Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Must Read - For Everyone!!

I just finished the most amazing book: The Shack. This book was not only a great read, it was poignant, inspiring, and life-changing. If you have not heard of the book, check out their site: www.theshackbook.com If you have heard of it, but not read it, PLEASE reconsider!! This book sat in my house for several months before I was convicted enough to read it, and when I read it, I was really hooked! I couldn't wait to get back to the book each time I had to put it down (which was often since I have three children, all of whom were ill during this time).

I am not going to tell you much about the book; I am just going to tell you that it will change how you think about God... in a GOOD way. In a let-out-that-breath-you-were-holding way. In a kind of "Oh, Thank You, Jesus!" kind of way. Seriously, this book could be the difference between really knowing God and just thinking that you know God.

One thing I have said for as long as I have considered myself a Christian is this: I refuse to dictate what God can or can't, will or won't, do. I will NOT put God in a box. Boy-howdy, am I every glad I had that part figured out before reading this book! {smile}

Okay, enough about that.... Just go get the book and read it!! And the best deal is on Amazon.com.... while you are there, get more than one. Trust me. You can buy two for slightly more than the cover price, and you will want the extra one (at least!) when you finish the book! (or, you can do the book club thing and have a spouse or friend or family member read it at the same time!!) Just get the book!!

Well, I have uploaded some photos of our latest home project, The Boy's Room, to a web album. Check it out:


We'll chat again soon,
Angie

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Matter of Perspective

You know, I used to believe that I would never get married. I have been married for 7 years now. I used to wonder if I would have children of my own. I have been blessed with three. I once thought that if I went to college, I would fail. I got my Bachelor of Science degree in 4 years with a 3.7 GPA. When we moved to Tennessee in 2000, I had no friends, and I wondered if anyone would want to be my friend. Now, I have more friends than I have time to appreciate. I once believed that I was an invisible member of society. Then I became a Christian, and invisible was good - I want people to see Jesus when they look at me, not Angie.

Last weekend, as you know, my dear grandfather passed away. It was said to be peaceful, but it was -and is- painful for the rest of us. Since my grandfather served this great country in the Navy for many years, he will be honored with a special burial at Arlington National Cemetery next month. Since that day is several weeks away, my neighbors (dear friends), presented me with a touching gift last night: Willow Tree's "Hero" figurine. [Well, I should mention that I have begun collecting the Willow Tree series (which really means that my friends have been gifting me with them because I adore the style) since I was given one from an employer several years ago.] http://www.demdaco.com/detail.aspx?ID=10312 (check it out) Of course, I cried (poor Greta). It couldn't have been more perfect.

And it all got me thinking. All those things I think about myself are my own perspective. Maybe everyone thinks poorly of themselves. Maybe we are that way so we don't become egotists. Whatever the reason, I never saw myself as a valuable part of my world. Until now. I am forced to admit that, no matter my opinion of myself, it is the opinion of those closest to me that counts. Because, really, it is all a matter of perspective. And if I was half as worthless as I sometimes think, I wouldn't have such special people in my life. And those incredible people I am blessed to call friends wouldn't care enough to pick out the perfect gift to celebrate what my grandfather means to me. Certainly, I am not perfect. But I am blessed. And that is enough.

May your friends enrich your lives as well.
Angie

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saying Goodbye

There is no easy way to deal with saying goodbye to someone you love. If they have had a good life, a long life, it gives you little solace in the midst of your pain. Those who leave us have no knowledge of what life is like without them, of how much they are missed, loved, appreciated. When someone we love is taken to "a better place," there is some comfort in that, but our hearts forever lack the fullness that their life brought to ours.

Even knowing that the time is drawing near, as a loved-one "gets on in years," doesn't quite prepare us for the moment it all becomes a reality. Death. We call it many things: passing away, leaving this world, going home to Jesus, the eternal sleep. Those words help us deal with what has happened, but they do not shadow the harshness as much as we may wish them to. Death comes to us all. Our time here is limited, some more than others, and I remain grateful for those people I have been blessed to know. People who have helped to shape me into the person I have become. People who have taught me about love, friendship, family. Life. But... death. It, too, comes with this life we embrace.

My darling grandfather, a man who was also a father, husband, cribbage lover, golfer, Hershey's guy, the maker of the best KNUCKLE sandwiches.... He is with us no more. He is with our Lord, God Almighty, in Heaven. Feeling no pain, no hunger, no thirst. Just joy. Eternal Joy. There is peace in that. There is peace in penning this entry - in hopes that it honors his life. My memory of him is precious. Sharing him with you may not bring him joy where he is now, but it brings comfort to me to do so.

Grandpa always called us granddaughters "twinkle toes." He stashed chocolate in his basement and let us have at it. He gave us nickels to play his slot machine and taught us how to play ping-pong. He played many card games, and would teach us cribbage if we gave him half a minute. He laughed a lot. He was charming, always using words like "gal" as a true old-fashioned gentleman would. He had a favorite chair, which of course was pointed at the television (he was a man, after all). He and my grandmother raised four children, and lost one to breast cancer. I don't think Grandpa could make himself more than a sandwich if he had to, but that was the generation to which he belonged. He was our grandfather, an honored patriarch of the clan, and he mattered to each of us.

God took Grandpa Home last night, and I can only pray that He has His arms wrapped securely around my grandmother as she is forced to say "good-bye" to her lifemate. Grandpa lived a good long while, for sure, and he was no babe when we lost him. Oftentimes, though, the pain of losing someone is not alleviated by the number of years we have with them. Sometimes, their time on Earth just makes that much more of an impact on the world when they leave it.

We miss you, Grandpa. We love you.
Angie

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Electric Lime, Dazzle, and Toothless

This weekend, we finally conquered The Boy's room. I picked out the colors based on the quilt that I am working on, which The Boy picked out eons ago. So, since we have this reversible Outer Space quilt in the works, and The Boy loooooooves Star Wars, we decided on a Star Wars/Outer Space room. We already have a rocketship ceiling fan, and he has 2 space pictures thanks to his Aunt Joyce.

So, the colors. I picked out the blue first. The one that worked was called Dazzle. I liked it but was worried about the whole room being that color, so I picked out a second color from the quilt. It turned out that Electric Lime was just the right shade. I know, Electric Lime! It is just what you are imagining, seriously. What is totally awesome, too, is that The Boy's toy bins and throw blanket are ALL in those two colors!! What a treat! Well, it is once it is all put together. We have one green wall, two blue walls, and one half-and-half wall (which will sport a running shelf across the dividing line on which to display Star Wars things and such). Honestly, I was really concerned about what I was envisioning, as I am sure you are as you read this. BUT, it looks absolutely amazing! It is the coolest little boy's room I think I have ever seen!!! And I did it!! Well, to be honest, the hubby helped paint it, but I mean, I picked everything out and orchestrated the design, which scared the you-know-what out of me (I mean, really, people, did I mention the colors?!?!). SO, hats off to Mom on this one. I still know how to make my little boy smile his giant grin! The Boy was thrilled throughout the transformation, but putting it together for him tonight really made it real for him, and he was ecstatic!

On the subject of The Boy, I should also mention that he lost his first tooth tonight... in a ball of sticky rice... that he apparently swallowed. :-P He is now a cute, toothless wonder that will be embarking on this new and embarrassing stage of childhood known as, "please don't make me smile in that picture; you know I look ridiculous with all these holes in my mouth" - oh, the joys of childhood! We'll let him see how much fun these days are after his adult teeth come in and he realized that they are too big for his face, and then he'll probably see that toothless is not so bad after all.

Okay, I am signing off now. It has been a long and busy weekend here. (you should try painting with three small children - one of whom never had her umbilical cord properly severed... I should sue!).

Blessings and good night!
Angie

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Independence Day, America!

Well, it has been a long, relaxing weekend so far. We celebrated our nation's independence in the good ol' American way: with the grill, the neighbors, and some flashy stuff up in the sky. Lots of flashy stuff.

We learned the year after we moved in here that we need not travel to see fireworks. We need only plant our bottoms in our front yard - far enough out to get a good 360 degree view. Yup, the fireworks are plenty, and on all sides of us. This year, our city even had their own show... which was just down the street, so we got to see those over the trees as well.

Only problem we had was Dania. She started off crying and begging them to be over. "No, pop! Done! No more, pop!!" Sob, sob, sob. So, being the Mommy, I took her inside to watch television, which we had to turn up pretty loud to drown out the sounds of the "pop!" Eventually, she settled down to sleep, but she did cry out in her sleep later, "No, pop!" Poor dear.

Anyway, we are thankful to have such a wonderful thing as independence and freedom. We may not always agree with the choices of everyone in this great country, but we have the freedom to disagree. We have the freedom to do things our way. I have the freedom to work or not, breastfeed or bottle-feed, spank or not, educate at home or in public or private institutions, buy a home or rent, drink water or beer or Kool-Aid, and vote for my values and opinions. We have freedom.

Thank You, Lord, Most High, for all You have blessed our great nation with, but mostly, I thank You for the vision You gave our ancestors long ago... the vision of freedom. For everyone.

Thank you, Founding Fathers, for your vision and for your efforts. You started something wonderful. Something we can all be proud of. Something we can all appreciate. Something we should all be thankful for.

Happy Independence Day!
Angie