Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Holidays!

I've been very busy on the My Yahoo 360. Posting nearly every day and the traffic is up. I am off for a four day weekend and then I work three days and am off for another four day weekend. Yipee!

Drop over to My360 page for a visit. The link is at left.

Hope you all have a merry christmas!

Monday, December 4, 2006

NaNoWriMo of 2006 Ends

November was a busy month. Holidays and novel writing and family crisises all in one month make for some interesting times.

As you can see from the previous post, the National Novel Writing Month has ended. I did not make the 50,000 words in 30 days. But I came close. It was a lot of work and you can read my blog at http://360.yahoo.com/a_dixiegirl_in_indiana if you want to get the full account of the trials and tribulations of a writer living life and trying to write. There is of course another shot at it next year. And I think I do want to try again.

I did get a lot of good material for a novel so it was not a loss in any way. I learned a lot about writing and about me. So, drop over to My 360 and read up on how it went. You can also read an excerpt from what I wrote at the NaNoWriMo website. That link is here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/userinfo.php?uid=152098

Honestly, I love the format of Blogger but I like the traffic potential of 360 a lot better. Since May of 2006 I have had as many hits to my 360 blog as I have had in a full year of Blogger. So, I don't put as much on here as I do on the Yahoo 360. You are welcome to drop in over there. I am keeping this going for a bit longer but writing two blogs is just nuts if they are basically the same.

I haven't done much about the second blog. Too busy to deal with it at the moment but the NaNoWriMo has be a little more excited about my work. I am trying again to get organized. Need space and quiet and with six people in the house, that is not happening soon. Hope they can all get their own place soon.

Well, my break is over and I have to get back to work. More later.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

How to Install a Faucet


Oh, the plans of mice and men... and women. I missed church this morning. We were up until after midnight trying to install sink/new faucet. My toothbrush was lying in a chair somewhere in the living room when I had to go find it to brush my teeth!

There is a story here, you know, that answer all the questions and puzzled looks you all have on your face right now.

Why so late putting in a faucet? Why a sink for a faucet? Why in a chair?

You see, somewhere in a mid-sized town in Indiana lives a family who do a lot of their own repair and remodeling on their house. There lives a woman and two sons, one daughter-in-law and one adorable grandchild (photos are in albums)  in this modest ranch on a wedged- shaped lot near the railroad. Usually, it is the woman who leads on repairs with a whip at hand.

In this house, there are a bath and a half. Everyone bathes in the full bath. But the half bath belongs to the woman and she uses the full bath to . . . well, bathe. The sons also use the half bath for brushing teeth and other personal business.

For some time now the faucet has had a drip. The woman has commented on this and on the inching up of the water bill. In recent weeks, an attempt was made to replace the washer but apparently washers for this particular, relatively inexpensive Wal-mart faucet don't exist. (This is from the man of the house, you understand and may have no basis in fact.) So, it was reasoned that a new faucet was in order.

But it didn't happen.

For weeks.

Suddenly, the woman notices that, with the attempted repair, the drip is now a trickle and as this is the hot water side the water bill is now expected to become a six figure digit. The woman becomes more vocal but still doesn't use the whip. She does, however, point out how much this is going to actually cost the males in the house in the long run.

Numerous attempts were made to shut off the water at the valves under the sink. The woman and man have installed shut off valves all over the house with each plumbing job because when they moved in there were NONE! However, time has worked its vicious way with the knobs on said valves. In addition, the cabinet under this sink is small and they are in the back corner of the cabinet and difficult to reach so that a wrench can't be used. So, the water had to stay on.

And so it ran.

A plan was made to fix this issue with a brand new faucet on December 2, 2006. The day arrived. The woman even took the spouse, one son, her daughter-in-law and grandchild to lunch at their favorite Mexican restaurant. She went and bought a faucet but at Lowe's this time. However, it was nearly 6 by the time all the necessary running of Saturday was done. But that was plenty of time to install a simple faucet, right?

The sink in this bathroom was installed in the countertop from the bottom with clamps holding it level with the counter top. This is a most inefficient method to install a cast iron porcelain covered sink, by the way. They are very heavy, although this particular sink was very small, say a gallon and a half capacity. The area under it was extremely small and the bathroom itself is about the size of a 4x4 closet. However, the family actually has that special wrench to remove faucets from tight places.

The project begins. . . at 8:00 p.m.

The spouse begins to remove the clamps. Wife ask why? Obviously, spouse says, so I can put in the faucet. Wife says, "If you remove the clamps before you remove the plumbing, the sink will fall and you won't be able to do anything." After much arguing and waving of the whip, spouse relents. Wife points out that all plumbing work on this sink in the last 20 years has required removal of counter top with the sink attached. Spouse then relents amid vocal protest but with eyes on the whip.

Wife and spouse remove counter/sink. . . after he has shut off all water and disconnected all water lines and drains. Wife says, "I'm sick of that stupid sink. Every time we have to do anything in here we have to take the whole thing out." Faucet was replaced in the past, twice. And the weight of the sink, with the weight of the counter, is that of spouse. Or thereabouts. And this couple is not getting younger or stronger.

She eyes the cabinet and uses her personal measuring tape. She says, "Get the sink that is on the shelf in the garage." Remember, this is a family who does their own remodeling. They never discard any item that is still useful and may potentially be needed. There are two perfectly good bathroom sinks in the garage. One was purchased with a used cabinet and since it is an iron porcelain covered sink in great condition, it was kept. The other is a ceramic sink that doesn't need a counter and that was removed when a new cabinet was needed in the full bath and the old sink would not fit the cabinet. Fortunately, a lovely PLASTIC sink came with the new cabinet! We will not go over that particular repair project. Wife was NOT happy replacing a lovely ceramic sink with a plastic sink. However, she always has her eye on a bargain and saw the day when she would put the lovely ceramic sink in her bathroom and remove the ugly PINK mutation installed in her bathroom by some misguided soul in the past life of the house. So, it went to a safe place in the garage.

The lovely sink was brought out and cleaned up and set on the cabinet. The fit is just a little tight but by knocking out two back braces it dropped in. Yes, there is still support for the ratty old cabinet. We know what we are doing. Sink is removed and faucet put on and the flexible waterlines put on (another touch we have added everywhere). Then ceramic sink is placed in the cabinet. It is now after 11:00 p.m.

Spouse begins to connect water lines and a sound is heard from the nether regions. It sounds like, "Hoses are too short."

I hate it when that happens.

The ceramic sink is thicker than the counter top and bigger than the other sink so the water lines are about two inches too short. A conference is held.

Lowe's is closed. As are all plumbing stores. Spouse says, "I will have to go to Wal-mart."

Wife looks at daughter-in-law and says, "This is how every project goes in this house. Now you know why we hate starting them."

It was noted that spouse will take an inordinate amount of time to search for needed waterline and the family had not had a meal since 2 p.m. Number 2 son (#1 has been out for the evening) is convinced to go with spouse. He will drive spouse to Wal-mart and drop him off. #2 will then go purchase sustenance for the family at Sonic and then pick up spouse on the way back. It actually went smoothly. Food was not stone cold.

Unfortunately, Walmart did not have longer hoses.

It is now midnight. Family are fed but there is no water to bathe. They can't turn the water back on because they can't cap off the supply lines and the hot and cold valves don't work. Hot water valve knob is broken and post is rounded off. And you can't get a wrench back to it. Spouse goes back to Wal-mart to get something to cap the lines. He comes back with two plain brass faucets. There are no caps at Wal-mart. Wife doesn't think it occurred to him to buy valves to replace the old ones. She doesn't mention it because by now, she is not feeling very good and to do so would simply make everyone grumpy.

Spouse connects water lines to brass fixtures and water is shut off. However, wife's toothbrush is sitting in a chair in the living room along with everything else that was on the counter before it's demise. Ceramic sink is sitting in the living room floor with a new faucet attached. And then it was noted that the cold water hose was leaking. A bucket was located and place with hose hanging in it for the night.

Every toilet in the house has been without water for over four hours. . .two toilets, five people. You can do the math here. The family manages to get all the bathrooms functional and take their baths.

It is now approximately 3:00 a.m. and wife finally heads to bed. Just before she turn in she checks the leaking cold water hose. She studies the bucket, and check behind the drain. She sees the cold water shut off valve still has a knob. It is located directly behind the drain pipe and is nearly impossible to reach with a sink installed. Wife reaches down and turns the knob. The water shuts off. Leak fixed. She slept well.

Sunday morning dawned but no one saw it. Spouse is on his way to Lowe's for a longer hose.

I hate it when that happens.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Shelter of the Ignorant

I have to share this. I do it because I probably have nothing better to write about today!
I have been pondering a statement made about me recently by someone who could not answer some questions I ask them. Actually, what happened was that I read something someone wrote and I wanted to know what they based their opinions on. Since I am intensely curious and nosey about everything, I asked.

Researcher that I am, I presented information to them that appeared to disagree with their opinion and asked them to explain how they got around it. Mind you, it was not MY opinion but documentation that directly conflicted with their opinion that I quoted. Their response was to make a statement about my "limited education". At first I got a bit irked because I was genuinely interested in their answers. I wanted to know where they were coming from and how they got there. Their “intelligent” response was that they became rude and resorted to name-calling.

I thought about it and, yes, I even prayed about it. I do not deliberately try and offend anyone and always feel it necessary to apologize. I try and present my beliefs and/or opinions with supporting facts and without personal attacks. I will usually answer every question truthfully, if I know. If I don't, I will say so.

Further thought let me to conclude that the truly intelligent person investigates and ask questions and when asked the how and why questions, will attempt to present their answers in a rational manner, even if they disagree with the questioner. But, if you don't actually have any answers, what do you do?

That was my answer. I would be tempted to retreat to the shelter of the ignorant.

I realized that when a person responds to questions with rudness and insults, it is ALWAYS because that person doesn't have the answers or they know they are wrong. They will either lie or they don't know and rather than tell the truth or show their ignorance, they retreat to the shelter of the ignorant -- denigration. Their gut reaction when unable to defend their position is to insult and belittle the challenger. It is an attempt to demoralize the individual and make them go away. This is how wars are started.
So, I thought some more. (You see how this works for me.)

The lack of a patch of parchment on the wall doesn't mean that the person asking the questions is "limited in education". Just because someone has a higher degree, say a PHD compared to a BA, means absolutely nothing in terms of intelligence or education. Crazy, huh?

You see, college is designed for a person who wishes to limit their education to one field, maybe two if you have nothing to do. The higher the degree, the more narrow and limited the knowledge. Yes, you get a general overview of other fields, but the focus of college education is the chosen vocation. College graduates are limited in their knowledge to the area they intend to focus on to make their living.

I know this because I have a college education. Frequently, I find that many college graduates can't carry on a conversation in anything but their specialty. They have moderate knowledge of mythology, history, literature, ancient cultures, anthropology, world religions, and major social movements. They are smart in one or two areas because they want to be. (Please no letters. I know you are all very smart and spent a lot of money on your degree. But that was a choice because the information you got is actually free at the library.)

Many self-educated people are brilliant and never attended college. Some of the greatest statesmen in American history were totally lacking in more than rudimentary education by today's standards, but they were readers. They read Blackstone's law, the Greek philosophers, the Bible, and any other book that passed their way. They could survive in the wilderness with no assistance. They built ships, houses, and roads. And they knew all about building nations. Yet they lacked a parchment. Their equivalent today is nowhere to be found.

Conclusion: "Schooling" doesn't necessarily equate with intelligence. The movers and shakers in history have not been social workers or doctors of anything. Yes, I know you serve a purpose but it is pretty limited in scope and people have to be sick to need you. How depressing. However, I’m sure we are all eternally grateful. Good job and all that.

I'm serious.

Back to ME. In light of all this thinking I was doing, I realized that I felt smart. (I didn't always feel that way.) I graduated with honors with a BA in history. I was invited to participate in an honors symposium of the college's brightest. I belong to the highest scholarship society in the country and their plaques are on the wall. I won awards in history and anthropology - their money paid my tuition. I was encouraged to go after a Master's degree.

However, why would I? Since I had always read everything from encyclopedias to references books for entertainment why would I want to spend +$60,000 for something I could get free? I only went to college in the first place because the current job market requires a person with a degree and I would hate working at Wal-Mart even more that I hate shopping there! And I actually hate working! I’d rather be reading something or learning something or writing something.

My only regret is that I didn't get my teaching certification because I love teaching children. But that meant two years of even more narrow education and that would bore me to tears. There is too much to learn to focus on one thing for 30 years.

Oh, you want to get rich? Ah.

So, what did my ratiocination reveal? I have to admit I considered responding to the brilliantly rude mind but after my thinking session a little voice in my ear said, "Why? Their reaction to your questions proved your point. You should be satisfied because.... you were right."

I smiled.

Oh wow, I love it when I'm right.

Note: Education is good, very, very good. But all the education in the world won't make you a nice person.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Weekend Update

I have been so busy that this blog has sort of fallen by the wayside. My Yahoo 360 blog, on the other hand, is what has kept me so busy. Well, in addition to my family. The new baby is adorable and sweet but one forgets how much work and how much noise they make!

This weekend, Sunday, we have her dedication service. My aunt & uncle are supposed to drive in from Georgia for the weekend and be there will us. It appears it will be Becca's mom and dad, me, Jerry, and Mike, Dave, Becca, my sister, my aunt & uncle. I don't think anyone else is coming but that is a a lot.

I am trying to get my house cleaned. Becca's mom is cleaning for me today. I will pay her to do it and she is really good at cleaning. She did it for me once before and it was so nice.

The weekend will be busy and noisy I suspect. We are awfully crowded because of Dave & Becca moving back in but we are managing. I had a new door put up in the den into the garage. The old one was in bad shape and wouldn't lock. Now all I need is a door on the den into the kitchen to give that room some privacy. We are going to put a new door on my bedroom and the one that is there is a good door (just doesn't match the ones I had to change out because they were shot). I am going to try and put the old door up in that den/kitchen entry. It will be just fine in there if it works.

My mother got out of the nursing home. She had been there a couple of months because she broke her leg. Shis 70 yrs old and has diabetes and a calcium deficiency in her bones. The leg broke in 5 places while they were trying to put pins in it so she was put in a nursing home to heal. They say she is fine.

Mike is doing well and is at the stage that he feels very angry with the ex-wife and says he is glad he is not married to her anymore. He says he realized it was the biggest mistake he ever made. I suspect it is the normal cycle of loss that most people feel. He is a very loyal person and very dedicated, even in the midst of his problems he remains loyal to those he loves.

I think what bothers him most is the manner in which she behaved. Sly, sneaky, and without any honest in her dealings. I reminded him when he said as much that I had told him BEFORE he married her that she was a liar and he wouldn't listen. He said he remembered and that he wished he has listened. Then he said, "I'm never going to do that again." But he probably will because he never sees anything bad in anyone until they nearly destroy him.

Well, gotta get busy now. Duty calls. Check out my 360 blog. The link it on the left.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Killing The Bug

The last Saturday of January 2002, I spent most of the day and all night looking for a bug. Not the nasty brown bugs that scurry for cover when you turn on the light, but a bug of a different color. However, this bug is harder to catch than the multi-legged kind.

The day started pretty well. I had it all planned. I was going to have everything done in time for church that night. Saturday’s are usually the only day I have to do laundry and clean house. It usually takes all day and part of the evening to get everything done. But we were in revival and I wanted to try and make it that night. Due to a variety of things, Thursday and Friday had been a wash. The week had not ended well and perhaps that should have been a warning.

Anyway, I planned to pay the bills and tally up the bank account so we could see where we stood financially the coming week. After all, Jerry got laid off that week and we were short an income. You don’t want to spend money until you know how much you have to spend, especially when there is less that there was the week before.

I sat down and began to work on the account but was rudely kicked out. A little box told me there was an error and if I could not resolve it I should contact the vendor. O.k. I turned the machine off and tried again. I didn’t even get into the program that time. It just locked up. So I turned it off again and tried again . . . several times. No luck. Now I was worried. Something was wrong and I could not figure out where. I read the error message carefully. It told me what it was and where it was, sort of. Actually, it gave me a bunch of numbers and letters arranged in meaningful clusters that made total sense . . . to a computer guru. (Guru: A person of great wisdom or extensive knowledge.) But again, it told me if the problem continued to contact the vendor.

I thought I might be able to work this out. I am fairly literate about computers. What I know I learned the hard way. I had a computer when there were no windows! I am one of the few ancient wise women who actually know what DOS stands for and how to use it if the need ever arises. Bill Gates will have to die first.

So, I uninstalled the program. After all, I could have a corrupted data file that was causing the crash. I reinstalled the program. I started to work, made a few entries and was booted out again. I scanned the drive. For the non-computer person, this means I ran a system check, not physically looked at it, to see if there were physical problems with the files or hard drive. There wasn’t. Next, I defragmented the drive. No it wasn’t broken. This means I told it to get itself organized, to put the files in a logical order that it could easily understand. Then I ran a virus scan to see if a bug had crept in. Nothing.

I uninstalled the program and reinstalled it . . . five times. Each time it locked up and wouldn’t let me in and if I was able to get in, it kicked me out. Something was VERY wrong. So I called my service technician. I got a woman. Great, I think, someone who speaks my language, shares my grief, and understands my frustrations. She asked me if I had virus software and if it was up to date. I said I did and explained what. She said I might have a virus it missed because I did not have an up-to-date version of the program. Hmmm. Then, she walked me through a process she said would fix the problem. I thanked her and hung up, happy that the problem was solved.

I started the program and got to work. Worked great. I thought I should print out the register, though, just in case something else went wrong. You can never be too careful with computers. I hit the print key. Up pops a window telling me I have an error. It tells me what it was and where it was, sort of. It wasn’t the same error. It was a new one.

Stupid woman. She didn’t actually sound very nice either. She had a cold, know-it-all voice. And she must not have had a clue or I wouldn’t be having another problem. And the system was not booting up correctly now, at all.

I called back. I got a man, who sounded like he was in a smoky room in Casablanca. He said something and I said, “Excuse me?” I could barely understand him. When we are able to finally communicate, which means I dredged up my Spanish class ears and put them on, I told him my problem.

He said, “Is all your data backed up?” I did like the way words rolled off his tongue.

“Well, sort of.” I said. That means not in the last six months. “Why do you ask?”

“You should back up all your data and reformat.”

There was a long, pregnant pause. I put my head in my hand. “Do you know how long it takes me to get everything back on after a format?”

“I understand,” he said.

“It takes weeks and I have a church newsletter to have out by next Sunday.”

He didn’t respond. Perhaps we had a bad connection. “What might be causing this?” I asked.

“It might be a virus that your software failed to catch.”

I sighed. He had read the note screen, of course. Stupid woman.

“Thank you,” I sighed again and hung up.

So, I began backing up data, stopping only to eat and take potty breaks. It took the better part of three hours to locate and backup all the data I had to save. It is a time consuming, boring, tedious process. You have to hunt down everything you think might be important and copy it to an external disk. Some things are easily found because you tell the computer where you want it stored. Sometimes programs store information where they want to store it, unless you order it not to. And sometimes they do it anyway!

Around 9:00 p.m. I was ready to reformat. At 3:00 a.m. I went to bed, secure in the knowledge that I had rooted out the bug. I had reinstalled all necessary software but I suspected the church newsletter was going to be late. I just hoped I would not be late for church in the morning!

I wasn’t, but I was dead on my feet. As long as we were standing I was fine but when I sat down, I wanted to curl up and snooze. But during the service a voice in my head began to speak. I grabbed my trusty notebook and pen and started to write.

“The computer is a great tool. You load it with all the necessary things to make it work efficiently and as long as you follow the operating procedures everything is great. Follow the manual and you can do a lot of great things that would take hours without a computer.

“You also have the Internet. It is a great resource, a place where tons of information is provided, usually free of charge. But there are a lot of hazards. You go out on the Web and there is always the risk of infection by a virus. Even though you may have an anti-virus program to protect you, a virus can get through and cause terrible damage, even a system crash. Then, you have to locate the problem and root it out. Sometimes the only alternative it to wipe everything out and start over.

“Infection can result without your knowing it. A virus can come in and attach itself to a file and secretly corrupt it so badly that the program no longer even works. Sometimes a virus has the ability to replicate and move to other programs until, suddenly, right in the middle of the most important thing the whole system comes crashing down. Some viruses have the power to totally wipe out everything on your system.

"The computer is like Christians and the Internet is like the world. Christians can cruise along in the world, unaware of their surroundings, secure that they are protected by their beliefs and faith. They move from place to place and at each stop, hidden viruses lie in wait. They attach themselves secretly and begin their work. Even though Christians are trusting in their “anti-virus” religious experience they can still be infected by the viruses lurking in the world.”

I stopped writing at that point. I understood the message. More importantly, I understood why my computer crashed that weekend.

Spiritual viruses lurk around every corner. Each person we meet, each place we go may have something waiting to infiltrate our minds and cause a system failure. And if we don’t detect it, we risk passing it on to someone else. Just because we are Spirit-filled Christians doesn’t mean we are impervious to contamination. It means we are supposed to be on guard, watching for those viruses that may attach, replicate, and corrupt us, and those around us.

Anti-virus programs are absolutely necessary for any computer that will be exchanging information with another computer. However, all anti-virus programs must be updated, usually weekly. Every day a new computer virus comes out and whole companies are devoted to developing applications that will stop them. As of January 25, 2002, my computer was protected against 58,571 viruses and as of November 5, 2005, my protection had reached 70,773. So too, do we need to keep our spiritual programming updated. What worked to get us through today may be useless tomorrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. – Matt. 6:34”

After I left church that Sunday, I ate lunch and went back to work on the computer. I stopped and went to church Sunday night. By then, my eyes were beginning to cross. When I got home I worked until midnight. Finally, I had had enough. I crawled off to bed. Monday morning could truly be called Black Monday. I missed four hours of work. I had a migraine coming to call and I was soooo tired. But the computer was working. However, I still had days of work to do.

The bug is dead and my anti-virus program is running. I hope it is working.

Permission is not granted to repost on any other site. You may forward the web address to this site if you want to share it. I hope you will share it!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Heaven's Library

There is a paradox about writers, at least for me. I have problems with ideas. They tell me that every writer has the same problem but I can’t say that Michael Critchton appears to have ever experienced that phenomenon, nor has Patricia Cornwell. I have a boring, uninteresting life so my choices are rather slim, but sometimes a good idea can pop up out of nowhere and average things end up as grist for the mill.

For me, the effect is somewhat like standing in front of the mirror brushing your teeth and without warning, a third eye appears in your forehead. Toothpaste runs down the front of your shirt and your electric toothbrush roars off without you. I usually have the presence of mind enough to stop the toothbrush, rinse, and find a pad and pen before I lose it completely.

For a couple of years I have been getting these scenes in my head that just seem to pour out on the paper. I race to get them down and end up with a couple of thousand words at a time. Last year I realized that I had a story. I had written enough by this time that I knew the direction I wanted it to go. I had the main characters assigned to the parts I wanted them to play and the bad guy was already decided. Everything was sailing along on crystal seas. I could feel the summer breeze in my hair and feel the warm sun caressing my skin.
Then, that third eye thing happened and changed everything. I sat down on the toilet seat to recover. I had never had such a thing happen before and the impact was shattering to my psyche. How could such a thing happen when one had the story already planned and things were flowing well? I had heard of such epiphanies but never believed in them. Did I say everything had changed?

Once I was able to take my head from between my knees, I went to my computer and dashed off an email to my writing professor from college. He is quite adept as slapping sense back into his students and he relishes doing it. We have remained friends because I like gruff, opinionated people who are nice to me. I think he is nice to me because I like gruff, opinionated people. Ultimately, he is a born teacher and will offer tons of advice in terse form.

His response was as terse and comforting as I could have hoped. “Way too often characters go their own way. You can’t stop them. And, in the long run, it works out rather well. It is as though your subconscious is at least one curve ahead of you.

“Besides, you have to learn that nobody is as pure as you want them to be. Broken, lost people find their way, and we are charmed by those stories. Equally, people we think know what they are doing and are good turn out to be bad apples. Those stories smart a little, but it reminds us of reality.

“I’d just go the way the character wants to go. Nudge him into place later.”

It sounded like good advice. I felt better, assured I was not crazy to follow where the erratic muse was leading. It was after 1:00 a.m. by then so I went to bed, thinking about the changes that would be needed in the story. As I was contemplating the major changes to my story line and drifting off to sleep that third eye popped open and a new thought began to take shape. I was learning quickly that this was a double-edged sword, both painful and instructive. Fortunately, this time, I was not brushing my teeth. To this day, I am still not sure if I was dreaming or not. I didn’t stop the process. I just allowed my mind to drift along on the dream.

I was in a long corridor in a palace. Tall, gilt-trimmed columns supported the ceiling and along the walls were floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with books. There were millions of books and other corridors went off to the left and right all along the central corridor. I had never seen such a library. It was book-lover’s heaven. A dozen lifetimes would not be enough to read them all. I could almost feel the disappointment with the realization that I would never be able to read every book.

I moved along the corridors and wondered what all these books were and immediately, I knew that I was standing in Heaven’s Library. No other place could such a building exist, with such vast halls and so many books. I was curious as to what they could possibly contain to merit lining the halls of the creator’s palace. What importance could they have to him that he would keep them?

My mind shuffled through scripture, searching for places in the Bible that referred to books and writers. Paul called Jesus the author (Hebrews 2:20; 5:9; 7:10; 12:2; and 20:12). And John said, “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12).

It was the first time in my life I really thought about the four words in the middle of that verse. Everyone always puts such importance on what was happening in the chapter and they never mention those four words, “the books were opened”. But here, in my dream or vision, as I began to examine the books closely, I believe I found an answer something important.

Each book is the draft of an individual’s life written by the creator. They contain the vital statistics of each person at each stage of their life. When the Bible tells us he knows the number of hairs on our head, it is because he has a record in our book.

What is even more interesting is that each book -- yours, mine, your friend’s -- tells the story as He would like the story of that person’s life, each step he would like them to take, every word he would like to hear them say. The characters are people he loves. They have traits and habits and talents. He knows their abilities and he wants them to use them as he planned. He wrote each one as a love story and all the endings are beautiful, happy endings. Then, He placed them on the shelves and handed the pen to the lead character . . . because editing the final draft is up to them.

He has to let the character finish the story. He has no choice. Every character in every story has the ability to do as they please. He knows how HE wants the story to go but the characters, as in any good story, write the story themselves. They can do what they want, go where they want, say what they want, and think what they want. The Author can stop them but ultimately once he creates the character and puts him in the story, he gives them life. Once they begin to breath, they begin to go their own way. The greatest Author won’t interfere but will allow the story to unfold.

The characters can make choices that change the entire direction of the intended story. They may take paths that lead to dead ends and have to be backtracked in order to find a better direction. They do things that they were never intended to do and say things they were not intended to say. They even think things they were never supposed to think.

The Author can try to pull them back on track but if he does, characters can become down right hostile. They balk, they fight, they argue, they struggle and run. He can gently try to steer them back on course. With some, he succeeds and the story exceeds his expectations. The character does wonderful, amazing things.

However, many times the characters simply do not cooperate and the story falls apart. It may be re-written … sometimes over and over, but to no avail. The story reaches a point that the Author knows it is never going to be publishable. Yet, he doesn’t throw it out. He puts it in a place where no one ever sees it, no one but him. Only he knows how the story was supposed to go. And for every unfinished novel a part of him grieves. As he reads over his writing he sees gems throughout that confirm the writing was good. The story was right but something… something special just never appeared or the character took a wrong turn.

The Author never feels that any story is a waste of time but some just never reach their potential. Ultimately, the finished product will never be what it was intended to be. They are aligned along the shelves, never forgotten but never reaching the masses with their message. And so, the corridors of the Court of Heaven are lined with works in progress, unfinished masterpieces, final drafts that just did not meet expectations, and the world will never read the real story, the one that would have made a difference.

My dream ended and I don’t really know what else I saw or learned there. Maybe it was really a dream that meant nothing. For me, it was a revelation into my own life. I am an unfinished product and my life is still being written. I get to decide which story is told.

A great poet said these words, “. . . my tongue is the pen of a ready writer: . .” (Ps. 45:1) Ultimately, it is up to me. I can tell the story my way or I can take the first draft, find ways to improve on the plan, polish it, add special touches until it shines. I can be bound in leaves of gold and put in a place of honor for all to read. Or I can be one of the unfinished manuscripts that no one ever reads and which will remain stored in the library of Heaven as a memorial to what could have been.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Your Typical Saturday... At My House

I am considering letting this blog lapse because I have to much going on. The following link: http://profiles.yahoo.com/a_dixiegirl_in_indiana is to my other blog on Yahoo 360. I am not sure it is worth the effort to keep two blogs going. I don't have that much to say, surely.

Today is Saturday and I was supposed to work but forgot. I did get up sometime early this morning and asked Jerry, "I don't have to work today, do I? It's Saturday, right?" Of course, he never answered but I figured it out and went back to bed. So, I wake up at 9:30 and while getting my caffeine fix Becca said, "I thought you had to work today!" And it hit me. I was supposed to work today. It wasn't mandatory but I need that extra $100 I would have brought home. I felt bad but honestly, I am so tired... no worn out that I just can't muster the energy to get really annoyed with myself. I get tired of measuring my life by a dollar bill.

I have a lot to do today because Dave and Becca moved last night and we have to get the den organized and move some stuff around so they can put everything they don't have in storage. I have several rooms to clean up and it will take most of today to do it. Best get moving.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

When I Was the Flame

Someone break out the hot dogs and marshmallows. I am ready to go camping!

file://///eha/Users/Cynthia.Maddox/My%20Pictures/fire.bmp

I want the smoke and smell of fall to drift around me and lose myself in the glow while a breeze creeps along the ground and stirs the embers.

I want to shiver in the chill and scooch up to the fire with a blanket and listen to stories of the past, when heros walked the earth and blazed firey trails.

I want to stretch my hands to the warm flames and feel it curl up my arms and into my heart, where memories are stored and set them aflame in my mind again.

I want to sit on the ground with the loved ones around me, and bask in the warmth of their smiles while the flames dance on the wind.

I want to sit by this fire and stare into its heart and remember when I was the flame.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Up and Down Life

I was up until 2 a.m. this morning because the baby girl was not feeling good and mama had to rest. I was late getting to work because my lack of sleep brough on a migraine. By 9 a.m. I had that under control and was working by 10 a.m., I am at work, taking my break. I didn't take a lunch because I missed 2 hours of work. That way, I only lose an hour off my time.

I actually feel better because I needed the sleep. I am getting antsy to get back to my writing. My house is upside down with stuff strewn everywhere. Dave and Becca are moving their stuff in storage Friday and moving into my den for a few months. They hope they will get a voucher soon and can move out. We will see. I hope they get it too. My house is full!

Mike is still home with us and I can't find a place for him to go. He just got the judgement paid off where he and his idiot ex abandoned their lease. Daddy bought her a trailer but Mike has to live with us because of her trashy behavior. He would never have have defaulted on that lease if she had not threatened to leave and go back to Arkansas. She ended up with everything they got as wedding gifts and he has nothing at all but the clothes on his back and a chest my sister gave him, a chair I recovered for him, and his desk I bought when he was small.

We didn't go to court for anything more because he had nothing but Social Security as income and couldn't hire a lawyer. The fat Bimbo just took him to the cleaners because she got them to charge him with half of her medical bills. She had to have a bunch of medical things done while she was married to him. She told Mike that it would be "free" because Arkansas had this "free" hospital. Yes, he bought it. Now, his credit is crap because she had a habit of abandoning her leases, and getting cars repossessed, and not paying her bills anywhere. A real catch guys. For those who do not know this, you marry your credit.

Gee, do I sound nasty? I suppose it will be a long time before I get past it. I get mad every time I think about her. Need I mention she was a "Preacher's daughter"?

My one postive feeling in the whole thing is in knowing that she was terrified of me, so much so she "said" she had a protection order against us. Hysterical, especially since I wouldn't cross the street to spit on her, let alone spend hundreds chasing her. My experience is that a person who thinks like she does has reason to fear people because they are liars and theives. They never rest easy because they are constantly looking over their shoulders waiting for the people they harm to come after them. My sons and other daughter-in-law think it is a hoot. In fact, the whole family rolls in laughter when we talk about that because I am the most non-violent person you will find.

Jerry is now working at a drug store about three days a week. I hope it will help us get straightened out financially. So far, the first check didn't help at all cause expenses are just ridiculous with all these people in the house.

I am considering a biography! My life is an adventure.... I feel just like Indiana Jones!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sweet Home Alabama


Today is a cool gloomy day and I am thinking of home. Sweet home, Alabama, where skies are so blue. Oh, how I wish I was coming home to you.

There is the this point in my journey each time I travel the road back to Alabama. It can best be experienced if the windows of the car are down when you cross the state line. There is this scent to the air that is found nowhere else. I have visited many states and several countries and have never experienced it anwhere else. It is the scent of honeysuckle and pine, the smell of clean air and sunshine.

If you stop anywhere in the state for gas, it is the music of the people... their speech when they say with a smile, "How y'all doin' today?" And you know it is a real question and not just the customer service. Their voices are like the vocal divisions you find in a great choir. Near Anniston they sing one part of the song while in Mobile it is a different part and Montgomery still another. Every place you go they have a slightly different accent but despite the regional differences you know you are still in Alabama.

Lord, I want to go home.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Been a while since I was here. I have been busy... with the new grandbaby and trying to deal with so many people in such a small place. Diapers, clothes, interrupted sleep, crying baby and 6 people crammed into 1000 sq feet. Not fun and not condusive to good sleep.

I've been helping Becca with the baby as much as possible but I can't do the late night feedings. I have to work. Last night I was awakened by a screaming baby demanding her food at 2 a.m. and again at 4 a.m. I had trouble getting back to sleep after that last one and I don't think I slept well all night anyway. I have to get some sleep tonight. I am pretty zonked today and can't function well.

I have not been able to get on my computer at home in days because it is the room where new baby and parents are sleeping. Dave works nights but Becca sleeps there. Hope to have them in the den by the end of the months but it isn't going well so far.

I'm tired. Gone.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday, September 4, 2006

New Arrival!

Sarah Cheyenne arrived on September 2, 2006 at 3:41 p.m. She weighed 6 lbs 7 ozs and was 20 inches long.

She is adorable and we will post photos as soon as possible.

I'd write more but I am exhausted. I stayed at the hospital last night to help Becca. Dave had to go back to work at 10:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Whine and Cheese. . . Again

Sunday and I am at home in a world of pain and stiffness. Yesterday, I went to my sister's to help do some more painting and cleanup. We got a lot of trim done but found that the bedroom windows have been painted shut and that the vinal siding was put on OVER the storm windows. We now have to figure out how we are going to take them down without tearing up the siding in order to unstick the painted windows. If we can't do that, we have to break at least two windows to open the storm windows so we can then unstick the regular window and then put new glass in them.

We also powerwashed the basement and unstopped the drain where the moron has never cleaned and allowed the washer to stop the floor drain. It is much cleaner now and just needs painting. We got a bit of carbon monoxide I think because it was a gas operated power washer. We had windows and the door to the stairs opened but still I think we all got a bit sick. Very dizzy at the end of it. Felt better after an hours lying on the floor of my sister's apartment and relaxing. But we are all tired and sore.

I am attempting to work on the novel again. I have found, with the help of a friend, a solution to my block and feel like I can move forward now. I hope so, anyway.

The baby has not arrived yet but Dave and Becca have a problem. She is due any day. The project where they are living is infested with roaches and they found three in the baby's bed. They are trying to find a place they can rent cheaply so they don't have to be concerned about roaches getting to the baby. I am not sure what they can do. If anything happens to Dave's job they will be in terrible trouble anywhere else.

Things are not good financially with us either. We are having so many money problems and Jerry still has no job. He is not going to get one I believe. That is very negative of me but I have nothing that would indicate I have anything to be positive about. I am positive things are bad. May not have internet much longer. I can save $100 a month by shutting off cable, phone, and internet. That will make nearly all the car payment. If he could just get a job bringing home $100 a week it would solve the major problems.

Ok, I've had my whine and cheese session. Go out and make a difference in the world. I have no life but you ought to be out doing something.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The End is Near

I am beginning to think blogging is the biggest waste of time. I have been working at it since May ... I think... and so far I don't really see the sense of it. I have vented, waxed poetic, contributed great prose, and preached a little bit. I think it is just not something I am cut out to do.

I am trying to figure out the timing of it but there doesn't seem to be any timing involved. I have considered content but have not found anything original out here. Most are just repeating information they heard somewhere else, show photos I have see long ago, and tell jokes that have been coming in my email for years!

So, I am going to just give it a bit longer, see what happens, how I feel about the process and then, probably just drop the whole thing. The second blog is not going well either and I still have two websites that are now extremely overdue for an update.

Not to mention my novel is languishing. I just got a few tips last night on it and I am thinking about that aspect of it. I think it will help jump start me but now I am not in possession of a lot of free time. This next two week I suspect I will be very, very busy.

I am supposed to help Phyllis paint the rest of the apartment, the baby is due in the next 14-18 days, I need to get her a bed up, finish stripping her chest of drawers and get it repainted. And write. Somewhere in there I have to go to work and sleep!

I will post photos of the new baby before I end it. But, while this has been fun and it is really just a lazy person's way of avoiding real writing. I will probably just stop bothering after September.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gripe Session in Progress

I feel as if my nose is stuffed with cement. The air must be teeming with something. Over the last several weeks I have been struggling to breath. I got so frustrated that I even stopped taking Claritin. I was having these allergy symptoms and I wanted to see what kid of difference it was making. Guess what... it wasn't! I was off it for two weeks and my situation did not get worse. It didnt' get better either.

I am supposed to have my crown put on this afternoon. I am having lunch with a friend at noon. And this morning, I am chained to my desk. In about three minutes I am going to be attacking the files to see what I can process. I do not want to loose the momentum of the last week but right now I need verifications to come in so I can actually do the work. Of course, I could start on December files....

Housing assistance. That's what I do. I work with a government agency to provide rental assistance to low income families. You call it Section 8. HUD likes the kinder, gentler term Housing Choice Voucher (HCV). The government will pay 60-70% of of your rent if you qualify. I am the person who maintains the client's file and continually monitor their status to insure they are receiving the correct amount of subsidy. They are supposed to pay 30-40% of their adjusted income for rent.

Of course, that is only on income they have reported. Taxpayers get ripped every day by people who are not reporting their income so they can receive more of your tax dollars to pay their rent. They justify it by such excuses as "I have a car payment." "I won't be able to afford cable if I pay that!" Isn't that lovely.

Don't get me wrong. Most of the people who need housing are not the problem. It is a segment of society who believes it is someone else's job to pay their way. When a healthy, 20 year-old can sit at my desk with three small children and say, "My grandmama was on Sec. 8, my mama was on Sec 8 and I will always be on Sec. 8 and my kids will too." I get ticked. That is a great inheritance. Poverty passed down through the generations by choice. I was trying to get her into a program that would help her become self sufficient, go to college, get an education and buy her own home. She wanted her inheritance of Sec. 8 assistance! What is wrong with that picture?

So the next time you bleeding heart liberals think that more social services are the answer, come see me! They are NOT solving the problem. They are creating it. Social services should be designed for the elderly and disabled, people who require help because they are either too old and sick to work or because they have some disability that prevents them from being able to support themselves. And a transitional assistance until healthy people get a job that will support them. A healthy adult needs to get out and work. Atlanta already has the idea. You have to have a job to be on their program. Great idea, Atlanta!

Ok, I think that will about do it for me. I have a headache and my eyes feel as if they are floating in fluids in my sinuses.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Stop the World

I haven't run out of things to say but lately I have turned melancholy... a little bit anyway. I have always loved poetry and especially the works of Tennyson and Longfellow. They recite words that speak to my spirit and that for a few minutes take me back to a time of my life when things moved at a slower pace and my happiness was found in simple things, such as good books, a walk in the woods, Sunday dinner with my extended family, and my children's laughter.

The world is moving at such a fast pace now and I want to scream "STOP!" We are missing the finer things in life in pursuit of toys, of pleasure for pleasure's sake rather than to enrich our life. How many people are left who can find joy in the summer breeze as it blows across the front porch bringing the sound of children laughing and playing in the twilight? How many children are laughing and playing in the twilight? See, we have lost something. Are we too stupid to see it?

I might be called old fashioned but there is a reason certain television shows are considered classics and have channels devoted to reruns of them. Because there is a large segment of society out there who is hungry for just a taste of that past. And it is not because of the things they had then.

No, we don't long to go back in time and live without our conveniences. We don't want to give up microwaves, computers, and indoor plumbing. We just want the secret to the innocence, to the laughter, to the family around the dinner table, to the trust, and even next door neighbors who wave and call you by name as you sit in the twilight on the front porch.

We want to know how to recapture the magic and wonder that we heard about from our grandparents. We want to understand how, in the midst of depression, famine, and war people could loan a cup of sugar and not expect its return, people could build a house in a week, take in orphan children they never met, buy a car on a handshake, sleep with the doors unlocked.

Where can we find the component that causes this kind of life? What makes them say please, thank you, excuse me, or let me help you? What have we lost?

I grew up in that life, among those people.

Today, I want to go home.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Crossing The Bar

From “The Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson”

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sea Fever


By John Masefield (1878-1967)
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking.
And a gray mist on the sea’s face and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied:
And all I ask is a windy day and the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the winds’ like a whetted knife:
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The Blower's Daughter

Damien Rice - (Video)

I don't know what it is but it is a beautiful song that makes you ache inside.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

August Thoughts

August... a majestic month. Fall is around the corner. Sarah Cheyenne is just weeks from her arrival. My birthday is about 8 weeks away while Jerry's is days away.

I am exhausted and frustrated and just plain ticked off at everything. I am again trying to find money to cover expenses and expenses keep rising. Although, gas has dropped a few cents. I have been praying for that.

Yes, I believe God answers prayer. I also believe if enough people with right attitudes and motives, pray for something, God will hear and answer.

It is Saturday and I just finished paying the bills. I have been moving money around like a high financier for a bankrupt company. I am about to go to the grocery store where I am sure I will have a mild heartattack about the price of eggs or some such staple.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rethinking Men

Thursday and Landlord orientation day for me. I have to talk to landlords and tell them all about the housing program. It starts at 3:30 and last about 90 minutes. Oh joy!

I still have not gone to lunch and I am just about to leave. I wanted to jot something here just because it is BLANK today. I have a book in my purse that I am reading (for the last several weeks). The fact that I have not finished it is due in part to my schedule for leisure things and because it really is a silly book. I don' t like romance books that masquerade as mysteries. Just because there is a mystery in a romance novel doesn't make it a mystery. If this guy tells me one more time how adorable her chin is and how kissable her lips are and how charming her smile is I am going to puke.

Please tell me that real women do not read this trash and long for men to drool on them that way. I like being told how nice I look. I like to hear my name. I like to hear how brilliant I am. I even like hearing when someone thinks I am attractive. But when a man tells me I am beautiful, I simply wonder what he wants in return. I just don't buy it.

For goodness sake, do you guys really sit and think about how very sweet a woman looks when she bats her eyes? Do you really think about how much you would love to brush that curl off her forehead? Is it really in you mind constantly how utterly adorable she is when she giggles?

I don't think so. Tell me I'm wrong. Please. I will be forced to rethink my whole concept of men.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Clouds Rolling In

Halfway through the week and I feel as if it will never pass. I have to work tomorrow night but I don't know about after that. I don't really want to do this part-time job but I am so desperate for the money.

I really keep hoping something will turn up and I will get this insane windfall. Of course, my logical brain says that is the biggest joke ever but, well, hope springs eternal, right?

I am still trying to figure out what I am doing here. Part of me says it is ludicrous and another part says just do it for the fun of it. Tonight... doesn't seem fun anymore.

I will be grandma in about 6 weeks or less. Becca has been sick with again and tonight we think she has the flu that the rest of us have had only it is not quiet as severe. For that I am glad.

I will exit now. I have to work tomorrow for at least 11 hours. Someone should probably put me on their prayer list. I need the prayer. My family needs it, too. Things are not too good.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Until They Vanish

I walk beside you along the beach
While the laughing waves follow,
And wash the signs of our passing
Until they vanish.

We toss our dreams out on the breeze
To watch them soar up and away,
Unaware of how far dreams may travel,
Until they vanish.

As the sun sinks beneath restless waves
The sand grows cool to our feet,
And stars dance across the night sky
Until they vanish.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Late Night Returns

Things are settling down now. Everyone seems to be on the road to recovery. So why do I feel the I am waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Last two evenings I cleaned the yard, cutting hedges, mowing grass, trimming weeds and spraying weed killer. It looks wonderful and I am tired. Just have to get all the trimming piles up.

But something doesn't feel right to me. Not sure what. Maybe I am just tired. I have been getting to bed earlier this week... until tonight. So, maybe I should be going now, huh?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Three Flu in My House!

There is no point in going over the whole grisley week. Let me describe it briefly: as of 5:00 a.m. last Monday everything just went crazy. I woke up and spent several hours vomiting and then went to the hospital where they gave me something and sent me home. The next two days are a blur. My husband came down with it on Wednesday, my son on Thursday. There are two survivors who have not become infected thus far and I pray they don't. One is my pregnant daughter-in-law.

I had to work Wednesday-Friday and by Sunday I was so exhausted I could not move. My daughter-in-law, Becca, is a true angel of mercy. She came in Monday and took care of me and stayed all week, taking care of each person who came down with this nasty bug.

Wash your hands, don't let anyone use your pens, pencils, phone, etc. This is a nasty beastie with projectile vomiting and diaharrea accompanied by fever that last about 24 hours. Afterward, you feel awful for nearly 7 days.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Busy Bees, Honey Pots & Pooh

What a busy weekend! My aunt & uncle from Atlanta came in Friday afternoon and we all went to supper together and visited. We had such a good time chatting and laughing. I began the weekend with a headache and kept it until last night! Had a small bout of depression, too but not sure why.

Saturday morning was girls day out. My aunt, sister, pregnant daughter-in-law, and I all went shopping for baby things. We bought little girl clothes and a carseat for the new baby we are expecting in about 9 weeks. We bought dresses, shoes, and hats. We had lunch at a great mexican restaurant to top off the day.

I bought a Winnie-the-Pooh honeypot lamp for baby's room. When David saw it he said, "Ah, I want it in my room!" He was a great Pooh fan when he was little. My most favorite story about him was when he was about 4 or 5 years old. He loved peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I went to the kitchen to make one for him and found we were out of honey. I said, "We are all out of honey. I wonder who ate all the honey?" He replied in all seriousness, "Pooh bear ate all the honey, Mommie."

When we came home my aunt, uncle, sister, Jerry, and I left about 5:00 p.m. for Owensboro to attend the Crabb Fest. This is a gospel music concert put on by the Crabb family. We enjoyed it a lot but got home near midnight and so were not able to get up early this morning for church. There was a time I could have stayed out all night and still been going!

Today I am sore and I suspect it is because we sat for about 5 hours on folding metal chairs. They were miserable! Tonight I am going to try and go to church but I feel really bad in my shoulder and legs. My shoulder hurts all the way to my wrist.

Then, tomorrow it is back to work! I hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Glutton for Punishment or Forced Labor

I did it. I started a second blog - "Dark Mountains". It is actually post of a piece of fiction I am working on. I have decided it may help me to organize this pile of stuff I have that I can't gain control of. So, I started the blog. I guess we will see how it goes. I am either a glutton for punishment or I enjoy forced labor.

I think it will bug me no end to have this thing sitting out there for the world to stumble on and read but not have it completed. We will see.

I hope we see progress. Thing is I know that some of it is very good. I have read over some of it and the hair on my neck stands up. I am scared at how good some of it is. At least, I believe it is. Of course, there is an equal amount that stinks.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Liberty's Birthday

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, American Independance Day. We celebrate that day in this country with cookouts, fireworks, and ball games. We get with our families and laugh and talk and we may go swimming and have a picnic. We may just sit around the patio and read a trashy romance and drink something cold all day.

Some of us will be glued to the television for a ball game that will go into overtime. Some of us will sit on the riverbank with thousands of others from all economic levels of society, of all races, and religious backgrounds and watch fireworks in the night sky.

We won't talk about what brought us to that celebration. We won't discuss the revolution or the lives it claimed. We won't talk about the sacrifices of the men and women who committed crimes against the crown to set the wheels in motion to create a new nation, a nation where Liberty is a living, breathing being that constantly craves new territory in which to florish. We won't discuss the price of the 4th of July because it is priceless.

Or maybe it is because it happended so long ago.

No, we will just talk food, children, politics, and ball games. And we will wonder at fireworks in the night sky. We will laugh a lot.

And we will not be afraid.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Unthinkable

They will bury my coworker on Saturday. The week has been difficult for all of us. I keep thinking that she will pop in with her big grin and say "Ok guys, I was just joking." We are all having similar feelings I think. We talk about it a lot and I guess that helps.

I have discovered several things that I was unaware of. There was no food in the house. She was losing weight because she had nothing to eat. Between the two of them they made $70000 a year. How does a pregnant woman starve to death with that kind of money? How does she die if she is cared for and loved?

He was giving her $500 a month as his "share" of expenses out of $40,000. Her salary of $30,000 a year supported two adults, and her child, his daughter, and their child and all household expenses and debts. He ran up her credit card when they married and she had him removed. She had refused to put him on the house purchase or her car. He had no credit at all.

He was spending his money on golf clubs, trips with buddies, and gambling on the boat. In fact, he had a golf trip planned during the time she was due to deliver. Felt he should go since it "was scheduled a long time ago." He was also the beneficiary on her life insurance. The day they found her the power company showed up to turn off the lights. Her father gave money to her friends and they went and paid the light bill.

She left no will because who dies at 31? But she died in her sleep, probably hungry and most definately alone.

Take care of your children. Take care of your few possessions. And for God's sake, take care of yourself. Tell someone if you are suffering for any reason. And then, if there is a special "other" in your life, take care of them.

Please make a will, even if you are only 18 and have nothing but an iPod. Please designate more than one person as your executor. Make sure the person you appoint is controlled in what they do on your behalf. Do not assume that the person you love will be capable of or will even want to have your best interest in mind.

If I sound cynical, I am. I trust no one. Everyone is potentially self serving. Thankfully, this story doesn't happen often but it happens enough.

Be safe, be healthy, but most of all be happy. If you aren't, tell someone immediately.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Unexpected

I am home sick today and a friend at worked called to tell me another co-worker had been found dead at home. She was 31 and pregnant with twins, has a baby about a year old, a 6-year-old and a step-daughter she just sent to college. Her husband came home from work and found her dead in her bed. It appears she died in her sleep.

On Thursday she was telling us that something was wrong but she didn't know what. She had trouble sleeping because when she lay on one side she couldn't breath. She also had a history of seizures, not the grand mal seizures, small ones that you wouldn't know she was having unless you recognized that kind of thing. She took medicine except when she was pregnant.

My guess is she either had a seizure or something happened related to the pregnancy. She has not been able to take her seizure medicine for a long time, not since she was pregnant with the last baby. She got pregnant with the twins when the other baby was only 6 months old and she was supposed to have the twins at the end of July.

I am so sad about this. I think because she was so young and those tiny babies who never had a chance. The two children she left behind, the step-daughter who called her mom all wondering what happened. I know everyone will know once an autopsy is done but still, I don't think that answers the questions we often have when a young person dies.

Life is a treasure, filled with unexpected hearthaches and joys. Sometimes the unexpected happens.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Expect the Unexpected

Just when you think your day is going well and everything is on schedule....



Click here to comment!

Free Evening....Maybe

Wow. I had a very productive time at work! Got CAUGHT UP! Current is so cool. I got a whole 10.5 hrs this week and about the same last week. That will pay a bill!
 
Do I seem a bit excited? I hate working two jobs but I am so tired of the money problems I just about can't stand it.
 
Someone did get the cobwebs down while I was working, by the way. Imagine that.
 
Well, I won't give you any more whine and cheese. Free the rest of the day. Now if I can just get people out of my hair. I might have a nice evening.
 
Yeah, right, like that is gonna happen.

Cobwebs and Candor

Saturday, yippee! Yeah, right. Not.

I have a horrible lower back ache and no clue as to why. I have to go have blood work done and since I have NO veins that won't be fun either. Then, I have to go to my second job and spend the afternoon working. I have not got time to clean house or do any of the things I need or want to do. I would love to sit here and write. I would love to clean the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling of my bedroom.

I am so PO'd.

I came in from the day job at five yesterday. Now remember, I have to be at the second job at six. My unemployed husband says, what do you want for supper? This is two nights in a row. I come home and I am supposed to figure out what is for supper, get it cooked, and get to work by six.

This morning I pointed out that during the down times when he is trying to figure out what to do around here he might like to sweep out the cobwebs from the bedroom. He looks and says, "The whole house needs it.

I looked back at him and say, "Gee, ya think?"

He didn't like it.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Blessings, Curses, and Wars

I am reading a book called Blessing or Curse: You can Chose. It was written by Derek Prince. I have read this book three times. The first time was about seven years ago. I was in great distress and contemplating suicide. What I learned about blessings and curses truly saved my life. I won't go into detail but let me just say he teaches that some of the problems we have in life may be the result of curses that have descended through our families, thorough our actions or words, or through inactions.
Now I know there are those who will immediately say this is not scriptural, that grace has cured everything. However, since this book uses scripture to support the premise, I will respectfully disagree. Besides, I know what I have experienced. I was dying.
I had personal problems and my life was going down the tubes pretty quickly. I was in my late 30's, had graduated college only about three years before but we had both lost our jobs and had been unemployed for about 2 years. I was so depressed and so I just started looking for a way out that would be painless. I even began to plan it.
I reached a point where I sat down in my bedroom, crying and told God I felt cursed and I needed help because I didn't believe Christians could be cursed. And less than a month later I found this book. I followed the instructions carefully. Within six month we were both employed and I was getting well spiritually, mentally and physically. Life actually became pretty good. And after two years, things were great.
So why am I reading it again? Because sometimes we forget things. Sometimes things happen to drag us down. Either way, we sometimes go back to self destructive habits, thoughts, and behaviors. I think I have been doing that and that for some time have over extended myself. I also think I have allowed things to happen that should not have happened, not obviously, just the "little foxes".
I guess I have just not been paying attention. And God is always so patient with me. But at some point I have to say I am responsible for what happens to me. It is not always someone else's fault. Life doesn't just happen. We make it.
So, I am rereading this book again. And I expect something good to happen. Maybe that is what it is all about. Being vigilant, watching for trouble spots, and once the enemy is identified, become agressive in attacking it. We are at war.
"12. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 (New King James Version)
New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pressure Release Valve

As usual, so very late! I am on my way to bed but I am going to make myself write something on the blog. My day was busy but fairly upbeat. I didn't have that bout of depression again.

I am just so frustrated about money. I have so much hanging over my head right now that I am not able to really do anything close to buying enough food to feed us all for more than a few days. It gets very scary when the fridge is empty and your family says, "Uh, what am I supposed to eat?"

Don't get me wrong. Under normal conditions I can buy food, pay the bills and put a bit back. I have never asked anyone for money and don't intend to start now. But I have sure done a lot of praying lately for it. I hate praying for money. Unfortunately, the last several years, with just me working, Jerry in and out of the hospital and doctor's offices, Dave and Becca not having jobs, and car problems it is pretty difficult this last year.

And she is pregnant and has to eat right and she had no clothes... so I bought material from a second hand shop I go to and made her some in the evenings after work. They were able to get food stamps but I don't really know how far $150 in groceries will go in a month. And that doesn't help me much. They come over here and I feed them when they don't have enough but tonight, everything in my upright freezer fit into my 2 cu ft freezer in my refridgerator.

I keep telling myself I am not managing it well but I don't know what else I can do but pay the bill and then buy groceries if there is enough left. I have not bought groceries except immediate items like milk, cheese, eggs or bread. I had a freezer full of meat where I borrowed the money about a month ago. It's nearly gone now.

I gotta get off here. Depressing just thinking about it all. I will do better tomorrow.

I just hate living like this.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

White Walls

There are places you reach where the road comes to an end, and you can neither go left nor right. These are places that require you to turn around and retrace your steps to see if you can discover where you took the wrong turn.

You thought you were moving in the right direction. Everything seemed just fine. There were no problems you could detect, no difficulties you couldn’t conquer, and yet, here you are at a dead end.

These places are confusing because, in your mind, they shouldn’t be there. You presumed you did everything right. All your I’s were dotted, all your t’s were crossed. It is inconceivable that you could ever be standing staring at a blank wall with no way through, around, under or over.

And yet, there it is.

I have walked this path many times and each time I think it will be the last. Every time I think I am moving in the right direction and all seems to be going well. There were no problems, no difficulties that were insurmountable. It is confusing and inconceivable that I should be here again.

And yet, here I am.

This morning I felt I had turned a corner and there was light ahead. It was just a white wall.

Looking for House Fairies & Feeling No Pain

I can't believe how much better I feel since they increased my medicine by one pill. I have to take the metheltrixate - four pills one time a week. I usually do it on Wednesdays. Just because I got the prescription on Wednesday.

Initially I took three pills but two weeks ago my doctor raised it to four pills. The difference in pain relief was amazing. I just notices on Sunday that I was not hurting everywhere. I had a back ache but I think that is just where I was doing my usual household chores.

Now if I can just get some sleep! I think I am sleeping a bit better just not enough. I don't wake up with my feet hurting and my knees hurting. And I don't have to walk like an old lady.

Today, life feels much better. Now, if the fairies will just get the house clean and the yard clean....

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Famous Last Words

I was just pondering phrase/paragraphs that could be used as Famous Last Words. I decided to see how many I could devise. So, here goes my first effort.

"I wonder how this works?"

"I wonder what happens when you push this button?"

"What is this little ring hanging from it?"

"I wonder how fast will this thing will really go?"

"Maybe we should go back and get the helmet."

"Oops, uh, guys, this knob just came off in my hand."

"Gimme a match."

"Yes, dear, I am sure I turned off the iron."

"I wonder why someone unplugged the toaster?"

"I better turn on the lights so we can see why this floor is flooded."

"I think if I just move it a bit to the right..."

"Wonder where this road leads?"

"It doesn't look very high."

'It doesn't look dangerous."

"I am sure it is not very deep."

"I don't think it will hurt you."

"We'll come right back."

"No problem, all dogs love me."

"Who needs directions!"

Ok, if you can think of any others please share them with me.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Princess Wows Her Subjects

Our little girl is growing. Sarah Cheyenne appears to be rehearsing for her big debute onto the world stage. She appears to be looking directly at the camera. I hope she will look at the world the same way, with clear eyes and courage.

In the second one you can see a small fist raised. I think she was trying to get her thumb in her mouth.
Her daddy sucked his thumb, too, so it won't be a surprise if she does. Her uncle Mike did also.

We had to get a fixture placed in Mike's mouth to stop him. We simply gave Dave a choice. We said, "You can stop on your own or we can get you the mouth fixture to help you stop." He said he would do it on his own. And he did. He was only 5 but in about three months he stopped completely with no help from us other than an occassional glance and grin.

I think they will be doing one more ultrasound before she gets here. I will post them if they do. But the next photos may be of the the new princess.

Jerry was sick all week having chills and fever. This morning he got up and told me he knew what was wrong. He had a kidney infection. He went to the er and they are pumping him full of Cipro. He saw a urologist this afternoon.

I have to work in the morning and so I probably should go to bed. More news later.