Thursday, November 29, 2007

Prayers for a 5-week old

John Wesley Tuttle is undergoing surgery today. He is a 5 week old baby boy that has been experiencing gastro issues with projectile vomiting. While I don't have all the details or the correct medical terminology, I've learned that there is evidently some muscle in/near the stomach that is preventing him from keeping his food down. Your prayers for John Wesley are appreciated.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thanksgiving Prayer

O gracious and loving Father,

It is with thanksgiving we pray for your many wonderful blessings.

First for your creation.

For the heavens and earth,

The sun, the moon and stars.

For the vast and beautiful Oceans,

Incredible majestic mountains,

Lush landscapes,

And for all living creatures in it.

Thank you for our homes.

For the safety of living in this country,

For the freedoms to live as we choose, without persecution,

And for the comforts of shelter, warmth, and food.

Thanks for our families and friends.

For fellowship,

Laughter, love,

For kindness and a cheerful spirit.

Thanks also for our health and our welfare.

And where these are deficient,

Let us remember that as we walk in faithfulness,

We are not alone,

For you are always with us.

Bless us during this feast

And make our hearts joyous.

Help us remember always your wonderful works.

Praises to God.

Praises for all of God's wonderful works!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Chaos shopping, that's what I call shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, is as much a tradition for me as having noodles on Thanksgiving Day. It supposed to be there, it should happen, but if it's missing for some reason, well, the day does go on.

It is with pleasure I set my alarm on Thanksgiving night for an early morning wake-up. Armed with sales circulars, I quietly get ready and exit the house careful not to wake the slumbering. I used to head out on my own, getting more and more charged with each purchase. Since moving to Texas, now I go out with my sister, and it is fast becoming one of my favorite shopping days ever.

Along with the satisfaction of making a huge dent in my Christmas shopping, I also get to spend quality time with my sister. Even though the stores are mobbed and the lines are long, we find precious time to visit. And we always further enhance the day by dining out for lunch. We talk about our families, our hopes, our worries.

In our fast-paced, too busy lives, if nothing more, our annual day after Thanksgiving shopping trek gives us an excuse and an opportunity to spend time together merrily and guilt-free. After all, we are accomplishing some major shopping efforts while we get together and have our fun. While sales are oftentimes now offered during the whole weekend following Thanksgiving and are certainly offered online, I would hate to see our newly created tradition of chaos shopping end. Here's to another fun and successful year of chaos shopping! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Traditional Thanksgiving Food

It's interesting to hear and compare the various foods that are served traditionally at Thanksgiving. Aside from the typical turkey (roasted or fried or both), mashed potatoes and gravy, we always serve homemade noodles. Many of us opt to use the noodles in lieu of gravy on our mashed potatoes, and what a delicious treat that is.

Our sweet potatoes will vary, some years we get a mashed variety and some years sliced and candied. Our cranberries too differ year to year, but we never use canned jellied cranberry, it is always a recipe with fresh cranberries. And it wouldn't be Thanksgiving dinner without homemade rolls; my mother's are the best!

When we lived in New England, carrot casserole was a Thanksgiving dish tradition. Sliced cooked carrots layered with Velveeta cheese and buttered Ritz cracker crumbs. Yum. I'm not a big carrot fan, but these are wonderful.

I'd love to hear more unusual but traditional foods so please feel free to add yours in the comments.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Thanksgiving Survey

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving season?
Other free polls

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good Reading

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about some of the books I’ve read lately. Here are a few that I would recommend reading.

The Weight of Water
by Anita Shreve
This is an interesting book as it is two simultaneous and interwoven stories, one set in current day and one back in time. Anita seamlessly switches between the stories and keeps the reader engaged. Set in New England, you can feel the cold winters and the storms as the present day heroine, a newspaper photographer, learns more about herself in the search for the truth of a historic double axe murder. The story line is haunting and it pulls at your emotions. Definitely worth reading.

The Desert Crop
by Catherine Cookson
Set in England in the 1880s, this is a story of family conflict, poverty and love. After his father remarries for the promise of future money, Daniel Stewart must give up his dreams of attending university and help out on the failing farm. But giving up university is only the beginning of his sacrifices as he devotes his life to his father’s new wife and their growing family. It takes tragedy to change his life course and open his eyes to true love. Enjoyable, easy to read book.

The Testament
by John Grisham
A really good Grisham book, this story involves an eccentric billionaire and his dysfunctional and greedy families, a missionary heiress, and a lawyer who embarks on a truly remarkable adventure into the jungles of Brazil. The story grabs the reader from the start and doesn’t let go. The imagery is vivid, the characters real. Hard to put down once started.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Excusinator

Something is gnawing at me. It's November. The month of NaNoWriMo, and like last year, I'm not participating.

As a writer, it seems I have a history of holdups. I remember well at a very young age handwriting the start of stories in notebooks. I still have many of those story beginnings. And all the while I would think, if only I had a typewriter, then I could really write.

Then my parents gave me an old manual typewriter, one that actually used to belong to my grandparents. Man, that thing was old. Clack, clack, clack. I can still hear the keys as I typed away more unfinished new stories thinking, now if I just had an electric typewriter, one with a correction key, then I would have everything I needed to be a writer.

What do you suppose happened? You've probably guessed...I received an electric typewriter as a gift. Beautiful thing it was, it had a semi-word processor built in and you could type a limited amount of text into it, modify or correct the text, then push a button for it to type. And type it did. That machine was fast as the blazes, and yes, it had a correction key. I marveled at the invention as I wrote more stories, albeit unfinished, and thought, wouldn't it be great to have a word processor, one that will store my stories so that I don't have to re-type them with every change?

My first one was a DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) model, and I bought it from the company I worked for. Now everything was in place for me to become a writer. The stories grew longer, even journal entries became word processed, and I was happy. Until I got to thinking how nice it would be to have the ability to do research, look up words, and other activities on a home computer, better known as a PC. Yes,
I thought, if I had a PC, then I would be all set to write magnificent stories, even novels.

I've lost count of how many PC's I've owned. I currently have two in my home, neither is more than 4 years old. Both have Word from Microsoft Office, both share a high-speed connection to the internet, both have plenty of memory and hard disk space. They are both technologically in the now, certainly sufficient for any writing career or hobby.

So what's the holdup now you must be thinking? What's left to need in order to write as I've so desired what feels like all my life? Well, this one's a hard one and unfortunately can't be bought at a store. It's time. I'm thinking, time is what I need most now.

I realize at this point, I'm not just a procrastinator…I'm also an excusinator! Every time I turn around I have an excuse why I'm not able to succeed at writing and finishing all the wonderful stories that pop into my mind. While each one of these stumbling blocks has been real, they have also not been something that should delay my writing. In fact, many a great novel was written before the advent of computers, even before typewriters.

So what does all this mean? Other than I do wish great success for my colleagues participating in NaNoWriMo, I also know it's time for me to quit waiting for everything to be perfect. I'm going to start that novel (again), but better yet, I'm going to finish it. Does this mean I'm jumping in to NaNoWriMo mid-month? No. If I thought I hadn't the time to finish a novel in the whole month, how crazy would I be to think I could write it in a partial month? I'll start with baby steps, setting some realistic and attainable goals, and write one chapter at a time.

Now to end on a very positive note, always before when I've created these obstacles in my mind, a solution has always presented itself. I can't wait to see how I can find more time in my days to spend working on my writing.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Good Luck NoNoWriMo Participants!

They're off! It's official! The race has begun!

NaNoWriMo kicked off at 12:01am last night. I wish all of my participating colleagues and friends much luck. These writer friends will have more accomplished in one month than I've been able to achieve… well, ever. I wish everyone a huge success in getting their stories written.

As you have probably surmised, I am not participating again this year. I hope not to regret the decision, but I couldn't find sufficient time in my schedule to write a 50,000 word novel this month, and I didn't want to set myself up for failure. I've been told this exercise is about finding the time. Well, I'm open to that, but we do still have to be realistic with our expectations.

Between running family members to and from work, school, soccer games, soccer practice, karate lessons, gymnastics lessons, gymnastics competitions, writers group meetings, girl scout meetings, and other events such as math club, choir, church, church Christmas play practice, 40 hours or more work each week for my employer and more, I don't have daytimes or one evening in a week free, nor are the weekends much better. I already begin my weekdays with the clock set for 4:30am in order to get done everything that needs my attention.

This isn't written for sympathy, and its intent is not whining. Rather, I am convincing myself of the sanity in this decision and hope to warrant off future feelings of regret.

Good luck to all the NaNoWriMo participants!