Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday to the Love of my Life

51 years ago today, with only 5 hours left in the year 1957, Greg's parents welcomed their first child, a son. 24 years later, I had the awesome privilege of meeting this man at Wheaton College, the second day I was there. And eventually, after a false start or two, we made it to the altar, February 2, 1985.

When we were dating, I remember him saying he didn't think he would work at one job his whole life. And as you do when you are dating, I opened my starry eyes even wider and said that was fine with me. We went through a time where there were several job changes and it wasn't as alright with me as I thought it was, but we got through it.

I remember him telling me that he expected to keep his wedding vows his whole life. And I believed him then and I believe him now. He meant what he said. As did I.

The most amazing thing is that Greg has demonstrated an unconditional love for me for the past 26 years, accepting me even when I couldn't see the good in me. I credit his love for getting me to the place where I now believe in love. I'd like to say it was a Scripture verse or some sermon that really cemented in me the idea that I am lovable, but it came through the daily experience of being with someone who loved me through thick and thin.

Not only is he a great husband, he is a great father. I am so blessed to have this man in my life and I thank God for every day I get to have with Greg.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saving Darwin or The History of My Views on Creationism

This won't be as boring as it sounds, I promise.

So, I learned at mommy's knee that God created the heavens and the earth and he did it in six days. (That's why I had to take naps on Sunday afternoons.) 'Nuff said.

Later, I heard about evolution, but knew it couldn't be true. See above.

Still later, I had a friend who was really into creationism and felt really strongly that you should believe in a literal 6-day creation. Really Strongly. I figured that there wasn't any way to know for sure, and that God was capable of doing it any way he felt like.

And then later, I had pretty much settled on the God-can-do-it-however-He-pleases viewpoint on how we got here, although evolution has never made much sense to me. I even taught my kids this viewpoint!

Now they are in a class where we are back to the 6-days-of-creation belief. I do like the idea of God having created us. It sure makes sense with what I see of the beauty and amazing design in life and love.

Then, I found this book. Subtitled: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution. So I read it. And I found some eye-opening details about evolution.

From page 166: "Decades of reflecting on the evolution controversy convinces me that the conflict is only tangentially scientific. Those who would adjudicate this dispute by appealing to science are wasting their time. The conflict is not about determining the proper inferences to draw from fossils, genes, and comparative anatomy. The conflict . . . centers on one simple question: Can there be any role at all for God in our own creation story?"

Which bring me back to the place I was before. God, being God and all, can do things however He wants. Why not? Why is it either/or? There are so many amazing things about our bodies, our minds, our relationships that don't seem like they could arise randomly. And yet there seems to be evidence that evolution does exist. I'm ok with having my creation and evolving it, too.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Remember Why I Started this Blog??

Yes, that's right. To tell you about all my decluttering adventures. And there have been a few. And maybe it's because our kids keep getting bigger, as does their stuff, but the decluttering seems to be just a drop in the bucket. Not that the kids are clutter, or their stuff. Heavens, nay. Wouldn't trade 'em!

I just spend an awful lot of time looking for this paper, or that widget, or a certain person's glasses. The rest of the good folks in this house also have to look for things, so often we are missing a key textbook, a wallet, a wad of cash, a pair of shoes, or maybe just one shoe, or even a certain person's glasses.

My decluttering has kind of come down to this. Find Kepler's glasses. So, I'm working my way through the house. So far, they are not to be found. He does have a pair to wear, but I'd love to find the newer ones so when I buy the next pair (in January owing to his changing prescription), I could use the very very new frames I bought in October and which he wore only one day.

FlyLady is helpful when it comes to decluttering. Do I really have to accept that I will not actually be able to get everything decluttered perfectly ever? Will it always be a work in progress? I'm thinking so. Setting the timer for another 15 minutes . . .

PS. Who's this Wayne Fox guy? Maybe he can help me get things Neat and Tidy!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Does Every New Thing HAVE to Cause an Identity Crisis for Me?

So I've been looking into something recently that has put me in contact with people from my past -- high school, college, jobs, etc.

It's been fun.

And it's been a drag.

It's like my brain must be hard-wired to compare myself to other people. Or maybe I'm just susceptible to certain ideas of what I perceive as failure.

When I talk with people from the past, I notice how many of them I had fallen out of contact with. Of course I do realize that it's a two-way street, and some of them have fallen out of the circle due to choices they, not I, have made.

But still.

I'm already feeling relatively disconnected from any kind of social support system, other than my family of origin. And as I'm resurrecting some of these relationships, I'm asking myself, What happened? How did I lose contact with all these people? And why?

I don't want my life to be defined by all the things I have left -- churches, schools, colleges, communities, groups, friendships, teams. And who would define it that way other than me myself? Maybe others. Maybe not. But how do I define myself?

I guess it's one of those questions Rainer Maria Rilke talks about in this quote:

" patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now."

-Letters to a Young Poet

Saturday, December 27, 2008

check out this guy's blog

I think it's great!

Friday, December 26, 2008

About Christmas

My fine parents with whom I am blessed to celebrate another Christmas.

Anna-Jessie checking to see if the sewing machine box really holds a sewing machine or if its false advertising.

Valerie snuggling with her beautiful new blanket.

Greg snuggling with his replacement GPS.

Joel holding up his new Ikea chair.

Eli anticipating the next gift, looking smooth in his new UnderArmor shirt.

Mom and Valerie posing with Val's gift to me, the soundtrack from Fireproof and an advance copy of the DVD!

Kepler enjoying his new Magna Doodle.

Hooked on Gregory House, MD

A few years ago, I had occasion to watch the first episode of the first season of House. Decided it wasn't for me, mostly because it was pretty explicit and I thought maybe I shouldn't watch it. So, I didn't for a long time. For some reason, a few months ago, I decided to give it another try. My lovely friend, Jean, loaned me Seasons 1-3 on DVD. Well, armed with the DVDs, a great program on my computer to convert them to ipod files, and a super-duper video ipod, I started watching, and got more and more intrigued by the characters, especially House.

He's rotten, that's for sure. But he's extremely clever, and way smart, and you just have to believe there is a heart in there somewhere.

I think one of the things that drew me to this show was Hugh Laurie because I had seen him in Jeeves and Wooster, and I couldn't imagine him playing an American. Also Robert Sean Leonard, all grown up, from his heart-wrenching role in Dead Poets Society. And it didn't take me long to get hooked on the medical mystery side of things.

The picture I've posted here is from an episode where Dave Matthews played a musical savant, and at one point he finishes a composition House had started in junior high but never finished. The music is beautiful.

There are shocking things in some episodes. Heart-wrenching things in many episodes, and such excellent casting overall. I have really enjoyed this show, and am sorry that I have only 5 or 6 more episodes that I have not yet seen. A great show.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I think this dream means I am making progress

How many times have I had this dream? I am back in high school in the dream, although I am also the college graduate I am IRL. I look and look and look for my classroom, but simply cannot find it. I walk and walk and walk and nothing makes sense. I chose the spiral staircase because one of the dreams had me walking up and down stairs, stairs and more stairs looking for my college math class, which I could not find, and which I subsequently wasn't doing very well in.

Last night, I had a similar dream, but this time I had found the teacher, she was grading my test, and I was finding out how many questions I had missed. Good news was, I KNEW I knew this material, having had it many years ago in high school, and I was clear that I only missed these questions because I couldn't find the %^(&* classroom.

At least I had made progress.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life! OR Vandals Steal GPS!

Greg has been with Toyota for 8 Christmases and has never wanted to go to the office Christmas party. This year, I asked him if he would like to go, because I thought I would. It was a small party, just his division, due to budget-cutting implementation company-wide. We had dinner at the smallest restaurant I have ever seen, then drove just a couple miles to see the play, It's a Wonderful Life. We sat in the second-to-last row and I heartily enjoyed the play. The music was wonderful, the acting was very good for a community theater presentation, and we enjoyed sitting with friends and co-workers. After the play, we all streamed out into the cold night and walked over to the parking lot. Greg opened my door and as I sat in the passenger seat, I noticed some kind of strange reflection on the driver's seat, which quickly became identified as all the driver's side window glass, broken out by vandals. I called out for Greg, and got out of the car. One other car had been broken into as well. Both had GPS units which were stolen. The police were summoned, but with little expectation that either unit could be recovered. Greg's co-workers were wonderful in helping us with something to sweep out the glass, letting me sit in another car to keep warm, and even offering to drive me all the way home if Greg was going to have to wait for the police. We were on the complete other side of Cincinnati, so we rode home with lots of highway noise. Sunday, I asked Greg to put this Christmas cellophane on my window because I figured if I was going to have to make do with a pretend window, I wanted it to be festive!

Our fine insurance company had a glass specialist in our driveway Monday afternoon and we had a new window less than 48 hours after it had gotten broken out. Alas, no GPS anymore, which was sad because Greg really enjoyed using his GPS. We heard that if you have registered your GPS, you can give the serial number to the police and they may be able to locate it, being a GPS and all. As of this writing, we didn't actually try that.

But the whole experience really reminded me of what a wonderful life we do have. Presumable, the vandals stole the GPS for reasons like money for drugs, sell it cheap to have money, or maybe something more understandable like desperate need for money to support a family. Whatever. I would have preferred not to be vandalized and would definitely have preferred not to have Greg lose his GPS, but how can I possibly complain when I DO have a wonderful life. I thought of the many people who do not have the kind of insurance we have, and who drive around with ugly plastic and duct tape posing as a "window." I thought of the many people who experience crimes against them and I felt the tiniest understanding of what that feels like. We are just so blessed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Having to Say Goodbye to My Personal Trainer

So, this summer I decided to go back to a personal trainer. I thought maybe I could drop some weight and get into better shape, plus I remembered really loving lifting weights when I did it five years ago. I started out with a particular trainer, but shortly thereafter, he had a college class which conflicted with my schedule, so I transferred temporarily to my trainer, Mark. It didn't take long to realize I had great chemistry with Mark, so I transferred permanently to him.

In November, he missed several sessions due to illness, but turns out the illness was stress-related since he was interviewing for and taking a corporate job, which would make him unavailable as a trainer. Keeping this secret from all of his clients and friends was pretty stressful.

I don't have a picture. I only have a lot of really wonderful memories of working out with him training me. Greg and I trained together several times with Mark as well. Last Saturday was my final session with him.

I will miss him saying, "You DO have this in you." "Don't give the weight more respect than it deserves." and "Let's go out for pancakes." (his favorite thing to say to someone who is working his or her glutes off to get rid of all the pancakes already ingested) and my personal favorite: "That was impressive."

I wish him well in his new job. I am also delighted that he thinks he will be coming back part-time in a couple of months to train a few clients, of which I am apparently one. Just will have to wait and see, I guess.

One funny thing: I knew of him five years ago, although I was training with a different trainer. Mark's first comment to me was typical of him, a humorous jab at something I was wearing. Back then, I was HIGHLY indignant and SUPER unimpressed. Thank God I have grown over the past five years to not be quite as easily offended and to have the privilege of working with such a super trainer.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Finally! Inspiration!

After several weeks of no posts, I have finally got my blogging groove back. Enjoy the new posts. I have several scheduled to post over the next several days, so in between egg nog and unwrapping gifts, enjoy my little gifts to you.

Getting Fitted for a Bra is NOT Necessarily a Better Idea than Getting One off the Rack

OK, So I don't have red hair that goes out to a point. But I definitely have some "professionally" "fitted" "bras" that make those lightning bolt things. I realize that some people with delicate constitutions read my blog (when there is actually something to read), so let's just suffice it to say that I think the "professional" "bra" "fitter" is probably still ROFLOL at the bras she convinced me to buy. "What size do you normally wear?" she asks. I tell her. "Oh, no, she says, you need at least a [two-inch-smaller] size." What do I know? I let her talk me into it. And so I have spent the last year (what is WRONG with me??) feeling like my cups (and everything else) runneth over, if you know what I mean. Perhaps the ones I bought myself, with my pathetic non-professional sizing techniques, were not the ones she would have chosen, but I've decided that you can HAVE your "professional" "bra" "fitters" who even have cool little certificates certifying their "fitting" techniques and prowess. Not! So, my "professional" opinion: figure it out yourself unless you want to be MIGHTY uncomfortable. My apologies to any professional bra fitters who may be reading my blog. YMMV.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hello, She Panted, While Running as Fast as She Can

The glasses are lost, lost, lost. I have turned the basement upside down and not found them. We went to the eye doc yesterday and he needs NEW glasses! Yea! So, I will wisely wait until 12:01 a.m. 1/1/09 to get them so the benefit is available. The new glasses will include BIFOCALS! Yea!

I'm behind, behind, behind. You know how I homeschool, right? Well, I've noticed a distinct lack of homeschooling occurring lately. But, SOMEHOW I will remedy this. The kids have things they can do on their own every day, but SOMEHOW I am managing to be gone, gone, gone much of each day and even some evenings! Yea!

I'm strong, strong, strong. Since this is my blog, I feel fine mentioning that the other day when I was lifting weights, I did an exercise known as pullovers. For the few of you who have never done these -- the very strong person (me, in this case) lies perpendicular across a weight bench, with the upper back resting on the bench. The fine personal trainer then hands the VSP one dumbbell of some weight. The VSP then places both hands on one end of the weight and lowers it behind their head, and then lifts it back up. For your information, I did this exercise with a FIFTY pound dumbbell. For five reps. This is amazing.

It's busy, busy, busy. The number of things I have to do have exponentially increased in direct relationship to the number of free hours I have in a day. I think the formula is something like this: d+t=b4 x n (where n is the number of children in the house) ÷ b/t.

I love you all.