Friday, October 12, 2012

Blue Tie--Red Tie

A disturbing image keeps flashing before my eyes today, like it's haunting me or something.  I keep seeing this guy in a suit and blue tie laughing ridiculously and forever interrupting and trying to talk over the guy next to him, who also wears a suit, but with a red tie.  It's that gleaming smile that keeps playing over and over in my mind like a fever-induced freak show.

What was so unendingly funny?  Even if he wasn't agreeing with Red Tie, that much laughter seemed really inappropriate for the occasion. 

And what was with the gallons of water consumed by Red Tie?  It appeared to me to be driven by nerves, as did the incessant laughter of his opponent.  But, really, I find it easier to feel confident about someone who drinks lots of water (which could have been just because he was thirsty or had a sore throat, but even if it was because of nerves . . .) than a guy who sits there and laughs consistently throughout something as important as a vice-presidential debate.

On the other hand, I guess the laughter pretty much sums up the attitude of the present administration.  They seem to have enjoyed making a joke of our country, the Constitution, our religious freedoms, and anything else they've been able to get their hands on the past four years.

It's definitely not funny to me.  But I shall cast my vote with a smile on November 6.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"I Just Want it to End!"

When it happened, I was in second grade and walking home from my friend's house (yes, I'm old enough that it was a typical practice for kids to walk to and from their friends' houses by themselves!).  Suddenly, this boy, a third-grader (who seemed sooooo old and scary back then) jumped out of nowhere, grabbed me, and wrapped his leg around mine to trip me.  I remember the green grass closing in on my face in slow motion until it blurred as my little glasses fell to meet it.

I. was. so. scared. 

I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know why he hated me or wanted to hurt me.  I barely knew him.  I found out later what his problem was and it was something ridiculous.  But in that moment, I had no idea if he was going to beat me up, or what!

With some threatening words I don't now remember, he ran back into his house, and I took off toward home, crying and looking over my shoulder every few seconds.

It was horrible.

That's the only time I can remember being physically bullied, unless you count the time a classmate dug her long, claw-like fingernails into my arm during P.E. because I did better than she did in the long jump.  In college I had some seemingly close calls with, well, let's just say . . . overly-friendly . . . guys while walking to work or riding in claustrophobic elevators in downtown Chicago.  Scary!  I guess that's a kind of bullying, too.  No matter how old you are, it's not fun.

How many kids over the years have told me they were/are being bullied at school, on the bus, on the playground . . . even at home?  Too many!  Some experience physical bullying, others are verbally abused or taunted, and still others suffer both.

Just recently a boy told me, "I don't want to learn strategies to deal with it.  I just want it to end!"

I'm sorry, child, that it's not likely to just end.

I'm sorry that too many kids are taught by their parents that they are the center of the universe.

I'm sorry that too many kids are bullied at home and choose to be bullies themselves to cope.

I'm sorry that God has been "removed" from your school in an attempt to attract your focus elsewhere.  Don't forget, my dear, that no one can remove Him from your life, your experience, your heart.  You can choose to focus on Him if you wish!  He's the One who can ultimately help you.

We've become such a bullying society.  Good grief, if a celebrity dares to think on his/her own and support a political party other than the left, he/she is ostracized.  If an African American dares to speak out against Obama's tactics, he/she is labeled disloyal.  If a company espouses Biblical values, it must be STOPPED.  Even some who supposedly act on behalf of God use their position in abusive ways.

On a personal level, people are bullied all the time.  If you don't look, act, or speak the way we want you to, you can't be part of our group.  If you are different, I will call you names, slander you behind your back, or physically injure you.   Oh, and you just happen to be in my path when I'm in a bad mood--you're dirt!

None of it is right!

Jesus Himself was bullied like crazy!  At first He escaped the physical bullying and stood up to the verbal.  Oh, yes, Jesus could make those verbal bullies look really stupid!  He was too loving to use the word "stupid" in His heart I'm sure, but they were extremely foolish and He exposed them for what they were. He loved them, even knowing what they would eventually do to Him, enough to show them the errors in their thinking.

But then, on the night of nights, that would change everything forever, He chose not to speak up.  He chose not to escape the physical bullying.  You know, the death that you and I caused Him to suffer.  He had a purpose in this.  And the bullies couldn't keep him dead.  Nothing or no one could!

That was Jesus, though.  There will never be another Him.

How do we help these kids who are being bullied and picked on right now?  I'm not an expert, but one thing I know for sure.


Pray for the victims and pray for the bullies.  God can move mountains!  He can do anything!  He may have a purpose in allowing it to continue, or He may rescue immediately.  But, whatever He decides to do, those kiddos need to be lifted up to Him by concerned Christ-followers.

It's easy to feel bad for the victim, but the bully is a victim, too.  In some way, he/she is held captive by thoughts and ideas that are downright evil.  These messages could be coming from anywhere--parents, movies, songs, video games, friends, etc.  Kids don't have to look far to see (or hear) filthy lies.  Even those who try not to will sometimes hear or see messages they shouldn't.

And they pay in some way.

We have little or no control over what other kids see/hear/do.  But we can teach our own children to value others, to think of others before themselves, to guard their eyes and ears from all varieties of filth.  We can spend lots of time with them and teach them how to put these things into practice.  We can be vigilant in guarding their time, so that they are not stretched out too thinly with activities, without enough time to be studying God's word and learning important virtues.

What if your child is the victim?  It's so hard to know the answer to that!  The "pat" answers don't seem to work in real life.  Again, I would begin with prayer.  It sounds trite, I know.  But just because it's so familiar to a lot of us, let's not set it aside like a B-list option.  Prayer is powerful!  Maybe this is where you will re-experience the power of prayer!  What better thing can we do than to place our children in the palm of His hand, asking Him for wisdom to know what to do or how to advise them?  He tells us He will give us wisdom if we ask for it in faith:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."  James 1:5-6

I would also suggest really listening to the child and seeking help where it may be found.  Again, I'm no expert, so I'm not going to attempt to give definitive answers here.  There are so many situations that are different from each other.  But find someone you trust, someone who will speak in Truth rather than simply in secular terms.  Kids are being educated in secular "character" or anti-bullying at school.  While there may be helpful suggestions to be found there, the root of the problem is so much deeper than that.  Seek Godly counsel!

Oh, Lord, help these hurting children!  And please help us as parents to teach our children well! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Man of the House Day!

Do you ever just know God wants you to do something?  That's how it was for me yesterday.  I just knew Little Mister and I needed to plan an impromptu, simple celebration of our appreciation for Kevin.

I did not feel well.  I did not have any fancy ideas.  I did not have special ingredients in the house to make a spectacular dinner.  My child was being extremely disagreeable at first in the morning.  I kinda wanted to postpone what the Lord was impressing upon me to do.

But it was one of those things that just wouldn't be ignored.

So, I pulled myself together, managed to deal patiently with Dear Son until he turned his day around (oh, thank You, Lord, for answering my prayers by working in me and in him so powerfully when we both needed an attitude adjustment!), told Dear Son what we were going to do, and we enthusiastically planned.

We don't look exactly like this!  ;)
Kevin is a great husband and dad.  He deserves (and perhaps your man does, too?) to know he's appreciated.  He prays with us first and last thing of every day (and often in-between, too), is a diligent spiritual leader in our home, works long hours to provide for us, helps many people in many ways, serves faithfully at church, is loyal, faithful, and loving.  Just to name a few admirable traits. ;)

The first thing Dear Son and I decided to do was to each write Kevin a letter to express our gratitude, love, and appreciation.  DS decided to make a card and to include his own original poem about his dad.  I was seriously choked up as I read my 10-year-old son's tribute to his "papa" ("papa" is pronounced with a French accent, for whatever reason! lol).  (Oh, and I have his and Kevin's permission to publish this).  :)

A man at the test
A man in the field
He has the guts
To God he will yield

He is my papa
He is the one
I cherish always

He has what it takes
To stand and fight

I want to follow
I want to give
If I were God,
And I think He would agree,
I would say,
"Well done good and faithful servant
You have given your son
All he could want.
Love, patience, kindness,
And most of all, understanding."
Then we planned and cooked dinner.  We haven't been eating desserts or sweets at home unless we have company or something, but we decided since it was a special occasion, we'd break the rule and make one of Kevin's basic favorites--brownies.  I found a recipe online that made just a small pan, and that was perfect.  While those were baking and cooling we made a spinach salad that Kevin loves (actually, so do I, and DS likes it.) and this Pinterest recipe for Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry that we all enjoy.

Nothing fancy.  But served with love and special admiration!

When Kevin came home, we shouted, "Happy Man of the House Day!"  He was surprised and touched and enjoyed our efforts.

Incidentally, "Man of the House Day" was the only name we could seem to come up with.  We couldn't call it Husband or Daddy because neither of those applies to both of us, and DS doesn't call Kevin, "Kevin."  There probably is a better name out there, but it did not reach out and grab us, and my feverish mind was not up to searching for it overly long!  ;)

I don't know that this will be an annual thing, or more or less than once a year.  I just know that yesterday it needed to be done.  As I cleaned up the kitchen after our celebration, feeling like I absolutely couldn't stand up another minute (I've been quite sick the last several days, and, though I'm on the mend, I don't have my strength back yet!  This was a nasty one!), I thought about the look in my husband's eyes when he read our notes and ate those brownies, and knew I couldn't and wouldn't and shouldn't have chosen any other day to celebrate who and what he is to us. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Discover 4 Yourself," An Awesome Teaching Tool for Kids!

The Bible is where it's at.  It's where all the answers are . . . every single thing of lasting importance that we need to know during our life here on earth can be found in this living and breathing book!

Kay Arthur
But we need to be students of it to really understand what it says, of course, and I am a long-time fan of Precepts Bible studies.  The wise and gifted Kay Arthur heads up this ministry, and she is a joy to watch and listen to on her accompanying DVDs.  I've been attending the Precepts Bible studies at my church on Wednesday mornings for years, and, though circumstances are such that I can't attend this year, I am happy to be doing the study at home.  Being able to discuss what I was learning and hear the DVDs was icing on the cake, but at least I have the cake itself this year! :)

This semester's study is on the first part of John.  And guess what I discovered through some other ladies in the Precepts Bible study?  Precepts now has Bible studies for kids!  The series is called Discover 4 Yourself, and I am just delighted with the one I purchased for Little Mister to do.  The extra-cool thing is that he's doing the one on the first part of John, too.  This should make for some interesting discussion right here at home! :)

What I love about Precepts, for adults and kids, is that they take the inductive approach.  They show you how to let Scripture interpret Scripture, rather than allowing your preconceived notions taint the interpretation.  Here's the simple explanation of inductive study that is in the LM's kids' study:

When you study something inductively, it means that you look at it very carefully so that you can discover for yourself what it is or what it means.  In other words, you don't just take someone else's word for it or go ask an expert.  It means you begin by trying to figure it out for yourself. 

It's not that other sources, like commentaries, are never used, but they are used after thorough study of the Bible itself, and looking to see how the Bible as a whole helps to interpret the passage being studied.  I love this because I so want to know what God has to say, even if that means I find out I've had wrong ideas about something.  I'd rather go through the process of adjusting my thinking than to believe, and therefore live, a lie or a misconception!
One helpful (and fun, according to LM) part is marking key words in the passage, which is printed in the back of the book, with colorful symbols.

So if you have any 8-12-year old kids in your life, a "seriously fun" way to teach them Bible study skills is available here and here.  There are about 21 different studies to choose from at this point!

I couldn't keep this to myself.  I'm so thankful for those who told me about it! :)

Monday, September 17, 2012


A house is nothing to envy.  Too many envied mansions hide cold or indifferent hearts living (or maybe not so much) together-but-not-together.

A house is nothing to miss once you or they have moved on.  Walls don't really whisper.

But houses are often envied or missed.  It's easy to do both.  There's always something "better" we want.  Always a moment elsewhere wanting to be relived.

The truth is, though . . .

A house is a shell.

The people within are the home.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Saturdays at our house are typically a chance to catch up on things we didn't have time to do or finish Monday through Friday, like:

Sleep a little longer,

Take it at a slower pace for awhile in the morning,

Share a pint-size cuppa joe with Dad,

Finish science experiments,
Volcano--for some reason the black paint turned purple! :)

Volcano "erupting" with vinegar and baking soda.  Totally fun! An ever-needed reminder for Mom that messes can be cleaned up, and that the mess-maker is only here with me for a blink of an eye.

Yard work.  Today I did some weeding while the guys mowed and other stuff.  I adore the chorus of distant lawn mowers, tillers, leaf blowers as I'm working outside.  Takes me back to my childhood back yard for some reason.  I know now it was an ordinary back yard like every other back yard, but at the time it was a magical playland.
It still chokes me up a bit to see my big boy mowing, even though it's not new to him anymore.

Maybe having some sloppy egg salad sandwiches for lunch,
On white bread (because a sandwich on white bread every now and then keeps us young at heart) and cut in triangles (because they taste better that way!).

Planning for the next week of school,
I do my planning on Grandma H.'s old drop-leaf table.  It's so very old and loved and memory-inspiring.

And winding down over a dinner of yummy Grilled Greek Chicken Kabobs. Click here for recipe!
These are awesome taken off the sticks and served over rice! :)

Saturdays are a lovely gift! :)  How are Saturdays spent at your house?

Grilled Greek Chicken Kabobs

So easy and yummy.  The red onion is perfect! :)

1/2 cup KRAFT Greek Vinaigrette Dressing
2 Tbsp.  KRAFT Real Mayo Mayonnaise
1-1/2 lb. Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1   Red onion, cut into small wedges
1 Lemon, halved

MIX dressing and mayo; pour over chicken in shallow dish. Stir to evenly coat chicken. Refrigerate 20 min. to marinate.*

HEAT grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Thread chicken and onions alternately onto skewers.
GRILL 8 to 10 min. or until chicken is done, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, place lemon, cut-sides down, on grill grate next to kabobs; grill until heated through.
SQUEEZE lemon juice over kabobs just before serving.

*You can marinate up to 2 hours--that's what I did this time and it was even more flavorful.

Serve with salad or your favorite veggie.  Yummo!   Great served over rice as well!

By the way, I got this recipe years ago from my sister, and I think she got it from one of those free Kraft magazines.  :) 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dear Laurie

A letter from me to my "former self."  I wish I could reach back in time and hand myself this letter.  

It's funny--I posted this letter and then found out about this link-up.  :)  God-thing, maybe?


Dear 1980s Laurie,

Grandma H was right when she told you time goes faster, the older you are.  I know you'll believe her when she says that, but I urge you to do more than just acknowledge what she says is true.  No, I can tell you from experience, you must LIVE like you believe her with all your heart.  It seems like yesterday that I was your age, but now here I am in my 40s!  I remember when 30 seemed so old and far off.  Now I'm more than a decade past that.    Redeem the time!

So how can an old lady of 40-something have anything relevant to say to you?  Well, because I am you. 

Stop being so independent!  Break that habit while it's still easy.  Grab hold of wisdom wherever it's offered (true wisdom, of course) and seek it wherever it may be found.  You have many wonderful people in your life--some that you see every day and others who pop up here and there.  You may be well-behaved on the outside, but you have too much stubbornness, pride and rebellion in your heart, where it counts.  Yes, dear, always remember that good actions with a rotten heart are as filthy rags--useless, disgusting and not actually helping anything/anyone.

Be more than polite to those dear elderly people at church who always seem to genuinely like you, despite the span of years between you.  Do more than smile and thank them for their notes of encouragement--ask them what you need to know.  When your parents are doing their best to instruct you in the ways of God, don't be a putz and rain on their parade.  It's okay . . . no, it's necessary!. . . to have joy, even when your heart is breaking.  Please pay attention to this, young lady, because this information is going to come in handy now, but even more so in several years:  Joy is a choice!!  Happiness is not always a choice.  There are many factors affecting our happiness, or lack of it.  Happiness is an emotion.  Joy is an attitude!  Joy is a choice!  It's a matter of who/what you choose to rule over you:  your emotions or the Lord.  You will need to learn, as difficult as it is, that you can have the proper attitude of joy even when your world seems to be falling apart.

Why?  Because it's not your world!  It's not your life!  You gave it to Jesus when you were six years old.  At the moment you believed, He sent His Spirit to reside in you--don't quench this perfect gift!  There are all kinds of reasons for sadness, but your feelings don't give you an excuse to rebel against God, or doubt His love for you, or retreat from life, or treat people rudely.  Joy, a fruit of the very Spirit living in you, gives you the power, if you choose to use it, to wake up in the morning and declare to God:  "I feel rotten today and I barely want to be here!  That's how I feel!  But I'm giving all I have to You for Your glory.  I'm going to do the best I can do with what I've got to work with today.  It might not seem like I've accomplished much at the end of today, but I'm going to do SOMETHING for You.  'Cuz it's all about You."

Now, let's talk about your hair.  I hope I've caught you before you dyed it blond.  Not that there's a thing wrong with blond hair but God did not give you bleach blond hair!  If you still choose to dye it, there's nothing sinful about that.  It's the discontent that concerns me.  And the time you spend feathering it every morning, only to spray that Aqua Net on a style you're still discontent with.  I wish I could tell you things have changed.  But, at the age of 40-something, only the actual style and brand of hairspray has changed.  Yes, it's good to look as nice as you can, but don't make it the main focus!


And, um, you may want to lay off the blush a little!  :)

One "main focus" I want to warn you against is boy-craziness!  Oh my goodness!  I know you well enough to know that you'll go bananas over too many "cute"guys.  You're too young!  You don't have enough wisdom yet!  No matter what the songs say, a kiss is NOT just a kiss.  Save those kisses!  It's so not worth it to waste them on toads disguised as Prince Charming.  There's only one Prince Charming for you, and God will work wonders you can't even imagine in order to bring the two of you together.  He isn't who you think he is, by the way.  You think you're so sure, but you don't know ANYTHING yet!  It's okay--just be so careful to guard your heart.  Don't compromise!  I'll say it again:  Don't compromise!

A few side notes.  Get those Michael Jackson posters of your walls!  First, and most importantly, there really is no reason to have pictures of someone you don't even know hanging on your bedroom walls, feeding your idolatry (I know you're not worshiping MJ in the way you worship God, but your fascination with him would be much better spent on the Lord).  Secondly, well, just wait until you see how his life turned out--and his nose.  He had so much talent, but he wanted and enticed people to idolize him, and all he really ended up with was a shortened life.  That seems to happen to a lot of people, famous and otherwise.  Don't go down that path!

You know that blue and pink eyeshadow combo (from CoverGirl) that you love?  Enjoy it while you can because you won't be able to find it in a year or two.  It's never made a comeback.  Nor have the  headbands across the forehead.  I've seen a few leg warmers and turned-up collars here and there in recent years, though.

Relax a little.  Listen a lot.  Be an example and don't be ashamed of what you believe!  God does use you but He can use you even more if you'll fully surrender to Him.  Learn to do that more now, so maybe it will be easier for you later.  Surrender is so difficult.  Trust is almost impossible at times.  Again, that's a matter of your will.  I wish I could say I've learned more in those areas by now.  Help me out here!  ha ha

Your parents--well, they're just people.  You count on them for everything, but they aren't perfect.  You will still be imperfect when you're their age.  It's difficult sometimes, but don't harden your heart toward them when they're doing things right, because of the pain you feel from past imperfections.  At your age, you need whatever Godly guidance they are offering you.  I can't tell you, young lady, how many times I hear God talking to me through my own voice as I discipline and correct your future son.  Your parents are learning right along with you.  You're their first teenager, and it probably doesn't seem so long ago to them that they were teenagers themselves.  They have a big responsibility.  They're going to fail sometimes.  But don't make it harder on them by nurturing a bratty heart.

You know what Mom keeps saying, about your sisters wanting to do everything you do, not because they're trying to bug you but because they look up to you?  I know you don't believe that for a second right now.  But I can tell you that it's true.  I'm sure they don't consciously think, "Laurie is so cool (that's the timeless way to say 'totally gnarly') and I want to be just like her!"  But they're watching and listening.  They see and hear how you are.  Be excellent for them!  Don't talk down to them!  Don't insult them!  Stand up for them when they need an advocate, or just a helping hand.   When your sophomore sister slips and falls on the floor at school, don't walk over her and continue on your way up to the Cool Seniors hallway.  You're going to have to make a quick decision at that moment.  Don't choose the way that will come back to haunt you and cause you sorrow for years to come.  You will feel great regret for any mean thing you did or said to your sisters, who were looking to you to be a good big sister.
  You have mostly awesome times together with your family.  Treasure this time you have living together.  It doesn't last forever.  Thankfully, your memories can!

Lastly, your friends.  You might be surprised at who is still your friend at the age of 40, and who isn't.  I'll leave that as a mostly-fun surprise, but there is one thing I want you to know.  You will have many opportunities to make fun of other people and plenty of fuel for the fire, in terms of others thinking you're so funny or even you thinking you feel better about yourself at the expense of someone else.  Don't buy into that lie!  Talk about more haunting memories!  Just don't even go there!  God loves each and every person as much as He loves you.  You have absolutely no right to treat anyone with anything less than respect and dignity.

Laurie, you have a decently bright mind and are generally easy to get along with.  Be smart about your smarts!  Study well!  Study God's word!  Study your academics!  Study things like geography that don't get much emphasis in school.  You can study things other than just what's required of you!  And use your easy-to-get-along-with personality wisely.  Sway people in God's direction, rather than allowing others to sway you.  Don't be wishy-washy.  Stand up for what's right!

I do so wish I could literally give you this letter.  There's so much truth to the saying, "I wish I knew then what I know now."  Not that you should know what events will happen in the future, but to have the wisdom . . . it's priceless!  Maybe you wouldn't listen to the wisdom of this letter any more than you listen to all the wisdom already around you.  That's the problem, isn't it?  The wisdom is always there.  I have to make a choice to embrace it.

Laurie of 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11: More Than a Memory?

No soul old enough to be aware of the world on September 11, 2001 will forget where he/she was when he/she heard the news.  Who is capable of erasing the devastating televised images from his or her mind?

Something that horrific doesn't go away.  It fades, but its presence is always hovering.

Everyone says they'll always remember and never forget.  But what does that really mean?

Yes, we owe it to those who died, whether victims or heroes, to remember.  To honor.  To shed tears.

To never forget.

I wonder, though, what those people would tell us if they could whisper in our ears or write a message across the blue canopy of the world.

I think perhaps they would want us to do more than remember.

Maybe they would tell us . . . beg us even . . . to LEARN!

Learn from history!  It seems when we look at the powers that be at this very moment, that we, our country as a whole, are not studying history and learning from it! 

Would wisdom have us re-elect a president with known ties to an unapologetic terrorist, who from all appearances is doing his best to drive our country into the ground both financially and morally, who would appear to want to force us into socialism (when has this ever worked out well overall for a country?), and whose health care legislation allows 15-year-old kids to have irreversible sterilization surgery WITHOUT parental consent?   What is wise about having a government that infiltrates every aspect of life, to the point of seeking to destroy the morale of business owners by telling them they didn't build their businesses?

This is not freedom!  It's a submission of ourselves to potential future tyranny.  Why would we do this to ourselves when we have a choice?

What difference does it make to remember if we don't learn as well?

If you are a Democrat, I'm not mad at you.  I won't un-friend you (on Facebook or in real life). ;)  As far as I'm concerned, if you are my friend, I love you for reasons that have little or nothing to do with politics, and I always will.

Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or neither, I do encourage you (and I'm talking to myself here, too) to do your homework.  To study the causes and effects of history.*  To not allow stubborn pride to cause us to cling to anything that isn't right or beneficial for our country.  To pray and ask God for the wisdom to know the right thing to do and the courage to do it.
Let's not help those terrorists finish what they started on 9/11.

*The revisionists' version of history will do us little or no good.  Real history is what's true, not someone's made-up version of the truth.  Generally speaking, the older the history source, the more accurate it is likely to be.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Let 'em Vent!

Don't you appreciate having someone who will just listen to you from time to time?  I mean, just listen for awhile, without interrupting to tell you how you're wrong or to offer suggestions.  Yes, a good friend will not allow you to wallow forever, but might sometimes just let you air your feelings before helping you to see things more clearly.

I've realized that kids need that, too, sometimes.  My son needs a safe place to "vent" his frustrations and get his thoughts out in the open.  Kids need that as much as we do at times!  Of course, we mustn't tolerate or allow inappropriate behavior (temper tantrums, destruction of property or people, vicious language, etc.), but neither do we need to correct every word the second it comes out of their mouths.

There is a time for correction.  After they've said what's on their minds.  Again, appropriately!

I think I surprise my 10-year-old son when I just listen and acknowledge that I'm hearing what he's saying, but don't interject my commentary for awhile.  And I've learned (notice the word learned--it's definitely taken awhile!) that when I just listen and let him talk, I find out more of what he's thinking and feeling--what's behind the anger.

As I mentioned earlier, there does come a time when it's his turn to listen.  I try to sympathize where appropriate, but also hold him accountable for any faulty thoughts/actions/words of his own that contributed to the situation.

Prayer is vital in correction as well.  Only God changes hearts.  We want more than behavior modification in our children, right?  God works through us in that, but only He can change their hearts.

So, let 'em vent (appropriately) once in awhile!  When there's time. It's okay, and even good.  :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I seem to live my life by numbers.  Numbers on the clock, numbers on the scale, number of things on my to-do list, number of hits on my blog, number of times I must say the same thing to my son . . . the list of numbers appears to be endless!

We need numbers, but do we perhaps become a bit obsessed with them and allow them to skew our focus?

Being on time is important . . .
           . . . but maybe when I don't have to be somewhere I can be less rigid about the numbers on the clock and more focused on spending each minute wisely.

A scale can be a useful tool . . .
            . . . but isn't it better to be obedient, moderate, and practicing healthy habits because they are the right things to do?

Lists help us remember , , ,
            , , , Maybe, though, it's okay to put the list aside from time to time in order to make memories.

Counters on blogs provide interesting information , , ,
            , , , but is it not a more productive use of time to pray that the Lord will lead the readers to my blog that He wants to be encouraged by it?

Yes, it's discouraging sometimes when Dear Son doesn't "get it" the first or second or third time he's corrected about something . . .
            . . . . Is it up to me, though, to change his heart?  Or am I to declare to God that He is not working quickly enough?

Numbers are fairly neutral things overall.  Just like with most everything else, it's how we use them that can make them good or not so good.

A better use for numbers in my day?

How many hugs and smiles did I give out?
How many times was God merciful to me today?
Did I indeed meet all my responsibilities on time?
Which verses/chapters did I read/study in the Bible, and what did I learn from them?
What percentage of times did I choose to forgive?
How many people did I pray for as they came to mind?
How much time did I spend listening to my son instead of talking at him (or listening to my husband instead of griping about my day)?

Life is more than a series of NUMB3RS!  :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Amish Potato Salad

A half-recipe makes a large amount--this is just what was left over. :)
My first recipe post on my new blog!  What's a blog about home life without recipes, right?  There will be plenty more to come, just wait and see!

I've had this recipe for quite awhile and have made it for many carry-ins and family get-togethers.  Everyone but my son likes it. :)  People are always asking for the recipe, so here it is!

The funny thing about this to me is that I don't think I got the recipe from any of my former Amish neighbors, who wrote their recipes longhand on recipe cards or index cards (oh, yes, I remember them fondly when I see their neatly-written cards in my recipe boxes).  This Amish Potato Salad recipe is printed out on computer printer paper!  Hmmmm . . .

But it is very Amish-like, simple yet delicious, with sugar in the dressing to give it some sweetness that balances very well with the vinegar and mustard.

Well, here goes!

Amish Potato Salad

Note:  I usually halve this recipe!!

12 cups potatoes, peeled, cooked, and shredded
12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 c. chopped onions
1 1/2 c. chopped celery

3 c. mayonnaise
3 tbsp. vinegar
3 tbsp. mustard
4 tsp. salt
2c. sugar
1/2 c. milk

Mix together potatoes, eggs, onions, and celery in a large bowl.  Whisk dressing ingredients together in separate bowl, and pour over potato mixture.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate. 

This full recipe says it serves approximately 30.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

To My Fellow Americans:

I posted the following on a former blog in the fall of 2008.  For some reason, I thought of it today and decided to find it and read it.   Yep, most of it still applies!

Dear friends,

I'm not normally one to purposely become involved in controversial issues, especially politics.  I enjoy harmony and have usually chosen to allow "argumentative people" to. . . well . . .argue!  But I've come to realize that I don't have to argue or have an argumentative spirit in order to state what is true.  Some things have been on my heart for awhile and I feel the need to express them.

Therefore, I am writing this with the knowledge that not every person will agree with me.  If you think there is any value in it, feel free to send it on to whomever you wish.

Every American citizen has some influence in this country, if he/she chooses to use it.  We may think our circle of influence is small or non-existent, but the truth of the matter is that the scope of our individual influence is exactly what God deemed it to be.  No matter what God gives us (money, home, family, material possessions, authority, intellect, etc.), He expects us to do our very best with it.  That includes our "influence."

If not even one person will listen to your audible words, or read your written thoughts, you still have a "voice" on November 4, 2008 [Nov. 6, 2012]!  You will find it at your designated voting station!  Don't sit on the sidelines and let someone else "talk" for you!  Go, and be heard.  Even if the result is not to your liking, at least no one can point a finger at you and say, "Why didn't you do your part?"  More importantly, you won't be thumbing your nose at this God-given privilege.

Speaking of God . . . as much as we like to think we're all that, as individuals and as a nation, we would be nothing without Him!  He made us in His image and breathed the very life into us.  Should we not, then, consult Him about how He would like the country He gave us to be run?  There are few these days who care to enlighten us on the truth of how our nation began but if you listen to people who actually know what they are talking about, or look into it yourself (hint:  the older the source, the less "adulterated" the information is likely to be), you will find that the founders of our country loved God and wanted to run our country based on what was pleasing to Him (they were imperfect humans who made mistakes, but in general they had THE firm foundation).  Now we want to run it, not to mention our own lives, all by ourselves, and look where that has gotten us!

Do you like it when people lie to you?  I sure don't!  But what is truth anyway?  Is it whatever I want it to be?  Is it what a candidate for office says it is?  Is it whatever "the majority" decides it is?  The answers are:  no, no and no.

So, is there anywhere truth can be found?  Yes, indeed!  I think most of us know in our heart of hearts where to find it.  But to acknowledge and search the Word of God is life-changing and sometimes even scary.  It shows us just how far we've strayed.  Believe me, I know from experience!

Some may say, "I don't believe the Bible is any more than an interesting story book.  I don't even believe in God!  Why should I read His supposed words?"  Thanks to the gentlemanly ways of God, you have the choice to think that way!  God never forces anyone to believe or live for Him.

But not believing doesn't make Him any less real, or any less the Source of Truth.  Truth is truth.  We can't change that by believing or denying the truth.  I can choose to believe that my eyes won't be damaged if I look into the sun for an extended period of time.  I can believe it with all my heart, just because I want it to be that way.  If I believe enough, will the truth (and the consequences) change?  I could choose to believe that 2 + 2 = 5.  The fact that I believe it (or don't believe that it equals 4) doesn't change the truth of the matter.

As much as God is a gentleman, He is also a judge.  He does become angry at whole nations!  These two characteristics of God do not conflict or cancel each other out, because He is God!  The older I become, the more I realize that God's ways are so beyond me, His thoughts are so beyond mine, His love is beyond anything I'm capable of and His understanding is beyond the wisest of men. 

I was reading in Isaiah the other day and was struck by how much the story of our country is similar to Israel.  I don't mean they're the same, just that there are some parallels--the new beginning in a new land, fighting for land and freedom, God's evident hand in the starting of a nation.  Just like Israel did time and time again, we are turning our backs on God and all that He stands for.  We want to live our own way.  We want what we want.  We don't want to stand up for what's right, for fear of being labeled "intolerant."  We have ceased from seeking Truth so much that we are easily swayed by utter foolishness. 

Do we want to be a nation of fools?  I urge you to read Isaiah and see the devastation God allows on nations who choose foolishness (as well as the redemption He offers--what great reading Isaiah is!).  If you like reading stuff online, you can go to and look up Isaiah.  The entire Bible is on that site.

Will God allow our consequences to be like other nations that have turned against Him?  I can't tell you that for sure.  But we can be sure there will continue to be consequences if we don't get our act together!

Now I'm going to get to the nitty-gritty--the part where I actually start naming names.  If this part is still intact by the time you receive it, you can be assured it's only because the Lord has worked on my heart to keep it in here.  I don't want to do this!  I hate politics!  Even worse, I hate knowing I could cause someone to be angry, or to alienate themselves from me.  Just know that by expressing my thoughts here, I'm not saying you have to agree with me or I'll never speak to you again.  But I can't have peace in my heart until I lay it on the line.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  This is NOT a student council election!  The welfare of our country is at stake!  It's not time to vote for the best-looking candidate or the most eloquent speaker.  We need to look behind the eyes, behind the words.  What does the person's life reflect?  It's not the time to vote for "change" (whatever that's supposed to mean) just to see what "change" might be like.  We don't have time to waste on an experiment like that!

Barack Obama is not who he presents himself to be.  The evidence is all around us (see links below, for starters).  I'm completely baffled as to why (if the polls can be trusted, which is an entirely different issue) approximately half the country chooses to turn a blind eye to the obvious!  Do I hate him?  I will answer that with a question:  Does God hate him?  No!  God definitely hates most of what the guy stands for (or doesn't stand for?), but somehow loves the man (more perfectly than anyone else could). 

And let's just get this out of the way, since people who don't know me well but find out I'm not supporting Obama tend to ask it:  It has nothing to do with the color of his skin.  If he was purple and stood for something worthwhile, he would have my vote.  Race has absolutely nothing to do with anything, or shouldn't anyway.  Anyone who knows my family knows what I mean by that.  End of story.

And, no, John McCain is not the perfect candidate either.  Certainly not who I wanted as a breath-of-fresh-air alternative (though Sarah Palin makes him "smell" quite a bit better!). 

But these are the two viable options we have.  God is the one who raises up rulers.  He has allowed this.  I just hope and pray He has mercy on us!

John McCain, with all his faults and mistakes, has still proven his overall integrity so much better than Barack Obama.  How can we sit back and allow a man with proven terrorist ties be the leader of our country?  Where is the wisdom in this?  What makes this okay?  How can someone like this even be a candidate?  He's a great speaker, except that he doesn't say much.  I should say that he's great at making nothing appear to be something.  Is that who we want leading our country?  A manipulator of words, not to mention people?  I hate to say this, I mean I really do, but the way he speaks and people are mesmerized by him reminds me of Adolf Hitler.  It's a scary, scary thing.

Let's not let the "powers that be" make idiots of us!  Oh, how the liberal media twists and edits things to feed into that manipulation.  If that's all we watch/listen to/read, it's easy to be deceived.  Even conservative media doesn't always offer the right answer.

Are we even supposed to be swayed by the media?  What is supposed to be our measure of what is right and wise to vote for?  Again, we come back to the Bible.  Are McCain's and Obama's names written in Scripture?  Not that I'm aware of.  But their stances are.

Let's take abortion for example.  According to the Bible, it's not a "choice" that's pleasing to the Lord.  I honestly have nothing but love and compassion for every girl or woman who has been wounded by that choice, and I know God offers the ultimate grace and mercy to these dear ones.  Many are persuaded by people they trust, or by society, or by the abortionists themselves, to have this "procedure" done, and they feel they have nowhere else to turn.  Oh, how my heart goes out to you, sister, whoever you may be, if your heart still hurts or if you've suffered physically because of the lies told to you.  Any anger I have is not directed at you, but at those who fight so hard to keep abortion legal, knowing full well the trauma and devastation it can bring and trying to keep that aspect of it hidden, for their own selfish gain, whether it be monetary, political, social, or just plain foolishness. 

As if that's not bad enough, Obama is for infanticide--allowing tiny babies who "somehow" survive an abortion, to be neglected until they die.  It's criminal!  It's abominable!  And many Americans don't even know about it because they aren't told!  Are we going to stand for this?!

Do we DARE elect into office any more people who spit in the face of God and His creation by supporting and fighting for this atrocity?  How much longer will God be patient with us?  Can we see that maybe His patient phase is gradually coming to an end?  He tells us He is slow to anger but not that He will never become angry!

We need to care about what is near and dear to God's heart!  He is not nearly as concerned about money and our economy as He is about lives and how they are protected and lived.  The economy stinks right now and He knows that.  But the economy cycles every several years and, though it's not fun right now, it doesn't HAVE to end on a bad note.  God tells us in His Word that if we seek HIM first, He will provide.  Wouldn't you love to be provided for by the God of the universe, rather than babysat by the government?  We CANNOT base our votes on our wallets!  It's wrong!  It's dangerous! 

Do we really want socialized medicine?  We ought to to ask the people from countries who do that now, who come HERE when they need something serious done, so it will be done well and safely.  Hmmm. . . .

I'm also VERY concerned about Obama's stance on the war.  As far as going into Iraq, there were valid reasons for doing this.  By everyone's admission, including former President Clinton, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  He had used chemical warfare within the borders of his own country and there was no reason to suspect that he wouldn't use them outside of his borders.  Within the last year, they uncovered a cache of yellow cake uranium which is some of the raw material used for a nuclear bomb.  Bet you didn't hear about that in the mainstream media!  There's no arguing that mistakes have been made in how we have fought the war in Iraq but the Surge has worked to bring increased stability.  We as Americans have extremely short historical attention spans.  Not so in the Middle East.  Some of their rivalries go back millennia, so they can be extremely patient in plotting revenge.  To publish an arbitrary date for withdrawal in their eyes would be a sign of weakness which would embolden them to plot an assault as soon as we were gone.  Only by announcing that we will stay until the job is done will they understand that we are serious.

And meeting with these leaders without pre-conditions is just plain foolish.  It does nothing but give them "street cred," and is a slap in the face to Israel, one of our strongest allies in the region.  There needs to be dialog with these terrorist organizations and nations, but it needs to be with the goal of helping them understand that we will not stand idly by while they commit atrocities.  In any case, if anyone meets with anyone, the guidelines should fall within the already established protocol.  For the president himself to meet with terrorists is completely inappropriate, as he rarely has time to meet personally even with leaders of peaceful countries.  He has his "underlings" do it.

It's naive and ridiculous on Obama's part!  The fact that he actually thinks these things should be cause for people not to see him as a credible candidate.  The guy refused to even salute the flag or wear a flag pin on his lapel, at least for awhile!  Sorry, but I'm not convinced he's completely loyal to our country at all.  I know it's difficult having our loved ones in harm's way on our account.  But God has been asking people to take a stand in this way for millennia, and most feel honored to do it.  I myself dread the day my son enlists--and he's the type of guy that will likely do it--but we can't let our emotions get in the way of what's right.  God isn't asking us to do anything He didn't do--He sent His Son to earth, knowing without a doubt that His innocent Son was going to die on behalf of others.

Wake up, America!  We have GOT to wake up!  I am not an alarmist--it's completely against my usual personality.  Writing this, and actually sending it, is something I consider bold, for me anyway.  If I've made anyone out there angry, that was not my intention.  My hope is only that it will stir your heart.  Truth is truth.  At this time next year, or two or three years from now, let's not look back and WISH we had voted to please God and trusted Him to protect and provide for us, rather than trying to take matters into our own hands by voting in someone who will not fight for the things God cares about!

I urge you to do your research about the issues at stake.  Find out what you haven't been told, and ask yourself why that would be.  I can't make up your mind for you.  You have the right and the privilege to do that yourself.  But please make sure you have all the facts first!  And we need to pray that God would see fit to raise up the man who will best lead our country!

Here are a few links to websites that will tell us the whole story:

And some individual articles, for starters:

If you've made it to the end of this, thank you for taking the time to read. 

Most sincerely,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Can You Imagine Not Being Free? Maybe We Should!

Voting.  It seems so simple.  So basic.  It's a right.  Right?

Well, it is for me as an American (for the time being anyway) and, depending on where you are from, it might be for you, too.  But it's not as basic as automatically being a right just because one is born into the human race.

Not everyone is free like I am or you might be.  Can you imagine not being free?

In school, Little Mister and I have been studying the process of voting in our country.  In one book we read, there was a photo of voting in El Salvador, where, at the publication date of the book, people were required to vote, and were watched by armed guards to make sure they did so.  I wouldn't call that a "right" to vote, but a mandate, and it would be difficult to convince me that in a setup like that, there wouldn't be some coercion for particular votes going on.

Today we watched a documentary called, Please Vote for Me,  about a 3rd grade class in the communist country of China who were allowed to experience democracy and vote for their classroom monitor.  These children had no idea what voting or democracy meant until it was explained to them how it would work in their classroom.  My heart was saddened as I thought about how the right I took for granted for many years is a freedom many will never experience.

These kids fell apart at times and, misguided by their parents, stooped to the same nasty tactics we see politicians use here in the States, the third grade version of them anyway.

It was interesting, but still heart-wrenching to think of living a life never knowing anything but dictatorship.

And it makes me sad to know that if things don't change here in America (and soon!), my future grandchildren could live that existence. 

And my own son may someday only remember what it was like to be free.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sane Thing

School Room Whispers and Heart Whispers (combined today):

I was so angry.  And disappointed.  And feeling incapable of knowing what to do about the situation.

Sometimes I just can't seem to think of the best thing to do.  Or even a good thing.  I very much dislike being in that situation.

But such is sometimes the life of this homeschool mom.  I have, even as recently as this morning, sat and stared at my son and thought, "Why am I doing this?"

Yes, I love home education and all the benefits of it, but I'm still human.  I still have inklings of thoughts about how much more "free" I could be regarding my time, my emotions, my few un-realized dreams . . . AND it would be someone else's responsibility to figure out what to do in those trying moments.

Snap!  What are you thinking, Laurie?!

I look at my precious 5th grader, still a little boy in some ways, yet fighting to be manly beyond his years, and, even if he's glaring at me, his "unreasonable" mom/teacher, I know that God has ordained this moment to be who and where and when it is.  No, it is not of Him when I am disobeyed or disrespected.  It is not of Him when I disrespect or become impatient.

But the Who and the Where and the When are as He wills.  And the Whys remain the same.

Because it is He who has put it on my heart to teach my son at home:

  • There is no better way I could be spending my time.
  • There is no better way to invest my emotions during school hours.
  • There are no dreams-fulfilled that would bring more satisfaction than the living of this one.

This isn't true for everyone.  Many moms obey the Lord's plan for their families by sending their kids to school.  This has its own challenges and rewards.

Whatever the Lord has us doing during our days, the most sane thing we can do is keep our eyes on Him and the truth of what He has asked of us, no matter what tries to woo us away.

Kitchen Whispers
My young friend Ella helped me make cornbread this afternoon to be wolfed down by herself, her brother and Little Mister at snack time.  It might be more accurate to say I helped her make it.  She did a spectacular job. :)

It's Little Mister's night to plan the menu and cook.  He chose what we simply call "Thai," and it is a most favorite of his.  The official name of the recipe is Thai Beef with Chilis and Basil over Coconut Rice.  You can find it here if you're interested.  We do things a bit differently, such as leaving out the fish oil and just using some extra soy sauce.  We can't seem to find the pepper it calls for, so we us jalapeno instead.  Um, I will be cutting up said jalapeno tonight.  Not quite ready for LM to tackle that yet, since some of the seeds need to be removed and it needs to cut into pretty small pieces. :)  We all like this recipe, and that coconut jasmine rice is soooo easy and smells and tastes divine! :)

TV Whispers
I finished a Cary Grant movie, His Girl Friday, the other night.  What is it about Cary Grant movies?  I mean, he's not the best actor ever.  His timing's a bit off sometimes or something.  But the charm draws you in, and he's funny.  Gotta like a sense of humor.

I started Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn, but haven't finished it yet.  I just love Audrey's quirky elegance.  I've seen this movie before, of course, but it's been years.  It's almost like watching it for the first time.  Again.  ;)

At the library I checked out You've Got Mail (why don't I own that?), but haven't watched it yet.  That's another one I haven't seen in a long time.

When I can't sleep at night, many times if I get up and settle on the couch and turn the TV on, it lulls me to sleep.  Thankfully, I haven't had to do that as much lately, but when I do, The Dick Van Dyke Show is a favorite.  Do you ever wonder what the colors of the set actually were on a black-and-white show?

Computer Whispers
I'm enjoying this new blog, but still feeling strangely like a fish out of water.  I'll settle in, I suppose. :)


Monday, August 27, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays

Heart Whispers
It was gray and rainy outside when I awoke this morning.  For a second, I wondered if my mood might match the day, but then I remembered I didn't have to choose that.  The decision was mine.  It's nice to have choices, isn't it?

As I gazed out the large windows in our school room, my memory took me back to my own elementary school.  I don't know how it is now, but back then it was a great school.  Most of the classrooms looked very similar to one another, with huge windows which were divided into sections.  There was a lower section that opened (if I'm recalling correctly), a middle part that did not open, and a high section which required a long pole with a hook to open and close.

Thick gray drapes closed to cover the windows during filmstrips or reel-to-reel movies (yes, that's what I said. lol) and opened to let the daylight in most other times.  What I found myself thinking about most this morning were the times it would storm while we were in school.  Not the dangerous storms when we would have to go out in the hallway and sit with our heads down toward the wall, covering our necks/heads with our hands, but the kind of storm that darkened the sky and made the lights inside seem all the brighter.  I remember feeling so safe and content in the warm, dry, bright classroom inside while looking out at the dark, stormy outside.

As an adult, spiritually speaking, I'm in the safety of God's family--not because of any good thing I've done, but because of my faith in Jesus Christ who is good for me.  I'm more secure than I ever was in any classroom at Carl A. Sward Elementary school as a child.  Yet I don't always feel that way when I look out at the darkness, the injustice, the utter disregard for God and His ways, the rebellion, the storm if you will.  When I turn my eyes in those directions and lose sight of the One I'm supposed to be following, I panic.  Big time panic!  Panic attack sometimes!

It's fine and good to feel concern for the darkness and especially the people who choose to walk in it, but not to be blinded by it.  Once again, I have a choice.  Sometimes I forget and feel imprisoned.  But I am free!  I need to walk in that freedom!

School Room Whispers
Today began our 2nd week!  We are talking about money management, and LM "made" 3 banks today--one for saving, one for spending, and one for "sharing" (tithing).  I just gave him some disposable containers and he decorated them with stickers (don't tell anyone, but I think he enjoyed using stickers again, which he hadn't done in awhile.  wink, wink).

 Also, we talked about erosion and the effects of Noah's Flood on the earth.  He liked the demonstration involving soil, gravel, and a plant (ok, a weed!) in a jar, followed by a bunch of water and, with the lid tight, lots of shaking of said jar and observing what happened.  It's amazing when  you really study how the Flood changed the earth (think Grand Canyon and fun things like that!).  The power of God is amazing!

For Creative Writing, he wrote an imaginative itinerary for Noah and their family for when they exited the ark. lol

He is currently reading King of the Wind for reading "class."  I let him start out with something easy. ;)

Besides social studies, penmanship, spelling, vocabulary, and typing, he is also keeping a Nature Notebook and a Writer's Notebook each day.  A busy boy (and mom!) indeed! :)

The butterfly bush outside a schoolroom window appears to be dying down for the season, yet is still attracting lots of humming birds!  We love to watch them but haven't yet caught them on camera.

Kitchen Whispers
Not much going on in the kitchen tonight.  I need to get to the grocery store!  Tonight it will be pancakes.  Breakfast for dinner.  Nobody minds. :)


PS--If you like this new blog and want to follow it, "join" over on the right side, toward the top. :)  I may be having a giveaway at some point for followers! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Something New: The Whispers of Our Walls. :)

One of my fave wall hangings. Reminds me of one of my fave movies! :)

It's time for something new.  Sometimes you just know that, right?

Yes, it's time to start a new blog.

While not nearly as heart-wrenching, I do feel a bit like I'm uprooting myself from an established home (my blog, Rekindled Heart), and re-planting myself in a new territory.

WHY would I do that?

This saying is above a mirror. The wall color is showing up a bit darker than it is, but I do love that saying! :)

Well, just like moving a household, sometimes you know it's the thing to do, but don't fully understand all the reasons you're led to do so until you get there and settle in.

God has His reasons for the leading.  Sometimes we know them as we follow, and other times we just follow.  Trust.

The shield on Little Mister's door.  It's SO him. ;)
At least this is just a blog.  Not a huge risk by any means. :)

As I've been thinking about this new blog, an old song keeps running through my mind.  It's such a lovely song, and it's absolutely a perfectly appropriate (and easy! ha ha) way to begin my new blog.  The video isn't much to look at, but the song is so very pretty and poignant.  Enjoy!  Oh, and don't forget to "follow" this blog somewhere over there on the right side of the page if you wish.  :)  ------------------------------>