Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just Don't Call Me Late for Dinner!

Tonight, my brother (jokingly) said, "Where are you, ya jerk?" when he was looking for me amid a tickle fight. Mom said, "Don't call her a jerk!" He revised his query, "Where are you, ya moron?" Mom told him, "Don't call her a jerk, don't call her a moron, don't call her an idiot, don't call her...(interject me tickling her feet, then the response:) Katie!" I said, "Don't call her Katie?" And she just sighed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Oh Brother!

I thought I'd post about my brother. I know it probably won't be the only time I post about him, but there have been a lot of funny weird little things lately that have made me laugh and think about him.

The other day I gave him a haircut, and after a while, I thought, "Wow, he's being so good! It seems like every time I cut his hair, he gets impatient and won't let me finish." So I said something about it, and he started whining about how long it was taking. I should just keep my big mouth shut.

He comes up with the wildest, most random stuff. The other day, he said at random, "I'll be Santa Clause's divorced neice." Odd--especially for a boy who doesn't believe in Santa.

One thing that we share in common is our strong dislike of the pug dog across the street. Ha! I almost typed "bug dog." Anyway. This neighbor black pug dog looks like a bat with legs, and he's often the subject of ribbing in our home. The ultimate insult Tim can come up with is to compare me to a pug. This pug dog is so vile. He has come up to Tim and done dishonorable things on one of his shoes. When he's nearby, you can hear him snorting and grunting and huffing and puffing. I like most dogs, but I always run when I see Buddy coming. And the thing keeps getting fatter and fatter. Oftentimes, I'll be studying in the living room and look out the front window, and be greeted by the unpleasant sight of Buddy in his fat Buddha pose, settled in a blob on the neighbors' driveway.

Um... back to Tim. He loves to dress up in costumes that he's made from household items. Once he was in his bathrobe, boots, and police helmet with his play shotgun over his shoulder, pacing in front of the house, keeping guard. One of his favorite split-personalities includes a horrendous pirate wig that used to look a little less horrendous. He loves to pair this with his very classy rotty-teeth that he recently acquired. One of his biggest costume-fans is the man next door (married to Stacia, one of my newest links) who moonlights as a clown. Tim loves to show off his latest fine attire when the neighbor is around. Today it was a cowboy hat, sunglasses, plaid shirt, bandanna, leather jacket, jeans, a belt, a couple of holsters, and he asked if we could buy some cowboy boots. He also requested beans and hot dogs for lunch.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Yarn Rocks

So today, Mom, Tim, and I went to a neighborhood garage sale. I cannot believe how every time we go for a big bunch of bargain hunting, there happens to be a pattern or theme to our finds by the end of the day. For me today, it was crafts. Odd, because for the longest time I'd gone through sort of a craft-drought. Nevertheless, lately, I've pulled out my cross-stitch that I was too impatient for at age 10, learned to crochet (thank you, Barbara!), and have been making cards more faithfully. I think it stems somewhat from Snow Retreat, oddly enough, or more specifically from Jonathan Edwards. "What?!" you ask, taken aback to find that Edwards could possibly be linked to crocheting. Allow me to explain.

Reading over the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, I was convicted in numerous ways by many of them, but I was very practically, if somewhat strangely, struck by his resolution not to waste his time, but to "improve every moment." I've always felt SO guilty when I'm sitting and watching tv, because I'm making myself more sedentary and not getting even one productive thing done. So I've always wanted to crochet or cross-stitch or something while I'm watching tv or sitting around for a forced amount of time (I hate it when I'm sick or something and am stuck sitting but don't have mental energy to focus!).

Anyway, what I got today was amazing:

Six wonderful rubber stamps and one four-stamp set. Cost: $15. I totaled up retail prices based on the price tags (most were never even used!), and they would have been about $90. Crazy.

An armload and a half of lovely colored yarn that I kept trying to carry as one armload--never works! :) Cost: $1 (The other day we stopped by another sale, and they were tired and closing up. They told us everything was free, so I scooped up a bag of pretty yarn there--no cost. Unbelievable.) If you crochet or knit, you know that yarn normally costs a few bucks per skein. Oh, and last weekend I found a bunch of knitting needles (I still have yet to learn to knit, but I intend to!) and crochet hooks that the lady let me take for a dollar, too.

7 tubes of Cross-stitch aida cloth and embroidery hoop for $4. It would cost $3 normally just to buy one tube!

5 (Brand-new, of course. Otherwise it would be gross!) Mary Kay Makeup items--I needed this stuff anyway, and it's better than the brand I usually buy. Cost: $12.75. Retail: $52--I looked on their website.

1 new beige jumper: $2.

1 pair of brand-new flip flops: $1--I'd been meaning to go to Target and get some anyway!

Sleeveless blouse: 50 cents.

1 Health Magazine: 25 cents. The retail price: $3.50.

All of which, with sales tax would, at retail price, add up to: $302! My grand total: $37.50.

How do I love garage sales? Let me count the ways...

Lullabies for Dummies

Preface: I wrote & tried to publish this last night, but apparently Blogger was having a temper tantrum. So I think it's fair to say that this continues my blogging streak. Hey, it wasn't my fault! :)

I am listening currently, oddly enough, to a lullaby cd. I actually really enjoy this cd and would highly recommend it: " The McCaughey Septuplets: Sweet Dreams." I've gotten a worried baby to sleep while babysitting via this cd, I've been calmed by it, and I've heard others say how good it is. All that to say, I truly think it's one of the best compilation cds I've ever heard. Very strange, I know. Just try it sometime. The library must have it. And I don't often recommend buying whole cds, but hey, if you're in the market, well... this one is worth it.

But anyway, that's not exactly why I posted. Listening to the cd, I realized just how little grown-ups sing and speak of the peace that God brings. Of course, there are two wonderful examples of ladies encouraging me in just such a way in the comments of my previous post. So maybe it's just that I sing and speak of it little. When a baby is worried, assuring them is the first thing that comes to mind. But really, it's the best balm we can offer anyone, no matter the age. Whether God's control in salvation, in protection, in providence, or anything else, He is wholly dependable--totally faithful in all circumstances. It just shows how foolish I am, to forget how necessary and valuable a good "lullaby" can be--maybe not a real lullaby, but a soothing word, comforting verse, or even a hug.

By far, my favorite song on the cd sums up all of this: "Tis So Sweet." (Sidenote: it's sung by both the parents of the Septuplets--they really do an outstanding job. And it carries a lot of weight with all they've been through!) I thought I'd just share this rendition's great lyrics with you:

"’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

I’m so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!"

Two verses not included on this track:

"Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace."

How true.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Decisions, Decisions...

I wanted to update a little on what's going on with my life, because there have been more than a few things going on lately.

Yesterday I turned in two applications for summer jobs. We've been preparing little by little for my graduation (coming up soon!), and it's amazing all the details that require attention. I've been trying hard to wind up all my studies, and it's going pretty well. I'm enjoying them a bit more than I was, although there's also that little neon sign in the back of my mind flashing the message, "Almost Done!" which gets a little distracting at times.

And I'm pretty sure that I'm going to stay home this coming school year and get my pre-reqs done at community college, work, and take some CLEP tests. Then I would like to go to Masters. I just think it would be wisest to take the first year easy.

So there you have it, a run down on a few of the many decisions and changes going on in my life. Have you ever felt that you have to decide your whole life NOW?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pointless or Purposed?

Well, this continues my posting streak. I'm gonna see how long I can keep it going! :) But honestly, I've had so many things on my mind that I've started keeping a notebook of future blog topics, because I haven't been able to keep up.

At the women's retreat, in discussion time, I shared that this was the perfect year for Pastor Sean to be going through Ecclesiastes (at least, the perfect year from my point of view). I've been working in so many that seem to have no point at all. The majority of my studies this year are required to get into college but don't seem to have much bearing on my everyday life. Maybe they will, but I don't see it. And I remember clearly working through this feeling while I was studying for my SAT. I thought, "This has no visible impact whatsoever! It doesn't seem like this benefits life in any way." I ended up taking the SAT three times, studying like a maniac each time. The third time I took it because I only needed to increase my score by ten points to be eligible for a jump in scholarships at Master's. (I was fully eligible for one, but the next bracket would be an extra $1500 a year.) And then came the ACT. I'm not even sure why I took the ACT, looking back, except that I hadn't received my third SAT score by the time I had to register for the ACT, and Master's will take the equivalent ACT score. So really, looking back, taking that was kind of funny. It was yet another "Why am I doing this?" situation. And then came the end of the year test, which is basically a formality. I have to take it to be lawful as a homeschooler in our state. But man, I'd taken my other tests, I knew where I was at, and all I was happy with it. And the only thing that seems purposeful normally in taking it, other than being a law-abiding citizen, is that you can tailor next year's curriculum to work on your weak points. But since I won't be tailoring any curriculum from now on, that was a bit of a moot point. So anyway, this year has been filled with all sorts of odd challenges as to whether I trust that God has me where He wants me, and whether I can be content and find joy in that. But I've really learned that lesson now! And I know that it's something you face constantly in life, finding joy in what seems to be pointless, but may be God's purpose for you, at least at that point in your life.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Reasons Series: Garage Sales

This one is close to my heart--garage sales! I've gotta say, this is an undiscovered gem of a deal. I often come home from garage sales with brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Liz Claiborne, Banana Republic, and J.Crew in excellent condition for under a dollar. And when I talk to people about it, they often sniff and give each other knowing looks. But hey, I'm getting the deal, and they're missing out. At least I've informed them about the hot deals in town! That's how I see it, anyway. It's okay if you disagree, I just have to share my reasons behind one of my favorite ways to get a deal. And hey, this will make 5 posts in 4 days, which, I'm pretty sure will make a personal record. So here are some of my reasons for garage sale shopping:

I don't have to go to the mall--which I hate doing! I hate the high pressure environment and the "sales" that cost literally ten to thirty times the price of what I'd get it for at a garage sale. I only go to the mall if I have to.

I can buy brands I wouldn't normally. I could never buy certain brands in good conscience because they cost so much, and I can't imagine paying so much money on something that will get stained, ripped, faded, etc. Honestly, seeing the price tags can make my stomach hurt. Many of my outfits lately cost me two dollars or less. Crazy.

It is so much fun!!! Some of my favorite times are those that I find something I've been needing for fifty cents. It just makes me laugh and think, "Well, God is just choosing to let me be blessed today!" It can be so cool.

You get a wide variety. I can dress any way I want when I garage sale. At stores, I really can't find a thing that's my style. It is so hard! And yet, at garage sales, I never cease to be amazed at the cute stuff I find.

Somehow, I find more modest stuff at garage sales than elsewhere. I don't know why this is, but it's true. I can't find pants that look good, and fit, and are modest, and don't cost $70 a pair unless I go to garage sales. I don't understand it.

I find the coolest stuff for my room! I got a cute black shelf for my room for a dollar a couple of weeks ago. My bedroom set is really nice and my Mom got it super cheap at a garage sale. Once I get it all set up, I'll have the cheapest cute room! I honestly can't wait.

Oddly enough, you get so much done in so little time! At neighborhood garage sales, especially, you can buy your whole wardrobe for the year in a couple of hours. It is unbelievable what you can accomplish.

This is a weird point, but I've actually had opportunity to share. Just a bit ago, when we were at this sale run by a deaf family, I got to use my rusty sign language skills. They were such sweet people. I handed them the church's "business" card and pointed out the part that said that we have interpretation for the deaf. That really lit up my day.

So keep an eye out for those neon poster-board, sharpie-marked signs, and don't spend that dollar all in one place!

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Yesterday I babysat a 9 year old boy and his 3 year old sister. We had a great time. Here are a couple of quotes I thought I would share with you:

While playing monopoly, the little girl said,

"I'ne tired. Tan we pway Tandywand?"

And when we were eating dinner, they were talking about how they want to go to Silverwood this summer. The girl said,

"We've never goed to Silverwood."

Her brother's instructive reply made me smile, "No, it's 'We've never went to Silverwood!'"

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sleep Waking

The other night, my brother kept waking us up with his nightmare-initiated hollering. After one occasion of going downstairs to fetch his sleepwalking-hollering little self, I returned to bed and tried to get to sleep. Another hollering fit. I went down the hall, and found Dad had gotten there first. He asked whether I'd like to calm Tim down, and I replied in a rather cranky tone, " No, I'd actually like to get back to bed." But as I reached down to give Tim a hug, he snuggled into me (a very rare treat), and I knew he'd need someone with him to get back to sleep. So as I lay there, wondering what lesson it could bring me, I thought of how so often, in our terror or helplessness, we will call out to God. And He is right there, ready and willing to work in us. He faithfully comforts us and calms us down until we're back to normal. But the things that terrify us are like fleeting (although sometimes recurring) dreams when it comes to the reality of heaven. We must seem so pitiful with our wails for help in whatever small, though seemingly insurmountable, troubles have come our way. I'm so thankful for God's comfort. I don't know how people survive without it. It must be a nightmare.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Reasons Series: Smoking

About a week ago, we were watching tv, and a commercial came on about smoking. If I remember right, it was anti-smoking. But I'm not sure--shows how much of an impact it made on me!

Anywhoo. Mom said, "Tim, tell me five things that are bad about smoking." He came up with them really fast, which kind of scared me. I wasn't scared that he knew all that; but it did scare me just to think of how much damage people are doing to themselves. I really ought to become an advocate. If only I had enough celebrity to get people to listen. (Hmm... note to self: become famous.) No, but really, it scared me. My grandmother used to smoke for years, from about age 17 or 18 til she was almost 70. We had a long conversation once about it when we were driving to the beach. I'll never forget how much she regretted ever starting. I'm so proud of her for quitting, though. I had already decided I never even wanted to get close to trying cigarettes, but she has strengthened my resolve. My grandfather, her husband, died of a heart attack at age 41, and he smoked. I know he would tell me never to start.

Mom's assignment for Tim to list those five reasons not to smoke got me thinking. I'm going to start a series of blogs about reasons--reasons to do things, and reasons not to do things. This first one is on reasons not to smoke. These reasons are only things that I can come up with, but I'm sure there are more. And let me preface this: I don't mean this as a condemnation on anyone. I have no idea how extremely hard it must be to quit smoking. I know there is a lot of pressure, especially in my generation, to smoke (whether tobacco or other things). But I wholeheartedly would encourage anyone who smokes to please quit. Quit for any of these reasons or other reasons entirely. Quit because of your grandkids. Quit for the environment. Quit for yourself. But find a cause, try to quit, and keep trying.

Here's my list.

Smoking dramatically increases your risk for all cancers, for heart disease, stroke, asthma, and I'm sure for other things that I didn't think of.

Secondhand smoke kills. If you think it doesn't affect others, all I can say is piffle. For more information, visit Secondhand Smokes You.

Smoking is bad for the environment in so many ways.

Cigarettes have so many carcinogens in them, it's unfunny.

Cigarette smoke stinks. It makes your breath smell bad. It makes everything smell bad. People notice.

Related to that last one, smoking is offensive to others. It will decrease your home's potential resale value, as well as that of your car.

You're at higher risk for a house fire, forest fire, etc., when you smoke. Yeah, actually, even lighting a fire right in front of my face would scare me. But people do it many times a day.

Cigarette injuries and burns are not pleasant. That's all I have to say about that.

Smoking darkens your teeth and your fingernails. Not to mention your lungs.

Smoking is crazy expensive! I don't know how people make it actually. I really don't. It is so pricy. If you smoke, just humor me and calculate how much you must spend per year on cigarettes. Yes, it is that much. Add onto that the increased cost of all types of insurance. Every type.

It really has to be hard to find ashtrays every time you want to smoke. I just can't really imagine that.

My mom has a great story on this point. Since both her parents smoked, she was fairly used to it being a part of life. When she was about 15, she tried to clean their globe. She wondered if it was supposed to be that color. She used 409. It went from a brown tinge to showing blue ocean. She was amazed. That kind of pertains to the environment point, too. But it really shows what happens to all the family's belongings.

So there you have it. Stop if you smoke. And never start if you don't.

On the Scholarship Front

I heard back recently on one of the twenty-some scholarships I applied to, and I'll be going to a Marysville Rotary awards lunch on the 24th. I'm so happy! It's the only one I've won (as of yet, anyway), so it was encouraging to get some news.

I'm going to apply for a summer job pretty soon, and hopefully I'll be able to land something good. Anyway, the Lord keeps showing me He is faithful and has a plan--a plan much better than I can know, because He came up with it! All the changes do keep my head spinning, though!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bitterness to Joy

I've been meaning to write a post about an experience I had a couple of years ago that really made me think. One morning, I woke up completely bitter and full of sorrow. And I mean completely. And as I sleepily thought about why I felt that way, I realized that I'd had the most horribly jarring dream that I can imagine. I had dreamt that in some way, God had broken one of His promises or something, and let us down. That He had changed from perfect, unchanging, immutable, and become like us. And it was the most awful, sickening feeling I've ever had in my life, because if God were other than He is, in any way, we would be lost. Truly lost! And, as I've heard it said, if He were to break even one of His promises, He would not be God.

I've never forgotten that morning, and the vivid feelings that woke me up that day. My bitterness turned to joy and praise, as I realized that that nightmare will never come true. Our God will never let us down. And He has always been faithful in situation after situation, in promise after promise. No matter how unfaithful man is, God is always faithful to His perfect character. What an incredible assurance that is!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Is My Thumb Turning Green?

Over the last month or so, oddly enough, a love of gardening has welled up in me where before, there was none. I credit God with this change, however bizarre it may seem, because it is quite the change. And I credit Mom for stirring and motivating this love. She's quite the gardener; when I was little, she tried to get me involved. However, I wasn't too cooperative. The only part I played was patting the flowers on top once she had planted them.

I'm now extremely the other way. The other day, Mom and I were planting some raspberries and marionberries, and needed to get compost out of the compost container to help them grow. In the compost container, red worms turn our compostable materials into, well, dirt. But when you take the compost out, the red worms die if they don't have things to compost. So we would take a shovel full of dirt and pick out all the worms, throw them back in the compost container, and use the dirt. Something Mom said jarred me into realizing just how much of a change had taken place in me. She said, "Wow. Only true gardeners will plunge their hands into compost and pick out worms." And I hadn't thought much about it, but she was right. God has made me enjoy the process of gardening, even though the ground is cursed and requires so much work to improve it.

We are planting a vegetable garden, and Mr. Palmer brought a load of dirt out. I was so excited, I was clapping when he unloaded the dirt. And we've been working hard to shovel wheelbarrows full, wheel them out back to the raised bed, unload them there, and rake it smooth. There's still a mega-mound of dirt out there in our driveway, but we've made a huge dent in it already.

This morning, we went to a ceremony honoring some of the old homes in Everett. Our old house was chosen as an improved and upkept home to be honored in the ceremony, and we got a call yesterday informing us that it was chosen. Normally, they choose to honor the current homeowner, but she told them that my parents were the ones who made all the improvements. (We had lived there 17 years and put lots of blood, sweat, tears and money into that house. It will be 99 years old this year.) So they contacted us and invited us to come. It was so cool to see pictures of so many beautiful old houses, and hear the homeowners' stories of renovation and histories of the homes. I love old architecture, so it really was a treat. Anyway, it just made me realize how much diligence it takes to own a home and be a good steward of it.

It all makes me realize that God will grow me up. I get concerned because I'm so undisciplined, and I lack so many skills that I want right now. But in His time, He will change me and make me who He wants me to be. I never dreamt I would become a gardener, although I'd always hoped to be one! And now, He has created a dramatic change in me, in that area, at least. It just makes me amazed at how he refines us, even in the weird areas like gardening. And I don't say all this to sound proud or anything. Make no mistake, if it had been up to me, obviously there never would've been a change. That's exactly what I'm trying to say. He can change anything or anyone. He turns me from a flower-patter to a worm-picking, dirt-shoveling girl.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Pray and Live

Mom & I went to Womens Retreat this past weekend. What can I say? Wow. That was great. I may post more about it later, although even before retreat I had eleventy-seven other things I desperately wanted to blog here. But this piece was something I had to post.

It reminds me of a book I am reading, a biography on Adoniram Judson. It reminds me so very much of this incredible man of faith. Adoniram Judson was the first foreign missionary America ever sent out. He and his wife Ann sailed off to faraway Burma and tirelessly worked to spread the gospel amid constant frustration. It seems that he exhibited faith in every turn of events. In reading about his life, I am overwhelmed with the notion that he experienced pain, harrow, tragedy, and loss every step of the way. I think more than anyone else I've ever known or heard of, he found seemingly unbearable trials and hardship along his path. But his faithfulness and dogged constancy to sharing the gospel continually show up. I cannot even begin to list all the things that he and his wife had to endure, and I'm not even finished reading his biography! You will just have to read it. I'm serious. You have to. I'm actually really amazed that he isn't more famous. Ah, well, anyway, here is the piece that I originally wanted to share. But really, look up a bio on him. His testimony is fantastic. Plus, it has been some of the most exciting reading I've had in very long time.

You, Me and The Lord's Prayer
Are we living out the Lord's Prayer in our lives every day?

I cannot say OUR if my religion has no room for others and their needs.

I cannot say FATHER if I do not demonstrate the relationship in my daily living.

I cannot say WHO ART IN HEAVEN if all my interests and pursuits are earthly things.

I cannots say HALLOWED BE THY NAME if, I who am called by His name, am not holy.

I cannot say THY KINGDOM COME if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God.

I cannot say THY WILL BE DONE if I am unwilling or resentful of having it in my life.

I cannot say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now.

I cannot say GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD without expending honest effort for it, or by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellow men.

I cannot say FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.

I cannot say LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.

I cannot say DELIVER US FROM EVIL if I am not prepared to fight in the Spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer.

I cannot say THINE IS THE KINGDOM if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.

I cannot say THINE IS THE GLORY if I am seeking my own glory first.

I cannot say FOREVER AND EVER if I am too anxious about each day's affairs.

I cannot say AMEN unless I honestly say, "Cost what it may, this is my prayer."

(Author unknown)