Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Harvesting Pearls

Question: What do you and I, Wayne Elsey and recording artist Melody Gardot have in common?

Answer: Read on and see.

So last Thursday I was standing at my bedside removing my watch and praying about what my next entry here should be. As I got ready to settle in for a night of writing my eyes casually glanced over to a beautiful three strand pearl necklace Ben gave me for Christmas. I stared at them for a moment, thinking ....there was something about those pearls. I picked them up and began sliding my fingers up and down the smooth strands. "What is it about pearls....?" Now, I know how and where pearls come from and how they are made and where they are mentioned in the Bible but I knew there was something deeper, somewhere deeper I was supposed to go with this...so I kept praying.

One of my habits when writing is to collect my thoughts, ideas, photos and tasty tidbits first by throwing them into one massive pile on the page. Then I sort through the page as I sort through my thoughts. It tends to be a bit eclectic like I am....lol. So that night I looked for the perfect picture of a pearl or pearls, next I dug up some facts about how pearls are created. As I read through what I already knew about the process it hit me very distinctly what it was about that pearl necklace that I was supposed to share here at Anthem. By this time however it was pretty late at night and I was tired so I opted to finish the next day.
Interesting how things so simple develop...
The next night, however, I was in the ER. Don't worry, I'll spare you the gross details. Needless to say however, what we thought was food poisoning turned out to be some sort of violent stomach flu (probably caught from one of the beloved sprouts at sprout central) which forced me into 72 hours of bed rest...and shall we say......purging......at home. Something I didn't feel like my busy life could afford, but I am certainly thankful for now....if for no other reason than it opened the door for me to expand what I wanted to share with you about those pearls. Come on...did you really expect me to NOT find the good in it? PFFFTTTT....oh how little you know me. LOL.

So......back to my question.... What do you and I, Wayne Elsey and Melody Gardot have in common?
Well, let's start out by answering who Melody Gardot is. She is a chart topping artist who sings as if her vocal chords are made of velvet. I love jazz and blues and so when I listen to her she makes my eyes close and I wander to a most relaxing place. She also brings out my French heritage...she is American, but her music is reminiscent of everything my Parisian French roots call out for. If you haven't guessed it, I am a fan.
Since I was forced to be home in bed Sunday instead of at church as I usually am I happened to have the television on to keep me and the fuzzboy company as I lay convalescing and I saw CBS' Sunday Morning. A program I have liked since I was a little kid, but rarely ever get to see. Sooo....I'm going to let you read the brief transcript of Anthony Mason's piece with Miss Gardot because it will fill you in far better than I on who this woman is and how she came to be the artist she is today. How Melody Gardot Found Her Voice

 Now I don't know anything about Miss Gardot's personal life other than what I have seen on tv and read, and I don't know what her faith is if she even has any. She may or may not agree with my beliefs...although I would like to think she would, only because it is extremely evident to me that she is a woman who has MUCH to be thankful for. She took a life altering event, something that could have destroyed her...literally, and with much work made it into something beautiful for all to see and share. In short, she overcame.

Now, on to Wayne Elsey whom I also mentioned. Who is he? He's an inspiration...a doer and not just a talker. A man of vision and heart, in my opinion, he's a hero. Not just for deeds he's done, anyone can do a good deed...and any rich man can do MANY good deeds. A hero is defined by the heart of service behind the deed...Mr Elsey knows he has been given much so that he can give much. A servants heart is always heroic, especially when it seeks to always remain humble in it's service. He inspires me beyond words...and he should do the same for you. He is the founder of the massive international charity that is Soles 4 Souls. Someone else my illness this weekend helped me slow down long enough to be reminded of. You may read the brief history of how he started his charity here Soles 4 Souls. As you can see, the life altering events that could have destroyed his own life only propelled him to be the catalyst to take other life altering events that destroyed so many and so much and make something beautiful and life altering for many to share. Another over-comer.
Now by the natural progression of my blog so far you would think my next step is to go to you and I, well...here is where I deviate. Now it's time to jump to that oh so eye opening info I pulled up about pearl farming. Remember what started all of this? That strand of pearls in my hand....I knew there was SOMETHING I was supposed to share about those pearls...and here it is. Yeah yeah, you know, pearls are made when a grain of sand gets into an oyster and blah, blah, blah....second grade science.
Yeah, you're right, but indulge me for a moment. Read this brief little snippet I pasted below from Pearl-Guide.com

The Process Of Nucleation In Pearl Farming

The process of nucleation is a surgical procedure, whereby a foreign object is implanted into the oyster. This object causes irritation, which the oyster counteracts by secreting nacre to surround the object; this produces the pearl.

The Pearl Is Now Allowed To Grow

After nucleating, the oysters are given a few weeks to recover from the surgery. During this time, some of the oysters may reject and expel the implanted nuclei; others may become sick or even die. Most, however, will fully recover. The oysters are then placed in cages or nets and moved into the oyster bed, where they will be tended as the pearls develop. Depending on the type of oyster, this process can require anywhere from a few additional months to several more years!

Finally, The Pearls Are Harvested

Wow....ok, NOW I can move on to the you and I part of this entry.
Everyday, you and I have foreign objects implanted into us for the purpose of causing irritation. Not to make us miserable, but to give us the opportunity to counteract it and create a pearl! We can reject and expel that irritant or become broken, sick and dead in spirit because of it or we can choose the third option and fully recover and create something beautiful out of what once hurt us. It may take weeks, months or years, but if we accept it and let the process take it's course it will develop a pearl.
 I have many pearls in my life that I didn't realize were pearls until this week. I just never thought of them that way, and to be honest sometimes it can be frustrating to try and explain why you're a Pollyanna to someone that only understands Scrooge. I've had people become angry at me and call me names and tell me I live in a fairytale because I am so happy all the time. I've been told I'm not connected to reality because I don't embrace pain and hurt like the psalmists in the Bible did. PFFTT...whatever! I just shake my head because they really don't get it. I'm happy because I CHOOSE to wrap that pain and irritant in the nacre that is my deep seeded faith and let it surround that object to create a pearl. Then when the time is right, I let my God harvest that pearl out of my life. As far as embracing pain and hurt, hmmm...I do embrace it, but in a way that those blinded to it will never be able to understand. Those oysters don't stay spread open for weather and element to disrupt the process and to brag to all the other oysters about "woe is me" how big and horrible their irritant is. Instead they stay closed around that irritant to ensure that the work is completed. I embrace my irritants alright, but not to wallow in the glory of the irritant, but instead to try and keep my focus on the glory of the pearl to be .
It's not just me either, so many others have done and are doing the same. My best friend Beth has had many a foreign object implanted in her life to cause irritants and she has let God harvest a beautiful strand of pearls out of each one. The same goes for my friends Lori, Rae, Erika, Melissa L and my sweet Ben as well as Melody Gardot and Wayne Elsey and most recently the people in Haiti that we are seeing suddenly worshiping and praising God on the beaches and out in the open air among others. We've all had foreign objects implanted into us by the master of all pearl farmers....our choice is are we going to reject them, let them kill us or truly embrace them and let them be harvested into the glorious pearls they were intended to become all along?
Sadly I know many people who have led lives FILLED with objects of irritation and pain and instead of embracing the potential pearl they just lay flopped open like an open oyster whining and complaining about how bad it is or trying to gain bragging rights about how big and horrible THEIR piece of sand is. They have rejected the pearls that could have been because their too busy with the irritant.
I don't know about you, but I would rather die than miss out on any potential pearls because I rejected the irritant. Not that I have it perfected either, I don't, by any stretch of the imagination. There are many irritants that I have to constantly remind myself are just pearls in the making. Those harder ones are just having to take a little longer, but I know that when they are ready they WILL be harvested too. Besides, it's easier to keep that joy when you know that beauty will eventually come of it.
So start harvesting your pearls! Who knows what beautiful creations may be made out of them when all is said and done!

Philippians 1:6 (New Living Translation)

6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Sooooooooo.........I haven't been on in a few days and there's a very good reason. My pitiful little laptop is sick. Yes, Lulabelle somehow got infected with either spyware, malwear or an actual virus. I'm not sure which it is at this point, but she has been sent to the laptop ER and will hopefully be home soon after a brief recovery....sigh. Until then however I'm relagated to sharing Ben's computer when he isn't online or checking my email from work when I'm off the clock. Of course that's fine, but you don't realize how your own computer has been personalized to your own tastes, needs and conveniences until you don't have it. Oh well.....the silver linign is it's giving me more time to catch up on the things I need to do around the house that are so easily set aside when I'm online. So I guess even having my computer become infested with internet critters is a good thing since it helps me get back on track in my non cyber life.

Meanwhile....it appears that Ben and I have entered a season of being stretched in our faith and in our daily walk. I'm not really looking forward to the process, I mean who enjoys having their lives stretched and pulled like Stretch Armstrong. (For those of you born before 1978 you know who I'm talking about) HOWEVER, I am  very much looking forward to the outcome when all is said and done, because I know it will be good. So how do I know this is coming? Well, let me fill you in.

In 2000 I changed careers and went to work for a corporate office. At the time it was the best job I had ever had and honestly hoped to retire there. Six months later Ben got hired at the same company and for just under nine years (I say nine years since it was so close) he and I worked together (something I sincerely miss. Who wouldn't want to work with their best friend?). He also loved his job and hoped to retire there. It was a locally owned international company and we worked in the home office. The owners were extremely employee and family oriented and took care of their employees very well. As the company grew and so did the pocketbooks of the owners, a shift began to take place. Suddenly the once worker friendly environment began to become hostile....and we were no longer partnerring toward success as much as we were the means to their next golf course mansion or yacht. It was a hard pill to swallow in an environment where the owners used to come sit and chat with you about your family and life outside of work, to an environment where they didn't have time for you and you were suddenly beneath them. However, because of the way it used to be most of us hung in there hoping things might return to their previous state of being. Unfortunately, that would not be the case.
In January of 2008 we were all pulled into an office wide meeting and gently told that the company had been sold. The vast majority of us sat or stood in silent shock. We knew something had been amiss due to the influx of visiting executives, but none of us had suspected that. So after a moment, albeit a very brief moment, we were then promised everything under the moon to try and calm the growing fears of sudden job loss. Golden promises of never closing our office and people all being totally secure filled the room, but underneath there was a very present sense of foreboding. So in short time, as feared, the axes began to fall. By November I had given my notice to go and start my career at Sprout Cwntral, because I knew my division of the company would be the first to be completely obliterated. This past Summer what had been my division was in fact wiped out leaving several friends suddenly all out of work. With each passing month it seamed the end of the entire company was imminent, no matter what the new corporate execs promised.
Well, Monday they pulled Ben and the entire remaining company employees, ( a meager 30 or so, down from the 60+ at the time of the buyout) into another meeting. Yep, you guessed it....they were all systematically informed that as of March 31st of this year the office will be shut down and moved to Oklahoma. All those choosing not to chance a POTENTIAL job in Oklahoma or North Carolina will be out of a job.
**sigh** Well, thankfully Ben and I both have a peace about it. We knew it was coming, we just didn't know when. So now we know the when. We know God is going to do something amazing...we don't know what or how, but we know He will come through, He always does. We have been praying for a better job for Ben for YEARS but it just wasn't the time for anything to open up yet. It looks like it finally is now though. Oddly, we're both kind of excited to see what is on the horizon. Of course, being the provider and protector that he is, Ben is doing his best to not be overly concerned, but behind it all, we know God has it covered. Besides, remember that fleece I put out for God? Well, in the conversation I had with Ben that night Ben had reminded me to just trust God and He will cover every need we have. Interesting timing on that don't ya think? Ironically, remember how I said I had another 2 fleece to put out for God before I would KNOW the answer to that prayer I had been bringing to God? Well, lets just say this sudden change of events appears to be the POTENTIAL answer to that second fleece. HMMM........

So that was the first way I know we are about to be stretched in our faith. The second is more personal to myself. At our church I am leader of the hospitality ministry, it doesn't sound like much, but believe me...it entails a lot for a church that has three services on the weekend. I've finally gotten some good volunteers though and have hit a nice comfortable pace which has removed most of the drain on me. Now our church is growing again and we will be adding a fourth service on Sunday, a very good thing, but the thought of one more service to cover is a bit daunting to say the least. So I've given the Lord my word that I wouldn't complain about it, I saw how He provided for me when I needed it before so I know He will do it again, I just have to trust Him. I think I can do that........no, I KNOW I can do that. He's never let me down before, so I have no reason to think He will now. His answer may be different than what I expect, but it will always be the BEST answer if I'm willing to have an open mind.

Soooooo......it will be an interesting journey going forward, but I'm glad I can share it with all of you so we can grow through this together. It should be an interesting ride, and I hope I do my God and my faith justice as I find joy in the ups, downs and middles of this next adventure. No matter what, I will always praise Him even in the face of adversity...He is my joy and nothing will steal that away.

Psalm 34:1 (New Living Translation)

1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
Psalm 34:1 (The Message)
1 I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shards of Glass

So last night I was over at Batman and Rapunzel's house helping her out with her dissertation and having a great time. We always have a good time when we get together and last night was no different.....well, no different until the end of the night that is. So as I was getting ready to leave Ranger needed to go potty, so Rae decided to walk me to the car so he could pee. As we stepped to the end of the sidewalk all of a sudden she gasped and let out a few choice words of frustration, we'll pretend it was "Jesus is Awesome" like I should have been thinking Tuesday when I was feeling that frustration. LOL.
SO after a quick second and making sure she wasn't in labor I turned to see what she was looking at. The entire back window of her brand new SUV was busted out and laying shattered on the ground. A million pieces of tinted glass everywhere. We both shifted gears and she went to get Al and I took care of Ranger. After a few moments we realized that their car wasn't the only car vandalized. There were four cars in their parking lot alone and at least another four or five in the lot behind them. Sadly, one of the other cars in their lot to get hit was also Al's car. Apparently this is a trend that the tenants are getting fed up with, UNDERSTANDABLY. Some punk kids going on destruction sprees just for the fun of it....not cool.
So I hung out to wait till the cops came and I'm so glad I did. I witnessed something that made me so proud of both Rae and Al. This was a prime opportunity to go off on a justified rant and be totally po'd and turn into a beast and yadda yadda yadda.......but instead I saw both of them choose to stay calm in the midst of it, yeah they were ticked, but NEITHER of them fed into the raw emotions and let it control them. Instead they both focused in on God and kept their cool and CHOSE to NOT ALLOW this to get to them. I hope I would have handled it the same way, but I don't know for sure how I would have responded.
    So anyway........as I drove home I was talking to God about this blog entry. No, I'm not crazy or being overly religious, but part of why I'm blogging and part of why I am the Pollyanna that I am is because I believe EVERYTHING, even something like this has a purpose and has good come of it. So if  I'm not passing along what I believe that purpose or message to be in this blog then what's the point? I knew this event was going to be the centerpiece of the blog today but I wanted to make sure I wasn't just retelling a story, but really learning a lesson from it.
So as I drove along and processed the events of the previous hour I kept seeing the picture of Rachel's glass window shattered on the ground, all those shards of glass. I also kept hearing those words over and over, shards of glass, shards of glass, shards of glass. Those shards of glass must somehow represent us...or something we humans do. HMMMMMM.....
So when I got home I decided to look up the definition of a shard, now I know what it means, but sometimes you get clearer insight when you actually pull up the complete definition of a word.
So here we go, ready? Good.
Websters defines a SHARD as a piece or fragment of a brittle substance.

Interesting, but I'm not really feeling a great insight yet, YOU? Yeah I didn't think so.... lets go a bit deeper, shall we?

The definition of the word BRITTLE according to Websters is something easily broken, cracked, or snapped. Easily disrupted, overthrown, or damaged. Frail, perishable, mortal, transitory, and evanescent. Easily hurt or offended, sensitive, and sharp. Lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit, cold.

WHEW!!!!! That is a whole lot of adjectives for such a small word! However, it sure as heck gets the point across doesn't it? Being brittle is just fine when we're talking about a sheet of glass, a butterfly wing or even peanut brittle, but it's NOT fine when we're talking about a person. Have you ever felt broken, cracked or damaged by a person or circumstance? Have you felt the rug pulled out from under you as things disrupt, overthrow or damage YOUR plans? Do you ever get hurt, offended or over sensitive when things don't go the way you wanted or expected? Worse yet, have others accused you of lacking warmth, depth or being cold?
HMMMM.....that requires some painfully deep soul searching doesn't it.....I don't know about you, but in the interest of keeping it real here, I've fallen into each of these categories at different times in my life. In fact some of these I'm still working on, especially when thinking of certain family members of mine. Sorry, but it's true.....blood may be thicker than water, but thickness doesn't always equate quality. I think it's safe to say then that all of the things associated with being brittle are NOT the kind of traits we want to have associated with our own selves.

Now, let's go a bit deeper still.
What would be the opposite, the antonym of Brittle? That would be, robust, healthy, strong. When I saw those words I wondered if there is a translation of the Bible that uses the word robust. Well, there is....and ironically...or maybe not so ironically, there is one verse that in multiple translations interchanges each of those three words to convey the same thought. What does the thought refer to? Ready for this? bitterness, envy, jealousy and runaway emotions. HMMMM.....all things that come out of the emotions associated with being brittle. I think that broken glass definitely conveyed a message, not just to myself but to all of us.
We need to have our focus on God....in fact, we need to be so focused on Him, so robust,healthy and strong in Him and His word, the Bible, that when things hit us like that weapon hit the glass on those cars, we don't shatter because we are brittle.

Proverbs 14:30 (The Message)

 30 A sound mind makes for a robust body,
   but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

Ok, soooooooooo if we are going to have a robust body we need a sound mind. How do we get that? Well, let's go back to the source.

2 Timothy 1:7 (New King James Version)

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Ok, so the sound mind isn't something we acquire, it was already given to us. (Yeah I know, I don't always feel like it either....but tell your fickle feelings to kiss off.) Now, WHYYYYYYYY would we be told in the same verse that we have been given a sound mind, that we also HAVEN'T been given a spirit of fear? Well, for that answer let's go back to the definition of the word brittle.
         something easily broken, cracked, or snapped. Easily disrupted, overthrown, or damaged. Frail, perishable, mortal, transitory, and evanescent. Easily hurt or offended, sensitive, and sharp. Lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit, cold.

I don't know about you, but when I feel those emotions, especially towards my biological father and his less than loving family....they are definitely rooted in fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of betrayal, fear of never being GOOD enough....and lots of others. Well if those feelings are not God given, then I don't want them! Who DOES?!?!?!? So the antidote? The anti-fear, anti-brittle solution?  The only way to get and maintain a sound mind is to debunk fear in all it's faces by dissecting each one and applying the truth in it's place. So here is what the Bible has to say about who I, who YOU REALLY are and the value we REALLY have.
In an effort to save space I will not include the full verses, but here is a link to Bible Gateway where you can pull up the complete verse in any translation and language you prefer.
Bible Gateway Passage Lookup
 I'm going to close with this list, I don't really think there is much else to say after that. Don't feel bad about being brittle, we all have in the past...and we all have areas where we still are. Instead, focus on reinforcing those brittle areas with TRUTH.....the Bible IS TRUTH. That way when things come at you to destroy you and turn your brittleness into shards, you will be stronger and less likely to shatter.

Who I Am In Christ

I am accepted...

John 1:12
I am God's child.

John 15:15
As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1
I have been justified.

1 Corinthians 6:17
I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.

1 Corinthians 12:27
I am a member of Christ's body.

Ephesians 1:3-8
I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.

Colossians 1:13-14
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.

Colossians 2:9-10
I am complete in Christ.

Hebrews 4:14-16
I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

I am secure...

Romans 8:1-2
I am free from condemnation.

Romans 8:28
I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.

Romans 8:31-39
I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.

Colossians 3:1-4
I am hidden with Christ in God.

Philippians 1:6
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.

Philippians 3:20
I am a citizen of heaven.

2 Timothy 1:7
I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

1 John 5:18
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

I am significant...

John 15:5
I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.

John 15:16
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.

1 Corinthians 3:16
I am God's temple.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21
I am a minister of reconciliation for God.

Ephesians 2:6
I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.

Ephesians 2:10
I am God's workmanship.

Ephesians 3:12
I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So Monday was pretty non climactic, not a bad thing really...lol. ALthough, maybe I shouldn't say that. It ended on a highly positive note. For about 2 months now I've been praying about something. I believe God has been showing me some things, confirming some things and sending LOTS of encouragement. I'm not prepared to share about it yet, but in time I will. So anyway, I have been keeping it to myself all this time and meditating and praying about it, put out a Gideon's fleece or two. No that does not mean a person is weak spiritually...yes we are to trust God and the very essence of faith is to believe in things not seen....however, sometimes in our sinful human nature a seed of doubt or fear gets in there and we need God to just meet us where we're at. In almost 30 years of being a Christian I haven't had a whole lot of those moments, I usually tend to jump in with both feet and trust for God to catch me, but this is one of those fleece things for me. Not that I don't believe He can do what I'm praying about, but I guess on this one I want to play it safe and make sure I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW..it's God.
So anyway, last night as I was reading the days scripture for the Bible in a year one of the verses leapt off the page at me and it spoke to the EXACT thing I've been praying about. I felt like it was time I finally shared with Ben what has been on my heart. I was a little apprehensive,......ok....a lot apprehensive. Not that he wouldn't support me, but sometimes the things that are important to the female mind and heart aren't on the same radar screen as the things that are important to the male mind and heart. So I prayed and happened to be IM-ing somebody and had them pray too for the best way to broach the topic and that it would be well received.  

Well, God met me where I was at and not only was Ben TOTALLY supportive (Lord I love that man!!) and completely encouraging, but he threw me a curve ball I NEVER really expected by saying, "Fran...what makes you think I haven't already been interceding about that for you?" I think this was the exact moment I experienced my first deer in headlights look for the night. "HUH?!?!!?" He gave me a look like, DUH!!! It took a moment for that to sink in.....hmmm...I don't know....he has so many other things on his plate in providing for our home and other things that no, I honestly DIDN'T think he would be interceding for me on this. HUH....cool God, didn't see that one coming!!!! So because he was soooooooo supportive and encouraging it actually gave me the room I needed to REALLY open up about my concerns, fears and other feelings regarding this prayer request. Ben sat there and listened and reminded me of scripture I needed to be reminded of and offered up ideas and solutions to make this thing work,(I guess he really HAS been praying about this...WOWWW!!!). So by the end of our conversation I had a whole new level of peace about this that I have never had before. Unbelievable...God never ceases to amaze me.
SOoooooo...today I woke up and yep, that peace was still there....sigh....Gideon fleece number 1, wow.....cool. 

SO I went bopping along to work, feeling pretty dang amazing.....and as I stood there chatting with the girls and helped welcome the sprouts in for the day, it happened. One of them had wiggled up behind me on the floor just as the doorbell rang, I went to get it and WHOOP, BANG! My feet did some sort of ankle height triple lutz as I spun around, knocked the child down onto his bottom, and crashed down onto one knee directly on the wood covered concrete floor somehow catching myself on the cabinet behind me with both hands and miraculously never spilling a drop of the almost full iced coffee which I was holding! AND FOR MY NEXT TRICK!!!!!  So I turn around to make sure he's ok, he is, but he's now crying because he has no idea what he just witnessed or caused, but Miss Fran suddenly looks like a cross between a cherry red tomato as she bites her lip and a fish out of water as she writhes on the floor in pain. Thankfully the girls jumped right in. Amber ran to get the door, I think Jess grabbed Dylan and got him out of the way and Allie got out of MY way...lol. I got up painfully and slowly and limped across the room to focus on keeping my mouth shut....OHHHHHHHHH that was a wise choice because I really don't think ANYBODY wanted to hear the colorful things running through my mind at that moment. Let's just say I was feeling significantly less than Christian at that moment and the phrase, "Jesus is AWESOME" was NOT what wanted to come out of my mouth. So I waited for the incoming parents to disperse, Allie asked if I was ok and I still couldn't open my mouth so I just waived my hand and nodded.

She knows me well enough she just said ok and backed away, wise girl. I stood up as straight as I could and limped to the kitchen to get an ice pack. Oh wait, wonder jaws bit into our last ice pack last week so no ice pack in the freezer...AHHH but we had a bag of frozen corn. THAT works! I gingerly applied it and felt my ability to speak slowly return. Meanwhile Amber came to get an icepack for Dylan's leg, oh yeah..wonder jaws....ok so he ended up having a tube of frozen Pillsbury sugar cookie dough applied to his leg instead of ice. Yeah...WE'RE professional! LOL. 

SIGH...........when I was finally able to function again I emerged from the kitchen and sat at the kids lunch table holding my corn to my knee. Amber shifted to nurse mode and thankfully after about an hour the massive swelling and bruising on my knee had gone down signifcantly and I was able to walk with little pain or stiffness. THANK YOU LORD.
I love my life...lol. Honestly....there is never a dull moment....and even though I got hurt....it could have been worse. I could have hurt Dylan, I could have hit my HEAD..I could have broken something....worse yet, I could have spilled my iced coffee......but I didn't. I also could have vocalized the expletives that were in my mind, but thank God I didn't. Yeah I have a sore knee, but thank God we had corn and sugar cookies in the freezer! LOL. Overall...that peace and joy I started out with in the morning....still in tact! God Rocks!
Ok, that's enough for one night. I'll catch you guys later and if you haven't checked out the list of blogs on the left that I follow, please do. There are some really great bloggers over there that would love to have you come visit them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Is the Son in Your Eyes?

Boy, ....for a woman who decided to take the weekends off from blogging I had another moment this weekend that I just had to share.

So one of the things about living in New England is that Winters here are not only cold, but drab. Thickly overcast skies and bland colors in shades of brown, white and gray really don't make for a very cheerful atmosphere. However, they do make you appreciate the sunlight, ANY sunlight, more. After a long succession of drab dark days where barely a hint of blue sky is visible the normal sunny days seem almost glaringly tropical. This weekend we had two of those days. It was still cold out there, but soooooooo bright and sunny, it was WONDERFUL! Driving out in it though, well....when your eyes are acclimated to the dark gloomy palette, AND both pairs of your dark sunglasses are at home because you have to replace screws that fell out...you may feel a little less than thankful for the extremely bright sunlight that's blinding you.

So that was kind of my dilemma this weekend, especially yesterday when I was fighting a migraine. So many times I have been irritable when trying to drive or even when riding as a passenger and it seems that every couple of moments the road curves in such a way that another blinding shot of light finds a space to shoot through causing me to squint and bob my head like some parrot doing the boogie to Rockin' Robin. LOL
In those moments I crave the overcast days because it's convenient and less interfering with MY plans.
Enter my God moment, stage left.
So as we were driving along and I was silently complaining and whining to myself for one stray cloud somewhere over the entire state of Connecticut to get the blasted sun out of my eyes, I had an epiphany. Sometimes those of us accustomed to living in the light are so blinded by the inconvenience of the brightness that we forget what it's like to appreciate the presence of the light at all.
A few years ago during the bleak Winter here we had several weeks of nothing but gray, overcast, dark days.....so many in a row that I remember being in tears because I just wanted some sunlight......ANY sunlight. ( I would NEVER be able to live in Alaska! Three months of darkness....oh no...no, no, no...not for me.) Then late one day we had a break in the skies and the tiniest patch of bright baby blue streaked with the most amazing shades of orange, pink, yellow and red appeared just as the sun was setting. It was the only beautiful color within eyesight and even though it was small and seemingly insignificant in the vast expanse of gray sky, it was GLORIOUS! On that day I would have PAID to have sunlight blinding me!
HMMMMMMMM........So I was thinking.........I was frustrated by the sunlight streaming from seemingly every angle and filling my eyes, but do I shine enough of the light from THE Son that it dispels the bleak darkness for those I come in contact with who are CRAVING light?
Ephesians 5:8 (New Living Translation)
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
Yeah sure I give off some light, maybe even more than some others, MAYBE, but I would be a fool to ever think it's enough. ANY Christian who isn't constantly growing to be a better example of our faith by truly reflecting the heart of Christ to those around us needs to remember what it was like to be in the darkness and crying out, craving the light. Instead many of us, and I'm including myself because I'm just as guilty of this, get irritated by the inconvenience of our faith. How often do we say things like, "Well I didn't invite them to church because they probably wouldn't come anyway..." or "Well I didn't want to tell them about my faith because I didn't want to offend them..." or maybe some harder to identify ones like "I would have gone to church today, but I'm just so tired..." or "Well I would have volunteered, but they looked like they had enough help..." Then there are the REALLY hard to spot ones like "I'll pray for you..."...and then promptly forget about that when we are out of sight. OUCH....how many of us have done that one?

That verse in Ephesians I posted above says we are to LIVE as people of the light, not just hop in and out of our persona as it's convenient. We need to keep the memory of what it was like to have no hope, have no joy, have no peace burned on the frontal lobes of our brains so we NEVER forget it. That way we will always remember to shine the light of our faith by actually living it, even when the brightness seems inconvenient to us. I need to remember that too......random people, and some not so random are put in our lives and across our paths on a daily basis for us to shine light to....I pray that you and I both reflect a light so bright that they need sunglasses.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

So I know I said I wasn't going to blog on the weekends, but I had to share this because it made me smile and made me think deeper too. Saturdays are one of the busiest days of the week for us because we go out with a team of others and  feed the homeless and low income in our city. Well, that may sound simple, but it takes a lot of prep work starting very early in the morning. Since Ben has been feeling ill he actually opted to stay home today, THANK YOU LORD! He usually pushes himself, but today he realized it wouldn't be wise to go out in the cold.

Well, usually we bag up bread that has been donated to pass out, but because we won't be going out ( I have a migraine that keeps subsiding and then returning...ugh) we went to the home base to drop everything off so they can bag it for us. While we were there I saw one of my girlfriends that I don't see very often, mainly because we just live so far away from each other. Well as we caught up on things her daughter was running around talking and playing. (Here's an old picture I took of her almost 2 years ago...Lord has it been that LONG???) Meanwhile Ben had gone out to the car to wait for me and since I didn't realize how long I had kept him waiting, (you know how it is when you get talking to someone you haven't seen in a while) he came back in to see where I was. Well, little Heather came running in to tell me he had come back in and I told her something to the effect of thank you, I'll have to hurry. Well she toddled off and a minute or so later after Ben had gone back out to the car she came back in and with a big grin and wrinkled nose, told me, "Your prince went outside again".
Now, you know by now that one of my nicknames for Ben is my Prince Charming so I was thinking she must have heard me call him that, plus her mother calls her dad that nickname too. Well, after my heart finished it's "awwwwwwww.........so sweet!!" moment, Sarah proceeds to tell me that Heather calls ALL husbands princes. I've got to tell you, I LOVE that!!! What a great mental picture for her to have of a dad and a husband! The full gravity of that didn't hit me though until after we had left. How many crotchety and biting women do I know that practically demand that their men treat them like queens and then make the men feel like sleazebags if they don't meet their expectations. I can name quite a few unfortunately, but on the flip side how many of those women start off treating the men like their own personal prince charming? Men WANT to be their woman's hero, true, a lot of men have a hard time showing it because they were never shown by their fathers how to express those things, but most women are so busy trying to prove they are self sufficient that they never give their man a chance to be their prince charming. Then they wonder why things go sour in the relationship. How sad.....
Now for those women reading this who are going to be mad at me because you think I'm coming from some naive point of view that has never seen bad relationships etc, you're wrong. I've seen more bad relationships than good healthy ones unfortunately so get your panties out of a bind, but I know that truly happy relationships are possible and a lot of times our own actions or lack thereof dictate the course of things.
So cheers to all you women who willingly and JOYFULLY see and treat your men as the hero he wants to be and to all the men who are their prince charmings! Also, for those of you women out there who treat him that way and haven't seen him turn his heart yet, don't get discouraged....you keep doing what you are supposed to do and eventually your unfailing love and respect for him, even when you feel he doesn't deserve it, WILL turn things....I've seen it happen too many times to think it isn't true. Same goes for you men that have a witchy woman. 



1 Corinthians 7:16 (New Living Translation)

16 Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?

Rapunzel, Rumplestiltskin and Romeo

Sigh.....sorry folks, it's been a couple of days I know since you heard from me. I think I must be catching what the bear has or some energy sucking germ, because I have been absolutely EXHAUSTED the past couple of days...today as well actually. Without further ado, let me catch you up on the latest.

Wednesday I worked the early shift which is always a blessing since it means I get out of work at 2:15. Still a full days work, but doesn't feel like it. So after work I went to visit Rachel, aka Rapunzel for the next few weeks. She and Allan have become so close to us that they have also been relegated to that status of family. Only a few more weeks till their little sprout is welcomed into the world and I can't wait. Their close proximity to us will enable me to lavish on the little one all the extra hugs and kisses I have stored up for Beth and Sean's new little sprout since they are so far away, can't let them got to waist. LOL  I am absolutely ecstatic about being asked to be in charge of her baby shower too so Wednesday was our first planning session. We got a lot accomplished, I was concerned she would feel like we hadn't done enough, but to my surprise she said it was more than she had expected, so that was good.  Afterwards I was so tired when I got home that writing a blog entry that night was simply out of the question.

So Thursday was a nice quiet day for the most part. Ben stayed home sick that day, which for him, means he's REALLY sick, which he was, he has been fighting it all week actually. Poor thing was just feeling horrible, to the point that I considered staying home to take care of him, but opted to go in and just let him sleep all day. It was Devon's last day at work. She is going to pursue college and eventually wants to go into a career with helping children. I think she'll be perfect for it. I was able to get out of work a little early and as I drove home I was suddenly overcome with exhaustion, so I had the plan to get home, check on Ben then lay down for a nap till it was time to make dinner. Well, those plans got altered a bit because after I got home I needed to go pick up a prescription for the bear and get a new humidifier since our old one decided to finally give up the ghost. I'll be honest, I was exhausted...I really didn't want to go back out. I quickly reminded myself though of how much Ben does for me when I'm sick and never complains. Well, I ran those errands and grabbed a Chinese soup for myself then came home. After I knew Ben had everything he needed to rest comfortably and the fuzzboy was fed and watered, I ate my soup started to write my blog entry for the night. I still felt a little tired though and it was still early, only 7 or so, so I decided to lay down for a little while and take a quick cat nap. Well, when I was finally woken up from my nap, it was over 4 hours later...it was after 11! I couldn't believe I had slept that long...and I couldn't believe Ben hadn't woken me up. He said he knew I was tired though and needed it so he let me sleep. I considered sitting up and writing my blog entry then, but I was still feeling pretty zonked, so I decided to just go to bed for the night. Sorry all you daily readers.....sleep trumped typing.

Which brings us to Friday, not just any Friday mind you, no I'm happily bringing back MHR Fridays!
(for those of you still unfamiliar with the MHR circle of bloggers please click the title of today's blog entry to be taken to Katy Lin's blog explaining it and feel free to join in the fun.) So this morning Ben woke me up with a kiss on the cheek and whispered in my ear that he had breakfast ready for me. My first response was, "Why are you up? Why aren't you in bed?" Apparently that one prescription and the humidifier were what he needed to get him back on his feet. Thank you God!! I was very thankful to hear that because honestly I worry about him when he's sick. Anyway, a little while later when I finally emerged from the bedroom to come into the kitchen where I heard him rattling around he proudly walked over to me and hugged me. "Look, I made you breakfast! I wanted to take care of you since you took care of me so much this week." (Insert warm fuzzy encrusted AWWWWWWW here) Suddenly I flashed back to yesterday when I was internally grumping about having to go back out because I was so tired and thinking how glad I was that I had kept my mouth shut. He does so much for me all the time in big and small ways, from the basics of working hard to make sure we always have a roof over our heads and food on our table, to doing things like making me a thank you breakfast, it's really a small thing to be able to give back to him when he needs it. So my husband rocks because he never fails to make me feel cherished.
I love you bear, XOXOXOXO
Night all,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Ikea Virgin

Well....I considered doing my usual (as of late anyway) burning of the midnight oil and writing my daily adventures, but I was tired last night. Actually, I wasn't tired....I was flat out, tail dragging, eyes propped open, barely able to function, EXHAUSTED. So at 11:28 I curled up into bed next to the bear and the boy and went to sleep knowing I would just write Tuesday's entry on Wednesday morning.
So happy repeat Tuesday..LOL.
   So Amber and I decided that we needed to get some supplies for the daycare. The main item being pillows for nap time, no not our nap time although we would LOVE to do that...lol. No, this was a mission with real purpose. As of late we have had an influx of loving parents who have been bringing in pillows for their children to use on their cots during nap time. Very nice gesture and we wish ALL the parents would bring in pillows for their kids to sleep on. The problem however is that some parents are bringing in pillows that are full bed sized pillows. Again, a very nice gesture, HOWEVER....we are working with children under 5, most of which are smaller than the pillows themselves....lol. Not to mention the lack of storage space we have. We have ample storage for their things if they only have what they actually need, but we have no room for giant items and the other parents hate having to cram their child's items into a cubby that is bursting at the seams with another child's bed pillow. So after letters home to the parents and no co-operation we decided we needed to enforce marshal law. We will be sending all over sized pillows home and sending out another note to inform the parents they can either send in a travel size pillow for their child or for a few dollars purchase one from the daycare. Hopefully that will get the point across politely. 

Soooooooo we decided to go to Ikea to pick up some inexpensive yet nice travel size pillows. Well I have never been to Ikea before. I've seen the catalogs obviously and I have seen lots of things other people have purchased from there, but I've never been to the store. Partly because they are almost an hour from our house and really.....there just aren't that many stores I'm willing to go out of my way for. Christmas Tree Shops...well, that's another story. LOL So after driving a half hour and getting lost in downtown New Haven we finally found the store. I have to say, I saw a lot of stuff I really liked.....the furniture however, not so much. I would rather save up and spend a lot of money on a quality piece of furniture I can pass down to my children, than spend a little on a crappy version of the same piece of furniture that will fall apart and I have to replace every two to three years. So the furniture I wouldn't waste my time or money on, plus it just isn't really that attractive unless you're into the ultra modern Euro look.....which I'm not. They do however have a lot of nice accent pieces and home accessories that aren't that bad and a pretty good price. I saw a few decorative items I would consider.
It was fun though and I'll probably go back at some point for some small accent pieces, but I definitely don't feel as excited about it like other people I know.
Anyway, talk to you in a few hours when I blog about today's activities. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A weekend in the Life

Well I decided that for the sake of my own sanity and to prevent burnout, I will take the weekends off from blogging. My original intention had been to blog every day, but I think wisdom is to refrain from it.
So, a quick weekend in review...

     You may have noticed a new link in the left column of this blog titled "One Year Bible Online". I put it there in case any of you are interested in joining me and my entire church in reading through the Bible in a year. It's broken down into very user friendly 15 minute daily readings and if you follow the link you will also see it's from the New Living Translation which is in the language of today. Much more user friendly for those of you that aren't frequent Bible readers or for those of you that may have tried reading it years ago, but got a bit frustrated with the old English. So if you've ever wanted to do this and just haven't gotten around to it, or felt a bit overwhelmed then join me and we can do this together. Feel free to contact me with questions or if you want support.
      So Saturday I joined Ann and a few other ladies from church in taking all of the Christmas decorations down at both campuses. I thought it was going to take much longer than it did, but we were done in record time. Afterward I came home and still had the energy to take down and put away all of our own Christmas decorations.  Now we have a tiny house, more of a bungalow really...so even though I love Christmas and love decorating for it, I'm pretty frugal with my decor otherwise it would be far too cramped. So we have FAR less than the church does, you would think it would take me not time at all to pack it all away. LOL....NOT! Since I've been in my de-cluttering and cleaning mode lately, there was no reason why it shouldn't extend to the extra Christmas decor before I have to drag it back to the attic. I began my decor D-day at 4 in the afternoon.......I finished at around 1 am. After giving away 6 large bags and boxes of excess decor and then condensing about 8 remaining tubs, bins, baskets, bags and boxes of various sizes I got it down to only 2 large tubs, 1 small tub and 2 boxes.....along with the giant storage bag the tree and wreaths go in. Not bad....thank God it's a year before I need to drag them back out. LOL

   Sunday was nice, Lori has been in town visiting and we got to spend a few precious hours with her last night before she had to leave for SC this morning. She moved down there a few months ago and quite honestly I'm praying she comes back soon. ;) There are precious few people in my innermost circle of what I consider to be the true definition of an intimate friend, those that are considered close enough to be family, she is one of them. Having her move so far away and then come to visit I realize just how much I am thankful for her. She's crazy (in a good way) and irreverent, but also honest and transparent and would give you her last dollar if she felt you needed it more than her. She is the kind of friend I hope and try to be. She doesn't care if you're rich or poor, have a little or a lot, are refined or not...you're God's child and that's good enough for her. She's sort of a modern day Melanie Wilkes from Gone With the Wind. Being judgmental isn't in her blood.  She accepts people the way they are and offers loving friendship that is completely unconditional...in short, she reflects the same love and kindness that Christ does. That sets the bar pretty high....and I'm glad for it, I need that kind of standard to reach for. Love ya and miss ya Lor....come home soon!

Today was the first day back at sprout central after Christmas vacation. Amazing how 8 days away from total toddler anarchy can make you miss the little rugrats. Yeah there were some I didn't miss....mmmm.......well, truthfully just one I didn't miss....but I'll be good and not go there. LOL
The rest however I missed greatly. It was nice to be back with them and with the girls I work with. Nothing really tremendously eventful happened with them today...honestly they were all very quiet. It was kind of amusing because they had been away from us for a little over a week they had to readjust to being back with us. So it was a nice, quiet day...nobody got duct taped to the wall...lol.
Well, that's enough for today........hope all of you had a great weekend and a pleasant Monday.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Say, It Was A Good Day

Well this day started out very interestingly. I awakened myself with a severe and completely uncontrollable case of the giggles. I couldn't stop laughing....it woke me up out of my dead sleep and then woke Ben up out of his own deep sleep. Even after I was awake for a few minutes I couldn't stop laughing. I remember the dream very clearly, but you won't find it funny...trust me....it was one of those things that is only hilarious when you're half asleep. Lets just say, picture me as the 70's cartoon drawings of Holly Hobbie.....  See, I told you, not funny at all..........but in the stupor of sleep...it was hilarious. So I thought that was a good way to start off the new year......waking up in a fit of laughter. LOL

Next we kind of slothed around the house for a while, sucking up the last few hours of vacation weekday that we had. Finally when we were both withering away from mid morning hunger we decided to go grab some breakfast. It took us a bit longer to get out of the house than we had planned...too much time trying to find ticket info for a movie we wanted to see. So by the time we were on our way it was more of a lunch than breakfast. No problem, we'll go to the one place that ALWAYS serves breakfast. Well, what we had failed to take into consideration was that it was New Years Day......EVERYBODY and their brother sleeps late on New Years Day and they ALL want breakfast when they wake up. If everybody wants breakfast at 1 in the afternoon, who serves it that late in the day? You guessed it, IHOP.

 Sooooo here's a math problem for you, if everybody in the tri-county area goes to IHOP to get breakfast at 1 in the afternoon, what time will Benny and Frannie eat breakfast? That's right, good answer you there in the back! Benny and Frannie will eat breakfast at 2 in the afternoon! LOL
But wait, there's more! Soooooooo in an affort to save time and avoid the 30+ minute wait, what do Benny and Frannie do? They hop in their car, drive 20 minutes to the OTHER IHOP thinking THOSE people surely didn't stay up until midnight the night before......only to be greeted with a 20 minute wait. So we saved 10 minutes of wait time.......oh wait...nooooooo.........take the original 30 minute wait, subtract 20 minute drive time and a 20 minute wait and you get, -10. LOL.......YEAH!!! We're so smart! ROFL.......not. So NOW what time do Benny and Frannie eat breakfast? Yep, 3 in the afternoon.....it probably would have been sooner on a normal day but amid everything else the entire wait staff looked like they were fighting hangovers so they couldn't have gone any slower if they had glue stuck to the bottoms of their shoes. LOL.
Sigh..........it was funny.....it really was, the misadventures of Ben and Fran. This is why I can't complain about life with Ben......it's like living in a reality show. It's hilarious to me.

Oh well, so after our breakfast/lunch/early dinner...lol we went to go see the movie Sherlock Holmes. Now, I have been anxiously awaiting this movie for MONTHS...... I have been an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes ever since I was a little girl. I remember absorbing Conan Doyle's stories about him from a very young age and the first time I ever went to an antique auction with my parents I was elated when they brought out a book that turned out to be a complete collection of Holmes. To this day it's one of my most prized books, second only to my complete works of Shakespeare. I think I have seen just about every big and small screen portrayal of Holmes that has been created and watch them over and over with new found affection each time. Holmes was the reason why I first wanted to be a detective as a child.....then other favorites came along and fed the dreams of being a detective, or a spy! LOL.

So when I saw that they were making another big screen version I was thrilled. I was a little concerned that too much Hollywood affect might destroy it, but my hopes were high, especially when I found out Robert Downey Jr would be portraying Holmes. A perfect selection I think......I never would have considered him for the role, but when I saw the previews, ahhhhhh perfect.
So what did I think of the actual movie? I liked it. Obviously as a long time Holmes buff and truist there were details I didn't care for and little mistakes that I caught. Like the fact that the movie portrays Watson's fiancee is a woman Holmes has never met, when in the stories she was actually a woman they had helped which is how Watson met and fell in love with her. Also the fact that they implied there was an intimate sexual history between Holmes and Adler when that was never implied in the stories. Only that Holmes had an affection for her and esteemed her higher than all other women. Plus, to be honest, I really didn't care for the whole Irene Adler aspect of this movie at all....I mean, don't get me wrong, she did an excellent job acting the part and it was very well written...I just found it too much of a deviation from the original texts. Like I said, I'm a truist so while I don't mind some creative liscense, I just thought her character was a bit much.
The other thing I didn't particularly care for was the extreme focus on, "the dark arts". Now by it's very nature Holmes stories were edgy for their time and pretty macabre, but the EXTREME deviance into the occultic subject matter here was a bit much for me. I'm sorry, I've had my fill of that kind of thing with years of Harry Potter garbage in the media and now the whole Twilight saga garbage in the media.....I'm really tired of it. I want a good mystery, a macabre mystery....like the original works......NOT yet another occultic study.
SIGH............so, I'm not implying I didn't like the movie, I did actually, very much. It was EXTREMELY well done, Guy Ritchie did a phenominal job with it, he really did. I sincerely hope they make a sequal, a little closer to the original stories though. The actors were all very well chosen and all did a superb job with their characters. The effects were spectacular, the picture was literally a visual work of art to watch as far as the creative cinematography, and the soundtrack!!! Ohhhhhhhh the soundtrack! IT was honestly my favorite part of the entire movie! As soon as I can work that into our budget I'll be making a purchase of the soundtrack cd.
I appreciated the fact that there weren't hoards of foul language, there were no gratuitous sex scenes or nude romps. Not that I'm a prude, I'm really not.....I'm a writer, I have no problem with those things if they TRULY further the story.....but honestly, how often is that the case? So I really appreciate any screenwriter who is sufficiently talented to completely carry a story that isn't lacking in any way and not use a single one of those things. So I don't know what other reviewers think of the movie....I don't really care actually...I rarely listen to them, but overall I liked it, maybe you will too.

So all in all it was a really good day, and a good cap for the week.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010


I had honestly planned on staying home tonight even though our church was having a coffee house. Not that I didn't want to go, I did, but honestly....it's a half hour drive, in the snow and I just wanted to stay home and chill. HOWEVER, Ben was all excited to go and made a big batch of his famous salsa and I don't ever want to be responsible for stealing a moment of joy from him, so we went. Now I'm glad that we did. It was a lot of fun and it's always nice to hang out with our extended family. Lots of good food, good music, good friends and good fun.
Here are a few pics from the night. I didn't get to take as many as I had planned, but that's ok.
The first one is Jess, she'll kill me if she sees the pic, but she doesn't read this blog so I'm safe...LOL. She was surprised by some of the girls on the worship team to do a karioke of the Grease song, Beauty School Drop Out. LOL......the girls put silver Christmas trees on their heads to re-create the scene from the movie. Oy-vey too much craziness for a non-alchoholic party.

Then after the ball dropped in Times Square there was an impromptu kick line to Auld Lang Syne.

Normally we stay and help clean up after this kind of thing, but honestly, neither of us felt like it tonight and there were enough people helping, so we made a run for it.
Anyway, it's super late, I'm tired, the bear is already sleeping and so is the boy...so it's short and sweet tonight.
May all of you have a year filled with blessings, joy overflowing and more peace, health and happiness than your lives can contain in 2010. May abundance cross your doorstep everyday and may hope fill every place in your heart that used to be filled with despair. Moreover, may the love and mercy of God flood over you and yours from the tops of your heads to the soles of your feet.
Good night all, and God bless!