Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Max has just gotten home from work and is taking a nap before we head out for the evening. Gotta rest up so we can stay up, right? I should join him, but it's not fair to him. I snore and if he doesn't fall right to sleep, he doesn't sleep. So, I'll stay up.

I'm looking forward to blogging tomorrow. I want to spend time thinking about 2008 and what is to come in 2009. I'll glance back through the blogs I've written and it should be a good chance to remember all the fun I've had. This has been such a different year. The last few years were incredible. I took everything in stride, but when I look at what happened, it could have been overwhelming.

Max did say to me, just about a year ago, that 2008 was going to be a much better year. The thing is, I don't know if 'better' is the word I would use to describe it. Different - definitely, but not necessarily better. Even with death and loss and change and upheaval, I would not have asked for things to be different in 2006 and 2007.

Tonight I hope that everyone is safe and enjoys the celebration. Tomorrow is a new year!

“This is what the Lord says, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.’” Isaiah 43:16, 18-19

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My trivia geek

One of my favorite pastimes is messing with Max. I will go to Wikipedia's front page and in the lower right corner they have "On this day..." which will relate several historical events throughout the years. I will simply say "Today in 1972" and sometimes I might give him context, such as 'baseball.'

Nine times out of ten he knows the answer and every single time I am stunned.

The response to the query above was Roberto Clemente's death in a plane crash (December 30). Max knew it. I was surprised. Again. When I asked how he knew the answer, he gave me this train of thought: "It's not baseball season, it's December. Someone died. So, it has to be Roberto Clemente - 1972."

I don't know why I get surprised by this stuff anymore. Not only does he have fabulous recall of historical trivia, but he is able to associate information in his mind to make sense of it all.

Tomorrow something else will surprise me and then I will wonder why I continue to be surprised.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The other blog - Pour Out a Blessing

Some of you know (or pay attention to the fact) that I write a daily study at Pour Out a Blessing. This is what I posted today. I invite any or all of you to join me there each day as I search the scriptures, study and share.

If you've ever been in a Bible Study with me and we discussed Paul, you know that it doesn't take long for me to tell you that the man drives me insane! I get annoyed with him regularly.

However. It occurs to me that being annoyed with the man who has written 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament and is prominently featured in another (Acts) is probably not the best way to approach Bible Study. So, if other people can fall in love with him and his writing, I can learn to at least understand him and maybe along the way, learn not to be annoyed by him.

For all of you who began this journey with me in October and have actually stayed with me, thank you! I would love for you to invite someone else to participate. Tell them about the blog, invite them to be a part of the email list (send email to nammynools (at) cox (dot) net). I am terrible at self-promotion, so it is painful to me to ask you to do that. I know that God has called me to study and to share what I study and that helps some because it becomes about Him and not me.

I will spend today and tomorrow working on the outline for this general study of Paul, his life and writings. If you have questions you would like answered regarding him, please feel free to email those to me or post them as a comment. I will do my best to answer them from biblical and scholarly sources.

May God bless your new year!

Again with the random



That's the adorable lamb that Janet gave to me for Christmas. Yup, it's quite fuzzy and soft.

Ok, now. Here's what is weird with this picture. Max shot it with my camera. I had pulled the camera out to take a nice little picture so I could post it. I did. And then, I smelled something funny on the camera. Something electrical. I knew that wasn't right. So, I asked Max about it. He pulled the battery out, pulled the lens off, and then put things back together (with a different battery) and started snapping shots off just to ensure that the problem didn't occur again. The picture that he shot just to check out the camera is better than the one I composed. Sheesh. It's enough to give a girl a complex!

Speaking of Max's pictures. He has posted on his Flickr account all of the pictures he shot at Mick's of Thousand Houses on Saturday night. Check 'em out.

~~~

It's after 3 am and I'm still awake. It could have something to do with the nap I took this afternoon, or the large glasses of iced tea I drank at Shuck's Oyster House or any number of reasons, but I am still awake. I watched the entire Matrix Trilogy this weekend. I don't care what you say, I really do like it. I intended to read a magazine while I was watching Matrix: Revolutions tonight, but I got caught up in the movie and couldn't multi-task. Well, that's not necessarily true, but I wasn't able to concentrate on the magazine. I played games and messed on the internet while it was playing, but at least I was trying to pay attention to the dialogue.

~~~

Now, I'm reading the magazine. Wired. The first time I read this magazine was its premier issue. I was pretty excited about it. All of the new and exciting stuff that was happening in the 'geek world' and I could find out about it. After a few years, it became more and more mundane and then, it was available online. So, I cancelled my subscription.

Amazon.com has it as a premium for ordering stuff - free subscription. Ok. I'll try it again. Sometimes it makes my head hurt. The editors and layout artists toss out all of the basics of design. Numerous fonts on a page, sizes change up all of a sudden ... all sorts of things are gone. But, you can always find nuggets of fun.

Like this on page 19 of the December 2008 issue: (I didn't get very far into the magazine)

"Re: Ice & Isotopes

The thermodynamics of soda is oddly important to our readers: In response to October's analysis of the ideal ice-to-Coke ratio, the mail poured in. Ice, some said, is a rip-off—so much tragic beverage displacement and dilution. "Why pay for entropied water?" you cried. Well, sometimes it's necessary, noted a few: Many locations amp up their dispensers' syrup-to-water ratio, so you have to add ice for your cola to taste right. To the raging dilution dispute, add the enrichment argument: Readers of our Smart List split over the feasibility of laser isotope separation of nuclear material. The process is a cinch for evildoers, right? Not necessarily, came the reply. If it were that easy, we'd be vaporized by now. Well, while you're waiting for such terminal entropy, how about a nice, frosty Coke?"

The thing is? I have a friend that gets really passionate about his ice-to-soda ratio. But, this is why I love the magazine. All sorts of interesting, not terribly important to me, information.

~~~

It is now 3:42 am and I am still awake. I got caught up in an article online and then started reading the magazine and by golly, I'm can tell I'm not getting up early tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Random thoughs on a Sunday morning

I have a purple stamp on my hand. Now, while I suppose that this is a good thing in that it proves I actually left the house after 6:00 pm, it is driving me crazy! I keep seeing it every time I look at my hand. I have washed my hands several times, each time scrubbing away at the purple image of a guitar's headstock. Alas, while it has faded, it's not going away.

Accepting the stamp was the only way I could get in to see Thousand Houses last night, so I did. I'm not sure of the purpose of the thing, though. Is it so I can go back outside and smoke at regular intervals throughout the evening? I don't want to do that anyway. Is it so that I am identified as old enough to drink? Puhleeze, take a look at me. If you have to card me, I don't need a drink that badly. I suppose the people younger than me are proud of their club stamps, but me? Not so much. I've got to figure out how to quit paying attention to PURPLE, PURPLE, PURPLE! Screaming at me from the top of my hand.

~~~

We have pretty much unpacked all of our Christmas gifts. I am a fortunate woman and got many wonderful gifts. I'm also not a stupid woman and won't list them all here. But, I got one that made my eyes glisten with tears and it was not a primary gift! Janet gave me an adorable plush, stuffed lamb.

She has no idea, but one of my favorite images is that of the lion and lamb together. When I was young, mom talked about the lion and the lamb, but she was fully aware that the Peaceable Kingdom spoken of in Isaiah 11:6 and Isaiah 65:25 paired the wolf and the lamb both times (however there was a lion in the picture as well). When you get to Revelation 5, Jesus is referred to as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and comes forth as a Lamb.

There are few commercial images that I love ... this is one of them. Consequently, I got a little teary.

~~~

I love receiving gifts at Christmas, but more than anything, I love giving gifts. This has been a wonderful year. For the first time in many years, I actually had time to process on the gifts that I wanted to give my family, especially my husband. I knew that there was one gift he was going to love! It was such a weird and strange thing, but I couldn't wait to see him open the package.

A month or so ago, I read Wil Wheaton's tweet (Twitter) about "Night Flight" videos being made available. I couldn't believe it! He referenced a guy's website and I took off to find it. Why yes! KC Texan has a 23-disk set of Night Flight episodes. I've lived with Max long enough to know that this would be something he might really enjoy. I emailed the guy and we had a wonderful conversation back and forth. I ordered the set and could barely contain myself while waiting for Christmas to get here. It was all I could do not to just hand Max the gift and have the anticipation over with.

But, the wait was worth it. He responded with as much glee as I had hoped for and he's been giggling at laughing and pointing things out to me in the background since we got home. I love that.

~~~

Alright - enough for this post. I might have a few random posts in me today.

Friday, December 26, 2008

One of those things

One of those things that I love about being in my own home versus being with my family is that I can wander in a reduced level of clothedness (I know, it's not a word) without embarrassing anyone, including myself. So, I'm glad to be home.

Another thing I love about being in my own home versus being with my family is my own bed. I'm really looking forward to that.

The third thing I love about being in my own home versus hanging out with my whole family is that ... well, hmmm, I don't have too many other things!

I suppose that the insanity of being around people 24 hours a day is a little different for me and Max, but it's not a bad thing. If my bed was at Jim's house and ... ok, my desktop computer (I get a little tired of hanging out on my laptop all day), and ... I felt totally comfortable in totally sloppy nightclothes, I would just as soon be there all the time.

Yup, pretty certain I would end up driving him and Janet crazy, but that's all hypothetical so it doesn't count.

We had the BEST time - we always do.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Very Greenwood Christmas

Christmas morning - 7 am. Barely a soul was stirring, but it didn't take long! Stockings were opened first as everyone crawled into the room.

Jake & Carol pose as Santa's helpers. You'd appreciate Jake's hat - it's Victoria's Secret pink!


Emma was under the tree ensuring that every last gift was pulled out and given to its recipient! She ended up with tinsel on her bum!


Jake had a wonderful Christmas. Everything was geared to his desire to ... well ... we're not sure, but chemistry is a lot of fun. They even got him the lab coat along with a lot of chemicals and supplies. He's in the garage. It's one thing to blow an end off the house rather than the basement underneath the house.


Emma was surprised with a new phone. She has to wait until tomorrow to get to the Alltel store and transfer everything from the old phone. But, the excitement was great! She screamed. We held our hands over our ears.


The competition of the cameras. This was one well-documented Christmas holiday.


After gifts, came the amazing breakfast. Jim is cooking ... Carol is helping.


And after breakfast - came dinner. Turkey, ham, Jim's famous gravy is cooking away in the pot.


Then comes cleanup ... Carol promised to debone the turkey and discovered what a hideousprojct that was. For every picture we have of her doing that, there is a different facial expression - all a form of a grimace.


Jim has offended Emma in some awful way.


Merry Christmas! It's been a lot of fun - we are not a quiet family, but we definitely have a good time together.

Christmas Eve Follies

Janet and Jim left the building for a quick trip, so that gave Carol and Emma a few minutes to wrap some last minute gifts. Scurry, scurry - two elves in a hurry!



The beginning of "The Festival of Food." Jim made a fabulous lasagna and we began the experience.



Jacob and Chester with Carol besides. This beautiful Vizsla gets picked on by the kids, but he loves 'em just the same.


Janet did find the gift that she was looking for - and it's time to open the first gift of Christmas!


Who else but Emma gets to open the gift? She was working hard on a last minute paper for school, but took a few minutes to get this opened - Wii Outdoor Challenge.


Jake and Matthew, however are the first ones to try it. They tried to do this in 'teamwork' mode and it got a little hilarious! Especially as they had to lean into the curves ... go THIS way, no THAT way. Jump! Together! Awesome.


Jim is going to show 'em how to do it. You know, he just doesn't pull any punches - he'll beat his kids any chance he gets - there is no small amount of competition in this family.


Leica found a nice space to escape ... but only for a minute.


And the photographer took a beautiful picture of the tree. I don't think he realized that he caught himself in the Christmas ornament!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm a little embarrassed

Good heavens, I'm getting old and the hormones have now taken over my body ... and my emotions.

We were hanging around tonight, just chatting and teasing and playing. Carol was looking through the pile of photos that I had scanned over the last week or so and nothing serious was happening.

All of a sudden, as they were teasing Max about being hen-pecked, I asked him about it again and I busted out crying! What in the heck? I couldn't bring myself under control. My poor family decided it was important to comfort me, but I couldn't figure out what for!

The only thing I can think is that hormones are crossing my synapses faster than my sense of normalcy. Maybe Carol looking through the pictures of my past helped set it up, maybe the excitement of the holiday, maybe just ... aw heck, I have no idea.

An hour or so later, I was talking to Max in the kitchen alone, trying to figure out what had happened to me. My emotions were still riding high and I knew that I could easily cry yet again.

I don't know what's up with this, but I certainly hope that it ends before tomorrow morning. Good heavens!

It's Christmas with the Greenwoods

We're all gathered, and we each have our things that we do... Carol has stolen my chair. Leica and I sit here together and she refuses to release it to us. Ahhh ... but, she'll get hers.


Yup, there are geeks and their toys. Max is glad to have his new camera.


We are a little afraid of Janet ... she's a bit of a dork. I just called her "Queen Geek." She is taking pictures of her family on computers - saying that she has to put up with a family of geeks ... uh huh ... she raised 'em!

In that picture, she is searching for a specific gift that she wants to give the kids on Christmas eve ... it's lost ... or at least it's hiding under the pile of gifts.


Jacob has been trying to hide from the cameras, but at some point, I just win.



Merry 'Twas the day before ...

Anticipation is in the air, everyone is just a little more excited about life than normal. Is it just the gifts or is it time spent with family and special meals that will be cooked? It's all of that and more as we prepare for Christmas.

Many people emphasize time spent with family and friends over celebrating the birth of Christ during this holiday season, but the knowledge of His saving grace is what allows us ot have complete joy in our lives.

I've just spent a few minutes reading through blogs from last year. I can't believe I said nothing about Christmas Day, but at the same time it was a very different Christmas. Our family gathered for the first time without Dad there. That was weird. His brother had just died and the funeral would happen after Christmas was finished.

My camera was out of whack that year and I didn't take the usual pictures, so I don't remember everything that happened during the day. That will change this year. Max and I are each taking our camera, pictures WILL be taken from every position during every moment.

I kept reading through my blogs. I talked a lot about napping. I remember thinking that was all I ever wrote about - the need for yet another nap. Do you know, it's been really nice to get past that! I can't believe that I was running as much as I did. Was I nuts? Well, it was all I ever knew. I had started running from 7 am to 10 pm many years previously and I didn't know how to stop. I'm certainly glad to have finally stopped.

I have one batch of dough in the bread maker, it's the last one for the weekend (this makes #6), I have to take a shower and gather up lots of stuff. Carol has most of the gifts with her, but I still have a bunch here. Max and I carried camera bags, the laptop bag and travel kit downstairs last night. As soon as he gets home, we'll pack up the car and head out. I can hardly wait.

Carol is already on her way to Jim's house, Jim & Janet and the kids have been cleaning, everyone is excited to see each other.

Over 2000 years ago, a star shone, angels sang, shepherds worshiped, a mother gave birth to the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. The Messiah has come to bring us home to the Father. Amen.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories

'Twas the night before Christmas
First one in the home.
The family would be here
E'en Max, the old gnome

Uncs and Aunts pulled in late
Had to sing for the Lord,
But the family stayed up
Excited, but bored.

Dad said, "Go to sleep,
the morn will come quicker."
'Twas hard to get settled
Lights went down to a flicker.

Two souls couldn't do it,
Too excited to bother
A family of goofballs, had
missed being together.

Matthew and Diane
stayed up through the night.
And were ever so thankful
to see first morning light.

They tried and they tried
to sleep in their seat,
yet the thrill of the season
made that too great a feat.

"I'm too excited to sleep,"
said the boy as he held
his Aunt's hand in darkness
Her heart it so thrilled.

So up in the morning
came the patter of feet,
Emma, Jake, Jim and Janet
Carol tossing off sleep.

The gnome, yes that's Max
Grandpa Frank & Priscilla
made a Christmas of memories
in that freshly built villa.

It's many years later,
the memories will stay
A family of goofballs
Finds love every day.

Christmas 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Never bored

We went out to dinner with Fran & Leonard Friday evening and I remarked to Max that this was the first time I had actually left the house in a week. While I was glad to be out with friends, I certainly wasn't at the panic point by any means. I didn't NEED to get out of the house. Now, I remember a blizzard a couple of years ago where after only one day I was desperate to get out of the confines of the house and was quite thankful when Carol had made it through the snow to come pick me up.

Max laughed and said that when he had his ankle surgery, many people had commented that he was going to be pretty frustrated with having to stay stuck in the house for a long period of time. He never was.

I'm not sure what it is with me (us), but my mind spends very little time trapped inside my house - it seems to roam far and wide whether it's on the internet, reading books, researching, writing stories, remembering the past.

As I look around my desk, I see 5 different projects that I am trying to complete. There's a Beth Moore video Bible study that I'm working on, a video series that I'm watching on "Church Outside the Walls," piles and piles of photos that still need to be scanned and cleaned up, Willmaker so that Max and I can begin compiling our wills, 9x12 envelopes for mailing some Christmas gifts to family (Hmmm ... need to deal with that tomorrow), magazines to read (The Writer, Biblical Archeology Review, National Geographic, Christianity Today), knitting (I may never finish these projects ... oh well, sigh), old bills that need to be shredded (the shredder is not in a convenient place, wonder why I haven't fixed that yet!).

This doesn't include the huge number of books I'm reading, the light editing I'm doing for my brother, the 5 different story lines (fiction) I have going, the finish work I have on the Revelation study, the daily work I do on the Pour Out a Blessing blog (I have to also complete the outline for January), the podcasts that sit in my RSS reader waiting to be listened to, the incredible amount of 'stuff' that I still need to purge from the house (I can't believe I wasn't planning when I got rid of all of those Amazon.com boxes - yikes).

I fill every moment in my day with something and I am more than fortunate to have the time right now to be able to actually do these things. I think that the last 10 years or so have created the out of control feeling I have. I don't remember having this many things going on in my young life, though I was always busy. I got to the point where I didn't think I would ever be able to complete the things that I wanted to do. That wasn't even including the new things that pop up in my life day to day.

So, no ... I'm never, ever bored. And no, I don't mind being stuck in my home for a long period of time because I'm not really here. I love letting my imagination have free reign.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Cards

If you haven't gotten a Christmas card from me yet and you were expecting one ... well, there's a reason. They haven't been mailed yet.

I asked Max Wednesday evening (yes, that was 3 days ago) to drop them in the mailbox (1/2 block from our house) as he drove to work on Thursday morning.

"Oh! No problem!" he said. And I put it out of my mind. I banded them nicely for the the postman and placed them on his desk with his telephones, etc. that he gathers up for work in the morning.

Thursday evening he tells me that he forgot to mail them - they were in his coat pocket. "No problem," I said. "I'm not in that big of a hurry."

Late Friday evening he says to me, "I forgot to mail the Christmas cards! They're still in my coat pocket."

Oh really? I giggled a little. "No big deal." Knowing that this morning he would be out and about. "You can just mail them tomorrow."

I asked him this evening if he had mailed the Christmas cards. He chuckled. I knew that they were still in his coat pocket.

"Why don't you pull them out of your coat and set them on my desk. Then at least both of us will try to remember to get them mailed."

I'm trying. I'm trying!

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is only a few days away. I haven't spent time in stores shopping for gifts, I haven't been in a workplace where everyone is decorating their offices, I haven't been playing carols endlessly. I haven't done any of the normal things that happen to get me in the 'Christmas Spirit.'

Yet, I am more excited about the holiday than I have been in years. Let me clarify. I'm more excited about the reality of the holiday than I have been in years.

Since I'm not a part of a church congregation right now, I was concerned that I would really miss the Advent preparations - singing Christmas carols on Sunday mornings, lighting the Advent wreath, all of that fun stuff. I was careful to watch for feelings of loss.

There have been no feelings of loss. In fact, I am more excited and more relaxed about the season than I ever remember!

I have time to think about gifts that I'm buying for my family and friends. I think about them and what they will enjoy. Because I really like immediate gratification, it's simple for me to then purchase something online and within a couple of days, the gift is at my home ready to be wrapped up. This is the first year in many that I am excited about the gift that I can give to my husband. In the past few years, I've never seemed to have the time to spend finding something that will make his eyes light up. I've only had time to just ... get something to ensure a gift under the tree from me to him.

Since I'm not running many different ways during the day and the weeks in preparation for holiday events at church, I actually have time to spend with my husband. I love the fact that we spend such an incredible amount of time together. Even though we may not talk to each other for a period of time, we are in the same room and it's nice to just feel the knowledge of his love for me.

My freedom has allowed me to enjoy being with my family for the holidays, but it is no longer a desperation. In years past, even though they lived within 1 1/2 hours, I didn't have time to spend with them, so holidays gained such a high level of importance that they completely wore us all out. Both Max and I would enter the holidays with such anticipation of the precious family time that we could barely wait to get there and then we were pooped because we had to grab every available moment.

What with Matthew living in Omaha while attending college and me having freedom to travel again, I see my family regularly and am able to anticipate the holidays knowing that we can relax while we're together.

I have been writing about the entire Christmas story in my blog at Pour Out a Blessing. Every day I have been watching the story unfold and seeing it in its fullness. It's been a wondrous journey. I've learned a lot and I've allowed the depths of the story to reach into the depths of my heart. This is the first Advent I have experienced where I feel as if I am preparing for the return of the Messiah as much as celebrating the Nativity of Christ.

In the last 6 months, I have stopped the frenetic activity that defined my life for the last 26 years. I don't know how long this season will last in my life, but I am grateful for the changes that have been made in myself.

"My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Luke 1:46)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Such a Small World



Nice little family picture, eh? Well, it was taken by a photographer working for the Oskaloosa Daily Herald (Iowa) in November of 1961. That's me, sitting on mom's lap. I love the poses. Dad with his camera and mom with a book. Like she would EVER sit down to read a book to me dressed up with her pearls and lipstick.

Yesterday I figured that it might be fun to try to track down the article that went with this photo, so I called the Oskaloosa Herald. They directed me to the Oskaloosa library. I found the website and discovered that they have a volunteer genealogist who will do the work in the microfiche library for a small fee.

I sent an email right out with vague details and today I received a response. I read through the email and started thinking through the process and what I needed to do next. Then I read the name at the end of the email and promptly burst into tears. I had to contain myself because Max was in the room and then I had to explain myself to him because I didn't want him to think something terrible had happened.

The genealogist was the woman who had been the Dean of the Music Department at William Penn College while I was there and who was also my piano teacher there. I loved her. She loved me. It was painful for me to leave her, I was learning so much from her. I haven't seen her or spoken with her since the late 70s or early 80s and now, because of one photograph that I have scanned, I have reconnected with a woman who meant a lot to me.

It still makes me a bit emotional.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Lifetime of Memories

I've spent the last day working through one of many old scrapbooks. It's filled with pictures of children, a growing family and memories. I feel a little chagrined, but I suspect it's endemic of every first-born child. There are TONS of photos of me as a baby. Maybe as I go through the family albums and boxes of photos I will find multiples of Carol and Jim's baby pictures, but I doubt it. My grandfather (Mac McFarlane) was an amateur photographer and I seemed to be a perfect subject for his passion. Consequently, if there was one, there were several photos taken (and kept) every time he brought his camera out.

I've uploaded some of the pictures to Facebook, but by no means is it a large percentage of what I've worked through. It's just a very small sampling and I generally uploaded pictures that included people other than myself.

There is an entire series of these:


and these: (how many naked baby pictures in a pool do you need?)


I'm messing with the photographer in these:


and then a series of these!


But, there are some treasures for me like this one,


and this one.


Now, I just have to figure out what I'm going to do about displaying these innumerable photos once I get them all scanned!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For the first time

In many years, I'm not appreciating the fact that we have snow.

I'm not sure what has changed, but this is certainly a weird feeling! I have always looked forward to the first snowfall. I see the beauty, I love the new season, I am much happier in the cold than in the hot.

Whazzup brain? Stop this! Enjoy it.

For heaven's sake, this is the first year that we have owned a snow thrower!

I'm a strange woman.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My poor husband

Max has been waiting patiently for Canon to produce it's newest camera. For the first time in many, many years he is able to afford the camera that he desires. There were murmurings on forums and photography podcasts that Canon was going to do something awesome throughout the summer. He went back and forth between getting a Nikon or waiting for Canon to make an announcement.

And then, there were rumors that Canon would finally make the announcement at Photokina. Well, they made the announcement just prior to that trade show and on September 17, we quickly placed a pre-order on Amazon.com.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 ... 21.1 mp, full frame, amazing camera. Max's heartbeat leapt a little at the thought of it.

Canon announced that these would be ready to ship to customers approximately November 15. Max started to get excited.

And then ... nothing. People began complaining to Amazon. It looked like they didn't order enough to fulfill all of their pre-orders. Either that, or Canon simply wasn't supplying them with enough to ship to their customers. Whatever it was, frustration began to set in - not only for Max, but for many other photographers.

I kept watching the pre-order page and nothing was changing. I finally emailed Amazon to see if they could tell us why this was happening and got a 'nothing' response from them. I should check back if it wasn't here by January 31. Are you kidding with this?

Max and I were talking about this last Thursday and he mentioned that some of the comments were talking about Best Buy having the camera available. I went online and lo and behold, the website told me that there was one available at the Best Buy in Lincoln. I made a phone call and after 25 rings, couldn't get through. We started packing ourselves up (at 7:30 pm) to head for Lincoln. I was going to get this camera for Max if it killed me! I called again. A young man answered and couldn't help me, so he connected me with someone else. After 25 rings trying to get into that department, the system hung up on me.

We got Leica and ourselves into the car and headed out. I called again - got the same young man, who decided that this time it might behoove him to actually just do the legwork and help me out. I was driving, Max was getting excited. We got onto the interstate and the young man came back on the telephone. He was sorry, but the website was wrong and they had no more cameras in stock. You could almost feel Max's disappointment. I drove off the interstate at 72nd Street and came on back home.

We talked about running a dual order at both Best Buy and at Amazon. The guy told us at Best Buy that they were expecting another shipment of these cameras soon, so I needed to check back regularly. Hmmmm ... really? No one else seems to be able to get these. In fact, some of the NYC camera stores were jacking up the price by over $1000.00 and actually making the sale! (We would prefer to wait, thank you very much.)

I called Max this morning to make sure that his body hadn't frozen somewhere between home and work, we hung up and within 20 minutes I called him again to let him know that Amazon was emailing to confirm credit card information and the status on his camera order had changed from 'we have no idea when this will be fulfilled' to 'delivery will happen this week.'

When he got home this evening, he told me that phone call distracted him quite a lot the rest of the afternoon. Goofball! Now, I just need Amazon to tell me that it actually has shipped.

I wonder if Max was ever this excited about me? (hehe) I'm betting the answer is ... well ...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Reading

I just put 5 books out to my Kindle.

Two werewolf novels by Patricia Briggs, He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen and Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.

The fifth book? Well, it's being written by my brother and rather than hang out at my desk to read it tonight, I converted it to the Kindle and will be able to crawl underneath the covers and read it there! How cool is that?

I do have the strangest taste in books. But, honestly, I can't imagine anything more fun that picking up books in as many different genres as possible.

It's very cold in Nebraska right now. Leica is not yet refusing to go outside, but she comes dashing back to the warmth of her bed and blanket as soon as possible! Max has had to rescue the flying trash cans only once so far. Actually, at this point, he will probably refuse to do a second rescue. They can have our trash and they can have the cans. We'll buy new ones. He's not looking forward to heading out in the morning. I still can't believe that OPS hasn't closed school for tomorrow. Why in the world would they expect small children to be outside in this stuff? Oh well ... not my job and maybe before too long, the decision will be made. I'm not staying up to wait for it, though.

I'm pretty much ready to mail my Christmas cards now and I'm just waiting for the mailman to bring the stamps. I don't have some addresses I really thought I had in my contacts list. That's weird. And you aren't listed in the online phonebook either! That doesn't make me happy (hehe). But, I'll find you ... it's just one of those things.

Listening to the wind raging outside the house is getting old. I think it's about time to head for the warmth of a bed, surround myself with some blankets, a warm dog, a cat and a husband. I know, I know ... it's really early for me, but sheesh! It seems like the safest place possible right now!

I Need to Sleep on This

What constitutes a 'fellowship of believers?' Is it an organized, structural entity? Is it a church?

Is it traditional? Is it emergent?

Do I become a part of something because it is expected of me or because I need it?

Is it a group of like-minded Christians?

Does it have to meet on a regular basis?

I just read a really interesting book "So You Don't Want to go to Church Anymore" by Jake Colsen, Wayne Jacobsen, and Dave Coleman. It was a quick read and I have to admit that it really encouraged me. I didn't feel so 'out there' with the things that have been going on in my head the last few months.

It really is time for us to allow God to actually work in our lives rather than build structures to keep Him from doing anything other than what we want Him to do.

I think one of my favorite things from the book is finding out that we are in the middle of the story, not at the end of it. The things that happen to us on a daily basis don't finish the story for us. That's what being a part of a life with an eternal God is all about!

When I left Faith-Westwood in June, I put myself in God's hands, expecting Him to do what He will with me. That hasn't changed, though things in my life have also not changed in big ways. But, wow ... it hasn't even been 6 months.

It's a fun journey to be on ... and as for all of those questions at the top of the blog ... I have no answers tonight. It's time for bed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Candle Guilt

I bought some candles to help support my nephew, Jacob's band trip to Florida. They're awesome.

My guilt begins. I want to keep them all. I love candles. Especially ones that have either a cinnamon or vanilla scent. If you're my friend, those are probably the candles I will buy for you as well. When the cold weather sets in, cinnamon just smells warm and cuddly.

I've put 3 of the 4 candles back in their boxes - maybe they'll turn in to Christmas gifts ... or maybe they will just stay in my house.

But, then I run into the whole 'I don't want stuff hanging around in my house anymore' guilt too.

Ack! It's killing me!

Bad News / Good News

Bad News: My nephew has left town for holiday break and all of my outside activities have ceased.
Good News: I get to find out whether or not I really am a hermit at heart.

Bad News: A big basket of chocolate showed up at my back door today - a thank you from SingOmaha.
Good News: A big basket of chocolate showed up at my back door today - a thank you from SingOmaha.

Bad News: Gas prices went up today for the first time in months.
Good News: It's still only $1.599/gallon.

Bad News: I haven't gotten my Christmas cards done. I was going to work on those today.
Good News: Aw heck, it's only December 12th, I have plenty of time!

Bad News: I can't think of any more bad news to deliver.
Good News: Life is pretty wonderful.

"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Addictions

Alright. I have a few addictions. Cheesecake and chocolate, breads and pasta to begin with.

But, books are making me crazy! There are so many and I yearn to read them all! My heart races a bit when I begin looking at books that I haven't read yet. There are weekends that I will read 6-7 novels from Saturday morning to Sunday night. And I'm not at all satisfied, so I'll start another on Monday morning.

Mom would have to pry books out of my hands to get me to do anything when I was a kid. When she expected me to be sleeping, I would be huddled under the blankets with a flashlight or a bed lamp, desperate to finish whatever novel I was reading. She laughed and told me that I didn't read, I consumed books.

Then came a bleak period in my life when I quit reading for pleasure.


I spent a lot of years being way too busy to read. It was awful. There were so many things that took over my life and I was always occupied with something that required my full attention. Any time that I had to read was then occupied by books that I used to research for projects and writing that I wanted to accomplish. I would get so stressed over the things happening around me and in my job and job that I would only be able to sleep after television dulled my mind.

Reading would never put me to sleep because once I became a part of the story, I couldn't leave it until it was finished.

The greatest joy I have right now is a return to reading. Carol asks me to read books so that she can recommend them to her 6th graders. Ah ha! A purpose for reading! Alright, I think she has plenty and I don't know that I need to keep going, but she has unleashed a fiend. I can't stop.

I'm in the middle of "Miracle on 49th Street" right now by Mike Lupica. Yup, so far, I think her kids will enjoy this book. The only problem I've had is that I've been reading anthologies about werewolves, vampires and other fey creatures and it took me awhile to realize that none of these characters were going to turn into something strange. They were all pretty straightforward.

My amazon.com recommendation list is filled with amazing books I have yet to read. It's killing me!

My DVR is filling up with shows that I don't have time to watch because I'm much too busy reading. I have to put the Kindle down so that I can get a few things done around here. But, even as I walk away from it, my mind begins creating stories and characters. I fall asleep at night making up stories and hoping to remember that amazing plotline when I wake the next morning.

I don't know why I'm typing this right now ... Molly is trying to understand something and I just have to turn th

Negative / Positive

I got myself really worked up yesterday and again this morning. Just totally ticked off and about to write a scathing blog about a few things.

So, I started typing. And the more I typed, the more I looked up scripture, the more I thought and prayed about it, the less desire I had to write.

I took the dog outside, toasted some homemade bread, got a Diet Mt. Dew and came back upstairs to delete the post.

The funny thing is, I had gotten really upset over all of the negative news happening in the world this morning as well. So, what I wanted to do was add to that? Ummm ... nope.

Negativity comes so easy. We're quick to criticize, label, rant, point out problems and differences. One of the most difficult things is to become a positive influence in someone's life.

I had a friend (well a few) in junior high and high school that would not have necessarily been called a good influence in my life. But, I had a great mom. She believed that I could be a positive influence in their lives. She had confidence that I was a strong enough individual to hold my own against the negative impact that they might bring to the relationship. When her friends would comment on my relationships, she told them she wasn't worried. And she wasn't. I thank her for that belief in me.

So, my positive thought for today comes from Isaiah 40:31, "...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Too early to blog

Yes, I'm posting at 6:20 (ish) in the morning. I was asleep by 11:00 last night ... just plain pooped. I woke up at 5 this morning and rather than mess with poor Max (who has to get up in 15 minutes or so), I knew I needed to get my Pour Out a Blessing blog emailed out and so, I sat down in front of the computer to do some reading. I'll go back to bed when Max gets up.

It's been a weird hour or so, though. I did something I never do, which is read obituaries. I went to one of the funeral home sites from Sigourney - where I grew up. It was interesting to read about parents and family members of kids I knew in high school, people that I grew up with in my church and in the community. Sigourney must have been a healthy place to live, these folks were all in their 80s and 90s!

I've been thinking about Dorothy Phelps a lot lately. She was the church organist in our church there. She was so proud when we decided to build the new parsonage next to her home and really watched over us. She told my father that I should take organ lessons, so offered 4 free lessons. If I enjoyed it, he could begin paying for lessons, if not, then we'd call it good. I tortured that poor woman with "Nights in White Satin" because I really didn't want to be there. But, she helped me work out the pedal line from the score and we went ahead with it. 4 lessons later, I was done! Never did like the organ. But, I liked her and she loved us.

My high school chemistry teacher died a few years ago and then there was a big writeup on Virgil Behrens, an Iowa State Patrol officer who lived in the community. Quite an honorable man. That job defined his professional life and much of his personal life, but he was a good man. His stance was ramrod straight and I just don't remember him out of uniform. In fact, I also tie my memory of him to his Iowa State Patrol car.

It was funny to read through these and work through my memories. A wonderful guy whose wife just tormented him all the time, another who had been a philanderer and finally married the woman he'd had an affair with for many years. Another man who silently put up with an absolute witch for a wife, and then 2 years later, there was her obituary. Whew! I discovered that a couple of marriages of high school classmates were still intact, though I never would have imagined that could be (at least they are still listed together).

People sang in the church choir with me, taught my Sunday School classes, worked in the offices and shops in my community.

Obituaries give so little information about people, memories can be so full. It's good to remember.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Knee-Deep in Reindeer Guts

Ok, I'm reading an anthology called "Wolfsbane and Mistletoe." 14 authors have put together a fun book of stories all about werewolves and Christmas. The headline author is Charlaine Harris, whose Sookie Stackhouse books inspired the HBO series "Trueblood." I love her stuff and have enjoyed every story that I've read so far in the anthology.

But, when I read this opening paragraph to Kat Richardson's story, I just howled with laughter!

" 'Twas the night before Christmas - well, the late afternoon, in fact, but who could tell at the North Pole in the middle of winter - and Matthias the werewolf was knee-deep in reindeer guts. Really, it was the deer's own fault for having that glowing red nose that had made it ever so easy to pick him out in the gloom."

Now, THAT's a way to get my attention. Killing Rudolph and with imagery so awesome as 'knee-deep in reindeer guts'? Oh yah ... this makes for some fun reading.

I will tell you that I've been reading some pretty wild fiction lately. Great stuff - a couple of series based on humanity crashing in on itself and what the world looks like after that happens. I've been re-reading some of my favorites. I started the Harry Potter series again. You know, it's still as good as I remember it.

The only problem with reading fantasy / sci fi fiction is that it really does a number on my dreamlife. I have the best time in my dreams. There is always something fun going on, or something frightening, or exciting. I have the best dreams.

This morning, though, there were cockroaches at one point in my dreams and this is the email I sent to my brother when I woke up and got my head together:

I would appreciate it, if when I ask you to get the large cockroach with big, hairy legs, you don't hide in the bathtub.

He wasn't much help in my dream, but I'm pretty sure that after that email, he'll be glad to help me out the next time!

I'm back to reading now. The other problem with these anthologies is that I've just discovered a whole slew of new writers with more characters and locales for me to get interested in. I can hardly wait!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Do you ever wonder?

Well, I do. About me.

For some reason, the song Mairzy Doats came into my head just a few minutes ago. I decided to look for it online ... and then I realized what I was hearing as I slowed down the words.

Mares Eat Oats and Does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. Kids will eat ivy too, wouldn't you?

Duh.

It was written because of an English nursery rhyme - Cowzy tweet and sowzy tweet and liddle sharksy doisters.

Kind of reminds me of a story about a kid who came home from Sunday School telling his mom about a bear named "Gladly" who couldn't see very well. Yup, "Gladly, the Cross I'd Bear."

Of course Max knew all along about that crazy song. I often wonder what joy mom took in withholding pertinent information from her kids.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Random

My husband sits behind me at his desk listening to music in his headphones. BeeGees. The worst thing - I can hear through the phones and I'm trying to sing harmony to barely heard melodies. Fortunately I know most of the songs, so I'm not making a fool of myself. Aw heck, no one can hear me, so I guess I am really not making a fool of myself at all! Quit worrying so much, Diane.

You see, I had a terrible experience at an outdoor concert once, long ago. It was probably the horrendous Chicago concert - the one where they played for about 15 minutes, left the stage and never came back. But, as I was enjoying myself in the stadium at Rosenblatt, singing along to the songs I knew so well, the guy in front of me turned around and told me to quit singing harmony.

What? What? I was so shocked, I shut my mouth. My friends were shocked and decided to fix his caboose. They just sang out of tune. I'll bet he was happier when I was singing harmony.

I suppose I could ask Max to play this over the speakers, but he seems to be happy ...

I read an interesting trilogy of books yesterday. It was actually pretty good. "Uglies," "Pretties," and "Specials." These stories of Tally Youngblood tell of a distant earth future where every 16 year old is transformed into a 'pretty.' Anthropologists have determined what the most appealing look is and everyone is surgically transformed to be similar to that look. It's a fascinating look at a possible outcome of our culture's drive to mediocrity. Good stuff - written for a young adult audience, but I enjoyed his writing (Scott Westerfield).

I went back to an old standard and am reading the Dune series right now. I told Max that I'm not sure how long it's been since I've actually read the novels. I've seen all the iterations of the video / movies of this. Frank Herbert's writing is so intricate, no one has been able to do justice to it. They've tried, but you just can't put on film the hidden layers of this story. So ... I'm back to reading it again. I love it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The year I gave up busyness

I began to process today on the life of 'busyness' that we lead. Oh, I've processed on this before, generally as I found myself highly stressed by the overwhelming things that I needed to accomplish in a day.

Everyone complains about this, but we don't change our lifestyles. I emailed a friend about the topic this morning and began blogging at her in the email, I talked with another friend about it over lunch and then with her and another friend while we were getting our hair cuts this afternoon. And then, I talked to the first friend about it on the telephone later on this afternoon today as she tried to come to terms with her own busy life.

The gal who was cutting our hair told me that her elementary age daughter informed her that when she got too overwhelmed by all of the things going on in her world, she closes the door to her room and cries. She cries! At that age! Yah. Her mom didn't like the sound of that either.

I'm not really ready to make any big pronouncements about this, but God has been trying the last several years to get me to calm down. I don't believe that it's about me, but it's more about Him trying to get my attention. He's not trying to keep me healthy, or anything like that, though without high stress I'm certain that my blood pressure is at a healthier level. No, God is trying to get me to spend time with Him.

Reducing busyness in our lives is nearly impossible. We define our lives in this culture by the number of things we do and the number of things we do well.

Since I've left my job, people are constantly asking me what I'm doing now. As if I have to be doing something so that I can justify my existence and my choice to be home during the day. If I'm writing am I getting published? What else? I think it would probably be more acceptable if I was home raising children - at least that way being a mom is being productive.

What if I were to simply say that "I'm listening to God."? Is that acceptable? (these are rhetorical questions, I don't need affirmation or confirmation from anyone - it's ok - I'm good with all of this ... I'm just pondering).

I've lived the life that had me moving through each day from 7:30 am - 10:30 pm at high speed, sometimes never seeing the inside of my house until late in the evening. I hated that life. I gave up my favorite activity because that was the only evening of the week I wasn't required to be somewhere and I had to get myself home to my husband to regain a little sanity to cope with the rest of the craziness.

During all of that time I knew that I had creative things that I wanted to do, but I couldn't get enough quiet time to allow my brain to actually create.

The Year I Gave Up Busyness ... sounds like a good title for a book.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Geek Alert - Great Book

I just plowed through Cory Doctorow's book, "Little Brother." I had to finish it before I went to bed because otherwise I would have been terrified out of my mind. As it is, I'm pretty freaked out.

Here's the synopsis from his website:

What’s Little Brother about?
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

This book scared my poor conspiracy-theory mind in more ways than I care to admit. His tech is right on, his awareness of how fear has penetrated our society is excellent. He has geared this book to young adults, so it is quite easy to read.

One cool thing about this book is that you can pay for it, or it is absolutely free. You can download it from his website. He has published it under the Creative Commons license.

While the premise of the book grabbed me from the start, the book is a wonderful read. I lost myself in the characters and the locale. Though I'm glad to be finished with the story, I'm sorry to be finished reading the book. My heart needed the resolution, my head wants to keep going.

Download the book, read the book, share the book.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Cards

I got my first Christmas card in the mail today.

I'm just glad that I have my Christmas cards in the house. They're not addressed, they're not stamped, I haven't written any notes on them. But, they're in the house. This is doing better than I have in the past few years! That was just one of those things that went by the wayside when I got busy. It also didn't help that Max and I had set up an impossible goal for ourselves in the early years of our marriage. The poor man spent hours in the darkroom producing 5-7 prints for our Christmas cards!

People complain about the lack of personalization when Christmas letters come out. Max complains about the letter writer - writing in the third person, his mother complained about the excessive bragging by parents and grandparents (if all of the Christmas letters were true, then everyone should be a successful, brilliant millionaire). But, I have always loved them. When I owned Insty-Prints, I enjoyed typesetting the Christmas letters, they were a peek inside the lives of my customers. Sometimes I knew people they knew, sometimes I just liked seeing how other parts of their lives made them happy.

I always enjoyed writing Christmas letters - it was a great way to wrap up the year. To look back and find myself thankful over all that had happened, even when some of it was a bit grim or unsettling.

Because of my lack of writing the last several years, I've lost contact with some of our old friends. I no longer have current addresses and in some cases, I'm not even sure if they're still alive. But, I will do what I can and try to restore some sense of contact with friends and family.

Send me your Christmas letter ... I love reading them. I love knowing what has been exciting in your life. I love that digital photography makes pictures so much easier to transmit. I love it all!

And now ... I suppose I could at least begin addressing some of these cards. As for my Christmas letter, I think I'll blog it this year. Maybe New Year's Eve will be a good day for a look back at a wonderful year.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent

Since I'm not actively involved in a church right now, I'm missing a few traditional things like lighting the Advent candles. I'm not missing the Advent song we've been singing for the last few years. Really not missing that at all.

I am, however, writing for my Pour Out a Blessing blog and I'm looking at the Christmas story. Every day is plotted to look at a different part of that story.

While we treat this season as preparation for Christmas, Advent has long been celebrated as preparation for the Second Coming of the Messiah. The Latin word, "Adventus" is the translation of the Greek Word, "Parousia," which commonly refers to the Second Coming.

I've always been so focused on Christmas preparations during this time, that I never really thought about the return of Christ. However, that's what is the most exciting thing of being a Christian for me! We have hope beyond the expectations of our daily lives. Hope of an eternity, hope of a new heaven and a new earth, hope that places us in the throne room of God.

So, while I'm thankful to not have to sing the song "Waiting, Waiting" anymore, I really am waiting. I am waiting for His return.

This is a joyful time of year as we decorate and purchase gifts, bake goodies and greet each other with Christmas spirit.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

That amazing scent

You know that scent that encompasses you when you walk into the library or even a used bookstore? Any reader knows or remembers that smell. There's nothing quite like the musty, musky scent that seems to overpower you, until all of a sudden your eyes light on a book, you open it and read the first page and you are lost in a world that exists only between you and the author for the time being.

Today has been a day of reading for me. I didn't do it in a library and I didn't get to experience the scent of old books, but I managed to tear through 4 novels. Pure, unadulterated pleasure.

The Kindle has eliminated the need for me to immerse myself in used bookstores or libraries. I have access to nearly every book available immediately. That's kind of sad, but at the same time, I have boxes of Dad's old books - and some of them are very old and musty - and if I need a memory refresh, I just bury my nose in one of those books.

As I was reading "The First Patient" by Michael Palmer this evening, Max asked what I was doing. I told him that I was reading mind candy - stuff I could rip through pretty quickly. He made a flip comment about mom (the woman read everything she could get her hands on) and then asked if she had read Proust since she had such a strong French language background. I told him that she probably did, but I knew for a fact that she loved trivial reading as much as or more than I did and if she had read it, she did it for a class. We talked for a few minutes more about it and it occurred to me that I could probably download Proust to the Kindle and at least look at it. So, I spent some time reading 'about' it on Wikipedia and then went to feedbooks.com to see if it was available. It certainly was! And those books are all out past copyright, so they are free. Awesome.

Then, the trouble began. I realized that most of the books I loved as a kid were more than likely available and they would be free. Before I realized what I was doing, I had downloaded 20 novels to my Kindle! Jane Austen (all 7 of hers), Joseph Conrad, Dumas, Defoe. I could download books all night. My 2 gig SD card will hold nearly 2000 books. I could easily come unglued right now just thinking about it. In fact, my breathing has quickened a bit at the anticipation of having immediate access to that many books.

New authors are finding that the fastest way to get their writing in front of readers is to publish electronically. Once they get a solid readership, I suspect that it would be much easier to find a publisher for later pieces. New authors are all over feedbooks.com and similar sites.

So ... I could continue to write about this or I could just go back to what I was doing before I allowed the high of the old books scent memory to overwhelm me. I'm going to get some more books and then I'm going to read. Who needs to sleep, anyway?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Greenwoods

Here's what a 36 hour period at the Greenwood household with a slough of Greenwoods looks like.

The entire family was on the internet. All of the laptops were up and running while we were watching movies or just sitting around. At least we weren't chatting with each other online, we were actually speaking to each other. But, it was really fun be talking about something and watch someone head to Wikipedia or Google to get more information.

Jim - cooks. The poor guy seems to be always cooking! But, the good news is - he loves it. He loves experimenting with different flavors and he loves watching his family experience what he has done. He did an amazing job with the Thanksgiving dinner - all of the fixins. This morning he was up early and made breakfast - experimenting again! But, we had a casserole that used up the mashed potato leftovers (base of the casserole) added eggs and bacon, etc and then he topped it off with some doctored up leftover gravy. Oh yummy. For lunch he made a split pea soup. You have to know that the idea of that turned my stomach. I watched my father cook that for every single lunch for a lot of years ... and I know that's what they used in "The Exorcist" when Linda Blair vomited all over everything. However, Jim asked me to taste it and I know what a good cook he is. It was awesome ... except for the fact that there was a lot of 'heat' in there (read: chili peppers) and I'm a pepper wimp.

Carol. Well, Carol is as Carol does. As they tried to get out of the house this morning to go shopping, Carol told me that she had found her glasses. Since I had lent her my extra pair last night, I asked where they were so I could make sure things were back where they were supposed to be. Ummm ... yup. She had lost both pairs by that point. After much searching around, she discovered that she had promptly placed them in her backpack. Then, she couldn't find her coat. She knew she had it since she had gone for a walk the day before. They searched closets and bedrooms, all over the place. Jim found it somewhere. As we were getting ready to leave tonight, she carefully packed up her laptop. She opened her laptop bag and there was no power cord. She had to wander around - searching out where she might have put it down as she was packing. This girl can't move into a large home - she'll never find anything. She seems to always be the entertainment at the gatherings. We laugh at her a lot.

Janet. The woman is a dork! We knew this when she met Jim and married him, but she keeps getting worse. She has this incredibly ... well ... strange sense of humor and when it pops out, we giggle a lot and shake our heads. But, she also does a lot of the structure for this family. When they began to express an interest in the "Twilight" book series, they got the audiobooks and those are loaded on iPods ... the kids have been having a great time listening to these stories. Well ... as I was looking at the packages under her tree, I discovered that the Twilight characters were giving gifts to her family. Yah ... it's never just Santa's name under the tree ... you never know what is going to show up on your gift tag! She's a gadget geek, too and I think she has raised her children to love those things as well so that she has an excuse to bring the weird things into the house.

Max. He's actually pretty quiet. It was nice for him to have his camera with him - that seems to allow him a lot of expression. Max had announced his desire to leave his carb-free diet at home for the holiday and Jim took that as a personal challenge when cooking. But, poor Max - his heart wasn't really in it. At one point during dinner, he was trying to have a conversation and Jim zapped him, "Max! You are talking! You never talk at these meals! What's wrong? Have you lost your zeal?" Yup ... that happens when you lose 35 pounds.

Matthew. Well, this was a rough holiday for my boy. His girlfriend broke up with him and his heart was just laid open ... raw, wounded. I'm so thankful that it happened while he was at home. He is so sensitive and loving. It was hard on me to see the pain that he was dealing with. But, the good news is that he is also fairly pragmatic. He knows that life moves on and at some point he'll get there too. Just not today, just not right now. For right now - it hurts. Jim decided that guy's night out watching a testosterone filled movie was a good idea - James Bond ... here they come!

Emma is the queen of texting. If she wasn't texting her friends last night, she was talking to them online. She loves her friends! It's hilarious watching her interact with her parents. She's as stubborn as any of them and is not afraid to voice her opinion. She does all the girl stuff and couldn't wait to get out this morning with Carol and Janet to go shopping. And then, when one of her friends wanted to hook up, couldn't wait to dump them and head out with a friend. Awesome!!! (hehe)

Jake. Well, he's a geek. He spent most of the time doing 3 things. He played a lot of World of Warcraft. He listened to "Breaking Dawn" and then, he was creating hydrogen from water using electricity and anodes and ... aw heck, I have no idea. He watched his science teacher at school doing some fun experiments and decided to see what he could come up with. He scared his mother - we all know that hydrogen is flammable. Fortunately, there wasn't enough created to make a boom - it was more like a pop.

Dogs. Jackson - a big, stupid Vizsla. Very loving, desires to be near a human all the time. He's only about a year old and is still trying to figure out what to do with all of his height and his speed. But, you can obviously tell that he's Pinky in the bunch. And the Brain? Well, that's Nicky. The West Highland Terrier/Schnauzer mix. Smart dog. Independent dog. Carol wanted to steal him - she loves him. Leica loves being there - she gets free rein outside - no leashes, no one telling her to come in until she's ready. She chases with the two dogs, but gets a bit protective of her family. However, she's a lot more tolerant of those two animals being around her people than she is of the cat that she lives with!

We ate a lot of food, watched some movies, did some shopping - some in town and some online. We watched movies (I really did like the newest "Incredible Hulk"). Jim made fun of Liv Tyler's big collagen-injected lips. He also started in on Angelina Jolie's lips. Whoops! He says that a week isn't fully complete without watching at least one Harry Potter movie - so ... we watched two.

You know? I can't wait for Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you

Today is a day to give thanks. I'm glad that we have set this day aside to spend with friends and family and share memories, love and thanksgiving - as well as incredible amounts of food. I would like for my life to look like this every day.

What would it look like if I could fill every moment with gratitude?

My family would know how important they are to me. There would never be a question as to the amount of love that I have for them.

My friends would know how they have impacted my life for the better. I would express how they have introduced new aspects of the world to me and opened my eyes to so many things.

The world would know how important my faith is and how much I rely on God. I would speak my gratitude over and over.

I would be content in every moment, no matter how stressful, because I would know that all things come from the God who created me.

Today I am grateful for all that I have been given, for the people that have come in and out of my life and for the love of a God who sent His Son to die for me.