Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home Again

We got home early this evening from visiting Doug's 97 year old grandmother for a few days. This will probably be one of the last times I go. From now on, it will be Doug and one of the children at a time. She still lives on her own and it's getting too much for her to have all of us in the house together. I do the cooking and clean-up, but she can't stand to sit in the chair and not help. She directs traffic faster than I can move. And she can't hear me tell her fifteen times that I already put the butter on the table. I'm saying this nicely, I promise. I hope to be that feisty at 97. I hope to be anything at 97.

But this is hilarious. Somehow, she and Doug got their signals crossed. When they last spoke on Sunday, she thought we hadn't decided if we would come or not and he'd call before we left. He thought the plans were all made and he would call her when we got close. When it got to be into the afternoon and she hadn't heard, she started calling both our home and Doug's cell phone. My husband isn't a techno geek. That's right - he had his phone off. She got so frantic, she had her niece call the state police. All three days we were there, poor Doug never heard the end of it. We can laugh about it now.

Well, everything still needs to be unpacked. Oh, the joys of leaving home with five people for three days. Will post a picture of her when my non-techno geek hubby gets them downloaded.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Did You Notice?


I went over 70,000 words for Snow on the Tulips today!! I'm so excited about this story. It's the World War II story set in the Netherlands. I can see how my writing has grown and how I've grown as a writer. If all goes very well, I should finish this story by the end of the next week. That will give me time to make my final edits to Under His Wings (that's the contracted book) and to get it turned in well before my February 1st deadline. My critique partners have liked it well enough, so I hope my publisher does, too. My worst nightmare, of course, is that I'll turn it in and they'll wonder why they ever decided to publish such drivel. It's a little bit like sending your first child out into the world (or so they tell me). I think I'll be able to say goodbye to Brian a little bit easier than to this manuscript - just kidding.

So that's my writing update. Keep watching the sidebar. You're all helping to keep me honest. I've had to work hard this week to get any writing down with everyone home, but I'm doing it. I like to watch my progress meter move forward.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Day

We had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope all of you did, too. The girls got up and dressed and we had homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. So yummy. We finally pulled Brian out of bed and managed to get him down to open stockings. My parents came over then and the real gift opening began. Alyssa was thrilled with the American Girl gifts she got. I thought they were pretty cool, too. Wish they would have had that when I was little. My niece has the doll I would have gotten, so I have to visit her to play with it.

Jonalyn loved the train set my parents got for her. It has a remote control that is simple enough for her to learn to operate it. I think the batteries are dead already, though. Brian liked his USMC T-shirt - I was happy to get something right :) Doug got a picnic table kit so he can build a picnic table for us at the hunting property. And me - I got lots of scrapbooking stuff. Can't wait to finish my Wyoming pages.

We didn't finish with gifts until after 1:00 in the afternoon. We like to make them last as long as possible! We then ate lamb, mashed potatoes, jello (to the Dutch, jello is a vegetable LOL!), applesauce, corn I'd frozen this summer, crescent rolls, and so on. We had grasshopper pie for dessert - based on the after-dinner drink. Sooo good.

We spent the rest of the evening playing the card game Quiddler that Doug got. It's like Scrabble. My dad creamed all of us, so I don't know how well he likes the game!

And so ended a perfect Christmas day. Yes, I know I should have pictures. Tell that to my husband. Actually, it might be a while because our other computer, the one with all the pictures, crashed this morning. We'll see how long it will take to recover everything. I'll post pictures as soon as possible.

Now it's on to New Year's and our Rose Bowl party. Can't wait!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to all of you. Hope your holiday has been blessed so far. Today we enjoyed dinner at my parents' (stuffed flank steak - delicious) and celebrated Doug's birthday, which is tomorrow. I have to get him to download some pictures :) Then it was off to church for the candlelight service. It's always so beautiful. Now we're home, going to make some hot chocolate and watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas (my favorite).There is a very light snow falling now, which makes the scene perfect. Finally everything is done and I get to enjoy all of this. Actually - it's not quite. We might have a last minute addition to our celebration and I went to buy a couple of gifts for this lovely widow to open. Now I have to wrap them. But I'm pretty much done.

Enjoy the day and remember what it is truly all about -the King of Kings humbled himself to become our perfect sacrifice that one day we might be with him forever.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Alyssa's Birthday

Getting caught up on pictures. And, by the way, happy 22nd wedding anniversary to me! (And my hubby - love ya!) What a ride we've had.
So, here are the pictures.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Alyssa's School Program

A week ago, Alyssa had her program at school. She - and all the kids - did a beautiful job. By the way, do you like her new glasses and her haircut? It's like looking at a different kid. She never told me she couldn't see the board. Jonalyn also got glasses because she couldn't see up close. It took us a while, but we finally got her a pair that fits and doesn't slide down her itty bitty head. Pictures of her forthcoming.






Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Alyssa!

Eleven years ago today, a very courageous woman in Seoul, Korea, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with a head full of black hair. The birth wasn't easy. And as soon as the baby was born, she said good-bye to her infant, knowing she may never see her again.


That beautiful baby girl became our darling Alyssa three months later. Happy birthday, sweetheart. You are beautiful inside and out, loving, compassionate, kind, hard-working, caring and you have a strong love for your Lord. We couldn't be more proud of the lovely young woman you are becoming.

And to that brave young Korean woman, thank you.Thank you for giving her life. Thank you for making that difficult, courageous choice that made her our daughter. I wish you could know her. You are in our prayers today as always, that you may have peace about your decision, that you would rely on the Lord for your strength, and that somehow you will know your daughter is safe and healthy and loved.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Overwhelmed

Yes, it happened. Despite all my good intentions, I've gotten overwhelmed. I've run around like a crazy woman and gotten upset when things didn't happen when or like they were supposed to. On top of all that, our microwave is toast and so is our garage door opener. Our ten year old van is leaking oil and the motor doesn't work on the wiper fluid - which is a huge deal when you live in Wisconsin in the winter. I have two birthday cakes to bake, and school and work treats, plus Christmas cookies and gifts for friends. There is one present yet to be bought and several to be wrapped. Alyssa is down with strep throat - poor thing - her birthday is tomorrow :( And the house - don't even get me started on that. Especially since we probably won't have baseboards anymore by the end of the holidays, the demo for the kitchen project needing to be started as soon as the gifts are opened.

I was losing it yesterday. I hadn't eaten or taken my fibromyalgia medication. I hurt and was cranky. To my family, I apologize. I had something to eat and drink, took my medicine and a deep breath and got to work. I didn't run, but I did work steadily. I didn't get done everything I wanted to, but things did get accomplished. I feel better. I've decided that a not-quite-perfect Christmas is better than a cranky Christmas. I'll fail. I know myself better than that. But I'm going to try. So I'm off to order the last gift and bake some bread.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Am I Becoming a Convert?

No, not a heavy post today :)

I don't like coffee. I love the smell of it. Hate the taste, unless it's in a jamocha shake or coffee ice cream. I'm a big tea drinker. I love a good cup of herbal loose leaf tea or Earl Grey. In the summer, it's iced tea for me.

That was then. This is now. I drink diet hot chocolate sometimes. Not much too it. My dad drinks it too, so to liven up the flavor, he started putting a little decaf coffee in it. I tried it. I liked it. I drink it that way now. And yesterday, I took the plunge. A decaf soy peppermint mocha from St*rbucks. Oh. My. Word. Was that ever good. I think I'm hooked. I wanted another one.

So, do you think there's any chance I'll become a real, true coffee drinker?? Or will you join me for a cuppa Rooibus Chai?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent

Our church doesn't celebrate advent. We don't have midweek services or an advent wreath. At home, as a family, we do have an advent calendar. We started using it when Brian was born. In each pocket we put a part of the Christmas story, to help teach him what the holiday was all about. Now that they are older, we have Bible verses in there, both Old and New Testament readings.

I'm celebrating a different kind of advent this year. Christ has already come. He's accomplished his work and has returned to heaven. But he is coming again, in power and glory. When I was a child and asked why we didn't celebrate advent, I was told it was because we should always be ready for Christ's coming. His second coming.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is by the group Glad. They have a beautiful acapella Christmas CD. The song is called "In the First Light." One of the lines is:

Hear the Angels as they're singing
On the morning of His birth
But how much greater will their song be
When He comes again to Earth

This year, as I prepare for Christmas, I am trying to focus my attention on that greater coming - when Christ returns, takes me home, and rules the earth forever. What a great and glad day that will be!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Progress on the Kitchen

Today we picked out the tile for our kitchen and met with the builder for our quote. Just a few pennies LOL! We still have a few things to pick out, but we're almost ready to sign the contract. I really want to get the project started. I'm not the most decisive person in the world (and neither is Doug), so picking out things isn't the most fun for me.

Still, I managed to make my word count for the day. I'm getting very excited about the story. I'm really enjoying writing it and it is flowing. Writers talk about a "sagging middle", the point in the book where you don't know where the story isn't going. It's where the story gets bogged down. Not with this story. I have plenty of ideas to fill the rest of the story.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

One of Those Days

It's been one of those days, and probably because I'm so set in my schedule and have to have everything perfect all at once. That was Doug's accusation this morning and it's true. I'm trying to relax. Our search for the right tree was a disaster. The place about 2 miles from us really doesn't have a selection anymore and they're so expensive. We drove out further into the country and found a place but they only had pre-cut trees. No. I refuse to get another tree with the needles spray painted green. Not working for me. After we got home I FINALLY found a place about 20 minutes from us that has you-cut trees. Bingo. Of course, it was already closed. So no tree today. That messes up my schedule. We're supposed to get it the first weekend of December, don't you know?Breath deeply. So what if I only put out one Christmas item a day. (I still have one more fall decoration to take down, though.) Who cares when the tree goes up. So what if I have to stay up late on Christmas Eve to wrap presents. Yes, this is the person who was bragging the other day about having all her gifts bought. Buying them online is one thing. Wrapping is another. So pray for me to relax and truly enjoy the season instead of stressing about getting everything done at a certain time.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Discovering Something

As I am doing my research on my World War II novel set in the Netherlands, I am discovering something very interesting. I'm a second generation American. My grandparents came from the Netherlands in the late 20's and my dad was born a few years after that. What is surprising to me is how much of the culture we have retained. As I learn about what they are like as people, I'm finding how similar I am to them. Though second generation, I'm shaped by my grandparents' native country. I think I'd feel quite comfortable there. I'm a neat freak who likes everything just so. I love plants and my house is full of them. I remember when my dad visited there, he commented on all the plants in my cousin's house. They are big potato eaters and I love them, too. The list goes on and on. I'm really feeling very connected to my Dutch, and especially Frisian, roots. (Friesland is a northern Dutch province with its own customs and language.) Even if this novel doesn't get published, because I wrote it I've learned much about where I came from and the influences that shaped who I am today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Have You Noticed...

...how my little progress meter is going up for "Snow on the Tulips"?! I'm so excited. If I have a good day tomorrow, I should clear 50K words. The Lord is blessing me. The story is flowing. It needs lots of editing to sharpen it, and some moving around of scenes, but I'm really getting the basic story down. Wow. Discipline does pay off LOL!

And since it's December and Christmas is a mere 24 days away (my shopping is almost done - aren't you jealous??), I would like to share with you my Christmas list. I would like more followers. Get your family and friends to follow me. Spread the word. This will be important when I submit my WWII manuscript this spring. The publisher won't be very impressed if I only have 21 people following me. That's all I want. I already have my two front teeth :)