turn on the light

Are you walking into a dark room?

Turn the light on!

And if you don’t turn it on, don’t ask for sympathy when you stub a toe on the chair leg.

Are you at a dark campsite?

Turn the flashlight on!

And if you don’t turn it on, don’t cry for sympathy after you fall in a hole.


Do you have any sympathy for the person who fails to turn on a light when they had every opportunity to just flip the switch? Or aim the flashlight and hit the ON button?

I don’t.  The light is there, just waiting to be used.

I wish so much that that applied to my daily life.  Why do I blunder into situations where my mouth gets me in trouble? Or my temper goes off and leaves me needing to beg forgiveness.  Or I do something silly or stupid in a moment of thoughtlessness….

Why doesn’t God stop me from doing those things?  Why can’t He show me how to not do them?  Couldn’t he intervene? Shouldn’t He make my throat close up, or something so that I don’t say those silly, hurtful things?

No.  That would be to take away my free will.

But, I’m ASKING you to do this to me God.  Please stop me from blundering around and stupidly hurting people.  Why can’t you make it so I can see the problems before they leap up and ambush me?   I feel like I’m blundering through life in the dark!

Then, I looked again at my verse for today

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”
Psalm 119:105


Right.  The light IS there.  It is right there in God’s word.  But I have to take the time and effectively hit the ON switch.  I need to study His words continually so that His words light my way.  Even if I don’t know the exact verse that God might choose to guide me at any particular moment,  that is what the Holy Spirit is for – to guide us out of those dark moments.

Am I thinking that Satan is attacking me every moment? No.  I don’t need to be paranoid.  I have enough personal darkness to more than do the job of swamping my heart and soul on a daily basis.  I am filled with things I know God wants me to weed out – jealousy, pride, insecurity.  Weeds I would be far better off without.  It’s a process. *sigh*

So maybe next time I find myself fuming over something and composing a scathing email or with a callous word on the tip of my tongue, I need to recognize that as a moment of personal darkness and turn on the light.  Even if I do nothing more than sincerely ask God for His help in that moment, at least I will have given Him a moment to change my heart….and maybe keep me out of a hole.


a little bit about me

…As if you needed to know more!

I saw this little questionnaire on Amanda’s blog today and thought it would be fun to do. I kinda have blog block.  There are a number of devotional posts simmering in the back of my head right now, and Halloween photos are not ready to happen yet, so I’ve sort of been in a holding pattern….

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while your blogging?
mozzerella & dried cherries.

2. What is one thing you wouldn’t want to live without?
toothbrush.  I can not STAND fuzzy teeth.
3. Beach, Mountains, or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
A mountain retreat with a farm element  to it would be nice.

4. What’s your least favorite chore/household duty?
sink drains. yuck.

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
I don’t know.  It doesn’t come up much.  I look kinda like my mom and my grandmother….

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying home with the fam?
I love to plan a party, but once it gets going, I fade to the background.  I greatly prefer a quiet evening at home with my family and maybe one other couple just playing games or watching football.  With our shoes off.  I hate wearing shoes at home.  It just doesn’t seem right.
7. What’s your all time favorite movie?
The Sound of Music.  Hands down.  Though I must admit that in the last year Mama Mia has made a serious bid for front runner status. I’ll always come back to the Sound of Music though.
8. Do you sleep in your make-up or remove it like a good little girl every night?
Mostly I take it off every night.

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you’ve never had a chance to learn? What is it?

I wish I could ride.  I get sad when people talk about being able to feel their horse’s mouth through the reins, cause I’ve never felt that and have no idea how to feel it.  I think you have to have been around horses a long time to get that.
10. What’s one strange thing you’re really good at?
organizing schedules?  though that isn’t weird.  I enjoy reading Chemical & Engineering News and Science magazine even though I was a history major.  I don’t understand all of it, but I like it because I can have intelligent, relevant conversations with folks in my office (I work in a chemistry department)

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
His walk.  He walked across that field like he was twenty feet tall.  Not arrogant, but completely confident.  I’ll never forget it.

12. What is something you love to smell?

fresh baked, homemade bread…usually with butter dripping down it.

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
I don’t ever get around to doing thank you notes.  I  know, I know.  Revoke my southern woman hood card.  It is a grievous sin.  but most people feel that my cooking makes up for it.

14. When you have extra money, what’s the first thing you think to do with it?
buy more books.

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
somewhere in between.  My hubby on the other hand laughs loud and proud.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
Barnes & Noble.  Its a sickness.

17. What’s one thing you’d do more often if you had more time?
paint the mural I wanted to paint in Ginny’s bedroom and do more canning.  Also go back to school.  I’d love to study Greek.

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
impulse spender.  I am a total sucker for…Oh we DO need that!  really.

19. Who is your favorite character of all time?
Maria from the Sound of Music.  or maybe Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice.  It’s a draw between the two I think.

20. Would you want to be famous?
not really.  Valued by the people who know me? yes.  more famous than I am? nope.

What are some or all of your answers?

imagination..we haz it

I saw the first signs of imaginative play in Ginny last night.

It wasn’t much, but it was definitely there.

She took a wooden block.  Clearly not a food item, or in any way resembling a food item, picked it up, examined it with all seriousness, then putting it up to her mouth, took a pretend bite, pretended to chew, pretended to swallow and then smiled at me.

I know having tea parties with her stuffed animals is still way off into the future, but it was so sweet to get to watch that moment.

ginny at 13 months

Ginny at 13 months is….


She giggles, she pretends to read (and turns pages really well), she loves to romp and wrestle and dance and clap.  Her new favorite food is cheese toast.  oh wow does this girl like cheese toast.  I think she would live on it if we would let her.

Words so far are Mama, Papa, Eyes, Nose, Puppy, Kitty, Iss?  (we think it means “what is it?” as she ususally uses that word when pointing at something new.  And seems happy when we tell her what it is “that is a couch”

She still finds European soccer to be soothing (crowd noise is a continuous drone) and American football to be interesting. though she doesn’t have favorite teams yet.

Here are some recent photos

ginny and MAK

ginny and MAK

For some reason Ginny is not as interested in her bear these days.  She has taken a sudden liking to Martin’s ancient Paddington Bear, but MAK is not really her “best friend” right now.  I’m waiting for the day when she picks him up and walks around with him.

playing in the leaves with daddy

playing in the leaves with daddy

Daisy, Martin & Ginny

Daisy, Martin & Ginny

This is our neighbor’s dog.  She is very sweet and Ginny likes to visit her.

And NO.  No matter what it looks like, Ginny is not picking her nose in this shot.  She is sucking her finger.

Ginny & Martin

Ginny & Martin

I loved this shot.  From an artsy kinda of perspective.

Ginny & Mommy

Ginny & Mommy

This is probably a horrible thing to say, but I love how this shot makes me look a little bit thinner than I have been looking recently.

okay, and Ginny was giggling like a maniac.

making faces at Daddy

making faces at Daddy

I probably shouldn’t have taught her that.  But it was just too much fun.  I love how she is trying to stick her little tongue out.  And is it just too ironic that the best photo of my face in months I happen to have my tongue stuck out at my hubby?  weird.

Can you tell we enjoy our baby girl just a little bit?

good elves in Dallas

God knows what he is doing.  I have a good story from this weekend in my head, and until it gets committed to paper (or pixels) it will continue to percolate at the front of my mind.  God knows this about me and He knows that I needed to keep those highlights from the weekend active in my mind for at least another day.

He knew that I would need the encouragement those memories bring. Monday was a rough day.  The diagnosis of h1N1 for Martin was a shock and then his best job prospect fell through. But the weekend held a bright shining memory that helps a great deal.

What is that memory?

Was it the friend who got up about 5 hours before his normal time to drive me to my work on a Friday so that Martin and Ginny could pack the car and come get me on their way to the airport.  Nope.  Though that was very kind and it was a huge help logistically.

Was it the gorgeous wedding we attended with family? Nope.

Was it the cow moooooooo-ing at just the right time to crack up the tearful bride and groom? Nope.

Was it the nice ticket counter lady who told me I had to get rid of 7 pounds of stuff out of my luggage and then changed her mind and made it only two pounds?  Nope.  Though that was very nice of her.  She must have seen the desperation in my eyes.  Both our suitcase and carry-on were stuffed full on the way out to Dallas, and when family added some books for Ginny to take home and our tax attorney added Martin’s tax packet….well it put us over the mark.  I (quite calmly I might add) asked how much the overage charge would be and then I staggered a bit when she said “$90”  I seriously considered at that point which clothing items just weren’t going to make it home.  But she helped us re-arrange some stuff and let us get away with a little bit of overage when she saw how stuffed even our carry-on and diaper bag were.  By the way, as much as we love gifts from family, please just mail them to us.

But even that nice act by the ticket counter lady was not the one that made my weekend.

First of all, understand that even when “dolled-up” I feel like a cow surrounded by fleet footed deer when I am in Dallas.  I am overweight, yes.  But I’m not grossly overweight and I am working on it.  But the women who live in down town Dallas are almost ethereal.  Elven. Tall. Elegant.  Around them, I feel dumpy and frumpy.  Even when I dress up.

On Sunday, I wasn’t dressed up.  I had on a t-shirt, jeans, boots and no make-up.  We were having to skip church because Martin wasn’t feeling well, and we had a ripped suitcase to replace.

Our luggage preference is cheap.  It is going to get roughed up and we don’t want to cry too much when it happens, so we tend to go cheap and easily replaceable.  Imagine our delight a few years ago when we found a cheap luggage set in Texas Burnt Orange !  Not only is it a great team color, but it stands out at baggage claim.  We have never had to hunt for our bags.  We can see them from across a room.  Yup, that’s us.  The only time we had trouble was once when we were flying right around Rose Bowl weekend a few years back.  That day we had one or two other Burnt Orange sets to contend with.


We now have a ripped piece of luggage that we have to replace in order to get back to Atlanta.  We want it to be burnt orange.  And we are on the ground in Texas!  Cool, this should be easy……right?


Macy’s…….they look at us funny.  “you want what color?”

Dillard’s……..um nope.  Perhaps you should check the specialty stores.  The expensive ones, across the street.  Or maybe Neiman Marcus on the other side of the mall.

You are kidding right?  We got the original set at the Macy’s in Atlanta, GEORGIA for crying in a bucket.  Home of the Jackets and the Bulldogs.  This is Texas, home of Texas Tech, Aggies and Longhorns!  How can it be impossible to find Burnt Orange luggage?  It doesn’t even need to have the longhorns logo on it, just be burnt orange.

I should mention at this point that when we pulled up to the mall Ginny was asleep.  Her naps had been getting interrupted all weekend, so Martin decided that he was not going to wake her up if he didn’t have to.  We figured we were just going into Macy’s, get the bag and come out.  So he heroically sacrificed his back to lift Ginny IN HER CAR SEAT/CARRIER.  Yes it has a handle.  And yes you CAN carry a snoozing infant in it.  But once your child reaches the 20 pound toddler stage this act of love can be torture to the adult doing the carrying.  But he did it.  All through Macys, Dillards, down the length of the mall twice.  I tried to help.  We carried it together for a bit.  But mall pedestrians don’t seem to want to make room for two people with a child carried between them.  We were too wide a load for the walking paths.  So Martin did most of the heavy lifting.

After we gave up on the mall and were heading out, Ginny woke up, so one trip through the mall got to be with Ginny in Martin’s arms.  But for the better part of an hour, he carried her.  Safe, and soundly sleeping while mommy and daddy shopped for the elusive wild Texas  Orange bag.

At this point we just gave up, looked at each other and said, fine. We’ll go to Target and get a cheap bag and be done with this mess.  We no longer cared what color it was, just so long as it was cheap.  And big enough to handle all our stuff.

Piece of advice here – in Dallas, when driving along a highway looking for a sign for oh say, a Target for instance, you will see the signs.  But you will be unable to get there.  You will have to travel  three miles past the sign, get off on an exit, turn around, ride the access road…..and see a Wal-mart. Hey, let’s just go there.

We park. We enter the Wal-Mart.  Martin is holding the baby who has just awakened from a nap,  and I notice she is covered in banana from her breakfast.  We are both flushed, disheveled and not dressed well to begin with.  We really didn’t look reputable.  But we found a big black bag.  Cheap.  Yay.

Grab the bag, walk to the front checkout area.  Stand in line behind a tiny, well dressed, thin, coifed, bejeweled, Dallas Lady (don’t ask me what she was doing in Wal-Mart on a Sunday morning – I have no idea).  The manicure was perfect, the make-up was perfect.

Her groceries were numerous.  They filled the conveyor belt.

She looks at us.  White trash-appearing couple holding a banana covered toddler and a large black suitcase.

She looked at us……and Smiled.

Then she quietly said to the cashier “please let them go in front of me, they won’t take long”

She hadn’t even given us the opportunity to politely refuse her kindness.

I nearly cried.

I hadn’t been resenting her being in front of me.  I was too tired to even care.

Or so I thought.  She smiled at us.

And I asked “are you sure?”

She nodded.

“oh God bless you sweet lady, thank you”

We checked out.  We smiled at her, Ginny waved bye bye. And I called out “thank you again!” as we left the store.

Smiling from ear to ear.

somewhere there is a man…..

Somewhere there is a man…

Who is cursing my name.

How do I know?  Well.  There is a story.

A couple of weeks ago Atlanta had a flood. You may have heard about it.  Creeks and rivers washed over bridges, roads fell apart.  Every where if a road was low lying, it was swamped.

Two days after the flood, the bridge near my mom’s house was closed.  We went the other way.  With construction supplies.  Not to fix the bridge, but to work on kitchen cabinets for my mom.

We got there and did lots of work.  We worked up an appetite.  But no one felt like cooking.  So we ordered Chinese.  Pork Egg Fu Yung and Broccoli Beef if anyone really wants to know.  I was very specific when I called in the order.

“The bridge is OUT from one direction, but if you go this other way – which I will tell you about – the bridge doesn’t come into play at all so your driver will be safe”

Placed order.  Saved driver trouble and hassle of finding his own way to the house.  Gave credit card number.  Good deed for the day done. Supported local business AND saved a life.  Make that TWO good deeds.  Yay me.

Go back to fixing mother’s cabinets.

45 minutes later.

My father wanders out to the mailbox.  I didn’t pay attention.  He was headed out there to leave a brown paper bag filled with clothes for some donation thing he was donating to.  He is always donating stuff.  And no matter how many times we give him sweaters and warm socks he never seems to have enough.  I have my suspicions about that…

Anyway.  My father quietly slipped out of the house to walk down the long driveway.  It is gravel and perhaps a tenth of a mile long.

By the way, since the driveway is gravel, I figure I’ll hear the delivery person when they drive up.  Instead I hear the phone ring.  It’s the delivery guy.

He wants to know where we are located.

I tell him (again) what corner we are on.  He tells me where he turned.  I tell him he is on the wrong side of the bridge (that is out) he will need to turn around, go back to the main street and…

He hung up on me!

Oh well.  I guess he’ll figure it out.

About five minutes later my father walks in the door with our food and a receipt. …….an unsigned receipt.

Apparently the delivery guy decided not to go around as instructed.  He held our order up high and Walked across the dangerous bridge to bring us our food!

Then the poor guy encountered my father.  Who tried to hand him a bag of old clothes.  Daddy thought this was the guy coming to collect donations apparently.  I REALLY wish I could have been a witness to that dialogue!

The poor delivery guy finally got my dad to take the food, and the receipt.  And then my dad just walked back to the house.  Without signing the receipt or tipping the guy or anything!  I was horrified.  Here this guy had braved flood waters and a downed bridge to bring me my food and we didn’t give him anything!

So I called the restaurant and asked if I could do the tip over the phone.  You would not believe how hard it was to convince them to let me do that tip!  I even told them the story and had to talk to three separate people before they finally allowed me to add the tip over the phone.

So that was three good deeds for the day.  Though one was self defense really – I didn’t want this poor brave driver cursing my name for all eternity!