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Thursday, December 31, 2009

one eye backwards…the other forward

i was awake this morning at 3 am. not good in the light of us being up past midnight tonight to ring in the new year…
as i laid there, trying to sleep, my mind was really going a mile a minute as i was thinking about the past decade.
my kids went from elementary school to middle school to high school to college. crazy.
i went from the 30s to 40s. a natural progression, but weird none-the-less.
i lost both of my parents… we buried two grandmothers. *sigh*
we mission tripped in nashville, georgia, pennsylvania, new york, spain, london, bolivia, and ch*na, as well as in our own backyard. humbling.
we've been to cancun, san francisco, destin, fripp island, myrtle beach, colorado, and more places than i can really count… thankful.
we managed to build our business and hang on during one of the worst economic crisis we've experienced in our lifetimes. scary.
we've gone from innocence (or perhaps better stated as naive) to wised-up. and then to amnesiacs. 9-11 changed us. remember.
we spent more time in waiting rooms of surgery centers than we would have liked. hernias. torn ACLs. ripped/broken fingers. dental bone grafts and surgeries too numerous to even count. wisdom teeth. yay for ridiculously high deductibles. (heavy sarcasm)
we've been blessed beyond our wildest dreams. seriously.
we've learned to walk with the Lord. deepen our faith. our kids have grown into lovers of the Lord. can i get an amen?
we've been in student ministries for a decade. wow.
i was rattling of this list to the hubster, who was wide-awake with me. it wasn't long, however, before he was quietly snoring beside me. i'm not sure what that says about our past decade… i like to think it was the cadence of my voice…

so what does the next decade hold for us?
i'm no fortune teller, but i can imagine that the next ten years will include some changes for us.
i will add to my names of wife, mother, sister, sister-in-law… mother-in-law… and grandmother? yikes on a stick. i marvel at the thought, but really, my kids are right in that age.
wedding showers and baby showers. but instead of my friends, it will be for the next generation. (i think i just heard my back creak. oh, dear!)
our business is undergoing some major changes at this very instant which will change things up dramatically. i'm more than likely going to go from part-time to full-time work. i don't know how i really feel about that, other than i'm an empty nester now, so i guess a few years of hard work won't kill me.
who knows what will happen with my little side-biz that is still struggling to get off the ground (and into cyberspace) but who did enjoy a very profitable first quarter. encouraging to say the least. i just don't know how that will all fit into my full time job…
i'm embarking on a teaching venture, too, as i am looking to team-teach a christian worldview class with a friend beginning mid-january. it's geared for graduating seniors in high school. so excited for what that all entails.
part of my heart is still in the 2000s. and part is expectantly hopeful for the 2010s. whatever the next decade holds, i pray that i will be more humble, closer to my Creator, loving well, giving often, encouraging others, learning more, and honoring Him in all i say and do. a pretty tall order, but with Him, all is possible.
happiest of new years to all of you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


i didn't fully appreciate my birthday until i birthed children of my own. after that, i called my mom each year on my birthday to tell her thanks. giving birth to me probably wasn't as bad as my children's births because she did the knock-out-wake-you-when-it's-over kind. and mine? well let's just say i still have the heel mark on my forehead from where the doctor needed a bit more leverage to get my first one out. both were natural. sans drugs. and if it wasn't for pitocin with my second, i pretty much could guarantee that i'd probably still be pregnant.

today's my mom's birthday.

i would love to call her, but this is the 10th birthday she's celebrating with Jesus.

and i still miss her, but certainly nothing like before.

i remember when she was sick and she looked at me and said, "don't forget me…"

pretty much ripped my heart out.

and as i was thinking about her today, wondering what she would be like on her 84th birthday, i caught my breath for just a second. there are days that go by when i don't think of her at all.
there are alot of days like that.

i'm not forgetting. really, i'm not.

i'm just choosing to press on, move forward, live life.

she taught me so many amazing things. like how to laugh. how to love. how to be a mother.
and a million other things that make me who i am…

i miss you "hot lips" (my mom was pretty spicy in high school, but in a great, red-lipstick-1940s kinda way), babs (her initials were b.a.b.), never betsy, mom, betty-bop (what my kids called her).
gone, but not forgotten…

like i could ever forget someone like her…

happy birthday, mom.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

swirly brain activity

i've written about a million blog posts in my head.

in the shower.

awkward, i know.

and every time i sit down to write, i have about a million other things that need to be done, and blogging seems so frivolous.

lots is going on and i believe we're on the brink of a new beginning. and by we, i mean the hubster and i, our business, my new business, and much, much more.

hence the swirling brain activity.

i have this innocent-looking miniature dachshund. well, actually, i have three. and they're all rather innocent-looking, but they pack waaaaay more personality into their squatty little bodies than should be in a package that small.
the smallest, and newest, bailey, is pretty much a party waiting to happen. she loves toys. and stuffed animals. and disembowling stuffed animals. especially if they squeak. she will work it until the squeaker is destroyed, and polyester fiberfill is strewn all about.

she is a ruthless little thing. all innocent-looking, but with a heart like ice–when it comes to squeaky toys.

so today, i had a weak moment in the krogers. little toys were on sale, so i bought one that looked like it could withstand jaws-o-death.
but the real question is… can i withstand the ear assault as she works to try to de-squeak this toy? because it has a squeaking mechanism that looks indestructible.

i seriously have had to put this toy up three or four times today because i cannot hear my brain swirling.

innocent… hah! what a joke.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

remembering at christmas

i didn't pen this, but received it today, and it really struck a cord with me. in a land that seems to be crazy to make lasting changes to the nature of our government without the transparency that they promised and with a race to an unnecessary finish line, i realize that my freedoms are NOT just a given. they came at a great price. it's become rather comfortable here on the couch.—easier to stick a hand out and wait for someone to fill it than it is to just get up and make it happen ourselves. have we lost sight of what it means to be a patriot?

perhaps more than what i should be saying here… this isn't a political blog. but when i read this, it made me ponder my freedom and all that comes with that. i have a responsibility to be a good citizen, and to teach my children, as well. so while i continue to ponder my freedom and what that means to me, i'll share the poem i received today:

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,

Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,

Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my father’s before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

On this Christmas and every day, I remember. Thank you for everything you do on my behalf, on the behalf of my family, my country and the world… so we can be free.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


charity:water had their huge gala this week (my birthday-eve, acutally) and it was a huge success.

charity: ball 2009 from Michael Trainer on Vimeo.

if you want to learn more about charity:water, scott harrison and what a brilliant marketer he is, head on over to their website.
scott came and talked to our high school class at our church and was incredibly impactful. our church has sponsored more than one well building project and have provided enough irrigation in mucatine, mozambique that the ladies there are now selling their handgoods to purchase a truck to carry their produce to the market.
water is a sustaining, life-giving blessing.
thank you for the well wishes (get it? well) for my birthday and will be back soon. it's crazy busy in these parts and i'm trying to be a good steward and take a bit of a break (we'll see how that goes) from my blog (as i'm sure y'all have noticed. i'm not the blog-stalker i've been and i've been remiss at posting. not because i don't want to, but because i feel guilty because there's so much stuff to do.) i'll be in and out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

happy birthday to me…

tomorrow is my birthday.
at my age, it's not really anything to get overly excited about, but i do realize the more i have, the longer i'm able to live.
but it's not like my birthday is super special. it's not like all my friends are racing around town trying to find the perfect gift for me.…
and if they were, i'd find that kind of awkward. i draw attention to myself on a regular basis, but when people honor me, it makes me feel weird. sort of like there are people way more deserving than me. really.
what would be super non-awkward is if my friends were to learn more about water.
you know, the kind that you can drink.
i remember my mother-in-law telling me about a time when she was in a car with a few ladies from africa. they were dumbfounded by the fact that we americans water our lawns with perfectly good drinking water.
i wouldn't dream of drinking from a hose. gah, the yukky hosey flavor of stale water…ick.
but for millions, no, more like billions of people, that would be like nectar.
you may not feel led to give. that's okay, i felt led to share.

Monday, December 7, 2009


so much to process… so much to share…
i am needy…
i am being kneaded…

stay with me…

work. must be productive (and obedient).

there's more.

so much more.


{oh, and on a side note, all went well at the drs. my kidney infection is gone (thank you louis pasteur) and i'm just waiting to hear results on blood work. i'm listening to my body and the holy spirit and both of them say "slow down."
and can i just say that i love, love LOVE christy nockles?? her new album, life light up elicits the biggest sigh from my soul.}

Friday, December 4, 2009

waiting and watching

if you're like me, 'tis the season for just about everything. baking, crafting, corresponding, decorating, fellowshipping, working (yeah, life goes on, right?), singing, and all things bustley. it can be a super-crazy time of year. chuck in a couple of birthdays (the hubster, me and the brother in law, oh, and jesus, too) and i have the makings of a holiday panic attack. (not that i haven't been struggling with that here for the past few weeks…)
except that i let go a looooong time ago having to have the perfect christmas. the decorations just right. the holiday correspondence with the cute family photograph all addressed and written and ready to go out in the post. (excuse me, but we got a christmas card on nov 30!! who is that organized??) and on. and on. and on…
last year i attended an advent retreat. i didn't think i could afford the time, but i did it, and i was so glad i went.
i'm going again this year, and i'm really looking forward to just slipping my holiday self into neutral as i coast into a lovely weekend with lovely women all focusing on what this holiday season is all about.
so i'm going to sit. and be. and watch and wait.
be patient as i wait for Him to breathe His presence into my heart.
because that's pretty hard for him to do when i'm a whirling dervish of martha-ness flailing about. nothing is impossible for God, but it helps so much when i slow down to make room.

so my cookies will wait.
my home-made chex mix will wait.
my wrapping will wait.
my christmas cards will wait (and probably be late, but oh well).

but my heart will be right.
and the fact that i'm recovering from a massive kidney infection has made it slightly easier for me to slow down.

so enjoy your weekend. i'm going to bask in His glory all weekend long. i can't wait (although advent is all about waiting after all…) to see what He has to say.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

don't be a cotton-headed ninnymuggin!!

thanks to mama4real for a little holiday idea. imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? thanks mama!!

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
yes, and almost finished. first time in my married life i can say this. AND they are almost all wrapped. it's a record. of course there's not a decoration up in the whole house other than the lit tree, but i'm okay with that!

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions. Growing up we were a "Christmas Eve" family, meaning that we opened all of our gifts on Christmas Eve, and then traveled to my aunt and uncle's house on Christmas day. When i began spending Christmas with the hubster's side of the family (because of retail we never travel over the holidays) they were all pretty militant about Christmas Day. and don't even ASK to open just one. ain't gonna happen.
but once our kids got older, we shifted a bit so we wouldn't have to drag our ENTIRE christmas to meeka and pop's house. so we dress for church, the hubs makes special drinks (like sparkling cranberry ginger ale) for the family, and i prepare party hors d'oeuvres. and artichokes. fresh ones. with the dipping butter. mmmmm. we open gifts, head to church and then hop in the car to go to spend the night with meeka and pops.
there we enjoy a ferraro family tradition: bonia cauda. it's an italian dish made with heavy cream, garlic, butter and (don't gag) anchovies. it's acutally quite tasty and the hot creamy sauce is served with fresh (raw) veggies like cabbage, broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers, etc. and fresh baked bread. uncle randy always comes, too, and it's a fun fellowship with this small part of the family. the next day the rest of the kids arrive, and we huddle about 20 of us around the christmas table.

3. When do you put up your Tree?
usually thanksgiving weekend. last year i did it several weeks before because i knew i would be away at an advent retreat and i didn't want to stress.

i had my small group make ornaments for our blessing tree. our family liked it so much we kept it that way through christmas.

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper?
not only no, but HELL NO. i've only done it once and it was one of the most disappointing experiences of my holiday.

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home?
we always go to meeka and pops in gatlinburg. it's a little over an hour away, but there's no traffic christmas eve and we love to look at all the winter wonderland lights.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?
probably when the kids were really little and they slept in (like until 9) and they still had to run in and jump on uncle randy to wake him up. now we have to jump on them to wake them up!

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?
don't have to even think about it.
elf. elf. ELF, you silly cotton-headed ninnymuggin!!

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking, what’s your favorite treat?
i love to bake but find that time always gets away from me. i love the bars with the shortbread bottom and the carmely-pecan topping. mmmmmmm (can you hear my arteries clogging?)

9. Fake or Real Tree?
sad to say, fake. the hubster has a knack for picking out the charlie brown christmas tree and always balks about the pricetag. one year there weren't enough walls to hide all the bare spots, so that was the year we bought fake at the end of the season. i'm not a fan of fluffing or dragging the monstrosity up the stairs, but it does look good when it's up. this year i paid bamagirl to fluff. it was money well spent, i tell ya!

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
i really try not to panic. i try to relax and enjoy the season. to let go of my expectations of the martha stewart christmas. last year i was so de-stressing that i got the 100 photos in, and just decided not to send out cards. oh well!
11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
usually i do, but not this year if i can help it!! i would like to watch a christmas movie marathon all day. that would be awesome!

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
as soon as everyone arrives just after lunch on christmas day, we all head over the the football field at the high school, about a 10 minute walk from the house.
we play a semi-touch/tackle game of football and shoot off model rockets. and take a bunch of pictures. it's a blast.
13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?
all of them? yikes, so hard to choose. i love to make jewelry, mostly.

14. Christmas music?
ohmygracious, i LOVE christmas music! i get in the mood around november 1, but can wait until the week before thanksgiving to start listening. several radio stations play wall-to-wall christmas music beginning at midnight thanksgiving night. it's pretty awesome. and i love, love, LOVE oh holy night. my mom used to sing it alcapulco (you know, without any accompaniment) and it seriously gives me chills.

15. When do you plan to finish all of your shopping?
we downplay christmas because we don't want our kids to think we're made of money, which we so, so SO are not! we try to keep the holiday real, so i'm wrapping up my shopping (ha ha pun intended) pretty soon. just have a few extended family people and a few white elephant swaps. it's all good.

so if you want to play along, please do. just let me know and i'll head over to your blog and check it out!