured out how to fix the links in the sidebar so they actually connect to stuff! victory! click them! :) only 34 sleeps til my birthday! (unless you are reading this wednesday morning, then there's only 33!)

in addition

ooo - i was at target and saw this! i am officially adding it to my birthday list...in red! it is soooooo soft! and fuzzy! and warm! and red! it will look FAB in my living room!

hop to, people! :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

hooray, me!

the countdown is on!! only THIRTY FIVE MORE SLEEPS til my birthday! hooray! although, this is the year i will be "in my thirties", as opposed to "thirty". but i also have 35 sleeps to come to grips with that! last year we had a killer party...i don't know what i'm going to do to celebrate this year. i definately couldn't outdo myself... for my birthday, not that anyone who generally buys me presents reads this blog (except perhaps sabrina, who doesn't usually require suggestions! and now that i think of it, it's rather odd that people who love me enough to remember my occasions and buy me gifts, don't really care enough to check in and read my blog for all the 1.63 mintues it requires. not even curtis. and they all know it's here, waiting for them. huh.), here is the beginning of my birthday list!

1. a jill scott cd
2. gift certificates for any lovely spa service
3. the new christina aguilara 2 disc set (don't judge me!)
4. shoes...anything fierce (and black) in an 8 1/2
5. a dell notebook computer...if wishes were horses, beggars would ride...
6. healthy hoof - a 3$ nail cream available at trade secrets/sally's beauty supply

i will add more things as i think of them...remember...only 35 sleeps! start planning now!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

who wants to be rich?

don't get me wrong - i love my life. i love my dsl & my dvr & my suv. i love my 17 lipsticks and 22 pairs of shoes. i love my lunches out and my movies in. i love the giving and recieving of all manner of christmas, birthday & "just because" presents.

but ...

i saw the ad for 'the rich list'. have you seen this ad? "we don't stop at a million...this is life changing money". and i thought to myself that indeed it was life changing money. so why isn't it being used to change lives rather than just bump someone up a tax bracket or two? why, if there is all that money to give away on the merit of whether or not someone is lucky enough to choose door number 3, or answer the triva correctly, is that money not going to actually help someone? even if all you care about is improving the lives of american's, how many children could have school supplies or health care or safer neighborhoods with that money? how many single mom's could get job training? how mnay homeless people could be fed? or give the 'life changing money' to aids orphans in africa. to refugees from the genocide in darfur or somalia. build deep water wells for villages in ethiopia. educate girls in china. there are organizations and people who want nothing more than to give us the opportunity to do those things and more, but we 'want to be rich'. i felt sick when i saw that ad. how dare we treat the world and it's people so callously?

as for me, i don't want to be rich - not anymore. i want to take what modest resources i have and change someone's life. cause it doesn't take more than a million to be 'life changing money'.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

%$#%^$#%^!

i am having one of those evenings. you know - when you really, REALLY want to put your fist through the wall and curse at your children and smash things and tell everyone that you can't take care of every damn thing yourself and would it kill them to stop talking to you all at once expecting you to miraculously be able to keep a cool head, find things, answer questions and admire school work all while serving dinner and answering the phone. i am this close...

Monday, October 16, 2006

wish you were here

ahhhh, monday. i know the rest of you glare at monday on sunday night, pretending it doesn't exist - or angrily curse it under your breath when you have to leave early to get to bed so when the alarm goes off you've had more than 2 hours of sleep. well, that's how i feel on saturday... but monday eve is glorious for me! monday brings, finally, a day of rest to our home. the girls go to school, and the day moves in a slow motion pace. i go back to bed, or watch tv i've dvr'd while i drink my coffee, i sit for long periods staring into space petting the cat, i have a leisurely lunch with my husband, i usually indulge in good book and a hot bath, and generally engage what has become after 12 years of monday's off, my sabbath. there may be occasional grocery getting, but even that is laid back...i stroll the aisles, i don't march to conquor them. i read the propaganda of the various makeup companies, i read recipes on the backs of soup cans. groceries are secondary to a lovely trip out... alone. that's one of the best things. because the rest of the world 'hits the ground running' (or crawling) on monday, there is no pressure to fill the day with "people i ought to ..." no one is free. it's just me (and sometimes curtis - although he tends to spend a good bit of mondays fishing or recording...his own version of the sabbath). it'a quite lovely, and i really don't mean to rub it in, i am just revelling here for a moment. i rarely remember to soak it in, and be thankful for it. but right now, i am. very thankful. i feel a great "ahhhhhh" in myself, as my stress slowly deflates and "monday" kicks in. lovely.

Friday, October 13, 2006

TGIF

happy friday!!

brrr! it got cold here in sunny north carolina last night! for the fisrt time in many moons, my backyard is silent this morning...no birds on the feeder, no squirrels leaping around. they must all be curled in little balls somewhere, trying to preserve body heat! but the fun of all of that is.... hello, fun winter clothes! when you live in such a warm climate most of the time, the chance to pull out that cute sweater for the first time in a year, it's lovely! i personally have a new black one...mmm... i love to wear it! it's that cozy-fireplace-sweater-and-hot-chocolate feeling you get from snuggling up in your clothes, pulling the sleeves over your fingers and the neck up to under your nose. ok, ok...it may not be that cold today, but it's coming!

this week i shaved off all my hair - i had been trying to grow it out. while you may see this as a failure, i got considerably farther than i have in the last 6 years, so i think it's a success! and i was reminded again why i never get too far...i am not a long hair girl. i am a short hair, sassy girl! :)

have a mah-vellous weekend!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

one more reason

this is why i love where we live! you may think i am being sarcastic, but i promise you i am not!! meg and i each found one of these in the backyard yesterday!





the one meg found, the smaller of the two, was still pliable and tacky, as though the snake had just wrigglged out of it! they are really quite remarkable - intact from the tip of the tail to the rim of the mouth...how is that even possible? every scale accounted for, even the eyes are a glossy sheath of skin. wow.

i sent pictures to Vincent - my naturalist brother - and found out:

"They're both from the same species of snake -- the black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta), a subspecies of the common rat snake . It's a male and a female. The female is the longer, larger one, and her man is the shorter one. These two are making sure that there are no mice in your house. They are incredibly efficient hunters. And from the looks of things, they're probably both full grown... probably 5 or 6 years old. They're called black rat snakes, but they're rarely black -- they're usually a grey/yellow mottled colour. The reason that they live at your house is because:

You have bird feeders... birds are messy eaters... birds fling seed all over the place... mice come at night because there is free food (bird seed) laying all over the ground... the snakes follow the mice that follow the bird seed... and therefore you have snakes!

Rat snakes belong to the family Colubridae which are a family of snakes that kill their prey by constriction and crushing their prey. If you were a vole, you and your family should be terrified. As it stands, black rat snakes are totally harmless, totally neat-o, and they're diurnal (awake during the day), so you should be able to see them out and about on warm days. They're generally docile and probably won't bite if handled, and if they do bite, they have no venom. "

he is a handy brother to have around!

Monday, October 09, 2006

my pogo stick

hello out there! after painting sabrina's great room 2 lovely shades of green - don't worry, purple will be represented in the hall! - i came home to 3 unique things.

1. my heels hurt. not my feet, my heels. possibly from using them to balance on the steps of the ladder?

2. a dead female goldfinch directly under my kitchen picture window. so sad. maybe i shouldn't have windexed it yesterday.

3. a silver snake slithering (good alliteration!) across meg's foot while she stood in the grass of the backyard! not a small one, either. (the snake, not the foot or yard.)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

busy bee

i will be spending the first half of this week painting my friend sabrina's house - pretty much the whole lower floor! i love to paint, and i love sabrina, so it's not a big deal, but it does mean that i probably won't be posting...when i get home, i will definately be resting! :)

i'll talk to you later - wednesday?

Friday, October 06, 2006

the doctor is in



after many months of talking about it, i finally got my sheep tattoo yesterday! hooray! and a certain doctor (who shall remain nameless) helped me out with a numbing patch so that it wouldn't hurt so much! hooray! i know, i know... you all think i'm a wus.. .well, surprise surprise! of course i'm a wus! :) so thank you, nameless doctor!

it is a beautiful rainy day here in durham, and my husband is taking a much needed personal day to recover some of his altitude...so he is going fishing in the rain. good for him! i hope he catches many fish, and does not catch pneumonia!

happy friday!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

the sunny side of the street

hello out there! for the first time in many, many days, i woke up to inner sunshine this morning. i feel like there's been a shift in my inner landscape, and it's a good one. i have been trying to walk out of darkness for a long... long... long time, and maybe this is the first day in the clear blue of the sky! oh, God, may it be so!

i hope your inner landscapes have sun in them today, too!

final draft

many thanks to my baby brother, who emailed me all the sheep pictures he and i had looked at months ago in a search for the perfect sheep tattoo! they caused me to call curtis back to the 'drawing board' (or in his case, macromedia fireworks) and finesse my sheep until it was a little less dog-like. so, for the second time in as many days, how do you like my sheep?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

bees!!

ok - this shouldn't make me happy... but it does. there are a group of 4 young, burly type guys out surveying behind our house. they do this every fall, and every fall i hate it. i feel infringed upon. this morning, as i have been drinking my coffee, i've noticed something...those 4 big boys are running away from what i can only assume is a hive of bees! i also assume that these are the bees that drained my hummingbird feeder repeatedly this month, so they are strong and mighty from all the sugar! these foolish boys have cut down a small sapling and are waving it at the bees from, oh, maybe 6 feet away? keep going! that will help, surely! oh! there they go! run, boys, run! i wish they would take the bees as a sign from God and leave the whole thing alone. go away! i realize they are not here to bother me (the boys, not the bees), but they carry machetes! and they are scruffy! and they are hanging around, basically, my backyard. it offends my girlish instincts for self-protection. needless to say, i am rooting for the bees this morning.

on a different note, 'it's not like painting a wall'. these are the wise words of advice from my husband, after i came home from a night of ministry feeling somewhat unsure. he reminded me that it's not a concrete effort. oh, how i wish it were! :) i did not see the wall change it's color last night, but God speaks even when i do not hear it. and it's about his satisfaction, not mine. so... c'est la vie. i will leave it to God.



on yet another different note - meet sparkles, my sheep. this is the tattoo curtis designed for me, and i am going on thursday to get it! hooray! those of you who know me well will know what sparkles is for... those of you who don't, well, you can just appreciate the cuteness of the sheep!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

whatever you do for the least of these


she went from that... to this! on her own, she asked if i would make an appointment for her to cut off her hair so she could donate it to 'locks of love'! wow! this from the girls whose preschool ambition was to grow her hair out as long as rapunzel! but she looks SOOOOO cute, and her hair will change someone's life. you go girl! mommy's so proud of you!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

i hesitate to speak too soon

while i know that saying this outloud is just asking for trouble, i thought i'd let you all know that "chubby pants", the fat fish in a line of easily expired fish, is still alive and kicking. we are keeping our fingers crossed for his continuing health and wellness!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

is there a doctor in the house?

i have a new favorite show. i can tell it's my new favorite show because i soak up every minute of it, and spend the commercial breaks raving about what i loved about the preceeding 7 minutes. it is intruiging, funny, smart and engaging. what show is it, you ask? 'House'. some of you may already watch said show, and shame on you for not telling me about it! i love that show!

on a completely different topic, i have had a headache for 5 days. taking "stuff" to help doesn't really seem to help, neither do sleep or water. so we are trying something new. NO "stuff". none. i am going to give it 3 days. if i still have a headache after 3 days, i will go to the doctor. tellingly, i read something on msn this week about how american's have more trouble with treatable diseases than any other first world nation because they don't want to spend the $20, $30, $40 to just see the doctor. i can relate.

lastly, a shout out to my little brother vinny... love you, boy!

Monday, September 25, 2006

and a little child shall lead them

ahhh, meg.... my little meg. so young, and so wise! The Girls were apparently having a discussion with curtis about what they could do to perk me up (i had been feeling weary with life), and settled upon having a babysitter come over so curtis could take me out on a date. as they told me this, meg looked up at me and said (somewhat disdainfully), 'i suggested shoes, but daddy wanted something more romantic.' shoes! what a wise young woman! clearly, cute shoes make the world a better place, and there are very few things i love more than new, cute shoes! i have been given cute shoes as gifts a few times in recent years, and i can honestly say they made my whole week! so meg, you go girl! keep on suggesting that daddy buy me shoes! you know i'll share them with you when your feet catch up to mine! :) mommy loves you, baby!

Friday, September 22, 2006

how fun is this!



you may have noticed i changed the picture i used... i'm sorry, but i had to get rid of katie couric!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

time, love and tenderness

2 1/2 hours and (poetically) 2 1/2 bags of garbage later, i have cleaned The Girls rooms while they were at school. i admit, i used to hate coming home from 3rd grade to find my bedroom bereft of treasures, but from the other side of the argument - Mother Sick of Mess and Chaos - i completely understand. it's not like i look back and wish i had the half a deck of barbie uno cards (the remaining hafl wrinkled, folded and torn) i got in a birthday treat bag when i was 6. i didn't throw away any real toys, and i only packed away the ones they haven't played with in 6 months...mostly an astonishing collection of strawberry shortcake dolls, houses and accessories (which they collected with a fevor! this fevor has recently applied more to 'littlest pet shop' dolls, houses and accessories). i put said strawberries in a box where they are accessible if push comes to shove! i organized books, approximately 312 chapsticks, said "littlest pet shops", collected 3 loads of laundry - ostensiblly on the shelf or in the drawer as "clean" - and countless trinkets and "treasures". i think i was very fair-minded. now they have room to play, and they will be able to not only see, but find, the remaining 'my little pony's', LPS, beads & string, polly pockets, books, chapstick, clip on earrings, build-a-bear clothes, et al. phew! i wish a had a coffee crisp (one of God's gifts to chocolate lovers) to celebrate, but they are only sold in the true north strong and free (that would be my native homeland of Canada.) sigh. oh well. at least i won't feel like crying everytime i walk down the upstairs hall!

Friday, September 15, 2006

good times!


i realize that this may not be your idea of a good time, but driving home, 2 box turtles were in the road, so i pulled over to save them, put them on the floorboard of my passenger side and set them free in the forest behind our house....and i got peed on in the meantime! hooray! if you have the chance to get peed on by a turtle, you know it's been a good friday!

(by the way - do you like the turtle porn? these are not the turtles i rescued today, but rather fornicating turtles that were outside our livingroom window the month we bought our home - clearly an auspicious sign!)

happy friday!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

rainy day blues

headache, rain, wierd leg pain, time pressure, teacher meetings...

baby steps - one foot in front of the other...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

delays...

hey gang - i was waiting to see if anyone would post comments about my lovely, tiny chickens before i posted again, but alas...no comments. admit it - you're just jealous that you weren't invited to my swanky affair! :)

well, i will delay no longer.

last night i told my life story (wildly abbreviated for the sake of time and interest!) to a group of 30 women, and it was very well recieved! phew! then i came home and took advil pm and passed out from relief! it was our churches first ever gathering of women, called 'revive', and it was good - God showed up, and really, what more do you need? not much! plus, sabrina brought dessert, so.... mm - mmm good!

on a different note, we are beginning to look at green cards. OH MY GOSH! i think it is just about the scariest and most complicated buerocratic (sp?) process in the entire universe! i have already spent an entire afternoon in tears, and we haven't even filled out any forms yet. if you have the inclination you could pray for us - it is urgently needed!

happy tuesday!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

tiny tiny chickens!



look at the tiny, tiny chickens! these are the un-basted, un-cooked rock game hens i cooked for last night's soiree! aren't they cute! even naked they are cute! i stuffed them with apricots and pecans, and basted with a corn syrop/consumme mix. mm-mm good! then i made a spicy sausage & green bean sautee with garlic and onion, and black rice - and christine brought glazed carrots, jennifer brought salad, and sabrina, the dessert mystic, made a glorious fruit parfait served (festively!) in martini glasses! it was glorious! we turned the dining room into a 'salon' with all the soft livingroom furniture and served appetizers, and set out banquet tables in the livingroom, set with all sorts of glorious things! i was too busy to take pictures, but sabrina may have, and i will get her to send them to me! :) hooray!

this may have to become a semi-regular event!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

it's a soiree

this friday night i am having a soiree... a lovely banquet for some of the people i know and love. i am roasting tiny little game hens and everything! today is going to be a fun day ... and although some of you may think i'm joking, i'm not. i get to hop around town getting said hens, decorations for the table, wine...planning it all in my head! how fun! i love to throw a party, and it's been a while since i threw an intimate, sit down dinner. i think we don't celebrate enough!

so, ta ta! i'm off to 'the shops', as they say across the pond!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

keep your comments to yourself

ok - i have been purposefully not posting about this particular area of my life, because people are so polarized about it. so i warn you in advance, don't judge me. what i am about to confess goes against every humanistic sensibility i have, and i don't need to be made to feel worse by your scathing comments.

a week ago today, we had our cat, Satchmo, declawed. the reasons were varied and complicated, and for today's purposes i will not go into them. needless to say, he, and i, have been traumatized for the last 8 days. he has been isolated in my bedroom, wearing The Cone of Death, and generally looking miserable. finally, today was the day The Cone was supposed to come off. so i took it off. and he cleaned his feet til one of his scabs came off, and i had to put the cone back on. now his vet, our friend Sara, says we should leave The Cone on all the way til friday night. i cannot tell you how unhappy i am about this! poor satchmo! i cannot tell you how much i regret this!!! i spend hours everyday on the bed with him, scratching and rubbing his poor, lonely self...enticing him to eat and drink despite the half-blindess of The Cone. sigh. only 2 more days... only two more days... i hope that we can make it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

puppy love

who doesn't love a holiday monday??

we have been laboring this labor day weekend with 5 kids in the house, rather than the usual 2! happily, though, there have been very few snags - and they have been minor. unless you count all the childhood flirting between my megan and one of the boys, wesley. oh my goodness! the two of them spend hours holed away together while the other kids play ... i heard them today trying to decide what to play, and megan said, "well, you're the man!" HEAVEN HELP ME!

Friday, September 01, 2006

does anyone actually fall for this?

(to be perfectly clear, what i am about to share with you i share to mock the incredibly obvious scam, not to toot my own horn!)

so...remember the poetry "award" i won, that i could recieve for a mere $170? well, look at the email i got this morning....

"Dear Rachel,

As you may know, Noble House is one of the world's foremost publishers of fiction and nonfiction works by new and established authors. Our poetry division in the U.K. has had the honour of publishing the poetry of more than 800 poets over the past twelve years.

Recently I had the pleasure of reading your poetry that you have had published in the United States. I was moved so much by your written words that I have selected you to honour with our most desired and prestigious Noble House 2006 Lapel Pin. This stunning pin, crafted with 24-karat gold, proudly displays your status as an elite member of Noble House Publishers and is something you should be very proud of. This accomplishment should not be taken lightly since only a few writers have received such a distinction in the past.



To take advantage of this 'once-in-a-lifetime' honour, simply fill out the order form or click on the link below. I must ask for a nominal fee of $69.95 (£40.20) to cover the costs incurred with the shipping, handling, and insurance of the Noble House Lapel Pin. It is extremely important to me that it is delivered to you in the right manner with the utmost care.

Rachel, I was extremely delighted with your work and feel you deserve this type of recognition. Many people write poetry for years and never obtain the level of artistry that is present in your work. You should be very proud of your accomplishment."

wow! for a mere $69.95 i can recieve such a special award! quick! where's the checkbook? i will proudly wear my pin to church and people will ask me why i have such a lovely piece of jewelry on, and i will tell them about my marvellous skills!

honestly, i would "click to stop receiving emails from...", but they always make me laugh! do people actually fall for this, you think?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

no orginal thought

taking a page from sabrina again, how come you all weren't watching "justice" last night!!!! it was AWESOME! a new series by jerry bruckhiemer about defense attorneys, where at the end of the show, whether they win or lose their case, you get to see the crime as it actually happened! it was soooo well done! curtis and i were both captivated! it has victor garbo (is it just me, or does he have one huge ear?), and the guy (kerr smith?) who played 'jack' on dawsons creek...who is super cute, if you ask me. anyways, wednesday at 9 (after bones, another of my fav's) you should all be watching justice!!

raise your hand if your happy to have it be raining and less that 90 degrees! hooray!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

i'm melting!

you know me - i love the weather here is sunny NC - but i am DYING for fall! breezy 70's to sit in, stroll through, open my windows at night...i am feeling stifled in this heat! ack!

that's all. today is a slow mental day. i think i may go shopping for new jeans...always tricky. you leave the mall either feeling slim and fabulous, or fat and lumpy, depending on whether or not you fit into anything. as far as i'm concerned, buying jeans is right up there with buying swimsuits! it requires nerves of steel! :)

oh! i heard through the grapevine that my baby brother, vincent, has found a studio apartment, and is going to move out from above my parents garage! hooray, vinny! now my girls have somewhere to sleep when we go to gramma's house! (cause no matter what, it's all about us!) any recommendations on an apartment warming gift i can send?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

rachel's recommendations

i must say, i always enjoy it when sabrina posts her annual television review for us each fall - and i know she has the knowledge (read: "she watches a lot of TV") to back it up. so i was wondering what kind of thing i could do like that..and i remembered a comment my mom made to me once. 'if i ever see something at the drugstore i want to try out, i just wait til i come to your house'. she has a point. (she also said i am the "shallowest deep person she knows". it's a paradox i can live with!) i am a self-diagnosed product whore. if it's a cosmetic even remotely within my price range, i've tried it. if it isn't within my budget, i have read about in magazines and online and stood infront of the counter with it in my hand wondering about it. i have a pantry sized closet in my bathroom full of stuff i bought and didn't like! so, i have decided to post my beauty recommendations! hooray! here we go!

1. Almay's 1-2-3 skincare line! i don't care what kind of skin you have, choose the 1-2-3 line that's appropriate, and dig in! i have tried everything from dove to vichy to proactive (off tv) to make my skin happy, but nothing has ever worked like this does! and at around $8, you can't go wrong! it is LOVELY STUFF!

2. C.O. Bigelow Purifying Mask(available at bath and body works). in the same line of trying to make my skin happy, i have gone through literally dozens of masks in search of the perfect balance...and i have finally ended my search! this is a miracle - a clay mask that leaves my skin soft, clean and hydrated, without any redness or inflammation. gold stars all around!

3. Loreal Paris 'Volume Shocking'mascara. this is as good as fake lashes for drama and glamour! not an everyday mascara, but it does what it promises! and it doesn't flake or smudge! hooray! (i DO NOT RECOMMEND the loreal h.i.p mascara - you will look like a racoon after 3 blinks - the pigment may be intense, but it sure doesn't stay where it's meant to stay!!)

that's all for today - but if you leave comments or questions about a product or anything else, i'll definately give you my opinion, and maybe even facts! :)

Friday, August 25, 2006

friday night...

it was even better than i hoped!! oh my! i got hit on (i think - a man offered to buy my lunch) at lunch, got 2 of my favorite magazines in the mail AND had time to read them before i had to get the girls! who, by the way, had marvellous days themselves! and got to listen to them while i gave them back to school manicures! it has been a flawless day!!!

happy friday!

the most wonderful time of the year

the first day back at school after a long summer.... does it get any better? for one day in the school year, kids and parents are on the same page. everyone is excited, everyone is happy... new clothes, new backpack, old friends, white sneakers, the smell of fresh pencils and white paper. and for me... freedom! as i have mentioned in this blog before, i love having my girls home for the summer, but as school draws closer, everyone gets antsy, ready to get back to the rythm of the school year...myself included. i know "what am i going to do today" will hit me somewhere down the line, but not today!

today, as i sat on my front porch revelling in my freedom after taking the girls to school, my friend lisa walked by and asked if i wanted to join her on her walk... and i jumped up from my chair, without wrangling the girls, and off we went. then we added coffee at her place...ahhhhh. i am having lunch with sabrina, without having to ask curtis to come home over his noon hour to watch the girls. i may go for a run this afternoon, or i may have a nap! the point is, today is a good day! :) and when my girls come home from school, full of stories about their first day, i will have space in my soul to hear them, to listen, to engage and laugh and we will eat grapes and drink juice at the kitchen table while they pull treasures out of their backpacks to show me. and then it will have been a great day.

until monday, when the homework begins...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

peer pressure



i have succumbed to the pressure of loving life, and replaced, rather than surrendered, in the goldfish department. welcome, "chubby-pants", so named by meg. and i have to say, it's a fat-assed fish. there is no way the picture i have posted here (from the web, not my bowl) can show you how truly obese he is) he's a pearlscale goldfish, named for the white pearlecent dots on it's scales. we are keeping our fingers crossed for chubbypants.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

what the hell!

THAT IS IT!! i have had it up to HERE!! this morning, snow white (the other fish) is severely listing to one side when she tries to swim! and you know what!? I AM TIRED OF TRYING TO MAKE EVERY LIVING THING AROUND ME A HAPPY, SUCCESSFUL, THRIVING BEING! IT SIMPLY CANNOT BE DONE! AND MORE OVER, NONE OF THEM APPRECIATE IT! if these fish die, that's it. i'm done.

Monday, August 21, 2006

monday, monday

4 sleeps til school... HOORAY! at the end of the school year i am always ready for The Girls to be home, but by the time fall rolls around i am equally ready for them to go away...um, i mean, to school. really, though, it's not just me. they have stopped having fun and have started the daily bicker...it's exhausting! i used to feel guilty about that, but as i have thought it over i think it's quite a healthy sign -they are smart and growing and ready to learn, and i am not overly attached. but we are down to 4 sleeps... did i mention that we only have 4 sleeps to go til school?!

on a different note, i am in a funk. not a deep blue funk, just a regular old funk. can't seem to get my feet under me. certainly, i could pray more, read more... but i don't feel like it. of course, to live life according to how we feel is to court disaster, but in the moment it's hard to shake. so in the fervor of back-to-school-ness, i have started (again) to be more disciplined in feeding my heart. it can only help.

again on a different note, colonel reverend doctor captain chips (the only fish we've had that has lived for any length of time...since christmas), has red spots (only 2, but still!) like chicken pox on his fan tail... poor baby. so i put rid*ick in the water, and we are hoping for the best. other fish have come and gone, but chips is our baby! that would be a tragedy! keep your fingers crossed for him.

that about does it. i'm going to have a shower. when you feel crummy about life, being clean is the first step, don't you think?

(jordan, did you see angela's comment about your book?)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

how could i forget!!



as promised! the cover of the new children's book by j. vincent elliott... you'd better all leave comments so he feels encouraged! :)

freedom!

if the mulders' have set you free, you are free indeed! at least, if you are a tadpole, you are! last night, with a well-placed pond suggestion from our friend andi the artist, we scooped all the tadpoles (there were hundreds, i'm sure!) and drove them out to the pond on our churches new land! hooray! they will live! we saw them swim up to the surface after they were (rather unceremoniously) dumped into the pond, and we saw several large frogs in and around the weeds and grasses, so i have high hopes! and best of all, they are in God's hands now. i no longer feel responsible for their survival...phew! it was killing me to see their little white bellies bobbing around the surface of our pool!

now the pool is bleached and clean, and the girls can spend the last days before school splashing and playing in the beautiful outdoors!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

a soapbox moment

after the sorrowful death of 2 more froglets yesterday, i called my naturalist brother, vinny, and asked him what was going on with my tadpoles! needless to say, small dead frogs is not the reason i have lovingly spoken to, fed and watched these tadpoles grow for the last 2 months! so, vinny's advice? more sticks.



do you think that is enough sticks? there were no new footed frogs this morning to test it out on...but how could they possibly miss these?

on other fronts, the leadership conference was great great great! i really took 2 things from it that (i hope!) will filter through the rest of my life. the first is that it really has to be Jesus - i cannot form new life in the women/people i lead, only Jesus can do that. our Church doesn't seem talk about Jesus much - not my little church here in NC, but the big Church. No wonder we have a hard time encouraging our people to have a real friendship with him - he's not part of our everyday conversations of faith. and how weird is that?

secondly, i live a rich life. whether or not we dip into our overdraft, our life is loaded with luxury. and i cannot just sit here and let the good times roll - there is a starving world, a dying world, and i don't have to save it, but i have to do what i can. in our small group last night, the phrase came up (ironically, in relation to sex) 'give what you can', and it's true in the global sense, too. so i am thinking about what i can do. sponsor fieldtrips for underprivileged kids in my daughters schools, continue to sponsor children overseas, keep granola bars for homeless people in my truck, wisely give my resources where i can by parterning with organizations already doing good in the world, whether it be world vision or the one campaign or the red cross. if i want to hear 'well done', i can't just live an insular life.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

oh no!

i am horrified! the froglets are starting to develop, but rather than grab onto the logs/buckets in the pool, i find them floating belly up in the pool in the mornings! this is not what i wanted! i am taking any and all suggestions.... help me!

Monday, August 07, 2006

i'm a grown up now

i don't care what the critics say - i loved miami vice! we went to see it last night, and both curtis and i really liked it!! it is smart, complicated, sexy and not full of foul language or breasts...although, when someone gets shot (even that is not too often) you definately know whether or not they were hit! i think if you like movies, you'll like this one! one thing the critics got right, this is not your adolecent miami vice - this is grown up, sexy real miami vice. not a pastel in sight - mercifully if you ask me!

ok - i am heading to the willow creek leadership conference this week, so don't expect much by way of posting... i will have many insights to share when i come home, though, i'm sure! :)

happy week!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

happy anniversary!



happy anniversary to me! today is our 12th anniversary, and in typical mulder fashion, it's off to a slow start - no presents, no plans! but, we do have a babysitter for tonight (not sure what we're going to do), and in the long run, having been married 12 years, i can testify (since it's sunday) that the truth of the matter is it's not the anniversaries that make or break a marriage. it's your husband finding a friend to help him haul up your new washing machine, sitting on the front porch together watching the girls ride their bikes, road trips together with satisfying or silly conversation, coffee made before i roll out of bed... the fuel of marriage is the little things. and every once in a while, a grand gesture gets thrown in, and the whole thing sparkles again! :)

Friday, August 04, 2006

a whole new attitude

ok - i have almost had it with these demented tadpoles! are they not, at some time, supposed to grow LEGS and HOP AWAY? there does not seem to be a lot of movement toward that in my pool, and you all know how patient i am!! grrr!

and it's so hot that The Girls cannot play outside, and they are driving one another, and me, completely bonkers. BONKERS I TELL YOU!

and today was school supply day - nothing like trying to get The Girls to decide on upon which pair of white sneakers they prefer... it's enough to make a grown woman cry!

this is the point in my life where my dad would usually say that i needed an "attitude adjustment". so... um... what can i focus on? healthy kids that are growing and get to go to school, food in the pantry (generic though it may be), a new bra (funny how much better life looks when your "lifted and seperated"), and a night at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go and (hopefully) peace and quiet. with wine. lovely, sparkling, wine! :)

also, my brother - heretofore known as "Vinny", not "Jordan" - has written and illustrated a lovely book called "The Story of Rufus Newt and Potato Knob". it's very interesting, and educational... i loved it! i would show you a picture, but i can't separate it - i'll have to get curtis to help me with that one.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

eating crow

i owe curtis a public apology... he is a marvellous husband and all around human being. he did, infact, have the house clean and dinner ready when we got home. he may have forgotten to scoop the tadpole eggs, but he is practically perfect (like mary poppins) in every other way! i am sorry i doubted you, curtis!

Monday, July 31, 2006

the gift goes on!

ok - you may remember my "major award" for my poem 'the vine'...the one i had to pay a "nomial fee" to recieve...a fee that exceeded $170... is not the only thing i have been awarded! also, my poem is going to be published into a coffee table anthology called 'immortal verses'. a publication which i can purchase for the low low price of $49, and for which i recieve no royalties...although i do "retain the copyright to your own work of art". AND for a small fee of $25 i can fill out an artist biography that will go on the facing page of my poem! hoo hoo!



needless to say, i view all of this with a great deal of skepticism. but hey, if you all want to buy a $69 (your price, not the artist price) coffee table book of poetry, i can hook you up!

redrum

oh boy - curtis didn't scoop the new frog eggs, and now there are a million tadpoles (tiny) amid the few i saved (big - one with a FOOT GROWTH!), and i have steeled myself to kill them (the little ones). i have already been outside this morning with my goldfish net, scooping and scooping...they are tricky little buggers - maybe it's the will to live? so now, i have a bucket full of tiny tadpoles, admittedly with a couple of big ones that i couldn't avoid, and i am going to flush them. or maybe get curtis to flush them...i am trying to convince myself it's not murder, but...i sort of subscribe to the monty python philosophy "ever sperm is sacred". and now that i think of it, the little tadpoles look an awful lot like sperm. i think i will have to get curtis to flush them...

welcome home, me!

Friday, July 28, 2006

jericho is falling...

apparently, life is falling down all around my home while i am gone... while the tadpoles are thriving - i will probably be home before they hop away, hooray! - new frog eggs were laid while i was here, and although i told curtis to scoop them, he forgot/didn't, and now there is a new generation hatched. which means when i get home, if i want to fill the pool for the girls to swim, i have to murder hundreds of princes! (you know, frogs turn into princes if you kiss them) i don't think i can do that. life is sacred, even slimy tadpole life. sigh...



also, it appears that satchmo, in a fit of boredom and as a cry for attention, ate baby beauty, our blackmoor fish. i can't tell you how sad that is. i have been nuturing baby beauty with great joy. now he is dead. sigh...

and to top it off, curtis says the house is an abominable mess. and i am coming home on sunday. anyone want to make bets on whether or not he will remember/have the time/have the energy to clean it - even though i asked? oh dear...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

a moment of depth

i am a little confused. i've been reading the OT (joshua, judges, ruth and 1 samuel) since being here in KY, and it has been very interesting. i do not feel like i know this God. maybe it's reading it in a new translation for the first time in many years, but the God of israel - while willing to forgive and redeem under the right circumstances - is incredibly harsh. father's sacrificing virgin daughters, slaughtering 10's of 1000's of women and children, smiting people left, right and center. i guess i see why - he is holy, and they are worshipping idols left, right and center, but it made me uneasy. maybe, though, i have gotten too far from his righteous anger, too used to the "nice" version of Jesus we all know and love. but as i think about it, when i read the gospels earlier this year, Jesus was pretty stern, too. he was not fooling around. yes, he was full of love, but he was unyielding too, and gave impossible commands, and demanded obedience. so maybe the God of the OT and the God revealed through Jesus in the NT are not that disparate, but they sure feel that way. i am going to have to think about that some more, i think. all i know is that if i were an israelite back in the day, i would have lived terrified. and maybe i ought to live with a little more of that reverent 'fear of God' in my life today...cause to be honest, i act like an israelite an awful lot...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

the thrill is gone

i don't know what to do... for the first time in 4 years i find myself wanting to go home, while on vacation here in KY. my mom is stressed about her job, and never home. my dad is lacking joy, and my girls are driving me nuts. if i leave, though, it's a family betrayal. so i will stay. but i am hoping things look up... sigh...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

updates galore!

false alarm.... it wasn't feet...it was, apparently, tadpole poop. a long string of tadpole poop. ah, well. i figure it takes a thriving tadpole to create such a thing! :) i am awaiting more pictures, but what with my slighty insane husband working til 3:30 in the morning, i don't expect to get them promptly. i'm surprised he can form a complete thought on that kind of schedule!

there is a new problem in the elliott household - the furnace is leaking, and a huge water spot has shown up on the kitchen ceiling. my father is beside himself. my mother provokes him by telling him it's not a big deal. they roll their eyes at eachother behind their backs. we are eagerly await the furnace guy to put an end to the marital unrest. i have been spending a lot of time looking like i'm not listening.

other than that, we hope swimming lessons will resume today - having been cancelled the last two days due to an overchlorinated pool... how frustrating! but, no cancellation phonecall so far this morning, and optimism is peeking it's head out of my heart! i am keeping my mental fingers crossed....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

proof of life

good morning! it is the "quiet hour" ... when grams has left for work, meg is still alseep in her bed, and kyra is devouring another book on the couch. i quite love it...not to mention the cat just leapt up onto my lap and is purring like a madwoman....ahhhh....

and curtis sent me proof of life of the tadpoles! hooray!



he says he thinks he saw one with feet, but couldn't get a picture because it was down near the bottom of the pool...but how exciting! i miss watching them grow, having never seen a tadpole grow into a frog, but i will take comfort in the fact that these frogs would not have lived if i hadn't rescued their eggs! i am a rachel, frog rescuer! lover of living creatures everywhere!

genuinely quiet mornings are so rare - i am going to go and take advantage of it... i hope you all have a wonderful day!

Monday, July 17, 2006

a major award!

i love presents! if you want me to know that you like me, love me, or think i'm great, gifts are definately the way to go!

so, i pull into KY tired and hot, and my mom covers my eyes and steers me toward my (our... no, no, i'm pretty sure it's MY) anniversary present... a beautiful, antique roll top secretary desk! oooo! ahhhh! it so lovely! it even caused me to think about turning around and driving home, so i could put it in the livingroom! i looked all over online to find a picture similar enough to give you an idea of what it looks like, but i didn't see one that did it justice, and there is no digital camera here, soooo...you will just have to wait and see! :)

and for the record, i do accept gifts smaller than antique roll top desks. infact, since i already have one of those, you should just cross it off your list entirely!

OH! BIG NEWS! earlier in my blog, i posted a poem i wrote, called 'the vine'. well, a while ago, i submitted it to a national poetry contest, and won "outstanding achievement in poetry" award! hooray me! unfortunately, it's not a cash prize - but there is a lovely crytal trophy i can get ... by either going to las vegas or sending a "nominal" fee of $169 (which includes a "free" subscription to some national poetry "news" magazine...but, oddly, not shipping and handling). i kid you not - this is the picture they sent me in the email i recieved....



sadly, i think i will have to forgo my lovely crystal prize. too bad - i could have put it on my new desk....

Sunday, July 16, 2006

sunday

happy sunday!

the girls are in the backyard pool, the humidity is high, and the sun is blazing! can you say, "good night sleep"? :) i am going to go read my book - i hope your afternoon is as lazy as mine!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

we have arrived!

ah, there's nothing like pulling into insane city traffic after 7 hours of empty highway's going 70mph... so soothing... %$@!$#@^$#!&*@#!

but, nonetheless, we have arrived! all in one piece, and i will be posting most of the time i'm here..so don't be strangers! :) leave me lots of lovely comments!

love me!! (take that however you want to!)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

life goes on

ok - i am going on vacation, but i will try to keep posting! while i am gone, please remind curtis to:

1. check on, and feed, the tadpoles

2. feed and water the cat, and scoop his litter

3. feed the goldfish

4. water the plants (especially the lillies!) if we go too many days without rain

5. feed the birds

looking at that list, and including The Girls and curtis, i nurture a lot of life! that makes me happy!

good news!



good news! the tadpoles are voluntarily swimming this morning! and they are bigger! and they are ALIVE!!! now i almost wish i weren't going to kentucky on saturday... i want to see my babies grow! :) all of you, please remind curtis to nurture them, ok?!

the ordination service went well... a lot gray hair, and at least one woman who sneered at my (fabulous!) shoes, but it was full of God, and lots of genuine warmth toward us (and all the other candidates), so... onward to our greencard! yikes!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

what's new pussycat?

congratulations to curtis! tonight we go out to the booming metropolis of highpoint, nc, to see his ordination officially transferred. and, yes, it really is as exciting as it sounds. for those of you drawing a blank, it's a lot like changing schools halfway through your degree and having to make up some of your credit hours since your new school doesn't count certain of your previous classes toward your degree. so curtis has had to take 2 more classes, (he was ordained in our previous church denomination), and now after tonight will be an official wesleyan reverend. i honestly, as much as i'm proud of him, feel weird about being married to a reverend. it's a little weird, don't you think?

on the plus side, the tadpoles are still alive - hooray!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

what a girl wants

i want my daughters to grow up to be fabulous women with lives full of people who love them, who love God, and have a strong sense of their own worth and beauty. and in the meantime, i want to be a good mom, who leaves them with memories they can hold on to, rather than ones they have to "deal with". i want to be able to sit on the porch with them when they are grown and talk about life, to have grown into a friendship with them like my mom and i have.

i want to look back over my lifetime and be able to say that i said yes to God, and did whatever he asked of me - that i used my gifts well. i want a 'well done, good and faithful servant'.

i want a lasting marriage that doesn't just hold out til the end for the sake of blind committment, but rather one that continues to grow in love and intimacy and respect. i want to learn to love curtis better. i want to feel like the center of someone's universe...

i want big lillies that aren't eaten by rabbits. i want regular time to hang in my hammock and sleep. i want to be a better human in the mornings. i want to always live where it is warm, and there are living things to get lost in... (i stood out in the street last night at dusk while 4 or 5 bats - sorry, dad - swooped and dove not 10 feet above my head... it was amazing!)

i want to write a book that people read and think is fantastic!

i want to grow old and beautiful - the kind of woman you want to sit beside and talk to, because she is so wise and gracious and funny - i want to be the kind of person peter and john were... "...they were unschooled, ordinary men, and (others) took note that these men had been with Jesus." i would like to have that tone in my life, too. i want to find a way to live that gives more life that it consumes. i want to figure out to live according to Psalm 119:73, 74... "You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word.”

i want to always have parties that people look forward to coming to, because they know they are going to laugh hard and have a great time.

i always want to have cute shoes and style.

i want to live so that the people that i love always know that i love them.

i think that's it... there is lots more that i "want", but they fall far more under the catagory of 'that red sweater', and not really anything you would want to build a life around!

Monday, July 10, 2006

your vote is needed!

hooray! over the weekend, my tiny circular frog eggs have grown to have tiny little tails and are about the size of a pencil lead! around each little froglet is a clear yolk sack... they are safely floating in the big bucket. now my problem is that the last week of their growth into frogs, should they live, they will be in the care of *gasp!* curtis, since i will be in kentucky. do we trust him to nurture the little froglets and feed them goldfish food and talk to them and encourage them and nurture their tiny hearts? i don't know! feel free to cast your vote in the comments section!



in other "hooray!" news, my daughter was baptized yesterday! it was a glorious day for a mom... she wants to follow Jesus so much! I was bursting!

Friday, July 07, 2006

oh happy day!


good morning! we woke up to what we have to assume are frog eggs in our swimming pool! oh happy day! we are going to nurture them and talk to them and see if we can grow them into frogs! hooray! curtis is very skeptical... he doesn't even agree that they are tadpoles, but it's 3 against 1 in that argument, and The Girls and i remain optimistic! i will keep you posted, and if they don't die, i'll take pictures for you! (this one is from the web) of course, we will have to remove them from the pool, first off..

oh! and there was a new and different yellow bird on the feeder this morning...one that isn't even in our 'birds of the carolina's' book! the sun is shining, the air is refreshing, and life pulses all around us!

"In a great chorus they sang, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory!" - Isaiah 6:3

Thursday, July 06, 2006

i love a rainy night


i woke up to the sound of what you southerner's probably would call "a gully washer"... it sounded like God had turned on a faucet, rather than raindrops. i loved it. i laid awake in my bed and listened to the rain and thunder, feeling so warm and cozy in my bed. after a long hot week, there is something very soothing about waking up to a grey and drizzling sky, don't you think?

as i watched the gold finches on the feeder in the rain this morning, it occurred to me how much glee-delight-whimsy God expressed when he made all of this...the creativity is endless! and frankly, some of it has no purpose other than to be gloriously beautiful. i feel like it's a good day to be alive!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

did you miss me?

good morning! thanks to the encouragment of sabrina, lu and oz, i am going to try beginning again! hooray for new beginnings!

considering that this is the month i was going to go on "mental vacation", there is a lot going on! it seems that every night and weekend we have something, and i feel quite a bit of pressure, rather than rest. in 2 weeks, though, i head off to visit my mom and dad, and that will be lovely, i'm sure! i always get to rest when i'm there.

i am trying to think of something more important i can say, that will "draw the reader in", but that's it for today, i think. if something occurs to me later, i'll let you know!

thank you, sabrina, steve and luaskya... it's nice to be wanted!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

no whining

this is my last post before the beach - and since the beach is a noble reason not to post, there will be no whining in my absence! because i know that you can't go on without me! yeah, right! :)

in honor of Summer, i have composed this haiku:

something about sand,
tan lines and sunburnt shoulders
takes my breath away

Monday, June 05, 2006

i gotta go...

it's like having to pee... you know what i mean, admit it. trapped in a car, driving down the highway after finishing that tepid can of coke, and nature calls. 25 miles to the gas station, and for reasons only mother nature knows, the closer you get to the bathroom, the worse you have to "go" - by the time you reach the actual gas station, if there is a line you could weep! that is what it feels like, waiting the last 2 days before leaving for summer vacation - for me, to the beach. every minute ticking away slowly...slowly...slowly... and the closer we get to departure the more desperate i am to LEAVE ALREADY! there are piles of things all over the house waiting to be collected into the truck...get me out of here!

happy summer to you all!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

how does that happen?


ah, my snarky brother was right - it is hard keeping up a blog! and i make no excuses for having a full and happy life! :) so there!

summer is upon us! hooray! i love nothing more than having my girls out of school, the backyard pool filled and popsicle sticks everywhere.... ahhhhhhhh... this year, we are going to the beach in the outer banks, making a couple of trips to kentucky (with or without curtis), and maybe i'll repaint some furniture. you gotta have goals, you know...

the scary thing is this: at the end of summer, my baby, my youngest daughter, will be in FIRST GRADE. how does something like that happen? i always thought i fell into the catagory of "young mom"... but having a first grader and being thirty*gulp*one i think disqualifies me! it makes me wonder if i might be, indeed, a grown up...makes me wonder what i am doing with my life now - how will i define the years of my girls in school when i look back on them. what will i make of them.

*sigh* such big questions to face at the beginning of summer, when the most i can fathom is whether or not we all have enough sunscreen on. maybe i will leave them for later... it seems to me they're not going anywhere....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

no surprise...

our retreat was wonderful! many thanks to these cool and amazing women - plus jennifer, who had to leave early - without whom there would have been no retreat! you girls rock!

Monday, May 15, 2006

ack!

here i am, one week into my blog, and already i am going to be an unfaithful poster! this weekend i am leading and speaking at a retreat for women, and in the flurry to "be prepared" (like a boy scout) i don't know how much mental energy i will have to post things. but don't give up on me - i am not abandoning ship, as it were. and if you think of it, think happy thoughts for me this weekend!

Friday, May 12, 2006

be nice!


happy friday! don't forget to be nice to the woman who bore you, or the woman who loved you, or the grandma who raised you! remember - we are all just trying to do the best that we can without screwing you up too badly! viva moms!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

every blindman should have a beard


Every Blindman Should Have a Beard
- Jordan Vincent Elliott

"come here" he said
(i was out of
his arms reach) "i want
to look at you" and rough
black skinned fingres
felt and rubbed my face (which i had
recently shaved)
he has no pupils i thought "i
like the way you look" he said
i wonder how he can tell i thought while
his fat dark fingers
closed my eyelids and (with a tenderness
unlike his thick fingers)touched my eyes
and i opened them again
(he doesn't blink i thought)
he traced my eyebrows and nose
and chin and ears and lips and
touched the top of my head with
a heavy hand "you are
handsome" he said with a
fat black man's laugh and squeezed
my arm
his laugh laughing itself into something of
a small song to himself which
he half-hummed
i wanted him to look at me again
(i wonder if he knew how bald he was or
how grey his beard was or
what grey is at all)
he slowly lifted his cup to his mouth
and took a shaky sip of tea
he can see something i cannot
i thought
i want to see what he does
i closed my eyes and
reached out my smooth thin white fingers
and touched his beard "what
are you doing" he asked
"i want to look at you" i said

© 2005 Jordan Vincent Elliott
International Copyright Secured
All Rights Reserved
Used By Permission

this is excerpted from a book of poetry called 'death by love at first sight', which you can purchase by sending Jordan e-mail.

shout out


my poor, beloved brother jordan was in a car accident last night...and while he is thankfully ok, his car is pretty much a write off. for a college student, losing your wheels is like losing a limb - and so, as an encouragement to jordan, here is a list of some of the reasons he is a most excellent brother.

1. he never pushed my girls down the stairs, even when they woke him up waaay too early.
2. he is an informative guide at any sort of natural or artistic exhibit - zoos, aquariums, museums, et al.
3. he encourages me by reminding me of all the good things about me, and lets the bad things slide.
4. he is hilarious and smart - a wicked combination.
5. he is wildly talented. (if he lets me, i will post one of my favorites of his poems later today or tomorrow - what do you say, jordan?)
6. he walks with me.
7. he drove me to the airport even though he hadn't planned on it and didn't really want to. and he didn't complain at all.
8. he lends me sweaters when i am cold.
9. he lets me live vicariously through his love life.
10. he has a lovely, lovely heart.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

put on your dancin' shoes


in my 20's, i lived out my faith based on 2 Chron 20:15 - 17, which basically says, 'don't be afraid...this is God's battle. prepare yourself...stand firm and see God's victory. go out to face them tomorrow and God will be with you.' life felt like a battle to me, i guess. i'm not sure why it felt like that, but it did, and that verse gave me courage. i have recently tucked it into my back pocket for another day, when there is a genuine war to wage, and am replacing with a new verse - a new prescription for walking out my relationship with God in this world. it is psalms 119:74 "may all who love You find in me a cause for joy, for i have put my hope in Your word" i rather like that. i want to be a cause for joy - and to be candid, i've got a ways to go! but what a great way to live your life! the key for me will be living as joy-giver because i have put my hope in God. i am reading 'journey of desire', where john eldridge makes the point that the apostle paul calls us to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us, but nobody seems to be asking us why we are so hopeful. we can only hope for what we desire, he says, and we have stopped desiring God and his heaven restored on earth, so our hopes are pretty much what everyone else hopes for...so what's the point in them asking? they know what we are hoping for. i want to dance through life, not battle it out. so, in my 30's i am going to throw my lot in with king david, and live to desire God more, hope more in his word, and give more joy to the people around me.

comment correction

it was brought to my attention last night by my GIFTED, TALENTED AND HANDSOME BROTHER that many of you couldn't leave comments here! that is not good! apparentlly, there is more to setting up a blog than i thought... so many choices! so, with help from sabrina, i changed the setting and rectified the problem...so go ahead! leave comments willy nilly! thanks for taking the time to visit me here... have a good day!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

sweet nothings



"dolce fa niente" - translation - "it's sweet to do nothing"

my parents, my children and my husband and i, and my brother are going to the beach this summer (in 29 sleeps!) hooray!


it will be a long week of sleeping on porch, making sand castles, eating ice cream, playing scrabble, laying out, and maybe even going to see some of the famous NC lighthouses..although that comes perilously close to 'doing something', so i'm not holding my breath. every time my mom calls, she says, 'i'm dying to go to the beach!', and i agree with her. it is the sweet nothing that spurs us on through all of our 'somethings'...the light at the end of our tunnel. coming from western canada, the beach is the closest thing to God on this earth for us...what a good God, to put such luxury here for us! what a wildly creative God to fill the ocean with whatever living thing a sand dollar is, the millions of things that fill shells before we collect them, to give flight to rainbow painted buntings and gigantic, graceful pelicans. last time i was there we saw porpoises everyday, and it was like watching the fingers of God trail through the water...the ocean is the music that soothes the savage beast...the busy-i-must-do-it-now-get-it-done pulse of life. there is no way to hurry at the shore. dolce fa niente, indeed!

Monday, May 08, 2006

not what you expected


motherhood is tough gig. i try not to live my life defined by the fact that i'm a mom, but there is no denying that it shapes me and influences my choices. the hardest thing, for me, about being a mom is the relentlessness of it - day after day, lunch after lunch, load after load of laundry... i love love love my daughters, but there are days when the grind wears me thin. coming up to mother's day, i've been thinking about that, and i think that what makes it hard for me is that i can be such a selfish person. when life is trucking along and what the girls need and i feel like doing are compatible, life is sweet. but when their needs conflict with my wants... the self-serving ego in me raises it's ugly head. sigh. i'll never forget the moment i became a mom - the revelation of how much my life revolved around me was startling!

jean pierre de cassaude, a french priest from the 16th century, wrote a series of letters that were collected after his death and published into a little book called 'abandonment to divine providence'. the theme of his letters was that what we are given at any moment - be it pleasure or pain, work or rest, joy or sorrow - is exactly what we need to become holy. he said, 'you seek for secret ways of belonging to God, but there is only this: to do what he has given you to do, and to do it with joyful abandon to his will'.

and so i am reminded coming up to mother's day, that if i let motherhood pare my self-consideration, i will become more and more into the woman God intended me to be. and in turn, find motherhood an easier road. not a smooth and gentle road, but one that i have the grace to travel.

so call your mom on sunday - or write a note to a woman who has influenced you with a mother's love and wisdom. because we are just people trying really hard to do our best and not screw you up too badly!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

the vine

pull the wild honeysuckle from the vine
and put it in my hair

with your too large fingers
tuck the stem
behind my ear and
lean into me
and breathe

i will be the vine
and you can be the branch
the two shall be one
and we will be
wild honeysuckle

pulled from the vine
tucked behind the ear of a pretty girl
by the boy who loves her

augustine

i have given into the peer pressure, and the lure of having a voice that someone, somewhere may hear. i will not be as funny as jordan, as faithful as sabrina, or as deep as dan (who could be!?), but i am going to give this thing a shot. it's wierd, actually, to be writing for an 'audience' as it were, who will be reading and judging and peeking into my life...a little bit like being one of the women in the window, along the streets of amsterdam...showing a little here, and a little there, but never the whole thing. that's what i imagine this will become - a little of my musing, a little of my heart, a little of my humor...poetry, scripture, ranting and days and days without anything new under the sun.

so we begin with this:

'solviture abulando' - augustine.