Sunday, December 30, 2007

Are You Qualified?


Job Title: Miss Barb

Job Code: MB-1

Department: Family of God

Job Grade: C-1

Revision Date: 12/30/07

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): Exempt (works for kisses & hugs)

Position Overview

Treats children as the blessing from God that they are. Loves them as if they were own. Respects parent(s) position; cannot usurp their authority.

Essential Job Functions

•Faster than a speeding child. Yelling “STOP” can be used in place of speed.

•Able to leap toy trucks, Polly Pockets, or other tiny paraphernalia. Otherwise, shoes with firm soles, balance and/or high pain tolerance required.

•Patience that lasts the length of a Sunday School class or babysitting session, whichever is longer

•Must know the importance of snack and provide when able

•Listening and ability to fake understanding of garbled pronunciation; but should never fake interest in topic. Interest must be genuine.

Non-essential Job Functions

•Knowledge of Veggie Tales, and current Disney and/or Pixar movies and characters

•Able to fake knowledge of above, as needed

•Good immune system to ward off colds and other kid germs

•Strong knees to sit in tiny chairs or play “Giddy Up”

•Able to kill bugs or fuzzies that look like bugs to child



•No fear of sticky things


Other Skills/Abilities


•Story telling

•Able to express exaggerated emotions and facial features. Cannot be concerned with long term affect of wrinkles by performing same.

•Ability to act as Giant Bean Bag chair

NOTE: This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Employee may perform other related duties as negotiated to meet the ongoing needs of the organization.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Drum Roll

I have a new great-niece. Her name is Cadence Elizabeth Best (her father, my nephew Chris, has drummed in Scottish Highland bands - hence the name; her mother's name is Elizabeth).

Cadence was born on November 23, 2007, weighed 9 lbs 8 oz, and was 22" long. Judging from her initial remarks, her sister, Kaileigh (named for the celtic word for party - Ceilidh) age 2, was pretty impressed. Her first comment was "Look at my little sister. She doesn't have any teeth."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Beauty is Painful

It's been said that beauty is painful. Any woman who's suffered the discomfort of plucking, pantyhose and perm rods can attest to this truth. But more painful than any plastic surgery or curling iron burn is the process of obtaining a beautiful spirit.

Becoming godly downright hurts!

There are many verses that equate becoming godly to physical pain. Think of all the times we ladies have poked ourselves in the eye with the mascara wand and then remember "first take the log out of your own eye..." (Matt 7:5a). Let's not forget the sting of shaving nicks and razor burn, then remember "If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off..." (Matt 5:30).

While we can swear off mascara and never use steam curlers again, there's no avoiding spiritual cuts & bruises. It's pain me now or pain me later ("...for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell." Matt 7:5b).

But it turns out to be worth the effort because we all want to look good for the Wedding Feast.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mom & Dad, I Apologize

Today, I took Grace and Dora to PetSmart to buy Grace a new collar. I didn't realize that even PetSmart gets really busy during the holidays. And today, there was the added excitement of Christmas pictures with Santa!

Grace nudged a few boxes and bags of treats off the shelf and tried to walk off with one and Dora was chewing on the various chew toys hanging off the crowded racks. In addition, they were wrapping their leashes around my legs and sniffing everything with legs - four or two.

I impulsively decided to have their pictures taken with Santa. We tried a group picture but couldn't get both dogs to face the camera at once. Even magical "Elf-Dust" couldn't have helped, so went the individual route. Grace smiled nicely, but Dora was panic-stricken. TWICE she slipped her collar and tore through the crowded store, with her eyes on the automatic doors. Thankfully, quick-footed volunteers got to her before she was able to get outside.

This brings back memories of my own uncooperative behavior during shopping trips with my parents.

When the dogs and I got home, I promptly called my Dad to apologize. And I promised to send him pictures of the dogs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Walk the Line

This is not a Johnny Cash tribute. Sorry if you're disappointed

At work today, I entered in to a discussion with a gentleman about our busy lives. Both of us agreed that we enjoyed being busy and the variety our particular jobs gave us. In fact, we both remarked how impressed we were with those who have to face the same task day in, day out such as assembly line workers, medical transcriptionists, etc. Those kind of jobs would drive us crazy.

This got me to thinking how exhilarating and stimulating I find my work (most of the time). But I've also noticed it's a fine line between exhilarated and overwhelmed. And I've been spending a lot of time on the wrong side of the line. Additionally, jumping back and forth over that line is pretty exhausting, as well.

I've been told it's all about choices. And tonight I made what is seemingly an odd choice.

I had signed up for a Stress Management Class at work. The class is being held the next four Wednesday evenings. I hoped I could learn some techniques to help me handle the stresses (job, home, personal, etc) of my life. But as the time for the class approached and the thought of the next four Wednesday nights being taken from me, I started to get stressed. So I didn't go tonight and I won't be attending at all.

I stayed on the right side of the line...tonight, anyway.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Born to Pun

A comment on a recent post chided me for my puns. My response...with a last name like Best, baby I was born to pun.

Example: a few years ago, my sister Cassie was visiting. One evening as we were preparing for bed, she glanced out the window and mentioned that it was a "Brucie" moon. "Brucie moon????", I asked. Cassie explained that before I was born or when I was very little and too young to remember (Cassie is 5 years older than me, Jean 7-1/2 years older, and Bruce(ie)is 10 years older) our Mom named the different stages of the moon based on age. Bruce was the full moon, Jean the half moon, Cassie the quarter moon. So I asked, what was a Barbie moon? She didn't know if there was one. I then proceeded to show her a Barbie moon by "mooning" her.

A few months later during a family gathering someone used the word moon, which sent Cassie into a laugh attack, recalling my "moon walk". This prompted a retelling of the tale. Bruce then started laughing so hard his lips turned blue. But he was able to spit out "That was no moon. That was a planet...the planet Uranus."; to which I replied, "Bruce, I'm tired of being the butt of your jokes."

It's genetic. I cannot be held responsible.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sibling Rivalry

Dogs show dominance in many ways. One such method is by urinating in the place another dog has gone. I guess this is a case of "she who pees last, pees loudest...".

Grace is definitely top dog in our household for many reasons, but this (literal) "P*ssing" contest has risen to a ridiculous level.

When I got home from work tonight, I let the dogs out in the yard, as usual. Grace chased Dora around the yard waiting for her to relieve herself so Grace could immediately relieve herself in the same spot. Poor Dora had not a moments peece.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

On The 8th Day God Created Snacks

In my Pre-Schoolers' Sunday School class, we've been studying creation and in an effort to reinforce the lesson, I've been trying to tailor the snack with the lesson - apples for day three, gingerbread men for day 6, etc. On two particularly inspired occasions, I served Lucky Charms cereal (hearts, MOONS, STARS, and clovers...) and FROSTED animal crackers (I figured things were particularly sweet prior to the fall).

I'm concerned that I'm having fun and gaining a lot of satisfaction in my snack choices and I may be spending more time choosing the snack than preparing the lesson.

Friday, October 19, 2007

You Know Your Diet Needs Help When...

...the most vegetables you've eaten in the last month consisted of the tomato sauce on your pizzas, and the sauerkraut on your Reuben sandwiches.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Love Note

Years ago I called my parents desperate for money. They mailed me a check with the enclosed note. The first line is from my Mom. The next from my Dad. The note hung on my refrigerator for years. During a visit, my sister Cassie (begrudgingly, it seems) added the last line. This is something I'll treasure forever, and I wanted to share it with my blog friends.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Very Spooky Story

With the weather turning very fall-like, I thought it would be nice to do some baking. There was a new recipe for Layered Pumpkin Bread from Kraft Foods that I was wanting to try.

When I went grocery shopping last week, I purchased all the necessary ingredients, including a package of Neufchatel cheese.

On Tuesday evening, I did my baking and the bread turned out to be delicious. I recommend you try this recipe out. Because of the cream-cheese layer, it's a little more special than your normal Pumpkin Bread, and it doesn't require any added spreads like butter.

But here's the SPOOKY part. This evening, I reached in to the refrigerator for something when I noticed the package of Neufchatel cheese I'd just purchased on Saturday. And since I have no recollection - recent, near recent, or otherwise - of any other purchases of Neufchatel or cream cheese of any kind, HOW OLD WAS THAT PACKAGE I'D USED??????

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Murphy's Laws on Meatloaf

1. The chances of dropping the chopped onion on the floor is directly proportional to the number of onions you have left.

a. Corollary: The chances of said onion dropping in a pile of dog hair is directly proportional to the need for said (last) onion to the tastiness of the recipe.

2. The chances of noticing you forgot an ingredient after you've already started mixing the meatloaf with your hands is directly proportional to the goopieness of the mixture.

I'll let you know how it tasted later.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I am Doubly Blessed

I found this old clipping while cleaning out my spare room.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Feels Like Winter

If "to everything there is a season" then I'm in winter. And my experience with Erie weather tells me sometimes winter can last nine months. I know that there are some days that are colder than others and there is an occasional warm, sunny day thrown in; but winter in don't expect much. And as the winter drags on you begin to dread getting out of bed.

Such is the way I feel right now.

I'm tired of the dark, lonely days of winter. The iciness cuts into my bones, making it hard to stand against the frigid blasts of cruelty and selfishness, the sting of accusations against my cheeks. I know there's the sure hope of spring and summer, but they seem such a long way off and I'm cold today.

I don't know how to pray. Should I pray for a shortened winter? Should I pray for a warm coat and hat to get me through this emotional winter? At times, I feel tempted to take matters in to my own hands and just crank the thermostat of anger and revenge way up. But there's a cost to that, which I'm not willing to pay. I thank God for His wisdom in understanding this. But I can't make any guarantees that I won't slip on the slick sidewalks of temptation and fall flat on my face.

I guess this is where grace comes in to play; the God-granted ability to navigate the snowy obstacle courses without slipping, sliding and falling. Surely the hinds running through the high places encountered snow on those mountain tops. At least I'm on the flat grounds of Erie.

Come spring. Come Lord Jesus.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Burgeoning Storm

A storm brews inside of me.

My barometer falls

While the pressure inside me builds.

My heart is ready to release its torrent of anxiety

And destroy whatever is in its path.

How does one stop the onslaught?

How does one hold back the wind and the rain?

Left unchecked, it will uproot me

Leaving me to wither and die

And become but tinder.

Rescue me, Lord.

Save me from the cyclone.

Shelter me from the wicked winds.

Keep me dry and rooted

In the security of Your arms.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Heart of a Parent

The last 12 Octobers, my thoughts drift and dwell on my Mom. It's only natural since she died October 30, 1994. Today, I remembered a time in 1979, when I took a job at Conneaut Lake Amusement Park for the summer. The job required me to live at the park-supplied housing, which was not all that great. The work as a ride operator was less than challenging, the hours were demanding, the working conditions horrid, and often required the assistance of "Ecology Boys" to clean up after accidents. I HATED IT.

The morning after my first day, I called my mom sobbing, asking her to come get me. She told me things would get better and that I had to stick it out. The job didn't really get better, but I did stick it out and eventually, I no longer cried myself to sleep, made some friends and learned to deal with it. )In fact, that was my first up close and personal experience with Christians.) My dad later told me my mom said it was one of the hardest things she ever had to do.

Of late, I find myself asking God to come get me. Things here on earth are less than ideal. People are mean. Life can be so incredibly lonely. I want, I need the safety and comfort of my Father's House. But He tells me to wait. Things will get better, He promises; but in His time, not mine. And I think that even though He knows the outcome, it must hurt him to see His children suffer.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Like Father like Son

My father is a manly man. He was a City of Pittsburgh Fire Fighter who raced in to burning buildings to rescue people. He's a shot and a beer sort who had a history of putting up his dukes to anyone who would use certain foul language (the "f-word" for one)in front a his wife or children. He's got a deep, masculine voice. So it's absolutely hilarious to hear him giggle.

When he's telling a story that strikes him (but not always those to whom he's telling the story) as especially funny, his normal laugh raises a few octaves to a high-pitched giggle! Even funnier is when my brother, Bruce (almost as manly as his father) starts laughing at Daddy's laugh. Bruce's laugh progresses from a deep manly laugh to a higher pitched "whoo-whoo", to a silent struggle to breath. I've actually seen him start to turn blue! This, of course, leads everyone else in the family in to deep belly laughs.

In my family, we don't need to exercise. Laughing is an aerobic experience.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Parts is Parts

The hospital where I work belongs to a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) who negotiates contracts collectively for all it's members, thus allowing smaller institutions to garner volume pricing. The contracts run the gamut of medical products, furniture, plumbing supplies, and food. Anything a hospital might need.

Today, I was reviewing a contract update listing some new or revised contracts for various product categories - Urological products, Nebulizers, Masks, and...Further Processed Chicken. Further Processed Chicken? Not just Processed Chicken?

I think I'm going on a "no chicken" diet - processed, further processed or otherwise.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

________As If There's No Tomorrow

My house has been a wreck for months. I can't remember the last time I dusted or did any type of cleaning other than a cursory pickup. But today, I've been cleaning/dusting/picking up/throwing out like a storm! In fact, I was just thinking to myself that I'm cleaning as if there were no tomorrow. Which begs the question, if there were no tomorrow, why would I spend today cleaning?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Belated Birthday Wish

Yesterday was my blog's 2nd birthday. And in my true fashion, I'm a day late in wishing it a happy birthday.

I've enjoyed my blogging experience. It's given me a forum to share my stories and to express myself. Blogging has challenged my writing abilities. Prior to this, my writing talents had been confined to memos and policies where my vocabulary is limited to what the average hospital worker can understand.

The title of this blog was suggested to me back in high school, where my English teacher enjoyed my humor. She suggested I write a book and call it Barb's Best (she especially liked my puns). Well, 28 years post-high school and I'm not on the NY Times Best Seller List. But some people I like and admire have my blog linked to theirs. What's the NY Times know, anyhow?

Happy Birthday, Barb's Best! You've now entered the Terrible Two's.

Monday, August 13, 2007

An Economical Beauty Tip

A new treatment for dry, flakey lips and wrinkles around the corners of your mouth - eat corn-on-the-cob with lots of butter and salt. The salt exfoliates and the butter moisturizes. It's especially effective if you're a messy eater.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Nest is Emptying; I Didn't Even Know it Was Full

Christopher D is moving up to the next Sunday School level this year. After 3-1/2 years of meeting with him every Sunday morning, I'm going to miss the little guy (really, Ray & Jane - I will).

Today, during worship service, the full impact of this fact hit me - all these kids are growing up and moving on and I'm left behind.

My Barblings are 13, 10 and 9; busy with their various activities, I don't see them as often as I used to. And when I do, I'm no longer the main attraction. I'm not needed for baby-sitting and the allure of an overnight stay at Miss Barb's has been replaced by slumber parties with friends.

This is not unusual, I know. Millions of parents experience this. But as a single, childless woman, I'm not prepared for the sufferings of "empty nest syndrome". Barren womb - yes; empty nest - who'd have thought it.

There are many other children coming through the ranks - Olympia, Joseph, Timothy, Lily, Anneke, and new ones joining them - Josiah, Malachi, Owen. They're wonderful kids, and I love all of them, but they can't replace the ones moving on.

And somehow, I feel like I'm getting hit with more than my share of empty nest suffering without the benefits of parenthood.

I know, I know...I don't have the responsibilities of parenthood, either. In no way do I mean to imply that I'm suffering any more than the next person. But I love the kids and take my small role in their lives very seriously. And I never expected this as a part of being single.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping child."

-Joe Holdsworth

I might add that it's also worth stealing one from an awake child, as well; provided he's not too sticky.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Measure of a Friend

Around March I attended a Pampered Chef party hosted by my friend Elizabeth. It seemed that after every item the demonstrator displayed, I would comment "I have that; but I never use it." This brought back memories of the very first Pampered Chef party I ever attended - about 15 years ago.

A co-worker invited me to attend the party with her. And after every demonstration of pie-related paraphernalia, Karen would say, "I have that." and "I bought that." etc, etc, etc. After about eight "I-have-that's", Karen turned to me and said "Of course I never bake pies."

A month after the party, Karen came in to work with a picture of a beautiful 2-crust apple pie that she had baked. She took a picture and had it developed (remember this was the pre-digital age) as proof to her friends that she had actually baked a pie (using all her pie utensils, of course).

Flash forward to March, 2007. At Elizabeth's Pampered Chef party, they demonstrated a utensil I did not have and had never seen before. It was a really cool adjustable measuring spoon. I had to have one and I figured Karen could use one as well, so I ordered two. When I received the order, I put Karen's spoon to the side, waiting for the chance to mail it to her at her Texas home. Before that could happen, though, Dora found it and chewed it to bits.

Because I really wanted Karen to have one, I reordered another. For various reasons, the order did not come in until last week. Elizabeth gave it to me at church on Sunday and I carried it in my purse until Thursday, when I realized it might get broken. So I put it on the dining room table with the intention of mailing it on Saturday. I even found a nice little box in which to mail it. However, when I came home from work last evening, I found spoon #2 in chewed up pieces on the living room floor.

I think I'm just going to send my own measuring spoon to Karen. I really think she'll like it and besides...I don't really use mine.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Twist on Tennyson

Tennyson once wrote "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Is this true? Or more to my own experience, is it "better to have loved and lost than never to have been loved at all"?

I know I've been loved - by my family, my friends and even, as much as they are able, my dogs. But obviously, these are not the love relationships to which I am referring.

I've known people who've been in: good relationships, bad relationships, good relationships turned bad, good relationships that turned bad that turned good, bad breakups, and all the other possible combinations. I don't know if relationships are worth the agony they can bestow. I have no personal experience, and so my mind and heart are overwhelmed with questions, the loudest of which is - is it better to have loved and lost than never to have been loved at all? I've been told by people (who I assume are trying to make me feel better) that this is God's protection. I think it's just sad and lonely.

If anybody has any wisdom to impart, I'm open.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Age Spots

I've noticed in recent years that the veins in my hands are more prominent. In an article I recently read, a dermatologist explained that this is a sign of aging. Apparently, the hands are one area that actually lose fat as one gets older.

Many of the aging signs mentioned in the aforementioned article have been concerns for me - neck-creep, frown lines, the lines from my nose to my mouth... to the extent that I have thought that if I had the disposable income and could stomach the idea of needles in my face, I might seriously consider Botox. In fact, I have read enough on the subject that I actually know that those lines from my nose to the corners of my mouth are called naso-labial folds.

However, despite their age-related cause, I actually like the prominent veins and tendons in my hands. I've found myself flexing my hands in such a way as to make them appear. It wasn't until a few days ago that I understood why I liked them so much. As I was hugging one of the Barblings, I realized my mother's hands were like this. This is how her hands looked when she hugged me, held my hand, stroked my head. I remember those tendons and veins popping out as she mixed meatloaf and stuffing (with her hands, of course), as she turned pages in the books she read, as she sewed buttons on my blouses.

I'm not much like my mother in her temperament - she was much calmer than I, better organized, a better listener, a better housekeeper. But if all I've gotten from her are her hands, I show them off proudly.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I participated in my first ever bike race on Saturday, along with the Barblings 3, in the Highmark Quad Competition. I finished 341 out of 369 competitors; the majority of the 28 people I "beat" were under the age of 12 and I highly suspect that the adult contingent of those 28 were parents of the under 12 set, who faithfully stayed with their children. I, on the other hand, left my Barbling #2 behind - but I'll save that story for another day. The point is that all of us finished and did better than we ever expected.

BTW - Dad Lane finished in a blazing 40:28 (and thought he should have done better) and then turned around and rode with Barbling #3 to the finish; then turned around again to find Barbling #2 and ride her to the finish. Mom Lane, the wisest of the group, was team photographer.

Finally, another member of Faith Reformed, Elder Swanson (by virtue of his office, not his age) also competed and blew us all off the road at 37:13.

Next year, I think we should have a Faith Reformed team. Anyone else care to sign up?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Humility is like underwear; essential, but indecent if it shows." -Helen Nielson

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's a Book Thing

Check out this cool site, Library Thing. You can catalog up to 200 books from your own private library for free. A paid subscription allows you to catalog an unlimited number of books.

There's a feature that compares your library to that of other members, makes recommendations for books that you don't have (is that even possible for some of my blog audience???), allows you to write reviews and many other features.

Part of me suspects this is a "right/left-wing conspiracy" to collect information about me to be used during some future coup attempt and add me to an Enemy of the State list. But truly, when they look at my library, I'm sure they'll pass me buy. Just how threatening is a person reading "Leslie Linsley's Weekend Decorating" and "150 Ways to Play Solitare"?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ecclesiates & Grocery Shopping

A few weeks ago I was struck with a profound spiritual thought in the produce section of Giant Eagle...out of season fruit & vegetables are just more indicators of man's vain and sinful nature.

Ecclesiastes says "there is an appointed time for everything...a time to give birth and a time to die.". Yet we have abortion and assisted suicide to choose times to die and elective c-sections to choose the most convenient time and method for birth.

Despite Ecclesiastes' statements about weeping and mourning, we seem to take it as a violation of our rights if we aren't laughing and dancing

There is "a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted" - but we humans, in our arrogance, feel we're entitled to winter squash in summer and strawberries in December.

Like those in Babel, we're manipulating things in such a way as to think we have all the power. Even Christians are being subtly influenced by things like medicine and out of season produce where we no longer recognize our God who gave us such things, and could very easily take them away, if He so chooses.

So does this mean I sinned when I bought those pears sitting in my fridge? I don't think so. And I probably won't be passing up any fresh strawberries in December. But hopefully, I will appreciate my God who allowed such things, and my faith in Him and love for Him will not hinge on the availability of fresh spinach.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

My Mid-Life Cliche

With my 46th birthday fast approaching, I did the stereotypical mid-life crisis thing...I bought a convertible.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Adult Conversation

I recognize that many of my readers are stay-at-home moms (or aunt nannies) and that you often crave adult conversation. However, as one who participates in adult conversation for at least 40 hours per week, I find I crave the sound of anything BUT adults when I'm home.

There is something truly energizing when I walk in the door and say "Did you bark at the mailman today?" or "Let me scratch those cute, floppy ears." I can actually feel the weight of the world lift from my shoulders when I carry on such conversations. And this is not just with the dogs, either. It happens when I'm speaking with your kids at Sunday School or "Gardner Parties", as well.

Just goes to prove that moderation in all things, including conversation, is best.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sir Laurence Olivier

On the commute home today, I was listening to an NPR piece about Sir Laurence Olivier. Today would have been his 100th birthday.

During the report, they featured a classic clip from the movie "Marathon Man" where he played a crazy Nazi dentist who was drilling Dustin Hoffman's teeth. Listening to the actors and the drill, I could actually smell the burning odor of freshly drilled teeth! Then I realized I was driving by Ricardo's Restaurant and they were having their outdoor BBQ Rib Sale.

But I would still have smelled the burning odor even if I hadn't been driving by Ricardo's. He was that great of an actor.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hey, I Resemble This Remark!

"The maxim, 'Nothing avails but perfection,' may be spelled shorter: 'paralysis.'"
-Winston Churchill

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Sign of the Times

During the Easter season I often see references to Pontious Pilate - Pilate's thoughts, Pilate's actions. Only I often (honestly, more often than not) read it as Pilates (pi-lah-teez) - the exercise.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Cholesterol and Grace

For the past year or so, I've been very aware of a need to change my eating and other health habits. But as usual, I put them off, started and stopped a number of exercise and diet programs and basically, have done nothing.

About two months ago, I started to experience right-sided chest pain which I attributed to poor eating habits, too much caffeine, and poor stress management.

I made a doctor's appointment and my doctor ordered the usual tests - cholesterol, blood count, etc. I expected to get a wake up call that would prompt me to make the necessary changes. I got a wake up call, but not the one I expected.

I am mildly anemic, which is no surprise due to a physical predisposition to anemia. My cholesterol, though...transfat-eschewing, vegetarian, triatheletes ASPIRE to have the cholesterol levels I have. My HDL (good cholesterol) is higher than my LDL (bad cholesterol). And I do nothing to deserve such healthy levels.

Apparently, God's grace extends beyond my (spiritual) heart to my (physical) heart...and the blood that feeds it!

So what does this mean to my health habits? To paraphrase Paul, "what shall I say then? Am I to continue eating chips and diet coke for breakfast, and ignore vegetables altogether so that grace may increase? May it never be!"

I believe the message here is that grace covers every corpusucle of my being. Yes, I need to eat better and exercise more (I don't think I could eat worse or exercise less!), but even eating the recommended five fruits and vegetables and exercising thirty minutes each day, it is still God who ulitimately makes me healthy...or not. I'm to trust and obey Him, whether I'm eating a ham & cheese omelet (with a side of bacon) or an egg white veggie omelet. And during those times when I don't, His grace covers even medical science.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Profound Thoughts

What came first, spring (the season) or spring (the coiled wire)? I definitely have a spring in my step during the spring, which leads me to believe that the wire inspired the season.

Your thoughts????

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I Heard a Voice from Heaven, Like the Sound of Many Waters

For as long as I can remember, I've loved the water. More specifically, I love the sound of water - rain on awnings, wild & wicked thunderstorms (complete with lightning), waves crashing on shorlines and...the rushing waters fo a creek running high, making it's path through the rocks and stones in it's way.

My mother and my paternal grandmother both loved the water, as well; so perhaps the attraction is genetic. I only know that the waters speak to some innermost part of me. Light spring showers make me smile. The gentle lapping of waves on a beach lull me to sleep. Loud, blowing thunderstorms excite me like roller coasters - fear mixed with pleasure.

There are many instances where the voice of God is described as sounding like water - whether it be soft or loud, gentle or angry. Maybe that's why I get a thrill when I hear the waters - there is a message in there somewhere.

And now for your viewing and listening pleasure, check out Four Mile Creek.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Out of the Mouth of Babes

While we were praying during last night's Bible Study, baby Previte was chatting and gurgling away. I thought that's how we must sound to God - as babes. And His reaction is the same as mine was - a smile :)

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Year's Resolution Update

Two months of 2007 are gone so I thought you might be interested in how I'm progressing with my New Year's Resolution. If you recall, I decided to declutter my brain and my home by ceasing the purchase of magazines.

I made it through January without buying a one, unless you count the TV Guide, which I don't (it's a guide not a magazine).

The first week of February I got sidetracked in the grocery store aisle by the latest edition of Better Homes and Gardens (not even one of my usual purchases). The cover featured three of my top favorite subjects - decorating, organizing, and eating. Plus, the cover photo was a very beautiful shade of pink. Then I was taken by a copy of Real Simple - which, by the way, is not real or simple. To live their version of the simple life, one must have a lot of money. Which requires a lot of working hours. Thereby necessitating the purchase of all the life-simplifying gadgets.

This past week, all the March issues of various periodicals were released and they all feature SPRING! RENEWAL! COLOR! LIGHT! They've caused me particular temptation because I've been especially feeling the effects of winter - the cold; the lack of light; the heavy, claustrophobic feelings from being bundled up in coat and boots. I broke down and bought a copy of Prevention and a a special edition of Prevention Eat Smart. I suspect I was prompted to purchase these because of the new hope that spring brings - flowers, greenery, renewal. Perhaps by practicing healthier habits I might feel a new energy and "aliveness".

So I haven't completely stuck to my resolution, BUT by my calculations, since January 1 I've forgone 4 issues of Women's Day, 4 issues of Family Circle, Women's World, Simple Scrapbooks, Cooking Light, Good Housekeeping, Do It Yourself, Family Handyman, and umpteen others. In addition to the money saved, that adds up to a lot of magazines that are not cluttering the floors of my home (because I hate to throw them out). And more importantly, that's a lot of information that is not cluttering my mind and making me feel less than adequate.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Life Can Turn on a Dime

My sister, Jean was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and yesterday was her first appointment with her oncologist. Being the good (or curious, nagging, insistent - fill in your own adjective) sister that I am, I accompanied her.

It began as most appointments do - in the waiting room filling out paperwork. Then we progressed to the scale (I politely looked away), then to the exam room where we waited (a short time) for the doctor. Nothing unusual, so far.

Admittedly, throughout, it was always in the back of my mind that this was not a typical appointment - this was with an oncologist for treatment of cancer. But the mechanics of the experience were that of a typical appointment.

It wasn't until we checked out that feelings of being overwhelmed took hold of me. At checkout, they scheduled her for her first chemo treatment (March 16) and then scheduled her for all the other appointments that accompany this - the Neulasta shot that is administered 24 hours after the chemo treatment (to fight infection), the MUGA scan (to check her heart pre-treatment), her 2nd, 3rd and 4th chemo treatment and Neulasta shots, follow up exam with the doctor, etc, etc. She came away with a sheet full of appointments.

I've known people who've had and been treated for cancer, but never anyone this close. And if I, being one person removed from the disease, am feeling overwhelmed by all the details I can't imagine what the patient - MY SISTER - feels.

Since her diagnosis 3 weeks ago, I've not felt anxious about the disease. But after yesterday's appointment I'm becoming concerned with all the details about the treatment - the number of appointments, how to accompany her to them all, how sick will she become. Then of course, one of my prime concerns, will I say something stupid and/or insensitive that will upset her.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Responsible Thing To Do

I recently read where Scarlett Johansson, age 22, contributed the following health tip. She's said she's tested for HIV twice a year because "it's the responsible thing to do". Words fail me so I'll express myself with punctuation:

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Any More Bright Ideas, Purina?

On a dog food web site (I think it was Purina) I saw an article about how to keep your dog(s) active during the winter. One game they suggested was tossing a snowball. The snowball falls apart or gets lost in the snow and keeps the dog interested and active.

After the foot of snow Erie received yesterday, today seemed like a good time to put this idea to the test. The first couple of tosses achieved the desired results...snowballs got lost, dogs inquisitively searched for them, etc. Then Dora actually caught one and it remained whole. She raced inside the house with her treasure and tried to bury it in the living room, at which point it fell apart all over the carpet.

I'd have taken pictures, but it melted too quickly.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Baby Sister's Worst Nightmare

My oldest sister, Jean is an attorney who specializes in Workers' Compensation. However, as of February 12 she will become a Workers' Compensation JUDGE, for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For all my life she's wielded that (bossy) big-sister authority. Now she has a title to go along with it! I hope Workers' Comp judges aren't given gavels - she'll be insufferable!!

PS - Congratulations Judge Jeannie! I'm really happy for you!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Preparing for Marriage

There is a link on this blog to Solo Femininity, author Carolyn McCulley's website to encourage Christian single women (and any others who might be interested).

Since Jan 1, she's been focusing on preparation for marriage - marriage in different contexts, it seems.

In the inaugural post of 2007 she quotes Doug Wilson: "[T]he time a person spends when he is single should be time spent in preparation for marriage. This is important even if he never gets married. This is because biblical preparation for marriage is nothing more than learning to follow Jesus Christ and to love one’s neighbor. In other words, preparation for Christian marriage is basically the same as preparation for Christian living. Christians are to prepare for marriage by learning self-denial, subduing their pride, and putting their neighbor first.”

Although I understand and believe Wilson's (and McCulley's) position, it's because of this that I've pretty much avoided Solo Femininity since January 1. I've avoided it because it hurts too much to read.

Anyone that even remotely knows me knows I want to be married. But I don't spend time preparing for marriage because I don't want to prepare for it and then never have it happen. I feel like I'm setting myself up for more disappointment and I don't want to be disappointed anymore; it's too painful.

However, taking Doug Wilson's point in to account, how can I legitimately avoid it?

The scripture reading at church yesterday was from Ephesians...the "wives be subject to your husbands, husbands love your wives" verses. I've gotten in the habit of tuning these verses out because they stir up too much emotional turmoil within me and yesterday was no different. But I tuned back in too soon and thus caught the end of the passage "for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body".

The hardest part of singleness for me is the lack of intimacy in relationships; the lack of emotional closeness and affection. This makes life excruciatingly lonely. But here the Word is saying that I am a member of His body. One can't get any closer than that. So, why don't I feel this?

I think the answer lies in preparing for marriage, as Wilson states. I foresee a lot of agonizing in my future. Please pray for me as I try to face and work through the heartache.