Friday, January 30, 2009

you were where?


Once again, it is Aloha Friday time. Kailani over at An Island Life hosts every week this fun and simple meme. All you have to do is post a question. It's fun visit other participants and even more fun to read the answers to your own question. So if you've stopped by, please play along.

I decided to go for something completely random this week. My question is:

Whose house were you in last (besides your own) and why?

Last Monday, I attended my Moms In Touch group which is held at the leader's home. I've been meeting with this group for three years now and always look forward to our time together. Yes, we pray for our children and the schools in the community, but we also spend time sharing our lives with each other, lending support and encouragement.

Now it's your turn.....

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I watched Ted Haggard on Oprah yesterday and I can't get something he said out of my head. For those who may not know, Ted Haggard is the fallen pastor from a mega church here in Colorado who made the national news a while back admitting to being with a male prostitute and involved with drugs.

I've only seen him on Oprah even though he's done a few other interviews lately. I thought he was very candid and humble and although his situation has been detrimental to the message from the christian church, I will not judge him. It's not my place. There are too many specks in my eye.

In the interview, he mentioned that at one point, years before he acted out on his attractions, he went to the spiritual leaders of the church because he was worried and confused by his attraction to men and the urgings he was feeling. He went on to say that the only advice these (or at least some of these) leaders gave him was to work harder in the church, to commit himself more to doing God's work.

Of course, I don't know what was going on in the heads of these spiritual leaders or can't even know for sure this is what their advice was, but if it is true and the only advice these leaders could give, I find it incredibly sad.

It makes me wonder how many people out there that are hurting, to whatever degree, and have gone to the church for help, for guidance, for wisdom, and received such a nice and neat answer such as, "pray more," "believe more," or the worst, "work more on doing God's work."

Or how many people won't go to the church for help because they feel like only perfect people go to church. I can't help but wonder if we, as Christ's church, don't show our failings, our short comings, our struggles and challenges enough for the world to see that we are all broken. And it's because we are so broken that makes us realize that we need God's help and salvation.

I can't help but wonder how different life might have been for Ted Haggard if he had received different advice.

Monday, January 26, 2009

words can never hurt me.....

Let me say up front that if you are a sarcastic person, I don't mean to offend you by what I write here. I write about sarcasm today because I don't quite understand why people have to be sarcastic. I've been bothered by this characteristic lately so I did some research on the subject. Let's start with the definition:

sar·casm (sär'kāz'əm):
1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
2. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.

"According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "sarcasm" derives from ancient Greek for "to tear flesh, gnash the teeth, speak bitterly." Its first definition is "a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt." Although sarcasts may just intend to be funny, their words can also be very hurtful to the intended target."

I guess that's why I don't understand why people use sarcasm. I, personally, would never dream of trying to hurt someone else through the words I use. So in that way, sarcasm is so far from my way of talking or writing.

I've heard sarcastic people who say that they don't intend on hurting their target - it's just who they are. Do they not realize that even though it's not their intention to hurt, their word do just that. Are they blind to this or do they just not care that they actually do hurt people with their words? I read this online and found it useful in trying to understand:

"Though they may not be aware of it, sarcasm is their means of indirectly expressing aggression toward others and insecurity about themselves. Wrapping their thoughts in a joke shields them from the vulnerability that comes with directly putting one's opinions out there. "Sarcastic people protect themselves by only letting the world see a superficial part of who they are," says Steven Stosny, a Washington, D.C.-based therapist and anger specialist. "They're very into impression management."

Because humor and hostility often come mixed together, it can be difficult to pinpoint a wisecracker's primary intent. "Sometimes sarcasm is humor—purely a Don Rickles kind of joking—and sometimes it's just innocently insensitive," Stosny says. "But other times, it's devaluing." Everyone benefits from a wisecracker's comic relief, but if you are the target of regular swipes, it's best to assertively call the joker out. His hilariousness doesn't give him the right to belittle you." (source)

Don't get me wrong - I can take some sarcasm and even find the humor in it. I can be sarcastic myself, even though I try not to be. It's when a person constantly uses sarcasm that makes me want to turn away and not listen to a thing he or she has to say. I find it annoying and degrading. But maybe it's just me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

weekend wrap up...

..... Friday I went to the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo held here in Denver each January. I went with my two "Friday movie going" girlfriends and we had a fun time. The stock show highlights anything and everything cowboy and livestock. We walked through the pen area that holds all the prize cattle. It was a smelly place full of activity that is so foreign to any city folk but a second home to those who come to show and/or auction their fine specimens.

We also attended the rodeo. This is the heartbeat of the stock show and a show I've come to love. I'm a city girl, but I've come to love watching the horses and horsemanship that is showcased. I find it amazing entertainment.

..... Saturday, Don and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. Not only have we been married this many years, but we've been together nearly 34 years - and blessed years they have been. God knew what He was doing when he placed two young teenagers in the same Algebra and P.E. class. The rest, as they say, is history. (Pictures from our wedding can be found on last year's post.)

We went out to dinner at Red Lobster and then went over to the movie theater and saw Slumdog Millionaire. I was somewhat surprised to realize, from my Aloha Friday post, that not many go to the movies or care what movies are out there, thus, not caring what movies I see. But I will continue to post about the good movies I see because they are a part of my life and I want to record these events. Slumdog Millionaire was a very good movie with a great story.

..... We woke up this morning to a city bathed in white. A light snow frosted the trees and shrubbery which was beautiful to look at. Too bad it was so darn cold. I did brave the frigid air to take some photos and have included a few here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

i'm curious


The Oscar nominations were announced today. Since I am a big movie goer, I always look forward to the Academy Awards ceremony, hopefully having seen many of the movies. This year, I've only seen one of the five movies nominated for best picture, but I plan to see one or two more before they pass out the awards on February 22nd.

Here are the movies that have been nominated for best picture:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

My Aloha Friday question is actually a series of questions. They are:

How many of these movies have you seen?
Are you planning to see any of these before awards night?
Which one(s) would you like to see?
Is there a movie that you think should have been nominated?

The only movie I've seen thus far is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and I can see why it's up for this award, although I don't think it will win. I would really like to see Milk and Slumdog Millionaire so I'll do my best to accomplish that.

There are so many good and well made movies out and I wouldn't presume to know which ones are better than others. I'm sure it's hard to pick only five out of so many. But I've heard a few critics say that they were surprised The Dark Knight or The Wrestler weren't in that top five. From a content value, I think Gran Torino was a great movie and could have been included.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

a taste of history (part II)

During yesterday's inauguration, there was an invocation given as there always is for such occasions. But there was some controversy both before and afterwards.

Part of the controversy was over the pastor that was asked to deliver this traditional prayer. His recent comments and involvement in fighting gay marriages have angered many. I guess you could say that the liberal communities didn't think he was a good choice for him to be a part of the inauguration ceremony. Those that are more conservative didn't like the choice either, wondering why he would agree to be a part of anything Democratic.

Controversy on the other end was of the prayer itself. The buzz comes from the non-christian communities thinking that the prayer was too "christian." I don't quite get that because I thought it was a "prayer" and from my experience, a prayer is addressed to God, asking Him for His wisdom, guidance, and blessings. How can it be too "christian?"

When I heard Rick Warren was giving the invocation, I thought it was a good choice from the Obama camp. I like Rick Warren and I really liked his prayer. I thought it was beautiful and I didn't think it had an "overtly christian appeal," but that's because of my own faith and relationship with my God, which is also Mr. Warren's God.

Here was the invocation:

"Let us pray.

Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can't see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you, it all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story.

The Scripture tells us Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is one. And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today we rejoice not only in America's peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.

We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership.

And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in Heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all.

May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a taste of history (part I)

Today was a historical day.

I write this not for the readers who might read this post today or tomorrow, but for the future generations of my family that might some day read my attempts to share who I am and the world I live in.

Today, Barrack Obama was sworn in as our 44th President and the first African-American President of our fine country. It was an amazing day in so many ways and I wish I could articulate how much it affected not only me, but so many other Americans, especially the African-American community. I'm just not that good of a writer. I've tried, but words fail me.

Over two million people crowded into the National Mall area of our nation's capital, in freezing weather, to see and experience this historical event. And the rest of the country was watching it, too. Businesses stopped doing business and invited all those around to sit and watch the ceremonies on TV. People had viewing parties. I saw a clip on the news where it was shown on airplanes.

And I think about every classroom had their TVs on as students watched history being made, instead of just reading about it. That's the way it was as I walked down the hallways of the school where I work. I enjoyed watching President Obama give his speech in the company of our country's future, the young and eager minds of students.

Not all of them could stay interested, finding themselves bored most likely due to not understanding all the words, and the meaning behind the words. Someday they will. Others were glued to the screen, hanging on every word, somehow knowing the importance of this day.

And in the end, we, the whole class, stood and sang the national anthem, being lead by the group singing on TV. I couldn't help but get choked up knowing how many people - young and old, black and white (and every other color), christian and atheist, and yes, Republicans and Democrats - were all singing at the same time. We are not only the United States, but the united citizens of America as well.

Monday, January 19, 2009

hi eddie

I have a favorite Bronco player. I guess I should say former Bronco player. His name is Ed McCaffrey - Eddie Mac as he's known by any Bronco fan. He retired from the game after the 2003-2004 season, but will always be one of the most beloved Bronco players of recent times.

So when he walked out of the sandwich shop this morning, right in front of me, I knew exactly who he was. He and his little boy walked down the walk as if they weren't anybody special. Maybe that's one of the reasons I've always admired him. He's a humble family man who just happened to be a great football player, helping the Broncos get to and win the Superbowl two years in a row.

This isn't the first time my path has crossed that of Eddie Mac. While he was still a player, my kids and I watched him work out in a pool at a local rec. center as the kids swam in the same pool. I had the same afterthoughts then as I do today...

Why didn't I say something to him? What would I have said to him? "Hello Mr. McCaffrey?" "Hi Eddie?" Those sound so.... stupid. Maybe I should have said something like, "You were my favorite, Eddie," or "The Broncos sure could have used you this year, Eddie." No, those sound pretty lame, too.

It's probably best that I didn't say anything at all, which makes me wonder what Eddie would want. Would he want to be left alone to go about his business? Or would he want someone to recognize him and tell him they miss him and his talents on the gridiron? Would there have been anything I could have said that told him I was an appreciative fan that still remembers him without sounding like a Bronco fanatic, stumbling over my own words?

I'll continue to think on that... so that the next time I cross his path, I'll have something witty to say instead of just staring after him and wishing I had said something.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

making others happy

"Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a reason we do volunteer work, bring flowers to a friend in the hospital, or buy a special gift for someone we love when we're out shopping: It makes us happy. Sometimes, in fact, being kind and considerate to others actually benefits us more than the people we're helping.

Even if our activity starts out as a chore or an obligation, rather than something from the heart, it can become a joy to us, as well as to those who benefit from our efforts.

Is there something I can do to delight another person today? It doesn't have to be big or spectacular. A simple message expressing how much I appreciate someone's friendship can be very powerful.

taken from The Daily Book of Positive Quotations by Linda Picone

Friday, January 16, 2009

smile and say hi

Jake told me last night (through text messages), that in one of the classes he's a learning assistant for, there's a kid he was once friends with in elementary school. In fact, very good friends. The two of them would occasionally go over to each other's homes to play and they invited each other to their birthday parties. They were in the same class for many years. But after they finished fifth grade, they went on to different middle schools and never saw each other again - until yesterday, in a freshman college class.

So I asked him what this kid's response was when he realized who Jake was and Jake's response was, "oh, I didn't say anything." What? I asked him why not and if he was planning to say something like, "hi, remember me, I'm Jake Varey." His response to me was, "no, I'm not planning on saying anything unless he says something to me first."

Although I think I would say something if I were in his shoes, I can kinda understand where he's coming from. In the past two days I've had situations where I've come into proximity of people I knew but didn't feel comfortable enough or it necessary for me to greet or instigate a conversation with.

The first situation was a neighbor and someone we used to go to church with. I only know the couple very casually and I wasn't sure they would truly recognize me, so I actually did my best to avoid them in the store. We ended up at the cashier at the same time but they never looked my way so I didn't speak up.

The second situation was a mother and sister of a kid from youth group in which I'm very close to. I know the mother well enough and have spoken to her countless times over the years, but I felt hesitant to call out her name and engage in a conversation. I think I felt guilty because she had surgery a few months back and I never followed up to see how she was doing or if I could help in any way. She ended up seeing me and we did have a short conversation before both of us headed into the same theater.

So, I know there's times when we don't want to make that first step in greeting someone or to see them at all, but I'm questioning whether that is good, or even right. God wants us to love our neighbors, and that doesn't just mean those who live in our neighborhood. How can we do that if we don't allow ourselves to be open and available to others?

If Jake doesn't ever take that first step of saying hi with an old classmate, how will he ever know what may lie beyond; what kind of relationship he and this old acquaintance could have, how his life may be enriched, or how he might minister to another person. It means that there are times when we have to step out of our comfort zone but knowing that there's a chance that we may be blessed by doing so, or that we may bless someone else.

These are just my thoughts on the subject. I'd love to hear yours.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

random monday

Here's a few things going on around here.

--> Jake went back to school today and Danielle will next week. It's hard to remember what my house is like with them both gone. I love having them home but I'm also looking forward to a quieter, slower, more peaceful pace of life.

--> We've been playing a lot of Wii, and having a lot of fun. If you hear of someone who is playing a lot on a gaming console, you might think that they are wasting time and/or don't have a life. But I would argue against that as our game playing has actually been a wonderful family time.

One night we spent a couple of hours playing tennis, baseball, and bowling against each other. We only have two controllers so only two can play at one time. We play where the winner gets to stay while someone else challenges him/her. None of us are good enough to stay in the winner's spot so the players were always changing, but all of us were engaged in the game and the conversation. This was good, clean, cheap [after the cost of the console] family time that I would recommend for every family, with kids of any age.

An added bonus... it gets you moving - much better than sitting on the couch watching TV or reading.

--> Last night, we watched the first episodes of the new season of 24. If you don't watch 24, you just wouldn't understand how much the viewer loves this show. And we, the viewers, have been waiting over a year for this new season. The writer's strike of last year delayed it some and then the producers of the show decided to wait until January 2009. Why? I don't know or understand, but watching it last night was a real treat and you'll know where I'll be every Monday night.

--> I woke up to nearly 3" of snow on the ground and it's still snowing.

--> Don is heading up to Canada again tomorrow. Let's hope nothing happens like the last time he was up there.

--> Don and I have been asked to help our Pastor with a series of sermons on marriage. It was an honor to be asked as he said he can see that we have a good and Godly marriage. We will be celebrating our 28th anniversary here in another week or so.

I've been thinking about what could and/or should be said to encourage a man or woman in their marriage that is Biblically based. I have some ideas but if you have any thoughts or ideas, please leave them for me in a comment or email me. I'm sure there's things I wouldn't even think of so I would love to hear from you.

Friday, January 9, 2009


It's Friday and that means I get to play along with Kailani's Aloha Friday, where I pose a question in hopes that anyone reading will answer said question.

My question this week is...

What is something you want to accomplish in 2009?

This isn't quite the same 'ole "what's your new year's resolution?" question. I'm looking for something bigger, something more than just something you want to resolve to do or not do. But if you do resolutions and want to answer that way, feel free.

I want to accomplish a few things. But the two I'll list here are: reading my Bible every day and get back into scrapbooking.

My daughter, Dani, read her Bible every day in 2008. I'm very proud of her and she's very proud of herself. I think that's quite an accomplishment, so I'm going to try to do it this year.

I love to scrapbook. I love to create. I love the creative process of designing a page with photos, colors and graphics. And I have millions thousands hundreds of pictures that are sitting in boxes or on my computer (okay, maybe it is thousands!). It's time to get organized and start cranking out the photo albums.

So those are my two big things I want to accomplish this year. What is one (or more) of yours?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

the presents keep coming

Tonight we purchased a late Christmas present for me - no, the family - no, me. Okay... I'll share it with the family =)

It's a Wii system.

I told Don I wanted the Wii Fit when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. But I said it half kidding because we didn't have the key piece of equipment - the Wii console. After we got back from California, Don shocked us all by saying that he wanted to buy a Wii. Of course, that was right after Christmas and every store was sold out. But a local W*lm*rt received a new shipment and we were able to pick one up.

But the Wii Fit is going to be harder to find. All the stores we contacted told us they had no idea when they'll get those in stock. I'll just have to wait.

In the mean time, the family and I will enjoy playing tennis, bowling, boxing, and guitar hero. And when the kids leave to go back to college, I'm going to have to make sure they haven't snuck the console into the cars. They both think they should be able to take it with them.

No chance!

Monday, January 5, 2009

i'm back....

... and boy does it feel good.

I've been away for a few days but I would have much rather been here... here in blogland. But my computer had other ideas. Ideas that were becoming more and more strange, to the point where I had to say, "Don, my computer is doing some really strange things."

Well, actually, I had to say that a few times before Don said he'd take a look at it. By the time he did, my browser had been totally hijacked and I couldn't stay on a blog or website longer than a minute or two before it changed to some other site or disappeared completely. Spyware is evil!

After doing some scanning and futile tries at debugging, it was determined that my poor little infested laptop needed to be rebuilt. That meant I had to back up everything that I wanted to keep...

**side note: maybe I should make it my New Year's resolution to back up my digital pictures more often.**

... before Don took everything off. He then had to reinstall everything that was needed to make my wonderful little laptop operational again. All of that takes time. And as my sick little laptop was being worked on, I was without a computer.

This was not something I am used to. I did have access to other computers in the house but it just wasn't the same. None of them were MY own little laptop that holds all MY personal and precious info.

But tonight Don handed me back my beautiful little laptop and told me that most of the rebuilding had been completed. And here I sit with my wonderful little laptop on my lap feeling like life is back to normal and all is, again, right with the world.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

first day of 2009

First, let me wish you a happy, healthy, and blessed 2009. May it be a good year for all of us.

I've had a tradition at the end of the last few years of listing my top 10 favorite movies from that year. So, in order, here is my list for 2008...

1. The Secret Life of Bees

2. Great Debaters

3. Australia

4. P.S., I Love You

5. Marley and Me

6. Seven Pounds

7. The Dark Knight

8. Henry Poole is Here

9. The Other Boleyn Girl

10. Appaloosa

If, for some reason, you would like to see all the movies I saw during the year, I keep an ongoing list of them (by year) on my sidebar to the left. I saw a total of 51 movies both in the theaters and on DVD.

Let me highlight the last three movies I've seen because I greatly enjoyed all three.

There was one rainy day in California that we didn't have anything to do, so we went and saw Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith. Although it moved a little slow, it was a very interesting story.

Dani and went to see Marley & Me on the last day of 2008. It was a simple story but had a lot of depth to it, portraying real life for a couple who then turns into a family. The real star is the dog (Marley) and if you're a dog lover, this movie is a must see. Let me warn you though - you will not walk out of that theater without shedding a tear.

And then today, the first day of 2009, my family and I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Here's another great and original story (boy, do I love a good story) that I enjoyed from beginning to end despite it's running time of nearly 3 hours. This one should make my top ten for 2009.