Monday, November 27, 2006

Notice the new historical research blog I found under COOLEST PLACES TO GO. Very cool, guys!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Out-of-commission-Monday Post

Black Friday was a great and fun success for me (praise God!). MIL & I showed up at Walmart at a little after 4am (and yes, we consider this fun...). I parked my cart by the Dora TV/DVD combos for the granddaughter and MIL scooted over to the meat section where the grownup TV's were stashed. Just to give you a picture: all the doorbusters were on pallets in various aisles. The pallets were covered with brown paper and polywrapping with a sign saying what they contained. You had to wait until 5am for an employee to come open your pallet and then it was off to the races.

This was my first Black Friday Walmart experience (we usually start at Best Buy), and it wasn't half bad. People were really cool except one guy who got a heel creamed by a shopping cart and was taking it out on his wife. This is why you should *not* bring the dh unless he's fully invested in the prize hunt. They get overwhelmed and turn vicious (hehehe).

Okay, I got the TV and headed for the next gift (which shall remain nameless since the designated recipient reads this blog). I had heard from an off-duty employee that WalMart hadn't gotten many of these in, so I held little hope of getting my hands on one. Oh me of little faith. When I got to that department, I learned they hadn't found the pallet with these on them yet. Turns out they were under something else. They found them while I was standing there. Got one for me and one for the unnamed one...

Headed for the next item (the identity of which escapes me at the moment - I'm nearly to the point where I can wrap my own Xmas presents and hide my own Easter eggs...) and a similar thing happened. They found them just as I was - ah! I remember what it was - Game Boy Advance games 2 for 19.99. I got there just as they found them and grabbed 3 packs. Nevermind that I hadn't bought the Game Boy Advance yet - that's a later story.

Checked out and on the way out to the car realized the SB cards I'd bought did not say they were $1.88 (what a great price - I grabbed 4). They said they were 1gb (I gotta wear my glasses more often). The price was $13.87 each. Had to return 3 of them later that night. The other I need for the dh gift.

Headed for Radio Shack (for MIL & SIL), then to Home Depot for a FIL gift (super cool). They were already out, but we saw what looked like an abandoned cart with one in it. Asked the sales person, and he asked the guy at the register who said, "I have one right here that a guy didn't want after all." - Woo hoo!! Bought the gift immediately (along with two instant cell phone chargers I had to return because I wasn't smart enough to check for the proper connectors on the back...)

On to Sears! SIL was at Sears south location earlier and checked for my Game Boy Advance - they stopped carrying game systems. On the way north, I called the other Sears to make sure they had the games. Yes, they did. When I got there one guy thought they were out. Another said there were three. Another lady was ahead of me looking for the same thing. A gal checked the back and thankfully found two (whew!). The other gal wanted the pink one, and was trying to talk her friend into taking the other. Of course, I immediately grabbed the blue one from the sales clerk's hand and headed for the checkout. (I was very sweet but firm about it.)

Went to Michael's and spent money on myself (I didn't want anyone to be left out!) and learned they did not carry the perfect gift I wanted for my dh. Went to the Wherehouse (now FYE) and got a couple of key gifts (one for my daughter to give me for Xmas). We stopped and ate breakfast and headed to Kohl's around ten. SIL and I rushed around gathering up gifts while my genius MIL found the fastest moving line (they were out of the perfect gift for the dh). We were in and out of there in about 45 minutes when it should have taken at *least* two hours.

Nixed Gordman's and every other store on my list (that's why you go in order of importance). Went home and listed what I'd bought and what was still needed for our Dallas shopping trip next week. Made sure I'd charged the right amounts on my card and the dh's card (we split by families - his checking account never knows what my checking account is doing and vice versa - hehehe). Got online at Best Buy and finally ordered perfect gift for dh for only $10-20 more than the other places. Still cheap.

Fell into bed and slept 5 hours. Did I mention I was going on 2 hours sleep from the night before? Was groggy the rest of the evening...

Ah, good times had by all! Black Friday has been one of my favorite days of the year (maybe the favorite) since my MIL inducted me into the ranks 3 years ago. Part of the fun is being done.

Did I say done? On the news this morning, I learn of Cyber Monday - holy cow, you mean it's not over? Evidently the online merchants want to get in on the action, so they're staging a big early morning sale of their own. Excuse me while I faint...

Okay, I'm back. I don't think I'll be participating in Cyber Monday this year. These things take preparation and planning. Intestinal fortitude. Ah, speaking of which - the colonoscopy is tomorrow which is why I'm posting today. I've drank the first bottle of lovely Magnesium Citrate and I have stocked up on liquids for my clear liquid diet today. The one high spot is the jello.

Okay, time to get serious now. Monday is meditation day, and I'll keep it simple. Next Sunday begins Advent which is the looking forward to celebrating Jesus' birth. We sing carols of His coming and meditate on the story of Mary and Joseph. My mission this month is to truly celebrate Advent as was originally intended. As I go through my many Christmas traditions, I plan to keep Jesus and my gratitude for His work here on earth in the center of it all. Even spyders need salvation, ya know.

Love you all!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Best Thanksgiving EVER!

Got the results of my CT scan yesterday, and the cancer has not progressed one bit - woo hoo!!! Thank you, God!

Happy Turkey day, my friends,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Labyrinth

The dh and I went with another couple to walk the labyrinth at the First United Methodist Church in Edmond a couple of nights ago. Here's a link for more inforation: . What a great experience. It got me thinking about the scripture that says we should always be ready to give an answer for the hope that's within us.

Like many people, I've always been afraid to witness to others. What do I say? Do I have to point out how wrong they are to not believe? Or that their beliefs are wrong? A yes to that last question seems rather arrogant to me. I attended the Church of Christ with my first husband for ten years, and we were supposed to reach out to those of other denominations and point them to the "true" way. I tried, but eventually I came to the realization of how arrogant that appears. Not that members of the COC are arrogant - most of the people I knew were beautiful, humble, highly spiritual people. I still love them dearly and think of them often although they are several hundred miles away and seem to be part of a different lifetime now. But just the concept that a group of faulty human beings (as we all are) way back in the day figured every scripture out perfectly - that's impossible. Yes, the Bible is of no private interpretation, but who's to say who's right and who's wrong (except in obvious cases, of course)?

I should also mention that it's been my experience that people don't respond to being told they're wrong or that they're going to hell. So what do they respond to? How do I find a way to witness that works for me? Obviously the COC way wasn't it.

That realization came to a head during my divorce when only one person from two congregations contacted me to see how I was doing. It was the asst. preacher from the previous congregation and not someone I knew well or was comfortable with, but at least he showed up. None of my friends (so-called) visited or called a single time. These were people I thought I was close to. Who I thought cared deeply for me. Divorce is a no-no in the COC, and they'd already written me off I guess. I knew I wanted no part of that kind of church. May God forgive them for their lack of charity (and save me from making similar mistakes!).

So that plunked me down where I am now. What do I say? How do I bring people to Christ as I'm supposed to?

I've found the answer in the scripture about being ready to give an answer for the hope that is within me. It doesn't say to critique anyone else's walk. It doesn't say to tell anyone they're going to hell. In fact, the Bible says who am I to judge another man's (God's) servant? Nobody, that's who. I'm a servant myself, in fact.

Give an answer for the hope...hmmm

My dh has the handle on this. He says that all he can do is tell others what God has done for him personally, what he's been shown so far, and what's worked for him. There's my answer, I think. That's what attracts people to Christ. Let them see what I've got, and if they want that same peace and joy, they'll ask for more. I can do that, and I have quite a bit to offer.

God's brought me through some really dark times in my life, including a total remodeling of my faith. I mean, we gutted the place completely (I was so afraid that my faith was gone for good at that point!) and put up new walls, new paint, new furniture (really cushy digs for the Holy Spirit to live inside me - I want Him to stay forever!) - the whole bit. I stopped living through the faith of others and began figuring out what I really believe and what God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit really are to me. Since then, I've even had a personal revelation or two - really small ones, but they meant a lot to me.

Well, that's probably enough rambling for now. God didn't say to go on and on in one big blast of information (aren't you glad!!). Feel free to post comments about your own walk. I want to hear your answers for your hope too. You might have the key to the next step upward in my walk. That's why God put us in community. We need each other to keep moving forward. Tell me what you think. I need you.

Eight-legged hugs and big smoochy kisses,

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's Food Tip Tuesday!!

That's right, boys and girls. You thought it was only a wonderful dream, a wish that couldn't possibly come true... The desire of your heart has just pulled into reach. Someone telling you how you should eat. *sigh*

If you know me, you know I'm bossy, but I don't take points away for non-compliance. At least you get a great recipe for your trouble, right? I'm also going to give you the inside scoop on the healthy living contest for so you can get started right away. (I'm excited and couldn't wait for next week.)

Okay, last week we talked about getting off the deep-fried and/or breaded foods and switching from iceberg lettuce to romaine or spinach. Another great little trick is to chop up vegetables you don't like (which means broccoli for me and carrots for the dh) really small (I use a mincer or food processor) and hide them in other foods - sprinkle on salads, mix in soups and sauces, fold into mashed potatoes - whatever. I even put them in my Mexican salsa. The flavor is totally hidden when you hide them this way. Try to get as many servings as possible every day. Here are the biggies to try and hit:

Cruciferous - broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage
Dark leafy greens - romaine, spinach, collard greens, etc.
Betacarotene - carrots, sweet potatoes
Lycopene - tomatoes (canned tomatoes actually have as much or more lycopene than fresh)

And the contest is (drum roll please) - Starting today, every day you go without breaded and/or fried foods, you get to post for a spot in the drawing. For each serving of the above vegetables you eat in a day you get to post for a spot in the drawing. A serving is about 1/2 cup (in the veggie's natural state, not chopped). You guys can do that, right?

Drawing will be next Tuesday and the prize is a $10 online gift certificate. Those of you who get this through email rather reading on the website can send me emails of your eating accomplishments.

There now - on with the recipe of the week:

Peach & Blueberry Cobbler

Spread 1 bag (or more) of frozen peaches in a 13 X 9 X 2 inch pan and top with 1/2 to 1 bag (or more) of frozen blueberries. Sprinkle with 3 T of Splenda and 1 T (or more if you like) of cinnamon. Set aside.

In large bowl combine 2 cups all-purpose flour (for more nutrition, you can do 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour), 2/3 cup (equals 2 individual packages) of instant oatmeal, 1-1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix well. Add 6 T Smart Squeeze (or melted light butter or other healthy margarine) and mix with fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 12 oz of nonfat, no sugar added vanilla yogurt (I use Dannon Light & Fit). Mix until dough comes together (does not have to be perfectly smooth). Spoon onto fruit and sprinkle liberally with Splenda. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes until fruit is tender and oat topping is golden brown. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with vanilla frozen yogurt if desired.

Yummy for the tummy!! In fact, I'm about to go reheat myself a serving right now!

Have a great Tuesday!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Contest Time!!!

My goal for this blog is to encourage my friends to learn and practice healthier living and - for my writer friends - to write, write, write!


I'm sponsoring a writing contest this week to see how much news we can rack up to celebrate on Friday. Post any good news (contest finals, requests from agents or editors, sales, hitting the "lists" (NYT, USA Today, Waldenbooks, etc.), RWA PRO status and the like) or any milestones reached (finished chapter, finished manuscript, five days of writing in a row, submission to a contest, editor, or agent). If you think your news fits anywhere close to these guidlines, post a comment anytime this week. The more news you post, the greater your chances of winning!

On Friday, I'll put all the posts in a hat and draw a winner.

Prize will be a $10 online gift certificate.

Next week will be a healthier lifestyle contest, so tune in next Monday...

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I've been doing my daily devotionals from a book called "Joy for the Journey - A Woman's Book of Joyful Promises" and one struck me as essential to share with all of my women friends:

Originally from Gail MacDonald's "High Call, High Privilege"

"A fellow-learner in a class I taught shared thoughts about the tendency of many woment to fight depression in the fall of the year. She reminded us that Psalm 1 suggests that we are all to be like trees planted by a stream - trees which bear fruit "in...season." Her insight? That even trees don't flower and bear fruit all the time - only in season. But men and women alike seem to think that we should be bearing fruit all the time; we punish ourselves when we're not. She was teaching us the beauty of personal dormancy: We must allow for it and accept it joyfully...A time of inner strength-gathering for a better bloom later."

I would add to this insight that God also doesn't expect us to bear the fruit of two or three trees at a time either. Those of you raising small children, working full-time (or overtime!), battling disease - whatever drives your days - don't expect to bear a lot of fruit in every area of your life or maybe even in any area. Do what you can; God will bring a more fruitful season to your life later if you'll just handle the full plate in front of you now.

God bless you all (and don't forget to post!)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Okay - best bumper sticker of the year award:

DON'T HONK - Driver Trying to Sleep

Is that not hysterical??? I *want* one of those - except I don't like bumper stickers on my car (go figure). Another I liked from a few years ago at the Air Force Academy in Colorado had a picture of a bomber jet and said "When it Absolutely, Positively Must be Destroyed Overnight." Love it!

Went to see my office buddies today - always a pick-me-up. [G - take my advice, babe. Preserve your sanity for those beautiful twin grandsons!!] I'm so glad I don't live too far. We've all been together for going on 8 years now, and I don't know how to live without them!

Heard from another writing buddy, Deborahanne MacGillivray. Her new book is out and I heartily recommend anything this gal writes. I'll be getting my copy very, very soon (hurry up, UPS!) Here's the blurb:

Ms. MacGillivray has not only done it again, she's put an entirely new and wonderful twist on the saying! This latest effort has upped the bar for contemporary romance novels today and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt she is an author to watch! B. A. Montgomerie has the daunting task of not only being the sole, eligible woman on an isle of over 200 braw and bonnie Scotsman, but being the Lady of the Isle, is the reason they cannot find wives. Falgannon is home to a centuries old curse boding that no man will sire daughters or find happiness in marriage unless The Lady of the Isle weds a black haired, green-eyed Irishman. As you can imagine, these Scot laddies are none too pleased. So when a man fitting the bill stumbles onto their peaceful island, these peculiar and hilarious characters set to matchmaking. Desmond Mershan has only one thing in mind when he steps foot on Falgannon, and it's not breaking some silly curse. For years he has planned and waited to take his revenge on the Montgomerie clan. However, no amount of caution or planning could have prepared him for the formidable cat and an even more remarkable woman he found hidden like the most rare of treasures on the island. B.A. awakens in him emotions he thought he'd long buried under years and years of hate, and he finds himself almost too willing to let her love assuage his soul. But when the time comes for him to follow through with his plan, will Desmond be able to let go of his past to start a future with B.A? Or will both he and the island Scots forever be doomed to live a life without love?

Speaking of writing buddies, a group of my south-dwelling writing buddies is getting together at my house this weekend for a writing/plotting/brainstorming weekend since the hubby is out of town. I have to get the ms done in time to overnight to the Golden Heart contest (arrival deadline is Dec. 4). I'll also email it to the interested (woo hoo!) agent and hope she likes it well enough to take me on.

Things are going well. I'm working on a new life routine that supports my health, fitness, spiritual, writing, and family goals, and it feels really, really good. Next week, I plan to get this blog organized into daily offerings for all of you so you can follow along with your own healthy and happy living accomplishments. Talk to you then!

Hugs and sweet little spyder kisses!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

This is what happens to those creatures without opposable thumbs who try to lick the bottom of an empty popcorn sack...

Poor Sam. His mama isn't very nice putting his picture up on the blog, is she? hehehe

Without further ado, I've been promising to post some of my yummy and nutritious recipes on the blog, so I'll start you off right with something to fix for breakfast in the morning:

Banana Pancakes!!!

In a blender, combine 2 medium bananas, 3 egg whites, 1 T of baking powder, and 1 T of vanilla (use the real stuff). When that's liquified, change your blender to slow speed and slowly pour in 1 cup of oat flour (you can make this by processing old-fashioned oats in a food processor or blender). Pour a pancake's worth of batter into non-stick skillet, cover and cook until the top is nice and bubbly. Turn over and brown the other side.

A couple of days ago, a friend expressed her frustration with where to start in eating more nutritionally. I thought about the process I've gone through, and it wasn't like flicking a light switch. I've worked at it for over 15 months now, and I'm still refining the process. I advised her to take it one step at a time. Pick something - like breaded, fried foods - and cut it out. When you're ready for another small change, stop buying iceberg lettuce and use either romaine or spinach instead. It works in salads, on sandwiches...whatever iceberg (zero food value) can do, romaine or spinach can do better. You just keep going. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to start FOOD TIP TUESDAYS. Once a week I'll come up with another step to better nutritional eating.

One word of caution: Don't fall into the trap of thinking you eat pretty healthy now. I guarantee that for 99% of those reading my blog, it ain't true. Every cancer survivor I've read and every health nut I've talked to makes the comment that they really thought they were eating fairly well at the beginning. One is even a dietician, and she was shocked when she kept a food diary and realized how poor her own eating habits were.

As the commander of the avaition school TOP GUN told Tom Cruise and the guys, "You think you're good? We'll make you better."

Night, night all. God bless and forget the mess - concentrate on rest.


Time for a doctor visit rant...

Went to the colon doctor, had my teeth cleaned and went to the general practitioner today. I now have a CT scan (that was previously scheduled) tomorrow, an MRI (for my shoulder problem which looks like a rotator cuff thing) on Monday, blood work on Monday for my next Zometa treatment, oncologist visit and Zometa treatment on Tuesday, and (drum roll, please) a colonoscopy on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Oh, and I need to schedule an eye exam sometime between now and the end of the year - woo hoo!


There will not be an inch of my body - inside and out, mind you - that someone will not have looked at up close and personal, trimmed, scraped, pinched, or pictorialized by the time my life is said and done. This is not how I pictured middle age.

Oh, and did I tell you I read an article today in O magazine that said our noses and ears will appear larger as we grow older? The facial hair, I knew about. Ditto with the droopy cheeks and chins, but my *nose* is going to droop too???? Aw, man...

Okay, enough of that. Uh, oh. Just checked the clock, and I'm late for supper - then prayer group and choir - we'll pick this up tomorrow. Same spyder time. Same spyder channel.

Kiss, kiss, hugs, hugs!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

That is, there is 1 person with my first and last name. However, there are 14,998 people in the country with my real first name - 99.9% of them are male [groan!]. It's the 1495th most popular name in the US. That's it - I'm using a pseudonym. Thanks to Jill Monroe for coming up with this counter and confirming my suspicions (you rock!!). See my links to the right for her blog which is fabulous!


Monday, November 06, 2006

Finally, I'm back and I'm free!! Free as a cute little pink-bowed spyder.

Oh, yeah. I am a cute little pink-bowed spyder. Ha! Imagine that...

I'm beginning my 47th year of life convinced that this will be among the best years I've ever had. My disability from work has been approved, so my prayers of being a full-time homemaker/writer/quilter have been realized. I have an agent very interested in my writing, and I have time to finish the book she and an editor have expressed interest in. I have time to *really* watch my diet and exercise my way to better health (and hopefully longer life). I am able to begin all those spiritual servanthood projects I've been longing to do. I eat lunch with my grandson once a week and pick him up from school once a week. I'm working on a quilt playmat for my new grandson who's due to arrive in mid-December. I can take care of my husband and actually feel like cooking most days!!

Cancer is a hard thing, but even God can put a shiny thick silver lining to it.

God bless you all - more later!!