Jenster's Musings

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blast From The Past

Since I don't have any adorable little kids in Halloween costumes anymore I thought I'd link my post from last year. Get used to seeing this same thing every year for however long I keep this blog.

Last Year's Halloween Post

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Peas

My sister-in-law, Rachele, sent us this picture of the twins. Apparently a trip to the pumpkin patch is very exhausting when you're twin peas a little more than three months old.



Aren't they the cutest?? Nicholas and Olivia, aka Tank and the Pretty Princess.

We really need to get out to California so I can munch on them.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend Update

KATIE

I'm very pleased to report Katie is doing well. No adverse effects from whatever she ate Saturday night. I don't believe she ate a whole peanut because I think the reaction would have been much more severe. What's likely is she ate a little bit of a peanut. Still more than is safe for her, but we thank God she's okay.

Is it wrong to coddle a 13-year-old? Because I can safely say she was sufficiently coddled yesterday. She stayed in her jammies all day and we watched The Bridge to Terabithia (we both cried) and Jane Ayre. It was a lovely afternoon/evening.

TODD

Yesterday he was stiff and sore and had a headache. He stayed home from church with Katie and then went to Youth Group last night while I stayed home with her. Sleep was minimal last night and he complained about feeling sick. A trip to the doctor this morning confirmed what we suspected. A mild to moderate concussion.

Me: What did the doctor say?

Him: He said I'm concussed.

Me: He called you a cuss??

Him: No. He said I'm concussed.

That conversation never took place anywhere but in my head. Thought I'd share it anyway.

PIG TONGUE

Last night's theme for the youth group message was taming the tongue. Thus, the pig tongue gross out. Matt decided just to put the tongues in a plastic tub of water and the kids who were brave enough "bobbed for tongue". Sounds a bit like a make out game, doesn't it?

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

So Much For A Relaxing Saturday

The morning held such promise. I slowly awoke to the sound of a drenching rain pattering on the roof. Snuggling further into the blankets, I smiled at the thought of doing mostly nothing all day. Todd and I had to drive into his office for our flu shots, but other than that my day was whatever I wanted it to be.

After lazing around with a couple cups of coffee we headed off for our shots. We decided to hit Costco afterward since it's not too much further, but not before stopping at Starbuck's for my traditional post anything-slightly-resembling-a-medical-type-procedure Venti White Chocolate Mocha. By the time we got to Costco it was starting to rain pretty good.

We fought the crowds and wandered up and down the aisles until we couldn't fit anything else into the cart. When we came out it was pouring like the liquid of your choice out of a boot. I ran up ahead of Todd to unlock the car and he threw our purchases into the back as fast as he could. He took the cart to the corral and as he shoved it in with his foot his other foot slipped, causing him to fly up into the air and land on his back, his head bouncing on the slick pavement like a rubber ball. He wasn't nauseous or seeing double, so he drove home.

Thankfully the rain let up this afternoon because Todd and Taylor had to help our good friend, Ben, move out of his apartment and into our house. Most of his stuff went to the infamous Matt Silver's basement, but he's going to be living with us until he gets married next spring.

Todd has a blackbelt in Isshinryu Karate, but he hasn't practiced it in years. Still, boys will be boys and when Taylor found out Ben was going to throw away some old slats from his bed, Tay asked Todd to break the wood with his hand. I think flexing muscles and moving furniture stirs up the testosterone because Todd took the ridiculous challenge. Twice. The only thing he managed to break was the skin on his knuckle. Thankfully he stopped trying when his hand went numb. He said Taylor laughed so hard he had to hold his jimmies while he rolled on the floor. Can someone explain that to me? Not being equipped in that way I don't understand.

As Ben and Todd were finishing in Ben's room I left to take Katie to Applebee's. She and Taylor had been invited by some of the young adults to Buddy Night and Taylor was meeting everyone there with another friend who had helped Ben move. I dropped her off and cruised home with the sunroof open and the iPod blaring. Ben had gone to band practice (he leads the youth and adult band at church) and Todd and I were going to enjoy some quiet alone time with a little Thai food and a glass of Riesling.

I was the only one to have a glass of wine, but we both had the Thai I picked up on my way home and our quiet time resulted in both of us falling asleep while watching a movie on TV. I had just awoken when the phone rang. It was Katie calling to tell me the group had gone to Nelson's for ice cream and she thought she may have eaten a peanut. For more on her nut allergy you can read here.

I grabbed the EpiPen and Todd and I flew out the door. Cristie, the girl who organized the Buddy Night, met us at a Wawa with Katie and we drove on to the hospital. I kept talking to her so I could listen to her and make sure her throat wasn't closing up. It was a relief to hear her clear and calm voice and know she wasn't having a terrible reaction.

We had to maneuver around a horrible accident and finally made it to the hospital. She was given preferential treatment because of the nature of her visit, but because her breathing was fine we weren't rushed back. When we did make it to the back Katie hopped up on the gurney and leaned back, only to sit back up with a funny look on her face. Todd asked if she was feeling sick and she nodded her head. The hippie doctor handed her a little spit bowl just in time.

Todd grabbed the tiny bowl and held it for her as she threw up mass quantities of stuff with the force of a power washer. Suffice it to say the little spit bowl wasn't big enough. Oh, and if I hadn't already asked what she had to eat at Applebee's we could have guessed. Nachos. When she finished her hurl session she and Todd hobbled into the bathroom to clean up and the nurse came in to change the sheet on the gurney.

Then he picked up the overflowing puke pot, sloshing the contents onto the floor, and threw it - contents and all - into the biohazardous waste bin. Todd and Katie came back and she looked much better. Todd, on the other hand, looked much worse for the wear. All I can say is it's a good thing he was there because if I had been holding the plastic vomitorium and the barf splashed onto my hands the nurse would have had a whole lot more to clean up.

Tossed cookies aside, it was a fairly uneventful emergency room visit. No IVs. No shots. No drama. Just the constant smell of nachos and something unspeakable. My Dove deodorant smelled MUCH better. Thank heaven - or not - for Todd's camera phone:



After Katie drank some water and kept it down without a problem she was given Benadryl and Pepcid - both pills - and a liquid steroid. She tossed it back like a kid at a frat party and we all held our breath as we watched her to see if it would make her throw up. I even said, "I'm sure that tasted better than all that disgusting stuff you let loose with," and she just shook her head no. Okay, then.

They had us stay another ten minutes or so to make sure she tolerated the medicine without incident and then we were released. A shower, a glass of water and a nice, cozy bed was the thing for her when we got home. Washing everybody's clothes was the thing for me.

Now it's 11:30. Katie's asleep, Todd's watching the ballgame in bed, Ben is in his room and I'm waiting for Taylor to get home from Buddy Night. This would be the nice, relaxing part of my Saturday.

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New Feature

I'm cooking with grease now! In the left column under the "About Me" box is a Feedburner email subscription link. If you're so inclined you can subscribe to my blog and you'll get an email with my new posts.

What will they think of next??

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Pig Got Your Tongue??

This morning as I was playing on the computer washing dishes I received a phone call from my friend Barbara. Matt Silver - our Youth Minister - had asked her earlier if she could drive up to Souderton and pick up something for Sunday night's youth group. She had prior commitments and was calling to see if I would be able to make the 30 minute jaunt.

Not a problem since all I was doing was playing on the computer dusting and vacuuming so I said sure.

This is what I picked up:



Do you know what this is? No? Let me show you a closer shot:




Yes, folks. I drove to a meat packer and picked up ten pounds of pork tongues. Here's the conversation I had with Matt after I spoke with Barb:

Me: Am I going to gag when I see them?

Matt: Naw. They'll be in a bucket with a lid so you won't even see them.

Me: Phew!

Matt: Can you boil them for me?

Me: Laughing. Um, yeah. I guess. (It did sort of occur to me that I would have to see them, but I tried not to think about that.)

Matt: Great!

Me: What exactly are you going to do with them? (I was afraid of the answer.)

Matt: I'm thinking of something like bobbing for apples. Maybe I'll put them in a big bowl of spaghetti.

Me: *gasp* *giggle* You are seriously demented.

Matt: Yeaya.

So then my sister, Terri, calls and I tell her where I'm headed and that I'm going to boil them when I get home.

Terri: Oooo! It's going to make your house smell!

Me: Yeah. I was thinking about that.

Terri: You need to open all the windows and doors and buy a ton of Fabreeze and scented candles.

Me: Good idea.

Terri: Then you'll stink up the entire neighborhood and all the neighbors will talk about those crazy Arkansans.

Me: *snicker*

Terri: You know, "they go to the sex church and their Southern cooking makes the whole place reek".

Me: Thanks.

The drive to Souderton was beautiful, but wet. I found the place, went in the office, paid for the tongues, asked how long to boil them for, never got an answer because no one seemed to know, and was told to go back the way I'd come, past the stairs and to "customer pickup".

So I went back the way I'd come, past the stairs and started looking for "customer pickup". All I found were metal doors with ominous looking "Danger" signs. And the farther I explored the smellier it became. I finally went back to the office to ask for directions again. This time she told me to drive around, past the tractor-trailer rigs and the door with the stairs and ramp was customer pick up.

The person in the white lab coat, surgical cap and industrial eye and ear protectors
threw me. I was only there for tongues. What kind of experiments do they perform in there? Whatever. By that time I just wanted to get my bucket and go because I was afraid the stench was going to stick to my clothes and my nose hairs.

I drove back to town and called Todd as I pulled into the high school parking lot to pick up Taylor and Kristen.

Me: Guess what I have in the back of the car.

Todd: I have no idea.

Me: Pig tongues.

Todd: What?!?!

Me: Pig tongues. Ten pounds of them.

Todd: Why??

Me: Matt needs them for Sunday night and Barb was busy so I told her I'd go get them.

Todd: That's disgusting.

Me: It gets worse.

Todd: How?

Me: I have to boil them.

Todd: WHAT?!?! That will stink up the house for days!

Me: Yeah. I thought of that. And Terri mentioned the same thing.

Todd: Yeah.

As much as the thought of smelling boiled pig tongue for a week concerned me, what I was really afraid of was seeing them. All those tongues floating around in whatever liquid they're packed in. And then taking them out and putting them in my stock pot. Just the thought makes my tummy feel all squicky.

So after some thought I called Matt and told him I had the tongues, but I couldn't boil them here because: a) I didn't want to smell up everything; and b) I was afraid it would make me puke. I called Todd afterwards about something else and found out he had called Matt, too.

Poor Matt. He's coming by tomorrow to pick up the bucket and taking them home to boil. Sure hope they don't smell up his house!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Week With My Folks

I dropped my parents off at the airport this morning. *sigh* It was a nice visit and it seemed to end much too soon. I'm already thinking about when the kids and I can make it down their way.

As promised, I have pictures!! Not the good ones I mentioned in my last post, but some pretty shots nonetheless. So let's recap the week, shall we??

WEDNESDAY

Pick Mom & Dad up at the airport.

THURSDAY

I worked in the morning and spent the rest of the day visiting with the folks.

FRIDAY

I kept Katie out of school and the four of us drove over to Strasburg for a train ride.





Does the water tower remind anyone else of "Petticoat Junction"?

It was nice to just sit and relax and watch the scenery outside the windows.



After the train ride we drove up to Intercourse (STOP LAUGHING!) to the cannery. I can't be within a 20 mile radius of that place without stopping in for some of their super-uber-delicious seedless black raspberry preserves. And once I'm there I find all kinds of other things I absolutely, positively, without question need. I should have given Mom & Dad a head start. I got my two jars of preserves and a bag of Kahlua & Cream coffee beans, paid for them and then walked around some more while Mom & Dad found what they wanted. Not surprisingly, Katie and I found some more necessities. After paying for those I practically ran to the door with my head down and my hand over my eyes, careening through the busload of tourists who had just come in.

On our way home we passed the aforementioned horse and buggy at the car wash. I will say the horse was awfully shiny and the buggy looked pretty clean, too. It was a rainy day, though, which made me wonder if a regular car wash would give them a rain check. I'm still so very sad I didn't get a picture. It was priceless.

SATURDAY

The whole family went to Gettysburg on Saturday. We did the auto tour and it was gorgeous, but I think I'd like to go back and spend more time there. Not just at the Civil Battlefield Park, but in the little town of Gettysburg.

I was so struck by the beauty of the area I ended up taking tons of pictures of barns (I have a weakness for barns), church spires and the scenery. I did manage to get some of the monuments, too.





This monument is the Eternal Peace Light Memorial and was dedicated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 as a symbol of peace in a united nation. From what I could find out the flame (which is very hard to see) has never gone out since that time. But what I find truly interesting is that this ceremony was the Last Reunion of the Blue and the Gray - a tradition that had been going on since 1913, 50 years after the battle. Soldiers from both sides would come to these reunions and when the last reunion was held there were very few soldiers left, most of them in their 90's.





I kept jumping out of the car to get good pictures. Todd followed me down the road just like a stalker.



We stopped in at the Appalachain Brewing Company for lunch. As usual, I forgot to take the picture of my food before I ate. The cup had been brimming with Brewer's Cheddar Ale Soup - A wonderful blend of premium cheddar cheese and our very own Water Gap Wheat accented with baked potatoes and topped with sour cream, cheddar-jack cheese and crumbled bacon. You can see why I didn't think about snapping a shot. The other picture is Flatbread Pomodoro - Four pieces of freshly toasted flatbread topped with a wonderful blend of Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, fresh mozzarella cheese and extra-virgin olive oil. Yes, it was as good as it sounds and looks.



Todd and Katie climbed this big tower and took the camera. Todd snapped a photo of this parachute toy stuck in a tree on their way up to the top. Then he got me and my head sticking through the sunroof of the stalker car.



Had to get a picture of the Arkansas monument, now, didn't I?



It seems this cool little castle-looking monument was a New York memorial, but I don't remember. I do know the stairs on the inside were S T E E P!



From left to right are the Irish Brigade Monument, the Pennsylvania Memorial and another New York monument in honor of the Native Americans that fought.



And we conclude the Gettysburg tour with this historic sign:



SUNDAY

Not much to tell that I haven't already. Taylor's girlfriend came over after the church picnic and we played a couple games, including Scrabble. She is a formidable opponent!

MONDAY

Laundry day. No pictures to share. Sorry.

TUESDAY

Mom and Dad and I drove up to the Daniel Boone homestead, about 30 minutes from the house. We didn't do the tour, but drove around a bit and looked at the sights. I'm not sure if I found the black sheep or the original house more interesting.



WEDNESDAY

I made a birthday cake for Katie that resembles something you'd see in a Dr. Suess book. I put polka-dotted candles in it in an effort to make it look like I meant to do that. I'm pretty sure no one bought it. Judging by the second picture, though, I don't think anyone cared.


















It was a fun week, but I guess I have to get back to my real life now.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Potato Post

In the same way potatoes are sometimes considered the "filler" for a meal, this little post is the filler for my blog.

Mom and Dad leave tomorrow morning for their home. *sigh* I'll miss them and hopefully it won't be a whole year before we get to see them again. I've decided I'm done with surgeries and the like so I should be able to make it down South next year. Mom has already said she wishes she could stay and hear the rest of the sermon series at church.

***

As of today I have two teenagers. Katie is now a teenager. Actually she won't officially be 13 for another hour, about 4:00 Central Standard Time. But since she's been acting like a teenager for the last several years I won't split hairs.

We let her choose where she wanted to eat her celebratory dinner. For the last year she's been saying the local Japanese restaurant. I've had Teriyaki and Tempura on my mind for the last several months. Sadly for me she changed her mind last night. We're going to Applebee's.

I have mixed emotions about Applebee's. On the one hand it will be cheaper than the Japanese restaurant. On the other hand it's not the Japanese restaurant. Back to the first hand, I do like Applebee's. On the other hand again it's not the Japanese restaurant. One more time with the first hand, Applebee's is casual and family friendly. Likewise, on the other hand, we would only go to the Japanese restaurant for a special occasion and this was it.

***

Here's the scoop on the Amish buggy at the car wash. While we were in Lancaster County the other day we drove by a do-it-yourself car wash and in the parking lot was a beautiful horse hooked up to an Amish buggy. I don't know where the driver was, but it struck me as very funny. I had my camera with me, but I was driving so I couldn't take a picture. If I was Swishy, though, I would have found a way. I want to be her when I grow up.

***

Another thing I wish I would have taken a picture of was a sign for a restaurant we saw on the way to Gettysburg the other day. It was for a Flapjacks Restaurant and Pub and showed a somewhat scruffy man flipping pancakes and drinking a beer. I laughed when I saw it and said, "See. I'm not the only one who drinks beer while making pancakes for breakfast." I'M KIDDING!!!

***

I think that's enough potatoes. I don't want you all to spoil your dinner.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

"THE" Sermon

Picture me winking my eye at you while saying an exaggerated "'Theeeeee' Sermon". Done? Okay.

Yesterday was the first sermon in the "Our Rotten Sex Life" series at church. Good stuff and I thought I would share. True to Jenster's Musings it will be convoluted, however, I will end up with a point. So join me through the confusing maze that is my thought process...

I am a romance reader and proud of it. I'll say it again. I READ ROMANTIC FICTION! My absolute favorite genre is historical fiction and if it has some romance in it then even better.

*** TANGENT WARNING ***

Why is it people who don't read romance think it's all about the sex? Contrary to what some think, romance and sex are NOT the same thing. And just because a book is considered a romance does NOT mean there is even sex in it. So for any of you who might equate romance books with porn you'd better think again. I know a few inspirational romance writers who would take issue with that statement.

*** BACK ON TRACK ***

As I said, historical fiction is my favorite. There are quite a few "historical romance" authors who use history as wallpaper. It's just a time period and setting and may or may not be accurate. Readers have become pickier over the years, though, and many more of these authors do months, sometimes years, of research to make their books as historically accurate as possible. It's these kinds of books that I enjoy. The books where I get a great story AND a history lesson.

One of the history lessons I've learned is that there was a time when "ladies of good breeding" did not enjoy the act of procreation. Women who enjoyed that sort of thing with their husbands were considered wanton, immoral creatures. I love to talk history and could go into much greater detail, but then you might fall asleep and miss an important meeting or a favorite television show or something. Just suffice it to say the Victorians had some skewed views of propriety.

I bring all this up because it's relevant to yesterday's sermon. I don't know about other religions, but there are still Christians who don't see sex as a righteous thing. They maybe view it as something dirty or taboo and a lot of churches don't do anything to change that way of thinking.

Oh how I wish I could just put up a YouTube video of Brian Jones' message yesterday. It was entertaining to say the least. But in the midst of all the humor was a great message. As promised, I took notes. Not detailed or copious, but I hit the highlights.

There are three things to do for the best sex you'll ever have:

Number 3 - You must believe God wants you to have great sex

He did invent sex, after all. And there's a ton of scripture to back this one up. So who am I to argue with the Almighty??

Number 2 - You must make a commitment to work at having a great sex life

A survey on Brian's blog asked the question, "In your marriage, when your sex life is less than satisfying, what would you say is the primary reason?" The top five answers, in order, were:

1. Tired/Fatigue
2. Not Interested
3. Lack of Emotional Connection
4. Kids around/Lack of privacy/No time alone
5. Medical/Physiological Issues

As a woman who has been married nearly 20 years I can say the first four reasons affect a lot more than just a couple's sex life.

Number 1 - You must do it God's way

I know what you're thinking, but that's not what was meant. What was meant was God has conditions for sex.

1. Stay faithful
2. Wait until marriage

I realize that neither one of these conditions are very popular in today's culture, especially the second one. But IF you believe in God and IF you believe the Bible tells it the way God wants it, then there you have it.

***

I'm still in tourist mode (sorry Terri) but I knew each and every one of you were dying to know about yesterday's sermon and I hated to disappoint.

***

Later this week - Amish buggy spotted at car wash. Stay tuned.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Playing Tourist

My folks flew in from Little Rock Wednesday evening. (And boy, are their arms tired. Ba-da-boom!) So we'll be doing a lot of visiting and playing tourist for a while. I may not be blogging much, but I will be back with pictures!

Today we're driving to Strasburg and taking a train through Amish Country. Tomorrow we're all loading into the car and driving to Gettysburg. I'm not sure what next week will bring other than a trip to the Japanese restaurant and chocolate cake at home next Wednesday for Katie's birthday.

So if you don't see me around you'll know why.

Ciao!

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Beds, Old Wood, Pit Arm Hair and a Black Sheep

BEDS

Last week I was on my way to meet my friend, Cristie, for lunch when Todd called. The words he said were enough to instill fear in even the stoutest of hearts.

I'm about to make an executive decision and you're not going to like it. But I think you'll eventually love me for it.

What do you say to that? All I could think of was a very hesitant, "okaaaay..."

Our original plan had been to move Taylor's futon down to the basement, move the guest bed into his room and then purchase a new guest bed. While he was in the mattress store, however, he was struck with a case of momentary brilliance. Instead of buying a new guest bed he bought a new bed for us. And not just any bed. A Tempur-Pedic with the elevating head, feet and a massage feature.

He was right. I didn't like the decision because it's a lot of money. He was also right, though, that after one night of sleeping on it I love him for it. The next morning was the first morning in as long as I can remember that my hips and lower back didn't hurt. And I've gone more than a week, now, without the pain I had come to expect.

The jury is still out on the elevating and massage features - just seem like extra nonsense to me. I don't let that stop me from using them, though!

OLD WOOD AND PIT ARM* HAIR

Now that I'm making my own money I have to decide what to do with it. It's not a fortune I'm making and it's fixin' (I'm embracing my Southern roots) to be even less because I will be going to two days a week. But it's my money and I can do whatever I want with it.

Here's my dilemma. I want an old red barn door or old red gate for over my sofa in the living room and then I plan to hang black and white photos I've taken of barns on it. Todd can't imagine why I would want to put scrap wood in a nice room. Now that I have my own money I can buy the perfect piece when I find it without any guilt. And not just a junky section of a demolished structure, but any decorating pieces for the house.

I also want to have laser hair removal on my underarms. Since I had lymph nodes removed with my mastectomy two-and-a-half years ago I can't ever shave the left underarm so I use Veet. I find it to be a great inconvenience and would like to just get the hair removed permanently so I don't have to worry about it. Right now I'd fit in great on the Riviera, except I'd be wearing a bathing suit complete with top and full coverage bottom.

What to do, what to do...

BLACK SHEEP

I'm sure by now you all have heard of the familial link between Dick Cheney and Barack Obama. Yesterday morning on Good Morning America Chris Cuomo said that would make Dick Cheney the black sheep of the family. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

*****

*I do realize "pit arm" is not an actual word. When I was little I always got my words mixed up and said "pit arm" instead of "arm pit".

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Award Time

Back in September Slackermommy bestowed this little lovely on me.



Just like tons of other breast cancer patients or survivors who are told they're brave, I don't think of myself in that way. I did what I had to do plain and simple. However, after my recent posts on God and Sex, I've decided I AM courageous. So I gratefully accept the award. Thank you, Slackermommy.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I pass on the award to these amazing ladies and fellow sisters in the BC Sorority:

Sherry at Sage and Thyme

Jill at Reconstruct This...

KT at Gotta Keep on Keepin' On...

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Movie Trivia

What movie is the following dialogue from?

Book of Armaments chapter 2 versus 9 – 21

And St. Antioch raised the hand grenade up on high saying, “Oh Lord. Bless this, thy hand grenade that with it thou mayest blow thy enemy to tiny bits in thy mercy. And the Lord did grin and the people did feast on the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereal and fruit baskets and…

And the Lord spake saying, first shalt thou take out the holy pin and then shalt thou count to three – no more no less. Three shall be the number thou shall count and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shall thou not count, neither count thou two excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou the holy hand grenade of Antioch towards they foe, who being not in my sight, shall snuffit.

Amen

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Time To Get Frisky



Y'all do your thang!

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

God and Sex Continued

I've been overwhelmed with the comments I've received to yesterday's post, both on my blog and through email. Thank you, each and every one of you, for your positive comments, encouragement and prayers.

Todd was spot on in his comment. That was one of the most difficult posts I've ever written. Mine is not an anonymous blog. My parents, sisters and several other family members read it, along with people I have personal relationships with here and in other parts of the country. Knowing they're reading about my great deal on furniture or the latest adventure in parenting is one thing. Knowing they're reading something so personal is quite another.

I decided to squeeze my eyes tight and go for it because it's a very real issue. Not just for me and Todd, but for thousands of other couples. Whether it's cancer or another medical condition, intimacy is almost always altered. The sad reality of that is marriages are ruined because of it. I never even considered that until I started conversing with women who were going through divorces and/or painful counseling while being treated for breast cancer.

I am grateful to God for the marriage He's blessed me with. Yes, I mourn the loss of certain aspects of my previous life - I have moments when I feel as though Todd and I have been cheated. But much greater than that I am filled with abundant joy and gratitude for the life I have now. I know for an absolute certainty my marriage is based on so much more than a physical relationship and I know I'm loved without condition. If that doesn't make a girl blissfully happy, nothing will!

As for the sermon series, I don't know what we're going to hear. I do know that whatever is said it will be Biblical. Not a "how to" message, but what God's design is for men and women. And I don't have a problem with hearing such a message in "mixed company". Young children won't be present and I have a hard time believing the sermon will get the teenagers all hot and bothered while preaching sex within the boundaries of marriage.

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Shushan (Cute screen name, by the way) - I wanted to address your comment about not wanting to hear anything on this subject at this period in your life. I totally understand what you're saying. I AM at a place where I can hear whatever might be said. However, I went through chemotherapy in Arkansas while my husband lived and worked in Pennsylvania. The weekends he didn't come home I didn't want to hear anything about husbands and wives. It was too painful.

But the way I feel about it is Biblical subjects should not be avoided for any reason. If a person is uncomfortable because their toes are being stepped on then they need to just deal with it. (And have I been through some painful sermons for that reason!) But if a person is uncomfortable for the reasons you're talking about I think it might be better to just avoid those particular services. Just my two cents.

SmileyCentral.com

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There's a whole lot more I could write, but a great deal of it would probably be redundant. So I'm going to end the topic here and hope I managed to express the important stuff. And being the shallow, superficial gal I am, I'll be back to the mundane in no time at all!

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Mused by Jenster :: 4:14 PM :: 20 People musing:

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Friday, October 12, 2007

God and Sex

Did that get your attention?? I have a lot to say on both subjects and this post may end up rambling, so bear with me.

Our church - Christ's Church of the Valley or CCV - is very different. It is a non-denominational Bible church that looks a bit like a movie theater on the outside; has a minister who has been known to wear Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt while he preaches; and has a rock band, cement floors, and three big screens on the inside. There's not much in the way of ritual or tradition and we hardly sing hymns, mostly singing contemporary Christian worship and praise songs.

I may not be a Bible scholar, but I know a thing or two about what Jesus had in mind for His church and in the 16 months we've been attending here I've yet to see something that contradicts His ideas. If I have any complaint about the church at all it's that we don't sing traditional hymns more regularly. I'd like a nice balance between contemporary and traditional music. That, however, is my personal preference and doesn't make a flip of difference in my worship.

This church is obviously not for everyone. Some people are wired for the traditions and the rituals. It's not a question of which church is right and which church is wrong. It's a matter of which church am I going to get the most from. For my family it's this progressive, edgy church.

I have been told - in very subtle, indirect ways - that because this is a "new" church (meaning not a traditional denomination) it can't be pleasing to God. I don't beg to differ, I just do. I don't believe there's a denomination or church or person on the planet that has figured everything out. It's not God's word (the Bible) that's infallible. It's man's interpretations and that's why there are so many denominations. And because of that I believe that every church has a flaw in it somewhere.

So while CCV has its own flaws, here's what it does well. It (the people of CCV - which are truly the church) loves the less than lovable in big and real ways. There's a song by Todd Agnew called "My Jesus" and every time I hear it I think to myself that's one thing we got right.

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reached for the hurting and despises the proud
I think He’d prefer Beal St. to the stained glass crowd
But I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud

I grew up going to church; lived a happy, normal, middle class life; never got into any trouble; had great, loving parents, etc. And a lot of our congregation has a similar background. We also have a lot of people who have backgrounds that would make your hair stand on end. So many of them had tried other churches at one time or another and they were made to feel less than worthy to be there. HELLO! It's church!! And who did Jesus hang out with? The dredges of society.

I'm not saying CCV has a monopoly in this market because I know we don't. I know a lot of traditional churches that look beyond the surface or the less than pleasant aspects of people and welcomes them with opened arms. But there are still a lot of churches out there (or people in those churches) who disdain anyone who doesn't meet their ideas of "good church-going folk".

What does all this have to do with sex, you may be asking. I'm getting to that. CCV is starting a three week series next week called "Our Rotten Sex Life" and the first message is entitled "The Greatest Sex You'll Ever Have".

This is the huge banner hanging on the side of our building, right next to a major freeway.



Part of me is a little hesitant to bring all this up, having people know that I go to the sex church (as I heard it referred to in the grocery store the other day). But the thing is, sex is from God. He invented it and He wants husbands and wives to enjoy it. A lot. I have no doubt there are those who saw that banner and thought "that crazy church is blazing a path to hell", but the truth is this subject matter is biblical.

My parents will be visiting the first Sunday of the series, but I won't let that stop me from taking copious and detailed notes.

And this is where it all turns personal. All of you who know me in the real world may not want to read further. It could be too much information. I've gone back and forth about whether I should write this for everyone to see or not, but the reality of it is this is my life. And I won't be writing anything that won't be in my book for all to read - if it gets published.

So here we go. *deep breath*

Todd and I were in our early 20's when we got married. And in the way of most all young couples things were great.

In our mid to late 20's we had children. Those of you who have ever had small children know where I'm going with this. Who has the time or energy for sex??

Somewhere around 34 I hit my stride you could say. Todd was one happy, if not exhausted, man. I've heard of women peaking in their 30's, but a peak suggests a downward descent and things were pretty even until half way through my 39th year. April 27th, 2005, to be exact. The day of my diagnosis.

Nothing works like a cold shower better than a diagnosis of some mortal illness. As you can imagine - or some of you may know first hand - sex is the last thing on your mind at a time like that.

Then there are the physical issues that come with surgery and chemotherapy. And did you know with certain chemos - maybe even all of them - you are advised against sex for so many days after treatment because the poison can leach to the partner? Yeah. So there's a little education for you today.

Sometimes, as in my case, there are more surgeries to be had after treatment. Everything heals, but things are never the same. I have no ovaries to make estrogen, which, in turn, depresses the sex drive. I also have very little to no feeling from just a few inches below my collar bone to an inch or so below my belly button. If I may be so bold, and I don't know why I should stop now, that's quite the bummer. While a man goes from 0 to 60 in under 10 seconds, us women usually need to be primed and warmed up. No feeling in the "primer parts" makes warming up a little slower than it used to.

(Was that too much? Did you really need to know that?? I realize it's too late to take it back, but I'm just wondering if I've sent any of you running away screaming.)

There's also the matter of body image. I know you all are probably sick of hearing me gripe about my weight, but there's that. And the fact that my girls aren't really my girls, but my tummy just come to live in a different place.

I'm going to be 42 in a month. Before this aspect went south I used to think how lucky we were to be so fulfilled in that area. I also figured if I was 39 and Todd was 40 we still had a lot of good years left. I even thought about how much fun our 25th anniversary trip to Scotland was going to be - you know, sex in a castle and all that. But instead of tapering off slowly it was like hitting a brick wall.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time you know I've had one medical issue after another until very recently. I'm thanking God because I'm not having any of those issues anymore. Not to any extent, anyway. So I'm anxious to hear what Brian has to say on the issue of sex. And while I know for a certainty things will never be the way they had been, I'm still hoping for a great trip to Scotland!

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Mused by Jenster :: 12:10 PM :: 26 People musing:

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

May I Present...

THE Table:



The sideboard:

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:42 PM :: 29 People musing:

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