Friday, November 30, 2007

Note to self...

Pistachios and short fingernails do NOT play well together. Ow.

Jamie's face and the floor...also do NOT play well together.

For future reference, self, use the nutcracker and avoid splitting your nail halfway to the cuticle, and keep Jamie OFF of the coffeetable!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In "Other" Words--Life on the Autobahn

"One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy."

~ Elisabeth Elliott ~ - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I do my best thinking in the driver's seat. Maybe that's one very big plus about living in Germany; I get plenty of opportunities for some good meditation on the Autobahn! Sure, the good, hard, intense studies can't be done going 100mph, but what better time to fill one's mind with the deep thoughts of God and His purposes than while navigating the busy highway surrounded by people who would rather leave you in their dust than be courteous? It's very calming....although I still detest rush hour traffic!

Oddly enough, I've learned some very valuable lessons from my hours of driving. One of the most important is related to this week's quote. In the US, we have an understanding that the left lane is for passing...but we don't always see people using it for that purpose. Too often, you get one yahoo who wants to get in the left hand lane and slow everyone down by doing JUST shy of the speed limit and remaining blissfully oblivious to the growing line of annoyed drivers behind him. Here in Germany, we don't see that very often. Perhaps a lot of it has to do with the fact that if you linger too long in that left lane, you are going to be blown off the road by a teeny little Audi or Porsche bent on breaking the land speed record, but it's mostly because you can actually be ticketed here for driving in the passing lane. It's the LAW, and Germans do take their driving laws to heart! At any rate, though, that passing lane is not where you want to just take up residence for any extended period of time, because it not only impedes faster drivers, but you just don't need to be going THAT fast for so long. Driving at a high rate of speed can impair your reaction time, and it surely affects your concentration.

Similarly, living life "in the fast lane" like so many Americans are doing nowadays can stretch one's concentration too thin. Life starts to get blurry when you're constantly bouncing from one activity to the next, and the purpose of life is often the first thing to fade. I have been embarrassed when driving sometimes I get so stuck on passing a slow driver that I miss my exit or a turn or even my destination. We do that with our harried schedule as well. We may fully intend for our flurry of do-goodness, of running hither and yon with school activities, youth group activities, extracurricular activities, church work, ministering to those who need help, and just day to day life that we lose sight of what we were trying to do in the first place.

It's time to slow down. Put our emphasis on the things of God, but let HIM dictate what those things should be...not what everyone else around us expects of us. It's okay to be in the fast lane for a little while so we don't run over those around us who are just a tad less active, but life shouldn't be lived in the fast lane. There's too much to miss--maybe even our destination!

This week's In "Other" Words is being hosted by Sarah. Visit her blog To Motherhood And Beyond to read her thoughts and link to other participants!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

We've had a whirlwind weekend, and hopefully now things are starting to slow down so I can at least TRY to get my act together so I'll be ready for Christmas. Yeah, right.

Hey, I guess stranger things have happened.

At any rate, here's a nice, little posed pic for all of my cyber (and of course, real-life) friends and family--both God-given and hand-picked. Yes, it's a Thanksgiving 'miracle'. All seven of us are looking directly AT the camera, and JON IS SMILING!!!!!! Need I clarify that the photographer was a rather attractive 18-year-old girl who is new at church?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--Why is the Autobahn so CONGESTED??

Hmm, could it be THIS GUY? (check out the tag, BTW...)

To "meet" some other Wordless Wednesday participants, go here.
Leave a comment and I'll link you up below!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In "Other" Words--Grown-up Love

"Love is beautiful, but it is also terrible--terrible in its determination to allow nothing blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved."

~ Hannah Hurnard ~

This quote is so incredibly timely that I almost had to laugh when I read it! My blog break (to scrapbook, honest...and believe me, I've got a LOT to show for my time "off") was much-needed, both for my house's sake (can you say DEEP clean?) and for me to finally get the chance while Pete was home for more than two hours to sit and just scrap. I've got TONS of pictures to put to paper, and of course I just *have to* include a story with each one. Funny thing is, the very thing that I've been dreading that has kept me from jumping headlong into this task was a very valuable lesson that God's been trying to teach me for a long time. And, interestingly enough, it is the main idea behind today's quote! Go figure.

My purposeful extended scrapbooking session was prompted by the realization of a rather "small" anniversary. I was sitting at Burger King the Saturday before last eating lunch with my two-year-old when a teen couple sat down next to us to share an order of fries. I had to stifle a giggle when the young girl asked her beau what he wanted to do for their anniversary, since they'd been together "so long"--surely a six-month anniversary warranted some serious celebration, right? So as the two of them discussed movies and fancy dinners and maybe even jewelry (?!?), my mind wandered back to when Pete and I were younger. All of a sudden, it occurred to me that November 4, 1988 was the day he asked me out. It seemed HUGE back then, but relatively insignificant now in the grand scheme of marriage, enlistment, babies, financial strains, deployments, and the REALLY big issues of life. Nineteen years. Our relationship is actually older than Pete was when we got married! Hitting the craft store after lunch, I realized that I'd not even completed srapbook pages for our high school years, so I determined to remedy that situation and get some scrapping done for once, even if it was painful to look at any of the pictures that brought up bad memories.

My mind has unconsciously recorded a timeline for the ugly events that went on in Pete's life that affected every facet of our married life several years ago, and like it or not, I can't help but see that timeline in the pictures we have. I know what was going on behind the scenes, and it's HARD to come to grips with the story behind the pictures. But the interesting thing is, even though my mind's eye can still see those things, when those memories play out in my mind, there really isn't any ill will left for him. When I look at that sweet face, I see the man I love--not what he's done. I never thought I'd be capable of forgiveness to the degree I have forgiven him, and I never expected to understand so fully the depth of what "true" love really means.

When you're sixteen (or even thirty?) and your view of love for a new object of affection is skewed by chemical reactions in the brain, that "crazy in love" feeling is all you see. You overlook obvious character flaws and even some pretty severe behavioral misdeeds because your beloved is just....perfect. You can overcome anything together--scale any mountain, tackle any problem, and "love" will be enough. Counselors of just about any faith will tell you that this flitty adolescent view of love is immature. Of COURSE it's immature. It's not based on a choice. So inevitably, reality sets in and the warts appear. Flaws become targets for our magnifying glasses of criticism, and every little thing our beloved does suddenly takes on a gravity that can bring 'love' crashing down like the Hindenberg. What's truly sad is that some people never make it past this. They never get to the point where the love found in 1 Corinthians 13 takes over. Their marriage never experiences that agape, unconditional love that blots out the ugliness.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

True, enduring marital love is a picture of the type of relationship Christ has for His church. It is not a love that dwells on problems, imperfections, flaws, or unmet expectations. It is a love that seeks to do good to the object of affection, with no expectation of having the sacrifice returned. It is the ultimate Photoshopped picture of perfection, and I am SO thankful that God taught me this lesson now while I'm still 'young' so I don't spend too many more years wasted on mourning the loss of that teenage fantasy. It's amazing to know that I have something better, and that it has nothing to do with how "perfect" my marriage is!

Bonnie is this week's In Other Words host--visit her Ink It Blog to see what she has to say about the quote she chose and to view other participants' blogs.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I feel so out of place!

I took a deliberate internet break this past week, could you tell? Okay, I lied. Life got between me and the puter. But seriously, I got a lot done! My house almost looks...dare I say....CLEAN?! Oh, and the scrapbook.....there are real pages in there now! I just bit the bullet and started sorting through the thousands of pictures, and started at the beginning. Yikes.

All of my pictures are now out of those icky, toxic static-cling pages that held them in albums. They're in boxes. Not exactly a perfect home for pictures, but hey, one step at a time, right? Hey, there's only so much I can do with the supplies I've got, ok???

Ooh, I did hit a crafter's paradise last Saturday, and I'm still kicking myself for being so frugal. I knew the craft shop in Hanau was closing down, and their big "blowout sale" was going on, so I stopped in. I found a few things I'd wanted to get, but had no clue how their sale was being run, so I only got a handful of 'must have' items and headed for the register. A few tag templates, another alphabet template, and I FINALLY got the gumption to buy one of those cool pigment Petal Point inkpads with eight colors. I figured I'd take my chance that it'd be marked down from the $14.95 price tag. was. I picked one of their random sale stickers out of their Fall Sale pumpkin and got my discount--80%!! Wowsers!!! All of a sudden I was wishing I'd gotten more!

I did complete a few more pages--one from high school (yes, I am THAT far behind, wanna make something of it?), one of the lovely little one-bedroom apartment we lived in near the gate at Redstone Arsenal in Hunstville when we finally left home, and a couple from Jon's first year. I'm getting there.

And today, my first 'online' day, what am I doing? Gathering idea lists for Grandma for Christmas. Fun. I can hardly think of anything to blog about!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

An odd day

I did something (okay, more than one something) completely frivolous today. I started a subscription with the Paper Wishes Personal Shopper monthly scrapbook club. Oh, and I bought myself a crock pot (hey, this was frivolous if you consider that every gift I've gotten for Christmas or my birthday for the last five years has belonged in the kitchen cabinets) and an awesome new diaper bag that is more "me" than any of the other little girly diaper bags I've been toting around on my shoulder for three and a half years. It's AWESOME. Pink camouflage. It's got compartments inside its compartments. And a place to hook my USArmy (overkill? naaaaahhh) carabiner keychain.

But ya know what? I'm most excited about that scrapbooking club. Pete has been fussing at me for a long time to do something for "me" (maybe he's got just a TAD bit of guilt for all the BMW/Porsche/motorcycle stuff he's brought home these last few years?), and I finally figured out what that was. I am just bored stiff with the same three packages of plain scrapbooking paper that the PX's carry, and I purposely avoided Michael's with a passion (it was like avoiding dessert, y'all....this was NOT an easy task) while we were in the States, because I just KNEW I wouldn't be able to fit everything I wanted to bring home with me in that suitcase! So yes, we spent well over $300 on the kids while we were 'home'. Me? I got myself ONE outfit that was on sale at Wally World for $14. Hmm.

Hurry up, Mr. Mailman! I needs me some paper!

Ok, 'need' was a little much. But I AM a bit bored.....
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