WHAT???? I mean... seriously. WHAT???? How - how - HOW do people do this kind of thing? How could people STEP OVER this man and consider the THINGS they were going to purchase more important than what injuries he might have??? I know - it was probably all over the news yesterday but I skipped the news yesterday - I figured it was going to be a "dooms day" report with the media telling us not enough people were out yesterday and didn't spend enough money so... I skipped it. This morning I learn about this and I just started to weep. Weep. HOW????? WHAT is wrong with us, people? How do we miss the.... oh ugh - when did we stop SEEING each other?????

Please... please pray. Pray for this man, his family, his co-workers and most of all pray for those who stepped over him, for those who did NOTHING to help this man.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours had a small amount of drama in it but how can you have Thanksgiving without at least a little bit of drama? We ate a lot, enjoyed our company, played a great game of Monopoly, visited a lot and watched a movie. All in all the perfect day.

One thing is for sure...the conversation gave me a great idea or two for future posts. I think I might try to actually sit down and think through a serious topic again. It's been a while since I journaled thoughts and feelings outside of a Thankful Thursday post. Might need to go down that road again.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!!



I've Been Tagged

Mary over at Piles of Smiles tagged me today. Thanks for including me, Mary! I think the hardest part about this will be tagging seven random blogs when I'm finished. After all, coming up with seven random things about myself should be simple, right? Let's see...

1. I don't like the taste of water. If it doesn't have about 5 ice cubes in it, I can't drink it and water is what I drink 99% of the time.

2. Both of my sons are named Christopher. One is my son and one son came with my husband (But as #2 son says, he was born to be with me. That made my heart smile!)

3. I love to swim but haven't been in a pool in over 20 years. When my parents moved to California, there was no longer a pool in the backyard and the opportunity to swim without having to pay for pool access just dwindled away (and I was a single mom without much income so paying for pool time wasn't going to happen, either).

4. I collect angels because my Aunt complained one time that everyone in my family collects things except for me and she needed a category for me (that's a paraphrase but it's what it boiled down to).

5. I'm taking piano lessons.

6. I don't have "favorites." No favorite color, no favorite restaurant, no favorite food... if I'm asked, I stick to some random tried & true because it's easier than saying I don't have a favorite.

7. When I was younger, it would take me between 2 and 2 1/2 hours to get ready for work every day. I've whittled that down to less than an hour and only 1/2 an hour on weekends.

Ok - they seem random enough. Unfortunately, I've run out of time to work on this one so I need to wrap up by thanking Mary again for including me. I might have to do the random tagging of 7 other blogs as an update to this post.

Have a blessed day!


Another Cool Giveaway!

Simple Mom is hosting an awesome giveaway until Saturday night at midnight
(November 22nd).
Head on over to her blog and enter.
She's giving away various versions of the re-useable shopping bag.
I don't know about you but switching to the re-useable shopping bag has been one of the best things we have done. Well...when we remember, that is. For instance, I love the discount some stores give you when you use them and I know it won't be too long before other counties follow King County in the idea of charging you for every plastic bag you use. It's only a matter of time.
So...head on over and enter. Let me know if you win!

Thankful Thursdays - Random

Good morning, everyone. This week's topic for Thankful Thursday at Grace Alone... is "random." I love the random topic because I can think about things all over the place and am reminded there is just SO much I am grateful to God for every day.

So...my list this week:

1. I am grateful that God allowed me to wake up again this morning, allowed me to kiss my husband and son, pet my dog and given me the ability to get ready and get to work.

2. I am also thankful for my beloved husband. He has been working so hard around the house and it is amazing to me how much he gets done when he has so little time to spend at home.

3. I am deeply thankful for our jobs - mine, my husband's and my oldest son's. There are so many without right now and we have been blessed with work that we enjoy, jobs we like going to and co-workers who make the days brighter.

4. I am thankful for my doctor. Since the beginning of October, I have been fighting yet another sinus infection (when did I develop "chronic" sinus problems???) and I am so grateful to have a man who has been my doctor for 10 years and knows me and what he's doing.

5. I am thankful for antibiotics!!!! At least - finding the right one! The first antibiotic I was on took about 4 days to only make me feel slightly more inclined to function. This one? Two days and I feel almost 100%!!! What a difference.

6. Members of my Coalition are having breakfast tomorrow morning with a woman who has been combatting human trafficking for 10 years. We will also get to sit down with a rescued survivor. What an amazing time of education and fellowship this will be. I am thankful for those who are combatting this evil, those with whom I serve and grateful to God for every victim He rescues.

7. I am grateful for my family. Those people who love me despite my numerous faults, those people with whom I enjoy sharing life - even if it is months between visits. God has blessed me immeasurably and I am oh so thankful that He has.

As always there are more but I will stop here. May you have a blessed Thursday and don't forget to pop over to Grace Alone... and see what others are thankful for today!



What Autumn Has Brought

As I often do, I was checking out various blogs today. Often I come across incredibly insightful and thoughtful posts. Today I came across one and the writer was musing over her fall highlights and she did it in a top ten list format. I'm thinking - I haven't really written much beyond Thankful Thursdays lately so... why not. Don't expect brilliance and insight, though. I'm not awake enough for that... I will say, though, that this fall is one where I feel incredibly "present" in my life. I don't know what is different this year but fall seems brighter, more vibrant - as if I hadn't really been paying attention during any other fall. It is a bit disconcerting because it is so different but it's been amazing, too, in all of the things I realize I'm actually experiencing.

So... I'll stop waxing nostalgic and write my list:

My top ten list for Fall 2008:

1. New table and hutch for the dining room. Buying furniture right now, when times are so tough, was an incredibly difficult decision to make. A few things motivated us, though, to step out and make the investment. One, our former dining room table & hutch had been purchased in 1985. I bought it with my first husband, a gift from my former in-laws. It has seen a lot of meals served, parties enjoyed and simply life and it will be missed. It served me well for an incredibly long time. However - the hutch, when we assembled it in this house, was leaning a bit and it was starting to look a bit precarious, the table legs weren't actually secure and I was waiting for the table to collapse on us at dinner one night and honestly? My husband hated the set. He tolerated it because he thought I loved it. I didn't say anything because of the money issue. *sigh* Such communication...

2. Watching my two sons & oldest son's girlfriend carve pumpkins and spend a "fall day" together. Pumpkin patches and carving have been a bit of a "thing of the past" for me since I no longer decorate for Halloween but we did do that this year. I love any moment I get with both of my sons together, my oldest is an awesome big brother and the little one definitely adores the older. Every time I talk to them, see them or even just think about them I thank God for the amazing, awesome blessings He gave me with them. I am so proud of who they are and who they continue to grow into being.

3. A clean garage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My awesome, amazing, wonderful, bestest ever husband finished it last night. He stayed up until 2AM to get it DONE. It is BEAUTIFUL!!! Now I have to pray it stays that way... Actually, I hope to get it cleaner. Now that we can find everything and it's organized, we can start cleaning it OUT! We definitely own too much stuff. Part of the "crowding" is son #1's stuff being stored until he gets his own place but we still have too much stuff! Being able to find it, though, so we can figure out what to get rid of, is the BEST.

4. Fall colors. I don't know if this is an exception to the rule type of year but I do not recall ever seeing so many trees with so much vibrant color hang on for so long out here. I'm from the east coast so fall leaves, changing colors, etc. are something I've seen a time or two. When I moved to Washington, though, one of the things I have always remarked upon and been amazed about is just how fast the leaves completely fall off of the trees out here. If you see a tree and blink, you have missed it turning and it was most often red. Not this year, though. Reds, oranges, yellows, golds...such rich, incredible color in the leaves and they stuck around. Weeks upon weeks of color. Everywhere. I took what feels like a bazillion pictures because I don't know if this will ever happen again in my lifetime and I wanted the memory to last.

5. Two trips to Oregon! Usually I consider myself fortunate if I make it to Memorial Day weekend and then Thanksgiving. This year, though, I managed to make it down there twice between the two holidays. What a fun trip it is, too. I love watching my young one play with his cousins and often their friends. They run, laugh, yell, pull wagons, build birdhouses, play Monopoly... all of those things kids are supposed to do together and then they have their "sleepover" and start all over again. If only I could go down there once a month! It's such an easy get-away and I absolutely love spending time with my brother and his family.

6. Mission devotions. I know - they aren't just the fall but the fall brought about the necessary change. It was a great partnership, too, with the women and it was nice to work with them in the right way to bring about that change. We'll see how it pans out from here - I've gone from doing them every Sunday in the morning to twice a month in the evening. The women aren't super-thrilled with my new schedule, I'm not there enough they say but we're committed to one another so we've put it in God's hands and we'll see what He chooses to do. That is a highlight, though - those women have made me feel so loved, so wanted, so cherished I almost cry at it. They are such beautiful hearts and I am truly blessed to have them in my life. Even the tough ones.

7. Surgery. It was not something I would have volunteered for but since the problem arose and the answer was there, it needed doing. Once it was done, all I can say is Thank You, Lord! It has been the BEST decision ever made.

8. Our jobs. My husband was given a raise and I am in new office space. It is busy but good.

9. The election. Yes, the election. It drives me crazy to watch all of the mud-slinging. I do truly wish that political advertising would be outlawed. No TV commercials. No radio spots. No computerized phone calls. You want to tell me why I should vote for you? Send it to me in a pamphlet. Tell me your strengths, your beliefs. Apply for the job - don't try to distract me by telling me why your opponent is bad for the job - tell me why YOU are good for it! Wait...I digress. I am still incredibly thrilled about the entire election process. I am absolutely humbled that God allows me to live in a place where I can speak what is on my mind, from big things to small things. We are so incredibly blessed in this country and we really have no idea. Being able to cast my vote reminds me of that in bullhorn-level sound.

10. My Christmas shopping is almost done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What could be better than that?

So - there you have it. My fall highlights in a top 10 format. They aren't in any particular order so if I had to pick my top highlight it would be the day the older son & his girlfriend took the younger one to the pumpkin farm and then came home to carve pumpkins. It was such an incredibly fun day, the weather was gorgeous and we were all just relaxed and enjoying each other's company. If my husband had been there, it would have been a perfect day.

What are your highlights from fall this year?


It's Friday!!!!

I wanted to type out a thank you SO much to all of you who left comments on my Thankful Thursday post yesterday. Your comments were beautiful and I can't tell you how much you brightened my day.
Thank you again! I look forward to reading more of each of you on your blogs. I picked up some wonderful new favorites yesterday!


Thankful Thursdays - Life

Iris at Grace Alone... wrote her Thankful Thursday post on life. It always gets me when someone else is writing about things that have been swirling around in my mind for a few days. Iris talks about a co-worker who passed away suddenly this last week and I have been thinking over the last few days about a colleague who came in the office on Monday to say it was time for him to go on disability. He's been living with cancer for the last couple of years, his diagnosis was terminal and the only good in all of it is he's lived longer than the doctors said he would.

We weren't meant for death so nothing feels "easy" about death. Ever. I've used the term myself but it seems off somehow to call it a "relief" when someone who has been suffering finally passes. It is good for suffering to end but death leaves such an ugly, gaping hole in our lives.

In all of that, there are still things for which I am grateful. I may not get the chance with this colleague but I am grateful for those people God puts in my life with whom I can share Him.

I am grateful for life itself. For all the beauty God creates and that He has created me an aware being, a capable being, a thoughtful being - I am able to enjoy what He offers me and I know He will offer me more when my life here is done.

I am thankful that when it is my time to die, I will not do it alone. Jesus has gone before me and stands by me always. He will be with me when my last breath here is breathed and will walk with me into heaven.

I am thankful that I will spend eternity with God.

I am thankful for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ who will share eternity with me. What a joyful, glorious time that will be when we spend all of our time together praising and glorifying God without the intrusion of sin, sorrow and satan.

This is a list I could probably work on all day long and still not finish. May you find a thousand things to be thankful for today. Have a blessed Thursday and don't forget to check out Grace Alone... for other Thankful Thursday posts.



Thank you

Thank you to all of our Veterans.
I am so incredibly grateful to you for your service and your sacrifice.
God bless you today and always.

Opinions and Courtesy

In the last few days I've read or learned of incredibly negative and hurtful comments left on other blog posts. While I understand that if we leave our blogs open to public comment we can expect comments from people who disagree with our thoughts or opinions but what I don't understand is why do they have to be so hateful and mean?

This is still the United States of America. The home of the free, the land of the brave. This country was not founded on forcing someone to believe what you believe or hating them because they don't. This country was founded on the idea that God created us equal and we are to live our lives as He directs us.

Because I believe Jesus Christ is the One, the only True Savior that is how I'm going to live my life and that is what I'm going to share with you, hopefully more by who I am than by my words but my words will not betray my Savior, either. I do, however, know that only God can change hearts and that it is not up to me to force anyone else to accept Christ as their Savior - that is between them and God. When I write about something that is faith based, I don't expect everyone to agree with me. What I also don't expect is to be talked to as if I am some sort of non-human because I believe what I believe.

These comments aren't limited to opinions of faith but those seem to be the ones that draw out those who might otherwise either not comment or comment more moderately. To me, that is a shame because the thing the Pilgrims were running from was religious persecution and what they went running to was a place they could practice their beliefs without fear.

The fear others express in their angry or hateful words also spits in the face of those fought so hard through the Revolutionary War. Their lives were upturned, families were lost and much blood was shed so we could have the freedoms we have. Men, while disagreeing with each other, spoke respectfully and argued respectfully. Even if they did not like one another there was honor in how they dealt with that. For those who toss their words around so callously and carelessly - where is their honor? Where is their shame? Freedom of speech doesn't include the freedom to insult, berate or degrade others when they exercise that same right.

Recently I read a blip in Discipleship Journal (I can't recall which month or which page or which section it was under) where it stated that Americans today are not interested in speaking to people who hold a different opinion from them. Whereas in days gone by, lively discussion and differing opinions were welcome and accepted, today people only want to hear from others who agree with them. They want their opinion validated - not questioned.

Where is the growth in that? Where is there honesty or true friendship in that? If I surround myself with "yes" people, how am I ever going to break a hurtful habit? How am I to learn if my facts aren't straight if I refuse to listen to anyone who may be more informed than I am?

That works both ways, of course. If I am to be told I am mistaken, there is a way to do it without insulting me or my intelligence. I may be wrong about something but that doesn't make me stupid. My opinion may not be completely thought out but that doesn't make me lazy or absurd. I only become those things when my reaction to constructive criticism is with hateful and angry words.

Proverbs 27:5-6 states "Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy."

When we offer one another our thoughts and opinions, we also offer opportunity. An opportunity to see a perspective we may not otherwise see. If we offer it in anger, or with foul words and in a defensive manner, opportunity is lost on both sides. It is a true loss as well as God did not make us out to be quiet, intimidated creatures. He gave us our thought processes in order for us TO grow, TO learn, TO discuss. By attempting to quash that in someone because their thoughts differ is simply cowardice.

Jesus tells a young, wealthy man what he needs to do to inherit the kingdom of God. One of the things He tells this young man is to "...love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 19:19) and that is something we should all do but often fail to follow through. If I speak to someone as I would want to be spoken to, then the hateful and angry words are often kept in my mouth - not falling out of it.

In commenting on a blog, it is easy to post "anonymously" and say things when there is the protection of a computer. We are not face to face - how brave we can be. How free we can be with our words! How foolish and cowardly it makes us... We still have immense power to inflict pain and it's a cheap, easy shot to take. How is it so many of us fall right off the high road, trip and land in the mud and pretend to like it there? How is that loving your neighbor as yourself?

I have spent a lot of time angry at people or circumstances through the years - and I probably will spend more if God grants me more years here - but I have learned that the hurt inflicted from words poorly used lasts a thousand times longer than the anger I feel at whomever I am flinging my words.

We will probably never stop the hurtful comments - there are those who consider themselves self-righteous enough to have to "educate" those who are "wrong" and there are those who just simply find saying mean things funny.

How many of us can relate to Paul: "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." (Roman 7:18-20)

Hopefully those who make such comments realize their power in pain and apologize for causing it. If not, I hope they take a moment before making their next comment and choose to take a kinder, gentler approach. We live in a fallen world so it will not be perfect but perhaps it can get a bit better, one small choice at a time.


Printer Giveaway

Lately it seems most of my posts are regarding giveaways on other sites. Maybe now that my sinus medicine is kicking in and my head is less foggy I'll start having more to share. In the meantime, head on over to Blissfully Domestic and enter for your chance to win an Epson Artisan 800 printer. I have yet to play with one but I've been reading reviews of it everywhere and they sound fantastic.

Here are some details:
  • Smart, 7.8″ touch panel — large display lights up the buttons you need; includes a 3.5″ LCD to preview and print images. You can edit your photos on the printer, no laptop needed!
  • Fax — send and receive faxes right at home
  • WiFi— print from your laptop from anywhere in your house!
  • Bring old, faded photos back to life — easily restore the color to faded photos
  • Make CDs/DVDs— print right onto CDs/DVDs
  • Fun projects — easily create note paper, cards and coloring books using your own photos
It sounds like an awesome printer and a great tool - from scrapbooking to banner making to card making to... the list is endless, it seems.

Go on... go enter! The giveaway ends Sunday, November 16th at midnight and they'll be announcing the winner on Monday morning.

Best of luck!


It's the Day After Election Day

America has spoken and we have a new President-elect. Congratulations and may God bless you President-elect Barack Obama. May He bring you wisdom like that which He gave Solomon, strength to match Sampson, the opportunity to completely rely on Him He offered Gideon and words to rival Moses. May you rule with His discernment and your own humility. The people of America have pinned such hopes on you - may you never forget that nothing you do can be done without the blessing of our One Creator, our True Shepherd.

No one sits as a ruler unless appointed by God. Daniel 2:20-22 reads "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him."

May you look to His light and invite him to dwell with you, Mr. President-elect.