Monday, September 25, 2006

I love you because...

... tonight, when you got home from work early, you didn't even hestitate to turn right back around to go pick up dinner when I asked you to. Even though you were really tired you put my needs ahead of yours and you took care of me by getting dinner. Thanks for being the best darned husband EVER!!!

One Wing In The Fire

You just never know when something is going to make you remember how much you miss someone you love. Today, when I got in the car after grocery shopping there was a song on the radio that made me catch my breath. I only caught the last chorus and verse (and a bit before that) but it was almost too eerie how much those lines echoed my deepest struggles with Dad's death. Here's the song with some comments from me:

Sunday, September 24, 2006


It's been awhile since I last posted, and much has happened in that time.

I had surgery in the middle of August on my bum. I won't go into details, but everything went well (except for me wanting to go back to work just two days afterwards - I thank God for a good surgeon and for the lack of pain).

Then work got crazy busy. After taking a week off because of the surgery I had only one week to get caught up with things and to prepare for the busiest two weeks of the year (for me). I've worked two 55+ hour weeks and things will calm down now. I'll still be working quite a bit, but not as much as that.

I've decided to go back to school! It's been several years, but I think it's time. My boss has been really supportive of the idea and I think it will make his bosses see me as more than just "support". I really do a lot more than data entry, but I often feel that that's all they see me as. This was really driven home to me about a year and a half ago when they hired someone to help us and I later found out that this new person was being considered as my boss's replacement (if he ever got run over by a bus). This was very disheartening because I was constantly having to tell the new person very basic things (and I often had to tell him the same basic things repeatedly). So I've decided to go back to school to get my master's degree in MIS. All I have to do now is fill out all the paperwork and get accepted. Can't you tell that I'm confident that I'll have no trouble getting accepted?

I am currently working on getting my craft area cleaned up. It has become a catch all area for all my "stuff". This just won't be acceptable for when I'm going to school. Not only will it stress me out to have this "pile" of stuff sitting there, but I'll want to have a space to be able to study.

Also, TheHusband and I have reworked our menus. Really he did all the work and I just agreed to his suggestions, but I did volunteer to have a "New Recipe Night" every third Saturday. We had our first one last week and I'll be posting about it soon.

I think that's it for now. I am working on a new project as well so I'll post about that later as well. I do have to get a new battery for my camera so it may be awhile.

I love you because...

... you not only made "juice" the other day, but you did the dishes as well. Not only that, but instead of calling attention to your helpfulness you totally let me find it myself instead of "demanding" credit for it. Love you and your helpfulness, Sweetie!

Friday, September 15, 2006


The sod of hard worked fields lies embedded
in cracks caused by hours in the summer sun.
The same cracks marked the face of his only son
with a force that left his eyes reddened and wet
with tears. His son cannot wash the dirt
from those unearned cracks. His hands, farmer's hands,
are tough and hug the grains like precious sands
in an hourglass. He can not wash the hurt
from his son's eyes, eyes that will not foregive
the nights lived in fear of making noise.
Eyes that are crazed from living on the brink
of love and approval. Now they live
without the memory of children's toys.
Dreams wash down the drain of an old cracked sink.

**Author's note: Have been super busy at work. This is another of my poems from college.

I love you because...

... you are humble and don't take credit for things you didn't do. Just last night I asked if you had put the dishes away. Your response was "I was going to do the dishes but I didn't have time", when you easily could have taken credit for my thinking you had cleaned up in the kitchen (as it turned out it was only me hallucinating).

Saturday, September 02, 2006


We get to town, and I call SIL2, to find out where everyone is. It is after eleven o’clock and it is my hope that they have left whatever is left of the house. SIL2 says that everyone is at their apartment and I get directions (I haven’t been to their new place yet).

When we get there, mom is trying to rest and my brothers are in the living room. They try to fill me in as best they can. I want to go to Mom, but I can’t yet face her. Some things are just too hard and I feel guilty about the relief I felt that she was not in the house. It is after midnight when TheHusband finally tells me to go see Mom.

As I enter the dark room I can hear her sniffling, barely able to contain her sobs. My eyes adjust to the darkness and I see her lying on my niece’s twin bed. “Mom?” I whisper. She reaches out to me and I take her hand as I kneel next to the bed.

“What do I do?” she asks, and I am crushed by the enormity of all that has happened. She has always been my rock, but now she is turning to me to help her through this. Her world has shattered and she needs me to help her pick up the pieces. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do this. I haven’t learned everything she had to teach me yet.

“I don’t know. But we get through this one day, one hour, one minute at a time. And we pray, we pray for strength and healing.” I don’t say we pray for understanding, because I know that will never come. “We remember the good things and let past hurts be forgotten,” easier said than done I think, “and we hold on to one another and God.” There is no other way through this.

Despite my words, I am unsure of how we will make it through this. This woman has lost her whole life in just a couple of hours: her husband of forty years and her home, both gone. And I am lost because she is lost.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Four Wheels and a Prayer

TheHusband makes phone calls while I pack a suitcase. I don’t know what to bring. Jeans and sneakers to be at the house. Comfy clothes for late nights and early mornings. What to bring for the funeral? Will there be a funeral? Dad always said he didn’t want one, but would Mom be able to fulfill this request?

While I’m zipping here and there, throwing things in the suitcase then pulling them out again, TheHusband has made arrangements with his boss so he can drive me to my parents’ house. Or wherever it was I was going to find my mom that night. He has also made arrangements for someone to look in on Kitty (our cat). Who knows how long we’ll be gone?

It only takes an hour from the time we first get through to someone at the fire and the time we are on the road. It’s a good thing TheHusband is driving or I would be pedal to the metal, flying up the interstate. As it is I’m mental pushing TheHusband’s foot down on the accelerator (not that it does any good).

There is not much conversation; I am lost in thought as I stare into the fields. Soon it is too dark to see anything, and TheHusband asks what I’m thinking. It’s hard for me to explain, but I tell him I am thinking about Mom . . . and Dad. The officer had said they knew where in the house Dad was, but that the heat and smoke had been too bad to pull him out. They left them there and it made me angry. I tried to remember that he was already “gone” and that there were more lives at stake. His body wasn’t worth sending others into danger. But I also knew, even before I was told, that Mom wouldn’t leave before they pulled him from whatever was left of the house.

I prayed with all my heart and soul that she would either be convinced not to be there when he was brought out of the house or that Dad would not be burned too badly. “Please God, PLEASE do not let her last memory of him be all burned and disfigured.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you pick up the slack when I get lazy about taking care of Kitty.

She says "Meow", btw.

The beginning of the story

I was sitting in the church basement, waiting for Sr. Youth to start. Chatting and laughing with the few kids who were there. Then TheHusband came through the door and motioned to the Youth Leader that he needed to talk to her. When she came back in the room I knew something was wrong. There were tears in her eyes and she would only say “You need to go home now.” So I grabbed my purse and walked out to my car, where TheHusband was waiting.

“Everything’s fine, I’ll tell you what’s going on when we get home.” For a fleeting moment I believed him. What kind of sweet surprise does he have planned for me? But it was a lie. I knew it. If everything was fine, why would the Youth Leader have looked ready to cry and why would he look so serious? So I drove home, trying not to speed, and trying not to think horrible things.

When I pulled in to the parking lot, I knew, like you just know certain things, it had to do with Dad. “What’s going on?” I asked before we could even get inside the building.

“There was a fire at the house.”
“My parents’ house?”
“Your parents’ house?”
“No, the house in #####.”
“and. . . ?”
“They didn’t get out.”
“Both of them, or just Dad?”

I’m scared now. If it’s Dad I can handle it, but Mom too? I’m not ready for that. I’ve been preparing myself for years for the phone call about Dad. But not. . . not both of them, not at the same time.

“I don’t know, let’s just get inside.”

This is when it clicks, it’s Wednesday night and Mom should have been at work. Was she sick? Did her schedule change? What the heck is going on?

We get into the building, the adrenaline is flowing, and I can’t decide whether to run to the phone or to shake TheHusband for more information. I do both, but neither produces much results. Brother5 left a voicemail and TheHusband hasn’t been able to get him to answer his phone. It takes me ten minutes, TEN MINUTES, to think to call the sheriff’s department (it’s a small town, and the county provides law enforcement).

TheHusband looks up the number and makes the call. They give him the phone number of an officer at the scene. He dials while I grab a suitcase to pack. I hear him on the phone explaining who he is and I pick up an extension in time to hear that the house is pretty much gone and they “lost” Dad.

Lost. That’s what they said, like he simply wandered away in the grocery store. That’s not what happened, and we all know it. I want to scream “He’s not lost! You know where he is, go get him!” But I know it’s too late. Then it registers, he said no one else was in the house. Just Dad. I feel relief flood through me, then shame. Dad’s dead, and I’m relieved I’m not an orphan. What is my problem?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Training Wheels

He learned to ride a bike
with no hands to guide him,
no training wheels, or strong arms,
to catch him when he fell.
His only teachers were the biting gravel
and the laughing tree by the driveway.

When he would fall
the gravel screamed, "Don't do that!"
and he could hear, "Try again,"
come whispering from the tree.

When he did succeed
with timing and with balance,
the friendly tree congratulated him
with open arms, a rough kiss,
and a bit of advice:

"Now practice your steering, please."

This is actually one of my favorite poems from college. The professor (Bill Holm) walked into class a little late one night and said "You have seven minutes to write a poem with the word 'tree' in it. Begin now." He looked at his watch, then sat down. This poem is what poured out.

I love you because...

. . . you agree with me when I say things like "I'm Brilliant!" or "I'm Funny!"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Rhubarb Pie

Who can resist the sweet tartness of a rhubarb pie? One that’s still warm from the oven with a flakey crust that sparkles with the promise of sugar granules generously sprinkled across its lattice top? Not me and certainly not Dad.

Recently, at work, they were serving a rhubarb custard pie. I had never in my life had this, but had to give it a try since it had been ages since I’d had anything rhubarb. While the creamy texture of the rhubarb custard was a taste treat, I was reminded how much Dad loved rhubarb desserts. And sitting there with my coworkers it was difficult not to laugh out loud as I remembered a story from last summer.

Mom had picked a bunch (and when I say a bunch I’m not talking about a fistful, or an ice cream bucketful, but a 5 gallon pail full) of rhubarb one morning. Unfortunately it was on one of her work days and she didn’t have time to do anything with it before she had to get ready and leave for work. So in an effort to give Dad something to do she told him that if he cut up some of the rhubarb that she would make him a pie the next day. He gave her a funny look and she thought that was the end of it and nothing would be done with the rhubarb.

Much to her surprise, when she got home that night (at almost one in the morning) she found that the largest bowl she owned was overflowing with cut rhubarb. Now I’m when I say a large bowl, I’m talking about one of those stainless steel bowls you could practically use as a swimming pool. After getting some rest, Mom spent all of the next morning baking pies, and bars, and rhubarb sauce, etc. A few days later, TheHusband and I were there to visit and Mom sent bars and sauce home with us. We (meaning me, because it turns out TheHusband isn’t too fond of rhubarb) would have loved to have brought some of the pie back as well, but my brothers made sure that that didn’t happen.
I guess Dad liked rhubarb pie more than any of us knew.

I love you because...

. . . you are okay with letting your silly side out.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I love you because...

. . . a couple of weeks ago, when I found out that I had lost enough weight to go down two pant sizes, you were happy for me. Not because I had lost weight, but because I was happy.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you were nice enough to install all my computer games after you finished doing stuff to the desktop (even though I was being cranky at you at the time).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you never just assume that doing stuff without me is okay (even though it is 95% of the time). You want to make sure that I'm not feeling left out or that I'm okay with you spending a little extra money on yourself is okay.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Taking a break. . .

. . . The last few days have been filled with pretty much the same old same old. Except, I've been taking a break from my photo scanning project (over 1000 scanned and counting) to play with my new laptop.

So far I've been loving it, but I still have to get used to the keyboard and the lack of a 10Key pad. Oh, well, it was bound to happen sometime. I love the fact that I can be anywhere in the apartment and still be able to write on the 'puter. I also love that I purchased a wireless mouse for the laptop (and a cute one, it's a Swiss Army Mouse - honorably discharged of course). Without this little guy I would probably tried using my desktop mouse about a thousand times by now.

This weekend I'll have to get back to the scanning project. There's only about 50 to 100 pictures left to do. While I've been doing this I've been trying to think of ways to put these pictures into some sort of DVD presentation for my mom and brothers. I may just have to break down and use my Pinnacle software for something more than watching t.v. at my P.C., which will totally shock TheHusband. hee hee

I love you because...

. . . you have been very patient with me as I've been playing with my new "toy" (the laptop) all week. You haven't even tried to steal it away from me once. =)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you agree with me when I say we make a good team.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Stampin' Up

I took a break from my picture scanning projects on Thursday night and went to a Stampin' Up party at church. I don't normally get into stamping as a craft, but 20% of the sales were going back to our church and I figured there would have to be other craft tools I might want. I was totally right, and actually liked the stamps too.

Here's what I made while there:

This thank you card is very cute, but I'm a little disappointed by the placement of the flowers over the "Thanks" stamps. Doing this on my own? I would move the flowers more to the right so there wasn't so much blank space. But that's just me.

This little card is so adorable. We had our choice of doing a pink one or a blue one. I'll end up giving this card to a coworker because I know she is having a little girl in just a few weeks. I love the stamp on the velum, very elegant without being over the top (so to speak).

I'll definitely be looking into these products more for future projects.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I'm scanning, I'm scanning, I'm scanning

Haven't been doing much crafting lately. I know I always seem to have an excuse for that, but this time I have been busy working on a craft type project. It's a project I've been putting off for over a year (partly because of emotional avoidance, and partly because I wanted a new scanner for the job).

I've been spending most nights scanning pictures we saved from the fire that destroyed my parents home (my dad died in the fire - which is the cause of the emotional avoidance). My master plan is to scan all of my mom's pictures into my PC, fix (to the best of my abilities) the damaged ones, and burn them all to CDs or DVDs for my mom and brothers. I'm totally crazy and hoping to have this project done by Christmas. . . of THIS year!

So far I've scanned just over 600 pictures and so far my little scanner (it's a Cannon LIDE 500F) is holding up great. I haven't started on the trying to fix damaged photos yet, but I'm totally excited about taking my new laptop (which I should have within the next few days - two weeks max), the scanner (it's totally portable), and the external hard drive (120G - we need a lot of space for those pictures) to visit my mom. Hopefully, she'll be able to help me identify the dates on some of the pictures and decide whether she really wants me to try to save some of the damaged ones.

Let's just say, that I'll be very busy working on this for the next few months. But in the end I think it will be worth it. My brothers and I will all have copies of treasured family photos and if something ever happens (like a fire) to them we'll be able to replace them easily.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you are open to God's guidance, and humbly acknowledge His blessings.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I love you because...

. . . all week you have been very loving and considerate. You have allowed me to be grumpy and crabby because of my "pain in the rear" and not made me feel guilty about it. Thanks for making me feel better even when I wasn't physically feeling better.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you like having me go with you to run errands, but you understand when I am just too worn out to join you and don't get all guilt-trippy about it. (Like how I just made up that word?)

Friday, July 14, 2006

I love you because...

. . . most of the time, when I'm being a crab, you know when to leave me alone and just let me be a crab. I really appreciated the other night when I was crabby that you didn't force the issue or try to "fix" things. You just let me be for awhile until I was ready to talk to you about what was bothering me. Thanks Sweetie!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Project Runway

I watched the first episode of the new Project Runway season last night and it looks like it will be another good season. I don’t have any favorites yet, but I do have some definite opinions about some of the contestants (but I’ll save those for another time).

This entry is about why I actually like this “reality” TV show and the Top Chef show (also on Bravo). I’ve watched episodes of other shows and while I found them interesting for a few episodes, I’ve never really cared whether or not I missed an episode (or a whole season for that matter) before. I’ve thought about it for a couple of days now and it boils down to these factors:

1. Creativity – Each week the “contestants” are challenged to use their skills to create something that will win the challenge for them. Last night the designers could only use items found in their apartments (that they share with each other) to create a piece of clothing that represented who they are to the judges. Everything in the apartments was fair game: bedding, furniture coverings, light fixtures, wall art, etc. While I found some of the outfits completely odd, I was very impressed with the different materials were used and I absolutely LOVE that I get to see someone else going through their own creative processes.

2. Talent – Most of the contestants on these shows are individuals who have been working in their field (fashion/cooking) for many years in some way or another. They didn’t get lucky (okay so maybe luck played a small part in it), but instead have been honing their talent for quite some time. They are in difficult, highly competitive fields and, I feel, are taking a chance on these shows to display their talents.

3. Passion – The contestants show an obvious passion for what they are doing. It’s something they love and is as much a part of them as breathing. Most realize that being on the show could help their careers (or hurt them), but really would still be doing what they are doing even if the show never existed just because they love doing it. This passion often expresses itself in their work.

4. General Lack of “Evilness” – What do I mean by this? Well, for the most part the challenges given on these shows are totally based on talent. There isn’t so much of the backstabbing, evil plotting, two-facedness that is VERY common on other reality TV. shows. Don’t get me wrong there is still pettiness and such but not to the same degree. The contestants seem to like each other and will often help each other out or give advice or instructions to those less knowledgeable. I do see the egos getting out off hand on many occasions, but again these are highly competitive fields and ego (to a point) is often beneficial.

5. The critiques of the work – The judges on these shows actually know how to give a critique without being complete jerks (again, for the most part). They give each contestant an honest appraisal of their work’s strong and weak points. They seem like they genuinely want to encourage and challenge each contestant to do the best work they can do and succeed in their field. How often does that happen on other reality shows or even in “real” life?

I admit there are exceptions to all of these points, but for the most part I find these shows to be of much higher value than others. I probably won’t post every week about what happened on the episodes, but you may find an occasional post about them. We’ll see what happens, I might have more opinions about fashion than I ever thought possible.

I love you because...

. . . you're flexible about our "menu cycle" that you so caringly put together. When I'm really not in the mood for something (for whatever reason) you're okay with me making last minute changes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I love you because...

. . . sometimes you ask silly questions, like "Can I give you more dirty laundry?"

Of course you CAN give me more, the better question is do I WANT more. ;)

Monday, July 10, 2006

I love you because

. . . you help me make sure that my car is taken care of: like make sure she gets new shoes!

Thanks Sweetie!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you worry about whether or not your video games are too loud for me, when you're playing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I love you because

. . . you are an amazing writer. You are able to clearly explain your opinions in a way that does not talk down to people. Not only that but you take on very technical topics and explain them so anyone can understand.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you let me have the last mint ice cream sandwich last night,

and the last of the good potato chips for lunch today.

Friday, June 30, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you'll drop everything to come help me.

Thanks for being there for me, when I was freaking out about the flat tire and having only 30 minutes to get to my doctor's appointment today.
I love you Sweetie, and totally appreciate everything you do for me!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you are trying to get healthier so we can spend many, many years together!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you let me know how much you appreciate these posts (and miss them when I don't do them).

Friday, June 23, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you care enough about me to make sure I quit procrastinating about going to the doctor. You know that if you make the appointment that I'll go, so you make the appointment. =)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I love you because...

. . . even when I think you are stone cold dead asleep, you notice when I leave early for work.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dad's Final "Resting Spot"

We went and spread dad's ashes last week. The most difficult part was the drive to and from the location dad had described (15 hours for TheHusband and me - each way) but his ashes are in the mountains now, just like he always wanted.

I found myself without words to say when Brother1 asked if anyone had anything they wanted to say. But what could I say?

"Be at peace"? That wasn't right. My hope has always been that Dad found the peace he had been searching for all his life at the moment of his death.

"Rest well"? Again, not quite right. I know that as long as he ended up with his heavenly father that he is resting well.

"Show us the way home"? It was something Brother4 said, but it just didn't ring true for me. Jesus Christ has been showing me the way home all my life. Also, I have been struggling with this aspect of Dad's death. I'm not 100% certain that he had made his peace with God before he died. This troubles me, the not knowing. But I also know that there is nothing that I can do about it one way or the other. I don't believe in purgatory. I don't believe that my prayers can help move him into heaven if he isn't already there. It's God's own grace, granted to us through our faith in His son Jesus Christ, and that alone that gets a person into heaven. When you're time here on earth is over, that's it. Game over, decision made, no redos. And so I pray for peace on this. That I don't waste my own life worrying about something I have no control over.

"Enjoy your mountain"? I don't believe Dad is even aware of what is happening with his earthly remains. Or even where they are. I feel that funerals, memorial services, etc. are rituals for the living. Necessary rituals, but for the living none the less. They are a way of sharing grief, giving support, remembering and sharing things about the deceased. I understand that many people want very specific things for their funerals/burial locations, but I can't even imagine that part of my own death, and so commenting on somebody else's final "resting spot" is difficult for me to do.

So maybe that's what this post is all about. Coming to terms with the term "Final Resting Spot". It really should be "Final Earthly Resting Spot" that people say. But that's just my opinion.

And Dad, even though I know you don't know what I'm thinking or writing, here's to hoping that your true final resting spot is in the arms of our heavenly Father.

Quick Update

I haven't been crafting for over a week. We (TheHusband and I) went on vacation for a few days with my family. It was a special trip to spread my dad's ashes and TheHusband hung in like a trooper.

Since returning I have been in vacation recovery mode. Trying to catch up with stuff at work and housework. My most pressing project right now is to get my crafting table and supplies organized. I thought I had things all figured out as to the way I wanted them, but half way through the project I've suddenly become perplexed as to how I want things to be. I'm on vacation again next week, so hopefully I'll get it all figured out then.

Until my next post, happy crafting!

I love you because...

. . . even when I'm crabby and shouldn't be around anyone, you still hang in there and make sure that I'm not getting too focused on not 'sploding.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I love you because...

. . . even though McFastfood forgot to put your french fries in our order, you didn't make me go back to get them (even though I freely offered to do so).

Monday, June 19, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you totally understood (and didn't get upset) when I was late leaving work today, even though it meant you didn't have much time to eat dinner before you had to leave for your meetings. Who knew the first day back from vacation would be so baaad?!?!

Okay, okay, we both knew it. But ya gotta make doughnuts!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you spent 4 whole days traveling with my family, which is no small feat, just so I wouldn't be disappointed.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you think I should write things like "I felt like Wonderwoman, flying her invisible jet, on the drive home today, because it seemed like NOBODY could see my car!" in one of my blogs.

Hee hee (and now I did!) :)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you VOLUNTEERED to take the comforters to the laundromat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you let me build stuff. Okay, so it wasn't technically building stuff, but I did get to put up your shelf for you.

You do let me build things like our bookcases, desks, entertainment center, etc. And I choose to believe that it's because you know I like doing those things (and not because you're trying to get out of doing them).

Monday, June 05, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you appreciate my weirdness.

CC1: Update 2

While working on the seat portion of the pattern I realized that I would have to rethink my strategy. I was originally going to have just one long piece of material span the entire length of the couch, but the two end sections move independently of the rest of the couch so I will have to create separate slip covers not only for each of the backs but for each of the seat areas as well.

Also, I'll have to include the arm sections in with the seat patterns for both ends as the arms move with the seats. Not an impossible task, but it does make things more challenging. I guess that's why this is a crafter's challenge!

I'll try to post some sketches of what I'm thinking is the new plan of attack later this week.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Quick Craft Project: Small Gift Bag

Ever feel guilty about giving someone just a gift card (even if you have no earthly idea what else they could want)? I had that problem this morning and had a fabulous idea for a solution when I found a cute little bag in the dollar section of Target. The bag's size was perfect for slipping both a narrow greeting card and the store gift card into it. "But how is that a quick craft?" you ask. Well, I wanted to personalize it for the recipient so I went home and dug out my Shrinky Dink supplies and some charms.



Supplies:_____________________________ Cost:
Red Bag:_____________________________ $1.00
4 heart charms :________________________$1.00 (estimate)
6 jump rings:__________________________ $.15 (estimate)
Shrinky Dink:__________________________ $.25 (estimate)
colored pencils (to color the Shrinky Dink)
scissor (to cut out name badge)
heart shaped paper punch (to punch holes
for jump rings in name badge)
oven (to shrink name badge)
clear gloss finish (to seal colored side of name
badge after it cooled)
2 needle nose pliers (open and close jump rings
when attaching things to bag)

The final cost of this project was under $2.50 and it ended up being a heck of a lot cuter than those store bought, waxy paper bags. And the best part was that the recipient absolutely LOVED it.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I love you because...

. . . sometimes you are as indecisive as I am. =)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you generously act as my tech support. Not just for my computer, but when I'm at work and somebody stumps me with a question you willingly give me the answer so I can look like a genius. (I do tell people that I got the answers from you - most of the time).

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you worry about my health and me being "healthy".

Today, you worried that I was trying to starve myself because I was only having applesauce for dinner. Even after I had told you that I want to a burger/malt place for lunch, I had to explain that I had eaten a malt, french fries, and a bacon cheeseburger for lunch which is why I wasn't very hungry.

Thanks for worrying about me!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you hold my hand. Even when we are at home just hanging out and watching a movie you'll reach for my hand. It let's me know that you like having me around.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you are NOTHING like the guy on Dr. Phil today.

His wife had lost 160+ pounds (a lot of it before they were married) and he stated that he "NEEDED" her to lose 25 more pounds because the sound of a 5'7" women weighing 170 pounds just sounded wrong to him.

You've seen me at my smallest and you've seen me at my largest and you love me the same no matter what I weigh. Not only that but you support me whole heartedly in my current attempt to lose weight and you do it without being demeaning or hurtful.

I'm so glad you are my husband!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you tell me (just about every day) how lucky you feel to have me as your wife.

CC1: Update 1

I purchased some inexpensive muslin to use for making a pattern for the slip cover. What does this entail?

Well, it means I cut and pin the pieces together directly on the couch. This allows me to trim away excess and keep in mind how the piece will have to "slip" over the curves of the couch. So far I've done one section of the back of the couch (since it's a lazy boy couch each back section comes off individually).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you notice little things that I like and get them for me when I probably wouldn't.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Going Home

I watch my little brother slowly swing.
His legs, too long, dig deep ruts in
the soft black earth. He frowns and shifts
as old, rusty chains bite his tender flesh.
He pumps as hard as he can, the swing set groans
in protest, and no matter how hard he tries
the stubborn swing won't let him soar the skies.

We wince together, both of us trying to live
our lives in places that do not fit anymore.
At thirteen, Ted no longer fits the swing.
My swing, the place I call home, pinches too
and makes me want to find a new place to play.
Somewhere that I can soar, instead of drag
my feet in soft black earth and dig deep ruts.

We feel the same uncertain fright growing
inside us. Joining him, I tell him not
to worry, it's all a part of growing up.
The advice is more for me than him. I pump,
yet can't resist the uncomfortable pinch - home.

I love you because...

. . . you change out the CDs in my car so I don't have to listen to the same stuff all the time.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Crafter's Challenge 1: Couch Slipcover

The couch looks to be in pretty good condition here (and it is mostly), but there are several cat stains and a small wear hole. The couch has been professionally cleaned a couple of times by the previous owners, who also attempted to bleach out the stains before they delivered it to us.

Since receiving the couch we've also added a couple of stains of our own. So my "Crafter's Challenge" is to make a slip cover for this comfortable couch. I'll keep you updated on my progress. Wish me luck!

Friday, May 19, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you don't mind that I'm a little messy. At least you don't say that you do.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I love you because...

. . . with you it's all or nothing.

The other night you were so warm you kicked the blankets off . . . from both of us.

And last night you were so cold you had the blankets wrapped so tight around yourself you looked like a burrito (with a cold side of wife). Fortunately, I had Kitty and the ability to "unwrap" you without waking you up.

Very cute!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I love you because...

. . . four years ago today, you stood up in front of our friends, family,
and God and pledged to love and honor me for the rest of our lives.

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

I love you because...

. . . you make me feel safe.

Last night, when you were gone, I had to check the front door about four times to make sure it was locked. Then I had the hardest time falling asleep (and staying there) because I knew you weren't just in the next room.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you have an incredible memory. It usually only takes you seeing a movie one time for you to be able to pull out obscure quotes. And you totally use them at the appropriate times.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


First woman, fully formed.
No womb for you, born of man.
Shaped by God's tender hand.
You walked in friendship with Him,
the Creator of your garden home
and all creatures who in it roamed.
Then tempted by the serpent's words,
too late, true wisdom you did gain.
Expelled from paradise all the same.
The painful labor you endured,
a sacrifice of unknown worth.
The first child of humble birth.
You raised two sons to be men.
Then watched one kill the other.
The cause? Jealousy between brothers.
Praise the Lord, when Seth was born,
in each tear of joy you wept.
He was the beginning of a promise kept.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you keep even the little, silly presents I give you.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you can tell when I really don't want to drive and you'll drive us instead (most of the time).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you read to me. I love listening to your voice as you read me your favorite books. I love how you skip the parts that aren't even remotely critical to the story line or characters. I especially love how you don't get upset if I fall asleep. You just ask me what the last thing I remember is, and then start from there.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I love you because...

. . . not only do you think I'm a good cook, you let me "modify" recipes to try to make them better.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you tell me you miss me. It doesn't matter if we haven't seen each other all day, or if you've been hanging out with your friends (usually playing 'puter games), or if I'm in the next room. You always let me know that I'm loved and missed.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I love you because...

. . . sometimes, after I've gone to bed, I'll hear you singing praise songs while you work on something in the office and it warms my heart to hear you worshiping the Lord.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you don't get mad when I buy craft supplies. In fact you often encourage me to buy craft supplies because you know that crafting is my way of relieving stress. Plus, my favorite craft store ON THE WHOLE PLANET is named after you! Too bad we don't get royalties. :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you help keep me honest.

For example, the first time I went to the neurologist about my headaches he asked if I was a "people pleasing, perfectionist, worrier." I, of course, was ready to answer "Sometimes, but not really," but one look from you and I had to admit that I am. Which probably resulted in the doctor being better able to treat my headaches.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you tried really hard not to wake me up last night (at 2:00 a.m.) when you were cleaning up Kitty's mess. You even tried to vacuum up all the dirt from the plant she knocked over and were concerned about whether or not I could save it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I love you because...

. . . even though we use the same ingredients (in the same amounts), you still think it tastes better when I make the "juices" and water than when you do it.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I love you because...

. . . today, you had the insight to know when enough was enough. I know you are feeling like you let yourself down, but you actually did yourself a great service in leaving that situation when you did. If you hadn't left when you did (and merely powered through the day) not only would you be considerably more grumpy, but the company you were working for would not have been as understanding (or have offered to be reference for you in the future).

Not only did you not let yourself down, but you did something admirable in knowing your boundery and taking care of yourself (in getting out of the situation). Many people would have stayed just to have been eligible for the two weeks of vacation pay, and then left. You showed, as you have in the past, that a person's mental health and integrity are much more important than any amount of money.

Besides, we wouldn't want you to be connected to any of these:

I love you, Sweetie, and I am proud of you!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you can and DO clean the bathroom much better than I. I don't know if it's because of your military background, or because I have lower standards (which cause me not to clean as well), but you sure can make a bathroom shine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you willingly, and without complaint, ate the tuna fish sandwiches I packed in your lunches for three days in a row (even though it was me who forgot to get regular lunch meat the two times I was at the grocery store right before and during that three day stretch).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I love you because...

. . . on Superbowl Sunday, many years ago, you didn't turn your back on a fuzzy little kitten who needed a home. And since then you have cared for and worried about that fuzzy little freak who still lets us live with her. You've even tried to find her a job so she can help with the bills (the ungrateful twerp).

Monday, April 24, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you are strong and moved our MASSIVE container of "christmas houses" out to the garage for me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you are generous to your friends. For example: helping MM upgrade his video card because you know all his money is going to adopt a baby.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you think I'm funny, even when I'm not really.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you always want me to have the best computer. Even if that means taking parts from your computer and putting them in mine.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Blue Bunnies

It is Easter and today I am reminded of another Easter season several years ago and an important lesson I learned about my dad. First let me say that the relationship I had with my dad was often rocky. Partly because he didn’t know how to be the kind of father I wanted him to be and partly because I was so set on the idea of the kind of father I wanted that I couldn’t see the kind of father I had.

When I was still in high school, my mom had to call the ambulance late one night for my dad. By this point in time he had been medically retired for a couple years because of recurring heart problems, most notably congestive heart failure. That night I could hear Mom yelling. I don’t remember what exactly she was yelling but it didn’t make sense at the time so I went downstairs to investigate. Dad was in bed and not very responsive, and when he did respond it was as if he was in some kind of fog. When the ambulance crew arrived Dad was a little more coherent and didn’t want to go with them. Somehow, though, Mom convinced him it was the right thing to do. She didn’t want my younger brothers to see him being taken out of the house on a stretcher so she had me stand at the bottom of the stairs to make sure they didn’t come down. As he was wheeled past the stairs I heard him say to Mom, “Tell the boys I love them and I wish I could have seen the little ones grow up.”

I was devastated to say the least. Here was my dad, thinking he was going to die, and not a word about him loving me, his only daughter. In that moment I felt my world crashing down on me and I thought that the one thing I had denied all my life was finally confirmed. Dad had never loved or wanted me.

Dad recovered and came home. I pushed the memory of that night to the back of my mind as best I could and didn’t think about it until years later when I was in college. I was home on Easter break. Mom, Dad, and I had gone to a local retail establishment to do some shopping before I went back to school. Near the front of the store was a large display of Easter baskets with different colored stuffed rabbits in each one. Dad and I started joking about how the poor little bunnies had been trapped inside the cellophane wrapped baskets for too long and that you could tell which ones had been trapped the longest by their color. White ones had just been put in, pink or yellow had only been in a little while, blue ones were running out of oxygen but still had a chance of survival, purple ones had just died of suffocation, and the green ones were already decaying. We had a great time and Mom was so embarrassed by us that she just walked away like she didn’t know us.

A couple weeks later I received a box in the mail. I was surprised because it was unusual to get a care package from home so soon after I had just been there. When I opened the box there was one of the Easter baskets (filled with Peeps – my favorite Easter treat) with a little blue bunny inside. There was also a note from Dad that simply said “Look what I found in the shed.” The hurt from that night when I was in high school came rushing back to me. But as I cried, and held on to that silly stuffed bunny, the pain went away and was replaced by the knowledge that Dad did really love me. He just didn’t know how to say it.

What was the lesson I learned? Just because someone isn’t telling me that they love me the way I want to hear it doesn’t mean they aren’t saying they love me in the only way they know how to. Be open to receiving love in whatever form it comes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A visit from Mom. . .

Spent the afternoon with Mom. She decided she just needed to get “out of there” for awhile. What she meant was that she needed to get away from all the reminders about how slowly things are progressing out on the lot. She goes out there everyday to pick up the mail and to check on the garage (make sure things haven’t been broken into). She sees on a daily basis just how much progress (meaning none) is being made. But there is nothing she, or anyone else, can do until the ground dries out more. I’m hoping that by early summer she will be back living in her own home.
We spent some time talking about Dad and how the boys (at least two of them) don’t really think that Dad helped to raise us kids. I see their point to a certain extent. But I also cut him some slack because of how and where he was raised. His adoptive father was not the best role model for fatherhood, and the area where he was raised was of a culture where the men were MEN and didn’t show their emotions. The men showed their love for their families by taking care of them, and that often meant long days in the fields away from the kids. And when the kids got old enough they helped out in the fields. The women were the ones who stayed with the little ones and got them off to school. The women were the ones who kissed the scraped knees and wiped away the tears. Life where he grew up was hard, and having the father he had was even harder.
Dad didn’t really know anything else until he became a part of my mom’s family when they were married. Then he looked to his father-in-law (my grandpa) as an example. But that only lasted until my grandpa died when I was about twelve. After that he had to rely on what he remembered. And by that time his own father had moved in with us and the memories of how he had been treated as a child were much closer to the surface and sometimes hard to ignore. I can remember him acting out on them a couple of times.
Anyway, I think he was scared of being a father, of repeating the behavior he had instinctively known was not love when he was a child. I think he was especially scared by me, his only daughter, what a novelty I was! He had a hard time figuring out how to raise boys, what was he supposed to do with a girl?
I’ve come to these realizations slowly over the years. I’ve wished many times over the past few months that I had come to them sooner, when there was more time to build a better relationship with him. But at least I came to them before this. My brothers have all this anger (at least I think it’s anger) and disappointment. I pray that they are able to someday see that Dad did the best he could with what he had (both materially and emotionally) to give.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Greeting Card Sentiments

Today, while watching television, I saw a commercial for “Walk The Line”. It’s the movie about Johnny Cash’s life. It made me think about Dad, the way so many things can these days, and I began to wonder if I really remember things about him. Like, I’ve always thought that he liked Johnny Cash’s music, but did he really like it or did I just think he liked it because we gave him a tape/CD one year and he pretended to like it, or am I just making things up to try to hold on to him?

I think, I am remembering true things about him. Believe me, my dad wasn’t the greatest dad in the world. In fact, sometimes he was horrible, but I still loved him. I still love the good, generous things about him.

Mostly though, I am sad today, because I find myself thinking about him more now than I did when he was alive. I am ashamed to admit that I wasn’t a good daughter to him, that in small ways, even in adulthood, I found small ways (consciously or not) to get back at him for not being the “greatest” dad. For example, I am now realizing that part of the reason I didn’t send him birthday/father’s day cards (as mentioned in a previous post) was because I never felt like he celebrated my birthday so why should I celebrate his?

How sad is that? How petty. Now I am left with years of birthday & father’s day cards (yes, I did actually buy them – just never sent them) that are of no use to either of us. Yet, I can’t seem to get rid of them. They’ve been boxed up, moved around, and thumbed through so many times over the years that donating them to some charity just doesn’t seem right. So I will probably wrap them in ribbon, box them up, move them around, and thumb through them for the rest of my life. Maybe, just maybe, those greeting card sentiments that never seemed quite right will remind me that our time here is limited, and telling someone you love them is more important than hanging on to past hurts.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


TheHusband really is the sweetest guy I know. The other day we were talking about him getting a new job (he's had the interview and is just waiting for a call back) and how he would need to buy new clothes if he got the job.

Turns out the dress code at the new place is business casual (khakis, collared shirts, etc). TheHusband only has one collared shirt (not including his nice white dress shirts) and the following conversation ensued:

TH: Well, I do have the one black polo, but I won't wear that. It's too bad, because I like that shirt.

Me: Why won't you wear that shirt?

TH: I don't want you to be reminded of why I bought it.

Me: Why you. . . ? (light dawns on blond head) Oh. I never even thought of it before.

TH: D'oh! But now you'll remember, won't you?

Me: Yes, but wear it anyway. Besides it looks good on you.

Yeah, I don't remember many specific details (such as what shirts were bought) of the first couple of weeks after the fire/funeral. But now that he mentions it, the funeral is the first time I ever saw him were that particular shirt. And yes, it will remind me of that time, but it will also remind me of how sweet and caring TheHusband is. I mean, seriously, how many guys would decide not to wear a shirt because it might have bad memories for someone else?

God definitely knew what He was doing when He gave me TheHusband. =)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Christmas without. . .

This Christmas season has been very difficult for me. It was the first Christmas without Dad. It's not like he was the boisterous center of attention during Christmas, but, to me, he was the quiet watcher.

My brothers may remember things differently, but to me it seemed that Christmas was Dad's favorite holiday. The lights, the food, the pleasure he got from watching us open our gifts, these are what made it Christmas. When we lived on the farm, Dad would put up the outdoor Christmas lights/decorations each year. He seemed to take particular pleasure from the comments he received from the beet truck drivers. It seems our Christmas lights cheered them up on their middle of the night runs.

I can't remember him ever going to our Christmas pageants at church, but he must have. I can remember sitting squished in the back seat of the car with our peanut bags and Dad driving us around town to see the lights. We only got "peanut bags" (bags filled with unshelled peanuts, fruit, and candy) as we walked out of church following the Christmas pageants, so Dad must have gone to at least a couple of them when I was little.

Then on Christmas morning he would sit quietly off to the side to watch us open our gifts. Every year the small gifts we got for him would be stacked in a small pile beside him. Not until we had opened all of our gifts and were fully distracted would he open his. When we were younger, my brothers and I would get him things like a deck of cards, a box of chocolate covered cherries, or a tin of cookies. As we got older, got jobs, and could afford more there were the small tools and videos. But always, Dad would wait until he thought we weren't looking to open his presents and for a long time I wondered why. Then one year, while I was in high school, I sat and watched him. There was a joy in his eyes that I didn't see at any other time as he watched us open our gifts and be surprised at the simple treasures he and mom had given us. And there was a wishfulness there as well, a yearning for the ability to give us more. With seven kids to raise there wasn't a lot of money left over for lavish gifts and we often received things we needed over things we wanted. How he wished he could have given us more.

But that year, my most precious gift was seeing how he took joy in giving to us what he could. He loved watching us, discovering what our favorite gift had been. Seeing the once neat pile of gifts be replaced by the chaos of flying paper and newly emptied boxes, while the Christmas tree lights blinked silently behind us. And I think that, while he appreciated the small baubles we gave him, each year our greatest gift to him was letting him watch us build our dreams from the simple things he gave us.

This is what I'll miss most about Christmas each year. The smile in his eyes, and the quiet laughter, his presence on the periphery of the action, his happiness in my happiness.

Merry Christmas Dad.
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