Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Moment With God


God won’t ask what kind of car you drive.

He’ll ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.

God won’t ask the square footage of your house. He’ll ask how many people you welcomed in your home.

God won’t ask about the clothes you had in your closet.  He’ll ask how many you helped clothe.

God won’t ask what your highest salary was. He’ll ask if you compromised your character to achieve it.

God won’t ask what your job title was. He’ll ask if you performed to the best of your ability.

God won’t ask how many friends you had. He’ll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

God won’t ask in what neighborhood you lived. He’ll ask how you treated your neighbors.

God won’t ask about the color of your skin. He’ll ask about the content of your character.

God won’t ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation.

He’ll lovingly take you to a mansion in Heaven and not to the gates of Hell.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways, My ways,” declares the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8


Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Contribution To Black Friday

Forgive me for being a "day late (give or take) and a dollar short" as my mother would say, but I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family and loved ones. Although I've been "MIA" (missing in action) for a few days now from the blogging world, I spent a good portion of my Thanksgiving at my in-laws house with my husband's mother and father, 4 sisters, their husbands, his brother and girlfriend, assorted cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as my 2 stepdaughters and their significant others.  He has a large family and I think the final count at dinner was 31, which is pretty overwhelming when you're from a small family as I am.  But over time you get used to the noise and chaos and they're all extremely close so it makes for a nice get together. And the food! Good grief! Enough to feed everyone with leftovers to spare - and maybe a small country, too.  There is definitely much to be thankful for.  Since my own family is several hours away, I'll be spending my Christmas with them.   We usually have to alternate holiday visits this way so we get to spend time with everyone during the holiday season. 

Although the day after Thanksgiving was "Black Friday," I refuse to get sucked into the madness of setting my alarm before dawn so I can rush to the malls with the rest of the crowds.  Speaking of which, one of my stepdaughters, who works part-time at Bed Bath & Beyond, had to be to work at 3:15 AM to be ready for their store opening at 4:00 AM(!)  I'm sorry, but this is nothing short of insanity to me.  There is NO store or reason on this earth for me to be anywhere but home at 4:00 AM. Doesn't matter what deal they're offering (or even giving away for that matter), it will never hold any allure for me in this lifetime. I love the Christmas season and all the good things about this holiday, just not the commercialism and the "spend, spend, spend" nonsense that puts so many people into debt the rest of the year and takes away from the TRUE meaning of Christmas.  That being said,  while I didn't venture out into the wee hours of the morning (except to the hen house), I did make a very short trip to the mall at 2:00 PM as my one small contribution to Black Friday.  I'd seen a review of the book "Oogy" by Larry Levin a few weeks ago and decided to get this for my other stepdaughter, who, like me, is also an animal lover, and works as a veterinary technician at an animal hospital. Since she loves to read books about animals, among the other things my husband and I buy her at Christmas, she can usually count on a non-fiction book about an animal from me.  It's sort of become a tradition in the last 5 or 6 years and I know she looks forward to it.  I haven't read it myself yet but I'm sure I will. For those who are not famiilar with "Oogy," (which is the affectionate derivative of the word "ugly") it's the true story of  a pit bull who had been used as a "bait dog" in the horrible world of dog fighting.  A bait dog (makes me shudder to even say that!) is a chained animal which is used by fighting dogs as bait to bite until the dog is incapacitated or killed.  Oogy was used as such a dog. When he was found by the police who raided the dog-fighting ring in Philadelphia, he'd had his left ear torn off and was bitten so hard a piece of his jaw bone was crushed and according to the author, "there was a hole in the side of his head the size of a softball." Afterward, he was thrown into a cage and left to bleed to death. Although this is enough to make you want to lay down and cry for the rest of the day, the story does get better.  Oogy is taken to an animal hospital and expected to die there, but as fate would have it, is discovered by the Levin family who have brought in their terminally ill cat in to have put down when they meet Oogy. Despite all that he'd been through, Oogy had such a happy and outgoing spirit that the Levins fell in love with him and after several surgeries to repair his face, he is adopted by them where he continues to live happily with to this day. 

I have included the You Tube video from the author so that you could meet Oogy in person.  What a great story with a very happy ending!


So this is how I kicked off my Christmas shopping.  And hopefully, it's the last I'll see of the mall for a while.  Of course I do intend to do more shopping - I'm not a  total Scrooge after all.  However, with any luck, I can finish the majority of it online where there are no crowds to contend with and I don't have to fight anyone over the last parking space in front of my computer ;-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Birthday Weekend

Since Thursday was my birthday (Veteran's Day), I decided to take the day off work (it's not a holiday in my office) and since I'm normally off on Fridays anyway, planned to enjoy a nice, long 4-day birthday weekend.  It was all wonderful, of course, but where does the time go? Now it's Sunday night and before you know it, the weekly grind of commuting to and from the city will begin once again. (GROAN!)

In any event, I had a great birthday and I'm very grateful to God that he's allowed me to celebrate another year.  After I got up and fed the animals, I headed over to the indoor pool for a swim. Came home and tidied up the house a bit - I know, I should give the housework a rest on my birthday, but I was feeling energetic after my swim so I didn't mind - kind of unusual for me since it's the LAST thing I typically feel like doing!

In the afternoon, I told my husband that I'd like to take the dogs to the lake to stretch their legs and give them the opportunity to smell and see new things, which they always enjoy, and when we got home my girlfriend Judy had sent me roses that that were just beautiful.  Flowers are such a mood lifter, aren't they? Even though I was in a good mood anyway, her flowers raised my happiness factor up a couple more notches. The rest of the day was filled with phone calls and beeps of text messages from family and friends wishing me a very happy day.   

Later that evening DH and I went to a nice restaurant for dinner to celebrate and the food was delicious.  The crab bisque soup and mushroom caps stuffed with crab imperial were especially yummy...and needless to say, there was dessert, which my husband and I split.  It was called "The Cookie Monster" which was 2 huge chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream sandwiched in the middle and topped with real hot fudge syrup and whipped cream.  True to it's name, it really was a "monster" of a dessert :-)  In fact, I could hardly walk when we left the restaurant after it was all said and done - but your allowed to overdo it on your birthday, right? I really don't eat like that very often (and Thanksgiving doesn't count either as far as I'm concerned.). Nevertheless, it was a great way to end the birthday evening. 

On Friday morning, Margie had a vet appointment for rountine shots (distemper and feline leukemia) so after her breakfast, which was served in my spare bedroom so I could shut the door and she couldn't run away, I tried unsuccessfully several times to put her in the cat carrier and she was just not having ANY of it.  She didn't scratch or bite me, but she just contorted herself in so many ways that made it impossible to put her in the carrier.  So I thought, now what?! I thought and thought. Then, lightbulb moment... the dog crate! This is much bigger, but it also meant I had to drag it from under the porch (no small feat, either), bring it inside and put her in it.  Since this was taking  more time than I anticipated and now I had to really hustle to get her to the appointment on time, I dropped a blanket over her, wrapped her up in it and got her in the dog crate.  This worked out much better, but once she got out of the blanket and discovered she was confined, she howled like she was being tortured. All the way to the vets office. Such a drama queen.  I tried reasoning with her about this being for her own good, so she didn't get very sick.  She wasn't persuaded. I turned up the radio. She howled even louder. Luckily we got there on time and the doctor took her right away.  For all her protestations the doctor didn't even have to sedate her to give her the shots (you remember that she is still semi-feral) and she really took the whole experience like a trooper.  I was SO proud of her.  And on the way home, she only howled for about 5 minutes and then gave it a rest. When I let her out of the crate she looked around, saw that the surroundings were all familiar, then gave me a dirty look and took off for the rose bushes, presumably to sulk.  I was worried that she'd be so traumatized that she wouldn't ever come back, but like clockwork, she showed up around 6-ish on my front porch expecting dinner. I guess the experience wasn't that traumatic after all.  Not enough to forego dinner anyway, which really worked out in her favor since she got Bumblebee tuna mixed in with her dry food for being such a good girl at the doctor's earlier in the day.  Yes, I know.  Spoiled rotten.

The weather the entire weekend was so beautiful, sunny, and fall-like that I spent a good portion of it outside during the day on Saturday and Sunday, marveling at all the Fall colors and communing with dogs, cats and chickens.  My version of heaven on earth.     

Happy Sunday Everybody :-) 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wedding Anniversary

Exactly 12 years ago today, these 2 crazy kids (me & DH) exchanged "I do's" at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Port Tobacco, MD.  

Thought I'd share some pictures of the "happy couple" with all of you.   

I laugh now when I think about the things that would drive me nuts about this man years ago. I've always been a little bit high-strung and ornery anyway, but less so these days. I've mellowed a LOT since we first got married.  I guess I just don't take things as seriously as I did as a younger woman, and  thank goodness for that.  Looking back, the word "drama queen" would probably not be too far off the mark when describing me. 

I believe a happy marriage is nothing less than a blessing from God, but it requires a lot of nurturing and the commitment to make it work...followed by a good sense of humor and the ability to forgive and forget past mistakes without dredging them up at a later date. Let it go and move on. I'm certainly no expert on marital advice, but this formula has worked pretty well for us for the last dozen years.  That, and he's very easy to get along with. Takes a brave man to live with a ornery redhead.  Seriously. We're just not wired like everyone else. Proceed with Caution.     

Honeymoon in the Bahamas
Not sure where the time went with this young man, but I'm looking forward to the next 12 years (and more!) together.  We were talking about our upcoming anniversary yesterday and I said to him (smiling), "Can you believe that I actually STILL like you after all these years?!"

We're just taking it easy today but I plan to surprise him tonight with his favorite meal; stuffed shells, salad and garlic bread.  Next weekend he's taking ME out to the dinner of my choice.  

Have a GREAT Sunday Everyone :-)