Archive for November, 2013


The Odd Days of December…

Christmas cookie baking

You didn’t really think that November had cornered the market on weird holidays, did you? Yes, Virginia, there are weird holidays in December, too:

December 1st – Eat A Red Apple Day – I suppose you turn into an elf if you eat a green one?

December 2nd – National Fritters Day –Don’t fritter this day away without eating a fritter.

December 3rd – National Roof Over Your Head Day – Glad my roof isn’t under my head?

December 4th – Wear Brown Shoes Day – Let’s just hope everyone wears socks with those brown shoes.

December 5th – Bathtub Party Day – This sounds like a holiday invented by weary parents, if you ask me.

December 6th – Put On Your Own Shoes Day – Whoa. I’m not supposed to wear other peoples’ shoes?

December 8th – National Brownie Day – I’m in. How about you?

December 8th – Take It in the Ear Day – Just don’t put brownies in your ear.

December 9th – Christmas Card Day – Let me guess…Hallmark instituted this one.

December 11th – National Noodle Ring Day – Either this is a Spaghetti-O’s Day or I quite obviously missed the opportunity for noodle jewelry.

December 12th – National Ding-a-ling Day –A salute to the person who started Noodle Ring Day?

December 13th – National Ice Cream Day – Nothing like frozen treats on a cold December day…Hmmm…

December 14th – National Bouillabaisse Day – Ummm….think I’ll stick with Ice Cream Day.

December 15th – National Lemon Cupcake Day – Make mine a double.

December 16th – National Chocolate Covered Anything Day – Cover my lemon cupcake with brownies?

December 17th – National Maple Syrup Day – Guess it’ll be “hop-pin’” at IHOP this day, right? *groan*

December 18th – Bake Cookies Day – Yes, I always forget to bake cookies in December.

December 19th – Look for an Evergreen Day – This is in case you don’t like the Charlie Brown tree look.

December 20th – Go Caroling Day – These last 3 days are for people who lose their December to-do lists?

December 21st – Humbug Day – This must be the day we check our bank balances?

December 22nd – National Date Nut Bread Day – One can never have enough desserts in December.

December 23rd – Roots Day – Does this mean I need to visit my hairdresser or join

December 24th – National Chocolate Day –Chocolate Covered Anything Day wasn’t enough?

December 25th – National Pumpkin Pie Day – This bodes well for the Fitness Industry in January.

December 27th – National Fruitcake Day – I suppose this is when we throw out the fruitcake?

December 30th – National Bicarbonate of Soda Day – Pass the Tums, please.

December 31st – Make Up Your Mind Day – That’s assuming you haven’t lost yours by now.

But here are a few, lesser-known holidays we may want to remember and honor in our households this month:

December 6th – St. Nicholas’ Day – When I traveled to the Netherlands one December, I watched this holiday in action. Every citizen there writes an original poem to those they love for St. Nicholas’ Day and the family gets together to hear these poems.

December 6th – Mitten Tree Day – This might be a wonderful day to donate mittens to a local shelter or charity organization

December 7th – Letter Writing Day –Write a letter to a person who will be alone for the holidays?

December 12th – National Poinsettia Day – Take a pretty poinsettia to a lonely nursing home resident?

December 28th – Card Playing Day – Get together with friends, family, etc. to play a card game.

December is also Write a Friend Month. For 41 years I have been blessed to call a wonderful woman in Indiana my best friend. We sure didn’t know we were celebrating Write a Friend Month way back in 7th grade, but we always celebrate our friendship each December by writing each other about what is so special to us about our friendship.  Having lost a few of my friends in recent years, I can tell you that it’s important to treasure such friendships and acknowledge them with a letter every now and then, despite the many miles that may be between you now.

Enjoy this holiday season, no matter what your traditions are!

Monday’s Post: Do you know any hawkshaws?

You might also like: The Odd Days of November, Things I’m Not Thankful For, Part I, Things I’m Not Thankful For, Part 2, and Things I’m Not Thankful For, Part 3


Don’t Need Any More Stuff This Holiday Season? How About This?

 Christmas gift

Ever since the health adventures in June and reading The Hole in the GospelI now view acquiring more stuff very differently. When there are 800 million people on the planet who don’t even have safe drinking water, it’s a little difficult for me to construct a wish list full of stuff I simply want and don’t actually need. If you don’t have enough to eat, you can survive for a while. But, if you don’t have enough to drink, you die within 48 hours. In addition many of the world’s diseases are greatly reduced when people have safe food and water sources.

Doesn’t seem important to you because of this year’s recession and the healthcare issues in our own country? Well, consider this. When we take care of people we have not even met around the world, we say a LOT about who we are as a nation. We, in essence, are SHOUTING compassion, generosity and kindness when we donate to causes that help people in developing countries or put a roof over the head of someone who’s been trying to get off government aid for years. It’s detente at the grass roots level.

Still not buying it? That’s okay. This is America and you’re entitled to your opinion. But, keep in mind that you, yes you, even with your meager income and having a dependence on government aid yourself, are still far wealthier and more blessed than the average 3rd world person. Why? Because you can read. Yes, read. Most of the world finds this a luxury.

When my kids were little, they would create their Christmas wish lists around this time of year. They were adorable and got posted on the refrigerator. Many were done in crayon with childish scrawls and pictures for anything they didn’t yet know how to spell. With the relatives living far away, having them on the refrigerator was handy for me, so that I could relay them to their very generous extended family.

When they became teens, they often wanted things that none of us ancient adults could even figure out. We might spend hours looking for something in the toy aisle only to learn we needed to be in the video game and electronics section of the store. Thus, we moved the “Christmas wish list” system to email, with each person pasting links of their hoped-for item. This worked splendidly.

However, even with this system, duplicate purchases often happened or sizes weren’t right. The wrong color was purchased. The link didn’t work, as expected.

Enter Amazon has taken their wedding and birth registries up a notch and now allows you to make a wish list for any gift giving occasion. What’s even cooler? They allow you to ship that item right to the recipient’s door, often free of charge. And the recipient can put in notes about size, color, or reason for wanting that particular item, right beside the item.

What’s that? What you want isn’t available through Amazon? No problem. You can add a browser icon that says, “Add to Wish List.” So, all you have to do is go to the web page containing what you want, click the browser icon and voila: your item is added to your Amazon Wish List.

So, why am I rattling on about Christmas wish lists when I just said I want everyone to contribute to charity around the globe? Because you can use that oh, so handy little icon to have your loved ones and friends contribute to worthy causes around the globe–causes you get to select yourself! For my wish list this year, I have asked for donations to, World Vision and Habitat for Humanity.

Now, don’t worry–I’m still enough of a material girl to put down some other items that are just for me, but if my donation items are the only gifts I receive this year, I will be just fine. Why? Because I don’t have to dust, sweep, or clean a donation to a worthy cause. Because I already have safe water to drink. Because I already have enough to eat (so much so, that I have to exercise it off!). Because I already have a roof over my head and warm clothing on my pudgy, vertically-challenged bod. Because people I don’t even know will have a merrier Christmas just because of one little browser button.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” –Matthew 25: 35-36

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a truly giving Christmas shopping trip! 🙂



Word of the Week: hawkshaw

Picture picture

Picture picture

Last week’s WOW (Word of the Week) was: booboisie. For once, one of my guesses was actually close. Wonders never cease, particularly when you thought that guess was pretty far-fetched and silly. Merriam-Webster says that booboisie is defined as: the general public regarded as consisting of boobs. Nooooooooooooo comment.

This week’s WOW is hawkshaw. Let’s see if I can make it two in a row for getting close to the right definition:

hawkshaw: (ˈhȯk-ˌshȯ) 1. a rickshaw powered by hawks 2. the state of being when hawks are embarrassed 3. an Iranian poultry king

What’s your guess for hawkshaw? Comment below.

Wednesday’s Post: Some gifts that change lives…

You might also like: Word of the Week: booboisie; Word of the Week: ephebic; Word of the Week: frisson; Word of the Week: jape; and Word of the Week: rowel


December 2013 MIP Book Club Selection…

We’ve been reading some pretty serious stuff these past two months and I decided we needed a change of pace for the very busy month of December in three ways: A) The book should not have too many chapters for us to try and digest in one sitting due to other holiday commitments, B) We need a good laugh, and C) It should be something about Christmas.

Having been brought up as probably the only protestant in “Catholic Central,” aka Indiana, I decided that it was time to learn a little bit more about the world of nuns. Yes, nuns. So, how is a book about nuns going to make you laugh? The title should make you smile at the very least and tell you great things are in store in the pages ahead. And it only has 8 chapters, although the chapters may be a little long at times. My advice? Get on your treadmill with this book or take this book with you as the entertainment while you travel to see the relatives.

So, how does a book about nuns meet Criteria C of being about Christmas?  Well, admittedly I’m stretching here, but the author’s name is Jane Christmas. No joke. I hope she realizes her name is politically incorrect. How does one quit using their name if it’s not P.C.??? Hmmm….

Without further adieu, here is the December 2013 MIP Book Club Selection:

And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life by Jane Christmas

Amazon Link:

Amazon Cost: $ 9.99/Kindle edition; $ 10.47 Paperback


About Jane Christmas:

MIP Reading Plan: 

Monday, December 2nd: Chapter 1

Tuesday, December 3rd through Friday, December 6th – Chapter 2

Saturday, December 7th & Monday, December 9th – Chapter 3

Tuesday, December 10th & Wednesday, December 11th – Chapter 4

Thursday, December 12th & Friday, December 13th – Chapter 5

Saturday, December 14th & Monday, December 16th – Chapter 6

Tuesday, December 17th & Wednesday, December 18th – Chapter 7

Thursday, December 19th  – Chapter 8

Friday, December, 20th – Slow Reader Friday Discussion for And Then There Were Nuns and… January 2014 MIP Book Selection Announcement!



December MIP Book Club Selection…


Slow Reader Friday: Undaunted

poverty issues

Good morning, Book Club Members! Are you ready to discuss Undaunted by Christine Caine? I know I am. 🙂

I first encountered Christine Caine at the Women of Faith Conference in Dallas back in September. I was wondering how an Aussie found her way to Cowboyland, aka the Big D. But, I didn’t have to wonder too long. As Christine told her story and that of countless numbers of women and children who are enslaved in the human trafficking business around the globe, her story was very compelling. While many speakers at the conference were asking for financial support for their favorite causes, Christine only asked for prayers and now I understand why.

In Undaunted Caine describes how she was largely an unwanted child and then adopted, how she was abused and then loved by one incredibly understanding man, how she was joyously pregnant and then miscarried and yet learned to retain her faith through that long period of grief. She recounts how she was deeply saddened by the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp and asked God to make her open to new opportunities to serve. Waiting too long for luggage turned into a complete upheaval of her life to bring her to a new ministry for which, she admits, she had no earthly idea how to do. She is a living example of good triumphing over evil again and again in Undaunted. 

The most compelling parts of the book were those in which she recounted getting over the hurts and fears of all the miserable experiences in which she found herself, but I did think the “lessons learned” parts of the book began to “drag on,” particularly towards the end. Perhaps that’s because I’ve already heard her speak a few times previously. But, the fact remains that we all should be Undaunted when God asks us to do the “unthinkable.”

Here are my top 3 favorite quotes from the book:

1. “God doesn’t waste one experience of our lives. He uses everything to help someone else…We are all broken in some way. We all have wounds. Some of us use that as an excuse to do nothing, to serve no one, but rather to sit and nurse our misery.”

2. “…disappointments leave something too: a gift, an opportunity, a possibility to create change, to move from the valley of the shadow of death to new horizons, and to bring others with us on that road…the best way to get over your own broken heart or lost dream is to help others get over theirs.”

3. “My eyes, that day, were opened to how, by doing nothing when others suffer, we add to their injury…The oppressed do not see too much difference between those who would keep them down and those who do nothing to help. There is no in-between.”

So, here are the Book Club discussion questions for Undaunted: 

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “WOW! Loved this book” and 1 being “Really? Why did you even select this book???”, where would you rate this book? (You’re probably going to see this question a lot until I’m comfy with understanding what types of books/writing appeal to you the most–fair warning!)

2. Which one of the stories about Christine Caine’s life made the biggest impression on you? And yes, you can pick more than one, but please tell us why they made a big impression.

3. When Christine Caine spoke about the A21 campaign at Women of Faith, she pointed out that often women are enslaved, drugged, beaten, sexually abused and then when the woman becomes pregnant, her baby is sold into slavery for “use” by pedophiles. Since this is a practice here in the U.S. (as well as globally), how does that thought strike you?

4. Did this book compel you to want to make some changes in your life? How so? Have you begun to implement those changes? What are the obstacles standing in your way?

I cannot wait to hear your comments below!

And if you just cannot contain yourself and you need to know what the December Book Club Selection is, click here.

Monday’s Post: Are you part of the booboisie?

You might also like: Slow Reader Friday: Life Interrupted; Slow Reader Friday: Mere Christianity; Slow Reader Thursday: Heaven; and of course, the Book Club Page!


Slow Reader Friday: Undaunted


Adages That Have Proven True Now That I’m Decrepit…


Book Club MembersFriday is the day! Are you ready to discuss Undaunted?

Warning: You might want to get your favorite beverage first!

    1. “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” This is a favorite saying of my eldest child, who has endured 7 painful surgeries due to sports injuries. However, the older I get, the more I realize that this saying could be applied to our internal hurts and sorrows. If we embrace that pain and walk through it, we do become stronger individuals, capable of brave things we never thought we could endure before the pain arrived.
    2. “The harder one works, the luckier one gets.” When I was a young married woman with few financial resources, I’m not sure the hubby and I liked this one, but it has proven to be true, particularly for my workaholic hubby. What he may fail to realize is that in that hard work, he has gone from an impulsive, brash upstart to someone who now garners a lot of respect from his colleagues. Is the brash guy still there, occasionally? Yes, but only when brashness will make everyone more fortunate.
    3. “The best thing you can do for your children? Love your spouse.” We forgot this one when we were deeply in the throes of the expensive proposition of raising three bold children. Babysitters were expensive and even more so for our motley crew (No, not the band.) and thus, we put weekly dates on the back burner. Our marriage started falling apart in the process. But, once we both acknowledged that we weren’t making enough time for each other, we found ways to incorporate that date into our very tiny budget. We got creative about finding free things to do with each other. And the result? I am more in love with my man than I was on the day I said, “I do.” And the kids? They now value a marriage in which couples fight…to stay together.
    4. “Row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream, Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream.” Notice it doesn’t say row someone else’s boat! And if you have ever rowed a boat, you know what hard work that really is! It takes a coordinated effort of a paddle that often seems to have a mind of its own. It takes muscles that are often painfully developed. It takes determination even when those muscles hurt, even if rowing downstream!  And yet this taxing activity we are asked to do gently. Why? Because if you row your boat violently, you may crash into something, like someone else’s boat and endanger others in the process. If you are fortunate only to endanger yourself, that forces someone else to row your boat, at the very minimum or destroys “the boat”! Even though rowing a boat gently is often hard work, this childhood song reminds us to do it “merrily.” Notice that rowing is only repeated 3 times, while merrily is repeated 4 times! (And yes, this is probably because of the imposition of a song on this little saying, but it’s still rather interesting to me!) One can work one’s rear end off, but if we angrily do it or fearfully do it, we are going to tire much more quickly than if we endeavor to “find the silver lining” and do it merrily. We get farther by being joyful about our hard work. And last but certainly not least, life is but a dream in several ways. If we row our boats gently and merrily, we will probably create, in time, a dreamy life, but it also reminds me that this life is temporary—it’s the “Matrix” (Thank you, Keanu Reeves.) and our real life is in Heaven with God. Thus, it’s okay if I don’t learn these lessons the first time, because God’s got my next life all lined up for me and it truly will be a dreamy life.
    5. “Love your neighbor.” Even though God is a God of judgment and mercy, note that Jesus does not say, “Love and judge your neighbor.” This is difficult for parents to remember, because in loving our children as we should, we often have to judge our children’s behavior—it’s our job! And if one has trained to be a counselor as I have, the insurance agency and even the psychology field to a degree, requires us to “categorize people” into “disorders.” Thus, because I have played both roles, I find myself judging people a lot. But, God only asks us to love people and let Him do the judging. Does loving someone mean that I always agree with them or their choices? Nope. Does it mean that when they hurt me it doesn’t “OUCH!”? Nope. Does it mean that I condone their treatment of me when hurting me? Nope. It just means I choose to regard them as well as I would like to be regarded—that Golden Rule thing. I can still respect someone’s dignity even if I don’t agree with them. I can still pray for things to be okay with them. I can still reach out and show that person kindness. In praying for that person effectively, I also find I have to put myself in their shoes. Usually, in praying for them, I find that it’s really tough to be in their shoes, and their choices (even the ones that hurt me) make a little more sense. And thus, I can find the beginnings of love and respect for that person. Since Jesus also told us our neighbor may be someone from another country, a place I’ve never visited or experienced, just loving people, without judgment, is a very huge task. If I’m loving people as I should, then I really don’t have time to judge people! Thankfully, if others also love their neighbors, then we eventually get around to loving everyone and helping them succeed in becoming people who “row their own boat.”


What adages seem to be oh, so true for you? Comment below.

Friday’s Posts: Slow Reader Friday & the January 2014 MIP Book Club Selection!

You may also like:  The Odd Days of November and A Real Scare


Word of the Week: booboisie

Picture picture

Picture picture

Book Club Lovers: Time to wind up your reading on Undaunted this week. The book discussion and December 2013 MIP Book Selection posts will be up this Friday!

Last week’s WOW (Word of the Week) was ephebic. I just love (NOT!) when the dictionaries do what Merriam-Webster Online does with ephebic: “of, relating to, or characteristic of an ephebe or ephebus.” Um….yeah. Okay. I have absolutely no idea what an ephebe or ephebus is…how about you? So, of course, that meant I had to look up ephebe and ephebus.

An ephebe is a young person or youth. (Or “yeut,” if you’re a Joe Pesci fan.) An ephebus is a young person in ancient Greece, especially one who is training for full citizenship in Greece. Since we’re talking a youth from ancient Greece, wouldn’t that make that person, well, ancient? And therefore, that person would no longer be an ephebus, right??? In fact I don’t think I know any Athenians from ancient times that are still around, so that would make that person dead, right???? I think I’m starting to understand why we don’t often use the word ephebic.

This week’s word is booboisie. My numerous years in French class make me suspect that this word is French in origin, so you’ll have to forgive me if I reach into my French archives for some definition guesses this week:

booboisie: (büb-ˌwä-ˈzē) 1. being scared in Boise 2. scaring a French forest 3. the result of a female running into something with her chest region.

What’s your definition guess for booboisie? Submit your guess in the comment box below!

Wednesday’s Post: Adages that have proven to be true…

You might also like: Word of the Week: ephebic; Word of the Week: frisson; Word of the Week: jape; Word of the Week: rowel; and Word of the Week: redound


Things I’m Not Thankful For…Part 4


I promise that I will get off this tangent of being ungrateful, but the reality is that I have still not learned how to be thankful for the following:

1. Canned Peas: The frozen variety suits me just fine, but that slimy pale green version reminds me of…well…you know. I am grateful that I at least have the choice  between the slimy version and the frozen version! Oh, and I don’t care what brand is on the outside of the can, they’re still slimy on the inside of the can.

2. Asparagus: I think this is a texture issue for me, but when you cook a veggie, shouldn’t it get softer or better tasting? Asparagus doesn’t seem to do either for me. Even dousing it in artery-clogging sauce doesn’t seem to help. I’ll just consume the sauce, thank you.

3 Band-aids that don’t stick: It’s okay if the band-aids fail when they get wet or have been on for too long, but more and more, the band-aids in a brand new box don’t seem to stick like they did when I was a kid. We used to rip off arm hair when we took them off as a kid. All I can figure is that kids must have a lot more arm hair these days. And why do we need more arm hair???

4. Loud roads: Yes, you read that right. I used to think that not being able to hear myself think while in the car was due to a lack of air conditioning. Then, when we got an air-conditioned car, I thought it was because we couldn’t afford the expensive models with better soundproofing. Well, I have the expensive car now and they are even louder, if you ask me. And this conclusion I have reached despite advancing deafness. Maybe we should pave roads with ear plugs and acoustical tile??? If not, then may we economically develop hovercraft vehicles before I leave the planet for good.

5. Small jeans pockets/Bigger cell phones: Why did I put these two together? Because when I am in a meeting or service or gathering in which it’s necessary to put the phone on vibrate, I prefer to put it in my front pants pocket where I not only will be sure to feel it vibrate, but also will be able to retrieve it easily and noiselessly. Since women’s jeans designers insist on the “low rider” look, the front jeans pockets are too little for safely holding my mammoth phone. While I enjoy a lot of the features of my phone, even the smallest smart phone will not fit well in these pockets. I am forced to either constantly re-stuff it in said tiny pocket or pocket it in my back pocket where a pick pocket can pocket it.

Monday’s Post: Are you ephebic?

You might also like: Things I’m Not Thankful For…Part 3, Things I’m Not Thankful For…Part 2, Things I’m Not Thankful For…Part 1, and The Odd Days of November