K.I.S.S.--Keep It Simple, Stupid

A woman's walk through marriage, parenthood, servanthood and the family of God.


E-Mail Me Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com The WeatherPixie

Saturday, November 30, 2002

The wind is swirling around the house like a howling banshee, rattling the window panes and trying to sneak down the chimney. The temperature is dropping quickly, the warmth fleeing the witch's wails. I'd be content to stay snug and warm in the house today, but the church is having a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help with the cost of our monthly coffee houses. Tim is already there, having gone to help set up tables and cook (yes, I said cook). He will be back for the kids and I in an hour or so. We are signed up to help serve the food and drinks.

posted by Stacy at 1:44 PM

Friday, November 29, 2002

The end of a long Black Friday. I swore I wouldn't enter a store today, but as Megan and I were trying to string lights on the Christmas tree....Yes, I am decorating already, it's tradition!....anyway, we discovered one strand of lights had a bad wire. Well, with boxes and boxes of decorations lying knee-deep in the kitchen and livingroom, there was no turning back or stopping. We had to run to Kmart for lights. The good news is it was 3:00 and the crowds were not as bad as they probably were earlier. It was calm enough that we did some shoe shopping while we were there....sneakers for Matt and ugly (I mean beautiful) patchwork denim, platform boots and dress shoes for Megan. I even felt brave enough to stop by the Country Living store and buy our Christmas candle.....the one that makes the house smell like we have a real tree (love the smell, hate the mess). Did some running again this evening with Tim....a mad search for shells for one of the guns (it's an odd thing) and some brackets to make a slide out shelf for the television. Megan and I went back to work on the tree when we got home, finishing up just a little while ago. Now everyone else is in bed and I am exhausted, but I am loathed to give up the peace and quiet just yet. I'm just sitting here typing and admiring the tree. It's been a good day and we have a lot to be thankful for.

posted by Stacy at 11:05 PM

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Ahhh....Thanksgiving morning the way it was meant to be. It is very, very cold (the kind of cold where the snow squeaks under your feet), but clear and sunny. The desserts were made last night. The green bean casserole is done and the corn spoonbread and sweet potatoes are ready and waiting to go in the oven. With everything under control, I had time to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we can relax until it's time to carry everything up to Mom's for dinner at 12:30. The kids are going up now to help set up tables and chairs. We are expecting somewhere between 13-21. My cousins aren't the most considerate of people and even late last night couldn't commit to whether they will be here or not. Oh well, there will be plenty of food for whoever shows up. Mom is roasting a 22lb. turkey and I doubled (or even tripled) everything I made.

Happy Thanksgiving!

posted by Stacy at 9:15 AM

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

We are under a winter storm warning until 7:00 tomorrow morning. It looks like there are about 2 inches of snow on the ground and they are calling for 6 or more. The kids are kind of bummed. It would most likely have been a perfectly good snow day, but they are already off. I'm sure they will be out with their sleds and snowboards as soon as I will let them go, anyway.

Got my Thanksgiving shopping done today. Tomorrow I start making the desserts.

My Nana celebrated her 84th birthday today. We took her to wing night at a local sports bar......wings are her favorite. She probably shouldn't have them, but she doesn't have many joys in life since she is very hard of hearing and nearly blind. Mom figures at this stage, we can let her do what she wants.....within reason.

Some bad news today. My pap test showed abnormal cell growth again. It's still in the moderate range and the nurse that called acted like it's no big deal, just something that needs to be taken care of, but it has been slightly upgraded from the last time (and that's after treatment). I have an appointment on Janurary 7th for an exam and the doctor will decide the next step at that time, I guess. With all the problems I've been having, I admit to being very scared.

posted by Stacy at 11:04 PM

Sunday, November 24, 2002

You know, I really don't like to do house work on Sunday. I really do like to make it a day of rest. But my family leaves me no choice sometimes. I had to go to the early service this morning because of the Loaves of Love program. The rest of the family waited to come for Sunday school and stayed for the second service. I came home to relax a bit before I have to go to a regional youth meeting this afternoon. Do I get to relax? NO!!!! I'm going to get this vent out of my system so I don't say anything to Tim or the kids when they get home and then I have to clean up a huge mess that extends through three rooms of the house. I'm really working on keeping my mouth shut and praying instead because God is teaching me that yelling, begging, crying, nagging and the like do not work at all.....but I'm not quite ready to give up my private/semi-private vent system yet. They were only home alone for an hour or so.....how in the world did they make this much of a mess??? The kitchen looks like it exploded. :o( Ok, working on new attitude.......thank you, Lord, for this. You are teaching me something even now so help me to see it as a blessing and be grateful.

Last night's coffee house was great! Attendance was down a little as many of our youth had other places to be, so weren't there with all their friends, but we had a good adult crowd. The band was a little mellower than usual so no one left as they usually do following the opening act. The opening act was a church member that did some hymns and some older praise and worship stuff. Not really my kind of stuff (she considered a Twila Paris song kicking it up a notch), but she did a good job and the older crowd appreciated it. The main band was Rizen from Beaver Falls. They were young, mainly praise and worship stuff. I guess I'd call their style alternative. They were excellent entertainers. I really enjoyed them and picked up their CD. They have some good original stuff and get some air play on Pittsburgh's Christian radio station.

The Witness Protection Program is currently without a drummer. They auditioned two yesterday, but neither was right. Jeff Keys talked to Matt about it last night and wants him to audition after Thanksgiving. Matt doesn't think he is ready (I'm not sure I do either), but Jeff was pretty insistant so Matt's going to give it a go. Man, if they were actually to want him, Tim and I would have to do a lot of praying, thinking and talking. Matt is just 16 and not the most responsible of teens as it is. We have a hard time getting him to do his school work now. I'm not sure sending him off on the road with a band poised to make it big (most likely playing center stage at Creation this coming summer among other things) would be the right thing for him at this point. I know he feels he is being called into ministry and feels music ministry will be his niche, but....... Well, we'll just have to see what happens with the audition.

By the way, Matt shared his testimony at the coffee house last night. He did a pretty good job. Like his mom, he hates speaking in front of crowds, but like his mom, he did it anyway and it was good. He went public with his call to ministry for the first time outside of family and friends. I know that was hard for him.

Well, I'm off to handle damage control before the family gets home. Enjoy your Sunday!

posted by Stacy at 11:42 AM

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Brrrrr! Winter has reared it's ugly head and we have snow on the ground with the promise of more to come. It's going to be mighty cold this morning as we collect the food drive donations.

Last night went well. The kids loved watching 'The Grinch.' I was surprised by how many of them had never seen it. It was a great time of just hanging out together and laughing. Jim Carey made an awesome Grinch. I'm afraid there may be a sudden rash of Cindy Lou Who hairdo's around town next week, though. The guys got to play their video games, but we females didn't go bowling. We arrived at the lanes 5 minutes after open bowling started and found all the lanes were taken. :o( Plan B: We went to Barnes and Noble to browse the books and sip yummy caffinated confections. :o) I picked up a couple of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen paperbacks for Megan (Christmas gifts) and a Christmas mystery for me. I got to use my new membership card, which made the price nice.

Well, time to plot my many layers and begin to psych myself up to spending the morning in 30 degree weather with a windchill of about 15 degrees. Enjoy your Saturday, sleeping in your nice warm beds, in your nice warm pajamas in your nice warm house.

Shenanigans-pranks, mischief, monkeyshines, tom-foolery.

posted by Stacy at 9:09 AM

Friday, November 22, 2002

Last night I went to the ladies group from church. It was the first time I'd gone in a couple of months....mainly because I find that most of the time it doesn't meet my needs and I'd rather do something else. Anyway, got some pressure from a friend to go and caved into it. To my surprise it was a good night. The sharing time was good and everyone seemed to be getting real about things for a change and I actually enjoyed the lesson and felt like I got something out of it. I feel like I accomplished something, too. A few blog posts back, I shared my concerns about the costs of Christmas and mentioned this group in particular, telling how last year's Christmas party cost each person at least $30. I've always felt that was a bit extravagant and prohibiting for some. When they began discussing plans last night I found that they wanted to go to a rather pricey restaurant and still have the usual grab bag gift exchange plus the secret sister gift exchange. The restaurant in question would have brought the evening's cost to $50 easily. I couldn't hold my tongue any more and told them I thought that would keep many of the women we want to reach away or at the least really strap women who can't afford it but want to be included. You could tell it was a new thought for some of them, but I got the feeling the rest were relieved that someone had spoken up because there was a great deal of support for my thoughts. Anyway, the end result is that the party is now going to be a covered dish dinner held at a member's home. I feel like I done good.

I'm searching through magazines and cookbooks for recipe ideas. Mom and I talked some about ideas for Thanksgiving. I know I'm going to make desserts for one thing. Now I just have to figure out what. I think rolls are my responsiblity, too, and I volunteered to make sweet potatoes....saw a recipe that has some maple flavoring that sounded good. I don't know what else I'll find.

Girls Night Out with the teens tonight. The guys are going to play video games. Pastor Matt is a video game junkie. Hmmm....a youth pastor that's addicted to video games, imagine that. ;o) Bethany and I are taking the girls bowling but it doesn't start till 9:00 so I think we might all gather at the church to watch a movie then split to do our different things. Maybe the Grinch to kick of the holiday season?

posted by Stacy at 12:35 PM

I've been kind of quiet the last day or so.....not really knowing what to say that I wouldn't regret later as I've watched friends of mine get torn apart by their church. Here's a couple that has devoted their lives to ministry and the church is tearing them down and destroying them. I'm sure they will survive, though in what condition, I'm not sure.

I'm asking myself and God a lot of questions:
1. Why do Christians spend so much time talking about
loving one another, showing compassion and doing
what Jesus would do....and then spend so much
time actually doing the opposite?
2. Have we, as believers and followers of Christ,
learned anything at all in the last 2000 years? It
seems like I see the same stuff happening in our
churches and among our leaders that offended
3. Do we use the word Christian too freely without
understanding all that it means to be a follower of

Anyone have any answers or thoughts?

posted by Stacy at 10:02 AM

Thursday, November 21, 2002

"Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us......" Ephesians 4:29-32, 5:1-2

Why is it that Christians talk about this so much, but have so much trouble putting it into practice?

posted by Stacy at 10:41 AM

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Found another Christian friend and thinker in the blogosphere. Check out Chris' site at www.dilbonedaily.blogspot.com

posted by Stacy at 9:18 AM

Yes! I'm so psyched. I just found out that PBS is airing a two-hour movie based on Tony Hillerman's "Skinwalker" novel, this Sunday at 9:00. Hillerman is my favorite mystery writer and you all know the Navajo people hold a big spot in my heart....so mystery and Navajo culture together? Oh, yeah! I don't recognize the actor playing the legendary Joe Leaphorn, but he had the lead in "Geronimo" and Jim Chee is being played by Adam Beach from "Windtalkers." Word is, Hillerman approves of what's been done. Sounds like quality stuff. Find out more at www.pbs.org

posted by Stacy at 9:07 AM

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Whoa! Big day on the old blog. Brian Miller, whose blog I read and whose writings I've mentioned before, mentioned my humble blog on his site and gave a link. The pressure is on. Someone (besides my best friends) might read this crazy thing. Maybe I should apologize in advance.

posted by Stacy at 2:15 PM

One of "those" days today. I realized about 20 minutes before Megan's bus came that we were out of bread, so off we ran to the store. A quick trip in and out and back home to throw her lunch together. Back to the car and to the bus stop....only to see the backend of the bus as it drove away. Grrrr! Quick 3-point turn in the middle of the street and back down our street to the other end and we just got there in time for her to catch the bus at its next stop. Whew.

My aunt is home. She was discharged yesterday and her oldest son brought her home. He is layed of from his 6-figure-a-year computer job so is going to live with her for now (don't get me started about why he isn't living with his wife and kids). Mom called me last night and said she knows the younger son and his whole family are coming home for Thanksgiving. We don't know about the rest of the family. I doubt my cousins are thinking about the fact that their mom might not be up to making Thanksgiving dinner so Mom asked me if I'd help her feed the troops. I'd rather not spend my holiday with them, but what can I do? So, of course I said yes. :oP

I'm leaving soon to take Scooby (also known as Poop Head, Rat Dog and Ugly) to be groomed. Something that is long overdue. His hair is pretty long for a poodle and it's gotten to be a matted mess. I gave him a bath yesterday and spent an hour trying to comb him getting bit repeatedly for my efforts. I finally gave up and called the groomer and warned her she will have to muzzle him. After that, I'm going to the church to work on tomorrow night's lesson and some other things I've been neglecting.

posted by Stacy at 9:40 AM

Sunday, November 17, 2002

We've had a pretty nice weekend for our anniversary....18 years today! Last night the kids went to my mom's and Tim and I went to a really popular Italian place called Rizzo's. That was a first for both of us. It was really nice to sit down and get waited on hand and foot (the service was incredible) and enjoy a wonderful meal with no kids carrying on. It was terribly expensive, but I found a gift certificate someone had given us last year for Christmas that covered most of it. After that we went to Barnes and Noble to hang out for a while. I found a book on the Navajo Code Talkers for Matt. We'll give it to him for Christmas. I also bought two boxes of Christmas cards. These were pretty and on sale. The kids made us breakfast in bed this morning, which was really sweet. Good thing it's the thought that counts. They were so proud of their efforts. Tim's eggs were burnt to a crisp and mine were semi-raw and ice cold. Tim did eat his, but I confess I waited till they were out of the room and rushed to the bathroom with mine and flushed them. Then we were talking with our friends, Dale and Pam, after church and they decided spur of the moment to take us all out to dinner for our anniversary. We went to Dingbats for the buffet. Now they have kept Matt and Megan with them and will bring them home later. What a nice and completely unexpected surprise. We really enjoyed the time.

Well, off for maybe a short nap and then I need to start cleaning up in preparation for tomorrow night's Pampered Chef party. :oP I really don't want to have it, but booked it to help the youth group out when they hosted one a while back.

Tonight the youth group is going to decorate the youth room. The mind boggles at what they might do.

posted by Stacy at 3:50 PM

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Ok, I'm a little frustrated today. This the day the youth group went out in the area around the church and passed out notices that next Saturday we will be collecting food donations for the local men's shelter. We do this every year and it's been on the calendar for months. Everyone says they will be there to help....and every year fewer and fewer of them turn out. I had four teens show up this year (Tim, Megan and I were there, too). A lot said they would be there and then just didn't show, the pastor's kids included. I do not get the idea of only doing service to others when it's convenient, warm, there's nothing else to do or there is something (recognition/reward) in it for you. The kids are constantly on my back to schedule service projects, and yet every time I try to get them organized to do something the excuses start flying and the whining reaches a peak. My one consolation comes in knowing that it just might not be me and anything I am or am not doing, because the pastors struggle with the same things among the adults. Apathy is rampant. Everything is always a good idea as long as someone else is going to do it.

I also find that lately I feel like I'm losing a lot of the teens. We are in an area that has a lot of churches, many of them large with large youth groups. I've been to a few youth functions in those churches.....they are geared to wow the kids with entertainment, activities, etc. Over half of our kids are dual attenders and they tell me about stuff they've done at these other groups all the time and want to know why can't we do that stuff. The cold hard facts are that the church is not financially able to do big things right now and I also do not have the staff. No one is willing to work with the youth on any kind of a regular basis. I try to be happy that they are at least spending time in a church setting, but I worry sometimes that the real message gets lost in all that entertainment. It's fun and it makes you feel good, but shouldn't there be more? I really worry that the teens are getting the wrong message when they tell me they would bring their friends to our church if it was more "fun."

posted by Stacy at 2:47 PM

Friday, November 15, 2002

My poor cold-infested body is protesting this afternoon. Spurred on by a good dose of mamma rage, I cleaned my shed this morning. It started because I found that the rabbits did not have food and probably hadn't been fed for a couple of days judging by their behavior. The feed is in the shed.....actually, it was all over the shed, along with cedar bedding chips, firewood, bikes, fishing gear, archery equipment, golf clubs, gas cans, a wide assortment of shovels, rakes, hoes and the like, and a lot of other things. Just getting in the door required scaling a Mount Everest-sized mountain of junk. To actually find something....impossible. Basically, I emptied the whole thing out, swept and organized as I put things back. I found things I was told I didn't own anymore (just under stuff) and things I don't know why any human being would save. Garbage went in the garbage and Tim's things went to his workshop. Right now everything is in its place, all the pool stuff is together, all the Christmas stuff is together, and all the tools are together, etc. You can get in the door, see what you want and YOU CAN ACTUALLY GET TO IT!!! The kids have been warned. If I find it lying on the floor then I will assume it isn't important to them and it will either go in the trash or out by the road with a "FREE: Take Me" sign on it. Man, I am sooooo mean. :o) As for Tim.....I'll just lug his stuff up to his workshop and toss it in HIS door.

No, I didn't get very far on my list today thanks to the shed project. Just the kitchen and some laundry.

We've been invited for dinner by a family from the church so guess I'd better go unstinkify myself in the shower and if I'm lucky, it will perk me up, too.

posted by Stacy at 3:55 PM

And you thought your kids were bad! Check out www.lifeontheridge.blogspot.com and read yesterday's post titled "Still Sputtering." Makes my kids sound like angels....but probably only for today, since all kids have their days that leave us sputtering.

Feeling slightly better this morning. No sore throat and no aches....just a "balloon" head. Gotta love NyQuil. One shot of the nasty stuff works wonders.

Watched "Windtalkers" with Matt last night. My uncle was a Marine who worked with the Navajo code talkers during WWII and we've been wanting to see the movie to find out more about what that may have been like. We'd been warned that it was violent and gross. Yes, it was, but it didn't begin to compare with "Black Hawk Down" for overall grossness. I didn't find myself praying for it to soon be over. I enjoyed, too, when the movie talked about Navajo things, seeing how much I knew from my visits to New Mexico.

Mom is off today. She has to go for a colonoscopy (sp?) this morning. I think it is just routine. I don't believe they have any reason to be concerned....just something that needs to be done at a certain age. Gee, something to look forward to. She is having a lot of tests done lately, but then my mom has always been very doctor oriented, going for every little thing. Recently she had a mammogram and they found a tiny lump. The doctor is pretty sure it is a cyst, but Mom goes back in 6 months. If it hasn't been absorbed or has grown then they will probably do a needle biopsy. Fun, fun.

Well, made myself a list of things to accomplish today so I'm going to get started on that. Happy TGIF!

posted by Stacy at 7:49 AM

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Just got back from dragging my tired, achy body to meet Megan's bus (Matt stayed after school for drivers' ed) and took a good look around. It finally looks like November. When I got up this morning many of the trees and shrubs were still hanging on to their leaves, but strong winds this afternoon have stripped them off and piled them wherever there is a corner to trap them. Scooby walked with me and had a ball plowing through them, nose to the ground.

posted by Stacy at 4:06 PM

I have so got to learn how to link, but it's worth it to copy and paste to view the article "10 Reasons Why Your Church Sucks" on The Ooze site.


posted by Stacy at 9:12 AM

Sore throat, stuffed up head, runny nose.......I'm sick. WHAAAAA!!

posted by Stacy at 6:13 AM

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Hubby dearest didn't go to his doctor's appointment. Big surprise. At least he had a good excuse. He hit a gas line while digging with a backhoe and had to wait for the gas company to fix it. New plan is for me to make him an appointment for first thing in the morning so he can get it over with and then head to work, rather than try to get away from work and get to an appointment on time. That hasn't worked yet.

posted by Stacy at 9:58 PM

One doctor's appointment down (mine) and one to go (Tim's). Just a quick retest for me today...no answers to my health problems. I'm to begin keeping a detailed daily log and bring with me in February.

I threw a rolled pork roast and sourkraut in the crockpot for dinner. Not sure of the cooking time on it, so hope it will be done in time. I'm trying to make things easier. We have a lot of running to do tonight as both kids need picked up from school at 5:30, Matt has to be back at school at 7:00 and I have to be at the church by 6:30. I am done at 8:00 and Matt is done at 9:00. These kinds of nights are nuts!

posted by Stacy at 11:54 AM

42 days 'till Christmas. The number of shopping days left is the same since stores in this age of enlightenment are open everyday....and Walmart NEVER closes. I hate to admit it, but I've lost some of the joy and wonder of Christmas the last few years. Seems like there are so many things to get done, so many people to please, so many expectations and then there is the whole stress of what Christmas does to the budget. In years past, we have trimmed our family gift giving about as tight as we can. Tim and I usually don't exchange gifts, prefering to give to the kids at Christmas and doing something for ourselves at a later time. We give to my mom and my aunt, but stopped exchanging with all my cousins since we never see them and for the most part they don't even come around at Christmas. In Tim's family we only give to his dad and the neices and nephews that are present for Christmas......now that can be an awful lot if they all come home, but thankfully, they rarely do. So that doesn't seem like a lot, but if your budget is tight to begin with presents for that handful can really stretch it, if not break it. Then there are the church groups. We need gifts for the youth Christmas party and gifts for teachers and pastors and the ladies group I belong to does a general gift exchange, plus a secret sister gift exchange, plus charges $10 for a catered meal....that's $30 for one night. I know a couple of people who have backed out because of it. There is something really wrong with a group that is meant to support and encourage women in Christian love, causing some women to either live beyond their means or feel excluded. Just goes to show, I think, how even as Christians we have to some degree lost sight of what Christmas is all about.

Well, my ranting won't change anything. In fact, probably nothing I do will bring about any changes in the way Christmas is celebrated. So....since I can't change the world I'll just change me. I am praying earnestly for peace this holiday season. A quiet contentment in the midst of the storm so that I may savor my savior and all that His birth means. Beyond that, I am trying to find ways to simplify and destress the holidays.

Just yesterday, I took a big chunk out of my stress. Since Tim's family has "appointed" me the hostess for the family gathering on Christmas Eve day, I can invite whomever I want. I chose to invite a family member they include less than us. Right there my stress level about that whole get together dropped tremendously. This family member helped me to see that if I am doing the hosting I can set the time to be convenient for me and asked why do I have to have a big sit-down dinner. Gee, I don't know. Because that's what is always expected, I guess. As she pointed out, I'm already cooking a huge dinner on Christmas Day as are most of them, so why should I have to do another one the day before? They won't appreciate it, they won't help by bringing anything and they won't help clean up. Since I have been told I HAVE to host since Christmas is for kids and I have the only kids, why not make it easier on myself? Why not indeed? So, for Tim's family it will be a cold buffet of lunchmeats, cheeses, salads and whatnot and the very wise and helpful relative is going to help me prepare it because I was thoughtful enough to include her in a family gathering.

The biggest thing I'm going to change is how I look at things this year. No, stressing over everything being just right. It'll be good enough, whatever it is. I'm just going to take it a little easier try to find the joy again.

posted by Stacy at 7:11 AM

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Just finished watching "Blackhawk Down" with Matthew. It was so hard to watch, I guess because it was about a real event and because I knew someone that died there. The blood and gore didn't make me sick, it was thinking about the horror and fear those men endured. It can be one sick and twisted world at times.

posted by Stacy at 2:01 PM

Some things we have done so far to achieve our goal of simplicity and frugality. These are just our first baby steps.

1. We switched from heating with natural gas to propane. Natural gas prices have risen 28% since September. We also saved about $600 in installation/set up fees by buying our own tanks and having them filled. We don't have the convience of having someone come to fill them, but by taking them to be filled ourselves, we save nearly $1 per gallon. We also continue to suppliment our heat by using the fireplace when needed. It has a blower and is capable of warming the house itself. With Tim working in construction, we have a virtually never-ending supply of scrap lumber which burns especially hot. We did purchase one load of good hardwood (and will probably buy one more) for when quick, intense heat is not the issue. The hardwood burns much longer. We figure it will cost us about $50-$60 per month to heat the house.

2. No cable TV....and no one is complaining!

3. When I did the grocery shopping this week I went fully prepared. I had used the sale paper to make a list of what I needed that was on sale then I searched my coupons for as many as I could use. I also stuck to my list.

4. For cleaning products and toiletries I've discovered how great the dollar stores and bargain stores are. I can always find what I need at Dollar General for about half the grocery store price or less and sometimes I can find items I need at the dollar store, though that is hit or miss.

5. We have cut way back on eating out and buying prepackaged foods. I am doing a lot more cooking and doing it from scratch. I do more baking as well.

6. I am trying to train Tim and the kids to turn lights off when they leave a room. That is admittedly slow going. You can usually track their activity by the trail of lights.

7. With no television to talk about, we are reading more books, the kids are going out to play more, more is getting done around the house, and the kids are doing more chores with less complaining. When we do watch something, it is a movie and we all watch it together.

8. I reorganized the kitchen so there is less clutter and confusion.

9. And last, but certainly not least, praying.

posted by Stacy at 8:15 AM

Monday, November 11, 2002

My sister-in-law is out of her gourd! She called a few weeks ago to see what Tim thought of her dating again. I can't say that we were excited, as she has only been widowed 10 months and felt that she was rushing into things. But, hey, she is an adult and what's the harm in dating? Right? Quite a bit, apparently.

Let me give you some background. My sister-in-law is a lovely person, but she is 44 years old, weighs about 400lbs, is in generally poor health and on oxygen all the time. Now, I wish this were not the case, but you and I both know that the woman I described is not the kind of woman a guy that's swimming in the deep end of the gene pool takes a look at and decides "Wow! That's the woman for me!"

The person she has chosen to become involved with lives in the same housing complex she does...which means he is also handicapped in some way. That's okay, though it may make some things harder for them. What's a little odd is that he still lives with his parents (I don't know how old he is) who are both handicapped themselves and has had only one other relationship....ever (or so he claims). My SIL claims to love this man, but is not ready to make a total commitment until after she marks her wedding anniversary late next month....by placing her wedding ring in the urn with her late husband's ashes. So far this couple is not, shall we say, consumating the relationship....but they are doing their darnest to do everything they can but that and SIL has decided New Year's Day is the big day. He wants to get married. She doesn't know if she's ready, BUT.....she wants to talk to her doctors and find out if it is possible for her to get pregnant and if she could survive a pregnancy. I can't even believe she is thinking about it.

I know she is lonely, but I had hoped she'd find comfort in God as she professes loudly and often to be a born-again Christian. It sounds more like she is settling for the comfort of man....and the first man that comes along at that. I think she must be afraid that she can do no better.

We have a lot of concerns, but know it will do no good to express them. My dear SIL is the epitomy of pig-headed. All we can do is pray.

posted by Stacy at 11:14 PM

Prayers and sympathy go out to all who were hit by the storm system that ripped across the South and parts of Ohio...especially to the town of Mossy Grove, TN. The news updates report that Mossy Grove has been wiped off the face of the planet and at last count, 150 people were missing.

posted by Stacy at 12:33 PM

It's been a while since I've been this wiped out on a Monday morning. Yesterday was Pastor Matt's birthday so he was absent from all the evening activities and both quiz coaches were absent so I got to handle everything on my own. I love doing it, but it does take a lot out of you mentally and emotionally.

Tim had me call him off as a service leader yesterday because his headache was so bad. He did nothing but sleep yesterday until late afternoon. Then he did wake up to get something to eat and watch a movie. He went to bed by 9:00. He is feeling much better this morning after having been fighting with this particular headache for over a week and is convinced he has a virus or something. I'm just glad he has a doctor's appointment on Wednesday and is showing no signs of skipping it.

Today is Veterans' Day and there is no school. Megan is home, but Matt spent the night at a friend's. I don't expect to see him until this afternoon. Megan will most likely have a friend here or be at a friend's by 9:30 this morning. Matt also has tomorrow off because of parent/teacher conferences at the high school level. Matt rented "Blackhawk Down" the other day and we plan to watch it tomorrow when Megan is in school. He is just a fan of war/action films and I've wanted to see it because I went to school with one of the soldiers that died in the incident...Sgt. Earl Fillmore.

Today? Nothing exciting....just laundry and household chores.

posted by Stacy at 6:45 AM

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Sometimes you just gotta love the way life goes. Much to my kids' dismay, our elderly dinner guests called this afternoon and canceled due to poor health. The kids are seeing this as a day wasted, but Mom is grinning ear to ear and admiring her sparkling clean house. :o)

posted by Stacy at 2:44 PM

Loud laughter and shouting from the street drug me out of my bed at 6:30 this morning to see what on earth was going on. Peering out the front door, I could hear the voices, but it was a few moments before the cause caught up. What to my wondering eyes should appear but six teenage girls walking abreast, arms linked and stretching from one side of the road to the other. Much as I wanted to, I resisted the urge to yell at them to keep it down....let someone else be the heavy.

Rude awakenings aside, it looks like another beautiful day on the horizon. Standing out on the deck waiting for the puppy to do his business, I almost didn't want to come back inside. The sun was already beginning to shine, the birds were singing like it was Spring and the temperature is already a "balmy" 55 degrees with a pleasant breeze.

With my kitchen "under construction" we indulged in a quick trip to Wendy's for supper last night then got started on our errands. We purchased 50lbs of rabbit feed at the new farm store, brackets for the kitchen shelf at the hardware store, and stuff called J.B. Weld at the auto parts store to repair the sweeper with (Tim said he's seen his dad use it to repair the engine blocks of heavy equipment, so surely it will fix my little old Hoover). We also made a quick trip to Kmart. Tim wanted to look at jeans and I found a new garbage can for the kitchen...one with a lid. We paid on the Christmas layaway, too, and had the girl check to see if anything had gone on sale. It had and she took $34 off the total. Yea! The closer we get to Christmas, the more stuff goes on sale and the more we save. Our last stop was the new Family Video store in town. Wow. It sure puts Blockbuster to shame. There is no membership fee and we were being impressed by the signs everywhere that said rentals were only $1 or $2 for either two nights or seven. Forget that.....we brought home 4 movies, two of them new releases, all of them for five days and it cost us less than $4!!! I think I'm going to love that place.

Back at home, Tim repaired the sweeper and put up the shelf in the kitchen and we all watched the Tim Allen movie, "Joe Somebody." It was pretty good, but there was a surprising amount of language and crude humor for a PG movie.

Tim is working today and the kids are going to help me put the kitchen back together and clean the house. An older couple from the church is coming tonight for dinner.

Enjoy your weekend!

posted by Stacy at 8:17 AM

Friday, November 08, 2002

It is so good to see the sun this morning. It has been so gray and drab. Even Tim commented on missing the sun last night, so I know it's been bad. Along with the sunshine, we are experiencing warmer temperatures and unfortunately, a great deal of wind....though the wind is not an unusual thing here. Funny how the grayness of the days clouded my perception. I would have sworn that all the leaves had fallen and the trees were bare, but I noticed this morning that is far from the case.

I am feeling much better today after feeling really crappy for most of yesterday. The headache is still hovering in the background so I will just have to be careful.

Last night I experienced a little burst of energy and decided to clean out my kitchen cabinets and change some things around. Mainly because I was tired of opening the cabinet doors where I stored my plastic containers and having them all fall out on me. The state of chaos, I credit to my kids as they dig for things. So I moved food items from the hall to the kitchen and the plastics to the hall and the small appliances to where the plastics had been....well, that was my plan. I discovered that once the plastics were removed, something was very wrong with the shelf in the cabinet. Tim is going to have to fix it before I can put the appliances in and he didn't have the right brackets last night. So, there are appliances all over my kitchen. It looks a bit like a flea market this morning.

I also can't sweep the floors as the sweeper got a hole in the hose right where it empties into the bag. Since the bag doesn't cover it, running the stupid thing results in great clouds of dust and dirt shooting into the air. Tim tried to patch it once without the proper bonding agent, but it didn't hold so that is on his list of things to do tonight, too. Meanwhile I had to drag my mom's ten ton Kirby down the sidewalk to at least clean up the mud the clan tromped in last night.

Listening to: Smash Mouth...gets me moving.

Reading: A really old book I picked up at a garage sale called "No Other White Men." It's about Lewis and Clark. Odd, I know, but I love books and collect old ones.

F.Y.I.: Dressed in a long, brown velour tunic and tan leggings with my long hair, I'm probably looking a bit hippyish today. It's a very Earth Mother look, but don't worry. I'm not going over the edge. I must confess my style is based purely on the fact that everything else was in the hamper. :oP

posted by Stacy at 10:57 AM

Thursday, November 07, 2002

One of life's simple joys: curling up on a cold day with a hot cup of peppermint tea, a warm little doggie and a good book.

posted by Stacy at 2:29 PM

It's been a good morning for bird watching. I didn't start out trying to watch the birds, but Megan and I watched some Cardinals on the front walk this morning. Their red was just gorgeous against the grayness of the day. A little while ago I heard a thumping on the front porch and went to peek at what it could be. It's crows!! They are picking up the kernals of corn thrown by the kids on Halloween. I swept tons of it up, but a lot gets down in between the boards. They are having a regular feast out there this morning.

posted by Stacy at 11:26 AM

With a nod to my quest for simplicity in life, I've renamed my blog again. I've been reading all I can about others who are persuing or living the simple life and filling a notebook with thoughts and practical suggestions. There is something so appealing about getting back to basics and uncluttering life, but I admit there is a bit of fear about being perceived as some kind of hippie fanatic or something. I don't plan to go off and live in a hut with no electricity, plumbing or anything like that, but our society is set up to judge, not on our merits, but on our possessions, titles, awards and the like. Even in the church it often seems a case of who you are and who you know that determines the pastor's attention or the weight of your opinions or vote. All I want to do is slow down my days and give myself and my family enough time to appreciate and enjoy what the Lord has given us. I want to focus on what is truely important.

The rain is still hovering over SW Pennsylvania this morning, but I'll be thankful it isn't snow and that I can stay inside warm and comfortable today.

Matt brought home his report card yesterday. Not too bad and he did finally make honor roll, but he's still got two teachers saying he isn't doing his homework and that's the two classes he has the lowest grades in. I know for sure it makes a difference. He had the same math teacher last year and he pulled the same crud. She said if he had just turned in the homework then he'd have been a full letter grade higher. I imagine it's about the same story this year. He has such a poopy attitude about it. We've been talking to him about the homework and he's been assuring us he's been doing it, now that we know that wasn't the case and have called him on it....HE'S MAD AT US!! Yesterday he was stomping around hollering about how stupid school is and how he's going to quit as soon as he's old enough. I told him he better find a job right away when he quits because he'll need to support himself as he's not going to live at home if he quits school. That knocked some of the wind out of him and he went off to his room to pout, coming out later in a better mood. Ahhh, the joys of parenting kids with ADD.

Pastor Matt and I met with the student leaders last night. He gave them a spiritual gifts inventory to work on till the next time we meet and talked to them about their devotional life....which three of them admitted to not really having one of these days. I hope they take his words to heart. We also talked about the challenges we're facing with having that troubled boy I wrote about the other day in the group. We encouraged them as leaders to set the tone for the group. We let them know that it's difficult and that it has to be a two-way street and that it's up to us to make sure TJ behaves appropriately toward them, but that it is up to them to include him and help encourage him and to not treat him like a social outcast. We talked a little about the fact that he is coming out of a horrible life that none of us can imagine and that he has nothing in his experience that has taught him how to behave the way we think he should. We can help teach him. We can show him love, which is something he hasn't seen much if any of in his life. We also talked about the fact that God placed him in our group and that means He thinks we can not only help TJ, but maybe that we have something to learn from TJ. They were pretty subdued, but seemed to get it. My Matt, especially. Now we'll see if they put legs on the talk.

posted by Stacy at 9:36 AM

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Searching for the elusive simple life. Does anyone else dream of this? It sometimes seems that life is so hectic and demanding that it is controlling us, rather than us controlling it. Every so often I start to think about it, but then life always seems to rear its ugly head and I get busy and move on. This time feels different. I'm tired of the rat race. Tired of keeping up with the Jones. Tired of doing things I don't want to do. Tired of us having to work harder and harder just to break even (if we do that well). I have been surfing the internet for information and picking up magazines and I'm beginning to gather some ideas that seem possible to put into practice. I'll keep you posted as things progress.

posted by Stacy at 2:07 PM

Megan and I are still alive today. Thanks for the prayers.

posted by Stacy at 6:22 AM

Tuesday, November 05, 2002


Ok, that said.....I'm really not feeling any better.

I had the annual parent/teacher conference with Megan's teacher last night. Normally I would rather have a root canal without novicaine. Last night was no exception. These meetings really stink when you have a child that struggles with school. It is always a time of hearing what a pitiful student my child is and what a failure I am as a parent because she is not doing well. There is never so much as a hint of a suggestion that perhaps the school system or the teachers are part of the problem. Oh no...they have their formula down and they know what they are doing. God help the child that doesn't learn the way they think he/she should. It is so hard to watch my bright, beautiful daughter with the heart of gold struggle so much. School has sucked any self-esteem she ever had right out of her and she is becoming way too reliant on her looks as the ticket to get through life. She already figures she isn't going to make it on brains and talks about a future secured by a rich husband. This is not a good thing coming from a 10-year-old. I am praying daily that she grows beyond it. She knows better in her heart. I know she does. She has always had the heart of an evangelist. She's been sharing Jesus since she knew who he was. She argues doctrine with friends (I'm serious, it's on a 5th grade level, but she does). When we had the block party at church she took fliers to school and got permission to pass them out in her class and she ended up giving them to other kids, having teachers ask her about it and then wanting fliers for their classes. She probably had more people personally invited there than anyone else. That's just the kind of person she is. She is a caretaker by nature, too. Always the mother hen when someone is sick or sad. She has so much to offer, I hate what school is doing to her. Anyway, found out that while Megan is doing well in the more creative classes (reading, writing, science/health, art, music, etc) and getting C's, B's and O's, she has straight D's in the more basic core stuff (math, language, social studies). Her teacher has a theory that the creative stuff just comes more naturally to Megan and that the basic stuff is boring and more of a struggle. I'm sure that's a big part of it, but I find it interesting that the classes she is doing poorly in are all taught by her homeroom teacher, while the classes she is doing well in are all taught by someone else. Hmmm. We still have to deal with the fact that she hasn't turned in about half of her homework, she doesn't bring work home to study and she goes to the restroom or the nurse a lot to get out of class and wanders the halls rather than returning to class. So, I sat and got told about all the things I need to do at home. Fine, all though, if we do them all Megan will have no life. Makes me feel like a failure, too. When I asked about the teacher doing a couple of small things on her end to help me out.....oh, she can't. She's too busy. She has 23 other kids to deal with, but she'll try. Good grief! All I asked her to do is take two seconds when the entire class is reviewing the day's assignments and getting their books together to peek at Megan's agenda to be sure she wrote everything down and just verbally remind her personally to gather all the materials she needs. It isn't any big time commitment or hassle, but I'm told it will be too hard. She'll try. Puh-lease. You ask me to devote three hours a day to teaching my kid stuff she should be learning at school and effectively kill any social life or down time she might have had, and then tell me you can't spare a minute or less to help me out on your end? I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. The teacher is the sister of a man in our church and her aunt also attends and filled me in quite a bit on the teacher. She just lost her father to cancer, her husband has serious health problems and I've been told she can't multi-task, even at home. That she just freaks out if she has to do more than one thing at a time. She can't even handle throwing a load of laundry in the wash while she's cooking dinner. What on earth is she doing teaching kids?? By her own admission, she has several kids in her class that are struggling. She told me to have Megan ask her for help during recess. Megan says she has and has been told the teacher was too busy to help her and when I asked about Megan getting help during recess, myself, the woman kinda danced all around it to where I'm not sure what her answer was. Guess the bottom line is we're going to be doing several more hours of schooling each evening. Oh the joy. Really makes me wonder if I shouldn't have moved past my fears all those years ago and homeschooled her.

Well, that's my rant for the day. I have to get back to Megan. She's been working on a 35pt. book report that is due this week and that she's known about for a month. Under pressure she does pretty good work. She finished reading the book and nearly has the report done so it's time to move on to the next joy.....studying for a big unit review test in math, then language, then spelling. Pray for us today.

posted by Stacy at 11:44 AM

Monday, November 04, 2002

Kind of a boring day so far. It's been raining off and on, Megan doesn't have school so has been in and out with friends and I don't really have anything going on. I've just been reading, doing some laundry and other little things. Which is fine because it gets a little crazy tonight. Tim has a church council meeting, which is expected to be a long, nasty one, Matt has to be at the school from 6:30-9:00 for volleyball, I have Megan's parent/teacher conference from 6:40-7:00 and a youth and family commission meeting at 7:00. What a night. I don't even feel like dealing with it.

Big announcement for all of you who have been after me about it....I finally called and made another appointment to follow up on the cryotherapy I had in the spring. I promise I'll talk to them about everything and see if we can figure out what's going on with me. Tim has a check-up for his blood pressure the same day, but I'm not worried about that. He's been checking it everytime we go somewhere with one of those self-testing machines and it's always really good. He wouldn't go if it weren't for the fact his doctor has refused to give him any more refills without seeing him. Yea, for the doctor!

What I'm Reading: "Stones of Jerusalem." It's a work of fiction about the times leading up Christ's triumphant entry. It is really interesting to see how the authors take characters and events we know from the Bible and mix them with ones they've created to weave a plausible tale of what the times may have been like. Names are changed a little and the Hebrew is used a lot. Mary and Martha are in the story and their relationship is further explored. In the book, Martha's hate for Mary is apparent and she wants to have her committed. Mary runs a home for unwed mothers. There is a man who loves Mary with all his heart, though he knows it can never be. Would you believe it's the Roman centurian who asked Jesus to heal his servant? The tale that was woven around the circumstances of John the Baptist's death was interesting as was the role the centurian played. Oh, the centurian also turns out to be the Good Samaritan. A different picture of Judas is painted, too. It's so easy to get lost in this tale. I can't wait to see what happens next and yes, I'm going to have to hunt up the four books that proceeded this one in the series and read them.

Today's Thought: "I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."--Mother Teresa

posted by Stacy at 1:54 PM

Sunday, November 03, 2002

There's a young guy coming to youth group these days who is a foster kid coming out of an incredibly horrible family (physical, mental and sexual abuse). At his tender age he's had open-heart surgery. He has problems reacting with the other kids. He is immature and at times inappropriate. He is generally not on the same page as the rest of us. He has problems accepting limits and following rules. I am the only person in the group that seems to be able to control him. He does not listen to Pastor Matt or Bethany, but they almost seem afraid of him. I'm pretty tough and don't take anything from him, but I try to build him up by giving him the same respect I give the others when he talks and I try to find opportunities for him to help me with things. He eats the positive attention up. I just don't know what to do. His foster parent really looks to me to give him this time, which is so different from anything else he does and probably the only semi-positive thing he's got going and he loves it. On the other hand, I've got a youth pastor that is scared to death he's a powder keg testing our limits and waiting to go off (funny he's unwilling/unable to take on any of the discipline) and an entire youth group complaining about him and frustrated with him because he doesn't play games by the rules and says odd things. Grrrrr! Sometimes these kids really get what it's all about and sometimes I just want to kick 'em in the butt for being so completely off the mark. This kid is someone who desperately needs to know the love of Christ and experience good things in life and I honestly don't see things as being as bad as the kids make it out to be. Why can't they cut him some slack?? I don't want to turn this kid away, but I don't want the entire youth group up in arms, either. God? This one is up to you. Please work in the kids' hearts, in the boy's life and in me. Give me guidance and compassion and wisdom. You have put him in my care, Lord, show me what to do.

Father, this small boy is one more in a long parade of hurting people you have brought into my life during the last year. What are you preparing me for?

posted by Stacy at 10:02 PM

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Cold this morning, but they've stopped predicting snow. Not even a flurry in the forecast. We all got up and going earlier than I expected this morning after staying up to watch the live action Scooby Doo movie...and for the second day in a row everyone is in a good mood. Will wonders never cease?

Tim and Matt are off getting propane for the furnace and then they are going to go hunting. I think they've decided to go after rabbits. I really hope Matt gets something. I think he is getting a little discouraged. At least he and Tim are spending time together. There's not been nearly enough of that in Matt's life up until the last year or so.

I have to take Megan shopping for a birthday gift. I completely forgot about her being invited to a party for one of the girls on our street today. She called this morning to make sure it was ok for her to go and I have arranged for her to ride with another girl from the neighborhood so all we need is the present.

Would you believe I've already been moving furniture this morning. I moved a big chest from the bedroom to the livingroom, which means I had to move all kinds of stuff around. This afternoon I may try my hand at "combing" paint onto the fireplace mantle in the hope of ending up with something that looks like old barn timber. I'll let you know how that turns out.

posted by Stacy at 10:17 AM

Friday, November 01, 2002

Got another call about my aunt. She had a stroke. That's about all I know. My cousin said they were told it will be at least six months before they know the cause and extent of the damage. Six months?? I don't know much about strokes, but is that normal? For now at least, I guess she will remain in the hospital there. Too early for much information.

I forgot to mention earlier that Megan and I had a really nice evening last night. Tim conked out early and Matt was out engaging in the local custom of bagging. I wasn't thrilled, but let him go with his friends. He's been told this is absolutely his last year for anything like it. At 16, I think he's way too old for it now. The fight has been that all of his friends are doing it. From what I've been reading on the web and hearing other places, this isn't just a local problem. Older teens are going door to door in lots of places asking for candy and not bothering to dress up. Enough is enough. Personally I think a kid should be done trick-or-treating when they finish grade school and then because we having bagging (putting an empty bag on the porch, ringing the bell and hiding till a treat is given) I'm willing to give them a year or two of that......most of the fun in that lies in running around the neighborhood in the dark with your friends, thinking you're really cool. Anyway.......Megan dug out every book she owned with a Halloween/scary theme and we read them all. We took turns reading every other page. We baked the gormet cookie dough Tim bought from someone at work and made popcorn to eat while we watched a version of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" that features Jeff Goldblum as Ichabod. It's one of my favorites....maybe because in it Brom Bones gets what is coming to him and Ichabod gets the girl. We wanted to watch the campy "Hocus Pocus" which is a really fun movie, but we ran out of time. Now we can start reading the books I've collected on Thanksgiving and Pilgrims. We have several as I got disgusted by what my kids were learning, or rather not learning, in kindergarten and first grade. Our politically correct school district teaches all about the Native Americans, which is good, but the Pilgrims are treated as a minor sideline.....just something bad that happened to the Indians. Grrrrrr. Without a doubt, Native Americans have gotten a really rotten deal over the years, but does that mean we can just ignore history?? One part of my family-tree can be traced straight back to John and Priscilla Alden. I want my kids to know that and be proud of that heritage. Reguardless of what happened to the Indians, the Pilgrims were incredibly brave and adventurous and committed to their religious beliefs. They endured a lot for freedom. What is so wrong with learning that?

posted by Stacy at 9:52 AM

Life is good this morning, though I did learn that my aunt, who has been visiting her son in Lancaster Co. is going to be admitted to the hospital at some point. Not sure what is wrong, but my cousin reports that she can say four or five words and then nothing makes sense. Hmmm. But, back to why life is good.

The hubby and I had a wonderful prayer time this morning. It was one of those times when everything is in place, when you know you are completely in agreement with God. I love to listen to Tim pray then. Not that I don't like to hear him pray any time, but these times are just soooo......I don't know. He first started to pray like that this summer in New Mexico and even the teens with us commented on it. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, WOW!

I got to chat with a friend for a while before her computer started acting up. That's always a good way to start the day.

My kids are up and moving and in good moods. I'll count that as a miracle.

It isn't snowing.

Spiderman comes out today.

And as I sit here with my morning Pepsi in hand, I did a search for other "pepsiholics" and guess what? There are a lot of them and by comparison I'm not even close to being addicted and these folks' whole lives seem to revolve around Pepsi. Whew! To all of you who bug me about my morning Pepsi, ttttttthhhhhhlllllllbbbbbbpppppp!! I am normal (or at least more so than these guys).

posted by Stacy at 7:24 AM


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