The Journal

The journal is setting on the kitchen counter.

It is a simple, blue spiral notebook…the kind one sees at back to school sales at Wal-mart.

Iced tea poured

Iced tea poured (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In itself, is nothing special, and  yet, it full of the most special.

Each word and phrase penned from a thankful heart.

Every word a reminder, of gifts so freely given to me.

Simple things, ordinary things, daily things…

How often, before the journal, did I gloss over the everyday moments,

not really see them for what they are?

God is so good…and I am so loved.

He shows me this a million times over.


As I look back through the pages, over the past 2 years, of this notebook, I see….

Today I am thankful for all the moments in my journal:

* warm blankets

* quiet evenings

* feeling better

* coffee pot ready for tomorrow morning

* a husband’s silly story

* a son’s hug

* anticipating a storm

* having chores completed

* soft breath

* fresh, clean, white towels

* windy, hair blowing days

* laughter of children

* jingle of dogs tags

* safety in travel

* ice tea sweetness

* library book

* foggy sunshine

* glorious sunrises

* yellow bird at the bird feeder

* my son is home!

* pretty floral prints

* holding hands

* moon bathed nights

* crisp, cool sheets

* walks with hubby

* bare feet

* a snow globe world

* friends

* scented candles

* well worn Bible

* real peace

* a “free day” from work

* study with friends

* family visits

* mud puddles

* horse back rides

* giggles

* kisses

* sock sliding

* scary movies

* touching lives

* school work done

* a new grad level class

* encouraging words

* God who is the Giver of all good gifts

In Search Of The Nativity

Krippe crib family w 3wisemen

I decided a couple of months ago that I needed a new nativity. I already have two. One is a cut crystal and the other solid white ceramic. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought those sets. I mean, they are pretty and everything but, they are almost too pretty, if you know what I mean. I wanted something a little more real…well, as real as a nativity scene can be.

My first hunt for the nativity was on Black Friday. I know, not the best night (early morning?) to be looking for a nativity. I just need to say that Wal-Mart had exactly two nativity scenes. One was a snow globe and the other was a plastic ensemble that was a scary scene of molded plastic and vibrant colors that made the baby Jesus look clownish. Sigh. Not want I wanted at all. I would wait for something better. Something more.

Today I set off with my son and daughter to find a nativity. One with a stable and with people that did not look scary. We headed over to the antiques stores in the quaint little town of Mount Victory, Ohio. I figured (hoped?) that we would be able to find a vintage nativity scene. I told the kids on the way there that it would be great if we could find one that had been made in Italy, and was made with paper mache‘. The ones made in Italy seem to be more realistic and are painted nicely. I didn’t know that we would really find one, but I hoped.

The first store, and the kids spotted some nativities. The second one that was found, was made in Italy and it was made from paper mache’. It was meant to be! I was so excited.

In the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season, I was reminded. The holy scene in the stable, is still here. The scene of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus is just as real this afternoon as it was over two thousand years ago.

Sometimes it just takes quietly looking for it. Persevering. Remembering.

You know what?  I believe Jesus was delighted that I found that nativity scene this afternoon, on the shelf of that old store.

He was there waiting for me…

just as He waits, for each of us, to find Him.

You Can’t Go Back Home Again….But, You Can Visit

Michael Jackson dancing with the living dead.

Image via Wikipedia

I graduated from high school in 1986.  Fellow classmates are putting together a twenty-fifth reunion, that will take place in a couple of months. I wish I could go….but, alas, I cannot. I grew up in Maryland, but now live in Ohio. Life tugs at me. So much to do, busy schedule, time slips away. How did I get from 18 to 43? From attending Friday night football games to Saturday morning soccer mom? From staying up late to dead tired by 9pm? From long talks on the telephone with friends, to email and smart phones? From being the teenager to now having teenagers of my own? When did I get old? Sigh. It would be great to be able to attend the reunion, because we are all in the same boat. Life has changed us all. We are on an even playing field now, no longer tied to our high school images. We might see other “children of the 80’s” at WalMart, our kids sporting events, or walking our subdivisions….and we just know.

My time in high school was good. I wasn’t a jock, or a geek, or a band member, or new wave. I did have friends that were. I don’t really know what I was in high school. I guess I was fairly average. Isn’t that pretty much how it goes? A teenager, trying to find herself….. The teen years are so confusing anyway.

It was the ’80’s. I watched The Cosby Show and Family Ties. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was at the top of the charts. ( Still, every time I hear the music from Thriller, I want to break into that zombie dance–I can’t help myself) The preppy look was in. How many layers of shirts could one person wear? Michael J. Fox was Back To The Future. I loved listening to The Police, Madonna, and the Eurythmics on my cassettes. X box and PlayStations weren’t heard of, we had Atari. VCRs were new, as were microwaves that weren’t the size of a house. If I wanted to get in touch with someone I called on the rotary phone that hung on the kitchen wall, or mailed them a handwritten letter. Email was unheard of. Cruising around 140 shopping center was the thing to do. Hanging out. Life was simple.

I can’t ever go back to the way things used to be. I can’t say that I’d really want to do that anyway….but, the memories are fun.

The old saying, You can’t go home again, is true…..but, I’ll always be part of the WHS Class of ’86.

Getting The Treatment

Udders of a cow grazing. Pictured in Tanzania

Image via Wikipedia

This morning I stood in front of the bathroom mirror. As I was washing my hands I was looking around the sink. My eyes lingered on the Chicken Poop Lip Balm (and don’t freak out, there isn’t any REAL poop in it) from Tractor Supply Center. Then I noticed my Udderly Soft (can be used on all sorts of farm animals) hand lotion that I picked up at WalMart. Seriously, if I keep going like this, my bathroom sink will look like a table at the vet’s office.

But, on the upside…I’ll have really soft lips and hands.





Help! I’m Stuck In Frozen Foods

A young girl and her mother shop for chicken e...

Image via Wikipedia

So, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post…I got up early and went to the grocery store(s). WalMart at 8:15 in the morning usually is not so busy. Today it WAS! Every body and their brother was schlepping up and down the aisles picking out “stuck in a snowstorm” food. It also did not help my plight any that whoever wasn’t shopping for snow food was shopping for Super Bowl food. Get out of my way Super Bowl people!  Put down those chips and cheese dip. I’m on a mission.

I wrestled somebody’s grandma to the ground for the last bottle of salsa. Okay, so that is a lie. I didn’t really do that. I wouldn’t wrestle a grandma for salsa. Ice cream maybe, but not salsa. I have my priorities.

In all seriousness, there were a lot of senior individuals out and about today. I felt sorry for them. They probably believed their early morning shopping routine was being over taken by storm shoppers…and they would be right.

I moved on to the next store. I got there 15 min. after it opened. By the time I got ready to check out, the line was all the way back to the freezer aisle! For the love of Pete! Storm shoppers are a hardy bunch. We are not deterred by long lines! We settled in for the long haul. I was enjoying the sweet scene in front of me. A little boy (about 3 or 4 yrs. old) was shopping with his aunt. I know this because he called her aunt several times. (Call me super sleuth)  He was telling her various stories about  his parents. (one of them had to be this woman’s brother or sister) It was a lovely story about how the little boy’s mom liked Chinese food and the little boy liked Chinese (the jury is still out on whether Daddy liked it). He asked his aunt if she’d buy him Chinese? She said, “why don’t we let mommy and daddy buy that?”  He said okay. “Mommy gets Chinese a lot, because she can’t cook it.” I smiled. The little guy smiled back. He reminded me of my son when he was 4 years old. He liked to tell stories too. Not about Chinese food, but you get the gist.

The line went quickly. I smiled at the cashier gentleman. I told him that he was very quick with check out and I appreciated that he was smiling and in a good mood even though he was swamped. He laughed. He said, “I expected that we’d we busy, just not this early!”

I got everything stashed and packed in the mini van. I did not drop anything…no cans rolled under the van. Not that, that happens to me. Purely, hypothetical. On the way home I did hear a loud crash and looked to see that a sack of soups fell off the seat and rolled around on the floor near the van’s side door. I’m so lucky. Now when I open the van door, all the cans will roll out into the driveway. Sigh. I don’t get paid enough for this wife/mom gig. Just sayin’.

The weather people are calling for a monster storm. Snow. Sleet. Freezing Rain. High winds. Some states. even getting tornadoes. Just watch. All this shopping and standing in line and we, here in rural Ohio, probably will end up with an inch of snow. That would be my luck. Whatever. At least I have enough hot chocolate and chips to last the family and me until 2012.

Oh, and by the way, I also have sweet smelling candles to burn…just in case the electricity goes out. (due to ice) We might all be sitting in the dark but, at least it will smell good. Then again apple, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice scented candles might make us hungry. That’s where the excessive amounts of chips and salsa comes in. A mom always plans ahead.

Blood Curdling Screaming Coming From A Cart

A shopping cart filled with bagged groceries l...

Image via Wikipedia

I went to Walmart this morning. I had some grocery shopping to do. I don’t really dig the grocery shopping part, but I love the people watching. That store tends to be a veritable petri dish of characters. Today there was a little girl who kept me entertained. She was a screamer. You know the kind I’m talking about. It started out as a whine. (bless her heart, she was probably needing a nap) Then a “Moooommmmmy!!!”. Mommy ignored her while she attempted to figure out the best buy on breakfast cereal. Girl got louder. Mom, perused the sugar crunchies, and bran cardboard. Girl let it rip. “AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa”. I have to say she had a healthy set of lungs on her. I’d say everybody in the entire super WalMart could hear her. She was that good. Such a loud scream wrapped up in such an angelic little face.

As I continued to shop, I periodically heard the “AAAAAaaaaaaa” from some other aisle. I smiled. I don’t have young children, so I can.

I finally was finished with the buying of food staples. My family will be happy that they are not going to starve. I maneuvered my shopping cart into an available check out line— behind two other people. I always pick the slow line. The cashier was personable, but slow. This always happens to me. I think it must be genetic. Can people have DNA that always, no matter what, attracts them to the slowest line in a store? Just sayin’ that I am curious about that. It seems plausible.

Two lines over was harried mom with screaming tot. Girl was stuck in cart while mom unloaded groceries onto the conveyor belt. Girl yelled. Mom gave her “the look”. Girl got quiet. She was probably thinking over her options. I had a feeling that little girl was going to get it when she got out to the mini van. Aaahhhhh…….the joys of parenting. Did I mention that I am glad to be past that stage? (Big smirk….I mean smile.)


Today In Time

Inside the Walmart (still branded as Wal-Mart)...

Image via Wikipedia

~ Friday, January 14, 2011

Outside my window. . .it is snowing. It seems like just about every day since December 1st, it has been snowing. Global Warming, uh huh. Yeah.
I am thinking. . .that I need to go to Walmart today. The family is in need of some groceries. I hate grocery shopping. It depresses me. Everything is so expensive. Plus, I’d like to be more creative with food selection, but Walmart is not really about creativity. Sigh.
From the learning room. . .my kids are up and are not happy that they don’t have the day off (for teacher inservice) like the public schools. Such is the plight of the homeschooler.
I am thankful for. . .a lot of things. Currently, a warm house and cozy jammies.
From the kitchen. . .I smell the orange scented detergent in the dishwasher. I’m so thankful for whoever created the dishwasher. Really. Seriously. I could kiss him. (or her?)
I am wearing. . .my Christmas pajamas. My mom bought them for me. They are the softest pj’s I own. Very nice.
I am creating. . .a legacy. For better or for worse.
I am going. . .to watch a movie tonight with the family. We don’t do this often enough.
I am reading. . .an excellent book by Ken Ham. Basically, it’s about If God is Loving, why do people suffer? I know heavy stuff. That is just how I am. Not afraid to tackle the hard things in life.
I am hoping. . .that our mini van doesn’t break down on our day trip tomorrow. It is held together with bubblegum and rubber bands. And prayer. Okay, so maybe the first two are a lie. The third is not.
I am hearing. . .Fox and Friends on the morning news. I enjoy FOX. Yes, they are conservative. I am conservative, so it works.
Around the house. . .the usual morning rituals are going on. Coffee brewing. Children crunching cereal. Dog and cats begging for some petting. Morning news on.
One of my favorite things. . .quiet time to myself. Definitely. Silence doesn’t bother me.
A few plans for the rest of the week. . .grocery shopping, movie night, pick up daughter from her visit with her cousins, church, trip to the vet, home school. That’s all I’ve got right now. That I know of….because it can always change….and usually does.
Find out more about the Simple Woman’s Daybook at this site.

The Gifts That Keep On Giving

Courtney in Snuggie

Image via Wikipedia

With the wonder of the internet, infomercials, and open 24 hour stuff marts…..we can all buy the niftiest gifts for those we love.

1. The Shake Weight……For all those loved ones that have under arm jiggle.

2. Pajama Jeans….because they are soft and cuddly and tons of people are already wearing their actual pj’s to Wal-mart. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

3. Snuggie— Why shouldn’t we all look like monks? And while I’m on the subject, aren’t Snuggie’s really just robes turned around backward?

4. Slanket— Which is really just another Snuggie, which is really just a bath robe… why not just buy a bathrobe?

5. The Potty Patch— For all those pet lovers in your life. Who doesn’t need to get an artificial turf square for their pet to “use” when inside? The great part is, one can wash it with just soap and water!!!

Who really comes up with these things? I mean, really.

Breathe In…Breathe Out

A Christmas tree inside a home.

Image via Wikipedia

Normally, I am an organized person. I love my calendars, daytimer, and to do list. This Christmas season has seen me running in circles, and having the feeling of not getting much accomplished. I told my daughter this morning that I have yet to watch more than ONE of my all time favorite Christmas movies. The only reason I was able to watch The Bishop’s Wife (with Cary Grant) is that I squeezed it in WHILE I was balancing my checkbook. How sad is that?

I had such high hopes of eating warm cookies, and drinking hot chocolate while watching Christmas movies. I would have plenty of time to shop and wrap gifts. Yes, in my mind it was going to be like a Norman Rockwell picture or a print from Currier and Ives. Sigh. Instead it looked more like this….

1. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T SHIP BY CHRISTMAS???!!! You have to ship by Christmas. There are lives at stake! Namely mine.

2. I think the tree is leaning forward. Can we prop something under the stand? What would fit up under there without knocking it over?

3. Why are the lights blinking? Stop the blinking. I’m about to have a seizure!

4. I’m too tired to make cookies tonight.That is pretty tired, people.

5. The materials for the gingerbread house are still in the box. Wow, the picture on the box looks really cute. Maybe we could just cut the picture out and prop it up. Will people even notice?

6. I asked my son if he’d be offended if I just chucked his and his brother and sister’s gifts under the tree and forgot the  gift wrapping? He just stared at me. Really? Okay, fine. It was worth a try.

7. My company will be welcomed to our house through a pet cluttered deck, and into a laundry (alas, mud) room. The floor is covered in mud and snow…..and quite frankly, at this point I don’t care. This is our life. Mud and all.

8. If I get cut off in the parking lot at Wal-mart one more time, I might have holiday road rage.  On the up side, my mug shot could be used for next year’s Christmas card.

9. Speaking of Christmas cards, I had such good intentions. Really. I did.

10. I’m playing Mary (as in Jesus mother) this year. It’s an Advent monologue that I am performing this Sunday. I love drama. I just hope I can remember my lines! Breathe in…..breathe out…….

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Survival Of The Fittest

Christmas shoppers in the Bullring

Image by markhillary via Flickr

I’m glad to be able to relate to all my blog readers that I am not dead. I did indeed survive Black Friday from 12 a.m to 7:45 a.m. It was quite a new experience for a newbie Black Friday (BF to those seasoned veterans) shopper like myself. I got good and caffeinated for the excursion ahead. I didn’t get sleepy…not even once. It was exhilarating! Walmart, Big Lots, Goody’s, and JcPenney. Me and the posse’ got some serious door buster sale items. The free stuff was fun too. We got a free ornament at JcPenney. Very cute. Walmart was handing out doughnuts, and five hour energy drinks around 3 in the morning. Cool. All this caffeine never killed anybody. Maybe a twitch or the shakes, but that eventually calmed down, not that that happened to me, you understand.

1. At my Walmart people were in cluster groups. Some things went on sale at midnight. Others not until 5am. People were in packs waiting for the goods. If I were a psychologist I could have done some serious research. It was kind of like reality TV up close and personal.

2. I wasn’t there to get anything in particular so I could stand back and watch without putting myself in harms way.

3. Most people I came in contact with were nice. Got into a nice conversation with a lady at bed linens.

4. Bought some nice Christmas gifts. For good deals I might add.

5. Nice Walmart ladies were roaming around the store at 3am, handing out the 5 hr. energy drinks that I mentioned earlier. Nothing like people being hyped up on caffeine AND in a shopping frenzy.

6. We were the first ones….sitting in the JCPenney parking lot at 3 in the morning. They opened at 4am. People began pulling into the parking lot and as it got closer to 4….we all huddled in the freezing cold wind, at the door. They don’t call it “door buster” sales for nothing. Just sayin’.

7. Back to Walmart to pick up the stuff that didn’t go on sale until 5. Snatched up a couple of deals. Good stuff.

8. Stopped by McDonald’s at a little after 5 for some nourishment. And coffee. Woo hoo! Had my second wind. Me and 3 trillion other people.

9. Back out to Big Lots for some Christmas lights and wrapping paper. It was very crowded, but people were nice. Two ladies were snatching up all the child chairs. You know the kind that mirror adult chairs, but are child size. I don’t know what one person wants with all those chairs….maybe she has a lot of little people at her house?

10. Finished up at Goody’s. Seriously, love this store. And it smelled really good in there…..not that smell had anything to do with the good deals. But, it certainly didn’t hurt. It made for pleasant shopping.

Had been awake for 27 hours straight. Came home, sat down in a chair, and promptly fell asleep.