Monday, December 12, 2011

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas...

I guess we are going to have to say goodbye to the Christmas Tree.  I have started calling Shadow "Grinch" because she is stealing Christmas.  She continues to chew on the tree (we know this because of the thrown up piles of tree needles) so tonight we will probably take it down.  We took some pictures so that we could at least say that we had one this year.  8-)

All by itself...(no Grinch in sight).

Tree and Tom...(still no Grinch in sight)

Vanna White (oh wait...that's just me and there is still no Grinch in sight)

We'll be leaving in a little over a week for Texas anyway so it's just as well.  We are hoping to get our neighbor Tom to watch shadow again.  We meant to go over there and ask him this weekend but didn't make it.  If he can't, then I guess we'll be taking her with us.  That will be a  L O N G trip because she hates traveling. 

Here is a little Max for today:

"We’ve Figured It Out

By Max Lucado

I look at your heavens, which you made with your fingers.… But why are people important to you?  Psalm 8:3–4

Ironic isn’t it? The more we know, the less we believe!  Strange, don’t you think?

We understand how storms are created. We map solar systems and transplant hearts. We measure the depths of the oceans and send signals to distant planets. We’re learning how it all works!

And, for some, the loss of mystery has led to the loss of majesty. The more we know, the less we believe. But knowledge of the workings shouldn’t negate wonder. It should stir wonder! Who has more reason to worship than the astronomer who has seen the stars?

Why then should we worship less? We are more impressed with our discovery of the light switch than with the one who invented electricity. And rather than worship the Creator, we worship the creation.

No wonder there is no wonder! We’ve figured it all out!"

By Grace Alone -


Monday, December 5, 2011

Grace Makes All the Difference...

My knee is healing quite nicely.  I saw the doctor last week and he didn't even want to look at it.  (That is the second surgeon I've had in the last year that isn't interested in seeing what his work looks like after the fact...I find that very odd.)  He told me I have arthritis in the joint and showed me the pictures and says he believes it was caused by the anti-cancer medicine that I am taking.  Small price to pay, I guess.

I had my third physical therapy session on Friday and they said that I am progressing so well that I don't have to come back.  Hurray!  That was costing me two hours of sick time every time I had to go.  Seemed like a waste to me.  They gave me some exercises that I can do at home to continue the healing and strengthening process and I ran out of there like I was being chased by demons.  8-)

Tom and I had a quiet restful weekend.  We tormented Shadow every chance we got so that she would know we loved her.  (hehehehehe)  She is no longer chewing on the tree (at least not when we are looking) so I think she is broken of that.  I chatted with my Mom for a while on Saturday and that is always fun.  I bought a bunch of kisses and christmas tree reese's candy to stuff stockings with to give to the people at work.  I got them all stuffed (except I need about 4 more stockings...I need to remember where I got those) and ready to bring in to work.

Today's Max is awesome (as usual):

"Grace Makes All the Difference

By Max Lucado

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

If life is “because I have to”—where’s the joy in that?

Too often I hear folks rejecting Christ because they think the Christian life is all about rules and regulations—all about stifling, suffocating ritual.

It happens when we confuse Christ with legalism. Legalism is joyless because it’s endless. There is always another class to attend, another person to teach, another mouth to feed.

Grace! It makes all the difference. I like this quote:

Gone are the exertions of law-keeping, gone the disciplines of legalism, gone the anxiety that having done everything we might not have done enough. We reach the goal not by the stairs but by the lift . . . God pledges his promised righteousness to those who will stop trying to save themselves.

Grace offers rest. Legalism? Never."

By Grace Alone -


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shadow and The Christmas Tree

Nah, I didn't drop off the face of the earth...

I've been busy relaxing and shoring up my reserves and finishing up Christmas stuff.

We had a wonderful four days off for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I did not cook...but we did do a deep clean to the house  (a wonderful smell comes from a clean house!) and finished wrapping presents and I even got some Christmas Cards together to send out.

We watched some movies, did some shopping on Black Friday (OK, it was just to Coldwater Creek but they were having a 40% off sale and I couldn't resist...besides, Tom got me a new leather coat for Christmas for a song because of the 40% off.  Good thing he can sing....8-), went out to eat a couple of time (yeah, not dieting right now...I suck but I'm certainly enjoying food...), chatted with my Mom, Sister, Nephew Daniel and Niece Whitney on Skype, played some computer games and read a book.  I came back to work renewed and refreshed.  Time away from work is VERY important to sanity.

We also put up our Christmas Tree.  I think I told you guys how we bought this Thomas Kincaide Christmas Tree and Shadow (our cat) started chewing on it so we put it away and pretty much decided that we wouldn't be able to have a tree this year (again) but we found some stuff that is supposed to taste bad to cats and sprayed it on the the lower part of the tree.  I also put all the presents around the base of the tree in hopes of blocking her from reaching the tree.  (Hello, Teresa...she's a CAT.)

When we got back from shopping on Friday, there sits Shadow on one of the presents just chewing away on the tree.  We walk in and she slowly looks at us and then proceeds to turn back around and chomp on the tree some more.  I went over and tapped her on her nose and said "Bad Shadow" and she just looked at me like I had three heads.  So I tapped a little firmer on her nose and she did her 'squeak' and ran off.  (Wish I had taken a picture of her chewing on that was quite a sight...she had no idea that it was a no no the way she sat there like she owned it and turned to look at us with an accusatory look that said, "Why are you interrupting my feast?)  So much for the bad tasting spray.  Our cat will eat anyting...and does.  She now insists on guarding the tree when we are home.  She has moved her resting place to the couch that sits by the tree.  (I know she is just waiting until we aren't watching and will be chomping on the thing again...sigh.)

It was raining on Sunday and we went out to the Gazebo to see if there were any leak areas in the roof and we were greeted by dry wood all over the roof so that was good news.  We probably won't finish the gazebo until spring unless we get some warmer weather on the weekend.  We only need to install the screens, door, and ceiling but all that can wait.  The weather here has dropped down into the 30s but it looks like we are going to get some sun today.

OK, I've digressed to a weather report so I'll move on to the Max for today...

"Keep It Real

By Max Lucado

They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Matthew 6:5.

Don’t make a theater production out of your faith. Hypocrisy is a real turn-off.

When someone enters your church to see God, yet can’t see Him because of the church, don’t think for a second God doesn’t react.  Jesus said, “Be especially careful when you’re trying to be good so you don’t make a performance out of it.”

Let’s take hypocrisy as seriously as God does!

Ask yourself, if no one knew of the good I do, would I still do it?

How about giving financial gifts in secret? Money can sure stir the phony within us!

If you raise your hands in church, raise holy ones, not showy ones.  Nothing nauseates more than a fake “praise the Lord” or a shallow “Glory be to God.”

It all might be good theater—but the God who made you won’t be applauding!"

By Grace Alone -


Monday, November 21, 2011

Productive Weekend

I wonder sometimes what equates to 'productive' time spent?

Since I've been on Effexor, for the wonderful hot flashes that say my anti-cancer meds are working, I've become much more relaxed.  I don't let the mail piling up on my desk bother me.  Stuff all over the kitchen counters?  Who cares?  I can sleep whether it's cleaned up or not.  Type A personality just flew out the window.  My husband quite often says things like "Who are you and what did you do with my wife?"

She's still here but not as obsessive as she used to be.  However...there comes a point when it has to get cleaned up so I spent this weekend, wrapping packages for Christmas (I got ALL my shopping finished this weekend!!  WHOO WHOO!), and cleaning off counters and desktops and getting back into the orderliness that both my husband and I love.  It's kind of a middle ground I am in.  If I have time to take care of the mess then I do, if I don't then I don't lose any sleep over it.  It used to be that I couldn't go to bed unless everything was put in its place.  I became very good at being organized.

Don't get me wrong...I still have to have the sheets, towels, and other laundry washed every week and the dishes have to be washed after each meal, toilets must be cleaned weekly and all manners of sanitation must be accomplished but the paper stuff that collects in a house,  not so much a big deal now.  

However, because I did accomplish all the cleaning and straightening, as well as the shopping and wrapping for Christmas, I felt I had a really productive weekend.  So productivity for me means organization and tasks marked off of lists.  I feel like the Thanksgiving weekend that is coming up will be a really good and relaxed one now.  8-)

I pray that each of you have a wonderful, relaxed, and family filled Thanksgiving!

Here is a little Max for today:

"Look—at You

By Max Lucado

He has covered me with clothes of salvation and wrapped me with a coat of goodness.  Isaiah 61:10

Unnoticed? Neglected? Ignored?

Not even close to how God sees you.

If you are feeling unnoticed and under-appreciated, take a look at how God sees you in I Peter 2:9: “You are a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.”

Or how about this description from Isaiah 61:10:  “He has covered me with clothes of salvation and wrapped me with a coat of goodness, like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding, like a bride dressed in jewels.”

When your self-esteem sags—remember what you’re worth. Remember that you were bought with a price, not with something that ruins like gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, the pure and perfect lamb.

Remember that. Meditate on it. Focus on it.

Allow God’s love to change the way you look at you."

By Grace Alone -


Friday, November 18, 2011

The Surgery Went Well!

The surgery went very well!

It only took this doctor 20 minutes to fix the two tears I had in my menisci in my knee.  Apparently I had a tear in both my medial and lateral meniscus.

Here is a little information about the menisci taken from:

"There are two menisci in your knee; each rests between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia). The menisci are made of tough cartilage and conform to the surfaces of the bones upon which they rest. One meniscus is on the inside of your knee; this is the medial meniscus. The other meniscus rests on the outside of your knee, the lateral meniscus." 
The medial meniscus was giving me the most pain but I am glad he found both tears and fixed them. 
I am now 48 hours after surgery and feeling quite good.  I've been doing stretching exercises since I got home and am now able to bend my knee more than 90 degrees and straighten it out fully.  I could not do that 24 hours ago.  I have my first physical therapy session today at 2:30 and am hoping they are so impressed with my progress that I don't have to go back.  The doctor has scheduled me for 3 times a week therapy.  Yeah, I've got time for that...NOT.
Well, I just wanted to catch everyone up on the progress after the surgery.  8-)
Here is some Max for today:
"Taking No Chances
By Max Lucado
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.  For I am the Lord your God. Isa. 43:2–3 NASB"
With God—chance is eliminated.
God knows what is best. No struggle will come your way apart from his purpose, his presence, and his permission.
Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.”
What encouragement! You are never the victim of nature or the prey of fate. Chance is eliminated. You are more than a weather vane whipped about by the winds of fortune. Would God truly abandon you to the whims of drug-crazed thieves, greedy corporate raiders, or evil leaders? Perish the thought!
You live beneath the protective palm of a sovereign King who superintends every circumstance of your life, and delights in doing you good.

Remember this. Nothing comes your way that has not first passed through the filter of God’s love."

By Grace Alone -


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I stand back every once in a while and try to put life into perspective. 

I need for nothing.
I want for nothing.
I am thankful for all things that God has provided me.
I stand amazed at His Grace and Love for me.
I stand amazed that He saw fit to provide me with such a loving and caring husband.
I stand amazed that He saw fit to create me into such a loving and supportive family.
I stand amazed that He put me into such a perfect job for my abilities and personality.
I stand amazed that He allowed me to be a Survivor of Cancer.

Well, you get the idea.  Much to be thankful for this year...

Tomorrow is my knee surgery.  Should be a simple procedure.  It will be done Orthoscopically.  Two to three small holes according to the Dr.  Then crutches for a few days and physical therapy starts two days after the surgery. 

We got the roof onto the gazebo this weekend.  Tom and Tom (Next door neighbor, Tom) put up the heavy part of the roof while I got my hair and nails done and then Tom and I put the metal part of the roof and the Cupola on top of the wooden part.  It took us about 6 hours to get the roof metalled. (As opposed to shingled...ha!).   Here are some pictures from last weekend's work.

It was pretty terrifying for me to watch Tom up there on the roof.  I thought for sure, at some points, that he was going to slide off and break his widdle neck.  He has absolutely no fear of heights though and he was like a monkey all over the roof.  I am always in awe of his ability to climb on things that are over 6 inches from the ground.  (That is about my limit for being fearless in climbing.)  We still have the screens, door, and ceiling to put on it.  We'll probably work on that after my knee heals a bit.  Compared to the roof...those should be no big deal.  As you can see from the pictures, fall is in full force right now...the wind was blowing quite a bit this weekend and the leaves were flying all over.  It reminded me of fall at my grandparents when I was growing up and the oak leaves would be all over the ground.

Max has a very good point about perspective!


By Max Lucado

I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens.  Philippians 4:11

What if God’s only gift to you were his grace to save you? Would you be content? You beg him to save the life of your child. You plead with him to keep your business afloat. You implore him to remove the cancer from your body. What if his answer is, “My grace is enough.” Would you be content?

From heaven’s perspective, grace is enough. If God did nothing more than save us from hell, could anyone complain?

Having been given eternal life, dare we grumble at an aching body? Having been given heavenly riches, dare we moan about what we don’t have?"

Amen and amen...

By Grace Alone -


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas Thoughts

I have the Christmas bug.  That time of year where you get to try to figure out what others want for Christmas. 

Last year, I couldn't shop or enjoy the season because of Chemo.  This holds barred.  (Funny expression that one...)  My sister's family has their group put what they want on  It is fun to see what everyone's interests are.  I have already picked what I'm getting for everyone in that group except for my sister...sigh.  I never understood why Daryl made the statement years ago that if he were to be hung, he wanted them to send Carol for the rope.  Now I am getting it...She has so many irons in the fire that it is hard for her to finish anything.  (Now Carol, I mean that in the nicest way...8-)  Of course, like me, she probably has everything she needs and can't think of what to put out there.

We bought a new Thomas Kincaide Christmas tree this year and opened the box and stood it up for a couple of days to see how we liked it and Shadow tried to eat it and threw up.  Now we aren't even sure we can put it out because of Shadow.  Sigh.  It's really a cool tree.  All the decorations are already on it with 4 ribbons going from top to bottom with pictures that Thomas Kincaide painted.  It's a seven foot tree.  Perfect for the living room.  It takes 5 minutes to pop it up.  Tom is thinking about buying some of that spray stuff that keeps cats away.  I don't think they know my cat but we shall see if that works.

I am really  having a hard time trying to figure out what to get Tom.  He needs to get busy and tell me what he wants.  I hate trying to guess what to get him.  We usually pick out our presents and tell each other.  8-)  I hate suprises.  I used to open all my Christmas presents very carefully and then retape them every year so that I wouldn't be surprised when I opened them on Christmas.   I wanted to make sure that if I didn't like it, I didn't let anyone know that I didn't like it.  My face has always been an open book and if anyone were looking carefully, they would know, if I wasn't careful.

I also made the reservations for our TX trip this year.  We are quite excited about the road trip and seeing family after the hard year is over.  We will get there on the 23rd and leave on the 26th.  It will be fun to get hugs from everyone. 

OK, enough is some Max for today:

"Family Expectations

By Max Lucado

I will be your father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:18

Many of us have a fantasy that our family will be like the Waltons, an expectation that our friends will be members of our family. Jesus didn’t have that expectation. Look how Jesus defined his family: “My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants” (Mark 3:35).

When Jesus’ brother didn’t share his convictions, he didn’t try to force them. He recognized that his spiritual family could give him what his physical family didn’t…

We can’t control how our family responds to us.  Our hands are tied.  We have to move beyond that expectation that if we do good, people will treat us right. The fact is they may and they may not.

Let God give you what your family doesn’t.

And don’t lose heart. God still changes families."

By Grace Alone -


Monday, November 7, 2011

Raising a Gazebo

Whew...I had a couple of really euphoric days and now I am back to that 'even' keel that is so desired in life.  You want to be happy but not THAT happy.  8-)  So, I am currently cancer free and that is really wonderful.  I love the whole body pet scan.  It is instant peace of mind that you don't have any tumors growing anywhere.  Praise God for great insurance so I can have that kind of peace of mind.  8-)

Tom started working on the gazebo this weekend.  As those of you who have been following this process know, we tore down the old gazebo about a month ago due to rottage (Is that a word?   Sounds like a word to me so I'm gonna use it...) and ordered a new one.  Then I spray painted the slab as shown in the picture below:

This weekend, Tom started by putting up the posts which required him to buy a new hammer drill to accomplish the drilling into the cement slab.  (Smart move on his part...he said it made his job WAY easier.  There's always a good reason to buy a new tool.  I just love that he knows what to do with them.) 

We worked together getting the gazebo 'raised' after he got the posts installed.  We make quite a good team when we work together.  We had the radio on and we were singing to it and laughing as we made fun of songs.  (One song was "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille" and he always says "Loose Wheel" instead of Lucille.  Funny guy...Anyway, here are some picks as progress was made. 

Here are all 8 posts put in with the top decorative pieces installed. 

He tried to run out of my picture taking view but I'm faster with a camera than he can run.  8-)

In the picture below, we had added the railings.

Here we had added the decorative finishing to the top.

Here is our good neighbor, Tom.  He built a pond in his backyard about 4 years ago and it is his obsession.  He is always puttering around at it.  He is going to help Tom with the roof next weekend. 

Here is a little Max for today:

"Revamped Expectations

By Max Lucado

The ways of God are without fault. Psalm 18:30

It’s not easy when God doesn’t do what we want, is it? Never has been. Never will be. But faith is the conviction that God knows more than we do about this life and He will get us through it.
Remember, disappointment is cured by revamped expectations.
I like the story about the fellow who went to the pet store in search of a singing parakeet. Seems he was a bachelor and his house was too quiet. The store owner had just the bird for him, so the man bought it.
The next day the bachelor came home from work to a house full of music. He went to the cage to feed the bird and noticed for the first time that the parakeet had only one leg.
He felt cheated. So he called and complained.

“What do you want,” the store owner responded, “a bird who can sing or a bird who can dance?”
Good question for times of disappointment."

By Grace Alone -


Sunday, October 30, 2011


So, yesterday, it finally warmed up enough to do the stenciling on the floor of the gazebo.

I picked a simple design from Modello Design online because I didn't want anything too comlicated and as most of you know...I love simplicity.

First I had to 'burnish' the thick white paper backing that comes on the stencil.  This mean I scraped something with a flat edge across the paper.  (I used a cake knife...yeah, I just grab whatever looks like it will work...too much trouble to go looking for an actual  Then you flip it over and do the same thing to the transparent paper side of the design.  (That side looks like thin waxed paper)

By this time, Tom had blown off the gazebo floor again to make sure there weren't any leaves or dirt on it and I was ready to go out and start putting down the stencil.
Below I've gone throught the several steps it took to get the stencil stuck to the concrete.

Here Tom is putting the final touches on getting the concrete areound the stencil protected.

This is after I attacked it with the red glossy paint.

We let it dry for an hour between the two coats we sprayed on and then the fun started.  I think Carol would love doing this peeling part.  8-)

Tom went crazy with the camera while I peeled the stencil off.

More pictures of the peeling process...

Remind me not to let him near the camera again....


Finally, the center part is revealed...

The circle around the outside came out really nice.

The finished product...nice...

Just another angle of the finished product...

Well, I've pictured you guys enough for today...8-)  This is how we spent our Saturday.  Next weekend, we might get to start building the gazebo...

By Grace Alone -


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Too Many Appointments...Ugh

It has turned very cold.  The low this morning was 34 degrees.  TOO COLD to get out there and do the gazebo. 

I have a cold anyway.  Ugh.

I went to my six month post cancer treatment check up on the 18th of October.  I told him about my knee pain and shortness of breath and he looked at my blood work and signed me up to go to two new doctors, get a pet scan and get an MRI of my knee. 

I'm really not used to that.  I have to be careful what I complain about.  Usually, you go to your family doctor and tell them about something and they say we'll watch it for a while or they'll give you meds for it.  I spent about 6 hours last week in scans and Dr appointments.  All this on top of the two tooth doctors I've been going to...I could end up with my job being to go to the doctor instead of actually getting any work done.  The pet scan is because he saw something in my blood work that alarmed him.  He obviously needs to take some 'calm down' medicine.  Actually, I am glad that he is on top of any possible cancer growth.  It would be worse to have a complacent medical oncologist. 

Tom just asked me what time we were supposed to take my car in this morning for the oil change...I leaped up out of my chair realizing it is 9:15 and we were supposed to be in Fayetteville at 10:00 (which is an hour away).  I might have said a few frustrated expletatives because I knew we had missed the window of opportunity.  I called them and asked if we could do it this afternoon and he said that no they close at 2:00 and they were filled up for the day.  So, I rescheduled for next Saturday morning.  I just can't seem to keep up with all these appointments.   ARGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH.

Well, I am hoping that it warms up this afternoon so I can paint the stencil design on the floor of the gazebo before he starts building it.  Much easier to spray paint before the gazebo is there than to wait until after and try to keep the spray off the walls of the gazebo.  I'll post a picture of it when I FINALLY get it painted.  8-)

Here is a little Max for today and he's given us some big words...

"Encourage One Another

By Max Lucado

When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Ephesians 4:29

You have the ability, with your words, to make a person stronger. Your words are to their soul what a vitamin is to their body.

Do not withhold encouragement from the discouraged. Do not keep affirmation from the beaten down! Speak words that make people stronger. Believe in them as God has believed in you."

By Grace Alone -


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Arrival of the Crate

We've been

We got our HUGE crate filled with the gazebo parts last week.  I thought we were going to have him put it in our 3rd garage space but nuh way was he going to get it into the garage.  The main reason was that he had a huge long truckbed and he couldn't get it turned around in order to drop it into the garage.  The driver and I stood there looking at the huge box on the truck for a few minutes and I said...well, let's just line it up to the middle of the driveway on the grass.  I figured that would give Tom and I plenty of room to walk around it while we emptied it.  Plus, he wouldn't be hitting any sprinkler heads with it when he dumped it off the truck.  As you can see on the side of the box, it weighed 1764 lbs and was 85X86X58 inches.  It was shrink wrapped in a tough plastic material that I had fun cutting off.  Here is a visual for you...

I was home before Tom so I had cut off the plastic and started taking the crate apart before he got there.  I had my little flat head screwdrive and hammer and I was breaking apart those 4 inch staples that were holding the wood together with much much much effort.  After about 30 minutes of diligent labor, I finally got the first board broken off.  Then Tom came home and he went out to the shed and got a crowbar and a 4 lb hammer and proceeded to rip the other three into separate pieces in about 5 minutes.  Sigh.

Tom and I unloaded it and stored all the parts except the roof in the garage.  The roof we put out in the shed.  More on the building of the gazebo at a later date since we haven't built it yet...LOL.

I absolutely HATE to fire someone.  I always get these people to clean my house and then when they deteriorate, I let them know what I need done differently (which I also hate to have to do but I want to give them a chance to get it right) but I will let months go by before I will give up and let them go because I hate confrontations.  I got really lucky with this one.  When I called her, her daughter answered and I asked if her mother was there and she said "No" so I left a message and told her that I was able to clean my own house now and thanks for her services.  Whew...(I know...I'm a wuss.)

Don't we all enjoy knowing that we're unique?  That we are the only one like us that God made?  (Much like a snowflake...)  Max reaffirms this in today's devotional.  (I am still looking for the one thing that only I can

"You are Unique

By Max Lucado

Each of us is an original.  Galatians 5:26, The Message

There are certain things you can do that no one else can.  Perhaps it is parenting, or constructing houses, or encouraging the discouraged.  There are things that only you can do, and you are alive to do them. 
In the great orchestra we call life, you have an instrument and a song, and you owe it to God to play them both sublimely."

By Grace Alone -


Monday, October 17, 2011

If It's Dirty, I Clean It...Right....

We had a fairly uneventful weekend.

Tom bought the paint to do the floor of the gazebo cement pad and he blew the leaves off of it while I used the electric spray painter to paint it.  We did one thin coat on Saturday and then another heavier coat on Sunday but it still looks like it could use another coat.  We'll have to hit that next weekend.

For those of you who have someone come in and clean your house...have you noticed a pattern?  They always start out on fire to clean your house really well and then little by little, they clean less and less.  I called the lady that cleans my house this weekend and let her know that I am able to clean it myself again so I wouldn't be needing her services any longer.  When I hired her, you might remember that I quoted her as saying "If it is dirty, I clean it."   Harrumph.  I think she forgot to look in my shower to see the dirt the last couple of times she cleaned because I keep having to clean it after her.  Also, there is this small bit of floor (about 2 feet wide) between my side of the sink and the tub that she was never cleaning.  Then there were the baseboards...well, I could go on and on.  She cleaned my wood floors beautifully and the toilets (all important things...I totally agree with that ...) but... she was lacking in other areas.  I remember once she even cleaned all my windows.  Yeah, that blew me away and got me all excited about her but she followed the same pattern as other house cleaners from my past.  All fire and steam in the beginning just to become a poor performer when time passes and they get bored with the house.

It will be good exercise for me anyway.  8-)  I'll probably start looking for a new house cleaner when the new year rolls around.  Too much going on right now to take care of the interviews and decision making that hiring someone entails.

So, Max talks about becoming wiser because of pain that we experience.  It's a good one today.  I hope I have become wiser through the last year's experiences...I hope I can be a comfort to others who experience pain.  (Most people just think I am a

"What About Struggling?

By Max Lucado

As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in him.  Colossians 2:6

Struggling with life’s difficulties makes us a little wiser, a little more capable, enabling us to comfort others who experience pain.

Any difficulties we face in life are short-lived; all rewards are eternal.  A divine inheritance will be our reward for faithfulness to our heavenly Father."

By Grace Alone -


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tiles, Pavers, and Paint

For the last month, we've been mulling over what to do with the concrete floor that will be under the gazebo.

And mulling.

And mulling.

We started thinking about tiling it.  (Can't make a decision on what tiles to use, too much work, would we crack them when we drilled to set the posts of the gazebo...the negatives just go on and on.)

So, tiling is out.

Then we thought about pavers.  Ugh...too heavy to carry all those pavers back to the cement platform.  That was out.

Then we saw in a Lowe's circular that there was something called rubber pavers that only weighed about 6 lbs each and were supposed to look just like real pavers when you put them down.

So we trekked out to Lowe's last weekend and alas...I wasn't impressed.  They looked like rubber, not stone to me.

This weekend, I got to thinking about painting it and then stenciling something cool on it.  We traveled around looking for cool stencils.  Lowe's didn't have any.  They sent us to Sherwin Williams.  SW didn't have any and told us to go to Lowe' that funny or what?  SW did also suggest Walmart so we went there and I found some but they were really small and this is 144 sq feet of stenciling to do...I wanted something a bit bigger.

This morning I got to thinking about the fact that I can hardly bend my right knee (pain from cancer meds I'm does something evil and arthritic to the joints and it is particularly zooming in on this joint) so how am I going to get down there and stencil the floor?  So, I have chosen a nice 'Teddy Bear' brown color of a solid concrete stain/sealer that should go nicely with the ivory color of the gazebo.  Tom is gonna go get it today and we'll probably spray it on this afternoon.  We have a paint sprayer that should make the job really easy.  8-)

The gazebo should get here next week.  Yeah!!

Alrighty then...time for some Max for today:

"True Humility

By Max Lucado

The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God is plenty and honor and a satisfying life. Proverbs 22:4, The Message

True humility is not thinking lowly of yourself but thinking accurately of yourself. The humble heart does not say, “I can’t do anything.” But rather, “I can’t do everything.”

I know my part and am happy to do it!"

By Grace Alone -


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Circle of Life (Not a Disney Story)

I am big on multi-tasking...those who have been following this blog understand this.

So, the ritual of brushing teeth is extremely boring to me.  There isn't a lot else you can do while you brush your teeth.  Tom and I like to brush our teeth at night together.  We start with flossing, then move to the first toothbrush which gets the gums and between the teeth and then we move to the second toothbrush which gets all the teeth surfaces that can be reached.

So, last night, we were going through the 'boring' ritual of tooth brushing.  I'm looking around and look at Tom, I turn around and see Shadow waiting to play behind the TV, give a sigh and look down in the sink.  Oh my Goodness...what in the world is that in my sink?  I look closer.  It's a HAIR.  One single hair...laying there, dead...never to be attached to my head again.  I hadn't really lost any head hairs since I started growing them back.  I had forgotten that hair loss was normal and that pit of the stomach nausea rolled over me before I got that thought into my head.  I went through the internal calming process, deep breath in and relaxed breath out.  It was all good.  This is normal.

So, the circle of life is back in motion.  This is more of the normalcy that I crave in life.  Yeah!

I went to the dentist two days ago for a new crown (got rid of an old filling and replaced it with a temporary crown will arrive in about 3 weeks)  and an old filling was replaced in another tooth.  We are trying to figure out what the pain is that I have had for many years on the back right side.  Today I go to an Endodontist to have a better look at an old root canal that was done on the very back tooth probably 12 years ago.  I don't think my dentist in Florida got all of the roots out but this guy has the equipment to figure it out.  I don't think I've ever been to an Endodontist before. 

Well, work calls to me so I'd better go answer.

Here is some Max for today:

"Blessed are the Merciful

By Max Lucado

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Matthew 5:7, NIV

The merciful, says Jesus, are shown mercy.  They witness grace.  They are blessed because they are testimonies to a greater goodness.  Forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us.  The dynamic of giving grace is the key to understanding grace, for it is when we forgive others that we begin to feel what God feels."

By Grace Alone -


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


What makes us tick?

What motivates us?

What makes us different from one another?

I watch the different members of my family from afar (sometimes, this is the best way to watch) and I always wonder what makes them so different than me?  Why am I so anti-social and my whole family is outgoing and love getting together with other people? 

It isn't that I don't like people...I really love people but not large quantities of them for long periods of time.  (Although, sometimes large groups means that you can sit on the sidelines and not have to interract so much.)  I mean, I like to say hi and catch up on their lives and then I like to receed back into my safe zone.  It isn't that I think they will do me harm by talking to just isn't my comfort zone.  This is probably why I started this blog.  I  know my family...if I didn't have some way of constantly communicating with them about what was going on with my cancer, then they would require more face time than I had to give.

All I can say is that God made me just a little different than the rest of the world.  I excel at what I do at work but I probably suck as a family member.  (Ah well.)

Here is a little Max for today:

"What Love Doesn’t

By Max Lucado

“Love . . .  does not boast, it is not proud.”  I Corinthians 13:4 NIV

Jesus blasts the top birds of the church, those who roost at the top of the spiritual ladder and spread their plumes of robes, titles, jewelry, and choice seats. Jesus won’t stand for it. It’s easy to see why. How can I love others if my eyes are only on me? How can I point to God if I’m pointing at me? And, worse still, how can someone see God if I keep fanning my own tail feathers?

Jesus has no room for pecking orders."

By Grace Alone -


Monday, October 10, 2011

Holidays are Just Around the Corner

This weekend was very relaxing...

Friday we got off at 3:00 (as usual on the Friday that we work...we have every other Friday off...absolutely love the 9/80 schedule.) and went over to Lowe's and Home Depot to try to figure out what we are going to do with the concrete slab when we get the gazebo up.  It should come in this week.

We've set up our holiday schedule so we can venture to Texas to visit my Mom and Sister and her family for Christmas.  We plan on taking two days to get there instead of killing ourselves by traveling it in one day.  We still need to figure out what to do with Shadow (this is always the problem with us traveling).  I am hoping that our  neighbor isn't going anywhere while we are going and his son can make sure she has food and water again.  That worked out really well in July when we went up to Kentucky.

I keep dreaming that my cancer has returned.  One night I dreamed that all the people I love came to say goodbye to me.  We actually had a really good time laughing about stuff in the dream and I was ok with the dying thing.  (An interesting twist was that one night, all the family that I have that are already dead came to a party that I was having and we were all laughing about stuff too.  Even people that are still alive were at the party...very strange dreams...)  I am just guessing that there is some subliminal worry going on in my head because on the surface, I am not worried at all but the dreams tell me that I must still be stressing over it.  This is probably very natural. It's probably some side affect of the medication I am taking....HA!

Here is some Max for today:

"Remember Jesus

By Max Lucado

“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.” Isaiah 25:9, NKJV

When people don’t listen, remember Jesus. When tears come, remember Jesus. When disappointment is your bed partner, remember Jesus. When fear pitches his tent in your front yard. When death looms, when anger simmers, when shame weighs heavily. Remember Jesus.

Remember the dead called from the grave with a Galilean accent. Remember the eyes of God that wept human tears."

By Grace Alone -


Friday, October 7, 2011


OK, time has gotten away from me.

We entertained last weekend so I didn't really have any time to play in blog land. 

We found out Thursday night that we were having an overnight guest on Friday.  So we decided how we wanted to entertain.  The weather outside is beautiful this time of year so we decided to have a barbeque.  Oops...that meant we needed to scrub down the patio and the patio furniture.  Tom took care of that one.  If they wanted to sleep in our house, Shadow would have to give up her room.  So I tackled the defurring of the guest bedroom.  I also had to work from home on Friday so I juggled that in between cleaning out the guest bedroom and doing laundry. 

Don got there Friday night about 6:30 and we ate outside even though darkness had fallen by the time we got it on the table.  They were a little cool but I was quite comfortable and thought seriously about moving my bed out  I love this time of year. 

Don and Tom grew up together and also went into the Air Force together.  They had plenty to chat about since it's been a lot of years since they were around each other.  We visited them in July (Don and Mary his wife) and they hadn't seen each other in over 20 years and barely recognized each other...

Here are some pictures of Tom and Don reminiscing on Saturday morning...sorry about the black triangle at the top...sometimes the shutter on our camera sticks and doesn't open all the way.  I never notice it until I review the pictures...ah well.

 Here Don is showing Tom is sky diving adventure.

 Tom is watching the sky diving video going "nope..don't think I would want to do that."  HA!  Since I can't even get on a step ladder without feeling shaky, I KNOW I never want to sky dive.

Tom and Don went to some space museum on Saturday while I visited with Nancy and got my hair and nails done.  I am sure I had more fun doing that than joining

We FINALLY got our new recliners last weekend too.  They are just as comfortable as I remember them being.  8-)  Now we're just waiting for the new gazebo to get here.

Here is some Max for today...

"What is Grace?

By Max Lucado

“My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

What is grace? It’s what someone gives us out of the goodness of his heart, not out of the perfection of ours. The story of grace is the good news that says when we come, he gives. That’s what grace is . . .

Grace is something you did not expect. It is something you certainly could never earn. But grace is something you’d never turn down."

By Grace Alone -


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shadow Rituals and Wood Burning

I've been trying to feel inspired today for something to write about.  I've visited other blogs, sat and pondered life (and my belly button) as well as things going on in my life (dry well there) and have come up with nothing.  So, this will be yet another random thought blogging day.

I think about my cat a lot lately.  She turned 10 this August.  She might have 4 more years in her.  Maybe less considering how much she eats and how fat she is.  I've never had a cat (or any animal) this long before.  She  has started throwing up a lot and I don't know if it is because she is getting older or because she insists on eating anything that is on the floor or new to the room. 

We bought a new Christmas Tree this year because we haven't really put one up since we moved to Alabama.  Too much work for too little ado, we always say.  It's just not the same without kids, you know.  Well, I wanted a Christmas tree this year and I happened across a Thomas Kincaid, fully decorated, 7 foot, pop it up tree.  So we got it.  We 'popped it up' and sure enough, it was as beautiful and easy as they claimed.  We let it set up for a couple of days and quickly found throw up on the floor with tree needles in it.  Shadow, the cat, notorious for eating anything new, struck again.  ugh.  We popped the tree down, put it away and sat there wondering how we were going to get away with having a Christmas Tree this year.  Maybe we'll put it on the back patio? 

Shadow also creates a lot of 'rituals' for us.  In the morning, we must be up if her food bowl is empty (and the floor is empty of anything for her to scarf up).  When we come home, we must give her her 'treat' before we do anything else or she will complain to us until we do.  We are fairly well trained on that one.  At night, when it is time for bed, it is play time for her.  She gets up on the table behind the TV while we are brushing our teeth and peeks into the bathroom at us patiently waiting for us to be done and to play hide and seek with her while she hides behind the TV.  Then it is time for me to brush her.  All I have to do is pick up the brush and she jumps down from behind the TV with a squeak of pleasure and stands for me to brush her.  First with the scratchy side of the brush and then with the softer side.  Sometimes she moves away a little at a time and I chase after her trying to brush her.  Tom likes that part.  He always says that he wants to film it for later amusement.  (Whatever) After all that, I am then allowed to go to bed.

This weekend, we had our first 'yard fire'.  By this I mean that we burned some wood from the gazebo.  We started out with me trying to start the fire.  Well, I certainly wasn't ever a boy scout so I was trying to light the end of the piece of with with our charcoal lighter and some charcoal starter fluid.  Yeah, I probably could have sat there the rest of the day with no success.  Mr. Boy Scout Tom came over and put some twigs underneath the boards and wala...he got the thing lit.  (show-off)

Wasn't that creative of him to put those cinder blocks around the wood before we caught it on fire so it didn't catch the bushes on fire.  He's so smart. 

So, while I was sitting over there 'tending' the fire and way across the yard, Tom is still breaking the floor of the gazebo apart to supply more to burn.

I was getting lonely so I ventured over to say hi...

I got so bored, I started sending up smoke signals..."Anyone out there...come and save me from doing nothing..."

So, I took a minute to look up through the trees and see if there was anything interesting there.  Clouds...trees...nothing else. do people do this kind of thing...

The view below is after we got it cooking really good.  Tom was done and we had moved our chairs out of the sun and into the shade.  (This took so long that the sun moved while I was waiting for the fire to burn up the wood.)

Little did we know...unlike in the movies...structures do not burn down in minutes...I was out there from 1 pm to ~ 6 pm.  The final coals were still hot at that time but our pizza had arrived so I let the coals watch themselves for a little while.  We checked it again later and it had definitely burned itself pretty much out. 

By Grace Alone -


Friday, September 23, 2011

Bye Bye Mr. Gazebo

It is a wonderful overcast day and the air smells like fall.  I've always loved fall and spring.  Duh...the best weather of the year, I would guess everyone loves fall and spring.

I love fall because by the time it rolls around, I am quite tired of the 'hot' of summer.  I love spring because it is like watching life come alive all around me.  Trees begin budding, flowers are blooming, the grass is greening up.  It just makes me smile to walk outside in the spring and feel the sun on my face.

The only news on our front is that we tore down the gazebo last weekend.  I say 'we' very loosely.   I helped cart off some of the roof and threw it in the truck but Tom did all the really hard work.  He was the one ripping it apart.  Why did we tear it down you might ask yourself.  Well, it was beginning to rot.  I had stained it almost every year since we built it but since the wood wasn't treated before we built it, it just wasn't holding up that well.  (Word to the wise, don't buy a gazebo kit from Amish Gazebos.)  So...bye bye Mr. Gazebo...

We have ordered a vinyl one with a metal roof.  The metal roof will be charcoal colored and the vinyl is called elegant ivory.  ( it is really anything other than just ivory...ha!)  This one will be screened in and it will have a door.  Cool, huh?  (Take that! I say to the Bird Family that ate berries and left the remnants in our gazebo all year long.)

Here is a picture of what it is supposed to look like when it is done.  Of course, we have an octagonal cement pad and that one is round and it has bricks around it.  We are still mulling over the decision of whether to tile the cement pad or not.  I'm having trouble picking out tiles and then we have to come up with a design...blah blah...I might just paint it and be done with it. 

Now, if I could just get some great gardener to put some plants around it like they have in the picture below...that will be next spring's tasking, I reckon...

Today's Max is awesome...I've never seen myself as arrogant, self-righteous, worthy, or anything other than a sinner but God sees beyond that...isn't it amazing!!

"Put On Christ

By Max Lucado

“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27 NKJV

You read it right. We have “put on” Christ. When God looks at us He doesn’t see us; He sees Christ. We “wear” Him. We are hidden in Him; we are covered by Him. As the songs says, “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”

Presumptuous, you say? Sacrilegious? It would be if it were my idea. But it isn’t; it’s His."

By Grace Alone -