It's that time of year

2009 is drawing to a close. Although I'd like to think I have something substantial to say about it-- I don't. However, I do plan to do more thinking about what it means to be starting another year with a new name and a WHOLE LOTTA POTENTIAL!!! I normally have good intentions of making New Year's Resolutions, but rarely the time to realize the new year's coming rather quickly. This year, I have started---and it's not even December 31st!

What about you? Are you making any new year's resolutions? What's your favorite thing to do to bring in the new year? Do you have a tradition you stick to each new year?

Jon and I were planning on doing the Frosty 5K... but I'm not sure if that will happen. I suppose I will talk to him about it tomorrow. I've heard they have great prizes, and even though our time would be horrendous, I'm certain it would be fun. AND---it would be a great way to start the new year.

Perhaps--- if we don't participate in the race, (who wants to pay race fees right after Christmas!?) then I think we should send in our forms for a half-marathon this spring. Now THAT's also a great way to start out the new year!

I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be back before the year's over. Here's hoping 2009 is working it's way out the door to usher in an even greater year!



Christmas Letter Part II

So, I managed to send out my version of a Christmas letter in the form of a "Top 10" list. Due to the expansion of the family, there wasn't a WHOLE lot left to say. I'm hoping that some years we can just do something a bit silly or the top 10 most embarrassing things. Anyways, without much thought beyond that I saw this last night on Jay Leno. Honestly I've seen it about 8 times now. It's funny and it pretty much encompasses every reason I have to be paranoid about sending out a Christmas letter. But at the same time, it might make me think twice about the kind of person that would really think this---they don't deserve a letter if they feel this way about you!

So, not to make any of you letter senders any more paranoid! Just laugh and enjoy!
(and I'll cross my fingers I figured out how to embed it properly!)

A Question...

If you've read between 1/3 and 2/3 of a book and you can't seem to get any further, should you really walk away?

I habitually start books. Or maybe I should say that I chronically begin them? I typically make it at LEAST 60 pages. And then I stop. Perhaps I'm a harsh critic? I don't usually leave the book saying I hate it, I just can't make myself finish. In fact, I tend to see it as MY problem for not being able to complete the book. I read 1/3 of "She's Come Undone" in a few days. But now it's been a couple of months and I'm still not done. At this point, I'm not sure if there's any ending that will satisfy me as a reader. It hasn't been a bad book, but at the same time it's been torture---I know that doesn't make any sense, but it did in my head.

More than a year after I started "I Am Legend" I did actually finish it. It wasn't great. I still haven't seen the movie even though I know they are very different. I'm glad I can say I finished it and tuck it away in my "finished" column, I guess.

Should I consider it a character flaw that I don't "finish what I've started"? Or am I really just saving myself time by avoiding the end of books that have already lost my interest?


So this is Christmas

Quickly, I'd like to share.

The Christmas cards are nearly done. They were supposed to be completed last weekend, but it didn't happen. Handmade items take a lot of time, especially with 2 kids in the house.

Christmas shopping is close enough to be called done. I should probably still get my brother some socks.

Next? Christmas candy. I've purchased all the necessary supplies. This year my goal is to keep it simple. 3 kinds of candies, that's all.

This weekend is full of Christmas events, which I'm pretty excited about. Hopefully I'll get evidence of some (or all) of them here or over on the "family site."

I have quite a few things I've been pondering, but it's too late for me to spit them out, especially since I don't have any homework I'm avoiding.

Hope your holiday plans are progressing nicely. Prepare!



the first issue with christmas

Every year I contemplate the Christmas card issue. Every year I cannot decide what/if/when/to whom we should send a Christmas card. I have moments where I want EVERYONE to get one. But then I think about how impersonal that often ends up being. I just sign our name at the bottom of a card. "Gee Thanks" I imagine the recipient saying under their breath. Jon's a pretty big fan of Christmas letters. I understand his enthusiasm, but he's not the one that's going to write it. I've spent all too many years editing my parents' and grandparents' letters and refuse to write the kind of letter they wrote. I understand that it's important to be thankful for your health as you age, but I'm not going to write about gall stones or my labor process in a Christmas letter. There are a few clever, and somewhat witty letters I've come across over the years. The ones that stick to the basics are fine... I just envision something more. And, at the same time, I realize that some years they may be more interesting than others.

Along those same lines, do I need to send the letter to everyone that I send a card? Some people will already know everything that I include in the letter... or at least I think they do! So this is my first Christmas complex.

I'd like to write a corny letter like the SNL bit from the cat--- and then from the dead cat. But I'm not sure everyone would get it. (Clip thanks to cat sitter in the city!)

At least this year I could promote my blog and the new up and coming family blog over at callstromfamily.blogspot.com


a shower thought

First of all... isn't it weird that the most RANDOM things come to you when you're zoned out in the shower!?!?

I decided that the term "fell off the wagon" really should be updated. I mean seriously, WAGON... no one rides on wagons.

I'm sure some of you could think of something fabulous, but so far all I've come up with "went offline."




True Story here.

I was looking at my followers. My faithful friends cheering me on from the sidelines, quite literally. And, thinking I was clicking to follow one of them... I began following myself!

Time to call it a day!




As we were leaving the park last night. E was afraid that the sand "castle" (a pile of sand with some sort of trash sticking out of it) she made for Jesus would soon be forgotten by Him. I quickly assured her that God cannot forget anything, and then as I realized the fallacy in that--I told her that there is only one thing that God forgets. "When we make bad choices and we ask God to forgive us, He forgets all about it. That's the only time He forgets anything."

To which she replied, "That's good cos then He won't be frustrated." Trying to take in her thought and listen to the lesson we're learning together "Yes, that's right. God does not get frustrated with us."

Yet another reminder that God has something for us to learn. everyday.



November is longer than the other months with only 30 days...

but only by 1 hour.

As I kept checking back at the clock this morning to make sure I wasn't sleeping in TOO late, I had a MARVELOUS idea.

We should get an extra hour of sleep EVERY Saturday night. I realize that this will create a problem in the long run... and then I quickly discovered a simple solution. Every Friday we could lose the extra hour, say 12pm would suddenly vanish that day. Jon says that we shouldn't know what hour will be gone--- so that way when you're working away and you look up, you're quite surprised to see that it's already been 2 hours since you last looked at the clock! Sounds great to me!

I think we could make it work...


Good friends are the people in your life that not only accept you for who you are... but somehow, quite effortlessly, make you feel "normal."



Good Thought

A quote on my friends f-book profile caught my eye...

Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards. - Soren Kierkegaard

I dig it.


I wish I could go

Back in time

To see

If people have always been so inconsiderate

This isn't said towards any one specific person/circumstance.

And, I imagine I'd find what I find today. Which, is exactly why I needed to say it.

And... I don't say it thinking that I'm any more considerate than the next person. I do try to be, but I can't really say that anyone else doesn't. It does feel that way at times. But that's part of the definition of inconsideration is, isn't it?


Just Because

I've just now realized why my blogging is so sporadic. I like to blog whenever I need to escape. And it's not that everything is so amazing that I no longer feel the need to escape, it's just that there are so few times that I do escape and so many other ways that I choose over blogging. Like what you ask? Like running. Like making cards/invitations. And shopping. And going to Borders sans children. Wait, going anywhere sans children--- or even going places with only 1 kid. Hanging out with friends, usually at my place.

Running: Just like last time, I managed to gain 70+lbs with this pregnancy. So, even though weigh around 35lbs less than the day I gave birth, I still have a long ways to go. AND, even though my stamina is, uhmmm, sucky I can still manage to jog longer than 1 minute at a time. Long enough, in fact, that it is already enjoyable. Better yet: once I manage to make it out of the house with the girls, there's totally childcare at the Y! AND (as if it needs to be better) they remember Elseigh (spelling included) from when I took her there around 2 years ago!

Cards/Thank You's/Invites: Creatively expressing myself is the best. The downfalls: $$$ & E wants to use my glue/ribbons/punches/stencils/stamps. That wouldn't be much of a problem except for the fact that she's not any better at cleaning up than I am and, a related problem, things get lost. I'll be posting some of my "work"--- eventually.

I would keep going, but the rest are pretty obvious. And both kiddos are back at home. Oh, and there are so many things to tackle before a dear friend comes over... but I think she might be in the driveway.


Just testing.
Technology is an awesome way to... waste time, but I dig it.



So, once again it's been a while...and I'm okay with that.

I've considered eliminating this blog all-together, but just can't make myself do it. I'm okay with that, too.

It looks as though tomorrow I will be giving birth to my second child, my second daughter. I've had such an amazing week off from work to spend with my first, it's been a precious week. And tomorrow I will see the face of another source of overwhelming blessings and an array of emotions. I'm thankful that I know more than I did the first time, that I am so much more aware of all that I have to look forward to. It's good to see that despite the seemingly endless nights, your children begin to bless and teach you in bigger ways than you ever thought possible at such a young age. They are mirrors of the good and the bad and I'm thankful to have grown right along with them on many levels.

I know that I will be frantic many days, my house will never be as clean as I would like it, and that my schedule and my mood may not be what I'd planned on...

but I do know that it is exactly what HE wants for me.


On articles and internet connectedness

Unfortunately, a couple of days ago, as I sat at home with my sick daughter, I ran across a few "news" articles. I'm not sure if they should really be classified as news, but they were newsweek articles.

So, the problem with these articles is how they were talking about how we spend out time on social networks like Facebook. And basically now I have a complex.

Why? In part I guess I can relate to Steve Tuttle's article, but at the same time, there are days when the most connection I make with people via interface rather than face to face. (I'm not sure my pun works, but let's just pretend!)

I know I'm much more likely to bare my soul in print rather than in person. But at the same time, I've also been immensely hesitant in making big announcements to the facebook community. Or even online.

A friend of mine openly admits to internet stalking.. I don't deny the same practice, nor do I think anyone who doesn't (admit to) spy on others is any better than the rest of us. Hmph. I don't think I'm getting anywhere.

Maybe it comes down to my idealistic mindset. Ideally, we would all be able to make genuine connections in person. Ideally, we would all have TIME and ENERGY to make face to face connections and write more hand-written notes. But in reality, most of us don't have (or often make) time for more genuine intimacy in our friendships and acquaintances. And, because of our desire to connect, the internet has done far more than anticipated. It has, indeed, brought connections where there would be none. But it has also handicapped us into relying on it for far too much than we ever should have.

So, once again I'm encouraged to be a little less concerned about cyberspace and focus a bit more on being genuine in the real-world. But, it's still pretty hard to pick up the phone...


Today's Random Musing

For today, the sound of hearing E sing "Sponge Bob Square Pants" is just about as good as it gets.

(And for the record, she's been sick, so it's great that she's not only stopped running a fever, but now I have an indication she's also feeling good!)



On blindness

A few months ago, I learned that I'm a "squinter." No, not because I need to see the eye doctor, but because I live in the "West." Each morning I drive into the sun to get to work, and each evening I drive back into the sun to get home. The sun is blinding. And, the whole idea of those unique things called sunglasses, well, I'm just not that organized. I've bought them, but presently, I own none.

So, as I approach the highway to turn East a few mornings ago. I was listening to one of my usual Christian-based radio stations. I can't recall what I was listening to, but it may have been a song or talking or something else as nearly as irrelevant. It was just at that point that I had a mini-revelation.

Judgmentalness is blinding.

When I am standing back and judging the person to my right or to my left, I am closing off the parts of us that are the same. I am not allowing myself to see the truth. The person I'm judging may be facing terrible pain or frustration or God-only-knows what else, but my attitude can so easily keep me from seeing the truth. My judgmental mask blinds me from being compassionate or showing them tenderness at a time when they may need it or be blessed by it. When I assume the person in the car in front of me cut me off on purpose or guy in the checkout line in front of me is being irrational--- I am unable to see that he may have just lost a job, a loved one, or might just be having a rough day.

And tonight, in light of that thought...

E and I went to "fat" freddy's. The place was completely packed so we both decided it would be fun to go to the car to eat. So, I lugged my ever-expanding self and E pleasantly walked with to me back to the car. I had a bag, two drinks and two "cups" of ketchup, oh yeah, and my purse, AND I was somehow holding E's hand. So, when we reached the car, I set the bag of food on top of the car... I heard the wind shaking the bag, but I was still quite surprised when the sack blew off and all of our fries fell onto the ground (oh, and of course the ketchup fell then, too). I looked down at the fries. Well, crap... I didn't want to pay for more fries, and I didn't really want to go all the way back in to see if they would give us more. Although I wasn't overly upset, I certainly felt kind of defeated. And then...

There was a lady in the car next to us. I'd seen her inside with two daughters. And inside, I actually thought she seemed a bit on the grumpy side of neutral (but perhaps that was just her facial expression, or maybe she just wanted to get out of the crowded venue). They'd gotten their food just before us. And you know what? She got out and said, "did you lose all your fries?--- Here, you can have mine." To which I replied: "Are you sure?" And she said, "Yes, take mine, I never eat them all anyways, and I have two others to eat from." And she proceeded to help my gather all my stuff and move the 3 12-packs of soda that E didn't want to sit on like mock booster seat. It's funny because I was embarrassed at all the stuff in the front of the car, yet had to laugh because I'd actually "cleaned" my car this week. (Before that cleaning day we could have only eaten in the trunk.)

So, I'm grateful that this other mom didn't look at me and think I was stupid for not having my stuff together. And she didn't condemn me for not expecting this terrific Kansas wind to knock everything off the car. Her kindness truly blessed me, and I sat happily eating those fries without any ketchup whatsoever. I didn't need them to begin with, but I am truly grateful for her compassion.

With those (and other) simple reminders, it has become increasingly easier to remember that when it comes to being gentle, loving, kind and compassionate with others...

I'd rather give freely due to my understanding that I am clueless about what's going on in/around the person in front of me, than judge them and blind myself from the possibility of seeing the truth.

And the truth is---

We all need compassion, grace and sometimes just a genuine smile because we are each more fragile than we let on.

And honestly, I hope I can live in that truth a moment longer tomorrow than I did today.


Is all this REALLY necessary?

Although I'm certain I come across something personally appalling and quite ridiculous on a daily basis, (and yet somehow still consider myself to be quite content and pleasant most of the time). Today I just have to ask, is it REALLY so necessary to use APA? Do colleges not realize that we've spent the last four-ten years trying to grasp standard MLA, and then one day you enroll in an education, psychology or business class and "WHAM!" they throw this at you. There are reasons people come and give special presentations and spend countless hours learning the senseless details to APA format. The education professor is not going to teach you every detail, she has recruted an APA "Specialist" and will give you a forty page example merely trying to explain the format, heading and even style requirements for beloved APA.

And, perhaps this is also why my high school teachers chose not to mess with it!

Yet, despite my grumbling, I'm grateful I spent a semester trying to learn it. At least it's not too hard to recall now that I'm proof-reading my husband's paper.

It's strange how even the little things come full-circle.


The first of many endeavors for 2009

So, I've started something of a little book club. Some days I'm not sure I'm exactly the kind of person that I'd want leading a book club, but selfishly I need some deadlines or else I will read the first 50 pages of every book in the book store (well, almost). Strangely, it doesn't really matter how well I like a book, I can always walk away from it. Book number one: The Shack by William P. Young was our first endeavor. There was a lot I liked about the book, yet I'm not entirely thrilled with their push for people to talk about it, blog about it and tell everyone they know in every form of media how great it is. I personally loved it, and that's about all I'm going to say about it here. Next on the list--- Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I've owned this book for a while and am excited to be reading it more thoroughly this time through. After we make it through the Boundaries book the next book to make it on the list is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Since this book is over 500 pages, I've gotten a small head start on it and so far... I'm pretty psyched about it. The ridiculous part is---I think this a book that I would get so much more out of if I were forced to write a paper. The things I miss about college. Sigh.

And, actually, that's the end of the list. What's embarrassing is that, although I suggested the first book, I have yet to commit a work to the list for this year. Yikes! Should I look for a classic I've always wanted to read, one I've already read that I would like to skim and discuss more thoroughly, a hot new read, one already endorsed by some famous person/show etc., one with "book club" discussion questions in the back??? Presently, there are so many books on my list I do not see how I could single one lonely novel out. What about the rest? When can it be their turn? Perhaps I will pick out three and the "club" can decide the fate of my book-reading future.

Ultimately no one's losing. I'm back to reading, and perhaps I'll find myself thinking or even blogging with purpose once again. Reading's a good enough start for me.