Pet Peeves

I have a serious love for the English language, more specifically grammer.  Truthfully, I am not an expert and make many, many mistakes - spelling, punctuation...  Often I sit as I type, struggling to think of a synonym - shooting for something that sounds more brilliant than the mundane word my brain can't seem to skip past.  In the last two days, though, I've been confronted with three very specific pet peeves I have and it's funny - I don't think I ever gave too much thought to just how much they bother me.  Perhaps, if I type them out here, those little ear worms will wiggle their way out of my head.  At least for now...
#1 - "ex-President Bush"  A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I completely agree with her.  Reuters posted an article regarding former President Bush's recent and still on-going as far as I know, stay in the hospital.  The headline was "Ex-President Bush..."  This one actually makes me angry.  He is a FORMER President, not an "ex."  To my way of thinking, using ex in this instance seems overwhelmingly disrespectful and it saddens me that "ex" is cropping up in many places it probably shouldn't.  He held THE top office in the United States of America, as a veteran of that office, he deserves great respect.  So does the title. 
#2 - Referring to a person as "that."  This one may not be "technically" wrong, I should do some digging here but it is, for me, for lack of a better description, "painful" to me when I see it.  When someone says or writes something like:  "My mother, the most beautiful woman that I have ever known."  My mind goes right to the "that."  That denotes an object - usually inanimate - to me.  The sentence should read "My mother, the most beautiful woman who I have ever known."  Of course, it probably should be "whom" but my memory is fuzzy on that rule.  I only know my mother was a "who" not a "what/that" or "it/that."
#3 - , and.  A comma before the word and is redundant and unnecessary.  A comma denotes a pause - a shift in the tenor of the sentence.  And is a joining of two thoughts.  It also denotes a pause.  A comma before an and is also not technically incorrect I've been told.  Apparently that rule has changed since I was in school because I can still see my freshman English teacher dancing around the classroom teaching us about redundancy and how it indicates a lack of understanding in what you are actually trying to say. 
These issues are again not technically wrong, I don't believe but they sure feel wrong to me.  Pet peeves.  Mine.  They don't interrupt my life for too long...this post only took about 3 minutes to type.  I'll probably forget very soon each of the above infractions and where I saw them...until they crop up somewhere else, tormenting my feeble brain yet again.
So...what are some of your pet peeves?


Music Speaks

I don't believe in coincidence.  God has intention behind everything, He is in the details.  After all...if He isn't, why does the Book of Numbers exist?  Creation had order, it was to work together.  Every time God created something, He saw that it was "good."  It wasn't until sin entered the world that everything went a bit haywire.  Even in all of that, though, God still works things together for the good of those who love Him. 
Today I had a conversation that involved an off-handed comment that hurt.  Cut deep.  Opened old wounds, brought old anger bubbling to the surface.  It surprised me, actually - how fast it bubbled up, how desperately I wanted to scream, punch something...hurt the person who originally caused the hurt as bad as I was hurting at that moment.  Every time I think I have put my anger aside, actually forgiven the people who caused the hurt something happens to remind me that I haven't.  Not really.  I take possession of it as soon as I'm given an opportunity and I can't believe others don't feel the same. 
As I was driving, I started thinking of how I was going to handle this.  It's been going on far too long and I'm exhausted by it.  I'm tired of it having any type of control over me whatsoever.  The people who did this to me really aren't worth it...It would appear the only answer I have is to cut out of my life anyone who has any dealings with said people.  That would be the easiest answer.  The quickest "solve." 
And then this song starts to play... 
"Forgiveness" (by Matthew West)
It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…


It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Help me now to do the impossible

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
And as I'm driving along I realize - God isn't messing around with me.  He's been gentle, kind and nudged me in the right direction.  It's time to do as He's asked me to do.  It's time because every single day I don't forgive those who have wronged me is a day I spend spitting in His face for His amazing gift to me.
I don't expect to have this solved immediately.  That much I do know and I don't think this is the first time I've even posted about this issue.  It keeps coming back.... But I have to stop ignoring it.  I have to give God the respect He deserves.  I can't treat Jesus' death on the cross as something that was done only for me.  I need to drop the selfishness, the anger, the self-absorption.  It's not going to be easy, that's for sure.  There is a part of me that is very proud of how strong my feelings are.

But...I love God more than I love myself.  He deserves my whole heart, not just those bits and pieces I think He deserves.  And it's time to forgive...to dump the black pieces in my heart.  To give those to  God and let Him clean them, mold them into what He wants them to be, not continuing to hold onto them.  Beauty from ashes, I pray...  beauty from ashes.



For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

~Isaiah 9:6-7


Isaiah 53

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Thus is the Bible's description of the man whose birth we celebrate today.  May He be first in your heart today and every day.  May today be a day of glorious celebration, filled with a love unlike any known.  May you & yours be blessed today and every day.
Blessings to you and Merry, Merry Christmas!


The Deepest Pain

Like almost everyone around the world, after the evil of Friday, December 14, I have hugged my children and my husband tighter.  Things that might have been of massive importance just aren't what they were.  Our company holiday party was Friday and it was absolutely the last place on earth I wanted to be. 
My heart is shattered, I ache for every parent, every teacher, every person affected by the loss of those who were killed, shown no mercy, in Newtown, CT.  I can't imagine the evil that permeated, the feeling of darkness as that young man forced his way into that school.  The cold that had to have preceeded him and followed him
This is not the first time horror was visited upon children...
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
I've read so many - so many - views on last Friday.  People with incredible insight writing, trying to make some semblance of sense out of what happened.  Some cursing God, some enfolding themselves in His arms. 
To me, the murder of innocents sends me right to God's lap.  Who more than He understands evil?  Who more than He has stood up to it?  Who more than He has offered His only child to be murdered?

Oh how trivial my words feel.  I understand the pain of loss but not violent loss.  I wouldn't dream for one second to say I can understand what those parents are feeling and I do feel my words are like dust in the wind.  No matter the kindnesses offered, no matter the suredness I have in God's sovereignty, it will not return those children to their parents. 

So I have my prayers.  And in them, strength.  Because I know I don't have the words.  I know I can't offer the comfort but I know the One who can.  And will.  And does. 

How I pray those who are living this horror, today and every day, feel what I know.  I pray they are left with no doubt that God loves them, He is there for them and it makes no sense to us - He understands that - but His plan DOES make sense and in it there is nothing but perfection.

We don't get the "why" of evil.  I know I sure don't.  I don't understand why God felt it necessary for evil to enter this world and I sure don't understand why He's allowed it to continue for so long.

All I know is He does.  And I trust that, I rest in that. 


Cookie Exchange - Pictures

A friend saved me!  She took a few pictures of the tables.  Believe me - this is just a small sampling of what was in my kitchen.  We were CRAZY swimming in cookies...

The Buffet - mostly decorations here but cookies were coming...

Cookies on the Table

More cookies on the table...

This was the drinks table.  Apple Pie in a Cup, Apple Bellini's
(with sparkling cider instead of wine)
and homemade hot chocolate.  Pure yum!


A Glimpse Into Why I Love Where I Work

I'm not one of those people who goes gaga crazy over Hollywood "stars."  They do a job, many of them do it really well.  Some of them I watch and wonder how did they EVER get to be so popular...

This lady, though, I have always enjoyed.  Like most people I first saw her in Kindergarten Cop and thought she was hysterical.  Then, every once in a while I'll be watching something and she pops up.  Most recently she was in an episode of CSI.

What is our connection?  Her father was the General Secretary-Treasurer of the Laborers' International Union of North America from 1975 until he passed away in 1980.  He worked his way up the ranks to Secretary-Treasurer of the International Union.  He is from our Tacoma local and we are all quite proud of the work he did.  When he passed away, a scholarship fund was established in his name and since its establishment in 1981, they have given out over $383,150.00 in scholarships to those college students who meet the scholarship's eligibility requirements.

When Pamela was at our office last Friday for our annual Christmas party, she gave us another insight into her Dad and how important education was to him.  She had told me a good part of her story when she and I spent an afternoon together during the scholarship fund's golf tournament (Neither one of us golf so we were both in the clubhouse for the day.  We chatted the time away and it went quickly.).  The story she told us on Friday had to do with her grandparents and their struggle to provide for their children.  Pamela's grandfather was killed in an on-the-job accident (this was before OSHA and WISHA and explains her father's passion for on-the-job safety) leaving her grandmother to support eleven children, her father had to help with that and so college dreams for Pamela's father died with his dad.  He would come home from school, though and every day part of his homework was to share with his mother everything he learned that day.  His love for education and the dream that no one should be deprived a college education started at that kitchen table.  Everyone who knew him knew that was important to him and hence the start of the scholarship fund by several of his friends when he passed away. 

Pamela was at our party, too, to surprise me with a gift from the Board of Directors of the Scholarship Fund.  I've been doing the administrative work for the Fund for almost twenty years now.  I was thoroughly surprised but above the gift, I was flattered that she would take the time to come up here specifically to honor me with the award.  I'm not big on being the center of attention and I will tell you when the people at the party called for a speech, I just shook my head no and waved them away.  It is nice, though, to be recognized and at the same time I am just taken aback at the idea I've been here almost twenty years...  However did the time go by? 

Pamela and I again started to chat and before I knew it, I had practically monopolized her for half an hour.  We had to kind of shoo each other on to socialize with the guests.  We probably could have talked for hours again. 

A friend of mine took a picture of us with her phone.  Unfortunately it did come out quite blurry but...at least you can tell it's Pamela. 

She is one very sweet & beautiful lady.  I am so incredibly proud to be a part of the Laborers' Union, the W. Vernie Reed Memorial Scholarship Fund and all that they do and who they are. 


Cookie Exchange

You know?  I often have very vivid reminders as to why this blog isn't so very exciting.  Last Sunday I had 11 women (including me) get together for a cookie exchange and did I take one single picture?

Absolutely positively not.

Let me tell you - the disappointment at this oversight is acute because I had one amazing looking kitchen.  I've been hoping someone else who took pictures would email me a few and I could use them but so far, no go.

In the hopes that I'll end up having a second post about my cookie exchange, I'll save the cookie recipes for then.  In the meantime, I will share that I had 2 "signature" drinks and homemade hot chocolate on hand for my guests.

All of those fun food shows now talk about that "signature cocktail" for your parties to save on time and money in the beverage department so I decided to give it a shot.  I had a hot and a cold option but the basic ingredient in both was apple cider.

Man oh man were they yummy...

The first is a recipe I found over four years ago and it's called Apple Pie in a Cup.  Unfortunately, I have no idea where I saw it posted so this is also one of those brief hang your head moments because I can't give credit where it is due.

I am so very sorry....  pausing for a moment....

Now - for that recipe.  It's very, very easy.  You take a mug, fill it with apple cider and add one teaspoon of Starbuck's Cinnamon Syrup.  If you didn't heat the apple cider in a pot on the stove, pop that cup in the microwave for a couple of minutes.  Then, when the cider & syrup are hot, top with whipped cream and caramel sauce.  Be liberal with both.  First sip?  A mini-slice of absolute deliciousness.  And it tastes an awful lot like a piece of apple pie, it's just missing the crust.

The second drink, the cold version, is an Apple Bellini from The Chew.  Saving myself some typing here, just follow the link.  It's worth your time, too, let me tell you and don't skip the lining of your glass with cinnamon sugar.  Divine...

Finally, homemade hot chocolate.  For that, I stumbled across this post at Tatertots and Jello.  Worth the time you have to invest, too.  It's incredible.  Amazing.  A huge hit.  I'll be making it at every exchange from here on out.

If you do a cookie exchange, I encourage you to try these for your guests.  Thank me later...