Sunday, September 30

Let the Festivities Begin

Yesterday was spent (in large part) preparing for the fall festival our neighborhood has every October. I think I almost lost a friend when I drug her to the meeting only to get her roped into a rather large task AND roping her husband in as well. Note to self- be prepared for payback. Note to everyone else- if you don't want to participate in volunteering, sponsoring, or offering a raffle item you may need to avoid me the next couple weeks.

In other news, we spent a small fortune in getting Aaron outfitted for the Cub Scouts. I really have an irrational distaste for uniforms. I need to get over it. I need to at least learn to fake it better. It was ALL I could do to actually spend money on such ugly clothing...and that handkerchief thing...don't even go there. What's wrong with some nicely screen printed tees and khaki shorts? These uniform things rank right up there with light up shoes and those HORRID character tennis shoes. Think about it, have you ever seen one of my children in character shoes? Ever? If I had my own Jeopardy game, these items would be listed under the "things that make you shutter" catergory. Seriously.

Thursday, September 27

Little PDA

Just a quick "I love you" for my Brad. "Everyone" loves Brad but I really really know him so I can say, if you really really knew'd love him even more!

Wednesday, September 26

Remembering Rich

The anniversary of Rich Mullins death came and went this year without much recognition. You may be asking yourselves "who is Rich Mullins?" thinking you don't know him. You may not recognize the name but if you attend church or listen to any Christian music at all you will be familiar with his work. Awesome God, Hold Me Jesus, Sing Your Praise to the Lord (recorded by Amy Grant), Elijah, Sometimes By Step etc. etc. I have been looking for a perfect you tube video to show ya'll in his memory. I found several pieces...and may end up posting one. But today I found a wonderful tribute on Josh Via's blog.

We saw Rich in concert in April of 97. He passed away in September of the same year. The more I learned about Rich, the more I admired him. (so much so that we used Mullins for Aaron's middle name!) From a distance he may have appeared as eclectic or even a bit weird. But what he was actually was one of the godliest men this world has ever seen. A man worth millions yet chose to give it all away. He lived on a very modest income-having all his checks sent straight to his church. The board gave Rich the national average income for the year and gave the rest away. He lived the last bit of his life on an Indian reservation in New Mexico. Perfect he was not. However, he was so honest about his flaws that they too seemed to bring admiration.

Something that was glaringly obvious from Rich's music was his desire to be home. He longed for heaven. He sang about it so often. The song "Elijah" was recorded on Rich's first album and then again on his last. In my opinion, his desire to go out like Elijah was honored. The details of his death are grim but very similar to the chorus of the song-

When I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It'll be like a candlelight in central park
It won't break my heart to say goodbye.

Listen to the song in its entirety here Elijah by Rich Mullins

Saturday, September 22

Happy Birthday

I have been writing this blog in my head for weeks but ended up scrapping it because if a picture is worth a thousand words, alot of pictures must be worth millions. That's what Mother deserves- millions. I couldn't have written anything better than 4Him sang it either...Happy birthday Mother. We love you!

Friday, September 21


Bunko rocked tonight. Gotta love it...16 girls were there which means winnings were high and I won 1st place!!! I got 3 bunkos and ended with a score of 266. :) I also learned how to do that 70s music "bow chicka bow wow" thing (I'm still practicing Ash, I'll have to impress you with my progress in a few days...) I also learned my good buddy gets her plants wholesale and I'm hoping she hooks me up with a trip to purchase some fall foliage at deep discount pricing. It's good to have friends in high places. ;) But wait, since she is the one that invited me to Bunko in the first place maybe I owe her a little trinket of appreciation from my winnings? Maybe I will just buy her a neon "Bunko Babe" t-shirt. Those are popular in the circuit. The matching bracelet is optional.

Tuesday, September 18

Aw, Finally I'm Taken Seriously

Those that know me well know that "whatthecrapever" is a term I coined many years ago and frequently use to express my displeasure or annoyance. It's nice to see that it is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Friday, September 14

Random Thoughts

Almost a week between posts...not good. Unfortunately I don't feel compelled to really chat about anything right now. However, there are a few random thoughts rolling around that I thought I'd take a minute to share-

*That sign at Brusters that says you can get 1/2 price banana splits on Thursdays, it's for real. And they do use your own bananas. Funny round bowl though...We've yet to try the "2nd scoop free on rainy days" sign...maybe next week.

*Andy was trying to befriend a little girl at Brusters. When she backed away from him he said, "I'm not scary." Apparently she disagreed.

*My little class is quite cute. Quite chatty too. Good thing they are cute.

*I still miss my old class. Is this attachment normal? I know they have new teachers now but I still consider them "mine."

*Bunko is next week and I am looking forward to it! Is this normal? I barely know most of those ladies but it is still really fun playing bunko with them!

*My parents are here right now so you know we are eating well, sleeping well, and have a lovely vacation from laundry. It's always nice to come home to a house full of people and conversation. Makes it seem like a holiday. I'm sure Spicy enjoys the daytime company too!

*As I tell my students every week in calendar time, "Today is my favorite school day- FunFriday. And tomorrow is my favorite day of the whole week- SleepinSaturday!"

Sunday, September 9

Promise Fullfilled

I've promised Tresher a couple recipes and I won't be able to face her in the hall tomorrow morning if I haven't delivered. they are. They are both very easy but very yummy.

The picture is a version of shell manicotti. I basically snagged it from my friend Heather who made it for us after Brad's surgery. I kept meaning to ask for the recipe but never did so I just made one up.
*Large shells
*Ricotta cheese
*Jar of Prego
*Beef (but next time I'll use sausage
*Mozzarella cheese

Cook the shells. Fill em with ricotta. Fill a casserole dish with them. Mix meat with pasta sauce. Pour over shells. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake 350 for 30 minutes. Done.

#2 is basically just as easy. It is my cheating version of potato boats- potato boat casserole.
*Mashed potatoes
*Ranch salad dressing
*bacon pieces
*green onion

Sprad a thin layer of the mashed potato to cover your casserole dish. Mix together beef with enough Ranch to make it white basically...More is better than less you could say. Layer the beef in the casserole next followed by the remainder of the mashed potatoes. COVER top with slices of good ol American cheese- takes about 9 slices. Sprinkle with the bacon pieces. I buy the prepackaged kind on the salad dressing aisle. Then bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Add the chopped green onion to the top and bake a few minutes more. Easy.

That is my cheaters way to make it because the original way involved using the potato skins and was just way too much hassle for me!~

This concludes my homemaking segment of blog world for the weekend. Join us next week when I teach you how to make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world- without even having to drag out your mixer! ;)

Saturday, September 8

A Weekend Funny

My brother sent this to me today- It's worth a watch. Or 10.
Thanks David.

Organization-Its a Good Thing

See those kids above? They are 2/3 of the reason we have to be a little freakish about organization here in Juggleville. Let me start with this disclaimer. I do not claim to have it all together. Not by a long shot. These little tricks are things I have picked up along the way just to ease some of the craziness. Especially the morning craziness.

Here is my favorite. When I get home from the grocery store (or Aldi!) I put away groceries and then get out one of my very favorite things- ziploc bags. Right then and there I divide up the weeks snacks and lunch box items into handy serving size baggies. This aids in the morning rush because the kids can make their own lunch without much hassle. It aids in portion control as well. Not that I am counting calories with the kiddos but without portion control an entire bag of Oreos would be gone in 1.3 days. That's not good on the hips or the checkbook.

Second on the list is the "fabulous clothes for the week organizers." Both Maci and Aaron use these now. On Sunday they put together their outfits for the entire week. Down to the socks and/or accessories. The beauty of this little trick is self explanatory.

Thirdly is the agenda rule. The kids need to have their agenda signed every day. I don't like having it shoved in my face the second I walk in the door and I flat out refuse to sign it the next morning at school. The solution? All agendas, notes, Tuesday folders, and homework papers that I need to see go in the basket on the desk. Sometime during the evening I will go through the basket and add my John Hancock in the appropriate places. The next morning the kids know right where to retrieve their items and all is well in the world.

Again, drop in any morning at 6:45 (yes that is the ungodly hour we have to leave this house) and you will most likely still see us rushing around trying to get everything put together and out the door. We aren't the Cleaver family. But because of a little organization, we aren't the Bundy's either.

Friday, September 7


To protect the identity of our mascot I have censored his picture above. ;)

I know. I know. I have not blogged about any of the things I was planning this week. In my defense, Brad was out of town and we had meetings, committments, and events galore. Week one is now behind us and it looks like we are off to a great start. This years crop is definately
a keeper. I've also learned very quickly that they are highly bribed- I mean motivated by stickers. I LOVE a class that loves stickers. Cheap. Efficient. Dependable. Much like a Kia...
Some classes don't respond to stickers. Some hold out for bigger treats like candy. Some parents have real issues against candy. But that's another blog for another day. Anyway, I figure as long as my treasure box is full of stickers I am golden. I predict we can coast on stickers all the way to Christmas break. After that...well it's always down hill from there anyway.

Tuesday, September 4

Day One Done.

Day one is done. Every year I forget how little they are when they come in. Some of them dive in and some act like it is their first day out of the womb. Just forming a line for the walk to the cafeteria is almost painful. Truly. Packing up backpacks at the end of the day- agonizing. In a few short weeks though they will get the routine and be well on their way. We are just "in training" at the moment. Stop by in December and we look like a well oiled machine walking down that hall. By May, they really don't need me anymore at all. We'll get rolling soon. The hallelujah moment- no criers this morning. That makes a huge huge difference. Everyone filed in with big smiles and full backpacks. Gotta love that!

Monday, September 3

All About the Numbers

It seems the new series at Elevation is surprising some folks. I can accept that. At first glance it could be surprising. However, what annoys me beyond words is when people stop at that first glance. Look closer. Dig deeper. Figure out what is really going on here before you pass judgement. Many churches will claim that they don't care about "numbers." At Elevation, you will be told straight up that not only do we care about the numbers but everything we do is based on the numbers. It's about the number of people who were far from God and are now filled with life in Christ. Elevation's passion and goal is to reach these people who are far from God. Is it working? Here are some stats to help you decide-

*623 salvations since Feb. 07
* 426 baptisms since Feb. 07

Another myth about Elevation is that it is "just for the young people." Tell that to the 40+ age group that makes up the largest segment of our first time guests most weeks. This is a church for those that have a passion for Christ and for leading others to Christ. Age is irrelevant.

Another claim is that we are all about the show. This claim happens to be true. Pastor mentioned this Sunday and said, "Yes we are! If by show you mean the preaching of God's word, the worship of Jesus, the creative compelling presentation of the most innovating message ever to light up this planet, thousands of people coming together, the gospel being preached, Jesus being lifted up...then yeah we are all about the show. It's all about the preaching of God's word so that people far from God can meet Jesus and have their lives changed." There is nothing watered down at Elevation. Not the music. Not the production. Certainly NOT the gospel. Ever.

More numbers-

* Since December we have had over 4,500 First Time Guests,
of that over 1,300 were 40 and older.
*Most weeks, the biggest group is the 40+ crowd.
*156 First time guests every week the past 10 weeks
*577 volunteers

Am I a little fired up? Sure. I don't apologize for that. Here's the bottom line. What is going on at Elevation is not typical. But it is of God. Elevation may not look like your church- it may not follow the "traditions" you are used to. But before you let your ignorance speak, do your homework. Dig deeper. Watch some of Pastor Furtick's sermons. A little old lady playing an organ or a man falling asleep on the back row are two things you will not find at Elevation. What you will find are possibly the hardest working people in ministry, the highest quality of everything, and most importantly the gospel being presented in its entirety. We are not a "seeker sensitive- water it down so you don't offend anyone" kind of place. Stick around long enough and you are bound to hear some numbers as well because it IS all about the numbers!

Saturday, September 1

Sleepy Saturday

At least it should be a sleepy Saturday. I woke up at 7:15- wide awake. That just never happens. The day is chalked full of events- most of which include Andy in a "No! I don't want to. Don't put me in that buggy" buggy. I have gotten to catch up on my blog reading this morning. This weeks goal is to catch up on blog writing. Topics I plan to cover-

*Just for Tresher- the recipe she keeps asking for

*The importance of over the top organization and why it should not be considered controlling or anal!

*One of those ABC blogs that Carpool Mom is doing

*A few giggles from the first week of kindergartners- that don't violate confidentiality laws of course!

*Maybe another "corner" installment...I was thinking of a "corner of the classroom" this time though.

All of this is tentative though based on the hope that I come home from school each day left with the capability of forming a coherent sentence.