Sunday, August 31, 2008

40 X 40 - #10 Redecorate every room in my house.

I have a plan to redecorate every room in my house. The purpose is so that each offers a unique mood as I write.

It should be no surprise that my room will be the one room in the house that's even remotely romantic. Muted purple walls, lace curtains, wild flowers, and candles. I have two closets in my room, so I don't really need furniture in the room to hold my clothes. So, in addition to the bed and nightstand, I'll set up a sitting area as well.

My living room will have deep, rich colors. Chocolate brown, caramel, and a dark red. This color palette was actually inspired by three ponytail holders. I have paneling in this room, which I intend to paint, and carpeting which I intend to pull up. I have no idea how to address this hideous, stucco ceiling, but I assure you, I'll figure it out.

My bathroom will be the one room in my house that will have a contemporary look and feel. My whole house is small, but my bathroom is especially so. Needless to say, there's not a whole lot I can do with furniture in there. But I do intend to remove the vanity-style sink and replace it with a pedestal sink. The walls will be a muted sage/olive green, fixtures will be pewter, and the accent color will be a shiny black. I'd like to find a way to 'hide' my washer and dryer without using a curtain, though that would be the easiest solution. There's already a curtain for the bathtub and the window...and curtains aren't all that contemporary. So, I'm a little stumped there. Good thing I have two years to figure it out.

My kitchen will reflect wine country. Think Tuscany. Think Olive Garden. Though I do want to avoid the yellowish colors and stick with more of an off-white. It may take me awhile, but I eventually want to replace the appliances with stainless steel versions. The counters will be granite or at least granite-looking. The back splash will be ceramic tile. And there will be a wine rack.

I have a room attached to my kitchen that we currently refer to as the sun room. Mostly because the furniture from my sun room in Greenwood is all sitting in that room, NOT because it gets any sun at all. I'm not exactly sure what to do with that room. It seems a waste to use a room, in addition to the kitchen, for dining. Especially since the house is so small, it might be nice to have another room as a sitting room. But with the two being so open to each other, it's going to have to have much the same look and feel. I'll have to think on this one awhile.

I also intend to stop parking in my carport and use my garage for my car (must replace the remote to the garage door opener). I want to screen in my carport, put down durable, outdoor flooring, and put my sun room furniture out there. That side of my house doesn't get much sun, but I still want to give it a beach look. The colors will be sand, sky blue, and off-white.

Jeff's on his own with his room...unless of course he's moved out. Then I'll attack that room too.

Every room (except the bathroom) will have a place where I can sit for hours and write or read or type. That's another reason I want to set up wireless Internet in my home. If I want to/need to go online to research something, I don't want to have to pick up and move to a network drop (or more accurately, a phone connection). Oh, and only ONE room will have a television.

I intend to start in the living room, simply because we spend so much time there. Second, my room...again, because I spend so much time there. After that, probably the bathroom. But we'll see. I've got two years and two months and two days to figure it out...and get it done.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Lessoned Learned

Jeff started a new job today. He's working for a catering company. Today they have a big wedding in Bloomington. He helps put the food, tables, and warmers in the van. Once they get to the reception hall, he helps unload the van. He sets up tables and such for the food to be set up on. He buses tables and does dishes. Then they load up the van again, head back to town, and unload the van once more. He said he could have a 14-hour day today.

Last night, in preparation for the job, he had to get black pants and a white, long-sleeved, button-down shirt. He and his friend who also started work today, went to get their 'uniforms' together. Jeff was surprised to pay $40 for those two items plus black socks. I'm like, you spend twice that on a pair of jeans! But it's different when he's paying the tab. Then again, I'm not usually the one to spend that on his jeans; he does. So, I'm not sure why he was so surprised. Nevertheless, it's good to see him learn the value of a dollar.

I wasn't sure if Jeff should even start work today. He still hasn't passed his kidney stone. He hasn't said much about it in the last 24 hours. But when it decides to move, it will definitely cause him pain. Not to mention, he has a cold. He's been complaining about a sore throat and congestion. I hope he makes it through the day okay.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

40 X 40 - #13 Create a Dream Journal blog.

Okay, I got an early start. I jumped the gun. I took the initiative. I cheated.

I've already created a blog for my dream journal. I created it a couple of days ago and entered my first entry this morning.
I know, I know. I said I wouldn't start my 40 X 40 until September 1st. But this one was a really easy one for me. And like I've said in a previous blog entry (a long ago blog entry), I'm a list maker and I LOVE marking things off the list. So, once I made this list, it was just excruciating not to jump right on it. So, I did.

So, the blog is online. Now I need to do what I can to retain the content of my dreams so that I can post the words. So, I put a green notebook next to my bed so that I can write down anything that I remember from my dreams as soon as I wake up. Now I just need to get in the habit of writing first thing in the morning.

I've never been one for including labels with my posts, but I want to do that with my Dream Journal blog. It'll help me better track how often I have recurring dreams or at least dreams with recurring themes. I have a few dreams on my website that I'd like to copy over. So, look for that.

I've wanted to blog my dreams for awhile. I actually have a previous blog entry about my dreams. I'd love to know what they mean...if they mean anything. I dream in color, which is fairly common. And I seem to remember a lot of detail about my dreams. And I like that. I enjoy the silly, intriguing stories that my mind conjures while I'm sleeping. Now I'll be blogging them for everyone's enjoyment.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Not my Best Day

I have had a very frustrating day. Didn't sleep well last night. Headache all day. JEFF!

I have had a headache the entire day. I woke up with it and it's still there. I've tried Advil, caffeine, sleep, fresh air, and simply ignoring the problem. No luck. It ranges in pain from just annoying to 'I think my head is going to burst!'

I got an email from one of Jeff's teachers today. She said that he hasn't turned in any work in over a week. He's pulling a 30%. When I asked Jeff about it, I got his standard answer. "Don't worry about it; I'll bring up my grade." I immediately gave him a hard time for leading me to believe that he'd been keeping up with his work even though he missed school for his retreat.

I also told him he was grounded for not turning in his work. In true Jeff fashion, he justified everything. Even though he hasn't started his first major paper, he has until Friday and he'd get it done. Even though he hadn't turned in his two journal assignments, he had actually finished them...just forgot to take his thumb drive to school. Etc, etc, etc.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate arguing. Maybe I haven't, since I haven't had to do it in so long. I need to live in a world where I never have to argue. I'm really bad at it. I HATE it. It makes my head hurt, my stomach churn, and I'm less than effective. And I never win. I throw in the towel EVERY time. NOT a good thing when you're supposed to be parenting.

So, even though my hard and fast rule is that if you don't go to school, you DON'T get to make plans for the evening, Jeff is at a volleyball game. I have to admit that one of the reasons I gave in to this argument is because I simply needed a little peace in my day. Shame on me! It's inconsistent parenting like this that most likely led to the behavioral problems that relocated Jeff to his dad's for two years.

I even cried out of frustration today. First time in a long time. Ugh!

I'll try to do better tomorrow.

It's not been my worst day ever, not by any stretch. But I am really looking forward to tomorrow because I fully expect it to be better than today.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

40 X 40 - #19 Update my death portfolio.

A couple of people have already asked me what a Death Portfolio is. So, I figure I'll start by explaining that one.

I got my Bachelor's degree from Regis University. It's a Jesuit college in Denver, though I attended one of their satellite campuses in Colorado Springs. I had already achieved my Associates degree from Pikes Peak Community College in '94. So, I only had two years left to finish my BS. I attended Regis from April of '97 to May of '99.

Being a Jesuit college (a Catholic college), all students were required to complete two religious education courses. The first one HAD to be Intro to Religious Studies. For many of us, we chose Death and Dying as the second course. Not that we were all that overly interested in the customs associated with death in cultures around the world. But instead of taking a final at the end of the course, we had to put together a Final Affairs Portfolio...also known as the Death Portfolio.

It consists of all those things that my family will need in the event that I pass on. For example, my last will and testament, any necessary powers-of-attorney, a list of my creditors, a list of my assets (insurance, stocks, bonds, retirement plans, bank accounts), even where I want my funeral to be and where I want to be buried. We went as far as to include a mock-up of our obituaries, epitaphs, letters to loved ones, and songs we wanted played at our funerals. Those who had children and pets, outlined what should happen to them.

It was very thorough. And everyone should have one. This class gave us the opportunity to complete one at an age when it didn't seem morbid to do so. We were to print it out and ensure that someone knew where it could be found. Our instructor told us that every couple of years, we should look over it and update any changes. I haven't done that since I lived in Greenwood, six years ago. It's well past time. So, I'm going to make that a priority before I turn 40.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's a God Thing

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was telling me that he was struggling with some financial issues. I asked him if I could give him money. I couldn't offer thousands, but I could offer hundreds. He said he'd let me know.

Well, I didn't hear from him for a couple of weeks. So, I went about paying my regular bills. And this month, I had additional financial obligations (doctor's appointments, Jeff's book rental/school registration, Jeff's driver's ed, and of course Jeff's Chrysalis). So, I paid all of those.

Yesterday, my friend comes to me and humbly asks to take me up on my offer. I was very moved by his request. He was uncomfortable asking, but it was obvious that he had no where else to go. I told him that I didn't have it, but I quickly added that I could get it. In that same moment, while he was sitting right there, I called my dad and asked for $170. I didn't tell him what it was for and he didn't ask. He just said, 'Sure.'

I could tell that my friend hated that I had to ask someone else for the money. But I assured him that all was good. I would repay my dad within the week and my friend could pay me back whenever...or not at all…I would NOT miss the money. In fact, I told him that the only reason God blesses me financially is to allow me to give it to those in need. And I really only give it away if I have it to give. So, it won't hurt me if I never see that money again.

My friend was very thankful and even felt compelled to tell me what he was doing to remedy his short-term financial hardship. Apparently, he's not sleeping, working extra jobs, and is having stomach issues just thinking about the hole he's in. I could tell that he was miserable about it all. I think that happens to all of us…when we're strapped for funds, we stress ourselves out. Financial stress is the worst.

But I told him that he needs to find a way to have peace in some way. I suggested that he spend a few times every day with his eyes closed and just ask God for ten minutes of peace, time when he wouldn't worry about this issue. Perhaps that would help refresh his mind, body, and soul for what he truly needed to do to more effectively deal with this huge challenge. Then I told him that ultimately God could fix it all for him. He just had to trust Him to handle it.

After work, I stopped by the K of C because that's where my dad works. He handed me a check for $170. I thanked him for helping me help my friend. While I was there, and because I'm a member of the Ladies Auxiliary, I 'signed up'. This entails handing over $1.25 and signing my name to two different notebooks. $1 for the weekly drawing; $0.25 for the daily drawing. Then I left to cash the check and get the money to my friend.

Are you ready for this? Are you sitting down? Are you smiling yet? You will be. : )

My dad called me first thing this morning to tell me that I'd won the weekly drawing at the K of C. I've never won it before, but mostly because I don’t sign up all that often. And the ONLY reason I did this week is because I happened to be there to borrow money from my dad. Guess how much I won…


So, in only 18 hours, God gave me the money that I gave to my friend. I immediately offered to repay my dad, but he wouldn't take it. He will eventually, but I think he wanted me to enjoy my win. Personally, I couldn't wait to call my friend. I wanted him to know how God takes care of those who love Him, that He is so giving and affirms the right decisions that we make. I also told him that it was like God was repaying my friend's debt to me…not that I was really owed it.

That, my friends, is a God Thing. I knew it right away. And so did my friend. I LOVE how God moves in my life!

Friday, August 22, 2008

40 X 40

Occasionally, I click on the random blog titles that are recently updated. I like to see if I get lucky and find something to my liking. I think e-Blogger should have a way that I can search through the various blogs to find something I might find interesting. But if it exists, I haven't seen it. But I digress.

I found two different blogs that outline a 40 X 40. These bloggers outlined 40 things they wanted to accomplish by the time they turned 40. What a great idea! I turn 40 on November 3, 2010. So, if I start attacking my list on September 1, 2008, I'll have 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days to complete my 40 X 40.

You can see my list to the right. They are in no particular order. And I'm sure that I won't complete them in the order they're listed. On days that I don't have anything significant in my world to blog about, I'll elaborate on what each item on my list means and why I chose to include it.

As I accomplish the items on my list, I'll add the date. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Who's Your Daddy?

I had a conversation today with one of my co-workers that led me to this insight.

The devil most likely hates me. There is absolutely nothing I could ever do or say that would please him. That's how much he hates me. Even if I wanted to be mean and nasty all the time, he'd never be satisfied with me. He'd never love me. He only wants to use me to wreak havoc. So, why should I do anything to please him?

On the other hand, the RIGHT hand, there's absolutely nothing I could ever do or say that would make Jesus forsake me. That's how much He loves me. No matter how often I screw up or sin against Him, He'll always forgive me. His mercy and love are unending. So, why wouldn't I do everything I could to please Him?

This is not a new revelation for me. But it bears repeating. Don't you think?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's Official!

Jeff TOTALLY has a different heart. I DEFINITELY brought home a different boy than I dropped off. And I agree, he is SUCH a joy!

Jeff is on top of the world right now. And it's amazing to see. He was even whipping out one-liners like a professional comedian. At one point, he was telling us that when introduced to 'agape', he thought, "Now they're just making up words." It got a big laugh. Later in the evening, he mentioned that he told a couple of the guys on the team (both cops) that if they pulled him over and asked for ID, he say, "Hi, my name is Jeff. I attended BIC 32 and sat at the table of SUM." (If you've been to an Emmaus or Chrysalis weekend, you'll find that funnier than if you haven't yet.)

Speaking of SUM... The youth get to name their own tables. Jeff's table had three participants. Each of those letters is the initial from each of their last names. Then they decided to come up with an anagram that was more appropriate. So, SUM means Seeking Ultimate Mercy. How cool is that?!

I prayed that Jeff would get two things out of the weekend: that he'd feel the unconditional love of God as well as the unlimited love of the Body of Christ AND that he'd learn to give things up to God...let go, let God. Tonight, he talked about both of those things. He even went into detail about how it was important not only to seek forgiveness from God, but also to forgive others. And for those times when he's just not strong enough to forgive, he's learning to give it to God to handle.

He also has a plan for his relationship with Brooke, his girl. This weekend, he heard a lot about how a Christian man maintains a righteous single life. Jeff said that he wants to talk about all of that with Brooke, as his heart is in a much better place with respect to his feelings for her and having a serious relationship. He also really wants to see her attend this same retreat. He thinks it would be an excellent foundation for their relationship. (That would be true, but it makes me a little nervous that my 17-year-old is already thinking about a permanent relationship with his 16-year-old girl friend...I think I've never been happier that they live 3 hours apart.)

I can go on and on. We listened to Christian music all the way home. Jeff even said that he was going to spend some time this week putting some of my Christian music on his I-pod. Even tonight, as I'm typing up this blog entry, Jeff is outside, hanging with Linus Felinus and praying in the peace and quiet. Oh! And he's totally changed his mind about what he wants to do with the rest of his life. A week ago, he was thinking about going into business. Today? He wants to study psychology and be a guidance counselor in a high school. He said he wants to help kids find their direction in a positive way.

He did say one thing that concerned me. He wants to leave the Catholic church. My position on this has always been that if he's living in my house, he has to go to church with me. (When he's with his dad, IF he goes to church, he goes to the Baptist church that his dad's family attends. But I'm Catholic and we attend a Catholic church...EVERY week.) If he ALSO wants to go somewhere else, he's welcome to do that. I'll even go WITH him. But I don't think I'm ready to let him make his own decision about 'shopping around' for a church. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I'm going to have to put some thought (and prayer) into it. He agreed to give me time to do that.

I definitely don't want to squelch his passion right now. I LOVE the idea that he wants to find a church that speaks to him. But I tried to explain to him that he's probably NOT going to find a church anywhere that replicates the Chrysalis weekend every Sunday morning in one hour. But even more (for me), I really missed going to mass with him every weekend for the last two years. I enjoy attending mass with him and I just don't want to give that up...yet. On the other hand, he'll be 18 in less than 6 months and will most likely expect to make his own decisions about where he worships. And who could blame him? I just need a bit of time to get used to the idea.

But I've gotten off track here. My whole point in this blog entry is to express how much Jeff truly was moved by this retreat. He said he loved every minute of it and really wants the opportunity to be on the team in the future, giving a talk on HIS faith journey. Within an hour of us leaving the camp grounds, he was already on the phone with his girlfriend telling her that she needed to experience this same thing. He is just ON FIRE! It's pretty amazing to see. I can't wait until you see him!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


And I'm not talking about Michael Phelps getting his 8th gold medal and 7th world record in the last week.

Tonight I went to see Jeff at the Chrysalis retreat. First, I got to surprise him by escorting him to his seat for supper. I asked him how he was doing. He said he was tired. All I could think was that he ain't seen nothin' yet! But I didn't say it out loud. I was just glad to be spending the moment with him on my arm. We were both smiling. Before the meal was over, he introduced me to a couple of his friends; I introduced him to a couple of mine.

During that same meal, no less than four different men came up to tell me how Jeff was a changed heart, that a different boy was coming home with me than the one I left with them, and that he was really a joy. With every comment, I had a more and more difficult time fighting back the tears. I've always known that Jeff had the potential to be a man of integrity, though it was lost for a couple/few years in there. Tonight, others saw it too. What an amazing night. And that was just supper.

The prayer service was wonderful too. We started by singing Days of Elijah. I LOVE that song! I was a little worried about the prayer that I had to say out loud for Jeff. But I spoke from my heart and just asked that Jeff ALWAYS go to God and trust Him to guide his life.

THEN I got to see Jeff again. My friends each hugged him. Then I got to hug him. He totally broke down. We just held each other and cried. Finally he said, "I love you, Mom." Do you know how long it's been since he told me he loved me? I can't even remember the last time. I've known lately that he does; our relationship is so much better lately than it was before his move to Kentucky. But it was SO NICE to hear. I told him that I was just happy that he was here (at Chrysalis). He said he was too. Ahhhh, it was BEAUTIFUL!

But wait! There's more!

During the prayer service, Gavin mentioned that these 21 boys were so moved even from the first talk. He said that one boy practically demanded to speak one-on-one with the young man who gave the first talk because it spoke so directly to his heart. That BOY was JEFF! He hadn't even been there 3 1/2 hours and he'd already been that moved by the first witness. He was DEFINITELY ripe for this sort of experience. Praise God!

I happen to know the young man who gave that first talk. His mother works with me. She said that if Jeff wanted to spend time with her son, she was pretty confident that he'd mentor Jeff. Wow, what a blessing is that?! I just KNEW that something amazing could come from Jeff's weekend. I'm just so happy, SO HAPPY that it's actually happening. Wow! WOW!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I miss the gym!

The last time I went to the gym was exactly two weeks ago tomorrow. I'm going to try to go back...tomorrow. I have really missed it. I was on such a roll too.

I'm still not completely over the bronchitis. But I can talk now without coughing...most of the time. And today, I didn't take the elevator even once. I climbed the stairs and didn't have a hacking episode at the top. Another positive note, when I DO cough, I'm able to control it better. It's not the never-ending, wracking experience it was previously. I think those are all good signs that I'm finally on the mend.

So, I'm heading back to the gym. I'll take it slowly. No weights, just the treadmill. And I won't push it there either. No hills, no resistance. Just a steady, relatively slow pace. I just need to get back into the habit of getting to the gym five days a week.

I just hope I don't get five minutes into my walk and have to stop because I can't breathe between coughs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

School Supplies

Today after work, I took Jeff to his drivers' ed course. Then I was off to Wal-Mart to get all the items on his list of needed school supplies. He's already completed his second day of school, but only just today did I get his school supplies.

I asked him over the weekend what he needed in the way of school supplies for his senior year. He answered, and I quote, "Uhhhh, a notebook and a mechanical pencil." I asked him if that was really it. He confirmed, a notebook and a mechanical pencil. Okay, that's what I got him.

Well, yesterday he comes home from school and this is what he needs (wants) now.
  • Health - one blue single-subject college-ruled notebook, one blue folder

  • Composition - one light green 2" 3-ring binder, one light green 3-subject college-ruled notebook, one light-green folder

  • Accounting - one dark green 2" 3-ring binder, one dark green single-subject college-ruled notebook, one calculator

  • Psychology - one orange single-subject college-ruled notebook, one orange folder

  • Spanish - one purple 2" 3-ring binder, one purple 3-subject college-ruled notebook

  • Government - one red single-subject college-ruled notebook, one red folder

  • college-ruled loose-leaf paper and dividers

I'm all, "You've got to be kidding me." When I questioned why he had to have specific colors for each class, he said that he wanted the school supplies to match the colors of his textbooks so that he didn't get them mixed up. I couldn't help but smile. On the inside? I was laughing my head off. It just didn't seem like a boy thing to do. I thought it was hilarious. But I kept my joy to myself as I didn't want to appear to make fun of him. (I thought it would be more appropriate to publish it on the World-Wide Web for ALL to see.)

Well, I actually found a LIGHT green AND a DARK green 2" 3-ring binder. Unfortunately, I was unable to find ANYTHING purple...without Hannah Montana on it. So, I got black instead. Otherwise, I got everything he asked the correct colors, the correct sizes, and the correct number of subjects. Say it with me, fellow Mom's, "I am Mom; I am amazing."

I'll bet he finds something about it that's not just right. : )

He called me today when he got home from school. His first question was, "You busy?" Not "What's for dinner?" or "When are you coming home?". I was pleasantly surprised. I had to admit that I was (busy), but that I'd love to take a few minutes to hear about his day. He told me that he was selected to work in the office during his study hall and HE WAS LOVING IT. He was so darn excited about his duties there.

Then he went on to say that he loves his entire afternoon. And one of those classes is Spanish. I was a little worried about Jeff and his Spanish class; he has a long history trying to get his Spanish credits accomplished. So, I was pretty happy to hear that one. All in all, it was just really nice to hear about his good day, which of course alluded to his positive attitude about the rest of the term. I wish him the best!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Women of Purpose

My Monday night bible study group is using the book Becoming Women of Purpose. The first chapter was all about how we were created for a purpose. We are each unique and God made us exactly how He wanted us and needed us to be.

This week, we discussed how we are saved for a purpose. We read about how God created Adam and Eve and the entire human race in order to have a relationship with us. But early on, Adam and Eve nearly ruined it for all of us. But God had a plan for restoring that relationship. Our responsibility as Women of Purpose is to enter into a RIGHT relationship with the One who created us.

I love my Monday night bible study. One week, we talked about being children of God...COGs. I like that. So my COGs are pretty important to me. I can laugh with them and cry with them. They say the most encouraging things to me. And free hugs all over the place. Just a neat group of women. When I miss a Monday with them, I feel like I've missed SO much.

Tonight, in learning all about being saved for a purpose, we read Ephesians 1:3-14. This is where God's plan for our salvation is fully explained. We read things like...

  • we are CREATED for the PRAISE of HIS GLORY

  • we EXIST so that we should be HOLY and WITHOUT BLEMISH before HIM

  • we have REDEMPTION through HIS BLOOD

  • we gain RICHES though HIS GRACE


All of that and so much more, just for being his precious daughter. Wow, what a deal! I am so blessed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Attitude of an Olympian

What amazing focus. The training regimen. The schedule. The diet. The total ambition to be the world's best at one thing. Or if you're Michael Phelps, the best at MANY things. Of course, all have to do with swimming. But to me, there's a lot of difference between the different swimming strokes and distances. And the gymnasts aren't just good at one apparatus, but several of them. And of course the decathlon and heptathlon athletes have to be good at several track and field events. I find it all amazing.

Michael Phelps is at his 3rd Olympics and he's not even 25. I am such a slacker!

I love to watch the Olympics, especially the summer Olympics. I love the pageantry of opening ceremonies. I love the inspirational stories. I love to see the teams support each other. I love it all. And I really love seeing so many people root for their countries. Not professional teams, but COUNTRIES. I love the obvious, outward shows of patriotism.

I have a Jeff story about the Olympics. This is on my website, but I'm going to include it here too because I like it so much. Enjoy!

Olympic Dreams

During the summer of 1996, much like everyone else in the world, Jeff and I spent a lot of time watching the Olympics. That was the year that the Magnificent Seven did so well in gymnastics and the Dream Team won another basketball gold. At one point, Jeff says to me, "Do you think I could go to the Olympics?" To which I replied, "Baby, it's WAY too late to get tickets to the Olympics now. I'm sure they've been sold out for months. But the Winter Olympics are in two years in Utah. Maybe we could make plans to go to some of those events." Being that we lived in Colorado at the time, it seemed like a reasonable suggestion.

But that wasn't at all what Jeff had in mind. He came back with, "I don't want to WATCH; I want to PLAY. Do you think I could go to the Olympics?"
Keep in mind, in '96, Jeff was five. I find it impressive that he would even consider being an Olympian. I'd watched all kinds of Olympic events every four years my entire life and I can honestly say that it NEVER crossed my mind to actually BE an Olympian. But here is my five-year-old considering it. Wow. Made me smile.

So, I told him that if he was serious and was willing to put forth the effort, I most definitely thought that he could be an Olympian. Then I asked him what event he thought he'd compete in. Of course, he said basketball. I didn't want to burst his balloon, but the current Dream Team was made up of the twelve best players in the NBA...not just 12 great players...not just 12 great guys who liked to play decent basketball. No, we're talking the 12 BEST basketball players in the NBA.

Okay, it's impossible to know how good Jeff would be at basketball by looking into those five-year-old eyes. But he'd have to be REALLY good at a VERY young age, get picked on every AAU and/or travel team he was eligible for, get signed to a college during his JUNIOR year in high school, start for a college team as a FRESHMAN, and hope that he's the BEST, SHORT point guard to come out of his graduating order to have a shot at even being CONSIDERED for the NBA. After a couple/few years of playing in the league, he just MIGHT be considered for a position on the national team. So, it was a long shot, to say the least.

I subtly suggested that he consider archery or maybe steeplechase.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm not going to get better...

...if I don't take better care of myself.

Nearly a week ago, I was diagnosed with bronchitis. The doctor gave me an antibiotic, in the event that it was bacterial. Otherwise, she told me to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest.

Have I done that? Ugh! No. And boy do I regret it.

Instead, after working all of last weekend, I worked every day this week. After work each day, I drove Jeff to his drivers' ed class Monday through Thursday. In addition to 2 1/2 hours of class work four nights a week, he has to drive for the instructor for six one-hour shifts. We signed up for the first two on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. So, last night, Friday, was supposed to be the only night that I didn't have to go ANYWHERE.

I was so excited to come home after work and just crash. But did that happen? Ugh! No.

Weeks ago, I promised Jeff that we'd made a trip to his former stomping grounds before school started so that he could see his girlfriend. We were actually going to go next weekend. But since Jeff is going on the Chrysalis retreat, he's not available next weekend. So, he asked me if we could go THIS weekend.

He asked me that sometime around 1pm Friday afternoon.

I tried for a few minutes to convince Jeff that I was really not up to a 3-hour drive after working an 8-hour day. He just kept reminding me that I promised to take him before school started. I KNOW I did, but I'm so sick and so tired.

Ultimately, I gave in. So, instead of crashing for the last 24 hours, I spent more than 400 miles in my car.

Jeff drove all the way down, all the way back, and most of the time we were there. Okay, I totally MISS driving my own car! But I digress.

The trip wasn't so bad. But I am absolutely exhausted. I can't get rid of this headache and I can't seem to stop coughing. It's hurting my chest, my throat, and my head. I've already taken meds. I'm just hoping it's enough to allow me to sleep.

Tomorrow, I sleep in. I intend to do nothing throughout the day except laundry and addressing some postcards. Mass at 4pm in Whitfield. Then Jeff has another hour of driving at 6pm. That means another week that I'll be missing my bible study. But it'll mean exactly 1/3 of Jeff's drivers' ed will be complete. Yea!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Music from the Heart

You'll have to pause the player on this site in order to hear the two songs associated with this post. But I hope you choose to do that. I also hope you listen to all of both songs. They're really important to me.

Music often speaks to me. And sometimes, it speaks FOR me. It conveys emotions that are sometimes difficult to put into words. These two songs have touched my heart because they were introduced to me at the exact moments in my life that I needed them.

The first song is called "He's My Son" by Mark Schultz. It was written for a man whose son was dying of cancer. Jeff has never been dying of cancer, but at one point he was being pulled by some pretty negative forces. I know I cried many, many hours, pleading with God to give me the wisdom, the patience, and the words to effect change in Jeff's heart.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me,
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone.
He's my son.

The second song is called "Find Your Wings" by Mark Harris. It's what every parent prays for their child. You'll immediately feel the pull of different heartstrings with this song. And it's a perfect depiction of how far Jeff has far WE have two short years.

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things.
I'm here for you whatever this life brings.
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings.

I hope you enjoy the music. I know that I do.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What a day!

My day at the office is best described as 'I was too sick to be that busy and too busy to be that sick.' Needless to say, I didn't effectively accomplish a whole lot of anything. Busy as I felt, it was kind of a waste of time. Hopefully tomorrow is better.

Jeff drove to his driver's ed. class tonight. He decided he was afraid to drive on the highway, so he took the back roads. My car now looks like it was bathed in mud! Unbelievable! He promised me he'd wash it. Yeah, right. He told me he'd mow my lawn a week ago and he still hasn't done that either. I'm not holding my breath.

While Jeff was at class, I went to the QuickCare Clinic. It's official; I have bronchitis. I've never been diagnosed with bronchitis before. But it explains the chest pain and nagging deep cough. The doctor gave me an antibiotic, in case it was bacterial. I'm also supposed to get lots of rest, drink lots of fluids, and take something over-the-counter for the cough. If I get chills, high fevers, or uncontrollable coughing, I'm supposed to call my regular doctor.

You know what that means? Time for bed! I've been looking forward to this moment ALL DAY LONG. (exhale)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Update on the Baby Cat

Well…the baby cat died. I came home from work and Jeff told me where to find him. He was all sprawled out like he was sleeping peacefully…in Linus’ bed…the one he inherited from Bo…the same one Bo passed away in.

I have to admit, I felt absolutely sad. I didn’t want the baby cat. But I didn’t wish him dead. I just wanted him to go to someone else’s house. So, I didn’t feed him, thinking that he’d go some place else to find food. Apparently he didn’t. I suppose it’s possible that he died from his illness. But it’s more likely that he died from malnutrition.

I wish I would have fed him.

It’s just that I didn’t want another cat. I didn’t think of him as my responsibility. So, I didn’t feed him. In fact, I went out of my way to ensure he didn’t get food at our house. I had Linus come inside to eat, which he normally only does in the dead of winter. I even chastised the baby cat every morning when I left for work that this wasn’t his house and he should go find a family that needed a baby cat.

I feel really bad. Next time I’ll make a different decision.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I am so sick...

My prayer yesterday was that I'd be able to sing through mass without being a distraction. Well, that didn't happen, but it wasn't as bad as Easter. I couldn't hold a note. My voice cracked a few times. And the higher notes were a struggle. Nevertheless, I'm thankful that it went okay...considering.

Then last night, I went to the Methodist Church to a Chosen concert. They are really good! They were playing at the Jail Ministry Appreciation Dinner sponsored by our ACCTS group. We also heard the testimony of a former inmate of the Martin County Security Facility. Talk about amazing. What a gift that was!

Today? I am so sick. I feel like...well there's no polite way to finish that sentence. I keep coughing. My throat hurts. My chest is congested. I just want to sleep.

Instead, I'm going back to work. I worked 5 1/2 hours yesterday and I'm probably doing another 4-5 today. I need to get moving in order to get all of those hours in before my bible study tonight. And THEN I can go to bed. Ahhh, I can't wait.

Meds...I'm going to need meds.

Friday, August 1, 2008

RDO Friday

I work a compressed work week. That means that every Monday through Thursday, I work a nine-hour day. Every other Friday, I work an eight-hour day...and the other Friday's, I AM OFF WORK!

I'm a defense contractor working on a military installation. Everyone knows that the military has to have an acronym for everything. So, my every other Friday off is also known as my RDO. That stands for Regular Day Off.

I LOVE my RDO Friday!

I normally sleep in. Then I pay some bills online. Then I run a few errands. I usually read something, write something, and hang out with Linus Felinus. He loves to sleep during the day, so sometimes our quality time is more of a nap. But hey, we both enjoy it so much, I think it still counts as quality time. I rarely work. I avoid all day job, mowing the lawn, laundry, etc. It's totally a relaxing, in-no-hurry-at-all kind of day.

So today, I should have slept in, but I didn't...which was unfortunate since I didn't get to sleep until about 4am. (I have really been having trouble with falling asleep this week.) Anyway, I did some secretarial stuff for my dad, ran some errands, paid some bills. I'm the canter at mass tomorrow night, so I met with the organist to practice. I did lunch with Jeff and his best friend. Then I wrote a resume for a friend. (It's pretty good, if I do say so myself.) All in all, a fairly productive day. One of those days where I get to bop in and out of all those places I need to go, with a bounce in my step, and my favorite songs blaring on the radio.

This evening, I had two more stops to make. I went to the gym for an hour. During the entire stay, I was the only person there. It was kind of nice having the whole place to myself. Then I went to Wal-Mart, where there were literally hundreds of people. Our society in microcosm. Ironically, at Wal-Mart, I ran into Jeff. I'm grabbing a beverage on my way through the check-out and I see Jeff coming right up to me with his arms opened wide. We hugged...right there in Wal-Mart. (I am REALLY enjoying this new Jeff.)

Now I'm watching "Definitely, Maybe". Different than I expected, but good I think. It's a chick-flick and I'm enjoying sitting in my living room watching a chick-flick that I picked out just for myself...while typing up my mundane, little blog entry for the day. Another lovely RDO Friday.

Before I forget...I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat. This is the second time in six months that I've been scheduled to canter at mass and my voice is not even close to 100%? (I have a previous blog entry about how horrible I sounded at Easter.) I guess it doesn't happen EVERY time. But twice in six months is twice too often for me. So, I'm already taking meds in hopes that it doesn't get any worse between now and 6pm tomorrow.

One more thing...I got an email from my boss today. Being that it was my RDO, one would think that I wouldn't have even known that my boss was trying to get in touch with me. But no, I have a BlackBerry for just such an event. So, my boss asks me if I've finished this document that I do every month. Uhhh, no. So, I'm working 4-5 hours tomorrow in order to have it done by noon Monday. I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow instead of relying on Monday morning. It's just so difficult to focus on this one task while sitting at my desk when my phone rings off the hook and emails pour in from my customers and people stop by my desk for various reasons. So, I'll go into work myself...and be hella productive.

Kinda puts a damper on my three-day weekend. But it does NOTHING to ruin my RDO Friday. And the idea of getting to work on this document without interruption is kind of appealing. I figure, it's all good. (One of my favorites - James 1:2-3.) It's ALL good.