30 May 2007

I Have Trouble With Forward Motion

Recent events in my life have had me thinking about this song by Relient K, one of my hubby's favorite bands. And this song, for some reason unbeknownst to anyone but God, makes me think of Abraham. The guy sometimes just had a hard time connecting his identity as a chosen one with his decisions about how to move forward through life.

cause forward motion is harder than it sounds
well every time i gain some ground
i gotta turn myself around again

Kind of reminds me of someone else I know who's had some recent events in her life.

Completely outside of that, life in this fallen world offers up it's own "delightful" set of stumbling blocks. Often one right after the other.

too many turns have turned out to be wrong

Abraham had a bit of trouble with forward motion.
I suppose that meeting the Creator God Almighty for the first time ever and only sharing a relationship with Him for a few short decades makes it understandable that he'd stumble a bit here and there. When you're just getting to know The Great Mystery of the Universe you might take one step forward, two steps back. Frequently.

4,000 years later, I have the benefit of the complete revelation of Scripture, the presence of the Holy Spirit, the redemption and inheritance of Jesus Christ. I don't have the excuses Abraham might have had. But, like Abraham, I've got trouble with forward motion.

Praise God that His grace and favor are granted to me, measure upon measure.
Praise God that He is ONLY forward motion. No stopping to smell the roses (ok, well maybe, just because He created them and they give Him pleasure), no dithering, no weighing the options, no veering to the right or to the left, no looking over His shoulder longingly at what might have been.
Praise God that it is this same power and determination that is made strong in my weakness.

it's good to
to experience the bittersweet

to taste defeat
then brush your teeth

Because Jesus knows I am made of mere flesh and will struggle with forward motion until Kingdom Come.
Praise God that He's the one moving me forward. In spite of myself. Until Kingdom Come.

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29 May 2007

Ignite Thought, Expand Community

This just in... SoulPerSuit will be featured in the premiere issue of Three One Six journal!

Three One Six will publish all types of work dealing with the Christian faith. From devotional, personal essay, commentary, inspirational and more.

Including art.

Did you catch that?


Consider submitting your work and expanding the creative community. As iron sharpens iron...

(Click the logo above to get to 3.1.6.'s submission guidelines. The first issue is expected in mid-June.)

Back to the Blogging Board

I'm slowly but surely coming back to the blog. Notice the MP3 player is back up on my blog. notice, however, that it is not playing anything. :( Despite uploading a song to it, oh, four or five times in a row this weekend. Double :( . Some things are just not worth the effort. I'm trying to decide if this very cool (in concept) MP3 player falls into that category.

You'll find today's post from me over at SoulPerBlog. It's about one of my favorite books to flip through when I want some creative infusion.

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24 May 2007

No Man's Land

I'm sitting here in Panera, with my kids climbing the walls and spreading baguette crumbs hither and yon.

There is no Internet access in my home these days.
There are no functional PCs either.
The hubby is on a business trip.
There are two giant family weddings coming up.
There are all the exciting activities and social events that go along with a family wedding.
Times TWO.
There's a child with a sprained ankle in my house.
Same little one that recently broke her arm.
There are family best friends coming for a visit.
There is an impending trip to the West coast to prepare for.
There are several things I'm forgetting to mention here.

I'm a melancholy personality. I can't handle a full plate for too long. The plate is going to be very full for a very long time. Bear with me.

I'm in blogging No Man's Land.

15 May 2007

Another Day, Another List

1. I love that my husband takes care of our family. Including (but not limited to) canceling a credit card account that's run amok by nefarious flower/tennis shoe/computer parts ordering thieves. I love that he is willing to take on the administrative task of keeping our finances in order. I love that he hands me the money and all I have to do is spend it. Wisely.

2. I love that my kids are good shoppers. They trekked with me back to the Stuff Mart today and we pepped ourselves up on the way in. "Ok, we know where everything is that we want. We spent all of yesterday morning tracking it down. Let's just get in there and make a bee-line for everything we had in our cart yesterday. (Except, of course, soap flakes.) GO TEAM!" The girls did beautifully.

3. I love that our credit card company keeps an eye out for suspicious charges. They're looking out for us. (kinda)

4. I love that today's venture at Stuff Mart took us a mere third of the time that it took yesterday.

5. I love checkbooks! They come in real handy when your credit card is on the fritz.

6. I love that I ran into my smiling neighbor in the Stuff Mart today. Had I not had to go back to re-shop there this morning, I would have missed her and her drooly baby boy. She had great sympathy for my plight, and Drool Boy gave me a sweet wave good-bye.

7. I love that I'm finally done with Stuff Mart for a long, long time.

8. I love that we got an impromptu lesson in credit, finances, password protection, theft and credit card fraud. Those are good life lessons for kids.

9. I love that there's more to my life than financial security and the convenience of one-stop shopping. Yes, I was royally ticked yesterday. And rather weepy too (lack of sleep makes the emotions raw, what can I say?). But today is a new day. The sun is shining and the garden's looking lovely. I love that for my eight hates from yesterday, I can write about NINE things that I love. It reminds me of the verse, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." I'm moving on, Baby.

14 May 2007

My Eight Hates

Sandi tagged me a while back for an "eight random things about me" post.

Thought I'd get some things off my chest on this Monday to beat all Mondays for me.

1) I hate shopping. I resent the pressure push to buy, consume, buy and consume some more. I hate wandering around the Stuff Mart, trying to find things like Downy soap flakes. Are they in the laundry section? That's clear on the other side of the store. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. Nope, not there. Could they be in the household cleaners? That's the other side of the store. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. See anything? Huh uh. Maybe they keep them with the baby items since it's kind of a gentle laundry option for those with smooth and untainted skin. That section is back by the laundry goods. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. Hunting high and low to find.... nothing.
Ask the Stuff Mart employee who's stocking shelves nearby.
"Uh, soap flakes? What're those? Did you try the laundry section? Nothing there? Well then they'd be in the household care aisle. Oh, tried that too? What are you talking about again? Soap flakes? I've never heard of those. Let me see if I can get someone on the walkie-talkie to help... ... Oh, ok, ma'am, we don't carry soap flakes. You might want to try Stuff-O-Rama or order them on-line."

It just sucks the thrill right out of making my own garden soap-on-a-rope.

2) I hate bringing my kids with me when I shop. I dislike subjecting them to Number 1, although they are pretty patient people. I hate to add climbing on the cart, scurrying in and out of clothing racks, quietly trying to holler for them to catch up with me and stop looking at the movie cases, and little people bouncing between reading the tabloid magazines and asking me for all the candy in the checkout lane. Number 1 is distasteful enough, folks.

3) I hate checking out at Stuff Mart and attempting to pay, only to discover my credit card is declined. While the kids climb on the cart asking me for candy, and I have no soap flakes.

4) I hate it when the lady behind me in line sighs loudly from the inconvenience of my card (that won't work) and and my cart-climbing kids. I hate it that the cashier has no clue why my card is declined, or even how to call a manager over to help him interpret what his computer register is asking him to do about it.

5) I hate it when I call my husband from the store lobby to tell him the credit card was declined and I had to put everything back (except for the candy that I relented and bought for my cart-climbing children), only to find out he knew it was going to be declined.

6) I hate it when people steal my credit card number and charge thousands of dollars to my account, therefore causing the credit card company to freeze my account, and then my husband to formally close the account.

7) I hate not knowing this ahead of time. I hate it when our candy runs out. I hate it that they don't carry soap flakes.

8) I hate it that I have to go back and do it all over again.

08 May 2007

Art Community: Community Art

I'm starting a commune. An arts commune.

No, not really. But I posted about art and community over at SoulPerBlog today. It's my first stop on a small tour of the community building aspect of art.

07 May 2007

Homeschool Resource Cataloging

My sister-in-law and I were brainstorming about a way we could share our homeschooling materials with each other so that we don't duplicate books and spend a lot of unnecessary cash. Ideally, we'd be helping to teach each other's children, but she lives 2 hours away so that's just not a possibility. Darn.
But since we share a similar homeschooling world view and read a lot of the same books, it stands to reason that we would likely invest in the same homeschooling materials. So we asked ourselves, why not share our resources?
She lives 2 hours from me though, remember?, so it's not like we can just pop over and take a gander at each other's bookshelves when we're preparing for the next unit study.
What to do, what to do?

I've heard about LibraryThing which is a home library cataloging site. Today I went and checked it out. Basically, you type in all your book titles and you're instantly connected with other book lovers and their book lists. You can swap books, read each other's list of favorites, get book recommendations, look up ISBN numbers and Dewey Decimal locations- the whole kit and caboodle.
Except it's only for books.
We have music. And movies. And themed action figures. And science kits. And I'd probably even catalog my vast selection of cardboard boxes and tempera paints, and my hubby's tools on there if it'd let me. (You just never know what a homeschool parent is going to require for any given unit.)

So LibraryThing, while a very cool idea, is just not going to do it for me.
What to do, what to do?

After Christmas shopping on Amazon.com, and receiving a few items from a wish list I'd created there (that I'd completely forgotten about), I got to thinking, "Why can't I use an Amazon Wish List for my homeschool catalog?" So I tried it today and am thrilled with the results so far.

Here's what I like about it:
- After creating my "wish list" (which is Amazon's term, I'll just go through and mark that each item has already been purchased so Christmas this year won't find me receiving five copies of a CD I already own), my sis-in-law can quickly scroll through and see which books I have on my shelves, located a 2 hour drive away.
- On Amazon.com, she can usually see the book cover, read some reviews, get the ISBN number, and often times can even get a peek inside the book (I love this feature!) to see if it's what she is really after for her homeschool unit.
- If I don't own what she is looking for, Amazon also includes other recommendations for books along the same subject matter...
- for which she can access the same detailed information as above to decide if that's the book for her. If she likes it, and wants to spend the $ on it, she's already "in the store" so all she has to do is press "Add to Shopping Cart."
- And Amazon carries music, video games, toys, movies, and clothing. I could add it all to my catalog and sis-in-law would now know that I also have toy Jamestown Settlers and Powhatan Indian figures, and a DVD on the Jamestown Settlement to go along with that upcoming Early Settlers unit she's planning.

The downsides I've found so far:
- There is no real search option for the wish list. Sis-in-law can sort my list by toys, music, books, games, etc. But she can't type in keywords like "Plymouth Colony" or "Art Resources" to narrow the field.
- Obviously, not everything is in the Amazon system. Many of my older books are listed without cover photos or inside peeks, and some of my very old and/or privately published and sold items are nowhere to be found. (I have a CD of Colonial American music I picked up in Williamsburg last summer that I couldn't find in the Amazon system. I assume that's because it's produced and only distributed in select Williamsburg stores.)

This has been a public service announcement from Green Grass, Quiet River School. We hope it helps someone out there in homeschool blog land.

05 May 2007

Four Your Information

Christianne tagged me with this meme. I'm so proud I know what "meme" means now. Can you believe a quasi-French speaker never picked up on that? (Pathetic.)
I'm sure you can believe the amount of parentheses I have somehow managed to toss around here. (I guess I really like them.) Read on. (If you don't mind.)

Four jobs I've had: hotel maid, floral designer, art teacher, Domino's pizza insider-extraordinare (my kids think it's completely cool that I can toss pizza dough up in the air like the pros)

Four places I have lived: Albuquerque, a Virginia Tech dorm, a basement room with a huge furnace and one teeny tiny window in my closet (my housemates called me "Furnace-rella"), a hotel room in Kishinev, Moldova

Four movies I watch over and over: Sense and Sensibility, Lord of the Rings, Casablanca, Band of Brothers (we don't really own anything else)

Four favorite foods: Mexican food, lemon tarts, cafe mocha, salads (with spinach, not lettuce)

Four favorite TV shows: Antiques Roadshow, Lost. I'm out of answers here- we don't have a TV

Four places I'd rather be right now: Europe, the beach, an art museum, out in the garden basking in the sun and feeling the grass between my toes

Four things I wonder about: What the heck happened to my blog's MP3 player??? It has vanished.
Is there a spot on dry land where mankind has never set foot?
How long will I continue to strive and strain against the Lord's will in my life?
What should I make for dinner? (When I'd really rather be out in the sunny garden with the grass between my toes.)

Four people I tag to complete this survey: Greta, Kelley, Erica, and Patricia.

Picking Up the Pace

We're picking up the pace over at SoulPerBlog.

This week, San asks us to reminisce about how each of us got our creative start. Who was it that first planted that seed in you? What was the medium that enabled your creative growth to take off?

If you enjoy talking about art and creativity, and if you enjoy talking about God and spirituality, swing by and join the conversation.